• 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!



Fan Made: The Art of Book Trailers

This week someone sent me the following trailer for Fiona McIntosh’s splendid Royal Exile and it got me thinking about several things.

Firstly it got me thinking — how did they do that?? And when is Book Two coming?(Ed note: September 09)

It also made me wonder about why fan made videos are so popular and what it is about science fiction and fantasy books that make them such a wonderful source of inspiration. Is it the richness of the characters and settings or is it that Hollywood has largely ignored the genre forcing fans to DIY?

Whatever it is there are some fantastic fan made book trailers popping up on YouTube all the time that are well worth a look.

George R R Martin fans are a creative bunch who are not content to wait for the Tv series of  A Song of Ice and Fire to appear. This is just one of the many fan made trailers for the upcoming series:

The trailers often come up with inventive ways of using everything from film (Lord of the Rings seems to be a favourite), and video game segments to original illustrations and cover art blended together to tell the story.

The Painted Man gets a plug in this one:

The works of Robin Hobb, Terry Goodkind and Philip K Dick are just some of the sources of inspiration for fans online.

If you’ve seen any wonderful book trailers we’d love to hear about them. Or if you’ve made one yourself — show it off to us!

Where can a time-travelling detective go? Rhonda Roberts tells us

Gladiatrix is set in an alternate present and in this version Union Square in San Francisco, holds both the National Time Administration’s time portal as well as a giant pyramid Iseum used by the worshippers of the Egyptian goddess Isis.

I chose Union Square because of its rich history, which covers everything from war to earthquakes to flower children to crime and horrific murders. It’s a writer’s paradise, particularly if you specialise in time travel.

Union Square, where the NTA is located

Union Square, where the NTA is located

Union Square is roughly two and a half acres of concrete and gardens bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets. It sits in the heart of old San Francisco once considered the most dangerous city in America. There are good reasons why many US detective novels and films are set in the steep hills of this fog-ridden city.

At the time when San Francisco was considered the most lawless city in the nation, Morton Street, just off Union Square, was the roughest part of all. Women and children naked to the waist sold themselves through the open windows of the pitiful one-room cribs, which lined the street. Men strolled through the area surveying what was available. The local police through corruption or fear refused to patrol the area and Morton Street’s homicide rate made it infamous.

The elegant St Francis Hotel on Powell Street survived the 1906 earthquake and fire only to become infamous in 1921 when the movie star Fatty Arbuckle held a wild party there. Three days later the party was still raging but Virginia Rappe an actress was dead. Hospital staff claimed she said Arbuckle had attacked her. Arbuckle was tried three times and eventually cleared of the charges but lost his career.

St Francis Hotel

In an interesting twist, Dashiell Hammett was one of the detectives hired to investigate the Arbuckle case. He became a famous detective fiction writer and in his novel the Maltese Falcon the St Mark Hotel is based upon the St Francis.

I can’t think of a better pedigree for inclusion in a time travelling detective series.

Neither can we. Where else would you like to see Kannon Dupree travel? Leave a comment below to let us know.

gladiatrixRhonda Roberts’ first book, Gladiatrix, is now available across Australia and New Zealand. Rhonda lives in the south of Sydney (as you might gather from this post – she certainly knows the area well!) and is working on the next book in the Time Stalker series, Hoodwink.

Visit Rhonda’s website

Kannon – about my main character – by Rhonda Roberts


My main character, Kannon Dupree, is named after the Japanese Bodhisattva of Compassion. The Japanese words for Kannon actually mean ‘the one who hears all cries for help’ and a Bodhisattva is an enlightened being who has chosen to stay on Earth to help liberate all sentient life forms from suffering. She can be traced back to an earlier Indian Bodhisattva called Avalokitesvara and is known in China as Guan Yin.

Kannon Dupree was two years old when she was left for dead in a cave in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park and suffered extreme post traumatic stress syndrome. To help the little girl sleep at night Yuki, Kannon’s adopted mother, used to hold her and call on the Bodhisattva to heal her. Eventually the little girl thought that it was her own name.

I first came across Kannon, the Buddhist icon, when I was living in Nagoya, Japan. I’m not a Buddhist but I found her serenely smiling statues very attractive. She’s a very popular religious figure in Japan and there are temples to her everywhere. There’s a big temple to the Bodhisattva in Nagoya near Osu Kannon train station. When I was living there it was right in the middle of an old part of the city, full of little temples and tiny old markets selling antiques and kimonos. So whenever I’d visit the temple it would seem as though I’d travelled back in time.

It seemed natural to use the name for my main character.

Rhonda Roberts lives in the Illawarra just south of Sydney. She’s currently at work on Hoodwink, the follow up to Gladiatrix. Rhonda has a PhD in Science, Technology and Society and was an academic for eleven years. During this time she worked in Australia, the United States and in Japan, where she lived for three years. Visit her website at www.rhondarobertsauthor.com

Download a PDF extract from Gladiatrix

Noir Fantasy – how Rhonda Roberts fell for the darker side of the city

blade_runnerI first saw Blade Runner in a dirty old theatre in a seedy little back street in Shinjuku.

I’d stumbled into it in a bid to stave off heatstroke and get away from the cloud of pollution that’d swirled just a few feet above my head all day. To my amazement the big screen reflected Tokyo back to me…the Japanese-English, the noodle shops, the smog, the huge blinking neon signs…all filtered through the nostalgic lens of Vangelis’ music score.

I was confused… I still had a headache from the car fumes after all. How could I have not known I was living in a noir paradise? Then I surrendered to the fantasy.

After that I became a fan of noir fiction and film… Black, ebony, midnight, darkness…the shadow always injects the delight into any tale. Show me a trench coat and I’ll follow you down any dark alley. The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep …Joan Crawford in shoulder-pads holding a smoking gun.

Most of all I loved the Bad Women in noir – they’re so abandoned…wild. Beyond the pale.

Then I saw Alien…and best of all Aliens. This was the ultimate dark alley.

I went with a uni friend on a weekday to the old picture theatre in Glebe. Besides us there was only a father and the two young girls he was reluctantly babysitting. Twenty minutes later, when the alien explodes out of the stomach, we were left totally alone in this huge crumbling theatre.

But Ripley was there…finally the fantasy heroine I always wished for. Okay Ripley doesn’t have a trench coat but like all great Noir heroines it’s the shadows that define her.

I see Kannon Dupree as a very Australian noir heroine. Like Ripley her sad past defines her yet she has a love of life that pulls her into the light.

Are you a fan of the same movies as Rhonda? I know the majority of us at Voyager are!

Rhonda Roberts’ first book, Gladiatrix, is now available across Australia and New Zealand. Rhonda lives in the south of Sydney (as you might gather from this post – she certainly knows the area well!) and is working on the next book in the Time Stalker series, Hoodwink.

Visit Rhonda’s website

Maria Quinn on ABC Unleashed

The Gene Thieves

The Gene Thieves

Look out for Maria Quinn‘s piece on surrogacy up at ABC Unleashed today. Go and have your say and don’t forget to go through your copy of The Gene Thieves to hear more about where surrogacy can (and is) going …

Fallon Friday: Jennifer Fallon on Getting Published

I want to get published – where are the markets?

Mainstream publishers are publishers who commission work from authors and pay them an advance and/or royalties for published worked sold. They range from the large commercial enterprises, such as HarperCollins to smaller, specialty publishers, such as the Qld University Press.

Publishers have various different banners under which they publish different genres. For example, HarperCollins publishes fiction under their own banner, but publishes Fantasy and Science Fiction under the Voyager imprint and Romance under the Avon Imprint.

It’s vital to know which publisher does what. It is absolutely no use sending your blood and guts horror epic to Mills and Boon, any more than you should send your heart-rending romance to Voyager. They will simply send it back unread and all you get for your efforts is another rejection slip to add to the pile.

Rule 1 – Pick your publisher!!!!

Do your homework.
Check if the publisher to whom you’re sending your MS, is actually publishing the genre you’re writing for.
Check if they accept unsolicited manuscripts (some publishers no longer do).
Find out the name of the editor responsible for the genre you work in, ie the children’s editor, or the romance editor. All you need do is phone the publisher and ask the switch operator.

Some publishing houses only want to see sample chapters and an outline, so you need to find that out before you send the whole MS.

Some publishers will only accept work from agents. Some will only accept unsolicited work assessed by a recognised Manuscript Assessment Service. All of them have their submission requirements on their websites. Check them out before you start ringing editors. A phone call asking for information already provided on a website is liable to promt the reaction: How can this person write, when it’s clear they obviously can’t read!

Rule 2 – Read the guidlines on their website and adhere to them or you will immediately be dismissed as a dimwit who can’t follow simple instructions

Bear in mind that publishers rarely offer a contract to a first time author based on a query letter. They have no proof you can produce the final goods.
Many publishing books say to send a letter first, outlining your idea, but in my experience, editors shy away from unknown authors with bright ideas.

Send the query letter, by all means (along with the first 2 or 3 chapters) but get your MS finished first. And be very careful saying ‘nothing like this has been published before’ because that might be a warning signal that perhaps a demand for your book does not exist.

In the non-fiction area it’s essential that you know what your book does that competing books in the area do not, and what it does better than the existing books. Be aware that in this highly competitive industry there will be competing books and that your publisher will be aware of them.

Jennifer Fallon blogs every
Friday here at the Voyager blog, on matters on writing, books and …
more! She is the author of thirteen bestselling fantasy novels
including the recent  Tide Lords quartet
. You can read more from her at her website and blog.

Rhonda Roberts on the Radio

Gladiatrix author Rhonda Roberts will be doing a live radio interview today on 4RO (Qld) at 12:30pm (Qld time) with Jacq Ellem. Keeps your ears peeled and your radios tuned!