Posts Tagged ‘Gail Carriger’

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Gail Carriger made a book tour stop in Houston, Texas for her new release, PRUDENCE : The Custard Protocol: Book One. In this latest novel, Alexia’s girl, now all grown up, with all the spunk of her mother and then some ventures to the exotic land of India. Her high priority, top secret mission involves tea, vampires and weremonkeys. 

At Murder By the Book, Gail shared with her fans that she did a lot of research for this novel as it is set in India. The mythology used in the book including that of the Rakshasas, India vampires, and the Vanara, India weremonkeys is accurate. In her research she also uncovered the interesting historical tidbit that Bombay was originally several islands the English engineered into one by means of land reclamation projects.

Ms.Carriger also discussed how she comes up with such interesting names for her characters. She uses names for humor. Sometimes the name just comes to her as she’s writing like it did for her main character, Prudence. She also looks names up in Victorian registries and on tomb stones. Sometimes she likes a word so much she just adds a letter or letters at the beginning or end to make a name.  Another way she choses names is what she calls cookies, meaning it’s a treat for anyone willing to do the research. She’ll pull a name from a real historical character or the name will have a hidden meaning or she’ll spell a word backwards for a name. One such cookie is Lord Akeldama. If you don’t know where and what Akeldama is, google it. It’s interesting. I have to say my favorite new character name in Prudence is Spoo, she’s a lively member of the Spotted Custard’s crew.

At the book signing, Ms. Carriger was asked how she explains Steampunk to people who aren’t familiar with it? She says, “Imagine living in a time period where you can take a hot air balloon to the moon.” Speaking of fiction genres, she also divulged that she likes military sci-fi including Rachel Bach’s Paradox series and Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff. And she likes some romance in her sci-fi reads. Ms. Carriger even has a book club on Goodreads where you can read along with her. A book she likes is chosen each month.  Also on My Book The Movie blog you can see who she would chose to cast for Prudence if it were a movie.

I read Prudence and I love the line,

Rue was moved to italics by the gesture. “Mine?”

As you can see from that sentence, PRUDENCE is as charming and humorous as all of Ms. Carriger’s books.

She could be a member of the Spotted Custard crew, perhaps Greaser Phinkerlington or even Spoo.

She could be a member of the Spotted Custard crew, perhaps Greaser Phinkerlington or even Spoo.

In PRUDENCE, the adventure begins when Dama gives Prudence an airship, which she paints to look like a lady bug and she names it the Spotted Custard. Of course her good friends Prim, Percy and Quesnel come along. Intrigue and espionage ensue, which Prudence thinks is all due to the special tea Dama has sent her for but it turns out it’s also about supernatural beings in India, the vampiric Rakshasas and the Vanara, weremonkeys.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say of course in the end Prudence manages to save the day.

The book is a funny, sweet, fresh delight. It’s ever so creatively original – after all it’s by Gail Carriger. I highly recommend PRUDENCE for anyone who likes good books and of course it’s a must read for all Gail Carriger fans.

Here is a video from Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego 03/17/15

Other Gail Carriger related post on Steamed:

Book Monday: Timeless by Gail Carriger

Maeve Alpin Reviews Gail Carriger’s Timeless
How To Make A Proper Pot Of Tea by Gail Carriger 
In Which We Get Cozy with Gail Carriger
In Which Author Gail Carriger visits

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Maeve Alpin, who also writes as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 26 books. She creates stories with kilts, corsets, fantasy and happy endings. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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Gail Carriger at Lone Star Worldcon 2013

Gail Carriger at Lone Star Worldcon 2013

About a month ago, at /LoneStar/WorldCon in San Antonio, I attended the “I Married A Werewolf” panel on Paranormal/Romance. The panel was made up of authors: Darlene Marshall, Carrie Vaughn, Charlaine Harris,  and also two authors with Steampunk credentials, Gail Carriger, well known author of the The Parasol Protectorate and the Finishing School series, and Jean Johnson, who in addition to her paranormal and sci-fi books wrote, Steam, a Steampunk short story in the The Mammoth Book of Time Travel Romance.

The label of paranormal romance came up and Gail Carriger mentioned that Orbit struggled with how to label her first book, Soulless. The label on the spine read – Fantasy/Horror.  Jean Johnson said, “I considered my book The Sword to be a Fantasy/Romance, but I don’t deal with labels, that’s the marketing department. The publisher labeled The Sword as a Paranormal/Romance.”

Gail Carriger explained that she played with actual genres in Victorian literature in her five books in the Parasol Protectorate series. The first was based on Gothic Romance, the second on Gothic Cozy, the third on an American Boy’s Adventure, the 4th on a Sherlock Holmes Cozy, and the fifth is in a Travel Journal style.

In another LoneStar/WorldCon panel I attended, Gail Carriger spoke about world building. Along with Gail Carriger — Bryan T. Schmidt, Amanda Downum, and Robin Hobbs made up the “Intricate Worlds Panel”. The first question the panel addressed was what are some of your world building pet peeves?

Bruan T Schmidt’s answered, “Things that get overlooked.”

Amanda Downum’s said, “A static world or a world that hasn’t evolved. Where things have always been this way. For example, they have always used swords and horse drawn carts and nothing will change.”

Robin Hobbs said, “Cities that have no reason for being there. Cities that are hard to get to, so the characters have difficult challenges in reaching them but there doesn’t seem to be any other reason for the location of the city.”

Gail Carriger mentioned her pet peeve was not making use of objects representative of the characters’ culture. “Don’t discount objects your characters own or have with them as they can be very telling to the readers about those characters.”

Steampunk at World Con 2013

Steampunk at World Con 2013

Ms. Carriger also gave advice for research and world building: “Call your local university. They are one of those untapped resources. Also, one of the secrets of world building is to piggy back on a culture that is little known or pick and choose and meld two cultures that never did blend in actual history.” She further advised, “You are the god or goddess of your own universe – you just have to explain the rules of your universe properly. You’re drawing up your own laws for this universe, so you can’t break those.”

The panels at LoneStar, WorldCon in San Antonio were great, full of interesting information and advice for my writing. Feel free to comment below with your own world building pet peeves or world building advice.

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Maeve Alpin, who also write as Cornelia Amiri, is the author of 19 published books. Her latest Steampunk/Romance is Conquistadors In Outer Space. She lives in Houston Texas with her son, granddaughter, and her cat, Severus.

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Yeah, so I know Maeve already reviewed Timeless but I love these books so much, I’m going to gush about it anyway.  I also haven’t done “Book Monday” in awhile (where I gush about books I love, for those of you who don’t know).  So…here’s today’s book:

Timeless –Book #5, Parasol Protectorate
by Gail Carriger

(copy provided by Orbit)

All good things must come to an end, and Timeless is the last book Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series.  Sure, she has two new series coming out, but alas, Lord Maccon and Alexia’s story has come to an end. 

I love these books – their charm, wit, humor, and ability to make me laugh out loud in undignified ways while on airplanes.  Book #5 was no exception.

In this book Alexia and company travel to Egypt in an adventure that doesn’t disappoint.  Prudence cracks me up, and Carriger accurate portrayal of life with a toddler (especially bathtime) had me rolling. 

Though I was a tiny disappointed not to get the full Alexia origins story, this story did not disappoint overall.  There was plenty of Ivy and her hats, Akeldam’s wit, Madame Lefoux’s intrigue, and the amazing love and respect shared by Lord Maccon and Alexia (which always makes me swoon).

And Biffy!  I was pleasantly surprised by darling Biffy.  I hope we haven’t seen the last of him.

I know we haven’t seen the last of Prudence and I look forward to reading about her in her series, Parasol Protectorate Abroad.

Have you read it?  What did you think?


Suzanne Lazear writes steampunk tales for teens.  Her debut novel, INNOCENT DARKNESS, book one of The Aether Chronicles, releases August 2012 from Flux. Visit her personal blog for more adventures.

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Maeve Alpin loves reading and writing about ancient times. It’s only natural that she loves alternative history just as much. She had a lot of fun combing the mystery and magic of ancient Egypt with the prim and proper, frill and lace, of an alternate Victorian age of steam robots and time travel machines for her As Timeless As Stone novella. Drawing on her love for a happy ending, she’s had sever…al works published: five romance novels, three novellas, and short stories in four anthologies. She lives in Texas with her family; her grown son, her granddaughter, and her spoiled cat, Severus. Visit her at   http://MaeveAlpin.com In addition to her Steampunk/Romances she writes Celtic/Romances under the name Cornelia Amiri

Gail Carriger’s Book Signing & Review of Timeless

By Maeve Alpin

Gail Carriger, author of the Parasol Protectorate series, entered Houston’s Murder By The Book store where rows of people, several in Steampunk costumes, sat in chairs with her books nestled on their laps. She greeted everyone with a dazzling smile and a perky, “Hello, My Darlings.”

“I believe in leaving a party before it’s over,” was her response to the question, why is Timeless the last book. She explained that if she walked out and got run over she’d known she’d left behind a finished series. She likes the package wrapped up with a big bow on top. The author also mentioned that Clueless had a cliffhanger ending because she didn’t have a contract at that time. With Blameless she knew they’d be five books in the series.

Now that the Parasol Protectorate series is finished with Timeless, what we can expect next is a young adult series, The Finishing School, which takes place in what really isn’t a finishing school at all. Also she will soon begin the first book in a series about Alexis and Conall’s daughter, who is also Lord Akeldama’s adopted daughter, the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series. The first book will be called Prudence and the second Imprudence. We have something else to look forward to, we will see familiar faces in both series.

 As for Timeless, “The werewolves have a saying. It takes a pack to raise a child.” A pack, a vampire hive, a thespian troupe, and more if that child is a metanatural toddler, who walks at a young age. Young Prudence turns life tipsy every time she changes from human form to a toddler vampire, complete with fangs, when she touches any vampire, including her adopted father. She also transforms into a wolf cub, complete with fuzzy tail, when she touches any werewolf, including her own father. This makes life quite challenging for her preternatural mother, Lady Maccon, and her supernatural werewolf father, Lord Maccon,  as they venture forth from their odd home, in Lord Akeldama’s third closet, to an ocean liner for a voyage to Egypt at the command of a Vampire Queen, and to search for information about the God-Breaker Plague, also to find out what Alexis’s father was really up to at the time of his death, and for Ivy and her husband and their acting troupe to perform their rendition of The Death Rains of Swansea for the Egyptian Vampire court . As I read Timeless, I wondered if all four were tied together, and if so how. I was pleased at the revelations and the conclusion Gail Carriger came up with.

Timeless is a great finish to an incredible series. Witty, funny and creative, Timeless also prepares us for the Parasol Protectorate Abroad series with a new Vampire Queen and a glimpse of a new Werewolf Alpha in the future  I laughed out loud as I always do when reading Gail Carriger’s books. I will miss Alexia and I hope to see some of her in the coming series with Prudence. Timeless is a fun read, a great escape, and I highly recommend it.

Blogging Contest: I’m giving away an autographed copy of Gail Carriger’s Manga book of Soulless, an autographed copy of my To Love A London Ghost novel, and two Lady Mechanika comic books, Issues #1 and #2. To enter the contest, please comment below and include your email so I can contact you if you win.  Here is a trailer for To Love A London Ghost.


~Maeve Alpin

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Heartless by Gail Carriger

Book 4 of the Parasol Protectorate Series

Releases July 1, 2011

Galley Provided by Orbit

You all know how much I love these books.  Gail Carriger is one of my favorite authors.  When this surprise landed in my mailbox I didn’t read it, I devoured it in two sitting, while the hubby looked on in worry asking me why I was laughing so hard.

A ghost is on the loose and threatening Queen Victoria, Felicity has (gasp) joined the suffragette movement, there’s an infestation of zombie porcupines, and Madame Lefoux is inventing strange things.  Alexia must deal with these while in her most delicate condition.

Carriger has done it again, taking us on a hilariously adventurous romp through supernatural society, complete with giant octopi, porcupines, and, of course, treacle tart.

I love that these very proper books don’t take themselves seriously and that they’re funny.   Now, I do love dark books, but sometimes you need a book that makes you snort in an unladylike fashion and laugh so hard you nearly upset your tea.

I for one, love these covers, but then I also know the cover model.

Overall this was a wonderful, quick read.  There is plenty of humor in Heartless.  There’s all our favorite characters including plenty of the ever fabulous Lord Akeldama and sweet Biffy.   There’s Alexia’s baby…and, well, we can’t forget the porcupines!

My only problem with this book, is, as usual, that I have to wait a year for the next.

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I totally forgot to put up the Feb edition of “In My Mailbox.”   I’m still very new to the whole Vlog thing.  I get so nervous and I just know I said something wrong.  And, oh, the faces I make!  I don’t think I’m doing this right.

The books I talk about in the Feb edition are

Invasion by Jon S. Lewis (YA, a C.H.A.O.S novel)

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge (YA)

Heartless by Gail Carriger (Adult, book 4 Parasol Protectorate, released July 2011)

Thanks to Orbit, Thomas Nelson, and Delacorte Press for sending me these books.

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren

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So, has everyone recovered from holiday madness?  I hope whatever you desired was under the Christmas tree.  The new year is approaching and there’s a lot of great things to look forward to. 

The end of 2010 calls for a review of my favorite Steampunk books of 2010.  However, this list only draws from the books I’ve personally read that came out in 2010.  Books I read in 2010 that were released earlier were not included in this list as were books not specifically “Steampunk.”    There’s some great Steampunk books released this year that I haven’t read yet.   Also, this is just my own personal opinion. 


Lolita Suzanne’s Best Steampunk Books of 2010


Best YA Steampunk of 2010

The Dark Deeps: 
The Hunchback Assignments 2

by Arthur Slade

Summary:   Modo is a fourteen-year-old shape-shifting British secret agent.  Once again Modo and the unflappable Octavia Milkweed embark on a mission for Mr. Socrates in this tale of sea monsters, gadgets, French spies, and secrets.    

Why I loved it:  This year I discovered this series and I’m really enjoying it.   Modo and Octavia are terrific characters.  These books are very fun and adventurous and I love how Slade draws from all the classics.  I hope to see more titles in 2011. 

Best Steampunk Anthology of 2010

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded

Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Summary:  A followup of their 2008 anthology, the VanderMeers bring together an anthology of Steampunk fiction short stories and non-fiction articles suitable for both those new to the genre and avid Steampunkers. 

Why I loved it: I love the eclectic nature of the collection and how the VanderMeers blended original stories, reprints, and non fiction. Everything is artful–even the cover.   Gail Carriger’s essay is my personal favorite. 

Best Steampunk Book of 2010


by Gail Carriger

Summary: Alexia is back and part of a scandal, having left her husband’s house and being in the family way.   She’s dismissed from the Shadow Council, Lord Akeldama leaves town before he can help her make sense of everything, and attacked by mechanical ladybugs.   In order to sold the mystery, Alexia embarks to Italy to consult the Templars.

Why I loved it:  I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but the cover model is simply extraordinary.  ~grin~  I adore these books and am a major Gail Carriger fan-girl.  Like the other books in the series, these books are fast-paced, cleaver, and make me laugh.  What’s not to love about homicidal lady bugs, Ivy running a hat shop,  and Alexia saving the world one cup of tea at a time? 

So, these are my personal picks for 2010.  What are  yours?

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We have more winners from the Halloween Author Invasion. Is it you?

Thanks again for helping to make the Author Invasion a success and thanks to all the fab authors that came on to blog about Halloween and give away treats. A couple of contests are still open.

Today is a busy Steampunk day for me. The online writing class I’m teaching starts today. ~waves at the readers taking the class~

I’m over at Candace’s book blog explaining Steampunk.

I’m also blogging on the elements of a Steampunk novel at Castles and Guns.

NaNoWriMo starts today. I think I’m going to sit this year out, but kudos to everyone doing it! (Who’s writing Steampunk?)

Now, back to Book Monday! Today, not only am I reviewing a great Steampunk anthology coming out, but one lucky commenter will win an ARC of “Steampunk Reloaded.”

Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded
Edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer
Released November 15 by Tachyon Press
ARC provided by Tachyon Press

The award-winning editorial team Ann & Jeff Vandermeer does it again with their sequel to their original Steampunk anthology. “Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded” brings together a triumvirate of Steampunk spectacularness — original fiction, reprinted short stories, and non-fiction.

The twenty-seven stories and articles represent a broad cross-section of Steampunk by some of the best in the genre. “Tanglefoot” by Cherie Priest is a Clockwork Century story inspired by a real location. There are also stories by G.D. Falksen (“The Strange Case of Mr. Salad Monday) and Tanith Lee (“The Persecution Machine”).

Besides the usual stories and “What is Steampunk” articles there’s a couple of unusual pieces that add depth and spark to an already good anthology. “Ada Lovelace: The Origins” by Sydney Padua is a delightful alternate history comic. “The Secret History of Steampunk” by The Mecha-Ostrich and Catherynne M. Valente’s “The Anachronist’s Cookbook” also make for interesting reading.

My favorite story isn’t actually a fiction piece, but Gail Carriger’s non-fiction article “Which is Mightier, the Pen or the Parasol?”

This is a well put together anthology suited for both lovers of Steampunk and those new to the genre. The cover is beautiful and the anthology as a whole is artful, from the incredible illustrations to the advertisements in the back. Even the designs around the page numbers and title fonts add to the ambiance and aesthetic, pulling the whole anthology together in a way that makes it more than a mere collection of stories.


There’s a full list of stories and articles here . Tell me which one you really want to read and why. One lucky poster will win an ARC of “Steampunk Reloaded.” Contest ends Sunday, November 7th, 2010 at 11:59 PM PST.

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Does anyone watch Castle? Tonight is their encounter with a secret Steampunk society. I know I’m tuning in.

If anyone had trouble signing up for the Steampunk Writing Class everything should be fixed now.

Also, is anyone planning on writing Steampunk for National Novel Writing Month in November. No, seriously. Because if there’s enough of you, we’ll run something nifty here at Steamed. With prizes.

Now, on to today’s book review.

Blameless, book three of the Parasol Protectorate Series
by Gail Carriger

Parasols, dirigibles, and men in white nightdresses, oh my! The latest installment in Carriger’s charmingly witty Parasol Protectorate series. Alexia’s life is in a wee bit of upheaval after the last book’s events. Not one to waste an opportunity, when things get unbearable in London, Alexia heads off to Italy in the company of Madame Lefoux and Floot in order to find some answers and tangle with the Templars while Lord Maccon comes to his senses.

Like the rest of the series, these books are enjoyable, witty, and filled with tea, parasols, adventure, and bad hats. The Steampunkyness of Carriger’s world isn’t “in your face” but woven subtly into the very fabric of the world. As usually, memorable characters abound. It was fun to see more of Floot the Butler with little hits of what Alexia’s esteemed father may have been like. Lord Maccon was absent for much of the story, but Professor Lyall was prominent in a very entertaining Vampire subplot (with quite the plot twist) that kept bringing us back to what was happening in London while Alexia was in Italy. I wonder if the Werewolves will become more fashionable now. I did miss the ever-charming and fascinating Lord Akeldama’s presence as well, but it was fun to see Ivy starting to find her element.

In short, I ♥ it. I shall be waiting for the next book, Heartless with baited breath. (But must I wait until July?)

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Today we welcome back one of our favorite Visiting Lolitas, author Gail Carriger.

Her newest in the deliciously Steampunk paranormal Parasol Protectorate series, Blameless, was released September 1, 2010. Other books in the series include Soulless and Changeless. She also has a story appearing in the Steampunk Reloaded anthology which will be released November 15, 2010.

Blameless is also a featured book for the month of Steptember over at the Barnes and Noble Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Book Club.

Getting Cozy with Gail Carriger

There’s this concept of cozy which may be the most iconic thing I can think of to represent British culture. Yes there’s the Queen, and Ascot, and Oxford and so forth, but I’m going purely philosophical here and delving into the nature of culture itself. Small town or city, north or south, there is one thing that they do better in Britain than anywhere else in the world (apart from tea): Get Cozy.

You can picture it in your head: the small thatched cottage on the edge of the moor, puffing smoke out its little chimney, a tilted sign at the garden path that reads “Duck’s Bottom.” You know that at the door there will be a little brush shaped like a hedgehog upon which to wipe your rubber boots and just inside a pot for your umbrella. Once the door has closed, you notice that the place smells like baking bread. You can hear the lilting hum of conversation, a querulous rise and fall, so musical when compared to our loud American flatness. And soon enough someone comes toward you with a welcoming smile, flour on their apron, and says, “Oh, it’s you. Come in, come in. Cuppa?”

Cozy is the way everything is smaller over in the UK: cars, bath tubs, doorways. Except tissues, they’re huge. Cozy is the fact that odds are, if you enter a used bookstore some cat will sidle over to collect a pet taxation, or, if it’s sunny, coil in the window amongst dusty book jackets in an obliging sunbeam. Cozy is the patchwork quilts on the beds or the fact that you can order your gingerbread with a dollop of warm custard spilled over it. Cozy in inherent in the names of things: Winny the Pooh (a children’s book character), loo (the bathroom), babblers (a kind of bird). Even the food is cozy, designed for well padded comfort, nothing to stress about, nothing too hot or too spicy or too good for you: spotted dick, clotted cream, Christmas pud, digestive biscuits, Cornish pasties, crumpets, bubble and squeak, rumbledethumps.

Being truly British, however, means one has to suffer for this concept in order to appreciate it. In the South of England, where I spent much of my youth, I would often see parades of macintoshed wanderers striding the green landscape enduring a near-constraint drizzle. “Mighty fine day, isn’t it?” Some had a scruffy dog or two, others sported binoculars and a keen interest in birds (Birdos are called Twitchers over there – how awesome is that?), but most are just out for a stroll. I don’t know about you, but here in California no one would EVER go for a walk in the rain. The very idea! But I believe this is tied to the fact that these damp adventurers know that upon returning home there will be a cheery little fire, a fat cat on the knee, and perhaps a hot toddy.

I think one the best literary depictions of this side of Britishness is the Hobbit villages in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. As Tolkien implies, we would all be better of if we could have more cozy in our lives, that slow lazy pace, that genuine appreciation for comfort. There is simple functional pleasure to be derived from a tea cozy or fuzzy slippers. There is such joy to be had in curling up in a big soft sweater with a great book and a cup of tea. Cozy is not just a concept, it is a state of mind.

New York Times Bestselling author Gail Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. The Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless (Oct. 2009), Changeless (March 2010), Blameless (Sept. 2010), Heartless (July 2011), and Timeless (2012).

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Happy Monday.  I have a new book review for you today.

First off, congratulations to author Paolo Bacigalupi . His novel The Windup Girl won the 2010 Nebula Award.

I’m also having some major tiara envy.  I saw this on Etsy. Isn’t it darling? I know, I own two clockhand tiaras, but there’s something about this one I really like. Maybe it’s the snowflake?

The Steamed blog (and my upcoming book) were also mentioned on the Romantic Times blog. Squee.

I have a few more copies of issue 6 of Steampunk Tales. If you want one, just let me know in the comment box.

On to today’s book review. I have to say, I do adore these books and I can’t wait for the next one.

Changeless by Gail Carriger.

The fearless, yet well-dressed and ever-so-proper Alexia Tarabotti is back in this second novel of the highly entertaining Parasol Protectorate series. This time, Alexia is off to Scotland with her bratty sister, her best friend Ivy and Ivy’s collection of horrid hats in search for her missing husband and to solve the mystery of why supernaturals in London are loosing their powers.

Like in Soulless, adventures and entertaining characters abound in the wild romp into the Scottish highlands. Alexia travels aboard a dirigible, uses an aethographic transmitter, brings her rather unusual parasol wherever she goes, and befriends the inventor Madame Lefoux who (gasp) wears trousers. There are also Weres in kilts (who doesn’t love a Were in a kilt?), plenty witty banter, marvelous gadgets, and more world building (the octopi from book one are finally explained).

Ah, the gadgets. Where would a Steampunk story be without the gadgets? Besides the aethographic transmitter and dirigible, there are dart guns, glassicals, and a parasol fit for a Victorian 007 (I want one!)

The new characters are very colorful, such as Madame Lefoux, but we still see our favorites like Ivy, the Professor, and the wildly flamboyant Lord Akeldama. The relationship between Lord Maccon and Alexia starts out as sweet and funny, but as the end approached I found myself wishing I could smack him with my parasol.

Like the first book, I found Changeless to be an entertaining read with a well thought out Steampunk world, clever characters, and witty dialogue. The combination of Steampunk and paranormal is what, to me, makes this series so much fun.

The ending has a twist that may not set well with some readers. I didn’t mind and it made me wish Blameless were out sooner than September so I could find out what happened next (though I still want to smack Lord Maccon.)

Happy reading.

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It’s Monday.  I have some winners to announce

The first is the copy of Chenda and the Airship Brofman.

…drum roll please…


Congrats!  Email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.

Now we have the amazing Girl Genius stuff.

…drum roll please…

*~*~*CARA KING*~*~*

YAY, Cara.  Please email me at suzannelazear (@)hotmail to claim your prize.

Thank you, again, for everyone who helped to make Steampunkapalooza a huge success. We got almost 10,000 hits in April. Just because Steampunkapalooza is over doesn’t mean the party ends. We’re looking for guests for our new “guest Thursdays.” If you have a suggestion (or want to be one) please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail with “guest suggestion” or “guest inquiry” in the header.

I’m still recovering, and don’t have anything profound to share with you, so I’m going to share a couple of things that I find interesting. Enjoy.

Did you ever wonder how a book cover was made?  This video from  Orbit  shows us how they made the cover for; Gail Carriger’s upcoming book Blameless.

Is the world ready for Steampunk Mickey?

About a month ago Disney announced the release of its new pin set The Mechanical Kingdom ; featuring Steampunk versions of all our favorite Disney Characters.

This has caused reactions on all realms of the spectrum from excitement to disappointment.  Personally, I think the pins are cute and I see it as positive, not a negative.  Just because someone knows what an idea is, doesn’t necessarily make it “mainstream.”  And, well, Disney has Steampunk roots, too — 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Treasure Planet anyone?  I’d love to see Disney remake one of their early black and white cartoons, Steampunk style.

The Steampunk Scholar has a very eloquent post on Disney’s contribution to Steampunk.  The folks over at Voyages Extraordinaires have a great post on what Disney is doing aesthetically with Steampunk.  (It makes me want to plan a trip to Japan.)

I had a friend bring me back a Minnie Mouse one from her recent trip and I think they’re cute.  (And it moves, lol).

So, what do you think?

Have a great week everyone.

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First off, before we get to today’s visiting Lolita, I’d like to announce the *finalists* of the Clockwork Couture ensemble contest. Thank you so much to everyone who entered, we had 44 entries! I am so glad I wasn’t the judge because there were so many amazing ensembles. Also, thank you to Donna at Clockwork Couture for sponsoring the contest.

The five finalists will each receive a tiara (because I’m all about tiaras, lol). The grand prize winner wins a $150 gift certificate to Clockwork couture. All winners, please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail so you can get your prize. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

The finalists and winner were chosen by our esteemed guest judge Gail Carriger. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to judge our contest.

The finalists are (in no particular order):

OM Grey’s “Gothic Steampunk Lolita” ensemble:

Marissa’s photoshopped creation:

Sangu’s Steampunk Outfit:

Steampunk Outfit

Mithril Designs’ “Absinthe Afternoon”:

Absinthe Afternoon

and VBunny’s “Black and White Tea”:

Black and White and Tea

Thank you again to everyone who entered, stay tuned for the winner!

Today let’s give a big Steampunkapalooza welcome to Edanna of EJP Creations, makers of fabulous clockhand jewelry, including my favorite–tiaras.  She will also be giving away a beautiful pair of earrings.

Recently, I was at an event that was attended by a horde of Steampunkians. My heart swelled with pride at the diversity, and enthusiasm emanating from it’s handsomely coiffed participants. There were brisk airship captains, elegantly refined Victorian ladies, dapper aristocratic gentlemen, cog-encrusted machinists, noir neo-Victorian mavens, burlesque carnival consorts, rakish goggle-donning scientists, and adventurers aplenty. Upon looking over this entire crowd the only thought that kept running through my head was, “THIS… this was the future I had always dreamed of. And if we can’t have zeppelins taking us to work each day, or adventures under the sea in great diesel-powered mechanized tubs then, by god, we shall make our own reality. Our groupthink will force it to happen, and we shall live as if this existence spans our entire globe!” I make my accessories for a clear and selfish reason. In adorning the coif of that elegant lady, or ornamenting the lapel of that mad scientist , my accessories help to flush out their character and accompany them on their next adventure. Fostering that reality into being by contributing a little of my vision for the world with a tangible, wearable bobble.

Distressed imperial elegance is the main thrust of my current designs. Apocalyptic chic, one might say, containing all the grandeur of toppled gilded empires, of their opulent treasures covered in dust and rubble. Encased for eons in their forgotten tombs only to be unearthed millennia later, shined up, and repurposed by a mad scientist of a woman wielding a hammer, and a pair of pliers. Using design elements from a bygone time, giving them a modern, urban spin. EJPcreations specializes in tiaras, chokers, earrings, necklaces, fascinators, and hair combs with a noir, and gothic flair. Creating body adornments with a hint of vampire elegance, a dash of Steampunk bravado, and plenty of Neo-Victorian sensibilities. Perfect for prowling the streets, haunting the clubs, or adding an aristocratic air to any outfit.

I have been creating unique and obscure items my entire life. Anything my little mind could dream up was instantly put on paper so I could work out the puzzle of making it a reality. Coming from a very creative family, this notion of making artwork in any form has been ingrained in me since birth. As an adult, this has primarily taken the form of wearable art, but I also enjoy creating other kinds of functional and mixed media creations as well. Contained in my artistic arsenal is an AA degree in Visual Presentation, a BFA in Crafts and Metalsmithing, and a BA in Anthropology with a focus in Japanese Urban culture and Primatology (specifically prosimians). In some amazingly mystic and extremely bizarre way all these studies have funneled into the work I produce today.


Thank you so much, Edanna, for visiting us. We really appreciate it. One lucky poster will get a pair of these earrings, which can be converted into clip-ons.  I have a pair just like them and they go with everything from jeans to corsets to little black dresses.  All you have to do for a chance to win is post a comment.

To get an extra entry, you can join EJP Creation’s Facebook Group and/or the Steamed! facebook group. Please let us know in your posts so we can give you your entry. If you already are a memeber let us know and you’ll still get the entry.

Blogging/posting/tweeting about this post and/or Steampunkapalooza also gets you another entry. Please let us know where and please don’t spam. For a final extra entry, you can subscribe to our blog. If you already are a subscriber, let us know so you get credit, too.

Contest ends Tuesday, April 20th at 11:59 pm PST and the winner will be announced on Thursday, April 22nd when YA rockstar Scott Westerfeld comes to visit. John from Steampunk Tales swings by on Monday, April 19th. Hang onto your fishnets when the Smutketeers join us Tuesday April 20th. Artist Simply Willow will be our guest on Wednesday, April 21st as Steampunkapalooza continues all April long.

I’m going to close with a really pretty tiara, because I can, lol.

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Steampunkapalooza is here! Join us all month long for special guests, prizes, and mayhem in celebration of Steamed!’s 1st Birthday.

Today we’d like to welcome Gail Carriger, author of Soulless and Changeless to the Steamed! Blog.  She’s graciously agreed to help us kick off our month long Steampunkapalooza in honor of our 1st birthday!  Gail will also be giving away a signed copy of Changeless to one lucky commenter.

Lolita Suzanne: Thank you so much for joining us today and kicking off our Steampunkapalooza birthday bash– on behalf of all the Lolitas, welcome to Steamed!  Usually we refer to our guests as “visiting Lolitas” but you come across as far too poised and polished to be a Lolita.

Gail Carriger: My dear, you may call me whatever you wish.

LS:  I adored Soulless and am looking forward to reading Changeless, which released March 30, 2010. Soulless was so funny that I laughed hysterically through the whole book.  I just love the cross section of the propriety of Victorian society and the supernatural world and how Alexia intersects both with dignity, grace, and witty quips.  Can you tell us a little about Changless?

GC: Changeless is a kind of spoof of gothic mystery stories (just as Soulless was essentially a spoof of early gothic romances). It involves werewolves in kilts with (gasp!) bare knees.

LS: Oh, not the bare knees!  Though, I do have a fondness for men in kilts.  Was Changless easier or harder to write than Soulless?

GC: Changeless was easier to write than Soulless, actually. It’s a nice clean story and it went very smoothly. Blameless, on the other hand, was an absolute nightmare. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

LS:  What inspired you to not only “go Steampunk” but to go paranormal Steampunk, effectively crossing Steampunk with Urban Fantasy?

GC: Given the tenor of my world the two genres just seemed to mesh really well for me. I love urban fantasy but I’m not wild about the modern setting and generally dark overtones, plus I’ve always wondered: if immortals were mucking about, why didn’t they have any effect on history? I also love steampunk. So having the vampires and werewolves causing an alt-Victorian steampunk past was an organic result of my own preferences.

LS:  Well, I have to say, I adore the results.  So, given the Steampunkyness of your books, does that mean that you do your signings in costume?

GC: At steampunk conventions, yes. I have had the cover dress of the second book made for me, so I may wear that, but most of the time, no I don’t. I dress up, but not really steampunk. That said, I do wear a lot of steampunk details in my daily life.

LS:  Oh, the dress on the cover is spectacular. Now, most Urban fantasies that I’ve read lastly have been in 1st person.  Why did you choose to use third?

GC: Honestly? I absolutely loathe writing first person. I’ve managed a few short stories in 1POV but most of the time I just don’t like it. I prefer being the goddess of my universe, all powerful and omnipresent. I also come out of a YA fantasy background, so that has had some effect on my voice.

LS: I know everybody has probably asked you about how you came up with your very unique world and the idea of supernaturals not being soulless but instead having an abundance of soul. But what came first, Alexia or her world?

GC:  The idea of weighing the soul came first (21 grams according to a scientist of the day). I loved the fact that they thought of the soul as a measurable entity. After I read about these experiments, and certain other aspects of Victorian scientific theory/practice I knew soullessness was the twist I wanted for my character. All the other concepts flowed from there. Alexia’s voice came after.

LS:  Speaking of Alexia, there is so much to love about your heroine.  Alexia is a real “can do” gal and no matter the situation always comes off as the most capable person in the room, all the while still maintaining her persona as a proper lady.  It really doesn’t seem like she has much further to grow as a character, though some of the other characters seem to have yet to realize exactly how capable she is.  Was that your intention all along? Will there be a few surprises/lessons for Alexia to learn along the way?

GC:  I like my main characters stroppy, dead-pan, and very practically-minded, luckily Alexia’s soullessness lends itself to this kind of personality. It’s fun to contrast her with a hero who, by his nature, leans towards and excess of emotion. Whether she likes it or not, Alexia has a lot to learn from Conall. That said, in the end, the world has a lot more to learn from Alexia. One of the things that she is always after is more scientific explanation as to her own nature. I think it frustrates her, as a bluestocking, that so little is known about preternaturals. But she has some challenges coming at her, it’s going to be interesting to see if being capable is enough to carry her through.

LS:  So far the action/intrigue is set in the United Kingdom–will the series move to other lands (France? Germany? America?)   Can you give us a hint as to what other adventures you have in store for Alexia?

GC:  Yup. You can see from the cover of Blameless that she is headed to the Continent in Book III. I have no plans to ever send her to the Americas, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going there at some point within this world.

LS:  Ivy, Alexia’s best friend is a hoot. Will her role expand in the future? And–what’s up with her challenged fashion sense and her horrible taste in hats? Do you have a friend, or family member, that you’ve based her on?

GC:  Ivy has hidden depths, and she’d not going anywhere. She has a key role in the second book, and a brief but vital appearance in the third. In the interest of my own protection, I must say that she bares absolutely no resemblance to any person living or dead (cough cough, Miss K, cough cough).

LS:  Alexia loses her parasol in Soulless.  Will she get another?

GC:  Oh my yes. She will get The Parasol!

LS:  Most Urban Fantasy series are about single women.  Is it difficult to keep up the excitement and adventure with a married woman?  Are there any specific challenges in writing a married character?

GC:  Yes there are certainly challenges. Much of the romantic tension vanishes, but there are so many other kinds of tension to play with. I’m lucky in that I’m such a crossover muddle of genres I can solve this problem by leaning further into steampunk, or comedy, rather than urban fantasy. Also, as I’m drawing heavily on Victorian tropes, I can switch around from gothic romance, to mystery, to high adventure. Also married women have far more autonomy in the Victorian world. That said, I’m a opposed to the idea that all nookie ends with a marriage. Rest assured, things stay hot.

LS:  Speaking of hot, although Alexia is inexperienced, especially in comparison to the much older Lord Maccon, it quickly becomes apparent that she can match him “tit for tat” or in this case “bite for bite.” Is it because of her preternatural ability to “tame” him with a touch or is it just her nature?

GC:  It’s a bit of both.

LS:  Sometimes it seems that in matters of passion she almost seems to have him at a disadvantage.  She is a refreshingly “lusty” woman which really balances well with her very proper persona.  Did you plan for Alexia to be sexual or did she surprise you?

GC:  She definitely surprised me. It was one of those cases when the character’s personality naturally steered her in that direction. Her pragmatic nature and lack of religious influence allowed her to be refreshingly un-Victorian about sex. Also there’s her disreputable father to think on. His journals broadened his young daughter’s mind quite extensively, not to mention her friendship with Lord Akeldama.

LS: When Alexia touches a supernatural and makes him human, if she were to get pregnant, would her child be human? supernatural? preturnatural?  Something different all together?

GC: I take the fifth.

LS:  But of course, lol.  Characters really do take on a life of their own when writing.  Did any other characters surprise you?

GC:  Constantly. Lyall is always a surprise, Lord Akeldama, never. Ivy has a sudden moment of utter revelation in the third book, and I had no idea Felicity would turn out to be so horrible in the second book.

LS:  What do you do when a character “refuses” to do what you want them to?

GC:  I haven’t really had that happen yet with this series. Mostly, they do what I want. Sometimes one of them will run away with a scene, then I have to be quite strict and reign them in. That said, often they have a better idea of where things are going than I, so I let them run. I can always go back and edit later, and often they drop a cookie or start a thread that I didn’t realize I would need.

LS:  Characters can be so smart sometimes. Do you have a favorite character?  A least favorite one?

GC:  I vacillate. I love Lyall because he is such a sweetheart and he has hidden depths. Lord Akeldama is easy to write. Tunstell, Ivy, and Lord Akeldama’s boys are all scene stealers. Madame Lefoux is a challenge. Alexia always has something snarky to say so she can voice the things others don’t dare to. Lord Maccon can be so endearingly buffoonish. I suppose, I like each one best when they are being the most extreme version of themselves, so it’s situationally dependent. I dislike each one when they are behaving out of character and I can’t figure out why.

LS:  There’s just so much to love about your world and characters.  How many books do you have planned for the series?

GC:  Again, I must take the fifth.

LS:  Again?  I suppose.  Can you tell use when will the third installment come out? Is there anything you can share with us about it?

GC:  September, eep! It’s a bit more of a high flying adventure than the other two. You’re going to learn a lot more about what it means to be a preternatural, and there are Italians in nightgowns, and a man with a gun that shoots sea cucumbers.

LS:  What’s not to love about that!  Another thing I love is the “paper doll” game on the Orbit website.   Will we get any additional characters to dress?  Perhaps Ivy and her hats?  Is there any chance they’ll make it an iPhone app?  I’d never get anything done if they did.

GC:  I love it too. I want them to do Lord Akeldama. Ivy would be awesome also. I would love it as an iPhone app, but I don’t know if they’ll do it. Would be pretty darn cool.

LS: Do you have any other projects in the works?

GC:  I’ve a short non-fiction piece on steampunk fashion out in the VanderMeer’s new anthology, Steampunk Reloaded, this October. A short story in the Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance II. Apart from that, nothing I can talk about . . . yet.

LS:  Thank you so much for coming on today!  It’s been a pleasure having you on and I can’t thank you enough for kicking off our Steampunkapalooza.

Now, on to the important stuff.  One lucky poster will win a copy of Gail Carriger’s Changeless. You get one entry for for posting a comment.  You also can get an additional entry for Blogging/facebooking/tweeting/posting about Gail’s visit/steampunkapalooza will also earn you an additional entry (but, please, don’t spam. When in doubt, leave it out) Let us know where you posted.

You can also earn an additional entry for joining the   Steamed facebook group or the Parasol Protectorate facebook group (or both for two entries).  If you’re already a fan let us know as well so you can get your extra entries as well.

Winner will be chosen by random.  The contest closes Sunday, April 4th at midnight PST and I’ll post the winner on or around Monday, April 5th. **UPDATED*** I’ll post the winner on Tuesday, April 6th at the beginning of our day’s post–featuring the art of <a href=http://www.strangling.com> Jasmine Becket-Griffith and a chance to win a signed print.

Stay tuned all month long for special guests, prizes, and mayhem. Don’t forget to join us tomorrow, Friday, April 2nd, when Dracula Clothing comes to visit. Saturday, April 3rdfor YA Author Shelley Adina as she blogs about her adventures in making a bustled petticoat. On Sunday, April 4 th we’re announcing a contest where you can win $150 GC to super fab Steampunk clothier Clockwork Couture. Donna from Clockwork Couture will be blogging on Steampunk fashion on Monday, April 5 th.

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Steamed! is turning 1!

To celebrate our birthday and to let you all know how much we appreciate you making us a success, the Lolitas of Steamed! thought we’d do something special for the month of April.

We call it “Steampunkapalooza.”

Hold on to your fishnets! For the entire month of April we will be bringing you special guests, prizes, contests, and more. We have some stellar things lined up for you this month, including some stuff I can’t announce yet.

We’re kicking the whole she-bang off April 1st with author Gail Carriger who will not only be answering all our pesky questions but will be giving away a copy of her new book Changless which releases tomorrow, March 30, 2010.

Tune in all of April for prizes, special guests, and more!

A special thanks to the fab Marsha, who designed my birthday graphic, who made our stellar flier.

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