7.31.2009

7 Best Things Said About Soulless So Far

SOULLESS Book Cover

Because I was asked to do this recently for an interview, I present you, Gentle Reader, with a moment of shameless self-promotion. Gail's pick for the 7 best things said (publicly) so far about Soulless.

1. "Laugh out loud funny and refreshingly different, Soulless kept me turning pages well into the night."
~ Angie Fox (She gave me my cover blurb.)

2. "The Parasol Protectorate presents what is perhaps the most original twist on vampire and werewolf mythology to ever appear in the genre."
~ Robert William Berg (He gave me probably my best review ever. I was overcome when I read it. I kept checking over my shoulder to see if he was in the room. My Mom wouldn't believe me that he wasn't one of my best friends or betas in disguise, it was as though he knew the book that well.)

3. "This book is something special, a paean to and gentle satire of the Victorian delight with frivolity, witty to the end."
~ JD Sawyer

4. "It's as fun as it looks, I promise you, and I love that this feels like something new."
~ Janice Y.

5. "I wanted to pick it up as soon as possible whenever I had to put it down."
~ Janicu

6. "I fell quickly into comfort with the writers style and pace, caring about the characters by the end of the 2nd page."
~ Donna Ricci

7. "No one ever explains the octopuses, but that's part of its charm."
~ smartygirl

People have been so amazingly kind so far about my little book. I will simply add that fan mail from librarians always touches me deeply.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Women borrows 25,000 books from her local library never returned one late.
Your Tisane of Smart:

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Proposal to Publication - Part 1 of 5 one agents takes on a journey through the publishing process "From Proposal to Publication." Gives brief explanations of what's happening at the publishing house during each of the stages, and what's expected of the author.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: At Barnes & Noble and at Powell's
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless First Draft, done. Editing for second draft and sample pages due for Bk 2. (pages not words)

Quote of the Day:
"Like everyone else, I am going to die. But the words – the words live on for as long as there are readers to see them, audiences to hear them. It is immortality by proxy. It is not really a bad deal, all things considered."
~ J. Michael Straczynski

7.29.2009

Warning, Trope Breaking Ahead, Proceed with Caution

Deep Thought - Chew Pen
I have a terrible confession to make, Gentle Reader, I like to break tropes. And if you have read Soulless and are regarding this statement with a jaundice eye, I remind you now, there are more books to come. Sometimes I need to build up momentum before I drop the axe. But really I love to do it. I love setting up expected situations and character profiles and then ruthlessly chipping away and fracturing them into tiny little pieces. It's so much fun ~ leaving the reader in a kind of philosophical chaos.

I wouldn't say that by nature I'm a rule breaking kind of person, and don't worry, I'll never do something too drastic. But you have all been warned. And before you ask, no I'm not going to reveal which tropes will be broken - that would be telling, now wouldn't it?



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
A whole mess of parasols! Thanks to [info]inspirethoughts
Your Tisane of Smart:
Historical Irony . . .
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Dame Lili on what writers should do with social media others have said it before, but never this well.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: JD Sawyer reviews my book!
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless First Draft, done. Editing for second draft and sample pages due for Bk 2. (pages not words)

Quote of the Day:
"I mean, seriously, how much more work could I get done if all I had to do was lie back and think of Athens...?"
~ [info]yuki_onna

7.27.2009

Soulless, Urban fantasy? Historical Paranormal?

SOULLESS Book Cover
I have been engaged in an interesting interview back-and-forth recently, gentle reader, wherein Soulless was accused of not being urban fantasy. According to this person, and wikipedia, urban fantasy must have a contemporary setting, which means my work doesn't qualify.

So I was left wondering, if not urban fantasy - then what?

I always thought that since it has an urban setting (London) and a strong fantasy element (vampires, werewolves, ghosts) - it would be OK to call it urban fantasy. I suppose one might refer to Soulless as a alternate history paranormal or, in old style literary terms, simply a Gothic novel. But then I would call most "urban fantasies" more accurately "modern Gothics" because often there is no urban setting (see Sookie in the rural south). Locus recently had a very interesting issue tackling definitions of urban fantasy and paranormal romance from different author and editor perspectives. It does seem to be that everyone has a different conceptualization of the term.

Soulless is difficult to categorize because it has its fingers in so many sub-genre pies (steampunk, paranormal, alternate history, gothic, comedic) and as a result I suspect people talk about it as urban fantasy because that is the easiest trope to identify it with quickly.

I thought I might field this question to the readership, where would you place Soulless?

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
The Wild Haggis on display.

Your Tisane of Smart:
Those Elusive Knights Templar
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Nora Roberts nice little advice to writers: discipline guilt and guilt.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: I'm working on September guest blogs and interviews.
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless Rough draft done! Editing & expanding First Draft. (pages not words - I'm on the read through) First page sample due for Book 2 end of this week. Ahhhhh! Deadlines.

Quote of the Day:
"There is more pleasure to building castles in the air than on the ground."
~ Edward Gibbon
But it sure is fun to dig the ground ones up.

7.21.2009

Random Notes

Betas - Group Approval
Today I was derailed with a barrage of errands and interviews. No complaints, as it is you my Gentle Reader, who must bear up under the lack.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
My secret yearning, to shelve by color over on design mom.
Your Tisane of Smart:
Jewelry made of expired birth control pills. Recycle recycle!
Your Writerly Tinctures:
The last leg of the book process the sale of books from publisher to book store to consumer.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: I'm working on September guest blogs and interviews.
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless: Rough draft done! Editing & expanding First Draft. (pages not words - I'm on the first read through)

Quote of the Day:
"Only ambitious nonentities and hearty mediocrities exhibit their rough drafts. It's like passing around samples of sputum."
~ Vladimir Nabokov

7.20.2009

The Wonder of "The End"

Writing by Hand
Are there any more satisfying words to type in the English language than "THE END"? I doubt it. (And yes I still type them in all caps because of my old short story days when that was What You Did.)

And I, Gentle Reader, have just typed them. Of course, in my case "the end" rather translates into "the middle." I'm a big rewrite, over-write, and edit girl. I spend as much time editing as I do the initial writing, but that's fine because editing is my favorite part. So this week I do a quick read trough, fill in all those bits and bobs I jumped over because I didn't want to deal with them, or need to change because of surprise plot twists that happened as I was typing along. Then I print out the whole darn thing for the Red Pen Extravaganza to take place as I fly south of the equator. I can hardly contain myself, this is going to be such fun!

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Extreme shoes on the fall runways.

Your Tisane of Smart:
Uncovering evidence that prehistoric European cave Artists were female. Huh, ya think? Next up: people everywhere are startled; women lit fires and went hunting too.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about book review bloggers from a Penguin publicist perspective.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Nothign new on the horizon, I'm working on my first in a long line of September guest blogs and interviews.
Changeless: awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless Rough draft done! Editing & expanding First Draft.

Quote of the Day:
“I’m pitching Leprechaun shifter romance. Just the right height for gettin’ lucky.”
~ Overheard at RWA by [info]smartbitches

7.17.2009

Writing: Top 5 Likes & Top 5 Dislikes

Writing by Hand
Some Things I Love About Writing
  • Editing ~ no really, it's my favorite part
  • Ellipses ~ nuff said
  • The Oxford comma ~ beautiful, elegant, tidy, and necessary
  • Action scenes & snappy dialogue
  • Being god
Some Things I Hate About Writing
  • Double-spaced formatting ~ never type it, hate converting it, not enough information on the screen at one time
  • Double spaces after a period ~ just annoying
  • The semi colon ~ it's not its fault that no one knows how to apply it (speaking of it's & its...)
  • Nookie scenes & romance
  • Realizing that god makes far too many consistency errors

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Steampunk Office

Your Tisane of Smart:
Scotland yard testing new police headcams, burst into flames. "We're not against it," said Smyth. "But a couple of them have caught fire, which isn't ideal." Gotta love that British gift for understatement.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about character naming via the [info]smartbitches . Those who know me well know that this is an aspect of writing that runs very close to my heart. These days I simply will not read books with boring character names, I figure the author lacks imagination.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: More librarian compliments to make me blush.
Changeless: working on corrected draft for copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless rough draft: That's my minimum met, but the story itself isn't quite done yet, so I'm still plugging away.

Quote of the Day:
"Life is what happens to a writer between drafts."
~ Dennis R. Miller

7.14.2009

End of Project Insanity

Writing by Hand

All apologies, Gentle Reader, for this shockingly disorientated post. Book the Third is nearing completion, and, as is often the case, this means lots of fisticuffs and pithy dialogue (inside the book mind you, not in reality), which in turn means the fierce clicky-clacking of Writer Beast Action. It also colors my daily off-computer life with odd silences, leaps in conversational topic, and the occasional wave of a hushing hand while I madly scribble down an idea of such utter brilliance the force of the scribble renders it intelligible several hours later.

In addition to this End of Project Insanity, I leave for foreign climes soon, a fact that keeps startling me awake in the middle of the night with "don't forget to pack" moments. Combined with the new car, the advent of inadvertent academics (I return to teaching this fall, pity the students, no really, pity them), and the impending book launch of doom, I have reached a state that is almost, but not quite entirely like, one of those small fluffy dogs running through a car wash.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
More Inspiration from 1930's fashion

Your Tisane of Smart:
White resin pillow planters.

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Excellent journal on one published author dealing with one unpublished git he's a lot nicer than I would have been.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Look Soulless is being used in an academic essay! As an example of misrepresentation of Americans no less. How shockingly British of me.
Changeless: working on corrected draft for copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless:

Quote of the Day:
"A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it to be God."
~ Sidney Sheldon

7.13.2009

Charles N. Brown & Alexia's London: Supper July 13, 1876

Romanticism - In the Square

So I was going to delete and rewrite this entry after I got the phone call relaying Charles's death, but knowing Charles and his adoration of food in all its many forms. I thought it only right, Gentle Reader, that he be memorialized first with a meal...

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse
  • Celery Soup - made with beef stock and cream
  • Minced Veal - simmer cubed veal in cream, lemon, lemon peal, salt, and white pepper
  • Corner vegetables - artichokes, asparagus, salsafy (salsify is the modern spelling – apparently its roots taste like oyster)
  • SoufflĂ© Pudding - sort of like custard fool, made in a mold edged with dried cherry & candied citron (pudding rises to 4x its original height!) serve with brandy sauce
I've known Charles only a comparatively short while, four years or so. We met formally and as equals, for I was listed as a reference when he hired a dear friend and former employee of mine. He found her eccentric dress a bit difficult to deal with, odd coming from a long time SF/F fan, and I was able to reassure him that the intensity of her clothing was pail by comparison to the intensity of her mind. It was only later we met as young new author and legendary magazine editor.
Many people, I am sure, will be out there talking about Charles as a professional, what he has done for the SF/F community, so I will not touch on that here. Instead, I will leave you with my flashes of memory of Charles as I knew him: a bare-footed, autocratic, jovial hobbit. Charles was old school SF/F in a way that very few others still manage to be without also being jaded and grumpy. I will remember him for his parties, for his love of opera and fine dining, and for his crazy house stuffed with archaeological pottery (mostly fake or black market), other oddball artifacts (why so many puppets), and the Hugo TP holder (can you think of a better use?). I will remember him for his opinions – good books came in hardback, OK books in trade, and he wouldn't touch a paperback with a ten foot poll; real SF was written by men like Heinlein and Ellison; and what's with this modern obsession with chicky Urban Fantasy, how'd that even get into our genre? And I will remember him for his delights – wine, food, entertainment, crazy driving, belly dancing, toe rings, more wine, more food. I'm fortunate to have entered his world briefly. I'm grateful to have known him, and glad to be left with a great memory of this last Passover complete with Rabi Bob and, as was to be expected, sharing some truly fabulous food.

Charles did love the ladies, so today's parasol picture is for him.


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
More delicious parasols for sale
Your Tisane of Smart:
Luxirare is a blog about both high fashion and fine cuisine. I read it and my little brain goes "ooo, yum, ooo, yum" the entire time.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Life if we didn't have agents

CAKE in Space: With agent.
CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Another review.
Changeless: Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless:

Quote of the Day:
"O' peppermint tea -
two delights per sip
as steamy hot as passion
cool as a wintry lake dip."
~ Astrid Alauda
(It goes without saying, of course, that peppermint tea is, in fact, not at tea but a tisane.)

7.10.2009

Changeless to be Released On Unsuspecting Masses, Readers Everywhere Panic!

SOULLESS Book Cover

Gentle Reader, I am delighted to announce that Changeless, Book the Second in the Parasol Protectorate series, has been given a release date (well, release month). The word on the big bad streets of New York is April of 2010. Thank you to all who have so kindly asked. Orbit warns us all . . . this date subject to change with notice.

Also, I will be putting in an appearance at the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Trade Show over the weekend of Soulless's official launch date, October 1. I am very much looking forward to this event, particularly the Author Feast (here's hoping I'm braised in a nice red wine sauce perhaps with a side of kale, I have an unreasoning love of kale). As you well know, Gentle Reader, I have a real soft spot for Independent Bookstores so this is very exciting for me. I now return you to your regularly scheduled blogosphere.


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
More on the language of parasols
Your Tisane of Smart:
The first Europeans were cannibals
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about urban fantasy heroines - chicks kicking arse.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Look for me to make an appearance in the Romantic Times Debutante Corner in the not too distance future. How cool is that?
Changeless: Gone poof. Starting to gather corrections. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless:

Quote of the Day:
"A person who publishes a book appears willfully in public eye with his pants down."
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
(Given the recent Alice Hoffman debacle I thought this quote apt.)

7.08.2009

Hot Writer on Writer Action! Result: World-Building

Contemplation - Flowers
I have finally returned from a peaceful jaunt out into the wilds of coastal California where I enjoyed a week of lumpy mattresses, tea, and much writing. I dragged Chris Lester of the Metamor City Podcast along with me, I thought a week of watching all 6 foot plus of him cope with a Tee Morris-sized (read: hobbit) living environment might keep me entertained. (Answer, yes it did. Fancy that.) But the real joy of lounging about with another writer for long hours on end is discussing world-building concepts. Ah the immense detail that never ever makes it into any book, but nevertheless simply must be figured out in its entirety, usually late at night after consumption of inebriatory beverages. Any author's sanity depends upon such all-inclusive understanding of their imaginary universe, and any book's consistency dissolves without it. The reader will know if the author doesn't know her own world, and so the author must know everything. Having to talk about, and defend, one's imaginary universe has the benefit of forcing one to face down any evil gaps or flaws. Much good has been done for my cohesiveness as a writer by a friend or fellow author who looked me straight on and uttered those fateful three words: "Yes, but how?"

I have just had seven days of "Yes, but how?"s and think I can faithfully say that I, if no one else, perfectly understand the order and chaos of my little corner of the Victorian universe. Within the story? Well, Alexia's not doing so well, and Lord Maccon, poor man, is entirely befuddled. Lyall may figure things out, and Lord Akeldama probably knows more about it than I do, but the point is, I know enough to make sense of it all, and (insert dramatic pause here) Book the Third has . . . an . . . ending.


Gail's Daily Dose (all writing related this week)
Your Infusion of Cute:
The Significant Other's Guide to Dating a Science Fiction/Fantasy Writer by Chloe Neill
Your Tisane of Smart:
A buyer discusses Random House's lists
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Wanna beat the odds? Well here they are Jack Barbosa discusses the statistics behind getting published.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: An embarrassingly awesome review, over on Rob Will Review. I'm humbled. I swear we have never met and we are not related.
Changeless: Gone poof. Starting to gather corrections. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless:

Quote of the Day:
"Giving up creativity for immortality? I don't know if it's worth it."
"That would be the question."
"So what exactly is the soul in your world?"
"That would be the other question."
~ Self & Chris solving the problems of my universe