• 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!



Rhonda Roberts talks Gladiatrix and news on Hoodwink!

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Rowena Cory Daniells has posted a fab interview with our own Rhonda Roberts, author of Gladiatrix, where she talks about getting published, gender in fantasy and what’s coming up next for her time travelling heroine Kannon Dupree.

We’re thrilled to announce that Rhonda’s much anticipated next book Hoodwink will hit the shelves in January 2012.

Now we know it’s not close enough for some Gladiatrix fans so here’s a little bit more info to keep you going:

A perfectly preserved body, covered in Mayan occult tattoos, is discovered embedded in the concrete floor beneath the set of a teen werewolf TV series. The police identify the man as Earl Curtis, a famous director who went missing in 1939 while working on Gone with the Wind. Hired to investigate, Kannon returns to old Hollywood. But in the present someone is stalking the remaining witnesses.

Check out the interview here.

Perseverance Pays Off – A.A. Bell on the making of Diamond Eyes

After 10 years in development, my first fantasy crime thriller, Diamond Eyes, finally takes flight! YAY!

Initial inspiration struck me early in 1999, due to a slight vision condition which can’t be corrected fully by surgery or lenses. However, an earlier decade working in the spooky halls of a century-old mental-health sanctuary in Queensland, also provided plenty of  “juiciness” for the surreal settings.

 Although I can’t focus back through time to witness dark deeds, like my heroine, Mira Chambers, I did manage to see through a scam by a disreputable businessmen who tried to rip me off on my birthday. The title came later that year, enroute to an eye specialist when my young son asked how eyes really worked, and I used my diamond ring as an example of a crystallised lens.

 So what took so long to develop it? Diamond Eyes was 10 years in the making, due mainly to the extensive research and unusual stylistic elements involved, including a 3-year MA(Research) scholarship in advanced editing strategies (e.g. text world theory, ironic ascension and covert/overt narratology), using Diamond Eyes as the development project. Along the way, I also won Highly Commended in the 2008 FAW Jim Hamilton Awards for a shorter draft as an unpublished manuscript. However, I also spent much of my time honing my story craft skills across multiple genres by publishing over 120 spin-offs and other stories under various pen-names (many also award winners) in the genres of crime, romance, fantasy, science fiction, psychological thrillers, military action/adventures, comedy and even poetry and metaphoric songwriting – strong elements from all of which were fundamental to production of this series; Diamond Eyes (2010), Hindsight (2011) and Leopard Dreaming (2012).

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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.

Kim Falconer: Solstice Surprise!

Kim Falconer talks about the spontaneous launch of her book, The Spell of Rosette.

Rosette was more coveted than the seasonal fruit

Rosette was more coveted than the seasonal fruit

When I was invited to a mid-summer solstice party, my thoughts were simple—which dress, and what hors devours. I certainly wasn’t preparing a speech or going over my notes on post-apocalyptic technology and magic. I did consider calling the hostess to see if any ex beaus would be present, but that was all. On the day, I made a cheese platter, wore the blue dress and forgot about the exes.

It was an eclectic group—musicians and acupuncturists, academics and artists, dentists and authors, paramedics and photographers. What tied them together, more than the grand food, music and solstice cheer, was The Spell of Rosette. It floored me. They were all talking about my book. Many had brought copies for me to sign and were passing them around. Everyone was asking questions and I was flung in front of an eager audience, most of them strangers, waiting for me to speak.

Admiring Cliff Nielsen's  cover art and Matt Stanton's design

Admiring Cliff Nielsen's cover art and Matt Stanton's design

All I could think of was Bridget Jones. Fortunately that fear was short lived and the energy and enthusiasm carried us all along, the afternoon spent meeting and talking to people individually and in small groups as they asked questions, read aloud from the pages and offered their congratulations. I found they all had one common query—worth a whole blog in itself. Everyone asked, ‘How did you get published?’

There are some powerful beliefs out there about the publishing industry, boiling down to it’s nigh impossible—but impossible is not a word I use. I’ve deleted it from my vocabulary and hence from my mindset. This line of thought evoked some interesting conversations. I also talked about the Hero’s Journey, energy, technology, magic, gender biases, occult history, environmental issues, and the premise of the Quantum Enchantment series—which can be summed up with Arthur C. Clarke’s 3rd lawAny sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

He wouldn't put it down, even when the dinner bell rang.

He wouldn't put it down, even when the dinner bell rang.

What a day! It was rewarding to talk to so many readers, especially after writing for years in isolation. I can’t imagine a more rich and beautiful launch for The Spell of Rosette. The best part was, it all happened spontaneously. Good solstice! Has that every happened to you? A total surprise event? Something out of the blue? I’d love to hear about it! Comments welcome.

The Spell of Rosette is available across Australia right now and you can contact Kim via her website Quantum Enchantment.Kim lives in Byron Bay and is at work on the sequel to The Spell of Rosette.

The Hero’s Journey: Getting Published Part II

Inititation, 2005: The first step in initiation is The Road of Trials where the hero encounters a series of tests, tasks and ordeals. Like the Fool, I walked into this blind because I thought all the hard part was behind me. Ha! After months of sending out query letters (and buying books on how to write fabulous, eye catching query letters) I received a continuous trickle of responses, all the same: Rejection. They were very polite. It wasn’t a reflection on my work (how could it be when they hadn’t read it yet?). Good luck and all the best.

Reading Rosette

The end result, Rosette is now fully formed ... and Kim will continue to blog on how she came to be.

The Meeting with the Goddess, Spring 2005: The meeting with the goddess represents the point in the adventure when the hero experiences an all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditionally loving divine intervention on their behalf. For me the goddess came in the form of a woman—a friend in film, a script supervisor who said she knew someone in publishing and would contact her on my behalf. This publisher was in Morocco and couldn’t help me herself but she said, ‘Tell her to talk to Stephanie Smith. She’s the one to get.’ I was thrilled for about thirty seconds until I realized that Voyager was one of the ‘big houses’, the ones that did not usually consider un-agented manuscript.

Second Road of Trials, Summer 2006: No problem! I had a name and a goal. I would get an agent. I sent out another flurry of query letters to every agent that represented works in the genre. This time I didn’t get many replies but the ones I did receive all read the same—Thank you for your query. We are not taking on any new clients at this time. I was starting to get very used to rejection. (If anyone wants a boost after receiving a rejection letter read the one Ursula Le Guin shares.)

Second meeting with the Goddess, Autumn 2006: The goddess often appears more than once. In my case she appeared multiple times. Good thing. I was getting a little lost as to what to do next when a friend of mine (goddess #2) said, ‘Kim, if you were trying to catch a horse, would you go about it this way?’ Huh? What was I doing wrong? She clarified, asking if I were after a wild horse would I chase it with clenched fists and waving arms. I said I would not, and she said, ‘so stop doing that.’ She pointed out that I was struggling towards my desire so fiercely that there was no way for it to happen. She told me to relax, go to the beach, goof off. Something would turn up. Enter goddess #3. As soon as I took a day off, another friend, an author and chart client, rang and in chatting she said, ‘Send me your synopsis and I’ll see if my agent has a suggestion. I sent. He did! The journey continued! Questions and comments always welcome.

Read Part I

Kim Falconer’s novel The Spell of Rosette is now available  throughout Australia.

Kim runs Quantum Enchantment‚ the official website for The Spell of Rosette and its sequels (which she is working on). She also runs Falconer’s Astrologytrains with a sword and is completing a Masters Degree.

The Hero’s Journey: Getting Published Part I

Holding Rosette in my hands (and sharing her!)

Holding Rosette in my hands (and sharing her!)

Since The Spell of Rosette is now in print and I am holding the actual book in my hand for the first time, it seems apt to talk about how she came to be. The process of getting published is like the archetypal Hero’s Journey with all its challenges, confrontations and rewards. The course may vary for each author but it always begins the same, with the call to adventure—the call to write.

The Departure, 2001: This is the point in life were the hero knows something’s up. For me it was an itch that turned into a burning desire to write fiction. Like many heroes, I initially refused the call outright. I was too busy being a single mum, minding strays (human and feline) and upon reflection, too scared to take the risk and too attached to my reality to imagine a novelist’s life. But the itch persisted and I dabbled. This is dangerous ground for the hero because dabbling is the same as answering the call. And once you do, you evoke Supernatural Aid. My SA came in the form of Stephan King. I bought his book On Writing and read it cover to cover in three days. (amazing for a woman too busy to write fiction!) King did two things for me:1) He got me thinking like a novelist. 2) He got me writing every day. Pretty good supernatural aid!

The Crossing of the First Threshold, 2002: This is the next step—when the adventure actually begins. The first scene in The Spell of Rosette was my threshold and arose from an exercise suggested in King’s book. I started with the premise ‘what if a girl came home one day to find her family murdered.’ From a five hundred word essay the story grew and a year later I had a rough draft of a novel.

The Belly of the Whale, 2003: This is when you know you have left the old life behind and are truly committed the journey, wherever it takes you. I knew I was in the belly of the whale by 2003. Over the next few years I revised and polished, conjured Kreshkali and met Jarrod. Finally I showed pages to an author friend and she suggested (see the related blog on The Way of the Sword) that I, A) keep writing because it showed promise and , B) Learn something about sword fighting before I attempted another scene of that nature. I took up Iaido, the Samurai sword, and by 2005 my skills were advancing, sword scenes improved and I felt the book was finished. I lifted my eyes from my computer screen and asked, ‘What’s next?’

Journey continued in Part II. Questions and comments welcome.

Kim Falconer’s novel The Spell of Rosette is now available  throughout Australia.

Kim runs Quantum Enchantment‚ the official website for The Spell of Rosette and its sequels (which she is working on). She also runs Falconer’s Astrologytrains with a sword and is completing a Masters Degree.