Tagged victorian

Coop de Book Review ~ Brother’s Ruin (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I know this is a book review, Gentle Reader, but I hope you will forgive me if I do it with my author hat on.

Which is a very floofy hat, mind you.

One of the things I like most about Brother’s Ruin is the way Em layers in her tension points. As we open the book we see two characters standing still in a sea of humanity. Then we learn the first tension point: our heroine,Charlotte, is an artist trying to make it in a man’s world. Then we get the second: the magi stealing children. Then we learn her beloved brother is ill. And then after we return to the comparative safety of home, the punch of a father’s mounting debt.

Now we know Charlotte is weighed down by many burdens: disenfranchisement, secrecy, fear, grief, and financial hardship. These are all identifiable things to most readers, we have all suffered fear and sickness, financial insecurity and societal dismissal as a result of age, sex, gender, personal preferences, or race. (Well, most SF/F readers have.) This makes Charlotte very sympathetic as a character and us, as readers, very invested in seeing her climb her way out of this depressive cess-pit in which she finds herself.

All that in the first 20% of the novella!

As the final straw we see Charlotte’s attempt at her own salvation, an inappropriate but fiscally logical marriage. The modern eye sees this as a flawed choice from the get go, because we (as readers) are trained to prefer our heroine to solve her own problems through strength of ability, not marriage. So we hope this match fails.

At this juncture when the magi appear, Charlotte is then driven into her adventure (heeds the call, if you would).

I’m not going to review further because to do so would give things away, and this is, not really much of a review. Ah well, more me admiring a most excellent set up and highly skilled author. It happens, sometimes I’m more author than reader. I do hope that you, as readers, also enjoyed this book.

Want more?

Well, Em promises more in this series, which I do hope materializes in the meantime…

If you enjoyed this book and are interested in something similar in style, if not exactly the same, I suggest giving Jordan Hawk’s Hex series a try. You can begin with her $0.99 short story to see if you like the world, The 13th Hex. There are two books and another short that follow.

This Month’s Book Pick

Radiance by Grace Draven

~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

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

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Formatting
    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 . . .

1900 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr Walking dress, 1900, Europe

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Octopus Shelf In Office

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why the Octopus Lost Its Shell

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Things You Don’t Know About Authors on Book Tour

Book News:

Running now!

Quote of the Day:

“Writers have no real area of expertise. They are merely generalists with a highly inflamed sense of punctuation.”

~ Lorrie Moore

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!


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!


Romancing the Inventor: New Character Imogene Hale (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Romancing the Inventor has been out for a day, no news for you yet, Gentle Reader, because, well… it has only been a day.

So I thought I’d give you a look at Imogene Hale and the character design boards behind this book. You can see the full boards on Pinterest, but I know not everyone has it.

Imogene Hale

In the Book

Imogene Hale is a lowly parlourmaid with a soul-crushing secret. Seeking solace, she takes work at a local hive, only to fall desperately in love with the amazing lady inventor the vampires are keeping in the potting shed.

imogene-hale-character-board

Creating the Character

Imogene started out as a kind of cool snooty blond (you know, Genevieve’s type), but that wasn’t working right for the story and I couldn’t really feel her, I wanted her warmer and more grounded, more English rose and less, well, Angelique.

I went to Tess of the d’Urbervilles for inspiration, added backbone, soul, and a certain depth of self-guidance and understanding. Genevieve, after all, likes willful ladies. The thing is, Imogene had to be what Genevieve needed more than what Genevieve wanted. Imogene also must be her own self and person, and not just a Pygmalion built for Genevieve to adore.

When I made Romancing the Inventor Imogene’s story, and it was her voice that began to dominate the narrative, everything fell into place. I wrote half of RTI on a writing retreat in the space of a week, typing out 8-10k days (NOT NORMAL) and it was all because of Imogene talking to me.

Maude Fealy Wikipedia

A lot of Imogene’s physical appearance was drawn off the American silent film actress Maude Fealy (sometimes spelled Maud) who has a soft etherial dreamy beauty that made me think of Imogene. I also collected images of maids and downstairs female staff to understand posture, clothing, and so forth.

This novella is part Imogene discovering herself, and what she needs and how to ask for what she wants. And half Genevieve learning to love again, and to trust.

genevieve-lefoux-design-board

I’ve done character studies of Genevieve before, she was first written more as Q for Alexia, meets dandy meets mad-scientist trope (with a Gail twist). I’ve taken inspiration for her from diverse sources: George Sand & Colette, Vesta Tilley, Audrey Tautou’s Coco, and many more. Like Imogene, it took me writing her out in Changeless to finally understand what would make her more of a person and less of a foil. However, I feel like writing her as Vieve, before she grew up and had her heart broken, is a gift most writers don’t get. Because I could build her a foundation of delight and wonder which Imogene might remind Genevieve has still buried within.

Not that Imogene wants child-Vieve, because yech, but because one of the best things about love is that it can remind you to hope.

romancing-the-inventor-design-board

The inspiration board for Romancing the Inventor.

That’s all for today my darlings! A reminder I have a Facebook live this Sunday, you can ask all the questions you want of me then.

Nov. 6, 6:00 PM PST | Facebook Live Q&A

Q&A with Gail via Facebook Live on her Author Page. A spoiler free chat about Romancing the Inventor and much more.

 

{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: Rough draft completed. Lay away this month. First pass red through starts in December.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

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 . . .

1879 Édouard Manet was born #OnThisDay in 1832. Here's "In the Conservatory" from 1879

1879 Édouard Manet’s “In the Conservatory”

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

In Memory of Sheri S. Tepper

In Memory of Sheri S. Tepper

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Jonathon Green’s Dictionary of Slang

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“The story is always better than your ability to write it. My belief about this is that if you ever get to the point that you think you’ve done a story justice, you’re in the wrong business.”
~ Robin McKinley

Book News:

madame-lefoux-gadgets

Some Steampunk Gadgets off one of my boards.

Quote of the Day:

“No, Hobbes, nailing a live octopus to a wall is impossible, everything else is merely difficult.”
~ Simon R. Green

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


Behind Romancing the Inventor: Blame Mercedes Lackey (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Back when I was first transitioning into reading adult books, Gentle Reader, it was pretty natural to cross from children’s fantasy (there was no YA as a category back then) into adult fantasy via Mercedes Lackey. (I still hold that Arrows is, in fact, YA. It simply has never been packaged that way. Silly marketing.)

For me that transition went pretty smoothly because, well… girls and soul bonded horses. I know, but in case you never guessed, I’ve always been a super girly girl (aside from being totally not squeamish about bugs and food and dirt and climbing anything that will stand still long enough for me to get up it and… where was I?) Oh yes, so child Gail began reading adult books because white horses with purple eyes on cover. Duh.

I don’t know that I have a pithy place I am going with this post. I guess I’m writing it because I get asked a lot:

Why do you include gay characters in your books?

I find the question confusing. Like, Gail, why do you include food in your books? Or descriptions of dresses? Or fragment sentences? It’s part of my DNA as a writer. My world view. My world.

But that also seems to trivialize the whole darn thing.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-4-21-06-pm

I think a better question is, why on earth would I not?

Mercedes Lackey always inhabits her work with gay and lesbian characters. They are not always central characters, as they are the Last Herald Mage series, but they are always there. (Keep reading Lackey and you end up with poly relationships. Gail, age 14 thought Knight of Ghosts and Shadows had the most romantic ending of any book EVER, and kinda still does.) All these relationships are presented in a supportive light. Which made perfect sense to child Gail with all her Berkeley and San Francisco poet, artist, dancer, musician aunties and uncles (and uncles who were also aunties).

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-4-21-59-pm

Since then, I’m lucky enough to have socialized with Mercedes on a few occasions as a grown up professional author (and she is just as warm and wonderful as you might hope). I’m afraid when I first met her, my friend Lauren and I rather fan-girled all over her. Almost entirely because we wanted to impress upon her the fact that her books were so very important because they gave us a model of fantasy that included alternate sexuality. As she went to pains to point out, there were other genre authors doing this before her. But those authors were generally less accessible to young women. Her books were/are important because in them queer wasn’t a big deal. It just was. And so when Lauren and I began to write it just was for us, too.

And that, my darlings, is a powerful instrument of change.

So there it is. As we move to a place where I, as an author, am finally writing a LBGTQ main character the answer to your question of why is essentially… blame Mercedes Lackey.

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey.}

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 ~ Novella? Novel? Who knows.
    Status: Rough draft.
    Something new and different for Gail, 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.

NEXT UP

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 . . .

1872 Fashion plate via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

1872 Fashion plate via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

10 Times Umbrellas Became Works of Art

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

5 Travel Pillows in Order of Ridiculousness

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

How to Create an Anthology

Book News:

Fan Art Lefoux by Cara Powers

Fan Art Lefoux by Cara Powers

Quote of the Day:

“There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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


12 Things About Publishing This Author Wishes Everyone Knew (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Something a little different today, Gentle Reader.

90% of the FAQs I get at events stem from preconceived notions about the publishing industry. I had them too, before I became immersed. So without further ado, here are the 12 Things I really wish EVERYONE knew about publishing.

Gail Hat alone

1. The terms...

  • Trad means traditionally published with a paid advance, usually with one of the major publishers in New York (like Orbit, part of Hachette) or a small press (like Subterranean). There really aren’t many mid-sized presses left.
  • Indie (mostly) means self published (or it may refer to an independent bookstore, I know, confusing).
  • Hybrid means both.

2. Authors please, never expect anyone else to put in more effort than you.
From writing a book to publicizing a book to reading it. No matter how much you have paid or you have been paid.

3. The cover is the most important part of a book’s birth into the world.
Trad authors have too little control. Indie authors have too much. However, what you believe is a good cover (AKA pretty, nice, fun) may not be a commercial or market-friendly cover. (There is also price to consider. But cover first.)

4. Payment is (generally) monthly in Indie, and bi-annually in Trad.
Did you read that? Traditionally published authors are (if they are lucky) paid only 2x a year! Writing is not a get rich scheme. Even the most well-known authors make a great deal less money than you think they do.

5. Most authors have day jobs.
Even if the author is a full timer, most of her day is likely not spent writing, and most put in at least 12 hour days.

6. If an author is lucky enough to get a book tour, it usually means the following:

  • The publisher is covering the costs.
  • The author sells well enough already.
  • The author doesn’t sell well enough to say no to touring, but probably wishes she could.
  • The author’s presence is being used as a bargaining chip to leverage sales and/or future events.

7. In Trad, new authors are paid by the successful proceeds of the heavy hitters that have come before.
You may not enjoy that super popular book, but it’s likely that book is the reason you have the more-risky less-commercial novel that you love.

8. It helps to survive, as reader or writer, if you think of your beloved book as a marketable asset and not your precious baby.
That’s how everyone treats it. People are going to slam it, abuse it, wrap it in trash, deny it, publish it with missing lines or typos, willfully misinterpret it, and reject it: take a deep breath, move on to the next one.

9. An advance is called an advance because the author will not be paid again until they earn enough in royalties to compensate for that advance.
If they don’t “earn out” they get to keep their advance, but it’s never good in Trad if you’re not a profitable asset. Still confused? More on what advance really means.

10. A good indie book is expensive to produce in either time or money, usually both.
This is the cost of keeping control. Do it properly or not at all.

11. A film option does not a movie make.

12. Publisher or publishing venue: both are designed to get as much money out of authors and readers as possible.
This is not some weirdo personal vendetta against creatives, this is business.

Writers can feel pretty powerless in the big corporate world of publishing, but sometimes our greatest power is the ability to say “no.”

~ Carrie Vaughn

{Gail’s monthly read along for September 2016 is Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair.}

SPECIAL RE-RELEASE

MySistersSong_ebook

My Sister’s Song

The warrior Mithra must repel a Roman legion alone and armed only with one very tasty weapon.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Afternoon dress, 1860, Charlotte, North Carolina. via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Afternoon dress, 1860, Charlotte, North Carolina. via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Book People Imprudence Display

Book People Imprudence Display

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

New Born Octopuses Are as Strange and Wonderful as You Might Imagine

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Reasons I Said No to 25 Queries (and how to avoid being one of them)

Book News:

Fan Art PP

Quote of the Day:

“Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Amazon Kindle Automatic Book Update Issues (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’ve had  a number of people contact me about the fact that although I’ve updated the formatting and cover art for two short stories (Marine Biology & Fairy Debt), they aren’t automatically updating on Kindle device.

FairyDebt_ebook copy

Did anyone out there who purchased either story before the re-release have it update successfully?

I’d love to know. The new versions have the copyright information at the back rather than the front. (There’s no substantial content changes so don’t worry about that.)

Here is how to turn on Amazon automatic updating. (And here’s Amazon being sublimely unhelpful on the subject of issues.)

Here is how to manually update your Kindle device via your Amazon account settings.

But Gail, no matter what I do it won’t update!

I’m afraid this is an Amazon issue and I can’t diagnose it for you. (I can’t even do it for myself.) Fixing it will have to do with your account, operating system, e-reader type, settings, cloud storage, and a host of other things. If you have annotated or highlighted the original version there may be a safeguard in place that prevents any update.

All I know it that it’s supposed to automatically update.

MarineBiology_promo

Look, I’m just as frustrated as you. I deleted my version of Marine Biology from everywhere. I deleted it from my device. Then I double checked all bits of it were deleted by plugging my Kindle in to my computer in USB mode. Then I went to my account and deleted it from the cloud too. I rebooted my Kindle. Then I re-purchased the darn thing and… nothing. Oh I got the new cover, but only in gallery view. Everything else remains the 2013 version (2.0). I’ve tried googling, I’ve tried KDP forums, there’s unhelpful tips on updating for publishers and even more unhelpful tips on updating for readers. Yet nothing changes, those embedded extensions are like a cancer.

You longtime Kindle users know how buggy the darn things are. Right?

There’s that one book that will never stay in a category but always wants to be in the main drive. Or the one that, in the end, you have to manually delete by hooking your kindle into your desktop. Or the one that just won’t open no matter what you do.

Yeah. I have those too. Having hundreds of books with me when I travel still trumps everything else. Everything.

Your, extremely frustrated,

Miss Gail

P.S. And you, yes you with the supercilious expression, I don’t want no cheeky “just read the old fashioned way” comments.” Zip it. We all like what we like. And you will pry my e-reader from my cold dead heads. No wait, I want to be buried with it, just in case.

P.P.S. Don’t even get me started on nook…

Meanwhile… Parlourmaids Trouble Gail

While you face this crisis, I tumble down the British excessive “u” rabbit hole over the word parlourmaid. You see, I want to use the word parlourmaid because that’s how it was used and spelled (and in the USA we didn’t really have them, as such) but that means I must also use the word parlour. If I use parlour then why not colour? There in lies UTTER MADNESS.

Copy edit conundrum and impasse. You see how my life is?

What to do over the extraneous u?

 

{Gail’s monthly read along for August is Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Working copy edit. Release date Nov. 1 2016.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGT reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novella? Novel? Who knows.
    Status: Rough draft.
    Something utterly new and different for Gail. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASE

MarineBiology_promo

Marine Biology

A short tale of seduction, selkies, and sushi.

Alex is a werewolf with problems – he’s unexpectedly alive, he’s quite definitely gay, and he’s been ordered into a partnership with one very flirty merman.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1860The Philadelphia Museum of Art _ OMG that dress!

186 0The Philadelphia Museum of Art via OMG that dress!

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

5 India Cloud at Copperfield's Books copy

With India Cloud at Copperfield’s Books

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

What’s Old is New: Double Rings

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

s.leady @fawksylibrarian Vieve from @gailcarriger's Finishing School made an appearance @Andersonsclib's Electric City ComiCon #ec32016

via @fawksylibrarian Vieve from @gailcarriger’s Finishing School made an appearance @Andersonsclib’s Electric City ComiCon #ec32016

Quote of the Day:

“Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.”

~Oscar Wilde

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


7 Questions For Gail’s Inner Writer (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Gentle reader, today’s post is adapted from this one by Cathy Yardley.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve written my whole life. My first book was traditionally published in 2009 and I’ve been a full time author with the written word as my only income since late 2011.

What genre would you say you write?

Commercial genre fiction is what I say at cocktail parties. If someone looks interested and presses further I say SF/F for adults and young adults and historical romance. If they press further I say steampunk, but then I usually have to explain what steampunk is.

Have you taken classes or received instruction for creative writing?

No. I hated them in grade school, although I was always a good student and prolific writer, but they wanted me to be too literary. Thus I never took creative writing past high school. I went to panels and lectures on the business side of writing at conventions, but only work-shopped my stuff with a core critique group of close friends.

I try to give back to the writing community as much as I can, but you’ll notice I never teach workshops, offer to critique new writers, or participate in contests as a judge. I’m really not good at it.

What are some of your favorite writing reference books?

Does Strunk & White count? But these days I tend to just poke about online. Grammar Girl is awesome.

What do you think is the biggest problem you need help with in your writing?

I always worry about pace. My spelling is bonkers. I scatter commas like I’m a Roman covering Carthage with salt. Generally, my editors have to tell me what to add in rather than what to take out, so I guess, description?

What are your writing goals for the next 12 months?

These days I am shooting to write one novel and two-three novellas/short stories every year.

What are your ultimate goals for your writing career?

This is a great question that I’ve been asking myself a lot recently. I don’t quite know what the answer is right now, but I’m pretty happy with where I am, and where I’m going.

{Gail’s monthly read along for August is Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Beta edit back, working now. Tentative release date Nov. 1 2016.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGT reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novella? Novel? Who knows.
    Status: Rough draft.
    Something utterly new and different for Gail. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASE

MarineBiology_promo

Marine Biology

A short tale of seduction, selkies, and sushi.

Alex is a werewolf with problems – he’s unexpectedly alive, he’s quite definitely gay, and he’s been ordered into a partnership with one very flirty merman.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1862 Magasin des Demoiselles Monday, September 1, 1862 v. 42, plate 120

1862 Magasin des Demoiselles Monday, September 1, 1862 v. 42, plate 120

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

1 Squid Swag copy

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How Tuberculosis Shaped Victorian Fashion

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Rights Reversions (Contracts/Dealbreakers)

Book News:

80sidol-tumblr talk to me about my love for ormond tunstell and ivy hisslepenny

80sidol-tumblr talk to me about my love for ormond tunstell and ivy hisslepenny

Quote of the Day:

“The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it. I can resist everything but temptation.”

~Oscar Wilde

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


Imprudence Research & Reference Links (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Hello Gentle Reader, with Imprudence releasing oh so soon, here’s a glimpse into some of the research I had to do for this next Custard Protocol book.

Queen Victoria via  Elaine Powell @ManchesterSteam

 

Politics in the Sudan before and after Rue visits

 

Generally Useful Victorian Stuff

 

In Which Rue References Things You Might Not Know Of

  • Maxim gun (as opposed to the Gatling or the Nordenfelt)
  • Maahes the ancient Egyptian lion-headed god of war, whose name means “he who is true beside her”.
  • Sekhmet

“Our Homes in 1883 estimated that the average person needed 22 gallons of water a day, divided up as:
Domestic usage, excluding laundry 9 gallons
WCs 5 gallons
Baths, one a week 5 gallons
Washing clothes 3 gallons”
~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders
(According to USGS.gov the average water use per person per day in the US is 80-100 gallons.)

“Milk is the great difficulty in travelling tea-making. It cannot always be easily obtained, and milk carried about with one in a bottle does not long retain its freshness in hot weather. Some people do not object to the condensed or Swiss milk one buys in small tins. It has the advantage of being extremely portable, but I must confess, personally, to finding its effect detestable in tea or coffee.”

~ Hints to Lady Travellers: At Home and Abroad (Royal Geographic Society) by Lillias Campbell Davidson (1889)

 

{Gail’s monthly read along for July is Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Developmental edit. Cover reveal and release date to come.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGT reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.

OUT NEXT

2Imprudence

Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second

Rue and the crew of the Spotted Custard return from India with revelations that shake the foundations of England’s scientific community. Queen Victoria is not amused, the vampires are tetchy, and something is wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most unacceptable military types.

Rue has family problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they really are… is frightened.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Fashion plate, 1896 via shewhoworshipscarlin

Fashion plate, 1896 via shewhoworshipscarlin

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Victorian Sewing: A Brief History of Plain and Fancy Work

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Fantasy Authors Who Fight the Patriarchy, Gender Stereotypes, and Possibly Dragons

Book News:

Difficult, But Fascinating: The Gail Carriger Interview with William Pinfold

Quote of the Day:

“By the end, Rafe wore the long-suffering looking of an eagle being ordered about by a flock of excited pigeons.”

~ Heartless

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


4 Fun Cookies to look out for in Imprudence (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

You may be a big fan of my books, Gentle Reader, or you my be a new reader (waves). In either case here are a few exciting for-the-fans special things to look out for in my forthcoming book, Imprudence.

2Imprudence

  1. French lessons.
  2. The unbirth of a particularly important ghost.
  3. More about Alessandro Tarabotti’s sordid past.
  4. Lord Akeldama’s real name.

Yeah. So there!

Excited about Imprudence? You can join the reread of Prudence while you wait (run by the estimable Skye’s Scribblings).

 

{Gail’s monthly read along for July is Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger.}

 

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Developmental edit. Cover reveal and release date to come.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGT reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.

OUT NEXT

2Imprudence

Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second

Rue and the crew of the Spotted Custard return from India with revelations that shake the foundations of England’s scientific community. Queen Victoria is not amused, the vampires are tetchy, and something is wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most unacceptable military types.

Rue has family problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they really are… is frightened.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Day dress, 1895-96 From the Cincinnati Art Museum

Day dress, 1895-96 From the Cincinnati Art Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lilli Curs Lap Paw

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Amazing Jellyfish Discovered in Ocean Depths Looks Straight Out of Sci-Fi

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

New Article Series: 9 Story Openings To Avoid

Book News:

Alexia & Ivy

Quote of the Day:

“I love talking about nothing… It is the only thing I know anything about.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


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