• 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!



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!

Winter Be My Shield Launch!

photo by Sari Yong

When the characters of my series Children of the Black Sun first came to me, there was one thing about them that I knew for certain, one thing on which they all seemed to agree: they needed to live somewhere cold. The northern nation of Ricalan where Winter Be My Shield  is set is a land of Siberian cold, dominated by taiga forest where snow can fall even in summer and covers the landscape for half of each year.

Environment shapes the culture of those who live within it — it’s no coincidence that people living in the harshest environments have the strongest traditions of hospitality. The story of Winter be My Shield is tied closely to the culture of the people who live in Ricalan. It’s a society of interdependence, where one person alone has a low chance of survival and where a single misfortune could mean their death. The harsh and unforgiving landscape forces people to work together, rely on each other and find common ground — even when their goals and values put them at odds and drive them to conflict. Ricalan is a place where you have a responsibility to the welfare of the people around you, as they have a responsibility to you; a land where if you find a stranger half-frozen in the snow, you bring her into the warmth of your home, whether it be stone walls or a tent of hide and fur, because tomorrow it could be you stranded, alone and defenceless amid the elements.

When it came time to plan the book launch, I wanted a way to introduce people to the culture and the landscape of the story. In our world, our first exposure to a foreign culture is often through their food and their traditions of hospitality, and so when I wanted to introduce Ricalan to the folk who came to help celebrate the launch of my book, I decided to do it through the foods that would be familiar to the people of Ricalan. Some foods, like ramps, the tender young fronds of fiddlehead ferns, are difficult to find in Australia, but there are many things in our supermarkets that would be known to the people of the Taiga forests. At the launch we had rare roast meat with horseradish on parsnip fritters; goat’s cheese and cured pork with cherry preserves; salmon, that ancient staple of the north, smoked and served on sourdough with cultured cream; and kimchee pancakes, a version of the traditional bannock which northern travellers have eaten for centuries. To follow we had cranberry pies with fresh cream, and panna cotta tartlets sweetened with maple syrup and forest berries.

photo by Sari Yong

photo by Sari Yong

It’s an incredible feeling to walk into my regular bookshop and see Winter Be My Shield on the shelves, when for so long it’s been just a file on my desktop and words running through my head. It was amazing to see so many people come to share this latest step in a long but very rewarding journey; from friends who’ve known me since I first started to write, to folk I only met a few weeks ago. I hope I was able to give my guests a symbolic taste of the north, and that it let them feel a connection to the people and the landscape of Ricalan. It may be a harsh and dangerous land, but there are warm places hidden away from the biting cold. I hope you enjoy seeking them out as much as I have.

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!

Gene Thieves steals the show

The Gene Thieves by Maria Quinn was successfully launched on Sunday 8 March at the Kirribilli Bookshop just north of the bridge. Sophie Scott, who is the ABC’s chief medical reporter, launched the book, and Voyager publisher Stephanie Smith was also there to say a few words. By the sounds of it, The Gene Thieves has gotten off to a strong start, making a buzz in Lawyers Weekly of all places!

Maria signing books

Maria gets down to the signing business - it's not easy being an author!

Maria with the ABC's chief medical reporter Sophie Scott

Maria with the ABC's chief medical reporter Sophie Scott, who launched The Gene Thieves

How many people can you squeeze into a bookshop? The launch of The Gene Thieves tests the limits.

How many people can you squeeze into a bookshop? The launch of The Gene Thieves tests the limits.

Voyager Publisher Stephanie Smith with Maria

Voyager Publisher Stephanie Smith with her stellar author!

Visit Maria’s website

First three photographs taken by Sascha Zsigmond, fourth photograph by Jim Trainer.

When a new book launches … a Voyager blog post by Karen Miller

Karen's latest bookSo it’s June now, which means that Publication Day is upon us.

Hammer of God, the third book in my first ever trilogy – Godspeaker – is out on the shelves. That knocking sound you hear is my knees, gentle readers …

You might think it gets easier, the more books you finish and have published. And perhaps it does, insofar as the more books you write, the more you start to believe you can actually do this! But that clutching sensation in the pit of the belly, that thrill of adrenaline through the blood, that wobbly, light-headed feeling that strikes when P-Day approaches … that, it would seem, never goes away.

And to be honest, though it’s hardly comfortable, I’m not entirely certain that I want it to. Because if there ever comes a time when I don’t get all tizzy about a new book being published, if ever I start taking the miracle for granted, well, that’s the time I’m surely asking for a swift kick up the posterior.

Being published is such a privilege, and an honour. Sometimes the responsibility feels overwhelming, because it’s not just the author on the line when a book comes out. Everyone who’s championed that book along the way, the agents and editors and copy-editors and publicity folk and everyone in-house who contributes to its creation, all these wonderful people have a stake in the success of the books they’ve worked on, and if that book doesn’t do well in the world, they feel the sting just as keenly as does the author.

Someone once said, ‘Art is never finished, only abandoned.’ – and I have to say I heartily agree with the sentiment. One reason I rarely go back and read a book once it’s been published is because I’m terrified I’ll discover all the ways I got it wrong, and those mistakes will paralyse me as I attempt to write the next book. Of course, I do try to learn from my mistakes. Each book I write is a valiant attempt to do a better job than I did previously … but there’s nothing more demoralising than realising you’ve not done something as well as you might have, knowing there’s not a snowball’s hope in Hades that you can go back and fix it.

Writing is a peculiar occupation, so very solitary. But then, so is reading – unless you’re involved in a reading aloud session with a book club, or friends. Sometimes it feels like I’m whispering into an enormous void … and as I whisper I imagine a host of ghostly readers out there, somewhere on the fringes, straining to hear me.

Allow me to thank you in advance, those readers who’ve heard my solitary whispering and placed fragile faith in my words.

As the P-Day nerves stutter me to near-incoherence, know that this author is so pleased she’s not alone.

Karen Miller

Sean swans through SwanCon

The ChangelingHere is an exclusive post from Sean Williams at SwanCon!

Swancon is in Perth. I have to keep reminding myself of this. The diverse accents of the international guests (Scottish, English and Canadian) go some way to explain my confusion, but it’s also because my mind is elsewhere. The wonderful Amanda is on a work trip in China, so I’ve been hearing about her adventures morning and night. Plus I’ve been receiving updates on the Philip K Dick Award, for which I was very fortunate to be nominated. Editing a novel set two million years from now probably isn’t helping, either.

As far as mindsets go, it’s a typical Swancon so far. 🙂

I arrived on the second day, which is always a tad disorienting. Friday night was a whirlwind of faces and happy meetings. It’s been five years since I was last over this way, and I’m stunned by how the kids have grown (and by the changes to Perth itself–but that’s a whole other story). Following peoples’ lives over the internet is no substitute for seeing the evidence in the flesh. My first event was a book launch: Ticonderoga’s beautiful “best of” collection, Magic Dirt, covering the highlights of my short story-writing years, which many people generously attended. Seeing volunteers from the audience mime the titles of randomly chosen stories was hilarious. Thanks to everyone for coming and supporting small press.

Saturday was a bit of a blur. The walls in the hotel are paper-thin, and cons are naturally exuberant affairs. 🙂 The day opened with another launch, but not my book this time–Pat McNamara’s amazing The Last Realm–followed by lunch with the legendary Stephanie Smith and Theresa Anns, plus some old and new friends away from the con. My panel at 2 on New Space Opera with Jonathan Strahan, Ken McLeod and Karl Schroeder passed in a haze (it’s times like these I regret not drinking coffee) and I barely managed to limp through a conversation afterwards before scurrying off to take a nap. Once upon a time, I would’ve breezed through days like this. Must be getting old.

5 o’clock was the moment I’d been waiting (and wanting to be awake) for: the HarperCollins launch of Karen Miller’s The Accidental Sorcerer and my The Changeling. A healthy crowd turned up to help us celebrate the existence of two different and challenging works for us. Mine’s a kids’ book set in the same world as my other fantasy novels, and it’s deeply rooted in my own emotional adventures as a child (particularly the things I was afraid of, so expect giant spiders). I was warmed to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. Moments like these area not just affirmations of individual books; nor is it really about individual writers and publishers. It’s about the community as a whole–and that’s why I love events like Swancon. They reinforce everything I like about this industry. The love is palpable.

Anyway, it was a wonderful moment. Thanks to everyone at HarperCollins for making it possible, from the writing all the way through to getting it onto the shelves. I’m flattered to be working with such talented people.

I’m writing this Sunday morning, with another fun day ahead. Last night’s big event (the Masquerade, at which I helped DJ for the stunningly costume-bedecked crowd) might be overshadowed by the announcement of the Ditmars tonight (another celebration of community for everyone involved). There will be more panels, more calls to China, more bonding. Somehow I have to fit in some more editing, but that’s okay. Adelaide seems a long way away at the moment, but in a very real way I’m right at home. 🙂

Sean Williams