Tagged behind the magic

Rodrigo Tarabotti Character Inspiration Board Released! (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

A bit behind the magic for you today, Gentle reader.

After his brief appearance at the end of Imprudence, you get a chance to know Rodrigo Tarabotti more in Competence.

Here’s his Pinterst character board for a peak into what he looks like in my head. 

As you can see I had a young Rufus Sewell in mind for this character. All dark and brooding.

I hope you enjoy Rodrigo’s character arc and seeing him evolve in Competence, I had a lot of fun with him.

Yours as ever,

Miss Gail

Meanwhile… RAMEN

Talking travel tips for conventions, keeping your voice, flow packing, and RAMEN FIXING EVERYTHING on the latest 20 Minute Delay Podcast Episode.
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  • Coop de Book for August is A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole. This couple reminds me of a contemporary Conall & Alexia. (Discussion here.

OUT NOW!

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SIGNED edition, use the SIGNED button

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 Competence by Gail Carriger is the third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends..

Accidentally abandoned!

All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1912 via michaelmoonsbookshop-tumblr Midland Railway Co Country and Seaside Holidays Official Country and Seaside Apartments directory for 1912

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Lily of Liberty: Amelia Bloomer at 200

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Tiny, Essential Google Tricks for Way Better Search Results

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“But Alpha, purple is simply not appropriate.”

~ Gail Carriger, Romancing the Werewolf (Quinn)

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Gail Carriger Office Tour! Video (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Gentle Reader, today I have something special for you. It’s a tour of my office! The quality is not awesoem because we just did it on my old iPhone, but it will give a behind the scenes sneaky peek.

The video starts out kind of dark but gets better!

Kind of like life.

In the video…

TEA ZONE

Gail’s favorite tea.

Gail’s recommended electric kettle.

RWA.

The much admired bamboo floor mat is no longer available. Similar.

BOOKS BY GAIL, SHELF

Find foreign editions for sale at Worldbuilders for charity.

My office sitting area

GOODIE BOX & SWAG ZONE

Educator’s Guide is free digitally on Gail’s website

UPSTAIRS

Gail’s pink lipstick.

Gail’s Totoro glasses case.

Timetables of History book.

Prudence is the book where they go to India. Sorry!

The book nook!

Costumes and costuming, some of my DIY projects here using the DIY tag on Retro Rack.

Sample of my steampunk outfits that I’ve worked on myself

There is is, hope you enjoyed it!

Yours in silliness,

Miss Gail

OUT NOW!

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Direct from Gail (Optional Signed Edition) 

How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) ~ A Claw & Courtship Novella by Gail Carriger features a certain white wolf we all love to hate (except those of us weirdos who love to love him).

Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Chaise Longue

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Author Trademarks the Word “Cocky” and Romance Twitter Comes Through

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

Rally the Readers says of How To Marry A Werewolf:

“I never thought I’d use the words “sweet” and “Channing” in the same sentence, but the romance that develops here is very sweet indeed.”

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Three Novella Lines, Gail Carriger Why Are You Confusing Us?

Posted by Gail Carriger

Dearest Gentle Reader, it was brought to my attention recently that having three different novella lines is rather confusing.

Here they are:

Delightfully Deadly

Bladed Fan icon for the Delightfully Deadly novellas

Supernatural Society

Loving Teacups icon for the Supernatural Society novellas

Claw & Courtship

Wolf Top Hat icon for the Claw & Courtship novellas

Shall I try to explain my reasons?

First I should say that I’m hoping that you, my devoted Parasolverse reader, will not care too much about categories and will merely read if the character and plot interest you.

Frankly, the reason I divided into three is for the sake of different covers and different marketing approaches so new readers would know what they are in for.

And because well, I like to organize things.

I assure you, as the novella lines fill out with more and more books, you will notice how the novellas in each line are similar to each other, and how those in different lines are categorically and visually different.

However, confusion amongst some of my fans means I decided to do something I rarely do… explain my reasoning.

(In defiance of this article ~ Don’t Over Explain: Readers Get It the First Time)

Peek into Gail’s warped brain?

Here’s the novella line breakdown:

Delightfully Deadly

This line features the grown up female spies from the Finishing School series. We follow them as they practice their deadly arts and fall in love despite themselves.

 Note the similarities between the two covers, if you would?

However, I chose a much sexier central images for Delightfully Deadly, so that readers would be aware that these are grown up stories, and that sex scenes are likely. (Tastefully done, of course, but sexy.) While the Delightfully Deadly novellas may spin-off of the Finishing School books, but they are NOT intended for a YA audience.

Currently there is only one book in this line, Poison or Protect, but I hope to write several more.

Next up I plan to give either Agatha or Dimity her happy ever after, I just have to get a few other things written first.

Supernatural Society

This line features fan favorite queer characters from throughout the Parasolverse. We follow them as they take center stage and fine love at last.

As you can see, these books draw on my original cover art, only there is an indoor setting instead of outside for the background. This is intended to indicated that these will be cozy romances, which is to say mostly take place in only one location, like a cozy mystery or a regency house party romance.

I chose two central figures for these covers because I really wanted to show a loving moment between same sex couples. Also I wanted a clear break from my other covers that is instantly obvious.

Unfortunately, this makes a good photo twice as hard hard to track down!

These books will be written as inspired as as needed, currently there are only two. Also these do no necessarily have to involve werewolves.

 

Claw & Courtship

This is my newest line of novellas which will always feature a werewolf and a human romance.

Right now I intend to focus on the London Pack in the 1890s.

As you can see on this cover I’m playing on a few of the tropes in my original books. The font is the same, although without the background paint-slash treatment. I’m reusing the wallpaper motif from Finishing School. See that the wall paper is a werewolf? Cute right?

I still have a central figure, but I chose a farther away image, and I have a London background as in Soulless, but instead I went with the circle portal. Frankly I really like circles. (More silliness around this cover here.)

Also, I wanted a bit of a break from my standard cover fair and went with something that harkens to more classic regency romances, since the pitch for these is:

What if Georgette Heyer wrote about werewolves?

While this books will initially feature the London Pack, I’m not ruling out the Kingair Pack, which would, of course, beg the question…

If I were to write a book featuring Sidheag, which novella line would it belong in?

I’ll leave the superfans to noodle over that one,

Yours,

Forever teasing,

Miss Gail

Related Yummy Links!

The Best “Thank You” to an Author

Genre Loyalty vs. Plot Bunny Saboteurs

OUT NOW!

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Direct from Gail (Optional Signed Edition) 

How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) ~ A Claw & Courtship Novella by Gail Carriger features a certain white wolf we all love to hate (except those of us weirdos who love to love him).

Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1910s John Lavery (Irish artist, 1856-1941) Summer

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How Science-Fiction Continues to Influence the Runway

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Authors Are Taking Friendly Fire in Amazon’s War on Fake Reviews

Book News:

Giving an Office Tour, check it out!

Quote of the Day:

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings is a Cad (in 4 Quotes) ~ Behind the Magic

Posted by Gail Carriger

Gentle Reader,

A bit of a look back on Major Channing, today, before his new book comes out.

Here’s a collection of some of my favorite Channing quotes from his appearances as a side character in other Parasolverse books!

“Who the devil are you?” Alexia asked, the man’s cavalier interference irritating her into using actual profanity.
“Major Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings.”
Alexia gawked. No wonder he was so very full of himself. One would have to be, laboring all one’s life under a name like that.

~ Changeless

“Really, Channing,” remonstrated Alexia, “did you have to eat the man’s dog? I am convinced you will experience terrible indigestion.”

~ Blameless

“As to your sister, she is quite a peach, is she not? You have been hiding her from me.”
Lady Maccon would not be goaded. “Really, Channing, she is practically”―she paused to do some calculations―“one-twentieth your age. Or worse. Don’t you want some maturity in your life?”
“Good God, no!”
“Well, how about some human decency?”
“Now you’re just being insulting.”
Alexia huffed in amusement.

~ Heartless

“Channing was incredibly easy on the eyes. Lanky but muscled, with crystal-clear blue eyes and pale blond hair. He was like some winter god, Jack Frost perhaps.
If only he didn’t also shoot first in the firing squad of premier pompous twats.”

~ Romancing the Werewolf

OUT MAY 13, 2018!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct from Gail

How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) ~ A Claw & Courtship Novella by Gail Carriger is now awabile (print, audio & other editions will follow). Featuring a certain white wolf we all love to hate (except those of us weirdos who love to love him). Add this book on Goodreads.

Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Woman Seated in a Garden

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lilliput, AKA Superior General Bean

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Swedish Academy DRAMA!

Book News:

The Tome Gnome says of Soulless:

“This was my first foray into the world of steampunk, and I’m completely in love. I didn’t think I liked historical-ish books, so I passed over Soulless so many times. Perhaps I don’t like straight up historicals, but I sure do love them with vampires, werewolves, and all sorts of steampunk inventions.”

Quote of the Day:

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


Why write this story now? The Origins of How to Marry a Werewolf (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, darling Gentle Reader, you might be wondering:

Why did I write Channing’s novella now?

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct from Gail

Ever wonder about Channing’s backstory?

Well I always have. This novella will reveal all, plus introduce you to some lovable new characters. And you’ll get your Biffy & Lyall fix too.

I guess that was what I was craving, so that’s what I wrote.

Channing first appears in Changeless and despite his attitude problem (or possibly because of it) he has had his fair share of reader love over the years.

He redeems himself slightly by the end of the Parasol Protectorate, and even more so during his brief appearances in Romancing the Inventor.

Romancing the Werewolf drops a big hint as to the cause of some of his bitterness.

I have always felt his issues stem from the fact that he’s lonely. Although, he is trouble, never doubt.

So I asked myself this question:

Who can handle a sarcastic werewolf with trust issues and antisocial behavior?

That, my darlings, takes an American.

I do hope you enjoy seeing Channing get not only a women to love, but the woman he so richly deserves.

Yours forever,
Miss Gail

OUT MAY 13, 2018!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct from Gail

How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) ~ A Claw & Courtship Novella by Gail Carriger is now awabile (print, audio & other editions will follow). Featuring a certain white wolf we all love to hate (except those of us weirdos who love to love him). Add this book on Goodreads.

Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Hollyhocks

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Queen of All the Books

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Victorian Cards That Explained How to Use a Book to Flirt

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Then Things Never to Say to a Writer

Book News:

After Dark Book Lovers says of Soulless:

“The Bottom Line: I loved it. Quirky fun with a great cast of unique characters, I’m very happy to find my latest series binge. If you love historicals, I think you’ll enjoy this, even if you’ve never read steampunk in your life. I know I did and I want more.”

Quote of the Day:

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


How to Marry A Werewolf Chapter Titles! 10 Easy Steps (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

My dearest Gentle Reader,

The full title of my forthcoming novella is…

How to Marry a Werewolf

(In 10 Easy Steps)

A Claw & Courtship Novella

Frankly it’s a bit much to get that meta data uploaded into Amazon and places like that. So the (In 10 Easy Steps) part will only appear  in the print edition fly page and internal layout of the ebooks.

However, I was rather chuffed with myself because the chapters are laid out as “steps” and not chapters, in line with the “10 Easy Steps.”

Because I am a trixie trixie authorbeast. Wanna see?

  • Step 1: Make Yourself Readily Available
  • Step 2: Situate Yourself in an Advantageous Location
  • Step 3: If You Must Be Bait, Be Very Stylish Bait
  • Step 4: Take Every Opportunity To Dance
  • Step 5: Become the Social Butterfly He Wants to Catch
  • Step 6: Take Your Werewolf into The Garden for an Airing, They Must Be Exercised Regularly
  • Step 7: Remember: Either You Are At Dinner or You Are Dinner
  • Step 8: Never, Under Any Circumstances, Make a Public Scene
  • Step 9: Small Tokens of Your Affection Are Always Welcome
  • Step 10: Get Him to the Altar

I do love being clever with my chapter titles. I feel like I am one of nature’s last chapter-wielding authorbeasts.

Meanwhile we are #1 New Release in Steampunk Fiction! Thanks for preordering my darlings!

OUT MAY 13, 2018!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct from Gail

How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) ~ A Claw & Courtship Novella by Gail Carriger is now awabile (print, audio & other editions will follow). Featuring a certain white wolf we all love to hate (except those of us weirdos who love to love him). Add this book on Goodreads.

Guilty of an indiscretion? Time to marry a werewolf.

Rejected by her family, Faith crosses the Atlantic, looking for a marriage of convenience and revenge. But things are done differently in London. Werewolves are civilized. At least they pretend to be.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) Garden in June

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How the New England Vampire Panics Worked

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The 8 Best Writing Retreats That Won’t Break the Bank

Book News:

Petting Zoo Rejects says of Soulless:

“I’ve never laughed so hard at such an honest (and, because it’s me, nice) portrayal of an antagonistic relationship making that dangerously precipitous voyage from loathing to love.”

Quote of the Day:

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


Behind the Magic ~ The Etiquette of Proper Introductions in Victorian Times

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

There are all sorts of rules for introductions in Victorian society, Gentle Reader.

Basically, the person whose name you say first is the more important person, to whom the other is being made known. The inferior is introduced to the superior.

“Duke Hematol, may I introduce Dr. Caedes?”

The duke outranks the doctor.

However, this can get very confusing because aside from rank and social standing (see the Table of Precedence or precedence of attendance) there are also other rules to abide by (see laws/rules of precedence).

For example:

A younger person is introduced to an older person.
“Mr. Rabiffano, Mr. Shabumpkin would like to make your acquaintance.”

A man is introduced to a woman.
“Mrs. Tunstell, please allow me to present Mr. Bootbottle-Fipps.”

And so forth.

So what happens if you have an older woman of little or no rank and a young nobleman? Or two women, the younger of which is married to an earl and the older to a squire? Or what happens if you throw long lived immortals into the mix?

Alexia struggles with just such a situation in the fifth book, Timeless. She must introduce a young lady werewolf whose rank she knows, to an older noble vampire who holds rank (but she is not privy to the particulars). Because he is a vampire and it is his house, she gives him precedence. But she could have reversed the order, especially if she wanted to give insult to the vampire or establish her own allegiance with the werewolves.

A world of damage can be done or avoided simply by reordering an introduction.

I never go into any of this in my books, because it is mere minutia to those who are reading for plot and story. But it is one of those things that, if you know how the era works, sometimes you can read that I am having fun with the undercurrents that may result. It certainly can effect character.

I should note that precedence is not confined to the upper ranks alone: see precedence in the servant’s hall. Also, here is a wonderful description of an American diplomat’s opinion of a true British nobleman.

Meanwhile:

The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg is possibly the book associated with my Alexia series more than any other. It is on sale today for only $1.99 (USA ebook) so worth a try if you’re pining after already finishing RTW.

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

Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Werewolf.

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905 Fringed Parasol, ca. 1805 via LACMA

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Oxford Comma, Robert Frost, and Comma Suicide

Quote of the Day:

“It was one of those jolly, peaceful mornings that make a fellow wish he’d got a soul or something.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

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


A Great Deal Of Waffle About Werewolves in History (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

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

Yes, pun intended.

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

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

I thought you too might find them intriguing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905 The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

We all knew Biffy would start designing clothing eventually.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Victorian Art of Photography

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

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

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

Book News:

Matt Harrison’s Biffy ‏@matchoo28

Quote of the Day:

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Sample That Tasty Book! Romancing the Werewolf (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

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

Anywho, Jared Tidwell‏ @CloudAdmin posted the following submission:

The Drapes of Wrath

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

Here, you judge for yourself…

CHAPTER ONE

The Problem with Purple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is going on here?

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

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

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

He’d agree with me about the purple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But, sir…”

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

“Yes?”

“Purple is a vampire color.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Incredulous looks all ‘round.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The pack all looked at one another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Purple curtains. End of discussion.”

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

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

With a start, the others followed suit.

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

ace-artemis-fanartist biffy & lyall

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

COMING NOV 5th!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1903 France Fashion plate via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why Dressing Nicely for a Flight Is Worth the Effort

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Fantasy Openings To Avoid

Book News:

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

Quote of the Day:

“Beware of the person of one book.”

~ Thomas Aquinas

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


Soulless, Gail Carriger’s Notes That Started Everything (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Every year on (or around) October 1, Gentle Reader, I post a bit about the beginning of it all: Soulless. (Soulless, incidentally is on sale at $4.99 (ebook USA) so now is a great time to get others hooked!)

This year I thought I would take you back to the very beginning of everything.

Some time ago, around nine or ten years now, Gentle Reader, an event occurred.

Picture this, little Gail Carriger biding her time, humming softly to herself, in some unnamed hotel somewhere at some unnamed convention. She has just been to a panel called “Escaping the Slush Pile” and she is considering a new project.

She jots down some notes in a notebook.

They read as follows…

  • “I was born without a soul.”
  • Blah. Blah. Something about not being undead. Poke. Poke. No, decidedly alive. People make that mistake all the time, natural people, but the thing about the undead is they all have souls that couldn’t die – too much soul, really.
  • Me, I’ve none at all. Born that way.
  • Preternatural (preter)
  • Supernatural (super)
  • Natural
  • “I” therefore is just a whole lot more representative in my case.
  • I have identity – a heart. I can love and feel, but I’m null.
  • Undead call me a soul sucker, werewolves = anti-change, ghosts = grounds.
  • ? What supernatural creatures do I want in my universe?
  • Vampires
  • Werewolves
  • Ghosts
  • Remove Undead

There it is. The seed that became Soulless.

I had entirely forgotten that I wrote it in first person originally!

After those notes there is a line break, probably signifying a week or so, then a switch in pen color and tidier handwriting, a surefire indication that the Authorbeast has given the project Serious Consideration.

Via Carina “I shield in the name of fashion. I accessorize for one and for all.”

Then comes the heading:

Some Additional Thoughts

Under that are world building notes, including some on Victorian government and earlier history detailing how the immortals integrated. Then there’s some notes on Victorian Gothic romance novel structures, the beginnings of characters, including Alexia, Conall (who was Conall Goring, Lord Brindle), Ivy (who was Ivy Thistlewaight), Professor Lyall (who had no first name), and Lord Akeldama (who was Lord Ambrose, Earl of Serkan, although I have another side note that says Akeldama “field of blood” is more dramatic).

After that, there’s several pages of mini scenes in the sloppy handwriting of “middle of the night” or “just out of the shower” inspiration. (This is still how I write, sometimes jumping pages or even books ahead of myself to write a scene I see really vividly.)

The first scene written is the one between Ivy and Alexia in the park, but after that most of the others are between Alexia and Conall or Conall and Lyall.

And that, as they say, was that.

I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the creative process of an unpublished author-baby.

Today the Little Paranormal That Could (original code name for Soulless) is eight years old.

And I… need breakfast.

Here’s to eight more glorious years!

Praise for Soulless

Readers are still finding it for the first time!

  • Kyromagica says: “Highly recommended – really enjoyed this. It had me laughing out loud a lot, generally sniggering in various rooms in our house, and even in public places… I had to stifle my hysterical laughter whilst drinking a cup of tea in Starbucks!”
  • Golidlox and the Three Weres says: “Soulless is one of the wittiest and smartly written books with one of the best heroines that I’ve ever read. Rather than rely on the traditional male hero to swoop in and save the day, Alexia embodies tenacity, critical thinking, stubbornness and independence. She is NOT helpless, she is NOT passive, and she is NOT stick thin.”
  • Delighted Reader says: “From page one, I was enchanted by this fun story. Alexia Tarabotti is a blend of sensible and scientific with quirky, strong-willed and heedlessness when she’s nosing out the answers. Conall Maccon is a good foil for her with his brash, equally stubborn and sensible nature alongside his willingness to see the true diamond in a lady that almost all of London society rejects or ignores because she is different.”

Do you want more behind the scenes info and gossip?

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

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Horse races, 1908. via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The True Story Behind England’s Tea Obsession

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

7 Key Things I’ve Learnt From A Year of Blogging

Book News:

ace-artemis-fanartist

Quote of the Day:

“I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


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