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: Marsha A. Moore
Title of book and/or series: The Enchanted Bookstore Legends
Brief summary of the story:
The Enchanted Bookstore Legendsare about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become one of five strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications.
Lyra was first introduced to Dragonspeir as a young girl, when she met the high sorcerer, Cullen Drake, through a gift of one of those enchanted books. Using its magic, he escorted her into the parallel world of Dragonspeir. Years later, she lost that volume and forgot the world and Cullen. These legends begin where he finds her again—she is thirty-five, standing in his enchanted bookstore, and Dragonspeir needs her. 
When Lyra reopens that enchanted book, she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save the good Alliance from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. While learning about her role, Lyra and Cullen fall in love. He is 220 years old and kept alive by Dragonspeir magic. Cullen will die if Dragonspeir is taken over by the evil faction… Lyra becomes the Scribe.
If we were to visit Dragonspeir as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
You will need to take care upon entering through the main portal, which is found along the Lake Superior coast of Michigan. The primary path from that portal leads to a crossroads that is guarded by Cranewort, the Gatekeeper. He is a tremendous tree and will demand to know your destination. If he senses your energy to be evil, his roots will rise and imprison you. However, he is a kind and gentle soul to those who are the same. He will guide you along the proper paths that leads to various wonderful areas of the good Alliance region of Dragonspeir. Your choices include the Meadow of Peace where meadow faeries command blossoms to open and play music. There, Alliance children are trained in witchcraft. The Meadow is under the guidance of the Phoenix Fire Guardian, the Lady of Peace. Her gentle spirit will welcome you to linger and enjoy your stay.
Or you may choose to travel farther into the great forest and visit with the Unicorn Earth Guardian who will delight you with his vast knowledge of magical animals that live throughout all parts of Dragonspeir.
Continuing farther, you will find the governing place of the Alliance, the Imperial Dragon’s lair, which is built into the side of a stone mountain. The Imperial Dragon is the Head Guardian and channels his power from the air. There you can see great tapestries that show the great accomplishments of each Imperial Dragon in Alliance history. You can also visit the grand library kept by the Tortoise Water Guardian and learn the rich history of Dragonspeir.
What dangers should we avoid in Dragonspeir?
Be careful to follow Gatekeeper Cranewort’s guidance in selecting the correct path for your journey into the good Alliance of Dragonspeir. You do not want to take a wrong turn and end up in the evil Dark Realm region of the land. There, fire and magma drakes will hunt you down as prey to be served to their master, the Black Dragon.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Dragonspeir? What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Dragonspeir? 
The battle between the good Alliance and evil Dark Realm lands of Dragonspeir has endured for centuries, as far back as the eight-hundred-year recorded history of the Alliance.
While Dark Realm power is black magic, relying heavily upon the methods of alchemy, the source of Alliance power is astral energies. Those external powers correspond to the natural elements of air, earth, fire, and water. Each Alliance magical being gains his/her unique tendencies from the star sign of nature under which he or she is born. Individuals may appeal to their star to gain or modify their magic in times of need. More importantly, the Alliance, as a collective, gained magical power by using a powerful device that channeled astral energy. The continuous influx of energy maintained Alliance superiority over the Dark Realm.
Centuries ago, the Dark Realm stole the keystones needed to operate that channeling device, hoping to weaken their opposition. The forces of evil quickly overtook and nearly decimated the Alliance… until the coming of the lineage of Scribes. The Enchanted Bookstore Legendsare about Lyra McCauley, a woman destined to become the fifth of a line of strong women in her family who possess unique magical abilities and serve as Scribes in Dragonspeir. The Scribes span a long history, dating from 1,200 to present day. Each Scribe is expected to journey through Dragonspeir, both the good and evil factions, then draft a written account. Each book contains magic with vast implications which empowers the Alliance in new ways.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Dragonspeir?
Dragons may be ridden by those who are trained to ride. Of the four Guardians, the Imperial Dragon, the Unicorn, and the Phoenix may fly. The Tortoise Guardian may dematerialize and transport magically, as can high order wizards.
What is the political or government structure in Dragonspeir?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
My series, Enchanted Bookstore Legends, has two main worlds, reality and a parallel fantasy world called Dragonspeir. The organization of magical power and leadership in that fantasy land was inspired by the balanced system of the four Chinese elements of creation: earth, fire, water, air. Chinese mythology ties those elements to sacred animals that foretell future events. The unicorn is supposed to spring from the center of the earth as the phoenix represents fire, the tortoise water, and the dragon air.
For my legends, I selected those four animals as the four Guardians who collectively govern the Alliance. That is the realm of Dragonspeir which is good and fair, opposing the Dark Realm led by the Black Dragon. When my heroine, Adalyra McCauley, opens an enchanted book she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to work with those Guardians to save the Alliance from attacks by the evil Black Dragon.
The unicorn represents the earthelement. From times of the Ming dynasty, the unicorn was specially praised its ability to discriminate between good and evil. It would gore only the wicked with its single horn. Emperor Shun, the first law-giver, employed a minister who had such a beast in his court to do just that. My Guardian Unicorn is very powerful and a tough character, a sort of bad-ass, but fair to a fault. He judges whether Lyra is ready to begin her quest.
The phoenix, a legendary bird with brilliant colors, lived more than one life. It consumed itself by fire periodically, and a new young phoenix sprang from the ashes. In Chinese mythology, the phoenix symbolizes fire. Within its spirit, the Feng Hwang bird contains the balance of the solar Yang and the lunar Yin powers. The phoenix is called the Empress because it represents qualities of beauty and peace. I titled my Phoenix Guardian as the Lady of Peace, appearing only during happy times. She presides over the Meadow of Peace, a quiet collection of villages in the Alliance territory.
The third animal, the tortoise or turtle, represents water and was thought to be a model of the world. Its upper shell curved like the vault of the heavens, its lower shell flat like the Chinese envisioned the Earth at that time. They read the future in the pattern on the tortoise’s shell. The animal is perceived as a symbol of longevity and wisdom. My Tortoise Guardian is in charge of keeping the history of Dragonspeir for the Alliance. He commands a vast library of records and magical documents. He is instrumental in preparing Lyra for her quests as well as offering guidance when she creates her own written accounts after completing those tasks. As a Scribe, she alone can imbue magic into text that increases the power of the Alliance.
The dragon, the fourth prophetic animal, was a divine creature that signified wisdom and represented air. For centuries, it was the imperial emblem. The emperor’s throne was called the Dragon Throne and his face was called the Dragon Face. It was said that when an emperor died, he ascended to heaven riding on the back of a dragon. The celestial dragon, T’ien Lung, is sometimes represented as holding up the sky. For these reasons, in the Enchanted Bookstore Legends, I gave my Imperial Dragon the title of Head Guardian. He serves as a wise leader, coordinating the actions of the other three Guardians. In charge of the air element, he is expert in the magic craft of mystic astronomy, reading and gaining power from the stars by using an array of unusual instruments. He teaches Lyra to use many of his tools that use power from the stars and sky.
Additionally, astrological signs are grouped in a similar manner, according to their dominant elements of earth, fire, water, and air. In my books, residents of Dragonspeir who inherit magical tendencies must learn to utilize their dominant element in order to control and develop their abilities. Lyra, like all Scribes, is born under a fire sign and must learn to communicate with the main star of the Aries constellation—her birthmate star—in order to utilize her vast powers. This is awkward and she must work hard to master the techniques.
These four animals and the elements they represent were believed by the Chinese to make up all of creation. The Alliance realm of the fantasy world Dragonspier in the Enchanted Bookstore Legendsthat is good and fair embraces this balance.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Dragonspeir?
The Alliance folk and Tree Keepers and Trees of the Silva Caliga forest all worship the elements of nature: air, earth, fire, and water. They celebrate the pagan holidays, observing the equinoxes and solstices. The solstice festivals are grand occasions with feasting and dancing.
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Dragonspeir?
This varies per region. In the Dark Realm, most residents are scavengers and consume dead animals. In the Alliance, the foods are typical peasant fare, but any animal used as food must strictly be a non-magical, lower animal. In the neutral forest land of Silva Caliga, the residents create wondrous feasts from roots, nuts, and berries with hearty savory soups and breads.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
It’s basically a fantasy lover’s dream—from an enchanted bookstore, being able to step into a favorite book as a character. I know my initial inspiration came after watching the recent Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland movie. From that, I wanted to work with parallel worlds and have a heroine who must save the fantasy world from danger. How the heroine was required to compose a fantasy novel was my own idea that seemed to fall naturally into place in the plot.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?

The Enchanted Bookstore Legends deal with a budding romance that grows into a long-term relationship between the heroine and hero, Lyra and Cullen. They are a truly committed couple, whose love builds through the first book as well as the series. I enjoyed presenting the couple with challenge after challenge that required them to find new ways to hang on to their relationship. As a result, their love, tested through time and hardships, becomes the definite driving force of the series. This is not often a topic that is explored in epic fantasy.

Author Autobiography:
Marsha A. Moore loves to write fantasy and fantasy romance. Much of her life feeds the creative flow she uses to weave highly imaginative tales.  The magic of art and nature often spark life into her writing, as well as watercolor painting and drawing. She’s been a yoga enthusiast for over a decade and is a registered yoga teacher. After a move from Toledo to Tampa in 2008, she’s happily transformed into a Floridian, in love with the outdoors. Marsha is crazy about cycling. She lives with her husband on a large saltwater lagoon, where taking her kayak out for an hour or more is a real treat. She never has enough days spent at the beach, usually scribbling away at stories with toes wiggling in the sand. Every day at the beach is magical!

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?  
Seeking a Scribe: Enchanted Bookstore Legend One may be purchased on Amazon at this link.
Heritage Avenged: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Two may be purchased on Amazon at this link.
Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three may be purchased on Amazon at this link.
Staurolite: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Four may be purchased on Amazon at this link.
Quintessence: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Five may be purchased on Amazon at this link.
Where can readers connect with you online? 
Website: http://MarshaAMoore.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/MarshaAMoore
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/marshaamooreauthorpage
Goodreads author page http://www.goodreads.com/marshaamoore
Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/100564214132835514192/posts
Thanks for the wonderful interview, Annie! It was lots of fun.

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Dragonspeir.  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 Gemworld in Realm Explorers Part XVIII!
-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.