Tagged FAQ

All About Steampunk ~ Goggles, Gaiters & Glory (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

The World of Steampunk: Goggles, Gaiters & Glory

To me there are two main kinds of steampunk. The first, which I shall be call, traditional steampunk, envisions a future as the Victorians imagined it. The writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are good examples. The second, which I think of as industrial steampunk, sees a far future world that hearkens back to Victorian culture, for example a bustle dress made of Kevlar. There are also other temporal options like clockpunk (c. 1500s) and dieselpunk (WWII).

I write the traditional kind of steampunk, and my approach is two fold.

First, I postulate that it is through the presence of immortals that steam technology of the Victorian age diverged from our own timeline. Vampires are particularly interested in mechanics and so promote technological advancement beyond that of the actual Victorians.

Second, I try to remain true to the scientific theory of the day, however much modern scientists have debunked it. In Gail’s steampunk world the science is (at least internally) consistent, though occasionally mysterious.

by J Daniel Sawyer

Steampunk FAQ

What is steampunk?
Steampunk is a re–imagining of either the past or the future where steam technology never died, and electricity never dominated, and a Victorian aesthetic overshadows all. Think Jules Verne and hot air balloons flying to the moon.

What’s with all the dirigibles?
I think dirigibles (and other types of airships) are particularly appealing to writers of steampunk because they quickly show the reader the alternate nature of the author’s world, and because they represent the slow majestic dignity, and slight ridiculousness, of that time period.

How did you get into steampunk?
I came to steampunk first as an aesthetic movement. I’m a longtime fan of vintage clothing and Goth style; steampunk drew me in as a cheerful melding of the two. I also love seeing recycled technology used as jewelry, and other examples of how creative the maker community has become over the past few years.

Gail Carriger first 5 years steampunk outfits

What was it that drew you to steampunk?
My Mum is a tea–swilling ex–pat. I was raised on British children’s books (Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Borrowers, The Water Babies, Wind in the Willows) and I spent many a youthful summer in Devon and two years of graduate school in the Midlands. It was this, plus the fashion aesthetic, that first drew me to steampunk – the beauty of 19th century clothing but with a less ridged everyday feel. I adore the Victorian era. I used to make hoopskirts out of my hula–hoops as a child. I also love the makers side of steampunk – technology you can see working, rather than little silver iPods with all their functionality secreted away.

What is it about steampunk that particularly excites you?
The Victorian Gothic literature movement saw the birth of science fiction. The current steampunk movement is a weird kind of full circle, taking sci–fi back to its roots ~ I love that.

Most steampunk novels are set in the Victorian era, but why did you choose that setting for yours? What’s unique about the setting in your book?
I’m comfortable writing within the Victorian Era due to my own love of Victorian literature, too many BBC costume dramas, and ten years participating in the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. The Parasol Protectorate world is unique because, unlike many other steampunk novels, it doesn’t depict a dystopian future–past but instead a cheerful lighthearted one.

Where do you see steampunk going, or where would you like it to go? How much do you think it’s going to grow as a genre?
Steampunk is a unique movement in that it isn’t entirely literary – it has ties to the green movement, the maker community, historical reenactment societies, and the fashion world. Should it crest in popularity within all of these different areas at the same time, steampunk might well rise to the forefront of world counterculture. But I don’t think that is likely. Right now, I believe it has immense escapist appeal. With our economy in chaos, steampunk offers up an alternative lifestyle of sedate civilized behavior. Do I see that lasting? Probably not, but then no one attributed urban fantasy with much staying power either, so I continue to hope.

Can you think of a non–steampunk book that could be rewritten and make a good steampunk book?
Lawrence of Arabia? No, truthfully, I’d rather see original writers and debut authors take steampunk in new and different directions.  I melded my steampunk with urban fantasy and comedy of manners, how about some steampunk noir? The possibilities are endless – and so shiny and well dressed.

As one who is completely unfamiliar with steampunk, can you clarify for me which aspects of your books are considered steampunk?
My world is steampunk: an alternate 1800s England with new and different mechanicals, evil scientists, airships, docking spires, and attack automatons. The integrity of the alternative world is held together by the simple fact that I play by my own Victorian science rules (no magic). I didn’t want to overload new–to–steampunk–readers with too much gadgetry all at once. You might consider my stuff steampunk light as a result.

Phrannish

What exactly is steampunk fashion?
The current aesthetic movement (essentially the visual equivalent of the love child of a BBC costume drama and Hot Topic) emphasizes the importance of creativity, found object art, and the maker mentality ~ all of which I find very exciting. If you’re still curious, I did a blog post on the subject.

What one steampunk book would you recommend to readers who are unfamiliar with the genre but would like to give it a try?
I’m going to branch out and pick a graphic novel. There’s none better than the original League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

Gail Carriger second 5 years steampunk outfits

Your books feature a lot of steampunk technology, how much is based on existing technology, and how much of it is your own creation?
I’d say it’s about 50/50. I like to sneak in crazy Victorian gadgets that actually existed whenever I can, or modify them to suit my needs. Some of the technologies in my books are built out of flawed Victorian scientific theory that I made real. Some are more modern. There’s a cable transport in Blameless based off experimental US military research from the Korean War. But the rest of the time I just make things up, or go running to some of my techie or RPG friends with a plot problem that needs a steampunk solution.

I love the descriptions of all the inventions and the technology of Alexia’s world – are you a tech-savvy person? Does someone help you with that?
I’m a terrible neophyte and a very reluctant adopter of new technology. However, I am lucky enough to number many tech-savvy individuals in my life. Sometimes I create steampunk inventions from exacerbated actual Victorian gadgets, but other times I will call up one of my friends and beg them to have a conversation with me. “I need the invention to do this, but to have these limitations, and this kind of size. Any ideas? Oh and it should be funny.”

Why do you think Steampunk is appealing right now?
I have many theories on this. Part of the appeal, I think, has to do with our own sense of chaos and impending doom. This often causes people to look back and seek out time that was more ridged and controlled, full of polite manners and forms of address. Or a world that appears to have this.

What are the ingredients for a good steampunk novel?
There is a delicate balance to steampunk. You do need to do your research and know the language of the day, however, getting too flowery and Victorian can make your work inaccessible to a modern reader. It is hard to make everyone happy. There are always going to be readers who want hard science–orientated steampunk and others who can’t wade through all that techno–babble. I like to I write steampunk gateway drug. I also feel you can’t go wrong with comedy, that’s always lacking, even in the broader genres of SF/F, romance, horror, and mystery (steampunk has been classified under any of the above).

Which are the Gothic or steampunk novels that have influenced your writing?
I like the early Gothics: Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, and later, of course, Austen’s lovely parody in Northanger Abby. I can take or leave most of the romantics although I’ll borrow their archetypes and mock them openly on a whim. Many of the Victorian classic Gothics annoy me, although I do love Jane Eyre and Poe (particularly Fall of the House of Usher). I tend to prefer to read lighter fair from that time period. Later on, Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray is deliciously creepy, but in the end I would say I’m more influenced by his playbill humor. I suspect this is because I write spoofs and not actual Gothic literature. As for steampunk, I do borrow from Wells and Verne but not directly, more for atmosphere than anything else.

Which are the Gothic tropes or aesthetics you utilize in your own writing?
I only nominally dabble in the terror/horror side of things, and usually interrupt it with macabre humor whenever possible. I like the mystery and supernatural elements so they are always pretty strong. You’ll see the haunted house/Gothic architecture/castle thing pop up occasionally. Most of the action takes place at night, because of the conceits of the universe, but again I will break a description with comedy and because of Alexia’s snarky take on life things never get too dark. I do borrow character archetypes a lot mostly to turn the into caricatures I can break down later: human eve, evil eve, and innocent eve all pop up and then get messed with. I don’t use a lot of Byronic heroes, so I guess you could say my men are more modern romance archetypes of alpha/beta. Although Lord Akeldama and Biffy together share the role of mocking Byron as he actually was in real life. I also avoid both the arte of the supernatural (magic and the occult) and ideas of angels/demons/devil. I feel the steampunk element takes out these concepts and replaces them with science and pseudo–science, secret societies, and dastardly experiments.

Are there any (Gothic) novels you have read recently and would also recommend to your readers?
I always suggest the Cask of Amontillado, which I think of as Poe’s best and cleanest works.

In your non-fiction piece for Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer),”Which is Mightier, the Pen or the Parasol?”, you touch briefly upon the various aspects of steampunk literature. For those yet unable to read this piece, which appears to be steampunk’s more enduring legacy: its subversion of past political/social views or its commentary on today’s modern society?
Oh, definitely its commentary on modern society. Whenever you get a combined aesthetic and literary movement with so many other aspects. One feels compelled to ask why it is being born right now, and what it may tell us about ourselves, our desires, and our feelings about the greater society around us.

How has your interest in steampunk affected the formation of your characters, what with Victorian mores and all. Speculate as to what they and their relative relationships would be like had they been born in another time, such as today?
The Victorian side of steampunk is vital to my characters and to my enjoyment of writing them. I experience gleeful joy when taking modern tropes ~ a strong urban fantasy heroine, barbaric alpha male, flamboyant San Francisco gay man ~ and making them play nice within an 1870’s British class and etiquette system. Suddenly my strong heroine has to cut more with her tongue than a knife, is worried about showing her ankles, and constantly seeks both a useful role in society and friends who value her intelligence and wit. My alpha male becomes a werewolf chaffing against the rules of polite society and proper dress. My flamboyant gay vampire borrows from both Oscar Wilde and the Scarlet Pimpernel, manipulating the threads of society over centuries, his relationships bittersweet and complex, allowing him to be more than just a gay BFF.

I genuinely feel that without the steampunk setting the characters would be less whole. They would need other ~ possibly more artificial ~ components and struggles, and frankly I don’t think I would enjoy writing them as much. I love the tension a Victorian world gives any kind of modern mind set. All my characters are struggling to balance their true natures against the pressures of society and in turn against modern sensibilities (informed, of course, my their creator who is quite definitely a creature of the contemporary world). This gives me a conflict of culture to play with and nothing is more exciting to me as a writer. It helps that the clothing back then was just so much more fabulous!

 

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20 Random Things You Might Not Know About Gail (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

For you, Gentle Reader, here are 20 random things from a random mind trying to get this blasted book finished…

Imprudence research.

 

  1. While other kids played marriage with their barbies, I played divorce court. The stuffed animals were the jury.
  2. I cannot do any tongue-related tricks. Nope. Not that either.
  3. I listen to podcasts on 1.5x speed, so whenever I see a show live they sound all slowed down and weird.
  4. I do not play any musical instruments, but I always wanted to be a drummer.
  5. I’m always cold, until I’m not, and then I faint.
  6. I collected hot wheels as a kid.
  7. I don’t speak or read Spanish well, but I understand it pretty darn good.
  8. I owned a motorcycle for 20 years before I had an encounter with a dead possum and decided I had lost my edge. I still miss riding, but I don’t regret giving it up.
  9. I like to categorize people based on their preferred alcoholic drink and their car choices.
  10. I’m a better cook than I am a baker, but I really want to be a better baker so I practice constantly. However, I don’t really like to eat baked goods. The end result is I am constantly foisting them on others.
  11. I am easily creeped out by lots of things (puppets, monkeys, dolls, clowns) but I’m a master bug killer, and never squeamish about food.
  12. My maternal grandfather and I have the same eye color. I always identified with him because he’s the only other scientist in my family. Of course, I ended up an author.
  13. I have no sense of direction what-so-ever and I cannot remember names, but I’m magic when it comes to what was ordered at a restaurant the last time we were there, and an idiot savant with hotel room numbers.
  14. I am an extremely strong swimmer. I was a lifeguard and I grew up on the Pacific Coast so I adore challenging swimming. I feel happiest immersed in water and I’m obsessed with vanishing edge pools.
  15. At about age 8, I taught myself to throw side arm with a spin “like a boy” because I hated the “you throw like a girl” thing so much.
  16. I can identify almost every flavor of gelato… in Italian.
  17. I was on the swim team for distance but I was never fast. However, I have a textbook stroke because I used to teach for the Red Cross. I still practice side stroke, which I don’t think is even taught anymore.
  18. My nails grow fast, strong, and well. In junior high I had them really long and painted blood red. I thought it was so cool.
  19. Because of my previous career, I’m obsessed with ceramics and you’ll see me turn pots over to check the makers mark pretty consistently. Sometimes when they still have food in them.
  20. I’m a super taster. I took the special little strip test and everything, but don’t follow all the regular criteria (I like bitter, I’m not picky, etc…). I love tasting sauces and then trying to guess what’s in them.

{Gail’s monthly read along for September 2015 was Court of Fives by Kate Elliott}

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Moniteur de la Mode Date-  Thursday, August 1, 1844 Item ID-  v. 29, plate 2

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Octopus Steals Limelight at LEGO Treasure Hunt

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Role-Playing Teens Learn About History and Class

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Between the Blurb says of Prudence:

“The world that Carriger has created is Colourful, filled with ingenious inventions and a wonderful blend of Steampunk and paranormal, with its own take on Victorian fashion and etiquette.”

Quote of the Day:
“We’re planning to go visit Darvell and get ourselves killed,” Ari explained. The prospect didn’t seem to be bothering him much. “Want to come along?”
“You’re all crazy,” Llannat said. “Am I invited?”
~ The Price of the Stars: Book One of Mageworlds by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald


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: 

  • Run a book group, Coop de Book, and pick books I like and encourage others to read them with me. 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.
  • If they are easy to contact, I will 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.
  • Run a regular #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.

Here’s Chuck: Why I Don’t Like To Negatively Review Other Authors’ Books

How Scalzi addressed this concern: On Book Reviews at Whatever

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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.


Pros and Cons of Life… Gail Carriger Style (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

For today, Gentle Reader, here are some fun tidbits of insight into my personality. Or at least I hope it’s fun…

Would try once: Exotic food
No thanks: Team sports

Too much in my life: Email
Not enough: Cherries

Fear conquered: Public speaking
Not quite there yet: Public restrooms

Risky when it comes to:
Heights
Play it safe when it comes to: Deli meat

Getting better at: Saying no
Getting worse at: Deadlines

Skill mastered: Muffins
Not quite there yet: Puff pastry

Glad it’s ahead of me: Novella writing
Glad it’s behind me: 80s fashion

Pay good money for: Storage solutions
Wouldn’t take it even if free: Most furniture (not enough room)

Career highlight:
First time seeing my book on a shelf
Low point: B&N signing for online distribution debacle

Endlessly curious about: Packing hacks
Couldn’t care less about: WWE

Always up for: Tea party
Never up for: Loud music

I feel for: Fashion struggles
No sympathy for: Slovenliness

Worth the wait: Books
No patience for: Badly behaved pets

Always cool: Dressing like a Hepburn
Never cool: Dressing like a Kardashian

Subject I won’t shut up about lately: Favorite podcasts
Subject I avoid: Politics

Moment of triumph: Training cat to pee in toilet
Epic fail: Training cat to flush

Perfect day begins with: Good tea, poached eggs, tomato, spinach, and silence
And ends with: Good wine, perfectly set custard, and company

Want more Occasional FAQ? Join the Chirrup!

{Gail’s monthly read along for July 2015 was: Passion Blue by Victoria Strauss}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Ladies’ Cabinet Date-  Tuesday, September 1, 1840 Item ID-  v. 23, plate 26

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Family inherit old building and unearth amazing vintage shoe store that was locked up for decades

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Brief History of the Ferris Wheel 

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money’s in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.”

~ Larry Niven

Book News:
Cannonball Read 7 says of Waistcoats & Weaponry:

***Spoiler Alert***

“…the girls from Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies are about to be thrust out into the real world. Some will fall, but I’m fairly certain that Sophronia will spread her wings and fly.”

Quote of the Day:

“Not letting go. Just adjusting grip.”

~ Six Word Memoirs


7-Question Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Here’s a Fun 7-Question Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Book Q&A

A SF/F/H author whose books I will buy sight unseen is: Robin McKinley

My favorite book by that author is: Beauty

The most recent new-to-me SF/F/H author I discovered was: Robin LaFevers

The book that helped me discover that author is: Grave Mercy

One of my favorite SF/F/H authors is: Tanya Huff

They are one of my favorites because: She has this amazing ability to change voice and tone from one genre to another.

The most coveted SF/F/H book I own is: Signed first edition hardback of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna: The First Adventure

If you want, you can copy the questions/statements and paste them into the comments with your answers. Answer as many or as few as you’d like. Or you can go do it on SF Signal.

{Gail’s monthly read along for June 2015 is: Uprooted by Naomi Novik}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Parasol Pretty Necklace SPWF 2015

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Nancy A. Sabine Pasley – A Game of Cards

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“Sir Henry Tate, founder of the Tate Gallery, made his money through patenting an invention in 1872 for cutting up sugar loaves, and then marketing ‘cube sugar’, a new way of selling the product. Until then sugar had been bought in large conical loaves, which had to be chopped up – a rough heavy job, to be done by a man if possible. The chopped pieces would then be cut into smaller pieces with sugar nippers, by the housewife or servant, to get the sugar to a size that was useable.”

~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders
Perhaps we should use “best thing since cubed sugar” not “sliced bread”?
And “sugar nippers” has GOT to be a euphemism for something.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Author Jeff Somers exposes New York Comicon, very funny.

Book News:
joysann’s Pick of the Week says,

“Just as fun and charming and silly and delightful as those first books were to listen to, The Custard Protocol promises to have the same kinds of steampunk paranormal romantic adventures.”

Quote of the Day:

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

~ Oscar Wilde


Anglicization – In Which We Revisit the Ladybird Problem (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

My dear Gentle Reader,

This is not a topic I get asked about much anymore but just in case I’m hit with a number of the Very Curious after reading a Parasolverse book, I am going to address a delicate subject here and now…

Anglicization

or should I say?

Anglicisation

Right, so you may or may not be aware of the fact that British and American English languages are different ~ I mean not only spoken, but written as well.

(Yes, that’s sarasam.)

All my books are written how I write (surprise surprise) which is a kind of pigeon British American pseudo-Victorian codswallop.

It’s not too Victorian because that’s hard to read and a pain to write perfectly. Besides, I write steampunk, it’s confusing enough already without loading it down with an overabundance of poncey vocabulary.

(OK, but I don’t have too much, I hope?)

My first book, Soulless, sold to Orbit in the USA years before it sold to the UK.

Despite its European origins, Orbit US is an American publishing house. They applied house rules to my codswallop and made everything American: spelling, vocabulary, semantics, etc…

So ladybird is ladybug in these books.

*Coccinella  Franco Moschino, 1995  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I know Coccinellidae are neither bird nor bug (they are beetle), but I’m with the Americans on this one, ladybug is closer.

Also, if I put ladybird into a book for an American audience they (mostly) have no idea what I’m talking about, and are confused. Even those who do know, would be briefly thrown out of the reader’s immersion experience to remember and I work hard to avoid that as an author.

Miss Gail doesn’t like confused readers.

Because we started with American English, the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series followed in the same style (ebooks, omnibus, etc.)

By the time England purchased the series to release in the UK (three other territories got there first, mind you, including the French) they were playing catch up and wanted to produce the books as quickly as possible. (Ever wondered why the first 2 appeared in the UK in Mass Market? Yeah, someone sneaked over the US editions and sold them with stickers over the $ price. To this day my UK publisher is confused as to why they had an uptick in sales on the 3rd book. Why? Because it was really the first one they put out before readers could get the book elsewhere. Globalization is very confusing to publishers.)

Right, so where was I?

All 5 Parasol Protectorate books are American language no mater what English language territory or edition!

(US/Canada/UK/Australia/New Zealand/eBook/omnibus/Mass Market/Trade)

See 2011…

The outraged emails they cometh from the UK readership.

  • Miss Gail, why is it ladybug and not ladybird?
  • Miss Gail, theater is spelled theatre.
  • Miss Gail, you seem to have misplaced your “u” and changed all your “s” to “z.”

Etc…

In an effort to prevent this from happening again, said Miss Gail negotiates terms into her Finishing School contract.

Given that there is more time (these books are produced once a year, as opposed to once every 6 months) could we anglicize? Theoretically, the UK house should have time to “translate.”

All is peace and harmony.

All 4 Finishing School books are American Language for US/Canada and associated territories, and then Anglicized for UK/Australia/New Zealand and associated territories.

So there are, in fact, two different versions* of the Finishing School books. The American ones, and the UK ones which are anglicized.

Hooray hooray!

Miss Gail tries this tactic again with the Custard Protocol series.

Confusion results.

Prudence is sent to a UK editor for the copy edit pass, sent back to Gail already anglicized, and then sent to print in that state for both markets. Which means the US is getting basically, the UK version.

Except…

Miss Gail freaks out about the ladybird problem.

There is a lot of that word in this book.

Stressed about confusing her readers (see above) Miss Gail panics and demands that at least some words be changed back to US language for the sake of clarity.

Result?

The Custard Protocol books should mainly be UK in style, with some exceptions for specific words in the US versus UK editions.

For Miss Gail feels ladybird is one step too too far.

So for the US release of Prudence, it should all be ladybug and in the UK ladybird.

But I’m not making any promises.

Confusion, thy name is publishing.

Prudence FAIL Addendum:

People found many spelling and formatting errors is in Prudence.

Some of these may be the result of the above process of going through the UK copy editor. Some of the spelling mistakes may be because they are actually UK spelling.

The first we worked hard to fix in subsequent editions. The second we did not.

{Gail’s monthly read along for March 2015 is Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff.}

* versions = substantial text content change; as opposed to editions = different cover, print run, etc but text is essentially unchanged

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1896-1903  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

ladybug-earrings-$8.50

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Top Ten Tips and Tricks for Terrific Tea

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
3 Tips on How Not to Stink at Writing


Occasional FAQ ~ 15 Question Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Book Meme

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Here is a quiz for readers via SF Signal, Gentle Reader.

Thought I would have fun filling it out, feel free to do so yourself in your own blog.

  1. What was the last sf/f/h book you finished reading? Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  2. What was the last sf/f/h book you did not finish reading? Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. I don’t feel bad because everyone else loves it and it won a Hugo. I’m just not one for super cerebral SF. I don’t want to work that hard for my pleasure reading.
  3. What was the last sf/f/h book you read that you liked but most people didn’t? I really can’t answer that. Most of the books I like seem to be pretty well regarded in online forums.
  4. What was the last sf/f/h book you read that you disliked? UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn.
  5. How long do your 1-sitting reading sessions usually last? It’s a complex equation something along the lines of: The wait time in the airport + the length of the plane ride – take off and landing – time spent eating.
  6. What are you currently reading? Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear
  7. Do you like it so far? I only just started it, but yes.
  8. How long ago did you buy the book you are currently reading? On its release date at the beginning of this month.
  9. What was the last physical sf/f/h book you bought? The Originals by Cat Patrick
  10. What is the sf/f/h sub-genre you like to read the most? Space opera written by a woman author (or male/female co-authors) with a strong romantic element, lots of fun side characters, good dialogue, some humors, and a powerful female main character.
  11. What is the sf/f/h sub-genre you dislike the most and why? Horror. I’m super squeamish. I have actually had a book make me throw up.
  12. What is your favorite electronic reading device? I like e-ink, it hurts my eyes less, so anything with e-ink is first, print is second. I never read books on a phone or computer screen (except my own stuff, of course).
  13. What was the last sf/f/h eBook you bought? Nice Dragons Finish Last by Rachel Aaron
  14. Do you read books exclusively in 1 format (physical/electronic)? Mostly I read fiction on the ereader, non fiction is about 50/50 these days, but there are always exceptions.
  15. Do you read eBooks exclusively on a single device? Yes.

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1880 Tiered Lace Parasol, ca. 1880-90  via The Met

 

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

via French Steampunk FB

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The X-Ray Spook Party: 1897

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

via the-vortexx-tumblr Victorian slang terms you never knew existed

Quote of the Day:
“You’re such a gentleman.”
“I am not and I resent the accusation.”
~ L.A. Witt

 


Gail Carriger’s 7 Geeky Confessions (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

The Nerdy Girlie posted some Geeky Confessions to her blog a while ago. I love the idea, Gentle Reader.

Girls in fandom can get a lot of flack for not being true fans of all things geeky, whatever that means. As a result of having to defend myself when I was a young cosplaying teen, I’m always a little scared to admit that I don’t participate in certain areas of fandom. But, it’s time I owned the gaps in my geeky knowledge, because I’m still a proud geek, just not about all the things.

1959 Blouses via vintage-vs-retro tumblr

 

Confession #1: I Don’t Play Video Games

I had a brief affair with Super Mario way back in the day. I played Pong when it was on those cassettes and I’ve been known to Bejewel a bit of an evening, but that’s it. I loathe FPS, am totally uninterested in games with story arcs or quests (I’d sooner write my own, thank you very much), and don’t give two figs for any sort of alternative life world building scenario (I like the one I’m currently living in well enough).

Confession #2: Nor Do I Play Table Top, RPG, Magic the Gathering, or LARP

I understand it and I have hung out with gamers since I was a wee little baby-Gail. But I have never liked or been interested in this side of gaming either. I perfer to be goddess of my universe and I don’t like playing by anyone else’s rules, not even those governing DM. I’d rather be writing.

backstoryradio~ tumblr, Lantern slides showing movie theater etiquette and announcements,
circa 1912. via Library of Congress.

 

Confession #3: I Don’t Enjoy Animated Movies

OK so there are a few exceptions, but most of the time I’m just not a big fan of the voice acting. I find it too extreme. Particularly if the movie is intended for children, I find the vocal cadences grating. Yes that includes Toy Story, and the Lego Movie, and Frozen, and… I know, the lips out in fandom are wobbling, “But but but Gail,” you say, “Have you tried …” It’s not that I won’t watch them, it’s just that they never really make it into the favorites column. However, adult cartoon series (like Invader Zim or Bob’s Burgers) are a different thing entirely.

Confession #4: I Don’t Like Horror

I don’t like the boo horror, or the gruesome horror, or the thriller horror, or the Jack Nicholson smiles-a-lot horror, or the shaky cam heavy breathing horror. I don’t like being scared. I’ll take a dark comedy with horrific leanings on occasion (like Black Sheep or Fido) but not the real thing.

Confession #5: I Was A Dancer Not A Theater Geek

I know. But I get horrible stage fright if I have to act. I’ve done it, and I’ve done it OK, but in the end I always freeze on stage and forget my lines. I never forget steps, dancing is a whole different thing for me. Give me music and I’m a happy girl, give me silence and I’m terrified. Unless, of course I’m lecturing about something upon which I am an expert. Then I’m fine. This is one of the reasons I prefer not to read from my books, I’m just not good at it. I’d rather just chatter about them.

backstoryradio ~ tumblr Lantern slides showing movie theater etiquette and announcements, circa 1912.
via Library of Congress.

 

Confession #6: I Don’t Drink Soda

Not really a strictly geek thing, but it is pretty geeky. My gamer friends were always debating the relative merits of Pepsi versus Mountain Dew versus Popsididdly (or whatever). I don’t like any of it. No, really. None of it. Particularly not cola flavoring, yech. I never have. I wasn’t raised with pop and I don’t really like how sweet it is. If I want something fizzy I’m pretty happy with plain old sparkling water and a bit of lemon.

Confession #7: I Don’t Read Heinlein

I have tried a few times, but I simply dislike like his style of writing. I find his plots boring, I’m never even slightly interested in his characters, and I think his treatment of women is puerile at best. No I’m not going to try anymore of his stuff. I have neither the time nor inclination.

So have you lost all respect for me?

{Gail’s Book Group reading for January 2015 was Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis}

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1915 Mourning Parasol c.1915 _ British Paintings tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Pacific Scarf

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Victorian Medicine

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Finding Tips on Self-Editing at The Blood-Red Pencil

Quote of the Day:
“Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.”
~ Jasmine Heiler


Gail Carriger’s Origin Story – 5 Fandoms That Made Me Who I Am

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Back in the day, Gentle Reader, my friends and I used to have arguments about the difference between Geeks, Nerds, and Dorks.

We settled into the working hypothesis that Geeks were technologically minded, Nerds were academically minded, and Dorks were obsessed with specific things. So the Dork is obsessed with all things Star Wars, but the Geeks builds an RPG for Star Wars, and the Nerd tries to explain the physics of the Star Wars universe.

Gail Carriger #cosplayersaskids Pink Kid Baby Spoons Steampunk Shoe

Child Gail & Grown Up Gail #cosplayersaskids

This was just our way of owning the terms being slung at us ~ yes this was back in the day when it was bad to be any of these things.

“It is true that authorlings and poetizers are apt to affect eccentricity.”

 

Regardless of whether you agree with our take, at various times I have been all these things: nerdy, geeky, and dorky. But there are certainly specific things that pointed me towards fandom and made me the proud nergeedork that I am today.

via Wikipedia

1. She-Ra.

My parents didn’t have TV until I went away to college, but my best friend did. Growing up I would run across the street to her house and we would curl up and watch She-Ra at 4pm after school. We collected the action figures and basically lived and breathed that show. I also spent weekends at her place watching Thunder Cats and playing at Divorce Court (for some reason it came on after Comic Strip) with barbie dolls ~ the stuffed animals were jury. Eventually, she moved out of town and I moved on to Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, but I never forgot She-Ra.

2. Fantasy books featuring girls.  

I would never have found nerd-dom without Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley. I was always a voracious reader and I dabbled in Tolkien but without Alanna I don’t know that I would have gone on to find Lackey and McCaffery and then all the other fantasy authors who turned me into the writer I am today. I might even ~ gasp! ~ have become a literary nerd instead. Heaven for-fend!

3.  Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The first episode I ever saw of ST:TNG Worf scared me witless. But then I saw a different episode much later and was intrigued. In high school I became friends with a girl whose whole family was obsessed. I would go over to her house and watch new episodes on Wednesday nights (and eat baloney on Hawaiian roll sandwiches) and then back episodes on VHS. I went with her family to my first ever convention.

I earned summa cum laude my senior year of High School the photo for which was the same day as the final ST:TNG episode. I am immortalized in full mourning (including massive black hat with a veil). Yes I was THAT girl.

from wikipedia

3.  New Warriors comics.  

I started collecting New Warriors comics when I was 14. Possibly because I was the right age for the team and they started the series when I started High School. Also there was the Firestar connection ~ she was always my favorite Marvel character (from her Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends days). I went faithfully to my local comic book store every month to pick up my new issue and kept reading through college (the store would hold them all for me until I returned for the holidays). They cancelled it in 1996. I’ve read other comic books since, but I never again collected them.

4.  Tron.  

My grandfather in England was the only sci-fi geek in my family and when I would stay with him we would watch the Sixth Doctor together. I remember some of that time in the 80s but what I really loved was to stay up late after he had gone to bed watching his VHS recording of Tron. Over and over again.

5.  BayCon. 

Outside of the Star Trek conventions, Bay Con was my first fan run SF/F convention. My first BayCon was a present from my best friend’s mother. She got us the room and our passes. We must have been just legal – so probably senior year of High School? I had horrible stomach flu and yet still had one of the best times of my life.

I had found my people. (Well I kind of had them already ~ I had a great group of high school friends, but at BayCon I found the whole range of them.)

In those days BayCon was The Bomb, with Screamworks running goth dances, huge parties, crazy costuming, fantastic panels tailored to my burgeoning interest in writing books, and almost 5000 attendees. I learned everything I needed to become a professional author and I met some of the best people on the planet. 90’s Bay Con is the reason I attend conventions now as a professional.

Please feel free to post your own version of this, or to let me know in the comments your origin story.

{Coop de Book for October 2014 Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers}

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Adorable new hat, gift from a reader

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Where do dukes come from?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Without attempting to point the line that divides the lawful appropriation of another’s ideas from the appropriation of another’s phraseology, we have only to say that a literary man always knows when he is stealing. Whether found out of not, the process is belittling, and a man is though it blasted for this world and damaged for the next one.”

~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Quote of the Day:

“One exception to this new model is Comic-Con, when the town empties for two days to promote its -Man movies and meet its fan-boys. Comic-Con has evolved from what was once a nerdy comic-book gathering to a huge, multimedia, star-laden promotional juggernaut for the fans, studios and gaming industry, where the next year’s blockbusters are teased, promoted and fanned out to an ardent and important base of critical raving-mad word-of-mouth monsters who can make or break the industry’s products.”

~ Sleepless in Hollywood: Tales from the New Abnormal in the Movie Business by Lynda Obst


10 Random Questions Answered By Gail Carriger (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

This is a rather random blost post, Gentle Reader. I hope you enjoy!

1. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An archaeologist. Although I dabbled, for a while, with the idea of litigation and there was also a brief fascination with the genetic sciences.

2. What is your favorite food-related memory?
I have so so many but there was an incident in Cinque Terre involving an espresso machine, tea, oatmeal, and sardines that remains infamous. I can’t relay the details because I don’t think the statute of limitations ever will run out.

3. Summer or winter?

Winter. For while I am always cold and I dislike the sensation, I hate heat more. I come from a long line of genetically defective females who sweat very little, and compensate (so smart, this) by fainting. Plus, I love the rain.

4. Proudest five-minutes-of-fame moment?
See the story about spotting my book in a store for the first time.

5. What is your most irrational fear?
Hospitals, fast food, screaming children, and crocs.

Bad Crocs

6. Favorite holiday destination?
Anywhere with a beach and good swimming.

7. What singer / band did you see at your first concert?

Indigo Girls. Yes, I know.

8. What’s the worst lie you ever told?
“I’m not hungry.”

9. Which teacher had the biggest impact on you?
Mostly, my history teachers. It’s hard to pick one, I’ve been lucky enough to be blessed with great teachers and awesome librarians.

10. If you won a million bucks, what would you spend it on?
A house, a party, and my parents. In that order.

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1885 Dolman  1885  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Forgotten Great Theatres Of London

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
10 Things Never to Say to a Writer

Quote of the Day:
“The bridegroom is what the world chooses to call and idle man; that is to say, he has scholarship, delicate health, and leisure.”
~ Amelia B. Edwards in A Thousand Miles Up the Nile


If I Were an Actual Celebrity Interview

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Gentle Reader, I am always fascinated by those interviews they have at the back of glossy magazines. The ones that are kind of Inside the Actors Studio style. I’m a terrible judgy person (I know, like you’re surprised) and I always judge the person being interviewed by his or her answers.

Gail Interview Singapore

At Singapore Book Fest By SG Young

So I thought I would give myself one of those interviews and you could judge me.

20 Questions from Marie Claire Magazine for an Actress

  1. What food is on your kitchen counter?
    The partial carcass of a papaya. The AB hates them and they are one of my favorite fruits. I buy one every week that they are in season and eat the whole thing myself.
  2. What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
    My first car: a 1982 Ford Courier (with a Mazda engine) and 200,000 miles on her. My mom’s old work truck, Bluebell, became mine on my 16th birthday (so I could commute to high-school myself). She represented so much joy and liberty. Old Bluebell went 300,000 on the original clutch. I loved that truck.
  3. What is your fantasy vacation itinerary?
    Somewhere with good food, tropical fruit, and lots of swimming.
  4. What can you not miss on TV?
    Bob’s Burgers. It’s the only thing we actually try to watch regularly. Still, we usually forget and have to catch it in reruns.
  5. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
    Success is largely a matter of holding on when everyone else has given up.
  6. What movie do you think has the greatest ending?
    Latter Days. I can watch him drop that tray over and over again. It’s not exactly the last scene but it’s the ending. SO GOOD.
  7. What is on your perennial to-do list?
    Vacuum. There is never a time when our apartment doesn’t need it.
  8. What is on your bookshelf?
    Science fiction and fantasy baby, all the way.
  9. What is on your feet right now?
    Nothing.
  10. What is you go-to karaoke song?
    I don’t sing, but I make a killer back-up dancer. If you want to catch me embarrassing myself by singing out loud? Firewater by Chome Johnson gets me every single time.
    Gail Carriger Interview black dress microphone crossed legs sexy
  11. What is your beauty secret?
    Soaking my feet in hot water and baking soda every night after I wear high heels. Nothing is right with the world if ones feet are sore.
  12. What should every woman try at least once in her lifetime?
    Asking for exactly what she wants in bed. And vibrating sex toys. Yeah, I said it, someone has to. Sheesh, ladies.
  13. Do you have a secret talent? I can cut a perfectly straight even slice of bread, even those super fresh crusty round loafs ~ so long as I have a good knife.
  14. What makes you laugh?
    My friends when drunk and also: wit, absurdity, folly, mimicry, and the occasional bad pun.
  15. What makes you mad?
    Inefficiency, passive aggression, and slovenliness.
  16. What charities do you support?
    My local Animal Shelter, Kiva, Worldbuilders, and a selection that advocate literacy, health, and education for girls and women.
  17. What splurge is well worth it?
    Anything to do with health, safety, or natural fibers. More consumerist? Shoes, fresh fruit and vegetables, and good books.
  18. Do you have an pet peeves?
    So many. People who can’t sit still (jiggly leg ARGHHHH). Ill-disciplined children in public. Weak tea and weak handshakes. Skim milk. Anything smelly.
  19. How did you make your first dollar?
    Aside from the tooth fairy? I was a page at my local library.
  20. What’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you were younger?
    Self defense.
Gail Author interview with Andew photo by Martyn

photo by Martyn

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Red Yellow Cluster Art Bouquet to Art 2014

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
“Recollect that to a woman who gets her living by her pen, “time is money,” as it is to an artist. Therefore, encroaching on her time is lessening her income.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)

Book News:

Quote of the Day:
“A horse who invariably preferred his own opinion to that of his rider.”
~ Amelia B. Edwards


In Which Gail Carriger Answers a Whole Mess of Worldbuilding Questions SPOILER ALERT! (Behind the Magic of the Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Fred left a massive comment on my post “Ketchup Blog ~ The Writer’s Native Environment.” It was so long, Gentle Reader, I was faced with no possible recourse but a blog post on the subject.

However, you should know that he asks me about events in all five of the Parasol Protectorate Books. Here we go…

 

I recently reread the Parasol Protectorate series and I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. Mostly lore-related so nothing too spoilerific. Feel free to answer all/some/none of them and sorry if you get the same kinda questions all the time.

!SPOILERS AHEAD AVERT THINE EYES UNSULLIED VIRGINS!

1. So we know Britain is progressive and Italy and America aren’t so which are some other progressive/actively hostile countries?
Well, you may have noted France isn’t too excited about the supernatural either. I’ve been recently thinking hard about the Scandinavian countries, with long nights and all that. You’d think they’d have to, at least, build in a truce of some kind. And there’s the vikings to consider, no doubt they were heavily involved with werewolves, how else to you explain the mythology and the hairiness? You’re going to hate this answer, because I will be giving it a lot, but… some countries swing one way or another for historical/cultural/religious reasons (Ancient Greeks are notoriously xenophobic, they’re against all supernaturals), others for reasons of political opposition to the UK. In the end, you’re going to have to wait and see what the Custard Protocol series reveals about the rest of the world.

Lilliput cat map victorian stretch helpful vintage cairo egypt

2. When Prudence touches her mother does she become human/normal or does she become preternatural?
See March 17, 2015… Prudence, Book One of the Custard Protocol series.

3. Are the templars autonomous or do they answer to the Pope and if so does the Pope directly control all of Italy?
Considering the historically recorded end of the templars, still the offical on record, after which they went underground, they are very much autonomous, as much as a secret society can be. They probably have friends in high places.

4. Are there regional variations of werecreatures? Like it would be soooo cool if Japan had kitsunes, just sayin’.
Wait for it…

5. In theory could someone have so much excess soul that they became supernatural, die and then become a ghost?
I don’t know, that’s a very good question. Lemme look at my scientific notes. (Yes, I have the workings of preternatural vs. metanatural vs. supernatural calculated out in pseudo-scientific chemical form, because, I’m a dork.) And the answer is… no.

British Empire Map

6. Is there such a thing as a female rove or is such a thing totally biologically impossible?
Theoretically yes. But since all female vampires are queens, and all female vampires have a very tight tether, it would be very hard to function in society without a hive. Also, there might be some kind of turf war as surrounding male roves would want alliances for breeding reasons. My feeling is, she wouldn’t last long as a rove, a hive would organically form around her. It’s the same as with bees.

7. What are some of the characteristics of an abundance of soul? Creativity is the obvious one but someone like Angelique did not show any excessive creativity (at least not “on-screen,” except if doing hair counts I suppose) but she did have… I dunno? Character? She was an impressive lady is more or less what I’m getting at, is that kinda thing also indicative of excess soul?
One might ask the same question of Ivy. I’m thinking of creativity in the old fashioned use of the world, a factor of being able to think differently and see the world form alternative angles. Angelique is a manipulator, an infiltrator, and a spy ~ there is creativity in that. One doesn’t have to produce art to be artistic. This is one of the reasons pinning down excess soul is so very difficult. And it could be that more females might survive if the society in which humans lived was more relaxed in allowing women autonomy to explore different avenues. In the modern day, there might be more female werewolves, simply because women are allowed by society to be so much more than they were in the past. Not to mention physically stronger, healthier in terms of nutrition, clothing, and surviving childbirth. Then again, perhaps in the modern age someone develops and online quiz that sorts it all out. All that said: you can have excess soul and still not survive the bite. At which juncture you do not become a ghost. I know this fact, the scientists of my world do not.

8. One of the books mentioned a loner petitioning Conall to turn one of his clavigers, is that usually the motivation for werewolves to go loner? They want their own pack? If so how unusual is the dewan?
You learn a lot more about the dewan (he’s very unusual) and being a loner in the final two Finishing School books as Sophronia gets drawn into London politics. Loners, like lone wolves, may not want a pack and prefer a solitary life, they may be a bit insane and not function in a pack dynamic, or they may intend to challenge, it depends on the loner. However, they still need clavigers to care for them at full moon so they must build an alliance with a local Alpha who has Anubis form, or why would the clavigers bother? I suppose if one had enough money one could have paid clavigers.

9. How willing are hive queens to create new queens? Vampires seem pretty possessive as a rule, wouldn’t they be wary of the upstart deciding to stick around and try and take her territory?
Always willing to try, almost never successful. The survival of the species is in play, not to mention its the only way vampires can migrate to other lands. Also it’s a huge status symbol. It’s like a bee queen creating a new bee queen, the existing hive is not under threat. The new queen is always weaker and will swarm to a new location once she has matured out of larvae stage.

10. What happens if a queen swarms and she can’t find a place she deems “safe” soon enough? Or if she’s actively stopped from settling?
Considering the strength of a panicked hive I think that highly unlikely. So far as I know, in my world’s history it has never happened. I suspect all local roves would be vested in keeping her safe, all else fails, one of them could offer up his home and relocate.

Lord Akeldama (vampire) pretends to be a werewolf for Alexia in the Soulless manga

11. So we know queens will actually die if they live long enough because they can’t really feed through natural means anymore (do vampires die if they don’t feed? Or just go into a coma or something?) does something similar happen to male vampires?
Maybe. So far, none of them have lived long enough.

12. How much decay is too much decay for a ghost? Is it safe to assume that with the right kind of technology that ghosts could stick around forever?
Maybe, that would take some serious preservation tech to keep flesh in tact but also allow contact with some air/aether to maintain a tether. Air, by nature, is corrosive to organic matter (says the archaeologist) so the answer in truth is you might keep a ghost sane for a long time with the right technology but I can’t conceive of a way to do it forever.

13. How old is Lord Akeldama? This is probably venturing into spoiler/leave-them-guessing territory but I figure either REALLY old or not that old at all. Cuz he either has to be an Englishman who ventured to Egypt relatively recently or not an Englishman at all but a foreigner that has acculturated seamlessly. Not impossible for someone of his intellect but I’m going with the latter. Which must make him very old because he must have been turned before this ennui/extreme weakness gripped Matakara. Then again Matty’s right hand man did say the other vampires were still “young” whatever that means to a vampire. Woops this kinda wandered away from question territory didn’t it?
He’s pretty old. I’ve dropped a number of clues as to who he really is. Yes, he is someone. Read Prudence as there is a big fat hint in the first Custard Protocol book. Living with her vampire father gives Prudence a unique perspective on him and an ability to see beyond his facade. She also has a daughter’s curiosity plus disregard for his privacy (she doesn’t fear him) that other characters can’t afford. Prudence, can find things out. That said, some readers have successfully figured it out already.

rickshaw lord akeldama parasol

14. This is kinda morbid and gross but when Alexia dies can she, conceivably, have some of her skin cured and turned into leather? Lord Akeldama could wear her and watch the sun come up/set whenever he wanted to then. Assuming he’d ever wear something like that ofc. I have reservations.
This presupposes that it it skin alone that has preternatural abilities, remember the Templar’s hand was a whole hand and the mummies in Timeless included bone. It also supposes the tanning and preservation process does not mess with the chemistry of the soul. Is your leather jacket actually a cow’s soul? There’s our existential quesiton for the day.

15. How far in the future is the new series set, the one with Prudence?
Prudence is about 20 years old. The first book is set in 1895.

16. How is killing a supernatural looked upon in pro-supernatural societies? Because I’m with Alexia on this one, the idea of killing something immortal is repulsive. All that knowledge. 🙁
Pretty severely, unless you are a sundowner. And even then the paperwork is insane.

Fan Art Conall lord_maccon_in_anubis_form_by_mommyspike-d4al8wa

17. How many of their drones/clavigers do loners/roves actually try to have changed? Cuz it seems like such a waste yah know? The use of Akeldama’s drones goes down significantly if they’re actually successfully turned. The only reason I can think of is for love/companionship. Then again why sign up to be a drone to a rove instead of a queen? Maybe they just want something to do in their younger years. Better than badminton I suppose.
Any that ask, so long as they have served an appropriate time of service (time depends on hive/pack rules and society standards) and the Alpha/Queen thinks it wise. However, some drones and clavigers are indentured as punishment, some are artists who would like a rich patron and these often don’t want immortality. Some do it for love, or money. Some do it for protection from other threats, like family, or society. Hives and packs are powerful options if, for example, you are homosexual. You still have a chance at immortality with a loner or a rove, that’s what metamorphosis petitions are for.

18. Are we gonna see some of the old characters in the new books?
Some, but not as primary agents.

19. Can the position of muhaj (sp?) ONLY be filled by a preternatural or is that a post Prudence would also be able to fill? Then again I suppose creating an entirely new role might make as much sense.
Only a preternatural, which is why it is often vacant.

Quote Only The Fabulous live forever Lord Akeldama

20. Do metanaturals live longer than the muggl- normal people? [daylighters] Cuz if Prudence spent every night (unlikely as that is) as a werewolf or vampire she should in theory live to be at least twice as old as a regular person right?
Sure, if she did that. The supernatural person she steals from would also age, however. Prudence, so far, is entirely uninterested in immortality.

21. Can children be turned into vampires/werewolves? Pretty questionable ethically of course but interesting to think about. If a 10 year old was turned into a vampire at 10 would s/he stay that way forever? I.e. 10 year old intellect/naivety and etc? Man that could be so dangerous.
No. Excess soul is contingent on post puberty in my world. Girls have to have gotten their period and boys have had their voice break before they can even petition for drone/claviger status. And then there is, usually, years of indenture. It also helps if full growth has been reached, something to do with the flexibility of bones. And, of course, the successful presence of wisdom teeth is a plus.

22. Can we get a spin-off about the adventures of Lyall & Biffy? Man I’d read the shit out of that. Favourite book couple in a looooooong time.
I’d love to, some day.

23. OH! OH! OH! That reminds me! You have a lot of LGBT characters in your books which makes me wonder. Is this kind of relaxed standards because the books take place in a pro-supernatural setting and immortals have a more relaxed view on this kind of thing or is the setting as a whole just less stuck on sexuality?
Yes and yes, and historically we forget things were somewhat more relaxed before the Wilde trial. Still underground, but often overlooked.

24. What would happen if someone in the royal family actually became a supernatural? They’d be disowned I’d imagine. Or killed? Can’t risk having an immortal monarch now can we.
Right up there with divorce, I imagine.

25. Assuming he had his sword who would win in a fight, Lord Akeldama or Lord Maccon? That needs to happen Gail. IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN OR MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE COMPLETE.
If they met as mortals before metamorphosis (not possible because Conall wasn’t yet born)? Lord Akeldama. After? We all know Lord Akeldama is a lover not a fighter. I think it would probably be a kind of comic avoidance with Lord Akeldama flitting about just out of reach and Lord Maccon chasing after him in an increasing frustrated manner destroying all the furniture until dawn.

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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1876  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Moon Light

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

smithsonian- tumblr A demonstration of Lucius Copeland’s steam tricycle in front of our Castle Building in 1888.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Yet if a practised and successful author ventures to pronounce an unfavourable verdict on such productions, because the writer desired her candid opinion, she will probably light up a flame of resentment, that may never be extinguished, and make an enemy for life; the objections being imputed to “sheer envy,” and to a malignant design of “extinguishing a rising star.””

by Eliza Leslie (American 1864) 

Quote of the Day:

“When out of a man’s pen he can shake recreation, and friendship, and usefulness, and bread, he is apt to keep it shaking.”

~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 


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