Tagged faq

Why Authors Both Love & Hate Audiobooks – Plus Mustaches & Horrifying Confessions (Video)

Posted by Gail Carriger

In this month’s Facebook Live I talk quite a bit about audio & audiobooks, Lord Akeldama in the 1920s & the REAL reason I travel.

So without further ado, Gentle Reader, here I am waxing loquacious on…


Why Gail loves audio, why she hates it, and how it affects her as an author.

Also: mustaches, much love for Murder by the Book, some hints on future stories, and confessions of a competitive typer. Professor Braithwope’s “Whot whot?” is actually a secret author trick, Gail talks about why.

Relevant Links:


Gail blogs more about audiobooks here.

Narrators, does Gail get to pick them herself and how does she choose?

Behind the Writerbeast

Book Talk!

Find Gail’s book group, Coop de Book, on Goodreads!


Next Facebook Live

Nov 13, 4pm PST | Facebook Live! Romancing the Werewolf Launch Event!

Gail will be doing a live video Q&A on her Facebook Author Page. Come say hi and ask any burning questions about Biffy & Lyall a week after the release.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for September is The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip.}


  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 or 2019.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    The werewolves are back. There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy man mountain with a powerful crush. The pack’s started a business called Heavy Lifting. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.


The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now in all editions.
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?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Afternoon Dress 1901 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Money (But Were Afraid to Ask)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Terry Pratchett’s Unfinished Novels “Destroyed” by Steamroller

Book News:

Features Gail’s short story, Curious Case

Quote of the Day:

Hilarious Thai Salad

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

Romancing the Inventor

by Gail Carriger

Giveaway ends September 24, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



Occasional FAQ: What Would Gail Do?

Posted by Gail Carriger

Busting my tush editing right now, Gentle Reader.

However I did notice that The Door in the Hedge by Robin McKinley is on sale today for $1.99. One of my favorite short story collections ever.

So, for the today’s blog post? Here’s a quick fun one for you. Some pithy answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is your guiltiest pleasure that few know about?

Great British Bake Off, closely followed by Trader Joe’s Paneer Tikka Masala and Marie Claire magazine. Sometimes I can be found indulging in all three at once.

What hobbies do you have and how do they influence your work?

I like to sew, dance, cook, read,  and eat. All of these things sneak into my books: I’m always describing the way people move, what they are wearing, and what they consume. In Competence my characters form an on dirigible book group.

What can we find you doing to relax?

Shoe shopping, drinking tea, more shoe shopping, thinking about shoe shopping, drinking more tea – it’s a simple life.

What would happen to your writing if there was a shortage (gasp!) of tea or chocolate?

I could probably survive without the chocolate. I don’t know if I could function as a human being without tea, let alone write.

Has your sense of humor ever gotten you into trouble?

More times than I can possibly count. I always think I’m hilarious and I will open my big mouth at the most inopportune times. Booze, let me just say, does not help with this problem.

Is there a place, activity, or person that is your hiding spot?

Yes, any place where I can have a great cup of tea and be surrounded by a civilized little shade garden.

1925 Esther Borough Johnson (British artist, 1867-1949) Tea Table in the Garden

What’s one random tidbit about yourself?

I find endless comedic enjoyment in the ridiculous: the Westminster Dog Show, rubber animals, string cheese, squid, that kind of thing. Also, I’m a mean lean pinball player.

Can you tell us something about you we can’t see on your wikia?

All my inanimate objects have names (I think it’s rude to yell at them without calling them by name). Oh and I’m famous amongst my friends for a certain breakfast item called the “eggy cup.”

Would you rather be a vampire, a werewolf, or a ghost?

Werewolf, no question. I’ve always wanted to be able to change shape, even if I were forced to do it every month. Most of us ladies are quite accustomed to engaging in the emotional equivalent of a monthly shape change already, I suspect it wouldn’t be too difficult to adapt to werewolfdom.

How would you react if you were you attacked by a vampire without even a proper introduction?

Oh, I have no pride or gumption. I would run to the nearest public area yelling for the constabulary.

If you could spend one day in Victorian–era London, what would you do (and, more importantly, what would you wear)?

I should love to visit the Crystal Palace and the Great Exhibition displays housed there. I’d wear the appropriate day dress, probably something in teal velvet with hundreds of tiny buttons and a very outrageous hat. Ivy has nothing on me with regards to taste in hats. (Find out more on the Crystal Palace on my 1850s History Pinterest board.)

What are some of your favorite films?

In no particular order:

Find out more on my Recommended TV & Movies Pinterest board.

What would you like it to say on your tombstone?

“She would rather have drowned in tea.”

what it will actually say is

“She only wanted to taste it once.”

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


  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: With Copy Editor
    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 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?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1888 Charles Courtney Curran – Lotus Lilies via history-of-fashion

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

All the colors people purchased this t-shirt in from my store just after it was announced. You ladies & gentlemen are the best!

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

High Street, Exeter, Devon, England, ca. 1895

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Three Award-Winning Romance Novelists Discuss Their Craft

Book News:

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Marketing Podcast: Transitioning from Traditional Publishing to a Hybrid Career with Gail Carriger

Quote of the Day:

“There are lots worse curses to have, but she writes them SO SLOWLY, and I read them SO FAST!”

~ Overheard at Borderlands Books in San Francisco

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

Video of Gail’s Most Recent Q&A

Posted by Gail Carriger


Welcome, Gentle reader!

Here is the youtube video of the recent Q&A session I ran on Facebook Live.

I’m reading the questions as they are posted in comments, that’s what there are occasional pauses while I make a funny face.

Links vital to the video:

Also I talk about:

Authors/books mentioned & recommended:

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



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?

Romancing the Inventor made this list of “Best Books of 2016: A Totally Arbitrary List


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Ephemeral Elegance @drapedinhistory Flower show and garden party dresses from May 1884

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

8 Ways to Read (a Lot) More Books This Year

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

M. A. Kropp says of Prudence:

“Prudence is just as silly and wonderful as any of the original series.”

Book News:

Via Carina “I shield in the name of fashion. I accessorize for one and for all.”

Quote of the Day:

“After toasting, muffins should be crisp; crumpets, soft and woolly. It is like eating a bit of blanket soaked in butter.”

~ Victorian Etiquette

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

Occasional FAQ: The Ideas Behind The Parasolverse

Posted by Gail Carriger

Gentle Reader, I frequently get repeat questions at Q&A sessions. I’ve taken to answering them here on the blog for your edification. Without further ado…

What’s the name of your universe?

I’ve officially started calling it the Parasolverse.

How did you come up with the idea?

The simple fact is: this was what I wanted to read. I like steampunk but it tends to be a little too dark and riddled with technobabble for me. I enjoy urban fantasy but am not wild about a modern setting. So I thought I might just combine the two, and then shake it up with a jot of romance and a whole lot of comedy.

Then I started thinking about what kind of world could accommodate all these different elements. I’m familiar with the Victorian era and I find it a rich source of amusement in and of itself. Those ridiculous fashions and that obsession with etiquette seem the perfect time period to drop in vampires (dictating such things) and werewolves (chaffing against them) not to mention steam technology. It seemed to me that what comedy I couldn’t supply with plot and character, an alternate Victorian London could provide simply by being itself.

So where did you go from there?

After deciding on a setting, I started idly toying with the idea of how a person would become undead. After all, if vampires and werewolves are bouncing about, what’s to keep them from turning everyone supernatural? There must be biological procreation controls in place on an apex predator.

Taking into account what I knew of Victorian scientific theory, I hypothesized that an excess of soul, found in only a few people might account for bite survival rates. This led me to investigate the measuring of the soul (which an American scientist actually tried to do in the late 1800s). This, in turn, lead to the idea that if some people had too much soul there should be others who had too little, or none at all. And these people could act as nullifiers to supernatural abilities. Thus Alexia and the concept of preternaturals was born.

Want to know more?

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


  • 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.


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?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1880 fashions, summer dress

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A 5-minute Guide to the House of Worth

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Does the Epistolary Novel Still Have a Place in Modern Literature?

Book News:

Fan Art Alexia Maccon by Rohan Elf

Quote of the Day:

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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

Using WordPress Plugin Redirection For Evergreen Universal Links

Posted by Gail Carriger

This is one of those I searched the web and couldn’t find the answer. Then figured out how to do it, and feel like I must pay it forward to save other authors the pain and agony of trying to figure it out. It may not apply to you, Gentle Reader, for which I appologize.

This post only applies to she who has a website on the WordPress platform.

Other options, why you might wish/not wish to use this method, how to devise a system for your links, and so forth, can be found on Carolyn Jewel’s most excellent blog post:

Evergreening Your Links

You might want to read that first. That post is why I felt compelled to write this one.

Other caveats:

  • Initiate at your own risk. I understand that plugins can make your site more virus vulnerable.
  • I am a technophobe ignoramus numb-nuts.
  • My method might not be ideal for you.
  • This post might be out of date, if read after December 2016.
  • Blah blah blah.

Still with me?

1. Go to your WordPress plugin dashboard.

1. WordPress Plugin

Click Add New.

Search, download and install, Redirection.

2. Scroll through your list of plugins to find Redirection.

If not activated. Activate.

2. WordPress Plugin Redirection

3. Click Settings underneath the name “Redirection”


3. WOrdpress Plugin Redirection Settings

If this is your first time using Redirection then you need to SET UP GROUPS. Redirection will open for you under the Options tab. You need to click on the Groups tab.

4. Create at least one Group

Why? Because without a group you will get an error message. My groups are my series, and various other categories intuitive to me. Here’s an example for some of my groups.

wordpress plugin redirection groups

Create a group/groups that works for you. Mainly you will need this to sort and find your redirects later in case you want to change them. So think in terms of intuitive categories of links you might want to have short URLs for. As an example, I have a couple FAQ blog posts I am always pointing people to, so I’ve set up redirects for those under the Group “FAQ Blog”.

5. Create your first redirect

Click on Redirects.

At the bottom will be Add new redirection



it will read http://nameofyourwordpresssite.com/yournewcode

Let’s say I want a redirect for this blog post. I might name it something like:


Now, if you are using this to evergreen your book links you’ll need to come up with an easy sorting system. Carolyn tells you how to do that. An example for me would be:

Link to buy Soulless on Amazon. Soulless is the first in the Parasol Protectorate series.


pps_a means “Parasol Protectorate Soulless on Amazon.” Go head, try it. I’ll wait. ppc_k, for example, would be the second book, Changeless, on Kobo. That’s my system, you use whatever works for you.


Ok so that is the Source URL

In the bottom box you put the Target URL.

That’s the page you want the link to actually go to.

The example for Soulless to Amazon above it goes to: https://www.amazon.com/Soulless-Parasol-Protectorate-Book-1-ebook/dp/B002NPCJ3G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1477958676&sr=1-2&keywords=soulless&linkCode=ll1&tag=authgailcarr-20&linkId=f72ab91bb0e1c17e6afca24f9ed2d100

Can you see why I might want to shorten it?

Using the drop down you assign it to the correct Group, whatever it may be.

Leave the other settings (Match & Action) as is (you can change them later if needed) standard setting is Match: URL only & Action: Redirect to URL & Regular expression: [unchecked]

Click Add Redirection.

You can test it out.

If it’s temporary, you can change the setting to a 307 instead of a 301, but that can be changed later, no mater what assignment. Don’t fret.

6. How to fix?

All you do is find your new redirect, click on the setting icon (the little gear) below it, and fix whatever needs fixing. Here’s what the above example looks like:

redirection settings

You see how the Source URL got shortened because it is native to my WordPress site? You want that.

That’s it.

No go forth and redirect away!

Like this post, find it helpful?

Support the author by buying her stuff. Here’s a fun one. (Yerp, that’s a redirect.)

Like the Redirection plugin?

It’s free to use but expensive to make, throw them a dollar or two. You can do it via the plugin, under the Support tab.


Now aren’t you cool?


Yours, Gail

P.S. If you have further tips on using Redirection for Evergreening/Universal Links  you can feel free to leave them in the comments. However, I’m not going to trouble shoot or be your tech support. I already have a set of parents for that.

Commenters should feel free to help each other. Be nice, be a community, be kind, and have fun. When in doubt, there’s champagne or chocolate. Solves most of my problems.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.}


  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft done. Resting before second 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 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?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1870s, Japan via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

1870s, Japan via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My Friend

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

1893 Shangani Last Stand

1893 Shangani Last Stand


Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

11 Legendary Literary Hoaxes

Book News:

Podcast Discussion of the Lesbian Talk Show, starts: 21:40 End: ~30:20

Quote of the Day:

“The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
~ G.K. Chesterton

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

NaNoWriMo Q&A With Gail Carriger

Posted by Gail Carriger

This post spawned off of a forum discussion last year, Gentle Reader. During NaNoWriMo I usually get an influx of questions on places like Goodreads regarding the craft of writing. I’m happy to answer them, although I don’t consider teaching about writing my forté. (Here is a good post on NaNoWriMo for those who’ve no idea what I’m on about.) So I puttered about and pulled together some interview questions that I felt might help the baby-booking NaNoWriMo-er.

I hope that you are interested, Gentle Reader.

How do you break down your book into chapters? 

My chapters are usually around 6k words long or 10 pages, for the novel length Parasol Protectorate and Custard Protocol series. However, it’s more like 4k for the Finishing School YA stuff and novellas. If I were intending my 50k NaNoWriMo project to resolve at 50k, then I’d likely go with a 4k/chapter length. And yes, you do need to get comfortable with thinking about your book in terms of word count, not page count. In the internet age, page count is too flexible.

Professionally speaking?

On deadline, 6k is perfect for me as it’s about one week of writing/rereading. Also, that works out to 16 chapters, (plus any starting bits or epilogues), giving me a 96k book. I like to stay under 100k, so that works for me. Plus, 16 feels like a nice satisfying number. Of course, a novel rarely actually comes out that tidy. But I’m optimistic.

“Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards.”
~ Robert A. Heinlein

What makes you decide to end a chapter and break flow?

Flow breakdown is a consequence of pace, climax, and tension. Usually, it’s something like: 8 chapters end on a cliff hanger, 6 chapters end on an up note, 2 end on a downer. These are intermixed with each other and are a result of my genre, author voice, comedic bent, and style. Someone who writes horror, or suspense, or dark epics for example, would make different choices.

Gail Carriger Poof Pass Tea Cat

How do you discipline yourself to write?

I use shameless bribery: cup of tea if I finish the chapter, sushi every 25k, new shoes when I finish the first draft. I also punish myself. If I haven’t made my word count I can’t watch TV. Not even GBBO.

“You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.”
~ William Gibson

How do you make your writing funny?

Mostly I take ridiculous characters and put them into absurd situations. I don’t know about you, but the times I find myself laughing the most are when I’m chatting with my friends. So, I use friends ruthlessly as inspiration. My other tactic is when something comes up in the plot, I ask myself not “what would my character do next?” but “what is the most bizarre solution to this problem?” Sometimes this backfires on me in a “Douglas Adams kind of way” in which case I have to switch tactics and ask myself “what would PG Wodehouse do?”

Other ways to add humor?

There are intrinsically funny words, situations, and characters – so throwing any one of those into a scene always helps. I watch and read a lot of comedy, and I’m always alert to funny things around me. I’ve developed an inconvenient tendency to step back while reading, watching, or talking to ask myself, “Why was that funny?” I don’t necessarily copy the occurrence, but I do file it away as technique. I have an addiction to bad puns and ludicrous analogies, so sometimes I go overboard.

Here’s a great article on ways to write humor.

Three Tips for Collecting a Wealth of Humorous Material from Almost An Author

“My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip.”
~ Elmore Leonard

That’s all I have for now. Enjoy writing dear NoNoWriMo-ers, and rememebr my old adage?

Don’t forget the funny!

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}


  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Rough draft completed. Lay away this month. First pass red through starts in December.
    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 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?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Fashion plate, 1878, England via shewhosorshipscarlin tumnblr

Fashion plate, 1878, England via shewhosorshipscarlin tumnblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Victorian Printing Press, New Zealand

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Gail Carriger's Office Writing SAS

Gail Carriger’s Office Writing SAS

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“Tea has been one of saviors of mankind. I verily believe that, but for the introduction of tea and coffee, Europe might have drunk itself to death.”
~ Sir James Crichton-Browne

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

Occasional FAQ ~ Things Gail Collects

Posted by Gail Carriger


Things Gail Collects

  • Octopus ephemera
  • Shoes (specifically peep toes & wingtips)
  • Demitasse teacups
  • Baedeker’s, Terry’s, Baddeley’s, and Galignani’s travel guides printed prior to 1900
  • Ideas for making decorative canapés
  • Recipes for cakes that can be made with only a food processor

Information Gail Collects

  • Mythology from cultures and times her characters might visit
  • Images of vintage corsets
  • Anything about real historical female warriors
  • Custard recipes
  • Old Victorian menus

Proofs have arrived

Lilliput is excited about it.

{Gail’s monthly read along for February is Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper Book 1 by Tamora Pierce.} Review might be a little late, compressed edit and proof pass deadline is really killing me. 


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1857 shewhoworshipscarlin-tumblr Fashion plate, 1857, Philippines.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  


  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Proof pass. Releases July 19, 2016 in print & eBook to US.
  • Poison or Protect ~ A Delightfully Deadly Novella. Reworking & trimming. Release date to come. Gail’s first foray into hybrid land, featuring a several-times widowed Preshea and the gentle Scottish captain who could change everything.

Gail Carriger’s Scribbles! 

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (July 19, 2016)

 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;
The Curious Case (featuring Alessandro Tarabotti)

Book News:
Books and Knitting says of the Finishing School series:
“These books are fantastic. Gail Carriger really knows how to create illustrious adventures with humor and action. Really, in my opinion, these books are never dull, a lot due to the great writing style Carriger has.”

Quote of the Day:
“It’s so beautifully arranged on the plate – you know someone’s fingers have been all over it.”
~ Julia Child

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!
Gail on Facebook & Twitter & Goodreads & Tumblr.
Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!

Jinn & Juice Book Review

Posted by Gail Carriger


Before we start this month’s review, next month’s book pick is Manners & Mutiny. Why? Because, it’s my book club and that’s my book. Wha ha ha ha! And because I’m on tour and am not sure how much time I’ll have to read. At least this way I know that I’m pretty darn familiar with the story… at least, I certainly hope that I am – I wrote it.

To that end, I am well aware that not many can make my launch events. So if you have a burning question for me, I’ll be doing an online Q&A as a Facebook event on November 2 (the day before release) from 2p-6p Pacific. It’s a total experiment and I hope it works out.

Now on to the book review portion of our show…

October’s book was Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler. I enjoyed this read. It’s very much what I think of as classic urban fantasy. By which I mean: lots of fun side characters, pithy remarks, witty banter, scenes full of action, and a nice thread of romance.

I do love this cover. The colors!

“My face may only launch a few dozen ships, but my tongue can easily launch a few hundred. And that doesn’t even take into account what I can do with it when I’m not talking.”

I liked the different take on an urban fantasy world building, although I found some of the info-dumping a bit much. I enjoyed the myth of Magi and Jinn, and the nuances of node magic and levels of magical creatures. However, there were certainly sections where I skim read long paragraphs of exposition. There also seemed to be a lot of rule-setting-up, and then exceptions to that rule. All Jinn are like this, except Lyla and the Jinn who made her. All Jinn get sick with the Node, except Lyla. I struggle with this kind of thing myself as an author. For example, I am well aware that in the Parasol Protectorate (SPOILER AHEAD) I say how hard it is to survive becoming a werewolf, and then any characters shown being bitten successfully survive the bite. This is something many of us urban fantasy writers struggle with partly because one of the tropes of this genre is a main character who is exceptional. Exceptional is the perilous edge of Mary Sue.

“While very much in shape and very much a dancer, I was a belly dancer. Which meant I was built for comfort, not for speed.”

I also have a tiny quibble with the main character herself. It was simply that we are told how old Lyla is but I just never really felt she was that old. Her emotional maturity was certainly questionable. I suppose if most of her sexual experience with Magi is abusive one can understand her inability to see a nice guy when he finally is there before her. I have friends like that, always attracted to the dominant bad guy. But they are usually in their twenties… or self destructive… or both. However, this was a minor quibble because Gail the writer couldn’t figure out what would make her feel older to Gail the reader.

“She made a sound like a jet engine roaring, and I realized it was the troll version of a sniffle.”

indypendent-thinking-tumblr Denise Poiret – photo taken by Paul Poiret

“You’re a fox, Aki. You eat garbage.” Rachel said it before I could. 
“Only delicious garbage,” he said, clearly affronted.

All in all, I felt like the places where this book was particularly successful was with the Jinn as a magical creature, with the romance (thanks for not making it a triangle!), and where Nicole is playing with the light-hearted fun side of urban fantasy. I do feel that it could have been a great stand-alone book and for me might’ve been stronger that way. I would’ve liked to see the story end about six pages before it did, with the successful defeat of the enemy and Lyla achieving her humanity. We could have even had a nice sex scene at the end to finish mattress off. I understand, however, from a business perspective that urban fantasy series are industry standard.

“…was wearing tight jeans and this weird leather vest thing with a lot of pockets that I’d had for ages. I didn’t actually have much in the pockets, but knowing I could put stuff in them made me feel organized and proactive.”

On a total side note: this is like the fifth time Pittsburgh has come up in my life in a significant way in the last week. I think the world is trying to tell me to visit. 

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1920 Bathing beauty with a giant parasol vi fuckyeahmordernflapper tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
A Baby Octopus to Delight Us All

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Five Reasons Tea is Good for Us

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
The Best Ways to Deal with Criticism


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order!
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working second draft.

Gail Carriger’s Books! 

 The Finishing School Series (1850s ~ completed)
1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies,
3 Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny

The Parasol Protectorate Series (1870s ~ completed)
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless

 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (forthcoming)

Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels (1870s)
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
Some love from Barnes & Nobel nook for yours truly. 

Quote of the Day:
Neal threw open his arms as if to embrace his now-empty chambers. “What shall I do with all this space in the evenings?” he inquired airily, waving Kel out ahead of him. “Plant a garden, perhaps, begin my eagerly awaited career in sculpting—”
~ Tamora Pierce, Page: Book 2 of the Protector of the Small Quartet

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Why is writing a book so darn time consuming? Occasional FAQ

Posted by Gail Carriger


I get one particular question a lot, Gentle Reader. And I have sort of answered it in the past in different forms. What’s my daily work schedule like? How do I write? What’s the professional side of being a writer like? But I realized recently what I never really addressed was:

Why is writing a novel so darn time consuming?

So here it is, for me, what the manuscript process is like from soup to nuts. (Or as the Victorian’s have it: from sherry to brandy.) I tend not to call it a book until it is printed. FYI in publishing it’s occasionally referred to as a property.


Basically I sit down with my story bible full of midnight (and mid shower) notes, clippings, research thoughts on characters, courses of inspiration and I imagine a backbone. This includes plot points, romances elements, revelations, passage of time, conversations, gatherings, action sequences, and a balance of single person, dual person, and multi-person scenes.

This involved a lot of staring into space and takes me about a week.

Rough Draft Stage

For me this is by far the hardest part of the writing process, squeezing the words out. I write 2000 new words every work day. First I re-read whatever I wrote the day before (and only that, no more) and do a quick proof, amend various repetitions, edit a little, rediscover my voice. Then I lay down new words. I am allowed to write far future scenes and work on the outline as needed but otherwise I must keep flow. I use TK in the text for points requiring research.

This stage takes 2-4 months.

After this, I like to let it sit for at least a week, ideally two. (In the good old days it was a month, but now, deadlines make that impossible.)

First Draft Stage

This stage I go through and fix all the TKs. I usually have research, consistency checks, as well as pickup editing from sections that didn’t get caught on the stage-by-stage read through. I try to catch repeated information, plot holes, and so forth. Rarely do I have major rewrites but I usually have at least one page of notes to check through from the beginning to the end. These include consistency checks, new foreshadows, and other changes that were dependent on later revelations I didn’t know about in the outline. This stage I am either attempting to cut 10-20 thousand words, or add in about that many.

This takes 2-3 weeks.

Second Draft Stage

I do a full spell check and proof for any errors I can spot. I fix any remaining TKs and double check notes made during the previous passes. This is mainly a read through pass.

This can be bundled in with the previous pass and takes 2-3 weeks.

Third – Fifth Drafts

This is when I involve my beta readers. If I have my ducks in order,  I have time to print out the manuscript and pass it to each reader at a time. They read for content (that is, not interested in typos and so forth) and consistency. They tell me if my characters are consistent, illuminate plots holes, indicate what’s funny and what isn’t working. If I am lucky it makes it to all three but it can be just one or two of them as they have busy lives. During this time I take a break from the project, unless one of the betas wants to have a discussion. Sometimes I am on a tight deadline and this is the draft that has also gone to my editor.

This takes 1 – 2 months, during which time I am usually traveling of editing or writing something else. I prefer not to be writing a new project in the middle of editing an old one, but often I don’t have a choice.

Sixth Draft

I go over the edits from my betas, change things I feel are necessary and make any alterations I thought up while I was on break from the project. That’s why I like breaks so much, the back of my brain gets a chance to percolate. My beta readers often catch my writer’s ticks and my historical flaws in word choice etc, so there is a lot of find/replace at this stage wards (change to ward), figured (changed to determined), just (changed to simply), and rather (delete too many) to name but a few.

Ideally I turn it in to my editor by my deadline. This is what I mean when I say “on deadline.” There are many other deadlines during this process but this is the big one.

This draft takes about a week and should tell you that at least three sets of eyes and five drafts have passed before my editor even gets the manuscript.

Seventh Draft

My editor can take from two weeks to a month to turn the manuscript around and send it back to me. If timing is good, I’m on book tour for the previous book (or two) while this is happening. She sends it back to me with an edit letter noting all the things that need fixing, comments in the margins, and typos fixed. Usually, I’m supposed to turn it back around in 2 weeks.

Eighth Draft

If the edits are too much I ask for an extension. Often I have a long phone conversation with my editor about possible solutions to the problems she has identified. The editor spots the problem but the author has to find a solution. I can often see several approaches and I like to run the options by my editor, so she understands resulting implications or each possible change. For example: I could remove this character but he is used for comedy in this scene, foreshadow in this scene, and love interest for x character. So how about I just combine him with this character instead? Or I can change the plot here?

Together we decide on the approach. Then I do the fixes and turn it back in. Takes from 2 weeks to 2 months. For two of my books it took longer (Blameless & Prudence.)

Ninth – Tenth Draft

This is usually when I get line edits. Unless the editor didn’t like some of my fixing in which case there’s one more rewrite pass. Line edits means typos, sentence structure, word choice and so forth. These take a week or two.

After that the draft process is done and the book goes into production.

Copy Edit Pass

Used to be that this was a paper manuscript but now it’s done electronically. The manuscript has been handed off to a professional copy editor who looks for line-by-line errors but also consistency (internally and compared to previous books), whether I obey house rules for language and grammar (set by the publisher), and other issues. There are usually questions in the margins for me to answer. Often copy editors will change the text to be grammatically accurate without consideration of the author’s voice, or whether the sentence is dialogue. (In case you didn’t know, we don’t speak the grammar same as we writes it.) When authors are complaining about copy editors (and we often are) this is usually why. I try to keep an open mind. After all, they are copy editors, it’s their job to try to catch everything. I just write STET in the margin. Often, however, it’s at this stage I realize if I am having grave errors of communication with a reader who doesn’t ordinarily read SF/F. This kind of error has to be fixed. Usually, an author has the same copy editor (and also translator) for a whole series.

I like to read my manuscript out loud to an empty room at this stage, it helps me with tone and word repetition and it activates a different part of my brain. This is my last chance to catch any major errors. It also can be rather hilarious. Copy edits are usually a 2 week turn around.

Proof Pass

Sometimes also called the type set pass, or galley stage, this is the final stage of the manuscript process. These are still mailed in. Often there is a tight turn around of a week or less and the document is overnighted. This is one of the hardest stages. The book now looks the way it will when printed and I have to comb through to see if any of my STETs from the copy edits have been ignored. Or any lines that have been dropped. This is hard to catch buried in 75-120,000 words. Also I often see errors, in the new lay out, that I didn’t in previous passes. But I can only change 10% of the manuscript. Sometimes I push the limit because I am a perfectionist, but it’s a bother (and expense) for the publishing house so I try hard not to.

So there you have it. This is just dealing with the words inside the book (as opposed to cover copy, blurb, online promo, and so forth which I often also proof and review).

Part of what makes this time consuming is each stage is interrupted by other business, events, illness, life. When that happens it can take me a day or two to get back into the groove, rediscover my voice, and that effects consistency. I have a whole blog post about what’s going on when I’m not writing. When I worked retail we used to have a saying: everything would go so much more smoothly without the customer. In writing it’s more like: writing would go so much faster if I weren’t an author.

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for July? Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause ~ YA werewolf from before it was a thing}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

via 1901-a-space-odyssey tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Red Swirl Flowers Bouquet to Art 2014

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Jellyfish Air Plants

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Special Needs in Strange Worlds: Mur Lafferty on Limitations for the Supernatural


Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First:   Edits handed in. Release date March 17, 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last.   Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins soon. Release date early November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.

The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister’s Song, & Fairy Debt

Book News:
Over on the Pop Culture Case Study Podcast, Episode 11 Dave and I talk about the movie Mean Girls bullies, victims, and cyber bullying. I did a bunch of research on this for the characters of Monique and Preshea in the Finishing School books.

Quote of the Day:
“The two school bullies that used to flourish their silk pocket-handkerchiefs in my face, and with their ivory-handled, four-bladed knives punch holes through my kite – one of them is in the penitentiary, and the other ought to be.”
~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

How Does Gail Work? FAQ Logistics

Posted by Gail Carriger


So, Gentle Reader, many of us writers whine about the fact that the single most common question we get is:

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? 

I admit to having gotten this question, or a variation, on many occasions. My answer? My arse, if I sit on it long enough. And, occasionally, running water if I stand under it long enough.

whitedogblog-tumblr Victorian-era exercise machine

However, by far the most common quesiton I’m getting these days is: 

How do you work? 

And by this people mean the actual physical logistics of the business of writing.

For a while I was concerned by this question, because of the old adage that in a creative endeavor everyone is different. I don’t think it is necessarily wise to try to model your behavior on anyone else’s. If I tried, for example, to write like Mur Lafferty of I Should Be Writing, I’d probably go bonkers inside of a week.  But her technique works for her.

Desk set up before and after

With that in mind, you should take this as an example of one way to do it. Not the way you should do it. Alternatively, you can take it as a horrible warning. Also, I must codicil this by saying I developed this technique over the past four years, and there is a good chance it will alter in the future.

For now, this is my coping mechanism for life as a freelancer…

I have a strict pattern to each day:

  • I try to get up around the same time, drink tea, eat breakfast, stretch, putter on the internet. 
  • I post to the blog, get some form of exercise usually by biking into the office or to a cafe. 
  • I do business and busy work until lunch, eat something reasonably healthy. 
  • I start writing between 1 and 2 pm, stop for tea around 3:30pm (which, during rough draft phase, is usually after I’ve done the read through of what I wrote the day before and am heading into uncharted waters), finish up with the day’s writing by 5 if I’m lucky, 7 – 9 pm if I’m not. 
  • Then I have a podcast interview, or I’ll work on a written interview, or back to blog posts. 
  • Once I’m home the writing brain is, hopefully, turned off so I can relax. Sometimes, I’ll putter more on the internet, but usually I try to switch my focus entirely away from work so I can be present for my partner and my cat, and we can do proper civilized couple-with-a-cat things.

I do not work on the weekends, aside from events and conventions. I’m 99% strict on this one. I try to make certain all my editors and agents know that weekends are sacred. If I’ve been naughty and not made my word count that week, or took a day off to do something non-writing during the week, then I have to sacrifice weekend time for writing.

Which brings us to…

I punish myself. 
If I don’t meet my goals for the day I don’t get any sugar or TV. If I don’t meet them for the week, I have to work on the weekend. If I don’t meet them over all, I go a little bonkers. My whole obsession with this structure and system is to stop that from occurring.

On the flip side…

I bribe myself. I work well under a reward scheme and so I allow myself certain perks when I achieve goals. Small goals, like having finished my writing for the day early get small rewards, a caramel or a chocolate. Larger goals like finishing a rough draft, get larger rewards, a glass of champagne and a nice sushi meal out. When a new books releases to the market I get a new pair of shoes

Steampunk Tea Pot

Because I operate on such a strict reward punishment scheme with such a ridged schedule I have to set SMART goals. For me, when I’m on a new project, that’s 2000 words a day. When I’m editing it’s 1-2 chapters a day. When I’m on a break between projects that’s lists of things to attend to that have been put on the back burner. (Mail to answer, contracts to review, short stories to proof, travel and book launch planning, contests, finances, and so forth…)

Logistically, I have a standing desk and a Wellness Gel Mat. I try to break to stretch and if my wrists start to ache I have special support mitties that I wear. I sit down to do read through edits and copy edits.

The standing desks at home and in the office.

I keep my environment clean. I’m easily distracted so my office has to be very tidy for me to function, and if, for some reason, I’m working at home, the same applies to the living room. This means I have to budget time to clean a bit before I can start writing.

I work from an outline and I build time into my deadlines to draw up that outline. It’s necessary to the process. It deserves respect and to be counted as part of my word count. I also give myself permission to deviate from the outline should story or character require. Some of the best moments and twists in my books happen when I let go. It took me a while,but I’ve learned it’s OK to do so.

So there it is, a glimpse into my routine.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

 1912  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Cute Mod Pet Bed

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . . 
Series Spotlight: George Mann’s “Newbury and Hobbes” Series

Quote of the Day:

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