Tagged Behind the Magic

Sample This Tasty Book! The 5th Gender First Scene (Tinkered Stars Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Here is your tasty book sample, Gentle Reader!

Introducing The 5th Gender!

THE 1ST CHAPTER

What’s with the pet thing anyway?

There is no doubt about it. Humans are weird.

Surely all the other aliens would agree with Tristol on this subject ­– especially at the pub (which was run by humans) on the space station (also run by humans). But humans could be efficient in their weirdness and often quite fun. And no one argued with the fact that they were awfully prolific in all things, breeding faster than any other space-faring species ever encountered in the charted galaxy. They spread. Like fungus. They also spread their legs. A lot.

They were cute, though. Tristol admitted that. Fertile sexy brown-toned creatures, humans, with those adorable round little ears and petal shaped eyes.

But they were also weird.

Take the whole keeping of pets thing. Who would have dreamed up such an eccentricity? Keep an animal in one’s abode intended for neither work nor food but just companionship? Very weird.

Tristol, however, was a galoi, the notoriously easygoing loga variant, too. Which meant that once he met one of these so-called pets, he was rather taken with the concept. Or at least, this particular sample thereof.

*Cat*neuter*pet* Mister Montiguous was currently under Tristol’s care. And Tristol was utterly enamored of the funny hairy four-footed beastie. To have charge of a cat, particularly this cat, was a truly sacred responsibility.

Mister Montiguous’s humans were away on their second honeymoon. Tris had been chosen to feed the cat, and to pet the cat, and to call the cat a wonderful feline creature.

Tristol had no idea what a second honeymoon meant. To start with, the word honeymoon ­was mysterious. What did the excrement of bees and a satellite astral body have to do with spousal contracts? And then, why did one need two of them?

*Human*female*friend* Elle spoke eloquently about wanting to sit on sand and drink fruity drinks with umbrellas in them for her second honeymoon.

Tristol’s hair quivered in confusion. Why sand? Would not sand get into certain intimate places? Most uncomfortable. Then, after looking up the word umbrella because it was new to him, there being no weather on a space station, Tris was also left wondering, Why stick a large accessory meant for rain into one’s drink? Would this not damage both the accessory and the drink? Seemed a soggy bit of business.

But Elle and *human*male*friend* Olav (Elle’s spousal contract) were excited about the whole endeavor. Since Tris spent most of his life excited about something, he was always delighted to facilitate the sensation in others. So he sent his *human*heterosexual*spousal-unit*friends* off on their weird *soggy*sandy*honeymoon* thingy and undertook the task of looking after their cat.

Mister Montiguous was a diminutive furry creature who happened to miraculously weigh the same as a small asteroid when standing on one’s chest. Tris thought dark matter might be involved. The cat had the general attitude that if given due worship, devotees would be rewarded with a loud rumbling sub-vocalization (called a purr) and the occasional tiny tongue lick.

Tris thought both purr and licks were the most wonderful things. He was a particular fan of all sub-vocal rumblings. The isoga of his own species made a similar noise when calming their young.

Elle had actually been hesitant when asking Tris to help with the cat. Not because she did not trust Tris, but because she thought Mister Montiguous might require too much effort.

“He can be such a bother, Tris love.”

Tris had bounced on his heels, hair trembling in excitement. “It is a profound honor. You will show me everything to do with Mister Montiguous’s maintenance and I shall be most diligent in his alimentation.”

Elle had looked at him as if he were daft.

Tris was accustomed to that, from humans. His boss gave him that look nearly half a dozen times a day. But Tris was genuinely thrilled. After all, wasn’t this the reason to live among aliens? To experience their foibles. Like tiny predators as pets. And honeymoons. Perhaps when Elle and Olav took their third honeymoon, they would let him join them and observe.

The first time Tris met Mister Montiguous, Tris had been, as Olav put it, gobsmacked. (A good word, that. Tris would have to find a moment to apply it himself. )

“But why do you have a *cat*neuter*pet*?” Tris kept asking them, after he determined the creature was not a new species of sentient alien. He would not want to offend the cat by talking about it, as if it could not participate in the conversation.

Mister Montiguous had a certain level of sentience, but not so that Tristol’s diplomatic training need be applied.

“Because cats are great,” Elle explained. “And they’re one of the few pets not restricted to the home world.” Apparently cats came from Hu-Core and had spread across the universe along with their human protectors.

They had been sitting in the humans’ living room and drinking tea at the time, a ritual Tris found odd if enjoyable. Hot beverages as an instrument of welcome, fancy that? They were all watching the cat. Mister Montiguous performed some kind of interpretive dance move in pursuit of a tossed fluffy ball. Olav laughed and called him a wonderful feline creature.

“You keep it around for entertainment?” Tris had learned early on that there was very little humans would not do in pursuit of entertainment. (This also possibly explained all the progeny. ) They were easily entertained, especially, as it turned out, by Tris. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. Tris was wildly curious and naturally flirty, and humans were easily flattered by both. Perhaps cats were the same.

Olav was good about explaining things once he knew Tristol was eager to learn. “Originally, cats went on ships for pest control. They’re rather ferocious hunters, although you’d never know it looking and old Monty here. His most strenuous activity is eviscerating a bowl of protein sim.”

Mister Montiguous stopped chasing the fluffy ball and flopped over in apparent exhaustion.

“It is marvelous,” defended Tris, utterly charmed.

When Mister Montiguous staggered over to him, and pressed a furry face into the hand Tris offered, Tris fell in love. Physical affection was something he greatly missed. Humans were not nearly as *open*contact*touch* as the galoi. He missed that a lot, and this funny hairy beastie seemed to notice.

“You can pet him, Tris. Just down his back and then scratch about the ears. Exactly.” Elle’s eyes were pleased as Tristol worshiped her cat.

“It is so soft!”

He is a he, Tris,” Elle corrected, gently.

“But I thought you said it was a neuter?”

Olav laughed. “Neutered, not neuter. He has masculine parts. Well, some of them, just no longer the ability to procreate.”

Tristol nodded. That made sense. The cat was like a male isoga, then. Physically male, only without the ability to inseminate like an antiga. Tris adjusted his vocabulary to the proper pronoun and worked hard to become very good friends with Mister Montiguous. Male isoga were often the most powerful of the galoi. He would not want to make a mistake with the cat equivalent.

Tris had been invited over to Elle and Olav’s quarters for a meal (hot beverages came before food). It was his first time inside the private quarters of a human couple on a friendship basis. It was always amazing to see the inside workings of a human home. Tris would do anything not to offend and be dismissed. So he did exactly as Elle instructed and stroked the cat along the grain of his fur.

Mister Montiguous began to purr.

Tris decided that Mister Montiguous was the best thing in the whole galaxy.

Except for Detective Hastion, of course.

Detective Hastion made his hair fluff.

Now, several rotations later, Elle and Olav had invited Tris to cat-sit, and Tristol was beyond honored. Although cat-sit was another odd word. Tris hoped he was not meant to actually sit on top of Mister Montiguous. He did not think either of them would enjoy that. In fact, it seemed to work the other way around. The cat would occasionally sit atop him in some kind of primitive dominance display, as if Tristol were mere furniture designed specifically for one dictatorial carnivore. Tris accepted this status gravely.

He took his cat-sitting duty very seriously, more seriously than his actual professional job on the space station.

“You need to do what?” His *human*female*boss* Adjudicator Jones seemed more than unusually gobsmacked by his insistence. (Such a good word. )

“I must leave early, my boss,” Tris said, clasping his fingers, bouncing only a little, and trying to control the rapidity of his breathing. He was about to go feed a cat! “I must go forthwith to bestow upon Mister Montiguous his protein supper. It is the hour of his consumption.” Tristol tried to use big impressive words so his boss might understand how important this was.

“Who,” Adjudicator Jones asked with slow confused gravity, “is Mister Montiguous?”

Tristol was amazed. “You have not met him? Oh but he is wonderful! He is…” he allowed a significant pause to draw out the verbal tension, “…a feline.”

His boss did not seem suitably impressed. “You need to leave early to feed a cat?”

“Yes! Do you not see how important it is? I have been given sacred charge of a beloved human pet. He is a delicate thing. I must take the greatest of care with him.”

“Tristol, it’s just a cat.”

Tris did not understand such a dismissive attitude.

“Oh, stop looking at me with such big wounded eyes. Go on, then.” She flapped her hand at him. “Wait.”

Tris paused before sprinting out the door.

“Don’t forget your com pad.”

Tristol’s hair wilted slightly in embarrassment. “Oh dear. Of course not.” He gathered up his small portable computing device and other necessary communication equipment from his desk, as he was supposed to do every night.

The adjudicator merely looked affectionately amused. “How long will you have care of this cat?” How long, he knew she was really asking, will you be so scattered?

“Six whole days!” Tris tried to impress upon her the significance of the responsibility. “I am the only one they asked. Such a privilege.”

His boss looked as if she were trying not to laugh. She did that a lot around him. Tris thought, sometimes, it was one of the reasons she hired him. Humans and their love of entertainment.

He was also an excellent diplomatic negotiator and cultural mediator, of course. He was, after all, loga. Those few galoi who left Gal were in high demand because they were all loga, and loga got along well with every other species. Loga got along with everyone. Except for the pakaa nova. But then no one got along with them. And even pakaa nova were still more likely to talk to a galoi than any other alien.

Most species also thought galoi were cute and unthreatening. Big round eyes, excitable hair, and purple tones apparently conveyed wonder and innocence. Tristol would take what he could get.

Humans also thought the galoi were sexy.

Tris thought this was great.

But right now he had a cat to feed.

Lilliput Mocks the Cover

There it is, the first scene of The 5th Gender, I hope you enjoy Tristol and his general perspective on humans and life aboard a space station. 

You can buy here, or you can find out more about this book on my website.

If you want more insight into this book you can take a look at the inspiration board on Pinterest!

Yours with silly aliens,

Miss Gail

  • Did you miss my latest release announcement? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

OUT TOMORROW!

The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Preorder on Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming. 

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

  • Reticence, The 4th and final Custard Protocol book. August 6, 2019
  • Fan Service Omnibus, October 2019 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Soulless.
  • Need to know what Gail is writing right now? That’s in the Chirrup.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

The Queen June, 1874

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

10 Specialty Bookstores That Are Definitely Worth a Visit

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Funniest and Weirdest Stories Of Damaged Library Books

Book News:

Some days I’m a machine, some days I move the colored squares around on my Google calendar so it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

~ Self on Twitter

Quote of the Day:

“Does anything ever get described as a ‘low-octane thriller’?”

~ Borderlands Books Hillarious “Overhead in the store” April News
(Gail suggests Mad Max… haw haw)

Your Moment of Gail

 

“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


The Author’s Contentious Relationship with Mothers & Motherhood (Gail Carriger Confessions)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Dear Gentle Reader,

I was recently reflecting on motherhood in my books.

It might appear, from my stuff, that I have a contentious relationship to moms and motherhood. I must state up front that this is not because of my own mum, who is awesome, but more likely because I’m not a mother myself. I mother my friends (too much, they might say) but I myself have refrained from producing offspring.

I have never wanted children even slightly. I never played with dolls. I didn’t even like children when I was a child. I’ve never wavered or changed my mind or felt even slightly inclined to procreate. I’ve lost lovers and friends because of this choice. I’m still confident that it was the right one for me.

But that does mean I seem to have a bit of a problem with motherhood in my books. And, occasionally, fatherhood. (My Dad is also pretty fantastic, so yeah…)

Good Mothers

I will say that my favorite mother I’ve ever written is (drum roll please)…

Mrs Iftercast

in How to Marry a Werewolf

After this book came out, people started to think she might be Dimity. I wish I had had that kind of perspicaciousness because yes, she is rather Dimity-esk. But she isn’t Dimity.

(Don’t you worry Dimity is going to have a wonderful man and charming children in her future. But this isn’t her.)

There’s Madame Lefoux and Angelique to consider as well. Lefoux is almost obsessive and overbearing in her loving, yet she unquestionably adores her adopted son. Angelique abandoned him. This representation ties into my love of found family, and it’s an allegory for queer neglect, that it is the mother who wants Quesnel but is not a blood relation who fights for him, while the blood mother abandoned him and put his life at risk. It’s a testament to Lefoux’s upbringing that Quesnel is so well balanced out the other side.

Complicated Mothers

I intentionally wrote Rue and Alexia’s relationship as a bit contentious, because Alexia is good at many many things, but given her personality (which isn’t changing anytime soon) I could never imagine that she would be a very involved mom.

Loving, but probably a tad remote, authoritarian, and autocratic is more honest to her character, I think. But then Rue has a balance of two pretty awesome fathers, not to mention all the drones.

Why Shifting Attitudes?

So I guess that is where I’ve headed (over the years) is towards a more honest portrayal of motherhood. It’s my former main characters I’m now writing as side character parents. That changes things.

They can’t be as one dimensional as Mrs Loontwill (Alexia’s mother in the Parasol Protectorate) or as checked-out as Mrs Temmineck (Sophronia’s mother in the Finishing School series). Sympathetic characters, and even unsympathetic ones, appearing later in life, already have a background of complexity and familiarity to my readers. I can’t betray that. I have to seriously consider and understand whether they have children, and how they behave towards them must (from the sake of my own integrity) be honest to their growing arc in life.

Sophronia and Soap, for example, don’t have kids. They can’t physically do so (although they might adopt) but I don’t think it’s in Sophronia’s nature. She would find it limiting and confining and frustrating, and Soap, of course, will do whatever she needs.

Mothers in YA

That said, I made a very conscious choice to give Sophronia in the Finishing School series a living breathing mother and family, since that’s so uncommon in YA literature. It’s not that she is forced into becoming a heroine, it’s that Sophronia wants to be one.

Her family and still be there, in tact, in the background, and yet she makes the choice to go her own way and have her own path. It’s a model I needed to show younger readers.

Mothering Forward

It’s easy for me to imagine wanting kids, as Primrose does in Competence. And also having kids but not being sure about it, as Rue has happen.

These two are new angles to explore motherhood, that I now have access too because of my complex established universe.

Not that I couldn’t before, but you know what I mean.

Other Mothers

Sidheag’s sense of pack responsibility is a kind of mothering. Gruff though it may be.

And Preshea’s complex relationship with parenthood can and will shift, because of Gavin’s influence. With Preshea, I’m exploring the idea of a character who, the first time we meet her, should never be a mother, but later might give it a try. Although even then, she’s likely not going to be the best at it.

Baby Gail and her own mother.

So I don’t really have a purpose to these rambling thoughts. It’s just, you know, Mother’s Day so I decided to put this out there.

Mostly so you see that yes, I am thinking about these things as a writer, writing about motherhood, even thought I don’t have first hand experience.

I kind of feel this way about my books.

Yours, no kidding,

Miss Gail

You don’t have to take my word for it…

The Worst Mothers in Literature

  • Want more sneak peeks, free goodies, gossip, behind the scenes info? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

OUT NEXT!

The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Preorder on Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming. 

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

  • Reticence, The 4th and final Custard Protocol book. August 6, 2019
  • Fan Service Omnibus, October 2019 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Soulless.
  • Need to know what Gail is writing right now? That’s in the Chirrup.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

The Queen July 5, 1879

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Ranking 8 of the Best Bookish TV Shows

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

An Annoyed Librarian’s Rebuttal

Book News:

Ransom Reviews says of Soulless:

“Even when the chips are down, the tension runs high, and the situation is hopeless, Carriger manages to maintain that tension without sacrificing Miss Tarabotti’s wit which is no small trick.”

Quote of the Day:

Gail: This is a fun book.
Author: Arbitrarily capitalizes random Nouns.
Gail: Wait what century am I in?
Author: No Oxford comma.
Gail: You’re dead to me.

~ Self on Twitter

Your Moment of Gail

 

“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Announcing The 5th Gender: A Tinkered Stars Mystery by G. L. Carriger (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I have a new book coming, Gentle Reader.

May 18, 2019

In the Beginning…

This book started with a strange idea in the middle of the night that became a Tweet the next morning.

I know, I should know much better than that. But I did the Tweet and Twitter was basically like…

GAIL, WRITE THE THING!

Here’s what I can remember of the Tweet… (of course I can’t find it anymore)

I want to write a space station police procedural featuring an adorable alien from a culture with five genders and his human detective crush. And funny. And sexy.

And low, I went to a writing retreat in the Smokey Mountains. And instead of writing whatever it was I ought to, I wrote this book instead. It was a lot of fun, and caused much hilarity among the other authors there. I have blog posts coming that pertain to these shenanigans, but it’s full of spoilers so I’m waiting until after the book releases.

Anyway, here it is… The 5th Gender:

PREORDER on Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail

The is no preorder for this book in print and audio. These will release around or just after the digital edition.

Blurb

A species that has no word for murder, has a murderer aboard their spaceship.

ALIEN

Tristol lives in exile. But he’s built a life for himself aboard a human space station. He’s even started to understand the complex nuances of human courting rituals.

Detective Hastion is finally flirting back!

MURDER

Except that Tristol’s beloved space station is unexpectedly contacted by the galoi – a xenophobic species with five genders, purple skin, and serious attitude. They need the help of a human detective because there’s a murderer aboard their spaceship. Murder is so rare, the galoi don’t even have a word for it.

Tristol knows this because he is galoi.

ROMANCE

Which means that he and Detective Hastion are on the case… together.

Delicate Sensibilities?

Contains men who love other men in graphic detail, regardless of gender, biology, or skin color… and lots of emotively sexy tentacle hair.

Cover art by the truly amazing Starla.

5th Gender Inception Thoughts

I honestly don’t know what you will think of it. I have no idea it you’ll even bother to follow me into weird sci-fi spaces.

I will say that one of the things that seriously bothers me about sci-fi, particularly hard sci-fi and particularly Golden Age is how authors are perfectly fine aggrandizing and exploring advanced technology but never bother with changing culture. Yet we all know social structures are almost more malleable than scientific ones. The anthropologist in me has always been a bit.. qua? The writer in me has wondered why it has to so very concept driven and so very humorless.

So yeah, this is my opportunity to do character driven, funny sci-fi. As well as write humans from an alien standpoint… AKA we are hilarious. I think you will love Tristol, he might be my most favorite character ever written. He has very firm opinions on cats, the shades of purple, and noodles.

Your Questions Answered

Will there be a print edition?

Yes, I will try and post it as close to the digital release date as possible. It will be the same size and have the same glossy cover as the San Andreas Shifter books.

Will there be an audiobook?

Yes. Producer Bryan is auditioning narrators as I type. Hopefully, it will be a month or so after the print release, but no promises. It depends on the narrator. I’m considering distributing this one a little differently and working with Findaway Voices to try to get it as wide as possible. We shall see how it goes.

Is this the same universe as Crudrat?

Yes, but there is very little cross over. It’s the same basic galactic premise for colonization/expansion (The Tinkered Stars) as Crudrat but The Wheel is not there, and there are no cross over characters or mentioned tech. They exist completely independent of each other.

Is this a romance or a mystery or a sci-fi?

Yes.

Is it a stand alone?

Yes, it is a complete story. But I am open to writing more mysteries with these characters if this one does well.

What’s the POV?

Swapped POV like the San Andreas books.

Is this YA?

Hell no.

Turns out, if you write about an alien race with 5 genders, people wanna follow them into the bedroom ~ rampant curiosity and all that. Tristol and his love interest, Drey, are also really physically into each other. So yeah, I totally went there. If you read this book, you’ll go there too.

There is a reason I’m publishing this one under the G. L. moniker. It has the same heat level and explicitness as the San Andreas books.

You have been warned.

Yours in purple,

Miss Gail

  • Did you miss my latest release announcement? This goes to members of the Chirrup first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!

OUT MAY 18, 2019!

The 5th Gender (a Tinkered Stars sci-fi as G. L. Carriger).

PREORDER on Amazon | Other | Direct from Gail

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery featuring a hot cop, the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!), and a race with 5 genders.

Print & Audio are not available for preorder.

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

  • Reticence, The 4th and final Custard Protocol book. August 6, 2019
  • Secret Project Ommm, October 31, 2019 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Soulless.
  • Need to know what Gail is writing right now? That’s in the Chirrup.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Oh look, Gucci made shoes that represent my brand! Pretty blush pink, bit of lavender passion, sharp stylish bow, and then… spiky bits!

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

7 Ways to Read Romance Without Getting Cooties

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

A really great episode from Reading Glasses on why preorders are so important to authors & the book industry: 91 – Pre Orders Are Like Book Sex

Book News:

Etiquette & Espionage mentioned in: Teen tech week goes back to the future

Quote of the Day:

“We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.”

~ Madeleine L’Engle

(I don’t know what that says about me…)

Your Moment of Gail

 

“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

 

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!


Soulless Illustrated Hardback, Peek Beneath the Cover? Your questions answered. (The Parasol Protectorate Q&A & Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

My darling Gentle Reader,

Here’s some behind the scenes deliciousness, pertaining to Soulless Illustrated Hardcover!

This special edition of Soulless includes 10 stunning full page illustrations in Edward Gorey style by the talented Jensine Eckwall.

Out Tomorrow! September 18, 2018

Here’s some close up images of what this edition looks like…

Casewrap

What kind of hardcover is it?

This edition is a board printed hard cover, better known as a casewrap. Which means it has no dust jacket, the cover art is printed directly on the book, in the style of children’s picture books.

Here’s the inside of the front cover…

And here is what the inside of the back cover looks like with the bios. I can’t believe how cute it is!

If you’d like a sample of what the internal images look like here is the one from Chapter One. They exist on their own page, so you could color them in if you like and not worry about bleed through. (Or with very little. Be careful, not stupid.)

All of the first print run of 10,000 books are signed by me. I signed their tipped-ins. Which is to say they sent me the leaves to sign before the went to press. But I did sign them all. This means that if you order now, or as soon as possible it should be signed. However, if you wait then there is a chance that there will be a second print run, and those will not be signed.

If you are scared and really want a signed edition, or you need to wait for any reason, or you’d like it personalized or dedicated then you should order from Borderlands Books using the SIGNED button on my website.

If you comment/email/post questions about…

Will Book Depository will have it signed? Will Auntie Petunia’s local teashop will have it signed? How do I get it down the Rhine and smuggled to Uncle Berry at the monastery? Or anything else, you know what I am going to say, right?

  1. Orbit is telling me the ones available online are signed.
  2. I have signed 10,000 copies. I know this. So do my hands.
  3. However, we have been on this joy ride before with Waistcoats and Imprudence.
  4. So I refuse to make promises based on online vendors or my publishing house’s distribution technique ever again.
  5. The only way I personally promise this book will be signed is if you order it from Borderlands via my website. Period. 

If you want to see it live, here is a video showing further details.

Want more?

There’s a fabulous process post on making the visuals for Soulless’s illustrated edition from ⁦‪Orbit’s Art Director‬⁩ and the illustrator, Jensine Eckwall, up on Muddy Colors.

Yours as ever,

Miss Gail

OUT IN SEPTEMBER!

Amazon | B&N  

All books in the first print run of 10,000 are SIGNED.
If you want it dedicated or are paranoid about ensuring it’s signed,
you can order it via Borderlands Books using the SIGNED button on my website.

NOT USA?

Borderlands Books will ship to you.
Order from them using the SIGNED button on my website.

This special edition of Soulless includes 10 stunning full page illustrations in Edward Gorey style by the talented Jensine Eckwall.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Victoria & Erin from the photo contest I ran in 2012

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Early History of Japanese Tea podcast

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

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!

Amazon (print) | Kobo | B&N (print) | iBooks 

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? (Behind the Magic)

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!

Amazon (print) | Kobo | B&N (print) | iBooks 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!


Competence & Reticence Have Two Covers! Why Are There 2? Trade Paperback, Hardcover, B-format (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Competence and Reticence each have two difference overs, Gentle Reader. TWO! 2! TOOOOOOOOoooooooooo.

Competence Covers

Left is the UK trade paperback edition, right is the USA hardcover edition

Print Editions?

You can call or visit your favorite local bookstore! Ask them to “Order it from Ingram.

Borderlands offers signed editions of the USA Hardcover. They will ship worldwide. Use the SIGNED button under the book’s image on my website: Competence & Reticence

Why 2 covers for Competence & Reticence?

Because I am publishing the final Custard Protocol books to the UK and other non-North American territories myself.

I know, I’m scared too.

If you’re overseas and were able to get any of my novellas, then you should be able to get these books.

I promise I will do my absolute best for you. I could not be working harder to make sure these books get to as many of you as possible!

How will it work?

Did you get the print edition of Prudence and Imprudence in hardcover?

This is the hard cover size!

If you got the first 2 in hardcover, then you have been getting the USA edition of this book. You will continue to do so.

NO CHANGE FOR YOU.

Your cover will look like this:

Do you live outside the USA and get the B-format trade size book at release date?

These books are the SAME SIZE as my novellas! Is that what you have been getting?

Then you’ll be getting the UK cover in the same format and size and it will look like this:

Everything should hopefully match up as much as possible to the two you already own. Yes, including the spine design and everything. Do not doubt the magic that is Starla (my cover art designer).

You should notice almost no differences. Do not worry about it matching to the other books in the series.

It will match.

I don’t leave the house without my hat, purse, gloves, and shoes matching. Like I would less diligent about my books!

Are you outside the USA/Canada and able to get the novellas?

Then you’ll be able to get this book.

Once more with feeling!

The three standard sizes my books come in: UK B-Fromat, USA trade paperback, USA hardcover.

Here’s the bit in the Live from February where I explain the different book sizes:

I explain a lot on the different cover sizes. I go into a bit of a show and tell using Imprudence as a model (backwards because I’m using my phone’s flip camera) but you get the idea. At Time Stamp 39:00.

But Miss Gail, I like them both & want to own both!

You’re a darling and I love you!

Generally speaking (aside from second party sellers and illicit means) USA readers shouldn’t be able to get the UK edition, and visa versa. (Gail cocks an eyebrow at you thoughtfully.)

But you know, interesting things happen to the Chirrup members… just saying.

How about beneath the cover?

The text of the book itself is NO DIFFERENT between the two editions.

With one exception, as has always been the case:

The USA books use the word “ladybug” and the UK book use the word “ladybird.”

See this blog post on the subject of anglicization.

Now it’s your turn! VOTE!

Which Competence cover do you prefer?

Who care about covers, where’s the audiobook?

  • This split in distribution drastically impacts the audiobook.
  • In the USA it should release as normal.
  • In the UK and beyond it isn’t available.
    • I am trying to negotiate a deal to have Moira’s narration of this book distributed to you. It’s NOT going well. Write to my publisher and ask them for it. No really, try. Hachette Audio. The stonewalling is their end.
    • To do this myself I would have to rerecord with a different reader. Then you’ll complain that it’s a different reader.
    • It costs thousands of dollars to make an audiobook, and I don’t have the funds right now.
    • Finally, the distribution mechanism isn’t in place. Audible doesn’t offer the option of ONLY distributing overseas, yet I’m contractually obliged to do that.
    • In other words: Right now, convincing my US audio publisher to strike an overseas distribution deal is your best option.

Your Salvation?

Borderlands assures me they can mail out the CD.
It would be $30 + shipping.
If this solution works for you, please email them requesting it via the SIGNED button on Competence’s page, make sure to specify “AUDIOBOOK CD”.

Other audiobook issues? Here’s your blog post. Many of the same reasons apply.

I’ll let the Chirrup know if anything changes from normal.

Hugs!

Miss Gail

As always, you don’t have to take my word for it…

Well, actually you do, but here are related articles anyway:

Did you miss the cover art announcements?

New stuff goes to my Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Coop de Book for March is Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina. (Discussion here.)

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1910c Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Garden Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Goodreads Can Tell You When Ebooks Go on Sale

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Customers Won’t Pay as Much for Digital Goods

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

What is Paper?
A substance made by Europeans of linen rages: by the Chinese of silk. The discoverer is unknown; but it was introduced into Europe towards the close of the tenth century.
How is paper made?
The rags are first sorted, then carried to the mill, and put into an engine placed in a large trough filled with water: this engine has long spikes of iron fixed in it; and, by moving round with great swiftness, soon tears the rags every way, and reduces them to a pulp; moulds are then used, the size of a sheet of paper, which are dipped into his pulp, and shaken till the paper becomes of hte thickness and consistence the makers wish it to be.
Several of these sheets when taken from the moulds are laid one upon another, with a piece of felt placed between each; and after being twice pressed are hung up to dry.
When dry, the paper is taken off the lines, and rubbed smooth with the hand; it is then sized.
The size is made of clean parchment and vellum shavings: the size is trained through fin cloth, which is strewed with powdered white vitriol and alum; the paper is dipped in this, and, after being pressed a third time, it is separated sheet by sheet to dry, and then made up into quires and reams.

~ Mangnall’s Questions, 1830

You know that scene in Mansfield Park where Fanny’s poor mother says, “Fanny, all that paper!” Now we see why, it was a laborious process and an expensive product!

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 of Supernatural Society)

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

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

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

COMING NOV 5th!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

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

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

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!


© 2019 Gail Carriger | Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Site built by Todd Jackson