Girls Write Out
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The librarian conference was really fun! I made sure to tell them they were living my dream, by the way. They were glad to hear it, I think. But let me backtrack you through the day a bit.

My biggest fear about getting myself to Indy is that I'm not a city girl and I was driving there by myself. Could I even find a parking garage? I was so proud when I managed to find it right off. Except for one thing. The parking was WAAAY down in the basement. When I parked, I noticed there weren't many people there even in the middle of the day. The fleeting thought came that it might not be the safest spot for a woman alone, but I quickly shoved that fear aside and hurried over to the convention center. All through my talks and the interaction with the librarians, I was dreading the rush hour drive home. And I occasionally thought about that dark garage. . .

Fast forward to five o'clock. There are lots of people out on the streets. I head for the parking garage but I notice not many are going my way. Correction--NO ONE is going my way. I step into the stairwell and am confronted with a homeless man. He looks VERY scary. Beard and hair to his chest and reeking of urine. And don't email me that I shouldn't be afraid. I know I shouldn't. But I was suddenly very frightened. I was a woman alone rushing down these clanging metal steps to the basement. He shouted after me and I heard the steps clang above my head. Perspiration broke out on my forehead and I ran as fast as I could down the last flight of steps. When I reached that bottom level, it was totally deserted. I was digging out my keys and praying the whole time that I'd make it to the van in time. I had it unlocked and hurtled inside where I locked the doors before I did anything else.

The poor guy never did emerge onto my level and I realize it was probably all in my imagination. But I thought I was about to live one of my stories. It gave me new empathy for my poor characters. LOL

You have any scary stories to share. Beware--they might end up in a book!
Colleen Coble  
posted at 9:45 AM  
  Comments (19)
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At 9:37 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Okay, and you didn't tell me about this, why? Sheesh. Did my days as a court reporter teach you nothing about those dark, deserted parking lots???? Gives me chills just thinking about it!

At 11:05 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Di, I was afraid I'd upset you when you were healing. LOL

At 11:15 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

I had to park in one of those for the CBA thing in Indy. Down low in the dark basement, not a soul around. Scary, even without the man calling to you.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Chelf said...

I have never been afraid of the dark. I always knew it was the Things in the Dark that scared me. Darkness is fun. Spiders are not so fun.

I try never to go downtown, or to any shady neighborhood, without a big guy or a big crowd.

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that's funny. I could picture myself doing that, and I love homeless people. I've put myself into some very dangerous situations, but when I don't choose those situations and they just sort of pop up like that they are terrifying!

I would have done the same, in fact, there have been times when I was single where I'd run into my apartment building like lightening, and fumble to open the door like someone was chasing me. And at times, I really believed someone was.

Guess writing fiction does that to ya.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger ~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Ah, Colleen, the price you pay for coming over to the dark side.

One tip--for all the women out there. Never go into the parking lot/garage without already having your car keys in hand. Never. Take them out BEFORE you leave the mall/building/whatever. Then walk with your head up, confident and alert. Predators tend not to choose a victim who looks like she wouldn't go down without a honkin' fight.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Tricia said...

My story is a tad to long for a comment so I posted in on my blog.

It is a scary at the time/funny now story.

Enjoy, and glad you made it out alive! :o)

Here is the link...

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

LOL - and THAT is why I don't read suspense! I internalize it and visualize it until I'm running from my own shadow.

I'm going to blog my scariest moment ever. It's too long for a commetn box, so just be watching between the jokes for it. :o)

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Suzanne said...

Good advice from Brandilyn who writes stores so scary that I have trouble falling asleep for weeks after reading them and has given me reasons not to go in a hot tub after dark or ever even think about becoming a real estate agent!

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Ane Mulligan said...

Okay, Colleen ... the blog's up. Go to:

and read it. :o)

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Deena said...

No scary stories, but I DO have a husband who thinks it's funny to creep up on me in the store and slip his arm around me like he's a total stranger...I keep telling him one day he's going to get hit with an upper cut in the jaw...or some guy will grab me, and I'll turn around and kiss him...then realize it's not Dave:-)

At 9:25 PM, Blogger Heather said...

Oh, I've had times when I would've sworn I was being followed! Usually it was like you suspected -- just in my imagination. or my mother's. There was one time when she called the cops because she just *knew* someone had broken into the house to turn the TV on! {snort} 25ish years later and we've still not forgotten that one!

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Jaime said...

My worst suspense story is my husband living in Illinois while I'm alone in our little home a state away. I come home to my empty house and see someone had a picnic and a campfire in my back yard. You can imagine how my imagination has taken off!!

So, since then I've locked myself in my bedroom (not kidding)at night and I have 3 escape routes planned. One was to position myself between the bedroom door and the window with our can of bear spray in the event that the Campfire Marauder decided to break in. After 15 min. of planning how I'd defend myself I suddenly was struck with the most profound thought: "if someone is breaking down my bedroom door, why am I standing there with a can of bear spray and not crawling out the window and running for my life?"

Needless to say, my husband says I've way overreacted ... and there's been no more campfires for awhile. ;)

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

You're right, Brandilyn, I should have been more prepared but I live in the Midwest. I'm not used to not feeling safe. It was a very disconcerting feeling! LOL

Deena, I'd brain him too! LOL

Jaime the first time I heard you say that about the campfire, my imagination went wild too! LOL

Going to read you girls' blogs!

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

I have to go to a professional development meeting next Wednesday. Usually that is fun and I get great ideas for my students. Only, the last time I went--about a month and a half ago--I opened my car door and ended up robbed in my own driveway--at gun point. At four o'clock in the freakin' afternoon. I am now dealing with an irrational fear of my own driveway. No problem with parking lots or other more vulnerable places (like underground garages). No, it's my own driveway. Takes a lot of Jesus holding my hand and quoting Scripture in my brain to get me to my car each morning and I circle the block and make sure someone I trust is home or outside watching before I park and go in the house--even kept circling the block one evening until my new son in law could drive over and watch me get into the house. My family is ready for me to move on to the next foible.
You're right, thought. It gives a lot more empathy for my characters and one day I will use it in a book.
Hang in there, Colleen!

At 8:27 AM, Blogger Two Sisters said...

Oh Colleen, that is hilarious!


At 9:22 AM, Blogger Colleen Coble said...

Jenny, that is horrible! I'm appalled. Where on earth do you live? I'd be moving. LOL

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

Actually we live in a nice older neighborhood in Phoenix, Well established and with a good neighborhood watch good. This guy slipped through it all at a time when the elementary and jr high schools would have just finished letting out. He couldn't even have targeted me specifically. He was just looking for the first easy person and I lucked out. Didn't even scare me at first--just so totally confused. "what's wrong with this picture?" Afterward I got angry and now I'm fighting this fear.
Not moving, though. I love my house and don't want to give in to all this. I'm just stubborn that way:-)

At 11:34 AM, Blogger Lauri said...

I was 21 and spending my first mid term break home alone while my parents went on a cruise. I decided to drive back on Monday. At midnight as I'm about to go to sleep, I hear the basement door opening. I was halfway to the phone to call 911 when I heard the dogs come in & figured a robber wouldn't do that. Turns out my parents had taken an earlier flight.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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