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June 2015

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Jun. 23rd, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

[sticky post] LiveJournal Is My Backup Blog

This is my back up blog. It shadows my blogspot which is more frequently updated and better maintained.

Please feel free to friend me here, but be aware that I can not friend you back. I have maxed out my friend allotment from the LJ gods, sorry.

Jun. 18th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

The Scarcity of the Gail


So my dear Gentle Reader, I'm going to be pretty scarce about the interwebs for the next few months. I've planned some tweets and tumblrs posts to drop and I am hoping I will be cogent enough to at least interact with people a little, but right now I am heading into the unknown grey fog.

What is this particular fog composed of? Well, those who read the Chirrup already know of a certain unpleasantness in my immediate future. Now it is upon me. (OK, hopefully off me.) I'm going in for surgery. Nothing too serious but it is major. Trust me, you don't want details but if you're desperate to know, I go into it a bit more over on Retro Rack.

Anita Ekberg

Nevertheless, here's hoping there is one super happy Gail out the other end. I have a great support network in place, good people got my back. (Or should I say "got my front?" I'm hilarious.) The worst part will be having to stay still and not do anything. I'm not great at that. Although, Lilliput will be delighted. I have stockpiled lots of books to read and TV to watch. I'm going to mainline BuffyI've seen only a few episodes and I figure this is as good an excuse as any to finally watch them all. In reading, I'd like to get caught up on Tanya Huff's Valor series and also McCaffery's Freedom series which I have been saving for years.

Jayne Mansfield via theniftyfifties tumblr

Don't worry, I built this time off into my writing schedule, Manners & Mutiny will be out as promised this November. Imprudence is looking to release next summer, but it was never going to make a spring 2016 release like Prudence did. Sorry if you thought it would.

Anita Ekberg via nexiv tumblr

Surgery is the reason I'm not doing any events this summer. I'm still planning on being in Spokane for World Con in the Fall. It caps my recovery time nicely, so unless something goes horribly wrong, I should be there and in the mood to celebrate.


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


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
2013 Herring-Herring-Starkweather-Umbrellas-DESIGNSCENE

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
anita-ekberg-on-her-jaguar-late-1950s

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Erotics of Shaving in Victorian Britain

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Yoga for Writers


PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Final stages.

  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. OUT NOW!

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Yvette of Book Worlder says of Prudence: “If you enjoy lighthearted adventure, Steampunk with vampires and shapeshifters, a bit of romance or large, floating airships painted like giant ladybugs (ladybirds, in the fully British version), then I recommend this book to you”

Quote of the Day:
"Miss Francina went striding out into that burning cold in her negligee and marabou slippers like she owned the night and the rest of us was just paying rent on it."
~ Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list.
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Jun. 17th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Fun 7-Question Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Book Q&A via SF Signal


Here's a Fun 7-Question Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Book Q&A via SF Signal


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 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.


PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Custard Protocol Series
1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
$0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister's Song; Fairy Debt;

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

Gail's fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Jun. 15th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Announcing the Final Cover Art for Manners & Mutiny!


Here, at last Gentle Reader, is the finalized cover art for the last Finishing School book, Manners & Mutiny.


When a dastardly Pickleman plot comes to fruition, only Sophronia can save her friends, her school, and all of London... but at what cost? Our proper young heroine puts her training and skills to the test in this highly anticipated conclusion of the rousing, intriguing, and always polished New York Times bestselling Finishing School series!

~ ~ ~

I'm delighted with the final cover. Those of you familiar with the first (leaked & unfinished) cover can see the background has changed to be much more bold and linear. To me the vertical striations (la, would you look at me trotting out an old favorite archaeology term?) foreshadow tears at ending of a series, but also the chronic rain of Sophronia's moor, not to mention certain other key events in this, the final book.

From my end, this book is finished. I've handed in proofs and while there might be a bit more back-and-forthing over perfecting publicity language and which sample chapters to drop, essentially my end is done.

Can you believe it? That's two series in the bag, Gentle Reader. Two! Squee!

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


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Le Conseiller des Dames Date-  Wednesday, June 1, 1853 Item ID-  v. 36, plate 53
A fashion plate from Sophronia's time.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Political Spying in 20th-century Britain

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
"I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down."
~ Kaari Utrio

PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Custard Protocol Series
1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
$0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister's Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
So Many Books, So Little Time says: “Waistcoats & Weaponry was such brilliant fun that I didn’t want to end. Bring on book four!”

Quote of the Day:
“Books are my types of movies.”
~ Six Word Memoirs

Gail's fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Jun. 10th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

I'm That Book Quiz


Just playing about the other day, Gentle Reader, and decided to invent a new quiz thing based on famous book titles. Feel free to post your own responses in the comments or steal for your own blog.

I'm that Book


1. ___________ Are My Weakness
Shoes

2. Their Eyes Were Watching ___________
Star Trek: The Next Generation

3. Have ___________ Will Travel
Modular Packing Skillz

4. Wuthering ___________
Bananas

5. The Scarlet ___________
Wingtip

6. The Portrait of a ___________
Tea Drinker

7. Three ___________ in a Boat
Custards

8. The Strange Case of ___________
Dr. Archaeology and Ms. Authorbeast

9. The Call of the ___________
Deadline

10. Journey to the Center of the ___________
Convention


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


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
La Belle Assemblee Date-  Saturday, August 1, 1840 Item ID-  v. 23, plate 13

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The Iridescent Elegance of Victorian Mother-of-Pearl Book Bindings

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Telegrapher, 1850 via shewhoworshipscarlin

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
"Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There's plenty of movement, but you never know if it's going to be forward, backwards, or sideways."
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Custard Protocol Series
1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series
1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
$0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister's Song; Fairy Debt;

Book News:
A Gail Display!


Quote of the Day:


Gail's fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.
Tags: ,

Jun. 8th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Dear Lord Akeldama ~ On Enthusiastic Endeavors

Lord Akeldama has whisked by the blog and hijacked my posts. But sometimes, Gentle Reader, we must just let the Good Vampire have his way with us, mustn't we?

iris_petal asks
What era of history has been your favorite?
Well, my dearest petal, I must say that I still cherish a fondness for Georgian times. Such decadence, such sumptuous decorations, such gilt, such embellishment, such tight satin trousers. There are some who call it gaudy, but I have ever been one for enthusiastic endeavors and the Rococo era was nothing if not enthusiastic.


krystolla asks:
As someone striving mightily to overcome the inherent disadvantages of being born and raised outside of London (in the former colonies, alas) I have been trying to gain a proper understanding and appreciation of tea. I have had difficulty obtaining a mentor in this endeavor, as where I live tea is most woefully sugared and then poured over copious amounts of ice. Or there is bubble tea, which I think is likely an insult to both bubbles and tea. I would much appreciate your inestimable advice in this matter, especially as I am not in position to relocate to a more hospitable climate.
My dearest sweety bubbles, what a question. I am quite ashamed to admit it but I too am not one for much in the way of tea. I was a vampire before it crested in popularity, and as a result I have never acquired a taste for the stuff. So I must turn you over to my most bothersome patroness, Miss Gail.
Gail says:
Tea is a serious business. My preferred tea, and the one I always suggest you start with is Twinings English Breakfast Gold Label. It is available for import but is not inexpensive. If you wish a lower barrier to entry many larger supermarkets carry PG Tips. (After you have entered into the madness you may wish to try Twinings 1706 Strong Breakfast, or Assam Strong & Mighty, or Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Gold Tea). Once you have acquired the RIGHT tea bring filtered water to a rolling boil. Pour over the bag. Allow bag to steep, stirring softly, until the color is a rich dark, reddish chocolate. Remove the bag and add a generous dollop of whole milk, about 1/4 of a cup. Enjoy.
This will yield up a rich, mellow, malty tea with no bitterness to it, and no herbal overtones. It is the best entry level tea. Once you have found your taste for that, you can move on to experiment with different blends, or just stick with this. If you would then like to graduate to tea for company, here is a blog post all about how to make a proper pot with loose leaf.

Nissa asks:
If given the chance to travel once again without severing your tether, where would you go?
What a very thoughtful questions my little orchid blossom. I should like to see the New World, the jungle, and the coastal ruins of those various trixy empires, fascinating stuff. And they, like me, were awfully fond of sparkles.

Fan Art LordA  via Britta Hoyer on FB

Kah asks:
Can you tell us something about your life and/or family, from when you were still, hum, 'alive'?
Oh my little cherub, I've forgotten most of it and the rest simply isn't worth mentioning. Everyone's got it wrong and it's exhausting trying to correct the history books, don't you find?

Kah asks:
Do you use any products on your hair or is it just naturally gorgeous?
Oh dahling, I'm a believer in product. There's this pomade I find on Bond Street augmented with a hint of bergamot that I simply adore. Moderation, of course, everything in moderation, but my hair does need a little texture to fall correctly.

nirrivahn asks:
Dear Lord Akeldama: Prof. Lyall mention at the beginning of the "Heartless" a mysterious notation, making a note in the BUR archives. He describe you as the "Subject V-322-XA"; letter "v" as vampire, some incomprehensible numbers and the letters "XA" (initials of your full name perhaps?) Do you have any idea how we can translate it?
My dearest muffin, what on earth makes you think I have insight into the categorization system of a werewolf? Especially that werewolf. He's into sheep, you do realize?

Have a question for Lord Akeldama? He may have answered it already or you may leave it in a comment below. Please do not ask time sensitive questions. Lord Akeldama, being a vampire, has a very loose interpretation of time.


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


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
2013 FreePeople

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable


PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Final stages.

  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. OUT NOW!

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Recovering Potter Addict says of the Finishing School books: “Looking for a rollicking good read filled with quirky characters, clever humour, and dastardly plots? Then look no further than the Finishing School Series by Gail Carriger!”

Quote of the Day:
“He took hold of his breath, which wanted to escalate, and his intentions, which wanted to sharpen.”
~ That Scandalous Summer by Meredith Duran

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list.
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Jun. 5th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

New Desk Set Up


I used to have one of those treadmill desks, Gentle Reader. Sadly, when I moved into a small apartment it was not possible. I struggle to write fiction and exercise at the same time, but I can read and do lots of other stuff online while I move. So I have invented this rig-up that has a much smaller footprint.


So what do we have here?


So far, it's working for me.

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


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1840 Le Follet Date-  Friday, May 1, 1840 Item ID-  v. 22, plate 86

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The Slide server by Finell $450

The Slide server by Finell

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Five Types of Mentors You Need

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Sex v. Romance


PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Awaiting proofs.

  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. Release date March 17, 2015. Available for pre-order!

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (March 17, 2015), 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
The Horn Book says of Waistcoats & Weaponry: “...the well-wrought steampunk/supernatural setting provides a vibrant backdrop to Sophronia’s fast-paced adventures and witty banter, and her difficult dilemmas regarding possible career paths and matters of the heart add emotional depth.”

Quote of the Day:
“First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase 'a nice cup of tea' invariably means Indian tea.”
~ A Nice Cup of Tea (1946)

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list.
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Jun. 3rd, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Weird Victorian Recipe Moment: Sweet Macaroni Pudding

Just because, Gentle Reader. And really, I am so going to try and make this at some point.

  • 2-1/2 oz. of macaroni

  • 2 pints of milk

  • rind of 1/2 lemon

  • 3 eggs

  • sugar to taste

  • grated nutmeg to taste

  • 2 tablespoons brandy

Put the macaroni, with a pint of the milk, into a saucepan with the lemon-peel, and let it simmer gently until the macaroni is tender; then put it into a pie-dish without the peel; mix the other pint of milk with the eggs; stir these together well, adding the sugar and brandy, and pour the mixture over the macaroni. Grate a little nutmeg over the top, and bake in a moderate oven for 1/2 hour. To make this pudding look nice, a paste should be laid round the edges of the dish, and, for variety, a layer of preserve or marmalade may be placed on the macaroni: in this case omit the brandy.

3/4 hour to simmer the macaroni; 1/2 hour to bake the pudding.
Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons. Seasonable at any time.
From Classic Recipes (Beeton, I think.)

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


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
arsenicinshell-tumblr Pride and Farewell by Bathoriya

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Twitter basics for authors


PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Final stages.

  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. OUT NOW!

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
The Penny Dreadfuls Review says of Prudence:
“Carriger has done a wonderful job of advancing the world of the Parasol Protectorate and crafting a whole new set of characters. Perhaps not completely new, but she has aged them with the perfection of a fine wine.“

Quote of the Day:
"Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane."
~ Honoré de Balzac

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list.
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Jun. 1st, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Book Pick for June ~ Uprooted by Naomi Novik


June's Book ~ Uprooted by Naomi Novik



  • Title: Uprooted

  • Author: Naomi Novik

  • Series: No. Stand alone!

  • Publisher: Random House

  • Release Date: May 19, 2015

  • Format Gail's Reading: .mobi

  • How Gail got it: From the publisher for blurbing (I didn't manage to read it in time to blurb)


So my March book tour, Gentle Reader, involved a great number of 1-2 hour plane rides. This, in Gail's world, means... READING. I had a number of things on my docket, including a few ARCs I'd been slipped on the down low. One of them was Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I liked it so much I decided to pick it for my June read. We have never done an alternate fairy story before.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Uprooted is Novik's foray into alternate fairy stories (out May 19, 2015). Known for her Temeraire novels (which I have never read), this is a Grimm atmospheric piece with an immersive narrative and a bewitching sense of place.



From the blurb:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

{Gail's monthly read along for June is Uprooted by Naomi Novik}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1839 Ladies' Cabinet Date-  Sunday, September 1, 1839 Item ID-  v. 21, plate 118

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Say "cheese!" The octographer will take your picture now. And I missed it while in NZ! Curses.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Vegetarian Personal Ads: 19th-century matrimonial advertisements.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
P. G. Wodehouse's fictional locations. Such a master.

PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Final stages.

  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. OUT NOW!

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Sarah of SF crowsnest says of Curtsies & Conspiracies: “All Carriger’s series are based in the same world and, having read the entirety of ‘The Parasol Protectorate’, I still found myself learning new things about the vampires and werewolves and how their society functions. Carriger somehow manages to do this without making it dull at all.”

Quote of the Day:
“It is hard to tell if that is a note of anguish I detect in his voice or if it is merely my own longings reflected back at me.”
~ Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list.
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

May. 29th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Book Review ~ The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley


In which I review The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley...

OK, part of the reason I chose this book was because McKinley's backlist (or at least some of it) was finally put up in ebook form. I've been on a quest to move (or donate) as many of my old mass markets as possible (when one lives in 600 square feet, one makes sacrifices). So when an ebook of an old favorite comes along I re-buy it. Don't worry, I am still left with a ton of books (so many are still OP).

The Outlaws of Sherwood was not one of those I kept. I got rid of it on my third trek to live in Europe. I've always enjoyed it, but it is very sad. Or that's what I remembered. And I wasn't wrong.

From here on out there are spoilers, so be warned.

There are conceits I really like about this book. The fact that Robin is a reluctant hero and leader ("He did not like it that they deferred to him so easily."), and that he isn't a very good marksmen. Is fun to see how McKinley plays with the legend. McKinley talks a bit about the politics and her reasoning behind the historical setting and owns her own doubts and issues with these parts of the story. Any flaws there don't really bother me as much as they would were I a medievalist. But I've never paid much attention to the time period as an archaeologist (ugly pottery) and so I give her a pass. I even don't mind the whole lack of Nottingham caves thing, after all, this book was written before the internet.

I did, however, struggle a bit with Robin's character. There is a conversation between Cecily and Little John near the end of the book, as follows:

"Little John said, “You do not think Robin is a stupid man.”
She almost laughed. “No. He may be the most terrifying person I have met—because you believe what he tells you even when you know better. And yet I think he would quench that fire in him if he could—perhaps because it throws such dark shadows around the things he does not say."

I just never got this from descriptions of Robin and his behavior, I never felt I was shown this through the story, although I do love Cecily's assessment of the situation. While I don't mind being told, I'm not certain I believe. In building him up as primarily a reluctant hero, I found myself unconvinced on his leadership abilities. As McKinley herself writes, "I needed him to be a particular kind of hero with a particular set of preoccupations, surrounded by a company of people with preoccupations of their own."

Although, I did believe in his friendship with others.

The dogs stopped, confused, but the bows behind Will’s back stayed stretched.
“I have the right-hand one in my eye,” murmured Marian; “and I the left,” replied Robin. “I am content with the center,” said Much.

Perhaps my lack of faith in Robin has something to do with McKinley's style of writing. She is one of those miraculous and wonderful writers who's power is often vested the things she leave unwritten. Here's an example...

He looked at her a moment longer, but when she lifted her eyes to meet his something happened to his face, and he turned away, and picked up the little pot of tallow again.

We aren't told what happened to Little John's face, or anything really about his inner feelings but we nevertheless know that he is half in love with Cecily and uncomfortable with his own realization. Here is another example:

"I think that we cannot go back to Greentree, and be as we were.” He shrugged again—and winced; and brought his eyes back to Sir Richard. “And perhaps it is only the bruises which speak this way.”

You see? Masterful.

Normally, this style works so very well for McKinley, but for me it made Robin's character fall flat. Also while I like the love affair between Robin and Marian, I found it less interesting than those of the side characters such as Little John and Cecily and even Sybil and Eva.

That said, I had forgotten her twist near the end, that is no twist because Marian turns it down.

“But to you, too, Marian of Trafford, I give a choice; and yet what I ask of you might be a thing more hard than soldiering.” He stopped, turned, and faced her. “I would make you the new sheriff of Nottingham.”

I actually gasped out loud, between my tears, at this juncture. Yes, I spent most of the final 1/4 of the book in tears from the last stand battled against Guy (told from Tuck's perspective) to the denouement (or should I say deus ex machina?) of Richard and his conscription.

Enough of the things I found not precisely to my liking.

What do I still love about Outlaws of Sherwood?  Enough to remember this book decades later a put it on my re-buy and reread list.

Will Scarlet


“A great hulking tatterdemalion like this and you have not treed him?"

...and Robin thought, perhaps he has learnt to use his charm so forcefully because his life has not been so easy as I would make it.

I adore the character of Will Scarlet in the legend of Robin Hood, always have. And I love McKinley's descriptions of him. (Although, I don't see him as a blond. But that is a minor quibble.)

“I have thought, every time I fled from you, of how much I missed you.…” Her voice trailed away, and Will held out his arms, and Cecily went to him. They stood silently, and he stroked her ragged hair, and she sighed and leaned against him as if exhausted.

Little John


"You cannot be as large as I am without knowing that everyone else is smaller."

Much as I do not imagine Will as a blond, I can't imagine Little John as anything but blond. But that is irrelevant to his being one of my all favorites in this book.

“Little John, you do not understand the art of conversation,” said Much.
“I understand the art of silence,” said Little John.

Robin seems very fond of Little John as well and there is sense that he understands his friend's skills and weaknesses. Perhaps this is part of the way we are being shown what a good leader Robin is, but for me it came across more as Robin being a good friend. Anyway, when Cecil first stumbles amongst them, Robin says to Little John that Cecil will be “Intimidated into behaving himself. It is a thing I value you for. I am over-inclined to yell, and I cannot loom as you do.”

McKinley's Little John, now that I think about it, perhaps informed Floote and to a certain extent Percival and Pillover. I love competent grumpy men who don't say much. They make me happy.

Cecily


“And I’ve woken up every morning since I ran away hoping that I might have one more day of it—even these last days."

As the girl who disguises herself as a boy it should come as no surprise, I hope, to you Gentle Reader that Cecily is my favorite character. When I originally read the book I can't recall if I figured it out or not. I mean, that she was a he.

Let him not be some mad lord’s only son, thought Robin, suddenly daunted. Some day we will accept someone into our company whom Sherwood cannot hold.

"But I hope his peevishness is not important. I do not like secrets; Greentree is crowded enough without them."

The revelation when it finally comes is no surprise but it is charming. Even if the actual even occurs off screen in a very Greek drama kind of way.

Little John, watching her standing next to her brother, half-glowering in the old Cecil manner and half-comforted by Robin’s words, saw for a moment what it had been like for her as Will’s little sister. Some of what she was good at, and some of what she was bad at, as his pupil, came clear to him in that moment; and something else came clear to him too, but he set it aside so quickly that he allowed himself not to recognise it for what it was.

Of course I also love the relationship between Cecily with all her rashness and brashness and Little John with all his large silence. They both battle hidden anger that comes from fear, but you can understand even before her secret is revealed why they gravitated towards one another.


“Will’s little sister saved my life,” Little John added as if inconsequentially.

I have one last think to note about this book, which I know I didn't realize on my original read. It's third person omniscient, AKA head hopping. Now Soulless is also a head hopping novel, and frankly I tend to rather like them as a reader. I enjoying knowing what other characters are thinking and I may go back and write some more myself. Possibly this has to do with being raised on Dickens but it just doesn't bother me. It's one of the things I like about a lot of romance novels. So nothing really to say about the head hop, only noting that it is there.

{Gail's monthly read along for June is Uprooted by Naomi Novik}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Ladies' Pocket Magazine Date-  Wednesday, May 1, 1839 Item ID-  v. 21, plate 56

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Goldfish teabags will turn your cup into a fishbowl

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Robotic Octopus Arm Could Revolutionize Surgery

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
17 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Bookstores


PROJECT ROUND UP


  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Final stages.

  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. OUT NOW!

  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.




The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Five Books That Broke Sacred Writing Rules (And Yet We Love Them)

Quote of the Day:
"The covered bowl proved to contain pickles so powerful that the reek of vinegar when the friar removed the lid made Much’s eyes water, who sat nearest. The pot contained a vegetable stew of uncertain origin; and the dubious wrappings did contain cheese, of a potency, in its way, to rival the pickles."
~ Robin McKinley

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