Tagged Cover

This is Why a New York Times Bestselling Author Changed Her Pen Name to G. L. Carriger: On Pseudonyms, Cover Art & Reader Betrayal (Important for Writers)

In this blog post I’m going to discuss why a bestselling author might chose a new pen name. It’s not for the reasons you think.

Why a bestselling author would change or pick a new her pen name

You may or may not have noticed, Gentle Reader, that my San Andreas Shifter books are written under the name…

G. L. Carriger

The Sumage Solution, is a big departure for me in content, style, and setting. OK, perhaps not that big. It’s still me, full of silliness and fun.

  • It’s urban fantasy, but it’s set in contemporary times, in America.
  • It has more sex than my other writing has in the past.
  • It’s certainly got worse language.

Amazon | B&N | Apple | Kobo

I dithered for a while about what to do about this. You see, I worry about reader betrayal… a lot.

Reader Betrayal

Reader betrayal can take many forms. At its root, it is that sensation one gets if the book you’re reading does something totally unexpected in a bad way. Like if a book you picked up thinking it was romance suddenly doesn’t have a happy ending.

Why does reader betrayal happen?

Well, it can be a flaw in story: you’re reading one thing when the author suddenly takes a dive and turns it into something else. That is the author’s fault. (This is what I call the “scream and hurl” scenario.) Or it can be a flaw in expectation, you thought it was one kind of book, despite the cover and blurb trying to tell you otherwise, and you read it anyway.

This book is a hilarious COMEDY fantasy gay romance. Betchya didn’t know that from the cover.

Far more common these days is visual marker caused betrayal. This means that you picked up the book expecting one thing because of the cover and then got something completely different from the words within.

Controlling these expectations is a serious business. It’s done many ways: visually through cover art (image & text), but also via author name, and cover copy/blurb and description. (There are also things that can’t really be controlled like algorithms offering “similar books you might like.”)

For example, if I showed you this cover:

You’d probably expect a dark gritty urban fantasy. Possibly noir tropes in use. If that’s the kind of thing you like, you might then take a look at the book description and decide to buy it.

But if I gave you this one:

You’d expect something else: upbeat, cheerful, youthful, pulp-ish.

  • Both covers are based off photos.
  • Both are single person images.
  • Both have saturated color use.
  • Both use san serif fonts

But the kind of image chosen, from dress to facial expression, and the tweaks then made to it, from color choice to the overlay of type, all tell you, the reader, something about what is inside.

You may not know exactly what you’re being told, or how to control your own response, but trust me, you’re reacting. The thing that worries a savvy author the most is NOT “does this cover depict what’s inside my book” but “does this cover accurately portray the spirit of my book?”

If you picked up Fairy Debt and did not get a fun little light hearted read about a fairy in silly times, you would be angry with me as the author. You would feel betrayed.

Why talk about covers when I should be discussing pen names?

Because most of the time, covers come first. Covers are the single most important thing when selling a book or establishing a brand as an author.


After that, of course, it’s up to the author to pull the reader in and make them want more.

Which brings us to author name recognition.

After a certain point, if lucky, an author starts to accrue loyal readers.

  • These are the readers who write to say they love you. Who regularly leave book reviews.
  • Who vow to buy “anything you write.”
  • These readers follow an author’s newsletter (if really lucky) and get excited when a new book comes along.

These readers are you, eyeballs reading this blog post right now. I LOVE YOU.

You, Gentle Reader, know what to expect from me as an author because I have tried to give you something quite consistent over the last few years. Yes, it jumped around from YA to adult to novella, from espionage to romance to adventure, but the spirit of the Parasolverse has been unchanged.

Cover art plays into this too, keeping a theme going is pretty darn important. Here is how my traditional publishers did it across three series:

Here’s how I played with my own themes for my self-published stuff.

Romancing the Inventor

I kept the san serif font and the slashes from the first series. I kept a central figure (or figures).

  • Do you see the similarities, and to which books?
  • Can you understand why I might want to make some of the changes I did between my novels and my novellas? (Perhaps that is a whole other discussion if you’re interested.)

One of the things I’d encourage you to notice is that I made my name bigger than the title for the first time when I produced my own stuff.

Why I Made My Name BIGGER

When self-pubbing I’m banking on name recognition. Also, it’s more common in romance to up the font size for well known authors (and my novellas touch on romance more heavily). And, I do it because I’ve noticed over the years that male genre authors get this kind of name glorification a lot, while the rest of us, erm, do not. That gets my goat because it smacks pretty darn strongly of sexism.

So, why go through all this trouble to establish name recognition, only to change my name… slightly?

G. L. Carriger

Because we are back to the first part of this post: reader betrayal.

My new non-parasolverse m/m urban fantasy is just different enough for me to worry. Even knowing that I could give you a very different cover (which I have done) I worried that my name was now strong enough to sucker readers into expecting things: gentleness, steampunk, sweet romance, Victorian food & clothing.

I worried that if it says “by Gail Carriger” readers would expect exactly the kind of thing they had gotten from me before. The Sumage Solution is just different enough for readers to get mad at me. Not because I don’t write urban fantasy or paranormal romance well (this book is oodles of fun, it makes me so happy) but because it’s not what readers expected from Gail Carriger going in. Which isn’t really my fault.

Except that it is. It is certainly my responsibility.

I have established Gail Carriger expectations with 17 or so books now. So it’s up to me to shift those expectations.

Thus I’m publishing The Sumage Solution under G. L. Carriger. Still me. Just tweaked. This way, going in, readers pick up the book and perhaps go:

“Huh, I wonder if this is still Gail? I wonder why Gail is doing this? Perhaps it’s not quite the same thing as before.”

It wasn’t an easy decision, I’ll tell you that much.

And, I hope you like her.

The Omega Objection Free PDF

Still and always yours,

Miss G

Want more?

Heroine’s Journey Cover Art


Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

  • Tired of the hero’s journey?
  • Frustrated that funny, romantic, and comforting stories aren’t taken seriously?
  • Sad that the books and movies you love never seem to be critically acclaimed, even when they sell like crazy?

The Heroine’s Journey is here to help.

Multiple New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a clear concise analysis of the heroine’s journey, how it differs from the hero’s journey, and how you can use it to improve your writing and your life.


Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

~ Albert Einstein

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Writing a book is like telling a joke and having to wait 2 years to know whether or not it was funny.”

~ Alain de Botton

Book News:

The Reading Chick says of Prudence:

“The style of the characters meld completely with the storyline, that it all seems completely believable, in a rather fantastic way.”

Quote of the Day:

“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.”

~ Logan Pearsall Smith

Want more behind the scenes info? Join the Chirrup!

You made it so far!

Here’s an extra bit, from a true Carriger on the name Carriger!

“You pegged at least the Texas branch’s pronunciation with the hard g, which is the main one nationally as far as I can tell. To be fair to the Carriage Ur people, it’s a made up name to begin with, dating to Tennessee in the latter 1700’s. The original family name was Kercher, originating in Germany and Austria. However, my ancestors there were carriage builders and for some reason changed the name to accommodate transactions with their clientele. The Carriger street* you got the name from dates back to Nicholas Carriger who made it out West in the mid 1800’s and from what I understand had a part in founding Sonoma. Pretty sure they had a vineyard. All in all we’ve been here since pre-Revolutionary times.”

* also a river in Sonoma

Sumage Solution Special Extras ~ All About The Cover Art (Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger


So one of the things I knew the cover for The Sumage Solution had to be was different from everything I’ve done before.

GL Carriger Sumage Solution SAS Model Quinn Max

Since The Sumage Solution is pretty darn racy I needed visual markers for telling my readers that this is something different from me…particularly my YA readers! The best way to do this is with cover art.

So in addition to a new pen name (more on that in another blog) I really focused on a spectacular cover that said “sexy and urban fantasy” but was different both from what is out there right now and what I’ve had on my covers in the past. This meant a different layout (centered), different font (serif), and a clean smooth background.

The first thing I had to do was find a gorgeous model to portray my hot mage, Max. So what did I do first? Went to Evan of course!

Evan is a killer photographer, his images are sensual, powerful, and interesting. And, let’s be honest, hot. I found out about him via the Airship Ambassador years ago. Steampunk is such a small world, we tend to all meet each other one way or another. I’ve used his photos before (Marine Biology & Curious Case) but he also has a boudoir line, so I went to check those out for Sumage Solution.

Marine Biology 

And who did I see first thing for a recent shoot on Evan’s website? Quinn Knox. And Quinn looked so close to my vision for Max it was almost uncanny. It’s like Evan read my mind! Or read my book.

As always, Evan was grace personified to work with and soon I had Quinn in hand, so to speak. Then it was merely a matter of some chatting with Starla, my cover art designer. She fooled around with silhouettes and fractured mirrors and color options. I dithered over fonts and arrangements and finally everything gelled into a truly spectacular result.

I can’t tell you how happy I am with this cover.

If you want to see the Pinterest inspiration board that I made for Starla to use as inspiration for this cover, you can check it out now as I have made it a public board.

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Groundbreaking Silhouette Animations of Lotte Reiniger

The Groundbreaking Silhouette Animations of Lotte Reiniger: Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, and More

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Taste of the Past Podcast discusses Tea Time. (Yes the ceramic stuff is still wrong, but interesting buy in to the propaganda of the Victorian era ceramic production companies.)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

~ Toni Morrison

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life.”

~ Helen Exley

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

The Range of Cover Art ~ Gail Carriger’s Changeless (Behind the Magic of the Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Good morning, Gentle Reader.

Today I thought it might be fun for you to see the range of cover art that my book Changeless got over the course of its publication. Changeless originally released on this date 7 years ago.

Here’s a picture of Changeless (original mass market) in my office with a thistle teacup, because it takes place in Scotland.

The Cover of Changeless

Here we go…

First off, on the left is the original mass market paperback as produced April 4, 2010. Next to it I have the Polish version so you can see how a foreign publisher might tweak the cover for their market.

Here on left is the Japanese translation version, this is the smallest of my books. It’s about the size of a 3X5 card. Next to it is the manga adaptation of Changeless, called Soulless Vol. 2.

Here are the two German versions. The first was a limited run collectable hardcover, the second is the original paperback translation.

Aside from Germany (and the pocket edition in France, which re-uses the German cover art) and Japan, every other foreign publisher chose to do a take on the original cover image for their translations. This is pretty unusual and rather flattering.

The first three Parasol Protectorate audiobooks were produced by Recorded Books (not Hachette Audio) so they got different covers too.

There it is. What do you think of the different covers? Anything surprise you? Any one you really love?

Praise for Changeless

  • Talk Supe says: “Carriger’s wit is incomparable, the books have a sheen of silliness to it, but the characters deliver their crazy lines in straight faces (I’d imagine) and in such a matter-of-fact way, I have to double back several times just to make sure they’re serious. I mean Ivy’s hats and outfits alone turns haute couture on its head!”
  • Bookish Things and More says: “I think this one may be one of my favorite in the series.”
  • Keep Calm with Coffee & Books says: “It continues to impress me how integrated the supernatural and Victorian customs are. I continue to enjoy that aspect of the story. The writing is fabulous and some of the lines had me in stitches.”
  • The Infinite Curio says: “Gail Carriger has a talent for creating intriguing lore and weaving it into the plot.”
  • Ramblings on Readings says: “Gail Carriger writes some of the wittiest dialogue, and she has very clever ideas about the supernatural. I will never tire of her writing, and I so look forward to reading the rest of the series.”
  • My Thoughts…Literally says: “I love the way this series effortlessly combines steampunk and supernatural elements into a historical setting and that’s exactly how I felt here. In particular, the steampunk elements were turned way up. There was much more talk about technology and inventions here (hello, Vieve was there) which was really cool.”

Elizabeth Tyree has a book chat:

“Gail Carriger’s writing style is just amazing. I love the sass and the way sentences are put together. It’s a great deal of fun.”

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Stack Arms, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Office Book Nook Shelf

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

UK’s First Sci-fi and Fantasy Centre Opens in Cambridge

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  


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

Cover Art & Its Purpose in Life (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello, Gentle Reader!

I’m always thinking and talking a lot about cover art. I love it and it fascinates me. I’m pretty sure I have a career because of the cover of Soulless.

It has come up on a podcast interview on SF & F Marketing. And I have a lot to say on the subject when connected to using a pen name because yes YOUR NAME IS PART OF YOUR COVER (why did I choose a new pen name?).

So Cover Art…

My new saying? The pretty is the enemy of the correct.

Covers are like a visual elevator pitch for a book, they don’t need to say exactly what’s in it so much as what’s it’s about.

The point of the cover is not to find AN audience for that book but to find the RIGHT audience.

I think a lot of indie authors forget this, and get embroiled in trying to make it look too much like what’s inside and not enough like packaging that represents the book’s theme.

That last statement may have made some of you angry, because it smacks of manipulation.

But stick with me, okay?

Goodreads put up a ton of books on sale  and I went to check them out.

Three interesting things happened.

  1. I wasn’t interested in a single one of them. (I’d either read it already, or it’s not to my current taste.)
  2. The range of art as meets genre was fascinating, and many of the covers did catch my eye.
  3. I really wanted to blog about it.

Let’s play a little game?

Here are 10 covers that stood out for me:

Without knowing anything else but having only those small images.

And without reading anything about the books.

I’m gonna tell you what I thought when I saw its thumbnail.

Let’s see if you agree with me?

What I like: Clear indication of romance given the swirly font and large female author name. Horses indicate old west or plantation setting. Red and cream is a tasteful coloring.
Issues: Can’t read whole title. Cover is generic.
What do I think this book is about? Heterosexual romance in a historical setting. Demure pose and the fact that she is alone in the picture with a horse in the background suggests sweet romance (little sex).
Was I right given the blurb? Yes

Smoke & Bone
What I like: The color pallet, the starkness of the lighting, the slash nature of the mask and the title.
Issues: Didn’t realize the title was Daughter of Smoke & Bone until I really squinted, can’t read author name at all. Not sure how I feel about three different fonts on the same cover.
What do I think the book is about? I’m going with suspense of some kind, in the Gone Girl oeuvre maybe? Because of the mask, perhaps it’s either historical or set in a theater, makes me think Phantom of the Opera.
Was I right given the blurb? Sort of. Suspense but also urban fantasy?


The Curse Keepers
What I like:
KILLER title! The shadow box to make the title pop while still over the figures is a neat trick. I like centered text.
Issues: Author name is not legible, bit generic, weird tattoo stuff on left necessary?
What do I think this book is about? Without a doubt this is in the Cassandra Clare, Beautiful Creatures, etc. YA angst show knock off. This one will be witches and warlocks and stuff like that, no vampires (because of the sunlight and lack of blood red color).
Was I right given the blurb? Yes.

A Taste of Magic
What I like: Very easy to read title and author name, bold color choices.
Issues: Not a lot, actually, while this might not be my kind of book, I think it reads as a near perfect cover for the kind of book it is. Let’s see if I’m right.
What do I think this book is about? Romance, chick lit version of Practical Magic. Contemporary set urban fantasy but with a very light touch and gentle upbeat text, probably involves food. Beach read.
Was I right given the blurb? Yes.

What I like: Fantastically striking cover, retro feel, very basic but impactful, color choices. Title and author are clear and easy to read.
Issues: Absolutely no idea what it is about. Could be anything from a quirky adult version of Awkward (that MTV show) or a non-fiction tell all about the music/photo/modeling industry.
What do I think this book is about? Really, no clue. If I HAD to guess I’m going with quirky mock-tell-all of a photojournalist’s crazy hi-jinx. Possibly set in the 1960s.
Was I right given the blurb? Turns out it is about photography, but also celebrity, and crime in a modern setting.

The Last Girl
What I like: As with the romance one above, I think I know exactly what I am in for with this book. Title and author name are clearly visible.
Issues: I really strain to see the figure, I wish it were just big enough for me to make out something about her clothes as that would give me a bit more to go on for setting.
What do I think this book is about? Gone Girl type thing again, maybe post apocalyptic, but could also be country western setting.
Was I right given the blurb? Not really. Turns out to be an epidemic crisis book. Looks like that movie Children of Men.

Under Different Stars
What I like: Striking image for the main photo, stark and atmospheric feel. This gives a slightly uncomfortable and weird feeling.
Issues: The title and author name are kinda hard to make out.
What do I think this book is about? Lit fic, just because of the contrast between the watery image but “Stars” in the title. I’m very wary because it could be a “Cancer Mom” type story. Read: depressing as hell.
Was I right given the blurb? Not at all. Turns out to be a sci fi YA romance. So I would call this one of the cases where the cover is striking, but doing the book no favors.

Dragon Bound
What I like: Again this is one of those that tells me exactly what I’m in for. I like a cover that uses blues and pinks for contrast, and I tend to gravitate towards centered lettering.
Issues: No idea what she is holding, hard to make out author name. Quite generic.
What do I think this book is about? Straight up no frills female main character urban fantasy. Probably heterosexual and featuring dragons as the hook. Modern setting.
Was I right given the blurb? Not really. It’s fantasy not UF, and historical-ish. (I did wonder since she’s in a dress and not leather pants, but the white t-shirt underneath threw me off).

Heirs of Empire
What I like: Strong female central figure, power pose, can read both title and author name. Interesting choice on both serif and sans serif fonts.
Issues: Generic title, cover comes off as old fashioned. Makes me think author and text may be old guard and out of touch. Male author with female protagonist is a red flag for me, personally.
What do I think this book is about? At first I thought epic fantasy because of her armor and the title and serif font, but then I noticed the spaceship in the background and the author name is sans serif, so I’m going with space opera.
Was I right given the blurb? You know what, I still don’t know if this is fantasy or space opera. I think maybe something like Dune? But the blurb doesn’t make anything clearer.

What I like: This cover is everything. I really adore it. I think it is stunning and beautiful and stark and so much more.
Issues: None. I like it a lot.
What do I think this book is about? Future, possibly far future, something to do with genetic manipulation or cloning. It reminds me of Orphan Black. This is the only one on this list I’m tempted to investigate further, read the blurb and possibly pick up.
Was I right given the blurb? Yes. Only thing I missed was that this is YA. Which actually turns me off (I love YA but struggle with YA scifi like Cinder). Blurb reminds me of the movie Never Let Me Go.

Added later for the sake of interest:

The Lightning Struck Heart
What I like: I like the color choices and the central image, the legibility of title and author name despite font choices.
Issues: I find the horizontal gradation on the background distracting, it makes me think this is a small image that has been manipulated larger but wasn’t high rez enough; Looks like an old TV.
What do I think this book is about? Future, urban fantasy or superhero, or maybe something epidemic or zombie like The Strain. Definitely dark.
Was I right given the blurb? Not even slightly.

  • I chose to add this book specifically because I resisted buying it for years, despite recommendations from practically everyone. Why did I resist? THAT COVER. I don’t like super dark stuff.
  • Turns out, this is the opposite of dark.
  • Turns out this book is a super funny comedy about a gay wizard and his BBF the swishy hornless and horny unicorn, Gary. It’s so flipping funny I cried laughing.
  • Does this cover indicate this key selling point? No.
  • Does this cover indicate fantasy? No.
  • I’m calling this one of the worst covers in a long time. It’s fine, just NOT FOR THIS BOOK.

More on Cover Art?

I talk in depth about how I chose my cover art for my indie books in this YoutTube video: what I look for how I choose images and type set and colors.


{Gail’s monthly read along for March 2017 is Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.}


Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. 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 . . .

1887 Albert Aublet (French artist, 1851-1938) Sur La Plage, Le Treport

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My office sitting area

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

History of Cover Art from YouTube

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Writers Should Read

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“A bookstore is a good place to go to be brave.”

~ Kate DiCamillo

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

Romancing the Inventor Cover Reveal! (Supernatural Society)

Posted by Gail Carriger


I’m delighted to show you the cover art and blurb for Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella!

Romancing the Inventor

This cover was designed by the indomitable Starla Huchton, the photo was taken by Pixie Vision Photography, and is used with permission from Donna Ricci. Recognize that name? Yeah, that’s because Donna was the cover model for the Parasol Protectorate series! I love working with Donna and hope to do so for future covers. She is now the proprietress of Geeky Teas. (No that isn’t her in the photo, she rarely models anymore.)

About the Book

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

Imogene Hale is a lowly parlourmaid with a soul-crushing secret. Seeking solace, she takes work at a local hive, only to fall desperately in love with the amazing lady inventor the vampires are keeping in the potting shed. Genevieve Lefoux is heartsick, lonely, and French. With culture, class, and the lady herself set against the match, can Imogene and her duster overcome all odds and win Genevieve’s heart, or will the vampires suck both of them dry?

Delicate Sensibilities? This story contains women pleasing women and ladies who know what they want and pursue it, sometimes in exquisite detail.

This is a stand-alone LBGTQ sweet romance set in Gail Carriger’s Parasolverse, full of class prejudice, elusive equations, and paranormal creatures taking tea. Supernatural Society novellas can be read in any order.

Releases November 1, 2016.

Presskit for Romancing the Inventor here.

Currently it is available for ebook pre-order on…


Apple iBooks



Or directly from me as .mobi, .epub, and .pdf.

(Nook’s description will update in, oh, like three weeks or something ridiculous like that.)


It should also be in print around the same time as the ebook (although I make no promises) from Amazon and Ingram (AKA your local bookstore, just ask the bookstore)!

Providing print for pre-order on Amazon’s Createspace is outstandingly complicated (read the comments too, it’s INSANE). From my perspective? There is too much that can go wrong. So I’m going to have to simply post RTI for sale around the same time as the actual publication date. It may take a while to distribute through the system and to Amazon UK (for example). Also physically printing and shipping delays matters. Look I’m sorry, but they don’t make it easy for us self-publishing authors to time things perfectly. In this instance digital is so much more of a pleasure to work with that digital readers may reap the benefit of a prompt release. I swear I’m not trying to punish anyone from their reading preferences, it’s a matter of backend propinquity. (And if Backend Propinquity isn’t the name of a band, it should be.)

What exactly does this mean if I want a print copy of Romancing the Inventor?

  1. You will not be able to pre-order print from Amazon.
  2. The print will appear for sale on Amazon as close to Nov. 1 as I can manage. Could be 48 hours after, could be 2 weeks.
  3. The two versions of the book may not be immediately appear together on the Amazon book page.
  4. Oddly, you may be able to preorder print from Barnes & Noble and your local Indie bookstore.
  5. Shipping may add an additional 2 weeks regardless of venue.
  6. If at all possible I will offer signed editions, likely via Borderlands. You’ll need to call to place your order, don’t do it now. I’ll make the announcment when it becomes possible.


It’s so expensive and time consuming. I’m still trying to do audio of Poison or Protect. The decision to do Romancing the Inventor one will ride entirely on the success and bother of that one. Audio is not something I am willing or able to do myself and so I have to find someone who can produce to my very exacting standards both in sound quality, voice acting, and working relationship. I’m not gonna line, it’s proving darn near impossible.

Extra tid bit?

Look for a surprise appearance from some very popular characters and the strategic application of cognac.

I loved writing this story. It was a delight to give Genevieve her happy ending at long last. My poor Madame Lefoux, I put her through so much heartbreak. Imogene is strong and courageous a willing to do anything for her beloved inventor, which is exactly what Genevieve always needed. I hope you enjoy reading their adorable love story as much as I enjoyed writing it.


{Gail’s monthly read along for September is Finders Keepers 2016 by Linnea Sinclair.}


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 . . .

Ascot, 1926 via thecostumeblog.blogspot.com

Ascot, 1926 via thecostumeblog.blogspot.com

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Mystery of the Phantom Page Turner

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

It’s Official – Ebooks Really are Books

Book News:

Fan Art of Madame Lefoux

Fan Art of Madame Lefoux

Quote of the Day:

“In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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

My Sister’s Song by Gail Carriger has a New Cover!

Posted by Gail Carriger


My dear Gentle Readers, I am delighted to announce that my very first professional sale, the short story, My Sister’s Song, finally has it’s new cover art!


Designed by the amazing Starla Hutchton. This one is done with all stock art, pretty nifty.

This is the first story that I ever sold to a professional market (Sword & Sorceress). In addition to the new cover it has updated formatting inside, but otherwise the story is unchanged for those who have already purchased it.

The warrior Mithra must repel a Roman legion alone and armed only with one very tasty weapon.

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a short story about a woman warrior set in ancient times. To protect her lands and her tribe, Mithra comes up with a sticky solution to an impossible problem.

BUY IT FOR $0.99

Directly from me here in .mobi ,epub or .pdf

On Amazon for Kindle

On Barnes & Noble for Nook

On Apple for iBooks

Or on Kobo for…uh… Kobo



This story is most closely based on my Archaeological past. It’s also a bit funny but you can totally see how my writing as matured and changed.

{Gail’s monthly read along for September 2016 is Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair.}



My Sister’s Song

The warrior Mithra must repel a Roman legion alone and armed only with one very tasty weapon.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine Wednesday, July 1, 1863 v. 43, plate 57

Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine Wednesday, July 1, 1863 v. 43, plate 57

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The 1880’s in Fashionable Gowns: A Visual Guide to the Decade

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Airplane Passengers as Explained by their Pants

Book News:

Book Bin Display

Book Bin Display

Quote of the Day:


Hilarious typo in WorldCon programming.

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




Marine Biology Has A New Cover!

Posted by Gail Carriger


I have a great fondness for all four of my shorts, but Marine Biology may be my favorite. It’s just so much fun, Gentle Reader. Fun to write, fun to read, fun to find a model, and an image. It is with great pleasure I reveal a new and sparkling cover for my dear baby…

Marine Biology


Marine Biology

A short tale of seduction, selkies, and sushi.

Alex is a werewolf with problems – he’s unexpectedly alive, he’s quite definitely gay, and he’s been ordered into a partnership with one very flirty merman.

In this LBGT sweet short love story, New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger brings her comedic voice to contemporary fiction and m/m romance. Explicit language warning but very little erotic content. (11,000 words ~ 43 pages) First published in The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2 (2010).

Warning: Contains confused lovelorn werewolves and very pretty ex-Goth mermen who are exclusively interested in each other. May also contain fish, Irish mafia, and a shocking lack of tea.

Buy Directly From Me

On Amazon

On iBooks

On Kobo

On Audio (as a bundle)

Not yet available for Nook

The Story Behind The Cover

This photo is by the truly wonderful Evan Butterfield. He’s a fantastic steampunk photographer, among other things. You can check out his work in this stunning gallery. You can also buy two photo books featuring his excellent eye for a sexy steampunk man: Gentlemen of Steampunk & Gentlemen of Steampunk II: Being Part the Second in a Series of Photographs of Certain Gentlemen in a State of Modest Undress, with Biographies. I’ll be using Evan again for the Alessandro story cover photo. (What, you doubted me?)

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 3.11.40 PM

The model is the lovely Louis. I chose him because he has Alec’s sweet easy going look to him, and in this image he’s even a little marine biologist with his microscope. The story takes place in Boston so that’s the city-scape in the background.


Starla Huchton, my cover art designer, managed to give me the werewolf claw scratches for the name and title. The idea being to reflect on the bold color title slashes of the Parasol Protectorate series but with this new idea of claw marks to show the book features werewolves (I don’t like the “wolf in the background” trope most M/M paranormal romances use).


Well, a naked torso is a clear signal of sexy-times and reflective of the m/m romance. City lights in background show this is contemporary set. Claw slashes plus moon to indicated it’s got a paranormal element. (I hope that’s enough, but I didn’t want it too busy.) General design to tie in with my other books and… ta da! Yeah, I am ridiculously pleased with it.


{Gail’s monthly read along for August is Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce.}


  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Beta edit back, working now. Tentative release date Nov. 1 2016.
    LBGT romance featuring a parlormaid bent on seducing a certain cross-dressing inventor who is too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGT reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novella? Novel? Who knows.
    Status: Rough draft.
    Something utterly new and different for Gail. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.



Marine Biology

A short tale of seduction, selkies, and sushi.

Alex is a werewolf with problems – he’s unexpectedly alive, he’s quite definitely gay, and he’s been ordered into a partnership with one very flirty merman.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Parasol by Schiaparelli, 1937-40, France

Parasol by Schiaparelli, 1937-40, France

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

8 Surprising Facts About British Tea Traditions

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

A Better Response to Working for Exposure

Book News:

Imprudence makes B&N Booksellers’ Best Science Fiction/Fantasy books of July 2016

Quote of the Day:

“Life is never fair, and perhaps it is a good thing for most of us that it is not.”

~Oscar Wilde

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

The Story Behind the Cover Art & Title of Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello Gentle Reader,

Today I have for you the story behind the cover of Poison or ProtectAnd now more on the cover art of my first self-published novella…  

This is the first in the Delightfully Deadly series which are grown-up spin offs from my YA Finishing School series.

Hopefully you can see the tonal familiarities?

Elements I specifically targeted and married over:

  • font style and upright title treatment (it’s not angled or slashed)
  • model stance and gaze (specifically from the Waistcoats cover)
  • wallpaper and shading
  • characters in black & white (I shifted to sepia tones)
  • the main color being the background
  • one additional pop of contrasting color (in my YA this is the weapon, in my new series it’s the red lipstick – these books are sexier)

Gail Carriger Waistcoats Weaponry Poison Protect Finsihing School Delightfully Deadly


The fact that I made my own name bigger than the title is an intentional branding and feminist choice. Branding: As an indie project I need to catch the attention of my existing reader base, which means making my name the biggest thing on the cover. Feminist: In SF/F men often get to have their author names larger than the title but women rarely do. So yeah, f-’em.

I chose an underdressed model and to emphasize the red lips because these books are sexier than their YA counterparts and I wanted to make that obvious visually. The slash behind the title is a take off from my adult Parasol Protectorate series, and is meant to signal “this is adult like those” to my existing readers.

Other intentional choices? Titles

The series title DELIGHTFULLY DEADLY was chosen because one the words reviewers and fans most use when describing my books is delightful and I thought it was such a good word I decided to thank them and have fun myself by using it for a series title. Also these two words provide a contrast that is intrinsic to my spy characters: that they can be both delightful and deadly. I made this alliterative too, in order to harken to my first series, The Parasol Protectorate. Finally they aren’t coupled together commonly so I could own the search term and the SEO.

The titles for the Delightfully Deadly series are all also alliterative, just like the original Finishing School titles, but I will use or instead of & as these stories emphasize a choice the main character must make between being an spy and being in love: Poison or Protect, Defy or Defend, etc…

Each title also indicates who the main character is:

  • P = Preshea’s book = Poison or Protect
  • D = Dimity’s book = Defy or Defend

And so forth. This is a mnemonic device so I can remember the titles (since I forget my own titles but not main character names), and as a little cookie for my readers.

Finding the Cover Model

I like to work with independent photographers, models, and small businesses. But I am not above using stock art. Just FYI.

I had a good idea of what Preshea looked like, and frankly, Autumn is a friend of mine and I always thought of Preshea as looking a little bit like her. Not that Autumn is cold or liable to poison you (in fact she is one of the warmest, nicest, most generous people I know), but she does have the right LOOK. Autumn and I have worked together for yers (once, long ago in a different life I actually did some modeling for her, but I digress) so I pinged about her professional images and turned up this gem.

Why did this image attract me?

I wanted something confrontational, with Preshea staring out of the cover directly at the reader. (She’s an assassin after all. It needed to feel almost aggressive.) I liked the contrast of the white dress/underthings with this pose. (This was from a wedding shoot. Dark Garden does some truly amazing bridal couture.) Also the cover MUST say romance, I can’t have readers deluded by the cover into thinking this is any other kind of story. I work very hard never to leave my readers feeling betrayed and that starts with cover art.

I feel like this image hit all the right notes. So I reached out to Autumn and she gave me the photographer’s contact info. A short while later the lovely Perry Gallagher had licensed me the image. Image in hand I went to Starla Huchton for the cover design.

How did I find Starla?

Starla is a friend of mine via the podcasting world. However, that alone would not have been enough, if the quality of her work weren’t stellar. She’s a particularly adaptable cover art designer, who can change her style drastically given the type of story. Take a look at her gallery if you don’t believe me.

So we talked fonts, putting paint slashes behind my name and title, arrangements, layout, and so forth. The idea was to draw on the slashing-behind-the-words style of The Parasol Protectorate books, but keep the coloration and lay out style of The Finishing School books. At the same time, this cover had to be different enough to show that this was a new series, adult, and romantic.


The first and second passes.  You can see that after the first pass I asked to see the font as white over black, and shifted down, also I wanted to see what a more vibrant background looked like. I found that blue too vibrant. So Starla tweaked it one final time and…. MAGIC:

You can see how the purple is more vibrant but not as overwhelming as the blue? The text is balanced at the bottom, and Preshea looks out at you, calm, coy, and ever so slightly threatening.


Why the purple and not pink like the other first books in your series?

Well, Poison or Protect is NOT the first in a series. It’s a stand alone. I wanted to make that very clear. I felt pink might be misleading. Also Preshea is not a pink person. She is cool and calm and very icy. She wears blues, greens, greys, and whites in all her appearances in this book and I wanted to stick with that for her character.

Print 1Prudence 1Etiquette&Espionage

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1861 La Belle Assemblee
Wednesday, May 1, 1861 Item ID-  v. 41, plate 123


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Afternoon dress, 1855-65. via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Harvard Loses Copyright Infringement Case Against Steve Elmo

Book News:
Gail Carriger Made the 100 Must-Read Sci-Fi Fantasy Novels By Female Authors list by BookRiot

Quote of the Day:

“Everyone’s mysterious before you know them.” “But w-when you know me, I won’t be mysterious anymore.” “Yeah, you’ll be you, and that’ll be better.”

~ Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall

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

Cover Art Reveal: Poison or Protect (Delightfully Deadly)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Gentle Reader, I am DELIGHTED to finally show you the long awaited cover for my first self published novella…


A Delightfully Deadly Novella

By Gail Carriger

Out June 21, 2016!


Chirrup subscribers got an early look and some of you have already seen it on Amazon, but here it is in full high impact glory!

This cover was assembled by the amazing Starla Huchton (I love her!). The photo was taken by the brilliant Perry Gallagher (all rights reserved). It features the indomitable Autumn as Preshea wearing her own Dark Garden corset creation.

Stay tuned on how the cover art came to be and some behind the scenes footage! But for now, here it is, I hope you love it as much as I do.

About this book!

Poison or Protect: A Delightfully Deadly Novella by Gail Carriger

Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt? 

New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger presents a stand-alone romance novella set in her popular steampunk universe full of manners, spies, and dainty sandwiches.

Lady Preshea Villentia, the Mourning Star, has four dead husbands and a nasty reputation. Fortunately, she looks fabulous in black. What society doesn’t know is that all her husbands were marked for death by Preshea’s employer. And Preshea has one final assignment.

It was supposed to be easy, a house party with minimal bloodshed. Preshea hadn’t anticipated Captain Gavin Ruthven – massive, Scottish, quietly irresistible, and… working for the enemy. In a battle of wits, Preshea may risk her own heart – a terrifying prospect, as she never knew she had one.

Warning: Contains men pleasing women and ladies who know what they want and ask for it, sometimes in detail. May also contain plaid, appearances from favorite characters, and the strategic application of leather gloves.

Buy Poison or Protect today to find out whether it’s heartbreak or haggis at this high tea.

Right now Poison or Protect is only available for preorder via Amazon. However, it will be widely distributed to other platforms including Kobo, iBooks, and Nook.

{Gail’s monthly read along for June is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Follet  Sunday, September 1, 1861 v. 42, plate 29


Your Infusion of Cute . . .


Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Swarms of Octopus Are Taking Over the Ocean

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

Amazon.com Announces the Most Read Cities in America

Book News:
Gail talks about the Finishing School series at the International Spy Museum

Quote of the Day:

“He did have one fine looking butt, though. Too bad it was attached to another planet.”

~ Prophecy by Lea Kirk

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!

New Cover Reveal ~ Fairy Debt

Posted by Gail Carriger


Gentle Reader, I’m delighted to announce that my short story Fairy Debt has new cover art!

Isn’t it wonderful? I’m so very pleased. It was assembled by the ridiculously talented Starla Huchton.

The original photo was taken by the marvelous Jen (all rights reserved) of the lovely Madeline in a costume by Firefly Path. They were all very kind when I approached them and I am so grateful.

This is one of those covers where everyone worked together seamlessly and were really excited to be part of the process. Steampunkers for the win!

I chose the photo because Madeline looks so cheerful and cheeky which really goes with Cups’ personality. We went with the monochrome figure over the colored background to hearken to my YA series, because this is also for younger readers. The scaled background is because this book involves dragons – well, one dragon. And we went with pink to stay with the upbeat comedy of the story.

This short is very light and cheerful, even silly in places, and definitely YA. In fact you could even read this out loud to younger children. It’s a true Fairy Tale in the comic sense of the word. Here’s the blurb:

Fairy Debt by Gail Carriger

I knew it would all end in tears the moment I saw the hat.

Cups is a fairy with a problem. She can’t grow wings because she under a death promise to a local king. So she takes service at the castle as Least Jester hoping to earn her wings, learning a great deal about cupcakes, tea daemons, and earth dragons along the way.

In this short comedic fairytale New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger gets up to her usual tea saturated prose and food driven biting wit. (5000 words ~ 10 pages)

First published in Sword & Sorceress 22 (2007), reprint in Funny Fantasy (2016).

[This new edition has an updated cover and a new modern formatting for the ebook (thank you Nina Pierce). Typos etc have been fixed as well, for which I indebted to Richard Shealy.]

Right now you can get the updated story on:





Barnes and Noble

And directly from me (via Gumroad) in the digital format you need/prefer:

Amazon readers .mobi

Other eBook readers .epub

Or as a PDF

If you already own this book from Amazon, it should be able to auto-update. However, if you have it from another vendor, I don’t know.

This is the story that had issues with Amazon because they decided to flag the updated version as not belonging to me (see previous blog post).

If you enjoyed Fairy Debt and want something similar to read I highly recommend:

The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye or Dealing with Dragons (Enchanted Forest Chronicles) by Patricia C. Wrede.

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Powers That Be by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Bon Ton Date-  Wednesday, August 1, 1860 v. 41, plate 42

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Birthday Flowers

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Author PSA, I get so many ideas in the shower, aqua notes is the best $8 I’ve ever spent.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Final read through of Poison or Protect overseen by Lilliput and a mug of tea

Book News:
Damsels Causing Distress (Blameless cover used)

Quote of the Day:
“There are only ten minutes in the life of a pear when it is perfect to eat.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!

Cover Art Poll Results ~ The Ultimate Champion

Posted by Gail Carriger


This is exciting, Gentle Reader. Two of my covers were neck and neck the whole time. And the winner by a very slim margin is…

The Soulless special edition from Subterranean Press. (Insert wild applause here.)

Here’s the final pie chart. (PIE!)

As you can see Waistcoats & Weaponry gave Soulless Ltd a run for her money, coming is an astonishingly close second, with Prudence and then Soulless the original bringing up the rear.


Thank you all so much for voting!

To answer a question I’m getting a lot on social media: yes, this may indeed influence future covers on the self-publishing side of things, but not right away. Frankly the Poison or Protect cover was already taking cues from W&W (because it’s one of my favorites) and because it’s an adult spin off from that series.

I’ll keep the special edition in mind if I do my own collected special editions. For example, if/when self publishing ever makes it easy to do hard cover editions. Also I will certainly look with greater interest at the Prudence cover for inspiration. I kind of discounted it and now I see that I shouldn’t have done so.

Thanks again!

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Magasin des Demoiselles Saturday, May 1, 1858 v. 39, plate 105

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The First Kiss in Cinema (1896)

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Answering Nature’s Call in Paris in 1800s

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
High Fantasy Vs. Epic Fantasy

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“Aunt Dahlia was drinking something that smelled like a leak in the gas-pipe, and I thought for a moment that it was that that made her twist up her face.”

~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

Want Gail in you inbox once a month? Get the Chirrup!

Cover Art Polls, Results & Pick the Ultimate Winner!

Posted by Gail Carriger


Well, my dear Gentle Reader. I ran a series of polls recently to do with cover art. I just wanted to get a feel for the prevailing opinions on my cover art out there. Partly out of pure curiosity. Partly with an eye towards my own hybrid work coming up.

Since Google forms now provides nifty pie charts (PIE!) I thought you would like to see the results for yourselves.

The Parasol Protectorate


Not unsurprisingly the clear winner was Soulless, the original. This powerful cover got me where I am today. All hail Donna, her parasol, and some serious pink slashes!


The Finishing School


I was delighted to see Waistcoats & Weaponry walk away with this win. Certainly one of my favorite covers, partly because that’s my fan. Also, I like a cover where the model is looking out at you, confrontational and powerful. Plus you all know how I feel about teals and greens. Love love.


Custard Protocol


Not really a fair fight since there are only two books in this series, so far. And one of them isn’t even published yet. Still, here we have it!


Other Covers


For the sake of international interest I included a few of my covers from outside the USA (I basically just chose my favorites of the sets, one each of the German covers and the second omnibus and the new limited edition hardcover.) The winner was, to my delight, the Subterranean Soulless!

So now, to make it utterly impossible for you, I am asking you to pick your favorite of these four! I know, I know, I’m mean. But inquiring minds want to know.

Who wins fan favorite Gail Carriger cover? Only you can decide.

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Bon Ton Sunday, August 1, 1858 Item ID-  v. 39, plate 123

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Welcome to the World of Library Bars

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
10 Types of Apostrophe Errors You Should Avoid

Book News:
20 Books Recommended By People with Chronic Illness for People with Chronic Illness (Parasol Protectorate made the list)

Quote of the Day:
“Lady Grenville thinks that one can reduce one’s figure by eating only grapes. Lord Grenville drinks even more claret than most gentlemen and is far fatter. (Evidently one must eat the grapes and not drink them.)”
~ Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer, Sorcery & Cecelia

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