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:Kandi J Wyatt

Title of book and/or series: The Dragon Courage series—book 1 Dragon’s Future, book 2 Dragon’s Heir, book 3 Dragon’s Revenge, book 4 Dragon’s Cure (releasing August, 2016), book 5 Dragon’s Posterity, Prequel Dragon’s Past
Brief summary of the story: 
In a world where dragons and humans live in peace with each other, it is a privilege to be a dragon rider, but riders, like everyone else, must find their purpose. In this series, twins Ruskya and Duskya fight for their dragons’ futures and their lives! Braidyn struggles with balancing justice and mercy as he searches for a stolen nestling. Kyn and a new friend, Ben’hyamene, discover a breed of wild dragons which have been at war with humans for four hundred years, and the two learn that peace is better than revenge. Kyn helps Duskya and her daughter, Carryn, search for a young rider who stumbles upon a slave trade. Carryn learns that bitterness leaves a person in bondage as much as being a slave. Follow along the riders’ quest in this exciting middle grade fantasy series by author Kandi J Wyatt.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story: 
The world itself has many of the same things our world has: lakes, deserts, mountains, swamplands, oceans, and mines. The center of the world is the inland lake. From there, we tell directions. North of the inland lake is the canyon country of Woolpren and Three Spans Canyon. Here the people are steeped in tradition. To the south of the inland lake is Boeskay. It is situated just south of the lake on the River Sur. The land is fruitful and many people farm here. To the east of the inland sea rolling sandhills spread out as far as the eye can see. The people here herd livestock and roam from oasis to oasis. Heading south and west of the inland sea will bring a traveler to the land of The Carr. A river overflows its banks creating a massive swamp. People live in sod houses on rocky outcroppings or in wooden cabins up on stilts. Their livelihood is dependent on the land whether in logging, farming, or ranching. To the south and west of Boeskay the city of San Valencia sits at the base of tall, rocky mountains. The mountains hold mines for ebony. To the west of The Carr sits the ocean. Its rolling surf crashes against rocks and plays a hide-n-seek game with the grasslands as they ebb and flow between the surf and the mountains.
If we were to visit the Lands of Dragon Courage as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there? 
First and foremost, ride a dragon! You’d have to ask a dragon rider and the dragon for permission, but it would be the best thing ever. Secondly, I’d recommend that you visit the El’shad’n in the sandhills and experience one of their feasts. The heat will have dissipated by the evening feast and their pavilions will be open to guests. Drums will provide a beat for dancing, and after dark, the fire dancers will grace the grounds with their intricate work of twirling fire and blowing it in great balls into the air. Roasted lamb never tastes as good as it does at an El’shad’n feast. There’s just something about the way they grill it over the fire that brings all the favor to the front and gets rid of the grease lamb is known for. While on your visit, you must swing by and say ‘hi’ to Duskya or Ruskya and have a cup of tea. Listen to them tell the stories of the lands. Finally, if you’ve never been to an ocean before, go explore the coast. Listen to the roar of the surf. I’d suggest going in the summer during the Youngling Challenge.
What dangers should we avoid in the Lands of Dragon Courage? 
You’ll want to be cautious of the wild drakes in The Carr. They’ve been at peace with humans now for a few winters, but they are still wild. You don’t want to disturb their lands. They can be territorial. As long as you aren’t caught out in the open in the winter in Three Spans Canyon or Woolpren you’ll be okay, but winter storms have been known to lock people in their homes for days on end. In the summer time, Boeskay can have tornados. If you’re there in the summer months, you’ll want to keep an eye on the sky.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in the Lands of Dragon Courage? 
Depending on where in the land you are, your food will vary. The northern lands of Woolpren and Three Spans Canyon serve meats from their livestock along with corn and wheat. Boeskay is known for the farms. All kinds of fresh produce comes through the market and fish is caught in the river. Tea is a prominent drink in the north; while coffee is served in the sandhills, and lemonade on the western coast of the inland sea.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in the Lands of Dragon Courage? 
Swords, knives, arrows, and basic hand-to-hand combat are practiced among all the peoples of the land.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to the Lands of Dragon Courage? 
Wagons and horses are the most common means of transportation. A few people are fortunate enough to be dragon riders. They have the wonderful opportunity to travel by way of dragon. Those living in the sandhills can travel using animals bred for the heat.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in the Lands of Dragon Courage that we don’t see on Earth? 
There is a plant that encourages dragons to have twins. It has a similar effect on humans as well. Dragons are another species that are specific to the Lands of Dragon Courage. Other than that, the world is very similar to ours.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in the Lands of Dragon Courage?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used. 
Magic exists mainly in the form of dragons and their abilities. However, there are some items that are magical—an herb that produces twins, an amulet that binds dragons to people and enables the person to hear others’ thoughts, ebony crystals that can hold the essence of a person so that their presence is felt in an area, creating mental cages of memories to keep a person from knowing who she is. These are all magical happenings. The abilities of telepathy and telekinesis are explained by way of magic.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in the Lands of Dragon Courage. 
The main entertainment happens in the summer along the coast. The Youngling Challenge is held where all the young dragon riders who are ready to graduate to full-fledged riders come to prove their abilities as riders. There are competitions for them to show how well they work together as a group, individually, and in team sports as well. They have hand-to-hand tournaments, races, and show their prowess with their abilities to wield their minds as weapons.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in the Lands of Dragon Courage as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there? 
The days and months are the same. However they rate the passing of time by winters. The seasons are the same in the land but the severity of the weather depends on where you are visiting. The Carr has rain, fog, and sun all year long, while Woolpren and Three Spans Canyon have distinctive seasons with extremes. The special event for the north is the Youngling Procession where the dragons and prospective dragon riders meet every winter. The dragon rider colony then celebrates the arrival of new riders. In Boeskay, each winter they celebrate when their younglings are old enough to become full-fledged riders.
What is the political or government structure in the Lands of Dragon Courage?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she? 
The Carr has two different sets of government. There is the leader of the humans and the leader of the dragon riders. In recent years, the two have become one. The leader is a young girl by the name of Calum. She is guided by her father, the former human leader, and the former dragon rider leader, Shaylah. The El’shad’n look to Braidyn as their Ah’doneye or leader. The other areas have no political struggles. The riders are helpers who keep peace. In Boeskay, the riders help by fertilizing the farmlands with dragon fire.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit the Lands of Dragon Courage? 
In the north, people bow in reverence and greeting to each other. The traditional greeting is “May your dragon fly true.” Among the men of The Carr, they shake hands instead of bowing. They are less formal. The El’shad’n had been ruled by a man who abused power. He required everyone to bow down to him as a king. He also kept the women separate from the men. This is changing, but there is still a cultural reticence for the two to mix in public without a family member around.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
Woolpren and Three Spans Canyon are based on two canyons I have visited personally. When I was between my junior and senior years in high school I went to Northern Arizona and saw Canyon de Chelly. I loved the idea of a town built into the canyon wall. The canyons of the high desert of Eastern Oregon are where my in-laws live. When I blended the Northern Arizona landscape with the foothills of the Blue Mountains of Oregon, I created Woolpren and Three Spans Canyon.
Boeskay comes from my childhood in the Mississippi River area of Southern Iowa. The farmlands surrounding the river and the bluffs fill the land. Even the tornados and thunderstorms come from my childhood. However, the market place comes from my time in Ecuador. I loved the way the vendors would set up their wares in colorful displays. The sing-song calling out of what they had to sell also comes into the Boeskay market.
The Carr probably is my favorite because it is what I have known for the past twenty-one years. It is based on the Coquille River valley in Oregon. In the winter time, the fertile fields fill with runoff and the river itself takes on a life of its own as it spills into the plains. The mountains around the valley used to supply many log mills with lumber. They aren’t conducive for dragons, but the valley floor works well for the flying creatures.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book? 
For the most part the series avoids anything controversial and focuses instead on family, friendship, courage, justice balanced with mercy, and revenge versus peace. However, in book four, the topics of survivors of childhood abuse and human trafficking come into play. When I wrote it, I wrote out of my own experience of overcoming the abuse coping mechanisms. At the time, human trafficking wasn’t even spoken about. Yet, somehow, I was able to put together a very believable experience of how young girls can fall into the clutches of this despicable system. As one character says, “I’d like to take down the whole system! Wing, tail, and horns. From the sellers to the traders to the buyers.”
Author Autobiography: Kandi J Wyatt is a wife, mother of five, teacher, artist, and author. In her free time, she enjoys writing fantasy stories and Christmas programs, and drawing with graphite and colored pencils. Portraits are her specialty. Kandi also enjoys photography, thanks to her photographer husband who has let her join his journey as both his model and apprentice, and she occasionally serves as his assistant when he needs a “light stand with feet.”
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  Please include links.
Dragon’s Future is available on amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Scribd.
Dragon’s Heir is available on amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Scribd.
Dragon’s Revengeis available on amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Scribd.
Where can readers connect with you online? 

Feel free to connect with me on my website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google Plus, and Pinterest. I blog every week about things not necessarily book related but what I think would help my readers or about what’s happening in my own life. On Facebook, I share not only my blog posts, but any videos or pictures that pique an interest for my readers or would follow with themes in my books. I participate in Twitter games, #MondayBlogs, #TuesdayTitles (where I suggest books that are great reads), #1lineWed (snippets of either works in progress or from my books), and #momlife. My Pinterest boards are divided by things that fit with my books as well as a favorite quote and a favorite book board.

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

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

Please join us again next Monday for a trip to the fantasy world of Bjergen, in Realm Explorers Part XCXVI!
-Annie Douglass Lima