Help! I’m not ready yet! 4 ways to embrace autumn

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year. I haven’t been in school for ten years, but I still love the sense of new beginnings. But at the same time, autumn also makes me wistful, because it reminds me that winter is coming (no, I’m not a Stark of Westeros – just a Canadian). It’s an odd dichotomy. Tell me I’m not alone?

If you’re the sort of person who feels left out of all the hustle and bustle, who struggles with the transition because you’d rather hibernate until spring (much like turtleducks), here are some ideas for embracing the season.

Hit the school/office supply stores. The tricky part of this is coming up with a good reason to be there so people don’t look at you weird. If you’re a parent, you have a ready-made excuse to go roam the aisles, ogle … Continue reading

My Mother, My Hero

My mother is one of my heroes. Let me tell you why.

When I was very ill as a small child, and doctor after doctor couldn’t determine what was wrong, she refused to stop digging until she found the answers herself. (I was celiac, a disease that was almost unknown then.)

She went against convention and social pressures to raise my two siblings and me.

An Urban Adventure: Kensington Market, Toronto

If you’re ever in Toronto, after you’ve visited the CN Tower and the other obvious places…or if you’ve just moved here and want to see what “here” consists of…or even if you’ve never been anywhere near Toronto…come take a walk through a neighbourhood. Any neighbourhood will do, they’re all different, but one of my favourites is Kensington Market.

If you’re taking the Spadina streetcar from the subway line, as we did, you enter via the bustle and strong smells of Chinatown – people hawking cheap t-shirts, designer knockoffs, herbs right on the sidewalk, sometimes pirated DVDs although none are to be found this time; there must have been a crackdown recently. Coming from the south, you turn off Spadina onto … Continue reading

YA Saves: The Wall Street Journal YA Controversy

(Disclaimer: This blog post reflects the opinions of the author, not of Turtleduck Press as a whole.)

This weekend, the Wall Street Journal published an article arguing that YA fiction has become too dark. It’s too violent, the author writes. It deals with situations and behaviours that could negatively influence young minds (she gives the example of self-harm, arguing that if a teen reads about it, s/he may want to try it – say what?). It’s too explicit. It uses too much “foul language”. The vampire trend is only another example of this depravity.

The blogosphere and Twitterverse (at #yasaves) exploded with rebuttals as readers and writers of YA weighed in. Today’s teenagers are already facing these issues. Statistics. More. Anecdotally, I know young people who struggle with mood disorders, with whether to come out … Continue reading

Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition: A Review

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Canadian National Steampunk Exhibition (Twitter) which occurred just outside of Toronto.

(Steampunk in a nutshell is a revival of Victorian-era sensibilities, often with a rebellious (“punk”) edge. It manifests itself in fashion, music, and machinery, as well as in fiction.)

Unfortunately, I was only able to go on Sunday, so this is not a comprehensive review. From what I was able to see, the convention was well attended, the programming excellent, the dealers many and varied, the guests well dressed and very friendly.

Dancing My Passion

I’ve long been interested in all kinds of dance and music. Over the years I’ve taken piano lessons, played in school bands, sung in choirs, gone to concerts and dance performances. More recently I’ve taken a variety of dance lessons, looking for the kind of dance that would speak to me.

Hip hop and salsa weren’t it. Flamenco was closer – all that drama and Spanish guitar, and the close attention to technique. Belly dance held some of the same attraction as flamenco, but I didn’t fall in love with either one.

Then I discovered contra dance.

How writing is like knitting – and why that matters

I’m a writer, obviously, and I read blogs about the writing process. I’m also a knitter, and I read knitting blogs. Sometimes the two merge. For example, which one is this (telltale words omitted)?

I love the starting process just as much as finishing the project – and for me, with too many projects started and not enough finishing taking place, I would not get the joy of the full experience of being a … .  I would only experience the starting part, the finishing remaining a mystery.


Genre Writing and Identity

Hi, I’m the author of this month’s Turtleduck story, “Lonesome Hearts”. Cool, right? There’s just one problem. My bio says I write science fiction and fantasy (also known as speculative fiction). I identify as a genre writer. So why isn’t this story speculative fiction?

The original idea for the story was to combine folk music and fantasy. I wasn’t sure what the fantasy element was going to be, but I knew I was aiming for a story in the tradition of the wonderful anthology The Horns of Elfland and the music-related portions of Elizabeth Bear’s beautiful Blood and Iron. When I started writing, I had a strong sense of place and character, an idea of the situation, and a vague sense of the plot. I wrote half the story and still no fantasy element had shown up.

Ten Things We’ve Learned About Collective Self-Publishing

This month marks a milestone that’s being celebrated all over the world: it has been six months since the idea of Turtleduck Press was first floated. Oh, and it’s 2011. Happy 2011, readers! Here are just some of the things we’ve learned in our first six months:

1. When the time is right, things start to happen very quickly. The idea was first proposed on July 8. Within a week, we had our own venue for private discussion. In less than a month, we had three (already edited) long works going through our approvals process.

Welcome to Turtleduck Press!


Welcome to the inaugural post of the Turtleduck Press blog! Here we hope to divert, horrify, amuse, and shock you (pick two). We’ll be blogging for your entertainment five times a month. There will also be free short stories going up elsewhere on the site at the beginning of each month when we’re not putting up longer works for sale.