Coincidental Meetings: Stranger Than Fiction

This past Saturday, my grands and I took my husband on a Dessert Tour in downtown Greenville as part of his birthday present. A young couple were also part of the tour.

Before we discovered the truth!

While we ate our first desserts, the tour guide told us stories about the Poinsett Hotel, the starting point for the tour. After she finished, I turned to the woman on my left and introduced my family. We learned their names were Brook and Jake, and they were celebrating Brook's birthday.

As we chatted, the typical question came up: what do you do?

Here's how that played out.

Me: I'm an author and corporate trainer.

Brook and Jake grinned at each other.

Jake: I do book cover design. What do you write?

Me: Fantasy

Their grins grew bigger.

Jake: I do fantasy and science fiction.

Me: Really?

We talked about his artwork a bit.


Me: Whose covers have you done?

Jake: (provided a long list including Shannon Mayer which impressed me quite a bit)

Jake: Who's your publisher?

Me: Chris Kennedy

Jake: (eyebrows rising) I've done some of his covers. Which books?

Me: It's The Watchers series with the giraffes.

Jake: YOU'RE BARBARA! I'm Jake Clark! I did your covers!

We'd never met since everything in publishing can be done on the internet these days. I'd spoken to him through Facebook Messenger once or twice, but that was it. I, actually, thought he lived in the Midwest, but he lives a few hours north of us.

Off and on throughout the tour, we talked about art, books, and science fiction/fantasy cons. I had the honor of thanking him for my beautiful covers in person and sharing that my granddaughter's first response on seeing them was: "She looks like me." My protagonist is biracial, and so is she, so this one, quiet statement gladdened my heart more than you can imagine. In case you're wondering, I didn't create a biraciaI character because of my granddaughter. It just happened.

For those who have told me how much you love the covers, I shared that with him. Creatives desperately need to know their work is appreciated! You have no idea how encouraging that can be.

There you have it: on a random Saturday in July, I booked a tour that introduced me to someone who already had an impact on my life. For some unknown reason, we both booked a dessert tour for our spouses' birthdays and managed to be on the same tour. Coincidence? Fate? How wild is that?

It really is a small, small world.

FYI, if you're looking for a great cover artist, Jake's business is J Caleb Design.

Also, if you're looking for something fun to do in Greenville, check out Foothill Foodie Tours. Our tour guide Fay provided lots of interesting information and entertainment and was just as amazed as we were about the chance meeting during this tour. They offer several tour options, so if you don't feel like eating multiple desserts in the afternoon, you can try a different one. The desserts were yummy, and they offer To Go options if you're feeling a sugar coma coming on.

At the end of the tour.

Who knows who you'll meet! 

And, here's the book covers in case you have never seen them.


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