• 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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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!

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Halloween signing

Two wonderful Voyager authors will be at Angus & Robertson bookshop, River Plaza, Queanbeyan from 11 – 1pm – this Saturday 31 October (Hallowe’en):

Tracey O’Hara, author of Night’s Cold Kiss

K J Taylor, author of The Dark Griffin

To quote Katie: ‘ … since she writes urban fantasy and I’m… well, a bloodthirsty character-murderer, I guess they figured it was appropriate for the holiday.’

Jason Fischer: On Dreaming Again, the Birth of Undead Camels, and That Song

Firstly I’d like to give another plug to the Adelaide Natcon in 2009. I’d love to see heaps of people get onboard and book their tickets here and there is a LiveJournal community for those who want to receive updates here.

What can I say, Conflux was great fun, and it was nice to see so many people get involved in the various events, book launches, and general zaniness. Apart from the Marque’s Random Bar of Doom and the only huddle of eateries laying just beyond a comfortable walking distance, it was an excellent event. There were some brilliant panels this year, and I even participated in a couple of them. (The panel on Utopia, and Has Science Fiction Lost its Sense of Fun?) As the modern author is expected to be a toastmaster as well as a word-factory, it was great to get up in front of an encouraging audience, many of whom joined in the discussions. I don’t think I saw a dead or dull panel once during the whole weekend, and the organisers and convenors should be very proud of their efforts. They thought up some great topics, and lined up some very knowledgable and articulate folks to explore them.

More bloggings of my Conflux experience can be found here: http://jasonfischer.livejournal.com/115983.html

And my AMAZING SWAG of books can be seen here, it is a doozy:

(Secret subliminal message: Everyone should buy lots of books, especially from Voyager.)

For me, the most amazing part of the whole convention was the Dreaming Again stuff. Let me tell you about this book: it’s bloody outstanding. There is something for everyone in this book. You’ll see some of Australia’s premium SF novelists putting their hands to shorter fiction. There are also several new talents in this book, many sourced from the organised insanity that is the Clarion South literary bootcamp. It’s a powerhouse of a book, and if you don’t read Dreaming Again this year, you’re seriously missing out. Every word you’ve heard is true, and this book is literally and figuratively HUGE.

There was the actual book launch on Friday night, as shown earlier in the Voyager blog. Words can’t describe how it feels to be published in a book with several of your heroes, and the Voyager crew and Stephanie Smith deserve many kudos for making this all happen. We authors got spoiled good and proper, what with book signings and Jack Dann in raconteur mode, pimping this book to the heavens and back, until finally the moment where he revved the crowd up and got them to sing That Song.

You know the one, it’s got Undead Camels and a whole heap of Doo-Dah  a moment forever to be remembered! So let me tell you fine people about my Dreaming Again experience, and how I came up with a story called ‘Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh’, and how the song was born.

An un-undead camel

Watch out ... they're coming for you ...

Join me in the distant beyond of early 2007, when a bunch of emerging writers trekked to muggy Brisbane for six solid weeks of the mind-stretching Clarion South writing workshop. We emerged from the system with life-long friends, but that’s Stockholm Syndrome for you. One of our tutors was the legendary Gardner Dozois, longtime editor of Asimov’s magazine and, as it turns out, my long-lost dirty old uncle (DNA test pending). I wanted to write a story that would impress this man, and a few ideas were played with and discarded.

I promise I will never be that guy that poo-poohs the question, “where do you get your ideas from?” I’ll tell you true, my fair readers: we’d bought the supercool Lee Battersby a going-away gift, a book of schlock movie posters and such. One of the posters spoke of a movie called “Weasels Ate Their Flesh”. The next day, I read a wiki article on feral camels in Australia, giving their number at anywhere between 500 and 700 thousand. That’s a whole lot of dromedary. Somewhere, the Brisbane humidity baked the two ideas together and with every 2nd clarion story being a zombie piece, they became very undead.

When it was Gardner’s turn to crit my work, he launched into the Undead Camels song, and after a moment of stunned silence everyone joined in. I had the presence of mind to record this song, either on this occasion or one of the other 50 times. One of our convenors remixed it into a techno track. But apart from us Clarionites and Mister Dann, this recording shall not leave our sacred trust.

The awesome one-woman author-squad known as Margo Lanagan encouraged me to send this piece to Jack Dann, who advised story revision. And thank god he did, because the final product has perhaps 2% of the original swear words, and is missing a whole extra plot-arc involving a Danish secret agent, an unreliable Cessna, and a revived Danish Empire on the island formerly known as Tasmania. Just when you thought a story about zombie camels couldn’t get any more ridiculous…

Jason Fischer is based in Adelaide, South Australia. He is a graduate of the 2007 Clarion South workshop, and a recent finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. He has a story in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again, and stories in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Aurealis Magazine (forthcoming). Jason likes zombies and post-apocalyptic settings, and when he’s not writing he wishes he was. He can be found lurking online at http://jasonfischer.livejournal.com, and is a contributing member of the Daily Cabal.

Finding out more about Dreaming Again.

Floricon – or what we did on Saturday afternoon and Sunday

Team Voyager is back in Sydney again, and rather sad as it’s all grey and rain is threatening. Conflux was marvellous and we all had a thoroughly good time! The only unfortunate thing was that we didn’t get to meet as many Purple Zoners as we’d have liked. PZers, for the uninitiated, are the occupants of the Voyager Message Board. So all you PZers out there, let us know the next con we should be attending and we’ll do our best to get there!

All the panels we went to were good – lots of excellent advice from authors, editors and publishers. On Sunday I especially liked Cat Sparks in the ‘From the Editor’s Desk’ panel – she was frank, funny and didn’t hold back. Amanda Pillar and Shane Jiraiya Cummings also gave alot of insight into the process behind receiving and processing stories at a small press. Team Voyager got to chat with Shane afterwards about Black Magazine, which we’ve all been reading and enjoying. In my case mostly due to Jenson Ackles getting the front page of issue two … 😀

I think my favourite panel overall was ‘Achieving the Dream’ with Jack Dann, Cat Sparks, Trudi Canavan and Kim Westwood, the convenor was Lynda Davies. All the authors spoke with such passion about the moment they felt they achieved their dream – of being able to write, not so much of ‘being a writer’, which they pointed out is not the same thing at all. And it was never the moment their finished book arrived from the publisher, it was far more the realisation that they could write, that they must write.

Being from Voyager, we went to pretty much all of the Dreaming Again events, because we’d read the whole anthology and loved it: the launch on Friday night, the panel mentioned above, Jack Dann’s guest speaking session, and the Dreaming Again panel. At the Dreaming Again panel I was once again awed by the talent in the room – Angela Slatter, who is such a beautiful writer, Richard Harland, whose story ‘A Tour of the Kingdom of the Dead’ was creepy and amazing, Jason Fischer, who is absolutely lovely and had to sit through several renditions of ‘Undead Camels Ate Their Flesh, Doo Dah Doo Dah’, Kim Westwood and Adam Brown who had dinner with us on Saturday night, Jason Nahrung, whose story is one of my personal faves – but actually, most of the stories in DA are – and many, many more: Peter M Ball, Jenny Blackford, Russell Blackford, Trudi Canavan, Margo Lanagan, Sean McMullen and Aaron Sterns (lovely horror writer who I also got to chat to briefly and who was away at one point in talks over film rights for one of his works!). Stephanie, our fab Voyager publisher, was also on the panel. Sarah, Tim and I forcibly leapt in front of several of the authors over the weekend and asked them to sign our books, and I believe all copies of Dreaming Again (both at the con and at Borders nearby in the Civic Centre) were sold out. We missed the 1920s banquet at the con but I hear it was spectacular and the rumour is that Cat Sparks was best dressed (as she seemed to be for the whole weekend, I think).

Saturday afternoon we took advantage of a break to go down and see Floriade. I thought it was beautiful – tons and tons of flowers by the water, and the sun had come out after a rather grey and rainy morning, so it was a perfect spring’s day. We took some rather silly pics and generally ran around (coffee/tea hit to blame). We also spied a tower in the distance that we nicknamed Isengard, due to it’s resemblance to that rather evil building. I concluded that the next Conflux should be held right next to Floriade and it can be called Floricon and the theme will be ‘Flowering Again’ and everyone will have to dress up as noxious and poisonous herbs and weeds because that would be v amusing and the research would be great! I would come as a toadstool. And then it was back to our lovely seedy film noir detective motel to get ready for the night’s entertainment.

On Saturday night we had a delicious dinner down at Milk & Honey where Kim Westwood had launched ‘The Daughters of Moab’ about 2 months prior, and got to meet upcoming Voyager author K J Taylor (who we also saw at the panel ‘What is Fandom’). Karen Miller joined us at dinner and has left me waiting eagerly for the start of Supernatural season four, which she says is terrific … she described a new ‘angelic’ character to me and now I can’t stop thinking about it! Luckily Supernatural is back on Monday night at 8:30 (Channel 10 did not pay me to make that announcement), and 90210 has been AXED. Ha ha. We walked back to our motel, got caught in a sudden downpour and eventually arrived back in Lyneham wondering if we were going to come down with pneumonia. Special props go to Tim for refusing to put on his jumper so that our books could be protected from the rain.

Cut to our last moments and Sarah and I caught some of Food Historian Gillian Pollack’s guest speech but had to leave halfway through – we got to speak to Kim Westwood and Karen Miller again – both lovely, lovely authors! And then we just had time to quickly visit Koko Black down at Civic to buy some chocolate (woe is us, there is no Koko Black in Sydney as yet). We returned to the Marque Hotel to see a Dalek exterminating Liz Argall and had a quick chat with Amanda Pillar of Morrigan Press, who edited the Voices anthology launched at Conflux, she’s also a PZer. Finally, to the car we went, hoping to get back to Sydney before it was too dark. We had a brief stop in Goulburn for fuel (and McDonalds) and I got a photo of the Big Merino (yay) which will make its way into this blog, I’m sure, as will our Floriade pics … cos they have alot to do with Conflux … er … I wonder what happened back at Conflux where the speakeasy was taking place? 1920s cocktails and spec fic authors … anything could happen …

Photos to come as soon as I can find my cable.

Taelian

Imagination that deftly defies northern gravity

The above title appeared in the July 26 Australian newspaper to head a review of Dreaming Again, edited by Jack Dann. The anthology has been getting excellent reviews all over blogs and papers. The Sydney Morning Herald ran an excellent review last week too. If you read and loved Dreaming Down-Under, prepare to be even more impressed when you read Dreaming Again. If you count Isobelle Carmody, Garth Nix, Sara Douglass or Cecilia Dart-Thornton among your favourites – you must pick it up; their stories are in there. If you follow Australian spec fic – then you probably already own a copy! And if you need an introduction to excellent sf, fantasy and horror, then here’s your prize.

Dreaming Again demonstrates that there is a distinctive Australian voice in speculative fiction, heard in the irreverence and humour of the stories and in the use of Australian landscapes. Indeed, reading this anthology makes it obvious just how much of the best overseas work is derivative of US and British culture and locations. It is a pleasure to see something as out-worldly as science fiction and fantasy writing grounded in our culture and landscapes.’ — George Williams, The Australian


Click here to go to the Australian review

Jack will be appearing at Conflux 5 in October, taking place at the Marquis in Canberra. He’ll be speaking on ‘A writer’s guide to dreaming’ (the theme of Conflux is ‘dreaming’). Book to go to Conflux soon and you’ll save $40 off the door price. And it really is worth going – there’ll be all sorts of entertainment going on – a New York 1920s banquet, designed and created by food historian Gillian Pollack, workshops of all kinds – including swordfighting, and of course, the general mad fun that goes along with all good cons!