• 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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Why you should attend conventions by Nicole Murphy

Aussie Con 4

Why you should attend conventions (and particularly this year’s Worldcon).

I loves me a good convention. I have since I attended my first one (Conflux) in 2004. There are some scary aspects of convention going, but all in all I have to say the positives far outweigh the negatives. Here’s why I think you should make an effort to attend a convention asap.

a) Meeting like-minded folks. Honestly, it’s like coming home. Intelligent discussion of genre, followed by raucous laughter in the bar. Finally finding that person with whom you can have that spirited debate on which doctor is best. Standing at the elevators at stupid-o’clock talking with the author who made your teenage years bearable. Ah yes, the people make cons.
b) The inspiration. I think regardless of how you come to a convention (as a writer, artist, filmmaker or fan), you leave with a myriad of ideas of what to explore next. Either you want to delve into your work-in-progress or you want to delve into the world of the person you discovered there.
c) The education. You’ll spend hours sitting in panels listening to some of the best minds around talking about your favourite genre, and you’ll come away with knowledge you never had before. Attend one of the workshops that most conventions have and that learning will be intensified.
d) The socialising. Ah yes, conventions are about hanging out with friends (most of whom you only see at conventions due to the constraints of distance). Indeed, some people never go to a program item at all and spend all their time in the bar.
e) The shopping. Budget big time for buying cool things. Mostly books, but at various conventions I’ve seen pottery, stuffed animals, replica weapons from Lord of the Rings and RPGs.
f) The networking. Conventions, particularly in Australia, are where you get to meet a lot of the professionals in the field. Writers. Editors. Publishers. You might not think this is pertinent to you if you’re not published now but believe me, the work you do before publication on establishing yourself as a hard-working professional and someone to be respected will pay dividends later on.

Ah, I could go on and on and ON about conventions. I love them so much that I was on the committee for the Conflux conventions in Canberra for five years (including chairing Conflux 4). I was also on the committee for Aussiecon 4 (this year’s Worldcon, in Melbourne, September 2-6) before a certain trilogy sale meant I had to say no to extra-curricular activities.

I really do think that if you’re an Australian science fiction, fantasy or horror fan, you should seriously consider attending Aussiecon 4. Yep, it’s gonna be expensive. Not gonna hide that from you. But here’s some of what you’ll get –

a) Attendees – apart from the guests (Kim Stanley Robinson, Shaun Tan and Robin Johnson), other people who have indicated they are attending include Greg Benford, Cory Doctorow, Kate Elliot, George RR Martin, Alastair Reynolds, John Scalzi, Robert Silverberg, Charles Stross and Carrie Vaughn. Some of the biggest names in the world are coming down-under. And that’s just the internationalists!
b) The program – Aussiecon 4 will have events running from early morning until late at night for five nights running, and membership gets you into pretty much all of them for free! There will be an academic stream, featuring papers delivered by some of the genres top scholars. There will be multiple streams covering literature, film, anime, manga – you name it, it will be there. And at night – well, Worldcon parties are legendary. Events are being organised – I know the horror guys have already got The Nightmare Ball up and running and there’s also the Hugo Awards, which are a glittering night.
c) The socialising – again, Worldcon parties are legendary! There’s a floor of the party con which has been set aside just for the parties, which publishers and such host. Wanna find yourself spending the night finishing off the food with George RR Martin, such as happened at the end of the Aussiecon party at the last Worldcon? Gotta be a member.
d) National pride – the plans from Australian publishers and artists, big and small, for Worldcon are incredible. You’re going to see the best our bonza nation can offer on display – why not be part of it?

Over the ditch (hi New Zealand!) their Natcon (that’s national convention) is the weekend before Worldcon, August 27 to 29. Au Contraire http://aucontraire.org.nz/index.php is going to have some of the Worldcon attendees as well, doubling up on the trip down-under. Some mad Aussies (ie me) are jumping over for it too. Should be a blast!

If you can’t make Worldcon or Au Contraire, start planning to go to one of the 2011 conventions in Australia. So far, there’s three to choose from.

Swancon 36 (which is also the fiftieth Australian Natcon) April 21-25 in Perth

Continuum 7 June 10-13 in Melbourne

Conflux October in Canberra

Nicole Murphy is the author of SECRET ONES, Dream of Asarlai Book One. She has had many short stories published, and has edited speculative fiction magazines. She lives in Queanbeyan with her husband Tim.

6 Responses

  1. Conventions are awesome, but I tend to get very nervy around other authors. I generally end up running my mouth off or doing something else stupid.

    Oh well, see you at Worldcon!

    • I think it’s one of those things you get better at – there were aspects of my first con that were awful, and I’m really nervous about the networking at Worldcon. But overall, they’re made of win 🙂

  2. Go NZ! Looking forward to seeing in or around Au Contraire, Nicole! 🙂

  3. I’ve been counting the “days ’til WorldCon” for some time now. 🙂

    Con4, the last at Rydges Lakeside, was my very first Con-world experience, shortly after getting a bite from the specfic bug following a first reading of Feist’s ‘Magician’ and a couple of other novels.

    I rocked up to the Con rego desk, got my pack of stuff, noticed a few robed attendees, got my intro to Cthulu mythos via a hilariously creaky b&w film, went to the Dinner sans Regency costume, had some ‘panel fatigue’ after days of trying to cover many different topics…and found out why Jack Dann is renowned for his book launches. 🙂

    Have been to and really enjoyed every Con since then and already look forward to Con7.
    Cheers, Tim/’farnwyn’

    • Well yes, I think Conflux 4 was fabulous as well, but then it was my con 🙂

      One thing I love about cons is how different they all are. Some are quiet, some loud, some big, some intimate, some you work all the time, some are just fun all the time. A con for every season 🙂

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