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Weirdin Newsletter
My newsletter is sent out to the subscribers first and then "reprinted" here a couple of days later.
Newsletter #5 - April, 2001
First up, I have confirmation from Patrick Neilsen Hayden at Tor that The Onion Girl is scheduled for October of this year, just a few months after the August trade paperback edition of Forests of the Heart hits the bookshelves. John Jude Palencar, who did the cover the gorgeous cover for Forests, has done the cover art for The Onion Girl, but I haven't seen it yet. As soon as I get an image of the cover, I'll put up a page with the art, sample chapters, and the like. And of course I'll send you all a message to let you know when it's done.

I've finally seen David Mack's cover art for The Road to Lisdoonvarna and now you can, too. Go to:

There, the cover is linked to a slightly larger version. Isn't it gorgeous? The book is going to press this week and should be available shortly.

The Dreaming Place (1990) I now have dates for the Firebird reissues of some of my earlier novels. Mass market editions of The Dreaming Place and The Riddle of the Wren will be published in the fall of 2002 in conjunction with the hardcover publication of an as-yet unnamed short story collection. Mass market editions of Wolf Moon and The Harp of the Grey Rose will appear in the spring of 2004 with the mass market edition of the collection. Fans of John Jude Palencar's art (and I'm certainly one of them) will be happy to hear that he'll be doing the cover for the collection.

Firebird, by the way, is a new imprint edited by Sharyn November for Puffin Viking and, from what she's told me, they'll be bringing all sorts of wonderful books back into print, as well as publishing new ones.


Back in October 2000, MaryAnn and I accepted an invitation for this March to attend Aggiecon in College Station, TX, incorporating a signing at Book People in Austin into the trip. It wasn't until a few months later that we realized we would be arriving in Texas the week following the South by Southwest music trade fair in Austin (their slogan: a thousand bands in five days).

Well, by now you know that we're music junkies, so we decided to come a week earlier to take in SXSW. Unfortunately, most people book hotels for that weekend a year or so in advance. MaryAnn went on the Internet and started phoning around for accommodations, but no luck. Everything had long since been booked.

Enter our friend Jayme Blaschke. When we contacted him, he immediately set to work and before we knew it we had a place to stay with another author, Wendy Wheeler (check out her story "Skin So Green and Fair" in the Windling/Datlow anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon for a wonderful Haitian take on "Beauty and the Beast"). Now we'd never met Wendy, but it just goes to show you how genuinely friendly this field can be when someone will take in a pair of perfect strangers and show them such hospitality.

Whom did we see at SXSW? Oh, lots of great music. Highlights were Lucinda Williams, Kim Richey and Greg Trooper, all playing new material from upcoming releases; an evening of Slaid Cleaves, Bill Morrissey and Ray Wylie Hubbard; a free Los Super Seven concert at Waterloo Records (the best indy record store I've been in); another free concert with Kasey Chambers at Waterloo Park where Chambers was able to ignore the Australian contingent near us doing a loud shouting call-and-response of "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!" and "Oi, oi, oi!" between each song (Chambers is from Australia); Rosie Flores with her great mix of rockabilly and western swing; and then the best show of the weekend: Kevin Welch and the Danes, with Claudia Scott singing backup, which just cemented our feelings that he's one of the great American songwriter/performers.

We were also able to take in another concert the following week at Southwest Texas State University for the "Texas Music History Unplugged" show featuring Terri Hendrix, Tish Hinojosa, Ray Benson (from Asleep at the Wheel), Lloyd Maines (father of the Dixie Chicks' lead singer) and Joel Guzmán (a fabulous button accordion player).

Besides the music, we also enjoyed (too much, MaryAnn might say) all the Mexican food; El Mercado, a Mexican market in San Antonio where we got several beautiful little Zapotek rugs; driving through the hill country west of Austin with meadows full of Indian paintbrush and blue bonnets and some yellow flower I didn't recognize (remember, we left four feet of snow at home and hey, this is my first mention of the weather in this newsletter); lots and lots of grackles—go corbae, I'm sure the crow girls were hanging with them; the three sunny T-shirt days we got; and our visit with Elizabeth Moon (check out Remnant Population from Baen if you want to try a stand-alone book of hers).

Our visit with Elizabeth was also organized by Jayme. We'd never met her before, but she put us up for the night before we headed on to College Station, and took us for a long walk with her son Michael through this new land that she and her husband Richard have recently bought. My favourite part of it was what she calls the dry woods which are made up of lots and lots of prickly pear growing in amongst the stands of ash junipers, cedar elms with their cedar-ish bark and small green leaves, and other small trees. What a beautiful place. And Elizabeth is a fountain of knowledge, the kind of person you love to walk with because they can tell you a little bit about everything around you, but in a pleasant, informative manner (as opposed to folks who can bore you to death with how much they know).

The convention at College Station was the usual mix of ups and downs that such things can be. Some of the organizing wasn't the best it could be (I ended up missing a couple of panels I was supposed to be on because of how they were listed in the program book), but over all it was an enjoyable experience. For one thing, we got to hang with Jayme again, though when he showed up one night as this enormous Herne the Hunter and I didn't recognize him at all, I realized there are some serious dark waters in that man. We also enjoyed the far-too-short visits we got in with Joe and Karen Lansdale and Ardath Mayer; meeting Mark Finn (who has a really fun new book out called Gods New and Used) and the rest of the Clockwork Storybook gang where we spent far too long talking about monkeys and Elvis, coming to the conclusion that anything is better if you include one or the other, preferably both, in whatever you do (I guess you had to be there); the concert which MaryAnn and I always enjoy, and thanks to Lee Martindale's husband George for loaning us his guitar (and again, I'm sorry I botched up my restringing of it—note to self: always wear your glasses when restringing a guitar); and having dinner with some Tamson Housers (Carisa and Hans, and Ari and Rupert) and getting to enjoy the kid energy of Ari and Rupert's four kids.

After the convention we got to hang around in Austin a little more before the signing and concert at Book People which is this fabulous, huge bookstore that's as good for books as Waterloo Records is for music, and coincidentally, they're pretty much across the street from each other, so if you go to one, you can easily visit the other. And they're just down the street from Adventures in Crime and Space, a wonderful genre book store run by the inimitable Willie Siros. Make sure you visit it as well, if you're in the area.

We were treated well at the bookstore by Rick Klaw, Dara Wolkovich and the rest of the staff, and the concert was fun—lots of Fred songs and the like. Wendy Wheeler showed up and her friend Regan Brown (author of The Woman's Way: Celebrating Life After 40) lent us a nice Martin guitar which made the gig go all that much better. And afterwards Sara Felix (she used to work at Willie's store) took us out for Mexican soup which we've decided we like as much as Vietnamese soup, and we like Vietnamese soup a lot.

After that, it was pack, and repack, and off we went home. Through Chicago again (twice this trip) and all went as smoothly as can be.

* * *

As for music or book recommendations this time out, I can't resist two: We never got to see him while we were in Austin, but Wendy Wheeler turned us on to Bob Schneider. His Lonelyland is a killer CD.

And while I haven't read it yet, Gordon Van Gelder (my esteemed editor at The Magazine of F&SF) sent me a copy of Kathleen Alcalá's new book Treasures in Heaven which I know I'm going to love. Her two previous novels, Spirits of the Ordinary and The Flower in the Skull are among my all-time favourite books. She does for Mexican women what Barbara Kingsolver does for Appalachian women.

Newsletter #5.1 - May 3, 2001
MaryAnn and I are about to head off to Saint John, New Brunswick, where I'm speaking at a gathering of the Periodical Writers of Canada, but I had a few things I wanted to pass along before we left.

The Onion Girl (2001) First off, the cover art for The Onion Girl has arrived, so I've put up a page, including a link to some sample chapters. You can find it at:

My take on the cover? I think it's gorgeous. The woman doesn't look like anyone in the book, especially not Jilly, but it's a lovely piece of art and I'm delighted to have it for the cover. I just wish the woman could have been a little bit scruffier...

Secondly, ever since I mentioned that my story "The Sacred Fire" from Dreams Underfoot appeared as an episode of Showtime's The Hunger, I've been asked how folks can get a copy. Well, the series is now available on DVD at $12.99 each. "The Sacred Fire" is on the one titled The Hunger: Soul Snatchers and, if you feel like supporting Endicott Studio's charitable endeavors, you can order a copy from Amazon.com at the link above.

Naturally, it should also be available wherever you normally buy your movies.

Please note that this DVD that can only be played on Region 1 machines (Canada and the US). I haven't actually seen it myself, so I can't tell you what the rest of the material is like. They will be horror stories, however, so be warned if you don't go for that sort of thing. When I saw the initial broadcast of "The Sacred Fire" I particularly liked how they brought to life Crowsea and the parts of Newford bordering on the Tombs.

Lastly, Fred Eaglesmith's new CD is now available. It's a two CD live set called Ralph's Last Show: Live in Santa Cruz and features the four-piece acoustic line-up of the band before bassist/backing vocalist Ralph Schipper left and was replaced by three (!) other musicians. Is it good? Hey, I'm biased, so all I can say is I love it. You should be able to find it wherever you normally buy your music.
Newsletter #5.2 - May 7, 2001
Thanks for all the comments on The Onion Girl cover and sample chapters. I wish I could answer you all personally, but there just isn't enough time in a day.

I wanted to share a bit of one of the many emails, however, because it's made me look at the cover in a new way and now I'm much more satisfied with it, in terms of how it fits the story. I already loved it as a piece of art.

Anyway, before I go off on some long digression, our pal Rob Blake had this to say about the cover:
"Given the 'onion' simile, perhaps what we see on the cover is a layer to Jilly that we've never seen before. A Jilly with all the magic that makes her who she is portrayed as she would have been had Life not reached out and knocked her around a few times? Not so much the ragamuffin that we of the outer world see, or that Jilly tries to come off as, but the Jilly as she 'could have been' or she (perhaps) wishes to have been?"

The cover, by the way, is by John Jude Palencar—something I managed to omit from the previous newsletter.

* * *

MaryAnn and I enjoyed our whirlwind trip to Saint John, New Brunswick. A real high point of the weekend was our lodgings. The organizers of the conference put us up in a B&B on the Bay of Fundy called Inn on the Cove. A lovely place overlooking the water and from which we were able to get in one nice long hike along the coast on the Sunday morning/early afternoon after which we had to jump on a plane to come back home. Our hosts at the inn were Ross & Willa Mavis, who besides running an inn, are also gourmet cooks, so you know the breakfasts were good. You can see what the inn is like by visiting them on line at:
Newsletter #5.3 - May 9, 2001
Yes, it's already me again. But I have a couple of things to pass along.

The first is that John Jude Palencar was nominated for a Chesley Award for his cover for Forests of the Heart. Way to go, John, and congratulations! The Chesleys are presented by the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists—think of it as a Nebula for art.

The second is a word of warning. Cat Eldridge recently forwarded an ad he got off the ABE book search site. It seems that Mythos Books, LLC, Poplar Bluff, MO, U.S.A., are offering one of the 26 copy limited editions of Seven Wild Sisters for $1000.00 which they'll ship on publication. Considering that the book isn't even written yet, never mind published, this seems outrageous to me and I just hope that all of you who can afford such books will do a little research before shelling out any sort of big dollars to the secondary market. That price is over twice the selling price of the book on publication and frankly you'd be better off simply getting the regular edition and contacting Charles Vess directly about buying an original sketch—all of which would cost you far less. I don't know if Charles would be interested, but you can reach him and ask at:

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to rturner@arctera.com.
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