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December 2014

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Steampunk

Trekking Trough Europe

Forgive me for a massive post, Gentle Reader, but I had so little time on the second half of my trip abroad (aka Gail's Grand Tour) that I did not have the opportunity to blog, or even make notes, that I feel I must get it all out at once so I am caught up on my own life.

Last of England

After Nottingham I had a brief few days in London visiting family. I stopped consuming a ridiculous amount of fat in the form of British breakfasts, and actually walked around for a while. Visited the meat market and St. Bartholomew's church.


And was spoiled by the second cousins with a posh trip to the amazing Gilbert Scott at the newly made over St. Pancreas station. The food was absolutely delicious and the company more so.

I saw old friends I hadn't seen in ages. One of them it's been over 12 years and she hasn't changed a bit. The other whisked me away to a speakeasy in Soho. I tasted two cocktails themed on tea, amazing, and after ate some of the best food I have ever eaten in London at a little place called Spuntino's. It's what I would call New York Italian American fusion. It pays to know people who work in hospitality, what we used to call R&B in my day (restaurant & beverage).

I had two clandestine meetings. One of them with my French publisher (there is a good chance I will be in Paris next year) and the other with . . . wait for it . . .


Stockholm, Sweden
My publisher at Styxx is absolutely lovely, and full of news of her new kittens. (Photos of said kittens left me wondering how difficult it might be to get a Swedish cat into the USA.) The coffee in stockholm amazing, and I can't even talk about the cakes, soooo good.



The Swedish edition of Soulless is the first on in hard back and it has lovely black page edges, Styxx's signature look.

Stockhom is a lovely city, and not as cold as I had expected. I really had a very lovely time wandering around, everyone spoke English beautifully, which was slightly embarrassing.


I spoke at the library which is this amazing building, a full circle of books surrounds you, it is the closet thing to a literary mecca on earth.



I ate delicious Italian and the Japanese food. The Swedes rather disregarded their own cuisine, except the cakes of course. The following conversation occurred on several occasions.

Publisher, "What shall we do now?"
Gail, "I'm open to anything."
Publisher, "Shall we have some cake? Yes."
Gail, "Yes!"

Sometimes I am more like Alexia than even I care to admit.


Budapest, Hungary

I've never been to Budapest before. I have to say something about the hungarian language ~ it is remarkable. At times it sounds Finnish or Italian but also has some passing resemblance syntactically to Japanese. It's a very old living language and I thought it amazing to listen to. I was lucky enough to have three days in Budapest and my publisher there was determined I should make the most of it. They spoiled me rotten with both events and much personal touring. I got to see a great deal of the city and have a Turkish bath!

Self and my lovely guides!

At first we ate more amazing Italian food, but then my guide, the adorable Szilvia, discovered my love of local cuisine and made certain I had an abundance of Hungarian fare.
Goulash soup (sort of beef stew with tomato broth and potato and carrots and lots of paprika) + kind of potato casserole made with egg, sour cream and sausage + a Greek salad (for my California sanity) + elderflower juice.

Chimney cakes! A street food that like a baguette meets pretzel meets churro big enough to wear on my forearm. Made wrapped around a steel cylinder over and open brassier and then rolled in cinnamon sugar or vanilla sugar.

At the book faire, a small version of our BEA, I had my very own booth babes. So fashionably dressed.


I got to meet my Hungarian translator. I asked her how difficult the books were to translate and she said the steampunk parts were the hardest but that I did manage to make her laugh even when working.


The city is just lovely and we mostly walked everywhere. I took a million photos, but I won't bore you with all of them here since they are mostly old buildings. I have a weakness for spires and Budapest indulged me shamelessly.


The parliament building with a Earthday fair out front.

"Just an apartment building," says Szilvia.

We ate at one particular restaurant purely because of the menu.

Had a meeting with bloggers at this fantastic cathedral like cafe, but we were driven out by piano playing and ended up in a smaller one down the road.


On the way there we encountered the Budapest's critical mass, strangely accompanies by a Zombie flash mob.



Getting out of Hungary, however, was a bit dodgy for a while. I had Szilvia's number and several a horrible moments of thinking I may end up stranded on her couch. RyanAir "had no record" that my checked luggage had been paid for already, and with no time to argue they sucker-punched me with $120 in charges. (Twice what the flight cost!) No more RyanAir for me. The security was so slow at the Budapest airport, and I got a pat down, that in the end I literally had to sprint for my plane. (Discovering that I am well out of shape!) Luckily, there were two other girls in the same situation so they held the plane for us, but I was literally the last person on board!


Barcelona, Spain

I fancy myself having ~ after too seasons excavating in Peru, high school spanish, and a two week language emersion in Cuernvaca ~ a decent understanding of Spanish (if not being a very good speaker). However, I forgot how incredibly fast they speak the language in Spain. I catch maybe one word in five, so I can only loosely follow any given conversation. Lets not even mention Catalan.

After the horrendous RyanAir debacle of the wee morning hours, I landed feeling slightly shaky and not a little traumatized. My pick up was then late which left me with the realization that, without internet, I had no phone number and no hotel information for Barcelona. I was just considering my options when a lovely young lady with a horrible cold came bouncing up full of apologies. She proved to be my editor. Thank goodness! After the stoicism of the Hungarians and the Swedes the effusive exuberance of the Spanish was quite awe inspiring.


As was the whole concept of St. George's day. This is a massive festival in Barcelona all about St. George, the city's patron saint, and the fated dragon. For some reason it has be co-opted by vast numbers of books and a red roses. Everywhere, you go in the city there are tents with books and stalls selling flowers. It's quite remarkable.


I ended the day at a signing that included several famous musicians and possibly a reality TV star or two. This occasioned the appearance of large crowds which gave me my first taste of what it will be like at ComicCon, I suspect. None of them were for me, of course, but it was brilliant people watching.


I'm writing this at the airport in Barcelona. I left the same amount of time to get here as I did in Budapest yet I am over an hour early. My gate information still isn't posted and I've been typing for over an hour. Thus I sit, sipping my very last European coffee and listening to the British Tourists Abroad down the end of the table from me talk about their pregnancies.

This is a strange life my little scribbles have catapulted me into.

[Posted from Heathrow hotel night before I return home.]

P.S. Flight from Barcelona to Gatwick on EasyJet was wonderful. Pleasant, not crowded, on time and one could buy both magazines and bus/train tickets on board.

GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Infusion of Cute . . .


Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
If Famous Writers Had Written Twilight…


PROJECT ROUND UP
Deportment & Deceit ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Visiting the first Beta.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ The Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 2013.
Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 2: (AKA Changeless) First chapter reviewed, drops on YenPlus April 12th. Print release tentatively Dec. 2012.
Timeless ~ Parasol Protectorate Book the Last. Out now!
Prudence ~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Release date Fall 2013.


BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT on the Parasol Protectorate series! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

The Omnibus hardback editions are limited run through the SciFi Bookclub only.

The manga editions, Vol. available in print, Vol. 2 by subscription to YenPlus.

Most short stories available in ebook form world wide!

The first Finishing School book ~ Not yet Released



Book News:
Soulless Reviews from
Quote of the Day:

Line from the menu at the parasol decorated restaurant in Budapest. I don't know what the mean by "wingles" but I might have to use that word as a name in a future book.

Daisypath Wedding tickers

Comments

I wonder how many dragonish family members were agonised this time of the year again. *shakes head in sad disbelief* One wouldn't think mediaeval times are over. Tsk! Time to coil up in my cave and sort the gold...

Sounds like Japanese? Really?! I should go and see how far I get. XD Love the chimney cakes, wish I could have them more often!
Oh how I want one of those chimney cakes - quickly followed by the other cakes...

I love the Alternative Twilights - my husband and I are now sitting here thinking up our own.

And I fear Ryan Air are just appalling - the only thing they are any good at is screwing extra money from people... if I was Irish I would be most embarrassed by them!

ETA - the Alternative Twilights - my husband and I have come up with a few more...

Edited at 2012-04-25 05:38 pm (UTC)
My goodness, I do love your style so! You are simply delightful and seem to have fun wherever you go. :)

I'm off to London next week. What restaurants would you suggest I absolutely must try? I'll be going all over London, and am especially excited about visiting Brixton and Shepherd's Bush, among other places. Will try to avoid tourist traps!
If you can find it, Spuntinos in Soho is amazing, small plates of what I'd call New Yor fusion with a UK twist. divine.
Hi Gail! I'm back from London! Didn't try the places you recced but I did find an excellent Indian place in Vauxhall called Hot Stuff. If you like Indian, you'll LOVE this place. I plan to return next year, probably May or October (off season a must!).

When do you plan to return to London? :)
I'm considering WorldCon in 2014, actually spending more time visiting family for a week, and then doing the Asylum if it's still on. http://steampunk.synthasite.com/
Oh and Drink, Shok & Do.
St. George Day is also the anniversary (sorta) of the day Cervantes & Shakespeare died, and has been declared as World Book Day by UNESCO.
I am glad you had such a wonderful time! Your recount and pictures are full of joy. :)
Ahhhh the Catalan lisp. That totally threw me when I first visited Barcelona. Were you able to see any of Gaudi's buildings or La Seu? So pretty!

The chimney cakes look amazing. I just gave me donut a withering glare.
I am so bummed that I've been to London and Nottingham, and will be in Spain, about a week to late to meet you. *grumpf*
Hi! Nene Ormes here. We share a publisher in Sweden (Styxx) and I was so disappointed to miss your visit! Glad to hear you had a good time and also glad I got to ask you a few questions (via mail, for the book club-thingy). I had to hold back all the questions I had for the end of the series since I've read all five but only got to ask about the first one.

Hope to catch you at your next visit!
Best regards,
Nene
Hello! How lovely to e-meet you! I remember the interview questions. I hope they go over well. Sorry to have missed you. All the best, Gail
Lovely Barcelona - did you visit any Gaudi buildings?
Ryanair - don't even think about travelling with them - it's often cheaper at the end of the day to travel with BA!