Tagged book group

Gail Carriger Interviews Lauren Harris About Unleash

My dear Gentle Reader,

Please join me in welcoming my dear friend Lauren Harris to the blog today for tea and a chat. Funnily enough, Lauren has already made her debut here on this blog, I talk about her as my fellow fangirl squeeing over Mercedes Lackey in this post: Behind Romancing the Inventor: Blame Mercedes Lackey

About Lauren, The Author

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
I drink both equally. Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening.

Coffee: Americanos are best, but drip coffee is what I make at home, usually freshly ground and in a French press or pour over. If not espresso, it MUST be either a dark roast or a full-bodied medium with low acidity. This is possibly the only instance in which I’d refuse a blond.

I take it with half and half or heavy cream. The only time I will get a sweetener is if I get an iced coffee, in which case I add two pumps of either vanilla or toffee nut. Iced drinks are rare for me, though. I like hot drinks.

There are very few exceptions to my coffee rule, one being if there are no other hot drinks available or the only other hot drink available has “Liptons” or “Luzianne” in the name. I live in the South, so this happens more often than one might hope. As the quality of drinks go down, so do my coffee standards. I’m usually not so much of a snob that I would rather go without.

Tea: Ceylon or Assam-based black teas. Much to Gail’s distress, I still take sugar in my black tea, along with milk. Favorites are English Breakfast, Earl Gray (someone get Gail the smelling salts), and Chai. Twinings is the favorite, loose leaf when I can get it. I’m also not mad at green tea or mugicha. You can’t live in Asia for any length of time and not get a taste for it. White tea can scamper off to whatever dark, flavorless hole it came from.

[Gail: I have tried my dears. I have tried.]

Describe your personal style for author appearances.
It depends on whether the appearance is at a convention or elsewhere. Usually, it’s at a convention, in which case, one might encounter me in street clothes (usually edgy or casual), or some manner of corset. Sometimes both!

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?
Notebooks! I still like to write longhand. RSIs from work are making this more difficult, but it’s still one of my favorite ways to start books. For some reason, it helps me to tap into the characters and the world more deeply. I’m sure it’s a psychological trick of some kind, but I don’t care. Most of my beginnings and some of the more difficult scenes tend to be written in notebooks first.

If you drive, what do you drive?
I drive a gunmetal gray Prius C named Padfoot.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)
Chocolate in sugar cone. How is this a question?
[Gail: Lauren is judged to be entirely sane. Except that she questions my question.]

What’s most likely to make you laugh?
A truly clever play on words. My roommate informs me that my most “satisfied” sounding laugh is when *I* make a truly clever pun.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?
Very partial to Vodka Collins, Cape Cod, Moscow Mule, and Mojitos. Sangria and red wine is also an option. Absolute nos are: anything with pineapple juice, tequila, absinthe, or jaegermeister. I will make an angry bunny face.

 

Lauren was raised by an impulsive furniture mover and an itinerant TV News professional in a string of homes up and down the East Coast of the United States. Eventually settling (sort of) in Raleigh, NC, Lauren befriended a band of whimsical nerds who found themselves de-facto beta readers for her scribblings.

After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she studied English and Classics, Lauren moved to Tokyo, Japan for three years. While there, she studied Japanese, taught English, and fell in love with the hot drink section in the vending machines.

Now, Lauren balances a day-job of Cardiac Ultrasound with her passion for writing and other creative pursuits. She is the author of The Millroad Academy Exorcists novella series and an Assistant Editor at Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. Her narration and voice acting can be heard on Audible.com, EscapePod, and various short fiction podcasts.

About Lauren’s book: Unleash!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?
If possible, Korean bulgogi. Keep those iron levels up for spellcasting.

What form does evil take within its pages?
Sinister Scottish Sanguimancer. Also, Sorcerers. A more esoteric evil is absolutism.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?
The cute Korean love interest because I had the power to make him an excellent kisser, so I did. Also, he is mischievous and funny and looks like Lee Minho in my head.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?
Classics was one of my areas of study in school, so I am partial to the Bronze Age, but I’m also a big fan of the Middle Ages. Most of my high fantasy stories are set in some analog of our 600 -1600 ACE.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?
Said sinister Scottish Sanguimancer, because he’s the reason my poor heroine has had such a terrible life. She’s been magically enslaved to his human trafficking ring since she was three years old.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?
The most fun parts for ME were the big disasters. I like to let people kiss and then have everything explode. Sometimes literally.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?
Freshly sharpened pencils. Our heroine is an artist, and that slight tinge of blood scent to hot graphite feels suitable.

Unleash by Lauren Harris

Orphaned. Hunted. Pissed as hell.

Helena Martin doesn’t know who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet or the gang-lord master who used her mother as a shield. It’s not the price she expected for escaping magical slavery, nor is the unstable power now pulsing in her veins.

Caught between her former master’s hunters and the Guild Sorcerers determined to kill them, she finds a safe haven at a dog rescue willing to take in a different kind of stray. But Helena’s newly-unleashed power is a beacon for her enemies. And they’re threatening the first place she’s ever thought of as home.

[Incidentally Lauren and I share a cover art designer, Starla.]

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    Status: Battling ACX. (AKA Audible/Amazon)
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

UP NEXT

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Fatigue Dress, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888
American,
Commercial color lithograph

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lord Akeldama nick names from Kelly Schneider‎ via the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

World seems a big dumb at the moment, so no smart links to offer. You guys have any for me? Something interesting about tea or octopuses or the like?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

~ Somerset Maugham

Book News:

Heartless Shelf in Gail’s Office

Quote of the Day:

“I often feel sorry for people who don’t read good books; they are missing a chance to lead an extra life.”

~ Scott Corbett

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Coop de Book Review ~ Brother’s Ruin

I know this is a book review, Gentle Reader, but I hope you will forgive me if I do it with my author hat on.

Which is a very floofy hat, mind you.

One of the things I like most about Brother’s Ruin is the way Em layers in her tension points. As we open the book we see two characters standing still in a sea of humanity. Then we learn the first tension point: our heroine,Charlotte, is an artist trying to make it in a man’s world. Then we get the second: the magi stealing children. Then we learn her beloved brother is ill. And then after we return to the comparative safety of home, the punch of a father’s mounting debt.

Now we know Charlotte is weighed down by many burdens: disenfranchisement, secrecy, fear, grief, and financial hardship. These are all identifiable things to most readers, we have all suffered fear and sickness, financial insecurity and societal dismissal as a result of age, sex, gender, personal preferences, or race. (Well, most SF/F readers have.) This makes Charlotte very sympathetic as a character and us, as readers, very invested in seeing her climb her way out of this depressive cess-pit in which she finds herself.

All that in the first 20% of the novella!

As the final straw we see Charlotte’s attempt at her own salvation, an inappropriate but fiscally logical marriage. The modern eye sees this as a flawed choice from the get go, because we (as readers) are trained to prefer our heroine to solve her own problems through strength of ability, not marriage. So we hope this match fails.

At this juncture when the magi appear, Charlotte is then driven into her adventure (heeds the call, if you would).

I’m not going to review further because to do so would give things away, and this is, not really much of a review. Ah well, more me admiring a most excellent set up and highly skilled author. It happens, sometimes I’m more author than reader. I do hope that you, as readers, also enjoyed this book.

Want more?

Well, Em promises more in this series, which I do hope materializes in the meantime…

If you enjoyed this book and are interested in something similar in style, if not exactly the same, I suggest giving Jordan Hawk’s Hex series a try. You can begin with her $0.99 short story to see if you like the world, The 13th Hex. There are two books and another short that follow.

This Month’s Book Pick

Radiance by Grace Draven

~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Formatting
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr Walking dress, 1900, Europe

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Octopus Shelf In Office

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why the Octopus Lost Its Shell

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Things You Don’t Know About Authors on Book Tour

Book News:

Running now!

Quote of the Day:

“Writers have no real area of expertise. They are merely generalists with a highly inflamed sense of punctuation.”

~ Lorrie Moore

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


What Does Gail Carriger Read? (In which I prove that as a reader I’m an unreliable narrator)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Over on Goodreads, Gentle Reader, Theron asked me the following question, and I had such a long answer I decided I should turn it into a blog post.

He asked:

Other than your own works, what are some of your favorite steampunk novels?

 

Here is my answer, plus bonus burbling.

Well, they are both gaslight fantasy rather than steampunk but I love Sorcery & Cecelia and Brother’s Ruin. I actually don’t read as much within steampunk as I could, because I’m frightened of having my voice colored by someone else’s prose, or of being accused of becoming derivative. (Want more stuff like mine, here’s my post on While You Are Waiting ~ Books To Read While Gail Types.)

What other genres do you prefer reading?

I’m a voracious reader and tend to read a wide range of commercial genres (mostly sci-fi, fantasy, & romance). I have a propensity to binge for months on one sub-genre and then move on to something else. I am also one of those readers who finds an author she likes and then will read anything by that author, even if it’s not something I’d normally go for. I have a book group via my fan group on Goodreads where I pick one book a month and we all read and talk about it together. Also I tend to recommend books that I’ve loved when they go on sale via my newsletter, The Chirrup.

I prefer light-hearted and comedic over dark. Partly because humor is harder to write, and I think resorting to angst is all too often the author being lazy or immature. Of course, I stumble upon exceptions, but usually my weird set of codified no-goes (see below) leaves me with a healthy stack of to reads and not enough time to read them. So I’m inclined to narrow my taste, not broaden it.

I’m also a non-completest. Which is to say, if the book doesn’t grab me within the first couple of chapters then I’ll drop it without further thought. This is one of the reasons I rarely judge contests etc… I don’t feel capable of committing to reading something from start to finish. If I don’t like it, I stop. Life’s too short to read a book that doesn’t entertain me.

Specifically?

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of m/m urban fantasy (UF), paranormal romance (PNR), or fantasy (not just gay but LBTQ too, although that’s harder to find). I love gay romantic sci-fi, but it’s practically non-existent. (I may have to write my own some day.)

I also love space opera, alt-history non-european based fantasy, military sci-fi, even some atmospheric fantasy. But only if it has a female, gay, or non-binary main character. I prefer character-driven over concept-driven, shorter over longer, and I’m not wild about multiple POVs. Which rules out a lot of hard sci-fi and epic fantasy.

I read a lot of YA. I enjoy the pacing, although I’m not really into YA urban fantasy/PNR or dystopian. I like a good YA sci-fi, although they are difficult to find. I’ll read darn near anything if it’s a woman disguising herself as a man to subvert the patriarchy, but if it’s too much hero’s journey or too predictable (often the same thing) I scream and throw the book across the room. I demand a happy ending, or at least that the author sticks the landing.

Now, let me stress that this is my taste. It’s like my mad love of marmite, or my disgust with brussels sprouts. It doesn’t reflect on your own taste, as a reader, and shouldn’t affect what you write, as an author. Please note that many of the most commercially successful books of the past decade would go straight into Gail’s DO NOT READ pile.

I guess that in reading I’m an utterly unreliable narrator. I’m full of illogical will and unsubstantiated opinion.

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: With Proofreader
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 Beautiful Late Victorian_Edwardian dress, hat and umbrella (Source- bnspyrd.deviantart.com)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Historical Recipes

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

What Fiction Trends Say About Us

Book News:

Between Dreams and Reality says of Prudence:

“We are easily taken by the story and I let myself be carried by the chapters. It was a nice discovery full of originality and how not to be happy to see the heroes I loved! Yes, I had a great time and I’m curious about the result and to find Rue and her friends again!”

Quote of the Day:

“The tea, once it arrived, had its customary effect—engendering comfort and loosening the tongue… no wonder tea was considered a vital weapon of espionage.”

~ Waistcoats & Weaponry

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Reading Books About Women Who Dress As Men

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello gentle reader, this is a reboot of an article that I wrote for Tor.com.

I’ve chatted many times over the years about the fact that one of my favorite tropes of all time is when a girl disguises herself as a boy for the purposes of infiltration. It’s hard to articulate why I love this concept so very much, but I do. It’s possible Shakespeare is to blame, Twelfth Night has always been my favorite of his plays.

For me, a woman fooling the patriarchy has a feeling of justified espionage. I have always loved the idea of spying but been a little turned off by its associated questionable morality. Yet these girls are disguised out of necessity, because they cannot achieve their goals any other way. A girl-disguised-as-a-boy is the ultimate outsider, trying desperately to join a group that by her very nature is ultimately impossible. She can give me voyeuristic insight into the guarded interactions of the male of the species ­– those mysterious creatures.

Mme Lefoux & Lord Akeldama Take Tea Fan Art

From a storytelling perspective, our female protagonist’s initial desperate act of subterfuge gives rise to the constant tension of possible discovery. How will friends, colleagues, and superiors react to being duped when she is found out? For the reader knows that she will, eventually, be found out. That constant stress on the character translates, at its best, to an intrinsically thrilling read.

Here I review five great books where a girl dresses as a boy or, if you prefer, a woman dresses as a man. And then I’ve added a list with more at the end.

Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

alanna-tamora-pierce

The first in the Lioness quartet; a classic epic fantasy series for young adults. Alanna wants nothing more in life than to be a knight, so she disguises herself as a boy and travels to her nation’s capital to become a palace page. Alanna is witty, stubborn, brave, and talented, but also flawed in such a way that it is all too easy to see why she conceived of this madcap plan and why she might fail.

Sword Masters by Selina Rosen

sword-masters

The story of a woman with a very particular set of skills, and some seriously dangerous secrets, who infiltrates not only a school for swordsmen but a foreign culture, in an effort to build alliances and defeat a common enemy. Disguised as a man she is forced, eventually, to marry a woman, and must face the consequences of her own lies on a personal, as well as a professional, level.

The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald

price-of-stars

The first book in a sprawling space opera trilogy. Beka fakes her own death and becomes Tarnekep, a thoroughly unpleasant space pirate, in order to unravel the twisting political coils that are tightening the noose of responsibility around her reluctant neck. Beka loves being her male alter ego, and there is a definite aspect of transgender to Beka’s personality, which is neither empathized nor criticized. When Beka is Tarnekep she is described in 3rd POV as a he, a narrative trick that forces the reader see him for what Beka also is, male. Tarnekep allows Beka access to freedom, places, people, and information she could never have as her other self. He also finds it much easier to kill. Thus we are never certain if Beka loves being Tarnekep for what he can give her, for what he is innately, or if she/he simply exists comfortably as two distinct personalities.

To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane

play-the-lady

The first book in an as yet unfinished series. It features many of the things I love about a girl playing a boy, although in this story our low class tomboy from another culture must play at being both a noble lady and a stable lad. Politics force Jenna to assume this double act, hiding her magical abilities and her manly skills. If discovered, Jenna will bring shame and destruction down upon her family, her nationality, and her entire social caste. For Jenna, the stakes are very very high indeed.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

newts-emerald

A charming take on gaslight fantasy, Nix uses the girl-disguised-as-boy trope in its more light-hearted guise. In regency times, Newt must track down a missing emerald. As it is much easier to get around alone as a mustache-wearing man, Newt dons the mustache with gusto. Hijinks and a very confused romance result.

Want more?*

And one where a boy disguises himself as a girl:

The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett (no ebook available)

Conall Feels Pretty Fan Art

* This is an ever expanding list that I refer to constantly so if you have more to suggest, please do leave a comment. Main characters only please. I haven’t read them all but I plan to!

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: With Copy Editor
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1895 The Metropolitan Museum of Art _ OMG that dress!

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

‘Dancing’ Octopus Photo Wins Underwater Photographer of the Year

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Everything You Know About Corsets Is False

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

27 Hard-Won Lessons about Writing from New York Times Bestselling Authors

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“She slid into the vampire’s main hallway. The gas was turned down, making sinister shadows out of dancing cherub statuary. Preshea became one with their devilish waltz.”

~ Poison or Protect

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Gail Interviews Emma Newman (Brother’s Ruin)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Today, Gentle Reader please give a hearty welcome to the fantastic Emma Newman!

Emma is many things: a delightful author, a fantastic narrator (I should know, she narrates my book Romancing the Inventor), a stylish dresser, a killer podcast hostess, and a fellow tea lover. I have been interviewed on her fantastic podcast, Tea & Jeopardy (which is how I learned of her gorgeous voice and fell in love with singing chickens).

So please join me in welcoming her to tea with me, on this rainy day. We’ll be talking about her and her new gaslight fantasy novella, Brother’s Ruin (which I have chosen for next month’s book group read along.)

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

First thing in the morning, in order to be able to form a coherent sentence, I require coffee with milk and two sugars (or sweeteners are fine). Once I have become functional (I am not a morning person) it’s tea (my first love) for the rest of the day, and I take that with milk.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

I design and make the clothes I wear to conventions and signings, purely because it helps me to manage massive anxiety in the lead up to the event (i.e. I can channel the terror of being in public into “ack, will I finish sewing this outfit in time, oh heavens, it’s midnight the day before!” instead). My style leans towards formal, highly structured tailoring at the top with long flowing lower halves, often drawing heavily upon a variety of historical periods ranging from early Georgian to late Victorian. The only period I can wear from the 20th century with any confidence (and comfort!) is the 1950s as I have a hourglass figure. I once joked to my husband that if one is supposed to dress for the job one wants, I seem to be aiming for low-key historical fantasy queen. The only thing I don’t have is a crown. Which is probably just as well, otherwise it would be a bit silly.

[Gail could not approve of this more if she tried. SO rare to find a fellow author who also loves to dress. I should say, I don’t have the anxiety thing. But I do stress out packing before a trip and my stress dreams are always travel related.]

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

Oh, it is a terrible mess. I try to keep my desk tidy but it ends up looking like Indiana Jones’s desk in The Last Crusade. Whenever I finish a big project I like to have a huge clear out, and just before I start a huge project I clean everything again. Over the course of writing a novel the mess slowly accumulates, as all of my brain is going into the book. So I suppose you could deduce exactly where I am in the first draft by the state of my desk. I suppose the knitted chicken tea cosy that sits on my desk sometimes (when he is not needed for his primary job) may raise an eyebrow (gift from a wonderful Tea and Jeopardy fan). The knitted alien facehugger may also cause a squeak of surprise, knitted by the same wonderful lady and given to me as a birthday present.

If you drive, what do you drive?

I drive a horribly practical and boring black Ford Focus. This is because I had to grow up and sell my extraordinarily fast and fun Fiat Coupe when I became pregnant. When I no longer need a sensible family car, I am going to get something sporty again. I love driving and fast acceleration. I’ve always wanted to try rally driving or track racing.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

I fear I am at a disadvantage, being British, as I am not entirely sure what a sugar cone is. Here in the UK, we tend to get one sort of plain cone (but we get a bajillion types of tea readily available everywhere, so I guess that is compensation). I like very fancy vanilla ice cream, the top of the range stuff where you can actually taste the vanilla. I would probably go for the sugar cone if I had the opportunity, because I love sweet things.

[Gail’s judgement: vanilla in a sugar cone means quirky, but probably not actually dangerous.]

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

I laugh often and heartily. Something absurdist usually does the trick for a hearty laugh, like Monty Python, or a particularly well placed film quote. I am allergic to any but the most subtle puns, sadly.

[Gail highly recommends the Tea & Jeopardy blooper reel. If you want to hear Emma’s gorgeous laugh.]

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

I am far from a connoisseur of alcoholic beverages, but I do love a good cocktail, one that is creamy and dangerous and contains Kahlua or Baileys, something like that. If there are no cocktails available, a sweet white wine will do.

Emma’s Bio

Emma Newman writes novels in multiple speculative fiction genres. She won the British Fantasy Society Best Short Story Award 2015 and Between Two Thorns, the first book in Emma’s Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer 2014 awards. Her science-fiction novels, Planetfall and After Atlas, are published by Roc. Emma is an audiobook narrator and also co-writes and hosts the Hugo-nominated, Alfie Award winning podcast Tea and Jeopardy which involves tea, cake, mild peril, and singing chickens. Her hobbies include dressmaking and playing RPGs. She blogs at www.enewman.co.uk and can be found as @emapocalyptic on Twitter.

About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

For Brother’s Ruin, I would recommend a cream tea. The scones should be fresh, with a spreading of jam (preferably strawberry) and then a generous dollop of clotted cream. Being Cornish, I would recommend Rodda’s clotted cream. If anyone tells you that the cream should go on before the jam, I can assure you that they are wrong (there are very few subjects that I will declare such a forceful opinion on publicly, but this is one of them). The correct ordering of jam and cream on a scone is very serious business, especially for someone who is Cornish.

[Gail entirely agrees, although her training comes from Devon, so: salted butter, then jam, then clotted cream. Because, you only live once…so far as we know.]

What form does evil take within its pages?

The same form that it takes in the present day; men filled with greed who are willing to put their own profits above the health and wellbeing of anyone else, especially the poor.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Magus Hopkins, without a shadow of a doubt. Why? Well, he is very handsome but he has hidden depths that only I know about. I confess, I developed a little bit of a crush on him whilst writing Brother’s Ruin, and its sequel. I have given myself a stern talking to about it.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your worldbuilding?

That is such a tricky question! I find so many periods fascinating and draw from them in all of my work. I do think the 1850s (Brother’s Ruin is set in an alternative 1850s London in which magic, instead of science, has driven the industrial revolution) were utterly fascinating. There had already been so much social upheaval due to the industrial revolution, which in turn had an impact on the law and social attitudes and the effective invention of our modern cities. There were massive forward strides in engineering and science alongside the brutality and horrors perpetrated by the British Empire. So many contradictions and interesting juxtapositions across all levels of society!

I am also fascinated by the tensions between the industrialists and the nobility in that period too, and that is definitely something that has directly influenced my worldbuilding for the Industrial Magic series. At that time in the real world, many of the most successful industrialists were far wealthier than the landed gentry and the political, social and legal jostling that took place at the time reflected so many aspirations and frustrations on the parts of the industrialists and the fears of the nobility.

In the Industrial Magic series, no one from the nobility has manifested magical ability, so the industrialists are the ones who hold magical power, and it is that which has driven their industrial success. I established this so that I could explore the tensions between the two groups of people writ large, so to speak. I plan to explore that more later in the series, should more novellas be commissioned. (I really hope so, as I have so many more stories to tell!)

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Hrmmm, that’s tricky, as I would dearly love to give Magus Ledbetter a solid punch to the jaw, rather than a slap. But if I was only allowed to slap him, I’d make sure it was a really good one.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

I think the part when the magi arrive to interview the heroine’s family and they all snip at each other is fun. I really enjoyed writing that part, especially the way that Magus Ainsworth refers to the others and warns the heroine about Magus Hopkins. She is a character I would like to write more about in the future too.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

I would like to say a musky, warm, vanilla laced scent, but I would be lying. It would smell of city dirt and coal dust, perhaps with a hint of freshly baked bread on the breeze; gritty, yet with an element of something homely and comforting too.

 Brother’s Ruin

The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice.

Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben’s life and their own livelihoods.

But Benjamin Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city. Brother’s Ruin is the first in a new gaslamp fantasy series by Emma Newman.

Gail’s Thoughts

As I said, I also chose this book for next month’s book group read along. I was lucky enough to get an early review copy and I really enjoyed it. I love Emma’s worldbuilding and the way the Magus system is used to explore class disparity in Victorian London, but without being in-your-face about it. A quick and enjoyable read and well worth the $3.99 price point.

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Beta read (fifth draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

VictorianTrends.com @FreeVintagePics Two young #Victorian women in #summer dresses from July 23, 1886

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

1895 map of South Africa

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Gail Carriger’s Pie Day Q&A Video & Links

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Good morning Gentle Reader, below is a video of a FB Live Q&A that I did on Pie Day. Accordingly, I talk about my favorite pie, drop some accidental teasers, get cagey about the evolution of the Parasolverse, and much more.

Links pertinent to the video in chronological order

Find this Video on:

Gail’s Youtube

Gail’s Amazon Page

Meanwhile if you want to hear me blather on about marketing, I was also on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Marketing Podcast.

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Beta read (fifth draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My Office Reading Nook

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How to Speak New World Victorian

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Amazon’s New Pre-Order Policies Give Authors More Flexibility

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“I don’t at all like knowing what people say of me behind my back. It makes me far too conceited.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Interview with Rhys Ford, Author of this Month’s Book Pick

Posted by Gail Carriger

This months book pick is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford. This is a great urban fantasy with some fast paced action, stellar world building, and lovable (if snarky) characters.

I invited Rhys round for a visit, so we could get to know her, and her book, a little better.

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Oh God, coffee. So much coffee. For brewed, I like a medium roast from Pumehana, a coffee plantation in the Ka’u District of the Big Island or Major Dickason’s blend from Peet’s. At Starbucks, a Trenta iced coffee with cream, vanilla and an add shot or two. When possible, a double Vietnamese hot or cold, I’m not picky.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

I tend to be very laid back. Teeth and hair brushed, Chucks, jeans and a comfortable t-shirt or blouse I was feeling when I got dressed that morning. Some makeup but not too crazy. Usually appearances go hand in hand with cons and a long day in comfortable clothing goes a long way in retaining sanity.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

I actually write in the living room with headphones on. The house is fairly quiet and I’ve got a bit of everything in the room. Lots of geek stuff, art ranges from a Flaming June litho to Azeazelbunny by Ursula Vernon. There’s swords that I’ve somehow ended up and a Pludwhump, also from Ursula. A couple of dog beds mostly used by the cats and a red-blond cairn terrorist at my feet.

(Gail would like to note in one of those odd twists of small world-doom Ursula is a friend of hers, and a very particular friend of her very particular friend, Mur Lafferty.  Because fandom is tiny, and the more you pro, the tinier is gets.)

If you drive, what do you drive?

I drive a black on black 1979 Pontiac Firebird with a stock 301 engine and a lovely high powered stereo to keep me company on the California freeways.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

Are you kidding me? Jesus. Hell. Um. Chocolate on a plain cone. No wait….hell. This is too hard.

(Pronouncement. Author, but entirely sane. Very good.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Something absurd. The oddest thing makes me laugh. Like Hyacinth Hippo and Ben Ali Gator dancing in Fantasia cracks me up. They’re so much in love. She is his whole life. My sense of humour tends to skew a bit dark but I love a good laugh.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

Oh that’s much easier than the ice cream. Whisky. Or Whiskey. I’m not picky.

About Rhys Ford, All Official-like

Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications. She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people

About your book: Black Dog Blues!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Beef Chow Fun dry style, char siu bao or miso ramen with fish cake and tons of shoyu egg. And perhaps a Tsing Tao beer to wash it all down. Or a Spam musubi.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Oh that’s a question. I tried to make sure no species was branded as evil or good. The world’s a grey kind of place where that’s concerned and evil is a choice. It’s not like the old school D&D where a certain species of dragons was a set alignment. If you’ve got a soul and can rub two brain cells together, you’ve got to be the one driving your own destiny. That being said, the cat’s full on wicked. Can’t be trusted. Very sketchy. I would say the evil manifesting in Black Dog Blues and really, throughout the series, are the sins Greed and Envy. There’s a lot of power mad, dark-soulled people who really view the people around them as meat.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Did I mention the cat? Newt. He needs love. Poor thing’s a scrapper. He could use a kiss on the forehead. Preferably applied while he’s firmly wrapped in a towel and from behind so he can’t latch onto a lip or nose.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

Dude, this is WORSE than the ice cream. I’d say it’s a toss up between the Edo Period in Japan and the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. I would say because both periods saw massive growth in the arts and technology but the political intrigue and machinations of clan / family heads were intriguing. A brutal, beautiful period full of pretty things and sharp teeth.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Probably Ryder. In the first book he pushes a lot because well, it’s his nature. He’s used to being in control and command but comes up against an immovable object in Kai. There’s a cultural learning curve Ryder has to go through and there’s no skipping any steps. For someone with a long life, he’s very impatient when he first meets Kai so he has to adjust his approach. Also, he carries a lot of sidhe cultural baggage that will eventually get himself killed because he won’t do X, Y or Z to defend himself.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

Oh, I have two. Pancaking the dragon or sucking egg yolk. I can say that without spoilers.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

It would probably smell of old pages, gunpowder, sulfur, cinnamon, gasoline, forests and Chinese Five Spice.

Black Dog Blues Official Blurb

Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in.

Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears. It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past.

And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.

But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.

And if you like Black Dog Blues, the second one Mad Lizard Mambo is also available.

Thank you Rhys, for stopping by. And I hope you, Gentle Reader, love Kai as much as I do.

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1883 Pierre Auguste Renoir (Fench artist, 1841-1919). Girl with a Parasol (Aline Nunes)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Emma Jane Austen (Food Reference List)

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Bra Size is a Myth

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Publishing Predictions for 2017 by agent Laurie McLean

Book News:

Alexia Polyvore Fan Art By Theamaia

Quote of the Day:

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Book Group Poll Results for 2016

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, last month I ran a poll for the book group to find out which were your favorites of 2016’s picks. Here are the results. I allowed you to pick up to 5 books. Since I can’t actually check to see if you honestly read all of them (and I didn’t require it) I’m not sure how fair the poll is, but here you go:

The question always is, with books (apart from basic statical issues) whether it was content or voice or something else you responded too as readers.

I’m not too surprised to find Sorcery & Cecilia won. It’s one of the books out there that I consider closest, in style, to my own work. Or I’d like to hope that it is. So I’m not surprised those who like my books like it. And I’m please because I feel I can continue to tell those who ask me, exactly that.

Tamora Pierce is a major voice in YA for a reason, so again, no shocker that you’d like her because few don’t. Although…

Hex Hall (which I didn’t like all that much) was higher up than I expected and the two romances (Warprize & Finders Keepers) were lower down. This makes me suspect that participants in the book group are more into YA than romance as a general rule. This might be the nature of a book group, or just a fall out of draw on Goodreads, or something else connected to my Finishing School series. Or perhaps the romances I chose (one very much Fantasy and the other very much ScFi) are not to your taste. Perhaps New Adult would work better?

So, I guess I’m saying I’m not sure what to do going forward, except pick and choose as whimsy takes me. I’m going well out of your comfort zone for the Feb pick, and diving back in (I think) for March but we shall see at the end of next year how you feel about my picks! My first book of the year A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer (review coming soon), was in part due to the fact that it keeps coming up in conversation on panels at cons. Like Gate to Women’s Country it is considered a lesser known but formative feminist work in the field. This month’s choice, Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford, is a recent urban fantasy indie read that I didn’t expect to enjoy but loved. (I can’t wait to see what you think.)

Anyway, thanks for coming along this journey with me and I hope you continue to read along.

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1880s Joseph Caraud (French artist, 1821-1905) The Red Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Bookscapes

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Roundtable on diversity in SciFi that features diverse voices, includes recommendations.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living

Book News:

Fan Art Alexia by Rebecca Nandi

Quote of the Day:

“The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


It Means Something Different in Romance

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Terminology for Romance Readers & Authors

In 2016 I shifted (slightly), Gentle Reader, and began writing more romance. All my books have romance threads, but in my first two novellas (Poison or Protect and Romancing the Inventor) I brought those threads to the forefront.

Romancing the Inventor

Delving into not just the writing but also the production end of the romance equation has been extremely enlightening, especially given my particular background (both personal and professional). Conversational lingo in the Bay Area on the subject of such things, let us just say, is a whole lot different from what a girl plops in her book description on Amazon.

For example, in conversation ’round a cafe in the Castro I’d call Poison or Protect het, or breeder, with kink lite, but that sure ain’t the correct way to go about it on Amazon.

We are talking book descriptions here people

What follows is going to be me prattling on about romance novel book descriptions, particularly those that appear on websites like Amazon, Kobo, B&N, etc… (As opposed to book cover copy, which appears in print on book jackets and is usually slightly different.)

Let me say that again, I’m talking about vocabulary and semantics in ROMANCE NOVEL BOOK DESCRIPTIONS. This means… marketing! Hooray! I’m NOT dealing with how greater society would describe the relationships presented in said books, nor the choices/terms various communities would prefer used, nor the political correctness of this situation.

What I find fascinating is the marketing aspect, not the truth. (Ain’t that how the world works these days, anyway?)

I don’t know… warning?

Look, I think this is interesting and educational and fascinating. I’m not gonna describe any acts or what-have-you. But if you’re easily offended by anything beyond plain-old heterosexual intercourse, then you might wanna not read this. Okay? Bye bye now.

Still with me?

Here we go… Bum chicha baow.

On the surface?

Romance means the emotional tenors of the relationship are front and center to the plot of the story. Pacing is going to rely on feelings. Feeeeeeeeelings, nothing more than, feeeeelllingggs…

Sweet romance probably won’t have much (if any) sex details and it’ll likely end on a wedding (or at least an engagement).

Clean romance means that it really won’t have any nookie.

Erotica means it’s all about the sexitimes. Pace is going to be driven by physical encounters and those will be described in detail.

You Probably Know This But…

A stand alone means the whole story arc finishes in one book.

Cross-over characters means there will be side and background characters shared in other books by this author, or (in some rare cases) books by other authors too.

If you come at romance having read anything else first, here’s a shocker:

The word series. The traditional definition of series means linked books with the same main character(s) and over-arching plot that are meant to be read one after another (like my Finishing School books). In romance, series is far more likely to mean a shared world with stand alone books and cross over characters that can be read in any order (like my Supernatural Society novellas).

The exception is urban fantasy and paranormal romance, which are more likely to be set up as traditional series not linked stand-alones.

Frankly, I wish there were a better word than series deployed in romance, but it seems there is no going back now.

Lets Get Deep Here: Initialisms

HEA means happily ever after.

MLM means men loving men. WLW means women loving women. These come out of personal ads from, oh hell, the 1980s or whatevs. More common these days in marketing is f/f (means female female) and m/m (means male male) romance or sex (but likely both). These terms come out of slash fan fiction.*

These sets of initialisms used in descriptions quickly let readers know exactly what kind of relationship will be taking place in the book. There are cover art markers too, but these aren’t as specific. For example, there is a lot of cross over in cover art style (see: tattooed naked male torso + dark shadows + bold title) between contemporary m/m erotica (usually two muscled alpha males, often using the “gay for you” trope) and new adult bad boy romances (het, college age, fixed by snatch trope**).

LGBTQ means Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer. An all encompassing series of letters that, when used in a romance book description, usually implies that not only the main characters will be in a queer coupling (or more) but that there will be queer supporting characters and, probably, a level of understanding about real world queer communities.

More than you ever needed to know about multiples

Menagé. OK this term can get complicated (yeah yeah). In the strictest sense of the word, menagé should mean all three are getting it on together. However, I’ve found that in romance menagé often means two dudes getting it on with one girl (and NOT the other dude). Everything stays heterosexual. (Yep, there is a whole sub-genre of brothers who share.) This kind of menagé will almost invariably involve DP (double penetration).

As opposed to: m/f/m or m/m/m or f/f/f etc… the use of a slash to describe a menagé relationship usually means all parties involved are sexually together with each other, as a proper threesome.

Poly (from polyamorous) means three or more individuals romantically involved with each other. This term is not often used in book descriptions, and when it is, it implies that emotional connections between characters will be emphasized over sexual ones.

May/December describes a large age difference between the central romantic pairing. As age difference is also a power imbalance, this can edge into either disturbing or hot (but then, most things can when romance and/or sex are involved). Of course, it is always the power struggle in romance that is truly titillating to readers.

mPreg. Oh yes. Did you know this one? It’s getting more and more common in m/m shifter romances. And yeah, it means one of the dudes gets pregnant. Don’t ask.

 

OK there you have it. Signal marker terms in the romance genre. I’m sure there are a ton more but these are the ones I found interesting and surprising.

 

* MLM versus m/m, WLW versus f/f additional thoughts. As an anthropologist, I find the use of the word women (or men) as a opposed to female (or male) interesting. Women has implications of societal role, while female is more clinical. In anthropology, these words are all tied up in concepts of gender versus biological sex.

** “fixed by snatch” I’m not a big fan of the idea that a douchnozzle dude can be reformed by penetrating the perfect pussy. Oh, I’m sorry, was that crass? Then stop writing/buying it. New Adult romance has a lot to answer for.

{Gail’s monthly read along for January is A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Developmental edit (third draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft Complete. On Lay Away.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some very unexpected gifts.
  • Competence (working title) ~ Custard Protocol Book 3
    Status: Outline
    Third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

via Oᒪᗪ ᑭᕼOTOᔕ & ᙖᗩᙅOᑎ @photosandbacon Lila Lee at the Beach

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

“I hate the treadmill.”
“I thought you hated the elliptical.”
“I hate them equally. I can’t have one thinking it’s the favourite.”

~ The Weight Of It All by N.R. Walker

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“Truth often sounds like insolence to those unprepared to hear it.”

~ Starstruck Holidays by Lia Davis, Kerry Adrienne, Jennifer Loring, Merryn Dexter, B. Leslie Tirrell

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Do Some Writers Choose to Go “Indie”?

Book News:

Women Write About Comics says:

“The magic of Romancing the Inventor is not only that it takes what should be an agonizingly taboo situation and plays it out like your average romance, but also that any reader can come and experience Gail Carriger’s world without needing to ask too many questions. Carriger is fantastic at worldbuilding; and when there are questions, she has a brief glossary in the back for terms that have not been explained.”

Quote of the Day:

“Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Gail Carriger On Plot Versus Pace ~ Or Figuring Out Why That Book Sucks

Posted by Gail Carriger

Pace is an interesting concept for readers to grasp but it’s something authors talk about all the time. It’s not the physical movement of characters through space and time within the story, nor is it the over-arching journey those characters are on (be it emotional or physical or both). That’s plot.

1. So what do you mean by pace, Miss Gail?

Pace is literally how fast readers turn the page. Pace has to do with everything from the size of the paragraphs, to sentence structure, to word choice, to when and where dialogue interrupts description. Pace involves the tone of voice in narration, introduction of new characters, encounters between characters, comedic or suspenseful moments, and revelations about feelings.

If you feel like a book is boring, or drags you down, or is work to read then either the author has a pacing issue, or you don’t like how they are handling pace. I sometimes describe such books as too chewy.

Different genres of books, and even different sub genres, tackle pace differently. Suspense has a much faster pace then a cozy mystery, for example. Contemporary romance is faster paced than historical, YA fantasy is faster than epic fantasy, and so forth. I tend to avoid epic fantasy for example because I find the pace mind numbingly slow.

A good developmental editor helps her author, first and foremost, with pacing. Usually, it’s her job to identify flaws in pacing, when reader attention drifts. A good DE may even try to determine why it’s happening. A bad one will attribute all flaws to plot.

2. Plot is still pretty darn important.

In romance, for example, the plot of the relationship is vital, from when the first kiss happens, to when each character admits to their feelings about the other (or others). And that’s because there are, indeed, elements of pacing in plotting.

You’ll hear authors sometimes refer to these key plot moments as “pulse points.” When and where a writer drops these elements, and how frequently they are deployed, dictates reader involvement and focus.

3. But still not as important as pace.

Here’s an interesting note to end on.

Did you know that when two professional authors get together to talk, they rarely tell each other is the plot of their respective novels? In fact, describing plot is a clear indication of an amateur author, or a non-writer. In some circles, it’s considered quite rude.

Why? Because plot is a whole lot less important than pace, and pace cannot be described. (That’s why this blog post is so rambly.) This is why authors tend to rely on an elevator pitch, even after decades in the game, and sitting across the table from an author friend.

{Gail’s monthly read along for January is A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Developmental edit (third draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft Complete. On Lay Away.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some very unexpected gifts.
  • Competence (working title) ~ Custard Protocol Book 3
    Status: Outline
    Third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Axel Ender (Norwegian artist, 1853-1920) In Expectation

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

A world-famous photographer captured candid pictures of people reading

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Poem: How to choose a wife, Victorian Style “If you’ve seen her drink three cups of tea”

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

4 Things Real Authors Have that Amateurs Don’t

Book News:

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“I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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