The Illuminated Kingdom

My good friend Alina Sayre has just released the fourth and final installment of her middle-grade fantasy series, Voyages of the Legend, and today on the blog I’m helping her celebrate. It’s a wonderful series, captivating for any kid and adult. I love all the book covers for the series, but this last one tops them all. (I mean, dragon!)

Title: The Illuminated Kingdom

Series: The Voyages of the Legend, Book 4

Author: Alina Sayre (www.alinasayre.com)

Cover Designer: Jenny Zemanek of Seedlings Design Studio

Genre: Middle Grades Fantasy

Release Date: November 3, 2017

Price: US $4.99 (eBook), US $14.99 (paperback)

ISBN (paperback): 978-1979020442

Synopsis:

The Vestigia Roi has risen up to retake their home island of Rhynlyr, but all Ellie can think about is rescuing her missing brother, Connor. Guided by a dream of Connor’s whereabouts, Ellie disobeys the Council’s orders and stows away aboard the Legend. But a simple rescue mission quickly goes wrong as Ellie and her friends confront new monsters and old enemies. The crewmembers of the Legend soon find themselves waging a last, desperate battle to save not just Connor or Rhynlyr, but their entire world. As the One Kingdom hangs in the balance, Ellie and the Vestigia Roi must ultimately decide what they are fighting for—and how much they are willing to sacrifice for it.

Advance praise:

“…[an] astounding, imaginative world…” –Readers’ Favorite

Author Bio:

Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she is the award-winning author of The Voyages of the Legend fantasy series as well as an educator, editor, and speaker. Her first novel, The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and was a finalist in the Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book competition and a semifinalist for the BookLife Prize in Fiction. All four Voyages of the Legend books have received 4- or 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Connect with Alina online!

Website: alinasayre.com

Facebook: alinasayreauthor

Twitter: @AlinaSayre

Amazon

Goodreads

Amazon purchase link

Goodreads link

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Traveling Writer

I have a very special guest on the blog today. My good friend, Alina Sayre, has just released the third book in her Middle Grade fantasy series, Voyages of the Legend. She’s being kept pretty busy bouncing around various blogs for her tour, and was kind enough to take some time to join us here and talk about some of the inspiration behind the book’s settings. So, without further ado…

“Traveling Writer”
Alina Sayre

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Photo credit Alina Sayre

Travel is something I’ve always enjoyed (though I also enjoy coming home afterwards). As a writer, though, I don’t just take in sights and sounds when I travel—I also keep notes for future story settings. And in my latest book, The Illuminator Rising, some of those notes found a home. Three major settings in this book are based on real travels I’ve taken.

When I was twelve, my family and I traveled to the big island of Hawai’i, home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world. I remember trekking across the lava fields, the black rock sharp and shiny as glass, to a spot where fresh lava was flowing. The slow, viscous stream of orange, already turning black as it was exposed to air, was mesmerizing—an unfiltered experience with nature that struck me with both its beauty and danger. I remember watching the lava eventually pour off a cliff, clouds of steam rising as it hit the ocean waves. New land was forming before my eyes. It was an arresting experience, and one that eventually became a central setting for The Illuminator Rising.

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Photo credit Alina Sayre

One thing that sets this book apart from its prequels is that the crew actually splits up and travels to different islands. One of these islands was based on a family roadtrip across the American Southwest a few years ago. Though deserts are not my favorite places (excessive heat makes me cranky), there was something alien and beautiful about the rocky landscape. One of my hobbies is photography, so I really enjoyed a stop at Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Though you can see very little sky from the bottom of the narrow slot canyon (my claustrophobia was going crazy), the light still filters in and ricochets off the sandstone walls, making these crazy, amazing patterns of light and shadow that change every minute. The vivid colors and textures of that landscape formed the basis for one of the islands in The Illuminator Rising.

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Photo credit Alina Sayre

The other island was a blend of two places I’ve been. While studying abroad in college, a friend and I did a weekend adventure to southern Spain, where we saw architectural marvels like the Alhambra in Granada and the Real Alcazar in Sevilla. I loved the Moorish artistic influence, with its keyhole-shaped doorways, intricate tilework, and roofs like spun sugar. Blend that together with a trip to Istanbul, Turkey, and you get something like my other island in The Illuminator Rising. I especially fell in love with Turkish food and had tons of fun describing the banquets here! I even saw a baby tortoise half the size of my palm at an archaeological site. It was so tiny and adorable that I knew I’d have to put it in a book.

Of course, some aspects of every island in the book are purely fantasy. That’s one of the fun things about this genre! But experiences in real life definitely added color—and flavor—to the island landscapes in this book. I hope that reading the book gives you all the pleasure of taking your own travels!

 Illuminator Rising cover
Synopsis of The Illuminator Rising, Book 3 of The Voyages of the Legend:

Driven from their home island of Rhynlyr, Ellie and her friends must solve a riddle to find the survivors of the Vestigia Roi. But instead of a safe haven, they discover a hopeless band of refugees paralyzed by fear. Strengthened by new allies and new gifts, the crew of the Legend faces dangers like never before. Can they escape being shot out of the sky, falling over the Edge of the world, or being engulfed by urken armies long enough to rally the Vestigia Roi? And can they rekindle a fire from the ashes of the One Kingdom before Draaken takes over the world?

Advance praise:
“…a thrilling read…[Sayre] has a flair for being able to capture the interest of a reader and hold onto it.”
-Readers’ Favorite, 5-star review

Get your copy on Amazon today!

Alina photoAuthor bio:
Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and has been in love with words ever since. Now she gets to work with them every day as an author, educator, editor, and speaker. Her first novel, The Illuminator’s Gift, won a silver medal in the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, and all three books in The Voyages of the Legend series have received 5-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys hiking, crazy socks, and reading under blankets. She does not enjoy algebra or wasabi. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Links:
Website: www.alinasayre.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alinasayreauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlinaSayre
Amazon: amazon.com/author/alinasayre
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7469870.Alina_Sayre

Catch up on the first two books, The Illuminator’s Gift and The Illuminator’s Test on Amazon.

Interview with Middle-Grade, Fantasy Author Alina Sayre

My good friend Alina Sayre just released her second novel this month, The Illuminator’s Test. As part of her release blog tour, she’s stopping by for an interview. So please welcome her!

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Thanks so much for hosting me, Angela!

My pleasure! Let’s start off with talking about writing. What is your ideal writing space?

I’m kind of a nomadic writer. I feel like if I work in one place for too long, I use up the inspiration of that space. But I find I do a lot of my first-draft writing in comfortable places—bed, couch, backyard—and a lot of my editing at the desk in my office. When deep focus isn’t too important, I really enjoy working at coffee shops and enjoying the people-watching, the productive energy, and of course, the coffee.

Change of scenery can definitely be inspiring. How about a change of genre? Would you ever consider writing something different?

Absolutely! While my two current books are middle-grade fantasy, I read a wide variety of genres, both fiction and nonfiction, from fantasy to historical fiction to fairy tales to poetry to theology to biography to psychology. I’d rather follow the range of my ideas than get pegged into one genre. In fact, I’m percolating ideas for a nonfiction book, a book of poetry, and several historical fiction projects as we speak.

Wow, busy, busy! So with all these projects simmering, are you a plotter or pantser?

Hehe, this is the evolving question. For my first book, The Illuminator’s Gift, I was a wholehearted pantser. I had no idea where it was going, and the book was a joyful journey of exploration, but it also took me five years and four complete reworks to write. Then I took a Jami Gold workshop on using “Save the Cat” beat sheets, and it helped me see that I could create a basic outline of my major plot points without taking away all the fun and suspense of pantsing. So I tried out a very skeletal beat sheet for my second novel, The Illuminator’s Test. Things didn’t always go as planned and plenty of surprises still popped up! (My characters have a stubborn habit of insisting on their own way.) But I was able to complete the first two drafts of the book within five months. While I may never be an exhaustive plotter, I do think a little plotting has helped me waste less time on plot holes and spend more time enjoying the characters’ personalities and the twists and turns of their journey.

I’m glad the partial plotting worked out so well! I’m a big proponent of it, especially because I firmly believe plotting and surprise twists aren’t mutually exclusive. What was your favorite part of writing this book?

I really enjoyed the day when I realized I had fallen in love with a character named Kai. He’s thirteen-year-old Ellie’s bodyguard, and he wasn’t even supposed to be in this story. He’s gruff and tough on the outside, but a total softie on the inside. Somehow he elbowed his way into the book, and I absolutely fell for him. I also had a lot of fun creating the island cultures that appear in this book—especially the part where I got to sit at Starbucks across from a mood board full of pictures and attract weird looks.

I love it when stuff like that happens! Now what was your least favorite part of writing this book?

Remember what I said about writing two drafts in five months? Yeah, not the best idea ever. I set out to publish Book 2 by the end of this year, and I’m pleased to say I succeeded. But not a lot of sleeping, socializing, or generally healthy activities took place in the meanwhile. I plan to take my next book a little slower and spend more time enjoying the journey.

Well, congrats on meeting your goal. That’s a huge accomplishment. So can we get a little peek of this book?

That night, Ellie found a beautiful blue velvet dress on her bed. It had a long skirt, lace at the elbows, and sparkling white gems swirling from the bodice to the left shoulder and sleeve. Ellie gasped and reached for it, but Kai held her back. He scraped the blade of one of his daggers across the gems, then checked the stitching on the inside. Finally, he swabbed the fabric with one finger and licked it. After a moment, he waved her forward.

“It’s all right.”

Ellie grabbed the dress and held it to her, spinning around and watching the skirt twirl. She hadn’t owned such a beautiful piece of clothing since the coat Nevin Beswick had given her when she was four. Suddenly she paused.

“Kai, what were you doing? Were you…tasting the dress?’

He shrugged one shoulder. “Checking for poisoned fabric. It’s happened before. Now that you’re involved with the Council, we can’t be too careful.”

Slowly Ellie draped the blue velvet over the back of the sofa, wiping her palms on her skirt. The dress was still beautiful, but now it seemed terrifying as well.

Ooh, both delightfully charming and suspenseful!

We all have favorite books, ones we nag our friends to read, buy our loved ones as gifts, and the biggie, the books we read over and over again. What books have you read more than twice?

I love reading, but I don’t often return to the same books, as there are too many new ones I want to discover. But a few oft-read favorites include The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, a couple of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing by Soren Kierkegaard, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Do I like kidlit? Yes I do.

What is the geekiest thing about you?

I am a very, very geeky person, especially when it comes to words and books (don’t even get me started on etymology!). But in high school I spent my spare time learning to sew cloaks and speak Tolkien’s Elvish—both the Quenya and Sindarin dialects. Geeky enough for you?

Hey, we love geeky on this blog. *g* Is writing your only job?

Definitely not! I am pleased that writing is a part of my career that pulls its own weight. But, like many artists, I wear a lot of hats. Depending on the day, I also work as a private writing tutor, a freelance editor, and a speaker. I’m also a graduate student, just to keep things interesting.

Definitely sounds interesting! If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would give a lot to sit in on a meeting of the famous Inklings, including Tolkien and Lewis, two of my literary idols. I love both of their theological imaginations and the way their work blends the concerns of real life with fantastical storytelling. I also love the camaraderie the Inklings had together.

Excellent choice! Well thank you so much for hanging out with us today. You guys can pick up your illustrated copy of The Illuminator’s Test on Amazon.

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 Synopsis of The Illuminator’s Test:

As Ellie and her friends start new lives on the flying island of Rhynlyr, Ellie hopes she’s finally found a home. At the Academy, she learns to wield her gift of Sight and discovers her role in the war against Draaken. But Draaken also wants to control Ellie’s gift. With the help of a blind mentor, an elite bodyguard, and a hostile singer, Ellie must navigate a storm of danger and deception that threatens to cut her off from her friends and corrupt her very self. When disaster strikes, will she find the courage to fight for her friends and the future of the One Kingdom?

Alina photoAuthor bio:

Alina Sayre began her literary career chewing on board books and is now the author of The Voyages of the Legend, an award-winning fantasy series for readers ages 9-14. Book 1, The Illuminator’s Gift, was a silver medalist in the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards and has appeared at a number of schools and literacy events. On December 1 it was joined by Book 2, The Illuminator’s Test, now available on Amazon.com and at select bookstores! When she’s not writing, Alina enjoys photography, collecting crazy socks, and reading under blankets. When she grows up, she would like to live in a castle with a large library.

Website: www.alinasayre.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alinasayreauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlinaSayre

E-mail: alinasayreauthor@gmail.com

The Illuminator’s Gift on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Illuminators-Gift-Voyages-Legend-Book-ebook/dp/B00GYNPIAE/

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Sneak Peek ~ Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver-AngelaWallace-500x750Taryn’s world is falling apart, but despite being opposed to an arranged marriage, perhaps young Prince Fenir can find a way to win her heart…

Excerpt, Dreamweaver

Fenir lifted his gaze to hers, his blue eyes almost gold in the reflection of the burning oil. “I don’t know what to say to convince you of my sincerity. Words don’t seem to be enough, but neither do my actions.” He sighed. “Do you really find me so repulsive?”

Taryn shook her head slowly. “I do not find you repulsive. I find the whole situation abhorrent.” She let out a frustrated grunt. “Something in the dreamscape—my dreamscape—is hurting people. The dukes are at my throat to go to war with the wrong country and to marry you so you’ll give us weapons. Meanwhile, I haven’t heard from Lexa, who’s supposed to be finding a solution to this mess. She’s the only other person who understands that something else is going on, but she’s not here to help me explain it to those pompous lords!” She stopped to take a breath.

“You’re in a difficult position,” Fenir said.

“That’s an understatement.”

He crept closer until they stood shoulder to shoulder, looking out at the impenetrable night. “I wish we could have met under different circumstances, when neither of our lands wanted something from the other.”

Taryn pressed her mouth into a tight line. She wished many things could have been different.

He turned to face her, eyes alight and cheeks slightly pink. Cupping his hands together, he held them out. “I would have liked to show you a different side to me. The quiet, thoughtful stargazer.” His palms began to glow. “The man who loves poetry more than war.” Fenir began to move his hands in polar circles. Blue licks of fire spilled between his fingers as his palms brushed across each other.

Taryn stiffened, breath halting in her lungs.

Fenir continued to roll his palms against each other as the light between them pulsated stronger. “The boy who would be king.” He took one hand away, revealing a small mass of blue fire in his palm, flickering in the shape of a rose. Fenir held it out to her. Heat radiated from the fire, but more like the languid warmth of an afternoon sun than the bite of searing flames.

“It won’t burn,” he said.

Riveted, Taryn lifted her hand and inched toward the blazing petals. Her fingers twitched with the instinct to recoil, but she furrowed her brow and held them steady. With a centimeter between her skin and the flaming rose, she expected to feel and smell her skin singeing, but neither happened. Her finger brushed the edge of a petal and she jerked back automatically. Angling her hand, she noted smooth, unblemished skin. Then she reached forward and touched the rose again. The blue fire rippled like billowing silk. It was warm, almost hot, though not enough to burn.

“How are you doing this?” she whispered.

A smile tugged at his mouth. “I don’t know. How do you dreamwalk? It’s just something I can do—feel the elements, the music they make, and tune them as I would a lyre to make what I want.”

“Music?” she said dubiously.

Fenir took her hand, turning them face to face. “If I could wipe everything else away, the circumstances and the expectations, this is what I’d show you. And…” His throat bobbed as he swallowed. “I would ask you to dance again.”

~~~

Get your copy of Dreamweaver on Amazon and B&N

With her father in a coma, Princess Taryn desperately tries to hold her kingdom together against conniving dukes, soulless raiders, and people being snatched from their dreams. Not to mention the insufferable Prince Fenir still wants to marry her. But when Taryn finds herself pitted against an unearthly invader in an epic battle to save both the dreamscape and waking world, she may have to sacrifice everything she holds dear.

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*DW 3D*Dreamstealer 3D*DA 3DDreamsnatcher 3D

Get caught up on the series with DreamwalkerDreamstealerDream Assassin, and Dreamsnatcher.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and come back for more!  You can subscribe using RSSTwitterGoogle+, or Facebook. And to ensure you don’t miss any new releases, sign up for the newsletter!

NEW RELEASE ~ Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver-AngelaWallace-500x750Well, the end is here; the epic conclusion to the Dreamwalker saga is now available. I hope my readers find it a satisfying end to the series. And here’s a teaser for your enjoyment.

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Movement flitted in Taryn’s peripheral vision. Silent creeping gave the raider away and she swung her bow to the right. The loosed arrow whizzed over the back of Mathias’s horse, just past the councilman’s shoulder, and landed in the chest of her target.

Mathias jerked forward over his horse’s neck. “What the hell?” He shot her another scathing look, but then followed her gaze to the slain pirate five feet away. Even in the firelight, some of the color drained from his face.

Taryn pursed her lips. “Lexa’s a good teacher.”

“Incoming.” Tobiah swung off his horse and faced up the street where four raiders poured out of the inky darkness.

Mathias drew his sword. Taryn hoped the councilman really did know how to use it. From Lexa’s stories, she hadn’t thought very highly of the man’s skills in combat. Taryn strung another arrow and raised her arms. The raiders lumbered toward them.

A high-pitched whistle pierced her eardrums as a cannonball shot through one building, cutting across the road in front of them and imploding the building on the other side of the street. Splinters and chunks of wood whipped through the air on the crest of a wave of fire.

Storm screamed and reared. That and the force of the explosion threw Taryn to the ground. Her elbow smacked against dirt and debris pelted her body. She threw her arms up to protect her head. An intense ringing drilled a hole through her ears into her skull, dulling her senses. Taryn blinked her eyes open and saw multiple sets of hooves running away. Striking white bobbed up the street and out of sight; she hoped Storm was okay.

Taryn forced herself up. Chips of wood ran down her neck and she brushed them away. The entire street was awash with blazing orange and scarlet. Where were Mathias and Tobiah? She twisted around, frantically searching the scatter of rubble.

Movement ten feet to her left caught her eye as a hunched figure pushed a panel of wood off his back and stood. Taryn saw the blue armband near his shoulder.

“Tobiah!” She coughed as smoke and dust attempted to clog her throat and nostrils.

The man stumbled toward her. A spurt of flame in the building’s wreckage to their left illuminated his face and Taryn’s eyes widened. That wasn’t Tobiah.

Splinters stuck out of the raider’s gnarly beard. A nasty gash cut across his temple and streamed blood over one eye, but he seemed not to notice. He staggered toward her, hollow eyes gleaming an unearthly yellow in the reflection of the firelight.

Taryn scooted around on the ground. Where was her bow? She reached out a hand instinctively, expecting to summon a new weapon as she would in the dreamscape, for a moment forgetting that in the waking world, battles didn’t work that way.

~~~

Get your copy of Dreamweaver on Amazon and B&N

With her father in a coma, Princess Taryn desperately tries to hold her kingdom together against conniving dukes, soulless raiders, and people being snatched from their dreams. Not to mention the insufferable Prince Fenir still wants to marry her. But when Taryn finds herself pitted against an unearthly invader in an epic battle to save both the dreamscape and waking world, she may have to sacrifice everything she holds dear.

~

*DW 3D*Dreamstealer 3D*DA 3DDreamsnatcher 3D

Get caught up on the series with DreamwalkerDreamstealerDream Assassin, and Dreamsnatcher.

~~~

I hope you enjoyed your visit and come back for more!  You can subscribe using RSSTwitterGoogle+, or Facebook. And to ensure you don’t miss any new releases, sign up for the newsletter!

Special Feature: The Illuminator’s Gift

I have a special post today featuring my good friend Alina Sayre’s debut release, The Illuminator’s Gift. I love art, so when I found out Alina was having an illustrator hand-paint the entire book cover, I had to post it. And it’s gorgeous. Oh, the colors! But first, here are some work-in-progress teaser shots. All materials copyrighted Amalia Hillmann.

Cover 4

The cover was painted on cold press illustration board with watercolor and acrylic paints and detailed in pen and ink.

Cover 7.5 Cover 12

And finally…

Illuminator full spread

Illustration by Amalia Hillmann
www.theeclecticillustrator.com

Ellie is a twelve-year-old orphan who desperately wants a family. She just doesn’t expect to find one when she joins the crew of the Legend, a flying ship in a secret rescue fleet. On board, she meets a boy with a pet tarantula, a bully with eyes like mirrors, and a librarian who can read eighteen languages. Unexpectedly, Ellie also discovers a powerful gift that only she can wield. But when the Legend is called to a dangerous rescue mission, Ellie risks losing everyone she loves. Will her mysterious gift be enough to save her and her friends from a deadly enemy bent on destroying their world?

The Illuminator’s Gift is a Middle Grade Fantasy for Ages 9-12 and is now available on Amazon.

AlinapicConnect with Alina on her Website, Twitter, and Facebook.

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COVER REVEAL ~ Dreamweaver

Here it is, the last book in the Dreamwalker saga. This is a bittersweet moment for me as I’m sad to end the series, but I also couldn’t be happier with this story. For this cover reveal I thought I’d do something a little different by first showing you a music video of one of the “theme songs” for this book. Hopefully it captures the emotion in the cover for you as it does for me.

The epic conclusion to the Dreamwalker saga.

With her father in a coma, Princess Taryn tries to hold her kingdom together in the midst of crisis. Soulless raider ships ravage the coast, and the sleeping sickness is spreading as people are snatched from their dreams. Taryn wants to confront the mysterious evil in the dreamscape, but she’s got her hands full with problems in the waking world.

Duke Garth is trying to wrest control from her, and the insufferable Prince Fenir still wants to marry her. Yet when the prince saves her life, Taryn discovers a whole other side to the young man from the North. Could she learn to accept an arranged marriage, especially when her kingdom is desperate for help?

As Taryn wrestles with limited options, the enemy moves his final pieces into place, unleashing a horror no one could have imagined. Lexa is lost in the dreamscape, and Taryn finds herself alone, pitted against an unearthly invader. In a battle to save both the dreamscape and waking world, she may have to sacrifice everything she holds dear.

Dreamweaver-AngelaWallace-500x750

Cover design by Amber Shah at BookBeautiful.com

Add the book on Goodreads

COMING DECEMBER 2013

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