• 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!



Floricon – or what we did on Saturday afternoon and Sunday

Team Voyager is back in Sydney again, and rather sad as it’s all grey and rain is threatening. Conflux was marvellous and we all had a thoroughly good time! The only unfortunate thing was that we didn’t get to meet as many Purple Zoners as we’d have liked. PZers, for the uninitiated, are the occupants of the Voyager Message Board. So all you PZers out there, let us know the next con we should be attending and we’ll do our best to get there!

All the panels we went to were good – lots of excellent advice from authors, editors and publishers. On Sunday I especially liked Cat Sparks in the ‘From the Editor’s Desk’ panel – she was frank, funny and didn’t hold back. Amanda Pillar and Shane Jiraiya Cummings also gave alot of insight into the process behind receiving and processing stories at a small press. Team Voyager got to chat with Shane afterwards about Black Magazine, which we’ve all been reading and enjoying. In my case mostly due to Jenson Ackles getting the front page of issue two … πŸ˜€

I think my favourite panel overall was ‘Achieving the Dream’ with Jack Dann, Cat Sparks, Trudi Canavan and Kim Westwood, the convenor was Lynda Davies. All the authors spoke with such passion about the moment they felt they achieved their dream – of being able to write, not so much of ‘being a writer’, which they pointed out is not the same thing at all. And it was never the moment their finished book arrived from the publisher, it was far more the realisation that they could write, that they must write.

Being from Voyager, we went to pretty much all of the Dreaming Again events, because we’d read the whole anthology and loved it: the launch on Friday night, the panel mentioned above, Jack Dann’s guest speaking session, and the Dreaming Again panel. At the Dreaming Again panel I was once again awed by the talent in the room – Angela Slatter, who is such a beautiful writer, Richard Harland, whose story ‘A Tour of the Kingdom of the Dead’ was creepy and amazing, Jason Fischer, who is absolutely lovely and had to sit through several renditions of ‘Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh, Doo Dah Doo Dah’, Kim Westwood and Adam Brown who had dinner with us on Saturday night, Jason Nahrung, whose story is one of my personal faves – but actually, most of the stories in DA are – and many, many more: Peter M Ball, Jenny Blackford, Russell Blackford, Trudi Canavan, Margo Lanagan, Sean McMullen and Aaron Sterns (lovely horror writer who I also got to chat to briefly and who was away at one point in talks over film rights for one of his works!). Stephanie, our fab Voyager publisher, was also on the panel. Sarah, Tim and I forcibly leapt in front of several of the authors over the weekend and asked them to sign our books, and I believe all copies of Dreaming Again (both at the con and at Borders nearby in the Civic Centre) were sold out. We missed the 1920s banquet at the con but I hear it was spectacular and the rumour is that Cat Sparks was best dressed (as she seemed to be for the whole weekend, I think).

Saturday afternoon we took advantage of a break to go down and see Floriade. I thought it was beautiful – tons and tons of flowers by the water, and the sun had come out after a rather grey and rainy morning, so it was a perfect spring’s day. We took some rather silly pics and generally ran around (coffee/tea hit to blame). We also spied a tower in the distance that we nicknamed Isengard, due to it’s resemblance to that rather evil building. I concluded that the next Conflux should be held right next to Floriade and it can be called Floricon and the theme will be ‘Flowering Again’ and everyone will have to dress up as noxious and poisonous herbs and weeds because that would be v amusing and the research would be great! I would come as a toadstool. And then it was back to our lovely seedy film noir detective motel to get ready for the night’s entertainment.

On Saturday night we had a delicious dinner down at Milk & Honey where Kim Westwood had launched ‘The Daughters of Moab’ about 2 months prior, and got to meet upcoming Voyager author K J Taylor (who we also saw at the panel ‘What is Fandom’). Karen Miller joined us at dinner and has left me waiting eagerly for the start of Supernatural season four, which she says is terrific … she described a new ‘angelic’ character to me and now I can’t stop thinking about it! Luckily Supernatural is back on Monday night at 8:30 (Channel 10 did not pay me to make that announcement), and 90210 has been AXED. Ha ha. We walked back to our motel, got caught in a sudden downpour and eventually arrived back in Lyneham wondering if we were going to come down with pneumonia. Special props go to Tim for refusing to put on his jumper so that our books could be protected from the rain.

Cut to our last moments and Sarah and I caught some of Food Historian Gillian Pollack’s guest speech but had to leave halfway through – we got to speak to Kim Westwood and Karen Miller again – both lovely, lovely authors! And then we just had time to quickly visit Koko Black down at Civic to buy some chocolate (woe is us, there is no Koko Black in Sydney as yet). We returned to the Marque Hotel to see a Dalek exterminating Liz Argall and had a quick chat with Amanda Pillar of Morrigan Press, who edited the Voices anthology launched at Conflux, she’s also a PZer. Finally, to the car we went, hoping to get back to Sydney before it was too dark. We had a brief stop in Goulburn for fuel (and McDonalds) and I got a photo of the Big Merino (yay) which will make its way into this blog, I’m sure, as will our Floriade pics … cos they have alot to do with Conflux … er … I wonder what happened back at Conflux where the speakeasy was taking place? 1920s cocktails and spec fic authors … anything could happen …

Photos to come as soon as I can find my cable.


13 Responses

  1. Oh, I had the best time. These cons need to be twice as long so we can spend time with all the great people who go! Can’t wait to hear what you make of the Supernatural eps. *g*

  2. It was great fun, and lovely to meet you all!!

  3. The ‘Floricon’ could be a good concept to try, as the usual format was becoming a bit stale in past several years. Late this morning, though, when the rain was heavy enough to nearly drown out the quieter speakers at my 3rd panel session, I was pleased to be indoors!

    The tower: if you were looking to the right from top end of Floriade-up near the coach parking, info booth etc, then I think it’d be the Black Mountain tower/Telstra tower, or looking left would be the Carillon on Aspen Island, which is a blockier sort of structure than the ‘space needle ‘ on the mountain. Am trying to picture ‘Isengard’ but it’s been some years since I watched the Rings movies.

    There are plenty of places and scenes in ACT that have a strong hint of a potential fantasy/sf/horror setting or ‘happening’. Even some of the storm drains have reminded me of King’s IT novel more than a few times, and at dusk in Summer the surface of Lake Burley Griffin can take on an appearance of dark blue/silver beaten metal, but with unknowable depth. There is no shortage of big, open parkland areas that could make handy landing spots for flying saucers. πŸ™‚

    ‘Achieving the Dream’ also rates as one of my fave panel sessions; another one I was really pleased with was ‘Fantastic Poetry’, which was really informative and surprisingly humorous in parts. Same goes for the Apocalypse panel. Unfortunately, screenwriter Mark Shireffs was plagued by bad luck with his efforts to screen the acclaimed Jasper Morello feature, or I’d rate that one at the top too: the first time the sound wasn’t really working and didn’t respond to any efforts to fix it, so audience concentrated on the impressive and intriguing visual aspects, then the next afternoon/early evening, when he did a duo presentation with Jack Dann on topic of creative processes, everything worked OK…until the picture suddenly disappeared and screen went back up into ceiling space with about 2 minutes to go to end of film (collective “??!!” from audience , Mark and Jack), as the screen was on pre-set time from a remote control. Cruel and unusual! I (and I’m sure the audience in general) all felt sorry for the presenters, as they’d clearly put a lot a of thought into the presentation and their own busy schedules had made it hard enough to do this at the same time. I’ll just have to hire the film on DVD -looked like it came with some fascinating extras.

    Oh well, time to get ready for tomorrow’s work life at the Memorial…a place which has actually featured on a previous Con booklet cover -no. 2 or 3, I think.

  4. Why thank you! It was a great con, some terrific panels and a lot of wonderful people to meet! πŸ™‚

  5. Karen – OMG!!!!! The two hour double episode last night – WOW! Kastiel FTW! You were right, absolutely spectacular. I love the themes of this season – the big fight – I hope they play ‘In the Garden of Eden’ again … and Kastiel’s wings … and Dean and his ability to pick up a Hustler or whathaveyou just after he’s dug himself out of his grave … er … that’s why I love him!

    Amanda – it was lovely to meet you too – and interesting to hear more about the small presses and what you do. Good luck with the distribution!

    Tim – I will post a photo of ‘Isengard’ as soon as I can so you can positively identify it for me! It’s a great pity about the Jasper Morello film – another thing I wanted to see but couldn’t. How frustrating it must have been – especially the two minute early mark! I wish I’d had time to visit the AWM – and Questacon, but that will have to wait for Conflux 6 if I don’t get down sooner :-). Sounds like we left just in time to avoid to stormy rain through …

    Angela – I am entirely serious – I think your writing is exquisite – my favourite is Sourdough but The Jacaranda Wife is also wonderful – and for me was the story with the most ‘Australian’ flavour in Dreaming Again.


  6. Hey, everyone, it was a great convention and great fun hanging out (when I wasn’t blathering away into a microphone).

  7. I like it when you blather on — and threaten to speak about consciousness! And I think lots of other people do too.

  8. Hey Natalie,

    I didn’t know anyone else had seen Sourdough apart from my family! πŸ™‚ It’s my favourite, too.

    Thanks so much for your kind comments, m’dear.

    Angela πŸ™‚

  9. Jack, thanks for the Great Balls of Fire! style you brought to the various launches you did, making them soooo much more entertaining than the polite applause, overdone Lit-speak and audience cliques that I’ve come across at launches of Literary books and at a few big-city highbrow events.

    That was my second Con and I really started to feel at home in specfic this time (the first Con was to see if it became more than a sporadic reading interest) …and am now planning to be on the writers’ side of the signing tables/panels before much longer.:)

    In general: great to meet so many fun and interesting people over the 4 days, and hope you didn’t have too much of a hard landing in the everyday ‘realistic’ world on your return home/first day back at a desk job, etc. .


  10. Thank you for your kind words! Was lovely to meet everyone at the Con, and truth be told I don’t mind the song overly πŸ™‚ When Gardner launched into that

  11. [gah preemptive Send-Buttoning!]

    Thank you for your kind words! Was lovely to meet everyone at the Con, and truth be told I don’t mind the song overly πŸ™‚ When Gardner first launched into that song, I accepted that this would become my albatross, forever and ever amen. There are worse fates! Jack busting out the Doo-Dahs at the launch is a moment I will remember forever πŸ™‚

    again, awesome to meet you guys, and thanks for all your support and enthusiasm for Dreaming Again, it is so appreciated πŸ™‚

  12. Angela – I am sure lots of people have seen it! Tis superb!
    Jason – not just Jack – by the time he was through with us I think most people were singing along! (And are now unable to sleep as it goes on and on and on through their heads accompanied by images of your story .. er… )

  13. Aw shux πŸ™‚

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