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: Annie Douglass Lima

Title of book and/or series: The Gladiator and the Guard (sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach, both in the Krillonian Chronicles series)

Brief summary of the story:

Bensin, teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:

The story takes place in the Krillonian Empire, which is in a world whose culture and technology are almost exactly like our own in most ways. The main difference is that slavery is legal there. To learn more about the Krillonian Empire, click here to read my Realm Explorers post from last year. In today’s post, however, we will focus on life in Red Arena, one of four huge martial arts stadiums in the city of Jarreon. Bensin spends most of the story as a prisoner in Red Arena, where up to 100 gladiators undergo rigorous training during the week and compete on weekends against other arenas.

If we were to visit Red Arena as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?

First of all, arrive early. Red Arena’s weekend games are very popular, and while there are enough seats that they don’t often sell out completely, you’d better arrive at least an hour ahead of time if you want a spot at the front.

There’s only one thing for tourists to do at Red Arena. Watch the gladiators fight! Usually they duel against warriors from another arena, one pair of combatants at a time. Other times they are involved in “wars”, in which two “armies” of ten or twelve gladiators fight each other. Sometimes the arena managers plan other special events; for example, there’s an occasion in the story when a number of gladiators stand ready to compete with a number of different weapons. Random members of the audience get to pick numbers from a hat (a new one every five minutes), and this determines the order in which the gladiators are sent out to join the melee with their weapon of choice. 

Every now and then, Red Arena rents out its facility for other popular events, such as the annual Grand Imperial Cavvara Shil Tourney (open to male and female competitors in a variety of age groups). Bensin competes in the Grand Imperial in the book’s opening scene (before he becomes a gladiator), as well as in The Collar and the Cavvarach.

What dangers should we avoid in Red Arena?

Gladiators are dangerous and unpredictable, but a sturdy chain-link fence separates the central combat area from the stands, so spectators will never come in direct contact with them. 

However, should you ever be unfortunate enough to end up as a gladiator in the arena yourself, that would be a whole different story. Although the weekend games are usually not intended to result in death (that would be a waste), accidents can and do happen. Gladiators fight with razor-sharp weapons, after all, and injuries are common. In addition, gladiators tend to be violent by nature, and in the course of daily life in the arena, they are constantly looking for opportunities to prove that they’re tougher than those around them. Newcomers, especially, tend to be victimized until they learn to stand up for themselves. Fighting (except during official combat practice times with a trainer supervising) is strictly against the rules due to the danger of “damaging valuable arena property”. There are always multiple guards standing ready to put a stop to any altercations with the help of their shockwhips and dartblowers (more about those later). However, any gladiator would tell you that proving yourself is always worth the cost. If they’re quick, they can usually get in a few blows before the guards step in.

How and why do gladiators come to work in Red Arena in the first place?

Few people come voluntarily. Gile Murton, Red Arena’s manager, sometimes purchases slaves from their owners, if he finds some who are especially skilled in martial arts. In the city of Jarreon, enslavement (usually involving sale by auction) is a common punishment for certain crimes. So if Gile hears that a talented athlete, soldier, or someone else with the right skill set has been convicted of a crime and enslaved, he will place a bid in an attempt to secure the person for the arena. He occasionally offers a contract to a free martial artist, but this is rare, and it’s even rarer for anyone to accept it. Becoming a gladiator means being paid a generous sum in advance and then committing to a lifetime in the arena – and gladiators’ lives are notoriously short. As you can imagine, not many people would choose such an option, even though few outsiders have any idea of the strict training conditions and cruel treatment glads in Red Arena face on a daily basis.

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Red Arena?

Everything served in Red Arena meals is healthy, designed to keep gladiators’ energy up. In between workouts, they are served protein drinks with fresh ingredients and herbal supplements designed to help them rehydrate quickly, speed up healing, etc. They also snack on energy bars.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Red Arena?

The arena features a number of different martial arts, some of which are familiar in our world. Boxing, wrestling, mu tokk, Skeyvian scimitar dueling, spear fighting, Nelirian double daggers (fought with a dagger in each hand), and cavvara shil are the main ones mentioned. 

Cavvara shil is Bensin’s area of expertise. It involves a combination of kickfighting, which is similar to our kickboxing, and cavvara dueling, in which fighters strike at each other with a sword-like weapon called a cavvarach that has a hook about halfway along the top edge of the blade. You win a duel either by disarming your opponent (hooking, kicking or knocking the cavvarach out of his hand) or by pinning his shoulders to the ground for five seconds. Fighters wear a narrow shield-like guard, called a shil, on one forearm, and use it to block an opponent’s blows or kicks.

This scale model of a cavvarach was designed by a high school student at Morrison Academy and printed for the author on a 3D printer.

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Red Arena?

Transportation in the Krillonian Empire is pretty much the same as on Earth. Spectators could arrive at the arena by car or bus. Steene (Bensin’s former owner, coach, and friend) drives his decrepit blue pickup truck there a few times in his desperate attempts to find a way to rescue Bensin (and at one point, his truck breaks down in the arena parking lot and has to be towed). Gladiators sometimes travel by bus to compete at other arenas.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Red Arena? 

Technology in the Krillonian Empire as a whole is very similar to that found on Earth today. There are a few unusual items in use there, however. Guards and trainers at Red Arena always carry shockwhips: long, stiff whips with an adjustable strap that fastens around the user’s wrist. The whips deliver a painful blow that leaves a welt for several days. Pressing a button on the handle sends an electrical charge through the whip, and anyone struck with it then receives a painful electric shock. Gladiators are regularly lashed with shockwhips as a penalty for fighting or other rule breaking, or as a consequence for failing to meet the fitness goals their trainers set during workouts.

Red Arena guards also use dartblowers, which are little tubes about the length of a finger, worn on a cord around the neck. They contain tiny darts which, when they pierce the skin, cause a person to go limp and lose control of most muscles for several minutes. This is useful if glads are fighting each other, threatening arena staff, or otherwise engaging in potentially dangerous activities. A prick from a dart will leave them slumped motionless on the floor long enough for anyone in danger to get away or for guards to call for reinforcements. The glad is conscious and can still hear what’s happening around him, he just can’t move or open his eyes. The dart wears off gradually, and after that, he’ll have a headache for several hours. 

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Red Arena.

During breaks after meals and between workouts, gladiators hang out in the rec room and play cards. A card game called ruple is particularly popular. 

When a gladiator defeats his opponent out on the sand, he is rewarded with a day of “champion privileges”. This involves a morning of exciting virtual reality video games and an afternoon of movies and (healthy) snacks. As you might expect, the video games and movies are always quite violent.
What is the political or government structure in Red Arena?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?

Well, there isn’t a government, as such, but Red Arena does have a hierarchical structure.

The manager’s name is Gile Murton. He oversees arena operations and does everything he can to acquire talented new warriors and make sure they become vicious killers to raise Red Arena’s ratings and bring in as much money as possible. He makes no secret of the fact that he doesn’t care about anyone or anything unless they bring profit to the arena. However, he can put on a very warm front when he’s trying to recruit potential gladiators, and he always acts friendly and proud toward glads who have just won in the arena games. However, he has no qualms about using people in whatever ways suit his purposes. All the gladiators at Red Arena hate him, and so do most of the guards and trainers. 

Riddior Chelgo is Red Arena’s training manager. He oversees the ten trainers and their training plans for the gladiators under them, and often pulls glads aside himself for special training sessions. Genuinely friendly, he is the only arena employee who ever engages in casual conversation with the gladiators. He is generous with compliments and leaves the criticism to others. Gladiators like and respect him, and he doesn’t fear them as Gile and the guards do. He doesn’t carry a shockwhip or dartblower, though he’s always accompanied by guards who do.

There are ten trainers at Red Arena, each responsible for ten gladiators. They create and are constantly updating individualized training plans for each glad, adjusting them when necessary to make allowance for injuries. Trainers have the extra incentive of a generous financial bonus whenever a glad in their “ten” wins in combat against another arena.

An assistant trainer works with each trainer, helping to supervise the gladiators’ workouts and combat practice. They take over training responsibilities twice a week when trainers have the day off.

Guards are always present during the day, ready to protect trainers if the glads in their ten turn on them. Some guards patrol the arena at ground level, shockwhips and dartblowers at the ready. Others look down on the gym, rec room, etc. from balconies at the second-floor level, where they can use their dartblowers as necessary while keeping well away from any possible danger.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Red Arena that we don’t see on Earth?

There are no plants or animals at the arena, and humans are the only sentient beings in the Krillonian Empire. They come in a variety of races, closely coinciding with races found on Earth, though their cultures don’t necessarily match. Bensin, a Tarnestran, has “light skin, short blond hair, and green eyes” (though hair and eye color can vary). Nelirians, like Bensin’s friend Ricky, have “narrowed eyes and high cheekbones”. Imperians such as Steene are described with “medium brown skin and straight black hair”. Skeyvians, like Riddior, have “dark skin and kinky black hair”. 

Slavery in the Krillonian Empire is not based on race; people from any race can be enslaved as a punishment for certain crimes. (Attempting to help slaves escape is one such crime.) Large numbers of people from certain provinces, such as Tarnestra, have been enslaved all at once as a consequence for resisting Imperial annexation.

How can gladiators leave the arena?

Permanently? There’s only one way: in a bodybag. But Steene is determined to find a way to get Bensin out alive, no matter the cost….

Author Autobiography:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books? 

The Collar and the Cavvarach is available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon here.

The Gladiator and the Guard is available on Kindle here or in other digital formats (Nook, PDF, etc.) here.

My other books can be found here.

Where can readers connect with you online? 

Email: [email protected]

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Red Arena.  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 land of Tanniyn, in Realm Explorers Part XCVIII!
-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: Sue Bridgwater with co-author Alistair McGechie
Title of book and/or series: The Skorn Series; Legends of Skorn, Perian’s Journey, Shadows of the trees.
Brief summary of the stories: Legends of Skorn is a short story reproducing the myths and origin-tales of the world of Skorn, as compiled by Aril, Scribe of Saracoma.  It is published in Dreamless Roads, a collection edited by Jan Hawke. 

Perian’s journey begins high on a mountain when he first sees a beautiful flower at the heart of a dark thorn. It is to be a journey beset with many perils and filled always with contrast, as the forces of good and evil in the outer world mirror the successes and failures of Perian’s own life. In the classic tradition of the great quest stories, Perian encounters a wizard, a dragon, and high adventure; and also the betrayal and love, sorrow and joy, of everyday life. Perian’s Journey is both an adventure story told in spare resonant prose, and an interior journey, as a boy grows to manhood and confronts his personal destiny.

Shadows of the Trees is a longer mythological novel set in the Second Age, that tells the story of Saranna and Drewin, two of the Goddess Iranor’s children, who live with their mother on the Isle of the West Wind, which lies outside of time. When Drewin makes two amulets, Iranor is incensed, and Saranna and Drewin are cast out into the world of passing years. They are separated at sea and follow different paths in pursuit of an understanding of their sin and acceptance of their mortality.

A third novel, The Dry Well, is now in preparation and follows the further adventures of Saranna.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Skorn was created by the great Goddess Ellanna as she drifted through the cosmos before Time began.  It is a world of magic, wizards and adventure with wide deserts, forests and magical seas.
If we were to visit Skorn as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Do not miss the mighty trees of the Forest lands, the great horses of Lassian, the songs and cheer of the East Isles in the north, or the heady joys of Sharn the Dissolute with its many taverns and inns. 
What dangers should we avoid in Skorn?
Some evil forces still lurk in hidden places of Skorn – beware Kemara the Sorceress, Groddin the Guardian of the mountain gates, the fierce Priests of Sen-Mar.  Avoid the deserts of IssKor.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Skorn?
I fear the magical fruits of Lavrum are all gone, but the wines of Mardara are renowned, and the fresh fish of both the East and West Isles is outstanding.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Skorn?
Sword, spear, bow and arrow, magic.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in Skorn?
Horse and donkey-back, horse-drawn vehicles, and long walks!
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Skorn that we don’t see on Earth?
Skorn bears a strong resemblance to earth except for its pantheon of Goddesses and Gods, and the people of the sea, the Leartendans.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Skorn?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
The magics of Skorn are subtle and delicate, emanating from Iranor and her children as well as from some of the primeval forces of the world.  On the evil side, powers of binding, control and imprisonment; on the good, the sweet musics of the West Wind from Iranor’s isle that strengthens and sustains those in trouble.  The wizards are learned in lore but are not supernatural beings – they serve the lady Siannor, daughter of Iranor.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Skorn.
In the east Isles in the long winters they hold Reylings, gatherings for song and story and dancing.  Children all over Skorn sing and chant traditional sings and rhymes. 
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Skorn as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there? 
See diagram below

Is there a particular religion practiced in Skorn?  Please describe what it involves.
Religious practice varies between countries; all the Goddesses and Gods are Children of Iranor and in most lands are seen as beneficent and caring.  In IssKor the people were long under the harsh and punitive regime of the Priests of Jaren the Terrible.
What is the political or government structure in Skorn?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
This varies; there are kingdoms, theocracies, and loose associations of peoples in the different countries.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Skorn?
Not unique, but it is wise not to annoy deities, dragons or wizards!  It is considered polite to say when entering a home, ‘Peace be on your house’ and when someone is leaving, ‘peace attend your path.’
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your books?
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your books?
Oppression and religious bigotry.
Sue Bridgwater
Author Autobiography:
SUE BRIDGWATER was born in Plymouth in 1948 and after 20 years in Hackney, East London has now retired home to Devon. She has generally earned her living as a librarian, and has been writing seriously since the early 1980s. Sue read English at Bedford College, London, graduating in 1970. Her M. Phil. in Children’s Fantasy Fiction was done externally during her children’s pre-school years, and was awarded in 1984.  She was a Tutor in Literature and Creative Writing from 1982-96 for the Workers’ Educational Association (London District) and the Centre for Extra-Mural Studies, University of London (now a part of Birkbeck College, University of London). Sue has completed a Birkbeck College Certificate in Creative Writing, September 2002-June 2004, developing fiction techniques and skills.  Her main interest is in Fantasy and Science Fiction. She is currently working on the third novel in the Skorn sequence and on non-fiction in the field of Mythopoeic studies.
Alistair McGechie was born in 1946 and was brought up in Harrow in Middlesex. He has always liked numbers and he eventually ended up working in local government doing educational statistics. He is not actively involved in this area of work anymore, but retains an interest in educational matters. He has now retired to Letchworth in Hertfordshire.
His degree was in philosophy and he has always been interested in this approach to ideas. He continues to read and study this subject (which gives him a license to study anything). Sometimes, the philosophical questions are connected with the fantasy writing in interesting ways. It is not clear exactly what the connection is: you would have to read the stories to get some idea: it may be that the work of Ursula Le Guin has had more influence.
Alistair took up writing through the Workers’ Educational Association, where he met Sue Bridgwater, who encouraged him to write fantasy stories. They worked together on the first Skorn book, Perian’s Journey. This developed into the Skorn project and they ended up working together on that.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
All the books listed in this post can be purchased in paperback or eFormat  HERE
Where can readers connect with you online?  HERE
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Skorn.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the authors 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 a gladiatorial arena in the Krillonian Empire, in Realm Explorers Part XCVII!
-Annie Douglass Lima

A message from her dead husband turns Mary Cox’s life upside down. Someone wants to kill her and her daughter, Faith. They’ll stop at nothing to track her down. The only man she trusts is her best friend’s brother Jace, except, he lied to her before. Will secrets from her past destroy the life she’s made for herself or bring them closer together and to God?
Just as Jace Smith begins to adjust to civilian life, a cry of help from the only woman he’s ever cared for sends him back into the heat of battle. The type where someone—may not come out alive in the end. Secrets are revealed and nothing will ever be the same again. He’d do anything to keep Mary and her daughter safe from the danger after them. But a secret from his past threatens everything. Can they ever get back what they once had or die trying?
The chime of the door bell propelled Mary Cox down the hall. If the person on the other side woke her daughter, she’d pound them. Another long night up with a teething one-year old. She reached for the door knob and jerked it open harder than she wanted to. With her right hand, she grabbed the doorframe to keep herself from falling into the man’s arms on the other side.
Her gaze settled on a tall man in black shorts and a purple shirt. Delivery. She didn’t remember ordering anything. He raised a brow at her as she placed a finger to her lips. He shrugged his broad shoulders and smiled at her as he thrust a clipboard at her. She signed and he handed her the package. Sweat beaded against her forehead as her stomach rolled. Bad sign. Mary made her way into the living room in a daze. Her legs shook and she eyed the blue couch for a moment.
She sat on the couch, and opened it. A DVD fell out. Who would send something like this? She rose, walked over and placed it inside the player. The disk started moments later. She gasped and her hand flew to her mouth. Bruce. Her now dead husband starred back at her on the screen.
Mary’s legs began to shake as did the rest of her body. She sank to the floor and wrapped her arms around her chest. It felt like her heart might break all over again into a million pieces. Her body ached as tears sprung to life in her eyes. Bruce sat in a room in his uniform. She always loved him in it. He looked so sexy. His blue eyes stared back at her. Like he was standing in the room with her. The rich baritone in his voice wrapped around her. She couldn’t focus on his words. The sight of him again after a year muted all other sensory perception. She’d give anything to touch him once again.
She reached a hand to the screen and stroked his face. Mary closed her eyes to put his face in the imprint of her mind… not that she needed to. The taut skin would be warm against her palm. His whiskers would brush her cheeks as he kissed her. She’d inhale the wonderful masculine scent of Old Spice and Bruce.
The cessation of his voice brought her out of her memories. Startled, she got up and skipped back to the scene once again. This time she concentrated on his words. The stern look on his face had her back ramrod straight.
“If anything happens to me or I die, it’s not an accident. They’ve found me and took me out for what I know.” His voice cracked. Bruce stood and started to pace, his eyes cast down. He ran a hand through his hair before he looked back at the screen. The black hair slipped through her fingers like fluffy clouds. “I love you so much, Mary and still it wasn’t enough. Don’t you know I’d do anything to keep you safe? Anything.” He let out a nervous laugh. The sight of his teeth made a frog catch in her throat. He’d always had the greatest smile. “You and the baby mean more to me than I’d ever be able to tell you. Now, honey, I don’t want to scare you, but they’ll come after you once they take me out. I just pray they go down before it comes to that.”
Faith? Faith’s in danger? Her hands shook. What had he gotten himself involved in? A part of her knew he’d never do anything to bring harm to her and the baby if he could help it. The other part wanted to beat him. How could she keep Faith safe now with Bruce gone? None of this made any sense. She batted the tears away with the back of her hand.
“I can’t give out much information in case the DVD is taken by them. Just look into the name Robert Wesley. But be careful. Ask Jace to help you. I love you and the baby. Be brave.”

Buy the book here: Kindle
Allyson writes in the Edgy Christian market in the suspense and romance genres. In her books, you’ll find emotionally stirring story lines, as well as suspense with faith mixed in. She resides in Missouri with her loving husband and four wonderful children, and three cats. When not spending time with her family, you can find her knitting, and watching way too many suspense shows and reality TV.

She can be found around the internet at these places her website, Facebook and Twitter.
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. 
Dawn has the first three books in the series set up with reduced prices this week starting at $0.99 for the first book and $1.99 for the other two (and she rarely has books 2 and 3 on sale!). Kindle Countdown deals increase in price over time, so the sooner you buy them, the more of a discount you’ll receive off the list price!

Author’s name: Dawn Blair

Title of book and/or series: Sacred Knight: The Three Books (Legend 1), Manifest the Magic(Legend 2), To Birth a Destiny(Legend 3), and History of a Dead Man(a companion novella). There are two more titles still to be released.
Brief summary of the story: 
It’s about a young man, Steigan, who discovers that magic is returning to his world. He’s always been told that magic is evil and dangerous, so he sets out to stop it. To do this, Steigan has to find three books that contain the secrets to restrain magic. In his quest, he learns about his namesake, who was both saint and betrayer to the Temple. Saint Steigan had been responsible for hiding away the books a thousand cycles before. When Steigan finds the books, he gets led into a larger quest to discover why magic was taken from the world and to defeat the enemies that couldn’t be overcome before.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
My planet has a tilt to its orbit which keeps one side constantly facing the sun and the other pole is always away. There are three continents on this planet that I’m currently aware of: the northernmost which always faces the sun, and this area is very much fashioned like ancient Arabia. It’s sandy and sparsely populated. The southernmost continent is obviously like Antartica. It is just too inhospitable to make a living on that part of the planet, especially where they are in nearly constant darkness and cold, so no one lives there. I imagine that there have been shipwrecks down there, with no rescue or salvage missions planned – at least none I’m aware of. Located near the equator, with most of the land falling in northern hemisphere is the third continent. It is here where my Sacred Knight series takes place. There is no official name for the continent as the three main civilizations splitting it the land would never get along long enough to decide on a name. The west holds the territories of New Lilinar. To the southeast beyond the Palin Mountains is Plenelia. To the northeast is the kingdom of Dubinshire. These are smaller towns throughout, some falling under the larger domain’s control and some remaining independent. The planet has one sun, but it is orbited by three moons which make the nights very bright because there are always at least two in the sky.
If we were to visit as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
While you’re in New Lilinar, you’ll want to visit the Temple. It sits in the middle of a lake which is pretty much the center of town. If you’re brave, you might want to see if you can sneak into the ruins of Lilinar. But beware; there are nasties in there. It truly is as haunted as the rumors say.
When you visit Dubinshire, you’ll want to tour the main castle. The nobility of Dubinshire have always been very nice and humble. Ask to see the curios that Lord Ithanes gathered over the cycles. We’re not sure how many of them work, but they certainly are pretty with their silver and gold and crystals. There’s also Dubinshire Park where they hold the annual Springsday Festival. From here, you can see far out over the ocean for miles. If you dare to look down from the cliffs, you might see one of the fisherman from Montikovert. Legend has it that Montikovert broke away from Dubinshire after a civil war. Today, the citizens get along well enough for trade, but there’s still a few animosities that run deep.
Aside from these two major towns, there are a number of smaller, quaint towns that you can visit or take a sail from one port town to the next for easy traveling. If you’re lucky, you might run into a centaur or two in the less populated areas. They don’t much like to visit Dubinshire or New Lilinar for all the stares they get.
What dangers should we avoid in New Lilinar and Dubinshire?
At the moment, gargaxes have been spotted flying around near New Lilinar. Certainly that’s just someone’s imagination gone wild though. After all, gargaxes are a mythical beast, told of to scare children, right?
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in New Lilinar and Dubinshire?
Strickleberries. Oh, my word! Strickleberries can be eaten right off the bush. Just be careful of the prickly leaves. If you really want a treat, just heat the berries up a bit and that makes them as sweet as can be. They make all sorts of things with strickleberries: ale, tea, pie, jam, tarts, cake, bread, syrups, etc. The list goes on and on. Steigan is absolutely addicted to strickleberries, which is probably why I’ve heard so much about them. 
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in New Lilinar and Dubinshire?
Swords are the main weapons used. Daggers are commonly used as secondary weapons.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to New Lilinar and Dubinshire?
Most travel is on horseback or with a carriage or wagon pulled by horses.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in New Lilinar or Dubinshire that we don’t see on Earth?
I’ve mentioned the centaurs. They aren’t very fond of humans, so a sighting is really rare. But they need supplies too and often trade for what they require. Generally, they keep to themselves. It hasn’t always been this way, so I’m told, and at one time they got along very well with the humans. The world just hasn’t been the same since the fairies went away.
Another rare sight is the unicorns. Steigan’s unicorn, Tyana, is probably the most well-known because she’s frequently with him. But to see another unicorn is nearly unheard of.
Should we talk about the gargaxes here too? Well, yes, they are a sentient race if you hold the term loosely. They start off as Shant’olin, ghostly wisps with barely any form at all. Once they have taken enough of someone’s soul, they transform into a gray beast with wings. These winged beasts circle in the sky looking for magic. They’re purpose was once to keep the humans scattered into small groups over the land so that no one group got too powerful. Now they are just hungry for magic, so watch out for them.
Then there are the cahasters, or at least one that I know of. He’s about the size of a large kitten but looks like a baby dragon. Oh, he’s so cute! Or is he? I just don’t know if I’d want to trust a cahaster with my life.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in New Lilinar and Dubinshire?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Insider secret here: magic is returning. A thousand cycles ago, the crazy Queen of Lilinar sealed away magic after her kingdom was destroyed during The Breaking, a time when the domini and maeges turned on each other. Or that’s the story. Now, many people in New Lilinar believe magic is superstitious nonsense. They both hate and fear the people of Dubinshire, who are said to still practice magic.
Of course, the Plenelians really hate magic, so much so that they recently started a war with New Lilinar called the Palin Wars. Even though the domini of New Lilinar drove back the Plenelians at the time, the people of New Lilinar still aren’t sure why the Plenelians initiated their attacks.
It is said that the mythical creatures known as gargaxes feed on a person’s magic, and that they can poke a hole in a person’s magical aura which will keep draining the person’s magic and feeding the gargax until the person dies. Let’s hope that’s not true because no one knows how to heal such a wound and if the gargaxes are returning…
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in New Lilinar or Dubinshire?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
No, not really. I do have some theories about this though as I have often wondered why in a basically a thousand years or two time there hasn’t been much change in technology. Galault, the watcher of worlds, gave me the answer. This planet is orbited by three moons so it’s very uncommon for there to be a moonless night. Often, there are two moons in the sky at any given time. These drown out many of the stars. So, since no one has ever had the chance to study the movement of the stars, there has been no need for mathematics. The people of this world have yet to discover that their planet has a dual elliptical orbit around their sun, with one of the ellipses being a shorter timespan than the other. Not by much, but it does slightly warp their years. Because of all this, no true calendar has been developed. They mark time by the seasons. Dubinshire has four seasons because they are higher in the mountains: warming, growing, harvesting, and cold. New Lilinar which is down in a vast valley has three seasons: rainy, growing, and harvesting. Because their continent is pretty much on the equator of their planet, it never snows in New Lilinar. Dubinshire, again being higher in the mountains, does get snow. Plenelia will occasionally get snow since they are kind of in-between the two and does have a chain of mountainous terrain.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in New Lilinar or Dubinshire?
There is the Brackchoi triathalon which is run every seven years. I’ve never been to one of these, but I’m told the event is quite fun. It involves horseback riding, running, caber tossing. 
The Tachin Board is a game played in taverns which is similar to darts except the point is to land your dart in a special area which allows you to move a piece on a board which is similar to the three dimensional chess boards seen on Star Trek.
Card games are also popular in New Lilinar and its territories. At one time, divination cards were popular.
In Dubinshire, there is a game similar to mancala, but that can occasionally get a little bloody, so I’m told.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in New Lilinar and Dubinshire as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
As mentioned above, there is no true calendar. As some reader will undoubtedly note, when Steigan finds the tomb of his namesake, Saint Steigan, there is a dated inscription on the tomb. This is because when Lilinar and Dubinshire were actually friendly countries and the world was prosperous, many saperes did try to establish a way to mark time. They tried to come up with a calendar system, but they were just beginning to note that it wasn’t accurate. They were so close to discovering the dual orbits of their planet and being able to calculate an adjustment for that when Lilinar was destroyed in The Breaking. Now I’m sure the saperes of Dubinshire had enough information to make the adjustment and if not, they still continued their work. But as the people of Lilinar went through The Reunification, Holy Sapere Tanold did not think this was a priority and probably had all the work burned, if it hadn’t already been destroyed in The Breaking. Many of the traditions that Lilinar had, such as the tri-lunar ceremony, were done away with as New Lilinar rose from the ashes. After Holy Sapere Tanold died, it was decided that a Holy Sapere should only rule for 15 years, after which he went to serve on the Council of Elders for the remainder of his life. That’s when they began the Sacred Knight challenges to determine the next Holy Sapere. During a Sacred Knight challenge, candidates for the position of Holy Sapere chose two Sacred Knights to represent them during the three tests. The first challenge is standard: the Sacred Knights go out tracking a wastile, a rather large and brightly feathered bird. The next two challenges vary during every contest and are chosen by the Council of Elders. The council read the results of the contests to determine which candidate the Goddess prefers.
Is there a particular religion practiced in New Lilinar or Dubinshire?  Please describe what it involves.
Both Dubinshire and New Lilinar have Holy Saperes, but in each territory their functions are a little different. Dubinshire still follows the old ways. They have become very secretive about their religion and close it off to only citizens of Dubinshire. I would hope that they send saperes out among their citizens to help give them guidance and direction, since the chapel in Dubinshire castle cannot possibly hold all the citizens of Dubinshire, but they won’t even answer that question for me.
New Lilinar does have saperes that travel, both within New Lilinar and to its outlying territories.  Also, many of the citizens in the outlying towns perform a role as a sapere as well as have other duties in the towns where they live; that is to say that they have primary jobs and only dedicate themselves to service of the Temple on their rotating shifts. Steigan’s adoptive father, Sim, is a good example. Sim owns an inn and tavern, but he also is a sapere of second rank.
New Lilinar worships the Goddess Alityka. There is speculation as to her having once been a warrior who led an uprising against Gohaldinest and its demons, but since neither Gohaldinest nor demons exist, either she was successful or it was just a story. The stories of Alityka and her beliefs are written down in a book called the Lilton. I have come across old versions of the Lilton which look a little strange to me, almost as if their words were erased and written over. I guess the clerics who once translated all the old texts occasionally made errors. That has to be it, right?
What is the political or government structure in New Lilinar or Dubinshire?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
New Lilinar is lead by the Holy Sapere as discussed above. Holy Sapere Adonid is about to be replaced and move onto the Council of Elders. Steigan has been chosen as Sacred Knight for Sapere Martias, a most unlikely candidate. Rarely seen in public, Adonid is a soft-spoken man who moves with a gentle grace. With his long, straight blond hair, he looks absolutely divine in the Holy Sapere robes, which come behind his head like a sunburst.
Dubinshire is currently ruled by Lord Irragon. He seems like a pleasant enough man and a good ruler. Of course, he’d knew that I’d just come from New Lilinar, so he was probably trying to make a good impression. I’m told his daughters are quite beautiful, but I haven’t seen either of them around.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I came up with the idea of strickleberries long before I started wildcrafting my own herbs. I was out on a foraging workshop when I first came across Oregon Grapes. I knew I’d found my strickleberries! In learning about Oregon Grapes, I was able to develop my strickleberries in more detail. Of course, there is no “Oregon” in my book, so I was really glad I already had a name. More of my own herbalism and love of precious stones comes out in the second and third books of the series as we delve deeper into the magic.
The ideas for the saperes in a town to hold dual roles came out of our own history. Many of the ancient Egyptian priests also had other jobs or other functions within their society.
The outside of the Temple in New Lilinar is actually based on Bodiam Castle. I had to change the inside to fit my story, but when I saw the castle on the lake, I knew it was my Temple.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Well, there are a couple of scenes that I like people to be aware of with The Three Books. My character’s adoptive parents own a tavern. There’s a scene early in the book where Steigan thinks his life has just fallen apart (oh, little does he know how bad it’s going to get!). He goes back to the tavern and orders up some strickleberry ale. Now, he’s pretty sure that his ma has watered it down, but it’s his first experience with alcohol. I never say that there is an age limit on drinking in my world and for all I know, giving mead and ale to kids might be perfectly acceptable on this planet. It probably is. But here’s the backstory: my mother was an alcoholic and so I have very strong views on alcohol. My son was 13 when he was reading a draft of this and came to me with the question, “Mom, are you sure you want to do this?” I told him to keep reading and finish the scene and we’d talk about it after he finished. When he had, he came back and said that he was good with the scene and how it wrapped up. There were ramifications to the drinking. It’s also the last time Steigan does so – a lesson well learned.
There is another scene where the princess from Dubinshire is trying to get physically close Steigan. I wanted a scene to show a female character as an aggressor because it does happen. Now, Steigan is an orphan and realizes that his life is given to the Temple as one of their warriors. He certainly doesn’t want to leave any fatherless children behind and he knows what this kind of behavior can lead to, so he puts a stop to her. Don’t think he wasn’t enchanted by her though; he spends the rest of the book trying to resist after she’s awoken new feelings within him. He’s no saint after all.
Author Autobiography:
Just ask and I will tell you I’m a multi-dimensional, time-traveling tour guide. I love telling stories about noble hearts and fantastic places. In addition to writing, I also draw and paint, which has lead me into other areas such as comic illustration, animating, and photography. Because I’ve always loved cartoons and would have loved to be a voice actor had I known that it was actually a career choice, I’ve recently started recording my own audiobooks.

In addition to my Sacred Knight series, I’m writing another series called The Loki Adventures, novellas about Loki, Norse god of mischief and his life under parole in Midgard. I wrote a non-fiction editing book for authors titled The Write Edit. I’ve won numerous awards for writing, art, and photography and have collectors of my paintings in Canada, Spain, Australia, and the United States. When I have extra time, I work on a webcomic called Weblinks about vampires trying to save the world.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?  Please include links.
Currently, my books are all on Kindle and available for print through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I do plan on expanding my distribution in May, making the titles available through other outlets such as Kobo. Please watch my website for availability.
Where can readers connect with you online? 
All of my books can be found at www.morningskystudios.com as well as my page on Amazon. You can also find links to book trailer videos for Sacred Knight at each place as well as on YouTube.
Sacred Knight has a Facebook page.
On my blog, you can also sign up for my newsletter which is full of additional writing and art goodies. I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to New Lilinar and Dubinshire.  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 ______, in Realm Explorers Part XCVI!
-Annie Douglass Lima
I’m excited to announce that my young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

Click here to order The Collar and the Cavvarach from Amazon 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!


And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!


Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard in Kindle format from Amazon 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

Click here to order The Gladiator and the Guard from Smashwords (for Nook or in other digital formats) 
for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through May 30th!

Connect with the Author Online:

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

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Murder Under the Magnolias-01

The first full week in April means a blooming business for Grace Ward, whose floral designs will be part of several parties with the major golf tournament in town. After the murder of a young woman with a mysterious tattoo, Grace finds herself in the middle of an investigation and wonders if these parties she’s helping with are actually fronts for something more sinister.          


It was spring in Augusta. I’m thoroughly convinced there’s a place in Heaven that looks just like my hometown does as it comes into the full glory of spring. Of course, Heaven wouldn’t have the yellow haze of pollen that leaves many to sneeze, wheeze, and become otherwise uncomfortable. With its multicolored azaleas, sweet-scented purple wisteria, and lovely pink and white dogwoods, Augusta is enchanted and ethereal. It truly lives up to its nickname of The Garden City. I think the azaleas have always been my favorite especially the fuchsia colored ones. And with a week to go before one of the premiere events in pro golf took place in my city, the azaleas were almost in full bloom. Everything had awakened from its winter slumber seemingly overnight, and the trees, grass, and shrubs seemed to know they had to be the exact same color as those beautiful fairways off Augusta’s Washington Road.  

cropped-230-2.jpgAbout the Author
Charmain Zimmerman Brackett, a veteran journalist, has written several books including the young adult book, The Key of Elyon, the 2014 Yerby Award for Fiction winner at the Augusta Literary Festival and an illustrated children’s book, Little Pearl’s Circus World, the 2015 winner of the Georgia Writers Association’s Georgia Author of the Year Award. Little Pearl’s Circus World is based on the true story of her great-grandmother, Pearl Clark LaComa, who began performing in her father’s circus at the age of 4. Because of her newspaper background, she likes writing in different genre. 

Website: www.charmainzbrackett.com   
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thekeyofelyon   
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CZBrackett   
Buy the Book: http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Magnolias-Graces-Augusta-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01DOCWIDM      

Historical Christian Romance
Historical Christian Romance

Summary: Rose dreamed of leaving the Sioux reservation in Santee, NE. Now, faced with the wide world, she must decide if she is truly ready to strike out on her own and take the risk. Rose has fought against the painful abuse of her father and the loneliness of a mother long-dead of a white man’s sickness. When Pete offers her the chance to escape to a new life, she must take it or marry into the same abuse she’s lived for so long.

Pete has always helped Rose from the shadows. Being half-white, he’s had to. He has loved Rose for as long as he can remember, but he must prove his worth to her by helping her to freedom and safety. Pete must compete for the right to take Rose to Kansas but his young and impetuous heart steers him wrong. In shame, he abandons Rose, but can never leave her care completely to someone else. When they finally make it to Kansas, Pete comes out of the shadows once again.

Once within the safety of a Kansas ranch, can Rose forgive Pete for leaving her? Will Pete remain the brooding half-blood from the reservation, or grow into the man Rose needs him to be?

Kari Trumbo Author picture 

About the Author: Kari Trumbo is a writer of Christian Historical Romance and a stay-at-home mom to four vibrant children. She does freelance developmental editing and blogging. When she isn’t writing or editing, she homeschools her children and pretends to keep up with them. Kari loves reading, listening to contemporary Christian music, singing with the worship team, and curling up near the wood stove when winter hits. She makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband of eighteen years, two daughters, two sons, and three cats.

Forsaking All Others
Western Vows, Prequel
By Kari Trumbo
Genre: Historical Christian Romance

Places to follow Kari:

Website Facebook Twitter Pinterest Amazon

Amazon Link: amazon.com/author/karitrumbo
Barnes and Noble: Forsaking All Others
Apple iBooks: Forsaking All Others
Kobo: Forsaking All Others

 Excerpt from Forsaking All Others

“Pete.” She shook him. “Wake up, something’s out there.” Pete’s eyes opened to narrow slits and he looked at her, sleep still in complete control of him. She shook him again as an ominous groaning sound came from the other side of the rock. 

Looking up, she caught sight of a huge furry head with a brown muzzle and black nose. A great paw with massive claws came over the top of the rocks. She heard it snort as it sniffed the air. Her eyes flew wide open and she couldn’t control her gasping breaths. 

Pete sat upright, fully awake now. He grabbed for his pack lying next to hers by the far rock wall, and banged their spoon against a cook pot. The bear looked down at him with inquisitive, almost sad-looking eyes. It climbed onto the rock above them and stared down, its sides expanding and contracting as if this was nothing new, like it woke humans every day.

“Rose,” he whispered, “whatever you do, don’t run. You can’t outrun it, do you hear me?” He didn’t look away from the bear. Banging on the pot with increasing speed, he had no effect on the massive, hairy beast.

The bear climbed down into their small enclosure. Rose held her breath. She wanted to run more than breathe. Pete gave her a look that told her to stay put. She scooted on her backside as far away from the bear as she could, until her back hit the rock and she was trapped.

It sniffed the air again and grabbed for Rose’s pack, which carried the little food she’d scraped together for their trip. The invader turned around, climbed back over the rock, and she heard it splash into the river and wade downstream. She sat with her mouth open and tried to get her breathing under control.

“Well, that was quite a start to our trip,” Pete mumbled as he shoved the pan back into his bag. “We’ll need to find breakfast, since ours is now gone.”



Archer is a magician with a few more tricks up his sleeve than even the savviest street performer could imagine. Devilishly handsome and full of dark secrets, his devil-may-care attitude came at a price and unfortunately for him, the devil may care after all.
When he meets Hannah, a runaway whose art is more than it seems, he’s determined to keep her and her drama at arm’s length. But their souls are tied together with bonds that won’t be ignored, and it’s going to take all his skill to keep her safe from the horde that follows her every move.
Heather Sutherlin lives in Arkansas with her husband and three children. She is the author of fantasy adventures for young adults. She loves all things creative and enjoys the worlds she dreams up, longing to live the adventure alongside her characters. When she’s not at her writing desk, she is busy exploring and learning with her children or cooking big, elaborate meals in the kitchen with her husband.
You can see more of Heather at her website, HeatherSutherlin.com

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:
Peggy M. McAloon
Title of book and/or series:
“Missing”, Book 2 in the Lessons from Fiori Series
Brief summary of “Missing” – Book 2 in the Lessons from Fiori Series:
Elle Burton’s baby brother, JJ, has been kidnapped. As a newly designated guide, sworn to protect the children of Earth, she’s desperate to get him back. Elle teams up with the winged warriors from Fiori to save him … but JJ isn’t the only one in danger.
Missing follows Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals as book two in the Lessons from Fiori series. In the first book, Elle is designated as a guide to winged creatures from another dimension. Their job is to protect the children of Earth from the moment of birth until their eighth birthday. Not all human children are able to see these creatures, but Elle can and she’s eleven now.
As Elle struggles with her new designation as a guide to these creatures on Earth, she discovers she is the only one in centuries who has been able to unleash the magic of the Fiori Pendant. Everything points to the stunning revelation that she may be the girl who completes three challenges in her eleventh year, as predicted in the Sacred Scrolls of Destiny. Did she complete the third challenge when she brought Pegasus back to life?

Elle quickly learns in book two that the children who suffer at the hands of bullies (both young and old) frequently can’t find their voices to ask for help when they desperately need it. In Missing, she struggles with her demons too, finding she’s not as perfect as everyone thinks she is. Her anger at her brother’s disappearance and the frustration of being unable to bring him home is heightened by the fact that the authorities remain a heart-stopping step behind the kidnapper.

These books are filled with compassion and lean on fantasy and magic to inspire kids to be their best and help others in need while still having the courage to ask for help when they need it. You may even find yourself cheering for bullies to become better people.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Fiori is located in a parallel dimension to Earth. Things are similar to our world and yet they are quite different. Flowers can be as big as tractor tires, while elephants are miniaturized house pets. Fiori is filled with winged creatures. The Fiorins who typically protect the children have exquisite butterfly-like wings. There are warriors in Fiori who have wings more like a moth. This allows them to move more quickly in battle.
In book two, Elle travels with a female warrior named Amara, to an area of Fiori called the Fiume Valley. Human guides have never before been allowed to travel to this section. In addition to the profusion of flowers of every color and shape imaginable, there are bleak mountain ranges and far in the distance you’ll see a huge body of water similar to our oceans. The ocean waters can be seen from the cliffs, but no one has allowed Elle to explore that area yet.
I would love to share information about the Fiume Valley, but it would spoil the story for everyone. What I can tell you is that I would love to camp out there for several months. My inner child cries to go to such a magical place where all my childish dreams could possibly be realized. It’s a place where there is no war and hatred doesn’t exist. It’s a place man would destroy if given an opportunity.

If we were to travel to Fiori what would you recommend we do and which things should we avoid?
You definitely want to ride on the back of a giant-turquoise Truero to view the reflection ponds of Fiori. It is in these ponds that the reflections of every child on Earth under the age of eight appear. Through the reflections of these children, the Fiorins can travel between the two worlds.
Avoid the ruthless Zorins who dwell on the barren cliffs at all costs. It’s a rare event when a Fiorin or human guide who wanders into their territory ever returns.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Fiori?
Every Fiorin has a special power. The warrior Amadeus is capable of summoning huge storms with deadly lightning bolts, but he’s not averse to using a sword similar to King Arthur’s. Bernstein has x-ray vision and can spot the enemy regardless of where they may hide. Warriors are chosen for whatever skill is needed at the moment. The Zorins are as tall as a three-story building in Fiori, but can inhabit a human for short periods of time. At this point, the battle that mortally injured Pegasus is the only one in which a Fiorin has survived.
You can also check out my previous interview on the first book to discover more about Fiori at http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com/2014/08/realm-explorers-part-viii-visit-fiori.html
Does all the action take place in Fiori?
In this book, the majority of the action is centered around JJ’s disappearance on Earth. Four Fiorin warriors are sent here to help Elle find and bring her brother home: Wyatt, Milo, Amadeus (who we’ve met previously) and Bernstein (who was introduced at the end of book 1). The Zorins are capable of entering the human body for short periods of time. This time the monsters come to our dimension to terrorize Elle into giving up the prophecy.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Fiori?
All the people and animals in Fiori are vegetarians. In Fiori, all things needed are provided. There is an old chest in Nextra’s house. When she’s hungry, she lifts the lid and there are as many hot meals as she needs already on serving plates. Evidently, you can have anything you wish for in this beautiful land.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
This book touches on the internal vulnerabilities kids struggle with when they are frightened. Elle discovers what it feels like not to be able to ask for help when you’re in trouble or afraid. Sometimes the biggest threat in our lives is the demon within, not those who invade our world. Whether it’s winged creatures, a favorite teacher, or a parent, kids can always find someone to help if they find the courage to stand up to the forces of evil that threaten them.
What is your audience?
The target audience is kids 9 through middle grade for the first two books. This is a “Coming of Age” story, so we will see Elle grow into the world of teens very soon.

Author Autobiography: 
Peggy M McAloon is on a mission to inspire kids everywhere to stand up to abuse and bullying. Her “Lessons from Fiori Series” about a young girl from Wisconsin, provides a strong female role model who isn’t afraid to show compassion or hack into a con man’s computer if the need arises. Peggy’s courageous battle with bullying, abuse, and a traumatic brain injury has enabled her to identify with both children and adults who have suffered from social injustices. 

She’s a retired trainer and speaker in the field of commercial credit. Her first book, “The Art of Business Credit Investigation” was featured in Inc. Magazine. She’s been interviewed by the Associated Press and appeared on several television news programs in her efforts to protect our water resources.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books? 
“Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” can be found in both ebook and softcover formats at most on-line retailers.  Here’s the link to Amazon: ViewBook.at/ElleBurton  
“Missing” is scheduled for official launch at the end of February. The ebook is currently only available on Amazon & Barnes & Noble.  Here’s the link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Missing-Lessons-Fiori-Peggy-McAloon/dp/0962779210/ref=sr_1_1?tag=geolinker-20&ie=UTF8 
“Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” is also available at Audible (http://adbl.co/1ysdBo6) and Missing is in production there. I decided to break with tradition and change the covers for the two audio versions. Mili Fay Art has provided delightful caricatures of Elle, some of our Fiorin friends, and one of the Zorins.
Where can readers connect with you online?
FACEBOOK AUTHOR PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/peggymoundmcaloon/

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Fiori.  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 New Lilinar and Dubinshire, in Realm Explorers Part XCV!
-Annie Douglass Lima 

On tour with Prism Book Tours.

We’re thrilled about Harlequin Heartwarming books being available in select local US Walmarts! Find out if they’re at a Walmart by you here

Here’s what some Harlequin Heartwarming authors had to say:

“I am so excited that Heartwarming books are now available at Walmart, so some lucky girl can go visit her aunt and possibly stumble across one of MY books and fall in love!”
— Amy Vastine

“I was thrilled to find a home in the Heartwarming line. Writing these sweet romances that emphasizes the emotional adventure of falling in love feels almost like a calling and now, that dream I thought I’d achieved has now grown. The Heartwarming line is now available in select Walmarts!”
— Anna J. Stewart

“I’m thrilled that I’ll get to add more Heartwarming books to my bookshelves now that Heartwarming paperbacks will be available at Wal-Mart. A Heartwarming story will be within reach no matter if I pick up my Kindle or a paperback… there’s nothing better than that.”
— Cari Lynn Webb

“Real books printed on paper that you can hold in your hand and smell and flip through the pages.”
— Carol Ross

“I believe in ‘happily ever after’ and through Heartwarming and Walmart, we’re able to bring more of these moving stories to the people who have been searching for something touching and magical.”
— Catherine Lanigan

“It’s not always easy to find a romance that’s clean and wholesome with a rich, compelling plot and multi-faceted characters to root for all the way to a happy ending. . . . You can trust this brand of our books in the line each month to provide a great reading experience. Pick up a copy (or more) today. And enjoy!”
— Leigh Riker

“Buying books for my ereader may be easier than driving forty-five minutes to the nearest bookstore and having digital reads may be a handy way to travel without carrying six books with me (and hide just how big my to-be-read pile is from my husband), but it’ll never completely replace a book in my hand. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
— Melinda Curtis

“I love, love, love finding a new book on the shelf, taking it in my hand, feeling the smooth cover and turning the book over to read the blurb. . . . Now, Harlequin Heartwarmings will be in stores as well. Wow, it feels a little bit like Christmas.”
— Pamela Tracy

“. . . if I have the option of spending time in a real brick-n-mortar bookstore and buying a tangible book that I can anticipate experiencing with all my senses, I go straight to print books.”
— Rula Sinara

“Walmart has signed on to put one of my favorite lines, Harlequin Heartwarming, on the shelves of over 400 stores! That’s four more Harlequin books a month. Books filled with emotion and strength. Books that embody the love and hope that the people in our world so desperately seek.”
— Tara Taylor Quinn

About the Authors
(Each picture linked to the author’s website.)
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