• 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!

     

     

Sara Douglass: Escape from the Starship Enterprise

I’ve escaped my evil abductors and made it back home! I went into hospital on Wednesday morning and awoke to find myself trapped on Starship Enterprise – honestly, the nurses station of the High Dependency unit reminded me of the bridge of Starship Enterprise – it was so cool! I had a serious case of ex-ICU-nurse envy! They controlled everything from great sweep of a bridge from where they surveyed their domain of about 6 captives.

We were all tied to our beds by a variety of strange communication devices that were wired into our bodies (seriously, I still have the holes to prove it, I am covered in plastic patches from where they took out wires) and we were all surrounded by Machines That Go Beep! Occasionally … actually, fairly often … the Machines That Go Beep! would become Machines That Go BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! and then that got Captain Kirk and his cronies moving, let me tell you. It kept all of us captives awake and in torture, too.

I had an epidural pre-op and the main problem was that epidural which firstly caused a crisis during the op when it caused my BP to drop out of control and the next few days were spent trying to get the BP back above 60/20 (we were aiming for 100 over anything at all, we’d take anything, but that 100 was pretty damn hard to achieve) and by the fact that about 6 hours post-op the epidural began to fail. By 10 hours post-op I had all my sensation back, I was in agony, and they couldn’t give me anything apart from Panadol (oh, Plu-eeeeze!) as my BP was so bad. So I spent a serious night in agony and don’t want to go back there any time soon.

Captain Kirk also had devised a super form of water torture called “let’s drag the ice block down Sara’s body again and see if any of the numbness has returned” and so every hour out would come the ice block and torture would commence. Dick Cheney would be seriously envious of this kind of torture.

I honestly kept trying to phone home to people but Kirk’s communication devices sensed every time I tried to use my mobile – I tried to ring friends five or six times but every time one of his lieutenants would inform Capt Kirk that the Alien in Bed 104 was trying to communicate with her fellow aliens and they’d cut off all signals. They could do all kinds of cool things from their bridge!

High dependency was staffed by some of the kindest people – and the hunkiest – most of the staff were male and they were GODS. Honestly. Gods. And they offered to take off their clothes to help raise my BP! Wasn’t that just the sweetest offer? 🙂 (Having got me in a lustful frame of mind they then refused to come through on their offer, which I decided was yet another form of torturing the poor, captive aliens.)

So gradually I got better and the staff found out my secret place for stashing my hated nasal probes (in the lifting mechanism of the bed, which seriously stuffed it up). They eventually put me on a morphine infusion which I controlled which wasn’t as cool as it sounds, but it was better than the stuffing panadol! LOL

Every day they got me out of bed which was so painful that I would literally burst into tears when they said it was time to get out. Better than the ice cube torture was the get out of bed torture. (Truly, the getting out of bed torture always left me sobbing, morphine or no morphine.)

On Saturday things started to get better and out came all the tubes and devices and off I went back to the surgical ward which was a strange and silent place compared to the Starship Enterprise. And yesterday I came home!

Surgeon said there was less cancer than she’d anticipated (you should have seen me in Recovery trying to feel about for a colostomy bag! LOL) and that she has got 99% of it out, and there is just a teensy tiny bit left in a couple of places on my bowel but that chemo should clean it up. She gave me the double thumbs up on the operation and ‘stuff’.

Oh yeah, and the epidural – it took the anaesthetist three frigging goes to get it in and by the end they had to have 3 people holding me down as it was so agonizing (the pain wasn’t in my back but everywhere else as the guy kept hitting nerves). After my horror experience I would not recommend them for anyone else – the side effects are appalling. I managed to have a chat to the alien in the bed next to me on Starship Enterprise and her anaesthetist had to have 3 goes to get hers in, too, but at least hers was working.

Once the Alien in the bed next to me and I were transferred back to a ‘normal’ ward we got quite friendly – she also has ovarian cancer (she was diagnosed 8 years ago) and has had two tussles with it since).

Three Cheers for the Starship Enterprise! 🙂

Hip hip hooray! I’m sure you’re all as pleased as we are to hear about how Sara is doing — and that her sense of humour is still very much in place! For more info on Sara and her books, or what she’s up to at the moment, click here to visit her official website. And don’t forget to join her rake squad!

Rejection and Underpants Part 1 by Kim Falconer

Ask any writer and they will tell you that rejection is part of the job. It happens all the time. If you’re unsure why, read Jennifer Fallon’s list. Note that poor writing is only one of many possibilities. A form rejection letter stating your work does not fit our editorial needs at this time may be telling the truth. It isn’t necessarily code for you suck.

Being tough is one way to handle rejection—thick skin, take it on the chin, all that. But there is another way. Instead of seeing rejection as a sign of inadequacy, consider it a sign of progress. It’s like shopping for boots—trying on as many as possible, sending back the ones that don’t fit or look right. Rejection in this case is no fault of the art. It is simply a matter of style and finding a good match.

Becoming breezy with rejection mean moving away from defence/despair and towards hope/awareness, realizing rejection leads to success. With comments, rejection slips also offer insights into how the work might be improved. (Take note of Jennifer’s point that authors submitting over and over until they make a sale are most likely revising the manuscript between submissions.) We might say perseverance and revision bring success.

It did for Stephen King. Before he sold his first novel, he’d sent several manuscripts to Doubleday. They were all rejected. He started working on yet another, a story about a high school girl with Psi but he gave up, tossing it in the bin. His wife fished it out, begging him to finish. Eventually he submitted the manuscript to Doubleday and Carrie was published the following year.

Thinking about rejection in a positive way helps writers relax, lighten up and improve their narrative. My favourite way to shift any negative thoughts about rejection is to substitute the word manuscript with one that has no ‘charge’, one that creates no reaction. The new word allows me to see the ridiculous in rejection. Substitute underpants for manuscript and you’ll get what I mean.

‘They would have made an offer, but they didn’t like my underpants.’ ‘It’s easy for published authors; they’ve already sold their underpants.’ Or even, ‘Thank you for sending your underpants. Unfortunately they do not fit our current editor’s needs.’ In the case of Ursula Le Guin it’s more like, ‘I had to wait until they invented the genre to fit my underpants.’

Reconsider what a rejection slip means—you have written a novel! Congratulations! You are one step closer to being published! Part II will continue this theme with specific examples. Meanwhile, does anyone have a rejection story to tell? Voyager authors? Please share!

Rejection and Underpants Part II

Kim Falconer‘s underpants were accepted by Voyager some time ago, and you can find her first book, The Spell of Rosette, in all good bookshops in Australia. Kim lives in Byron Bay and is currently working on the follow up to The Spell of Rosette, Arrows of Time.