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I hope my continual references to my schooldays aren't boring everyone to tears, but as the celebrations of Sydney's  Conservator...

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 as is Book two, The Cloak of Challiver. 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

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, 28 September 2014

The best part about getting published!

Greenmount's  view over the suburbs of Perth
Yesterday was the annual assessment day at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre in Greenmount, beautifully situated in the hills outside Perth. I was invited to spend the day chatting with writers. And they paid me to do it.

The day started badly. The weather was utterly terrible! I'd dressed myself up to the nines, put pink streaks in my hair and even donned a bit of lippy - but when (after an hour and half on buses and trains) I arrived and saw myself in the mirror I realised that I resembled nothing so much as a bedraggled pink bear.  A bedraggled pink bear with glasses.

Eventually, having dried myself off, combed my straggly wet tresses (which by this time sported odd pink blotches) and fortified myself with coffee, I girded my loins to start work.

'Work' should always be like this. I had the privilege of sitting with five gifted writers, one at a time, to discuss their manuscripts in some detail. Each of these very nice people was working on something that showed considerable promise. I was most impressed by their talent and enthusiasm! Their works were very different from each other, ranging from family history to high fantasy, with a bit of ‘chick-lit’ — and one rather 'literary' short story with which I was particularly impressed.

If you should get a chance to participate in such an event, do take it, for it is a really worthwhile experience to be able to chat about your work and your plans, and maybe go away with some new ideas. The KSP Centre gave me many such opportunities when I was starting out, and I am delighted now to be on the other side of the conversation. It would have been nice to get all those lovely people together so they could share their work with each other, but the program of one hour individual time slots did not allow it. Perhaps we might be able to do that another time.

Next weekend is the Conflux Convention in Canberra. I am going with Egoboo buddy Helen Venn. We shall sit on panels, drink a lot of coffee and maybe guzzle something stronger now and then, and we'll talk about writing and publishing with like-minded people for four whole days! I should also be able to catch up with my Canberra-based son and daughter-in-law and my lovely publishers, Stephen and Marieke Ormsby of Satalyte Publishing. Watch for my full report in about ten days time!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Author interview: Fiona Leonard

A few years ago I belonged to a critiquing quartet. We used to meet regularly, and between meetings we would send each other our latest chapters by email. 

One of other members was Fiona Leonard, and the highly amusing political thriller she was writing then, The Chicken Thief, has since been published by Penguin. Fiona and I have done an interview swap: my interview of Fiona (who currently resides in Ghana) is below, and you can read her questions to me and my answers at http://www.fionaleonard.net/2014/09/author-chat-satima-flavell.html
Q. The Chicken Thief is one of my very favourite books. It is whimsical and funny, yet it has edge-of-the-seat moments with plenty of tension. Alois is a delightful character with very human desires and failings, and we can’t help but cheer him on. How did you get your inspiration for the story? Have you known someone like Alois?
A. I spent three years living, working and travelling in southern Africa. During that time I read a lot about the liberation struggles of the respective countries, and that research very much provided the foundation for the story. That said, Alois is very much a product of my imagination. If anything, Alois is more of an exploration of my experience with the region. Of all the characters, he's the one I associate with the most – although maybe that's simply a product of having lived with him for so long!

Q. Have you written (or are you planning to write) more books about Alois and his friends? If so, when might we expect them?
A. There are two more books in The Chicken Thief series. The second is finished and I'm in the midst of a final rewrite of the third. I am hoping that book two will go to print next year.

Q. You must be familiar with African cultures, having been a diplomat in Zimbabwe and now living on the other side of the continent in Ghana. Are you planning any books – fiction or non-fiction – based on your own experiences of the continent?
A. No, I'm actually planning to take a major detour with my writing and shift continent and genre. The next book – which is very much in its infancy – is a YA fantasy that will be set in London!

Q. What else would you like to write about?
A. I'm actually really excited about writing a YA fantasy. I'm a passionate advocate of promoting reading amongst teens and have often wondered why it is that I love researching and finding YA books and yet I don't write them. It's very much out of my comfort zone, which is both terrifying and also very exciting!

Q. What sort of books to you best like to read? Do you have a favourite genre?
A. I believe very strongly that in order to be a good writer you need to read, and read a lot. I read a book a week and try to read across a range of genres. I keep a very long wishlist and add books to my kindle on a regular basis – I think I have about thirty-five unread books on there at the moment! Sometimes if I need inspiration in my writing I will focus on a particular genre – for example reading thrillers when I feel like I'm struggling with pacing.

Q. Do you see yourself returning to Australia in the foreseeable future, or are you planning to seek other pastures?
A. There are no plans to return to Australia at the moment, but there's a reasonable chance that we will be on the move again soon. I have a serious travel bug and start to get nervous if I stay still for too long! Stay tuned for updates!

Note from Satima: You can buy The Chicken Thief from Mr Amazon or any one of a number of gentlefolk who trade in printed matter on the web.

And the delightful chook picture is from Wikimedia Commons.
Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Fifteen thoughts of gratitude

There is a meme going around on Facebook that requires participants to name three things they are grateful for, every day for five days. Lorraine, a Facebook friend, challenged me to join in. I found it so thought-provoking that I decided to collate my responses and republish them here.

Day One:
1) I am grateful for the ability to turn on a tap and have clean water whenever I want it.
2) I am grateful for my dear little apartment in a secure building that I have for very moderate rent.
3) I am also grateful that I live in Perth, surely one of the most beautiful cities in the world - and with a nice warm climate!

Day Two:
1) I am grateful for the privilege of rearing my five beautiful children
2) I am grateful for my amazing grandchildren
3) I am also grateful that I still enjoy reasonably good health in old age, and that I am fit enough to attend belly dance and keep fit classes and to teach my own class on Theatrical Dance for mature adults.

Day Three:
1. I am grateful for the opportunities I've had to exercise my talents, mediocre though they may be. I've been involved with dance, music, acting and writing and sometimes I've even been paid! But like everyone who loves the arts, I have willingly undertaken assignments gratis if I've liked them enough.
2. I am grateful that I'm still fit enough to dance and still have good enough eyesight to write.
3. I am grateful that Satalyte Publishing bought my first novel, enabling me to get the story I've sweated over for so long out there for all the world to read!

Day Four:
1. I am grateful for the fact that ever since I was two years old — D-Day in 1945 — I have lived in countries at peace and been free to travel wherever I wished (or could afford!)
2. I am grateful for the marvellous tuition I had when I was young, in dance (Scully-Borovansky and Beth Dean, inter alia), music (Sydney Conservatorium) and acting (NIDA).
3. I am equally grateful for the tuition I've had as an adult in dance (Valrene Tweedie, WAAPA and others) and in writing (various people via the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre.)

Day Five:
On the last day, my three gratitudes pertained to matters spiritual.
1. I am grateful that I live in a land where freedom of religion is taken as a given. At different times in my life, I have practised Christianity, Wicca and Buddhism (both Tibetan and Theravada) sometimes more than one at a time. I also practise hatha yoga in the Iyengar method.
2. I am grateful to my spiritual teachers in all those disciplines for their instruction, advice and support. Christianity gave me an appreciation of the power of prayer: Wicca taught me the power of ritual, Buddhism taught me the power of sitting in meditation and yoga taught me power of moving in meditation.
3. I am also grateful to my tutors in the secular domain who encouraged my reading and research when I was studying for my BA in Religious Studies. An intellectual understanding can often prepare us for the inner understanding that is essential to all true spiritual practice.

I think I’ve covered every dimension of my life and realised how much I have to appreciate!
Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Still getting good reviews!

More good reviews for The Dagger of Dresnia! There are now eight on Amazon, where the average is 4.6 stars. Readers are saying things like:

And here's a really nice one from Marie Cox's Facebook timeline! 'I have finished reading the first book of the Trilogy, "The Dagger of Dresnia". It is such a great book, loved the characters (Pillars of the Earth meets Fifty Shades of Grey) and can't wait until the author, Satima Flavell, publishes the next book in the Trilogy. I purchased my copy through The Book Depository.'

There are nice ones on Goodreads as well, where the average is 4.17 stars. For instance, Ian Banks says: 'Flavell’s skill at mixing these strands of plot and character make this a gripping read and the way which these stories intertwine is clever and natural, leading to a climax that is gripping and a conclusion that, while sudden, does wrap up this story while still leaving openings for the future volumes in this series.'  (This review first appeared at http://stuffianlikes.aussieblogs.com)

And Tsana Dolichva says of the ending: 'I had a suspicion it was coming but the way it actually happened was great. (No spoilers!) It was hilarious, like a pun ...'

While Dave Dunn's five-star review says, 'In short, the story of Queen Ellyria and her sons reads more like a realistic work of literature than some purple-prosed Tolkien imitation, which the same material in lesser hands could have turned out to be. These are real people who love, hate, doubt themselves, use the restroom, have sex, and at times, curse like sailors, and that is the real magic of this decidedly magical tale.'

And Helen Venn says, '... a great read with a nicely realised mediaeval world where magic can be good or evil. It's a well written tale with a complex and wide ranging story line with many twists but its closely observed characters are what lift it above many other similar novels. While there is plenty of action it was the relationships and interplay of the characters that engaged me most and it was a pleasant change to see a mature woman as the protagonist, something that is all too rare in speculative fiction.'

I hope I don't sound smug, but I feel really chuffed by all these kind people taking time to review The Dagger of Dresnia!

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