It ain't the heat, it's the wind-chill. On the TV, they were demonstrating for us, as if we didn't know how miserable it is, how miserable it is in the Chicago area. They threw a cup full of boiling water in the air, and it was frozen by the time it hit the gound. They were also going to do the frozen soap bubble-that-shatters-like-glass-trick, except the bubble fluid froze. But hey--we're tucked in here. I'm in the best room in the house (barring my writing loft and the bedroom, ahem), the library! Surrounded by books, my best friends. On their new oak shelves. Ed Abbey and Sherman Alexie and Diane Ackerman and Margaret Atwood and Clive Barker and Nevada Barr and Rick Bass and Ambrose Bierce and Chuck Bowden to the left of me. A whole army to the right--T.C. Boyle and Ray Bradbury and James Lee (God) Burke and Truman Capote and Joan Didion and Annie Dillard.... Man, I get excited just looking at them.

Well, here come those new books of mine. You've seen the beautiful cover of Beautiful North (below). What you might not know is there's a book coming out before that one. My graphic novel. Yes! Luis--The Comic Book. It's Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush. The amazing artwork is by Chrisopher Cardinale. We will post that cover here this week. Also coming this year is the Phoenix Noir anthology. I'm excited to be in that with some of my heroes.

I am trying to start Hummingbird II. You probably need to prod me. I'm so fried from the constant touring, and the other books (working on lots of poetry right now) and teaching... But I also shy away from the massiveness of the Teresita mythos. (Listen to me. I'm like H.P. Lovecraft with his Chtulhu Mythos.) But it's so powerful and mind/soul shredding for me to re-enter her sphere...I have kept to myself in thos areas for a couple of years. You who know my story and know me will also recall that as soon as the Work begins in earnest, shamans and curanderas and ghosts and strangeness will follow. No kidding. For example--when I first moved to Chi (we had settled on the far west side--before we came out here to the farm/burbs of Turkeyville), I was bemoaning my distance from the mystical southwest and the eerie deep south of the Bayou Country. I was sure no wild magic/medicine could happen in Chicago. No more teachers appearing mysteriously on my doorstep. As I was complaining to Cinderella about this, I looked out my window. There was an Indigenous man out there in the back yard, waving for me to come out. He turned out to be a medicine man. He wanted to talk about what I was working on. And he wanted to tell me how to summon snow when there is a bad thing about to happen and you want the angry people to be forced to go home. I kid you not.

I'd like to ask him today how to get the snow to go home.

It will be hard, what with movies starting, and the Perpetual Book Tour revving back up in two weeks, and the real book tour for the new novel. But Teresita and Tomas and all of them are clamoring to come back to meet you again and tell you what happened to them when they left Mexico.

Help me. Once in a while...drop me a note. Tell me to keep working.

I need to tap into my mystical Mexican side again--but I will reach deeper and grab some of that rampaging Visigoth gene buried in there. Need the strength!

See you in San Diego, Salt Lake City, Denver...
Hlutwig Aethelbert Urias

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