Monday, June 11, 2018

Realm Explorers Part CX: Visit Montequirst with D.R. Grady

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:
D.R. Grady

Title of book and/or series:
Seeking: Warrior King

Brief summary of the story:
With her beloved mother dying, Crown Princess Raene of Montequirst must prepare to be queen and choose a husband within hours of the death. By law, he must be the greatest warrior in the land. The only man who fits that description, who she can tolerate, is her friend and mentor, Vidar the Loyal. He’s a member of the elite Aasguard warriors, who have never married in their centuries of existence.

While the mightiest men of the nation circle Raene in an attempt to boost their own rank and wealth, a neighboring country is also making plans against Montequirst. With the aid of his clumsy dragon companion, Vidar has been teaching Raene to wield her legendary sword in order to defend her throne. Meanwhile, they’re both battling an attraction neither understands.

Can they possibly break the age-old traditions that bind them and choose their heart’s desire?

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
Montequirst is a prosperous, busy country. The homes are well cared for and the crops plentiful. Their animals are considered among the finest in the surrounding regions.

A queendom—Montequirst has been run by a queen for the last five hundred years. Queen Margina, Raene’s mother, dies and leaves the throne to her beloved daughter, Raene.

The men of Montequirst use swords and canons to defend themselves. Sword fighting, and being a warrior, is the best profession for a male, although there are other options. If the nation is wealthy enough, it might also have an Aasguard warrior and dragon to guard the treasury, which Montequirst does.

Aasguard warriors, such as Vidar the Loyal, are no longer human, but are a more advanced version. For instance, they can withstand dragonfyre. While not immortal, they are difficult to kill. If they are fortunate enough to have a dragon companion, the long years aren’t so lonely.

If we were to visit Montequirst as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
The farmers markets would offer an array of fruits and vegetables, and fine wares. And now that spring is upon them, even more so. If you’re fortunate enough, you might be invited to one of the many manor homes for a meal and perhaps a gathering.

What dangers should we avoid in Montequirst?
Don’t run afoul of Aern, the castle dragon. He contains plenty of dragonfyre.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Monequirst?
Again, swords are prevalent. Hand-to-hand combat skills are a necessity, and if you achieve the proper rank, you might be trained to blast a canon. (Be aware, only males are always trained in swords and self-defense. A ridiculous notion Raene chaffs against.)

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Monequirst?
Horses are prevalent for one person. But for multiple people and to convey wares, they use cream colored transports, hulled out cocol pods, which are round and after being outfitted with seating and wheels, make a comfortable mode of transportation. The original fruit is used in the making of many products in Montequirst.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Montequirst?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
Handheld crystals, after some wizardry, have the capability of texting one another, keeping track of appointments and tasks, and the like. Whether these simple crystals are magic or technology is up for debate.

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Montequirst as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
Montequirst is much like Earth in the weeks and months. They do enjoy four seasons.

As for holidays, the day Raene’s mother, the Queen of Montequirst, dies will be known as Accession Day. Also, a celebration every year will mark Raene’s wedding—an indication of their continued prosperity.

What is the political or government structure in Montequirst?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
Montequirst is again, a queendom. Raene’s mother ruled before her, and upon Queen Margina’s death, Raene rules. Her husband, who is made a king upon their marriage, protects her and oversees their vast military. He aids her should she need it, but Raene has been learning the queen’s duties since birth. Her choices—such as the warrior she chooses to wed—will determine whether the nation’s current prosperity continues, or not.

Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Montequirst?
Besides the antiquated practice that upon her mother’s death, Raene is therefore forced to name her husband? Yes, and she has a few pithy things to say about this barbaric practice as well as the lack of sword and self-defense training for all females.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
A battery ad, and then a dream, inspired this first story in the series. Book two is entitled Seeking: Maiden Queen. Book two takes up where book one left off with two characters we meet in book one.

Author Autobiography:
-Clean, heartwarming stories, every time.-
D.R. Grady is the author of over twenty clean, heartwarming romance novels. She lives with her husband near Hershey, PA and adores chocolate, laughing, collecting bags, books, and shoes. Oh, and writing clean stories that resonate with others.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  Please include links.
You can purchase Seeking: Warrior King at the following retailers:
Google Play (epub)
Smashwords (multiple formats)
The paper book is coming…

Where can readers connect with you online?

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Google+  

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Montequirst.  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

Monday, June 4, 2018

Realm Explorers Part CIX: Visit Malornian-Occupied Alasia with Annie Douglass Lima

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: Annie Douglass Lima

Title of book and/or series: The Nameless Soldier (book 4 in the Annals of Alasia)
Other books in the series:
Prince of Alasia
In the Enemy's Service
Prince of Malorn

Brief summary of the story:

What do you do when you’re the only survivor?

Nineteen-year-old Tarvic bears the name of a mighty hero from Alasia’s past. However, the young soldier feels anything but heroic when he regains consciousness to find himself the lone survivor of a brutal attack by invaders from the neighboring kingdom.

Forced to leave his identity behind, Tarvic is thrust into civilian life in the role of protector to three war orphans. When the four of them encounter a mysterious stranger, he must choose between keeping the young girls safe and taking on a mission that could help free his kingdom. Can Tarvic live up to his noble name and find a way to balance his duty and his dreams?

The Nameless Soldier is the fourth book in the Annals of Alasia, but the series can be read in any order, and each book can stand on its own.

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:

Alasia has long been a peaceful kingdom, with only occasional minor border skirmishes with neighboring Malorn. There hasn't been an actual war in six generations ... until recently when the Malornians attacked, invading suddenly with no apparent provocation.

If we were to visit Alasia as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?

Alasia is a peninsula, with hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline. It's winter now, so not an ideal time for swimming or sunbathing, but the scenery would still make for a gorgeous stroll along the water in many areas.

Ordinarily, I would suggest visiting the king's palace in the capital city of Almar, if you can manage to get an invitation. But the palace has been taken over by Malornians and turned into their headquarters, so it would be best to stay away.

For a taste of local culture, try visiting one of the large markets, where vendors sell everything from fresh baked pastries to leather goods to homemade cheese. There are taverns and restaurants where you can stop for a drink or a meal, but you'll want to be careful. Malornian soldiers frequent many of them, and some go around looking for trouble.

What dangers should we avoid in Malornian-occupied Alasia?

Try to stay away from Malornian soldiers if you can. Lately they have been pillaging crops and livestock from farming communities. After one very close call at the farm where he's staying, Tarvic finds a creative and unusual way to make sure anyone else who passes that way won't steal from them. The soldiers also sometimes harrass civilians in the cities, so it's best to give them a wide berth and not make eye contact as you pass. If you travel into or out of Almar, the capital, you can expect to be stopped at one of the roadblocks. If you cooperate, chances are you won't be harmed, but they'll want to search your cart or wagon. (Rumor has it they're looking for someone ....)

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Alasia?

That depends on your budget or whom you're visiting. Tarvic and the three girls he ends up helping don't have money to spare, though they have access to milk and butter thanks to the family's cows. Their meals tend to consist of watered-down soup or thin slices of bread with plenty of butter and tall glasses of milk. However, if you can afford to eat at a restaurant, you could dine on roast beef and other hearty fare.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Malornian-Occupied Alasia?

The Malornian soldiers carry swords around with them, but they don't allow Alasians to bear arms in the city. If you arrive with a weapon, you can expect to have it confiscated as you enter town. Tarvic is a trained hunter and makes good use of the sturdy bow and arrows that once belonged to the girls' father. Later he seizes the opportunity to use them for more than just hunting ....

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Alasia?

Most people ride on horseback or in a cart or wagon if they have one. At one point Tarvic and the girls are forced to make a journey on foot, bringing supplies along in a wheelbarrow.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Alasia.

Like most Alasian soldiers, Tarvic enjoys card games, though he learned his lesson about playing for money when he lost two days' pay to a man in his company named Dannel. He was surprised to learn that the girls under his care know most of the same card games he does, and the four of them often play in the evenings. The youngest girl, Sennie, doesn't have much concept of strategy and needs lots of help from her sisters, but the four of them have a good time together just the same.

What is the political or government structure in Malornian-occupied Alasia?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?

Officially, Malorn is ruled by the teenage Prince Korram (his father King Kerman died a few years ago). Young Korram is technically now the ruler of Alasia as well. However, since Korram is not yet eighteen, a regent named Rampus assists him in the rule of both kingdoms. Partway through the story, Rampus moves to Alasia to oversee his - er, Korram's - new conquest.

Author Autobiography:

Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published seventeen books (four YA action and adventure novels, five fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books?

Click on the following links to see or purchase the books on Amazon:

The Nameless Soldier
Prince of Alasia
In the Enemy's Service
Prince of Malorn
Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews (not available for purchase, but click on the link to tell me your email address and I'll send you a free copy!)


Where can readers connect with you online? 









Sign up for my email list to find out when I release a new book (and receive a free copy of Annals of Alasia: The Collected Interviews): http://bit.ly/LimaUpdates

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Malornian-occupied Alasia.  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

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Nameless Soldier: a New Fantasy Novella by Annie Douglass Lima


The Nameless Soldier is book 4 in the Annals of Alasia young adult fantasy series. Haven't read all (or any) of the others? That's okay! The books can be read in any order, and each one can stand on its own.

Description:

What do you do when you’re the only survivor?

Nineteen-year-old Tarvic bears the name of a mighty hero from Alasia’s past. However, the young soldier feels anything but heroic when he regains consciousness to find himself the lone survivor of a brutal attack by invaders from the neighboring kingdom. 

Forced to leave his identity behind, Tarvic is thrust into civilian life in the role of protector to three war orphans. When the four of them encounter a mysterious stranger, he must choose between keeping the young girls safe and taking on a mission that could help free his kingdom. Can Tarvic live up to his noble name and find a way to balance his duty and his dreams?


Where to Get a Copy:

Click here to buy the ebook or paperback from Amazon. (The ebook is $2.99 just $0.99 through June 6th!)

Not sure if you'll like the story or not? Take a look at the first chapter and see!



The Nameless Soldier
Chapter One

      
Tarvic woke to the sound of a distant yell, abruptly silenced. He pushed his blankets aside and sat up, puzzled, but heard only the light patter of rain on the canvas. “What was that?”
Drevel, his roommate in the barracks and tentmate out on campaigns like this, stirred and rolled over. “What?”
“I heard something. Someone shouting.”
“It’s probably just another drill.” But Drevel sat up too, shoving his own blankets away, as Tarvic crawled over and untied the tent flap.
A blast of wintry air and raindrops greeted him as he leaned out, peering across the tent-studded hillside. Clouds hid the moon and stars, and on every side the thick dark of the forest leaned in from the edges of the large clearing. But the telltale flickering light of distant torches sent shadows leaping over tents and across the open spaces between them. Why would someone be using torches out here? Any soldier in camp had easy access to lanterns among the supplies.
Something was wrong. Very wrong. Tarvic pulled back into the tent and yanked on his breeches and jacket.
They both heard the next yell, closer this time, and then the unmistakable clash of swords. Both men snatched up their own swords, jamming their feet into their boots and fumbling for shields. From all around them, shouts of alarm erupted as men in their company woke up.
And then the enemy was upon them. Horses exploded through the camp, trampling tents and the soldiers just crawling out of them. Riders leaned low off their mounts’ backs, swinging swords and waving torches.
Halfway out of his tent, Tarvic threw himself flat on his face to avoid a slash that would probably have decapitated him. He scrambled to his feet, only to be knocked off them again by a blow that he barely caught on his shield.
Light, shadows, horses, blades, rain. Chaos raged through the clearing to the sound of crashing metal, pounding hooves, shouts of challenge and desperation. Tarvic regained his feet and fought as best he could from the ground while enemy riders thundered around him. Dodging and ducking, he aimed for the men’s legs and tried to keep out from under their horses’ hooves. With no idea who he was fighting or why, his only goal to stay alive for the next heartbeat, he dodged and darted through the tumult looking for spots where horses and enemy swords weren’t. All around him, men fought and ran and crumpled to lie as limply as the trampled tents.
Slipping and stumbling in the mud, Tarvic felt a surge of satisfaction as his sword met flesh and an enemy yelled in pain. And then the man wheeled his horse and charged back toward him, and Tarvic turned to flee.
He tripped on something soft that groaned. Pain shot through Tarvic’s wrist as he caught his fall, and only a quick roll saved him from being trampled as the man’s horse cantered over him.
Its rider wheeled again, and Tarvic rose to his knees, barely raising his shield in time to protect his face. The force of the blow threw him backward, jarring his already sore wrist.
Another horse leaped over him, and Tarvic cried out in pain as a hoof struck him on the shoulder. He stumbled to his feet, ducking low to present as small a target as possible, and ran through the melee.
He saw fewer people on foot now, more obstacles in the mud. Was it cowardly to flee from a battle you couldn’t win? Nothing in Tarvic’s eight months in the military had prepared him for this. Not counting occasional minor border skirmishes, the kingdom of Alasia hadn’t seen an actual war in six generations. Besides routine patrols, city peacekeeping, and the frequent drills and training, the military’s primary duties involved escorting merchant wagons through robber-frequented stretches of rural highway and keeping an eye on the sections of coastline where seafaring raiders were known to attack. Tarvic had never fought in a battle that involved more than a handful of opponents at a time, and none of those opponents had been anywhere near this organized — or this deadly.
If we escape, we can regroup somewhere safer and — A hard blow to the back knocked him to the ground again as another horse pounded over him. Giving up all pretense of courage, Tarvic scrambled to his feet once more and fled for the edge of the clearing and the relative safety of the trees beyond. I can’t do anything here. They’re going to slaughter us all!
He was practically there when another rider appeared in front of him, leaning low with sword outstretched. Tarvic almost impaled himself on the blade, raising his shield just in time. He fought back frantically as the man slashed, swinging his weapon again and again. I need my horse! Military training had included nothing about how to fight a mounted enemy from the ground. But Lightning was tethered in the row of makeshift stalls on the far side of the camp, probably prancing restlessly under his blanket and wondering why his rider didn’t come to spur him into battle.
Tarvic didn’t even see the blow that almost killed him. His ears barely registered the thudding of more galloping hooves from behind, nearly drowned out by the rain and the sounds of battle. But the world exploded in light and pain as something struck the back of his head harder than anything had ever hit him before.
He lurched forward, feeling his sword drop from limp fingers. Managing two steps before his legs buckled, he was just conscious enough to recognize the urgent need to crawl. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Or they’ll kill you out here. That was the only thought left in his mind as he pulled himself toward the concealing shadows behind the line of tree trunks. And then even that faded, giving way to darkness.

Want to know what happens to Tarvic? Click here to purchase the book and find out!

About the Author:


Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published seventeen books (fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.