The Rosy Glow Imparted by Long Ago

The first time I went camping, my dad had acquired a huge tent meant to sleep a legion, and we were dragged off to spend Memorial Day weekend living in it.

I complained, whined, and muttered, and I took a stack of books a foot high.

Now, understand–I grew up on a farm. I’d slept in the backyard in a sleeping bag. I’d slept in the barn in a sleeping bag. I’d slept on horses’ backs (sans sleeping bag) and in trees (also without the sleeping bag. That’s just asking for trouble.) Any time I wanted to eat fire-cooked food, I’d pester my dad into a weinie-roast. (I was twelve. Stop laughing.) So I really didn’t see the point in this camping thing.

It was as miserable as I’d feared. It rained the whole weekend, one of those long, slow, soaking Pennsylvania rains. We were all–my dad, my brothers, my dad’s girlfriend, her kids–stuck in that huge flipping tent that really wasn’t big enough to hold us all day and night for three days.

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Failure is Not an Option

I’ll tell you a secret.

I’m 35 years old and I don’t have a driver’s license.

Yep, you read that right.

People always freak out when I tell them that. In this day and age, and where I live, this is not the norm. We have a crappy public transit system, so driving is really necessary. Which sucks for someone like me.

Here’s the condensed version. When I was 15, I went through the standard Driver’s Ed training. That was a joke, because I got, at most, three hours on the road. And I had severe anxiety, having never behind the wheel before. The instructor told my parents that I was not in any way ready to drive. I needed more time. So, the following year, we gave it another shot, and I was still unable to complete the training.

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It’s That Time of the Year Again

Today is Father’s Day here in the US.  That wonderful day the industrial greeting card-making complex ruthlessly lobbied for until President Lyndon Johnson finally caved in 1966, issuing a Presidential proclamation to give the holiday some semblance of legitimacy.

(Later, in 1972, President Richard “Tricky Dicky” Nixon, another Hallmark toady (he glommed onto them after Gerber dropped him), signed Father’s Day into law.  Dark days indeed.)

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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 to their parents, with the extreme pressures placed on them in today’s world. And I don’t know that many young people. Turtleduck Press’s own KD Sarge works in a school, and she sees a lot more than I do. Books aren’t putting ideas in their little heads, but giving them tools to deal with their realities. Books tell them that they are not alone, that #ItGetsBetter. Laurie Halse Anderson says it better.

I agree with these arguments. I believe in the importance of talking/writing/reading about self-harm, rape, abuse, bullying, …

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Multi-Tasking and Time Travel

I forgot I was blogging at Turtleduck Press today.

Part of that is the long weekend (Memorial Day here in the U.S.) and the end of the school year. Both together have thrown off my sense of time.

Part of it is how I just can’t seem to keep numbers straight in my head. One month I was absolutely certain I was to blog on the 28th and my fellow Turtleduckers had to hold me back. Nearing our fifth wedding anniversary, I argued the exact date with my husband for an hour, till I went and got our marriage certificate and found that we were both wrong.

The biggest part, though, is that my brain was elsewhere. I’m working on a final before-approvals edit of His Faithful Squire (coming August 1st; I’m so excited!), the sort-of sequel to Knight Errant, so I’ve been spending a lot of time on a luxury cruise ship in deep space far in the future. I’m also working on an excerpt from a book that took place when Taro was twelve, to post as our July free fiction offering. That book was written some fifteen years ago and the excerpt requires a lot of work and some time spent on a planet embroiled in civil war. Also, I’m writing a short story (growing into a novella, sigh) for a group challenge on Goodreads. The story is quite a stretch for me—it’s …

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Irons in the Fire

It started with a dream.

A few nights ago, I dreamed I self-published my current novel-in-progress (which is going through its final revision), Pirouette, as a duology.

When I woke up I totally dismissed it, but then I began mulling it over. See, when I began publishing with Turtleduck Press, it was for my poetry only. I was going to write a third chapbook and publish it through TDP. Then I discovered that poetry is a hard sell. Not a lot of people are into it, and while publishing my two chapbooks has been very rewarding, I’m not sure I want to invest more time into writing another poetry chapbook that may essentially disappear into oblivion.


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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.

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