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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dissecting NaNoWriMo.

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/30/dissecting-nanowrimo/

Well, that's pencils down for this year's Camp NaNoWriMo. I barely managed a scratch in my original word goal of twenty thousand. That was in March - a whole month before picking up the pen. A lot has happened since then.
End of March was looking dodgy. Summer had lingered, bringing with it more dust and the first hints of resulting health issues: sinus infection, followed by laryngitis and the first bout of bronchitis for the season. I reviewed my word goal to seven thousand words.
I soldiered through Oz Comic Con with puffer in hand. There was still hope for Camp NaNo yet.
Unfortunately the bronchitis returned. New antibiotics were engaged in the fight. I lost, finding a new meaning of side-effect-pain. (There's another antibiotic I will have to avoid.) Yep, allergies suck. Big time. Another fortnight passed, with not a word falling onto the page. Another doctor's visit. This time gastro (something about reduced immune system from almost four weeks of bronchitis).
Enough of the excuses. In the four weeks of NaNoWriMo, I managed barely 2500 words. Some would call that failure. I almost did. Until I looked back over the month: two months ill, reactions to medication, a panic attack. What had I accomplished?
When I can't write, I organise and research. I scrutinised the pile of papers beside me - collated notes (from several notebooks and boxes) relating to my planned stories. I'd highlighted and labelled them, sorted them in order. I'd managed some bleary-brained research, shoring up some background plots and uncovering some interesting tit bits for later use.
On the last day of NaNo, I finally feel (almost) human, pencil ready to go. Watch me write like the wind!
(Here are some fun research tit bits:
Did you know that Arthur Conan Doyle was in a writer-cricket team with HG ("Bertie") Wells (whose dad was a first class cricketer)? The team, Allahakbarries, was founded in 1890. They were also part of a literary group who met in Arundel Street (near the Strand) for eating, drinking, and smoking. HG Wells published his story, The Chronic Argonaut (a hint of his story to come - The Time Machine), in The Science School Journal in 1886-7.)

Friday, April 28, 2017

More Videos from Steampunk 30th

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/28/more-videos-from-steampunk-30th/

Lynne Lumsden Green's video on Steampunk Gadgets is now live.

And here's the compilation video for those who want the edited version (with links to the full videos)

Thanks to Lynne for agreeing to her videos being hosted on my youTube channel. You can find Lynne at:

Photo (and Video) Friday: Celebrating 30 Years of (official) Steampunk

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/28/photo-and-video-friday-celebrating-30-years-of-official-steampunk/

Thought I'd share some photos and videos from the Celebrating 30 Years of (official) Steampunk event from last week.  We discussed the definition of steampunk, chatted about costumes, events and music..
We talked recycling and upcycling and opshopping...
I showed off another sonic screwdriver...
and we did some did some surveys:
Had some live videos...
I did a talk On Steampunk - what I love, costuming, writing and history... and what if?

and Lynne's did a talk on Australian Steampunk Writers (and cosplay and writing).

I'll be posting two more videos from the day on my youTube channel. Thanks to everyone who participated. Thanks for sharing your stories and photos.
Here's a list of the steampunk forum/webpages compiled on the day:
  1. Steampunk Dominion (refugees from Steampunk Empire)
    http://thesteampunkdominion.ning.com / https://www.facebook.com/groups/1276453745780039
  2. Steampunk Writers and Artists Guild.(SWG) http://steampunkwriters.ning.com/
  3. Steampunk Writer’s Library
  4. Steampunk South Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/386014630031/
  5. Reddit Steampunk https://www.reddit.com/r/steampunk/
  6. Brass Goggles http://brassgoggles.co.uk/
  7. Steampunk Sunday Queensland Australia https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkSunday/
  8. Steampunk Tendencies https://www.facebook.com/SteampunkTendencies
  9. Queensland – steampunk events Steampunk Affaires https://www.facebook.com/groups/1673295336234933/
  10. The Talk of Punk Fiction: https://www.writing.com/.../2117337-The-Talk-of-Punk-Fiction
  11. Rail Baron https://therailbaron.wordpress.com/
  12. Ged Maybury: https://steamedup.wordpress.com/
  13. Steampunk Scholar: http://steampunkscholar.blogspot.com.au/
  14. Travelers steampunk blog http://daily-steampunk.com/steampunk-blog/
  15. Airship Ambassador http://www.airshipambassador.com/
  16. Beyond Victoriana https://beyondvictoriana.com/
  17. Steampunk India: http://www.steampunkindia.com/
  18. French Steampunk https://www.facebook.com/frenchsteampunk
  19. German Steampunk site: http://clockworker.de/cw/page/2/
  20. Steampunk Canada: http://www.steampunkcanada.ca/
  21. Steampunk Worlds Fair http://steampunkworldsfair.com/blogs/
If you have a favourite steampunk forum or webpage, please let us know in the comments.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

On Spoons, Steampunk and Socialising

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/23/on-spoons-steampunk-and-socialising/

The alarm went off twice this morning. Well, I think it was twice. Maybe it was three? I cracked open an eye and cringed back into the sheets away from the sunlight streaming through the curtains. The alarm blared once more. My hand slapped the off button. I groaned and dragged myself out of bed.
I'm really not a morning person, especially after draining several days worth of spoons with an all day event. (The spoon theory is an effective way of describing how chronic illness or disability affects life. If you're not familiar with the theory, you can find out all about it here.) Friday's 13-hour celebrations for steampunk's 30th (naming) anniversary left me depleted. It was a long (but fun) day.
Socialising takes a lot of effort for me. It's exhausting. It's not you. It's me. In public, I spend most of the time trying to fight the urge to run away and hide. Anxiety does that. I usually organise my social events carefully, with a few days after to recover those precious spoons.
Fortunately it was an online event and it was celebrating something I love: steampunk. (Otherwise I would've been a gibbering mess if I'd spent all thirteen hours face-to-face with so many people without a break.) Large crowds, particularly in shopping centres with their cacophony of noises, crush me.
This got me thinking. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do conventions? Why do I do talks...? Why do I walk out the door at all?
There's a stereotype: the starving writer (that's a whole other blog post just there) scribbling away in a lonely garret - alone, with only the artistic muse for company - locked in the struggle to create the perfect prose.  But, despite this romantic (Victorian) vision, writers need company too. I need company too. I need to experience life, not just write about it.
So why do I keep pushing myself to attend events - social or professional?
Because, deep down, I like people. I love conversations where I suddenly realise the sun is rising and we've been chatting all night. I love talking writing, science, art, Doctor Who, steampunk. I'm fine one-on-one or in a small group. Where I feel safe.
On a bad day, I push myself to do online socialising. I can cringe in the corner while I type supposedly confident words - and no one can see my fear. But I'm still engaging with the world.
A couple of years ago I found an online steampunk forum, The Steampunk Empire. Tucked away in a corner was a writers group, The Scribblers Den - a band of steampunk writers spanning the globe. We chatted about writing, steampunk (lots of steampunk), events, shared pictures and stories. I felt comfortable there.
Unfortunately, as online entities often do, it disappeared. Some of us had seen the cracks. Some of us lived in denial. On a, soon-to-be bleak, day in March I logged onto the forum and - horror of horrors - my beloved Scribblers Den had dissolved into the aether!
But, never fear, my dear Reader, we had a plan (albeit a very vague one). Soon the Refugees of Steampunk Empire assembled on Facebook. We lamented, explored a few new enclaves and finally found a new home; the Steampunk Dominion was formed. My dear Scribblers' Den had returned from exile! (Thank you to the intrepid pilgrims - especially Lee and William - who founded our new realm.) I could once again frolic in steampunky goodness and forget about my anxieties.
You can now find fellow steampunks on The Steampunk Dominion's webpage and forum, or on Facebook group - The Steampunk Dominion (our bolt hole in case of future host demises).

Friday, April 21, 2017

And the Winner Is...

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/21/and-the-winner-is-2/

Congratulations to the winner of the Celebrating 30 years of Steampunk eBook Competition:

Nicole Gillete,

The flying monkeys are now delivering instructions on collecting your free eBooks.

Photo Friday: A Good Yarn

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/21/photo-friday-a-good-yarn/

The weather is cooling (and I can breathe again). It's time to start crocheting another set of octoscarves. (I sold my last one at Oz Comic Con.) Randomly picked - green first. Of course, it is a must to wear the appropriate t-shirt...
My phone fell out of my new bag (not putting it in that section again) and cracked. It was a tense Easter long weekend, hoping it was the new-beaut glass like screen protector (always had the plasticy ones before). Went to the local phone store. Huzzah! It was just the protector. Back to the cheapy screen cover for me (they bounce better).
There's been much talk about the Labyrinth sequel touted as being in pre-production (as long as it is NOT a remake/reboot or whatever. You can't improve on David Bowie.) Family time this week: played the Labyrinth board game. (We beat Jareth!)
Today, I'm attempting my first live video post on my FB event celebrating steampunk (if I can wangle the tech). Wish me luck. Lynne will be talking about Australian steampunk authors (at around 10.30am Central Australian Standard Time) and I'll be doing my bit at 2.00pm.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Steampunk 30th Anniversary (and a giveaway!)

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/16/steampunk-30th-anniversary-and-a-giveaway/

This April, it's official; steampunk celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of its naming day. It was in 1987 that the term steampunk was used by KW Jeter in a note to the Locus magazine, for their April edition.
"Dear Locus,
Enclosed is a copy of my 1979 novel Morlock Night; I'd appreciate your being so good as to route it Faren Miller, as it's a prime piece of evidence in the great debate as to who in "the Powers/Blaylock/Jeter fantasy triumvirate" was writing in the "gonzo-historical manner" first. Though of course, I did find her review in the March Locus to be quite flattering.
Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like 'steam-punks', perhaps."
—K.W. Jeter
Of course steampunk had been around much longer - emerging in written and visual form, such as:
  • Morlock Night  (KW Jeter, 1979)
  • The Anubis Gates (Tim Powers, 1983)
  • Homunculus  (James Blaylock, 1986)
  • Infernal Devices: A Mad Victorian Fantasy  (KW Jeter, 1987)
And earlier still: Michael Moorcock wrote stories with steampunk elements, enshrining the airship in the, as yet unnamed, genre. His stories were alternate histories, not necessarily set in the Victorian era.
  • Warlord of the Air (1971)
  • The Land Leviathan (1974)
  • The Steel Tsar  (1982)
Television tinkered with steampunk as early as 1965, with the Wild, Wild West television series (starting on my birthday. Oh, it was meant to be!) and later with QED, set in Edwardian London. Since then many series, including Castle, CSI:New York and NCIS:LA, have flirted with steampunk (with varying results). More recently we've had Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and Murdoch Mysteries.
Pre-1987 movies include 1958's The World of Jules VerneTime After Time (1979) and others.
Since 1987, the list of steampunk works has been growing. (I've previously listed some works, articles and groups HERE) You can also find a list of steampunk works on wikipedia.
Many groups are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary:
I'll be celebrating by reading, watching steampunk movies and tv show DVDs, meeting up with my writers' group for tea and bikkies. Come join me and Lynne, from Steampunk Sunday, Queensland Australia, on the 21st April for a Facebook event: Celebrating 30 years of (official) steampunk.
To add to the celebrations, I'm hosting a giveaway, starting today!

Steampunk 30th Anniversary Giveaway

You can win an eBook copy of each of Viola Stewart's adventures (four eBooks in total), currently available via Smashwords and Amazon:
  • Three Short Stories
  • Doctor Jack
  • Three More Short Stories
  • Eye of the Beholder.
How to enter: Sign up for my newsletter/email list by 11.59pm, 19th April (Australian CST). The winner will be randomly selected.

Subscribe to mailing list for your chance to win:

* indicates required


The winner will be announced in Tea & Tidings newsletter and on this blog on Friday 21st April. So watch this space!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Photo Friday: Written Words, A Bit of Fun and Moving Pictures

original post: http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/14/photo-friday-written-words-a-bit-of-fun-and-moving-pictures/

Adding to the library: First my latest haul from the local library. They have a wall shelf of books they have de-listed - for only $1 each. Adding my collections of Nancy Drew, Buffy archives and a book of dicourses and articles on cyborg and cyberpunk (for the research library of course).
Shopping at the specials table at QBD: two more books for the research shelf. Incredible Elements has an updated periodic table (and history on the discovery of various elements).
Old and new: I have a lot of second hand reference books. I can't afford a new book every time, so I search out good condition pre-loved ones (especially if they are out of print). The Dickens Dictionary of London has contemporary descriptions of many everyday places and people. Squee! And I collected the latest Writing Magazine this week from my standing order at the newsagent.
A bit of fun: Last weekend we dropped in on the ABC Garden expo and collected a new set of 'support our ABC stickers'. Couldn't resist this poster. Do it; Retaliate! Tell our government to return funding to our ABC. Also saw a unique aerial safety end in a local shopping centre carpark.
Videos: And lastly, spend a few days grappling with a new video editing program (it will be amazing when I learn how to use it) - cropping, pulling out the narration from garbled background noise and condensing video of our recent writers' talk at Adelaide Oz Comic Con. Thanks to Matt J Pike for the title graphics.

You can watch the talk on my youTube channel HERE.

And finally, my Oz Comic Con video is live.

Photos and video ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

TARDIS Corset/Skirt Diary

original post:  http://karenjcarlisle.com/2017/04/09/tardis-corset-diary/

It is done.
After years (and years) of talking about it, I finally pulled my finger out and made it: my TARDIS corset.
As many of you know, I am a big Doctor Who fan and have been regularly watching it since Jon Pertwee days (and irregularly before that). A few years back friend (and fellow writer), George Ivanoff unveiled his TARDIS jacket (made by his dear wife). I was a tad jealous. Now I have my own TARDIS corset (and skirt). And this is how I made it.
  1. Pin and cut out pattern on material, and also cut the corset pieces from cotton duck (two layers to sandwich the boning later). Sew the pieces together. (Left side blue pieces together/ left double layer of cotton duck together/ right side blue pieces together/ right double layer of cotton duck together. So you have four separate pieces at the end of this step.)
  2. Pin one side of material to duck layers (right sides together) and sew in the busk (this was an 8 inch one). Size will vary depending on how long the front of your corset is.
  3. Turn right way out. Add other side of busk. (You will need to use an awl to make holes in the material to push the 'lugs' through.)
  4. I added twill tape along the waist. This will help reduce the pull on the corset when laced up. Next I sewed the boning channels in the two layers of duck. A zipper foot is ideal for this. 
  5. Now for the pretty decoration. I made windows from white cotton and hand stitch ribbon to create window panes.
  6. I bought the police box sign from Fandom Fabric's etsy store. (You can also get versions from Spoonflower). I used HeatnBond Ultrahold (double sided iron-on - from Spotlight) to fuse the windows and police box sign to the material, then hand sewed each item in place.
  7. To make bias - cut 5cm wide strips on the diagonal of the material. Use iron and this neat little gadget to create the bias.
  8. The bias was pinned on the front edges - top and bottom - then machine-sewed, folded over to the back of the corset and hand stitched in place.
  9.  Mark up the lacing holes (approx 1.5 inches apart), with the two at the waist closer together to allow for the lacing loops.  I make the holes with an awl to minimise thread breakage, keeping maximum structural integrity. I use larger grommets. I wear my corsets at costume, steampunk events and conventions; the larger grommets have outlasted smaller versions (for me). I bought the grommets and tool from Farthingale's corset supplies.
  10. I needed 5m of corset lacing for this under the bust version. I use 8m for full length corsets. Tie a knot in the middle of the length, crimp on a metal aglet or handsew the ends to form one. The knot is at the centre (between two top eyelets). Lace to the bottom and tie off lacing. Pull a loop out at the two (closer) waist eyelets. These loops are used to pull the lacing tight, then is tied and tucked under the corset.
  11. The finished corset:
  12. For the skirt, I purchased one yard of 'Police Box' print from Spoonflower (ID:767279) There are many versions. I cut every second line of print (to allow enough fold over) and created a 'non-bias' strip using the bias making gadget.
  13. I pinned and sewed the strip along the bottom of the skirt (after hemming).
And here is the final outfit, complete with purple Docs - one happy Doctor Who fan!
[A big thanks to Lynne Cook (President Australian Costumers' Guild) who helped with the fitting of the toile for the pattern for this corset.]
photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle and ©2017 D Carlisle. All rights reserved.