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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Speaking: Exploring Steampunk

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/24/speaking-exploring-steampunk/

Next month is South Australia's History Festival.  And I'm excited. I'm addicted to history.  You may recall, Dear Reader, my posts on procrasti-research and disappearing down the 'research the rabbit hole.' (Not that I didn't enjoy that. I did. Way too much!) I've learned so much since I started writing full time. And now I get a full month of lectures, walks, workshops and trails to choose from. There are so many I would love to attend (and still get my writing done). My head hurts!
Most of all there is an entire weekend dedicated to costume in Dressing Up (May7-8th).
pisa dress 2008 JA tribute costume colloqium FlorenceA big part of my costuming (other than Doctor Who) has been historical re-enactment. First I discovered medieval and renaissance costume recreation. I joined the Society for Creative Anachronism in 1994. I delved into research and concentrated on the fashion, historical patterning and sewing techniques of the Medicis in the 16th century -  a fusion of costume and archaeology! Two of my favourite subjects. I was fortunate to attend the Janet Arnold Tribute Costume Colloquium in Florence, 2008. And discussed Medici costumes with the conservators at the time. I was in heaven!
By this time I had also discovered steampunk. I now had the opportunity to research Victorian fashion and sewing techniques and I could entertain thoughts of science fiction and fantasy as well. I wasn't restricted to merely recreating historically accurate attire; I could let my imagination run riot with alternative history and let my inner-writer out to play.
I was almost complete: Research, history, archeaology and speculative costuming. (Just add writing.)

Exploring Steampunk

Last month I was contacted by History SA, wondering if I would be able to do a talk on steampunk and steampunk costuming - with a view to expanding the event from strictly historical costuming and artforms and looking at other forms of costuming and art influenced by history. Steampunk was perfect!
Join me for Exploring Steampunk -  A talk on the origins of steampunk, the creative movement re-imagining an alternate history and tips on how to create your own steampunk look.  Held on Sunday 8th May at 10.15am at the Drill Hall, Torrens Parade Ground, Victoria Drive, Adelaide.
Exploring Steampunk1500x500
Click here to download the pdf flyer: Exploring Steampunk PC

But wait. There's more.

Other Dressing Up events include When Smalls Were Large (an historical underwear workshop), a Victorian fashion parade, talks on the clothing trade, swimwear and military fashion. You can even ask the experts. The conservators from Artlab Australia will be available to advise you on textile or costume items you bring along.
I have already booked for Captured on Tin, to have my portrait taken in tin type, a historic photography technique recreated by artist, Andrew Dearman.  (Viola Stewart would be freaking out right now. I know I am!) You will need to book if you are interested in participating.
Other events are planned throughout South Australia. May is jam-packed full of amazing and informative events including:
  • events at the SA Maritime Museum, the National Motor Museum, the Migration Museum
  • a series of musical events such as An Afternoon of Dance and Displayed Costumes, Adelaide Heritage Walks: Music in the City, and Music for Grand Organ: Vibrant Vintage Victoriana 
  • heritage walks and looks inside our building heritage: Carclew Open House, Adelaide Heritage Walks: Glenside Hospital and Historic Pubs of Kapunda.
  • and a series of public lectures.
To top it all off: May also incorporates National Archeology week (15th - 21st). Costuming, historical photography and archeaology. Oh my!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Photo Friday: Interview with a Writer

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/22/photo-friday-interview-with-a-writer/

Last week was a whirl wind. A letter was sent out, not expecting any reply - then, in the space of two days I'd had my first newspaper interview and photo shoot. This week's photos are a record of the interview, including behind the scenes.
On the day: I usually prefer to be behind the camera (it's one of the reasons I took up photography at school). So I snapped this picture while our chirpy photographer, Matt, was busy setting up a shot and keeping us all relaxed.
photoshoot for Leader Messenger interview for Spec Fic Chic 160415
He liked it so much, he asked for a copy for his scrapbook.
We had expected the article to be published next week but, lo it came to pass that the Leader Messenger pulled a 'swifty' and sneaked this into this week's local paper.   You can also read the article online.
messenger article20 apri 2016 interview 1st paper articlePhotos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle and ©2016 Matt Loxton

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Flash Fiction Challenge: Boys and Bones

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/17/flash-fiction-challenge-boys-and-bones/

Sorry this was late. I had to wait for a long enough window in my provider's updates today.

Chuck Wendig has an entertaining and informative blog, Terribleminds. Now and then he presents flash fiction challenges. (Here's one I did last year: Curiosity...) Usually I miss the post until the stated challenge deadline. Not this time. This week's challenge was: Pick a title from the list of twenty randomly created titles. Write a flash fiction story (about 1000 words).
My randomly chosen title was #2: Boys and Bones. Here it is – flash fiction in a day.
Boys and Bones
©2016 Karen J Carlisle
“It’s not fair!” Florence thrust her hands on her hips and glared at her father.
Thaddeus Blake, normally an imposing man, crumpled into his chair and reached for the bottle of sherry. He poured himself a large drink and took a swig.
“No, it’s not,” he said.
Florence opened her mouth and blinked. She had expected an argument, raised voices at least.
“It’s not fair poor Mary’s died of Typhus. It’s not fair her children will likely end up in the poor house. It’s not fair I have no sons to take over the business. And I need a spotter.” He poured more sherry and swirled it slowly in the glass. “I’d hoped you would have married by now. But you refused –”
“A store clerk or a butcher?” She narrowed her eyelids.
The glass clunked on the table.
“Would you rather the rat catcher? There’s not many’d have you if they knew where the money came from, girl. And, if it’s to continue, I need a spotter. I need someone I can trust.”
A spotter, indeed!
“Really, father. Mother would roll over in her grave.” Florence pursed her lips.
Thaddeus raised an eyebrow. “At least she’s still safely in the ground.” He rose slowly, his gaze fixed on the floor
Florence’s heart sank. Her hands fell from her hips. She knew it pained him to talk about her mother.
“Father, I’m sorry.” She rushed to his side and slipped an arm around his waist. “I’ll be spotter.”
His muscles relaxed.
“But I’ll need a new dress.”

The veil fluttered around Florence’s cheeks and fluttered against her neck. She dabbed at her eye with her handkerchief with a black-gloved hand and sniffed.
Not too much. You don’t want to attract too much attention.
She scanned the graveyard. Three burials today. This was the last.
The shovel slapped against the mound of earth.
Florence smiled.
Metal scraped against a tombstone behind her. Two men dragged a long iron cage toward the grave. It fell with a clatter. They collected heavy mallets and pounded the cage deeper into the earth.
Florence sighed, mopped her eye. She drifted back amongst the long shadows of the gravestones and passed the guard on the second internment. Father would be waiting.

Shadows widened and flooded the graveyard as the moon dipped behind the church. A cool breeze whistled between the headstones. It tugged at Florence’s charcoal woollen dress. She pulled her shawl over her forehead and wrapped it tighter. She raised her finger and pointed toward the side of the graveyard.
“Over there,” Florence whispered.
Thaddeus grinned and swung a coil of rope over his shoulder. Flecks of soil sprinkled to the ground.
“Any guards?” he asked.
“Just the one,” she replied. “On the other side of the church.”
“Right then we’d better be quick. Come on, Skinner.” Thaddeus signalled for his partner. A bearded man stepped out from the shadows and nodded.
Florence led the men through the maze of stones to a rectangular mound of earth cleared amongst the spreading ivy.
“Usual direction?” asked Thaddeus.
Florence nodded.
Skinner paced out several steps from one end of the mound. He peeled a section of ivy from the ground, grabbed his wooden shovel and thrust it into the soil with a dull thud.
“Go, Florence. Keep watch for that guard.” Thaddeus unfurled the rope and loosened the noose.
Florence picked her way back toward the church and hid behind the trunk of an oak. She could just make out the vague outline of the guard’s shadow as he paced the grave.
Was this to be her life now? A spotter for a resurrection man. What was she to tell any curious suitors? Her heartbeat faltered a beat. She caught her breath. There’d be none if word got out.
Gravel crunched on the path. Florence ducked her head back into the shadow and peered into the darkness.
A small flame bobbed closer casting a long shadow behind it.
Florence’s muscles twitched.
The pool of light crept closer. She pressed her body against the trunk. If she moved, she'd be seen.
I must warn Father!
She pursed her lips and held her breath.
The light washed over the gravestone in front of the oak.
Too close. A noise may be investigated.
Florence peeked around the trunk. A tall figure trudged past, his face illuminated by the oil lamp. He was young – not much older than she – and . . .
The youth trudged on.
Florence’s heart fluttered. She choked in another breath. She struggled to stay silent as her lungs expelled the air.
The guard straightened and removed his cap, when the youth neared the grave.
“All’s quiet, Mr Langdon,” said the guard.
Langdon. Florence licked her lips. Mrs Florence Langdon? Her cheeks burned.
Langdon stood; head bowed, for several minutes, and then spoke:
“I’ll return tomorrow night.”
Florence’s heart pounded. Tomorrow night.
Langdon pressed something into the guard’s hand and returned along the path. Florence leaned into the trunk, hoping for another glimpse in the lamplight. It was not to be. The lantern was held low as her quarry marched from the churchyard.
A muffled thud landed behind her.
Florence spun toward the sound.
Thaddeus and Skinner padded closer, carrying a man-sized bundle on their shoulders. Florence glanced in the direction of the guard. He had returned to his pacing, seemingly oblivious to the noise. Florence’s muscles relaxed.
“You took your time, father.” She pulled the shawl closer, trying to hide her red cheeks.
“The ground is getting harder to dig,” whispered Thaddeus. “We’ll need a few more before winter.”
“Then I’d better do more spotting tomorrow,” said Florence with a smile.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Photo Friday:A Cacophony of Costumes!

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/15/photo-fridaya-cacophony-of-costumes/

This weeks Photo Friday is a compilation of some of the amazing costuming talent we have here in Adelaide, seen at last weekend's Oz Comic Con.
  Doctor1_copyright2016KarenCarlisle DaveAnne_copyright2016KarenCarlisle
  fabriceSP_copyright2016KarenCarlisle judges2_copyright2016KarenCarlisle
I loved the detail of Samwise costume
My favourite costume of the day was Matt - cosplayed by Matthew (who used to radar station - really!)MattcosplayingMatt_copyright2016KarenCarlisle
And finally - the photos I enjoy the most - Mike from Fire Bear Armoury and a dalek - made by the Dalek Builders.
   firebear_copyright2016KarenCarlisle dalekhandshake_copyright2016KarenCarlisle
All photos Photos: (c) 2016 Karen Carlisle
All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

On The Trials of Convention Costuming

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/10/on-the-trials-of-convention-costuming/

It is convention season again. Time to rummage through the costume cupboard to rejuvenate and re-accessorise a costume.
It's the usual story: I was going to make a new costume for Oz Comic Con.
I even made a new casual steampunk skirt back in December. I had intended to make a matching under-the-bust corset. Hmm. That is still in progress - I need to finish re-fitting the pattern.
February arrived. I was contemplating a booth in the Artists' Alley at OCC. Much research occurred. Things happened. Costs were a bit beyond my reach this year. I may apply again in 2017 - I should have three books by then (if all goes well). This may prove more viable, cost-wise.
Bang goes another month of sewing.
March: Personal and health issues caused me to drag my feet and get woefully behind in my writing schedule. I pulled a four day marathon to finish a short story, All That Glitters, to submit to an upcoming steampunk anthology. Cue days of recovering and pain killers. I really, really (really) should take more breaks.
Another month lost to possible costuming.
This month is Camp NaNoWriMo. Thank goodness! I've almost completed another short Viola Stewart adventure and am closing in on my deadline. I've admitted to myself: I will not have an entirely new costume for Oz Comic Con.
But I am content with my decision. You, dear Reader, are important to me. I will push harder to complete Viola's next journal, Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales, some time in June-July.
riding top hatcontrastI did buy a new hat.
It's not too short. Not too tall. It had to be just right.
Some places call it a coachman's hat, others a riding hat. I bought it from Adelaide Hatters, for my first Adelaide Fringe event opening. It is my new favourite and accompanied me to OCC. (I do have a very spiffy top hat but it is too heavy; wearing it all day gives me a headache. )
It served me well yesterday.
For those who did not make it to Adelaide Oz Comic Con this yesterday, here is my final outfit:
A quick rundown on the outfit:
  • OCC2016NAILSSkirt made from polycotton found on sale at Spotlight (AU$4/m)
  • Vintage, purchased from past Vintage Fair in Adelaide
  • Hose:
  • Riding Hat; Australian made tophat, purchased from Adelaide Hatters. (adjusted for height, by their milliner)
  • Blouse: found in local opshop
  • Corset: custom made (a few years ago now) by Terry (Dragon’s Blood Creations)
  • boots - found at local Salvos (originally for Bellatrix LaStrange). I love these boots. I really need to find a leather pair - or have another pair made for me.
Photos (c) 2016 Karen Carlisle / 2016 D Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Photo Friday: An Ancient Devon Rex

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/08/photo-friday-an-ancient-devon-rex/

I never thought I was a cat person. After long deliberation, I think I am a specific cat person. Not just any cat will do. And, like my human relationships, it takes a long time to deal with endings.
Yesterday marked one year after the loss of my dear Tisha. She was twenty-two years old. That is a magnificent feat for a pedigree Devon Rex. We were told their average lifespan was less than the hearty moggies - ten to fifteen was a good trot. At fifteen, Tisha still looked like a kitten.
I shouldn't have been surprised. Tisha (short for Morticia - as in Addams) , came from a good breeder. Her pedigree papers sported a blood line that included Vlad, Gollum and The Prince of Darkness himself. She was a sneaky scallywag, Queen of all she surveyed. She stood tall, like an Egyptian god when not stealing sausages from the gas griller (and never once got burned).
Our vet said she was obviously a well-loved, healthy geriatric cat. They fawned over her when she had her yearly visit. By twenty, she had three-monthly visits, to help ease her arthritis.
On Easter Monday, 2015 she went blind. She couldn't walk. It was sudden. Possibly a stroke. The two days before, Tisha had been huggy - always at our side, in our laps. We braced ourselves. On the Tuesday we visited our vet. They cried with us.
I'm still cry.
Vale Tisha.
2014 hug 2014 book  
2015 sleep 2015
One last photo. Easter, 2015:2015 family
Photos: (c) 2012 - 2016 Karen Carlisle/ (c) 2015 D Carisle.
All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

It's Camp NaNoWriMo Time!

original post:  http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/03/its-camp-nanowrimo-time/

Regular readers will know I use NaNoWriMo as one of my procrastination busters. It provides a clear goal - with a set word count time and a time limit.  Most importantly it is a public pledge/announcement of my intentions. It's the public bit that spurs me on. It's like a promise: If I don't at least attempt to make my goal you will know. If I fail, I've broken that promise.
Traditionally NaNoWriMo is held over November - thirty days to aim for 50,000 words. It is a big undertaking. One I have not made yet (though I have managed to reach my personal best of over 27,000 words).
Camp NaNoWriMo is a more relaxed affair. You choose your own word limit, even revision of previously written work. My best was 33,792 in April last year. This gave me the boost to complete Doctor Jack & Other Tales. This year is my final push to complete Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales. This year my cabin partner is one of my writing group friends, Gemma.
CNaNo1604 day2
What it means for you:
As a writer: If you are a writer and haven't tried NaNo, then give it a go. It could be the boost, the procrastination buster, the push you need. You may meet some kindred spirits. (You can join a 'cabin' - a group of writers who support and spur each other on.) Camp NaNo is a good place to start. You choose your commitment level. You can start low or aim for the skies. Just roll with it. Have fun.
But it's not for everyone. You either work well to deadlines or you don't. I hate to fail (which is a failing in itself), so Camp NaNo monopolises on that strength (or it is weakness). I pick a stretch goal (20,000 this time, as it's already been a tough year emotionally and this should finish off my set project and start me on my next one). It is up to me to suck it up and do the work.
As a reader: What I hear most from my readers is 'when is the next Viola book coming out?' Camp NaNoWriMo is my final push. I finish that book. It gets published. You get to read it. Kicking me in the butt gets you more adventures with your favourite characters and you get to meet new characters. Simple really.
Here is your chance to see how Viola is faring. I’ll post occasional updates here but if you want to follow my daily progress first hand, you can find me here.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Photo Friday: A Bit of Fun

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2016/04/01/photo-friday-a-bit-of-fun/

Since it's April Fool's Day, I thought I'd share some silliness with you - you know, the silly things you do when you discover a few new photo apps. Oh, the wonders of digital photography!
  moustachemug_copyright2016KarenCarlisle mylibrary_copyrightKarenCarlisle
  buffyBuff_copyright2016KarenCarlisle  Shattered_copyright2015KarenCarisle  garden_copyright2016KarenCarlislewriting_copyright2016KarenCarlisle
All photos © 2015, 2016 Karen Carlisle.
All rights reserved.