• 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!



A Kiss from the Muse—how to get it! Part II

The Siren by John William Waterhouse (1900)

The Siren by John William Waterhouse (1900), no doubt inspired by a muse ...

Want divine inspiration? A kiss from the muse? Here are some of my favourite ways to awaken the inner spirit of creativity.

Allowing comes first. My friend Jeannette Maw has this notion down to a fine art. She says creative desire is like a wild horse. It can not be approached with clenched fists and waving arms. The Muse responds to serenity and peace—an open palm. Before I begin each morning session, I sit in front of my monitor, open my hands and say, ‘Come hither. Dance with me.

Meditation stills the mind, allowing the normally active brain waves—beta 13-30 cycles per second—to drop down to alpha 7-13 cycles per second or even lower to theta 4-7 cycles per second. By achieving this state, a measurable increase in creativity and intelligence is reported. I practice Transcendental Meditation twice a day, every day and freelance writer Patricia Fry suggests a ‘walking meditation’. She says, I use ‘Meditation Walking’ to unlock the flow of new article ideas and to work through a problem with a story.

Non-Judgment is vital. It means easing up on critical self-assessment. The narrative doesn’t have to be perfect the moment it hits the page. Knowing this can help writers relax and let it flow. In first drafts, I treat myself like a child. I don’t say, Demons, Kim, what’s happened? You used to be able to write! I encourage saying, this is a good idea. Tell me more.

Anne Hines says first drafts are like really bad first dates and suspending judgment is the best way to get to the gold. She describes a classic Far Side cartoon where a wild haired writer hunches over his table, entirely surrounded by wadded up balls of rejected pages. On each one is written, Call me Bob, Call me Phil, Call me Arnold. He’s got a good story there and if he keeps going he’ll stumble upon Call me Ishmael!

Music is another way to call forth the creative flow. In mythology the Muses are closely associated with music and some writers find playing their favorite tunes in the background encourages creativity, relaxation and joy. (I’m listening to the soundtrack from Vicky Cristina Barcelona as I type.) Daniel Handler author of A Series of Unfortunate Events (under the pen name of Lemony Snicket), says: I’ve never had writer’s block for an extended period of time — I just have the occasional 24-hour bug. On those days I listen to *Top Ten,* an album by the Flying Lizards, in its glorious entirety, and then take a long brisk walk. In the 2003 Nancy Meyers film, Somethin’s Gotta Give—Diane Keaton’s character is a playwright who listens to French music for inspiration.

What do you find awakens the Muse? Comments welcome. Part III (coming soon) has more hints on getting the kiss from the Muse.

See Part I: A Kiss from the  Muse

Kim Falconer is the author of The Spell of Rosette, which was published in January this year. She runs Falcon Astrology as well as a website for the Quantum Enchantment series.