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

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The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are available as e-books from Smashwords. 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. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

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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!

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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

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Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've lived: High View, WV

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Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

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Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Saturday, 4 May 2013

Conflux 9 - Natcon 52



I don’t often get to interstate conventions because of the high cost of flying across this huge country of ours. We have two or three enjoyable conventions here in Perth most years, and they provide a lot of fun for locals and even a few interstate adventurers. But there’s something about a national convention that makes the interstate trip well worthwhile if cash can be found for plane fares and accommodation. The convention itself is not expensive. All the work is done by volunteers, so the subscriptions of attendees can go toward expenses, including paying the airfares of the international and interstate guests-of-honour.

Nalo Hopkinson
This year, those guests-of-honour were great fun to have around. Jamaican-born Nalo Hopkinson,  author of The New Moon’s Arms, gave us a taste of a different culture as she sat on panels, knitting when she wasn’t talking and dropping in salient comments on topics as wide reaching as cultural appropriation in speculative fiction and ‘the secret lives of authors’ – i.e. what authors do in their spare time. The other overseas guest, Marc Gascoigne of Angry Robot Press, was a mine of information for would-be authors, as were local guests-of-honour KarenMiller and Kaaron Warren. Fan guest-of-honour was Rose Mitchell, who has held a range of senior positions in various clubs or on convention committees. She was Co-chair of Aussiecon 4, the world science fiction convention held in Melbourne in 2010, which was my first – and probably only! – Worldcon. It was a wonderful experience.

Other local guests included some of my favourite wordsmiths. Glenda Larke, recently returned to live in Perth after many years of domicile in Malaysia, not only spoke knowledgeably on a variety of panel topics, but gave us a lovely kaffeeklatch, generously sharing her writing expertise, as did Karen Miller, Trudi Canavan, Kate Forsyth, Keri Archer and many other local authors. Glenda announced news of her latest sale - I can’t wait to read book one of this exciting new trilogy!

We had several book launches, too – Nicole Murphy launched her crowd-funded mentorship’s anthology In Fabula Divino (some great new talent there!) and Jason Fischer launched his latest, Quiver. We also got a peek at Rob Hood’s new opus, Fragments of a broken Land-Valarl Undead: the title alone sounds terrifying! The Canberra Science Fiction Group also launched its latest anthology, Next, and Tom Dullemond and Mike McRae introduced us to The Machine who was also a Boy.

In lieu of a Guest-of-Honour Speech, Karen Miller gave us a magnificent slideshow presentation on her
Karen Miller
recent research tour of Europe. Things that interest everyday tourists were not Karen’s quarry: rather, she was after shots of the quirky, the dangerous, the places that stimulate the imagination. She felt, after the tour, much more confident to begin her project because she had immersed herself in its settings.

Patty Jansen
I took part in three panels. The first was at 10.00 PM on Thursday night. I wasn’t going to participate because I fully expected to be brain dead after the flight over from Perth, but to my surprise I was wide awake and rearing to go. I’m glad I went on the panel because we had a most interesting discussion about the value of editing for self-published authors. Patty Jansen pointed out that editing is such a big expense that someone hoping to make a living from self-published works would find having every story professionally edited too much of a financial burden. She has overcome the problem by relying on a corps of knowledgeable beta readers who serve as an editing panel, and this works for her as a good compromise. The other panellists (Abigail Nathan, Ian Nichols and I) agreed, though, that many self-published authors do not have Patty’s experience and neither do they have a band of well-read, well-educated beta readers who have some knowledge of the editing process – hence the terribly low standard of some of the material that turns up on Amazon and other sales sites.

My second panel was less contentious, and it introduced me to some new colleagues. It was a big panel – Phill Berrie is a long-time crit buddy (and a brilliant continuity editor!), but Helen Stubbs, ZenaShapter LeifeShallcross, Tracey O’Hara and I did not know each other. That’s one of the great things about conventions – you get to meet lots of nice new friends! We had a productive discussion on the value of writing communities – I.E. critique groups both online and in person. There is little doubt that writers, especially when they first start out, derive enormous benefit from these. Even published authors usually have a group of trusted readers to show their MSS to. We swapped experiences and were able to make up a list of writers centres and online groups for new writers to check out.

My third panel was about the place of a mentor in one’s writing career. My fellow panellists were Valerie Parv, Joanne AndertonKaaron WarrenJodi Cleghorn, and Kimberley Gaal. We had all had experiences of mentoring or being mentored – some of us both – so the discussion centred on reminiscences and lessons learned from each side of the process!

There was much interest in self-publishing. I was on a panel on the topic (see above) and another one that impressed numbered Felicity Pulman among the panellists. She generously gave out some printed notes she’d put together to help intending self-publishers. As I am considering joining those ranks myself, I was deeply grateful to Felicity for sharing her experiences with us.

Perhaps the most fun I had at Conflux 9 was on the Saturday night, when the masquerade is traditionally held. This year’s theme was Steampunk, and there was indeed a surprising number of top-hatted gentlemen and bustled ladies around the Rydges Hotel in Canberra Avenue! However, I didn’t go to the masquerade. Instead, I opted for the other activity – the Romance Gauntlet

This is apparently an annual event, and what fun it was! It seems that Canberra is not only well-served for SF authors and fans, but for those of the Romance persuasion as well, and every year at Conflux they hold a duel of panels. Craig Cormick  skilfully wrangled the contestants in a blow-by-blow steaming reading romp. Panellists included Valerie ParvKateForsyth, Jane Virgo, Leife Shallcross,   Phill BerrieRoss Hamilton, Robert Porteous, Shauna O’Meara, Sam Phillips and Simon Petrie.  I’m not sure who won because everyone got a prize, including members of the audience – we had all contributed to a re-telling of the story of the Three Little Pigs and a list of delicate, sensitive ways (Ha!) to describe the sex act.

Other highlights included the various awards – the Ditmars (see list of winners here) the Norma K. Hemming Award (Margo Lanagan) and the A. Bertam Chandler Award (Russell B. Farr) I was delighted that my good friend Carol Ryles was placed in the Conflux Short Story Competition and had her piece, The Silence of Clockwork, featured in the printed program.

Of course, conventions and conferences are never long enough. I barely had chance to catch up with Tim Roberts, Gillian Polack and Deborah Green, among others.

Satima, Carol and Helen - this was taken at Swancon in 2010
The choice of venue can hardly be faulted. Rydges Capitol Hill has spacious public areas, a well-serviced and inexpensive restaurant, and free Wi-Fi for guests and pleasingly quiet rooms. My room-mates, Helen Venn and Carol Ryles, were a joy to share with. If I have a grizzle at all it is that the room was too small and badly designed. Why any room should need two queen sized beds boggles the imagination (let's not go there) and they’d crammed a pallet in as well. Surely a hotel of that standing should have a room with a double and two single beds, or three single beds?
 
My only disappointment was the printed program, which did not include the usual potted bios of panellists. There is a partial list on the website, but I always find it very handy to be able to look in the program book to find out more about panellists I’m on with or who have said something really interesting that I want to follow up by checking out their blogs or websites. As it is, I have no idea who some of the panellists were.

That’s a small grizzle, for the con was well organised and efficiently run by DonnaMarie Hanson  and Nicole Murphy. They are to be congratulated on putting together a winning team and getting Conflux 9 to the finishing line with flying colours. Bravo!

6 comments:

gillpolack said...

I'm sorry that my eyething meant I missed batches of contime, because all I got was that brief time with you. I didn't get to choose fun programme items and I missed lots of things I had intended to do, for the print was too small and I was too new to the new eye issues to have worked out how to deal. I missed your panels entirely! (I also missed the Ditmars and the closing ceremony - but that was being too tired. I just sat where I was and thought myself there...) Maybe next time.

If you email me the names of those you know not-much about, I may be able to help.

Satima Flavell said...

Getting quality time with anyone at a con can be problematical even with optimum conditions!I'm really glad, Gillian, that you managed to come at all and hope it didn't make the eye condition worse.

The only person I still haven't found a link for is Sam Phillips. If you happen to be in touch with her, perhaps you could ask her to let me have her web address, even if it's just a Facebook Page or a blog.

Jo said...

Always wanted to go to a con, don't suppose I ever will now though.

Did you mean raring to go LOL

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Helen V. said...

It was fun and very informative.

Satima Flavell said...

Yup, a great Natcon, wasn't it? Jo, aren't there any cons where you live? I hate to think of my friends being con-deprived! :-)

Yes, Jo, I rear my ugly head and then I go Go GO! But looking at the word raring - it's pretty recent and is 'British dialectal', according to Oxford. They say it derives from either 'rearing' (which I've always used and so did my family) or 'roaring'. It's only appeared in the dictionary within the last decade or two, AFAICT.

Jo said...

Just checked, thought I was there.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

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