• 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!

     

     

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

Reign of Beasts launch tonight in Hobart!

Anyone in Hobart? Our co-author of the month Tansy Rayner Roberts is launching her Creature Court novel Reign of Beasts tonight at the Hobart Bookshop! Head over to her blog for more details. I’m sure it will be fantastic evening!

When Horror Meets Fantasy

   I was recently asked to be a guest speaker at a Hobart film festival themed around women in horror: Stranger With My Face.
I identify so strongly as a fantasy writer that I’m always surprised when I get included in discussions of the overlapping genres (like my utter astonishment the first time I was nominated for a short story award in a science fiction category).

But once I thought about it, and peeled some of my preconceptions away, I started thinking that yes, I am actually a horror writer (as well as a fantasy writer and a novel writer and a feminist writer, and so on).  It’s hard to argue with when I look at the Creature Court trilogy, which is full of blood and dark magic, obsession and addiction, cruelty and death, along with the aspects I’m better known for – like banter, frocks and steamy sex scenes.

Come to that, most fantasy does have elements of horror in it.  Lord of the Rings is not only rife with monsters and violence, but it also features one of the most iconic Dread Objects of genre fiction – the ring that destroys the souls of those who hold it.  Fritz Leiber, one of my own heroes for his funny and clever Lankhmar series, also put Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser through some deep psychological traumas and was a master at balancing the sinister with the amusing.

Urban fantasy is particularly related to horror – in fact, you could argue that the works of Laurell K Hamilton, Charlaine Harris et al. are closer in many ways to the traditions of horror than to fantasy, certainly in the way that vampires, werewolves and other Horror Movie Icons have been swept into the mainstream.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer might have served to popularise the idea of a girl hero fighting the darkness, but while that show epitomises the urban fantasy genre, it was created very much in conversation with horror movie tropes.

So what is your favourite fictional collision between horror and fantasy?

The Reign of Beasts has Begun

    Reign of Beasts, the third book of the Creature Court trilogy, is about to land!  I’m crazy excited about this.  There’s something incredibly satisfying about lining those three books up next to each other.  Possibly I carry them around the house, arranging and re-arranging them in fake casual poses…

Other authors do that, right?

If Power and Majesty was the book that set up the city, the characters and the magic, and The Shattered City was the book that tore it all down and hurled the bits at the feet of my poor characters… well, Reign of Beasts is the book that puts it all back together, but it’s not an easy path for any of them.  Another city is going to pay the ultimate price… because yes, I don’t just go around destroying individuals in this series, I tear down whole cities.  That’s just how I roll.

As well as visiting some new geography, indulging in a little steampunk, and allowing certain characters to get hot and heavy with each other (in between battles) Reign of Beasts also slips into the past, revealing all manner of secrets through the eyes of one of the more mysterious members of the Creature Court: the one with many names, and far too many guises.

Back when I was regularly teaching creative writing, an exercise I would suggest early on was to make your ‘list of awesome,’ a stack of bullet points about your favourite themes, topics, hobbies, obsessions, historical periods, nouns… basically everything you think is awesome.  And then, of course, to write something that crams as many of those things in as possible.

I think that experienced writers often do this as a matter of course, without bothering with the list – we build up all our favourite obsessions, and spread them across our writing, trusting (as much as we CAN) that we can spend our themes freely and there will be new ones along to fill up the well… and if not, well, it’s not like it hurt Dick Francis or John Grisham to always be writing about the same thing, right?

I never made that list of awesome when writing the Creature Court books – they grew far more organically than that – but if I had, then the list would look something like this:

frocks
secret society of sexy shapechangers
Rome, Rome, Rome
gothic city with many rooftops
secret underworld
women who craft
roaring twenties
sentinels with paired weapons
blood magic
more frocks
Victorian music hall, pantomime & commedia dell’arte
steam trains
bisexual heroes and villains and… other
a sky that’s trying to eat you
flappers with swords

All ideas, themes or images that I love, or have been wanting to write about for years.  I’m particularly happy that, having seeded the importance of theatre in the lives of some of my charactes, I spend a lot more time in and around a certain theatre in the city of Aufleur, as well as getting outside the boundaries and visiting a new city, and introducing my readers to Ashiol’s home and mother, before we spiral into the final, devastating battle.

Also, words cannot express how delighted I am that the final cover of this trilogy features a flapper with a sword. It sums up the books themselves very clearly in my mind.

Reign of Beasts is in stores this week and if you’re in Tasmania she’s launching at The Hobart Bookshop on Thursday 2nd Feb!

Tansy’s Writing Blog – http://tansyrr.com
Crunchy SF Feminist Podcast – http://www.galacticsuburbia.com
Pendlerook Designs, Tasmanian Hand-painted Dolls – www.pendlerook.com

Creature Court Contest!

 

Tansy Rayner Roberts, author of Power & Majesty and The Shattered City is having an awesome contest through her blog:

THE CREATURE COURT
FASHION CHALLENGE CONTEST.

Design or describe an outfit for one of the characters of the Creature Court novels to wear.

EVERYONE’S A WINNER:

Everyone who enters the contest & provides me with a postal address (to creaturecourt (at) gmail.com – please don’t post addresses in comments) will receive a Creature Court postcard with a juicy snippet from Book 3 hand-written by me.

I’ve always thought costume design ( whether for film, stage or cosplay ) is an underrated skill, so hopefully this will help some folks get their designs out there!  Just head over to the Contest post , comment & email Tansy your entry to creaturecourt (at) gmail.com to enter!

Congratulations to Ólöf Erla Einarsdóttir!

Icelandic artist Ólöf Erla Einarsdóttir won the the Ravenheart Award for her beautiful cover for Tansy Rayner Robert’s Power and Majesty at the David Gemmell Awards.  Congratulations! Here are a few pics of her at the awards:

Ólöf Erla Einarsdóttir wins the Ravenheart Award
Ólöf Erla Einarsdóttir ( left ) wins the Ravenheart Award
Ólöf Erla with her award
Ólöf Erla with her award