• 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!

     

     

Announcing a new blog!

Hi everyone!

We’re excited to announce that we’re re-launching the Voyager blog with a brand new look, extra features and a Forum! We’re working toward making it a really fun, exciting, interesting and useful place you’d like to come to and hopefully hang out with fellow fans. The new blog is live now over at www.voyageronline.com.au if you want to have a look.

To sign up and create your Forum ID head here: http://www.voyageronline.com.au/community/index.php?login  or click on the Forum button in the blog top menu. The new forum means we can add achievements and badges for forum users and we can more easily run competitions, post exclusive extracts and host chats with your favourite Voyager authors!

We’re planning on officially launching the new look site at Supanova in Brisbane on the 9th November so held along if you can- we’d love to meet you there! We will be redirecting this current address (www.voyagerblog.com.au) to the new site by the end of this week hopefully. We have backed up this blog’s posts & comments, so don’t worry about them being lost!

Looking forward to seeing and chatting with you all at the new Voyager Online!

4563 manuscripts submitted in 14 days!


It’s official: 4563 manuscripts submitted in 14 days! Our Harper Voyager Publisher, Deonie Fiford, said today:
“We are really thrilled with the enthusiastic response – people expressed a keen desire to be published internationally by Harper Voyager where they will be able to have the full support of our dedicated editorial and marketing departments.
We have already begun reading and have received some excellent submissions. We’re looking forward to announcing our new digital authors next year to join bestselling writers like George R R Martin, Robin Hobb, Kylie Chan, Fiona McIntosh and Kim Harrison at Harper Voyager books.”

Let the Read-athon commence!

All Dwarves are Scottish

Our inhouse Voyager reading club recently decided to go back and re-read ( or read for the first time- *gasp!* ) Raymond E. Feist’s original classic fantasy epic Magician, published in 1982. Upon reaching the introduction of Feist’s Dwarves, and the character Dolgan in particular, it struck me that I assumed the ‘deep, rolling burr’ of the Dwarven accent was Scottish. The names of their mines ( “Mac Mordain Cadal”), Dolgan’s frequent use of ‘lad’ & organisation into clans didn’t help either.

So I got to thinking: when, exactly, did the Dwarf become synonymous with Scotland? Despite being responsible for much of the modern fantasy concept of Dwarves as an imagined race, Tolkien never gave them any distinctively Scottish traits. They were based much more on nordic myth I thought. One of our Sales Managers pointed out that a possible source for aspects of dwarvish culture for Tolkien may have been the archetype of the “rough & hearty” working class miners of Cornwall or Wales, which would certainly fit with his stated goals of creating a modern mythology for the British Isles.

Wikipedia argues that the modern version of the ‘Scottish Dwarf’ originates from the book Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson (published in 1961, but originally a novella from 1953 ) which featured a Dwarf named Hugi with a Scottish accent and a man transported from WWII to a parallel world under attack by Faerie. The book was a major influence on Dungeons & Dragons, which introduced Dwarves as playable race in 1974 and helped disseminate a “standard” idea of what Dwarves were like.

From there it seemed to become a self-perpetuating idea. The parallels between the bearded Dwarves as warlike mountain dwellers and long-haired Scottish Highland warriors are fairly obvious, and perhaps this was Anderson’s starting point too. The love of drinking, feasting and fighting has perhaps more Viking or sterotypical “working class miner” associations. A recent animated film, How to Train Your Dragon ( based on a children’s book of the same name ) features Vikings with scottish accents ( though all the children & teenagers mysteriously have American accents ) who also look a lot like oversized Dwarves. The enormously popular Warcraft universe has steampunk Dwarves with Scottish accents.

It all came full circle with the film version of The Lord of the Rings having Gimli sport a very Scottish accent. It will be interesting to see how far they take this with The Hobbit film though. From the little we’ve heard in the trailers they don’t seem particularly Scottish, but time will tell …! What do think? Do you usually associate dwarves with Scotland or is it just me?

New Fiona McIntosh has arrived!

We’re pretty pumped because Fiona McIntosh is returning to Morgravia with her new book and the finished copies have just arrived in the office! The Scrivener’s Tale will be out in Aussie stores in November. Be sure to check out more backstory and read behind the scenes with Fiona’s blog too!

Argh! Zombies!

There has been so much talk lately of the colour grey but, let’s be honest, it’s such a boring colour. Comparatively, red is fantastic. It’s bright, attention-grabbing and … bloody.

Which brings me to zombies.  They are covered in the stuff.

Zombies have made a resurgence of late as the face of horror, largely due to the success of The Walking Dead television series and they are the opposite of those sparkly vampires that the tweens love but we have had enough of.  I think that we can all rest assured that zombies will maintain their monster status quo and contain to be the relentless horde that will keep leading the revolt against their emotionally unstable undead cousins. Vampires have gotten soft and cuddly, zombies instill fear and panic. In this time where erotica sells, the undead must rise against it.

Why? Because zombies will never play the romantic lead. Their love of brains doesn’t translate to a love of intellectual conversation and nights in playing scrabble. And their desire to eat you sounds sexy but it’s not going to be a pleasant experience. Although they might give you cause to scream ‘Oh God!’ and leave you panting for breath – it’s not the happy sort of exclamation and its more of a marathon run where you flee for your life than a marathon bonk session that’s going to affect your lung capacity.

In the literary world, Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies took the world by storm in 2009 and only recently (23/8/12) the BBC News have asked  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19359570) if literary mash-ups are the next big thing (clearly it took them a while to jump on to the zombie bandwagon — better late than never). A recently published literary mash-up is Corrupted Classics, a compilation of short stories by some emerging writers which will appeal to zombie fiends, corrupting tales from your childhood with a zombie-esque edge like you wouldn’t believe.

Corrupted Classics
is a digital anthology of short stories based on scenes from literary classics that have been twisted into harsh zombie apocalyptic worlds. Now some of history’s best-loved characters face a fate even more cataclysmic than academic obscurity … These are the classics like you have never seen them before, alive and well in the realm of the undead. Alice in Wonderland (becomes Alice in Zombieland) and Peter Pan (becomes Never Neverland) are just two of the twisted tales that are feeding the zombie zeitgeist. Corrupted Classics has some great re-imaginings that would work as full-length novels, even if they are only published as e-books. The world needs more tales of zombies, and the 10 million Walking Dead fans would agree.

One of the best things about zombies are the zombie fans. They totally get it. They are absorbed into the notion of the undead stumbling along the streets, turning the moment they get a whiff of fresh meat, I don’t know many zombie aficionados who don’t have a plan for when the zombie apocalypse begins. In the US, Halloween allows fans to embrace it, with The Walking Dead being a huge influence last year and people happily adorned dangling bits of fake flesh to their face and covered themselves in red corn syrup. In Australia, you have the annual Brisbane Zombie Walk (www.brisbanezombiewalk.com) that not only lets you stagger around the streets but also aptly raises funds for The Brain Foundation of Australia. This year it will be held this Sunday, 21st October and a gold coin donation will get you walking the streets amongst the sea of undead covered in as much gore as you’re comfortable with.

If you haven’t already, check out the Corrupted Classics Facebook page (www.facebook.com/corruptedclassics) and join the horde.

Also, if you REALLY want to survive the inevitable coming zombie apocalypse, there’s loads of resources online-One of our fans sent this link in!

Reminder to get your manuscripts in this weekend!

IMPORTANT UPDATE! The submission portal errored and was closed prematurely- it is now reopen and Aussie submitters should be able to submit today ( Monday 15th October)! The portal will now close at 3pm US Eastern time, which should be 6am Australian Eastern Daylight time ( 5am in QLD, 5:30am Central Australia, 3am in Perth/WA )
A reminder for all our writing Voyagers out there!  The submission portal to submit your manuscripts to Harper Voyager, www.harpervoyagersubmissions.com, is only open until this Sunday 14th of October 2012!

The manuscripts will then be read and those most suited to the global Harper Voyager list will be selected jointly by editors in the USA, UK and Australia. Accepted submissions will benefit from the full publishing process: accepted manuscripts will be edited; and the finished titles will receive online marketing and sales support in World English markets.Voyager will be seeking an array of adult and young adult speculative fiction for digital publication, but particularly novels written in the epic fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, dystopia and supernatural genres. Submission guidelines and key information can be found at www.harpervoyagersubmissions.com.So finish your chapter headings, spell checks and proof reads and submit your manuscript!

Good luck to all our submitters!

Seeding the breeze with Poet Trees

It’s wonderful when fans take an idea from our books and make it real…

In my Diamond Eyes trilogy, “The Poet Trees” are a crown of old tree houses where the heroine, Mira, once lived as a child. They also symbolise the dream home she keeps alive in her mind. She hopes to escape there some day from the captivity of the Serenity Asylum, where she’s being treated for “delusions” because she can see spectres of people from history.

But the Poet Trees harbour more secrets than anyone can imagine. All of the branches have been embossed with golden braille, quoting wise words from famous books, ballads, poems and scholars. These were collected and left behind by Mira’s parents to help guide her through life – hopefully giving her a brighter future, but also to help her avoid all the “ghosts” from her past.

As the crowning glory in a field of wildflowers (surrounded by rainforest and overlooking a private cove in Moreton Bay) The Poet Trees also provide far more than tranquil hideaway for Mira after she escapes. For fans, the The Poet Trees provide some of the most memorable scenes of the series. Almost magical, the leaves seem to whisper wise words to Mira on the breeze, and each time a mysterious hero is in the shadows. Not to mention a few sinister secrets.

“Poetry, or Poet Tree?” Not much difference really.

Plato once said: Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.

Each thriller in the Diamond Eyes series features a dozen quotes from the Poet Trees – one for each major turning point in Mira’s life – in order to support one of the main themes that the more things change, the more they stay the same’,even when events seem to be spiralling totally out of control. Since Mira can actually witness past events, and can see the violence of mankind stretching back for centuries, she becomes understandably frustrated at her inability to break free of the cycles that seem to keep her locked into a frightening fate at the hands of her enemies. The ancient Athenian Phaedrus seemed sympathetic when his words echoed across time, embossed forever in braille on the tallest limb in the grove, to warn her that: the only problem with seeing too much, is that it makes you insane. Yet Plutarch warned her that: Fate leads those who follow it, and drags those who resist.

Yet, the primary inspiration for Leopard Dreaming comes from Aristotle: Hope is a waking dream.

All are wise words that have echoed down to us over the centuries, perhaps because they apply so well for so many people in so many instances. And Mira tries to see herself as no different.  As her writer, that’s how it seems, at least.

And the other day I received this picture from a fan who lives in the centre of Australia, over 3000 kilometres away, where the first real Poet Tree has sprouted up at Alice Springs! Thanks to roving reporter Janne Leddin Hardy, the braille on this tree says:
2 C is 2 KNOW… which is amazing, because that nails the motif for the whole trilogy.

And even cooler: This species of tree is a eucalypt, called a ghost gum (because they appear to glow white at night under starlight) which is also reflective of the ghostly yester-world that Mira can see as she looks back through time….

So please feel welcome to share your own favourite quotes with me on twitter @ThePoetTrees … where wisdom grows through sharing. Or at www.facebook.com/anitabell.fanpage

In a perfect world, every city in the world would have its own Poet Tree. A tree of wisdom, where all the locals could share wise words for their coming generations.

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