I recently moved to Portland, OR, so I'm still getting the lay of the land. One day, I did what every red-blooded American does and went to the mall. Dun, dun, dunnn. To my surprise, I ended up walking past an Amazon store. That's right, Amazon, as in the corporate internet giant that sells everything from books to toilet paper, utilizing speedy delivery to appease our desire for instant gratification.
I walked past without going in. But I read a review about the stores (the one I walked past is only the third brick-and-mortar Amazon store to open nationwide), and it stuck with me. This past week I had some time to kill and happened to be near the mall. So I walked over, and I found myself in the Amazon store.
I liked it. There, I said it. I liked it. For one thing, it's laid out neatly. All of the books are face out so you see nothing but covers, just like looking at the selection on the website. Each book has a placard beneath it with a review and how many stars it has on Amazon. The people who work there are extremely helpful and friendly. As an introvert, I usually dread salespeople approaching me, but there was no hard sale at the store, only enthusiastic people ready to help however they could, even if that meant leaving you alone to browse.
They carried a lot of books you'd find in any other bookstore, but they also had different books. I found the selection intriguing, and I really, really like how all of the books face out. It makes it so much easier to browse.
If you're a Prime member, you get the online price in the store. I bought a cookbook that was marked $29.99. It's a lovely cookbook with lots of recipes and brilliant color photos on every page. It's totally worth $29.99. My cost? Under fourteen dollars. And, I used the Amazon app to pay for it. It was a pleasant shopping experience and an easy check out. It combined the ease of online shopping with the tactile sensation of handling books.
The big question is, will I forgo local mega independent store Powell's for Amazon? Not likely. Powell's is still my favorite. In fact, the day after visiting Amazon's brick-and-mortar store, I went to Powell's to purge my guilty conscience. Will I forgo Barnes & Noble for Amazon? Again, not likely. But will I stop in the store again any time I'm at the mall? Most likely, yes.
It's a good thing I'm not a mall rat.
The third and final book in my Shards series, Shattered Fates, is coming out May 23rd! I'm simultaneously excited to bring you this new story about Malia, Chanwa, and the Jeguduns and sad to see the series end. Not only do I have a cover to show you, but the other two books have received shiny new covers as well. While I like all of them, I like the cover of Shattered Fates the best. The first two portray Malia, and the third portrays Chanwa, who has really come into her own and has grown into a character I adore.
The magic barrier protecting the Taakwa from their enemies, the Maddion, is gone. Malia, who led the Taakwa against the Maddion in the Dragon War, must convince the magical being, the changer, to repair the barrier before the Maddion invade to take revenge on her people and the winged Jeguduns who also call the valley home, even if it means reversing the healing the changer wrought for her.
Chanwa, the wife of the Maddion leader, uses the disorder created by the changer to lead a coup against her husband in a desperate attempt to ensure she and the other Maddion women are treated as equals. Her life, and the future of every Maddion woman, depends on her success.
Both women know the only way to succeed is to come together in an unlikely alliance.
Available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and direct from the publisher, World Weaver Press.
I have a blog over on Blogger, but I decided to move my blog to my website to keep everything in one spot, nice and neat. And I haven't blogged in months. I've been busy moving across country, settling into a new job, settling my kid into a new school, and starting up school of my own. I'm working toward my Doctorate. I'm still writing, even if it's only a few lines a day.
Here are my observations since moving to Portland, OR from Albuquerque, NM:
1. Holy cow, there's a lot of green. So much green. So many trees. Moss growing on the sidewalks. Gardens sprouting everywhere. If there was an apocalypse, the forest would consume Portland within years (maybe months), leaving no trace behind. Humanity, vanished. But it sure is pretty.
2. There are so many people, and so much traffic. I visited Portland over ten years ago, and it was a quiet place. Not this madhouse of traffic and humanity. I know, I'm part of the problem moving here. But hey, at least I'm not a dreaded Californian!
3. People can be slobs in Albuquerque. I've seen numerous people toss trash out their car window or just leave trash sitting out. But there's more trash here. While I haven't seen anyone toss trash out their window (yet), it's coming from somewhere. Maybe the wind blows it out of trash cans sometimes, but mostly I think people are worse slobs here, which is too bad because all the green makes this place damned gorgeous.
4. People are dog crazy here. There are dogs everywhere, and pet stores galore. We've taken our dog, Frankie, to a Corgi meet up and met some really nice people that way. And you can't beat watching a bunch of corgis trying to herd one another.
5. People really are weird here. I fit in, finally!
6. Portland has a reputation for good food. It's well deserved. My favorite activity during the summer and fall was going to the local farmer's market and eating. I finally had Ethiopian food, which I've been dying to try. I've been to a Japanese bakery. My next food goal is to head to the large food truck pod downtown and start on one end, then work my way to the other. The food is the reason why so many people here run and bike. You have to exercise to enjoy all of this food.
7. Sometimes people talk about the Seattle Freeze and how it carries down a bit to Portland. People are polite here. They're not as friendly to strangers. I don't get as many smiles and waves on my runs as I did in Albuquerque, but I have found that if I just talk to someone about something they feel passionate about (biking, food, books, their kids), then they're warm and fuzzy and it's all good. So it takes a bit more effort to reach out to people here, which is challenging for an introvert like me, but that's okay.
8. It's true, it rains here often. But everything is green for a reason, ya know. And it never bothered me until this past week when it actually rained a lot, and quite heavily. That was the only time I felt like a drowned rat since moving here.
This year--my first full year in Oregon--I'll have a book come out, and I'm currently working on another book. The going is slow because much of my spare time and brain power is devoted to my coursework, but my writing goal for the year was to write new words every day, even if it was only one sentence. So far, I'm pleased to say, I've kept up with that.
I write fantasy, horror, and science fiction. I attended the Odyssey Writing Workshop in 2007, and I belong to an online writing community called Codex. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm addicted to coffee and chocolate.