Sunburn & Books

Last weekend I participated in a “Literary Corner” at a local arts festival.  It was a chance to sell books, meet readers and network with other authors.  It’s always so great to see how other authors sell and a chance to learn some pointers.  It was also, as it turned out, a chance to sunburn my feet.  No one warned me that part of being an author would be having to be cognizant of my sunscreen and footwear choices.  So, if you are also in a summer sun situation, here are some sun burn tips.

  1. Act Fast to Cool It Down

Take a quick dip in a pool or other body of water.  But don’t stay in too long and get more burned!

  1. Moisturize While Skin Is Damp

Use a gentle, but non-oil based, moisturizing. Repeat to keep burned or peeling skin moist over the next few days.

  1. Decrease the Inflammation

At the first sign of sunburn, taking an anti-inflammatory drug , such as ibuprofen. Aloe vera may also soothe mild burns.

  1. Replenish Your Fluids

Burns draw fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body. It’s important to rehydrate by drinking extra liquids.

Selected Readings

This week I’m going to take part in a live reading event called Noir at the Bar.  It’s a fun event that focuses on crime tales and the forties pulp-fiction style.  I’m excited to participate, but as usual it throws me into a tizzy of what to read.  Short stories come in all shapes and sizes but reading for an audience is quite different.  Not every story translates well to an audience that’s slurping their way through cocktails and appetizers. I would, of course, love an audience to hang breathless on my every word, but even when an audience comes specifically to see an author it’s very hard to get that level of studiously quiet audience participation. 

Through the variety of readings that I have experienced I’ve developed the theory of “joke” short stories for readings.  Not that a reading has to be funny, but that it should be constructed like a joke.

There is the set-up. 

A man walks into a bar at the top of a rise building.  It’s a swanky place, but there’s a guy in a suit and glasses slumped at the bar.

The tale. 

I can’t believe this view,” says the man, looking out the window.

“Yeah, but you’ve got to look out for the cross-winds.  They’re killer,” says the drunk guy, brushing a curl of dark hair off his forehead.

“What are you talking about?” asks the man.

The drunk guy stumbles off his bar stool.  “Here I’ll show you.”  He opens the window and steps out, but the winds sweep in and he simply hovers in air and then steps back into the bar.

“Holy cow,” says the man.  “I can’t believe that.”

“Give it a try,” says the guy in glasses.

The pay-off.

The man steps off the building and plummets to the ground.  The bartender looks up from polishing the glasses as the drunk guy sits back down.  “Jeez, Superman, you are mean when you drink.”

The story has to have a pay-off or the audience sort of stares at you like cows in a field.  It doesn’t have to be a funny pay off, but there has to be some sort of solid finish that gives an audience a feeling of conclusion.  Usually, it’s some sort of twist that reveals the truth or that gives the audience the key to understanding the story. I’ll be reading a condensed version of a short story from my Shark Santoyo story.  Hopefully, Noir at the Bar enjoys what I’ve selected for them.  Wish me luck!