Tagged research

FUN FEATURE ~ Parasol Protectorate Deleted Scenes (Special Extra)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Parasol Protectorate Deleted Scenes

Please be aware that deleted scenes may and often do contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

 

DELETED BITS from Soulless

The Hypocras Club Objectives
* Attentiveness — Identify and understand the supernatural threat, assess vulnerabilities, determine potential impacts and disseminate information to our members and security partners.
* Preclusion — Detect, deter and mitigate the supernatural threat to the commonwealth.
* Precaution — Safeguard normal humans and their freedoms, and maintain critical infrastructure and intellectual advancement of the scientific community.

Alexia’s Father’s Journal
Ivy had always been faintly cheered by the fact that should a marriage bed ever be in her future, she could go to Alexia for an explanation of what might occur there. Sadly for Miss Hisselpenny, such an explanation was likely to contain concepts that would shock the most experienced whore down dockside, let alone a gently bred lady. Mr. Tarabotti had had very exotic interests indeed, and Alexia hadn’t the experience to provide any kind of filter.

DELETED BITS from Changeless

Description of Woolsey Castle
The most scandalous thing about Woolsey Castle was not that it housed a pack of werewolves. After all, only the best counties could boast such an eccentricity. Nor was it the fact that it boasted eight flying buttresses – an architecturally immodest choice. No, the most scandalous thing about Woolsey Castle was that there was a bedroom, and sometimes several, on every single storey, even the first. The original owner was a bit of an eccentric, in the “if he had not had money he would have been called insane” kind of way. Woolsey was no castle, not really. It was instead a modern manor house made to look like a castle with stone facings, an excessive number of haphazardly applied turrets, crenelated battlements, extensive dungeons, and the aforementioned buttresses.

Scene with Lyall, Channing, & Biffy (just after breaking and entering)
Channing crossed his arms. “I would have been just as effective.”
“Yes, but Biffy was a safer choice.”
Biffy looked mildly offended.
“If he was caught it would be thought an inter-vampire plot, if you were caught it would be considered an inter-species plot.”
Biffy looked less offended and nodded his agreement with Lyall’s assessment.
Channing was militant. “I do not trust him!”
“Biffy?” Lyall wondered mildly.
Biffy looked pleased at the accusation.
Channing was annoyed with Lyall’s obtuseness. “No, no, Lord Akeldama.”
Lyall puffed air out his nostrils in annoyance. “You do not trust vampires.”
“You saying you do trust them?”
Professor Lyall looked out the carriage window.
Channing had never learned the art of silence. “I am Gamma. It is my nature to question.”
“You are you. It is your nature to be a prat.”
Biffy gave a tiny gasp at such werewolf directness. It was most unsettling to a vampire drone.
Channing smiled. “Admit it, you sense it too. We are missing something.” He looked at the drone. “Why does your master like our fiery lady Alpha so much?”
Biffy shrugged. “They are friends.”
Channing ignored this reply and turned back to Professor Lyall. “You and I have dabbled in London politics long enough to know: Lord Akeldama doesn’t have friends.”
Professor Lyall gave his Gamma a level look. “You like her, admit it.”
Biffy muttered, “Major Channing seems to like nothing but Major Channing.”
Major Channing ignored this. “She’s plucky. I like plucky. She’s not, however, to Lord Akeldama’s taste. What does he really want with her?”
“Give it a rest, would you please Channing?”
“You know something!”
Lyall glared at him. “Yes. I know the right question to ask. You are not asking it.”
“Oh?”
“What have we learned on this little adventure of ours?”
Channing blinked icy blue eyes at his Beta blankly.
It was Biffy who answered. “That my master is not the only vampire to find Lady Maccon intriguing.”
“Exactly.” With which Professor Lyall turned once more to stare out the carriage window, apparently fascinated by the way the gas lighting flickered over the cobbled street.

DELETED BITS from Blameless

Blog entry all about the Knights Templar and the notes that built them into the men they are in Blameless.

In Which Alexia Compares Marriage to Kidnapping
Due, she suspected, entirely to the interference of Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey, circumstances had arranged for Alexia to experience a series of kidnappings that culminated in a rather more long term version of the uncomfortable experience, if marriage can be referred to as such. Which, she felt, marriage to Lord Maccon, could be. Or was she, perhaps, besmirching the reputation of imprisonments everywhere through such a comparison?

Regardless, it appeared she was currently embroiled in yet another state of abduction. Although, it must be admitted, she wasn’t entirely certain that being confined to ones well-appointed room, with a delicious view of Italy’s premier artistic city could be, rightly, referred to as being kidnapped. It certainly was, so far, working out better than her marriage, but she did feel ever-so-slightly imprisoned. Since the Templars seemed to have discovered her weakness, and had been plying her with gnocchi and pesto for the entire day, she was, for the moment, disinclined to complain about the situation. She was even allowed regular trips to the library. She was not allowed into the city anymore, but this seemed a small price to pay for unending pesto and library privileges. However, as they appeared to believe they could keep her in such a state for the next seven months or so, she was figuring that at some point her love of the little green covered dumplings might deteriorate enough for her to contemplate escape. As it was, she was happy to chew and stare out into the orange glory of the Italian landscape with a head full of mild speculation and a hope for Floote and Genevieve’s safety.

Her peace was only broken by occasional visits from Mr. Lange-Wilsdorf, who insisted on running a series of intrusive and occasionally embarrassing tests, after which he would vanish once more, muttering to himself in his own language. No Templar, including the preceptor, intruded upon her peace and quiet, and if Alexia missed the bumbling clattering noises of Woolsey castle and its hairy inhabitants she did not admit it, even to herself. After the excitement of her European Tour so far, she was happy for the break, at least she was not running from anything, whacking at anyone, or passing out. Life, it might even be said, was looking up.

In Which the Origin’s of Ivy’s Letter Is Discussed
Floote having – though some miraculous feet of butler-dum – hired a pony and trap to take their luggage back through the town, turned up at Alexia’s elbow. “If you are through here, madam?”
His tone, Alexia noticed, was unwarranted in its sharpness. “Something troubling you, Floote?”
“That letter is dangerous, madam.”
Alexia looked with shock at the innocent apple-blossom scented communiqué. “Is it really? Who would have thought?” Hurriedly she tucked it up one sleeve and followed her personal secretary towards the hired cart.
Floote explained. “Not in what in contains, madam, but in what it represents. If the honorable Mrs. Tunstell has managed to track us down here, then the vampires certainly cannot be far behind.”
Alexia considered the obsession. “Indeed. You raise very good question, Floote, how did Ivy manage such a thing?” She examined the outside of the letter. “It looks as though it came through to Monsieur Trouvé via your university contacts, Madame Lefoux. Your ghostly Aunt must have known where to send it and directed Ivy accordingly. I can’t imagine Ivy consulting with a ghost, but there you have it.”
“Oh dear,” Madame Lefoux looked apprehensive. “I did not mean to put any of my friends or scientific acquaintances in danger.”
Alexia nodded her agreement. “Nor I. After all, the vampires are after me. I do hope your associates remain unmolested. What about Monsieur Trouvé?”
Madame Lefoux sidled up to Alexia and nodded downwards. The Frenchwoman opened her tightly closed fist and flashed Alexia a peek of some small object she held clutched in her hand. It was a tiny brass octopus.
“Oh!” Alexia’s voice was soft. “Is that what was left sitting atop your hatbox! Is it a sign?”
Madame Lefoux began to explain in hushed tones, “Well, you see back when –”
Floote interrupted, sharply. “I think perhaps we ought to think on our own safety, for the moment, ladies.”

Bird’s nest hat by Chicago milliner Bes Ben, c. 1941 via @FashionHistoryM Twitter

On the Danger of a Fly to One’s Reputation
Those few cabs that were available were all hansoms. While Alexia admitted a two-seat fly was speedy and agile, she couldn’t get over her feeling that it was a rather racy mode of transport for a mature lady. She preferred a proper coach. But she had to cast her scruples aside for Madame Lefoux and Floote swung themselves in with alacrity into the first fly that stopped and Alexia had no choice but to follow.

In Which Floote Talks (too much) About Alessandro Tarabotti
Floote cleared his throat delicately. “Perhaps we should return to our quarters, ladies. We are perilously close to being observed in familial proximity.”
Floote drew Alexia aside once they reached their apartments on a lower deck. Madame Lefoux having gone, so she said, to ‘handle the mustache.’
“He did come to see you once, madam. He watched you crawl about, from across Hyde Park, using a spyglass. You were still in nappies.”
“A spyglass? How reassuring.”
Floote gave a funny little half shoulder twitch that Alexia suspected was his version of a shrug. “If you knew Mr. Tarabotti, you would realize, that was practically a declaration of undying affection.”
“Not very demonstrative, my dad?”
“About as affectionate as a poisonous jellyfish, and just as easy to keep hold of.”
Alexia wrinkled her nose, “Yeach.”
“Just so, madam.”
Floote turned to leave.
“But Floote, I thought you liked my father.”
Floote’s perennially stiff back, stiffened ever so slightly more.
“Good evening, madam,” he said, in his no nonsense voice.
Alexia knew that tone well enough; she would get no more out of him tonight. “Good evening, Floote.”

Praise for the Parasol Protectorate Series

 

  • Fangirlish says of the Parasol Protectorate series: “You’ve got the steampunk, 007 spy angle with some supernatural shenanigans… and viola… it is one of the best book series ever!”
  • Magic of Books Book Video Blog says: “I don’t think I’ve read any book quite like this series. There’s just something really unique and refreshing about Gail Carriger’s writing. It’s incredibly humorous. It’s incredibly witty and I think, most important of all, it’s cleverly intelligent.”
  • BloomTV Video Blog says: “The writing is witty and hilarious and funny. That’s partly why I love Gail Carriger so much. She writes these amazing, unique characters who have witty banter with each other.”
  • Lindsey Rey does an Author Exploration on Gail Carriger: “What I love so much about Gail Carriger’s works are her characters. Her characters are always fully three-dimensional, they’re interesting, they’re funny, they make you laugh. The way Gail Carriger writes them you just fall in love with the entire cast.”
  • Emma Newman of Split Worlds series:: “Of course, it’s more than just the alternative history and world-building that made me fall in love with the series; the characters are great fun and the pacing is fantastic. It’s a gorgeous, sumptuous world that is fun and comforting to sink into, so if you haven’t tried it yet (and honestly, where have you been?) then please do.” (Emma is also the genius behind the Tea & Jeopardy podcast, and one of my favorite voice actresses.
  • Joy’s Book Blog says: “I don’t think you need to be a fantasy or steampunk fan to enjoy this series. It’s all about the humor.”
  • Lilyreadbooks says: “The perfect blend of Steampunk science, supernatural creatures, and Victorian comedy.”

A Great Deal Of Waffle About Werewolves in History (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’ve been nose deep into werewolves lately, Gentle Reader.

Yes, pun intended.

First there was releasing The Sumage Solution, then there was writing How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) and now there’s the arrival of Romancing the Werewolf.

In the process of all of this writing about werewolves, I came across some interesting articles, ballads, poems, and songs concerning historical Britain’s relationship to the wolf.

I thought you too might find them intriguing.

“Cambria’s proud Kings (tho’ with reluctance) paid
Their tributary wolves; head after head,
In full account, till the woods yield no more,
And all the rav’nous race extinct is a lost.”

~ Somerville’s Chase from James Harking’s British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times published in 1880.

“Thrice race famous Saxon king, on whom Time ne’er shall prey.
O Edgar! who compell’dst our Ludwall hence to pay
Three hundred Wolves a year for tribute unto thee;
And for that tribute paid, as famous may’st thou be,
O conquer’d British king, by whom was first destroy’d
The multitude of Wolves that long this land annoy’d.”

~ Drayton’s Polyolbion (Song ix) from James Harking’s British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times published in 1880.

“I see the ridge of hinds, the steep of the sloping glen
The wood of cuckoos at its foot,
The blue height of a thousand pines,
Of wolves, and roes, and elks.”

~ Translated from the Gaelic, The Aged Bard’s Wish from James Harking’s British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times published in 1880.

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

{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. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905 The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

We all knew Biffy would start designing clothing eventually.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Victorian Art of Photography

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

“They have committed one of two misdemeanors (or both). First, they have demonstrated that they have no respect for my time—and no concept of the value of what they’re asking me for. … The real ask in these cases is ‘Can I have your reputation?’ In other words, ‘Will you give me, for free, the single most valuable commodity you own, that you’ve worked your entire life to acquire?’”

~ Steven Pressfield on “clueless asks” (I get these all the time too)

Book News:

Matt Harrison’s Biffy ‏@matchoo28

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 Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


Marine Biology New Cover & Character Boards (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, for those of you who sign up for the Chirrup before the next one goes out Sunday morning (and for those who are already members) I’ll be offering a digital download of Marine Biology with new cover art and a sample chapter of The Sumage Solution. (You’ll have to sideload it onto your device of choice. Google sideload + your device.)

Wanna know more about the new cover?

Here you can take a look at the design board I handed off to Starla to make this cover. You can see it shifted quite a bit from my original idea, but I hope you still like it!

Here are the two covers side by side:

 Marine Biology

I thought you might be interested in the companion Pinterest boards. Here’s the one that is for Marine Biology. You can see how I imagine Alec and Marvin look:

In line with that, I also released two SAS character boards. (More to come after The Sumage Solution drops).

Here’s Alec’s board:

And here is Marvin’s board:

I hope you like exploring these two characters. Just wait until you get to meet Bryan and Max, the main characters in The Sumage Solution. They are soooooo adorable.

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

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    StatusOut now!
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

UP NEXT

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

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

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

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

“It is no secret in the circles in which he moves that Bertram Wooster, though as glamorous as one could wish when night has fallen and the revels get under way, is seldom a ball of fire at the breakfast table. Confronted with the eggs and b., he tends to pick cautiously at them, as if afraid they may leap from the plate and snap at him. Listless, about sums it up. Not much bounce to the ounce.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Some of my research books.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Even the most productive writers are expert dawdlers.”

~ Donald M. Murray

Book News:

Tumblr’s Through the Looking Glass says of Etiquette & Espionage:

“I have quite often thought that I was born in the wrong era, but upon reading the Finishing School series I have become quite convinced I live in the wrong universe altogether. Gail Carriger pens a Victorian world filled with romance, espionage and the supernatural, a sprinkling of Steampunk and a good dollop of comedy that delights and amuses with every turn of the page, serving to make me giggle aloud on several occasions in a highly undignified fashion.”

Quote of the Day:

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.”

~ B.P. Skinner

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


Sumage Solution ~ All About The Cover Art (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

So one of the things I knew the cover for The Sumage Solution had to be was different from everything I’ve done before.

Since The Sumage Solution is pretty darn racy I needed visual markers for telling my readers that this is something different from me…particularly my YA readers! The best way to do this is with cover art.

So in addition to a new pen name (more on that in another blog) I really focused on a spectacular cover that said “sexy and urban fantasy” but was different both from what is out there right now and what I’ve had on my covers in the past. This meant a different layout (centered), different font (serif), and a clean smooth background.

The first thing I had to do was find a gorgeous model to portray my hot mage, Max. So what did I do first? Went to Evan of course!

Evan is a killer photographer, his images are sensual, powerful, and interesting. And, let’s be honest, hot. I found out about him via the Airship Ambassador years ago. Steampunk is such a small world, we tend to all meet each other one way or another. I’ve used his photos before (Marine Biology & Curious Case) but he also has a boudoir line, so I went to check those out for Sumage Solution.

Marine Biology 

And who did I see first thing for a recent shoot on Evan’s website? Quinn Knox. And Quinn looked so close to my vision for Max it was almost uncanny. It’s like Evan read my mind! Or read my book.

As always, Evan was grace personified to work with and soon I had Quinn in hand, so to speak. Then it was merely a matter of some chatting with Starla, my cover art designer. She fooled around with silhouettes and fractured mirrors and color options. I dithered over fonts and arrangements and finally everything gelled into a truly spectacular result.

I can’t tell you how happy I am with this cover.

If you want to see the Pinterest inspiration board that I made for Starla to use as inspiration for this cover, you can check it out now as I have made it a public board.

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

PROJECT ROUND UP

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

UP NEXT

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

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Groundbreaking Silhouette Animations of Lotte Reiniger

The Groundbreaking Silhouette Animations of Lotte Reiniger: Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and More

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Taste of the Past Podcast discusses Tea Time. (Yes the ceramic stuff is still wrong, but interesting buy in to the propaganda of the Victorian era ceramic production companies.)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

~ Toni Morrison

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life.”

~ Helen Exley

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

 


Cover Art & Its Purpose in Life (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello, Gentle Reader!

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about cover art recently.

It came up unexpectedly (for me) on a podcast interview over on SF & F Marketing. I’ve also been embroiled in the back-and-forth of creating the cover for Secret Project SAS (which is also the start of a new series and a new identity as G.L. Carriger so it needs to be LOTS OF THINGS) and then re-doing Marine Biology to match.

More on that later.

So Cover Art…

My new saying? The pretty is the enemy of the correct.

Covers are like a visual elevator pitch for a book, they don’t need to say exactly what’s in it so much as what’s it’s about. The point of the cover is not to find AN audience for that book but to find the RIGHT audience. I think a lot of indie authors forget this, and get embroiled in trying to make it look too much like what’s inside and not enough like packaging that represents the book’s theme. That last statement may have made some of you angry, because it smacks of manipulation. But stick with me, okay?

Goodreads put up a ton of books on sale today and three interesting things happened.

  1. I wasn’t interested in a single one of them. (I’d either read it already, or it’s not to my current reading taste.)
  2. The range of art as meets genre was fascinating, and many of the covers did catch my eye.
  3. I really wanted to blog about it.

So let’s run a little test?

Here are 10 covers that stood out for me:

So without knowing anything else but having those small images…

Which one might you click on to read the blurb. Or pick up in the store and flip to the back?
  • Smoke & Bone 19%, 50 votes
    50 votes 19%
    50 votes - 19% of all votes
  • Heirs of Empire 17%, 45 votes
    45 votes 17%
    45 votes - 17% of all votes
  • Dragon Bound 14%, 37 votes
    37 votes 14%
    37 votes - 14% of all votes
  • Under Different Stars 11%, 29 votes
    29 votes 11%
    29 votes - 11% of all votes
  • Imitation 11%, 28 votes
    28 votes 11%
    28 votes - 11% of all votes
  • The Last Girl 8%, 21 vote
    21 vote 8%
    21 vote - 8% of all votes
  • Whisper 7%, 19 votes
    19 votes 7%
    19 votes - 7% of all votes
  • Skewed 7%, 19 votes
    19 votes 7%
    19 votes - 7% of all votes
  • The Curse Keepers 3%, 9 votes
    9 votes 3%
    9 votes - 3% of all votes
  • A Taste of Magic 3%, 7 votes
    7 votes 3%
    7 votes - 3% of all votes
Total Votes: 264
March 20, 2017 - March 27, 2017
Voting is closed

Now, without reading anything about each book, I’m gonna tell you what I thought when I saw its thumbnail, let’s see if you agree with me?

 Whisper
What I like: Clear indication of romance given the swirly font and large female author name. Horses indicate old west or plantation setting. Red and cream is a tasteful color match.
Issues: Can’t read whole title, cover is very generic.
What do I think this book is about? Heterosexual romance in a historical setting. Demure pose and the fact that she is alone in the picture with a horse in the background suggests sweet romance (little sex).
Was I right given the blurb? Yes

 Smoke & Bone
What I like: The color pallet, the starkness of the lighting, the slash nature of the mask and the title.
Issues: Didn’t realize the title was Daughter of Smoke & Bone until I really squinted, can’t read author name at all. Not sure how I feel about three different fonts on the same cover.
What do I think the book is about? I’m going with suspense of some kind, in the Gone Girl oeuvre maybe? Because of the mask, perhaps it’s either historical or set in a theater, makes me think Phantom of the Opera.
Was I right given the blurb? Sort of. Suspense but also urban fantasy?

 The Curse Keepers
What I like:
KILLER title! The shadow box to make the title pop while still over the figures is a neat trick, centered text.
Issues: Author name is not legible, weird tattoo stuff on left not necessary, whole thing is generic.
What do I think this book is about? Without a doubt this is in the Cassandra Clare, Beautiful Creatures, etc. YA angst show knock off. This one will be witches and warlocks and stuff like that, no vampires (because of the sunlight and lack of blood red color).
Was I right given the blurb? Yes.

 A Taste of Magic
What I like: Very easy to read title and author name, bold color choices.
Issues: Not a lot, actually, while this might not be my kind of book, I think it reads as a near perfect cover for the kind of book it is. Let’s see if I’m right.
What do I think this book is about? Romance, chick lit version of Practical Magic. Contemporary set urban fantasy but with a very light touch and gentle upbeat text, probably involves food. Beach read.
Was I right given the blurb? Yes.

 Skewed
What I like: Fantastically striking cover, retro feel, very basic but impactful, color choices. Title and author are clear and easy to read.
Issues: Absolutely no idea what it is about. Could be anything from a quirky adult version of Awkward (that MTV show) or a non-fiction tell all about the music/photo/modeling industry.
What do I think this book is about? Really, no clue. If I HAD to guess I’m going with quirky mock-tell-all of a photojournalist’s crazy hi-jinx. Possibly set in the 1960s.
Was I right given the blurb? Turns out it is about photography, but also celebrity, and crime, modern setting.

 The Last Girl
What I like: As with the romance one above, I think I know exactly what I am in for with this book. Title and author name are clearly visible.
Issues: I really strain to see the figure, I wish it were just big enough for me to make out something about her clothes as that would give me a bit more to go on for setting.
What do I think this book is about? Gone Girl type thing again, maybe post apocalyptic, but could also be country western setting.
Was I right given the blurb? Not really. Turns out to be an epidemic crisis book. Looks like that movie Children of Men.

 Under Different Stars
What I like: Striking image for the main photo, stark and atmospheric feel. This gives a slightly uncomfortable and weird feeling.
Issues: The title and author name are kinda hard to make out.
What do I think this book is about? Lit fic, just because of the contrast between the watery image but “Stars” in the title. I’m very wary because it could be a “Cancer Mom” type story. Read: depressing as hell.
Was I right given the blurb? Not at all. Turns out to be a sci fi YA romance.

 Dragon Bound
What I like: Again this is one of those that tells me exactly what I’m in for. I like a cover that uses blues and pinks for contrast, and I tend to gravitate towards centered lettering.
Issues: No idea what she is holding, hard to make out author name. Quite generic.
What do I think this book is about? Straight up no frills female main character urban fantasy. Probably heterosexual and featuring dragons as the hook. Modern setting.
Was I right given the blurb? Not really. It’s fantasy not UF, and historical-ish. (I did wonder since she’s in a dress and not leather pants, but the white t-shirt underneath threw me off).

 Heirs of Empire
What I like: Strong female central figure, power pose, can read both title and author name. Interesting choice on both serif and sans serif fonts.
Issues: Generic title, cover comes off as old fashioned. Makes me think author and text may be old guard out of touch. Male author with female protagonist is a red flag for me, personally.
What do I think this book is about? At first I thought epic fantasy because of her armor and the title and serif font, but then I noticed the spaceship in the background and the author name is sans serif, so I’m going with space opera.
Was I right given the blurb? You know what, I still don’t know if this is fantasy or space opera. I think maybe something like Dune? But the blurb doesn’t make this clear.

 Imitation
What I like: This cover is everything. I really adore it. I think it is stunning and beautiful and stark and so much more.
Issues: None. I like it a lot.
What do I think this book is about? Future, possibly far future, something to do with genetic manipulation or cloning. It reminds me of Orphan Black. This is the only one on this list I’m tempted to investigate further, read the blurb and possibly pick up. I’ve not been into SciFi recently, but I might buy this just because I like the cover so much.
Was I right given the blurb? Yes. Only thing I missed was that this is YA. Which actually turns me off (I love YA but struggle with YA scifi like Cinder). Blurb reminds me of the movie Never Let Me Go.

Right then, what do you think?

Cover art, yes or no?

Do you agree with my predictions?

{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 . . .

1887 Albert Aublet (French artist, 1851-1938) Sur La Plage, Le Treport

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My office sitting area

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Historical Look at Why Science Fiction Always Gets Screwed at the Oscars

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Writers Should Read

Book News:

Pinterest inspiration board for Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series. Characters Spoo & Virgil. Spoo is head deckling, Virgil is a valet and sometime helmsman.

Quote of the Day:

“A bookstore is a good place to go to be brave.”

~ Kate DiCamillo

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


Alexia’s London: Supper March 11, 1876 (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse

  • Winter pea soup made with beef broth and sweet herbs
  • Veal pie made with breast of veal, sweet meats, nutmeg, salt, clove, oysters, and ham inside puff pastry and served with veal and cream gravy
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Custard pudding – lemon-peel, nutmeg, and bitter almond custard inside a puff pastry served with melted butter

Gail Carriger Teaching a Workshop for Locus, Bay Area (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Locus Presents

Gail Carriger in a One-Day Writing Workshop on

COMIC CHARACTERIZATION AND THE GOTHIC ROOTS OF GENRE FICTION

Saturday, February 18, 2017
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Held in the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area) with easy parking and near BART.
Includes tour of the Locus magazine offices.

Workshop is $145.00.

This is partly as a fundraiser for the Locus foundation. Cost of the workshop is set by Locus.

More Details?

In Part I of a two-part class, author Gail Carriger talks about what it means to be “gothic” and how to manipulate gothic tropes when writing your own commercial fiction. Did you know most genre fiction was born out of gothic literature? Science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and romance novels all borrow tropes and archetypes from the gothics. Perhaps most intimately connected of all is steampunk.

In Part II, Gail talks about how to bring depth of characterization to your writing using comedy. From protagonists to sidekicks to three sentence walk-ons, she’ll discuss what makes a character funny, and how to provide readers with fictional people they love. She will also discuss other ways to inject humor into your work.

Gail is an experienced lecturer and not afraid to make a fool of herself. A Q&A session about Gail’s writing, career, the publishing industry, or anything else that strikes your fancy will follow.

About Locus Workshops

Locus Writers Workshops: Locus has been co-running a writing workshop in Seattle around the Locus Awards Weekend for the past few years and is excited to bring the class to the Bay Area. Past instructors include Connie Willis, Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Park, Christopher Barzak, and Daryl Gregory.

Thinking of attending? Please do. We support diversity! We encourage people of color, women, people with disabilities, older people, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to apply. We welcome people of any gender identity or expression, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, size, nationality, religion, culture, education level, and self-identification.

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

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

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

facesofthevictorianera- Two Fashionable Ladies c. 1880s

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Looking Ahead: 1870 Imagines the Fashions of the Future

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Airship Ambassador Interviews

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Don’t Be A Scaredy-Cat Writer

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.”
~ P.G. Wodehouse

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


It Means Something Different in Romance (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Terminology for Romance Readers & Authors

In 2016 I shifted (slightly), Gentle Reader, and began writing more romance.

All my books have romance threads, but in my first two novellas (Poison or Protect and Romancing the Inventor) I brought those threads to the forefront.

Romancing the Inventor

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

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

We are talking book descriptions here people

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

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

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

I don’t know… warning?

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

Still with me?

Here we go… Bum chicha baow.

On the surface?

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

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

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

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

You Probably Know This But…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lets Get Deep Here: Initialisms

HEA means happily ever after.

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

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

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

More than you ever needed to know about multiples

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

{Gail’s monthly read along for January 2017 is A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.}

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

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

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

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

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

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

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

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

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Do Some Writers Choose to Go “Indie”?

Book News:

Women Write About Comics says:

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

Quote of the Day:

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

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Alexia’s London: Supper Dec. 4, 1876 (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse

  • Mock Turtle Soup ~ made from calf’s head boiled in veal broth, friend shallots, Madeira wine, tarragon, chives, parsley, basil, cayenne pepper, mushroom ketchup, and lemon juice. Served with forcemeat-balls (meatballs made of the calf brain and deep fried) and small eggs.
  • Roasted Calf Heart ~ stuffed with veal, basted with butter, served with brown gravy.
  • Orange Pudding ~ made with butter, sugar, egg, and candied orange.

NaNoWriMo Links & Quotes Tip Sheet (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

NaNoWriMo is nearing its close, well at least rounding toward the finish line, Gentle Reader. And lest you think of giving up remember Oscar’s wise words:

“Books are never finished, they are merely abandoned.”
~ Oscar Wilde

I’m back from Singapore but a bit to jet lagged to really do much online at the moment. I promise I have a write up on the festival and the amazing city to come. I also managed to get through the first draft read through of SAS. Woot! (You guys, it’s really good.)

“Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.”
~ T. S. Eliot

So for NaNo I thought you might enjoy so really fun links to writing articles around the net! If you aren’t a writer, I apologize, and I promise to be back to my witty, useless, irreverent self in a few days.

“If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
~ Isaac Asimov

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • 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: First draft completed. Lay away rest of this month.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Joung Ladies Journal- Wednesday, February 1, 1865 Item ID- v. 44, plate 76

Joung Ladies Journal- Wednesday, February 1, 1865 Item ID- v. 44, plate 76

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

What Department Store Workers Looked Like in 1898

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Importance of Fiction
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Four Writing Myths and Why They Suck the Ink out of Writers

Book News:

Soulless made this list of 50 YA Books from #nastywomenread

Quote of the Day:

“For your born writer, nothing is so healing as the realization that he has come upon the right word.”
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

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


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