Happy spring everyone.
May flowers will be a welcome sight around here after the endless April showers. Winter in Ottawa lasted far longer than usual and we had record rainfall last month. But given the terrible disasters that have befallen so many people in recent times, we have no cause for complaint. We are blessed beyond measure.
My latest book is a trade paperback of a Jilly novel, Promises to Keep.
Some of you will already have the Sub Press edition, but many will have missed it since it was a high-priced specialty press hardcover. Tachyon Publications did a beautiful job on this edition and it's available in all the usual places. Not as an e-book yet, though. We'll get to that after Tachyon has had a fair chance to sell the print version. Here's their blurb:
Jilly Coppercorn, one of de Lint's beloved characters, is faced with a life-changing choice. With the help of a mentor and an anonymous benefactor, Jilly has overcome abuse, addiction, and even a stint in juvie. Though she still struggles to stay clean and make ends meet, Jilly feels safe and loved by her newly-formed family, including her loyal best friend Geordie, the lovely artist Sophie Etoile, and her caseworker, the angel of Grasso Street.
Then Jilly is given a tempting opportunity riding in from the past on an oversized motorcycle. Her best friend Donna from the bad old days, now transformed into a tattooed bass-player in a rockabilly band, takes Jilly into a beautiful, mysterious city. It is a place full of wonderful opportunities and delights that at first seems perfect.
But increasingly loud whispers arising from the city's canals are reminding Jilly that she still has unfinished business in Newford.
Yes it is. A new anthology is due to be published by Random House this month. It's called Welcome to Bordertown and was edited by Ellen Kushner & Holly Black, with Terri Windling consulting. Lots of the old-timers are back (me, Ellen, Terri, Emma Bull, Will Shetterly) and a whole bunch of writers who grew up reading the original series. My contribution is a long story called "A Tangle of Green Men" that starts off outside of Santo del Vado Viejo (the setting of The Mystery of Grace and The Painted Boy), goes through a few faerie festivals before it ends up in Bordertown. To eagle-eyed readers of The Painted Boy: yes, the Berlin Jay meets is the same one from my early Bordertown stories.
As a writer it was fun to return to that setting, but as a reader it's been maybe more fun as I've really been enjoying everyone's contributions.
I'm busier than ever at the keyboard these days. Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on a much-expanded version of A Circle of Cats. I suspect it needs a new title as I've changed it drastically, making it four or five times longer than the original picture book (I won't know for sure how much longer until I finish this rewrite). Little Brown has commissioned 50 additional paintings from Charles Vess for this new version, so it's sure to be a gorgeous book. We don't have a publishing date as of yet, but I'll keep you posted.
Next up I'll be completing my final draft of a new young adult novel called Under My Skin. This is book one of a three-book series called The Wildlings, for Penguin Canada. Here's a brief sense as to the series premise (without spoilers):
Something has been happening to young people in Santa Feliz. No one knows why, but it happens suddenly: the transformation from person to wild animal and back again. Week after week, there's news of another teen changing shape, casting a cloud of fear and suspicion over the city. The federal government has even stepped in, running public service announcements calling for all affected youth to turn themselves in for "orientation and training." Rumour has it that the federal government may be interested in Wildlings for other reasons—and not only the government, but possibly big business and organized crime as well. Suspected Wildlings are being snatched right off the street or out of their homes.
Under My Skin will be published next March. I'll let you know when we've settled on other publishers beyond Canada.
Last November/December MaryAnn and I finally recorded some of our original music at
Brock Zeman's Mud Music studio. Those sessions resulted in two CDs: a full album of mine called
Old Blue Truck and a four-song EP called Crow Girls by MaryAnn. Cover art was generously
We were backed by some of the finest musicians in the Ottawa area and Brock did a stellar job getting the live-off-the-floor sound that we were seeking.
Brock is a fine musician and songwriter in his own right and his skills seem limitless. We gave him a
small amount of video footage that we'd recorded in Tucson, plus other footage provided by our friend Stu Jenks,
taken at Horeshoe Canyon in Utah. From this, Brock put together a cool video of my song "Cherokee Girl," which
even features a cameo of the Cherokee Girl herself, Terri Windling. At the time of this writing, the video has
had over 3,000 viewings. You can see the video here,
plus listen to other songs from our records, and read lyrics
We've had nothing but positive feedback from people who've bought the CDs. Here are just a few comments:
I've always appreciated the consistent reverence your books hold toward art, and especially music--and your CDs entirely live up to that high standard. Thank you for finally recording this!
While this is the first time I've had the pleasure of hearing you sing, I am not surprised that it is so very, very good. Your music and your writing flow in equal measure from your heart and spirit. Well done! And encore!
Got the CDs in the mail last night! I love, love, love them! Since I haven't ever heard your singing voices it's soooo nice to be surrounded by them! I was blasting Crow Girls on my way to work this morning!!! So glad you finally got to put these together. Blessings to you and all your endeavors! No one should be without these in their CD libraries!!!!! And in their car/trucks/iPods...
For those of you close to our home turf, our CD release party will be held at 4:00 P.M. on Sunday, May 29th at the Black Sheep Inn in nearby Wakefield, Quebec. We're looking forward to celebrating and playing a couple of sets accompanied by Greg T. Brown on fiddle, Chris Breitner on bass and Joel Hayward on guitar. Hope to see a bunch of you there!
This year's Tucson Festival of Books—our fav' bookish event—was more lively and fun than ever. I really do have the best readers ever and plenty of them showed up for my events in Tucson. For those of you came, thanks so much for attending. It's always a privilege to meet you.
With 450 authors and performers on site and a jam-packed schedule, there was never a dull moment. The program is vast and friendly volunteers are everywhere helping a crowd of some 100,000 happy adults and children celebrate books. The adult program covers every aspect of literature imaginable and the kids' program is buzzing with fun activities. To top it all off, the entire event is free. For a peek at the atmosphere, there's a video here:
After the festival MaryAnn and I squeezed in a few extra days at Endicott West, a rustic abode created by Terri Windling, Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner on the outskirts of Tucson. Filled with desert magic, Endicott West has given many writers and artists a perfect retreat in which to work and/or play. We recharged our winter-weary spirits there and loved every minute.
Our next journey will be to Mount Pisgah in Eugene, Oregon for Faerieworlds Summer Solstice Festival, June 17th-19th. This is a huge festival full of music, fey folk and magical beings of every persuasion. Brian and Wendy Froud will be there, as will Wicked Lovely author Melissa Marr. The music line-up is fabulous, with some of the world's most legendary Celtic acts, including Kila, Solas and Delhi 2 Dublin. We highly recommend that you come along. Bring your faerie garb or you'll feel out of place. They are even running a contest at the website for free passes.
This will be our last-ever book sale. Weather permitting, it'll be held on June 11th (rain date June 12th). We'll be putting out vast quantities of review books and ARCs that get sent to me throughout the year. All are in mint condition and many are not even published yet. Bargains will be had.
For those of you on Facebook, MaryAnn and I have a page where we share news and comment on whatever's going on in our lives.
You can also find me on Twitter and MySpace, or just wait for another of these infrequent updates.