My Life is a Mess!

My Life is a Mess Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

I mean literally – the movers came and delivered a household worth of belongings, so I have boxes and furniture everywhere… no space to write! Oi Vey!

Yesterday for a panicked moment I thought I’d lost my dog, but he was merely weaving his way around the stacked crates, exploring like a kid in a fort, before I heard the jingle of his collar and found him happily wagging his tail, delighted with the new landscape to climb and sniff.

Most likely for anyone else my house looks fine – just a few piles of boxes here and there – but for me, one who likes a clean, clear home and workspace, it’s a nightmare. I just have to get the place back in order before I can work.

On the positive side, it’s like my birthday (which was in the week all the furniture got redelivered) and Christmas rolled into one! Things have been in storage for two and a half years, so I am rediscovering all sorts of things. When did I accumulate so much jewellery? Oh My God Look At All These Shoes! I’m never going to fit into these shorts again… it’s a relative rollercoaster of delight and despair.

I’m loving having all my “comfort things” around me again. All the lovely memories attached to each one. Photos of family. Gifts my mother gave me before she died. It’s all back. This birthday has been an emotional one.

So, until I have found a place for all the treasures I’m unboxing, posts have been scarce… well non-existent.

But I’m having fun. Playing hide and seek with my dog. Unwrapping forgotten items from the past. Re-inventing the ambience of my home. It’s just like reading an old favourite, discovering new meaning in the prose, and a new reason to love the cracked spine. Which reminds me – I’ve also doubled my book collection with more boxes of favourite novels now out of storage. Whee!

Closely on the heels of birthday celebrations and playing Tetris with moving boxes, was tropical cyclone Debbie and her aftermath. Flooding, road closures, brown-outs. I sat there in 120% humidity and stared out the window into white nothingness. Immersed in the swirling cloudbank it was quite an experience to hear the heavens open, but not be able to see any possible damage that was happening. I kept on washing and ironing as I unpacked another box of clothing or linen.

Front Yard in Cyclone Debbie April 2017.jpg

Once the weather fined up Easter was just around the corner, and with the holidays brought many visitors. So, I got on my hostess hat and my cooks apron. Easter egg hunts and colourful decorations… the last three weeks have gone by in a mess and a blur. And I was amazed at how much time had snuck by and I hadn’t read a book or written a single thing. I’m determined to get back into the swing of things now that the house is back in order, but there is still a collection of boxes waiting to be unpacked hidden out of sight in the shed – but I’m in no rush to get submerged in yet another fun mess anytime soon.

First things first – the keyboard beckons…


© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mental Clutter and Writing

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

There are some days, no matter what the state my house or study is in, I’ll write like a madwoman possessed. Forgetting to eat and only taking necessary breaks to visit the bathroom. I end the day in a misty haze and sore hands. That’s in my manic state. More often than not I require the bed to be made, the dishes done, my desk clear and just a few scattered notes on my outline to accompany me on my writing day… only because of all the mental clutter. Distractions, random thoughts beckoning me away from what I am meant to be doing. (Don’t get me started on the evils of Youtube and Tumblr.)

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

I find making lists keeps my head clear and on point. But they are short and realistically achievable in a day.

In the days when I was fierce about my career in Film and Television, I’d thrive on days of unprecedented tasks. The overachiever in me loved a challenge. My brain and limbs would crackle with nervous energy and the day would literally pass in a blink because I was so consumed with my work. I love that feeling. The amount of work you can get done. But it is not realistic or sustainable, especially in a creative role. Plus, completing such a high volume of work also takes impeccable organisation and time management. These days I have a toned-down version – simply because I like to enjoy my life a bit more, explore the outdoors and feed the muse. If I really wanted to, I could lock myself away and write until bleeding from every orifice. But then I’d have to deal with the crash. The writing hangover. And I’d be no good to get the edits, marketing campaigns, query letters, and all the stuff (which takes up just as much time and is essential after writing ‘the end’) that comes next.

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

There is so much more to writing a book than writing a book.

So I like to keep my house, my workspace, and my thoughts organised. I have folders galore. Excel spreadsheets. Goals stuck on the wall in front of my face. It works for me. It leaves me feeling fresh and ready to take on the world in the mornings. Because writing is a long-term endeavour – for me anyway. I give myself small daily wins and keep my eye on the finish line.

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle


If I don’t maintain the tidiness of my work desk at times I feel claustrophobic or headachy. Psychosomatic symptoms of trying to juggle too many things and keep on task.

When I lived in the city, I loved my white, sparsely furnished office, with a massive workbench to spread out on. Now in the county, I love the view from the mountain top to the coastline. It says anything is possible. Sky’s the limit. Yes it’s cliché, but having so much space just outside my window lets me expand my mental musings into the never-ending sky.

Mental Clutter and Writing Pic 06 by Casey Carlisle

I’ve come up with some of my best ideas watching the clouds roll across the lush green landscape. It’s calming. It’s inspiring. Now I understand what people say when purporting that nature is fodder for creativity. I’ve also noticed, the lessening of technology aids in my writing productivity. No television, internet, phones and other devices. It’s me and the blank page. Pen and paper or the keyboard and my word processor. Simple. Something about that state calls to me. Urges me to fill it with words and ideas.

Granted the finish line will always keep moving. Because, lets face it, there is always going to be the next book I want to write. It will be that way until I die. And that’s okay.


© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dealing with Girl Hate in Literature and Real Life


An observation pulled from some of my favorite novels, and experiences from my own life, shows there seems to be a lot of girl hate. Bullying. Insecurity. And there seems to be little justification behind the sudden backlash of slurs. Some chalk it up to puberty or jealousy. But it has continued through all aspects of my life, and in many genres of books. I thought I comment on some of the more prominent forms that I’ve experienced.

dealing-with-girlhate-pic-08-by-casey-carlisleEven if someone is dealing-with-girlhate-pic-03-by-casey-carlislestruggling with their size, it doesn’t diminish them as a person. In Victorian times having a little extra padding meant you came from wealth because you could afford food. Now it seems packing a few extra pounds is displeasing to the eye. Makes you unattractive. All this PhotoShop re-touching and refusal of fashion designers to manufacture larger sizes, or even display their couture on models over a size 0. Have we became so hateful towards female biology? It is a natural state for girls to carry more body fat as they get older. It has nothing to do with being unhealthy or unattractive, it’s a natural cycle of hormones and metabolism. I read this kind of hate and bullying in books too, though I’m glad that we are starting to see a movement against this stereotype (on television too) Main characters who aren’t rail-thin are starting to pop up in the mainstream. I hope this trend continues and helps to stamp out body shaming, we should be sisters in arms, not tearing each other down with fickle, narcissistic attacks.

dealing-with-girlhate-pic-09-by-casey-carlisle dealing-with-girlhate-pic-04-by-casey-carlisleAnd may other reasons. But when did having an opinion, indulging in free speech, make someone so awful? World leaders, innovators, business owners, have all struggled with nasty slurs because they stick to their guns. I actually find it attractive, if someone is resolute in their beliefs. Mental strength and intelligence breeds a fertile environment for growth. These days we see female characters embracing the term. Proud to wear the mantle of bitch. Because it portrays power. It’s not quite free of a negative image, but it’s starting to evolve into something like #girlboss instead of some foul mouth wench with nothing but negative comments spewing from her mouth.

dealing-with-girlhate-pic-10-by-casey-carlisledealing-with-girlhate-pic-05-by-casey-carlisleOr maybe she is not afraid of her own sexuality. And the sad thing is, being called a virgin can be just as derogatory. We really can’t win… Slut shaming seems to be more present in YA than other genres, girls use it to jostle for power in their peer groups, to be the alpha chick who is not to be trifled with or she’ll tear you down. There is still such a stigma with sex through the teen years, and I really wish it could be approached responsibility rather than reinforcing negative views on sex and sexuality. The trend is starting to get addressed on the television screens, but I’ve yet to read much about it in the novels from my shelves. Yes, bullying is attacked in some, but slut shaming tends to be a character trait or a storytelling device. This leads on to another element I’ve personally experienced:

dealing-with-girlhate-pic-11-by-casey-carlisledealing-with-girlhate-pic-06-by-casey-carlisleI’m five foot eight inches, so sit on the tall end of the scale, and have been called tranny or drag queen by girls in clubs as I’m walking by, or behind my back. Since when is being tall a failing – these slim models gracing our magazines are the same height – it’s just another juvenile hate-filled slur women use to make them feel good about themselves. I tend to see this trend reversed in literature. Girls are described as Amazonian, and strong, warrior-like. Someone to aspire to. This certainly does not translate to real life. I may get a rare “You’ve got lovely long legs” almost hinting that I use them to ensnare men like some black widow spider. Getting called ‘tranny’ is a big pet hate of mine, it’s doubly offensive. It’s said with the intention to make you feel less than a natural born woman, clumsy and unnatural. Which I find preposterous! I know some transgendered women and they are gorgeous, successful, intelligent, and talented women. It’s wonderful to see many book titles being released starring diverse characters on identity and sexuality. They are diffusing these kind of prejudices and hopefully will get rid of this kind of discrimination and bullying for good.

There are so many other aspects bullies latch on to, or make up, to lash out with words. You have short hair, you must be a lesbian. You like sports, or never wear dresses… You wear glasses, or have braces – metal head. Don’t get me started on being called a ginger or bluey because I have red hair. It’s pitiful to be at the blunt end of girl hate. And bullies will always find something. I’m glad to see it getting reduced in my reading choices. Readers are becoming more intelligent, more discerning in their purchase decisions when at the checkout. So it is forcing authors to develop interesting, complex and diverse characters. Tackle more politically aware subject matter and have a social conscience. Granted, it won’t stomp out bad behavior, but it is shining a light on it and forcing nasty characters to explain themselves… and that’s something I really like.

dealing-with-girlhate-pic-12-by-casey-carlisleSheesh! A dealing-with-girlhate-pic-07-by-casey-carlislegenuinely gorgeous girl can be reduced to her physical appearance. I’ve heard it said with malice many times in real life. Signalling that the target has the mental capacity of an ape – or that she uses sexuality to get what she wants. She can’t also be a kind and loving person, or a rocket scientist. No. She can’t possible have it all. There is nothing to tear her down with so let’s make perfection a failing… oh please! Women are put on pedestal frequently in books, and having all these attributes is praised, idolized even. But we see plenty of girl hate in real life. But this can also be a negative, because it reduces the character to a two-dimensional caricature.

Women, girls, PEOPLE, are complex creatures. We have motivations, hidden depths. Why do we assume so little at first glance? Why look for the hate? Why not start looking or the amazing?

I’m beginning to find novels coming out with some fantastic female friendships, especially in YA. It’s showing the full range of a character and not reducing a female to a trope or stereotype. It gives me hope that we’ll be able to reduce the amount of girl hate out there. Nasty trolls posting awful comments online, bullying, it feeds girls insecurities and can lead to feeling shame unnecessarily, fearing for your personal safety, depression, behaviors like cutting and even suicide. So let’s put a stop to girl hate and become sisters instead.

Personally, looking back over my life, I’ve been on both sides of the fence in many of these types of behavior. But thankfully, through my experiences and reading habits, I’m identifying potentially harmful behavior and words, and grow into a better version of myself.



© Casey Carlisle 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

LONERS : themes behind the sci-fi series

LONERS Collection Title Banner by Casey Carlisle.jpg

A look behind the curtain into the creative process.

I was asked by a friend last week, when discussing my progress on the science fiction series I’m writing, what the significance of the titles were? So I thought I’d share my answer to the inspiration here as well…

The main novels in this collection all bare names of a deity from ancient Earth mythology. The books themselves do not involve Gods, or their mythology. It’s merely symbolic. Although we could view aliens and their technology as god-like: and that’s as far as the collusion goes.

Each book in this series, with exception of the first (‘Prelude’) follows a theme that the name incites. Asherah in Semitic mythology is the God of the oceans. Or Mother Goddess. She is also purported to be God’s wife. What better idea for the conception for a series of books? So, when Taylor finds herself on a strange planet entirely covered in water, the only human in an alien world, I felt a kinship with the name.

At the beginning of each novel there is also a quote around the mythology of the deity pertaining to the theme of the novel. It’s from some imaginary tome in the LONERS universe. I’m a big fan of literary quotes at the start of books – they help set the tone.

Hestia is the goddess of the home and hearth. Which this next book in the series deals with Taylor surviving on a harsh desert-like planet with three suns. It appears to be inhabited by… something adept in advanced technology. But there’s a heavy theme of surviving in the outback on her quest to get back home with this installment.

Gemini is the most recognisable name, which needs little explanation, as both the stories of Asherah and Hestia collide in an unexpected way.

The final book in the collection (for the time being) is Isimud. Drawn from Sumerian mythology, who is a messenger of sorts, delivering news of consequences to other Gods. Isimud is usually depicted with two faces, one staring into the past, the other into the future. With the nature of space travel and the space-time continuum this deity was the perfect choice for venturing out into space answering a message… but that’s about the most insight you’ll get for this novel 😉 Not about to spoil you on any plot points.

Themes aside, I’m really proud of the mix of adventure and science fiction that follow our protagonist heroine Taylor. Who, after being caught in a weird explosion of light, finds herself having to fight for survival in a myriad of alien situations. A story of hope and humanities will to keep on keeping on.

Taylor is a mix of a nerdy biologist and a girl who loves hiking and the outdoors. She’s going to have to use all her intelligence, wits, and will to make it through another day to survive.

Aiming for a late 2017/early 2018 release date.

LONERS Prelude teaser 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Thanks Life. Thanks Writing.

city-vs-country-pic-01-by-casey-carlisleKnow thy neighbour…

I’ve mentioned many times in my posts about my move to the country to pursue writing… but today it dawned on me – literally a ray of sun broke through the dappled clouds as I sat on the balcony with dinner (and a glass of champagne) staring at the coastline, feeling relaxed… I know all of my neighbours. We talk often. I even know the staff at the local stores I shop at regularly. And I can’t say that for the city I lived in for seven years prior to moving here.

What is it about crowds that allow us to disappear?

I even have long friendly chats with our Postie – she’s a lovely woman with a daughter just about to graduate high school and we joke over all manner of life’s predicaments.

When I stare out the window I always get some small surprise. Local wildlife putting on a show. Last week it was millions of white butterflies, this week all the rose bushes are starting to blossom in hues of ivory and pink.

I’ve always said I’m a city girl at heart, and I stick by it. I miss the shopping, outings to catch up with friends, choices for dining out… and wearing nice clothes – and heels! Okay now my girlie girl is starting to show. But living in the country has afforded me to follow my writing seriously, though, it hasn’t come without some sacrifice.

Writing is such a solitary endeavour. Sometimes when I look up from the computer monitor a whole week has gone by and I haven’t stepped outside the house. When inspiration takes over and your furiously typing time has a way or sneaking by.

So, in the theme of thanksgiving – even though it’s not something we celebrate in Australia – I’m thankful for the place I live in, and where I’m at in my life right now. No complications. Free to follow the grammatical muse. I appreciate my surroundings and acknowledge the inspiration it brings. And I LOVE that I get to do something fulfilling every day. Write.

It’s by no means altruistic or world changing, but it fills me up and pays me back tenfold.





© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fit for Writing

Ever since I took the plunge and started taking my writing seriously, long hours at the keyboard have resulted in an expanding waistline. Now, the imaginative prose I churn out have thickened into a spare tyre around my mid-section.

Fit for Writing Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

So I started exercising, not only to keep my body fit, but my mind fresh and pumped full of endorphins – only it didn’t work. The pounds kept creeping on. I was starting to feel like I had been cursed. *shakes fist at the sky*

I eat healthy, exercise regularly and felt I was doing everything to keep that trim body, but it just wasn’t happening. The same thing I used to do in my 20’s and 30’s has stopped working. After speaking to a doctor and then a fitness trainer, I discovered women of a certain age (I hate that phrase) go through a major hormonal shift, and weight gain happens to be a consequence.

Great. But what if I don’t feel comfortable with the extra weight, what if I’m concerned about an increased risk of diabetes or other health issues? I can learn to love jiggly bits, as long as it is not at the cost of my health and lifestyle.

All is not lost. With this shift in metabolism and body chemistry, I’ve been told I need to change tactics – cardio will no longer help shed the pounds alone. I need to be doing some weight training. It works, but be warned – it’s much harder to achieve.


So I’ve begun the new regimen… it’s still too early to see results, but I can tell you, those aching muscles during the two days after a workout are a killer. I mean it. I hobble around like an old woman in pain moaning and groaning. Having to sit down and get up is particularly challenging…and don’t get me started on climbing the stairs. I went to the toilet and felt like I was going to have to call for a crane to lift me up and down. I’m really starting to hate exercise. How long will this pain go on? I think I’d rather keep my added padding and forgo the torture. That is, until I get dressed and my clothes are hugging a bit too tightly.

I swing from depressed, to feeling ugly, to determined and motivated at the flip of a coin lately. It’s hard to write when your belly hits the table, constantly reminding you that it’s time to trade in your wardrobe for the next size up. Or your friends are worried you’ve fallen pregnant ‘at your age.’

Sheesh. When did I get so worried about the way I looked? Where is my female empowerment?

fit-for-writing-pic-03-by-casey-carlisleIt’s really got nothing to do with other people finding me attractive, or fitting into a certain dress size, or hitting a particular number on the scale. It’s about being able to bend over and tie my shoe, being able to step easily into my nickers, and not have them ride up uncomfortably to unmentionable places, wedged in by slabs of cellulite. It’s about feeling vital and young, about that headspace that is clear of doubt and a nasty voice calling you fat and ugly. It’s about me.

That’s half the challenge –getting over your own crap. Finding the motivation to keep going. Even though it’s getting harder, bit by bit you can get there. Soon the clothes will fit, you’ll feel better and productivity will rise because you are happier. But you could be happy as you are without losing the weight, if you can change your attitude. Though it is hard when society’s beauty standards are thrown in our face every second in a modicum of ways.

There is so much wrapped in my head in trying to shed these pounds.

The other part is time. If I am a writer, I should be spending the bulk of my day writing. But daily chores, marketing, blogging, socialising, and of course, now exercising, keep demanding attention. It adds further frustration and impacts on my frame of mind when I stare at a blank page. Who needs this typhoon of detritus spinning in their mind when they are trying to focus on their manuscript? Not me. No sir. It’s enough to turn me to drink. Another champagne thank you!

I’ve written a few articles on health and fitness, and a few about time management – all focused around my headspace, wellbeing, and time for following my passion. And let’s face it, I’ll probably still drop an article here and there on the same topic, because the problem will still be here. It’s a part of life, and we can’t write it away. Though writing about it does help release some negativity, remind me what is important, and keep the issue in perspective. I choose to never give up, keep striving for that balance. For that fulfillment. Sometimes it’s hard work, but I’d rather keep my eyes on the horizon than stare at the ground around my feet and go nowhere.

So, to all of my fellow writers out there who stumble across roadblocks, stay strong!

Stay Calm and Keep Writing!

UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Outback sleepovers (it’s called camping people)

Outback Sleepovers Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

In a world where glamping is the ‘in’ thing today, back in the ‘80’s, growing up in the desert, one of the things we did for fun (and to get away from the parents) was good old fashioned camping.

You only had to travel five minutes out of town to find a spot if you wanted to – there’s not much as far as facilities outside of Alice Springs. Smack bang in the centre of Australia, surrounded by bush and desert. So, as teens if we didn’t go ten-pin bowling, attend a Birthday Party, have a video night, hang out at the Truck Stop, or visit the Speedway on a Saturday Night (alternatively, there was the Drive-Inn… yep there were no cinemas in those days – the fun was seeing how many people you could fit into your car, admission was $10 per car. After we parked up, it was like a circus automobile with dozens of teens exiting and heading to the cafeteria before the matinee started) In a small town everyone knew everyone else, so if you wanted to get up to no good – you needed to go bush!

Outback Sleepovers Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

Our idea of debauchery was gossiping and telling ghost story’s around the campfire… and maybe partaking in whatever booze we could get our hands on. Which usually consisted of bag wine, West Coast Coolers, or Port. Oh how times have changed, I’d sooner stick my arm up a Yeti’s bum than partake in any of those beverages these days. But what can I say, we were teen rebels! Sometimes we’d also play Spotlight. Which is a form of tag, or touch-chasey in the dark, where the person who is “in” has a handheld torch and it’s everyone else who hides and tries to get close enough to touch the torch bearer (and hopefully scare the pants of them as well) without being “spotted” by a beam of light.

I’m undecided if these nocturnal activities sound lame or not. I think I’d still prefer such idiotic fun over scrolling through social media feeds on a phone for hours. The only thing that could entice me away was a good book. But hey, I am a huge nerd. #nerdpride

Taking anywhere between one and four cars, packed to the top of the windows with food, bedding, water and contraband, we’d randomly head off in a direction away from the prying eyes of our parents. Little brother’s in tow (usually the payoff for some bribe to keep his mouth shut from witnessing a previous indiscretion.) And we were free!

Usually our campsites were pitched in or around the numerous dry riverbeds that meandered the landscape. Our outback sleepovers were always eventful. It meant flirting with your crush (however ineptly in my case), and we could make as much noise as we wanted – no adults to tell us to keep quiet. Yay!

Outback Sleepovers Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpg

But the outback is fraught with perils: poisonous snakes and spiders, large goanna’s, and other four-legged wildlife. We were survival savvy though, and nothing nasty ever interrupted our partying. The only notable incursions took the form of a dingo, riffling through our belongings as we slept, and took particular favour to my leather camera case… there were bits and pieces scattered everywhere when we woke the next morning. And the canine perpetrator sitting beside the car patiently waiting for another morsel when we cooked our (usually inedible) breakfast. Of course I had to wail “A dingo took my camera case” for a few laughs (if you don’t get that joke google Lindy Chamberlain.) Another encounter, and one that could have been dangerous in hindsight, was when we woke to find ourselves surrounded by cows. Close to a hundred of them. I opened my eyes to find a bovine staring back, stupidly chewing its cud, threatening to drop a huge gob of saliva on my forehead. We literally had to push the ambivalent things away, careful not to spook the herd and avoid getting trampled. Thank goodness no-one was stepped on overnight.

It was all in a night’s fun for this outback girl, until we discovered how to get fake ID’s and hung out at the only club that would permit us entry… but that’s another story.

I miss my friends, and our (mostly innocent) fun, and look forward to a reunion of the old gang later in the year – maybe I’ll dredge up some more humorous anecdotes to share… watch this space!


© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The “AHH” Factor

The AHH Factor 01 by Casey Carlisle

It’s coming up on two years since I traded in my stilettoes for gum boots: and how am I fairing?

Walking into spider webs, getting attacked by mites and ants when gardening, dodging cane toads in the wet season after dark. Trying to keep bats, parrots, possums and rats off my vegetable garden. Keeping a keen eye out for snakes in spring – even stepping in between my dog and a small brown snake newly out of hibernation. Seeing spiders the size of my hand and cockroaches the size of matchbox cars… all the things that crawl, skitter, skuttle, slide and bite have me screaming ‘Ahh!’ and wishing for the paved streets of suburbia with a deep yearning. But I love the peace and quiet, the fresh air and the rainforest just outside the back door. A recent trip to the city helped me put my move to the country into perspective…

House-sitting a friends place for a week seemed like a welcome chance to fulfil my withdrawals from city life. I got to wear nice clothes and wasn’t covered in mud and dirt, and caught up with friends over café lunches. I went shopping and indulged in cell phone reception and fast internet speeds. It was all so wonderful. But the maddening traffic with idiot drivers having me in a state of panic with near misses every second day. The sound of the neighbours cooking, eating, chewing… I mean, I heard everything… from both sides! I did not get much sleep.

So I guess there are pros and cons for both locales, but I think for the sake of my nerves, and my writing, my mountain top home is for the win. While it is isolated and comes with all manner of wildlife to combat and shriek at, it feeds my imagination and keeps me calm. All those things I love about city life can be a distraction to my goals this year with writing, blogging and reading. Not to mention the added little expenses of spotting a bargain, some coffee and cake there, and petrol consumption. I save a lot of money living in the wilderness.

The AHH Factor 02 by Casey Carlisle

So, I’m thinking with limiting my trips to the metropolis solely for a fix and catching up with friends is something I should have done long ago… but that was when I needed to be in the city for work and cancer treatment. Now I get to chase my dream of being an author and have the Zen of mountain top rainforest to keep me inspired as I release a relaxing breath… ‘ahhhh…’ How that word captures what I love and hate about this place, but I think this is the perfect place for me right now.

Plus, my friend’s just love hearing all the anecdotes about me combatting the denizens here – something about me in a state of panic amuses them to no end…

What is your ideal writing retreat?

UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Surprising things on the lawn this morning

I was lucky enough to get a call from an old friend this morning to help with the critters on his grass… sea grass that is.

I think the last time I posted about anything to do with ocean research was back in December last year when I got to do some more turtle tagging and population biometrics. With autumn settling in, it’s pretty nippy some mornings, however, the Sunshine Coast is still boasting warm days and some calm seas. So you can guess this little girl was excited at a chance to get out on the wild blue and do some exploring… Avast me lubbers! Half a day’s travel to a nearby dugong population, Aaron had phoned me up to help him collecting data on a herd he’s been studying.

Me – turn down the chance to swim with dugongs – hell no!

I didn’t have any gear, or an underwater camera, so I’m lucky Aaron was well prepared… usually his calls for help entail me trudging through mangroves, or sitting on a boat. And there is always endless opportunity to make a spectacle of myself, I’m built like a giraffe and co-ordinatedly challenged. But I love it, so my friends have to put up with my trips, falls and ass-pants. But this was amazing! I literally wanted to make a starfish in the seabed it looked so inviting.

Dugong 01 by Casey CarlisleThere was about fifteen dugongs in this herd, and a few swam up close for a nosey. It’d be great to give them a pat, but were observing in the wild and it’s not good to let them get too domesticated. One poor fella had scars across his back – a threat to this species where motorboat propellers catch them travelling over their feeding meadows. But he seems in good health. Many populations in the southern region are in danger, other factors like accidental capture in fishnets have impacted numbers as well.

There were small schools of fish, I glimpsed a cuttlefish and a number of crustaceans on the substrate. I would have loved to wander around and see what else I could find (and snap some pics), but we had a job to do. Did I mention I’m kicking myself for leaving my camera behind? Aaron graciously sent me a few snaps of our outing – probably because I whines so much at being ill prepared to document our outing. Thanks again Aaron – you are awesome!

At least this trip I wasn’t plagued with my usual clumsiness and managed to stay on my own two feet when on dry land.

It looks like the area of the sea grass itself is shrinking. And it had me wondering as to the environmental factors affecting the situation, as we’ve also had a significant event with coral bleaching along the Great Barrier Reef. I shudder to think of a possibility where all the amazing wonders I’ve seen could be wiped out in the near future if we don’t do all we can to protect these colonies, parks and reefs. James Cook University recently released a study that the reef will be dead within 5 years if some major work is not done to save it. I can’t imagine the impact on our parks and industry. It is a daunting thought and I don’t think enough noise is being made to help protect our sea life and their habitats.

Given the water is shallow and there wasn’t a lot of wind around, the water was pretty turgid, so visibility was hazy. I’d love to re-visit on a day with high visibility and low currents, it would be like standing on a hilltop paddock with the cows magically suspended in the air. It made me feel truly humble and I really want to do all I can to help protect this wonderful species. I’d like my children and nieces and nephews to enjoy and appreciate experiences like these.

So my day on the green was a little different, but I still am in awe at everything Mother Nature has to offer.


Me and Aaron posing for an underwater selfie.

Head Under Water by Casey Carlisle.jpg

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.