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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Teananigans Update

octoarms brooches 1406Back home and I am utterly exhausted now.  I had my Octoarm and other Portable Art range to sell  on my stall today. My most popular item was my Book brooch.

A young girl ask me all sorts of advice on writing… me?!


teananigans 2014

Teananigans Update

Live to you from Teananigans

Today’s a post is brought to you by the wonderful world of new technology. I am sitting at my stall at Tenananigans. I Am on the Internet via the new Adelaide city wifi. This is a big thing for me – all this technology stuff. If it all goes well, you will also have some pictures blue toothed from my phone camera… or not.

We have had tea dwelling, raffles and I am eyeing of a beautiful decorated top hat.  So far I am winning on the auction though there seems to be a bidding war starting to fire up. All the proceeds go to The Cancer  Council.

I need to welcome a few new readers who have signed up today for my newsletter.  I hope you have found me here as well.20140629_153925

Live to you from Teananigans

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Penultimate Endings and Artistic Adventures

And that is it!  I finished another 500 words yesterday at Writers’ Race. 29,543 in total. Finally, the first draft of my novella is done…

Or so I thought.

notebook stessI skimmed quickly through the scenes on Scrivener. My heart sank. Bother! There was a scene and two descriptive paragraphs I had ‘penciled’ in to ‘do later’. I also realised that I had forgotten to add a few paragraphs into the early scenes (on a specific plot point) that tie in later scenes. Without them, things suddenly lob in on the reader with no reference or reason – not in an ‘exciting tension building or surprising twist’ way but in a ‘what the heck are you talking about’ way.

This will need to be rectified before I can claim the first draft complete.

I am off for a cup of tea, to rejuvenate my resolve and recover from the (minor) disappointment. That reminds me. This weekend is our  steampunk fundraising event – Teananigans, a belated Biggest (afternoon)Tea for The Cancer Council. You can donate to help them continue with their fight – HERE.

I have been busy making up some Octoarms and have a new item in the range – book brooches – combining two of my favourite things: books and cephalopods.

octoarms brooches 1406octoarm bookmar2k octoarm earrings done

More information on my Portable Art can be found on my website

Penultimate Endings and Artistic Adventures

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Of Technology and New Ventures

I have finally popped my head up from the deep dark rabbit hole that is the realm of new electronic equipment. After I have taken a breath – a very, very deep one – and collected my thoughts, I will have to jump back in and sort out all those apps, programmes and links that I will need for my latest purchase.

I have finally decided (after saving for a year) to get a Galaxy Note, complete with word processing and digital drawing ability. As my long-time readers will know, I have spent fruitless hours trying to wrangle drawing, with a mouse,  on my computer. I failed. Miserably.

I really would love to buy a Wacom Cintiq.  I drool over the website on my computer.  It is quite sad really. Though I try, I continue to drag my feet when it comes to stepping up into the digital age. This weekend I have endeavored to stop dragging my feet. My new Samsung Note has a spiffy pen to draw (and handwrite) directly onto the computer screen.

notebookThe bonus is the ‘s-pen’ has been designed by Wacom. Woot! Right this minute, I am typing this (belated) post on my tablet. I will then attempt to post it to my blog via the same contraption.

I have some plans. I have hinted at them, in my newsletter. Theses plans require me to tackle this comptery stuff. To complete my transition into the modern world, I have taken  the photo with my mobile, blue toothed it to the computer and dropped it  here.

I apologize for the lateness of this post.  I am hoping this will arrive in your email or present itself onto your screen, comlete with photo.

Wish me luck.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Tea and Tidings June Issue Out Now

tea pink

The June Issue of Tea and Tidings has flown off to my subscribed readers. Some secret plans of mine have been revealed.

Tea and Tidings June Issue Out Now

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tea and Shenannigans

Cosplay for a Cause is a local group of costumers who love dress up and want try to make a difference to those who need help.  In February, some of the members booked into Red Cross to donate blood – with a Superhero theme. At the end of this month, we are raising money for Cancer Council  while enjoying an belated Australia’s Biggest Steampunk Afternoon Teananigans - steampunk style!

29th June in Adelaide.

We are looking forward to drinking tea, eating cake, playing quoits, having raffles, tea-dueling and competitions – all to raise money for charity. I am looking forward to the planned tea dueling and (hopefully) parasol duels.

I will be having a stall, selling some of my portable art – mugs, Octoarm jewelry, bookmarks and badges – and original artwork and photography. Ten percent of all sales will be added to the money raised.

This week  I have been busy making more stock – some of the things on the go…

octoarm bookmark badges photos octoarm earrings

I am looking forward to corseting it up and hoping to get a new skirt made, if I can find the time (and still get some writing done!) Pictures will ensue.

For more information check out my Events/Personal Appearances page.

Tea and Shenannigans

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

June Tea and Tidings Newsletter Flying Out Soon.

Newsletter reminder:
Tea and Tidings is due out at the end of the week. If you wish to receive my newsletter – with exclusive content – or be on the list for future updates, please sign up for my email list HERE or at the tab above (website) or on the right (Blogger).

Note: I use Mailchimp. All information supplied is confidential.

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June Tea and Tidings Newsletter Flying Out Soon.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Of Queens, Cats and Costuming

There is nothing like a deadline to get my off my butt and completing a long-procrastinated project. This works for both my writing and my costuming. Today I am  rambling, um… blogging about some costuming.

A few months back, I talked about a costume I had planned for 2014 and for OzComicCon (and now have planned for Supanova in November, if does not clash with my annual professional (day job) conference).

I had made a start on the Bling accessories for Queen Victoria but sadly, this has fallen in a heap when health issues won out. My daughter decided to have an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party this year. She wanted me to go as the Queen of Hearts. She choose the Cheshire Cat for herself.

This was to be her first costume to be envisioned, designed and constructed alone. (In the end, we had some mother-daughter bonding with the fabric painting).  I think she did a great job – on the budget of just $20 for new materials, and making use of what was in the ‘craft box’.
DSC_2641 DSC_2665
crown gluing

I  took the opportunity to finish off my Queen Victoria crown. Perfect to wear for the Queen of Hearts. Yeah for Araldyte and my trusty glue gun!

While I was in the sculpting mood, I made some cake toppers for the oh-so-popular cupcakes that everyone wants these days.  They have been hardening for the past week. I hope the humidity has not been too high, with the rain we have had.

cakesIt was a fun party. I did not get to dress up in my Renaissance garb once more. Pity. Another health thing meant it was too restrictive. Hot flushes did not help the situation. Instead I cobbled together a make-shift Mad Hatter.

I got to do some crafty stuff with my daughter. My hubby had to wear rabbit ears. Best of all, I have managed a step closer to finishing my Queen Victoria costume.

hatter rabbit

Sometimes deadlines are my best friend!

Of Queens, Cats and Costuming

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The World Has Lost Some Sparkle

There are but a few comedians in the world that always make me erupt into raucous laughter. Rik Mayall provided my with that (guilty – not always PC) pleasure – always pulling the corners of my mouth into a smile.

During my university days there was the Not the Nine O’clock News crew, French and Saunders (during my early working life) and Rik Mayall. Irreverence was allowed. Satire celebrated. Intelligence and wit encouraged.  I was carefree. Happy. At Peace.

There are few bright lights who, by their comedic ingenuity (or by sheer ridiculousness), can bring a smile to my face even in the midst of sorrow. This week one of those lights was extinguished. Rik Mayall provided my generation (and beyond) with a happy – albeit wicked – glint to our eye.

He entertained us in The Young Ones (and Cliff Richard’s Living Doll), Blackadder, Bottom,  Drop Dead Fred, and Grim Tales. He featured in many movies and other television shows including Miss Marple, Jesus Christ Superstar (2000) and apparently played Peeves in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (having had the scenes cut).  Now that I would have loved to have seen!

I will remember him – either in pyjamas and dressing gown, striped green suit, a silk Elizabethan gown, or with badge-festooned lapels and baret. I will remember him with a smile on my face, even as the tears fall down my cheek.

Sleep well, Snotface. I will miss your hijinks.

The World Has Lost Some Sparkle

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Late Post - Apologies and Book Swaps for Charity

Hello dear readers,
I must apologise for the lateness (and shortness) of this post. I am recovering from a head-splitting migraine and am fighting the dreaded ‘post-migraine-hangover’.

Just a short note and some food for thought. There are a lot of  charity shops that would love your second hand items. The money they raise from sales go to help people in need. We often donate outgrown children’s clothing and other items. Another thing you can donate is books (if you can part with your beloved tomes!).

tableLast weekend, we held a Bookswap Party.  For those who do not know what a Bookswap party is, let me enlighten you. It is a get-together/ afternoon tea/ morning tea – whatever you wish – where all the attendees bring old books to swap for someone else’s old books.  Check through you shelves for a book you no longer want, if you have doubles, or that book you were given as a present that you really did not fancy. All are potential swaps!

You can choose the rules. Bring at least one book. Take one book.  (Ours was bring at least two books, take back any one or two books). Anything that is not spoken for gets donated to charity. The bonus is good company, food and conversation.

I donated  several double-up books and scored a Arthur Conan Doyle and a Jules Verne compendium (with two stories I did not have).

The remaining books were donated to the local Salvos today.  Maybe you could think about hosting your own book party? It is a great way of recycling while helping out others.

bookswapparty1 books left overbookswapparty2GGsalvos

A Late Post - Apologies and Book Swaps for Charity

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Best Laid Plans...

Having espoused an attempt organisational skills, I must admit this week has been difficult. I have been fighting a persisting migraine that only occasionally dull down to a less than pleasant headache. I have felt listless and employed too many of my procrastination methods. Work issues have had me on edge the past few weeks.

Even writing has not subdued my lethargy. In fact it has been hard to write over the past week. I had some delicious ideas while lying in bed, this morning. Instead of writing them down I stayed in bed, fell back asleep and the ideas melted away. Oh, I have explained some of the procrastination away as research or learning the craft but in the end it boils down to one thing – avoidance.

I am only a few scenes from finishing the first draft of Doctor Jack - currently at 23,600 words with possible 3000-5000 more ahead. A short story’s worth. I have written such short stories in two days. So why do I seem to have ditched my best laid plans?

It is not like I will have to shelf these characters forever. Viola and Doctor Collins are set for more adventures. Will I miss Jack too much? Maybe. I could always write of his earlier exploits. Viola’s adventures were always destined as a series of short stories or novellas. Why can’t Jack appear in another? (Well, as yet, I have not decided which of the three endings I will finally opt for. All have been provided for. Ha! Maybe I should give optional endings?)

Is the fear – what happens once I am finished? I have to face rewrites. Maybe that is it? No. While not as exciting, I don’t mind them. I get a chance to cull sections that I don’t like (and unfortunately most likely some that I do as well). There is a sense of satisfaction in reshaping the original story into something more complex and polished.

round writeA writer-friend suggested a reason to me. Fear of failure. I think she may be correct. What if no one likes my work? What if the story is crap?  Then there is fear of rejection; if I do not finish, then I do not have to deal with rejection.  So many insecurities.

Fortified with another cup of tea, some 85% fair trade chocolate, and possibly after I have sat through a really bad movie, I am hopeful that I can shake this funk.I know what Doctor Jack would say – “Why fear failure? If you do not finish then you can’t even claim failure. How can you fail, if you do not even try?”  Why is it that my characters have more insight and bravery than me?

The Best Laid Plans...

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Managing My Writing: Part 2: Organising Writings

With my inspiration jottings and snapshots all organised, there was another thing to sort out – my actual writing.  That is a more onerous task.  Let me explain.

When I was at school, one of my favourite subjects was English (along with Art and Physics). I was constantly scribbling stories (I even went through the obligatory teenage-angst-poetry phase – no that will never be revealed), doodling pictures and reading anything I could hold of about time, space and astronomy.  I had a bedroom filled with stuff.  I was constantly being asked to tidy up my room. But I knew where everything was. I was happy. I am comfortable around organised clutter.

My creative brain could also be described as creatively cluttered. This influenced my early writing process, which was developed during my senior years in high school. This process still persists to some extent today – for better or for worse.

High School: We would be given an assignment or essay, with usually one to two weeks to complete. For about a week, I would mull it over in my brain. Writing and rewriting it virtually – in my head.

About two days before the essay was due, I would transcribe all the ideas and paragraphs onto actual paper. It was a form of pre-planned  free writing . What ever popped into my head was scribbled down – in what ever order it spewed out.

Back then, I did not own a computer, let alone a word processing programme. I had acess to a communal photocopier, and used a cut and paste regime. (Literally! Ah, the joys of creating student club newsletters. Thank goodness for invisible sticky tape!) Inevitably I would be up into the wee early hours, cutting out each paragraph and sliding the word-covered rectangles around until they were ordered in the appropriate way.

With the bulk of the essay now organised, I had only to write a few sentences (or paragraphs) to allow for smooth segues..  I was often seen, speedily handwriting out the final product, as I sat waiting to go into class – first thing in the morning. I never did miss a deadline. I did get bemused looks from my teacher who patiently tried to instill a less frantic approach to my writing.  (but I did always scored over 90% for my essays. The process worked for me.)

Over the past year I have tried to get some semblance of organisation and better preparation for my stories. I used to be a 100 per cent pantser. This was not an issue when writing short stories.

Now I am writing novella and novel-length stories, this is has been more problematic.  I still free write a lot of my ideas, as discussed in Organising Inspirations, but now I commit them to paper (or computer) as soon as I can. To make this a success, I have salted writing notebooks in several rooms at home, my handbag and by the bed for those dream-induced sparks of inspiration.

I now write information on my characters and try to plan the direction of at least some of my storylines.  So now I am a 70 per cent pantser/ 30 per cent planner. However I was still shuffling around pieces of writing, now using cut and paste on the word processor instead of literally.

In my many readings on writing techniques, I came across a recommendation for Scrivener. I made use of the free trial. It was perfect for my writing mindset. I can set up a virtual cork board and shuffle around scenes to my brain’s content – all within the same programme. Hooray! A word processing programme that can accommodate my shuffle method!

Another organisational technique I have developed is to have set aside time specifically for writing. I try to write three to five days a week (as I work part-time for two days at the moment). Times are flexible and vary depending on family and health issues but I always write on Wednesdays and Fridays. I try to write for at least a few hours.

Part of this dedicated writing time, involves Wednesday night Writers’ Race, run on Facebook by the Australian Writers Marketplace Online, making this a very productive day for my writing.

With a dedicated computer writing programme, copious notebooks to write down notes – sometimes complete paragraphs and scenes, and dedicated writing schedule I have felt more in control of my writing. I have found I have been more productive over the last year.  And that is what it is all about really – getting that first draft down in some form so I can start on rewrites and edits to give my ideas life.

Managing My Writing: Part 2: Organising Writings