Blog Tour Launch
Thyme turned his head noticing Timothy sitting near him.
“My boy,” he said. “I have lived long, much longer than I should have. You have learned so much about the ancient ways, but I have two regrets.”
“Can I help?” asked Timothy scooting closer in his chair to hear him better.
Timothy was surprised to see Thyme smile at him. His gray-blue eyes were focused and clear as he studied Timothy.
“Yes, I think you can.” Thyme reached over and grabbed Timothy’s hand with extraordinary strength. “Don’t become an Asri.”
“What?” said Timothy, “But that is what I have been training for.”
“No,” said Thyme staring up at the roof. “You must go the ancient temple in the desert, Farzaneh, and get the Gryphon Codex. Leave the Asri Monastery to others. Get the Codex and teach it. I never had time for that, but it is essential now. You are the right person to do it. You are what I could never be, the Truthseeker. That is my first regret.”
Thyme gazed off towards the distance.
Timothy swallowed, shaking. He had only been called Truthseeker by the black cats and the great blue Gryphon before. What did it mean? How did he become it?
“What is the second regret?” asked Timothy. He almost didn’t want to know.
Thyme watched him sadly. “Be what I was not. There is so much more to the ancient ways, but I was afraid. I did not use my skills among the people as other Seers do. There is so much I didn’t teach you.”
– The Gryphon’s Handmaiden

Welcome to the launch of the second book in the Truthseeker Trilogy, The Gryphon’s Handmaiden. Over the next week, we will visit a different blog each day with a unique article describing aspects of the book, the world, or me as a writer. I will try to answer any questions I can, and one surprise blog will even be hosting a giveaway.

The Gryphon’s Handmaiden has been so much fun to write, and I hope you find it just as fun to read.
In this newest book, Thyme, the last Asri and Timothy’s teacher in magic, gives Timothy a final request before he dies: Don’t become an Asri, instead, go to the Nomad desert and search for the lost temple of Farahzah to recover the Gryphon Codex. Timothy and Arthur set off to fulfill this request as the Adder Warlocks attack Vervain and launch Samodivas into civil war. The Codex holds the answers to defeating the Adder Warlocks, but the desert is not what they expect. Danger lays around every corner. Their only hope in succeeding in their quest is in the secrets held by a mute slave girl with more power than should be possible.

Author Autobiography:

Lara Lee is the author of the young adult fantasy fiction novels Gryphendale, The Shadow of the Gryphon, and The Gryphon’s Handmaiden. She has also had two short stories published, “The Worst Hero Ever” and “Trust Old Juniper.” Sometimes, she is also a graphic designer, wife, and mother. After growing up in Florida with her head stuck in various books, she ran away to Oral Roberts University to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design and a husband. Then, she worked professionally with the children’s curriculum publisher, Mentoring Minds in Texas before following her husband on a crazy adventure in Scotland. She has lived in three states and four countries and has visited even more destinations with an insatiable curiosity that shows up in her writing. Currently, she lives in Texas with her husband and two sons who all regularly participate in her misadventures and random schemes.
The Gryphon’s Handmaiden comes out January 29th on Amazon!
You can find out more:
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:

Lara Lee
Title of book and/or series:
Gryphendale and The Shadow of the Gryphon – Truthseeker Book 1
Brief summary of the story:
Join three travelers on a witty adventure set in an exotic fairy world. An unusual brownie adventurer named Arthur, and the twin princes, Timothy and Nathaniel, join forces to travel to the underside of their coin-shaped world to break the curse that has turned Nathaniel’s fiancee into stone. Arthur must face his traumatic past as he leads Nathaniel and Timothy on the same journey that killed his friends more than forty years before, getting them all stuck far from home with only one impossible way home. Things continue to go wrong when they learn that this curse is just the beginning of more significant problems threatening to destroy the Guardian of the Ocean. Struggling through a debilitating injury, Nathaniel must risk everything to save the ones he loves. Timothy must let go of his dark magic past to use his fire magic against the alliance that threatens to destroy the world with water. Even if they succeed, death might be their only reward.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Gryphendale is the faerie realm that we sometimes call the Seelie kingdom. It is a floating disk-shaped island located in the center of the earth. It has a tiny sun and moon of its own creating both day and night, but time moves differently there. Their stars are just glittering gems on the inside of the earth’s crust reflecting the light of their sun.
In the distant past, faeries and humans lived together, but because of greed and evil schemes, this could not continue. The creator god, the great blue Gryphon, separated the worlds. A person cannot travel through the earth’s crust to get there. Instead, there exist four portals to connect our worlds.
The underside of their world is called the Shadow of the Gryphon. It is made up of mostly ocean inhabited by nomadic sea-people such as the kelpies, selkies, and merrow. The small land mass on that side is populated by the nix. That realm is ruled by the Guardian of the Oceans.

My books and stories all take place in this world about the size of the state of Texas, both past and present. I wander this land often and would love to introduce you to my favorite places. Safe travels!
If we were to visit Gryphendale as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
Both sides of this world are inhabited. The top is made up of nine countries ruled together as the single kingdom of Gryphendale. Each country is dominated by a different race of faerie. The sprites live in tree houses in the tops of the great forest of Caoneag. The shape-shifting hiru live in human-like houses scattered throughout Cuelebre. The gnomes live inside the massive trees of Dwende. The Gryphendale Ocean is the realm of the merpeople, while the river and great lake are ruled by the undine. The ogres dwell deep in the mountains of Rokurokubi. Aberdour is the country of the industrious brownie farmers. The huldra hunt in the forests of Samodivas. They used to own the dryads as slaves, but once freed, the dryads now rule the young country of Greenbow in their historic homeland. The Nomad Desert lies outside of these kingdoms and is inhabited by those who want no king.
What dangers should we avoid in Gryphendale?
Many creatures inhabit Gryphendale who have no country of their own. The giant trolls eat all meat no matter the source. The Red Ladies are magic vampires stealing the life potential of wanders. Deadly animals, thieves, and grumpy ogre could all cause trouble if a traveler isn’t careful, but the people of Gryphendale are friendly to help you out of a bind.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Gryphendale?
Humans would recognize most foods, but they do have a lot more purple varieties of crops such as purple berries and purple wheat. They also have a unique, intoxicating drink made from distilled cinnamon which they call tonic. Don’t drink it though! It burns human throats.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Gryphendale?
The various faerie races have their own fighting styles, but most use some kind of sword suited to their strengths. One exception is that the hiru transform into long serpent-like dragons. Some rare people do use magic. The Adder Warlocks use dark magic to kill, but those who follow the Way of the Gryphon often avoid violence if they can. Rogue wizards and magic creatures also get involved in the battles, but you never know what will happen with them!
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Gryphendale?
To get to Gryphendale from the human world, you would need to use one of the for portals. In Gryphendale, most people walk or swim. They do ride horses, giant salamanders, carriages, wagons, mules, and the odd steam-powered horseless-carriage.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Gryphendale that we don’t see on Earth?
This is the hardest question of them all! Since it is a faerie world, most fairie creature do exist even if they don’t have a home country. The nine countries on the top side are sprites, hiru, merpeople, undines, brownies, gnomes, huldra, and the ogres. The underside has nix, kelpies, selkies, and a dragon. You can also find banshees, satyrs, trolls, vampires(Red Ladies), phoenix, unicorn, gryphon, seraphs, and talking animals.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Gryphendale?  If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
All was made by the creator god, the great blue Gryphon. All magic comes from him to sustain the worlds. Seers learn how to pour themselves into the magic potential in each living thing to create good things. Dark magic seeks to steal this magic potential and force it to their will. This is destructive and deadly. All magic and magical creatures were created with abilities to care for the world in unique ways.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Gryphendale as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Time does move differently between the faerie world and the human world, but they count time the same way (hours, minutes, days, etc.) The two main holidays are the winter and spring solstice. There are some political holidays to celebrate a monarch or an event such as the Day of Remembrance.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Gryphendale?  Please describe what it involves.
The beliefs of Gryphendale vary greatly. Some claim to believe nothing at all. Some think magic comes from nature. Other believe in the Gryphon. Even the interpretation of these beliefs can vary some.
What is the political or government structure in Gryphendale?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The governments in the books change drastically, but usually, there is an elected monarch that is often passed down to their children. This varies from country to country.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I grew up in Florida in which I obsessed about mermaids as a child. I never could read enough fairytales. When my husband and I moved to Scotland for four years, I became emersed in the folklore of Great Britain. Scotland, specifically, has a rich history of faerie stories. I describe inns and taverns for places I visited in Edinburgh and then hills and dirt roads of the countryside. I know exactly how far one can walk in a day because I have done it. Gryphendale was my magical interpretation of my travels.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
I talk about why do bad things happen to good people in the novel Gryphendale. It has no answers, but just some observations. In The Shadow of the Gryphon, I talk about letting go of past mistakes. Sometimes we are unable to move on because we refuse to forgive ourselves.
Author Autobiography:
Lara Lee is the author of Gryphendale, a young adult fantasy fiction novel. Sometimes, she is also a graphic designer, wife, mother, and Sunday school teacher. After growing up in Florida with her head stuck in various books, she ran away to Oral Roberts University to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design and a husband. Then, she worked professionally with the children’s curriculum publisher, Mentoring Minds in Texas before following her husband on a crazy adventure in Scotland for four years where her son was born. She has lived in three states and four countries and has visited even more destinations with an insatiable curiosity that shows up in her writing. Currently, she lives in Crosby, Texas with her husband and son who both regularly participate in her misadventures and random schemes.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? 
Where can readers connect with you online? 

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Gryphendale.  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 in next week’s edition of Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima