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.

Dreams Can Come True

I’m no pretty-handwriting-in-a-pretty-journal-while-sipping-tea writer.* I like coffee in big mugs that make a statement on the side, and I use 70-sheet, one-subject, twenty-notebooks-for-a-dollar spiral-bound notebooks. And I eat pretty stationery for breakfast. (Okay, not really.)

Christmas 2005, an acquaintance gave me a lovely journal. It had an iris on the cover, and music notes, and gold writing. It wasn’t my thing, but it was too pretty to give away. So when I felt the need to do something different, that journal was near at hand.

On 1/15/06 I wrote inside the front cover the date and the title: Dreams to Truth Journal (Yes, I felt the need to write that it was a journal.) Below that, I wrote Because I am an excellent writer and I deserve to be published.

I needed to say that, to tell myself that. I felt stagnant. Stuck. Another vacation had slipped by without my … Continue reading

Believe in Yourself

When I was a kid, I was made fun of by other kids.  I don’t know what I did to them.  I was always nice to everyone, and I was painfully shy so I kept to myself most of the time.  But for some reason, people found things to laugh at.  They also pulled some horrible pranks on me: once, they locked me in a closet (and to this day, I’m terribly claustrophobic); another time, someone tried to set my long hair on fire.  These weren’t harmless pranks, and they hurt me badly.  For years, I existed as a joke, not a real person with real feelings.

As you can probably guess, my self-esteem was non-existent.  When I was fourteen, I contemplated suicide.  Going to school was traumatic and not fun.  I had no real friends, no one to talk to or to care about me.  I was nothing.  I was … Continue reading

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.

Should Old Acquaintance Be Forgot?

 

KD SargeKnight Errant is available for sale. Wow. It’s hard to believe.

Taro has been with me a long time, you see. More than…wow. More than fifteen years. He first appeared under a different name and far more bland aspect, in the book about his sister Eve Marcori, former Marine. It wasn’t until years later that he came alive.

Oh, I tried. I changed his name. I invented a background for him, more than just “Eve’s long-lost adopted little brother.” I investigated his family, and the years between Eve losing and finding him. I changed his name again. I said he was sneaky and mouthy, but I couldn’t seem to make him be either. So I followed time-honored avoidance techniques, and I moved on. He didn’t matter that much anyway. Minor character. No big. I finished … Continue reading

Don’t Judge a Gift by Its Wrapping

I love Christmas.  It is my favorite time of the year: family, friends, gifts, magic…the snow, the tree, the lights…

What isn’t fun for me, though, is wrapping gifts.  In fact, it is so not fun that my gift wrapping skills are legendary.  Mind you, my gifts look fine, but I was born without the Gift Wrapper gene because my gifts are never wrapped perfectly.  There’s always some bumps and the seams aren’t perfectly straight and sometimes my bows are lopsided.  Sometimes, I use handmade tags (from the wrapping paper) and apparently that’s not done.  Oops.  Anyway, my mom and I were discussing what else? but gift wrapping and how awful mine is.  She and my sister have double the Gift Wrapper gene because their gifts are always wrapped perfectly.  There are no ragged seams; the bows are perfect; there are no bumps.  They’re gorgeous.  Works of art.  See, they … Continue reading

On The Origin of Turtleducks By Means of Writerly Selection

So you’re probably asking yourself, “Turtleduck Press?  Where did that name come from? And just what is a Turtleduck anyway?”

Don’t feel ashamed of yourself for not knowing.  The turtleduck myth is not widely known outside of the more arcane academic circles, although it has made some unexpected appearances in pop culture despite this obscurity.  Today’s blog post is to help spread the word about this stunning beast.