Lore of Yore: Weather & Ships

While researching what to call a small ship in the 1820s in western Scotland, I came across a series of interesting terms.

So here’s a quiz. The terms dinghy, currach (or curragh), and coracle. Match them to the proper picture:







Well, what did you guess? I’ll put the answer after the first commenter! (hehehe)

I was also misremembering the famous weather gauge that sailors used. Was it red skies at night, sailors’ delight? Or some other rhyme that means the opposite? (Kind of like that -beer-before-liquor one…also easy to confuse)

Isn’t it sad to think that all sorts of things used to be ‘common knowledge’ that we have since lost? I grew up on the coast of California, but didn’t know a dinghy from a dory from a pram! (I <3 Wikipedia!)

And I love the sound of coracle, don’t you?


Images via Wikipedia and ArchDavis Designs



Introvert’s Guide to the Book Launch

This post is for the Writers Out There who are Introverts. I feel your pain. Writing is AWESOME, it gives you WINGS, you can’t be defeated–wait, you want me to do what?

stage fright face

When it comes time to market a book that you’ve written, you must be ready to utilize all available channels to publicize it yourself. The owner of the bookshop where I recently launched used the phrase, ‘Be Relentless.’

But that terrifies us introverts. It can even terrorize extroverts, if they are shaky on self-confidence, since it involves SO MUCH VULNERABILITY.

‘Be Relentless’ in telling all your friends, your relations, your acquaintances, the cousins of those acquaintances, and the pets of those cousins.

“I’m launching a book! It’s great! You need to read it!”

Well, fine. How can the Introvert Writer do this without getting an ulcer or collapsing from nervous exhaustion the day before the event? Here are the tools that I depended on in my recent book launch, and things that I learned from going through it for the first time.

Key Takeaways

The most important task, and probably the hardest, is to tell EVERYONE, and remain bubbly when you do it. Not moaning about the fatigue. Not self-deprecating and dismissive. BUBBLY.

maya angelou quote

Make people catch your infectious excitement. Remind them of the DATE, TIME, & LOCATION multiple times. Be not ashamed.

The second most important tool is using a variety of methods to communicate with your would-be awesome. Not just email. Not just posters on telephone poles. Not just 25 Tweets in a day. ALL OF THE ABOVE, people!

It may be driving YOU crazy how much you’re talking about it, but the people Out There are only seeing a slice, and won’t remember the DATE, TIME, & LOCATION unless you repeat it several times! (See what I did there?)

Third, prepare for your worst fears.

Do a couple visualization exercises. First, what would make you feel awesome at the conclusion of the event? Being photographed? Signing books? Making 50 sales? Having 20 people sign up for your mailing list? Awesome.

Now visualize what could go horribly wrong at the event that would make you want to run and hide. Sound system go dead? Trip over a folding chair and flash the audience? Have one person come, only to turn around when she realizes you’re not offering food? I know, sad.

So, make a checklist! (Introverts who are Organizers will LOVE this one!)

journal mantra breathe

  • Make notes for subjects to talk about, and any to avoid (how you got into writing being from hatred of a grade school teacher may not warm the audience’s heart), and important mentions (I have a BLOG/ MAILING LIST/etc.)
  • Plan a Box for the Day Of: materials (clipboard), snacks, outfit (no heels to trip you), a countdown, extra books, extra batteries, whatever will make you comfortable dealing with what you saw in your visualizations.

Other Helpful Hints


For goodness’ sake, thank the audience for coming and the organizer for hosting!

And remember: Be Relentless.

(It’s only temporary)



Images via FocusHR, ClaireMWriter, and my own

The Magic Satchel Trick

hermione and her magic handbag - if only!

I was trying to describe a trick recently, whereby someone produces an object from a place where it could not possibly have been stowed. I couldn’t find a very good way of describing it (obviously), so I went online to see if it had a known term that would make the task easier.

Wouldn’t you know, this ‘trick’ has quite a history. I immediately thought of the example I grew up with: Mary Poppins with her carpetbag that produces not only a hatstand, but a large framed mirror, a tall potted plant, and a beshaded floor lamp.

mary poppins and lamp from carpetbag

More recently, the Harry Potter series has shown us a literal example with Hermione’s beaded handbag in The Deathly Hallows Part 1, where she has “all the essentials packed for days” in anticipation of needing to go flee the baddies (see first picture above). This Undetectable Extension charm (see wikipedia for other fascinating spells invented by J.K. Rowling) causes a container’s capacity to be increased, without changing the object’s external appearance, or its weight.

I love this idea! It could be a pretty cheap trick if used to explain the big plot hole, but if used sparingly, how cool is that? Besides, the magic satchel has its origins in a medieval welsh epic and greek mythology, a fact which wikipedia divulges only after categorizing the thing as a video game action. Um, excuse me?

Which came first?

That’s right.

ceridwen by christopher williams