Tagged Interview

Gail Carriger Interviews Emma Newman about her book Brother’s Ruin

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Today, Gentle Reader please give a hearty welcome to the fantastic Emma Newman!

Emma is many things: a delightful author, a fantastic narrator (I should know, she narrates many of my books including Romancing the Inventor), a stylish dresser, and a fellow tea lover. I have been interviewed on her fantastic podcast, Tea & Jeopardy (which is how I learned of her gorgeous voice and fell in love with singing chickens).

So please join me in welcoming her to tea with me, on this rainy day. We’ll be talking about her and her new gaslight fantasy novella, Brother’s Ruin (which I have chosen for next month’s book group read along.)

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

First thing in the morning, in order to be able to form a coherent sentence, I require coffee with milk and two sugars (or sweeteners are fine). Once I have become functional (I am not a morning person) it’s tea (my first love) for the rest of the day, and I take that with milk.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

I design and make the clothes I wear to conventions and signings, purely because it helps me to manage massive anxiety in the lead up to the event (i.e. I can channel the terror of being in public into “ack, will I finish sewing this outfit in time, oh heavens, it’s midnight the day before!” instead). My style leans towards formal, highly structured tailoring at the top with long flowing lower halves, often drawing heavily upon a variety of historical periods ranging from early Georgian to late Victorian. The only period I can wear from the 20th century with any confidence (and comfort!) is the 1950s as I have a hourglass figure. I once joked to my husband that if one is supposed to dress for the job one wants, I seem to be aiming for low-key historical fantasy queen. The only thing I don’t have is a crown. Which is probably just as well, otherwise it would be a bit silly.

[Gail could not approve of this more if she tried. SO rare to find a fellow author who also loves to dress. I should say, I don’t have the anxiety thing. But I do stress out packing before a trip and my stress dreams are always travel related.]

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

Oh, it is a terrible mess. I try to keep my desk tidy but it ends up looking like Indiana Jones’s desk in The Last Crusade. Whenever I finish a big project I like to have a huge clear out, and just before I start a huge project I clean everything again. Over the course of writing a novel the mess slowly accumulates, as all of my brain is going into the book. So I suppose you could deduce exactly where I am in the first draft by the state of my desk. I suppose the knitted chicken tea cosy that sits on my desk sometimes (when he is not needed for his primary job) may raise an eyebrow (gift from a wonderful Tea and Jeopardy fan). The knitted alien facehugger may also cause a squeak of surprise, knitted by the same wonderful lady and given to me as a birthday present.

If you drive, what do you drive?

I drive a horribly practical and boring black Ford Focus. This is because I had to grow up and sell my extraordinarily fast and fun Fiat Coupe when I became pregnant. When I no longer need a sensible family car, I am going to get something sporty again. I love driving and fast acceleration. I’ve always wanted to try rally driving or track racing.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

I fear I am at a disadvantage, being British, as I am not entirely sure what a sugar cone is. Here in the UK, we tend to get one sort of plain cone (but we get a bajillion types of tea readily available everywhere, so I guess that is compensation). I like very fancy vanilla ice cream, the top of the range stuff where you can actually taste the vanilla. I would probably go for the sugar cone if I had the opportunity, because I love sweet things.

[Gail’s judgement: vanilla in a sugar cone means quirky, but probably not actually dangerous.]

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

I laugh often and heartily. Something absurdist usually does the trick for a hearty laugh, like Monty Python, or a particularly well placed film quote. I am allergic to any but the most subtle puns, sadly.

[Gail highly recommends the Tea & Jeopardy blooper reel. If you want to hear Emma’s gorgeous laugh.]

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

I am far from a connoisseur of alcoholic beverages, but I do love a good cocktail, one that is creamy and dangerous and contains Kahlua or Baileys, something like that. If there are no cocktails available, a sweet white wine will do.

About Emma

Emma Newman writes novels in multiple speculative fiction genres. She won the British Fantasy Society Best Short Story Award 2015 and Between Two Thorns, the first book in Emma’s Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer 2014 awards. Her science-fiction novels, Planetfall and After Atlas, are published by Roc. Emma is an audiobook narrator and also co-writes and hosts the Hugo-nominated, Alfie Award winning podcast Tea and Jeopardy which involves tea, cake, mild peril, and singing chickens. Her hobbies include dressmaking and playing RPGs. She blogs at www.enewman.co.uk and can be found as @emapocalyptic on Twitter.

About your book! Brother’s Ruin

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

For Brother’s Ruin, I would recommend a cream tea. The scones should be fresh, with a spreading of jam (preferably strawberry) and then a generous dollop of clotted cream. Being Cornish, I would recommend Rodda’s clotted cream. If anyone tells you that the cream should go on before the jam, I can assure you that they are wrong (there are very few subjects that I will declare such a forceful opinion on publicly, but this is one of them). The correct ordering of jam and cream on a scone is very serious business, especially for someone who is Cornish.

[Gail entirely agrees, although her training comes from Devon, so: salted butter, then jam, then clotted cream. Because, you only live once…so far as we know.]

What form does evil take within its pages?

The same form that it takes in the present day; men filled with greed who are willing to put their own profits above the health and wellbeing of anyone else, especially the poor.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Magus Hopkins, without a shadow of a doubt. Why? Well, he is very handsome but he has hidden depths that only I know about. I confess, I developed a little bit of a crush on him whilst writing Brother’s Ruin, and its sequel. I have given myself a stern talking to about it.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your worldbuilding?

That is such a tricky question! I find so many periods fascinating and draw from them in all of my work. I do think the 1850s (Brother’s Ruin is set in an alternative 1850s London in which magic, instead of science, has driven the industrial revolution) were utterly fascinating. There had already been so much social upheaval due to the industrial revolution, which in turn had an impact on the law and social attitudes and the effective invention of our modern cities. There were massive forward strides in engineering and science alongside the brutality and horrors perpetrated by the British Empire. So many contradictions and interesting juxtapositions across all levels of society!

I am also fascinated by the tensions between the industrialists and the nobility in that period too, and that is definitely something that has directly influenced my worldbuilding for the Industrial Magic series. At that time in the real world, many of the most successful industrialists were far wealthier than the landed gentry and the political, social and legal jostling that took place at the time reflected so many aspirations and frustrations on the parts of the industrialists and the fears of the nobility.

In the Industrial Magic series, no one from the nobility has manifested magical ability, so the industrialists are the ones who hold magical power, and it is that which has driven their industrial success. I established this so that I could explore the tensions between the two groups of people writ large, so to speak. I plan to explore that more later in the series, should more novellas be commissioned. (I really hope so, as I have so many more stories to tell!)

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Hrmmm, that’s tricky, as I would dearly love to give Magus Ledbetter a solid punch to the jaw, rather than a slap. But if I was only allowed to slap him, I’d make sure it was a really good one.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

I think the part when the magi arrive to interview the heroine’s family and they all snip at each other is fun. I really enjoyed writing that part, especially the way that Magus Ainsworth refers to the others and warns the heroine about Magus Hopkins. She is a character I would like to write more about in the future too.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

I would like to say a musky, warm, vanilla laced scent, but I would be lying. It would smell of city dirt and coal dust, perhaps with a hint of freshly baked bread on the breeze; gritty, yet with an element of something homely and comforting too.

 Brother’s Ruin

The year is 1850 and Great Britain is flourishing, thanks to the Royal Society of the Esoteric Arts. When a new mage is discovered, Royal Society elites descend like buzzards to snatch up a new apprentice.

Talented mages are bought from their families at a tremendous price, while weak mages are snapped up for a pittance. For a lower middle class family like the Gunns, the loss of a son can be disastrous, so when seemingly magical incidents begin cropping up at home, they fear for their Ben’s life and their own livelihoods.

But Benjamin Gunn isn’t a talented mage. His sister Charlotte is, and to prevent her brother from being imprisoned for false reporting she combines her powers with his to make him seem a better prospect. When she discovers a nefarious plot by the sinister Doctor Ledbetter, Charlotte must use all her cunning and guile to protect her family, her secret and her city. Brother’s Ruin is the first in a new gaslamp fantasy series by Emma Newman.

Gail’s Thoughts

As I said, I also chose this book for next month’s book group read along. I was lucky enough to get an early review copy and I really enjoyed it. I love Emma’s worldbuilding and the way the Magus system is used to explore class disparity in Victorian London, but without being in-your-face about it. A quick and enjoyable read and well worth the $3.99 price point.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

The audiobook is read by Emma Newman!

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

VictorianTrends.com @FreeVintagePics Two young #Victorian women in #summer dresses from July 23, 1886

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

1895 map of South Africa

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

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


Gail Carriger interviews Rhys Ford about Black Dog Blues

Posted by Gail Carriger

This months book pick is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford. This is a great urban fantasy with some fast paced action, stellar world building, and lovable (if snarky) characters.

I invited Rhys round for a visit, so we could get to know her, and her book, a little better.

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Oh God, coffee. So much coffee. For brewed, I like a medium roast from Pumehana, a coffee plantation in the Ka’u District of the Big Island or Major Dickason’s blend from Peet’s. At Starbucks, a Trenta iced coffee with cream, vanilla and an add shot or two. When possible, a double Vietnamese hot or cold, I’m not picky.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

I tend to be very laid back. Teeth and hair brushed, Chucks, jeans and a comfortable t-shirt or blouse I was feeling when I got dressed that morning. Some makeup but not too crazy. Usually appearances go hand in hand with cons and a long day in comfortable clothing goes a long way in retaining sanity.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

I actually write in the living room with headphones on. The house is fairly quiet and I’ve got a bit of everything in the room. Lots of geek stuff, art ranges from a Flaming June litho to Azeazelbunny by Ursula Vernon. There’s swords that I’ve somehow ended up and a Pludwhump, also from Ursula. A couple of dog beds mostly used by the cats and a red-blond cairn terrorist at my feet.

(Gail would like to note in one of those odd twists of small world-doom Ursula is a friend of hers, and a very particular friend of her very particular friend, Mur Lafferty.  Because fandom is tiny, and the more you pro, the tinier is gets.)

If you drive, what do you drive?

I drive a black on black 1979 Pontiac Firebird with a stock 301 engine and a lovely high powered stereo to keep me company on the California freeways.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

Are you kidding me? Jesus. Hell. Um. Chocolate on a plain cone. No wait….hell. This is too hard.

(Pronouncement. Author, but entirely sane. Very good.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Something absurd. The oddest thing makes me laugh. Like Hyacinth Hippo and Ben Ali Gator dancing in Fantasia cracks me up. They’re so much in love. She is his whole life. My sense of humour tends to skew a bit dark but I love a good laugh.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

Oh that’s much easier than the ice cream. Whisky. Or Whiskey. I’m not picky.

About Rhys Ford, All Official-like

Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications. She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Tam, a diabetic black pygmy panther, as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people

About your book: Black Dog Blues!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Beef Chow Fun dry style, char siu bao or miso ramen with fish cake and tons of shoyu egg. And perhaps a Tsing Tao beer to wash it all down. Or a Spam musubi.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Oh that’s a question. I tried to make sure no species was branded as evil or good. The world’s a grey kind of place where that’s concerned and evil is a choice. It’s not like the old school D&D where a certain species of dragons was a set alignment. If you’ve got a soul and can rub two brain cells together, you’ve got to be the one driving your own destiny. That being said, the cat’s full on wicked. Can’t be trusted. Very sketchy. I would say the evil manifesting in Black Dog Blues and really, throughout the series, are the sins Greed and Envy. There’s a lot of power mad, dark-soulled people who really view the people around them as meat.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Did I mention the cat? Newt. He needs love. Poor thing’s a scrapper. He could use a kiss on the forehead. Preferably applied while he’s firmly wrapped in a towel and from behind so he can’t latch onto a lip or nose.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

Dude, this is WORSE than the ice cream. I’d say it’s a toss up between the Edo Period in Japan and the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. I would say because both periods saw massive growth in the arts and technology but the political intrigue and machinations of clan / family heads were intriguing. A brutal, beautiful period full of pretty things and sharp teeth.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Probably Ryder. In the first book he pushes a lot because well, it’s his nature. He’s used to being in control and command but comes up against an immovable object in Kai. There’s a cultural learning curve Ryder has to go through and there’s no skipping any steps. For someone with a long life, he’s very impatient when he first meets Kai so he has to adjust his approach. Also, he carries a lot of sidhe cultural baggage that will eventually get himself killed because he won’t do X, Y or Z to defend himself.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

Oh, I have two. Pancaking the dragon or sucking egg yolk. I can say that without spoilers.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

It would probably smell of old pages, gunpowder, sulfur, cinnamon, gasoline, forests and Chinese Five Spice.

Black Dog Blues Official Blurb

Ever since being part of the pot in a high-stakes poker game, elfin outcast Kai Gracen figures he used up his good karma when Dempsey, a human Stalker, won the hand and took him in.

Following the violent merge of Earth and Underhill, the human and elfin races are left with a messy, monster-ridden world, and Stalkers are the only cavalry willing to ride to someone’s rescue when something shadowy appears. It’s a hard life but one Kai likes—filled with bounty, a few friends, and most importantly, no other elfin around to remind him of his past.

And killing monsters is easy. Especially since he’s one himself.

But when a sidhe lord named Ryder arrives in San Diego, Kai is conscripted to do a job for Ryder’s fledgling Dawn Court. It’s supposed to be a simple run up the coast during dragon-mating season to retrieve a pregnant human woman seeking sanctuary. Easy, quick, and best of all, profitable. But Kai ends up in the middle of a deadly bloodline feud he has no hope of escaping.

No one ever got rich being a Stalker. But then few of them got old either and it doesn’t look like Kai will be the exception.

And if you like Black Dog Blues, the second one Mad Lizard Mambo is also available.

Thank you Rhys, for stopping by. And I hope you, Gentle Reader, love Kai as much as I do.

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}

BOOK DE JOUR

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1883 Pierre Auguste Renoir (Fench artist, 1841-1919). Girl with a Parasol (Aline Nunes)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Emma Jane Austen (Food Reference List)

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Bra Size is a Myth

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Publishing Predictions for 2017 by agent Laurie McLean

Book News:

Alexia Polyvore Fan Art By Theamaia

Quote of the Day:

“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Gail Carriger interviews Author Lea Kirk about her book Prophecy

Posted by Gail Carriger

Gentle Reader, please welcome Lea Kirk to tea on the blog today. Lea writes one of my favorite sub-genres: science Fiction romance. She is also a darling friend.

About You, Author Lea Kirk!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Tea, with honey. Normally peppermint tea, but I have found that Throat Coat is mildly addictive. Is it just me?

[Yes, Lea, it’s just you.]

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

Totally depends on the type of event, and my mood. Most of the time I go for business casual. I have considered dressing up as an alien a couple of times, though. Maybe I will at some point.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

If I had my way, my writer beast would work all day in my PJs and my big, fluffy robe. Occasionally I have, but most days I’m a boring t-shirt and jeans writer. I am a method-writer though, meaning I sometimes act out how my characters move to make sure I’m describing it right on the page. If you happen to walk in on me during those moments, you might be surprised.

As for environment, I share an office with my husband, so normally the CPA in him forces him to keep it organized. I’m much more the laid back, artsy type, and messes don’t bother me until I trip over them. This has driven my DH to the brink of insanity more than a few times over the years.

If you drive, what do you drive?

Oh, dear. Well, most days I drive my beat-up, dark-green, mid-90s vintage Grand Caravan with a black Spock Box on top (also referred to by normal people as a Thule gear box). On special occasions—when I don’t have to haul around my five kids—I will drive my 2004 T-bird convertible. (This was a gift from my hubby for staying married to him for 25 years. Can’t wait to see what he’ll give me for our 50th anniversary!)

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

*Gulp* Chocolate on a plain cone. (Did I pass?)

[Yes! You are sane with very slight oddball tendencies.]

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Questions about ice-cream.

Also, some of the antics my kids (and hubby) get into.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

Margarita, always with salt. Ice consistency depends on my mood.

Lea Kirk

Lea Kirk loves to transport her readers to other worlds with her romances of science fiction and time travel. Her fascination with science fiction began at six years old when her dad introduced her to the original Star Trek TV series. She fell in love with the show, and was even known to run through her parents’ house wearing the tunic top of her red knit pantsuit and her white go-go boots pretending to be Lieutenant Uhura.

Ms. Kirk lives in California with her wonderful hubby of twenty-six years, their five kids (aka, the nerd herd), and a Doberman who thinks he’s a people. She’s also proud of her seven times great grandson. Apparently her stories will serve as the inspiration for James T. to join Star Fleet Academy. She learned this in the 1980’s when James sought out her counsel on where to find a pair of humpback whales.

Find Lea on Facebook and Twitter.

About your book! Prophecy

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Eat? There’s no time for food—only reading! When you finish, though, you should definitely celebrate with a nice steak dinner, then pick up book two of my series and start all over.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Ohhh, evil is tall and green. Evil is exotic and blue. Evil is old and feeble. “Trust no one, Dr. Jones.”

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Oh, geez. I’m not allowed to skip this one, huh? Okay, it’s a tough choice, but I’d have to pick Dante Dacian, one of the hero’s best friends. He’s 6’3”, geeky, and a healer. He also happens to have blue skin and hails from another planet. Disclaimer: My choice may be slightly guilt driven as I’ve given Dante a heartbreaking past.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

There are a couple of eras that appeal to me. One is the 1930s through mid-40s for sure (music, dancing, WWII, Western culture). The other is Old West (1800s). It just seems like an exciting time, especially with the expansion of the railroads. And horses. I love horses.

Overall, I’d have to say that these eras do not particularly influence my world building. The Old West might but only because I compare post-invasion life on Earth to living in the Old West. Even though alien technology provides methods of fast transportation, many of my characters prefer to ride horseback for their local jaunts.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Probably Kelly Rossler, a secondary character in Prophecy. Kelly loses her eight-year-old son during the Anferthian invasion of Earth. She can’t quite manage to accept that not all Anferthians—or aliens in general—are evil. The toll on her mind starts to show in book two (Salvation), and she does the unthinkable in her search for “justice”. I’m not certain what will happen to her next, or if she’ll even make another appearance in future novels for the series. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

I totally love the interactions between Alex (the heroine) and her younger brother, Nick. They love each other unconditionally, but there is an underlying sibling rivalry that helps keep them going even though the world has fallen apart. One of the funniest moments IMO is when Nick happens upon his sister and her alien love interest, Gryf, getting on in the middle of the forest.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

It depends on the part of the story. In some places it smells like a gentle ocean breeze in the springtime. Other places it smells like the pine trees of the High Sierra-Nevada Mountains. Mostly though it smells like home and family, with a touch of smoke and gunpowder mixed in.

Prophecy

Prophecy

Amazon |  Nook | iTunesKobo

A nightmare of galactic proportions…

One normal day turns into horror when Earth is attacked. Now ER nurse Alexandra Bock is imprisoned aboard an alien slave ship with no way out. She deems all aliens untrustworthy, including the handsome blue-skinned Matiran captain who shares her cell.

A betrayal from within…

One night of treachery leaves Senior Captain Gryf Helyg a prisoner of his enemies. Because of him, Earth’s inhabitants face extinction and his home world is threatened. But his plans for escape are complicated by his inexplicable draw to the Earth woman imprisoned with him.

A chance to save both their peoples…

One ancient prophecy holds the key to free Alexandra and Gryf’s war-ravaged worlds. Can two wounded souls who have lost everything learn to trust and forgive in order to fulfill the prophecy, and find a love that will last for eternity?

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}

BOOK DE JOUR

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

via julielondon-tumblr Mary Pickford, 1922

via julielondon-tumblr Mary Pickford, 1922

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

When Librarians are Silenced

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Do Authors Owe Us Their Whole Selves?

Book News:

1Book1Review on YouTube says of Imprudence: “I loved the book. It was fun to read. It was fast paced, action-packed, and a lot of flirting and tea (as you can expect from Gail Carriger).”

Quote of the Day:

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.”
~ Red Smith

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


Gail Interviews Author Tess Rider

Posted by Gail Carriger

Today, Gentle Reader, please welcome my dear friend and lovely author, Tess Rider to the blog.

Tess and I are dear chums, but we see each other once a month for tea and good gossip, and I consider one of the best sorts.

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About you, Author Tess Rider!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Tea, Earl Grey with a dash of sugar and a splash of milk (coconut, only because regular milk and me aren’t on speaking terms).

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

Colorful, coordinated, often with signature jewelry or hat/fascinator and fun shoes.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

First, it’s TINY, nothing more than a walk-in closet in an old Victorian, but it has a little window for light and its walls are covered with art, notes, reminders and pictures. Somehow I’ve even managed to squeeze a leather recliner and flat panel monitor, some bookshelves, and, oh yeah, me into this itty bitty space.

If you drive, what do you drive?

Yes. A 1996 Lexus ES300.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

Vanilla on a sugar cone.

(You are mostly sane but definitely odd.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Cats doing silly things.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

I love a good margarita.

author-pic-sq-tess-rider

Tess Rider lives with her wonderfully eccentric husband in an equally eccentric Victorian in the San Francisco Bay Area. An avid cat lover in search of her next cat, Tess is a huge fan of anything by Joss Whedon and gets inspiration for her books from dreams. She’s an accountant by day, a novelist by night and an artist at heart 24/7. Her debut paranormal time travel romance, Bring Me to Ruin (only $2.99 ebook USA), released April 2016. The second novel in the Haunted Hollow series released September 2016. Find her on the web at www.tessrider.com and contact her at [email protected]

About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Dark, bittersweet chocolate paired with a delicious red wine.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Evil takes the form of a vicious Fae ghost who can infect characters’ minds with their greatest fears and doubts.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

Sam Severin. He’s a devilishly handsome redhead from the future and he can slow time down temporarily, which has interesting possibilities.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

If I had to pick one, probably the 1800s. The dynamic change in art and culture in Europe is exciting and the “Old West”, particularly California gold rush era, holds great allure. My fictitious town of Radley’s Hollow was founded in 1847 in Sonoma County and includes a winery and a mine that figure prominently in the series. I had a fantastic time traveling through wine and gold country doing research for the series, visiting gold mines, historic towns and some of the oldest wineries in the area.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Sam Severin. I forgot to mention he’s a hothead and an irreverent smart ass.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

The scene where Sam Severin arms the story’s hero, Justin Wyatt, with a whole host of weaponry and technology from Sam’s home in the twenty-second century. Justin is nineteen and the story takes place in 1942 in a seemingly “normal” world, so Justin’s understandably excited to get to play with Sam’s toys.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

Honeysuckle and wine. The heroine’s perfume smells like honeysuckle and much of the story takes place in a winery.

tessrider_beforemyworldturnedblue_2500

Before My World Turned Blue (USA ebook only $1.99)

A paranormal time travel romance about two star-crossed lovers whose affair could change the future of planet Earth. Atmospheric, sensual and haunting, it’s the second in a series about a small town turned gateway to an apocalyptic ghost war and the men and women on the front lines fighting to save humanity from extinction. Book website.

The first is Bring Me to Ruin.

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Rough draft completed. Lay away this month. First pass red through starts in December.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1924 filmsploitation- Sunshade Styles 1

1924 filmsploitation- Sunshade Styles 1

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

50 Interesting and Unusual Octopus Home Decor Finds

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense.”
~ Tom Clancy

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

To Pen Name or Not to Pen Name

Book News:

Ditch Diggers Podcast #31: The Godparents Episode with Gail Carriger and Howard Tayler

Quote of the Day:

“If you can’t annoy somebody, there’s little point in writing.”
~ Kingsley Amis

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


Gail Carriger Interviews Alex White, Author of Every Mountain Made Low

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Please welcome my dear friend Alex White to tea today, Gentle Reader. Alex is a darling person and a very talented author, their very first book Every Mountain Made Low is available now everywhere fine books are sold.

Alex Gail Selfie

About you, the Author! Alex White

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

I love an espresso roast brewed black in a Moka Pot. When the coffee is fresh, it makes a gorgeous crema without being too bitter. My absolute favorite.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

I prefer to dress in a bright blazer (pink or blue) polo and slate gray jeans. I wear a pair of huge brown boots when weather permits. Both my ears are pierced, and I have a green stud in my eyebrow, which you might see behind my poplar-colored glasses frames. I shape my coppery beard to keep stray hairs down, and I never let scruff form on my neck.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

A massive, gaudy Alienware computer rests on my desk, which drives a 42-inch monitor. It looks like Times Square up in there. Instead of using the huge computer to write, I huddle to one side of my desk and write on my iPad.

If you drive, what do you drive?

2006 Saturn Ion Coupe with suicide half-doors. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

I’m a pudgy guy who doesn’t handle dairy well, and I ain’t adding fat for just anything–no Breyers, no Blue Belle, no off brands. You know my gourmet predilections better than anyone, Gail. I’m always up for the right food. I’ll have whatever makes the place famous. (Hopefully chocolate in a waffle cone.)

[Gail deems Alex entirely sane.]

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

*puts on Matrix sunglasses* Puns. Lots of puns.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

During the day, I have a Monster Energy drink at my hand. By night, it’s a gin. I’m sure my doctor approves.

alex-white_sm

Alex White was born and raised in the American south. They take photos, write music and spends hours on YouTube watching other people blacksmith. They value challenging and subversive writing, but will settle for a good time. Alex lives and works as an experience designer with their wife, son, two dogs and a cat named Grim. Favored past times include Legos and racecars. You can find their blog at www.alexrwhite.com.

About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

A charcuterie board would do the trick. Pick the hard cheeses with nutty flavors, so you can savor them while the words roll by. Grab a dry sausage for the beginning to keep your protein up. Have some picholine olives ready for the tense parts. Have a bitter dark chocolate on hand for all the times things go south. Finish with a hot toddy and flaky iced pastry to soothe your jangled emotions.

What form does evil take within its pages?

Selfishness and cruelty are the themes of my villains. One is a theocratic monster, convinced of his own universal righteousness and the other is a libertine dog, eager to wallow in the violence of his master’s orders. My main character, Loxley, is autistic–surrounded by a dystopian society happy to exploit her. In addition to the obvious Big Bad Evil, she must face pervasive gaslighting and bigoted aggression on a daily basis.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

I’d kiss just about any of Loxley’s true friends, though I doubt they’d be all that interested in me. Nora seems like someone who’d have a fling, at least.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

The mid-1900s fascinate me, but it’s hard to say I love them, as much as I take inspiration from them: the way counterculture strained against rampant prescriptivism, and the disaffected feeling of so much of that era’s fiction. I would say that my story falls into the neo-noir tradition, with its lonely outsider heroine and danger around every corner. Loxley can be a bit fatalistic, which plays into the dark world of dystopian Birmingham, Alabama quite nicely.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

I’d like to slap Officer Crutchfield, because he takes the “poor me nice guy” complex to the next level. He’s delusional and selfish, all while playing the martyr—a dangerous combination that reduces decent people to collateral damage. He deserves a slap and so much more.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

Loxley is easily driven to distraction, which results in some awkward moments when people try to threaten her or have a serious conversation. She’ll occasionally laugh inappropriately at an antagonist when she should be terrified.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

Coal dust, mildew and blood. I wouldn’t say it’s a pleasant book, but I think it’s a good one.

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Loxley Fiddleback can see the dead, but the problem is… the dead can see her.
Ghosts have always been cruel to Loxley Fiddleback, especially the spirit of her only friend, alive only hours before. Loxley isn’t equipped to solve a murder: she lives near the bottom of a cutthroat, strip-mined metropolis known as “The Hole,” suffers from crippling anxiety and doesn’t cotton to strangers. Worse still, she’s haunted.

She inherited her ability to see spirits from the women of her family, but the dead see her, too. Ghosts are drawn to her like a bright fire, and their lightest touch leaves her with painful wounds.

Loxley swears to take blood for blood and find her friend’s killer. In doing so, she uncovers a conspiracy that rises all the way to the top of The Hole. As her enemies grow wise to her existence, she becomes the quarry, hunted by a brutal enforcer named Hiram McClintock. In sore need of confederates, Loxley must descend into the strangest depths of the city in order to have the revenge she seeks and, ultimately, her own salvation.

BOOK DE JOUR

Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1924-filmsploitation-sunshade-styles-3

1924 filmsploitation Sunshade Styles 3

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

1920-parasols-we-need-to-see-more-of-them-today-a-practical-sunshade-via-sydneyflapper-tumblr

1920 Parasols via sydneyflapper tumblr

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

What is Hybrid Publishing?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

5 Story Opening Cliches That Need to Die

Book News:

luggage

Quote of the Day:

“Jeeves lugged my purple socks out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of his salad.”
~ P. G. Wodehouse

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

* Please note that this blog post has been updated (as of 2019) with Alex’s preferred pronouns, no other content has been material changed.


AMA Extravaganza! (Q&A with Gail Carriger)

Posted by Gail Carriger

My dear gentle reader, I do hope all of you know that I am always available to answer your questions here, or on Twitter, or on Goodreads.  However, a sanctioned conversation is always a good time. And license to go a little crazy.
So I am running a Facebook AMA on my Author Page today, and r/fantasy is hosting me for a Reddit AMA tomorrow!

TODAY: FACEBOOK AMA

Facebook Event AMA via my Author Page all day today. I’m hoping that by making the event go for most of the day that I can catch those of you overseas for a change, as well as my lovely locals.

TOMORROW: REDDIT AMA

If you are a redditor swim by and say hello. I would love to have a chat with you.

You can ask me about anything (although I may, of course, choose not to answer you). I imagine the Facebook AMA is likely to focus on my world and my characters and what I have planned for the future, a lot like my author event conversations. The Reddit AMA tends to lean more into the business of writing, so we will likely get on to my decision to go hybrid, the challenges of the various publications models, and that sort of thing. Although I cannot predict the future.

Anyway, please do stop by if only to say hello.

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{Gail’s monthly read along for June is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second.
    Out July 19, 2016 in print and eBook to US.
  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella.
    Status: Developmental edit. Cover reveal and release date to come.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

OUT NEXT

Poison or Protect ~ A Delightfully Deadly Novella

 Romance featuring a several-times widowed Preshea and the gentle Scottish captain who could change everything. (Gail’s first foray into hybrid land.)

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Countess di Castiglione The selfie queen of Paris society

Your Writerly Tinctures . . . 

Little Boxes Turned Into Dark Laboratories and Libraries

Book News:

MaddieTV says of Manners & Mutiny:
“Filled with humor and wit, the young girls of Geraldine’s school were constantly challenged to dangerous adventures, and inspired all readers.”

Quote of the Day:

“If we can’t write diversity into sci-fi, then what’s the point? You don’t create new worlds to give them all the same limits of the old ones.”

~ Jane Espenson (from interview with Advocate.com)

 

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

Final Book in the Spellwright Trilogy by Blake Charlton

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Blake is one of my closest author friends.

We used to get together and write regularly, when we lived in other places and had less complicated lives. I miss him.

 

2010 SF in SF with Blake

 

I love the backbone premise of his books…

What if you have a magical system based on, literally, spelling spells?

What if you’re a magician in that system who has dyslexia?

There are three books in his series. Spellwright and Spellbound were the first two, and now Spellbreaker the final installment and spin off featuring the next generation is out.

Blake’s work deals with themes of chronic illness and disabilities realistically in a fantasy context, without being depressing. He should know what he’s talking about, since he’s a doctor (not to mention dyslexic) who learned to read because of his love of fantasy. I don’t pimp often, but I adore Blake and I think his work is not only fun but hugely important.

The third and final book in his Spellwright trilogy…

Here’s the synopsis:

Leandra Weal has a bad habit of getting herself in dangerous situations.

While hunting neodemons in her role as Warden of Ixos, Leandra obtains a prophetic spell that provides a glimpse one day into her future. She discovers that she is doomed to murder someone she loves, soon, but not who. That’s a pretty big problem for a woman who has a shark god for a lover, a hostile empress for an aunt, a rogue misspelling wizard for a father, and a mother who–especially when arguing with her daughter–can be a real dragon.

Leandra’s quest to unravel the mystery of the murder-she-will-commit becomes more urgent when her chronic disease flares up and the Ixonian Archipelago is plagued by natural disasters, demon worshiping cults, and fierce political infighting. Everywhere she turns, Leandra finds herself amid intrigue and conflict. It seems her bad habit for getting into dangerous situations is turning into a full blown addiction.

As chaos spreads across Ixos, Leandra and her troubled family must race to uncover the shocking truth about a prophesied demonic invasion, human language, and their own identities–if they don’t kill each other first.

Spellbreaker is the long awaited sequel to Spellbound, which was listed by Kirkus Reviews among the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2011. This final installment of the Spellwright Trilogy stands alone as a complete story; however, fans of the series will find in it answers to the questions raised by the previous books about Leandra’s parents, Nicodemus Weal and Francesca DeVega.

Want to read Blake and I being silly?  In Which Gail’s Interview with Blake Charlton Gets Hijacked

{Gail’s monthly read along for June is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second.
    Out July 19, 2016 in print and eBook to US.
  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella.
    Status: Developmental edit. Cover reveal and release date to come.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

OUT NEXT

Poison or Protect ~ A Delightfully Deadly Novella

 Romance featuring a several-times widowed Preshea and the gentle Scottish captain who could change everything. (Gail’s first foray into hybrid land.)

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

 

1866 Le Follet Friday, June 1, 1866 v. 45, plate 82

 

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Simple 1870s Hairstyle Tutorial

Book News:

Joy’s Book Blog says of Manners & Mutiny:

“…Gail Carriger is an author that I can always count on for comfort in trying times. Carriger gives the added element of humor and, of course, one of my favorite settings — London and nearby parts of England.”

Quote of the Day:

“Formerly, children learned to play various amusing games, such as “Hot buttered beans,”…”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

 

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


The Mad Hatter Interviews Alexia, Conall & Lord Akeldama (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Thank you to everyone who purchased the limited and special hard cover editions of Soulless. I’ve been told that it has shipped at last! I do hope you like it!

As a thank you: Here’s an interview with three of your favorite characters in Soulless from back when the book was first released in 2009.

The Mad Hatter Interviews Alexia & Lord Maccon

MH: Thank you for gracing my gentle readers with your presence. It is a great honor to have both of you here.
ALEXIA: Delighted.
LORD MACCON: Of course, of course.
MH: Now, Alexia, my dear, what made you choose someone such as Gail Carriger to chronicle your life story?  And why do you think other people would want to hear about you traipsing about with Werewolves and Vampires? This is most unbecoming information concerning a well-bred lady such as yourself.
ALEXIA: Well, the horrible little strumpet chronicled my doings entirely without my knowledge or approval. Naturally, I am considering legal action, but right this moment I simply don’t have the time to chase after a minor American authoress with delusions of grandeur. Really, what one has to wonder is, how does she get all of her information?
LORD MACCON (under his breath): Lord Akeldama perhaps?
MH: What unfolds during the telling of Soulless?
ALEXIA: I suppose, since the so-called Ms Carriger has gone around writing inappropriate novels sullying my name, I might simply relay the gist of the matter. I go around, in a perfectly respectable way, looking for clues as to the appearance of these unexpected vampires and Lord Maccon here keeps getting in my way.
LORD MACCON: Funnily enough, I was going to say exactly the same thing, only with a reversal of roles.
MH: In that you are known to be a strong willed woman.  How do you think that affects public opinion of you? Does the negative commentary overwhelm your reputation or are their advantages to your unique personality?
ALEXIA: A pox upon public opinion. Oh, please excuse my blunt language, but I do get riled up on this matter. What good, I ask you, has public opinion ever done anyone? Except perhaps an actress or two. I will say that not giving a fig for the general approval of others allows me a certain amount of leeway and liberty, that, were I more conscientious of the fine feelings of others, might not ordinarily be the case.
MH: What kind of evolution have you encountered since you’ve become involved with one another?
ALEXIA: I have evolved to find him increasingly more annoying.
LORD MACCON: And I to find her less so.
ALEXIA: Fortunately for both of us, I am finding that I rather enjoy living life in a mild state of annoyance.
MH: As you may be aware I have a great proclivity to hats, so I simply must know, what was the most ghastly hat ever worn by Miss Ivy Hisselpenny?
ALEXIA: Oh dear. It was horrible, a recent purchase, for she only seems to be getting worse with age. It was a toque covered in purple tweed with black ball fringe edging, purple taffeta ruffles, a bird, a bow, grey ostrich feathers, and this black and white feather puff at the end of a length of wire that looked like she was being stalked by a jellyfish. I shudder to recall it.
MH: For our gentle readers can you describe what your transformation feels like?
LORD MACCON: Ah, yes well, it is highly unpleasant. The process does involve bones actually breaking and then reforming, you understand? Oh dear, I do apologize for offending any ladies present with such crass speech. Lyall is always having to remind me of such things. Perhaps I should leave it there.
MH: What is one thing about each of you that most people do not know?
LORD MACCON: Before metamorphosis, I used to be a rather well known opera singer – bass-baritone.
ALEXIA: That is a slightly intrusive question, don’t you find? Would you mind if I were terribly frivolous with my answer? I love marmalade.
MH: Thank you both for you time and civility. I so look forward to hear about your latest happenings.

And a Brief Interview with Lord Akeldama

MH: Thank you for gracing us with your presence. Do tell us, Lord Akeldama, what intrigues you about Alexia so much that it encourages you to invite her into your world? Also, where did you first meet?
LORD AKELDAMA: Well, my darling pumpkin seedling, it’s not like me to gossip behind someone’s back, but I will say this. She’s such an adorably practical little thing, who wouldn’t like her? All that common sense and assertive attitude is quite refreshing in a female of this day and age. Also, my little sprouted potato, it’s been so very long since I have had any genuine social interaction with a preternatural, I find it enchanting. One might even be tempted to say: revitalizing. As to the location of our first meeting, I’m afraid I must demur and simply point out that that is not, entirely, the right question to ask
MH: Do you think Alexia and Lord Maccon are a good pairing?
LORD AKELDAMA: Darling, I refuse to commit myself to the very idea of pairing, one wouldn’t want to limit oneself like that, now would one? Thusly I feel entirely incapably of judging the matter. That said, they do seem to enjoy barking at one another, which, I’m under the impression, is the practice amongst werewolves.
MH: How do you view the Victorian era versus the other epoch’s you’ve lived through?
LORD AKELDAMA: Ah, sugar bell, I do find this era a little staid in the matter of color and shoe adornments, and of course I simply cannot and will not approve of the muttonchops. Not even slightly. But I shall admit that I do find some of the new brass accessories unexpectedly intriguing.

Scottish myths: Wulver the kindhearted Shetland werewolf
A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Hairdressing (written by Biffy?)
Victorian Party People Unrolled Mummies for Fun (what, you thought I was making that up?)
The Trouble with Bustles: Victorian Fashion in the 19th Century News

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Sorcery & Cecelia: Or, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Parasol Paper Doll lemaldusiecle-tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Victorian London, 1977 (16 rare photos)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Best of Writer Beware: 2015 in Review

Book News:
Diana of Audio Gals says:

“How excited, and sad, I was to listen to Manners & Mutiny, the last in Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series. I began the book knowing that Carriger had a lot of loose ends to wrap up and confident she could handle such a task. Readers, I’m very proud to say the combination of Carriger and Quirk (that should totally be the name of an investigative agency BTW) in no way disappointed.”

Quote of the Day:

“A burglar alarm,” said Jessan. “Or so your sister tells me. You wake up when the burglar starts screaming.”
Llannat looked curious. “You believe that?”
“Implicitly,” Jessan assured her.

~ Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald, The Price of the Stars

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!

Gail Carriger Interviews Jaime Lee Moyer about Against a Brightening Sky

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Today, Gentle Reader, we have a guest author interview on the blog with Jaime Lee Moyer. I am constantly getting questions from readers about what to read while waiting for my next book. So I have invited Jamie by for tea and a chat in the hopes that she may help fill in the gap. Please give her a big warm welcome.

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
Spiced tea (cinnamon and orange) with sugar.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.
Very casual and chatty. I’m not a formal person.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?
I just moved. My new environment is an apartment living room, with a big oak desk, surrounded by bookcases. One of the deep shelves in the desk has been transformed into a cat cave for Morgan and Gillian, my co-authors. Surprisingly, the cat cave is lined in Wonder Woman fleece.

If you drive, what do you drive?
I drive a 2007 Honda CRV.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)
Vanilla on a sugar cone.
(Gail pronounces you sane with minor aberrations.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?
Something unexpected and absurd.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?
Kahlua with cream

Jaime Lee Moyer lives in a land of cactus, cowboys, and rhinestones, while dreaming of tall trees and the ocean. She writes novels about murder and betrayal, friendship, ghosts and magic, and she feels it’s only fair to warn you that all her books are kissing books. You can learn more about her at jaimeleemoyer.com and read excerpts from her new novel Against a Brightening Sky.

About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?
Strawberries, cookies, and tea.

What form does evil take within its pages?
Murder in all sorts of horrible incarnations.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?
Police Captain Gabriel Ryan. Gabe has the soul of a paladin, feels duty bound to find justice for those who can’t find justice for themselves, and is pretty much my vision of a perfect partner.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?
The years between 1910 and 1920 are my favorite. So much happened during those years, including WWI, the beginning of prohibition, women’s suffrage, and the flapper era. Spiritualism and séances were popular forms of entertainment. Almost everyone believed in ghosts, in spirit guides, and that mediums could communicate with the dead.
For someone writing about murders involving ghosts and other supernatural creatures, a 1910s version of a witch and her police detective husband, it was the perfect time period. Not only was it a rich period in history, but I could toss in all kinds of magic and weirdness and it “fit.”

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?
I don’t slap people, but there’s one character that deserves a good shaking; Libby Mills. Mainly because she is so rooted in certainty that her own version of what reality is and should be is right. Libby can’t see the truth standing right in front of her.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?
Sadie Fitzgerald’s attempts at matchmaking between Sam and Libby.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?
Paraffin, sage, and rosemary–for remembrance.

 

 

Against a Brightening Sky

A ghost princess and a woman with nothing but a name to her fortune might change the course of history.

By 1919 the Great War has ended, peace talks are under way in Paris, and the world has been forever changed. Delia Martin, apprentice practitioner of magical arts, and her husband, Police Captain Gabriel Ryan, face the greatest challenge of their lives when fragments from the war descend on San Francisco.

As Delia prepares to meet friends at a St. Patrick’s Day parade, the strange ghost of a European princess appears in her mirror. Her pleasant outing becomes a nightmare as the ghost reappears moments after a riot starts, warning her as a rooftop gunman begins shooting into the crowd. Delia rushes to get her friends to safety, and Gabe struggles to stop the killing—and to save himself.

Delia and Gabe realize all the chaos and bloodshed had one purpose—to flush Alina from hiding, a young woman with no memory of anything but her name.

As Delia works to discover how the princess ghost’s secrets connect to this mysterious young woman, and Gabe tracks a ruthless killer around his city, they find all the answers hinge on two questions: Who is Alina…and why can’t she remember?

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is Jinn and Juice by Nicole Peeler}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Nastassja Kinski (“Tess”, Roman Polanski)  (Source- dsata.blogspot.dk)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Mollusk Mosaics

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Overlooked Purslane

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

 Modifying a desk on writing retreat.

Book News:

My books with friends.

Quote of the Day:
“The curves of your lips rewrite history.”
~ Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

 


Blurb & Review Requests (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

May I tell you a little story, Gentle Reader?

Once upon a time (OK several years ago now) there was an author who also liked to read, but she was picky.

Very picky.

She liked specific things in her books, very specific things. However, quite apart from matters of taste, one consequence of editing is an eye for mistakes. (Not necessarily her own, and certainly not spelling, but other kinds of mistakes.) She has her little areas of expertise (food, fashion, Victorian London) and she has an ex-academic’s horror when she spots an error. (Yes, I know of the bad copy edit in Prudence. I promise: not my fault. Ask me about it in person over drinks someday…)

This author has an active social media base, some dedicated fans, and several loyal readers.

She feels like she owes them a great deal for their support of her work. She doesn’t want to suggest that they read a book she doesn’t herself adore. That would be a betrayal of trust. She doesn’t want to “just find one nice thing to say” about a book she wouldn’t ordinarily recommend ~ because that would cheapen her honor and feel disingenuous.

She has author friends.

Most of these friends do not write the kind of books she likes to read. Most of them understand this. Most of them don’t really like her books all that much either (if they bother to read them). Reading is a matter of taste. Most authors get this. It’s how we coexist. It’s how we survive bad reviews.

One day one of these dear author friends hands over their latest book.

She hates it. Not just a little, but a lot. It isn’t to her taste, it’s insulting in its lack of research, and it’s pat in plot and character.

She struggles. She comes up with a few modest compliments but she declines to blurb on the basis of being unable to finish. (Assumption, she doesn’t have the time… actuality, she screamed and threw the manuscript across the room.) She doesn’t say anything negative.

The other author does not take this well. There were lashings out, recriminations, snarky remarks. There was even a bit of trolling. The friendship was no more. Tears were shed.

The End

You want to know why I don’t blurb books as a rule?

That’s why. It burned me very very badly.

Insert the snarky comments:

“Oh, boohoo, poor little Gail.”

A comment like this makes me think you actually haven’t read my books. However, if you have read my books, I hope you know two things about me: loyalty and integrity are super important. Being asked to choose between the two: integrity to my readers or loyalty to my friends, puts me in the WORST possible position. Frankly, I don’t want to be put there ever again. And guess what? I get to make the decision to protect myself.

“I’m going to ask you anyway.”

That is your prerogative, of course, and I might read your book. But the most likely response you’ll get is: sorry, I didn’t have time. Sometimes, I don’t have time. (Like right now ~ ARGH.) Sometimes this is code for “I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Often, when I do have time, I want to read something I WANT to read. I know, call me crazy. I don’t have much reading time, I’m going to spend it on books I love. Be a professional, accept “I don’t have time.”

“Well, so nice for you that your fellow authors didn’t feel like that at the beginning of your career.”

Yeah, it really is. And I am so very grateful to people like Angie Fox who blurbed Soulless. I have struggled for a way to give back while keeping my integrity intact and my friendships safe. So…

Here’s what I will do: 

  • Talk and post a lot about books I like and encourage others to read them. Partly to support my fellow authors, but also so that I have an ongoing answer to the perennial questions: “What is Gail reading?” and “What do you suggest I read while you are busy writing?” and “What are some of your favorite books?
  • Review the books that I love and have discovered on my own. I try to pick debut novels. I try to pick lesser known authors. I try to find old favorites being given new life in the digital age. I post my reviews on Goodreads and Bookbub. You can follow me in either venue.
  • If they are easy to contact, I reach out to the author to let them know I have reviewed them. They may choose to use a quote if they like.
  • Offer author interviews here on the blog. Because I’m an author too, I ask them silly questions they don’t normally get.
  • Post regularly to #bookrecfriday as part of #fridayreads on social media. I call out a book I love with a mini review.

Here’s what I won’t do:

  • Interface with publicists. They make me sign nasty agreements that display a complete lack of social media savvy. They don’t know anything about me except my sales figures. They send me canned queries. I deal with enough of that in my career already, thank you very much. If you want me to read your book treat me like a fellow author and human creature, with feelings.
  • Say I like something, when I don’t. Ever, for any reason.
  • Publicly slag a book I didn’t like. Yes, I like being warned off bad books myself, but I don’t feel that’s my role to fill.

Other People’s Thoughts

Want more Occasional FAQ? Join the Chirrup!

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Petit Courrier des Dames Date-  Tuesday, September 1, 1840 Item ID-  v. 23, plate 20

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The City Of Dreams Pavilion On Governors Island In New York

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Speculative Fiction that Passes the Bechdel Test

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
A.M. Dellamonica asks who was your literary heroine?

Book News:
Dez of Rock N Rococo says of Etiquette & Espionage:

“It’s a fantastic YA Steampunk novel that I highly recommend. As always, Gail Carriger’s writing style is clever and charming, as are her characters. I hope you’ll take the time to read it if you get the chance!”

Quote of the Day:

“Locking myself in my childhood room, I pile my chestnut hair and pull them into a tight ponytail.”
[Hair is an it, not a them.]
“I’d barely gotten through many practices, only to let my shattered tears out in the shower right after.”
[Shattered tears? Really? REALLY?]

~ Author name redacted to protect the guilty.

… Bookbub has a lot to answer for.


Intellectual Salon ~ Ptolemaic Egypt & Court of Fives

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Today, Gentle Reader, the Occasional Meeting Intellectual Salon (OMIS) welcomes the glorious Kate Elliott to this blog. Kate is the esteemed author of this month’s book pick and I invited her ’round to give a presentation on the research behind Court of Fives.

You likely know that my former profession was archaeologist. Although Egypt was not my specialty, I did work in an Egyptian museum for five years and Ancient Egyptian culture has always been one of my passions. I know that you, Gentle Reader, must have an interest in history or you wouldn’t really like my books. So naturally I figured this would be an excellent subject for the Intellectual Salon.

Take it away, Kate…

When I think of ancient Egypt, I think first of mummies, pyramids, pharaohs, King Tut, and the amazing tomb and temple paintings that have survived millennia.

Consider this Isis with wings from a tomb painting. So glorious.

Wiki Commons

In the Western world, ancient Egypt has long been famous and revered as one of the great civilizations of the past. It was considered old to the scholars and writers of classical Greece and Rome who explored and wrote about it, and who named the Great Pyramid of Giza as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Later, in early modern Europe, Egyptian motifs became popular in interior decoration and building styles. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone in the early 19th century–an inscription in three languages–led to the modern decipherment of hieroglyphics, which allowed scholars to translate the inscriptions and texts of the Old and New Kingdoms. Egyptian archaeology became all the rage, especially after the 1922 excavation of the nearly intact tomb (and gold treasures) of King Tutankhamen by Howard Carter and the Earl of Carnarvon.

So when my spouse and his co-director received the concession (permit) from the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities to work at the site of Tell Timai, I was both excited and a tiny bit disappointed.

Tell Timai has no pyramids or massive, monumental statues.

I love these Ramses II statues at Abu Simbel. This guy did not have confidence issues:

Wiki Commons

In fact, Timai became important long after the Old and New Kingdom Egypt famous for its monumental architecture and elaborate tombs. In the aftermath of the death of Alexander the Great, one of his generals (Ptolemy) established himself as king of Egypt, taking on the title of pharaoh as well. He established the Ptolemaic Dynasty, named after himself, and ushered in the Greco-Roman period when Egypt was ruled first by Macedonian kings and queens and later by Roman overlords. Timai became a regional capital at this time, and remained important as an administrative center for centuries.

But because I often help my spouse by proof-reading his abstracts and conference talks, I began to absorb some of the history and archaeology and I became intrigued by this cosmopolitan period of history when people moved around the Mediterranean Basin with remarkable freedom. I had studied the Hellenistic Period (as this era is called) in college, and had found it fascinating then, but moved on to other historical obsessions since. However, the more I learned about Ptolemaic Egypt, the more I began to see the cultural interaction of that time as fertile ground for a fantasy setting.

Here are five things that influenced the writing of Court of Fives.

 

One: The Soldiers and the Wars

A Ptolemy I coin, wearing a diadem to mark him as ruler of Egypt, with an eagle grasping a thunderbolt on the reverse side:

Wiki Commons

Once Ptolemy established himself as ruler, many Macedonians and Greeks flocked to Egypt to make their fortune and to serve in his army. The life story of Jessamy’s father is directly inspired by this.

Ptolemy and his descendants fought multiple wars against other post-Alexander kingdoms established by former generals, including at least six against the Seleucid Empire to the east (where Israel, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and Iran are now). The description in Court of Fives of ongoing wars after the breakup of the Saroese empire is modeled after the on-and-off again wars following the death of Alexander the Great and the breakup of his short-lived empire.

Two: The Dynasty

Wow, those Ptolemies were unpleasant people though. The dynasty lasted 175 years, and during that time the various descendants connived and murdered with an “anything goes” mentality that is almost impressive if you don’t think about how awful they could be. While they did make marriage alliances with other kingdoms, they were particularly infamous in the larger Greek world for a string of brother-sister marriages that allowed them to tightly hold on to power within their family.

Here is a romantic portrait of Berenike II, who had soldiers kill her first husband, Demetrius the Fair, when she discovered him sleeping with her mother Apama. She promptly married her cousin, Ptolemy III. After the death of her husband, she was murdered by her son, Ptolemy IV, who by the way married his sister Arsinoe III. I can’t make this stuff up.

via Tumblr

Late in Court of Fives, Kalliarkos makes a brief speech about the terrible behavior of the princely classes toward each other, and every example he glancingly mentions is based on a real incident that happened somewhere during the Hellenistic period.

Three: Separate Legal Traditions

During the Ptolemaic Period there were two separate legal systems. One followed Greek law. It was imported into Egypt and set into place by the new rulers, and all its proceedings took place in Greek, the language of the conquerers. In this legal tradition, for example, women could only be represented in court by a male guardian. However, although indigenous Egyptians were clearly second-class citizens in Ptolemaic Egypt, a parallel Egyptian tradition carried on alongside the Greek legal tradition, for Egyptians dealing among themselves, and those court documents were written in Demotic, a late written version of Egyptian. Women could represent themselves in the Egyptian legal tradition.

Here’s an example of Demotic:

Source

I borrowed both the idea of women’s inferior legal status in Greek culture and that of women having a more equal legal status in Egyptian culture by making the Saroese culture very regressive about women while the Efean culture, what you see of it, is suggestively much less sexist.

By the way, the Romans were much harsher rulers than the Greeks. After Rome made Egypt into a province of the empire, for a while it really was against the law for a Roman citizen to marry an Egyptian. I stole that directly for the book.

Four: The Queens

However, speaking of women, here’s a really interesting thing about Ptolemaic Egypt and in fact the whole Hellenistic period. The only Ptolemaic queen we tend to hear about is Cleopatra VII, infamous for her sexy wiles and unwomanly ambition.

But Ptolemaic women took an early and important role in ruling Egypt, in becoming patrons of the arts (important for propaganda purposes), and in controlling the royal treasury and other acts of public largesse. Even though women had a clearly inferior legal status to men under Greek law, that didn’t stop these women from ruling as influential co-queens, as regents for children, and in several cases alone, and in fighting tooth and nail over the throne with their brothers and uncles.

Many royal inscriptions mention both king and queen, as if they are equal partners, which means that even if they were not in actuality it still suited the purpose of the royal household to be seen as such by those they ruled.

For example, Arsinoe II had a tumultuous career. She ruled as queen twice, first of Thrace and Macedonia through marriage to Lysimachus and later as co-ruler of Egypt with her brother Ptolemy II. Deified after her death, she was identified with the horn of plenty and had temples built around the Mediterranean to her in her aspect of patroness of travelers, a divine quality she borrowed from Isis. In fact, at Tell Timai a statue of the divine Arsinoe II was found as part of a temple dedicated to her that once stood in the city.

From the Met, here’s a statue of the deified Arsinoe II, with cornucopia. Notice the blend of Greek and Egyptian stylistic traditions. This statue is similar to the one found at Tell Timai (the one at Timai lacks arms and head).

From the Met

In tribute to these remarkable (and ruthless) women, I gave Efea a tradition of co-ruling kings and queens.

Five: The Battle of Raphia

Remember Arsinoe III, Ptolemy IV’s wife? In 217 BCE she famously accompanied her brother into Syria to fight the Seleucid emperor Antiochus III, and in the Third Book of Maccabees is said to have been crucial to the Egyptian victory at Raphia by exhorting the army to fight when it was wavering. She also wisely promises to give each man 2 minas of gold if they win the battle.

Here is a stele that shows Ptolemy IV on horseback at the battle with Arsinoe encouraging him on.

Source

Raphia proved to be a great victory for Egypt, and the high point of Ptolemy IV’s reign (he was later assassinated and his infant son raised to the throne by “loyal advisors”).

There’s another interesting tradition about the battle of Raphia that comes from the Greek writer Polybius. He claims that Ptolemy IV “by arming the Egyptians for his war against Antiochus, took a step which was of a great service at the time” (that is, in order to have enough troops to fight the enemy). For a long time this comment was interpreted as meaning that, under the earlier Ptolemies, Egyptians were not allowed to serve as soldiers (an interpretation many scholars no longer agree with). Certainly after Raphia there seems to be an increase in Egyptian influence in administrative matters in the kingdom, and there were other consequences too (which I won’t go into here), but for the purposes of Court of Fives, I used this suggestive tidbit as part of the backstory of General Inarsis and, indeed, as a way to show the very unequal social stratification between foreign rulers and conquered indigenous peoples.

~ ~ ~

My husband is still working at Tell Timai (five weeks every summer), and even if the site doesn’t have pyramids and mummies, what it does offer is a window into a unique period of Egyptian and Mediterranean history filled with all the best kinds of story seeds that any writer could possibly desire. I can’t wait to show you all book two, in which a whole new set of seeds gets to bloom.

For now, I leave you, Gentle Readers, with thanks for reading this rather long post, and with a cool photo of Tell Timai from the air:

Source

Wow! Thanks Kate so much for this. It’s utterly fascinating; I now find my own poor attempts to reflect 1890s Egypt rather inferior. But then, I felt that way reading Kate’s book.

I hope you all are enjoying Court of Fives, and that if you haven’t already picked it up that this insight will encourage you. Really. So. Good. As a reminder I am running a giveaway of Court of Fives, Waistcoats & Weaponry, and the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce through September 13.

{Gail’s monthly read along for September is Court of Fives by Kate Elliott}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Henri Matisse (French artist, 1869–1954)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
15 Most Creative Books from Past and Present

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Survey finds Millennials Most Irked by Bad Grammar and Spelling Slips 

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Stacy of Lost in Librolandia says of Timeless: “There is just so much to love about this world and the characters that Carrgier has created within it. …I want to jump through the pages of these books and stay in this picturesque, Steampunk, Victorian wonderland forever.”

Quote of the Day:

“The only way to atone for being occasionally a little over-dressed is by being always absolutely over-educated.”

~ Oscar Wilde


Gail Carriger Interviews P.N. Elrod about The Hanged Man

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I talked about how much I enjoyed this book recently and to follow up I invited the lovely author round for one of my silly interviews. Please welcome P.N. Elrod to the blog!

About you, the Author!

Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Tea in the winter straight and very strong, coffee (the same) in the summer but only in the morning. Both should be accompanied by a cherry turnover. A proper one.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

What I wear or how I behave? If the former I try to dress so as to not frighten adults. Comfortable shoes are a must. I have a fun pair of pink leopard-spotted basketball sneakers. If the latter I’m still working on my indoor voice.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

My writing space evolved from a messy desk amid walls of books, nick-knacks, reams of loose paper, maps, and other forms of homey chaos to a clean orderly space that’s easy to dust. I’ve a case full of Man From U.N.C.L.E. books, a swing out shelf to hold my laptop while I sit in a recliner. I don’t do well sitting at a desk any more. Though I am subject to attacks from nap ninjas after lunch, I get more work done when I don’t have to argue with gravity. Hanging over the love seat is a painting I did myself. It’s abstract expressionism, which is artsy-fartsy-speak for “I can’t paint but I’ll do it anyway ’cause it’s fun.”

If you drive, what do you drive?

A paid-for red two-door of American descent.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

All of them, in all combinations is not deviation, it’s divine.
(Gail’s assessment: Mad, absolutely mad.)

What’s most likely to make you laugh?

Visually, old-fashioned pie in the face slapstick. The Three Stooges still get the job done for me and anything to do with Monty Python or the Marx Brothers. Reading, I like P.G. Wodehouse and the Lucia books by E.F. Benson.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what’s your poison?

I like a really cold, COLD draft beer, preferably a local micro brew, though my agent put me on to chocolate martinis, otherwise ice tea, no sweetener.

 

P.N. Elrod’s written a lot of books, mostly urban fantasy, edited a lot of books and stories (all kinds) and would like to be a beach bum, but her Irish genes have issues with sunshine, whole subscriptions, in fact. She lives in a dull alternate universe from that of the people in her books and has an incurable addiction to chocolate and UK accents.

 

About your book!

What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Anything they like, though getting jam on the pages or reading device would be unfortunate.

What form does evil take within its pages?

The kind that thinks it knows what’s best for others.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

I should like to smooch Dr. Hamish because he looks like Martin Freeman. Whether he’d like to smooch me is another matter entirely.

What’s your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

Too many to choose from! I like the Victorian times because the clothes are pretty, and many people then were gadget geeks, same as we are today. This book needed an alternate history from our own, and after getting into the research I decided that Victoria never meeting Albert would change everything. She does have a successful love match and four brilliant children. I base much of what’s in the book on real things that were in our history, but taken a step farther. For instance, there was a huge interest in America for developing airships for fast transport after the Civil War and several start up companies. If they hadn’t failed for lack of funding, we’d have a somewhat different world now, I think.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Teddy. He’s such a prig and doesn’t know it.

Without spoilers, what’s the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

When Miss Pendlebury bucks up her shocked male escort with the observation, “It’s only an orgy.”

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

Cinnamon.

Her name is Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the queen) and she’s your typical scone-nibbling, pistol-packing, martial arts practicing, tea-sipping forensic Reader on her majesty’s Psychic Service. Expect alternate history, masked assassins, Victorian Special Forces, gun battles just steps from Downing Street, several gallants with a keen interest in Miss Pendlebury’s welfare, shocking betrayals, stout-hearted defenders, impeccably dressed upper class family drama raised to toxic levels, and a really good, strong, hot cup of tea.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

AP_Candy_ via lolitahime tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Anamorphic Tea Cups Illusion

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
This is why I try to pay it forward, go Tee! Ten Years of Family: Ravencon 2015

Book News:

The Compulsive Reader says of Waistcoats & Weaponry: “Gail Carriger may be known for her lovably ridiculous characters and their outrageous antics, but what I really love about her books is the character growth.”

Quote of the Day:
“folded former bank where the Brotherhood of the Protective Order of the Sasquatch met.”
~ Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

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