Happy spring everyone (and happy fall to our friends down under). We're glad that the snow is gone and the
trees are leafing out in all the fresh greens. Here's Johnny sitting among the trilliums in our local woods,
where a carpet of white and red trilliums covers the forest floor.
In book news, we finally released the first of a series of oft-requested story collections featuring readers' favourite characters. We started with Newford Stories: Crow Girls, featuring none other than Maida and Zia. Thanks to artist Tara Larsen Chang, who offered us the use of a painting that she had done using her nieces as models for her own concept of crow girls. It's a lovely piece of art and we're honoured to have it on the cover of the collection, which is now available in both print form and as an ebook.
We also published a couple of my novellas as ebooks: The Wishing Well, and Riding Shotgun, which some of you may already have in print form since they've appeared in collections (but never in digital form). We're grateful to Kel Flowers for her lovely cover of The Wishing Well, and to our wonderful intern, Alex Rose, who helped us this spring on many things and created the cool cover for Riding Shotgun.
In other ebook news, I've recently signed on directly with Kobo here in Canada, which means that finally my Wildings books are available in e-pub format throughout the world, and all of my other Triskell Press digital titles are now available directly through the Kobo store.
Where we're going:
MaryAnn and I are busy during this merry month of May. We've been putting the final touches on workshops for a couple of writers' festivals—one in Wakefield Quebec this Saturday, and another next weekend in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. The workshop for both venues is:
Creative Spirit: How to stay motivated, on track, and get to the finish
While in Salmon Arm we're also giving high school students' a workshop on writing a fantasy, but it's not open to the general public. As of this writing, there are still spaces in the other two. Here are links:
Right after we get back home from BC, we're off to sell various wares at the famous Great Glebe Garage Sale, where I'll have a lot of vinyl LPs and MaryAnn will bring her usual assortment of vintage hats, jewellery, and so on. She's on a spring-cleaning mission so I think she's also planning on bringing a large selection of fantasy and SF books (not my own books). It'll be like a mini version of our old yard sale. If you're local and planning to hit the Glebe on Saturday, May 23rd, we'll be setting up early at 172 Powell Avenue between Lyon and Percy St.
Saturday June 6th, we'll be at a new literary festival in Ottawa called Prose in the Park, which promises to be a lot of fun.
What I'm reading:
I don't think I've read a prose superhero story since the days of the first Wild Cards anthologies, but have found myself thoroughly enjoying Seanan McGuire's Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots, mostly because of how she manages to lampoon all the conventions of the superhero genre while still telling a story that's both surprising and moving as well as being funny.
I'm also quite taken with Eva Darrows' The Awesome, which subverts the whole urban fantasy/monster-hunter genre to great effect. A warning, however. While this is YA, it's got more profanity than most adult books I see. It's not gratuitous, mind you, as it perfectly captures the difficult relationship between our hero Maggie and the monster-hunter to whom she's apprenticed—who also happens to be her mother. And if that seems puzzling, you'll just have to read it to find out what I mean.
What I'm listening to:
The Willis Clan. I picked up two of their albums, which MaryAnn and I listened to for the first time on a recent road trip. Chapter One: Roots introduced us to a really good Celtic band with a great selection of tunes and imaginative arrangements. The band lives in Nashville, but the album really has the lift that a good Celtic band needs in its music. When that album ended, Chapter Two: Boots came on. Same band, totally different music. This time it was an authentic blend of country/bluegrass/Americana and is, in its own way, just as good as the Celtic album.
You probably know how much I like the Tucson-based band Calexico, and if you've been following my posts on social media you'll know how much I've been anticipating their new album Edge of the Sun. I'm here to tell you now that it's everything I hoped it would be. I've listened to it dozens of times since it came out and have yet to tire of a single track. If you're thinking of getting it, pick up the deluxe edition. The half-dozen extra tracks are easily worth a couple more dollars.
And to end on a weird note, my favourite hillbilly rap band Gangstagrass has a new album out called American Music that features their usual mix of bluegrass instruments and rap beats with the same great storytelling and delivery skills as their earlier albums. If you've ever watched the TV show Justified, that's Gangstagrass playing the theme music.
That's it for now. MaryAnn and I are looking forward to spending most of the summer at our cottage in Quebec (despite the pesky bugs). We hope that all of you have a great summer (or winter, as the case may be). We remain grateful for your support of our publishing ventures, which keeps us paying the bills while I finish this novel that I'm working on. I know, it's been slow going—don't ask—I can't explain it other than to quote Candace Jane Dorsey:
"One doesn't learn how to write novels, one learns how to write the novel one is writing, and one has to learn a new process for every novel."
Let's hope I figure it out. Meanwhile, thanks for your patience.