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Jun. 18th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

How are we liking Fortune's Pawn? Book Group So Far


I had this great blog post prepped with my thoughts on Fortune's Pawn so far, awesome non-spoiler quotes picked out, cool images, and some questions for you all.

And then Blogger ate it.

Argh!

And because i have proofs due TODAY (eeeeeeeek!!!!) I don't have time to fuss trying to figure out what happened.

So what follow is my attempted reconstruction.

But before we start, over on Goodreads the Gail Carriger Fan Group is running a discussion thread for each month's book. Thread for Fortune's Pawn discussion: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1860752-june-read-fortune-s-pawn-rachel-bach

via Facebook


Suffice it to say, I am enjoying the book very much. It reminds me of a mix of the Huff's Valor series (only less carnage and military) and Viehl's Stardoc series (only less Kassandra predicts the end of all things) and A Point of Honor by Dorothy Heydt. (Thanks to twitter for remembering that book's name for me.) I enjoy that Devi is not particularly special, that she simply is herself ~ tough and good in armor. She's no genetic experiment, or prophet, or savior of the galaxy. She's a really good mercenary, and that's awesome and loveable.

I particularly love that Devi names her inanimate objects because I do that too. Secretly, I think it is an trixie author-beast info-dumping trick: Rachel is using Devi's love for her weaponry as an excuse to describe the tech in detail. But it's a great trick and I must commend her for it.

"Sasha struck true, her armor-piercing bullet hitting Rupert right in the middle of his forehead."


I like Devi very much, although I don't think I entirely understand her - not being of the mercenary mindset myself. I think much of Devi's behavior and personality has to do with her upbringing and the stratified nature of Paradoxian society, thus I wish we saw more of her family and background.


“No, no, I meant why do you want to be a Devastator?”
“Because they’re the top,” I said. “The absolute pinnacle of how far a peasant like me can go. I’d be under the direct command of the Sacred King himself. It doesn’t get much better than that.”



I also am particularly taken by the idea of the gladiatorial power armor games, and by the world of Paradox itself. I do hope we get to spent more time there. If not in this series, perhaps in future works.


“Gerald Reddeath is a hack,” I snapped. “He doesn’t even fight in the actual gladiatorial games. He’s in the demonstration league, which is scripted.”



via oupacademic tumblr

 Much to my delight, Rachel has agreed to an interview. I'll be posting it next week. I've given her the standard silly questions but if you have anything in particular you would like to ask her, please let me know and I will pass it on.

Or you can just chat with her yourself over twitter.

There was something else in the now missing blog post, but I've forgotten because I am brain dead with heat and having just turned in a manuscript with proofs eating every bit of what is left. So please forgive me this spacy ways.


{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 . . .
2013 IN CELEBRATION OF SISTERHOOD

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Star Wars Death Star football

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Dinner In The Sky is an adrenaline-fueled fine dining experience that takes place around a steel dining table structure that’s secured to a set of cables and suspended by crane up to 180 feet above the ground.
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
"A letter is of no use unless it conveys some information, excites some interest, or affords some improvement."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)
(The same may be said of description, in my humble opinion.)


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Proofs right now.

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First:  Turned 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 beginssoon. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies
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:
Lilliput sitting expectantly on my page proofs.


Quote of the Day:
“We're clearly soldiers in petticoats, and dauntless crusaders for women's a-votes! Though we adore men individually, we agree as a group they're rather stupid.”
~ Mary Poppins (Mrs. Winifred Banks)

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.

Jun. 16th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Books A Million & Other Ketchup


Note for Live Journal users:
For those of you who have friended me recently: hello, and thank you. Sadly LJ is not letting me friend you back. I get an error message when I try. This is one of the many reasons LJ is only my back up blog. If you are on blogspot, it s a superior interface.


Gentle Reader, so much to do! Proofs for W&W on the docket this week with a fast turn around so I hope you don't mind if I am relatively scarce on line from here on out.

On the bright side, Prudence is handed in! And I, who never run long, did so with this book. It's coming in at 102000 words, prior to this all of my stuff stayed under 100k.I'm not sure how I feel about this, emotionally. Perhaps my editor will come back with orders to chop.

In other news, Soulless and Changeless will be in a Books-A-Million promotion through the end of June. Both titles will be prominently displayed on a Buy 2 Get 1 Free table in all stores. I am nowhere near a Books-A-Million so if you spot them in the wild, do Tweet me a pic or take me on FB? That would be so fun to see.

via FB

My next blog post, barring crisis, will be my thoughts so far on this month's book: Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach

If you are reading along I hope you have managed to get hold of the book by now. It is a nice quick read so it shouldn't be too hard to catch up. I am sorry for the confined time frame, July's book (Blood & Chocolate by Anette Curtis Klause)  should be easier to get hold of.


{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 . . .
2013 Lady Like spread in Marie Claire

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Dress Set  1915  1stdibs.com

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
via FB

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Handed in. Not yet available for pre-order.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins in July. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies
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:
Water-Cure Journal, January 1855


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.

Jun. 13th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Waistcoats & Weaponry Cover Art


If you follow the Finishing School on tumblr you have already seen it, Gentle Reader. (And if you aren't following the blog, you should be, it's super fun.)

But here it is, the cover of Waistcoats & Weaponry Finishing School Book Three out November 4, 2014!



{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 . . .
1855-1865  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
via on our merry way tumblr

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Cane with concealed umbrella  1880s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
via FB


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Print pass (3rd edit) now, 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 in July. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies
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:


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.

Jun. 11th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Gail's Book Group Launches with Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach!


Well, there was gratifyingly enthusiastic interest in a book group. I am charmed, for I secretly adored the idea, and was afraid you might not be interested. I'm so excited, in fact, that I have already selected the books for each month for the rest of 2014!

via the FB

What Will We Read?

Fiction. A range of stuff from space opera to paranormal to steampunk to romance, adult and YA. I'll be going for both new (within the last few years) and foundation (books with which I formed my own preferences as a reader and wish to reread and share). My taste leans toward female authors, stroppy female main characters, and romantic elements. If those aren't for you, then you might not enjoy participating in the group. (But, really, why are you reading this blog if you don't like such things?)

Also, most of the books I choose are likely to hit up on Tropes I Love.


  • Girl disguises herself as a boy in order to infiltrate a patriarchal environment

  • Solo or rare female fighter/shape shifter/magician excels against adversity

  • Displaced heroine outside of her own culture must survive confusion

  • Against all odds, heroine must manipulate politics in order to build/save her world

  • Excelled nobility must keep her integrity in adversity


They are also all likely to be commercial fiction. (As a rule I am not a big fan of literary works.)

 So, if all that still sits well with you, Gentle Reader?

via the FB

How Will It Work?

10 Commandments


  1. I will announce the book as close to the beginning of each month as I can. It will also appear bellow at the bottom of the text of every post for that month in {}

  2. I will try to choose books available in all English Language Territories. If you can acquire the book legally, as an author, I kindly ask that you do so. (I will also try to announce next month's book early so you can pre-order.)

  3. While I adore seeing enthusiasm for a book you love, I am not open to suggestions. (This is for the same reason I don't cover blurb: burned by the awkwardness of having to hide what I really thought to protect a friend's feelings.)

  4. I'll post my review at the end of the month. This may include spoilers, as can the comments, so if you aren't finished, don't read the post.

  5. Sometimes, I will read more in the series that month. If so, reviews of following books may be included, but will be spoiler free.

  6. My reviews tend to be positive. Please keep your comments the same, or at least polite. There's enough negativity out there already for my taste.

  7. You may comment here or tweet/FB me at any time with your thoughts as you read the book, but no spoilers until the review is live.

  8. I'll mostly be reading digitally, so page numbers mean nothing to me.

  9. If you have a lot to say, particularly if the book touched on an area of your expertise, I may haunt the discussion thread hit you up for a fun guest blog, or a quote.

  10. If possible, I will reach out to interview the author.

Participation is entirely voluntary!

Members of the Parasol Protectorate: We Have Book Group


Thus it is the we launch a new era of natter and fun. Let the reading commence!


June's book is:

Fortune's Pawn by Rachel Bach


July's book will be:
Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
(What ever you do, don't watch the movie.)


{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 . . .
2013 Genlux

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Wall Buttons by Arbutus+Denman

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Exploding Chair by Simone Micheli

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
via FB


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Print pass (3rd edit) now, 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 in July. Not yet available for pre-order.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies
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:
thesilentpoetess-tumblr

Quote of the Day:
Water-Cure Journal, March 1855

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.

Jun. 9th, 2014

Research - Tea and Books

Book Group, Anyone?


Read Along with Gail?

I wonder if any readers of this blog would be interested in doing a monthly read along?


I could post a book I am planning on reading at the beginning of the month and then at the end I would post my review and thoughts and you could participate as well (either here in the comments or over on the Parasol Protectorate Book Group or both). I'd be open to guest blogs and could reach out to interview authors if possible.

Anyway, please leave a comment bellow if you'd be interested in participating in something like that with me.

Thanks!


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1814 fashionsfromhistory-tumblr Plate from ‘Les Incroyables et Merveilleuses’      1814      V&A

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
ofakind tumblr

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Summer Corset  1876  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Print pass (3rd edit) now, release date March 17, 2015.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins in July.



The Books!

The Finishing School Series
The Custard Protocol Series (Coming March 17, 2015)

$0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song, & Fairy Debt

Book News:
Lilliput models the books

Quote of the Day:
Water-Cure Journal, January 1855


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.

Jun. 6th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Prudence Promotional Material Exclusive Sneak Peek!


So, Gentle Reader, in addition to cover copy there's promotional material copy for a book these days. By that they mean the wordage used in online venues, bookstore pamphlets and other advertising. I got special permission from Orbit to let you guys see the Prudence extra copy first!

Here you go...



ON BEHALF OF QUEEN, COUNTRY... AND THE PERFECT POT OF TEA.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar circumstances -- names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of the perfect cup of tea.

But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier's wife, and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do but turn metanatural and find out everyone's secrets, even thousand-year-old fuzzy ones?

Prudence: Book the First in the Custard Protocol Series


Prudence is not yet up for preorder, I will let you know when it is.

In the interim:

Soulless Vol. 1-3 the manga adaptation is currently available in a 3 for 2 deal on B&N.


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1890-1899  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Octopus-Chatelaine

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Savory Cupcakes

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Slash and Burn: Cutting Words from Your Novel


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Print pass (3rd edit) now, release date March 17, 2015.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins in July.



The Books!



Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
$0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song, & Fairy Debt

Book News:
The Ramblings of a Jedi Librarian says of E&E, “This wonderful Steampunk Paranormal book is an hilarious start to this series…  I found myself laughing from start to finish.”

Quote of the Day:
“Whether the coming here of many English ladies with their magnificent pedestrian habits…”
~ 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.

Jun. 4th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Crudrat Audiobook Available Now!


Gentle Reader, I am delighted to report that the Crudrat audiobook is done!
For those of you unaware of the Crudrat kickstarter: it was for a full cast audio production of my YA Science Fiction novel, Crudrat. You can read all about it, and buy it now for $25, on the Crudrat website.


So tha weekend before last, while every author I know was off doing some convention or another (this is my first time in a decade with that particular long weekend free), and Amazon and Hachette duke it out, I experienced the results of a kickstarter for the first time.

I've been listening and enjoying it immensely, despite the fact that usually I can't stand listening to my own work. Perhaps this is because because Dan and I are friends, so he knows my actual voice, which means the narration doesn't bother me like it does with other readers. Or perhaps it is the amazing soundtrack. Or perhaps it is the fantastic voice acting.

Voice talent at the Crudrat wrap party, image from Linda Levy
You don't have to take my word for it. One of the first reviews is up!

If you backed at the $25 level or higher you should have already received an email with a link and password to download. If not, apply to Dan to rectify the situation.

The Crudrat Audiobook is now available for purchase at crudrat.com.


Questions Answered

1. I'm not a backer, how can I get the audiobook?
You can buy it from the site right now.
But I'm married to X alternative platform (Audible, etc...)
Over the course of the summer, Crudrat will start showing up in online retail channels as both a download and on CD. I'm sorry we can't be more precise on this date, but we've put it into a pending line with other self-pub items and then it takes as long as it takes for that venue to drop it. I promise to let you know when I do, and if you could keep your eye on your favorite source as well? Frankly, my best spy in this kind of information war is you, Gentle Reader.

2. Can I buy a CD of the audiobook?
Yes. But, again, if you don't want to use the site it may take a while.

3. How big/long is it?
Crudrat clocks in at a little over 400mb for the download (128kbps 44.1khz mp3), and runs just over 7hrs, and is available in 18 chapter-long files.

4. Can I buy the book?
Nope. Crudrat was printed as a limited run, numbered, special edition, signed, hard cover book. This was available only to those who backed the Kickstarter at that level. It is not for sale to the general public. However you can always stalk ebay or whatever, it may show up there.

via Linda Levy March on  FB Self and my audio producer J.Daniel Sawyer, at the Crudrat wrap party

5. But, I want to READ it, precious! I wants it now! Please?
The Kickstarter was only for audio. Artistic Whispers only purchased limited audio rights for production. Print rights were not on the table, so the limited print run really was a special exemption. I still own print rights. Currently, I've no plans to produce this book in print for purchase.

6. But, but, but *lip wobble* WHY NOT?
So far as I know, no publishers are interested in Crudrat and I cannot spare the time from my crazy deadline schedule to format, ready, and POD this property myself. It is too much work to get it up to my standards. Nor am I entirely certain I want to. Apart from everything else, then readers will start winching on about wanting me to write the sequel. Right now, if you don't like audiobooks, I suggest you make very good friends with someone who backed at the right level. Alternatively, you could persuade a reputable publisher that they want to produce the book. Heh heh.

7. Speaking of which, when do we get a sequel?
I don't know. Someday? I really would love to write it, which makes the pleading hurt all the more keenly but frankly, contract gigs must take priority right now. I'm a working writer which means I write for my living, which means when I am under contract that has to be the thing I work on first. This was, from the beginning, a passion project. And like all such projects must sit the back burner until I can carve out time. I am trying to pull back a bit. Once the final two Finishing School books have launched and the first Custard Protocol, and the second one written I am going to try to pull back. I'd like to do only one book a year for a little while. I'm hoping that will free me up do do some self publishing, more short stories, and a even some at-whimsy for fun novel writing. But this is still publishing and publishing moves slowly so I for-see myself having the time to write a sequel in about three years, whether I still have the inclination is up in the air. That's the for fun part of this equation.

And goodness with the world going the way it is, who know that the publishing industry will look like in three whole years.


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
castaroundlesmodes tumblr
Twenty-two-year-old Miss E. Alice Austen poses in her Sunday best - a smart overskirt and a hat decorated with white lilacs. She holds a parasol and a silver change purse. Photo taken in June 1888 by Captain Oswald Muller.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Gear Bookend $55

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Summer Corset  Royal Worcester Corset Company, 1872  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Hachette Launches Dedicated Bookshop on Booksamillion.com

“Ignorant people always suppose that popular writers are wonderfully well-paid—and must be making rapid fortunes—because they neither starve in garrets, nor wear rags—at least in America.”
by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins in July.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Rewriting now, release date March 17, 2015.


The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)

The Parasol Protectorate Series
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
$0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song, & Fairy Debt

Book News:
Recently acquired books: 2 on the right to read & 2 on the left, I've already read digitally, to donate.

Quote of the Day:
"Last evening we were all in such a gale!"
by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)


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.

Jun. 2nd, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

Jay Lake


Jay Lake died recently. I know, Gentle Reader, but that is the stark reality of it. One of SF/F's beacons as gone dark. I didn't know him well, but I, like many others, have a Jay Lake story to tell. Since he was a master storyteller, I figured the best way to honor his memory is in prose.

via Clarksworld Interview

Jay was one of those rarest of creatures among authors and in geekdom... an extrovert. I never saw anything like him: always cheerful, always bubbly, always the life of the party ~ he actually managed to gain energy through social iterations. It was, at times, quite exhausting to watch. I met him at a convention. I was merely lurking on the outskirts but I watched him be a hero, in his gregarious way, and I loved him for how he treated others.

You see, my dearest friend in the whole world had an awful day. It had gone on to be an awful evening. Her boss was outright cruel to her and the flack followed her into convention safe/fun space in such a way as to ruin her entire weekend.

This was a simple thing and no great matter in the workings of the universe. I tried to cheer her up, but I am not always good at such things and mine, I think, was not the right approach.

Then Jay swooped in. He simply gathered her into his fold. He spoiled her with words and high bright brilliant cheer and unending humor. But also paid grave attention to her troubles and bestowed genuine care on her emotional well-being. It is not often I leave a girlfriend with a male unbidden, but with Jay, it felt perfectly right.

I ran into them later that night, Jay striding about in his crazy loud Hawaiian shirt, his long hair flowing behind him, and each arm graced by a beautiful woman. My friend had a radiant smile on her face. And that, I would come to find, was typical Jay. To absorb and delight and touch and befriend and uplift a near stranger was utterly natural to him. To turn the force of his intellect and personality toward making other people happy. What an unbelievable gift.

I never got to say it but: Thank You, Jay. And, safe travels.

May. 30th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

What is the Nature of Authorial Intent? Tarr & Bookgroup


Recently I poked my nose into a local book group. I enjoy these kinds of things so much. I wish I had the time and friendship group able to undertake such a gathering regularly locally. (More on that to come next week.)

I've visited one or two book groups in the past but they have always read and then wished to discuss my own books. This time I got to pick someone else's book. And I chose Judith Tarr's The Lord of Two Lands.

1700 Banyans  1700s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I've reviewed this book before and while I love it, Publisher's Weekly is not so kind.

At the book group we talked a great deal about Egyptian mythology and the history of Alexander the Great. I realized that I appreciate this book a more for having a working knowledge of both. (Speaking of here's The rise and fall of the Macedonian Empire in pictures.) I now think a better book fro beginners not already vested in the history, that still tackles the changing ways of Ancient Egypt is the excellent YA novel Mara: Daughter of the Nile. So if you picked up The Lord of Two Lands and struggled with it, I urge you to try Mara instead.

Some of the things mentioned in the book discussion:


  • Appreciation for Tarr's skill with description.
    “Spirit goes sour fast in a harem. It goes to wine or it goes to fat, or it takes to poisoning people.”

  • How much wordage she "wastes" on side characters never to be seen again. And yet it's still riveting. This is not something authors often can (or are allowed to) get away with.
    "He was old, thin-limbed but heavy-bellied, in a coat so rich it seemed to parody itself: deep crimson silk crusted with embroidery. He made Meriamon think of the baboon in Thoth’s temple, irascible and holy, with his too-long arms and his withered face."

  • The concept of distance or legend writing. A style particularly prevalent in fantasy where the reader is shown the word as if through the mists of time, a slight fog that lends a lyrical note to the writing but also a lack of intimacy. We discussed the Mists of Avalon as a prime example of this kind of writing. Some of the other readers had a very hard time relating to Meriamon, the protagonist because of this sensation. I did not. Possibly because one of my favorite books of all time, The Forgotten Beast of Eld, is a perfect example of this style of legend narrative. Just so we are clear, this is not a style I feel comfortable writing myself. And when I have tried in the past, it comes off as stilted. I do not have Tarr's deft had with prose.

  • The brevity with which Tarr can transmit profound emotion amazes me. Niko, for example, is always described in words of anger. And yet you are in no doubt of his profound love for Meri.
    "“You’re sick.” Niko kept on holding her. Rocking her, even. His face was never as gentle as his arm was, holding her in its curve, cradling her in his lap. He looked furious."

  • Tarr's use of short punchy sentence structure, lots of fragments. Our love for the character of Sekhmet the cat who is always characterized by this brevity.
    "Sekhmet walked the length of her body, light-footed, lambent-eyed."

  • I spoke at length about how I thought that due to the Egyptian concept of multiple souls and the characterization of Meri's shadow, that Meri herself is constantly walking the line between life and death. That her powers come from that, as do her sacrifices. Her shadow leaves her when she is ill partly because that line is so fragile. His presence as the scion of death would hinder her recovery. Yet she is so accustomed to the other kind of strength his presence transfers (that of bridging the gap, and spiritual power) that she panics at his loss. This is a classic struggle in Ancient Greek plays for the oracle archetype who is both profound, powerful, and damaged: Kassandra, for example, or the Blind Fates. In the male hero's journey this can often take the form of physical travel to the underworld (a brutal in-your-face metaphor), but the best female characters are written into a chronic state between words. I see Meri, in many ways, as a classic liminal character ~ treading between life and death, male and female, Greek and Egyptian, fragile and strong.


This is one of those times when I want to sit the author down and ask her about her intent.


Was Tarr aware of accessing these tropes or is it me reading too much into it? She seems so well educated in the classics I must assume she knows.

And yet, does that matter? I remember Mike doing an academic piece on my use of the New Woman Archetype in the Alexia books. Frankly, I have no idea what he's talking about, but he made me sound so very smart. And if he read my intent in accessing the New Woman, does it matter that I was unaware myself? After all in writign a book, my words become the readers to interpret. Are they really mine anymore?

If the author is unaware of the percussive nature of her work does that lessen the impact?


And with that philosophical thought, I leave you.


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1860

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
NUBILO by Constance Guisset for Petite Friture

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
bessovestny-tumblr Joseph Christian Leyendecker (March 23, 1874 — July 25, 1951)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .


PROJECT ROUND UP

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Print pass (3rd edit) now, release date March 17, 2015.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins in July.


The Shorts!

$0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song, & Fairy Debt

Book News:


Quote of the Day:
Water-Cure Journal, March 1855


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.

May. 28th, 2014

Blogging - WIth Computer

How Does Gail Work? FAQ Logistics


So, Gentle Reader, many of us writers whine about the fact that the single most common question we get is:

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?


I admit to having gotten this question, or a variation, on many occasions. My answer? My arse, if I sit on it long enough. And, occasionally, running water if I stand under it long enough.

whitedogblog-tumblr Victorian-era exercise machine

However, by far the most common quesiton I'm getting these days is:

How do you work?


And by this people mean the actual physical logistics of the business of writing.

For a while I was concerned by this question, because of the old adage that in a creative endeavor everyone is different. I don't think it is necessarily wise to try to model your behavior on anyone else's. If I tried, for example, to write like Mur Lafferty of I Should Be Writing, I'd probably go bonkers inside of a week.  But her technique works for her.

Desk set up before and after

With that in mind, you should take this as an example of one way to do it. Not the way you should do it. Alternatively, you can take it as a horrible warning. Also, I must codicil this by saying I developed this technique over the past four years, and there is a good chance it will alter in the future.

For now, this is my coping mechanism for life as a freelancer...


I have a strict pattern to each day:

  • I try to get up around the same time, drink tea, eat breakfast, stretch, putter on the internet.

  • I post to the blog, get some form of exercise usually by biking into the office or to a cafe.

  • I do business and busy work until lunch, eat something reasonably healthy.

  • I start writing between 1 and 2 pm, stop for tea around 3:30pm (which, during rough draft phase, is usually after I've done the read through of what I wrote the day before and am heading into uncharted waters), finish up with the day's writing by 5 if I'm lucky, 7 - 9 pm if I'm not.

  • Then I have a podcast interview, or I'll work on a written interview, or back to blog posts.

  • Once I'm home the writing brain is, hopefully, turned off so I can relax. Sometimes, I'll putter more on the internet, but usually I try to switch my focus entirely away from work so I can be present for my partner and my cat, and we can do proper civilized couple-with-a-cat things.


I do not work on the weekends, aside from events and conventions. I'm 99% strict on this one. I try to make certain all my editors and agents know that weekends are sacred. If I've been naughty and not made my word count that week, or took a day off to do something non-writing during the week, then I have to sacrifice weekend time for writing.

Which brings us to...

I punish myself.
If I don't meet my goals for the day I don't get any sugar or TV. If I don't meet them for the week, I have to work on the weekend. If I don't meet them over all, I go a little bonkers. My whole obsession with this structure and system is to stop that from occurring.


On the flip side...

I bribe myself. I work well under a reward scheme and so I allow myself certain perks when I achieve goals. Small goals, like having finished my writing for the day early get small rewards, a caramel or a chocolate. Larger goals like finishing a rough draft, get larger rewards, a glass of champagne and a nice sushi meal out. When a new books releases to the market I get a new pair of shoes.

Steampunk Tea Pot

Because I operate on such a strict reward punishment scheme with such a ridged schedule I have to set SMART goals. For me, when I'm on a new project, that's 2000 words a day. When I'm editing it's 1-2 chapters a day. When I'm on a break between projects that's lists of things to attend to that have been put on the back burner. (Mail to answer, contracts to review, short stories to proof, travel and book launch planning, contests, finances, and so forth...)

Logistically, I have a standing desk and a Wellness Gel Mat. I try to break to stretch and if my wrists start to ache I have special support mitties that I wear. I sit down to do read through edits and copy edits.

The standing desks at home and in the office.

I keep my environment clean. I'm easily distracted so my office has to be very tidy for me to function, and if, for some reason, I'm working at home, the same applies to the living room. This means I have to budget time to clean a bit before I can start writing.

I work from an outline and I build time into my deadlines to draw up that outline. It's necessary to the process. It deserves respect and to be counted as part of my word count. I also give myself permission to deviate from the outline should story or character require. Some of the best moments and twists in my books happen when I let go. It took me a while,but I've learned it's OK to do so.

So there it is, a glimpse into my routine.


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1912  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Cute Mod Pet Bed

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Series Spotlight: George Mann’s “Newbury and Hobbes” Series

Quote of the Day:


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