Holiday Fun ~ Books as Gifts Part 2 Changeless (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger


The book basket ideas continue, if you want to know what I’m on about the introduction to this idea is here.

Our example: the Parasol Protectorate books
1. Order signed from Borderlands (Definitely get your request in before Dec 15th, that’s the last time I’ll be able to get in to sign stock for them before the holidays.)
2. Source a vintage looking basket, possibly from a local thrift store
3. Fill with accompanying fun items, many of which might also be found at a thrift store

This basket is themed to Changeless and/or Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2 (the graphic novel adaptation of Changeless.)

Changeless Madame Lefoux Cross-Dressing and/or Scotland themed

Next up in this blog I’ll do a fantasy book basket idea for Blameless, in the meantime I’m interested in your ideas. Anything you’ve run across that would fit with this theme? Suggestions for good recipes? Other books that might work with this basket?

Book News:
Still basking my the manga’s #1 debut. Otherwise, kinda slow at the moment, busy working on Prudence 24/7.

Quote of the Day:
“A bagel is a doughnut with the sin removed.”
~ George Rosenbaum

Going Regimental ~ The Military In Victorian Times With Werewolves (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


So, Gentle Reader, I tried to watch Four Feathers recently. Before you accuse me of slacking off the writing, this was part of my on going attempt to understand the Victorian army system and breakdown of regiments and ranks and so forth.

Four Feathers featured Rupert & Heath, a few nice costumes, a number of questionable accents, and some spectacular scenery, but it was . . . (how do I put this nicely?) not good. Le sigh. Can’t win them all.

It did prompt me did go back over my old notes from Changeless on the subject for the regimental system in my particular version on Victorian England. So here’s a little DVD extra moment for you all.

Victorian Regimental System ~ Gail’s Universe

The Queen’s Regiment
AKA the Regulars

  • Officer corps = ruling class drawn from squires, clergy, civil servants, politician, pack members
  • Soldiers drawn from all manner of personal, include a number of convicts who are given military service as an option instead of prison or deportation
  • Military caste is a narrow, closed society
  • Barracks and officer’s wife’s also rather liminal to regular society
  • A kind of unspoken code that officers marry other officer’s daughters
  • Pack or family mentality

Company Regiment
AKA the Company

  • 1/2 British army abroad, including the commander-in-chief of India, privately chartered by the Honorable East India Company (a vampire funded and owned trade concern)
  • British East India Company founded in 1300 and incorporated by Elizabeth I under royal charter December 1, 1600
  • Familiarly known as “Bloody John Company” or sometimes Old Jack (See what I mean? Vampires)
  • East India Company’s Army comprised of various divisions.
  • European Regiments = British & Irish recruits, used in daylight action
  • Native Regiments = high caste Hindus from bengal + Sikhs + some Muslims + Gurkhas + some local vampires if willing + local werewolves if around in that part of the Empire
  • British werewolf packs do not serve in the Company, only in the Regulars.
  • Although the Company could hire regular regiments from the government, posing an interesting problem in some parts of the Empire with packs fighting under vampires

Werewolf pack members generally carry (baring personal issues, experience, and other concerns) the following rank:
Alpha = Colonel
Beta = Lieutenant-Colonel
Gama = Major
However, they do not necessarily command the ordinary number of soldiers associated with such ranks, but act more as scouts or special services
They are attached to a regiment but not always fully integrated within that regiment.

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Quote of the Day:

“And there is really no reason why the Englishwoman in India should burden herself with the same number of petticoats, shifts, bodices, and what not, that her great-grandmother wore in temperate climes. We so not advocate any sloppiness in dress; on the contrary, we would inveigh against any yielding to the lassitude and indifference which comes over the most energetic in tropical heat, but we would have people as comfortable as they can be under the circumstances. And any multiplicity in under-garments, no matter how thin they may be, keeps in perspiration and conduces fatally to prickly heat.”

~ Steel & Gardiner, 1888

Soulless Vol 2 the Manga Cover Reveal! (The Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Today I am delighted to share with you the cover art for the second manga, Soulless Vol. 2 which follows the events detailed in Changeless.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I love the little cape, the lace details, and skirt tapes on the floating dress. I have a blog about them here, if you are interested.

Vol. 2 will follow the same format as Vol. 1. There will be a few color pages at the beginning and the rest in black and white. It will shadow the events in Changeless but not be a direct translation, there are always some parts that much be cut out when going between different medium. As ever, I’m working closely with the artist and scriptor and so it does have my personal touch.

A fan draws a scene from beginning of Changeless

Right now the scheduled release of the print is the end of this year, Dec. 2012, but that isn’t a firm deadline. You can also read each chapter as it drops with a subscription to YenPlus. The first on drops on April 12th.


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Alexia Manga Cover Cosplay from Vol. 1

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Interesting article on Pottermore

Book News:
Some reviews of Soulless Vol. 1 Manga . . .
Addicted to Heroines.
Alpha Reader loved it
And Addicted to Heroines reviews Changeless.

Quote of the Day:
“The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its disasters.”
~ Ross MacDonald

The Golden Age of Steampunk Reality v. Literary (Intellectual Salon Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Today, Gentle Reader, the blog has been hijacked for a bit of an intellectual debate. Occasionally this happens, I feel separated from my academic roots and . . . member of the Hypocras Club crowd my door with fascinating lectures, and I cannot resist.

A friend of mine from Down Under has some very interesting things to say on the Golden Age of Steampunk, not now (as in when the most steampunk is being written) but then, as in, the right time period for setting steampunk novels. Should they be in the Victorian or the Edwardian eras? Or something else entirely? Since I’m about to start reading David Constantine’s new book, The Pillars of Hercules, described as Alexander the Great meets steampunk, this is a very good question.

Without further ado, I give you, Stephen (Doctor of Phlogiston) and his thoughts on the matter of steampunk settings.

I have two lines of argument I’m going to bring to the table:

1. Steampunk is at heart a romanticised pastiche, and
2. The typical technological trappings of steampunk are not chronologically contiguous.

Steampunk is at heart a pick-and-mix genre where a historical or quasi-historical setting from roughly the 18th C (usually Victorian London with fog and gaslight, but also easily Wild West, British Raj, Imperial China, you name it) has an overlay of some sort of cool antique technology. Typically, steam technology, airships, Babbage Engines or early electricity, or some pseudoscientific variation of same often using the early scientific theories now considered laughable, e.g. phlogiston.

The Golden Age of Airships is roughly 1900 to the wreck of Hindenburg in 1937 or WW2 depending on who you ask. This is effectively Edwardian, not Victorian. Also, the big rigid airships relied on internal combustion engines to drive their propellers, they’re very much a post steam era creature.

The Golden Age of Steam (confining ourselves to steam piston-engines)- 1801ish (Trevithick and ‘strong steam’) to 1920s. This gives us pre-Victorian through to post WW1. Steam powered cars and lorries were on the roads in England into the 1930s, steam trains were in common use until the 1960s (in many places even later). Steam engines operated right through the Edwardian era alongside the development of practical and cost-effective engines of other types. Steam turbines are still being built today for thermal power stations.

The Babbage Engine and Ada Lovelace’s pioneering work with what later became computing was mostly in the 1840s and a bit into the 1850s. This was a very narrow timespan and certainly doesn’t overlap with airships.

In short, there is no real historical ‘Golden Age of Steampunk’ because key technological aspects were not concurrent.

I think it actually works the other way around – each steampunk author picks a time/place as a setting and tosses onto it some Cool Stuff to make it steampunk in the current meaning of the genre. Some are very focussed on getting the history absolutely right, others less so. The re-imagining of the author’s bit of history they’re steampunking about with is no different to the worldbuilding of the swords-and-horses High Fantasy authors. Rules and histories are established, character and plot overlays the setting and so long as the story maintains an internal consistency then all is well.

How about that then?

Thank you, Dr. Stephen for giving us all something to think about.

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Quote of the Day:
“Reading means borrowing.”
~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorisms

Cover Launch ~ Parasol Protectorate Omnibus Vol 1. (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless)

Posted by Gail Carriger


SF Book Club’s Parasol Protectorate Omnibus Edition.

In case you missed it buried in the con report last entry, the SF Book Club will be bringing out an omnibus edition of Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless this September. There is a little forward writen by self. I think she looks a lot like Gillian Anderson in Bleak House. Of course, I love the teal. I am a fan of the color as you will know if you see me a any steampunk events.

Book News:
Demons Read Too reviews Soulless.

Quote of the Day:
“As soon as you are helped, begin to eat: or, if the viands are too hot for your palate, take up your knife and fork and appear to begin. To wait for others is now not only old-fashioned, but ill-bread.”
~ Etiquette for Gentlemen, 1850

Japanese Changeless Cover (The Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Gentle Reader, here is the cover launch for Changeless, the second Parasol Protectorate novel translated into Japanese (not the manga).

I do love their take on the series.

And, just because I feel like it, here is another . . . Heartless teaser!

“Of course, one knew Lord Akeldama must be able to fight. He was rumored to be quite old, and as such, must be at least capable of combat. But this was akin to knowing, academically, that his chubby calico housecat was capable of hunting rats – the actual execution of the task always seemed to Alexia highly improbable and possibly embarrassing for all concerned.”
~ Heartless

Your moment of parasol . . .

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:

Your Writerly Tinctures:
Bookends Workshop Wednesday is an interesting query approach, if you are submitting you can certainly learn things.

Timeless: Finished with last draft, awaiting copyedits.
Etiquette & Espionage: The Finishing School Book One: First draft done. Working on entering edits into computer.
Secret Project PPA: Only a twinkle in my little eye.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON’T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven’t read the other books first!

Book News:
Soulless review.

Quote of the Day:
“A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”
~ Edward P. Morgan

Ketchup ~ SF Signal Interview, Changeless on Audible, and Miniblog

Posted by Gail Carriger


In which I am interviewed on the SF Signal Podcast.

As the Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group found out yesterday, the latest info promises an Audible drop of Changeless on January 28th. Recorded Books says Blameless should be out on March 10th, no idea when the Audible drop will occur for that one yet. Hopefully a little quicker without holiday backups.

Nothing much else to report, Gentle Reader. All is quiet in New York, no one else important seems to want anything from me, so I am quietly plugging away on Book 5, Timeless. It’s taking an interesting course. I know how I want the main plot to work itself out, and Alexia and Conall are behaving themselves admirably, but some of my secondary character have their own ideas. I think I may have to let them work them out and see what happens, but I am terribly afraid they won’t end where I want. Sometimes, however, there is nothing for it but to let the characters have their way with the story. Here’s hoping I won’t have to do a massive rewrite in a couple of months because of their larking around.

For those intrigued by the sate of my wardrobe, both the cape raincoat and the bow driving gloves have arrived. Of course, it’s been freezing cold instead of raining, so I haven’t had much of an opportunity to wear either, but Spring is just around the corner . . .

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Tisane of Smart:
Fannie’s Last Supper
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Some brilliant suggestions for life after NANO

Lurv says, “I think this is a series I could really get behind. In a reading year that’s been full of way too many duds, Soulless was actually such an entertaining relief.”
SPOILER ALERT! Clandestine Sanctuary says, “Do I recommend the book? Yes. Do I recommend the series. Absolutely. But remember that this book shouldn’t be read independently as it follows a series, so read Soulless first.”
Even bigger SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON’T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven’t read the other books first. I Read to Relax says, “I love Carriger’s little additions, like how pesto was developed to combat both vampires and werewolves in Italy. These details really just make the story come alive.”

Heartless: Finished draft 8, turned in! It’s available for preorder on Amazon.
Timeless: Back at it.
Secret Project F: We’re waiting. We’re waiting.

Quote of the Day:
“When I say ‘spank me with a broomstick and call me Joseph Stalin’ I’m sure I speak for all of us.”
~ Hotel Babylon

Goodreads Choice Awards

Posted by Gail Carriger


Ketchup seems to be my life right now, Gentle Reader. I’m sorry I have nothing more witty to say. Soon I hope to be back to blogging norm but right now anniversaries, writing, negotiations, publishers, rain, broken car, and a whole host of other niggling details are interfering in this, obviously, the most important part of my day. Here’s a fun little bookmark that turned up on Facebook:

Changeless is nominated for a 2010 Goodreads Choice Award for Paranormal Fantasy. According to the missive I received: The polls are open to all readers throughout the month of December, and the winners will be announced in the January 2011 newsletter.
So do please vote of me if you feel like it.

Someone posted this image to Facebook recently of both the German and English cover art. It’s rather lovely, I feel.

takes on yet another language!

Lastly, victory is mine, I have finished Daft 8 of Heartless, and I *think* that’s it until copy edits, Gentle Reader. I can but hope. I’m really pleased with it, this one is my quazi-Sherlock Holmes ode. It was fun to write, but a real pain to edit for some reason. Funny how each book has it’s own set of quirks for the writer. I wonder what Timeless will be like. I guess there is only one way to find out . . .

Quote of the Day:
“No tale tells all.”
~ Alexei Panshin

In Which Gail Subjects Changeless to the Page 69 Test (Behind the Magic of the Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger


I did this for a guest blog a little while ago. Because of the lay out of Changeless I nabbed a few lines from page 68 otherwise you begin at the top of 69 orphaned in the middle of a paragraph.

This page is one of the moments of conversation designed to build the mystery that drives the story. Readers get a peek at Alexia’s personality and her relationship with the rest of the wolf pack. They also learn that her husband has vanished and that there is more than one problem for Alexia to handle. I do usually use dialogue for these kinds of scenes, so that is typical of both this book and my writing style. That said, I do believe that the rest of the book is a bit more action packed than page 69.

“And he did not take Tunstell with him.” Professor Lyall stated the obvious in clear annoyance, pointing to the redhead who was looking ever more guilty and ever more eager to continue chewing rather than participate in the conversation.
Lady Maccon worried at that information. Why should Conall take Tunstell? “Is he in danger? Shouldn’t you have gone with him, then?”
Lyall snorted. “Yes. Picture the state of his cravat without a valet to tie him in.” The Beta, always the height of understated elegance, winced in imagined horror.
Alexia privately agreed with this.
“Could not take me,” muttered the Tunstell in question. “Had to go in wolf form. Trains are down, what with the engineer’s strike. Not that I should mind going; my play’s finished its run, and I’ve never seen Scotland.” There was a note of petulance in his tone.
Hemming, one of the resident pack members, slapped Tunstell hard on the shoulder. “Respect,” he growled without looking up from his meal.
“Where, precisely, has my husband taken himself off to in Scotland?” Lady Maccon pressed for details.
“The southern part of the Highlands, as I understand it,” replied the Beta.
Alexia recovered her poise. What little she had. Which admittedly wasn’t generally considered much. The southern Highland area was the vicinity of Conall’s previous abode. She thought she understood at last. “I take it he found out about his former pack’s Alpha being killed?”
Now it was Major Channing’s turn to be surprised. The blond man practically spat out his mouthful of fritter. “How did you know that?”

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Changeless Floating Dresses in Detail (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


I received a question recently via email from the lovely Eva, which I thought so very intriguing others might enjoy my answer.

She asked for further detail on the new fashion for floating dresses I describe briefly in my second book, Changeless.

Floating Dresses

I will say that in the books I did leave this trend a little vague so it could be open to interpretation, and possibly cosplay, but I imagine floating dressed as having several features. First, they would probably lean towards the Natural Form style of the late 1870s. In fact, in my world, dirigible travel lead to the popularity of such a dress style because one’s skirts were less likely to fly up if they were closer to the body. They came over from Paris sooner and lasted longer than in the real 1870s.

I imagine leaded weights (like those used in curtains), heavy chain (like those in early Channel suits), wire, or some kind of buckshot might be sewn into or onto the hem of the bottom skirt of a floating dress to keep the garment from flying up and exposing legs to view (gasp!). These could be quite decorative and showy if affixed to the outside: metal beads/buttons might look very nice. Such an emphasis on the hem would be most unusual for the time period and specific to floating dresses as opposed any other kind of daywear.


There would be very filmy and floaty ruffles/bows/rosettes sewn to the top skirts, sleeves, or in a waterfall effect down the back of the bustle, to flutter in the wind becomingly.

The tapes of which I write are based on dress elevators of the turn of the century, although with the reverse in mind. They would have been worn over the skirt, possibly attached to a belt and then strapped to the ankle, or the weighted hem of the bottom skirt to keep things from shifting about in the wind.


So there it is, the floating dress as I see it. Of course, like much else in a book the physical reality is open to interpretation. I wouldn’t be much of an author if I strapped you down with my imagination and didn’t let yours float about on the aether breezes.

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

Quote of the Day:
“For all my longer works, for example novels, I write chapter outlines so I can have the pleasure of departing from them later on.”
~ Garth Nix

Reading & Signing At Borderlands, Short Story, & an Interview

Posted by Gail Carriger


I had a wonderful time reading, chatting, and signing at Borderlands in San Francisco on Saturday. A nice collection of people, some of whom I actually didn’t really know, turned up despite the horrendous traffic and impossible parking. The lovely staff laid on several pots of delicious tea and there was battenberg for the assembled to try imported all the way from England.

I revealed grave secrets which, should they turn up on the internet, I will, of course ignore or deny. But it is a good idea to come to one of my readings if you can, there is much I am not permitted to put in writing but I have a big mouth in person. Just saying, is all . . .

I am hoping some of you who could not make it to this event will be able to come to the SF in SF this Saturday (April 17th). Blake and I are a kind of walking talking debacle in action, so it should be disastrously hilarious. It is also the evening before the New York Times Bestseller List officially drops. Squee!

Cover art for the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance II

I’ve written a short for this book, called Marine Biology, and it’s not what you’d normally expect from me. The book is due out in England in October. I don’t think there will be an electronic version.

I also have a short interview up over on the Neth Space.
NS: If Soulless were a fortune cookie, what would its fortune be? How about Changeless?
GC: Soulless: Hold on to your parasol, there’s a wax man in your future.
Changeless: Don’t look under the kilts.

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Tea whimsy
Your Tisane of Smart:
Do we want steampunk to go mainstream?
Your Writerly Tinctures:
More on the ebook madness.

Lily’s review says, “All in all, I absolutely adored this story. It has a touch of various elements: the paranormal, science, romance, steam punk with some Victorian flair thrown in. When combined these elements produce an enthralling and original story.” (On a complete aside, how much do I love the name “Lily”?)
SPOILER ALERT! Changeless blurb gives away ending of Soulless. Smexy books likes the second installment, “Soulless was on my top of 2009 list last year and Changeless is going to make an appearance this year. Gail Carriger has an adorable voice. The way these characters talk and interact are absolutely charming. I could probably find a favorite quote on every single page.”
Changeless is also being subjected to the Page 69 Test.

Quote of the Day:
“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector.”
~ Ernst Hemingway

Happy Bookday to Me! Changeless hits the world today! The Parasol Protectorate

Posted by Gail Carriger


There was a long time there when I thought I would never turn one book year old, it is amazing to me that I have now turned two!

When my best friend and I were newly minted SFWA Associates (with barely qualifying short stories under our belts and much wide-eyed-innocence) we were introduced to our local SFWA chapter as the “new babies.” At which the Phrannish said, rather proudly, in front of everyone, “Goo!”

So, as I am now two, I too will say “Goo!” unto you all.

When I originally wrote Soulless I did it as a kind of lark. Frustrated by lack of traction with the Unsellable Blightness of Being, I thought,

“I will break all the rules with this next book because I no longer care.”

When an editor wanted to buy Soulless (yes, out of the slush pile!), I was thrilled but also terribly confused, because they wanted it as a series. I had written a very tidy stand alone. The Soulless you have read is far different from the original I completed just under three years ago. It’s 20,000 words longer, for a start, and has threads of a series wound into it, as well as additional steampunkish elements.

Those threads were there to give Changeless legs. And because I was under contract, and paranoid about deadlines, I instantly started on the second book. I found Changeless much easier to write. Perhaps because I was more comfortable with the world. Perhaps because I had given myself a fun mystery-esk story line. Perhaps because the weight of selling was off my mind. Regardless, I am delighted to welcome her into the world. My new baby. May she make us all proud.

And now, I want my tea.

Quote of the Day:

“The first chapter sells the book. The last chapter sells the next book.”

~ Mickey Spillane

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