Watching ATLA, Cold Fire the First Chapter, & Comfort Food

Later this week, I will begin a series of posts in which I describe my reactions to watching Avatar: The Last Airbender (the animated series). I haven’t seen the series before, my children were in high school when it came out, and we didn’t have cable anyway, so Nickelodeon was inaccessible to us at the time regardless. My goal is to post once a week, late on Wednesday night my time, and I hope interested parties will join in a discussion. I was put up to this by a person on Twitter. He knows who he is.

The first post will cover episodes 1 and 2, since together they comprise a single introductory story. Join me!


Orbit Books has posted the first chapter of COLD FIRE and you can find it HERE.


I’ve contacted the winners of the Cold Fire giveaway but I won’t announce until I’ve heard back from all of them.

I really want to thank everyone who entered, because I have to say that reading your descriptions of comfort food was some of the best reading I’ve done this year. Also, it made me hungry and contented at the same time, no small feat.

Of course no discussion of comfort food is complete without a photo, this one courtesy of Melanie Ujimori.

The Queen Lili’uokalani Race & our koa canoe, Kupa’a

The outrigger canoe race held in honor of the birthday of Queen Lili’uokalani runs on Labor Day Weekend. This year was the 40th Queen’s race and had a record number of entrants: 137 women’s crews and 142 men’s crews. 40% of the entering crews were international crews, from places as far afield as Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, Japan, and the UK.

Here is the beach before the start, with a very few of the six-seat canoes rigged and ready to go. Note the difference between the koa (wood) canoes and the colorful (fiberglass) canoes.

There are actually three days worth of various races, but the main race is on Saturday. To quote the Honolulu Star-Advertiser article (which I can’t link to because it is behind a firewall):

The main race goes between two historic landmarks: Kamakahonu Bay, King Kamehameha’s capital for Hawaii in 1812-1819; and Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Natural Park, 18 miles away. Six-man crews may either paddle the race “iron” with six paddlers for the entire distance, or nine paddlers, who change out form an accompanying escort boat.

As an aside, if you ever visit the Big Island, I strongly recommend you visit Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Park (aka The Place of Refuge), because it is stunningly beautiful, historically significant, and with enough information to give the visitor a basic sense of what it is and why it matters in Hawaiian history and indeed in the history of humankind.

Na wahine o Manu o Ke Kai (the women of the canoe club Manu o Ke Kai) took two nine-paddler (change)  crews, one Masters 40 (all paddlers over 40) and one Senior Masters 50 (all paddlers over 50). Our Masters 40 crew won their division; we came in third in ours. Two Manu men’s crews, Open and Grand Masters (over 60) also participated as “iron”- Our Men’s Open crew had a phenomenal finish, coming in 10th overall out of 142 men’s crews. Also, most crews in this race go iron. We go changes because we just like the water too much; the water off the Kona coast is clear, warm, and lovely.

This is not a hard race if you’re doing changes. The water (waves, currents, winds) is not usually challenging, the distance is not long compared to most races with changes (like the Molokai’i-Oahu race, at 42 miles), and the weather is usually cooperative.

What made it particularly special for our crew this year was our opportunity to paddle the race in a koa canoe. Again, I’ll quote from the Star-Advertiser article:

The race has a high number of traditional koa canoes attending, because the generally calm waters of the Kona Coast are safe for the prized treasures.

Here is Kupa’a (strength, steadfast), in the water during the race with Karen, Gloria, Yolie, Jane, Julie, and Faith (Cindy, Manu, & I are in the escort boat). [Hmm: our timing is a little off, that happens sometimes, but usually we’re totally in sync.]

Most canoes these days are made of fiberglass. They’re “light” (350-400 pounds) and have a certain way of gliding on the waves. Koa canoes are different; you have to stroke them differently (our race coach said, “You have to caress her to get her going.”)

Here is a view of Kupa’a before the race, before she went in the water. You can see the beautiful grain and the personality of the canoe. This photo is taken from the front of the canoe.

Cold Fire Giveaway: I had never in my life been too stunned to eat.

My author’s copies of the UK/Aus/NZ edition of COLD FIRE arrived today. It’s visually a striking book, and I feel I can safely say that since I had nothing to do with the illustration or design (although I did help write the back cover copy).

In celebration I want to do another giveaway, this time for a  SIGNED copy of the book (it can be personalized if you so desire but doesn’t need to be).

The theme of this contest relates to the Cold Fire sentence I quote in the title of this post.

I had never in my life been too stunned to eat.

Cat spends a lot of COLD MAGIC thinking about food and wishing she had food and finding food to eat and relishing the food she does have to eat.

Food plays an important role in COLD FIRE as well, as the people who have read it already know. Yes, the photo below is of a papaya tree. You know why, and the rest of you (those who read the book) will find out.

Continue reading

How to acquire a signed (by me!) copy of the US edition of COLD FIRE

Because I live in an out of the way place, I do very few signings.

I plan to attend World Fantasy Convention in San Diego the last weekend of October (27 – 30) this year, but other than that (and any potential signing I might do in the area then) I am as of now only doing a single signing for the release of COLD FIRE.

Blake Charlton (SPELLBOUND) and I will be reading and signing at Powells Bookstore (the Cedar Hills/Beaverton branch) on September 20 at 7 pm.

Although the official release date for COLD FIRE is Sept 26, I have been assured by my publisher that there will be pre-release copies available at the signing.

If you want a signed copy of COLD FIRE but can’t make it to the signing, you can pre-order a signed copy at Powells via this link.

I should note that I have written a bonus chapter that fits within the storyline of COLD FIRE but which is not in the published book because it is not written from Cat’s point of view and because it contains more explicit sexual content than I normally write (fair warning).

Copies pre-ordered at Powells before the signing will receive, with the signed book, a copy of the bonus chapter (in the form of a very short pamphlet that can be tucked inside the pages of the book in the appropriate spot). If you order because of reading about it in this post, best to note that you would like (or do not want) the bonus chapter.

If you can make it to the signing, Blake and I would love to see you there.

And, yes, those of you who are actually paying attention will see this signing flagged at least 3 more times before Sept 20, so my apologies in advance.