• 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!

     

     

Bran the Betrayer Part 20 ( a short story by K.J. Taylor )

Here’s the final part of the new short story by K.J. Taylor, set in the world of her Fallen Moon Trilogy AND her brand new book, The Shadow’s Heir!  Happy Friday reading Voyagers!

Bran the Betrayer Pt. 19

*

‘What home?’ Bran demanded. ‘She’s got no other family.’

‘That’s none of my concern,’ said Ruel. ‘It’s your business. Find a family that will take her, leave her at Guard’s Post for the Northerners to find – you can smother her with a pillow for all I care. But you cannot keep her and live here.’

‘Fine,’ Bran spat. ‘Then I’m leavin’.’

‘You cannot live in any Eyrie with that child,’ said Ruel. ‘If you keep her, I will legally exile you. Wylam will not want you, and Eagleholm is destroyed.’

‘Then I’ll go back to Canran,’ said Bran.

‘Canran is gone,’ said Ruel. ‘Lord Holm’s last followers decided not to accept our peace offer, and they suffered the consequences. Their Eyrie has been destroyed. Branton Redguard, I warn you one last time-,’ he pointed straight at Laela. ‘Rid the Eyrie of that child, or leave and never return.’

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What happens when Steven Spelberg and Peter Jackson get together.

A Tintin movie!  Now we have some half decent trailers out ( the movie opens in Australia & NZ in December ) my previously skeptical approach has turned into quiet excitment. I was always a big fan of the comics & the animated series from the 90s and not sure Herge’s styalised characters would translate well into 3D, especially hyper-real computer generated 3D! I could be proven wrong and find the big-screen turns the characters into residents of the uncanny valley, but from the trailers I think they’ve found a happy medium between the real and the caricatured. We have the Art of TinTin out now and its packed with beautiful artwork- I’ve always been a sucker for movie art books!

There’s an article I read recently about the TinTin movie which espoused the idea that comic book stories and even fantasy/sci-fi genre stories would be better suited to this style of hyper-real animation. I must admit I baulked at that. While animation is certainly fun, I feel that the current techniques of computer assisted wizardry that allow live action fantasy & sci-fi are amazing and I think we’ll always be slightly more moved/excited/scared by something that involves real people. What do you think? Would you be happy if your favourite fantasy or sci-fi book was turned into an animated film rather than live action?

Rhonda Roberts talks Gladiatrix and news on Hoodwink!

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Rowena Cory Daniells has posted a fab interview with our own Rhonda Roberts, author of Gladiatrix, where she talks about getting published, gender in fantasy and what’s coming up next for her time travelling heroine Kannon Dupree.

We’re thrilled to announce that Rhonda’s much anticipated next book Hoodwink will hit the shelves in January 2012.

Now we know it’s not close enough for some Gladiatrix fans so here’s a little bit more info to keep you going:

A perfectly preserved body, covered in Mayan occult tattoos, is discovered embedded in the concrete floor beneath the set of a teen werewolf TV series. The police identify the man as Earl Curtis, a famous director who went missing in 1939 while working on Gone with the Wind. Hired to investigate, Kannon returns to old Hollywood. But in the present someone is stalking the remaining witnesses.

Check out the interview here.

Exciting new book out! THE ACCIDENTAL SORCERER by K E MILLS

The Accidental Sorcerer This is the start of an all new series … weaving light-hearted humour with much darker forces … keep a look out for reviews on this title as we post them.

His last assignment blew up in his face! Is New Ottosland ready for their new Grade Three Wizard?

For the life of him, Gerald Dunwoody can’t seem to keep a job or a roof over his head. When career disaster strikes again, it looks like his days of being a wizard are over for good … until his friend Monk, genius of the government’s secret research department, helps him to get appointed as Royal Court Wizard to the King of New Ottosland. His offsider, Reg, an ensorcelled bird with a mysterious past, isn’t so sure this is a good idea. But Gerald’s choices are limited … It’s New Ottosland, or starve.

Once he arrives it quickly becomes clear that King Lional isn’t the vain, indolent young man he first appeared to be. And with the passing of time, it becomes even clearer that Lional’s plans may not, in fact, be in Gerald’s best interests …

Is it okay to make fun of fantasy?

Where did this topic come up? There was a discussion on the message boards about maps and I mentioned Diana Wynne Jones’ well-known work ‘The Tought Guide to Fantasyland’. I was tremendously surprised to see some negative comments about this work, mainly because I laughed very hard over the book, seeing alot of truth in what was written in it – this is the Amazon summary for the book:

Diana Wynne Jones describes (starting, of course, with a map) every sword-and-sorcery cliché in wickedly accurate detail, arranged alphabetically. Elves sing in beautiful, unearthly voices about how much better things used to be. Swords with Runes may kill dragons or demons, or have powers like storm-raising, but they are not much use when you’re attacked by bandits. You can only have an Axe if you’re a Northern Barbarian, a Dwarf, or a Blacksmith. Jones also tackles hard-hitting questions: how does Fantasyland’s ecology work when there are few or no bacteria and insects and vast tracts of magically irradiated wastelands? Why doesn’t the economy collapse when pirates and bandits are so active and there is no perceptible industry?

I suppose I was surprised at the negative feedback (suggesting that DWJ is in some ways spurning the industry that has brought her up) because I don’t feel that DWJ portrays fantasy in a bad light, but rather attempts to showcase some of the cliche that feature heavily in much fantasy – whether that be good or bad fantasy (also a debatable topic). I feel that if more fantasy authors read the Tough Guide, they might actually avoid some of the pitfalls that appear in written fantasy – so they might actually build a world that is believable, full and can be built on further in later books. I agree that when you read fantasy, you are suspending disbelief in many ways, but I do think some things should be properly documented, and that character’s reactions to certain situations should be drawn relatively realistically. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed fantasy that panders to the cliche – the Wheel of Time for once, but eventually I got sick of Nynaeve tugging her skirt, or checking her hemline or whatever it was, and of Mat, Perrin and Rand all thinking, “If only Rand/Mat/Perrin was here, he’d know how to deal with women” – ie. tired dialogue. And I can certainly say that I have read all of Diana Wynne Jones’ books and only disliked one (A Sudden Wild Magic). What interested me most was that people don’t really make the same criticisms of Terry Pratchett, and he does exactly what DWJ does in the Tough Guide, which is to take stereotypes and show the humorous side of them, turning them upside down as it were.

I suppose it is obvious that I think it is okay to make fun of fantasy – if done properly and accurately. But I am not a fantasy writer and therefore am quite thick skinned on this one.

Never judge a book by …

I am wondering what the year will bring as far as Fantasy is concerned. There’re a few great books waiting to be published … should I say ‘a few’, probably lots! It’s a matter of whether they’ll be found or not – I am constantly surprised at the number of excellent fantasy novels that DON’T get the recognition they deserve, while at the same time the absolute crud starts to sell in droves (am thinking rather unfairly of Dan Brown here, despite not being a fantasy novel – but you can imagine the equivalent). IS IT THE COVER?

Covers are such a subjective thing (thanks Captain Obvious). I know that when we have meetings there’s alot of discussion on either trying to make a cover look extremely ‘fantasy’ ie. half naked lady, okay maybe not so crass, but definitely the heroic figures against a fantastic scenic backdrop, usually someone holding a Sword, or an ominous Tower looming. The extreme fantasy cover is normally used when the author is selling well and fairly established in the genre.

It gets more interesting, and more edgy, when experimenting with an unknown author – can we move this person out of ‘fantasy’ and into some sort of area that borders into ‘popular’ – that is, into the realm of Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and others who seem to have crossed the Great Divide and made fantasy less of a cellar-dwelling, D&D playing, robe-wearing genre and more of a ‘Oh my GOD you read Pratchett too?’- HOW FUNNY IS DEATH type of place.

 I find this interesting as you would think you might play it safe with what hasn’t yet been established, while trying to take the normalised stuff out into the playground to see what you might get when the already-there fans buy their fave author and the others who are not there give it a try for the sake of the cover.

Does anyone actually listen to the old adage ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’?