Gargoyles, a classroom in Australia, book reviews, and my kitchen floor
Posted on November 17, 2016 (Subscribe to Blog)
I promised some more details about Book 3 of the Island of Fog Legacies, Gargoyle Scourge, so here I am with some more details! Also, a few other updates that involve such things as book reviews, Australia, and kitchen floors.
Gargoyle Scourge (Island of Fog Legacies #3)
I'm about 65% complete with this book, which is not quite as much I'd hoped. I blame my kitchen floor for that. This means the publication date is being pushed back a bit. Still, the good news is that it's coming along VERY nicely, a worthy installment in the Legacies series. Let's meet some of the characters...
Melinda Strickland is Robbie and Lauren's 11-year-old daughter. She's taking the reins in this book, leading the charge against gargoyles while Travis is "stuck" in his current form (read Sinister Roots if you haven't already). I think she's doing a fine job on her first mission.
Travis Franklin is, as mentioned above, "stuck" in his current form. He has an important role to play, but he's very much in the background, more of an assistant to Melinda, a bit of muscle. I'm finding it refreshing to take a break from his point of view and concentrate on another character.
Molly the gorgon features heavily in this book. I like how everything is stone-related. As you know, Molly can turn people to stone, and gargoyles are naturally stone creatures that come to life. Blair the phoenix shows up too, and readers of the original series will probably guess why.
Goji is the stonelike woman on the cover of the book. She has a mysterious history that turns out to be quite epic. Forget goji berries. Goji is the name of a creature often associated with gargoyles, and in particular the Gargouille from 1500 years ago. In the original Island of Fog novel, Miss Simone talked about a monster similar to Fenton's unnamed lizard that rose from the Seine River in France and had to be slayed by Romanus, the bishop of Rouen. Well, Gargoyle Scourge reveals all. You'll learn more about Fenton's lizard monster as well as how gargoyles came about. It wasn't easy delving into Goji's long, long history, but who said I wanted it to be easy? There are roughly four chapters dedicated to her personal story, and she's a major component throughout.
Sylphs are phantoms that snatch souls from people. They showed up in Castle of Spells, and I liked them so much that I always wanted to bring them back. And so I did, and they have a major role in Gargoyle Scourge.
So there you have it, some juicy details about the latest book in this series. I've been delayed in my writing, so the publication date will NOT be early December as I said in my previous post. But I'm getting there. :-)
And now onto other things...
Speaking to a Classroom in Australia
Yes, I did this recently – got on Skype and talked for a while to a group of twenty children who had just finished reading Island of Fog. It was fun! I've known the teacher Miss Fletcher (or simply Heather) since 2005 through an author fansite I own, EnidBlyton.net, and she actually visited America a few years ago and stayed a couple of nights at our house. So when she became a teacher and introduced my books to her class... well!
It's always good to take questions from younger readers and to get their perspective on things.:-)
Piers Anthony, the bestselling fantasy author of the Xanth series, recently read and reviewed two of my books in his monthly newsletter. Here's what he had to say (with a couple of small spoilers removed):
I read Unicorn Hunters by Keith Robinson. Unearthlytales.com. This is the beginning of a new series set in the Isle of Fog realm, now with the son of the prior main character. This is Travis, 12, coming of age to become a shapeshifter. He wants to be a dragon like his father, but dragons are no longer allowed, so he'll be a wyvern instead, like a small dragon. But when he gets the treatment, it turns out that his immune system is so strong that it won't last long, maybe only a few days. He meets Nitwit, an annoying waist-high imp whom he regards as a friend, though somehow she never quite helps him. Then he runs afoul of poachers, and this is a pointed play on poaching as done on our Earth, with unscrupulous men using technology like guns and jeeps to capture wild creatures for profit. He tries to save a unicorn but gets captured himself, imprisoned among twenty assorted fantasy creatures. Some are deadly dangerous, but still he wants to get them back into the wild where they belong. The main adventure is about that, as he struggles to free them but keeps getting countered by the savvy boss poacher. In the end he does succeed, thanks to his determination and nerve, and escapes himself winning the trust of the unicorn, but his shapeshifting ability expires. I do recommend this one to readers who liked the Island of Fog series, and to new readers, who can start with this one with minimal confusion. It is taut hard-hitting adventure, with many interesting creatures.
I read Sinister Roots by Keith Robinson. Unearthlytales.com. This is the second in the current series, sequel to Unicorn Hunters, featuring twelve year old Travis again. This time he is sent with a friend to deliver a box to the Grim Reaper. But the main story is about those roots. It turns out that a giant brain below is sending up shoots that resemble trees, which spread sort of scorpion-like creatures to take over creatures above and make them cooperate in a general expansion. The way the big bugs take over people reminds me of The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein. They ride a person's back and control him. But Travis, who this time can shape change into a deadly chimera with the head of a lion, tail of a snake, and head of a fire-spitting goat on his back, manages to change forms and escape. He realizes that they are about to take over the planet, and has a scary adventure trying to stop them. This is another compelling story that adults should enjoy as well as teens. I have said it before: this is an author who deserves a much larger readership.
Piers is 82 now and still writing. I hope I keep going strong into my eighties! That'll mean I still have 30 years left in me, so about 100 more books before I retire...
This has nothing to do writing except that it's one of the major reasons I'm behind! I've been doing some renovating and redecoration work for the past year, on and off – moving the laundry room to the basement, creating a better bedroom and a new corridor, moving an external door sideways about three feet, widening an internal doorway so it's more open, laying laminate floor, and now the kitchen/dining floor. It's had dips and lumps in it for years, so I finally pulled up half of it and have been in the crawl space jacking up joists and trying to straighten things out. I crawled under the other half too – no sense pulling that floor up and making an even bigger mess.
Anyway, finally it's back down with a brand new layer of boards. Much flatter than it was, and definitely less bouncy. Now it's (almost) ready for laminate flooring, which I've had stored in my office since February.
I expect to spend the weekend and following days painting and laying floor, then putting the dining room back. Meanwhile, I'm working on my website stuff (my day job) and trying to fit in an hour or so per day for writing.
To be honest, time isn't as much of an issue than just staying awake...
I can't wait for Island of Fog Legacies to come out and I'm even more excited after the info on the characters. Have fun with your kitchen floor.
I actually have not read Sinister Roots yet, but I'm the type of person who simply adores spoilers, so thanks! =D