Time for Pam to Cowgirl Up

October 27, 2008 at 2:01 pm (Events, Random Thoughts)


I like to think I’m a professional. And those of you who have met me in a professional-like situation, such as RWA Nationals, would probably think that, too. I’m confident, prepared and have no problem approaching somebody if the occasional calls for it. Hell, I can even chit-chat and, when on my A game, offer scintillating conversation.




So why is it when faced with celebrities I admire, I turn into a 14 year-old girl who has just spotted one of the cast members of High School Musical? Case in point—this weekend fate stepped into our weekend plans and Montana and I ended up at a culinary showcase where I was tickled to see Jacques Pepin standing ten feet away,  but when I saw Ming Tsai to the left of him, turned into a shaking mass of speaking in one word sentences (“OhMyGodThat’sMingTsaiStandingOverThere!”) and near-hysterical outbursts of giggling. And the man was so freakin’ nice! He signed my cookbook, posed for a picture and was just the epitome of gracious. How I could be nervous around such a person is a mystery, but I was.


It happened in August, too. We were at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention where the guest of honor was MaryJanice Davidson.   Went to her first seminar with the room full of a whopping ten people, myself, Montana and MJ included, so I got all relaxed and felt like I knew her and she me, right? But then the next morning when she was scheduled at the autograph table I regressed from Professional Writer Girl to Fan Kook. Instead of my smooth, industry introduction of “Hi, MaryJanice. I’m Pam and am a great admirer of your work. At this year’s RWA Conference, I had the opportunity to speak to Cindy Hwang (MJ’s editor at Berkeley) and will be sending her a partial of my romantic-comedy paranormal next week. Part of what inspired me to submit to her was the tremendous series you two have built,”  I have to stumble into, “Hi, I’m Pam and I…I’m one of your MySpace friends.”


Along with 1127 other people. Smooth, Pam. Real smooth.


Hell, the thing is, I know this about myself. Allow me to demonstrate. The following is taken from my MySpace page, written about a year ago:


Who I’d like to meet:
Hell, I’m easily star-struck. Let’s just say anybody famous and it’ll be true. I even tried to think of one or two really important people to me and couldn’t. Anybody I thought of was immediately followed with what in God’s name I would say to them, and it was pretty much all jibberish, unadulterated fawning or outright hysteria. None of those are pretty looks on me so I just don’t think it’s fair to subject anybody to that, alive or dead. I really don’t.


Yet, fair or not, I seem to keep subjecting people to that behavior. (And God bless Montana—he always gets my back during those crazed blackouts.) So, my resolution is going to be to relax and enjoy meeting new people, be they New York Times bestsellers or James Beard award-winning chefs with multiple TV shows.


Except Gordon Ramsay















If I have a chance to hear him scream “Donkey!” in person, all bets are off.





  1. coffeegirl88 said,

    So glad I’m not the only one who’s reduced to a babbling fan-girl sometimes. I had the pleasure of hearing/seeing Michael Ruhlman speak this summer. Afterwards I introduced myself and had him sign one of his books. I wanted to be smart, and funny, and all things wonderful and clever. I was a bumbling idiot. He was gracious and everything I’d expected. Just wish I’d made a better impression.

    Ming Tsai would have me babbling too, I’d probably way too shy to meet Ramsay outside of an autograph signing thing.

    Thinking back, virtually every celebrity encounter I’ve had involved me being babbling fan girl. Well, there is that time in a vintage store in Boston I did that across the room flirt thing with someone kinda famous. Notice I never spoke to him and got pulled out of the store before I could.

  2. Melissa Blue said,

    You know I would have paid big bucks to see you turn into a fan-girl.

    Psst! Montana, take pictures next time.

  3. jeniferm said,

    I’m totally the same way, and I hate it. A Michigan author I like (Susan Goodwill) was at a book festival in town last year, so I was very excited to meet her. She’s also a Cherry, so yay! I chickened out three times before I finally made myself walk up to her table and say hello. It came out like your breathless sentence – HiImJeniferandImaCherry. Her response, “I’m sorry, did you say your name is Jerry?” Mortification for sure.

    Just know you’re totally not alone.

  4. Kyle said,

    LOL… I LOVE Gordon!

    I used to be the same way around really big authors. My friends would always laugh at me because I would start to shake with excitement, bouncing on the balls of my feet and stuttering in a way that suggested I’d had the speach impediment for many, MANY years, which in fact I had only acquired it moments before. But I’ve been very lucky in the fact that I have now met a good many big-time authors, and I’ve calmed down a bit. Well, a lot… thankfully! Whereas before I would have to closely monitor my bladder, now I can actually, you know, HAVE A CONVERSATION with them. I even managed to talk to David Morrell (the father of RAMBO!) about the “Son of Rambow” movie that came out earlier this year, which was pretty cool. And I’ve also had the chance to meet Sandra Brown, which was a really big moment for me! And I’m going to see Tess Gerritsen on Wednesday in Philadelphia, who I haven’t seen in about two years, so I wonder if she’ll recognize me! 🙂

    Oh god, if I ever met Kate Winslet I WOULD DIE ON THE SPOT. I am so in love with her. I don’t care if I was dating the most gorgeous and amazing guy in the world, he would be dumped in a SECOND if she ever came calling. She’s the ONLY woman I’d go straight for. You know, if I managed not to die, that is…

  5. Montana said,

    Now may be a good time to report that, although Pam was noticeably nervous with Mr. Ming, she did NOT tackle him. Nor did she contemplate stealing his car keys or name badge, nor was security called. And her fawning did not cause anyone to be left waiting at the airport… for, say, an hour and ten minutes.
    So I considered the event to be a success.

  6. Marilyn Brant said,

    Ha! Pam, great story and I loved Montana’s addendum to it :). I think I’m pretty much the same way. I tend not to idolize celebrities and would like to think I could be pretty calm in the presence of one, but I suspect–if put in the same general vicinity of Jon Bon Jovi–I’d regress to an irrational, squealing teen in under 20 seconds… No. In under 5…

  7. Robin said,

    LOL Montana! And Pam, you are cool as a cucumber to me! At least you spoke! I on the other hand lose my voice when I see someone famous, which really ticks me off. Can’t I at least just say hello? Maybe next time…

  8. pamwritesromance said,

    Coffee–maybe we’ll form a Babbling Fan Girl club. That way, it’ll be excused. And, Little Miss Coy, who was your flirting with? Dish! 😉

    Melissa–you’re probably one of the few people who’ll have a good chance to see me squee at some point. I’ll make sure and grab you for a front row seat! 🙂

  9. pamwritesromance said,

    Jenifer–wanna join the club Coffee and I are putting together? Sounds like you’d fit right in, Jerry. 😉

    Kyle–nice to meet another Gordon fan. I’m slowly getting Montana hooked. And Kate Winslet? I’d probably be so nervous I’d just stalk her with the camera in my cell phone. (Just watched Titanic for the billionth time this weekend!) 😀

  10. pamwritesromance said,

    Montana–great, put ideas in my head. I think there was a time I had a good shot at his car keys…

    Marilyn–I was lucky enough to win front row seats at a Bon Jovi concert six years ago and every time Jon looked at me, I was so nervous, I had to look at Richie. It’s just sad. 🙂

    Robin–Now you know my secret shame. And I think you’re just jaded about the whole thing, running into celebrities at the gas station and all. 😉

  11. jeniferm said,

    The fan club sounds good. I, however, did not anticipate that I’d set myself up to be called Jerry till the end of time when relating my story. 🙂

  12. coffeegirl88 said,

    First, I love the idea of a fan club, maybe we should get buttons or something, so people will be properly warned when we approach.

    Okay, I’ll dish and share the story. So, in the early 90s I was attending college in Boston. One Saturday a friend and I decided to do a little window shopping on Newbury Street. Now, that’s the place to see and be seen. It’s the street where all the fancy stores are, all the designer clothing stores and the like. So there’s this vintage shop my friend Liz wanted to go into. I’m wandering around, not interested but browsing when I notice some activity in the back of the shop. Now this is one of those kind of places that has the “special shopping room” you know, where the famous/uber rich people shop. I look up and see . . . Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block. We make eye contact and I look away. I look back, he’s still looking. We both look away, I step to another rack and look back and he’s looking too. This is about the moment when my friend pulls me away. She’s been completely unaware of this because she’s been looking at the clothes.

  13. Lainey Bancroft said,

    Yeah, here in Nowheresville Ontario, we don’t have a whole lot of opportunity for celebrity spotting, so I’ve never worried about being a babbling fan girl. If I had to guess, I’d say I’d probably be like Robin…tongue glued to roof of mouth.

    Or maybe I’d come up with something really clever, “Chef Ramsey, my son says when I swear I sound just like you do when you enter a kitchen so filthy that it should be condemned!”

    (cuz, yeah, swearing with a bit of British accent–fake or otherwise–sounds way more sophisticated than plain old ‘Canadian/American swearing)

  14. pamwritesromance said,

    Coffee–Danny of NKOTB? Oh yeah–we’re going to have to have a Brush-with-Fame-squee post soon, aren’t we? And just think, your friend might have been pulling you away from the future Mr. Coffee. *sigh*

    Lainey–Oh, I know. Doesn’t he just swear wonderfully? He was originally a footballer (soccer to us Yanks) before an injury sidelined him, so swearing is probably his first language! 😀 And weren’t you just in Vegas? No sightings there?

  15. Melina said,

    Pam. Star struck. Huh. Very interesting! Who would have thought?

    I’m with Melissa. That would have been fun to see.

    Just kidding. It happens to all of us. Well, maybe it doesn’t, but I like to think it does.

    Sounds like a fun event though!

  16. Katie Reus said,

    That hasn’t happened to me…yet. 🙂 If I ever meet Linda Howard I’m fearful I’ll turn into a babbling moron. Seriously, it’s only a matter of time so I’m psyching myself up for it, lol.

  17. Marilyn Brant said,

    FRONT ROW SEATS TO SEE BON JOVI????!! I am official envious…Tell me you took pictures, yes??

  18. L.A. Mitchell said,

    I’ve never gotten that way around authors, but once I had a Ted Nugent freak-out in the Denver airport. I was all squeeing and whispering to my traveling companions and my other half walks up, fist bumps him and slips out a line from one of his songs like it was some secret language. So cool, while I was a complete flake.

  19. pamwritesromance said,

    Melina–yup, I’m a 100%, bona-fide fan girl if the right person is around. And I’m keeping you and Melissa away from each other–bad influences!!! 😉

    Katie–I think romance authors are well prepared to handle the squeeing. I’ve heard about huge authors feeling the same way about their favorite authors, so maybe a little hyperventilation is okay? 🙂

  20. pamwritesromance said,

    Marilyn–I may have to do a post on that one. It was quite the event, from the winning of the tickets through the concert itself. (Teaser–Montana lived to tell the tale.)

    L.A.–Maybe it’s a girl vs. guy thing. But then again, it was Ted Nugent–he kinda breaks the mold, doesn’t he? 😉

  21. Sandra said,

    I’m totally with your assessment of Ramsey. I can’t imagine why anyone who yells, stomps and swears is supposed to be so great. I don’t care if he can cook his way out of a coffin — if he can’t do it without words **bleeping** out of his mouth, then the man should be buried beneath bad reviews.

  22. pamwritesromance said,

    Sandra–I’m ducking my head a little to say this, but I meant the opposite. If I get a chance to meet him, I’m going to squeal, giggle and in all other ways act completely foolish. There’s just something about that man that I like. 🙂

  23. Will Kinshella said,

    Well, as far as award winning chefs are concerned. I wouldn’t personally be too terribly impressed.

    I used to work as a cook at the Wynn Las Vegas. I shuffled back and forth through various restaurants, helping out when someone was low a man, and filling in for the occasional Sous Chef when they were off sick. (They didn’t pay me any extra for this of course… but I could rant for hours)

    At one point I found myself working at Daniel Boulud Brasserie, under James Beard award winning Chef Daniel Boulud.

    I would go into detail had I the time (It would take ages) but let’s just say that I neither found Daniel to be the nicest, or the most talented, of people.

    I was also the friend of a man who worked in one of Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants. He said that at one point, the man himself came in to “assist the cooks” and, you guessed it, nearly crippled the kitchen with his inability to handle the dinner rush.

    I’m so glad I’m not cooking anymore

  24. pamwritesromance said,

    Will–welcome! Yeah, the dreaded “Seeing behind the curtain” effect. It’s a bummer, isn’t it? Do you still cook for fun, or did your experiences totally ruin it for you?

  25. Will Kinshella said,

    Oh, I still cook for fun. No point letting any skill go to waste.

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