Tagged Steampunk

Manners & Mutiny Available in Trade

Posted by Gail Carriger


For those of you who are collectors of the trade paperbacks (here in the USA) Manners & Mutiny is finally available today!


This is my last official release of a Finishing School book. Yes there will be other translations, but I tend not to know when those come out.

Those of you who have been waiting for this edition to read the last installment, I do hope you like the closing of The Finishing School Series.

ace-artemis-fanartist- Soap and Sophronia (from the Finishing School series) out for a nighttime stroll

ace-artemis-fanartist- Soap and Sophronia (from the Finishing School series) out for a nighttime stroll

Yes this is the official end of Sophronia and Soap’s story. They will not show up as main characters again. (But don’t rule them out of side-ways appearances.)

As a special treat, I thought I would give you a bit of a flashback to an original blog tour I did just prior to the release of Etiquette & Espionage.

Extra Special Stuff!

Here are samples from my original blog tour, in which I play at teaching Finishing School myself.

Deportment & Disguises with The Book Rat

The business of espionage and finishing can sometimes be rather uncouth; what tips should a lady always follow to conduct herself appropriately while on the job?
Good posture is a must, and perfume strong enough to confuse supernatural senses. Lastly, a lady should never forget her sewing scissors, handkerchief, and small vile of poison – best to be prepared.

What must a lady never do, even in the hairiest of situations?
Dance with a gentleman more than two times, show her neck to a vampire without introduction, or faint without purpose.

What rules or guidelines should a lady always follow in donning a disguise?
Consider the hair in all things ­– mustaches, for example, should be treated gently. No one likes to look at the underclass, the ugly, or the uncouth, so when in doubt don all three. Also consider the opposite direction, aristocratic children, for example, can be both unseen and unheard.

A lady should always be ready for anything that comes her way at the drop of a hat (god forbid one were to drop it, that is). What are the most useful items to have on-hand to design a disguise on the fly?
Hair ribbons, sap paste, and smelling salts.


Drawing & Death with Alice Marvels

When drawing a friend with an unfortunately large nose, which is more important, artistic integrity or artistic tact?
Tact. Always go with tact, it’s far more versatile. I would go so far as to say it looks good on everyone.

When drawing a still life fruit bowl, is it unladylike to snack on your subject?
Yes, but if you can get away with it and not have anyone notice, there’s always the fall back of wide eyed innocence. Besides good fruit should be eaten not sketched.

What is the best way to kill someone in a crowded theater or opera house without ruining the performance?
Poison during the break that results in a subject that seems asleep. After all, everyone falls asleep at the theater, it’s practically mandatory and could even be considered a sign of good breeding.

What do you do if you’re at a fancy ball and you need to get rid of a dead body in between dances?
If you’re strong enough, dance with the body, right out into a garden. Make use of a duck pond. Duck ponds are good.

Are there any women in history you believe could have secretly attended Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality?
A very great number I believe, of course I’m not at liberty to reveal such secrets.


Household Management & Hand-to-Hand Combat with Supernatural Snark

What’s the most important quality to look for when hiring someone for a position within the home?
Smooth running on all rails, a good set of basic protocols, well polished exterior, and gears in excellent working order. Oh, did you mean human staff?

Someone has just arrived at the front door completely unannounced and uninvited. What’s the proper response to such a situation?
Send out the butler to make it clear at you are Not At Home to callers.

When facing a larger opponent in hand to hand combat, what’s one thing a person of smaller stature should never do?
Direct attack. Diversion is always a superior approach.

Is there one part of our bodies that most people don’t know makes a great weapon?
The tongue is all too often underestimated.

If you were sent to finishing school, what’s the name of one class at which you would excel?
Tea Parties, Tarts, and Tarting It Up for all occasions.


Dress & Diversion with Forever Young Adult

Which gown styles would best benefit a young lady with an ample bosom?
Mademoiselle Geraldine would say that a lady should always dress to emphasi’ze her assets. A nice tight bodice with a scoop or square neckline, and a complimentary lace tuck never goes amiss. Besides, it never hurts to have an additional…pocket, shall we say?

The best diversionist has to think on her feet.
When in doubt: Faint backwards

In which article of a young lady’s clothing is it best to conceal a dagger?
See question number one, if possible. If not, pagoda sleeves are wide and ample, it’s best to have all ones visiting gowns designed with them for daggers or any additional necessities, like perfume.

To attract the attention of one specific individual in a crowded place from across the room, a young lady’s best weapon is:
A brightly colored fan or a very large hat.

If a lady needs to make a quick departure off of a dirigible, what is her best course of action?

Maid Travel

Music & Modern Weaponries with Mundie Moms

If you could make yourself a clockwork weapon, what would it look like and what would it do?
I would like a holstered version of a crank heater than could boil water in a mug so I could have tea on the go.

We hear that dancing is a required skill for all Finishing School ladies. Which is the most challenging to master?
The waltz is very challenging because of the intimacy entailed, but every young lady struggles with the quadrille, particularly if she has to pass secret notes at the same time.

What is a memorable piece of music that either makes your heart skip a beat, or makes you think of a dashing young man?
Cup of Brown Joy by Professor Elemental, it does both in the best possible way and for the most excellent reason.

In between all the lessons at school, what are the ladies’ most common leisure activity?
For these young ladies, spying on each other, the teachers, and the staff not necessarily in that order.

What’s your favorite weapon to practice with?
The pen, of course. Mightier as it may be…


CheriePie says of Manners & Mutiny: “If you love the steampunk genre, mixed in with some young adult fantasy, and appreciate good writing, then this is a series you should not miss.”

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


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


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?

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1864 Albert Lynch (Peruvian artist, 1851-1912) A Summer Stroll

1864 Albert Lynch (Peruvian artist, 1851-1912) A Summer Stroll

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Marshalls has a teacup! Watch out USA tea is coming.

Marshalls has a teacup! Watch out USA tea is coming.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Talking to Writers at Parties

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  


Book News:


Praise for the Finishing School Series

Stephanie Wood Franklin of Insert Scene Here says:
“Following young women in the early 19th century as they learn how to set up a household and also spy for Queen and country (or hive, or pack, or some other service) is a joy to behold. The characters grow over the course of the books, while still behaving believably as teenagers would. The language is appropriate for the time period, but doesn’t hit you over the head with dialect.”

Cory Chambers of Lily Cahill says:
“This book is classified as YA, which makes sense given the age group of the characters, but it has a sophistication and sense of humor that is very adult. Seriously, this world is so real, so developed, and so delightfully British. It’s like Jane Austen meets James Bond by way of Fawlty Towers.”

Through the Looking Glass says of the Finishing School series:
“Cementing my love for these books is the wonderful notion that most problems can be solved by tea, and if no tea is readily available then there is always a wicker chicken. Again, don’t ask. Judicious use of my favourite beverage accompanied by the addition of a charming mechanimal named Bumbersnoot has endeared Gail Carriger’s world as close to my heart as the Discworld, and shall await every new book with eager anticipation.”

V’s Reads says (in a review of Manners & Mutiny):
“I simply adored this series. It’s witty and fun, and frisky! There are some not-so-subtle hints toward burgeoning sexuality, male nudity, interracial romance, even…well, allusions toward outre lifestyles for some of the boys. It tickled me from the first page, and wrapped up the four-book plotline beautifully.”

Quote of the Day:

“When he spoke again, it was to talk of pumpkins and cabbages, and after that, for he was a man of limited ideas, of cabbages and pumpkins.”
~ P.G. Wodehouse

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

Coop de Book Review: Steamed Up Anthology ~ M/M Steampunk Romance (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Gentle Reader, this is a mid month book review of an anthology of m/m steampunk short stories. Sometimes I break the pattern of only reviewing at the end of the month. I know, crazy talk.

OK so the Steamed Up anthology came across my radar via the m/m romance arena as it is has Eli Easton as a contributor. I’ve read a bit of her contemporary stuff and liked it, so I decided to give this a try.  (What, you’re surprised?)


I really enjoyed it. The romances sweet and mainly pretty tame in the smut arena, and utilized largely very well developed steampunk worlds and settings (for short stories). The editing was spot on and the writing of an unexpectedly high caliber, all-in-all I recommend the book.

Here are my thoughts on the specific stories:

  1. Five to One by Angelia Sparrow ~ two young lower class men build a racing machine to enter a cross country speed competition. The romance is between long time friends Jonathan and Dee, told from Jonny’s perspective. Dee is the inventor. It’s a sexual awakening story, as such the sex manages to be both innocent and graphic.
  2. The Clockwork Nightingale’s Song by Amy Rae Durreson ~ Probably my favorite of the stories, this is a love story between a mechanical nightingale and a real bird paralleled to that of an eccentric aristocratic genius (Gabriel) and a lowly mechanic (Shem). I adored the setting: a floating Vauxhall Garden. Beautifully written, the two characters are very gentle with one another, and I’m a sucker for a cross-class romance. “Instead, he wrapped his own arms around Gabriel and let him murmur wild, disorderly words into the crook of Shem’s neck, until Shem just had to kiss him quiet again.”
  3. Durreson Ace of Hearts by Mary Pletsch ~ very WWII feeling  love story between a hot shot dirigible pilot Captain James Hinson and Aeroplane Mechanic First Class William Pettigrew that concerns planes, a daring rescue mission, and an in-air dog fight. This one was quite chaste, just some kissing, but the airship action was fantastic.
  4. Caress by Eli Easton~ this story was by far the darkest and the creepiest, not what I expected from Eli, but quite enjoyable nevertheless. It had a Crimean battlefield medical tent feel to it and involved a tinker who must build the man he loves new hands, hands that can kill and will obey their general’s commands. There’s an element of PTSD, and the suffering inherit in war forcing good men to kill. This one pulls no punches but still manages to be impossibly sweet.
  5. The Galatea’s Captain by Anka Grace ~ A very British Empire feel to this romance involving a multiracial couple, the man who needs a new leg and the airship captain who can build it for him. It’s very much a sweet romance, with only kissing and has yet another red headed love interest. (Several of the stories involve red-heads.)
  6. Screws by R.D. Hero ~ This was probably the most graphic of the stories, sexual, and more what one might expect from a standard m/m romance. This was a another mixed-class romance, and a I liked the factory setting, and the poor-little-rich-boy slumming-it premise.
  7.  The Clockwork Heart by Kim Fielding ~ An extremely touching Pygmalion story of a withdrawal social awkward scrap-heap tailor and the automaton he finds, repairs,  and falls in love with. This one was quite the tear jerker. (If you like my recommend read of Bitterwood I think you would enjoy Kim’s other work too, which is mostly m/m fantasy. Start with this one The Sacrifice and Other Stories ~ please ignore the appalling cover.)
  8. The Golden Goose by Mark Lesney ~ a botched robbery leads a thief to rescue an impoverished nobleman from rape. There’s an undersea a la Jules Verne element to this but I found the mad genius con artist aspect a bit trying.
  9. Spindle and Bell by Augusta Li ~ this one was very sad, a opium addicted fae thief finds love with a lonely doctor dying from plague.
  10. Untouchable by Layla M. Wier ~ A detective with a clockwork heart and the new kid federal investigator form ranks to fight Capone’s gang. This one had a wild west meets detective noir hard-bitten loner cowboy meets his match feel to it, ah la Brokeback Mountain. So, of course, I liked it.
  11. Swiftsilver by Bell Ellis ~ the misused and misunderstood apprentice of an alchemist finds love with a crazy daredevil rake. “Disasters were always striking Thio.” This one felt the most like my kind of steampunk, with a country house, high society, and a crazy laboratory. It’s a longer story and a fitting one for the end of the series, full of sexual awakenings turning into long running love, and a airship into forever.

I was impressed that the anthology not only balanced different kinds of romances, characters, and plots, but also setting and general feel of plot and world building. It’s rare for me to find an anthology where I enjoy all the offerings, even the sad ones. If you’re one for a bit of steampunk and some m/m romance this if for you.

Missing your Biffy and Lyall? This might help ease the pain.

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



My Sister’s Song

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Follet Saturday, August 1, 1863 v. 43, plate 60

Le Follet Saturday, August 1, 1863 v. 43, plate 60

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

For the First Time You’ll Be Able to Read Ancient Egyptian Literature in English

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

In Praise of Reader Reviews ~ A book critic on what she learns from the masses on Amazon and Goodreads. “The novel I regard as brilliant never quite wins the audience I feel it deserves, while the one I wave away as mawkishly overwritten strikes the reading public as wonderful. This happened before the internet, of course, but now, thanks to reader reviews, I stand a better chance of finding out why.”

Book News:

Mrs Temminneck

Mrs Temminneck2

Quote of the Day:

“You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you have never had the courage to commit.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Fine, I Joined Pinterest ~ Gail Carriger

Posted by Gail Carriger


Look, I resisted Pinterest for a long time, Gentle Reader. I don’t like the proprietary nature of the service, when you do a google image search and the one you like is on Pinterest and then it won’t let you see unless you join. That kind of thing bothers me.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 1.25.47 PM

I’ve been using Tumblr for a long time now as my primary source of visual inspiration for things like costumes, steampunk, characters, setting, book covers, you name it. But the UI has been pretty janky on my iPad since the last iOS update and I really have neither the time nor the inclination to futz with it. I still hop on to see if it happens to be working that day, sometimes yes, sometimes no. Presumably, there will be a bug patch soon, but I have no intention of changing my habits to suit Tumblr’s bugginess (eg: switch to desktop). This is why we live in a world of alternatives and competitors.

Which is a very long way of saying…

Hello, Pinterest. My you are fun, aren’t you? And so flirty.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 1.24.30 PM

So yeah. I might have had too much fun building up all sorts of boards, including character boards and so forth. You want to know how I imagine my characters looking, what actors and actresses I associate with them, look no further than my Pinterest boards. Want a sneak peek into some of the inspiration behind the up coming Madame Lefoux novella? There’s a board for that too. I’ve got period victorian costume boards, history boards, series boards, and one for octopus, of course.

Screen Shot 2016-09-04 at 1.26.08 PM

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



My Sister’s Song

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Follet Monday, June 1, 1863 v. 43, plate 49

Le Follet Monday, June 1, 1863 v. 43, plate 49

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Octopus Eyes Are Crazier Than We Imagined

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

The World’s 52 Largest Book Publishers, 2016

Book News:

ace-artemis-fanartist- Quick doodle of a contemporary girl gang Finishing School au

ace-artemis-fanartist- Quick doodle of a contemporary girl gang Finishing School au

Quote of the Day:

“She never minced words when she could spit them out whole.”

~ Snow on the Roof by J. Leigh Bailey, Mari Donne, Amy Rae Durreson, Tray Ellis, Kim Fielding, Laylah Hunter, John Inman, Linda James, Rhidian Brenig Jones, Anne Regan

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

Gail’s Favorite Steampunk in the Media for Hands Around the World

Posted by Gail Carriger


The Airship Ambassador is running his customary Steampunk Hands Around the World right now, Gentle Reader. This is an event designed to connect steampunkers all over the globe.  The theme this year is “A Few of My Favorite Things” and I am participating with this post.

Here are a few of my favorite steampunk things!



On You Tube


Stuff I Made for Myself and Wear All the Time



Want more links on the steampunk aesthetic, pulling together outfits, foundation garments and so forth? Here is an epic blog post all about the Steampunk Aesthetic.

Honorable Mention
Neverwas Haul

Steampunk Hands 2016 – Steamcon

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

facesofthevictorianera- tumblr  c. 1880s State Archives of Florida

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

 High tea at the Claremont in Oakland, CA.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Arsenic: A Brief History of Agatha Christie’s Favorite Murder Weapon

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
How to Publish an E-Book: Resources for Authors


Gail Carriger’s Books! 



 The Custard Protocol Series (1890s ~ ongoing)
1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence (July 19, 2016)

 $0.99 short stories (ebook only)
Marine Biology; My Sister’s Song; Fairy Debt;
The Curious Case (featuring Alessandro Tarabotti)

Book News:
Heather Fazio of TimesUnion.com’s Book Blog Says of the Parasol Protectorate: “I found myself in love with the characters almost immediately and I laughed all the way through each book.”

Quote of the Day:
“A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”
~ Oscar Wilde

Gail’s fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

The Terrible Danger of Stock Art in Cover Design (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Been thinking a great deal about cover art recently, Gentle Reader. I feel I have been generally lucky with mine over the years. Even when I griped about it, it was never too serious. But as hard as it is to be at the whims of a publishing house’s choice, it is equally difficult to find and come up with something original of ones own.

I give you a prime example:




If you like that piece of stock art, chances are everyone else does too.

Further Reading:

And now it’s back to copy edits with me.

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Nadja Tiller, 1952 via hollyhocksandtulips-tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Check Out This Epic Souvenir Fan

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
The E-Publishing Revolution is Definitely Not Over

Book News:
Fangirl Nation says:

Manners & Mutiny has all the mystery, the spy work, and humor of the previous entries in the series. As things are drawing to a close, the book is somewhat darker: the stakes are higher, and now that they are all older, hearts are more easily broken, but there are still plenty of moments where I laughed out loud, and clever turns of phrase that I read out loud.”

Quote of the Day:
Genevieve was tall and blonde, a destroyer of masculine peace of mind.
~ The Man with Two Left Feet And Other Stories by P. G. Wodehouse

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

Victorian Money Means Coins – Research Behind Steampunk (Custard Protocol Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


This is one of those blog posts in which I demonstrate the nitty-gritty of research in an aggravatingly nit-picky way.

This is an amended reboot from 2012 when I first started writing Prudence.

Read at your own risk.

To protect the guilty I’m not going to name any names, Gentle Reader, and I’d like to state up front that currency is not my expertise.

However, I was reading a book of the alt-historical romantic variety. The hero visits a whore in Victorian London, 1883.

For her pains he “pulled out far more notes than planned and handed them to her.”

I had to put the book down.

It was very upsetting.

Coins vs. Notes in Victorian England


First, bank notes are drawn on a bank more like a cashier’s check (or an IOU) than paper money today, which means the whore in our above example would have to go into a bank to redeem her notes or find herself a very non-suspicious tradesman, in modern times this is a little like trying to break a $1000 bill.


Second, no one regularly carried notes or paid for anything with notes until well after the 1920s. Culturally, no one would carry that much money into the kind of area of London where whore houses are located.

For services people paid with coin, with tradesmen (who handle goods) the wealthy actually paid via their butler or valet or abigail’s coin, or on account, because it was beneath them to physically touch money.

Even, as the author was trying to get across, this was a highly generous gesture, NOT WITH PAPER MONEY HE WOULDN’T.


We writers all make mistakes. I have made more than my share. And there comes a time when every historical author must stop researching and begin writing (or the book never gets written).

I do understand and believe that some modernization is necessary in alt-history genre fiction because most readers want their books to be fun and entertaining. It is our business, as authors, to provide that first. (Now for genres like historical fiction or biographies this is a different matter. I am speaking in terms of managing expectations.)


However, I do think something as basic as currency should be second knowledge if you are going to write in any alternate time period. It’s like getting the basic clothing terms correct. (In another unnamed steampunk novel, a corset was referred to as a bodice. FYI, both terms are incorrect. At the time, a corset would have been mainly referred to as stays. The bodice is the top part of a dress. Thus, I spent the entire scene confused into thinking the character in question was swanning around with only her torso dressed, rather than entirely in her underthings as was intended. But, I digress . . .)

A corset AKA stays

Godeys July 1872 Bodices

On Victorian Money (from Baedecker’s London 1896)

  • sovereign or pound (gold) = 20 shillings
  • half-sovereign (gold) = 10 shillings
  • crown (silver) = 5 shillings
  • half-crown (silver) = (2 shillings & a six penny piece)
  • double florin (silver – rare) = 4 shillings
  • florin (silver) = 2 shillings
  • shilling (silver & same size as a sovereign) = 12 pennies
  • six penny (silver) = 6 pennies
  • three penny (silver) = 3 pennies
  • penny (bronze) = 4 farthings
  • half penny = 2 farthings
  • farthing
From lot at auction.


I know, I know, overly complicated. Think back to that wonderful scene with the money exchange in Room With a View when Cousin Charlotte comes to visit Lucy’s family.

“In England alone of the more important states of Europe the currency is arranged without reference to the decimal system.”
~ Karl Baedeker, 1896

Victorian Money in Terms of Value

In 1896: 1 sovereign was approximately: 5 American dollars, 25 francs, 20 German marks, or 10 Austrian florins.

To reiterate: The Bank of England issued notes for 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 pounds or more. They were generally not used in ordinary life as most people “dealt in coin.” Gentlemen and ladies, when shopping, either had a servant with them to handle the coin (including gratuities & all fares) or paid on credit (AKA account). A shop would then send a bill around to the townhouse at the end of the month on Black Monday, which would be paid by the house steward, accountant, or personal secretary. A gentleman handling his own money is either no gentleman or engaged in nefarious activities like gambling or trade.

Baedeker advises letters of credit (AKA circular notes) drawn on a major bank for travel, to be exchanged for local currency upon arrival. He also advises never carrying a full days worth of coinage about your person.

It’s important, as historical writers, for us to grasp a larger picture – so allow me to attempt to put this into perspective…

Middle class wages per annum 1850-1890:

  • A Bank of England Clerk £75 to £500
  • Civil Service clerk £80 to £200
  • Post Office clerk £90 to £260
  • Senior Post Office clerk £350 to £500

So let’s say a middle class wage was anything from £75 to £500 a year, that’s £1.44 – £9.61 a week for a relatively comfortable lifestyle.

Since there is no £1 note, to “pull out far more notes than planned” as our unnamed author writes above, and give such to a whore, means at least £5 per note. More than one means at least £10. Not only should this character not have been carrying that kind of money, he just tipped that woman better than one week’s salary for the upper middle class to someone who likely could never break that bill, today that’s something on the order of $2,500.

A gentleman of lower standing, say a younger son with a Living could expect something similar to upper middle class £350-500.

Titled or large landed gentry could pull in anything from £1000 to £10,000 a year (what, you thought the 99% was a new thing?).

A dowry for landed country gentry’s daughter of few means would be about £100 a year.

Still, even the highest aristocrat wouldn’t tip in notes, ever. If for no other reason than it’s the kind of thing the neuvo riche, or An American might do. (It’s worth noting that poor were a great deal poorer, earning shillings per week or less.)

Later on, this same author writes “cost me twenty quid to delay matters” of bribing a coroner to delay a funeral. That’s a heavy bribe, about $5000. I couldn’t find any information on coroner’s pay in Victorian times (the job was either uncommon, not yet official, or went by another name) so let’s say grave digger, which is well below middle class, so a £20 bribe would probably be about a year’s income for the man.

End of Rant

A Budget from 19th Century Historical Tidbits

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Or should I say “out of my chest”? Chink chink.

So, if you have a Victorian setting (really, anything up through the 1920s) what do we pay with?

Yes, that’s right children, coins!

This is also a rather depressingly clear indication of how Gail Carriger spends her weekends. I am such a dork.

“I may be a chump, but it’s my boast that I don’t owe a penny to a single soul – not counting tradesmen, of course.”

~ Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

As always, you don’t have to take my word for it. Earlier in time, but still relevant podcast…

More or Less Behind the Stats: How Rich was Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy?

How does this relate to Prudence?

Well might you ask. What I had to do (or thought I had to do) was determine the conversion rate between pounds and rupees traveling from England to India in 1895.

Unfortunately, Baedecker didn’t write for India.

What I ended up having to do was make some very loose estimations based on the above assumptions of middle class wages and the information I could source, which was monthly accounts for a household of four living in India on a diplomat’s wage between 1880 and 1897 (something on the order of £500 per annum). Here’s my fun chart:

Here’s hoping the above was, if not fun, at least informative or, if you yourself are an author, helpful.

Prudence by Gail Carriger

Pip pip!

{Gail’s monthly read along for January 2016 is The Raven’s Ring by Patricia Wrede. You do not have to have read any other Lyra books.}


Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Octopus Candle Holder

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Knickerbockers for Women: From Under the Hiking Skirts to the Fad of the Hour

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Writing my books I enjoy. It is the thinking them out that is apt to blot the sunshine from my life.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

Book News:

Sam of ARC Review says of Manners & Mutiny:

“While I’m having a hard time letting these characters go, I won’t forget the mayhem they caused, and the joy they gave me as a reader.”

Quote of the Day:

“Da Silva announced his intention of settling in the library to commune with his muse. Curtis, feeling sorry for the muse, said that he preferred to explore the house and acquaint himself with its features.”

~ Think of England by KJ Charles

All About Steampunk ~ Goggles, Gaiters & Glory (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger


The World of Steampunk: Goggles, Gaiters & Glory

To me there are two main kinds of steampunk. The first, which I shall be call, traditional steampunk, envisions a future as the Victorians imagined it. The writings of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne are good examples. The second, which I think of as industrial steampunk, sees a far future world that hearkens back to Victorian culture, for example a bustle dress made of Kevlar. There are also other temporal options like clockpunk (c. 1500s) and dieselpunk (WWII).

I write the traditional kind of steampunk, and my approach is two fold.

First, I postulate that it is through the presence of immortals that steam technology of the Victorian age diverged from our own timeline. Vampires are particularly interested in mechanics and so promote technological advancement beyond that of the actual Victorians.

Second, I try to remain true to the scientific theory of the day, however much modern scientists have debunked it. In Gail’s steampunk world the science is (at least internally) consistent, though occasionally mysterious.

by J Daniel Sawyer

Steampunk FAQ

What is steampunk?
Steampunk is a re–imagining of either the past or the future where steam technology never died, and electricity never dominated, and a Victorian aesthetic overshadows all. Think Jules Verne and hot air balloons flying to the moon.

What’s with all the dirigibles?
I think dirigibles (and other types of airships) are particularly appealing to writers of steampunk because they quickly show the reader the alternate nature of the author’s world, and because they represent the slow majestic dignity, and slight ridiculousness, of that time period.

How did you get into steampunk?
I came to steampunk first as an aesthetic movement. I’m a longtime fan of vintage clothing and Goth style; steampunk drew me in as a cheerful melding of the two. I also love seeing recycled technology used as jewelry, and other examples of how creative the maker community has become over the past few years.

Gail Carriger first 5 years steampunk outfits

What was it that drew you to steampunk?
My Mum is a tea–swilling ex–pat. I was raised on British children’s books (Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Borrowers, The Water Babies, Wind in the Willows) and I spent many a youthful summer in Devon and two years of graduate school in the Midlands. It was this, plus the fashion aesthetic, that first drew me to steampunk – the beauty of 19th century clothing but with a less ridged everyday feel. I adore the Victorian era. I used to make hoopskirts out of my hula–hoops as a child. I also love the makers side of steampunk – technology you can see working, rather than little silver iPods with all their functionality secreted away.

What is it about steampunk that particularly excites you?
The Victorian Gothic literature movement saw the birth of science fiction. The current steampunk movement is a weird kind of full circle, taking sci–fi back to its roots ~ I love that.

Most steampunk novels are set in the Victorian era, but why did you choose that setting for yours? What’s unique about the setting in your book?
I’m comfortable writing within the Victorian Era due to my own love of Victorian literature, too many BBC costume dramas, and ten years participating in the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. The Parasol Protectorate world is unique because, unlike many other steampunk novels, it doesn’t depict a dystopian future–past but instead a cheerful lighthearted one.

Where do you see steampunk going, or where would you like it to go? How much do you think it’s going to grow as a genre?
Steampunk is a unique movement in that it isn’t entirely literary – it has ties to the green movement, the maker community, historical reenactment societies, and the fashion world. Should it crest in popularity within all of these different areas at the same time, steampunk might well rise to the forefront of world counterculture. But I don’t think that is likely. Right now, I believe it has immense escapist appeal. With our economy in chaos, steampunk offers up an alternative lifestyle of sedate civilized behavior. Do I see that lasting? Probably not, but then no one attributed urban fantasy with much staying power either, so I continue to hope.

Can you think of a non–steampunk book that could be rewritten and make a good steampunk book?
Lawrence of Arabia? No, truthfully, I’d rather see original writers and debut authors take steampunk in new and different directions.  I melded my steampunk with urban fantasy and comedy of manners, how about some steampunk noir? The possibilities are endless – and so shiny and well dressed.

As one who is completely unfamiliar with steampunk, can you clarify for me which aspects of your books are considered steampunk?
My world is steampunk: an alternate 1800s England with new and different mechanicals, evil scientists, airships, docking spires, and attack automatons. The integrity of the alternative world is held together by the simple fact that I play by my own Victorian science rules (no magic). I didn’t want to overload new–to–steampunk–readers with too much gadgetry all at once. You might consider my stuff steampunk light as a result.


What exactly is steampunk fashion?
The current aesthetic movement (essentially the visual equivalent of the love child of a BBC costume drama and Hot Topic) emphasizes the importance of creativity, found object art, and the maker mentality ~ all of which I find very exciting. If you’re still curious, I did a blog post on the subject.

What one steampunk book would you recommend to readers who are unfamiliar with the genre but would like to give it a try?
I’m going to branch out and pick a graphic novel. There’s none better than the original League of Extraordinary Gentleman.

Gail Carriger second 5 years steampunk outfits

Your books feature a lot of steampunk technology, how much is based on existing technology, and how much of it is your own creation?
I’d say it’s about 50/50. I like to sneak in crazy Victorian gadgets that actually existed whenever I can, or modify them to suit my needs. Some of the technologies in my books are built out of flawed Victorian scientific theory that I made real. Some are more modern. There’s a cable transport in Blameless based off experimental US military research from the Korean War. But the rest of the time I just make things up, or go running to some of my techie or RPG friends with a plot problem that needs a steampunk solution.

I love the descriptions of all the inventions and the technology of Alexia’s world – are you a tech-savvy person? Does someone help you with that?
I’m a terrible neophyte and a very reluctant adopter of new technology. However, I am lucky enough to number many tech-savvy individuals in my life. Sometimes I create steampunk inventions from exacerbated actual Victorian gadgets, but other times I will call up one of my friends and beg them to have a conversation with me. “I need the invention to do this, but to have these limitations, and this kind of size. Any ideas? Oh and it should be funny.”

Why do you think Steampunk is appealing right now?
I have many theories on this. Part of the appeal, I think, has to do with our own sense of chaos and impending doom. This often causes people to look back and seek out time that was more ridged and controlled, full of polite manners and forms of address. Or a world that appears to have this.

What are the ingredients for a good steampunk novel?
There is a delicate balance to steampunk. You do need to do your research and know the language of the day, however, getting too flowery and Victorian can make your work inaccessible to a modern reader. It is hard to make everyone happy. There are always going to be readers who want hard science–orientated steampunk and others who can’t wade through all that techno–babble. I like to I write steampunk gateway drug. I also feel you can’t go wrong with comedy, that’s always lacking, even in the broader genres of SF/F, romance, horror, and mystery (steampunk has been classified under any of the above).

Which are the Gothic or steampunk novels that have influenced your writing?
I like the early Gothics: Castle of Otranto, The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Monk, and later, of course, Austen’s lovely parody in Northanger Abby. I can take or leave most of the romantics although I’ll borrow their archetypes and mock them openly on a whim. Many of the Victorian classic Gothics annoy me, although I do love Jane Eyre and Poe (particularly Fall of the House of Usher). I tend to prefer to read lighter fair from that time period. Later on, Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray is deliciously creepy, but in the end I would say I’m more influenced by his playbill humor. I suspect this is because I write spoofs and not actual Gothic literature. As for steampunk, I do borrow from Wells and Verne but not directly, more for atmosphere than anything else.

Which are the Gothic tropes or aesthetics you utilize in your own writing?
I only nominally dabble in the terror/horror side of things, and usually interrupt it with macabre humor whenever possible. I like the mystery and supernatural elements so they are always pretty strong. You’ll see the haunted house/Gothic architecture/castle thing pop up occasionally. Most of the action takes place at night, because of the conceits of the universe, but again I will break a description with comedy and because of Alexia’s snarky take on life things never get too dark. I do borrow character archetypes a lot mostly to turn the into caricatures I can break down later: human eve, evil eve, and innocent eve all pop up and then get messed with. I don’t use a lot of Byronic heroes, so I guess you could say my men are more modern romance archetypes of alpha/beta. Although Lord Akeldama and Biffy together share the role of mocking Byron as he actually was in real life. I also avoid both the arte of the supernatural (magic and the occult) and ideas of angels/demons/devil. I feel the steampunk element takes out these concepts and replaces them with science and pseudo–science, secret societies, and dastardly experiments.

Are there any (Gothic) novels you have read recently and would also recommend to your readers?
I always suggest the Cask of Amontillado, which I think of as Poe’s best and cleanest works.

In your non-fiction piece for Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (anthology edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer),”Which is Mightier, the Pen or the Parasol?”, you touch briefly upon the various aspects of steampunk literature. For those yet unable to read this piece, which appears to be steampunk’s more enduring legacy: its subversion of past political/social views or its commentary on today’s modern society?
Oh, definitely its commentary on modern society. Whenever you get a combined aesthetic and literary movement with so many other aspects. One feels compelled to ask why it is being born right now, and what it may tell us about ourselves, our desires, and our feelings about the greater society around us.

How has your interest in steampunk affected the formation of your characters, what with Victorian mores and all. Speculate as to what they and their relative relationships would be like had they been born in another time, such as today?
The Victorian side of steampunk is vital to my characters and to my enjoyment of writing them. I experience gleeful joy when taking modern tropes ~ a strong urban fantasy heroine, barbaric alpha male, flamboyant San Francisco gay man ~ and making them play nice within an 1870’s British class and etiquette system. Suddenly my strong heroine has to cut more with her tongue than a knife, is worried about showing her ankles, and constantly seeks both a useful role in society and friends who value her intelligence and wit. My alpha male becomes a werewolf chaffing against the rules of polite society and proper dress. My flamboyant gay vampire borrows from both Oscar Wilde and the Scarlet Pimpernel, manipulating the threads of society over centuries, his relationships bittersweet and complex, allowing him to be more than just a gay BFF.

I genuinely feel that without the steampunk setting the characters would be less whole. They would need other ~ possibly more artificial ~ components and struggles, and frankly I don’t think I would enjoy writing them as much. I love the tension a Victorian world gives any kind of modern mind set. All my characters are struggling to balance their true natures against the pressures of society and in turn against modern sensibilities (informed, of course, my their creator who is quite definitely a creature of the contemporary world). This gives me a conflict of culture to play with and nothing is more exciting to me as a writer. It helps that the clothing back then was just so much more fabulous!


Want more Occasiona FAQ first? Check out the Chirrup!

Gifts for the Gail Carriger Uber Fan (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger


So, here are some gifts that I, in my limited expert experience on the subject, think that a Gail Carriger fan would really enjoy. Just getting into the spirit of the season.

Gifts for the Gail Carriger Fan

Badali Bumbersnoot necklace or Sophronia’s bladed fan.

Sophronia Bladed Fan Bumbersnoot Necklace

Sparkly fan!  Silk Fan with Green Sequins for Dimity from Sophronia.

Parasol Straws

Octopus Cookie Cutter

Tea shirts designed by yours truly concerning things I love and my books.

Octopus necklace for any member of the OBO who doesn’t want to get a tattoo.

Octopus Bottle Stopper for those who prefer wine over tea.

1800s Balloon Art Airship Stainless Steel ID or Cigarettes Case. This is the airship design that the Flywaymen air dinghies are based off of in the Finishing School series.

Or if you’re buying for a big OBO Madame Lefoux fan, the same company makes versions of this cute case with octopus on the cover.

Some of my favorite themed mugs for teatime!

Lace overlay parasol, come in range of colors.

Wonderful Ocean Octopus Nightlight that I might have to buy for my office. So cuts! Perhaps Rue had one of these while a child.

Tentacles Wall Decal Sticker

Lucky Ladybug Shaped Teapot. For Primrose to serve tea aboard the Spotted Custard.

My favorite tea, Twinings 1706 Strong


Heroines Journey Gail Carriger free pdf ripped download

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

The Heroine’s Journey is here to help.

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


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Francisco Goya (Spanish artist, 1746-1828) The Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Millinery prints (1891 – 1896) by G. Gonin (France, active late 19th century)
Image and text courtesy LACMA. Costume and Textiles

Very Ivy.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Deep Sea Robots Livestream Ocean Floor Landscapes, Creatures

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
A Literary History of Dot, Dot, Dot

Book News:
Sophie of So Many Books So Little Time says of Manners & Mutiny:
“This was a wonderful ending to a wonderful series and I’m glad I’ve got a whole other series of Carriger’s still to read.”

Quote of the Day:

Steampunk Tea Party Fundraiser for Locus Foundation

Posted by Gail Carriger


Over the weekend, Gentle Reader, Borderlands hosted a steampunk tea party to raise money for the Locus Foundation with yours truly. “The Locus Science Fiction Foundation (LSFF) is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to the promotion and preservation of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.”

It was a really fun morning. 20 enthusiastic and devoted readers of my books attended, prepared to pepper me with questions, drink the tea carafe dry, and risk eternal damnation through the consumption of scotch eggs.

Nibbles included poached salmon, crab cakes, petite quiche, tea cakes, confectionery, biscuits, scones, crumpets and the most adorable cupcakes ever seen.

Rina of SF-in-SF did the bulk of the heavy lifting, and she was wonderful. Francesca, Graphics Editor at Locus attended to take photos and help, as well as other able assistants and volunteers. Borderlands was, as always, kind and gracious about allowing us to use their space. Since the cafe was open, the tea event took over the bookstore.

The goodie bags.


The grand prize basket & all the prizes waiting to be distributed.

Every attendee received a goody bag of Gail Carriger swag and then everyone also received a raffle prize with one grand prize winner. Everyone seemed please with their prizes. Rina and I had a wonderful time putting things together.

in which everyone is serious about tea

There was a good deal of civilized discourse and a great deal of raucous laughter. I told stories about the people behind my characters, revealed secrets about Imprudence, and I gave attendees a sneak peek at some upcoming cover art that has carefully not hit the internet yet.

It was meant to be a casual milling gathering but quickly became a sit down affair with everyone gathered around, like a large tea-orientated kaffeeklatsch. I’ve said before that kaffeeklatsches are my favorite thing to do at conventions so this was, as far as I am concerned, the best kind of event.

There might have been some animated gesticulating. I’ve blogged about my outfit over on Retro Rack.

It was great fun and we raised just about $900 for the foundation. I hope it is the kind of event that will be repeated again in the future. Everyone asked such insightful questions. As always, my readers proved themselves to be the most well dressed, creative, cheerful, and entertaining in all fandom.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix, skinflint alternative is Ridiculous by D.L. Carter.}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1890s Royal Group –  via antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

With the BFF

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
There’s A Life Form That Exclusively Lives Inside Cephalopods

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
The Horn Book says of Manners & Mutiny: “The Finishing School series goes out in style, with plenty of derring-do action, witty repartee, several surprising revelations, and satisfying romance. And, of course, some to-die-for accessories.”

Quote of the Day:
“Everything in life that’s any fun, as somebody wisely observed, is either immoral, illegal or fattening.”
~ P.G. Wodehouse

Special Event ~ Steampunk Tea for the Locus Foundation at Borderlands

Posted by Gail Carriger


I hinted at this a little while ago, Gentle Reader, but I have added one final event for 2015 in San Francisco. You won’t see me again in public until I visit Orlando next March.

I’ll be attending this event in costume (either steampunk or full Victorian, I haven’t decided which) and I’ve donated a number of items from my collection to the goody bags. Finally, there is a good chance you will get to try my Mum’s famous scotch eggs.  Previously they honored the Soulless book launch party in 2009, but haven’t been seen in public since. Very coveted, Mum’s scotch eggs.

Here are the details:

Steampunk Tea Party Fundraiser with Gail Carriger

Sat. Dec. 5, 10AM – noon

Join author Gail Carriger and SF-in-SF for Elevenses!


 We are pleased to announce a mid-morning Steampunk Tea.
Complete with beverages, snacks, goodie bags, and prizes, this delightful soiree is being held to help raise money for the Locus Science Fiction Foundation.


  • Where: Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia, between 19th & 20th, San Francisco, CA; street parking is metered, and there is also a parking garage on 22nd & Valencia 
  • Cost: $45 per person (this is a charity fundraiser after all), seating is extremely limited.
  • Menu: We’ll be serving scrumptious nibbles, tempting teas, and giving away pretty prizes.
  • Everyone goes home a winner – you’ll be collecting an exclusive gift bag to take home!
  • Program: Come please mix and mingle with your fellow callers during morning tea; author Gail Carriger will be present and we’ll be raffling off some AMAZING items. Gail’s books and others with be available for private perusal and purchase, or feel free to bring your own books to be signed by Ms. Carriger at the end of the event.

PLEASE, do feel free to come in costume!!

Can’t make it?
Here’s an 8 minute video on how to make Scotch eggs. This isn’t exactly the way my Mum does it, but close enough.

{Gail’s monthly read along for November is Manners & Mutiny by Gail Carriger}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900s antique-royals.tumblr.com

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Character Cookies the Loontwill sisters

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Before Green Tea Was a Superfood, It Was Feared as a Super Toxin

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
The First Museum for US Writers Will Open in 2017

Book News:

Puck Roberts (@RidiculousSquid) twitter Lord Maccon anubis form cosplay

Quote of the Day:
“This Fink-Nottle, you see, was one of those freaks you come across from time to time during life’s journey who can’t stand London.” … “He makes no secret of the fact that the place gives him the pip.”
~ Right Ho, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

20 Random Things You Might Not Know About Gail (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger


For you, Gentle Reader, here are 20 random things from a random mind trying to get this blasted book finished…

Imprudence research.


  1. While other kids played marriage with their barbies, I played divorce court. The stuffed animals were the jury.
  2. I cannot do any tongue-related tricks. Nope. Not that either.
  3. I listen to podcasts on 1.5x speed, so whenever I see a show live they sound all slowed down and weird.
  4. I do not play any musical instruments, but I always wanted to be a drummer.
  5. I’m always cold, until I’m not, and then I faint.
  6. I collected hot wheels as a kid.
  7. I don’t speak or read Spanish well, but I understand it pretty darn good.
  8. I owned a motorcycle for 20 years before I had an encounter with a dead possum and decided I had lost my edge. I still miss riding, but I don’t regret giving it up.
  9. I like to categorize people based on their preferred alcoholic drink and their car choices.
  10. I’m a better cook than I am a baker, but I really want to be a better baker so I practice constantly. However, I don’t really like to eat baked goods. The end result is I am constantly foisting them on others.
  11. I am easily creeped out by lots of things (puppets, monkeys, dolls, clowns) but I’m a master bug killer, and never squeamish about food.
  12. My maternal grandfather and I have the same eye color. I always identified with him because he’s the only other scientist in my family. Of course, I ended up an author.
  13. I have no sense of direction what-so-ever and I cannot remember names, but I’m magic when it comes to what was ordered at a restaurant the last time we were there, and an idiot savant with hotel room numbers.
  14. I am an extremely strong swimmer. I was a lifeguard and I grew up on the Pacific Coast so I adore challenging swimming. I feel happiest immersed in water and I’m obsessed with vanishing edge pools.
  15. At about age 8, I taught myself to throw side arm with a spin “like a boy” because I hated the “you throw like a girl” thing so much.
  16. I can identify almost every flavor of gelato… in Italian.
  17. I was on the swim team for distance but I was never fast. However, I have a textbook stroke because I used to teach for the Red Cross. I still practice side stroke, which I don’t think is even taught anymore.
  18. My nails grow fast, strong, and well. In junior high I had them really long and painted blood red. I thought it was so cool.
  19. Because of my previous career, I’m obsessed with ceramics and you’ll see me turn pots over to check the makers mark pretty consistently. Sometimes when they still have food in them.
  20. I’m a super taster. I took the special little strip test and everything, but don’t follow all the regular criteria (I like bitter, I’m not picky, etc…). I love tasting sauces and then trying to guess what’s in them.

{Gail’s monthly read along for September 2015 was Court of Fives by Kate Elliott}

Want more Occasional FAQ? Join the Chirrup!


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Moniteur de la Mode Date-  Thursday, August 1, 1844 Item ID-  v. 29, plate 2

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Octopus Steals Limelight at LEGO Treasure Hunt

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Role-Playing Teens Learn About History and Class

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Between the Blurb says of Prudence:

“The world that Carriger has created is Colourful, filled with ingenious inventions and a wonderful blend of Steampunk and paranormal, with its own take on Victorian fashion and etiquette.”

Quote of the Day:
“We’re planning to go visit Darvell and get ourselves killed,” Ari explained. The prospect didn’t seem to be bothering him much. “Want to come along?”
“You’re all crazy,” Llannat said. “Am I invited?”
~ The Price of the Stars: Book One of Mageworlds by Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald

Teapot Carrier ~ AKA the Carriage Cozy with Victorians On the Go (Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Some time ago, Gentle Reader, a dear friend gifted me with a teapot carrier. At first, when I saw it I was confused. Why would she give me one of those 1950’s hair dryer cases?

Then I opened it up and inside was a perfectly nested teapot!

I thought, “My my my, Primrose would LOVE this!”

The teapot is modern, from Cost Plus, but I believe it came with the carrier when she bought it at the Alameda Antiques Fair.

Whenever I tweet about this carrier it gets lots of attention and interest, so I thought I would do a little research. Because I have a deadline, and a book I should be writing instead, why not investigate tea carriers?

The Relevant Tea Leaf has a blog post on the tea cozy including a mention of carriers.

“I’ve read different accounts for its use.   The term ‘Carriage Cozy’ came about because it carried the tea and  teapot by carriage – perhaps to a picnic.  It is said servants also used this cozy to carry the tea and teapot  from the downstairs kitchen to  their employers upstairs.  The cozy made transport easier, protected the porcelain teapot, and most importantly it kept the tea warm.” ~ Phyllis Barkey


The Relevant Tea Leaf’s Carrier

Apparently, these carriers are still made in Holland.

It is hard to see how they would be useful if filled with tea at the time of transport. Surely it would slosh out and dampen the interior of the case? Perhaps they came with is a cap or cork for the spout?

The Tea Blog of the English Tea Store has a discussion on cozies too. They refer to this specific style of cozy as the Western Style Carriage Cozy.

Source mentioned above.

“A style of traveling, or carriage, cozy that may be more familiar to Western tea drinkers is fashioned of cloth on a metal or wood frame, with a handle and a clip to hold it closed. The teapot is nestled into the deep padding.  These may have been used as far back as Victorian times for carrying tea to friends’ homes. Nowadays tea drinkers probably don’t carry them much further than the back yard. I’ve used mine a couple of times and it’s very efficient at keeping tea hot, although somewhat awkward once on the table.” ~ teaguide

via MilnerMercantile on Etsy

MilnerMercantile on Etsy refers to their listing of a carriage cozy as Vintage item from the 1960s. I wouldn’t be surprised if mine is also from around that time period. It doesn’t have the feel of being much older (I’ve my materials archaeologist hat on when I say this). And while mine is in much worse condition (one of the reasons I don’t mind using it) it has the same clasp, handle style, and general shape as the above example.


This hatbox shaped one turned up on Etsy and sold for $43. So they do seem to become available eventually.

The following carriage cozy is listed as being from the 1930s. I do love the little feet. But I am beginning to question the dates on these puppies as they seem all over the place.

Etsy listing.

While this one below was listed as a Victorian Horse Carriage Teapot Cozy or Caddy.

Again the clasps and styles are all so very similar that the archaeologist in me seriously questions the dating on these cozies. I’d love to see an advertisement in a dated magazine, or a fashion plate or photograph or something showing these with a sustainable date and provenance. Although in the closed position they look so much like a large purse or hatbox it would be hard to find due to miss categorization, methinks. That said, in all my research into Victorian times and travel journals I have never seen image or mention of a carriage cozy. (My research being confined to 1830-1900.)

Yes, they look Victorian, and the temptation is to want them to be from that time period but I think it more likely that they are post turn of the century at the very least. Although the lined wicker/basket ones certainly can be earlier.

Auction item.

The above is listed as 19th/Early 20th Century and that certainly correct to dating the pot inside it. Ceramics I do know a thing or two about.

It looks like you can snap this red one up right now for $43 out of Canada, if you like. Look at the little cap for the spout!



“In good vintage condition this teapot carrier was used in days gone by to keep tea warm while traveling in a carriage or going to a picnic. There is a small matching accessory that goes over the spout so the tea doesn’t spill. Clean condition. Metal closure. Stands about 14 ” with handle. About 12″ wide and 10″ deep. Unique conversation piece. Tea pot not included.”

{Gail’s monthly read along for August is My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Le Follet Date-  Saturday, June 1, 1844 Item ID-  v. 28, plate 77

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

My new mug.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
8 Crazy Facts about Octopuses

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Book News:
Le Monde de Mara says of Waistcoats & Weaponry: “J’ai retrouvé Sophronia avec plaisir, comme on retourne une jeune soeur ou une jeune cousine un peu farfelue. Ce tome 3 prend place quasiment que dans un train, durant un voyage vers l’Ecosse.”

Quote of the Day:

“One of the drawing-rooms was ‘draped’ in a way that was quite painfully aesthetic, considering the paucity of the draperies. The flower-pot were draped, and the lamps; there were draperies round the piano-legs, and round the clock; and there there were not draperies there were bows, all of the same scanty description. The only thing that had not made an effort to clothe itself was the poker and by contrast it looked very nude.”

~ A disgusted visitor describes a drawing-room in the Victorian era via The Victorian House by Judith Flanders

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