Featured post

A new lease of life for my books

As you know, I was bitterly disappointed when Satalyte shut up shop as it might have meant the end of my admittedly short career as a publi...

About Me

My photo
I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as e-books 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. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

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.

Follow me on Twitter

Share a link on Twitter

Follow by Email

My Blog List

Blog Archive

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!

Search This Blog

Sunday, 29 November 2009

A different kind of retreat

I belong to several writers groups, one of which is called Egoboo. There are five members and we've all been working on novels. I keep thinking mine is finished but it never is. Every time I think I've "finished" I show it to one of my groups and they always find more things that aren't working. It's a swings and roundabouts sort of thing. Or maybe Jason and the Dragon's Teeth would be a better metaphor. I just get one problem straightened out and six more leap in.

A few months back, one of the Egobooers was offered the use of a lovely house at Eagle Bay, a holiday town in the south of Western Australia, so for a remarkably low cost per head we spent three nights there last week while we did our critiquing. A month or so beforehand, we'd exchanged manuscripts: I sent the latest draft of the WIP to my Egoboo buddies and they sent me theirs, which meant we each had four novels to read within four weeks. A pretty big ask and I didn't find it at all easy. I don't read nearly as quickly as once did. Once upon a time I could easily read 500ww per minute, but alas, no longer. I doubt if I read at half that rate these days.

Not that it was a chore. There were four great stories in my pile. But when you're reading to critique you have to keep your wits about you. You can't let yourself get lost in the story, no matter how much you enjoy it. You always have to have one eye on the pace, plotting, character development, point-of-view, vocabulary, grammar, syntax, spelling and probably a dozen other things. You just can't allow yourself the luxury of sitting back and reading for fun. Then, of course, you have to make margin notes and write up a few pages of general comments on the above items and anything else that takes your eye.

Each writer had a three-hour session in the stocks...well, it wasn't quite that bad because we are not unkind critters, but harrowing enough, all the same. No one likes to see their work pulled apart and its insides put under the microscope. It was, however, a very worthwhile exercise. Not only did we examine our works in depth and brainstorm methods of improving them, we also studied plotting by watching movies and drinking wine. After a hard day's critiquing, I can think of no better way to study plotting.

It was so successful that we hope to do it again sometime next year. I hope we can go to Eagle Bay again. You can see from the above picture how lovely it is. If you look closely you can see where the sea meets the sky, but before you get to the sea there is a beautiful long beach of soft white sand.

Perhaps by the time we go again I really will have ironed out all the problems with my book. Well, I can hope, can't I?

Egoboo is in the throes of putting up a group blog. Another blog? Yes, it seems to be bloggy breeding season. I'll let you know when the Egoboo one is up and running. It should be pretty good because the five of us have amongst us an amazing breadth of knowledge and experience to share. More on that next week!
Sunday, 22 November 2009

Crit buddies

This week I am going to spend time with several good writerly friends. We are going to eat, talk, critique each other's novels, talk, drink, admire the scenery, eat, drink, talk some more...

I expect to learn a lot, not just from the critiques my friends will give my work but from listening to them critiquing other works. It's one of the best ways to grow as a writer, I believe: listen to what people have to say about their own work, my work, and the work of other writers. And, of course, to talk, eat and drink in good company.

Writers are special to each other. It is so good to be in the company of friends who talk, eat and sleep writing. It is so good to start a quote and have a friend finish it. It is so good to share ideas, to talk about books, to commiserate over rejections. To share life experiences and reminiscences.

I love my writerly friends:-)
Sunday, 15 November 2009

Multiculturalism and genealogy

Yesterday, on my way by public transport to an editing workshop, I had three experiences within fifteen minutes that showed me how much Australia has changed since I arrived here in 1952 at the age of eight. In those days, you could buy two kinds of cheese in Australia: mild and tasty. Well, three, if you counted the processed stuff that came prepackaged and tasted like greasy cardboard. Not that I've eaten greasy cardboard, mind you, but I'd imagine the taste and the nutritional value would not have been much different. These days, we can buy delicacies from all over the world, in many different varieties, and I thank heaven for that because I absolutely adore cheese, and being a vegetarian, I eat a lot of it.

It was a two hour journey each way to attend a three-hour workshop. It's a good thing it was such a good workshop, or I would have been a bit grumpy by the time I got home, but in fact it was excellent, thanks to Amanda Curtin, the leader. She made me think hard about some of the techniques I'd been using and how to improve their worth in my work. But there was added value to the outing. In fact, the interesting experiences started before I'd even boarded the first bus.

As I waited for the bus to arrive, a young man crossed the road and began to read the timetable on display at the stop. He looked a bit bemused, so I asked where he was going. He told me, I gave him directions, and we got on talking. It turned out he was from Africa, had grown up in the UK, and had spent some time in Canada before coming to Australia. He had already found a job and was hoping to buy a car this week.

His accent was fascinating. It sounded North American. Sort of. Sort of English, too. I wondered if he still spoke his own African language but as it was almost time for the bus to arrive there was no chance to ask. I wished him luck in his car quest and took the bus to the railway station.

The station is close to a school that has a specialist dance stream, and waiting for the train were two young people. They looked slightly Asian, the boy more so than the girl. I would have guessed him to be Chinese. The pair must have been to a dance rehearsal, for the boy was practising steps he'd just learnt. I heard him tell the girl that he did not want to forget them. Over and over again he did the same sequence. I didn't like to stare, but from the corner of my eye I guessed he'd been learning a folk dance of some kind, quite possibly a Morris dance. The sight of a Chinese boy practising English Morris dancing on the platform of an Australian railway station was incongruous to the point of being surreal. It would have been impossible only a few years ago. When I was that age, few boys danced at all, there were hardly any Chinese people in Australia, and to my knowledge, absolutely no Morris dancing.

When the train arrived, we got in separate carriages. I wondered if he kept on practising during the train ride!

At the next station, two young women got on. They appeared to be Indian. One had the dark hair and eyes typical of the sub-continent, but the other, athough her features resembled those of her companion, had eyes of a lovely shade of dove grey. She had a dear little toddler in a stroller. His skin was considerably lighter than hers, but he had the same deep brown eyes and dark curls as the other woman. At a guess, I'd say maybe his father was southern European, or perhaps half Indian.

This is not only Australia today: it is the world today. These three brief encounters led me to consider the problems inherent in researching the family trees of the children of this multi-cultural generation. I have blogged my thoughts over on my website blog. If you're interested in family history, please do check it out.
Sunday, 8 November 2009

Once I thought...

Over on my writing and editing blog, I’ve just put up a post about how one becomes an editor. I called it “Once I thought I’d like to be an editor”. This sounded vaguely familiar and I soon realised why. When I was a little girl of five years old or so, my father taught me a silly little song that went like this:

Once I thought I'd like to be a cricketer
So down to the park I took a little stroll
To see a cricket match, the first one in my natch
To see how I could bowl.
One young man, he knew the way to bat a bit
He sent the ball so wonderfully high
Right up in the air, you could see it there
It looked just like a stick into the sky!
I stood and watched it, right above my head
‘Come away from under it,’ everybody said
But I knew how to catch a ball, about it I had read
In a little penny book I’d bought.
My eyes were shut and my mouth was open wide
I felt a sort of earthquake; I thought I should have died!
They never got the ball back from out of my inside…
Well caught! Howzat!

Like the old Yorkshire song On Ilkley Moor b'at’at, which I can also still sing right through, this song was part of my childhood. Neither song is much heard today, and more’s the pity, because they are good fun and easy to sing. What favourite old songs can you remember from your early years?
Sunday, 1 November 2009

Specusphere Time Again!

Funny how a couple of months can fly by so quickly, but there's a new Specusphere up, with 19 reviews, several articles and a brace of stories. Check it out if you can.

Meantime, the new website is swelling every day! I've added an article about how I came to write fiction and another about why I love genealogy. Please have a look and give my stats counter something to do!

Meantime, I'm staying in my friend Pam's "spare" flat, which means I have no animals to mind, which meansI won't be doing much walking. Not good. Maybe I could practise a bit of belly dancing each day instead!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...