F r o m T h e P u b l i s h e r
(Photo: Onyx, Jasper and the Yunwi Tsundi has cover art by the fabulous Jerry Wallace.)
One of the quirks I tried in the early days of The Dade Planet was serializing fiction.
In these days of instant internet communication, who can say what the future of the newspaper is? But it’s easy enough to read about its past, and serialized fiction was an enormously popular element of the 19th-century newspaper. I kicked off The Planet’s serialized fiction series with the anecdote I read somewhere of Americans waiting on an old-timey dock for the ship to come in bearing the latest English newspapers, with the urgent question on their lips: “Does little Nell still live?” Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop was being serialized in a London rag, you see, and readers were in agony to know how it came out.
I don’t know if Planet readers suffered quite that tragically from Wednesday to Wednesday as they awaited their weekly dose of fiction, but I did get some positive responses. In 2016-17, I serialized a novella, Monsters; a young adult novel, Onyx, Jasper and the Yunwi Tsunsdi; and some translations I'd done of children’s stories by a French writer named Pierre Gripari. Finally I did not so much as discontinue the feature as run out of time to dig up fiction and prepare it for publication. Keeping Dade safe for democracy is a bigger job than you might think!
Anyway, one question I heard while the fiction series ran was, “Is this available as a book, so I can read it all at once?” Well, one novel I serialized back then is now. Onyx, Jasper and the Yunwi Tsunsdi is currently published as a physical book, a paperback you can order directly from The Dade Planet.
If you didn’t read it in serialization, I will tell you this is a young-adult novel about a couple of local kids in trouble—highly individual kids in highly individualized kinds of trouble—and how their paths cross that of the Yunwi Tsunsdi. The Yunwi Tsunsdi--pronounce it yun-weet-suns-dee--are the Cherokee Little People, Dogwood, Laurel and Rock, and they turn out to be pretty individual, too.
The book is set in and around the fictional town of Hemlock Hills, where the mountains are big and flat on top and the ground is riddled by caves—sound familiar? So it’s got a local slant and, of course, a local author, yours truly. The cover was done by a local artist, none other than the great (!) the incomparable (!) the magnificent (!) Jerry Wallace, without whose deft design hand The Planet would not look anywhere near as dashin' and center-of-the-universe as it does. Readers may recognize his touch in The Planet's editorial cartoons, masthead and seriously good-looking ads.
Onyx, Jasper and the Yunwi Tsunsdi was written as a young adult novel, but it's sophisticated and fast-paced enough for adult audiences. And it’s the only fiction I know of that was written about the Yunwi Tsunsdi.
If you'd like a copy of the book, for yourself or for some young person of your acquaintance, The Dade Planet has now expanded its site to include online-store capacity and gone into the business of selling books. A clickable ad for the novel will remain on The Planet's home and single-post pages. And to order from this article, you may either click the Shop button in the navigator above or use this link:
Currently, the novel is available exclusively as a physical book. If demand emerges for an electronic version, that might change. Also, it may shortly be sold in local bookstores.
Selling books is a quirky thing for a newspaper to do. So is serializing 'em. Well, The Dade Planet is a quirky newspaper! It tries to give you, the reader, the same things you get from other small-town rags (only spelled better) and then it tries to throw you a whole lot more. It sniffs out facts, it dives into issues, it delves below surfaces, it jumps up, begs and does tricks. When it can tear itself away from keeping Dade safe for democracy, it turns out entertaining columns and pithy local features as well as more local news than you can get anywhere else.
The Planet can do all this at no cost to the reader, and with minimal income from advertisers, because it is online only, with fewer expenses than print newspapers (and because its publisher is a crazy person with a fine intellectual disdain for material possessions and trips to Hawaii.) But like other newspapers, it cannot run at a deficit indefinitely, and has established itself as a seller of merchandise in hope of establishing a stream of some revenue.
So do you want to help save The Planet? If you have something to advertise, advertise in The Planet! There is no subscription fee for readers, but if you'd like to contribute in lieu of that, have at it! There are donation buttons all over the rag.
And if you'd like to buy a book, that helps The Planet, too.
Meanwhile, The Planet is pleased to announce the rest of the Serialized Fiction pieces are still available for your online reading free of charge. Simply choose Series, then Fiction, from the navigator above. The first chapter of Onyx, Jasper and the Yunwi Tsunsdi is available there, too.
And for any fellow writers out there in Readerland, I've said this before and I'll repeat it here: If you'd like yours to be the next fiction serialized in The Planet, send it on! The Planet can't pay you, but if you're just looking for readership, The Planet's your huckleberry. Send any submissions to email@example.com.
That's all for now, and thank you for reading The Planet!