Sunday, August 5, 2012


THE ICE CASTLE: AN ADVENTURE IN MUSIC, second in the Lexicon Adventure series, officially launches this week, and I'm truly excited.  It's a beautifully printed book, and I'm attached to the story and the characters.

The book opens in December. Aunt Adelaide is ill, and the family gathers, including Daphne and Ivan's younger cousin Lila, a gifted singer. Lila stumbles into Ivan and Daphne's secret land of Lexicon, and in an attempt to rescue her, they follow her into the snowy Land of Winter. Kidnapped by nomads, they are delivered to the town of Capella, where they learn that all that matters for social status and opportunity is how well a person sings.

Lila is celebrated and elevated, while Daphne starts off a schoolgirl and becomes a servant, and Ivan, who is tone deaf, is relegated to life as a laborer, until his rebellious nature gets him sent off to work in the silver mines.

I had a lot of fun writing this book, not least in creating the supporting characters.  There's Fort, adopted child of a high-status family who is disinherited after a botched throat operation ruins his voice.  He becomes a charismatic Dissonant leader, a romantic figure who dazzles Daphne.  There's Kanzat, the nomad chief whose love of fancy words leads him into delicious malapropisms.  There's the grubby and irascible Hermit of the Mine, to whom Ivan apprentices himself to forge a path to freedom.  And there's the glorious and exacting Diva, ruler of the Land of Winter, who each year must summon the spring by singing her way free of a castle built of ice.

I tell the three cousins' stories in alternating chapters that weave apart and together as each follows his or her own story arc.  Lila finds independence and courage to escape from under the thumb of a domineering mother. Daphne moves beyond envy and resentment to embrace loyalty and humble open-mindedness while protecting Lila from a hidden enemy. Ivan embarks on a journey of creativity as he invents his way out of captivity. Each plays a role in bringing greater justice to the Land of Winter. Orchestrating their movements and roles was half the fun of writing THE ICE CASTLE.

Now comes the next step, presenting the book. As with Lost in Lexicon, I've developed an Ice Castle activity fair to use in schools or with groups of readers.  Scarletta Press has produced a short movie introducing some of these activities with ice, melting, and music.  I'll run two of these fairs soon at the Discovery Museum in Acton, MA, first for a group of kid readers and then again at the book's launch party September 23, 2012, to which you're all invited.

We've also updated the Lexicon website, adding new characters, new stops on the map, and two new, musical games.

I truly hope some of you will join the fun of THE ICE CASTLE launch by visiting the website and buying the book. Sometimes people ask whether it's better to buy from the website, their local bookstore, or from an online groups like Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  The truth is, any one is great.  When you request the book from your local independent bookseller, you support local business and diversity, and you encourage them to stock the book. If you buy from Amazon or B&N (and even if you don't), you can make a great contribution by writing a short review or even more easily by "tagging" the book with categories that will help other readers searching for good books that, say, combine fantasy with music. And of course if you order from the website, you can get your book autographed.  So please cool off in this hot month of August with a visit to the musical wonders and snowy landscapes of THE ICE CASTLE.  Let us know what you find!


Marva Dasef said...

Congrats, Penny! I loved both books in the series so far. What's up next for the kids?

Mom2two said...

So excited to read your news of the second book! I'll be sure to buy it for DS11 very soon. :) All the best with it's release!

Penny said...

Thanks for the good wishes! Marva, I'm working on Book 3, which will be called THE FLOATING HARBOR. Won't I jinx it if I say more? Let me say this much: The kids will spend some time in boats.

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