3.30.2009

In Which Gail Worries Over Age Gaps in Vampire Relationships

I recently read this fantastic article on why vampires would have a population problem. Believe it or not, this has always concerned me. I solve any similar crisis in my Victorian London by making it very difficult for vampires to create other vampires. It's a matter of excess soul, you understand. How to measure soul and predict bite survival rates becomes a driving force behind scientific investigations, resulting in the development of (and money behind) steampunk inventions.

But, I must say that I find the vampire age gap even more worrying. Let me put it this way, how creepy is the idea of a 60 year old marrying and 14 year old girl? Well then why is it suddenly not creepy for a high school emo-girl to date an 1078 year old man? I don't know about you, Gentle Reader, but I get a bit wrinkle-nosed at the thought. My hero is 200 or so years older than my heroine and I decided it was allowable only because her prospects were very poor indeed, being quite the spinster and very much on the shelf. But still, one wonders. Does maturity stop at the moment of immortality making a relationship of such proportions allowable? How old is too old? Troubling thoughts indeed.


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
  • Fashion Trends Winter/Fall 09
  • Monochromatic neutral pallets
  • Leg-of-mutton and tulip sleeves
  • Early 90s inspired hem-lines and prints
In short, disappointing.
Your Tisane of Smart:
This is very exciting. Now I can cook with Tea Oil!

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Dear Author tracks good ebook offers and deals

CAKE in Space: Red penning draft 1.
Soulless: ARCs have arrived, but must be kept at home until after the BEAs.
Changeless: Gone poof. Starting to gather corrections.
Steampunk short: Done

Quote of the Day:
Writing is a fairly lonely business unless you invite people in to watch you do it, which is often distracting and then have to ask them to leave.
~ Marc Lawrence
(Thinking of Ken & Jay's recent Borderlands write-off.) Why is it collaborations always seem to have nice tongue-in-cheek humor?

3.27.2009

Alexia's London: Supper March 27, 1876

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse
  • Neck of Mutton Soup made with barley, carrot, turnips, onion, leak and served separately as broth, boiled vegetables, and meat.
  • Boiled Leg of Pork
  • Currant Pudding


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Christina Hendricks One of TV's Sexiest Stars according to TV Guide. Finally they picked a real shaped woman!Your Tisane of Smart:
Remains of a first century Roman vineyard found in France
Your Writerly Tinctures:
My lovely publisher, the stylish and bespectacled Mr. Tim Holman, discusses ebooks and the future of publishing over on Dragon Page Cover to Cover #353A. Speaking of which Orbit's $1 ebook this month is Karen Miller's Empress.

CAKE in Space: Red penning draft 1.
Soulless: Completed proofs, awaiting ARCs.
Changeless: Gone poof. Starting to gather corrections.
Steampunk short: Red penning draft 1.

Quote of the Day:
"Large, naked raw carrots are acceptable as food only to those who lie in hutches eagerly awaiting Easter."
~ Fran Lebowitz

3.24.2009

Ada Lovelace Day: Archangela Tarabotti

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, Gentle Reader. Those of us participating are supposed to blog about women in science. I have a MS (called a MSc in England) in archaeological materials, which means I specialize in the laboratory analysis of ancient lithic, ceramic, glass, or metal artifacts. My particular expertise is glazed pottery fragments. I've worked with the XRD, SEM with EDX attachment, and ICP-MS (acid D). I've worked in a field laboratory in Italy, and one in Peru, two museums, and labs at universities in the Midwest, West Coast, and England and I've never encountered any problems being female. I've had both men and women as colleagues and superiors. I'm not saying there isn't a glass ceiling in academia, just that I never encountered it myself.

However, in keeping with my interests as a writer, this blog blurb is about a historical woman who, while not being a scientist, acted against a preposterous scientific statement during the 1600s. A pamphlet made its way to Italy in 1647 entitled Women do not have a soul and do not belong to the human race, as is shown by many passages of Holy Scripture. It gained some popularity until, in 1651 Archangela Tarabotti wrote A Defense of Women refuting its claims which eventually resulted in the Catholic Church rejecting the idea that women had no souls.

Archangela Tarabotti wrote many essays defending women. She campaigned for a woman's right to choose her own destiny, criticized the lack of education for women, and vilified paternal tyranny, marriage, and monastic life.


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Victorian gadgets that weren't. I'm particularly fond of the pistol purse.

Your Tisane of Smart:
Archaeologists build and sail an Ancient Egyptian Ship

Your Writerly Tinctures:
A Steampunk's Guide to the Apocalypse by Margaret Killjoy and Colin Foran offered by the Steampunk Magazine ether as a free pdf of $5 print.

CAKE in Space: Next on the agenda - draft 2.
Soulless: Completed proofs, awaiting ARCs.
Changeless: Gone poof. Starting to gather corrections.
Steampunk short: out with Betas

Quote of the Day:
"You, with sophistical arguments, set yourself up to attack that very sex which, because it is deprived of the opportunity to study, cannot answer your malicious inventions."
~ Archangela Tarabotti

3.20.2009

Alexia's London: Supper March 20, 1876

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse
  • Lobster soup made of oyster jelly broth with lobster meat
  • Breast of mutton roasted with stewed cucumbers
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Snowballs, apples stuffed with rice (soaked in milk) spiced with cinnamon, lemon-peel and clove and served with a sauce of sugar and melted butter


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Another case of, why didn't I know about this movie? Lesbian Vampire Killers. What I want to know is, are people killing lesbian vampires or are the killers of vampires lesbians?
Your Tisane of Smart:
The safe, gasless dirigible has arrived... using the beryllium vacuum
Your Writerly Tinctures:
G. Xavier Robillard's Captain Freedom: A Superhero's Quest for Truth, Justice, and the Celebrity He So Richly Deserves uses superhero trope to satire celebrity-obsessed pop culture. Seems like it is very Union Dues-esk with some Terry Pratchett inspired footnotes.

CAKE in Space: Next on the agenda - draft 2.
Soulless: Completed proofs, awaiting ARCs.
Changeless: Gone poof.
Steampunk short: Finishing first draft today.

Quote of the Day:
"Next time he'll have me bummed by a big gay werewolf, I swear."
~ Lesbian Vampire Killers

3.19.2009

Visits Afoot, Bug Love, and Trixy Identities


Meanwhile, Gentle Reader, I have been spending quality time recovering from flu, and kindly spreading it about to everyone I know. Share the bug. This has had the delightful effect of making me feel both exhausted and guilty. My cat has taken to licking the review ARCs. Why? And, to top it off my real identity seems to be slipping slowly away from me, terribly careless, I know. But these identity things are quite trixy.



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
The most amazing chocolates. I tried the "Passion" a white chocolate passion fruit puree beneath smooth dark chocolate ganache dressed in white chocolate. It was so good I nearly cried, it reminded me of the fresh passion fruit juice I drank in Peru. A taste that brings back good memories - what more could a girl ask for? They also offer an Earl Grey tea flavor.
Your Tisane of Smart:
How the Ancient Romans dealt with vampires. This is particularly interesting for me, as in Alexia's universe the Ancient Roman Empire was vampire derived.

Vampires in other cultures are always fun to research. Someday I'm going to write a story about pishtacos, New World vampires that suck fat instead of blood.

Your Writerly Tinctures:
You're only as good as your second novel

CAKE in Space: Next on the agenda - draft 2.
Soulless: Completed proofs, awaiting ARCs.
Changeless: Gone poof.
Steampunk short: 1 more read through, then of to Beta-city sweetheart

Quote of the Day:
"It almost makes me want to go to Britain, sit down for a cup of tea with a crumpet on the side, and read this book. That...and I just like saying the word crumpet, it's an awesome word."
~ PopinFresh on Blogspot at Popin's Lair giving my cover a shout out. It is so nice to know an independent party likes the cover! (And to be intimately associated with crumpets. Mmm, crumpets.)

3.17.2009

Orbit Covers My Cover Uncovered, As It Were!

Orbit's rocking art department, under the mighty hand of the lovely Lauren, blogs about my cover. Cover Launch: Soulless. "Soulless is a really fun debut novel from Gail Carriger and I love the cover we’ve been able to design for it."
And here it is . . .

Note that lower down on the spine is a shadowy little coachman-hatted figure standing under a lamppost? That's right, everyone's favorite professor even got a little jacket time! I love that they paid such careful attention to the details. And I am beyond ecstatic about the octopus. Not just that it is an octopus but that the NUMBER OF THE BOOK is RIGHT THERE on the spine for all to see. So one can look at the series on ones bookshelf and know, instantly, which book is which. Yes!! Little OCD me couldn't be happier with a feature like that.

My Thoughts
I've been living with the full cover for a while now, Gentle Reader, and I've grown to really like it. I love the background, and the fact that they managed some sneaky steampunk elements. At first I wasn't sure about the pink, but it certainly pops and it does modernize the nostalgic feel, giving it a fun little punch. It turns out my friend Sarita was right, they did take a little inspiration from Marie Antoinette with a nod to pulp thrown in.

(Pulp from Poulpe Pulps.)

All in all, I feel it was a difficult book to cover, being urban fantasy, comedic, and steampunk plus appealing to the romance market, and I'm delighted with the end result. Here's hoping it sells!


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Octopus necklace and cuff from modcloth.

Your Tisane of Smart:
10 WTF Sites That Will Warp Your Mind
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Judging Books

CAKE in Space: Next on the agenda - draft 2.
Soulless: Completed proofs, awaiting ARCs.
Changeless: Gone poof.
Steampunk short: + massive stack of notes

Quote of the Day:
"Laugh out loud funny and refreshingly different, Soulless kept me turning pages well into the night. I enjoyed every minute of this wonderfully unexpected twist on paranormals."
~ Angie Fox

3.16.2009

Exploring the Blingier Side of 1950s Fashion

I received a gift this weekend, Gentle Reader. An item I mentioned coveting and then forgot about. Well, a very dear friend found and bought a replica for me. I am delighted and intend for it to become a signature article of Gail attire. It's just so very writerly.
This got me thinking about jewelry in general, so I thought I pop some of my favorite pieces up for posterity's sake. I know many of you come poodling round this blog for sage and satirical writing thoughts, but I have a daring secret to reveal. Sometimes, I'm not writing, I'm shopping.

OK, OK a lot of times.


Gail's Daily Dose

Your Infusion of Cute:
Dress Me Up Steampunk Style (thanks to the debonair [info]baronlaw for the link)

Your Tisane of Smart:
Pentagon plans a giant spy dirigible to use radar to monitor activity on the ground. Why, that sounds so very stealthy . . . a giant dirigible.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database

CAKE in Space: Next on the agenda - draft 2.
Soulless: Completed proofs, awaiting ARCs.
Changeless: Gone poof.
Steampunk short: + a mound of notes involving balloons

Quote of the Day:
"If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster."
~ Isaac Asimov

3.12.2009

How Short Stories Are Like Carrot Stew

In the end, Gentle Reader, I entirely ignored the reviews (of DOOOM) that I had to do yesterday in favor of working on the short story. I finished it, but now that I figured out how it ends I have to go back and change a bunch of stuff in the middle, most scalpel-like removal of superfluous information. This is not unlike having cooked a stew only to discover ones guest is allergic to carrots, thus having to go in and fish them all out. The carrot flavor will never truly be gone, and you're bound to get messy and covered in gravy. One can only hope the stew is not entirely dependent upon the presence of carrots. Otherwise one ends up tossing the whole story. Of have I lost the metaphor in there somewhere?

Anyway, you see what I mean?


From the Society of Illustrators Student Exhibit

In other news, Orbit's Fall Schedule is posted, including self. Thrilled to bits! If you go visit, you get a sneak peek of my cover, which I will be posting about next week.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
How did I not know this movie was coming out? With Paul Bettany no less.
Your Tisane of Smart:
Old woodworking machines
Your Writerly Tinctures:
A list of romance novel publishers who are DRM free from the ladies over at Smart Bitches

CAKE in Space: Next on the agenda - draft 2.
Soulless: Completed proofs, awaiting ARCs.
Changeless: Gone poof.
Steampunk short:

Quote of the Day:
"You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money's in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed."
~ Larry Niven

3.10.2009

Alexia's London: Supper March 11, 1876

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse

  • Winter pea soup made with beef broth and sweet herbs
  • Veal pie made with breast of veal, sweet meats, nutmeg, salt, clove, oysters, and ham inside puff pastry and served with veal and cream gravy
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Custard pudding - lemon-peel, nutmeg, and bitter almond custard inside a puff pastry served with melted butter


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Loving this shop. The shoes are particularly cool and reasonably priced.

Your Tisane of Smart:
Today in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful phone call to his assistant Thomas Watson. Bell was Scottish by birth, but moved to Canada as an adult, eventually spending half his time there, in Brantford, and half his time in Boston. He didn't become a citizen of the US until much later. He also invented the metal detector and dabbled in hydrofoils, aeronautics, and eugenics (including boards that advocated the compulsory sterilization of people deemed to be defective). I mention him here, Gentle Reader, because as a writer of steampunk I see Bell as an excellent basis for mad scientist inventor characterization.

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Going up to bat for the little guy!

CAKE in Space: Awaiting a rewrite.
Soulless: Working on proofs.
Changeless: Accepted!
Steampunk short:

Quote of the Day:
"The way you cut your meat reflects the way you live."
~ Confucius

3.09.2009

Writer's Ticks

Deep Thought
So I was chatting with some authorial cronies of mine, at the time in a slightly indecorous state, but nevertheless capable of conversation. The subject of writer's ticks was arrived upon. It occurred to me, Gentle Reader, that I ought to explain the terminology. I thought it was in common use, but apparently it isn't.

Writer's ticks are certain words, phrases, types of imagery, descriptive metaphors, or other grammatical fallbacks that and author is unconsciously prone to repeating. Now, I am well aware of a number of mine (the phrase "a moment" springs instantly to mind, I'm also fond of the words kumquat, pickle, and hassock) but as I proofed the galley of Soulless, I found others I'd never noticed before. This is a tad aggravating because one cannot rewrite in galley stage, one can only correct egregious errors (preferably the typesetter's and not the author's own). I must say that, so far, Orbit has proved itself a very clean publisher. My only other experience with a big name SF/F publisher, an anthology through DAW, had two repeat lines and a dropped paragraph (in one very short story), so needless to say I was expecting the worst. But I am, sadly, less clean of a writer than I had previously envisioned. Then again, perhaps these are the types of things one only catches on the 15th read through, so no one will notice but me. And possibly five rabid fans.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Octopus broach

Your Tisane of Smart:
National Academy of Sciences Report Finds Forensic Evidence Lacking. There's a shocker. They should tap more trained archeologists.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Odyssey Writing Workshop blog and podcast

CAKE in Space: Awaiting a rewrite.
Soulless: Working on proofs.
Changeless: Accepted!
Steampunk short:

Quote of the Day:
"The story is always better than your ability to write it. My belief about this is that if you ever get to the point that you think you’ve done a story justice, you’re in the wrong business."
~ Robin McKinley

3.04.2009

Victorian Medical Science

Some Excerpts from 1871, Medical Common Sense & Plain Home Talk by Edward B. Foote, M.D.
  • The human machinery becomes clogged with poisonous humors.
  • As a female germ can not produce a child without the addition of a male germ, so there latent impure particles in the blood can not generate disease without meeting their affinitive poison.
  • Theses latent impurities, like the spoor of a minute plant buried far underground, must be of the right quality to unite with and engender specific diseases, or a person, however exposed, will escape.
  • Free circulation of vital or nervous electricity, and unruffled mind, and good blood are essential to health.
  • Leading us to the irresistible conclusion that the first duty of a physician to a patient is to see that his nervous system is set right, his mind emancipated from all depressing influences, and his blood restored to that condition which enables it to impart the tint of health to the skin, strength to the muscle, and abundant juices to all the tissues.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
"Launch Pad, the annual astronomy workshop for writers is accepting applications until March 15th for this summer, July 14-21. Joe Haldeman and Phil Plait of badastronomy.com are the special guest instructors. NASA picks up travel, lodging, and most expenses in return for the chance to bring modern astronomy to the audiences of the writers. See Mike Brotherton and the official Launch Pad website for more information.
Someday I would love to go to this, great research for CAKE in Space, but not this year . . .
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Locus is taking their annual survey on SF/F readers. You can take it whether you subscribe or not.

CAKE in Space: First draft with beta 1.
Soulless: Waiting on galleys, got cover art.
Changeless: Back with editor
Steampunk short:

Quote of the Day:
"I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down."
~ Kaari Utrio