Tagged alexia

Behind the Magic ~ Upon the 8th Birthday of Soulless, Gail Carriger’s Notes That Started Everything – Important for Authors

Posted by Gail Carriger

Every year on (or around) October 1, Gentle Reader, I post a bit about the beginning of it all: Soulless. (Soulless, incidentally is on sale at $4.99 (ebook USA) so now is a great time to get others hooked!)

This year I thought I would take you back to the very beginning of everything.

Some time ago, around nine or ten years now, Gentle Reader, an event occurred.

Picture this, little Gail Carriger biding her time, humming softly to herself, in some unnamed hotel somewhere at some unnamed convention. She has just been to a panel called “Escaping the Slush Pile” and she is considering a new project.

She jots down some notes in a notebook.

They read as follows…

  • “I was born without a soul.”
  • Blah. Blah. Something about not being undead. Poke. Poke. No, decidedly alive. People make that mistake all the time, natural people, but the thing about the undead is they all have souls that couldn’t die – too much soul, really.
  • Me, I’ve none at all. Born that way.
  • Preternatural (preter)
  • Supernatural (super)
  • Natural
  • “I” therefore is just a whole lot more representative in my case.
  • I have identity – a heart. I can love and feel, but I’m null.
  • Undead call me a soul sucker, werewolves = anti-change, ghosts = grounds.
  • ? What supernatural creatures do I want in my universe?
  • Vampires
  • Werewolves
  • Ghosts
  • Remove Undead

There it is. The seed that became Soulless.

I had entirely forgotten that I wrote it in first person originally!

After those notes there is a line break, probably signifying a week or so, then a switch in pen color and tidier handwriting, a surefire indication that the Authorbeast has given the project Serious Consideration.

Via Carina “I shield in the name of fashion. I accessorize for one and for all.”

Then comes the heading:

Some Additional Thoughts

Under that are world building notes, including some on Victorian government and earlier history detailing how the immortals integrated. Then there’s some notes on Victorian Gothic romance novel structures, the beginnings of characters, including Alexia, Conall (who was Conall Goring, Lord Brindle), Ivy (who was Ivy Thistlewaight), Professor Lyall (who had no first name), and Lord Akeldama (who was Lord Ambrose, Earl of Serkan, although I have another side note that says Akeldama “field of blood” is more dramatic).

After that, there’s several pages of mini scenes in the sloppy handwriting of “middle of the night” or “just out of the shower” inspiration. (This is still how I write, sometimes jumping pages or even books ahead of myself to write a scene I see really vividly.)

The first scene written is the one between Ivy and Alexia in the park, but after that most of the others are between Alexia and Conall or Conall and Lyall.

And that, as they say, was that.

I hope you enjoyed this brief glimpse into the creative process of an unpublished author-baby.

Today the Little Paranormal That Could (original code name for Soulless) is eight years old.

And I… need breakfast.

Here’s to eight more glorious years!

Praise for Soulless

Readers are still finding it for the first time!

  • Kyromagica says: “Highly recommended – really enjoyed this. It had me laughing out loud a lot, generally sniggering in various rooms in our house, and even in public places… I had to stifle my hysterical laughter whilst drinking a cup of tea in Starbucks!”
  • Golidlox and the Three Weres says: “Soulless is one of the wittiest and smartly written books with one of the best heroines that I’ve ever read. Rather than rely on the traditional male hero to swoop in and save the day, Alexia embodies tenacity, critical thinking, stubbornness and independence. She is NOT helpless, she is NOT passive, and she is NOT stick thin.”
  • Delighted Reader says: “From page one, I was enchanted by this fun story. Alexia Tarabotti is a blend of sensible and scientific with quirky, strong-willed and heedlessness when she’s nosing out the answers. Conall Maccon is a good foil for her with his brash, equally stubborn and sensible nature alongside his willingness to see the true diamond in a lady that almost all of London society rejects or ignores because she is different.”

Do you want more behind the scenes info and gossip?

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{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for October is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Horse races, 1908. via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The True Story Behind England’s Tea Obsession

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

7 Key Things I’ve Learnt From A Year of Blogging

Book News:


Quote of the Day:

“I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!

Behind the Magic ~ Alexia’s London: Supper Sept. 14, 1876

Posted by Gail Carriger


Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse


  • Roast Boned Leg of Mutton – bone hole filled with minced veal and brown gravy
  • Partridges – with gravy
  • Vegetables – turnips cut into fanciful shapes, boiled in a weak broth, served with a white sauce and toast sippets
  • Custard Pudding – made with cream , nutmeg, and lemon peel

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Blameless Extras ~ Deleted Scenes (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Gentle Reader, here is a blast from the past for you. This blog post is all about extra bits relating to Blameless.

Blameless Cover Art

First off, we’ll start with the infamous cover art video!

Research & Characters

DELETED BITS from Blameless

In Which Alexia Compares Marriage to Kidnapping

Due, she suspected, entirely to the interference of Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey, circumstances had arranged for Alexia to experience a series of kidnappings that culminated in a rather more long term version of the uncomfortable experience, if marriage can be referred to as such. Which, she felt, marriage to Lord Maccon, could be. Or was she, perhaps, besmirching the reputation of imprisonments everywhere through such a comparison?

Regardless, it appeared she was currently embroiled in yet another state of abduction. Although, it must be admitted, she wasn’t entirely certain that being confined to ones well-appointed room, with a delicious view of Italy’s premier artistic city could be, rightly, referred to as being kidnapped. It certainly was, so far, working out better than her marriage, but she did feel ever-so-slightly imprisoned. Since the Templars seemed to have discovered her weakness, and had been plying her with gnocchi and pesto for the entire day, she was, for the moment, disinclined to complain about the situation. She was even allowed regular trips to the library. She was not allowed into the city anymore, but this seemed a small price to pay for unending pesto and library privileges. However, as they appeared to believe they could keep her in such a state for the next seven months or so, she was figuring that at some point her love of the little green covered dumplings might deteriorate enough for her to contemplate escape. As it was, she was happy to chew and stare out into the orange glory of the Italian landscape with a head full of mild speculation and a hope for Floote and Genevieve’s safety.

Her peace was only broken by occasional visits from Mr. Lange-Wilsdorf, who insisted on running a series of intrusive and occasionally embarrassing tests, after which he would vanish once more, muttering to himself in his own language. No Templar, including the preceptor, intruded upon her peace and quiet, and if Alexia missed the bumbling clattering noises of Woolsey castle and its hairy inhabitants she did not admit it, even to herself. After the excitement of her European Tour so far, she was happy for the break, at least she was not running from anything, whacking at anyone, or passing out. Life, it might even be said, was looking up.

In Which the Origins of Ivy’s Letter are Discussed

Floote having – though some miraculous feet of butler-dum – hired a pony and trap to take their luggage back through the town, turned up at Alexia’s elbow. “If you are through here, madam?”
His tone, Alexia noticed, was unwarranted in its sharpness. “Something troubling you, Floote?”
“That letter is dangerous, madam.”
Alexia looked with shock at the innocent apple-blossom scented communiqué. “Is it really? Who would have thought?” Hurriedly she tucked it up one sleeve and followed her personal secretary towards the hired cart.
Floote explained. “Not in what in contains, madam, but in what it represents. If the honorable Mrs. Tunstell has managed to track us down here, then the vampires certainly cannot be far behind.”
Alexia considered the obsession. “Indeed. You raise very good question, Floote, how did Ivy manage such a thing?” She examined the outside of the letter. “It looks as though it came through to Monsieur Trouvé via your university contacts, Madame Lefoux. Your ghostly Aunt must have known where to send it and directed Ivy accordingly. I can’t imagine Ivy consulting with a ghost, but there you have it.”
“Oh dear,” Madame Lefoux looked apprehensive. “I did not mean to put any of my friends or scientific acquaintances in danger.”
Alexia nodded her agreement. “Nor I. After all, the vampires are after me. I do hope your associates remain unmolested. What about Monsieur Trouvé?”
Madame Lefoux sidled up to Alexia and nodded downwards. The Frenchwoman opened her tightly closed fist and flashed Alexia a peek of some small object she held clutched in her hand. It was a tiny brass octopus.
“Oh!” Alexia’s voice was soft. “Is that what was left sitting atop your hatbox! Is it a sign?”
Madame Lefoux began to explain in hushed tones, “Well, you see back when –”
Floote interrupted, sharply. “I think perhaps we ought to think on our own safety, for the moment, ladies.”

On the Danger of a Fly to One’s Reputation

Those few cabs that were available were all hansoms. While Alexia admitted a two-seat fly was speedy and agile, she couldn’t get over her feeling that it was a rather racy mode of transport for a mature lady. She preferred a proper coach. But she had to cast her scruples aside for Madame Lefoux and Floote swung themselves in with alacrity into the first fly that stopped and Alexia had no choice but to follow.

In Which Floote Talks (too much) About Alessandro Tarabotti

Floote cleared his throat delicately. “Perhaps we should return to our quarters, ladies. We are perilously close to being observed in familial proximity.”
Floote drew Alexia aside once they reached their apartments on a lower deck. Madame Lefoux having gone, so she said, to ‘handle the mustache.’
“He did come to see you once, madam. He watched you crawl about, from across Hyde Park, using a spyglass. You were still in nappies.”
“A spyglass? How reassuring.”
Floote gave a funny little half shoulder twitch that Alexia suspected was his version of a shrug. “If you knew Mr. Tarabotti, you would realize, that was practically a declaration of undying affection.”
“Not very demonstrative, my dad?”
“About as affectionate as a poisonous jellyfish, and just as easy to keep hold of.”
Alexia wrinkled her nose, “Yeach.”
“Just so, madam.”
Floote turned to leave.
“But Floote, I thought you liked my father.”
Floote’s perennially stiff back, stiffened ever so slightly more.
“Good evening, madam,” he said, in his no nonsense voice.
Alexia knew that tone well enough; she would get no more out of him tonight. “Good evening, Floote.”

Praise for Blameless

  • Review of Blameless in Portuguese by Over Shock.
    Lost in Librolandia says: “I cannot recommend this series enough! Honestly, if you are not reading Gail Carriger, you are severely deprived of the most amazing witty banter I have ever read. Her writing is superb!”
  • Blogger Lé Pimenta says: “O protetorado da sombrinha não é somente mais uma serie sobrenatural salpicada de romance ou vice versa e sim algo novo, criativo e descaradamente sarcástico que promove um enredo de tirar o fôlego e idéias novas sobre como misturar todo esse mundo que falei acima acrescentando a era vitoriana e personagens e objetos encontrados nos livros de ficção cientifica e é o desenvolvimento da ideia que faz com que cada novo livro da série seja único e divertidíssimo.”
  • Thanny of Who’s Thanny? says: “Os livros anteriores eram incríveis, mas esse aqui? Esse é espetacular! Com mais ação, como no primeiro livro, cheio de novas informações sobre a mitologia criada/explorada por Carriger e divertidíssimo como ela nunca tinha sido, passar por cada página do livro foi extremamente fácil assim que começado, e era com dor no coração que se chegava às últimas páginas.”
  • Britt Kris from For the Love of the Read says:
    “This is the third in the Parasol Protectorate series, and I enjoyed this one as much as the other two. The writing style follows the same pattern as the other books, with characters speaking in a dialogue appropriate for the indicated time period but also utilizes humor to keep the reader interested.”

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}


  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 0r 2019.


The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

The Novel Approach says:

“And, while after years of reading shifter fantasy my fear is always that a storyline and its setting will feel stale and uninspired, Carriger manages to keep things fresh and progressive in not only the contemporary urban landscape but in the diversity, humor and warmth she uses to complement some of the weightier elements of Max and Biff’s story.”


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 via @Nikolhistory Arte & Dintorni Classici Evert Jan Boks (1839-1914)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Dumbo Octopus Is Eight Cute Legs of Stone Cold Murder

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Are you guilty of these author press kit blunders? You can check Gail’s here.

Book News:

Books ft. Women Who Kick BUTT

Quote of the Day:

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!

Alexia’s London: Supper July 13, 1876 (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse

  • Celery Soup – made with beef stock and cream
  • Minced Veal – simmer cubed veal in cream, lemon, lemon peal, salt, and white pepper
  • Corner vegetables – artichokes, asparagus, salsafy (salsify is the modern spelling – apparently its roots taste like oyster)
  • Soufflé Pudding – sort of like custard fool, made in a mold edged with dried cherry & candied citron (pudding rises to 4x its original height!) serve with brandy sauce

Alexia’s London: Supper April 24, 1876 (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse

  • Salt fish, soaked in water to rehydrate and remove salt, boiled and served with boiled parsnips and egg-sauce (AKA hollandaise)
  • Roasted fore-quarter lamb and currant jelly – sliced and served with orange juices, cayenne paper, salt, and butter drizzled over the top, jelly on the side.
  • Asparagus
  • Lemon bread pudding

Behind the Magic ~ Alexia’s London: Supper March 11, 1876

Posted by Gail Carriger

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse


  • Winter pea soup made with beef broth and sweet herbs
  • Veal pie made with breast of veal, sweet meats, nutmeg, salt, clove, oysters, and ham inside puff pastry and served with veal and cream gravy
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Custard pudding – lemon-peel, nutmeg, and bitter almond custard inside a puff pastry served with melted butter

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A Very Alexia Christmas (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Lady Maccon, as some of you may well know, is rather fond of comestibles. Thusly, the holiday season is one of great joy to her ~ from a food standpoint if nothing else. (The shopping, it must be admitted, she could do without. Lord Akeldama, however, is overly enthusiastic on the subject.) However, she has some tips for coping with the holidays Victorian-style.

1. Mincemeat pie. Sounds awful, looks revolting, tastes spectacular. The Americans have sadly neglected this part of their British heritage but there is much to be said for meat soaked in alcohol and then encased in pastry. If unwilling to venture in the mincemeat direction, how about exploring the fine art of Christmas Pudding? (AKA Plum Pudding ~ and no, there are no plums involved, don’t ask.) A dense fruity cake that is covered in alcohol and then set on fire. Fantastic.


2. Cloth wrapped presents. Instead of paper, why not invest in some fabric remnants from a craft shop or colorful little scarves from a thrift store, and then tie with a ribbon? All the fun of unwrapping, none of the waste, and perhaps it will encourage others to reuse as well. As an added bonus cloth wrappers can be used as emergency clean-up towels for the inevitable alcohol-related spill (see: inebriation caused by over-consumption of Christmas Pudding, above.)

3. Roast goose. Benefits? Well, a goose is bigger than a turkey and more mean-spirited. Have you ever met a goose? The only bird nastier is a swan. Unfortunately, swans are protected by the queen, so we can’t eat them. Thus goose consumption gives one a sense of self-righteousness and satisfaction all rolled into one.

Roast Goose with Giblet Stuffing

4. Frills and lace. Perhaps not a particular favorite amongst gentlemen for themselves (unless one is of a Lord Akeldama inclination) but for the ladies… Donning a pretty frock and perhaps a corset is bound to make one feel better ~ a little constricted but definitely better. On the other hand nothing (I am convinced) is funnier than a werewolf with a doily on his head.

5. Which brings us back around to drinkies. Lord Akeldama suggests a Pink Slurp (champagne & blood) but he’s a vampire and they have questionable palates. Alexia recommends substituting blackberry cordial for the blood, resulting in a truly delicious and festive drink. Alternatively, for those particularly cold nights, one might opt for mulled wine, which can be a most excellent way to disguise the quality of one’s vino. And one can never go wrong with hot apple cider.

Bottoms up!

Lord A at Christmas nennesis via tumblr

“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.  Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.”
~ P.J. O’Rourke


{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.}


  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft done. Resting before second draft.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.


Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Fashion plate, 1875, France shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Fashion plate, 1875, France shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Camelback Library

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

9 Rules for Female Travelers from the Victorian Era

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Hybrid Author: Everything You Need to Know

Book News:

Full Length Radio Interview with Gail Carriger on Sex, Please! iTunes

Quote of the Day:

“If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty.”
~ Japanese Proverb

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!



Behind the Magic ~ Alexia’s London: Supper Dec. 4, 1876

Posted by Gail Carriger


Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse


  • Mock Turtle Soup ~ made from calf’s head boiled in veal broth, friend shallots, Madeira wine, tarragon, chives, parsley, basil, cayenne pepper, mushroom ketchup, and lemon juice. Served with forcemeat-balls (meatballs made of the calf brain and deep fried) and small eggs.
  • Roasted Calf Heart ~ stuffed with veal, basted with butter, served with brown gravy.
  • Orange Pudding ~ made with butter, sugar, egg, and candied orange.

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Behind the Magic ~ Ada Lovelace Day – Archangela Tarabotti

Posted by Gail Carriger

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, Gentle Reader.


Those of us participating are supposed to blog about women in science. I have a MS (called a MSc in England) in archaeological materials, which means I specialize in the laboratory analysis of ancient lithic, ceramic, glass, or metal artifacts. My particular expertise is glazed pottery fragments. I’ve worked with the XRD, SEM with EDX attachment, and ICP-MS (acid D). I’ve worked in a field laboratory in Italy, and one in Peru, two museums, and labs at universities in the Midwest, West Coast, and England and I’ve never encountered any problems being female. I’ve had both men and women as colleagues and superiors. I’m not saying there isn’t a glass ceiling in academia, just that I never encountered it myself. Perhaps I never rose high enough? Perhaps I was really really lucky?

However, in keeping with my interests as a writer, this post is about a historical woman who, while not being a scientist, acted against a preposterous scientific statement during the 1600s.

A pamphlet made its way to Italy in 1647 entitled: Women do not have a soul and do not belong to the human race, as is shown by many passages of Holy Scripture. It gained some popularity until, in 1651 Archangela Tarabotti wrote A Defense of Women refuting its claims which eventually resulted in the Catholic Church rejecting the idea that women had no souls.

Archangela Tarabotti wrote many essays defending women. She campaigned for a woman’s right to choose her own destiny, criticized the lack of education for women, and vilified paternal tyranny, marriage, and monastic life.

“You, with sophistical arguments, set yourself up to attack that very sex which, because it is deprived of the opportunity to study, cannot answer your malicious inventions.”
~ Archangela Tarabotti

So today I’d like to introduce you to this remarkable woman. And yes, of course she is Alexia’s namesake and a huge part of the inspiration behind Soulless.

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Behind the Magic ~ Alexia’s London: Supper Oct. 9, 1876

Posted by Gail Carriger

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse

  • Partridge Soup ~ bird on the bone stewed with ham, onion, celery, mutton, & peppercorns
  • Cold Roast Beef, Broiled ~ topped with fried potato skins that had been season with ketchup, salt & pepper (yes, the Victorians had ketchup & that’s what they called it)
  • Vegetables ~ boiled beets, carrots, & potatoes with a brown butter, sage, & rosemary sauce
  • Boiled Apple Dumpling ~ pudding made with apple, cinnamon, & butter, topped in a boiled crust

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