• 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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David Gemmell Awards 2012

Three Voyager titles have been nominated in the David Gemmell Awards! Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence is up for the Morningstar Award ( Best debut of 2011 ) & the covers for both Journey by Night by Aaron Briggs & Oracle’s Fire by Frank Victoria are up for the Ravenheart Award ( best cover art of 2011 ) Congratulations to all our authors & artists!

Vote for Prince of Thorns here:
http://www.gemmellaward.com/page/the-morningstar-award

and vote for either Journey by Night or Oracle’s Fire here:
http://www.gemmellaward.com/page/the-ravenheart-award

 

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Journey by Night trailer

Check out Kim Falconer’s new trailer for Journey by Night. It’s pretty awesome, well done Kim!

The David Gemmell RAVENHEART Award Poll is open!

The David Gemmell RAVENHEART Award Poll is open!  Head here  and be sure to vote for one of the beautiful HarperCollins Australia covers by Gregory Bridges, Aaron Briggs & Frank Victoria:

From top left, World's End by Gregory Bridges, Journey by Night by Aaron Briggs, Road to the Soul by Aaron Briggs, Samiha's Song by Frank Victoria & Oracle's Fire by Frank Victoria

The Beginning of the End

With Journey by Night in bookstores this month, I’m starting to get emails and posts from readers who have already finished the book. They’re sending a lot of support and enthusiasm, which is wonderful. They’re also all asking the same question, each and every one. It comes phrased in a few different ways but all are saying, ‘It’s not the end, is it?’

 The answer is yes and no. Journey by Night is the last book I’ll write in the worlds of Earth and Gaela, at least for the next five years. I have two new series planed: The first one is well under way and the second I’ll write straight after. Both are envisioned as trilogies and set in very different worlds/premises. However, Journey by Night is not the whole story and it looks like the ‘missing chapters’ will be released soon. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me!

 What missing chapters? A year ago, when I first submitted book #3 in the Quantum Encryption series, the manuscript was over the word count. I knew there were sections that needed shortening but I hadn’t thought it would be the first six chapters. They were the bedrock of the story, to me, the life and times of Kreshkali and Nell growing up in the underground. The deleted chapters take place on Earth and answer questions about the origins of these two powerful witches—their intentions and what drives them. I felt more than a little attached.

 But I also trust my publisher completely and was open to her idea. She wanted me to try starting with chapter seven—one of the most intense and dark scenes in the book—and feather in important elements from the early chapters as memory. It took me a few days to get my head around the rewrite but once I did, I went to work and a month later I resubmitted the MS. Bingo. My publisher was happy and my editor (who never saw the original version) was thrilled.

 Meanwhile, those first six chapters sat in a bottom drawer and that didn’t feel right. I find it hard enough to leave a series and say goodbye to characters I’ve been ‘with’ for the past six or seven year but to know those early chapters would never be read hit hard. In the back of my mind I pondered ways this part of the story could be told. Fortunately, my publisher was pondering as well. After tossing around a few ideas, we came up with a great plan.

 ‘Kreshkali and Nell – the early years’(under a much better title) is going to be turned into an ebook with plans for an audio download as well. Both will be either free or at the most the price of a lollipop. So for those who have devoured the series and are mourning its end, there is a thirty-some-thousand word novella on the way!

If anyone has a brilliant idea for a title, please feel free to comment. The elements in this story are 24th century post-apocalyptic earth where the only currency is drinking water. Two girls grow up in the underground, learn magic in secret and stay alive any way they can. I wanted to call it ‘Childhood’s End’ but we know Arthur C. Clarke grabbed that one years ago. Suggestions welcome. Thanks!

Show Don’t Tell: Let the bodies do the talking

One thing I learned growing up in California was how to read body language. I was shy and not big on self expression so conversations were usually short and lacking in point. Out of shear self-defence, I learned to read what was really going on and to use my body to portray what words could not. I’ve got over the shyness eventually, but my body language radar has stayed, thank goodness. I use it every day in my writing.

 There are a lot of things to keep in mind when writing epic fantasy—world building, action, suspense, characterisation. Another key component is dialog and I am always looking for ways to ‘show not tell’ when it comes to my characters’ conversations. It’s tricky because they are actually telling when they speak. One way to ease back on the exposition in dialog is to use body language along with the words. Here is an example of what I mean.

 This is a short excerpt from Journey by Night, my most recent release. It’s a conversation between Kreshkali at age five and her Auntie Bess. First consider it with the body language and actions removed. Do we really know what’s going on?

 ‘What about Nell?’

‘Who?’

‘Nell   . . . we can’t leave her behind,’ Kali said.

 ‘Fine. You can bring your teddy . . .

Next here it is as written in the text.

Tears welled in Kali’s eyes. ‘What about Nell?’

‘Who?’

‘Nell,’ Kali said and pointed to her friend.

Auntie Bess knitted her brows.

‘We can’t leave her behind,’ Kali said.

Auntie Bess clicked her tongue. ‘Fine. You can bring your teddy . . .

Here the body language shows us how the characters are feeling without resorting to exposition.  We are never told what Kali or Bess feel but we’ve got a good idea. Below is the same conversation again with different body language. Keep in mind the actual dialog hasn’t changed one word. 

 Kali smiled, her hands going out to her sides as she twirled. ‘What about Nell?’

‘Who?’

‘Nell,’ Kali stopped to point at her friend.

Auntie Bess tapped her chin.

‘We can’t leave her behind,’ Kali said.

Auntie Bess gave the child a hug. ‘Fine. You can bring your teddy . . .

 There are plenty of actions that show readers what’s going on without having to literally spell it out: Rub the back of your neck and look down? Lying! Point a finger and shout? Threatening! Cross arms and take a step back? Defensive! Fiddling with small objects and avoiding eye contact? Nervous as hell!

 But not all body language is universal. For example holding hands or looping arms with a person of the same sex in public in our culture is likely to be interpreted as a gay/lesbian relationship. In Japan, it’s a common behaviour between friends (two women or two men). I’m sure when books are translated for foreign publication, the body language has to be assessed for meaning as much as the words themselves.

 How about you? Is there a particular kind of body language you spot a mile away and think, I know what’s really going on? Share it if you do. I’d love to add to my repertoire.

How to Save a Planet

 

Journey By Night

 Journey by Night – A fast-paced story of fantasy and occult adventure, astrology and martial arts…
Comment to win!

Kreshkali and Nell have only one task – to save the planet. Of course, I am not making it easy for them. With the September 1st launch of Journey by Night the theme of saving the planet certainly comes to the forefront.

Both Quantum E. series focus on magic, intimacy, shape-shifting, witchcraft and martial arts with all the action playing against the backdrop of two worlds – Gaela, a magical hegemony where energy is derived from thought, and a future Earth where environmental disaster, geo-engineering, totalitarian governments and tectonic plate shifts have taken things to a horrific extreme. Journey by Night concludes a six book saga begun with The Spell of Rosette, wrapping up every thread. (If you can think of anything I left out, email me!)

I’m not going to say how it ends for Earth or Gaela, but I can assert that ten years of research into worst case scenarios has brought me to some terrible, as well as enlightening, conclusions. It has been quite a journey into the current state of our environment and where we can find ways to reverse the global threats hanging over us. Some ideas are embedded in my books but I’ll give you my short list here.

Steps to Saving the Planet

1) Awareness –Ritual magic, witchcraft, deliberate creation, prayer, chanting, evoking, shamanism … these are all words that describe a state of being—a state of awareness. We get what we are and the witch, shaman, devotee or the ‘regular Joe’ can practice deliberately the art of awareness. This is the #1 key to making a difference in the world. It’s called know thyself.

2) Intention – Setting an intention is the next step. You might start with saying I am making a difference. I am going to accomplish  . . . I am discovering . . . I am grateful for . . .  Just start by saying, ‘I am . . .’ and follow with your heart.

3) Meditation – We do not emphasis the stillness and listening aspect of being in our culture but the benefits for the entire planet are well documented. Over 500 studies have been completed on the physiological, psychological, and sociological effects of TM meditation, making it perhaps the most intensively studied technique in the field of human development. Who’s tried it?

4) Contribution – From an evolutionary biologist’s point of view, human beings are hardwired to connect to 150 others. That’s right, 150 people/beings that we know intimately and care for and relate to. Given this, it’s easy to see why so many people feel like something’s missing. (It accounts for why we LOVE the characters in books, celebrities and public figures. They become ‘our people’.) By making a contribution of energy, time, intention, support, we extend our connections to others while participating in the evolution of our planet.

Which of these four steps do you like the most? Post a comment and be in the hat to win a Kim Falconer book of your choice. Most interesting comment wins! We’ll choose a winner by the end of the week ( 26th Aug ).

Quantum Encryption Series

Kim Falconer’s latest book, Journey by Night is out September 1st.  It is #3 in the Quantum Encryption Series. As well as her author website, she runs an astrology and law of attraction forum, trains with a sword and is completing a Masters degree. Her novel writing is done early every morning. Currently she’s working on a whole new series.

Interview with a Witch

Image of Kreshkali

Nordinho’s Sophia

I had the chance to catch up with one of my favourite people from the Quantum Enchantment series, Kreshkali Richter. She’s not an easy woman to pin down so I took the opportunity, with her consent, to record our conversation.

KIM Kreshkali, it’s an honour to have you here in my home.

KRESHKALI Not a problem. You checked out.

KIM *clears throat* Many of our readers have asked me about your relationship to the Earth’s underground. In the first three books, you seem to be a loner, yet . . .

KRESHKALI *interrupting* It’s all about illusion. A glamour. To ASSIST, I look like a streetwise whore, scratching out a living on the edge of a ruined city. That’s the mask. After the underground was infiltrated by ASSIST, our leaders were killed. It was up to me. Pecking order, you know? I was next in line.

KIM And you’ve held it together very well indeed. But what about the magic? Did you really learn that on your own? From your mother’s grimoire?

KRESHKALI Not alone. I had Nell with me. Most of the time as kids, we studied together. Then there was the night in the sewer. Things went dark for sometime after that. But between Nell, and my mother’s books, ya, I learned the craft.

KIM And now you teach, of course. Can I ask who’s been your most challenging student?

KRESHKALI *chuckles* That would be Teg.

KIM Can you tell us a bit about him?

KRESHKALI Teg’s a Lupin. You know the term? Of course you do. He’s got wolf DNA merged with his own. A powerful shape-shifter, as all Lupins are, but Teg’s got something else. He’s a brilliant student. Drives me crazy sometimes . . .

KIM Because . . . ?

KRESHKALI *Surprised* If you met him, you wouldn’t have to ask! It’s like there’s no air in the room when he looks my way. Those eyes . . . He’s my apprentice though, so I keep it together.

KIM How do you cope with that?

KRESHKALI We train hard, fight dirty, study, debate, elude, detect and travel the many-worlds at the speed of light. It keeps me focused on the task at hand.

KIM Which is?

KRESHKALI Saving Earth and Gaela, what else?

KIM Ah yes, Gaela. How did you feel when you first woke up there?

KRESHKALI #%^@ing blown away! You can’t appreciate it, because your Earth is still healthy, but for me, waking up to see the sun shine, to see stars overhead at night and not a muddy vault, to drink water fresh from a stream and walk among trees was like opening my eyes for the first time. Fresh air that doesn’t smell like death, rain that doesn’t sting like demon’s piss, people who live and train and practice magic in the open . . . seeing that did it for me. I knew then and there. . .

KIM Knew what, Kali?

KRESHKALI I would do anything to bring Earth back to life.

KIM Beautiful. Thank you. *looks at the wall clock* Do you have time to take some questions from our readers?

KRESHKALI *winks* I thought you knew by now. I’ve got all the time in the world.

There will be a lot more of Kreshkali come September with the release of the third book in Quantum Encryption, Journey by Night.  Meanwhile, you can ask any questions here!