This was Alonthiel, or as close to the world author R.L. Haas brought to life in her debut novel "Portals of Water and Wine" as we non-magic folk are likely to get.
It was a place full of people who love each other, of food and flowers and stories and song and wine – oh, so much wine.
It was the book release party for "Portals" that Mary Beth of Pink-Briefcase and I co-hosted earlier this month for Rachel at my Chicago apartment.
My husband and I have hosted album release parties before, but never a book release party: This is the kind of magic, though, with which I long to fill our lives and home. And so when Rachel announced the release date, I offered to throw the party. And so many people expressed their desire to be there from halfway across the country, we decided to try our hands at live-streaming the reading and question-and-answer part. We ran into a few technical difficulties (the wine may have had something to do with that), but we laughed it off and tried again and I tried to keep up with all the questions coming in for Rachel online, my smartphone buzzing to let me know more had arrived even as I was reading the last one to her.
I asked what she hoped we – as normal, unmagical readers – would take from the book, and this is what she said:
"The point I want people to take away from this book is I don't care if you can shoot fire out of your hands. I don't care if you've gone through the worst shit in your life. There's relationships, and that's the magic we all have. ... Alonthiel is everywhere. It doesn't have to be magic and forest and vines. It's everywhere, and you don't have to be a faerie to find it."
Watch a recording of the live stream here:
Mary Beth also shared the recipes she made for the party, here. (The party's signature cocktail was a Portals Prosecco Sparkler: a glass of prosecco or sparkling grape juice with an ounce of cranberry juice, a slice of lime and a couple of cranberries. I had rinsed the cranberries, tossed them in sugar and put them in the freezer overnight.)
And Rachel shared the experience of having her book in the wild, here.
You now can order "Portals" in paperback or e-book (only $2.99!) on Amazon, and add it to your "want to read" list on Goodreads. You also can continue submitting your questions to Rachel using the hashtag #POWAW on social media.
For more posts on this blog about "Portals of Water and Wine," click here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Photo: Joel Miller.
Photo: Joel Miller.