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: Diane Rapp
Title of book and/or series:
HOWL OF THE WOLF, Book 1 of Heirs to the Throne Trilogy (I also have a prequel to the trilogy titled THE ALPHAS)  The whole series is reasonably clean and violence is not graphic.
Brief summary of the story:
This science/fantasy novel takes place in a distant future.  When a human colony ship lands on the distant planet Drako, the occupants of the world…telepathic wolves…try to communicate with the two-legs.  The wolves decide there are no intelligent creatures to speak with them.  They wait, hoping a two-leg might acquire enough intelligence to finally speak with them.
Meanwhile in civilized space, the process of Transfer is developed by a team of four scientists.  They save lives and correct genetic conditions by sending the mind of a patient into a clone, creating virtual immortality.  Unfortunately, the scientists turned the process over to clerks in the Institute that they established to handle the paperwork and lost power over the invention.
Hundreds of years later the medical spaceship Zebulon flees from Institute assassins, who were sent to kill all the scientists and their teams.  Captain Donovan chooses the remote planet Drako to hide with his crew and protect the scientist leader, Dr. Alexander.  (They don’t know that an evil assassin stowed away on their ship.)  After landing and destroying their ship, they discover that Donovan must compete for the crown of the dying king to secure sanctuary for his people. 
Faced with superstitions, hatred, and eminent danger, the spacers must adapt to a feudal society without using modern tools or weapons.  Fortunately centuries of Transfer enhanced the natural talents of each crew member which might give them an advantage on the backward planet.  (The evil villain has the power of mind control.)  
An intelligent wolf leader, Kriegen makes telepathic contact with Donovan and must decide if he will help protect the pack of the two-leg commander.  The wolves’ Council of Elders might be difficult to convince, but Kriegen knows an evil human lurks nearby with plans to kill his targets and gain control over the pastoral world of Drako.  Mind control is against the code the wolves live by, so Kriegen believes the Council must act.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Drako is a pastoral planet located on the fringe of civilized space.  Although the planet proves suitable for colonization, a society of telepathic wolves already occupies the lush world.  The wolves try to make contact with bad results and decide to wait.  They watch two-legs clear the land and develop Drako into a recreation planet for wealthy tourists.  Settlers become feudal lords, desert sheiks, oriental samurai, and ordinary peasants depending on a level of investment.  After several generations the monarchy revolted against technology and closed Drako to off-world visitors.  Distaste for technology eventually mutated into superstitious hatred.  Anyone caught with spacer tools or weapons could be executed.
The planet is part of a two-sun system.  The main sun is like our own.  From ground-level the second distant red dwarf sun looks like a red moon at night and provides extra warmth to grow lush plants.  The pastoral planet is perfect for people hoping to escape modern technology and live a simple life.  Peasants, knights, and kings become common-place and scientific knowledge is shunned and soon forgotten.
If we were to visit Drako as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Should tourists be permitted to visit Drako once more, they would be immersed in life from bygone eras.  Kings and castles, sheiks and desert riders, peasants and merchants can be found living a simple existence without modern conveniences.  There are telepathic wolves in the shadows (if you can find a pack) and tales about dragons by the seaside tantalize visitors. 
What dangers should we avoid in Drako?
Don’t whip out a camera or cell phone as use of forbidden instruments of technology warrant death.  Superstitions mark technology as witchcraft, so you wouldn’t want to burn at the stake.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Drako?
Medieval weapons like bows and arrows, as well as swords, knives and spears, are used by trained knights and desert riders.  Gigantic war horses are an integral part of any soldier’s weaponry.  The Samurai are trained to kill with their bare hands but archery skills are learned as well.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or in Drako?
People travel on foot or by horseback, however, by the end of this series Dragon Riders make air travel across the world much easier for lucky young people.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Drako that we don’t see on Earth?
Earth-type plants grow on Drako but night-blooming varieties thrive in the red light of the distant second sun.  A society of telepathic wolves occupied the planet before the arrival of humans.  Separate wolf packs are ruled by a combined Council of Elders, who “host” the minds of many ancestors to provide wisdom and a living history.  A wolf host voluntarily accepts the minds of a dying pack member and those minds give advice until the wolf’s death.  The host hears ancestor voices but any final decision is left to the living host.  The Council of Elders does not believe that two-legs are intelligent creatures, so it does not interfere in the society of lower animals.  They protect forests and the holy structure on the Bloody Lake by scaring two-legs away.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Drako?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
There is not actual magic on Drako, however, centuries of Transfer left spacers with special abilities that have been magnified over time.  Telepathy, healing powers, incredible speed, visions of the future, and mind control talents might seem like magic to superstitious natives.  Using these abilities give the spacers an edge if they do not allow the skills to brand them as sorcerers.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Drako.
A sporting tournament to choose the successor for the dying king includes archery, horse racing, and various matches in a ring (hand-to-hand combat, saber, foil, and sword contests) help contestants win points.  In the final two combatants face off to win the crown.
What is the political or government structure in Drako? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The government is a monarchy, but the ruling king’s entirely family was recently poisoned.  King Halder is also dying from the same strange poison.  He secretly sends an interstellar message to summon a distant heir.  Captain Donovan returns to Drako, unaware of his lineage, but agrees to compete for the crown.  King Halder has his own “special mental skills” and plans to use Donovan to ferret out his family’s killer and take a revenge.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Drako?
Mullahs who rule with an army of Desert Riders are descendants from colonists migrating from Middle East region on Earth.  They follow their own traditions and religious beliefs.  The Mullahs plan to gain power on Drako by winning King Halder’s throne.  A separate region is ruled by Marasuta, an Oriental Samurai who pledges allegiance to the King.  He trains his soldiers in the Samurai code and traditions, making sure they are skilled warriors.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
When I began writing this series, I asked a series of “what if” questions and imagined how society might develop from potential answers. 
1.     What if cloning provided doctors with the ability to transplant a patient’s mind into a new body free of genetic problems?  What if the expense of such immortality caused people to work as virtual slaves to pay off the debt?  How would society develop?  Would people finally decide that freedom in a short life is better than slavery? 
2.     What if telepathic creatures occupied a world ripe for colonization?  How would humans make “first contact” with telepathic creatures?  What if everything went wrong?  Would those creatures destroy humans or wait until we developed enough intelligence to properly communicate?  Could the creatures become allies to telepathic humans and help save lives?
Author Autobiography:
Diane Rapp became an entrepreneur when she started her own dog grooming salon in Santa Barbara, California. She spent the next thirty years as a small business owner; she sold real estate, started an office supply/copy center, and performed free-lance advertising design. During all those years Diane wrote stories for herself as a cure for insomnia.  She imagined distant planets and mysteries set on Earth.
After writing a tour guide book to the Caribbean together, Diane’s daughter gave her the idea of writing a mystery/romance set on cruise ships in the Caribbean. She got serious about publishing her books.  “Murder Caribbean-Style” and “Murder on a Ghost Ship” are the first two novels of a High Seas Mystery series. Readers meet the main characters of the series and learn about life aboard a ship while solving murders. There is danger and romance mixed in with the action. The third book in the series, “Murder for Glacier Blue” takes the reader on a cruise to Alaska with an art heist, murder, and a wedding on Glacier Bay. 

Diane’s first love has always been science/fantasy.  “The Alphas” is the prequel to the Heirs to “Howl of the Wolf”.  The story is a mystery blended with science/fantasy.  The heroine tries to solve the murder of an old friend and discovers why her beloved German Shepherd was stolen. The novel also introduces telepathic dogs and the wolves who eventually travel to the planet Drako.

“Howl of the Wolf” is the first book in the Heirs to the Throne Trilogy.  The novel introduces the planet Drako, telepathic wolves, and the crew of the space ship that took sanctuary with people who banned technology from their world.  In “The Havenshire Resistance”, the second book of the series, Queen Krystal’s three teenage daughters learn to use inherited powers to help rescue their father. Krystal leads an army of Samurai women, telepathic wolves, and ragtag commoners against an evil usurper in a dramatic battle. In “Dragon Defense”, the third book of the trilogy, the planet is under threat from space when an Institute battleship arrives. King Donovan must train bored teenagers to operate forbidden defense technology while his daughters befriend a flock of wild dragons.  Will the crazy defense tactics save Drako from destruction?

Diane took a break to write a fractured fairy tale for her granddaughter.  “Dragon Knight: and the Heart’s Blood Curse” is a humorous fantasy that adults will enjoy reading to their kids. When a witch turns a magnificent dragon into a puny human knight, Dragon must complete a quest to regain his powerful dragon form. A demon steals dead musicians from the mundane world and forces them to perform songs that change people into evil creatures. He plans to steal a living musician, Jimmy Buffett, and use his songs to destroy the barriers between the worlds.  Dragon is the only creature who could destroy the demon and save the day.  Wizards in the mundane world use smart phones as wands to protect Buffett from capture while Dragon and a young sorceress, Robyn, fight the demon in the magical realm.

Last year Diane added a new mystery to her growing catalog.  The characters from her High Seas Mysteries travel to Colorado to find a family gold mine.  “Golden Legacy” features a journal written in 1888 by Kayla’s ancestor, a woman traveling alone from San Francisco to Ouray, Colorado.  Kayla reads the journal to uncover clues to fine the gold mine and prove herself worthy of inheriting the family legacy.
What is next? 
I am currently working on a new science/fantasy novel.  When Dr. Alexander and his team arrived on Drako, the three other scientists who invented Transfer fled to other planets.  Now readers can explore what happened to these talented men, what kind of worlds they chose to inhabit, and what interstellar threat might bring them all back together.  If you enjoy character-driven science/fantasy, start reading the first series today.  The next book should be ready by the end of this year.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books? 
All nine books are available in e-book and print formats exclusively on Amazon.com.  My author’s page can be found at http://Author.to/DianeRapp
Please include links to the books:
Science/Fantasy Series:
The Alphas, Prequel to Howl of the Wolf:  http://viewBook.at/TheAlphas   
Howl of the Wolf:  http://viewBook.at/HowlWolf
The Havenshire Resistance:  http://viewBook.at/Havenshire
Dragon Defense:  http://viewBook.at/DDefense
Mystery Series:
Murder Caribbean-Style:  http://viewbook.at/HighSeas1
Murder on a Ghost Ship:  http://viewBook.at/HighSeas2
Murder for Glacier Blue: http://viewBook.at/HighSeas3
Fractured Fairy Tale:
Dragon Knight and the Heart’s Blood Curse:  http://viewBook.at/DKnight
Where can readers connect with you online? 

Visit www.quicksilvernovels.com to learn more about all of Diane’s books.  Contact Diane from the website.  You may also find Diane’s posts at https://www.facebook.com/quicksilvernovels and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DianeRapp.
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Drako.  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 world, in Realm Explorers Part XCXX!
-Annie Douglass Lima