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Monday, October 31, 2016

Tag I'm It: That Bookish Time Travel Blog Post

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/30/tag-im-it-that-bookish-time-travel-blog-post-2/

A group of fellow steampunk authors have been Tagged by Time Travel, posting about Time Travelling Through Books and A Moment in Time. I was tagged by Jack Tyler, author of Beyond the Rails. I'll try not to answer every question with a Doctor Who reference (as it is a tv show, though I do own many of the original Target Doctor Who book series). So here they are: my answers to that Bookish Time Travel Blog Post.
What is your favorite historical setting for a book?
I suppose it's currently the Victorian era. This is the closest time period to my current fascination and writing: steampunk. It was a time of wonder, with the excitement of new discoveries and exploration of the 'unknown'. There were new possibilities and hope for the future. It is interesting to see how other authors interpret and re-imagine history, or their alternate version of it, in their own stories based in the nineteenth century. Look at Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series for example.
What writers would you like to travel back in time to meet?
christieWhere do I start?
H G Wells had amazing ideas, ahead of his time. He was a pioneer of science fiction and inspiration for steampunk writers. I would love to talk ideas and tap into his imagination.
Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie had devious minds, weaving small details into captivating mysteries. Both were prominent writers of their own time, with their writing still captivating us today.
JRR Tolkien: Just to chat to him about world building, language creation and classic story telling. I would also love to discuss ecology and environmental issues with him.
What books would you travel back in time and give to your younger self?
This was easy. Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. This book reminds me to laugh, to look for the ridiculous or humour in any situation, particularly a difficult or stressful one (and what could be more stressful than having your home planet blown up!) Sometimes I have to forget to fall and maybe, just maybe, I'll discover how to fly.
What book would you travel forward in time and give your older self?
Again Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, especially if I've become too grumpy. Or perhaps The Princess Bride, to remind me that stories can have happy endings? If I tried giving myself something to teach me an important life lesson, I would consider my younger self a bit of a twat, or probably just ignore myself.
What is your favorite futuristic setting for a book?
I'm right off future dystopian books. It's just too depressing to contemplate such a bleak future. Reality provides enough for us to deal with at the moment. I need more hope than this genre can provide. Perhaps Star Trek, where there is equality of the sexes, and opportunities for everyone based on their skills, not just their social rank, lack of melanin or bank balance?  (I really want to say something here about The Doctor being there to save the day but I promised I wouldn't.)
blue-moon-risingWhat is your favorite book that is set in a different time period (can be historical or futuristic)?
Most of my favourite books are fantasy, set in alternate worlds and not technically a different time period. Many are quasi-medieval or occasionally Victorian. I loved the Forgotten Realms series (from my D&D roots). One of my all-time favourite books is Simon Green's Blue Moon Rising. It is my comfy go-to book where all ends well for the good guys and the bad guys get their come-uppance. Then there's Sherlock Holmes, with its quasi-supernatural stories with a gaslamp flavour, where intelligence wins out in the end.
Spoiler Time: Do you ever skip ahead to the end of a book to see what happens?
Yes, sometimes, if the book is dragging or a little depressing. I want to see if it's worth me persevering. For me the reader should be rewarded with a suitable ending and the end should be worthy the journey.
If you had a Time Turner, where would you go and what would you do?
Going back has too many dangers, too many opportunities to screw up the timeline. Some may be tempted to try to change the past, but I would not be who I am now, or where I am now, if I changed my own history. However... I would consider returning to 1996-7, when I started writing seriously, and convince myself not to listen to certain people and not to give up and wait twenty years to try again.  (Argh, all those wasted potential books!) Surely that wouldn't screw up the timeline too much?
hgwellsFavorite book (if you have one) that includes time travel or takes place in multiple time periods.
If I don't count a certain English SF series involving time travel, then it has to be The Time Machine by H G Wells. I first read this in my early twenties. The message is clear: you can't change certain events or wish they never occurred. Life happens. Life's messy. We have to deal with whatever situations confront us and live with the consequences. Or at least try to. I have to remind myself of this when I am dealing with anxiety.
If only there was a compassionate man in a blue box...
lorWhat book/series do you wish you could go back and read again for the first time?
I loved Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings - the first two fantasy books given to me by the school librarian who was trying to broaden my horizons beyond murder mysteries (I was a big fan of Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh). I still enjoy reading them, but there isn't the same wonder of that first discovery.
Inviting others to play along.
I'm not entirely sure about this bit. Most of the steampunk group have already been tagged. So I'm going to widen my net, with some authors outside my genre. It will be interesting to hear what they think of this exercise coming out of the blue, as it were. So here's a shout out to:
Please tag me in your post or comment here if you (or anyone else) want to take up the challenge, so I can read your answers.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Photo Friday: Costume Catch Up/Inktober

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/28/photo-friday-costuming-catch-upinktober/

I haven't had time to sew for a long time. This month I've tried to catch up on a few projects. Last week I showed you the beginnings of my new steampunked gun. This week I've been helping my daughter with her latest costume.
 john-tshirt2 john-tshirt shoes-john20161 shoes-john20162
And catching up on clothing bits. I've finished an upcycling project for the weekend, creating new 'work' skirt from and old one I would otherwise not wear again. A shorter skirt is now a long skirt, after making a new skirt top and adding the original skirt on the bottom.
 exopshopskirt_oldworkupdate20161 exopshopskirt_oldworkupdate20162b exopshopskirt_oldworkupdate20163 exopshopskirt_oldworkupdate2016
More pics to follow after Halloween Con this weekend.
And a few pics from this week's #inktober project:
 day-19-flight-copyright-2016-karencarlisle day-20_copyright2016karencarlisle day23_slow_copyright2016karencarlisle day24-one-dozen_copyright2016karencarlisle
World Squeeze is now available as a t-shirt from my Redbubble store.
Art and Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Journal #3: Seeing is believing… Or is it?

original post; http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/23/journal-3-seeing-is-believing-or-is-it/

It's almost NaNoWriMo time. The challenge is to complete 50,000 new words in thirty days. That's 11,667 words per week, or 1667 words per day. On a good day I can pen 1000-1500 words. On an exceptional day, when the stars align, I can write 2000 plus words. (I envy those who can get thousands  of words written in one day.)
You can read more on NaNoWriMo on my past blog post here. 
It's a hard slog, but not beyond the realms of reality. My record so far is 32,792 (done at Camp NaNo in 2015). A large chunk of my second book, Eye of the Beholder was written during last year's NaNo. And that was without any significant preparation - it snuck up on me!
This year I'm more organised. I'm determined to get a first draft of Viola Stewart's next set of adventures done (or at least a significant part of it). I've jotted down notes in various notebooks, scraps of paper and sticky notes. I have a small spiral notebook by the bed for those 'wee hours of the morning' inspirations when I can't sleep. I've even - now prepare yourself...
I even have basic notes for some scenes, some foreshadowing and three important plot points. Yes, shock, horror! This pantser has some some plotting. You can learn more about Pansting and Plotting in this post.
Now I just need to find all those scraps of paper before next month.)
Journal #3 is the final planned book for this series, though Viola may return in future short adventures. Then it's a slight change of pace, as I concentrate on finishing the final few chapters of The Department of Curiosities.
Here's a few sneak peeks at what is happening with Journal #3:
  • The format will remain the same. Three short stories and a feature novella - but the order may change. Two shorts, the novella, and a final short to tie up loose ends.
  • After Viola's last, harrowing adventure, she's off on holidays for the opening short story, From the Depths.
  • The background story lines will be wrapped up.
  • The Men in Grey (The Society) will return (of course!).
  • As with the two previous journals (3 shorts+novella), the featured novella with have a very Victorian subject. This time it revolves around the mysterious world of the nineteenth century illusionist.
  • Blurb:
    Viola returns for a third set of adventures. Viola needs a holiday. But even at the beach, or while partying on the grand tour of Europe... there are things afoot. 
    Seeing is believing… or is it?
  • the-illusioneer_5_25x8inccover_journal_3cropsmAnd now to reveal the title (drum roll please):
    The Illusioneer & Other Tales
  • Here's another partial reveal. The cover for Journal #3 will be blue. So, when you to the library and ask for 'that book with the blue cover', it could be mine.
    I'm currently collecting items related to the stories to feature on the cover - a surprise for later posts.
I've bought a new notebook and sharpened my pencils. I have a new USB to save typed files, pictures and cover design. Now I just have to wait until November 1st (and maybe write some more notes before then).
You can follow my progress on my NaNoWriMo page, blog posts and twitter.
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Latest Original Tshirt Design

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/22/latest-original-tshirt-design/

Inktober has inspired another t-shirt design.
World Squeeze is my latest original t-shirt design, now available from my Redbubble store. The world can't take much more!
 squeezeworld_copyright2016karencarlisle_rb_t squeezeworld_copyright2016karencarlisle_rb_tb

Friday, October 21, 2016

Photo Friday: Paint and Ink

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/21/paint-and-ink/

This week's variable weather hasn't daunted me. There is much to create. I'm working on steampunking up another opshop Nerf gun purchase (though the rainy days do slow down the painting process).
nerf1 nerf2 nerf3 nerf4
Almost there... Just need to finish off some paintwork on the barrel and grip, dirty it up a bit and add the 'gun furniture'.nerf5
And here's some of my #inktober drawings since 7th October. You can follow them on twitter or see them all on my Pinterest page.
Day 12: Official Prompt: Worried.
Day 13: Official Prompt: Scared/ Day 16: Official Prompt: Wet day-13-scared_copyright2016karencarlisle day-16-wet_copyright2016karencarlisle
Art and Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Doctor Jack – latest review

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/17/doctor-jack-latest-review/

So, this happened today. Got a review for Doctor Jack...
I just couldn't wait til Sunday to post. I recently got an email asking if I would do a writer interview, as the blog writer was doing a recommendation for my book. Well, this was the review:
'Karen J Carlisle has created a captivating steampunk series with her heroine, Viola Stewart – a widowed optician with a talent for detecting.
This book has the same comforting familiarity of picking up a Conan Doyle or an Agatha Christie but enough uniqueness in terms of plot and character to keep us on the edge of our leather armchairs throughout – you know by the end of the second page that you are both ‘in safe hands’ and ‘in for a thrilling ride’ – Most of us have heard the tales of Jack The Ripper but this new version goes beyond the common knowledge to reveal a chilling world of Grey-clad conspirators in which Viola must keep her wits about her if she is going to uncover the truth and survive."
You can read the full blog post at The Curious Adventures of Messrs Smith and Scarry: Morning Cuppa - In Need of a Doctor.
Needless to say, I'm still on cloud nine! The interview is on the same blog this Wednesday. Thank you to Lou for the review and taking the time to contact me.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Fingerprints: Identification vs. Investigation

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/16/fingerprints-identification-vs-investigation/

Modern forensics is amazing. Scientists can tell you blood type, DNA profiling, retrieve fingerprints from most unlikely places. If there is evidence, the culprit can be identified. We take it for granted. But did you know DNA wasn't used until 1985?
In 1888 - at the time of Jack the Ripper - policing was a lot different than it is today. Scotland Yard's Criminal Investigation Department of detectives had only existed since 1878. The media, and the public, thought them a joke. Punch described them the Defective Department and the Criminal Instigation Department (3).
When London was gripped in fear over the Whitechapel Murders, there were few modern procedures to aid in investigation. By the end of Jack's spree, police investigation was already starting to change - by necessity. One of the most obvious aids to securing the identification of the killer were 'chance impressions' - what we call fingerprints.
Let's take a closer look at fingerprints. Would Doctor Jack linger at a crime scene to wipe it clean?
Not likely. He probably didn't even know what they were. But the Metropolitan Police did and - if they had heeded the advice of a village surgeon ahead of his time, and that of a Scottish surgeon forty years later -  perhaps Doctor Jack may have been identified.
The first recorded evidence of fingerprints was in 1665, when Italian physician, Mercello Malpighi, wrote of the existence of fingerprints (2). The first scientific paper to describe fingerprints was written by English physician, Nehemiah Grew, in 1684 (6):
'with a Ball he may perceive besides those great Line s to which some men have given Names and those of a middle size call d the Grain of the skin innumerable little Ridges of equal bigness and distance and e very where running parallel one with another And especially upon the ends and first Joynts of the Fingers'.
German, Christoph Andreas Mayer, reported them to be individually unique in 1788 and a Czech physiologist  published a thesis discussing 9 fingerprint patterns in 1823.
Scotland Yard's first chance to use this new technology was in 1840. A village doctor, Doctor Robert Blake Overton, wrote to Scotland Yard, suggesting they check the reported bloody fingerprints found on a bed sheet, in the murder of Lord William Russell. To give them their due, this was followed up, with 'no such marks' found. Unfortunately they did not realise their potential and there was no change in investigative procedures (5).
In the meantime, research continued elsewhere in the world, with William Hershel using fingerprints to identify villagers in India in 1858, and Paul-Jean Coulier discovering iodine could reveal fingerprints on paper (1863).
The UK Prevention of Crimes Act of 1871 provided the British criminal justice system with a reason to consider fingerprints. It was now required for convicted criminals to be photographed for future identification. On leaving gaol, criminals had their appearance, distinguishing marks and inked fingerprints recorded, to allow for identification if they should re-offend (8). In 1877, Hershel was fingerprinting sentenced prisoners, in India, to prevent them using fraud to avoid their sentence. Both were using fingerprints to identify existing felons only.
It wasn't until 1880, that Henry Faulds succeeded in identifying prints on a vial and published a paper in scientific journal, Nature. This led to Scotland Yard's second opportunity to use fingerprints for investigating a crime.
In 1886, just two years before Jack the Ripper's reign, Henry Faulds wrote to the Metropolitan Police of London, suggesting the use of fingerprints, citing finger impressions left behind on fragments of ancient pottery. Again the opportunity was dismissed. Perhaps if they had realised their potential to link an offender to a particular crime, we would know Jack the Ripper's real name today?
Fortunately, the information was passed onto Francis Galton, who continued to study fingerprints and eventually published his book, Finger Prints, in 1892 (7). In the same year, Argentine chief police officer, Juan Vucetich, created the world's first Fingerprint Bureau. The South Australian Police Force were using fingerprints in 1894 (1) and a fingerprint bureau was set up in Calcutta, India, in 1897.
It wasn't until 1901 that Metropolitan Police headquarters, Scotland Yard, had its own fingerprint bureau. Britain's first conviction using fingerprint evidence (for a theft), was in 1902.
800px-fingerprints_taken_by_william_james_herschel_1859-1860First Fingerprints taken 1859/60 by William James Herschel (2).
Today, fingerprints are not only a means of identifying an individual but they can be collected at crime scenes as a tool for investigation, linking an offender to their crime and aiding to secure a conviction.


  1. Australian Police: Fingerprint History http://www.australianpolice.com.au/dactyloscopy/fingerprint-history-1/
  2. Fingerprint https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingerprint#History
  3. Jack the Ripper 1888 http://www.jack-the-ripper.org/investigation-techniques.htm
  4. South Australia Police Historical Scoiety: http://www.sapolicehistory.org/detectives.html#fingerprints
  5. Vital Clue Ignored for 50 Years  Alberge, Dalya (9 December 2012). "Vital clue ignored for 50 years". London: Independent. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
  6. Grew, Nehemiah (1684). "The description and use of the pores in the skin of the hands and feet"Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society14: 566–567. 
  7. Galton, Francis. Finger Prints. Macmillian, 1892.
  8. Worsley, Lucy. A Very British Murder: The Story of a National Obsession,  BBC Books, St Ives. 2014

Friday, October 14, 2016

Photo Friday: Random Things

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/14/photo-friday-random-things/

Random pictorial representation of my week:
Fun: New set of dice- just in time for tomorrow's D&D game...
Accomplishment: Inktober accouterments...
dsc_1925_20160920093658513 inking_copyright2016karencarlisle-3
Thought provoking: Ivy smothering  a native gum tree - an analogy of early Australia being strangled by outside culture?
Satisfaction: Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales is now in the library system...
ivyontree_europesmotheraus_copyright2016karencarlisle-1 library-book_copyright2016karencarlisle-2
Inspiration: A trip to the SA Art Gallery.
Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Chink in the Armour (aka Anxiety Sucks!)

original post:http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/09/a-chink-in-the-armour-aka-anxiety-sucks/

The past few weeks have been exhausting.
Little things can rouse the black dog: library books not returned, car overheats, can't attend a friend's funeral. He pokes and prods, clawing away at my carefully constructed armour. Before long he's found that chink - a way in, allowing the smallest grain of doubt to niggle. And niggle it does. Endlessly.
The legs tick. The hand shakes. The heart thuds. With each quickened breath, the muscles stiffen and clench until the nerves complain. Pain spreads, first through the lower back, then through the chest. Grabbing. Spreading down the arm.
Worry is next. It's inevitable. No matter how much I try to distract myself, try to convince myself it is all in my head, I fail. The pain lingers, spreads, intensifies. A sense of dread.
Deep breaths. Soothing music. An overdue scrummage in the medicine cabinet - to avoid another long, bumpy ambulance ride, the swinging doors and and fluorescent lights. Each time there is a sense of guilt for wasting their time, as the nurses poke and prod me and hook me up to the machine. I feel like Frankenstein's monster waiting for the lightning to strike. Then, finally, the doctor says not to worry. All is okay.
There's a final growl from the black mutt. Self-judgement follows. Why do I feel I failed?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Photo Friday - Inktober 2016 update

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/07/photo-friday-inktober-2016-update/

Iday-1-candle-on-tablenktober is in full swing. I really need practice on my proportions and shading. It has just been too long since I last picked up my nib pen. Sigh.
Here's a rundown of this weeks ink drawings (with a special request for Henry Collins, by my friend Sharon).
I started with a thin ink pen, and did a quick pic of one of our candles (as we had a black out) but remembered why I prefer a nib, which gives better control over varying thickness (and it swoops beautifully over the paper).
This week I concentrated on characters from my books and some steampunk ringins...
Day 2: Viola Stewart:

Day 3: Doctor Jack, Day 4: Henry Collins (my favourite for the week), Day 5: a steampunk friend (loved the pipe)
day-3-doctor-jack_copyright2016karencarlisle day-4-henry-collins-for-sharon_copyright2016karencarlisle day-5-pipe_copyrhgit2016karencarlisle
Day 6: Inspired by Eye of the Beholder: day-6-cleonopencil_copyright2016karencarlisle
Art and Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle.
All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Spend Halloween with Jack the Ripper and the Mummy

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/04/spend-halloween-with-jack-the-ripper-and-the-mummy/

Halloween is coming.
Why not spend it with Jack the Ripper or the mummy?
Get your copy of Doctor Jack & Other Tales and Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales for some halloween reading.
You can buy from AmazonBook Depository (free post to Australia) or directly from me at Adelaide's Halloween Con (details here)

And here's your Halloween bonus:Doctor Jack t-shirt now available on Redbubble!

Available now from my Redbubble store. Original artwork by me!
Redbubble are made from cotton and are sweatshop free and ethically sourced, with free postage to Australia if you spend $60+

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Party on, Denizens!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/02/party-on-denizens/

On Saturday morning 24th September (Australian time) the party started - and went on til midnight Saturday, US eastern shore, Pacific time. That's two days! We celebrated the second anniversary of Scribblers Den - a steampunk writers group, within Steampunk Empire.
I made a chocolate cake. We shared virtual tea, piccies, poems and even haikus.
 den-of-antiquity-tea-party_cake2_180924 den-2year-party-160925
den-of-antiquity-tea-party2_180924 stevemoore2doa_party160925
Meet some of the splendiferous denizens of the Scribblers' Den, David and Steve. We're a friendly lot. If you are a writer of steampunk - or want to be one - come and say hi.
 davidleesummersdoa_party150925  stevemooredoa_party160925
Members wrote posts about Scribblers Den:
  • Jack Tyler wrote the group's support and his writing
  • N.O.A. Rawle collected thoughts from various members, including yours truly, about their experience with the group - and revealed the cover of our latest project.

Den of Antiquity Update.

Members of our writing group hail from around the world  providing varying views on the theme of In the Den. For my part, I wanted to inject a little bit of Australiana with my story. All That Glitters is set in South Australia amid the gold-rush days of the mid 1800s.
Den of Antiquity is a steampunk anthology with short stories from many of our members. On Saturday I announced the details. Now we have a proposed date for publication. Look out for Den of Antiquity from 5th November, 2016.
Photo (c) 2016 Karen Carlisle and D Carlisle.
Photos of Steve Moore: (c)2016 Leo Galeone
Photo of David Lee Summers (c) 2016 Kumie Wise

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Inktober 2016

oringinal post:  http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/10/01/inktober-2016/

I'm doing the inktober challenge again this year: ink a drawing every day during October, then post it.
Inktober started in 2009 by Jake Parker. Since then many artists have taken up the challenge. For more information, check out Jake's webpage. There is an official prompt list (that I may need to use). The rules are simple:
  • Make a drawing in ink
  • Post it online
  • Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2016
  • Repeat - 31 days. 31 inks.
I'll post a drawing each day on twitter and facebook - and do a round up on this blog.
Today was a fast drawing: It's been ages since I've had time to draw. I'm looking forward to relaxing and taking some me time.