On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Book Tour Grand Finale for

The Wedding March
By Tara Randel
We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out…

Launch – Note from the Author

I hope you enjoy Cassie and Luke’s journey in The Wedding March. And if you’ve read my previous books set in Cypress Pointe, you’ll catch up with familiar characters who pop up in this book. Thanks for stopping by!

— Tara

Falling Leaves – Excerpt

“I’d love to talk to you about your song-writing days. You’ve been—”

He held his hand up “Let me stop you right here.”

She blinked. His sudden displeasure indicated she’d gone too far.

“I’m not going to talk about music careers, song writing or whatever you have your mind set on.”

“I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You didn’t. I just need you to know I’m not available for whatever it is you want.”

Reading Is My SuperPower – Review

“The Wedding March needs to be on your TBR list. Clean romance, fun characters, and a sweet story. It’s a look at how to deal with the tough-to-love people in our lives, as well as encouragement to hold out hope to the people struggling to find their place. This book will put a smile on your face and in your heart!”

Book Lover in Florida – Excerpt

What had she been thinking? How had she expected to pull off a full-blown concert in two weeks’ time? Therein lies the problem. She hadn’t been. Her only thoughts were to impress Luke.

How’s that going?

Cassie paced the stage, clasping her sweaty palms together as the tech team buzzed with activity around her. A late afternoon coastal breeze picked up, swirling the ankle-length sheer skirt around her high-heeled boots, carrying with it the scent of salt water sweetened by the newly blooming orange blossoms. Her entire outfit, a black mesh with gold embellishments around the waist and hem, fit over a black tank minidress. She’d even dyed the pink streak in her hair black to match.

Hearts & Scribbles – Excerpt

“Are you always so antsy before a performance?”

She shyly glanced at him. “It’s not every day I play with Luke Hastings.”

“It’s no big deal.”

“To me it is.”

He didn’t want to be flattered, but he couldn’t deny the pleasure her words brought. After his ex had pretty much flattened his ego, Cassie was a breath of fresh air. She didn’t try to railroad him. Didn’t go on and on about her place in the music business. She liked his friends. Had come up with this idea to raise money for the Klub using her own resources.

Christy’s Cozy Corners – Review

“I really loved the fact that there is a kids at risk program in this book. There need to be more “real world” centers like this. I really loved the teens in this book. They make great secondary characters and their stories are so real. Cassie and Luke are great too, and I love how they get together through songwriting.

Clean romance lovers will really enjoy The Wedding March.”

The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Excerpt

Luke grinned as he viewed the scene before him. Denny and Kyle high-fived, laughing, while a group of kids clapped over their success. Erin stood on the periphery, biting a fingernail. Cassie stood beside him, dripping wet, but smiling. Despite the fact that Luke had just learned someone had stolen money from the Klub, his heart expanded. He’d figure out what was going on and fix this mess, just as Cassie suggested. Maybe even with her at his side.

Bookworm Lisa – Review

“This is a cute and sweet story. The characters have both had a lot of heartache and suffer trust issues. The story is one of forgiveness and learning get to love again.”

Rainy Day Reviews – Review

“I loved the sweetness of the story and even though I am not a fan of mushy lovey stuff, it wasn’t heavy in this story. I really appreciated that this romance was clean as well as sweet and fun. All in all, this was a great read and I look forward to not only reading the first three in this series but the rest that will follow. This was definitely a fell good story with all the feels.”

Heidi Reads… – Excerpt

“We aren’t talking about me.”

“Maybe we should.”

Her steady gaze held his. His heart pounded. This close, he could see the distinctive shade of green mocking his words. She knew, maybe even better than he did.

“Talent like yours doesn’t go away,” she echoed.

“Maybe it should.”

Katie’s Clean Book Collection – Review

“I love a romance with some meat to it and this isn’t a fluffy insta-love story. The struggles are real and the love is gradual. I love how the romance is mixed with music and the relationships with this group of troubled teens, which combined, puts some cracks in the emotional walls. There is a minuscule thread of mystery, which adds to the tension and makes for an overall well-balanced diet of words.”

Mel’s Shelves – Review

“I loved this story from the beginning and had a hard time putting it down! Cassie and Luke were both easy characters to like and the romance was natural. There were other great characters and side stories to keep things interesting. It’s a fantastic, clean contemporary romance!”

Rockin’ Book Reviews – Review

“This is a wonderful tale presented by two different people’s concepts. It is a story of a few individuals raised in a dysfunctional and/or abusive life style. It offers a great concept for “at risk” children. Adventure, mystery and romance atre also a part of this book, written for Adults, but YA will love it, too!” – Lu Ann

“This a fun story. I like the theme of the story. It was quick to capture my attention and then interesting enough to hold it throughout the story. . . .
I would highly recommend this book to other readers. It was a great read.” – Vickie

Wishful Endings – Review

“THE WEDDING MARCH is a steady-paced story that involves family drama, a teen outreach program, musical fame, and sweet romance. It embodied this Harlequin line of books with a story that is sure to touch readers’ hearts. If you enjoy sweet romance with plenty of depth from complex relationships and situations, then definitely give this one a try!”

Getting Your Read On – Review

“I enjoyed the natural progression of Cassie and Luke’s relationship. They were both so wary in the beginning but slowly became friends and confidants. It didn’t feel rushed or over the top. It was just a gentle and sweet story. I really enjoyed it!'”

underneath the covers – Excerpt

“Maybe it’s time.”

“To start again?”

He nodded.

“How about with me?” she asked, her voice small.

He froze. He’d thought about working with her. But the memory of their kisses stopped him. He’d been romantically involved with his last partner. He wasn’t sure he wanted to travel that same path with Cassie. He wanted something different with her.

Hardcover Feedback – Review

“Seeing the story progress, watching Cassie and Luke interact with one another as well Cassie’s involvement with the kids, was very enjoyable.

I feel this story can easily be read as a stand-alone, but I do want to read the first story now because of the scenes with Nealy and Dane. I think anyone who enjoys Harlequin’s Heartwarming line will have a good time reading The Wedding March. I definitely recommend it.”

Harlie’s Books – Review

“By the end of the book, I was sad. I didn’t want it to end but alas, it had too. I will miss the colored streak in Cassie’s hair, Luke’s kisses (Oh my), Denny and Erin and the goings on in Cypress Pointe. Great character growth and depth from Cassie and Luke. And yes, Ms. Randal gets it too. She writes a beautiful love story that everyone can read and have a happy heart in the end.”

Becky on Books – Review

“A gentle and sweet romance–like book 3 ( The Bridal Bouquet) there’s a bit of a mystery involved, and a whole lot of (mostly family and ex-related) drama. This time, though, throw in the complications that the music industry and fame bring with them, plus a healthy dose of writer’s block and…yikes. Yeah, Cassie and Luke have obstacles galore on their way to an HEA.”

Don’t forget to enter the awesome giveaway below, if you haven’t already…

The Wedding March

(The Business of Weddings #4)
Tara Randel
Adult Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

March 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

The help only he can offer…

Cypress Pointe, Florida, is a long way from LA, where pop singer Cassie Branford needs a hit to prove she’s not a two album wonder. But her case of writer’s block could be over when the struggling songwriter meets Luke Hastings at a family wedding.

The legendary musician walked away from success at the height of his career. Yet Luke is already inspiring Cassie with his dedication to building a permanent community outreach center for troubled teens. Volunteering to help bring music into these kids’ lives is also bringing her and Luke closer. Maybe they’re not as different as he thinks…

GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleHarlequin

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn’t come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

Tour Giveaway

– US PRIZE PACK: Signed copies of the first three books in The Business of Weddings series by Tara Randel, a $25 gift card for Dunkin’ Donuts, a coffee mug with an inspirational message: “Something beautiful is on the horizon,” and a Harlequin Heartwarming tote bag. (US only)
– $25 Amazon eCard (open internationally)
Ends March 28th
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Grab Our Button!

Dating the It Guy by Krysten Lindsay Hager
YA contemporary romance
Published by Clean Reads
Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator’s son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.
Short Excerpt:
“By the way, did you hear Lauren got into Senator Agretti’s old school?”
“Seriously? I wonder if she applied there because Brendon did,” I said.
Margaux snorted. “Duh, of course. Seriously, she might as well just pee on him to mark her territory.”
“Margaux, shut up,” Kylie said.
“Whatever. Anyway, the important thing is if Brendon knew she was applying there,” Margaux said. “Em, do you think he knew?”
I hoped Lauren was just trying to follow Brendon, but what if they had planned this whole thing while they were dating? What if he convinced her to apply there so they could go to college together, wear matching American flag sweaters with big scarves while drinking hot chocolate, and jump into leaf piles just like a preppy clothing catalog. At least now I didn’t have to worry about them reciting poetry to one another in South Bend, but still, what if they had made plans to go to school together?
“Don’t worry about it,” Kylie said. “She was probably trying to follow him—like she always does. She’s so pathetic.”
Kylie was trying to make me feel better, but Lauren was far from pathetic. After all, she was pretty much the “Most Likely to Succeed” poster girl. While she was out overachieving and saving the world without messing up her perfect, bouncy hair, I was trying to get through each day. I tried to push away the image of Lauren and Brendon holding hands and drinking hot chocolate under a stadium blanket. 
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2m5y9OC
 Follow Krysten

Bio: Besides mining her teen years and humiliating moments for her novels, Krysten is a also a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes young adult, middle grade, new adult, and adult fiction as well as humor essays. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows (she’s addicted to American Dad to the point where she quotes episodes on a daily basis and also loves Girl Meets World). She’s also a third generation Detroit Lions fan.
Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star,  Landry in Like, and Competing with the Star (The Star Series: Book 2). Her debut novel, True Colors, won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book. Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times and on Living Dayton.
Praise for Dating the It Guy:
“A sweet, endearing story—you’ll fall in love with Emme just like I did!” –Kimber Leigh Wheaton, YA/NA author
“Hager’s authentic characters will resonate with readers of all ages as they are immersed in the story  – complete with teen drama and angst, but also the relationships which make it all worthwhile.” —  Leslie L. McKee, book reviewer, Edits and Reviews by Leslie
What people are saying about Krysten’s work:
From Teenage Book Recommendations in the UK: “This is a fantastically relatable and real book which I feel captures all of the insecurities and troubles which haunt the modern teenage girl. It is about a young model who has to go through tough times when she is torn between a life as a model and managing her friendships. You learn which friends she can most trust and which will create the drama typical of teenage life. Follow the life of Landry and try to see if you can find out which are her true friends before their true colours are revealed. This book is all about relationships, hopes and truth. I loved this book!”
From Books & Authors Spot: “This book is such an inspiration for those who just care about their looks and are tensed about them. This thing is looks aren’t everything. This book is related to every teen’s problem. Hager has written a very inspiring novel.”
“Krysten captures the teenage girl today. The struggles are real, the issues are something children have been dealing with since before I was a teen, and oddly-Krysten captures the readers! I was prepared for another “Mean Girls” story. This is NOT that. This is the real story of teenage girls! You watch Landry flower into a young woman who finds out trust is an invaluable item to find, and friendships are hard to seek genuine realism in. You will learn about relationships with not just friends, but peers, boys, and others. The details put into the book will draw you, and make the story so much more realistic. Krysten expresses emotions beautifully through her writing, and the story flows flawlessly…” By Candice J. Conway Simpson
 “Krysten Lindsay Hager understands what it means to be a teen today, and she writes with an authentic voice. Landry, the main character, is funny, lively, and very real. Readers will relate to her struggles with friends and family, self-esteem and self-discovery, boys and school and life in general. It’s fun to read about Landry’s blossoming modeling career and the changes it brings.” Review by Author Diana Jenkins

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:
Aldred Chase
Title of book and/or series:
Apprentice Fool, book one of the Nobody’s Fool Quartet
Brief summary of the story:
The village of Mottle offers thirteen-year-old Keth few opportunities to rebel against cruel Prince Dorian, who usurped the throne ten years ago. But Keth has a dangerous secret, he keeps faith with the old rituals and dances that the prince has banned.
When the prince’s grain collector leaves Mottle with so little grain that they face starvation over the coming winter, only Keth is prepared to do something about it. His attempt to steal back the grain goes wrong, and he only escapes capture by joining a band of traveling players, as their apprentice fool.
Can Keth keep his audience laughing and his secrets hidden, while working to overthrow the prince?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
The city of Russett took root in a range of easily defended hills, close to where the River Brack flows into the Sea of Wrack. In a similar way to a medieval city-state, it controls the surrounding fertile land, which is dotted with farms, villages, and market towns. The level of agricultural technology is broadly equivalent to that of the late middle ages.
Russett has no moon, but on nights when the sky is clear you can see the splinter, a narrow golden rip that runs the length of the sky.
If we were to visit Russett as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
The city of Russett is famous for its skins and dyes, as well as for the stench from the local tanneries. Tourists have described the latter as the smell of rotting animals, stewed in their own poo, and mixed with putrid vegetables, while locals say that fresh air is bland and has no taste to it.
The most magnificent building in the city is the Golden Palace, currently the residence of Prince Dorian. It sits on the summit of the tallest hill and enjoys fresh breezes from the nearby Sea of Wrack. The enterprising tourist can easily secure entrance to the palace, but leaving it may prove more difficult.
The tourist who wanders so far from the beaten track that they arrive in Mottle will learn that the village is famous for its rain and many different colored mosses.
What dangers should we avoid in Russett?
Dancing is dangerous. Prince Dorian has banned all of the traditional dances, and you should inform the appropriate authorities if you see anyone dancing. The jovial tourist who insists on joining in will find their hilarity is short-lived, rather like the participants.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Russett?
Unless you are wealthy, food is in short supply.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Russett?
Prince Dorian’s guards have swords and bows. Most other people will improvise with whatever comes to hand, such as stones and tools. While not strictly a fighting style, running away is often seen as the best option.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Russett?
Most people will travel on foot, but well-off people will ride on horses. Ships sail the Sea of Wrack.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Russett that we don’t see on Earth?
All the plants and animals are similar to ones that we would encounter on Earth. The old legends talk of dragons, but they’re just stories, aren’t they?
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Russett?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Some folk whisper that the dances banned by Prince Dorian had magical properties, especially at times like sowing the seed and reaping the harvest. A few people have the gift of seeing the wraiths that haunt the wounded land, but it’s not something they boast about.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Russett.
Games and sports like skittles and wrestling are popular. A favorite game for children is tossing pebbles at a wall to see whose lands closest. Dancing has been banned but singing is still popular. Songs that everyone can join in with include: ‘Bang my Anvil Heartily’ and ‘The Tinker and the Jolly Farmer’s Wife.’ For those of a sentimental nature, a favorite ballad involves a heroic dog pining for his master by the wall of the dead garden.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Russett as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The people of Russett do not divide the year into weeks and months, but they are keenly aware of the passing of the seasons. The sowing of the seed in spring and the reaping of the harvest in autumn used to be celebrated by special dances that the whole community joined in. These dances have now been banned by Prince Dorian.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Russett?  Please describe what it involves.
While no formal religion is worshipped in Russett, the people have a number of shared beliefs and rituals.
Traditional dances were performed throughout the year and the whole community joined in. These dances helped people to affirm their connection to the land, but they are now banned.
The dead are cremated and every settlement has a beautiful walled garden, called the dead garden, where the ashes are scattered, while mourners sing laments.
People believe that the land was created by weavers who wove it from threads pulled from a star. Having finished the land, many weavers left to create new lands, but two groups chose to remain. One group became the original inhabitants of this land. The second group live in a world beyond the splinter, a narrow golden rip in the sky, visible on clear nights. If ever the land is damaged, they will crawl through the splinter and sew it back together again.
What is the political or government structure in Russett?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Russett is traditionally ruled by a prince. Ten years ago, Prince Dorian came from out of nowhere and invaded with a small force. He defeated the much larger force of the previous ruler, Prince Gawain, at the Battle of Crouchers Hollow. Since then, he has banned all of the traditional dances and he has ordered his grain collector, assisted by a flock of spiteful ravens, to collect ever-increasing amounts of grain from the people. This grain is sold abroad to fund Dorian’s lavish lifestyle.
Keth wants to rebel but the majority of the half-starved people are too demoralized to try and overthrow the cruel prince.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
The landscape is inspired by the beautiful countryside where I grew up in the north of England. When I was little, we still had a working tannery in our town and the smell was unique and terrible; you would take a deep breath then scurry past with a hand across your nose and mouth.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
I don’t think any of the topics are “hot button” but I do think that the theme of whether one person standing up against injustice can make a difference is timeless.
Author Autobiography:
My first experience of fantasy fiction was reading ‘The Hobbit’ at school, and I’ve been hooked on the genre ever since. My favorite places for writing are cafes and park benches, but I do most of my work at my desk. My best ideas come to me when I’m travelling by train or walking by the sea. I’m lucky enough to live in Australia where we have many beautiful beaches.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
The other three books in the Nobody’s Fool Quartet, Royal Fool, Prince of Fools and Dragon’s Fool are all available in Kindle format from Amazon.
Where can readers connect with you online? 
You can find me on my websiteand on facebook.

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

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

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week’s edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima
On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
Book Tour Grand Finale for

Sanctuary Cove
By Kate James
We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops, go back and check them out…

Launch – Note from the Author

In Sanctuary Cove, when New York-based communications executive Emma Meadows finds her personal and professional life in shambles, she retreats to her lakefront cabin in the Adirondack Mountains. Aiding an injured animal at the side of a rain-drenched road, she meets local veterinarian Joshua Whitmore. . .

“The mystery adds just the right touch to the story–it keeps things interesting and causes some friction for the characters to grow from, but it’s not overpowering. The romance is sweet and tender, if a bit on the quick side. Overall, it’s a highly entertaining and enjoyable read.”

Hearts & Scribbles – Character Descriptions

Josh comes from a family of healthcare professionals, but he decided to choose a different path. He’s a veterinarian, passionate about his job and the animals that come under his care. . .

“As often in her books, Kate James catches the reader’s attention with the first page then gradually builds on the intrigue, with added mystery and momentum, leading to a strong climax. “

“I loved the characters and the setting. I could feel the characters’ emotions and got a good sense of their excitement and disappointments. . . . I would definitely recommend this story to other readers. “

“My name’s Emma Meadows. There’s been an accident. A dog—or possibly a wolf. He’s been hit. He’s bleeding and his leg’s broken. But he’s alive and he’s in a lot of pain.” She knew she was babbling, but she couldn’t help it. Animals were her soft spot. She walked back toward the dog as she spoke, and with a sinking heart noted that the feeble growl had been replaced by whimpers and shallow breathing.

Becky on Books – Interview

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

In addition to Sanctuary Cove, I will have two more releases this year. Home to Stay, the fourth book in my award-winning San Diego K-9 Unit series releases on July 1st, and A Priceless Find, a sequel to A Child’s Christmas, will be released on October 1st. Home to Stay is in production now and A Priceless Find is in the editing stage.

Sanctuary Cove is a great unique book with a wonderful heartwarming ending. . . . If you like small town romance combined with amazing dogs and a gripping plot Sanctuary Cove would be a very good choice.”

Emma was excited. Why hadn’t she thought of training service-and-therapy dogs before? She could do it! She had the time, at least for now. And Josh was willing to stand by her again in this, as he had been with just about anything she’d done since she’d arrived in Sanctuary Cove.

She looked up at him and was about to thank him…

But in Josh’s eyes, Emma saw what was in his heart.

“While I had no doubt that I would enjoy this book, it actually exceeded my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised by the wide range of emotion this story evoked.”

deal sharing aunt – Interview

How long does it take you to write a book?

On average, it takes me three months to write a book. There’s usually another three to four months for the three stages of the editing process, but during that time I’m already working on my next manuscript.

“I loved the moments when they were close and helping each other. Josh is an excellent supporter of Emma- strong and capable. I just really liked them both. I’m also coming to realize that with Kate James, there is probably going to be a dog or two involved in the story as well!”

The kiss was light. Yet Emma’s heart skipped a few beats. With her eyes still closed, she ran her tongue across her upper lip and let out a soft, involuntary “hmm.” Opening her eyes, she saw Josh’s smile.

“Shall we get ready to go?” he asked, with laughter dancing in his eyes.

“I love Emma and Josh. They’re so cute together, and being animal lovers gives them extra points. The storyline in this story is one that could totally happen today. . . . I definitely recommend Sanctuary Cove to clean romantic suspense lovers!”

Mel’s Shelves – The Best Friends of Sanctuary Cove

If you’ve read any of my previous books, you’ll know that I like to give prominent roles to my furry, four-legged characters, too. The response to these characters has been so positive, I decided to have not one, not two, but three canine characters in Sanctuary Cove. If I’m completely honest, they forced their way into the story, and I couldn’t say no!

A Slice of Life – Review

Sanctuary Cove is a gripping story involving politics, right and wrong, and the love of nature and animals. I would highly recommend this suspense-filled adventure to anyone who is looking for a well-written book that’s intriguing until the end.”

Josh was appalled. If it was true, that things had escalated to this level, Emma was in danger, too. He thought he understood what she’d been trying to do. He wanted to protect her, to reassure her, but knew he had to tread carefully to prevent her from continuing to try to push him away.

Sanctuary Cove was a fun, easy-to-read story and I think it’s a great book if you’re looking for a light romance, with a little bit of suspense thrown in.”

Falling Leaves – Excerpt

Leaning against the wall by the steps leading down, he indulged in watching Emma for a few moments.

She lay on the sofa, her lips slightly parted and curved into a soft smile, her skin glowing with the flickering candlelight. A few strands of hair had escaped from the clip on top of her head, and were curling around her face.

Reading Is My SuperPower – Emma’s Cottage

Emma’s cottage is situated on a large, secluded property, on a knoll overlooking a small, private lake. The location looks like this . . .

Harlie’s Books – Review

“Overall, I just loved Emma and Josh. They took their time in their romance and realized just how much they truly meant to each other. Bravo to the people at Harlequin for this line. You have a fan for life. Did I mention that there are dogs and puppies?”

Rosanna Leo – Spotlight
Heidi Reads… – Excerpt

She pointed to the stand-alone shed a couple of hundred feet away from her cottage. “I can fence off an area inside. She’ll be safe in there. I can set up an outside enclosure for her, too.”

“Emma, you can’t save every wounded creature that comes your way,” he said softly. “Let’s get her checked over first.

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Sanctuary Cove

by Kate James
Adult Contemporary Romance

Paperback & ebook, 384 pages

March 1st 2017 by Harlequin Heartwarming

Can his safe haven be enough for her?

Emma Meadows never imagined that sticking to her principles against an act of corruption by a New York senator would cost her her job as VP of communications. Heartbroken, she retreats to her cottage in the Adirondacks to lick her wounds and, in the process, rescues an injured dog that only Josh Whitmore can save.

The veterinarian works diligently to bring dog and woman back to full fighting form, until allegations against the senator become more serious. Seeing Emma’s reaction to the increasing pressure, Josh realizes that inevitably she’ll find a way back to the top…and he’ll likely lose her for good.

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About the Author

Kate spent much of her childhood abroad before attending university in Canada. She built a successful business career, but her passion has always been literature. As a result, Kate turned her energy to her love of the written word. Kate’s goal is to entertain her readers with engaging stories featuring strong, likable characters. Kate has been honored with numerous awards for her writing. She and her husband, Ken, enjoy traveling and the outdoors, with their beloved Labrador Retrievers, Harley and Logan.

Kate would love to hear from you! You can connect with her by email, through her website, her Facebook pageTwitter, or mail at PO Box 446, Schomberg, ON, L0G 1T0, Canada.


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

Author’s name:

Elise Edmonds
Title of book and/or series:
Where Carpets Fly
Brief summary of the story:
Mystery and adventure meet in a magical land of flying carpets, vibrant cities, and seafaring folk. Follow Elina Faramar’s journey from the village flying carpet shop to magic school in town. What’s her new magic teacher hiding? Why won’t anyone discuss the nearby, volatile country of Pallexon? The situation turns to a nightmare when friend Kara is mistaken for a spy. Can Elina’s wits and magic save Kara and unravel Pallexon’s secrets?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Elina lives in the fantasy country of Tamarin. It’s a southern country with a warm climate. The country is split in two by a large river, and most towns are situated on or close to the river, where it’s most fertile. The Sultan, the ruler of Tamarin, lives in a large palace in an island town called The Delta, situated at the southern mouth of the river. Elina starts life in the northern village of Darien, living with her parents above the family flying carpet shop, and then moves to the nearby town of Kamikan to live with her aunt.
The country of Tamarin has vibes of various Mediterranean and Arabian real-world cultures, with various magical elements. The story has an urban feel, and the tech is at a reasonable level of civilisation, but magic is the focus of the country’s tech, rather than innovations like steam. Elina begins to uncover a mystery about the neighbouring country of Pallexon: this country is more technologically developed, but does not have magic. Pallexon has a cooler climate, and the feel I’ve gone for is more akin to Victorian England.
If we were to visit Tamarin as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
I would recommend that you arrive during one of the quarterly Festivals. Entertainments will keep you busy for the whole weekend. The Kamikan circus is particularly celebrated, and you will see wonders like the exotic trained horses from Pallexon – a real rarity, and Elemental Magic acrobats who have amazing displays of fire and water power. Following that, the pygmy camel races are always fun, and you can finish the day off trying the various types of street food while watching a firework display.
What dangers should we avoid in Tamarin?
Tamarin itself is a pretty safe place to be at the moment. But political undercurrents are running quite high. It’s probably best not to ask too many questions about the neighbouring country of Pallexon—people might think you are a spy.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Tamarin?
Traditional Tamarin food is based around lamb or chicken in a spiced sauce. They use many spices, such as cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and pepper, together with combinations of dried fruit like raisins and apricots, to create tasty stews. These meals are often served with couscous or flat bread, and finished off with mango slices and the obligatory pot of mint tea.
In recent years, imports from other countries have increased, and you’ll find dishes that come from other cultures: roast dinners, and pies, for example – but the Tamarins often put their own twist to these dishes and make them their own.
Street food is common and everything from meat kebabs to sticky sweets to ice cream can be found, particularly at festival time.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Tamarin?
In the last war, between Tamarin and Pallexon ten years ago, the main types of warfare were armoured flying carpets, and naval warfare. The Tamarins had an advantage with their flying carpets, because at that stage, the Pallexis had no airborne weapons, but the Pallexis traditional firearms were very effective against them. The Pallexi naval fleet was also extremely powerful despite having no magic, and the war ended in a stalemate and the current uneasy treaty.
The Tamarins have some magical firearms—mainly combining the standard kind of firearms with Elemental power. There is the steam-rifle, which shoots deadly jets of steam, and the flame-rifle, which shoots fireballs. Both weapons do away with the need for bullets. The Tamarins also have Elemental grenades, which explode with the force of the particular element contained inside them: fire, water, earth, or air, creating violent earthquakes or tornados for example.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Tamarin?
The main type of transport is the flying carpet. These come in all shapes and sizes—and to suit every budget. There are tiny one-person carpets, enormous family-sized carpets with special restraints for children, and commercial carpets with the ability to secure packages below them. Inside city limits, both speed and height are highly regulated, but outside the city, the rules are relaxed. The one flaw of flying carpets is that cannot fly over large bodies of water or areas of extremely high humidity (for example, the jungle) because they absorb the water over time and sink, losing the ability to fly.
For those who don’t like or can’t afford a flying carpet, a pygmy camel is the best option. They are hardy little beasts, capable of carrying decent loads and going for long distances.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Tamarin that we don’t see on Earth?
The plants and animals you see would be very similar to somewhere like those you would see in southern Spain or Morocco. Houses favour climbing plants and decorative trees like palm trees.
The most unusual race you will come across are the river fairies. The majority of people treat them as akin to insects or birds, but those who have skill in Biological Magic know better. The fairies are sentient, and rumours abound that they might also have a sixth sense. A few people can communicate with them, but it tends to be trivial conversation. The fairies love to play with people swimming in the river, particularly children. They prefer the more rural areas, but it’s not unusual to see them in a town, however they do tend to keep more of a distance when there are crowds of people around.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Tamarin?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
There are four branches of magic in Tamarin: Tangible, Elemental, Biological, and Cognitive. Most Tamarins can do one or more types of magic, generally based on inheritance, and the amount of work they put in to develop the skill.
Tangible Magic is the ability to move physical, non-living items. For example, you could use it to shift heavy items around in your home—boxes, furniture, etc. It’s also possible to create a Tangible Charm that means an object can be moved with the use of a verbal command by anyone—this is how flying carpets are created.
Elemental Magic is the manipulation of the four elements: fire, water, earth and air. At it’s most basic level, it’s good for chores like digging the garden! At the other end of the scale, the navy use Elemental magicians to steer ships by manipulating the wind and the sea.
Biological Magic is the skill of talking to plants and animals. Plants are mastered first, and those with this skill are excellent gardeners! From there, people move on to talking to small creatures such as birds, before progressing to larger animals. Once you become proficient at talking to plants, you can persuade them to grow in certain ways and produce better fruit. You can even use them as basic weapons, using climbing plants to wrap around people’s ankles, for example!
Cognitive Magic is the ability to read people’s minds, and to telepathically communicate with other Cognitive users. It’s a secretive kind of magic, and many people are not even aware it exists, because it tends to be used for government surveillance and kept very quiet. It’s possible to read the surface thoughts of another person without them being aware of it, but reading further into someone’s mind can be painful for them and can cause damage, so this is a highly regulated type of magic. On the more benign front, it’s used by mental health healers to treat diseases of the mind.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Tamarin? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
Another common use of magical technology is the glow globes. These are the equivalent of lamps and torches. They are spherical globes, that produce a glowing light when tapped—a result of an Elemental Magic Charm. Every home has glow globes. Some with the skill will permanently suspend them in midair and move them around as needed. Other people merely buy special stands to place them in. A lot of people carry a miniature version in their bag or pocket.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Tamarin.
Most villages are situated on the river’s edge. Consequently, most children can swim as soon as they can walk, and spend the little leisure time they have in or by the river. Older children will have flying carpet races outside the city limits, although these have a disreputable nature and a tendency to attract trouble.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Tamarin as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Tamarin has the same calendar as Earth. They celebrate quarterly festivals based around the solstices/equinoxes. Each festival lasts for a whole weekend, and a large proportion of the population takes the time as holiday.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Tamarin? Please describe what it involves.
No, Tamarin is a secular country.
What is the political or government structure in Tamarin?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Tamarin is ruled by the Sultan, from his palace in the Delta. The Sultan’s prime minister and chief adviser is the Grand Vizier. Each individual town is ruled by a Vizier and his committee of advisers. All Viziers report to the Grand Vizier. The position of Sultan passes on a hereditary basis, and the current Sultan’s sons are all given positions of responsibility within the kingdom. The current Sultan is a fair and just ruler, and concerned about current relations with Pallexon. He keeps a substantial army and navy.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I’ve been on holiday to Spain, and I’m fond of Mediterranean food—Spanish, Moroccan, Greek, Israeli etc, and some of the culinary and architectural details are based on real-life things that I like. I’ve always been a big fan of books with flying carpets, and I really built the world up around how I imagined a fantasy world with flying carpets in a more urban contemporary setting, rather than the traditional fairy tale/Arabian nights feel.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Elements of terrorism, slavery, economic struggles, and governmental oppression all come into the story as Elina discovers what really goes on in Pallexon. One of the main themes that comes out of the book is the importance of freedom.
Author Autobiography:
Elise Edmonds is a new writer from the South-West UK. Reading and writing have always been her doorways into another world—a way to escape and spend time walking with wizards, flying with fairies and dealing with dragons. By day she is a finance professional, and in her spare time she pursues writing as a creative outlet, to put the magic back into everyday life. In addition to reading, Elise enjoys watching movies, playing the piano, and going to Zumba classes. Her greatest loves are God, her husband, her family and friends, and her two beautiful cats.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book?
Where Carpets Flyis available from Amazon, in both paperbackand Kindle ebook.

Where can readers connect with you online? 
My blog: Magic Writer
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Tamarin.  Questions about the world or the book?  Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!  

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

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week’s edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

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Love’s Promise
By Melissa Storm

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[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBLm9Im_vsk?rel=0?ecver=2]
Love’s Promsie
(The First Street Church Romances #2)
by Melissa Storm
Christian Contemporary Romance
ebook, 192 pages

March 7th 2017 by Partridge & Pear Press

She’s waiting for her prince to come … but was he right beside her all the time?

Kristina Rose Maher wants to know why fairytales never happen for fat girls. Certain that diner cook Jeff, handsome and fit, will never want her as more than a friend, she stuffs down her attraction to him. But when she finds herself facing a life-altering weight loss surgery, she discovers she’s willing to do whatever it takes to embrace life—and love—to the fullest.

Jeffrey Berkley can’t bear the thought of losing the friend he’s only just beginning to realize matters so much to him… no matter what size she is. But he is also terrified that helping her reach for her dreams will also mean finally reaching for his own—and letting down his family’s legacy in the process.

Both Kristina Rose and Jeffrey must learn to love themselves before they can find a way to make a promise to each other. Will they finally be able to lay their heavy burdens at the Lord’s feet, and trust him to bring the happily-ever-after they both crave?

Don’t miss this sweet tale of faith, love, and gastric bypass–get your copy of Love’s Promise today!

Chapter 1
“Order’s up!” Jeffrey bellowed from the kitchen as he slid a pair of plates into the window that looked out upon Mabel’s Old-Fashioned Diner.
“That was fast,” Kristina Rose said with a smile as she loaded up her round serving tray with condiments and extra napkins, then grabbed the meals he had prepared. Her teeth gleamed white against her dark complexion. The added contrast made Kristina’s smiles seem all the more special. Jeff had never been sure why, but he’d always appreciated the little jolt her happiness sent rushing through him.
“Gotta be fast,” he responded without missing a beat. “Mabel’s got a reputation to uphold, after all. And, besides, I’m starved. Gonna whip something up and take a late lunch. Want to join me? I can just as easily cook for two as I can one.”
The corners of her mouth fell, and Kristina let out a slow sigh. “I wish,” she muttered. “I started my liquid diet this morning. I’m only allowed protein drinks and chicken broth… and water, of course.”
“Sorry, sorry, I forgot!” He shooed her toward the waiting customers. Now that she’d mentioned it, he had noticed her step become a bit slower, her tray droop lower than usual.
She’d be going in for surgery later that week and absent from the diner for at least a month while she recovered. Their boss, Mabel, had insisted on it. Part of him wondered why she had even come into work at all if she’d already started her pre-surgery fast, but the answer seemed obvious enough. She’d already be missing out on a month of income as she recovered, and for a young woman living on her own, well, she needed every dollar she could scrimp and save.
And while they liked many of the same things, lived in the same city, and even came from two of the only non-white families in town, they were also different in a lot of ways, too. For starters, Kristina Rose had grown up in their tiny town of Sweet Grove, Texas, whereas Jeff hadn’t shown up until high school when his parents took over the old pharmacy downtown. He was close with his parents, always had been, but Kristina had never known her father and always seemed to prickle whenever Jeffrey asked after her mother.
But that was none of Jeff’s business, of course.
Read the rest of first three chapters HERE.

Other Books in the Series
About the Author
Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa’s way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.
Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. When she’s not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub. Because priorities.
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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).

Every piece of furniture should be bouncy. If not, you will have to get new furniture.

If you have a pet shark, train him/her not to fight with other pet sharks. Otherwise, the president will take your pet shark

Do not steal, unless you are stealing from an enemy tribe. Otherwise, the president will steal from you. 

Whenever you see a poor person, you have to give them money. Otherwise, you have to pay $100 to the president.

If you drive a pegasus without a license, you’ll have to pay a fine.

Never hurt someone on purpose unless you are in danger, and you will most likely never be in danger here. If you break this law, your fees and deductibles will go up by ten times.

Always be happy even if you are angry inside. If you don’t stay happy, you get a fine of $100.

Everybody has to have some clothing that represents what job they have. If they don’t, they will be fired from that job.

No harming another villager. Punishment (1st time): an arm cut off, (2nd time): a leg cut off.

Don’t quit school, or you’ll have to go to school on Saturdays and Sundays for a year.

If you don’t pay taxes, you’ll have 1-2 years of triple tax.

Don’t break buildings, or you’ll have to help build 4 more buildings.

Don’t pollute the air on purpose, or you’ll have to plant 25 trees and help make cleansers for the air.

If you don’t recycle, you’ll have 2 months of cleaning service and a year of going around and helping elders recycle.

Don’t eat more than 4 packs of junk food a day, or you’ll have to go on a diet for 3-4 months.

There must be absolutely no fairies in our land.

You cannot get out of this country once you get in. If you leave the country, it leads to death.

No one can bear arms. If they do, they will be decapitated. This is not a bloody country. It is a country of peace.

People should not waste food. If they do, they would not have food the next day.

The government will not collect taxes of any sort; however, they do have the right to take a person’s home if the garbage is not taken care of daily.

Every Monday, citizens must play 80s music in their car.

You must never make a promise and not fulfill it, or else you may be fined.

You are not allowed to like the movie Frozen. Liking it will result in being kicked out of this world.

You cannot be late for work unless you have a note excusing you for being late. Punishment for tardiness to work is one week in jail.

You are not allowed to escape jail. If you do, you will be put there for eternity.

Don’t say any bad words. Otherwise, a mark will be burned into your back.

Don’t cut down any trees. Otherwise, you’ll hardly get to play with the baby dragons.

Always save energy. Otherwise, you’ll have to carry other people’s luggage.

Everybody must protect the planet. If you destroy the planet, you’ll be executed.

All unicorns must address royalty with the right titles. Otherwise, they will be forced to spend a moon practicing being polite and using the right titles. They will be required to write an 850-word essay during this time, explaining how they should address a member of royalty.

You must not use any other source of electricity besides solar power. Otherwise, you will have to live the rest of your life in jail.

No littering. Otherwise, you will have a $30,000 fine and 7 hours of picking up trash on the road.

No foul language. Otherwise, you will go to prison for one year.

No graffiti. Otherwise, you will have to start an anti-graffiti organization.

Every kid must go to school. Otherwise, you will have to go to a very strict school alone.

Do not drink poison or beverages that might hurt your health. Otherwise, you will be demoted to the lowest rank for half of your life.

Do not threaten people. Consequence: you’ll be tied upside-down and roasted.

Do not steal, or your feet will be dipped in lava.

Do not start a war. Consequence: you’ll be stoned by hot coals.

Do not harm the national animal. Otherwise, you’ll be tied on a rope and dipped into rivers and lakes and killed by the monsters in the lava.

Do not harm a kid. Consequence: you’ll be put in an arena and made to fight other prisoners.

No peeing in improper spots. Offenders will have cleaning duty for a month.

No going wild. Offenders will be banished!

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 2016

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

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: Missy Sheldrake
Title of book and/or series: Keepers of the Wellsprings Series
Brief summary of the story:
The Wellsprings are revered pools of magic, fiercely guarded and hidden away by fairies for decades. The Keepers of the Wellsprings series is the sweeping tale of a time when the threats of ambitious Sorcerers forced these secret sources to be revealed.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
The world itself is commonly called the Known Lands. This refers to all the areas surrounding Cerion which have been explored and mapped so far. It’s a world with distinct countries and cultures much like our own, but this world is filled with magic, fairies, and other enchanted creatures. In this interview, I’ll be focusing mainly on Cerion, which is where the story begins.
If we were to visit The Known Lands as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
For a lively, exciting visit where you can get a taste of countries from all over the Known Lands, Cerion is best. This coastal kingdom is well known for its kindhearted people and its peaceful acceptance of all races and creeds. Cerion’s thriving seaside marketplace is a treasure trove of goods from all over the world. If you’re looking for a more magical adventure, you could try to gain entry to Kythshire, a fairyland where the air is thick with magic and no wish goes unanswered, but that’s no easy feat. You’ll need a good reason to visit, and a native fairy to vouch for you at its magically guarded borders.
What dangers should we avoid in The Known Lands?
Sorcerers. If you see a man or woman with black swirling marks creeping across their skin and a wild look in their eyes, keep your distance. The markings are Mage Mark, and warn of the presence of Sorcery. It doesn’t matter which country you visit, you might encounter a Sorcerer anywhere you travel. They are unpredictable, ruthless, wicked people and should be avoided at all costs.
Azi’s Sword
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Cerion?
Lately, there’s a trend in two-handed broadswords. This fighting style has mostly been a favorite of girls aspiring to be like Azaeli Hammerfel, the youngest Knight of His Majesty’s Elite. Traditionally, Cerion’s fighters have favored the longsword and shield. The kingdom’s peace hasn’t been threatened for over a century now (a fact its people pride themselves on), but if a war were to break out, Cerion’s Mages would absolutely step in to level the field with battle magic.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Cerion?
As you might imagine for a coastal kingdom, Cerion’s fish dishes are the most delectable you’ll ever taste. Mouli, the well-known cook and housekeeper for His Majesty’s Elite, has perfected a recipe for Azi’s favorite crab-stuffed rolls. This famous recipe has made its way to most every market stall worth visiting. Definitely worth a taste!
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Cerion?
Typically, the usual methods are used to travel these lands: Horses, carriages, and ships. In Ceras’lain, the White Line (the elite force which guards the White Wall at its border), fly on cygnets. These are sort of swan-like dragons. In the frozen lands of Hywilkin to the far north, the patrols are made on wyverns. In the jungles of Elespen, it’s not uncommon to see people riding elephants. There is another, very secret way to travel: Teleportation. This method is rarely used, though, because it’s prohibitively expensive and requires the traveler to be unarmed.
A Dragon, Woken from Slumber
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in the Known Lands that we don’t see on Earth?
The Known Lands’ races vary from humans and elves to fairies, mermaids, and giants. The world is filled with magical creatures, familiar and unique. You might even catch a glimpse of a dragon.


What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in the Known Lands?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Magic is a sacred art in the Known Lands. Because of the scourge of Sorcery recently lurking in shadows in every corner of the world, study and performance of magic are approached cautiously and with great reverence. This is because the practice of magic is intoxicating. It’s very easy to be lured from simple magical practice into the rapture and inescapable draw of Sorcery. In Cerion especially, Mages are held to a high standard. To practice magic, you must be marked as an Apprentice by a Master at an early age. You must take your learning at the Mage Academy, a strict and serious school carefully watched over by Cerion’s top Mages. Tuition is incredibly expensive. To be a Mage is a highly prestigious occupation. Mages, especially in Cerion, are respected by all.
The Crimson Warrior
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in the Known Lands?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
The Known Lands are much like our medieval times. There are, I’m sure, some ingenious inventions used, but they don’t play a major role in the books. In the third book, Tib is working on one such invention, but I won’t reveal what it is. You’ll have to read it for yourself.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in the Known Lands as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Yes. There are seven days in a week, and twelve months in a year. In Cerion, the months are named for the seasons. For example, the year begins at Midwinter. Then comes Winterswan (winter’s waning), Springsdawn, Midspring, Springswan, etc. Holidays in Cerion generally follow the seasons as well. The two biggest holidays of the year are Midwinter and Midsummer. Midwinter is similar to our Christmas, where families and friends gather to feast, dance, and exchange gifts. Since winters are harsh in Cerion, most of the Midwinter celebrating is done indoors. It’s a charitable holiday, when the well-to-do open their doors to the less fortunate for feasts and warmth. Midsummer in Cerion is a huge affair. People come from all the countries of the Known Lands to spectate at Cerion Day, a day celebrating peace in Cerion which falls exactly on Midsummer. The revelries are held outdoors, with festivals, parades, and tournaments in the Arena.
King Tirnon Gets an Unexpected Visitor
Is there a particular religion practiced in the Known Lands?  Please describe what it involves.
I have always been vague about religion in my books. My characters hold a certain respect and faith in a greater power, and have even been known to say grace at mealtimes. I’ve always assumed that certain magical abilities such as healing and Lisabella’s Peace come from a divine power (or maybe more than one), but that divine power and the worship of it has never been a central theme in the story.
What is the political or government structure in Cerion?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Cerion is ruled over by King Tirnon Plethore. The Plethore Dynasty has been in place for over a century, since Asio Plethore overthrew the Sorcerer King Diovicus as he tried to breach the borders of Kythshire. Tirnon is a humble, wise, kind king. He is fiercely loyal to his friends, a loving husband and father to family, and a thoughtful ruler. He has a council of Mages and Advisors who he listens to daily, and his respect for his people and the neighboring countries has kept Cerion at peace throughout his reign.
Flitt: Our Favorite Rainbow-Colored Fairy
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Cerion?
It’s best not to mention the fairies. It has been so long since anyone has seen or heard from a fairy that people might think you’re touched in the head if you talk about them as though they might be real. Also, it’s rude to ask a Mage to perform magic for you. Magic is a serious practice. It’s used to ward off dangers, and for practical reasons like clearing the ice from the treacherous cliff steps between the sea market and the harbor. Mages do not perform parlor tricks. Asking them to do so is an insult to their integrity.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
My books are inspired by my childhood influences. I was an eighties kid, so many of the movies I watched as a child have stayed with me throughout the years. Legend, Labyrinth, The Princess Bride, Dark Crystal, Disney’s Fantasia, and even Star Wars have all had an influence on my stories. I played Dungeons and Dragons as a teenager, and various fantasy-based MMORPGs for most of my adult life. My love of nature and of travel are also apparent in my books. Ceras’lain, the land of the Elves, is a tribute to my love of the forest. Elespen, which will be the setting for the next book in the series, will invoke the jungles of India and South America. I enjoy studying different cultures and traveling to new places, and that spirit, I hope, carries through in my books.
The Forest Wall in Ceras’lain
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
I think the hottest button I’ve touched, and it wasn’t intentional in the beginning, is having a strong female protagonist. Azi, my lady knight, isn’t your typical fantasy heroine. She’s valiant but modest. She has confidence, but she also has self-doubt. She doesn’t try to do everything herself. She listens to those who have more experience than she does, and takes their counsel whenever she can. She truly loves her best friend Rian, and their friendship blooms into a respectful, mutual partnership. There are women in leadership roles. Aside from that, there are same-sex couples and bi-racial couples. I try to integrate many different beliefs into the books as I can, without calling attention to them. It’s accepted as the way things are. This is my way of showing the importance of love, friendship, family, and respect for all people.
Author Autobiography:
Missy Sheldrake is an author/illustrator who has been conjuring images of fairies in one form or another since she was very young. The wind in the trees and the rich scent of forest earth are her most treasured sources of inspiration, and on most mornings you will find her wandering the wooded paths, dreaming of the next adventure she hopes to put to the page.

Missy was born in Connecticut and attended Western Connecticut State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Art with a concentration in painting and illustration. Even then, in her free time, she was writing. She moved to Northern Virginia several years ago and lives there now, on the outskirts of Washington D.C., with her true love and their son. She published her first novel, Call of Kythshire, in March of 2015 and intends to keep writing as long as the fairies allow it.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?
My books are available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Click here to learn more about the series.

Where can readers connect with you online? 
Almost everywhere! Click below to follow me on whichever platform you prefer:
My website (check out the “illustrations” tab to see more artwork from the series)

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

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

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week’s edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima