On tour with Prism Book Tours.

When the Right One Comes Along (K-9 Trilogy, #1)When the Right One Comes Along
(K-9 Trilogy #1)
by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 293 Pages

October 1st 2015 by Harlequin

Brought together by disaster. Kept together by love.

In the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, it’s chaos for trauma surgeon Jessica Hansen. Among the many victims, one patient stands out: San Diego Police K-9 search and rescue officer Cal Palmer.

Cal vows to help Kayla, a child orphaned by the disaster. But he needs Jessica’s help. Will their shared concern for Kayla and for Cal’s canine partner, Scout, allow them to put aside their personal torments and discover the difference love can make?

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He signaled to Scout, ordering him to do a quick search to make sure they weren’t leaving anyone behind. The dog didn’t give any indication that there was anyone else present.
A light vibration had Cal bracing himself again and grabbing for Scout’s collar. The rumble passed and he exhaled.
Back in the atrium, he strapped Scout into the hoisting harness and tugged on the guywire, signaling to the firefighter to lift him out. When the harness came back down, Cal secured himself in quickly, and gave the two tugs to let Adam know he was ready. He could hear the winch kick in and he began his slow ascent.
He was almost at the top of the atrium, nearing the elevator shaft, when he felt what seemed to be a gust of air whoosh down the opening. Simultaneously, the building shuddered again, and Cal started to swing and twirl on the hoisting rope. With the next tremor, he was catapulted toward a solid interior wall. He leaned back to try to control his motion and was able to maneuver sufficiently to cushion the impact with his legs when he collided with the wall. The force sent him careering backward. Just as he was twirling around once again, another rumble emanated from the ground beneath and seemed to rise up to engulf him. An ominous grating sound followed.
Cal’s blood ran cold as he watched a ceiling beam tear loose to his right. Still anchored to a column by some rebars, it hurtled toward him like a battering ram.
He thrust back and as far out as possible, and flailed his legs to increase the swing of the rope. Unable to control his spin, he was propelled in the opposite direction from the one he’d intended, right into the path of the beam.

Kate James 2.jpg

Kate James spent eight years of her childhood living in foreign countries as her professional parents travelled on business. She lived in four countries and spoke five languages before settling down in Canada again to attend university. After graduating with a degree in civil engineering, she held a variety of positions in the field of real estate development and operations, and ran three substantial organizations. While her writing during this period was mostly business related, including presentations and speeches she delivered both nationally and internationally, her passion is and always has been fiction.

Kate’s business and personal experiences enable her to write fiction with a deep, often first-hand knowledge of what she is writing about. This approach makes Kate’s stories richer and more vivid.

Kateís goal is to entertain you with well-written, engaging stories, set in intriguing places and with strong, likeable characters. ìI hope my stories bring you pleasure and entertain you. Nothing pleases me more than receiving feedback from people who have chosen to spend their valuable leisure time with one of my books,î notes Kate.

Kate married her husband, Ken, in an elegant, ocean-front wedding on a tropical island. When they are not traveling, they split their time between their properties in southern and central Ontario in Canada.

Website – Goodreads – Facebook – Twitter

Grand Prize: Spa Gift Basket and a print copy of When the Right One Comes Along (US/CAN only)

2nd Prize: $50 Amazon gift card and a copy of When the Right One Comes Along (print if US/CAN, ebook if international)

3 ñ 3rd Prizes: copy of When the Right One Comes Along(print if US/CAN, ebook if international)

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A Time of Grace, Book Two

All Our Empty Places 
All Our Empty Places  – Book Two in the “A Time of Grace” trilogy – by Alicia G. Ruggieri
In 1935, when the bank calls in her mortgage, Sarah Picoletti – now a penniless widow – finds herself and her children on the brink of homelessness. Sick at heart, she plans to beg her brother in New Jersey to take her family in.
Then Doctor Samuel Giorgi knocks on her door. Godly and well-off, Sam seems to have put the careless ways of his youth behind him, and he also appears to have one desire: to make Sarah his wife, two decades after he broke their engagement.
However, nothing prepares Sarah for the storm that breaks once she makes her decision. Everywhere she turns, the errors of her former choices confront her, insisting on her inferiority and the irreparable brokenness of her past. Sarah begins to wonder if Christ really can bring true redemption or if He is limited by her frailty.
Meanwhile, her daughter Grace faces new challenges in her own life. When her relationship with Paulie changes unexpectedly, Grace realizes that she must make a decision with the potential to alter both of their futures.
Compassionate and intensely poignant, All Our Empty Places paints the portrait of a mother and daughter with broken pasts, who dare to step into a future overflowing with the grace of the Cross.
Alicia G. Ruggieri writes Christ-centered fiction that speaks of redemption. She received her B.A. in Communications and History from Rhode Island College and lives with her husband and their emotionally-disturbed pug on the New England coast.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AliciaGRuggieri
Blog: http://www.abrighterdestiny.blogspot.com
Twitter: @aliciaruggieri
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/AliciaGRuggieri
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/aliciagruggieri
All Our Empty Places (A Time of Grace, Book 2) – http://amzn.com/B014JVJYCK
The Fragrance of Geraniums (A Time of Grace, Book 1) – ON SALE for $0.99 through October 31, 2015 – http://amzn.com/B00P4PB7W6
One winner will receive – a signed softcover of All Our Empty Places; a mug with 2 Corinthians 12:9 inscribed on it; Caramel Apple Biscotti; and Harvest Spice Pumpkin White Hot Chocolate mix. (Open to U.S. residents only due to shipping costs.)
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Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name:

Linda M David
Title of book and/or series:
The Firestone Crystal
Brief summary of the story:
Agathea Fulstropp (prefers to be called Thea) becomes the first Earth pupil at The Firestone Academy on Planet Aruuliah after coming into possession of a strange crystal.  Not only does she have to contend with strange, alien technology and lessons in telepathy and astral projection, but also hostile aliens and a mysterious cave creature that continuously invades her dreams.  What can it possibly want from her?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
On the planet of Aruuliah the sky is pale mauve with just a hint of violet, and has a bright red sun.  It is a world filled with an abundance of exotic trees which dwarf everything around them, and strangely-shaped plants and flowers, the like of which has never been seen on Earth.  The wealth of colour is amazing, their vibrancy, stunning and the air, clean, pure and fresh.
The Firestone Academy itself is a vast circular complex of gleaming glass and marble buildings set out like the rings of a circle, each joined together by open walk-ways and glass corridors.  The centre of the complex comprises an attractive courtyard which is encircled by the Halls of Residence, consisting of Celestial House, Cosmic House and Asteroid House.
The middle ring of buildings house the Chambers of Learning, where all lessons take place as well as several Lecture Halls, the Halls of Dining and Communication Chambers, while the outer ring contains the Halls of Knowledge and Great Meeting Hall.  They are bordered by the Recreation Zone where students can engage in sport and leisure activities, buy supplies and sweets and eat at the Fun-Food Café.
If we were to visit Aruuliah as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Utopia is the planet’s main city and it is, as you would expect, very futuristic.  All of the buildings are constructed from glass and marble that gleam and sparkle from top to bottom.  The unique structure of each building sees them reaching dizzying heights and are built in such a way that seem to defy gravity itself.  They also have their own individual shape and style that manages to fit in with the overall design of the city, giving it a certain sense of majestic splendour.  Although the first book is set mainly on school grounds, in the second book there is a trip to Utopia’s famous Leisure Centre, where the students learn to hover-skate.
What dangers should we avoid in Aruuliah?
Aruuliah is not really a dangerous place, however, it is very early on in the series, so there are a lot of things I haven’t discovered yet!
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Aruuliah?
Oh, too many to mention!  The Fun-Food Café at the Academy has a very interesting menu.  Their specialty is the Thunderbolt Sizzler, an extremely hot and spicy burger, Crispy-Crusted Weedroot, which are long, curly crispy-fried chips made from an assortment of tasty local vegetables and Honey-Roasted Warty Bread, a kind of sweet-flavoured pizza.  There is also a dessert called a Chocolate-Chilly Shock, which freezes your entire body for ten seconds, allowing you to savour the flavour as it slides down your throat. 
The Molten-Lava Shakes are also popular with the students, a steaming-hot milky drink that bubbles thickly when poured and comes in a variety of flavours such as Crystalized Ginger, Candied Orange and Butterscotch Toffee.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Aruuliah?
Aruuliah is a peaceful planet, however I have a feeling Book 3 may involve some combat.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Aruuliah?
From Earth, travel to Aruuliah is via portal, where an ‘invisible window’ in space opens up and when you just step through, a brief moment of weightlessness is experienced.
Travel to the Firestone Academy is via a vehicle known as a Tierrapod.  This is metallic silver in colour and shaped like a giant bullet, with the main body being made from a bright, sparkling metal, while the top and sides are glass.  All transport on Aruuliah uses hover technology or flies.  They moved on from the wheel long ago!
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Aruuliah that we don’t see on Earth?
In the first book, we are introduced to sprogletts which are tiny humanoid creatures, about three inches in height.  They come in a variety of colours and are completely hairless.  Upon reaching maturity, and depending upon their habitat, they take on the characteristics of their environment.  For example, those living in or near water may develop fins and gills, whilst those living in an area populated by birds or specific insects may grow wings or feathers.  They will blend in and camouflage themselves in order to live in harmony with their surroundings and commune with nature. 
There is also a mysterious cave-dwelling creature, but I can’t reveal too much about that in case I spoil the surprise.  Other creatures, such as gruzzlings and cheebles are introduced in Book 2.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Aruuliah?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
There is no magic as such, however, at the Academy, there is a powerful concentration of energy in the Gardens of Meditation and Tranquility which the students are taught to use to increase their own energy levels.   By merging their consciousness with nature and the natural energy it provides, the state of kinaaja can be achieved.    There are ten stages of kinaaja and at each stage, students can accomplish different things, such as promoting plant growth, seeing auras and engaging in astral projection.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Aruuliah?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
Most mundane tasks such as making beds, taking baths and showers and cleaning are fully automated.  There are also Duplicating Machines which are programmed with foods and dishes from a wide range of planets and are voice activated.  By stating the name of the planet and dish you would like, the machine dispenses a compartmentalized tray with different sized, shaped and coloured pills.  At the push of a button on the tray, the pills transform into the requested meal (which tastes just like freshly-made food).  By pushing another button on the tray, any left-overs simply disintegrate leaving the tray clean and spotless.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Aruuliah.
Apart from hover-skating, there is a game called Dodge-Ball Dilemma available.   The game involves two teams of up to six players, each of whom possess a total of three soft balls, filled with a thick, luminous fluid.  Players have to hit the members of the other team with these balls which are designed to burst on impact.  A computer-controlled ball is then released which automatically targets any player spattered with the slimy gunge.  There are several levels to this game which could end up with as many as five of these balls targeting the players at any one time.  Once the player is hit, they are out.  Although it is a lot of fun to play, all players end up drenched in a wet and sticky liquid that takes forever to wash off.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Aruuliah as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Strangely enough yes, they are exactly the same.  Students have lessons all week and have weekends off.  There are half-term holidays and although the end-of-year-holiday is not called Christmas, the concept is the same.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Aruuliah?  Please describe what it involves.
There are a range of religions, as on Earth, however inhabitants tend to lean towards a more spiritual type of existence rather than a religious one.
What is the political or government structure in Aruuliah?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
There is a main Council of the Coalition of Developing and Evolving Planets, which was established to ensure that all planets and people exist in balance and harmony with one another.  The Leader of the Council is Caziel, whose wisdom and knowledge is sought by many.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I consider myself to be a spiritual person, so I have tried to incorporate this into the book, such as the meditation practices and awareness of energy.  Also, the importance of having balance and harmony in one’s life.
The first part of the second book is actually located on the island of Nevis, where my parents are from.  I was able to include information on some of the island’s natural beauty and attractions, as well as their annual cultural festival, Culturama.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
I think the main topic in this instance would be issues about race.  Thea has always been the only black student at her previous schools (on Earth) and so, has always felt different from her peers.  That feeling of ‘not fitting in’ has never left her, however, when she enrolls at the Firestone Academy, every student is different as they are all from different planets, yet it’s not a big deal.   
Students and staff are from all over the Universe and are descended from reptilian, animal and bird species, all of whom have evolved into humanoid beings.  There are a multitude of skin colours, from the palest to the darkest imaginable in a variety of patterns and markings.  There are also a range of appendages and attachments, from tails and horns to tentacles and feelers, additional skin augmentations in the form of spikes and ridges, and an assortment of fur and feathers, talons, claws and webbed feet!  Thea finds that now she is the one who has to learn to accept others’ differences in the same way that they readily accept hers.
Author Aautobiography:
Linda David was born in Cyprus to parents who both hail from the Caribbean island of Nevis. Although she was raised mainly in England, she has also lived in Germany as well as St Kitts and Nevis in the West Indies.  She has always enjoyed reading and was encouraged to do so from a very early age, and that is partly what inspired her to write.  Even today she can remember the excitement and wonder she used to experience as a child when reading fantasy and adventure stories, so she hopes that through her own writing, she will be able to inspire and encourage other children’s interest and pleasure in reading as well.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books? 
My books are available on Kindle and Paperback here. 
Where can readers connect with you online? 
More information can be found at my website.  I can also be contacted through twitter and my Facebook Page.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Aruuliah.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world, in Realm Explorers Part LXVII!
-Annie Douglass Lima
Fall Into Reading Banner
Happy fall! It may not feel like fall here in Taiwan, but I guess technically it is. In some parts of the world people are already starting to prepare for winter (and of course in other parts, they’re welcoming spring), but in Taiwan we’re looking forward to cooler weather in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

So, who’s ready to celebrate the change of seasons with a good book? If you live where it gets cold at night at this time of year, maybe you’re looking for the perfect book to curl up in front of the fireplace with. Personally, I’m looking forward to being able to read out in my hammock again without sweating! In either case, I have just the thing for you!
I’ve collaborated with a number of other authors in putting together a “Fall Into Reading” sale. The first page on the website has all the books on sale categorized by genre, so you can easily find the type of thing you like to read. Here are the genres we are featuring:

children’s books
middle grade
young adult
mystery/suspense/legal thrillers
clean romance
paranormal/fantasy/science fiction

Some books on that page are FREE and others are discounted. All four of my novels are represented there – three are significantly discounted and one is free, so if you don’t have copies of all of them yet, now’s your opportunity!

If you want to find other clean books that aren’t necessarily on sale, check out the second page. All the same genres are represented there, plus one more: humor! (Some of these books are permanently FREE.)

I hope you find some books that are just right for you. And feel free to tell your friends!

NEXT DOOR TO A STAR by Krysten Lindsay Hager
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: September 1, 2015

Hadley Daniels is tired of feeling invisible.
After Hadley’s best friend moves away and she gets on the bad side of some girls at school, she goes to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Lake Michigan resort town of Grand Haven. Her next door neighbor is none other than teen TV star Simone Hendrickson, who is everything Hadley longs to be—pretty, popular, and famous—and she’s thrilled when Simone treats her like a friend.
Being popular is a lot harder than it looks.
It’s fun and flattering when Simone includes her in her circle, though Hadley is puzzled about why her new friend refuses to discuss her former Hollywood life. Caught up with Simone, Hadley finds herself ignoring her quiet, steadfast friend, Charlotte.
To make things even more complicated, along comes Nick Jenkins…
He’s sweet, good-looking, and Hadley can be herself around him without all the fake drama. However, the mean girls have other ideas and they fill Nick’s head with lies about Hadley, sending him running back to his ex-girlfriend and leaving Hadley heartbroken.
So when her parents decide to relocate to Grand Haven, Hadley hopes things will change when school starts…only to be disappointed once again.
Love gone bad.
Is this really what it’s like to live…Next Door To A Star?

~ Available on KINDLE UNLIMITED ~
Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1N7IHWI
B&N Paperback: http://bit.ly/1PQf9Mc
Books A Million: http://bit.ly/1M07cGF
Tagline: “They like me…they like me not.”
The school year should end right after spring break, because all anyone can focus on is summer vacation. You can’t learn anything new, because all you can think about is all the fun stuff you’re going to do once you don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn. Summer always seems full of possibilities.
Nothing exciting ever happens during the school year, but maybe, during summer vacation, you could run into a hot celebrity and he’d decide to put you in his next music video. Okay, it wasn’t like I knew anybody that happened to, but my grandparents did live next door to a former TV star, Simone Hendrickson, and Simone was discovered in an ice cream parlor one summer. Of course, she lived in L.A. at the time and was already doing plays and commercials, so the guy who discovered her had already seen her perform. But hey, it was summer, she got discovered, and that was all that mattered.
Amazing stuff didn’t happen to me. You know what happened to me last summer? I stepped on a bee and had to go to the emergency room. They’re not going to make an E! True Hollywood Story out of my life. I didn’t go on exotic vacations—like today, I was being dragged along with my parents to my cousin’s graduation party. Most people waited until at least the end of May before having a grad party, but Charisma was having hers early because she was leaving on a trip to Spain. I was dreading this party because I didn’t want to listen to everybody talk about how smart and talented Charisma was—making me feel like a blob in comparison—but my mom RSVP’d even though I said I’d rather die than go. My death threats meant nothing. But still, for some strange reason, I had a feeling this summer was going to be different.


Krysten Lindsay Hager is an obsessive reader and has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and humor essayist, and writes for teens, tweens, and adults. She is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series and her work has been featured in USA Today and named as Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Teen & Young Adult Values and Virtues Fiction and Amazon’s #1 Hot New Releases in Children’s Books on Values. She’s originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and southwestern Ohio. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.
On tour with Prism Book Tours.

Earthman Jack vs. The Secret Army (The Earthman Jack Space Saga, #2)Earthman Jack vs. The Secret Army
(The Earthman Jack Space Saga #2)
by Matthew Kadish
YA Sci-Fi
Paperback & ebook, 663 Pages

September 15th 2015 by Twelve Oaks Media

After his heroic battle against the Deathlords on the Ghost Planet, Jack Finnegan is looking forward to arriving at Omnicron Prime, the capitol planet of the Galactic Regalus Empire -the largest and most advanced civilization in the universe.

Things are looking bright for Jack. He has his unconventional group of friends, his mystical spaceship, and the girl of his dreams -Princess Anna. Not to mention a secret mission that could save Earth and everyone he cares about.

But things get complicated when he arrives at Omnicron. Not only is Jack uncomfortable being thrust into the spotlight for his courageous actions to save the universe, but he soon finds life in the Empire isn’t everything he’d dreamed it would be.

His friends abandon him to pursue their own interests. Greedy and cunning politicians conspire to steal his spaceship. Even his relationship with Anna is strained now that she’s gone from being “the girl next door” to the most powerful woman in the universe.

But beneath all that lies a new and terrifying threat from the Deathlords. A threat that grows in secret, slowly spreading throughout the Regalus Empire like a plague, and it threatens to destroy from within the only thing powerful enough to stop the Deathlords and their malicious rampage throughout the galaxy -the Empire itself.

Worst of all -Jack is the only one who knows about this new threat, and no one will believe his warnings.

Suddenly, the Empire is no longer safe for Jack and his friends. Even the people they’ve come to rely on the most can no longer be trusted. As those he’s sworn to protect turn against him, how can Jack hope to save the day?

Fighting the Deathlords was one thing. Fighting the “good guys” is quite another. Will Jack be able to find the strength to be the hero the universe needs?

Or will he finally be defeated by this Secret Army?

Amazon – Book Depository

Also in the Series
Earthman Jack vs. the Ghost Planet (The Earthman Jack Space Saga, #1)
Earthman Jack is like Harry Potter meets Star Wars. A sweeping, epic space opera full of adventure, humor, magic, and coming of age. Fun for readers of all ages!
AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository

6 Star Trek Books All Sci-Fi Fans Should Read (Even If They Don’t Like Star Trek)
If you’re a Trekkie, then chances are you’ve picked up a Star Trek-themed book before.  But the barrier to entry to some of these novels may be rather large if you aren’t a fan of the TV show.  The good news is that some Star Trek novels are so good, they can appeal to any fan of sci-fi, even if they don’t like Star Trek!  Here are the top 5 Star Trek books sci-fi fans should check out if they’re looking for a good read.
Enterprise: The First Adventure by Vonda N. McIntyre – Before J.J. Abrams gave us a new version of Captain Kirk’s origins, Nebula winning sci-fi author Vonda McIntyre wrote this masterful novel about a young Captain Kirk having to come to grips with his command — including the uptight Spock, who considers his new captain to be a loose cannon (sound familiar?). For fans of later Star Treks who’ve never quite understood why the Kirk/Spock/McCoy relationship is so important to the series, McIntyre does a great job of establishing and developing that relationship, and showing just why that particular trio are so epic. This is a great place for people unfamiliar with Star Trek to start, for obvious reasons.
Planet of Judgement by Joel Haldeman – From the author who brought us The Forever War, Planet of Judgment has a lot of the great Star Trek staples, some big philosophical questions, and lots of huge space-opera action. The story centers on the Enterprise stumbling upon a rogue planet in space, orbited by a sun no larger than a pea – a circumstance impossible to explain by any known scientific law. Assuming the star to be an artificial construct, a landing party is dispatched to the planet’s surface, and becomes trapped.  Unable to contact the Enterprise, Captain Kirk must battle to solve the riddle of a planet where no equipment works and the laws science don’t seem to apply.  This is also one of the most adult of the Star Trek novels (not surprising, if you’ve read any of Haldeman’s other works), with the redshirts getting their faces ripped off and the Enterprise crew actually talking about sex.
Harbinger by David Mack –The first novel in the fan-favorite Star Trek: Vanguard literary spin-off series which focuses on Starbase 47, otherwise known as “Vanguard.”  In essence, this book is like the pilot episode of a new Trekshow, with lots of new characters and great themes to kick things off, so a new reader won’t get lost.  The tale centers around the Enterprise being damaged after traveling to the edge of the galaxy and stumbling upon an unknown Federation space station dubbed “Vanguard.”  Captain Kirk is puzzled over the existence of this starbase, and it eventually becomes a focal point of contention among the Tholian Assembly, the Orion Syndicate, and the Klingon Empire, who are suspicious about the Federation’s motives for exploring and colonizing such a little-known region of space. 

Prime Directive by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens – These two authors have a long and varied career with Star Trek, but their first novel in the Star Trek Universe is arguably the best they’ve ever done.  At the story’s center is one of the most in-depth analysis of Starfleet’s most cherished law: The Prime Directive.  This epic story examines what happens when Captain Kirk breaks the Prime Directive, causing a huge disaster in which the Enterprise is all but destroyed. Kirk is shamed and drummed out of Starfleet in disgrace, and the rest of the Enterprise bridge crew has to scatter and go into hiding, enacting an elaborate plan to bring Kirk back.  The book pushes the characters to their limits and shows that, even when things are at their worst, this crew is at their best.
Redshirts by John Scalzi – Aside from the obvious Star Trek reference in the title, this book isn’t really a Star Trek novel.  However, it does have a lot of fun playing with tropes from science fiction, referencing everything from Stargate to Dune, but especially Star Trek.  When the main character joins the crew of the starship Intrepid, he is expecting a relatively easy gig working in a lab.  He soon realizes, however, that something very strange is going on, and low-ranking crew members are dying almost faster than they can be replaced.  A group of low-ranking crewmen (the “redshirts”) decide the only way to survive their stint on the Intrepid is to figure out what is going on.  To save themselves, they embark on a strange journey that blurs the lines between reality and fiction.  The book becomes increasingly meta and philosophical as the story progresses, and there is also an undercurrent of irony and humor as the adventures of the crew become progressively more and more outrageous. Redshirts has a bit of a Hitchhiker’s Guide-esque tone at times, and is just laugh-out-loud funny at others. This book pokes a lot fun at itself and the science fiction books and shows it draws from.
Earthman Jack vs. The Ghost Planet by Matthew Kadish – Okay, so I’m biased since I wrote this myself.  But I can’t deny the influence Star Trek had on me.  If you enjoy action, excitement, and humor, then you should also read this novel, because it is my love-letter to all things science fiction, and has even been called “Harry Potter meets Star Trek.”  And the best part is you can download it for free from my website!  So now you really have no excuse not to read it.
Author Profile Headshot

About The Author:  Matthew Kadish is a Renaissance man, certified evil genius, and novelist.  Much like Scottish cuisine, the bulk of his creations are based on dares.  He is the most talented writer ever.  His mother tells him so every day.  Get a free copy of his book Earthman Jack vs. The Ghost Planet at www.EarthmanJack.com.  His latest novel, Earthman Jack vs. The Secret Army, is available now.

Matthew Kadish is an independent author and world-recognized evil genius. When he isn’t writing or being evil, he enjoys relaxing at the beach and videos of puppies. Much like Scottish cuisine, most of his literary works have been based on dares. He currently lives in Las Vegas and always bets on black, because Westley Snipes has yet to steer him wrong in life. He is the most talented author ever. His mother tells him so every day.

WebsiteGoodreads – FacebookTwitter

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Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 

Author’s name: James Gardner
Title of book and/ or series: The series title is the Redemption of Aria. The first book is called Silver’s Journey.

Brief summary of the story: Silver, an average New York teenager, finds himself mysteriously transported to a new world, where he must undertake a momentous journey to Braknór and face countless dangers along the road.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: Aria is a land of wonders with many distinct cultures, clans, and tribes, each with something different to offer. There are dangerous and uncharted territories to the east, forests that hold their fair share of mysteries and unusual creatures, towns and cities offering varying views on religion, government, and society. 

If we were to visit Aria as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? 
It really depends on the kind of person you are! If you’re a sightseer, then you’d want to stop by Dexon, with its peculiar layout and magnificent castle, and if you’re feeling adventurous, the great walled city of Braknór would be a marvel to behold. If you enjoy traveling to modern day malls on Earth, then you’d be thrilled to visit the town of Crowduria with the most active market in the realm. On another note, any lovers of nature would enjoy spending time in the Arian Plain with its lush, pleasant air and beautiful scenery, or a trip to the Sea of Light that dances to the beat of the stars in the night. And for any thrill seekers out there, the Berullian Forest is the place to be, offering many creatures to hunt as well as a chance sighting of some rare animals.

What dangers should we avoid in Aria?
The answer to this question relies heavily on the specific location in Aria. First of all, you should always keep an eye out for bandits, pickpockets, and your occasional group of unfriendly hunters. But if you should find yourself in the Berullian Forest, keep an eye out for the Zwarkrade, vicious pack hunters that have uncanny wit and dangerous intellect, wild boars… oh, and those pesky branches and roots that seem to have a mind of their own. If you’re foolish enough to journey to the Madgeroost, you’ll most likely have to deal with the Grackle, a seven foot bird with a frighteningly sharp beak and blinding speed (a little tip: don’t look directly into its eyes). Finally, if you survive an encounter with the Grackle and for some unfathomable reason want to stay in the Madgeroost, you’ll have to watch out for exiles from Dexon and Warkreig, but above all, keep low and out of sight. The Madge is always watching.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Aria?
If you want a meal that’s easy on the stomach, you’d probably enjoy Crowdurian stew with beef and gravy, but if you’re a real connoisseur of exotic foods, then you may be offered a Zwarkrade by the Gerridi tribes or boiled fish by the Nazka (if you live that long with them).

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Aria?
The most common weapon used is a one-handed sword, but the different cultures of Aria have unusual fighting styles. The people of Warkreig prefer massive two-handed swords that can crush down upon an enemy in one powerful blow, whereas the people of Dexon use two shorter swords for quick, deft strokes. Barbarians from the north seem to enjoy ramming their enemies using a heavy wooden shield with a prominent spike in the center, and of course, there are more specific weapons for precise uses like short spears for killing wild boar or longbows with bodkin arrows for armor-piercing.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Aria?
The main method of transportation is by horse, but there is an unusual way that Arians use that seems to have dwindled in modern society: walking.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Aria? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Magic plays no role in Aria, but there is definitely something supernatural about the place, especially surrounding the followers of the King, (God) who seem to be blessed in countless ways, sometimes imperceptibly, but sometimes in a undeniably huge miracle.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Aria? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
The technology of Aria is set around a Middle Age world that is somewhat parallel to ours. Most of the technology is the same, if not very similar.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Aria.
Arm wrestling is a common competition that many taverns host for fun, but for the more serious, there are contests of skill such as archery and swordplay as well as tests of strength, wit, and speed.

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Aria as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?

The year round calendar is the same in Aria as on Earth, but there are some holidays that the people celebrate. One for followers of the King is the birth of Jesus. The Warkreig have various special feasts and traditions to honor the chiefs of the past who performed great feats.

Is there  particular religion practice in Aria? Please describe what it involves.
In Aria, there is no dominating religion. The Crowdurians are a polytheistic society, believing in hundreds, if not thousands of different gods. The people of Braknór most often tend to be atheist, or to be generous, deists, at best believing only in the existence of a god. But all throughout the land, there are followers of the King, who worship Him in prayer and seek to do His bidding. No matter where you go, there’s always some of them around.

What is the political or government structure in Aria? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Ethron is the self-proclaimed ruler of Aria and has stretched his mighty hand across the region. However, at heart, he is a tyrannical villain with only a heart for himself. Under his overview, the different cultures of Aria have different leadership roles. Crowduria has a single king (Fergusop), the Nazka and Warkreig have a chief that dictates the law, and the people of Dexon have two kings to balance the power in the nation.

Are there any unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Aria?

There are no particular practices that would land you in hot water if you overlooked them, per se, but it’s always best to know how each city or town operates so that you can best know how to react. For example, you will always need to keep your guard up in Crowduria because there are plenty of smooth talkers who will try to relieve you of your hard earned cash. Oh! One more thing… It’s a ‘cultural practice’ for any kind visitors to the Nazka to become their slaves for life, so… don’t visit.

Has anything in your actual life inspirited the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
Most of the people groups in Aria are purely born of my imagination, and a lot of the places are merely the fantasies of my mind. But in a very real way, the entire book is an allegory of life, focusing around the different kinds of people you will meet. I feel that many of the pieces of advice given by the sage characters of this book are either truths that I have learned in my life as a Christ follower, or words that God put into my head at the time.

What, if any, “hot button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
There are no real controversies or hot topics discussed in my book; it instead focuses on a young man’s journey to knowing God on a deeper level.

Author Autobiography:
James Gardner was born in January, 1999. He is a homeschooler with a passion for writing. In 2013, he began creating a story about a fictional world named Aria. Through the encouragement of family and friends, he brought the world to life. When he isn’t working on his next book, he enjoys spending time with friends and playing sports. Currently, he resides with his parents in their home in Florida.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book? 
My book can be purchased in print at http://www.amazon.com/Silvers-Journey-Redemption-Aria-Book-ebook/dp/B011SWLFJI/ref=sr_1_1_twi_2_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438969726&sr=1-1&keywords=the+redemption+of+aria

Where can readers connect with you online?
Readers can connect with me through my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Redemption-of-Aria-by-James-Gardner/475531112616774?ref=bookmarks 

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Aria.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the planet Aruuliah, in Realm Explorers Part LXVI!
-Annie Douglass Lima
Cover reveal for MERCY’S GIFT, Book Two in the fantasy series He Who Finds Mercy by Katy Huth Jones:
Peace is fragile. Gifts have limits.

 While Prince Valerian adjusts to marriage as well as his new title, conspiracy brews in the south among disgruntled lords who wish to separate from the north. The situation is made even more volatile by a charismatic rebel leader whose guerilla tactics are swift and brutal.

The clandestine efforts of a witch hired by one of the lords render Valerian’s gift of Sight ineffective, and Merry’s Healing gift is sorely tested.
It has become dangerous for a northerner living in the south, and if the gifted young royals fail to stop the growing rebellion, evil will reign in Levathia.
The story begins in Book One, MERCY’S PRINCE:
A heart of peace in a time of war
As second son of the King of Levathia, seventeen-year-old Valerian desires the quiet life of a scholarly monk. But when he fails to save his older brother in battle, Valerian must instead become crown prince.
While a traitorous knight schemes against him, Valerian meets Mercy, a pacifist Healer with whom he can speak mind-to-mind like the great dragons. Their bond emboldens Valerian to seek out the legendary dragons and ask for their help against the monsters who killed his brother.
Can Valerian survive the traitor’s assassins long enough to find the dragons? And if he does, can he convince them to lay aside their hatred of humans and help him save the land from destruction?
Praise for MERCY’S PRINCE:
“Easily one of the best indie books I’ve ever read.” Story Sanctuary
“A truly believable fantasy world saturated with suspense.” Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth
“The action is heart-stopping, the love is pure, and the emotions are real.” Amazon reader
“A lovely, spiritual tale with all the adventure, mystery and romance a reader could want. Oh. And dragons!” Amazon reader
MERCY’S PRINCE will be FREE on Amazon September 17-19, and MERCY’S GIFT will be released September 25.
Link to Katy’s website: http://www.katyhuthjones.blogspot.com

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

It’s the Fantasy Prism Tour Grand Finale for

By W.R. Gingell

Servant of the Crown
By Melissa McShane
The Frey Saga
By Melissa Wright

If you love fantasy, we hope you enjoyed the exclusive content shared on the tour. 
If you didn’t get a chance to check out each book and their stops now…

by W.R. Gingell
NA Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 300 Pages
August 10th 2015

She’s not a princess . . . but then, he’s no prince.

Polyhymnia is deep in enchanted sleep. High in a tower, behind an impenetrable barrier of magical thorns, she sleeps, dreams, and falls ever deeper into her curse.

Woken by a kiss, Poly finds herself in an alien world where three hundred years have passed and everyone she has ever known is dead. Luck, the enchanter who woke her, seems to think she is the princess. Understandable, since he found her asleep on the princess’ bed, in the royal suite, and dressed in the princess’ clothes.

Who cursed Poly? Why is someone trying to kill her and Luck? Why can’t she stop falling asleep?

And why does her hair keep growing?

Sometimes breaking the curse is just the beginning of the journey.

Amazon – Book Depository

“What If…” Guest Post @ Mythical Books

With Spindle my what if? was what if Sleeping Beauty wasn’t actually the princess? From that first little seedling of what if? I also ended up with what if she slept for more than three hundred years instead of one hundred? I was fascinated with the thought of how much life would have changed for her. Language would have evolved and passed her by, her loved ones and family would almost certainly be dead, and both the political and social aspects of life would have changed completely.

More at Mythical Books.

W.R. Gingell

W.R. Gingell is a Tasmanian author who lives in a house with a green door. She spends her time reading, drinking an inordinate amount of tea, and slouching in front of the fire to write. Like Peter Pan, she never really grew up, and is still occasionally to be found climbing trees.
Website – Goodreads – Twitter

Servant of the CrownServant of the Crown
(The Crown of Tremontane, #1)
by Melissa McShane
Adult Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 405 Pages
July 15th 2015 by Night Harbor Publishing
Alison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, is content with her bookish life—until she’s summoned to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Tremontane’s mother for six months. Even the prospect of access to the Royal Library doesn’t seem enough to make up for her sacrifice, but Alison is prepared to do her service to the Crown. What she’s not prepared for is Prince Anthony North, Queen Zara’s playboy brother, who’s accustomed to getting what he wants—including the Countess of Waxwold.
When the fallout from an unfortunate public encounter throws the two of them together, Alison has no interest in becoming the Prince’s next conquest. But as the weeks pass, Alison discovers there’s more to Anthony than she—or he—realized, and their dislike becomes friendship, and then something more—until disaster drives Alison away, swearing never to return.
Then Alison is summoned by the Queen again, this time to serve as Royal Librarian. A threat to Tremontane’s government, with her treasured Library at stake, draws Alison into the conflict…and into contact with Anthony once more. Can they work together to save the Royal Library and Tremontane? And can she open her heart to love again?

Exclusive Excerpt @ Brooke Blogs

“Without thinking, Alison whipped her hand out of his grasp and brought it around hard to slap the Prince’s face. The sound of her bare palm striking his cheek carried unnaturally far in the crowded, overfull ballroom. The dancers nearest them stopped to stare, and their stillness spread outward until half the floor was occupied by unmoving figures. The music went ragged and then stumbled to a halt. The Prince stood with his hand pressed to his cheek, his eyes wide and unblinking in surprise. Alison felt her breath coming in short, quick pants that left her dizzy…”

More at Brooke Blogs.

Melissa McShane

Melissa McShane grew up a nomad, following her family all over the United States, and ended up living in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains with her husband, four kids, and three very needy cats. Her love of reading was always a constant during those uncertain years, and her love of writing grew out of that. She wrote reviews and critical essays for many years before turning to fiction, and was surprised at how much she liked it. She loves the fantasy genre and how it stretches the imagination.

Website – Blog – Goodreads – Pinterest

The Frey SagaThe Frey Saga
by Melissa Wright
YA/NA Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 779 pages
February 1st 2013

This collection includes The Frey Saga Book I: Frey, Book II: Pieces of Eight, the short story Molly, and Book III: Rise of the Seven.

Unaware she’s been bound from using magic, Frey leads a small, miserable life in the village where she’s sent after the death of her mother. But a tiny spark ignites a fury of changes and she’s suddenly being hunted by council and forced to rely on strangers for protection. But the farther she strays from home, the more her magic and forgotten memories return and she starts to suspect the band of strangers are not what they seem. They help her find her rightful place and destroy the bonds, but securing her future might be more than she can do with magic alone.

Exclusive Excerpt of book I, Frey, & Sneak Peek of book IV, Venom and Steel @ Beck Valley Books

    “The library was chaos. Books and pages, precious scrolls and ancient casting ledgers strewn over the wood plank floor. I’d never seen this room molested by their madness and the shock of it had me stumbling to a standstill. They had lost all regard for it, broken their own rules. They were a wild people, but they did have at least some barriers.
    If there was one thing the fey respected, it was knowledge.”

Melissa Wright is the author of the Frey Saga and Descendants Series. She is currently working on the next book, but when not writing can be found collecting the things she loves at Goodreads and Pinterest.

Tour Giveaway
$30 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
Signed copy of Spindle (Us only)
Print copy of Servant of the Crown (US only)
Ebook of The Frey Saga (INT)
Ends September 18th

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Welcome to Realm Explorers!  In this weekly series, we visit a variety of unique worlds created by talented science fiction and fantasy authors.  Enjoy your travels!  And don’t forget to read to the bottom of the post to find out more about each author and see how to purchase the featured book. 
Author’s name: H.R.B. Collotzi
Title of book and/or series:
Avonoa Series: The Secret of Avonoa (Book One), The Shadow of Avonoa (Book Two)
Brief summary of the story:
The Secret of Avonoa:
            Parents are wrong. Teachers are wrong. His leader tries, but fails. The young dragon Dak can’t imagine why he still bothers to do as he’s told. However, dragon law could take his life if he disobeys, so he’s forced to pass the Krusible. The most important test in a young dragon’s life, the Krusible is the only way to gain freedom from the Rock Clouds where his dragon ruck lives, but he can’t manage to remain silent for it. If he doesn’t earn freedom, he might as well crawl into a cave and let his fire consume him.
            When Dak’s two best friends, Tog and Priya, leave for an exciting mission, Dak is left behind because of his fourth failed attempt at the Krusible. Instead of remaining behind to endure his punishment, Dak does exactly what everyone feared he might, and secretly follows them. Once on the surface world, Dak quickly learns – in the face of temptation, savagery, torture and possible death – the significance of the secret of Avonoa.
The Shadow of Avonoa:
            “Stay away from the surface world!” That’s what Hiro told himself. In fact, that’s what he teaches young dragons now. Humans are dangerous, violent, and evil – best to avoid. That’s all Hiro wants now, too. Until a human shows up in his lair and ruins everything!
            Princess Anna tricks Tog, Hiro’s best friend, into sneaking her back into Hiro’s life. Even with the story of a dangerous creature attacking, Hiro refuses her pleas for help. But when the dragons learn that previous involvement with the humans has dire lasting effects, Hiro is forced to investigate. With death sweeping over the land, Hiro’s intervention discovers possibilities none could imagine – least of all, him.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
            The world of Avonoa is much like our world with forests, rivers, mountains and grasslands, except for a few big differences. Avonoa has three moons and one sun. Avonoa also has an enormous mountain in the center with several floating mountains hovering around it. The Inner Mountain, as it is called, is so high it’s difficult for even a dragon to reach the top. One of the dragon rucks of Avonoa lives in the floating mountains surrounding the Inner Mountain. They are called the Rock Clouds. Other rucks live in the desert (a highly desirable place for the sun and warmth), the frozen northern waste (where dragons have become adapted to the cold and ice), and the islands off the eastern coast of Avonoa (where dragons reportedly swim to hunt).
            Other points of interest in Avonoa might be Centaur River, so large and long that it cuts Avonoa in two. The centaurs live on the plains at the head of Centaur River. The Black Forest, named for the trees grown so thick that very little light gets through the branches, even in the winter.
If we were to visit Avonoa as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
            If you’re a dragon, you could visit one of the rucks throughout the land. Have a game of Catch It or a race to the other side of the Rock Clouds.
            If you’re human, sail on Teardrop Sea or take port in Fallen City in the shadow of Kingstor Noble where the king of the Noble Kingdom lives. Order a snork delicacy at an inn in the Just Kingdom, but never a homemade one from a clan mother. Visit a faerie shaman and try to barter the price of a love potion. Visit the Cave of Invisibility in the Allegiant Kingdom where it is said many have entered, disappeared and returned again to tell fabulous tales of small gray creatures on the “other side”.
What dangers should we avoid in Avonoa?
            If you’re a dragon, avoid humans! They’re monsters. Real ones! They’ll try to kill you and rip out your brain. If you speak in front of one, dragon law says you must kill them! If they offer you something shiny, just take it and run. They think dragons barter for lives. Stupid humans.
            If you’re human, avoid dragons! But if you get cornered by one, make sure you have something shiny or sparkly to offer it. It doesn’t have to be necessarily expensive or extravagant, just shiny. Usually, you can offer this to the dragon and they’ll leave you alive.
            And avoid centaurs! They hate faeries more than humans, but they would sooner kill a human than speak to one!
            Also avoid the Black Forest – for all creatures! There are all manner of dangerous creatures in the Black Forest, including scorrands (giant two-headed lizards with rows of teeth like swords) and banshees (large black bird-like creatures that kill by screaming at you)! Also, if you see a small floating bulb that changes colors and is propelled by a single tentacle – DON’T TOUCH IT!
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Avonoa?
            Among dragons (as the viewpoint this adventure is written from), you would only eat meat, with the occasional sprig of mint as a treat and a single flarote bulb if you’re sick.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Avonoa?
            Swords! Although several clans in the Just Kingdom have begun adopting spears for use, the Five Kingdoms of Avonoa were built upon the use of the Five Swords of Avonoa. Each Kingdom has a sword imbued with majikal (spelling is on purpose) powers to give the owner (the ruler of each kingdom) that quality. Nobility to the Noble Kingdom, Justice to the Just Kingdom, Honor to the Honorable Kingdom, Courage to the Courageous Kingdom and Loyalty to the Allegiant Kingdom. Having five kingdoms ensures that there’s never an equal divide of power.
            Many staff guards (the lowest rank of soldier) are hired into the Noble army and use only a pike or spear until they learn to use a sword. Once skill increases the staff guard can apply and test for a promotion in rank.
            They also use bows and arrows and crossbows. King Philip of the Noble Kingdom is rumored to favor the bow. Humans have large crossbows used only for shooting thick, heavy bolts they call “dragon killers”.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Avonoa?
            Mostly horses and wagons are used by humans. Faeries can fly or walk. Centaurs use only their own hooves and dragons their own wings or claws.
*Note: Distance is measured As The Dragon Flies among all creatures! Dragons can fly faster than a horse can run on a straight open space, but obviously for much longer.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Avonoa that we don’t see on Earth?
            Dragon, centaurs, faeries, and possibly small, gray creatures called goblins, but that might just be myth.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Avonoa?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
            Magic, or majik as is it known in Avonoa, is widely acknowledged. Every species has majishuns of varying degrees of experience. Anyone can perform majik if they know what to do and how to do it. If not, it can be dangerous and possibly fatal to dabble.
            Majik in Avonoa is usually a mixture of objects, ingredients and/or symbols chanted over with specific incantations in order to achieve a desired outcome. Rhythm and cadence are fundamental in the use of majik as well as majikal objects.
            Objects must be majikally enchanted to use at a later date, such as majikally enchanted glowing orbs used for light, or majikally enchanted cloth that doesn’t get wet. Crystal balls are majikally enchanted crystal and filled with dragon tears. They are used to see the past, present or future, but they’re extremely rare seeing as it’s difficult to find a dragon crying.
            Faeries of Avonoa use majik most often. They have the highest number of master majishuns, or shaman, in Avonoa. A shaman can give many answers to questions and fix many problems, but always at a price. Although the number of faeries in Avonoa is low compared to other species, they are considered the strongest race for their use of majik.
            Since centaurs hate everything to do with faeries, they also avoid majik and its uses. They do have majishuns and lesser shaman among them, but they are usually shunned by other centaurs.
            Humans have few advanced shaman, but they have some. Most faeries try to keep the secrets of majik within their own families, therefore, it’s difficult for humans to find someone to learn from.
            Dragons don’t use majik. They are majikal creatures and each has a strong characteristic of majik, but they don’t put them to use. Although Visi, the prophetess dragon, is a highly skilled shaman, she lives far away from other dragons so they can’t take advantage of her skills.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Avonoa?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
            Any “advanced technology” would be made from majik. Avonoa is still a medieval-type world, but enjoys comforts from common uses of majik.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Avonoa.
            Several varieties of games and sports are common among different species in Avonoa.
            Dragons enjoy any flying races, like “Catch It”, where an object is thrown and others race to catch it first. However, the most popular game would be “Tossing Riddles”, where they throw riddles back and forth to each other. But don’t be the one to “drop it”!
            Centaurs play games of strength and agility. They love doing obstacle courses!
            Among faeries the most popular sport is a game called Touratege. A small ball is bounced between hands and feet while participants fly across a field trying to place it in the opposing basket.
            Humans play similar games to all of these, but the most popular sport is fighting. Human men from all over Avonoa will gather to watch fighting matches between champions. This sport is the major reason humans are seen as barbaric by other species.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Avonoa as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
            Number of days of the week are the same, although they have different names and aren’t mentioned for clarity sake. (Besides, dragons don’t worry about such things.) Months of the year are different though. There are fifteen months in the year. The year is separated up into five three-month seasons. Those seasons are; spring, summer, autumn, winter then fall. Rain doesn’t stop often in fall and this is the season in which book two is written. Book one is written in the winter preceding.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Avonoa?  Please describe what it involves.
            Almost everyone in Avonoa believes and worships (in some form or another) in the Seven High Gods of Avonoa. Those gods are: Shurka, god of the sun; Shurta, god of the moons; Khurta, god of the stars; Kruh, god of the clouds; Tarsa, god of the wind; Tarka, god of flight; Tartaku, god of the sky. There are numerous lesser gods who are worshipped as well.
            There is one group of humans called the Hamees who only believe in one all-knowing, all-powerful god. They are often ridiculed and scorned for their beliefs, but they are a peaceful people. They take solemn oaths to care for others and always be honest.
What is the political or government structure in Avonoa?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
            Avonoa is divided into five kingdoms. King Philip rules the Noble Kingdom, King Torodov rules the Courageous Kingdom, Queen Sarador rules the Allegiant Queendom, King Theodor rules the Honorable Kingdom, and King Grisivere rules the Just Kingdom.
            The rulers emulate the characteristics of their kingdom. While the Just Kingdom is just in their punishments, they might be less brave to face those punishments than someone from the Courageous Kingdom, etc.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Avonoa?
            All species and kingdoms have nuances in their everyday way of life. For the most part, humans are accepting of foreigners and their misunderstanding of those nuances. Humans would be more forgiving than other species.
            Among faeries, never bring up the centaurs. Among centaurs, never use faerie language or speak of faerie culture. And, of course, dragons and centaurs can’t stand humans, but faeries tolerate them.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
            Not really, I try to make everything as unique and individual as possible. I love dragons, that’s why I write books from a dragon’s point-of-view. I did name the three highest-ranking centaurs after my three kids. I love names and when I hear a name I like, I’ll use it in my writing. Like Priya, I met an awesome Indian woman named Priya and I had to use it for an amazing dragon!
            The biggest thing inspired by my own life is the season of Fall. I love rain, so I decided to create a season just for me. Three months of nothing but rain!
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
            I try to avoid controversy in my writing, but a major issue all these creatures have is not accepting each other for their beliefs and cultures. In the second book, The Shadow of Avonoa, the protagonist, Hiro, begins to see how those judgments against other species might be wrong. Book three, The Heart of Avonoa, is where Hiro really begins to change his mind and heart about the differences between others and himself.
Author Autobiography:
            I was born in Berlin, Germany as an army ‘brat’. Early in life I found a love for telling stories, but when my parents told me to stop lying I kept them inside my head. When I got older (and hopefully wiser) I decided to turn those ‘lies’ into stories again. I began a serious (if you can call fantasy ‘serious’) writing career in 2010. The Secret of Avonoa is my first published novel with book two in the Avonoa series, titled The Shadow of Avonoa, NOW AVAILABLE!! I also have a couple of modern-day sci-fi novels that I plan to re-vamp into young adult novels when my dragon series is finished. I currently live in Minnesota (yes, by choice) with my husband and our three kids.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book?
AMAZON! The Secret of Avonoa is available in paperbackor on Kindle. The Shadow of Avonoa is available in paperback, I’m still working on getting it available on Kindle, but hopefully soon!
Where can readers connect with you online?
Facebookand Twitter are great, but my website is best!

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Avonoa.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

Click here to read other posts in the Realm Explorers series.

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the fantasy world of Aria, in Realm Explorers Part LXV!
-Annie Douglass Lima