• 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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How to Make a Cymrian Griffin Part III (The Taylor is a tailor)

For those who’d prefer something a little more cuddly, I have a few handy hints for that as well. As a Taylor I love a little needlework every now and then, and here are some instructions on how to make one of these little guys!

At Voyager HQ, the griffins rule the roost

At Voyager HQ, the griffins rule the roost

First up you’ll need some furry material – you can substitute with something like sweater material instead if you want. You won’t need much; about half a metre does the trick for me. If you want to get fancy you can buy two different colours and make the griffin in two halves, but for this I’ll stick with the more basic version.

You’ll also need a pair of toy eyes (you can get them at places like Hobbysew or Lincraft if you’re lucky), thread, needles, scissors, tailor’s pins and a bag of stuffing. At a pinch you can do what I did when my supply ran out, and slit open a handy cushion.

Then you’ll need this pattern right here, which I drew up (click to enlarge). Print it off, cut out the shapes, and pin them on the fabric. Make sure that the fur is going in the right direction, and that you’ve folded it first. For the tail, just cut a strip to the length and width you want, fold it in half, sew along one edge and then turn it inside out. Don’t sew over the ends.







Oh yeah – don’t cut furry fabric in a room with a carpet, or while you’re wearing tracksuit pants. Trust me on this.

Once you’ve got it all cut out, clear away the scraps and loose fur. I advise fetching a shovel for this bit.

Before you do anything else, put the eyes in. Mark the right spot on the two head-pieces, and poke a hole for each eye. Stick the shaft through the hole and press the metal backing on – and make sure you’ve got it in the right way, because they’re almost impossible to remove once they’re on!

The pieces match up pretty obviously, so pin them all together – fur inward, of course – and get to sewing! Stick the tail in between the halves of the body with one end poking out, and sew it into the seam.

Make sure you leave a hole in some non-obvious place so you can turn it in the right way once the stitching is done. I suggest the belly. Leave a hole at the end of the tail as well.

Leave the wings aside for now.

Once it’s all sewn and in the right way, put the stuffing in. Getting it into all the thin bits like the legs can be tricky – try using a pen to push it down. Don’t be too rough; this sort of material has a habit of suddenly developing holes (those can be sewn up if they decide to make an appearance). If you want you can put some sort of stiffening in the front legs – I used oversized lollipop sticks, but paddle pop sticks or skewers should do the trick as well. Just make sure you cut the pointy bits off.

Once your griffin is all stuffed, sew up the hole you used. Now it’s time for the wings. If you haven’t sewn the two sides of each one together yet, do so. When it comes to attaching them to the griffin, you can cut slits in the shoulders or just stitch-tack them on; either one works fine.

You’re almost done! For the last step, seek out some feathers. I picked mine up on walks, but if you’re terrified of bird flu you can buy some in any decent craft shop.

Bundle your feathers up and poke them through the hole in the end of your griffin’s tail. Then get your needle and thread and put a bunch of stitches through it – to make sure the feathers won’t come out put the needle right through the… uh… pointy transparent non-fluffy bit, I have no idea what it’s called. Altenatively, if you don’t like the part where the needle slips and stabs you in the cuticle, you can glue them in.

Congratulations! You should now have your very own griffin mascot, plus a house full of fluff and stray thread! Treat your new pal well and feed it on the remains of your enemies; it’s the best way to save money and stop those bastards from getting in the way of your plans for world domination. Muahahahah.

This has been a K.J.Taylor blog. Thanks for reading!

K.J. Taylor lives in Canberra, Australia, where she is continuing work on The Fallen Moon trilogy. The Dark Griffin is her first novel published with Voyager.

Read Jonathan Dean’s review of The Dark Griffin.

18 Responses

  1. So cute! I love the advice “Oh yeah – don’t cut furry fabric in a room with a carpet, or while you’re wearing tracksuit pants. Trust me on this.”

    Heh… I once had to make a costume out of fake tiger fur (don’t ask). One snip and I could tell it was going to go EVERYWHERE. So I cut and created outside, proud of myself for saving my house and carpet from getting covered in fluff. Two years later I still can’t get the fluff off the doormat in my courtyard and I am STILL finding random bits of tiger embedded in plants and cobwebs and caught around window and door frames.

    Great blog post, can’t wait to read your book!

  2. I love these griffin posts, and I can’t wait to start the series.

    Congratulations Katie!!

    • Hi there!
      Well, if you want to start the series, book one is in the shops right now – I should know, I went looking for it and even took some pictures.

      (Just finished the copyedit on book two. I’m exhausted!)

      PS: I really like your surname! It’s certainly a lot more “fantasy” than mine. D:

      • Oh show us the pictures!!! It is so exciting. I’m going to go check for it today (and have a look at mine too!)

        My ancestors hunted with birds of prey and I have done so myself with a falconer friend. It’s amazing…a small glimpse I think of what your griffins might be like!

        (congrats on the copy edits–‘phew’ I know!)

    • I guess my ancestors made shirts. I know two of them got transported to Tasmania for petty theft, anyway. That’s how we wound up in Australia. 😀

      The pictures are here: http://community.livejournal.com/griffins_eyrie/43271.html

      And here: http://community.livejournal.com/griffins_eyrie/43907.html

      Aren’t I photogenic?

      • Great photos! And great book placement: eye level, nice. AND you got on the new releases as well!

        Fab t-shirts, hehehe

      • Oh gorgeous! That’s a wonderful shot (great rings too!)

        It’s such a thrill, and achievement! 🙂

      • Oh, you noticed my “PANTS-ON-HEAD RETARDED” t-shirt. Yeah, I’m a Zero Punctuation fan. I made the other shirt myself, because nobody sells any that say “Elves suck”. Unfortunately.

        I didn’t think to dress for those photos, so I was just wearing my regular clothes. Hadn’t brushed my hair, either. Oops.

  3. lol Vertigo, that stuff is there to stay. I still find dog hair all over my things (which might display how often I actually clean).
    Katie, I really enjoyed these posts – thanks for sharing – and I just sneaked a peek at your LJ and really liked the picture of you in front of all your gorgeous babies (The Dark Griffin I mean!).

  4. Natalie, there is no messing with dog hair, if it’s anything like cat hair. I have decided my cat must actually WEAR my clothes when I am not home since most of them have fur on the inside as well as the outside – even after they have been washed.

    Kim and Katie – you both have my sympathies on the copy edits, especially since I imagine you both do you own copy edits before you send it off to an editor (like me) who sends it back with their own copy edit marks and comments. More work!
    (I always know when an author has received their manuscript from me as that’s the day when the milk suddenly goes off and there’s a thundercloud that’s only over MY house… No, I’m just kidding!!!)

    • Oh I hope I haven’t curdled anyone’s milk! I did just finish the copy edits for book 3 Wednesday though and I had moments of … ‘ado’. I can say that once I get past the ‘Geeze I ‘knew’ the full stop went outside the parentheses (or is it inside? see… Gwad!). But, once past that, when the work is done, it’s such a feeling of accomplishment.

      And a feeling of partnership too–author, editors, publishers, proofreaders, typesetters, artists–and readers! We all create together 🙂

    • I’m one of those lucky gals who has a copyeditor – when I say I did the copyedit, I meant that I stayed up until 3am going through the list of requested changes and mumbling to myself.

      Luckily I had my rat Joker to keep me company. He always sits in my lap when I’m working.

  5. My cat usually sits on (or in or under) the manuscript while I am working. Or on the keyboard. It is less than helpful.

  6. You couldn’t be more factual

  7. Thats some informative writing

  8. Tremendous piece of writing!!!

  9. That was a really joy of a piece of writing.

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