The Intellectual Salon ~ Alexia & Ofelia from Pan’s Labyrinth (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Gentle Reader, please welcome Clare P to our little assembly. Some time ago Clare wrote an essay on Alexia and I asked if I might showcase it here. Sadly it has been too long since I made that request, but I found it hiding out in my pending file and brushed it off. I hope you enjoy her offering, long as it has been in coming.


Without further ado I present unto you…

Ophelia and Alexia

by Clare P

Alexia from Gail Carrigers’s novel Soulless, and Ofelia from Del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth, have a striking number of similarities. Not only are they both undeniably rebellious but the common character they represent is widespread throughout literature. I argue that this unruly character they embody is so appealing to read about because they represent someone people wish they could be—themselves. This familiar disobedient character breaks the moulds that others have imposed upon them and is self expressive and defiant, despite the consequences we commonly fear.

1870s Parasol Fashion Plate via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr
Alexia Tarabotti is supposed to embody the perfect Victorian woman. The ideal 19th century Victorian woman is to be conservatively calm, serious, tasteful, educated (but only to spare her husband and family from embarrassment), and was often considered a possession of the family. Alexia has most certainly not conformed to what was intended for her. Lord Maccon frequently complains about how mouthy and cheeky Alexia is, which is undoubtedly not acceptable if one is to be the faultless Victorian woman. One of the most important values imposed on Victorian women is the value of family; women were often married young in order to start having children sooner. Alexia can be considered the opposite of what these values put forth. Neither of the two fundamental perfect Victorian women’s values of getting married and having children are appeased by Alexia.

Alexia’s mother attempts to secure one of these core Victorian women’s principles—matrimony, by forcing Lord Maccon to take her hand in marriage. However, Alexia’s dialog shows just how assertive she is. “I will not marry under duress, Mama. Nor will I force the earl into such bondage. Lord Maccon has not tendered me an offer, and I will not have him commit unwillingly. Don’t you dare press the issue!” (Soulless, page 211). This quote reveals how assertive Alexia is and how marriage, one of the values she should be pursuing, is not of the utmost importance to her. On top of these already striking differences between Alexia and the perfect Victorian woman, it is also subtly noted multiple times in the novel that Alexia is often kissing Lord Maccon, although they only have a casual relationship. Such a thing would be unthinkable to the truly perfect Victorian woman.

1870s Parasol Fashion Plate via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr
Now that it is clear Alexia is not conforming to the mould she was intended to, the novel further emphasizes it by presenting her half-sisters, the Loontwill girls. Felicity and Evylin are the blatant opposite of Alexia and flawlessly fit the template of being the perfect Victorian women. “No one upon meeting the three together would have though Alexia related to the other two at all” (page 27). Not only do the Loontwill girls look different but they are intellectually inferior to Alexia, like the typical basic educated Victorian woman is. To further contrast Alexia, her half-sisters are much more set on those core values a perfect Victorian woman should possess—such as marriage.
Ofelia from Pan’s Labyrinth, like Alexia, also has an idyllic mould already picked out for her. Because she is a woman in Spain during the fascist regime, her role is to be mature, obedient, and submissive, with the same core goals in mind as Alexia, to be a child bearer and faithful wife. Like Alexia and her character foils, the Loontwill half-sisters, Ofelia also arguably has one—her mother, Carmen. Carmen can be seen as the ideal woman in times of fascist regime. Although her origin qualifies her to be of unequal status, compared to her new husband, Captain Vidal, her demeanour, attitude and goals seem to match quite perfectly to those of a principle woman in fascist rule. She follows orders from Captain Vidal to move to the mill where he is located although it was not advised to travel so late in the pregnancy for health reasons. “A son should be born where his father is” (Captain Vidal, Pan’s Labyrinth). Although unsafe for Carmen to come to Vidal it seems that it was never considered the other, safer, way around—Vidal coming to Carmen. Though this occurrence is seemingly minute, it reinforces Carmen’s lack of say—she has no voice or worth, which is a common view among women under fascist regime. Carmen is controlled, oppressed and demeaned by Vidal and it becomes very apparent when she attempts to tell a story of how Vidal and she had met, through her now deceased husband who had made his shoes. Vidal cringes when he hears her spill the story as it reveals her to be of a lower class than him. “Please forgive my wife. She hasn’t been exposed to the world. She thinks these silly stories are interesting to others” (Captain Vidal, Pan’s Labyrinth). Vidal undermines and arguably humiliates Carmen yet she says nothing and continues to obey him.


1870s Parasol Fashion Plate via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr

Furthermore, Ofelia’s rebellious attitude is reinstated right from her first meeting with Vidal. When greeting the Captain she refuses to put down her juvenile books to offer him the correct hand to shake—and it is not tolerated by Vidal who violently grabs her hand and informs her that the other hand is appropriate to shake. From this scene we can gather that Ofelia is not willing to conform to be the ideal women in fascist times—she has a voice and an opinion and is not afraid to reveal it. Another scene where we see Ofelia rebel from what she is supposed to be is after she leaves the fig tree and returns to a bath, missing the dinner she was anticipated to attend. Carmen informs her that the Captain was very upset by her absence, and Ofelia smiles. Although another diminutive incident it stands to reinforce that she is not upset by offending her authority and is a genuine rebel. Additionally, we see the differences between Ofelia and the ideal women in fascist times when she continues to believe and pursue fairy tales. She is oppressed by her mother, who I argue is just passing down the oppression she receives from Vidal on to her daughter. “You’re getting older, and you’ll see that life isn’t like your fairy tales. The world is a cruel place. And you’ll learn that, even if it hurts” (Carmen, Pan’s Labyrinth). It is evident that Carmen is trying to replace her personal traits of a blossoming imagination, creativity, and a voice with seriousness, maturity and obedience. Ofelia also refuses to call Vidal her father, despite her mother’s wishes, “The captain has been so good to us… Please, Ofelia, call him father. It’s just a word, Ofelia, just a word” (Carmen, Pan’s Labyrinth). While this is just one more outwardly small incident it just continues to strengthen Ofelia’s attitude and personality towards blindly following orders and rule.

Jennifer Orme’s essay on Pan’s Labyrinth allows for an in-depth and accurate interpretation of the film. I agree with her, the core notion of the film is disobedience, and I think Ofelia underlines this theme of the film. She refuses to comply with others’ desires, even if she will have to bear the consequences later, “Key to my reading of Pan’s Labyrinth is the notion of disobedience: the refusal of characters to submit to the narrative desires of others at their own expense…” (Orme, page 1). This notion of noncompliance is apparent throughout the film whether that be through the fascist war that is taking place or the fairy tale occurrences Ofelia experiences. Orme goes on to say how this is a common motif throughout literature. I strongly agree, disobedience, rule-breaking, noncompliance are all common among characters of not only fairy tales but of literature in general. It is because we as readers are intrigued by this rebellious character, perhaps we wish to be more like them. I argue that there are situations in everyday life whether that is school, relationships, or work related situations where people often wish they could rebel- break the rules or refuse to blindly comply with the request of authority. “Indeed, it is often a specific disobedient act that sets the tale in motion or continues it on its trajectory: Snow White disobeys the dwarves and answers the door to the witch; Dorothy runs away from the farm; Alice leaves her sister to chase the white rabbit. In Pan’s Labyrinth disobedience is a primary theme that is coded as positive, and even essential to survival” (Orme, 2). Here Orme explicitly points out just how common the motif of rebellion really is. This questioning and rebellion against the ideology of what they are supposed to be is common to both Alexia and Ofelia and it is what makes the so desirable to read about. Roger Clark, like Orme, also successfully recognizes this blunt and common theme, “A crucial part of Ofelia’s (and Alice’s) ‘‘finding’’ emerges from their questioning and interrogating of ideology and orthodoxy, whether it be the iron grip of patriarchy and fascism or the anarchy and absurdity of the Wonderland and Looking-Glass worlds” (Clark, 2). Here Clark once again reinforces this idea of rebellion and refusal to comply and once again, “Disobedience is an important factor in fairy tales” (Orme, 2).
 ¨Princess Alexandra of Wales. Late 1870s. via carolathhabsburg tumblr


To conclude, I have recognized the common character throughout literature who is rebellious, refuses to blindly comply to authorities- even if they face consequences in doing so and most importantly, does not conform to the mould chosen for them. In comparing Alexia and Ofelia it becomes explicitly apparent that they both represent this common rebellious character. Whether they are refusing to comply to their mould of the perfect Victorian woman or the ideal woman during fascist rule, they are both undoubtedly rebelling against their imposed ways. I have argued that the reason this character shows up so frequently is because they are enjoyable to read about because people often face everyday situations where they could be more like one of these character, they wish they could break the mould that they are being forced into and reveal their voice to their authority, however they don’t because of the obvious consequences that would follow. Furthermore, Orme and Clark’s articles further reinforce and embellish this common character motif.
Works Cited
Carriger, Gail. Soulless. New York: Orbit, 2009. 1-357. Print.
Clark, Roger. “A Constant Transit of Finding”: Fantasy as Realisation in Pan’s Labyrinth. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 1-13. Faculty of Arts, York St John University. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.
Orme, Jennifer. Narrative Desire and Disobedience in Pan’s Labyrinth. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 1-17. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.

Pan’s Labyrinth. 2006. DVD.

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Victorian Parasols Drawing by Adam Zebediah Joseph

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Unsinkable Sam

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Chutney of Alubokhara.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
In Which Chuck Answers Why Adults Read So Much Young Adult Fiction

Book News:
YA Bibliophile says of Waistcoats & Weaponry:

“I’ve loved seeing Sophronia’s character develop and simply cannot wait to see where she ends up in Manners & Mutiny! YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THESE BOOKS!!!!”

Quote of the Day:

“Lastly, tea—unless one is drinking it in the Russian style—should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt.”

~ A Nice Cup of Tea (1946)

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The Intellectual Salon ~ Does Alexia Dream? (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


One of an Occasional Series of Intellectual Salons, wherein a scientist of note hijacks this blog for the purposes of in-Gail’s-world discourse. 

I received a very interesting calling card, Gentle Reader, from Dr. Kelly (she has a PhD, my readers are smart!). She graciously gave me permission to pose her question to you (slightly modified by me).

Dear Miss Carriger,

I am a new fan of your tales of Alexia Tarabotti and her feats of supernatural derring-do in Victorian London. I have read Soulless and Changeless so far, and I look forward to your further volumes.

Perhaps you speak to this question in a later story, but my professional interests urge me to make the inquiry directly to you:

Does Alexia dream?

As a scientific matter, the answer would seem to be no.  Primitive peoples from the dawn of history have explained dreaming as the night journeys of the soul, temporarily liberated during sleep from the shackles of the body.  (This idea was proposed by famed British anthropologist E.B. Tylor in the 1870?s, perhaps Alexia knew him?)  If Alexia has no soul, then she could not dream, and sleep for her would simply be a state of quiet physical inactivity.

I find that a dissatisfying conclusion.  The first piece of counter-evidence would be Alexia?s enthusiastic responsiveness to her husband?s amorous solicitations.  As Dr. Freud of Vienna would begin to theorize in the 1890?s, the energies of dreaming can be intimately intertwined with the energies of erotic arousal and desire.  I find it hard to imagine, as a purely professional matter of course, that a woman with so much libidinal vitality would never have dreams that express her instinctual familiarity with those deep yearnings and timeless pleasures.

A second piece of counter-evidence is Alexia?s admirable resourcefulness, which I believe should count as a species of creativity, indeed as one of the noblest forms of creativity.  She may not know how to wield a brush or pluck at a harp, but she knows how to navigate through the most trying circumstances with good grace and proper decorum.  That is an art form in itself, one at which Alexia is a grand master.  Numerous scientific studies have suggested connections between dreaming and creative thinking, so again I have to wonder if a person with such an abundance of this type of creativity would never experience dreams reflecting the nocturnal activation of the same cerebral mechanisms that underlie creativity in the waking state.

I could adduce further evidence, but then I would have to begin using footnotes, and that would become unwieldy.  Suffice it to say there are sound reasons to doubt?on purely theoretical grounds?the Tylorian hypothesis that a soulless person, a preternatural, is incapable of dreaming.

Please let me know if you possess any information that might help to cast the clear light of scientific understanding on this intriguing (to me, in any case) question.

Thank you for your consideration,

Dr. Kelly, Scientist in Good Standing

P.S. Scholarly experience has taught me that people who say they never dream often find themselves surprised when they awaken one morning and, lo and behold, a dream has rather rudely invited itself into their conscious minds and made irritatingly permanent residence there.  One never knows….

Dr. Kelly adds this website for your perusal.

So, my dear, Gentle Reader, I pose this same question to you. Do preternaturals dream? For that matter, do supernaturals? How much of dreaming is a matter for the soul? How much is sourced in the the creative part of human make up? 

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for January? Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

saisonciel-tumblr Gladys Cooper by Bassano, 1910

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Contest entry vampangel79_LJ

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Stuff You Should Know podcast talks about blimps

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
10 things you (probably) didn’t know about the history of London

Book News:
Aurian of Boeklogboek says of Waistcoats & Weaponry,

“I love this series, and I am in awe of Gail Carrigers’ imagination. Sophronia is such a great heroine, she thinks fast on her feet, and doesn’t care about a person’s standing in society…”

Quote of the Day:

“Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually produced themselves, had they not been invented.”

~ A.J. Esther

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Upon the 6th Birthday of Soulless

Posted by Gail Carriger


First, some lovely news, Gentle Reader.

 Etiquette & Espionage is on sale today for $2.99 through Apple, as part of their “50 Great Books, 50 Great Series” in the US & Canada.

And now, on to your regularly scheduled blog post…

October 1, 2009 a silly little book hit the market.

A very nervous debut author hummed and hawed over her offering. Would anyone actually like it? It was such an odd mash up of paranormal, steampunk, and comedy – who would enjoy such a ridiculous story? Were there readers out there irreverent enough to enjoy whimsy?


Well, Soulless turns five years old today. The silly little book that I thought would find a home in only a very few people’s hearts seems to have miraculously wormed its way out into the world and touched many.

FrenchSoullessPaperback copy JapeneseSoullessCover

Soulless has now sold into 14 different territories for translation. There’s been a graphic novel manga version (which itself is now translated into French and German) and an omnibus. It’s been optioned for TV. It’s spawned a dress up doll, various videos, fan art, several tea parties, audio books, cosplay, and an iPhone app. There is even a fan site!

SoullessAUDIO SoullessFinalCover copy

Little did I know how much that one book would so utterly change my life.

In these last five years:

  • After getting my second masters degree I put my PhD on indefinite hiatus.
  • I gave up teaching archeology, discontinued my experimental work, and stopped my field visits.
  • Basically, I switched careers.
  • I relocated twice.
  • I visited 9 foreign countries promoting the books, 5 of which I’ve never traveled to before.
  • I made countless new friends and been blessed with a chance to visit old ones.
  • I watched the steampunk movement grow and expand.
  • I went to conventions and signings all over the world and learned valuable lessons from fellow authors.
  • I ate hundreds of foods, dishes, and sweets I’d never tried before.
  • I wrote 10 additional books: 4 followups to Soulless, 1 YA sci-fi, and 4 YA Finishing School books, 1 Custard Protocol book.
  • And, best of all, I got to meet my readers: some here on the blog, some on twitter, some on Facebook, some in person ~ all of you so warm and fun and strong and smart.



There have been good reviews and glorious ones, nasty gripes and soundly presented critiques. I’ve tackled tough times in social media, and made more than my share of online mistakes. But in the end, it always came back to Soulless and the writing. Did the book make you smile? Then I did my job.

So, thank you so very much, Gentle Reader, and if you have the time or inclination please raise up a teacup in honor of Soulless, who’s original secret code name, at the dawn of this blog, was “The Little Paranormal That Could.” I guess Soulless could and did.

And if you put a spot of amaretto in your tea, well, I won’t tell.

Thanks for five glorious years!



Soulless’s original cover art photograph and the cover that never was.

Many of you have been with me all along, and several of you have already posted to similar October 1 posts of the past, for which I thank you. But if you would like to share your “How I discovered Soulless” story in the comments bellow, I would love to read them. I’m in edit hell right now so I might not have tiem to respond to each individually but i promise that I do read them all.

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for October? Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 Th Jersey Lilly with a Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

I ADORE this image if you know the photographer please tell me?

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Teaching Moment: Make A Banned Books Bookshelf

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Tea and Jeopardy – 27 – Gail Carriger visits the tea lair
“In this episode, the utterly splendid author Gail Carriger is invited into the secret tea lair. We talk about etiquette, the many ways in which octopi are remarkable, archaeology and some of the strange things Gail has eaten.

Quote of the Day:
“We plan, we toil, we suffer – in the hope of what?  A camel-load of idol’s eyes?  The title deeds of Radio City?  The empire of Asia?  A trip to the moon?  No, no, no, no.  Simply to wake just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs.”
~ J.B. Priestly


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Victorian Houses – Peek into Gail’s Research (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


I’mm talk a bit about England, Gentle Reader.

Gail Shoulder Notes Writer Victorian House

One of the things I love about traveling in the UK is the architecture. I’m a particular fan of the mixing of time periods you often find in smaller towns.


However, while I am in London, I’ll be paying attention to the less flashy Victorian houses, because I have been researching them lately.

In the late 1890s an American visitor to London describes the houses as:

“very tall, and very plain, and very narrow, and quite expressionless, except that it wore a sort of dirty brown frown. Like its neighbours, it had a well in front of it, and steps leading down in to the well, and an iron fence round the steps, and a brass bell-handle lettered ‘Tradesmen’. Like its neighbours, too, it wore boxes of spotty black greenery on the window-sills – in fact, it was very like its neighbours . . . Half-Moon Street, to me, looked like a family of houses – a family differing in heights and complexions and the colour of its hair, but sharing all the characteristics of a family – of an old family.”

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. li)

Victorian Terrace houses in Leeds, Wiki Commons


In the 1890s a standard house in town would be arranged roughly like so:

  • Top floor: servants and children’s bedrooms (usually two)
  • Half-landing: bathroom (often)
  • Second floor: master bedroom, dressing room (in larger houses), second bedroom
  • First floor: drawing room
  • Ground floor: dining room, morning room
  • Basement: kitchen, scullery, possibly a breakfast room

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. li)

The Duchess of Duke Street or You Rang, M’Lord? are both great TV shows to watch to get the feel for houses of this type. (And no, I had not seen You Rang, M’Lord? before I chose Ivy’s name.)

The complexity of the bedroom is particularly interesting to me.

Victorian Bedroom Painting


“Mattresses were of organic fibre: horsehair mattresses were the best; cow’s-hair ones were cheaper, although they did not wear as well; even less expensive were wool mattresses. A straw mattress, or palliase, could be put under a hair mattress to protect it from the iron bedstead. Chain-spring mattresses were available in the second half of the century, but they were expensive, and they still needed a hair mattress over them. It was recommended that a brown holland square should be tied over the chains, to stop the hair mattress from being chewed by the springs. The hair mattress itself then needed to be covered with another holland case, to protect it from soot and dirt. If the bed had no springs, a feather bed – which was also expensive, hard to maintain, and a great luxury –  could be added on top of the mattress. An underblanket, called a binding blanket, was recommended over the hair mattress.”

“After the basics (all of which needed turning and shaking every day, as otherwise the natural fibre had a tendancy to mat and clump), the bedding for cold, usually fireless rooms consisted of an under sheet (tucked into the lower mattress, not the upper, again to protect from soot), a bottom sheet, a top sheet, blankets (three or four per bed in the winter), a bolster, pillows, bolster and pillow-covers in holland, and bolster- and pillow-cases.”

~ Judith Flanders The Victorian House (pg. 11)

Bedding clearly was in just as many layers and just as complex a Victorian ballgown! Speaking of which over on Retro Rack I lay out a fantasy of some of Alexia’s underthings.

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

Book Relevant to this post?

Soulless Alex Award Scarf Gail Carriger Parasol Protectorate


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1870  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Postcard from my Grandfather’s travels

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:

80sidol-tumblr talk to me about my love for ormond tunstell and ivy hisslepenny

Quote of the Day:

“Don’t blame a man for the style of his literary apartments and more than you would for the color of his hair of the shape of his nose.”

~ Around the Tea Table by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 

In Which Gail Carriger Answers a Whole Mess of Worldbuilding Questions SPOILER ALERT! (Behind the Magic of the Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Fred left a massive comment on my post “Ketchup Blog ~ The Writer’s Native Environment.” It was so long, Gentle Reader, I was faced with no possible recourse but a blog post on the subject.

However, you should know that he asks me about events in all five of the Parasol Protectorate Books. Here we go…


I recently reread the Parasol Protectorate series and I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. Mostly lore-related so nothing too spoilerific. Feel free to answer all/some/none of them and sorry if you get the same kinda questions all the time.


1. So we know Britain is progressive and Italy and America aren’t so which are some other progressive/actively hostile countries?
Well, you may have noted France isn’t too excited about the supernatural either. I’ve been recently thinking hard about the Scandinavian countries, with long nights and all that. You’d think they’d have to, at least, build in a truce of some kind. And there’s the vikings to consider, no doubt they were heavily involved with werewolves, how else to you explain the mythology and the hairiness? You’re going to hate this answer, because I will be giving it a lot, but… some countries swing one way or another for historical/cultural/religious reasons (Ancient Greeks are notoriously xenophobic, they’re against all supernaturals), others for reasons of political opposition to the UK. In the end, you’re going to have to wait and see what the Custard Protocol series reveals about the rest of the world.

Lilliput cat map victorian stretch helpful vintage cairo egypt

2. When Prudence touches her mother does she become human/normal or does she become preternatural?
See March 17, 2015… Prudence, Book One of the Custard Protocol series.

3. Are the templars autonomous or do they answer to the Pope and if so does the Pope directly control all of Italy?
Considering the historically recorded end of the templars, still the offical on record, after which they went underground, they are very much autonomous, as much as a secret society can be. They probably have friends in high places.

4. Are there regional variations of werecreatures? Like it would be soooo cool if Japan had kitsunes, just sayin’.
Wait for it…

5. In theory could someone have so much excess soul that they became supernatural, die and then become a ghost?
I don’t know, that’s a very good question. Lemme look at my scientific notes. (Yes, I have the workings of preternatural vs. metanatural vs. supernatural calculated out in pseudo-scientific chemical form, because, I’m a dork.) And the answer is… no.

British Empire Map

6. Is there such a thing as a female rove or is such a thing totally biologically impossible?
Theoretically yes. But since all female vampires are queens, and all female vampires have a very tight tether, it would be very hard to function in society without a hive. Also, there might be some kind of turf war as surrounding male roves would want alliances for breeding reasons. My feeling is, she wouldn’t last long as a rove, a hive would organically form around her. It’s the same as with bees.

7. What are some of the characteristics of an abundance of soul? Creativity is the obvious one but someone like Angelique did not show any excessive creativity (at least not “on-screen,” except if doing hair counts I suppose) but she did have… I dunno? Character? She was an impressive lady is more or less what I’m getting at, is that kinda thing also indicative of excess soul?
One might ask the same question of Ivy. I’m thinking of creativity in the old fashioned use of the world, a factor of being able to think differently and see the world form alternative angles. Angelique is a manipulator, an infiltrator, and a spy ~ there is creativity in that. One doesn’t have to produce art to be artistic. This is one of the reasons pinning down excess soul is so very difficult. And it could be that more females might survive if the society in which humans lived was more relaxed in allowing women autonomy to explore different avenues. In the modern day, there might be more female werewolves, simply because women are allowed by society to be so much more than they were in the past. Not to mention physically stronger, healthier in terms of nutrition, clothing, and surviving childbirth. Then again, perhaps in the modern age someone develops and online quiz that sorts it all out. All that said: you can have excess soul and still not survive the bite. At which juncture you do not become a ghost. I know this fact, the scientists of my world do not.

8. One of the books mentioned a loner petitioning Conall to turn one of his clavigers, is that usually the motivation for werewolves to go loner? They want their own pack? If so how unusual is the dewan?
You learn a lot more about the dewan (he’s very unusual) and being a loner in the final two Finishing School books as Sophronia gets drawn into London politics. Loners, like lone wolves, may not want a pack and prefer a solitary life, they may be a bit insane and not function in a pack dynamic, or they may intend to challenge, it depends on the loner. However, they still need clavigers to care for them at full moon so they must build an alliance with a local Alpha who has Anubis form, or why would the clavigers bother? I suppose if one had enough money one could have paid clavigers.

9. How willing are hive queens to create new queens? Vampires seem pretty possessive as a rule, wouldn’t they be wary of the upstart deciding to stick around and try and take her territory?
Always willing to try, almost never successful. The survival of the species is in play, not to mention its the only way vampires can migrate to other lands. Also it’s a huge status symbol. It’s like a bee queen creating a new bee queen, the existing hive is not under threat. The new queen is always weaker and will swarm to a new location once she has matured out of larvae stage.

10. What happens if a queen swarms and she can’t find a place she deems “safe” soon enough? Or if she’s actively stopped from settling?
Considering the strength of a panicked hive I think that highly unlikely. So far as I know, in my world’s history it has never happened. I suspect all local roves would be vested in keeping her safe, all else fails, one of them could offer up his home and relocate.

Lord Akeldama (vampire) pretends to be a werewolf for Alexia in the Soulless manga

11. So we know queens will actually die if they live long enough because they can’t really feed through natural means anymore (do vampires die if they don’t feed? Or just go into a coma or something?) does something similar happen to male vampires?
Maybe. So far, none of them have lived long enough.

12. How much decay is too much decay for a ghost? Is it safe to assume that with the right kind of technology that ghosts could stick around forever?
Maybe, that would take some serious preservation tech to keep flesh in tact but also allow contact with some air/aether to maintain a tether. Air, by nature, is corrosive to organic matter (says the archaeologist) so the answer in truth is you might keep a ghost sane for a long time with the right technology but I can’t conceive of a way to do it forever.

13. How old is Lord Akeldama? This is probably venturing into spoiler/leave-them-guessing territory but I figure either REALLY old or not that old at all. Cuz he either has to be an Englishman who ventured to Egypt relatively recently or not an Englishman at all but a foreigner that has acculturated seamlessly. Not impossible for someone of his intellect but I’m going with the latter. Which must make him very old because he must have been turned before this ennui/extreme weakness gripped Matakara. Then again Matty’s right hand man did say the other vampires were still “young” whatever that means to a vampire. Woops this kinda wandered away from question territory didn’t it?
He’s pretty old. I’ve dropped a number of clues as to who he really is. Yes, he is someone. Read Prudence as there is a big fat hint in the first Custard Protocol book. Living with her vampire father gives Prudence a unique perspective on him and an ability to see beyond his facade. She also has a daughter’s curiosity plus disregard for his privacy (she doesn’t fear him) that other characters can’t afford. Prudence, can find things out. That said, some readers have successfully figured it out already.

rickshaw lord akeldama parasol

14. This is kinda morbid and gross but when Alexia dies can she, conceivably, have some of her skin cured and turned into leather? Lord Akeldama could wear her and watch the sun come up/set whenever he wanted to then. Assuming he’d ever wear something like that ofc. I have reservations.
This presupposes that it it skin alone that has preternatural abilities, remember the Templar’s hand was a whole hand and the mummies in Timeless included bone. It also supposes the tanning and preservation process does not mess with the chemistry of the soul. Is your leather jacket actually a cow’s soul? There’s our existential quesiton for the day.

15. How far in the future is the new series set, the one with Prudence?
Prudence is about 20 years old. The first book is set in 1895.

16. How is killing a supernatural looked upon in pro-supernatural societies? Because I’m with Alexia on this one, the idea of killing something immortal is repulsive. All that knowledge. 🙁
Pretty severely, unless you are a sundowner. And even then the paperwork is insane.

Fan Art Conall lord_maccon_in_anubis_form_by_mommyspike-d4al8wa

17. How many of their drones/clavigers do loners/roves actually try to have changed? Cuz it seems like such a waste yah know? The use of Akeldama’s drones goes down significantly if they’re actually successfully turned. The only reason I can think of is for love/companionship. Then again why sign up to be a drone to a rove instead of a queen? Maybe they just want something to do in their younger years. Better than badminton I suppose.
Any that ask, so long as they have served an appropriate time of service (time depends on hive/pack rules and society standards) and the Alpha/Queen thinks it wise. However, some drones and clavigers are indentured as punishment, some are artists who would like a rich patron and these often don’t want immortality. Some do it for love, or money. Some do it for protection from other threats, like family, or society. Hives and packs are powerful options if, for example, you are homosexual. You still have a chance at immortality with a loner or a rove, that’s what metamorphosis petitions are for.

18. Are we gonna see some of the old characters in the new books?
Some, but not as primary agents.

19. Can the position of muhaj (sp?) ONLY be filled by a preternatural or is that a post Prudence would also be able to fill? Then again I suppose creating an entirely new role might make as much sense.
Only a preternatural, which is why it is often vacant.

Quote Only The Fabulous live forever Lord Akeldama

20. Do metanaturals live longer than the muggl- normal people? [daylighters] Cuz if Prudence spent every night (unlikely as that is) as a werewolf or vampire she should in theory live to be at least twice as old as a regular person right?
Sure, if she did that. The supernatural person she steals from would also age, however. Prudence, so far, is entirely uninterested in immortality.

21. Can children be turned into vampires/werewolves? Pretty questionable ethically of course but interesting to think about. If a 10 year old was turned into a vampire at 10 would s/he stay that way forever? I.e. 10 year old intellect/naivety and etc? Man that could be so dangerous.
No. Excess soul is contingent on post puberty in my world. Girls have to have gotten their period and boys have had their voice break before they can even petition for drone/claviger status. And then there is, usually, years of indenture. It also helps if full growth has been reached, something to do with the flexibility of bones. And, of course, the successful presence of wisdom teeth is a plus.

22. Can we get a spin-off about the adventures of Lyall & Biffy? Man I’d read the shit out of that. Favourite book couple in a looooooong time.
I’d love to, some day.

23. OH! OH! OH! That reminds me! You have a lot of LGBT characters in your books which makes me wonder. Is this kind of relaxed standards because the books take place in a pro-supernatural setting and immortals have a more relaxed view on this kind of thing or is the setting as a whole just less stuck on sexuality?
Yes and yes, and historically we forget things were somewhat more relaxed before the Wilde trial. Still underground, but often overlooked.

24. What would happen if someone in the royal family actually became a supernatural? They’d be disowned I’d imagine. Or killed? Can’t risk having an immortal monarch now can we.
Right up there with divorce, I imagine.

25. Assuming he had his sword who would win in a fight, Lord Akeldama or Lord Maccon? That needs to happen Gail. IT NEEDS TO HAPPEN OR MY LIFE WILL NEVER BE COMPLETE.
If they met as mortals before metamorphosis (not possible because Conall wasn’t yet born)? Lord Akeldama. After? We all know Lord Akeldama is a lover not a fighter. I think it would probably be a kind of comic avoidance with Lord Akeldama flitting about just out of reach and Lord Maccon chasing after him in an increasing frustrated manner destroying all the furniture until dawn.

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Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1876  The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Moon Light

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

smithsonian- tumblr A demonstration of Lucius Copeland’s steam tricycle in front of our Castle Building in 1888.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Yet if a practised and successful author ventures to pronounce an unfavourable verdict on such productions, because the writer desired her candid opinion, she will probably light up a flame of resentment, that may never be extinguished, and make an enemy for life; the objections being imputed to “sheer envy,” and to a malignant design of “extinguishing a rising star.””

by Eliza Leslie (American 1864) 

Quote of the Day:

“When out of a man’s pen he can shake recreation, and friendship, and usefulness, and bread, he is apt to keep it shaking.”

~ Around the Tea Table, by T. De Witt Talmage (1875) 

Trade Paperbacks of the Parasol Protectorate Coming to the US

Posted by Gail Carriger


Orbit is releasing the Parasol Protectorate books in trade paperback size to the US market! The first three will come out tomorrow, April 1, 2014 (Soulless, Changeless, and Blameless) and the last two on July 1, 2014.

They have done a slight makeover of the cover art as well, can you spot the differences?

Answering the inevitable questions…

  • None of the text has changed. Although the “other book” samples at the end of each may be different.
  • Yes, they are entirely phasing out the mass market editions. If you have been waiting to round out your MM collection or buy the boxed set I advise doing it sooner rather than later.
  • Yes, we are still trying for hard cover editions of the Parasol Protectorate series, but it seems unlikely. The Omnibus from SF Bookclub really are your only choice at the moment.
  • The Prudence books, however, will be released as small hard covers! Exciting. It is the binding of the future! As it were. (Speaking of which how can there be already 34 votes on Goodreads? No one, not even my editor, has seen this book yet. Ridiculous interwebs.)


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Miss K with a red parasol.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My favorite from the Bouquets to Art at the de Young

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

I want this SO MUCH.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Sobre Livros (Portugal) says of Soulless:

“The book is amazing, vibrant, funny … has a wonderful tone and narrative is full of mysteries. Before I even finished the first chapter I was completely enraptured. Alexia (our Miss. Taraboti) has a strong, insightful, sardonic and very courageous temperament.”

Quote of the Day:

“Neal had a gift for making someone want to punch him just for saying hello”

~ Tamora Pierce, Page

What Year Are The Parasol Protectorate Books Set In? (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Soulless Vol 3 (the manga adaptation of Blameless was #7) on the New York Times Best Seller List for graphic novels. Thank you for your support!

On a few occasions someone has asked me what exactly are the dates for my five Parasol Protectorate books.

Yes it’s alternate history, but what exactly is that alternate time? There are, of course, some hints, but in most of the books I never come outright and say. Some of the later books I have determined so closely it’s down to the time of year or even month, usually indicated by the type and kind of meals the characters are consuming. I know OCD for a writer whose science is based on defunked theories and whose dirigibles defy physics. What can I say, food and fashion, they are most meaningful to me. I’m so darn supercilious.

So here you go, Gentle Reader, the Parasol Protectorate Books by date:

Soulless ~ 1873
No specific month but the ladies are swanning around Hyde Park during the Season so it has to be sometime between late spring and late summer. Probably more towards the latter half of the year.

Changeless ~ Winter 1874
And by that I mean probably January or February, because it follows relatively quickly on the heels of Soulless but the weather is atrocious.


The Fashions for 1974 Season


Blameless ~ Spring 1874
Again, quickly after Changeless. These first three books formulate a pretty cohesive trilogy both temporally and plot wise. Which is one of the reason the mangas stick to these three books.

Heartless ~ July 1874
Because of Alexia’s condition this date is very firmly fixed. Also the time and location hinges on one of the key events that occurs in this book, in the real world the Pantechnicon burned as well.



Timeless ~ April 1876
There’s a time jump between these two books, for reasons to do with Prudence.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Recycle a Wine Bottle Plant Nanny Stake

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Genre Series: Series vs. Standalones; Ones We Abandoned; Ones We Returned To

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

via the FB

Soulless Vol 3 Manga, Will There Be More?

Posted by Gail Carriger


Many people ask where the rest of the manga is? And here’s the answer.

Today (November 19, 2013) the third volume in the manga adaptation of my books hits store in print form. Soulless Vol. 3 is the adaptation of Blameless, and will be the last in the series.

Wait! Did you say Vol #3 is the last installment of the manga?

Yes. REM is a little burnt out on the project, it’s been years of her drawing my characters, and I imagine she wants to draw her own (or something else, or nothing at all) for a while! I understand her feelings entirely and think Blameless makes a good ending for the manga. Plus, she included a special bonus ending. Also, frankly, it was a little odd to think about how to manga-up an inconvenienced Alexia for Heartless.

I think the first three hold as a trilogy. I’m happy with the decision, but since the manga creation process has been nothing but fun for me, I am a little sad to see that aspect end. I know many of you will be disappointed, unfortunately it is what it is.

I know you might be upset, but I do hope you understand why. And remember the last two books are waiting for you in their original form.

Also I made this blog post just for you:

10 Graphic Novels You’ll Enjoy if You Loved Soulless (the Manga)

Madame Lefoux and Alexia cabinet card from Soulless Vol. 3

Tell us more about Soulless Vol. 3

I think this one may be the best. Perhaps it’s because Madame Lefoux gets so much screen time. Perhaps it’s the adventure format with dashing across Europe giving REM ample opportunity to exercise her mad landscape and steampunk skills. Perhaps it’s the happy ending, and an extra little dose of pleasure that came directly from REM’s imagination and which will satisfy many fans in ways I never did.

Is the series popular in Japan?

(via LadyAvalon in my Reddit AMA)

I believe the books are popular in Japan. My publishing house there is quick to do the translations and they were one of the first to buy the series: both good signs. But I don’t know for certain.

The manga has nothing to do with my Japanese translations. It’s done by Yen, one of a few American-based manga houses (hence the reason the book is read from left to right).

How’d the manga of Soulless came to be?

The head publisher of Yen and I met at BEA in 2009 and he complemented Soulless. I love manga so I got excited over his books. He hinted if I were ever interested in a graphic novel of my work… Was I ever! After Soulless did well, we pinged him to see if they were still interested in a manga adaptation and they were. They found REM, my amazing artist, and ta-da! I feel super lucky, it’s rare for any author to get a graphic novel adaptation unless they are crazy popular like George R.R. Martin. However, Japanese publishers remain uninterested in the manga. But recently the manga sold into translation to both France and Germany.

What about a manga of The Finishing School Books?

No word and, so far, no interest. I’d certainly be open to the possibility, although nervous that nothing could equal what a wonderful experience I had with the Parasol Protectorate adaptations.

Conall & Lyall cabinet card.

What else is going on?

1. I just returned home from Canada and my last event of 2013 (so much catch up to come).
2. Curtsies & Conspiracies made #5 on NYT YA Hardback bestseller list, THANK YOU so much for buying it!
3. I have an interview in Parade Magazine all about Curtsies.
4. We’re training a cat.

More on manga?

Want more insider info? Join the Chirrup!


Your Moment of Parasol . . .


Your Infusion of Cute . . .


Why can’t I buy one? Why!!!! I want it so bad.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Tansy Time

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

via British Paintings “Aunties’s Best Bonnet” Beatrice Offor

Book News:
Kirkus Reviews the first volume of the manga.

“The Parasol Protectorate’s first volume, Soulless, is a love story, and I don’t read love stories. Yet, I read this one and loved it, and when the time came, I picked up the graphic novel of the same name: Soulless: The Manga, Volume 1.”

Quote of the Day:

via FB

Soulless by Gail Carriger Wins the Prix Julia Verlanger French Award (The Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger

I am delighted to announce that I have won the Prix Julia Verlanger, a French Award for Sci-Fi and Fantasy. They give the award once a year, to one author. I am quite chuffed. This is my first genre award and my first international award!*

The award was announced at les Utopiales de Nantes but I’ve known for three weeks and been eager to tell you, Gentle Reader. I am so sad I wasn’t able to be there. My awesome French publishing house picked it up for me.

I asked them to please thank all my French readers for taking a chance on books set in England, and my publisher and translator for doing such a wonderful job. Also I wanted to thank everyone for being so gracious to me when I visited earlier this year, I feel spoiled by France in many ways.  

I am reminded of a silly story from the begining of this crazy journey into writer-doom.

You see, France was the first territory my books sold into, outside of the US. Before the UK.

Yes, you read that right.

Well my Mum, who is Properly British, was so upset about this. It was as if the French had conquered some desirable foriegn territory before the Queen manged to get there. Mum was mighty perturbed with her own country.

Of course, now the series is in both territories. And there are many reasons the French “got there first,” as some are prone to putting it. But I can’t help cherishing affection for my French readers, not to mention lingering surprise that have taken something so ridiculously Victorian into their hearts. Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that Alexia talks about, and I describe with such evident delight, food? Perhaps it’s because I’m gently poking fun at those Victorians? Perhaps it is because Madame Lefoux is so bad ass? I suppose when push comes to shove, Steampunk is French by rights of Jules Verne. And I suspect the French of being quiet open and willing to immerse themselves in the wonder of whimsey.

What ever it is, I can only say thank you from the bottom of my marmite-eating soufflé-loving warped little heart. 

Vive la France!

* Soulless did win the Alex, an award from librarians, who are so awesome to me and my books. So one could make the argument that the “librarians got there first.” Which makes me picture librarians armed with rulers as swords and books as shields in phalanx formation storming the beach at Normandy. I know I’m mixing so many times and places and metaphors. My brain is like that.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

via the FB

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Miniature corset, 1890s

Your Tisane of Smart . . .


Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Scott Adams’ Secret of Success: Failure

Book News:
Curtsies & Conspiracies makes Kirkus: Best Bets for Science Fiction & Fantasy – November 2013 

Don’t be misled into thinking that such books offer little for adults.”

Quote of the Day:

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”

Oscar Wilde

9 Silly Soulless Questions ~ Some Fun Interview Bits (Occasional FAQ about the Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Around when Soulless released, Gentle Reader, I did a bunch of interviews.
Here are a few of my favorite Q&As from that time
1. What jobs did you have on your way to being a writer? Did they help you in any way as a writer? (HidingSpot)
I’ve been everything from a bartender to a tour guide, but I think my career as an archaeologist/academic has helped my writing the most. It gave me great research skills, familiarity with a variety of cultures both around the world now and in the past, good self-discipline, and a paranoia over making deadlines. Oh, and the ability to subsist entirely on a diet of Top Ramen and tea.

2. How would you react if you were you attacked by a vampire without even a proper introduction?  (Fantasy Cafe)

I suspect writing is more of a curse for those around me. I get distracted and spacey at the beginning of a project, frustrated in the middle, briefly euphoric at the end, and grumpy when I’m not writing at all. I imagine it’s like living with someone who has a six-month rotation of some bizarre kind of pregnancy – all the time, over and over again.

Oh, I have no pride or gumption. I would run to the nearest public area yelling for the constabulary.

3. Give us one embarrassing author moment: (Jacqueline Cook)

I arrived for my very first in-person meeting with my agent with the back of my dress unzipped. Sigh. The moral of this story? Always travel with a lady’s maid. The moral of the moral? Sell enough books to afford a lady’s maid.

4. Do you carry a parasol for defense? (Jeff VanderMeer)

Sadly, no, I’m an unparalleled wimp. There was once an entirely unsuccessful attempt at karate, wherein I kept fretting about actually having to kick people and trying to convince the class to break for tea. Sometimes, however, I’ve been seen carrying a parasol for protection against the sun. I know, I know, crazy talk.

5. Given that your biography states that you are “fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit,” would you please describe your favored method for combining the two, and the conditions under which said combination would occur? (John Glover)

How about a teeny tiny hat decorated with tropical fruit? Or wearing a teeny tiny hat and eating tropical fruit? Or cutting tropical fruit into the shape of teeny tiny hats!

6. Why parasols? (Jonathan Moeller)

You would prefer, perhaps, octopuses?

7. Did you ever find yourself writing a bit of dialog and reading it back to yourself thinking “Wow. That’s just TOO over the top…”? (Nick)

Wait, have you read my book? Uh. No. I did get the reign-in from my editor on a certain bit of dialogue in the second book. I neatly avoided the issue through judicious application of laudanum. (To the character speaking, mind you, not my editor.)

8. CK: Any favorite vampires from lit, film, or TV? (Vampire Film)

I don’t think he really counts, but I love Dorian Gray. I have a real soft spot for Mina Murray in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel series and I adore the character of Drusilla on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not to sneak in werewolves, but I was turned to the furry side by Klause’s brilliant YA novel Blood and Chocolate.

9. Have you reached the point at which you realized that you had “made it” as a writer and author? (Travis)

When I walked into a bookstore store and saw Soulless on a shelf for the first time, there was sputtering.

Want more inside info? Join the Chirrup!


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1897  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

PB Teen Desk Chair $129

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

via PJ Dominicis FB

Book News:
Love the characters of Lyall and Biffy?

You might try my contemporary paranormal romance ebook short story Marine Biology.

Quote of the Day:

“Fiction writers, present company included, don’t understand very much about what they do – not why it works when it’s good, not why it doesn’t when it’s bad.”

~ Stephen King

Upon the 4th Birthday of Soulless

Posted by Gail Carriger


October 1, 2009 a silly little book hit the market.

A very nervous debut author hummed and hawed over her offering. Would anyone actually like it? It was such an odd mash up of paranormal, steampunk, and comedy – who would enjoy such a ridiculous story? Were there readers out there irreverent enough to want whimsy?


Well, Soulless turns four years old today. The silly little book that I thought would find a home in only a very few people’s hearts seems to have miraculously wormed its way out into the world and touched many.

FrenchSoullessPaperback copy JapeneseSoullessCover

Soulless has now sold into 13 different territories for translation. There’s a graphic novel manga version of the first three books (which itself is due for translation into German and French) and an omnibus. It’s been optioned for TV. It’s spawned a dress up doll, fan art, pumpkin carving, tattoos, cosplay, several tea parties, audio books, and an iPhone app. There is even a fan site.

SoullessAUDIO SoullessFinalCover copy

Little did I know how much that one book would so utterly change my life.

In these last four years:

  • After getting my second masters degree I put my PhD on indefinite hiatus.
  • I gave up teaching archeology, discontinued my experimental work, and stopped my field visits.
  • Basically, I switched careers.
  • I relocated three times.
  • I visited 8 foreign countries promoting the books, 6 of which I’ve never traveled to before.
  • I made countless new friends and been blessed with a chance to visit old ones.
  • I watched the steampunk movement grow and expand.
  • I went to conventions and signings all over the world in various different capacities and learned valuable lessons from fellow authors.
  • I ate hundreds of foods, dishes, and sweets I’d never tried before.
  • I wrote 8 additional books: 4 followups to Soulless, Crudrat, and 3 Finishing School books.
  • And, best of all, I got to meet my readers: some here on the blog, some on twitter, some on Facebook, some in person ~ all of you so warm and fun and strong and smart.
Screen Shot 2012-07-06 at 1.09.09 PM
Series Review

There have been good reviews and glorious ones, nasty gripes and soundly presented critiques. I’ve tackled tough times in social media, and made more than my share of online mistakes. But in the end, it always came back to the writing. Did the book make you smile? Then I did my job.


So, thank you so very much, Gentle Reader, and if you have the time or inclination please raise up a teacup in honor of Soulless, who’s original secret code name, at the dawn of this blog, was “The Little Paranormal That Could.” I guess Soulless could and did.

And if you put a spot of amaretto in your tea, well, I won’t tell.

Thanks for four glorious years.

P.S. If you’d like to leave a comment about how you first met Soulless, I’d love to read it.  Four years later and I am still startled anyone found my book and actually read it.


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Donna in the original cover image.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

The Cover That Wasn’t

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
7 Ways to Get to Know Your Character (I like to give mine quizzes out of glossy magazines)

Book News:
I participate in a Mind Meld about my favorite and most influential YA author.

Quote of the Day:
“Books are immortal sons deifying their sires.”
~ Plato

Holiday Fun ~ Books as Gifts Part 1 Soulless (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger


The book basket!

This is an idea shamelessly taken out of the Romance Community, but it is such a good idea! I can’t help myself. I recently parroted on about it on the SF Signal podcast and have decided to do a few companion blogs on the subject.

If you have a friend/loved one who is a voracious reader why not consider a signed copy of a book from an author you know they love, accompanied by a basket of items themed to that book? My local indy Borderlands has many signed books available. Give them a call or try your own local establishment (like Murder by the Book, Tattered Cover, Powells, Book People, or Mysterious Galaxy). They will usually have authors in town drop by and sign stock.

Anyway, so here’s the idea: once you have the book, signed or not, then build a basket of fun around that book.

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

Soulless Tea Party themed (can use Soulless, Soulless: The Manga Vol. 1, or the Parasol Protectorate boxed set)

I have lots of additional ideas and food thoughts in my blog post on How to Throw a Parasol Protectorate tea.

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

Book News:
Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2 a #1 New York Times bestseller in the Graphic Novel List!

Quote of the Day:
“Cakes and bonbons suitable for tennis parties are legion, and, as a rule the one thing to be observed in selecting them is to avoid stickiness or surprises.”
~ Steel & Gardiner, 1888

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