Follow by Email

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Next Big Thingy: About the Book

So my fellow author friend Joseph Schwartz, who penned the exciting novel The Crossover Test (check it out at his website: as well as the upcoming sequel, passed along a chain-letter-style questionnaire so you can all learn a little more about The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx. I normally don't like opening my brain up to let people peek inside, but Joe asked nicely so here ya'll go!

1. What is the working title of your book?

“The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx” is the finalized title (although the working title for years was “Kidnapped Through the Curtain,” but this sounded too much like a mystery thriller rather than a young adult fantasy adventure). I’m currently working—very slowly—on a sequel currently titled “The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Hunt for Fenrir.” Where the first novel focuses on Greek, Japanese and Native American mythology, the second will have elements of Norse, African and [possibly] Australian Aborigine mythology. 

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It actually was first a short story I submitted for a contest, but it was so different back then—the basic premise about a young man being abducted by a gypsy caravan, which is led by a mythological creature, remained the same, but the characters themselves transformed over time (the creature changed from a small wyvern to a sphinx) and the plot changed drastically to include the goddess Nyx as well as various world mythologies. The main character, David Sandoval, is inspired heavily by my own David (my husband) and how he was when he was 16 years old—although honestly I don’t think much has changed about him since then. *wink*

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Young Adult Fantasy (yes, I jumped on that bandwagon), with a little historical fiction mixed in as well.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My husband, being an aspiring filmmaker, has had many a talk with me about this...and honestly, I don’t know if I ever liked the thought of celebrities being in the roles. Funny enough, I had definite choices for voice actors who would voice the CGI creature characters, such as Yofune Nushi the Japanese sea dragon (Ken Watanabe from “The Last Samurai” movie). And maybe Tom Hiddleston (Loki from “Thor”) as the bad guy, Nico the Teumessian…if he can pull of being a humanoid fox-creature.
But I know who I would want to direct this…Julie Taymor, no question!

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In 1852, a young Spanish boy crosses paths with a gypsy caravan headed by a living Grecian Sphinx, and he is taken through the Curtain into the realm of myth and folklore to help stop the night goddess Nyx from using her Shades to destroy the denizens of the unseen world, including the Sphinx herself.

6. If you plan to publish, will your book be self-published or published traditionally?

The first book (and hopefully its sequel) will be published by Knox Robinson Publishing , a small traditional publishing house in London, to be released in May 2013.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

A little under a year, I believe—about 9 or 10 months? And I wasn’t working on it every day.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I believe I started writing it when “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” was new and a bit hit. Thus why this book is also mythology-oriented.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

As I mentioned before, my husband David was a main source of inspiration for the main character. Where the rest came from, it’s hard to pinpoint it. I’ve just always been drawn to folklore and myths. Oh, and I was sick and tired of vampires in everything (still am!) so I purposefully chose a mythological being that doesn’t show up in too many novels.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

A shape-shifting badger…an otherworldly inn full of self-eating zombies…a dragon battle…our hero gets caught in a buffalo stampede…confrontation with a primordial goddess…
Any of that sound interesting?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Free Short Story from Knox Robinson Publishing!

Knox Robinson Publishing offers its readers free short stories to download through their website, so you can get a taste of the fine literature that its authors have to share. They have a whole new batch of tales ready, starting with "Belinda's Secret" by Maggi Andersen. Take a read:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Character Bio #8: Nyx

Name: Nyx

Age: ???

Origins: Primordial Night Goddess (Greece)

Family Line: Daughter of Chaos; Mother of Age, Sleep (Hypnos), Fate, Strife, and Death, as well as many others

Birthplace and Home: edge of the universe

Height: whatever she wants it to be

Weight: you don't ask a goddess these things

Nyx is one of the oldest gods in the universe; she is so powerful that all other gods fear her. Little is known about her, but one of her abilities involves sending out light-and-darkness-woven extensions of her being, called Shades, that manifest in mortal creatures and drain them of their most precious talents and gifts. Once the Shade has collected as much as it can, it returns to Nyx with the stolen talent, leaving its mortal host dead. Nyx has been sending out her Shades to infect many of the mythological realm's residents, but to what end? And how will her plans affect both the mythological world and the human world?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Scholar and the Sphinx found their way to Facebook...

Don't forget to check out and Like "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx" on Facebook!

From there, you can stay in the know about the latest updates on the novel, as well as what's happening at Knox Robinson Publishing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Character Bio #7: Ptesan-Wi

Name: Ptesan-Wi, the White Calf Woman

Age: ???

Birthplace: the Great Plains of North America

Heritage: Native American, ties to the Lakota tribe

Height: 5' 6" in human form

Weight: depends

Unique abilities: spirit quest guide; supernatural abilities tied to natural elements

One of the most enigmatic figures that David comes across in his adventure, Ptesan-Wi is guardian of a very important artifact that David must collect in order to save the life of a close friend. The only problem is, no one knows for sure where to find Ptesan-wi when they need her, or how to confront her if they do. The Lakota tribe sees her as a sacred source of wisdom and guidance, but she can also be as wild and perilous as a thunderstorm.
What exactly Ptesan-wi is capable of is difficult to decipher, but only those whose spirits are innocent and open to accepting her guidance will seek what they are searching for--those seeking her for selfish purposes or only to gain her secret "riches" will certainly meet with their doom.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Character Bio #6: Yofune Nushi

Name: Yofune Nushi
Age: old enough
Birthplace: the Oki Islands of Japan
Height: depends
Weight: depends
Unique abilities: can open dream-paths between the conscious and subconscious; can shift between human form and his true form; water-based magic; heightened senses

Yofune Nushi would wish you to think he’s just a quiet blind sage, tending his garden out in the forest all alone. But quiet little old men are never just that, are they? Yofune is quite capable of taking care of himself, and making anyone who threatens him very, very sorry (although most don’t live long enough to be all that sorry).
Shrouded in mystery, Yofune is hard to predict, yet his intentions, for the most part, are good and helpful. With Tanuki as his companion and eyes (although Yofune’s other senses are heightened due to his loss of vision), Yofune is able to guide David through the confusing folds of the Curtain, and turns out to be a more valuable—and fierce—ally than David could ever have imagined.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Character Bio #5: The Teumessian

Name: Nicolas Canidae Vulpini (Nico)
Age: ???
Heritage: descendent of the Teumessian Fox (Greece)
Height: 5’ 11”
Weight: 160 lbs.
Physical Characteristics: Human in form, with the exception of red fox-fur-colored hair, yellow eyes, and a fox tail
Unique abilities: Mirror Magic, Extremely high intelligence, Above average speed and agility, Curtain-crossing

Nico may appear to be an average, albeit arrogant man (although it’s hard to miss that fox tail peaking out the back) but don’t let his smooth, cool temperament fool you. Descended from the Teumessian Fox of Greek legend, his legacy is that he can never be caught by anyone who pursues him, thus he believes he can get away with anything. Since the Teumessian Fox and the first Sphinx were siblings, that makes Nico and the current Sphinx cousins, neither of which have any family love for the other. Nico, being extremely proud and vain, highly values his intellect and wit, and he must always challenge the Sphinx to a game of riddles any time they cross paths…and Nico hates, above all else, to lose.
While not being fond of anyone other than himself, Nico despises humans most of all. When David gets on his bad side, Nico shows just how dangerous and malicious he can be, seizing the opportunity to put not just David, but the Sphinx and her entire caravan in harm’s way. And what nasty secret is Nico hiding, that he seems to know why the Sphinx can no longer speak?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Character Bio #4: Tanuki

Name: Tanuki
Species: Meles anakuma (Badger)
Age: 6 years old
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Length: 30 inches nose to tail
Weight: 17 lbs.
Unique abilities: shape-shifting, human speech (Japanese), Curtain-crossing

Tanuki is a fun-loving, wise-cracking, cautiously optimistic badger whose grandfather was a lightning god, Raiju (who favored the form of a badger). Because of this special bloodline, Tanuki has some magical abilities which include shape-shifting, from anything as large as a horse or bear to as small as a bug, and can even change opacity (such as a small raincloud). He loves playing tricks on unsuspecting people, but tends to play it safe and not meddle in the affairs of dangerous types (unless it’s too much fun to resist!)
Tanuki serves his wise old master Yofune Nushi loyally, and once he makes friend with David, he becomes a steadfast companion. Even though he knows when it is better to flee than fight, he will stand by his friends’ side through the worst of situations, even putting up with the “smelly red-haired human who is scary” [Gullin].

Monday, November 12, 2012

Character Bio #3: The Huntsman



Name: Gullin
Age: 34
Birthplace: Scotland (town unknown)
Year of birth: 1818 A.D.
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 220 lbs.

One of the members of the Sphinx’s caravan, Gullin is a brawny, outspoken Scotsman who doesn’t take guff from anyone. While his skills include juggling torches and helping to keep the caravan in line and on schedule, his true talents lie in hunting and combat. The tattoo on his arm, that of a spear crossed by two arrows and a lily, is that of the ancient clan of Huntsmen—those specially trained to hunt and slay legendary monsters. This may have been the reason he crossed paths with the Sphinx to begin with, but why he did not go through with the slaying and instead joined her group is a secret only he knows. Initially he is wary of young David joining the caravan, and tries to keep the na├»ve boy under his thumb, but soon comes to respect David’s courage and good heartedness.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Character Bio #2: The Sphinx

Name: The Sphinx (no given familiar name)
Age:  ???
Heritage: Grecian—family line descends from the Typhoon and the Drakaina
Height: 5’ 9” when standing on hind legs; about 3’ at the shoulder when on all fours
Weight: 250 lbs.
Physical Characteristics: Head of a woman, long dark hair and tanned skin; body of a lioness, golden-brown fur; dark violet feathered wings
Unique attributes: Can hypnotize or induce sleep with her gaze; her breath has soothing powers that instantly calm mortals; can access others’ dreams

Not much is known about the enigmatic Sphinx, other than what can be surmised from ancient texts about her species. Descending from the original Sphinx of Thebes in ancient Greece, she embodies much of the same characteristics, although she seems incapable of—or refrains from using—human speech. The leader of a traveling caravan of performing gypsies, the Sphinx looks after her “family” with intense loyalty while remaining unseen by the general public—at least in the human world. She has the ability to cross through the divide, known as the “Curtain,” that separates the human world from the hidden realm where many mythological residents, such as herself, now dwell.
Her intentions and motivations are cryptic, particularly when it comes to why she brings David into her caravan and allows him to see the “unseen” world of myth and legend. But there is a dark secret lying within the Sphinx, one that affects not only her own life but one that is part of a much larger web of danger that could encompass both her world and David’s…and David may be the key to helping her save everyone…

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Character Bio #1: David

Name: David Sandoval
Age: 16
Year of birth: 1836 A.D.
Birthplace: Cervera, Spain
Height: 5’ 10”
Weight: 150 lbs.

David Sandoval has spent much of his young life with his nose in as many books as he can get his hands on. He has attained knowledge in almost every academic area, from swordplay, to history, to languages, and most devotedly, to the tales of the supernatural and magical. No one understands why such fairy tales fascinate David so, but his stories of mythical beasts and enchanting spirits has given him quite a reputation in his home city of Cervera.

When a successful French architect, and good friend of the Sandoval family, offers David an apprenticeship to train under him in Paris, David doesn’t have to think twice about it to accept. Yet when he stops in the French city of Orleans for a few nights’ rest during his travel, he finds that his myths-and-legends-inspired zest for adventure gets him into more trouble that he is prepared to deal with—and sets him on course for a journey that will make every hero’s tale he’s ever read pale by comparison.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Press Release from October 16th

For the story behind Knox Robinson Publishing's first step into publishing for the young adult market, and its decision to select "The Scholar, the Sphinx, and the Shades of Nyx" as its first young adult fantasy title, here is the link to the press release:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Currently Available for Pre-Order!

If you're a ravenous fantasy fanantic, why wait until May to reserve your copy of this new, breath-taking adventure into the wild and wondrous? "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx" is now available for pre-order through and in the Knox Robinson Publishing online bookstore!

Amazon in the US:

Amazon in the UK:

Knox Robinson Publishing Bookstore:

Prepare to Pass Through the Curtain...

Cervera, Spain, 1852. David Sandoval is a sixteen-year-old genius on many different subjects, yet he is more content studying than becoming close with family or friends. When he accepts an apprenticeship offer from a French architect, he is convinced that this will be the biggest achievement of his life. While on his travels to Paris, a foolhardy decision on his part gets him abducted by a gypsy caravan, owned by a living Grecian sphinx. The sphinx, seemingly intrigued by the fearless young man, takes him through the Curtain, the gateway between our world and the worlds of the "unseen," where many creatures of myth and legend reside. When David discovers that he has unwittingly proposed to the sphinx - who appears pleased to have him as a potential mate - he attempts to escape back through the Curtain to the human world, only to be sent to Kyoto, Japan, and that is only the beginning of his problems. On his adventure to return home, he learns a dark secret: a Shade, an extension of the shadowy Night Goddess Nyx, is slowly draining the sphinx of her most precious talents. David might be the only human on earth with the knowledge of how to save the sphinx from a lethal blight imposed on her by Nyx, and he must also save his new friends from a ruthless adversary, the Teumessian. Can one normal boy truly undo the inflictions of a goddess, and rescue both the seen and unseen worlds from her dark intentions?

Welcome to the world of "The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx," the upcoming young adult fantasy title to be released by Knox Robinson Publishing in 2013!

This is the first young adult novel to be published by the London-based publishing company, and it will be available in the US, the UK and Europe next year.

If you'd like to learn more about the novel, you can visit Knox Robinson Publishing's website at, or you can e-mail the author at