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It's the official book-birthday for Floodtide! I'm loving seeing all the mentions and recommendations washing through my social media. Such a difference from last time! (More thoughts on that, but not while I'm in the middle of celebrating.)

A brief reminder of logistics:

To celebrate the release of Floodtide, I've been picked as the Featured Author of the month at Bella Books. That means my entire backlist (hard copy and ebooks) is 30% off. So whether you're only just discovering Alpennia through Floodtide or if you meant to get caught up on the series before reading it, this is a great opportunity to fill in the gaps.

Last week finished up the teaser series, so all that’s left is waiting with breathless anticipation (no, don’t do that: breathe..in…out…in…out) for Floodtide to appear in your mailboxes, e-reader screens, and maybe even on selected bookstore shelves. (Keep in mind that if you do have a local genre bookstore and want to own a hard copy of my books, ordering through the store is a win-win all around. The bookstore wins, and it becomes more likely that they’ll order additional copies to display for others to find.)

Review copies of Floodtide are now available for request on NetGalley. My publisher does the final approvals for review copies, based on reviewing history and online presence (i.e., not just people who want to get a free read), but if you consider yourself in that category and don't have your request approved, drop me a note and I'll see if I can make your case.

I thought it might be time to put together a more-or-less official set of answers to freuqently asked questions about the Alpennia series, now that there's been enough time that I've heard plenty of questions. (Though sometimes the questions are implicit in comments rather than being asked directly.) I thought I'd post the individual questions+answers here in the blog first--which gives a chance to get more feedback--and then migrate them to their own page once the series is finished.

The character trope of the "personal assistant" -- the person in a subordinate position whose job consists of providing support and devalued labor for a character with more pubic agency -- is tricky to portray. Particularly in an intensely class-stratified culture when that role is not typically freely chosen from among other options. Given her family's background and her work history, Roz sees the position of lady's maid as a desirable goal, but that isn't meant to erase the ways in which being a household servant are exploitative, exhausting, and often degrading.

Worldbuilding for a series is a tenuous balance between casual references to people, places, concepts, and events that will later be important, and not overwhelming the reader with details that appear (and may in fact be) unimportant to the immediate story. So how prescient does an author need to be to figure out what to mention long before that topic suddenly needs to have been clearly established long before?

I blogged once about how one of the things I value in a protagonist is standing outside the norms and structures of societal power in some way. It gives them more incentive to see the cracks in the system. The fact that all my protagonists are women in early 19th century Europe gives them a head start on that outsider status, though there were certainly plenty of women who didn't view themselves in that way. Ones who enjoyed and accepted the place that gave them in the world.

No teaser last week because it was a topsy turvy day: no morning coffee shop session because I took the train in to work so I could go straight to the airport (motel) from work to catch an early morning flight to Kalamazoo. Also because all my spare writing time was being spent polishing a 40-minute first draft of my paper down to a 20-minute presentation. As my regular readers may be aware, writing short is not one of my strong points! But now we're back to the weekly teasers!

For a reader, the backstory and characteristics of a character should appear to be “just how things are”. But from the writer’s side, it’s a careful process of designing that character’s history, abilities, and skills so that they have exactly what they need to fit into the role they’re required to play.

I had to fine-tune parts of Roz’s backstory carefully to give her enough experience with dressmaking to have developed an ambition to learn more, and enough sewing skills to make up for starting an apprenticeship at such an advanced age (all of sixteen!).

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