The State of the Parasol Protectorate

My dearest Gentle Reader, January is slinking away in a grey cloud of inclement weather and February is peaking its squat toad-like head above the horizon. In honor of this momentous event, I am determined to give you all a State of the Parasol Protectorate report. Those of you who are already members of the Parasol Protectorate Facebook group have heard much of what follows, but I thought some others might also be reading this blog out of interest in the series, so please excuse the Parasol-centric nature of what follows.

~ Foreign Languages
All three books are out in British Edition (which are larger sized books but the same American language inside). Waterstones and Kobo have the ebook versions of all three up, WHSmiths has Soulless.
The first three have sold to French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Polish translations. Several of these are out already, although I haven't yet seen copies. So far only Germany has opted for alternate covers, but that will probably change.
Soulless has sold in Hungarian, Japanese, and Thai.

~ Audio Books
Recorded books released both Soulless and Changeless. Blameless should be out in March of this year. Changeless was supposed to drop to audible, but it doesn't look like it has yet. Hachette Audio will produce the last two books, and they will try to bring them out right around the same time as the print version. Thus, they are aiming to have Heartless out July 1. We are hoping for the same reader.

~ Manga
Some of you will know that I am a huge manga fan, so I am really excited to be with Yen Press. They have been marvelous about involving me at every stage of the project. We have decided on an artist. You should be prepared, however, that this is manga with all the expected big-eyes and youthful styling. But let me just say: girl has the fashion down!

~ Signings for 2011
My appearances for this year are almost settled. There are a few more things still up in the air, mainly competing events I just have decide which I want to do.

~ Contests
I have a stack of Blameless books I am thinking of signing and sending off to lucky winners in some kind of contest. Any ideas?

~ Other Minutia
I've stopped doing blurbs for books and my own short stories for the foreseeable future, this year is already madness, and I just have to focus on novel writing.
I have health insurance (this is very exciting to me but you probably don't care).

~ The Blog
I may fall off the three a week schedule, but can still expect character studies, more Dear Lord Akeldama columns, various convention reports and fashion thoughts, as well as a some steampunk stuff. I am curious as to what you, Gentle Reader, would particularly like to see more of in the future. Do please let me know what you are interested in or if there is something I haven't done in a while. I await your comments with baited breath.


Gail Carriger and the Steampunk Scholar Reading at SteamCon Seattle 2010

Here, Gentle Reader, I present to you a series of videos of The Steampunk Scholar and I reading from Soulless at SteamCon Seattle 2010. I would like to point out we had no chance to practice ahead of time and it has been about a year since I read from Soulless, and I never have done this section out loud. However, Mike's voices are MARVELOUS. I'm certain all my CA podcaster buddies are busy lamenting the fact that he lives so very far away they can't tap him for voice talent.

I think that's all there are, and I believe the filming was done on a cell phone so . . . But for those of you who have never had a chance to see me read, at least you get a sample, right?

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
A Guide to Houses No Gentleman Would Dare to Frequent in New York 1870.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
More from an Agent's perspective.

Clandestine Sanctuary says, "Soulless was fun, witty and entertaining. I loved the chemistry of the main characters, how Carriger pictured me a world not only of different race co-mingling yet retaining the whole vampire-werewolf conflict that I love."
Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first. Lindsey says, "I absolutely LOVE these books. I loved the last one even though it progressed at a different pace for me, and I loved the first book even though it took some getting used to, but wow- I devoured this book."

Heartless: Copy edits done. It's available for preorder on Amazon.
Timeless: Back at it.
Secret Project F: We're waiting. We're waiting.

Quote of the Day:
"For if I could please myself I would always live as I lived here. I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one. If a cup of good tea or coffee could be brought to me about eleven, so much the better."
~ C.S. Lewis


Dear Lord Akeldama: The 2011 Edition, Part Two

As promised, Gentle Reader, more Dear Lord Akeldama for you! Don't forget to leave your questions for the honored sir if you have any.

@tiffanyreisz asks:
What are you, Lord Akeldama? Are you an Earl or a Duke or a Baron? Or are you a Lord in the way Lady Gaga is a Lady?
My dearest girl, that is rather an impertinent question, don't you feel? The important thing is that I have status to which I can elude. It should never be addressed directly. That would be bragging.

@_dchan asks:
Dear Lord Akeldama: Do you prefer trousers or knee breeches?
As occasion demands, my little gherkin, as occasion demands. That said, there is something about knee britches, especially the well-fitted satin ones that is so very youthful and flattering.

@LoulouHN asks
Lord Akeldama, I have some trouble concerning colour schemes. I thought cream/white and black/navy were unacceptable, but some of my friends strongly disagree. What would you say?
Oh dear, but they are all rather dull, aren't they sugar plum? How about a nice gold and crimson? Or perhaps silver and royal blue? So much more flattering to the complexion.

@luvinjrandsmoke asks:
Dear Lord Akeldama, what is the best refreshment for a cold night when one is not a vampire?
A young mortal of my acquaintance suggests warm milk with a dollop of coffee liquor and a sprinkling of cinnamon if you are suffering from insomnia. Another dear friend is awfully fond of the odd dash of amaretto in her tea. I, however, must return to tradition in being excessively partial to the hot toddy: lemon, brandy, honey, and boiled water.

@MsBobbilicious asks:
Dear Lord Akeldama, how can I rekindle my honey's desire? I know you'll have the perfect advice!
I find that most gentlemen respond well to flattery and even a tiny taste of aggression, they are so unused to such things, poor lambs. To be wanted, my dear, can never be underrated. Also, do not discount the power of a good bottle of bubbly to relax the morals and lighten the heart's affections.


Your moment of parasol . . .

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
A grandfather clock in Lord Akeldama's drawing room is knocked over in Heartless. I imagine it looking much like one of these:

Your Tisane of Smart:
Amazingly good blog on Period Fashion: Mourning Dress includes Victorian (and later).
Your Writerly Tinctures:
PW on the Borders kafuffle and The Street's more doomy coverage. And, clearance sale proof?

That Bookish Girl says, "With Alexia, Carriger creates a fascinating heroine that is charming, spunky, hilarious and completely unique."
SPOILER ALERT! Series review from Gingersnaps.
Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first. All caught up, no new reviews lately.

Heartless: Copy edits done. It's available for preorder on Amazon.
Timeless: Back at it.
Secret Project F: We're waiting. We're waiting.

Quote of the Day:
"We have seen a turquoise pin worn in a violet-coloured cravat, and the effect was frightful."
~ Routledge's Etiquette for Gentlemen (c. 1850)


Gail's Entirely Subjective: Why Attend Conventions?

Dear Gentle Reader, here I will prattle on about the pros and cons of cons. This is my personal take from a wise old "two years in and several hundred thousand in print" using some of my friend Dan's bullet points, only from a different perspective . . .

Con Pros

1) Networking. Yes, even established authors with contracts in place and projects for the next 6 years need to network. A fellow author once explained it to me thusly. "I'd been trying to get a collection of my old shorts off the ground for months. I visited a convention where the small press publisher I'd been talking with and my agent were both on hand. Over the course of one lunch we had everything settled. It could have taken another six months without that lunch." Also it's good a place to meet podcasters and fellow authors for sharing blog tours and interviews.

2) Fun. I rarely find conventions entirely fun anymore. Don't get me wrong, there are moments of great conversation in the hallways and interesting questions on panels. But they are now mostly work. I like to work, so that isn't a huge drawback. A fan can blindside a girl at any moment, so I always have to be on form, polite, and gracious. This can be as exhausting as it is rewarding. On the other hand, there is the tribute factor.

3) Vacation. It is nice to get away from home. But again, this has its drawbacks. I find it impossible to write on the road. I do enjoy traveling though, when I can get out and about the city I am visiting, which is rare. I miss it from my archaeology days. However, most conventions or book tours all you get to see is the inside of one hotel after another, with very little time to explore foreign lands unless you can arrange an extension and see to the expense yourself. However, it is an excellent opportunity to have dinner with old friends, if you are like me and seem to have inexplicably scattered them all over the world.

Gail in a Brother's K Sandwich

4) Education. I don't benefit from this very much anymore. Sometimes I sneak out to a hard science panel, but last year any convention I visited had me scheduled so full I couldn't really make it to anyone else's panels. However there is a lot of conversation education between authors, see point 6 below.

Dan, Gail, Alex

5) Business. At the larger, more important conventions, it's not just making new sales, it's also ensuring that your relationships with your existing editors, agents, publishers, and publicists are working smoothly. Nothing beats a face-to-face meeting to allay fears on everyone's part.

Gail & Tim

6) Counseling. Absolutely no one else understands what a professional author's life is like except a fellow author. These days most of my time at conventions is spent kvetching in the greenroom or the bar with other authors. You can ask the old warriors for advice, discuss contract points, drop hints as to which houses or editors or agents to avoid, and so forth. Publishers and agents aren't always so thrilled about this side of convention life, but for us authors it's a way of protecting ourselves and there is other feedback. We learn what questions we really need to ask our agents. Advantages in taking different contract points and hits from different houses. Compare war stories over cover art or copyeditors. And we also gain emotional counseling: how to make it through the day and hit a word count, how to deal with the psycho fan, and how to cope with a bad review. Some of my most lasting friends are now fellow authors, and when I decide to go to a convention knowing one of them will be there weighs VERY heavily in the decision making process.

Gail & Blake

Con Cons

1) Expensive. A convention can, indeed, cost anywhere from $400 to $3000, depending on location, hotel, and food. Most of that is tax deductible when you are a full time writer, but it is still a large chunk of change, and tax deductions don't work out that much in your favor if you run a close look at the numbers.

Hotel Living At Its Finest

2) Culture shock. I don't get this one much anymore. But for me there was a two stage transition of shock: from fan to debut author and from debut to pro. The adjustment was pretty steep. And there always can be fans or convention staff who get a little too familiar. There is a reason most of us authors end up holed up in the greenroom - self preservation.

3) Con crud. I work hard to prevent this one by wearing gloves, eating properly, and getting enough sleep, but I still managed to catch a whopper of a cold from WorldCon 2010 last year which made a pathetic little croaking frog on my book tour directly after. The lesson I learned was never to plan anything back-to-back if at all possible.

4) Bad cons. Sometimes they just aren't any good. Unfortunately, from an author perspective, these get blacklisted pretty fast. I tend to file these cons away as, either 1. Really I just am not going to bother ever again, or 2. I'll check back in two or three years, see if they have things sorted out. It's hard for a convention to rise above that kind of reputation, because, see point 6 above, authors talk. Learning how to predict this ahead of time, now that is a skill I wish I had.

5) Burn out. This one happened to me at the end of 2010. I just did way to many events. By the end, even another BaltiCon would only have drained me to a bitter shell of nothingness. So learning how to balance the number and type of conventions, versus the amount of travel, versus book tours, and other appearances is also vital. I axed myself way back for 2011 to only one convention a month, and that not starting until the end of March, merely for my own sanity.

Dan also has an excellent post on this subject which sparked mine.

Audiobook review from Geeky Blogger says, "The narrator, Emily Gray, was fantastic! The only voice I found annoying was Mr. Seimens but even then he was annoying anyway. The reading pace was fantastic and the nuances were just perfect."
Series review fro Radian, "What they are is a lot of fun. I was hooked from page one, where Ms Tarabotti blatantly attacks a vampire with her parasol, simply because he is being rude enough to try and eat her."
Series review from Ginger, "I'm always excited to share a series of books that I loved so much I practically devoured them. This series is one of those."

Heartless: Copy edits done. It's available for preorder on Amazon.
Timeless: Back at it.
Secret Project F: We're waiting. We're waiting.

Quote of the Day:
"Of all precious stones, the opal is one of the most lovely and the least common-place. No vulgar man purchases an opal."
~ Routledge's Etiquette for Gentlemen (c. 1850)


Heartless Blurb

Gentle Reader, because the back cover blurb has broken out, I present it to you here.

As always with my blurbs, please be aware that there is a spoiler alert in effect, Condition Scarlet. (Sorry I got derailed in to being homeland security for a moment there.) If you have not read the previous three books STOP NOW, go away, drink tea. I promise the cover art for Heartless will break soon, and I will post it as soon as I can.

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
To be Published: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Orbit

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she just happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

I have just finished the copy edits for this book so everything is on schedule and it will officially hit shelves July 1 (That June 28th date is the Amazon early release so they have time to mail it to you). That said, Heartless is not under gag-orders so it may go up in Brick & Mortar stores a few weeks a head of time. (In other words, unlike Harry Potter or the like, bookstores are permitted to put it up for sale as soon as they have unpacked their shipment.)

Let me see, what else can I tip you off about, Gentle Reader? From what my spies have told me the best guarantee of a copy ASAP is to have your local Indy hold you one as soon as it comes in. What with this craziness with Borders I've no idea what my print run will be, but in the past some places (including Amazon and the chains) have run out of my books and then had to wait for the second printing, which can be months. If you put in a request ahead of time they are usually good about holding one for you.

Also I'm be ramping up to the release by dropping teasers about Book the Forth over twitter/facebook. If you aren't following me there, you might want to for the last week of June.

I'm deeply mired in Book the Fifth at the moment, lots of threads to wrap up, I may have to blog about it at some point. I'm expecting to make some pretty exciting announcements over the next few months, I plan on a Dear Lord Akeldama next Weds, and then an appearance at SF in SF with Patrick Rothfuss on March 3rd kicks off my year of travel.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
More parasolness
Your Tisane of Smart:
Victorian Household Tip That Still Works: Athlete's foot. Rub bicarbonate soda (aka baking soda) onto the foot at night and into socks during the day.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Interesting thoughts on the changes to non-fiction editions in the future.

Michelle's thoughts, "An interesting blend of genres, this book is witty, funny, and fast-paced, keeping the readers interested and intrigued all the way through. They will come away with an instant yearning for the next book."
SPOILER ALERT! Book Rants cover blurb, "Wondrously Witty!"
Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first. Reading Extensively says, "If you enjoy paranormal romance and intelligent characters, you might like the Parasol Protectorate series."

Heartless: Copy edits done. It's available for preorder on Amazon.
Timeless: Back at it.
Secret Project F: We're waiting. We're waiting.

Quote of the Day:
"Simple pleasures are the last refuge of the complex."
~ Oscar Wilde


In Which Copy Edits Reference The Heart of Darkness

For your pleasure, Gentle Reader, I present to you a few of the words I had to double check during copy edits:

appealing feasible excellent capacity probably fortifying imprisoned

I know, I know, you must find that absolutely scintillating. However, I beg your indulgence in a few idiosyncratic moments (or do I mean erratic?) for copy edits on Book 4, Heartless, are only this moment finished. (Insert wild cheers here.)

Thank goodness. I don't know about other authors out there but I find copy edits one of the more demanding and stressful points of the manuscript process. I don't know why. After all, it is just a long run of red marks I have to check over and mostly ignore or write "stet" next to. It's probably an ingrained fear of not catching some big whopper of a mistake combined with a small but vocal collection of emails angry about minor insignificant details in past books that I probably couldn't have caught anyway. They haunt me! They haunt me! The horror, the horror.



Sorry about that. Copy editing for four days over 12 hours a day will do that to a girl ~ weaken the soul.

I celebrated my completion of said copy edits by reading Marie Claire magazine while listening to Jay and Silent Bob Get Old, and eating macadamia nuts. I know, but trust me, this a strangely accurate window into my personality.

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Newly arrived in my life from Mia of Nineteen O Three, the most adorable mechanical ladybug timer, a la Blameless and the pink hatbox in the teashop.
Your Tisane of Smart:
Tea wins
Your Writerly Tinctures:
I have reviewed a book! I know, you thought I didn't read anymore. So did I. Geist by Philippa Ballantine.

Blood Rose Books says, "Enjoy! Oh and don't forget the Tea and Crumpets while you read it!"
SPOILER ALERT! I have been nominated for several Polidori Awards: Best Vampire Novel of 2010 (both Changeless and Blameless are up for it) and for Best Interview. Please do drop by and vote, you don't even have to vote for me.
Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first. Weirdmage says, "Miss Carriger has continued the story of Alexia Taraotti in excellent fashion. This book gripped me from the first page to the last, and I am already looking forward to the next installment, Heartless, that is coming in June this year."

Heartless: Copy edits done. It's available for preorder on Amazon.
Timeless: Back at it.
Secret Project F: We're waiting. We're waiting.

Quote of the Day:
"The dressing-gown mania is on the increase, remarks a thoughtful writer who attributes to this unbecoming habit the growing indifference of the modern husband to his wife's charms; hence the relaxing of the marital bond and the ultimate decline of English morals. Such are the perils inherent in loose clothing."
~ Cunnington, on the 1976 used of dressing-gowns at breakfast


Egg Cartons

Remember what I said about fiber and the publishing industry, Gentle Reader? Well, as fated by my previous blog, suddenly things are no longer slow in New York. I have a quick turn around to get to, so your Interwebs Gail-Mark-X will be scarce for the next few days.

Random frustration of life. . . Why aren't egg cartons 3x4 instead of 2x6? 2x6 never fits into any shopping bags properly; it gets floppy when you are half way through; and is generally incommodious. And while we are on the subject, why aren't shopping bags more tote shaped? Which is to say, wide instead of tall? They wouldn't tip over as easily, the stuff on top would be less likely to squish the stuff underneath because there would be fewer layers, and it would fit the flipping egg carton!

Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Ken Botto
Your Tisane of Smart:
Victorian Household Tip That Still Works: Black soot residue from a fire on metal or glass? Put on gloves, dip corner of a damp sponge into the cold white ash of a dead fire, use to clean the glass. (This is pure lye, by the way.)
Your Writerly Tinctures:
I'm tapped, sorry my dears. So here's a quick pic from a friend who spotted some endcap love for me down in Santa Cruz.

Spanish language review from the rather appropriately titled Libros Con Alma. From what I can gather, she had trouble with the Victorian language but found it worth the pain.
SPOILER ALERT! The Write Thing says, "It’s nice to see Carriger stretching her arms a little in the second book of the Parasol Protectorate series. While her language and wit remain much unchanged (a good thing, by the way), Carriger adds more characters and complexity to her plot, weaving the additional threads with confidence into a much richer tapestry than Soulless. Having some new perspectives certainly enlivens things."
Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first. Eclectic Eccentric says, "All I can do at this point is ditto what I've already said. I adore this series and wish there was a back-log of twelve books so that I didn't have to wait for the next installment."

Heartless: Working copyedits. It's available for preorder on Amazon.
Timeless: Paused for copyedits.
Secret Project F: We're waiting. We're waiting.

Quote of the Day:
"The exaggerations of last year are still the order of the day, and yet there are far more ladies for whom such fashions are extremely trying than there are those to whom they are becoming."
~ Cunnington, on the 1976 persistence of very tight dresses