• 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!



Chapter two of Stormlord Rising

Don’t forget, if you’re in Brisbane tomorrow you can meet Glenda and other Voyager authors at Pulp Fiction Bookshop!

In a dry land, water is gold ...

In a dry land, water is gold ...

Read Chapter One (posted last week)

Chapter Two
Scarpen Quarter
Breccia City
Breccia Hall, Level 2

Ravard handed Ryka over to a Reduner bladesman guarding the double doors of Breccia Hall’s public reception room. The man pushed her roughly inside and closed the doors behind her.
Though the area was large, it was crowded. And noisy with crying. Her heart sank as she looked around and absorbed the significance of what she was seeing. Women. No men. Women, yet no small children. Every head turned her way to see who had entered, eyes fearful. And she was standing in a patch of half-dried blood on the floor.
Waterless hells.
There was a gasp from a group sitting on the floor, and a figure came flying to grab her in a tight embrace, sobbing, gasping, shuddering, pouring out her woe. Beryll, but not her pretty, carefree tease of a little sister. Not any more. Continue reading

Writers: do we really starve in a garret?

Whoever commands a stormlord, commands the water of a nation ...

Pictured above: a 'get out of garret' card

I’m none too sure what a garret is, but it sounds small, cramped and unpleasant. And, of course, only frequented by starving artistic folk of some kind, striving to sell the product of their genius.

However, as soon as you mention authors and income, someone mentions you-know-who and those books about a boarding school. I hope you all know that 100% of writers don’t make half what she did, and 99.99% probably don’t make 1% of her take-home pay! (OK, so I don’t really know, but that sounds about right.)

So how do we make enough money to upgrade from garret to hovel?

Well, one way is to sell the rights to our books more than once. Sneaky, eh? We sell Australian versions, American versions, and British versions. Or we sell them to be translated into another language, anything from Hebrew to Japanese. The really great thing about selling for translation is that it often happens just when the sales are tapering off on the English versions. You agent suddenly pops up and out of the blue says, oh, by the way, I’ve had a French (or Czech or Spanish) offer for that book of yours we sold back in 2003…

That has just happened to me, twice in the last two months. My Isles of Glory trilogy, which was published by Harper Voyager Australia 2003-4, and later in Russian and French, has just been accepted for German translation by Blanvalet (Random House). And the Mirage Makers, first published in English 2006-7, is going to be translated into French for Pygmalion (Flammarion).

Do we usually get as much advance for a translation as we did on the original sale? No. For a start some non-English markets may be considerably smaller. Secondly, an author usually ends up paying two agents, not just one. And thirdly, the publisher has to pay the translator as well as the author and the usual production expenses, so there is less money to go around.

So how to upgrade from hovel to mansion, then?

Keep writing. Even before the last book is published, we have already handed the next in for copy edit, and begun to work on the one after that. I reckon by the time I’m a hundred and fifty, I’ll be buying a castle in France.

And that is why in a few more days you should be able to buy a brand new book by me – not as yet published anywhere but in Australia: The Last Stormlord, available in September, first book in the Watergivers trilogy. Read it and let me know what you think!

You can follow me on Twitter @glendalarke;
read my blog at http://glendalarke.blogspot.com ;
join my facebook.com/group page at Glenda Larke;
or watch for updates at my webpage: http://glendalarke.com

Check out all Glenda’s books at www.harpercollins.com.au

Where did the Stormlord come from? by Glenda Larke

Whoever commands a stormlord, commands the water of a nation ...

Whoever commands a stormlord, commands the water of a nation ...

Where do you get your ideas?

The often asked question is actually a sensible one, although it usually results in eye-rolling from an author because of its frequency, plus the impossibility of giving a coherent answer. For a start, one idea makes a short story, not a novel. A book takes lots of ideas.

For me, the short but always honest answer is – all over the place.

For the long answer, here’s where I got the ideas for my up and coming Watergivers trilogy.

I guess it started when I was kid. We drank rainwater funnelled by guttering from the house roof into a galvanised iron tank. And one long, hot, dry Australian summer in the 1950s, a rat drowned and decomposed in the watertank – and we had to throw the precious water away. Until the next rain, stll a month or two away, we carted water from neighbours – who also went short because they shared. There’s idea number one: water is precious. I hardly remember a time when I didn’t know that.

As an adult I went to live in a country where the tropical rainfall is frequent and torrential, yet I often didn’t have water in my taps because we lived on a hill. I’d see people washing their cars at the bottom of the hill, wasting water, while I didn’t have enough water to cook my dinner. There’s idea number two: water distribution is uneven and unfair.

Then I spent five weeks camping inside a rainforest, studying the birdlife for an environmental impact assessement – knowing all the while that the area and the miracle of its biodiversity was doomed to disappear under dam waters to supply Kuala Lumpur with more tap water – so I could cook my dinner. That’s idea number three: having adequate water means sacrificing something. In The Last Stormlord, it is not the biodiversity or the land; the sacrifice is far more personal.

Next idea came I was flying 30,000’ over Iran on a beautifully clear day, and I looked down and saw lines of holes – they must have been miles long – feeding into villages. What were they? Why were they there? Back on the ground again, I did some research. Two thousand year old water tunnels still being used? Really? That was fascinating, and idea number four.

Then one December, I visited a town in the Saharan desert in Algeria. And there were houses built in the dry water courses, with strange slits in their garden walls. Why? And what happened to those houses when it rained? That December day they had their first rain for the year… Idea number five was born.

Back to Australia, and another plane, another scene: lines of parallel red sand dunes sliding past below for vast distances – and not a road or a house or a town in sight. And when the dunes finally dropped out of sight behind us, huge salt pans took their place, fed by dry washes – without a drop of water in sight. Yep, idea number six popped into my head. Moving sand dunes and vast salt plains…

And then an article in a newspaper about a scientist doing research on sand dunes that sang. Ohmigod, how could I resist writing about that. Number seven.

And finally an Indian man doing beautiful paintings with paint powder on the surface of water. Pure magic. Wow. Number eight.

Ancient water tunnels, moving red dunes, singing sands, salt pans, settlements in dry water courses, waterpaintings, precious water…I had my world. All I needed was the people to inhabit it.

That was easy – who could have the power in such a world? The man – or woman – who controlled the water, of course. And what better way to control water than with magic? The story of the stormlord, a waterpainter and two rainlords was born…

In Australia, you will be able to buy it about one month from now.

Glenda Larke is the author of the Isles of Glory trilogy, the Mirage Makers trilogy and now the upcoming Watergivers trilogy, which starts with The Last Stormlord, coming in September 2009, and which will be freely available to read online (for two weeks) very soon. Visit Glenda’s website.

A new trilogy by Glenda Larke is coming …

I’m very pleased to announce that Voyager has acquired Glenda Larke’s next trilogy, entitled Random Rain. The first book is schedule for September 2009, so you can probably imagine that Glenda will be hard at work over the next 12 months. And now we all have something to look forward to after the Christmas holidays have ended!

Click here for a sneak peek from Glenda’s blog.

Click here to read the synopsis that took Glenda a day to write! (Aptly titled ‘synopsis nightmare’)

Why you should get Conned: Glenda Larke blogs on Worldcon/Denvention

I have just returned from the Science Fiction Worldcon in Denver, and what a wonderful experience it was. What? Too expensive for you as an Australian, you say?

Well, in 2010, it won’t be. Because Worldcon is coming to Melbourne, and if you buy a membership soon it will still be relatively cheap, and you have plenty of time to suss out cheap airline tickets. Can’t afford the con hotel? Never mind, I’ve met con attendees staying in the YMCA or local Backpackers, even someone camping in a tent.

Is it worth it? Of course! For anyone who loves reading or writing sf/f. Period.

Here are some of my highlights from Denvention 2008…

Who could resist a panel that included Connie Willis, George R.R. Martin and Lois McMaster Bujold and (if I remember correctly) Larry Niven, all talking about how they started reading SF and what their early influences were? Or one with Joe Haldeman, Connie Willis and Mike Resnick? The title of that one was: “The Best Convention Panel Ever”, but they spent most of their time talking about “The Worst Convention Panel Ever”, and similar disasters instead. It was a laugh a minute. Then there was the panel on “Making a Living Telling Lies” with Jo Walton, Jay Lake and Connie Willis. Wow.

Joe Haldeman to the left, Connie Willis and Mike Resnick on the right

Joe Haldeman to the left, Connie Willis and Mike Resnick on the right

So the first reason to go to a con is simply for listening to the greats of sf/f talking about what they do best – writing – and their influences. Once you arrive at a con, you can even book to attend a kaffeeklatch, where your favourite author will chat for an hour or so with a small group of eight or nine fans. Yep, close up and personal.

The second reason is for information. Are you a budding writer and want to know about agents and what impresses them and how to find one? Or are you a fan and want to listen to Brandon Sanderson talk about the last Wheel of Time novel? Or are you just interested and want to learn about the reality of space drives? Or a world without fossil fuels? Or the future of libraries? Horses in fantasy? There were panels in Denver on all those things. Our own Karen Miller was on that last one.

The third reason is to participate, if you are so inclined. You can volunteer to man one of the desks, or help organise the con beforehand (even decide who you want speaking on what panels!) and one hundred and one other things that need doing. Or you can be on one of the panels if you have specific expertise, or if you are a published writer, or if you know something about the genre and its writers. Want to talk about, say, writers groups, or why you like long fantasies, or Robert Jordan’s body of work – you may have a chance.

The fourth reason is to party. Every night. Cheaply. And find yourself chatting to, say, Robert Silverberg, or an editor from Orbit Books, or a fan from Finland, or a publisher from Israel – in fact, just about anyone.

The fifth reason is to attend the Hugo Awards. Fantastic, especially as I knew quite a few of the nominees. There were three West Australians on the ballot this year, vying for five of the Hugos! How good is that??

For me, meeting people is the highlight. And now I am going to name-drop like mad – but bear in mind that this is all part of the stimulus of a Worldcon. These folk aren’t passing royalty dismissing you with a limp handshake, they are people interested in the same thing that you are, they are people who love talking about the same things you do. You can sit at the feet (metaphorically) of the greats of science fiction and be entertained and informed. You can learn such a lot!

I shared a panel with Robert J.Sawyer; I found myself chatting to Elizabeth Moon about snakes and the environment; with Carol Berg about how to deal with a noisy husband when you want to write; with Kate Elliott about her new novel and her husband’s job as a forensic anthropologist; with Phyllis Eisenstein about collecting books, and with writer David Coe about covers. Donna Hanson and I were taken out to dinner (with Gary K.Wolfe and Amelia Beamer of Locus Magazine, novelist Kate Elliott and academic Farah Mendlesohn), by David Hartwell of Tor/Forge Books, who had just won a Hugo for Best Professional Editor (Long Form). He serenaded us by singing “Teen Angel” and “Love Potion Number Nine” – a long standing tradition which occurs every year, it appears. How cool is that?

So – start saving. I will see you at Aussiecon 4, in Melbourne, September 2nd-6th, 2010. The guests will be Kim Stanley Robinson, Robin Johnson and Shaun Tan. Don’t miss it – it won’t come around again for at least another ten years. See you there!

Visit Glenda’s website and blog
Visit the Aussiecon website