Tagged book reading

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

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.

Some of my broad quirks…

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 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. 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 love a good culture conflict misunderstanding.

I also adore 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 or first person present tense. Which rules out a lot of hard sci-fi, epic fantasy, and post-apocalyptic.

I read a lot of YA. I like the pacing, although I’m not really into YA urban fantasy/PNR or dystopian. 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 bin.

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 2017 is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

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!


Miss Carriger Recommends 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!


Coop de Book Review: Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Hello Gentle Reader! Notice I have NAMED the book group? Henceforth we shall be known as “Coop de Book” kind of a play on Carriger Pigeons.

Anycoo…

(See what I did there, huh huh?

So this last month I chose Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith which is actually an omnibus of two shorter works. I, however, always read it is one book (albeit in two parts) so that’s how I’ll approach it.

I picked it up back in 2014 from a Goodreads Recommendation List “Books to Read if You Like Tamora Pierce” or something similar. It was a great recommendation. I really enjoyed this book and have reread it a half dozen times since then.

I hope you will forgive me if I review it by comparing it to a lot of other books I love. Because, well, that’s just kinda how it works in my head. The first part really does remind me of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna or Robin McKinley’s Blue Sword, perhaps with a little Ever After movie thrown in.

“Welcome among us. What is your name?” I said.
“Jerrol, as it pleases you, my lady.” And again the bow.
“Well, it’s your name if it pleases me or not.”

The second part, however, is more reminiscent of later political YA like The Selection or To Play the Lady. In which our brash bold outrageous hero, must learn the subtle art of court manipulations.

“She couldn’t read or write, wouldn’t even sit still indoors. All summer she would disappear for a week at a time, roaming in the hills. I think she knows more about the ways of the Hill Folk than she does about what actually happens at Court.”

In a way, this is the journey my YA reading took. From these simpler takes on the hero’s journey that were common in the 80s and 90s to the politically driven stuff that owes a lot, I think, to feedback loops between YA fantasy and adult epic fantasy and space opera.

I really like this journey told in one book, it’s not often one you see with the same character. All too often they style of a YA fantasy novel is either one or the other. It’s fun to watch a character archetype of the first kind, transition to the second.

You can even see it in the cover art, where the first image above shows an old-fashioned Pierce-like cover while the second shows a more current style icon cover (made popular by Twilight and then the Hunger Games books).

One of my favorite things about this book is the romance thread. I love the secret letter writing confessional (very Ella Enchanted) and I am a huge fan of the enemies to lovers romantic trope (AKA the Pride & Prejudice model).

Shevraeth said, “I’m very much afraid it’s my fault. We met under the worst of circumstances, and we seem to have misunderstood one another to a lethal degree.”

I like how Mel’s willful misunderstanding of Shevraeth is part of her generally stubborn and blundering country-girl personality. She is wild and willfully ignorant (huh, yet again with the Lizzy Bennett comparison) and that is why she can’t and won’t understand his careful political maneuverings, and also his own reserved interest. They are good match in the end, because they are so different.

Again like Lizzy and Darcy.

And like them she refuses to do anything but call him by his last name.

In the end a fun book and a  chronic re-read for me. A good offering to YA fans of wide tastes in the fantasy genre, both old fashioned and modern. I hope you all felt the same.

Join the discussion on Goodreads.

{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 . . .

Emile Bernard (French artist, 1858-1941) Breton Girls with Parasols 1892

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Gendered Mind (podcast)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

5 Cases of a Missing Hyphen

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

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!


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

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!
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