Fan-Fic, Fan-Make & Other Issues

A Word On Fan-Fic & Fan-Make
 Gentle Reader, fan-fic is a touchy subject amongst us authors. Someone recently (very politely, I must say) asked me for my thoughts on fan-fic written for my universe and I must admit I had to reply with a very polite cop-out answer. I HAD to do it, but it was a cop-out and I'm distressed by this. I try to be as honest as possible here on the interwebs, so I've been feeling guilty over my behavior and certain recent events have convinced me to address this subject, as delicately as possible.

I am also going address fan-make, which is a necessary side effect of steampunk meets Etsy. (For the purposes of this discussion, I am defining fan-make as items crafted and labeled with my characters or universe and then sold for profit. As opposed to cos-play which is much more like fan-fic, in that it is a one-off original artistic endeavor.

Fan-fic or FanFic or Fan Fiction

An early reviewer called Soulless fan-fic gold, and I will say that I took that as a compliment. However, I will (probably) never get to read any Parasol Protectorate fan-fic and here is why: I can't. Michael Stackpole of Dragon Page fame had some very wise things to say on the subject and I agree with him in this matter. I can't find an article of his to link to, but the meat is as follows:

If we, as authors, have dropped the right threads and cookies then the Careful Reader will know where the story is going. If a fan then puts this into writing before the next book is published and their predictions are correct, they can (and have) sue the author. Basically, this means that authors really can't read any fan-fic for our own protection. We must have plausible deniability. Thus if you link, email, or comment with anything to do with Parasol Protectorate fan-fic the most I can say is, "Thank you for the compliment, I trust it is an excellent piece of writing, but I am legally unable to read it."

Fan-Make or Fan-Craft or Fan Gadgetry

I cannot admit, for legal reasons, to having seen any fan-make. Let us say, hypothetically, that certain things have turned up on Etsy. Here are my manifold reactions:

  • First, unlike fan-fic, these items are for sale. Quite practically, I am not seeing any money from this and it is my intellectual property. Mine, mine, mine.
  • Second, the items must be considered allied with me, as the author, yet I have absolutely no quality control or creative influence. I have no way of knowing for certain, but I would rather junk were not associated with my world.
  • Third, within any movie/TV option merchandising is part of the contract, and it is a deal breaker. If the production company were to happen upon all these Parasol Protectorate items for sale all over the internet, they are likely to pull out of any offer. This could cost me not just the money, (and really you guys want me to make money because then I can continue to afford to write more books), but it also costs you, the fans, the possible pleasure of seeing these characters brought to life on the big screen.
  • Finally, and by far the worst as far I am concerned (you all know my personality) my permission was not asked. And really, that is what upsets me. I am easy to find on the internet, all it would take is a nice little note and some building of trust and relationship. And I could say, "So this is what you can do and this is what will get you lawyered."
  • Witness Donna Ricci, owner of Clockwork Couture, who very kindly requested my permission before selling a parasol in my honor. Donna and I have the kind of relationship where, if necessary, I can simply ask her to take the "Gail aspect" down off her website should I have to, and she would comply immediately. Ruby Blackbird and I are building a similar relationship.

So there it is, a not-so-official statement on fan-fic and fan-make. I hope that it articulates the reasoning behind my behavior on the subject, and why, under certain circumstances when I should like to be personable, generous, and polite, especially to artistic and creative people, I simply cannot.

If the world were a different place, if wishes were tea bags, I should always be drinking Twinings gold loose-leaf. But it isn't and I'm not, and out there on the net there are sharks, and lawyers, and all sorts of nastiness. In the end, we authors are just as easily taken advantage of as anyone else, more so sometimes, because there is this very strange idea that a book is public property. I am, therefore, engaged in the epic struggle between commerce and etiquette. Sadly, I am no landed aristocrat to frown upon trade, this is my livelihood you are dabbling with, and in the end, I need to eat... for one can not survive on tea alone.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Idly watching "Rich, Young and Pretty" last night (1951) and Jane Powell sports this lovely white dress robe. Reminded me of something I own...

Your Tisane of Smart:
Brilliant! The cup tissue dispenser hack.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
If you haven't yet you should check out Exhibition Hall the steampunk fanzine. I'm a particular fan of Issue 7 which has a killer article on steampunk tribes from the indomitable Steampunk Scholar himself. Hilarious.

Polishing Mudballs says, "This book really did have a different feel to it from the other paranormal books I have read in the past. Frankly, it was a breath of fresh air. The characters of Alexia and Lord Maccon were fabulous!"
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Rex Reviews says terribly kindly, "Changeless by Gail Carriger is breathtakingly brilliant. I am enamored with this series and this is only the second installment."

Quote of the Day:
"Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them."
~ John Ruskin


Hair & Other Hairy Matters

Some have been kind enough as to inquire as to how I do my hair for events, specifically the finger waves. I have a young lady who kindly does it for me, but here is a look at the process. The important thing about finger waves is to get the correct clips.

Bellow you can see that the top part is finger waved while the bottom is pin curled. It's impossible for me to sleep in the wave clips, but I can sleep on the curl clips.

And the final look, slightly brushed out.

In other news, I am pleased and honored to be featured as a hilarious bitstrip. And no, there will not be a book entitled Gormless all about Ivy and Tunstell, although that might be a fun short story.

New interview up! Here's a sample:
A slightly unfair question: Do you have a favorite character (or secondary character)?
I love all my children, of course, but I have real affection for the very, very minor ones. Biffy, for example. Alexia's father. Lord Akeldama's chubby cat. A certain fluffy white dog in Book III.

Also Gentle Reader, please don't forget there is a major contest going on to win much Parasol Protectorate loot.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Pastels aren't generally my thing, but some of Christian Dior's resort 2011 have a real vintage feel that I like a lot.
Your Tisane of Smart:
Enchanted Serenity talks about the women who have played Queen Victoria on screen.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
More on the google settlement.

A proper academic article style blog all about Soulless and Changeless. "Although some familiar with steampunk art and literature might be taken aback by the portrayal of science in Alexia’s world—particularly with the ghoulish experiments her foes engage in as part of their research—I find it a fitting extension of the connection between supernatural and sexual Others."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. In which Changeless is outed, "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."
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: Plugging away.
Super Secret Project F: Under revision.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 available for preorder.

Quote of the Day:
"My most important piece of advice to all you would-be writers: when you write, try to leave out all the parts readers skip."
~ Elmore Leonard


Big Fat Contest Time!

Some time ago when Changeless first launched I ran a series of contests. Some were more successful than others, Gentle Reader. My Twitter contest didn't succeed but I promised that if I should reach my goal of 1874 followers I would do something special. Well the goal has been reached at long last, and so it is time for . . . another contest!

As always, I'm making you give me something first. Don't worry, it won't be as hard as the podcaster payback contest. This is going to be more like the very first contest I ever ran, almost exactly one year ago, only with even cooler prizes, so here it goes. By now I'm hoping most of you have managed to find, beg, borrow, or steal Changeless. So . . . it's review time!

The Rules:
1. Write a review of Changeless, 60 words or more.
2. Post the review online, Amazon, Goodreads, your personal blog, B&N, etc... If you've already written one, that is fine (although I'd be delighted if you reposted to a second venue).
3. Leave a comment with a link to the review bellow or email it to me (gailcarriger at hotmail)
4. Include the best way of contacting you.
5. One entry per person.
6. Contest open until Sunday June 6.
7. Contest open to international entrants.

The Results:
On Monday June 7 I will use a random number generator to choose 2 winners.

The Prizes:
Two winners will receive the following:
  • A unique, one of only four in existence, Parasol Protectorate Book II Pin designed and handmade by Rubyblackbird.
  • A first edition copy of Soulless, signed and dedicated (if desired)
  • A first edition copy of Changeless, signed and dedicated (if desired)
  • A sneak peek at the entire first chapter of Blameless ~ oooooo!
  • A first edition copy of Blameless, signed and dedicated (if desired) to be sent as soon as I receive my box (so long as I am not out of the country)
  • An original unpublished short story featuring Alexia's father, Alessandro Tarabotti, signed

So there it is! Big fat prizes galore. Have fun, and good luck.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
The Marmite story
Your Writerly Tinctures:
There is so much good stuff in the recent SFWA bulletin. An excellent article on ebook rights (which may explain why some authors are wary of Orbit's new venture), another on WorldCon and its future, the fact the Realms of Fantasy is doing a women in fantasy theme, and that Cory Doctorow wants your keyboard (and here I always thought he was after my brain meats). These also something on BookScan data (the great and mysterious) and a little article on Young Adult Fantasy and its hotness. If there was ever any reason to join SFWA a magazine like this one is it. Brilliant!

Her Majesty is unexpectedly charmed, "I really didn't expect to like this book because it was a new genre to me. I couldn't figure out what the big deal was about Steampunk. I loved this book. Reading this book made me feel like the day that I read my first paranormal romance."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Ooh-books is turning fan girl, and asks me to explain "why octopus?": "It was completely and absolutely worth my time. I plan on buying and reading every novel Gail Carriger writes."
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: Plugging away.
Super Secret Project F: Under revision.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 available for preorder.

Quote of the Day:
"Mercedes is black, I'm gay – we make culture."
~ Glee


Changeless DVD Extras ~ Floating Dresses in Detail

I received a question recently via email from the lovely Eva, which I thought so very intriguing others might enjoy my answer. She asked for further detail on the new fashion for floating dresses I describe briefly in my second book, Changeless.

I will say that in the books I did leave this trend a little vague so it could be open to interpretation, and possibly cosplay, but I imagine floating dressed as having several features. First, they would probably lean towards the Natural Form style of the late 1870s. In fact, in my world, dirigible travel lead to the popularity of such a dress style because one's skirts were less likely to fly up if they were closer to the body. They came over from Paris sooner and lasted longer than in the real 1870s.

I imagine leaded weights (like those used in curtains), heavy chain (like those in early Channel suits), wire, or some kind of buckshot might be sewn into or onto the hem of the bottom skirt of a floating dress to keep the garment from flying up and exposing legs to view (gasp!). These could be quite decorative and showy if affixed to the outside: metal beads/buttons might look very nice. Such an emphasis on the hem would be most unusual for the time period and specific to floating dresses as opposed any other kind of daywear.

There would be very filmy and floaty ruffles/bows/rosettes sewn to the top skirts, sleeves, or in a waterfall effect down the back of the bustle, to flutter in the wind becomingly.

The tapes of which I write are based on dress elevators of the turn of the century, although with the reverse in mind. They would have been worn over the skirt, possibly attached to a belt and then strapped to the ankle, or the weighted hem of the bottom skirt to keep things from shifting about in the wind.

So there it is, the floating dress as I see it. Of course, like much else in a book the physical reality is open to interpretation. I wouldn't be much of an author if I strapped you down with my imagination and didn't let yours float about on the aether breezes.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Custom tea cozies!
Your Tisane of Smart:
Steampunk Scholar discusses steampunk as an aesthetic.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
More important ebook stuff this time about royalties.

Shellie says, "Amazingly this was my first steam punk novel, and second urban fantasy. What a great fun read. It made me laugh out loud, giggle, and blush. It has some very interesting yet tasteful romantic interludes, as well as a few evil and funny entanglements. I love feisty women with parasols."
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Strange and random Happenstance says, "Gail Carriger has outdone herself in creating a rollicking good read, with a tighter more thrilling mystery and even more memorable characters than in her first book, Soulless."
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: Plugging away.
Super Secret Project F: Under revision.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 available for preorder.

Quote of the Day:
"For all my longer works, for example novels, I write chapter outlines so I can have the pleasure of departing from them later on."
~ Garth Nix


In Which Gail Mostly Deals with Tea

I'm delighted to be making an appearance on the Old Towne Books and Tea podcast. I'm rather giggly during the interview, due to the fact that this was the third in a row for me, and the sound quality is poor, due to the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere, but the interview itself is fun.

One of the Parasol Protectorate Facebook members, Kat, posted the following poem (discovered on a newspaper cutting in a manuscript concerning malaria. The author of the manuscript was Surgeon Rear Admiral Walter Henry Skinner Stalkartt, R.N., 1865-1953.)

Tea! Tea! Glorious Tea!

Fill up your cups with Bohea,
Drink a good lot of it,
Empty the pot of it,

Stick to your innocent Tea!
Don't be afraid of it,
Sots are not made of it.

Nerve-shaking? Fiddle-de-dee!
Up with the sale of it!
Down with a pail of it!
Glorious, glorious Tea!

I am reminded of the Elemental song Cup of Brown Joy which contains similar sentiments.
In other news, the local San Francisco SF/F community is in deep mourning for Ripley the Borderlands patron cat, who has gone to the great litter box in the sky.
The lovely Blameless video has been nominated for a Moby Award.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Impractical yet immensely appealing living environments.

Your Tisane of Smart:
UCSB Archaeologist Disputes Common Belief About Collapse of Maya Civilization
Your Writerly Tinctures:
VERY IMPORTANT book contract stuff all about enhanced ebooks.

Book Soulmates says, "Finally, this book sticks as closely to the Victorian vernacular as possible without getting confusing or tiresome. As a fan of Jane Austen, I understand how daunting reading her novels can be. Many historical authors try to capture the language with their own books and frankly, some are better at it than others. Gail did a superb job of it!"
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Aishwarya says, "With this book (and possibly because of Alexia's new political role within the plot) you get a much wider sense of the existence of the empire, which made the fictional universe a lot stronger for me."
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: Plugging away.
Super Secret Project F: With agent.
CAKE in Space: Trunked.
See table of contents here.
Short story turned in. The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 available for preorder.

Quote of the Day:
"Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary."
~ Chinese Proverb