Tagged lgbtq

Sample That Tasty Book! Romancing the Werewolf (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

In early September, Twitter went a little crazy over #RuinABookTitleInOneLetter, Gentle Reader. I must say I followed the hashtag with no little amusement myself.

Anywho, Jared Tidwell‏ @CloudAdmin posted the following submission:

The Drapes of Wrath

Which I loved so so hard. I wish I had thought of it several months earlier, because it would have made the perfect opening chapter title for Romancing the Werwolf.

Here, you judge for yourself…

CHAPTER ONE

The Problem with Purple

“But Alpha, purple is simply not appropriate.” Quinn’s growly voice somehow edged into whining.

The rest of the werewolf pack tried to shush him, but the damage was done.

“I beg your pardon!” Sandalio de Rabiffano, newly minted Lord Falmouth, better known to the rarified fuzz and fang of the supernatural set as Biffy, Alpha of the London Pack, nearly leapt to his feet… at the dinner table. He was that offended. Of course, he remembered himself long before he could commit such a profound breach of etiquette. He was, after all, still Biffy.

He narrowed his eyes instead. “I assure you, purple is a perfectly delightful color and is more than appropriate to all venues, ages, genders, and species!”

“It doesn’t hearken to nature,” Phelan came to his pack mate’s defense with an intellectual argument. He cocked his head socratically, his studied air rather defeated by the fact that he had to stop stuffing his face with steak and kidney pie in order to talk. Biffy swung his discerning glare onto him, judging his manner, his decision to speak against his Alpha, his choice of argument, and his ill-judged belief that Quinn had opened the floodgates of objection.

This anti-purple rhetoric would be nipped, most sharply, in the bud. “Plenty of lovely natural things are purple: sunsets, sunrises for that matter, iris, aubergines, oysters.” Nip nip nip! “Although” – he frowned, and then remembered he didn’t like the way this wrinkled his forehead, so stopped – “these are all different shades of purple. Is that the true objection? Should I choose a different shade?”

A chorus of groans met that. They’d already been at this for an hour, Biffy finally settling on this particular deep, rich, dark plum velvet. Ordinarily, the pack didn’t care about interior decorations and would rather he choose without involving them. Ordinarily, he would have. But this was a communal curtain situation and they were his pack. Curtains should matter to his pack. And now, it seemed, of a sudden they did matter.

Biffy pursed his lips. He knew this was the correct color. Knew it in his very bones. Bones that moved and shifted and broke every full moon, so possibly not as reliable as they might once have been, but still… “Why are you arguing with me on this particular detail? Purple would suit the room best. You never usually care two tail shakes for this sort of thing.” Why object now about something I know is right?

Adelphus, who was at that moment wearing a purple evening jacket (not plum, more violet, but still), looked monumentally uncomfortable. He fiddled with one of the fabric samples set out before them. Biffy suppressed the instinct to slap the man’s hand away – Adelphus might leave a grease stain. But no, it was fine, Adelphus was mostly tame. “I simply feel the green…”

“In that room? Are you mad?” Biffy tried not to let the frustration color his voice. He knew what he was talking about. This was what he did. He made rooms beautiful. He made people beautiful. Or he used to, before he lost most of his soul and creativity.

Doubt, his old friend, shook him then. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the purple is unpleasant. Maybe I’ve lost my eye for color as well as everything else. No. Stop second-guessing. It’s the purple or nothing. And nothing was not an option in a house full of werewolves. Sunlight being rather more of an issue when one was allergic to it.

He took a breath. I’m the Alpha, for goodness’ sake. Aren’t they supposed to listen to me? Instinctively obey me?

“God’s teeth, it’s only curtains!” Even Rafe, the most easygoing of the pack, was getting annoyed.

Biffy huffed. “Curtains,” he explained slowly as though to a very thick child (which, to be fair, rather defined Rafe’s character), “are a serious business.”

“Don’t you think they’ll be too dark for the room?” Hemming was clearly not at all sure of himself. It sounded as if he were trying to come up with an excuse. As if he really had some other reason for objecting. As if they all did.

What is going on here?

Biffy swept a critical gaze over his nervous pack. “All right, chaps, what’s the truth here? What’s actually wrong with purple?”

His pack all looked collectively guilty. They exchanged glances. Finally, they all turned to Adelphus as if he were the one best at calming their new, young, purple-minded Alpha.

Poor Adelphus. He isn’t my Beta, but he keeps getting cast in that role. Biffy winced away from that thought, like touching a sore tooth. He didn’t want to think about his Beta. He didn’t want to miss him.

He’d agree with me about the purple.

A nice dark plum, ideal to show off the daring ash furniture and sumptuous cream brocades he’d chosen for the rest of the drawing room. With some luscious ferns scattered about, and a few other plants, shelves of books, and other knickknacks. It would look rich and striking yet bright and welcoming and…

Adelphus looked uncomfortable. But at least he’s stylish. Perhaps I should listen to him. We have something in common.

Biffy paused to think a little on that. It took a great deal of effort for a werewolf to have style. Getting naked once a month, ripping clothes constantly, and turning into a slavering beast was only the start of the afterlife’s many dandy challenges.

Something for me to be proud of. Biffy had come a long way from the lonely, scruffy want-to-be vampire of his first few years as a werewolf pup. My hair alone was a complete shambles. Certainly, he still wasn’t a very good Alpha. He’d no idea how to run a pack. He’d never successfully metamorphosed a claviger, and he was still looked down upon by other Alphas. In fact, the litany of his failings over the past twenty years since his metamorphosis filled his brain, but… At least I am a werewolf with style. And I can bloody well pick out curtains!

He fully glared at Adelphus, putting Alpha will behind the look.

Adelphus crumpled. “See here, Alpha. I mean no disrespect and no insult to your former life.” His eyes were wary.

“Go on,” said Biffy, trying not to let his voice sink into a growl.

“But, sir…”

Now that felt weird. Adelphus was at least a hundred years his senior, possibly twice that, and sir was an honorific Biffy did not feel he deserved.

“Yes?”

“Purple is a vampire color.”

Biffy let out a long sighing kind of snort. “Oh, for goodness’ sake! We have colors now?”

Quinn tried to help. “It’s accepted all ‘round as standard practice for spaces and coaches and cushions and that sort of thing.” He failed the dismount.

“That sort of thing?” Biffy let his outrage show.

“It’s only, Alpha, this is a big step, us moving away from Himself next door. We don’t want any reminders of previous intimacies.” Hemming was trying to be kind.

What he was saying was actually: We don’t want you to have any reminders.

Biffy suddenly understood. They were worried he was pining for lost futures. How sweet of them.

“How many times do I have to tell you I’m not upset about being a werewolf instead of a vampire?”

Incredulous looks all ‘round.

“Fine, I’m not upset anymore. Honestly.”

All the werewolves were displaying varying degrees of disbelief. Biffy had made no secret, at first, that werewolf was not what he wanted for an afterlife. Back then, it had been hard to hide, he was so wounded, knowing he could have made it. To have enough excess soul to become a werewolf meant he might have become a vampire instead. Vampire would have suited him so much better – his personality, his plans, his future, his soul (or what was left of it). But that wasn’t what happened, and he’d had twenty years to come to terms with that. Purple curtains were not going to sway him into flights of his former melancholy.

I assure you, he wanted to say again, I’m not pining! Except that he was. Only it wasn’t for a state of undead – it was for a person. It wasn’t so much an ache, a void at the edge of his consciousness, as a missing piece. The same piece that was missing from his pack, the balance point that they all yearned for. The one who could, so easily and gently, have settled the matter of purple curtains.

Biffy told himself for the millionth time that it was nothing more than an Alpha’s need for his Beta. He refused to believe that after twenty years, his heart hurt for a connection it had had so long ago, for such a short space of time. He forced his mind not to go in that direction. There were too many other things, too many important things that he must deal with, and pining for his Beta (non-sexually or otherwise) wouldn’t solve anything.

With a sigh, he capitulated. Which likely wasn’t a good decision. Alphas were supposed to be strong, commanding, hold to their point of view. Or something like that.

He went with his second option. “I suppose blood red is out, too.”

The pack all looked at one another.

“We werewolves customarily get outdoor colors like browns and greens and such.” Phelan was trying to help.

Biffy glared. “I am attempting to give us an aura of sophistication! It’s 1895. We live in London. Earth tones are so very last decade!”

The werewolves now looked as though they were trying not to laugh. At least a few of them did.

“Why do vampires get to have purple? Is it a rule? Something to do with royalty?” Biffy had learned there were lots of unwritten rules to immortality. The werewolves called them protocols, but really they were traditionally codified rules.

Adelphus smiled. “Not officially. It’s more to do with Rome.”

Biffy grinned back. “Oh, yes, ancient history, is it?”

Biffy knew he had a bit of a lax attitude about tradition. But then again, wasn’t that part of his role? In his lucid days, before the previous Alpha went mad with Alpha’s curse, Lord Maccon would say, This is your time, Biffy. Bring us into the modern age. We have to learn to accommodate the present, or we are going to become obsolete. You’re important to all werewolves – you represent a new kind of Alpha.

I’m failing. I’m failing him. And I’m failing them. Well, us, I suppose I should say. He looked at his pack sitting around the dinner table, worried, uncomfortable.

Biffy stood. He wasn’t particularly tall, but he had good form and excellent posture. He was a practiced gentleman and he called upon that sophistication (in lieu of arrogance) so that he could put his beautifully shod foot very firmly down.

“Purple curtains. End of discussion.”

Adelphus opened his mouth. Biffy glared. “End. Of. Discussion.”

Adelphus snapped his mouth closed and tilted his head quickly to show his neck. “Yes, Alpha.”

With a start, the others followed suit.

Biffy marched from the room. Feeling a little faint. Which he attributed to not having had time to eat ­­– too busy arguing about curtains.

ace-artemis-fanartist biffy & lyall

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{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for October is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.}

COMING NOV 5th!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger will be available in digital form on Nov 5th (print & audio to follow).

Gay reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some unexpected holiday gifts.

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • 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.
    There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy werewolf 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.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1903 France Fashion plate via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why Dressing Nicely for a Flight Is Worth the Effort

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Fantasy Openings To Avoid

Book News:

Becca Dupont & Nina Rice – Professor Lyall, Alexia Tarabotti and Madame Lefoux out at DragconCon

Quote of the Day:

“Beware of the person of one book.”

~ Thomas Aquinas

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


Queering-Up Genre One Akeldama at a Time ~ Why Gail Carriger Writes LGBT Characters (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 
I’ve been contemplating this blog post for a while, Gentle Reader.
Generally, I try to avoid matters personal or political online, but a review of Changeless finally convinced me I should say something on the subject. (As an aside, images to this post added in 2017, after the switch to a new website/)
You are hereby warned that if you are of a conservative inclination you may find the following post uncomfortable. It is also, I am sad to say, serious. I promise a return to my normal fripperies next entry.
Here’s the passage from The Librarian’s Bookshelf:
I was also incredibly pleased with how delightfully gay the subplots of this book were. Madame Lefoux is a fantastic addition to the main cast, and Alexia’s naiveté as Lefoux flirts with her is fantastic. It’s not just Lefoux, though: Angelique, Countess Nadasdy, and both Alexia and Lefoux’s fathers are outed as well (they were dallying with each other, which makes Lefoux flirtation that much more fantastic). Add in Akeldama and Biffy, and a couple of hints about Woolsey’s Beta, and it’s possibly the gayest mainstream book I’ve read in a while.

The Librarian is not the first to notice. I also, recently, keep getting asked… why?

(Leaving aside what readers should be asking is “why” of every other het-only narrative out there…)

Gail’s Background

I grew up in-and-around San Francisco in the 1980s immersed in the dying threads of the Beat Generation. This should tell you many things, but relevant to this post are the following two points.

First: All the stable relationships I observed in my youth were gay men. These relationships were, to my innocent eyes, incredibly romantic, artistic, loving, and enriching both to the couple in question and the world they inhabited. Aside from myself, all my little friends were the property of neurotic single mothers. (Yes, I intend the use of the word property.) You can imagine this gave me a rather interesting outlook on romance.

The second thing, of course, is that these wonderful relationships all buckled under the weight of three little letters.

The Victorians… Totally Gay

So far as my books are concerned, there is another balance to this equation, which is the Victorian world itself. The England of 1870 was a morally conservative, anti-hedonistic, ultra-religious place full of individuals who valued duty above all else, and regarded anything that smacked of fun as suspicious. This comes off to most Americans as, frankly, gloomy.

Because I have the luxury of writing alt-history, I injected the comedy back into Victorian England through the vehicle of immortality combined with my childhood memories.

The Immortals… Totally Queer

This seems logical to me. After all, if you live for hundreds of years, no matter how straight your inclinations initially, you are likely to get, well, bored and experimental as the decades roll by. And I warn you all now, this probably goes both directions. Don’t settle Lord Akeldama too firmly on the Kinsey scale, for there may well have been a young lady or two in his past. Not that I think sexuality is a choice, just more fluid than the binary system has imposed upon humanity for thousands of years.

The vampires and werewolves in my books can get away with this, of course, because they are supernatural creatures. Church and moral law has no bearing on them for Victorians perceive them as outside the natural order. Ironically, this allows them the power to be even more extravagant and trend setting.

It is no accident that excess soul is linked to creativity in my universe, and that my immortals are forced by procreative necessity to become, basically, patrons of the arts. My Victorian world emphasizes the split between those of a theatrical inclination and the rest of society, but also the strange power that the vampires in particular have over the aesthetic mindset of the ton.

ace-artemis-fanartist biffy & lyall

This is not so very far-fetched. Throughout history is it the disenfranchised who not only bring about social change, but underwrite society’s most dearly beloved (and consequently disregarded) frivolities: music, art, fashion, architecture, dance, or comedic literature.

But why?!

Sorry to get a tad academic, but I guess what I am trying to say is the following:

There are queer characters in my books because there are queer people in my life and soul, always have been, so it would not be my universe without them. They are as fallible, flawed, and as changeable as any other characters.

There are also queer characters in my books because (for me) they correlate to the most dynamic part of any society, the part that brings about wonder.

Romancing the Werewolf (Gail’s first gay main character romance)

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor (Gail’s first lesbian main character romance)

These books are part of Gail’s Supernatural Society Novella series which features only queer main characters.

The third book in her Custard Protocol Series, Competence, also features a queer main character.

Do you want more sneak peeks, free goodies, gossip, behind the scenes info, release announcements? New stuff goes to my Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
The Tomb of Two “Brothers” Because the Egyptian goons will come in and deny your permit or shut down your site few Egyptologists will talk about this tomb publicly. But I worked for years inside the museum and archaeological world and I can tell you there is very little contention outside of Islamic countries that this is, in fact, the tomb of a gay couple.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about writing gay characters.

Michelle has some very thoughtful things to say including, “Even though it may be satirical, Soulless is not without its serious messages. Tolerance and the dangers of science come to the fore as the story proceeds along its path. Good and evil are not easily discerned as “monsters” protect the Crown, fops come to the rescue, and (heaven forbid!) women hold positions of power.”
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless.
In which I am called a “Naughty Little Minx”: “What’s not to love about this book? There’s a murder mystery. Were-less Scottish werewolves. An attempted poisoning. A tumble off the side of a dirigible. More mysterious vampire politics. A shockingly brazen new friend for Alexia – a female milliner who scandalously goes about in trousers!”
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON’T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven’t read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Sent to agent.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. Book available for preorder.

Quote of the Day:
“Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.”
~ Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, A.D. 524


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