Tagged research

FUN FEATURE ~ Parasol Protectorate Deleted Scenes (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Parasol Protectorate Deleted Scenes

Please be aware that deleted scenes may and often do contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.


DELETED BITS from Soulless

The Hypocras Club Objectives
* Attentiveness — Identify and understand the supernatural threat, assess vulnerabilities, determine potential impacts and disseminate information to our members and security partners.
* Preclusion — Detect, deter and mitigate the supernatural threat to the commonwealth.
* Precaution — Safeguard normal humans and their freedoms, and maintain critical infrastructure and intellectual advancement of the scientific community.

Alexia’s Father’s Journal
Ivy had always been faintly cheered by the fact that should a marriage bed ever be in her future, she could go to Alexia for an explanation of what might occur there. Sadly for Miss Hisselpenny, such an explanation was likely to contain concepts that would shock the most experienced whore down dockside, let alone a gently bred lady. Mr. Tarabotti had had very exotic interests indeed, and Alexia hadn’t the experience to provide any kind of filter.

DELETED BITS from Changeless

Description of Woolsey Castle
The most scandalous thing about Woolsey Castle was not that it housed a pack of werewolves. After all, only the best counties could boast such an eccentricity. Nor was it the fact that it boasted eight flying buttresses – an architecturally immodest choice. No, the most scandalous thing about Woolsey Castle was that there was a bedroom, and sometimes several, on every single storey, even the first. The original owner was a bit of an eccentric, in the “if he had not had money he would have been called insane” kind of way. Woolsey was no castle, not really. It was instead a modern manor house made to look like a castle with stone facings, an excessive number of haphazardly applied turrets, crenelated battlements, extensive dungeons, and the aforementioned buttresses.

Scene with Lyall, Channing, & Biffy (just after breaking and entering)
Channing crossed his arms. “I would have been just as effective.”
“Yes, but Biffy was a safer choice.”
Biffy looked mildly offended.
“If he was caught it would be thought an inter-vampire plot, if you were caught it would be considered an inter-species plot.”
Biffy looked less offended and nodded his agreement with Lyall’s assessment.
Channing was militant. “I do not trust him!”
“Biffy?” Lyall wondered mildly.
Biffy looked pleased at the accusation.
Channing was annoyed with Lyall’s obtuseness. “No, no, Lord Akeldama.”
Lyall puffed air out his nostrils in annoyance. “You do not trust vampires.”
“You saying you do trust them?”
Professor Lyall looked out the carriage window.
Channing had never learned the art of silence. “I am Gamma. It is my nature to question.”
“You are you. It is your nature to be a prat.”
Biffy gave a tiny gasp at such werewolf directness. It was most unsettling to a vampire drone.
Channing smiled. “Admit it, you sense it too. We are missing something.” He looked at the drone. “Why does your master like our fiery lady Alpha so much?”
Biffy shrugged. “They are friends.”
Channing ignored this reply and turned back to Professor Lyall. “You and I have dabbled in London politics long enough to know: Lord Akeldama doesn’t have friends.”
Professor Lyall gave his Gamma a level look. “You like her, admit it.”
Biffy muttered, “Major Channing seems to like nothing but Major Channing.”
Major Channing ignored this. “She’s plucky. I like plucky. She’s not, however, to Lord Akeldama’s taste. What does he really want with her?”
“Give it a rest, would you please Channing?”
“You know something!”
Lyall glared at him. “Yes. I know the right question to ask. You are not asking it.”
“What have we learned on this little adventure of ours?”
Channing blinked icy blue eyes at his Beta blankly.
It was Biffy who answered. “That my master is not the only vampire to find Lady Maccon intriguing.”
“Exactly.” With which Professor Lyall turned once more to stare out the carriage window, apparently fascinated by the way the gas lighting flickered over the cobbled street.

DELETED BITS from Blameless

Blog entry all about the Knights Templar and the notes that built them into the men they are in Blameless.

In Which Alexia Compares Marriage to Kidnapping
Due, she suspected, entirely to the interference of Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey, circumstances had arranged for Alexia to experience a series of kidnappings that culminated in a rather more long term version of the uncomfortable experience, if marriage can be referred to as such. Which, she felt, marriage to Lord Maccon, could be. Or was she, perhaps, besmirching the reputation of imprisonments everywhere through such a comparison?

Regardless, it appeared she was currently embroiled in yet another state of abduction. Although, it must be admitted, she wasn’t entirely certain that being confined to ones well-appointed room, with a delicious view of Italy’s premier artistic city could be, rightly, referred to as being kidnapped. It certainly was, so far, working out better than her marriage, but she did feel ever-so-slightly imprisoned. Since the Templars seemed to have discovered her weakness, and had been plying her with gnocchi and pesto for the entire day, she was, for the moment, disinclined to complain about the situation. She was even allowed regular trips to the library. She was not allowed into the city anymore, but this seemed a small price to pay for unending pesto and library privileges. However, as they appeared to believe they could keep her in such a state for the next seven months or so, she was figuring that at some point her love of the little green covered dumplings might deteriorate enough for her to contemplate escape. As it was, she was happy to chew and stare out into the orange glory of the Italian landscape with a head full of mild speculation and a hope for Floote and Genevieve’s safety.

Her peace was only broken by occasional visits from Mr. Lange-Wilsdorf, who insisted on running a series of intrusive and occasionally embarrassing tests, after which he would vanish once more, muttering to himself in his own language. No Templar, including the preceptor, intruded upon her peace and quiet, and if Alexia missed the bumbling clattering noises of Woolsey castle and its hairy inhabitants she did not admit it, even to herself. After the excitement of her European Tour so far, she was happy for the break, at least she was not running from anything, whacking at anyone, or passing out. Life, it might even be said, was looking up.

In Which the Origin’s of Ivy’s Letter Is Discussed
Floote having – though some miraculous feet of butler-dum – hired a pony and trap to take their luggage back through the town, turned up at Alexia’s elbow. “If you are through here, madam?”
His tone, Alexia noticed, was unwarranted in its sharpness. “Something troubling you, Floote?”
“That letter is dangerous, madam.”
Alexia looked with shock at the innocent apple-blossom scented communiqué. “Is it really? Who would have thought?” Hurriedly she tucked it up one sleeve and followed her personal secretary towards the hired cart.
Floote explained. “Not in what in contains, madam, but in what it represents. If the honorable Mrs. Tunstell has managed to track us down here, then the vampires certainly cannot be far behind.”
Alexia considered the obsession. “Indeed. You raise very good question, Floote, how did Ivy manage such a thing?” She examined the outside of the letter. “It looks as though it came through to Monsieur Trouvé via your university contacts, Madame Lefoux. Your ghostly Aunt must have known where to send it and directed Ivy accordingly. I can’t imagine Ivy consulting with a ghost, but there you have it.”
“Oh dear,” Madame Lefoux looked apprehensive. “I did not mean to put any of my friends or scientific acquaintances in danger.”
Alexia nodded her agreement. “Nor I. After all, the vampires are after me. I do hope your associates remain unmolested. What about Monsieur Trouvé?”
Madame Lefoux sidled up to Alexia and nodded downwards. The Frenchwoman opened her tightly closed fist and flashed Alexia a peek of some small object she held clutched in her hand. It was a tiny brass octopus.
“Oh!” Alexia’s voice was soft. “Is that what was left sitting atop your hatbox! Is it a sign?”
Madame Lefoux began to explain in hushed tones, “Well, you see back when –”
Floote interrupted, sharply. “I think perhaps we ought to think on our own safety, for the moment, ladies.”

Bird’s nest hat by Chicago milliner Bes Ben, c. 1941 via @FashionHistoryM Twitter

On the Danger of a Fly to One’s Reputation
Those few cabs that were available were all hansoms. While Alexia admitted a two-seat fly was speedy and agile, she couldn’t get over her feeling that it was a rather racy mode of transport for a mature lady. She preferred a proper coach. But she had to cast her scruples aside for Madame Lefoux and Floote swung themselves in with alacrity into the first fly that stopped and Alexia had no choice but to follow.

In Which Floote Talks (too much) About Alessandro Tarabotti
Floote cleared his throat delicately. “Perhaps we should return to our quarters, ladies. We are perilously close to being observed in familial proximity.”
Floote drew Alexia aside once they reached their apartments on a lower deck. Madame Lefoux having gone, so she said, to ‘handle the mustache.’
“He did come to see you once, madam. He watched you crawl about, from across Hyde Park, using a spyglass. You were still in nappies.”
“A spyglass? How reassuring.”
Floote gave a funny little half shoulder twitch that Alexia suspected was his version of a shrug. “If you knew Mr. Tarabotti, you would realize, that was practically a declaration of undying affection.”
“Not very demonstrative, my dad?”
“About as affectionate as a poisonous jellyfish, and just as easy to keep hold of.”
Alexia wrinkled her nose, “Yeach.”
“Just so, madam.”
Floote turned to leave.
“But Floote, I thought you liked my father.”
Floote’s perennially stiff back, stiffened ever so slightly more.
“Good evening, madam,” he said, in his no nonsense voice.
Alexia knew that tone well enough; she would get no more out of him tonight. “Good evening, Floote.”

Praise for the Parasol Protectorate Series


  • Fangirlish says of the Parasol Protectorate series: “You’ve got the steampunk, 007 spy angle with some supernatural shenanigans… and viola… it is one of the best book series ever!”
  • Magic of Books Book Video Blog says: “I don’t think I’ve read any book quite like this series. There’s just something really unique and refreshing about Gail Carriger’s writing. It’s incredibly humorous. It’s incredibly witty and I think, most important of all, it’s cleverly intelligent.”
  • BloomTV Video Blog says: “The writing is witty and hilarious and funny. That’s partly why I love Gail Carriger so much. She writes these amazing, unique characters who have witty banter with each other.”
  • Lindsey Rey does an Author Exploration on Gail Carriger: “What I love so much about Gail Carriger’s works are her characters. Her characters are always fully three-dimensional, they’re interesting, they’re funny, they make you laugh. The way Gail Carriger writes them you just fall in love with the entire cast.”
  • Emma Newman of Split Worlds series:: “Of course, it’s more than just the alternative history and world-building that made me fall in love with the series; the characters are great fun and the pacing is fantastic. It’s a gorgeous, sumptuous world that is fun and comforting to sink into, so if you haven’t tried it yet (and honestly, where have you been?) then please do.” (Emma is also the genius behind the Tea & Jeopardy podcast, and one of my favorite voice actresses.
  • Joy’s Book Blog says: “I don’t think you need to be a fantasy or steampunk fan to enjoy this series. It’s all about the humor.”
  • Lilyreadbooks says: “The perfect blend of Steampunk science, supernatural creatures, and Victorian comedy.”

Behind the Magic ~ A Great Deal Of Waffle About Werewolves in History

Posted by Gail Carriger


I’ve been nose deep into werewolves lately, Gentle Reader.

Yes, pun intended.

First there was releasing The Sumage Solution, then there was writing How to Marry a Werewolf (In 10 Easy Steps) and now there’s the arrival of Romancing the Werewolf.

In the process of all of this writing about werewolves, I came across some interesting articles, ballads, poems, and songs concerning historical Britain’s relationship to the wolf.

I thought you too might find them intriguing.

“Cambria’s proud Kings (tho’ with reluctance) paid
Their tributary wolves; head after head,
In full account, till the woods yield no more,
And all the rav’nous race extinct is a lost.”

~ Somerville’s Chase from James Harking’s British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times published in 1880.

“Thrice race famous Saxon king, on whom Time ne’er shall prey.
O Edgar! who compell’dst our Ludwall hence to pay
Three hundred Wolves a year for tribute unto thee;
And for that tribute paid, as famous may’st thou be,
O conquer’d British king, by whom was first destroy’d
The multitude of Wolves that long this land annoy’d.”

~ Drayton’s Polyolbion (Song ix) from James Harking’s British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times published in 1880.

“I see the ridge of hinds, the steep of the sloping glen
The wood of cuckoos at its foot,
The blue height of a thousand pines,
Of wolves, and roes, and elks.”

~ Translated from the Gaelic, The Aged Bard’s Wish from James Harking’s British Animals Extinct Within Historic Times published in 1880.

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for October is Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905 The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

We all knew Biffy would start designing clothing eventually.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Victorian Art of Photography

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

“They have committed one of two misdemeanors (or both). First, they have demonstrated that they have no respect for my time—and no concept of the value of what they’re asking me for. … The real ask in these cases is ‘Can I have your reputation?’ In other words, ‘Will you give me, for free, the single most valuable commodity you own, that you’ve worked your entire life to acquire?’”

~ Steven Pressfield on “clueless asks” (I get these all the time too)

Book News:

Matt Harrison’s Biffy ‏@matchoo28

Quote of the Day:

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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

Behind the Magic ~ Marine Biology New Cover & Character Boards

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, for those of you who sign up for the Chirrup before the next one goes out Sunday morning (and for those who are already members) I’ll be offering a digital download of Marine Biology with new cover art and a sample chapter of The Sumage Solution. (You’ll have to sideload it onto your device of choice. Google sideload + your device.)

Wanna know more about the new cover?

Here you can take a look at the design board I handed off to Starla to make this cover. You can see it shifted quite a bit from my original idea, but I hope you still like it!

Here are the two covers side by side:

 Marine Biology

I thought you might be interested in the companion Pinterest boards. Here’s the one that is for Marine Biology. You can see how I imagine Alec and Marvin look:

In line with that, I also released two SAS character boards. (More to come after The Sumage Solution drops).

Here’s Alec’s board:

And here is Marvin’s board:

I hope you like exploring these two characters. Just wait until you get to meet Bryan and Max, the main characters in The Sumage Solution. They are soooooo adorable.

{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 . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Eyes Front, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888
Commercial color lithograph

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

“It is no secret in the circles in which he moves that Bertram Wooster, though as glamorous as one could wish when night has fallen and the revels get under way, is seldom a ball of fire at the breakfast table. Confronted with the eggs and b., he tends to pick cautiously at them, as if afraid they may leap from the plate and snap at him. Listless, about sums it up. Not much bounce to the ounce.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Some of my research books.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Even the most productive writers are expert dawdlers.”

~ Donald M. Murray

Book News:

Tumblr’s Through the Looking Glass says of Etiquette & Espionage:

“I have quite often thought that I was born in the wrong era, but upon reading the Finishing School series I have become quite convinced I live in the wrong universe altogether. Gail Carriger pens a Victorian world filled with romance, espionage and the supernatural, a sprinkling of Steampunk and a good dollop of comedy that delights and amuses with every turn of the page, serving to make me giggle aloud on several occasions in a highly undignified fashion.”

Quote of the Day:

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.”

~ B.P. Skinner

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

Behind the Magic ~ Alexia’s London: Supper March 11, 1876

Posted by Gail Carriger

Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse


  • Winter pea soup made with beef broth and sweet herbs
  • Veal pie made with breast of veal, sweet meats, nutmeg, salt, clove, oysters, and ham inside puff pastry and served with veal and cream gravy
  • Boiled potatoes
  • Custard pudding – lemon-peel, nutmeg, and bitter almond custard inside a puff pastry served with melted butter

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

Gail Carriger Teaching a Workshop for Locus, Bay Area (Important for Authors)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Locus Presents

Gail Carriger in a One-Day Writing Workshop on


Saturday, February 18, 2017
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Held in the East Bay (San Francisco Bay Area) with easy parking and near BART.
Includes tour of the Locus magazine offices.

Workshop is $145.00.

This is partly as a fundraiser for the Locus foundation. Cost of the workshop is set by Locus.

More Details?

In Part I of a two-part class, author Gail Carriger talks about what it means to be “gothic” and how to manipulate gothic tropes when writing your own commercial fiction. Did you know most genre fiction was born out of gothic literature? Science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, and romance novels all borrow tropes and archetypes from the gothics. Perhaps most intimately connected of all is steampunk.

In Part II, Gail talks about how to bring depth of characterization to your writing using comedy. From protagonists to sidekicks to three sentence walk-ons, she’ll discuss what makes a character funny, and how to provide readers with fictional people they love. She will also discuss other ways to inject humor into your work.

Gail is an experienced lecturer and not afraid to make a fool of herself. A Q&A session about Gail’s writing, career, the publishing industry, or anything else that strikes your fancy will follow.

About Locus Workshops

Locus Writers Workshops: Locus has been co-running a writing workshop in Seattle around the Locus Awards Weekend for the past few years and is excited to bring the class to the Bay Area. Past instructors include Connie Willis, Stephen Graham Jones, Paul Park, Christopher Barzak, and Daryl Gregory.

Thinking of attending? Please do. We support diversity! We encourage people of color, women, people with disabilities, older people, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to apply. We welcome people of any gender identity or expression, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, size, nationality, religion, culture, education level, and self-identification.

{Gail’s monthly read along for January is A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.}


  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Developmental edit (third draft).
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.
  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft Complete. On Lay Away.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some very unexpected gifts.
  • Competence (working title) ~ Custard Protocol Book 3
    Status: Outline
    Third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends.


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 . . .

facesofthevictorianera- Two Fashionable Ladies c. 1880s

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Looking Ahead: 1870 Imagines the Fashions of the Future

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Airship Ambassador Interviews

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Don’t Be A Scaredy-Cat Writer

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.”
~ P.G. Wodehouse

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

It Means Something Different in Romance (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Terminology for Romance Readers & Authors

In 2016 I shifted (slightly), Gentle Reader, and began writing more romance.

All my books have romance threads, but in my first two novellas (Poison or Protect and Romancing the Inventor) I brought those threads to the forefront.

Romancing the Inventor

Delving into not just the writing but also the production end of the romance equation has been extremely enlightening, especially given my particular background (both personal and professional). Conversational lingo in the Bay Area on the subject of such things, let us just say, is a whole lot different from what a girl plops in her book description on Amazon.

For example, in conversation ’round a cafe in the Castro I’d call Poison or Protect het, or breeder, with kink lite, but that sure ain’t the correct way to go about it on Amazon.

We are talking book descriptions here people

What follows is going to be me prattling on about romance novel book descriptions, particularly those that appear on websites like Amazon, Kobo, B&N, etc… (As opposed to book cover copy, which appears in print on book jackets and is usually slightly different.)

Let me say that again, I’m talking about vocabulary and semantics in ROMANCE NOVEL BOOK DESCRIPTIONS. This means… marketing! Hooray! I’m NOT dealing with how greater society would describe the relationships presented in said books, nor the choices/terms various communities would prefer used, nor the political correctness of this situation.

What I find fascinating is the marketing aspect, not the truth. (Ain’t that how the world works these days, anyway?)

I don’t know… warning?

Look, I think this is interesting and educational and fascinating. I’m not gonna describe any acts or what-have-you. But if you’re easily offended by anything beyond plain-old heterosexual intercourse, then you might wanna not read this. Okay? Bye bye now.

Still with me?

Here we go… Bum chicha baow.

On the surface?

Romance means the emotional tenors of the relationship are front and center to the plot of the story. Pacing is going to rely on feelings. Feeeeeeeeelings, nothing more than, feeeeelllingggs…

Sweet romance probably won’t have much (if any) sex details and it’ll likely end on a wedding (or at least an engagement).

Clean romance means that it really won’t have any nookie.

Erotica means it’s all about the sexitimes. Pace is going to be driven by physical encounters and those will be described in detail.

You Probably Know This But…

A stand alone means the whole story arc finishes in one book.

Cross-over characters means there will be side and background characters shared in other books by this author, or (in some rare cases) books by other authors too.

If you come at romance having read anything else first, here’s a shocker:

The word series. The traditional definition of series means linked books with the same main character(s) and over-arching plot that are meant to be read one after another (like my Finishing School books). In romance, series is far more likely to mean a shared world with stand alone books and cross over characters that can be read in any order (like my Supernatural Society novellas).

The exception is urban fantasy and paranormal romance, which are more likely to be set up as traditional series not linked stand-alones.

Frankly, I wish there were a better word than series deployed in romance, but it seems there is no going back now.

Lets Get Deep Here: Initialisms

HEA means happily ever after.

MLM means men loving men. WLW means women loving women. These come out of personal ads from, oh hell, the 1980s or whatevs. More common these days in marketing is f/f (means female female) and m/m (means male male) romance or sex (but likely both). These terms come out of slash fan fiction.*

These sets of initialisms used in descriptions quickly let readers know exactly what kind of relationship will be taking place in the book. There are cover art markers too, but these aren’t as specific. For example, there is a lot of cross over in cover art style (see: tattooed naked male torso + dark shadows + bold title) between contemporary m/m erotica (usually two muscled alpha males, often using the “gay for you” trope) and new adult bad boy romances (het, college age, fixed by snatch trope**).

LGBTQ means Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer. An all encompassing series of letters that, when used in a romance book description, usually implies that not only the main characters will be in a queer coupling (or more) but that there will be queer supporting characters and, probably, a level of understanding about real world queer communities.

More than you ever needed to know about multiples

Menagé. OK this term can get complicated (yeah yeah). In the strictest sense of the word, menagé should mean all three are getting it on together. However, I’ve found that in romance menagé often means two dudes getting it on with one girl (and NOT the other dude). Everything stays heterosexual. (Yep, there is a whole sub-genre of brothers who share.) This kind of menagé will almost invariably involve DP (double penetration).

As opposed to: m/f/m or m/m/m or f/f/f etc… the use of a slash to describe a menagé relationship usually means all parties involved are sexually together with each other, as a proper threesome.

Poly (from polyamorous) means three or more individuals romantically involved with each other. This term is not often used in book descriptions, and when it is, it implies that emotional connections between characters will be emphasized over sexual ones.

May/December describes a large age difference between the central romantic pairing. As age difference is also a power imbalance, this can edge into either disturbing or hot (but then, most things can when romance and/or sex are involved). Of course, it is always the power struggle in romance that is truly titillating to readers.

mPreg. Oh yes. Did you know this one? It’s getting more and more common in m/m shifter romances. And yeah, it means one of the dudes gets pregnant. Don’t ask.


OK there you have it. Signal marker terms in the romance genre. I’m sure there are a ton more but these are the ones I found interesting and surprising.


* MLM versus m/m, WLW versus f/f additional thoughts. As an anthropologist, I find the use of the word women (or men) as a opposed to female (or male) interesting. Women has implications of societal role, while female is more clinical. In anthropology, these words are all tied up in concepts of gender versus biological sex.

** “fixed by snatch” I’m not a big fan of the idea that a douchnozzle dude can be reformed by penetrating the perfect pussy. Oh, I’m sorry, was that crass? Then stop writing/buying it. New Adult romance has a lot to answer for.

{Gail’s monthly read along for January 2017 is A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.}


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 . . .

via Oᒪᗪ ᑭᕼOTOᔕ & ᙖᗩᙅOᑎ @photosandbacon Lila Lee at the Beach

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

“I hate the treadmill.”
“I thought you hated the elliptical.”
“I hate them equally. I can’t have one thinking it’s the favourite.”

~ The Weight Of It All by N.R. Walker

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“Truth often sounds like insolence to those unprepared to hear it.”

~ Starstruck Holidays by Lia Davis, Kerry Adrienne, Jennifer Loring, Merryn Dexter, B. Leslie Tirrell

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Why Do Some Writers Choose to Go “Indie”?

Book News:

Women Write About Comics says:

“The magic of Romancing the Inventor is not only that it takes what should be an agonizingly taboo situation and plays it out like your average romance, but also that any reader can come and experience Gail Carriger’s world without needing to ask too many questions. Carriger is fantastic at worldbuilding; and when there are questions, she has a brief glossary in the back for terms that have not been explained.”

Quote of the Day:

“Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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

Behind the Magic ~ Alexia’s London: Supper Dec. 4, 1876

Posted by Gail Carriger


Supper for Today, 1876, in a London Townhouse


  • Mock Turtle Soup ~ made from calf’s head boiled in veal broth, friend shallots, Madeira wine, tarragon, chives, parsley, basil, cayenne pepper, mushroom ketchup, and lemon juice. Served with forcemeat-balls (meatballs made of the calf brain and deep fried) and small eggs.
  • Roasted Calf Heart ~ stuffed with veal, basted with butter, served with brown gravy.
  • Orange Pudding ~ made with butter, sugar, egg, and candied orange.

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

On Learning to Let Go of the 10% ~ Writing Tips for NaNoWriMo (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, fooling around on Pinterest recently I came across this image, Gentle Reader:


It’s cute right?

Except it’s also WRONG. Archaeology Kitten would say: straighten up that scarp. Walls, on a dig, are features of the site. (That is: they’re something immovable from the target culture that archaeologists are excavating and will leave in situ. Artifacts are objects archaeologists are digging up that may be moved off the site. Here ends this Arch 101 lesson.) Test pits, like this one, have SCARP not walls.

OK, so what does that have to do with writing?

What this meme did was hit up against my very specific area of expertise. I’m an archaeologist, so all I saw was an error in terminology and therefore I didn’t find it funny. Or cute. I stopped relating to it entirely.

Look. I devoutly believe that it’s my responsibility as a writer to get everything I can correct, or as correct as possible to existing  truth or fact (if known). Which is to say, I strive for accuracy not precision.

And then stop.

Here’s the rub for us perfectionists (and most writers are): there are things you will get wrong without realizing it. There are things you will type that you didn’t even know you had to research. There are things outside of your control, (like when an editor ignores STETs).

This is will result in the 10% rule.

10% of the people reading your book will notice this kind of mistake and 1% will care.

The healthiest thing you can do as a writer? Learn to let go of that 10%.

10% of the people who read your book will find a mistake of some kind. Sometimes they find what they think is a mistake, but isn’t. Sometimes they will leave a bad review because of this. Sometimes they are the type of person who likes to take umbrage. About 1 in 100 of those people will actually write an email or leave a comment (for example, see here). (If you’re self-pub and they love your books, you might consider recruiting said individual to beta read for you, but I digress.)

It was a long road for me, but I’ve learned to accept that the 10% rule is always in place. The more readers I have, the larger the number of people who fall into that 10%.

Why accept it? Otherwise you’d never get a book out of me.

Gail Carriger Cat Lilliput Stopping Her From Writing

There is always someone out there who knows more about that specific thing than I do*. And if I infringe on their expertise, then they will get upset and it will impact their enjoyment of my book.

I can try to forestall this by inviting experts to beta read for me. (For example, I had an academic expert in 1890s India read over the second half of Prudence. I also have a horse expert and a gun expert on call, because these are not my bailiwick but come up a lot in the Victorian era.) I know some authors put teams of fan-experts together to consult regularly, particularly if they write military or procedurals and haven’t been in service themselves.

But in the end, I write fiction, and I want to write it quickly (well, as quickly as possible). That means learning to relax about the things I didn’t know to research, or didn’t catch.

(Although, I’m ridiculously proud that so far I haven’t gotten one expert error letter for Poison or Protect. No, that’s not an invitation.)

Gail Carriger Poof Pass Tea Cat

Which is ABSOLUTELY not to say that a self-pub author should allow herself to cop-out on copy-edits and proof passes. I devoutly believe that authors MUST hire a professional for one if not both of these steps. However, I am saying that learning to relax about the 10% expert nitpicking will make you a much less neurotic writer.

Relax. Your primary job it to write it, and finish it. Let go of the 10%.

But it’s still SCARP.

Your archaeology expert, signing off.

Back: Chokepukio (Wari - Inka) Fore: Hacienda (Colonial)

P.S. Yeah we authors tend to keep track of each other’s expertise. And yes, so far, a half dozen of my author friends have called me to ask me about archaeology stuff for some project or another. So there is that resource too.

* Thing I actually do know more about than any other human? SEM analysis of 8th-12th century Islamic glazed pottery from an industrial production site in Raqqa, Syria. For which I am the world’s last standing expert, and likely to remain so, as the site no longer exists.

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger. Oh don’t look so shocked.}


  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Rough draft completed. Lay away this month. First pass red through starts in December.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.


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 . . .

Fashion plate, 1877, France she who worshipscarlin tumblr

Fashion plate, 1877, France she who worshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Gail's Carousel With Romancing the Inventor at the front

Gail’s Carousel With Romancing the Inventor at the front

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“A morning visit should be paid between the hours of two and four p.m., in winter, and two and five in summer.”
~ Etiquette for Gentlemen
{those are my kind of hours}

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
~ Howard Aiken

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
~ Thich Nat Hahn

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


Helpful Podcasts for Writers ~ NaNoWriMo Tip Sheet (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) around the interwebs, Gentle Reader. I don’t participate myself. Let’s be perfectly honest ~ it’s a dumb month to pick. Always has been. For me it’s particularly inappropriate as I’ve spent the first half of November, for years, on book tour for a Finishing School book. And this year I go to Singapore.

Gail Carriger on NaNoWriMo

That said, it doesn’t mean I’m not supportive of the Great NaNo. I don’t often post “how to write blogs” or the like. I think there are plenty of other authors out there who do it better than I ever could (waves at Chuck, Rachel, Kameron). In fact, I consider myself best at being an enabler. Find me at a convention and I’m one of those:

There’s a fun thing, let go do that! Food, yeah food, eat the food. And we’re walking. Party, bar, that way! And we’re drinking.

As opposed to actually organizing the thing, food, walk, or party in the first place.

But in order to be both supportive and enabling, over the course of this month, you will see a few blog posts from me that I hope will be helpful if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, or even if you just like to write and wish to perhaps publish some day.

Without further ado, Gentle Writer, here is my…

List of Top 8 Podcasts Every Author Should be Listening To…

  1. I Should Be Writing ~ Best for: emotional sympathy, writer struggles, general hand holding.
  2. Beyond the Trope ~ Best for: craft and passion. Focuses on “the deep, artistic depths of fiction” with a casual style and general inclination to geek out.
  3. The Creative Penn ~  Best for: self-publishing, book marketing, and creative entrepreneurship. Good at interviewing and sticking to topics. Pick what you want based on the episode title.
  4. Ditch Diggers (via The Murverse Annex) ~ Professional authors get brutally honest about being both professional and an author. There may be a few rants from yours truly.
  5. Internet Business Mastery ~ Best for: tips on general social media marketing and brand interaction. Not specifically for authors, which is why it is interesting as many of the core premises are still useful. But you will have to learn to ignore the dumb business lingo and constant coach marketing. If you can’t take either (and boy do I understand that) but want something with this outsider perspective try Smart Passive Income or The Social Media Examiner Show (BONUS very short episodes) instead.
  6. Rocking Self Publishing ~ Best for: self-publishing, book marketing, and creative entrepreneurship. Similar to Penn quality entirely depends on the strength of the interview. They focus on a single subject for the interview, but they tend to drift more.
  7. Writing Excuses ~ Quick pithy tips from four luminaries in SF/F. If you are a beginning author and aren’t already listening to this, you’re hopeless.
  8. The Roundtable Podcast ~ 20 min author interviews focused on craft, then a work-shopping interview in which a professional author talks craft specific to a pitched project.

“It is better to write a bad first draft than to write no first draft at all.”
~ Will Shetterly

The caveat: as with all things, these recommendations are aligned with my taste as reader, listener, and writer. As such, they tend to favor the SF/F genre, female authors, and friendly attitudes. This may not be what you’re looking for but it’s what I like. This is, after all, my little corner of the internet. MINE! Wha ha ha ha.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
~ Jack London

I’ve left comments open but your recommendations are likely better spent on NaNoWriMo forums and if you’re spammy or snarky that sucker will get the snip snip snip. Here in Gail’s little world we play nice and polite or not at all. Etiquette must be observed!

“Use your imagination. Trust me, your lives are not interesting. Don’t write them down.”
~ W. B. Kinsella

You don’t have to take my word for it: 15 Inspiring Writing Podcasts to Subscribe to Right Now


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Portrait of Ava Gardner, 1960’s via fawnvelveteen tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Alexia character cookie

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Indonesian Mimic Octopus

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Kubler-Ross Model of Grief Associated with Editing and Rewriting

Book News:
BookNut101 of 21st Century Once Upon a Times blog says of Manners & Mutiny: “Did it meet my expectations? Uh yes. Yes, it did indeed! In fact, I will go so far as to say that it exceeded my expectations – it pulled all the elements of the series together and was both entertaining and informative. I was never left feeling like the author was racing to the finish line. Rather, I felt that every chapter and every scene was calculated.”

Quote of the Day:
“Pointed dialogues about yesterday’s eggs and the toughness of Saturday’s meat are conducted fortissimo between cheerful youths in the road and satirical young women in print dresses, who come out of their kitchen doors on to little balconies.”
~ P. G. Wodehouse, The Man with Two Left Feet And Other Stories

Comedy Author Looks at Humor on the Internet (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Analyzing humor on the Internet is one of my favorite pastimes. I know, the moment you start to look at why something is funny, it ceases to be funny. But that is my lot in life now. Every time I laugh, I then think: Ooo, why did I just laugh? Writing humor kinda ruins humor, but my life was in ruins before I started these messy writer shenanigans. (See what I did there?)

Very silly squash

Thus you, Gentle Reader, have been warned: read the post at your own comedic risk.

Yes, humor is subjective. Every comic/humor writer knows this. We all realize there will be people out there who don’t get our stuff. This blog post is written from my perspective, which means I’m using examples of things I find funny. So you’ll have to read with that in mind.

Sample 1: Will it Sous Vide? Hot Pockets

  • What kind of humor? Clever, it made me smile but not actually chuckle.
  • What it does? Juxtaposes nostalgia for the hot pocket (and the Will it blend? meme) against the snotty modern food movement (as represented at, say, the Top Chef critics table) presenting results in a ridiculously scientific manner.
  • Why is it funny? Contrast (two things put together that you would never expect) is great for both shock and comedic value. Also this plays on call-back (hearkening to the older meme) and rule of three: words hot pocket + sous vide + the meme of will it blend

Sample 2: Town Square Live Feed Comments

  • What kind of humor? Ridiculous. It gave me a full on laugh. This is the kind of funny thing that I thought about again at 5am and started chuckling just remembering it.
  • What it does? Crowd sources the total ridiculousness of overreaction to the everyday.
  • Why is it funny? Pure silliness. Overreaction humor is one of my favorites. Recently, I read a m/m contemporary where a group of frat boys react to one of their own coming out as if he were giving birth (as a result of sensitivity training). People reacting in an out of control manner to perfectly ordinary everyday things = fertile ground for humor. The opposite also works. Much of Alexia’s humor comes from her not really reacting to things that would shock a normal person. Alexia is always practical and deadpan even when presented with a vampire attacking her in a library. Overreaction and underreaction are both great tools.

Sample 3: Cat vs Baby

  • What kind of humor? Shock value. Bark of surprised laughter.
  • What it does? Surprises the viewer/reader into a laugh. This is the kind of humor that edges into horror.
  • Why is it funny? The baby is so happy and innocent waddling along and then bam CAT. Contrast is in play again (happy baby, angry cat), but really what’s funny is the unexpected nature of the attack. America’s Funniest home videos had their stock in trade on this kind of humor.

 Sample 4: Excuse Me

  • What kind of humor? Exaggerated everyday. The delighted chuckle of familiarity.
  • What it does? Plays on an everyday human experience though exaggeration and mockery.
  • Why is it funny? Anyone who has spent time with a cat (or a few dogs I know) has probably had this experience of using the bathroom and the cat insisting on joining. Some of us have stories of cats taking this to the next level. This is a particularly telling example because it also touches on taboo (private bathroom use) in a completely nonthreatening manner (the cat) allowing the twinge of discomfort to turn into humor. I, for example, often play with the fact that werewolves have to get naked to shift form, and how this contrasts with the strict morals of Victorian society. This works best with a character already highly positioned in society, e.g. Lord Maccon, than with one who is outside of society and female, e.g. Tasherit. Tash does get naked but rarely in a funny way, instead I play on her catlike nature to get humor. (Which makes me wonder if Tasherit has to constantly stop herself from trying to join people in the privy?)

Oh, that gives me an idea. TTFN.

{Gail’s monthly read along for October is The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey.}


  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Outline.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Rough draft. Almost done.
    Something new and different for Gail, contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.



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 . . .

1925-1935 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1925-1935 The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Anthropomorphic Hedgehogs Go about Their Daily Lives in Adorable Photo Series by Elena Eremina

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

What is Confirmation Bias?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

A Return to Print? Not Exactly

Book News:

Author Interview with Gail Carriger

Quote of the Day:

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”
~ Orson Welles

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




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