• 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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Why you shouldn’t step in puddles in Hong Kong, or the importance of research in writing.

    I was recently with a group of my 23-year-old son’s friends, chatting about our recent trip to the UK as a fact-finding mission for my next series of novels.

‘Do you really need to do that?’ one of them asked.

Before I could say anything, my son who’d lived in Hong Kong for nearly half his life gave an excellent example of why I did need to make this trip.

‘I saw a TV show that had an episode in Hong Kong,’ he said.

‘What was wrong with it?’ I said. ‘Rickshaws and big lanterns? Coolies in conical hats?’

‘Nothing quite that bad, but they had people going to someone’s house – and it was huge. With wooden walls, and traditional Chinese windows. Nobody in Hong Kong lives in a house like that. I just laughed.’

He’s right, and it ruined the authenticity of the show for him. That’s why I had to make the trip the UK. I would never try to write about a place unless I’d visited it myself, and I would never write about living in a place until I’d lived there.

If you’ve never lived in Hong Kong, you wouldn’t be aware of day-to-day annoying issues like the chronic shortage of coins (yes, money coins) that generates a thriving market for elderly women to camp out on bank doorsteps. Or the fact that anything left in a public place for more than two minutes is public property and liable to be taken. Or that you never step in puddles on the pavement, because they indicate a dripping air conditioner overhead. Or that the red-topped mini busses that have ‘Daimaru’ as the destination actually stop at a nearby street because twenty years ago the stop was moved from the front of Daimaru – which hasn’t existed for ten years anyway.

I’m setting part of my next series inNorth Wales, specifically on Holy Island, part of Anglesey. I spent a great deal of time on Google Earth making virtual visits and checking the history, but when it came to the crunch and I was going to write about it, I had to go.

I learnt a great deal about the place that would have been impossible otherwise. Details like the local Chinese restaurant offering ‘rice or chips’ as an accompaniment to their chop suey. The fact that the shiny new Tesco’s a little out of town has killed the main street. The three-thousand-year-old standing stones, Penrhos Feilw, are in someone’s back yard, and the wind whistles across that field and it’s bitter.

The colours – the yellow of the heather that was everywhere on the island – the weather, which was windy and sometimes very cold, and the friendly laconic nature of the people, made it an experience that imprinted itself on me, and will make my descriptions of the island that much more accurate. A virtual visit to the Iron Age Hut Circles didn’t let me see the spectacular view or feel the biting cold wind that made my ears hurt – in late spring!

Now that I’ve made the visit, I’m completely prepared for the next volume in my series. And I need to make a trip to Japan, because I want to set something there!

Read more about Kylie’s inspirations and challenges in moving between countries and roles in yesterday’s SMH article:

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/living-in-two-worlds-20110827-1jf9r.html

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How to Save a Planet

 

Journey By Night

 Journey by Night – A fast-paced story of fantasy and occult adventure, astrology and martial arts…
Comment to win!

Kreshkali and Nell have only one task – to save the planet. Of course, I am not making it easy for them. With the September 1st launch of Journey by Night the theme of saving the planet certainly comes to the forefront.

Both Quantum E. series focus on magic, intimacy, shape-shifting, witchcraft and martial arts with all the action playing against the backdrop of two worlds – Gaela, a magical hegemony where energy is derived from thought, and a future Earth where environmental disaster, geo-engineering, totalitarian governments and tectonic plate shifts have taken things to a horrific extreme. Journey by Night concludes a six book saga begun with The Spell of Rosette, wrapping up every thread. (If you can think of anything I left out, email me!)

I’m not going to say how it ends for Earth or Gaela, but I can assert that ten years of research into worst case scenarios has brought me to some terrible, as well as enlightening, conclusions. It has been quite a journey into the current state of our environment and where we can find ways to reverse the global threats hanging over us. Some ideas are embedded in my books but I’ll give you my short list here.

Steps to Saving the Planet

1) Awareness –Ritual magic, witchcraft, deliberate creation, prayer, chanting, evoking, shamanism … these are all words that describe a state of being—a state of awareness. We get what we are and the witch, shaman, devotee or the ‘regular Joe’ can practice deliberately the art of awareness. This is the #1 key to making a difference in the world. It’s called know thyself.

2) Intention – Setting an intention is the next step. You might start with saying I am making a difference. I am going to accomplish  . . . I am discovering . . . I am grateful for . . .  Just start by saying, ‘I am . . .’ and follow with your heart.

3) Meditation – We do not emphasis the stillness and listening aspect of being in our culture but the benefits for the entire planet are well documented. Over 500 studies have been completed on the physiological, psychological, and sociological effects of TM meditation, making it perhaps the most intensively studied technique in the field of human development. Who’s tried it?

4) Contribution – From an evolutionary biologist’s point of view, human beings are hardwired to connect to 150 others. That’s right, 150 people/beings that we know intimately and care for and relate to. Given this, it’s easy to see why so many people feel like something’s missing. (It accounts for why we LOVE the characters in books, celebrities and public figures. They become ‘our people’.) By making a contribution of energy, time, intention, support, we extend our connections to others while participating in the evolution of our planet.

Which of these four steps do you like the most? Post a comment and be in the hat to win a Kim Falconer book of your choice. Most interesting comment wins! We’ll choose a winner by the end of the week ( 26th Aug ).

Quantum Encryption Series

Kim Falconer’s latest book, Journey by Night is out September 1st.  It is #3 in the Quantum Encryption Series. As well as her author website, she runs an astrology and law of attraction forum, trains with a sword and is completing a Masters degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on a whole new series.

Rhonda Roberts talks Gladiatrix and news on Hoodwink!

Start Reading Now

Rowena Cory Daniells has posted a fab interview with our own Rhonda Roberts, author of Gladiatrix, where she talks about getting published, gender in fantasy and what’s coming up next for her time travelling heroine Kannon Dupree.

We’re thrilled to announce that Rhonda’s much anticipated next book Hoodwink will hit the shelves in January 2012.

Now we know it’s not close enough for some Gladiatrix fans so here’s a little bit more info to keep you going:

A perfectly preserved body, covered in Mayan occult tattoos, is discovered embedded in the concrete floor beneath the set of a teen werewolf TV series. The police identify the man as Earl Curtis, a famous director who went missing in 1939 while working on Gone with the Wind. Hired to investigate, Kannon returns to old Hollywood. But in the present someone is stalking the remaining witnesses.

Check out the interview here.

Feeling the Passion- Byron Bay Writers’ Festival 2011

Fiona McIntosh

Fiona McIntosh

Voyager authors Fiona McIntosh, Traci Harding and Kim Falconer lit up the fifteenth annual Bryon Bay Writers’ Festival with explanations of quantum physics, the relationship between myths and fantasy, authors and editors, animal totems and how best to portray ‘the sounds of screams from the dungeon.’ They certainly kept some of the literary minded on their toes with spontaneously insights and new perspectives.

 Ideas about writing and the how-to of publishing were bantered about and questions like what is speculative fiction exactly . . . and how do you go about world building . . . were answered in depth. One panellist nearly fell out of her chair when the Voyager authors started talking about their daily word counts (three thousand words a day an upwards) and their rigorous publishing schedule (between one and three books a year). It’s quite a contrast to some of the other writers and made for a lot of spirited debate.

kim_traci

Kim Falconer & Traci Harding

 Sessions from the Nuts and Bolts of writing workshop, the how-to of online presence to Bad Boys: Writing Dark Heroes to Die For gave emerging writers plenty to think about over the six consecutive days of events. Thursday the 4th was the secondary school day- think crowded tents, attentive audiences and wildly varying questions. One young girl asking Traci Harding for advice on when to start a new paragraph and her answer had the teachers taking notes.

 The main panels and events were held over the weekend, August 5th  – 7th  under a warm sunny sky and big high top tents. As always, it was a festival not only for the mind but for the senses as the theme of passion infused every topic. Byron Bay is one of the favoured festivals of the region not only for the beautiful seaside venue but for the moments captured that can never be repeated with their conversations unscripted and panels uniquely composed. Congratulations to the new director, Candida Baker on a marvellous achievement!

kim_traci_fiona 

 

 

 

 

Kim Falconer, Traci Harding and Fiona McIntosh