• 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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I only ever wanted to be a Nordern Herd rider called Troy

(An excerpt from Kim Westwood’s Guest of Honour speech at Conflux, October 2011)
One of my all-time favourite books is a novel by André Norton called Catseye, in which Troy was the main character. The dog-eared copy I read when a kid, and still have in my bookshelf, mentions in the publisher’s foreword that the novel will appeal to boys. The publisher’s assumption was, of course, that we readers are drawn to stories containing primary protagonists whose gender matches ours, that identification eclipsing other reasons for reading the story. This seems a good starting point for today, as Catseye appealed mightily to me, and, I suspect, a whole generation of girls who were bored shitless by Anne of Green Gables and The Famous Five, and who were practised at putting themselves in the shoes of more adventurous characters, regardless of gender—or genre.

A good story is both escape from the world and vicarious engagement with it. Sometimes it’s comfort food; other times it’s the trepidation and visceral thrill of the roller coaster without the fear of throwing up—which makes it the perfect place to explore all kinds of anxieties. Fictional characters in difficult situations allow readers to litmus test their own mettle, and ask: What if this were me? It’s comfort and discomfiture, excitement and safe haven, combined. I read Catseye and other books like it (for instance, Le Guin’s Earthsea Quartet) because they explored agency—and the struggle for it—on a grander, scarier scale than those stories set on the domestic front, so much more at stake than the petty traumas of schoolyard slights and missed teatimes. For me, parlour tales held no interest; I wanted to walk in Troy Horan’s shoes.

Which brings me, many years later, to The Courier’s New Bicycle.
In August 2008 my first novel, The Daughters of Moab, had been published, and I was starting on my next, when someone burst forth in my imagination who wouldn’t be denied. So I put aside what I thought was going to be my second novel and began to write a completely different one.

The story is set in the alleyways of inner Melbourne just around the socio-political corner from now. Melbourne is a city in recession, with rolling power outages, fuel rationing and curfews. A flu pandemic has been and gone, and the vaccine dispensed Australia-wide has caused en masse infertility. A population in crisis—emotionally, financially—creates the conditions for radical political change; in this case, the coming to power of the Nation First party, bankrolled by an evangelical group (think Hillsong without the song) called Saviour Nation.

 Here I want to mention that Melbourne—the physical Melbourne—was a major inspiration for me. As far as Australian cities go, no other would have done. The story was born in those atmospheric inner-city alleyways, and every time I go back, I feel the possibility of the story all over again. That specificity of site means most of the places in the novel are findable, albeit a tad altered. Inspiration came from the people there too; for instance, the bike couriers who tempt fate every day with the traffic and pedestrians. These elements ground an imagined near future in the real and immediate. As for the premise of ordinary life utterly changed by a major event—in this case a pandemic—it’s a scenario that’s just one small step away from now.

 Anyway, imagine that the previous government’s measures put in place to try to solve the fertility crisis—research facilities and hormone replacement therapy, surrogacy organisations and expanded immigration parameters—are all now banned, and petitioning God for reprieve through prayer is the only allowable substitute.

 Generally, things that are banned don’t stop existing; they go underground. Prohibition invites all kinds of bootleg possibilities to flourish—including the cruel kind. In this milieu, it’s not only the once-legal hormone companies now producing and selling their wares on the black market to a desperate population, but also the barbarously run hormone farms, in league with the abattoirs and harvesting their produce from live and dead animals.

 Imagine also that in this environment of fear and conservatism—this battening down of the hatches and closing of borders, reducing the community’s connection to the rest of the world—there are new measures put in place on the domestic front ‘for our own good’; measures that restrict personal freedom and impinge on civil liberties. Loss of fertility challenges a certain raison d’être—the perpetuation of the species—and in such challenging circumstances, a communally shared fear can slide easily into blame. Government sanctioned, this can make for scapegoating. In The Courier’s New Bicycle, those intent on shoring up the ‘proofs’ of their sexed and gendered selves by over-asserting their maleness or femaleness, their masculinity or femininity, viciously target those who, by appearance or behaviour or both, don’t fit the required non-intersecting binaries.

 Enter Salisbury Forth: bike courier, gender transgressive and accidental sleuth.

 Salisbury is the novel’s storyteller. That The Courier’s New Bicycle is told solely from the primary protagonist’s point of view means there are no pesky pronouns apart from ‘I’ and ‘me’ and ‘my’ to bother me, the author—which suits Salisbury, my primary protagonist, just fine. Salisbury’s identity sits right in the grey area between those entrenched binaries of sex and gender, the androgynous land where there are no adequate pronouns but a multitude of names, both retrograde and reclaimed. She calls himself a gender transgressive—a twist on the insulting label of ‘transgressor’ that the powerful conservative elements in the novel have coined for anyone seen to be outside the gender box. Sometimes he calls herself a genderbender (but only in like company). As far as biology goes, that’s a private matter, and that’s how it’s going to stay. In Salisbury’s words: “My biology is nobody’s business but my own.” Some readers aren’t going to like this. They’ll see it as wilful ambiguity on my, the author’s, part, and they’re going to want to know what Salisbury really is: girl or boy? They’re going to want to know what’s under the clothing. I, the author, am going to disappoint them. There is no big reveal, no tying of gender identity—or anything else for that matter—to some biological ‘proof’. Salisbury’s androgyny is not a disease, disorder or psychosis, and nor is it a way station on the road to somewhere else. As Del LaGrace Volcano, the gender abolitionist says: “I’m not going from A to B or B to A. I’m just going.”

Personally, I’ve long had an ambivalence to binaries of any kind. Which brings me to Venn diagrams—and genre labelling.

Unlike fractions (those sharp-edged and unyielding divisions that caused me no end of pain), the circles that I learnt about in primary school geometry class, their intersections alluringly shaded, hinted at a world with grey areas, ambiguities. These days I wonder if my fascination for Venn diagrams was because I knew from quite young that I was attracted to girls as well as boys, desire floating in an as yet unnamed place, and those grey areas speaking to me of the possibilities that might live inside me and at the interstices of things. This might explain, in part, the gravitational pull cross-genre writing—intergenre writing, as I prefer to call it—has always had on me, and one reason why I’m drawn to outsider characters who live at the borders of things and in-between places in other peoples’ books, and tend to create them in my own.

 Writing, I never think of genre; I just relay the story that’s demanding to be told. The danger for fiction that crosses genre lines is that it runs the risk of not being judged on its own terms but according to the label it comes with, preconceptions firmly attached. I coined the term ‘poetic apocalyptic’ for The Daughters of Moab in an effort to flag to readers something of the style and substance of its interior: a poetic sensibility and literary bent. The Courier’s New Bicycle I call a genre amalgam, because it engages with the conventions of a number of genres rather than confining itself to any one. I also call it a fast ride, being twenty adrenaline-fuelled days in the unconventional life of Salisbury Forth.

 I’m happy to say that the reviewer in Australian Bookseller+Publisher described the novel as ‘a disturbingly credible and darkly noir post-cyberpunk tale’. This quote-worthy phrase opens up the field of interest: the ‘noir’ a nod to crime fiction, the ‘cyberpunk’ to SF, and the ‘credible’ to current societal aptness. Hopefully, any or all of these elements will spur a variety of readers into wanting to know more about a bike courier and accidental sleuth who has a mystery to solve in the alleyways of a dystopian near-future Melbourne.

Read More: The Courier’s New Bicycle, The Daughters of Moab

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Voyager and Swancon – a happy combination

Voyager authors, family and friends gathered at Chez Pierre for wine, food and great company

This time last week, I was in Perth, preparing for the start of Swancon 36, the 50th National Science Fiction Convention. At that point, it was just a blur of potential, a string of days that could either be great or not.

Now, it’s over and I’m happy to report that the word ‘great’ doesn’t even begin to describe Swancon. It was a particularly great con for Voyager – A.A. Bell’s Diamond Eyes took out the Norma K Hemming award and Tansy Rayner RobertsPower and Majesty won the Ditmar Award for Best Novel.

On Saturday afternoon, Tansy, Glenda Larke and I sat with HarperCollins WA rep Theresa Anns on a panel entitled ‘Meet the Voyager authors’. After giggling over Theresa’s question of how Voyager queen Stephanie Smith hogtied us to get our novels (if you’ve ever met Stephanie you’ll know how ridiculous an image that is – although I’m still having issues with the rope burns…) we discussed the journey to becoming part of the Voyager clan and how we’ve been enjoying it.

Someone (I think it might have been Theresa) asked if being a Voyager author meant being part of a community. At first, we answered no – the three of us had known each other before Voyager took our books and our friendships extended beyond.

Jonathan Strahan obviously enjoying himself

But as we kept talking, we realised that in fact, there was a community of authors out there. There are folks that we’ve only met the once or twice but feel we know through the internet, such as Mary Victoria or Kim Falconer. Then there’s the people we get to meet just through being with Voyager, such as Duncan Lay and Bevan McGuiness. Then there’s the authors that aren’t published with Voyager Australia any more but are still part of the clan at these events – Simon Brown, Sean Williams, Trudi Canavan.

All this became clear later on Saturday when we Voyager mob (with a few ring-ins) went out for dinner. It’s something that happens often at conventions – a chance for us all to sit and chat and you know what – there is definitely a family feel to these things. We catch up, we laugh, we joke, we have fun.

Tansy Rayner Roberts, bookseller Robin Pen and myself ordered the snails - how could you not? Tansy loved them.

My snails, before they were devoured. Delicious, my friends. The venison was good too.

And that’s just the authors – I know that there’s a network of readers out there as well. I wasn’t part of the famous Purple Zone – the forums that used to run on the Voyager website – but I know a lot of those folks are still in touch and at Worldcon, there was a Purple Zone dinner. And this blog is now the heart of the Voyager community in Australia and it’s great to be able to share news and ideas and find out what is going on in each other’s lives.

Later this year is another convention that will prove to be a highlight for Voyager. At Conflux (Sep 28-Oct 1, Canberra) Voyager web-mistress and HarperCollins digital editor Natalie Costa Bir is going to be a guest. I’m looking forward to another opportunity to connect with the Voyager family (authors, editors and readers) and continue to celebrate the fabulous work that Voyager is publishing.

Nicole Murphy lives in Canberra with her husband Tim. She is the author of the Dreams of Asarlai trilogy, which starts with Secret Ones and is wonderfully active at Conflux and other conventions.

The 2009 Canberra Conflux Experience by Tracey O’Hara

I have been eagerly awaiting Conflux to come around again. They‘re always such fun. Friday morning I arrived nice and early to registered. The lovely Karen Herkes was on site and already overseeing the final preparations for the convention. Her delightful welcome put me in a very cheery mood and ready to tackle a workshop “Taxation for Writers and Artists”. Not the most exciting event on of the day – but a necessary one for the clueless like me.

Unfortunately the guy giving the workshop never showed, leaving me to doubt if I would want him taking care of my finances. However, all was not lost. A bunch of us who’d turned up decided to share the scant knowledge among ourselves. One of those present was someone I’d been keen to catch up with, newly contracted Voyager author Nicole Murphy. It was great to see her in person and congratulate her on her new 3 book deal. Also present was Specusphere reviewer and talented writer Felicity Dowker, Allen & Unwin fantasy author Karen (K.S.) Nikakis and the lovely wife of Christian Tamblyn. We all had a very pleasant time chatting about things to do with the business of writing.

Because of a rare day off and the fact I hadn’t organised myself to sign up for any of the other fabulous workshops, I went home to do some writing on book 3 of my Dark Brethren series. Later I picked up the awesome Urban Fantasy author and friend Keri Arthur from the airport. We then went to dinner with the Canberra writing group and had a great time catching up with people.

Saturday started bright and early for someone who’s a night owl like me. I usually sleep in on the weekend to catch up on a few Zs lost through the working week. But at 10.00am I was on a panel about Vampires with Keri and the lovely Jane Virgo. What a fabulous time we had. The audience participation was tremendous, heaps of questions, heaps of laughs and a good time had by all. I just hope I didn’t sound as totally clueless as I felt.

The good thing about Conflux is you get to catch up with people you’ve met before and meet new people too. This year I was a special guest for Canberra Showcase Panel, made up of several of our local authors. Boy those guys were impressive. Maxine McArthur, Jack Heath, Simon Petrie, Gillian Polack and I were kept in line by the deft chair, Richard Harland. Jack Heath was hilarious; telling us that he went into writing because he worked out at a very young age he was extremely adept at lying. His story about a playground stunt gone wrong had the audience cracking up. Afterwards I met Harper Voyager editor Stephanie Smith who introduced me to Duncan Lay. There was quite a showing of Harper authors at Conflux.

That night was the annual historical banquet organised by historian, Gillian Polack. As usual (well as usual as far as I know given this was only my second year) the food was excellent. It was an 1880 Louisiana style bbq with girls in fabulous dresses and pirates abound. There were plenty of “ahrrrs” and “avasts” and the night included a plot to corrupt the entire room to the way of the pirate. By finding the treasure map we were inducted into the pirate way with the receiving of a gold coin (chocolate inside) or a gold ring. By the end of the night there was a fair portion of us who had crossed over to piracy.

Sunday was not so early for me. Even though I didn’t have anything to drink the night before I woke with a headache that I just couldn’t shake. I also forgot Daylight savings time, so missed the “Romance in SF” panel, which included my good friend, Erica Hayes. Our fearless organiser, Karen Herkes, asked me if I would sit on the “Where to From here” panel which ended up being a lovely round circle discussion on what happens after the first book. Of course the obvious answer was write the next one. I got to hear K.J. Taylor talk on her impressive achievements thus far – including having signed her first contract at 18. My goodness — that girl is talented.

I went to listen in on a couple of panels with the impressive special guest, editor for Baen Books, Jim Minz. I found him a little intimidating to say the least, because his knowledge and experience in the New York publishing world.

Unfortunately that was it from me for this years Conflux. I didn’t get to do nearly as much as or see as many as I wanted to. But I finished off my day saying by goodbye to the lovely Stephanie Smith and a receiving friendly hug and “a take care kiddo” from the legendary Jack Dann. What a way to end a fantastic weekend. Now have to wait until 2011 for the next one. Next year is AussieCon4. Woo Hoo!

Intense, sexy, bold ... a superb debut - Nalini Singh

Intense, sexy, bold ... a superb debut - Nalini Singh

 

Tracey O’Hara is the author of Night’s Cold Kiss,  a Dark Brethren novel, available now in Australia and New Zealand … and guaranteed to keep you up at night! Tracey lives in Canberra, Australia.

Update on Conflux from K J Taylor

Katie’s written an update on her time at Conflux with some photos of the Voyager dinner with Stephanie Smith, Jack Dann and Duncan Lay. Check it out at her blog:

http://community.livejournal.com/griffins_eyrie/60805.html

(and we’re happy to hear the edit for book three is done!)

Tune in tomorrow for an update on Conflux by Tracey O’Hara.

Voyager authors at Conflux

So, here is where you can find Voyager authors – and the panel with Stephanie Smith, our Associate Publisher (and Head of the Kingdom) at Conflux in Canberra over the weekend:

Friday:
12:30pm – Workshop with Jack Dann – Keys to the Kingdom

Saturday:
10am – Panel Vampires: Keri Arthur, Tracey O’Hara, Jane Virgo (chair)
3:30pm – Panel Authors and Editors – Jim Minz, Stephanie Smith, Richard Harland, Robert Hood
5:30pm – Author in Residence: Duncan Lay

Sunday
9am – Kaffeeklatsch with Duncan Lay
11am – Panel – The Secrets of Writing Humour – Richard Harland(c), Duncan Lay, Val Toh
12:30pm Panel – Fantasy Literature Panel – Sabrina de Souza, Duncan Lay, KJ Taylor, Jenny Blackford(c)
1:30pm – Panel -Where to From Here? After The First Novel Richard Harland, KJ Taylor, Others TBA
3:30pm – Panel – Writing 101 (or “The Things I Wish Some Had Told Me When I Was Starting Out”)
Keri Arthur, Jim Minz, Nicole Murphy (c), KJ Taylor
6pm – Literary Beer with Jack Dann

Monday
12:30pm – Panel – Beating Writers Block – Jack Dann, Richard Harland, Karen Herkes
… simultaneous with …
Panel – Twitteratii – Alan Baxter, Rachel Kerr(c), Nicole Murphy
2pm – Panel Fictional History – Jack Dann, Richard Harland, Dave Luckett(c), Gillian Polack

Full program can be found here.

Jason Fischer: On Dreaming Again, the Birth of Undead Camels, and That Song

Firstly I’d like to give another plug to the Adelaide Natcon in 2009. I’d love to see heaps of people get onboard and book their tickets here and there is a LiveJournal community for those who want to receive updates here.

What can I say, Conflux was great fun, and it was nice to see so many people get involved in the various events, book launches, and general zaniness. Apart from the Marque’s Random Bar of Doom and the only huddle of eateries laying just beyond a comfortable walking distance, it was an excellent event. There were some brilliant panels this year, and I even participated in a couple of them. (The panel on Utopia, and Has Science Fiction Lost its Sense of Fun?) As the modern author is expected to be a toastmaster as well as a word-factory, it was great to get up in front of an encouraging audience, many of whom joined in the discussions. I don’t think I saw a dead or dull panel once during the whole weekend, and the organisers and convenors should be very proud of their efforts. They thought up some great topics, and lined up some very knowledgable and articulate folks to explore them.

More bloggings of my Conflux experience can be found here: http://jasonfischer.livejournal.com/115983.html

And my AMAZING SWAG of books can be seen here, it is a doozy:

(Secret subliminal message: Everyone should buy lots of books, especially from Voyager.)

For me, the most amazing part of the whole convention was the Dreaming Again stuff. Let me tell you about this book: it’s bloody outstanding. There is something for everyone in this book. You’ll see some of Australia’s premium SF novelists putting their hands to shorter fiction. There are also several new talents in this book, many sourced from the organised insanity that is the Clarion South literary bootcamp. It’s a powerhouse of a book, and if you don’t read Dreaming Again this year, you’re seriously missing out. Every word you’ve heard is true, and this book is literally and figuratively HUGE.

There was the actual book launch on Friday night, as shown earlier in the Voyager blog. Words can’t describe how it feels to be published in a book with several of your heroes, and the Voyager crew and Stephanie Smith deserve many kudos for making this all happen. We authors got spoiled good and proper, what with book signings and Jack Dann in raconteur mode, pimping this book to the heavens and back, until finally the moment where he revved the crowd up and got them to sing That Song.

You know the one, it’s got Undead Camels and a whole heap of Doo-Dah  a moment forever to be remembered! So let me tell you fine people about my Dreaming Again experience, and how I came up with a story called ‘Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh’, and how the song was born.

An un-undead camel

Watch out ... they're coming for you ...

Join me in the distant beyond of early 2007, when a bunch of emerging writers trekked to muggy Brisbane for six solid weeks of the mind-stretching Clarion South writing workshop. We emerged from the system with life-long friends, but that’s Stockholm Syndrome for you. One of our tutors was the legendary Gardner Dozois, longtime editor of Asimov’s magazine and, as it turns out, my long-lost dirty old uncle (DNA test pending). I wanted to write a story that would impress this man, and a few ideas were played with and discarded.

I promise I will never be that guy that poo-poohs the question, “where do you get your ideas from?” I’ll tell you true, my fair readers: we’d bought the supercool Lee Battersby a going-away gift, a book of schlock movie posters and such. One of the posters spoke of a movie called “Weasels Ate Their Flesh”. The next day, I read a wiki article on feral camels in Australia, giving their number at anywhere between 500 and 700 thousand. That’s a whole lot of dromedary. Somewhere, the Brisbane humidity baked the two ideas together and with every 2nd clarion story being a zombie piece, they became very undead.

When it was Gardner’s turn to crit my work, he launched into the Undead Camels song, and after a moment of stunned silence everyone joined in. I had the presence of mind to record this song, either on this occasion or one of the other 50 times. One of our convenors remixed it into a techno track. But apart from us Clarionites and Mister Dann, this recording shall not leave our sacred trust.

The awesome one-woman author-squad known as Margo Lanagan encouraged me to send this piece to Jack Dann, who advised story revision. And thank god he did, because the final product has perhaps 2% of the original swear words, and is missing a whole extra plot-arc involving a Danish secret agent, an unreliable Cessna, and a revived Danish Empire on the island formerly known as Tasmania. Just when you thought a story about zombie camels couldn’t get any more ridiculous…

Jason Fischer is based in Adelaide, South Australia. He is a graduate of the 2007 Clarion South workshop, and a recent finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. He has a story in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again, and stories in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Aurealis Magazine (forthcoming). Jason likes zombies and post-apocalyptic settings, and when he’s not writing he wishes he was. He can be found lurking online at http://jasonfischer.livejournal.com, and is a contributing member of the Daily Cabal.

Finding out more about Dreaming Again.

Conflux 5 – The Alternative Brown Shades of SF and Fantasy by Tim Miller

Tim was one quarter of Team Voyager at Conflux. He blogs on his experience:

11.40am Check in at the exclusive Canberra Gateway Motel. The world shifts into a state of brown shades – the building, the room, the art on the wall, the covers on the bed – all brown. I glance over my shoulder to have a look and see if I have passed through some kind of portal. Nope, it’s just Canberra. I think what the hell, I go with it and immerse myself in all things fantastic.

My Friday at Conflux involved two workshops, Finishing the First Draft with Maxine McArthur and Creating Dynamic Characters with Karen Miller (our very own Voyager author – Accidental Sorcerer anyone?). Stepping into the first was like stepping straight back into all the creative writing classes I did at uni, and the nostalgia instantly set in. We discussed the most common traps why authors never finish the elusive first draft, from the problems starting, that mess in the middle, to all that tricky stuff at the end. Karen’s workshop was awesome, it was set up to look at all the research and character building that goes into all those beloved characters that we read on the pages of book.

Friday night we all attended the launch of Dreaming Again, edited by Jack Dann. Let me just say something here, he is one of the most interesting writers alive. As soon as he opened his mouth the entire room was captivated and would have happily listened to him for hours singing the praises of the talented writers that contributed to DA.

Saturday was the day for some engaging panels. With so much to choose from, the three of us split up to go our separate ways. My favourite for the morning would definitely have been Making a Living as a Writer – But Not Necessarily a Novelist with Gillian Polack, Mark Shireff, Liz Argall (Chair), Margo Lanagan and Karen Simpson-Nikakis. The consensus was that it was very hard to, but really the writer in me was kind of hoping. Of the panel it was only Mark that could make a living and he works as a script producer for television. The others revealed exactly how they could afford to write – working part of the year, writing the other, having jobs that let them research for their writing, or teaching and consultation work.

Of the afternoon’s panels, Rewriting – The Real Art of A Good Story drilled home some truths that all writers need to be aware of. I believe Cat Sparks said it best – Don’t hand in shit. If the first thing an editor or publisher sees is a piece that not only doesn’t meet the guidelines, but obviously needs more work, then the next time they see your name they aren’t likely to take you seriously. Some friendly advice, put the ms away for a bit, a week, a month, whatever, then come back to it with fresh eyes and rewrite it – it will make it better.

Ok Saturday night at Conflux gave me the rare opportunity to mingle with some authors. A little unknown fact, they don’t walk around the evil HQ every five minutes, nor do they stop in for a chat. Stephanie Smith, Publisher of all things Voyager, invited Nat, Sarah and myself out for a Voyager dinner with some authors – Karen Miller, Kim Westwood, K. J. Taylor and Adam Browne. I had a good chat with Adam about Conflux in general before the topic turned to writing. At the end of the night he gave me some encouraging words and told me he would be looking out for my novel when it comes out. I also chatted with Karen Miller, discussing the workshop of Friday and Accidental Sorcerer before it turned into writing in general and Supernatural. I think a good night was had by all.

Sunday saw our last day at Conflux, so with my copy of Dreaming Again in my hot little hand, I sucked up my courage and went about asking some of the contributors to sign my copy. Not only did they sign, but they were happy to and to have a chat as well. To name a few: Jason Nahrung – ‘Smoking, Waiting for the Dawn’, Aaron Sterns – ‘The Rest is Silence’ and Jason Fischer – ‘Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh’.

We also got up to a few other things while in Canberra. We visited Floriade, and with the help of a quick coffee fix took some interesting photos, I’m sure Nat will put up the more interesting ones [No! Big Merino was embarrassing enough!]. We walked a lot, our motel was down the road from Conflux and Nat kept assuring us 3kms were a lot shorter than 100kms [whole other story here about the Oxfam Trailwalker] . Although there was the one night were the heavens opened up and we got drenched, but even that couldn’t dampen our spirits. I had a great time, at Conflux and with the company I went down with, Nat and Sarah are top ladies and if the chance comes up again next year I wouldn’t dream of going with anyone else.

Tim Miller works in the Sales department at HarperCollins. He’s part of the Voyager Cabin Crew and works on the Voyager Newsletter as well. And he’s working on a novel and short stories, when not being forced to blog for Voyager Online!