• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



The latest edition of the Captain’s Log is out!

Click the banner above to go to the latest issue which includes a review of A Lion Among Men, the latest from Gregory Maguire (and a follow up to Wicked), and a review of Wicked: The Musical, which is currently playing in Melbourne.

Fallon Friday: Jennifer Fallon talks about redundant modifiers

Getting rid of all those useless, unnecessary and pointless, redundant modifiers.

If you’ve ever wondered what the difference between “tight writing” and “wordiness” is (besides the criminal overuse of adverbs), it’s often the use of redundant modifiers.

Tight writing doesn’t waste words. It certainly doesn’t throw all caution to the wind and chuck in extra description where none is needed, just to make up the word count.

Redundant modifiers are words you absolutely, positively think are driving home your point, when in fact they are driving your readers to distraction. They are words or phrases that mean the same thing and deceive you into believing you’re writing descriptively, when in fact you are just filling up your narrative with useless words.

A few examples of redundant modifiers:

  • basic fundamentals
  • consensus of opinion
  • hesitate for a moment
  • actual facts
  • past memories
  • really glad
  • honest truth
  • end result
  • terrible tragedy
  • free gift
  • separate out
  • personal beliefs
  • final outcome
  • start over again
  • symmetrical in form
  • future plans
  • narrow down
  • seldom or ever
  • each and every
  • full and complete
  • first and foremost
  • various and sundry
  • true and accurate
  • questions and problems
  • any and all
  • completely finish
  • future goals
  • each individual
  • anticipate in advance
  • past history
  • ultimate outcome
  • continue on
  • revolve around
  • split apart
  • large in size
  • heavy weight
  • bright in colour
  • period of time
  • short in stature
  • shiny in appearance
  • various differences
  • accurate in alignment
The Chaos Crystal


Now… go back and find out how many of these you are guilty of in your writing and get rid of them.
Be strong. You can do this.

Jennifer Fallon’s next book, The Chaos Crystal, comes out in December. Click on the book image to read an excerpt from the prologue and first chapter – but be warned – it contains spoilers if you haven’t read the other three books. Pick up The Immortal Prince to start the quartet.

Legend of the Seeker: Sword of Truth now on TV

Legend of the Seeker

Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series has been made into a television show, airing in the US this weekend. I don’t see plans for it to air in Australia any time soon … but if you happen to be in the US well … and if not, there’s a 10-minute trailer on the website: www.legendoftheseeker.com

The first book in the Sword of Truth series is Wizard’s First Rule, and the final book (yes, finally a finished fantasy series!), which came out at the end of last year, is Confessor.

Peter V. Brett: Where I get my ideas from

The Painted ManLike all writers, I steal my ideas. I steal them from books and comics I read, movies I see, what I read in the news, apocryphal stories overheard at parties, television shows, jobs I’ve worked, incidents I witness on the street or subway, what have you. Like a big sponge, I soak up all these tidbits of life and story, filtered through my own understanding, and then, when I’m saturated, I squeeze them out into something new that is both none and all of those things. (Sometimes I just make shit up, too, but that’s a rarity, and even then, I probably just forgot what I was stealing from.)

Any fiction writer that tells you otherwise is lying to you. No one sits in an empty white room all their life and churns out stories. Even the ones that tell you they never watch TV or read books get it from somewhere.

For the most part, though, writers tend to be pretty honest about our rampant kleptomania, even though no one ever seems to believe us. Every aspiring writer wants to know where established writers get their ideas, like there’s some secret well we’re guarding that they could tap if they only knew where to drill. There isn’t. Believe me, I’ve looked.

But “ideas” are kind of a deception in themselves, making people (especially Hollywood executives) think that it’s a story’s concept that makes a success. Great stories don’t come from concept and they never have. They come from compelling characters. Harry Potter didn’t work because it was a story about a wizard boarding school for kids. It worked because that school was filled with rich characters that made you care about what happened to them. The concept can certainly help, but great icing will only get you so far if the cake underneath is stale and hard, and that cake is characters. No one wants to read about a world where everyone speaks with the same voice. A good writer can step into the shoes of hundreds of disparate people, and make them seem as real as the ones you meet on the street.

So “where do I get my characters?” is the real question, though admittedly, the answer is much the same. I steal them.

When I meet people, I always try to figure out what makes them tick. What their motivations are, what goals they’ve set, and what they are willing to do to reach them. Why do they love what they love, or hate what they hate? What is their everyday life like, and how is that different from mine? What can I learn from them?

It’s not a mercenary thing; I still have genuine feelings for or against all those people like any normal person does, but I remain as driven try to grok people I don’t like and tend to avoid as people I love so much I can’t imagine living without. It’s just how my brain works.

The things I manage to learn in the brief glimpses I get into people’s psyches become whispers in my head, fragments of personality I can give voice to in my writing. Sometimes a whisper is enough to cover some incidental character, and other times I combine dozens or hundreds of those fragments into fully realized characters. Characters that don’t always do what I want them to… but that’s a whole other post.

So, in closing, if there’s anything in this blog entry that spoke to you… steal it!

Peter V Brett is the author of The Painted Man, out now in all good bookshops. Peter will be attending this year’s World Fantasy Convention, October 30 – November 2, 2008, in Calgary, Canada.

The Painted Man has been nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award and you can discuss by the book should win at the forum here!

Fallon Friday: The never-written sequel to the Demon Child trilogy

I have blogged at some length on why there is no sequel yet to the Demon Child trilogy. The links are below and may offer you some insight.

The reasons I write about other worlds and don’t stay in the first world I created is as follows:

I’m not a big fan of never-ending stories set in the same world.

I find them limiting and believe that as a writer, my horizons are much broader than one world or one set of characters (their children, their children’s children, their children’s children’s children… ad nauseum).

Once the story is told, a writer can very quickly grow bored and this is always reflected in the quality of the work. The best analogy I can think of is working in the same office for 20 years. The faces may change over time and you may even give the place a coat of paint every now and then and update the furniture, but essentially, at the end of the day, you’ve still been plugging away at the same job for twenty years…

I love what I do and never want to wake up in the morning thinking… God, do I have<to go back to that world today?

Hats off to writers who can do this (and some have made squillions doing it very successfully), but it’s not my thing. The challenge for me is creating new worlds and new characters. Perhaps I have a short attention span, but once a story is told, I very quickly feel the need to move on.

I have many other stories to tell.

Hundreds … nay thousands of them. Medalon, the countries surrounding it and the people who live there are only one story of many trying to get out. My head will explode if I don’t let the other characters and worlds out to play.

The publishers aren’t all that interested…

Significantly (at least if I want to keep, well, eating), my publishers have shown no raving enthusiasm for any future stories set in this world. (What I mean is – nobody is ringing me with 7 figure offers for a sequel – at least not for this series… hehehe). The Powers That Be are much more interested in the new worlds I have created. This may seem odd, but look at it from their point of view. The six books of the Hythrun Chronicles, although very, very successful, still haven’t done as well as say… the Tide Lords series, which has been a mainstream bestseller and blown all my previous records out of the water.

If you want to change their minds about this, an email campaign that crashes their server might work, but if you do that, I never suggested it, okay? LOL.

I only write stories I’m passionate about

Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – although I get regular requests from fans for more stories set in this world, before I visit it again, I’d need to have a story so worth telling it keeps me up at night.
That hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll keep working on the stories that do, and see what happens in the future.

I’m not saying there won’t be a sequel, I’m just saying that all the above factors would have to change and the stars realign significantly for me to plunge into that pool again.

Jennifer Fallon’s next book, The Chaos Crystal, will be out in December. You can read an excerpt of it on her website.

Aurealis praise for Voyager authors

The Daughters of Moab

The Daughters of Moab

It’s lovely to see the kind of praise Voyager authors are getting – ranging from magazines as new and happening as Black to the prestigious Aurealis Magazine. At the Aurealis website you can see Keith Stevenson’s glowing review of Kim Westwood’s debut novel, The Daughters of Moab. ‘This is the best debut novel I have seen in many years, which comes as no surprise to those of us who have followed Kim’s short story writing career.’ Keith really gets this book.

Find out more about Kim Westwood

On the same page is a review for the wonderful Dreaming Again anthology, edited by

Dreaming Again

Dreaming Again

Jack Dann, ‘I’ve just looked over the table of contents again and if I were to list the stories that I found really enjoyable, the tales that raised the stakes even from established writers with nothing more to prove, we’d be here for a long time … If you have been swithering over purchasing a copy, then swither no more.’
Totally agree, and I’m very pleased to say that several authors from the Clarion South Writers Workshop (many of whom featured in Dreaming Again) are writing some upcoming blog posts for us.

Visit editor (and writer) Jack Dann’s website

Little Brother

Little Brother

And … a review for a book that Harper Voyager will be releasing in January in Australia (which means it will in stores in December), that lots of us have read and really enjoyed. ‘I was going to review this in the special YA section that takes up the second half of this issue’s column, but Little Brother is a book that should be read by everyone and my copy has gone straight into the hands of my thirteen year old son. I suggest you do the same.’

I think Keith has hit on the key thing about this book – it really is relevant to all ages and people, and extremely enjoyable. Most of Team Voyager has read it – based on each other’s recommendations – and it’s short and pacey enough to get through in a day. And it will really leave you thinking … a review will be appearing in an upcoming edition of The Captain’s Log.

Visit the Little Brother website and download the free book

Click here to go to the Aurealis Online sf/horror Review Column for the full text of the reviews + plenty more

Whilst we’re at Aurealis: don’t forget – nominations for the Aurealis Awards CLOSE next Friday (Hallowe’en). Nominate works before time runs out!

Read the prologue and first chapter of The Chaos Crystal!

Jennifer Fallon has posted the Prologue and Chapter One of The Chaos Crystal on her website! The Chaos Crystal is the concluding book in the Tide Lords quartet, which includes The Immortal Prince (which was launched at Supanova), The Gods of Amyrantha and The Palace of Impossible Dreams.

If you haven’t read the preceeding three books … then think carefully before you go read the Prologue – it contains a spoiler. But if you’ve been sitting and growling that you can’t wait til DECEMBER to read The Chaos Crystal, well here’s your chance to catch up a little!




Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter One.