Dear Author, How Could You End the Series? (Occasional FAQ)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Today, Gentle Reader, I introduce a new occasional series of installments of questions I get constantly.

How Could You End It?

I’m delighted you liked the series but it is finished. I believe in leaving a party while I am still enjoying it, and, perhaps more importantly, while others are still enjoying my company.

I’ve never been a “beat that dead horse, beat it!” kind of author.

Also, I like to have arcs completed in case I get run over. Far too many of my favorite authors have died on me without finishing their long running sagas. Or worse, been dropped by their publisher and never finished a series for lack of interest.

Fire Dancer
I’m looking at you, Ann Maxwell.


I’ve gotten bitter, I now rarely pick up a new series before the author has finished it. I know, this makes me the kind of reader authors and publishers hate. I’m embarrassed to admit it openly, but I’m a very emotional reader and I can’t help what disappointment has forced me to become.

So I finish may main character’s journey because I wanted the series to go out there and pull in new readers, like me, who would only pick up the first book with the intrinsic satisfaction of knowing there was a last one already available.

Parasol Protectorate

I hope you will forgive the few loose ends left in Timeless. If you want to know what happened to Biffy and Lyall, or whether Madame Lefoux ever got her girl, then you need to read The Supernatural Society series. Channing or any of the other werewolves? The Claw & Courtship series.

But what about the Hedgehog Incident? You want Meat Cute.

I did try to tie up as much as possible while keeping it realistic. After all, not everything in life ends with a comforting cup of tea.

Finishing School Series

Want more Soap and Sophronia, you get a glimpse of them working together in Meat Cute. Otherwise they are unlikely to be main characters again, but one or both of them often show up in my other books.

The other finishing school girls, Sophronia’s friends, enemies and in between, show up in the Delightfully Deadly series.

Please do rest assured that familiar friends and faces will turn up in my other series and novellas. There are many books and stories in the Parasolverse. One of the great pleasures of writing with immortals is that they are immortal, and so can show up throughout time.

Want More?

If you want to see more of any of my characters please say so in a review. I do keep an eye on them and it guides what I will write next.

I also blog about the writing practicalities in ending a series, and my emotional feelings on the matter.

Thanks again for your affection for my characters.

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks concerning what I write next? Join the Chirrup


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
I am An Artist

Quote of the Day:

“These invalid carriages are furnished with comfortable couches, easy springs, abundant conveniences; and have the great advantage that they secure absolute privacy, and that they do away with the trying changes from one train to another, since the whole carriage is simply uncoupled from one engine, shunted to another line, and taken up by the new train.”

~ Lillias Campbell Davidson, 1889

Timeless Clock App (Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Orbit has developed a steampunk Parasol Protectorate clock app for me! Very exciting, and free on iTunes. I am a particular fan of the teatime feature. If you turn it on, a little quote appears at tea time every day.

Time Clock App 1
Timeless Clock App

So far as I know there are not plans to put it on any other platforms.

Tomorrow I will be posting my Comic Con Schedule! I do hope to see many of you there and don’t forget, if you are going, to take advantage of the super secret swag give away.


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Tea Sample: Tea at the Empress blend
A bagged tea, but filled with a larger leaf than most bags. It seeped to a rich chestnut color. It had a delicious mild but fully rounded flavor with some caramel notes, perhaps even a slight citrus at the tip of the tongue and a little almond at the finish. The blend is top secret but my guess would be mostly Assam with perhaps some Ceylon an maybe a little Keemun.
Verdict? I loved it! I shall be sad when my box is gone.

Book News:
FanArtThe Parasol Protectoratemangaka-chan
Fan Art

Quote of the Day:
” ‘I get up at six, so ungenteel am I grow,” wrote Mrs Vigor, wife of the minister resident in St. Petersburg in 1730, ‘have done looking about, and giving orders in the family, to come to breakfast by eight. When that is over I spend an hour with my instructor in French; then retire to my room, and either work, or read, ’till twelve, when I dress for dinner at one; after dinner we chat a little; the I work, or read again, ’till eight, at which hour we always sup, and go to bed at ten.'”
~ Hickman, Daughters of Britannia

European Tour Schedule

Posted by Gail Carriger


I leave tomorrow, Gentle Reader. Am I running around like the proverbial headless chicken? Darlings, I’m a boneless skinless chicken breast. It’s not pretty at the House of Gail, right now, not pretty at all.

I both love and loathe packing, all that neat organization and rolling of clothes and tucking of socks into nooks versus the panicked worry that I have forgotten something absolutely vital. However, I have 14 event outfits planned and in rotation (out of two suits and two dresses), three of which are unused and waiting on the sidelines in case something gets spilled on or torn or additional events are added. That is about as ready as I get for anything.

If you want to catch me on my whirlwind tour, this is your chance. I won’t be back to any of these locations for a while. My next three years of overseas trips (I only do one a year) are already decided.


Sunday 8th April: Eastercon
11:00am Panel “Meet the new king (same as the old king)”
3:00pm Panel “You got your robot elf sex in my SF”
9:00pm Panel “Multicultural steampunk”

Monday 9th April
6.30pm Steampunk soiree at Foyles
In association with PornoKitsch

Tuesday 10th April
Press and stock signings
Tea with Editor

Wednesday 11th April
Possible Steampunk shopping jaunt.
6.30pm Bookseller meet-and-greet event

Friday 13th April
6.30pm Steampunk Night at Waterstones Nottingham
Gail Carriger interviewed by Jema Hewitt, Q+A and signing.Waterstones Nottingham, 1-5 Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham NG1 2GR


Wednesday 18th
Interviewed at bookstore and sign books
Dinner with fans and representatives from store and editors at Styxx.

Thursday 19th
Marketing department meeting.
Press meetings
6:00pm Interview at Stockholm’s main library
Dinner with Swedish translator


Friday 20th

Saturday 20th
2:00pm – 3:00pm Signing at Budapest International Book Festival


Monday 23rd
1:00pm ~ 2:00pm Signing Libreria Gigamesh
3:00pm ~ 3:50pm Signing at Maite Libros
6:00pm ~ 7:00pm Signing FNAC Traingle

Weds 25th, fly home


Book News:
Timeless Reviews . . .

Quote of the Day:
“The chicken stalks at midnight.
But the duck dances at dusk.
The penguin looks inscrutable.
And the rooster preys at dawn.
While the hen shops on ebay.
The password is three clucks and a b’kaw.”
~ Adapted from some fun with fans on Facebook yesterday.

Win a Teapot Photo Contest

Posted by Gail Carriger



Whilst on my Grand UK Tour, I will sign three very special items for Orbit to give away as prizes. The first prize is this darling teapot, and the two runner-up prizes are these twee tea strainers (all from Oliver Bonas.)

Tea for One set from Oliver BonasTea Strainer from Oliver Bonas

To enter is take a photo of yourself with a parasol or umbrella in a darling pose and email to [email protected].

This is a worldwide competition, and they will be posting entries on their site. I will choose the winner and runners-up at the end of my Grand UK Tour on 13 April. See terms and conditions here.
And to show you just how easy it is, here are Orbiteers Anna Gregson, Emily Rowland, and Rose Tremlett with a shining example (and no fear, they have excluded themselves from winning):

Members of the Orbit Books tema posing with parasols to promote the author Gail Carriger's UK tour (author of TIMELESS from The Parasol Protectorate series)

Best of British, and the Empire salutes you!


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

Cracked tea mug. Have you ever seen a sadder thing?

Book News:
More Timeless Reviews…
The Lit Bitch.
The Book Shop
Fangs, Wings, and Fairy Dust (18 restriction)

Quote of the Day:
“The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Announcing Gail Carriger’s Grand UK Tour (…and a terribly delightful competition)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Orbit has announced the details of my UK tour! Here it is.

Gail Carriger, author of the steampunk urban fantasy romance books the Parasol Protectorate series

Great Britain is honoured and privileged to announce that Gail Carriger shall be setting foot on our shores this April – for a gloriously grand UK tour. Orbit Books shall also be launching a frightfully wonderful competition to celebrate – where you can win this enchanting teapot. Read on for more . . .

For years Ms Carriger has resided in the colonies, supping on the finest of infusions imported from London, wearing the tiniest of hats and penning the novels which have brought her fame and fortune throughout the Empire: the Parasol Protectorate novels – most recently Timeless (UK | US | ANZ).
Yet now the time has come for this illustrious lady to return to the British Isles – and to greet the legions of fans waiting to pay tribute to her magnificent work.
You are all cordially invited to attend several splendid events taking place over the course of a week in April:
Sunday 8 April: Eastercon, Heathrow, London
Those of you attending this year’s convention will be delighted to hear that Gail shall be appearing on the following charming panels:
‘Meet the new king (same as the old king)’ – 11am, Room 12
‘You got your robot elf sex in my SF’ – 3pm, Commonwealth
‘Multicultural steampunk’ – 9pm, Room 38
Monday 9 April: Foyles, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, 6.30pm

Steampunk soiree event at Foyles in London for Gail Carriger, urban fantasy romance author of the novel Timeless

In coordination with the most honourable chaps over at Pornokitsch, Gail shall be hosting an exclusive steampunk soirée at Foyles bookshop in Central London. Climb into that corset, pull out your pocket watch and buff up your brass goggles – and pop along for a tipple or two and to get your book signed by her fair hand. This event is free but ticketed, so please send an email as soon as possible to [email protected] to obtain a cherished spot on this exclusive guest list.
Friday 13 April: Waterstones, Nottingham, Bridle Gate, 6.30pm
Gail shall be speaking to a thoroughly privileged throng for another steampunk extravaganza at the Waterstones in Nottingham. Special guest Jema Hewitt (author of Steampunk Emporium) and friends will also be frequenting the event in full costume. The evening shall commence – as is only right – with Pimm’s & cake at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. This event is ticketed and costs £5, or £3 if you hold a Waterstones card, so please purchase them here in advance.

* * *

Now on to the competition. We are delighted to announce that whilst on her Grand UK Tour, Gail shall be signing three very special items for us to give away as prizes. The first prize is this darling teapot, and the two runner-up prizes are these twee tea strainers – all from the lovely shop Oliver Bonas.

Tea for One set from Oliver BonasTea Strainer from Oliver Bonas

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning these prizes is send us a photo of yourself with a parasol or umbrella in a darling pose and send it to [email protected] This is an Orbit worldwide competition, and we shall be posting the entries on the site. Ms Carriger herself will choose the winner and runners-up herself at the end of her Grand UK Tour on 13 April. See terms and conditions here.
And to show you just how easy it is, here are Orbiteers Anna Gregson, Emily Rowland, and Rose Tremlett with a shining example (and no fear, they have honourably excluded themselves from winning):

Members of the Orbit Books tema posing with parasols to promote the author Gail Carriger's UK tour (author of TIMELESS from The Parasol Protectorate series)

Best of British, and the Empire salutes you!

Researching Timeless & Victorian Egypt (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Today I present to you, part of our occasional series of DVD extras . . . some of the books I used to research Timeless.

Ancient Egypt Lithographs by David Roberts, R.A.

Roberts visited Egypt for the first time in 1838 and sketched much of the area, including archaeological sites, while he was there. He continued to do so on several subsequent visits. I used his sketches as a jumping off point (all be in 40 years early) as to the look of Egypt during Victorian times. This book was also valuable when writing my Alessandro’s short story, The Curious Case of the Werewolf that Wasn’t.

Eyewitness Books, Desert by Dr. Miranda MacQuitty.

I use the eyewitness books a lot, they make for a good quick peek into the food and environment of a given time or place. They shouldn’t be devalued because they are children’s books but instead be viewed as great jumping off points. You can get them at any library, but I chose to buy mine.

Eyewitness Books, Boat by Eric Kentley.

I need more from this book on early transatlantic steamers but it at least gave me many of the terms and initial ideas I needed for Alexia and Conall’s sea journey. I ended up doing a lot of research into the Titanic. Even though it was built years after Timeless the massive amount of online information gave me insight into passenger manifests and the arrangement and titles for ship’s staff and officers on board any liner.

Sailboat on the Nile, Cairo, Egypt, ca. 1895

The Rape of the Nile by Brian M. Fagan.

I read this book while researching the dawn of archaeology for a class back in my PhD days, and liked it so much I went out and bought it to own. It has flaws. Fagan dwells over much on Belzoni (obviously as the result of his own PhD work, or personal passion) and does not cover the rest of early Nile excavation in as much detail as I would have likes. But what he does do is cover some of the changing attitudes and politics in Egypt at the time of Victorian occupation, sufficient to my needs, so that I became familiar with the political climate and personalities and travel requirements of the antiquities market in the late 1870s. I also use a brief bit of information from this book in Etiquette & Espionage.

Living In Ancient Egypt by Norman Bancroft Hunt.

Similar to the Eyewitness books but newer, this book was one of a series I was given to review by Horn several years ago. I hung onto it because like the Eyewitness books I thought it might provide a good stepping stone and quick guide to the time. It helps that I already know a lot about Ancient Egypt. (For years I was going to be an Egyptologist before I went into Materials Archeology instead. I worked at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum as a volunteer during and after my undergraduate work.)

1880 Ladies Dahabia Egypt Nile

Ancient Lives: Daily Life in Egypt of the Pharaohs by John Romer.

Possibly my favorite book about Ancient Egypt ever written. Despite its name this is more a chronicle of the excavations at the famous tomb builders village (Deir el-Medina) outside of Thebes. Decades old know, this still stands as one of the best and only excavations of artisan daily life, and one of the few within the Valley of the Kings.

Hatchepsut: The Female Pharaoh by Joyce Tyldesley.

An old publication from 1996 so we must admit that much additional information has been added over the years. However, this book provided the basics I needed for my fictional reconstruction of Matakara’s character (and name, of course). I drew her personality, appearance, and a selection of drones from the information in this book.

I also had a copy of National Geographic’s September 1998 special on the Valley of the Kings. Much of the information was outdated or popularized into uselessness but the photographs of the landscape and maps of the valley were invaluable.

Some Inspiration for Alexia in Egypt . . .

Phoebe Apperson Hearst

Sara Yorke Stevenson

Amelia Edwards

Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

Quote of the Day:

“Books are embalmed minds.”

~ Bovee

The Songs in Timeless (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


A little DVD extra moment for you, Gentle Reader, on this gray Monday morning.

There are two songs mentioned in Timeless I thought, perhaps, you’d enjoy knowing a little more about them.

From the train departure from London scene . . .
The Tunstell’s troupe had already struck up a rousing chorus of Shine Your Buttons with Brasso, an extremely bawdy tune entirely ill-suited to the first class compartment of the Morning Express to Southampton.

And from the Steamer travels sequence . . .
Sometimes one or two of the actors would join them to play the piano. Either Prudence or her mother might pause in their respective activities to listen, Lady Maccon sometimes driven to glare in disapproval when songs strayed too far toward the Old Tattoo Lady and the like.

Since these are sung for fun by actors, I chose slightly rude offerings from my days at the Dickens Fair. Although I am aware the dates are probably off, particularly for the Tattoo Lady, I went with them anyway, because, well, I like them.

Shine Your Buttons with Brasso
You can listen to a sample of the tune as I know it here, under Brasso sung by Brass Farthing.

And here’s a youtube of the boys at the Maker Faire in steampunk garb.

The Old Tattoo Lady is a little more obscure. I tried to find a good sample but Brass Farthing hasn’t released it (although they occasionally do a version at Dickens, feel free to request it) and Hard Times is defunked. There is a Kingston Trio YouTube version but it’s very nambypamby.

Book News:
Updated information on my Europe tour specifically some dates and times in England and Barcelona.

Quote of the Day:
“Tell me what you read and I’ll tell you who you are” is true enough, but I’d know you better if you told me what you reread.
~ François Mauriac

New York Times, Manga Times, and European Times (Parasol Protectorate)

Posted by Gail Carriger


After all my fussing, Timeless made NYT at #17, USA at #98, and PW at #12.

Thank you so so much for buying, Gentle Reader!

I won’t lie, the Amazon pre-sales hurt. They spread out Timeless‘s numbers over three weeks, instead of one, which means about 1/3 didn’t go towards the “first-official-week-on-sale” listings at all. (It’s a mysterious and complicated mathematical code.) But that, in turn, means you all really must have bought a lot of copies! Thank you thank you thank you!

Alexia fan art.

Better, by far, is the fact that many of you have taken the time to tell me that, as devoted readers, you enjoyed the last book. I really value this, Timeless was a lot of work, and I want you particularly, Gentle Reader died-in-the-wool fans, to feel satisfied.

Ivy fan art.

Please, don’t worry about preorders in the future. We hope to have the situation all sorted by the time Etiquette & Espionage releases and the Manga wasn’t effected this time round. In fact, Soulless Vol. 1, the manga hit #2 on NYT’s manga list. (Yeah, I didn’t know there as one, either.) Hooray! Go little manga go! Rah rah rah! (I blame Alexia’s rack.)

Madame Lefoux fan art.

This means I’ve got two books on the NYT at the same time. It’s a mile marker I didn’t even know was possible. I had an extra cup of tea and some of TJ’s excellent Raspberry Macaroon cake to celebrate. Then I went out with the AB and stuffed myself silly with Burmese food, including a fritter made of coconut custard. Best.Thing. Ever. I might even allow myself some raspberry pavlova when I’m in England next month.

Speaking of which . . .

I am planning a European Tour but it is messy. It’s like organizing the UN, only with publishing houses, language barriers, and time differences. Please, keep an eye on twitter, facebook, and my website and I’ll try to keep you updated as things get cemented.

Right now all I know for certain is that I will be in London at some point between April 9-13, possibly longer. I may be doing one or two conventions in England the weekend before and after, and I might make it up to somewhere in the midlands (Birm, Notts, Leeds?)

After England, there is a likelihood I will be in Stockholm the evenings of the 18th & 19th, Budapest the 20th, 21st & 22nd, Barcelona the evening of the 23rd. I don’t have all my plane tickets yet, and only one of the hotels, so what I’m actually doing is utterly unformed.

This is a working trip, not a vacation, so it will be crammed with events. I promise! I want to be as assessable possible, but because it is a fly and then hit the ground running situation, I won’t have time to meet anyone personally or do any tweet-ups. I am sorry.

This is all being covered by my respective publishing houses, which is wonderful of them, so please thank them for arranging it all.

I don’t know when I will make it to these parts of the world again. Traveling really derails my writing and I can’t afford the time sink for an overseas trip more than once a year, and once I’ve been somewhere it seems to be several years before I get back again.

On that line, if my books aren’t published in your country, it’s off the list. There’s simply no way to justify the cost. For those of you who wonder about Paris, my French publishing house is trying to organize something special for 2013. I was just in Germany, so it will probably be some time before I return (much as I loved it). Italy is on my wish list, but my sales aren’t all that strong there so . . .

Anyway, sorry for the burblings. I’m right discombobulated this morning. It must be those custard fritters . . . You know what this calls for? More tea.

Book News:
21 Prognostications for the Parasol Protectorate in the 21st century. Hilarious and brilliant!

Quote of the Day:
“Remember the tea kettle – it is always up to its neck in hot water, yet it still sings! ”
~ Author Unknown

Timeless Book Tour Recap ~ Parasol Protectorate

Posted by Gail Carriger


Apologizes for the radio silence, my dear Gentle Reader. I’ve been on book tour for Timeless and the Soulless manga. It was a blast, but quite busy and rather exhausting. It was the classic fly, land, hotel, change, event, hotel, sleep ~ wash and repeat. Fitting food into the mix was an exercise in mathematical gyrations. Healthy food went right out the window, I’m back on to veggies this week. My nummy salads, how I have missed you.

Portland was up first, greeting me with snow(!), but also a bumper of a turn out at Powells on a Weds night, upwards on 120 people! So many for little ol’ me. I was charmed and mildly terrified. Interestingly, my demographic seems to be shifting, there were a lot more men (and not just long-suffering husbands), and a representation of the local steampunkers dressed to impress.

I was given much loot (mostly tea and cookies ~ you know me too well) and then whisked away by my local friends to sample my first pork belly. Which, apparently, it like a great big soft piece of bacon. I love bacon, but it should be crispy, so I wasn’t overly impressed. The company, however, was magical.

Next up, I was back down south to San Diego. I found my way to the hotel and had my best meal of the trip at the attached restaurant, southwestern style crab stuffed avocado. Somehow, they had managed to bread and sear the outside of the avocado so it was all crispy. Oh so yummy!

The peeps at Mysterious Galaxy were as charming and delightful as ever. With standing room only and an epic signing line my guess was about 100 or so. I got to see my first copy of the second Omnibus in the wild, it’s not *quite* supposed to be out yet. Never underestimate the power of a persuasive fan. Again, I was kidnapped by friends. One of the side effects of my travel, podcast, and convention habits is I now seem to have local lovely companions wherever I go. I love this, as book tours can get a little lonely.

After San Diego it was on to Murder by the Book in Houston. I was in Texas for FenCon last year and delighted to see a few familiar faces in the crowd, not to mention returnees from the first time I signed there. Murder claims a 150 turned out, which makes them the unofficial champions of the tour. They also sold out of Timeless. Karen of Locus Roundtable fame met me and whisked me away for delicious Italian food and an unplanned jaunt to the most amazing late night candy shop. I have only one thing to say ~ chocolate malt ice cream! Mmmm.

Epic struggles with a confusing under-construction airport and the great hunt for lunch the next morning, landed me and my dear companions in the soup ~ lobster bisque to be precise (or not, as it were). After much hilarious driving around and around we concluded the restaurant was inside the terminal, and went elsewhere. Getting lost seemed to be the tenor of the day as when I landed in Austin, my ride and I got promptly lost trying to find the hotel. Google maps to the rescue both times! How did I survive before my iPhone?

One bagel and cream cheese later, it was on to Book People. Austin is a new city for me and I wish I could have spent more time there, the vintage and thrift shopping looked amazing. Arrived at Book People to find my name in lights! My goodness, authors are rockstars.

A small but highly enthusiastic group met me, probably of about 50. I didn’t put on the best show, since I was a quite out of it and sleepy. Lucky everyone there was very gracious about my bumbling. (For the record the answer to that Lord Akeldama question is . . . Scarlet Pimpernel and Oscar Wilde.) Was taken off after by a dear old convention buddy from my fan-girl days for some delicious Thai food. It was sublimely spicy and the Thom Kar Gai practically perfect (I have very strict standards for Thom Kar Gai.)

Lessons Learned

  • Once you get a nail shellac, you never go back.
  • Chocolate malt ice cream should be a regular flavor offering, everywhere. Why is this not the case? Why?
  • Pork belly is probably not for me.
  • The surest sign of a tourist in Portland is someone with an umbrella when it’s raining, apparently this is a crazy idea. Crazy! Ah those wacky Portlandians. (What about an umbrella with a bird on it?)
  • Always open the creamer away from your face on the plane.
  • Bacon is a remarkably good addition to a veggie burger.
  • A girl only needs one pair of flats for a trip under a week.
  • Look at the conditioner bottle before applying to hair, it may actually be body lotion.
  • Coffee Been & Tea Leaf’s English Breakfast tea is nasty. Starbucks’s Awake tea is OK in a pinch. (I will still order a “small.” You can correct me to your weird Starbucks cult language Little Red Riding Hood, but a small is a small, medium is medium, large is large. Why the vanity sizing? Nash.)
  • Strangers are nicer in Texas, but everything isn’t bigger.
  • The iPhone maps app works in Houston and in Austin, look at me giving directions. Me!
  • I do not need both my iPod and my iPhone.
  • Must stash teabag in bra before boarding for ease of accessibility in flight.

Book News:
One of the attendees talks about the Goodbye Parasol Tea Party.

Quote of the Day:
Sunny reads interview is up.

Goodbye Parasol Protectorate Tea (Timeless)

Posted by Gail Carriger


So we had our Goodbye Parasol Protectorate Tea-party on Sunday, Gentle Reader, and raised enough money to buy two wheelchairs for the Variety Children’s Charity! There was a fun little raffle as well as a bar and the cost of admission.

I’m so proud of my fans! It was not only a fun event, but everyone really came up chumps so far as participating, chatting, and enjoying themselves.

Because of Rina and the convenience of the venue, and the fact that I volunteered my local friends who did all the work (poor things, this AND getting eviscerated in print) this kind of event unlikely to occur outside of the bay area.

So I thought I might provide some thoughts and ideas on how to throw your own Parasol Protectorate Goodbye Tea Party.



We used my Mum’s lace tablecloths and some brocade ones provided by Rina. In a pinch, you can often buy cheap lace curtains from the linen section of your local thrift store, they work great. Paper doilies went under the treats, and cloth ones were spread about for added decoration. (I picked these up from a thrift store in Ohio in college.)

I suggest going with a theme rather than obsessing over matching everything (ours was “spring”). The idea is to create a theatrical atmosphere, not a perfect victorian recreation. Ask your friends, if they own them, to bring parasols, even for an inside event, then use the parasols to decorate as well.

Kung Fu Parasol!

I have a vast teacup collection from over the years. I just pick them up, odd and unmatched wherever I can. They’ve served in several steampunk tea rooms and the occasional garden party but spend most of their time in storage. My tea mistress prefers to make pots of tea, so I also scored several huge teapots from Marshalls one year, which we use for larger events.

Generally speaking, one or two teapots will do the trick, so long as you don’t mind refilling regularly.

Here’s a checklist of utensils you might need:

  • Tea Pots
  • Tea Cozy
  • Cups & Saucers
  • Milk Jugs
  • Sugar Bowl
  • Plates
  • Platters
  • Bowls
  • Tea Spoons
  • Napkins
The Tea

We provided a wide range, but for a smaller gathering, just one caffeinated and one decaffeinated is perfectly acceptable. This is one area wherein the Hostess may choose her favorite and impress it upon others. We had English Breakfast (and decaf), Earl Grey (and decaf), Lady Grey, Green, and a selection of tisanes.



I always suggest going with all finger food. It’s hard enough to mill about with a teacup in one hand without adding a plate to the mix. Unless you have sufficient seating, having small bite sized nibbles people can eat easily, or can balance on the edge of the saucer is best for this kinds of events. Also consider a good even mix of sweet to savory.

Here is what we had . . .


  • 4 kinds of Petite Queesh (2 meet, 2 veg)
  • 4 kinds of Tea Sandwiches (pea leaf & dill cream cheese ~ couldn’t find cress, egg salad ~ AKA egg mayonnaise, cheddar & chutney ~ AKA cheese & pickle, and cucumber)
  • Fig stuffed with goat cheese & prosciutto
  • Scotch Eggs with homemade Chutney ~ as seen in Blameless


  • Hobnobs
  • Digestive Biscuits
  • Lady Fingers & Clotted Cream
  • Petti Fours (Kipling’s finest)
  • Flakey Rosettes
  • Marzipan (homemade dipped in dark chocolate)
  • Shortbread (homemade)
  • Shortbread (Walker’s)
  • Candied Orange Peel (homemade)
  • Assorted wafer cookies
  • Ginger Snaps
  • Treacle Tart & Devonshire Cream

An Note ~ On Treacle Tart

So it is an ill kept secret, and inside joke, Gentle Reader, that Alexia’s love of treacle tart only serves to highlight my own loathing for the desert. Don’t get me wrong, I have a terrible sweet tooth inherited from my mum, but treacle tart pushes my limits. It is, in a word, vile. Nothing but sugar and crust.

However, Kitty’s tarts were the best I have ever eaten, serve with clotted cream if possible, or real whipped queen (flavored with vanilla and lemon zest but not sweetened) if you can’t find clotted. They were quite lovely, so I asked her to send the recipe my way in case any of you would like to try making them yourself.

Here is the recipe our Treacle Tart Mistress Kitty used. She obtained golden syrup from her local Indian grocery store, which is a good place for British dry & frozen goods (with the exception of tea). If there’s nothing local, she says you can get it online.

She says, “It’s worth it to buy real Lyle’s golden syrup, as no American syrups have the same taste, and you’d otherwise have to make your own. I may have used a bit more lemon juice than the recipe, as I juiced it into the bowl & it was a juicy lemon. I don’t think you can go wrong over lemon-ing a treacle tart, though. To get mini tartlets, I used a Norpro Mini Cheesecake Pan, which is fantastic.”

So that’s all for now. I do hope some of you will throw your own party and please post a link to pictures, or post them to the Facebook group. You know I adore seeing them, I really do. Nothing is more exciting to me than the idea that my books might have inspired tea parties. Because nothing is more wonderful.

I promise I will post an actual recap of the events of the tea. Including signing photos, pictures of some of the amazing costumes that turned up, not to mention Tunstell’s trousers. Also I owe you a recap of Passion & Prose. I talk about the outfit I wore to the tea, here, and the one for Passion & Prose here.


Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .

Book News:
I had fun doing this guest blog, plus lots of pictures. All about what I do when I’m not writing.

Quote of the Day:
tea leaves
tea loves
loves tea
lives tea
leaves tea?

~Uniek Swain

Ending a Series ~ Part 2: Emotions (Important for Writers)

Posted by Gail Carriger


There’s a sense of listlessness at the ending of a series, Gentle Reader.

I’ve felt it for years as a voracious reader, now I feel it as an author for the first time. It’s a little like breaking up with a partner you still love plus losing friends through time and distance plus ending a long vacation away.

Which would make it, I suppose, somewhat like the end of college. Or possibly the way penguins feel after migrating. (Do penguins migrate? I’m digging myself into a very deep analogy hole. Anyway . . .)

Having finished the Parasol Protectorate series I am left with the certain knowledge that I will never have the experience of writing it again. But, like the penguins, I know that there are new adventures in my future. I don’t have much time to mourn my lost loves, there’s too much more to write.

And of course, the beauty of writing in the same fantasy world, with immortal characters, is that old friends can drop in at anytime. I’m just hopping that, unlike after college, none of them end up sleeping on my couch for months.


As always, you don’t have to take my word for it. Saying “Goodbye” Is Never Easy – The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

Book News:
The Steampunk Scholar goes to town, top hat firmly in place, on the subject of steampunk and how books may or may not be classified using Heartless as his jumping off point. A hugely insightful academic peek into the current debates over aesthetic vs. genre.

Quote of the Day:
“Willy-nilly (adj.): Impotent.”
~ Anonymous

Timeless Research (Parasol Protectorate Special Extras)

Posted by Gail Carriger


Some inspirational images from Timeless research.

I though you’d like to see some pictures of things I drew upon for this last book. Kind of like a book design board. I promise, Gentle Reader, no spoilers, or nothing that you would know is a spoiler until after you finish the book!


Romance on the Nile in the 1880s
Want more behind the scenes sneak peeks? Join the Chirrup

Quote of the Day:
“If the lady on whom you call is not at home, you must leave your card. If she has grown-up daughters or a sister living with her, two cards: or you may slightly turn down the corner of your card, which signifies that the visit is paid to all.”
~ Etiquette for Ladies, c. 1850

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