Sunday, October 21, 2018

Realm Explorers Part CXVI: Visit Redwood with Courtenay Kasper

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:
Courtenay Kasper

Title of book and/or series:
West & Windy

Brief summary of the story:
Fox siblings West and Windy are on the run from Bruin King Rancid who will stop at nothing to capture them and strong-arm them out of their kingdom. With the help of their rabbit aunt Dandelion and her heliox-balloon airship, they must learn to work together to rescue the true king and queen. With an unforgettable crew of insane critters, monkey pirates, and ninja bats! This steampunk adventure is perfect for fans of Narnia and Redwall! Hold your breath! You are in for a wild ride!

Brief description of the world or location you created for this story:
West & Windy live in Redwood which is a continent in the world of Forestia. Redwood has many different climates and landforms: the obsidian cliffs of Castle Rock, the frigid mountain town of Wildmont with its impassable weather patterns, and the underground city of Blue Lake.

If we were to visit Redwood as tourists, what would you recommend that we see or do there?
The first thing I would do is climb aboard the Emerald Falcon airship, fire up the heliox jets and float my way to Blue Lake. Under the lake there is a massive glass dome which lets the most mesmerizing dancing blue light into the city. Then I would head for the southern islands, kick back in a hammock, and eat mangos all day in the sun with the monkey pirates.

What dangers should we avoid in Redwood?
I wouldn’t recommend spending your coppers on a trip to Bruin City, unless you are a bear. Those bears hate everyone! I would also suggest avoiding the storm fields near Wildmont. The air currents drop and raise again almost instantly, which is not a great combination if you get airsick at all!

Is there a distinct or unusual type of food or meal that we might be served in Redwood?
The cuisine varies depending on the location and species. The Northern Patrol favors hunks of fish and ginger water, while the Bruins are fond of sour honey or anything with gravy. The lower woodland is home to more herbivores, so they prefer things like roasted turnip with a garlic scape salad.

What types of weaponry or fighting styles are common in Redwood?
The gearbow is standard issue in the Bruin Army. It’s similar to a cross bow, but it launches gearblades from a chain track. Each gearblade is between 6 and 10 inches and the “teeth” of the blades are sharper than a razors edge. Bounty hunting mutts prefer to carry brass knuckles that resemble smaller half-gearblades, but they often carry a gearbow too.
Wally the beaver invented his own oversized gearbow that shoots bear traps and he calls it the “kaboom!”

What types of vehicles, animals, technology, etc. are used to travel in or to Redwood?
Although air travel is forbidden, Dandelion pilots a hexprop hot air balloon ship. The triple pods in each haversack are filled with a blend of hot air and heliox to give them lift. The swan wing base of the ship is styled after a seaworthy galleon, but with a whale-shaped tail.
The Wildmont critters get around on snow machines called snowmeichs which are steam powered and have a series of rapidly spinning duck-like feet which kick up snow and propel the machine through the deepest of snow.

Is there any advanced or unusual technology in Redwood?  If you haven’t described it already, please give some examples.
A great example of unusual technology is the architecture under Blue Lake. The critters there discovered new ways to build under the lake and use glass to hold the water up above the city. The lake is shallow, so they are able to use the diffused glow of sunlight through the waves to light the entire city.

Tell us about any sports, games, or activities that are available for entertainment in Redwood.
The children of Redwood attend Gear School which used to have fun activities in between classes. Before the Bruins came to power, Gear School included classes on flying, aerodynamics, mechanical construction, and hydraulic propulsion, but now they are only able to take classes on tinkering or heliox mining. 

Are the days of the week and months of the year the same in Redwood as on Earth? What holidays or special events are celebrated regularly there?
The favorite yearly celebration is the Harvest Feast at Castle Rock – a week-long celebration - complete with dancing, aerial flight competitions, mechanical invention awards and, of course, feasting like a boar (They don’t love that stereotype…). There hasn’t been a harvest feast since the Bruins came to power.

Is there a particular religion practiced in Redwood?  Please describe what it involves.
The majority of the Redwood worships the Creator and his son Yeshu – a religion of mercy, hope, love and second chances. The ninja bats of Devlin Island practice ancient martial arts and worship the fickle moon and stars. They believe that they die and go to their ‘fathers in the sky’.

What is the political or government structure in Redwood?  Who is in charge there at the moment, and what kind of leader is he/she?
The current government in Redwood is the totalitarian dictatorship of King Rancid. He is a cunning, power-hungry dictator and the edge of madness. Previous to the Bruin rule, the elder King Rhodes ruled a monarchy.

Has anything in your actual life inspired the locations, cultures, etc. in your book?
I live in northern B.C. where the winters are long and cold. The town of Wildmont reminds me of being at our little cabin in the woods, trying to keep the stove roaring enough to fight off the winter chill.

What, if any, “hot-button” or controversial topics do you touch on in your book?
West & Windy are being raised by their mother’s best friend after their parents kidnapping. She has to choose to trust her ex-husband again and she struggles with that. McFurrgle the bobcat is a recovering brawler who struggles with anger issues and shame.

Author Autobiography:
Courtenay Kasper is a New York Time Bestselling book reader. She lives in “the middle of nowhere” British Columbia with her husband and four fantastic kiddos. She has always been a teller of tall-tales and won her first writing contest at age eight. She loves to write stories that reflect the character of God and inspire the wonder and imagination inherent in all of us.

Where, and in what formats, can we purchase your book(s)?  Please include links.
My books are available on Amazon
The Rigs (2016)
West & Windy is available for preorder (Launching November 8th, 2018)

Where can readers connect with you online? 

The best place to connect with me is on my author page on Facebook. You can also find me on my blog and Goodreads. Or if you are headed for Alaska, stop in for coffee!

I hope you all enjoyed the trip to Redwood.  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

NY Doc Under the Northern Lights: a Romance Novel with a Giveaway!

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Book Tour Grand Finale for
NY Doc Under the Northern Lights
By Amy Ruttan

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

Launch - Note from the Author

I knew for my twentieth novel I had to write something fun and special. And what is more fun than a fish out of water story? One of my favourite romantic comedies is The Proposal, which is a definite fish out of water. City girl in Alaska. And I also am obsessed with the north and that’s how NY Doc Under the Northern Lights came about...

Dr. Sturlusson didn’t seem the type to leave her high and dry, but perhaps something unavoidable had happened and he hadn’t been able to contact her.

She should’ve told him not to bother picking her up and she should’ve gone with the car-rental plan in the first place.

Betty glanced up at the signs overhead, trying to figure out where to go to rent a car when she saw something move out of the corner of her eye.

She looked over her shoulder and her mouth hung open a little as an over-six-foot Viking of a man came marching toward her. Quickly.

"...a fun twist on an old storyline that has all kinds of unique elements to keep the pages turning. I needed something easy and uplifting the weekend that I read it. And how can you beat spending time together under the famed Northern Lights?"

“Dr. Jacinth?” he asked, almost in disbelief, his voice deep and rumbling.

“Yes. And who might you be?”

“Dr. Sturlusson,” he snapped back in annoyance. “I thought that would be obvious.”

“No, it’s not obvious. I’ve seen Dr. Sturlusson and he’s at least seventy. Are you telling me you’re seventy?”

He rolled his eyes. “You mean my father. I am Dr. Axel Sturlusson, his son.”

Northern Lights—FUN FACTS!!

So, I’m obsessed with the Northern Lights. The first time I saw them I was about 13 years old and even though I knew that the northern lights existed, I still didn’t know what I was looking at when I saw them...

“Fine,” she said. “Lead the way.”

He looked down at her shoes. “You do know this is Iceland in winter?”

“I’m aware.”

“You’re wearing ridiculous heels.”

She glanced down at her boots. “They’re boots.”

“It’s icy outside,” he stated gruffly.

“Oh, I’m surprised to hear that a place called Iceland is icy,” she snapped back. She was too tired to be bandying words about with a gigantic behemoth of a Viking in the middle of the airport.

An Interview with Dr. Axel Sturlusson

I’ve decided to poke and prod the hero of NY Doc Under the Northern Lights with an interview of sorts and he’s agreed, as long as I make it quick and he can get back to work.

*Axel walks in, arms crossed over his deep blue sweater, looking slightly annoyed*...

"The beauty of the novel is how it is a lesson in self-care, in the time we all need to heal and in the joyfulness of the unexpected. Ruttan pulls you into the lives of two surgeouns who are each on the footsteps of re-finding themselves after their lives fractured. . . . As you move forward with them, your treated to a beautiful back-story of a family in crisis, a teenager who has a sharp wit and wisdom ahead of her years and the allure of Iceland itself. You won't want to exit this story until you find out what romanced a New York City doctor to become enchanted underneath the Northern Lights!"

E-Romance News - Guest Post

An Interview with Dr. Betty Jacinth.

Betty comes into the room. She’s bubbly and happy. She’s also visibly pregnant.

Thanks for letting me interview you today! I have to say Axel wasn’t amiable as you are...

Harlie's Books - Review

"The romance in the book is a slow burn and very subtle. Both Axel and Betty have battle scars that needed to heal before they could truly be together. . . . You just have to read the book to find out what I’m talking about."

Axel held out his arm, gesturing in the direction to the terminal doors, and she followed him, pulling her suitcase behind her. She was very aware of the sound of her heels against the airport floor, but she wasn’t going to back down to Axel Sturlusson. She hadn’t got where she was as a surgeon by backing down. She’d learned how to stand her ground.

Except when it came to Thomas. She’d let Thomas walk all over her and she hated herself for that.

Colorimetry - Excerpt

And her heart skipped a beat. It was as if those eyes had pierced her very soul. It was unsettling how much the intensity of his gaze affected her.

“I told you those were ridiculous boots. I knew that you were going to slip,” he grumbled as he set her upright.

“I didn’t see the ice,” she said, but she still clung to him.

“Well, you’re going to kill yourself walking around in those.”

What was the inspiration behind this book?

I really wanted to set a book in a different location and I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland. It also gave me an excuse to add my favourite thing to the story, which is the northern lights. I love the northern lights and have been privileged to see them countless times, including one special one where they were right above me and I was standing under them. I also love writing and reading fish out of water stories. It was fun to plop Betty down in the middle of Reykjavik and have to deal with my brooding, alpha hero.

Book Lover in Florida - Guest Post


Playlists. I listen to music and I am very thankful for my Apple Music subscription. Every book I listen to a set playlist and I thought I would share some of my favourite songs that were on repeat when I was writing my 20th book NY DOC UNDER THE NORTHERN LIGHTS.

Jorie Loves A Story - Author Interview

1) What initially attracted you to write Medical Romances and what did you hope to focus on as you worked on new stories for the Harlequin imprint as it looks like you've had a lovely career writing for them?

I always wanted to write for Harlequin. I loved category romances and when I was actively pursuing writing for them I noticed that Harlequin Medicals was holding a Fast Track. A way to get your partial in front of an editor instead of waiting in the slush pile. I thought, why not? I love Grey’s Anatomy. I am a super fan of that show. So I thought, I can try my hand at it. I mean, you don’t know unless you try right? I wasn’t expecting much. I set my story in Nunavut (which is a territory in Canada up in the arctic) and I had a request for a revised partial. That turned into a request for a full. I had a few rounds of revisions and then I finally got an email asking for my phone number and when was it a good time to call? The rest was history. I love writing about surgeons. I love their intensity and drive.

Wishful Endings - Excerpt

“Treat you like what? I got you to the vehicle safely. This way you won’t be laid up with a broken ankle during your first month of work in Reykjavik. My father would not be happy if I let harm come to you.” He motioned for her to slide her legs into the foot well so he could shut the door.

Fuming, Betty begrudgingly did as he asked, her eyes tracking him as he climbed into the driver’s side and buckled in. He glanced at her.

Becky on Books - Review

"A sweet romance–this was actually my first medical romance, and it served as a nice intro to the genre! . . . an entertaining read."

Nicole's Book Musings - Guest Post

The Christmas Book Flood

The Icelandic Christmas tradition of Jolabokaflod is known as the Christmas Book Flood. This is one of the reasons I want to go to Iceland, because they love books as much as I do. I think the idea of exchanging books and spending the rest of the night curled up with that book and a cup of chocolate appeals to the introvert in me.

"NY Doc Under The Northern Lights by Amy Ruttan is fabulous. I loved this sweet romance. Love at first sight between two people..."

She clambered out of bed, jammed her glasses on her face, threw a sweater over her tank top, pulled on her heavy woolen socks and made her way downstairs, bumping into a wall as her eyes adjusted to the daylight.

She cursed under her breath and then peeked through the peephole and groaned when she saw a familiar six-foot Viking standing on her porch, looking just as good and put together as he had yesterday.

What does he want?

"A truly amazing tale, the plot is thick with intrigue and passion and the characters are deeply developed. I'd highly recommend to anyone looking for a sweet, romantic story to warm your hearts this coming winter season!"

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below, if you haven't already...

NY Doc Under the Northern Lights By Amy Ruttan
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 256 Pages
October 1st 2018 by Harlequin Medical

Escaping the big city…

For love under Icelandic skies

When surgeon Betty Jacinth’s heart is broken once again, she takes a job in Iceland for a change of scenery. She expects cold weather—but not the frosty welcome she receives from gorgeous but brooding Dr. Axel Sturlusson! Now father to his orphaned niece, Axel gradually thaws, and a flame ignites—but when Betty’s ex begs her to return, can she make the right choice for love?

About the Author

Born and raised just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Amy fled the big city to settle down with the country boy of her dreams. After the birth of her second child, Amy was lucky enough to realize her life long dream of becoming a romance author. When she's not furiously typing away at her computer, she's a mom to three wonderful children who use her as a personal taxi and chef.

Tour Giveaway

1 winner will receive a swag bag from Romancing the Capital 2018. It’s full of awesome swag from the event plus 3 of Amy's books: NY Doc Under the Northern Lights, A Date with Dr Moustakas, and The Surgeon King’s Secret Baby
Open to US only
Ends October 24th

Grab Our Button!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Beyond Her Calling: a Christian Historical Romance with a Giveaway!

Beyond Her Calling

Blurb #1:

At twenty, Ivy Knight feels as if she hasn’t accomplished anything of worth. Her life stretches on before her, empty and pointless. Though her faith in
God and her mental abilities have been strengthened, she still doubts herself. Does God have a purpose for a socially awkward, often confused and
frightened young woman?

Jordy McAllen has just returned to Scotland after his education in London. Though he has accomplished a lot for a farm lad such as himself, he fears
that what everyone has always said about him may be true: he won’t really make a good doctor. Determined to prove himself, Jordy snatches up the
opportunity to become the doctor in the village of Keefmore near his parents’ farm.

Helping Jordy with his work at Keefmore seems like the perfect opportunity for Ivy. Still, she doubts herself. Is there a purpose to Ivy’s life?

Blurb #2:

A clean and pure Christian historical romance with:

-friendship to romance (which is actually based on love)
-mental disabilities rep
-cows (and being afraid of cows)
-small adorable children
-more Scotland
-awesome families
-siblings and best friends and both at once
Author Bio

Kellyn Roth lives on an Eastern Oregon ranch with her parents, little brothers, border collies, cats, and a few dozen cows and chickens. Always a
lover of a good story, and especially of telling one, she’s been writing since she was seven and published her first novel at fourteen. Now a
homeschool grad, she divides her time between penning her next Christian historical novel, creating professionally silly articles at, and her actual life. Actual life plays second fiddle sometimes, though.

Find out more on her website:
Book Links

Giveaway Link

Enter the giveaway to win a signed paperback copy of Beyond Her Calling!

Blog Tour Schedule:

Saturday, October 20th

Intro Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Author Interview // Molly @ A Sparkle of Light
Review // Lisa @ Inkwell
Review & Character Interview (Jordy) // Amie @ Crazy A
Character Interview (Ivy) // Jo @ The Lens and the Hard Drive
Book Spotlight // Annie @ Letters from Annie Douglass Lima

Sunday, October 21st

Theme Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Guest Post by Character (Ivy) & Review // Grace M. Morris
Book Spotlight // Erika Messer @ Maiden of the Pages
Author Interview // Angela R. Watts @ The Peculiar Messenger

Monday, October 22nd

Ivy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Character Interview (Ivy) // Loretta Marchize @ Just Writing
Review // Andrea Cox @ Writing to Inspire
Character Interview (Jordy) // Liz @ Home with the Hummingbirds
Author & Character Interview (Violet) // Julia @ Julia’s Creative Corner
Review & Character Spotlight (Ivy) // Caroline Kloster @ Inside the Autistic Life

Tuesday, October 23rd

Jordy Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Author Interview // Faith Blum @ Bookish Orchestrations
Review & Guest Post // Cara @ Jessie Bingham
Guest Post // Lindsi @ One Beginner To Another
Character Spotlight (Ena) // Shannon McDermott @ Shannon’s Blog

Wednesday, October 24th

Violet Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Guest Post // Germaine Han @ The Writing Mafia
Review // Jana T. @ Reviews from the Stacks

Thursday, October 25th

Real Life Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Book Spotlight // Gabriellyn Gidman @ PageTurners
Author Interview // Sara Willoughby @ Th!nk Magazine
Review // Michaela Bush @ Tangled Up In Writing
Guest Post by Character (Violet) // Peggy M. McAloon @ Peggy’s Hope 4U

Friday, October 26th

Future Day // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Review // Abigail McKenna @ Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors
Review // Gracelyn Buckner @ Literatura
Review // Bella Putt

Saturday, October 27th

Wrapup Post // Kellyn Roth @ Reveries
Character Interview & Spotlight (Jordy) // Kaylee @ Kaylee’s Kind of Writes
Book Spotlight // Abigail Harder @ Books, Life, and Christ

And be sure to check out the Facebook party every day this week for exciting updates!