Dear Charles de Lint…

Welcome to the May 29th stop in the Author Fan Letter Blog Crawl that Kassa organized to celebrate the authors who have been important to us! And make sure you visit Kris’n’Good Books tomorrow so you can read her author letter.

Dear Charles de Lint,

Back in the mid-90s, I discovered your short story collection Dreams Underfoot, which was my introduction not only to your writing and to the fantastical, fictional Canadian city of Newford that you created, but also to the world of urban fantasy. I was both enchanted and transported by the stories in that book, and I picked up everything you’d written that I could get my hands on.

You’ve written many more books since then, but the Newford books remain my favorites. I love that the city is as much a character as any other, making this some of the most truly urban fantasy I’ve read. I love how you skillfully weave European and Native American mythology together, so effectively that when I’ve finished reading one of your books, I’m more than half-convinced I can see hints of the magical out of the corner of my eye. I love how real your characters feel, and how effortlessly you have me caring and worrying about them. I love that the main characters from one book will show up as background characters in other books. I love that you see both the darkness and the light in people, yet your books leave me hopeful.

Often, when I read your books, I find myself jotting down sentences that particularly move me. Here are just a few that I’ve saved over the years:

Look inside yourself for the answers – you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you. Everybody else is only guessing. – Trader

Magic’s never what you expect it to be, but it’s often what you need. – Moonlight and Vines

Tattoos…are the stories in your heart, written on your skin. – The Mystery of Grace

“Well, I may not be so good at interacting with the world at large,” Suzi said, “but I’m sure about this much: It doesn’t matter where any of us come from, or even what we look like. The only thing that matters is who we are now.”

“That’s pretty good,” [Christiana] said finally, looking back at Suzi. “It puts the onus on yourself, instead of on where you came from. It suits what I like to think of as my independent temperament with the added bonus of making good sense. How can your genetic history or even your past ever begin to compete with who you are today?”

Suzi took that as a rhetorical question, so she didn’t worry about an answer. – Spirits in the Wires

Thank you for introducing me to urban fantasy – your books helped me discover that I wasn’t completely burned out on reading fantasy; I was just burned out on reading the traditional stuff. I hope that I can always hold on to the sense of wonder and hope you helped me rediscover.

P.S. And, um, I really wish I was one of the Crow Girls. 🙂

If you found my letter intriguing and are curious about Charles de Lint’s books, you have a chance to win a (somewhat battered) paperback copy of one my favorites, Someplace To Be Flying. (Yes, the Crow Girls are in it!) CONTEST IS CLOSED.

Lily is a photojournalist in search of the “animal people” who supposedly haunt the city’s darkest slums. Hank is a slumdweller who knows the bad streets all too well. One night, in a brutal incident, their two lives collide–uptown Lily and downtown Hank, each with a quest and a role to play in the secret drama of the city’s oldest inhabitants.

For the animal people walk among us. Native Americans call them the First People, but they have never left, and they claim the city for their own.

Not only have Hank and Lily stumbled onto a secret, they’ve stumbled into a war. And in this battle for the city’s soul, nothing is quite as it appears.

Contest Rules

  • To enter, leave a comment stating that you are entering the contest. CONTEST IS CLOSED.
  • If you haven’t commented before, your comment will not be visible until after I moderate it. Please do not leave a second comment because your first doesn’t show up! The blog gnomes will decide your comments are spam and then only ritual dust bunny sacrifice will salvage your entry…
  • If your comment is actually an advertisement or if your CommentLuv link turns it into an advertisement, your comment will be deleted. (Most of you do not need to worry – this refers to some pretty clever comment spam.)
  • Winners will be selected by random number.
  • You must leave a valid email address in the “Email” portion of the comment form.
  • Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from!
  • If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
  • This contest is open worldwide!


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In which I reveal how to pronounce “quinoa”

The Knitting Doctor is celebrating her five-year blogiversary with a contest! Simply leave a comment about your favorite knitting gadget before midnight PDT, April 5, for your chance to win a mysterious prize.

Sign ups for the Mean Girls Yarn Club, put together by KnottyLa and KnittingKnitterton, open April 3.

This was my favorite April Fools Link from yesterday: Fiction World Rocked as Woman Claims No Sexual Attraction to Neil Gaiman.

Yes, reduced to posting recipes again. 😉

These cookies were originally made with oatmeal – I know you can get oatmeal now that’s certified gluten-free, but my body isn’t so happy with the stuff I’ve tried so far. Besides, quinoa (KEEN-wah) has more protein and is more fun to say than oatmeal!

Unbaked Chocolate Quinoa Cookies
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk (I haven’t tried it with soymilk yet)
1/2 cup butter
3 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter

Combine sugar, cocoa, milk, and butter in a saucepan. Melt over medium heat, then boil for 1 minute. (Keep stirring!)

Remove from heat. Add quinoa, vanilla, and peanut butter and mix well.

Drop by spoonfuls on waxed paper and let cool.

“Go away. I’m sulking. You’d think Mayhem was the only one with a cute tummy or something. Hmph.” -Chaos

Gluten Free

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Fourth Annual Blogger’s (Silent) Poetry Reading for the Feast of St. Brigid

More details over at ambermoggie’s blog and at branches up. (The poems I’ve posted in previous years: 2006, 2007, 2008.)

This poem by John Ashbery (1988) is the inscription on Siah Armajani’s Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge (Walker Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis).

And now I cannot remember how I would
have had it. It is not a conduit (confluence?) but a place.
The place, of movement and an order.
The place of old order.
But the tail end of the movement is new.
Driving us to say what we are thinking.
It is so much like a beach after all, where you stand
and think of going no further.
And it is good when you get to no further.
It is like a reason that picks you up and
places you where you always wanted to be.
This far, it is fair to be crossing, to have crossed.
Then there is no promise in the other.
Here it is. Steel and air, a mottled presence,
small panacea
and lucky for us.
And then it got very cool.

“That was nice, Mom.” -Chaos


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In which there are no “happi colord blankits” at all

Congrats to lucky numbers 15, 19, and 33 (aka Kathy, K, and Cheryl)! Many thanks to everyone who participated in Chaos’ birthday contest. 🙂

Jen’s giving away a skein of Yarn Pirate sock yarn – simply leave her a comment by 11:59 pm on October 13 for your chance to win.

Knit Witch is having a ghost story contest. Send her your ghost story by October 31for your chance to win some Knit Witch yarn.

That Yarn Harlot, she definitely knows how to come up with a very challenging contest

Does this cartoon resonate with anyone?! *a-hem* The extremely technogeeky and knitterly (*a-hem*trek*a-hem*) might enjoy this cartoon

Hmm, do you think I should get a “happi colord blankit”?

How true is this spoof cover of The Economist?! (May not be suitable for work if someone’s lurking behind you.)

For fans of Lilith Saintcrow, she has a free Saint City novel up on her website. Please note that this novel (Selene) takes place immediately after Saintcrow’s short story in the collection Hotter than Hell (and was one of the few stories I actually liked in that collection).

If you’re a fan of paranormal romance/fantasy, you might enjoy Blitzen Trapper’s new song “Furr” (link near bottom of blurb), described as an “alt-country werewolf ballad.”

*snicker* True, true, the Lord of the Rings is definitely an exception to this one… except for all the songs in the books.

Reading Update
Nip, Tuck, Dead and Dead on Arrival (Pauline Sokol Mysteries, Book 5-6), “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” from Sugarplums and Scandal, plus another short story called “Dr. Robin Hood” by Lori Avocato. Still very, very evocative of Evanovich, although the “Joe” character seems to be a moving target with each book. The end of Dead on Arrival was really weird – the book ended, and then a nonsensical epilogue was tacked on to it. Did some more research and discovered that this series is between publishers right now.
Bad Blood (Crimson Moon, Book 1) by L.A. Banks. If 24 mated with the X-Files and had a werewolf episode…
Time and Again: Time Was & Time Changes by Nora Roberts. Ok, ok, I didn’t return all of those Nora Roberts books… How could I resist these two related novels about time travel?
A Taste of Darkness (MacKenzie Vampire, Book 3); Wicked Nights, Wicked Pleasure, and Wicked Fantasy(Castle of Dreams Trilogy) by Nina Bangs. Light’n’fluffy’n’racy paranormal romance, complete with decent writing and an ongoing storyline – start with Wicked Nights (before any of the MacKenzie Vampire books even).
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. Very well-written teen urban fantasy – if the passivity of Bella and creepy stalker nature of Edward (Twilight) don’t seem like good teen reading for you, check out this novel. No vampires in this one.
A Date with the Other Side by Erin McCarthy. A bit reminiscent of Jennifer Crusie, with some ghosts tossed in.
The Becoming (The Anna Strong Chronicles, Book 1) by Jeanne C. Stein. Meet Anna Strong, a bounty hunter recently turned into a vampire. Looking forward to the rest of the series after this strong start! Highly recommended.

“Since I don’t have a ‘happi colord blankit,‘ I’m hard at work on my next evil plan.” -Chaos

See the Sights

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In which the link thing gets completely and totally out of hand

It’s time for Jane’s Fourth Annual Show Me Your Socks Contest! Check out the details and drool over the gorgeous prizes (sock yarn, of course) donated by Numma Numma. Contest closes at midnight EDT, September 28.

BrainyLady Alison’s giving away a copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. For your chance to win, leave her a comment (by September 29) about what your favorite knitting book was this year.

Sarah’s having her preemie hat knitting contest – sign up on her blog if you’d like to knit some preemie hats.

Yesterday’s post inspired Michaele to share this link to a short video about the very cool bike racks former Talking Heads’ frontman David Byrne designed for New York City. Thanks, Michaele!

On Saturday, September 27, the Smithsonian is sponsoring Museum Day – you can “enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to hundreds of museums and cultural venues nationwide.” Some of the participating locations in Minnesota include the Minnesota Zoo and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

If I had seen these signs, I probably would’ve been laughing too hard to take pictures…

Can’t you just picture Mayhem in this particular lol? (Although I suspect that a kung fu mouse would make her very happy!) I thought these two lolz went well together.

Last weekend, Lifehacker’s Ungeek to Live column was about how to fit reading into your life.

Ewwwwww! Clever, though.

So, what’s your personal fairy? Jeanne thinks mine is the parking fairy. Can’t argue there – I’m always bemused when I don’t get rockstar parking, because it so often just happens. I could also make a case for the book fairy. Here’s an example – when I embarked on my rereading of all the Dark-Hunter/Dream-Hunter novels project last week, I used the Minneapolis Public Library catalog to figure out how to get all the books via the minimum number of close libraries. Over two days, I stopped at four different libraries (all within four miles of me): Walker, Hosmer, Washburn, and Linden Hills. As I was driving down 50th Street from Washburn to Linden Hills for the last few books, I had the twitchy urge to stop at the Paperback Exchange (not one of my usual haunts). They had a single Dark-Hunter novel, which I purchased even though my list showed it to be at the Linden Hills Library. When I got to Linden Hills, guess which Dark-Hunter novel was not to be found? Yup. I get that little twitchy urge for both used bookstores and thrift stores and it’s usually right on target.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

“Go away! Quit pretending you can see me!!” -Mayhem


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