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.
Peggy M. McAloon
Brief summary of the story:
Book 1 of the Elle Burton series, Elle Burton and theReflective Portals, is about a young girl who encounters winged creatures from another dimension on her tenth birthday. Her first encounter is at Wolske Bay in Menomonie, WI where she captures one of the creatures entering Earth from a reflective portal (her own reflection in the lake). She is enticed by these creatures to help them protect the children of Earth by becoming an Earth Guide.
Being a guide seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. Elle is an ordinary kid and has always loved helping others; now she’ll have magical assistance. Not everyone wants her to succeed. There are evil forces that do everything in their power to keep guides like Elle from offering support to those in need. Can Elle be brave enough to oppose them?
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Fiori is unlike any place on earth. There are more flowers than you have seen in your entire life. Some are as large as a tractor tires with centers as big as a meat platter. The inhabitants of Fiori live in rustic stilt houses scattered in and among the flowers where they can gaze down at the beautiful valleys of flowers below them. There are reflecting ponds throughout the valley. Fiorins depend on them to travel between Fiori and Earth. The sky is burnished with the red, purple, and gold shades of the most spectacular sunsets imaginable. There are no clouds in the sky and the ground is covered with carpets of orange, crimson, and yellow. Azaleas, bougainvillea, ice-blue calathea, and thousands of white kukui blossoms fill the valleys.
|Amadeus Fighting a Zorin
If we were to visit Fiori as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Definitely attend an event at Mother Blue’s Temple. The structure looks like the Doric temples in ancient Greece. Columns adorn the outer part of the colossal building, reaching up toward the crimson sky. The structure is completely covered in the softest of pearl-white flower petals. Enter through the arched entrance to enjoy one of the many banquets there. Strings of flowers cover the entrance. Brilliant metallic golds adorn the white inner walls. Golden chandeliers hang from the ceiling and art tapestries hang on the walls, depicting scenes from Fiori and from the human world. Taking a ride on the back of a turquoise Truero in a reflective pond is an absolute must! If you are extremely lucky and Mother Blue is particularly fond of you, you may be able to tour the land on the back of Pegasus.
What dangers should we avoid in Fiori?
Fiori is bordered on one side by a rugged mountain range where the Zorins live. The Zorins live in the cliff dwellings there. They resemble an alligator although they do walk upright on their hind legs towering nearly 10 feet tall. The creatures have soulless sulfur-colored eyes with bulbous eyelids. They are covered by scales (avocado and tobacco brown with globs of tarry mucus attached to them). You will immediately notice the dozens of sharp and horribly stained teeth in their huge mouths if you are unlucky enough to run into one. No one has ever returned to Fiori after a close encounter with these creatures. Zorins can take the shape of a human (both adult and infant), causing confusion for both Fiorins and earthlings. Fiorin Perimeter Control rules require that you get no closer than 150 yards to the outer perimeter of Fiori. They can use their uncanny ability to suck in huge amounts of air and draw in any Fiorins or humans unlucky enough to be near them.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Fiori?
While in Fiori, anything you may need is provided. Whatever your favorite foods, they will magically appear as desired.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Fiori?
In book one, the only weapons utilized against the Zorins are wooden poles and spears. Zorins do have deadly reactions to pollen, which is one of the reasons the valleys of flowers protect the Fiorins. There are no modern weapons in Fiori.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in Fiori?
In Fiori the creatures that live there have wings. They need no other form of transportation. Human Guides who are visiting can travel on the backs of Pegasus and the Trueros. Otherwise, they can ride in carriages pulled by giant spiders.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Fiori that we don’t see on earth?
Things seem a bit backwards in Fiori compared to Earth. Spiders are huge and elephants are house pets. The turquoise Trueros are very much like swans yet they are large enough to carry a human on their back. The plants and flowers are gigantic compared to their counterparts on Earth. Fiorins, when they travel through the reflective portals (through the reflections of the children of Earth), are the size of butterflies in Earth’s dimension, but they are equal in size to humans in the realm of Fiori. They look very human-like with larger eyes than humans and wings like a butterfly or fairy. The Zorins have already been described. They look rather like an alligator but walk on their two hind legs in an upright manner.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Fiori? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
All Fiorins have the ability to sing a “Siren Song” that can drive a human insane. They use this to protect children if they have enough time. They are not allowed to physically harm any human but can inflict temporary pain to prevent harm to a child under the age of 8. Fiorins are assigned to every new-born baby on Earth. They breathe the first breath of life into the child so they will have a kind heart. Some do not make it to the child before birth because of trickery initiated by the Zorins.
Each Fiorin then has one special power. Amadeus, the warrior, has the ability to summon huge storms with wind and lightning. Milo is capable of blowing himself up into a giant sponge to protect children who may fall or be injured in a car accident.
|Medallion on Mother Blue’s Necklace
|Medallion on Mother Blue’s Necklace
Mother Blue, the Empress of the Fiorin colony in Book 1, has multiple powers and a bronze necklace that holds the secret to her powers. The necklace can only be activated by the human guide who has been predicted to come to Fiori during their 11th year in the Sacred Scrolls of Destiny. It has been given to numerous guides in the past, but no one has had the ability to unleash the magic. No one knows yet the extent of the magic that the necklace holds. The necklace had magical powers only for Mother Blue and the “chosen one” as predicted in the Sacred Scrolls. The chosen would accomplish 3 major challenges during his/her 11th year. Mother Blue had loaned the bronze pendant to other guides, but no one had yet been able to unleash the magic. Now it’s Elle’s turn to try.
There is a magic fountain in Mother Blue’s Temple. She is able to look into it on the day a child reaches the age of 8 to determine what the future holds for them on Earth.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Fiori? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
When you think of Fiori, think of the Garden of Eden. Magic exists, but there is no modern technology.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Fiori.
Fiorins are a very simplistic race. They turn huge flowers into May poles and swings with the assistance of spider webs. They also fashion elevators utilizing spider webs. They live in the natural surroundings and revel in food, dance, and song.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Fiori as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
A brief second on Earth is the equivalent of hours and hours in Fiori. Most Fiorins are thousands of years old in Earth time. They do not marry as do the people of Earth. They consider themselves to be part of one huge family. The days are continuous. Night never falls. The sky is filled with the colors of the most vibrant sunset you have ever seen. Fiorins acknowledge holidays celebrated in all countries on Earth but they do not celebrate any specific Fiorin holidays. Celebrations are spontaneous when an Earth Guide has a major victory against evil.
What is an Earth Guide?
Earth Guides are chosen by Mother Blue through her knowledge gained through the magic fountain. They are humans who are able to move throughout Earth through a wish. Fiorins can only travel on a wish with an Earth Guide. The Human Guides are the only ones (other than some children under the age of 8) who can see the Fiorins on Earth. It is their responsibility to offer whatever assistance the Fiorins may require to protect the children of Earth. Guides are life-long assistants but they do have free-will and can decide to quit if they so desire. All memories of Fiori and the winged creatures will then disappear from their memory.
Are there any other creatures that assist the Fiorins?
Fiorins have the ability to communicate with all animals on Earth. They also employ messengers to carry messages between Fiorins and Earth Guides. (We know these messengers as carrier pigeons, although other birds can carry messages in times of great need)
Is there a particular religion practiced in Fiori?
We are not aware of any particular religion in Book 1 of the series other than a tremendous respect for the environment.
What is the political or government structure in Fiori? Who is in charge there at the moment and what kind of leader is she?
All Fiorins are equal. The leader is Mother Blue. She has the undying love and support of all her subjects. She leads with compassion and love for all Fiorins and the people of Earth. This is how it has been for centuries and no one questions her authority or knowledge. She acts more as a mother figure than an absolute ruler. Free-will is encouraged.
Bellengrath Gardens, AL: Similar to the Land of Fiori
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I would have to say that everything in my life has inspired the realm of Fiori. I was raised in a very religious home. Most of our activities outside of school were centered in the church. I loved the stained glass windows; most especially the one that had a beautiful angel. The Fiorins are based on my childhood vision of what my guardian angel might look like. Fiori is a combination of my vision of what I believe heaven might be like and a section of walkway in Bellengrath Gardens in Mobile, AL that are alive with azaleas in the spring of the year. Flowers of every description adorn the property and it is as close to what I would hope heaven would look like as anything I have ever seen next to the tulip fields in the Netherlands.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals is about a young girl who has been chosen as a Guide at a very young age. She faces the challenges of bullying and parental abuse in this first book. As a victim of child abuse I understand how terrifying the threats are that a child is subjected to. It is my hope that we can inspire children through storytelling to trust enough to find an adult who can help them as Olivia did when she finally admitted to Elle why she was hiding in the bathroom at school. This is a different approach to the problems of bullying and abuse. Children are more aware of these issues than we give them credit for. The protagonist, Elle Burton is a normal young girl who can inspire kids to stand up to bullying and abuse and become more empowered than they have ever been before through a delightful and believable fantasy.
Author Peggy McAloon retired from the field of commercial credit, is the author of The Art of Business Credit Investigation, and is a recognized trainer and speaker. She enjoys watercolor art and has received national awards for her efforts in the conservation of water resources. Her own journey through child abuse, depression, and a debilitating car accident elevated her desire to help children cope with their challenges in such a way that they are inspired and empowered.
|Peggy McAloon with Anneka Rogers
Eleven year-old Anneka Rogers acted as a consultant on the book. Her insistence that the class bully be “saved” provides the framework for one of the most exciting chapters in the book. Anneka is eleven years old and has participated in Tour Cross Country Team, CORE Values Program, Battle of the Books, 4-H, and Running Club.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book?
“Elle Burton and the Reflective Portals” is available in both e-book ($2.99) and soft-cover ($13.95)
Where can readers connect with you online?