“First you sung her praises, drunk on her glow / Then you cursed her name when you lost control”

Had a great weekend at the Tucson Festival of Books this weekend. Sometimes (especially when, say, one is just off a two-week cold during which she’s spent way too much time at home trying to write but maybe not being very productive), it’s really good to just get out and talk books and writing with friends old and new–to get outside my own head and into the world with all of you. Many thanks, to all of you who came.

And hey, the TusCon folks posted a couple of clips from our Bordertown panel Saturday morning. I haven’t been able to embed them outside of facebook, but I don’t think you need to be logged in there to listen to Charles de Lint here and me here.

The Way is open, and magic is loose in the World

Welcome to Bordertown is now available! (With my story, “Crossings,” within, a fact that continues to amaze me.) The Way to the Border between the human and elfin realms is open once more, and all manner of magic is loose in the world.

Maybe the universe really does know. I’ve been coming on all sorts of small reminders of just how magical story is the past couple weeks.

There are some Bordertown stories available online here and here, along with some Bordertown poems here. Kirkus and Underwords both have interviews with Welcome to Bordertown contributors up, and there’s still time to enter the Welcome to Bordertown giveaway, too.

Now, I think I’m going to turn off the wifi and imagine I’m sitting in a Btown cafe as I work on my book about faeries and humans. Doesn’t seem too much of a stretch today, really. 🙂

Heading for the Border

Why are so many teens fleeing to Bordertown? is a Welcome to Bordertown trailer that feels like a Bordertown ficlet all its own. (But I’m beginning to understand that Bordertown just sort of spawns things that are ficlets of their own. It’s part of the magic.)

And speaking of magic … this collection of magical prizes for helping to spread the word about Bordertown is just breathtaking. I’ve been helping gather and organize donations for it, and it’s been all I could do not to talk about it until now. Seriously, go look! And then mention Bordertown somewhere (on your blog, on twitter, on facebook) and link to it from the contest post for a chance to win.

Ways to Bordertown

The new Bordertown web site is now live!

Here are some ways you can win a Welcome to Bordertown ARC:

Leave a comment on the guestbook page of the Bordertown web site.

Tell Emma Bull (coffeeem) how you would find your own way to Bordertown. (It’s worth reading all the entries, which are like little Bordertown ficlets of their own.)

Tell Charles de Lint which Bordertown alumni gets a shout-out on his new CD.

ETA: Tell Nalo Hopkinson what sort of Caribbean-influenced meal you’d prepare for the Chancellor of the Exchequer of The Realm.

Welcome to Bordertown ARC tour

I have a copy of Welcome to Bordertown, begged off of the lovely folks at Random House when I visited this winter. I’m unwilling to part with it entirely because my name is on the cover for various sentimental reasons, but I also feel like the whole point of ARCs is to spread the love and the word about a book. So I’ve come up with something else instead.

If you’d like to borrow Welcome to Bordertown, and you’re willing to commit to both reading it in about a week and to them talking about it somewhere online, leave a comment below. I’ll mail you my copy, and then when you’re done, you’ll mail it back to me, and I’ll send it on to the next person on the list. (ETA: And will keep doing so until the book itself goes on sale at the end of May, however many people that turns out to be, and at that point see whether it’s still in good enough shape to keep sending around.)

What do you think? Anyone interested in an early read?

(Hey, Kirkus and Bookslut both liked it!)

Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Holly Black and Ellen Kushner

So I started reading Welcome to Bordertown after leaving New York, on the train up to Vermont. I’d read most (not all) of the individual stories as I was working on my own story for the project (we were encouraged to put in links to one another’s stories), but I’d not read them all together. Here’s what I wrote as the train rolled through Massachusetts:

About halfway through. Began reading on a train traveling through the winter snow, an appropriately liminal place to start these border stories. Although I’d already read many of them, I’m finding that reading them together, in order, casts a different and a deeper spell. On a train, reading this book, it’s hard not to believe Bordertown and the Way to this city of magic must surely exist, somewhere just out of–just within–reach.

I remember looking up at one point, from the first/title story (ellen-kushner and t-windling‘s Welcome to Bordertown), which was all about figuring out which world one belongs in, to find myself a uncertain–just for an instant, as the train rolled on–which world I was in.

I kept reading while at Kindling Words, and finished on the plane back to Arizona, another appropriately in-between sort of place.

Bordertown has changed and it hasn’t, in the 13 years since the Way to the Border was last open. Because I have a story in this anthology, I can’t really be at all objective about it. But from the perspective of the late teen/early 20-something I was, who discovered War for the Oaks and Moonheart and went searching for more and more books about this new thing that fantasy could suddenly be, and who has been reading them ever since … the magic is still there.

(If any Tucsonans or people-who-pass-regularly-through-Tucson would like to borrow and return the ARC once lnhammer finished with it, let me know–only condition is, love it or hate it or have complex in-between feelings about it, you blog about the book someplace when you’re through.)

Running away to Bordertown

When I was a very new writer in the early 90s, writing in the evenings after my day job on the computer which I’d used the last of my student loan money to buy, there was a part of me that wanted to run away–to Minneapolis, or Eugene, or Seattle, or Toronto. If you’d have asked me why, I’d have said it was because those were the places where all the writers seemed to be. But looking back, I think it was because–thanks to the new wave of urban fantasy books bringing magic into the real world in ways I’d not quite seen before–those were the places where all the magic seemed to be.

What I really wanted, though I didn’t quite know it at the time, was to run away to someplace like Bordertown, a city on the (human side of) the border between our world and Faerie that drew on the magic of both worlds.

When I bought that first computer and began writing seriously, I hadn’t actually read any the Bordertown books yet, and wouldn’t for some years, though I was cheerfully devouring new urban fantasy books by Emma Bull and Charles de Lint and Meghan Lindholm and writers who were a part of Bordertown as well.

I don’t know exactly when I read the Bordertown–maybe not long after coming to Tucson? I didn’t read all of them. It’s hard to remember which ones I did read, though, because Bordertown has become so much a part of the landscape of fantasy that on reread it all feels strangely familiar. I know I read all the stories in Bordertown, and Elsewhere when it came out from Jane Yolen Books as well. I know I didn’t read Finder for years, though I’d always meant to and once I did I wondered why on earth I’d waited so long.

But it wasn’t until I read or reread the Bordertown books this past year that I recognized, in the runaways seeking magic within its pages, that same longing that drew me to reading fantasy, and writing it, and dreaming of running away to cities I didn’t know.

In truth, I only dreamed of running away for a few years–just enough time to figure out that finding a community of writers wasn’t something that required running away. It was something that could happen when you looked around you and built a community in the place you were already planted. Magic is like that too, actually, and urban fantasy knows this better than any other genre–that you don’t have to run away or cross into some other world to find magic (though you can), because it’s here, around us, in whatever city or town or landscape we live in, if we only know how to look. So I began finding my own communities and my own magic, first in St. Louis, then in Tucson. I wrote, and I grew up, and time passed.

Fast forward nearly twenty years. I’m working on the sequel to Bones of Faerie, which may or may not be an urban fantasy–the definitions have grown pretty fuzzy, over the past two decades–set in and around St. Louis. I have a reasonably tight deadline for Faerie Winter, so as much as I love writing short fiction, I’ve decided I won’t write any more of it until the book is done. I’ve decided I won’t take on any other writing commitments at all, fiction ones or day-job non-fiction ones.

And then I this email. From ellen_kushner and blackholly. Asking if I would write a Bordertown story.

I think it actually took me a whole five minutes to accept. Mostly because, you know, I had to finish squeeing and making other incoherent sounds first.

Some things, you make the time for.

Writing a Bordertown story was very much about channeling my inner younger writer self, the one who was just discovering urban fantasy books and who wanted magic so badly. (Of course, part of me wants it still–my inner and outer children have never lived very far away from one another.) It was about finally running off to the place that I wanted to run off to all those years ago. It was also, a little, about arguing with that place, because when you return to somewhere you first glimpsed long ago, the view changes–since, of course, you’ve changed.

Most of all, visiting Bordertown–writing Bordertown, being in Bordertown–was a whole lot of fun. I’m still thrilled and delighted and grateful and honored to have spent some time there. (And it turned out Bordertown wanted some things from me in turn–but that’s the subject of a whole other post.)

Anyway, all of this is by way of saying that yesterday, when I saw the new Welcome to Bordertown cover, I was very very happy:

[Welcome to Bordertown]

My characters don’t get there by motorcycle, and they don’t manage to catch the train like Wolfboy and others have, either. (Though they do, briefly, manage to hitch a ride on Ye Olde Unicorn Trolley once they arrive.) Everyone gets to Bordertown in their own way, and for my protagonist, that way involves a long hot walk through the dry dusty desert, because that’s how we cross borders around here.

Welcome to Bordertown is due out in May–the full table of contents is here. I hope you have as much fun visiting and revisiting this city on the border of tech and magic as I did.

Welcome to Bordertown

Over at the Hard Luck Cafe (a most excellent Bordertown fan site), t_windling posted the table of contents for next summer’s Welcome to Bordertown anthology:

Voice Like a Hole – Cat Valente
Stairs in Her Hair (poem) – Amal El-Mohtar
Welcome to Bordertown – Ellen Kushner & Terri Windling
Shannon’s Law – Cory Doctorow
Cruel Sister (poem) – Patricia A. McKillip
Fair Trade (comic) – Sara Ryan and Dylan Meconis
Lullabye (song) – Jane Yolen
Prince of Thirteen Days – Alaya Dawn Johnson
Incunabulum – Emma Bull
We Do Not Come in Peace – Christopher Barzak
Jump Rope Rhyme (poem) – Jane Yolen
Elf Blood – Annette Curtis Klause
The Sages of Elsewhere – Will Shetterly
Run Back (song) – Steven Brust
Our Stars Ourselves – Tim Pratt
The Wall (poem) – Delia Sherman
Ours is the Prettiest – Nalo Hopkinson
Crossings – Janni Lee Simner
Rap (song) – Jane Yolen
The Rowan Gentleman – Cassandra Clare & Holly Black
The Song of the Song (song) – Neil Gaiman
A Tangle of Green Men – Charles de Lint

I know I’m biased and all, but, seriously? This is going to be awesome.

And from what I’ve seen, it’s an awesome that should be accessible both to those returning to Bordertown, and to those visiting for the first time.

(If anyone wants to hang out at the Hard Luck Cafe while they’re waiting, there’s an lj feed at hardluck_feed.)