Staci Troilo on Story Inspiration and Gargoyles

Hi, friends. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Staci Troilo back to my blog with her latest release, LOVE SET IN STONE. I read this novel shortly after release and was immediately taken by the blend of paranormal elements in an urban setting. The character development is wonderful with one character in particular quickly stealing my heart. You can find my five star review on Amazon. In the meantime, please welcome Staci back with a great post on story inspiration and a special favorite of mine—gargoyles!

~ooOOoo~

Hi, Mae. Thanks for inviting me back to your site. And hello again, Mae’s friends. I appreciate you giving me a few minutes of your time today.

People often ask me where I get my ideas for my stories, probably because I write in several different genres. Truth is, my ideas come from all over the place. Weird dreams, conversations I overhear, stories my kids tell me, song lyrics, family history… the list goes on and on, and could probably become a blog post—or several blog posts—itself.

Today, I want to talk about the inspiration for my newest novel, Love Set in Stone. There are a few supernatural elements in that story (an angel, a fallen angel, and a gargoyle), but the inspiration for the novel came from a poem I read by Dav Pilkey called “God Bless the Gargoyles”.

In that particular work, there are no fallen angels. In fact, there are no romances, no criminals, no police detectives, no curses, no trips to hell. Yes, my novel has all these elements, and a lot more woven into the plot to turn this glimmer of an idea into a full-length novel.

What “God Bless the Gargoyles” does have is something that inspires me. After I read the poem, I was haunted by the image of these poor gargoyles who wanted to do nothing more than help the humans they watched over, and how sad they were when the humans turned on them. How the only friends they were left with were the angels in the clouds with them.

Believe me, my adult PNR novel is nothing like the children’s poem. But that one concept in the poem—the guardian angel and the gargoyle—stuck with me. And I think it’s proof that you can find inspiration for any kind of novel in the most unlikely places. Even for a paranormal romance in a children’s poem.

Book cover for Love Set in Stone by Staci Troilo shows a young woman with the image of a man and gargoyle behind herExcerpt:

“Damien?”

Damien jumped at the sound of Anael’s voice. He spun around to find the angel standing there. He didn’t float, he didn’t glow. Didn’t even smile like he usually did.

But he was there.

“Are you all right?” Damien asked. “I’ve been worried.”

“You didn’t make me break the rules, Damien. I chose to.”

“Because I was being stubborn.”

“It doesn’t matter. It was my choice.”

“I didn’t think angels had freewill.”

“How do you think we got the fallen? Sometimes we’re left to our own devices. And sometimes, we choose wrong.”

Damien tried and failed to shrug off the chills creeping up his spine. When he spoke, his voice croaked, barely above a whisper. “Did I make you… fall?”

“Stop worrying about me.”

“I’m sorry.” He was. Profoundly so.

Anael turned away from Damien and walked to the edge of the roof. He looked out over the lights of the city, didn’t turn around when he spoke.

“Damien. You need to forget about new terms to your contract. Operate as though nothing has changed.”

“If I’m not getting to renegotiate, then nothing has changed.”

Anael didn’t turn around.

“Anael? Has something changed?”

“Claim your destiny, Damien. And let me worry about mine.”

With that, the angel disappeared.

Damien called out to him, but he never returned.

A quick roll of his head released the tension in his neck. For about two seconds. Then the stress settled back on him, heavier than the stone of his alter ego.

Anael was in trouble. Because of him.

And the terms of his deal were absolute. Claim his destined future or forfeit his eternity.

Without the angel, without new terms, he had no choice.

So there’s a brief glimpse at Damien and Anael, the gargoyle and angel in Love Set in Stone, a PNR inspired by a children’s poem of all things. My advice to writers? Keep your eyes and ears peeled… you never know where inspiration will come from. And my advice to people who know writers? Be careful… you never know what about you might become fodder for your writer friend’s next work. 😉

Love Set in Stone Purchase Information:

Available now: Amazon | B&N |Kobo | Inktera | Scribd | 24 Symbols
Coming soon: iBooks | Paperback

Author Bio
Author Staci Troilo in a candid pose
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com or connect with her on social media.

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google + | LinkedIn | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

 

Mythical Monday: The Van Meter Visitor by Mae Clair

During autumn of 1903, the sleepy village of Van Meter, Iowa experienced three nights of strange visitations from a creature they believed had crept from an abandoned mine shaft. The bizarre occurrences began on September 29th when Ulysses Griffith, a traveling salesman was heading home after a business trip. Around 1AM, Mr. Griffith spied an odd light that appeared to “hop” from rooftop to rooftop. Intrigued, he was nonetheless tired after a long day of travel, and promptly headed home to bed.

The next night, September 30th at approximately the same hour, Dr. Alcott, the town physician, was drawn awake by a shaft of bright light streaming into his bedroom. Thinking a burglar lurked outside, he grabbed a firearm and headed outdoors to investigate. What he found was a gargoyle-like creature endowed with large bat wings and a blunt horn on its forehead from which light poured. Horrified, Dr. Alcott shot the beast five times, but the bullets had no effect.

The third resident to spot the creature was local banker, Clarence Dunn. On the night of October 1st at approximately 1AM, Mr. Dunn was camped out at his bank when a bright light suddenly flowed through the front window. He heard a strange wheezing and spied a shadowy figure skulking outside. Like Dr. Alcott, he shot the creature, firing directly through the window. But when he went outside to investigate, the beast had vanished, leaving a three-toed print behind in the dirt. Mr. Dunn later made a cast from the footprint as proof of the visitation.

On the same night, O.V. White spied the creature perched on a telephone pole. He fired, but the beast merely shone its light on him, then used its large hooked beak to clamber down the pole. There it encountered another resident, who estimated its height near eight feet. The creature hopped off like a kangaroo, flapping its wings as if attempting to take flight.

Finally, that same night, a group of men working a late-night shift heard strange sounds coming from an old mine shaft. When they investigated, two of the creatures abruptly appeared, one smaller than the other, and promptly winged off into the night. Determined to destroy the beasts and remove the threat to Van Meter, the men returned to town and organized a posse. Armed with rifles, the group trekked back to the mine and waited for the gargoyles to return.

The pair flew back to their lair just before sunrise where they were greeted by a deadly hail of bullets. The barrage “would have sunk the Spanish fleet” but it had no effect on them. The men found themselves engulfed by a putrid odor—perhaps the creature’s only defense?—before the winged beasts vanished into the mine shaft, never to be seen again.

There are plenty of tales about cryptids, but what gives this legend particular credence is the reputation of the men who reported seeing the monster. Most were prominent professionals and businessmen who couldn’t afford to be viewed as crackpots, yet they willingly attached their names to reports of sightings.  It has prompted many to believe this particular legend carries merit.

the-van-meter-visitor-bookAuthors Chad Lewis, Noah Voss, and Kevin Nelson have penned their own account of those three days in autumn of 1903, thoroughly investigating the circumstances surrounding the sightings. Their book, The Van Meter Visitor is available for purchase from Amazon or direct (autographed copy) from the authors’ website. This one has been on my reading list for some time and I hope to indulge in it shortly.

I find it curious that although the creature was no doubt terrifying in appearance, not once did it act in a threatening manner. Repeatedly shot at, chased, and generally sought for slaughter, it never defended itself. Only when the smaller creature was with it at the mine—perhaps a mate or offspring?—did it respond defensively. Even then it was only to release a “putrid odor” rather than attack. Surely a beast of that size with a long hooked beak, horn, and enormous wings could have inflicted damage if it chose.

It makes me think that the Van Meter Visitor may have been a peaceful creature. What’s your take?

Mae Clair’s Mythical Monday: Gargoyles

A winged guardian frozen
in stone masquerade,
sentinel of antiquity
as centuries fade.

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope you’re enjoying a restful day filled with relaxation and play.

My Mythical Monday question for the day: what does the word gargoyle inspire in your imagination? A hideous mythical beast, or an ornamental (albeit, usually grotesque) stone carving jutting from a cathedral rooftop?

I almost didn’t do an MM post today because of the holiday, but then decided to go with something that made me think of toil. Yeah, I know it’s a leap. Why a gargoyle? Well, they’re lumbering and, in structural use, serve a purpose relating to the drainage system in buildings. Okay, mostly gothic looking structures that have been around for eons but you have to admit they’re amazing. And yes, they are a referred to many times as ‘grotesques.’

Gargoyles were especially prominent in medieval times when they were used to adorn buildings, usually churches and cathedrals, to repel the forces of evil.  So how did the practice develop?

According to legend, a dragon named LaGarougille decided to make the town of Rouen, France his personal feeding ground during the seventh century. Naturally, the villagers took exception to this. You would too if you suddenly found yourself the ala carte menu item of the day (I’ll take the blacksmith grilled with a side of steamed farrier to go). Ugh! Actually it was virginal maidens who were most commonly offered as sacrificial fodder. Aren’t they always?

Fortunately, a priest (later known as St. Romanis) arrived around the same time to spread Christianity. He slew the dragon and the villagers gleefully set its body on fire. Imagine the celebration! When the head and neck wouldn’t burn, St. Romanis had them placed on the roof of his church as a warning to other forces of evil. Afterward, gargoyles were constructed to protect dwellings from malevolent spirits, much in the same way the head and neck of LaGarougille was a symbol of protection for the villagers of Rouen.

Other legends paint gargoyles as souls who became trapped in stone on their journey to the nether world. My first exposure to this mythical beast was a movie I saw when I was kid. I can’t remember the name, but I have vague memories of shadowy hulking beasts stalking unsuspecting travelers on a deserted roadway. I was mesmerized, finding the gargoyles terrifying but fascinating. I’m sure I had nightmares when I went to bed. Be that as it may, I was beguiled by the myth and had to learn more. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the purpose of these monstrous creatures was to protect others. Sometimes the trappings of myth are not at all what you’d expect.

To close, I wish you a happy Labor Day and am sending along gargoyle-wishes to ward off any and all circumstances that aren’t exactly as you desire.  Unlike many of us, gargoyles don’t get a break from working on this holiday.