• 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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The Shadow Knows …

by Kim Falconer

I learned a lot about ‘evil’ in the summer of 1981. My eyes were opened to its purpose at a conference in Berkeley California where a Jungian analyst talked about the Shadow. She said when it comes to storytelling, ‘evil’ is the author’s best friend. It moves the story forward, forces characters to grow, allows for heroic acts and takes readers to the edge of their seats.

Tolkien says it like this . . . things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling . . . The Hobbit.

If we want to have a ‘good deal of telling’ we best know make friends with ‘evil.’

'Lilith as a Shadow figure.' H R Giger from Necronomicon 2 Edition C Zurich, 1985

Jung defines ‘evil’ as an element of our shadow—a part of our unconscious that is hidden from us. The shadow can be very confronting to experience in ourselves so we project it onto others or art/film/ literature. It evokes powerful emotional reactions like loathing and disgust because it contains the unwanted and disowned material of our psyche. Yet like the banished Lilith, getting to know the shadow is an opportunity for wholeness.

We see this process in fairytale like the ones where the miller (or farmer) has lost his fortune. Just when the story stagnates and nothing more can happen, the Shadow appears. He’s often a dwarf or cripple, hideous or distorted in some way. He steps in and offers to make a ‘deal’. He’ll help the hero if only he promises to give him what’s behind the barn, or out by the shed. The hero thinks what could be there but a rake or an old bucket? And so he agrees. Now up go the stakes because behind the barn at that moment is the miller’s son, or out by the shed is his baby daughter.

A similar shadow image is seen when Bilbo Baggins loses his way under the mountain. He doesn’t know what to do until he meets Gollum—a loathsome damaged creature. They play the riddle game (a deadly deal) and Bilbo wins but like the miller, what is given up is irreplaceable—for the miller it’s his true creative worth and in the case of Mr Bilbo Baggins, it’s his integrity.

The shadow appeals to the hero’s lack of self-worth or direction. Once the deal is struck, the story can move forward again because our hero has to figure out how to get his child back, or redeem himself (which the Hobbits never quite do as it is Gollum in the end who finally destroys the ring). As the saying goes, the shadow knows .. .

Part two will look at other personifications of ‘evil’ in storytelling. If you have a favourite villain or shadow figure you love to hate, please share it with us here.

Kim Falconer lives in Byron Bay with two gorgeous black cats. Her latest book is Strange Attractors, the third book in the Quantum Enchantment series, and it is out now in bookshops across Australia and New Zealand. As well as her author website‚ she runs an astrology forum and alternative science site‚ trains with a sword and is completing a Masters Degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on the Quantum Encryption Series.

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What’s in a Name?

Francois Rabelais in the 16th Century cautioned against reading too much into a title. (A book’s) ‘title is usually received with mocking laughter and jokes. But it’s wrong to be so superficial when you’re weighing men’s work in the balance.’ Good advice, but now day titles sell books. It pays to consider them carefully.

The purpose of the title is to attract, intrigue and compel. It’s the headline, the very first sentence and its job is to hook the reader. It wants to sound good—to roll off the tongue—but not be overly predictable or clichéd. A good title can have double meanings, though it’s best to be careful there. For example, Mouse Work’s 1995 title, ‘Cooking with Pooh’ is questionable. Catchy can work, like Big Boom’s ‘If You Want Closure in Your Relationship, Start with Your Legs’ but that’s not quite the style speculative fiction readers are after.

Who wouldn't want to cook with ... er ... Pooh?

Who wouldn't want to cook with ... er ... Pooh?

Titles have to fit on the book cover. I’m not sure how Crown got ‘Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam‘ squeezed together with the author, Pope Brock, and a billygoat (I’m serious) but they did. Short titles can be preferable. George Orwell first called his masterpiece The Last Man in Europe until changing it to 1984. Good move.

Apparently there are rules to follow for selecting titles. Some writers ignore them, to their great success: Rule one—don’t use a proper name in the title. (Harry Potter?) Rule two—don’t use words like Bane, Barbarian, Bard, Battle, Book, Chaos, Crown, Crystal. ( Jennifer Fallon’s bestselling The Chaos Crystal?) Rule three—don’t use adjective-noun titles. (Sara Douglass’ bestselling Twisted Citadel?) Rule four—don’t use needless complexity. (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (The bestselling SF by Philip K. Dick!)

Rules aside, there is a website where you can put your title to the test. This program generates the odds a title has of becoming a bestseller. If it’s accurate, my book #4 is going to sell a zillion copies! However The Da Vinci Code shows only a l4.6% chance, so maybe take it with a grain of salt. I didn’t use it in any case, only because I didn’t know about it!

My first two books were named organically, like pets. Book #1, The Spell of Rosette was just ‘Rosette’ for years. She got ‘The Spell’ as the story matured. Book #2, Arrows of Time was named for the narrative structure. It’s based on the theoretical notion that time is fully symmetrical—arrows going both ways and around in circles! I named Strange Attractors before I wrote a word of it. I had to write something in the proposal and the quantum theory concept of ‘strange attractors’—a pattern that appeared chaotic until seen from the right perspective—intrigued me. I didn’t know then how literal it would become!

Has anyone a good ‘title story’ to tell? Is there one that particularly compelled or repulsed? I’d love to hear about it. Comments welcome!

arrows of timeKim Falconer is the author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Book 1. She lives in Byron Bay in Australia with two black cats. As well as writing, she runs Falcon Astrology, The second book in the Quantum Enchantment series, Arrows in Time, is out now.

An interview with Kim Falconer

Kim's latest book

Kim's latest book

… Is now up at AuthorsDen.com

In furthering my quest to bring attention to talented authors with a gift for weaving words into memorable stories, I’d like to introduce Kim Falconer, author of The Quantum Enchantment Series. Let’s begin with an introduction to the readers. You have extensive credentials and varied interests. What would you like to share with our readers about yourself?

KF: Hi Lorna! Thank you for this opportunity to talk about my new series. I’m an author, astrologer and eternal student, curious about everything.

Read more …

Energy Follows Thought – Kim Falconer

In the prologue to The Spell of Rosette, Jarrod shares an epiphany. He repeats it in Arrows of Time on page 93. It’s short—only three words—but it is the foundation for the technological hegemony of 24th century Earth, and the magical hegemony of Gaela as well.

He says, ‘energy follows thought.’

This is what makes it possible for Janis to bring online a sentient computer, for Jarrod to create a tulpa (thought form) body, for Nell to shape-shift and for Rosette to blast a wall apart when she tries to light a candle. The idea is simple really—where we direct our thoughts, life follows.

I learned this from my first astrology teacher many decades ago. She laid it out in three steps.

1. Everything is energy.
2. Energy is directed by consciousness.
3. Consciousness is directed by thought.

Hermes and Pegasus, Andrea Mantegna, 1496 Part of the Parnassus painting

Hermes and Pegasus, Andrea Mantegna, 1496 Part of the Parnassus painting

Astrologically, these notions are the domain of Mercury—messenger of the gods. Because Mercury rules conscious (what we think and what we think we think) getting into alignment with this planet can put our lives on fast track, making it easier to actualise our goals and follow our bliss. Here are some hints for directing thought in this August eclipse season.

Aries: The eclipse season brings new creative opportunities! Think about what you want and why you want it. Know this and anything’s possible.

Taurus: Home, family and security are areas of life stirred up right now. Think about practical matters—food , sex, pleasure, peace and commitment.

Gemini: The partial eclipse suggests a month of non-stop action. Think about what you want to send, receive, communicate, revamp and restore.

Cancer: This season brings financial patterns to the fore. Think about money as you do air. Would you ponder where your next breath comes from?

Leo: If insecurity creeps into your relationship life there is only one cure—self-love. Think about being as good to yourself as you would a most cherished friend.

Virgo: The eclipse season awakens your imagination and you can use this energy for creative change. Think about, ‘what if . . .’ as often as possible.

Libra: Friends, associates and colleagues all have a different view right now. Think less about ‘should’ and more about ‘feel good.’

Scorpio: Career, mission and profession are spotlighted by recent eclipse activity. Think about doing what you love, and only what you love.

Sagittarius: If you have to know ‘how’ a thing will happen—it’ll trip you up. Methodology concerns sap energy. Think about allowing instead of forcing.

Capricorn: Shared resources, issues of power and control beat an unerring path to your door. Did you forget you wanted this? Think about sorting wheat and chaff.

Aquarius: Relationships morph into unrecognizable shapes reminiscent of Stoker, Shelley and Wilde. Deep breaths. Think about the insights you’re gaining!

Pisces: The eclipse magic is working on you from the inside out. The tendency is to run away. You might want to think about changing that.

Kim Falconer is the author of The Spell of Rosette and Arrows of Time, books one and two in the Quantum Enchantment series. She also runs Falcon Astrology and practises what she speaks about!

Travel Tips for the Many-Worlds

Being in two places at once isn’t as hard as it sounds—not since Huge Everett’s Many-Worlds Theory became widely accepted. The MWT resolves inconsistencies in physics by describing a universe branching with every choice, seeding countless parallel worlds where different events occur. Being aware of multiple ‘realities’ simultaneously isn’t a big problem either. It happens all the time, a skill enhanced in certain individuals throughout history, particularly witches and, believe it or not, web surfers.

Spiritual Pilgrim, Woodcut, anonymous German artist, circa 1530. Jung, CW 10, plate VII

In two places at once ... Spiritual Pilgrim, Woodcut, anonymous German artist, circa 1530. Jung, CW 10, plate VII

For centuries, witches (shamans) have journeyed to ‘other places’ while part of their awareness stays ‘behind’. This is a similar model to the now common practice of surfing the internet. Most scholarly investigations agree online experiences take us to another world that is filled with an array of meaning and purpose. The World Wide Web uses metaphors that support this spatial awareness—we talk in chat rooms, we visit sites and home pages, we surf the net. Cyberspace is a ‘place’ where community can develop over time and while we are ‘here’ we are also somewhere else. Test it: Are you in the Voyager community right now or sitting in front of your computer?

We can learn to hold our awareness in two places at once but handling the transitions takes practice. Here are some tips for keeping multiple ‘realities’ smooth and seamless.

Tip 1: Set Clear Intensions: In Arrows of Time, Nellion Paree experiences parallel universes. In one world she lives alone in a cottage at the edge of the woods. In another, she is High Priestess of a thriving temple. In yet another world she is hunted, her life under constant threat. She reinforces her sense of Self in each ‘reality’ by setting strong intentions—focusing daily on who she is and what she wants to achieve.

Tip 2: Awareness: This is the power of deliberate thought. We can practice by becoming conscious of how we shift through our ‘multiple-worlds’ every day. Work, home, online, off line, social or alone—different ‘worlds’ bring different aspects of the Self to light. By putting awareness on this process, we develop psychological muscles that will help with larger challenges—like parallel universes.

Tip 3: Accoutrements: Our self-image helps to ground us, be it an avatar, user name, skill or attire. It’s like putting on a different ‘hat’ for each job. In Nell’s case, she wears temple robes and is bonded to a familiar named Torgan in one world. In another, she dresses for the hunt and is linked to three ravens. In yet another, lives in shadows, hiding from the trackers. Having different attributes in multiple ‘realities’ can keep the mind clear and transitions smooth.

Tip 4: Perspective: From a great enough perspective, the many-worlds are one fundamental and seamless unity. Think of it as different ‘Nells’ belonging to a singular ‘I’. From this place of ‘I’, there is no ‘out there’, only consciousness. That greater perspective is a guide, keeping sub-personalities from fragmenting and allowing for a higher state of being.

Care to tell how you keep from becoming unglued in the ‘many-worlds’? Share your online or off line stories with us here. Comments welcome!

Kim Falconer is the author of The Spell of Rosette and Arrows of Time, both available from bookshops throughout Australia and New Zealand. Kim lives in Byron Bay on Australia’s east coast and continues to write. She also runs Falcon Astrology.