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.
Hi! I’m Shauna E. Black. Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today!
Title of book and series:
Today I’m featuring The Phantom Nightingale, Book 1 of the Andul Guardians. There will be 2 more books in this series. The Skyhound Master is book 2, slated to be released at the end of March. The final book in the series is called The Angel Bandit.
Brief summary of the story:
Xanthe’s crew might all be kids, but that doesn’t mean he plays it safe. He saved them all once, and now they’ll go anywhere with him. But when news of a potential lost sister comes to light, Xanthe will lead them on their most dangerous mission yet – into the heart of the empire that wants him, dead or alive.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
The books are placed in a futuristic world that uses steampunk-like technology. In this world, the polar ice caps melted, spawning a Time of Chaos that destroyed civilization until the Tyrian Empire arose to control much of Europe (now spelled Yurop). While many of the books’ locations may seem familiar to those of our day, the rising waters of the oceans have eaten away at the coastlines, virtually destroyed marine life, and caused continuous earthquake tremors. The Tyrians blame much of this unrest on an alien race called Andul that can slip instantaneously from one location to another using the power of song.
If we were to visit Tyria as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
You should definitely take a turn around Pragnov, the City Reborn. This is the capital of the Tyrian Empire, a shining testament to the power of humanity to rise from the ashes. It models such architectural triumphs as the Capitol Building, a vast edifice sprawling 200 square meters in the center of the city; and the Yugend Tower, rising fifty stories above the guide wires protecting it from earthquake damage and topped by the famous Yugend dome.
If your tastes lean more toward the country life (or if you’re on the run from the Tyrian government), you might prefer to visit the snowy slopes of the Alpun Mountains, or perhaps the turbulent coast of Pembrook with its crashing waves and mossy houses.
What dangers should we avoid in Tyria?
Angering the Tyrian government. Seriously. Mind your Ps and Qs.
And when the Child Conscription Authority comes knocking on your door to enlist youth in their required service to the Empire, don’t hesitate to hand over your children. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself on the run to one of those country getaways mentioned earlier.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Tyria?
Banitsa (eggs and feta cheese in a filo pastry) is excellent hot or cold, or you might try pelmeni (small dumplings). If you have a sweet tooth, go for palacinky (a crepe-like pancake filled with jam).
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Tyria?
Hand guns, rifles, and blunderbusses for ground engagement. Blunderbusses are also used on air ships, as well as the ever-popular particle canon. Some weapons are powered by the magic of Andul, such as the small hand-held stinger.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Tyria?
Air ships utilize the hummed harmonies of Geissler tubes filled with hydrogen that’s been charged magically by the singing voice of an Andul. There must be two Geissler arrays to enable a ship to fly; one mounted below in the orlop, and one mounted above on the mast. The sounds ping against each other to enable flight.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Tyria that we don’t see on Earth?
The Andul are an alien race that arrived on planet Earth shortly before the Time of Chaos. They are able to slipfrom one location to another when they sing. Tyria has harnessed this power – at the same time neutralizing the threat Andul supposedly pose to the planet – by controlling the Andul through a mineral called moldavite.
What is the political or government structure in Tyria? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The Tyrian Empire rules most of the Yuropene continent, with Chancellor Vaas at its head. He rose to power partly by convincing the population of the importance of subjugating the Andul. He believes strongly that youth are the treasure of Tyria and mandates that all children over the age of twelve leave home to be trained for their place in society.
The Confederacy, a conglomerate of the other countries of Earth, sometimes takes a narrow view of Tyria’s policies. But they do not wish to incite another war with Tyria, not after the devastation caused by the Global War twenty years ago, and so they often turn a blind eye to Tyria’s atrocities.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
My travels to parts of Europe inspired some of the settings, along with the culture of my ancestors (where “Pembrook” is concerned). The magic is an homage to my own love for music. Although I’ve never been a professional singer, I was trained classically as a mezzo-soprano.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Child slavery and the oppression and inhuman treatment of a foreign race. Forgiveness and unconditional love are themes woven throughout all three books in the series.
Award-winning author Shauna E. Black smiles a lot. But her appearance can be deceiving. Like the legendary sirens of old, she enjoys luring innocent readers into the fantastical worlds she creates and trapping them there. It is rumored that Shauna domesticated a dragon by feeding him ice cream and keeps four young house elves to do her bidding, although one escaped when presented a sock. Shauna declares war on the mundane, living a charmed life camouflaged in the high desert of the American Southwest. If you decide to go against your better judgment and ignore all warnings, you can find out more about her adventurous fiction on her website, ShaunaBlack.com.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links.
The Phantom Nightingale is available at major online retailers, including:
Where can readers connect with you online?
I always welcome new subscribers to my eclub newsletter
, plus you can get a free novella for subscribing. 😉
I’m not really great at social media (old lady alert), but I’m most active on Facebook
. I like to post bookstagram images once in awhile on my Instagram
account, and I frequently use Pinterest
for writing inspiration, along with more prosaic household recipes and decorating ideas.
If you’d like to chat or just give me a shout out, I’m usually good at responding to email
Thanks for reading!
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Tyria. Questions about the world or the book? Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!
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Please join us again next Monday for a trip to another world in next week’s edition of Realm Explorers!
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-Annie Douglass Lima