• 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!

     

     

New Fiona McIntosh has arrived!

We’re pretty pumped because Fiona McIntosh is returning to Morgravia with her new book and the finished copies have just arrived in the office! The Scrivener’s Tale will be out in Aussie stores in November. Be sure to check out more backstory and read behind the scenes with Fiona’s blog too!

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Argh! Zombies!

There has been so much talk lately of the colour grey but, let’s be honest, it’s such a boring colour. Comparatively, red is fantastic. It’s bright, attention-grabbing and … bloody.

Which brings me to zombies.  They are covered in the stuff.

Zombies have made a resurgence of late as the face of horror, largely due to the success of The Walking Dead television series and they are the opposite of those sparkly vampires that the tweens love but we have had enough of.  I think that we can all rest assured that zombies will maintain their monster status quo and contain to be the relentless horde that will keep leading the revolt against their emotionally unstable undead cousins. Vampires have gotten soft and cuddly, zombies instill fear and panic. In this time where erotica sells, the undead must rise against it.

Why? Because zombies will never play the romantic lead. Their love of brains doesn’t translate to a love of intellectual conversation and nights in playing scrabble. And their desire to eat you sounds sexy but it’s not going to be a pleasant experience. Although they might give you cause to scream ‘Oh God!’ and leave you panting for breath – it’s not the happy sort of exclamation and its more of a marathon run where you flee for your life than a marathon bonk session that’s going to affect your lung capacity.

In the literary world, Seth Grahame-Smith’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies took the world by storm in 2009 and only recently (23/8/12) the BBC News have asked  (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-19359570) if literary mash-ups are the next big thing (clearly it took them a while to jump on to the zombie bandwagon — better late than never). A recently published literary mash-up is Corrupted Classics, a compilation of short stories by some emerging writers which will appeal to zombie fiends, corrupting tales from your childhood with a zombie-esque edge like you wouldn’t believe.

Corrupted Classics
is a digital anthology of short stories based on scenes from literary classics that have been twisted into harsh zombie apocalyptic worlds. Now some of history’s best-loved characters face a fate even more cataclysmic than academic obscurity … These are the classics like you have never seen them before, alive and well in the realm of the undead. Alice in Wonderland (becomes Alice in Zombieland) and Peter Pan (becomes Never Neverland) are just two of the twisted tales that are feeding the zombie zeitgeist. Corrupted Classics has some great re-imaginings that would work as full-length novels, even if they are only published as e-books. The world needs more tales of zombies, and the 10 million Walking Dead fans would agree.

One of the best things about zombies are the zombie fans. They totally get it. They are absorbed into the notion of the undead stumbling along the streets, turning the moment they get a whiff of fresh meat, I don’t know many zombie aficionados who don’t have a plan for when the zombie apocalypse begins. In the US, Halloween allows fans to embrace it, with The Walking Dead being a huge influence last year and people happily adorned dangling bits of fake flesh to their face and covered themselves in red corn syrup. In Australia, you have the annual Brisbane Zombie Walk (www.brisbanezombiewalk.com) that not only lets you stagger around the streets but also aptly raises funds for The Brain Foundation of Australia. This year it will be held this Sunday, 21st October and a gold coin donation will get you walking the streets amongst the sea of undead covered in as much gore as you’re comfortable with.

If you haven’t already, check out the Corrupted Classics Facebook page (www.facebook.com/corruptedclassics) and join the horde.

Also, if you REALLY want to survive the inevitable coming zombie apocalypse, there’s loads of resources online-One of our fans sent this link in!

Predicting the future

I’ve been writing my Diamond Eyes trilogy for the last few years about a girl who is blind, but can see the past through various different shades of sunglasses, which act as filters for “slower” light frequencies. She can also glimpse the future at times, painfully through tears when she cries, so I’ve needed to research a lot about future technologies and “tomorrow” style living so I can create settings which are believable. And it’s been so interesting! Some of the gadgets I predicted now really exist, like electronic “google map sunglasses” and the talking GPS walking cane for blind people – both of which are greatly needed by two elderly members of my family.

And that’s not all. I’ve been basing the trilogy’s overall story arc on the premise of rising hostilities between China and Japan… which has become a real issue in the news this week. The third book, Leopard Dreaming, is out on October 1 and the plot twists are very close to the frightening news headlines.

This is not the first time I’ve been the victim of my own thorough research.

The last time it happened, I was writing a thriller on the premise of a massive earthquake and tsunami (after interviewing some of the world’s top geologists who advised me that the most likely place in the world for it to happen would be in the ocean trench off Aceh) and then unfortunately it really did happen.

Such things aren’t really coincidence, luck or supernatural foresight though… For Leopard Dreaming, I researched international politics well enough to set them against a believable back-drop of conspiracies. It didn’t take much research to find that China, Japan, the Soviets, Vietnam, Korea and even Indonesia have been disputing over islands in that region for over 2000 years. But the details about their amazing reasons were in the back stories, recent developments, and strategic troop movements that were much harder to find – but, after I did, it wasn’t hard to notice that certain things were likely to boil to a head. Naturally, in my thriller, I have factions working behind the scenes as well…
It saddens me that I’ve been able to see this coming for so long, and yet all of the parties involved continue to move dangerously closer to war. But hopefully, life can imitate art closely enough to aim for a peaceful resolution.

So is this just luck, coincidence or something else? The research techniques I used earlier in my life to understand the property and stockmarkets well enough to enable me to purchase my first investment as a teenager and retire within a decade are the same skills I use with every book in the Diamond Eyes series to project the future. Or, in other words, I take an educated guesstimate — simply a calculated forecast based on probability, historical trends, observations, politics, studies of human nature and good ol’ common sense.

As Mira would say; “I don’t need to see the future to know how this ends. I’ve seen all the patterns of the past and the direction it’s sweeping us.”

So I don’t believe predicting future events is an uncommon phenomenon for writers who really take their research, settings and backstories seriously, and I’d love to hear if anyone else has similar experiences.

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Writing Coyote’s Sacred Landscape

I always try to visit the landscape that my characters explore if I can. There’s nothing like filling your senses with its unique essence. What does it sound like? Is the light the same as at home? And so it goes…

So far I’ve written three of the adventures of Kannon Dupree, the time travelling detective. In Gladiatrix, Kannon paced the streets of ancient Rome investigating a shadowy Egyptian cult. In Hoodwink she lurked around glamorous Hollywood in 1939, to find out who murdered a famous movie director and why he died with a Mayan occult tattoo engraved on his chest. And in Coyote, which came out this month, Kannon is hired to find the missing diary of a Wild West hero. The chase takes her through the middle of an Indian War, via a mysterious convent of nuns banished to die in the desert and into an ancient pueblo city on a cursed mesa sacred to Coyote, the trickster god.

Without a doubt, the fieldwork I did for Coyote will always be one of my greatest adventures. Coyote is set in New Mexico, one of the states that make up the USA’s famous Southwest. It’s an arid, sparsely populated state with natural wonders around every bend, sprinkled with the mysterious ruins of ancient pueblo cities, criss-crossed by the trails of gold-hungry conquistadors and home to some of America’s largest reservations including those of the Apache and the Navaho. It’s also a landscape marked by the roughest edges of the Wild West, holding the remains of besieged forts, the tracks of dashing stagecoaches and frontier towns once ruled by the gunslinger.

Travelling the Southwest filled every sense. The rough touch of the ancient pueblo walls at Bandelier and Aztec Ruins, the gritty taste of the sandstorm that over took me near Farmington, the sight of the incredible red pinnacles of Monument Valley, the smell from the bunches of chillis hung to dry over old Spanish balconies in Santa Fe and the chillingly sweet sound of a Native American’s flute in Mesa Verde.

However… As every writer will tell you, each book presents its own special difficulties. As I wandered around the Southwest, gasping in awe at the landscape and interviewing every different kind of inhabitant that would talk to me, I came to realise that I had a problem.

I could really feel just how sacred this land was.

The Southwest is sacred to many different Native American nations, some of whom have lived there since the last Ice Age, and every natural monument is part of a wealth of mythologies and religious beliefs. The more I was included in this world, the bigger the problem became. How to put an adventure story into a sacred landscape without being disrespectful of those who hold it in such reverence?

Now I’m certainly not saying that my solution is the only one, nor that it works perfectly. Just that it was right for me when I wrote Coyote. My resolution was to make the sacred location I wrote about in Coyote – Big Sun Canyon and everything in it – a fictional composite of impressions taken from different places across the Southwest.

But when I explain this to people, I’m always struck by the paradox in what I’m saying.

The nations of the Southwest hold their land as sacred, but in the end what place on our gorgeous planet shouldn’t be? I guess it all comes down to what each culture decides to hold as precious. I’d love to hear what place or landscape is sacred to each of you.

Win an e-copy of Tatsania’s Gift, a new novella by Kim Falconer!


Watch the book trailer and see if you can guess exactly what Tatsania’s Gift is.


Kim will drop some hints in the comments below to guide you. Enter (in the comments) as many times as you like. If you have more than one idea, let’s hear them! Kim is giving away copies of Tatsania’s Gift to the best/closest/most interesting answers. If you make her laugh, you’ll definitely get one! Your choice of Kindle, Kobo or iBook.

About the story Six-year-old Kali is forced to fight for her life when her mother is dragged away by ASSIST and two cruel ′aunties′ turn up to take care of her. But her mother has left her something precious – a gift that can save the world. With it Kali discovers her own magical powers and joins the underground movement where she learns the skills she’ll need to survive on Earth. But no magic in our world could ever prepare her for what is to come . . .

Why a novella? When I finished Journey by Night, book three in the Quantum Encryption series, my publisher and I realised that the first six chapters told a self-contained story of life on 24th century Earth. We decided to start JBN at chapter 7 and turn these first six chapters into a novella, which is now Tatasnia’s Gift. For those new to the Quantum Enchantment and Quantum Encryption series, I hope this story will whet your appetite. If you have devoured the earlier works and are longing for more, this is it! Enjoy!

We are all looking forward to your guesses! See you in the comments.
Tatsania’s Gift is out offically on the 1st of September.

Kim Falconer is a speculative fiction author writing epic science fantasy novels set in the worlds of Earth and Gaela. Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption, the newest release is Tatsania’s Gift. You can find out more about Kim at kimfalconer.com or on The 11th House. IS_Foundation.

All Hail Jorg, the King of Thorns!

The second book in The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence, King of Thorns will be out in a week on the 1st September! The first book, Prince of Thorns, garnered much acclaim on its release last year. Below you can read a synopsis of King of Thorns, follow the link to read exclusive excerpts and find out a bit more about Mark Lawrence.

The second book in the Broken Empire series, Lawrence takes his young anti-hero one step closer to his grand ambition.

To reach greatness you must step on bodies, and many brothers lie trodden in my wake. I’ve walked from pawn to player and I’ll win this game of ours, though the cost of it may drown the world in blood…

The land burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings fight for the Broken Empire. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First though he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them.

A six nation army, twenty thousand strong, marches toward Jorg’s gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.

Read an exclusive exerpt here

Mark Lawrence Interview and Blog

Buy copies here  or as an ebook here!

Duncan Lay’s Bridge of Swords is out today!

The ever awesome Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney have posted up a great interview with Duncan about Bridge of Swords on their blog!  In it, Duncan talks a lot about the themes that inspire and drive his characters, as well as his writing. Great stuff! He also has loads of great backstory about the nations and world behind his new series, Empire of Bones, up on his own blog.