• 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!



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Rejection and Underpants Part II – Kim Falconer

Author Kim Falconer

Author Kim Falconer

Seeing rejection as a step closer to publication isn’t always easy. Take for example this letter from June 1968. I don’t think the author was laughing:

. . . The whole is so dry and airless, so lacking in pace, that whatever drama and excitement the novel might have had is entirely dissipated by what does seem, a great deal of the time, to be extraneous material.. . . The Left Hand of Darkness is returned herewith.

The Left Hand of Darkness was published a year later by Ace Books and won the 1969 Nebula Award and the 1970 Hugo Award.

Dan Gutman, even though a published author at the time, had repeated rejections of his baseball/fantasy manuscript. He’s posted the history on his site and I have inserted the substitute word underpants (see Part I) to demonstrate the practice of keeping rejection light:

1st and 2nd rejection letters—ripped up in frustration.
3rd rejection – editorial comments—(your) plot seems too predictable-not a story that could succeed on our fiction list. Your underpants are too ordinary—they wouldn’t attract public attention.
4th rejection—I regret that structural flaws prevent us from making an offer. Your underpants are factory seconds.
Made minor revisions.
5th rejection—In addition to the tension level (problems) of the plot, the writing also seemed flat. The moments of excitement or sentimentality that should really grab the reader just don’t. No one is excited by your underpants.
More minor revisions.
6th rejection—I’m sorry, this still doesn’t work for me. Your underpants continue to hold no interest.
No more revisions past this point.
7th rejection –The premise of the story was very intriguing, but we felt it was overshadowed by the historical information. Your underpants do interest me. Too bad about the history.
8th rejection –(we) felt the manuscript needed too much work at this point to warrant our signing it up. Your underpants are in tatters.
9th rejection –the consensus was that the market appeal would be too narrow for us to publish it successfully. We don’t think enough people would want your underpants.

Gutman finally sent the manuscript to HarperCollins USA who made him an offer. The book was nominated for eleven state book awards and spawned nine more titles in the series.

Keeping it light, seeing rejection as a process, and enjoying the journey wherever it takes you are the ingredients that make writing bliss. Glenda Larke says it perfectly: If you aren’t loving the journey, if you ARE going to give up on the creative process after constant rejection, then you are probably in the wrong business . . . If creation is what counts and brings you joy, then you have a fulfilled life no matter what happens.

What do you think? Is it enough to write or do you need to be published? How do you respond to rejection? Can you keep it light? I’d love to hear your views.

Read Rejection and Underpants Part I

Kim Falconer’s first book, The Spell of Rosette (released in December 08), and has already been on the Dymocks top ten bestsellers list. Kim lives in Byron Bay and runs the website Falcon’s Astrology as well as a website dedicated to the Quantum Enchantment series.

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4 Responses

  1. You’re making think of a question Michael Neill posed recently. He asked himself if he were invisible what would he do different? How would he live differently if no one saw?

    One of the points he pondered was would he still want to write a book if he didn’t get the author credits? Like, was his driving desire to “be a published author” or to write a book?

    Sounds like Glenda nailed it: “If creation is what counts and brings you joy, then you have a fulfilled life no matter what happens.”

    Amen to that!

  2. Good question. For some, it is enough to write. Some writers add on a layer where they need to be published; are compelled to share what they write … to share their creation through publishing and dissemination. It depends what drives you. Personally, I wrote fiction for years (while earning a living writing non-fiction) but never felt compelled to be published or bought or represented. At some point, that urge changed and I did want to be published. Evolution? Then of course, the rejections come. But at that point, after writing for so many years, I considered each rejection a challenge. A challenge to find the agent or publisher who will “get it.” The rest don’t matter anyway. I don’t mind rejections at all. It’s like an opinion: everyone is entitled to one, doesn’t mean it’s valid.
    Thanks for the blog!

  3. Jeannette,

    That’s an excellent exercise–What would we do differently if no one ever saw?

    Like Kellyann, I wrote and published non-fiction for decades. I’ve also written stories since I was 5 but only just published this year. I’m finding that writing novels and being read, and having the privilege of connecting to readers, is a blissful experience. Writing is creative. Being read is intimate. I love both sides.

    Glenda did nail it, didn’t she! Gotta go for the joy 🙂

    Thank you for dropping by my friend! 🙂

  4. Kellyann, we have much in common. There is an evolution going on, a natural expansion in those steps to fulfillment.

    I love the way you see rejection as an opinion, not a judgment. And yes, we are all after the agent, the publisher and the readers who will ‘get it’. That’s where the honey is!

    Your site is wonderful! I love the image of Zubis Rises!

    Thank you for adding your voice 🙂

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