Language helps us to communicate, and our vocabularies are designed to both describe and differentiate. Hot, not cold. Bright, not dark. Smooth, not rough.
This morning, I got to wondering about the words inside and outside. Each one of these words speaks to the presence or absence of shelter. Same goes for indoors and outdoors. At what point did human beings start to make this distinction? We developed living outside. Even with finding natural shelter in caves, “outside” was the natural way of being. So would there even have been a word to describe it?
Perhaps there were words that indicated “beneath the sun,” “in the shade of clouds,” or “beneath the canopy of stars,” but that speaks more to the time of day or the weather than it does to the assumption of shelter.
So what was “outside” called before nature was differentiated from the shelter (and isolation from nature) of buildings?
These are the sorts of things I think about in the shower.
I’ve been working on “teaser text” for the upcoming release of The Black Pool, the third book in the Valhalla series.
I’m pasting this below to ask for your help:
* What intrigues you about this teaser?
* What parts could be left out and still maintain your interest?
* Does this teaser provide too much information, or not enough?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below! Thanks for your help.
THE MORRIGAN IS AWAKE
Sally is taking a break from magick—or trying to. Leaving her runes behind, she’s studying abroad in Ireland and doing her best to ignore her roommate’s reckless, witchy-wanna-be experiments.
But the presence of the Norse Moon Witch on Irish soil rouses the dark and dangerous Badbh—the slumbering Keeper of the Black Pool Cauldron and a sister goddess of The Morrigan—and Sally once again finds herself at the epicenter of supernatural doom.
LOYALTIES WILL BE TESTED
With the treaty between the Vanir and the Æsir hanging in the balance, Thor, Heimdall, and the Vanir twins Freyr and Freya travel to Dublin to face The Morrigan—and to contend with rampaging faeries, a shape-shifting pooka, shutterbug tourists, and marshmallow pixie trinkets exploding from leprechaun hammers.
The time has come for Freyr and Freya to choose between Odin’s Lodge and their own kin. And Thor is missing another fondue party.
THERE CAN BE NO PEACE WITHOUT BLOOD
As Æsir, Vanir, and mortal come to grips with the dark chaos around Dublin’s Black Pool, one of their own must make the ultimate sacrifice to prevent Paranormal World War.
Tonight, Authors in Pubs is back again at the Jack London Bar (beneath the Rialto Pool Room in downtown Portland).
Authors in Pubs offers a glimpse into Portland’s writing scene, with local authors, essayists, and poets taking the stage to read original works before a live audience. The event is held the first Monday of each month, and is free and open to the public.
Below is a video of my last April 2013 appearance at Authors in Pubs, when I read my essay, “Shades of the Shoah.” Tonight I’ll be keeping it light with an essay about playing street hockey for the first time: “Recovering Scaredy Cat.”
Some of you know I had a pretty big night earlier this week.
On Monday, I was the featured author at the monthly Authors in Pubs event. This was my eighth (I think) time participating in Authors in Pubs, but it was my first appearance as the headliner. If that wasn’t groovy enough, that’s the night that event organizer Don van Kirk arranged for KGW’s “Live @ 7″ program to do a segment from the Jack London Bar, where Authors in Pubs is held each month. Not only that, but when the TV crew asked Don for an author to be interviewed live on-air, he volunteered me.
Here’s the segment:
I’d assumed Don chose me simply because I happened to be the headliner that evening. Instead, he told me that he’d appreciated the testimonial I’d written for Authors in Pubs several months ago, and just wanted to return the favor. That was a very nice reminder that helping out someone else really can come back in a good way.
But before the television crew even arrived—and this may have actually been the bigger moment for me—a stranger came up to me in the bar just as I was arriving and getting settled at my table.
“I just have to tell you how much I loved your book!” she exclaimed. “And now the second one is out, too?”
She was asking me about Iduna’s Apples, the second volume in the Valhalla series—for which I still haven’t done much in the way of real marketing. I told her that the second book is available for Kindle only right now, but that it will be out in print soon.
“I wish you could sign my iPad!” she enthused, then added, “I’m buying and downloading the second book tomorrow. I can’t wait!”
For real. I didn’t know this woman. That level of unrestrained enthusiasm from a reader with no other connection to me truly rivaled—and possibly even surpassed—the live TV appearance and the “Featured Author” slot.
I write to tell stories. I write to entertain readers. Sometimes there’s a deeper lesson in those words, but mostly it’s about bringing joy and making people happy. So that one encounter really made my night and left me feeling that perhaps I’m actually onto something here.
And if you’re curious about how the reading went:
The conditions for recording video without a pro set-up in that venue are pretty challenging. I’ve made recordings of other author appearances, but I’ve never been happy with how they turned out. I’m still nervous and (I think) stilted in front of a live audience. But I’m just sucking it up, acknowledging that waiting around for “perfection” is an exercise in futility, and posting video anyway. (By the way, this marks my first-ever YouTube upload…)
In advance of the “Iduna’s Apples” (Valhalla volume 2) release in December, and in honor of my favorite holiday, “Valhalla” is free on Amazon 10/28 through 11/1. Like wacky urban fantasy? This book is for you!