Thank you, Vanna, for inviting me to be your guest today. I know you and your readers love mythical lands. My writing world has many magical settings. Here’s a glimpse of a few:

The Magical Worlds of the Enchanted Bookstore Legends

by Marsha A. Moore

While writing my epic fantasy romance, Enchanted Bookstore Legends, I particularly enjoyed spending time in some very exotic and unusual magical settings.

When my heroine, Adalyra McCauley opens an enchanted book she confronts a series of quests where she is expected to save Dragonspeir from destruction by the evil Black Dragon. In my latest release, Lost Volumes, the third book of the series, Lyra learns residents of Dragonspeir’s Alliance are suffering with a deadly plague at the hand s of the Black Dragon. She doesn’t heed the warnings of her fiancé, wizard Cullen Drake, to remain safe in her human world. After all, she’s the present Scribe—one of five strong women in her ancestry who possessed unique magic, each destined to protect the Alliance against the evil Black Dragon of the Dark Realm. With Cullen dependent upon Alliance power to maintain his immortality, the stakes are doubled for Lyra.

She puts herself at risk for the community afflicted by black magic. To find a cure, she and Cullen travel into the vile, lawless underworld of Terza to strike a bargain with an expert. Their efforts further enrage the Black Dragon, vowing to decimate the Alliance and avenge the murder of his heir.

In order to overpower his efforts, Lyra must secure the three lost volumes of the Book of Dragonspeir. Written by the three earliest Scribes, each book contains energy. Possession of the entire set will enable overthrow of the Dark Realm. Following clues into dangerous lands, Lyra and Cullen seek those volumes. His assistants, Kenzo the tiger owl and Noba the pseudodragon, prove invaluable aids. Only if they succeed, will the Alliance be safe and Lyra reach closer to the immortality she needs to live a life with Cullen.

One of those dangerous places lies underneath Dragonspeir, the world of Terza The underground land is a vile, lawless place where seedy characters survive on shrewd tricks and trades. Here is a sample of what Lyra sees as she first encounters the residents of Terza:

The figure appeared more human than beast. Simple gray trousers and a tunic of coarse fabric covered the man’s thickly muscled frame. He stood only about four feet tall with a stooped posture. A brown felt hat with a crushed peak sat between his oversized, pointed ears. A wide nose and far-set eyes sat prominent on his flat face. Staring first at Lyra and then Cullen, the man’s coal-black eyes set against an ashen complexion reminded her of the sickly white color of the rats they met earlier.

“Hello,” Lyra said, unable to withstand the stare-down.

Cullen bowed his head. “We’re here seeking advice about your magic. Can you direct us to someone who is an expert?”

The corners of the man’s mouth spread across his wide face, but didn’t lift into a grin. “Go that way. Ask for Goibben.” With stumpy fingers, he pointed to the left tunnel, the way he came. After yanking his hat lower on his brow, he set off to the right, his heavy leather boots thumping against the rocky path.

Lyra and Cullen cautiously turned as directed. She peered over her shoulder to see the man also glancing back at her, grinning ear to ear and cackling to himself. After he turned away, her mouth dropped open. The lights in the stone wall revealed a rat-like pink tail extending from the seat of his pants. She grabbed Cullen’s arm and turned him around. “Look!” she whispered.

“Strange,” he murmured. “Let’s keep going. Stay close.”

The pair walked several minutes more, pausing at intersections to determine which path seemed to be the main corridor. The dripping and clawing noises persisted, setting Lyra’s nerves on edge as she strained to listen for approaching danger.

Finally, they reached a large intersection where many tunnels joined. A cloud of smoke hung in the air, filtering light from windows of dwellings and shops dug out of the stone walls. Streetlights of cast metal held curved arms high above them. White smoke frosted their glass globes. A pungent odor of burning herbs, sharp like sage, stung Lyra’s nose and throat.

Dozens of men and women gathered in small conversation groups outside of storefront doorways. The businesses bore plaques with odd-sounding names: Seth’s Strategems; Fang Sharpener Extraordinaire; Lizard Libations; Billias Black, Gambit Broker. Some of the folk were stocky rat-people, like the man they met, with wide pale faces and tails. Others stood a head taller and leaner, almost skeletal, but equally pallid with blue veins visible beneath their thin skin. The men wore faded wash-pants and tunics. Most women appeared equally shabby, but in skirts, their hair bound with long scarves.

One thin man stepped out from a group, his sunken eyes surveying Cullen and Lyra. “You two be strangers here. You be at the edge of Terza. Lost?” A jute rope gathered his pants around his narrow waist, and their too-short length exposed bony ankles above his thick-soled boots. By the fit, they must have been hand-me-downs, originally fashioned for a rat-person.

One of the most enchanting places within Dragonspeir is one of the few neutral places—the misty forest of Silva Caliga, governed by neither the Alliance nor the Dark Realm. It’s a world ruled by trees and the spirit creatures that inhabit them. Lyra first travels to this forest while on her bloodswear quest in Heritage Avenged (book two). From a distance, it calls to her. She hears soft music, barely audible, a haunting tune with a harp accompanying a woman’s angelic soprano. Tiny lights flash momentarily, then faded back into the fog. Even during a storm with fierce winds, a mist continually hangs over the forest. Lyra gains valuable knowledge from the Lady of the Forest, Ysmena, and her tiny tree spirits. In my latest release, Lost Volumes, Lyra returns with Cullen, joining those small folk in their spring equinox celebration.

Everywhere, white lights blinked from bends in branches, rested on knobs of roots, and swung on subtle twigs. Ahead in the center of a large glade, Ysmena’s lantern, hanging from the hook of her staff, glowed like a beacon cutting through the mist. Thousands of butterflies flitted around her light, in and out among the low-hanging branches.

The colorful insects were gay and harmless, but reminded Lyra of the black one that followed her in Aunt Jean’s garden before she left. She shivered at the thought of being watched.

Tree spirits, little more than a foot tall, chased after the butterflies. Dressed up for the festival, the tiny circutamina female folk wore dove-colored gowns, and the males wore leggings underneath flowing tunics. Billowing fabric and long white hair swept behind them as they skipped and danced to the lively song. Those who noticed the travelers whispered and cheered in high squeaky voices.

Some had formed a group of musicians. Several blew on pan pipes of various lengths, while two featured players plucked ornately carved harps.

Steaming tureens, heaped platters, and large jugs sat on crude tables formed from slate slabs.

In the center, stood two stately trees. Although trees on the perimeter swayed branches in time to the tunes, that pair remained rigid, slowly rotating in place.

While at that party, Lyra and Cullen discover a clue that takes them into another amazing land in search of one of the lost volumes—the sky world of Aria. Here’s a sample of Lyra’s first encounter with that world:

As moving nebulous wisps cleared, a short, low boat became visible, gliding toward them. Only one person appeared to be on board, a tall broad-shouldered form.

“Kenzo! Noba! Come here now!” Cullen called as he attempted to stand, keeping his knees bent to help his balance on the springy ground of the sky world.

“You’d be better off riding than walking on that pother. Some places you’ll sink down far—very dangerous,” the man on the boat called ahead. “Welcome to Aria.” As he pulled in front of them, his face lit with a bright white smile. Using a golden rope, he fastened the boat to a fluffy knob of cloud material.

Lyra, Cullen, and his assistants have many wonderful and dangerous adventures in these lands as they attempt to find the missing books. Find out more in Lost Volumes: Enchanted Bookstore Legend Three.

Enchanted Bookstore Legend Series by Marsha Moore

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