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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Sunday, 27 July 2014

An anonymous interview!

Well, not really quite anonymous, but Kevin, a Facebook friend, might prefer that I don't use his last name. He sent me some questions out of personal interest, and never one for hiding my light under a bushel, I thought I'd put the Qs and As here on the blog for all the world to see!

So, without further ado -

Q. What was the inspiration behind the various series of books you've made?
       A. I only have one series so far – The Talismans trilogy. It was inspired by three things: a/ My love of medieval history b/My long-time interest in genealogy and c/Inspiration from a writing exercise set by Lee Battersby at a convention – see link in next question for the full story!

Q. What was the driving force behind becoming an author?
A. After years of writing non-fiction (reviews, interviews, feature articles) and poetry, finally a story came to live with me and demanded to be written! That was my first novel, which, like most first novels, isn't very good. You can read how I came to write the present series here.

Q. Do you have any plans to expand the fictional universes that you've created beyond just the books you've made?
A. I’m still writing the trilogy so can’t be sure yet! Besides, I am an old lady now so it depends on how long I stay a/ Alive b/In reasonable health and c/Compos mentis.

Q. What have been some of your favorite books to read?
A. I’ve always loved fantasy, ever since I was a child. I also love history, myths and legends. I like biographies and travel books, too.

Q. What was the first book that you can remember reading and enjoying?
A. There was a series of books about a bear called Rupert that my mother and older sisters used to read to me when I was three. I taught myself to read on the Rupert books. My eldest sister had a boyfriend who was half-French, half-German, and he translated one of the books into both French and German so I could read the story in three languages!

Q. Who has been your favorite author and why?
A. William Shakespeare. He knew and understood human nature better than any other writer I’ve read, and could turn his characters into poetry.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Effective reviewing

In response to my last post, fellow author Sue Bursztynski said, in part: 'I'm afraid that as your reviews build up, you will get some bad ones, some one and two star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Everyone has a different taste .... But I have a thick skin and so do you, I'm sure. A professional has to have one or never write again.'

I started to write a response to Sue's well-informed comment, but it was getting so long that I decided it was worth a post of its own.

A writer who has been brave enough to share his or her work with a critiquing group does develop a thick skin, and I think this is a highly underpublicized benefit of such activities. I joined critiquing groups quite early in my writing apprenticeship. Because I was already an experienced theatre reviewer, I always tried to make my critiques gentle, finding something good to say before suggesting possible improvements. I'm sure most of my crit-buddies did, too.

But when you have six or seven short stories or novel chapters to crit, the reviews tend to become more cursory and a lot less tactful, and I soon realised that I was as susceptible to unmasked criticism as anyone else. I found myself hurt, angry and otherwise distressed whenever someone responded negatively to my writing. A few years later, when I started to submit to publishers, I was again disappointed and hurt at every rejection letter. How could anyone not love my stories, my characters, my wonderful world-building?

Well, get real, Satima! It's a buyer's market out there. Less than one per cent of submitted material gets published, and it's not always because it's not good enough. Publishers, at any given time, tend to be looking for something in particular. If they know, for instance, that another publisher has just taken on a fantasy novel set in Siberia, the opposition will very likely be looking for a similar book, perhaps also set in a cold, inhospitable place. So you can submit the best vampires-in-space novel ever, and it will get the standard rejection slip before the reader has finished page two. Furthermore, even at this early stage, reader taste comes into play. If the slush readers (there is often more than one) don't like the book, you're fried to a cinder.

If it's any consolation, at some point you will start getting the odd personalised letter that says, in effect, 'Gee, I really liked this, but we are looking for inter-galactic murder mysteries right now'. This means you're getting better at your craft, and all you have to do it get your book on the desk of an editor who's been instructed to look for vampires-in-space or whatever it is you've spent so much time writing. A tall order, but it happens.

Give yourself a time limit - a long one. For example, 'If my vampires-in-space novel hasn't been accepted two years from now, I'll self-publish'. Of course, you can just cut straight to the chase without submitting to any publishing houses, but self-publishing, done well, costs money. You'll need to allow several thousand dollars for artwork and editing, and you will have to spend an enormous amount of time on publicity.

But I digress ...

Essentially, we fiction writers are producing a marketable commodity - books. Books are entertainment, first and foremost, and as with any form of entertainment some customers will prefer a particular genre, character type or writing style over all others. I've been lucky so far - the worst criticism has been that The Dagger of Dresnia lacks a map! Yes, when I get my first one or two star review, I'll be disappointed. However, I won't turn into a nervous wreck, because I'll know that the reader was actually hoping for another kind of book; one I hadn't written.

It sounds strange, but it's said that books receiving lots of reviews, even bad ones, sell better than books that get few or no reviews. So if you want to do your published friends a favour, review their books! If you're not sure how to write a review, check out my page called 'Write a review worth reading'. It gives you the quick Cook's Tour.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Reviews of The Dagger of Dresnia

The blog seems to be all about reviews lately - reviews I've written, reviews I've read, reviews others have written ...

And there have been some lovely reviews of my novel, The Dagger of Dresnia. There are six so far on Amazon, and you can read them at http://www.amazon.com/The-Dagger-Dresnia-Satima-Flavell/product-reviews/0992460166/ref=cm_cr_dp_see_all_btm?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending

And there are three on Goodreads as well: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21898335-the-dagger-of-dresnia

I'm happy to report that they all carry four or five stars!

I've also had a couple in the local press, both of which were very commendatory. And of course, there are the lovely back cover blurbs by two of my favourite authors:

I guess it's only a matter of time before I get a bad review - it happens to everyone sooner or later - but there have been so many good ones that the odd bad one won't matter. Besides, any publicity is good publicity! Apparently even bad reviews are better than no reviews at all.
Thursday, 17 July 2014

Book review: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Bitter GreensBitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An utterly lovely story, beautifully told. In fact, it is two stories in one: a re-imagined story of the convent days of French author Charlotte-Rose de la Force, and the fictional story of a nun who told her the tale of Rapunzel. How de la Force, a French noblewoman, learnt the Italian tale has long been subject to speculation, and this as convincing an explanation as we are ever likely to have.

In Bitter Greens, Forsyth has woven a tapestry as rich as any owned by the Sun King himself. It is, without a doubt, one of the best retellings of a fairy tale in a long time.

View all my Goodreads reviews
Monday, 14 July 2014

Book Review: The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke

The Lascar's Dagger (The Forsaken Lands, #1)The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Lascar's Dagger is excellent start to a new trilogy! Two very likeable characters - Saker the Witan (priest) and Sorrel, handmaiden to a spoilt princess - each on a quest, cross paths again and again. We quickly realise that they would make a great partnership, but their commitments lie along separate tracks, each fraught with different dangers. Each time they meet, however, one manages to help the other in some way.

This is a wonderfully varied book, both in the contrast between the two main characters and the diverse places they visit. The secondary characters are also varied and well-drawn. Themes of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice underlie what is undoubtedly an exciting and orginal tale.

Glenda Larke has a fabulous imagination, and as in all her books, she has devised a credible but highly original system of magic. The Forbidden Lands just might be Larke's best trilogy yet. I can't wait for book two!

View all my Goodreads reviews
Wednesday, 9 July 2014

STOP PRESS - Write a review and win a book!

Review a Satalyte book and Win! 

Go to http://satalyte.com.au/2014/07/review-win/ for details!

Would you like a free ebook – just for reading a reviewing a book? Yes? Who wouldn’t!  Here’s your chance.

Review any Satalyte book on the Amazon, Goodreads and our website, tell us about it via Facebook with a link to your review and win yourself a free copy of any other Satalyte eBook. You can buy your books from the Satalyte bookstore, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com.au, Smashwords, iBooks and many other locations. If you already have a Satalyte book, and I know there are a LOT of you out there, then you don’t even need to buy a book.

If you have been interested in a couple of our titles, then here’s what you do.  Buy the first one, read and review it, then come back and claim the second one.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Another little snippet from The Dagger of Dresnia - the start of the big battle scene!

Here's another little snippet from The Dagger of Dresnia. It's the start of the big battle scene just before the end.

Beverak leaned into the charge, sword drawn, wind rushing in his ears. The earth reverberated with thousands of hooves, the air thickened with yells and screams. Arrows rained down around him. One caught him in the shoulder, knocking him back in the saddle, but it failed to penetrate. He brushed it off his mail and it fell harmlessly to the ground.

Closer, ever closer they rode, toward the bristling line of archers. The archers broke and ran, firing a final volley over their shoulders. Their departure revealed a wall of shields, sheltering behind a line of pikes stuck into the earth like a row of old men’s rotten teeth. A horse bolted past Beverak, making for a gap between the pikes. It missed and impaled itself, went down screaming. The rider flew into the wall of shields. It opened briefly, swallowed him whole. Another horse stumbled into a pitfall, and rolled on its rider. Both were trampled by the oncoming charge.

Around him, horses reared, baulking at the bristling pikes. He whispered into his own mount’s ear, and it hurtled forward, unfazed by the wall of shields and pikes. The wall broke. Men scattered and ran. Shields reformed in clusters around banners. Riders on the charge’s flanks fanned outward to attack from the sides.

Beverak pressed forward with the centre, slowing to meet sword with sword among the huddles of fighting men. He hacked and slashed at man after man, some mounted, some on foot. A sword chopped at his horse’s neck. Beverak’s sword took off the hand that held it. He wheeled to meet a mounted opponent, but the man’s horse bucked and pitched the rider beneath the hooves of Beverak’s rearing mount. Mud and grass and blood sprayed up, and Beverak pressed on.

The day reduced to cut, thrust, kill, turn, over and over again. Ullavir’s voice of years before rang in his ears. Grip with your knees and try not to die.

Then Ullavir was beside him in truth, the standard bearer at his side. ‘Back off, sire,’ he hissed. ‘We want a live king, not a dead hero.’
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