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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

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've lived: High View, WV

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Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

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Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

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Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
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Ruthvard's journey, the first scene I wrote for the Talismans Trilogy



This is the scene that started my trilogy-writing adventure, at Swancon 2003. Since I wrote it, I have changed the names of several characters and places, but all-in-all, it's recognisably the same scene as will appear in book two of the trilogy. I hope you enjoy it!

Ruthvard belted up his muddied cloak as he led his horse up the steep, cobbled middle ward of Sutherven castle. The storm was increasing in intensity and freezing wind drove raindrops into his face like fine needles. Digging his staff into the crevices between the cobblestones, the old man turned one shoulder uphill and manoeuvred himself crabwise on the slippery surface. This would be the worst possible time to fall and break a leg. He prayed, not for the first time, that Milana would be sufficiently recovered from the birth to brave the elements and bring the infant king to safety.
     Hunched over and nearly crawling, he finally reached the inner gatehouse and gratefully handed his mount to a stable hand. A few dozen agonising steps saw him across the inner ward and hauling himself up the precipitous steps of the keep. It had been a long, hard ride from Rannerven, almost non-stop and with foul weather all the way. The vision of Reylak, banners flying, hastening towards Rannerven at the head of his mercenary army, had spurred Ruthvard onwards. He had not supported Alarev all those years and watched with pride as Dinak and Pedwen grew towards manhood only to see an upstart bring their line to ruin.
    ‘I’m too old for this,’ he told himself. ‘It was all very well when I was twenty-eight, or even fifty-eight, but I now I’m eighty-eight…’
     He collapsed on a stone bench in the portico to catch his breath before pulling the bell-rope. A grating sound told him that the shutter behind the peephole was opening.
     ‘Sir, I have orders to admit no-one,’ the gatekeeper called through the grille.
Annoyed, yet pleased that Milana was taking no chances, Ruthvard struggled to his feet, pulled off the signet ring that marked him as one of the king’s advisors and pushed it through the bars.
     ‘You know damned well who I am. Take this up to the princess, if she needs convincing. And for the love of the Lady, hurry, man. I have urgent news for the princess and I’m soaked to the skin to boot.’
     The gatekeeper was back and opening the gate within minutes. ‘Her highness asks that you go straight up, sir. She is in the king’s solar with the babe. He’s a fine boy, sir, and lusty enough to take the throne next week, from the sound of his yells.’
     There was a guard at Milana’s door, a man known to Ruthvard. He snapped to attention as the magician reached the top of the stairs.
     ‘Good day, Merak,’ Ruthvard greeted him. ‘Is all well?’
     ‘So far, sir.’
     ‘Who else is on duty?’
     ‘In the castle proper, Nolgev and Manstard are in charge, sir. Gadwen and Bannarev are on the gates.’
     ‘Good men, all of them. Go and bid them prepare for a journey. I’ll only want you five vintenars; don’t mention it to anyone else. And ask Sir Nirwen to meet me in the gatehouse in half an hour. Make haste. I’ve a ship waiting.’
     ‘Sir!’ Merak fairly sprinted down the staircase as Ruthvard raised his hand to knock at the door. It opened, however, before his knuckles reached the wood.
     ‘Uncle Ruthvard, welcome! Come in!’ Milana closed the door behind her guest, who watched her cross the room to a table that bore an ale jug and beakers. Her movements were sprightly, and Ruthvard was relieved to see how well she looked. It would make it easier for him to insist that she leave the comforts of the castle and take ship with him.
     ‘Poor little lass,’ he thought. ‘In less than a year she’s had to turn from girl to wife to widow and mother, and mother of a king at that.’
     ‘Some ale, Uncle? You look as though you need it. What dreadful weather for Springfest! You’ve had a wet, cold journey.’
     ‘Aye, I have that, Milana, and it’s not over yet.’ Ruthvard stood as close to the fire as he could, trying to warm his body and dry his wet clothes.
     ‘Uncle, you must change your garments. Nariel!’ The girl appeared from the next room.
     ‘Nariel, I want you to seek out fresh clothing for Prince Ruthvard. See if you can get something hot from the kitchen, too. Oh, and ask Pirralith to take word to the queen of Prince Ruthvard’s arrival.’
     ‘Yes ma’am.’ Nariel curtsied slightly and disappeared.
Milana turned back to Ruthvard.
     ‘Uncle, please sit down. You must be exhausted’
     Ruthvard sat by the fire, warming his hands, but did not dare relax. He feared he would fall asleep if he did.
     ‘Milana, we have but little time. I have come to warn you of danger, grave danger. Reylak has raised troops in Borderlands and is marching towards Rannerven. It would be expedient, I think, to get the babe away to Syland.’
     ‘To Syland, Uncle?’ Ruthvard saw the joy in her eyes, almost heard her thoughts: Syland! Home! ‘But why? I thought you said this castle would hold against any attack?’
     ‘And so it would, my dear, but why risk civil war when you have a safe haven at Castle Volran? When I visited Syland to talk to your father after your marriage, we discussed terms. Even then, he was somewhat loath to part with your dowry, but he did promise that if you were with child, he would stand with us against any possible threat to the kingship of Dresnia. It is already time to call in that promise, I think. Reylak would not dare attack a foreign fortress. With you, the queen and the babe safely out of the country, perhaps it might be possible to negotiate with the rogue.’
     ‘But Uncle, I do fear taking the king out in this foul weather. He is but six days old.’
     Ruthvard smiled to himself. She was already thinking of the boy as king first, son second.       ‘Nevertheless, Milana, we must leave. Better to risk our lives in the storm than withstand a siege. We have only to get down to the port, after all. A ship lies at anchor outside the river mouth: we have no time to wait for high tide.’
     ‘When did you find out?’
     ‘Two days ago, but I suspected before that. I did a foretelling, and saw Reylak at tomorrow’s council meeting, again demanding not only his rights as regent, but guardianship of the king as well. He will know of the king’s birth by now. He should have had word of the council meeting, too, so he could well be in Rannerven already.’
     ‘Is there much support for him, do you think?’
     ‘He has some kind of army behind him. I doubt they could withstand our well-trained troops, but battle would be unfruitful, whatever the outcome. Reylak does not want a regency, he wants the throne.’
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