Memorable First Meetings: Real Life Edition


Beth Cornelison

    Greetings to all of you Everybody Loves A Little Romance followers! I’m so excited to be joining this great group of ladies as a regular blogger. I write romantic suspense for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, but I have also published with Sourcebooks, Samhain, and more recently, self-published with the help of TKA Distribution (in other words, my literary agency The Knight Agency). I live in Louisiana, just down the highway from Liz, am going through empty nest syndrome (my only child just started college 1000 miles away in August), and love watching college football with my husband. I’m a sucker for whimsy (Snoopy is my muse) and love cats (I own two and take care of two strays). I start every morning with at least two cups of coffee (cream and sugar, please, the way my grandmother taught me!), checking Facebook, blogs and email, then a few rounds of Scrabble before I start writing for the day. That’s me in a nutshell. But to illustrate the kind of goofball I am, let me tell you a fun story about my first meeting with Cynthia D’Alba.

     Back in the summer of 2006, I attended the Romance Writers of America’s national conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I’d gone to the concierge lounge for breakfast one morning, fixed my coffee, set it down on a small table in a nook off to one side of the room, and returned to fix a plate of breakfast munchies. Upon returning to my table, I sat down with my plate and took a nice long sip of my coffee. About that time a few friendly-looking ladies sat down at the table with me. We exchanged good mornings, and as I was thinking to myself, “I thought I’d sweetened my coffee already,” I realized these nice ladies were giving me a couple odd looks. Finally one of the ladies said, “I think you’re in my seat.”

     I looked around and realized, yes, I’d sat back down at the wrong table. How embarrassing, right? At which point I said, “That’s not all, I’m pretty sure I just drank your coffee too!” Yep, that was Cynthia…We met over a shared cup of coffee (or rather a mistakenly stolen cup of coffee!) I did retrieve my own coffee after that and she got a new cup, and we had a nice chat as we ate our breakfast and laughed over my faux pas. Now, years later, I still haven’t lived it down, and I’m not sure I want to. Of all the dozens of people I met over dinners and coffee at that conference, the main person I remember years later is Cynthia… because of our memorable first meet. Funny or memorable first meets are great for storytellers, both in real life and in our books.

     While you want to avoid a clichéd meet up (they literally run into each other, and she drops a stack of books, tray of food, or some other something she’s carrying—been there, done that), a fun and memorable first meet is a great way to hook the reader’s attention and draw them into your book. Just be careful not to create a cute meet for the sake of a cute meet that has nothing to do with the rest of your story. What memorable first meets do you have in your history or from a book that stands out to you?

Happy reading, Beth