Eating Authors: Daniel Potter

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Daniel Potter

As I’ve mentioned previously, last November I foolishly participated in four different conferences. The first two ran back-to-back, so I started the month with nine straight days of travel, professional, and social stuff. The second of these was 20Booksto50K® Vegas, which was focused less on the craft of writing and more on the art of selling what you’d written. It was intense with 800 Indie authors who ranged from folks who’d never published a book to writers earning seven-figure incomes.

I mention this because it’s the most recent time for running into Daniel Potter, this week’s EATING AUTHORS guest. I’ve been around as a fan and author for decades, so at most conventions I know lots and lots of people. But this was my first Indie Author event, and I doubt there were two dozen people present who knew me and vice versa. So stumbling over Daniel — who I’d met before at Nebula conferences and Worldcons — was an oasis in a desert of unfamiliar faces.

By day, Dan uses the powers of his doctorate to save the world via vascular biology (or at least, that’s how I remember his explaining it to me, but I may be fudging a bit). You may know him for his furry trilogy Freelance Familiars. On Thursday, he goes from cougars to dragons with the release of Dragon’s Price, volume one of a new fantasy series.

LMS: Welcome, Daniel. What’s your most memorable meal?

DP: There is nothing like six legged winged terrors to forever fix a meal in one’s memories. But that’s getting a head of myself, so lets set the scene. My wife, Amanda, and I were driving home after a long weekend celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary in Eureka, California. We’d done some hiking in among the redwoods, but mostly puttered around the town exploring and eating. One of the many finds that weekend was a bagel place that sold smoked salmon by the tub full. We had a great time and planned to do a bit meandering on our way back along the five-hour journey home. So we packed the cooler with fresh bagels, creme cheese and a tub of very delicious smelling smoked salmon.

Off Leash

As lunchtime approached, we had mostly appreciated the beauty of the forests from within the car and decided that we needed a change. We drove quite far out of our way to a state or national park that, according to the internet, had a killer view for a picnic spot. I wish I remembered the name of it, but I do remember the way the roads banked around mountains as we approached. Like driving on the back of a snake. I recall lots of wood and railings as I dragged the cooler up a flight of stairs to the overlook. The view proved to the be worth the drive. Green hills cradled lakes that reflected the clear blue sky; the sort of spot that makes you sigh contentedly. We appreciated the view for the half moment it required and then settled on the important thing. LUNCH!

The overlook had one picnic table, a very long one that was occupied by small group of tourists on one end. We setup camp on the other end with their somewhat grudging permission. As we spread out our food, we noticed a wasp buzzing about a bit. Big yellow and black fella who was making the other group nervous. I hoped he’d leave us alone. We popped open the tub of smoked salmon and the bugger was on it like, well, a very angry hornet; circling around the tub with that menacing buzz that only wasps can pull off. I try to shoo him away but he zipped around and put on a Dirty Harry act except I definitely know that stinger’s loaded.

Dragon's Price

So I’m like fine, fine. It’s one wasp. But before I could cobble together an adequate swatting implement, he landed on the salmon, daring me to try something funny. He had my number. I couldn’t squish him without ruining the main component of our lunch. Resigned we watched the little yellow and black bandit rip off a chunk of fish about the same size as he was and fly off with it, clearly straining under the weight. I had hoped that would be the end of the mugging, but apparently that victory put blood in the water and three more of the little bastards showed up not thirty seconds later. Hoping an offering would let us eat our lunch in piece, I set a bit of the salmon on the lid of the tub and put it on the railing. That held them off, but they still buzzed us as if protesting that I had not slathered the salty meat with cream cheese. It’s never enough for the black and yellow buggers. As more of them joined the party, me and my wife sounded the retreat. I finished my bagel sandwich with a wonderful view of the steering wheel of our Honda fit.

And that made for quite a memorable meal. Want your own? Just add wasps.

Thanks, Dan. This sounds like a stressful meal, but let’s look at the silver lining. Some things transcend religion. It’s nice to see Wasps enjoying lox and bagels and a little schmear.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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