Who is on the plum tree?
Today, I want to introduce you all to a very inspiring, dynamic and magnetic lady: Tahlia Newland. She is one of those people that hardly seems to sleep ~ always creating, always generating interest ~ someone with a vision, with passion and commitment. Tahlia writes books in the same genre as me ~ Magic Realism/ Metaphysical Literature. We have long debated whether books in these categories do as well as other categories, as few, these days, seem to know what these categories really mean ~ anyhow, that is a subject for another time.
Tahlia has created something which I am proud to be part of. I will let Tahlia tell you about her new, exciting venture…
By Tahlia Newland.
Hi, I’m Tahlia Newland and I set up the Awesome Indies site.
Niamh asked me to write something about myself, so I headed up my blank page, ‘who am I?’ That title sets off a philosophical contemplation that brings me a great sense of freedom and humour but doesn’t tell you what you want to know. So, that aside . . .
I used to be a clown and I love to laugh. I used to be a dancer too, and when I watch dancing, I feel as if I’m dancing as well. For twenty years I created, performed in and made masks for visual theatre shows. I still sell decorative Papier Mache masks, but now I paint with words. My stories appear like movie scenes in my head, and my task is to bring them from the creative reality into our reality as fully as I can.
I’ve always been fascinated by the workings of my mind and how my thoughts affect my reality, and for twelve years I spent three hours a day meditating and studying Buddhist philosophy & practice. I prefer not to begin sentences with I, but it’s unavoidable when people want to know about that ‘I’.
I have a terrible habit of seeing what’s needed and moving to fill the gap. It’s terrible, because once I get inspired, I commit myself totally and spend a lot of time on whatever it is. Being creative and serving whatever cause I’m involved in is more important to me than earning money (or doing housework). Fairness is important to me as well and that leads me to the Awesome Indies.
I’m an avid reader—always have been—and one day when I sat down to meditate, the story that became the Diamond Peak Series poured into my mind in a series of vivid images. But the story of writing that story & eventually deciding to ditch my literary agent and go indie is another story.
When I bought an ereader, I discovered some great indie books and some really terrible ones. Several times I paid for books that should never have been published, either because they were poorly crafted or just plain mediocre. I soon realised that most of the people who wrote reviews on Amazon and Goodreads either didn’t know a poorly written book when they met one, or they didn’t care, but I did. I hate to see the English language desecrated.
Who likes to watch dancers who can’t dance? Who wants to listen to singers who can’t sing? Who wants to read books by authors who can’t write? Not me.
When I found a professional product, I wanted to yell to the whole world, ‘look this person has done it well!’ And when I found something really different and creative, I wanted to shout even louder, ‘hey, look, this is where it’s happening!’
So I set up a site where readers like me who don’t want to sift through the slush pile of substandard books can find books that are different to the mainstream but guaranteed to be of the same standard. It was a completely selfish endeavour in that I wanted a list of quality reads, but I also wanted to help promote those authors who created them.
To make sure that evaluations for listing on the site were based on craftsmanship, not on whether someone liked a book or not, I decided to use the opinions of people with professional qualifications in writing or in the publishing industry.
Only after I set up the system did I realise that A Matter of Perception my book of short stories (the only one I had out at the time) actually passed the test. I remember going through my reviews and being delighted when I realised that one of my 5 star reviews was written by an editor who worked for Omnific publishing.
The same thing happened with the Seal of Excellence. I set it up, then nibbled my nails as I checked my reviews. Did my novels, Lethal Inheritance and You Can’t Shatter Me have three 5 star reviews written by someone with the right qualifications? They did, phew! I had actually won an award. You Can’t Shatter Me also won a B.R.A.G medallion for an outstanding independent novel.
My books reflect the ‘I’ we’re talking about here in that they’re highly imaginative, deeply metaphysical, painted with a light touch and coated with a sheen of romance. My stories dance on the edge between fantasy and reality. They challenge perception and illuminate reality.