Tag Archives: thinking

The Year That Was

It’s inevitable. With the end of each year, comes the long lists of achievements, the dissertations of regret,  the (sometimes even longer) and lists of resolutions for the upcoming year.
I promise I’ll stop this. I promise to do that. I promise…
I promise I won’t go on forever.


I have a few – mostly related to a desire to have spent more time with family, less time procrastinating instead of writing, not being rich enough to visit (or help bail out) friends and family interstate and overseas, wishing my health was better and I could wrangle my anxiety more efficiently.


This year we farewelled John Hurt (I will always remember him as the War Doctor), Carrie Fisher (It’s going to hurt when I finally get to see the new Star Wars movie)  and Bill Paxton (in so many of my ‘go to movies’, he almost felt like part of the family).

This both broke my heart and filled it up again:

Sometimes it’s harder to remember the good things (I think the bad seems to overwhelm us – living with anxiety can do that, particularly this year – but I  promised myself I wouldn’t get political in this post)…

I highly recommend creating your own ‘Thankful Jar’.  Though I’ve forgotten to add some things during the year, it still served it’s purpose. Spending the time, at the year’s close, unfolding each note and re-living the happy moments is worth the wait. Most of the best memories involve family, friends and unexpected kindness. To all those involved: thank you for making my year a better one.


This year was mainly consumed with writing.

Work completed:

I managed to publish my third book in time to sell at Supanova Adelaide. ‘The Illusioneer & Other Tales’ was also a significant milestone – the final in my first ever trilogy series. (available from Amazon, Book Depository, Bookworld, other online stores and direct sales from the author (me).) I also did the photography and cover design.

My short story, Mrs Hudson Investigates, was accepted into ‘Where’s Holmes’ anthology. This was published on 1st December and is available from Amazon and Book Depository. Hardback and eBook should be published in early 2018.

I’ve also submitted a dreadpunk/gaslamp short story to another anthology. (Wish me luck. I should find out early 2018).

Work in Progress:

I’ve almost completed the first draft of ‘The Department of Curiosities’ – a steampunk adventure with a heroine, mad scientists, traitors and secrets.  But I’ve been sidetracked with a new project (in a new genre – cosy paranormal mystery, set here in Adelaide). I’ve finished designing the cover and am working on internal artwork .

I attended some conventions and events:

This is a huge achievement for me. I get anxious each time I prepare for an event – braving the crowds and dealing with people is a constant battle between wanting to socialise and the urge to run away and hide in a blankie fort. Anxiety sucks!
It is exhausting, even when it is with the people I love, and takes me a few days to recover after each event. This year I attended:

  • Salisbury Secret Garden
  • Oz Comic Con (the final one in Adelaide)
  • Nullus Anxietas (Discworld Convention, Adelaide)
  • Steampunk Festival at the National Railways Museum in Adelaide, where ‘The Illusioneer & Other Tales’ was launched.
  • LibCon at Burnside Library
  • Supanova Adelaide
  • Christmas Gift Market at Tea Tree Gully Library
  • and a talk on Steampunk  for the Aus Sci Fi group.

I made some stuff:

I love creating (including writing). It both bares and replenishes my soul. This year managed to make some costumes and took more photos.

My favourtie costume was my TARDIS corset and skirt. I had help with toiling the pattern at the ACG corset workshop. Other favourites were my steampunk Wiked Witch of the West (Oz) with my flying monkey and my tea cup holder for belt – made with some construction help (hammering) by my Dearheart (as my wrists were playing up again.)


Steampunk also featured prominently this year (not surprising at all, really). This year saw the Scribblers’ Den (steampunk writing forum) move twice, with the sudden shut down of ‘The Steampunk Empire’. Thankfully we are now ensconced at ‘Welcome to Steampunk‘. This is an amazing group of writers, from all over the world, who support each others’ work. Love you guys! If you are a steampunk writer, come say hello!

Upcoming in 2018

2018 is full of all things new – I’ve got a new look banner and business cards and have already updated the look of my webpage. It was feeling ‘old’, making me feel dowdy and less professional. Now I feel invigorated each time I add something new.

I’ve started two new book series (as mentioned above) and will be attending my first interstate convention (as an author). Look out for me (and the Adelaide indie author group) in the Artists’ Alley at Melbourne Supanova. I’ve already booked for Supanova Adelaide and plan to launch a new book at Steampunk Festival next year.

One thing that has been lacking this year is work on my garden. So I declare one of my resolutions is to re-connect to the earth, tend my garden and reap the benefits of the endorphins.

Happy new year to you all.
“Laugh hard. Run fast. Be kind.”

photos and costumes ©2017 Karen Carlisle
Ball photo ©2017 Steamkittens
Quote from Doctor Who:Twice Upon a Time.

Time for Some Changes.

This week has been exhausting. Lots of things going on. Lots of decisions being made.

I’ve been battling to catch up on my writing, following three months of bronchitis at the beginning of the year. The end was in sight. Almost there… One ebook finished. Two finished – and published. One week of a book blog tour and then I’m on the final writing spree.  Just one more…

Then came the September Trifecta of Terror. A month of hell. Two weeks of ear infection, and side effects from yet another course (two this time) of antibiotics (I’m allergic to most these days, so I don’t have much option). I picked myself up and continued writing.

September ended with a definite clanger – a double barreled attack. The first was totally unexpected.
Regular readers will know how much I love my garden. (Here are the latest pics of the front yard)

I have an organic mixed vege-flower garden and am proud of my bees – my hundreds of bees. I’ve lived here for twenty-five years, incident free. Until last weekend.

It’s been over forty years since I’ve been stung by a bee and had a reaction (the doctor said it was a very good thing it had been so long. Or else…) Now, technically the bee didn’t sting me. As far as we can gather, it most likely brushed up against my coat and dropped its stinger on it. About an hour later I brushed my arm against my jacket when I was at the shops. Yowsers! The pain!

Two staff members came to my aide, not sure what had happened. I grabbed some antihistamines and a cold bottle of water from the shelf and limped home. There was a little trepidation when my lips tingled and my heart fluttered – was it a reaction or just anxiety? The doctor arrived and dosed me up with Prednisolone and strict instructions not to get stung in the near future.

Two days later I still had a lump on my arm (right) and all-over itchiness! Next month I’m off to the specialist to see if an epipen is in my future. I’m still having joint pains, headaches and exhaustion.

The second dredged up my worst fears – electronic failure. I was taking steps to avoid such a disaster and purchased a super-duper external hard drive to save all my writing, art and video work  – in case of a computer demise. On Tuesday I turned on my computer to try to get some writing done.

All my research files and some book files were nowhere to be seen – not on my laptop, not on the new external hard drive!

This time the heart palpitations were definitely an anxiety attack.  My Dearheart finally found them and we are now trying to recover them and confirm they are all intact. (It looks promising.) I did lose the pre-formatting I had done for the upcoming paperback, so that will all have to be reconstructed. And all the time, I’m trying to write two blog posts a week.

Now I am retracing my steps, with (hopefully) not more than three or so weeks writing time lost. I have now adjusted the publishing date for the final eBook and paperback, in the Viola Stewart series, to some time in November.

And those changes I mentioned?

I’ve had to reassess my writing scheduling. It looks like the summer bronchitis (from dust allergies) will be a yearly thing. This was my third year. That means I will lose at least one month (it was almost three this year) of writing time. Right now I am struggling to stay awake. The doctors aren’t sure how long this will last.
I need to add more ‘fudge’ time – time to recover from unexpected crises, panic attacks, allergic reactions, and computer betrayals.

I have so many stories that are fighting to get told. I need to focus on writing and publishing those stories. I’ve had a heart-to-heart with some fellow writers and have decided to cut back on blog posts and concentrate on writing stories.

What does this mean?

Currently I write two blog posts a week: Photo Fridays and a weekly Sunday blog post. I’ll be cutting back to one Sunday blog post a month (there may be occasional bonuses depending on how I’m going) and I’ll post at least one Photo Friday a month. You can also subscribe to my monthly newsletter for updates, events and sneak peeks of upcoming stories. The time gained will be channeled into writing stories – both short and a new book – for you, Dear Reader.

Photos ©2017 Karen Carlisle. All rights reserved.

Book Blog Tour Stop#3: The Illusioneer

And now for a quick stopover back in Adelaide before heading out for the next leg of the book blog tour – and a bit about my books for those who are reading about me for the first time. I’m currently finishing off the third book in my Victorian steampunk mystery series – The Adventures of Viola Stewart.  You’ll find out more about the characters on Friday (Australian Central Standard Time) in my final stopover in this tour.

The Illusioneer & Other Tales: The Adventures of Viola Stewart Journal #3 (paperback collection of all three stories) is the final set of Viola’s adventures in this series and is currently scheduled for publication late October. There are three novella-length stories:

  • From the Depths‘ – Viola needs a holiday. But even at the beach, things are afoot.
  • Tomorrow, When I Die‘ – A knock on the door could change everything. It’s just a matter of time.
  • The Illusioneer‘ – Seeing is believing. Or is it?


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‘From the Depths’ and ‘Tomorrow, When I Die’ are currently available as eBooks. 

Find out where to buy your copy.

Here’s an exclusive excerpt from: ‘The Illusioneer’
©2017 Karen J Carlisle

Chapter 1: Promise

The limelights hissed and flared into life as the audience dribbled into the hall. Boots clacked on the wooden floors. The echoes of voices faded as the hall filled, coalescing into a background murmur.

Viola wove her way through the crowded aisle, around huddled clusters of eager on-lookers jostling for the best seats. She paused, waiting for Henry to catch up – and to avoid catching Lady Calthorpe’s eye. She had been particularly attentive to Viola’s state of affairs since Christmas. Too attentive.

Viola stepped into the shadow of a rotund gentleman, deep in conversation with his friend. She glanced over the man’s shoulder at occupied seats in the front row. Lady Calthorpe would be there – no doubt – keeping watch on the aisle, having secured front row seats for both Viola and Henry next to her and Lord Calthorpe.

Rank had its privilege, and Lady Calthorpe was always offered the prerogative to exercise that privilege. Viola bit her lip. That was unkind; Lady Calthorpe had every right to her privileges. There were few women who would not accept such concessions, nor welcome respect from the male establishment.

Warm fingers wrapped around Viola’s hand. She turned to see Henry’s brilliant blue eyes smiling at her.

“Tell me again, why are we here?” she asked.

“I thought I’d present you with an alternative detectiving challenge. One less perilous than your usual fare.” He winked at her.

Viola sighed. “You know what I think about hypnotists, Henry. Poking around in someone’s subconscious will only lead to no good.” It was a woolly science at best; outright quackery at worst.

“Then, see if you can solve how the trick is done. The Mighty Alessandro is supposed to be the fastest hypnotist in London. His record is twenty subjects at one assembly.” He patted her on the hand. “And it could be fun.”

“Fun?” Viola raised an eyebrow.

Henry nodded in the direction of the front row. “Lady Calthorpe is here.”

Viola turned to face the stage. Lady Calthorpe grinned from under a massive orange bonnet; its feathers jiggled as she waved them forward.

“Doesn’t she know it’s all just an act?”

Henry shook his head. “She’s been talking about it for days. I do hope they ask for volunteers. She would not hesitate to offer up herself as a subject, if given the chance.” His moustache twitched. “Wouldn’t you adore seeing her cluck like a chicken?”

Viola tugged her hand free from his grip. “Henry, don’t be so cruel.” She slapped him on his wrist. “Lady Calthorpe is a very generous woman and is always willing to offer support.” She leaned closer to Henry. “They don’t pick subjects at random; they only use paid volunteers placed amongst the audience. And Lady Calthorpe would never agree to humiliate herself in front of society and friends.”

Henry’s moustache drooped. “You can be a stick-in-the-mud, sometimes.”

“I don’t want to encourage them.”


“Charlatans and fraudsters like this Alessandro.”

“Perhaps their methods could be useful. There have been some studies in France. A doctor there has postulated its use to manage patients in the asylum.”

A gaggle of socialites squeezed past them. Viola grabbed her skirt and tucked it behind her.

“He also said hypnotism was a manifestation of hysteria,” whispered Viola.

“Ah.” Henry waved on the socialites’ top-hatted companions.

“And I suppose you believe in fairies as well?” asked Viola.

Henry dropped his gaze.

Lady Calthorpe beckoned them closer and patted the seat next to her. Lord Calthorpe closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Viola and Henry made their way toward the front seats.

“Do we have to…?”

“No,” replied Henry. “But we should. Lady Calthorpe did invite us.”

Viola examined Lady Calthorpe’s enthusiastic face. Her cheeks were blushing and her eyes sparkled. Viola would never hear the end of it if she absconded. She took a deep breath and edged past a tall gentleman standing at the end of the front row of seats. Henry followed her along the row.

Lady Calthorpe jumped to her feet. “Doctor Stewart, you came. And you brought Doctor Collins. Excellent. Do sit.”

Henry leaned forward and shook Lord Calthorpe’s hand. “Congratulations on your appointment as Commander of Windsor Sky Cannon and Armoury. Her Majesty will be in good hands.

Viola nodded, settled into the leather chair and straightened her skirts. She glanced in the direction of the stage. Shadows bobbed up into the light as the stage hands skittered around the front of the stage. One remained at the foot of each light fixture.

The stage curtains twitched. The hall lights dimmed. The drone of the crowd hushed. A crack appeared in the centre of the heavy curtains; its corners lifted and peeled apart to reveal a tall, black-clad man, his face hidden in the shadow of his top hat. He extended his hand toward the audience; his cloak hugged his arm, revealing a brilliant ruby-red lining.

Violin music wafted up from the orchestra pit.

The man stepped forward. The gathered curtains dropped behind him with a soft thud. He lifted his chin and smiled. The stage lights brightened, until they glinted off his cravat pin.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.”


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