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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Obligatory End of Year 2015 Post

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2015/12/27/obligatory-end-of-year-2015-post/

My social media feeds are full of the obligatory end-of-year-round-up posts.
Regular readers will have read what I have done through the year (here is a list of events I have attended). The best part was meeting some of you at these events. Thank you for your support, your comments. I really appreciate you taking your time to give me feedback and tell me how much you liked Doctor Jack. (Squee!)
And yes - I am working on Journal #2 of Viola's adventures right now! Newsletter subscribers have had already sneak preview of the first scene. (You can sign up here for Tea & Tidings -monthly newsletter if you want some exclusives and scoops.)
Some of you may have noticed I now have a Work-in-progress bar, for both Eye of the Beholder and The Department of Curiosities, on my website. Now you can check their progress. (It also gives me a kick in the butt to get moving). workinprogressWEBSITEbar2015
As a thank you, here's an end of year present for you:
The blurb and a hint for the upcoming cover:
COVER BACK HINT 1511 Eye of Beholder and OTher tales Icon OPTION 2 with blurb version 1
I will be sharing my plans for 2016 in upcoming posts.
Thank you for following my travails throughout the year. I hope you all had a pleasant Christmas holiday and enjoy what the new year brings.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Tea & Tidings Newsletter Sent

Tea & TIdings Newletter Sent

This month's newsletter is on its way to subscribers, a few days late due to the silly season and two heatwaves. My apologies.

For new subscribers and readers, it is usually sent to you around the 20th of each month.

If you want to know the news first up, sign up today!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Excellent End to a Chaotic Week

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2015/12/20/excellent-end-to-a-chaotic-week

Yep, this blog is a few hours late.
I blame the heatwave - and those hateful north winds that carry down dust storms and trigger my allergies. Our air conditioner died Monday, was fixed Wednesday evening. We thought we were safe. Not so. We swealtered through Saturday morning after a local power outage. We celebrated with a D&D session, with friends, when the power was restored.
So what did I do over the week while I was hiding from the heat and north winds? A little writing and sewing - at least when the power was on.
Here is my latest steampunk fashion statement - squeezed into almost inadequate amounts of randomly bought material on Spotlight sale.
keys back keys front
Four days of over forty degrees Celcius - in December! Monday and Tuesday weren't much better - both over mid thirties. A record (since1897). Why can't we break a record like most chocolate consumed over the holidays or largest lightsabre battle?
Instead we joined the throngs to watch the much anticipated Star Wars Episode VII. I enjoyed it. A good balance between action and humour. Enough nods to the old series, for the long-time fans. That's all I'll say - or spoilers, Sweetie!
Have a cool week everyone. Enjoy your Christmas/Holidays.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Website Updates

The battle, with electronics hellbent on making me feel like an idiot, is won. And by me. (Well, by my Dearheart actually.) There was much nashing of teeth and utterances of certain words - some of which were in French. So pardon mine.
The absconding costume post has now been reblogged. If you have bookmarked it, please resave.
According to the beta testing you should now be able to access my newly rehosted website via the new address:
(If you use the old address, the pages should be automatically redirected. )
website banner online pic
Please leave any comments or issues below, so we can troubleshoot. Thanks for being patient.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Costume Upcycling

One thing I love about costuming is the challenge of creating something from materials already in my cupboard or, even better, upcycling something to make it useful again.
A few years ago I discovered 'pocket belts', made from old jeans. A great idea - especially if I could steampunk it up. I prefer carrying things hands free - around my hips or waist - as it puts less strain on my back and neck (home to all my stress and anxiety and have never been the same since a car accident, many years ago).
In the past I have bought cargo pants to cut up and make the pocket belt but, alas, I never had the courage to destroy a perfectly good pair of comfy pants.
1 ripped cargo pantsUntil now.
Well, they made the decision for me. My favourite cargo pants finally died; caught on something and ripped along the seam. Perfect opportunity for a new steampunk accessory just in time for the Time Travellers' Picnic today.
How it was made:
1. cut away everything except the waistband and pockets. To make them look less like saddle bags, I cut it unevenly. The second back pocket was repositioned to fill in the space between one of the front and back pockets. Leave a few centimetres 'hem' to turn over and pin.
(Tip: The transferred pocket overlapped the front pocket - don't forget to hand sew this so it does not go through all the layers of the existing pocket and close it up.)
2 cut cargos
2. These were summer weight cargo pants, so I cut out a lining of linen to stiffen the belt. Fold over the seam, pin to back and sew it down.
3 lining to stiffen 4 pinning lining 5 sewing
3. This is the fun bit. Decorating.
I pulled out my boxes of cogs, buttons and bits and bobs - many from Spotlight (I buy many on the half-price sales) or garage sales. I replaced the existing pocket buttons with something more steampunk-ish. Position them and sew them on. I used cubed beads to hold many of the cogs in place
6 decorating with stash bits 7 sewing on cogs and replacing buttons 8b small pocket 8c large pockets
4.  I edged the belt with braid to hide the stitching, to dress it up and stiffen those edges so they sat flat. The braid was the only specific purchase for this project. I had only black braid left in my stash - too much contrast for this project. I finished off the last roll they had in store - with only 6 centimetres left after I was finished! (phew).
9 adding braid to hide edges 9b adding braid to hide edges
The finished product, ready for the Time Travellers' Picnic later today, complete with an octopus - of course!
10 finished belt

Sunday, December 6, 2015

NaNoWriMo Wrap Up: Viola's Second Journal Unfolds.

original post:  http://karencarlisle.purplefiles.net/2015/12/06/nanowrimo-wrap-up-violas-second-journal-unfolds/

A few years ago, when I first decided to tackle a writing career, my dear hubby bought me a t-shirt. Emblazoned across its perfect purpleness was the word: WRITER. It was modeled on the 'Writer' flack jacket worn by Nathan Fillion in the television series Castle. Being a Castle (and Nathan FIllion) fan, I was stoked. And, even better, my hubby supported my writing! Perfect.writer T
(Did I mention the t-shirt was actually a Valentine's day present?)
Monday was the last day of NaNoWriMo. I had yet to reach the half-way mark of the challenge. I donned my WRITER t-shirt. I was determined to make last ditch effort to increase my word count - no matter whether I officially 'won' or not. And that is what the challenge was really about. NaNo is not just about aiming for a high, sometimes impossible, word count (I really only had 19 days of writing time this month due to ill-health, family commitments and an opportunity to sell books and meet readers). It is about getting off my butt (well, when at my standing desk at least), putting pen to paper and getting down that first draft.
If I have an empty page, I have nothing to edit.
Looking back, I may have only achieved just under 20,000 words this round of NaNo  - but I have more than half the first draft of my novella, Eye of the Beholder. I have rough plots for the accompanying short stories. Viola is set for some interesting adventures. Eye of the Beholder has a plot, a determined heroine, a scheming protagonist and a loyal friend. It has mummies and curses, and the threat of the Asylum hovering over our characters.
nanowrimo Nov 2015
Here's a hint of last month's work.
Our story opens...
(c) 2015 Karen J Carlisle
The grinding of the gate set Professor Clarke’s teeth on edge. The iron bars rattled as it slammed shut and encased them in gloom. Far off cries and screechings echoed through the empty hallway.
Keys chinked at the Warden’s hip as they trudged further into the bowels of Bedlam, leaving the sane world behind them. The stench of sweat and urine gripped/tugged/ clawed at his nostrils as they passed heavily bound doors with large locks and small barred windows.
Intermittent moaning, clawing, hissing greeted them. Thuds rattled the hinges to herald their passing.
The way ahead was barred and locked. The Warden paused.
Clarke’s hands trembled. He had not set foot in Bedlam since...
He clenched his fingers and straightened his shoulders. It was louder than he remembered.
“Are you certain?” asked the Warden.
Clarke closed his eyes and relaxed his fingers. He was a man of science, of facts. He opened his eyes and nodded.
Beyond the portal lay rows of barred cells, each with its own litany of fetors, spectacles and disquiet. Clarke stared at the back of the Warden’s head. It bobbed along the corridor then turned and jerked toward one of the cells.
(This is a first draft and subject to rewrites, edits and re-ordering).
For more updates on Eye of the Beholder or The Department of Curioisties, follow me on Twitter:@kjcarlisle or Facbook:Karen J Carlisle.