Tawna and the Nordic Wine

June 8, 2010 § 20 Comments

Photo taken by Claudine BirgyTawna Fenkse has expressed many times over that she does not mind people making fun of her. She encourages it even. I decided to take her up on this open invitation in my series of author roasts. After reading many hilarious blog posts and tweets about the relationship between Tawna and her husband, Pythagoras, I think their dynamic is pretty similar to the one my husband and I share. Tawna has even told me she thought our husbands would get along “swimmingly.”

 During one of my family’s daily trips from Florida to Oregon, we decided to test this theory and see how everyone would get along. It is no secret in our twitter circle that Tawna is scared silly of children. If I ever did anything to make Tawna mad, I’d probably throw a baby at her and run away. I wouldn’t do this on our first meeting. I’d build up some sort of comfort level between Tawna and me before I started chucking children at her.

 On our initial visit, the women could drink wine, the men could do whatever they were going to do “swimmingly,” and the children could play with toys on “their side of the room.”

 Problem. Tawna and Pythagoras were out of wine. Since we wanted to see as much of the Oregon landscape as possible, we all loaded in our family mini-van and headed to the wine store. What’s better than a big group outing? Nothing. Am I right?

 Tawna and I sat in the front while our husbands held down the fort in the back. After the third round of “It’s a Small World After All,” Tawna began to twitch and paw at the door handle. I patted her arm from the driver’s seat.

 “Are these hives normal? Why do I feel like there is caramel everywhere?”

 “Children are sticky,” I agreed, “but we bathed them just last week.”

 “Is it hot in here to you?” Her hands gripped the armrests. “There’s the wine store! Pull over.”

 I pulled to a stop, left the car running, and Tawna ran out crying. I checked on the scene in the back. Pythagoras rubbed his temples with his eyes closed while my oldest hit him in the head with a nerf ball. I turned to my husband. “We’ll be right back.” Can’t be sure, but I think I heard him start to weep after I closed the door.

 Tawna sat on a park bench and hummed to herself while rocking back and forth.

 “It’s over now. Where is this wine shop?”

 “I don’t want to go back in the van. Hold me.”

 “Let’s just take this one step at a time. We’ll get wine and go home. It’ll be okay.” I went to help her up, but something in the distance caught my eye. “That building wasn’t there before.”

 Tawna nodded. “You’re right. It’s like it just appeared out of thin air.”

 Next to the wine shop was a store made of stone. A sign with medieval lettering hung over the door and read, “Weaponry.”

 “It’s a magic weapon shop,” I said.

 Tawna started walking toward it. “We should go in.”

 “Yes. Yes, we should.”

 We opened the door and found a bearded man in a Nordic hat behind a glass gun counter. He was adorned in fine leather pants and a bearskin vest.

 Tawna leaned in close. “He’s hairy.”

 “Welcome, my good ladies. What need you of weaponry? Can I interest you in a Nordic gun?”

 She leaned in closer. “His voice is boomy.  I didn’t know Vikings had guns.”

 “We’re actually looking for some wine,” I told our new friend.

 “Ale? We have ale here. Let me fetch me wench. WENCH,” he shouted in no general direction. A woman with large bosoms appeared. “I’ve fetched me wench.” He looked at her. “They want ale.”

 She said nothing, but led us past various racks and displays of spears, swords, axes, knives, post cards, and cross bows. The woman knelt behind a counter and pulled out a bottle ancient-looking Cabernet.

“Will this do?” She looked down at her feet when she spoke to us.

 “It’ll be great. It’s not every day we buy Viking wine from a magic weapons shop.” Tawna took the bottle.

 We began to head toward the front when a wrack of whips caught my eye. “Huh. These are fancy.” I touched the braided leather cords. “I’ve never seen a real live whip before.”

 Tawna studied the whips with me. “But you’ve seen spears, swords, axes, knives, post cards, and cross bows?”

 I nodded. “Haven’t you?”

 Before Tawna could answer, the wench’s face appeared on the other side of the whip display. Her fingers parted the curtain of hanging leather so she could see us and spoke in a whisper. “You don’t want to buy your whips here. They break.” She smiled and nodded twice toward her Nordic Lord behind the counter. Tawna and I stared at her. Slowly, she let the whips fall back into place and disappeared. We bought the wine and left. I opened the doors to the van to check on the husbands and children while Tawna studied our Nordic wine.

 Pythagoras still sat with his eyes closed. “I spy with my little eye something black.”

 “Your pants?” asked my daughter.


 “Poop?” guessed the youngest.


 “This nerf ball?” My oldest hit him in the head with it again.

 I shut the door and pulled out the wine opener I always keep in my purse for emergencies. “Tawna, why don’t you sit down on that park bench and have a glass of wine before we get going again.”


Tawna Fenske is represented by Michelle Wolfson, writes offbeat romantic comedies, and quirky mysteries. Her debut novel will be published by Sourcebooks, Inc. in August 2011 with two more romantic comedies to follow. Her author photo was taken by Claudine Birgy.

I’d like to apologize to Tawna, Pythagoras, my husband, my children, Vikings, the state of Oregon, and wenches everywhere. If you are an author and want me to make fun of you, please ask. You won’t know what a roast feels like if you don’t try. Do it. Peer pressure. But stay in school. Say nope to dope.

§ 20 Responses to Tawna and the Nordic Wine

  • Simon says:

    I’m mainly amused by the fact the Viking said “good ladies.” He was channeling me! What fun!

    Plus, I was just recently lamenting the lack of tavern wenches in the Philadelphia area. I do hope that magic weaponry shop swings by our neck of the woods sometime soon. My axe needs sharpened. I don’t grind it enough.

  • Hmmm…I’m slightly jealous as there are never any hairy vikings around with serving wenches to hand me a bottle of ale when kids have driven me to the edge of sanity.

  • Bill Cameron says:

    I like how the story has a woman with large bosoms, because I am a predictable 14-year-old boy. I also like how post cards are in the same category as spears, swords, axes, knives, and cross bows.

  • Tawna Fenske says:

    Words fail me.

    They obviously don’t fail you. Hey, wait – can I borrow some?

    Thanks for the tender roasting!


  • CKHB says:

    My top two reasons for wanting to be published: so I can be interviewed by Mur Lafferty on her “I Should Be Writing” podcast, and so I can have my photo roasted by Harley May.

    Not in that order.

  • Bwahahahaaaa! Tawna plus kids equal … tee-hee! Now I know how I’m going to get my rightful ARC of DAY ONE!

  • Patty says:

    Lord, you guys seem to know just when I need a good belly laugh. (Not while at work!) I’m with Carrie… I wanna be pubbed so I can be roasted, too!

  • danicaavet says:

    Soundsn like y’all had fun. I definitely want to be roasted…you know, when I’m published…or at least can see publication at the far end of the tunnel.

  • Hilariousness.

    Though it sounds like you guys should maybe have picked up a protective Viking helmet for Pythagoras.

  • Bring ’em to my house next time. Five kids in farm country and no one around to hear her screams but us. It’ll be hilarious!

  • Sean says:

    Thank you for calling me “the Nordic Lord” instead of putting my name. Much less embarrassing that way.

  • harleymay says:

    Simon, our Nordic Lord friend seemed to channel you. How do you look in a Viking hat?
    Rhonda, what is sanity?
    Bill, I will put busty wenches in all of my stories for you to enjoy.
    Tawna, two words: PICTURE BOOK.
    Carrie, your roast will be epic. EPIC I SAY. I’m already mentaling it.
    Patty, it’ll be a touch more difficult to roast you. You’re just too sweet, but I will think of something involving ice cream sundays.
    danicaavet, Welcome to the blog! Sit down. Set a spell. Have some tea.
    Elizabeth, Tawna told me Pythag already has a Nordic helmet.
    Caitlin, the farm would be fun!
    Sean, I want my money back for this whip. It broke.

  • Linda G. says:

    Ha! Perfect. Thanks for a much-needed laugh. 🙂

  • LMAO–oh I love your roasts, Harley. They’re just delicious. Feel free to invite me to one anytime. 😀

  • Morgan Ives says:

    For legal purposes, I am hereby giving you retroactive permission for borrowing my niece and nephews to portray your children. Also, the nerf ball. I’m pretty sure it’s the same one they used on me last week.

  • Dude, I want what you’re drinking. Seriously. I’m impressed. Please come to my house immediately. I’m closer than Oregon. Cuz I feel the need to fetch me wench to give you some ale. Tawna can come to, but give her some Benadryl first. My children are sticky. You bring the cheese.

  • harleymay says:

    Linda, let me know when you’re ready. I’d drink pretty heavily before hand if I were you.
    Mireyah, thank you! You always have a seat waiting.
    Morgan, the names and locations will be changed for your protection. That nerf ball is really getting around.
    Carol, We are on our way. Get more cheese.

  • Kelly Breakey says:

    What a great posting. I feel as if I know Tawna and her husband even better now. Still laughing over here.

  • Harley says:

    Thank you, Kelly and Dr. Goose.

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