Tag Archives: Duo Ex Machina

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!

Cover Reveal: Duo Ex Machina – Kiss and Cry

I’m delighted to reveal the cover for my upcoming fourth Duo Ex Machina novella, Kiss and Cry.

Set in 2014, Kiss and Cry sees musicians and life partners Frank Capriano and Milo Bertolone facing new challenges. Milo is taking part in a celebrity ice dancing show for charity; Frank is a busy music producer. They’re both working too hard and losing touch with the love that has kept them strong for so long. At the same time, some odd things are going on with other participants in Icing It! What new and unlooked-for danger threatens them now, and is it worse than the miserable estrangement they’re going through?

Kiss and Cry is currently being serialised for my $3 supporters on Patreon. That will finish in February 2020, when all Patrons will get the book as one of their regular awards. Soon after, it will be available for general sale.

In the meantime, this is the lovely cover by Willsin Rowe, who has created all the new series covers to date.

Join my Patreon in August 2019 and get special rewards!

From 1 to 12 August 2019, I’m running a special offer for those joining my Patreon!

What is my Patreon?

At my Patreon, my supporters get sneak peeks of works in progress, cover reveals, research tips and writing tutorials! Some posts are provided a week ahead of my regular blog while others are exclusive to my supporters.

A key reward for my followers there are the Duo Ex Machina ebooks, but there are plenty more rewards depending on the support tier.

My supporters have already helped me to produce three novellas in the Duo Ex Machina series, with the fourth and fifth due for completion in 2020.

August Special Offers

  • Every new person who joins at the Class Act Level ($5/month) or above will get a free Scar Tissue and Other Stories ebook!
  • Everyone who joins at the Name that Tune Level ($10/month) and above will receive a cross-stitched bookmark, hand-made by me! Each bookmark is unique and relates to one of my stories.
  • Everyone who joins at the Booked Out Level ($20 in Australia; $25 everywhere else) will receive all current 2019 books, sent out over 2 months (ebooks by the end of September, paperbacks by the end of October).

New patrons will be charged up-front on the day you sign up – and have immediate access to three novellas to download and all the posts relevant to your tier!

Rewards will be fulfilled by the end of September 2019 (as I’ll be off in Dublin for WorldCon and travels in the UK from mid-August to early September).

For access to ebooks right through to tutorials, sneak peeks and other rewards – Become a Patron! from 1-12 August 2019.

Research: The (invented) Hobart Kites

In the new Duo Ex Machina novella, Kiss and Crycurrently being serialised on my Patreon – I have my muso couple, Frank and Milo, hitting their late thirties and a bumpy patch in their relationship.

While Frank is working long hours as a producer now, Milo is burning the candle at both ends keeping his charitable foundation running. One way he’s doing that is by competing on an ice dancing show – Icing it!

One of Milo’s fellow celebrity contestants is Adam Wills, Indigenous star mid-fielder for the Hobart Kites, Tasmania’s Australian Rules Football team.

Sharp-eyed Australians will know that at present in real life, Tasmania does not have an Australian Football League (AFL) team playing in the nationals.

I decided to invent an AFL team for this story because of the kind of off-field shenanigans some of Adam’s team-mates get up to. Real life AFL is full of scandals and misbehaviour, but I felt for Kiss and Cry, it would be better if I assigned any such activity to a not-real club, so that I wouldn’t be perceived to be accusing anyone of anything.

Thus the Hobart Kites were born – the club coming from Tasmania’s capital and given a bird motif (common among the clubs). Tasmania has four kinds of native kite – a predator bird. Tassie boasts eagles and hawks as predator birds as well, but other clubs in the AFL have already adopted those as mascots. So far, no Kites are in the big league.

(The Tasmanian Devil or the Tasmanian Tiger might have worked too, but of course such obvious names are already in use by other sporting teams in Tasmania and/or those mascots are also already claimed within the AFL!)

The colours for the Hobart Kites –  green, yellow and maroon – are the state colours of Tasmania, so it made sense for the Kites jerseys to be in those hues. I’ve attempted to make a mock-up of the jersey (using a template) but please excuse my terrible Paint skills. 

Tasmania would LOVE to have an AFL team and have a website to promote it – I’ve no idea when or if it will ever happen. I honestly don’t know that much about the rules or the current AFL ladder, though I’ve been to games in the past and support the Richmond Tigers because that’s where I lived when I first moved to Melbourne (and they have the best club song!).

tl;dr – Tasmania does not currently have a team in the AFL. I invented one to use in Kiss and Cry to avoid any unpleasantness with real people and clubs and reiterate that the Hobart Kites are not based on anyone or anything in particular. 🙂 

If you want to find out more about Frank and Milo’s relationship crisis, the Icing It! dance competition or the Hobart Kites shenanigans, you can either sign up to my Patreon at the Backstage Pass level for fortnightly updates (and loads more) or wait until the novella ha run its course there and is available for sale.

In the meantime, you can look at getting the first three novellas in the Duo Ex Machina series!