Photo Friday: Steampunk Festival and Book Launches

Pre-book Launch and Talk:

On 11th September I did a talk on Steampunk and Self-publishing in Australia for Adelaide's  Aus Sci Fi & Fantasy group. As a bonus, they got a preview of my new book, Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales, and the book trailer (you can view it on my post, Making a Book Trailer, or now on my YouTube channel). Thanks to Aus Sci Fi for asking me to attend.

talk-writers-2There was a steampunk costume competition. Veronica Gaunt won with her steampunk seamstress, complete with a sewing machine gun. groupcostumes_photo2016dcarlisle

 vanessa-winner_photo_copyright2016karencarlisle costume-sewingmachine-gun_venessa_photo_copyright2016_karencarlisle

Official Book Launch at Steampunk Festival:

I spent my birthday immersed in steampunk - art, costumes, music and splendorous company. Saturday was the official book launch of Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales. Thank you to the National Railways Museum for hosting the event.

Fortunately, my laryngitis and bronchitis cleared up enough for me to read an excerpt for those who attended. Thanks to my Dearheart for filming the event and helping me over the weekend, and to Helena Young who attended the book launch in her Cleopatra costume in which she cameo-ed in the book trailer.

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Our view of Steampunk Alley:


Everyone who bought a book went into a raffle for a Men in Grey mug. Congrats to the winner, Ben. ben-winner-of-mug__copyright2016karencarlisle

imageEye of the Beholder & Other Tales is the second book in the Viola Stewart adventures. Paperback available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Book Depository. The ebooks - Three More Shorts and Eye of the Beholder - are available via Amazon and Smashwords For those who live in Adelaide, I will be selling copies at the Halloween Con (October) and at Adelaide Supanova (November). You can find more information on both events HERE. Copies are also available from my eBay store or you can contact me if you live in Australia.

There were some fantastic costumes and photographic opportunities at the Steampunk Festival. Here are just a few: group2_copyright2016karencarlisle

ben_copyright2016karencarlisle davematt_copyright2016karencarlisle   helenaetal_copyright2016karencarlisle img_4395_copyright2016karencarlisle ironman2_copyright2016karencarlisle mariyevanterry2_copyright2016karencarlisle  joan2_copyright2016karencarlisle book_copyright2016karencarlisle mattgl_copyright2016karencarlisle empireband_copyright2016karencarlisle

Thanks to everyone who stopped by for a chat.  photo2016d-carisle

Video wrap up of the weekend:


Photo:©2016 Karen J Carlisle/ ©2016 D Carlisle/ © Robert Ralston (book launch reading). All Rights Reserved. If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

Could Henry Really Eat Chocolate Cake?

Here is that "I-was-going-to-do-a-post-on-Chocolate" post pipped from last week.

I've just finished the seemingly-endless rounds of rewrites and editing for Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales. Several episodes of ferreting down the rabbit hole ensued - fact checking, date of origin checking and following up on 'to do later' notations. All good. No problems.

Then my editor, Sharon, asked: "Would Henry really eat chocolate cake? Was it available in 1889?"

I froze. I know I fact checked it for the first book.

There is a running joke throughout both books about Viola's friend and police surgeon, Henry Collins', fondness for both chocolate and fruit cake. Originally, I wanted to use Red Velvet cake but the earliest recipe I could find was post 1900. The earliest recipe for Devil's Food cake, which used twice as much cocoa (4 ounces) as previous chocolate cakes, was published in 1900. Until then, most chocolate cakes used no more than two ounces of cocoa.

I knew this! But the first chocolate cake recipe? The date eluded me. I took a deep breath and pulled out my research notes. I know I had the information. Somewhere.

A Quick History of the Victorian Chocolate Cake.

The Production of Cocoa.

1764: Dr James Baker produces chocolate after grinding cocoa between two millstones. Cocoa was expensive - mainly due to the cost of processing.

1828: Conrad van Houten developed a process called Dutching - a mechanical method to extract the fat from cocoa liqueur, separating cocoa butter from the cocoa. The cocoa was sold as rock cocoa, which could be ground into powder. This was the first step to reducing the cost of cocoa.

1851: Chocolate was added to boiled sweets, caramels, chocolate creams and bonbons and showcased at the Prince Albert Expo in London.

1879: A new process, called 'conching', was developed by Rodolphe Lindt. This technique produced smoother chocolate which was easier to use in baking.

By the 1890s, chocolate was cheaper to produce. Chocolate desserts were common.

MrsBeeton_copyright2016KarenCarlisleBaking with Cocoa:

Most recipes in the late nineteenth century were for drinks. The first known chocolate cake recipe was not a 'real' chocolate cake, by modern standards. They were yellow or white cakes with chocolate icing.

1847: The first known recipe for chocolate cake was in an American recipe book, Eliza Leslie Lady's Receipt Book. Grated chocolate was added to the cake mix. Essentially, any cake with cocoa added, either into the cake mix or topped with chocolate icing, was known as a chocolate cake. Most were single layer cakes only.

1859: The introduction of baking powder into cake recipes produced lighter, less dense cakes.

1886: Sarah Tyson Rorers produced a recipe for cake, using two ounces of melted chocolate and baking powder.  It was expensive, so not readily available.

1894: The recipe for Chocolate cake No. 3 was published in Mrs Beeton's book.

1897: First recipe for chocolate brownies was published in the Sears and Roebuck's catalogue.

1900: Devil's Food cake used four ounces of chocolate in the recipe.

With a sigh of relief (I knew I'd checked it), I messaged my editor with the information: Chocolate cake was available, albeit not affordable by everyone, in 1886. So the answer to her question was:

Yes, Henry could have his cake - and he would definitely eat it too!


 Photos:©2016 Karen J Carlisle. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to use any of my images, please contact me.

  1. Brief History of Chocolate. Smithsonian.
  2. Eliza Leslie Ladies Recipt Book. (1847) Hathi Trust:;view=1up;seq=7
  3. Food Timeline:
  4. Food and Drink in American History: A "Full Course" Encyclopedia.
  5. History: Wikipedia Chocolate Cake.

  6. Mrs Rorer's Chocolate Cake: Revolutionary Pie.

  7. Royal Baker Pastry Cookbook (1888)

  8. Swiss Chocolate Pioneers in the 19th Century:

  9. Victorian London:

1889 sarah tyson rorer lady reciept book 1847 royal baker pastry cook book 1887

Photo Friday: New Covers and Events

It's all happening. My plan cannot fail - as long as file submissions go through without a hitch and parcels don't get lost in the mail (my first book had a two week holiday in Hawaii before the post finally decided to move along). Sigh. I celebrated finishing up my manuscript with sticky bun and tea. Then celebrated again (with my fantastic editor, Sharon) the next day. Chocolate cake, of course! _20160811_143833_20160811144146366   DSC_1445_20160818184719658 What is the plan? In the grand tradition of villian monologues, I shall spill it: the second Journal will be published as two separate eBooks and a paperback (complete)
  • eBook #1: The Adventures of Viola Stewart #3: Three More Short Stories published July 
  • eBook #2: The Adventures of Viola Stewart #4: Eye of the Beholder to be published late August
  • Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales: The Adventures of Viola Stewart Journal #2 pre-book launch 11th September, official book launch 17/18th September.
And here's the official cover reveal for Eye of the Beholder eBook (#4) - Mummies. Curses. Madness...? Cover 4d EYE OF BEHOLDER EbookSMALL2 And the cover for the paperback, Eye of the Beholder & Other Tales: The Adventures of Viola Stewart Journal #2: COVER Eye of Beholder flipped option 2 SM CENTERED TITLE   And some giveaway bookmarks: bookmarks_badges_copyright2016KarenCarlisle There's also a new event in my calendar: Halloween Comic Con. What better way to celebrate than with Jack the Ripper and cursed mummies? banner Halloween Comic con_990_350