(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Year That Was

It’s inevitable. With the end of each year, comes the long lists of achievements, the dissertations of regret,  the (sometimes even longer) and lists of resolutions for the upcoming year.

I promise I’ll stop this. I promise to do that. I promise…

I promise I won’t go on forever.


I have a few – mostly related to a desire to have spent more time with family, less time procrastinating instead of writing, not being rich enough to visit (or help bail out) friends and family interstate and overseas, wishing my health was better and I could wrangle my anxiety more efficiently.


This year we farewelled John Hurt (I will always remember him as the War Doctor), Carrie Fisher (It’s going to hurt when I finally get to see the new Star Wars movie)  and Bill Paxton (in so many of my ‘go to movies’, he almost felt like part of the family).

This both broke my heart and filled it up again:

Sometimes it’s harder to remember the good things (I think the bad seems to overwhelm us – living with anxiety can do that, particularly this year – but I  promised myself I wouldn’t get political in this post)…

I highly recommend creating your own ‘Thankful Jar’.  Though I’ve forgotten to add some things during the year, it still served it’s purpose. Spending the time, at the year’s close, unfolding each note and re-living the happy moments is worth the wait. Most of the best memories involve family, friends and unexpected kindness. To all those involved: thank you for making my year a better one.


This year was mainly consumed with writing.

Work completed:

I managed to publish my third book in time to sell at Supanova Adelaide. ‘The Illusioneer & Other Tales’ was also a significant milestone – the final in my first ever trilogy series. (available from Amazon, Book Depository, Bookworld, other online stores and direct sales from the author (me).) I also did the photography and cover design.

My short story, Mrs Hudson Investigates, was accepted into ‘Where’s Holmes’ anthology. This was published on 1st December and is available from Amazon and Book Depository. Hardback and eBook should be published in early 2018.

I’ve also submitted a dreadpunk/gaslamp short story to another anthology. (Wish me luck. I should find out early 2018).

Work in Progress:

I’ve almost completed the first draft of ‘The Department of Curiosities’ – a steampunk adventure with a heroine, mad scientists, traitors and secrets.  But I’ve been sidetracked with a new project (in a new genre – cosy paranormal mystery, set here in Adelaide). I’ve finished designing the cover and am working on internal artwork .

I attended some conventions and events:

This is a huge achievement for me. I get anxious each time I prepare for an event – braving the crowds and dealing with people is a constant battle between wanting to socialise and the urge to run away and hide in a blankie fort. Anxiety sucks!

It is exhausting, even when it is with the people I love, and takes me a few days to recover after each event. This year I attended:

  • Salisbury Secret Garden

  • Oz Comic Con (the final one in Adelaide)

  • Nullus Anxietas (Discworld Convention, Adelaide)

  • Steampunk Festival at the National Railways Museum in Adelaide, where ‘The Illusioneer & Other Tales’ was launched.

  • LibCon at Burnside Library

  • Supanova Adelaide

  • Christmas Gift Market at Tea Tree Gully Library

  • and a talk on Steampunk  for the Aus Sci Fi group.

I made some stuff:

I love creating (including writing). It both bares and replenishes my soul. This year managed to make some costumes and took more photos.

My favourtie costume was my TARDIS corset and skirt. I had help with toiling the pattern at the ACG corset workshop. Other favourites were my steampunk Wiked Witch of the West (Oz) with my flying monkey and my tea cup holder for belt – made with some construction help (hammering) by my Dearheart (as my wrists were playing up again.)


Steampunk also featured prominently this year (not surprising at all, really). This year saw the Scribblers’ Den (steampunk writing forum) move twice, with the sudden shut down of ‘The Steampunk Empire’. Thankfully we are now ensconced at ‘Welcome to Steampunk‘. This is an amazing group of writers, from all over the world, who support each others’ work. Love you guys! If you are a steampunk writer, come say hello!

Upcoming in 2018

2018 is full of all things new – I’ve got a new look banner and business cards and have already updated the look of my webpage. It was feeling ‘old’, making me feel dowdy and less professional. Now I feel invigorated each time I add something new.

I’ve started two new book series (as mentioned above) and will be attending my first interstate convention (as an author). Look out for me (and the Adelaide indie author group) in the Artists’ Alley at Melbourne Supanova. I’ve already booked for Supanova Adelaide and plan to launch a new book at Steampunk Festival next year.

One thing that has been lacking this year is work on my garden. So I declare one of my resolutions is to re-connect to the earth, tend my garden and reap the benefits of the endorphins.

Happy new year to you all.
“Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.”

photos and costumes ©2017 Karen Carlisle

Ball photo ©2017 Steamkittens

Quote from Doctor Who:Twice Upon a Time.

The Year That Was

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

They Know Me Well.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/12/26/they-know-me-well/

What wonderful family and friends I have.  They know me so well. This year's Christmas present stash included classic SF, Doctor Who, books, tea cups, chocolate, writing notebooks, Lord of the Rings, games and steampunk.
Feeling blessed.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/12/24/its-beginning-to-look-a-lot-like-christmas/

It's that time of year again - when the house is strewn with tinsel, tacky festive jumpers and t-shirts are excused (and almost obligatory - I'm wearing one right now) and idiot-drivers flood the streets in search of a last minute bargain buy.
Yesterday, I had the misfortune of having to make the dreaded trip to the local shopping centre (I picked the smaller one, thinking it would be safe) for those last minute fresh food items that could not be purchased earlier. Ha, big mistake!
The aisles were seething with grumbling shoppers. Like ants, they swarmed and crowded me in, suffocating me. My head span. My heart raced (and not in a good way). I struggled to breathe.  My darling Dearheart braved the lines, purchased the required items, scooped me up and drove me home.
Panic attacks suck!
Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas.  It wasn't to blame. I'd thought the local shops would be safe. Less crowds.
How wrong could I be?

I consoled myself with a (free) massage and am now safely ensconced at home and won't be surfacing again until Wednesday at the earliest.

The tree is trimmed. The annual influx of Haighs' Christmas baubles and chocolate bells have been hung. The presents wrapped (I'm not allowed to touch any of the boxes in case I guess what they are... sigh).
It's Christmas Eve - time to relax and enjoy. This year I've endeavoured to start a new family tradition - taking a page from the exceptional peoples of Iceland:  jólabókaflóð ( the Christmas Book Flood). On Christmas Eve they exchange books and spend the rest of the night reading and eating chocolate.  Oh, bliss!
From now on this will be our Christmas Eve tradition.

On Christmas Day, we'll celebrate by attending church. We'll have a leisurely lunch, phone all the rellies interstate and watch the Christmas episodes of as many TV shows we can find in our DVD library. It's tradition!
Thank goodness the heat is holding back until later in the week!
Boxing Day is also a public holiday here, and what better way to celebrate than with Doctor Who? (Only two more sleeps!) This year we have a new Doctor. We'll be recapping with a marathon viewing of this year's season. And filling up on leftovers, no doubt.
How do you celebrate the Christmas season?
I'm lucky to have a loving family, a roof over my head and good friends. And I wish you, Dear Reader, such happiness. Enjoy the festive season - no matter how you celebrate it. It's been a long year. We all deserve a little joy in our lives.
So, to you all: I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
And so does Viola.

Photos and art: ©2017 Karen Carlisle.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Another book on my shelf.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/12/10/another-book-on-my-shelf/

It's here!
I got my first delivery of 'Where's Holmes?' the absent Sherlock anthology by Queensland group, Specul8. My story, Mrs Hudson Investigates, is in it. A paid gig!
I have a few copies available for anyone living in Adelaide or you can buy them via Amazon or Book Depository.
So now I have another book to add to my brag shelf. Squee.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

New cover blurbs are coming…

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/11/30/new-cover-blurbs-are-coming/

Don't panic if my books are 'unavailable' online for a day or so - I'm just updating the cover blurb. #writing

Friday, November 24, 2017

Photo Friday (and Video): Supanova Adelaide

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/11/24/photo-friday-and-video-supanova-adelaide/

Hi everyone,
Another convention has come and gone. My new book was available. There were lots of amazing costumes, I science-squee'd over Dr Karl, met some Aussie authors and caught up with friends. There's even a video.
Katie, Kylie and I all had our third book just published. 

And the promised con video:

photography and film/video ©2017 Karen Carlisle

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Did you get your newsletter?

Hi everyone - been doing housekeeping on my subscribe list. Some email addresses have bounced (Sorry, can't read some handwriting). I've just sent out this month's newsletter.
If you have not received an email confirming your subscription at either the Tea Tree Gully Gift Market or Adelaide Supanova this month- or your newsletter, please contact me.
Thanks everyone.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Journal 3 has arrived!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/11/12/journal-3-has-arrived/

The Illusioneer & Other Tales - book 3 in 'The Adventures of Viola Stewart' series has arrived in time for Adelaide Supanova.

See you there next weekend - Artists' Alley #12
© Photos and video 2017 Karen Carlisle

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Never Never Book Box Opening

Hi everyone.
This week I got my first ever book box – the first produced by Never Never Book Box. I did a book box opening vid. Lots of fun – just like Christmas!

You can find more of my videos on my YouTube channel.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Illusioneer Update and a Bonus Short Story

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/11/05/photo-friday-illusioneer-update-and-a-bonus-story/

Good morning Dear Reader,
There's been a lot happening over the past few weeks. First, an update on 'The Illusioneer & Other Tales', then a link to a bonus (so far unpublished) short story of mine.
The manuscript for Viola's last set of adventures, The Illusioneer & Other Tales, is completed and edited. The galley was proofread by my busy elves.
Now the final page count was finalised, I could format the cover spread.
Both were sent to the printer and I'm waiting for a proof copy before I can order the first box.
The Illusioneer's ISBN has been allocated and it's now listed on the National Library database (Trove/CiP). This is what it will look like on your shelf with the others <shameless plug>.

But there's more:

a bonus excerpt - the first chapter of my next steampunk adventure series, 'The Department of Curiosities' - with new characters and a new look.
(The story starts in 1883 and is set in the same alternative world as 'The Adventures of Viola Stewart'.)
I bought a new ring to mark the end of my first steampunk mystery series - one stone for each book.

This month's Bonus:

Penny, from The Adventures of Messrs Smith and Skarry, asked me for a short story. It will feature on her blog this week.

You can read Waking  HERE.

Photos and short story ©2017 Karen J Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Christmas Gift Market – Join Viola for Christmas

Support local emerging artists and authors at
the Christmas Gift Market at the Tea Tree Gully Library
Community Learning Centre, Tea Tree Gully.

Tea Tree Gully Library is hosting a market with local artists, designers, crafters and writers. I’ll be there, selling my books.
Read Viola’s Christmas adventure,  Tomorrow, When I Die: the second story in the paperback ‘The Illusioneer & Other Tales: The Adventures of Viola Stewart Journal #3’.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Photo Friday Update

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/10/13/photo-friday-update/

Last Sunday I posted this: Time for Some Changes.
For those of you who missed it, there will be changes to my post scheduling. The post explains the reasons behind my decision; please take some time to read the post.
This is what it means to you, Dear Reader:
"Currently I write two blog posts a week: Photo Fridays and a weekly Sunday blog post. I’ll be cutting back to one Sunday blog post a month (there may be occasional bonuses depending on how I’m going) and I’ll post at least one Photo Friday a month. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter for updates, events and sneak peeks of upcoming stories. The time gained will be channeled into writing stories – both short and a new book – for you, Dear Reader."
Rescheduling starts next month. If you subscribe to  blog updates (on the right widget bar), you will get email updates when each post is published on this webpage.
Here's some pics from this week:
  • Art/Photography: A friend returning from the UK, bought me this dinky little octopus by artist, Heidi Sturgess.
  • Garden: More irises are blooming and there's hundreds of orange blossoms on our tree.
  • Writing/Reading: I'm plugging along with rewrites to finish The Illusioneer.
  • Other little Green Men:  We survived another D&D game, but the world is ending... yet again.
Photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Time For Some Changes

This week has been exhausting. Lots of things going on. Lots of decisions being made.
I've been battling to catch up on my writing, following three months of bronchitis at the beginning of the year. The end was in sight. Almost there... One ebook finished. Two finished - and published. One week of a book blog tour and then I'm on the final writing spree.  Just one more...
Then came the September Trifecta of Terror. A month of hell. Two weeks of ear infection, and side effects from yet another course (two this time) of antibiotics (I'm allergic to most these days, so I don't have much option). I picked myself up and continued writing.
September ended with a definite clanger - a double barreled attack. The first was totally unexpected.
Regular readers will know how much I love my garden. (Here are the latest pics of the front yard)
I have an organic mixed vege-flower garden and am proud of my bees - my hundreds of bees. I've lived here for twenty-five years, incident free. Until last weekend.
It's been over forty years since I've been stung by a bee and had a reaction (the doctor said it was a very good thing it had been so long. Or else...) Now, technically the bee didn't sting me. As far as we can gather, it most likely brushed up against my coat and dropped its stinger on it. About an hour later I brushed my arm against my jacket when I was at the shops. Yowsers! The pain!
Two staff members came to my aide, not sure what had happened. I grabbed some antihistamines and a cold bottle of water from the shelf and limped home. There was a little trepidation when my lips tingled and my heart fluttered - was it a reaction or just anxiety? The doctor arrived and dosed me up with Prednisolone and strict instructions not to get stung in the near future.
Two days later I still had a lump on my arm (right) and all-over itchiness! Next month I'm off to the specialist to see if an epipen is in my future. I'm still having joint pains, headaches and exhaustion.
The second dredged up my worst fears - electronic failure. I was taking steps to avoid such a disaster and purchased a super-duper external hard drive to save all my writing, art and video work  - in case of a computer demise. On Tuesday I turned on my computer to try to get some writing done.
All my research files and some book files were nowhere to be seen - not on my laptop, not on the new external hard drive!
This time the heart palpitations were definitely an anxiety attack.  My Dearheart finally found them and we are now trying to recover them and confirm they are all intact. (It looks promising.) I did lose the pre-formatting I had done for the upcoming paperback, so that will all have to be reconstructed. And all the time, I'm trying to write two blog posts a week.
Now I am retracing my steps, with (hopefully) not more than three or so weeks writing time lost. I have now adjusted the publishing date for the final eBook and paperback, in the Viola Stewart series, to some time in November.
And those changes I mentioned?
I've had to reassess my writing scheduling. It looks like the summer bronchitis (from dust allergies) will be a yearly thing. This was my third year. That means I will lose at least one month (it was almost three this year) of writing time. Right now I am struggling to stay awake. The doctors aren't sure how long this will last.
I need to add more 'fudge' time - time to recover from unexpected crises, panic attacks, allergic reactions, and computer betrayals.
I have so many stories that are fighting to get told. I need to focus on writing and publishing those stories. I've had a heart-to-heart with some fellow writers and have decided to cut back on blog posts and concentrate on writing stories.
What does this mean?
Currently I write two blog posts a week: Photo Fridays and a weekly Sunday blog post. I'll be cutting back to one Sunday blog post a month (there may be occasional bonuses depending on how I'm going) and I'll post at least one Photo Friday a month. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter for updates, events and sneak peeks of upcoming stories. The time gained will be channeled into writing stories - both short and a new book - for you, Dear Reader.
Photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Photo Friday

Books:  This week has been about books and new beginnings. Another book arrived via post (What Matters in Jane Austen) to add to my research library. Then off to an antiquarian book sale for some goodies.
My oldest books are now dated 1821- two volumes of translated Don Quixote.
Home: I've updated my hair - more purple - and finally started putting up displays for the first of our (six) lightsabres.
Doctor Who: Then off to a local comic and toy fare. I managed to get a Doctor Hoof! Back home and I've sewn on my patches for my 'Bill denim jacket'. Just waiting on one more patch to arrive for the front set.
Photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.