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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.

May. 22nd, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Interview with P.N. Elrod Author of The Hanged Man


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



About you, the Author!


Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

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

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

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

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

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

If you drive, what do you drive?

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

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

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

What's most likely to make you laugh?

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

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

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



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


About your book!


What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

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

What form does evil take within its pages?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cinnamon.




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

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
AP_Candy_ via lolitahime tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Anamorphic Tea Cups Illusion

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


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

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

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. 20th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Book Recommendation ~ The Hanged Man by P. N. Elrod

So while I was on tour in March, I read an ARC of The Hanged Man by P. N. Elrod. It just came out yesterday and I really liked it, so I thought I would blather on about it at you.

It features Alex, a physic (a little like being an empath), and various other entrants into the occult. I would call it more gaslight fantasy, as opposed to steampunk, in the vein of The Native Star by M. K. Hobson. I found the plot enjoyable to follow, the side characters very intriguing, and the love interest (or is it interests) appealing. For me, I would prefer a little more nookie and a little less gore, but you know how I roll.


The Hanged Man by P. N. Elrod


On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed. After the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up.

Turning to some choice allies—the handsome, prescient Lieutenant Brooks, the brilliant, enigmatic Lord Desmond, and her rapscallion cousin James—Alex will have to marshal all of her magical and mental acumen to save Queen and Country from a shadowy threat. Our singular heroine is caught up in this rousing gaslamp adventure of cloaked assassins, meddlesome family, and dark magic.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1838 Ladies' Cabinet Date-  Sunday, July 1, 1838 Item ID-  v. 20, plate 19

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
These aren’t your grandmother’s willow pattern plates

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Time Travel Kitchen is cooking from my very favorite research book on food and domestic life in 1876! She talks all about what the food tastes like and everything. Brilliant!

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
What You Should Know About Taxes When You're a Freelancer


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:
Kitty Shields reviews Prudence, “Carriger has always been one for dialogue, and she manages to weave layers and barbs into the verbal fencing between Rue and just about anybody she comes up against. If you’re a fan of language and Victorian sensibilities, this is a book for you.”

Quote of the Day:
“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.”
~ Jules Renard

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. 13th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

Off to New Jersey for the Steampunk World's Fair


My dear Gentle Reader, I am off to the Steampunk World's Fair! I hope to see some of you there. I rarely get to the East Coast so this is your opportunity to catch me in person.

Before I get on to this weekend, I have a new teapot in my life. It pours well and brews a low grade leaf beautifully with no particulate. It produced 3 mugs of perfect tea and is my new pride and joy.


It's the Forlife 24oz curve teapot with infuser for $30. It comes in white, blue, red, grey, lime, purple, orange, turquoise, black, green, yellow. And it is awesome!

Also I watched Boy Meets Girl. It is wonderful. My favorite movie this year.

And now...



Here is what I am up to at the Fair!


FRIDAY May 15, 2015


3:00 ~ 4:00pm Kaffeklatsch
Location disclosed at sign up

SATURDAY May 16, 2015


12:30 ~ 1:30pm Archaeology and Steampunk Panel
Radisson Salon C

2:00 ~ 3:00pm Gender in Steampunk Panel
Embassy Stage, Embassy

5:00 ~ 6:00pm Steampunk Lit panel
Radisson Salon C

SUNDAY May 17, 2015


12:30 ~ 2:30pm VIP Meet & Greet
Midway tent

3:30 ~ 4:30pm Signing/Autograph session
Embassy Centennial Room

I imagine the rest of the time I will be found where there is either A. Food or B. Alcohol. I am one of only a few authors there and I must represent! Rumor is the hotel has wireless, so I will be connected to the interwebs. (Although hotel wireless is always... hotel wireless.) As always, I'll be all over the Twitters so if you want to meet up and can't find me, I shouldn't be hard to ping.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Lost In Time by Will Davidson for Vogue Australia

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Pride and Prejudice Book Vintage Tote Bag $20

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
SCy-Fy interview with Pornokitsch

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
The Evolution of a Book Cover


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. 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:
Waistcoats & Weaponry in Japan

Quote of the Day:
“Someday when alternate dimension technology has advanced into closet architecture we may finally know peace.”
~ @FergotIt on twitter

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. 11th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

The Only Six Pieces of Luggage a Frequent Flying Author Needs


This started as a tumblr post, Gentle Reader, and has now migrated to the main blog. I travel so very much these days that the pursuit of the perfect luggage is never ending. Here is where my collection currently stands:


1. Large: Izod hard sided expandable case
Got this puppy at Ross or TJ Maxx for $60. The hard sided case is great for hats and larger quantities of costuming. Sadly it got a massive crack in it on my New Zealand trip, so now I need to replace it.
Pros: weatherproof, protective, durable, rolls easily, light interior.
Cons: light exterior means already quite scuffed. No extension strip for attaching second rolly.



2. Medium: Eagle Creek (Switchback 26) convertible backpack (with zip-off mini backpack)
I have had this piece for almost 15 years. It works as a rolly or big backpack (although I've only used it as such a handful of times), and the front zips off to be a little backpack (which I've used a lot). I love it. I can travel somewhere with it stuffed full of gifts, check it, then zip off the front backpack, stuff it inside, and on a larger plane, carry it on to fly back. It is the ultimate versatile traveling machine. And if you only want one, pick this one. I used only it for a decade, before plane restrictions got complicated and needed to be hacked.
Pros: versatility & durability, trailing strap.
Cons: black interior (they seemed to have fixed this in the latest iteration), not great as an actual long term backpacking pack, not weatherproof, tippy.





3. Small: square-ish Lucas travel case with multiple pockets
This is my new replacement case for my baby* (see lamentation at the end of this post) and is the luggage I use on tour and in any other instances where I'm flying carry on only. I can live out of this case plus the tote for a week, quickly and on-the-go constantly. It passes through as a carry on on most domestic flights—necessary as I often do not have time when I land to wait to pick up a bag, not even gangplank valet.
Pros: basic carry on size, nice long, strong carry straps, full handle rather than the new single telescopic handle.
Cons: does not fit in all overheads or under seats, wheels stick out too much and 4 are not necessary for this size, plastic pockets inside rather than the superior stretchy mesh, no stacking sleeve (likely too big anyway), wide end handle (narrow end is better, it allows you to pull through the aisle). I'm looking to replace this one.


4. Very small Travelon underseat
I purchased this specifically for long haul international flights and longer writing retreats. In it I can stash all the things I would be devastated if I lost in my checked bag, but don't necessarily need for the flight (like computer, note books, corsets, first day outfit, jewelry, etc....) and it still works to wheel a stacked tote as a I run to catch a connection. It’s good for those situations when I have to pack a tote heavy and really need something to rest it on at the airport. It’s also great as an event bag for actually walking around conventions, so that as I collect books and gifts, I don’t have to carry them over my shoulder.
Pros: cute, water resistant, many color options, very light.
Cons: perhaps a little too small, quilting style adds unnecessary bulk, no computer sleeve, straps are not long enough to hold jacket so I need to pack a large s-beaner to compensate.


5. Kate Spade long weekender tote with multiple pockets
What you can't really tell from the picture is that this tote is almost as long as a duffel bag, but it still looks like a purse (perception is everything when boarding planes). It would certainly carry more than the above Travelon and possibly I could pack more than my Lucas rolly, but that would be a lot of weight on my shoulder. I got it so that I can do a steampunk event, and this bag is long enough to carry any or all of my corsets and parasols.
Pros: cute, very long, light interior with tons of pockets.
Cons: perhaps a little too light in color so hard to keep clean, perhaps a pinch too big, not padded at all, not weatherproof, likely won't get as much use as my other bags but cost more because of designer tag.



6. Ultimate practical tote
I have the two different sizes and types of totes to compensate for any residual quantity of stuff that doesn’t fit into the bag I’ve chosen to bring, but this one is most commonly used. Believe it or not I was resistant to the style at first, but that mesh top and the way it sits and opens so easily is PERFECT for under the seat. I had to modify it, for it came with two pockets, one zipper and one Velcro. I slit the bottom of the Velcro one and superglued on some ribbon to stiffen it so it could become a handle sleeve for stacking on other luggage.
Pros: cute, padded, durable, weatherproof (sides, not top), mesh top and wide mouth is very convenient for flying.
Cons: needed modifications to work, no interior pockets, trim/straps not leather and beginning to fray, I'd rather a single strap over two smaller ones, a pinch too small—if it were 4 - 6 inches longer I wouldn't have needed a second tote.

In general, this luggage hoard allows me the freedom to travel to any possible event. I'm not one of those who thinks you have to pay bank for luggage. You can usually find a good knock off or surplus at your local bargain bin. Unless you really do travel constantly and only want the one perfect piece, then you might have to really shell out.

Gail Recommends when Buying Luggage...

1. Ideally all bags should:
    a. match but stand out from the crowd
    b. be weatherproof
    c. have light colored interiors
    d. come with leather (or strong canvas with leather pad) detachable straps
    c. have multiple interior pockets; particularly appealing is the stretchy mesh variety

2. All wheeled bags except for the largest one should only have two wheels. In the end, the latest craze for spinning bags is more annoying than useful. It tends to add lot of length and the constant spinniness can get quite annoying when at a standstill or on a ramp.

3. No handles that are from a single pole, in the new "T" style (because stacked bags spin off when running).

4. Ideally, the 4 smaller bags should all be very light weight, have a shoulder strap, have a sleeve for going over handles so they can be stacked, and be somewhat reinforced for carrying computer stuff.

As you can see, given my above collection, I haven’t managed to hit all 4 requirements. But this is an ongoing project, and after five years, I’m pretty happy with what I have amassed.

My favorite piece is dead and sadly no longer in production (it was a cheapie from Ross, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did).


I've never loved the color, and I'd rather it were a short end handle, rather than a wide end handle, but it worked so well as a rolly carry on, fit in almost every overhead, and could be squeezed under the seat in a pinch. I've never had it taken away at the gate, not even by Spirit. (I know, right?)

Must keep looking for the perfect carry on.


{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
La Belle Assemblee Date-  Thursday, June 1, 1837 Item ID-  v. 18, plate 87

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Cute via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
The Traveling Author ~ Packing Tips


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. 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:
Sophronia cosplay in Rotorura, New Zealand


Quote of the Day:
What the world wants to know is... What is CornEvil?


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. 8th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

What I Read While I Traveled Around NZ


I didn't get as much reading or listening (for that matter) done in New Zealand as I had hoped, Gentle Reader. This was for good reason—too many other things to do, and then there was sleep. Sleep is nice. But here are some quick reviews of the books I did read and enjoy.

On the Fence by Kasie West
I picked this one up on the recommendations of one of my taste curator blogs (could have been Skye?) anyway... it's basically a contemporary romance YA with a tomboy protagonist. It was sweet and I liked the relationship between the main character and her brothers and father very much. Reminded me of these books I read in the 80s with a smiling high school girl on the cover. You know those ones you graduate on to reading after Sweet Valley High? Only this was better written. Enjoyable, but you have to already know that you like this kind of book.

Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell
Short story Christmas contemporary gay romance. I like this author's long form stuff, but this one wasn't really to my taste.

My Noble Knight by Laurel O'Donnell
Light Medieval (very light on the historical accuracy) with lots of romance and some bits of nookie. It does feature that girl-with-a-sword (or should I say lance?) defies-patriarchy trope I love so much, but for me it doesn't work as well outside of fantasy. That said, I liked this book enough to buy another one by this author. I enjoy books that make me smile, and I found myself grinning as I read this one. That would make this my first BookBub success. (So far, everything I've tried via the service has been less than stellar, shall we say?) The romance was sweet, but there's no sexy times so don't go hoping for them.


Renegade Magic and Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis
Books 2 and 3 in the Kat, Incorrigible series. I said I had to find out where Alexander came from. So I did. I still like the YA novella best of all this series. I think I'm just not into middle-grade. I want Stephanie to write more romance. Go on, do eeeeeeet!

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
This month's book pick. Full review in a different blog post.

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala (Book One) by Jeffe Kennedy
Romantic shifter fantasy princess story. I found the characters and the romance quite engaging but the world-building left me rather cold. That often seems to be my biggest concern with romance-comes-first books. I don't mind if there isn't much world-building but what there is either falls flat or isn't original enough for me. (I read a recent article that suggests this may have nothing to do with the author, which both upsets me and drives me towards reading more indie.) I've bought the second one in the series, and the third comes out soon featuring a warrior woman, but I'm talking a breather with something more developed. I might go back to Tanya Huff for a while.

And, frankly there is my own world to delve into. Manners & Mutiny proofs incoming.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
La Belle Assemblee Wednesday, August 1, 1838 Item ID-  v. 20, plate 31

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
1890s bicycle ladies via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Art of Hairwork Collection

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
A Quick Guide to Beta Reader Etiquette


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. 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:
Meghan B. on SF Signal says of Prudence: “Prudence is a complete delight. It’s funny, smart and completely aware of how absurd it can be. Carriger uses her new characters with aplomb and leads them on a wild goose chase that nearly becomes all out war.”

Quote of the Day:
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
~ Cyril Connolly

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. 6th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

The Kiwi Files: Auckland and the End of the Road


The good news just keeps coming in, Gentle Reader. I just found out Waistcoats & Weaponry is in the finals for a Locus award, along side Paolo who's a friend of mine (not to mention Joe, Ian, and Garth who I greatly admire). What an unexpected pleasure!

And now on to your regularly scheduled blog post...

After an epic drive around the South Island, the AB and I headed to Auckland, where we spent four days exploring the city. I visited lots of thrift and consignment shops and rather fell in love with the modern meets artsy Auckland aesthetic. I didn't buy anything though, because I hadn't any luggage space. All my free space was filled with L&P and Tim Tams.


Auckland put on quite the show for us. It's a lovely city and we spent most of our time there just wandering around.


We decided not to visit (yet another) vineyard and thus never got to any of the islands. Perhaps next time we are in town we will hop a ferry. Instead we gloried in the urban world, having just spent a great deal of time driving across vast tracts of rural land.

Look at me getting all artistic with the pictures.

"Getting urban" for Gail means eating all the things. And we did. There was a tasting menu at a Japanese restaurant (WHY IS THIS NOT A THING?), gourmet ice cream (overrated), a truly special farm to table experience at Ortolana involving lamb, and a disappointing and ultimately unsuccessful hunt for the perfect pavlova. (The Pavlova: The Story over on The Old Foodie.)

The Pavlova that wasn't right.

In the interest of getting myself away from a food report, I should also say that I wasn't a total slacker. The AB's definition of "getting urban" means art shows and museums and the like. Also, we did stop by my Kiwi publishing house. They were utterly charming and stuffed us silly with New Zealand cheese and wine, of which they are justifiably proud. It made me think that my US editor, Devi, really ought to be made known to them: cheese and wine are two of her favorite things.


And that's it for this long run of hijacking the blog for travel posts.

Or you think it is... wha ha ha! I have another trip right around the corner. I'll have my programming stuff up the Wednesday before I leave for New Jersey and the Steampunk World's Fair and then there will be a report on the event, and then we will return you to your regular Gail blogging warbles.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Parasols on display in the Auckland Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Auckland Gull

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Think Your City is Dirty? Try Living in 19th Century London.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Pottle is my new favorite word.


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. 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:
Frini Georgakopoulos via FB: Cosplaying Alexia

Quote of the Day:
Virgin Radio Lebanon  FB


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.
Tags: , ,

May. 4th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

The Kiwi Files: Tea in Kaikora and Flat Whites in New Zealand


On one of our various stop-overs on our driving tour of the South Island, we made our way to Kaikoura. We had intended to swim with dolphins but weather did not permit. However we saw some truly adorable seal pups playing in a waterfall which made it well worth the trip. Perhaps almost as good as the seal pups was this tea experience I had soon after.


Throughout New Zealand, the AB and I were charmed by the beverages: coffee and tea alike.

A brief aside... You see the AB is a coffee drinker.

Now let us be clear here, coffee is as serious a business to the AB as tea is to me. There is a complex mixology procedure involving three different types of beans: a dark roast (for depth), an Italian (for flavor), and a peaberry (for earthy notes). Then there is a special burr grinder and a special Frisbee French press or whatnot. It takes forever and is very complicated. One of the reasons I opt for tea is that, even with a pot and loose leaf, it is the lazy woman's beverage.

So the AB is a drip drinker by trade, with a splash of milk, but an espresso drinker by necessity. (For it is a truth universally acknowledged that a cafe with good espresso will ever be in want of good drip coffee... and visa-versa. And I always choose to build alliances with local cafes that have good espresso. So at home in cafes we will both drink espresso.)

Yes, me, I do drink coffee. Frankly, in the good old USofA espresso is safer than tea. Rarely is the tea at all good here. I'm just as snobby about espresso (having lived in Italy for two years way back at the dawn of time). I prefer lattes and the AB likes cappuccinos. Both of us are obnoxiously strict about our standards and opinions. I will throw away an entire latte if the bean is gritty, burnt, or too French, not to mention if the milk has been scalded! (Here's the thing: if you must put sugar in your tea/coffee, you aren't drinking the right tea/coffee. There should be a bean or a roast or a blend out there for which milk will add just enough sweetness to cut the bitter for anyone's taste. I really believe this. Or you have a mad crazy sweet tooth. Or you're from the South.)



Now where was I? Oh yes. So the Kiwis know their bean. They lean heavily towards the Italian (as one should!) and they do something with it called a flat white. Now, there is endless contention over the exact definition of a "flat white" but essentially it is a midway milk allotment between latte and cappuccino. Because the bean choice is so good, this means there is enough milk for me, but it's also strong enough for the AB.

We drank a lot of flat whites.

However, because they have their roots in the UK and still feel them, the Kiwis ALSO offer up some truly serviceable Assam-heavy English Breakfast teas. At this cafe in Kaikoura, I actually encountered a full on tea menu! It was thrilling.


I didn't even bother to dither. You know my feelings, Gentle Reader: give me that strong smooth Assam.


I'm pleased to say that despite the description, it wasn't brisk. It was soft (sigh, why do people get that wrong?) but was malty, mellow, and delicious. And look at the beauty of the leaf?


I know you might not think that a thing of beauty, but trust me it's stunning. STUNNING. Big as my thumb, some of those leaves. I was charmed. I waxed poetical. The AB was most embarrassed.

We were left with the feeling that we might have to move of New Zealand. So far it's the only nation where tea and espresso are accorded equal respect in the eyes of the picky. Then again we would have to have a major discussion on the subject of condiments into which sugar is added in a most whole irresponsible manner. (There was excess sugar not only in the ketchup but in the Marmite.)

I believe the tea/coffee experience is helped along by the fact that the dairy is so amazing in New Zealand. It always helps if the milk is full fat and delicious. Mmmmm.


{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
via centuriespast tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
To get Marmite without sugar you must go Mighty

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
A Bachelor’s Bill of Fare (1857)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
25 Ways To Be A Bad-Ass Maker Who Makes Bad-Ass Stuff


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. 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 Novel Strumpet says of Prudence “This novel was chocked full of all the wit and Victorian decorum we have come to expect from a Carriger novel. And the wonderfully described fashion – particularly hats.” ( Includes a video review as well.)


Quote of the Day:
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”
~ Plato

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. 1st, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

The Kiwi Files ~ Steampunk Cafe in Christchurch


I'm delighted to announce that Waistcoats & Weaponry has won Steampunk Chronicle’s 2015 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Young Adult Steampunk Fiction! Thank you thank you!


And now for your regularly scheduled blog...

While in Christchurch, Gentle Reader, we stumbled upon a steampunk cafe. I had heard of its existence, but I didn't know quite where to find it. But the AB and I spend quite some time walking around the downtown area and we stumbled upon it on one of our jaunts.


I was quite charmed by this young gentleman who chatted with us and showed us around the upper shop area.


One of the first things that caught my eye upon entering was this lamp meets dirigible. It might be fun to make some Chinese lanterns into balloons myself in that mystical land of future free time.


Found this little guy sitting atop a top hat.


And this was my favorite thing in the shop, a train meets drinks caddy. So fun!

During our rambles we also encountered a statue of Queen Victoria in one of the parks. I felt it very apt and tried to pay the proper homage.


I also fell in love with a pair of laser cut leather boots, but they were $600 and didn't fit right, also the soles were really hard. These days I find myself (when hunting for more comfortable footwear) gravitating to men's shoes. Not just because of the oxford style, but because they often have super comfortable squishy soles. Why don't we women ever get those in walking boots? It's not fair. And before you post a link to comfortable footwear I ALSO demand it be pretty, by my standards, thank you, and not look comfortable. And before you say, "Gail, just buy the men's shoes," I am sadly cursed with narrow, skinny feet (hence the lack of Fluvogs in my life).


And I don't know how this post on Christchurch became one on shoes. But it's me so I'm not surprised. The destruction wrought by the earthquakes was truly devastating, and although the spirit of the city is still there and they are fighting to come back, it did feel awfully sad.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
one fine day, Akihabara   via ninetail-fox tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
NZ is also the land of rainbows, so much changeable weather

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The fine art of walking city streets in the 19th century (via Two Nerdy History)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
In Defense of Editing


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. 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:
Jess of Shelf Quest says of Prudence: “For those familiar with the preceding series, I have no doubt that this story will enthrall and excite. We see the return of many of our most beloved characters and the way some of them have grown (up) and changed is just really lovely.”

Quote of the Day:
“More people should do things on their own, most of humanity's problems have been caused by people meeting and talking.”
~ Andy Zaltzman

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.

Apr. 27th, 2015

Blogging - WIth Computer

The Kiwi Files: Rotorua & the Convention


My entire trip to New Zealand, Gentle Reader, was because of one man: Andrew. Andrew and I met at the WorldCon in Melbourne a few years ago. Apparently, he was talking to Pip and Tee and saw me in my checked outfit. He asked who I was and they told him, and then he asked to be introduced.

Andrew's first Gail sighting, image courtesy of him.

Apparently during the course of that meeting, he conceived of the idea of having a steampunk themed convention in Rotorua (steam central) with me, Pip, and Tee. Three years later there I was, flying to New Zealand. Moral of this story? Style will get you anywhere.

Gail Author interview with Andrew photo by Martyn

I've been to New Zealand before and loved it. I had even been to Rotorua. But the AB never has traveled Down Under at all, and neither of us have ever visited the South Island. So the plan was to do the convention first, then fly to Christchurch, where we would pick up a camper van and drive around the South Island for a week and a half, then fly back to Auckland, meet my publishers and explore the city before heading home. Things pretty much went according to plan. Also, because of some tips from people at the con, we added the Steampunk HQ in Oamaru to our list, well worth a visit.


Rotorua is quite beautiful, if a little smelly, and the convention was an intimate gathering of super fans many of whom had traveled quite some distance to be there. In addition to the convention, there was also a steampunk gathering at a beautiful Victorian tea house.

Steampunk Rotorura by Martyn

For some reason, I was feeling the cider on this trip. I really liked a lot of the local ones I tried, they were sweet, but not too sweet. There were some new flavors of Crabbies to try too (which were quite sweet indeed, but I loved them anyway.)



More on food and drink to come. Pip pip!

{Gail's monthly read along for April is The Eyre Affaire by Jasper Fforde}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
La Belle Assemblee Wednesday, August 1, 1838 Item ID-  v. 20, plate 22

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Fox Glacier and Lake

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
14 Insane Names Victorian Parents Actually Gave Their Kids

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Repetition, Redundancy, and Overused Punctuation—Oh My!


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. 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:

German hard covers for the Parasol Protectorate Books.

Quote of the Day:
“Gamine.” That’s another one of Bea’s words. It means waiflike, only more so and in French. Which I reckon makes it double.
~ 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.

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