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Read, Write, Dance

Read, Write, Dance . Those three words could almost be my epitaph. Certainly (bearing and rearing children aside) they are the three activi...

About Me

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

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

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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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

New Books, New Friends



One of the fun things about joining a new publishing house is getting to know the other authors and having lots of new books to read! Satalyte already has three books out in electronic formats, with paperbacks in the pipeline. Check out the three below – each one can be purchased at www.satalyte.com.au for less than $AU5.


 Elizabeth’s family is dying. Not only must they face off with the murdering mutated animals of the wasteland, but they are running out of food, water, and air. She will go to great lengths to protect her sister, Mary, against the harsh world they live in – the roving, raping Arids, the giant snakes, lizards, and birds that’ll slit you open or eat you alive. They do the best they can in a world devastated by warfare.
When Elizabeth is attacked by an eagle and survives, something dark takes over her. Will she be the one to protect her family, or the one to destroy them?

 

 

Tales of Australia: Great Southern Land

Edited by Stephen C. Ormsby and Carol Bond

Journey into visions of the Great Southern Land with eight Australian authors. These novelettes will take you along arcane paths into fantastic Australias of the imagination. Just look at the contents!

Disciple of the Torrent by Lee Battersby
This Corner of the Earth by Dean Mayes
Acts of Chivalry by Sean McMullen
Bobby, Be Good by H.M.C
Dreams Didgeridoo by Salwa Samra
After the Red Dust by Charmaine Clancy
Jaylin by A. Finlay
Set Your Face Toward the Darkness by David McDonald 

With a foreward by author of Savage Tides and Rotten Gods, Greg Barron.
“…These stories are compulsively readable…”


The Rise of Xosha (prequel to the Legend of Xosha trilogy)

by S Cu’Anam Policar


The Rise of Xosha tells the tale of Xosha's beginnings.
Where Anjyls are mortal pawns,
Dragons rule the skies,
Wolves and elves roam the forests,
and demons lurk below the surface.

Oceanus, the leader of the last hord of dragons in the realms must find his people a new home.





A fourth book, ‘Other Stories’, and Other Stories by Adam Browne will be launched at 6.00 PM on Wednesday, 5 February at 'Southpaw' in Gertrude Street, Melbourne. There will be readings from the work and there'll be artwork by the author on display, too.

More books are in preparation, including The Only Evil, a thriller by Bevan McGuiness, and Mark of the Shaolin, The Tigers of Wulin Book One, by Steven Gilshenen - a martial arts series set in China.

I’m hoping my book, The Dagger of Dresnia, will be not far behind - in the next batch of releases! 

Watch this space...



Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Getting closer



Part four of my path to publication
Late in 2005, I sent the MS of The Dagger of Dresnia out to four agents. They all politely told me that it didn’t suit their requirements at this time – the standard way of saying NO without causing offence when you’re an agent. Undaunted, I tried more agents and such publishing houses as were open to unagented writers. This went on for several years, and gradually I became disheartened. 
Nevertheless, every time the standard rejection letter turned up in my email, I simply read the MS again and rewrote vast tracts. I knew there was something I just wasn’t ‘getting’ and it took me a long time to realise what it was.
All this time – which actually covered several years – I was still a member of several writing groups. I got some very useful critiques from my group buddies, and gradually it dawned on me what was missing. I’ve written about this extensively elsewhere, but to put it in a nutshell, it’s the old chestnut ‘show, don’t tell’.
You read about this in virtually every ‘how-to-write’ book there is. What takes a while for new authors to cotton onto is the fact that ‘show, don’t tell’ is composed three elements: narrative, setting and point-of-view.
We tend to think of these as being separate components of the writers’ craft, but in fact they are all simply manifestations of ’show, don’t tell’. It took me literally years and years to realise this. Some people seem to twig it early on, but as I’ve said before, I am a slow learner. But with many rewrites I gradually got better at ‘show, don’t tell’. There were two catalysts for my dawning realisation of this ‘holy trinity’ of writing.
The first was the growing popularity of the ‘close third’ (sometimes called ‘deep third’ point of view. I started to come across this as far back as 2004, with the publication of Margo Lanagan’s collection Black Juice, which contained the amazing ‘Singing My Sister Down’. I read this story over and over again, wondering how to work that particular brand of magic. Lanagan did it again in 2008 with Tender Morsels and yet again in 2009 with Sea Hearts.
In the same time period, Joe Abercrombie was publishing his First Law trilogy. It had not occurred to me that this style of writing could be applied to full-length novels, but Abercrombie did it, and took the SF world by storm. I am nowhere near being in the same league as Lanagan and Abercrombie, but through emulating them I am at least approaching the edges of their marvellous ‘close third’. If you haven’t yet read their wonderful works, please give yourself a treat and hunt them down.
Incidentally, those of you who are into literary fiction will quickly realise that ‘close third’ has grown out of the Free Indirect Discourse style of James Joyce and his predecessors. However, it is eminently more readable than Joyce at his most abstruse.
Egoboo buddies
The second catalyst was that in 2009, five members of the KSP SF group who had completed novels – Carol Ryles, Helen Venn, Sarah Parker, Joanna Fay and I – formed the Egoboo group. (There we are in the picture at left!) In 2010, we went away on our very own little writers camp. We still share a blog at http://egoboo-wa.blogspot.com.au/ and critique each other’s work from time to time. Of that group, Joanna Fay has now had three novels published by Musa Publishing (USA), Sarah Parker has had short stories published, Carol Ryles has finished a PhD (and written a really excellent novel as part of it!) and Helen Venn has won several awards. So you can see that writing groups really do work.
That writers retreat with my four friends gave me further insights into ‘show don’t tell’ and its connections to the close third POV. Close third aims to ensure that narrative, setting and point-of-view are all written from inside the head of the POV character. There is never an intrusive voice from the author; there is no ‘fly-on-the-wall’ description. In order to learn how to write in the desired style, I rewrote the entire novel in the first person, then, using the same techniques, wrote it again in close third. It worked!
And then something wonderful happened. I started to get rejections that were not just the standard ‘Thank you, but (name of book) doesn’t fit our list at this time. Good luck.’ Rather, agents and editors started to give me pointers on how to improve the work and a couple made it clear that they really liked it but it genuinely didn’t ‘fit their lists’ for one reason or another. The fact is, to get a book published in the traditional way, that book has to be exactly what the acquisitions editor happens to be looking for on that particular day. If s/he has just bought a similar book, s/he’s not going to want another of the same kind that year. If s/he’s looking for urban fantasy and you write hard SF, it could be the best SF book in the world and the acquisitions editor will, sadly, have to pass it up. Traditional publishing is a very hit-and-miss affair.
But now I’ve been lucky. Satalyte Publishing, buyer of The Dagger of Dresnia, is a new small press, the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Stephen and Marieke Ormsby. They have signed a marvellous stable of writers and have already released an anthology, Great Southern Land. I hope for great things from Satalyte, and I’m sure they expect great things from me, too!
Watch me fly.
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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