• 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!

     

     

Announcing a new blog!

Hi everyone!

We’re excited to announce that we’re re-launching the Voyager blog with a brand new look, extra features and a Forum! We’re working toward making it a really fun, exciting, interesting and useful place you’d like to come to and hopefully hang out with fellow fans. The new blog is live now over at www.voyageronline.com.au if you want to have a look.

To sign up and create your Forum ID head here: http://www.voyageronline.com.au/community/index.php?login  or click on the Forum button in the blog top menu. The new forum means we can add achievements and badges for forum users and we can more easily run competitions, post exclusive extracts and host chats with your favourite Voyager authors!

We’re planning on officially launching the new look site at Supanova in Brisbane on the 9th November so held along if you can- we’d love to meet you there! We will be redirecting this current address (www.voyagerblog.com.au) to the new site by the end of this week hopefully. We have backed up this blog’s posts & comments, so don’t worry about them being lost!

Looking forward to seeing and chatting with you all at the new Voyager Online!

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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.

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.

Fallon Friday — The question of magic

Truth be told, I’m not a fan of magic. It gets you into all sorts of trouble when you’re writing, particularly of you can’t answer the following questions:

  • Is there magic?
  • How does it work (wands, spells, farting …)
  • What are the rules?
  • What are the consequences of using it? (Exhaustion, opposite and equal reaction, uncontrollable need for sex …etc)
  • How many people can wield the magic?
  • How do they screen for magic users?
  • Are they reviled or revered?
  • Are they natural or do they need to be taught?
  • Is there a dark side?
  • Is the magic unlimited or will it run out eventually?
  • What are its limitations?

You see, the problem with magic is that it’s, well, magic.

If you can light a candle using magic, why would you use a match? If everyone can light a candle with magic, chances are, matches haven’t been invented.

Your magic system needs to have limitations, ethical, physical or moral. There has to be a reason why your hero doesn’t just turn the Evil Bad Dude into a frog, the moment he starts getting a bit snippy.

If your characters can wield magic, it will affect everything they do, and often how they do it. It must have consequences, and there have to be times when they’re going to have trouble with it, otherwise, you don’t have a story.

Above all, once you’ve made your magic rules, stick to them. You can’t have your magic-wielding hero wreaking havoc all through the first half of your story, only to have him unable to do a damned thing later on when he’s captured by the aforementioned Evil Bad Dude, because he can’t use magic on Thursdays. We need to know, pretty much from the outset, that Thursdays are a problem for our boy.

If your reader ends up tossing your book across the room with “that’s silly, he could have just snapped his fingers and killed the guy ‘cause it’s Tuesday”, you have a serious problem.

There’s a reason Superman is vulnerable to Kryptonite, you know. Think about it.

Jennifer Fallon may not be a fan of magic, but she has plenty of fans spellbound with her latest series, The Tide Lords quartet. The final book in the quartet, The Chaos Crystal, came out last month. You can read more from her at her website and blog.



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Fallon Friday: Jennifer masquerades as … everyone … at Perth Supanova!

Well, I’m in Perth about to head out to the Showgrounds to set up for the Inaugural Perth Supanova. I am having so much fun. I’ve hugged Jared Padalecki, met Nichelle Nichols, been chased by R2D2, signed squillions of books in Sydney and had far too much fun…

Perth Supanova should be even more amazing. Everybody seems to have heard of it and is wondering what it’s all about. All I can tell you is … bring your camera and lots of money if you’re planning to come.

Although there are stacks of free panels you can sit in on, and stars everywhere (BSG, Serenity, Heroes, Stargate, Digimon, etc), and premiers to attend and other great stuff to see (the Cosplay is awesome), there is so much to buy … collectable stuff you only see on the net, rare comics, even rarer games, lots of people in costume (I don’t think you can buy them, but hey, you could ask, I suppose…) and of course, Jennifer Fallon books!

You’ll find me next to the White Dwarf stall where there will be heaps of Voyager authors on sale. Or their books will e on sale. I don’t think you can buy the authors, either … tee hee.

I could sign their books too, if you like. I don’t mind pretending I’m Glenda … or Russell … May have a bit of trouble with my Russell impersonation, though. I mean … that Kiwi accent’s a killer … hehehe.

Visit Jennifer’s blog for more on her time at Supanova!

www.supanova.com.au

Fallon Friday: Supanova hits Sydney

Well, it’s Supanova time again, and today I’m off on a plane (and yes, that’s right, they’re talking airline strikes…) to Sydney and then to Perth  the following week to do it all again on the west coast.

 

Thanks in no small part to my incessant nagging suggestion, the headline guest in Sydney this year is the gorgeous Jared Padalecki from Supernatural. Not only that, Jewel Staite (Atlantis , Firefly and Serenity)  is back (she was here for the Melbourne and Brisbane Supanovas, where she discovered shopping at Sportsgirl, which is the reason she’s back, I suspect…LOL), and the legendary Nichelle Nicholls, Lt Uhura, herself. Talk about Trekkie heaven…

 

So, if you’re in Sydney this weekend, dress up in your best costume and come say hello. Bring any books you have and I’ll sign them for you. Better yet, bring no books, buy more at Supanova , and I’ll sign them for you…hahahaha.

 

The full details for the program are at www.supanova.com.au

 

I’ll try to give you a heads up next week about how it went, what everyone was like, and whether or not I was able to get away with kidnapping Jared Padalecki and bringing him home for my girls as a souvenir. I’m a nice mother like thatJ

 

And don’t forget, it’s not too late to sign up for the World Building Master Class on Sunday.

 

Jennifer Fallon

Jennifer has a phantom-tastic time at Supernova

Excuse the bad puns of this reporter – but it will make sense when you see the the first picture at Jennifer Fallon’s blog from her time at Supanova.

So click here to visit her blog now!