Tag Archives: indie

Celebrating Independent Bookstores in Western Canada

A good independent bookstore is still worth more than any online store or chain bookstore. The selection is far better than in a chain, knowledgeable staff still beat algorithms, and much as I enjoy online browsing, there’s nothing like standing in a room (or rooms!) full of books.

So this week I’m putting the spotlight on several indies I’ve recently had the privilege of visiting.

I’ve just finished a road trip through Western Canada. One of the best parts of the trip was looking out for independent bookstores everywhere I went, and buying a little something at each, in the hope they’ll still be there next time I come through.

Here’s what I found, from west to east…

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Convention Report: World Fantasy Convention 2012, Part 1

I just got back from attending the World Fantasy Convention for the first time. World Fantasy 2012 was in Toronto, luckily for me. It was a pretty awesome experience — the hotel was packed with top-notch SF/fantasy/horror writers and publishing types, the room parties spilled out into the hallway, the dealers’ room was like a giant SF/F/H bookstore.

And…we got bags of free books to take home. I heard rumours that some bags contained the latest books from Mercedes Lackey and Tanya Huff, but didn’t see any myself. I did score a copy of The Lives We Lost by Megan Crewe (YA dystopian, the sequel to The Way We Fall). Pretty pleased, since it won’t be in stores until February!

I’m not blogging just to brag, though. I also went to some great panels, and I wanted to share some of the highlights…

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Book Launch: Fey Touched by Erin Zarro

Today I’m taking a break from regularly scheduled programming. Usually Mondays are for book/movie/other media related posts, Wednesdays are for Life, the Universe, and Everything, and Fridays are for sharing the best links I’ve seen on the Internet in the past week. (In case you were wondering.)

But I have a couple of exciting book-related news items that just can’t wait…

I’ve mentioned Turtleduck Press, an indie publisher for which I’m the chief editor and occasional writer. We put out three books a year in the areas of science fiction, fantasy, and poetry. Today, August 1, is our newest release.

Fey Touched by Erin Zarro

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5 Tips for Juggling Life Roles

Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling hats. (Or juggling geese, take your pick.) You know the feeling, I’m sure.

There’s the job I do during the day, which involves thinking and typing and doing things with words. I sit in a cubicle, drink at the water cooler, and wear office-appropriate clothing.

There’s the job I do at Turtleduck Press…actually two jobs, if you count being the head editor as separate from being one of the authors in our co-op model. That also requires a small-business hat and a collaborative mindset. (Shameless plug: I’m blogging over there this week about fanfiction, cosplay, and other geeky crafts.)

There’s Being A Writer — which includes social media, critiquing other writers’ work and getting my own work critiqued, reading fiction and non-fiction and blogs to expand my knowledge…oh yeah, and actually writing (and the other parts of the process, like research and planning and editing). And I haven’t even gotten to the part about submitting to slush piles or doing the tech stuff necessary for self-publishing online.

There are a couple of big events that are coming up in my life and require much research and planning (more about those another time).

Plus making sure there’s food in the fridge and clean socks in the drawer, and how long has it been since I vacuumed? And I also need time to veg out and hang with loved ones and move my body and pursue other hobbies and remember that a “me” exists apart from what I’ve already mentioned.

I don’t have kids or pets to take care of (yet!), but I know many of you do.

I can handle wearing two hats in a day. In fact, I don’t know what to do with myself otherwise. It’s when they start to multiply that I run into trouble. One day late last year, I had a hectic day at work, then squeaked in a visit to a house for sale, then spent a couple of hours at my writers’ group. By the time I got home, I didn’t know who I was supposed to be.

Here are some things I do to keep all my hats in the air (wait, this metaphor has seen better days):

  • Make lists. Lots and lots of lists. That way you’re not stressing out trying to keep everything in your head. Shorter is better so you have half a chance of crossing everything off.
  • Use downtime. On my lunch hour, I can usually be found with a netbook or a printout in front of me. Most of my reading happens on the subway.
  • Be imperfect. Sure, I’d like my home to be clean all the time and my stories to be polished within an inch of their lives before I turn them in to my critique group, but it’s never going to happen.
  • Feed your soul. I do yoga to practice being mindful. I knit to create something that’s concrete and doesn’t have all the pressure attached. When I’m being good to myself, I go for walks.
  • Remember to play. I could get more done if I didn’t go dancing every couple of weeks. Sometimes I wish I could train myself not to need vegging-out time. But that stuff’s important too.

I try to remember to do all these things, but it’s hard, and I’m always looking for more ways to get more done, I mean achieve balance. Okay, maybe both. So I’m opening it up to you.

Update: For a good article on “using downtime”, see How to Publish Daily When You Have a 9-5 Job. He’s talking about blogging, but you could use his suggestions for a variety of different hats.

For more on juggling and “being imperfect”, try FlyLady. My favourite tip from her is to set a timer. She says, “You can do anything for 15 minutes.”

What’s your best tip for juggling hats (or geese) without losing your mind?

New Books: Queen’s Man and Of Myth and Memory

For my second Books & Media Monday, I’d like to highlight a couple of indie books that I’m looking forward to for various reasons.

ebook cover for Queen's Man by KD Sarge

The redhead with the smirk is Joss; the tall, dark, handsome one is Zeke.

First up, we have a cover reveal — a first look at Queen’s Man by KD Sarge. KD is one of the authors I work with when I’m wearing my editor’s hat at Turtleduck Press, an indie press running on a co-op model (more about that another day). Queen’s Man is a science fiction novel, heavy on the characters and action, and…well, head over to KD’s blog to read more. Queen’s Man is due out on April 1, but if you’re curious, a short story introducing the world and some of the characters will be up on Turtleduck Press on March 1. KD also has two other novels out through Turtleduck Press, as well as a short story in an anthology, Winter’s Night, that also features my writing.

Cover image for Of Myth and Memory by Kathryn Anthony

Anthology cover

Second, some good news from another indie author. Kathryn Anthony has just released a short story anthology, Of Myth & Memory: Fictions & Labyrinths. While I haven’t read this one yet, I recently finished her first anthology, Persephone’s Library and Other Stories, featuring a variety of post-apocalyptic short stories. They’re beautifully written, bittersweet and thought-provoking. I’m excited to read more of her work. In addition to the two anthologies, she has also released a fantasy novel and two Regency romances.

If either of these books sounds like your cup of tea, I hope you’ll consider showing their authors some love.

Question for readers: What indie books have you gotten excited about recently?