• 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!

     

     

Win a copy of the Game of Thrones RPG for Xbox or PS3!

     You’ve read the books. You’ve watched the show on TV. Now A Song of Ice and Fire fans can dive right into Westeros and play as a character in the Game of Thrones RPG!  The RPG has its own storyline and you can play as either a member of the Night’s Watch or a rogue Knight as part of a detailed story full of political intrigue and twists overseen by George himself.
For your chance to win  a copy of the PS3 or Xbox360 version, Comment on this post and tell us in 25 words or less which character from the books you’d love to play as in a game and why. Don’t forget to let us know which version of the game you’d like too.
We’ll choose the winners next Thursday. Australian residents only, sorry!

Supanova Sydney: Cosplay, Bronies, Natalia Tena and letting your nerd show.

There are few places where I feel comfortable letting my nerd show.

In my every day life, I let it show by degrees. I might geek out by knowing every single detail about an obscure TV show, or forsake a Saturday night out in favour of staying in and watching Doctor Who, or curling up on the couch and getting lost in a book. Some of my friends know that I lean towards the very nerdish, but even with them, I don’t let it all show.

But every year in June, I let it all out and venture to Olympic Park, in full costume and character to the Supanova Pop Culture Expo. The lead-up to this Nova was spent frantically putting together a new costume – the Black Widow from The Avengers (specifically, the version of Widow seen in the Iron Man 2 movie).

Walking through Milsons Point on a Sunday morning dressed in black pleather with plastic guns strapped to my legs and a spare tucked into my boot, accompanied by a female Hawkeye (who was carrying her plastic bow and arrows), was an experience. People pointed, stared, and laughed and one girl asked if we were playing a war game. But by the time we switched trains at Olympic Park, the looks we were getting went from confusion to admiration.

When someone told me that I was the best Black Widow they’d seen at the con so far, Hawkeye had to remind me that the real Widow probably wouldn’t have jumped up and down and squealed with excitement.

For me, being among other nerds and pop culture devotees is probably the best part about Supanova. Where else will people compliment you on your costume making? Where else do you get all excited when you make the big decision about an obscure costume you’re going to make for next year and someone else jumps up and down with excitement? Where else will you find a public screening of Friendship is Magic and be able to sing the opening credit song with a whole group of Bronies (My Little Pony fan community)?

Cosplay and fandom wasn’t the only reason I went to Supanova. There was also a bunch of great celebrity guests. I was most excited about seeing Game of Thrones TV series actors, Natalia Tena (who plays Osha, and who was also Tonks in the Harry Potter Movies) and Alfie Allen (who plays Theon Greyjoy). With the second series ending the weekend before, I couldn’t wait to hear about their experiences filming the show.

Natalia Tena was amazing!  She was funny, honest, a bit naughty, and handled questions from the audience like a pro. She’s hoping that the rumours that George RR Martin loves the character of Osha are true so that she might have a chance of getting to work on the show until the end. Although, that did leave me thinking that if GRR really does love Osha, then maybe that doesn’t bode too well for Natalia’s future Game of Thrones employment.

Mel meets Natalia Tena, Osha from Game of Thrones and Tonks from Harry Potter!

On Sunday, I met Natalia and had my picture taken with her. For every fan that stepped up to her, Natalia shook their hand, introduced herself, smiled for the camera and the shook their hand again as they left the booth. When it was my turn, she held out her hand, looked me up and down and said: “Hi I’m Nat…WOAH you look AWESOME.”  This is why, in my picture, I have a goofy look on my face. Natalia Tena liked my Black Widow costume. She told me that I looked awesome.

On Sunday night after meeting celebrities, buying bags of comics, and posing for a thousand photos, Hawkeye and I reluctantly changed out of our costumes and shed our characters for another year.

On Monday morning, there was no pointing or staring because I looked like a normal girl on the train. But if you looked very closely, you might have noticed the tiny Black Widow badge I had pinned to my coat – that one tiny little bit of nerd I let show in public.

Mel works in the HarperCollins Publishing department.

Game of Thrones net roundup

With the explosive success of the HBO adaptation of George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire the net has seen a wide variety of interesting articles and creations inspired by both the show and the books, from the sublimely thought-provoking to the groan-inducingly silly.

Here’s a few choice picks we’ve came across so far:

i09 has a great array of sci-fi/fantasy/spec-fic/general geeky articles and these are just a few of the neat Game of Thrones themed articles they’ve had up. They’ve posted up concept art from the TV show, including some unused designs for The Eyrie and the Sept of Baelor. They’ve also posited some real-life scientific explanations for the unpredictable seasons of Westeros- perhaps their myth of the origin of Dragons has some truth to it! And here’s one for the old-skool D&D fans ( or perhaps those with a philosophical bent )!

If, like us, you’ve planned trips to New Zealand around locations used to shoot The Lord of the Rings, this article about the locations used in Game of Thrones is pretty useful for planning your next holiday! While we’ve posted it on the blog before, this speculative map of Westeros and beyond by SerMountainGoat is so spectacular its worth sharing again.

Several academics and professional political analysts have enjoyed speculating on the apparent political viewpoints portrayed both diagetically and non-diagetically by the series & the show. This rebuttal article is an interesting read, particularly as much of the speculation is based purely on the events of the first season ( and largely, the first book ) of the series.

While it’s far from specific to Game of Thrones, this BBC article provides some interesting theories as to the origins of the ubiquitous British accents in fantasy films & TV. Apparently it’s all Kevin Costner’s fault!

Best author photo ever.

And now for the silly stuff: Prepare to never take Bronn seriously again: here he is singing Unchained Melody on Top of the Pops in 1995 ( he’s the one on the right! ).
Have you ever wondered what Daenerys Targaryen would look like playing air guitar? Wonder no more!
In case you missed it, i09 has a link up to the Simpsons Game of Thrones intro sequence that’s pretty awesome.
A couple of keen Lego fans have put together some Game of Thrones scenes in plastic brick form, and one dedicated fan even re-created the opening sequence in stop motion!
Continuing the brick-theme, those crazy Minecraft kids have built some astounding recreations of the locations in Westeros, inspired more from the books & their own imagination than the TV show.
Lastly, GRRM’s US publisher put up this great April Fool’s news item. It also gave us possibly the best author photo of GRRM ever.

And we’ll leave you with this little gem of badly photoshopped wisdom.

If you’ve seen any other cool Game of Thrones articles or amusing tidbits, let us know!

George R.R. Martin interview with Jane Johnson – Part One

GRRM in conversation with UK publisher Jane Johnson At the Bloomsbury Theatre in London this Tuesday night, 500 George R.R. Martin fans had the opportunity to listen to the man himself in conversation with his UK editor (and Voyager Publishing Director, and successful author in her own right) Jane Johnson.  Here’s the first part of the conversation transcript!

Jane: I’ve heard you say that historical fiction and fantasy are “sisters under the skin”. Can you tell me more about what you mean by that?

George: Historical books are a little grittier, which is one of the things I wanted to do when combining the two; to take that sort of gritty realism you find in a historical novel and combine it with the imagination and wonder of Fantasy.

I have thought about writing historical fiction myself, when I interviewed Bernard Cornwell for Harper a few months ago we talked about this.  For me the frustration in writing real historical fiction is that if you know history you know how it comes out. You can write about the actual Wars of the Roses and you know what’s going to happen to those princes in the tower and you know what’s going to happen at the battle of Bosworth Field. With my books I like to keep them a little off balance. Ultimately you don’t know what’s going to happen to the kids in my books or who’s going to live or die or end up with their head on a spike.

But the reading experience can be quite similar. Jane has been reading the Accursed Kings series by the great Maurice Druon – a wonderful series of historical novels.  One of the great things for me when I read them was that I didn’t know a lot of the history. You know, French people may know all of this but for me it wasn’t something that was covered on our history courses, nor presumably, in history courses here. I didn’t know who these people were, even only the most abstract terms, or how this was going to come out. That was a very similar reading experience to a fantasy novel.

Jane: They read incredibly fresh. We’ve just bought the world rights to publish them because they’ve been out of print since the sixties, I think it’s going to be great fun to make them available to people. They read as if they were written yesterday, they’re really sharp and funny, as well.

The brothers Goncourt said: “History is a novel that has been lived…” I think that’s a really good quote but I feel also that with A Game of Thrones, you feel that every character in your books has a life that goes on behind the scenes: they’re not just walking out on stage and playing out what you want them to play out. You do see them as real people. How much of that elaboration do you have in your head before you set out writing your characters?

George: I’m not actually deluded enough to think that they are real people. I know that I’m making them up. It seems obvious but I’ve met some writers over the years that have peculiar views on the subject and seem to think they’re receiving emanations from other dimensions or something. I don’t buy into that but certainly when I’m writing these characters and living with them they achieve enormous reality to me.

You know, many years ago I wrote a short story, a novelette actually, that won the Nebula award called “Portraits of His Children”. It is about a writer and his relationship with his characters. Its sort of a cliché that characters are a writer’s children but there’s a great amount of truth to it. At least for a writer like myself; the characters I have created over the years are a part of me, are a part of my life. They are not me, but they are created by me and are a part of me. The analogy with the children has a certain apt-ness to it.

Jane: Well you’re a cruel father

George: I take after the Romans; they had the whole “paterfamilias” thing going on there. If you were a disappointing son “I’m sorry son you’re disappointing me would you please commit suicide”…“Yes dad I’d be happy to”. We’ve lost some of these traditions over the years.

Stay tuned for the rest of the interview!

Are you game to eat like they do in Game of Thrones?

   The Gastro Park restaurant in King’s Cross Sydney are putting on an amazing Game of Thrones inspired menu designed by Chef Grant King next month from the 7th March to coincide with the DVD release of Season 1 of the TV show.

Featuring roast pork served on a mossy plank, mozzerella eyeballs, pepper raven’s feet and dragon egg desserts, all served by wait staff dressed as Westeros natives, it sounds like the perfect night out for any serious Song of Ice and Fire fans! I must admit, the eyeballs are kinda disturbing, but other dishes sound fantastic.

Most of the Voyager crew are keen to try it out, but would you? Let us know! Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go, and rest assured, we WILL blog about it if we do!

Check out some more photos here and read more about how they made the dishes here.

 

Game of Thrones Season 2 begins on the 11th April on Showcase!

Can’t wait for Game of Thrones Season 2 to start? Here are a few more tasty morsels to get you through:

and IGN announces the casting of Stannis & Melisandre *and Davos*: http://au.tv.ign.com/articles/118/1182548p1.html

Game of Thrones Season 2 will be airing from the 11th April on Showcase!

A Dance with Dragons Extract!

Happy Friday Voyagers! The weekend is nearly upon us. We hope to see some of you at the Aurealis Awards tomorrow night. For those of you who can’t go – here is  a little treat to help make it better. Click through at the jump to read a special sneak peek of the most anticipated novel of the year – A Dance with Dragons. The countdown to July begins!  Have a lovely weekend everyone.

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