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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.

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.

Jul. 21st, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

If I Were an Actual Celebrity Interview


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

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


20 Questions from Marie Claire Magazine



  1. What food is on your kitchen counter?
    The partial carcass of a papaya. The AB hates them and they are one of my favorite fruits. I buy one every week that they are in season and eat the whole thing myself.

  2. What is the best gift you've ever received?
    My first car: a 1982 Ford Courier (with a Mazda engine) and 200,000 miles on her. My mom's old work truck, Bluebell, became mine on my 16th birthday (so I could commute to high-school myself). She represented so much joy and liberty. Old Bluebell went 300,000 on the original clutch. I loved that truck.

  3. What is your fantasy vacation itinerary?
    Somewhere with good food, tropical fruit, and lots of swimming.

  4. What can you not miss on TV?
    Bob's Burgers. It's the only thing we actually try to watch regularly. Still, we usually forget and have to catch it in reruns.

  5. What is the best advice you've ever been given?
    Success is largely a matter of holding on when everyone else has given up.

  6. What movie do you think has the greatest ending?
    Later Days. I can watch him drop that tray over and over again. It's not exactly the last scene but it's the ending. SO GOOD.

  7. What is on your perennial to-do list?
    Vacuum. There is never a time when our apartment doesn't need it.

  8. What is on your bookshelf?
    Science fiction and fantasy baby, all the way.

  9. What is on your feet right now?
    Nothing.

  10. What is you go-to karaoke song?
    I don't sing, but I make a killer back-up dancer. If you want to catch me embarrassing myself by singing out loud? Firewater by Chome Johnson gets me every single time.

  11. What is your beauty secret?
    Soaking my feet in hot water and baking soda every night I wear high heels. Nothing is right with the world if ones feet are sore.

  12. What should every woman try at least once in her lifetime?
    Asking for exactly what she wants in bed. And vibrating sex toys. Yeah, I said it, someone has to. Sheesh, ladies.

  13. Do you have a secret talent? I can cut a perfectly straight even slice of bread, even those super fresh crusty round loafs ~ so long as I have a good knife.

  14. What makes you laugh?
    My friends when drunk and also: wit, absurdity, folly, mimicry, and the occasional bad pun.

  15. What makes you mad?
    Inefficiency, passive aggression, and slovenliness.

  16. What charities do you support?
    My local Animal Shelter, Kiva, Worldbuilders, and a selection that advocate literacy, health, and education for girls and women.

  17. What splurge is well worth it?
    Anything to do with health, safety, or natural fibers. More consumerist? Shoes, fresh fruit and vegetables, and good books.

  18. Do you have an pet peeves?
    So many. People who can't sit still (jiggly leg ARGHHHH). Ill-disciplined children in public. Weak tea and weak handshakes. Skim milk. Anything smelly.

  19. How did you make your first dollar?
    Aside from the tooth fairy? I was a page at my local library.

  20. What's the one thing you wish you'd known when you were younger?
    Self defense.



{What is Gail's Book Group reading for June? Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach ~ Book One in the Paradox series}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1860s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Red Yellow Cluster Art Bouquet to Art 2014

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Meet The Three Female Medical Students Who Destroyed Gender Norms A Century Ago

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


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

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. 18th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

On the Heartbreak of an Unfinished Series


In addition to the Paradox series I read another book last month, To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane. (I also finished More Usefully Employed by Brenda Moon, the Amelia B. Edwards biography. But that is not germain to this post.)

Finishing To Play the Lady was both a euphoric experienced and utterly soul crushing. Particularly after the Paradox series, which was such beautifully tidy three book deliciousness.

Here's why.

You may think, I hated it. Or I loved it but it was so badly edited that my enjoyment was thwarted. That's not it at all.

Did I like it?
Yes! It was YA with a strong magical warrior heroine. Many of my favorite tropes were hit. It felt a bit like Tamora Pierce meets Sherwood Smith, how could I not love it? There were some flaws, mostly in length and editing, some repetition, some errors in overuse of cliche phrases, but 90% of the time my immersion in the story was unaffected. Trust me, that's really good.

Do I recommend you pick it up?
Yes but...

The book was released in 2011, it is a completed work but unmistakably the start of a series. It's self published. (I have nothing against self-published books but it does mean the author has only a self-imposed deadline. There are exceptions, but authors are notoriously ill-disciplined.) The most recent update from the author indicates a certain lack of optimism over a release timeline for Book 2.

Health, life, money, tragedy: there are many reasons an author stops writing. Being an author myself, I completely understand ~ projects derail. You saw it happen to me with Prudence. However, as a reader, I would rather have not read this book, then be left without knowing what happens next. Now I fear I never shall. It's too good and yet too sad. I reached out to Naoimi and she immediately emailed me back to say she was trying but couldn't make any promises. I'm hoping that she keeps her head high and fights the good fight and I wish her the best of luck. Selfishly, for my own sake.

This has happened to me before


My first experience was with Claudia J. Edwards. She began her Bastard Princess series with Eldrie the Healer in 1988 and I loved it. And then, nothing. She never wrote another book. I've no idea what happened to her or why she stopped writing. She died in 2010, having published nothing at all (under that name) for over 20 years.

I kind of want to sing a song: Whatever happened to Claudia J. Edwards?

My second experience was with Sharon Green. A prolific writer known, perhaps best, for her incredibly complicated world-building and fantastic nookie scenes. Her best magical system, if you ask me, was in The Far Side of Forever series. It was working up to feature a pretty fab romance too, and then... oh, and then... She left a romantic cliff hanger at the end of the second book in 1989. She went on to write hundreds of books but never finished that series. I must assume it did not sell well enough.

I was crushed and never read her again. Although, now, I see she has some stand-alones and I might try a few of those. Cautiously. Carefully. A burned child near open flame.

Confession time


As I write this, I am struck with the horror of realizing I have done this myself. To you, Gentle Reader. I think Crudrat stands alone but it certainly isn't a finished series. I too am a sinner. I am mortified. I can only apologize profoundly and make amends. And so, you read it here first. I will finish the second Tinkered Stars book, and I will make it as complete a story as possible, within the next five years. This I vow. I will carve out the time from my other series for those few who loved my little sci fi audio offering. I will NOT be that author. I will not give up because of life, like Claudia. I will not sacrifice a lesser loved series for a more popular run, like Sharon.

And I will write more stand alones. I promise. Because I love them, and their aren't enough out there.

Now, you tell me: Any lost or abandoned series that trouble you at night, Gentle Reader? 


{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 . . .
1860  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Purse Gold Coin Lilli

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

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

Book News:
Reading in Winter says (after reading Soulless), “Gail Carriger, where have you been all my life?...This is a fast-paced book that will have you laughing and swooning — and maybe wanting to talk in a proper British accent for a while after finishing. There’s romance and vampires and werewolves and just so many things to keep readers interested.”

Quote of the Day:
“From thence we sallied forth to see the clean, quaint village of Stratford. It was built just to have Shakspeare born in.”
~ 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. 16th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Reading Guide for Etiquette & Espionage Now Available


A little while ago, Gentle Reader, I had an inquiry from a librarian about a study/reading guide for Etiquette & Espionage. I am ashamed to say I didn't even know such things existed. When I was a girl we read a book and, sometimes, did a book report. That was pretty much it. These days, teachers, librarians, and parents expect books for young readers to come with guides.

Apparently, this is kind of like a press kit meets discussion syllabus, including:

  • cover art

  • author photo/bio

  • about the book/pre and/or post reading activities

  • vocabulary words

  • timelines (real and/or fictional)

  • questions for discussion/essays

  • links to other websites of interest

  • suggested additional reading

  • common core standards tie in

  • character lists


"Isn't that basically Gail's website?" you say. I know, that's what I thought too. Finishing School Section of my website.

Nevertheless, I know that most teachers and librarians out there work brutally hard at their jobs. And there is a certain appeal in a guide for schools featuring a book about a school. Circularity! So I did the only thing I could, given my current deadlines and time constraints: I crowd sourced. I threw out the question to my readers (knowing many of them are librarians) to see if any has written a guide.

Reads 4 Tweens: "Not exactly a study guide, but my review points out things adults might want to talk with kids about."

So then I asked if anyone was interested in doing one for me. Ray & Elizabeth stepped to the plate. (Thanks guys!) And then I, because I am a perfectionist, reviewed and tinkered a bit.

So now, on my website in several places you will find the following:

Etiquette & Espionage Reading Guide and Vocabulary List

Here are two free printable pdfs for teachers, librarians, parents, and other interested parties.

* Reading Guide ~ includes fun activities, discussion questions, Common Core details
* Extensive Vocabulary List


Please feel free to spread the word to your local education establishments. We did our best to make it clear, easy to print, and entertaining.


{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 . . .
1857  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Tea blood via Fb

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Boys Will Be Boys, and Girls Will Be Accommodating


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:


Quote of the Day:
“The history of England is the history of progressive refinement.”
~ Amelia B. Edwards

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. 14th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Why is writing a book so darn time consuming? Occasional FAQ


I get one particular question a lot, Gentle Reader. And I have sort of answered it in the past in different forms. What's my daily work schedule like? How do I write? What's the professional side of being a writer like? But I realized recently what I never really addressed was:

Why is writing a novel so darn time consuming?


So here it is, for me, what the manuscript process is like from soup to nuts. (Or as the Victorian's have it: from sherry to brandy.) I tend not to call it a book until it is printed. FYI in publishing it's occasionally referred to as a property.

Outline

Basically I sit down with my story bible full of midnight (and mid shower) notes, clippings, research thoughts on characters, courses of inspiration and I imagine a backbone. This includes plot points, romances elements, revelations, passage of time, conversations, gatherings, action sequences, and a balance of single person, dual person, and multi-person scenes.

This only takes me a week or less.

Rough Draft Stage

For me this is by far the hardest part of the writing process, squeezing the words out. I write 2000 new words every work day. First I re-read whatever I wrote the ay before (and only that, no more) and do a quick proof, amend various repetitions, edit a little, rediscover my voice. Then I lay down new words. I am allowed to write far future scenes and work on the outline as needed but otherwise I must keep flow. I use TK in the text for points requiring research.

This stage takes 2-3 months.

After this I like to let it sit for at least a week, ideally two. (In the good old days it was a month, but now, deadlines make that impossible.

First Draft Stage

This stage I go through and fix all the TKs. I usually have research, consistency checks, as well as pickup editing from sections that didn't get caught on the stage-by-stage read through. I try to catch repeated information, plot holes, and so forth. Rarely do I have major rewrites but I usually have at least one page of notes to check through from the beginning to the end. These include consistency checks, new foreshadows, and other changes that were dependent on later revelations I didn't know about in the outline. This stage I am either attempting to cut 10-20 thousand words, or add in about that many.

This takes 2-3 weeks at best.

Second Draft Stage

I do a full spell check and proof for any errors I can spot. I fix any remaining TKs and double check notes made during the previous passes. This is mainly a read through pass. It's can be bundled in with the previous pass and takes 2-3 weeks.

Third - Fifth Drafts

This is when I involve my beta readers. If I have my ducks in order,  I have time to print out the manuscript and pass it to each reader at a time. They read for content (that is, not interested in typos and so forth) and consistency. They tell me if my characters are working, illuminate plots holes, indicate what's funny and what isn't working. If I am lucky it makes it to all three but it can be just one or two of them as they have busy lives. During this time I take a break from the project, unless one of the betas wants to have a discussion. Sometimes I am on a tight deadline and this is the draft that has also gone to my editor.

This takes 1 - 2 months, during which time I am usually traveling or editing or writing something else. I prefer not to be writing a new project in the middle or editing an old one, but often I don't have a choice.

Sixth Draft

I go over the edits from my betas, change things I feel are necessary and make any alterations I thought up while I was on break from the project. That's why I like breaks so much, the back of my brain gets a chance to percolate. My beta readers often catch my writer's ticks and my historical flaws in word choice etc, so there is a lot of find/replace at this stage wards (change to ward), figured (changed to determined), just (changed to simply), and rather (delete too many) to name but a few.

Ideally I turn it in to my editor by my deadline. This is what I mean when I say "on deadline." There are many other deadlines during this process but this is the big one.

This draft takes about a week and should tell you that at least three sets of eyes and five drafts have passed before my editor even gets the manuscript.

Seventh Draft

My editor can take from two weeks to a month to turn the manuscript around and send it back to me. If timing is good, I'm on book tour for the previous book (or two) while this is happening. She sends it back to me with an edit letter noting all the things that need fixing, comments in the margins, and typos fixed. Usually, I'm supposed to turn it back around in 2 weeks.

Eighth Draft

If the edits are too much I ask for an extension. Often I have a long phone conversation with my editor about possible solutions to the problems she has identified. The editor spots the problem but the author has to find a solution. I can often see several approaches and I like to run the options by my editor, so she understands resulting implications or each possible change. For example: I could remove this character but he is used for comedy in this scene, foreshadow in this scene, and love interest for x character. So how about I just combine him with this character instead? Or I can change the plot here?

Together we decide on the approach. Then I do the fixes and turn it back in. Takes from 2 weeks to 2 months. For two of my books it took longer (Blameless & Prudence.)

Ninth - Tenth Draft

This is usually when I get line edits. Unless the editor didn't like some of my fixing in which case there's one more rewrite pass. Line edits means typos, sentence structure, word choice and so forth. These take a week or two.

After that the draft process is done and the book goes into production.

Copy Edit Pass

Used to be that this was a paper manuscript but now it's done electronically. The manuscript has been handed off to a professional copy editor who looks for line-by-line errors but also consistency (internally and compared to previous books), whether I obey house rules for language and grammar (set by the publisher), and other issues. There are usually questions in the margins for me to answer. Often copy editors will change the text to be grammatically accurate without consideration of the author's voice, or whether the sentence is dialogue. (In case you didn't know, we don't speak the grammar same as we writes it.) When authors are complaining about copy editors (and we often are) this is usually why. I try to keep an open mind. After all, they are copy editors, it's their job to try to catch everything. I just write STET in the margin. Often, however, it's at this stage I realize if I am having grave errors of communication with a reader who doesn't ordinarily read SF/F. This kind of error has to be fixed. Usually, an author has the same copy editor (and also translator) for a whole series.

I like to read my manuscript out loud to an empty room at this stage, it helps me with tone and word repetition and it activates a different part of my brain. This is my last chance to catch any major errors. It also can be rather hilarious. Copy edits are usually a 2 week turn around.

Proof

Sometimes also called the type set pass, or galley stage, this is the final stage of the manuscript process. These are still mailed in. Often there is a tight turn around of a week or less and the document is overnighted. This is one of the hardest stages. The book now looks the way it will when printed and I have to comb through to see if any of my STETs from the copy edits have been ignored. Or any lines that have been dropped. This is hard to catch buried in 75-120,000 words. Also I often see errors, in the new lay out, that I didn't in previous passes. But I can only change 10% of the manuscript. Sometimes I push the limit because I am a perfectionist, but it's a bother (and expense) for the publishing house so I try hard not to.


So there you have it. This is just dealing with the words inside the book (as opposed to cover copy, blurb, online promo, and so forth which I often also proof and review).

Part of what makes this time consuming is each stage is interrupted by other business, events, illness, life. When that happens it can take me a day or two to get back into the groove, rediscover my voice, and that effects consistency. I have a whole blog post about what's going on when I'm not writing. When I worked retail we used to have a saying: everything would go so much more smoothly without the customer. In writing it's more like: writing would go so much faster if I weren't an author.


{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 . . .
via 1901-a-space-odyssey tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Red Swirl Flowers Bouquet to Art 2014

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Jellyfish Air Plants

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Special Needs in Strange Worlds: Mur Lafferty on Limitations for the Supernatural


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:
Over on the Pop Culture Case Study Podcast, Episode 11 Dave and I talk about the movie Mean Girls bullies, victims, and cyber bullying. I did a bunch of research on this for the characters of Monique and Preshea in the Finishing School books.

Quote of the Day:
“The two school bullies that used to flourish their silk pocket-handkerchiefs in my face, and with their ivory-handled, four-bladed knives punch holes through my kite – one of them is in the penitentiary, and the other ought to be.”
~ 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. 11th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Mostly Dead in Translation


I had the most fascinating conversation with a translator recently, Gentle Reader. I have blogged a bit before about how much I enjoy chatting with those who translate my words. It forces me to think about language differently, and how I apply it.

Such a discussion started recently with the phrase "mostly dead."

Woman reading a book. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

A translator emailed to tell me that she was struggling to properly translate my term “mostly dead.”

I use it at various points in my Parasol Protectorate books:

Changeless p. 205
“Werewolves being supernatural and mostly dead, could have no children.”

Blameless p. 13 p. 17
“Your husband is basically dead, or was basically dead and is mostly dead now.”
“So what if he was mostly dead?”

Blameless p. 179
“Your preternatural touch, it does not cancel out the fact that the supernatural person has, already, mostly died.”

At first, the translator thought it meant “almost” or “practically.” However, the proofreader disagreed. Because “mostly” could mean “most of the time,” they began to think it meant “almost dead,” that is, not completely dead. Or, it could also mean “essentially.” (In which case, a supernatural is dead, and the only time he is not dead is when a preternatural touches him.)

I also use the phrase “basically dead” in the text, but that's Mrs. Loontwill speaking, and we know we cannot trust her...

My Thoughts on Being Mostly Dead


First, of course, I'm using that particular term as an ode to Douglass Adam's description of Earth as mostly harmless.

That said, some philosophy:


I am using the term mostly to imply a level of confusion on the part of the characters and the scientists of the time. Werewolves/vampires are considered undead, that is, they have died but are still walking around. They aren't living because they don't die ~ life being partly defined by mortality (Victorians are morbid) thus these creatures aren't mortal anymore. It's a condition of stasis. They can't procreate, for example. But they are alive in terms of they walk, talk, and interact. Would an android, for example, be considered a living creature?

The physicality:


So far as the in-world scientists are concerned, the best way to think about it is that most of a person's soul has died. Hence "mostly." By using the word "mostly" I am contrasting against the world "all" or "entirely" or "completely."  It is a matter of proportion or percentage. Death in my universe is not an absolute, it is an end point. Glass full, glass mostly full or mostly empty, glass empty. The stage of immortality is that middle stage: mostly dead. Closer towards dead than alive, but still present above ground.

This is not necessarily a measure of time, but of content. Saying "almost dead" implies that one soon will be. Not the case. Saying "practically dead" implies one step removed, so also not right.
 “Almost dead” might work, but again the implication is temporal - that death is immanent. Which it istn't because immortals are in stasis.

“Essentially” might work best as an alternative.

Ah, the precision of English.

I choose "mostly" because it is so often associated with volume or measurement rather than time. Thus the reader is reminded of the remains of soul and the way the transfer of immortality works in my universe ~ that someone can only be immortal with what's left of the soul. Mostly can then be a measurement of what has gone (measurable or immeasurable as the soul may be).

I know, welcome to my brain. Did you know I have a philosophy minor? Epistemology was my focus. So, yeah.


{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 . . .
via Retronaut ‏@theretronaut  c. 1910- Woman with a parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Latest addition to my office

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
French Hair Art & The Industry of Mourning

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
All about author errors that make it into publication, J. Kathleen Cheney on Forgiving Anne McCaffrey


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:
Spy Museum in Washington, D.C via Terrence


Quote of the Day:
“The size and power of an internal security service is generally in direct ratio to the extent of the suspicion and fear of the ruling clique.”
~ The Craft of Intelligence: America's Legendary Spy Master on the Fundamentals of Intelligence Gathering for a Free World by Allen W. Dulles

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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