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November 2015



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Big Announcement & Best Swag Evah Revealed!

So I am hoping, Gentle Reader, you are all of a quiver to learn what was revealed at Comic Con 2012?


At my Spotlight on Saturday I announced that . . .

The Parasol Protectorate Books have been optioned for TV!

*insert polite gloved clapping here*

Now, please don't get too excited . . .
  • What is an option? The right to try to raise backing and interest from Talent (writer, director, actor) to try to put together the possibility of some kind of show. In this case a television or mini series.
  • Who got it? A small but lovely independent film company out of Ireland has optioned the Parasol Protectorate series for one year with a possibility of re-upping for two years. They are behind such awesome projects as Breakfast on Pluto and Kingdom.
  • When? Could be within the next two years, could be never. Unlikely to hit airways for some time. That's how options work.
  • Were? Should the project come together, the pitch would go out to both UK and US film stations, both network and cable. Yes, that would include the BBC but there is no guarantee they would pick it up.
  • Why? My suggested pitch was: True Blood meets Downton Abby ~ only funny. We shall see if they use it.
  • How? My books have two things working against them, which add up to the same end result. 1. They are set in the past in exotic locals. 2. They have fancy steampunk elements and lots of supernatural special effects. 3. Result = expensive.

So? Am I thrilled and very excited, yes indeed. But it's best to be only cautiously optimistic about such things.

I'd love to read your perspective is on fantasy casting. I adore knowing what actors and actresses readers envision in the various roles. I did a little guest blog ages ago, and I'll do another one here in the future. But for now, bring on the blog posts! However, please remember, whoever you cast must be able to do a proper British accent. I positively demand it! *shakes tiny fists* I'm utterly exhausted by this run of Americans trying to be posh. Shudder.

Present company excluded, of course.


The Best Swag Evah give away at Comic Con was, as many of you guessed, a sneak ARC copy of Etiquette & Espionage the first in my new Finishing School series. Little Brown brought 100 copies with them, I signed them, and within two hours on Thursday they were gone. For those of you who took the time to track the book down ASAP and give the code word I am truly grateful, you guys made me look good in front of my new publisher. No small thing. I do hope you enjoy it!

E&E Spread

I'll be posting Comic Con details, experiences, honors, joys, and silly incidents over the next week. I don't want to overload you all at once. Plus Retro Rack will feature all my outfits (and other people's), including a DIY for the very silly hat I wore on Sunday.

To those of you I got to meet, those who stood in line for the signing, and those came to my spotlight and tweet-up I am so honored. (Several of you did them all. Yes, I noticed.) There was much awesomeness at Comic Con I feel privileged you took time out for me. It was a brilliant and humbling experience.

More to come!


Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Crossing Words Off Your List: Making the Most of Editing "What Not to Use" Lists

Prudence ~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Working rough draft. Release date Fall 2013. I know that number hasn't moved in a while . . . Comic Con man.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 5, 2013. Working promo schemes.Deportment & Deceit ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Third draft handed in to editor, awaiting edits.
Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 2: (AKA Changeless) Reviewing chapter by chapter, each drops on YenPlus by subscription. Print release tentatively Dec. 2012.

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:
Alexia Fan Art

Quote of the Day:
'One said I could not be a woman, because I wore a belt; the other replied that I might be a man, because I did not show my trousers and had no hair; but they both agreed that I looked like a woman, as I had no beard. Evidently I was a great puzzle to them.'
~ Life in Kashgar as Victorian female, 1898 (via Hickman's Daughters of Britannia)

Daisypath Wedding tickers


True Blood meets Downton Abbey, only funny?

Best high-concept pitch ever!
Thanks! I thought I was being terribly witty myself.

If that doesn't...

Catch their attention, I hope something else will, because I want to see this!!
Keeping all 3.5 thumbs pressed that it'll happen, because TV deserves it! <3 Even if it was made, it'd be years until they show it here (badly dubbed), so rest assured that I'll be the first to order the DVD set. ;P I really, really hope it works out.

Dream cast? Mm. Orlando Bloom for Akeldama and Benedict Cumberbatch as whatever he wants. Ivy! Yes, Ivy.
(I obviously live in a fantasy world. They have tea here.)
Whoever plays Lord Akeldama should be tiny, small-boned, and have the same presence as Anthony Andrews. Being able to do a proper foppish drawl is also, of course, necessary. A touch of old world beauty wouldn't go awry either, being that Dama is so ancient. No poofy lips plskthx.

I'd like ethnically-appropriate casting. A half-Italian actress for Alexia, WHO IS NOT THIN OR CONVENTIONALLY T&A PRETTY; a Scot for Conall, etc.

I would adore unknowns for the main cast, though I latched immediately onto Hugh Laurie as Alexia's stepdad because brilliance. Brilliance. And he's done with House, too. So he has time (?). I would like everyon to be the proper ages, too. None of this 'let's make everyone early 20s' nonsense, please. And please God, let's not have it be a damn soap opera.

Other than the ethnicities that are actually character points (Alexia's Italianness, Conall's Scottishness, Channing's Englishness, etc), I wouldn't mind the BBC's usual colourblind casting AT ALL. Especially pretty pretty pretty Dandies of Colour. Best.

I don't have specific people in mind--as I mentioned, I love unknowns best--all I ask is proper casting, especially with Alexia. It is so important, because you've given us, in Alexia, this wonderful heroine that is Italian-Descent, as well as being plus sized and not conventionally attractive. Those three things are SO RARE and it would be just terrible to have them compromised and whitewashed.

So, that's my two bits, for what it's worth. And that's just casting. I always feel that the author and screenwriter should work together on a script, so that the adaptation doesn't deviate in an awful way, but also makes the transition to screen with the understanding of how different the two formats are.
Mark Gatiss might just be perfect--see his Lucifer Box novels, which have a lot of the same elements as yours--but I know he's very busy, and really the important thing is a screenwriter who really gets INTO what you've created. A fan, is I guess what I'm saying.
I'm sure someone already suggested Alan Rickman - he could easily play all the parts, really. I'd love to see him in a corset and bustle being Alexia. ;-)

Sadly, the best person I can think of for Lord A passed away in 2007 - John Inman from Are You Being Served? No, I don't think that dude who plays Jack Harkness could pull him off.

Of course with the right makeup and wigs Patrick Stewart could possibly do it.

Patrica Routledge would be perfect for Alexia's mother. (She would've made a far better Umbridge than the lady who was cast, IMHO.)

I don't know, or really care too much, about the younger actors and actresses in the UK to do the rest of the casting. I might watch Doctor Who, but never paid much attention to the cast member names. However, I think only British born and bred citizens should be cast in the roles of British characters. Because frankly, there's no American who can do a believable UK-based accent.
My sister and I both got a copy of Etiquette & Espionage. We spent half the morning trying to remember the password and find the booth, but made it. There were many squeals when we received out copy. I'm going to start reading it today!

Fancy seeing you here. :)

I'll be calling you on Thursday or Friday to fill you in on the rest of SDCC, as well as how AWESOME Gail is. Seriously, she just might be one of my favourite people ever.

Power of Persuasion

Oh if I only had the power to persude television people to make good telly The Parasol Protectorate would have been done long ago:D For now I'll just be happy with the news that it's possible.

Wish I could have been at Comic Con, do you happen to know if you'll be visiting Canada, specifically Toronto?

For fantasy casting I've always thought Emily Blunt would be perfect for Alexia:)

Edited at 2012-07-17 05:14 pm (UTC)

Re: Power of Persuasion

Sadly, no plans as yet. Will announce here if I do.
Wow, a possible TV series! In addition to the books and the manga...this is brilliant. It sounds like a great concept. I hope it becomes a real thing.
I'll play:
Audrey Tautou as Madame Lefoux? I know she's meant to be blonde but Audrey is sassy and petite and could totally pull off the wardrobe.
Julie Walters as Lady Loontwill? She's hilarious!
Rupert Grint as Ormond Tunstell? He does ackwardly charming to a tee.
Is Alan Rickman too old to play Professor Randolph Lyall? Because he'd be marvelous as always. He'd also be wonderful as Floote.
I was discussing imaginary casting of the PP with a friend the other day. So happy it's been optioned!

We had a really hard time coming up with a good Alexia because of the lack of...any kind of diversity at all among TV actresses. Naturally we couldn't think of any curvy actresses, but on top of that we could think of very few olive-skinned ones--and not many we could think of having displayed the steeliness of Alexia. The lack of diversity in Hollywood is terrible. Lizzy Caplan of Party Down? She's got a wit on her.

Michael Urie (Ugly Betty) as Akeldama. He could really play both the hammy fop and the slight hint of scheming beneath.

Dreama Walker (Don't Trust the B--) as Felicity.

Claudia Black for Alexia and John Barrowman for Lord Akeldama (not that I'm biased or anything). Kristen Bell would be cute as Ivy. Toss in Stephen Fry, Hugh Grant, Rodney E. Grant and Kenneth Branagh in some way and I would be a happy fangirl!
When something that I like announces a potential adaptation, I hide behind something until it emerges enough that I can poke it with a stick. So I'll be hiding now.
I've thought this was a wonderful idea since you mentioned it at the signing I saw you at a few months ago. I'm glad the books were optioned and I really, REALLY hope it gets made.

I'm horrible at the casting game, but I'd probably prefer unknown actors anyway.
Awesome! Also, congrats. I hope it comes out awesome if they go ahead on the adaptation. Best of luck with it!
That's really excellent news! Congratulations!

On the matter of casting, a couple of thoughts - I'm usually pretty bad at casting like this.

Alexia - I second the Emily Blunt from up-thread
Lord Maccon - Gerard Butler
Lord Akeldama - Benedict Cumberbatch
Professor Lyall - David Thewlis

SLOC also suggests for Ivy Hisselpenny - Sophie McShera (Daisy in Downton Abbey).

Will have to ponder more while at the gym tonight (treadmill-walking = lots of thinking time)
Congrats, girl! The TV option is quite exciting. Great pitch, btw!

The Casting Game

Minnie Driver plumped up a la "Circle of Friends": half italian? Check. Strong nose? Check. Verve/Moxie? Check. All she needs is to gain about 20lbs.
I'd love to see Gerard Butler and Kevin McKidd in there but I'm not sure as what/whom.
such wonderful news!the possibility of a PPS show! *doing the 'Option optimist' dance*
Well, the idea is great and I think anything could be possible.I noticed indipendent companies are pretty good at producing projects these days and I do hope the Parasol Protectorate will come to life soon.
It's hard to select a dream cast because I know only few British actors but I think I can give it a try and sort out someone for the male characters:
Hugh Jackman(working with a British-English speaking coach/or dubbed)as Lord Maccon
James Marsters(people say he's quite good with the fake Brit accent) as Professor Lyall
Anthony Stewart Head as Lord Akeldama
Benedict Cumberbatch as Biff
Having done some research here are some ideas!

Alexia - Sophie Winkleman. Now advantages here are she is British, she has the wit and humour to pull it off (I highly recommend you watch her in two and a half men, the latest series my son loves the programme and she was the reason I bothered to watch it with him!) she pulls off disdain with absolute perfection! and she has the right colouring!

Lord Maccon - Id go with Mr Butler in all fairness I think he would pull it off nicely and he has the bulk to play it. Angus Mcfaydyn (Robert the Bruce from Braveheart) was another idea but he might be too old now. Trawling through Scottish actors it just seems that James McAvoy and Ewan MacGregor are too slight...

As for Akeldama - hmm I have an idea but he has already played one vampire in a teen series that will remain nameless but he keeps cropping up in my head and that is Michael Sheen. He has grace, style and can be charmingly camp and has the power to pull off scary too. His portrayal of Castor in Tron is what swung it for me. Another choice could be Blake Ritson who played The Duke of Kent in the recent revival of Upstairs Downstairs, has the accent and the demeanour to play Akeldama. :)

I have to say your choices for Tunstell and Lyall are interesting and I like them both alternatives for Lyall.. David Wenham played a long suffering monk in Van Helsing :) I would have said David Thewlis but that's type casting :) Tunstell... maybe Freddie Fox who played King Louis in the latest version of The Three Musketeers

Countess Nadasdy - Claire Foy (Little Dorrit, Upstairs Downstairs as Lady Persephone) proves she can play fresh faced as well as a complete vixen!

Floote - Martin Clunes. Older can be softly spoken and strong in character.

That's about it for now, sorry for the long post. I am so excited this could happen, only one word of caution please please ensure you have a large degree of control over scripting! please do not let the TV execs kill the spirit of your amazing books!

Sophie Winkleman

Just an added advantage to the idea of Sophie Winkleman I've just discovered shes actually married to a real life Lord! Lord Frederick Windsor 31st in line to the throne! how uncanny!


too exciting!

My two cents worth:
Alexia: on the basis of her Doctor Who outing I think Michelle Ryan might be a goer
Lord Conall Maccon: Dougray Scott
Lord Akeldama : Rupert Everett

Casting Alexia

I can't help but imagine Erica Cerra when reading Alexia. She's no native Brit, but she's of Italian descent and physically she's a match in my mind!

Re: Casting Alexia

She has the right look but I always worry about non British doing the right accent.

Re: Casting Alexia

A valid concern indeed! Ultimately my hope is that the character is as accurately portrayed in the physical sense as is reasonably possible. Alexia's physical characteristics are as important as her intelligence, wit, and spirit if only because she breaks so many misconceptions of ideal beauty and womanhood. Whatever happens, thank you for creating a heroine as well as many other characters that I simply adore.

Alan Cumming for Lord Akeldama :)

I would love to see this on film or in a mini-series of some kind! It's perfect for it! I really enjoy the books (especially since the heroine has my first name!!)I think that Alan Cumming would be hilarious as Lord Akeldama (his sarcasm and dry wit in The Good Wife is what made me think he'd be good). Not so sure about the others but from book 1 I was seeing Mr Cumming as teh vampire.

Alexia B
I think Miranda Hart would do an excellent Alexia. And Gerard Butler as Lord Maccon.