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

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Denizens of Steam

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/31/denizens-of-steam/

Here's an extra treat for Halloween - an extra post and a eBook mini anthology of steampunk flash fiction , featuring my latest flash fiction, Right on Time - for free.
It all started with a tea party to celebrate the first anniversary of Scribblers' Den, a group of steampunk writers on the forum, Steampunk Empire. I love this group; the members are supportive and just a bit cheeky. Our founder and enabler, Jack Tyler, has also set up the Empire Booksellers with links to publications featuring works by members of Scribblers' Den (or Denizens as we call ourselves).
Part of the celebration was an invitation for members to write - resulting in a variety of flash fiction steampunk stories. These tales have now been published in a short eBook anthology, Denizens of Steam.
denizens of steam cover anthology shorts SMALL1_2015
Like the title? It's mine. Like the cover? That was designed by Katie Alford.  Featured writers include: Steve Moore, N.O.A. Rawle, David Lee Summers, C.L. Zeitstück, Katie Alford, William J. Jackson, Bryce Raffle, Alice E. Keyes, Albrecht von Saarbruchen, Jenny Jobe, J.P. Paradise (and me). The foreword was written by Scribblers’ Den founder, Jack Tyler.
Follow the link to secure your very own (free) eBook copy of Denizens of Steam.
Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The State of Affairs

original post at: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/28/the-state-of-affairs/

Why is it that the last few months of the year seem to be the busiest? And that's not contemplating Christmas shopping. Not only have I been soul-searching and kicking myself up the butt this week, but I have also found a new burst of enthusiasm. The daily task of producing a new piece of artwork has notched my creative brain up a gear.  Over the past week I have:
  • ordered some new bookmarks (giveaways for Supanova - mid November) They should arrive next week
  • almost finished another octoarm scarf for this weekend's Adelaide Mini Comic Con
  • packed up my books and bits to sell this weekend
  • helped my daughter to finish off a costume
  • proof read an ebook short story anthology (more on that in a later post)...
  • finalised the theme for an event (like a mini gallery) to showcase my books and artwork in Mad March next year (more when things are confirmed)
  • started a new set of inks to  sell at said event
  • Set to work and almost completed the cover for The Department of Curiosities
  • and finished another chapter in the same manuscript first draft.
And just when I get back into the heads of The Department's characters, NaNoWriMo looms: 50000 words on a new project, in one month. Thirty days. That's 1666 words a day, if I don't take break days. I have started outlining (that sounds like a planning thing! This pantser is slowly learning) a new set of adventures for Viola Stewart.
Last year I completed over 27000 words - over half the 50000 word target. My record is 33000 words in one month (without any pre-preparation). The first journal of Viola's adventures was approximately 44000 words. This is my goal - to get the first draft down for journal two.
MagicLantern-sit still sir_copyright2015_KarenJCarlisle
Inktober has been great for me - a very welcome, but unexpected, boost of creativity and enthusiasm. I just hope I can keep up the pace for next month: NaNoWriMo, a mini convention and my first booth at Supanova. Come and find me in The Alley. Just look for the posters. I'll be the one writing furiously.
lp (1) lp preview

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Decisions, Decisions.

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/25/decisions-decisions/

I've been mucking around for the past two months. Lots of crocheting to get Octoarm scarves ready for sale for upcoming events. A bit of writing here, a bit of writing there. Most of the writing has been on blog posts - with time spent on research, rewrites, photos.
Today I realised I have been using blog writing to procrastinate on my story writing. I have only managed one short story (and jotted down some ideas for two others) since August. This is significantly down on previous efforts. Frankly, I am out of practice and in a rut. The main victim has been my novel manuscript. Time spent blogging and social networking has taken its toll. This is not a good thing, given I am trying to make a career out of writing. Even my costume making has suffered.
It's time to take stock. Do I want to get my book completed? And what do I need to facilitate this? The answers were: Hell yeah and spend more time working on my manuscripts. If I want to make my deadlines for The Department of Curiosities and the next set of The Adventures of Viola Stewart, decisions had to be made: less time writing personal blogs and only scheduled time on social media.
November NaNoWriMo is looming  - the perfect opportunity to get a big chunk of writing done and the perfect time to start my new regime:
From November I will be only blogging once per week. On Sundays (Australian time) I am all yours, blogging here as usual. I hope you stick around and keep reading while I continue to work on my next books, so you read them early next year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Inktober Update

orignal post at: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/21/inktober-update/

It has been wonderful flexing my finger muscles. It has been too long since I picked up a nib or ink pen. This week I bought a white gel pen and played with coloured paper. I like it. Need a bit more practice before I will be satisfied with my results.
These are my favourties over the past couple of weeks. And yes, they do feature octopuses.
Day 8
day11 feather attemptred_copyright2015KarenCarlisle
You can see all my inktober sketches on Flickr or Pinterest.
All artwork (c)2015 Karen Carisle. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

This Steampunk Did Go to the Ball

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/18/this-steampunk-did-go-to-the-ball/#comment-1705

Avast, ye hearties! There be pirates ahead.
Yesterday our local costume/cosplay group, Cosplay for a Cause Adelaide, held a Steampunk Pirate Ball (we couldn't make up our mind, so we went with both!) to raise money for Variety Club SA. Money was raised from ball tickets and items donated for the silent auction. I donated a copy of Doctor Jack and Other Tales and an octoarm necklace to the auction. A big thank you to everyone to attended, had a ball and spent money for a great cause.
Of course, it gave me an excuse (do I really need one?) to make that steampunk pirate costume I have been talking about for two years. I ferreted out my collected my op-shop finds and sorted through my costume material cupboard.
Out came my striped skirt, from a previous 2010 pirate party costume, my favourite underbust corset and a peasant top found earlier this year at the local Savers second-hand store.

skirt orig costume_copyright2010KarenCarlisle + peasant blouse + mine 2011 mortlock = piratesansacc_copyright2015KarenCarlisle

But I needed something more... Accessories!
hatfinalFirst - a pirate hat! A cheapo flock cardboard hat left over from previous costumes provided the base. A rummage through my findings box gave me a few keys, cogs, feathers (purple, of course!), button bases (to glue cogs on) and a cog-fob thing. An afternoon of glueing and wiring gave me this:
beltcompleteSecond - a cool hip belt, with left over leather bits and a cool cog buckle from the local leather shop, featured last year on my steampunk accessories posts.
Next - a weapon. Every pirate needs something to ... defend themselves. Something I have wanted to do for ages is a steampunk lightsabre. I have a Force FX Master Replica lightsabre but that was out-of-bounds. But a preloved $2.99 plastic knock off? I'm in! Here's how it happened: 
sabre1masking sabre2undercoat sabre3tape for black sabre4 rustlayer sabre5 gold layer sabre6 paint buffs gold silver sabre7 gears sabre8 grearssabre9 finished
  1. Mask off bits not to be painted.
  2. Black matt undercoat.
  3. mask off bits to stay black.
  4. Rust/gold (We ran out of bronze) spray paint coating.
  5. Rub and Buff to age and add more colours.
  6. Glue on bits (I know, I just stuck gears on. Sometimes that happens)
  7. Clear spray paint to seal the handle
  8. Added a tassle from my haberdashery stash. It's the little things.

Finally: Every pirate has a parrot (since I didn't have time to make a fake prosthetic, steam-driven leg!) I searched the local second-hand stores and garage sales for a plastic parrot suitable to spraypaint and steampunk up. Nothing. But wait! Even better - I found a toy octopus. A glued a cog-bit and chain became it's monocle.
His perch was made from left over leather from a previous project - and lots of riveting. (And thanks to my Dearheart for saving my bung wrist from certain jarring.)
DSC_8409 shoulderaccessory_copyright2015KarenCarlisle
Putting it all together for charity - and having a ball!
final outfit_copyright2015KarenCarlisle
All photos copyright 2015 Karen Carlisle and D Carlisle.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

R U OK? Am I OK?

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/14/r-u-ok-am-i-ok/

My heart falls into the pit of my stomach.
Electric pins and needles radiate through my chest.  My hearts pounds, racing, trying to catch up with my thoughts which have already consumed me.
My hands shake. Spasms shoot over my back, freezing the muscles in intense pain. The doom has come upon me.
My head spins. An eyelid droops. The migraine follows.
I fight to achieve even the smallest thing. I reach for my writing in an effort to calm the voices. Words float elusively through my brain, refusing to be wrangled. I reach to my artwork. My hand refuses to obey and betrays me, dropping the pencil. My muse is trapped.
This week has been a difficult one for me.
Last week was Mental Health Week. It's aim is to raise awareness, discussion and educate and raise awareness of mental health.  Good ol' Aunty ABC marked with their Mental as... series of programmes; this week's Gardening Australia highlighted the benefits of garden/ outdoors on our mental health.
The stats on mental health are alarming:
  • 17% (one stat claimed 25%) (1) of our children now have mental health issues.
  • 3 million Austalians are living with depression or anxiety
  • suicide is the biggest killer of young Australians.
  • In 2007, 45% of Australians (16-85 years of age) met the criteria for diagnosis of a mental disorder (at some point in their life).  20% had experienced symptoms within twelve months of this survey.
Anxiety and depression aren't just moods that we can flick away with a smile and 'she'll be right mate'. Anxiety  can rear when you least expect it (and most inconvenient). The feelings of worry and stress don't always fade away once the trigger has gone. They can continue. Likewise, depression is not just feeling sad. A well meant 'just cheer up and think happy thoughts' won't cure depression. Symptoms can last a long time and affect health.
The best thing is to listen, support and try to understand it can be a long road for some of us. Start by asking 'R U OK?" And listen.
Beyond Blue has more information on symptoms, treatment and support and assistance
Am I OK?
I'm getting there.
  1. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1370.0~2010~Chapter~Mental%20health%20(
  2. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/4330.0
  3. https://mhaustralia.org/sites/default/files/imported/component/rsfiles/factsheets/statistics_on_mental_health.pdf
  4. https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/footer/stats-and-facts
  5. Mental Health Australia
  6. SA Health
  7. Beyond Blue
  8. Headspace - (for youth)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kraken and Steam Mugs Galore!

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/11/kraken-and-steam-mugs-galore/

I have received most of my mugs to sell Adelaide Mini Comic Convention, over Halloween.
The Adventures of Viola Stewart Series: Men in Grey and Viola mugs.

Mugs from my Octo/Kraken original artwork series are on order and due to arrive this week:
DeepSeaBallooning_REDtshirt2  krakenchestbusterRBTSHIRT octoumbrella_ringRB steamtrekRBBlueBG

DOCTORSCARFQUESTIONMARKcupI will also have a limited number of The Question mugs - exclusive for direct event sales only.
There will be only a limited number of mugs available on the weekend - so get in quick. If you don't live in Australia, you buy the Viola Stewart Series and Octo/Kraken series mugs via Zazzle. The Octo/Kraken series is also available as tshirts via Redbubble.
Mini Comic Con prices: All mugs - $20 each. Badges also available - $3 each.
If you are in Adelaide,  visit the Flinders Street Markets on Sunday 1st November for the Adelaide Mini Comic Convention and say hello.
Artwork (c)Karen Carlisle.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Inktober 2015

original post: http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/10/07/inktober-2015/

I almost forgot! Again. Last year I remembered too late. I vowed this year I would remember. I did, but...
I penciled my first drawing. Grabbed my calligraphy box and...
Ran out of bottled ink. My last ink pen had dried out. Fail.  I finally managed to get to the art shop on Saturday and bought new pens - the last black pens they had left in the shop - and more ink for my nibs. Was it my destiny to miss inktober again?
Undaunted I did some scribblings and caught up the three days. Not too detailed, I admit but, Inktober is happening. Phew.
It has been too long since I have picked up my inkpens (or nibs) and played. I do miss it.
Here are the first week of offerings. You can find all of my drawings on:
day 1 Dirigible_copyright2015KarenCarlisleCM day 2 pince nez_copyright2015KarenCarlisleCM day 3 Gandalfs hat_copyright2015KarenCarlisleCM day 4 boquet_copyright2015KarenCarlisleCM
and my favourite:

day 5 Kraken_copyright2015KarenCarlisleCM

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Chances of Anything Coming From Mars...

The week has been exciting. NASA has announced there is liquid water to be found on Mars - in certain circumstances. If any of the Mars colony projects are to succeed, they need water. Water means life. We can't survive without it.
The water is locked in Mars' soil and atmosphere. It's soil is hydrated. There is humidity in the air.  It is the same thin atmosphere that makes the water unstable, boiling at ten degrees Celsius. In some areas, perchlorate salts trap the water, causing it to boil at twenty-four degrees, thus making it possible for the Curiosity rover to detect flowing water.
The chances of anything coming from Mars was a million to one, they said.
If you factor in NASA's Mars-shattering announcement earlier this week, the chances of anything going to Mars have now increased. If the chances were a million to one, what are they now? Any mathematicians or statisticians care to weigh in?
This raises the stakes.
Mars could not have dreamed that we would scrutinise it, as as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply, looking for a drop of water - looking for the possibility of life on the planet.  Do we now regard Mars with acquisitive eyes and slowly and surely draw plans for it?
It is now only a matter of time before scientists can engineer usable liquid water on Mars' surface. These are the first twitches toward the next giant leap for humankind. The chances of seeing a human colony on Mars, in my lifetime, have increased.
But tread gently. Our track record with tending our Earth is not encouraging. We teeter on a major climate change. Mars has already suffered such a fate. Would we inflict it upon the planet again?
And what if there were little green men, slumbering, watching our progress, dreading our preparations to invade their world?


"No-one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized, as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water...... regarded this Earth with envious eyes ...
and slowly and surely they drew there plans against us.- Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds.