Why Dress Characters in Victorian Sportswear? (Claw & Courtship Custard Protocol Special Extra)

I love me some Victorian sportswear, Gentle Reader.

In How To Marry A Werewolf, Faith the main character (an upstart American girl) is a proponent of the great freedom and joy in the bicycle suit.

In Reticence, new character Arsenic wears all manner of sportswear from a golfing costume to a bicycling suit as well. Because she’s a doctor, she also doesn’t bother with hat (falls off, gets in the way) or gloves (how you supposed to stitch up a would with gloves on). And she usually has some kind of pinafore or apron over the top of everything.

Fashionable Reader, these articles of clothing were considered quite the SCANDAL at the time!

Possibly, just possibly, there is a bit of rebellion in this choice, but I can imagine no matter what both ladies love the freedom of movement granted by such attire.

via @VictorianWeb Twitter Punch 1895, The Bicycle Suit—very dashing

1895 The Bicycling Suit

Cycling ensemble, 1895, USA via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr
Cycling shoe, 1895-1900 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

I have a bit of a passion for vintage bicycle riding gear.*

And this before I learned that there is some significant connection between the advent of bike riding and women’s liberation.

At first women’s bike riding attire is not so different from other exercise attire of the late 1870s early 1880s. Which is to say, to the modern eye, not very exercise orientated at all.

via FB

But if you look closely you can begin to see the concept of freedom of movement (fewer undergarments, easier to get in and out of), and the importance of exercise (shunned in the early Victorian era as countrified and sporty) slowly embraced.

“Let the skirts be as short as possible – to clear the ankles. Nothing else is permissible for mountain work, where one must face bogs, deep heather, thorny gorse, and must not stumble into the hem of one’s garments on the face of a rocky precipice. I must, however, draw the line at the modern feminine costume for mountaineering and deerstalking, where the skirt is a mere polite apology – an inch or two below the knee, and the result hardly consistent with a high ideal of womanhood.”

~ Lillias Campbell Davidson, 1889 travel guide

And the style of bicycle attire combines this notion with that of equestrian and riding wear.


Then, finally, with the advent of access to higher education, rise of the middle class, the suffragette movement and the right to vote, better understanding and use of heath care particularly with regards to procreation, everything changes and, most germane to this blog… women wear trousers.

“1900 Doll” from the Gratitude Train  Calixte  1949  MET

George R. Sims on Cycling in London in the 1890’s.

1894 cycling_suit-1894-harpers-bazaar

Staring in the 1890s it becomes mostly acceptable for women to wear voluminous (but still actual) trousers to bike ride.

By 1895 we see large scale advertisements, and some lampooning in the popular press, but generally it’s clear that only the most elderly sticklers objected to the style.

1895 Cycling Ensemble  1895-1900 British Manchester City Galleries

And this wasn’t just in England, either. America, and indeed much of Europe, embraced the look.

1895 Mlle Babion et son professeur, Luchon, laiterie, 5 septembre 1895 par Eugène Trutat .      Via Rosalis tumblr

A great deal of the inspiration for this attire has its source in men’s hunting garments.

Bike wear for ladies involved heavy material: lots of country Harris tweeds, the early onset of houndstooth, all very much Too the Manor Borne. (This becomes quite a problem for Arsenic in Reticence.)

1895 Bifurcated-riding-ensemble-1895

If you want to read a fun comic novel set in the 1900’s featuring a New Woman and her fiscal and literal liberation via the bicycle, you can do no better than Miss Cayley’s Adventures by Grant Allen.

It’s free to download in ebook form.


And what happened after the turn of the century?

via sydneyflapper-tumblr
1930s Riding Habit 1stdibs.com
1940s Claire McCardell bicycle outfit

Yours riding regularly,

Miss Gail

  • Did you miss my latest release announcement? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!


The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming. 

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.



Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Theodore Wendel – Lady with Parasol by Stream

Your Infusion of Cute . . .


Your Tisane of Smart . . .Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  Fake, Pirated And Counterfeit Books A Big Problem On AmazonBook News:

Quote of the Day:

Your Moment of Gail


“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!

Dressing Percy & Quesnel for the Custard Protocol Books ~ Victorian Fashion for Men 1890s (Special Extra)

With Reticence coming out soon, and it being Percy’s book, I thought I might do a bit on men’s fashion for a change, Fashionable Reader.

Here’s a quote from Reticence on the subject of Percy’s appearance…

“The others looked interested, surprised, and resigned according to their natures. Except Percy, who looked like none of those things, but just like Percy.”

I know the power of my prose (dum dum dum) in the Custard Protocol books ought to cast into your mind exactly the image of what men looked like in the 1890s, but frankly pictures are better.

The eagle eyes and costume-minded among you will have already noticed that Percy is NOT dressed appropriately to the 1890s in either of his covers…

Yes that’s regency wear he has on, around 1840s NOT 1890s. (Actually when I asked you to judge the covers I was expecting a bit more outrage on this matter). Suffice it to say, there is a VERY GOOD reason for his cover outfit. But no, what’s on the cover is absolutely NOT what a Victorian gentleman would ordinarily wear in the mid 1890s.

So shall we talk about what Percy should be wearing?

Here is a sample of 1890s clothing for gentlemen of the kind the Percy & Quesnel are oft described as wearing throughout the series.

Fashion plate, 1880s-90s via shewhosorshipscarlin tumblr

Hats have begun to get smaller and more refined than the earlier parts of the Victorian era.

The cravat is tied more simply, leans towards muted colors, and is beginning to look more like a tie. In fact we start to see the word “tie” being used for this piece of clothing, or something similar but cut of a thicker fabric and shaped more precisely and thinly around the neck. Also the bow tie becomes the rage for evening.

Higher collars, narrow lapels, and vests (singled breasted) instead of waistcoats (double breasted) are more fashion forward. Trousers are draped and tapered but not tight. Shoes have become more uniformly black, shiny and laced. Rarely boots outside of the countryside and sporting events.

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

“The mood will pass, sir.”

― P.G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters

J.W. Losse Tailoring, 1897 via dandyads-tumblr

Adjusted for inflation, one of these spring overcoats would run you $400-720 today.

This advert is an example of something it’s important to know about the late Victorian era, that professional garb is becoming ever more important, i.e the idea that you wear a specific kind of clothing for your specific job (as opposed to your station in society, although the two are linked). This is a concept in fashion that often collates historically to a rise in the middle class.

This next image is a little more modern but I imagine, given the prevalence of dirigibles in the Parasolverse, that something like this driving outfit would have been around earlier in the Parasolverse as a gentleman’s floating outfit. I can see Madame Lefoux rocking it.

1906-1908 Driving Coat The Victoria & Albert Museum

Is Your Victorian Gentleman Sponge Worthy? Contraception in the Years 1826-1891

‘Jeeves,’ I said coldly. ‘How many suits of evening clothes have we?’
‘We have three suits full of evening dress, sir; two dinner jackets—’
‘For practical purposes two only, sir. If you remember, we cannot wear the third. We have also seven white waistcoats.’
‘And shirts?’
‘Four dozen, sir.’
‘And white ties?’
‘The first two shallow shelves in the chest of drawers are completely filled with our white ties, sir.’

~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

So why is Percy on the cover of Reticence in REGENCY garb?

“…the jacket was of the kind one’s grandfather wore in the 1820s. It was blue with puffy shoulders and large collar, and cropped in such a manner as to exaggerate certain frontal sectors of a chap’s anatomy, sectors Percy was tolerably certain a respectable gentleman ought to be exaggerating. Which was to say, he had received compliments in the past, but only from ladies who were monetarily encouraged to be positive on the subject.”

~ Reticence

You have to read the book to find out why…

Note that in this one Percy’s trousers are awful tight? THere’s a reason for THAT too.

Heh heh.

Yours in designer men’s wear,

Miss Gail

  • Want more sneak peeks? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!


The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming. 

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.



Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 cgmfindings- Art Nouveau Advertising Parasol „Fiumaner Reisstärke“ Austria

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

IMAGE: Teapot Purse Massive Red

Purse I got myself in honor of Reticence, it was a lot bigger than I expected.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Best Of Our Knowledge: Pick Your Poison 

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Big publishers shafting libraries by pivoting their model to highlight new releases.

Book News:

Sophril Reads says of Romancing the Inventor:

“This Novella was amazing and I could not put it down.”

Quote of the Day:

Your Moment of Gail


“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!

Reticence: Two Covers, Pick Your Favorite? (Custard Protocol Behind the Magic)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Reticence and Competence each have two difference overs, Gentle Reader. TWO! 2! TwwwOOOOOOoooooooooo.

Reticence Covers

Which one?

Which Reticence cover do you prefer?

Print Editions?

You can call or visit your favorite local bookstore! Ask them to “Order it from Ingram.

Borderlands offers signed editions of the USA Hardcover. They will ship worldwide. Use the SIGNED button under the book’s image on my website

the UK paperback PRINT edition

I am trying to get them linked but Amazon is fighting me, assume it will never happen. 

Audio Editions?

The USA & Canada should get this book in audio around the same time as it releases. Everyone else? We’ve been fighting for almost a year to get the final Custard Protocol books distributed to you. The publisher has been stonewalling. Please write to them about it.

You do have an alternate. You can get an audio CD shipped to you from Borderlands. Use the SIGNED button under the book’s image on my website: Reticence & Competence. Just clearly explain that you want the AUDIOBOOK on CD.  

That is the only way I know that you can get it.


  • We’re trying to negotiate to have Moira’s narration distributed to you. It’s NOT going well. Write to my publisher and ask them for it. No really, try. Hachette Audio. They aren’t listening to me.
  • To do this myself I would have to rerecord with a different reader. Then you’ll complain that it’s a different narrator.
  • It costs thousands of dollars to make an audiobook, and I don’t have the funds right now and the market overseas for English audio isn’t big enough to support the expense.
  • Finally, the distribution mechanism isn’t in place. Audible doesn’t offer the option of ONLY distributing overseas, yet I’m contractually obliged to do that.
  • In other words: Right now, convincing my US audio publisher to strike an overseas distribution deal is our best option.

Why 2 covers for Reticence & Competence?

Because I am publishing the these two Custard Protocol books to the UK and other non-North American territories myself.

If you’re overseas and able to get any of my novellas then you should be able to get Reticence. I do my absolute best for you. I could not be working harder to make sure it gets to as many of you as possible, but that might mean it’s not in the version you prefer.

Is there any substantial difference in content?

The UK edition is EXACTLY how I want it in every way, including a full list of my published works as of publication, some minor grammar and sentence structure differences. It also has British spelling and uses the word ladybird instead of ladybug. But the story is the same.

See this blog post on the subject of anglicization.

Here’s the bit in the Live from February where I explain the different book sizes:

I explain a lot on the different cover sizes. I go into a bit of a show and tell using Imprudence as a model (backwards because I’m using my phone’s flip camera) but you get the idea. At Time Stamp 39:00.

But Miss Gail, I like both & want to own both!

You’re a darling and I love you!

Generally speaking (aside from second party sellers and illicit means) USA readers shouldn’t be able to get the UK edition, and visa versa. (Gail cocks an eyebrow at you thoughtfully.)

But you know, interesting things happen to the Chirrup members… just saying. Plus Book Depository eventually will get on board and offer the UK edition to anyone who can meet their pecuniary demands.

As always, you don’t have to take my word for it…

Well, actually you do, but here are related articles anyway:

Did you miss the cover art announcements?

New stuff goes to my Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Yours in RED,

Miss Gail

  • Want more ehind the scenes info? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!


The 5th Gender (A Tinkered Stars Mystery as G. L. Carriger).

Amazon | Elsewhere | Direct from Gail
Audio is coming. 

Sci-fi queer romance meets cozy mystery in which a hot space station cop meets the most adorable purple alien ever (lavender, pulease!) from a race with 5 genders.



Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1880s L’ancienne cour tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Look what I found and then purchased because oh my god what is it? I must understand and to understand I must stuff in my mouth and this is probably how I’m going to die but I did it for SCIENCE.

I’m going to eat them on the next live so I will tell you then what they taste like.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The 7 Most Important Umbrellas of SFF

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

Romance Books for Every Introverted Myers-Briggs Type (Soulless on this list)

Quote of the Day:

Your Moment of Gail


“I suspect it may be like the difference between a drinker and an alcoholic; the one merely reads books, the other needs books to make it through the day.”

(Interview with The Booklovers blog, September 2010)” ~ Gail Carriger

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!

Live From Seattle: Never Get A Chance To See Gail At A Bookstore? We Recorded This For You!

Posted by Gail Carriger


Well Gentle Reader,

I was recently in Seattle at University Bookstore. They were gracious enough to organize something rather last minute for me. (All their stock is now signed, so if you missed me, you can still get something special for yourself.)

I was there visiting and staying with my author friend and podcast co-host Piper J. Drake. (We do 20 Minute Delay together.) She and Producer Matt came along to this event, and being capable sweethearts, recorded it for you! (Say “Thank you Piper and Producer Matt.”)

Producer Matt, Piper J. Drake, Gail Carriger of 20 Minute Delay Podcast

Live broadcasting an event is not something I normally do, because if the store or the convention has paid for me to visit, I want to reward them with exclusivity. But since I was up in Seattle on my own dime for PodCon (and University bookstore was sweetly amenable), here it is…

Takes a bit for me to figure out the sound (which isn’t awesome) but it’s live with a large crowd done on an old iPhone so you know… SUFFER!

Here Are Show Notes!

I talk author carrier secrets, up coming books, plus take a few pot shots and compare myself to a dominatrix. As you do.

Questions Answered:

  • Is Reticence the last Custard Protocol book? Is CP the last Parasolverse series? Some serious tips as to what happens.
  • Hints about May’s sci-fi book release, The 5th Gender, “space porn alien police procedural.”
  • Which characters do I want to have love affaires with?
  • How do I decide what to write next?
  • Why put secrets in the Chirrup but not online?

  • Feelings about book length (plus a few digs) & constructing series.
  • Writing about Japan for the first time and the delicacy of the Meiji Restoration.
  • My favorite cover?
  • Why I write finite series.
  • How do my parents feel about me giving up academia and pursuing an author lifestyle.

Links & References

By Request & Other Fun Stuff

  • Publisher and editor relationships.
  • Gail’s obsession with good editing.
  • Being clever and intentional with character names and book titles. Where to source fun super British ones!
  • Why you can’t trust dude fantasy authors not to break your heart.
  • More Lilliput follow Gail on Instagram!


The Omega Objection San Andreas Shifters

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks
Direct from Gail

Can a gentle giant with a trampled heart
show a man who’s been running all his life that
sometimes there are monsters worth running towards?


  • The 5th Gender (a Tinkered Stars sci-fi as G. L. Carriger). No links as yet…
  • Reticence, The 4th and final Custard Protocol book. August 6, 2019
  • Secret Project Ommm, October 2019 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Soulless.
  • Need to know what Gail is writing right now? That’s in the Chirrup.


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Finland’s flagship library so popular it’s running out of books

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The semicolon is pointless, and it’s ruining your writing

Book News:

Unboxing Competence USA Trade Paperbacks: Out Feb 6

Quote of the Day:

Reticence Cover Art Reveal & Blurb (USA)

Posted by Gail Carriger


For those of you who missed the cover art announcement in the most recent Chirrup, here it is!

Since this is Percy’s book it should come as no surprise that Percy is on the cover. However, I have been pretty darn cagey about where they are going, so I hope you’re delighted to find out that it is…


Yes the Spotted Custard is off to the magic of the Paper City.

And you know what that means?

Oh yes, kitsune for all!

Here’s the Cover Copy

Percy is off to Japan, but will Japan survive Percy?

Bookish and proper Percival Tunstell finds himself out of his depth when floating cities, spirited plumbing, and soggy biscuits collide in this delightful conclusion to New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger’s Custard Protocol series.

Percival Tunstell loves that his sister and friends are building themselves a family of misfits aboard their airship, the Spotted Custard. Of course, he’d never admit that he belongs among them.

Percy has always been on the outside – dispassionate, aloof, and hatless.

But accidental spies, a trip to Japan, and one smart and beautiful doctor may have him renegotiating his whole philosophy on life. Except hats.

He’s done with hats. Thank you very much.

Reticence is the final book in the Custard Protocol series. It takes place after events in Competence and contemporaneous with those in How to Marry a Werewolf.

The Spotted Custard crew is back for one last rollicking adventure! Watch Miss Gail tie up all those loose threads. Look out for appearances from beloved Parasolverse characters (and some less beloved) and learn everyone’s secrets… the hard way.

Percy, of course, could care less.

Or could he?

What else do I want you to know about this book, Gentle Reader?

This one is absolutely and utterly for YOU.

I’m hoping that, you’ll be as caught up as possible by the time this book releases. I’m giving you fair warning. Read like the wind!

This book will be mad cap and fun and absolutely hilarious no matter what. But you will get all the inside jokes and cookies only if you’ve read the full back catalogue of the Parasolverse.

Gear up, you’re in for a particularly puffy final float!

You have been warned.



Amazon: Kindle | Hardcover | Audio CD

B&N | Kobo | Apple | Google Play | Others

Add on Goodreads.

Audible: Not yet available

Where is the audiobook?

Preorder for places outside the USA will come, don’t worry. We have time.

Yours in general overindulgence induced laziness,

Miss Gail


The Omega Objection San Andreas Shifters

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks
Direct from Gail

Can a gentle giant with a trampled heart
show a man who’s been running all his life that
sometimes there are monsters worth running towards?


  • The 5th Gender (a Tinkered Stars sci-fi under the G. L. Carriger pen name). No links as yet, wait for it…
  • Reticence, The 4th and final Custard Protocol book. August 2019
  • Secret Project Ommm, October 2019 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Soulless.
  • Need to know more about what Gail is writing right now? That’s in the Chirrup.


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Japanese Women Warriors – History of Japan Podcast

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Is It Real? 25 Famous Writers on Writer’s Block

Book News:

Fancy Corset & Raspberry Pencil Skirt at Teslacon

Quote of the Day:

“Just say the word if you want ‘Weird Japanese Snacks’ on your name badge.”

~ Overheard in Borderlands Books, from their awesome occasional blog 

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!

Competence Chapter Titles & Percy’s POV Will Make You Giggle (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

My darlings,

I sent this out already to the Chirrup but just to tempt you a bit, here are the very silly chapter titles from my forthcoming book, Competence.

Trouble finding the paperback edition of Competence in the UK? It’s here.

Gail Loves Chapter Titles

I always love writing chapters and titles. Like names, there are some of us authors relish coming up with such things. Others really really hate it. Anywhoo, I often use it as an excuse for a particularly bad pun.

What can I say? It’s my thing.

Competence Chapters

  1. A Lioness in a Hat and Other Concerns
  2. A Bad Case of the Dropsies
  3. A Merlion in a Mushroom
  4. The Premier Floating Philosophy Club
  5. A Grey Melancholy Danger
  6. In Which Thomas Aquinas is an Absolute Corker
  7. A Very Warm Welcome
  8. A Mystery, a Fez, and an Italian Mathematician
  9. Soup Ladle of Death
  10. Cats Can’t Be Trusted
  11. Our Lord and Saviour the Spotted Custard
  12. Rumours of Pishtacos
  13. On Hives, Haciendas and Hijinks
  14. The Etiquette of Proper Introductions
  15. Weddings and Their Consequences
  16. Homeward Bound

Of course my absolute favorite in chapter 9. It makes me soooooooo happy…

Soup Ladle of Death

Also, if you still aren’t tempted, in this book, you get….

Percy’s POV!

Percy & Footnote Fanart by Desiree Schwartz

Ever wonder how or why Percy comes up with those ridiculous non-sequiturs?

Want more of the Latin in his warped little brain?

Well in this book you get a peek into his head.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

Yours etc…

Miss Gail

P.S. In case you missed it, look what I got in my office recently!

  • Want more sneak peeks & behind the scenes info? This stuff goes to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.
  • Not into newsletters? Get only new releases by following Gail on Amazon or BookBub!
  • Coop de Book for July is Competence, of course. (Discussion here.


Amazon (hardcover) (audio) | B&N (hardcover) | Book Depository (hardcover)

 KoboiBooks | Audible

SIGNED edition, use the SIGNED button


 Amazon.uk (paperback)| Book Depository (paperback) Kobo

Direct from Gail for Kindle .mobi | non-Amazon digital readers .epub

 Competence by Gail Carriger is the third in the Custard Protocol series featuring Primrose, Rue, and all their crazy friends..

Accidentally abandoned!

All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

William John Leech (Irish artist, 1881-1968) The Sunshade

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Publishing Success: Genre Loyalty vs. Plot Bunny Saboteurs

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

Tiny Navajo Reads says of How To Marry A Werewolf:

“I love this book and I love that we get to see some of what makes Channing, Channing. We also get to see some of the differences between the American perspective and the London perspective of the supernatural.”

Quote of the Day:

“This suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? Wiki that sheez!

Announcing the Next Custard Protocol Books!

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’m delighted to announce that I have sold the third and fourth Custard Protocol books to Orbit. The third book has a working title of Competence and I will be writing it for most of this year, 2017.

Orbit intends to publish it in Summer 2018. So you have some time to get all caught up on the Custard Protocol series.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Add it to your shelf on Goodreads.

What will it be about?

Since I haven’t yet written it, I don’t have a description or anything for you just yet. Mostly I’m trying to get ahead of the rumor mill with this announcement. However, rest assured that Rue and her crazy crew are up to good, but in the worst possible way. This book will be told from Primrose’s perspective and will follow events shortly after those chronicled in Imprudence. 

In line with that, I’ll be releasing Romancing the Werewolf in winter of THIS YEAR (2017). This story takes place during a cold London Christmas season, December 1895, directly after events in Imprudence (but not featuring those characters). It finally ties up one very popular thread I left dangling in Timeless. Hopefully, it will tide you all over while you’re waiting for Competence.

I’m hoping this announcement makes you all happy. I look forward to telling you all about how life is changing aboard the Spotted Custard, new creatures, new friendships, new adventures, new silliness, and old heartbreak.

Feel free to ask questions if you dare. I may not be able to answer them right away but I always like to know what you’re curious about as it can dictate future blog posts.

The Publishers Weekly Deal Announcement

NYT bestseller Gail Carriger’s Books 3 & 4 in the Custard Protocol Series, chronicling the continuing adventures of a woman’s crack-pot dirigible team, following them as they explore the crumbling supernatural remnants of the British Empire, to Lindsey Hall at Orbit, in a good deal, for publication in 2018, by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency (NA).

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}


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 . . .

1880s Game of Tennis via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Author Kate Elliot suggests a change to “Rogue One” and discusses relationships in narrative fiction, including recommending stories that presented compassionate and complex relationships.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Things Authors Do Wrong (and How to Fix Them)

Book News:

Fan Art Alexia Black White

Quote of the Day:

“Music makes one feel so romantic – at least it always gets on one’s nerves – which is the same thing nowadays.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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

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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Anglicization – In Which We Revisit the Ladybird Problem (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger


My dear Gentle Reader,

This is not a topic I get asked about much anymore but just in case I’m hit with a number of the Very Curious after reading a Parasolverse book, I am going to address a delicate subject here and now…


or should I say?


Right, so you may or may not be aware of the fact that British and American English languages are different ~ I mean not only spoken, but written as well.

(Yes, that’s sarasam.)

All my books are written how I write (surprise surprise) which is a kind of pigeon British American pseudo-Victorian codswallop.

It’s not too Victorian because that’s hard to read and a pain to write perfectly. Besides, I write steampunk, it’s confusing enough already without loading it down with an overabundance of poncey vocabulary.

(OK, but I don’t have too much, I hope?)

My first book, Soulless, sold to Orbit in the USA years before it sold to the UK.

Despite its European origins, Orbit US is an American publishing house. They applied house rules to my codswallop and made everything American: spelling, vocabulary, semantics, etc…

So ladybird is ladybug in these books.

*Coccinella  Franco Moschino, 1995  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

I know Coccinellidae are neither bird nor bug (they are beetle), but I’m with the Americans on this one, ladybug is closer.

Also, if I put ladybird into a book for an American audience they (mostly) have no idea what I’m talking about, and are confused. Even those who do know, would be briefly thrown out of the reader’s immersion experience to remember and I work hard to avoid that as an author.

Miss Gail doesn’t like confused readers.

Because we started with American English, the rest of the Parasol Protectorate series followed in the same style (ebooks, omnibus, etc.)

By the time England purchased the series to release in the UK (three other territories got there first, mind you, including the French) they were playing catch up and wanted to produce the books as quickly as possible. (Ever wondered why the first 2 appeared in the UK in Mass Market? Yeah, someone sneaked over the US editions and sold them with stickers over the $ price. To this day my UK publisher is confused as to why they had an uptick in sales on the 3rd book. Why? Because it was really the first one they put out before readers could get the book elsewhere. Globalization is very confusing to publishers.)

Right, so where was I?

All 5 Parasol Protectorate books are American language no mater what English language territory or edition!

(US/Canada/UK/Australia/New Zealand/eBook/omnibus/Mass Market/Trade)

See 2011…

The outraged emails they cometh from the UK readership.

  • Miss Gail, why is it ladybug and not ladybird?
  • Miss Gail, theater is spelled theatre.
  • Miss Gail, you seem to have misplaced your “u” and changed all your “s” to “z.”


In an effort to prevent this from happening again, said Miss Gail negotiates terms into her Finishing School contract.

Given that there is more time (these books are produced once a year, as opposed to once every 6 months) could we anglicize? Theoretically, the UK house should have time to “translate.”

All is peace and harmony.

All 4 Finishing School books are American Language for US/Canada and associated territories, and then Anglicized for UK/Australia/New Zealand and associated territories.

So there are, in fact, two different versions* of the Finishing School books. The American ones, and the UK ones which are anglicized.

Hooray hooray!

Miss Gail tries this tactic again with the Custard Protocol series.

Confusion results.

Prudence is sent to a UK editor for the copy edit pass, sent back to Gail already anglicized, and then sent to print in that state for both markets. Which means the US is getting basically, the UK version.


Miss Gail freaks out about the ladybird problem.

There is a lot of that word in this book.

Stressed about confusing her readers (see above) Miss Gail panics and demands that at least some words be changed back to US language for the sake of clarity.


The Custard Protocol books should mainly be UK in style, with some exceptions for specific words in the US versus UK editions.

For Miss Gail feels ladybird is one step too too far.

So for the US release of Prudence, it should all be ladybug and in the UK ladybird.

But I’m not making any promises.

Confusion, thy name is publishing.

Prudence FAIL Addendum:

People found many spelling and formatting errors is in Prudence.

Some of these may be the result of the above process of going through the UK copy editor. Some of the spelling mistakes may be because they are actually UK spelling.

The first we worked hard to fix in subsequent editions. The second we did not.

{Gail’s monthly read along for March 2015 is Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff.}

* versions = substantial text content change; as opposed to editions = different cover, print run, etc but text is essentially unchanged

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Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1896-1903  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Top Ten Tips and Tricks for Terrific Tea

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
3 Tips on How Not to Stink at Writing

Victorian Medical Science in Reticence (Custard Protocol Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Some gems of wisdom from 1871, Medical Common Sense & Plain Home Talk by Edward B. Foote, M.D.

  • The human machinery becomes clogged with poisonous humors.
  • As a female germ can not produce a child without the addition of a male germ, so there latent impure particles in the blood can not generate disease without meeting their affinitive poison.
  • Theses latent impurities, like the spoor of a minute plant buried far underground, must be of the right quality to unite with and engender specific diseases, or a person, however exposed, will escape.
  • Free circulation of vital or nervous electricity, and unruffled mind, and good blood are essential to health.
  • Leading us to the irresistible conclusion that the first duty of a physician to a patient is to see that his nervous system is set right, his mind emancipated from all depressing influences, and his blood restored to that condition which enables it to impart the tint of health to the skin, strength to the muscle, and abundant juices to all the tissues.

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Your Moment of Parasol . . .
1895-1900 Mourning Parasol The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1895-1900 Mourning Parasol The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
bacon egg candy
White chocolate + yellow m&m + pretzel sticks = bacon & egg candy.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
How Can We Avoid Cookie-Cutter Writing?

Quote of the Day:
“If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”
~ Isaac Asimov

Medicinal Morning Person Hints to Lady Travellers, 1889 (Custard Protocol Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


I’ve had radio interviews in the mornings over the past few weeks. Many of them are for shows on the East Coast. I enjoy live interviews, but I really am not at my best first thing in the morning. Never have been. As the general rule I am not unlike Bertie Wooster after a night of stealing policeman’s helmets.

My Mum, devout and unabashed morning-person, regards this as a grave character flaw.

The result, in the end, is that while I know I had interviews, and I vaguely remember where I sat holding the phone pressed to my head, I can not remember a single other thing about any of them.

And on that note I leave you with this list of provisions for a medicine chest from Lillias Campbell Davidson’s Hints to Lady Travellers, 1889

  • Lamplough’s Pyretic Saline
  • Eno’s Fruit Salt
  • Quinine Pills
  • Vaseline
  • Cockle’s Pills
  • Holloway’s Pills
  • Holloway’s Ointment
  • Dover’s Power Pills
  • Colocynth and Colchium Pills
  • Pepsine Pills
  • Seidlitz Powders
  • Glycerine
  • Insect Powder
  • Sal Volatile
  • Methylated Spirits
  • Sanitas
  • Tama Indien
  • Eau de Cologne
  • Friar’s Balsam
  • Chlorocyne
  • Tincture of Arnica
  • Essence of Camphor
  • Oiled Silk
  • Mustard Leaves
  • Cough Lozenges
  • Court Plaster
  • Caustic

Book News:
Lord Akeldama hijacks someone else’s blog for a change. In this case, Borders! Friday Guest Author: the Incomparable Gail Carriger!

Quote of the Day:
“If stays are worn at all, they should be short riding ones; but tight lacing and tricycle riding are deadly foes.”
~ Lillias Campbell Davidson, Hints to Lady Travellers, 1889

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