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.
Kandi J Wyatt
Title of book and/or series:
An Unexpected Exploit, book 3 of Myth Coast Adventures trilogy
Brief summary of the story:
A regular summer hunting trip takes a new turn when Franklin falls into the mythical realm of Shinwano. When he returns home he finds a poacher, NSA agent, and his friends all interested in the portal—and all for different reasons.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Shinwano exists on a separate plane of the time-space continuum. It looks like Earth but instead of humans populating it, its inhabitants are mythical creatures.
If we were to visit Shinwano as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
First off, make sure to get the permission of the sanraksaka; otherwise you’re in for trouble. Once you have Ladaku’s approval, then you’ll be free to roam. Be sure to travel north to the Parhada Mountains and visit the dragons there. You’ll also want to meet the gryphons across the lake and, if they’ll let you, the fairies. Keep your eyes open for fauns and brownies as well. A trip to Tsenturi’s cave would be helpful as well. The centaur may allow you to look into his scrying pool. Of course, your trip wouldn’t be complete if you didn’t look up Kajri the unicorn and hear her story of how she went through the rift in the time-space continuum not once but twice!
What dangers should we avoid in Shinwano?
For the most part, Shinwano is a peaceful land, but there is one creature that you’ll want to beware of. The guatama prowl through the night seeking creatures they can turn to serve their master. If they can’t trick you to follow them, they’ll destroy you. Their power has been growing recently, so be careful and stay inside at night, especially since they’re invisible!
Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Shinwano?
Ladaku may try to serve you rasa juice. Don’t be put off by the bitter taste. Once you get pass that, the drink will provide energy, help your body heal, and quench your thirst. The rasa berry grows wild on bushes much like Earth’s blueberries do, but they have a taste more like a cranberry or a wolfberry. Cantharellus will show you the best wild mushrooms available and won’t be offended if you don’t like them because he’ll gladly eat what you don’t want.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Shinwano?
The manisa of the sanraksaka are known for their bhala, or staff, fighting. They train with tall, hardwood staves that are as tall as them and as thick as their wrists. To humans the Sanraksaka bhalas are as big as tree limbs.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Shinwano?
The only way to get to Shinwano is through the rift in the time-space continuum, protected by the Sanraksaka. Once there, you’ll travel on foot unless a unicorn, centaur, or dragon is willing to carry you.
What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Shinwano that we don’t see on Earth?
The forests around Gamu, Ladaku’s village, are full of tall, straight eucalyptus trees and bushy, mushroom-shaped myrtlewood trees. The ground cover consists in berries, mushrooms, and ferns.
Deer, rabbits, chipmunks, and other ordinary animals provide food for the inhabitants of Shinwano who prefer something more than vegetables. The lake is full of fish which is excellent grilled over a fire.
The inhabitants are what set Shinwano apart from Earth. Eight distinct races populate the land.
Sanraksaka are large, hairy, and ape-like. Humans may know them as sasquatch, bigfoot, or yeti. The sanraksaka live in villages throughout Shinwano. The women help create weapons for hunting and defending the portals and are in charge of food gathering, while the males are fighters or farmers. Both men and women train their baccaharu, or children, in the ways of Sirjanakarta, the Creator.
North of Gamu, centaurs roam the land. They prefer to live in caves and are known for their wisdom and insight. Across the lake near Gamu, gryphons soar on the thermal currents off the mountains. Fauns and satyrs live in the plains and woods north of Gamu. They interact with the unicorns who prefer the tree-covered areas.
Kopala, or brownies, hide among the lower bushes throughout Shinwano. They love the mushrooms that grow wild in the forests. Kopalalook like living, large teddy bears with their ears higher on their head.
Fairies live in each of the different sections of Shinwano—mountains, lake, grasslands, and woodlands. Every group has distinctive wings. The woodland fairies can be mistaken for butterflies. They flitter among the bushes blending into their surroundings. While in the grasslands, keep your eyes open for flowers that don’t look quite right. The king of the grassland fairies has deep red wings that look like rose petals. Over the lake, the fairies have wings similar to dragonflies, and in the mountains their wings are more durable and resemble beetle wings.
In the mountains to the far north dragons soar. They prefer the rugged terrain where they have ample food in mountain goats, bears, and deer.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Shinwano? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
In a realm of mythical creatures, magic abounds. Fairies, unicorns, dragons, and kopala wield magic in various amounts. Even centaurs could be considered magical in the use of their scrying pools. Unicorn horns give healing, while their tears provide longevity for skin. By their nature, dragons have magic. Their scales can be used to provide a source of magic to non-magic users. Kopala have the ability to use a small bit of magic, but they can track magic users. Of all the creatures, fairies can wield the most magic. They don’t have spells they cast, but a simple laying of their hands on an object can provide strength, imbue it with magic, or give magic to another. The guatama use their master’s magic. His goal is gather all the magic in the land and pervert it.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Shinwano? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
No technology exists in Shinwano, but humans have brought technological objects through the portal, even though it doesn’t last long without batteries or any way to recharge.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Shinwano.
The manisa train with hand-to-hand combat as well as their bhalas. This happens in a sandy arena outside Sam’mana’s yurt while other sanraksaka watch. At night the sanraksaka sit around the fire and the village storyteller shares tales with the baccaharu and adults alike. All creatures enjoy celebrations and feasts. The fauns and satyrs dance with unicorns observing and enjoying.
Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Shinwano as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Shinwano has seven days in a week and four weeks in a lunar cycle. They count the years in seasons. There aren’t any specific holidays or special events celebrated regularly.
Is there a particular religion practiced in Shinwano? Please describe what it involves.
All creatures respect Sirjanakarta, the Creator of Shinwano and Earth. Even the guatama fear Sirjanakarta. The stars remind the sanraksaka of Sirjanakarta’s care and protection. He speaks to the different races in unique ways. The centaurs hear him through their scrying pools, while bhalascommunicate Sirjanakarta’s ways to the sanraksaka. Sirjanakarta speaks directly to fairies. Despite all this, the creatures of Shinwano have no specific religious practices. Their belief in Sirjanakarta permeates everything in their lives.
What is the political or government structure in Shinwano? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Each race has a different political structure. Dragons are solitary creatures without much internal governing, as are unicorns, fauns, satyrs, and kopala. The sanraksaka are ruled by the manisa, their warriors. The head manisa has the final say for the village. Each village has their own group of manisa and a head manisa. Fairies have a leader for each of their divisions.
Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Shinwano?
Just be open to different ideas in each people group.
Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
The sanraksaka came about because a sophomore student suggested I write a book about sasquatch. At the time I knew it was going to be part of the Myth Coast Adventures trilogy, but I didn’t know how the story would unfold. As book 2 finished, and Kajri gave us a glimpse of Shinwano, I began to wonder, ‘what if?’ What if the tales of sasquatch, prevalent here in Southwestern Oregon, really were from protectors of portals sliding into our world?
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
Surprisingly, there are no controversial topics; well, my main character, Franklin does go hunting. The main thing some readers may have issues with is this book has more of a Christian bent to it. As Franklin learns how to use his bhala and the longer he’s in Shinwano, he grows to learn more and more about Sirjanakarta.
Even as a young girl, Kandi J Wyatt had a knack for words. She loved to read them, even if it was on a shampoo bottle! By high school Kandi had learned to put words together on paper to create stories for those she loved. Nowadays, she writes for her kids, whether that’s her own five or the hundreds of students she’s been lucky to teach. When Kandi’s not spinning words to create stories, she’s using them to teach students about Spanish, life, and leadership.
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links.
My books are available on all outlets in both ebook and paperback formats.
Myth Coast Adventures trilogy
An Unexpected Exploit
Dragon Courage series
Where can readers connect with you online?
I’m most active on Instagram and Facebook for social media, even though I do have a twitter account. I’m on Amazon, Bookbub, and Goodreads, and have my own website as well.
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Shinwano. Questions about the world or the book? Ask them in the comments and the author will get back to you!
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-Annie Douglass Lima