Category Archives: Cool Projects

The Songs of Duo Ex Machina

The five novellas of the Duo Ex Machina series are full of song lyrics I wrote to go with the stories.

Some are by the two-man band Duo Ex Machina (comprising the two lead characters, Frank Capriano and Milo Bertolone, who are also boyfriends). Others are by their friend, Gabriella Valli, and yet others are songs on the radio or that are played during Milo’s time as a contestant on an ice dancing show (in DeM 4: Kiss and Cry).

Now, in partnership with Joshua King of Golden Hour Studios, some of those lyrics are becoming actual songs, released on Apple Music, Spotify and other services!

Listen to our first single – Hymn/Him, from Duo Ex Machina 4: Kiss and Cry on:

You can help us make more music by buying or streaming the Duo Ex Machina songs from Apple, Spotify or Amazon Music: sales proceeds go towards new music.

You can also support the project by:

Or subscribe to the Duo Ex Machina YouTube channel for songs as they’re released.

New Anthology: Oz Is Burning

B Cubed Press’s fundraising anthology Oz is Burning has been released, just a little behind its original timing to coincide with the NZ Worldcon!

B Cubed commissioned the stories as a response to the devastating bushfires of February 2020 (how long ago that seems now) and a portion of the proceeds will be going to WIRES.

Australian and New Zealand writers were asked to submit stories of a post-apocalyptic world. My own contribution, Harvest, has a little fire, a little water, a few seeds and a certain amount of mindful weeding. (My Patreon supporters got a sneak peek of the story earlier in the year).

If you read the ToC reveal in April, you’ll see that Oz is Burning contains stories by some of ANZ’s best writers of specfic and horror, including Gillian Polack, Kyla Ward, Lucy Sussex, Jack Dann and Jason Nahrung (who recently won an Aurealis Award for his PhD thesis!)

Oz is Burning – edited by Phyllis Radford – is already available for Kindle and is likely to be on other platforms soon.

Help to support the writers and WIRES by getting a copy!

New: Dangerous Charm Jewellery

Some of you may already have noticed an exciting new addition to the Narrelle M Harris Mortal Words website! I’m here to tell you how it happened.

When you’re a writer for both the corporate sphere and the world of fiction, your world is mostly made up of words. When reading is a primary past-time, that’s every so many more words to the glorious language cloud that inhabits my brain. Mostly I love it and have few complaints.

But sometimes I long for some creative hobby that isn’t so wordy and that gives me chance to exercise other parts of my febrile brain.

Last year, I decided to make some cross-stitch bookmarks as rewards for supporters of my Patreon. It was huge fun even if time consuming (it takes a lot longer to make a hand stitched bookmark than you might think). I had bought a lot of charms to hang off the end of some bookmarks as little weights, and at the end of the Patreon exercise, I still had a lot of these in my new craft stash box.

I wasn’t sure what to do with them until I remembered my good friend KRin of Pink K Designs makes jewellery. She’d already been fabulous, helping this craft novice learn how to cross-stitch, and was just as wonderful in taking me under her wing and teaching me how to make earrings.

Well, gentlefolk, I took those lessons into my body and soul and promptly went absolutely nuts with delight! I began to make all kinds of earrings inspired by books – my own and others’.

I’ve made Holmes and Watson earrings, often matching different charms to reflect two characters or aspects of a story. I’ve got guns, violins, bees, caduceuses and magnifying glasses in pairs or sets. For Kitty and Cadaver I’ve matched musical themes (treble clefs, guitars, drums and violins) with paranormal themes (vampires and skeletons). Ravenfall matches vampire, doctor and artist charms.

The Secret Agents series is reflected in cupcakes and guns (and coming soon, motorbikes and guns) while Duo Ex Machina continues the music theme, though I’m looking for coffee charms to reflect the Melbourne side of that equation! I have feathers for Grounded and even Richard III and wolf and bat earrings for Scar Tissue and Other Stories.

I’m branching out too, with Ineffable Husbands designs, things inspired by Shakespeare. There’ll be more of those classical inspirations coming soon.

In due course, I’ll be offering earrings as part of the rewards in my Patreon. In the meantime, I’m having a blast exercising my creative impulses in colours and, effectively, pictograms. In a world that’s become very stressful, it’s so soothing to sit with a tray of charms and beads and listen to a podcast (words again!) while I assemble sets of earrings that reflect the books I love to read and write.

(While I’m here, I can very highly recommend the gentle, delightful ABC Radio National podcast The Fitzroy Diaries, created by Lorin Clarke, daughter of the much-missed John Clarke. His spirit may continue in her, but her voice and talent are all her own!)

Rather than being a drain on all my creative impulses, making jewellery turns out to spur them and to feed a need I didn’t know I had. There is such joy in the act of making things.

If you want to see my creations (and maybe buy one or two – I’ve got to fund the purchase of new charms and beads somehow) you can visit Dangerous Charm now!

Short Film: All Bite and no Bark

The inaugural Bendigo International Short Film Festival was held on 23 November 2019 – and I was part of it!

I knew about the festival because I know John Richards, who was running it. At a different event (in October, in Castlemaine), he commented that not many people had sent in films for the competition element – a short film under 15 minutes in which the word Bendigo had to either be spoken or appear during the film.

“It’s so easy, though!” said John. “You can make a film on a phone these days!”

Well, who can resist a challenge like that? Not me, obviously. On the train back to Melbourne that afternoon I came up with a Twilight-zone-ish plot, and by late that evening, after five attempts, I’d ad libbed my way through a Found Footage story. (Ad libbed because I wanted to give it a fresh, just-telling-a-yarn quality, for ‘Kate’ to tell a story in exactly the way I would.)

The production values aren’t great so I wasn’t convinced I should enter it. I shared it with John anyway, for a laugh, and he convinced me it was good enough to be submitted.

So, All Bite and No Bark was entered into the 2019 Bendigo International Short Film Competition, and was screened on Saturday 23 November with a gratifying amount of laughter at the right moments, and gratifying hush at the end.

I’ve shared the film on some other social media, but here it is in all its ad libbed, iPhone quality glory!

The festival was fantastic, by the way – some truly inventive and wonderful films in both the International Shorts and the Competition Shorts (and if you ever get an opportunity to see The Starey Bampire, don’t miss it!)

This isn’t all about me showing off my first short film. Oh no! This, dear readers, is an opportunity for you to see how easy it can be, and to encourage you to prepare your own entry to next year’s Bendigo International Short Film Festival Competition!

You have a year to prepare! (I’ve already got a new idea, with a script this time!)

Visit Bendigo Short Film Fest or their Facebook page to keep an eye on what’s happening during the year and when entries open for next year’s film event!

I hope to be competing with you in it!