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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Where Ideas Come From

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/08/13/where-ideas-come-from-2/

One of the first questions a writer is asked is: where do you get your ideas? 
For me, it can be a picture that inspires a quirky character who drives the narrative (as in The Department of Curiosities). For other stories it's a phrase that catches my imagination - as in 'An Eye for Detail' and Tomorrow, When I Die. 
Documentaries seem to trigger ideas for many of my stories, tickling my imagination with 'what if'? I begin to formulate alternative explanations, especially if they can provide a mystery to intrigue the ever-curious Viola. Doctor Jack was one such story. What if Jack the Ripper was being organised by a secret society in their nefarious plot to take over the Empire? It almost wrote itself.
From the Depths was one such story. This time it was a documentary on the Loch Ness monster I had seen a few years ago. A story had been bubbling in the back of my brain, and Viola demanded she get her shot at it. After all, she'd need a holiday after her recent shenanigans. A holiday at the sea was the perfect tonic.
But what would happen if there was something lurking in the waters off St Andrew's beach? And the story was born.
"Viola needs a holiday. But even while on holiday at the beach … there are things afoot."
A Cog is Dead song inspired the title: From the Depths. Perfect.
The eBook of the novelette, From the Depths, should be available as eBook, later this week (barring electronic hiccups). Tomorrow, When I Die (also novelette) should be available as eBook the following week - just in time for it's launch at the Steampunk Festival on 19th August.
  
The last novella in this current series, The Illusioneer, is planned for eBook publication in September, with the paperback compilation available in late September/early October.
Each will be priced at $1.99 - as they are longer stories.
And here's an excerpt from From the Depths:
A shriek pierced the air. Viola flinched. Brine filled her mouth and rushed up her nostrils. She spluttered, thrust her legs downward into the deep chilly water and kicked to keep her head above water.
Men shouted, their cries unintelligible through water-logged eardrums. The other bathing machine thundered into life. Chains rattled, the engine strained. Frenzied splashes of water accompanied its retreat.
The water trembled around her, pounding on her chest. Viola gasped for air. A new undercurrent tugged at her legs. She rubbed the salt from her eyes and searched the surrounding water. Nothing.
Bubbles tickled her body and erupted on the surface. Something solid grazed her calf. Viola's heart jumped. The Lurker? Goosebumps crawled over her skin.
There's no such thing as monsters.
Water rumbled and churned. Waves sloshed against her torso. She jerked her knees up to her chest, struggling to untangle her limbs from the snarl of the heavy woollen skirt of her bathing costume.
There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters.
Viola shivered. She had drifted further from the bathing machine than she had thought; the candy-striped change box was nearly eighty yards away, the shore even more distant.
A crowd was gathering on the shoreline, waving their arms and shouting.
"Get out of the water!"
Two men swam toward her. Another bathing machine trundled in their wake. The sea hissed. Too close.
Spurts of water burst from the surface. A large shadow lurked beneath her.
Viola's heart raced, her breathing shallow. She wanted to run, to flee, to swim to the safety of the change box, but her arms refused to move.
There's no such thing as monsters.
The shadow turned and glided southward towards the headland. A trace of bubbles marked its course, fading as the shadow disappeared into deeper waters.
The two men splashed closer. Uncomfortably close. Their bare arms glowed white against the dark water.
"Get out of the water!"
***
Words and photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Photo Friday: Nullus Anxietas VI - Australian Discworld Con, 2017

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/08/11/photo-friday-nullus-anxietas-vi-australian-discworld-con-2017/

Nullus Anxietas is the bi-annual Australian Discworld convention. The last I attended was in 2009, where I won a seat at the Galah dinner table with Sir Terry himself.
This year it was held in Adelaide (so I could afford to go again!). We celebrated all things Terry and Discworld and passed the hat to the next con in Melbourne, 2019.
I volunteered for the Press Corpse, taking stills and videos over the weekend. You will be able to find more photos on the Nullus Anxietas VI Flickr page.
Here are some of the pics.
   
What duck? was one of the stamps we collected in our passports. (I was two off collecting the set!) Find the hidden duck, photograph it on your head and hide it in a different room...
  
 
Magrat and the Klub table. The convention drink - The Procrastinator - was very popular.
  
Workshops and Panels:
I did a workshop - Write Your Own Discworld Story. We came up with a fun story. I'm hoping some of the attendees will write it and send me a copy (hint, hint) and I will send them to the Nullus Anxietas committee...
On Sunday Ula and I did a panel on Steampunk / Steampunk in Discworld. You can watch the panel HERE.
My favourite workshop was Martin Pearson's song writing workshop. (My verse on Uberwald parcels made the cut... squee!) You can hear Martin's song, The Moist von Lipwig Song, in the closing ceremony video.
There were fantastic costumes...
   
   
and the Vaudeville de Masquerade entrants.
Closing ceremony
Stephen Briggs was one of our guests (and holder of a secret stamp) You can watch his interview on my youtube channel.
and a teary homage to Sir Terry Pratchett...
My videos from the convention are available on my youTube channel, and will be on the Nullus Anxietas VI youTube channel.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

If I have to read that one more time...

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/07/30/if-i-have-to-read-that-one-more-time/

Edits. I hates them. But not why you think.
Yes, they take for... ever. Hours scribbling on paper, crossing out words, adding others, checking references. My back burns, my eyes ache and that niggly tickling pain creeps down my leg. (Sciatica sucks.)
I've lost count of how many times I sift through my thesaurus looking for that one word - the perfect one - to describe a character's mood, to show how they feel; stomping down the hallway conjures up a completely different image to inching down the hallway. (In this case: her footsteps padded on the carpet runner...)
But rewrites and edits are one of the most important steps in writing. They can take longer the first draft (depending on the quality of the first draft). Some of my stories have three rewrites; others - such has Tomorrow, When I Die - take up to eight or nine rewrites. It depends on how well the story was planned out, how much research was done (or needed doing), whether the story had taken a left turn and wandered off into uncharted territory or, in my case, how ill I was when scratching out the first draft.
There is nothing more annoying - or disappointing - as reading a story with dangling plot lines, sloppy writing or bad grammar. I've seen whole sentences repeated on occasion. I just don't understand how such stories get published - even by the big publishers. It seems to be an acceptable way of cost-cutting for some. <Insert heavy sigh and enormous sad face here.>
But what's the real reason I hate editing?
When I've read through a story for the umpteenth time, the fun and games seem to lose their gloss. It would be different if I could just enjoy the adventure - but no - I have to examine, judge, decide. I have to keep count of how many times a character has 'raised an eyebrow', whether they are sitting down or standing up and ask myself: 'can she really see that if she's hiding under the desk?'
It gets to a point where the manuscript gets slapped on the table and the house shudders with: "I can't take this any more!"
And that's when I know. It is done. It is time for my editor to check for commas and spelling mistakes. I press send and await her report.
I pour myself a cup of tea, nibble on a piece of chocolate and catch up on that series I missed... but not for long.
There's still one more story to finish. A new story. One last adventure for Viola and her friends. I'll miss them. They've taught me a lot. (The good news is the editing funk is not permanent; when I go back and read the stories next year, it will be all new again.)
Now, where are my notebooks for The Illusioneer?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Photo Friday: Opshop/Library treasures.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/07/28/photo-friday-opshoplibrary-treasures/

I've been in opshop heaven this week. I've found two pairs of shoes - a pair of blue 'suede' shoes to wear with my TARDIS skirt (and a possible future Nerfpunk costume). I wore them to my writers' group. They are soooo comfy.
...And  - be still my beating heart - another pair of 'granny' boots for everyday steampunk outfit. And they are leather! They just need a bit of buffing and a new pair of laces. Both were only $12 each. Huzzah!
I also scored in the library (cancelled item) sales shelf. Six audio CD's of Sarah Jane Adventures (for $6 total). Have I mentioned lately how much I love my local library? This week they had a display of banned books (well, not currently banned books - but ones previously banned).
And the library also had a find-the-Houghton Howler (with a prize of chocolate) for the fiftieth anniversary of first recorded sighting (in newspaper) of the mysterious Thylacine, similar to the Tasmanian tiger. There have been recent sightings: in 2016 and even one this week, on the York Peninsula. The Houghton Howler was the inspiration for my short story, 'Hunted', which featured in the 2016 Tea Tree Gully Fringe Exhibition, A Trail of Tales.
A Trail of Tales on youTube:

Photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

I should have learned the first time.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/07/23/i-should-have-learned-the-first-time/

Finally, I'm done.
I've been sharing photos on Friday for some time now. Many are taken on my phone. Not long ago I had a phone scare. It just decided not to restart. I lost contact details, videos and photos. Many are not replaceable. I was devastated.
I was determined to backup my phone more regularly. This week the phone started playing silly buggas again (following a recent phone update). This time I was a good girl and tried to back up my data. But the back up program kept crashing. I decided to manually transfer my photos to my computer (and am now backing up these up).
Three hours later...
I've finally started backing up the transferred files to the external hard drive- that's 5, 385 items! Yep, I take a lot of photos and video. Sigh.
Here's some bonus pics I had forgotten I'd taken:
    
I'm off to find a heat bag for my shoulder; it's frozen up from all the mouse clicking, after looking at so many irreplaceable memories (many too embarrassing to share. Trust me.) Finally I think I've learned my lesson.
Next thing: I'm backing up all my writing. Again. On the external hard drive and three USBs. Is that overkill?
Photos (c)2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Photo Friday: Visuals- Book Trailer & eBook Cover Reveals

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/07/21/photo-friday-visuals-book-trailer-ebook-cover-reveals/

Good morning everyone,
I've been busy this week, using the images from last week's photo shoot. And here's the covers reveal for The Illusioneer & Other Tales. This set of adventures has three eBooks, one for each story (each over 10K words). From the Depths and Tomorrow, When I Die will be available in August. The Illusioneer will be available in September.
   
And the book trailer...

Photos and video (c)2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Burnside LibCon17

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/07/16/libcon17/


Yesterday the Burnside Library held its first LibCon inJuly, 2017, with indie artists, comic book creators, Jess Cate and  Jana Hoffman,
and local indie authors: Matt Pike, KE Fraser, Kylie Leane, Aprille Legacy and myself.
You can find out more about local South Australian Indie Writers at our FB page - facebook.com/SAIndieAuthors/
The library livestreamed talks by local artists and authors. You can view them on Burnside Library's FB page Here are the links:
South Australian Doctor Who Club, Tintin, Star Trek USS Mawson and 501st, represented some of the local fan groups in Adelaide.
Here's a peek at the indie/fan club alley:

Thanks to everyone who stopped by my table for a chat, or to buy a book (or both). It was lovely meeting you.

Video/Photographs ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Photo Friday: Viola Stewart is returning!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/07/14/photo-friday-viola-stewart-is-returning/

On the weekend I did the photo shoot for Journal #3 - The Illusioneer and Other Tales. Here are a few photos from the day. Thanks to my wonderful model, Zena Alliu (Khaleezi cosplay) - our Viola - and Terry Brown, from Dragons Blood Creations, for the gorgeous outfits.
  
A little hint of one of the eBook covers:
And some of the upcoming teasers you will see:
For more information on publishing dates, a first peek at the covers and excerpts from The Illusioneer & Other Tales, sign up for my monthly newsletter, Tea & Tidings.
I'm at LibCon17,  Burnside Library, tomorrow, so come and say hello and find out more.
All photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.