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Read, Write, Dance

Read, Write, Dance . Those three words could almost be my epitaph. Certainly (bearing and rearing children aside) they are the three activi...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $AU25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. Book two of the trilogy, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

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.

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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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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Hal Spacejock Download

I am sorry about the kerfuffle with my Sunday post, which I have deleted. In it, I had tried to praise my children - subtly, so as not to embarrass them or sound like a besotted idiot of a parent - and someone took severe exception to what I'd written and posted a response that was nothing short of vitriolic. If it offended one person it obviously had the potential to offend more, so I deleted the entire post and its comments.

That incident upset me and I needed cheering up. Who better to do that than Hal Spacejock? I am sure most of you are familiar with Simon Haynes's zany hero (although maybe "hero" isn't quite the right appellation in Hal's case) whose space adventures with Clunk, his long sufferering robot sidekick, have already delighted thousands of readers in this country. Overseas readers have had to send to Australia for the series (now up to its fourth course) and of course that's added expense for them, but now they can download the entire first book Hal Spacejock, No Free Lunch, from the author's web site. Go get it here if you haven't already.
Saturday, 17 May 2008

My family - and a new toy

I'm blogging a day early this week because this time tomorrow I'll be winging my way back to South Australia for four weeks. It's my daughter Billy's birthday on Tuesday and I'm also hoping to catch up with my friend Annalou while I'm in Adelaide. Then it's back to Mount Gambier for three weeks to spend time with my sisters Erica and Anne. It's Erica's birthday on 7 June and I want to be around for that.

I'm sure I'm not alone in finding that family has become more and more important to me as I get older. With both siblings and children, one has many shared memories and these form the basis of the ties that bind, I think. After all, we often have nothing else in common with other family members. That's certainly true in my case, at least. But then, how many people does one meet, family or otherwise, who love things as diverse as Shakespeare, Astrology, Family History, Meditation, Yoga and reading and writing fantasy? I don't know many people who share even two of those interests with me. That means I move in a variety of circles, most of which never intersect. Family is one of those circles, and an essential one.

I'm going home with an extra item of luggage - a brand new laptop! I was lucky enough to get it for only $490 after cashback (for which I have to wait six weeks or more) and by going into overdraft I was just able to grab it while it was going. It's an Acer Aspire 5315 with an Intel Celeron CPU 550@2.00GHz. Not that such facts mean a lot to me, technophobe that I am, but the nerds among you will no doubt have strong opinions as to its worth:-)

At the Shakespeare Club today we read Acts 1-3 of Cymbeline. I read Imogen for the first time ever. She is a lovable character: feisty, excitable and utterly devoted to and faithful to her husband, although one wonders why: Posthumus comes across as rather unlikeable. It's an incredibly complicated plot. Even more complicated than my WIP!

Apropos, the newest outline of book one of The Trilogy is taking shape. Perhaps I'll have it finished for next time I post. Then I just have to write the durned thang. A mere bagatelle.

Thanks for looking at my new website! When I return to Perth in mid-June I'll prepare posters to put up at the universities for second semester and also get some business cards printed. But right now I'd better go and pack, because tomorrow will be busy. There is a meeting of the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre's Specfic group tomorrow morning, after which I shall have to hurry to the airport.
Sunday, 11 May 2008

On Mothers Day, The Trilogy, Job Hunting and Editing

Here in Australia, as in many other countries, it's Mothers Day. The UK celebrates Mothering Sunday in March, which has a much older tradition behind it, but as usual, the rest of the world nearly all followed America. But whenever you celebrate it, I hope you had a good one this year:-) I certainly did, as I had two sons, a daughter-in-law, two grandchildren, a niece and a grandniece to help me celebrate, and since it is granddaughter Cassandra's birthday this week we celebrated that as well. We had a lovely meal that included dear little quiches prepared by dinlaw Narelle, with yummy caramel mud cake and a nice chardonnay to follow. Daughter Billy rang me while we were carousing (very gentle carousing, it was: none of your quaffing ale from a yard glass or shouting "skol" or "slangi") so she was able to speak to her contemporaries as well as wishing me well. It was one of the nicest Mothers Days ever.

After a most useful meeting with my face-to-face writers group this week I have been happily revising the outline of The Trilogy and so far am feeling pretty confident that this, at last, might prove to be The Definitive Outline. Yes, I know, this must be about Mark 72, but don't be impatient. Heck, it's only taken five years!

But something else has been occupying my attention lately, too. Late last year, I decided that I really needed to earn some extra income. It's a sad fact that the Age Pension doesn't allow one to have very much in the way of quality of life. You can almost, but not quite, live on it, and it's a constant struggle to stay abreast of the bills. One has to prioritise very carefully, and for me, the priorities are rent, food, other essentials (such as power and telephone bills) health insurance and internet access. You will notice that I don't run a car. There's a very good reason for that - I don't drive. However, even if I did, and even if someone gave me a vehicle, the fact is that I couldn't afford to run it. And if the cost of living continues to rise, pretty soon now I'll have to decide between health insurance and internet access. I really, really, don't want to do that. So I decided to look for work.

After several months of hunting, I finally found an advertisement for what looked like my dream job. It involved both office administration and writing. It almost looked as though my name was on it, so perfectly was it suited to my experience and abilities. And would you believe I actually got an interview for the first time in this round of job hunting! This was especially gratifying, seeing as there were about 400 applicants. Alas, I was the employer's second choice, and of course a miss is as good as a mile. Jobs like that one being very thin on the ground, I felt the need to retreat, regroup and form another plan of campaign.

Academic editing is one thing I do for extra cash, but I haven't been chasing it in recent years as I've wanted to focus on my own writing and on critiquing the work of other writers. I hoped to find part-time regular work that would enable me to keep writing for three or four days each week while replenishing the coffers, but realistically speaking, it doesn't look as if that's going to happen any time soon. So with a lot of help from my son Scott I have made a web site. Go and have a look here and see what you think. I'm hoping to expand my editing to include writing other than the academic variety: after all, I've been reading and writing both fiction and non-fiction for a long time now and feel I can offer useful suggestions to writers who are a little behind me on the path, especially those who are hoping to self-publish. It never ceases to amaze me how badly edited many self-published works are. I suspect some have never had a blue pencil anywhere near them, and as my mother used to say, if a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well. Perhaps I can help people present their books just a little more professionally, and without spending a small fortune.

It's a competitive field and I'm probably never going to get rich from editing. It would be nice, though, to earn enough to raise my standard of living by a notch or two. Wish me luck. Please.
Sunday, 4 May 2008

Not before time

A thousand apologies for my long silence. I came out of retreat to find that I had overbooked myself, editing wise, and had a long list of things to do, all on tight deadlines. I’ve just spent a desperate fortnight shuffling jobs.

They weren’t all paid jobs. It was Specusphere time (see link in my profile) and the whole team of volunteers was frantically getting things ready for the publication date of 1 May. On the last day of April I was up until 3.00am, writing, editing and uploading. It was with a long sigh of relief that I finally fell into bed. But when I checked the site next morning it all looked very worthwhile indeed. Our doughty Editor-in-Chief, Stephen Thomson, had also had a late night and an early morning, getting the front page in order so all our new uploads could stand up and be counted. There are interviews with K.E. Mills, Sean Williams, Paul Collins and Tony Plank; two film reviews and no fewer than ten book reviews, plus fiction, poetry and features including my report on Swancon. I’m very proud of the fact that I wrote the editorial, too – the first one I’ve ever written! Amanda, Astrid, Stephen and I are now eagerly watching the hits mount up. It’s obvious that we have regular readers lying in wait for each edition to go live.

As well as handing out kudos to rest of the editorial team, Stephen Thomson, Amanda Greenslade and Astrid Cooper, I’d like to mention my wonderful reviewers. Bobbi Sinha-Morey and Joan Malpass are two regular contributors: Bobbi specializes in reviewing fantasy-romance and Joan is especially good with children’s fantasy. Both have written film reviews as well as book reviews. I am proud of them and our other reviewers. E-zines can’t survive without volunteers, so if you love Speculative Fiction I would urge you to offer your services. The Specusphere is always looking for new blood, as are many other e-zines.

Paid work included final editing of a PhD thesis for an architecture student, the first I’d done in that discipline. I enjoyed the work, but when I agreed to do it I’d forgotten that The Specusphere’s May edition was going up at the same time! To make matters worse, I am engaged in a series of house-sits at present, which, since I don’t have a laptop of my own, means that I have been using web-mail and other people’s computers – a deadly combination. Downloads failed, attachments didn’t attach, mail disappeared into cyberspace or else arrived in duplicate or triplicate. I should’ve read my ephemeris before starting on this last fortnight’s work! I probably would have stayed on retreat.

Speaking of which, the retreat was excellent. Vipassana meditation forces one to face oneself, which can be pretty scary, but, as Akiro Kurasawa, one of the greatest of film producers, is quoted as saying, “To be an artist means never to avert your eyes”. Learning not to avert one’s eyes from the unavoidable pain of life is one of the gifts of Vipassana. Being in silence for a lengthy period of time is in itself very confronting. It forces us to look at the constant inane chatter that makes up our thought streams and then to look beyond it. Then, as TS Elliot said at the end of his Four Quartets:

And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

The retreat was a gift, and now it’s time to make use of its fruits. As well as some hints of deeper insight, many writing ideas arose and as a result I’ve drafted still another outline of The Trilogy. I have still to hear the comments of my peers and betters – which reminds me that I have heaps of reviewing to catch up on next. I’d better get on with it!
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