• 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!



Talking all that Tolkien – Richard K Morgan

For all you fans (or non-fans) of Tolkien, author Richard K Morgan has written a very interesting  (and perhaps provocative for die-hard fans) essay on The Lords of the Rings, and the parts/characters/things that, although he may not love Tolkien’s work, he did love about it. It’s started joyueous debate (LOTS of debate!) storming around the internet.

What’s very lovely about the essay is that RKM has found parts of Tolkien’s work that he really engages with, like little jewels in the er … mud, not that I think LOTR or any of Tolkien’s work is mud or related substances, and wishes that Tolkien had focused on these parts and drawn them out for what they signify. Lovely because these characters are the orcs. Not traditionally thought of as the nicest creeturs in the world – but that’s what he likes. They aren’t nice, but that makes them very human. I think more and more people identify with characters with bad intent in them, not because we’re all evil murderers at heart, but we aren’t infallible and it’s good to know we’re not the only ones. That’s why I like George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, because the characters are as ‘shades of grey’ as any one of us. I’d never have the guts to go on a quest beyond all I know to confront the heart of evil, I don’t think … and even if I did, I’d complain and whinge and think ‘Why me?’. But I still like to read about people who would. But I like it even better when they complain – like Eustace in The Voyager of the Dawn Treader before he became all born again.

Haven’t you ever read an author’s work and wished they had developed a character more, one that you feel you could really relate to or want to know more about? When I read Diana Wynne Jones’ ‘Dragon Reserve, Home Eight’ – a short story, I longed to read more about the characters in it, a girl whose world is suddenly invaded by horrible creatures who, through invasion, have unwittingly saved her from a death order. Of course, wanting a longer novel from a short story is a fairly common urge from readers, I believe, whereas if it’s about characters in an epic novel, it’s a bit different. What do you think? Have you experienced this?

Go and read the essay, which is posted at Random House’s Suduvu blog.

The Captain (now off for a blissful weekend and going to watch Watchmen at IMAX)

Fallon Friday: Phobias

I have a friend who is afraid of turkeys. She was attacked by one as a child, apparently, and is so terrified you can make her squeal by saying “gobble gobble” and she has to leave the room if the Wild Turkey ad comes on TV.

Discovery of this fact prompted an entire afternoon this week wasted searching the internet for the correct name of a turkey phobia.

I didn’t find it, btw, but I did compile a fairly impressive list of other phobias, more than one of which, I suspect, is not entirely genuine.

• Ailuropyrophobia — fear of kittens or cats
• Arachibutyrophobia — fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth (seriously)
• Saukuraphobia — Fear of getting beat up by Japanese schoolgirls. (Methinks this one might not be genuine)
• Phoia — fear of the letter b
• A++++++++++++phobia — fear of getting anything other than positive feedback on eBay.
• Megacaninaphobia — fear of big dogs
• Agyrophobia — fear of streets or crossing the street
• Hobia — fear of the letter P
• Anuptaphobia — fear of staying single
• Smegophobia — fear of English Sci-Fi parodies
• Atomosophobia — fear of atomic explosions (a perfectly reasonable phobia, I would have thought)
• Apeirophobia— fear of infinity
• Bufonophobia — fear of toads
• Lordofthephobias — fear of Tolkien
• Acophobia — fear of ugliness
• Phobiaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa — fear of cats on the keyboard (tee-hee)
• Coulrophobia — fear of clowns
• Harpaxophobia— fear of being robbed (a phobia I’m well on the way to developing)
• Aibohphobia — fear of palindromes
• Pteronophobia — fear of being tickled by feathers (yup, it’s a phobia)
• Sesquipedalophobia — fear of long words (Exactly how do you tell someone you’re suffering from this?)
• Triskaidekaphobia — fear of the number 13 (had to put this one on the list, because Thirdborn could spell it by the time he was 13)
• Alektorophobia — fear of chickens (the closest we could get to turkeys, and the purpose of this whole silly exercise)

And my all time favourite —

• Superphobia — the fear of leaping tall buildings in a single bound… and missing:)

Jennifer Fallon is the author of four fantasy series, the most recent being the Tide Lords quartet. The Chaos Crystal, book four of the Tide Lords series, came out this month and is available across all good Australian book shops.