More News from Zeus House

Another rainy day in San Antonio! It seems to be either extreme drought or flash flooding around here. Last week San Antonio got almost six inches of rain in three hours, and the creek down the street turned into a raging river. I needed Percy Jackson to turn the tide for us, but alas he wasn’t around. Despite all the rain, it is nice to see a little cold weather rolling in.

We’re still enjoying our new house a lot. Being close to a creek, it’s fun to have more wildlife in the neighborhood. We were sitting in the pool the other evening when a great horned owl swooped right over our heads. In the last week, we’ve been visited by a mother hawk and her babies, a raccoon, black squirrels, red squirrels, toads, a checkered garter snake, a huge number of multicolored dragonflies, some giant moths, and Eric Carle’s hungry little caterpillar, which decided to take up residence on our trashcan. Our neighbor tells us he’s got armadillos rooting around in his garden, too. We haven’t seen any of those yet, but we’re waiting.

On the writing front, I’ve launched into the new Camp Half-Blood series and am having a great time with it. I get SO many emails from worried readers saying please, please, please, please (times fifty) write more Percy Jackson books, but all I can say is chill, guys. I’m putting a new twist on things but it’s not the end of Percy and friends by a long shot. You’ll see where I’m going with it winter 2010 when the first book comes out, and I think you’ll be pleased (and I hope a little shocked and amazed!) but that’s all I can say for now.

On the reading front, Becky and Patrick are both reading their way through Angie Sage’s Septimus Heap series and really loving it. Haley has been more into writing lately. He’s working on a big project that’s top secret, but he tells me he might be able to share some of it with me soon. I can’t wait to see what he’s cooking up. I just finished reading The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway – an adult post-apocalyptic sci fi novel which reminds me of a mix between Joseph Heller and Kurt Vonnegut, though the premise is quite original and the writing is hysterically funny. A nameless narrator chronicles his life before and after the Go Away War, in which bombs make large chunks of reality simply disappear, destroying most of the world and creating a nebulous unreality full of dream creatures, monsters, and half-humans. The human population is reduced to living in a tiny Livable Zone, clustered around the Jorgmund Pipe which pumps a strange chemical that keeps unreality at bay, but who is in charge of the Jorgmund Company, and what secrets are they hiding? I found this a challenging book to get into because the narrative style takes some getting used to, but it was very rewarding and it has several huge zinger surprises in the plot. Check it out!

My next appearance (and last appearance for 2009) will be at the Texas Book Festival on Halloween. I’ll look forward to seeing some of you there. In the meantime, happy reading!

Rick Riordan