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August 2014

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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.

Aug. 29th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Book Review: Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti


This month we read Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. I hope you enjoyed it, Gentle Reader. I've been trying to choose books for the group that range in type, but touch on my own work in some way. This was our first steampunk venture. Because I was away most of this month, I couldn't participate in the discussion as much as I would like, for which I apologize. I should be more present for the next two books.

Via Dru's website

I liked Clockwork Heart very much. This book is an example of my favorite type of steampunk to read ~ not so much alternate history as entirely alternate world. Because I do so much research into the Victorian Era myself, and because I'm obsessed with certain aspects (fashion, food, medical science) I'm prone to getting annoyed if an alt-history author makes mistakes that touch on my expertise. (I realize I make mistakes myself, and readers forgive me, I'm just not that good of a person when the situation is reversed. What can I say? We all house within us some latent hypocrisy.) With alternate world steampunk I don't have to worry about this and I find myself more forgiving as a reader and thus better absorbed into the story.

Steampunk also, for me, often has a technobabble issue. By technobabble I mean when the author gets obsessed with their steampunk technology, and constantly describes inventions in the way that some epic fantasy novelists describe magical systems. Some readers love this kind of comprehensive immersion, I am not one of those readers. So Dru's breezy handling of her psyudo-science is something I appreciated. I'm not worried about actually trying to understand ondium, and I'm happy to accept it as written and watch Taya fly.

"Gates pierced the walls at regular intervals, but each portal was guarded by stern-faced lictors whose job was to prevent the indiscriminate mixing of castes. Only icarii like Taya..."

Which brings me to the caste system. I always like reading books that have a strong class order in play. (Although I don't like it in a post-apocalyptic or future dystopian setting, I find it stretches my belief too much as the actual future, yet not at all when it's a fantasy setting. Another example of my hypocrisy?)


“But you don’t want to be outcaste, do you?”
Face twisting in rage, Cristof turned and slammed a hand down on the table. “My brother and my caste are none of your business, Icarus!”
Taya flinched, then slid off the chair and dropped to one knee, pressing her palm against her forehead. “I’m sorry, Exalted,” she said, furious at herself. How could she have forgotten her manners around an exalted, even an exalted in exile? Some future diplomat!
“Stand up.” Cristof’s voice was tight.
She glanced at him. His face was pale with anger. She bowed again, feeling sick. “I’m sorry, Exalted,” she repeated.
“Dammit, Icarus, stand up!”


I liked the set up in Dru's world of rigid castes, masks, and lack of social mobility. I don't need it explained to me and I appreciate her language nods to Latin for the exulted caste ("I am Viera Octavus, Taya Icarus, and I am in your debt.") and to other languages for the surrounding cultures (“I am Lieutenant Janos Amcathra.” ... A Demican name.) although some of the other names then confused me  ~ Why Cristof? Suddenly we're Germanic? Is that a foreshadow? A hint as to heritage?

"The Lady granted you an exalted rebirth for a reason, and it would be a sin to treat it lightly."

But what about the book?


At first I was confused by the romance thread and then by the ostensible mystery. I kept trying to make this book a classic romance (which it patently isn't, as the romance doesn't drive the plot). Then, once I figured out it wasn't a romance, I thought it had a noir detective foundation. But that wasn't right either, because Taya's investigation was too predictable and she's the wrong protag for that kind of story. About half way through, I decided I was doing Dru a disservice by trying to box the narrative into anything but steampunk, and then I just enjoyed it.

“My dress isn’t exactly fastened,” Taya admitted. “It was sewn on.”
Cristof choked in mid-swallow and set his glass down.


What didn't work for me:


Side characters.
For some reason I never got a feel for any of them, and they never really resonated with me. Perhaps they didn't have enough screen time? Perhaps they started out as more and got combined in a rewrite so that they were muddled? I'm not quite sure.

The death toll.
I found it really hard to accept that after so many deaths Cristof would be as stable as he was without also being a psychopath. When one of the key deaths turned out to be faked, I wasn't surprised, and I stopped believing in some of the other deaths as well at that point which made them less impactful.

What I liked:


The world building and use of the messenger archetype.
I'm a huge fan of the concept of the Icarii, sliding between caste because they can literally fly between the highs and the lows of society. However, it doesn't really feel like an ode to Icarus. (Or is it? Is Taya overly proud and flying too high? Will the series expose more of this character flaw?) Instead, Clockwork Heart feels like an ode to Hermes. Oh boy do I love a nod to the messenger archetype. Like Iris, or Charon, or Anubis, Taya represents a figure who transitions between high and low, life and death, past and future. Messengers (like Shakespeare's fools) are often those with the most freedom to understand the function of a social system because they are both members of it and outside observers. Taya can be an entirely liminal/fringe character by virtue of her job. She exists on the threshold of the very society she inhabits and supports, and brings a unique point of view to that society as a result.

"Icarii stand outside the traditional caste hierarchy. The next time an exalted shouts at you, stay on your feet and answer him like an equal."

(Oh yeah, I just put my academic hat on. It's big and ostentatious and decorated in eagle feathers. I'll take it off now.)

The spark between Cristof and Taya.
I thought they had great chemistry and I do love me a grumpy man.

“It’s beautiful. This shade of grey matches your eyes.”
Across the table, Cristof made a strangled noise and sat back down.


It wasn't too surprising that Taya found herself with a partner who also exists in transition space. In a way the only partner Taya could end up with had to be fringe like her: a fallen godling, he who has left mount Olympus, Demeter style, to wander among the common folk. (Boy, I'm really reaching for those Greek myths in this particular review, sorry about that. Blame an overabundance of classics classes in university.)

"Some critical part of her pointed out that it was ridiculous to kneel in the dirt kissing an ungracious, ill-tempered outcaste, but the uncertain, eager way his fingers touched her cheeks and the back of her neck made her heart ache."

I think it's a brilliant idea to transition these two characters into diplomacy. Taya has already been trained in many of the skills she needs including empathy and objectivity. And what else are she and Cristof good for? Already liminal within their own culture and too perceptive of its flaws, they best serve it by becoming interpreters between their world and others. They are the only ones even capable of understanding a non-caste system. I look forward to seeing what happens to them in future books.

{Next up is Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey. I know this is the second in her Diana Tragarde Investigation series but it is, I think, much better than the first. It stands well alone.}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Haruo Nakajima and Momoko Kôchi on the set of Godzilla (Gojira), 1954 (via This Is Not Porn)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
whitelight_livingroom

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Getting into Public School, or Scary Entrance Examinations from the 1880s

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
"The title of "Professor" does not really belong to all men who teach any thing, or to every man that exhibits a show—or to mesmerists, and spiritual knockers. Do not give it to them."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)


PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Releases March 17, 2015 now available for pre-order! Working copy edits.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished first draft. Out with Beta readers. Release date November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
via @meghancnyc on Twitter, @strandbookstore Staff Pick!

Quote of the Day:
“The day you act charming, I’ll know something is wrong.”
“Good.”
~ Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti

Follow 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.

Aug. 27th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

What I got up to in the UK + What happened while I was away


Hello my darling Gentle Reader! I'm back from the land of tea and crumpets.

Teacup Flower Display in Nottingham

I'm so sorry to have been so long away from this blog. I took the grand and fateful step of Traveling Without My Computer. Which basically meant I couldn't do any blog posts and had to relax once I hit Devon. Instead I got sick in Devon. Just a head cold, the direct result of traveling with someone who snores (and shall remain nameless to protect the guilty).

Wait, how can snoring make a girl sick?

Well, it's not all that interesting, but I'm one of those annoying people who sleeps. A lot. 8 hours or more a night. If I don't sleep, I pretty much instantly get ill. And eating too much sugar doesn't help. But there are so many yummy custards in the UK.


Unassuming but delicious.

Speaking of which, I made the acquaintance of a Portuguese Custard Tart, new to the train stations and confectioners of England since I last visited. BEST THING EVER. So simple. So yummy. Just a super flaky crust, possibly filo, filled with a thick vanilla custard, possibly semolina. (Kind of like Galaktoboureko without the syrup or Bougatsa without the cinnamon ~ just so we're clear these are my two favorite deserts of all time.)

But I am getting ahead of myself, as I tend to do with custard.


What I got up to in the UK


First thing to happen after I landed was 9 Worlds. I had a smashing time and highly recommend this convention. I thought the programming tracks were beautifully coordinated and the panels were fascinating as well as being thoughtfully filled with amusing talking heads from all walks of life. The energy was young and vibrant. It reminded me, in the very best way, of my first conventions back in the 90s when I was a cos-playing fangirl with no professional cares. 9 Worlds is Geek Fest-taculor, so be ready for ultra-fandom with all the Dr. Who-scarf-bedecked Jayne-hatted huddled-cigarette-dangling-emo-Goths cross-playing candy-colored-hair mustachioed-steampunk goodness. I understand this may be a bit much for some, but my general feeling was... hooray!

With Anne of Pornokitsch

After that I trucked up to Nottingham where I had a wonderful event at the local Waterstones. I admit to liking signings and Q&As better than most other authors do. I find them the best way to meet my more devoted readers. 40 people was a real turn out on a Tuesday evening. (Thank you all for coming.) Many traveled great distances to see me, and most I knew in some capacity over social media already. It was a genuine pleasure to put faces and physicality onto tweets and user icons. The store put on a lovely little spread of nibbles and (of course) tea. Such fun.

With some very well dressed Gentle Readers.

I spent the rest of the week in Derbyshire. I've not had an opportunity to visit the Peak District before (despite the fact that I lived in Notts for several years). Some of my best friends in the whole world still live in the area, so spending time with them, in a real house rather than a hotel, hiking stone circles and talking archaeology was a much needed respite.

Stone Circle!

Then it was back to London for WorldCon.

WE WON!

OK OK, Patrick won but I had to stand up in front of a massive crowd and give a speech and then lug his rocket ship around for the evening (hand-to-head, woe is me), but it felt like I won too. To be fair, other people won as well.

Thanks Hello, Tailor!

However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

World Con was a great time. Different from 9 Worlds because of the size (biggest one ever, at about 10,000 people), location, lack of a centralized bar, and various other reasons (some of which are discussed in this interesting article.)

via Liz de Jager ‏(@LizUK on Twitter) WorldCon Humour in YA panel
@gailcarriger @FrancesHardinge @JodyLynnNye Jack Campbell @Suzanne_McLeod

Friday, during the day, I had panels. My time at this con was evenly split between YA, steampunk, and general authorial tracks. I'm afraid the panels somewhat run together in my head. I do remember the first one was Decontextualizing Steampunk moderated by the lovely Ann Vandermeer. Here's an audience member's report. Friday night was spent in the company of old friends and NASA peeps (I know, I fraternize with non-authors) so that I never did find the parties.

via Paul Weimer ‏(@PrinceJvstin on Twitter)
Gloom at @loncon3 with @msagara @KateElliottSFF @gailcarriger and @PatrickRothfuss

Saturday I had more panels during the day, including a game of Doom in front of an audience ~ a first for me. I lost badly but then again I usually do, I'm not a very competitive person (unless it's a game I always win anyway). That evening I finally managed to track the crew down. Hello, crew. There's various drunken evidence about the net of our shenanigans.

via Myke Cole on Twitter
@MykeCole @sexoskeleton @laurenalexg @gailcarriger

Sunday I had a Kaffeklutch (my favorite), a signing, and then the Hugos. Patrick's category was Fancast and since he couldn't make it he asked if I could pick it up for him if he won. As you well know, Gentle Reader, this is the category for which I'm a genuine fan girl. I LOVE podcasts. The competition was amazingly strong. I honestly didn't think I would actually have to go up there. Not that SF Signal didn't deserve to win, just that there were so many awesome podcasts in this category. When they called Patrick's name, I might have squeaked loudly in surprise. Adam Christopher can attest to this, I was clutching his hand at the time. I gave a runny-nosed and very nervous speech (regretted not wearing a fake beard so I actually looked like Patrick), mispronounced several names - to my instant Twitter shame - and stumbled off the stage. I trotted about clutching Patrick's rocket all evening and feeling very superstar-ish. My brush with fame! Thanks for choosing me, Patrick.

Adam Christopher's ‏(@ghostfinder on Twitter) Obligatory Hugo selfie with @gailcarriger and @mightymur.

After WorldCon I escaped to Devon (which brings us back to the snore-born too-much-sugar Gail-is-an-idiot illness). It was lovely to tramp around my old haunts. (I went to uni in Notts, but spent large chunk of my childhood in south Devon). I took plenty of photos of Sophronia's moors but I'm saving most of them for a different post. Also I read a ton, I'll blog about the books soon as well.

Haytor, Dartmoor

I posted lots of other pictures to my Tumblr feed and some on Twitter. I'll try to get them up in my Flikr gallery if possible. Since Yahoo's blocked out Google, it may take me a bit. Over on Retro Rack I'll be gabbing about a bunch of my outfits and such, but here's a preview of my favorite...


While I was away


Copy edits for Prudence came in. So those are next on my docket. We are still on schedule for the March release. You'll like Rue a lot, I think. (Speaking of edits this podcast episode is spot on: Writing Excuses 9.35: What to do when you disagree with your editor.)

There was a 6.1 earthquake here in NorCal, it was nowhere near my home (even if I had been in it). The Popster grumbled about wine barrels tipping over (he oversees a vineyard near the epicenter) and a friend said all the rum fell of her top shelf, so for my peeps the disaster seems mainly alcohol related.

I am still in #AmazonJail. That's why you can't pre-order my up coming books and shipping is delayed on everything else. Pretty much everyone else is already talking about it, there is nothing I can add to the discussion, or do to change the situation. All I can say is: thank you those everyone who is switching venues to support me. And, I am so sorry to all of of my loyal readers who are caught in the middle. Trust me, I'm as frustrated and saddened as you are. However, I have a little scheme going with B&N that I hope will make things a bit better. More on that to come next month.

Other then that, I hope you are enjoying this month's read along. It came up in panel discussion at both conventions, not once but several times. And not only me, but others also mentioned Clockwork Heart. I was asked what steampunk gadget I would like to try, and I said Taya's wings. I mean, who doesn't want to fly?

And now I am back to self medicating with Thai food, smoothies, and copious amounts of tea.

Treacle Tart
P.S. Yes I ate a piece of treacle tart in Devon. Yes it was just as horrible as I remember. Bakewell Pud, on the other hand, is lovely.

{What is Gail's Book Group reading for August? Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. Next month is Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Derbyshire Costume Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Vintage-style Pet Trailers.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Difference between Afternoon Tea, High Tea, Cream Tea and Elevenses.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
"Another is the ridiculous way of omitting the possessive S in words ending with that letter; for instance, "Sims' Hotel" instead of "Sims's Hotel"—"Jenkins' Bakery" for "Jenkins's Bakery." Would any one, in talking, say they had stayed at Sims' Hotel, or that they bought their bread at Jenkins' Bakery. This is ungrammatical, as it obliterates the possessive case, and is therefore indefinite; and moreover, it looks and sounds awkwardly."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)

PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Releases March 17, 2015 now available for pre-order! Next up: copy edits.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished first draft. Out with Beta readers. Release date November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 250): A Conversation With Chuck Wendig and Gail Carriger Live From The Pikes Peak Writers Conference

Quote of the Day:
via Twitters

Follow 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.

Aug. 6th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Gail is in England


My dear Gentle Reader, I am in England from August 7th through August 26th.

Paddington Station, London by Toni Frissell, 1951 via 20th-century-man-tumblr

Here are the events at which you may catch me...

UK Events

Nine Worlds


FRIDAY August 8

I may make it down to the bar to socialize, depends on the jet lag.

SATURDAY August 9

11:45 AM ~ 1:00 PM Dragons vs Werewolves vs Vampires vs Warlocks
County C&D
Four monsters enter, one monster leaves. Zombies, dragons, werewolves or warlocks? It all gets decided here.

1:30 ~ 2:45 PM Food in Fantasy
Room 32
So you've made a world. You've designed people (or other beings) to inhabit it and you've given them art, culture, history,language. What about food? Food is a central part of most cultures: societies are structured by the need to grow and distribute it, and families are structured around cooking and eating it. How will your food reflect the cultures which you create? Our panel discuss the role of food in fantasy: both their own, and favourites.

5:00 ~ 6:15 PM Looking Backwards
County C&D
From Victorians to Egyptians, what's the appeal of past worlds? What can we learn from them, and how do they inform our work today?

SUNDAY August 10

11:45 AM ~ 1:00 PM Female Characters in Steampunk
Room 12
In most genres the main characters are male. Steampunk has a whole bevvy of sassy women who do not let petticoats get in the way of puzzles or fun.

2:45 PM Signing at Forbidden Planet
Dealer's Room

Nottingham


6:30 ~ 9:00 PM Event at Waterstones
1-5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GR, United Kingdom
Tel. 011 + 44 + 115 947 0069 for Tickets (3 quid)



From @HorzaEdeo via Twitter


WorldCon 2014 AKA LonCon 3


FRIDAY August 15
 
3:00 ~ 4:30 PM Decontextualising Steampunk
Capital Suite 2 (ExCeL)
Is steampunk historically specific, or could any genre story benefit from a few more cogs and zeppelins? Pros and cons of exporting the aesthetic to other times and places? Can you have steampunk without empire, and all that implies?

6:00 ~ 7:00 PM Writing Costume and Clothing in Fiction
London Suite 2 (ExCeL)
Some stories focus on the hardware of science fiction, but many writers paint a rich and full picture of their created worlds, including what people wear. What makes it work? Who does it particularly well? Writers and costumers share their views and reviews on fictional fashion.

I am most likely to be found in a bar after this panel.

SATURDAY August 16

Noon ~ 1:30 PM Where is the YA Humour?
Capital Suite 13 (ExCeL)
Much of what we see in the YA shelves is dour, grimy and deadly. Where can we find the lighter side of young adult fiction? Which authors should we look to?

3:00 ~ 4:30 PM The Big Playthrough
Capital Suite 7+12 (ExCeL)
Card game in which players strive to kill their horrid, horrid families in as gristly and grotty ways possible, whilst trying to keep the families of other players alive.

7:00 ~ 8:00 PM The Education and Training of a Young Protagonist
Capital Suite 10 (ExCeL)
How is education treated in SF? What might a futuristic classroom look like? What are some great examples of how education and training have been used by authors?

I am most likely to be found in a bar after this panel.

SUNDAY August 17

Noon ~ 1:00 PM Kaffeeklatsch
London Suite 4 (ExCeL)

1:30 ~ 3:00 PM Autographing Session
Big Autographing Space (ExCeL)

8:00 ~ 11:00 PM Hugo Awards

LonCon should be a blast. It is looking to be the largest WorldCon ever! How's that for the death of sci-fi conventions?

I will not be doing any other public events in the UK, just those listed above. The rest of my time will be spent visiting with old friends and family and drinking vast amounts of tea. If you want concentrated Gail time the Nottingham event or the Kaffeeklatsch at Worldcon are your best bet. I have more spare time at 9 Worlds but I am going to be (in the immortal words of my CA youth) hella jet lagged.

I repeat, I have no other events planned in London. You need to come to Heathrow or the Docklands to see me. I know, but I came all the way across a continent and an ocean, and you lot have some excellent public transport, so... Can't catch my programming items? I am often to be found in the bar chatting with other authors of an evening.

For those of you traveling to London and staying around to enjoy the city, here's The Parasol Protectorate's Must Do List When Visiting London and here's 14 Beautiful Independent Bookshops In London.

This blog will not be updated while I am away. However, I am monitoring incoming calling cards, email, and social media. Unfortunately, I will not be able to respond to anything that isn't extremely urgent. And there may be days when I am entirely off the grid.

"In going to England, take with you no American reprints of English books, unless you intend leaving them on board the ship. If you attempt to land them, they will be seized at the custom-house."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)


{What is Gail's Book Group reading for August? Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. Next month is Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey}

GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1878 Summer, 1878 Tissot, James Etching and drypoint on laid paper Overall- 42 x 26.9 cm Gift of Allan and Sondra Gotlieb, 1994 © 2014 Art Gallery of Ontario

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Willow Ware Octopus Don Moyer

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Rubik’s Cube Fridge at ThinkGeek

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
"You only knew that the stream of literature had passed over her mind by the fertility it left behind it."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)

PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Releases March 17, 2015 now available for pre-order! Edits handed in, awaiting copy edits.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished first draft. Out with Beta readers. Release date November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Parasol Protectorate Fancast Sebastian Stan as Biffy Chiwetel Ejiofor as Professor Randolph Lyall via woolseypack tumblr


Quote of the Day:
“We wish them all success, although we would have more confidence in the movement if so many of the delegates had not worn bloomer dress.”
~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Follow 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.

Aug. 4th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Interview with This Month's Book's Author ~ Dru Pagliassotti


Dru Pagliassotti, the author of this month's book, Clockwork Heart, kindly dropped by for an interview today. While we are reading Clockwork Heart, her third book, Clockwork Secrets is due out at the end of next month on September 28, 2014. She will be talking with us about that novel. (The middle one is Clockwork Lies.)

So, Gentle Reader, please give a polite gloves clapping welcome to the brilliant Dru Pagliassotti...

About you!


Tea or coffee and how do you take it?
Just between you and me, I go both ways … and I prefer them medium-bodied and naked.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.
I usually show up in a parachute skirt and corset or a frock coat and cravat — my choice of gender display rather depends on my mood that morning. Have I mentioned that Madame Lefoux is one of my favorite characters in The Parasol Protectorate series?

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?
I’m a bit of a mad social scientist who keeps using herself as an experiment — a few years ago I experimented with writing standing up, my laptop sitting on an old-fashioned iron crank-up bistro table next to a whiteboard ringed with Edison filament bulbs. Writing on my feet works out well for a few hours, at least, and if Lewis Carroll did it, how can it be wrong?

If you drive, what do you drive?
I drive a 2001 Toyota Tacoma pickup — like me, it’s sturdy, has a few dents and rattles, isn’t very expensive, and will stay on the road until it falls apart.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)
A scoop or two of rich, creamy French vanilla ice cream cupped lovingly by a crisp, old-fashioned sugar cone, of course! (Did I pass?)
Gail's verdict: deviant with a flair for the unusual, but otherwise sane.

What's most likely to make you laugh?
Concocting maniacal plans for world domination with my colleagues over drinks. If we were in charge ….!

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what's your poison?
Most days I prefer a crisp and dry prosecco to match Cristof’s personality, but when I need to get away from it all, I choose a gin and tonic as bitter and exacting as Alister.



   Fantastic duds!

Dru aspires to achieving a mindset of Zen-like calm and loving compassion for all creatures, which would be a lot easier if she didn’t like alcohol, meat, martial arts, and playing sneaky characters in tabletop RPGs so much, or if she simply liked other people a whole lot more.

About your book!


What should readers eat while consuming your novel?
For Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire, I recommend spicy Indian cuisine, since spicy food is Taya’s favorite and Heavy Fire finally takes her to Cabiel. If you have Cristof’s delicate stomach, I’m afraid you’ll just have to pick around the edges of the plate.

What form does evil take within its pages?
No monsters or mad scientists here — the villains of the Clockwork Heart trilogy are just a bunch of selfish bastards.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?
Kiss? My characters are my children! And writing while standing up is the only such eccentricity I share with Lewis Carroll….

What's your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?
While I was writing the Clockwork Heart trilogy, I was inspired by the Industrial Revolution — that chaotic period in which tradition clashed with progress and people had to struggle to figure out where they stood in the world. Ondinium is a socially conservative, hierarchical society being threatened by the technological progress of other countries. Actually, in some ways Ondinium is like the United States today, a world power that’s slowly losing its influence and is trying to figure out how to adapt to changing circumstances.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?
You must think me such a terrible parent! Still I’d have to vote for slapping Cristof, because he’s the most like me — he needs to stop feeling out of place and worrying about everything and simply enjoy life for a change.

Without spoilers, what's the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?
I love the Horatio Hornblower and Aubrey-Maturin novels, so the best part about writing Clockwork Secrets: Heavy Fire was finally getting to write a tall ship novel myself — even though my ships fly in the air instead of sail over the water.

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?
Heavy Fire carries the unmistakable scent of gunpowder and engine oil.




Framed for regicide and trapped on a ship crippled by enemy fire, Taya and Ondinium’s diplomatic contingent seem helpless to prevent the well-engineered war their enemies have put into motion. While Alzanan and Demican armies march across Ondinium’s borders, Taya and her husband fight airborne battles from the tropical islands of the Cabisi Thassalocracy to the war-ravaged mountains of Alzana. When Taya falls into her enemy’s hands, will anybody save Ondinium from the devastating weapon about to be plunged into its mechanically ticking heart?


{What is Gail's Book Group reading for August? Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1860 Bonnet and Parasol  1860s  Musée Galliera de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
I tried these: crescent roll wrapped around a marshmallow that has been coated in butter, sugar, and cinnamon.
Make sure to use salted butter, lots of cinnamon, and not very much sugar.
Seal the roll around the mallow very very well and line the baking pan with parchment.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Deadly Victorian fashions

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
The Best Apps for Any Kind of Writing


PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Edits handed in. Release date March 17, 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins soon. Release date early November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
The Ranting Dragon says of Soulless, “A witty foray into the more humorous side of steampunk, this novel features vampires, werewolves, air ships, impeccable fashion sense, and lots of tea drinking.”

Quote of the Day:
via FB


Follow 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.

Aug. 1st, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

This Month's Book Pick ~ Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti


This month, those of us in the book group, will be reading Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. So far the book group has read some space opera and some YA paranormal, I thought it was about time we delved into steampunk. I chose Clockwork Heart for several reasons:


  • It's different from my own work in that it's not alt-history steampunk, but alternative planet steampunk. I  feel like this style of steampunk is underrepresented and offers a very rich tapestry to explore.

  • It starts out with a woman flying. How cool is that?

  • The third volume in the series comes out at the end of next month and I figured this would give me enough time to maybe the second and then, hopefully, buy the third when it comes out.

  • It seems very well regarded among bloggers who also like my books, so I'm hoping you like it.


I'll be in England for most of this read along. I will have the book with me. I have an interview with Dru to post before I leave, but the blog will be holding my programming schedule for the duration of my trip As always, if you want an active discussion Skye moderates my fab Gooodreads group and you can talk about it there or on the Parasol Protectorate Books Group on FB. Of course, as always, please do feel free to leave a comment here as well, I simply won't be able to respond until I get back.

{What is Gail's Book Group reading for August? Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti. Next month is Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The Club Hotel by Ministry of Design

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
The rejection letters: how publishers snubbed 11 great authors


PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Releases March 17, 2015 now available for pre-order! Edits handed in, awaiting copy edits.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished first draft. Out with Beta readers. Release date November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
AnneArundel Library reviews Etiquette & Espionage in a YouTube video.

Quote of the Day:
“The genuine Bostonian is satisfied. He rises moderately early, goes to business without any especial haste, dresses comfortably, talks deliberately, lunches freely, and goes home to his family at plausible hours. He would like to have the world made better, but is not going to make himself sick trying to cure the moral ailments of others.”
~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Follow 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.

Jul. 30th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Book Review: Blood and Chocolate


So this month's book, Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause was a reread for me, but it was different looking at it with my critic's hat on.

My Original Goodreads Review


This brilliant, sexy YA, did urban fantasy before we knew that's what it was called. Please don't judge it by the abysmal movie version, the book is nothing like that dross. It's romantic, fast paced, a true insight into what it might be to be a teen girl and a werewolf. The main character is strong, powerful, and has a genuine path to self actualization and independence. We should be so lucky as to have young girls read and want to be Vivian. I adore this book.

And Now?


When I first read it, I mostly just loved Vivian. I liked how she is such a strong and powerful creature, physically and otherwise. Klause writes her as wolf-like in attitude and self-confidence. That's so different from most YA novels which (in an effort to create an outsider character) dwell overmuch on weakness and shame (often as obstacles to be overcome but still defining character traits).

Yet Vivian is still a YA character. She is trying to find out her place in the world, the difference being that her world has been upset. Her place, once so surely with her pack, is shaken. Most YA protags are weak and find their place through strength and personal growth. Vivian starts out strong but won't except her place.

Dammit, there's no reason I should let pack traditions rule me, she decided.

Vivian's struggle is to acknowledge duty. Loosing her father left her with a profound sense of survivor guilt, both wolf-like loss of alpha leadership, but also a sense of responsibility in that as she becomes an adult it is part of her genetics to pull her pack together, shoulder the burden of their survival, because that would be following in her father's paw-steps. That would also be the adult thing for a wolf to accept.

At the same time, Klause gives us a girl with whom young readers can identify. Vivian is experiencing the classic pangs of first love. There is both the standard agony and euphoria, but these sensations are exacerbated by Vivian's cultural confusion.

Have a talk with him about what? she wondered. What had she done wrong? Why did Mr.s Teague not want a mate for her son?

Vivian is, by our standards, animalistic in her wants. A werewolf main character allows Klause to write a sexual teenage girl, powerful in her choices, in a way that a human main character would have been frowned upon my most critics.

He looked sleek and suntanned. Vivian wanted to bite the buttons off of his shirt.

Vivian is also fighting with her mother in exactly the way most teenage girls do.

Vivian bristled. "You can't tell me who to date."
Esmé put her hands on her hips. "'Don't date is you can't mate.' the saying does." Human and wolf-kind were biologically incapable of breeding.
"I'm going to a concert, not having his baby," Vivian snapped. "And don't tell me wolf-kind only start relationships when they want children. I know better."
"You've got a smart mouth girl," Esmé called as she walked off.
Now Vivian was sure she was going.

And yet that relationship is complex, later when her mother is crying over the photos and they go into the bar together, you see some of their mutual love. There is also a sense of Vivian being aware of her mother's brittle fragility, and that some of Vivian's dislike of her mother stems from a very wolfish hatred of percieved weakness.

She and Esmé exchanged knowing looks, their limps plump, curved, and smug.

Klause's writing style is neat and her sentences short. Not so skillfully fragmentary as Tarr, but punchy and sparse. She breaks out into occasional moments of lyricality but mostly she keeps it tight. Partly this is her writing style, but I think, also a way of showing the wolf mentality in prose. Direct, confrontational, sharp.

He nodded, unable to talk. His world had changed. Now shadows would always take on threatening shapes. What had she done? Oh, poor, poor boy. She was indeed a monster. She had made him unsafe forever.

Follow Up Reading?


Klause has only a few books out, and though I tried most of her other stuff, none of them drew me in like Blood and Chocolate. There are those who love The Silver Kiss, which is her vampires meets Tuck Everlasting approach. If you enjoyed this month's pick and what you like is Vivian's strength and confidence, I would suggest you try Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series (YA fantasy, knight in training), or her Beka Cooper series (YA fantasy noir, police investigation), or her Trickster series (older YA fantasy, politics, espionage, rebellion).


{What is Gail's Book Group reading for next month? Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti ~ YA a non-alt history steampunk with strong romantic thread.}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1870 aleyma-  Mourning ensemble, made in the United States, c.1870 tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Teacup Hedgehog. ([今日の一枚]ティーカップハリネズミ by @hedgehogdays)

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
“Rejoice when a little girl shows a fondness for reading, and by all means encourage it. Keep her well supplied with good and entertaining books, and you will have little trouble with her.”
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)

PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Edits handed in. Release date March 17, 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins soon. Release date early November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
In Between dreams and reality Melliane says of E&E, “The world is as always very interesting and it was nice to find this idea of ​​steampunk mixed with creatures of all kinds.”

Quote of the Day:
“The day was Sunday, the date February 16th 1874; the time . . . about eleven A.M., when the Painter, enjoying his seventh day holiday after his own fashion, went strolling about the rocks. The others waited lunch for him, and had eventually sat down without him, when two of the sailors arrived with a message from him: ‘I have found the entrance to a tomb. Please send sandwiches.’”
~ Amelia B. Edwards in A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

Follow 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.

Jul. 28th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

San Diego ComicCon Swag Reveal


So not everyone can go to San Diego Comic Con, Gentle Reader. I know this. I didn't go, for example.

But what did the luckies get?


Only these adorable Prudence fans. Aren't they the cutest? Love them! The Orbit peeps are so very inventive.

My fab publicist hides behind the fan

Hopefully there will be more around and about at some of my launch events. I may get a stack to give out as prizes on this blog. Also I believe they will be at New York Comic Con.

@jlks77  Fave #SDCC2014 swag of the night.

@pyroblaze18  Most useful #sdcc swag ever!

{What is Gail's Book Group reading for July? Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause ~ YA werewolf from before it was a thing}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1896 Parasol  Mikhail Perkhin, 1896-1903  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Pocket Watch  Movado, 1910  Sotheby’s

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Traveling in Style- Mrs. du Pont's Travel Case, c. 1920 via Two Nerdy History Girls

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .


PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Edits handed in. Release date March 17, 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins soon. Release date early November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
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:


Quote of the Day:
“Overhauled for the size of his knee-buckles, and the exorbitant ruffles on his shirt, and the costly silk lace to his hat.”
~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Follow 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.

Jul. 25th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Victorian Houses ~ Peek into Gail's Research


Soon I am off to England, Gentle Reader. One of the things I love about traveling in the UK is the architecture. I'm a particular fan of the mixing of time periods you often find in smaller towns.

Topsham

However, while I am in London, I'll be paying attention to the less flashy Victorian houses, because I have been researching them lately.

In the late 1890s an American visitor to London describes the houses as:

"very tall, and very plain, and very narrow, and quite expressionless, except that it wore a sort of dirty brown frown. Like its neighbours, it had a well in front of it, and steps leading down in to the well, and an iron fence round the steps, and a brass bell-handle lettered 'Tradesmen'. Like its neighbours, too, it wore boxes of spotty black greenery on the window-sills – in fact, it was very like its neighbours . . . Half-Moon Street, to me, looked like a family of houses – a family differing in heights and complexions and the colour of its hair, but sharing all the characteristics of a family – of an old family."
~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. li)

Victorian Terrace houses in Leeds, Wiki Commons

In the 1890s a standard house in town would be arranged roughly like so:

  • Top floor: servants and children's bedrooms (usually two)

  • Half-landing: bathroom (often)

  • Second floor: master bedroom, dressing room (in larger houses), second bedroom

  • First floor: drawing room

  • Ground floor: dining room, morning room

  • Basement: kitchen, scullery, possibly a breakfast room

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. li)

The Duchess of Duke Street or You Rang, M'Lord? are both great TV shows to watch to get the feel for houses of this type. (And no, I had not seen You Rang, M'Lord? before I chose Ivy's name.)

The complexity of the bedroom is particularly interesting to me.

Victorian Bedroom Painting

"Mattresses were of organic fibre: horsehair mattresses were the best; cow's-hair ones were cheaper, although they did not wear as well; even less expensive were wool mattresses. A straw mattress, or palliase, could be put under a hair mattress to protect it from the iron bedstead. Chain-spring mattresses were available in the second half of the century, but they were expensive, and they still needed a hair mattress over them. It was recommended that a brown holland square should be tied over the chains, to stop the hair mattress from being chewed by the springs. The hair mattress itself then needed to be covered with another holland case, to protect it from soot and dirt. If the bed had no springs, a feather bed – which was also expensive, hard to maintain, and a great luxury –  could be added on top of the mattress. An underblanket, called a binding blanket, was recommended over the hair mattress."

"After the basics (all of which needed turning and shaking every day, as otherwise the natural fibre had a tendancy to mat and clump), the bedding for cold, usually fireless rooms consisted of an under sheet (tucked into the lower mattress, not the upper, again to protect from soot), a bottom sheet, a top sheet, blankets (three or four per bed in the winter), a bolster, pillows, bolster and pillow-covers in holland, and bolster- and pillow-cases."

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 11)

Bedding clearly was in just as many layers and just as complex a Victorian ballgown! Speaking of which over on Retro Rack I lay out a fantasy of some of Alexia's underthings.


{What is Gail's Book Group reading for July? Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause ~ YA werewolf from before it was a thing. Next month is Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti.}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1870  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Postcard from my Grandfather's travels

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .


PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Releases March 17, 2015.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished first draft. Out with Beta readers. Release date November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
80sidol-tumblr talk to me about my love for ormond tunstell and ivy hisslepenny


Quote of the Day:
“Don’t blame a man for the style of his literary apartments and more than you would for the color of his hair of the shape of his nose.”
~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Follow 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.

Jul. 23rd, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Going to San Diego ComicCon? I have a suggestion.


I will not be at San Diego Comic Con this year. Much as I enjoyed my experience in 2012, I feel it was a once in a lifetime thing. I'm not one of those who can go regularly.

However, my publisher is planning on attending. If you are excited about Prudence I highly suggest you swing by the Orbit booth at SDCC and make yourself known to the cool people their as a particular fan. I would do this as soon as you can, as close to the beginning of the event as possible. Because it's a while supplies last kind of thing.

No, you do not get the book. (How would that be possible while I'm still in revisions?)

Otherwise, oh yes, I am being purposefully obtuse.

What can I say? Doooo eeeetttt.


{What is Gail's Book Group reading for July? Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause ~ YA werewolf from before it was a thing}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1897 Day Dress  1897  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
peashooter85-      Rare and unusual “Femme Fatale” ring pistol, originates from France, third quarter of the 19th century.      Sold at Auction- $11,350

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Strawberry ShortcakeKabaob

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Five Communication Mistakes Almost Every Couple Makes
[Very useful drivers for romantic drama, conflict, and subplot.]


PROJECT ROUND UP
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Revising. Release date March 17, 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins soon. Release date November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
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:


Quote of the Day:
card via FB


Follow 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.

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