Monday, November 18, 2013

A Gargoyle Pop-Up Book

One of the coolest things I found on a recent trip to France was this gargoyle pop-up book!

Gargouilles by Paul Rouillac features intricate paper pop-up gargoyles along with explanations (in French) about each of the original creatures they're based on. Included are several cut-outs inspired by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc's famous Notre Dame gargoyles.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Gargoyle Mystery Series

Because of my love of gargoyles, I always thought it would be amazing to create a book about gargoyles. I thought about publishing a book of my gargoyle photography one day, but without an introduction from Stephen King like in the beautiful Nightmares in the Sky, I wasn't sure how realistic that was.

Then, two years ago, I had an idea for a new mystery series that it involved a gargoyle. I'd finished writing a book in my Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery Series and wanted to write something new. It took a little while for the ideas to fall into place, but once they did, I loved what I'd come up with. I wrote up a book proposal, and earlier this month my agent finalized a three-book deal with the publisher Midnight Ink for my new mystery series featuring a gargoyle!

The Accidental Alchemist is the first book in a new mystery series about a centuries-old alchemist and her impish gargoyle sidekick who was accidentally brought to life by a French stage magician. The series is set in Portland, Oregon. Read more here.

Dori the gargoyle at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon.

So my first book about a gargoyle won't be a book of photography, but a mystery novel! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Gargoyle Pets & A New Book

Dorian the gargoyle has a new stuffed animal friend to keep him company on my bookshelf. Here they are with the new Henery Press edition of Artifact: A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery that hits shelves today!

Dorian the gargoyle with Gigi Pandian's mystery novel Artifact.

Dorian's gargoyle cousin with an eBook card of Artifact.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Mont Saint Michel Part II: The Abbey

The building that gives Mont Saint Michel its distinctive skyline silhouette is the abbey. It's a church plus monastery and cloisters. A statue of St. Michael (once a patron saint of the French Royal Army) can be seen at the top of the abbey spire. The abbey has a fascinating history, including being used as a prison. With its strategic location on an island surrounded by dangerous tides and quicksand, it's easy to see why it's had so many uses over time.

Last week I posted some additional Mont Saint Michel photos. All these photos were shot on 35mm film during my 2000 visit. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, France

I last visited Mont Saint Michel, the island fortification in Normandy, France, in the year 2000, while doing graduate studies in Bath, England. The third Jaya Jones treasure hunt mystery novel (that I'm currently writing) takes place in France, partly at Mont Saint Michel, so I'm excited that I get to plan a return visit. In the meantime, I pulled out my old photos, shot on 35mm film before I owned a digital camera. A few of my favorite old photos of Le Mont are below.

Dangerous tides and quicksand surround the Mont, which is why it was such a strategic location throughout French history. In past centuries, people used to have to wait for the tides to recede for a safe causeway to be above the water. A raised road was built, which has recently been replaced with a dam and small bridge. The castle-like structure that rises our of the center of the Mont is the abbey.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Gargoyles of Cambridge, England, Part II: King's College and Beyond

One of my favorite things about the old universities of Britain is the range of gargoyles peering out from their stone buildings. I visited Oxford many years ago, but hadn't explored Cambridge until this year. King's College is one of the university colleges featuring gargoyles with a lot of personality.

 When walking around downtown, if you take a closer look at the buildings, you'll often spot some gargoyles hiding high above your head... 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gargoyles of Cambridge, England: Our Lady and the English Martyrs

Our Lady and the English Martyrs, aka OLEM, is a beautiful Catholic church in Cambridge, England, that's covered in gargoyles. It's a Gothic Revival church built in the late 1800s, and it's one of the largest Catholic churches in the UK. I stumbled upon this church by accident when I was on tagging along on a day trip to Cambridge and had a few hours on my own to explore the city.

Look closely at the following two gargoyles and see what you might spot...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lisbon's Castelo de São Jorge (St. George's Castle)

This Lisbon castle sits at the top of a steep hill in the city's Alfama district. Streetcars don't go directly to the castle, but the steep walk is worth it. The Romans, Visgoths, and Moors all built sections of the fortification over the years. Most of the castle is now in ruins, but you can walk along the ramparts for fabulous views of the city.

Looking past one of the castle's cannons, you can see the Convento do Carmo.

Lisbon's raven coat of arms.

Peacocks run wild all over the grounds...

...including blocking the door to the castle's cafe!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lisbon Cathedral

The Neo-Gothic Lisbon Cathedral (Cathedral Se) is part of the way up one of Lisbon's many steep hills, not far from Castle Sao Jorge. One of the most fascinating things about this cathedral is a legend associated with one of its relics. The cathedral holds the remains of St. Vincent, the Patron Saint of Lisbon. According to legend, two ravens watched over the saint's body as it was transported to its final resting place in Lisbon. The ravens took up residence in the cathedral, and their descendants remained there for centuries. That's how ravens came to be a symbol of Lisbon and adorn the city's coat of arms. 


Construction of the cathedral began in 1147, after the Portuguese recaptured the city from the Moors. Part of the cathedral was destroyed in the 1755 earthquake that damaged much of the region. These days modern electric tram wires surround the cathedral. Though the wires obstruct views of the building, being able to ride the tram up the steep hill makes it worth it.