Poison or Protect the first (and currently only) Delightfully Deadly novellas (yes there will be MORE) was also my very first self published novella adventure. It released in June of 2016.
Here are some fun blog posts and resources that tie to this book. These include behind the scenes research and chattering on the subject of starting my self publishing and indie author journey, why I love novella length, and more.
A sexy assassin, a Scotsman, and two lobsters attend a Victorian house party.
This was my first independently produced novella and my first romance. Of course I had to start with a femme domme spin on one of my reader base’s least favorite characters.
Because why would I make it easy on myself?
I mean come on!
He is probably my favorite hero I have ever written.
Why do novellas?
Novellas are my favorite length to read. They’re perfect for a single evening’s entertainment, long enough for the author to develop character and plot, but not so long they have a chance to waffle about with description. Shorts, for me tend to be mostly pacing and concepts, but the novella really lets me explore relationships and people. Why Doesn’t America Love the Novella? I don’t know, because I really do.
History of novella in genre sets them at anything from 30,000 to 60,000 words (for those who don’t know in genre novels are usually 90-120k (YA 70-90k). Because of the underuse of the novelette and dominance of the romance genre in defining electronic fiction I find most novellas these days are more like 20-40k. Amazon considers anything over 50k a book, so a lot of romance ebooks have set precedence for something like 60k in contemporary romance.
My novellas all come in around 40k. That’s that max I am allowed by my contract without having my option clause engage.
My personal reading preferences tend to be 40-90k. I don’t like an author to waffle too much. In the genres I read the most, I find anything over 90 usually means the book hasn’t had a good content edit pass. SO for me, a longer book is actually a red flag. So yeah, I LOVE novellas.
Why write about Preshea first?
It’s my profound opinion that most evil characters are coming from a place of hurt. I wanted readers to learn more about Preshea and why she behaves the way she does. How she doesn’t fit into the world and why this damaged her.
You may not end up loving her by the end of this book, but you will understand her. And I suspect you will love Gavin and understand why he’s perfect for her.
Things Pertaining to This Book
- Blog posts specific to Poison or Protect
- Preshea All Grown Up
- Poison or Protect Research & More
- The Finishing School Girls… All Grown Up
- The Story Behind the Cover Art of Poison or Protect
- Pinterest board of story inspiration and visual design elements
- Preshea character design board
- Gavin character design board
- Preshea also appears in the Finishing School Series
Fashion Related to this Book!
- Here’s the Retro Rack post where I talk all about Dressing the Cover of Poison or Protect.
- The Changing & Evolving Fashions of Late 1860s Victorian Dresses
Other Rabbit Holes & Research Opportunities
- The Best Of Our Knowledge podcast: Pick Your Poison
Praise for Poison or Protect:
“I really enjoy Carriger’s world building. Even without reading previous works, the world is really rich. It’s full of steampunk and supernatural elements that made Soulless so endearing in the first place.”
“All in all a rollicking fun time!”
“Overall, this standalone novella is a quick read, but packed with great characters, relationship depth, a bit of adventure, and a sweet and sexy romance.”
“The sexual tension between the leads was nicely done and the sex scenes had an interesting take to them.”
“As with previous books, the story is rollicking with a pace that sweeps the reader into falling for unlikely heroes.”
“Delightfully Deadly is correct, this book reminded me of why I loved Gail Carriger’s “Soulless” and the Parasol Protectorate books so much. Funny and caring, with characters that are completely competent and yet emotionally vulnerable, Poison or Protect is a wonderful romp.”
“Poison or Protect … makes maximal use of every word. I was extremely impressed with how much story this novella packed into its pages. The plot is perfectly paced, and we get to spend plenty of time becoming acquainted with its characters.”
“This novella is more of an adult romance with a little intrigue mixed in. I thought both of the main characters had chemistry and Carriger wrote tasteful love scenes that were erotic as well as tender.”
“…I loved learning more about a character that was in opposition to the main characters of Finishing School.”
“I highly recommend it to those that have enjoyed this steampunk world and those that enjoy a good paranormal romance.”
“As always, Carriger’s characters are charming and funny, as well as sincere and relatable. The romance is a very positive one, with an emphasis on mutual respect and consent.”
“I’m very excited by this series of books. Steamy romance chock full of both old faces and new.”
“I adored this novella. There are lots of old favorites and familiar faces peppered throughout, but Preshea and Gavin’s romance is entirety fresh and fabulous.”
I Smell Sheep gives Poison or Protect 5 sheep (Lyall would approve) and says:
“If you enjoy alternate historical fantasy with steampunk and erotic romance added, you will enjoy this story.”
“This was a novella full of surprises, new romances, juicy secrets, and returning characters including my favorite dandy vampire.”
“Even though I knew I would enjoy the book because of the familiar world it was set in and the appearance of some of my favorite characters, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually LIKED Preshea.”
Sophril Reads says:
“I loved this novella. Gail took a character that was in the finishing school series that I didn’t really care about and made me like her. Preshea was a fixture in the finishing school series; however, I always found her annoying and I am sure that I would not have picked up this book had it not been for this read-along. I am so happy that I did!”
“Poison or Protect was everything I’ve come to expect from one of Gail Carriger’s stories, it had great characters, a brilliant setting, plenty of humour and a wonderful (and surprisingly steamy!) romance and I can’t wait to read more of these Delightfully Deadly novellas.”
Leonard Was Hopeful gives Poison or Protect 5 stars and says:
“It is the mark of a good writer that s/he can make us feel affection for villains, or, more accurately, that s/he gives us rounded, fleshed out characters who are complicated and complex, rather than flat characters who can be described as “hero” or “villain” with no grey area in between.”
Also: “Dammit, Gail Carriger, you got me to read a romance novel(la)!! And I may or may not have enjoyed it. I may never forgive you for that.”
*insert Gail’s evil laugh here* and if you read Soulless, sorry, you’ve already read a romance novel.
I hope you enjoy Preshea, Gavin, and the lobsters.
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GAIL’S DAILY DOSE
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Apparently eShakti just uploaded their new dresses, so I’m reminding you I wrote a post on how to buy and get the best dress from them:
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Intimate Photos That Capture People Having Tea Together in the Early 20th Century
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Quote of the Day:
“What do you call the second cup of tea reusing the first teabag?
After much discussion we settled on “victory cuppa.”
Like victory garden, because reusing a bag smacks of rationing.”
~ Gail CarrigerPOISON OR PROTECT