• 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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Fallen Moon Trilogy Audio Trailers

One of K.J. Taylor’s AMAZING fans has made some cool audio trailers for The Dark Griffin and The Griffin’s Flight! She’s also making one for The Griffin’s War. K.J. loves them so much she has plans to ask her to become her official trailer maker and do trailers for every book she puts out!
Have a listen here: The Dark Griffin Audio Trailer & Griffin’s Flight Audio Trailer

K.J. Taylor is the author of the Fallen Moon Trilogy & her new book The Shadow’s Heir is in stores now!

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

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Great reviews for Dark Griffin & Nightfall!

The Speculating on SpecFic blog has just posted up some great reviews for 2 Voyager books both new and old(ish)! Check out their review for Nightfall by Will Elliott here and if you loved reading her ongoing short story Bran the Betrayer here on the blog, check out the review for KJ Taylor’s first novel, The Dark Griffin. Thanks Shaheen!

Bran the Betrayer Part 20 ( a short story by K.J. Taylor )

Here’s the final part of the new short story by K.J. Taylor, set in the world of her Fallen Moon Trilogy AND her brand new book, The Shadow’s Heir!  Happy Friday reading Voyagers!

Bran the Betrayer Pt. 19

*

‘What home?’ Bran demanded. ‘She’s got no other family.’

‘That’s none of my concern,’ said Ruel. ‘It’s your business. Find a family that will take her, leave her at Guard’s Post for the Northerners to find – you can smother her with a pillow for all I care. But you cannot keep her and live here.’

‘Fine,’ Bran spat. ‘Then I’m leavin’.’

‘You cannot live in any Eyrie with that child,’ said Ruel. ‘If you keep her, I will legally exile you. Wylam will not want you, and Eagleholm is destroyed.’

‘Then I’ll go back to Canran,’ said Bran.

‘Canran is gone,’ said Ruel. ‘Lord Holm’s last followers decided not to accept our peace offer, and they suffered the consequences. Their Eyrie has been destroyed. Branton Redguard, I warn you one last time-,’ he pointed straight at Laela. ‘Rid the Eyrie of that child, or leave and never return.’

Continue reading

Bran the Betrayer Part 19 ( a short story by K.J. Taylor )

Here’s part 19 of the new short story by K.J. Taylor, set in the world of her Fallen Moon Trilogy AND her brand new book, The Shadow’s Heir! Happy friday reading Voyagers!

Bran the Betrayer Pt. 19

*

Another month and a half later, when Bran had finally healed enough to walk properly and go back to some semblance of normal living, he was allowed to move into a private set of chambers in the Eyrie, with Kraeya and Laela. He spent a few nights there, getting used to taking care of himself again. By now his broken ribs and the cut from Bloodtalons’ beak had healed, and the stab-wound had begun to form into a deep pit of a scar. It still gave him pain, and he knew it always would. The arm on that side felt weak, too, and sometimes at night the wound itself would flare up. It would keep him awake at night, sweating and gritting his teeth to stop himself from crying out.

He wondered how long he would be allowed to live in the Eyrie for free, before someone forced him to find a job or leave. But so far they seemed content to look after him.

Finally, one day when he felt he had recovered as much as he ever would, a summons arrived for him to go and see the Eyrie Master.

‘Guess it’s about a job,’ said Bran. ‘Eh, Kraeya?’

She shifted uneasily. ‘Yes… we should go at once.’

‘Right.’ Bran picked up Laela. ‘All right, girl, you gotta wait here a bit. We’ll be back soon.’

But Laela clung to his arm and whimpered, and he found he couldn’t bring himself to put her into her crib.

‘All right, then,’ he said. ‘You come with us. I’m sure Ruel won’t mind.’ Since he was still considered a traitor by many people in the Eyrie, maybe the sight of Laela’s sweet face would soften the Eyrie Master’s attitude.

‘Oh yes, he wants you to bring her,’ said the servant who’d brought the summons.

Bran looked up in surprise. ‘He does?’

‘Yes. Come on now. Don’t keep him waiting.’

Bran shrugged, and left the room. His wound was hurting again and Laela was heavy, so he put her down and let her walk beside him. She toddled along, by now fairly steady on her feet, and held his hand.

Kraeya followed. ‘I do not like this,’ she said quietly.

‘It’s all right,’ said Bran. ‘I ain’t a prisoner no more. It’s over. We’re all right.’

Kraeya said nothing, but her tail twitched as she followed her human and the servant up through the Eyrie. The Eyrie Master’s quarters were at the very top. They took up the entire top level of the building, although most of that was taken up by the audience chamber that adjoined his private quarters.

Eyrie Master Ruel was there waiting, with his partner Arakae.

When Bran arrived, Kraeya went ahead and Arakae came down to meet her. The two griffins sniffed at each other, and Kraeya bowed her head politely.

Once the two of them had relaxed and stood aside, Bran could approach the Eyrie Master.

‘Yeh wanted to see me, milord?’ he said.

Lord Ruel eyed him with some interest. He was a thin man in his sixties, but his hair was still mostly brown. ‘So you’re the famous Branton Redguard?’ he said.

‘I am,’ said Bran. ‘An’ this is Kraeya, an’ this is my daughter Laela.’

‘Yes…’ Ruel looked at Laela, who was staring back at him with interest. ‘I have heard of her as well. That’s why I summoned you here today.’

Bran paused. ‘Uh… really? Why?’

Ruel pointed at Laela. ‘Remove that hood. Now.’

Bran took a step back. ‘No. I mean, why should I?’

‘Because I am your Eyrie Master and I order you to,’ Ruel said sharply.

Bran knew there was nothing he could do. If he argued he would only make the man suspicious, and it was obvious that he already knew something anyway. Reluctantly, he knelt and gently untied the strings under Laela’s chin. She looked back solemnly as he took the hood off to reveal her secret.

Ruel looked grimly at her. ‘So the report I heard was true. She is a half-breed.’

‘No she ain’t,’ said Bran. ‘She’s just got real dark hair, so I keep it covered up. Don’t want anyone makin’ that mistake, see?’ He’d prepared the lie a long time ago, in case this ever happened.

‘Her hair is black,’ said Ruel, unmoved. ‘Who was her mother?’

‘My wife,’ said Bran. ‘Lady Flell.’ That was true, at least.

‘I know of her,’ said Ruel. ‘It’s said she had pale brown hair, yes?’

‘She did,’ said Bran.

‘And your own hair is not that dark,’ said Ruel. ‘So where did your daughter inherit it?’

‘I dunno,’ Bran said lamely. ‘But she’s my daughter.’

‘She is a half-breed,’ said Ruel. ‘Is she not?’

‘She-,’ Bran began.

‘I trust you know that it is a crime to lie to your Eyrie Master?’ Ruel interrupted harshly. ‘Yes? Think of that, and then reply.’

Bran caved in. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘She’s a half-breed.’

‘And you are her father?’ said Ruel. ‘By blood?’

‘Yeah, I am,’ said Bran. That was one lie he wasn’t going to admit.

‘Then you fathered her on a Northerner,’ said Ruel. ‘Lady Flell was not her mother.’

Bran hesitated, and then stared stubbornly at the floor.

‘Very well, then,’ said Ruel. ‘I brought you here to discover whether the Master of Law’s report was true. Now I have, and I can inform you of the decision that she and I reached together.’

‘Which is?’ said Bran.

‘You’ve won your freedom and a pardon for all your crimes,’ said Ruel. ‘Therefore, you have won the right to stay here if you wish. I will give you a place in my Eyrie in return for an oath of loyalty.’

‘Thankyou, milord,’ said Bran.

‘However,’ said Ruel, ‘If you choose to stay here, you may not keep the child.’

Bran scowled. ‘No.’

‘I cannot have a half-breed living in my Eyrie,’ said Ruel. ‘And nor will it be good for you if word gets out that you fathered one. Find another home for the child, and you can stay.’

*

We’ll post up the final Part 20 next Friday 6th July!

K.J Taylor is the author of the Fallen Moon Trilogy & her new book The Shadow’s Heir is in stores now!

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

Bran the Betrayer Part 18 ( a short story by K.J. Taylor )

Here’s part 18 of the new short story by K.J. Taylor, set in the world of her Fallen Moon Trilogy. Happy Friday!

Bran the Betrayer Pt. 18

Bran was not dead, but he was in darkness. At first there was pain – horrible pain. But he drifted away from it and into the darkness, and the further he went from it, the less he felt the pain. He felt cold instead. So damned cold.

Vague memories spiralled around him, or fragments of them. Pieces of himself and his past. His father, Haig Redguard – young then, speaking sternly to him. Our family code is honour an’ loyalty. Never forget it, son. Kraeya, rearing over him to screech, frightening him on purpose to test his courage. Flell’s sweet smile. Laela reaching up to touch his arm and call him Dada. The cold touch of Arren’s lifeless hands as they escaped from Warwick together. Danthirk’s nod as he had left the Council Chamber. Bloodtalons, screaming at him in the ring.

He thought he saw Arren again, one last time, watching him with deep sadness. I’m so sorry, his voice whispered from out of the void where he lived.

Laela, Bran thought. Kraeya.

After a time he started to drift back. Back toward the light. Back toward the pain. Back where Laela was.

He woke briefly just once, then drifted back into darkness. But he woke again, and again, sliding back and forth out of the peace of oblivion, where there was no pain, no fear, no danger, and the dead beckoned for him to join them. Arren was there, because Arren was dead. And Flell, her too.

But Laela was alive, and so was he, just barely. And, bit by bit, he left the void behind and decided to live.

*

It was a long time before Bran woke up and could stay awake long enough to be properly alert. There were healers there to take care of him and give him some water. Kraeya was there, keeping watch over him. And Laela. She was there too, in a crib near his bed. She was safe.

Knowing that helped Bran stay calm and sleep through his weakness – proper sleep now, not unconsciousness. Eventually, after days of doing not much but rest and feel the dull pain in his chest, the Master of Healing spoke to him.

‘You’re a lucky man,’ she said.

‘Oh… really?’ Bran gasped. It was the first thing he’d said since leaving the void.

‘Yes. That dagger could have killed you in so many ways. It could have punctured a lung, or hit your heart. It could have given you an infection. But it didn’t. You’re going to live.’

Bran listened to her, and believed her. But he could feel a pain deep in his chest that told him more. ‘Gonna… be all right?’ he asked. Every word took a huge effort.

‘Yes, of course,’ she said smoothly. ‘You just rest. You’ll be well taken care of, until you’re ready to leave.’

But Bran knew he wasn’t going to be all right. He felt it in his bones. ‘Anyon?’ he mumbled.

‘Dead,’ said the Master of Healing. ‘Otherwise he would have been executed for attempted murder. But Kraeya killed him.’

‘Yes.’ Kraeya looked down on him. ‘I am only sorry that I did not kill him sooner. But you must rest now, Bran. I will keep you safe.’

Bran didn’t try and talk any more. He guessed that it would be a long time before he had the strength to do anything other than lie here. But at least he was alive. For now.

*

Bran’s recovery did take a long time; longer than even he had guessed. Weeks passed before he had the strength to sit up and feed himself, and it was another month after that before he could start trying to walk again. He could only be grateful that the Master of Healing instructed her underlings to take care of Laela, and that none of them tried to remove her hood. She looked healthy to him, and she was still growing. She had all of her teeth now, and had started to feed herself. Bran felt like a baby himself, taking his first weak, shuffling steps.

His only visitor during that time was Danthirk, who looked shocked by the sight of him.

‘Great Gryphus, you look awful,’ he said frankly.

Bran grinned. ‘Yeah, I know. It’s better’n bein’ dead, though.’ His friend had come in while he was doing a practise walk around the room with the help of a crutch.

‘I heard about the fight,’ said Dan. ‘The whole city’s talkin’ about it.’

‘I wasn’t much fun, but I won, so that’s the main thing, eh?’ Bran winced. ‘Thanks for the advice, mate. I know it don’t look much like it, but yeh saved my life.’

‘It’s all right,’ said Dan. ‘I owed it to yer.’

Bran slowly limped back to his bed, and sat down on it. ‘They’re still callin’ me Bran the Betrayer, though. Right?’

‘Yeah,’ Dan looked unhappy. ‘I asked Finna t’come see yer, but she wouldn’t. That woman’s hopeless.’

‘Well you tell her I don’t want t’see her,’ Bran said harshly. ‘She’s turned her back on me, so if that’s what she wants she can go right ahead an’ say I ain’t her brother no more.’ Speaking loudly made the pain flare up again, and he stopped and grimaced.

Dan took a step closer. ‘You all right, mate?’

Bran coughed and groaned. ‘No. They won’t tell me, but I can feel it. I’m gonna live, but I’ll never be the same again.’

‘C’mon, it’s too early t’be sayin’ that,’ said Dan. ‘Just you stay calm an’ get plenty of rest an’ you’ll come right in the end – you’ll see.’

‘Yeah,’ said Bran, not believing him. ‘It’ll be fine.’

But it wouldn’t be, and he already knew it.

*

We’ll post up Part 19 next Friday 29th June!

K.J Taylor is the author of the Fallen Moon Trilogy & her new book The Shadow’s Heir will be out in July!

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

Bran the Betrayer Part 17 ( a short story by K.J. Taylor )

Following on perfectly from her Launch invitiation, here’s part 17 of the new short story by K.J. Taylor, set in the world of her Fallen Moon Trilogy. Happy Friday!

Bran the Betrayer Pt. 17

Kraeya looked up at the chains that covered the pits. ‘We cannot fly from here. Come, we will walk out to where it is clear.’

Bran nodded and limped beside her away from the pit where he hand nearly died, trying to ignore the shouts from the crowd. Some shouted accusations, others congratulations. It seemed that a few of them, at least, now believed he was innocent.

Bran didn’t even look at them. He didn’t care what they thought, not any more.

Some of them, though, moved around in front of him, standing in his and Kraeya’s path.

‘Get outta the way,’ Bran growled at them.

‘They will not stand in our way for long,’ said Kraeya. She hissed at them, sending several of them scurrying.

But one of them didn’t run. He shuffled forward, detaching himself from the throng, and came toward Bran.

Bran’s eyes narrowed. ‘Anyon.’

Here in the daylight Anyon looked even worse than he had in the Eyrie. His burned face looked half melted, the eyes glazed. But his voice sounded surprisingly strong when he spoke.

‘Traitor,’ he said. ‘Murderer.’

‘I’m innocent, an’ you know it,’ Bran snapped back. ‘If I was guilty, yeh wouldn’t have had to bribe them people to make ’em lie for yeh.’

‘Murderer!’ Anyon shouted suddenly. ‘You killed my master!’

‘I didn’t,’ said Bran. ‘Get outta my way. I’ll see yeh thrown in prison for what you did.’

Anyon didn’t seem to hear him. He stepped forward, drawing a long dagger. ‘Gryphus burn thee, Arren Cardockson,’ he said, and stabbed Bran in the chest.

Too late, Kraeya reared up. Too late, she lashed out with her talons. Too late, she hurled Anyon to the ground where he jerked and died.

Bran fell to his knees, both hands clutching at the dagger still stuck in him. ‘No-,’

‘Bran!’ Kraeya stood over him, trying to support him. ‘Bran, no!’

Bran could feel blood welling up around the dagger. His vision began to darken around the edges. ‘Laela,’ he mumbled, and fell.

*

Far away in the cell under the Eyrie, as if sensing what had happened, Laela started to cry.

*

Talmon and Nerris tried to care for Bran. Talmon held the crowd at bay with Kraeya’s help, while Nerris ran to find a healer. Luckily there were several working at the fighting pits, and one soon came running.

She rolled Bran onto his back. He flopped down, his arms falling limply away from where they had clutched at the dagger. His eyes had slid closed.

The healer touched his neck. ‘His heart’s still beating. Quickly, get him back to the Eyrie. He needs a better healer than me.’

‘Ain’t you gonna take that dagger out of him?’ Nerris asked.

‘No. If I did, he’d bleed to death. Help me.’

The healer had brought a stretcher, and with Talomon and Nerris’ help she slid Bran onto it. Together, she and Nerris lifted the stretcher and carried it out of the fighting pits. Kraeya went ahead, and Isleen and Arak took up the rear. The crowd moved out of the way, quiet now.

Together, they took Bran back to the Eyrie and up the ramps inside to the infirmary where griffiners were cared for. There they put him on a bed, and made him as comfortable as they could.

‘He’ll get the best treatment Withypool has to offer here,’ said the healer, while her fellow healers gathered around. ‘The Master of Healing herself will treat him.’

Isleen nodded briefly. ‘I’ll go and fetch the child. She should be up here with him.’

She left, along with her partner. Talmon and Nerris went with her. Only Kraeya stayed. The infirmary had been built big enough for griffins to keep watch over their partners, and the red griffin lay down quietly by Bran’s bedside and waited.

Bran didn’t notice any of it. He lay still on his back, scarcely breathing.

‘Do not die,’ Kraeya said softly. ‘Please, Bran. You cannot die…’

A short time later, the Master of Healing arrived. She swore softly in griffish when she saw the dagger.

Kraeya stood up. ‘Save him,’ she commanded. ‘You must heal him.’

The Master of Healing looked up at her. ‘I’ll do my best, but I can’t make any promises. If that dagger has pierced his heart, then he has no chance. Even if it hasn’t, he may well still die.’

‘Save him,’ Kraeya repeated.

The Master of Healing nodded silently, and went to work. She poured a medicine of some kind down Bran’s throat, and once she had prepared a strong-smelling paste she removed the dagger and quickly covered the wound with it. The paste hardened in moments, sealing the blood away inside Bran’s body, and once it had the Master of Healing covered it with bandages.

‘That’s all I can do for now,’ she said. ‘Now all we can do is hope the paste holds, and see if he wakes up.’

Kraeya huffed softly.

‘Don’t worry,’ the Master of Healing smiled to reassure her. ‘He survived the fight today, didn’t he? I think it’s clear that Gryphus wants him to live.’

‘He must live,’ was all Kraeya said.

Not long afterward, Isleen returned. She had a crying Laela in her arms. ‘How is he?’ she asked.

The Master of Healing shook her head. ‘Still holding on, but it’s too early to be certain of anything. Whose child is that?’

‘His,’ said Isleen. ‘I brought her up to be with him; he insisted that she stay with him at all times.’ She rocked Laela gently, and patted her on the back. ‘There, there, little one; it’s all right. I’ve brought you to your father now.’

Laela, though, kept on crying.

‘I’m not sure what’s wrong,’ Isleen said uncomfortably. ‘She’s not hungry and she doesn’t need changing, but she won’t stop crying.’

‘Perhaps she’s overheated,’ the Master of Healing suggested. ‘With that hood on.’

‘Are you too hot?’ Isleen touched Laela’s cheeks. ‘You feel hot. Here, let me help you-,’

‘No!’ Kraeya said sharply.

But Isleen ignored her. She untied the hood and pulled it away. ‘There, is that better-?’ she began.

The hood came off, and Laela’s thin, curly black hair puffed up, finally free of its prison.

Isleen and the Master of Healing froze.

‘No,’ Kraeya said again. ‘Put the hood back on. You must not remove it.’

It was already far too late.

Isleen touched Laela’s wispy hair. ‘It’s black,’ she said. ‘Holy Gryphus, is she…?’

‘That’s a half-breed,’ said the Master of Healing.

‘A half-breed!’ Isleen held Laela away from herself, staring at her in bewilderment and then, soon afterward, disgust. She looked at Bran. ‘So that’s why he wouldn’t let anyone take her away from him. That’s why he kept her head covered. He fathered a half-breed.’

The Master of Healing looked at the whimpering Laela. ‘Poor little thing. How could he do this to her?’ She glanced sharply at Isleen. ‘Put the hood back on her. We can’t let this get out.’

‘What does it matter?’ asked Isleen. ‘We had nothing to do with it.’

‘She’s only a child, Isleen,’ said the Master of Healing. ‘It’s not her fault that her father bedded a Northerner. If he ever recovers, we’ll confront him about it and leave it to him to deal with. If not… we’ll decide then.’

‘All right.’ Isleen put Laela down by Bran’s side, and put the hood back on her. ‘You look after her, then, if you care so much. As for me, I shall go back and report to my master. But I’ll say nothing about the child. Let him decide. Or, if not him, you.’

The Master of Healing nodded. ‘Thankyou. I’ll send word once I have it.’

Isleen left with a curt nod of her own, and the Master of Healing turned to Kraeya.

‘Don’t worry,’ she said. ‘I’ll keep this to myself.’

‘You should not have done that,’ Kraeya hissed. ‘My human’s secrets are his own.’

‘Yes.’ The Master of Healing looked down at the silent Bran. ‘And if he ever wakes up, he’ll have to face the consequences. Whatever they might be.’

*

We’ll post up Part 18 next Friday 22nd June!

K.J Taylor is the author of the Fallen Moon Trilogy & her new book The Shadow’s Heir will be out in July!

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

Your invite to K.J. Taylor’s new book launch!

K.J. Taylor is launching her next book The Shadow’s Heir next month in Canberra, and she’d love her fans to come!
It will be held in the Co-Op Bookshop at the University of Canberra on Wednesday 11th July from 5:15pm. If you can make it, be sure to RSVP to Lynn Price at the Co-op by 9th July on 6251 2481 or at lprice@coop-bookshop.com.au . Click here to download the full invite. Hope to see you there!