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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tea and Chocolate

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/09/30/tea-and-chocolate/ 

Good morning dear Reader. Have you had your cup of tea (or coffee) yet? May I recommend an English breakfast and a Haighs soft centred dark chocolate? That's what is sitting next to my computer now. Perfect way to start the day.
You have most likely twigged to my love of tea and chocolate, amongst other things. There's a dead giveaway in my tagline:
Chocoholic and tea lover.
succulent tea pots_copyright2014KarenCarlisleThis month I have been posting daily photos of my ever-growing tea cup and mug collection on twitter. (I haven't even started on my tea pot collection. My Dearheart said we had no more room in the house for them so most now have new homes in the garden as succulent containers.)
For those without twitter, you can find all of the photos on my Pinterest page - Receptacles for my Tea. I'll share some of my favourites with you:
When I need a major pick me up or want to indulge, I drink from my purple and gold plated T2 cup. It is perfect paired it with the octopus tea ball, an anniversary present from my Dearheart.
29 my favourite combo_copyright2015KarenCarlisle
I found the next two in local opshops. The first is one of a set, delicate and very pretty. The second is more robust, part of a one-teapot set. It brings back fond memories  of my trips to Paris and Florence.
27 Tea and Haighs_copyright2015KarenCarisle 25 paris and cake_copyright2015Karen Carisle
30 to finish up_on my wishlist_copyright2015KarenCarlisleFinally, the photo I shared on twitter this morning. I don't own this set -  yet. It is on my wishlist. I'll have to get one before the ABC shops close - or pay extra in postage.
Don't forget to check out all the photos on Pinterest. You can also find inspirations, photo hints and event for The Adventures of Viola Stewart series and my work-in-progress, The Department of Curiosities.
I must bid you adieu. My tea is going cold.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Not Just Soggy Around the Middle

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/09/27/not-just-soggy-around-the-middle/

First read through and rough rewrites on The Department of Curiosities is progressing. I have a long list of notes for the next rewrite, more research of facts and scenes to change or exorcise. Rewriting the beginning is, in a weird way, fun. I can revisit the excitement of a new adventure. Help my characters grow and add more va-voom.
soggy middle notes
But the middle? Argh!
Why do I keep stalling? It's not just the trudging through the myre of the soggy middle. It's first draft is done and discussed in Of the Muddle of the Middle and Other Inconveniences. I thought it would be easier attacking rewrites for this section. During my procrastination-research stage, I read many blogs and articles specifically on writing the middle (act 2) of a story. It seems I am not the only writer to say it:
Rewriting the middle is drudgery.
I need to kill my darlings. In every sense of the phrase. Let me just talk about rewrites (or spoilers!) I need more action. I need to consolidate the twists and plots. I need to tighten the belt around that soggy middle.
I'm off to another writing class next month: Power up your writing.  Perfect timing. I need to start my next rewrite with a new eye, new skills and gumption.
But that is not my only hurdle.
I can't believe I wrote Of the Muddle of the Middle and Other Inconveniences over a year ago. To be fair, I have written and published three short stories and a novella, Doctor Jack, while I procrastinated my way around a specific scene. One I am now facing once more.
I thought the middle was a muddle for my head. Act three is just as wracking. Remember the darlings I mentioned. I don't want to part from my characters. They have been with me for over a year of writing and floating in my imagination for twice that. When I finish that last scene, they will have changed. That part of their story is ended. Some will return for another. Some may not.
So it's not just a soggy middle I am wallowing in. There is reluctance to give up my darlings and move on. Time to hitch up my belt, set my sights on the end and exercise those writing muscles.
I can do this.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Flash Fiction Scribbles

I have been a member of the Scribblers' Den for about a year now. We are a group of steampunk writers. We chat. We share stories. We have virtual tea parties.
The members are wonderfully supportive, offering suggestions and even buying my book! Our founder, Jack, has set up several pages, including Member Blog Listing and Empire Booksellers - where books published by members are listed.
Last week (on Talk Like a Pirate Day - 19th September), Scribblers celebrated its first birthday. Huzzah! We drank tea, shared virtual cake and participated in long-distance tea duels. There was even a celebratory flash fiction competition. One day to write and submit. 250 words (ish).
21 pirate mug_copyright2015KarenCarlisle
Here is my offering:
by Karen J Carlisle.
(c)2015 All rights reserved.
Steam hissed; scalding liquid spat from the joints. Saffie grabbed another damp rag and pressed it against the rattling pipe. Liquid seeped into her thick leather gloves. She winced as heat wrapped around her hand.
"Roland, we haven't got all day." She glared across the room at her brother, cowering behind a bench.
Roland swallowed and approached the contraption. He glanced over the array of buttons and levers on its panel, brushed his hand through his hair and grimaced. "Which one, Saffie?"
"The red one. Push the red one!"
Roland slammed the oversized red button, ducked to avoid another surge of pressurised vapour and backed away from the contraption.
The pressure eased under Saffie's palm. "Hand me the wrench."
Roland asked as he plopped the wrench into her outstretched hand. "Will it still work?"
A final wisp of steam escaped from the  coupling as Saffie tightened the nut. She nodded.
"It should suffice."
A bell tinkled on the wall behind them.
"And just in time, it seems," she replied.
Saffie peeled off her gloves, tossed them onto the bench and examined the contraption.
Liquid whispered along the pipe into a large copper plated cistern sitting atop a large oak box. Gauge needles flickered as the pressure started to rise again. The contraption jiggled rhythmically. Saffie flicked the switch next to the red button.  A steady stream of auburn liquid poured from a side spigot, filling a copper pot.
Saffie straightened her skirts and smiled. "Fetch the good china for our guests, Roland."

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Breaking the Curse

Original post:http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/09/16/breaking-the-curse/

It has been a rough month. The black dog has been biting at my heels. Anxiety has cursed me with migraines. There have been a few highlights, including my talk for Critical Mass but, I must admit, the writing has been sporadic - at best.
I can't blame writer's block; I am transcribing the handwritten draft of The Department of Curiosities. I have been side-tracked by research to plug up some holes. Character names are in flux. I knew this would be a possibility as I am a Pantser at heart - no matter how I try to plan.
My real daemon has been anxiety. It can cripple. It can curse. It can throw all plans in my face and laugh maniacally as I try to pick up the pieces. Today is a good day, as was yesterday. Life goes on, as does my writing. Slow, but ever forward.
An interesting revelation has dawned on me:  After transcribing the first draft into Scrivener, doing some rewrites and shuffles, the handwritten notes declare I am just finishing up chapter fourteen. Not so. After rewrites and chapter changes, I am currently working on chapter eighteen. My chapters are almost twice as long when I hand write a manuscript. Perhaps this is because the plot timing changes when I write in different formats? Or have I just had more time for the story to mull over in my head - and present itself differently?
The important thing is I have finally kicked the dog in the b*lls and am typing like the wind, only slowing down to fill in the blanks noted for research in that first draft. Our heroes are preparing to take flight to experience new adventures and whispering hints for future tales and a second book.
But first I must finish this one.

chapter 18 rewrites DOC 150915

Sunday, September 13, 2015

There is Always Room

 original blog at: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/09/13/there-is-always-room/

Drei SchittbucherHi. My name is Karen and I'm a bookaholic. I find it almost impossible to pass a book shop without at least taking a peek at the treasures inside. This week my copy of Drei Schnittbucher - via Kickstarter - arrived. I jostled the books in the Renaissance and Costume bookshelf. Just enough room. Sort of.
Then I remembered; this weekend the local Oxfam Bookshop had a sale.
So, we already had piles of books sitting in the corner of the room? So, we have books two deep in the bookshelves and stacked horizontally in the spaces above them? They would get lonely if we didn't. There is always room for more books...
bookshelf stainWe prepared early for the inevitable influx of 'new' preloved books - bought some pine from the local hardware store, rummaged through the shed to find the woodstain left over from the front room extention, so the shelves would match the existing door frames.
bookshelf staining DaveMy Dearheart stained the wood over the past two weekends. The trick was to find a sunny day warm enough for the stain to dry.  This week we installed them above the doors in the hall and the lounge room.
Problem was they were already being filled by errant shelf-less books before we even made it to Oxfam!
bookshelf 1 up
Yesterday's haul included some H G Wells and Agatha Christie. I'm well on the way to completing the sets. My Dearheart and daughter bought their own stash of books.
books oxfam 2ndhand book sale_copyright2015KarenCarlisle
I have more reading delights in store. Where will I find the time? Sigh.
Now the shelves are groaning. Just ignore the newly created piles of books in the corner. They are just biding their time...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Doctor Jack is Coming to a Mini Con Near You!

Convention season is looming. Now there is a local event showcasing work by local writers, illustrators, creators. The Adelaide Mini Comic Convention is run by DarkOz comics. It will be held at the Flinders St Markets on Saturday 31st October and Sunday 1st November. It is part of our series of special themed event markets held at Flinders St Markets.
As it is being held over the Halloween weekend, costumes are encouraged. There will be awards, costume competitions (Best dressed stall holder and best dressed guest), workshops, demonstrations and photobooth. I will be in steampunk garb, of course!
5 slider MUGS badges_2015_orig artwork_copyright_2015_KarenCarlisle
Check out my events page for more information of where and when I will be out and about.
orignal post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/09/09/doctor-jack-is-coming-to-a-mini-con-near-you/

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Time for Tea

It’s September.
Another year has flown by. Time for more tea cup photos. I have a few new acquisitions to share over the month. Today I am anxiously awaiting the next season of Doctor Who.(It’s next weekend! Squee.) Until then, I am in need of consoling chocolate and a cup of tea in my TARDIS mug. It holds the equivalent of two cups of tea and keeps the tea hot for a long time.
tea DW
I enjoyed season 8 of the new Who. It was time for a gruff, older Doctor (and I must say I am loving the Scot accent). Peter Capaldi reminds me of the first Doctor. I can't wait to see the sparks fly when River Song catches up with this regeneration. Just eight sleeps to go!
This month I'll be posting photos of some of my tea cup and mug collection on twitter.
original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/09/06/time-for-tea/

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

My Five Year Plan

I have a five-year plan.
Year one (2013-14)- I started half way through the year, so I guess it is a five and a half year plan really):
  1. Learn to write to deadlines (well, try to at least) and
  2. to harden myself to rejections.
2013 was the year of the competition entries. Nineteen entries. Lots of rejections. One short-listed. I was happy with that statistic.
An unexpected (but welcome) by-product was discovering I love writing steampunk. My short listed story, An Eye for Detail, was one of my first steampunk short stories. I get to play with history, cool gadgets, feisty heroines and dashing heroes, while indulging my passion for historical costume, research and fantasy. I had already started the first draft of a fantasy novel. It is now in the drawer, waiting for me to complete my current series of planned steampunk books. I also realised I could mold my writing hours around my health issues and, though I was writing longer hours than I had previously worked, I was healthier, and more content,
Year two (2015):
  1. Continue to keep deadlines (thank you NaNoWriMo)
  2. Complete and publish my novella and try to complete my first novel. Viola's first set of adventures is published in Journal #1: Doctor Jack & Other Tales.
  3. Learn more on the craft of writing. I have two more writing courses left for this year (and maybe more next year)
  4. To get known (the marketers call it 'branding') and start treating writing like a business - a career - and not a hobby. Part of this was to sort out my website and promote my name. Until now I have piggybagged on my old costuming website. Now that is changing.
  5. Set up an ABN and business name
  6. and treat this like a real job.
So far I have completed #1 (mostly) and #2. #3 is ongoing. There is always something to learn. #5 is completed. #4 and #6 are ongoing projects.
Today I am making a start on my Year Three list. I have been asked to do a talk on Writing Steampunk and Self-publishing, by local the Science Fiction/Fantasy discussion group, Critical Mass, at the SA Writers Centre 2nd September.
Yes, I am nervous. I am an introvert at heart and now I have to speak - in front of people. Again.
I've already started my deep breathing exercises.
Year three (2016):
  1. Do talks on steampunk, finishing, my second book, The Department of Curiosities, and starting the next installment.
  2. Make more videos for YouTube, including a book trailer for DOC.
  3. Write and publish the next journal in Viola Stewart's adventures.
  4. start (and perhaps finish?) a second Department of Curiosities book...
Year four and five are currently under review, as I was forced to quit my job a few years earlier than I had expected. A re-evaluation of my future and career has ensued. (Well, these things are supposed to be flexible.)
Time for an announcement, adding to Year 2 #4: Welcome to my new website address:


I have redirected the new URL back to the old website address for now; I am hoping to have everything transferred by 2016. It's time to update your bookmarks.