Things I do as a writer that save time.

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A comical look at things I’ve noticed – priorities and habits that have changed since I’ve embraced becoming a full-time writer which free up time to follow my favoured craft…

Things I do as an Author Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleI don’t waste time putting on a face full of make-up – sometimes I don’t even brush my hair. Most mornings, it’s a shower, throw on some comfortable clothes and sneakers, and then straight to the keyboard. No longer am I in tailored work attire and high heels, coiffed to perfection. I relax in my stretched out jeans and coffee mug permanently sitting on my right hand side. Every day is casual Friday!

Things I do as an Author Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleI never have to travel far either. Some very rare days, I’ll write right there in bed on my lap top! No long hours stuck in traffic or squeezed in on public transport wondering who is responsible for that odorous smell or dodging that one man who is staring at you in a completely inappropriate way unabashedly.

Things I do as an Author Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleI don’t get interrupted by people walking past, or popping their head into my office. I’m not continually putting out conceptual fires or managing clashing personalities. I have complete control over my work environment. I can unplug the phone and internet if I so desire. Or lament in a busy coffee shop with the soundtrack of gossip and top 40 pop hits – it’s whatever takes my fancy. I can say I LOVE no distractions! Especially when that muse whacks you upside the head with an anvil and you just have to get everything down on paper as quickly as you can.

 

Things I do as an Author Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleI get to pick my hours – I can plan my writing around social visits or events. Some days I write better first thing in the morning, others in the evening hours… just as long as I write every day! I have a pretty much set schedule, but on those days when you are feeling shackled in, it is great to scream out the window and do what the heck you want. I could never have done that in an office or classroom. That adaptability definitely helps increase my productive hours writing.

Things I do as an Author Pic 05 by Casey CarlisleI get to leave my desk in a mess – if I’m in a particular point in a piece of writing and need to call it quits for a day, I can leave my desk in a state of what may look like disarray, but everything is set up for ease of access to information. I can simply walk away and come back the next morning and start right off at the point I left the day before. I never have to worry about things being moved, the cleaner disrupting my files. This comes in handy when I nearing the end of writing a first draft or going through edits. I can be a messy worker in those times.

Things I do as an Author Pic 06 by Casey CarlisleLunch can be a quick trip to the kitchen or microwave. I no longer need to go find a good coffee shop, stand in line and find the perfect seat to consume said lunch – plus eating in public, and consuming food with onion, tuna and other odorous foodstuffs were always off the menu in consideration of my workmates. Now I can stick the place up to my heart’s desire!

Things I do as an Author Pic 07 by Casey CarlisleEvery day is take your pet to work day! It has been proven that having a four-legged companion can increase your productivity and lower your blood pressure – and I intend to embrace that whole-heartedly!

 

 

Things I do as an Author Pic 08 by Casey CarlisleIf you want to quickly google something completely unrelated to what you’re working on, you can without the internet Nazi’s scrutinizing your browser history (or how much time you spend watching cat videos.) So no time is waisted continually glancing over your shoulder to see if anyone can see what is on your screen, and then madly running through folders to empty your temporary folders… not that I ever indulged of ‘naughty’ internet activity at work ;p

I miss the social interaction and the regular stable pay check, but working as a writer from home, or wherever I carry my laptop definitely has many rewards.

To all you wordplayers out there – Happy writing!

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© 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.

Book Review – On the Fence by Kasie West

A little on the fence about ‘On The Fence’ but ultimately enjoyed this cotton-candy contemporary.

On The Fence Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, Romance

No. of pages: 296

From Goodreads:

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

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On The Fence Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleFor a fun contemporary romance, Kasie West is quickly cementing her place as one of my top go-to authors: interesting characters and stories that are like a warm hug.

I liked how Charlie was an athlete – I was starting to get over alternative, quirky, coffee addicts that have been teeming YA of late. Also, the family dynamic of Charlie’s all-male family added a great dynamic, how the men in her life are protective of her whether she is aware of it or not; and how they rough-house with her as well.

Her fathers, attempts at raising a daughter, while commendable, did come across as a little cliché, I was wondering where the doting father went – he was too stand-offish and left me wondering if he was a good father at all. But he manages to redeem himself in my eyes.

Charlie was a good character to relate to, although at times I felt she was too immature, and her behaviour insulting to herself and her brothers (but sometimes her brothers deserved it.) There were also some trite moments that annoyed me, and I felt, did not need to be in the book. But I won’t talk about them here, because – spoilers!

On The Fence Book Review Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleI did take a little issue with the fact how the book step up Charlie (and her missing a female role model as her mother passed away when she was young) in knowing little about fashion and make-up as somewhat deficient in being female. I did not see her as anything less, or nothing other than a strong female role model in herself. It rubbed against my sensibility that an interest in the superficial world of clothing and facial products has anything to do with being female or acceptance by other female peers. But with that said, it was cute and fun (politics aside).

Braden was a sweet boy-next-door character, and again, very typical of this genre, but I liked his tenacity and acceptance of Charlie for who she is, without all the trappings of fashionable accessories.

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Some of the midnight conversations at the fence were touching, and others pointless and contrived. With such a poignant image defining the book, it would have been good that all these interactions were kept embodying the soul of the novel – as some of Charlie’s talks felt immature and irrelevant. But this is only a very small part (and my opinion), and the nocturnal blatherings are a fantastic part of the story and one of my favourites.

I really enjoy Kasie West’s writing style, and have not come across a book of hers that I have not liked. They are luscious uncomplicated reads, yes predictable, but quick, well-paced guilty pleasures that don’t come off too kitsch.

Overall feeling: Cute but average.

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On The Fence Book Review Pic 07 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2015. 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.

Caught up in your craft …by Casey Carlisle.

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Sometimes when you’re so involved in your work, the reaction from the viewing public is like a slap in the face.

If you have been following my blog, you know I am a cancer survivor, and having gone through the recovery process twice, I know how important it is to support the community and people involved in treating the disease… and keep a sense of humour about the whole thing! One of my proudest endeavours in giving back, was a fundraiser event in the form of a self-produced Theatrical Show, including all of the antics and headaches that happened behind the scenes. (There will be more about the creation of the show in a later blog, but for now I’m going to share with you the amusements from the dressing room the centre stage that had my eyes watering from both despair and laughter.)

Our show was the Grand re-opening of the Perth Town Hall after extensive renovations, and culminated months of preparation in choreography, rehearsals, designing and sewing costumes, creating a lighting design and turning over a few cast members.  Our poke in the eye at American-styled Beauty Pageants had each of us performing comedic spot numbers, hilariously scripted interviews, a swimsuit parade with the most outrageous styles we could think of, and ball gowns that put Lady Ga-Ga to shame. The only serious numbers were our Las Vegas Showgirl inspired group numbers, an Acrobat act, and my rendition of a Broadway ballad.

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The excitement, and butterflies assaulting my stomach when the curtain rose at the Premier, kept me energised for the entire night. I needed it to plough through my 47 costume changes, two of which were executed in 30 seconds side of stage – only because the giant headdresses and butterfly wings couldn’t fit through the door backstage. The challenge for the night, especially while twirling across stage in our massive feathered backpacks – not to fall off the edge or face-plant into the floorboards  – which was exacerbated by the fact the floor pitched forward. The Perth Town Hall, being a Heritage Building, constructed around the initial settlement of the city, had levelled audience seating arrangements, not tiered like a regular theatre. Therefore reconstruction to alleviate this problem was strictly outlawed, and we had to adapt. But what the hey – we were professionals!

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The Perth Town Hall, shot from the lighting and sound booth as I discuss the tech-run with a cast member.

The worst thing to happen on stage, though not a pitch over the edge of the tilted stage, but a singular delayed cue for ‘curtain up,’ leaving Chaise (a seductress cast member doing a cabaret number) stranded on the wrong side of the curtain. I imagined her diving underneath the heavy red velvet fabric (as would completely be in her character) but thankfully we were saved from the sight of her bony arse disappearing underneath the heavy fringe by a frantic stagehand.

Backstage was a flurry of diamantes, feather and wigs, as we each raced to change into the next outfit. Our Diva-in-training, executed a stumble down the back stairs, landing legs-in-the-air, buried waist deep in a large clothes bin. Moments later, having recovered from her dunking, managed to mix her next outfit with another dancer, resulting in her prancing back on stage in a way-too-tight leotard, while a dancer nearly lost her pants…  it only added to the comedy and delighted the crowd.

I had become so focused on the creative process of developing the show and enjoying the experience with my friends and cast mates, that I was completely unprepared for the audiences reaction – my big solo spot, singing ‘And I am Telling You’ from Dreamgirls, had people (and my bestie working the spotlight) shedding a quiet tear. Probably due to the context of the song and my well publicised battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When the number drew to an end, it felt like the longest awkward pause, before an unexpected roar with patrons rising from their seats in appreciative applause. But what really fuelled the night was the congregation’s continual laughter from the comedic tone we had woven throughout the entire performance.

Our night ended on a high having a dose of celebrity afterwards with the majority of the public and a small press gallery waiting for photos and autographs and the red carpet. And was it all worth it? Hell yes! Not only did we raise $40,000 for a great cause, everyone involved, be it member of the production, or audience member, had a ball and brought us closer together through giggles and glitter.

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Our spacious dressing rooms, chock-full of costumes ready for the Gala performance.

© Casey Carlisle 2013. 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.

You Pashed a Demon? …. by Casey Carlisle

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Freezing my butt off at 1am, dressed in a white robe, sucking face with a demon… and it tastes like rubber!

As a bit of fun I agreed to star in a short film called ‘Midnight’s Medicine;’ Written, Produced and Directed by Ian West. Think ‘Creepshow’ or a gory ‘Twilight Zone’ and you’ll get the picture. The main motivation for taking part in this adventure was not only to add to my earthly experiences, but push outside my comfort zone and see what happens. It was a blast!

Thanks goodness I was only in make-up and costume for half an hour, not like the actors playing the demons in the film, whom spent in excess of two hours having layers of rubber and foam prosthetics and slatherings of face paint caked on to have them looking effectively horrific. My character was Wendy – the forty year old sacrificial virgin… only that I was a chain smoking, nine month pregnant (and ready to pop) sacrificial virgin; and amorous with all the demons to boot! I was done up in over-the-top smeared pageant make-up and messy, back-combed hair and gently pushed out on to a smoke filled set.

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Cue the comedic performance, complete with a flirt and lick up the side of a spiky-face demon, followed by a cough… when the baby gestating inside my belly deftly popped out and fell to the ground with a wet splat (a prop baby, so don’t start ringing child services). At this point the surrounding five demons, all about to plunge a dagger into my heart in sacrifice to their adored devil master, are astounded that I am not, in fact, a virgin, and begin to accuse each other for defiling my virtue. Then the truth comes out – I’d had my wicked ways with all of them. A fight ensues and they all manage to slaughter each other leaving me standing there uninterested and puffing away on a ciggie.

The screen fades with me wandering off, shrugging at the display, forgetting the recently birthed progeny wriggling in a slimy puddle at my feet.

Not exactly a love story. LOL.

Best part of the night would have to be the camaraderie and catering services – best pasta and sausage sizzle to date. The worst, stepping in a tin of the lighter fluid used for the torches off camera and walking about the rest of the Melbourne middle-of-winters-night with a soggy shoe, and smelling like gasoline.

So I put it to you: don’t be afraid to try something new and crazy, you never know what kind of fun you’re going to have. They always make great stories!

© Casey Carlisle 2013. 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.