• 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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Voyager and Swancon – a happy combination

Voyager authors, family and friends gathered at Chez Pierre for wine, food and great company

This time last week, I was in Perth, preparing for the start of Swancon 36, the 50th National Science Fiction Convention. At that point, it was just a blur of potential, a string of days that could either be great or not.

Now, it’s over and I’m happy to report that the word ‘great’ doesn’t even begin to describe Swancon. It was a particularly great con for Voyager – A.A. Bell’s Diamond Eyes took out the Norma K Hemming award and Tansy Rayner RobertsPower and Majesty won the Ditmar Award for Best Novel.

On Saturday afternoon, Tansy, Glenda Larke and I sat with HarperCollins WA rep Theresa Anns on a panel entitled ‘Meet the Voyager authors’. After giggling over Theresa’s question of how Voyager queen Stephanie Smith hogtied us to get our novels (if you’ve ever met Stephanie you’ll know how ridiculous an image that is – although I’m still having issues with the rope burns…) we discussed the journey to becoming part of the Voyager clan and how we’ve been enjoying it.

Someone (I think it might have been Theresa) asked if being a Voyager author meant being part of a community. At first, we answered no – the three of us had known each other before Voyager took our books and our friendships extended beyond.

Jonathan Strahan obviously enjoying himself

But as we kept talking, we realised that in fact, there was a community of authors out there. There are folks that we’ve only met the once or twice but feel we know through the internet, such as Mary Victoria or Kim Falconer. Then there’s the people we get to meet just through being with Voyager, such as Duncan Lay and Bevan McGuiness. Then there’s the authors that aren’t published with Voyager Australia any more but are still part of the clan at these events – Simon Brown, Sean Williams, Trudi Canavan.

All this became clear later on Saturday when we Voyager mob (with a few ring-ins) went out for dinner. It’s something that happens often at conventions – a chance for us all to sit and chat and you know what – there is definitely a family feel to these things. We catch up, we laugh, we joke, we have fun.

Tansy Rayner Roberts, bookseller Robin Pen and myself ordered the snails - how could you not? Tansy loved them.

My snails, before they were devoured. Delicious, my friends. The venison was good too.

And that’s just the authors – I know that there’s a network of readers out there as well. I wasn’t part of the famous Purple Zone – the forums that used to run on the Voyager website – but I know a lot of those folks are still in touch and at Worldcon, there was a Purple Zone dinner. And this blog is now the heart of the Voyager community in Australia and it’s great to be able to share news and ideas and find out what is going on in each other’s lives.

Later this year is another convention that will prove to be a highlight for Voyager. At Conflux (Sep 28-Oct 1, Canberra) Voyager web-mistress and HarperCollins digital editor Natalie Costa Bir is going to be a guest. I’m looking forward to another opportunity to connect with the Voyager family (authors, editors and readers) and continue to celebrate the fabulous work that Voyager is publishing.

Nicole Murphy lives in Canberra with her husband Tim. She is the author of the Dreams of Asarlai trilogy, which starts with Secret Ones and is wonderfully active at Conflux and other conventions.

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Getting lost in fandom by Bevan McGuiness

Swancon 2010. All the glitz, all the glamour, all the fun.

Once again, I found myself awake and driving down a deserted freeway way too early on Good Friday, heading for Swancon. At least this time I knew what to expect – or thought I did at least. I mean, this was my third Con, in a row. I’m an old hand at this, I know how Cons work.

Of course, as soon as I get there I register, pick up my registration package and go straight for the rules of the Convention. I was not disappointed. Over the years I have been to far too many conferences and various meetings and they never have cool rules like Swancon and 2010 did not let me down, there it was: rule 6 – “nudity is not a costume”.

I love Swancon.

After the rules, it was into the panels. Straight into the chance to enjoy the open slather that is fandom. There were parasites – horrible little beasties that see us as walking buffets – steampunk – is it just an aesthetic or is it more a way of life, now that was a heated exchange! – and of course horror – just what is it that makes us want to get scared? And what scares us today, is it sparkly vampires or nanotech gone mad?

Having discovered the joy of podcast novels – www.podiobooks.com – I was keen to hear and meet Scott Sigler. He also did not disappoint, but still there is always that curious dichotomy between what lies within and what is the public persona. Meeting the lively, hyped up Scott, I was left with the eternal question – so how did this (he asks, pointing at the book ‘Contagious’) come out of that (pointing at the amusing, articulate Scott)?

Ah the mysteries of writing.

There were also the panels devoted to fans’ exploration of the world that so fascinates them – NASA, Spaceflight, Anime – where the always articulate and intelligent observers of the world gather to discuss (at an intellectual level that puts most conferences to shame) areas where art and science meet. I had never before considered the sociological impact of Anime. As a panel I had imagined would be just for fun, I came away very thoughtful.

But of course, there were those there where we could simply embrace our fandom and revel in the geekiness that lured us here in the first place. It is a world where Jedi training and writing a live action fight scene lie beside Science fiction B movies, Iron Brain – geek endurance, Buffy, Xena, Geek Japan, Astroboy and a sing along devoted to our favourite TV themes – oh how the list goes on.

On top of all that, there is the gaming, the art show, the Masquerade ball and catching up with everyone from previous Cons. As always, Swancon did not disappoint – more fun than you could poke a lightsabre (or a broadsword, or wand, or cool steam-powered gear-driven thingy that goes ping) at.

Bevan McGuinness is the author of The Awakening, The First Weapon and The Way of Purity, the three books that make up the Triumvirate.  He attended SwanCon over the Easter long weekend. Bevan lives in Perth and is working on a new fantasy trilogy to be published by Voyager  at the end of the year.

Swancon is on right now

http://twitter.com/Swancon

http://2009.swancon.com.au/

If you’re in Perth, then make sure you get down there to see people like Richard Morgan, Trudi Canavan, Theresa Anns (from HarperCollins!), Rob Masters and Alicia Smith.

Dalek-table Times at SwanCon for Bevan McGuiness

Bevan McGuiness
(pic of Bevan at left courtesy of Glenda Larke) 
It all started on Good Friday – what am I doing awake at 7 o’clock? There are so many ways this is wrong. Compounding the wrong – a shower and a shave. Wrong wrong wrong. I’ve been reading Science Fiction since I was ten (Tom Swift, Hugh Walters, Doc Smith), Fantasy since I was thirteen (Tolkien, of course), playing D&D since I was 17 and writing fantasy for something like twenty years and I have never before been to Swancon. (Shame, shame), but here I am, wending my weary way on Good Friday to the All Seasons in Perth for my first Convention. (According to Glenda Larke I have the ‘Swancon virgin’ neon light flashing on my forehead, which explains the strange looks I got from people as I walked back to my car.) What can I expect?
A scene out of Galaxy Quest?
Klingon costumes?
Light saber wielding Darth Vaders? How many yodas can fit in a hotel lobby?
With a smile and a sense of apprehension, I take my medication, grab my program and cruise off into the sunrise. (Did I mention I hate daylight saving?)
The Tardis in the foyer was a dead giveaway. Here I was amongst kindred spirits. The full size Dalek that arrived on Saturday – ‘what all Daleks want to grow up to be’ according to manic pixie – completed the fun.

And what fun it was.

Panels on cyberpunk, space opera, aliens, meeting other authors – Trudi Canavan, Glenda Larke, Karen Miller, Sean Williams, Juliet Marillier among others – meeting Stephanie Smith (finally! after years of telephone and email) and even being on a couple of panels myself followed in a kaleidoscopic experience.

The First WeaponThe best bits for me were meeting so many people, talking to fans of fantasy and science fiction, listening to fascinating conversations and getting lots of books signed. Yes I know, I’m sort of one of the authors now, happy to be on the Voyager list, but still I love to meet the people whose work I have enjoyed reading. And the convention guidelines – ‘no costumes means no costumes’ and this was the first convention I have been to with a ‘no weapons’ clause, except for replica weapons that must be ‘peace bonded at all times’.

Sigh. All the Education conferences and academic conferences I have been to and nary a costume in sight and how much more fun would they be with costumes? (not to mention the occasional weapon!!!)

And so, I headed off for my last day at Swancon, hoping for more fun – might catch some quidditch, maybe build a spaceship, and you never know, there might be a jedi knight lurking somewhere. I went to the Jedi Knight training bootcamp. And yes, more Jedi knights than you could poke a light saber at. Could anyone ask for more?

Bevan McGuiness

The Accidental Launch … SwanCon through the eyes of K E Mills … aka …

The Accidental Sorcerer

Swancon was a fabulous experience — my first time at the con, and certainly not my last — but the cherry on the icing was the book launch for The Accidental Sorcerer. It’s kind of an open secret that I am K.E Mills — or K.E Mills is me — and so I didn’t have to attend the launch in disguise! Although Sean Williams, who was launching his wonderful new YA novel The Changeling at the same time, mentioned my top looked very Star Trek. <g>

The launch was wonderfully attended, so I owe huge thanks to the folks of Swancon, who came along to cheer me and Sean as we sent our books out into the world. Grant Watson of the Swancon committee introduced us, and we spoke a little about the books, and then came the eating and the drinking and the bookselling and the signing! And that was a hoot.

As much as I get acutely uncomfortable standing in the spotlight (there’s a reason I direct plays now, instead of act in them!) it was still an enormous pleasure. I am unashamedly excited about this book, The Accidental Sorcerer, and madly in love with the characters. It’s my fervent hope that readers will love them as much as I do because they are so much fun to write and frankly, I want to keep playing with them for a long time!

Huge, huge, thanks go to Voyager, for their wonderful support of me, and to Stephanie Smith in particular, who has championed this book from its earliest beginnings when I was trying to find the right way to tell the story. Thanks are also owed to the amazing, indefatigable Theresa Anns, the Perth rep. She is a dynamo and a darling. Seriously, Voyager authors are spoiled rotten! And finally, many thanks to the Swancon committee who made room in this year’s program for the event. It really was an experience to treasure.

Karen Miller

Sean swans through SwanCon

The ChangelingHere is an exclusive post from Sean Williams at SwanCon!

Swancon is in Perth. I have to keep reminding myself of this. The diverse accents of the international guests (Scottish, English and Canadian) go some way to explain my confusion, but it’s also because my mind is elsewhere. The wonderful Amanda is on a work trip in China, so I’ve been hearing about her adventures morning and night. Plus I’ve been receiving updates on the Philip K Dick Award, for which I was very fortunate to be nominated. Editing a novel set two million years from now probably isn’t helping, either.

As far as mindsets go, it’s a typical Swancon so far. 🙂

I arrived on the second day, which is always a tad disorienting. Friday night was a whirlwind of faces and happy meetings. It’s been five years since I was last over this way, and I’m stunned by how the kids have grown (and by the changes to Perth itself–but that’s a whole other story). Following peoples’ lives over the internet is no substitute for seeing the evidence in the flesh. My first event was a book launch: Ticonderoga’s beautiful “best of” collection, Magic Dirt, covering the highlights of my short story-writing years, which many people generously attended. Seeing volunteers from the audience mime the titles of randomly chosen stories was hilarious. Thanks to everyone for coming and supporting small press.

Saturday was a bit of a blur. The walls in the hotel are paper-thin, and cons are naturally exuberant affairs. 🙂 The day opened with another launch, but not my book this time–Pat McNamara’s amazing The Last Realm–followed by lunch with the legendary Stephanie Smith and Theresa Anns, plus some old and new friends away from the con. My panel at 2 on New Space Opera with Jonathan Strahan, Ken McLeod and Karl Schroeder passed in a haze (it’s times like these I regret not drinking coffee) and I barely managed to limp through a conversation afterwards before scurrying off to take a nap. Once upon a time, I would’ve breezed through days like this. Must be getting old.

5 o’clock was the moment I’d been waiting (and wanting to be awake) for: the HarperCollins launch of Karen Miller’s The Accidental Sorcerer and my The Changeling. A healthy crowd turned up to help us celebrate the existence of two different and challenging works for us. Mine’s a kids’ book set in the same world as my other fantasy novels, and it’s deeply rooted in my own emotional adventures as a child (particularly the things I was afraid of, so expect giant spiders). I was warmed to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. Moments like these area not just affirmations of individual books; nor is it really about individual writers and publishers. It’s about the community as a whole–and that’s why I love events like Swancon. They reinforce everything I like about this industry. The love is palpable.

Anyway, it was a wonderful moment. Thanks to everyone at HarperCollins for making it possible, from the writing all the way through to getting it onto the shelves. I’m flattered to be working with such talented people.

I’m writing this Sunday morning, with another fun day ahead. Last night’s big event (the Masquerade, at which I helped DJ for the stunningly costume-bedecked crowd) might be overshadowed by the announcement of the Ditmars tonight (another celebration of community for everyone involved). There will be more panels, more calls to China, more bonding. Somehow I have to fit in some more editing, but that’s okay. Adelaide seems a long way away at the moment, but in a very real way I’m right at home. 🙂

Sean Williams

SwanCon State of the Art

SwanCon is on next weekend. And one of the guest authors there is our very own Glenda Larke. Glenda will be doing a special blog post for us from the convention – and of course, she’ll be updating her own blog too.

And Glenda’s not the only one attending the convention … Sean Williams and K E Mills will both be there, launching their respective books: The Changeling and The Accidental Sorcerer — and they will both be guest blogging for us too.

Bevan McGuiness, author of The First Weapon will be there too, but we have yet to track him down and force a blog post from his writing hand! So keep an eye out here for all the latest from SwanCon 2008.

Late breaking news – Jonathan Strahan will be doing a bit of blogging for us too!