About Me

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Perth, Western Australia, Australia
I am 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.

My books

The first two books of my trilogy, The Talismans, (The Dagger of Dresnia, and book two, The Cloak of Challiver) are available in e-book format from Smashwords, Amazon and other online sellers. Book three of the trilogy, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation.I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below - as well as well as a few poems in various places. The best way to contact me is via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/satimaflavell

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. However, The Dagger of Dresnia and The Cloak of Challiver are available as ebooks on the usual book-selling websites, and book three, The Seer of Syland, is in preparation. The easiest way to contact me is via Facebook.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Cloak of Challiver, Book two of The Talismans

The Cloak of Challiver, Book two of The Talismans
Available as an e-book on Amazon and other online booksellers.

Mythic Resonance

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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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Test Junkie, me

Your result for What's your key signature?...

D Minor

Congratulations, I guess. You’re D Minor, the key that F Major turns to when its lover dumps it. This key is downright depressing, but not in a loud way. This is more the “brooding as you slowly cut yourself in the corner” type of depressing. A member of the totally-real band Spinal tap once said that when D minor begins, “everyone instantly starts weeping." It’s an easy key to play for many instruments, and is quite a nice key for slow jazz ballads, as if you didn’t have enough of the blues.

So yeah, you’re D Minor, but you probably don’t care. In fact, you were probably expecting this when you started the damn quiz. Pessimism isn’t always the answer, friend!

SONG EXAMPLE: So What? By Miles Davis (OK, I know it’s actually in D’s Dorian mode, but close the hell enough.)


* This key is actually fairly easy to rock in if you’re in drop D, but you rarely hear any super punk death metal in D Minor. Odd.

Take What's your key signature? at HelloQuizzy

Monday, 27 October 2008

Blog a dog again

There are no pets at my new housesit, so I've been feeling a bit dog-deprived. But this is the next best thing - you might remember I told you a few weeks ago about how my doctor had a baby guide dog to look after? Well, here she is - dear little Alba. Whoever dreamed up the name had a sense of humour because this little doggie is neither white nor English. She's grown quite a bit since I last saw her, but she's as cute as ever.

Alba's foster mum says she's proving very easy to train. Apparently she's learnt to wee and poo on command, and having potty trained several children as well as countless animals, I must say I find that amazing!

It is a wonderful thing that folk are willing to open their homes and hearts to a puppy that won't be theirs forever, and the success of guide dogs must be due in a large part to these kind people. If you live in Western Australia, you can learn how to become a foster parent to a guide dog yourself here. (Other states and countries have their own guide dog associations, all of whom do very worthwhile work.) As I understand it, you must be able to take the puppy to work with you as that's part of their training.

Seeing Alba reminded me that when I was at university there was a blind guy in one of my classes. He used to sit in the ref surrounded by gushing girls, and finally he must've got sick of playing second string to a dog, because once, when one of them said 'Oh, isn't he gorgeous!' the owner replied in a bored voice 'Yeah, and the dog's not bad, either!'

I had a lovely day on Sunday at a BBQ hosted by my writerly friend Carol Ryles. Carol held one of these last year and this one was even better, so I'm looking forward to next year's already!

In other news, both my Face-to-Face writers group and my on-line one are not happy with the way I've structured my WIP. The consensus seems to be that Ellyria, my MC, is pretty boring. Not good. However, writing buddy Tom Edwards has suggested that I turn the only really exciting thing she does into a prologue and then try to work the first 25% of the book in as back story, placing more emphasis on the romance element. It's a big ask, but I'll give it a try. One day before I die I'll have a publishable novel!
Sunday, 19 October 2008

Icing the WIP - and another great little con

Time, I think, to set the WIP aside for a few weeks. It's all down except the two sex scenes, which have got to be so special I really don't want to tackle them without adequate thought and preparation. You can see that I'm already over my projected first draft target, and I suspect that the book will eventually come in at about 130-odd thousand words. In the meantime, I'll start outlining book two.

But not just yet! This next couple of weeks are going to be busy. I have loads of critting to catch up on, including half a Fat Fantasy I'm beta reading (more on that another time: for now, just be assured it's a great read!) and there's a Specusphere deadline looming on the first of November, which means there are books to review and reviews to edit. What's more, it's tax time, so there's a busy fortnight ahead of me.

Having finished my Freddie-minding for now (although I hope to do more of it next year) I'm back with my son in Mount Lawley for this week. Next weekend I shall move to Subiaco to house sit for friends who are off to India for a month. I'll probably be doing quite a bit of socialising over the next few weeks as I won't see my Perth friends again for several months after I head back to Mount Gambier on 23 November.

I'll be taking some super memories back, though. Today I was at the Wastelands Convention, which was organised by fannish friends John Parker and Sarah Parker. Helen Venn and I were on a panel with John and Sarah about running a small convention. We all agreed that it's hard work but very, very rewarding. Carol Ryles, a very talented lady who plays a mean game of Scrabble, read a paper on Steampunk (the theme of the con) which she is researching for her PhD thesis. Sadly, I couldn't get there yesterday but I'm told Carol was right on form.

I'm really pleased to see that there are at least two genre writers, including Juliet Marillier and Anthony Eaton , short-listed for this year's Western Australia's Premier's Award for Literature. I'd like to think that attitudes towards genre writing are slowly changing as people realise that genre and excellence in writing can often be found within the same covers. Certainly this is true of Juliet Marillier's Cybele's Secret, a historical fantasy full of intrigue and mystery that appeals to real grown up readers, not just its target audience of Young Adults. I haven't yet read Anthony Eaton's offering, but I do plan on rectifying that asap.

There is little doubt that we are spoilt for talent here in the West. I feel privileged to know so many gifted and enthusiastic people.
Sunday, 12 October 2008

Walking with Freddie

My little black and tan friend Freddie is an energetic fellow. He loves to play and go walkies. He's also very keen to share my food! At four years old, he is still youthful, and he therefore has two speeds - full on and sleeping. He sleeps a lot, but as soon as he wakes up he's on the go, non-stop.

Now, I do not, by and large, walk - unless I have to. I think it has something to do with the fact that as a non-driver, I see walking as a means of getting from one place to another rather than a form of recreation. Freddie's owner Anudhara, on the other hand, is a lithe, leggy lady who loves walking, so Freddie's used to being exercised for a good hour every day. I explained to him that he would be short-changed with me, and he didn't seem to mind, so we've been been taking a reasonably fast half hour walk each day. Since Kwinana is about as well known to me as Timbuktu, we've been taking a slightly different route each time so that I can familiarise myself with the area. Two birds with one stone, so to speak. I was feeling quite proud of my initiative.

Nice idea, Satima, except that yesterday we got lost. Not terribly, terribly lost, you understand, but just a little bit lost so that we were walking for an hour instead of thirty minutes. Up hill and down dale we wandered, until we finally found a familiar street name and headed for home. But our adventures weren't over. There was stranger danger in store.

I should explain that Freddie's main ambition in life is to kill and eat a cat. So far, he has been spectacularly unsuccessful, since critters of the feline persuasion are generally far faster on their feet than little terriers, and what's more, they can climb. As a consolation prize, therefore, Freddie has decided that a German Shepherd might serve his hunting ambitions just as well. The fact the his ancestors mainly hail from north of the Humber and were therefore of rather short stature as dogs go does not faze our hero. Every time he sees an Alsatian - or, indeed, any other large dog - he breaks into a frenzy of barking, leaping towards the offending beast and dragging whoever is on the other end of the lead forward with him.

So of course yesterday, while I was already exhausted from unaccustomed excercise, we had to meet an Alsatian. Freddie had already made moves against the odd cat, with his usual lack of success, so he was determined not to let this opportunity pass. It was with great difficulty and not a little terror that the other dog walker and I managed to keep the pair apart.

Cross at being deprived of his prey, the gallant Freddie started up again at the sight of a distant Pomeranian. Forewarned being forearmed and all that, I prudently crossed the road and crossed my fingers that no other four legged being would come over the horizon. I was lucky - no more beasties of any description put in an appearance. I'd hate to see Freddie with a horse.

Freddie is good company. In his quieter moments, he loves to sit still and be brushed from head to toe. But not for long. To keep in training for the real thing, he has a toy cat to play with. Like any terrier, Freddie loves to hold one end of the prey while someone else - in this case, me - tugs on the other. I couldn't film with one hand and defend my end of the cat at the same time, but I did film a little of Freddie's cat-killing technique while he practised on his own.
Today we returned to a familiar route that involves only known dangers. And we didn't get lost, either. Forget adventure - a turn around the local park and a stroll alongside the golf course is a far safer bet.

Update on the WIP:

Six thousand words in three days. Two chapters to go. (Looks like I'll go over the target.)
Friday, 10 October 2008

Sherlock Holmes? Moi?

Now this one I don't believe:

Your result for The Literary Character Test...

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is the brilliant mastermind whose undoubted prowess in the field of forensics have entertained the world for decades. He is decidedly good in his actions, and his methodical thinking accents his ability, making him all the better at what he does. His ability to overcome any foe, and understand any crime is what makes him so well known, and it appears he will never fail.

Yeah, right, and on my days off I'm Jack the Ripper...

Take The Literary Character Test at HelloQuizzy

I can't resist tests!

It's OK, I've written over a thousand words this morning and I've outlined the next two scenes, so I've followed Lee Battersby's lead and done some tests on Hello Quizzy. Here's the first one:

Your result for The Mythological God Test...


Thoth, the Egyptian God of secret wisdom, intellect, geometry and other forms of higher mathematics, was also the God of books and learning, of writing and numbers. And above all, he was the God of Magic. Indeed, he was the first and greatest of all magicians, said to create miracles from nothing by the mere vibrations of his voice alone.

Within his main temple were said to be stored his books of magic which were open for the edification of all, providing those absorbing this magic understood its sacred content. Over the centuries, these books were said to have been carefully translated by various priests of secret orders until finally, the Greeks compiled them as the works of Hermes Trismegistus.

One book most everyone is familiar with which is attributed to the mysteries of the God Thoth is the Tarot, considered to be an unbound book of symbols that may be read in an endless variety of sequences imitating the random nature of existence itself.

The Fifteen Gods

These are the 15 categories of this test. If you score above average in …

…all or none of the four variables: Dagda. …
Erudite: Thoth. …
Sensual: Frey. …
Martial: Mars. …
Saturnine: Mictlantecuhtli. …

Erudite & Sensual: Amun. …
Erudite & Martial: Odin. …
Erudite & Saturnine: Anubis. …
Sensual & Martial: Zeus. …
Sensual & Saturnine: Cernunnos. …
Martial & Saturnine: Loki. …

Erudite, Sensual & Martial: Lug. …
Erudite, Sensual & Saturnine: Coyote. …
Erudite, Martial & Saturnine: Hades. …
Sensual, Martial & Saturnine: Pan.

Take The Mythological God Test at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Maybe a word counter will help...

I've admired this little word counter on other writers' blogs so I took myself over to Writertopia and filched one for myself. Maybe it will shame me into carrying on, despite my frozen state when I think about the sex scenes...
Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A new canine friend

The usual apologies, dear friends, for my lateness in blogging. I moved house-sits twice in five days and each move takes a good half day out of my life. Not that I resent it, of course, because without the house sitting I could not spend time in Perth, Western Australia, my most favourite city in the world.

My friend Ellen returned from Europe last Wednesday, full of the wonders of the Hermitage, the Kremlin and the Louvre. After touring in the UK, France and Spain, she joined a vast gathering of choristers from all over the world to take part in two performances of Verdi's Requiem, one each in St Petersburg and Moscow. Quite the trip of a lifetime, and I am looking forward to seeing all her photos and memorabilia. She brought me a lovely gift: a CD called We Sing to You, which features Anima, a choral group associated with of one of the six churches that stand within the grounds of the Kremlin. The music soars to heaven, carrying the listener with it, and I know I shall have many hours of listening pleasure from it. You can learn more about Anima here.

Once Ellen was home and settled, I moved to Sara's house for the weekend, waiting for her "mum" to return, and then I moved on to the home of e-buddy Anudhara, who occasionally blogs at More Notes from the Edge Anudhara has a delightful home in a southern suburb of Perth, wa-ay down south of my familiar territory of the inner northern suburbs. She has a lovely garden here and a friendly, lively companion in the person of Freddie, a dear little bitza whose ancestors obviously included a lineage of West Highland terriers. Freddie and I will have fun together for the next ten days while Anudhara visits family living even farther down south. Four hours drive farther, in fact, which takes you to about as far south as you can go without donning wetsuit and goggles.

You will (I hope) be pleased to know that I have only another ten scenes to write and the WIP will come to its final full stop. Since I started Robert Olen Butler's regimen of getting up early and writing before breakfast while I'm still in the "dream space", I have written over 40,000ww. True, that's an average of only 900ww words a day, but seeing as I only wrote about 40,000 words in the whole year before that, it's obviously a vast improvement! My new housesit is in quite an isolated area as far as public transport goes, so I intend to do my own personal ten day retreat while I’m here. So, a scene a day for ten days and I should be able to tell you that the wretched WIP is finished. It's only taken two and half years! I shall have to learn to write books much faster than that, given that I am already 65 years old and have formulated the ambition of having at least one trilogy published before I succumb to the dementia that unfortunately afflicts my family.

Two of the scenes are going to take a lot of work, and I'll cover my back by admitting that I possibly won't get these finished in the ten days. One of my characters is a young man who has two relationships, one after the other. The first is with a woman who ensorcels, uses and controls him. When he finally sees through her wiles, he moves on and quite by accident falls in with a young woman whose only earlier sexual experience was a rape. They spend one night together in which they meet as equals in their vulnerability and need for healing. I want to use these two sex scenes to show the growth that takes place in the young man's journey to maturity: a darned big ask for a writer almost totally inexperienced in writing sex scenes! Writing buddy Laney Cairo has been kind enough to give me some pointers so I hope I can do justice to her tuition.

Reading-wise, I'm still on with Marcus Herniman's The Siege of Arrandin. This man's world-building is truly remarkable in its inventiveness and attention to detail. These very strengths make it a slow read, and it's getting close to the next deadline for The Specusphere. I'll probably have to set Mr Herniman aside for a week or two and read at least one of the three books I've been intending to review. Too many fine writers – and far too little time!
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