Ignited: The World of Jangbahar by A. M. Deese

The Tri-Alliance

Before the Tri-Alliance, Jangbahar was plagued by warfare. The bloodiest of these was the Border Wars, a series of battles over the borders of Kitoi and the seven kingdoms of the Sand Sea. Gregor the Great, a powerful war king used magic to seize control of the land until he was defeated by Josper the Usurper who was, at the time, simply a charismatic merchant with powerful friends. Josper and his followers infiltrated Gregor’s fortress and Josper shoved a spear through Gregor’s throat, effectively ending his reign and ushering a new era of peace. Josper went on to found the current democracy of the Republic as well as drafted the Tri-Alliance, thus ensuring peace with the nation below. With well-established borders and a firm trade policy in place, the people began to flourish.

The Tri-Alliance is still in place today and is an integral part of maintaining the peace between the Republic and Kitoi. In recent years, hostility has grown from the nation of Kitoi as they have remained stagnant in their borders while the Republic has been able to expand and widen their territories increasingly until it hit the wilds. The Tri-Alliance does not forbid peaceful expansion but Kitoi is pinned under the border of the Republic and the nomadic warriors in Shrivo would never allow for a “peaceful expansion.” The Tri-Alliance also forbids individual unregulated trade between the citizens of the Republic and any other nation. In order to purchase exported goods, citizens must use third party vendors approved by the Thirteen, although any kind of contraband can be found in the underground market. The Sea People have the least to gain through trade, their primary imports being livestock and glass. Their constant supply of fresh water and fish make the Sea People invaluable to the success of the Republic.

In recent years hostilities have grown as the Republic has continued to thrive under the Tri-Alliance and Kitio’s government has called for an amendment session and resigning of the alliance with a reassessment of Kitoi’s borders.

The She-Wolf of Kanta: Kyra McFarland

Meet the audiobook narrator behind Marlena Frank‘s upcoming novella The She-Wolf of Kanta!

BIO: Originally from the Midwest, Kyra McFarland has trained and worked across America and London. Some of her favorite theatre credits include Gilda Radner in Bunny, Bunny, Prince Charming in Gadzooks! Cinderella (in the style of British Pantomimes), and Olivia in Twelfth Night. Her voice work includes video games, cartoons, and, of course, audio books, though her favorite is her college thesis I’m Just Talking to Hear the Sound of My Own Voices. She currently calls Chicago home where she lives with her partner, Ethan, and cat, Aldonza. To hear more, visit www.kyramcfarland.com.

Spotlight: Justine Laismith

Introducing Justine Laismith who has recently signed her middle grade fantasy novel set in modern day rural China called Secrets of the Great Fire Tree with RCPIt is slated for release in November of 2018 under the imprint RadiantKids. Get to know Justine Laismith as an author.



1. First, tell us a little about yourself. When did you want to become an author? What inspires you to do what you do? Who are you?

I first wanted to be a writer when I was seven. However, I never did well in English Language or Literature at school. This discouraged me. When it came to choosing subjects, my teacher expected me to take the Arts subjects, because “girls are better at them, while boys are better at Math and Science.” So I chose the Science options to prove a point. Nevertheless, I wrote poems and stories as and when they came to me, but these were for my eyes only. On rare occasions I shared them with a couple of close friends.

A few years later, a local boy, not many years older than me, made me cry. Afterwards, I knew I wanted to be like him. He made me cry with words on a page. Over the years, even though I pursued a Science career, the enjoyment of turning blank pages to words never left me. I channeled this into my work and wrote scientific papers on my research. After some years, I took a career break. With a break from science, the logical side of my brain took a back seat and let the creative side of my brain dominate. I started writing fiction again.

My writing inspiration comes from what I see around me, with a simple “What if?”. Then I try and answer that question.

2. What are some quirky and or unique aspects about you and your writing?

I grew up in Singapore, a country proud of its multicultural identity. This exposed me to a plethora of languages and Chinese dialects. While I call myself bilingual, I can understand, to varying degrees, Cantonese, Hokkien, Malay, French and Japanese. I am also part-Paranakan, which is a unique blend of two cultures: ethnic Chinese people who speak and practice Malay customs. When I wrote Secrets of the Great Fire Tree, I have subtly incorporated all these diversities.

3. RCP “was founded in 2016 to showcase quality fiction, diverse stories, and unexpected protagonists.” What does that mean to you?

I grew up reading books like Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers and Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. These took me to a world I never knew. I also read poorly English-translated books of Chinese stories, books highly rated in their original language but clearly lost in translation. For an English-speaking Chinese girl living in tiny Singapore in the Far-East, these reading experiences sent the message that good English books are only made up of authors and characters from traditionally Western culture. If I wanted to read books in English, I had to settle for stories I could not directly relate to. In other words, I had to read them as an outsider. At this point, I lost interest in reading.

Over the decades, globalization and immigration has resulted in several third-culture kids, never truly knowing their roots, nor knowing their mother-tongue at the same level as a native. By showcasing the stories and voices of protagonists from your conventional western worlds, RCP is filling a gap for readers seeking identifiable characters. At the same time, diverse writers can tell a story that, although is in a setting familiar to them, is not the traditional western backdrop. With good narration and an intriguing plot, they will take their readers along. In doing so, they open the readers’ eyes and break down the cultural and language barrier.

4.What do you think makes a great middle grade fantasy? How do you think your piece Secrets of the Great Fire Tree fits into or varies from that description?

I like stories that take me to a different world, but with links to our own world to make it relatable. This is why Secrets of the Great Fire Tree is set in modern day China. I decided to use superstition as a gateway to fantasy because they are deeply-rooted in many traditions. Pushing these boundaries allow me to be creative with something we practice out of habit; never questioning but no longer fearing the consequences. However, Secrets of the Great Fire Tree deviates from middle-grade fantasy because it is also, in part, a realistic fiction. Left-behind children is a reality in China, the flip-side of economic growth in the cities.

5. How has writing affected your outlook on things? Has it made you take chances or see things in a different light?

I now pay a lot of attention to my surroundings and how it makes me feel. Then I challenge myself to describe it in words. When I watch a movie or show, I don’t just take a seat and enjoy the ride. I think about what makes me root for the characters, or hate them. I also analyze how and why two personalities who started off with nothing in common come together as the story develops.

6. What are you most excited to share when it comes to Secrets of the Great Fire Tree? Ex). The world, the characters, a specific scene?

I am most excited about sharing the rural life in China. As I mentioned earlier, I see myself as a third-culture kid, who never really knew her roots. When writing this book, I carried out a lot of research and even traveled to China. China holds a quarter of the world’s population and consists of over 50 ethnic minorities. Naturally, I cannot tell everything in one story, but I hope I managed to give a flavor of this fascinating culture.

7. Finally, do you have any advice and or tips for aspiring writers out there, especially women and those writing middle grade fiction?

Writing is a journey. Enjoy it. Turning a blank page into words that tell a story is special, because you’ve created something new. Once I was told by a consultant that women don’t give themselves enough credit for their achievements. So this is especially for women writers: don’t be daunted by the fear that no one will like your work. Write what is in your heart. That passion will come out in your story and someone, somewhere out there will love it and feel glad that you wrote it.

The World of Jangbahar: The Tri-Waters

The Bariq Sea

The Bariq Sea stretches along the southern borders of the continent and is most noted for its large, natural port that gives access to Kitoi’s and the Republic’s only seaside markets. The sparkling sea has naturally calm waters and shallow depths less than 4,000 feet.



The Orreram Ocean

Harsh coral and rock face deny any ship access to its southern borders and few citizens wish to venture beyond the border of the sea and into the Orreram Ocean, the territory of the Sea King. Due to the Tri-Alliance, trade between the people of the Is’Le’ Spar Islands ensures the people of Kitoi and the Republic have steady access to the plentiful fish found in the Orreram Ocean. The ocean stretches along the western coast of Jangbahar and beyond, boasting depths nearly 40,000 feet. The people of the Is’Le’Spar Islands provide a vast variety of fish and there are whispered rumors of other much larger more dangerous creatures that make the ocean their home.




The Ese Ed Ocean

On the eastern side of Jangbahar, another vast ocean meets the jagged coastline inaccessible to any ship. Little is known of the Ese Ed Ocean and the sea peoples do not speak of it during trade so its depths and creatures remain unknown, although there are several varieties of shark meat offered through trade from Shrivo. The gray churning waters of the Ese Ed and harsh cliff side waves give the ocean a dark reputation that is undampened by its howling winds.