Skunk Ape Semester by Mike Robinson

Good morning! We're doing something very different today on Out of Control characters. Our guest is fellow Solstice Publishing author Mike Robinson, and his book Skunk Ape Semester. In addition to an excerpt, bits of some of the awesome reviews, and my review of this book, we're going to challenge you to figure out a strange creature like the characters in this book do on their unusual summer trip of exploration. No prizes, except learning something new.
Here's the picture of our creature:

Here are the clues to figure out what this is, and if it's real or a figment of someone's imagination.

1.      It's inedible, but is often brought up by fishermen trawling for crabs, lobsters, and other edible sea creatures.

2.      It can be found off the coasts of New Zealand and Australia.

3.      It's in danger of becoming extinct, because fishermen destroy this creature instead of throwing it back.

4.      This strange, mournful looking creature has often been likened to the cartoon character Ziggy.

5.      This may be the ugliest fish in the ocean. It looks like a mass of gelatin with wide lips and a large bulbous nose between two very tiny eyes and a constant expression of distaste. If you looked like that you would be perpetually scowling, too.

That should be enough clues to get you started on your internet scavenger hunt.
Now, if you still can't figure out what this creature is, take a gander at this:


Warning! This is only part of the creature's name. You have to figure out the rest.

Now, let's meet the genius behind this Fortean book:

An official armchair Fortean since receiving Karl Shuker's The Unexplained at thirteen, though fascinated with the material since penning Aliens In My Backyard! at age seven, Mike has spent much of his literary career in the murky overlap between reality and....whatever else we may want to call that curious realm the presence of which we sense but seldom touch. Dreams? Dimension X? Whichever. Mike's short fiction has been featured in Storyteller, Aoife's Kiss, Northwoods Anthology, Wondrous Web Worlds, All Possible Worlds,, Wash: The Journal of Otis College of Art & Design, and more. He is on the advisory board of The Greater Los Angeles Writers Society and is managing editor of Literary Landscapes, the society's publication.
It's time to whet your whistle. Here's a synopsis of Skunk Ape Semester:
Zoology professor Jeremy Fishleder is an avid Bigfoot researcher, his passion sparked long ago by an encounter with Florida’s “skunk ape” during his childhood. He teaches a special interest class on the study of these weird entities, called cryptozoology, until the university cancels it. 
Looking to make a change in his life, he goes on sabbatical and plans a trip around the country to visit areas of strange repute and meet other people who study the various phenomena, using a van stocked with files and maps supplied to him by a fellow paranormal investigator. 
Three students decide to join him, and together the four of them travel from place to place, and story to story, meeting characters both level headed and eccentric and, in seeking out accounts of Bigfoot, Chupacabras, UFOs, goblins and lake monsters, they discover more about themselves and one another. 
As the stories come together, they are drawn face to face with the mysterious.
We just had to share what some of Mike's reviewers think about this fascinating book:
"One of the best books I've read this past decade." 
------ Leslie Ann Moore, award-winning author of Griffin's Daughter
"I loved this book! Are you interested in the weird and unexplained? SKUNK APE SEMESTER by Mike Robinson is a page-turning road trip--a journey of the mind, heart, and spirit. I was captivated from the first page, and I learned a lot. Most of the stories in this novel (other than Bigfoot) I'd never heard of before. You'll like the characters and feel like you took this fascinating journey with them." 
------ Syrie James, international bestselling author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and Dracula, My Love
“‘On the Road’ meets ‘The X-Files’!”
------ Marla Miller, author and columnist
"A love song to Fortean Americana....a truly unique book."
 ----- Richard Freeman, author / researcher

Here's my review of this great book:
Skunk Ape Semester by: Mike Robinson
ISBN: 978-1475230093

 Jeremy Fishleder sees a six-foot tall creature with silver gray, extremely long fur and a smell bad enough to bring tears to his eyes as a child. This sighting ignites a lifelong passion in cryptozoology. When the university where he teaches decides his class is no longer science, he takes a sabbatical and begins a journey that will change his view on life in general.
Mike Robinson pens a compelling tale that draws the reader into the world of Forteans, people who search for Bigfoot, the Skunk Ape, or Chupacabra among many other creatures. The story isn't just about finding these creatures, but also finding one's self. I found myself drawn into the tale, at times laughing, or gasping with horror, or even crying as Robinson examined human frailty along with many theories of what these creatures are and why they are among us.

Skunk Ape Semester is one of those books where I moved outside my comfort zone, and I'm glad I did. This isn't a story for the faint of heart, and all of those with a good deal of disbelief will cast it aside, but if you have a yearning for the mythic fabled and adventure, you'll love this story.
I do hope you enjoyed reading all about Skunk Ape semester. Go on out into the wild and wonderful internet. Figure out what our creature of the day is, and come on back to tell us what you learned!