Tagged recommendations

Have You Considered Making It Funny? The Power of Humor as Subversion (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Humor is POWER

Comedy in writing is an interesting thing, Gentle Reader. I talk about it a lot in person, but I don’t really write about it that much here on the interwebs. Whatcha know, this is special.

Writing about comedy is a little like watching one of those cooking shows, a frustrating tease. It destroys the magic, knowing how it gets made and you still don’t get to enjoy it when it’s finished.

So instead of writing about what humor is in literature, I’d going to talk about what it can do.

The Semantics of Funny Business

Can I get something out of the way first?

By humor I mean a great deal more than a sassy angst-driven pixie dream girl vomiting forth her quirky first-person perspective on life’s current tragedy. Humor is not just wit and treading the dark line between horror and slapstick.

Comedy can be anything from puns, to twisted sentences, interjected narration, complex word building, ludicrous situations, absurd exaggeration, contrast, oddball perspective, and so much more.

What humor really is, and what many more serious writers (and readers and critics) forget is that it is also a tool.

A very powerful tool.

Inbox Cat Licks Her Lips At You

 

Humor & Narrative Structure

From a purely mechanical perspective comedic moments in prose are instruments of pace. A reader will forgive many things if you make them laugh. For example, a long drawn out description is easy to digest when there are a two points of connected titillation in the beginning and middle that yields up a laugh at the end.

Comedy is part of the heartbeat of a book, as much as any action sequence. It can be used to relax a reader right before delivering a strong narrative punch, thus making that punch more powerful. It can also be used to intentionally break tension, giving the reader some breathing room.

Many authors develop a sing-song voice to their narration (sentence and paragraph structure, even length of words and the order they follow each other). This can lull readers into listlessness, wake them up with a shake of laughter, and suddenly they are once more paying very close attention to the text.

Comedy Long Form

My favorite moments of comedy are the long interwoven ones that come with plot, world-building and character.

I imagine my reader laughing out loud and a friend asking, “What’s so funny?”  The reader would have to describe the whole book, or the entire world, or a character’s background for the hilarity to be understood.

I call these “you had to be there” jokes.

This kind of humor is interwoven with fabric of the story and is, usually, instrumental in defining a book as comedic.

Most authors use some form of humor at some point, even if only a bit of witty dialogue. Funny things can happen in suspense, mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy. But these are usually high notes, unexpected bright points, that give the reader a point of uplift, a chance to catch their breath.

Comedy authors tend to run the opposite pattern, the story runs brighter and lighter so that the readers pause for breath is in the moments of sadness, and poignancy. But much as the humor is more stark in a generally darker book, that moment of sadness can be more striking and impactful in a funny book.

Did you read that? I’ll say it again. If you write mostly comedy when you have something important, emotionally wrenching, or vital to say it will stick out and stick in reader’s minds by contrast.

Characters & Silences

Comedy has an interesting effect of characterization. I’ve found over the years that it is often my most humorless characters that readers gravitate towards. The grouchy ones, and the glum ones, and the ones who have very little to say draw attention by contrast. With all these crazy hilarious dramatic stars twinkling about, it is the quiet darkness the reader ends up focusing on.

Dancers have a saying that the moment you are still on a stage is as important (if not more so) than the movements before and after.

Whether the funny parts of a book are its movement, or whether they make up the silence in between, it is the difference that readers are picking upon, and it is the contrast that will leave the most lasting memories and have the most profound effect.

My Cat Thinks You’re Hilarious

Subversion

Which leads me to my point.

Oh yes, I have one.

If you take nothing else from this, please realize that comedy is a tool, and a powerful one that can have a profound impact on readers.

As a culture we are tempted to dismiss funny things, after all, it is hard to take funny seriously. Because comedy is so easily dismissed, it becomes all the more powerful. One has only to look at sitcoms on US TV and the way they have, over the years, altered the  perception of what it means to be an American family, from the Brady Bunch to the aptly titled Modern Family. Yes, in some ways these shows played catch-up to the real world, but in other ways they normalized those differences to generations who lived without alternate models.

Hidden behind laughter is possibility.

You see the secret is, what’s funny can become what’s normal.

Laughter and relaxation can become belief and hope and understanding in a way that slides around harshness, and anger, and resistance. As an author I want my books, first a foremost to leave readers smiling. But if the comedy has really done its job, it also leaves them more accepting of the differences in themselves and others.

This article originally written for the May/June 2017 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Humor.

As always, you don‘t have to take my word for it.

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

Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

LATEST RELEASE!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct

Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger is now available (audio will follow).

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

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Frederick Frieseke (American artist, 1874-1939) The Japanese Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Tea in the Office

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Harper’s Bazaar New York Sat June 13 1891

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Saying “Goodbye” Is Never Easy

Book News:

Fan Make Manga Doll

Quote of the Day:

“A lady must always be prepared. Snacks are an essential part of espionage.”

~ Gail Carriger, Manners & Mutiny

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


This Is Why I Write: 10 Books That Inspired & Formed Gail’s Identity As An Author (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, because I am a lover of reading, I often talk about books here on my blog.

Today is no different, except that I thought I would discuss a few of the books that I feel formed me as a writer not just my taste a reader.

These are the books that drastically impacted not only my psyche as a reader, but how I knew I wanted to entertain readers going forward.

1. Tamora Pierce ~ The Song of the Lioness series

I make no bones about my adoration for Pierce and this series in particular. Look, I am an old fart and this was the first fantasy book (so far I as know) written for a young female audience with a kick ass girl main character. After a childhood of Tolkien and Alexander and Montgomery (much as I love them) Pierce was a revelation. She changed my life by presenting me with my first strong female main character. Period.

2. Gerald Durrell ~ My Family and Other Animals

Durrell is a master of comedy ~ his descriptions, his situations, the absurdity of the British abroad, the ridiculousness of family life. I listened to all these books on tape, over and over and over. If it’s my details on Ivy’s outfits that make you laugh, then that’s the Durrell in me.

3. James Herriot ~ All Creatures Great and Small

I suspect Herriot & Pierce & Durrell combine to influence me into including animals in all of my books. Pets (particularly cats) have always been prevalent in my life. But it was reading these books that taught me they were a source of joy, amusement, and characterization.

4. Mercedes Lackey ~ By the Sword

If Pierce was my introduction for chicks with swords, this books is the pinnacle achievement in that regard. Specifically interesting from the writer’s perspective is that this is a heroine’s journey (not a hero’s) and thus Kero succeeds by building a network and helping her friends (and being helped by them). She learns to be a leader as well as a fighter. (Yes, Pierce eventually wrote Protector of the Small which also does this, but I read By the Sword first).

This book informed my whole approach to empowerment and strength in all my characters. Also Lackey has had (and always will have) queer characters. At the time, this blew my ever-loving little mind. (I have a whole blog post about it.)

5. Diana Wynne Jones ~ Howl’s Moving Castle

Now we are getting to a place where fantasy begins to meld with humor. Jones messes with character tropes in this book so brilliantly, and celebrates peculiarity with such joy. Yes, Terry Pratchett (see Mort ) helped, but this book really opened my eyes to the possibilities. Also the tidiness of the ending, the tightness of the hints and how it all comes back together. She is so brilliant at threading, mistress of the tapestry.

6. Douglas Adams ~ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Those places where my humor gets slapstick, absurd, or surreal all owe themselves to Douglas Adams. I can quote the opening chapter of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by rote. I listened to the audiobook and a radio play over and over and over again so much, I have huge chunks memorised. If you think there is an oblique reference to this series in one of my books, you are probably right. And it’s probably not that oblique.

7. P.G. Wodehouse ~ Laughing Gas

On the other hand, those places where the humor is entirely character based, where much is made of very minor details, where everything stops for tea and silliness, that owes itself to Wodehouse. Also, all the parody, baby. Again I listened to every single one of the Jeeves books on audiotape as I drove across country during my college years. This stand alone, however, is the funniest. Yes I am aware of the many social issues surrounding Wodehouse, but the man made me cry laughing, I have to give him some kind of credit for that.

8. Jasper Fforde ~ The Eyre Affair

Speaking of… this book. I guess it mainly changed the way I thought about the world, and thought about writing alternate history. The idea that alt-hist didn’t have to be some dark battle goes awry, instead it could be a skewed world more ridiculous than our own. It informed how I conceptualised and thought about the Parasolverse.

9. Elizabeth Vaughan ~ Warprize

I’d given up reading romance for years until I picked this book up. Vaughan based her romantic misunderstanding on culture conflict and two capable characters who just don’t get each other through no fault of their own. I love that. I hate conflict based on two people unwilling to just talk to each other. This book showed me how to do romantic tension right, and I’ve always tried to be good about it ever since. It’s also the first book I read that was 50/50 fantasy and romance. Until I read it, I thought you had to err heavily into one or the other. Turns out, nope.

10. Wrede & Stevermer ~ Sorcery & Cecelia

Possibly the one on this list most like the Parasolverse, this book showed me that comedy of manners could be combined with fantasy. Through reading this story I realized that pace and action can be quiet and refined. Heros can be grumpy and brooding but still bashful and sweet. If the others on this list informed the style of my writing, this one is the heartbeat of my universe.

Do you want more on books I love spotted on sale? Special recommendations go to my Chirrup members, because I love them. Sign up here.

Latest 20 Minute Delay episode is all about how to negotiate hotel food. I know, yech, and yet…

Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for January is Angels Blood (Guild Hunter Book 1) by Nalini Singh.

OUT IN PRINT & DIGITAL & AUDIO!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct

Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger is now available (audio will follow).

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

UPCOMING SCRIBBLES

Tempted?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
On Guard, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“A home without books is like a room without windows.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

27 Great Websites for Writers

Book News:

Speculative Chic says of The Parasol Protectorate:

“I didn’t know steampunk paranormal romance was a thing until I read these. I’ve been trying to decide if it falls into one category more than the other, but it really sits squarely in the middle of the two. A smart and sexy romance with a werewolf in the middle of a steam-driven Victorian London sounds a little cluttered when you first hear it, but Gail Carriger makes it work.”

Quote of the Day:

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


Gail Talks About Food: Her Perfect Meal (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

A little while ago, Gentle Reader, I threw the door open to the Parasol Protectorate Fan Group for questions and Amber asked me a doozy.

If you could assemble an ideal x course meal, what would you want it to be? And if you had to prepare it, would it change significantly?

So, first of all I answered part of this for Lawrence over on his:

Eating Authors series

 

1925 Esther Borough Johnson (British artist, 1867-1949) Tea Table in the Garden

My Best Meal Ever

The best meal I ever ate was in Monterosso al Mare, (one of the five tiny towns that make up Cinque Terre on the Italian Riveria). I was there on the four day break we got in the middle of excavation season (July 1995) with three other archaeology undergraduates.

We wandered into this little restaurant, I don’t recall the name. All I remember is we walked down, so the windows were at street level and we got a view of everyone’s shoes as we ate. We started with prosciutto e melone (which was more amazing than any before or since) and then we ate this risotto seafood dish ~ fruite de mar. It was as if they had taken a net and scraped it across the sea floor ~ crayfish, clams, mussels, oysters, white fish, salmon, and fresh veggies scattered over this amazing rice. The seafood was cooked perfectly, fresh and glistening. The onion and tomato rice was gooey in the center and backed crisp and crunchy on the top. We had a bottle of cheap Chianti to go with… magic.

My Comfort Meal

My all time favorite comfort meal is the peppered alpaca stake at Cafe Manu in Cuzco, Peru. Alpaca is like the Kobe beef of the pork world. It is amazing when cooked correctly. This is a non-traditional preparation, served wrapped in bacon with a French peppered cream sauce and a simple baked potato. I ate it with a pint of maracuja juice (passion fruit) and life was good. Anytime I excavated near Cuzco I always tried to visit to eat this dish.

This would be what I asked for as my last meal.

My Desert

Layered Raspberry Pavlova at the Lord Nelson in Topsham, Devon. Meringue cooked the British way, crisp on the outside and gooey in the middle, with fresh raspberries and clotted cream sandwiched in between the meringue layers and a raspberry sauce reduction drizzled about. With a nice pot of tea? Heaven. Pure heaven.

My 4 Courses

  1. The prosciutto e melone from Tuscany with a glass of prosecco.
  2. Appetizer portions of the rice and seafood from Monterosso with cold fresh water.
  3. Alpaca pepper steak, wilted chard, and papa rellena with passion fruit juice.
  4. Raspberry pavlova to finish with a perfect pot of tea.

As I told Lawrence, there are some who speculate I chose a career as an archaeologist so I could eat my way around exotic locations. Now I often decide whether I should visit a city for a book event based on the local food scene.

Would this meal change if I had to cook it myself?

Absolutely. I can’t get many of the ingredients and I accept no substitutes. Generally speaking I already cook for myself the things I want to eat and have the time to make (excepting deserts) so yeah…

I’d rather eat out, tho.

I love eating out.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 or 2019.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    The werewolves are back. There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy man mountain with a powerful crush. The pack’s started a business called Heavy Lifting. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

Boy Meets Boy says:

“If you like a good shifter story, this is the book for you. If you like witty banter and shenanigans, this is the book for you. If you like a story with depth and angst and romance, this is the book for you. Hell, if you like to read, this is the book for you. Cause, really, you can’t go wrong with this story.”

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia) From the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Steampunk Curse Generator

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Back Up Your Work

Book News:

10 Top Summer Reads for Middle-School GirlsEtiquette & Espionage made the list!

Quote of the Day:

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


State of the Gail: The Blog, The Writer, The Ridiculous (Ketchup Blog)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Some old fashioned style berbling from yours truly today, Gentle Reader. Enjoy!

Blogging Thoughts

A few of you came to this blog when it moved from LiveJournal, and then again when it moved from Blogspot. For which I love you very very much. (I’d adore knowing exactly who you are, if you want to leave a comment. Since way back in the day everyone had weird handles on LJ, I don’t always know who stuck with me through all of the last 8 years.)

I still enjoy blogging, although I’m more personal and emotional over on the Chirrup (it simply feels like a safer less-public forum). However, I’ve been on a pretty heavy schedule of 3 posts a week for the past 8 years or so, and that may slow slightly. I started already with Retro Rack (which was 2X a week).

I’m going to put less pressure on myself to produce blogs, and concentrate more on producing books and stories. Also I want to give you quality over quantity, in other words, if I don’t have anything to say, I’m not gonna say it.

Balancing Writing Joys

Which brings me to the next thing, which is a little emotional, but I shall try to be pithy about it.

Miss Carriger’s Office Writing Set Up

For a while there (and many of you sensed this) I edged on burn out.

In 2012 I took on too many events and it has taken me until this year to learn how to say “no” and balance conventions, books tours, and conferences against the demands of the rest of my life. (The fangirl in me still can’t get over a convention asking me to come to them. Amazing.)

In 2013 I took on too many writing projects at once and my muse rebelled in a big way.

I was writing on a untenably short timeline for each book for several years. I’ve learned to be a lot firmer about deadlines (and whether I can realistically make them) and thus manage everyone’s expectations. Strangely, this freed me up from some creative blockage and I managed to write more this year than I have in a long time. I guess I’m learning to be less hard on myself?

All this is to say I’m feeling like I am in a good place right now and I might sally forth and try some other creative experiments and different kinds of events. I think 2018 is going to be a fun year for this writerbeast.

Self Pub & Hybrid Life

I’m still figuring this part out. I’m on a 5 year plan, and we are only just into year 2. The more I learn about being my own publisher, the more I realize I have to learn. But this helps too. I’m at heart (still) an academic, and I love learning new things, so the business journey is pretty exciting for me.

Speaking of, if you are local to the Bay Area, you can come here me talk about some of these business lessons at my RWA chapter in Berkeley next month. Check out my events page for details.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

* Coincidentally the quazi-prequel to The Blue Sword is on sale today for $1.99. The Hero and the Crown is another truly wonderful book and particularly formative in my taste as a reader and my development as an author. I adore Aerin, although I find I identify more with Harry (the heroine of Blue Sword.)

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 or 2019.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    The werewolves are back. There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy man mountain with a powerful crush. The pack’s started a buisness called Heavy Lifting. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

Recommended on BookRiot!

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Support Arms, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Assassin’s Teapot

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Literary Comedy for Beginners

Book News:

Blue Cover Art: German Parasolverse, Finishing School, Supernatural Society

Friend of Dorothy Wilde says of Romancing the Inventor:

“What other genre writer is this witty, this good at world building, and this concerned with the important things? Namely, what they wore and what they ate. But kidding aside, she is a masterful world builder and terribly terribly good at dialogue, so when I heard that Genevieve, the mysterious, moody scientist from the Parasol Protectorate books, would be getting her Happily Ever After, I was thrilled.”

Quote of the Day:

“Sidheag came up next to him, and after he managed to straighten, threw a companionable arm around his soot-covered shoulders. She was more relaxed than Sophronia had ever seen her. ‘It makes sense. Why should we fight like gentlemen? After all, as you keep reminding me, Sophronia, we aren’t gentlemen. We aren’t even soldiers. We’re supposed to be intelligencers. We should learn to fight dirty. We should learn to fight any way we can.’”

~ Etiquette & Espionage

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


Gail Carriger Reviews MT Anderson’s Feed (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Because MT Anderson’s Feed is on sale today in the USA for $1.99 I’m hijacking my own blog, Gentle Reader, to review it.

If you were to choose only one YA book to read in your lifetime, it should be this book.

Feed portrays the near future world North Americans are currently barreling towards, and, as a result, this book is horrifying, terrifying, and brilliant all at the same time. You don’t need to read my review, you need to go out and read this book, now. It’s a fast pace and shouldn’t take very long to whip through. I keep it on my shelf because it’s genius, but it’s so chilling I can’t stand to reread it. (But you know what, I’m still going to buy the ebook so I have it with me, just in case I need it.)

It’s not often I agree with the big gun awards out there but Feed richly deserves its status as: National Book Award Finalist, star PW, and star Kirkus, it should have won the Newbery. Probably would have if it wasn’t SF.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 or 2019.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    The werewolves are back. There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy man mountain with a powerful crush. The pack’s started a buisness called Heavy Lifting. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900s Jules Bastien-Lepage (French artist, 1848–1884) Girl with a Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Dandies of White’s in the Regency Era

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Things You Should Know About Having a Persona

Book News:

The Many Face of Alexia, T-B, L-R: Japan, Spain, Omnibus, USA, Germany, Manga

Quote of the Day:

“Sunday supper, unless done on a large and informal scale, is probably the most depressing meal in existence. There is a chill discomfort in the round of beef, an icy severity about the open jam tart. The blancmange shivers miserably.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

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


7 Side Effects of Being a Full Time Author (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’ve been a full time author for five years now, and I’ve learned a few things. Here, Gentle Reader, are some of the side effects of my life choices.

1. My spelling is worse than it ever was.

While my typing has gotten faster my accuracy certainly has not. Follow me on Twitter for the sad consequences of this fact.

2. I have never read that book you think I should have.

New book, old book, whatever the book is that you think I should read because of what I write, or assume I have read because of my genre. I probably haven’t read it.

3. I know about all the octopuses on the internet.

All of them. All the time. First.

Octopus Mug

4. My passion for the oxford comma is unbending.

I’m open to wiggle room on other points of grammatical enforcement, but you will pry the oxford comma from my cold dead calloused fingers.

5. Cocktail parties are a minefield.

What do you do?
I’m a writer.
What do you write?
Commercial genre fiction.

Then the conversation inevitably goes horribly wrong, either…

  1. I have to explain genre by using dumb Hollywood examples.
  2. They assume I’m some starving artist type who lives off my tech-bound significant other.
  3. They want to tell me all about the brilliant book they have inside them. (Which is invariably not brilliant and should stay inside, preferably buried with a small but elegant tombstone.)
  4. They want me to write the book of their: life, times, weak imagination.

Godeys Sept 1872

6. I have no sense of time

I never know what day of the week it is and I never know if it’s a national holiday. Ever. The number of times I have gone to the bank and then been confused as to why it’s closed are almost as frequent as the number of times I’ve gotten up and gone into the office, even though it’s Saturday.

7. There is no retirement, there is only writing

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 0r 2019.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

Love Bytes says:

“And if that is how the author treats her secondary characters, you can be damn sure that her protagonists are wonderfully written. They have layers and flaws–some not so obvious on first or second inspection–and grow throughout the book in the way all good characters should.”

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900ongesoleil- “The Umbrella Maker” Studio Shin-e-Do ( Kobe, Japan ). End 19th century? Kimbei Kusakabe.(1841-1934). Photographer

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

New TSA Policy May Lead to Increased Scrutiny of Reading Material

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

My Top Five Suggestions for People Thinking about Writing a Book

Book News:

FanArtCharactersparasol_protectorate_sketches_by_terrizae

Quote of the Day:

The truth about Gail & tea comes out at last

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


20+ Blogs & Podcasts for Authors Recommended by Gail Carriger (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

My dear Gentle Reader,

This one if for authors/writers who are interested in publishing & marketing their books.

This post is part of my occasional FAQ series where I endeavor to answer questions I get asked all the time. (Mainly so I have a perma-link to point people at in future.)

Below I list the blogs and podcasts I find most useful as a hybrid author (including those related to indie and self publishing). I recommend picking episodes/posts based on topic.

(I keep this list as updated as possible.)

Miss Carriger’s Top 13 Blogs for Authors

  1. Goodreads Authors & Advertisers Blog
  2. Build Book Buzz
  3. Elizabeth Spann Craig
  4. Just Publishing Advice for Writers and Authors
  5. Kikolani
  6. Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  7. Nathan Bransford
  8. Smart Blogger
  9. The Blood-Red Pencil
  10. The Book Designer
  11. Fiction University (was The Other Side of the Story)
  12. Writer Beware
  13. Writer Unboxed

Gail consumes her blogs via Feedly.

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

Miss Carriger’s Top 11 Podcasts for Authors

  1. The Author Biz Podcast
  2. The Creative Penn Podcast
  3. The Murverse Annex (Ditch Diggers & I Should Be Writing Podcasts)
  4. Novel Marketing Podcast
  5. Online Marketing Made Easy
  6. The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast
  7. Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast
  8. Smart Author
  9. The Self Publishing Podcast
  10. The Smarty Pants Book Marketing Podcast
  11. Go Publish Yourself from IngramSpark

Gail consumes her podcasts using Overcast.

More podcast suggestions?

Gail’s pinterest board Writer Education is full of more recommended resources for authors.

{Gail’s monthly read along for June 2017 is Local Custom by Lee & Miller.}

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 vi antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Gender Neutral Pronouns: Singular ‘They’

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

15 Productivity Apps to Help Keep Your Writing Goals on Track

Book News:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm says of Prudence:

“Gail’s characters are so much fun…”

Quote of the Day:

“She reads books as one would breathe air, to fill up and live.”

~ Annie Dillard

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


A Gail By Any Other Name Should “L” As Sweet

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

After some dithering and hemming and hawing, Gentle Reader I chose the new pen name G.L. Carriger for my upcoming urban fantasy, The Sumage Solution.

What you got in your inbox if you follow me on Amazon. You can also follow me on BookBub.

G. L. Carriger

I talk about why I felt I needed a changed name in this blog post: Why G. L. Carriger? On Pen Names, Cover Art & Reader Betrayal

The question then became:

What does the L stand for?

Because they had already had some chatter on the matter, I asked the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group to weigh in first. I read through their suggestions and then I picked those I like best, based on meaning, cadence, feel when said between Gail and Carriger, and also memory. (Some names, for me, have negative associations.)

I chose Lovelace because of the wonderful Ada Lovelace, Lilac because it was my Grandmother’s favorite flower, Ladybird because I’m amused by the idea, and Libellus because it means little book in Latin.

Then I had Twitter vote on the finalists.

Then I asked my Facebook Page if they agreed. And mostly they did.

So the winner is…

Lovelace

So now whenever anyone asks me what the “L” stands for, that is what I will say.

Of relevance to this post: The Evolution of Female Pen-Names from Currer Bell to J.K. Rowling

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    StatusOut now!
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

UP NEXT

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Paris, 1900 (Source- pinterest.com) via fawnvelveteen tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.”

~ Neil Gaiman

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Singular ‘They’ Now Acceptable

Book News:

What’s She Reading? says of Manners & Mutiny

“This book probably had more action than the first three (or it at least felt like it) and that’s not a bad thing. I really liked getting into Sophronia’s head and seeing all of the skills that she’d been learning at school come into play. It’s kind of hard to explain without spoiling anything, but it was really enjoyable to watch Sophronia strategize.”

Quote of the Day:

“Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.”

~ Anne Herbert

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


How I Work: Gail Carriger, Authorbeast (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, I’m a bit of a Lifehacker follower. Back in 2013 I was particularly taken by their How I Work series. I thought it would be fun to answer their questions, and now here’s an updated version. I hope you enjoy!

Location:
Bay Area, Northern California, USA.

Current gig: 
Chronically tea addicted, octopus obsessed, shoe collecting, New York Times bestselling authorbeast.

Current mobile device: 
iPhone 5, iPad Mini

Current computer: 
2013 MacBook Air (named Hestia) – desperately in need of an upgrade

One word that best describes how you work: 
Efficiently.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? 
Apps: (most of my phone’s natives like Mail, Weather, Camera, Calendar, Clock, Contacts, Notes) as well as Twitter, Facebook, Friendly, Feedly, Instagram, Google Maps, Stylebook, Yelp, Downcast, Chrome, and Scrivener iOS. All the airline apps for checking in to flights.
Software: Scrivener, Skype, Chrome, Firefox, Safari (yes all three browsers), iTunes, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Hootsuite, Pinterest, Wikia, Word (because I must for work).
Tools: Kindle Oasis, iPod Nano, yearly wall calendar, old street stomper bicycle with detachable shopping panniers, electric kettle or water boil coil, tea, Ikea mini reading lamps, my car, tote and carry-on suitcase, modular packing devices, Roomba, a bath tub (does that count as a tool?), and a gas stove.

(Although, truthfully, back in my archaeology days I can, and have, lived without all of the above except the iPod and tea.)

Tea zone in Gail’s Office

What’s your workspace like?
At home and in my office I have a standing desk made from a CB2 wet bar with a S-shelf for a riser, Perixx wireless keyboard and mouse, and Wellness mat.

Gail’s Home Desk Set Up

In the office, I also have two additional sitting desks which I use for editing and sewing projects. A reading/research/imagination nook, a sitting area and the all important tea station. I have a blog post with more pictures, including the before and after of decorating.)

Gail’s Reading Nook

What’s your best time-saving trick? 
Outlining and setting realistic goals. And tea.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Evernote.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My iPod nano, named Caper. I’m addicted to podcasts, I use them to stay in touch with the writing industry and the world, everything from news to entertainment to comedy to academic lectures about the Byzantine Empire. Because I live in California (driving!), bike to work, and travel a lot, audio is a great way for me to stay informed.

Pretty much any time I’m not writing, I’m listening to a podcast. Since I’m a girly girl who likes pretty clothes I can’t pocket my phone on my person and I’m not yet happy with wireless earbud offerings, a small iPod down the bra is essential to my mental well being.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Making tea.

What are you currently reading?
See Coop de Book at the bottom of this blog post.

What do you listen to while you work?
When I’m writing that’s the only time I’m not listening to a podcast. So, nothing.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert, though I perform extrovert very well.

What’s your sleep routine like?
Regulated but restless.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.
Mercedes Lackey

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
No one is interested in a writer that doesn’t actually finish her novels.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more.”

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: With Copy Editor
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. 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 . . .

1894 Seaside fashion plate shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

16 Cozy and Inviting Reading Nooks

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

What it Looked Like to Travel the World Solo as a 19th Century Woman

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Unpredictable Nature of a Writing Career

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“A sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


The Care & Feeding of Your Human Author – A Cat’s Perspective (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Lilliput the Bean here.

I have hijacked my human’s blog.

For you, fellow cat-kind, I present my tips on how to care and feed your human authorbeast.

  1. Provide authorbeast with small kills as often as possible while singing the song of our people. Toy mice, fleece snakes, occasional burnt muffin bottom, or earplugs (I call them pinkies).
  2. Distract your authorbeast from overworking, often. They shouldn’t be allowed to focus too hard: walk across keyboard, nibble ankles, pretend to drink the tea.
  3. When in doubt, eat the laptop stand.
  4. Is your human sitting? Is there lap? Do they have a full bladder? Make those biscuits, make them!
  5. Attack your authorbeast through the filmy curtains. We all know they are see-through, but your human can’t tell. Humans aren’t that smart.
  6. Ostentatiously check objects in use, on the off chance that they might be tasty: iPad, phone, earbuds, kindle, corner of book, your human’s fingers and eyebrows.
  7. Test gravity regularly. Make absolutely certain it is always working properly. For science!

Now, go forth and help your authorbeast to write!

{Gail’s monthly read along for March is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

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 . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Beat Jet Lag by Eating Meals On Local Time Before You Travel

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Top Ten Trends in Publishing Every Author Needs to Know in 2017

Book News:

Blackgate interview with yours truly.

Quote of the Day:

“Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be, or a woman over thirty-five who is fond of pink ribbons. It always means that they have a history.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


© 2018 Gail Carriger | Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Site built by Todd Jackson