• 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!



Voyager and Swancon – a happy combination

Voyager authors, family and friends gathered at Chez Pierre for wine, food and great company

This time last week, I was in Perth, preparing for the start of Swancon 36, the 50th National Science Fiction Convention. At that point, it was just a blur of potential, a string of days that could either be great or not.

Now, it’s over and I’m happy to report that the word ‘great’ doesn’t even begin to describe Swancon. It was a particularly great con for Voyager – A.A. Bell’s Diamond Eyes took out the Norma K Hemming award and Tansy Rayner RobertsPower and Majesty won the Ditmar Award for Best Novel.

On Saturday afternoon, Tansy, Glenda Larke and I sat with HarperCollins WA rep Theresa Anns on a panel entitled ‘Meet the Voyager authors’. After giggling over Theresa’s question of how Voyager queen Stephanie Smith hogtied us to get our novels (if you’ve ever met Stephanie you’ll know how ridiculous an image that is – although I’m still having issues with the rope burns…) we discussed the journey to becoming part of the Voyager clan and how we’ve been enjoying it.

Someone (I think it might have been Theresa) asked if being a Voyager author meant being part of a community. At first, we answered no – the three of us had known each other before Voyager took our books and our friendships extended beyond.

Jonathan Strahan obviously enjoying himself

But as we kept talking, we realised that in fact, there was a community of authors out there. There are folks that we’ve only met the once or twice but feel we know through the internet, such as Mary Victoria or Kim Falconer. Then there’s the people we get to meet just through being with Voyager, such as Duncan Lay and Bevan McGuiness. Then there’s the authors that aren’t published with Voyager Australia any more but are still part of the clan at these events – Simon Brown, Sean Williams, Trudi Canavan.

All this became clear later on Saturday when we Voyager mob (with a few ring-ins) went out for dinner. It’s something that happens often at conventions – a chance for us all to sit and chat and you know what – there is definitely a family feel to these things. We catch up, we laugh, we joke, we have fun.

Tansy Rayner Roberts, bookseller Robin Pen and myself ordered the snails - how could you not? Tansy loved them.

My snails, before they were devoured. Delicious, my friends. The venison was good too.

And that’s just the authors – I know that there’s a network of readers out there as well. I wasn’t part of the famous Purple Zone – the forums that used to run on the Voyager website – but I know a lot of those folks are still in touch and at Worldcon, there was a Purple Zone dinner. And this blog is now the heart of the Voyager community in Australia and it’s great to be able to share news and ideas and find out what is going on in each other’s lives.

Later this year is another convention that will prove to be a highlight for Voyager. At Conflux (Sep 28-Oct 1, Canberra) Voyager web-mistress and HarperCollins digital editor Natalie Costa Bir is going to be a guest. I’m looking forward to another opportunity to connect with the Voyager family (authors, editors and readers) and continue to celebrate the fabulous work that Voyager is publishing.

Nicole Murphy lives in Canberra with her husband Tim. She is the author of the Dreams of Asarlai trilogy, which starts with Secret Ones and is wonderfully active at Conflux and other conventions.

Win a Voyager Christmas Gift Pack worth over $200!

It’s nearly Christmas and Voyager has the most fabulous present to put under the tree.  We’re celebrating the year that was with this awesome prize pack of some of our best and brightest stars of 2010. Begin a new adventure with the following books that are sure to keep you occupied all summer long:

Secret Ones by Nicole Murphy
Diamond Eyes By AA Bell
Path of the Stray by Kim Falconer
Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane
Tymon’s Flight by Mary Victoria
Spellwright by Blake Charlton
Slave of Sondelle by Bevan McGuiness
Pilgrims by Will Elliott
Power and Majesty by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Being of the Field by Traci Harding

One lucky winner will win them all while 4 runners will receive the book of their choice from this collection.  To win answer the following question in 25 words or less:

What book are you most looking forward to reading in 2011 and why?

Email your answers to promotions@harpercollins.com.au by 5:00pm on Friday 17th December!

Need some inspiration? Check out some 2011 sneak peeks here

The Devil’s Diadem by Sara Douglass
Heaven to Wudang by Kylie Chan
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Power Unbound by Nicole Murphy
Road to the Soul by Kim Falconer
Samiha’s Song by Mary Victoria
Seventh Wave by Paul Garrety
Shattered City by Tansy Rayner Roberts
Twilight’s Dawn by Anne Bishop
Undivided by Jennifer Fallon

Competition terms and conditions

  1. Information on how to enter forms part of the terms and conditions of entry. Promoter is HarperCollins Publishers Pty Limited ABN 36 009 913 517, 25 Ryde Road, Pymble NSW 2073, Australia.
  2. Competition closes at 5pm Friday 17th December 2010 (AEST).
  3. Entry is open to Australian & New Zealand residents only.
  4. Entry is closed to employees (and their immediate families), agencies or trade customers of HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd and its associated companies.
  5. All entries are via e-mail only. The competition requires entrants to answer a question.
  6. Entries close 5pm Friday 17th December 2010 (AEST) and entrants may enter one (1) time only.
  7. This is a game of skill in which chance plays no part.
  8. The judge’s decision in relation to any aspect of this competition is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  9. First prize consists of a copy of Secret Ones, Diamond Eyes, Path of the Stray, Unholy Ghosts, Tymon’s Flight, Spellwright, Slave of Sondelle, Pilgrims, Power and Majesty, Being of the Field. Four runners up will receive a copy of a book of their choice from the above list.
  10. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash.
  11. All prizes will be awarded. The prize will be awarded the business day following the competition closing date, 5pm Friday 17th December 2010 (AEST) at 25 Ryde Road, Pymble NSW 2073.
  12. The cost of entering the competition is limited to the cost of individuals telephone charges and Internet access rates.
  13. The promoter shall not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever suffered (including but not limited to direct or consequential loss) or personal injury suffered or sustained in relation to use of this prize.
  14. All entries received remain the property of HarperCollins Pty Ltd and may be used for additional promotions.

Sneak Peek: Slave of Sondelle by Bevan McGuiness

Don’t fret if you love great fantasy but you’re not at AussieCon4. Here’s a sneak peek at Perth-based author Bevan McGuiness’s upcoming book, the first in the Eleven Kingdoms trilogy. Bevan is also the author of the Triumvirate trilogy, which began with The Awakening.

He stopped digging.
The only sound he heard was his own laboured breathing; his panting breath disturbed the dirt in front of his face. The darkness was total — he could not see his own hands, or the blood he knew was welling from his torn nails and scraped knuckles. He lifted his head slightly, bumping on the top of the tunnel.
There it was again — that sound. With an effort, he controlled his breathing, trying to listen for whatever it was he’d heard twice now. His heart thumped in his chest, but he managed to quieten its frantic pace with a calming exercise he’d learned. In the silence, he listened again.
Dripping. Was it water? A moment’s fear swept over him. Where was he? Had he gone too far? Was there a river or a lake nearby? His fingers gripped the dirt, feeling the moistness. Had he been wrong to assume the moisture was his blood? In the dark, with the earth all around him, he felt the panic start to take hold. He became aware of the tiny hole he was in, how far beneath the surface he was, how far away from his dank — but safe — cell. Fear shifted to unreason, unreason moved towards panic, and panic looked at terror.
It took a great effort, but he wrested control of his mind and body back from an abyss of terror. Down there he saw his own death awaiting him.

Read on.

Getting lost in fandom by Bevan McGuiness

Swancon 2010. All the glitz, all the glamour, all the fun.

Once again, I found myself awake and driving down a deserted freeway way too early on Good Friday, heading for Swancon. At least this time I knew what to expect – or thought I did at least. I mean, this was my third Con, in a row. I’m an old hand at this, I know how Cons work.

Of course, as soon as I get there I register, pick up my registration package and go straight for the rules of the Convention. I was not disappointed. Over the years I have been to far too many conferences and various meetings and they never have cool rules like Swancon and 2010 did not let me down, there it was: rule 6 – “nudity is not a costume”.

I love Swancon.

After the rules, it was into the panels. Straight into the chance to enjoy the open slather that is fandom. There were parasites – horrible little beasties that see us as walking buffets – steampunk – is it just an aesthetic or is it more a way of life, now that was a heated exchange! – and of course horror – just what is it that makes us want to get scared? And what scares us today, is it sparkly vampires or nanotech gone mad?

Having discovered the joy of podcast novels – www.podiobooks.com – I was keen to hear and meet Scott Sigler. He also did not disappoint, but still there is always that curious dichotomy between what lies within and what is the public persona. Meeting the lively, hyped up Scott, I was left with the eternal question – so how did this (he asks, pointing at the book ‘Contagious’) come out of that (pointing at the amusing, articulate Scott)?

Ah the mysteries of writing.

There were also the panels devoted to fans’ exploration of the world that so fascinates them – NASA, Spaceflight, Anime – where the always articulate and intelligent observers of the world gather to discuss (at an intellectual level that puts most conferences to shame) areas where art and science meet. I had never before considered the sociological impact of Anime. As a panel I had imagined would be just for fun, I came away very thoughtful.

But of course, there were those there where we could simply embrace our fandom and revel in the geekiness that lured us here in the first place. It is a world where Jedi training and writing a live action fight scene lie beside Science fiction B movies, Iron Brain – geek endurance, Buffy, Xena, Geek Japan, Astroboy and a sing along devoted to our favourite TV themes – oh how the list goes on.

On top of all that, there is the gaming, the art show, the Masquerade ball and catching up with everyone from previous Cons. As always, Swancon did not disappoint – more fun than you could poke a lightsabre (or a broadsword, or wand, or cool steam-powered gear-driven thingy that goes ping) at.

Bevan McGuinness is the author of The Awakening, The First Weapon and The Way of Purity, the three books that make up the Triumvirate.  He attended SwanCon over the Easter long weekend. Bevan lives in Perth and is working on a new fantasy trilogy to be published by Voyager  at the end of the year.

Bevan McGuiness: Coming third is still a winner!

Bevan McGuiness recently launched his new book (the final instalment in the Triumvirate Trilogy), The Way of Purity, at Dymocks Fremantle. He does a quick round up for us, below.

Bevan signs away!

Bevan signs away!

It’s funny how things can change. When my first book was published by Voyager it was “wow” and “that’s wonderful” and other sounds of great excitement from all around. When the third book was published it was more like ‘Yeah, that’s cool. Did you see the Eagles match on the weekend?” (Being a Fremantle supporter, no I did not see the Eagles get thumped again on the weekend. I enjoyed it, but I certainly did not watch it.)

Nevertheless, I was bouncing around like a teenager when the third book arrived, all crisp and shiny in the box from Voyager. The book launch was set for Friday afternoon at 4:30 in Fremantle. I’ve always liked Fremantle and when the opportunity from Dymock’s came, I was happy. It was back into the address book to send invitations to everyone in there, not to mention a stack taken to work – and I have to admit I gave some to my daughter to take to school.

Dymock’s Fremantle has a lovely little café area at the back of the shop, and they put on wine and food which was very well received by all. It was great when people started to wander in and look at the posters on the wall and come and have a chat, and then, even better, when they bought a copy of the book. Some even bought all three!

The Way of Purity launch gets underway

The Way of Purity launch gets underway

I don’t know how many books we sold, but it was a good time and afterwards a few of us went down to the Cappuccino Strip for pizza. So even if the third book never seems quite so exciting as the first, believe me when I say, it is even more so for us writers.

The Awakening, First Weapon and The Way of Purity are all out now.

Dalek-table Times at SwanCon for Bevan McGuiness

Bevan McGuiness
(pic of Bevan at left courtesy of Glenda Larke) 
It all started on Good Friday – what am I doing awake at 7 o’clock? There are so many ways this is wrong. Compounding the wrong – a shower and a shave. Wrong wrong wrong. I’ve been reading Science Fiction since I was ten (Tom Swift, Hugh Walters, Doc Smith), Fantasy since I was thirteen (Tolkien, of course), playing D&D since I was 17 and writing fantasy for something like twenty years and I have never before been to Swancon. (Shame, shame), but here I am, wending my weary way on Good Friday to the All Seasons in Perth for my first Convention. (According to Glenda Larke I have the ‘Swancon virgin’ neon light flashing on my forehead, which explains the strange looks I got from people as I walked back to my car.) What can I expect?
A scene out of Galaxy Quest?
Klingon costumes?
Light saber wielding Darth Vaders? How many yodas can fit in a hotel lobby?
With a smile and a sense of apprehension, I take my medication, grab my program and cruise off into the sunrise. (Did I mention I hate daylight saving?)
The Tardis in the foyer was a dead giveaway. Here I was amongst kindred spirits. The full size Dalek that arrived on Saturday – ‘what all Daleks want to grow up to be’ according to manic pixie – completed the fun.

And what fun it was.

Panels on cyberpunk, space opera, aliens, meeting other authors – Trudi Canavan, Glenda Larke, Karen Miller, Sean Williams, Juliet Marillier among others – meeting Stephanie Smith (finally! after years of telephone and email) and even being on a couple of panels myself followed in a kaleidoscopic experience.

The First WeaponThe best bits for me were meeting so many people, talking to fans of fantasy and science fiction, listening to fascinating conversations and getting lots of books signed. Yes I know, I’m sort of one of the authors now, happy to be on the Voyager list, but still I love to meet the people whose work I have enjoyed reading. And the convention guidelines – ‘no costumes means no costumes’ and this was the first convention I have been to with a ‘no weapons’ clause, except for replica weapons that must be ‘peace bonded at all times’.

Sigh. All the Education conferences and academic conferences I have been to and nary a costume in sight and how much more fun would they be with costumes? (not to mention the occasional weapon!!!)

And so, I headed off for my last day at Swancon, hoping for more fun – might catch some quidditch, maybe build a spaceship, and you never know, there might be a jedi knight lurking somewhere. I went to the Jedi Knight training bootcamp. And yes, more Jedi knights than you could poke a light saber at. Could anyone ask for more?

Bevan McGuiness

SwanCon State of the Art

SwanCon is on next weekend. And one of the guest authors there is our very own Glenda Larke. Glenda will be doing a special blog post for us from the convention – and of course, she’ll be updating her own blog too.

And Glenda’s not the only one attending the convention … Sean Williams and K E Mills will both be there, launching their respective books: The Changeling and The Accidental Sorcerer — and they will both be guest blogging for us too.

Bevan McGuiness, author of The First Weapon will be there too, but we have yet to track him down and force a blog post from his writing hand! So keep an eye out here for all the latest from SwanCon 2008.

Late breaking news – Jonathan Strahan will be doing a bit of blogging for us too!