Friday, August 23, 2019

A Family for Jason: a Family-Friendly Romance with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
A Family for Jason
By Virginia McCullough

We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you'll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:

Launch - Note from the Author

Everyone loves a reunion, and A FAMILY FOR JASON provides one sure to touch the toughest of hearts! Welcome to the first book in my new series, Back to Bluestone River. . .

"Sigh. Virginia McCullough knocks it out of the park again with this clean romance that is the first in her new series. Ruby and Mike had been high school sweethearts, until horrific tragedies separated them from each other and from the small town they had so dearly loved while growing up. Modern day difficult times, about 20 years later, have brought them both back home, neither one realizing that the other is there. It's a great foundation for a second chance romance. . . . I truly greatly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for those who are looking for a real heartwarming clean romance."

"A Family For Jason is a great start to a new series! The author does a fabulous job of setting the scene & introducing pivotal characters to lay a foundation for future books. Jason will have your heart in no time & you’ll ache along with him and Mike – as well as for all the time Mike and Ruby lost. A sweet second chance romance!"

“You’ve made a friend, Jason.”

The boy glanced Ruby’s way, but still didn’t speak.

“He’s kind of quiet.” The woman patted the top of the boy’s head. “That’s okay. You’ll talk when you’re ready.” She flashed Ruby a pointed look.

She was trying to communicate something, but Ruby didn’t know what. Not exactly. But the thin pale lines and telltale puckering of burn scars on the boy’s forearms might have something to do with his silence.

"A Family for Jason, book #1 in Virginia McCullough’s Back to Bluestone River series, is a sweet romance with an appealing setting and characters that are easy to connect with. I enjoyed this fulfilling, heartwarming story and look forward to all that is to come in the series."

"I recommend it for readers who enjoy to read clean romance and heartwarming stories. Some readers may want to grab some tissues for this one. It is somewhat predictable but definitely worth a read. It is one that should not be missed. I look forward to the next installment from the Back to Bluestone River series."

". . . you can tell McCullough has taken her time to develop this series, of giving us a well-rounded and well-thought out plotting to where the foundation of the series can build out of this first installment."

EmpowerMoms - Review

"I loved this sweet romance story involving Mike, Ruby and Jason. I loved reading about their town and their high school memories and growing up. It was so tragic how a past mistake affected so many lives for so many years. . . . Great story line, great characters, clean romance… I can’t wait to read more about this town and hopefully the town’s progress over the series of stories. I really enjoyed it!"

"This book has everything the reader wants in a romance and more. A struggling small town. The reunification of high school sweethearts. A sweet boy who was traumatized by a real-life experience. A best friend relationship that has stood the test of time. New beginnings, new adventures. Oh, and a cute, smart dog to boot! I cannot think of any better way to begin a romance series. . . . Highly recommended reading for any time of the year!"

Hallie Reads - Review

"The start to Virginia McCullough’s Back to Bluestone River series, A Family for Jason delivers a sweet story of returning home and second chances. It’s a perfect read for any reader in the mood for heartwarming contemporary romance. . . . Their experience is full of drama, emotion, and small-town charm, and I enjoyed my time with A Family for Jason. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of this series in the future."

"A Family for Jason is full of real life. Every one of us goes through trials throughout our lives. This book cuts deep and is real. . . . A Family for Jason by Virginia McCullough fulfilled my expectations of realistic life difficulties and fast heart beating romance."

Splashes of Joy - Review

"Ms. McCullough does a really nice job weaving together three different people with three entirely different situations, and writing a tender story that will war your hearts, as it did mine. . . . If you haven’t read any books by this AUTHOR, this book would be a very nice start to your Virginia McCullough collection. For me, it is a tender heartwarming story that will stay with me for a while. You dont want to miss A FAMILY FOR JASON."

Harlie's Books - Excerpt

He walked closer to the slide, waving to Jason, who sat at the top. Jason waved back, but then his focus seemed to shift and he hesitated for a couple of seconds at the top. When he let go of the handholds and slid to the bottom, he ran toward Mike, but then passed him. Mike spun around and saw a golden retriever straining on the end of a long leash. He smiled to himself. He got it. That dog was much more interesting than Dad.

His gaze followed Jason coming to an abrupt stop a few feet from the dog. He glanced at the woman holding the leash who was coming through the bridge and smiling at Jason. His stomach flipped as he froze in place.

Ruby. Ruby was on the other end of the leash. She leaned over to pat the dog’s side. Red-haired, brown-eyed, smiling Ruby.

Pause for Tales - Review

"This was a sweet and yet heartbreaking romance that shows how sometimes the awful circumstances and others people's decisions can definitely take a toll on young love. But true love can and will survive."

"I loved Emma dog. Peach helped Jason so much. Books with children and dogs are always enjoyable to read — nothing like the healing power of a dog."

"I like a single dad romance and this one had plenty of heart. This is also a great second chance romance. . . . This is a book you can easily fall into and just want to gobble up. Both Mike and Ruby are great characters with a lot of heart. You root for them to get their second chance at a future."

"You definitely will need 5 full teacups and some tissues for this amazingly sweet and romantic book by Virginia McCullough! A Family for Jason is just so amazing and I loved all of the characters. . ."

“Quit twisting my words. You know what I mean. I can’t stay.” She hadn’t confided to Emma that she had this same argument with herself every night.

“You must think men like Mike come along every day.” Emma snapped her fingers. “Just like that.

Ruby groaned. “No, I don’t.” Like she needed that reminder.

“I’ll say it again, Rubes, every woman I’ve ever known wants a guy to look at her the way he looks at you.”

"A Family for Jason is the first book in Virginia McCullough’s brand new Back to Bluestone River series and centers around reunited first loves, a lawyer and a crisis specialist as they each return to their hometown twenty years after the tragedy that tore them apart. . . . I recommend this book to everyone who enjoys a sweet romance filled with the back drop of a small town. It was deep, emotional and satisfying!"

Remembrancy - Review

"A homecoming to a dying town, first loves reunited, and a precious little boy makeVirginia McCullough’s A Family for Jason a book you don’t want to miss. . . . I got swept away in the forests, river, and lake surrounding Bluestone River. . . . Seriously, the ending of this book is utter perfection!"

Don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post, if you haven't already...

A Family for Jason
(Back to Bluestone River #1)
By Virginia McCullough
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
August 1st 2019 by Harlequin Heartwarming

She’s not home for keeps

Unless he proves first love is forever

Bluestone River is a minefield of memories for Mike Abbot—all involving Ruby Driscoll. Twenty years after scandal divided them, they’re both back in their hometown. Ruby’s visit is strictly temporary. But as she uses her trauma expertise to help his vulnerable son, Mike faces what his heart has always known. Ruby’s still his one and only. This time, can he convince her to stay?

About the Author

Born and raised in Chicago, Virginia McCullough has been lucky enough to develop her writing career in many locations, including the coast of Maine, the mountains of North Carolina, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and currently, Northeast Wisconsin. She started her career in nonfiction, first writing articles and then books as a ghostwriter and coauthor. She’s written more than 100 books for physicians, business owners, professional speakers and many others with information to share or a story to tell.

Virginia’s books feature characters who could be your neighbors and friends. They come in all ages and struggle with everyday life issues in small-town environments that almost always include water—oceans, lakes, or rivers. The mother of two grown children, you’ll find Virginia with her nose a book, walking on trails or her neighborhood street, or she may be packing her bag to take off for her next adventure. And she’s always working on another story about hope, healing, and second chances.

Tour Giveaway

- 1 winner will receive a $25 Amazon eGift Card and a $25 Etsy eGift Card
- Open internationally for those who are eligible
- Ends August 28, 2019

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

'Twas an Evening in Bethlehem: a Brand-New Children's Christmas Tale

'Twas an Evening in Bethlehem Cover Reveal!

Pertinent Details:
Christmas-themed children’s picture book
Cover reveal: August 21, 2019
Release date: October 1, 2019


‘Twas an evening in Bethlehem and all through the day
Many guests were arriving from far, far away...

The inn is full, but when a young, expectant couple arrives, the innkeeper cannot turn them away.
Follow this beloved tale through the eyes of the innkeeper’s young daughter
as she witnesses the glorious surprises of that very first Christmas
and rediscover anew the gift of the manger that ultimately points us to the cross.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Realm Explorers Part CXXVII: Visit Gulf Breeze with Juli D Revezzo

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: Juli D. Revezzo

Title of book and/or series: The Dragon’s Seamstress (Antique Magic, book 5) Brief summary of the story:

As witches Caitlin and Trevor prepare for a family gathering, a creature out of fantasy and myth bounds into their lives demanding they repair his precious cloak. But the cloak isn’t made of run of the mill material, but is also laced with magic. How will they satisfy his demands? And if they don’t, will he eat them?

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

Well, since the Antique Magic series is urban fantasy, there are two. One is the world Caitlin and Trevor live in a small town just outside Pensacola called Gulf Breeze. It’s a small town of about 6,500 inhabitants. The coolest thing about the town is they are in view of a fort from the early days of the Civil War. The fort is, supposedly, haunted, so that’s why I chose the location. They have the accompanying weather—heat, mild winters, thunderstorms, and hurricanes, which they frequently fret over. Throughout the series, under an assignment from the goddess Arianrhod, the couple have dealt with (and helped) spirits that come to them for assistance. But this is the first time they’ve ever had a dragon drop by.

The other is the Welsh “Otherworld”, Annwn (pronounced, but it’s okay to say Annwin if you like, in fact, good ole Wikipedia says one of its pronunciations is Annwvyn). Annwn is, like, their heaven. The entrance and Ariarhod’s castle, is Medieval in tone. But Annwn has tons of areas and can fluctuate between eras (the battleground especially changes depending on the mood of the Otherworld soldiers and what tournament they’re holding). Caitlin and Trevor frequently visit Arianrhod’s courtyard, where (especially Cait) is usually turned away at the gate by the temperamental guards (in Mourning Dove Locket) or let in on special occasions (in Caitlin’s Book of Shadows). In The Dragon’s Seamstress, the couple learns there’s a whole other section they’ve never known about where dragons live. Mostly, the Otherworld inhabitants come to Gulf Breeze with their problems.

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

If you’re a history buff, you have to go Fort Pickens! :) It’s a really cool, old fort, built in a pentagonal shape with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. If you’re not a history buff, definitely head to the beach.

What dangers should we avoid in Gulf Breeze?

Sometimes, the ghosts and other entities can get a little confused, so tread lightly, if you run across one. (And as a practical tip, if you go to the beach, be mindful of undertow.)

(And in Annwn, you can find yourself in trouble if you try a raid on the Spoils of Annwn. :) So be warned. Don’t try to go after their riches. You don’t want your soul eaten by a proper Hound of Annwn. [see below for more on them.])

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

They have great seafood.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Gulf Breeze?

We try to avoid confrontations, but Caitlin has some self-defense training, and…she can throw magic at a pesky imp and fry its…erm, tail, even without the help of her latest charge. :)

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

Cars, bicycles, other automobiles. But Caitlin has the special talent of being able to teleport, learned from her mentor, a “guardian” sent to her and Trevor by Arianrhod. And they’ve learned the goddess, enjoys, especially, our expensive, flashy cars.

What types of plants, animals, or sentient races might we encounter in Gulf Breeze that we don’t see on Earth?

Caitlin and Trevor have adopted a Hound of Annwn named Rhonabwy (pronounced Ron-a-bwee). He is a dog-being out of Celtic legend, with white fur and red-tipped ears, (a marker of the Otherworld) who can detect supernatural beings. He can speak telepathically with Caitlin and Trevor and their witch friends are learning to hear him. His fur is always cool to Caitlin’s, instead of warm, and his eyes glow red when he’s in protection mode. He doesn’t have to obey the laws of physics so can just appear at their sides, and …do other things that if I tell you, here, will be a spoiler for The Dragon’s Seamstress! Shh…

Ahem, Rhonabwy was originally raised by Arianrhod’s supernatural kennels, to join the Hounds of Annwn, who hunt souls, but…he didn’t like that job at all. So, Arianrhod’s pack-keepers ousted him, and Caitlin found him loping around a corner in her hometown, one day, and fell in love. He’s been with them ever since, and yes, defends her against, and warns her of, supernatural threats. But, poor thing, he ain’t sure how to deal with this dragon. ;) There are other gods living in Annwn, too, but as Arianrhod is the patron goddess of Trevor and Caitlin’s family, she’s the only one who visits them. Her, Michela (their family guardian), and the gate guardians.

What role, if any, does magic or the supernatural play in the lives of people in a huge role? If there is magic, please give some examples of what it involves or how it’s used.

Caitlin is a witch, and first encountered the supernatural in the first book in the Antique Magic series, The Artist’s Inheritance. Here, Trevor (who is a woodworker) started building an odd chair that the goddess Arianrhod tried to get him to give to her. But, she didn’t just walk right up and ask, but tried to blend in with human society, and so sent her emissary, Michela. On the other side, a pesky imp tried to keep Trevor from giving it up. All the while, Caitlin sensed there was something otherworldly about Michela, Arianrhod, and this imp—and got hit with a bunch of odd visions, including being visited by the ghost of her husband’s ancestor.

She thought she was going mad, until she reconnected with an old friend from school, who just so happened to be a witch, too. It was the friend who realized what was happening to Caitlin. So she knows everything Caitlin needs to learn and between her and her coven, they helped Caitlin get control of her budding powers and drive off the imp, and save her husband’s sanity (and life). Then, in the next books, Caitlin gained more and more control and learned more about ghosts (they’re not scary, after all—for the most part—just lost and lonely and in need of her “ear” and a helping hand). She can blast an enemy, if necessary, she can pick up an item and “see” its history. She sometimes gets yanked into a vision of the original owner’s life, which (as discombobulating as that can be) it can be helpful. From her coven, she’s learned enough herbalism to whip up helpful medicines; she’s learned the history and legends of this goddess, and Trevor’s Welsh ancestry. They both have (Trevor too is a witch).

They even helped a teen witch gain control of her own growing powers and they’ve both frequently visited Arianrhod’s realm of Annwn (that’s a whole ‘nother Realm Explorer’s), but they don’t go often, onscreen. (It makes an appearance in the freebie “Caitlin’s Book of Shadows”.

Caitlin’s magic also comes in handy in that she and Trevor run an antique store, and from time to time, she senses spiritual and magical vibes from treasures people bring in or inquire about. These always work into the series, somehow. For instance, in The Dragon’s Seamstress, a customer comes in looking for antique “witches” brooms that turn out to be a little more than meets the eye.

Also, in the book, the dragon is (obviously) magical, and furthermore, he has a cloak that he wears that is made of the beards of all the kings he’s defeated. One beard might, they speculate, have come from King Arthur. Also, at one point, he gives Caitlin a gift that pushes her powers beyond even those of her old school chum, the longtime witch. So, I can’t wait to see what she can do next!

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Gulf Breeze? If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.

Caitlin and Trevor live in the modern world so they have everything we do: television, coffeemakers, computers, cars, Internet etc.

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

The usual—movies, books, radio. Trevor likes to surf. Gulf Breeze also has antique stores, like Trevor and Caitlin’s. I can’t say whether those others receive magical and magic-touched items like Cait and Trevor do, though. ;)

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?

Yes; as a matter of fact, in The Dragon’s Seamstress, the couple are gearing up for Thanksgiving dinner with their families and friends. Caitlin and Trevor also celebrate the holidays peculiar to the Welsh and pagan calendars. Samhain (October 31), Gwyl Awst (August 1), also the full moons, they always try to get together with their coven. They do only close their antique shop on national holidays, though (New Years, Christmas, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, etc).

Is there a particular religion practiced in Gulf Breeze? Please describe what it involves.

Caitlin and Trevor (and their coven) are pagan so they revere pagan gods—in their case, in particular, the Welsh gods of Trevor’s family, that being the goddess Arianrhod. They also, via their coven, revere the goddess of light. The coven gets together on solstices and equinoxes, Samhain, Gwyl Awst, August 1st (the abovementioned Gwyl Awst), May 1st, and so on, according to the modern pagan calendar. They cast circles, which contains their magical energy while they do their charms. At least when they’re together. If Caitlin needs to defend against a pesky imp, circles, be damned, she’s just going to blast the thing! She’ll also “bless” the homes of her friends and family to keep them safe and happy, and their environment loving and peaceful. She’s also been known to cook the best feasts around, and mix up fine teas.

Are there any other unique cultural practices that we should be aware of if we visit Gulf Breeze?

If a ghost walks by, say hello.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?

I’ve an art history degree, and a love of Celtic mythology. I also know some artists, so all of these things tied into the series. Oh, and Caitlin and Trevor’s antique store is inspired by a few that we have around town. And yes, I have actually visited Gulf Breeze. The one in the books doesn’t have exactly the same layout as the real town, but, I have. It’s a nice little coastal town, with lovely beaches, and of course, Fort Pickens. A few other things: Caitlin’s neighbor knits, and I can (a little); also, alas, in 2017, I had experience with the hurricane they talk about in The Dragon’s Seamstress. Welcome to Florida life. (haha). Caitlin lives further north of us and down here in our area, we had rubble—in fact, according to the news, there were piles of it all over the state for even after Christmas, that year. So it was hard not to be constantly reminded of it, that year.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?

It really depends on the book. But throughout the Antique Magic series, I’ve covered the Civil War, spousal domination, Cuban history and the Revolution, flappers, and a huge dose of feminism. In fact, at one point, Trevor answers the dragon’s question with “Haven’t you figured out who runs this house yet? Cait does.”

Please share a brief author autobiography.

Juli D. Revezzo is a Florida girl with a love of speculative and romantic fiction and legend, and loves writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of The Antique Magic series and the fantasy romance Celtic Stewards Chronicles series, along with a few historical romance novels, and short stories published in ETERNAL HAUNTED SUMMER, LUNA STATION QUARTERLY, among others. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your books? Please include links.

The Dragon’s Seamstress releases August 11, 2019 in ebook and coming soon to paperback via Amazon.

The other books in the series (and the reading order) are:
The Artist’s Inheritance (Antique Magic, book 1)
Caitlin’s Book of Shadows (Antique Magic, book 2)
Drawing Down the Shades (Antique Magic, book 3)
Mourning Dove Locket (Antique Magic, book 4)
The Dragon’s Seamstress ( Antique Magic,book 5)

And, well, to understand everything you should probably read them in order, at least start with book one. Just so you know, some readers think the first two can be a little creepy, as Caitlin is creeped out by her early contact with the ghosts around her. As she gets a handle on things, the “fear” factor vanishes. Really, the ghosts aren’t scary-creepy-evil once you get to know them. They’re more like friendly spirits, or (can I say this?) “Force” ghosts. They’re in need of someone like Caitlin and Trevor to listen to them, and even helpful, when you get to know them. Some can be pesky, some can be belligerent. Just like people.

In The Dragon’s Seamstress, a friendly ancestral ghost helps the couple figure out what it is that is coming to them for assistance, this time, when the dragon is still playing hide and seek with them. You’ll see what I mean when you read the book.

Where can readers connect with you online?

My website, of course, is the main place.

Find all my books on Amazon. I have a few on Itunes, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo, too. Those links are on my website, if you need them. (I’m working on getting the series turned into audiobooks, but it’s going to take time. If that’s your favorite format, feel free to join my newsletter—linked below—and I’ll let you know when they’re available.)

They can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bookbub, I have a Pinterest board for the Antique Magic series, and you can join my newsletter here, if you like, to be kept abreast of new releases. Here's the synopsis, if you'd like to check it out:

Since Caitlin and Trevor vowed to assist the Otherworld and opened their enchanted antique shop, they’ve seen many strange things. But now, someone comes in asking for a mundane item: kitschy “witches” brooms. Has their magical life returned to normal?

As the couple prepares to host a family gathering, fate intervenes and something they’ve never seen before roars into their life: A creature out of Welsh legend and fantasy: A blundering, somewhat underdeveloped dragon—not at all the type of dragon they ever expected to meet. Forced to undertake his unique challenge, Caitlin and Trevor are perplexed by his demands, but the magical beast is certain they are the only witches who can help him.

Doing so might unlock an ancient hidden secret. Refusing might destroy them.

I hope you will enjoy The Dragon's Seamstress as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for having me again here at your lovely little home, Annie!

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Gulf Breeze.  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!
Are you an author of a sci-fi or fantasy novel that takes place in another world? Click here to find out about having it featured on Realm Explorers!
-Annie Douglass Lima

Monday, August 5, 2019

Realm Explorers Part CXXVI: Visit Kaiatan with Marty C. Lee

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.

Author Autobiography: 

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