Reading Soulless at Borderlands (The Parasol Protectorate)

All photos taken by J. Daniel Sawyer.

Recently, Gentle Reader, I had my very first book reading and signing. It was at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. I am no sure how many of you who frequent my blog (you know, all six) are aspiring writers, but this is a journal-sort of endeavor, so I thought I would jot down the nature of the experience to support my own fading memory irregardless of the benefit to posterity. Still, I hope it manages to entertain some and provide necessary information to others.

I was asked to do a reading at Borderlands by email, shortly after they received my ARC, many months ago now. Such a request was quite thrilling to Newly Minted Author Beast, one of those mile markers I’m always prattling on about. I’d heard of the store, one of the last great specialty independents, but I have an abhorrence for driving in San Francisco so never managed to visit. Shortly thereafter, circumstances conspired to get me in to visit the august establishment (despite said abhorrence) not once, but twice: to see Jay Lake and Ken Scholes “write off” and for David J. Williams’s reading. After the completion of the latter, I introduced myself to the staff and encountered my first fan girl – yet another mile marker! (I quickly discovered I love fan girls!)

Borderlands is fabulous, a perfect bastion to the SF world, large enough to supply any book you might need, small enough to be intimate. There is the required couch, the required lap cat (although naked and kind of alien-like – even more apropos to a science fiction shop), and the required stacks and stacks of books. Not only that but they are wonderful about supporting the SF/F community with events, and help, and interest.

Gail, are you going to get on to your reading anytime soon?

Right. So, due to the advent of a meeting that morning in the East Bay and the usual combination of unappealing events in The City (AKA Fleet Week) traffic was a nightmare. The Armenian Lovers handled it with aplomb and, it must be said, must greater calmness and presence of mind than I would have, placing us at Borderlands well before the prescribed time.

While the store set up the stadium seating, I chatted with a few early arrivals and arranged the tea. Slowly people filtered in. This is my home ground so, to be fair, at least 80% of the people there were friends or family. My mother had quite the posse, but then, my mother is like that. However, Borderlands is known for weekend events and a small collective was in attendance because it’s one of the things they do on the weekend, and a few had come especially to see me, either because they heard of it on twitter or had read the book and liked it enough to follow my blog. This was sooo cool! There were fellow authors in the audience Seanan McGuire whose book Rosemary and Rue has recently come out from DAW (and who once, and I don’t think she remembers this, gave me some very sound advice about the publishing industry at a BayCon) and Blake Charlton who has a forthcoming novel, Spellwright, from TOR (and whom my friend and I kidnapped to our room one BayCon because he looked hungry and lost, and fed almond butter and jam sandwiches).

I encouraged people to drink tea, then read a passage from the book (the bit where Alexia and Ivy are walking through Hyde Park after The Incident) and took a few questions. Intelligent questions were asked, some of which I wasn’t prepared for. After poodling about the blogosphere doing interviews for the past two weeks I did think I had been asked all the questions there were. Apparently not. This was much fun. Then I signed books, chatted to individuals, met some of the audience members I didn’t know, and drank more tea. It was quite delightful. One of my audience members has a recap on the event as well.

Then a group of us wandered across the street to the pub for food and, in my case, a half pint of Guinness. Then we battled post-ballgame meets post-Fleet Week traffic out of the city, me dozing off, and the Louder Half singing softly to himself.

In other news: Orbit blogs about the cover of my second book, Changeless. Spoiler warning for the first book on the second book’s blurb.

The obligatory reminder I’m running a contest this week for lots of cool stuff. Hope you participate.

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Torchwood’s Ianto Jones shrine in Cardiff
Your Tisane of Smart:
Flickr Commons = photos with no copyright restrictions from national libraries.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Should writers blog?

Getting its first reprint! Fantastic Book Review

“I really didn’t know what to expect going into reading this book, but I am thrilled to say that it delivered on all accounts. The plot, characters, and writing has me wanting to dive in and read more of Carriger’s books.”

Quote of the Day:
“Zest. Gusto. How rarely one hears these words used. How rarely do we see people living, or for that matter, creating by them. Yet if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto.”
~ Ray Bradbury

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Posted by Gail Carriger


No Responses

  1. The Shepards said:

    Makes me jealous i don't live anywhere near Cali to go to book signings! People tend to avoid Oklahoma like the plague. The bookstore looks real neat!

  2. Jessica Kennedy said:

    I wish I could have been there. I'm not much of a squealer but I might have made an exception for you and your book. 🙂

    Maybe I will meet you at BEA next year! 🙂

    Congrats on the reprint!

  3. Gail Carriger said:

    Oh, I don't know, you're the third person I've heard from Oklahoma, so anything is possible.
    As to the BEA, that would be lovely, but I'm not sure. Orbit has other authors to pimp…

  4. Brandy said:

    We don't get many author signings here, either. (SC) I so wished we still lived in CA sometimes. Glad the signing went well!

  5. RKCharron said:

    Hi Gail 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your first book signing/reading. I loved the photographs & am so glad it was a packed house and you got to share it with friends and family.
    Love & Best Wishes,
    PS – Were you nervous at all about reading & answering questions in front of everyone?

  6. Gail Carriger said:

    Hi RK,
    Glad you enjoyed the report. I was a little nervous but since I'm a professor in the real world I am used to speaking in front of a crowd. Mostly I was worried about my English accent – which is atrocious.
    All the best,

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