Did you miss this Facebook Live? Event announcements go to Chirrup members first, because I love them best. Sign up here. Also members of the Chirrup will have the option of entering to win this parasol on Sunday. You need to join before it goes out. This charming lace sunshade is one of a kind… because I decorated it with the blue ribbon myself. There will also be more gossip about WorldCon, and a super exciting secret about an upcoming project.
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In case you needed further encouragement regarding my next book, Competence, early reviewers have been very kind.
“In this charming, laugh-out-loud steampunk escapade, set in an 1895 populated by a variety of supernatural creatures, the crew of the Spotted Custard return for a third adventure (after Imprudence).
The focus shifts to the British airship’s purser, Miss Primrose Tunstall, a straitlaced, proper young woman who finds her perceptions of self and propriety increasingly challenged by Tasherit, an immortal werelioness who persistently, and often nakedly, flirts with her. But romance, however unconventional, takes a backseat to adventure. Primrose and Tasherit must engineer a helium heist to save their ship, and then the Custard is dispatched to Peru to investigate rumors of a new breed of vampires.
While there’s a healthy dose of action in the form of airship pirates and other hazards of the open sky, the emphasis is on the character-driven, romantic comedy of manners at its heart. Carriger excels at wry humor and clever phrasing, and her ensemble cast is thoroughly charming and satisfyingly diverse. There’s a genuine sense of whimsy and fun running throughout this story, making it a treat for fans of the series.”
~ Publisher’s Weekly
“The focus of Carriger’s popular Custard Protocol series, including Prudence (2015), shifts from Captain Rue to her sensible, genteel best friend, Primrose Tunstell. Prim’s latest beau calls off their engagement, and, once again, she doesn’t seem to mind.
A plethora of diversions occupy her attention aboard the Spotted Custard, whose latest mission takes the airship and its quirky crew to Peru to rescue a breed of near-extinct vampires. Her scholarly twin brother, for example, is trying to reform their murderous prisoner through a philosophy book club. Not to mention Tasherit the werecat—who can shape-shift between a powerful lioness and a golden-legged, silk-robed woman—and who enjoys flustering Prim as her advances become harder to resist.
Carriger’s characteristically droll, voice-driven writing alternates between Prim, who certainly lives up to her name, and her socially obtuse brother. High jinks and peril abound as the Custard navigates uncharted air currents, and the characters bicker over everything from Thomas Aquinas to tasseled hats. Recommend this amusing romp to steampunk and LGBT+ readers looking for suspenseful and romantic fantasy.”
Honestly I thought Orbit wasn’t going to do ARCs for this book, it being the third in the series that isn’t tradition. Perhaps it’s because there was a bit of a break between this one and Imprudence? Or perhaps because of the switched POV?
Anyway, I’m delighted this third installment is being so very well received.
But the real proof is in how you, my dear Gentle Reader, feel about it.
Competenceby Gail Carriger is the third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends..
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.
“Recommend this amusing romp to steampunk and LGBT+ readers looking for suspenseful and romantic fantasy.”
From Publisher’s Weekly…
“Carriger excels at wry humor and clever phrasing, and her ensemble cast is thoroughly charming and satisfyingly diverse. There’s a genuine sense of whimsy and fun running throughout this story, making it a treat for fans of the series.”
GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia) In Review, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888
You cry, the distress coloring your tone, tears in your eyes, lips trembling…
Why can’t I get the print book in the size I desire most?
Why is this book slightly bigger/smaller than this other book of yours?
I know honey, I’m a little anal too. I get your pain. I do.
Here have a handkerchief… Cuppa?
OK, let me explain…
People have very strong opinions on books sizes and formats. We aren’t going to get into a debate about that here – no we aren’t. Instead, I am going to talk about about the very wide range of book sizes that there are in the world and why you can’t always get what you want. (Sing it with me!)
Would you like a sample?
Here is Soulless (and Etiquette & Espionage for scale) in a wide range of sizes. From Left to Right:
Trade Paperback large
Trade Paperback medium
Mass Market Paperback USA
Shall I make it even more confusing?
A small sample of just trade paperback sizes
the leaning tower of Soulless
Yeah there are different hard covers sizes too. I know, right?
Honestly it’s a mess.
So that’s what the world of publishing is like. (You can carry that same level of illogical chaos into the business side of the industry too.)
Book sizes are further complicated by metric versus not metric. (For reasons of me being a former archaeologist, I tend to blog in metric.)
Different books sizes: USA Hardcover, USA trade paperback, UK b-format trade paperback
See above, that’s just the English language new releases!
Still with me?
The Custard Protocol books release to the USA in hardcover, then about six months after the USA trade paperback releases.
We aren’t going to talk about hard cover because I can’t control that. Or, more precisely, at the moment I don’t want to.
We aren’t going to talk about mass market. That’s my favorite size and my books don’t come out in it anymore. I’m a bitter sad resentful old bitty about it.
Instead we will talk…
USA Trade (non-standardized)
For Gail Carriger (that’s me), that size in the USA is:
20.85 cm X 13.80 cm
This is the exact same size of the Finishing School and Parasol Protectorate trade paperbacks. These are the ones that are still available new. So if you wanted all my novels in EXACTLY the same size, then you’d need the USA trade paperback size.
In the UK the most common (although there is a wide range) trade paperback size is something called b-format.
B-Format (UK standard)
That size is:
19.80 cm X 12.60
These are all stupid measurements. It bugs the donkey’s butt out of me.
So B format is smaller than USA trade (for me).
Guess what else, I can’t print exactly that size myself for my self published projects.
When self publishing, especially in order to distribute as widely as possible and in as many different parts of the world, I’m much more limited in options similar to either of my USA or UK trade – that still allow me to cover costs. (I already make little to no money on print editions of my indie books, going custom is simply not an option.)
So I chose…
20.20 cm X 12.50 cm
That’s taller but about the same width as the UK’s B-format.
Why use that size?
Well that’s billed as 8 X 5 inches on most publishing platforms. It actually isn’t, it’s slightly smaller, but it’s good enough, and it’s easiest to work with. This size has been standardized as the smallest option for self pub, easily accessible, on both Ingram and Createspace. I prefer smaller books and I need to stay smaller for my novellas so I get some kind of spine to work with. (It needs to be thinker.)
So that’s what you get.
So yeah, If you’re upset that Competence for the UK is about 4 mm taller than Prudence and Imprudence. I tried, I really did. But at least this matches to my novellas. And the Custard Protocol series is interrupted by novellas, if you want to stack them that way on your shelf at least so all the later ones will match.
Written & in-world chronological reading order of my recent books should go something like:
Prudence (Custard Protocol Book 1)
Imprudence (Custard Protocol Book 2)
Romancing the Werewolf (Supernatural Society Novella)
Competence (Custard Protocol Book 3)
How to Marry a Werewolf (Claw & Courtship Novella)
Reticence (Custard Protocol Book 4)
More Claw & Courtship novellas possibly set before/during, or after Reticence.
No it doesn’t. But then again the fricken sizes of books makes no sense to me, why shouldn’t I pass along the pain?
Meanwhile over on 20 Minute Delay I tell a HORROR story about a Lyft experience and Piper and I go deep on how we get around on the ground, from Public Transport to the gig economy to Car Rentals.
Secondary Travel; How to get around Once you’ve arrived at your destination”
We also get into extended stay suites, how to stay safe while using ride-share services, stopping for cannolis in New York, and tracking progress when someone else drives. Piper talks about choosing between rental cars and ride-shares, positive car-service experiences and rental car apps. Listen to the podcast on our:
I sent this out already to the Chirrup but just to tempt you a bit, here are the very silly chapter titles from my forthcoming book, Competence.
Trouble finding the paperback edition of Competence in the UK? It’s here.
Gail Loves Chapter Titles
I always love writing chapters and titles. Like names, there are some of us authors relish coming up with such things. Others really really hate it. Anywhoo, I often use it as an excuse for a particularly bad pun.
What can I say? It’s my thing.
A Lioness in a Hat and Other Concerns
A Bad Case of the Dropsies
A Merlion in a Mushroom
The Premier Floating Philosophy Club
A Grey Melancholy Danger
In Which Thomas Aquinas is an Absolute Corker
A Very Warm Welcome
A Mystery, a Fez, and an Italian Mathematician
Soup Ladle of Death
Cats Can’t Be Trusted
Our Lord and Saviour the Spotted Custard
Rumours of Pishtacos
On Hives, Haciendas and Hijinks
The Etiquette of Proper Introductions
Weddings and Their Consequences
Of course my absolute favorite in chapter 9. It makes me soooooooo happy…
Soup Ladle of Death
Also, if you still aren’t tempted, in this book, you get….
Percy & Footnote Fanart by Desiree Schwartz
Ever wonder how or why Percy comes up with those ridiculous non-sequiturs?
Want more of the Latin in his warped little brain?
Well in this book you get a peek into his head.
Okay, I’ll stop now.
P.S. In case you missed it, look what I got in my office recently!
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Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon orBookBub!
“I love this book and I love that we get to see some of what makes Channing, Channing. We also get to see some of the differences between the American perspective and the London perspective of the supernatural.”
My last installment features Primrose & Tasherit. Of course I had to feature them, as they take center stage in the next Custard Protocol book. I’m really hoping Ace will give me a “Primrose in Tassels” or “Tash in a Tail” after reading Competence.
Gail didn’t get to answer a question about whether there was explicit sex or not in this book. Answer:
Sex style is about on the level with Soulless.
Gail also never got to a question about writing an American for a change.
It was challenging! She had to have a couple editors help her to make certain Faith sounded American. (Although at the time Boston high society tried to be as British as possible, so Faith probably wouldn’t have sounded all that different.)
Why LBGTQ Characters: Gail answers in the video but here’s further reading:
Blog post explaining why Gail chose 3 separate novella lines to come, meanwhile here they are:
Delightfully Deadly: Stand alone romances set in Gail’s Parasolverse full of manners, spies, and supernatural creatures taking tea. This series follows the exploits of the highly trained and dangerous graduates of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s.
Supernatural Society: Queer romances and super niche fan service stories. Contains a great deal of shockingly forward flirtation between members of the same sex, between supernaturals of different species, and even between high society and the lower orders (gasp).
Claw & Courtship: Stand alone romances set in Gail’s Parasolverse full of werewolves in cravats and the women who love them (both the werewolves and their cravats). The London Pack finds love at last.
Other Stuff in the Video
Has Gail any plans for other non Parasolverse universes and stories?
I just find this story very comforting. I keep rereading it because it makes me so happy. It’s set in Perth and it’s basically a coming out story. It’s a train-set meet cute. Jay is delicious, flamboyant, and dramatic (if you like Lord Akeldama you’ll love Jay) and Liam is such a sweetheart. A big warm hug of a book.
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Today, my darling Gentle Reader, I want to talk to you about my great love and passion, the humble parasol!
Alexia carries several Parasols through the course of the Parasol Protectorate and passes on various others to her daughter, and her daughter’s best friend, Primrose.
When conceiving the original parasol I went off of this kind of style:
1895 via @AngelaKCouch Twitter Parasol, design c.1895-1900
Here it is as I had it sketched some ten years ago (with steampunk gadget action).
And my sketch of Alexia carrying it looked like this:
Here’s an 1875 fashion plate, playing with a similar style.
If you are look for something online for an Alexia cosplay, I feel like this one most closely resembles this original parasol (which she eventually loses) is here for $24.
Through the course of the Parasol Protectorate series I realized that I needed to give here something bigger and more exciting. I ran across this style of parasol from the 1890s…
I love the shape, I’m a bit mad for anything approaching sphere shaped. So here is the sketch for Alexia’s second parasol.
The parasol is such an ubiquitous accessory up through the 1920s. One of the rabbit holes my obsession with the parasol has taken me on is how it was carried. There is, of course, the parasol pocket on 1870s dresses. There are a few examples of this but it isn’t particularly common.
It seems to me that’s it’s more likely to have rigged up some kind of belt and chatelaine holder. But then one would expect more parasols to have hooks in them, which we don’t.
I use this so much for steampunk events that I created a holster for it out of a pair of cargo shorts.
Speaking of parasols, I’ll be offering up this beauty:
cream lace with royal blue ribbon hand threaded throughout
In a giveaway to my Chirrup members. Sign up here. Opportunity to enter happens when that issue goes out.
I once received a concerned correspondence froms a member of the Victorian Society and had just attended, of all marvelous things, a parasol covering workshop. I learned some interesting things:
early parasol ribs were made of bone, like corsets
parasols were particularly popular after the 1860’s as hats began to decrease in size but the pale complexion was still de rigueur
handles started out short (under 28″) and grew longer as decades passed, longest during the Edwardian era when the parasol could rest on the floor and handle came up to the lady’s waistline (some parasols had handles that collapsed down for easy storage)
early Victorian fashion plates show parasols the size of handkerchiefs, with a 1-to-1 handled-shade ratio, diameters increased over time as well
the truly fashionable lady carried a different parasol for each outfit
a parasol was one of the most popular gifts for a lover to give his sweetheart, and was often part of the groom’s gift to has new bride
they were made from lace, cotton, or silk
could be trimmed in anything from silk tassels, to cotton lace, to crystal beads
Parasol Language: Carrying it elevated in the left had – desiring acquaintance. Carrying it elevated in the right had – you are too forward.
1905 Fringed Parasol, ca. 1805 via LACMA
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