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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
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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
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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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Saturday, 18 January 2014

A spot of reminiscing



Part one of my path to publication -
 
Since learning that The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of my Talismans Trilogy, may be published in a matter of weeks, I’ve found my mind turning, over and over again, to how I started to write it. It’s a strange thing about old age – the mind turns to the past far more than it used to!

I started to write my first novel (which is pretty terrible, like most of them!) back in 1995, and it took me seven years to finish. I still like reading it for fun, and I might even serialise it on my blog or something one day, but it was definitely juvenile, if a middle-aged person can be said write juvenilia. However it was a good way to cut my fiction-writing teeth, and in 2003, when I attended my first Swancon, I was ready for a new challenge.

Forgive me if I digress for a moment: I should explain that I’ve loved fantasy and science fiction ever since I was a child. From fairy tales and childhood graphic novels such as the tales of Rupert Bear,  I worked my way through Enid Blyton’s oeuvre and the Arabian Nights to Mary Stewart and old-time SF writers such as L._Sprague_de_Camp and his friend Fletcher Pratt – and, of course, the Big Three Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke. Of course, I read other authors as well, but I was always drawn, first and foremost, to tales of wonder. Travel, adventure, history – I loved all those, and even more so when they were laced with the fantastical. If you are reading this blog there is a pretty strong chance that those are among your loves, too.

Even though I was an SF enthusiast, I never became involved in fannish activities. I guess I was too busy rearing children and teaching ballet. But when I heard Alex Isle speaking on the radio about a forthcoming SF convention in Perth, Western Australia, my interest was sparked. I couldn’t go that year because of other commitments, but the following year, 2003, was the one when I was introduced to the wonders of fandom. I went to Swancon for the first time and have been almost every year since. And when I get the chance to attend other cons, I can’t wait to pack my bags and go to those as well! 

The 2003 Swancon was, in fact, called ‘Trilogy’, so it was right up my alley. It wasn’t just the state convention, either – it was the Natcon (national convention) when fans stream in from all over the country. And not just fans, but writers, artists, film-makers, musicians – the goddess of speculative fiction numbers folk of all artistic persuasions among her devotees. I wandered around in a daze, overwhelmed by the realisation that I wasn’t alone, that there were countless others who loved to read and write about possibilities and impossibilities rather than the humdrum of everyday life.

Yet, when an SF writer pens a story, s/he is not writing entirely about imaginary people and events. S/he is drawing parallels, creating metaphors, showing us, through the fantastical, something about the world as we know it; something about what it means to be human. To do this well is a rare gift, and at a good convention one is surrounded by people who recognise and appreciate that gift.

I knew very few people at the 2003 Swancon. One person I did know was Lee Battersby, a member of a writing group I’d joined called Stromatolytes. Lee ran a short workshop on the Sunday morning and asked us to have a piece ready to read out at a later session. As a trigger, he asked us to think of a building we knew well, imagine it being put to a different use, and write a short piece on something that happened there.

Funnily enough, when I started to write my first novel, I was living-in and working as Executive Housekeeper (a fancy name for jack-of-all-trades and general mugabout) at The Valley of the Rocks Hotel in Lynton, Devonshire, England. It was a Neo-Gothic edifice, castle-like and even a tad creepy. One way to approach it was up a steep, cobbled street. I’d often imagined horsemen riding up the hill to this ‘castle’, and that was what sprang to mind when I tackled Lee’s exercise. An old magician was going to warn a newly-widowed princess who has just given birth to the heir to the throne, that a rebel lord was coming to storm the castle. This formed the catalyst for the Talismans Trilogy, and you can read it, pretty much as I wrote it back in 2003 here

It does not appear in book one, however, because I realised after a few years work (yes, I’m a slow learner) that I was starting the story in the wrong place - a typical problem for beginning writers. But it’s not a bad scene for a beginner, although you will notice a few close shaves with point-of-view, another of the inevitable problems of  newbie writers! I hope, despite my neophyte errors, that you will enjoy reading it.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the surprising outcome of that exercise! And by-the-way, Lee Battersby will be running a workshop at the Perth Writers Festival from 10am-1pm on Saturday 22 February, on how to create a believable fantasy universe. Go and hear him if you can - and who knows? You might find yourself writing a fantasy trilogy, too!


8 comments:

Jo said...

Unlikely I'm afraid. I am so delighted that your novel is to be published. Didn't have time to read your exercise story, I will return.

Didn't realise you had worked in England.

Satima Flavell said...

Yes, I was travelling in the mid-nineties and I lived and worked in the States and the UK for varying amounts of time. The hotels I worked at in England and Scotland were like Faulty Towers, no kidding!

Jeff Hargett said...

You mind dropping by the U.S. and picking me up on your way to the Perth Writers Festival? I'll make sure I'm ready when you get here. :)

I came across my original draft of my manuscript a year or so ago and was amazed at how different it was, content and presentation both. We definitely learn by doing.

Satima Flavell said...

Yup, the Perth Writers Festival is always good value, Jeff, as are the various conventions, such as Swancon, that are held regularly. We also have four writers centres providing workshops and critiquing groups as well, so we're really very lucky.

Yup, we definitely learn by doing, and not just doing writing - reading, movies, workshops and classes all help us to improve our skills, don't they?

Jo said...

You know Jeff, they have a dragon con in Atlanta. I think it's annual but am not sure. Always wanted to go but didn't want to go alone.

Guess you do that all the time Satima.

Satima Flavell said...

The first couple of cons I went to I just rocked up alone, but the same people tend to rurn up at every con so you soon get to know people.

Dragon Con is HUGE - over 50,000 people go so it must have a big impact on the retail and hospitality industries of Atlanta. Don't be scared to go alone - there will almost certainly be Facebook friends there.

Jo said...

I wouldn't go now, too far away, but Jeff doesn't live that far from Atlanta so could easily make it. Wish we could get Father Dragon there too.

Satima Flavell said...

Yeah, as we get older travel loses much of its appeal, doesn't it? Even if I had the ready cash, I'm not sure I'd want to go travelling again. Too many hassles, too much sitting in planes and buses and trains!

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