• 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!

     

     

  • Advertisements

Quantum trailer!

Check out the brilliant trailer Kim Falconer has made ( with help from fellow Voyager author Mary Victoria. ) for her Quantum Enchantment & Quantum Encryption series!

Advertisements

Books Gift Tips

 Who is giving books this holiday season?

A book is a wonderful surprise that brings lasting pleasure. Get the genre right and it says I know you and appreciate your interests. If you shop locally it supports the Aussie book industry and in this economical climate that means authors can keep writing and bookshops surviving. How do you know which books to give? Here are five tips on finding the tome that makes friends and family smile.

1) The gift certificate: This is the ‘sure thing,’ a way to give a present you know they’ll love because they get to choose it themselves. All physical bookshops have lovely little gift certificate cards. Online bookstores offer them as well. See retailers here for shops near you. The gift certificate says you’re thinking of them and you also think it’s best they make their own choices. This is especially good for in-laws, new friends, co-workers and ‘ex’s on good terms’.

2) Know your Audience: When you know someone well enough, you can be brave and choose a book or series that you think will light them up. This gift is touching because it reminds you both that you have shared interests, or even if their tastes are vastly different, you know that too and shop accordingly. This is recommended for live-ins, BFF’s , lovers or partners.

3) When you’re not sure: This is your chance to do some covert ops! Have you seen their bookshelf? What authors and publishers are there? Do you notice a consistent genre or theme? The idea is to listen when they talk about what they like. Pay attention. Do they have a new hobby? New fav author? New art interest? Self-help? Spec Fic? Tune in to what they love and find a book that reflects it. Hint: See if they are on Goodreads for a look at their TBR list!

4) The electronic age: Remember it’s not always about the printed page. eReaders can make wonderful gifts and there are ways to gift eBooks as well. Kindle had the option to ‘give as a gift’ for specific books or you can buy eGift Certificates that are emailed directly to their inbox. Sus out what eReader they have and go from there!

5) Trust your intuition. Giving gifts of any kind means taking a risk and that’s a wonderful way to expand the comfort zone. Allow your inner guidance, your intuition, to help make the choice! The beautiful thing about giving something as personal as a book is it shows you took the time and care.

What books do you think will make great gifts this year? I’d love to hear about them.

Kim is the author of the Quantum  Enchantment and the Quantum Encryption series. Her new book ‘Journey by Night‘ is out now. Read more about her books at KimFalconer.com

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!

A Short History of Animals in Literature

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. –Mahatma Gandhi

Cave HorseThe first stories ever told were about animals and the places they went when they died. The experience of the numinous is often described through the power of animals and the stories we tell about them.

One of the attractions of speculative fiction is its ability to address speciesism—the assignment of worth and rights based on species alone. Through the animal characters in Quantum Enchantment and Quantum Encryption series, I am free to investigate human verses non-human thought and examine consciousness from a different (less subjective) perspective. I’m not the only one!

From Achilles’ horse to Black Beauty, from Aesop’s Mr. Fox to Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, animals provide guidance, social commentary, moral authority and sympathy in fiction, often giving voice to the silenced and oppressed. In the late 17th – 18th centuries, moral allegories turned to social satire and animal no longer represented the gods but portrayed human foibles and political corruption.

By the 19th century spreading industrialization exploited both humans and animals and concern for animal welfare became a major social issue. Tales of animal abuse arose, in which animals were seen as the victims of human greed, ignorance, and industrialization.

In the twentieth century many writers turned to old animal stories and genres to produce new works dealing with themes of paranoia, alienation, and futility. And then we see, full circle, animals again as messengers of the divine.

Some Native American traditions teach that each soul can find its personal pathway through the medicine of animals. Medicine is anything that supports our connection to the life, mind, body, spirit, personal power, awareness and consciousness. We can learn to call on the medicine of an animal when in need of specific talents and attributes. Focusing our thoughts on an animal (as ancients did when in a state of reverence and awe) brings us into alignment with what that animal represents.

Black BeautyBut what about the animals themselves? We talk much about the power of animals to guide and heal us, to entertain us in stories and keep us company, guard or protect, but what are we doing for them? Millions of creatures without a voice can use our support. It begins with one small step that we all can take. Notes from my Animals as Healers here.

In the Quantum Enchantment series, Drayco the temple cat and Quillian the Were-fey is up there with my favourite animal characters alongside Hazel in Watership Down, Buck in The Call of the Wild, Anne McCaffrey’s  Ruth and of course Anna Sewell’s Beauty.

What are your favourite animals in literature? I’d love to hear about them!

Kim Falconer’s latest book, Journey by Night is out September 1! It is the third 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.Quantum Enchantment Series

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.

Bad Boys!

Writing Dark Heroes to Die For

Ian Somerhalder

Ian Somerhalder playing Damon Salvatore in the CW series based on L.J. Smith series, The Vampire Diaries

Writing dark heroes takes a special touch, one that I’ve explored over the years in my research on the evolution of the vampire in film and literature, true life experiences, and in my latest Quantum Encryption Series.

 The workshop will kick off the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival!  August 1 at 9:30 am. Who’s coming? I would love to hear your thoughts, expectations and questions! All notes (and images) will be online straight after the workshop. Check my updates for the link.  I am dividing the workshop into two sections:

Part 1) Understanding dark heroes and making them real: Definitions and examples. Heroes, anti-heroes, villains and the erotic. Nature vs. nurture: motivation, goals, beliefs, fears, love and wish fulfilment. What makes a dark hero tick, and what it is about them we fall for?

 What is the dark hero’s journey and their fatal flaw. We will explore the psychology, astrology and behaviour of the archetypal dark hero in relationship to the ‘true hero’ and ‘villain’, what they do to drive the story, setting and participation with the reader. There will be plenty of visual aids, I promise.
Part 2) Creating a dark hero from scratch. We will be doing exercises to bring dark heroes to life through character building, dialog, relationship to other characters, POV, risk, danger, growth arcs and transformation — bringing dark heroes to light or letting them down hard, when it works and when it doesn’t. Be ready to write on the spot. You’ll walk away with pages of notes, character study and a full outline for your next dark hero short story or novel. Light, fun and insightful!

Join me, Kim Falconer, at the BBWF this August.

 Kim Falconer lives in Byron Bay and writes science fantasy novels about real people in extraordinary situation. Journey by Night is the next book in her 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.

Rituals for the Solstice

For thousands of years, the ceremony at mid-winter solstice has been the most important of the yearly festivals. It is a turning point, symbolic of endings and new beginnings. In the southern hemisphere, we go to bed June 21 and experience the longest night of the year. The sun ‘dies’ to be reborn the next morning as it crosses 0 degrees of Cancer.  From then on, the days begin to lengthen and all is renewed.

One way to celebrate this event is to light candles on the eve of June 21st, sit in a circle and throw our old stories into a pot. This is symbolic of letting go of all the things we tell ourselves and each other that no longer serve us. We’ve heard these statements so often they have become patterns of belief: I can’t get paid for doing what I love. All the good ones are taken. I have to work hard to get anywhere. There is never enough . . . Whatever stories we tell that are holding us back, into the pot it goes. Then blow out all the candles and meditate in silence and darkness.

When the candles are relit, music, food and new stories are shared—stories that are full of hope and possibility: There is always enough. My art supports me well. There are more ‘good ones’ available every day . . . And so it begins. Hail to the new sun!

RAM: Clean the house, wash the windows, clear the air, especially with family. Ask: is your home a true reflection of you?

AUROCHS: Start a new course of study, join a community project, get friendly with the written or spoken word. Ask: is there anything you’d like to learn?

TWINS: Indulge yourself in sensuality –baths, long walks, massage, fine food, good vistas. Ask: Do you know the world by touch?

COBRA: This is a new chapter in your life. Open the door to your dreams by showing up! Ask: is your life an accurate reflection of who you want to be?

LION: Commune with your unconscious. Take time to record and reflect on your dreams. Ask: are you deep in the well of your creative heart?

CERES: Friends and likeminded others are a source of inspiration if you’re hanging out with your own kind! Ask: are these birds really of your feathers?

BALENCIA: Your career takes a turn for the better with a chance to take on more responsibility for greater reward. Ask: Do you light up in a smile when you think of your life work?

 SCORPION: Take your mind, body or spirit somewhere it’s never been before—meditate, travel, read, learn. Ask: are you holding yourself back from your real dreams?

ARCHER: Intimacy and intensity is what will like your fire now. Go ahead and take a risk. Ask: are you playing it safe with your emotions?

SEA-GOAT: Partnership is the focus and you will benefit by assessing the relationships in your life. Ask: do you feel free to be who you are?

WATER-BEARER: Putting energy into the body, health and physical wellbeing brings great results! Ask: are you getting enough exercise every day?

FISHES: Creativity springs from a well of romance. Write, play, choreograph, sing, act. Ask: are you allowing for love in your heart.

Kim Falconer’s latest series is Quantum Encryption. Book #1, Path of the Stray, and book #2, Road to the Soul are out now. Book #3, Journey by night is out Sept 1. Currently she’s writing an entirely new series. You can find out more about her at KimFalconer.com.

Image caption:  Rituals around Stonehenge appear speculative fiction including Traci Harding’s Ancient Future and recently in Jennifer Fallon’s The Undivided. Photograph by Richard Nowitz/Corbis