Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes

Middle Grade/Teen 
With more twists and turns than a labyrinth, and a story in which nothing is as it seems, this tale of deception and discovery keeps readers in suspense until the end.

Design Elements from My Fairytale Kit by LouCee Creations.

The annual Great Quest is about to be announced in Quendel, a task that will determine the future of Marcus and the other boys from the village who are coming of age. The wizard Zyll commands them to find the Rock of Ivanore, but he doesn't tell them what the Rock is exactly or where it can be found. Marcus must reach deep within himself to develop new powers of magic and find the strength to survive the wild lands and fierce enemies he encounters as he searches for the illusive Rock. If he succeeds, he will live a life of honor; if he fails, he will live a life of menial labor in shame. With more twists and turns than a labyrinth, and a story in which nothing is as it seems, this tale of deception and discovery keeps readers in suspense until the end.

Middle readers will find that The Rock of Ivanore fits nicely among the traditional fantasies they so enjoy. They will also appreciate its fresh and inventive take on the genre.


Publisher: Tanglewood Press
Release Date: May 15, 2012
Ages: 8 & up
Page Count: 356

      The old enchanter rose from his cot, his joints creaking like rusty hinges.  His sleep had been troubled, and thoughts of the days ahead worried him.  Taking care not to wake his apprentice, Zyll went to the table in the center of the room, though his legs were so stiff that even traveling the width of his cottage required the use of a walking stick. 
Zyll ladled water into the bowl and peered at his reflection in it.  How changed he looked, how unlike the man he used to be.  His hair, once thick and dark, had thinned and grown white and the skin around his mouth had creased. But his eyes still glowed with the vibrancy of youth.  One thing, at least, had remained the same.
      He laid his walking stick across the table, and then leaned closer to better view the image before him.  The water darkened and another face replaced Zyll’s reflection, a younger man not altogether human—a half-breed.
The image widened.  Crouching in a dark corridor the half-breed crept from shadow to shadow.  Slipping past two sentries, he entered a small chapel.  He hurried to the altar and released a hidden latch that opened a small door near its base.  Zyll watched as the half-breed removed a scroll concealed within and hid it beneath his cloak.
      Just then, the chapel door flew open with a tremendous shudder.  There, framed in torchlight, stood a man with red hair accompanied by seven man-like beasts with hairy faces pocked with repulsive scars.
      The red-headed man charged angrily into the room, his sword slashing down in a wide, rapid arc.  The half-breed hastily drew his sword just in time to deflect the blow, and then countered with his own.  His blade tasted flesh, and the red-headed man collapsed to his knees, his hands grasping the side of his bloody face.
      The half-breed spied a small object on the floor and managed to snatch it up before the beasts attacked.  Though he fought them with inhuman strength, they soon drove him up against the wall.
      Cornered and outnumbered, the half-breed turned to the window and gazed down.  The image in the bowl shifted and Zyll saw what the half-breed saw: angry ocean waves beating against the rocks far below.  Suddenly the waves rushed up toward him, and Zyll realized that the half-breed had leapt from the window.  Zyll watched him fall, and as he fell, the half-breed twisted his body to look up at the sky.  For one fleeting moment, before he plunged into the sea, his inhuman cat eyes met Zyll’s.
      The enchanter’s breath caught in his throat, and he stumbled back.  When he looked in the bowl again, the image had vanished.
      Zyll dropped into a chair resting his weary arms on the table.  He glanced at the fair-haired boy who slept on, then choked out a whisper.  “So it begins.”  
Chapter One

The morning of Marcus Frye’s fourteenth birthday may have seemed ordinary to some, but for him no day had ever dawned brighter.  The birds’ songs sounded sweeter.  In the distance, Amethyst Peak looked more brilliant than ever before.  Even Master Zyll appeared younger and more spry than usual.
      From his cot in the corner of the cottage, Marcus watched the enchanter arrange a pile of wood on the hearth.  Zyll inspected his work through a pair of spectacles and nodded with satisfaction.  “You are awake,” he said, removing his spectacles and wiping them with the sleeve of his robe.  “I was beginning to think someone had put a sleeping spell on you.”
      Marcus arose and went to the table where a steaming bowl of porridge waited.  A clean tunic and trousers lay across the back of a chair.
      “Why didn’t you wake me to get the wood?” asked Marcus.  “The morning air isn’t good for you.”
      “Nonsense,” replied Zyll, lowering himself into a chair beside the hearth.  An old leather satchel lay in his lap.  “Now sit and eat.”
      Marcus dressed in the clean clothes and sat down.  He picked at his breakfast, his stomach too much in knots for food.  He preferred instead to watch Zyll mend the satchel, which looked as though it could not withstand one more day’s wear.  When he had finished, Zyll held the satchel by the shoulder strap and gave it a good hard shake.  Its contents, which included a week’s worth of bread and dried goat’s meat, as well as a few coins and an iron pot, collided with a dull thud.  Marcus winced at the thought of finding crumbs for his supper rather than bread.
      “There it is now,” said Zyll.
      Marcus eyed it disdainfully.  “Master, the other boys have new satchels. Couldn’t we buy one as well?”
      “What for?” Zyll replied, handing Marcus the battered satchel.  “This bag holds as much as a new one.”  Then he rose with some effort from his chair to begin filling a kettle with vegetables.
      Marcus hesitated making any further requests.  He did not want to appear greedy, but this day was special, so he spoke before his courage could leave him.
      “Master, what about the other supplies?”
      “What supplies?” asked Zyll, not looking up from the kettle.
      “Well, I’ll need a weapon for one thing.”
      Zyll tossed the last of the onions into the pot and added some water.  “You’ve no need of weapons, boy.  Haven’t I taught you well enough how to fend for yourself?”
      Marcus thought of the many lessons Zyll had taught him.  He had learned the ways of the mystic, and also a bit of history, mathematics, and philosophy.  Zyll disapproved of sword fighting, but had allowed him to practice with the other boys in the village.
      “I’m good with a sword,” Marcus reminded him, “but I’m a terrible magician.”
      Zyll turned toward him.  His face held the same pensive expression it always did.  “Why do you doubt your abilities?” he asked.  “You know magic is nothing more than the art of rearranging the elements that lay before you.  Take the logs for instance,” he continued.  “What is fire but heat?  Heat is found in rays of sunlight and in all living things.”
      Zyll lifted his hand toward the window where a stream of light filtered into the cottage.  “We must harvest it from the sunshine, the trees, our own bodies.”  He lowered his hand drawing it across Marcus’s shoulders.  “Compress it to a fine point, direct it toward the logs, and . . .”
      With a quick snap of his wrist the logs burst into flames.  Zyll set the kettle over the fire.  “This soup will be ready for my afternoon meal.”
      “I would still prefer a sword,” said Marcus.
      Zyll’s voice was calm, yet insistent.  “Use your knowledge to obtain those things you need and to defend yourself and others from harm.”  He doused the fire with a mumbled incantation.  Then, gesturing toward the hearth, he added, “Give it a try.”
      Marcus preferred to do his chores without magic, yet he would not refuse his master’s request.  Turning to the hearth, he focused his attention on the wood and formed an image of brilliant orange flame in his mind.
      “Ignite!” he commanded.
      He held his breath as he waited for the flames to appear, but nothing happened.
      “I can’t do it!” he said with disgust.  “Maybe I shouldn’t go on the quest.  I know I’ll fail.”
      Zyll studied his apprentice with tender, gray eyes.  Marcus knew those eyes well.  He had seen them every day of his life.  Orphaned at birth, Marcus had been in Zyll’s care as long as he could remember.  He was a good master, kind and generous, yet firm.  They made a fine pair, he and Zyll, and Marcus imagined no one could have been a better father to him.
      When the town council had agreed to let Marcus, a mere orphan, join this year’s Bleôth Camrű—or, translated from the ancient tongue, Great Quest—he was determined to finally prove he was destined for more than servitude.
Every year on the first day of spring all the boys in Quendel who had reached the age of manhood during the previous year set out on a journey across Imaness.  Their purpose—to accomplish some task or retrieve an object as determined by the village elders.  The quests were never easy, often lasting days or even weeks on end.  Those who returned triumphant were bestowed with the most honorable jobs in the village.  Those who failed were relegated to the more mundane positions in life.  At first, Marcus was elated at the news that he would be allowed to participate.  But now the thought of disappointing Zyll filled Marcus with shame.
      Zyll went to his bookshelf, but he was not interested in the books.  Instead he reached for a wooden chest, which he carried to the table and raised the lid.  After sifting through its contents, he lifted something in his hand.  Though Marcus could not tell what it was, the item was small enough to be hidden by the old man’s fingers.
      Zyll turned his gaze on Marcus, though his eyes seemed to look right through him.  With a shake of his head he remembered the task at hand and laid the object back inside the chest.  More sifting and searching until Zyll withdrew another small object and slammed the lid shut, sending a billow of dust into the air.
      “I have not yet given you a gift for your birthday,” said Zyll, holding out his palm.  A small metal object lay across it.
      “A key?” asked Marcus, puzzled.
      “Not just any key.  It is the only one of its kind.”
      “It looks like a regular key to me.”
      “Ah, but therein lies the magic,” replied Zyll.  “With this key you will find within yourself more power than you can now imagine.  It will unlock your very destiny.”
      Placing the key in Marcus’s hand, Zyll gestured toward the hearth.
      “Try it once more.”
      The key felt heavy and cold.  The tarnished iron was worn smooth in spots.  Still Marcus sensed its power as he grasped it firmly in his fist.  As he held the key at eye level a peculiar tingling sensation spread through his fingers and wrist.
      At first only the faintest crackle could be heard.  Next, a small speck of orange glowed from the back of the hearth.  Marcus leaned forward and blew air through his lips to fan the ember.  On his first breath the glow intensified, then began to spread with the second.  On the third breath there was a loud pop as the ember leapt from the hearth, setting the hem of Zyll’s robe on fire.
      Marcus gasped in horror at his mistake.  Without a moment’s hesitation he grabbed the kettle of soup and threw its contents at his master.  The fire was put out, and from the sour expression on Zyll’s face, so was he.
      Marcus’s shoulders drooped in dismay.  “I’m sorry,” he said.
      Zyll shook off the bits of carrot and onion that clung to his robe.  “No harm done, though I could have doused the flame myself and still had soup for my supper.”  Reaching for his walking stick, he announced, “It is time to go.”
      Zyll opened the cottage door and stepped outside.  Marcus followed, the satchel hanging from his shoulder as limp as a large leather blossom wilting in the afternoon sun.

Welcome!!  I'm very happy to introduce Laurisa White Reyes as my featured guest author today. It's great to  have the opportunity to find out a little more about you and your creative process.  Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?

There have been several people, really, who inspired me to write. The first is my father. He is a fantastic storyteller. When I was growing up, he always had a story to tell. He always wanted to be a writer but was busy making a living to provide for our family. Now that he’s retired, though, he’s writing all those stories down. I’m really proud of him for that.

My mother inspired me in another way. She always taught me that I could do anything. Period. She would say, “If someone else has done it, then you can learn to do it, too.” I’ve tried to pass that on to my kids as well. There is simply nothing we cannot achieve if we are willing to work hard for it and never give up.

In addition to my parents, my kids are my biggest inspiration. When my oldest son was eight years old, he asked me to make up a bed time story instead of read one. I told him about an enchanter’s apprentice who botched all his spells. Every night, my son would tell me what he wanted to hear whether it was dragons or magic or sword fighting, and I’d weave it into the story. That eventually became The Rock of Ivanore. I’ve actually written books for all of my kids. Everything I write, I write for them.

When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?

In my younger days I wrote mostly at night. I would tuck the kids into bed and then write until one or two in the morning. Lately, however, I’m finding that I just can’t stay up as late as used to. I tend to fall asleep at my computer. So I do a little writing at night and a little in the morning. I try to get in an hour or two each day. I wish I had more time to write, but I have five children ranging in age from 18 down to 4 years. Most of my time is devoted to them. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

The first manuscript I wrote stunk. I didn’t know it at the time, of course. I thought it was brilliant. Luckily, I didn’t stop there. I kept on writing. That first book was a learning experience for me, made me a better writer. So my advice to new writers would be not to bank all your hopes and dreams on one manuscript. Yes, there are those lucky few who find publishers right out of the starting gate, but for the rest of us, it takes years. So write that first book, and then write another and another. Don’t stop.

At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

One night when I was five years old, I woke up with this poem in my head. I got up, fished a scrap of poster board from the trash, and scrawled the poem down in crayon. I have been writing ever since. When I was fourteen I set a goal for myself to publish my first novel by the time I was thirty. I overshot that goal by thirteen years, but at least I did it. Right?
What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read? 
That is a hard question to answer because I have read so many “best” books. I can say that my all time favorites include Gone With The Wind, Wuthering Heights, Roots, Of Mice and Men, and so many more. The book I’ve read the most, the one I probably love more than any other is Lilies of the Field by William E. Barrett.  That book makes me feel so happy just to be alive. I re-read it every few years just to remind me how wonderful life really is.

What hobbies do you actively pursue?

Not many, actually. I read. I write. A lot. I do enjoy digital scrapbooking and family history, but rather sporadically. Next to writing, my passion is ancient history. I listen to a lot of history lectures on CD and enjoy doing research on my own. Maybe someday I’ll devote more time to that.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

I mentioned that I love ancient history, but I actually love all eras of history and have been working on two historical novels.  The first takes place in 1939 Algonac, Michigan. Of course, being from California, I’ve never been east of the Rocky Mountains. So I would love to go there. I won’t start writing that book until I’ve actually seen Algonac for myself.  The other book is set in 1820-1830 Mississippi during the events leading up to the Indian Removal Act, which eventually led to the Trail of Tears. My ancestors on my father’s side were Choctaw Indian and I plan to write a book about how those events affected their tribe.  I would like to see the Choctaw’s original tribal lands.

Entice us, what future projects are you considering?

In addition to the two books I mentioned above (which are long term projects), I am in the process of revising the sequel to The Rock of Ivanore.  If all goes well, The Last Enchanter is slated for release in 2013. I also have two completed young adult manuscripts ready to go, one high fantasy and one paranormal suspense. Hopefully you’ll be hearing about those in the future.

Well, that's a wrap for us for now.  Thanks so much for  chatting with me.  I wish you every success. :)

Laurisa White Reyes has been writing since the age of 5 when she wrote her first poem on scrap of poster board. After earning a degree in English at· California State University at Northridge, she spent thirteen years writing for various magazines and newspapers, working as a book editor, and teaching creative writing. She gave up all that six years ago to follow her lifelong dream of writing novels. Her first book, The Rock of Ivanore, will be released in May 2012.
Besides writing, Laurisa is also a voracious reader. She also loves musical theater, chocolate, sushi, ancient history, bearded dragons, and rain storms.  She lives in Southern California with her husband, 5 children, 4 birds, 2 lizards, 2 turtles, 1 fish, 1 dog, and a partridge in a pear tree.

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*Paper and elements for the feature collage are part of the My Fairytale Kit by LouCee Creations.
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Suz Reads said...

Thanks for this amazing giveaway - I would love to win it! I like paranormal books because they always have cool characters and original stories!

Little Star said...

Paranormal breaks open the doors to the imagination, as you read it changes the room you are in, the people you meet (wait, was that a wolf in front of me for coffee - ) it is very enjoyable

scarlettkitty at hotmail dot com

Claire said...

Excellent interview! How exciting that the bedtime stories you told your children are now published for all kids to enjoy.

Congrats on your success.

Irika said...

I love Patricia Briggs's books

Debby said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I love paranormal
debby236 at gmail dot com

Debby said...

My favorite paranormal creature right now are shape shifters. Used to be vampires.
debby236 at gmail sot om

Dorine White said...

Thanks for the wonderful interview. I enjoyed it.

Natasha said...

I like Gena Showalter's books.

Unknown said...

i like Julie kagawa's books

catherine0807 at hotmail dot com

Akoss said...

Thank you for this great interview and giveaway.
I'm the kind that has a hard time picking a favorite mythical creature ;)

ank272 at live dot com

PuttPutt1198Eve said...

I love paranormal fiction because it takes me so completely out of my realm of normal. I really need that sometimes like when the price of gas goes up to $4.00/gal.

Grigory said...

Thanks for doing this giveaway! :) My favorite paranormal fiction is the Ania Blake series.

If I win, my email is grigory99 at yahoo dot com

*crosses fingers*

Girish said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I got into Paranormal books recently.

girish.winchester at gmail dot com

Heidi Grange said...

My students love quest fantasy and this sounds like a great one.

hg195 at yahoo dot com

Kylie said...

I hope you get to visit the East- since I want to read those historic novels!

Gale Nelson said...

Thank you so much for this great giveaway! Gale

Christina said...

A lot of classics! I can imagine that was an inspiration for a more classical quest-type story.

Sounds awesome!

Sayomay said...

I really want to read this!!!!!!!

Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I read paranormals because of all of the amazing what if's?