Saturday, May 14, 2011


My Face Was Redder than My Hair
Have you ever done something so out of character, that you shocked the living daylights out of yourself? Well, let me assure you that such an experience is a bit like eating your own gizzard without catsup. Before I get into the back story, let me say that it’s my nature to be on time. Always. In fact, I’m usually early, just be sure. (I’m sort of a belt and suspenders kind of gal.) If someone had told me that I’d be late for a speaking engagement, I’d have laughed at the absurdity. Couldn’t happen.
Back Story:
I spent the last week of April looking forward to speaking at OWFI  (Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.) on May 7. I had been invited to join Pat Browning, another published author, to answer questions about selling books on Kindle. Each of us has a book on Amazon Kindle’s cozy mystery bestseller lists. (There are several such lists.) I was most eager to share this wonderful and surprising new way to sell books and earn money by writing. The prospect of making enough money with my book royalties was heady stuff to me, and I wanted all my friends to do the same. Dan Case, my publisher, was to chair the panel.
Talk about preparing! I researched, I made notes, and I spent money on handout copies! I intended to be sooooo ready. Our panel was scheduled in the last time slot on Saturday afternoon. For energy, I ate a healthy lunch, veggies and chicken salad, then excused myself to go to my suite and review my notes.
The Plot Thickens
As soon as I entered the darkened bedroom, I realized my energy was lagging and decided to lie down for a few minutes. No need to worry about falling asleep; sleep always eludes me, and most nights I lie awake for hours counting sheep. To be comfy, I slipped off my linen slacks, put on pajama bottoms, and took the “flipper” out of my mouth. (A flipper is the gizmo the dentist gives to use for pretend teeth. This is to give my jaw time heal, in order to permanently implant teeth. Mine fits across the front bottom of my mouth, so no one knows that I’m toothless at present.) Then I stretched out on the bed.
(Imagine a space-mark here.)
The Crisis
Suddenly the phone rang and Linda Apple, Conference Chair, was on the line. (Now please understand, Linda is one of those perfect women, who does everything right and never ever stubs her toe. We’d all hate her if she wasn’t so nice. Not only is she perfect and pretty, she also has the energy of a teenager.)
“The meeting has started,” Linda said.
Meeting? What meeting? I blinked hard to clear sleep from my brain, then morphed into a surreal panic. Oh crap! THE meeting. The event I’d been looking forward to for days.
“I’m coming,” I said, jumping to my feet.
I flew around the room putting on shoes, glancing into the mirror to make sure my hair wasn’t standing straight up, grabbed my handouts and purse and raced down to the meeting. I made my apologies and answered Dan’s questions. I think. The truth is; I can’t remember one thing that I said. I hope to goodness that I said a few things about how to sell books on Kindle.
What I do remember is slipping my tongue into a blank spot where my front bottom teeth are supposed to be. I’d forgotten that wretched flipper! Here I was—in front of about 50 very talented writers, some of them quite famous—a toothless hag! Talk about your worst nightmare. (I’m vain when it comes to having front teeth!) I was horrified, but there was nothing I could do, except keep talking…and smiling.
Oh the shame of a toothless smile!
It’s amazing what a person can live through without sinking straight through the floor and dying from embarrassment. My loyal friend and coauthor to our Foxy Hens series, Peggy Fielding, did her best to help me feel better.
“I didn’t even notice your missing teeth,” she lied.
This is our spooky mystery
Darling Peggy. Kind folks (and most writers are kind hearted, I’ve discovered) came up afterwards and said nice things about the panel. (God bless each of them.)
FYI: Pat showed up on time, and with all of her teeth.
I Did Survive
One thing I will say in my own defense. I managed to shimmy out of my pajama bottoms and pull on honest to goodness slacks. Not too bad for a gal who has been known to run to the grocery store in her jammies.
If any of you would like to share your own most embarrassing moment, I’d love to know that I have fellow sufferers.
Jackie King and Peggy Fielding OWFI 2011


kathleenjeanemclaughlin said...

Thank you for sharing your story about being truly human. It made me feel better about what happened today regarding my weight loss. My granddaughter had a birthday party at Chuckee Cheeses, which is a pizza place slash arcade for children. On a Saturday its packed with families and children of all ages along with a full crew of employees. It was time to bring the cake out and when they did, everyone started snapping pictures. Of course I was going to get the best picture by shooting from the perfect angle--standing up on a chair. As soon as I stood up on the chair and all the others were focusing their cameras on the object to be shot--the cake--my pants fell down to my knees. Needless to say, the camera flashes went off, but the cake was no longer the focal point. I got off the chair, pulling my drawers up as I did and made way for the nearest bathroom. I'm glad I'm losing weight, but not happy about losing my dignity. Kat

Jackie King said...

Oh, Kat. I fully sympathize, but I'm also awful enough to have smiled while reading this. I have another friend who had a similiar thing happen to her. She's a writer and her name is Peggy Fielding. She had lost a lot of weight due to illness and hadn't had time to buy anything new. We attended a mystery writer's conference at a fancy hotel, and while walking, Peg's pants fell to the floor. Unluckily, she wasn't wearing her good underwear. Luckily, she has a great sense of humor.

"I thought I was too old to blush," she said, "But I was wrong.

Aren't we women great?

Dan Case said...

I didn't notice the missing teeth... and I'm not lying. You forgot to mention that there was sustained applause when you showed up. :-)

4RV Publishing said...

I thought I was off to a bad start for my session because people weren't picking up and paying for baskets. Someone bought the last one less than ten minutes before my session was to begin. I dumped everything in my bag and raced my walker to the room with Jacque just ahead of me.

At least no woke me to remind me to get there. *grin* And I still had my partial in place. Some day I'll share my most embarrassing moment, if I can decide which was the worst.

Vivian said...

Jackie, the session was AWESOME! (and nope, never noticed anything about your teeth at all--you gave yourself away here on the blog or I'd never known).

Jackie King said...

I didn't mention that when I entered the session late, I was met with thunderous applause. (A set-up from my publisher, Dan Case. For those of you who don't know him, check out

Jackie King said...

Vivian, I'm dying of curiosity about your 'most embarrassing moments.' Also, I'd like to see you and Peggy Fielding have a walker-race. Something to consider next year at OWFI. We could use it as a money maker. :-)

Jackie King said...

Amy, Thanks so much for liking the session. The only thing I remember is you prompting me every time my mind went blank on someone's name who is famous for Kindle-promotion.
Hugs to you all.

4RV Publishing said...

Weeelllll, most people don't know that Lupus has caused me to lose my hair. Therefore, I wear wigs. One day I was running around the house without one and got a call from my bank about a problem with a check given my company. I rushed out and didn't realize I was literally bare headed until I was inside the bank. Can you spell embarrassed? Especially when the people didn't recognize me?


Jackie King said...

Vivian: I think that you have topped me! But I must say, that you're a woman with enough poise to carry off any embarrassing situation, and I'll bet you did just that at the bank.
Hugs, Jackie

Jackie King said...

Thanks to everyone who visited my blog. This is a new experience for me. I started it in March when I was invited to join a MYSTERY WE WRITE BLOG TOUR swap.

This blog tour will start the week of May 25th, and I'll be posting on Thursday. Vivian Zabel and Pat Browning are two of the twelve other authors involved. I wanted to make my mistakes (the worst ones) before that started and I screwed up someone else's prose.

Hugs to all.