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desperance July 26 2014, 00:41

Possessively yours

So growing up as I did with a name ending in -s (shh, it's a secret!), I have never been any stranger to the vagaries of the possessive apostrophe - which may in fact be one reason why I never had any trouble with its basic rules either, because I had to learn an exception early. The genitive form is 's, unless the word ends in -s already, in which case it's just the apostrophe: is it Tina's turn, or is it Charles'?*

Being the stickler that I am, and pretty much self-taught, I am tolerably convinced that my early books feature my doing the same thing with words ending in -ss, because why wouldn't I? Except that then I remember reading in some manual of style that that was wrong, that -ss takes the genitive 's: it's not the princess' poodle, it's the princess's poodle.

Which I was quite happy to buy into, because of course it was a different case and needed different case-law; so I've been religiously holding to that ever since. Until, as it happens, today: when I was copy-editing away and here was and for goodness sake and it so clearly needed an apostrophe - and it struck me suddenly that no one ever in any circumstance ever has ever said "Oh, for goodness's sake!" It is, incontrovertibly, "Oh, for goodness' sake...!"

So: is there an actual rule here, or is it just custom-and-practice, with variations? Does goodness take the bare apostrophe because it's followed by another s anyway, on the front of sake? That feels to me like it could be a rule (I am trying out variants in my head here, and I think I could say "for goodness's comfort," if it only made sense, so it may just be that concatenation of sibillants that creates a special case), but I do not know. I am ignorant. Anyone want to enlighten me? Like Brutus, I pause for a reply...

*A question not uncommonly asked in our household**

**(and rarely answered fairly; she got twice as many turns as I did. House rule. A pestering sister's a festering blister, say I.)
desperance July 26 2014, 00:06

Twenty busy minutes later...

I was tired and thirsty and kinda fed up, so I thought I'd make a cup of tea and read some Burroughs*. Obviously, that entailed going into the kitchen, to boil the kettle and so forth.

These days, I am apparently incapable of going anywhere in the house without thinking of what else I should be doing. In this instance, the notion of dinner occurred to me, in that, "Well, while the kettle boils I could..." sort of way. So now Wednesday's barbecued pork is simmering in a pot with onions and carrots and celery and tomatoes and pinto beans and garlic and a whole lot of spices, mulching down into a chilli; and the rice is cooked and ready to fry up with green onions and mushrooms and more garlic; and all that I need to do for dinner is the brussels sprouts.

And now it's after five o'clock, which puts tea entirely out of the question, boiled kettle or no. And I'm still tired and thirsty and kinda fed up, and I really need to be getting back to work. Beer, I hear you calling me...

*Edgar Rice of that ilk, as it happens. I was such a fan of the Tarzan books when I was small, I never bothered with the Mars books at all. We are now, ahem, making up that lack.**

**And trying not to think "Oh, if only I'd been around then! I could have done all this so very much better!" That is a snare and a delusion, as we know. Though honestly, they really are an endless series of "With one bound I was free," which does get a little wearing...
kylecassidy July 25 2014, 23:21

when did I grow up?

Je suis une bigshot.

I sent a sample chapter to my agent so that he can forward it to publishers, and I talked to my attorney who is suing some jerks who stole my photos, I haven't seen my wife, but we texted back and forth about the cats and the trash.

This might be the most grownup day of my life.

Except for the fact that I had chocolate cake for dinner while blasting heavy metal music.

Add me: [LiveJournal] [Facebook] [Twitter] [Google+] [Tumblr]
twilight2000 July 25 2014, 20:59

My tweets

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blue_succubus July 25 2014, 18:15

Talk to me, yo.

Can you believe we're less than one week away until Silver Shadows is out? I'm SO excited for you guys to read this one. Big stuff happens, you guys. But then, when does it ever not?

In celebration of this, there are a number of events going on that you can be a part of. Here's a run down.

Google Hangout with me, Melissa de la Cruz, Margaret Stohl, and Morgan Rhodes

WHEN: Monday, July 28 at 7pm Eastern/4pm Pacific US time (other places, use a time zone converter)
WHAT IT IS: Me, video chatting with three of my favorite author pals for one hour!
WHO CAN SEE IT: Anyone, anywhere in the world, from the comfort of your home.
WHY YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE: Because you get to see FOUR authors talking about all sorts of topics and possibly distracting each other into silliness. You can also submit questions at the time of the chat or post them in advance here or on Twitter marked #PenguinTeenChat.
THINGS TO KNOW: This will be awesome. Learn to use Google Hangouts this weekend! Here's the link it'll be happening at.

"Virtual" Book Signing and Skype Chat with Me!

WHEN: July 30 and July 31 in Lansing, Miami, and Chicago (Check schedule for times)
WHAT IT IS: Me, chatting with readers on a giant screen in front of you (hope my pores don't show!) and answering your questions about books, movies, and life. Each host store will have autographed copies of Silver Shadows for you to buy right there! Plus each store is giving away *100* copies of the Vampire Academy DVD.
WHO CAN SEE IT: Anyone who is at Schuler Books in Lansing, Books and Books in Coral Gables, or Anderson's in Chicago at the designated times. Some people are confused that the virtual element means you can do this from home. Nope--you have to be in the bookstore hosting it to talk to me. They're the ones making the Skype connection with me.
WHY YOU SHOULD PARTICIPATE: Because you can ask me all those things you want to know--will there be a fifth Dark Swan book? Will there be a Frostbite movie? What IS Jill's element? Etc. If you're in a bookstore with only 50 other people, you have much better odds of getting questions answered vs. an online chat that's open to the whole world. Plus, you can buy an autographed copy of Silver Shadows and maybe win a DVD! (I feel like your odds are pretty good if they're giving away 100 of those DVDs).
THINGS TO KNOW: Contact your store in advance with questions or to pre-order and make sure they don't run out of signed books!

In-Person Book Signing with Me!

July 29 (Seattle) and August 2 (Portland) (Check schedule for times)
WHAT IT IS: Me, reading and taking questions in-person, followed by a book signing and possibly pictures. I'll sign up to four books per person, from any of my series, and you can bring them from home. But if you don't have a book yet, PLEASE buy it from the hosting store! It ensures that they'll bring me back to see you for future book releases!
WHO CAN SEE IT: Anyone who shows up to University Book Store in Seattle or Powell's (downtown) in Portland at the designated times.
THINGS TO KNOW: I don't have DVDs to give away here, but I will bring lots of other goodies to give away, like cool foreign editions of my books, t-shirts, and other fun things. So show up, chat, get a book signed, and maybe win free stuff! Arcane Vault will be selling their merchandise at the Seattle event.
saraphina_marie July 25 2014, 17:35

My tweets

retrofatale July 25 2014, 17:34

My tweets

gailcarriger July 25 2014, 17:06

Victorian Houses ~ Peek into Gail's Research

Soon I am off to England, Gentle Reader. One of the things I love about traveling in the UK is the architecture. I'm a particular fan of the mixing of time periods you often find in smaller towns.


However, while I am in London, I'll be paying attention to the less flashy Victorian houses, because I have been researching them lately.

In the late 1890s an American visitor to London describes the houses as:

"very tall, and very plain, and very narrow, and quite expressionless, except that it wore a sort of dirty brown frown. Like its neighbours, it had a well in front of it, and steps leading down in to the well, and an iron fence round the steps, and a brass bell-handle lettered 'Tradesmen'. Like its neighbours, too, it wore boxes of spotty black greenery on the window-sills – in fact, it was very like its neighbours . . . Half-Moon Street, to me, looked like a family of houses – a family differing in heights and complexions and the colour of its hair, but sharing all the characteristics of a family – of an old family."
~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. li)

Victorian Terrace houses in Leeds, Wiki Commons

In the 1890s a standard house in town would be arranged roughly like so:

  • Top floor: servants and children's bedrooms (usually two)

  • Half-landing: bathroom (often)

  • Second floor: master bedroom, dressing room (in larger houses), second bedroom

  • First floor: drawing room

  • Ground floor: dining room, morning room

  • Basement: kitchen, scullery, possibly a breakfast room

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. li)

The Duchess of Duke Street or You Rang, M'Lord? are both great TV shows to watch to get the feel for houses of this type. (And no, I had not seen You Rang, M'Lord? before I chose Ivy's name.)

The complexity of the bedroom is particularly interesting to me.

Victorian Bedroom Painting

"Mattresses were of organic fibre: horsehair mattresses were the best; cow's-hair ones were cheaper, although they did not wear as well; even less expensive were wool mattresses. A straw mattress, or palliase, could be put under a hair mattress to protect it from the iron bedstead. Chain-spring mattresses were available in the second half of the century, but they were expensive, and they still needed a hair mattress over them. It was recommended that a brown holland square should be tied over the chains, to stop the hair mattress from being chewed by the springs. The hair mattress itself then needed to be covered with another holland case, to protect it from soot and dirt. If the bed had no springs, a feather bed – which was also expensive, hard to maintain, and a great luxury –  could be added on top of the mattress. An underblanket, called a binding blanket, was recommended over the hair mattress."

"After the basics (all of which needed turning and shaking every day, as otherwise the natural fibre had a tendancy to mat and clump), the bedding for cold, usually fireless rooms consisted of an under sheet (tucked into the lower mattress, not the upper, again to protect from soot), a bottom sheet, a top sheet, blankets (three or four per bed in the winter), a bolster, pillows, bolster and pillow-covers in holland, and bolster- and pillow-cases."

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 11)

Bedding clearly was in just as many layers and just as complex a Victorian ballgown! Speaking of which over on Retro Rack I lay out a fantasy of some of Alexia's underthings.

{What is Gail's Book Group reading for July? Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause ~ YA werewolf from before it was a thing. Next month is Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliassotti.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1870  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Postcard from my Grandfather's travels

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Releases March 17, 2015.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Finished first draft. Out with Beta readers. Release date November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.

The Books!

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
Waistcoats & Weaponry (Coming November 4, 2014)
The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
80sidol-tumblr talk to me about my love for ormond tunstell and ivy hisslepenny

Quote of the Day:
“Don’t blame a man for the style of his literary apartments and more than you would for the color of his hair of the shape of his nose.”
~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875)

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list.
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.
mizkit July 25 2014, 16:59

Recent Reads/GGK Book Club: A Song for Arbonne

I just finished A SONG FOR ARBONNE, which was May’s GGK Book Club book. (I’m working on catching up! I bet I’ll be almost caught up by the end of the year! :))

I’ve been kind of interested in re-reading SONG, because I’ve only read it once and it didn’t, er, sing to me, as it were. It’s the one GGK book I’ve never had any particular interest *in* re-reading, which, in the end, caused me to be interested in re-reading it. I was wondering if it was my callow youth that caused it to not click, or if it was the book itself, or, well, what.

It’s the book.

SONG’s real problem for me—and I can remember, however vaguely, that this was its essential problem 20+ years ago as well—is that it is not TIGANA. Now, this is frankly an unfair assessment, because I don’t like to, and try not to, judge books for not being what I want them to be. Especially when the book it’s failing to be is my favourite book, full stop.

The thing is, I feel like SONG wants to be TIGANA. It has so many of the same themes: love of (complicated) family, love of country, love of music, and all the costs therein. It’s not the same story, not even vaguely, but to me, as a reader, it just feels like thematically it’s already been done, and done more powerfully, in TIGANA.

Maybe I’m reading it as the wrong kind of song. Maybe it’s a ballad to TIGANA’s overture, I don’t know, but it just doesn’t work for me the way TIGANA does. I can even see moments in it where I feel like it *should*, but it doesn’t reach the heights (or the depths). I kind of wish I could step back and read SONG first, just to see if, delivered outside of TIGANA’s shadow, it would hit me more powerfully.

There was also—noticeably to me now—the attitude of the main character, Blaise, toward women. It was progressive for his people, but Arbonne’s society is modeled on Eleanor of Aquitaine’s Court of Love, and is ruled by a woman, which Blaise doesn’t start out thinking very highly of. I suspect that my distaste for his distaste may have colored my reading back then; it *certainly* did this time. (He comes around, and does so in a way and a timeline appropriate to both himself and the book, but starting where he does kind of makes me want to smack him around. Again, not a really fair assessment, but there you go.)

Even so, I think I liked it better this time: I wasn’t so much expecting it to be TIGANA, maybe. It was in most ways a total revelation, as I remembered exactly one thing (the big secret revealed at the end) and it turned out I’d entirely forgotten all the particulars (indeed, remembering the big secret caused me to completely incorrectly assign the secret to someone and I was actually surprised when I turned out to be wrong), so it was a pretty satisfying read in most regards.

Share this:

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

lrcutter July 25 2014, 16:54

Too good to last…

Have managed to come down with a summer cold. Am all sniffly and congested. Feeling better today. Last night was feeling as though I’d been run over by a truck or something.

*le sigh*


This is only the second time that I’ve been sick this year.

There’s a good chance that this will be the last time I get sick this year.

From the mid-80s until 2009, I got sick a lot. Generally, once every four to six weeks. Would have 3-4 sinus infections every year.

Didn’t realize I was allergic to grain. Once I figured that out, and stopped eating things I was allergic to, my health improved dramatically. I’ve had one sinus infection since then–and that involved flying while I had a cold.

So while I’m bummed that I’m sick (I have Too Much To Do. Period.) I’m also so incredibly thankful that I figured this out. That I now get sick infrequently. That I can afford to eat good, healthy food. That I know how to fix and cook food, was taught how as a child. (I think a lot about food availability issues and food deserts and like that. But that’s a different blog post.)

But because I can’t really do anything today — maybe I’ll just have to spend the day reading. Darn?

Crossposted from my website. If you'd like to comment, you can do so here or there.
lyda222 July 25 2014, 15:36

Deadpool & The Digital Age

Marvel is giving Deadpool: The Gauntlet Infinite Comic #1 (Duggan & Posehn/Brown) away for free, along with #2.

I'll be perfectly honest, my Deadpool fandom goes like this:  Vague memory of Deadpool from X-men.... [scrolling through Tumblr] Ha!  Funny Cosplayer in Deadpool outfit!  [more scrolling] HA! Someone reprinted one of his more outrageous lines from a comic book. [/close Tumblr].

Given that in-depth (not!) experience with the character, I can't say that I'm any kind of expert on whether or not "The Gauntlet Infinite" stands up to the usual Deadpool fare.  But, it seems patently obvious that Deadpool is meant to be funny and scampy and more than a little off color, and these two comics totally fit that bill.  Plus, there are... vampires.  How can you go wrong?

Similarly, I really like Reilly Brown's art.  It's old school in a style that appeals to me and the way that the Marvel Comics Reader app-thingy works means you get almost an animated-but-still-flat experience.  It's really nifty the way that the art shifts through the action and the dialogue.  Despite being a comics fan forever, I'd never before tried digital comics and if this is the usual experience, I'm all in.  It was really cool.  The opening part of The Gauntlet Infinite had a kind of James Bond film opening vibe to it that was both really beautiful, while being still very Deadpool (which is to say sort of silly).

As part of this free package, they're also giving away an Iron Man: Fatal Frontier Infinite #1 (and #2) as well as Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted Infinite #1 (and #2).

I will read them all, because: why not?  They're free.
eugie July 25 2014, 14:31

Four Days to Stem Cell Transplant and a Weekend of Kepivance

Tuesday I go into the hospital for my stem cell transplant.

I’ve been battling a low-grade fever for the last couple weeks, brought on, I’m pretty sure, by my stupid human suit freaking out over five weeks and 45 Gy of radiation. I’m taking prednisone now, which is breaking the fever, but it keeps yo-yoing back.

My oncologist said that going into the transplant procedure brimmed up on steroids is fine, but going in with a fever is less so. But we can’t just wait for this flare-up to de-flare, either. Yeah, it’s stressing me out.

Trying to focus on day-by-day next steps instead:

  • Every morning this weekend and Monday, we go into the Winship infusion center for them to give me three, two-hour-long pre-chemo infusions of Kepivance, a recombinant keratinocyte growth factor, which will help ease some of the worst side effects of the transplant procedure. Unfortunately, the Kepivance itself is going to be fairly unpleasant, as it will stimulate the growth of the cells lining my mouth and GI tract, making everything…just yuck.

    Of course, I was just beginning to get hints of my sense of taste back. This will utterly wipe it out again. Food and I are not going to be getting along for a while longer.

  • Tuesday, they’ll start me on BEAM, a high-dose chemotherapy treatment which will be administered over the course of seven days. It will utterly wipe out my immune system and, hopefully, the cancer. It will also raze all the new hair growth I was starting to see these last few weeks. Sigh. I miss my hair.
  • They’ll give me another three days of Kepivance at the end of the chemo.
  • I’ll receive an infusion of my own, previously harvested stem cells on day 7 to rescue me from what BEAM will be doing to me. Essentially, my life in a bag, pumped back in.
  • Then comes the fun as I endure the brutal side effects of BEAM while waiting for my body to reboot.

One week of chemo, two weeks of recovery, and then, hopefully, they’ll release me from the hospital, weak as a kitten, severely immunocompromised, but cancer-free.

That is the plan.

Originally published at EugieFoster.com. Please leave any comments there.

handful_ofdust July 25 2014, 14:03

Friday Update

Eight chapters, 16,000+ words, seven kudos, 130 hits. That's the score thus far, on "This Old Death." I also went back and lj-cutted all previous chapters, as well as adding a "fanfiction" tag. Such a tag has always existed on my LJ; go to user info to access it, if you're so inclined. (I will, inevitably, be putting the fanfiction hosted here up on AO3 at some point, though I'm not sure when.)

Some people may be wondering why I'm doing this, so I'll reiterate what I've said before in various posts and interviews: A) I like writing fanfiction, and B) the way things seem to go with me is that when I get involved in a fandom, I am inevitably pulled headlong towards the absolute tiniest end of that fandom's shipping spectrum, so if I didn't write the stuff I wanted to read, said stuff very literally would not exist. Also, in this case, C) it's so rare that I get the urge to write anything long and even vaguely canon-compliant/-divergent that when it does come upon me, I kind of feel like I have to pursue it.

(This even though some people may recall me having exploded out of the fanfiction gate way back when with "My Wife and My Dead Wife," in OZ, which was very definitely both of the latter, as well as porny as all get out. And I did it all over the period between Season Two hiatus and the Season Three premiere, too, which I'm still proud of...but then again, back then I was single, childless, and had a writing career which didn't involve constant creative work. Things have changed, as Bob Dylan sang.)

None of what I'm doing with "This Old Death" is likely to cut into my professional work, especially if I can cap it off within the next three to four days. It may involve truncating things a bit, but when you're dealing with a cast this huge, sometimes it be's like that. And one way or the other, I do have the end already--both planned and pretty much executed--so that always helps. Spoiler alert: things don't end well...but then again, it's that sort of a universe, isn't it? Dead rising, total societal collapse, cats and dogs living together, Rick Grimes/the Governor, etc. Mass hysteria!

In only slightly less traumatic news, last night my Mom and I attended a house concert given by David Sereda, with whom I had the privilege of singing two or so years ago via the Echo Women's Choir. He's a passionate, amazing local Ontario singer-songwriter/composer of multiple musicals whose interpretations are only outdone by his original stuff, and at one point he sang a song that was so moving I surprised myself by how much I cried, from first notes to last--you'd've thought it was somebody I knew who'd died. The lyrics were elegant and wrenching in equal amounts, evoking the myth of Orpheus, the AIDS crisis and the potential possibility of new love after tragedy, that I immediately wanted to hear it over and over. Naturally, it's a very recent piece of his which probably hasn't been recorded yet, because I definitely can't find it on his SoundCloud page. So hurry up and release that album/"file of downloads," David! I need to make myself cry again, and soon.

Another distinctive thing about last night is that as we waited for a streetcar on Toronto's skeeviest corner (Queen and Sherbourne, in case you're wondering), a guy wandered randomly by with a live raccoon on his head. "Cute!" one loitering crackhead exclaimed, and went to pet it; "Hsss!", the raccoon exclaimed, striking at him with its creepy little hands. The downtown GTA, ladies and gents.

This entry was originally posted at http://handful-ofdust.dreamwidth.org/531979.html. Please comment either here or there using OpenID.
theferrett July 25 2014, 14:02

For Ten Days, I Shall Be Italian

“Where is that Ferrett boy on the Internets?” you ask.  Well, as of this afternoon, he’s going on vacation.  To Italy.  For ten days, with his family.

And he has no idea what his Wi-Fi situation will be. Or his free time.

So if I’m slow to get back to you, well, I’m not apologizing, but I do feel I owe you an explanation.  I’m off on vacation, and while I often unwind by dorking around with social media, who knows what things will be like when I’m hanging with the Pope?

So I wish you well.  I hope you wish us well.  We will be the prototypical tourists, not speaking a lick of the language yet brimming with enthusiasm, and we will be gawking like stooges, half-drunk on Italian wines and getting ripped off by merchants.

And, hopefully, loving it.

Love to you all,

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/422196.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.
theferrett July 25 2014, 13:49

One Final, And Fascinating, Article On Israel vs. Palestine

Andrew Ducker tipped me off to this amazing article that details John Kerry’s last attempt to negotiate a peace between Israel and Palestine.  It’s a long article, but that’s because it has to be, showing exactly how complex it is to work with two sides that don’t trust each other in the slightest.  And two sides that each have external pressures of their own, where even the act of negotiating erodes their power base.

The last paragraph sums it all up quite nicely:

“I see it from a mathematical point of view,” said Avi Dichter, the former chief of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence agency. “The American effort will always be multiplied by the amount of trust between the two leaders. So if Kerry’s pressure represents the number five, and then Obama’s help brings the American effort to ten, it really doesn’t matter. You’re still multiplying it by zero. The final result will always be zero.”

But still.  The article’s well worth reading, if only to see exactly why simple solutions almost always fail. There’s a lot of things that these experienced men could have done better in hindsight, but with all of the factors converging on a high-stakes situation, who could tell at the time what was going to be the fracture point?  Especially when people were looking to fracture it?

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/422090.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

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