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May 2011

Tunes for a Monday Morning

Fado this morning: Portuguese songs of longing and loss, fate and destiny. Above, the incomparable Mariza performs my favorite of her songs,"Chuva" (by Jorge Fernando), in concert in Lisbon. Below, Christina Branco peforms "Trago Fado Nos Sentidos."

Tilly and I are listening to a lot of fado lately. I can't imagine why....

I'm still on deadline this week, down to the very last bits of work involved in putting After together (with Ellen Datlow) before it's handed over to its publisher (Hyperion)--whilst simultaneously juggling other books and projects in their various stages of completion. I've edited more than 30 short story anthologies in the past 30 years (I'm not ancient, I just started very young), but the work is never routine. Each book is unique and presents its own special set of creative challenges. 

I'll be posting here, but in a limited fashion until the book is done, done, done. Wish us luck!

Recommended Reading:

Window view

Some very quick recommendations for you this week, while I'm still in deadline mode...

Austin Kleon demonstrates How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Ever Told Me)  on his art & writing blog. If you read nothing else this week, read this. It's absolutely dead on.

Midori Snyder discusses Folklore and Three Generations of War in her review of Tea Obreht's The Tiger's Wife, over on In the Labyrinth. The Tiger's Wife is a book I also highly recommend.

Charles Simic reflects on a Country Without Libraries in The New York Review of Books. Readers at The Dish respond.

Holly Black discusses aspirational thinking, and "customizing" ones writing life, on her LJ page. I'd be curious to know what other people have to say about this topic. (Another "Movable Feast" in the making...?)

Theodora Goss discusses reading protocals in relation to a Thurber story and Macbeth. Hilarious.

Rex survives another solo week over on John Barleycorn (although he's sounding a little frayed around the edges).

Carrie Osborne (in Somerset, England) shows lovely work inspired by the Book of Kells on her Windsongs and Wordhoards blog. Ruthie Reddon (in Scotland) has been inspired by Bristol's Gothic splendor on the 5 Precious Things blog.

Do you know the Faery Folklorist page, out of Northumberland? It's a charming blog dedicated to tracking down faery sites and lore. You also find faery lore and literature on Katherine Langrish's Seven Miles of Steel Thistles, as well as a good post on water lore. (Want more on water folklore? An old article of mine on the subject is here.)

On the Bordertown front: I especially loved Tim Pratt's article on Border Crossings ( and Ellen Kushner's reminiscences about our early Bordertown days (Whatever), which made me a little teary-eyed . . . but there have been lots of other Bordertown items of interest, including poetry and other good things on Cabinet des Fées. The Bordertown blog has all the links and is regularly updated.

Video recommendations:

Check out Hasta La Muerte, a visually-rich little film inspired by Day of the Dead imagery, which was made by the niece of my friend Peter Brough (a harp-maker here in our village).

And for a real treat, go here to listen to Mary Oliver read her gorgeous poem "Mornings at Blackwater." Of all living poets, Oliver is my hands-down favorite, and a constant source of inspiration.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Updated to add a bit of sad news: The great surrealist painter/writer Leonora Carrington has died, at age 94. She led an incredible (and far from easy) life, created an absolutely astonishing body of work, and was BFF with one of my other all-time-favorite painters, Remedios Varo (who was the inspiration behind the character Anna Navarro in my novel The Wood Wife). I always hoped I would meet Carrington some day...if only so that I could tell her how much her work has meant to me. I know she did well in making it to 94 (and painting right up to the end), but I'm feeling her loss keenly all the same. She rocked my world.


Leonora Carrington Self-portait 1938                      Leonora, 1938


Carrington2_1621381c                                     Leonora, 2010

The Stare

The Stare

I've got competing deadlines staring me in the face right now, including a book due in to its publisher next week (an anthology of YA dystopian fiction called After, co-edited with my partner-in-crime, Ellen Datlow). I've also got a dog who is missing her papa and needing good long walks to distract her from pining. Since I can't clone myself to make time for everything, this blog will take a back seat until the deadline crunch is past. I'll pop in if I can, but I won't be posting regularly again until after June 1st. And speaking of books:

Btown-clipart-firstbeer Today is the Official Publication Day for Welcome to Bordertown!!! Which means not only are the books now in the shops, but also that ebook editions are merrily zipping to Kindles and Nooks and Sony Readers even as I type this.

I hereby raise a glass of Farrel Din's finest to the amazing Ellen Kushner & Holly Black, to all the writers and artists who contributed to the book, to our excellent editor Mallory Loehr and the good folks at Random House (including Jessica Shoffel, Ellice Lee, and Chelsea Eberly), to agents extraordinaire Barry Goldblatt & Christopher Schelling, to web designer Theo Black and web-art-creator Tara O'Shea, to Delia Sherman and Midori Snyder and Tor Books (for generous assistance behind the scenes), to Howard (who convinced me to return to the Border), to the kind souls who donated art, crafts, and books to the Bordertown Sweepstakes [open until May 31, if you haven't entered it already], to the film crew and kids who made the video, and to everyone else who helped to re-open the Way to Bordertown.  (You know who you are.)

There will be Bordertown stories, poems, articles, interviews, and other fun things popping up all over the web this week, and in the weeks ahead. So keep an eye on the Bordertown blog, where Ellen, Holly, and I are doing our best to keep track of it all (despite the fact that Ellen is off doing literary things in France, and Holly is off doing literary things in Sweden, and I'm here in England with a moping dog, while my husband's off doing theatrical things in Portugal. When did life get


And please, everyone, we could use your help to pass the word about the Bordertown book trailer video, which is now up on YouTube. We want to get as many hits and comments as we can, with the goal of getting the book itself into the hands of every kid out there who needs stories like these...but might not know it yet....

By the way, if you purchase Welcome to Bordertown from by following this link, the Endicott Studio gets a small percentage of the sale -- and that money is donated to a charity for homeless, abused, and at-risk children. You'll find more information here.

The art above, from Welcome to Bordertown, is by Dylan Meconis.

Tunes for a Monday Morning

This week's tunes come from two fantastic fiddle players -- one performing in a stripped down, traditional manner, and one in a more contemporary fashion, with a full band behind her.

Above: Caoimhín Ó Raghallaig, raised in Dublin and inspired by the great fiddle players of Ireland, performs a soulful solo set at The Back Loft in Dublin's City Centre.

Below: Natalie MacMaster, raised in the Cape Breton music tradition in rural Novia Scotia, Canada, performs a foot-stomping "Volcanic Jig." (The cellist, Wendy Solomon, is amazing too. She also plays with Bowfire, and a cello quartet called Lush.)