Tram Boy

Tram Boy drove a much more modern tram but I like these old guys best.

Do you remember Tram boy? https://beat.com.au/the-legacy-of-tram-boy-the-15-year-old-who-stole-a-tram-for-a-joyride-around-melbourne/
Tram boy was a 15 year old boy who stole two trams one weekend in 2005 and drove them a total of 25 kms picking up passengers on the way. Apparently he’s a kind of Ned Kelly hero for some people including a young intellectually disabled man who sometime sits with his carer watching the trams.
“Have you heard of me,” he cries. “I’m Tram boy. I stole that Tram and drove it all around. One day I’m going to steal one of your trains too. You tell them. I’m going to steal one of your trains.
You’ll see.”
I guess we will.

The Odd Couple

The woman on Platfrom 2 had clearly never worn a bra and her breasts hung freely, almost down to her navel. She was clearly someone unfettered by femine custom/ limitation. She had short hair, shorts and a t’shirt, all very pale. Calmly she scratched her crotch. What made her stand out even more was her travelling companion. I wasn’t sure if she was friend, family member, social worker, client or girlfriend? What ever their relationship, the companion was wearing full hijab. In the 33 degree heat.
Together the two of them seemed to constitute some kind of metaphor of the extremes of feminity. Or perhaps just the diversity of femine life.

Get Prepared, Woman.

 

Last Friday when horrible Putin made his first moves into Ukraine, I was busy making sure that my regulars, many of whom work weekends, knew our line would be closed that weekend. We always put up signs but people don’t read them and most of them were glad to be reminded/informed.
Except for the grumpy old suitcase/homeless man who usually checks his myki but never actually takes a train. He responded by saying, “Why are you bothering about that? We’re on the verge of WW3. You need to stop worrying about that and get prepared, Woman… etc. etc. etc.”

I guess that told me
(Hope he’s wrong, just bye the bye)

Freshly painted waiting room.

Renovations

I have discovered a hitherto unsuspected strain of house proudness in my character. Zoo station is being renovated. They are replacing the worst termite and rot damaged weatherboards and giving it all a lick of paint. I’m just so THRILLED. I’m very fond of the battered old 1930’s building I work in.
They’ve taken the boards off the waiting room windows and are planning to put in glass. We (the tradesmen and myself) feel that this is a triumph of optimism over experience. However…. Maybe there is some higher plan…???

A number of the passengers have asked me if there is something different about the waiting room. Apparantly the huge new window in the wall and the light streaming into the waiting room are hard to notice. Anyway a team of painters have now repainted the waiting room – in exactly the same colours, but it looks so clean and fresh, that I’ve had to point it out to a few of my favored regulars lest they miss its brief moment of glory.

I’m not sure this house proudness is going to be healthy for me in the long run. Someone put anti-vaxxer stickers in my new toilets this week and I was furious.

Creek Man

I first met Creek Man about 3 years ago.  He was the cheery guy with the balding, slightly out-of-control hair and a sly smile who was building a shack.  He’d go to the Bunnings up the line and bring small piles of building materials back down on the train.  Being a nice orderly mainstream person I assumed he was building a shack on his own land.

Why build otherwise?

It only slowly dawned on me that he was actually a rough sleeper, squatting down there behind one of the hospitals, apparently with a nudge and wink from security?!! He always spent the winter on a farm in the country and lived in a tent down at the creek in the summer. He’d been there for 14 years.  Hence, I guess, the urge to build four walls and a floor.  But he kept faith with the idea of a tent by only roofing his shack with a tarpaulin. 

To be honest I was not a big fan of Creek man, mostly because he was so boring.  He’d repeat himself, telling me about how he’d once be a carpenter and how he was making the walls out of one kind of board and the floor out of another, about how he had a little camp stove to cook with and how he had a family of ringtail possums living in the trees above his shack who were company for him.  The camp by the creek sounded wonderfully idyllic but not again and again.  And sometimes he’d stay to chat for a WHOLE hour, missing several trains, telling me the same things again and again. 

“He’s just a lonely old guy,” said one of my regulars who got collared by him once.  Easy for her to say.  She could leave.

Compassion set in at last, especially after last year when he started to look so ill, hobbling along at a snail’s pace on painful knees, all his industry gone.  His topics had switched to what the doctors had said and which knee was more swollen.  (And they were swollen, he showed the whole waiting room one day.) I became more patient at listening.  You had to admire the way he still kept pushing on; still with smiling his sly smile, keeping himself and his clothes clean, hobbling onto the train to go down to the supermarket to have a sit in the warm and buy something for tea. 

It took me about two months to realize he was missing.  Around Christmas one of the hospital people told me his shack had burned down and his gas bottles had exploded.  Apparently he wasn’t there when it happened but it was tenth hand information so I couldn’t be certain of that.  No one knew where he was. 

I was forced to file Creek Man away among the many, many station stories that finish with a sad, I-don’t-know-how-it-ended-I-hope-they’re-all-right. 

Good News! Yesterday he popped up at the station, looking fresh and new, moving as he did of old, with that sly smile just that bit broader.  He’d been in hospital having his knees done when his shack had burned down.  He was sad about it but Human Services had him in a motel with the promise of an apartment somewhere down the line.  (During Covid Human Services seem to have suddenly got a whole lot better at housing people.)

Of course he went on in lots of detail about his other aching joints, but I was just glad to see him safe and well.

“I should be good for another 66 years now,” he said chirpily as he waved good-bye.    

Tik Tok at the Junction.

Two kids in their early teens are having a great time shooting some kind of video on their mobile phones at Junction Station . They’re at that age (say 13?) when the boy is often smaller than the girl. He has not yet hit puberty, while she is resplendent in her new womanly body (albiet with puppy fat) and is wearing little black shorts so tight her butt cheeks are wobbling out the bottom of the legs. This seems to be a source of great hilarity to them.

They’ve got the phone in the corner of the waiting room and as I watch, she leans face against the wall, waggles her bottom at the camera and peers provocatively over her shoulder. He dances up behind her and pats her bottom so that her butt cheeks wobble wildly. They both giggle and rush back to see the result on the phone.

I’m a bit shocked by what I see as the whole sexist objectification of this.
Was it for this that my feminist forebears marched and struggled?

But, you know, this could be just some kind of ironic meme-making that someone of my advanced years is not going to get – ridiculous rather than lubricious.

I hope so anyway.

The whole thing reminds me of the time I saw a young woman at my station wandering around with her shirt undone so that her bra showed. I siddled up and whispered that her bra was showing only to have her smile tolerantly and tell me that it was intended to be so. I felt old that day and I do today.

Is it time to accept that I’m out of date and just give up the ideological stage to so that another generation can have their turn at strutting and fretting upon it, I wonder?

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

Cover

 

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.

BOOK BLOG SPECIAL LAUNCH PRICE

Get A Fey Tale at 50% RRP

(via Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1119230 )

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. https://karenjcarlisle.com/sign-up-email-list/

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 – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1119230 )

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?

 

 

LINKS

Website: www.karenjcarlisle.com

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/KarenJCarlisle

Ko-fi: https://ko-fi.com/karenjcarlisle

Newsletter: https://karenjcarlisle.com/sign-up-email-list/

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/ap/nmAy7z/Karen-J-Carlisle

 

Social Media

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/karenjcarlisle/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KarenJCarlisle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kjcarlisle

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/riverkat42/

 

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.

https://www.miragenews.com/duckling-day-out-677241/

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.

https://www.facebook.com/Protectors-of-Public-Lands-Victoria-826936314152364/

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.