• 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!



Fallon Friday: Fallon’s Six Rules of Characterisation

There really is no secret to good characterisation, there is just sticking to the rules.

Rules? What rule?

Well, I’m glad you asked. I have 6 of them, so here they are:

Fallon’s Six Rules of Characterisation

1. Have some idea what your character looks like.

This is not to say you need a detailed description of every single character in your book. But you do need to know if he’s black, white, brindle or covered in purple polka dots. Are they tall, short, fat or skinny? A person’s physical appearance affects how they see the world and how the world perceives them. A short fat person is unlikely to be performing athletic feats of heroism without it impacting on them somehow (breathless, more prone to injury…?). People who perceive themselves as plain can sometimes resent those considered “beautiful”. Short people can resent others being tall. Tall people (particularly women) are often self-conscious about their height. These are all hang-ups that come with physical appearance and will add depth to you characters.

I play a game sometimes, called: “If this was a movie my dream cast would be…” in which I “cast” the major characters if the book like it was a movie. This gives me an idea of who I see the character as being most physically like. I may never describe them the same way in the book (although perceptive readers will find George Clooney and Brak have a great deal in common…hehehe), but in my head, I know, and that’s what really counts.

2. Know your character’s past.

Despite being largely formed by a genetic makeup, we are still creatures of our environment. If you don’t know what that environment is, then how will you know what has made your character the way they are? People are moulded by their past, either by being pulled down by it, or by rising above it. If your characters have no past, however, you have nothing to work with.

3. Know your character.

This may seem like I’m repeating myself but this is quite different to the other rules. Knowing a character means not having to think about what they’d do, because it’s self-evident. And it’s not always easy to find them. When I was writing The Immortal Prince, I was really struggling to get a grip on Arkady, until I wrote the line: “The Duchess of Lebec knew how to amputate a finger”. (It’s several chapters in… can’t remember exactly where.) At that point, she suddenly blossomed into life and I’ve never had to wonder, from them on, what she would do in any given situation.

4. When writing from a character’s particular point of view, write in their voice.

If you were writing a chapter from the point of view of a child, you probably wouldn’t write…

“Pandora cautiously lifted the lid on the valuable antique rosewood chest with it’s intricately inlaid mother-of-pearl and gilt decoupage design (which would have fetched a fortune at Christies), and gasped as all the deadly plagues of the world were unleashed upon humanity.”

Design features and consequences come from an adult’s perspective. The child would see a pretty box. You’d probably do something more like this…
“Pandora cautiously lifted the lid on the pretty box with its shiny flowers that seemed pressed into the polished wood by magic and gasped as something dreadful burst out of the box.”

The latter is a child’s perspective, and if you write your characters using language they wouldn’t use in dialogue, then it doesn’t gel. It is for this reason that I despise “head-hopping” so much. Only a very few, very-skilled practitioners (and I do not claim to be one of them) can do this and maintain characterisation without confusing the reader.

5. Evil is merely a matter of perspective.

There is a saying – one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and there was never a truer word spoken. Good people might think they’re good. But bad people, more often than not, think they’re good, too. This is the fatal mistake many would-be writers make writing their “bad guys”. They make them bad for no apparent reason. Or have them rejoice in their “badness”, and people following them (whole populations often) with no apparent goal in sight, other than world domination, just because they can. Being an Evil Overlord just because you like the idea of being an Evil Overlord only works if you’re Mike Myers and planning to clone a Mini-Me.
In my experience, all the complete assholes I’ve ever met think they’re doing the world a favour by merely breathing. And they’d be shocked, in most cases, to realise that people thought they were anything other wonderful human beings.

6. Give your characters shades of grey.

My agent brokered a stunningly fantastic advance for one of her (literary) writers last year, and the last I heard, they were into seven figures. (Yes, that’s over a million dollars.) The reason? It’s because, as one enthusiastic publisher gushed, “the characters have so many shades of grey”.

To give you an example of what I mean, let me paraphrase the story of The Good Samaritan for a moment.

• A good character without shading would stop and help the wounded man lying on the road, for no other reason than he is good and it’s the right thing to do.
• An evil character without shading would not stop to help the wounded man lying on the road, for no other reason than he is evil and it’s the wrong thing to do, although he may stop and spare the poor dying mugging victim a muwahahaha for dramatic effect, before moving on to other random acts of violence and mayhem.
• A fully realised character will see the wounded man, turn away because he doesn’t want to get involved, be swamped with guilt a few steps further on and go back to aid him, resent the poor victim for causing him trouble, even while giving him the shirt off his back, which he then has to explain to his wife when he gets home that night.

It’s not the best example, granted, but you get the idea. Heroes are often accidental. In fact, there’s an argument that only a fearful man can be a hero. If you’re not afraid of anything, what is there to overcome? Courage is doing something in spite of your fears, not blazing ahead fearlessly because you’re too stupid to know the danger.

Jennifer Fallon is the author of four fantasy series, the most recent being the Tide Lords quartet. The Chaos Crystal, book four of the Tide Lords series, came out this month and is available across all good Australian book shops.

Fallon Friday: Five things myths about being an author

1. All authors drink to excess. Not true. We owe Hemingway for this fallacious belief, I suspect. There is a small minority out there who, I’m sure, give this writing technique a good run for its money, but it doesn’t really work that well. Writers tend to be hard-working, self-motivated little bunnies who work hard for their money, and mostly when they’re sober. Really.

2. Authors have the final say on their covers. You’re lucky if they even consult you. I often see my overseas covers for the first time on Amazon. I have a book from Russia with a pole dancer on the cover (Glenda Larke has the same pole dancer on the cover of one of her books). Others have a fortune-teller, a chick in a leather bikini and a unicorn in books that have neither fortune-tellers, chicks in leather bikinis nor unicorns in them. Don’t get me started on the matter of palm trees…

3. Editors will re-write an author’s work if they want changes. Nope. They have far too much of their own work to do. They’ll send it back with their suggestions and make the author do the hard work. And most of the time, they’re right, too. Curses.

4. All authors are rich. Rich in ideas? Absolutely. Rich in language? Of course. Rich in the folding stuff? Depends very much on your definition of rich. And how much you drink. And in my case, how much time you spend on eBay. And if you manage to sell the movie rights.

Which brings me to myth number 5 …

5. All authors who sell movie rights are rich. If only. You don’t get rich off the movie rights unless someone actually makesthe movie. I remember reading somewhere once that Wilbur Smith had optioned the movie rights on every book he’d written and they’d only ever made two of them into movies. The rest just sent him a small cheque each year to keep the option open with a note saying “some day…”

The Tide Lords Pronunciation Guide: Part Three

Here’s the final part of the Tide Lords Pronunciation Guide – so now you have no excuse for mis-pronouncing names when reading The Chaos Crystal!


(le-BECK)                                      Province and city in northern Glaeba. Ancestral home of the Desean family                             



AKA The Scholar

 Tide Lord



AKA The Betrayer

Lesser Immortal



AKA The Seeker

Tide Lord



Crown Prince of Glaeba




AKA The Artisan

Lesser Immortal



Crown Princess of Caelum




AKA The Recluse

Father of Elyssa and Tryan

Tide Lord



AKA The Hangman

Lesser Immortal

Shalimar Hawkes

(Shall-e-mah Hawks)

Declan’s Grandfather

Tidewatcher (Half human/half immortal)

Stellan Desean

(Stell-an De-shawn)

Duke of Lebec




AKA Empress of the Five Realms. Mother of Elyssa and Tryan. Stepmother of Rance and Krydence

Lesser Immortal



AKA The Manipulator

Lesser Immortal



Slave in the Lebec Palace

Canine Crasii



Glaeban spy

Chameleon Crasii

The final book in the Tide Lords quartet by Jennifer Fallon is out SOON. The Chaos Crystal hits shelves in early December … you could win an advance copy by taking part in the competition at www.voyageronline.com.au but be quick – it closes at midday tomorrow.

Visit Jennifer Fallon’s website.

The Tide Lords Pronunciation Guide: Part Two

Cydne Medura  

(Syd-nee Med-oora)

 Senestran doctor


Daly Bridgeman  

(Dally Bridge-man)

Retired King’s spymaster


Declan Hawkes   

(Deck-lan Hawks)

 The King’s Spymaster




AKA The High Priestess of the Tide, AKA The Minion  Maker

Lesser Immortal



AKA The Immortal Maiden. AKA The Mother (among the Crasii)

 Tide Lord



AKA Emperor of the Five Realms

Father of Rance and Krydence. Stepfather of Elyssa  and Tryan.

Lesser Immortal



King of Glaeba




Cayal’s half-human daughter

Tidewatcher (Half human/half immortal)



Country in northern hemisphere of Amyrantha.

Separated by the Great Lakes from Caelum



Capital of Glaeba.

Located on an island in the Lower Oran, the largest of the Great Lakes



Queen of Glaeba




AKA Lord of Temperance

Tide Lord

Jaxyn Aranville


(Jack-sin Aran-vil)

Lebec’s Kennel Master




AKA The Sleeper

Tide Lord



AKA The Judge

Lesser Immortal

Kylia Debrell

(Kye-Lee-ah De-Brell

Niece of Stellan Desean, Duke of Lebec




AKA The Charioteer

Lesser Immortal

Look our for L – T (part three) where it ends, later this week.

The final book in the Tide Lords quartet by Jennifer Fallon is out in just a few weeks. The Chaos Crystal hits shelves in early December … you ccould win an advance copy by taking part in the competition at www.voyageronline.com.au

Visit Jennifer Fallon’s website.