Station Diary

This lost dolly was in a tree outside the station all last week.

What was memorable about this last week (apart from the climate change induced humidity) ?

The tough bald headed guy who limped into the station and started telling me how stupidly unhinged everyone was about Covid -19 and how it was just a flu. He was so intent venting his spleen that he almost missed his train. Tee hee! (but I made sure he got on the train because, heck, I didn’t need to hear more of that)

The tiny boy who wanted his parents to stop and see the wonderful poster of men in hard hats fixing the tracks. I was just about the take that poster down so I unlocked the poster case and gave it to him. The memory of his delight at recieiveing an actual official railway poster from an actual really truly railway worker is something that will keep me happy through many a long dark teatime of the soul.

Karen J Carlisle Blog Tour. A Fey Tale



Aunt Enid’s back, but something’s changed…

A deal with fairies… to solve a mystery… and prevent a war.

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.


Get A Fey Tale at 50% RRP

(via Smashwords – )

Use VOUCHER CODE: YH63W (Exp: Jan 13, 2022)



  1. Your new novel is coming out Can you tell us a bit about it and about Auntie Enid

In book one, Aunt Enid : Protector Extrordinaire we meet (Great) Aunt Enid. A feisty seventy-something who loves to cook, crochet, is a regular at bingo and spends hours in her garden fussing over the colour of her hydrangeas. And is also a Protector, sworn to protect Earth from cryptids, creatures and dangers that spill into Adelaide from the Otherworlds.

So how are things different from book one?

A Fey Tale is a prequel. The story is set in Adelaide, September 1920 – one hundred years before Aunt Enid: Protector Extraordinaire. Enid is younger. She wants a normal life, to fall in love, have a family, to enjoy her birthday. But there are two problems:

1: she can’t let her beau, Owen, know she’s a Protector, and

2: the portals to the Otherworlds have been breached. A troll bounty hunter roams the streets, a Fae is on the loose.

There are answers to hints dropped in book one, and ‘origin’ stories of a few characters. And, yes, Enid’s bees are still buzzing around, and Red, the garden gnome, makes a cameo.


  1. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m an indie author and illustrator of speculative fiction – steampunk, Victorian mystery and fantasy.

When I was young I wanted to be a writer, an artist, a cinematographer, an astronaut, an astrophysicist, and Doctor Who’s next companion. I’m a massive (Classic and New) Doctor Who fan, and have all but one of the sonic screwdrivers. I’ve played D&D since 1978, did historical re-enactment for over two decades, and have been an active member in the steampunk community for over thirteen years. I’m a massive murder-mystery fan. I love Sherlock Holmes, Ngaio Marsh and Agatha Christie mysteries.

I live in Adelaide, and miss my ancient Devon Rex cat. In another life I was an optometrist, but always wanted to create.

I’ve had articles published in Australian Realms Roleplaying Magazine, had a short story featured in a 2016 Adelaide Fringe exhibition. I love writing Holmesian fiction, and have had stories published in both ‘Where’s Holmes?’ and ‘Where’s Holmes II’ anthologies. My darker side can be seen in ‘Doctor Jack’ and both ‘Deadsteam’ anthologies.

I occasionally write song lyrics and am fortunate to have Richard Ryall of Littmus Steampunk Band as my co-conspirator.

Most of all, I have a predilection for purple, steampunk, love dark chocolate, rarely refuse a cup of tea, and hate South Australian summers.


  1. What is your writing process? do you write everyday? Do you throw a lot away? Are you a planner or a panster?

I try to write every day. It doesn’t always happen. When I can’t write, I draw, sew, crochet, design (often book-related) or research, which usually results in more story ideas and copious notes I hope I can decipher on a better day.

Often I’ll binge-write for a few days, then take a few days to recover spoons (as in Spoon Theory). If I can do 1000 words a day, I’m happy. 1500 words, and I’m ecstatic (and exhausted).

I used to be a pantser, which is problematic when writing even a simple mystery. With each book, I’ve planned a little more, but I’m still a pantser at heart.

An idea for a scene or character can be sparked by almost anything. When I have at least three scenes, beginning and end (or the characters demand to be heard), I slap sticky notes with the existing plot points on the cupboard, start at one and start writing to the next. I’ll add sticky notes with clues, and new threads to pick up on in later chapters.

I find handwriting helps the creative process. The scientist in me says it’s because it activates more areas of the brain (the artist in me just loves buying gorgeous notebooks).


  1. How do you go with social media?

Ah, social media. I’m a visual person, so Instagram and YouTube works for me. I have an author page on Facebook and am on twitter. I also post research and inspiration pics on Pinterest.

As a result, I don’t write blog posts as often as I should. When I discovered how to ‘re-post’ from IG and my website to other social media, it was a godsend!

I’m slowly coming to grips with technology. More recently I’ve done more livestreams via YouTube and FB. (It also forces me to tackle public speaking. Eep!) I just have to work out how to not have a panic attack each time.


  1. Any tips on how to use it to increase book sales?

If only! I’m still trying to crack that one. I have a non-existent budget, so welcome tips. I find being genuine is crucial. I hope to provide a good story (with good editing), treat readers how I’d want to be treated.

The hardest part is ‘getting seen’. I’m not great in crowds, so I’ve found this year’s uptick in online events has been a bonus for me. I also do book blog tours, like this one.

Some indie authors only do Amazon/Kindle. Personally, I subscribe to the ‘not all eggs in one basket’ theory of publishing. I publish both paperback and eBooks, to many online stores, with eBooks available in many formats, so they’re more readily available.

With social media, it’s important to give readers an insight to the ‘real me’, not just sell books all the time. If you follow me, you’ll know I love chocolate, tea, gardening (though don’t get to do it as often as I’d like), and love books.

I have a monthly newsletter, to let readers know about upcoming books, events etc.

I also do BOOK BLOG SPECIAL LAUNCH PRICE, like this: (and hope readers will leave a review, and recommend to friends. 😉 )

Get A Fey Tale at 50% RRP

(via Smashwords – )

Use VOUCHER CODE: YH63W (Exp: Jan 13, 2022)


  1. What are 3 art works (books, music visual arts films etc) that have most inspired you?

When in writing-mode, I often binge watch movies and TV shows like Poirot, Miss Marple, Miss Fisher, and TV shows or movies set in 19th C, I can access at the time, like Murdoch Mysteries, Sherlock Holmes (I have various versions on DVD), The Nevers… Anything set in places or eras I’m currently writing, to get into a mood and hear the noises (thankfully smell-a-vision doesn’t exist).

For writing in general: Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes (mysteries), and Gail Carriger (‘Comedy of Etiquette’ steampunk) have been big influences.

Different stories have different inspirations. Songs feature high on the inspiration list, as do documentaries. Songs create a mood, which kickstarts the process. For ‘Doctor Jack’, I was watching Ripper documentaries and the song ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by The Who came on the radio – the villain always considers themselves the hero of their own story. Ancient Egypt documentaries and art inspired ‘Eye of the Beholder’.

Aunt Enid was inspired by childhood memories of our old Wolseley car, my own Great Aunt Enid cooking lemon butter (and her hydrangeas), and my beloved grandmother – so cars, cooking, and gardening. They count as art forms, don’t they?










Social Media






Book blog Hashtags:

#A Fey Tale, # Aunt Enid Mysteries, #KarenJCarilsle




Ducklings at Flinders Street

Metro Newsfeed (edited)

Friday 19/11 13:33

Flinders Street 13:27
Ducks reported walking in pit Platform 10
Train stopped. Altered platform working.
Station Staff to attend. Announcements to reflect “Delays due to wildlife rescue
at Flinders Street”

Friday 19/11/ 13:44

All Ducklings in box.
Train about to move.

Friday 19/11 13:45

Update Flinders Street
Wildlife Rescue Victoria attending.
Wildlife (ducklings x 6) clear of through suburban lines
Normal platform working and routing to resume.
Residual delays of 4 minutes “Due to an earlier wildlife rescue”

Just to clarify, Melbourne’s central station Flinders Street sits on the banks of the Yarra River.

Protectors of Public Lands


Photo credit – Pixabay



The Protectors of Public Lands met at my station last week.  This community group are battle hardened if somewhat less knight-in shining-armour than the name suggests.  They are determined to get a Zebra Crossing between the station and the zoo.  Their excellent underlying aim is to persuade the zoo to encourage more use of public transport rather than putting more of Royal Park under parking.

I took the opportunity to bend their ears about (lobby for) some the things my station lacks – good signage to the zoo entrance, a video display of train arrivals, weekend station staff.  Then the Protectors were off to take a news photo of themselves stopping traffic on the road along with a couple of women with a pram they co-opted on the spot and a large white Samoyed dog who I think was only in the photograph because the news photographer thought he was really cute.

The Perch

Back in 2010 when I was doing my blog about Flinders Street Station, I learned about the Perch. It’s the steel railing in the station concourse against the window between Platform 3 and 4 and Platforms 5 and 6. Here the train drivers perch on the rail and hang out while waiting for their next driving shift. “I never go there” said a woman train driver back then – “They just talk filth and give number ratings to passing women.”
Myself I doubt it was ever that exciting.

But this week -a mere 9 years – later I went through Flinders Street Station and discovered the Perch was entirely occupied by women drivers. What a change! I wonder if they were also talking filth and giving number ratings to passers-by.

Flinders Street Railway Station Concourse. I couldn’t find one of the Perch.

Shadow in the Empire of Light Launch

Author Jane Routley and Michael O’Brien of Chaosium Books. Thanks to Robert Love for the photo.


Yesterday at the Post Office Hotel, Chaosium publisher Michael O’Brien launched my latest book.
The occasion glittered most satisfactorily.
Michael O’Brien said “It’s called ‘Shadow in the Empire of Light’, has been described as like “modern Jane Austen with magic” (by critics) and “with Bridgerton overtones” (by me)”

Available from Simon & Schuster:…/Jane…/9781781088340/

Or direct from Solaris


Jane signs a book. (Note: attractive pandemic accessory on her arm In case of need to socially isolate.)
Thanks to Neil Kerlogue for the photo



Are Possums symbolic?

A Brushtail possum engaging in its favorite activity

The day after the very contested Australia/Invasion Day I see my local possum climbing out of the bin holding a piece of vegemite toast in his mouth.  It all seems vaguely symbolic though I’m not sure what of.  Is this a You Beaut Aussie battler possum celebrating our great country’s favorite snack?  Or is it symbolic of the degradation of our native fauna by invader culture?

Both at the same time maybe

Or maybe just symbolic of the opportunistic nature of hungry possums.

Fantasy Hive – Author Spotlight

The lovely people over at Fantasy Hive have hosted me for an Author Spotlight

Even if you don’t want to read about me, go over and take a look at the site. They cover all kinds of good stuff such as Cosplay and Gaming and they also run the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off every year.