One of the most interesting things I discovered recently was that a writer’s co-op press was a thing. As a child of the 70’s who grew up idolizing the Hippie esthetic, the idea of running off and joining an artist’s commune on a farm in upstate New York was more attractive than listening to my relatives and becoming a preacher. Or a rocket scientist.
Or even President. Although, in retrospect, maybe the world needs a bisexual horse who is ever so slightly genderfluid as President right now. Horse beats a jackass every time.
But, I digress.
Siri Paulson is living the 21st Century version of my art commune dreams with Turtleduck Press. Instead of upstate New York, Turtleduck’s got all of North America to play in, thanks to the wonderful internet and print on demand technology. Turtleduck’s origin story is a lot like many recent Indy Publishers start-up — friends meet online, decide to work together to create art and business, and a small publisher is born. What makes Turtleduck different, is their dedication to maintaining the co-op mentality. Everyone wears different hats and they all share in producing their books.
I am really looking forward to introducing her to our Underground Book Review readers. Her interview may run this month or next, depending on a special surprise publisher’s schedule. We had wanted April to coincide with its anniversary, but he’s just so gosh darn busy at the moment.
In other news, the story challenge with Alexis A Hunter was fun, but I did not complete the story by the deadline. It’s OK, I am getting a story out of it. I will finish it and find a home for it. So, that goal is still good. I hope she had better luck; I haven’t spoken to her yet about it.
I went to my second Networking Event and I actually spoke this time! Networking With Style is a wonderful queer group hosted every three months. I was petrified the first time I went, shaking in ways that I never really experienced before. And some of that I can lay at the feet of the Imposter Syndrome that so many writers like me feel. I’d spoken at cons and in front of bigger crowds before, so I wasn’t expecting that! Between that first visit and this one, I realized that everywhere else, I had used flirting as a crutch. I love flirting with straight men and married woman; it makes me brave… or at least it made me feel brave.
The rest of my fear came from my deliberate decision to NOT do that at a queer networking event. My wife was certain that this would be more of a cruising event than a real networking event. So, I decided I would not flirt. Easy decision, right?
OMG! Apparently, I am only brave when I’m a creep! I had no idea what a crutch that was!!!
Mind you, I always know ‘creepiness’ was part of my charm. My empathy runs high from my mother’s side and my German side has granted me rods of darkness that I have used to reinforce my backbone from time to time. I am my father’s son and I’m still learning how not my anger drive me. I’m a work in progress and balance is not a set point.
On my first visit to Fiddleheads, I really only managed to approach Peter Frycki of Out In New Jersey. He was great and he agreed to be interviewed for my Shelfies interview column, but it took all my energy to be brave and not hide behind a mask. At the end of the night, the host, Brian, gave me so kind words and encouragement. That meant a lot.
This visit, I brought a copy of my book, The Goat: Building The Perfect Victim, and I offered it as a door prize. I spoke to a few people about it and only had one mild panic attack when I realized that I ran out of things to say and I was cut off from all the exits.
No wonder people drink at these things!
Despite my wife’s concerns that there might be cruising there, I haven’t been hit on. So, I will be braver next time. I obviously have to perfect the elevator pitch… it is hard enough to discuss the plot of The Goat with it’s bisexual, violent, homophobic narrator and an aging twink with identity issues. Well, there are some rods of darkness for you right there. No happy endings. I was asked twice if it was autobiographical and that was hard to answer because YES and NO… and it’s hard to explain with the imposter syndrome stuck in your throat.
I’m looking forward to the next event. Maybe I’ll have news about Cold Blood by then.