Backwoods pirates, world travelers

Many thanks to Mae for sharing her photos at the risk of spoiling a Christmas surprise.

People are twittering and emailing and flickring Just got mine! and Courier at the door! and just like that, The Dread Crew makes its way all over the world.

A few months ago, having just signed off on the last round of changes to the manuscript, I went for a walk, sat on a pebbly beach feeling as fortunate as I felt wracked. Picked up a few flat pieces of slate and a reasonable pencil-shaped rock and sketched each name in natural chalk. Amos. Gretch. Hector. Vince. Meena. The living ghosts who'd been whispering in my ear and nudging me on the shoulder with grubby pokes for four years. When they were all done I found one last clean surface and wrote a wish. Then gathered them all up in my fist and cast them into the ocean as far as I could.

Had no idea one of them would end up in Tasmania, but it did, didn't it? And Queens, New York. And London and Wisconsin and Paris and Palo Alto and on from there.

Be good, words. Earn that hard-won Canadian pulp.