"Is that a tea whisk?"

Well, last week was pretty boring, wasn't it?  Well, no worries!  I have lots of news to share this week!  First off, my editor has sent back Out of the Shadows (coming October, 2016!) with his notes!  This is very exciting!  It's also a little daunting because now begins the incredibly tedious, neurotic obsessing over commas and the sometimes terrifying coming to grips with the fact that the window for making changes is closing.  Eek!!!  Breathe...breathe.  It's gonna be okay...Right.  So that's happened, and it's kicked me into high gear.  It is currently 2:06am, and I am working on my to-do list, the next item being this blog entry.  Yes, to any scolding parents out there, I am going to bed after this.  Love you!  0:-D

In other very exciting news, last weekend was my birthday.  I don't really like getting older, as I feel like once I turned thirty, I had officially outgrown myself.  I am not, nor shall I ever be, mature enough now to match my age.  C'est la vie.  What I do enjoy, however, is getting presents.  Honestly, who doesn't?  One of my favorites was a matcha set the hubs gave to me.  We went to a Japanese tea ceremony in San Diego recently, and I wanted to get one afterwards.

I must warn you all, matcha is not for the faint of heart or the casual tea drinker.  It has quite a grassy flavor.  A friend mentioned that it smelled a bit like hay.

And then there are my English friends who had this to say about it...
Friend #1: "Dana, that's less of a tea set and more a lab experiment."
Friend #2: "Is that a tea whisk?"
Friend #1: "Who doesn't whisk their tea?"

I'm not surprised.  They're English, and the English have certain ideas about teas...and wars about it too.  Go into any room full of people in England and declare, "I put the milk in my tea first, and that's the only right way to do it!"  Then take cover and wait for the fires to start.  You think I'm kidding.  This is my very serious face (o_o) , and I am telling you it's no joke.

Nevertheless, I really love it and have been enjoying a fresh bowl of matcha every day since.  Thanks, hubs!

Moving right along, don't you hate it when you write a note to remind you of something but then later don't understand what the note means?  I have "Nothing" written at the end of my blog notes for today, quotation marks included, and I have no idea why I wrote that.  If I remember, I'll write a special blog post just for that.

Time for Book Nook!  What have I been reading lately?  The beginning of a fantastic new series!  The book is called Soulless, and it's part of the Parasol Protectorate series (see link to Amazon below).  A picture and very short bio about the author, Gail Carriger, is on the first page, and it is enchanting!  You can immediately tell she's got some personality, and I like that!  I think too many authors take themselves so seriously and have very serious author profiles...ugh.  Stop.  Even if you write very serious books, I want to know you're an interesting person!  But I digress.

I actually spent more time writing down notes about this book during the first chapter than I did reading because there were so many things I liked.  I finally had to stop so I could actually make some progress.  Firstly - and you may have already guessed this - the action starts straightaway!  Right out of the gate we've got conflict and intrigue, so no muddling through the beginning and hoping it gets better.  On top of that, it's properly steampunk.

Now, I have some very strong opinions about the steampunk genre.  The hipster in me doesn't like that it's become so popular, but the rational side of me agrees with this!  Though for a completely different reason.  I won't get up on my soapbox and start railing or anything.  Suffice to say, you can't just throw on a corset and a pair of goggles and call it steampunk.  The steampunk elements must serve a useful purpose.  Thankfully, in the very first chapter, we see one of these very elements performing a task.  Huzzah!

Also, you know how when you're reading a book, you imagine everything in your mind as you're reading?  One of the most colorful aspects of this book is how I'm imagining them speaking.  I think the protagonist would have a bit of an affectation in hers and that her voice would be a touch high pitched.  All of this is helped by the fact that Carriger uses very specific (and, I believe, deliberate) language when narrating what the characters are doing and saying.  Another character, Maccon, is very clearly a growly, baritone-voiced gent.  Meanwhile, his second in command, I think, would be rather soft spoken...until you get him talking about his gadgets.

Now, there are some things I do not like, though they are definitely more about my personal preferences than anything the author did.  Firstly, the main character is pictured on the front cover of the book, but I don't think it accurately depicts the way she's described in the book.  Never put a picture of any of the characters on the cover of the book (I'm especially looking at you, movie covers).  I envision them in my mind just fine, thank you.  She's very concerned with fashion and judges anyone who isn't dressed to her standards.  There are some funny lines about it, but it really does bother me.  I dislike that sort of thing in real life...like, a lot.  Don't judge a book by its cover, people.  I didn't.  Okay?  Here's the link for you all to check it out.

Whew!  It's now after 3:00am.  I best go get some sleep.  Good night, everyone!