5.30.2011

Bustlepunk, Mannerspunk, New Steampunk, and Feminine Frivolity

Con Book - Steampunk

I tend to not weigh in, Gentle Reader, on the controversial subject of bustlepunk, and prefer to let the experts argue amongst themselves as to whether my books are officially steampunk. It allows those who wish to dismiss them outright as "not really steampunk" (as though by being ridiculous and romantic they have somehow offended). I am a ridiculous type of person and I have spent a lifetime offending people by how I dress, and how I talk, and how I act. I see no reason to write any differently. Since Soulless came out in 2009 I have obeyed to the letter the old internet adage "do not engage." I figure for every 1 negative review I get about 9 positive ones, and in the end that's better odds then I was getting in my previous career as a professor (actually educating, at best, four out of every 50 students). All that said, I do love that The Steampunk Scholar is fighting the good fight for the aesthetic movement of New Steampunk informing the literary genre.

I suspect I am one of the first New Wave Steampunk authors to have come from the aesthetic movement. That is to say, I loved Victorian literature and Gothic attire, then discovered the steampunk aesthetic, and only much later did I realize there was literature to go with it. My writing is informed by the movement not necessarily by the First Wave Steampunk literature.

The Parasol Protectorate series also struggles for respect within steampunk because it is silly ~ unabashedly frivolous and fun. There is romance. There are caricatures. There is parody and farce. Very few burgeoning literary movements struggling for respect wish to be associated with such things.

I happen to love to laugh. I would rather brighten a reader's day than depress them. And this ties once more back to the aesthetic movement. I realized in a recent conversation with the League of Steam, that a great deal of what I love about steampunkers is their delightful frivolousness. The top hat that has a teapot rising up about of it. The amazing brass contraption that dispenses . . . blackberry cordial.

Steampunkers like to play with their gadgets, they will spend hours creating the silliest thing, a moustache curler or a teacup holster. Frankly, you can't get any more Victorian than that. The Victorian's adored frivolous gadgets.

It is this whimsy, both as an aspect of the actual science of the Victorian Era and the steampunk aesthetic movement, that first drew me to write steampunk. When I began actively researching the genre I was frankly shocked by the lack of whimsy, because I did not realized that the literature and the aesthetic movement were moving along different (all be it converging) paths.

So, a rather serious post, Gentle Reader, from your customarily irreverent author beast. And to settle the issue: steampunk, mannerspunk, or bustlepunk? I will simply sit on the sidelines with my treacle tart and whisper quietly into the abyss . . . teapunk.

Your moment of parasol . . .


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:

Your Writerly Tinctures:
The Steampunk Scholar on Bustlepunk.

Timeless: Back from editor, off to Gamma.
Etiquette & Espionage: The Finishing School Book One: Plod plod.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.


BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

Strategic Serendipity says of Soulless, "I am utterly delighted that this was the first in a series called The Parasol Protectorate, of which there are four other books which all sound just as fascinating."

Quote of the Day:
"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future."
~ Thich Nat Hahn

5.27.2011

Advice for Author Readings

Gail Signing

I am very leery of attending author readings, I must say. With the exception of a noted few, they have universally trod a delicate line between mind-numbingly monosyllabic and astonishingly tedious. Suffice it to say, Gentle Reader, that I have met very few authors who would not benefit from the following advice.

The tips below are courtesy of the lovely [info]maryrobinette who gave the best panel I attended at WorldCon in 2008 (and that is saying a lot, I went to some splendid panels back then). She had many more tips than just the following, and gave us a first-rate hand-out (which I still have, filed under "Really Important Advice"). I pulled only those few things I found most advantageous for this blog.
  • Avoid drinking dairy, OJ, caffeine, and other mucus educing beverages, but do drink water.
  • Choose a scene with a small cast of characters; one that is self contained (has a beginning, middle, and end), and is replete with suitably lush language.
  • Prepare by going through and underlining the emphasis word in each sentence.
  • Practice at least 2x first, preferably in front of an audience.
  • Speak slower when reading, use your "phone voice" to encourage extra care and enunciation.
  • Look up and make eye contact with your audience.
  • Get in touch with your inner diva.
  • Make sure your narrator has emotional investment.
  • When trying out character voices try listening to an actor who might sound like your character.
  • Feminine is slightly higher and fluid, masculine lower and more staccato.
  • When doing dialogue between 2 characters, look to one side of the room for one character, and to the opposite side for the other.
  • British English is spoken at the front of the mouth. (As a result of this statement, I spent the rest of the convention fascinated by the mouths of Englishmen.)
Your moment of parasol . . .


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
DIY: Striped Umbrella
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Elen Datlow
on BEA 2011


Timeless: Back from editor, off to Gamma (who is taking it to Israel). My book travels where I haven't!
Secret Project F: Plod plod.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.


BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

Direct link to the audio from me reading from Blameless at SF in SF

Quote of the Day:
“A baby is an alimentary canal with a loud voice at one end and no responsibility at the other”
~ Jerome K. Jerome quote

5.25.2011

All About Podcasts

Deep Thought - Chew Pen My dear Gentle Reader, you may know (or have noticed) that I am an avid podcasting fan. Recent online conversations have tempted me to provide you with a list of some of my very favorites. Here they are:

Writing/Story Related
  • Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing
  • Dragon Page
  • I Should Be Writing
  • Odyssey SF/F Writing Workshop Podcast
  • Writing Excuses
Human Interest
  • The Moth Podcast
  • NPR: StoryCorps
  • This American Life
  • All in the Mind
  • Savage Love Podcast
Academic and Educational
  • Freakonomics Radio
  • Get Fit Guy (Q&DT)
  • Money Girl (Q&DT)
  • NPR: Planet Money
  • The Nutrition Diva (Q&DT)
Fandom
  • Brass Needles
  • Geekson
  • Out of the Coffin
  • Slice of SciFi
  • STEAM Geeks
Comedy
  • The Bugle
  • Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4
  • Judge John Hodgeman
  • NPR: Wait Wait Don't Tell Me
  • Scotland's Funny Bits
  • The Smartest Man in the World
Because I am Weak
  • Answer B!tch Audio Podcast
  • Blow Hard
  • Erotica a la Carte
  • Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo's Film Reviews
  • NPR: Car Talk
Depends Upon the Guest/Topic
  • Functional Nerds
  • Geologic Podcast
  • Litopia
  • The Nerdist
  • The SF Signal
Most Missed
  • Survivor Guide
  • Stephen Fry's Podgrams
  • Polyschizmatic Reprobates Hour
  • Memories of the Futurecast
  • Shortcomings Audio
  • The Perfect Ten
  • Radio Free Burrito

Your moment of parasol . . .


Gail's Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:

Your Tisane of Smart:
You know you want it. The Tentacle Mustache!
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Literary Agent on Sending Ideas to Clients.

Timeless: Back from editor, off to Gamma (who is taking it to Israel). My book travels where I haven't!
Secret Project F: Plod plod.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.


BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

Interview and give-away over on My Bookish Ways.

Quote of the Day:
"It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all."
~ Will Shetterly