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:

Valerie Howard
Title of book and/or series:
Brief summary of the story:
Mara has been a prisoner in the slave yard since she was a young girl. Her crime: treason. Her penalty: death by the hand of the King. One day, Prince Justinius visits the slave yard and gives Mara a surprising ultimatum. Will she choose to side with her enemies to spare her life? Or will she stay loyal to the rebellion and get the punishment surely coming her way? Avalon is an allegorical novella depicting the Christian life.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Avalon is a large kingdom ruled by King Aldus. It’s a land with an old-world feel without cars, electricity, or modern conveniences. The kingdom is covered in lush, thick forests and dirt traveling paths. 
If we were to visit Avalon as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
I would recommend going to the King’s palace. It’s glamorous, gargantuan, glittering with gold and jewels, and gushing with beauty. The hosts are absolutely perfect, and you’ll want to stay there forever– just because you can!
What dangers should we avoid in Avalon?
Druett and his knights are the rebels who try to steal King Aldus’s crown. They might smooth talk you into joining their murderous plots, so you should avoid the deep woods where they are scheming and planning underground.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Avalon?
The slaves in the slave yard eat disgusting gruel, moldy bread, and rotting fruit, but the free servants of the King dine on delicious milk, honey, fruit, pastries, and berries. No meat is served in Avalon, and everything eaten is naturally produced, so that’s a bit unique.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Avalon?
Weapons in Avalon would be similar to medieval weapons: swords, bows and arrows, battle axes, etc. Weapons are rarely seen in the book. The guards prefer to beat the prisoners using their hands or feet.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Avalon?
Good old-fashioned horse-drawn carts and carriages, walking, or running– that’s how people get around in the Kingdom of Avalon. There are no cars, no bikes, no taxis, planes, trains, or modern vehicles.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Avalon?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
Prince Justinius is the only one in this story that has supernatural powers. He can read minds and tell the future.
What is the political or government structure in Avalon?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The government is a monarchy, with King Aldus as the sovereign king, Prince Justinius as his son, and Druett as an ex-knight who tries to turn the hearts of the citizens against Aldus and overthrow his reign.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Avalon?
If you side with the rebels, you will pay the price, so it’s best to be on King Aldus’s side…
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
The book is an allegory of the Christian life, specifically the salvation experience from start to finish, so in a way, yes. I based the main character’s physical appearance on my own appearance because, in a sense, this is my story of becoming a Christian and walking with Christ.

Author Autobiography:

Valerie Howard was born and raised in rural Maine. She is the wife of a youth pastor and a stay-at-home-mom to an energetic two-year-old. She has been writing stories ever since the second grade. Ever since then, she’s written 14 books and plays for children, teens, and adults. She’s worked tutoring children in math and reading, and she’s an official choco-holic.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  
Paperback and Kindle editions are available on Amazon.
Where can readers connect with you online?  
On my blog, my Facebook page, and on Twitter.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Avalon.  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 a World of Dual Magics in Realm Explorers Part XII!
-Annie Douglass Lima

Are you an author who would like your world to appear on Realm Explorers?  Click here to download the instructions and interview form, or email me at [email protected] for more information.

It’s my pleasure to welcome guest author Valerie Howard to my blog today.  She’ll be sharing about her fantasy novel Avalon.  Be sure to check it out and visit her online through the links at the bottom!

Book Blurb:

Avalon is an allegorical novella, written to emphasize and magnify the story of salvation. It is my story of God’s forgiveness of my sins, as it is every Christian’s story of how Christ saved them and will someday bring them home.
The main character is a young woman named Mara — she is a rebel prisoner sentenced to slave labor until the day of her execution arrives. When Prince Justinius arrives at the slave yard one morning, Mara is convinced her life is about to come to an abrupt end. But the Prince has different plans. Will Mara side with her enemies to save her life? Or will she cling to her rebel cause and risk losing everything?

Author Bio:

Valerie Howard is a pastor’s wife and a stay-at-home-mom from Maine who writes novels in her “spare time”. (When her son decides to nap.) She graduated from Piedmont Baptist College with a degree in Missions, and is joining her husband in a church planting ministry in New England in the near future. She is the author of 15 books and plays for ages 4 and  up. Valerie enjoys wearing flip-flops and eating chocolate, preferably at the same time.


Website: www.ValerieHowardBooks.com
Blog: www.PenHelp.wordpress.com
Facebook Fan Page: www.Facebook.com/ValerieHowardBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PenHelp
Link to buy on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00GAMSVIK