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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

NaNoWriMo Wrapup

April Camp NaNoWriMo is coming to an end. My goal for this adventure was to complete as least 15000 words of Doctor Jack (30-35K words). Camp is useful that way – I can write new stories, revise, edit – whatever. But how to record the rewrites?

The official camp information quotes one hour of rewrites equals 1000 words. By this reckoning, I have written over 50000 words! In truth (to date), I have rewritten two short stories (total 7000 words) and over 26000 of my novella. I felt more comfortable with my assessment.

As of 28th April, my word count is  33792 – double my original goal. I am very happy with that.

stats 150428 april 2015

What does this really mean?

This months camp has left me wondering a few things:

1. Do I write too slowly? I have only achieved half of NaNo’s suggested word count for the number of hours I have actually toiled away on my computer.

2. Am I comfortable with the whole ‘write the entire draft first then rewrite everything’? Not really; Okay, I admit the first draft outlined the entire story of Doctor Jack. It was the first time I have attempted this  method (often recommended in writing books etc). Honestly, it made rewriting a more onerous task for me. I admit it did make it a lot easier to rewrite background story changes – but at what cost?

I confess I find the whole rewriting and editing gig less stressful when I write one or two chapters, then rewrite. Write. Rewrite. Next section. Repeat. I completely understand that this will most likely mean that more time is needed on final rewrites – in changing background information, changing characters or editing plot points.  On my head be it.

3. Is all of this because I ended up with a much shorter deadline than expected (I lost almost a month due to family issue, dying pets and poor health)? Was it because I felt out of my depth with such a large unedited word count hanging over my head? It was almost claustrophobic.

My main ‘take home’ from this entire process has been: If I think I need one month for rewrites, I will schedule two (or maybe three?).

So two days to go. 7352 (or thereabouts) words left to rewrite and edit. Then Doctor Jack is ready for the final (hopefully) proofreading.  Then to cross my fingers and hope that the postal service doesn’t screw up and take too much longer than expected. Book launch here I come!

Doctor Jack Ch 1 done 150422

NaNoWriMo Wrapup

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What a Wonderful World.

It has been a hectic, emotional and snot-filled month. I am currently writing like mad to finish last rewrites and edits on Doctor Jack, while trying not to cough up a lung. Today I thought I would share some of the beauty I have spied over the past month. I know I need a boost. How about you?

1. Random sights at the local shopping centre:


2. Letterbox. 3. On the 4th April, we had a lunar eclipse:

tardis letterbox march 2015 copyright Karen Carlisle 2015 2240pm

4. Oz Comic Con


5. Guess who bought a Jeep? (snapped on the way home)


Keep a eye on the world around you. There are some amazing sights. Have a great weekend.

All photos (c) Karen Carlisle. 2015 All rights reserved.

What a Wonderful World.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Oz Comic Con Wrap Up, 2015

IMG_9048Oz Comic Con is over. The flurry of last minute costume construction was a success. I am particularly pleased, as we did not have to make any significant purchases for this round of ensembles. As we had several unexpected events over the past month, I was not entirely sure we would succeed. Yet, we did. (Phew!).

My Dearheart’s outfit was the easiest. He reprised his Gandalf; with the addition of his new prescious – an official Gandalf LARP staff. Gandalf is always a popular choice. It is loved by all. I lost count of how many times he was asked to have his photo taken (including three with various hobbits). This is my favourite snap from the day. Thanks to the lovely creche girls who let him rest so he could adjust his beard.

Our daughter chose her own costume, Sollux Captor  from Homestuck. We did some opshopping, painting and discovered how to make horns using cardboard, hotglue and paper clay. This was the first costume she had (mostly) constructed by herself. I did a mini photo shoot after the convention.

Sollux Captor OCC 2015 Sollux Captor OzCC2 2015

After digging around in the attic, the final accessory for my Fairy Catcher (or Fairy Hunter as it was dubbed by an enamoured young girl who wanted photos) was complete – boots and butterfly net. I love creating little details and how else would you recognise a Fairy Hunter without it’s prey (provided by a hatband complete with bouncing fairy)? I donned my comfy shoes and I was ready, although a little under the weather, to take on the convention.

fairy hunter 2015 copyright Neil Swadlingozcomiccon15smcopyright catherine curl

The weekend was an montage of contradictory experiences. I had been battling a sinus infection all week. So far I was winning – just – but, alas, I could not wear my Victorian corset. I felt undressed. But it is important to be able to breathe, so I am told. Today I am paying for my, possibly misguided fortitude; laryngitis, pharyngitis and a visit to the doctor to ensure it does not progress.


It may not have been a wise decision to go but it was worth it. I enjoyed yesterday. It has been a while since I have enjoyed a convention as much. This year Oz Comic Con opened both sides of the show hall. The extra space reduced the claustrophobia of last year’s convention. I took many photos, had many photos taken off me, and lost count of Gandalf’s groupies. I met some lovely line buddies while waiting for Michael Shanks’ autograph, and caught up with my friend and con buddy (we only seem to meet at conventions), artist Michal Dutkiewicz .

Now to start on our costumes for Supanova, in November.

*Thanks to Catherine Curl and Neil Swadling for permission to use their photographs.

Oz Comic Con Wrap Up, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tea & Tidings Newsletter has flown

Subscribers should be receiving their copy of my newsletter, Tea & Tidings soon.

If you wish to subscribe for future copies, don’t forget to sign up – Just follow THIS LINK.

tea 25


Tea & Tidings Newsletter has flown

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April Viola Stewart Shorts Competition Winners

Congratulations to my new subscribers who have won a copy of The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Three Short Stories: Ami, Megan and Mark.

An email with details on how to redeem your prize has been sent to the address you used for your subscription.

Thank you and welcome to all my new subscribers. You should be getting your first Tea & Tidings newsletter around the 20th of each month.



April Viola Stewart Shorts Competition Winners

The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Doctor Jack eBook Cover Reveal

Welcome Dear Reader.

I have been busy this month. Now that I have self published the first installment of The Adventures of Viola Stewart, with three short stories, I am diving into rewrites for the novella, Doctor Jack. I am ready for the next big reveal – the ebook cover for Doctor Jack. 

A new book trailer will be revealed next month, followed by a compilation paperback in the near future. Thanks to my models Zena and David and to Terry for the use of her amazing costumes.

The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Doctor Jack:

  • “Someone is stalking the women of London… again. Oculist, Doctor Viola Stewart feels there is something strangely familiar about the murders. She convinces her friend Dr Collins – local police pathologist – to assist in her investigations. Together they uncover a sinister plot and a secret Society hell bent on creating a new order.” (Approx. 30 000 words in total)

And now for the cover reveal!


Here are a few snaps from the trailer… and a few hints.

DJ hint  JackHint4_copyrightKarenCarlisle_2015

You can buy The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Three Short Stories ebook at Amazon or Smashwords.

Why don’t you sign up for my  newsletter,  Tea and Tidings, for more information (out on 20th of the month) – via Mailchimp.  There is also a  specific Facebook page for the series: Doctor Jack and The Adventures of Viola Stewart.

All characters and images (c)Karen Carlisle 2015. All rights reserved.

(Cover – corner cogs: thank you to (c)  Spiral-Out at Deviant Art .)

The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Doctor Jack eBook Cover Reveal

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Competition closes to day - Win a ebook copy Viola Stewart's First Adventures

Want a chance to win a free ebook copy of my short stories, The Adventures of Viola Stewart?

This week I have been running a competition.

It ends today.

Just sign up for my monthly newsletter: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/sign-up-email-list/

Winners will be chosen this afternoon. So time is short!

Please share and leave a comment below.

I will randomly pick three lucky subscribers to get their free copy and post the winners on my blog on Sunday 19th April and email/message the winners the voucher.


Competition closes to day - Win a ebook copy Viola Stewart's First Adventures

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Steampunk Fairy Catcher Remake

Convention season is upon us. My plans to finish my Queen Victoria costume have been foiled (something to do with a writing frenzy). All is not lost. I am well on the way to completing my alternate project – the revamp of my Steampunk Fairy Catcher.

My first effort of The Fairy Catcher was in 2011, with the first revamp in 2012, with my Explorer/Steampunk Scout Mistress as its base.

2011SMALLER original fairy catcher gun

I wasn’t quite happy with either incarnation. Quite by chance, in 2013, I found a toy water gun in a garage sale. Thus was created the Pump Action Fairy Eliminator. This inspired a new version of the outfit.

The first task was to alter the long sleeves of the explorer/scout uniform. This should make this outfit more comfortable to wear (cooling me down during hot flushes). As I have no spare material from the original costume construction, I planned to use the the remaining sleeve material to make the cuffs. My biggest obstacle was mustering the courage to cut the sleeves. Remember to measure twice (or, in my case, four times) and cut once. Two weeks later…

remake 1 mark up sleevesc Remake 2 cut sleeve Remake 3 sleeve finished

Acc fairy repellentNext, a few new accessories to add to my pith helmet: protective netting, a new hat band and floating quarry. It is all in the details. Add my original accessories: can of Fairy Repellent, fairy net and comfy boots. The entire outfit will be revealed next week.

Oz ComicCon, here I come. Will I see you there?

Camp NaNo update: 60% revisions completed.

Steampunk Fairy Catcher Remake

Monday, April 13, 2015

To all current Tea & Tidings subscribers

As a thank you to everyone who is already subscribed, a special Tea & Tidings April Extra  edition was sent to subscribers on 9th April. In it you will find details on how to get your free ebook copy of The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Three Short Stories. It should be in your inbox now.




To all current Tea & Tidings subscribers

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Constructive Distraction Therapy, Publication and a Competition

Welcome, dear Reader, to April’s half-time update. I have been applying distraction techniques after the devastating occurrences over the last week. Camp NaNoWriMo has provided well-timed writing therapy – albeit mostly revisions, editing and formatting.  It is day 10. I have managed the equivalent of 5500 words in revision, just above the scheduled word count. Phew.

campapril2015 0410

COVERViolaStewart_1_shorts_2_1000So far I have concentrated on finishing up my Three Short Stories . A big thank you to Lynne, Susan, Carole and my writing group for all of their help with beta reading, proof reading and editing suggestions.

A few weeks ago I revealed my book cover and book trailer here. I have since tweaked the cover to make it crisper and easier to read.

This week I concentrated on formatting my Three Short Stories for both Amazon Kindle and Smashwords.  Finally… After months of blogging about it. I have done it.

Drum roll, please!

You can get your ebook copy of The Adventures of Viola Stewart series:

Now available at Smashwords and Amazon

Yesterday, I received my very first review. The full review is on Smashwords:
“Madam Carlisle, I want more! … the adventures of Viola Stewart was amazingly good steampunk! … Karen is a fine writer from Down Under, who writes just enough to get the mind salivating. Please let there be more of Miss Stewart in the near future, for I do enjoy a great Victorian heroine.”  – 5 stars.

and today, my first Amazon review. The full review is at Amazon.
“It is refreshing to see a writer who has done the historical research and who has enough scientific background to put together a credible and amazingly written series of short tales. The Main character is witty, strong minded, resourceful and intelligent.” 5 stars.

Thank you to both readers for taking the time to leave a review. You have made my week most glorious!

Now for a bonus Gratuitous Plug post and my first ever competition:  

I have three vouchers for a free copy of The Adventures of Viola Stewart:Three Short Stories from Smashwords (you can choose your preferred format). All you have to do is sign up to my monthly newsletter Tea & Tidings, before midday Saturday 18th April – Australian CST (newsletter goes out on the 20th of each month). Please also leave a comment below. I will randomly pick three lucky subscribers to get their free copy. I will post the winners on my blog on Sunday 19th April and email you the voucher.


You can read more about each short story on my Books page.

Next week I recommence work on revisions, rewriting and editing to finalise Doctor Jack.

Constructive Distraction Therapy, Publication and a Competition

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Monday 6th April, 2015.

We just had our Easter long weekend. It started well and slid into fantastic. I made headway on my costume for the upcoming Oz ComicCon. My daughter started on hers. We scored two trailer loads of pavers from Freecycle (the people were lovely. I wish they lived closer.) and I finished off filming for my next book trailer.

Then we were all blindsided. Almost literally. Until a few months ago, she has been a ‘healthy geriatric cat’, according to the vet. They are impressed on how healthy she actually is. We have been managing a benign tumour on her side. She last saw the vet on Monday. They were happy with her progress. On Sunday, my dear twenty-two year old Devon Rex, Tisha, went blind. We had been suspecting she was going blind. I could see her cataracts. She was not as gungho as usual. She now wanders around aimlessly, knocking into the occasional object. She gets lost and mews.

It is breaking my heart. Her (as unconditional as cats can be) love got me through a painful divorce, illnesses and anxiety attacks. She is a pedigree cat, descended from the likes of Gollum and The Prince of Darkness. (I kid you not; it is on her papers.) Tisha was named after Morticia Addams. The name suits her perfectly; she is regal, Queen of all she surverys and a scamp. She has been a sometimes-mouser, devastator of cockroaches (we have not seen one for decades) and stealer of sausages.

We have spent the past few sleepless nights consoling, guiding and hugging our poor frightened puss, enjoying the calming purrs while we can. She can no longer see where her food is, nor her litter. We are exhausted. We are doing our best to try to get some sleep and discussing our options. Our house is very stressed right now. My anxiety levels are nearing the levels that necessitated me leaving work.

My sincerest apologies to my readers. I will endeavour to post regularly in the next few weeks. I am trying to keep up my planned schedule for my upcoming book. Please forgive me if it all goes awry.

Update: Tuesday 7th April, 2015.

I hope my tears do not fry the computer, as I type. Today I lost my dear Tish. We have just returned from the vet.

After 22 years,

the house is silent.

My heart cries in pain.

Rest in peace dear Tisha.

tish2015 tishme2015


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Writing in the Shadows

The Adventures of Viola Stewart: Three Shorts is now formatted and almost ready to publish. I am now in the middle of final rewrites (hopefully) of Doctor Jack, the next instalment of The Adventures of Viola Stewart. Doctor Jack is a novella length tale – an alternative historical retelling of a more malevolent subject.

When I am dealing with personal issues, my writing often leans toward darker themes. Doctor Jack was written at such a time and the result is a much darker adventure than Viola’s previous exploits. It is a story with hints of steampunk and gaslamp.

What is gaslamp?

Gaslamp, or gaslight fantasy, is a subgenre of science fiction/fantasy and historical fantasy. The term was first coined by Kaja Foglio (wife of Phil Foglio) to describe Phil Foglio’s creation, Girl Genius, and to define it separately from steampunk.

 “We have no ‘punk’ of steampunk and more than just steam.” – Kaja Foglio

Whereas steampunk often has elements of science, technology and the Industrial Revolution, gaslamp has more supernatural elements and gothic themes. It often contains magical or mythical creatures and is a spin off from the traditional Gothic story.

It borrows many tropes from superstition, spiritualism, psychics and mediums – all of which were popular in the 19th century, providing an escape from the Industrial Revolution. It embraces the Victorianesque-mad-scientist-Frankenstein’s monster story, Holmesian fantasies and gothic-style tales as opposed to the clockwork and automatons of steampunk (though these can still be incorporated). Think biology versus mechanics.

Gaslamp stories are often set in Victorian or Edwardian (even Regency) settings but, as with steampunk, can be an alternate history of either the past or the future. It can blend with historical fantasy, dark fantasy, romance, horror and detective stories.

How would I describe Doctor Jack? It is steamunk(ish), with a gaslamp flavour.

It is 1888. Viola Stewart returns for a new adventure. Someone is stalking the women of London… Again.

DJ hint

Writing in the Shadows

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

It's Camp Time! April NaNoWriMo, 2015

I have pitched my tent. The fire is flickering and the sausages are starting to sizzle. Hot wisps of tea tickle my nose. An array of coloured pencils sit by my second draft manuscript of Doctor Jack. Camp NaNoWriMo starts today.

This month I am sharing a cabin with my friend, Amanda Howard, who writes true crime.  A cabin is a team of  fellow writers who provide encouragement, enthusiasm, and maybe a little guilt trip every now and then, to goad each other into completing our individual chosen goal for the month.

My goal is to complete final rewrites on the novella, Doctor Jack, so it can be published next month. This has become a bigger task than I had first anticipated. (Writing courses are both a boon and a curse. I am currently endeavouring to show not tell, and banish those inactive sentences.) As a result, I have been procrastinating again – so Camp NaNoWriMo is a well-timed kick in the butt. Deadlines can be extremely compelling, especially when they have been announced publicly. (Hence this blog post).

You can track my progress on my Camper Profile, to make sure I don’t slack off.