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We are more than half way through November and I have not written a blog post. Life goes on as usual: Mondays and Tuesdays I teach dance. W...

About Me

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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia. You might enjoy my books - The Dagger of Dresnia, the first book of the Talismans Trilogy, is available at all good online book shops. Book two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available again shortly. Book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. I trained in piano and singing at the NSW Conservatorium of Music. I also trained in dance (Scully-Borovansky, WAAPA) and drama (NIDA). Since 1987 I have been writing reviews of performances in all genres for a variety of publications, including Music Maker, ArtsWest, Dance Australia, The Australian and others. Now semi-retired, I still write occasionally for the ArtsHub website, and I still teach dance at Trinity School for Seniors, an outreach program of the Uniting Church in Perth.

My books

The first novel of my trilogy, The Talismans, is available as an e-book 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. Book one, The Dagger of Dresnia, is up on the usual bookselling web sites as an e-book, and I have a few hard copies to sell to those who prefer Real Paper. Book Two, The Cloak of Challiver, will be available soon. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

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

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Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
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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: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
From Kings Park

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Versatile Blogger Award
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Fabulous Blog Award
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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The value of critiquing groups



Part three of my path to publication!

Here in Perth, Western Australia, we writers are much blessed. We have the four writers centres, and furthermore, an amazing number of published authors in many different genres live here: more, I am sure, per head of population than anywhere else in the world!

We also have the Perth Writers Festival, and in 2002 I went to hear several interesting and useful talks and panel discussions. Two participants who particularly impressed me were Juliet Marillier and Michèle Drouart. Juliet spoke of her heartfelt interest in folklore and fairy tales, which so much influenced her work. Michèle spoke of her experience of living in the Middle East, and what an influence that had been on her life and her writing. I resolved to watch out for their books and to take teaching from them if ever the opportunity presented itself.

And both opportunities came up within a few months of each other. Late in 2003, just as I was struggling with the plot of my trilogy, Juliet Marillier ran a course for novelists at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre. It was called Tough Love, and the main things we learnt were the bases of critiquing: how to critique constructively and how not to take criticism personally. We critted each other’s work and several of us begged Juliet to run another course. But she had books to write, so she was too busy for more teaching at that stage.

But early in 2004 I saw a newspaper advert for a course run by Michèle Drouart. I signed up eagerly, and soon had plenty of opportunities to put my fledgling critiquing skills into operation. Michèle is a brilliant critiquer. She has a knack of seeing exactly what is wrong with a manuscript and making constructive suggestions for improvement.

When that course ended, I joined the Online Writers Workshop. This has got to be one of the best writing sites on the internet. Quite a number of professional writers have cut their teeth there. I learnt a lot about writing techniques at OWW, and honed my critiquing skills as well. It’s a funny thing, but you learn more about writing from critiquing than you do from receiving critiques, and more, even, than you do in formal classes. OWW is one of the best proving grounds for would-be authors and I recommend it highly.

At the same time, I joined Michèle Drouart’s advanced class, which was largely based on the same principle: learning through critiquing. A bit later, I joined another crit group with people who had done Juliet Marillier’s Tough Love course Of the four of us, one is an established author, another has her first novel in print and the other has found an agent – and now I, too, have sold my first book!

Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre, Greenmount, WA
Crit groups, however, come and go, and that seems to be the natural scheme of things. With the exception of huge outfits like OWW, they run their course and are gone, usually within a year or two, maybe five years at the most. So it’s good to belong to at least a couple of groups, one established one and one start-up. All this time, I had been a member of the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre, where, as well as Juliet Marillier’s Tough Love course, I did lots of workshops with other local writers, including Rosanne Dingli, Glenda Larke and Dave Luckett. It was Dave who founded the KSP SF group, to which I still belong. I don't get to meetings often, though, because I now live a considerable distance away. I have had kind and supportive critiquing partners in that group, too

All this group-joining happened over a couple of years, and in 2005 I first started to send the MS out to publishers and agents. It was not ready for publication, though, even though I’d done all that study and critiquing, so it was given short shrift. Without my realising it, I had one important thing still to learn. What was it? I’ll tell you next time.

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