All About Parasols, What Do Prim/Rue/Alexia’s Actually look like? (Parasol Protectorate & Custard Protocol Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Today, my darling Gentle Reader, I want to talk to you about my great love and passion, the humble parasol!

Alexia carries several Parasols through the course of the Parasol Protectorate and passes on various others to her daughter, and her daughter’s best friend, Primrose.

When conceiving the original parasol I went off of this kind of style:

1895 via @AngelaKCouch Twitter Parasol, design c.1895-1900

Here it is as I had it sketched some ten years ago (with steampunk gadget action).

And my sketch of Alexia carrying it looked like this:

Here’s an 1875 fashion plate, playing with a similar style.

If you are look for something online for an Alexia cosplay, I feel like this one most closely resembles this original parasol (which she eventually loses) is here for $24.


Through the course of the Parasol Protectorate series I realized that I needed to give here something bigger and more exciting. I ran across this style of parasol from the 1890s…

I love the shape, I’m a bit mad for anything approaching sphere shaped. So here is the sketch for Alexia’s second parasol.

The parasol is such an ubiquitous accessory up through the 1920s. One of the rabbit holes my obsession with the parasol has taken me on is how it was carried. There is, of course, the parasol pocket on 1870s dresses. There are a few examples of this but it isn’t particularly common.

It seems to me that’s it’s more likely to have rigged up some kind of belt and chatelaine holder. But then one would expect more parasols to have hooks in them, which we don’t.

1872 Godeys Oct 1872 Parasol belt & holder

I myself have quite the collection of parasols, you can check them all out over on Retro Rack.

My favorite is a vintage Edwardian tilt parasol.

I use this so much for steampunk events that I created a holster for it out of a pair of cargo shorts.

Speaking of parasols, I’ll be offering up this beauty:

cream lace with royal blue ribbon hand threaded throughout

In a giveaway to my Chirrup members. Sign up here. Opportunity to enter happens when that issue goes out. 

I once received a concerned correspondence froms a member of the Victorian Society and had just attended, of all marvelous things, a parasol covering workshop. I learned some interesting things:

    • early parasol ribs were made of bone, like corsets
    • parasols were particularly popular after the 1860’s as hats began to decrease in size but the pale complexion was still de rigueur
    • handles started out short (under 28″) and grew longer as decades passed, longest during the Edwardian era when the parasol could rest on the floor and handle came up to the lady’s waistline (some parasols had handles that collapsed down for easy storage)
    • early Victorian fashion plates show parasols the size of handkerchiefs, with a 1-to-1 handled-shade ratio, diameters increased over time as well
    • the truly fashionable lady carried a different parasol for each outfit
    • a parasol was one of the most popular gifts for a lover to give his sweetheart, and was often part of the groom’s gift to has new bride
    • they were made from lace, cotton, or silk
    • could be trimmed in anything from silk tassels, to cotton lace, to crystal beads
    • Parasol Language: Carrying it elevated in the left had – desiring acquaintance. Carrying it elevated in the right had – you are too forward.

1905 Fringed Parasol, ca. 1805 via LACMA

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Coop de Book for April is Robin McKinley’s Beauty. (Discussion here.)


Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct

Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger is now available (audio will follow).

Gay reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some unexpected holiday gifts.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

A Tiny New York Town With Not One, But 5 Indie Bookstores

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Difference Between a Revision, a Rewrite, and a Redraft

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“A parasol boasts more virtues than the eminently practical one of shading the eyes from the impertinent rays of the sun. It gives an air of smartness to the summer girl.”

~ Parasol quote from a 1909 newspaper

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

Your Parasol Protectorate Code Name (Parasolverse Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Recently I posted on the social medias about how to get your Parasol Protectorate code name. (Look, I’ve had a rough weekend, Gentle Reader, girl has to entertain herself somehow.) I could have done a little quiz for it, but I came up with a formula instead.

Here it is:

most frivolous piece of clothing you own


favorite food

And here are some gems from the response threads, that I played around with in the Parasolverse.

1924 filmsploitation- Sunshade Styles 2

1924 filmsploitation- Sunshade Styles 2

In Italy, working secretly to undermine the Templars we have:

  • Goggles Lasagna
  • Armored Tiramisu
  • Hoopskirt Caprese
  • Spats Macaroni

Meanwhile in the wild west of the USA a gang of agents attempt to re-unify the natural and the supernatural…

  • Bandana Lampchop
  • Poncho Naan
  • Cozy Artichoke
  • Sequined Enchilada
  • Fascinator Manhattan
  • Flightsuit Burrito
  • Stetson Manchago
  • Trenchcoat Tamale
  • Fedora Curry

In Europe, all is in chaos, the hope of civilized discourse and modest bloodshed rests in the gloved hands of…

  • Pearl Etouffee
  • The Plaid Pecan
  • Petticoat Brulee
  • The Hooded Biscuit
  • NeckFrill Von Goulascz
  • Veil Biscoff
  • Parka Beignet
  • Fluevog Nugget

Around the remnants of the empire, solitary yet diligent (and well shaded) agents work against oppression and anti-supernatural regulations…

  • Tutu Paneer
  • Kimono Nachos
  • Boots Pakora
  • Sarong Gumbo
  • Thigh-high Hamachi
  • Booty Shorts Pho
  • Catsuit Mango

While back in London the remaining agents attempt to infiltrate BUR, promote the Progressive Party line, and generally strive for etiquette, respect, and the Maccon way.

  • Crinoline Lobster
  • Poofy Potatoes
  • Custard Stockings
  • Cardigan Fig
  • Tap Pants Banana Cake

(These could also viably be: mob names, bond girls/villains.)

Of course you don’t have to find your code name this way exactly, you can go with any variation. After all the books feature:

  • Puff Bonnet
  • Wingtip Spectator
  • The Ledger
  • The Ruffled Parasol
  • Hot Cross Bun

None of these really follow the formula, it’s just a jumping off point.

{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 . . .

1930 Oᒪᗪ ᑭᕼOTOᔕ & ᙖᗩᙅOᑎ @photosandbacon 1930s "Chicago the Vacation City" Vintage Travel Poster http-_buff.ly_1mqe7Om

1930 Oᒪᗪ ᑭᕼOTOᔕ & ᙖᗩᙅOᑎ @photosandbacon 1930s “Chicago the Vacation City” Vintage Travel Poster

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How the Corset Turned into a Girdle

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The Furry Faces of Bookselling: Bookstore Pets

Book News:

Agatha Sophronia Fan Art from glassical-wearing-fox Dimity Sophronia Fan Art from glassical-wearing-fox Preshea Fan Art from glassical-wearing-fox Sidheag Sophronia Fan Art from glassical-wearing-fox Sophronia Fan Art from glassical-wearing-fox

Finishing School Fan Art from glassical-wearing-fox

Quote of the Day:

“Such a fragile thing, wanting to please someone else. Such endless scope for disappointment and failure.”

~ Glitterland by Alexis Hall

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



Egypt from a Dirigible: Imprudence & Timeless (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


In Imprudence Rue and her crew visit Egypt just as Alexia and Conall did in Timeless.

Rue goes in for the capital, Cairo, while Alexia spent most of her time in the port city of Alexandria.

Ancient Alexandria

  • Founded by Alexander of Macedon (the Great) c. 332-331 B.C.
  • Located in the Nile delta
  • Renowned for its giant lighthouse – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, destroyed
  • Library at Alexandria, destroyed
  • Mouseion (of which the library was a part) Ptolomy’s center of science and philosophy
  • Roman catacombs
  • Capital of the country for close to 1,000 years
  • Citadel of Qait Bey, Pompey’s Pillar, the Roman Theater, the Presidential Palace, Montaza Palace, and the Ras el-Tin Palace
  • Additional information on Ancient Vine

Victorian Alexandria

Alexandia shoreline 1882, personal collection



  • Egypt under the Muhammad Ali Pasha dynasty (1805–1953)
  • Khedivate of Egypt under British patronage ~ specifically Sanctioned khedival rule (1867–1914)
  • Nominally independent Sultanate of Egypt and Kingdom of Egypt, ending with the Revolution of 1952 and the formation of the Republic of Egypt
  • 1882 civil unrest, rebellion

In Imprudence I have one quick reference to the troubles of 1882. I knew of this from my prior research for Timeless. I did a blog post about it at the time, in March of 2011 when we were experiencing the Arab Spring.

Alexandria 1882 landscape rebellion, personal collection


From Wikipedia: “Isma’il was succeeded by his eldest son Tewfik, who, unlike his younger brothers, had not been educated in Europe. Tewfik pursued a policy of closer relations with Britain and France but his authority was undermined in a rebellion led by his war minister, Arabi Pasha, in 1882. Arabi took advantage of violent riots in Alexandria to seize control of the government and temporarily depose Tewfik.”

Alexandria 1882, personal collection


“British naval forces shelled and captured Alexandria, and an expeditionary force under General Sir Garnet Wolseley was formed in England. The British army landed in Egypt soon afterwards, and defeated Arabi’s army in the Battle of Tel el-Kebir. Arabi was tried for treason and sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to exile. After the revolt, the Egyptian army was reorganized on a British model and commanded by British officers.”

Victorians leaving Alexandria by steam ship, 1882, personal collection




In Timeless, Alexia visits Alexandria, in April of 1876 when things are comparatively calm.

The eagle eye will notice that the background for the US cover is actually Cairo, where Alexia never goes in the book. Although I think I added a mention of her stopping over, just to explain away the cover. I’ve no idea what city is depicted in the background of the second omnibus.

Japan set Timeless floating over a rather lush river, it’s possible there are some areas of the Nile that are that green. Generally it’s a bit more bare or palm tree riddled, but I won’t quibble too much. Germany put Alexia back into Cairo.

Nile River


Alexandria is all the way off to the left in this image. Cairo is the bottom tip.



  • Rue visits my version of steampunk Egypt in October of 1895 during the reign of Tewfik’s son, Abbas II.
  • Sudanese territory has been lost (as the British would think of it) to an Islamic state.
  •  Shortly after Rue leaves in 1896 (Abbas II), a massive Anglo-Egyptian force, under “General Herbert Kitchener, began the reconquest of the Sudan.[12] The Mahdists were defeated in the battles of Abu Hamid and Atbara. The campaign was concluded with the Anglo-Egyptian victory of Omdurman, the Mahdist capital.”
  • At first I was going to take Rue back to Alexandria, partly so I could use Alexia to discuss how the city has changed in the past 20 years. But in Timeless I mention that Lord Maccon purchased property in Cairo for their retirement, well within the plague zone. So I switched Rue’s location to Cairo. Lost a bit of writing time there since I’d already done 2K on Alexandria in a new more steampunky form, but it worked much better for the plot line to be in Cairo, anyway.
  • I scrabbled about for any further Victorian perspectives on Cairo or the rest of Egypt between 1883 ~ 1895. But there appears to be no major issues of civil unrest and in this the British press seems akin to their modern counterparts, which is to say, not particularly interested if there is no blood involved.
  •  I didn’t spend a great deal of time on it as, quite frankly, Rue doesn’t spend a great deal of time in the city. Although I hope you will notice I steampunked Cairo up especially as compared to Alexandria in Timeless. The march of technological advancement is strong with this one.

Modern Alexandria

Alexandria Image #95


* second largest city in Egypt
* typical Mediterranean climate: extremely warm/humid days in summer, breezy and cool in the evenings, winter is chilly with rain and hail not uncommon, spring and autumn are best weather.

Mix of ancient and modern.



Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

carolathhabsburg- Mourning attire. Fashion plate, circa 1894

carolathhabsburg- Mourning attire. Fashion plate, circa 1894

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Bean Back wiskers curled paws2

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why We Should Never Underestimate the Intelligence of an Octopus

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Female Spies and Gender Bending Soldiers Changed the Course of the Civil War

Quote of the Day:

“Indifference is the revenge the world takes on mediocrities.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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

Imprudence is ALIVE & Gail is on Tour

Posted by Gail Carriger


Today Imprudence, my latest novel and the second in the Custard Protocol series released into the world.


Thus, I am off on tour. I will try to check in online when I can, but I will be mostly on the move for the next two weeks! Please do come out and see me if you can, I love meeting people, and I don’t bite, I swear. Well, unless you happen to look exactly like treacle tart.

Gail Carriger Imprudence Tour

Houston, TX

July 19, 6:30 pm (Tuesday) | Murder by the Book
Imprudence book tour, LAUNCH! Facebook event.

Austin, TX

July 20, 7 pm (Wednesday) | BookPeople
Imprudence book tour stop #2. Facebook event.

Denver, CO

July 21, 7 pm (Thursday) | Tattered Cover (Aspen Grove)
Imprudence book tour stop #3. Facebook event.

San Diego, CA

July 22, 4 pm | Comic-Con International
Imprudence book tour stop #4A. Facebook event. Gail will be at SDCC signing at 4 pm at the Orbit booth #1116 in exhibitor hall.

July 22, 7 pm (Friday) | Mysterious Galaxy
Imprudence book tour stop #4B. Facebook event. You can special order SIGNED editions of both Imprudence AND Poison or Protect.

Petaluma, CA

July 23, 2 pm (Saturday) | Copperfield’s
Imprudence book tour stop #5. Facebook event.

Beaverton, OR (Portland)July 25, 7 pm (Monday) | Powell’s (Cedar Hills Crossing)
Imprudence book tour stop #6. Facebook event.

Chicago 1871 viaOld Photos & Bacon @photosandbacon

Chicago 1871 viaOld Photos & Bacon @photosandbacon

Chicago, IL

July 26, 7:30 pm (Tuesday) | Volumes Bookcafe
Imprudence book tour stop #7. (NEW venue!) Facebook event. Eventbrite event.

Brooklyn, NY

July 27, 7 pm (Wednesday) | WORD Bookstore
Imprudence book tour stop #8. Facebook event.

New York 1867 via Old Photos & Bacon @photosandbacon

New York 1867 via Old Photos & Bacon @photosandbacon

Cambridge, MA

July 28, 7 pm (Thursday) | Porter Square Books
Imprudence book tour stop #9. Facebook event.
{Gail’s monthly read along for July is Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger.}


  • Romancing the Inventor ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Developmental edit. Cover reveal and release date to come.
    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.



Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1896 via cimetiere-chanson- tumblr

1896 via cimetiere-chanson- tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Bean Back wiskers curled paws

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How to Fit Two Weeks Worth of Luggage Under the Airplane Seat in Front of You

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Michaeline: Lois McMaster Bujold Answers Three Questions about Self Publishing

Book News:

Dual Reads says of Imprudence:
“Surprisingly, my favourite thing about this series (aside from the humour which is spot on) is actually Prim and Rue’s friendship. They are such a supportive pair and their conversations, when casual, are hilarious and when serious are just perfect and everything a friendship should be.”

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm says of Imprudence:
“Whilst it took a while to get into the first Custard Protocol book, I fell straight into Imprudence and I warmed so much more to the characters.”

Signed Books at Borderlands

Signed Books at Borderlands Books, SF

Quote of the Day:

“I suppose that I shall have to die beyond my means.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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

How Primrose Stocks an Airship Victorian Medicine Cabinet Chest ~ Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol Research (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Primrose is particularly good at her job of ship’s purser (and chief of supplies) aboard the Spotted Custard.

One of Primrose’s jobs consists of stocking the medicine cabinet on board the Spotted Custard. Alexia in the Parasol Protectorate series is rather infamous for insisting that either vinegar or bicarbonate of soda could solve all of life’s ills, however her daughter is a bit more (shall we say) prudent on these matters.

Via the Smithsonian’s Pinterest Board

I’ve listed the items as the Victorians might have. [In brackets is the use or perceived use and/or more modern term.] I hope it goes without saying that this is in no way a suggested medical selection for modern times. However, this is the internet, so I’m saying it.

A Household Medicine Cabinet 1870s ~ 1900

  1. Powdered ipecacuanha [induce vomiting]
  2. Purgative powder [laxative]
  3. Sulphate of quinine [malaria treatment]
  4. Chlorodyne [chloroform and morphine tincture] & laudanum [opiate in alcohol, often sherry]
  5. Carbolic acid [antiseptic]
  6. Castor oil [Ricinus]
  7. Eno’s fruit salts
  8. One bottle each of M’Kesson and Robbin’s compound podophyllin and aloes and myrrh pills [for warts and verrucas, also purgative]
  9. Stick of nitrate of silver [antibacterial, often used in eyes for conjunctivitis, skin infections, ulcers]
  10. Cholera pills
  11. Iodine [used on rashes and wounds]
  12. Tabloids of antipyrin and phenacetin [analgesic and antipyretic]
  13. Aspirin [willow bark extract]
  14. Salicylate of soda [pain relief, for skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis]
  15. Boracic acid [disinfectant]
  16. Cough lozenges
  17. Tabloids of grey powder [mercury in calk, mainly purgative and antisyphilitic]
  18. Kay’s essence of linseed [coughs and colds]
  19. Clean undyed squares of cotton, wool, linen
  20. Oiled silk
  21. Roll of adhesive plaster
  22. Bandages [usually linen]
  23. Dressing forceps

Gail’s Sources:

I drew up this list from a combination of sources:

Foote‘s Medical Common Sense and Plain Home Talk (American 1871)

Southgate’s Things A Lady Would Like to Know (English 1876)

Davidson’s Hints to Lady Travellers (English 1889)

Steel & Gardiner’s The Complete Indian Housekeeper and Cook (1898, revised). Steel also includes recipes for common ailments, unfortunately not gun shot wounds.

Medical Common Sense & Plain Home Talk.


via @photosandbacon  Iron Cordial, King of Tonics, 1886 includes a remedy for being female


Other Blog Posts on Victorian Health & Medicine


via @photosandbacon

Now don’t even get me started on Victorian cosmetics.

Advertisement for Fould’s arsenic complexion wafers by H B Fould in New York, 1901. (Photo by Jay Paull_Getty Images)

{Gail’s monthly read along for July 2016 is Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger.}


Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second

Rue and the crew of the Spotted Custard return from India with revelations that shake the foundations of England’s scientific community. Queen Victoria is not amused, the vampires are tetchy, and something is wrong with the local werewolf pack. To top it all off, Rue’s best friend Primrose keeps getting engaged to the most unacceptable military types.

Rue has family problems as well. Her vampire father is angry, her werewolf father is crazy, and her obstreperous mother is both. Worst of all, Rue’s beginning to suspect what they really are… is frightened.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1895 via @AngelaKCouch Twitter Parasol, design c.1895-1900

1895 via @AngelaKCouch Twitter Parasol, design c.1895-1900

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Bookworm: Part Bookshelf, Part Cocoon Chair

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Seaside Fashions of the 19th Century

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Awkward Fear of the Romance Genre

Book News:

Gail’s Interview on No Don’t Die

Quote of the Day:

“I expect I shall feel better after tea.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse, Carry on, Jeeves

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Deleted Scene From Prudence Featuring Lyall ~ Behind Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol Series (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello my dear Gentle Reader,

Here’s a scene that got cut from Prudence (the first Custard Protocol Book) featuring everyone’s favorite beta, Professor Lyall, revealing tidbits about the past the Rue never knew.

Lyall on Lady Maccon & Imprudence Foreshadows

Professor Lyall regarded Quesnel for a moment and then said, without sarcasm, “I see he has his mother’s charm.”
“Is Madame Lefoux charming?” wondered Rue, a little unguarded.
“I believe many find her so. Your mother, for example.”
There was something in his tone. Rue wondered if perhaps Professor Lyall had smoldering his own small torch for her mother and seen Madame Lefoux as a rival for Alexia’s affections. Perhaps that was why he had voluntarily exiled himself to Scotland. Despondent over her parents’ happy union he had retreated north to lick his wounded heart. It was a romantic notion.
She said, testing, “Yes, my mother did very well for a spinster.”
Professor Lyall smiled slightly. “A remarkable woman, your mother.”
“Were you in love with her?”
Professor Lyall only raised up his eyebrows, crossed one leg over the other, and continued sipping his undrinkable tea. “Dear me, no. I haven’t the courage.”
Rue sagged back into her chair. “Then who?”
Professor Lyall examined his fingernails. “Soon enough, I think, we’ll be called back to London and things will change for everyone.”
“What things? Why will they change?”
“You haven’t talked with your father on this subject, your blood father?”
Rue gave him another measured look. “Oh, dear, were you in love with him?”
“Oh really, Rue!” Prim fanned herself with one hand.
Quesnel unsuccessfully tried to hide a grin.
“My dear girl, no one but your mother has that kind of courage.”
“Oh, then what?”
Rue’s prying was interrupted by a loud and sudden snore from Percy, whose chin had fallen all the way down into his cravat. On the inhalation he acquired a mouthful of fine muslin and sputtered.
Despite her eager questions, Uncle Lyall only put down his tea cup and looked cagey.

{Gail’s monthly read along for July 2016 is Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger.}



Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1894, Montreal, Canada via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

1894, Montreal, Canada via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Tea Song – Yorkshire Tea

Book News:

Fan Art Professor Lyall by ~ AtticArt

Fan Art Professor Lyall by ~ AtticArt

Quote of the Day:

“‘There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, “Do trousers matter?”’

‘The mood will pass, sir.’”

~  P. G. Wodehouse: Very Good, Jeeves

Want ore special behind the scenes info? Join the Chirrup!

Behind the Scenes Custard Protocol Teaser ~ Things I’ve Had to Research (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

One of the best things about being an author, Gentle Reader, is all the odd things I end up having to look up.

Here’s a non-spoiler window into some of the things I had to research, investigate, or cogitate while working on Imprudence, as well as a few writer-beast revelations.

Book People Imprudence Display

Weird Goings On

Mid 1850’s Fern Fad:

“Women collected and classified ferns, the cultivated and bred ferns, the made outdoor ferneries, the dried, pressed, mounted and framed ferns. They made splatter pictures of them.”

~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

Quarrel is a wonderful word, and seemingly quite British sounding.

Queen Victoria had some pretty kicking mourning gowns after Albert died. But she doesn’t seem to be particularly fond of the normally ubiquitous crape. Perhaps she wore it early on and then went towards light mourning, keeping with black silks and velvets but trimming in lace and fringe and such? Anyway, this lead me down a mourning dress rabbit hole.


via CVLT Nation


One little “a” makes all the difference in managed versus manged.

Heterochromia iridum.

Introducing: Rue’s best day dress. Since the second book is set in October 1895 the dress is ahead of its time, but you know me, I am weak in the face of polka dots.


1897-1898  The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Incidentally, I keep track of Rue & Prim’s various dresses by storing the images by chapter for each book. (When I am using actual historic pictures.) Otherwise outfits are concocted based on descriptions out of the big blue book of Victorian dress AKA English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century: A Comprehensive Guide. I use this book so much that, having noticed it is also available as an ebook, I bought it again, so as to have it with me when on the move. I’m a sucker.

Games for Spoo & Virgil

  • blind-man’s-buff
  • hide-and-seak
  • puss in the corner
  • tick-tack-to
  • leap-frog

The discovery of oxygen. I think there is a word for when multiple scientists discover the same important thing at (basically) the same time in disconnected locals (Kuhn would mutter something about dominant paradigms and the structure of scientific revolutions but that’s neither here nor there, unless you’re an entomologist, in which case it’s both) but I can’t remember what that word is.

On the horrid atmosphere in Victorian London. R. John Simon, London’s first medical officer, noted in Paris the

“transparance of air, the comparative brightness of all colour, the visibility of distant objects, the cleanliness of faces and buildings, instead of our opaque atmosphere, deadened colours, obscured distance, smutted faces and black architecture.”

~ The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

Some interesting descriptive words used to describe a Worth skirt (for Prim):
  • basques
  • hollowing scallops
  • velvet arabesques
  • pannier puffs


via steampunk-art- tumble     Steampunk Art


Things that didn’t make it into the book but likely should have…

What would Rue’s theme food be?

  • Red Currant Clafoutis ~ right look and feel with the red currents gloating in the custard, spotted & custard and red like the ladybug balloon. But perhaps not British sounding enough? Then again Rue is an explorer and world traveler.
  • Eccles Cake + Custard ~ very British name, just confusing enough to be exotic to American readers, Rue does adore puff pastry, but the currents are not really floating in a spotty manner, and the custard is in sauce form, more as Americans would think of pudding.
  • Spotted Dick ~ later on in history than Rue, this boiled/steamed pudding is associated with schoolboys, perhaps a little crass in terminology even for our intrepid heroine, however sounds like an STD, also not a custard but served with a custard sauce.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Toilettes for Summer  May 1898 Delineator  Canadian Museum of History

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Trigger the Cat

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Queen Victoria, a polka, and 8,000 soldiers 1853

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Bookshelf Chair

Book News:
Sam Wachter of Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup says: “Prudence was totally worth waiting for, given all the hiccups before its release. It’s as sassy as the Parasol Protectorate series, but still has it’s own distinctive voice and sense of humour.”

Quote of the Day:

“She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say “when”. ”

― P.G. Wodehouse

Cover Art Poll Results ~ The Ultimate Champion (Special Extras)

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

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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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7 Deleted Scenes for Gail Carriger’s Prudence (Custard Protocol Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Dear Gentle Reader,

for your amusement here are some deleted scenes from Prudence.

SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t yet read it.

Since this series is currently being written, please be aware that deleted scenes may and often do contain spoilers for this series AND both other series (since this is chronologically last). Read at your own risk.

 Paris – Sur le pont de la Concorde, 1890 via @valmad76 Twitter

Prudence Deleted Scenes

Percy on Rue’s Lightskirt Outfit (the one she wears on the cover)

Percy said, probably just to contradict, because he never noticed such things, “I think she looked smashing.”
“Thank you, Percy.”
“And disease free.”
“Thank you Percy.”
He evaluated her over this spectacles. “With only a touch of the street side doxy.”
“Thank you, Percy!”

Dama & Uncle Biffy Conflict over Shopping with Rue & Primrose

Dama took Prim’s deviance from her mother’s questionable taste as a point of personal pride. When, in fact, Rue suspected Uncle Rabiffano had more of an effect. Uncle Rabiffano was a very odd sort of werewolf. He often shopped with them, and was always open to advise on outfit coordination, hair, and hats. Adoring him as she did, Primrose was wide open to his influence. Fortunately, Uncle Biffy was the most fashionable member of Rue’s father’s household. Which wasn’t saying much, when one considered Lord Maccon and his pack. But was saying a great deal if pitted against Rue’s adopted father and all the drones. Lord Akeldama’s taste was flashy, Uncle Rabiffano’s was elegant. Both girls had adored Dama’s style when they were six, but now they sought Rabiffano’s council and Lord Akeldama’s approval afterward. It was a delicate wardrobe situation that Rue only managed to balance because the two gentlemen lived in separate houses. They both knew, of course, that the other had influence. It took a great deal of wheedling to convince each that the other didn’t have too much influence.


Walking dresses in “The Girl’s Own Annual,” 1890 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Rue’s Mother’s Profession

Her mother’s profession, that of secret preternatural advisor to Queen Victoria, sometime spymaster, and member of the Shadow Council, was supposed to be just that . . . secret. Only Britain’s most respectable vampires and werewolves, and a select handful of progressive politicians, even knew of the Shadow Council’s existence let alone the muhjah. Rue had never quite figured out what her mother specifically did, but it certainly kept said mother busy most nights. Her Paw had once said, not entirely sarcastically, that, “It is a position that allows my darling wife to meddle on as wide a scale as possible. She has the whole Empire to organize and terrorize. Keeps her mostly out of household business, offspring. I should be grateful, if I were you.” Rue had taken this as advise, and given her mother’s personality, been very grateful indeed.

The Many Face of Alexia, T-B, L-R: Japan, Spain, Omnibus, USA, Germany, Manga

Regarding Aunt Ivy’s becoming a vampire, Rue’s birth, & Lady Kingair’s metamorphosis

Rue’s parents had been roundly blamed for all three accidents. But they were collectively so powerful, all the complaining and grumbling was conducted behind their backs. Each ignored accusations of misconduct in their own special way – her mother by willful ignorance, her father by pure cussed obtuseness, and Dama by constant distraction.

Matej Sternen (Sloven artist, 1870-1949).jpg

Lady Kingair in a Pickle

The werewolf’s smile broadened. “Kingair can only act under orders from the Shadow Council when they do not conflict with the brigadier. It is a curious position to be in as a pack, for we are now getting two sets of orders: one from the Dewan at home, to give their agent time, and the other from the brigadier, to rescue his kidnapped wife. Lady Kingair, as you might imagine, is not happy to be placed in this situation. Her position is already tenuous, as a female Alpha she is not permitted official rank in the British Army.”

Percy Doesn’t Like Lady Kingair

“Somehow, I feel he’ll be more forthcoming than my dear little niece.”
“Your niece? Oh, Lady Kingair. Yes, you’re probably right in that. A most disagreeable female.”
“Come now, Percy, was she not instantly enamored of you? How unpleasant to have to earn a lady’s regard for once.” Rue stood, hoping Percy would take the hint. After a moment, he stood as well, gathering up his book and making his way to her door. Rue felt a little bad about her teasing. After all, Prim was right, poor Percy didn’t seek out feminine attention on purpose.

Heat of India

Spoo was napping with the other decklings in her hammock. Above decks was as stiffing as bellow had been. The sun beat down, the day murky with stirred up dust and sediment, the mudflats and waters still. Even the sky rail seemed to be slumbering, the mechanical elephant still and silent above Colaba Station. Everyone waited for the worst of the day’s heat to pass.

“A Stroll on the Beach” by Michael Ancher, 1896 via @MimiMatthewsEsq Tumblr

{Gail’s monthly read along for February 2016 is Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper Book 1 by Tamora Pierce.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

 1890-1910 Knut Ekwall – Anne Sophie Ekenmann via history-of-fashion tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
NYPL Releases High-res scans of old books & manuscripts

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
The Daily Word Counts of 39 Famous Authors

Book News:
Ingrid De Vrieze of Babelio says of Timeless: “Une fin de saga exceptionnelle.”

Quote of the Day:

“The man behind the bar told us the things were called Green Swizzles; and, if ever I marry and have a son, Green Swizzle Wooster is the name that will go down on the register…”

~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

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Inspiration, Disinfectant Sunflowers & Praise for Gail Carriger’s Prudence (Behind the Magic of the Custard Protocol)

Posted by Gail Carriger


“…author of some of the most pronounced and widely-read tripe ever put on the market.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

Here’s some background fun bits and bobs for you, to celebrate the release…

On Disinfectant Sunflowers

“The Value of the sunflower as a disinfectant of the atmosphere has been well ascertained, but it seems not yet to be sufficiently appreciated. A German physician, Dr. Valentine, of Frankfort, has published an article on the subject, giving many facts to show that this flower has the property of purifying air laden with marsh miasm, by absorbing the noxious gases, and exhaling out ozonized oxygen. Among other instances, it is mentioned that a Dutch landowner, whose property includes some land on the banks of the Scheldt subject to floods, has planted three or four plots, thirty of forty yards from his house, with the effect of so much improving the air that for ten years no one on his property had been attacked with miasmatic fever, which continued to prevail on the neighboring properties, where similar precautions were not taken. Besides this, as the French Sanitary Commission lately pointed out, the sunflower is a most useful plant. It yields about forty per cent of good oil, the leaves furnish an excellent fodder, and the stem, being rich in saltpetre and potash, makes a good fuel.”

~ Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine September 1872

Inspiration behind Prudence

Praise for Prudence

Stacie Penney of The Words Nerds says:

“Honestly, the whole thing pulls together many elements that I really like from Carriger’s novels — women who are in charge, men who admire them, sassy conversations, and devices galore.”

Karissa on Hidden by Pages says:

“I think this is Carriger’s best series yet.”

Candace’s Book Blog says:
“I don’t even know how to put this book to justice. There’s no way I can possibly explain how much I loved this. I loved the humor and the absolute silly ridiculousness. The characters were quirky, fun, delightful, and so much more. It was so well rounded and so well done…”

All About Romance says of the audiobook:

“It took just minutes to realize that Moira Quirk is the perfect narrator for this book, bringing the right sense of humor and tone to every character. Yes, indeed, some are rather over the top – Lord Akeldama most notably – but that’s exactly how Ms. Carriger writes the characters.”

Prudence in Japan


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Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1890s Arthur Hopkins (British artist, 1848-1930) Woman by the Sea

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Minnesota Brothers Create 18-Foot Snow Octopus

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
10 Surprising Facts About Tea

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Examining the Wonderful World of Steampunk: Maritime Terrorists, Time Travelers, and Mad Science

Book News:
JL Dribble says of The Curious Case:

“This story serves as a lovely taste of the shared world of Gail Carriger’s three series, the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, and Finishing School, in terms of both world-building and writing style.”

Quote of the Day:

“The sort of girl who reduces you to pulp with sixteen sets of tennis and a few rounds of golf and then comes down to dinner as fresh as a daisy, expecting you to take an intelligent interest in Freud.”

~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

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Gail Carriger Fantasy Casts Custard Protocol the Movie (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Hello, dear Gentle Reader.

Today I am fantasy casting the crew of the Spotted Custard for you!

One of the questions I often get is how I might dream cast my books. It’s a fun mental exercise, although I’m not married to any casting and pretty open to other people’s thoughts. You can check my Pinterest boards for more options.

Or recommend your own!

My only restriction is that the person be able to do a proper British accent, which, frankly leaves most Americans well out of it. I may not be able to do one myself, but I sure can tell when it’s off. And it drives me bonkers. Anyway, here we go…

Dream cast for Prudence

Rue (Prudence Akeldama): Jessica Brown Findlay


Best known for her tragic role as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby, I chose Jessica Brown Findlay mainly because she can (obviously) do the right upper crust accent for Rue. Also, I think she would have fun with a more upbeat cheerful role.

Rue is often described as round and jolly and while this actress is skinny (aren’t they all?) she has a sweet expressive face which I think could do well for my main character.

Primrose Tunstell: Felicity Jones


Primrose is Rue’s best friend and main confidant. Rue and Prim look a little alike, in fact they use this in their schemes, often pretending to be the rich and feckless “Hisselpenny sisters.” Occasionally, they will even switch names when visiting those who don’t know them by sight (most do know them by reputation).

Primrose is more reserved and interested in manners and organization than Rue. I’m thinking of Felicity‘s portrayal of the sister in Hysteria (Emily Dalrymple) when casting Primrose.

Frankly, given the skill of both the above actresses, I could also see Felicity play Rue and Jessica play Primrose. Another good alternate for either? Daisy Ridley

Percy Tunstell: Simon Woods


I know Simon Woods from Cranford and I was thinking of him as the physical model as I wrote Percy. I don’t know if he is a natural redhead but he looks good as one.

I think he could play the part of stuck up bookish weirdly irresistible Percy beautifully. Although, I bet Tom Felton could also do a great job.

Quesnel Lefoux: Freddie Stroma


Quesnel is French, raised in England, but bilingual and educated in France. I want a really boyish cheerful clownish feel for him, but also an actor able to show strong emotion and sex appeal. Quesnel is at least ten years older than the three other main characters. When I describe him in the books, I was thinking someone like Alex Pettyfer (possibly too pretty?) crossed with young Leonardo DiCaprio. So I basically ended up with Freddie Stroma.

But can he put a tiny hint of French into his accent? That’s the question. If not, one wonders: how good is Vincent Lecoeur’s English? Then again I’ve had a long running affection for Charlie Hunnam (from his Queer as Folk days, naturally) but he’s gotten awfully weather beaten (I blame Sons of Anarchy). Douglas Booth is also lovely.

I guess I am picking lots of Harry Potter actors (or might have-been) because they are all now around the correct age to be the characters in this series. Woe is me.

Tasherit Sekhmet: Indira Varma or Lisa Ray




Tasherit Sekhmet is drawn, in my head, off a combination of Nefertiti and Claudia Lynx and a magazine ad for shampoo showing an amazing woman in a robe that I clipped years ago.

I don’t see her as particularly puffy lipped and that seems to be something a lot of Middle Eastern and Indian actresses are getting done these days. A bit disappointing actually, I dithered over casting Priyanka Chopra as a result.

Also Tasherit isn’t cute. Someone like Aishwarya Rai, while utterly stunning, is a bit cute. I like Indira Varma because she is intensely regal, and can do a range of accents. Lisa Ray is also a great option, but can she change her Canadian accent for the role?

Miss Sekhmet is a fun one to cast because she doesn’t have to have a British accent. In fact, I’d welcome a bit of something else hinted as she speaks. Also her origins are unknown. Finally, I could see her played by a range of ages or ethnicities, so long as she has the regal beauty, so I’m not married to the Hollywood attitude of no female on screen after about age 30 (sigh).

Based off a post originally written for My Book, The Movie for Soulless.

{Gail’s monthly read along for February 2016 is Terrier by Tamora Pierce.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1892-1894  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lilliput Holds My Ebook For Me

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Top 12 Literary Quotes about Tea

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
What Are Your Characters Ashamed Of?

Book News:
Leonard Was Hopeful says of The Curious Case:

“Even in this short story, Carriger maintains her kid-glove grip on the “free and indirect discourse” style initiated by Jane Austen; her use of language and tone is always spot-on for the time period.”

Quote of the Day:

“I don’t deserve my friends,” she remarked quietly.

“Sure you do, opal of happiness,” Cleon said. “We’d’ve failed mathematics to a man without you, for one thing.”

~ Tamora Pierce, Squire: Book 3 of the Protector of the Small Quartet

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