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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Anniversary Blog Fest: Carolyn Brown


Summer vacation for me this year was the RWA Conference and afterwards a long road trip up through some of the western states on the way home. By the time we got home I felt like a little fourth grader whose teacher asked everyone in the class to write about what they'd learned on their summer vacation.

My paper would have looked like this:

I learned that when the road sign says it is 103 miles to the next services they mean ALL services, not just high dollar gasoline and ice cream sandwiches that cost four bucks a piece. And that 103 miles is different when driving across the desert than it is when driving to Oklahoma City for a shopping trip.

I learned that no services also means no bathrooms!

And that it is not a good time to hydrate oneself. I learned that 60 ounces of water will swell up the bladder the size of a watermelon and that the skinny cactus out there by that barbed wire fence is worthless as a place to hide.

The signs for the next service station started to tease me fifty miles back as I crossed and uncrossed my legs, thought about everything but water and cursed every mirage of a mud puddle out there in the Mojave.

Finally, three days past eternity, the exit arrived. I felt like Christmas had arrived. I bailed out of the car and trotted across the parking lot unaware of the three digit temperatures trying to melt every single fat cell in my body.

I bypassed women who evidently had not just crossed the desert. They were chatting and laughing and telling stories. I heard something about Blake Shelton so I wondered if they were all standing in line for his autograph. Now don't get me wrong, I love Blake Shelton. But there were much more pressing matters at hand than standing in that line to get his autograph. The ladies' room sign beckoned to me and I rushed toward it like a ship in a storm zeroed in on a light house.

When I reached the door I discovered that there were two stalls and the line formed out there in the parking lot. There was no country music stars in the store and the line was the one for those two stalls in the ladies' room. And believe me the women were close enough together that there could be no cutting in line.

There was no line in front of the men's room. They were all out in the store buying soft drinks, candy bars and ice cream. Why? Why? I screamed silently and then I remembered those little green spots out there along the side of the road in the desert and I understood!

Finally, it was my turn and I rushed inside the stall, parked my fanny and sighed. But alas, there was no paper on the holder, not even a couple of squares stuck on the brown roller. Thank goodness, I had a couple of McDonald's napkins in my purse. As I opened the door to let the next customer into the stall I wished that I'd stuffed my suitcases with rolls and rolls of toilet tissue. I could've stood right there and sold it for a dime a square and paid for our trip to California.

And that, teacher, is what I learned on my summer vacation.

And will I use my experience in an upcoming book? Yes, ma'am, I surely will!

About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author and RITA® Finalist, Carolyn Brown, has published more than sixty books.

Brown's books have been translated into eleven foreign languages and fourteen have been reprinted in large print format. Her books have been reviewed in Library Journal, Booklist, Romantic Times, Romance Reviews Today, Publisher's Weekly, Cataromance, USA Today and Romance Reader At Heart. Two of her romances have been published as Japanese Manga books.

She and her husband have three grown children, enough grandchildren to keep them young and two tom cats that rule the back yard.

Find Carolyn online at

My website is:


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Hywela Lyn said...

LOL I can relate to the urgency but luckily in this country, the distances between services aren't quite so long! :)

Hywela Lyn said...

LOL I can relate to the urgency but luckily in this country, the distances between services aren't quite so long! :)

Ingeborg said...

That was a very funny post. I guess on a trip like that it's better not to drink anything.

Jean MP said...

I can relate to that feeling. Have nearly run over people to get to the bathroom. Great post!

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Carolyn Brown said...

Hywela Lyn: I told Husband that next time we go to California we will be flying. At least I know they all have bathrooms even if they are the size of a postage stamp!

Carolyn Brown said... got that right!

Carolyn Brown said...

Jean MP: I felt like my legs were permanently crossed by the time it was my turn! LOL

Carolyn Brown said...

Hywela Lyn: I told Husband that next time we go to California we will be flying. At least I know they all have bathrooms even if they are the size of a postage stamp!

Amy Morgan said...

Ah, Momma! I know that 'next exit' you and Daddy always promised to stop at when one of us kids had to go to the bathroom on those summer trips to PA was a good 103 miles away! *laugh*

Catherine Lee said...

Carolyn...I smiled at the thought that your conference attendance was your summer vacation. I'm a librarian. Many times have I counted the American Library Association Annual Conference as my summer vacation. It's always at the end of June or the beginning of July. AND, since librarians are a thrifty group, we summer in hot climes--Orlando, New Orleans, Dallas. Conversely, our mid-winter meeting, in January, tends to happen in Chicago, Boston, or Philadelphia! It's always a fun conference, but it's WORK. I come back from my conferences exhausted!
catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

Barbara E. said...

I loved your story Carolyn, too funny! You definitely have to plan ahead when driving. I agree, it's better on the bladder to fly. :D

Debby said...

Amazing lessons. I have learned to always check for TP. One of life's major necessities.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Karen H in NC said...

LOL...loved your post. So funny. And it's so hard to walk fast with your knees pressed tightly together! Now you know why there are twice as many women's restrooms than men's are concert and sports venues! Maybe a box of Depends should be packed before traveling across the desert!

kareninnc at gmail dot com