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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

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

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 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!

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.

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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, 28 October 2013

Book review: KE Mills's Rogue Agent series

This very entertaining series is well worth a read. I enjoyed the first book, The Accidental Sorcerer, most, but its sequels are almost as entertaining. In this world, things never quite go according to plan, and we swing from breathless tension to belly laughs and back again as we watch the crazy scenarios unfold.

As we have come to expect from K.E. Mills and her alter ego, Karen Miller, we find well-drawn characters, each with enough personal idiosyncrasies to keep a team of analysts busy for months. Theses crazy adventures involve Gerald Dunwoody, an eccentric third grade wizard who turned out to be a mage, and his trio of equally zany friends, Monk Markham, Princess Melissande of New Ottosland and the craziest bird on this or any other planet, Reg. Avian though she may be, Reg is perhaps the best-loved character in the series. She comes across as a small, feathered person, not a talking bird. Likewise, Gerald is one of those completely unbelievable characters who nevertheless makes the reader suspend disbelief cheerfully, because in spite of his incredible antics, he comes across as quintessentially human, with all the fears and foibles that entails.

Mills/Miller has a notable skill for depicting believable male characters. In the second book, Witches Incorporated, however, she chose to focus on the female of the species, by and large with considerable success. But there were times when the women and their antics did not quite ring true, and I found myself wanting to see less of them and more of Gerald. Perhaps this is a purely personal thing – Gerald already had my heart and I was disappointed not to see more of him in this book.

But he's back front and centre in book three, Wizard Squared. and we also get quite a bit of his friend Monk, who, it seems, has been lumbered with the job of saving a world. On an alternative version of their world, our quartet finds that whatever we know and expect ain't necessarily so. Other versions of ourselves might have taken other decisions and become something other: perhaps even something deadly other. A psychopathic version of a gifted mage does not bear thinking about, and thereby hangs a pretty good plotline.

Mills/Miller has an indubitable flair for inventive plots. She also has bouncy, chatty style. There are plenty of smiles and quite a few guffaws to be had along the way, and even a few tears when we realize the quartet will not be unchanged by the experiences they have on the alternative world. This is the 'darkest' book of the series to date.

The fourth book in the series, Wizard Undercover, picks up where book three left off. Just as things seem to be getting back to normal (although what's 'normal' in Gerald's world is open to question) an international crisis is brewing. Disguised as Melissande’s private secretary, Gerald sets off to save the day. As with all these adventures, though, there are many slips between intention and denouement!

There may be more books in the series, but Karen Miller is such a prolific writer that there's no telling what she will come up with next!
Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Well, here's a turnaround!

Seven weeks ago I was grizzling on this blog that maybe I was wasting my time and perhaps I should give up trying to get my novel published. Would you believe that less than four weeks later I received an offer of a contract for The Dagger of Dresnia from the good folk - no, not the good folk that live in the forest, but the good folk at Satalyte Publishing in Melbourne.

I did not allow myself to get excited: after all, the first publisher I approached, some nine or ten years ago now, went broke the following week, and it's mainly been a downhill slide since then. But today I received my contract back with publisher Stephen Ormsby's signature, so now I'm permitting myself to get a bit excited. Just a little bit, mind you. It's never too late for things to go wrong. Or too early.

If I look underneath my pessimism, though, I find that I have a good feeling about Satalyte. They are a start-up company, but already they have signed some fine writers, including fellow Perthite Bevan McGuiness, who is a well-repected professional of many years standing. What's more, Stephen Ormsby and his wife Marieke are enthusiastic about their new venture, and enthusiasm and skill are what's needed to keep a ball rolling once it's been bowled.

It is touching to see how supportive my friends are. Within a couple of hours of putting the news up on Facebook, I had nearly 150 comments and 'likes' on my announcement, and because my Facebook statuses turn into Tweets, I was getting congratulations on Twitter, too!  And at the Society of Editors meeting tonight, I was warmly congratulated all over again. I am much blessed in my friends, both on and off social media.

Now starts the hard yakka of getting the book into top shape before turning it loose in the wild. I know from already-published friends that finding a publisher is only the start of the journey. I hope The Dagger of Dresnia and I can walk the road ahead with our heads high and our feet firmly on the ground. With my lovely friends to cheer me on, I know we'll do just fine.
Sunday, 13 October 2013

Book Review: Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell

Wind FollowerWind Follower by Carole McDonnell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This review first appeared in the now-defunct webzine, The Specusphere, in October 2009.

Wind Follower is Carole McDonnell's first novel, but prior to publishing this book, she was already established as a reviewer and essayist. She has also written poetry and devotional pieces, mainly for Christian journals. Her Christian faith has also informed her speculative fiction work, and this is very apparent in Wind Follower.

The story is an adventure-romance, set in a richly imagined world. Boy (Loic) meets girl (Satha), boy loses girl, boy goes to ends of earth to find girl, and finds his own true purpose en route. The setting is a kind of alternate Africa, or perhaps it stands for any country ripe for colonialism. McDonnell has analogously incorporated all the earth's races into her continent, representing them by the very dark Theseni; the lighter coloured Ibeni, the slant-eyed, yet sometimes red-headed Doreni and threatening all of them, the invading Angleni.

The Juno imprint is noted for its strong female lead characters, and Satha, the heroine of Wind Follower, carries the role well. She has to deal with more perils than Pauline, more trials than Job: in fact at one point she is so obviously an avatar of Hagar, Abraham's concubine, that we are looking for someone to play the role of Isaac. But although the book has a curiously Old Testament feel to it, the parallels are not distinct: McDonnell's references gently investigate possibilities and move on, as we follow the journeys of Loic and Satha through alternating first person chapters.

Mc Donnell is a fine writer, and Wind Follower leads us to expect even better things from her in the future. The story is burdened, however, by a certain falling down between two stools – or actually in the middle of a circle of stools. We have a classic epic journey, involving a romance and a coming-of-age story; an equally classic captivity scenario, in which the enslaved person survives through her own fortitude and resilience, and a rather self-consciously overlaid effort to show that faith conquers all. At the end, we learn that the Tribes never succeeded in uniting against the Angleni and remained the underdogs, yet they rejoice that the Angleni brought their own true religion, encapsulated in the Lost Book, back to them.

And here's the problem. What readership is Wind Follower aimed at? Many Christians, black and white, are likely to balk at a theology that is very like that of Christianity, yet does not follow it nearly closely enough for the tastes of fundamentalists. On the other hand, many fantasy readers of whatever ancestry will reject the book's overtly Christian allegory, and some black readers who are not Christians may be dismayed at the oblique suggestion, normally propagated only by the conquerors, that as long as invasion brings True Religion it is acceptable. Yet still other readers, not all of them Christian, will feel uncomfortable at the idea of spreading a what is supposed to be a religion of peace through invasion and, the conquered people having accepted that religion's tenets, ignoring them in order to rebel against the invaders. Like the Old Testament, Wind Follower abounds in mixed messages, and this is why it falls in the middle of those hypothetical stools.

Yet there is probably a niche market for books like this one, and it is, I would venture, among Christians who are not fundamentalists and who are willing to consider that perhaps parables can be spoken in the language of fantasy as well as that of religion. A tall order, perhaps, but I hope McDonnell finds this readership. An author who can produce a work such as Wind Follower deserves to have an extensive circulation.

McDonnell can be found on Facebook and at http://www.darkparables.blogspot.com. Her work will not be easy to find in Australia: however, Wind Follower can be found for sale at online shops.


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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Book Review: Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

Broken Homes (Peter Grant, #4)Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Another romping detective story from Ben Aaronovitch. I didn't love this one quite as much as its predecessors - it lacked some of the humour we've come to expect from Peter Grant and his odd collection of colleagues and competitors. It's a good read, all the same, and I shall await the next volume eagerly because this one ended with a bit of a cliff-hanger. A character we've come to know and trust might have gone over to the Dark Side! Don't keep us waiting too long, Ben!



View all my Goodreads reviews
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