pirates on parade

It’s a delicate thing, a measured rampage. The book goes to the printer in a week, ink on paper and then bound. I need an upper. A downer. A new brain.

A snowy bog, almost four years ago. My breath hung in the air, winter wood cracked underfoot, and a six-year-old listened companionably, his wet mittens forgotten. Now, it's almost a thing. Hardcover with a linen wrap. Faces and scowls, a posse. That one girl, the greyhound all lithe and spare. The hunter-boy. They will live longer than I do. Regardless of how far-flung it may or may not find itself this book will sit on a bookshelf, somewhere, after I'm gone. This is strange. A good-strange, I think.

I know I’ve said this before but I’ve got to say it again. The last thing I want you to feel is unsolicited pirates all up in your grill every time you come here in search of rainbows and puppies and Vargas girls. But I’ve got to come here, where you are, to tell you that if you want the story of the story—to hear about the process, the illustrations, the launch, the literary hives—watch for writing and Dread Crew posts at kateinglis.com. The measured rampage is about to begin.

What’s that stink? Meet the pirates.

A month or so ago, the publishers were snapping the whip on the fabulously weird, banjo-playing, dream-drawing Sydney, and on me (there’s something intoxicating about the snap of a publisher’s whip).

When we were both in the last few hours of the production deadline—he with the 16 chapter plates and me with the final manuscript—he sent me a note saying My face is melting off! and I wrote back to say My eyeballs are made of sandpaper! and he wrote back to say You know, there’s not really enough time but I’m going to take a run at the mugshots and I got all grateful and teary because of all the things I really, really wanted in the book, it was a dramatis personae—a map of thugs.

Starting today, meet the pirates. First up: Captain Hector Gristle. Next up is his First Mate. Then the Coxswain (don’t cross her or she’ll thrash you with devil’s club), then the Brutes, the Navigator, the Knotjack, the Huckster… praise be to Sydney.

Win an advance copy and a spot in the reviewer’s circle (which also entitles you to a lifetime supply of solomon gundy and excellent beer, or a million billion Nova Scotian dollars).

Sometime in the next week or two I’ll be unleashing a Dread Crew challenge asking you to reflect on the fantastical books and characters that you’ve had tattooed onto your skull. Comment with a link to your contribution and be entered into a random draw to get your own free copy of The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods before anyone else—in just a few weeks, still steaming.

All I need to do for at least ten copies to give away is beat Nimbus’s managing editor in an arm-wrestling match. I have enlisted Ben to slobber on his pants as a distraction.

What’s that stink? Oh. It’s me.

There’s more I could tell you. About the launch, which will be on the Halifax waterfront on Sunday, November 8. About how we’re livestreaming it and making it interactive for you and as many far-flung friends as we can. About how cool it would be to chat with you on your blog about pricey jeans or the universe's whim or pirates. I’m trying to be cool about this. The truth is that I’m terrified about the prospect of people reading this book but it’s inevitable. And wonderful.

One last thing.

Tell me what outlandish things you want to do. Tell me what outlandish things you've already done. What's the Top Three on the To-Do list that's too precious to show the wet blankets in your life? Tell me. Or you could always just wave and say hey, here I am. Link to a picture of you somewhere. Tell me if I should watch for you at Pier 21 in early November.