About Me

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

The Dagger of Dresnia

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.

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.

Your books and theses!

As both writer and editor, I specialise in historical and high or epic fantasy. If you have a fantasy manuscript in preparation, don't waste money on editing too early. Instead, let me help with a mini-assessment of your work, based on careful reading of your synopsis and first 20 pages. Then, when you've worked on the manuscript in line with our discussions, I will be happy to do a full edit before you send it off into the big wide world. I am also an experienced academic editor, and am available to edit theses, journal submissions and other academic papers. For more about my editing work, CLICK HERE

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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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Friday, 31 December 2010

Following yonder star

Happy New Year, everyone!

On my old Worldpress blog, I had a post about Astrology for Writers, with a link from this blog. I noticed from my stats that someone recently came to this site looking for it. The link I had up was incorrect, which meant the person may not have been able to find the post. I decided to put the material on this blog so I don't "put people crook" as the old Aussie vernacular has it. Then, of course, I found one of the links within the post itself didn't work, either, so this post actually differs considerably from the original!

Why is nothing ever simple?

I guess at least some of you, dear followers, must be interested in astrology, and I know most of you are interested in writing. So let's knock off two asteroids with one comet and have a look at how astrology can help writers.

Authors have often used astrology in their stories; it’s an important component, for instance, of Kim Falconer’s Quantum Enchantment science fantasy series. Kim, an astrologer herself, has devised an astrological system for her characters to use, and it certainly adds an interesting twist to both plot and characterisation. On her website, she even offers horoscopes according to the system she created for the books!

If you’re going to use astrology in your stories, you need to have more than a superficial knowledge of it. I was amused to read in one of my favourite historical novels set in medieval times that one of the characters had Venus and Neptune conjunct in her horoscope. Now this may well be true, but the character and her astrologer would not have been aware of the fact. Neptune was not discovered until 1846!


If you’re a writer, your own chart will undoubtedly show a bent towards verbal expression and some kind of artistic talent. Those among you who have horoscopes will know this already, and those of you who have not might enjoy a new voyage of self-discovery if you take the time to learn more about the subject. It might also show you the appropriate times to submit manuscripts to give yourself the best chance of success! Perhaps I'll write a whole post on these topics sometime, but for today, let's have a look at how astrology can help you develop and understand your characters.

I know some of you are cynics about astrology, and so you should be – there’s a lot of crap flying around out there on the subject. But even cynics can use this tool with useful results. There are lots of websites to help you and rather than reinvent the wheel I’ll provide links to a couple of good ones.

The Metaphysical Zone investigates various psychological and metaphysical tools for character development, including astrology, the Enneagram and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. In regard to astrology, it suggests going into considerable depth by ascertaining your character's date, place and time of birth and setting up a complete horoscope. This is certainly the most thorough and legitimate way to use astrology - it's what I do, and every time, I am amazed to find that by reading the chart in depth I can learn more about that character's deep fears and desires, which add dimensions I was not aware of and explain why the character sometimes goes off on tangents that seem contrary to the way I want the story to go!

‘But,’ I hear you ask, ‘how do I find out my character’s place, date and time of birth?’

There are two ways. Both require that you first decide the year of birth, which should be easy because you probably already know how old your character is. You probably also know the place.

Having got at least the year of birth, do one of the following:

*Ask the character! Just sit quietly and imagine the character has come to join you, and simply ask him or her for the data you need. It will probably pop into your head immediately, but if it doesn’t, thank the character anyway and accept that the information will come to you later, perhaps in a dream. It nearly always does. Then you can go to any one of the numerous sites that offers free astrology charts and download the character's horoscope. You can get a perfectly good free chart and a simple reading from Astrolabe.

*The second method, which is the one I use, demands more in-depth knowledge of astrology. I look at what I know about the character already and hazard a guess as to possible dominant signs. (Sometimes something else leaps out at me, too, such as a possible aspect between two planets.) I follow my intuition as to which is the Sun sign. That gives me the Zodiacal month. Then I pick what I think should be the Moon sign – that will narrow it down to about three days. Then I look up those days and again just following my nose, I pick one of them to be the birthdate. Then I pick the possible rising sign to get the time to within a couple of hours. A bit of fine tuning and I can sit down and learn my character’s innermost secrets at my leisure!

But of course, it doesn’t matter how well I think I know my characters – if I can’t write them well the knowledge does me no good. Blending characters and plot is the essence of fiction writing and in that regard, I still have along way to go, despite my Air (intellectual ability, verbal reasoning) grand trine (a generally fortunate combination) of Mercury (verbal skill) Neptune (creativity, imagination) and Saturn conjunct Uranus (hard work + sudden breakthroughs and changes).

Ah well, plod on! And that’s Saturn talking. :-)

9 comments:

Jo said...

I looked into astrology a bit in the past, but it is a bit too deep for me. I never thought of people using astrology to develop characters in their books. Interesting.

Satima Flavell said...

Yes, astrology is a pretty complex subject. In its simplest form, the kind you read in the newspapers, it's not worth much, and one has to be deeply interested in it to be bothered learning the real thing:-).

Sue Bursztynski said...

I'm afraid I have upset students terribly by laughing at the newspaper astrology columns they read, although I never do so unless they ask me for an opinion. Some years ago, a friend's brother offered to do my horoscope. Just for fun, I gave him my details and nearly fell over laughing when the finished product said I was good at science! On the other hand, I have written a book or two which required me to research science and I do love my New Scientist.

I've never thought of using astrology in my fiction, but then I'd need to create my own, since it's set in my own universe, on a world that has three moons and no doubt different constellations in the sky! And to create your own, you'd need to know the astrology of our world. I think I'll leave it to you, Satima, though I will pick your brain if I ever do need to do it.

Satima Flavell said...

My brain is at your service, Sue:-) It wouldn't be too complex a task to develop a system of astrology for another world. The astronomy of it would be beyond me, but all a writer would need to do would be to take a set of archetypes and apply their governance to a new set of heavenly bodies. Astrology is basically a system of symbols, not a science in the same sense as astronomy.

I've sometimes had clients laugh at something in their horoscopes but when they've thought about it they find, as you did, that there's grain of truth in it. Sadly, a lifetime isn't long enough for most people to develop all their potentialities. Who knows? With a different upbringing, perhaps you could have been writing for New Scientist instead of just reading it! Whereas I have FA scientific ability and and really struggled with physics and chemistry for the two years I did them in high school. The word does not even turn up in a reading of my horoscope!:-)

Jo said...

I've never had my horoscope drawn by anyone who knew what they were doing, so I have no real idea what my potential is supposed to be. One of these days maybe I can find someone who is able to do it.

Satima Flavell said...

If you know your place and time of birth as well as the date, Jo, give me the info via a private message on Facebook and I'll do a quickie for you:-) At least, I will in a couple of weeks when I get over this house-move!

Jo said...

Isn't your email the same as I already have?

Satima Flavell said...

Yes, got it, Jo. Did you receive my reply?

Jo said...

Yes thanks Satima. Will look forward to hearing from you.

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