Happy new year, everyone!—so says your slacker correspondent. If I hadn't written this today, it could have
ended up as an early greeting for 2009 and that would have been really embarrassing.
I hope this finds you all happy, snug and cozy as we ride out another long winter. Here in Ottawa, we've broken
all records for snowfall and I'm glad we bought ourselves a small snowblower last November.
Besides the incessant snow removal, MaryAnn and I have been as busy as ever with our respective and mutual
endeavours. On the home front, we recently adopted a small puppy from our local Humane
Society. Johnny—mixed Maltese and Toy Poodle—has just turned six months old. This smiley
little dog has changed our lives quite a bit. He's exuberant to the point where he's pretty much
over-the-top when he meets people and dogs. A course of puppy school has helped somewhat and he's
certainly learned a few useful tricks, but we have a lot of work to do to teach him to tone it down
a bit more on the meet & greet front. The main thing is that we're in love with him and even Clare,
our adorable cat, is getting accustomed to our bouncy boy.
I like to call him Johnny Cash, the dog in black.
I've just finished the cover for What the Mouse Found (my collection of children's stories
due from Subterranean Press in the near future) and sent the whole package over to them, and my new
novel for Tor is almost done. MaryAnn will then take her red pen and do her edit before I go over
it all one more time and turn it in.
I had a successful tour for Little (Grrl) Lost and enjoyed meeting all the readers who came
out last fall. MaryAnn joined me for the last part in Seattle and we had an especially fantastic
time playing a concert at Hugo House, where people made us feel like rock stars.
I have a new young adult novella called Dingo coming out from Firebird (Penguin)
in March. My uber-cool editor, Sharyn November, sent us a few advance proofs and it's quite
a gorgeous cover. (In fact the girl on the cover looks a lot like Sharyn.)
Blackstone Audiobooks released Memory and Dream, and they've done a good job of
it. It's available in several formats.
I think Moonheart may be next on their list.
I know I usually rave about the great new music I've been listening to, but actually, for the
past few months I've mostly been listening to all this surf & hot rod stuff, 60's girl
groups, 30's & 40's hillbilly and country, and punk/garage music from the mid-seventies. Which,
from the mail I receive on the music I usually talk about, probably wouldn't appeal to very
many of you. But let me have a quick scroll through my iPod's playlist...
If you're a Fred Eaglesmith fan, you'll probably enjoy the Steeldrivers. They're kind of
more like acoustic bluegrassy Fred, than rocking Fred, and I don't know much about them beyond
the fact that their self-titled CD (maybe their only CD?) is terrific.
I've also been enjoying Sia's Some People Have Real Problems. She's an Australian
singer who has since moved to the States. If you want a taste of what she sounds like, point your browser to:
Roots singer-songwriter Jason Collett finally has a new CD out. It's called Here's to Being
Here and it was totally worth the wait. Catch this guy live if you can. He has a bit of a
Bob Schneider feel, but he's certainly his own man.
I love Shelby Lynne's Just a Little Lovin'—her album of Dusty Springfield
covers—but given what I said above about the girl group sound, maybe it's obvious that I
would. Still, Lynne does her own take on them, going for a kind of a jazzy, roots version.
The same—obviousness, I mean—goes for HorrorPops new Kiss Kiss Kill Kill, but
while they still have that great driving rockabilly beat, hey, at least it's a 2008 release,
not some piece of obscure 60's vinyl.
Maybe I should leave it at that, except to mention that Martin Hayes & Dennis Cahill finally
have a new album out. It's called Welcome Here Again, but since I just got it today,
I haven't listened to it yet. I had Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour on for
most of the day. But I'm really looking forward to it.
And while I have your ear, here are a couple of my fav books from the past year: Strays
by Ron Koertge (Candlewick Press) and Porcupine by Meg Tilly (Tundra Books). They're a
pair of perfect books that I loved all the way through, but especially the way each of them ended.
MaryAnn is back at the Ottawa Antique Market with a different booth for her vintage collection. It's
half the size of the previous one, so she finds it far more manageable and less time
consuming. Looks like this vintage thing isn't quite out of her system yet.
MaryAnn has put one of the Dingo proofs on eBay, and she's also auctioning a copy
of Yellow Dog—one of the few Christmas chapbooks that we had left over from
the holidays. Those auctions are at:
Until again, be well and take care of each other.