About Me

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I am a writer, editor and reviewer based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

My first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia (Book 1 of The Talismans) is published by Satalyte - it's available from their website as well as from Amazon.com and other online outlets. Book 2, The Cloak of Challiver, is in preparation. I also have a short story, La Belle Dame, in print - see Mythic Resonance below.

The Dagger of Dresnia

Buy The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia, Book 1 of The Talismans Trilogy, is available in paperback and e-book from the publisher, Satalyte Publications - click on the cover to visit their online shop. You can also purchase it from Amazon.com and other online retailers. The paperback can also be found in selected bookstores in Australia.

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

Prefer hard copy?

There are still a few paperback copies of Mythic Resonance available, too. Contact me (there's a contact form on my website) if you'd like a copy - $20 including postage within Australia.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong, Australia

Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've Lived - Sydney

Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier

Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
Blue Lake

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day

Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
From Kings Park

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night

Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

Inner Peace Blog

Inner Peace Blog
Awarded by Joanna Fay. Click on the image to visit her lovely website!

Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award
Awarded by Kim Falconer. Click on the pic to check out her Quantum Astrology blog!

Fabulous Blog Award

Fabulous Blog Award
Awarded by Kathryn Warner. Click on the pic to check out her Edward II blog!

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Monday, 2 March 2015

Around in circles I go



I’ve vowed not to undertake any new editing jobs for the next few months. I am too easily seduced into doing more and more things and winding up a nervous wreck.

The past month has been incredibly busy, particularly on the reviewing front. We've had the Perth Fringe Festival, the Perth Festival proper and the Writers Festival – all within a few weeks, with overlaps! I was a bit greedy and took on a lot of reviewing – but  who could resist, especially with the Writers Festival, which was chock-a-block with talks and panels from an impossible number of fine authors.

My colleague Ilsa Sharp and I managed a fair spread of the Writers Festival between us, but seeing as there were generally four things on offer in each timeslot, there was no way we could cover everything! You can read the results of our endeavours on Artshub. Just follow the links.  

Day one: in which we encountered love, biography, and Man Booker Prize-winner DBC Pierre.  

Day two: in which we focused on writing for young adults, gender and fiction, the quest for inspiration and the value of creativity. 

Day three part one: in which the spotlight fell on diverse matters including tales of history and survival, language and human rights  

Day three part two, where we found matters pertaining to politics, personalities  - and roses.

In the Festival proper, I saw only Mozart Dances and Cut the Sky, both very fine shows indeed. But I got a bit carried away by the Fringe. The amazing ladies of Divalicious, Penny Shaw and Fiona Cooper-Smyth, were in fine fettle. They are versatile opera singers par excellence, with a fabuous flair for comedy and glamour. Actress and all-round showie Penny Smith showed her wit and wisdom in an enormously entertaining take on Pride and Prejudice, and a fine parade of comics had us in stitches, night after night. You can read the reviews on Artshub – just Google! 

What's more, I have signed up for French and Italian classes this term as well as continuing my various keep-fit and dance commitments, so this will be a busy year, if I don't collapse in the meantime. You can see why I haven't been blogging - or writing book three of The Talismans. Back to the workspace, Satima!




Pic courtesy of https://myfinalchanceforlife.wordpress.com/
Thursday, 5 February 2015

Why waste a perfectly good review?




Perth's Fringe Festival is in full swing, and I am in full-on reviewing mode. I've seen four shows so far - the most recent, Matt Prince's A British Bloke's Guide to Being a Man, was last night, and a very funny and touching show it was. (My review should go up within the next couple of days.)

However, due to 'clerical error' not one, not two, but THREE reviewers from Artshub attended the third show, Promise and Promiscuity. Two of us found out about the glitch and we agreed I would submit a review while the other lady took a break  - but we didn't know that a third reviewer, Mariyon Slany, was also in the house and unlike me, she was prompt in submitting her review. You can read Mariyon's review here But that meant I was stuck with a review that would not see light of day unless I published it myself. On the premise that no performer, writer or artist can ever have too many reviews, here it is!

Ahem (clears throat noisily) Cue review-writing mode ...

Billed as ‘A new musical by Jane Austen and Penny Ashton’ Promise and Promiscuity lives up to its title in many and varied ways. For starters, New Zealander Penny Ashton is a performer full of promise, and she is quite promiscuous in pinching bits of other people’s work to create something new and wonderful.


Much of the ‘pinching’ comes from Austen, of course – Ashton tells the audience that there are thirty-three quotes from that author’s work in the show (I must admit that some of them passed below my radar) and the characters, as might be expected, are lifted from Pride and Prejudice. And the music is plagiarised from Beethoven, Strauss and the Top Forty, inter alia.
(Spoilers follow!) Of course, the plot is loosely based on Pride and Prejudice. The Bennet family, however, has been pruned down to the widowed Mrs Slowtree, her two daughters, Elspeth and Cordelia, and an obnoxious cousin, Horatio. Mr Darcy is there, of course, in the form of one Reginald, and – here is where the plot departs from Austen – he has a friend who is Elspeth’s first choice in the husband line. However, the said friend turns out to be under the thumb of his titled mother and leaves poor Elspeth in the lurch. For, as Reginald wisely observes, ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young man in possession of a fortune wants to keep it’! Mention should be made of one more character, Mr David Smith, who is pulled from the front row of the audience to learn to dance. And in the end, he is betrothed to Cordelia. (End spoilers!)
The show is funny, clever and full of subtle bawdiness (Elspeth finds balls attractive) and there are clever anachronistic jokes, such as reference to a new ‘topless Aston-Martin carriage’. Apart from the gentleman drawn from the audience, all the above roles are played by Penny Ashton, and it is one of the best solo shows I’ve ever seen. In fact, a truth that should be universally acknowledged is that Penny Ashton is a brilliant and extremely versatile performer who knows her Austen inside out, perhaps thanks to her degree in Drama and the Classics from Canterbury University. She plays all the above roles with aplomb. For just over an hour, she chats, sings, mimes and dances her way around a minimalist set, consisting of two chairs, a table, and a small screen to hide the various props. The characters are clearly recognisable, each with individual mannerisms (e.g. Cousin Horatio snorts a lot). Ashton even gives each character an individual curtain call.
A look at Ashton’s web site shows that she is a pro-active performer, full of creative ideas that have given her a repertoire of solo shows as well as a place in the ConArtists Improv Company. Multi-talented Ashton is proficient in dance, acting, singing, mime and, one suspects, stand-up comedy. She also plays a mean ukulele and knows enough about the publishing world to make in-gags about writing contracts and fan fiction (with of course, bawdy undertones). What’s more, she moonlights as a marriage celebrant! She is taking Promise and Promiscuity to the Adelaide Festival next, and Edinburgh after that. I hope the Scots love it as much I did.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Panache Productions Present
Promise and Promiscuity
Written and performed by Penny Ashton
Music by various composers arranged by Robbie Ellis
Workshop Director: Ben Crowder

Fringe World, Perth
www.fringeworld.com.au
29 January – 3 February, 2015

My other Fringe reviews so far have been of  the delightul Divalicious  and the loveable  La Soirée  - both of them were also 5-star performances. Never before have I given three shows in a row five stars apiece, but Perth Fringe is now attracting world class artists, many of whom spend part of every year travelling from fringefest to fringefest. Next on the circuit for most will be the Adelaide Fringe Festival, and after that, Edinburgh. If you live in either of those places watch out for the above acts. Take my word for it – they are excellent.

 


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