• 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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2010: the year of amazing sequels

Here’s a list of some of the glorious sequels we’re expecting in 2010:

The Risen Queen by Duncan Lay – out now!
Sequel to: The Wounded Guardian (The Dragon Sword Histories)

Earth to Hell by Kylie Chan – out now!
First book in the Journey to Wudang trilogy, following the Dark Heavens trilogy

At the Gates of Darkness by Raymond E Feist – out now!
Sequel to: Rides a Dread Legion (Demonwar Saga)

February

Griffin’s Flight by K J Taylor
Sequel to: The Dark Griffin (The Fallen Moon trilogy)

Strange Attractors by Kim Falconer
Completing the Quantum Enchantment trilogy and following Arrows of Time 

Wizard Squared by K E Mills
Last book of the Rogue Agent trilogy, following Witches Incorporated

March

Stormlord Rising by Glenda Larke
Sequel to The Last Stormlord (Watergivers trilogy)

Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
Sequel to The Dragon Keeper (The Rain Wild Chronicles)

The Desert Spear by Peter V Brett
Sequel to The Painted Man (The Demon Cycle)

April

Shalador’s Lady by Anne Bishop
The follow up to The Shadow Queen

May

The Infinity Gate by Sara Douglass
Completing the Darkglass Mountain trilogy and following Twisted Citadel

June

The Reluctant Mage by Karen Miller
Sequel to The Prodigal Mage (Fisherman’s Children series)

We’ll have a list of our upcoming debut novels this year coming soon, in the mean time, we hope you’ve got plenty to look forward to!

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A drop in from Sara Douglass

I thought you might like to know that Sara Douglass popped by the blog today and left the following message for the Rake Squad:

I just got the email about this blog site and so had to pop in and then saw the link to The Infinity Gate. I’ll have you know I am currently typing this comment with my keyboard precariously balanced on top of the pile of pages of the edit of the book! Won’t be long now. (ha ha ha) But May of next year looks OK for release unless one of the cats eats the edit (always possible).

Thank you to all present and past rakers. I am currently in remission but at that stage where I panic at every twinge. I hope I get past this soon.

As do we all! Keep raking, everybody. And let’s hope Sara keeps the cats well fed on non-paper foodstuffs!

What’s in a Name?

Francois Rabelais in the 16th Century cautioned against reading too much into a title. (A book’s) ‘title is usually received with mocking laughter and jokes. But it’s wrong to be so superficial when you’re weighing men’s work in the balance.’ Good advice, but now day titles sell books. It pays to consider them carefully.

The purpose of the title is to attract, intrigue and compel. It’s the headline, the very first sentence and its job is to hook the reader. It wants to sound good—to roll off the tongue—but not be overly predictable or clichéd. A good title can have double meanings, though it’s best to be careful there. For example, Mouse Work’s 1995 title, ‘Cooking with Pooh’ is questionable. Catchy can work, like Big Boom’s ‘If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs’ but that’s not quite the style speculative fiction readers are after.

Who wouldn't want to cook with ... er ... Pooh?

Who wouldn't want to cook with ... er ... Pooh?

Titles have to fit on the book cover. I’m not sure how Crown got ‘Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam‘ squeezed together with the author, Pope Brock, and a billygoat (I’m serious) but they did. Short titles can be preferable. George Orwell first called his masterpiece The Last Man in Europe until changing it to 1984. Good move.

Apparently there are rules to follow for selecting titles. Some writers ignore them, to their great success: Rule one—don’t use a proper name in the title. (Harry Potter?) Rule two—don’t use words like Bane, Barbarian, Bard, Battle, Book, Chaos, Crown, Crystal. ( Jennifer Fallon’s bestselling The Chaos Crystal?) Rule three—don’t use adjective-noun titles. (Sara Douglass’ bestselling Twisted Citadel?) Rule four—don’t use needless complexity. (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (The bestselling SF by Philip K. Dick!)

Rules aside, there is a website where you can put your title to the test. This program generates the odds a title has of becoming a bestseller. If it’s accurate, my book #4 is going to sell a zillion copies! However The Da Vinci Code shows only a l4.6% chance, so maybe take it with a grain of salt. I didn’t use it in any case, only because I didn’t know about it!

My first two books were named organically, like pets. Book #1, The Spell of Rosette was just ‘Rosette’ for years. She got ‘The Spell’ as the story matured. Book #2, Arrows of Time was named for the narrative structure. It’s based on the theoretical notion that time is fully symmetrical—arrows going both ways and around in circles! I named Strange Attractors before I wrote a word of it. I had to write something in the proposal and the quantum theory concept of ‘strange attractors’—a pattern that appeared chaotic until seen from the right perspective—intrigued me. I didn’t know then how literal it would become!

Has anyone a good ‘title story’ to tell? Is there one that particularly compelled or repulsed? I’d love to hear about it. Comments welcome!

arrows of timeKim Falconer is the author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Book 1. She lives in Byron Bay in Australia with two black cats. As well as writing, she runs Falcon Astrology, The second book in the Quantum Enchantment series, Arrows in Time, is out now.

Sara Douglass: Escape from the Starship Enterprise

I’ve escaped my evil abductors and made it back home! I went into hospital on Wednesday morning and awoke to find myself trapped on Starship Enterprise – honestly, the nurses station of the High Dependency unit reminded me of the bridge of Starship Enterprise – it was so cool! I had a serious case of ex-ICU-nurse envy! They controlled everything from great sweep of a bridge from where they surveyed their domain of about 6 captives.

We were all tied to our beds by a variety of strange communication devices that were wired into our bodies (seriously, I still have the holes to prove it, I am covered in plastic patches from where they took out wires) and we were all surrounded by Machines That Go Beep! Occasionally … actually, fairly often … the Machines That Go Beep! would become Machines That Go BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! and then that got Captain Kirk and his cronies moving, let me tell you. It kept all of us captives awake and in torture, too.

I had an epidural pre-op and the main problem was that epidural which firstly caused a crisis during the op when it caused my BP to drop out of control and the next few days were spent trying to get the BP back above 60/20 (we were aiming for 100 over anything at all, we’d take anything, but that 100 was pretty damn hard to achieve) and by the fact that about 6 hours post-op the epidural began to fail. By 10 hours post-op I had all my sensation back, I was in agony, and they couldn’t give me anything apart from Panadol (oh, Plu-eeeeze!) as my BP was so bad. So I spent a serious night in agony and don’t want to go back there any time soon.

Captain Kirk also had devised a super form of water torture called “let’s drag the ice block down Sara’s body again and see if any of the numbness has returned” and so every hour out would come the ice block and torture would commence. Dick Cheney would be seriously envious of this kind of torture.

I honestly kept trying to phone home to people but Kirk’s communication devices sensed every time I tried to use my mobile – I tried to ring friends five or six times but every time one of his lieutenants would inform Capt Kirk that the Alien in Bed 104 was trying to communicate with her fellow aliens and they’d cut off all signals. They could do all kinds of cool things from their bridge!

High dependency was staffed by some of the kindest people – and the hunkiest – most of the staff were male and they were GODS. Honestly. Gods. And they offered to take off their clothes to help raise my BP! Wasn’t that just the sweetest offer? 🙂 (Having got me in a lustful frame of mind they then refused to come through on their offer, which I decided was yet another form of torturing the poor, captive aliens.)

So gradually I got better and the staff found out my secret place for stashing my hated nasal probes (in the lifting mechanism of the bed, which seriously stuffed it up). They eventually put me on a morphine infusion which I controlled which wasn’t as cool as it sounds, but it was better than the stuffing panadol! LOL

Every day they got me out of bed which was so painful that I would literally burst into tears when they said it was time to get out. Better than the ice cube torture was the get out of bed torture. (Truly, the getting out of bed torture always left me sobbing, morphine or no morphine.)

On Saturday things started to get better and out came all the tubes and devices and off I went back to the surgical ward which was a strange and silent place compared to the Starship Enterprise. And yesterday I came home!

Surgeon said there was less cancer than she’d anticipated (you should have seen me in Recovery trying to feel about for a colostomy bag! LOL) and that she has got 99% of it out, and there is just a teensy tiny bit left in a couple of places on my bowel but that chemo should clean it up. She gave me the double thumbs up on the operation and ‘stuff’.

Oh yeah, and the epidural – it took the anaesthetist three frigging goes to get it in and by the end they had to have 3 people holding me down as it was so agonizing (the pain wasn’t in my back but everywhere else as the guy kept hitting nerves). After my horror experience I would not recommend them for anyone else – the side effects are appalling. I managed to have a chat to the alien in the bed next to me on Starship Enterprise and her anaesthetist had to have 3 goes to get hers in, too, but at least hers was working.

Once the Alien in the bed next to me and I were transferred back to a ‘normal’ ward we got quite friendly – she also has ovarian cancer (she was diagnosed 8 years ago) and has had two tussles with it since).

Three Cheers for the Starship Enterprise! 🙂

Hip hip hooray! I’m sure you’re all as pleased as we are to hear about how Sara is doing — and that her sense of humour is still very much in place! For more info on Sara and her books, or what she’s up to at the moment, click here to visit her official website. And don’t forget to join her rake squad!

The Infinity Gate: Darkglass Mountain Book Three

The Serpent BrideThe next book from Sara Douglass will be called The Infinity Gate, and not River Angels (which was the tentative title back in 08 when Sara blogged for us about her return to Tencendor). I’ve noticed many searchers for River Angels ending up at the Voyager blog so thought it might be nice to clear that up!

As many of you would be aware, Sara was diagnosed with cancer late last year and is currently undergoing treatment. If you’d like to do something for her, then you might consider joining the Rake Squad

On her website, Sara says, ‘I have a visualisation thing I do regularly. I visualise I live in a beautiful walled orchard. It has only six trees, but that’s enough for one person. There is emerald green grass and white daisies growing between the trees and stretching to the sandstone walls, and the sun shines down on the orchard with a soft, lovely light. But a gribbly black monster has taken up residence in one of the trees, and he’s casting down all kinds of black fungus-laden leaves about the place.Twisted Citadel

Each day I go in there and I rake all those black leaves up and then take them out to the incinerator through the cast iron gate in the wall and burn them to white ash. I can do that much, at least. I can’t do much about the gribbly black monster just yet, except poke him with my rake and curse him in words I can’t print here and tell him he’s not going to get my orchard, thank you very much, and wait for my tree surgeon (Penny the surgeon) to come on in and cut him out, but in the meantime raking up the fungus-laden leaves is important. I was explaining this to a distant friend and she said, “I’ll come in and rake, too!” and suddenly I have lots of people in there raking and manning the incinerator and the table of tea and cream puffs and whiskey (someone insisted on the whiskey) set up for the rakers by the raging incinerator.

So if you’d like to join the Rake Squad you have no idea how much I’d appreciate it. Those black leaves sometimes accumulate a little too quickly, and some days I am too sick and too down-hearted to go in and rake myself. I am unashamedly asking for a bit of help with the raking. You can send me an email just to let me know you’ll be in there raking occasionally – the Rake Squad could always use a few more rakers!’


Meet Sara Douglass this Thursday!

Twisted Citadel

Sara Douglass will be in Sydney signing copies of her books this Thursday 7 August!

At 4pm, she’ll be at Galaxy Bookshop, 143 York St, and then at 6pm she’ll be signing at Dymocks on George St. It’s been quite a while since Sara did a signing, so make sure you don’t miss this chance to ask her about her latest series. The first two books in the series, The Serpent Bride and The Twisted Citadel, are both out now – and give you the chance to revisit the world we first loved in Battleaxe.

A date for your diaries … Sara Douglass appearing in Sydney

THE TWISTED CITADEL - Sara DouglassOn Thursday 7 August, Sara Douglass will be signing copies of her books in Sydney!

 

At 4pm, she’ll be at Galaxy Bookshop, 143 York St, and at 6pm she’ll be signing at Dymocks, George St.

 

It’s been quite a while since Sara did a signing, and its very exciting indeed! Her next book, The Twisted Citadel, is out now – so there’s plenty of time to read up and gather some questions to ask Sara, come August.