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: Precarious Yates
Title of book: The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy
Brief summary of the story:
I’m sure you are simply dying to meet some mermaids, but you’ll have to be patient, unless you can breathe under water. And you probably want to meet a few aquavians—
You mean you’ve never heard of aquavians?
These swarthy skinned beauties look human but live under the sea in Aiqua Marrin. They can survive just as well on land, but don’t like to stay too long. Their favorite past times are laughter and play.
Except the MerKing comes along and corrupts all of these fun-loving creatures. To top it off, the once friendly mermen are now violent.
There seems no end to the MerKing’s desire to conquer Aiqua Marrin. His conquests move from sea to land. Continents and islands fall prey to his relentless attacks. And he’s near unstoppable, as long as Shunda does not rise up against him.
Shunda, a gentle and lonely orphaned aquavian, has no idea he’s the key to freedom for both the aquavians and the merfolk.
The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy is now available in a single volume! Find the long lost Captives. Learn the secrets of Pyromarne. Discover the power of The Tiller and the Song. Lounge on the beaches of Hoondiake. Swim among the icebergs of Iyunsha. Visit the garden between the volcanoes. Dare to plunge to the depths of Loesheen Sea. Come to Aiqua Marrin with me!
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Welcome to the world of Aiqua Marrin! There’s quite a bit of water here, more ocean than even on earth. You may want to wear your swimsuit. Perhaps a mermaid tail.
If we were to visit Aiqua Marrin as tourists, what would you recommend we see or do there?
Definitely visit the beaches of Hoondiake, especially those along the Fodun Sea. But don’t go swimming yet…not unless you know how to wield a trident.
What dangers should we avoid in Aiqua Marrin?
The Sukta Lagoon, in the Fodun Sea, is full of trouble. But it’s not as terrifying as the eidolons’ cave.
Is there a distinct or unusual food or meal that might be found on Aiqua Marrin?
Obviously, most of the food is seafood. On Hoondiake, Shunda finds human food to be very spicy, like jellyfish stings on his tongue. However, the food from the Ulys, the river people, is always very sweet. And you’ll most likely drink tea if you spend a day with the Ulys. Hot tea, lots of sugar.
What types of weaponry or fighting style the are common in Aiqua Marrin?
The mermen taught the aquavians how to use tridents. The sides of the tridents near the tips are razor sharp.
There are also the kokoduk swords. A prince of Hoondiake is trained to fight using a pair of these swords.  
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Aiqua Marrin?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Aquavians rarely employ magic, except for their pearl belts. These belts help the aquavians acclimate quickly to new environments. But the MerKing tries to exploit all the magic he can, particularly the magic in the mystery meat he eats and the strange metal called pyromarne.
Iyunshins, the aquavians from the frozen realm of Iyunaha, have magic stones that respond to verbal commands. Shunda hopes he doesn’t blunder the commands before he learns the power of his own words.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Aiqua Marrin that we don’t see on Earth?
You’ll want to stay away from bohundogots. These creatures have sixty foot long squid-like tentacles, crab-like legs, and are able to climb onto land for brief periods to snatch their prey or smash buildings.
Nunateesh flyers are gigantic, gentle, ten-eyed swimmers who glide through the waters on nomadic journeys. Some of these are employed by aquavians to help transport them swiftly from one sea to another.
Most of the other creatures are either familiar from our world, or, like the sea dragon, exponentially larger.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I wrote The Heart of the Caveat Whale in the weeks and months following the devastating tsunami on St. Stephen’s Day 2004. It’s crazy how an event on the other side of the world can impact someone so completely. I spent the next few years polishing the story into its current form. I hope you enjoy!
Author Biography:
Precarious Yates lives in Texas with husband, daughter, dogs, chickens, sheep and by the time you read this some other exotic creature her husband or daughter has brought home. She had studied the plight of and worked toward the abolition of modern slavery for over a decade before sitting down to write Revelation Special Ops. She was further inspired by the work of her sister-in-law, who helped to found Love146, an organization that works to raise awareness about human trafficking and builds safe homes in vulnerable regions. Yates spent several years overseas as a missionary in Ireland, and also did missions work in India and the Philippines. Her passion for literature has become her means of further educating young adults of the realities of modern slavery, while producing hope through the power of Christ Jesus in us.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?
Where can readers connect with you online?
There’s the blog for The Heart of the Caveat Whale. And the blog for Precarious Yates.  I also have a Facebook page, and an author page on Amazon.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Cambrogi.  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 kingdom of Arke, in Realm Explorers Part XC!
-Annie Douglass Lima
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:

Anderson Atlas
Title of book and/or series:
Surviving the Improbable Quest
Brief summary of the story:
Allan mysteriously arrives on Lan Darr, a planet with three moons, poisonous plants, and watchful shadows. A stone wall towers over him, hiding a dense and ancient city. He needs to escape the dark forest whose trees are marked with blood and find his way home. Trouble is, Allan is a paraplegic and his wheelchair is nowhere to be seen.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
The inhabitants of Lan Darr are as advanced as humans were in the 1800’s and just as brutal to each other as well. The rulers of the city of Dantia own slaves and do as they please, especially at the expense of weaker individuals. Allan is in for quite a rude awakening when he’s shoved into a cage by an ornery creature shaped like an ostrich but with a much larger, crooked beak and bloodshot eyes.   
If we were to visit Lan Darr as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
First of all, I would recommend going with an armed group of guards. Once you’ve obtained the proper permits from Killian Crow, I’d recommend visiting the capital city of Dantia. It’s traversed by canals and the buildings are ten stories tall or more. The food is very diverse and Dantians do love their sweets.
What dangers should we avoid in Lan Darr?
The pyramid-shaped flowers have a sharp piston tucked inside their delicate petals that pack quite a punch. Its effects have been likened to sticking your finger in a light socket. If you run into this plant by accident, jump into the canal, then, while submerged, remove the piston from your skin. The pain will fade in an hour or so.
I’d also avoid the Jibbawk’s territory. It’s a hunter and always looking for its next meal. If you see a red ‘X’ on the trunk of a tree, get out of there.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Dantia?
Yes. Dantians serve crispy baguette style breads with different types of spreads. Nupkinkle spread tastes very much like whipped cream and cherries. Nupkinkle spread contains red seedpods. They’re soft and velvety and about the size of a nickel. The texture has frightened away many travelers, but bite into it and the juices are magnificent!
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Dantia?
Killian Crow and his policemen have various tools at their disposal, but most notable are the shock poles. Shock poles are powered by rare energy crystals and last a thousand years when used as a light source. When used in shock poles, they die in about five years. The underground Tinkers, a society of free thinkers, steal the energy crystals from shock poles so that the people of Dantia have a light source other than candles.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Dantia?
Narrow boats are used to traverse the canal system. It’s a wonderful, quiet way to get around the city. The city is thirty miles across and has many exciting events going on, including circuses and traveling sideshows. If you can’t get to them by boat you’ll have to walk.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Lan Darr that we don’t see on Earth?
Hetaphants are very popular. They are elephant-like creatures that are used to build things and to carry large stones to construction sites. They are intelligent and caring. They help Allan in a desperate time of need, to his surprise.
I’d also like to mention the pesky Chicubs that crawl into buildings and steal things and have similar dispositions as Earth ferrets, though not as cute.
Mytheather is also a wonderful plant. It’s as strong as steal and as flexible as a spider’s web.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Dantia? 
The most famous of the Tinkers is Mizzi. He’s constructed blimps, a rudimentary engine and even powered exoskeleton legs for Allan with an energy crystal. He lives in humble surroundings, believing that his inventions are only to help others and not himself. When Allan meets him, Allan knows he’s found a friend on this strange planet. Hope seems a little more attainable.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Dantia.
The Testing. There is only one way for a slave to be freed in Dantia. They have to pass a series of dangerous, and sometimes fatal, tests. The tests change every year but they push the contestants to the very edge.
What is the political or government structure in Dantia?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Killian Crow is the leader and he rules with an iron fist. It is his way, or no way.
Author Autobiography:
Anderson Atlas is an author and illustrator from Tucson, Arizona. He’s driven to bring thrilling stories, hopeful messages, and such enchanting hooks that young adults will experience the spark that reading ignites.  
As an illustrator, Anderson is dedicated to pairing his stories with stunning visuals. He believes that reading is essential to happiness and so is art. Combining the two is a symbiotic act of his creation process.
When Anderson is not drawing or writing he’s hiking with his 6 year old daughter, playing guitar, reading, sailing or watching movies with his wife and step-son.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book? 

Where can readers connect with you online? 
Thank you for reading and I sincerely hope you like Allan Westerfield: Off-World.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Lan Darr.  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 world of Cambrogi, in Realm Explorers Part LXXXIV!
-Annie Douglass Lima
On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for
The Express Rider’s Lady
By Stacy Henrie

We hope you enjoyed experiencing a little of the historic Pony Express trail as one of its riders helps a lady to get to California! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out now…
Launch – Interview with the Author

What do you hope readers take with them after they’ve read it?

I hope readers take away that we can each do hard things; that we don’t have to let others’ imposed stereotypes have sway in our lives or our hearts. Also, no matter where we are, the Lord is aware of us.

Heidi Reads… – Review

“So, this is now my favorite book in the Love Inspired line. . . . Lots of action and adventure kept the pace moving and I couldn’t put the book down. Highly recommend!”

The Power of Words – Review

Sparrow Hawk

“With its epic scope and beautiful writing, The Express Rider’s Lady ranks among the best of Love Inspired books that I’ve ever read. I’m glad to have discovered the writing of Stacy Henrie.”

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

“I enjoyed the descriptions and characters in this sweet historical story. I’ve always been a bit fascinated with the Pony Express and how their system worked. Imagining the speed, danger, and dedication these riders experienced is exciting and I loved getting a taste of that.”

Min Reads and Reviews – Review

“This book is pretty much close to perfect. . . . Stacy does an amazing job in writing this era. The setting itself is a character. I really enjoyed this book.”

Babs Book Bistro – Review

“A great read and page turner. I did not want to put the book down. I had to see of the Pony Express could pull this off. The characters work well together and a nice sweet story.”

Savings in Seconds – Review

“As the characters encounter situations both perilous and mundane, they must learn to work together. . . . I enjoyed the banter between the characters, too. The story has a strong faith element, hidden behind the scenes.”

Literary Time Out – Review

“I loved this book. The story was great, and moved along at a good clip. . . . I would definitely read this again, and highly recommend it to anyone who loves historical romance. Hopefully you will love Delsie’s grit, and Myles character just like I did.”

Wishful Endings – Character Descriptions
James Marsden. Photo by JOHN P JOHNSON – © 2015 HBO via Westworld Facebook here..

Myles Patton is a rider for the newly created Pony Express, riding the trail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Guittard’s home station in Kansas and back. And while he has a way with horses, his people skills are a bit lacking. . . . the more Delsie learns to handle herself in the saddle and on the trail, her confidence begins to grow. She’s stronger than she ever thought she was—and her feelings for Myles are growing stronger too.

Lily Collins. Glamour Spain (November 2012). Image obtained via Lily Collins Daily.
Mom with a Reading Problem – Review

“The Express Rider’s Lady by Stacy Henrie is such an endearing, heart-warming romance with adventure and the lure of the wild west! . . . Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was easy for me to get lost in their adventure. I honestly didn’t want to stop reading! If you enjoy inspirational romance, than I highly recommend you get a copy of this book.

Backing Books – Review

“The premise was not one I had heard of before and, while it did seem a little far fetched, it was fun and interesting. I liked Delsie’s determination to make things right with her sister and her willingness to do most anything to make it happen.”

Seasons of Humility – Review

“This has to be one of the best Love Inspired books I’ve read to date. The Express Rider’s Lady is just my type of story: a Western journey with a delightful mixture of humor, peril, and tender romance. I truly enjoyed the adventure!”

I Am A Reader – Five Reasons to Date a Pony Express Rider
Adventurous Spirit

Express riders had to be adventurers at heart. To face what they did daily, in order to deliver the mail, they must have thrilled at the prospect of conquering danger over and over again. They didn’t observe life from the safety of the sidelines—they threw themselves into the fray and made a name for themselves that has endured.

Singing Librarian Books – Review

“Fun characters and a wonderful plot, readers will not want to put this novel down. I would recommend this novel to readers of historical romance.”

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review

“Like all good romance stories, this one is full of sweet moments and crazy moments too. The trip has a lot of action and the characters are ones you will fall in love with while you are reading. I love the ending of the story! If you’re a fan of clean, Christian romance, you will definitely love The Express Rider’s Lady.”

Mel’s Shelves – Five Reasons Why Being a Pony Express Rider Was the Ultimate in Adventure Professions

With only a trusty steed and a pistol or two for companions, Express riding was not for the lonely or afraid. Riders would spend hours in the saddle, only encountering people at stops every twelve to twenty miles, and then for just a few brief minutes as the mail saddle was thrown onto the back of a fresh mount. A number of riders were also orphans with little or no family waiting for them back at their home base.

Getting Your Read On – Review

“Stacy Henrie did a fantastic job of giving her characters depth and humanity. Their stories unfold gently and I felt like I was right there getting to know them. . . . I really loved this book. It was a great western historical fiction.”

Tell Tale Book Reviews – Mapping out The Express Rider’s Lady & Review
“Pony Express Map William Henry Jackson” by William Henry Jackson – Illustration: William Henry Jackson, American artist. Text: Howard Roscoe Driggs. Scan: US Library of CongressPhoto image obtained/rendered by Gwillhickers. Restoration by Crisco 1492. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

I used a hard copy map, one which included the entire Pony Express trail on it, to mark where Delsie and Myles would be stopping each night. Not only did this help me know which home stations they would be lodging in, but I was also able to see which prominent settlements or landmarks they would pass by on a given day. All the stations mentioned in the book were actually used by the Pony Express.

“A truly sweet historical with some surprising twists and turns. . . . If you are looking for an exciting and romantic reading escape into the Old West days gone by, you should definitely check out Stacy Henrie’s appealing story The Express Rider’s Lady.”

Dixie n Dottie – Review

“This was a beautifully written story that involves a lot of adventure, trust, love and experiencing the unknown. . . . Anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction with adventure and romance should read this book. You will love it! “

Reading Is My SuperPower – Review

“The Express Rider’s Lady by Stacy Henrie not only provides a sweet romance but also gives readers a compelling glimpse into the perilous conditions once common to cross terrain we now take for granted. Smooth writing, vivid settings, and heartstopping action bring the characters and the history to life. A quick read, as typical to the Love Inspired line, but very entertaining!”

Zerina Blossom’s Books – Reaching California in Time
“Pony-express-joseph”. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons.

Delsie Radford, the heroine of THE EXPRESS RIDER’S LADY, must travel from Missouri to California in just eighteen days if she wants to be to her sister’s wedding. But would such a feat have been possible?

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review

“This is a slightly predictable, but heart-wrenching, story with enough twists and adventure to keep the reader’s attention. It also teaches a few good lessons on misconceptions most experienced in life.”

The Express Rider's LadyThe Express Rider’s Lady
by Stacy Henrie
Adult Christian Historical Romance

Paperback & ebook, 288 pages
February 9th 2016 by Love Inspired

Westward Wedding Journey

Delsie Radford is going to make it to California, no matter the danger or difficulty. Her father may have kept her and her sister apart, but Delsie refuses to miss her sister’s wedding—even with only eighteen days to get there. And she’s found the perfect escort in Pony Express rider Myles Patton.

Myles can’t believe it when a pretty socialite hires him to take her cross-country through rough terrain and dangerous territory. Surely she’ll quit before they reach their destination—he’s known girls like her before. But the longer they ride together, the more Myles notices Delsie’s toughness and kindness beneath her polished exterior. And though they may be worlds apart…they might just be perfect for each other.

Stacy Henrie has always had a love for history, fiction, and chocolate. She earned her B.A. in public relations before turning her attentions to raising a family and writing inspirational historical romances. Wife of an entrepreneur husband and a mother to three, Stacy loves to live out history through her fictional characters. In addition to author, she is also a reader, a road trip enthusiast, and a novice interior decorator.

Website – Goodreads – Facebook – TwitterPinterest

Tour Giveaway

$50 Amazon eGift Card (open internationally)
Print copy of The Express Rider’s Lady (US only)
ebook of The Express Rider’s Lady (open internationally)
Ends February 19th

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The Dragon Courage series is a middle grade/young adult fantasy series that has ten-year-olds to grandparents raving. What’s all the fuss? It’s a clean read of adventure and character quality building set in a new world. According to one reviewer, “Not since reading Christopher Paolini’s Eragon have I read a book about dragons that made me want to be a part of that world”. Each book has a theme skilfully woven into the plot so younger readers won’t even realize they are being taught important life qualities. The series is a “fabulous adventure for younger readers that will fill their minds with the magic of dragons, friendships found and worlds from far, far away”. Today, I am introducing book three in the Dragon Courage series, Dragon’s Revenge. Book one took the reader to the northern canyon country of Three Spans Canyon where Kyn became a dragon rider. Book two followed Braidyn, a youngling born in the canyon country, who moved to the south along the River Sur. When some nestlings are stolen, Braidyn goes seeking retribution. His search takes him to the sandhills to the east of the inland sea. In book three, our story revolves around Kyn. He travels across the inland sea to a new land of marshes and red dragons.


In search of his place in the world, Kyn visits his new friend, Ben’hyamene. Together, they meet an ailing dragon rider from the marshes of a land called the Carr. The rider recounts a people beset by anger, depression, and despair. After befriending and healing the rider, the group travels to the rider’s home. There they discover a breed of wild dragons, called drakes, which have been at war with humans for four hundred years. One sleepless night, Ben’hyamene uses his new abilities to communicate with the lead drake. This sets Kyn and Ben’hyamene on a path that could bring peace to a conflict that’s nearly destroyed a whole people. Can revenge be set aside and enemies be called friends?



About the Author:Kandi is a wife, mom of five, teacher, artist and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy, writing Christmas programs, drawing using graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. She also enjoys photography. Thank you to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey in photography as well. She is both his model and apprentice. (She still think he does a better job than her.) On occasion she’s his assistant when working with clients and when he needs a “light stand with feet”.You can find her on her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. 

And now for the cover!

Dragon's Revenge Cover

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Prism Tour Grand Finale for
Someday, Maybe by Jenny Piper
The Long Way Home by Janet Purcell

If you missed the inspiration behind these books or reading their first chapters, go back and do so now…

Bookworm Lisa – Inspiration for The Long Way Home

“The Long Way Home began germinating in my mind after I visited the Andrew Wyeth exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and studied the paintings on display about which I would write a review in my weekly fine arts column in the Times of Trenton newspaper. The image of Christina Olson dragging herself uphill in Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World haunted me. I saw it as a figurative painting and yet as a still life. Her life had been stilled by her unexplained disability.”

Beck Valley Books – Excerpt from The Long Way Home

Callie screamed and jumped back. She ran out of the room, slammed the door and, with all her weight against it, looked frantically around for some way to keep it shut. There was nothing. The door didn’t have a lock and there was no furniture close enough to push against it.

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Time Passes
“Time passing is something that is an integral part of the story in ‘Someday, Maybe’ and in ‘Moving On’, too. We never know what is going to happen to us. Everything changes – or does it?”
I Am A Reader – Excerpt from Someday, Maybe
When he’d first seen her, a neat, spriggy little thing, she had worn her hair in tight, dark pigtails, and he’d liked that. When she had grown up and had it cut in a fashionable sort of style he’d been a bit disconcerted, but as time had gone on she had let it grow a bit and some- times put it up so that it sat on her head like a plump, soft, scented cloud, and he had loved it. Today, so early in the morning, it was tousled, unwashed and unbrushed and smelled of the cold morning and of chicken feed, but he didn’t care. He adored it.

Sunpenny Publishing ebook SALE

THE LONG WAY HOME and SOMEDAY, MAYBE are both on sale for 99¢ (US)!


WATERY WAYS is also on sale for 99¢ through February 13th and BRIDGE BEYOND BETRAYAL is on sale for 99¢ from February 20th through March 5th.

Grab a copy of one or all while you can during the sale!

The Long Way Home

by Janet Purcell
Adult Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 237 pages
April 7th 2015 by Sunpenny Publishing
When Callie Vinerelli gives refuge in her Cape Cod home to a storm ravaged stranger, the hidden secres of her house on the dunes begin to emerge. She becomes enmeshed in the violence and tragedy of the past that left accomplished artist Christina Burroughs a paraplegic and stole her beloved daughter from her. Those still unresolved events invade Callie’s life, causing chaos and intrigue, life changing relationships, justice and peace to Christina’s descendants -and new love to herself.

Amazon – Amazon UK – Barnes & Noble

Someday, Maybe
by Jenny Piper
Adult Fiction
Paperback & ebook, 306 pages
November 6th 2013 by Sunpenny Limited
In a ramshackle old cottage with an outside lav, and a rickety ladder up to a draughty attic bedroom, Jim and Mary Norris slog in all weathers to make a living from their market garden, and to bring up their little girl, Patsy. But at times Jim’s guilt is overwhelming as he watches his beloved Mary working her frozen fingers to the bone, almost dropping with weariness – not exactly what she’s been used to in her genteel upbringing as the niece of well- off local gentry, who cut her off when she married “beneath her”. But she never complains; she loves Jim madly and they are blissfully happy together.
Until her accident – and the nightmare that follows them all through the next 30 years. Mary’s gradual descent into madness overshadows even Jim’s second marriage and children, but the shocking climax is something no-one could have foreseen.

Janet Purcell is a professional artist and writes a weekly fine arts column and feature articles for The Times of Trenton (NJ). Her interior design features appear regularly in DesignNJ magazine. Her articles have appeared in Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications, Bridal GuideAmerican Spa, and many other magazines and travel guides. Her travel stories have frequently been published in the New York PostCountry Discoveries, and in Princeton, New Jersey’s Packet Publications’ community newspapers. Her previous novel, Singer Lane, was published in 2008 and her third novel, Rooster Street, is awaiting publication. Though not a trilogy, many of the same characters are found continuing their lives in each of the three books. Her paintings can be seen at www.janpurcellart.com.

Deeply thought-provoking, Jenny Piper is a wonderful author who makes no bones about her handling of delicate subjects . Her skill as a story-teller is a delight to the heart and soul, and is right up there with the best of them. She lives with her husband in rural Hampshire, and has been variously an actress, an artist, a teacher and a psycholo- gist, but has had a lifelong love of books and nowadays spends much of her time writing.

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Ends February 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. You can even enter a giveaway to win a Kindle Fire or one of three Starbucks gift cards!

Author’s name:

Heather L.L. FitzGerald
Title of book and/or series:
The Tethered World, book 1 of the The Tethered World Chronicles.
Brief summary of the story:
Sixteen year old Sadie Larcen learns that her family is involved with a world of creatures that once lived in the Garden of Eden. When her parents disappear, she has to travel to this world with her siblings to rescue them—much to her dismay.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Before the Great Flood, God moved the creatures in the Garden of Eden to large pockets in the earth, below ground. The largest, most central location is in the Pacific Northwest. Their “sky” is a giant geode that glows and provides light due to the Flaming Sword of Cherubythe—the very sword held by the angel (cherub) in Genesis, preventing humanity from returning to the Garden. 
A variety of creatures from folklore and the Bible live in the Tethered World. Gnomes, Dwarves, Leprechauns, Trolls, Elves, Ogres, and Nephilim are the main denizens in book one. There are legends of such creatures all over the world because they make occasional visits “topside” (as they refer to those that live on top of the earth’s crust, rather than under it). The Gnomes are the creatures endowed with protecting the powerful Sword.
If we were to visit the Tethered World as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? 
Walking through the Faery Meadow is a good place to start. What looks like large dandelions gone to seed are really thousands of gossamer Faeries. The Faeries are used by the Gnomes and Dwarves as an instantaneous, emergency transport. You might disappear and find yourself in the charming city of Vituvia with the Gnomes, or in the rocky fortress of Berganstroud with the Dwarves. Of course, the real luxury is across the Berganstroud mountains in Calamus, realm of the Nephilim. They are wealthy and proud and have built a sprawling city on the banks of the River Gambrell.
What dangers should we avoid in the Tethered World?
There are several creature groups that won’t be very hospitable. The Ogres of Skellerwad are particularly fond of making sport of humans (when given the rare opportunity). Avoid their island at all costs. Plus…you wouldn’t enjoy crossing the stinking Sulfur Sea to get there anyway. The Trolls are the other major danger. Their creepy castle, the Eldritch, carved into Mount Thrall, holds many mysteries and dangers. And the Trolls often employ the Dark Dwarves to do their dirty work, so stay away from them as well. Oh! And there are Sleeping Serpents that you don’t want to wake . . . 
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in the Tethered World?
Vegetation doesn’t thrive in the imitation sunlight quite like it would in the real sunshine. But through the ages, the creatures have learned to adapt. The Gnomes, in particular, have hearty gardens. Of course, there’s no rain below the earth’s surface, but there is a daily dose of mist which serves to hydrate the plants. This moisture allows mushrooms and moss to become quite prolific! Therefore, you can expect many creative dishes with both of those ingredients. 
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in the Tethered World?
Good old fashioned hand to hand combat is still the means of warfare. Swords, daggers, catapults, and bows and arrows. 
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to the Tethered World?
I mentioned traveling by Faery earlier, but that is more the exception. The Dwarves use horses—many of them smaller and pony-size. The Gnomes have domesticated a creature that’s unique to the Tethered World. Clovenboars (nicknamed “Toboggans” for the way they slink across the countryside), are creepy to behold but only dangerous if you’re a Troll or Leprechaun. They have the ability to see Leprechauns that have made themselves invisible. Built low to the ground, like a panther, they’re just the right size for a Gnome. It would be undignified to put a petite Gnome on top of a huge animal like a horse. Some of the Nephilim can fly, if they were born with wings (like the royal family). Finally, there are legendary Hippogriffs that have been tamed by the Trolls for riding in combat.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in the Tethered World?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
The magic is inherent to the creature in book one. Leprechauns can become invisible, Faeries can transport others in an instant. Gnomes can “interface” with animals, which makes them excellent at training squirrels and rabbits for entertainment purposes. The Elves of Willowmist are also able to become invisible, but they’re friendly—unlike the mischievous Leprechauns.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in the Tethered World.
The Dwarves will often travel topside to work, learn a new skill, or dumpster dive (“no one knows how to waste things like Americans!”). The royal Nephilim family will hire Dwarves as a form of entertainment for their parties. The Dwarves will act out shows or movies that they’ve been exposed to topside. As mentioned earlier, Ogres will make sport of humans, if they can get their clammy hands on one. Though all the creatures have their downtime activities, I only mention the two examples here, in the story.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in the Tethered World as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Yes, they are fairly connected to the rhythm of life topside. Though the concept isn’t really discussed, it is implied. The night time hours are a bit different, however. The glowing geode “sky” dims for about a six hour period, called “dusktime.” Because the creatures below are hardy folks, they need less recuperation and sleep. 
Is there a particular religion practiced in the Tethered World?  Please describe what it involves.
The creatures are all quite aware of their history and how they came to be in the Tethered World. They see the evidence of God’s provision on their land every day in the form of light given by the Sword. Though there are some creatures that wish to deviate from acknowledging their Creator, overall there is the recognition of God in their purpose and plans.
What is the political or government structure in the Tethered World?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The Gnomes are the guardians of the Sword, so they are small but powerful. However, they are also humble about their status and also rely on a monarch that is human to help them rule. Currently the ruler is Queen Judith (soon to retire). The queen has a cabinet of Gnomes that help her rule. The Dwarves have a chief but are loosely structured. They are allied with the Gnomes and work together well. 
In the last ten years, the Trolls have had a leader come to power that seems to be part tyrant, part religious icon. The Dwarves and Gnomes are keeping a wary eye on what the Trolls are doing under his leadership.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
They say to write “what you know” so, yes, there are many things that are personally part of my life. The setting in Orchards, Washington (aka Vancouver) is where I grew up. The landmarks mentioned, including the local fast-food establishment, are places I know and love (and miss! I live in Texas now). 
The main character, Sadie, has an autistic brother, Brock. I have an autistic son. With autism so prevalent, I wanted to make it a normal part of my main character’s life—the way sports or even race might be part of a character’s identity. In fact, it’s Brock’s uniqueness that gives him a special role to play in the Tethered World. 
Beyond that, just about all of my characters or the towns/realms in the Tethered World are names of family and friends that have been tweaked. I love to give a nod to those that I care about. 
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
My main character is homeschooled. Again, it’s treated in a very matter-of-fact way, like autism. Both things have come across everyone’s radar these days. It merely supplies a backdrop to her character—the same way a character from a divorced family has that life-event that colors their decisions. 
Author Autobiography:
I’m a right-brained individual and have always loved anything creative, especially writing. Writing a book has been on my bucket list since before anyone called it a bucket list! Reading to my kids lead me to stories that I hated to part with. Why did the Chronicles of Narnia have to come to an end, for Pete’s sake? Same with Gregor the Overlander series from Suzanne Collins. Good stuff. I hope to write books that leave people feeling the same way. 
Although I was already writing on my own, I began to blog about seven years ago. Had the privilege of being selected as a blogger/reviewer for The Old Schoolhouse magazine, online. One of the books I reviewed led the author, Susan K. Marlow, to ask if I was a writer too. She became my mentor who has encouraged me and taught me more than I could ever repay. I’ve enjoyed being a contest judge for her fan fiction contests the last three years. I’m also a member of the North Texas Christian Writers group and help to lead the Manet Writer’s group.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book? 
The Tethered World is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, both in paperback and eBook. I will also offer autographed copies on my website. 
Where can readers connect with you online?
Through my website/blogFacebook, Pintrest: (Belongs to my main character, Sadie!), Character blog: (Sadie’s mom has a blog about legendary creatures, and you can follow it!), Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads.

This post is part of the Books & Beverages Blog Tour hosted by Mountain Brook Ink publishing! We’re so excited that you are joining us for the next two weeks of fun. We look forward to introducing you to some new authors — maybe you’ll even find a new favorite! The tour begins here and goes through March 1, 2016, ending with Anna Weaver Hurrts. Please check below for the complete schedule of the tour.
Each stop will include an opportunity to enter for a FREE KINDLE FIRE as the grand prize, as well as three runner-up opportunities to win a $10 Starbucks gift card! Check the bottom of the post for either a Rafflecopter FORM or a Rafflecopter link for your chance to enter!
2/15 – http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com/ Annie Douglass Lima
2/18 – http://www.sandrarobbins.net/ Sandra Robbins
2/19 – http://www.jlmbewe.com/index.php/blog/ Jennette Mbewe
2/20 – http://plentifulpursuits.com Erika Keswick
2/21 – https://mdeshaies.wordpress.com/ Marisa Deshaies
2/23 – https://agreateryes.wordpress.com/ Crystal Scott
2/24 – http://thegatheringfire.wordpress.com Stephanie Florentino
2/25 – http://dianasbookit.blogspot.com/ Diana Montgomery   
2/26 – http://www.liztolsma.comLiz Tolsma
2/27 – http://sarahruut.com/ Sarah Ruut
2/28 – http://notbybread.wordpress.com Ashley Taylor
3/1 – http://www.annaweaverbooks.com/giveaways Anna Weaver Hurrts
Featured Authors:

Heather L.L. FitzGerald – Debut author of young adult fantasy series, The Tethered World Chronicles
Kimberly Rose Johnson – Multi-published author of sweet romance series, The Wildflower B&B Romance
Angela Ruth Strong – Multi-published author of Finding Love in Sun Valley, Idaho, book one in the Resort to Love series

GIVEAWAY – Mountain Brook Ink will be giving away ONE KINDLE FIRE as a grand prize, and three Starbucks gift cards as runner-up prizes. Winners will be chosen at random.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to the Tethered World.  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 Lan Darr, in Realm Explorers Part LXXXIV!

-Annie Douglass Lima
Floyd and I enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Myanmar and Vietnam over Christmas break! Scroll to the bottom for links to blog posts about other parts of the trip. 
Here are some of our memories from the final evening of our trip, which happened to be New Year’s Eve, spent in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi.
The traffic was terrible!
We walked around a bit in the evening and found this huge New Year’s Eve event going on.
A bridge in a park.

Light decorations.
They had shut off a lot of streets to all but pedestrian traffic, and the area looked like a giant theme park!
More light decorations.
A brief video tour of the area where the celebration was happening.

This was a fun end to our Myanmar/Vietnam vacation. Memories for a lifetime!
Did you miss any of our other memories from our trip? Click on the links below!
Bagan-Mandalay River Cruise
Mandalay City
Ubein Bridge
Recently my students completed a project in which they had to create their own imaginary worlds. One part of the project involved writing a list of laws that must be followed in their world. Here are a few that I thought were particularly interesting (edited in some cases for spelling and clarity).

If you are a boy and you go in the city, you will go to prison for one week.

Whoever throws trash on the ground will get one of their hands burned off.

No stealing. If you do, you’ll have to return the stolen goods, then face two months in prison. After that, you’ll become the apprentice of the person you stole from for six months.

Every kid age twelve and up must go to war.

People who ask for peace shall be killed.

If a person hurts or provokes someone, they have to pay them with a chocolate bar.

If a person is shipping something, it must be delivered within two weeks, or the company/person that sent it will be fined a chocolate bar.

For dessert, everyone must have candy/chocolate/ice cream, or they will be sent to the court and have to eat a whole bowl of ice cream in front of the whole court, but they have to eat it upside-down.

Please clean up after your pet or yourself, otherwise you will have to do ten pushups.

No going out in winter, or you will have natural consequences.

You are not able to keep an island if you find one. You have to ask the king first. If it is broken you are banned from the island and you will be banned from sailing too.

A person can only have ten cheetahs at most.

You are not allowed to make someone get upset on purpose. If you do, you will need to go apologize to them and they can decide what they want to do with you. They are not allowed to do something that can hurt you.

Do not use up all the resources. Otherwise, you will be forced to give the resources back.

Any pig that leaves shall not return until they have done what they set off to do. If they do not do what they set off to do they shall not be let back into the planet until they complete what they set off to do.

Dress up properly to show dignity and respect for self. If not, you may not enter.

Everyone must learn at least two languages.

You must be able to shoot a three-pointer, or you can’t live here.

No killing animals for no reasons, or you’ll be hanged upside-down for three days.

In order to become a council member, you must know how to hunt, fight, fish, cook, read, write, know battle plans, never been in the dungeon, and graduate from Crystal River Technical College.

I’ve had my classes do this project for several years in a row now.  Click on the links below to read some of the interesting laws created by my students in previous years:

student laws from 2015

student laws from 2014

student laws from 2013

student laws from 2011

student laws from 2009

student laws from 2008

student laws from 2007

Floyd and I enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Myanmar and Vietnam over Christmas break! Scroll to the bottom for links to blog posts about other parts of the trip.

As part of our cruise in Vietnam, the ship stopped to let us out to tour this amazing cave right by the shore. It was absolutely incredible! The colors aren’t natural, though – there were different colored lights in different areas to show off the different formations.
A sign just outside the cave entrance.
Lots of cruise ships were moored outside the cave area!
The amazing interior of the cave!
A quick video tour of part of the inside of the cave.
Want to see more memories from our trip? Click on the links below!
Bagan-Mandalay River Cruise
Mandalay City
Ubein Bridge
Floyd and I enjoyed a wonderful vacation in Myanmar and Vietnam over Christmas break! Scroll to the bottom for links to blog posts about other parts of the trip.
Here are some of our memories from a two-day cruise we took around Vietnam’s incredibly beautiful Ha Long Bay.

The center picture in the above collage shows our little cruise ship; the others show the scenery around Ha Long Bay. This gorgeous area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
One of the cruise activities involved visiting a “pearl farm”, where we learned about how oysters are raised to produce pearls.

Our tour guide shows us the dangling nets where other oysters live while they’re young.

Young oysters live in baskets and on nets hanging from these beams. When they’re older, they’re taken out to the open water area in the background.
Here our guide explains part of the pearl production process.
Looking for pearls in an open oyster. This one does have a pearl! See it?
Another activity on our cruise in Ha Long Bay was learning to make spring rolls. Here’s the finished product, cooked and ready to eat. They were delicious!

Some footage from our cruise. Ha Long Bay is such a beautiful place!
Want to see more memories from our trip? Click on the links below!
Bagan-Mandalay River Cruise
Mandalay City
Ubein Bridge