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 at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. I hope you will enjoy The Dagger of Dresnia (Book 1) and Book 2, The Cloak of Challiver. Book three is in preparation. I also have a short story, La Belle Dame, in print - see Mythic Resonance below.

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I am actively looking for a new home for my books, and hope that they will be back on Amazon 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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Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Sad ending for Satalyte


I had an email this morning, as did all Satalyte authors, telling me that the enterprise is closing down. It was always a brave venture and maybe a forlorn hope. People are reading fewer books, it seems, and maybe some prefer to borrow from libraries rather than paying out for books they can keep.

Most books are ephemeral. Maybe a complete works of Charles Dickens shelf is a nice-looking addition to your lounge room, but most contemporary works will be read once then passed on to someone else or to the local op shop. Very few books come out as hardbacks these days: soft covers and even ebooks are the way modern publishing has gone. I think maybe I'll go down the e-book route. I have several friends who've done that and are doing quite well out of it. After all, the writer gets to keep the money if s/he does the work alone.

I'm still feeling confused, let down, and sad for Satalyte. They set out with such  great ideas three or four years ago, but they've gone the same way as many small press outfits - five years is the limit for many of them. Buy that time they are probably exhausted and possibly out of pocket.

I am still working on a novella that is a spin off from book two, and I might wind up serializing it on the blog. Watch this space - I'll keep you posted on developments.
Tuesday, 3 January 2017

An Interview with Kevyn Howe


British author Kevyn Howe has been writing fantasy novels for many years, ever since he suffered an illness that rendered him unable to work at his normal occupation as an electrical contractor. In 2014 he made a decision to begin writing stories professionally and he has never looked back. Kevyn enjoys writing in all genres, most particularly Sword and Sorcery. He's even moved into the publishing world - he has written three fantasy novels which are on Amazon Kindle.  At present he's actively writing the fourth fantasy novel, aiming to get it published in printed format.  Kevyn reports that he’s also currently writing a Fantasy political spy thriller and is enjoying every minute.

Kevyn studied English literature with the Open University and then took another course called Words and Sounds. He says  ‘For anyone who is unable to attend university,  the Open University is the way ahead to undertake a passion such as writing, which I really enjoy and wish that I’d employed myself many years before. Self-publishing has opened my world in writing and it gives me the chance to publish (in time!) my many novels. I've made some wonderful friends on Facebook throughout the whole world and I think myself privileged to be able to come into readers’ homes with the written word.

The idea for his fantasy novel Peregrine Ofthewood and the Power of the Prophecy came, Kevyn says, when he read an article titled ‘The String Effect’, concerning a mathematical theory that there are eleven dimensions in the known universe: a theory that the great Einstein, along with other important physicists, attempted to prove. Although Einstein failed in his quest to prove it mathematically even unto his deathbed, an American physicist did eventually prove the theory. It struck Kevyn that science and mathematics, as well as the writing of novels etc, can inspire the literary world. Therefore, the way ahead surely is to travel through time and space to visit such magical worlds. One such mysterious, amazing world is Oakwood, where an elfling called Peregrine travels on a quest through time portals into a series of parallel worlds, eventually becoming King of the Elfin kingdom, gaining the release of Peregrine's downtrodden Elven people, long held prisoner in a dark, subterranean world, aptly named Hades.

Friday, 23 December 2016

New Book!


I haven't told you much about The Cloak of Challiver, book two of The Talismans. It was launched at a very low-key affair during the recent convention in Canberra. It's available as an e-book, and you can pre-order a hard copy version, but I have no word on when that will be released.

It's a different book from The Dagger of Dresnia, although Ellyria is again the linchpin character, with her daughter-in-law Tamirayne as her sidekick. They are twenty-two years older, and as the story is basically a double romance, the plot highlights the adventures of Ellyria's two granddaughters, Milana and Lyrien, both of whom fall in love with men their parents would not consider to be suitable partners. The Dark Spirit is still around, as is Nustofer, the villainous cleric from The Dagger of Dresnia, and as with any good medieval fantasy, there are plenty of of love scenes, battles and mysteries. You can buy the ebook from Amazon and other online retailers, or direct from the publishers at http://satalyte.com.au/ - and if you're holding out for hard copy, just put in a pre-order.

Book Three, The Seer of Syland, will be a couple of generations later than the Cloak story. Don't hold your breath - it's still very much a WIP (work-in-progress!) I'm also playing with a novella, a spin-off from The Cloak of Challiver.
Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Just cruisin'


I've just returned from a most enjoyable cruising holiday with my sister Anne. We boarded Golden Princess in Melbourne on 4 December, and experienced two weeks of lovely cruising around New Zealand. As is so common in that part of the world, the sea was too choppy for us to visit all the ports on the schedule, but we had fun aboard ship and also on a very pleasant coach tour around Gisborne, which I'd never visited before.

As you can see from the picture, Golden Princess is a large vessel. Wikipedia tells me that she measures 109,000 gross tons and carries 2,600 passengers in twin cabins, along with 1,100 crew members.

There were plenty of enjoyable activities on board, although I was disappointed that the offerings were not as many and varied as those on the last cruise we did, on Dawn Princess. I had hoped for Yoga classes, but none were in evidence, and although the keep-fit classes were well-presented, they only lasted half an hour and didn't challenge us much.

There was plenty of entertainment in the evenings, though, and I reflected on how many entertainers must be kept in employment by cruise ships. At least a dozen were on the ship, and their performances were of high quality and well received, with packed houses in the theatre nearly every night. And the food, of course, was fabulous. (I've gained a couple of kilos, I fear!)

Now, of course, I am feeling the symptoms of whatever cruise lurgy was going around - dizziness and a slight headache are my constant companions. I'm getting stuck into the Vitamin C and Olive Leaf remedy in the hope of throwing the bug off before it gains too strong a hold.

The holiday season looms large, and whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hannukah or a Solstice (Summer or Winter, depending on where you live!) or something else entirely, I wish you all every happiness for the coming year.

Monday, 31 October 2016

A day to remember - or forget!



Isn't it strange how, now and again, you get a day when everything goes wrong? I don't know about you, but I'm sure I get more of those than I deserve. I get one maybe every month or two, whereas the other kind - the ones that bring nothing but peace, joy and satisfaction - come only once or twice a year at best. Nah, let's get real here - once or twice a decade is more like it!

Today, I had an appointment at one of the hospitals here in Perth. The public health system is underfunded and probably understaffed as well, so errors and misunderstandings are not uncommon. This was an appointment made ages ago, and as soon as I received the notice I phoned to say that Mondays aren't good for me because I teach dance then. Outpatients Direct, the mob in charge of the bookings, said they would try to get the appointment changed and I would hear about it in due course. What I received was another copy of the same notice - Monday, 31 October at 11.00AM.

'Oh well,' I thought. 'Perhaps they can't change it. I'll just have to cancel the dance class.' However, my students are dead keen on their work and they agreed to practise on their own today, while I went to the hospital. So I plotted out my journey - three rides (bus, train, train and a fair walk at the end) taking just over an hour each way.

Perhaps I should explain here that I do not drive. I did try to learn once, but after putting my then husband's treasured Jaguar into a ditch, nose down, I decided that a tactical withdrawal was in order, and I never tried again. In our society, non-drivers are rare, and not being able to drive might almost be considered a disability. However, I don't think I would ever have been more than a mediocre driver, at best: the kind that gets women drivers a bad name among certain males of the species.

Eventually, I got to the hospital all right, but do you think I could find the relevant department? Of course not. The sprawling layout of single-story buildings that constitutes the outpatients section covers an entire suburban block on its own, and of course all the buildings look alike. My notice had a map on the back, but whichever way I turned the paper, I could not find the right way into the right section. Eleven o'clock came and went and I was still lost. I asked for directions, and of course with the cheerful confidence of people who know their way around, various staff members pointed me in one wrong direction after another. Finally, more by good luck than good management, I stumbled across the right building, only to find that yes, the original appointment had, in fact, been cancelled and that I would eventually receive notice of a new time, probably in January.

This is starting to remind me of the song about why Murphy's not at work today, so I'll stop griping now. But I do hope my lovely dancing ladies had a better time than I did this morning!








Monday, 3 October 2016

Canberra Con!


I am writing this post in a small dormitory in Canberra, Australia's capital city. Spring can be cold in Canberra, because it's inland and close to the aptly-named Snowy Mountains. I have found a nice cheap place to stay when I'm here - the YHA in Akuna Street, a really good, centrally placed hostelry for people who don't want to cough up several hundred dollars for a night's lodging!

I've had a turnover of room mates these last five nights, and tonight is a bit lonely as I am suddenly the only occupant of this four-bed dorm. I have a son and his family in Canberra, including newcomer Esther, my first great grandchild, but they live a bit too far from the centre of the city for me to stay with them. However, we had a couple of nice get-togethers during my visit. It was actually Esther's arrival that closed the deal, as I'd been um-ing and ah-ing about going to the convention. Overall, however, I'm glad I did.

Sean Williams
Alan Baxter
It was a pleasant, low-key event, with Guests of Honour Alan Baxter (fantasy writer and martial arts expert!) and David Farland (AKA Dave Wolverton when he writes hard SF) from America. South Australian author Sean Williams, one of Australia's best-loved SF writers, was there too, but wearing another persona - that of Master of Ceremonies!

I was lucky enough to be on a panel with Dave Farland toward the end of the four-day program. He's one of those people who can draw on vast experience on many topics, so is an excellent speaker. You can discover more on Dave and his work at http://davidfarland.com/

I sat on five panels, the first of which was called How realistic do you like your fantasy? To me, the essence of the topic is this: Fantasy implies the inclusion of elements that do not, as far as we can assess, exist on this planet. Furthermore, I do not like stories that include pornography or a lot of violence; however, those who have read The Dagger of Dresnia will know that I will include sex scenes if they are necessary to the plot or to bring out certain character traits.
Dave Farland

A second fantasy panel discussed Rhythm and form in fairy tales. Historian Gillian Polack had a lot to contribute on this one and my fellow panelists and I listened in awe to her erudite approach to the topic!

On the second day, another fantasy panel concerned itself with religion and how writers are likely to adapt elements of religions they are familiar with to create new ones for their stories. I think religions in my stories have a basis in High Anglican liturgy with a dash of Wicca for seasoning, and that is probably not unusual, given the typical fantasy author's prolific interests.

On Sunday, Jane Virgo, Val Toh and I discussed Chinese and European  systems of astrology on our one panel for the day. Some of you will know that I made my living as an astrologer for several years, but it was, of course, the European system. I have read a bit on the Chinese system; enough to know that it comes from a base that differs from the one we are used to. However, they can both be valuable tools for personal growth and counselling, and we agreed that, as writers, we would sometimes draw on our knowledge of astrology to help us with character development.
Kelli Takenaka

Finally, we ground to a halt on Monday with 'Writing for pleasure, not publication'. Dave Farland, Kelli Takenaka and I discussed this with the small audience and gradually the topic shifted around to 'Fan fiction', which is surely the best response to the idea that rewards can take many forms. Money is fine, but sometimes just having fun or learning something new about the craft of writing through our own work can be rewarding.

All in all, a nice little con, thanks to the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild. And while I've been writing, a new room mate has arrived!

Back to Perth tomorrow - a six-to-eight hour journey if the connections work as they should!



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