We're still living in the land of ice and snow, with spring but a distant gleam in nature's eye. (Someone mentioned to me this week that Canadians are inordinately preoccupied with the weather. I guess it's true, since I seem to open each of my messages to you with some weatherly comment.)|
But while our neighbours shovel snow, MaryAnn and I are about to head off for a couple of weeks in Texas. The official reasons for the trip are to attend Aggiecon in College Station (March 22-25) and to do a concert/signing at Book People in Austin (March 27). Hopefully we'll see a number of you there.
The unofficial reason for the trip is to get a break from the winter (yes, there's that weather talk again), explore a bit more of Texas than we've been able to in the past, and take in a few of the acts performing at South by Southwest in Austin. The latter is a music trade fair with, to quote their promo material, "1000 bands in 5 days." It's going to be hard to pick and choose who to see. I mean, besides the excellent people we'll never have heard of before, SXSW will be featuring performances by such favorites of ours as Kasey Chambers, Slaid Cleaves, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Douglas, Rosie Flores, Kristen Hersh, Los Super Seven, Kim Richey, Greg Trooper, Gillian Welch, Kevin Welch, Lucinda Williams…take a breath…not to mention some Canadians like Sarah Harmer, Oh Susanna, Luther Wright & the Wrongs…did I mention there are 1000 acts performing?
And if that's not enough music, we've also learned that Terri Hendrix is playing a special one-off gig at the Evans Auditorium in San Marcos (along with Tish Hinojosa and some other artists), so we'll finally get to see her play, and pick up the new live CD while we're at it.
The big news is that Forests of the Heart is on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards. Bettina, Ellie, Hunter, and the other characters have all told me how pleased they were when they heard that.
For those of you waiting for the softcover, Tor will be publishing a trade paperback edition for the North American market in August, while Orion in the UK will be publishing simultaneous hardcover/trade paperback editions in July.
Since contracts are in hand, if not signed yet, I feel I can mention these recent sales:
The lovely and talented Sharyn November at Firebird has bought a children's picture book called A Circle of Cats. I've already turned in the words and Charles Vess will be doing the illustrations.
The equally lovely and talented (though in an entirely different way) Patrick Nielsen-Hayden at Tor has picked up The Wild Wood as a forthcoming Orb trade paperback title. Sadly, I doubt it will feature any of Brian Froud's art from the original edition, but I'm sure Patrick and Irene Gallo (Tor's art director) will make the book look quiet attractive.
Lastly, this isn't completely new news, but the vintage mystery novel (meaning I wrote it awhile ago) that Subterranean Press is publishing this year finally has a title. We were calling it Swann>, but we've now settled on The Road to Lisdoonvarna which, oddly enough, is the title I was considering back when I was first writing it. The real news, however, is that David Mack of Kabuki fame will be doing the cover.
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Debbie Cottrell, the moderator for the de Lint newsgroup on ONEList, recently told me that the sign-up information on my site was out-of-date (it's fixed now). The group is now on Yahoo. If you were already signed up, I believe you've been automatically been switched to the new list. If you want to sign up, you can do so at the following url:
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CDs getting a lot of play these days include the All the Pretty Horses soundtrack, written by Marty Stuart, Kristin Wilkinson and Larry Paxton. Stuart's mandolin and guitar work are in great form and he turns in a gorgeous vocal on one of the few songs, "Far Away." The album ranges from a Tex-Mex flavour to an Appalachian one.
In Celtic music I've been enjoying accordion player John Whelan's new CD, Celtic Fire. My introduction to his music was through a wonderful duet album with Eileen Ivers that came out years ago and is still a favourite of mine, and I've been keeping up with him (and Ivers) ever since. This new release is up to his usual high standards—lots of great tunes, with a stellar cast of supporting musicians.
Eliza Carthy's Angels & Cigarettes isn't as adventurous as her Red Rice set from 1998, but the songs are all self-penned and strong, and the performances grow on you the more you play the CD.
Kim Robertson recently sent me her Dance to Your Shadow CD, a lovely collection of tunes and songs. For a touchstone, think Loreena McKennitt.
But the highlight for me is an advance copy of the Ani DiFranco double CD revelling/reckoning
that was lent to me by a friend. It has a street date of April 10th, so mark that on your calendar. The 1st CD has a jazzy flavour featuring some great trumpet work by Shane Endsley. The 2nd CD is folkier. DiFranco's voice is fine form on both CDs, and the lyrics, as one might expect, are poetic and provocative—often both in the same song.
That's it for this time out. To all of you, be kind to one another and keep your strength.