Upon the 6th Birthday of Soulless

First, some lovely news, Gentle Reader.

 Etiquette & Espionage is on sale today for $2.99 through Apple, as part of their “50 Great Books, 50 Great Series” in the US & Canada.

And now, on to your regularly scheduled blog post…

October 1, 2009 a silly little book hit the market.

A very nervous debut author hummed and hawed over her offering. Would anyone actually like it? It was such an odd mash up of paranormal, steampunk, and comedy – who would enjoy such a ridiculous story? Were there readers out there irreverent enough to enjoy whimsy?


Well, Soulless turns five years old today. The silly little book that I thought would find a home in only a very few people’s hearts seems to have miraculously wormed its way out into the world and touched many.

FrenchSoullessPaperback copy JapeneseSoullessCover

Soulless has now sold into 14 different territories for translation. There’s been a graphic novel manga version (which itself is now translated into French and German) and an omnibus. It’s been optioned for TV. It’s spawned a dress up doll, various videos, fan art, several tea parties, audio books, cosplay, and an iPhone app. There is even a fan site!

SoullessAUDIO SoullessFinalCover copy

Little did I know how much that one book would so utterly change my life.

In these last five years:

  • After getting my second masters degree I put my PhD on indefinite hiatus.
  • I gave up teaching archeology, discontinued my experimental work, and stopped my field visits.
  • Basically, I switched careers.
  • I relocated twice.
  • I visited 9 foreign countries promoting the books, 5 of which I’ve never traveled to before.
  • I made countless new friends and been blessed with a chance to visit old ones.
  • I watched the steampunk movement grow and expand.
  • I went to conventions and signings all over the world and learned valuable lessons from fellow authors.
  • I ate hundreds of foods, dishes, and sweets I’d never tried before.
  • I wrote 10 additional books: 4 followups to Soulless, 1 YA sci-fi, and 4 YA Finishing School books, 1 Custard Protocol book.
  • And, best of all, I got to meet my readers: some here on the blog, some on twitter, some on Facebook, some in person ~ all of you so warm and fun and strong and smart.



There have been good reviews and glorious ones, nasty gripes and soundly presented critiques. I’ve tackled tough times in social media, and made more than my share of online mistakes. But in the end, it always came back to Soulless and the writing. Did the book make you smile? Then I did my job.

So, thank you so very much, Gentle Reader, and if you have the time or inclination please raise up a teacup in honor of Soulless, who’s original secret code name, at the dawn of this blog, was “The Little Paranormal That Could.” I guess Soulless could and did.

And if you put a spot of amaretto in your tea, well, I won’t tell.

Thanks for five glorious years!



Soulless’s original cover art photograph and the cover that never was.

Many of you have been with me all along, and several of you have already posted to similar October 1 posts of the past, for which I thank you. But if you would like to share your “How I discovered Soulless” story in the comments bellow, I would love to read them. I’m in edit hell right now so I might not have tiem to respond to each individually but i promise that I do read them all.

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for October? Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 Th Jersey Lilly with a Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

I ADORE this image if you know the photographer please tell me?

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Teaching Moment: Make A Banned Books Bookshelf

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Tea and Jeopardy – 27 – Gail Carriger visits the tea lair
“In this episode, the utterly splendid author Gail Carriger is invited into the secret tea lair. We talk about etiquette, the many ways in which octopi are remarkable, archaeology and some of the strange things Gail has eaten.

Quote of the Day:
“We plan, we toil, we suffer – in the hope of what?  A camel-load of idol’s eyes?  The title deeds of Radio City?  The empire of Asia?  A trip to the moon?  No, no, no, no.  Simply to wake just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs.”
~ J.B. Priestly


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Posted by Gail Carriger


No Responses

  1. Dessa said:

    I initially had no interest in the books, when my roommate checked them out from the library. Vampires and werewolves? Ugh. Historical fiction? Double ugh.

    Then the first graphic novel came out, and my roommate also got it from the library. Now, in manga, I don't mind historical fiction as much. And since I can read them much faster, not as much time commitment to reading it, so I gave it a shot.

    I now own all of the Parasol Protectorate series, all 3 graphic novels, and the first of the Finishing School books (gotta go pick up #2 still, read the library's copy).

  2. Salsta said:

    A friend recommended Soulless to me and I loved it at first read. I've since bought every book that you've written that I could find and thoroughly enjoyed them all.

    I love the combination of excellent writing with a light, amusing touch. It's refreshing and a lot of fun to read.

  3. Helen Rees said:

    Happy Birthday Soulless!
    I discovered your books at the beginning of last year when my Auntie recommended I read them and I'm so glad she did! I've read the PP series more than once and absolutely love them. I haven't read the Finishing School books yet but they're on my TBR list so perhaps I should start the first one tonight in honour of Soulless's birthday.

    As for your infusion of cute I don't know who the photographer is but she's a character from a BBC TV series called 'Ripper Street' that we have over here in the UK. I missed it when it was on TV but it did look good.

    Thanks for your books. They're great!

  4. PeculiarText said:

    My bestfriend rushed up to me with it in an bookshop and said, 'You have to read this, it's like it was written just for you.'

    I decided to humor her and bought it, and wondered what the poor thing was gushing about, but I trusted her judgment.

    Then I read the first few pages and I understood…it had so many of the thing I adored all rolled in one perfect parasol totting package. It was a comedy of manners with hunky werewolves and vampire slaying, and the dresses.


    I now work in a bookshop and spend my days recommending the YA series to teenage girls, especially those who love a different series about spies. I've had a lot of them and their parents come back to say they think the books are wonderful, and when is the next one out?

  5. Sorcha said:

    I believe I stumbled upon Soulless in a routine browse-through of my local library's New Book section. It was everything I'd been looking for, with so many pieces of other stories I'd enjoyed all bound up in one fantastic book. I stayed up all night reading, and proceeded to locate the rest of the series in the wee hours of the morning. In less than a week I'd finished them all, completed little homework, shushed my roommates to no end, and slept only as much as was necessary. My second read-through of the entire series was completed in much the same fashion. My box set is trying its hardest to retain its mint condition. I love the back-and-forth between the Maccons, how relatable Alexia is, Lord Akeldama in all his glory, and how much fun the Parasol Protector is to read, and I've loved the Finishing School series almost as much. Can't wait for Waistcoats & Weaponry, as well as the Custard Protocol!
    Thank you for such memorable characters, and a lovely escape from reality.

  6. Wendy L. Callahan said:

    In 2009, just before I moved to Korea, I discovered "Soulless", bought it for my flight, and – from then on – you had a loyal fan. Both my first and second husbands have had to suffer through my need to order your books every time a new one is released.

    Last week I snagged the signed copy of "Curtsies & Conspiracies" and told my husband, "There. You don't have to get me a birthday present this year. I already got my own." 😉

  7. Jessica Claypole said:

    I love love love the entire Parasol Protectorate series! It is one of the most unique series/cast of characters/worlds that exists. I stumbled across Soulless while perusing the local library's Sci-Fi sections for one of the first times. Until the Parasol Protectorate series, I have never been a fan of the Sci-Fi world. To me, your books fall more into their own genre of "sci-fi / alternate history / historical fiction / steampunk / comedy / romance". I saw Soulless on the bottom shelf at the library and was instantly attracted to the cover art. I did my research to make sure that all the books in the series were out and available and I read them all back to back during the summer of 2012. Since then, I have re-read Soulless 3 times via audiobook and the rest of the series 2 times via audiobook. The audiobooks themselves are brilliant and the narrator lends a whole new atmosphere to the story and the characters.

    I was ecstatic to read on your upcoming events that your W&W release is going to bring you to the DC area. I hope you don't mind if I come to the Bethesda Library event with my entire Parasol Protectorate series to be autographed. I also plan to buy the Finishing School books if you will have them available for purchase at the event. I really look forward to meeting you!

  8. Hurricane Heide said:

    I think i saw it under another authors recommended reading on fantasticfiction.co.uk
    I instantly fell in love with it and eagerly awaited each new installment.

  9. NM B said:

    I discovered Soulless when I went to the bookstore with my best friend. She was looking for a new manga and I was finishing an old one when she found the first manga version of Soulless. She fell in love with it and grabbed the next two. She would grin or laugh at something and I would ask what was funny, she was especially fond of how when ever Alexia was in trouble she said or thought something along the lines of "but I haven't yelled at Conall yet!". So she finished them and passed them on to me who fell just as in love with it as she had. She went back home, north of SanFran, and I mailed her books back to her. Now, I was curious so I looked up the series and low and behold what do I find but that there's not only more books but there is an entire novel version of the story that I didn't know about. So I bought them just as fast I could and told my best friend about them, without spoilers of course, as I read them and when I had finished I mailed them up to her. Now, she's been so busy she's not had a lot of time to read but she'll get around to finishing the series and when she does I'll recommend the Finishing School series.
    Thank you very much for writing them!

  10. Katelyn Hays said:

    I judged the book by it's cover. I had just begun my interest in all things fashionably steampunk when I came across the book. The cover art drew me in and I've never looked back. Now I'm the friend that recommends it to everyone she knows. 🙂 Thank you so much for writing this and all of your other lovely novels, my life would not be the same without them.

  11. Valerie Hernandez said:

    I happened upon Soulless in the checkout line while I was doing some late night (or early morning, as the case may be) grocery shopping. I fell in love with the excerpt from the front of the book, and have devotedly followed your work ever since! P.S The picture is from the show Ripper Street. Joyeux anniversarie!
    ~Valerie Hernandez

  12. Fractal said:

    How I found Soulless: I saw Etiquette & Espionage on display at the bookstore. It was the scissors on that cover that spoke to me. I didn't need much convincing, because they are gorgeous covers that clearly indicated the feminine and the underhanded, but, the scissors. Yes.

    After I was just partway though E&E, I got online and ordered the whole Soulless boxed set, and devoured it. Then I gave the boxed set to my best friend, who adored it (of course; she's my best friend) and ordered myself another one.

  13. Krispy said:

    Congrats on all your successes, Gail, and happy 5th to Soulless! I happened upon Soulless at Borders (woe!) while I was shelf-browsing. Its pink, bold titling caught my eye, and it sounded like it would be a fun romp through steampunk, paranormal England. I'm so glad I read it (and immediately shared it with friends) because I adore the world and Alexia and her compatriots (maybe especially Lord Akeldama).

    And it's been a pleasure following all your book adventures online. You bring fashion-flair to my Twitter timeline. 🙂

    I'm raising a cuppa to you and your Little Paranormal that Could. Cheers!

  14. Janet said:

    This book made laugh out loud, not just smile. I love your writing, you are definitely my favorite author and I share my love of your books with everyone!

  15. Kate said:

    I work in academic publishing, and I used to read the Chronicle of Higher Education pretty religiously (productive procrastination-learning about my field of employment while not actually doing any of it). One of the bloggers was talking about manners, I think, and mentioned Soulless. I pretty much read only historical fiction with some mainstream fantasy, so the description got my attention immediately. I bought the book that night and within three weeks or so had read all five books. I've sailed through everything that's come out since. The first Prudence book comes out the day before my 30th birthday, so I'm pretty excited for the new series!

  16. NessaRose said:

    Happy birthday, Soulless!
    I actually discovered the books attending Frankfurt Book Fair (will you be coming to Frankfurt anytime soon?). I was browsing allong the shelves of one of my favourite booths when I noticed the covers. I know, I know, they were the weird German covers with panda hair and inside-out underwear, but after all, they drew my attention, didn't they? And they actually made it in the books 😀
    So, back to my story: I noticed the books and read the backcover. Then I took a picture of them (basically my shopping list for after the fair). I then went on, but didn't find anything more interesting, so I decided I would buy Book 1 on that day. I was just going back to the shelf when I saw another girl making her way to the last copy of it. We recognized the competition and were both quickening our steps. We reached the shelf simultaneously and… she just snatched Book 1 and 2 away right in front of my eyes. Boy, if I had had an iron tipped parasol at that moment… Just kidding. Well, that's basically the exciting part of how I came to know the books. A couple of weeks later I stumbled upon Book 1 again in my favourite bookstore and picked it right up. Next day, I went back to get Book 2 and recommended it to my best friend to read. Now I own the first three books in German, then switched to the English ebooks because I didn't want to wait for the books to be translated (also, the original writing is just so much better). And I also love the manga versions and the YA series 🙂
    Eagerly awaiting the next book, best wishes from Germany,

  17. shelgeson said:

    Happy birthday soulless! I first found soulless in the new book section at the library. I eagerly awaited each new one, have attempted to dress an ex-boyfriend's roommate up as Lord Akeldama(he had the most perfect long blonde hair), and now own all the Parasol Protectorate books as well as the Finishing School series. Thank you Gail, ALL of your books have made me laugh On days I wanted to cry.

  18. Minoa said:

    My friend Jennifer loaned me her copy of Soulless. I was immediately hooked! It inspired me to write again. I finally published my first book of poems and I really hope to publish my first fiction next year. If someone could write a book about a strong woman who prefers to tea alone in the library during a party (which is my favorite scene) then surely there is a chance for me.

  19. Andrea Osorno said:

    Dear Gail: You have created a monster!

    Upon a promotion to a literary agency which specialized in publishing fiction in Los Angeles, I was faced with the fact that I had not read any fiction since High School – especially Sci Fi & Fantasy. After going through trying to find something from the genre I liked, I stumbled upon Soulless and the Steampunk genre and fandom.

    I've now read and listened to all 5 audiobooks, the 1st manga and the two Finishing School series books. I already pre-ordered the 3rd.

    I have attended a number of cons, of which I only dress up in Steampunk cosplay and which I now own at least 5 different outfits at the height of Victorian fashion (and a wide array of hats…!) Tea parties are no longer a thing of the past and I've had a chance to be introduced to a new world of many more like-minded enthusiasts.

    And all this from a book!

    Thank you Gail and Happy Birthday Soulless!

  20. Nicole-Corine Lenhart said:

    I was waiting in line at my then school's bookstore to purchase text books and they had a display hidden away in the corner. It was a really long and slow line so I got a chance to admire the Parosol Protectorate books (I think there were three at the time). They were such beautiful books! Yes, I judge books by their covers without shame. I'm glad I did. I'd never read Steampunk before. Now I read quite a bit of Steampunk.

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