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My newsletter is sent out to the subscribers first and then "reprinted" here a couple of days later.
Newsletter #30 - December 31, 2008
Hello all.

Well, here we are at the end of a long and weird year, though I don't suppose it's longer than any other. It just feels that way. Like many of you, we've felt the crunch of the economic downturn. We've had to tighten our belts and couldn't even afford to do a chapbook this year, which is kind of sad, since it would have been the 30th. But there's always next year.

At least the Americans got an election right. Here in Canada, we can't really be blamed since we didn't have any viable choice in the first place.

But the year turns, hope springs eternal, and one has to believe that things will get better for all of us in the coming months.

BOOKS

I've spent the year working on a new young adult novel that doesn't have a contract or a title as of yet. I've also been rewriting an old high fantasy called Eyes Like Leaves, which I think of as the fourth in the Early Stories series that's been coming out through Subterranean Press, preparing a fifth collection of Newford stories for Tor The Mystery of Grace (2009) The Mystery of Grace (2009) called Muse and Reverie (thanks to MaryAnn for the title), and working on some shorter pieces, but none of these will see print for awhile, because that's how the publishing business works. After I turn something in, it's still a year or so before it actually hits the shelves.

But I do have a new adult novel coming out in March. This is The Mystery of Grace, set in a city in the Southwest. I really lucked out with the cover. Actually, the book sort of has two covers. The advance reading copy had a gorgeous John Palencar painting on it (at left).

But as much as I loved it artistically, it was really too dark for the book and happily, not only did Tor agree, but the ever-busy Mr. Palencar found time in his hectic schedule to do a second painting for the book. The cover at right is what you'll see when it hits the stands.

We got a couple more advance reading copies of the book, so MaryAnn's just put another one on eBay. It can be found at: shop.ebay.com/merchant/reclectica_W0QQ_dmdZ1QQ_in_kwZ1QQ_ipgZ50QQ_sopZ12

Medicine Road (2004) Coming in June from Tachyon Publications is a trade paperback edition of Medicine Road. The cover is a different colour from the original edition, but it still contains all of Charles Vess' gorgeous art, and it will be available at a much more affordable price than has been the case on the collector's market.

Woods and Waters Wild (2009) The third collection in the Early Stories series, Woods & Waters Wild, is now out. I never got to see galleys of it, but the final copies arrived just before Christmas and it looks very nice. Gail Cross of Desert Isle Designs who designs most of Subterranean Press' books (if not all of them) has done her usual wonderful job. I can't wait to see what she does with the upcoming Eyes Like Leaves and the reprint collector's edition of The Onion Girl.

Also out now is the audio version of Moonheart from Blackstone Audio (www.blackstoneaudio.com). These are the same folks who did such a wonderful job with Memory & Dream. I haven't listened all the way through to either one of them (I already know how the stories end), but I've dipped into various chapters and really like what I've heard. Forthcoming titles include Dreams Underfoot and The Onion Girl.

ANDREW VACHSS

Some of you might be familiar with the work of Andrew Vachss. I know the books are a little too dark and hard-boiled for some of you, but I love them, especially the long running Burke series. That series has now come to an end with the publication of the eighteenth book, Another Life (now available from Pantheon).

The book was the perfect lift I needed at the end of a trying year. I'm not going to tell you anything more about it except to let you know that he ties up a lot of loose ends from the series as a whole, and the few he doesn't—well, that's why we have imaginations. We can work it out for ourselves.

But I can tell you that Andrew being Andrew, is doing something different to promote the book. That shouldn't come as any surprise to those of you who know him; just consider the fabulous blues "soundtrack" that came out to accompany another of the Burke books a few years ago.

This time he's duplicating one of his book store events, except he's doing it on-line. Let me quote a bit from his publicist: "Anyone who has ever had a question they wanted to ask Andrew Vachss has an unprecedented opportunity to do so, on Wednesday, January 14. He'll answer as many question as he can, live, on camera, during this totally free, three-hour webcast. More info available at www.vachss.com."

It's going to be a terrific event, a way of allowing everyone to participate where before his book tours would only take him to a few big cities. And this is the book tour, so do point your browser there on January 14th. Even if you're not a reader of his books, you'll find Andrew to be a charismatic and fascinating speaker on every sort of subject.

MaryAnn's news

MaryAnn wants to simplify her life and rediscover some creative arts that she left behind, and explore others that she's never tried, so she wrapped up the year by closing her vintage clothing & jewelry booth at the Antique Market. She'll continue her vintage thing on a smaller scale, doing shows and private sales. If you're local, and want to hear about those, just drop her a note at mah@reclectica.com, and she'll be happy to add you to her mailing list. If you're not local, but want to hear about eBay listings, just send her a message to that effect.

In the past several months, MaryAnn's helped out some artsy young women with their cool e-zine called The Dinner Jacket. www.thedinnerjacket.com

You can read an interview with MaryAnn in the September issue, and see her clothing in various issues. I especially love the stilt pictures from November. Because of dastardly technical glitches, December's issue isn't up on the main site yet, but you can still take a peek at: viewer.zmags.com/showmag.php?magid=127308&preview=1&_x=1#/page0/

*       *       *

Johnny Cash, the dog in black I started writing this one afternoon in 2008, but didn't finish it until late at night in 2009. So I can't say see you next year anymore. But at least it's been less than a month since the last newsletter (which was misnumbered #28).

MaryAnn and I wish each and every one of you the very best in 2009. Take care of one another and stay safe.

cheers

Charles

 
Newsletter #30.1 - January 13, 2009
Hello all.

I know, I know. It hasn't even been two weeks and here I am again, clogging up your in-box. But I just wanted to remind you about Andrew Vachss' virtual book store event tomorrow night (Wednesday, Jan 14th). You can get more information about it at www.vachss.com. I'll look forward to "seeing" you there.

On another note, it's just been confirmed that MaryAnn and I will be attending the Tucson Festival of Books in March courtesy of the festival and Tor Books. Let's see. Tucson in March, when the desert's full of wildflowers, the days are warm and sunny and there's still a couple of feet of snow back home in Ottawa... what's not to like? This is the first year they're doing it and there'll be over 300 authors attending. You can get more info at tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/ on March 14–15, 2009 on the University of Arizona campus. I'll be doing some bookish things (presentation, panel) and it looks like MaryAnn and I will be doing a concert on the Sunday. Sure wish we could bring along some of our cohorts from the pub to sit in with us...

Ruby's Imagine At the moment I'm reading Ruby's Imagine by Kim Antieau (Houghton Mifflin). Kim's one of my favourite writers, period. I don't know what it is about her books, because she doesn't have this one voice—they're always very different, but I totally inhabit the stories while I'm reading them and hear the characters talking in my head while I'm walking the dog, or making the dinner, of drifting off to sleep at night. The voice in Ruby's Imagine is whimsical and utterly enchanting, which will probably help, because the book's about New Orleans and Katrina and set in one of the poorer wards of the city. I'm still in a part of the book where the storm has yet to hit and I imagine that soon things will get a little darker. But this is the woman who wrote Mercy, Unbound, a charming novel about a teenager with anorexia, which in no one way lessened the serious of the subject matter, so I know I'm in good hands.

Church of the Old Mermaids Kim's also got a small press book out called Church of the Old Mermaids, which I read awhile ago but it's now on my stack to reread. I don't have the time to reread much, but I make an exception for her, because I love to be in the places her books take me. And I love, love, love this book. You can get it through amazon.com at www.amazon.com/Church-Old-Mermaids-Kim-Antieau/dp/1440452245.

The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett I didn't get around to talking about music last time out, so let me just mention a new find: Rob Lutes. He's a Montreal singer songwriter with four recordings under his belt, and each one of them's a gem. These are story songs, sung in a voice with a bit of an edge with a mostly acoustic backing. Great production. If you decide to try him, start with the latest, Truth & Fiction. You can find out more at www.roblutes.com. And if you go there, tell me... isn't there a bit of a Fred Eaglesmith thing happening with that photo on the front page?

I'm still listening to tons of vinyl. These days it's a lot of The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett with titles like "El Hombre" and "Bordertown Bandido." Cheesy stuff, but I can't seem to stop playing it. Those trumpets. That lead guitar. Those fifty others strumming in unison (ot at least that's where I assume they are). The covers of these albums are great, too. Here's one:

MaryAnn has another copy of my new book up on eBay: shop.ebay.com/merchant/reclectica_W0QQ_dmdZ1QQ_in_kwZ1QQ_ipgZ50QQ_sopZ12

cheers

Charles

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