4.30.2010

Queering-Up Genre One Akeldama at a Time

Tea - Cover Author ImageFirst some quick news updates, Gentle Reader, before we get onto Weighty Matters and a Real Blog. And now for an actual ~ gasp! ~ blog.

I've been contemplating this blog post for a while, Gentle Reader. Generally, I try to avoid matters personal or political online, but a review of Changeless finally convinced me I should say something on the subject. You are hereby warned that if you are of a conservative inclination you may find the following uncomfortable. It is also, I am sad to say, serious. I promise a return to my normal fripperies next entry.

Here's the passage:
I was also incredibly pleased with how delightfully gay the subplots of this book were. Madame Lefoux is a fantastic addition to the main cast, and Alexia's naiveté as Lefoux flirts with her is fantastic. It's not just Lefoux, though: Angelique, Countess Nadasdy, and both Alexia and Lefoux's fathers are outed as well (they were dallying with each other, which makes Lefoux flirtation that much more fantastic). Add in Akeldama and Biffy, and a couple of hints about Woolsey's Beta, and it's possibly the gayest mainstream book I've read in a while.
~ The Librarian's Bookshelf

I grew up in-and-around San Francisco in the 1980s immersed in the dieing threads of the Beat Generation. This should tell you many things, but relevant to this post are the following two points. First: All the stable relationships I observed in my youth were gay men. These relationships were, to my innocent eyes, incredibly romantic, artistic, loving, and enriching both to the couple in question and the world they inhabited. Aside from myself, all my little friends were the property of neurotic single mothers. (Yes, I intend the use of the word "property.") You can imagine this gave me a rather interesting outlook on romance. The second thing, of course, is that these wonderful relationships all buckled under the weight of three little letters.

So far as my books are concerned, there is another balance to this equation, which is the Victorian world itself. The England of 1870 was a morally conservative, anti-hedonistic, ultra-religious place full of individuals who valued duty above all else, and regarded anything that smacked of fun as suspicious. This comes off to most Americans as, frankly, gloomy.

Because I have the luxury of writing alt-history, I injected the comedy back into Victorian England through the vehicle of immortality combined with my childhood memories. This seems logical to me. After all, if you live for hundreds of years, no matter how straight your inclinations initially, you are likely to get, well, bored and experimental as the decades roll by. And I warn you all now, this probably goes both directions. Don't settle Lord Akeldama too firmly on the Kinsey scale, for there may well have been a young lady or two in his past.

The vampires and werewolves in my books can get away with this, of course, because they are supernatural creatures. Church and moral law has no baring on them for Victorians perceive them as outside the natural order. Ironically, this allows them the power to be even more extravagant and trend setting. It is no accident that excess soul is linked to creativity in my universe, and that my immortals are forced by procreative necessity to become, basically, patrons of the arts. My Victorian world emphasizes the split between those of a theatrical inclination and the rest of society, but also the strange power that the vampires in particular have over the aesthetic mindset of the ton. This is not so very far-fetched. Throughout history is it the disenfranchised who not only bring about social change, but underwrite society's most dearly beloved frivolities: music, sculpture, fashion, architecture, dance, or comedic literature.

Sorry to get a tad academic, but I guess what I am trying to say is the following. There are queer characters in my books because there are queer people in my life, always have been, so it would not be my universe without them. They are as fallible, flawed, and as changeable as any other characters. There are also queer characters in my books because they correlate to the most dynamic part of any society, the part that brings about wonder.



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
The Tomb of Two "Brothers" Because the Egyptian goons will come in and deny your permit or shut down your site few Egyptologists will talk about this tomb publicly. But I worked for years inside the museum and archaeological world and I can tell you there is very little contention outside of Islamic countries that this is, in fact, the tomb of a gay couple.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
All about writing gay characters.

Michelle has some very thoughtful things to say including, "Even though it may be satirical, Soulless is not without its serious messages. Tolerance and the dangers of science come to the fore as the story proceeds along its path. Good and evil are not easily discerned as "monsters" protect the Crown, fops come to the rescue, and (heaven forbid!) women hold positions of power."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless.
In which I am called a "Naughty Little Minx": "What’s not to love about this book? There’s a murder mystery. Were-less Scottish werewolves. An attempted poisoning. A tumble off the side of a dirigible. More mysterious vampire politics. A shockingly brazen new friend for Alexia – a female milliner who scandalously goes about in trousers!"
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Sent to agent.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. Book available for preorder.

Quote of the Day:
"Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law."
~ Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, A.D. 524

4.28.2010

Wednesday Ketchup Blog

Con Gadget - Steampunk
I tend to wake up early in the mornings philosophical. This mood of speculation is generally cured by the application of tea, but today the computer was right next to my bed so you all must suffer the consequence. Today's speculation centered around writing the opening pages of a novel. I was wondering how these have changed, and how I have changed my own style, knowing that these pages will eventually go up on the internet.

I've no concrete answer. That was really it.

And now, Gentle Reader, here's a picture of Blake and I at SF in SF.

And further discussion of the hijinx in Houston last weekend.

In other news, I get silly over on Cleverly Inked here's a sample:
What's a better game Hop-Scotch or Cricket?
I ruthlessly disregard these options and offer up to you the alternative of demolition croquet (a kind of hybrid of mini-golf and croquet played with two croquet sets in a very large garden).



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Fear the might and destruction of the hedgehog!
Your Tisane of Smart:
Herb pods. The future is now.

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Steampunk scholar has a list of steampunk secondary resources.

Love Vampires says, "If you are bored with the same old urban fantasy or paranormal romance themes, or feel like you just can’t face another leather-pant-wearing, gun-toting urban fantasy heroine, then Soulless may be just the book you need to cleanse your jaded palate."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Scribbles and Stories says, "Overall the plot and characters leave you wanting more, and fast. I had my doubts about whether or not Changeless could live up to Soulless, but Gail Carriger does a wonderful job."
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Revised first three chapters, waiting on beta.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
VanderMeer's provide table of contents.
Turned in.

Quote of the Day:
"Air Ship – General form of those in use that have had any sucess. Too many come to grief and they should be a warning to the ambitious soarer, to learn what his predecessors have done."
~ 1800 Mechanical Movements and Devices (1899)

4.26.2010

Murder by the Book - Houston, We Have Carriger!

CHANGELESS Book Cover

Travel to Texas proved itself far less incommodious than one generally expects departing out of SFO. Early morning on a Saturday would appear to be the best kind of time. I was much surprised to find a small offering of food on the flight, Cheerios (of all things) and a real banana. Wonders may never cease. My seatmates were two sprawling teenagers who laid to rest any lingering fears I might have had as to the comfort of the journey by falling instantly asleep and remaining so for the duration of the flight.

That said, these days, there is some nonsense with domestic travel where the slightest turbulence now confines all to their seats. It never used to be this way. Nothing angers me more than decreased liberty due to increased safety measures probably the result of some lawsuit or another but the actual consequence of which is to make respectable grown adults feel like either infants or cattle. Possibly both.

(Or more precisely, Houston we have Papillon)

Arrived in Houston safe and sound, caught Taxi to hotel, changed into dress, and got the Hotel to shuttle me to the bookstore across the freeway. Strange to find an enclave of "my folks" in this part of the world, but that is defiantly what the Murder by the Book people were. I was instantly shepherded off to sign books in the back, the Jaye arrived, and then Nicole.

We had a brief discussion and elected not to do readings but just to do a Q&A session. Then we snaked out and took our seats in front of thousands. (Well, like 40 or so, but definitely my biggest event so far.) It was great! People asked some wonderful questions, we had a wide range of responses. Then everyone lined up according to number, very politely, and I signed books.

I got to meet peeps from facebook and twitter. It was so exciting ~ my own little Hadron Collider: cyberspace reality and physical reality crashing into each other! There were many photos shot and "wait, I know that name!" discoveries and that kind of thing. I wish I had had time to sit down and have tea and a proper chat with each and every person I talked too. If there is a next time perhaps we can start earlier have a social salon afterworlds.

Then the girls and I went out on the town. I ate my bodyweight in crayfish and generally had a wonderful time. My resounding impression of Houston was that the cars are very big, and the seats are large and rather low. Returned to the hotel, slept like a dead thing, flew back to Cali. Ah the jet setting life (it's hell on the skin I tell you but wonderful on the pallet).



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Chairs of cool!

Your Tisane of Smart:
Make your own fabric at Spoonflower.com ~ so awesome! Someone did steampunk octopus!

Your Writerly Tinctures:
The future of the publishing industry debated in the New Yorker

Marion says, "I have been enjoying every second of it, from the moment it started until the very last page."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Chasing Ray is pleased, "So, I liked it again. It made me laugh and I find myself enjoying Alexia more and more. To me the dialogue and descriptions and the no small amount of over-the-topness is all part of what makes this series a solid romp."
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Revised first three chapters, waiting on beta.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
VanderMeer's have announced the table of contents.
Turned in.

Quote of the Day:
"The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666."
~ Email forward

4.23.2010

The Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group

Parasol - Graphic
The Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group is getting rather cheeky. There are two discussions going on right now. One on "Casting Soulless the Movie" and the other on "Where I First Read Soulless." Because it was so cute I had to share this offering from Erin Hudson (I do hope she doesn't mind).

‘Twas a day in October, not long post-release,
After a paper doll website my interest unleashed,
As a respite from homework, from all that was dreary,
I sat down to read Soulless, hoping it would be cheery.

I was all nestled quite snug in my bed
When Carriger’s Vampires first danced in my head;
I wore cozy pajamas with dogs at my feet
And coffee to enhance this newfound prose treat!

I flew quickly through pages and giggled with glee
At the interactions of Maccon and Tarabotti
And later I found myself shedding some tears
When Akeldama saw sunshine after too many years.

All-in-all I would say ‘twas a pleasant retreat
A reprieve from a too-busy life I’ll repeat
I’m ever so impatient, I will confess,
For the moment I get to start reading Changeless!


Did I mention I have the coolest fans? Well, I do.

I hope to see a number of you in Houston tomorrow, please do let me know if you are an online friend of mine.


(In honor of the weather in Houston.)

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
Awesome resource on Archaeology's Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites from Archaeology Magazine
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Blake's reading is up in podcast form from SF in SF, as is mine. Along side one of the worst pictures of me ever taken.


Rhiana Jones for suite101.com says, "This story was unexpectedly refreshing, humorous and lovely. When reading a book in the vampire genre cliché’s and predictability are often expected. However, the alternative world in Soulless, although similar to most in the genre, had many unexpected surprises. The book was an excellent balance of three genres, Steampunk, Vampire and Romance. The writing was both quick paced and funny, the characters were easy to like and Alexia was a great heroine."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless.
My Favourite Books says, "OMG, I have been waiting for this book since finishing SOULLESS. And it is as good if not better than the first book."
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Revised first three chapters, waiting on beta.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
VanderMeer's have announced the table of contents.
Turned in.

Quote of the Day:
"Does it have to be so filthy? If he could prophesy the future he might have advised me not to wear $500 shoes."
~ A very Lord Akeldama sentiment from the final episode of Alias

4.21.2010

Locus Awards, Website Update, & Balticon Schedule

In The News
Gentle Reader, I am most excited to report that I'm a Locus Awards Finalist! Ooooo!

In less exciting news, I've updated my website's Alexia's London page with DVD extras from Changeless, now that the book has been out for a month or so. This includes my sketch of The Parasol, one section of description, and a cute little bit between Lyall, Channing, and Biffy that ended up slowing the pace too much to be included in the print version. It begins as follows:
Channing crossed his arms. "I would have been just as effective."
"Yes, but Biffy was a safer choice."
Biffy looked mildly offended.
"If he was caught it would be thought an inter-vampire plot, if you were caught it would be considered an inter-species plot."


I've also put my full schedule for Balticon up on the website, in the Upcoming Sightings section.



Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
More cute shoes. These are all from LAMB. I own the green and brown pair. They are remarkably stable for stiletto platforms, but not the most comfortable beasties.


Your Tisane of Smart:
A research team argues that hundreds of people were butchered and eaten at a 7,000-year-old German site. Yes, you read that correctly - German!
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Dirty Sexy Book Club is talking Books That Blur the Line between urban fantasy and paranormal romance, includes Soulless.


The Bibliophile Stalker says, "Well, to be honest, I stayed up late just so that I could finish it. In the case of genres, I'm usually confused by Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance but in the case of Soulless, I'd gladly conclude that this book falls under both, and throw in Steampunk for good measure."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless.
Lily says, "Furthermore, Ms. Carriger has enabled me to enjoy steampunk more than I had ever anticipated I would. I can barely contain my anticipation for the third book in the series Blameless (rightly named, I think), which is due to be out this coming September."
Out September 1, 2010! Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first.
Super Secret Project H: Time to start writing the beast.
Super Secret Project F: Revised first three chapters, waiting on beta.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
VanderMeer's have announced the table of contents.
Turned in.

Quote of the Day:
"The two most engaging powers of an author are, to make new things familiar, and familiar things new."
~ Samuel Johnson