Tagged shaving the beast

Marine Biology New Cover & Character Boards

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!


Why G. L. Carriger? On Pen Names, Cover Art & Reader Betrayal

So let us talk a little bit about pen names, shall we Gentle Reader?

G. L. Carriger

My next book, The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1, is a big departure for me. OK, perhaps not that big. It’s still me, full of silliness and fun. It’s urban fantasy, but it’s set in contemporary times, in America. It’s not steampunk. It has more sex than my other writing has in the past. It’s certainly got worse language.


Preorder Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo

I dithered for a while about what to do about this. You see, I worry about reader betrayal… a lot.

Reader Betrayal

Reader betrayal can take many forms. At its root, it is that sensation one gets if the book you’re reading does something totally unexpected in a bad way. Like if a book you picked up thinking it was romance suddenly doesn’t have a happy ending.

Now, why does this happen?

Well, it can be a flaw in story: you’re reading one thing when the author suddenly takes a dive and turns it into something else. That is the author’s fault. (This is what I call the “scream and hurl” scenario.) Or it can be a flaw in expectation, you thought it was one kind of book, despite the cover and blurb trying to tell you otherwise, and you read it anyway.

Far more common these days is visual marker caused betrayal. This means that you picked up the book expecting one thing because of the cover and then got something completely different from the words within. Controlling these expectations is a serious business. It’s done many ways: visually through cover art (image & text), but also via author name, and cover copy/blurb and description. (There are also things that can’t really be controlled like algorithms offering “similar books you might like.”)

For example, if I showed you this cover:

You’d expect one thing. Dark gritty urban fantasy. Possibly noir tropes in use. If that’s the kind of thing you like, you might then take a look at the book description and decide to buy it.

But if I gave you this one:

You’d expect something else. Upbeat, cheerful, youthful, pulp-ish.

Both covers are based off photos. Both are single person images, saturated color use. But the kind of image chosen, from dress to facial expression, and the tweaks then made to it, from color choice to the overlay of type and font in use, all tell you, the reader, something about what is inside.

You may not know exactly what you are being told, or how to control your own response, but trust me, you’re reacting. The thing that worries a savvy author the most is NOT “does this cover depict what’s inside my book” but “does this cover accurately portray the spirit of my book?”

If you picked up Fairy Debt and did not get a fun little light hearted read about a fairy in silly times, you would be angry with me as the author. You would feel betrayed.

Print edition proofs arrive in office.

Why talk about covers when I should be discussing pen names?

Because most of the time, covers come first. Covers are the single most important thing when selling a book or establishing a brand as an author. Initially. After that, of course, its up to the author to pull the reader in and make them want more.

Which brings us to author name recognition.

After a certain point, if lucky, an author starts to accrue loyal readers. These are the readers who write to say they love you. Who regularly leave book reviews. Who vow to buy “anything you write.” These readers follow an author’s newsletter (if really lucky) and get excited when a new book comes along.

These readers are you, eyeballs reading this blog post right now. I LOVE YOU.

You know what to expect from me as an author because I have tried to give you something quite consistent over the last few years. Yes, it jumped around from YA to adult to novella, from espionage to romance to adventure, but the spirit of the Parasolverse has been unchanged.

Cover art plays into this too, keeping a theme going is pretty darn important:

Here’s how I played with my own themes for my indie stuff:

Romancing the Inventor

Do you see the similarities, and to which books? Can you understand why I might want to make some of the changes I did between my novels and my novellas? (Perhaps that is a whole other discussion if you’re interested.)

One of the things I’d encourage you to notice is that I made my name bigger than the title for the first time when I produced my own stuff.

Why?

Because when self-pubbing I’m banking on name recognition. Because it’s more common in romance to do this for well known authors, and my novellas touch on romance more heavily. (And, because I have noticed over the years that male F/SF authors get this kind of name glorification treatment while the rest of us, erm, do not. That gets my goat because it smacks pretty darn strongly of sexism.)

So, why go through all this trouble to establish name recognition, only to change my name… slightly?

G. L. Carriger

Because we are back to the first part of this post: reader betrayal.

My new non-parasolverse m/m urban fantasy is just different enough for me to worry. Even knowing that I could give you a very different cover, which I have done, I worried that my name was now strong enough to sucker readers into expecting things: gentleness, steampunk, sweet romance, Victorian food & clothing.

I worried that if it says “by Gail Carriger” readers would expect exactly the kind of thing they had gotten from me before. The Sumage Solution is just different enough for readers to get mad at me. Not because I don’t write urban fantasy or paranormal romance well (This book is oodles of fun. It makes me so happy.) but because it’s not what readers expected from Gail Carriger going in. Which isn’t really my fault.

Except that it is. It is certainly my responsibility.

I have established Gail Carriger expectations with 17 or so books now. So it’s up to me to shift those expectations. So I’m publishing The Sumage Solution under G. L. Carriger. Still me. Just tweaked. This way, going in, readers pick up the book and perhaps go:

“Huh, I wonder if this is still Gail? I wonder why Gail is doing this? Perhaps it’s not quite the same thing as before.”

It wasn’t an easy decision, I’ll tell you that much.

And, I hope you like her.

Still and always yours,

Miss G

Kristine Kathryn Rusch gets cerbrial on this subject over on Business Musings: Brand Image (Branding/Discoverability)

 

{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 . . .

Longchamp, France. 1900 via Edwardian Time Machine tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Gail Carriger Sketched by Howard Tayler

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

~ Albert Einstein

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait 2 years to know whether or not it was funny.”

~ Alain de Botton

Book News:

The Reading Chick says of Prudence:

“The style of the characters meld completely with the storyline, that it all seems completely believable, in a rather fantastic way.”

Quote of the Day:

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”

~ Logan Pearsall Smith

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


Secret Project Revealed ~ The Sumage Solution, Gail Carriger Writes Sexy M/M Paranormal Romance as G. L. Carriger

Finally, the big announcement!

If wishes were werewolves.

So a while ago, Gentle Reader, I started muttering about this stupid trashy-great story that kept waking me up in the middle of the night and bothering me with new characters. I called it SAS. Or occasionally Secret Project Smut.

It’s not steampunk.

It’s not in the Parasolverse.

Although there’s a way this could be the Parasolverse’s future, but you have to read it to find out how.

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifter #1

G.L. Carriger

Preorder: Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo

So what is it?

It’s m/m paranormal romance set in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s raunchy and filthy. It’s hilarious and so much fun.

It’s the follow up story to Marine Biology.

I asked myself what happened after Alec moved with his merman boyfriend and his newly formed pack to San Francisco. Turns out he discovers that werewolves have a bad reputation, his brother has been in the closet his whole life, and there’s a snarky annoyed mage on their case.

The story is told with swapped POVs.

Whose story is it?

Start with a beefcake with a caregiver complex…

Bryan (AKA Biff) is Alec’s older brother and a Beta werewolf. Didn’t know he was a closet case, did you? A redneck jock type, overly muscled, overly gruff, and (as it turns out) overly sensitive.

Meets broken beautiful smart-ass with a heart of gold…

Max (Maximillian Barker) is a sumage (a mage who can’t actually do any magic) stuck in a crap government job with a mouth like a sailor and some serious relationship hang ups.

Max works at DURPS, the supernatural equivalent of the DMV. When Bryan goes in for processing, he discovers Max, and Max smells delicious. But mages are supposed to stink… to werewolves. It all goes downhill from there.

So I’m officially calling this the San Andreas Shiftier Series.

This series includes Marine Biology which is the prequel, and will now get a new cover. (And is, I guess, San Andreas Shifters Book #0.5? Although, Marine Biology shouldn’t really be San Andreas Shifters because it’s about the pack before it was a pack and moved to the Bay Area, but… I digress.)

Yeah. Series. This means there could be more. I suspect once you start reading about the San Andreas Pack that you will love them. I built myself a whole cast of fabulous gay biker werewolves to play with.

What, you doubted me?

What’s the first book called, then, Miss Gail?

The Sumage Solution

You gonna publish it?

Yep. It’s up for preorder right now. Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo

I dithered a while, worried about silly things like “polluting the brand.” (There are pros and cons to writing in multiple genres.) And is m/m too smutty for Gail to scribble? And will I get in trouble for writing trash? (In Defense of Trash)

You know what?

I really flipping love this book.

And I think you guys can take it.

I slapped sexy cover art on it (more on that soon) and a big old warning in the blurb, and so I hope none of my readers are sideswiped by butt sex. (Sideswiped By Butt Sex incidentally, is the name of my all-drag-queen Smashing Pumpkins cover band.)

Speaking of drag queens, there’s also one of those in The Sumage Solution. Her name is Manifest Destiny, and the biker werewolves are house-sitting her apartment at the beginning of the book. Yes, there is a wall of rainbow feather boas and a werewolf in a kimono.

Oh stop it.

You know you want to read it. Or if you don’t, I bet you know someone who does.

Yes, proper descriptions, and cover art analysis, info about print & audio releases, and all that fancy stuff to come.

Heh… come.

You see what this is doing to me?!

You can leave questions in the comments.

But I’m only answering the indiscrete ones.

Want More?

On a serious note, Romance Novels for Feminists (one of my favorite blogs) talks about the problem inherent in writing the classic Alpha hero and also concerns around women writing m/m smut (yes I share her concerns, but not enough to stifle myself) in two incredibly erudite interviews for LOVE BETWEEN THE COVERS.

“Next time he’ll have me bummed by a big gay werewolf, I swear.”

~ Lesbian Vampire Killers

“When I say ‘spank me with a broomstick and call me Joseph Stalin’ I’m sure I speak for all of us.”

~ Hotel Babylon

“Can’t you tell from the hair and the cheekbones? Humans don’t grow that beautiful. Not outside of Denmark, anyway.”

~ Marine Biology (Alec talking about merfolk)

P.S. Don’t get me started in prostate wands because when you’re writing m/m with mages… comedy flipping gold.

{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 . . .

“When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.”

~ Rita Mae Brown

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Mourning in the 1880s: U.S. vs Great Britainl

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“You ask me why I spend my life writing? Do I find entertainment? Is it worthwhile? Above all, does it pay? If not, then, is there a reason…I write only because there is a voice within me. That will not be still.”

~ Sylvia Plath

Book News:

Good Books & Good Wine says:

“Carriger’s Etiquette & Espionage is a female-empowering steampunk read, best opened up if you are looking for a cracking good time.”

Quote of the Day:

“Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are’ is true enough, but I’d know better if you told me what you reread.”

~ Francois Mauriac

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


How I Work: Gail Carriger, Authorbeast

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, I’m a bit of a Lifehacker follower. Back in 2013 I was particularly taken by their How I Work series. I thought it would be fun to answer their questions, and now here’s an updated version. I hope you enjoy!

Location:
Bay Area, Northern California, USA.

Current gig: 
Chronically tea addicted, octopus obsessed, shoe collecting, New York Times bestselling authorbeast.

Current mobile device: 
iPhone 5, iPad Mini

Current computer: 
2013 MacBook Air (named Hestia) – desperately in need of an upgrade

One word that best describes how you work: 
Efficiently.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? 
Apps: (most of my phone’s natives like Mail, Weather, Camera, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Notes) as well as Twitter, Facebook, Friendly, Feedly, Instagram, Google Maps, Stylebook, Yelp, Downcast, Chrome, and Scrivener iOS. All the airline apps for checking in to flights.
Software: Scrivener, Skype, Chrome, Firefox, Safari (yes all three browsers), iTunes, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Hootsuite, Pinterest, Wikia, Word (because I must for work).
Tools: Kindle Oasis, iPod Nano, yearly wall calendar, old street stomper bicycle with detachable shopping panniers, electric kettle or water boil coil, tea, Ikea mini reading lamps, my car, tote and carry-on suitcase, modular packing devices, Roomba, a bath tub (does that count as a tool?), and a gas stove.

(Although, truthfully, back in my archaeology days I can, and have, lived without all of the above except the iPod and tea.)

Tea zone in Gail’s Office

What’s your workspace like?
At home and in my office I have a standing desk made from a CB2 wet bar with a S-shelf for a riser, Perixx wireless keyboard and mouse, and Wellness mat.

Gail’s Home Desk Set Up

In the office, I also have two additional sitting desks which I use for editing and sewing projects. A reading/research/imagination nook, a sitting area and the all important tea station. I have a blog post with more pictures, including the before and after of decorating.)

Gail’s Reading Nook

What’s your best time-saving trick? 
Outlining and setting realistic goals. And tea.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Evernote.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My iPod nano, named Caper. I’m addicted to podcasts, I use them to stay in touch with the writing industry and the world, everything from news to entertainment to comedy to academic lectures about the Byzantine Empire. Because I live in California (driving!), bike to work, and travel a lot, audio is a great way for me to stay informed.

Pretty much any time I’m not writing, I’m listening to a podcast. Since I’m a girly girl who likes pretty clothes I can’t pocket my phone on my person and I’m not yet happy with wireless earbud offerings, a small iPod down the bra is essential to my mental well being.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Making tea.

What are you currently reading?
See Coop de Book at the bottom of this blog post.

What do you listen to while you work?
When I’m writing that’s the only time I’m not listening to a podcast. So, nothing.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert, though I perform extrovert very well.

What’s your sleep routine like?
Regulated but restless.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.
Mercedes Lackey

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
No one is interested in a writer that doesn’t actually finish her novels.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more.”

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

PROJECT ROUND UP

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

OUT NOW

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1894 Seaside fashion plate shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

16 Cozy and Inviting Reading Nooks

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

What it Looked Like to Travel the World Solo as a 19th Century Woman

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Unpredictable Nature of a Writing Career

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“A sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


The Care & Feeding of Your Human Author – A Cat’s Perspective

Posted by Gail Carriger

Lilliput the Bean here.

I have hijacked my human’s blog.

For you, fellow cat-kind, I present my tips on how to care and feed your human authorbeast.

  1. Provide authorbeast with small kills as often as possible while singing the song of our people. Toy mice, fleece snakes, occasional burnt muffin bottom, or earplugs (I call them pinkies).
  2. Distract your authorbeast from overworking, often. They shouldn’t be allowed to focus too hard: walk across keyboard, nibble ankles, pretend to drink the tea.
  3. When in doubt, eat the laptop stand.
  4. Is your human sitting? Is there lap? Do they have a full bladder? Make those biscuits, make them!
  5. Attack your authorbeast through the filmy curtains. We all know they are see-through, but your human can’t tell. Humans aren’t that smart.
  6. Ostentatiously check objects in use, on the off chance that they might be tasty: iPad, phone, earbuds, kindle, corner of book, your human’s fingers and eyebrows.
  7. Test gravity regularly. Make absolutely certain it is always working properly. For science!

Now, go forth and help your authorbeast to write!

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Beat Jet Lag by Eating Meals On Local Time Before You Travel

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Top Ten Trends in Publishing Every Author Needs to Know in 2017

Book News:

Blackgate interview with yours truly.

Quote of the Day:

“Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means that they have a history.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Gail Is Away On Retreat

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I’m delighted to let you know, Gentle Reader, that Prudence (the first Custard Protocol Book) is on sale for $4.99 (ebook USA). I have no control over the pricing of these books but I will say that this is a good deal. I would jump on it, if I wanted the digital version.

And now…

Writing Retreat!

I’m gone for a whole week, Gentle Reader, starting Sunday. I’m even, mostly, off grid.

This is very much a good thing.

You see – I have a writing retreat far away and in a secret location. I will be holed up with 20 other writers and 2 amazing chefs, typing away diligently from 8am until 6pm and then drinking and talking shop all night. This is vitally important not only to my productivity, but to my mental health and well-being.

I hope to get over the hump and into the downward slide on this Competence rough. I’m ambitious, but I think I can get pretty far along, if previous retreats are anything to go by.

Anyway, wish me luck? As ever, I’ve scheduled things to drop and bits and bobs to keep you entertained on social media while I’m gone. I’ll be checking in, in case the world explodes, but I may be slow to respond to, well, everything.

See you in March.

Many hugs!

Miss Gail

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Parasol via shewhoworshipscarlin Fashion plate, 1883, Sweden.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Fan Art conall_feels_pretty_by_chanee_dawn-d41w6qa

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Are Bathroom Lines Allowed on International Flights? The Definitive Answer

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Value of Writing Retreats

Book News:

Confessions of a Bibliophile says of Prudence:

“The entire cast of characters were absolutely wonderful and entertaining. I love the wit and snark between the quad on The Spotted Custard, on their time in the air and even when they stop in various places along the way from London to England.”

Quote of the Day:

“When one pays a visit it is for the purpose of wasting other people’s time, not one’s own.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Chapter Titles And Other Quandaries

Posted by Gail Carriger

I have a mad love of chapter titles, Gentle Reader. You may, or may not, have noticed that all of my books have chapter titles. I’ve no idea where this love comes from, that’s the weird thing. Yes many of my early reader books had chapter titles, but it’s not like as I got older they didn’t fade away as they mainly do in genre. And didn’t most other authors have that too? Yet they readily abandon the chapter title. Perhaps it’s because of my comedy bent?

For example, here’s a look at the chapter titles in Romancing the Inventor:

  1. In Which We Hope Vampires are Perverted
  2. In Which Inventors Have Powerful Dimples
  3. In Which Equations Prove Fruitful and Multiply
  4. In Which Werewolves Come Calling
  5. In Which Things Get Perverted at Supper
  6. In Which Imogene Contemplates Rodger
  7. In Which We Learn the Source of Vanilla
  8. In Which There are More Dimples
  9. In Which Werewolves Meddle
  10. In Which We Solve All the Equations

I don’t always use the “In Which” tag, but in this particular book I really wanted to. It felt right. Perhaps, if you want me to seem very smart, I’m playing on the idea of solitary women of the dark past (particularly those with aberrant sexual interests), being monikered witch? (There’s you college essay for you.) Competence, the book I’m working on now, has a different approach. But it still has chapter titles.

One of my great joys as an indie author is that I get to make sure my chapter titles appear at the front of the ebook. My formatter and I had a long hash out of the necessity of this and how I wanted them to appear, exactly. Because when I can be in control, I am such a control freak.

I don’t necessarily gravitate to reading books that have chapter titles, but I do notice when they appear and I like it. Possibly because it is so rare these days.

I wonder why it’s so out of fashion. Too much like non-fiction? Perceived as juvenile?

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

 After a design by Cornelis Pronk (Dutch, Amsterdam 1691–1759 Amsterdam), Chinese, for Dutch market

 Cornelis Pronk (Dutch, Amsterdam 1691–1759 Amsterdam)
Plate depicting a lady with parasol, ca. 1734–37
Chinese, Yongzheng (1723–35)–Qianlong (1736–95) period
Hard-paste porcelain painted with cobalt blue under transparent glaze (Jingdezhen ware); H. 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm.); Diam. 19 1/2 in. (49.5 cm.)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Helena Woolworth McCann Collection, Purchase, Winfield Foundation Gift, 1968 (68.153)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Globo dirigible de M. Giffard

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Publishing Predictions: What Will Happen in 2017

Book News:

Dianna Sachs says of Romancing the Inventor:

“The relationship between Madame Lefoux and the intrepid parlormaid, Imogene, has a sweetness that underlies their discovery of each other. The pair must navigate their emerging feelings for each other while withstanding the manipulations of a few familiar characters – some benign and others decidedly hostile.”

Quote of the Day:

“Seriousness is the only refuge of the shallow.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


It Means Something Different in Romance

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Terminology for Romance Readers & Authors

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

Romancing the Inventor

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

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

We are talking book descriptions here people

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

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

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

I don’t know… warning?

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

Still with me?

Here we go… Bum chicha baow.

On the surface?

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

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

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

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

You Probably Know This But…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lets Get Deep Here: Initialisms

HEA means happily ever after.

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

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

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

More than you ever needed to know about multiples

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

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

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

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

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

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

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

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

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

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

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Do Some Writers Choose to Go “Indie”?

Book News:

Women Write About Comics says:

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

Quote of the Day:

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

~ Oscar Wilde

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


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

Posted by Gail Carriger

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Plot is still pretty darn important.

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

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

3. But still not as important as pace.

Here’s an interesting note to end on.

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

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

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

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

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

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

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

A world-famous photographer captured candid pictures of people reading

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

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

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

4 Things Real Authors Have that Amateurs Don’t

Book News:

Fan Art Alexia Soulless By Sarah Lynne Christianson

Quote of the Day:

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

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


Did You Know Gail Has A YouTube Channel?

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello my dear Gentle Reader! I have a YouTube channel.

I have, actually had a YouTube channel for a really long time, I just haven’t gotten into it much.

However, Kelly and I have figured out how to take the Facebook Live videos I’ve been doing and upload them to YouTube. Well, Kelly has. So you can now subscribe to the channel and get them there.

No promises on getting them up in a timely manner. If you want to participate in the Q&A and get the info right away, you’ll still have to tune in live. But at least for those of you who really intensely dislike the whole FB experience (yes, I get it) there is now a low barrier to entry way to see the videos.

Subscribe and like, if you would. And I promise I’ll keep doing them there.

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

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • 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.

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 . . .

1875 Fashion plate, 1875 via shewhoworshipscarlin

1875 Fashion plate, 1875 via shewhoworshipscarlin

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Bumbersnoot's Girlfriend

Bumbersnoot’s Girlfriend

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Learned about Sirum on the plane to Singapore. INGENIOUS charity. SIRUM connects unopened unexpired medications to patients in need.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it’s dull, you’re just not communicating.”
~ Poul Anderson

Book News:

Linnie says of Imprudence:

“Imprudence is a wonderful second entry in the series, even stronger than the first. I loved it and am sure fans of Prudence will love it as well.”

Quote of the Day:

“You, with sophistical arguments, set yourself up to attack that very sex which, because it is deprived of the opportunity to study, cannot answer your malicious inventions.”
~ Archangela Tarabotti

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


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