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:Marty C. Lee
Title of book and/or series: Wind of Choice (Unexpected Heroes #1)
Brief summary of the story:
Ahjin’s skydancing dreams die when he’s condemned to a hated job. The sixteen-year-old winged boy is left with one chance to win his freedom—rescue a kidnapped god.
How hard could it be?
But when the other gods disappear, the elements run amok. With a spunky gilled islander, a desert explorer, and a shapeshifting healer, Ahjin races to save his shattering world.
Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Kaiatan is a planet with three continents and a large archipelago. Each land group holds a different race (different species). The shapeshifters live north, the winged people to the east, the gilled islanders to the west, and the desert people to the south.
If we were to visit Kaiatan as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
If you aren’t afraid of heights, you can admire the view from high cliffs of Ioj. The capital,Vasi, is the most metropolitan city in the world, with a large library stocked from their new printing press, an elegant palace, and the elaborate temple of Irajahan, God of Air.
Darrendra is quietly agricultural and forested, but the temple of Darravani, Goddess of Earth, in the capital city, has the most impressive gardens in the world. Her elephant-shifter priests are mild-mannered if you behave. You MUST have permission to travel through the land!
Nokailana has no elegant architecture, but if you can swim, you can admire the underwater towns and their road-pictures. Catch one of the festivals held every six days to enjoy food, music, and merriment, and, if you’re lucky, maybe a glimpse of Makanavailea, Goddess of Water.
A good guide can lead you along the west coast of Iskra to see the famed desert horses. Most of the areas attractive to tourists are too far south, but if your ship is swept off-course, visit the craft workshops and the perfume gardens. Don’t draw the mischievous attention of Resef, God of Fire.
What dangers should we avoid in Kaiatan?
It is simple to visit Ioj or Nokailana, but don’t venture past the shores of Iskra without a desert guide, and whatever you do, don’t enter Darrendra without permission. Due to the slightly lighter gravity and the higher air density and oxygen content, monsters can grow to impressive sizes. Giant kraken swim in the ocean, the desert has scorpions as big as a panther, man-sized bats roost in the forest, and knee-high spiders haunt northern Ioj. And recently, someone kidnapped all the gods. Until the perpetrator is caught, be very wary, and watch for the earthquakes, hurricanes, and tidal waves spawned by the gods’ absence.
What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Kaiatan?
Bows are common everywhere but Nokailana, though they vary from the simple recurves in Ioj to the powerful composite bows in Darrendra. Iskrins use swords, knives, and staffs in addition to a variety of bows. Iojif use weighted throwing ropes and slingshots. Darrendrakar vary wildly in their weapons use, so you might see axes, swords, staffs, knives, or merely their natural weaponry (teeth, claws, horns, etc). Nokai are remarkably good with their harpoons, and you don’t want to be on the wrong side of their serrated knives.
What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Kaitatan?
Ships, horses, wagons, etc. If not transporting cargo, the Darrendrakar tend to travel on their own two (or four) feet and the Iojif prefer to fly themselves.
What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in Kaiatan? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.
The priests of Irajahan use telepathy to communicate with him and each other. Each Nokai baby is given a gift from their goddess, which might or might not be “magic,” such as universal interpretation. While you might consider the shapeshifting Darrendrakar to be magic, they consider it an entire natural situation, but they do have the occasional citizen with an odd talent. Iskra is famed for the amazing healers from their Tukiko clan, and Resef occasionally creates a fire mage for his own devious reasons.
Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Kaiatan? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
Ioj is quite proud of their new printing press, and Iskra makes a fine spyglass.
Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Kaiatan.
The cliffs of Ioj are the site of the annual cliff-diving competition of the winged race, and there are several companies of aerial acrobats that perform regularly.
Fishing, sailing, and swimming are popular in Nokailana. They also have an annual swearing competition (not for the faint of heart, and no, you don’t see it in the book).
Iskra has horse races that are open to the public, if you can get there through the desert. Darrendra also has an annual “horse” race, but the runners are Darrendrakar in their second shape, and visitors are not allowed.
What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The Nokai celebrate their goddess every six days as well as on special holidays. When the Nokai come of age at 6000 days, they throw a party. (Really, if you’re in a party mood, Nokailana is the place to visit.)
Ioj holds monthly presentations at the temple for the new adults that just turned sixteen years old.
What is the political or government structure in Kaitan? Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Ioj has an appointed potentate that takes care of day-to-day matters, but Irajahan rules in name and fact. If he weren’t a god, he’d be called a dictator, but as is, everyone keeps their mouth shut.
Darrendra has local councils of men and women in each village, including the headman (or woman) and local priest. Interkindred conflict is settled by the temple priests in the capital.
Iskra has similar local councils. Disputes or interclan conflict are settled by a joint council of clans or by direct intervention from Resef. The joint council is considered safer than the god’s humor.
Nokailana has one elected leader per village. Terms are short, as nobody wants to be stuck with the responsibility for long. Makana’s priests are dolphins, but they don’t have much to do.
What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
I do have a suicidal-thoughts scene. It never gets to actual suicide.
Marty C. Lee told stories for most of her life, but never took them seriously until her daughter asked her to write a particular one. The plotted six chapters grew to an entire novel, and now a series is in progress.
Her characters take over her brain on a regular basis. If you catch her muttering to thin air, she’s probably arguing with one of her characters. She has learned to keep a notebook by her bed to jot down ideas so she can go to sleep and deal with them in the morning.
In between writing and spending time with her family, she reads, embroiders, gardens, and teaches small children at church. She prefers walking over bicycles or cars, because her feet are less scary. (If she walks, she can read at the same time, which is a nice bonus.)
Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)? Please include links.
It’s on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Nook, Overdrive, and a bunch of other places. You can get the ebook (mobi or epub) or a paperback in regular or large print.
Where can readers connect with you online?
I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Kaiatan. 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