• 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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Bran the Betrayer Part 2 ( a short story by K.J. Taylor )

Looking for some weekend reading? Here’s part 2 of the new short story by K.J. Taylor, set in the world of her Fallen Moon Trilogy. Thanks again K.J !

Bran the Betrayer Pt. 2

The next day the three of them left for Canran. Bran had modified Kraeya’s harness, attaching a belt which he strapped around Laela’s waist just in case he lost hold of her. But he kept his arms around her as well, to keep her warm. She was used to flying on griffinback by now, and spent a good part of the journey sleeping or playing with Kraeya’s neck feathers. Bran was relieved.

Kraeya might have said she didn’t know the way to Canran, but she fumbled her way to it so well that she could have fooled Bran. Over the next day or so she flew back toward the Northgate Mountains, and then followed them westward. The mountains curved southward when they reached the coastline, and Canran had been built there, not far from the coast, just North of the Feather River at the very edge of the mountains.

Bran knew that Canran was sometimes called the Cliff City, but he didn’t understand why until he saw it with his own eyes – and when he did, he marvelled. Right at the edge of the mountains, a huge cliff of red stone sheltered a valley. Canran had been built in that valley; houses and buildings all made of blocks of red stone. There was no Eyrie in sight – at least, not at first glance. But a second glance showed the truth: the cliff that overlooked Canran was the Eyrie. Windows and entrances had been carved into it, straight into the cliff-face. Griffins flew in and out of those openings like wasps around a nest.

Bran could scarcely believe his eyes. When he was younger, he had thought that Eagleholm was the greatest city in Cymria, and had never believed that any of the others could compete with it. But now he saw Canran, he realised that Eagleholm had never been close to the greatest city in the South, or the most spectacular. He decided, right there and then, that if he had to choose a new home then he could do a lot worse than this place, and if he could stay here, he would.

‘Magnificent!’ Kraeya screeched over the wind in their ears.

Bran had to agree with that.

The flat clifftop that doubled as the Eyrie roof had been turned into a garden, festooned with a surprisingly lush array of plants. Kraeya flew up there and landed by the base of a huge old tree.

‘We must wait here,’ she said as Bran unstrapped Laela and climbed down off her back. ‘They will have seen us already.’

Sure enough, the Canran griffins had spotted them. Just as it had been in Malvern on their first arrival, a small group of local griffins quickly appeared to challenge the intruders. Kraeya immediately bowed her head to them.

‘I am Kraeya,’ she said. ‘And this is my human, Branton Redguard. We have come to swear ourselves to the master of this territory.’

The Canran griffins relaxed at that.

‘Many others have come here to say those words,’ one of them said. ‘Dekrak and his human will come here soon. Do not move until then.’

Obediently, Bran and Kraeya stayed where they were, closely guarded by the Canran griffins. Their captors still looked a little edgy – Bran could tell from the twitching of their tails. But that was normal. Griffins were very territorial creatures, and always reacted with hostility when a stranger arrived. He stayed close to Kraeya, and kept hold of Laela, who was peering curiously at the strange griffins. She had grown up around griffins, at least, and wasn’t afraid of them. If only she weren’t a half-breed, then Bran would have expected her to become a griffiner herself some day.

After a tense wait, Canran’s dominant griffin arrived – climbing up through a concealed entrance somewhere in the garden. His human walked beside him.

The two of them came to confront their visitors, and stopped for a moment to size them up. Bran did the same in return.

Dekrak was a large male griffin, with dark brown feathers. The fur on his hindquarters was a lighter, caramel brown, and he had an attractive light stripe over each eye.

Lord Holm, meanwhile, was a small man – a head shorter than Bran himself, and a lot less muscular. That might have made him unimpressive to some, but for a griffiner, being small and light was a big advantage. Besides, while Bran wore his old leather guard armour over a grubby tunic, Lord Holm was dressed in rich blue velvet decorated with feathers and trimmed with expensive fur. His face was small and scholarly, but when he spoke his voice had all the refined command of a true Eyrie Master.

‘Good afternoon. My name is Eyrie Master Holm, and this is my partner Dekrak.’

As if on cue, Dekrak moved forward toward Kraeya. The other griffins there moved away, and Kraeya went forward, head still submissively low, and allowed the dominant griffin to inspect her. Dekrak shoved her roughly with his beak while he scented her feathers, and because she was female he pushed her lower with his forepaw and roughly groomed the back of her neck with his beak – a male’s way of showing dominance to a female.

‘What is your name and where have you flown from?’ he asked abruptly while he ran his sharp beak through her feathers.

‘I am Kraeya and I have flown from Malvern,’ she said. ‘But I was hatched at Eagleholm.’

‘And why have you come here?’ asked Dekrak.

‘Eagleholm is destroyed, and Malvern has been lost,’ said Kraeya. ‘My human and I have come to serve you.’

‘Many griffins have come here from Malvern,’ said Dekrak. His grooming became a little rougher. ‘Some were allowed to stay, but others we chased away. They flew on to Withypool, or to Wylam. Why should we welcome you here, Kraeya?’

If Kraeya disliked the treatment she was getting from him, she didn’t show it. ‘We held the place of Master of War at Malvern. We are fighters, and killed many enemies in the war.’

‘And yet you were defeated,’ Dekrak said harshly. ‘Yes?’

‘One griffin cannot fight an army,’ said Kraeya. ‘The unpartnered griffins of Malvern betrayed us.’

‘Only a weak griffin flees from a fight,’ said Dekrak.

‘Or one who has too much sense to die for a lost cause,’ said Kraeya. ‘We know that you and your human have sent your inferiors to fight for Eagleholm’s lands. There is a need for fighters now.’

‘But not for cowards,’ said Dekrak.

‘We are not cowards.’ Kraeya hissed and pulled back slightly. ‘If I must prove it, then I will fight you.’

Dekrak abruptly let her go. ‘We need griffins and humans who can fight,’ he said. ‘I will allow you to stay. But if this city is attacked and you flee from the fighting as you did in Malvern, then you may never return.’

‘I accept this,’ said Kraeya. ‘And so does my human.’

We’ll post up Part 3 next Friday 2nd March!

K.J Taylor is the author of the Fallen Moon Trilogy:

The Dark Griffin, The Griffin’s Flight & The Griffin’s War

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Are you game to eat like they do in Game of Thrones?

   The Gastro Park restaurant in King’s Cross Sydney are putting on an amazing Game of Thrones inspired menu designed by Chef Grant King next month from the 7th March to coincide with the DVD release of Season 1 of the TV show.

Featuring roast pork served on a mossy plank, mozzerella eyeballs, pepper raven’s feet and dragon egg desserts, all served by wait staff dressed as Westeros natives, it sounds like the perfect night out for any serious Song of Ice and Fire fans! I must admit, the eyeballs are kinda disturbing, but other dishes sound fantastic.

Most of the Voyager crew are keen to try it out, but would you? Let us know! Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go, and rest assured, we WILL blog about it if we do!

Check out some more photos here and read more about how they made the dishes here.

 

Bran the Betrayer Part 1 ( a short story by K.J. Taylor )

Looking for some weekend reading? Here’s part 1 of a brand new short story by K.J. Taylor, set in the world of her Fallen Moon Trilogy. Thanks K.J !

Bran the Betrayer

The sun went dark in the sky. Griffins fought and died in the air.

Malvern fell, and Bran fled.

His partner Kraeya flew for her life, over a city in flames. Once or twice an enemy griffin made a rush at her, but the red griffin skillfully avoided them, and none of them persisted. She wasn’t attacking, after all, but fleeing, and in a griffin fight the loser had to flee, cower, or die. A griffin running or flying away wasn’t a threat.

Bran huddled down on her back, holding on with difficulty. Normally he would have wrapped his arms around her neck, but he couldn’t now. He held onto her harness as well as he could, all his focus on that, and on protecting the little bundle he clutched to his chest.

His mind had gone blank, unable to take in the horrors of that day. That awful day. The voice still lingered in his ears, as if it chased him out of the city.

Get out of my city, get out of my land, and never come back! Go!

But Bran had no wish at all to stay, not any more. Everything was destroyed. Everything he had ever cared about, gone.

Eagleholm had been torn apart, and now his new home was lost as well. And it was his best friend who had done it. Or the monster his best friend had become.

For a long time, Bran had deluded himself that it wouldn’t come to this – that Arren would never do such a thing. After all, on their last meeting the man who would be ruler of the North had remembered his old friend. More than that, he had saved his life and set him free. But Bran remembered the warning Arren had given him before they parted ways.

I’m losing my memory, Bran. One day I won’t remember who Arren Cardockson was at all. You’ve got to take Flell out of there. Take her away, far away. Never let me find her, or I’ll kill her!

And Bran had said that he would, but he hadn’t kept that promise. He hadn’t taken Flell away, hadn’t believed that Arren really would forget who he used to be. But Arren had forgotten, and the man who had once been Bran’s friend was gone forever. Consumed by the Dark Lord Arenadd. And it wasn’t Arren who had done this, it was Arenadd. Arenadd who led his followers to overrun Malvern.

Arenadd who had murdered Flell as she tried to protect her child from him – the child he could not know was his own daughter.

But Arenadd did not kill the child. She was alive and Bran had saved her. He didn’t know if he had truly gotten through to whatever remained of his old friend, or if Arenadd simply couldn’t bring himself to murder an infant. But whatever it was, it had saved the child. Arenadd had commanded Bran to take her away and never let him find her.

So all was not lost. Not quite. Bran fought through his despair to see that. He still had Kraeya, and he still had his adopted daughter, and he would dedicate the rest of his life to taking care of her. She would need it. She was an orphan now, and a half breed as well, and without Bran she wouldn’t stand a chance. Hopefully, having a griffiner as her father would be enough to keep her safe, but it wouldn’t be easy. Northerners were already disliked and distrusted in the South, and after the war it would become even worse. And if anyone ever kne w that she was the daughter of the most feared and hated man in the South, her life would not be worth living. Most likely she would be murdered. Guilty by blood.

It was enough to keep Bran going over the next few weeks. He and Kraeya escaped from Malvern, and barely stopped until they were past the Northgate Mountains and safely back in the South. There they took shelter wherever they could, in villages and small griffiner outposts. Bran had no money, but commoners revered griffins, and they gave him and Kraeya food and shelter.

Fortunately the child was old enough not to need nursing any more, but Bran felt completely inadequate as he tried to care for her. How was he supposed to know what she needed? He had helped Flell look after her back in Malvern, but Flell seemed to have some kind of instinct to know what to do which Bran lacked. He’d never spent any time with children other than his foster daughter in his whole life. He felt like a big, lumbering idiot who was in completely over his head.

‘What’re we gonna do?’ he asked Kraeya one night, while they sheltered in a barn. Rain pounded on the roof, and the baby was crying again, and he couldn’t figure out why or what he should do about it.

The red griffin lay on her belly and looked out through the partly open door. She sighed like an old dog. ‘We cannot live in nests such as these forever. We must find a new Eyrie, and quickly.’

Bran had only ever gained a crude understanding of griffish, and he listened carefully while she spoke. He managed to pick up the gist of it, and frowned to himself.

‘Find an Eyrie, yeh say?’

‘Yes,’ Kraeya said patiently. She was fairly docile as griffins went, which was why she hadn’t bitten him for his terrible griffish. ‘This is no home for us.’

‘Right,’ said Bran. ‘An’ we should be quick because there’s gonna be other griffiners what got away looking for new homes.’

‘That is true,’ said Kraeya.

Bran did his best to comfort the wailing baby. ‘There, there, Laela. It’s all right. Which one’re we gonna go to, then?’

‘Canran is the closest,’ said Kraeya. ‘They have sent many partnered griffins away to fight for Eagleholm’s territory, so they will welcome newcomers.’

‘All right, then,’ said Bran. He was prepared to trust her judgement over his own, even though she was just as inexperienced as him. ‘Do yeh know the way there?’ he added.

‘I do not, but I shall find it,’ Kraeya said confidently. ‘It is Northward, near the mountains. It should not be far to go.’

‘Let’s do it, then,’ said Bran, feeling a little relieved that they at least had something approaching a plan. ‘I heard as the Eyrie Master there’s called Lord Holm. Dunno what his partner’s called.’

‘Dekrak,’ said Kraeya. She yawned. ‘Rest now, and we will fly to him in the morning.’

They might have rested after that, but neither of them got much sleep. Kraeya sleepily kept watch, while Bran tried hopelessly to comfort Laela. Even though she wasn’t quite a year old yet, it was as if she had some idea of what had happened to her mother, and what she had barely escaped from. Bran wished that his own memory of it could be as vague as hers must be.

‘It’s all right,’ he kept telling her, wondering who he was really trying to convince. ‘It’s all right. Laela.’ He held her close. ‘Laela, yeh safe. I swear. I’ll keep yeh safe. He can’t find yeh here, never . . .’

But Laela didn’t seem to believe him, and she didn’t stop crying for a long time. When she did, she finally fell asleep. Exhausted, most likely.

After that Bran, already half asleep, finally drifted off as well, one arm wrapped protectively around his foster daughter and his free hand on the hilt of his sword.

We’ll post up Part 2 next Friday 24th Feb!

K.J Taylor is the author of the Fallen Moon Trilogy:

The Dark Griffin, The Griffin’s Flight & The Griffin’s War

An apology for ‘A Crown Imperilled’ error

Sometimes things go wrong in the complex process of publishing a book, but we do try to keep it to a minimum! This time a glitch has slipped through our safety net, and unfortunately it’s in the otherwise wonderful A Crown Imperilled. We at Voyager are not only the publishers of Ray’s work, we are also his fans, so this pains us deeply.

We would like to apologise wholeheartedly for any inconvenience the error may have caused you. We are aware of the fault, and are correcting it in the reprint. For a new copy, you should take the book back to the store from which you purchased it and they will exchange it for a credit or a replacement, when they are available. The corrected edition is identifiable by a jewel printed on the inside front jacket flap.

For those who have purchased the e-book edition, an updated version will be provided and available as a free download from your e-book retailer.

A note from Raymond E. Feist and Jane Johnson:

Dear Reader, Putting a book together is a collaborative undertaking, but ultimately the responsibility for errors falls to the author. Even if someone introduces an error in production, the author is given the opportunity to read the final manuscript and should spot it. A Crown Imperilled has such an error, one potentially annoying to the reader. In the last stage of production, I inadvertently inserted a much early draft version of part of one chapter in lieu of the final draft, which resulted in a continuity gaff. For this I deeply apologize, and will do my very best to not repeat such a mistake. It’s the first real gaff in thirty years, and doubly galling because I know how it was supposed to read. Thank you for years of support.’

-Raymond E. Feist

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‘It’s not fair that Ray should shoulder all the blame. I was the editor in charge of getting a perfect book to press, and in the midst of a white-hot edit I missed the fact that suddenly Pug was in two places at once! Editors are supposed to be infallible (it’s our job), but I fear I was swept away by the story, reading like a reader and not like an editor. After 27 years you’d think I’d have got that one down. And then the proofreader, whose job it is to sweep up after both of us, missed it as well. I am so sorry: we pride ourselves on the quality – both in terms of the writer’s imagination and of our production – of Voyager novels, and I sincerely hope the glitch will not spoil this wonderful novel for you.’

Jane Johnson, Publishing Director

Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival in Hobart this weekend

This sounds fantastic! If we were able to get to Hobart this weekend, we’d be there!  ( thanks to Tansy Rayner Roberts for the heads up. ) Here’s the official press release:

  Hobart Tasmania will host a film festival with a difference this month, with the inaugural Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival in Hobart from 17 to 19 February.

It will screen dark, subversive and entertaining films by women, from exploitation to art house, gore to ghost stories. It takes its name from the teen horror novel by Lois Duncan, inspired by archetypes like the ‘mad woman in the attic’ and the ‘evil twin.’

Stranger With My Face is the creation of award-winning Tasmanian filmmakers Briony Kidd and Rebecca Thomson and is an official ‘Women in Horror Recognition Month’ event.

It will feature two blocks of short horror films by women on 18 February, including a showcase of films from the Viscera Film Festival, a US-based festival which starts in LA and tours its ‘sick chick flicks’ around the world.

The festival will also screen the outrageous feature film Dead Hooker in a Trunk on 17 February.

Directed by and starring Canadian twin sisters Sylvia and Jen Soska, Dead Hooker has become a low-budget surprise hit on the genre circuit, championed by cult horror director Eli Roth.

The short film selection includes a twisted tale about a female hitchhiker from Canada’s Karen Lam, Doll Parts, and a poignant take on the idea of being haunted by a past relationship in Emily Carmichael’s The Ghost and Us. There’s the moving The Last Post (written and directed by Axelle Carolyn and starring British character actor Jean Marsh) and Tasmanian werewolf chiller Tahune’s Beast (directed by Joshua Llewellyn and produced by Catherine McClintock).

The festival includes a series of talks and workshops on topics as varied as writing suspense for theatre, why spooky music works, Italian ‘giallo’ cinema, true crime literature and creating special effects horror make-up.

Finally, Stranger With My Face boasts a unique scriptwriting competition, the 10 By 10 Horror Script Challenge. Registered participants have 10 days to come up with a bold, brilliant short horror script.

“We have over 60 registered participants for the challenge, which started on 1 February and will conclude on 10 February,” says Rebecca Thomson. “That’s pretty amazing. We didn’t expect that many people to sign up.”

Participants range from professional writers, such as playwrights and poets, to horror fans. The winning script will be given a live reading and feedback from high profile judges.

The judges are horror journalist Heidi Honeycutt, renowned Australian film critic Adrian Martin, filmmakers Donna McRae and Victoria Waghorn, Canadian producer and filmmaker Karen Lam and fantasy novelist Tansy Rayner Roberts.

BACKGROUND

Contrary to popular belief, women love horror films. This was demonstrated by a string of big budget horror hits last decade driven by female audiences, from The Ring to the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

And yet, for as long as films have been made, female fans of horror have been offered up the cinematic nightmares of almost exclusively male filmmakers.

Troma Entertainments’s Lloyd Kaufman recently commented, “Unfortunately, and counter intuitively, the genre of horror seems, to me, to be the most male chauvinistic area in pop culture.”

But this seems to be changing. More and more women are beginning to make horror films…

“Horror is the genre that most taps into the subconscious of the society, reflecting back to us our concerns, and our deepest nightmares,” says filmmaker and festival organiser Briony Kidd.

“There’s room for incredible diversity in this genre and horror fans really embrace new ideas and new voices. The festival is a celebration of that.”

So what do the horror films of women say about the concerns and fears of women in today’s world? And is there such a thing as a uniquely ‘female’ approach to horror?

These are questions best left for audiences to argue about on the way home…

For the organisers of Stranger With My Face, it’s enough to be able to bring the fresh and exciting work of women genre filmmakers to audiences.

———

Stranger With My Face Horror Film Festival ~ 17-19 February

Salamanca Arts Centre, 77 Salamanca Place, Hobart

For more information about this event contact Briony Kidd and Rebecca Thomson by emailing: swmfhff@gmail.com

For film, program and ticketing information, see www.strangerwithmyface.com or follow the festival on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SWMFHH

Journey by Night trailer

Check out Kim Falconer’s new trailer for Journey by Night. It’s pretty awesome, well done Kim!

Reign of Beasts Launch pics!

Photo by Tehani

Tansy Rayner Roberts had a fantastic Launch at Hobart Bookshop  for her latest book Reign of Beasts!

She has loads of great pics up on her blog and there are more taken by her friend available in Flickr here. Check them out!