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A Day in Kassis

We are back with our travel series, “24-Hours On, In and Around Series”. This week, Narelle spent 24-hours on Kassis and gives you her quick visit guide to this extraordinary planet.

Planet: Kassis

Time: 1 day and night

Best Time To Go: April – August

Our Reporter: Narelle

Kassis is the major planet in the galaxy and is home to many fine Kassian warriors. The second the sun comes out, you’ll relish your time exploring the crystalline city of Kassis. The non-stop spectacle of crystals, evergreens and purple water will make it a struggle to continue onto the next planet on your Kassian Galaxy tour.

The palace is the starting point for many first time visitors to Kassis particularly since the Ladies have settled. There have been significant changes in Kassian culture since the prophesized warriors arrived. The common areas of the palace are now open to locals and tourists and a very popular place to visit, with many hoping to capture a glimpse of the Ladies of Kassis.

Rumor has that on on occasion you can see the three Ladies climbing over the balcony so they can mingle amongst the crowds. If you hear roaring, don’t panic, that will just be their husbands discovering that it’s hard to keep a good woman down.

The palace or House of Kassis, is home to the Royal family, and consists of four main buildings. It is built on a hill overlooking the city below and the entrance gates to the House of Kassis is a photographers dream. Huge and elaborate, these gates are carved with the history of Kassis. Remember to look up as there are quite a few surprises on the ceilings of the buildings and overhangs.

The South House or Common House is made up of conference rooms, dining rooms, a medical wing, additional guest rooms for dignitaries, and rooms for entertaining guests.

The North House is the Lead House and it belongs to Torak, the eldest son of the Leader of Kassis, and his wife, River. The East House belongs to Manota and is known as the Second House of Kassis. Manota and Jo reside here. The West House belongs to Jazin and Star and is known as the Third House of Kassis.

In the center between the houses is a large garden area with fountains and paths leading to each of the three private Houses and the Common House. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the three Ladies as they practice their high wire work on the beams and wire in the garden whilst Ajaska and his grandchildren look on.

Guided tours of the palace run daily and bookings are recommended.

If you like bling with your history, then make sure you head north along the Avenue Australis to the Statue of Ajaska, Leader of Kassis. This twenty foot high statue is made entirely of crystal and shoots out thousands of sparkles, almost as if it is alive.

Space travel is vital to the economic and cultural health of Kassis and its space port is high up on the must see places in Kassis. Pride of place in the space port is the Galaxy Quest which brought the Earthers to Kassis. The Galaxy Quest is now a museum and you can walk where the Prophesized Warriors first walked. There is even a side tour through the vents for those of an Earth size. This side tour books out very quickly so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment. It is restricted to height and width so check that you are small enough to go on the tour.

Be sure to allow plenty of time to be early for a good seat for the twice daily Prophesized Warriors show on the shuttle bay. This is quite the spectacle with actors re-enacting the great battle cry scene when Lady River claimed Torak and saved the alliance between the Kassians and Tearnats.

The Seeker, which brought the circus to Kassis, is also in the port although it is under refurbishment at the time this guide went to press.

Afternoons and evenings is the perfect time to walk along the boardwalk which borders the rippling purple River on one side and thriving markets, shops and restaurants on the other. This bustling area of Kassis is a must visit. The restauants offer a wide variety of fresh dishes from around the galaxy including Earth. At the markets you will find organic fruit, breads, jams, clothing, and shoes.

A must have is the fruity ice drink name Star’s Surprise in honor of Lady Star. It packs quite a punch so steady as she goes when you try Star’s Surprise lol.

If you are staying longer than 24-hours,  add these locations to your itinerary:

  • Council’s Assembly
  • Circus campus for Cirque de Magik, the most spectacular Circus to the Stars
  • Karazdin, the ancient city of knowledge
  • Geylur Prime II

Interview with Alanea Alder

Author Spotlight – Alanea Alder

Alanea Alder

First I want to say ‘Thank You’ to Susan for featuring me in her Author Spotlight. It’s an honor to be here. For those who don’t know me, my name is Alanea Alder and I have been a published author for little over a year. You may have seen a picture of me pop up on Susan’s blog a couple weeks ago. We met at RomCon and had a blast at the multiple paranormal themed events they hosted. I had to seek her out since many of my readers had compared my writing to hers. I soon found out that Susan and I both write strong, quirky females. I’ve had more than one reader say “Riley and Rebecca (from my Kindred of Arkadia series) need to meet and take over the world.” I have come to realize that them meeting would probably be a scary thing.

Starting at the end of this year I will be making the transition to being a full time writer. I can’t wait for the days where I can devote all of my attention to writing, especially as I have a brand new paranormal series scheduled to be released starting in September. The series is called Bewitched and Bewildered. The ladies have been bewitched and the men are bewildered.

In book one you meet our delicious Alpha Unit leader Aiden McKenzie. When his mother brings up the topic of grandchildren during a weekly sewing circle the matriarchs of the founding families seek out the witch Elder to scry to see if their sons have mates. They are shocked to discover that many of their son’s mates are out in the world and are human!

Fearing that their future human daughter in laws will end up dead before being claimed and providing them with grandchildren to spoil, they convince their own mates that something must be done. After gathering all of the warriors together in a fake award ceremony the witch Elder casts a spell to pull the men’s mates to them, whether they want it or not.

Aiden is adamant that he doesn’t need a mate and that they would only get in the way, little does he realize Fate is sending him his mate first! He meets his destined mate Meryn Evans and things go downhill from there. In the first twenty four hours she kicks, screams and knocks her bear shifting mate unconscious. They eventually discover that life before finding each other may have been good, but life afterwards is perfect, even if it involves super soaker battles and accidentally discharging hand grenades.

I am having so much fun with this series, I can’t wait for it to hit Amazon. I always tell my readers that when you write something you’re excited about, it’s like purchasing the perfect gift for someone in February and having to wait all year for Christmas. For me it’s like that for every book release. If you’ve enjoyed my rambling even a little bit don’t hesitate to find me on Facebook or follow my Amazon author page. I love meeting new people and sharing my worlds with them.

Alanea Alder Books

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An Intimate Chat with Abby Tanner

Abducting Abby

Me (intro): Hello, everyone. I met Abby almost five years ago. She was in my head and later touched my heart with her story. It was the start of a beautiful friendship that continues to grow and change as she and her family mature.

Many people say that I talk about my characters as if they are real. If you talk to most authors, I think they will tell you the same – they are to us! I remember when I first met Abby, the image of her was very clear. She was slightly taller than me, young in age, but old in soul, quiet and reflective, but most of all compassionate. She poured her heart into her music and her artwork and it showed. That was what made her unique, different and what made me want to write her story.

Abby (laughing and shaking her head): You are going to make me self-conscious, you know?

Me: It’s true. I was fascinated with you, your artwork and Zoran from the first time I imagined you. Let’s start with your artwork.

Abby (fanning herself): Thank goodness for that. What would you like to know?

Me: Tell the readers about your artwork.

Abby: My grandparents were always very talented. I inherited my love of music from them. Both of them worked for years in the entertainment field, both in the movies and recording studios. When I was a little girl, they took me to the local Fair and I saw a man doing blown glass. I swear I could have stood there all day watching him make all of these incredible little animals. When I was about fourteen, I talked my grandfather into converting an old barn on the property into a workshop and we started learning how to do it. I had a natural talent and many of my pieces are in studios around the world.

Me: The work you’ve done is gorgeous! Now, I know that all the readers are fascinated with Zoran. Tell us a little about him.

Abby (blushing and smiling): Zoran is the King of Valdier. He has a good heart under his rough and tough exterior. As you know, he is a dragon-shifter. It took me a bit to get used to, especially when I discovered that I could shift as well after he… Well, it is part of the process of being a Valdier Warriors’ true mate. I don’t really understand it, I’m just thankful he was there.

Me: I know you met Zoran under some unusual circumstances, can you tell us about it?

Abby (sighing): Zoran had been captured by a group of traitors working alongside his uncle. They were trying to overthrow the royal families of Valdier, Sarafin, and the Curizans. He escaped and his symbiot inadvertently landed on Earth. If he hadn’t… Well, I wouldn’t be here today.

Me (smiling in understanding of Abby’s upset expression): You and Zoran have a son now.

Abby (face glowing): Yes, Zohar. He is a lot like his father. (She chuckles) He is smart, funny, loving, and very protective. He is also a natural born leader.

Me: I’d like to thank you for coming out today and sharing a little bit of your life with us. Is there anything else you’d like to share before we go?

Abby (laughing): If you get a chance to interview Cara just nail everything down first or she might take it and rebuild it into something incredible. Of course, you’ll have to tie her down to the chair to get her to sit still long enough, first!

Me: I’d like to say thank you again to Abby Tanner for joining us today. If you haven’t had a chance to read her and Zoran’s story, Abducting Abby: Dragon Lords of Valdier Book 1, I hope you take the time. It is available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook formats at all major distributors. I hope everyone has a wonderful day and I’ll see you soon. Goodbye for now.

How Stories Influence Our Lives

How Stories Influence Our Lives

Stories are a collection of a person’s experience gathered together and bound into sweeping tales that others can identify with on a wide scale ranging from simple entertainment to life changing. If I were to ask you to think back to the first story that influenced you, what would it be? How did it affect you? What type of change came about from reading this story?

That is a lot of questions, but they are important ones. Stories can have a very powerful influence and as an author, I have to recognize that power. Everyone is familiar with non-fiction books that focus on self-awareness, self-improvement, and ways to make your life better, but what about the influence of fiction books designed for entertainment? How can they influence your life and make it better? More questions! Mm, I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Let’s see if I can give you some insight as to how just one story influenced my life over the years.

What is the first story that influenced me? 

This is an easy one for me. Many of my readers may have seen references to this story in several of my books. Which book had such an impact that almost half a century later I still refer back to it? It is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett that was published in serial format in 1910 and published in its completion in 1911. There are several reasons why this unusual children’s story had such an impact on me which I’ll explain below.

How did it affect me?

My dad read me this story for the first time. We have pictures of the two of us, sitting on the couch in the family room. Maybe that is a big part as to why it is so special to me. I can still hear his voice when I read it, feel his warmth next to me, and get lost in the magic of Mary Lennox, Colin, and Dickon. I’ve read that book every year since I learned to read. I could relate to Mary. I wasn’t very strong as a child. I was sick a lot and spent a fair amount of time in the hospital. I was also very quiet and loved to be outdoors, perhaps because of being sick. I fell in love with Dickon. His calm look at life and his love for animals reflected my own. I wanted to get lost in a magical secret garden on the moor and never come out. At times, I still do. This story captured my attention. I felt Mary’s anger and confusion. I realized that she was acting out because all she really wanted was to know that she was important and meant something to someone.

What type of change came about from reading it? 

A good part of the change that came from this story was the belief that there was a place for me out in the world. I wanted to write a story that held the same feelings, that gave the same hope, that this book gave to me. I wanted to capture the magic inside the pages and live it in my own life. It also gave me hope that one day I wouldn’t be sick anymore and I could run and play. As an adult, I look at Mary and Colin’s strength to overcome and Dickon’s gentle understanding of the world around him and know that I have those same qualities inside of me.

Was it just for entertainment?

I know that my dad read me the story for simple entertainment, but it was more than that to me. It was a connection to him, an understanding that life was filled with challenges, and the importance of family and friendship. It was a story that left me feeling strong and happy at the end. One that filled me with hope. When I think of this story, it is as if the characters are real, so for me it was more than entertainment.

How did it influence my life?

I can’t say that the book has made me who I am, but it has had an influence on who I’ve become and my own writing to a big degree. I want stories that are magical when you read them. I’m not talking paranormal magic, necessarily; but, magical in the way they make a reader feel when they are finished with a story. I try to see others in a positive light. Some people call me a Pollyanna. I’m good with that. I don’t mind looking at the world with rose-colored glasses on. One thing is for sure, The Secret Garden helped me decide on what types of books I enjoyed reading.

Did it make my life better?

Any book/story that has a positive effect on you makes your life better. The Secret Garden gave me an appreciation and love for reading that I might not have had otherwise. Reading is so important, yet it can also be one of the most difficult skills to learn how to do. I didn’t learn how to really read until I was in the sixth grade. It was very, very difficult for me to learn. The letters and the sounds just didn’t make sense. At times, I still have a lot of trouble. Because of it, reading was not something I enjoyed doing. It took a story that could capture my heart to make me want to learn to read. It also opened up millions of new worlds to me that I would have otherwise never known. So, yes, my life is much, much better because of a simple story about a little girl who lost everything and found herself living a new and magical life on an English moor.

I’d love to hear which story influenced you the most!

About S. E. Smith

S.E. Smith is a New York Times, USA TODAY, International, and Award-Winning Bestselling author of science fiction, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary works for adults, young adults, and children. She enjoys writing a wide variety of genres that pull her readers into worlds that take them away.

Interview with Deborah Cooke

Author Spotlight – Deborah Cooke

Deborah Cooke

Deborah is one of my favorite authors. I love her Dragonfire series. If you haven’t read any of them, you don’t know what you are missing! I was having a major fangirl moment when I first met her at RTC in Ottawa this past spring. She is an incredibly talented authors. My sister first introduced me to her books and I couldn’t get enough of them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Deborah Cooke has published over fifty novels and novellas, including historical romances, fantasy romances, fantasy novels with romantic elements, paranormal romances, contemporary romances, urban fantasy romances, time travel romances and paranormal young adult novels.

She writes as herself, Deborah Cooke, as Claire Delacroix, and has written as Claire Cross. She is nationally bestselling, #1 Kindle Bestselling, KOBO Bestselling, as well as a USA Today and New York Times’ Bestselling Author. Her Claire Delacroix medieval romance, The Beauty, was her first book to land on the New York Times List of Bestselling Books.

The Beauty

Deborah was the writer-in-residence at the Toronto Public Library in 2009, the first time TPL hosted a residency focused on the romance genre, and she was honored to receive the Romance Writers of America PRO Mentor of the Year Award in 2012. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and of Novelists Inc. Deborah thinks a lot about publishing and writing, and also knits too much.

Kiss of Fire

One kiss can change the course of destiny… When ace accountant Sara Keegan decides to settle down and run her quirky aunt’s New Age bookstore, she’s not looking for adventure. She doesn’t believe in fate or the magic of tarot cards, but when she’s saved from a vicious attack by a man who has the ability to turn into a fire-breathing dragon, she questions whether she’s losing her mind – or about to lose her heart.

Self-reliant loner Quinn Tyrrell has long been distrustful of his fellow Pyr. When he feels the firestorm that signals his destined mate, he’s determined to protect and possess Sara, regardless of the cost. Then Sara’s true destiny is revealed and Quinn realizes he must risk everything – even Sara’s love – to fulfill their entwined fates.