• 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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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.

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Dreaming of good pictures – Again

So … I finally found my camera cable, only to discover that I have managed to take some of the worst and most out-of-focus photos ever to be taken in this world.So the below shot is the only worthy one from Conflux. Okay, to be honest, I mostly forgot about my camera apart from at the launch, at Floriade, and er … on the way home, as you will see.

This pic was taken at the launch of Dreaming Again on Friday night – a little bit before the authors did a mass signing and the wine was opened! And there was plenty more dreaming to come …

The authors of Dreaming Again

The authors of Dreaming Again pose for a pic at the launch of the book.

They are (starting from top left): Keith Stevenson, who proofread the whole anthology (thanks Angela for letting me know), Angela Slatter, Sean McMullen, Russell Blackford, Richard Harland, Aaron Sterns, Adam Browne and Jason Nahrung. Next row starts with Jason Fischer, then it’s Peter M Ball, Jenny Blackford, Trudi Canavan, Kim Westwood, Jack Dann and Stephanie Smith.

To distract you all from my awful picture taking, here is a shot of the place we nicknamed ‘Isengard’, of a tower we could see across the Lake Burley Griffin, which Farnwyn has named for me – it’s the Carillon on Aspen Island, and very poetic it is.

Isengard

Click photo for bigger image. Note artistic rainbow that redeems me for bad photography.

But wait – there’s still hope! A young man and his Dalek made my day by fitting in with my idea of how a con should be – and many thanks to the man in the gold hat and suit who also helped with that idea. And yes, I did ask his permission to take and use this photograph! He exterminated Liz Argall not long afterwards, so I am aware of what he could do if I -didn’t- ask permission!

A Study

Dalek and Boy: A Study

To make you aware of just how exciting and touristy Canberra and the whole trip was for this Sydneysider, here is my classic shot. And be aware, you’ve been spared the mass of Floriade shots that we took.

An Extremely Large Merino. Do Not Mess With The Sheep

An Extremely Large Merino. Do Not Mess With It. It Might Sit On You.

Yes, the big Merino at Goulburn. Photo followed up shortly by McChicken Burger in the tradition of all good road trips. We came home clutching books, feeling inspired and planning to write, write and write. And it was all down to Conflux.

Only one question remains in my brain … I’d like to know if Jason Fischer would come out of Goulburn humming ‘Undead Sheepies Ate Their Flesh … Doo Dah Doo Dah …’

NB. Thanks to Angela and Farnwyn for additional info to edit this post – and I also think this link to Cat Spark’s photos may be much more useful!

Floricon – or what we did on Saturday afternoon and Sunday

Team Voyager is back in Sydney again, and rather sad as it’s all grey and rain is threatening. Conflux was marvellous and we all had a thoroughly good time! The only unfortunate thing was that we didn’t get to meet as many Purple Zoners as we’d have liked. PZers, for the uninitiated, are the occupants of the Voyager Message Board. So all you PZers out there, let us know the next con we should be attending and we’ll do our best to get there!

All the panels we went to were good – lots of excellent advice from authors, editors and publishers. On Sunday I especially liked Cat Sparks in the ‘From the Editor’s Desk’ panel – she was frank, funny and didn’t hold back. Amanda Pillar and Shane Jiraiya Cummings also gave alot of insight into the process behind receiving and processing stories at a small press. Team Voyager got to chat with Shane afterwards about Black Magazine, which we’ve all been reading and enjoying. In my case mostly due to Jenson Ackles getting the front page of issue two … 😀

I think my favourite panel overall was ‘Achieving the Dream’ with Jack Dann, Cat Sparks, Trudi Canavan and Kim Westwood, the convenor was Lynda Davies. All the authors spoke with such passion about the moment they felt they achieved their dream – of being able to write, not so much of ‘being a writer’, which they pointed out is not the same thing at all. And it was never the moment their finished book arrived from the publisher, it was far more the realisation that they could write, that they must write.

Being from Voyager, we went to pretty much all of the Dreaming Again events, because we’d read the whole anthology and loved it: the launch on Friday night, the panel mentioned above, Jack Dann’s guest speaking session, and the Dreaming Again panel. At the Dreaming Again panel I was once again awed by the talent in the room – Angela Slatter, who is such a beautiful writer, Richard Harland, whose story ‘A Tour of the Kingdom of the Dead’ was creepy and amazing, Jason Fischer, who is absolutely lovely and had to sit through several renditions of ‘Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh, Doo Dah Doo Dah’, Kim Westwood and Adam Brown who had dinner with us on Saturday night, Jason Nahrung, whose story is one of my personal faves – but actually, most of the stories in DA are – and many, many more: Peter M Ball, Jenny Blackford, Russell Blackford, Trudi Canavan, Margo Lanagan, Sean McMullen and Aaron Sterns (lovely horror writer who I also got to chat to briefly and who was away at one point in talks over film rights for one of his works!). Stephanie, our fab Voyager publisher, was also on the panel. Sarah, Tim and I forcibly leapt in front of several of the authors over the weekend and asked them to sign our books, and I believe all copies of Dreaming Again (both at the con and at Borders nearby in the Civic Centre) were sold out. We missed the 1920s banquet at the con but I hear it was spectacular and the rumour is that Cat Sparks was best dressed (as she seemed to be for the whole weekend, I think).

Saturday afternoon we took advantage of a break to go down and see Floriade. I thought it was beautiful – tons and tons of flowers by the water, and the sun had come out after a rather grey and rainy morning, so it was a perfect spring’s day. We took some rather silly pics and generally ran around (coffee/tea hit to blame). We also spied a tower in the distance that we nicknamed Isengard, due to it’s resemblance to that rather evil building. I concluded that the next Conflux should be held right next to Floriade and it can be called Floricon and the theme will be ‘Flowering Again’ and everyone will have to dress up as noxious and poisonous herbs and weeds because that would be v amusing and the research would be great! I would come as a toadstool. And then it was back to our lovely seedy film noir detective motel to get ready for the night’s entertainment.

On Saturday night we had a delicious dinner down at Milk & Honey where Kim Westwood had launched ‘The Daughters of Moab’ about 2 months prior, and got to meet upcoming Voyager author K J Taylor (who we also saw at the panel ‘What is Fandom’). Karen Miller joined us at dinner and has left me waiting eagerly for the start of Supernatural season four, which she says is terrific … she described a new ‘angelic’ character to me and now I can’t stop thinking about it! Luckily Supernatural is back on Monday night at 8:30 (Channel 10 did not pay me to make that announcement), and 90210 has been AXED. Ha ha. We walked back to our motel, got caught in a sudden downpour and eventually arrived back in Lyneham wondering if we were going to come down with pneumonia. Special props go to Tim for refusing to put on his jumper so that our books could be protected from the rain.

Cut to our last moments and Sarah and I caught some of Food Historian Gillian Pollack’s guest speech but had to leave halfway through – we got to speak to Kim Westwood and Karen Miller again – both lovely, lovely authors! And then we just had time to quickly visit Koko Black down at Civic to buy some chocolate (woe is us, there is no Koko Black in Sydney as yet). We returned to the Marque Hotel to see a Dalek exterminating Liz Argall and had a quick chat with Amanda Pillar of Morrigan Press, who edited the Voices anthology launched at Conflux, she’s also a PZer. Finally, to the car we went, hoping to get back to Sydney before it was too dark. We had a brief stop in Goulburn for fuel (and McDonalds) and I got a photo of the Big Merino (yay) which will make its way into this blog, I’m sure, as will our Floriade pics … cos they have alot to do with Conflux … er … I wonder what happened back at Conflux where the speakeasy was taking place? 1920s cocktails and spec fic authors … anything could happen …

Photos to come as soon as I can find my cable.

Taelian