• 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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Fallon Friday: The “How Jennifer Fallon was Born” story

Medalon

Medalon


Is Jennifer Fallon your real name?

The short answer is “no”. The long answer is …

Once upon a time, there was a hopeful writer who was married to a person with a name very similar to Tolkien, who made lots of noises about supporting her efforts as a writer, right up until the day he made the comment: “I wish you’d quit writing and be a better housewife because you’re never going to get published.”

This was not the devastating blow you might imagine (although it is among the many reasons he’s now the “ex” husband). More like a red rag to a bull. The very next day she started writing Medalon

Anyway, by the time Medalon was sold to a publisher, he really was the “ex”, and because he’s the sort of person who would have gone around telling all and sundry he’d been my rock and my greatest supporter for the past 20 years and that I couldn’t have done it without him, I decided I wasn’t going to use his name on my book. Not ever.

I reverted to my maiden name and rang my agent, proudly informing her that I would now be using this new name.

Dead silence greeted my announcement followed by the comment: “It’s kind of, well, boring…”

Fair enough. But I wasn’t going with my married name, even if it would have put me right on the shelves next to Tolkien in the book shops.

“I’ll pick another name,” I said, and hung up the phone.

So how does one choose a new name?

Well, at the time, I had three teenage kids and they told me how to work out what your name would be if you were a porn star. The secret, apparently, is to take the name of your first pet, and the name of the first street you lived in, and that’s your porn name.

My porn star name, incidentally, is Mittens Blake.

So, applying this highly scientific formula to my search for a pseudonym, I started listing all my pets and all the streets I’d ever lived in.

The second street on my list was Fallon Street. Jennifer (my real name) Fallon, sounded pretty cool. And then it occurred to me that in the bookstores, the books would be put in the following order… Eddings, Fallon, Feist

Thus was Jennifer Fallon born 🙂

If I ever write something in a different genre, maybe I’ll publish it under Mittens Blake. .. LOL

Maybe some vampire porn, perhaps … 😀

Jennifer ‘Mittens’ Fallon is the author of thirteen bestselling fantasy novels , all of which are available throughout Australia (and the majority worldwide). Medalon is the first book in the Demon Child trilogy.

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Fallon Friday: The never-written sequel to the Demon Child trilogy

I have blogged at some length on why there is no sequel yet to the Demon Child trilogy. The links are below and may offer you some insight.


The reasons I write about other worlds and don’t stay in the first world I created is as follows:

I’m not a big fan of never-ending stories set in the same world.

I find them limiting and believe that as a writer, my horizons are much broader than one world or one set of characters (their children, their children’s children, their children’s children’s children… ad nauseum).

Once the story is told, a writer can very quickly grow bored and this is always reflected in the quality of the work. The best analogy I can think of is working in the same office for 20 years. The faces may change over time and you may even give the place a coat of paint every now and then and update the furniture, but essentially, at the end of the day, you’ve still been plugging away at the same job for twenty years…

I love what I do and never want to wake up in the morning thinking… God, do I have<to go back to that world today?

Hats off to writers who can do this (and some have made squillions doing it very successfully), but it’s not my thing. The challenge for me is creating new worlds and new characters. Perhaps I have a short attention span, but once a story is told, I very quickly feel the need to move on.

I have many other stories to tell.

Hundreds … nay thousands of them. Medalon, the countries surrounding it and the people who live there are only one story of many trying to get out. My head will explode if I don’t let the other characters and worlds out to play.

The publishers aren’t all that interested…

Significantly (at least if I want to keep, well, eating), my publishers have shown no raving enthusiasm for any future stories set in this world. (What I mean is – nobody is ringing me with 7 figure offers for a sequel – at least not for this series… hehehe). The Powers That Be are much more interested in the new worlds I have created. This may seem odd, but look at it from their point of view. The six books of the Hythrun Chronicles, although very, very successful, still haven’t done as well as say… the Tide Lords series, which has been a mainstream bestseller and blown all my previous records out of the water.

If you want to change their minds about this, an email campaign that crashes their server might work, but if you do that, I never suggested it, okay? LOL.

I only write stories I’m passionate about

Lastly – and perhaps most importantly – although I get regular requests from fans for more stories set in this world, before I visit it again, I’d need to have a story so worth telling it keeps me up at night.
That hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll keep working on the stories that do, and see what happens in the future.

I’m not saying there won’t be a sequel, I’m just saying that all the above factors would have to change and the stars realign significantly for me to plunge into that pool again.

Jennifer Fallon’s next book, The Chaos Crystal, will be out in December. You can read an excerpt of it on her website.

Fallon Friday: Jennifer on Point of View

Point of view is the voice of the character telling the story.

Changing the POV shouldn’t confuse readers. If it’s done well, making it clear who you’re dealing with, you can view a story from multiple points of view, which will give the reader a much greater insight into your story, and better yet, a much greater insight into your characters.

First person narrative gets you right inside the head of your protagonist, but you are limited to what they know, see and experience. It can be difficult avoiding the “remind me of where we’re up to in our evil plan to rule the world, Throckmorton…” type of exposition dumps to help your hero along.

Romances and horror tend to be written from one point-of-view. Science fiction and fantasy are often told from multiple points-of-view.

Omniscient POV is when a narrator unconnected to the action is telling the story. This can be effective but the danger is that it can distance your reader from a character. It’s like a wide shot in a film and has the same emotional impact. Use it wisely.

Head hopping, (my pet hate) which is the term given to the technique of jumping from one character’s POV to another’s in the same paragraph, can be very effective if it’s done well, and a nightmare if it’s not.

Having all your heroes sitting around a campfire the night before a battle and examining what each one is feeling might be very powerful, but only if you handle the transitions well. Having the characters say it aloud will achieve the same thing and not confuse the reader.

Example:

Henry knew he was going to die, and thought of his one true love, waiting for him at the border. George knew he was going to die too, and wondered if he’d remembered to turn the iron off before he left home.

Alternative:

Henry knew he was going to die, and thought of his one true love, waiting for him at the border. He glanced at George, whose expression betrayed the same fear, but when he realised he was being observed, he grinned and said, “Cripes, I hope I remembered to turn the iron off before I left home.”

Unless you’re very experienced, stick to one point of view, and don’t change it unless you have a chapter or a time break so that the reader can clearly delineate, in their own mind, that someone else is now telling the story.

It’s like changing camera angles in movie, only in writing, you need a break before changing whose eyes you’re looking out of.

Jennifer Fallon’s latest series, which began with The Immortal Prince and will end with The Chaos Crystal in December, does involve some changing POVs – but you’ll have to read the series to find out how she does it!

Click here to visit Jennifer’s blog.

Fallon Friday: Implausable Trinity Syndrome

It’s scary how many writers submit works that involve worlds (countries/alien hives/etc) consisting of millions of citizens ruled by a king, his trusty scribe and a competent general (who often wears black, and comes in two versions – with or without a conscience – depending on whether or not you need him to betray the king at a later date).

I have dubbed this the Implausible Trinity Syndrome.

To test if your world suffers from Implausible Trinity Syndrome, see if you can answer these questions about your world…

How is it governed?

  • Chiefdom (ruled by, well, a chief)
  • Kingdom (most of the countries on Amyrantha)
  • Republic (usually has elected Head of State)
  • Dictator (Julius Caesar’s title was Dictator for Life, but there’s plenty of others)
  • Democracy (Start in ancient Greece and work your way forward if you want an example)
  • Religious (Second Sons, The Vatican)
  • Communism (eg, South Pacific island villagers, Israeli kibbutz, USSR)
  • Military (eg Captain Sheridan on Babylon 5 was the military governor. Deep
  • Space Nine is another example of military rule.)
  • Genetic Hegemony (eg Sonny Whitelaw’s Stargate SG-1: The Chosen)

Who actually does the work?

  • Who makes the laws?
  • Who enforces them?
  • How do your laws differ to those of another country/planet?
  • What happens at the borders?
  • How is the bureaucracy structured?
  • Who controls transport?
  • Who controls industry? Guilds?
  • Who provides public works (eg, do Trolls control bridges)?
  • Public health (epidemics)?
  • Private medical care (doctors, dentists)?
  • What’s the education system? Who are entitled?
  • Who controls land use?
  • Who owns land?

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea. So take a look at your world.
Check if it you’re suffering from the Implausible Trinity Syndrome and fix it.

Jennifer Fallon is the author of 12 published fantasy novel, with number 13 set to come out this Christmas. Visit her website for more information at www.jenniferfallon.com

Fallon Friday: Dispelling some myths about getting published – Part 3

Click here for part one
Click here for part two

The Corporate Conspiracy Theory

Yes, you are absolutely correct. Those evil publishing corporate giants are only interested in making money. As a consequence, they will only publish genre work that’s likely to make money. If your manuscript has been returned with a “thanks, but no thanks” note attached, it’s because — bottom line — someone at the publishing house (and often more than one “someone”) thinks you are not commercially viable.

This is the cold hard reality of publishing. If you want to be published by a mainstream publisher who deals in commercially viable works, particularly genre fiction, write something commercially viable. They can’t go to a shareholders meeting and say “we may have shown a loss this year, but wow, you should see some of the unpublishable stuff we have”.

You wouldn’t expect your bank to invest in something that won’t make money. Why do you assume publishers should?

Accept responsibility for your own work. Send your work to a publisher who actually publishes your type of work. If they knock it back, and that’s their area of expertise, there’s usually a reason and it’s usually the quality of the manuscript.

Believe me, it’s never “we’ve made enough money this year”.

Luck is not a factor

My agent used to represent Sara Douglass. She had written her first fantasy novel and sent it in, it had been read and rejected and was sitting on the desk waiting to be posted back to her when my agent got a call from a publisher looking to enter the fantasy market, asking if she had any fantasy writers on the books.

Instead of going back, the MS went to the publisher and the rest, as they say, is history.

Sometimes, the luck goes your way, other times, it doesn’t. You might have written a brilliant work about flying pigs and sent your MS to a publisher the day after they received a proposal from J K Rowling about, well, flying pigs. There is nothing you can do about that and you have no way of knowing if it’s happened to you.

Getting published is about 99% hard work, but that 1% luck has to be there too.

Jennifer Fallon’s latest series The Tide Lords will conclude in December with The Chaos Crystal.

Jennifer’s website and blog

Fallon Friday: The joys of proofreading …

Ah… the joys of proofreading…

I have just finished the proofread for the UK edition of Warlord. When it turned up in the email a couple of weeks ago, my first thought was:

Oh no. now I have to read it again!!

You might think this an odd statement from the author, but after a while, you really do get to a point where you wonder if you can bear to read your own work another time. Medalon in particular, I have read it so many times I can almost recite it by heart.

· First there were the countless readings during the three years it took me to write it.
· Then there was the rewrites.
· Then the structural edit.
· Then the line edit.
· Then the three typeset proofreads.
· Then it got published and I had to read in book form just to make sure it was real.

And then we sold it to the US. And they had to translate it into “American English” for the hardcover edition. So we had another line edit.

Then another three proofreads.

And then the US publishers sold it to the UK. And they had to translate it back into “English English” for the UK edition. Again with the line edits.

And the multiple proofreads.

And then the US paperback was due out and they wanted another two proofreads (one before and one after the corrections were made)

And then I had to write the prequel series. so I had to read the whole damn series again before I started and at least twice during the writing of Wolfblade, Warrior and Warlord, to make sure I kept the stories straight.

And then HarperCollins says “let’s re-release the Demon Child Trilogy with new covers to match the Hythrun Chronicles!”

“Oh goodie,” says I, like an idiot. “Can I fix a couple of little things?

“No problem,” says my patient and ever-supportive editor. “How many changes did you want to make?”

“Er.438.”

Mind you, they were tiny, niggly little things that have irked me (and only me) since Medalon was first published. They are now fixed and nobody but me will even notice.

Which kinda makes me wonder why I bothered. 🙂


Jennifer Fallon