• 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!

     

     

Bob Kuhn Reading Voyager Authors at WorldCon 2011

There are a handful of Aussie and NZ authors smiling today with the confirmation that Bob Kuhn, aka Tolkien’s Dragon, will be reading excerpts from their novels at WorlCon 2011. This year’s World Science Fiction Convention, Renovation, will be held in Reno, Nevada August 17th to 22nd. Not everyone who would like to be there can dash off to the other side of the world so Bob’s generous offer to do a collective reading of Australian and New Zealand speculative fiction is fabulous news.

Bob_Kuhn

Bob Kuhn

Bob Kuhn is a well known fantasy and science fiction voiceover artist — an Aussie resident in Boston and gifted with a deep, resonant, instantly impressive voice. His Professional credits include titles by: Mike Resnick, Carl Sagan, YA author William Sleator, and recently Jeff Carver, as well as audio books of history and historical fiction, true crime and mystery. Bob has also provided fantasy MMORP NPC game voices and hosted Boskone’s Fantasy and Science Fiction Pictionary. He may be the only actor who has played two different Tolkien Dragons! Visit his website bkvoice.com and listen to the samples. They’re magical.

 Authors participating in Bob Kuhn’s WorldCon 2011 reading are Harper Voyager’s Fiona McIntosh, Mary Victoria, Kim Falconer, Nicole Murphy and Helen Lowe (Harper Voyager USA) and Australian speculative fiction authors Alan Baxter and Angela Slatter. Bob has been given two slots at Renovation, one on Saturday morning at 10 am, and the other on Sunday afternoon. I hope they will record him!

 Congratulations to all the authors whose work will be read at this auspicious event!

BobKhun_Reading_Voyager

Harper Voyager Authors being read by Bob Kuhn - WorldCon 2011

Lynne Green: Starstruck at the Aurealis Awards

Fantastic Queensland should be very proud. The running of the Aurealis Awards showed how an awards ceremony can be both sophisticated and fun. The awards were everything you expect from such occasions: beautiful women in fabulous frocks (too many gorgeous women to name names), dashingly handsome men (Sean Williams suits up nicely), and civilised drinks at a posh venue.

Then again, it had all the unique twists you would expect from a community event of SF writers. Some of the attendees were wearing eye-catching items of clothing; a black kilt – and I have to give an honourable mention the pair of very nice legs so revealed; enviable purple, velvet cloaks that glowed like gems, pink shoelaces for breast cancer awareness; and Simon Higgins was sporting a rather swish coat. There were Star Trek jokes flying all over the place, and that pun is very much intended. Whenever someone was announced as a winner, the audience was just as thrilled as the award recipient, which is a most delightful experience.
However, you can probably get all this information from other sources. So I will share my personal impressions of the function.

My biggest thrill was meeting with people who had just been virtual acquaintances; hello Trudi, Angela and Kathleen! Trudi had her book launch before the ceremony, and was also one of the presenters on the night. Because I know that Trudi is a mad knitter, I was expecting someone more mumsy and not such a glorious glamour puss. I was able to recognise Angela because of her hair and glasses; she is attending Clarion at time of writing and looked wonderful for a woman under the stress of continuous creativity. Kathleen recognised me from my Facebook photo. I have been requested to put up a right-side-up photo on Facebook to make recognition easier in the future.

As well, I was able to meet up with Natalie, one of my fellow judges. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch up with the other two judges attending the ceremony. That was disappointing, as we had worked well as a team and I was hoping to chat with such perceptive, cooperative and charming people.

To be truthful, I was star struck on the night. At one point I was standing next to Jack Dann, and I couldn’t make my mouth open to say ‘hi’. I felt the same when I saw Sean Williams, even though I give him cheek on Facebook – I’ve been known to make fun of his love of baked goods – I felt too shy to go up and chat. I was stunned when I spoke with Trudi, even though Trudi is as nice and approachable a person as you could ever meet.

Everyone talks about a ‘Golden Age’ or era for Science Fiction or Fantasy or Horror. For me, Australia is going through a ‘Golden Age’, and I am so lucky to meet with SF Australian authors, who are among the best writers in the world. Proof was provided last night, with stellar names accepting or presenting awards. I was walking with the stars.

So, my highlights of the night: Alison and Simon as presenters, because they were relaxed and had fun; watching the winners struggle up and down the stairs, because they weren’t expecting to win and so sat up the back; the sudden intake of breath from the couple behind me as the husband was announced as a winner; mixing with ‘the SF community’, though they are more like a family.

So, if you get a chance to attend the awards in the future, do go. I relished the opportunity to see the hardworking writers and illustrators receive their well-deserved recognition. All the nominees were of the utter, soaring, pinnacle of Australian talent, and they all deserved to win. I still feel like I’m gleaming with stardust.

(And thank you to my husband, who is painfully shy and loathes crowds, for attending with me. (((Hugs))) sweetheart.)

Lynne Green writes under her own name, as the Voyager Science Queen, and under the pen name of Lynne Lumsden Green for everything else. Though she already has a B. Sc. in zoology, she is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Her long term goal is to become a respected writer and academic in the fields of Fantasy, Popular Science Fact, and Science Fiction. Her favourite authors are Diana Wynne Jones, Isaac Asimov, Neil Gaiman, and all of the Voyager authors, with Terry Pratchett as her personal hero. Recently, Lynne has had some quiet success with her short stories, and hopes this will lead to her ultimate domination the world.

So, who won an Aurealis on 24 Jan?

Learn more about the Aurealis Awards

And the results are in … 2008 Aurealis Awards

What a spectacular night it was! Apologies for how late this entry is, but your awards correspondent was busy flying to and from Brisbane for much of the weekend 🙂 and then distracted by Australia Day.

The full list of winners:

best science fiction novel: K A Bedford, Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait, Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

best science fiction short story: Simon Brown, ‘The Empire’, Dreaming Again, Harper/Voyager

best fantasy novel:Alison Goodman, The Two Pearls of Wisdom, HarperCollins

best fantasy short story: Cat Sparks, ‘Sammarynda Deep’, Paper Cities, Senses 5 Press

best horror novel: John Harwood, The Seance, Jonathan Cape (Random House Australia)

best horror short story: Kirstyn McDermott, ‘Painlessness’, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), #2

best anthology: Jonathan Strahan (editor), The Starry Rift, Viking Children’s Books

best collection: Sean Williams & Russell B Farr (editor), Magic Dirt: The Best of Sean Williams, Ticonderoga Publications

best illustated book/graphic novel: Shaun Tan, Tales From Outer Suburbia, Allen & Unwin

best young adult novel: Melina Marchetta, Finnikin of the Rock, Viking Penguin

best young adult short story: Trent Jamieson, ‘Cracks’, Shiny, #2

best children’s novel: Emily Rodda, The Wizard of Rondo, Omnibus Books

best children’s illustrated work/picture book: Richard Harland & Laura Peterson (illustrator), Escape!, Under Siege, Race to the Ruins, The Heavy Crown, The Wolf Kingdom series, Omnibus Books

Peter McNamara Convenors’ Award for Excellence: Jack Dann

I also strongly recommend reading the judge’s reports – the link to each category’s report is here, as it gives a further insight into the process.

There will be more blogging to come on the weekend, but for now, we’re extremely proud of Jack, Simon and Alison, and congratulations to all the winners, and shortlisted authors, because you really are all fantastic. Alison Goodman was also co-host of the night alongside a very amusing Simon Higgins and looked gorgeous in red. Stephanie Smith (Voyager Publisher) was there (and almost impossible to extricate from the post-Awards party so we could go to dinner! And lovely Voyager authors Karen Miller and Kim Westwood, who were both judges in the awards, also took part in the weekend.

The awards were fantastic (it was my first one) – there was a great slideshow in the background introducing each category – and the intro for the hosts was especially clever! There were also vids of the convenors talking about their experience of judging the awards and their feelings towards spec fiction in general – and I was very amused by Beau from Pulp Fiction when he was talking about how he got roped into the awards!! (Working with Ron must have that effect!)

Of course we were tremendously proud of Jack being awarded the Peter McNamara Convenor’s Award – and forced Jack to open his ribbon-wrapped box before dinner so we could admire the award (which is very snappy looking and made of concave glass – Jack promised not to break it now that he knew what it was). Melina Marchetta’s speech was particularly moving — Finnikin of the Rock is her first move into speculative fiction and she talked about the process of writing it, and what she called her ‘ten year mini-break’ from writing!

And as mentioned above, Alison Goodman looked gorgeous and -was- gorgeous, even when Simon Higgins was trying to give her ideas to make the sequel to The Two Pearls of Wisdom better, involving enterprising ideas if ever I heard them! And her acceptance speech for her award was very funny – she was lost for words.

Stephanie and I had dinner with Jack Dann, Karen Miller, Kim Westwood, Cathie Tasker (who judged the fantasy novel award) and her partnet, Alan, as well as writer Angela Slatter and her fellow Clarion South classmate, Lisa, and upcoming Voyager author, Will Elliott. We had a good time, although both Karen and I were suffering from early starts, having flown in from Sydney that morning. I got to quiz Karen on Empress of Mijak (amazing book), and there being four Aurealis judges at the table, we had a good chat about the whole process, too.

Anyway, there’s plenty more to blog on from the weekend, so keep an eye on the Voyager blog this week!

And one more thing to add – a link to Cat Sparks Flickr photo album of the night – Cat‘s short story ‘Sammarynda Deep’ won the Aurealis for the short fantasy category.

Clarion South: Working with the big bad bold … tutors

This post continues our series by the graduates and future students of the Clarion South Writers Workshop. There will be more from them later this year and the next Clarion South workshop is on right now!

The question: What was it like working with Jack Dann and the other tutors, all of whom are well known and successful writers?

Lee Battersby: I think if you have the opportunity to spend a week in close proximity to guys like Jack and Gardner, and you’re serious about following a writing career, it’s something to which you need to give serious consideration. These guys have seen it all and done it all, and I know that the Clarion South students I tutored came away from their time with Gardner with a massive fillip to their confidence and know how.

Angela Slatter (there right now!): At this stage, I don’t know! I’m doing Clarion in 2009, so it’s all ahead of me. I’ve worked with Jack on the Dreaming Again anthology – that was easy!

Steve Turner (hanging out with Angela at the current CS!): I am really looking forward to it – I had the first Dreaming Down Under book edited by Jack and I have always loved it, and have always enjoyed his short stories. I was already a fan of Sean Williams and have a half dozen of his books so was very excited about that. I am also a Marianne de Pierres fan and am proud of the fact that she is also from Brisbane. It’s also amazing to look at the credits of Margo Lanagan and Kelly Link and I have since read their award winning short story collections and it only makes me feel so privileged to work with World Fantasy, Ditmar, Aurealis and Nebula award winners of this calibre.
Amanda le Bas de Plumetot: I’ve actually worked with Jack in a workshop run by the Victorian Writers’ Centre a couple of years ago. I really enjoyed it. He doesn’t pull his punches and I like that in a workshopping situation.

Jess Irwin: It’s really great to get advice and insight from such prominent writers and editors – I mean, unless I kidnap her I’ll never have another week with Kelly Link devoted to the craft and industry of writing. (Don’t kidnap people, folks!) It’s okay to get nervous, but remember: if it bleeds we can kill it… um… I mean, they’re all human beings, they love speculative fiction, and they’re here to help you. They’re your peers and colleagues. You don’t need to be nervous. But playing a few rounds of Mafia is a pretty good cure, too

Helen Venn: Stimulating and a little intimidating until it sank in that they were there to help.

Christopher Green: Jack Dann, as well as the tutors of Clarion South ’07 (Rob Hood, Lee Battersby, Kelly Link (with guest appearance by Gavin J. Grant), Gardner Dozois, Margo Lanagan, and Simon Brown) are all incredible to work with. One of the main things that struck me about them was their passion. They are tireless, seeming to have limitless energy when it comes to sharing their knowledge, offering advice, etc. I was honoured.

Paul Haines: Each tutor brought something new to the table, in the way they approached stories, or how they responded to the group. Jack Dann arrived in week 5, a tough time for most of us as everything was starting to fray and exhaustion had crept in. He was invigorating for the entire class, with his approach, his ideas, and most of all his energy. David Hartwell was also interesting, in particular for letting us in on his vast experience as an editor in the business, more so than his critiquing of the work.

Deborah Kalin: I didn’t work with Jack Dann or Gardner Dozois – my tutors were Sean Williams, Michael Swanwick, Ellen Datlow, Margo Lanagan, Ian Irvine, and Scott Westerfeld. Every single one of them was inspiring, encouraging, daunting, and incisve — in short, unforgettable!

Brenn McDibble: I studied and read a few works of each tutor before I went to Clarion so it was an interesting exercise to match their advice and creative processes to their work. Maybe I figured that if I knew what made those six people tick I might figure out my own tick. It was a shock to me if one of them actually asked me to explain myself and my response was probably another exercise in creativity.

Jason Fischer: Amazing. There’s nothing quite like this course. To be given the chance to work with professionals you’ve admired for some time, with the view to becoming a professional writer yourself. Others have spoken of the “paying it forward” aspect of the SF community, and it’s alive and well in courses like Clarion South.

Check out the earlier posts about Clarion South

For a full list of the Clarion South tutors, click here

Find out more about Clarion South (intake is closed for the next Australian session, which is taking place now, in Brisbane, from Jan 4 to Feb 14)

The fairytale: Angela Slatter interviewed

There’s a great interview with Angela Slatter here, talking about the Aurealis Awards and Dreaming Again. Angela’s story ‘The Jacaranda Wife’ appears in Dreaming Again, edited by Jack Dann and published by Voyager in July 08. Her story ‘Dresses Three’ has been shortlisted for the Aurealis Fantasy Short Story Award. In the article, Angela talks about growing into her writing, and the origin of some of her stories.

The Aurealis Awards take place on January 24, visit the Aurealis website for information on tickets.

Clarion South Writers Workshop: Quantity versus quality – Part One

There’s much more to come from our Clarion South bloggers. This week’s question was: How many short stories would you recommend being published prior to applying for Clarion? First part today, second part tomorrow.

Ben Julien: Actually, this is a question best answered by the individual. The more publications you have obviously the more practice behind you, and practice is the key. Publications are by no means a requirement in any case, just good writing.
I haven’t written short stories per se, at all – I do have three young adult novels under my belt though which for me roughly equates to three years of practice, and most of my remaining hair. My novels switch from one character to the next and are essentially interwoven short stories in any case.
My advice to any writer, myself included, is to write real characters. Not over-the-top heroes or evil masterminds, but real personalities pushed into strange circumstances. Characters we can all relate to. Throw in your own voice (whatever words come from you easily and naturally) and a desire to connect to the reader and to entertain, and I think you’ll find a readership anywhere.

Lee Battersby: It makes absolutely no difference. Clarion is about refining and sharpening the skills you already have, as well as providing you with the strategies and disciplines necessary to consider a career as a professional writer. Only two questions matter: Could I be better? and Will I benefit from this experience? Clarion South 2007 had one student with several novels under her belt and at least one who had never sold a story before, and I’d wager anything you like that they each drank the experience as dry as they possibly could. All that matters is that you want to work hard, improve your craft, and apply the lessons.

Jess Irwin: It’s not about the number of publications – we had people with several publications and people with none at all. You’re all equal in the crit room. The quality of the writing, and a desire and willingness to take it to the next level, is more important. Publications can be an indicator of good writing, though obviously some publications are more prestigious than others.

Angela Slatter: I have about 20 stories published so far, and about 10 reviews and a few articles. I don’t know if that’s ideal – it’s just what I have!

Steve Turner: I have not had one published – I was accepted on the strength of a plot synopsis and first chapter of my out-of-control epic fantasy novel, so please don’t let a lack of short story credibility dissuade any would-be Clarionites, just submit some damn good writing (keep in mind that the Clarion workshops are about short stories though, so don’t apply if you don’t like to write them). I have been experimenting with short stories for most of this year, combining both science fiction and fantasy in one, and one of my aims is to produce some of my best writing in short story format from my Clarion South experience.

Helen Venn: I think it’s more a question of having learned your craft to a reasonable level than having stories published.

Amanda le Bas De Plumetot: Crikey, I don’t know. I’ve never counted how many I’ve had published. Does it really matter? Maybe there are some in the group who haven’t been published at all, but have that edge that makes them worthwhile. Maybe they’ve got some real gold on their hard drives, but never had the confidence to submit them anywhere.

Check out the earlier posts about Clarion South
Find out more about Clarion South (intake is closed for the next Australian session, which will take place in Brisbane from Jan 4 to Feb 14)

Sound the clarion call …

Make sure you check out the Voyager blog from next week on as we bring you the thoughts and advice of Clarion South graduates, and new students. This is the start of a set of posts that would-be speculative fiction writers should not miss out on reading!

Hear from Sean Williams, Lee Battersby, Angela Slatter, Aidan Doyle, Steve Turner,Amanda le Bas De Plumetot, Ben Julien, Jess Irwin, Helen Venn, Laura Goodin, Christopher Green, Paul Haines, Deborah Kalin, Bren MacDibble and Jason Fischer. You might recognise some of these names from Dreaming Again and other popular sf/f anthologies – because they are published short story writers (and in some cases, long story writers too … er, that is, novelists).

So …

Watch out

Clarion’s about.

Click here for more informaton on Clarion South.