• 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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Supanova recap with Kylie Chan

 

 Supanova is such a big part of my family’s life that I stop and have a moment of confusion when I actually have to explain it to people who’ve never heard of it. The whole week before the show, the newspaper had teaser articles about what visitors could expect there. My daughter’s main hobby is making costumes for Supanova, and she spends months agonizing about what she’s going to wear.

And for those who don’t know….

Supanova is a pop-culture expo held for one weekend each year. It travels from city to city, and next year is expanding to six Australian cities.

If you’ve seen news articles about ComiCon inAmerica, it’s our own version of that but not quite. There are three main reasons people come along:

– Stars of science fiction and fantasy movies are special guests, and you can collect autographed photos, have your picture taken with them, and hear them talk about their experiences. My daughter was hugely excited about going along and having her photo taken with Evanna Lynch – Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter movies.

Billy Boyd (Pippin from Lord of the Rings) came down to the stand when I wasn’t there, and had his photo taken with Ian Irvine. Ian rolled out a map he’d done for one of his fantasy novels, and it was nearly 2m by 1m – huge and detailed. The man’s a genius at worldbuilding.
 

Ian Irvine and Billy Boyd -two delightful gentlemen together!

– You can dress up. Anything you like, but most people choose a sci-fi/fantasy/anime/manga character – I counted ten Doctors on my first day and gave up counting the second. You can strut around looking awesome in lycra with green skin and red eyes, nobody will look twice, and there’s a competition for the best costume. The technical term for this is ‘cosplay’ (from the Japanese) and it’s one of the most fun parts for me. If you do an awesome costume people will stop you and ask for their photo with you.

Of course, if you’re a group that’s decided to cosplay every single Doctor, four companions AND K9, you’ll never be able to move because you’re constantly having your photo taken. Four, Five and Nine were somewhere around, probably stuck in a time vortex. I stood between ‘my’ Doctors, Two and Three. Damn, I’m old.

My daughter dressed up as a character from a manga called ‘Blue Exorcist’ which was a Japanese school uniform and a long purple wig with pigtails below her waist. The wig drove her completely nuts – it was unbelievably heavy! – but she enjoyed herself tremendously.

– The trading floor is a bad place. Very bad place. I protest loudly every time my daughter nears the Madman stand – last time I was there I bought a complete collection of both Astroboys – the black and white sixties version from my childhood, and the colour eighties version – in boxed sets. There’s traders of vintage comics, awesome t-shirts and bags (I got my Hellsing signing bag at Supanova), tryouts of new games, and collectible figures (my daughter got a matched set of 20cm Ezio and Leonardo figures).

They’re from the Assassin’s Creed game; Leonardo da Vinci on the right totally adores Ezio on the left. I suspect that my daughter’s planning to do something stop-motion with these fully-articulated figurines. After completing the game she went on a huge Leonardo da Vinci research phase.

Dymock’s have a stand on the trading floor, and that’s where I come in. You can come up to the stand and buy books from us Awesome Authors and have them signed on the spot, and embarrass us horribly by having your photo taken with us.

Left to Right: Rowena Cory Daniells, in front Keri Arthur, Tracy O’Hara, me (short), Marianne de Pierres (tall), Ineke, and Lynne in awesome hippy steampunk.

There’s a bunch of new fantasy and sci-fi to try out, and the staff on the stand are knowledgeable and all-around terrific people.

They can help you with every need.

I love Supanova because people can come up to me and actually have a chat about my plans for my new books, rather than having to line up at a signing and not have a chance to speak to me. There’s not often a line of people for signings, so if you’re in the mood to have a chat, I’m there all day.

We interviewed ourselves (Rowena did a fantastic job) for a youtube video for AskBrisbane; you can check out the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zssGViYHieU.

For the admission fee, it’s a grand day out and as a computer/sci-fi nerd long before I was any sort of author (and a Doctor Who fan since I first saw it in the late seventies) – well, I feel right at home. The other authors sometimes asked me what a particular costume referenced – and most of the time I got it right (sorry Totoro!). I’m very much looking forward to the inaugural Gold Coast one next April, and hoping that I can make a few other cities next year.

Special thanks to Ineke Prochazka, the staff of Dymock’s, Daniel Zachariou, Dion, Roland, Missy, and Quinny from Supanova.

The Supanova site is at http://www.supanova.com.au.

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The three most frustrating words for any Fantasy Reader – to be continued…

Nazgul!Just picture this – you are loving what you are reading and haven’t been able to put it down and so, despite the 7am meeting in the morning you are still reading at 2am to get to the end of the story but you are starting to get that sense of dread (similar to the approach of a Nazgul) because there don’t seem to be many pages left in the book and the story doesn’t seem to be winding down – and then you see those horror words:

 TO BE CONTINUED.

I have long considered this to be one of the most frustrating things about modern fantasy – the increasingly rare published stand-alone book. I was on my soapbox preaching this to some friends on the weekend when (I think as they were tired of hearing about for this for the 1 billionth time and were seriously starting to consider if I was caught in some sort of time paradox doomed to repeat the same problem every time I had an alcoholic beverage) they pointed out to me the flaws in my arguments which I thought were worth sharing:

  1. Its not just modern fantasy

The Grandfather of them all – Lord of the Rings – is a trilogy (plus the extra books like the Hobbit in the same world) and as we know in the commercial world that we live in – as soon as something makes money the word sequel get’s bandied about – in the movie business we can take the example of Transformers 1, 2 & 3 (and I believe 4 is going in production now) so the concept of a standalone hasn’t existed in movies, film or tv for quite some time (if ever)

      2.  You like revisiting the same world.

 It’s true – I really do. I loved Kylie Chan’s books and the vivid world she has created and each new book is a new opportunity to immerse myself in the incredible worlds she creates. I have been reading Robert Jordan & George R Martin’s respective Wheel of Time & A Song of Ice and Fire series for over 10 years now – and I’m still waiting in line to be first when a new book comes out.

       3.   If you don’t like it – why don’t you wait till the whole series comes out before you start reading.

That’s fair – and sometimes I do – having said that if I followed that rule then I would never have read either Martin or Jordan yet and that is a horror not worth contemplating.  

 So in summary I don’t think there is any great insight except that I have to stop bemoaning the loss of the standalone book (which may have never existed as a fantasy genre except as a fiction in my head) as I do really want to read series – I just hate the wait between books and can’t wait for the next one!

by guest blogger and sometime HR manager Jonathan Connolly

Why you shouldn’t step in puddles in Hong Kong, or the importance of research in writing.

    I was recently with a group of my 23-year-old son’s friends, chatting about our recent trip to the UK as a fact-finding mission for my next series of novels.

‘Do you really need to do that?’ one of them asked.

Before I could say anything, my son who’d lived in Hong Kong for nearly half his life gave an excellent example of why I did need to make this trip.

‘I saw a TV show that had an episode in Hong Kong,’ he said.

‘What was wrong with it?’ I said. ‘Rickshaws and big lanterns? Coolies in conical hats?’

‘Nothing quite that bad, but they had people going to someone’s house – and it was huge. With wooden walls, and traditional Chinese windows. Nobody in Hong Kong lives in a house like that. I just laughed.’

He’s right, and it ruined the authenticity of the show for him. That’s why I had to make the trip the UK. I would never try to write about a place unless I’d visited it myself, and I would never write about living in a place until I’d lived there.

If you’ve never lived in Hong Kong, you wouldn’t be aware of day-to-day annoying issues like the chronic shortage of coins (yes, money coins) that generates a thriving market for elderly women to camp out on bank doorsteps. Or the fact that anything left in a public place for more than two minutes is public property and liable to be taken. Or that you never step in puddles on the pavement, because they indicate a dripping air conditioner overhead. Or that the red-topped mini busses that have ‘Daimaru’ as the destination actually stop at a nearby street because twenty years ago the stop was moved from the front of Daimaru – which hasn’t existed for ten years anyway.

I’m setting part of my next series inNorth Wales, specifically on Holy Island, part of Anglesey. I spent a great deal of time on Google Earth making virtual visits and checking the history, but when it came to the crunch and I was going to write about it, I had to go.

I learnt a great deal about the place that would have been impossible otherwise. Details like the local Chinese restaurant offering ‘rice or chips’ as an accompaniment to their chop suey. The fact that the shiny new Tesco’s a little out of town has killed the main street. The three-thousand-year-old standing stones, Penrhos Feilw, are in someone’s back yard, and the wind whistles across that field and it’s bitter.

The colours – the yellow of the heather that was everywhere on the island – the weather, which was windy and sometimes very cold, and the friendly laconic nature of the people, made it an experience that imprinted itself on me, and will make my descriptions of the island that much more accurate. A virtual visit to the Iron Age Hut Circles didn’t let me see the spectacular view or feel the biting cold wind that made my ears hurt – in late spring!

Now that I’ve made the visit, I’m completely prepared for the next volume in my series. And I need to make a trip to Japan, because I want to set something there!

Read more about Kylie’s inspirations and challenges in moving between countries and roles in yesterday’s SMH article:

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/living-in-two-worlds-20110827-1jf9r.html

HarperVoyager sponsor 2010 Aurealis Awards

 

SpecFaction NSW Inc, the new organiser of the Aurealis Awards, is delighted to announce that HarperVoyager will be the exclusive sponsor of the 2010 awards presented in May next year.

Awards Co-convenor Nathan Burrage said, “The Aurealis Awards are Australia’s premier awards for Speculative Fiction and we’re delighted to be working with one of Australia’s top publishers, HarperVoyager, to present them for the first time in Sydney.”

“SpecFaction is a not for profit organisation and all our members are volunteers. Without the support of a sponsor like HarperVoyager, we could not hope to host the awards.”

HarperVoyager publish some of Australia’s biggest names in Speculative Fiction.

Stephanie Smith, Associate Publisher of HarperVoyager, said “HarperVoyager is delighted to be the sponsor of the Aurealis Awards in 2011. The awards have been instrumental in the development of the speculative fiction genre in Australia and are a source of pride for the genre community. Many Voyager authors have won, or been shortlisted for, the Aurealis Awards over the past 15 years, including such bestselling authors as Sara Douglass, Glenda Larke, Jennifer Fallon and Kylie Chan. Voyager’s enthusiasm for the genre and our commitment to seeing it grow and expand is as strong as ever.”

The Aurealis Awards, Australia’s premier awards for genre fiction, are for works of speculative fiction written by an Australian citizen, or permanent resident, and published for the first time between 1 November 2009 and 31 December 2010.

Entries close on Friday 31 December 2010. Finalists will be announced in late March 2011 and winners will receive their awards at a gala evening ceremony held in Sydney on Saturday the 21st of May 2011.

All entries are read by an independent panel of judges.  As with past awards, sponsorship arrangements do not influence the judging process.

For more information on the Aurealis Awards, or how to enter, please visit www.aurealisawards.com

Sneak Peek: Kylie Chan

For those of you at AussieCon4, Kylie Chan will be doing a signing at 6pm at Dymocks Collins Street. If you can’t make it to see her there … here’s something that ought to tide you over: a sneak peek at Heaven to Wudang, Book Three of the Journey to Wudang.

Leo and I sat on the mats across from each other in the Fragrant Lotus training room. His dark face was rigid with concentration as he held the chi on his outstretched hands.
I held one hand on his forearm, watching as the energy flowed through him. ‘Float it to the other hand.’
He lost it and it snapped back, hitting him in the middle of the chest. He bounced backwards but didn’t fall, then he sagged, leaning on the floor. ‘This is so damn hard.’
‘That was a pathetically small amount of chi for anybody to generate, especially an Immortal,’ I said. ‘You ate meat, didn’t you?’
He didn’t reply but his face said it all.
‘Alcohol too?’ I said.
‘Not alcohol,’ he said.

Read on.

Hip hip hooray: hardbacks for Voyager’s birthday!

Finally we can share with you the five beautiful hardbacks we are releasing for Voyager’s 15th Birthday. Raymond Feist’s Magician, Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice, Sara Douglass’ Battleaxe, George R R Martin’s A Game of Thrones and Kylie Chan’s White Tiger have all been reworked into amazing Collector’s Editions. Here they are, in all their glory!

The five special edition Voyager 15 Collector’s Editions

Beautiful hardbacks, embellished covers, a ribbon marker and a new introduction to Voyager from Publishing Director Jane Johnson – a must have for any Voyager fan.

They are available EXCLUSIVELY at Dymocks now at the great price of $32.99. Go and check them out for yourself!

P.S. As you all know Kylie Chan and George R R Martin are appearing at WorldCon – why not take your Collector’s Edition along to get signed?

Do you love Voyager? Are you looking forward to WorldCon? Have you invited all your friends to join our Facebook fan page? Let us know by commenting below and we’ll randomly pick a lucky winner who will receive a complete set of our 15th Birthday Hardbacks! (Australian residents only). Competition ends on 30 Sept 2010.

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.

Kylie Chan’s tour dates this July/August

Emma teeters on the edge of becoming fully demon ...

Kylie Chan is on tour in Brisbane … and if you’re quick you can catch her from tomorrow!

Emma teeters on the edge of becoming fully demon, and must make a journey to the Kunlun Mountains in the West, home of the reclusive ancient goddess Nu Wa, in an attempt to regain her humanity.Travelling with Emma is Xuan Wu’s daughter, Simone, who is struggling with her growing powers and trying to defend herself from the demons who want to destroy her.
And Michael is trying to come to terms with the shock of finding out he might be half demon … and a danger to them all.

Date: Fri 30/7
Time: 12-2
Store: A&R Post Office Square, Adelaide St City

Date: Fri 30/7
Time: 5-9
Store: Rosemarie’s Romance Bookshop, Blocksidge and Ferguson Arcade, Adelaide St City

Date: Saturday 31/7
Time: 12-2
Store: A&R Indooroopilly

Date:  Saturday 31/7
Time: 3-5
Store: A&R Carindale

Date: Sunday 1/8
Time: 11-2
Store: A&R Chermside

Date: Saturday 7/8
Time: 10-12
Store:  Toowoomba A&R

Date: 14/8
Time: 11-1
Store: A&R Sunnybank