The Brief Version
I write real magic – magical realism and fantasy stories with the power to transform.
I live in an Australian rainforest with my husband and two Burmese cats, and I love steampunk style. My hobby is making masks and Steampunk accessories and selling them internationally from my Tahlia’s Masks website. I’m an ex-dancer, visual theatre performer and high school creative-arts teacher, and I began my study of how to work with my mind in the early 1980s I have extensive experience in meditation and Tibetan Buddhist studies. I’m a trained meditation instructor for Rigpa Australia and have been instructing students of meditation since 2000.
I host the Happiness Hints podcast, and I’m the happiest person I know!
I’ve written The Diamond Peak Series, a young adult metaphysical fantasy series, two Prunella Smith novels for adults, (Worlds Within Worlds – a metapysical thriller – and The Locksmith’s Secret – women’s fiction) plus a book of urban fantasy and magical realism short stories (A Matter of Perception), and a YA magical realism novel on empowering ways to deal with a bullying (You Can’t Shatter Me) The young adult books and short stories are published by S&H Publishing. Four of my novels have been awarded B.R.A.G Medallions and an Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence for outstanding fiction. I’ve also written a book on writing, The Elements of Active Prose: Writing tips to make Your Prose Shine, published by AIA Publishing, a selective, author-funded publishing company I run as an extension of my editing work for AIA Editing.
You can see my CV on my Linked in profile.
The Full Story
I was born on a New Zealand farm with a book in one hand, artists modelling clay in the other and a mind full of creative ideas and philosophical questions. I trained as a primary school teacher and taught in New Zealand for one year before moving to Australia. Childhood elocution lessons and life in Australia have removed most traces of my Kiwi accent, but when I say dance, it doesn’t rhyme with pants. Even so, I now call Australia home, particularly my little patch of rainforest in the Illawarra south of Sydney.
My uncontainable creativity, inability to sit still, and forays into modelling, dancing and acting, inspired me to leave my early career as a teacher for the gypsy life of a performer. For twenty years I helped to create Visual Theatre shows—I wrote scripts and made masks and costumes—and performed with Centrepiece Productions all over Australasia as a dancer, mime and clown (see videos of our performances on Tahlia’s Masks). When my daughter (now a videographer and graphic designer) went to high school, I gave it up for the more sedentary life of a creative arts teacher in a local high school where I stayed for five years.
Early one morning when I should have been asleep, scenes of a girl battling demons while climbing a mountain in search of her mother and enlightenment appeared in my mind like a movie and filled my heart with inspiration. The story demanded to be written with such a passion that I left my teaching job and, while supporting myself with casual teaching jobs, spent the next five years writing The Diamond Peak Series and studying writing and editing. I gained a Certificate in Editing and Proofreading, and Lethal Inheritance, the first in that series, is now, along with two other of my 6 novels, the proud recipient of a BRAG Medallion and the Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence for outstanding independent fiction.
My fiction is inspirational and heart-warming magical realism and fantasy, always with an underlying thread of metaphysics and a touch or more of romance. I’m fascinated by perception and the nature of creativity, identity and reality itself. I paint with a light touch and aim to inspire readers to work with their mind and deal with their own life issues in a positive way. Though I’ve written five young adult novels, I now write for adults. I even have a book on writing out (The Elements of Active Prose: Writing Tips to Make Your Prose Shine) and are presently planning my first book on how to live a happy and fulfilling life.
I never meant to become a writer, or an editor, but that’s where inspiration and a Certificate in Editing and Proofreading lead me. Now I spend most of my time editing other author’s books to make them shine. I also help the best of them publish with my selective self-funded publishing company, AIA Publishing (Awesome Independent Authors) and I co-ordinate the Awesome Indies accreditation service for independently published books. I’ve edited for two publishers (S&H Publishing, and Manor Minor Press) and agent Caroline Oliviera.
I meditate daily—I spent twelve years in partial home retreat while I studied Buddhism and completed the Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana preliminaries and further practices—and I try to remain in the state of meditation every moment of the day. My teacher is the Tibetan Dzogchen master Sogyal Rinpoche, and it is through his thorough training that I am able to impart my understanding and experience while remaining true to the traditional Tibetan Buddhist teachings and unbroken lineage of experience. I’m a trained meditation instructor for Rigpa Australia and have been instructing students of meditation since 1999. I set up and for twelve years was the Teaching Services Director of Rigpa Australia’s Bush Telegraph Distance Education Centre and I now instruct an advanced group of students via Skype.
My artistic side finds expression in making masquerade masks and beautiful steampunk hats, necklaces and Gothic Victorian lace collars, which I sell on Ebay, Etsy and my Tahlia’s Masks website. You can also see them on Pinterest, and I occasionally remember to post some pictures on Deviant Art. I see them all as expressions of or adornments for our noble self—our true nature—and hope that wearing them helps customers to experience their inherent nobility. My wardrobe is full of steampunk and Gothic clothing which I wear every day because beautiful clothes deserve to be worn.
I like the word awesome. That’s because life is awesome, especially when you live in paradise …
and share it with a lovely husband and a couple of cheeky Burmese cats.
This picture is of Geroge, my first Burmese. He was essentially Twitchet the talking cat from the Diamond Peak Series, and there are many funny videos of him on my You Tube channel.