So after eating my body weight in shell fish in St. Malo, we made our way across the width of France (pretty much) to Epinal
in the Vosges Mountains
for the Imaginales
Festival. It was a blast, Gentle Reader.
Self & Helen in front of Magic Mirrors Panel Room
was an epic stall at the train station on the way there, when our lay
over of two hours turned into six. I managed to convince the cafe there
to give me hot boiled water (with their tea bag, which I rejected in
favor of my own, Lipton indeed!
) and a side of cold whole milk. As I do not speak any French, I consider this my biggest victory of the whole trip.
Tea and three little beignets: apple, raspberry, chocolate
know most of these posts seem to be centered on food, but frankly,
that's my personality – entirely driven by my gullet. I know I may come
off as all writerly but, really, most of what I do in life centers
around food. I know, after reading my books, I am sure you are shocked
by this confession. Shocked! But now, on to Epinal.
Self taking in the hotel's lovely view of the park
Etonnants Voyageurs, Imaginales is fantasy centered. There didn't seem
to be all that much sci-fi even, although Urban Fantasy and Paranormal
Romance are certainly creeping in. The French, rather charmingly call
this sub-genre "Bit-Lit" (literature that bites). My books are
classified as Bit-Lit. (I always find it interesting as to where
marketing puts my series, given the books straddle so many sub genres.)
At Imaginales I palled about with a group of fellow American including
one of my oldest pro-circuit friends Ken Scholes
. Also Kristin Cashore
had come from St. Malo as well (a co-conspirator in bumbershoot
obsession - she loves the umbrella, I love the parasol, an East Coast
vs. West Coast thing?) and the marvelous Alexandra Ivy
joined us fresh off the plane.
American Invasion Team Fantasy: self, Ken, Kristin, Alexandra
had a wonderful time at Imaginles. Beforehand, everyone kept telling me
it's very "family friendly." Which I took to mean full of children, but
which actually meant that everyone behaved like family and was super
chummy. There was a real sense of comradeship among the visiting authors
– American, Germans, and British alike. And I must say the translators
and industry folk who attended, seemed to be having just as much fun as
us authors. We got up to a great deal of raucous mischief. But when we
were out with the French, it was usually they who were the rowdiest, so I
refuse to take all the blame as the bonkers American. The Germans
behaved themselves though.
is a pretty big deal for Epinal, the mayor welcomed us, we appeared on
local TV, and the town restaurants threw open their proverbial doors.
A real TV Interview!
ate three times at the local vegetarian place (so called because it has
one meatless option on the menu and lots of healthy sides), twice at
the delicious pizza joint, and the rest time delved deep into local
cuisine. I even found tea!
Finding joy in a cup of tea
of the most unique experiences was the picnic, where French authors all
bring their favorite local dishes to share with the visitors. Alexandra
and I sallied forth into the madness and tried many a strange and
delicious items. I developed a passing fondness for what was called magret
(basically duck prosciutto
Experiencing the fated Picnic
thanks go out to the lovely Stephanie of Imaginales, and warmest of
wishes to all the volunteers, several of whom I wanted to take home in
my pocket they were so cute. Also Helen is the best interpertor evah
And I can't finish this post without mentioning my killer Orbit team,
who took amazingly good care of me and ushered the lost waif from one
event to the next with goodwill and the regular application of Author's
Oil (aka booze).
Stephanie and I pose in the interview zone.
You don't have to take my word for it, here's a blog all about me at Imaginales from the lovely Grande Dames of French bloggers
. I am particularly pleased to note the sea pig warranted a mention. You have heard of the sea pig
, yes?Day 7, TravelSpent:
in taxis, on a train, at a train station outlasting a bomb scare, then
in a train again. Finally in hotel. Epinal puts its authors up in swanky
French men have a thing about lollipops.
Always pack a suitcase small enough to go in the overhead on a train.Day 8, EpinalSpent:
Early meet and greet panel, interviews, food, socializing, more food, signing, interviews, food, drinks, mirabelle ice cream.Had to share Helen with Ken for the first Panel. She's mine!Learns learned:
Never try to out drink or out eat the French.My dinner, traditional beef tartar.Day 9, EpinalSpent:
interviews, blogger lunch and tea, panel, signing, fancy dinner out at a
castle Gail is delivered by a veggie truck, cheese, too much wine.Lesson learned:
France is not the place to visit if you are gluten intolerant, vegetarian, or allergic to cigarette smoke.
I already find coffee challenging. French coffee is like a bitter Napoleon waging war on your taste buds.Day 10, EpinalSpent:
Kaffeklutch breakfast, noon cocktails, crazy picnic lunch, interviews, solo panel, femmes panel, goodbye dinner with publishers.Lessons learned:
Never let Manuel steal the cat.
The french love sweets too.Happy frenchman with petit deserts.
did get an amazing amount of tribute from my French readers. I have
pictures to come. Unfortunately, I had to eat and use most of it there,
as I never travel with a suitcase large enough to bring large items back
with me.Day 11, EpinalSpent:
Food, interview, light food, signing, interview, goodbye panel, goodbye drinks, goodbye dinnerLesson learned:
More than three days of a convention and I struggle, must pace myself better next time.
Can't wait to come back!
rest of my time in France I took as a vacation. I have a few pictures
of steampunk and Gail-ish type things which I may do a blog about or may
just leak in over the next few weeks. I know, vacation, imagine that? I
realize that last year I took about 2 weeks all told. I'm trying to do
better in future ~ work/life balance and all that. It's the odd thing
about working for one's self, it's very easy to just never stop. Even
while I was on vacation I still checked in regularly, answered email,
and you can probably tell form twitter/FB I had a hard time staying
But I did have a fab time. The AB and I visited Colmar,
Strasbourg, and ended in Paris. I ate too much. No surprise there. But
the best meal I had the entire time was a duck dish at:Chez Graff
62 Rue de Bellchasse
Near Rue De Grenelle
If you're in Paris, do try to go there. Really, it's worth the metro trip.GAIL'S DAILY DOSEYour Moment of Parasol . . .
via FacebookYour Infusion of Cute . . .
Teapot at the Colmar musuem (could be chocolate pot)Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Locking chests at the Colmar MuseumYour Writerly Tinctures . . .
Writing desk at the Colmar MuseumPROJECT ROUND UPWaistcoats & Weaponry
~ The Finishing School Book the Third:
Working third draft.Etiquette & Espionage
~ trade paperback available in the US October 13, 2013
.Curtsies & Conspiracies
~ The Finishing School Book the Second:
Release date November 2013.Manga
~ Soulless Vol. 3: (AKA Blameless
) Available serialized through YenPlus
. Print edition Nov. 19 2013.Prudence
~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First:
Begin rewrite in 2014.
Book News:Calico Reaction
says of E&E, “I think the best way to describe this book to
readers unfamiliar with Carriger is that it’s a hyrbid of J.K. Rowling’s
Harry Potter books and Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy.”Quote of the Day:
"A Mysterious Visitor.
the recent visitors to London we find notified an extraordinarily dense
fog. This visitor, though somewhat obscure, created considerable
sensation, and a sort of general illumination was got up by the London
shopkeepers on the occasion. The fog arrived by the Thames, and made so
much of the short time of remaining that the visitor was nearly all over
London in a very brief period."
~ Punch August 1853