• 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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UnConventional & the full Sir Julius Vogel Awards Wrap-up

Via Mary Victoria’s own site: http://maryvictoria.net/

Well, now that I’m home and have emerged from under a pile of unanswered email and unwashed laundry (or is it the reverse?) I can finally give you the promised Con report.

This was my first real experience of a New Zealand fantasy and science fiction convention and I must say, it was lovely. The panel discussions were engaging, the company excellent (of course) and the turn-out and interest high. We could barely all fit into the main hall when everyone gathered together. I’m happy to report that NZ fandom is alive, kicking, and often fetchingly dressed in steampunk finery.

I arrived on Saturday after a short delay to my flight, just in time for my first panel, ‘Women in SFF.’ Trudi Canavan, Helen Lowe, Lyn McConchie and I yakked for an hour or so on subjects ranging from how to define strength of character to the vexed issue of chainmail bikinis… I could see some audience members gazing at us quizzically, perhaps asking themselves what we had against chainmail bikinis. I mean, all the vital bits are covered, right?

Saturday evening was about unwinding a little, catching up with friends and a sumptuous Indian dinner! I didn’t make it to the zombie ball but did dodge many of the undead on my way to bed.

     Sunday dawned uncomfortably early (and perhaps may be termed a Dawn of the Dead without inviting too much heckling…) with a 9am panel on the subject of ‘Armageddon as Allegory.’ I took one look at the faces of my fellow panelists gathered in the cafe – Darusha Wehm, Simon Petrie, Beaulah Pragg and Phil Simpson – and thought, “yes, I know exactly how you feel.” But despite our need for sleep and largely due to the valient efforts of Simon as panel chair, we actually came up with a game plan for the discussion! It turned into a fantastic one – I think my favourite panel of the lot. We talked about the different approaches to ‘end of world’ scenarios in fantasy and science fiction, collective responsability vs. the mechanism of a Dark Lord and other interesting subjects.

By two o’clock, it was time to head back to the trenches at a ‘Geography in SFF’ panel with Russell Kirkpatrick, Trudi Canavan, Stephen Minchin and myself debating the merits of fantasy maps. Trudi and Russell both had some slides to show of maps in their own books, as well as some older efforts. The audience seemed passionate on the subject, with most falling in the ‘we love maps’ category but a vocal minority standing up for themselves in the opposite camp. We talked physical geography, geography as an influence on society and finally mental or idea maps… we could have gone on for twice as long, I think.

But all good things come to an end and thereafter it was signing and reading time. I read from ‘Samiha’s Song’ and Alma Alexander’s ‘River’ for a very appreciative audience sitting in leather armchairs. That’s the way to do it.

Sunday evening rolled around and it was time for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards. These were presented with great flair – Kiwis have style! – by the Con organisers, Trudi Canavan and Helen Lowe. Trudi was channeling some great 1940′s Jessica Rabbit style with her cropped jacket and black gloves. As for me, I arrived at the ceremony somewhat flummoxed as I’d just heard my daughter was running a 40 degree fever (she has since recovered, never fear.) I had all the maternal angst and distraction going, therefore, and was totally unprepared when they announced ‘Samiha’s Song’ had won Best Novel…

Well, I’m afraid I lost it. I managed to say something resembling ‘thank you’ when collecting the statue but waterworks were threatening. In order to avoid general embarrassment I hightailed it back to my chair as soon as possible – only to have to come forward again to collect Frank’s award for artwork!

So if I look a little odd in these photos, forgive me. But it was an absolute joy to congratulate my fellow winners. They are, from left to right, below:

Kevin Berry for New Talent, and after Trudi, Lee Murray for Best YA Novel, yours truly for Best Novel (Adult) and Alicia Ponder for Best Short Story. (For some reason Anna Caro wasn’t in this photo with us but I was stoked to see her and Cassie Hart take away the award for Best Collection for ‘Tales For Canterbury’.)

The full list of all winners including fan categories can be found on the SFFANZ website.

So there we are! I’m home now, with a convalescing daughter and two spiky awards. I can’t tell you how happy and proud this makes me… the ‘Chronicles of the Tree’ were a NZ endeavour, very much inspired by the vegetation and landscape in New Zealand, so it’s doubly satisfying for me to strike a chord with Kiwi readers.

As to the artist who won a well-deserved award for his artwork on ‘Oracle’s Fire’ – he was suitably appreciative. I think he found the button to turn the award on, too. He looks evil in this photo – Frank, have you discovered a way to end the world, again?

Via Mary’s own site: http://maryvictoria.net/ Check it Out!

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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.

Retreat retreat retreat!

Phwoar! Some of the FWOR pose for a pic. They are: (back row) Cat Sparks, Kylie Seluka, Donna Maree Hanson, Matthew Farrer (front row) Russell Kirkpatrick, Nicole Murphy, Trudi Canavan - FWOR Berry 2010.

There are lots of reasons to look forward to January – holidays, time with family, cricket (although not at the moment…), sitting outside and watching the sun slowly set while sipping on a cool beverage…

For the past couple of years, one of the reasons I most look forward to January is the annual FWOR get-together (Fantasy Writers on Retreat and yes, that is pronounced Phwoar!!!!!!). For two weeks, I get to leave the majority of responsibility behind and just write.

Well, not just write. There’s also eating, and drinking, and watching terrible movies and going on day trips. But it’s all done with writers, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Unlike most occupations, writing is a solitary one, so you don’t often get the opportunity to talk shop. So whereas if you’re a teacher or a doctor or a lawyer you don’t want to talk about work outside of work, we writers grab almost every opportunity we can to discuss the craft and business of writing when we can.

The two weeks with my friends at FWOR are as close as I get to nirvana – we share household duties, so there’s entire days where I don’t have to do anything. I’m with people who think it’s perfectly normal to suddenly disappear in the middle of dinner/movie/shopping to start scribbling madly. I can turn around and ask about a character’s motivation, or an opinion on whether I should use a certain point of view or not and end up in a fascinating conversation.

Then there’s how much work I get done – on my first FWOR retreat in 2009, I wrote 60,000 words, and that was after forgetting my power cord and only have a few hours a day to write in for the first week. Last time, I finished the copy-edits of Secret Ones and then finished and polished Power Unbound (and angsted over titles for them all).

This time, I’m looking at that 60,000 word effort from two years ago and thinking that would be very handy this time around. It would enable me to finish the draft of the novel I’m currently working on and get started on the next.

This year, a total of nine writers will be taking part over the course of the two weeks. There’s the core of myself, Donna Maree Hanson, Matthew Farrer, Kylie Seluka and Russell Kirkpatrick (unfortunately Trudi Canavan won’t be joining us this year). We’ll be joined at various times by Cat Sparks, Ian McHugh, Alan Baxter and Joanne Anderton.

The internet access will be spotty (we’re staying in Oberon this year) but we’ll be blogging at http://fantasywritersonretreat.wordpress.com/ when we can, so pop on over to catch up with the wordcount race, the extreme competitiveness of the ping pong tournament and various other frivolities 🙂

When not playing competitive ping pong 😉 Nicole Murphy (as you will have read above) writes. She is the author of Secret Ones and Power Unbound and the upcoming Rogue Gadda. Nicole and her husband live in Canberra. You can catch with @nicole_r_murphy on Twitter too.

Australian Speculative Fiction Blog Carnival

Apologies for the late-runningness of this Blog Carnival, we have been recovering from our fifteenth birthday party (by which I mean, doing all the work neglected during planning the celebrations). We now feel a  bit old and tired ;). Below are all the fabbity fab blog posts we could round up from around and after (to paraphrase Juan Antonio) the best WorldCon ever. These are just the tip of the iceberg, so if you have more, post below and I will add them.

The Hugo winners – thanks to Tehani
The Ditmar finals list and winners on Locus
Tehani’s AussieCon report
Voyager’s AussieCon thoughts One Two and Three
Global Voyager announcement
Gail Carriger on WorldCon
Longest report ever for AussieCon! From the Spec Fic Writers of Singapore
Peter Brett’s brief blog on his visit to WorldCon and Australia
Trudi Canavan’s AussieCon report
Helen Lowe’s AussieCon report at the Orbit blog
Duncan Lay’s AussieCon report
Kathleen Jenning’s gorgeous AussieCon round up with illustrations!
Tehani’s round up of the open short story markets
On Australian writing …
K J Taylor comes to dinner with fellow Voyager authors
Gillian’s interview with Mary Victoria
Jonathan Strahan makes it safely home (no swine flu this time!)
A Vampire’s AussieCon report
An interview with Jack Dann, Janeen Webb and Yaritji Green by Gillian
A bit of Baggage by Monica Carroll
Eneit’s blog – Baggage blogtour and interviews
Launch of Worlds Next Door report
KJ Taylor pics and post from the Voyager part
Maria Quinn wins the Norma K Hemming Award
Tehani and Alex revisit The Belgariad series by David Eddings
Fiona McIntosh on stand alone novels
Gillian on AussieCon and once more with feeling
Glenda Larke at WorldCon
George R R Martin touches down in Melbourne and reminds people that WorldCon is the Granddaddy of all events!
Alan Baxter’s wrap up
Talking Squid WorldCon update
Books by Canberra Spec Fic Writers
Gary Kemble’s posts on AussiCon
Two amazing trailers talking about A Game of Thrones on HBO posted on the Voyager blog

Not posted strictly within this month’s carnival dates but … taken during the time – Cory Doctorow sings a pirate ditty

 

To submit events for next month’s carnival … click here.

The stormtroopers have arrived: Saturday at Worldcon

So, yesterday dawned a bit too bright and early for anyone celebrating Voyager’s 15th birthday and the Ditmars, but as a famous person once said: the con must go on. And so it did. We went to lots of panels, including one on cover art: a dying form? If the images shown by GoH Shaun Tan are any indication, then no, it is not! Was lovely to see Nick Stathopoulos’s cover for Dreaming Down-Under there – and we plan to go to the Dreaming Again again panel at 2pm today.
Around lunchtime we spied a very big queue indeed – no surprises, George was doing a signing. In the end they had to organize a second signing later in the day to give fans a chance to get to the front and the grrm the chance not to get RSI.
We saw Peter V Brett and Cory Doctorow discussing online presence and fan interaction – a great insight into how the author deals with such relationships. We also caught a bevy of Voyager authors talking about the trilogy in fantasy-why is it so common now? A whose choice is it? Fiona Mcintosh ably chaired the panel between Glenda Larke, Trudi Canavan and Russell Kirkpatrick and also forced ‘dettol lollies’ on the unsuspecting audience! It was a great chat and a bit of a prelude to the upcoming Crowns and Swords panel where I suspect Glenda and Fiona will return to the subject of castles ;).
Also spent a bit of time in the Dealers Room talking to Galaxy Bookshop’s Mark Timmony and then bumped into Karen Miller, a lovely surprise!
In the evening, after a foray into Melbourne’s laneways for dinner (successful) we dropped into the Hilton Bar and spied Cory Doctorow, Kim Stanley Robinson and Jason Nahrung, among others. And we also had the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Strahan, one of the best editors around, and co-editor with Jack Dann of Legends of Australian Fantasy.
And then, finally, it was time for zzzzzzzz.

Voyager authors at AussieCon – Events

Edited on 24 August with the first half of the program.

Border crossing: YA authors writing for adults and vice versa
Thursday 1500 Room 212
Speculative Fiction is notable for the number of authors who readily cross borders and write for both Adults and Young Adults. Some of our finest practitioners discuss the differences and similarities in writing for these two distinct audiences.
Bec Kavanagh (mod), Marianne de Pierres, Pamela Freeman, Cory Doctorow

Breaking the fourth wall: Supernatural and its audience
Thursday 1500 Room 211
What happens when a television series begins to break down the “fourth wall” that divides the characters from the audience watching them? Supernatural has arguably demolished its wall, leading to an uneasy and uncomfortable relationship between the creators and their fans. What other series are playing directly with their audience in this fashion, and who is doing it well? How do you directly connect with your audience, and is it a good idea to do it at all? How does the current climate of Internet communications and social media affect the distance between the shows
that are made and the viewers who watch them?
Karen Miller, Jeanette Auer, Seanan McGuire

Signing:
Thursday 1700 Rm 201
Peter V Brett

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Pulp Fiction signing in Brisbane next week

Pulp Fiction Booksellers are holding a signing just before the Aurealis Awards, with lots of your favourite authors in attendance – including Voyager and Angry Robot authors, so if you’re in Brisbane, do not miss out!

When: Saturday 23rd January

Who:
10.30-11.30 Trudi Canavan and Kaaron Warren
11.30-12.30 Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld, Sean Williams
12.30-1.30 Karen Miller and Glenda Larke
2.30-3.30 Pamela Freeman and K J Taylor

Where:
Pulp Fiction Booksellers
Shops 28-29 Anzac Square Building Arcade
265-269 Edward Street
(entrance halfway between Ann and Adelaide Streets)
Brisbane

Why? Because if you’re in Brisbane and DON’T go to this signing then we shall remove your ‘fantasy fan’ badge and lock it away FOREVER, ok?