A lot of research went into writing the first Snow Globe Travelers book and, as a homeschool mom, I wanted to share some of that research in a way that was accessible to kids. So, today, I’m excited to celebrate the release of the activity book companion to the first story!
Venture deeper into the world of the Snow Globe Travelers. Learn about the wonders of Vienna, snow globe traveling, and Elohi through puzzles, hands-on projects, fun facts, coloring pages, and more. A STEM activity book companion for “Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy.”
Puzzles: Word search, crossword, maze, seek and find, word forming, find the differences, and counting faces
Projects: Making butter and constructing a snow globe
Story Connections: Follow Sarah’s footsteps in the story on a map of Vienna, learn how the snow globe devices work, and read about the districts of Elohi
Non-fiction Topics: Facts about Austria, geography, history of snow globes, quantum entanglement and wormholes
Extended Learning Topics Provided: Quantum entanglement, Cobra Lilies, Original Vienna Snowglobe company, Cafe Neko Wein Cats
About Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy
A mysterious snow globe shop. A multiverse at war. And a girl searching for her father.
In the heart of Vienna, twelve-year-old Sarah Ann Reisende wanders into a mysterious shop where snow globes double as portals to other worlds. After breaking the globe tethered to Earth, she discovers a cryptic note scribbled on the back of a photograph. The note links her father, who left before her third birthday, to a place called Elohi. Could this be a chance to find her father at last?
Unable to return home, Sarah follows the lead into the world of Elohi. But an army of vicious hybrids led by a genetically engineered warrior named Malvine now rules the once peaceful planet, and she becomes a target as Malvine wants to use the shop’s connections to wage war.
Can Sarah uncover the truth behind her father leaving and find a way home before Malvine gains control of the shop?
Samuel’s Legacy is the first book in the Snow Globe Travelers series, a middle-grade science fiction adventure series.
K.A.: Welcome, J.F.! Thanks for stopping by. I’m eager to learn about the world of Astray. Before we dive in, tell us a bit about this first book in your Ariboslia Christian fantasy series for teens.
J.F.: A mysterious amulet leads Fallon to everything she’s ever wanted…and possibly her death.
After a lifetime with no knowledge of her parents, troubled seventeen-year-old Fallon Webb receives a necklace once belonging to her mother. The amulet leads her on a life-changing journey through a portal to a foreign land where she encounters unusual creatures, shape-shifters, and something she’s always longed for—family.
In Ariboslia, Fallon learns her mother is alive. Vampire-like creatures have her, and many others, captive. Most distressing is the prophecy that devastated her family. Can she trust it? Because if it’s right, Fallon must destroy the vampires’ leader—her uncle—to rescue her mother and free her people from the threat.
Unprepared and afraid, Fallon sets out on the journey, with no skills to assist her quest and no other way home. In her travels, she learns about the One True God and how desperately she needs Him. Perhaps, with His help, she’ll find a way to fulfill her destiny and stay alive.
J.F.: If you enjoy visiting alternate worlds that feature fast-paced adventure, supernatural creatures, compelling characters, and exciting plot twists, come to Ariboslia.
K.A.: What an exciting story line. Vampires, prophesies, and alternate worlds all intertwined with family conflict and a journey of faith. Just reading it got my pulse racing.
What other creatures can we expect to find in Ariboslia?
J.F.: Ariboslia is another realm that exists alongside ours. The original inhabitants, the pech, are small dwarf-like creatures. They create megaliths and amulets that allow for travel between the realms: Ariboslia and ours. Shapeshifters existed in our realm long ago, but the humans began to revere them as gods. The One True God became jealous and transplanted them to Ariboslia and memories of shapeshifters in our realm faded, eventually becoming myth. Unfortunately, the new inhabitants in Ariboslia drove the pech underground.
K.A.: What does Ariboslia look like? Is it very different from Earth?
J.F.: Since Ariboslia takes up the same space as Earth, the sky is the same and there are many similar landscapes: oceans, lakes, mountains, etc. Many of the animals and food are similar. But there are things that don’t exist here such as living grass that retreats so it won’t be stepped on, flying toads, fur dragons, and—of course—the pech and shapeshifters (gachen and selkie).
K.A.: You mentioned the original inhabitants, the pech, were driven underground. In the history of this alternate realm, how did their downfall come about?
J.F.: At one point, the clans were all united as believers in the One True God. When some clans started worshipping false gods, war ensued. Two women, hoping to save their husbands, resurrected Morrigan—the Battle Crow. But she wasn’t fully resurrected. She was undead. The first fasgadair (vampire). When the main character, seventeen-year-old Fallon arrives in Ariboslia, their realm is becoming overrun with vampires.
K.A.: This world has a lot of past, present, and, I’m betting, future conflict. So what inspired it all?
J.F.: Ariboslia was sparked by the song, “Silent Lucidity” by Queensryche. Because of the song, I originally envisioned Ariboslia as a dream world Fallon visited while her body was asleep here. But every time I’d try to write, the story fell flat. When I finally submitted to the One True God personally, the book practically wrote itself and became a very different story.
K.A.: That’s such a great song. Sounds like writing this story was it’s own journey. Tell us about some of the research that influenced your story world.
J.F.: I researched some Gaelic and Celtic myths. The gachen are very loosely based on the Sídhee (shee). Morrigan is a well-known mythical character who has appeared in many different stories including Authurian legends. She’s had many names such as Morrigan, Morrigu, Morrigana, Morgan, the Battle Crow, the Battle Queen, the Phantom Queen, etc. The selkie come straight from Gaelic myth. But, as with everything, I like to shake things up.
And if you scroll down the homepage of J.F. Rogers‘ website, you’ll find details on how to snag a free copy of an Ariboslia short story called The Redeemed.
K.A.: J.F., it was great to have you here. And thanks again for the guided tour into the world of Astray!
About J.F. Rogers
J.F. Rogers lives in Southern Maine with her husband and daughter. She has a B.S. in Behavioral Science and teaches a 5th-6th grade Sunday School class. If she’s not visiting Ariboslia, you can find her buried in snow or kayaking, depending on the time of year. Or at church. She enjoys reading, watching television, going to concerts, drinking coffee, and gabbing. But most of all, she’s a believer in the One True God and can say with certainty—you are loved. Connect with her at jfrogers.com.
K.A.: Ralene, welcome! Thanks for stopping by to give us a tour of the world featured in Armor of Aletheia. Tell us about the story that takes place there.
Ralene: Armor of Aletheia is a YA fantasy that can be enjoyed by all audiences, but it is targeted at people striving to find their place in this world, their calling.
Ralene: The death of her king changes Karina’s life forever. Fleeing the royal house, she must leave her life behind to seek out the Armor of the Creator—to save the very people who now hunt her.
Faramos, the evil warlock waiting to unleash hell, knows the Creator has already chosen his warrior, so he sends his bounty hunter to retrieve her. After Tristan abducts her, he witnesses Karina’s gentle nature and strong independence, and he finds he can’t complete his assignment.
Together, they set out to retrieve the armor and defeat the hordes of creatures sent to destroy them. But is Tristan’s heart secure as he faces certain death for defending the queen? And will Karina have the courage to become all the Creator intends her to be? Failure will condemn the world to eternal darkness.
K.A.: Karina’s got an intense battle ahead of her—saving those hunting her and fighting to keep the world from eternal darkness. What’s her world like? Hopefully, the weather’s at least nice.
Ralene: The Sacred Armor trilogy takes place on an island world of the Three Kingdoms: Aletheia, Soter, and Tzedek. The first book takes place (mostly) in Aletheia, a snowy kingdom where warmth is found in the heart because it’s definitely not outside!
Ralene: The Western Mountains take up about a third of the kingdom with their almost uninhabitable mountains which are too steep and rocky. To the east, you find Shadowed Forest, the only place you’ll find any green in Aletheia—but that’s only in the spring/summer. Along the southern edge of the mountains, the Barrens—a desert-like tundra stretches across the kingdom.
In the center of the kingdom is a large lake that is iced over year-round, called the Ice Plains. The capital city of Calliope rests between the Western Mountains and the Ice Plains, with snow-covered roads leading to the Northern Sea and Shadowed Forest.
Ralene: The people of Aletheia are a kind people, always on the lookout for their neighbors, having taken the cue from their noble king. While there are still classes that separate the nobles from the peasants, the differences are not felt as deeply as in the other kingdoms. The king, his family, and the nobles go out of their way to make life better in the kingdom, just as the Creator has asked of them.
K.A.: Sounds like peaceful place to live. In terms of history and day-to-day living, how does Aletheia compare to our world?
Ralene: Aletheia is a medieval fantasy, and much of the world is set similar to our medieval times. The main character, Karina, is a healer, and you see her working with herbs and using traditional medical supplies from the time period. The capital city is set up like some of the traditional smaller cities as well.
Of course, the world has none of our actual history. And there are fantastical creatures, magic, and the physical manifestations of the Armor of God in this world!
K.A.: Tell us more about these fantastic creatures.
Ralene: While you’ll find some traditional creatures like dragons in Aletheia, I’ve created some unique fantasy creatures for this world. Lupens resemble muscular werewolves but do not change or anything like that. Aqlaqs are giant albino ferrets that live underground and have a special taste for human flesh.
There is a race of elves in this book, but they only live on one island, off the cost of Tzedek. They are trained and chosen to be Guardians throughout the world. Guardians are charged with caring for a specific area of land. For instance, in Aletheia, you meet 3 guardians: Rashka, Guardian of Shadowed Forest; Asharan, Guardian of the Northern Plains of Tzedek; and Brusho, former Guardian of the Barrens.
K.A.: Flesh-eating ferrets and intense, high-stakes conflicts…what inspired you to write this story? Where did the idea for Aletheia come from?
Ralene: Like the story itself, the world came to me during a prayer. I wanted to write a story centered around a snowy-white kingdom (I love winter!—well, most of the time.) where I could showcase the beauty and the warmth of curling up with a good book. I love looking at photos of snow-covered mountains and—well, snow-covered anything. LOL. I also like seeing evidence of spring pushing its way through the snow.
K.A.: I love snow too. It’s one of the things I miss about living in Minnesota. What influences and research went into building your story world?
Ralene: I remember reading a few other fantasy books to see how they handled winter seasons or winter-like realms. I also spent time researching medieval life during the winter, but also just in general. I know I had to find out what kind of medical supplies they used!
Most of my research was done on the fly. I tend to research only when I run into something I don’t already know. Hmmm…Karina needs to stitch up this soldier, what kind of thread would she use? Time to Google! (Note: It’s not usually thread.)
K.A.: Google’s an incredible resource, especially when it’s a topic that can’t be drawn from personal experience—like medieval life during winter!
K.A.: Armor of Aletheia is available on Amazon in both ebook and print.
Ralene: Thank you for letting me hang out today. Have a great weekend!
K.A.: The pleasure was all mine, Ralene. It was good to have you here. And thank you for giving us an inside look into the Armor of Aletheia!
About Ralene Burke
Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a social media wand, or a freelance editor’s sword, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone #SHINEBeyond their circumstances! Her novels, Bellanok and Armor of Aletheia, are available on Amazon. More fantasy novels coming soon!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all-around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . . You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or at her website.
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