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 Cloak of Challiver

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 April 2014

Book Review: HBO's Game of Thrones

Inside HBO's Game of ThronesInside HBO's Game of Thrones by Bryan Cogman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gollancz September 2012: ISBN 978 0 575 09314 0
Author Bryan Cogman’s offering to fans of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series of books (seven so far, and counting…) and the spin off TV series Game of Thrones is beautifully luxurious without going over the top. At $45 RRP it’s not cheap, but it hit the market nicely timed for the Christmas rush. If you have a nearest and dearest who is a fan of the series in either of its manifestations, look no further – any enthusiast would be delighted to receive this gorgeous tome.

Caressing the soft vinyl cover, reminiscent of the soft leather bindings of a century or more ago, we are immediately carried back in time. Not as far back, perhaps, as the pseudo-medieval world of the series, but far enough back to feel that here is something special, a message from the past. Skimming the enticing Table of Contents, we find that there are entire sections devoted to each of the families engaged in the eponymous struggle – the Game of Thrones. Histories of the houses and of individual characters invite us to dip into their world and get to know them better. Anyone coming into the HBO series without having read the books is likely to need this guide, for this is a complex tale with literally thousands of characters. Fear not – there are family trees and maps included to help you find your way around. The book also features Will Simpson's concept art and work from Gemma Jackson's design team. It also boasts previously-unpublished set photos, production and costume designs, storyboards and props.

Each section is enhanced not only by a multitude of black and white, sepia and colour pictures, but also by interviews with and comments from the actors, production staff and the Grand Old Man himself. As well as popping up regularly within the pages, GRRM also wrote the preface, explaining how the series came to be made. The production’s story is a fascinating one, involving multiple international venues and a huge cast of principals and extras, to say nothing of the vast army of production personnel and support staff.

The book, of course, only covers series one and two, and it’s likely that there will be many more, with a projected ten episodes required to cover each book in the series. Series one and two – twenty eps – are already available. If this book does well perhaps the author will be moved to cover more ‘makings-of’ in further volumes. With a steady turnover of principals (the story has a huge body count) there will be plenty of call for more fan fodder in the coming years.

American author Bryan Cogman is known for writing two episodes of the series: What Is Dead May Never Die, the third episode of the show's second season, and Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things, the fourth episode of the first season. He has written at least one episode for series #3 as well. He has also edited ten episodes. Cogman is familiar with the cast, crew and writing team of Game of Thrones, and his insider knowledge is what makes this book shine.

As a fan of the books and the HBO series, I give this one five stars!

View all my Goodreads reviews
Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Dagger of Dresnia is launched!

The big event of the recent Swancon (Western Australia's annual state SF convention) was for me the launch of my first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia. It's the first book of The Talismans Trilogy, which is about three kings and three talismans.

The main character, Ellyria, is an elvish princess married to an ordinary mortal king and the mother of identical triplets. On the death of the king, the kingdom, which consists of three islands, is to be split in three according to his will. But splitting the kingdom is likely to cause havoc in more ways than one - and Ellyria decides to use magic to keep things on track. As you can imagine, the main theme of the story is 'What kind of things might happen if we do the wrong thing to get a right outcome?'

The answer is Chaos. Big Time. Especially when there's a Dark Spirit involved.

Many fantasy readers are of mature years (like me!) and they will probably enjoy seeing a middle-aged woman centre stage, but The Dagger of Dresnia has plenty of romance, battle scenes, family arguments and youthful misdemeanours to keep it rocking along, so it will appeal to younger readers, too.

You can buy it in either hard copy or as an ebook from Satalyte Publishing or as an ebook from  http://www.amazon.com.au/
All my stock sold at the launch, but I should have more soon, so if you live in Perth you can get the book from me to save postage.

See Carol Ryles's amazing cake in the above photo by Lee Battersby? Carol's father was a pastry cook, and she has obviously inherited his talent. Did you ever see anything as gorgeous as that cake? The little cakes, inspired by the poppies on the book's cover, were gluten-free and tasted really yummy, as did the totally indulgent Big Cake! And that lovely Dagger was the finishing touch to a beautiful display.

Three of my beloved mentors, Michèle Drouart, Glenda Larke and Juliet Marillier, kindly agreed to cut the cake. The proceedings were expedited by MC extraordinaire Lee Battersby, who kept things rocking along. Lee was the one who started me off on this trilogy. Read all about it here if you don't know the story. The pic at right shows Juliet, Glenda and Michèle debating cake-attack tactics, watched by cake maker Carol Ryles in the background. (Photo by Lee Battersby)

That's Lee and his lovely wife Lyn on the left. The picture on the right shows me and my keep-fit teacher, Renate, sharing a joke. Renate is also a pretty mean belly dancer. Both pics by courtesy of Cat Sparks.


Below left, Rivka Berger and belly dancing editor-publisher Liz Grzyb. (Pic by Cat Sparks)


On your right, me showing off my handiwork. (Pic by Keira McKenzie)



More friends: on the right, Kylie Ding and Martin Livings, and below left, Stephen Dedman and Alex Isles, and  And below right, an astonished Keira McKenzie takes a pic of the cake! All these pics are by Cat Sparks.

A huge thank you to all the lovely friends who came along to the launch, and apologies for not joining you afterwards - I was busy signing books for quite a while!

Swancon 2014

Well, another Swancon has come and gone. As always, there were excellent speakers and interesting panel topics. 

I was on four panels. The first was the most exciting for me as I was up there on the podium with a trio of well-known authors: Anne Bishop (The Black Jewels Trilogy) Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files series) and Dave Luckett (The Tenebran Trilogy - and writing as LS Lawrence, several YA historicals, including The Eagle of the East and Escape by Sea). We discussed worldbuilding and what pitfalls and problems can trip up the unwary writer. We had an excellent moderator in Doug Burbridge.

Swancon 2014's guests-of-honour: Isobelle Carmody, Sally Beasley, Jim Butcher and Anne Bishop. They are all excellent speakers and Jim Butcher is a very funny guy. He had the audience in stitches most of the time! (Photo: Sandra Chung)

On Saturday, I sat with Stephen Dedman, Sarah McFarlane, Ian Nichols and moderator Andy Hahn on a panel about remakes of Shakespeare. Seeing as there have been over 400 films and TV shows created from Shakespeare's life and works, I concentrated on ballets and operas. There was lively discussion from the floor and we all came away knowing a bit more about the greatest writer in English - and maybe in any other language, too.

Sunday's effort was 'How to Piss off a Publisher' with Andrew Harvey, Dave Luckett and Cat Sparks. As one who supplements her pension by mentoring and critiquing new writers, I had a lot to contribute to this one. The biggie, of course is 'READ THE F-ING GUIDELINES  FOR HEAVEN"S SAKE! and the second biggest is 'DON'T JUST READ THE GUIDELINES - DO AS THEY COMMAND!'

It's amazing how many beginning writers not only don't follow the publisher's guidelines but haven't haven't even bothered to learn basic English grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax. These are the tools of the writer's trade, and without them you'll do about as well as a plumber trying to clear a blocked toilet with a screwdiver. There were some very long faces in the audience by the time we'd explained that it's a buyer's market and less than 1% of submissions to traditional publishers ever see the light of day.

Because of being on that panel I missed Glenda Larke's launch of her new trilogy, The Forsaken Lands. Book one, The Lascar's Dagger, is a great read. I haven't finished it yet but I'm deeply impressed by Glenda's poetic descriptions that subtly set the scene and her pacy narrative that is nonetheless full of juicy prose. How about 'He pushed himself up, blinded, utterly vulnerable, dripping blood and sneezing, blowing out clouds of gold-coloured powder'. I feel really sorry for Saker, while nonetheless laughing my head off as I imagine the scene.

On Monday, my fellow-panellists were Susanne Akerman, Stephen Dedman and Gina Goddard. We discussed what libraries meant to us: how they both informed and catered to our tastes in books and fulfilled our yearning for knowledge. Once again, there were animated contributions from the audience, all of whom, understandably, appeared to be well-read bibliophiles!

But the most exciting part of Swancon for me was the launch of my first novel, The Dagger of Dresnia, book one of The Talismans Trilogy. It was such a giddy-making event that I'm going to be really self-indulgent and give it its own post!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Interview with Jan Butterworth

A quick note - Kiwi blogger Jan Butterworth has just uploaded a nice interview with me to http://akiwisbookreviews.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/dagger-of-dresnia-the-talisman-trilogy-1-satima-flavell-interview/
Saturday, 12 April 2014

Book Review: Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Flame of Sevenwaters (Sevenwaters, #6)Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pan Macmillan Australia, November 2012: ISBN 9781742611624
This is the sixth Sevenwaters book from the pen of prolific author Juliet Marillier. This author has produced fifteen books in all, and every one of them is eminently enjoyable.

For Maeve, daughter of Sean and Aisling of Sevenwaters, going home is a hard journey. Brought up by her aunt and uncle in England, she has not wanted to return to Sevenwaters, the place where, at the age of ten, she lost her beloved dog in a fire and lost the use of her hands in trying to save him.

Now twenty, Maeve has spent her formative years in quiet pursuits. She cannot even feed herself, let alone help with the household tasks. All that keeps her sane, we suspect, is her love of animals and her remarkable ability to calm them.

She is surprised when her Uncle Bran suggests that she might travel to Ireland with a valuable yearling horse that he is sending to her father’s stables. The animal will be a gift for a local chieftain, for Sevenwaters is beset by strife and local leaders need placating. With some trepidation, Maeve agrees, only to find her fears are realised – she cannot settle at Sevenwaters because of the tragic memories it holds for her. What’s more, she finds the reason for the strife – Mac Dara, ruler of the Otherworld, is causing men from surrounding estates to disappear. Most of them have turned up dead, and their families and employers are restive, blaming Maeve’s family for the troubles.

Maeve achieves a measure of equanimity, however, when she finds that her parents have planted a beautiful garden on the site of the fire, a garden containing all her favourite flowers and other plants that are meaningful to her, What’s more, she has a new young brother, Finbar, who at only seven years old already displays signs of being a seer, like his older sister Sibeal. Finbar’s tutor, the druid Luachan, also befriends Maeve. Further, she earns the respect of the household because of her way with animals. When she finds two stray dogs she quickly adopts and trains them, and this act is the start of a great adventure: one in which Maeve and her companions must face Mac Dara himself.

This book is, perhaps, a tad darker than the last one in the series, Seer of Sevenwaters. Marillier has a great gift for building tension, and we are on tenterhooks when confronted by what is surely the most duplicitous villain Marillier has created – worse, even, than Mac Dara himself. We also meet old friends – Ciaran the druid leader is one – and make new ones. Fans of the series will no doubt want little Finbar to have his own story eventually and who knows? Maybe that will come to pass, for even after six books, fans still cry out for more Sevenwaters. The stories have a charm that is usually lacking in long series, the characters draw us back again and again, and the forests and rivers of Sevenwaters continue to beckon us long after the book is closed. And in Flame of Sevenwaters we once again have a lovely cover based on a painting by Waterhouse, this time his delightful work The Soul of the Rose.

Check out www.julietmarillier.com for more on this popular author and her work. Be sure to check out the artwork, too!

View all my Goodreads reviews
Friday, 4 April 2014

A gorgeous cover for my book

Over at the Egoboo blog, my friend and colleague Helen Venn has written a post listing links to websites that list ideas for prompting creativity in writers.

I know a lot of writers find prompt-based exercises useful triggers to spark their creativity, but by and large they don't work for me. I just finish up writing the beginning of something that could be a novel but I haven't the faintest idea where it's going, so it just fizzles out when the buzzer goes.

However, the one time a prompting exercise did work, I started the Talismans Trilogy, the first book of which, The Dagger of Dresnia, has just been released by Satalyte Publishing. It's is a classic ‘traditional’ fantasy with a medieval setting, complete with elves, battles, love scenes and the odd dragon! Isn't the cover gorgeous? It was created by the very talented Marieke Ormsby. By the way, you can read the full story of how I came to start The Dagger of Dresnia here. (It's all Lee Battersby's fault!)

Now I am planning a proper launch for my 'baby'. It will be officially launched at Swancon, Western Australia’s annual Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, on Easter Sunday - 20 April - at the Ibis Styles Hotel, 15 Robinson Avenue, Northbridge. It’s not necessary to be at the convention to go to the launch – you can just turn up in the hotel’s foyer at 1.30 PM. Fittingly, Lee Battersby will be MC, and many other writers from WA and interstate will be there to help me celebrate. There will be cake, and three lovely lady writers to cut it.

For more on The Dagger of Dresnia, click here. And if you want to be among the first to own a copy, you should then go to http://satalyte.com.au/book-store/page/2/

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