Tahlia Newland

Biography

Tahlia Newland has written and published eight books, three of which have won multiple awards. She writes inspirational and heart-warming magical realism and fantasy, and also makes masquerade masks and steampunk hats and accessories at http://tahliasmasks.com. Her wardrobe is full of steampunk clothing which she wears every day because beautiful clothes deserve to be worn.

She works as an editor for AIA Editing and AIA Publishing, a selective, author-funded publishing company, and lives in an Australian rainforest with a lovely husband and two cheeky Burmese cats. All her major books have a Burmese cat in them.

Books

The Elements of Active Prose: Writing Tips to Make Your Prose Shine
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 33,550. Language: English. Published: October 2, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills, Nonfiction » Reference » Publishing & books
Pithy tips for improving your writing sentence by sentence. The author explains what the advice ‘show, don’t tell’ means and the influence various word usages have on the reader’s experience. The book includes guidance for beta readers, clarification of often misunderstood conventions, UK/US differences, advice on developing a professional attitude, reviewing fairly, and dealing with criticism.

Smashwords book reviews by Tahlia Newland

  • She Smells the Dead on Nov. 16, 2010

    Different. I liked that about it, but it wasn't memorable in any way. Mind you, few books are. The ending annoyed me though. It was a stop, not an end. I think that everybook should be complete within itself. That's the only reason I didn't give it 4
  • Vampyre Kisses (book 1 in the Last Witch Series) on July 19, 2011

    Vampyre Kisses: I enjoyed this book and if you like stories about vampires, werewolves and witches you probably will too. Vampyre Kisses is an enthralling story about a young woman named Faith, who seems content with her life, but deep down craves more excitement. Then a mysterious man named Trent enters her world and everything changes. Surprising to Faith, Trent is a green-eyed vampire from Ireland. She is even more amazed to find out that she is a witch, and the last of her kind. Faith learns that she is destined to restore her witch line and becomes more powerful as she gains confidence and knowledge, but danger lurks everywhere -- especially when unknown assailants steal the most important gems from the vampire master and werewolf royalty. Now surrounded by a world filled with mystifying vampires and werewolves, can Faith gain enough power to help her friends and rescue the stolen gems? Vampyre Kisses is a solid and interesting read and the blurb above explains the story very well. The plot moves along at a fine pace, gives us variety in the type of scenes and takes the reader smoothly from one scene to another. The main characters are likeable and their relationships and motivations are realistic and believable. I enjoyed watching Faith grow from someone who needed protection into someone who was capable of looking after herself. The affect this had on Trent and the adjustments he had to make in relation to her growing empowerment were very realistic and well handled. I liked the touch of humour in the growing relationship between the werewolf and the vamp and in the paranormal characters reactions to Faith’s input into their discussions. I also enjoyed the details of the training. I found this the most interesting and well written part of the book. It was good to see a character having to work hard to gain her skills. The story is not predictable, but neither is it surprising. The noteworthy aspects are the ‘mother from hell’ character, the nature of the witch’s training, and the fact that the vamps did actually sleep in coffins. I had a giggle at the reference to Trent refurbishing the padding for more comfort. He really is a lovely character. Morgan the vampire’s subjugate mother relationship with Faith also added an unusual and lovely touch. There are some problems with the writing that lowered my rating, but surprisingly didn’t mar my enjoyment a great deal. Near the beginning, two scenes are repeated twice, each time from a different point of view. The repetition is completely unnecessary, it adds nothing to the story and detracts from it by slowing it down. After that, however, the book improved a great deal and I found myself keen to see what happened next. The other problems are in misused words and basic copy editing mistakes. A couple of copyediting mistakes are forgivable, I know how easy it is for several readers to miss the same simple mistake eg leaving off the ing from thinking, but here I found a whole sentence repeated twice, which makes me wonder how many times the ms was checked before publication. More of a problem are the words that were constantly misused eg than was used instead of then, not just once or twice but as a regular thing. To each they’re own, is another example of this kind of misuse. I give the book 3 stars and look forward to seeing more from this writer in future, because there is definite potential there.
  • Malakh on July 26, 2011

    This was a great book and I enjoyed it a lot. It's very short, but that's better than being longer than necessary for the story. I hope to see more from this author.
  • Doodling on July 26, 2011

    Doodling is just 37 pages. A quick, fun read about a man who wants to get off the world because it’s spinning too fast. It strikes me as one of those mad ideas you get when an idle comment sets off a visual image, in this case probably someone shouting, ‘stop the world, I want to get off!’ The beauty here is that Gould has actually written this whimsical little book that speaks to the part of ourselves that wants to get away from our crazy world. If you want something light yet poignant, something that makes you look at people and the world through a different lense, then this is a good one. I recommend it for reading when you’re waiting for a doctor, a dentist, a lawyer or for that girl to show up for your date, anything. It’ll bring a smile to your face and a lightness to your heart.
  • Meant to Be (The Saving Angels book 1) on Aug. 04, 2011

    Mmm. If you liked Halo, you'll probably like this book. I didn't and I'm sorry to say that I was very disappointed in this book after so many of my friends loved it. I can see why people might like it - idealised love can be intoxicating - but I felt it was very niave and in particular have the following concerns. If these things don't bother you, you may well love it. I feel that the theme of someone else completing you, of not being whole or able to cope without them is something that gives a very unhealthy message, especially to young people. A healthy love relationship is between two whole people. A woman does not need a man to complete her. This kind of dependancy on another person is not something we should encourage. It disempowers woman, and is the sort of attitude that woman's liberation sought to overcome back in the seventies. Sigh! Was it all for nothing? I know this is a fantasy, but really good fantasy illuminates reality and highlights truth, whereas the message here is that there is one perfect person for us out there, and this idea neither true nor helpful. Yes, when in the throws of first lust, it feels like that, but in this book this idea is virtually the whole theme. The truth is that lust is instantaneous but love isn't. The boy of our dreams is not real and if we keep looking for him, we'll be disappointed, or we'll marry the one we think is our ideal and at some point the reality hits with ground shaking results. Isn't this a better message for young people? Add to that, there are scenes that don't move the story forward and could have been cut entirely and the story moves so slowly that I was skimming large sections waiting to find out why these people were like this ie so debilitated when apart, and the answer when it comes wasn't very satisfying or believable. The main character was good, but the love interest was too perfect to be real. The bad guy was very one dimensional and I really couldn't see his motivation for what he was doing. There were also punctuation mistakes and a lot of the writing could have been much better. I congratulate the author on getting her work out there, but I would like to see the author try a more healthy theme.
  • Hush Money (Talent Chronicles) on Oct. 21, 2011

    I just loved this. It was the perfect read for me, not too heavy, not too light, a great story, good characterisation and a stunning ending, what more could you want?
  • Henrietta The Dragon Slayer on Oct. 24, 2011

    This is a great book and a wonderful addition to the ya fantasy market. Henrietta is a tough cookie and a delightful character, but what is really great about this book is the way she develops as a person through the story. A nice cast of supporting characters too, all growing as the story progresses. The interactions between them are very well done. Definitely one to read if you like this genre. The story is refreshingly different to a lot of others around too.
  • Exiled on Nov. 01, 2011

    This book blew me away. I loved it from the first page and was thrilled to be reading something so richly creative and engaging. I definitely want to spend more time with the characters and delve deeper into their world in the sequel. The story starts on another planet, complete with strange animals and a hi tech closet, but soon brings us down to earth. Someone knocked Venus out, blackened her name and sent her off in a space ship but luckily her handsome guard, Zaren saw her leaving and followed in another ship. He has known her since she was tiny but his care extends beyond that demanded by his role, not that Venus notices. I loved Venus with all her confusion. She has both strength and vulnerability and an endearing innocence in all things love related. She also has an awesome pair of hi tech boots (or is it magic?). Her first interaction with Michael, the boy she is supposed to help, makes him (despite his good looks) seem like a total creep, but once she gets into his mind when he’s dreaming, she realises that he’s had a tough life. Given the abuse he’s suffered, it’s amazing that he has any heart left at all. Michael is confused about love and so is Venus. On earth she’s experiencing feelings and desires she’s never had before for both Zaren and Micheal. She releases Zaren from his role as guard, so that if she dies he can return home without her, but that frees him to develop a different kind of relationship with her. He tries to help her understand what these feelings are and that there are different kinds of love. He doesn’t take advantage of her either, which he could have. Zaren is one of those noble characters that I love. According to the story, loyalty, leadership and love are the qualities that every princess should acquire and this story gives Venus the opportunities she needs to develop these qualities. At the same time Zaren models them all. As Venus learns about love, the nasties close in and the story becomes a battle for survival. Dervinius, another exile from her planet, has been asked to kill her by his scheming boss back home, but he is a complex character, and won’t kill her himself. But he doesn’t need to, because he has a gang of humans who assist him in horrific ritual murders who he can command to do it for him. (I was pleased that there were only two instances of these sickening murders.) Then Michael’s abusive father turns up, searching for the alien causing the murders. He knows he’s chasing the wrong one, but he doesn’t care, he just wants one under his scalpel. With Zaren gone to plead with the gods to save her life, Michael is the only one who can help her, but will he? You’ll have to read the book to find out. The ending is perfect. It ties up the two main threads, but leaves some questions unanswered and challenges still to be met in the sequel. I give Exiled 5 stars and recommend it for everyone. It’s really a ‘must read’ if you’re into young adult fantasy /sci fi.
  • Bone Dressing on Nov. 05, 2011

    There’s a lot of good things here, great characters, imagination and a different story, but it’s way overwritten and the story gets confused amongst all the words. ‘Less is more’ is a phrase coined for a good reason. We don’t need the same thing said in several different ways. The wonderful snarky sarcasm of the main character gets tiring and there is too much internal dialogue. We have pages of description for how gorgeous the love interest is, how much they love each other and how terrible she feels when the nasty thing happens when a couple of paragraphs would do. Such writing becomes melodramatic, and can make the reader loose connection with the character. I began to skim large sections but I still wanted to read to the end which shows what a good story it is. Many people have written great reviews of this book and it has a lot to recommend it for die hard romance readers who like a lot of angst & descriptions of how sexy someone is. I would read more of this author if I can be assured that her next book won’t have the same faults. She just needs to tighten up the writing. If excessive words don’t bother you, then for the price give it a go.
  • Tes-Nin's Elbows on Nov. 27, 2011

    An entertaining, tongue in cheek fantasy about an orc killer with a large hammer and a g-string that collects sand, an evil rat wizard complete with a tiny purple cape and pointy hat, and a curse that gives Tes-Nin’s elbows a nasty case of RSI. Even in this short work, Silver Bowen creates a unique world that comes alive with a delightful combination of drama and humour. One small warning for the punctuation sensitive - Silver does have a strange way with commas.
  • The Corpse Cat (Darkworld) on Nov. 27, 2011

    This short story shows that Misti Wolanski can write about unusual things and shape them into an interesting story, in this instance a shape shifter escaping from a murderous necromancer. It’s a good story, except that the exact nature of the cat, how they got into the cell and why the necromancer wants her are unclear. The story is also quite dark, which is great if you like your stories that way. The excerpt from Destiny’s Kiss caught my interest enough for me to check that novel out further. I think if you like dark fantasy, you’d like Misti’s work.
  • Ed Undead: The Chronicles of a Teenage Zombie on May 17, 2012

    As expected, zombies populate this book, complete with rotting flesh, sunken eyes and mindless shuffling gait. They’re not my favourite characters, but if you like zombies, you’ll like Ed Undead. It’s a strong story that never bores, and Ed, the 16 year old almost Zombie, shows us what true courage is. The story is set in a post apocalyptic world, where a plague has turned most of the population into zombies whose only concern is finding some living flesh to tear into to satiate their hunger. Ed has the virus but hasn’t turned into a zombie – yet. He hopes he never will and aims to find someone with a cure, if there is one, before the virus takes him over the edge. The living dead are after him and he and his girlfriend, Lisa Jane are running and fighting for their survival. They team up with a mother and her child, and for a short while with Ed’s rival from school. Lisa sends him off when he shows himself too cowardly to help her out of a sticky situation. Throughout the story, Ed has flashbacks to life as it was and these are very well handled. He faces zombies that were once people he knew and the remains of others who became their food. It’s gruesome stuff, but the writing keeps a good balance between description of the details and not over doing the horror. His grief as he recalls what he has lost is real and moving. The author called it a paranormal romance, but I’d call it urban fantasy. Ed and his girlfriend are in love, but that doesn’t make it a romance. This is more action based than character and relationship based, and the main issue is escaping the zombies and the strange ‘boss’ that some of them refer to, rather than overcoming obstacles to a relationship as in a romance. Regardless of what genre you stick it in, it’s a good yarn and I think boys in particular would like it. The two main characters are strong, but I would have liked to have got to know the mother and daughter better, and Sam Ed’s little sister seemed a bit silly for a ten year old. I think her character could be developed further. I give it 4 stars and a place in the Awesome Indies listing. Ed and Lisa are great characters to spend time with, even if it is in a zombie infested town.
  • The Last Zoo, a short story on July 24, 2013

    Green by Sara Zaske is a terrific short story, well written, engaging and, as the best short stories do, has a nice little twist at the end. It's even a little thought- provoking, exactly the elements I want in a short story. She also manages to give a sense of a whole planet in these few thousand words. Well done and well worth a read. I approve it for addition to the Awesome Indies list
  • Green, A Short Story on July 24, 2013

    Sara Zaske knows how to write a good short story. I loved this one even more than I loved Green. It's set in a world of the future where zoos have ceased running for fear of terrorist attacks. The last Zoo has a janitor and one old blind polar bear that hid when the authorities took all the other animals away. Enter a young man working on a thesis, who turns the zoo into a modern 'natural' zoo. It's an awesome idea and I loved what he did. The zoo idea makes a nice little statement, and the story is topped off with an unexpected ending. Another excellent story from Ms Zaske. I approve it for addition to the Awesome Indies list.
  • Kim Hyejin (Something Super) on Sep. 16, 2013

    This is an interesting and thought-provoking short story that shows that no matter what the reality of a situation, children see situations through the filter of their parent's beliefs. Kim Hyejin is the daughter if the North Korean president. I'm not sure of the time frame, or how much of the history mentioned here is real, but when two American super-beings kill Kim's parents and bring North Korea to its knees, eight year old Kim is brought to the South to live under house arrest. She acts and thinks like a northern revolutionary, refusing to eat anything except North Korean rice and water, and sees her South Korean captors as puppets of the evil Americans. Eventually, she does eat, but her perception of her captors remains unchanged, and we see the Americans and their relationship to South Korea through her eyes. When the American and South Korean president visit, Kim assumes that they want her to be their puppet, to speak for them to calm the northern rebels, but the South Korean president takes her to an underground bunker and shows her how irrelevant her ideas are. The world has changed beyond anything she can imagine. Nevertheless, she does not let her parents death go un-avenged. This is a fine short story and has the strong ending required for excellence in the genre. It also shows that this writer's longer works would be well worth reading.
  • Brane Child on Oct. 03, 2016

    The Brane Child Series is about a spaceship crew testing a new Brane Skip technology for speeding up space travel enough to provide a way for humanity to overcome the light-speed barrier. The commander Lisa Chang has no idea what will happen when they press the button to engage the skip, but she never imagined that they would be cast adrift in space on a collision course with a fantasy version of Earth, complete with dragons, orcs, and wizards. The uniqueness of this (and other of Morrese's books) is the combination of science fiction and very traditional fantasy. Book one, Brane Child, begins with science fiction, an introduction to the characters on board the spaceship and an explanation of the well-thought out and fascinating metaphysics behind the Brane Skip technology. After the skip, however, we are plummeted, along with the crew, into a version of medieveal earth populated with traditional fantasy characters. The world is described so well that you feel you're there, right down to the filth littering the streets. The crew have to find a way to repair their ship and get home, and the story is, of course, about all the things that get in their way and how they deal with them. As with all Morrese's books, this is extremely well-written; he's a reliable author guaranteed to bring you a professional product.
  • The Scarecrow's Brane on Oct. 03, 2016

    As with all Morrese's books, this is extremely well-written; he's a reliable author guaranteed to bring you a professional product. In book two of the Brane Child Series, The Scarecrow's Brane, after another brane skip, our spaceship crew find themselves, not at home, but in the world of The Wizard of Oz. I'm not a fan of The Wizard of Oz, so this was my least favorite of the books, but as the story develops, the mystery of the metaphysics behind the series is further fleshed out. It's a brain tease with a clever storyline that weaves around the characters and events of that world. Once again, they're trying to get home, but before they do that, they have to fix the problems caused by their unexpected visit to the world. All this is done with a light touch. It's a clever combination of parody and metaphysics or speculative physics.