8.31.2009

Brass Needles In Peru

Parasol - Graphic
In conjunction with my segment on Brass Needles here are spome photos from various Peruvian knit shops.
1. Knit roses and ruffle scarves, 2. the same wide cables we're seeing on the runways, 3. but also knit stripes which were then braided into cables, 4. scarves coiled like shellfish, 5 - 6. open pattern edging, and 7. steampunk-like sweaters with off-center buttons.



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Loving this full coverage motorcycle outfit from Dainese. If only they made if for the women's. Their women's stuff looks like a storm trooper get up.

Your Tisane of Smart:
Star Trek Perfume
Your Writerly Tinctures:
GalleyCat tackles the old urban fantasy vrs. parnormal romance question and another.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Chris Lester of the Metamor City podcast gives me a lovely review Best bit? "She keeps you laughing while consistently playing fair with both the characters and the audience."
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless: Gone off to betas.

Quote of the Day:
"I like making a piece of string into something I can wear."
~ Author Unknown

8.27.2009

After the Zombie Apocalypse

Cat
This Morning's Conversation

Self: What a fabulous outfit!
AL: I know.
Self: You bought it while I was gone.
AL: Yup.
Self: You went shopping without me! You don't need me anymore. What good am I if I can't go shopping with you?
AL: Well...
Self: Oh I see. I'm like the cat. You're just tolerating me so I can be food after the zombie apocalypse.



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Tiny hats and hat pins, from rubyblackbird.

Your Tisane of Smart:
Jeff VanderMeer's steampunk overview.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
It's all about the name.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Orbit gives me a shout out
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless: Gone off to betas.

Quote of the Day:
"If men can run the world, why can't they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?"
~ Linda Ellerbee

8.26.2009

Rituals in Writing & Traveling

Steampunk
This may come a profound shock to you, Gentle Reader, but I'm a pretty ritualistic person.

No, not shocked?

It seems I share this with most writers. The little patterns of action that remind one it is time to write. (Well, except for maybe Jay Lake. I bet he could be in a helicopter flying over an exploding volcano and not even glance up from his laptop.) I wonder if this mild OCD is symptomatic of the introverted nature of author-dom. Then I wonder if it is more an aspect of being an archaeologist.

I wouldn't say I travel a lot (again, see Jay Lake). But I do get around, and out of the country, more than most Americans and whenever I come home I have little rituals that get me back into being home, and over the jet lag. These are exaggerated versions of my writerly rituals. I get home, take a shower, unpack, do laundry, stay awake all day, eats some sort of salad (usually I'm in a non-potable water area where I can't eat greens), delete stuff from the tivo, drink a lot of tea, clean the house, and then . . . In N' Out Burger. And I'm really not a junk food person. But until I have that double double animal style I don't feel like I'm home.

I'm curious. Anyone else like this?

Oh, and regarding my recent scary attacking torso blog. Apparently we're moving on to the men.




Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Addicted to Space Monkey by Jim Hodgson (curse you Balticon podcast!).
Your Tisane of Smart:
Business Models in Antiquity
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Ken Scholes interview over on Adventures in SciFi Publishing. (Partly my fault re: phone chatting a couple months ago. Self, "When you going to do that AISFP interview?" Ken, "Oh, right, I should do that." Self, "You think?")

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Look interwebs I got a red star (PW review)! Weeee!
* Soulless Gail Carriger. Orbit, $7.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-05663-2
Carriger debuts brilliantly with a blend of Victorian romance, screwball comedy of manners and alternate history. Prickly, stubborn 25-year-old bluestocking Alexia Tarabotti is patently unmarriageable, and not just because she's large-nosed and swarthy. She's also soulless, an oddity and a secret even in a 19th-century London that mostly accepts and integrates werewolf packs, vampire hives and ghosts. The only man who notices her is brash Lord Conall Maccon, a Scottish Alpha werewolf and government official, and (of course) they dislike each other intensely. After Alexia kills a vampire with her parasol at a party—how vulgar!—she and Conall must work together to solve a supernatural mystery that grows quite steampunkishly gruesome. Well-drawn secondary characters round out the story, most notably Lord Akeldama, Alexia's outrageous, italic-wielding gay best vampire friend. This intoxicatingly witty parody will appeal to a wide cross-section of romance, fantasy and steampunk fans. (Oct.)
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless: Gone off to betas.

Quote of the Day:
"In-N-Out Burger is the most secretive of the American fast food chains - the Freemasons of the burger world."
~ blogadilla

8.21.2009

In Which Gail is Interviewed by Natalie Allan

SOULLESS Book Cover

I'm interviewed today by Natalie Allan over on her blog. Here's a sample . . .

Soullessis out on 1st October and there’s a lot of excitement pending your book’s release, can you tell us a little about your character Alexia and where the idea of her and the universe came from?

Alexia is a hardened spinster with two embarrassing problems: her long dead father was Italian and she has no soul. However, I’m getting ahead of myself for the universe came first and Alexia followed.

I’ve long been troubled by certain quirks of history that seem never adequately explained. The most confusing of these is how one tiny island with abysmal taste in food, excellent taste in beverages, and a penchant for poofy dresses suddenly managed to take over most of the known world. Read on . . .



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Beautiful objects made of paper.

Your Tisane of Smart:
Polari was a slang language that has its roots in the eighteenth century underworld but reached its heyday in the British gay subculture of the 1950s and 60s. At a time when it was illegal to be gay in Britain and homosexuals were persecuted not just by the law but by society at large, Polari was a secret vocabulary that allowed gay people to speak openly to each other and identify themselves as gay without attracting public censure or the attentions of undercover charpering omis (policemen).
Your Writerly Tinctures:
A good well-researched article on authors in social media

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: And another review up at Genre Go Round Reviews. Best bit: "Still fans will enjoy the spin as Ms. Carriger provides a delightful historical fantasy that gives new meaning to a bloody good fantasy."
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless: Gone off to betas.

Quote of the Day:
"Writing is the flip side of sex – it's good only when it's over."
~ Hunter S. Thompson

8.20.2009

In Which Review Requests are a Sign that the World is Shrinking

SOULLESS Book Cover
music
: Escape Pod

I'm finding, Gentle Reader, as ARC and interview requests nip into my life, that I have this strange sense of the world shrinking in upon me. Most of the requests are North American in origin, (quite rightly since Soulless is coming out in First American Blah Blah rights). But I've now had several queries from the UK, one from Serbia, and one from Germany. Not that I am complaining, I'm immensely flattered, but these are odd because I've not yet sold rights to any of those countries. I suppose the power of the internet makes this irrelevant. After all, they can simply order from the US Amazon and have it shipped overseas.

This feeling of a tiny Earth is compounded by the fact that while I am in Peru I have been twittering and emailing away as if I were back home at my desk (with minor concessions to intermittent wireless). It's almost like I'm not in the field at all. When I was first excavating (over a decade ago) when a lady was excavating, that was it. The best people back home could expect was a postcard, and said archaeologist usually made it home before the card did.

It's not that I'm lamenting the accessibility. But, as my boss recently said, the difficulty with being win touch with people all the time, is, well that one is in touch with people all the time. Of course she's dealing with a mound of grant proposals. I'm still left marveling at getting an ARC request from Serbia, which I passed on to my house in New York, from and ugly old couch in Peru – all in the space of about ten minutes. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is what the Victorians would refer to as progress.



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Pigeons smuggle cell phones into Brazil prison.
Your Tisane of Smart:
The very Victorian disease of rickets is on the rise again in England, caused by a deficiency of vitamin D (AKA sunlight) in the mother of a child. It thrived in the Victorian slums but hasn't been seen with any frequency in decades. "Experts say that cultural and genetic factors play a part in the disease. The wearing of the hijab and darker skin both reduce sunlight absorption." I'm shocked, but as an archaeologist I must admit to a morbid fascination at witnessing a Diaspora and a religious moray (the hijab) have such a detrimental result on human skeletal structures. Look students – an object can have long lasting implications. Looks students – humans behaving illogically . . . again.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about marketing and publicity directors from my agent and someone else's.

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Another review up from the first person to win my book. "With likable characters, a funny story and that little bit of extra this is a good start to a series."
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless: Gone off to betas.

Quote of the Day:
"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
~ Albert Einstein

8.18.2009

Bad Bad SciFi

I am going to confess to a secret passion, so pay attention because I wouldn't tell this to just anybody. (Oh, wait, this LiveJournal thing is public so I guess I would tell this to just anybody.)

I like bad SciFi. I don't mean the type of kitschy appalling SciFi criticized by MST3K, or even old dated SciFi like Lost in Space, or original Dr. Who. No, I mean just plain old bad SciFi. I actually own the movies Wing Commander and (gasp) Starship Troopers. It is my lifelong goal to find a DVD copy of Island City, probably the worst Made-for-TV SciFi movie ever . . . well . . . made. I'm even willing to give such appalling shows as Andromeda (though eventually the painfully inconsistent characterization drove me off), Earth 2, and Space: Above and Beyond a second look.

And if we are going for full confessions I also find bad teen SciFi strangely appealing. I wait in vain for someone to come out with the DVDs of Deepwater Black, I rather enjoyed Zenon (despite the Disney thing) and I even watched The Tribe for a while.

I know they are bad I just CAN'T NOT WATCH. I am ashamed of this addiction, but I can't seem to stop it. And I certainly can't explain it. Somebody help me.

On a completely different note, read this review of Troy. Probably the best review ever written.



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Walk on the wild side talking animals.
Your Tisane of Smart:
An excellent little page on some of the great railway disasters of the late 1800's.

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Chart of fantasy cover art

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Soulless, title is sleeping with anther author - again. The slut. This time a non-fiction book.
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless Gone off to betas.

Quote of the Day:
"It’s not faith, it’s genetics."
~ Wing Commander

8.16.2009

The Curious Case of the Headless Heroine, Or the Torso Rides at Midnight

Mysterious - Noir
Rummaging about the internet yesterday, Gentle Reader, I came across a promo for this book:

Now, please don't misconstrue, I find the book gently intriguing. "Steampunk Romance" says the tag line and from reading the copy it looks like the female love interest would appear to be an airship captain. You well know what a deep abiding affection I have for chicks that kick ass, but (and there is always a but) I sense a trend afoot and it frightens me.

Why the headless torso front cover? Why? Did she misplace her brain? Have her knees suddenly gone off about business of their own?

There is a prevalence of this madness in paranormal romance and urban fantasy already, I object most strongly to it leaking into steampunk. I'm taking a stand here and now, Gentle Reader, this trend should not be allowed to jump the shark into another sub-genre. Leave my goggles and dirigibles alone, you, you Art Department Torso Lovers!

Where have all the heads gone? (*singing* Longtime passing.)


I remember in my first meeting with the folks from Orbit at the Denver WorldCon. (Gosh, was it only last year?). They'd already bought Soulless, and we were having a mild discussion on the subject of possible covers. (Before you draw any erroneous conclusions, Gentle Reader, it is extremely rare for a first time author to be asked to give any opinion on covers.) I had some mild ideas but mostly I just kept saying over and over "Please don't give me a torso cover, oh please." I don't knwo if they listened, but I didn't et one in the end. Hooray!

One of my last conversations with Charles Brown (of Locus fame) before he died, was on the subject of the bizarre prevalence of these covers. Locus was getting a surfeit of such ARC offerings, for this was at the height of the urban fantasy craze. Charles, like me, simply couldn't fathom the appeal. We hypothesized that perhaps they were made with the idea that the reader could put herself into the heroine's body, as it were, since there was no face. A reader couldn't very well put herself into the heroine's shoes - there were no shoes depicted on the cover, the body was all that was on offer.



Shall we talk about the belly buttons? Oh well, why not? Why do vampire hunters like to wear crop tops? Is it just to show off their tatoos or are they stuck in the 80s? Just curious.



Oh and then there's the whole "you may have a head, but only from the back," which really means "we're giving you an ass shot." This, in my universe, is one step removed from a bodice ripper. Instead of "look at my cleavage, look at my cleavage!" it's "look at my butt, look at my butt!"




(Note the tramp stamp brigade in the second row.)

That said, I am starting a one woman campaign for one of my covers to be a "bustle shot." Grrrrr, sexy!

But, back to the torsos. I suppose all I really have to say is: steampunk is often about the intelligence factor (Girl Genius and all that) our heroines really cannot function on torso alone. A call for action is in order now, before it's too late.

So please stop the madness! Give these poor women back their heads.
Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
New fashion inspiration Latina singer Silvina Magari

Your Tisane of Smart:
Awesome resources for snippets of Victoriana The Illustrated London News with samples online and a very useful time grid.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
obtaining Cover Blurbs

CAKE in Space: With agent.
Soulless: Soulless is SFWA's featured book!
Changeless: Awaiting copyedit. Release date currently April 2010.
Blameless Gone off to betas.

Quote of the Day:
"Writing is not a genteel profession. It's quite nasty and tough and kind of dirty."
~ Rosemary Mahoney