Inside The World of The Department of Curiosities; An Interview/Guest Blog

You can find my latest interview on Phoebe Darqueling’s blog, as part of her world-building showcase.

I reveal some information about my third steampunk series, The Wizard of St Giles, which I will be working on after The Department of Curiosities is finished. I also give a few hints on background story shenanigans, and where each series sits in my alternate steampunk world.

Follow this link to read more past interviews .

Inside The World of The Department of Curiosities; An Interview/Guest Blog was originally published on karen j carlisle

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New Year: 2020 Plans (so far)

Happy new year!
The new year has brought mixed feelings down here in Australia. Bushfires are still burning. Friends have been evacuated, here in South Australia, Victoria and NSW. We wait to hear if they have a home to return to. I don’t think there’s anyone in Australia not either affected directly or knows someone devastated by this firestorm. We’re safe (ish) on our side of the Adelaide Hills. If you wish to help the relief effort, please donate to

To help those in the South Australian bushfires:

Christmas was also dampened as we knew the Adelaide family who died in the New Zealand volcano eruption. So it’s been a tough emotional month, culminating in a hospital visit (I managed to avoid them last year). Anxiety and smoke are an unfortunate combination.
All is okay. I have a referral for further tests.
Upside? I wrote a short story and a poem (which I don’t do very often) in one day. The short story has been submitted to the Furious Fiction competition. Hey, if I win, that’s the airfare for Brisbane Supanova paid for. The poem was shared with my Patreon supporters and my newsletter subscribers last week. The words were cathartic. It seems I only write poems after distasters.
This is not how I wanted to herald the new year.
As I write this, it’s a much cooler day. Finally, some respite for the firefighters. We all hope the fires can be controlled before the next predicted heatwave (third this month!).
I’ve taken to the time to gather my thoughts and channel them in a more positive direction. I’ve spent a few days eating chocolate, reading a book, looking at kitten pictures, designing book covers and writing. (It was still too hot to garden.)
Another positive: I did get asked to be on the Words Out Loud panel for their Christmas Eve radio show on PBA FM. You can hear it here on SoundCloud (and it’s linked on my Interviews and In the Media pages on my webpage).
I’ve been thinking about New Year resolutions. So many are made. So many are broken. My only resolution this year is to stay healthy, write and be kind. The first part is out of my control, but I’ll try my best. For the second, I have many plans. (I just wish I could write faster):
  • A Fey Tale is a work-in-progress. When the first draft is done, there’s rewrites, edits and beta reading. The plan is have it ready for publication in the first half of this year. The cover for A Fey Tale is done (Cover reveal to come). The blurb is done:
A deal with fairies… to solve a mystery… and prevent a war.
Fairies and magic: It’s all real!
Enid Turner is invited to a picnic in honour of the creator of the world’s most famous detective, currently on a lecture tour in Adelaide, where they are caught in a web of treachery and betrayal from the Otherworlds.
It’s up to Aunt Enid and the Protectors, with a little help from the self-appointed Fairy Hunter, to solve the mystery, return the kidnapped heir and save the humans from Otherworldly retribution. It’s now a race to save the Earth from becoming a battleground for a magical war.
  • Artwork: I have five pieces of internal inked artwork to finish for A Fey Tale.
  • Against the Empire (book two in The Department of Curiosities series): After A Fey Tale is published, I’m diving into more reserach, with a small road trip to experience one of the local settings first-hand (get the smells and bells as a friend calls it). Humbug Scrub is only a short drive away, but I have to wait until the area is re-opened after the bushfires (and hope the wildlife sanctuary and history info has survived). I then need to organise a meeting with local historians and Elders, chase up photos and history of a few Adelaide buildings.
  • I’ve got version one of the Against the Empire cover.
  • I’ll need to do a new photoshoot and book trailer – for both Against the Empire and A Fey Tale .

Anthology short stories:

  • Mrs Hudson has found a new mystery to investigate. This time she enlists Mary Watson. This is for submission to the next Where’s Holmes? anthology.
  • I’ll delve into the darker side, with another short to submit to the Deadsteam II anthololgy. Wish me luck!
As usual, I’ve had a few new story inspirations over the holidays (this is both squee! and argh at the same time), so there’s at least one more short story/novella (I’m not sure how long it will be) to add to my growing list. I think that’s twenty-two now. At least.
Next on my list is an interview on world building by Phoebe Darquelings blog . It’ll be posted on Thursday 16th January at 11:30 AM East Coast time (US). That’s Friday, here in Australia. I’ll be revealing some information about my third steampunk series, The Wizard of St Giles, which I will be working on after The Department of Curiosities is finished. I also give a few hints on background story shenanigans, and where all three steampunk series sits in my alternate history world.
Until then, be brave and be kind.
Patreon supporters were given a sneak peek of this post on 8th January.

New Year: 2020 Plans (so far) was originally published on karen j carlisle

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Donate to KI and South Australian Fire Victims

Just over 12 hours left to bid. Winning bid is currently $150.

I’m auctioning my book, ‘Aunt Enid’ (set in the Adelaide Hills), a book club visit, a character named after you, bookmark and shout out.

Winner donates to SERF – State Emergency Relief Fund in South Australia – or the KI Mayoral Relief and Recovery Bushfire Fund, to support Fireys, and families and small businesses who have lost everything in the SA fires.

More info at:
Auction via Twitter:

#AuthorsForFireys #authorforfiries #FightFiresWithBooks #kanagarooislandbushfires #southaustraliabushfires

Donate to KI and South Australian Fire Victims was originally published on karen j carlisle

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Tea and Tidings newsletter is on its way.

#writerslife #newsletter #updates #teaandtidings

Tea and Tidings newsletter is on its way. was originally published on karen j carlisle

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Obligatory Year in Review, 2019.

Three things have dominated my world this year: writing, steampunk and health.

Writing-wise: May saw the publication of my fifth book, The Department of Curiosities. I started this book back in 2012. The manuscript lay unfinished. (How can one write adventure when mentally drowning?) After finding a glimmer of light, with Aunt Enid in 2018, I decided to claw myself out a little more, and a steampunk adventure was just the foothold I needed. Thanks to my writing group and my family for supporting me.

Mental health-wise: But I can only swim for so long. Exhaustion overwhelmed me. I bared my soul in Liptember and raised some money to help raise awareness of mental health issues.
For the past five months, I’ve been fighting with the Black Dog, pushed further down by unseasonal dust storms, recent heat waves (I hate summer) and nearby bushfires. I’ve been a virtual prisoner for weeks, shut inside to avoid the dust and smoke.

But finally things are looking up. The bushfires missed the in-laws vineyard, the local bushfires are finally under control, after more than ten days. The air quality has finally dropped back down to ‘safe’ (for me) levels. And I can breathe a bit better (hoping I won’t get bronchitis this time round). My hubby is helping me do the front room/writing office clean out. I’ve written a new short story and have two more to write and submit to anthologies.

Steampunk-wise: This was a big year! We finally made it to New Zealand. We did the Lord of the Rings tour, visited sites used to film a favourite tv show of mine, visited friends, met new ones, and – most exciting of all – attended the Oamaru steampunk Festival. (There’s one off my bucket list). I even donated a copy of The Department of Curiosities, to the local library.

Our local steampunk festival is growing, and looks to be even bigger next year. I can’t wait!

More recently, I’ve started a local Tea Scout troop and have been working on a new steampunk outfit suitable for a ‘uniform’. Best of all, it’s (about 95% likely) we’re heading off to Lincoln Assylum next year (crossing fingers for hubby’s holidays) and hoping to meet up with fellow steampunks and Scribbler Denizens while I’m there.

2019 promised adventures – and it delivered. It also let the Black Dog off its chain – and for that, it will never be forgiven. The Twenties is in sight, whispering new promises in my ear. And I need to believe her. I hold my breath, hoping for the weight to lift off my shoulders. I’m sure you can feel it too.

Like the roaring 1920s, the world has pulled itself through so much trauma (economical, cultural, and ecological) and needs something to boast morale. We need a break, something to celebrate. Some small relief in sight. Something frivilous, no matter how small, to lighten our spirits, to ease our souls, so we can try to ignore that deep ache in the pit of our stomach, warning us, making us wary of the next ghastly catastrophe to decend.

So I wave good bye to 2019, with glee in my eye, and hope 2020 keeps her promises. My advice? Be brave, and kind. But, mostly, be kind.

Happy New Year.

Obligatory Year in Review, 2019. was originally published on karen j carlisle

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Time Travellers’ Picnic 2019

Steampunks and time travellers converged on Adelaide Botanic Gardens for a picnic. We were blaessed with glorious weather and had a visit from the Lost Ninth Legion.

Finally posting the event video.  A little late? Ha! Time is irrelevent.

Time Travellers’ Picnic 2019 was originally published on karen j carlisle

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New Project Sneak Peek for Patreon Supporters

I’ve got a new project on the go! More about that when it’s complete. My wonderful Patreon supporters got a sneak peek today. Feel like you missed out?  Why not sign up to join in the fun. By pledging just $1 a month you can get sneak peeks as well.

Become a Patron!

New Project Sneak Peek for Patreon Supporters was originally published on karen j carlisle

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