Readers’ Favorite awards Five Star Review to Sentinals Rising.

FIve Star review from Reader’s Favorite

Readers’ Favorite recognizes “Sentinals Rising” by Helen Garraway with a Five Star Review

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite

Sentinals Rising by Helen Garraway is the high fantasy sequel in the Epic Fantasy Sentinal Series, preceded by book one, Sentinals Awaken. This installment continues to follow its protagonist, Jerrol Haven of Remargaren, as he identifies an engraving of a Sentinal Tree that happens to be a catalyst for a prophetic vision, one which puts him firmly in the role of Lady’s Captain. Three thousand years prior, the Ascendants fought to enslave Remargaren, and are determined to do so once more by employing the mind-control magic of Mentiserium, piercing the protective veil, and seizing control to topple those who have long fiercely secured it. Jerrol will risk life and limb to shatter the hold of the Mentiserium spell and to save Remargaren once and for all.

There is a moment near the midway point of Sentinals Rising that feels even more prophetic than a vision: “Captain Haven and his guards will ensure our safety.” Yeah. That is the understatement of three millennia. I’m not going to beat around the cauterized fingers too much here and will just come right out and say that Helen Garraway is a wildly gifted writer. There are multiple points of view that define each of the characters we meet and each stands comfortably independent of the other. The action is ripe and the tension is enough to keep a reader furiously turning pages without the usual pitfalls of taking it too far. Even fantasy and magic have their limits when it comes to suspension of disbelief and the mark of a seasoned, skilled author is knowing when to say ‘uncle.’ The visuals and dialogue are all spectacular and the frailty of good when being pushed by evil is executed well. Overall, this is a book and a series that is likely to be adored by all fortunate enough to read it. Very highly recommended.

You can read the five star review for Sentinals Rising at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/sentinals-rising where you can also read reviews and the author’s biography, as well as connect with the author directly or through their website and social media pages.

Book Two of the Sentinal Series

Books in the Sentinals Series:

Novella o.5: Sentinals Stirring (Free if you sign up to my newsletter.)

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Novella 1.5: Sentinals Discovery – Available for FREE as part of the Creatures of Magic and Myth Anthology

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice

Novella 3.5: Sentinals Recovery

Book Four: Sentinals Across Time

Book Five: Spring 2023

Realm of Darkness: 3-Month Countdown Blitz and giveaway.

When darkness falls, beware of the creatures that come out to play…

There are only THREE months remaining to preorder your copy of the limited edition Realm of Darkness boxset. The authors of Realm of Darkness have come together to offer this three amazing bookish boxes. In these boxes, you’ll receive $120-worth of books and bookish swag. Details & entry options below.

What you’ll get for your 99¢ in Realm of Darkness

All these fantasy, romantic fantasy, fantasy romance, or paranormal romance novels…

And more… more than 40 full-length novels in total. The authors in this set are hosting a giveaway with focus on Apple and B&N sales. Freebie options for entry too when you help the team spread the word.

Preorder on iBooks here: Apple Books Store

Preorder on Barnes Noble here: Nook Store

Other stores: https://books2read.com/hellodarkness

Here’s how to enter…

Realm of Darkness Book Box Giveaway



And don’t forget…

If you love fantasy then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and find out when my next books are published.

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Sentinals Discovery now exclusively available as part of a free anthology.

A novella set in the world of Remargaren.

It’s finally here! A free- yes FREE fantasy anthology with 12 novellas/short stories. Available for a limited time!!

If you loved Sentinals Awaken, or haven’t read it yet but would like to try a sample! then Sentinals Discovery is the first few chapters of Sentinals Awaken from the Sentinal, Birlerion’s, POV, when he is woken after three thousand years, and you get 11 other fantasy stories as well for free!

“Within this short story Helen paves the way for the beautiful epic Fantasy…that will transport you to another time, another world, where you will re-live everything that takes place and I cannot praise these books enough.”

5* Amazon review for Sentinals Discovery.

Creatures of Magic and Myth

A tantalizing taste of this summers most anticipated fantasy collection. This carefully curated collection of novels, novellas and short stories has everything you could want:

  • Magic and wonder
  • Drama and intrigue
  • Fantastic creatures
  • Myths and legends …and so much more!

Featuring stories from USA Today, International and award winning bestselling authors. Creatures of Magic and Myth will entrap your senses in a magical realm of impossibilities. From Dragon Realm press this Limited edition anthology will amaze!

Grab your FREE copy now!!!

FREE Anthology



And don’t forget…

If you loved Sentinals Discovery then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and find out when my next books are published.

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The Book Dragon bookshop now stocking the Sentinal series.

I am so pleased to announce that a brand new bookshop for books published by Independent or self-published authors like myself is opening on July 4th, 2022 and will be stocking all the published books in my epic fantasy Sentinal series.

The Book Dragon book shop is located in Teeside, in the UK, and will have physical paperback copies in store and on their brand new ecommerce platform.

Treat yourself and go and peruse the shelves of books from amazing independent authors, from all genres of fiction, to non fiction, to poetry. And let your kids embrace the wonders of reading in the kids section. Isn’t the dragon mural gorgeous?

FInd out more about the launch activities on July 4th at www.thebookdragon.co.uk

SHOP ADDRESS: 6 West Row, Stockton on Tees, TS18 1BT, United Kingdom


And don’t forget…

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and find out when my next books are published.

Author Interview – ES Fein

Author of A Dream of Waking Life.

Join me as I chat with ES Fein about his psychological thriller which released on May 6, 2022. Interested in lucid dreaming and existential discussions? Then check out his podcast.

Helen: Welcome Eric. I am so happy to be speaking to you today about your new book. It sounds so cool, and definitely a little mind bending!

Eric: A Dream of Waking Life is a philosophical, psychological thriller that tells the story of one man’s journey through space, time, and mind to not only discover his true identity but also the love of his life—a woman who keeps slipping through his fingers and into another reality. A thought-provoking meditation on the thin line between what is real and what is not, A Dream of Waking Life will leave readers questioning how far they would go to understand the nature of their own existence and how much they would sacrifice for love. 

Helen: Oh, that sounds deep and very intriguing. As is your cover. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Eric: The cover represents the three predominant dreams/worlds/realities (part of the grand mystery of the story is the uncertainty of what is real) that the protagonist is stuck in. I wanted the cover to appear as if these realities are blending into one another. The two figures standing and looking at the large tower, called “The Tower of God” in the story, are the main characters. You will also notice a small figure in the sky watching over them. I won’t say who that is. You’ll have to read the story to find out!

Helen: It is an interesting cover, you want to flip it around and inspect the alternate view to see what is different, because it is not a true reflection. What made you write such a complex and thought provoking book?

Eric: I wrote this book as a reflection on my lifelong experiences with lucid dreaming, existential confusion, bipolarism, thousands of psychonautical trips using DMT and other potent psychedelics, and the most important thing in existence: love.

Helen: I’ve never even heard of lucid dreaming, so colour me interested. I’m definitely going to be checking that out, when I find the time lol! I’m knee-deep in editing at the moment and my deadline is looming. You have some great reviews for your book already, and ‘unputdownable’ is the clear message. What genre does this book fit into?

Eric: I predominantly read and write scifi. A Dream of Waking Life isn’t pure scifi, but it definitely fits into the category. I love scifi stories because they are constantly forcing readers to wonder about reality and ask the big questions of existence: Who are we? Why are we here? What’s the purpose of reality? What the heck is going on?

Helen: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, it is such an achievement. What made you first put pen to paper and write a book?

Eric: I’ve been writing and telling stories for as long as I can remember. I remember in preschool, I used to have kids laughing and jumping in excitement as I made up wild and zany stories about what I had gone through on my way to school. The other kids called it “Eric story time,” and it felt as natural as breathing to me.

Helen: When writing do you prefer silence? or do you surround yourself with music?

Eric: Always! I listen to jazzhop or lofi hip hop when I write.

Helen: Is there anything random you would like share about yourself?

Eric: I was born without a right pectoral muscle. It used to cause incredible depression and self-hatred, even leading me to attempt suicide several times when I was young. Now, at 33, I see it as a blessing that has taught me how to accept imperfection and find beauty in all forms.

Helen: I am so sorry to hear you had to deal with such issues, but really happy that you found your way out and have embraced who you are and can appreciate all that is around you, and that you channelled your emotions and creativity into writing. What is the most useful piece of advice you have found about writing?

Eric: The author, Robert Heinlein, said in a book of writing tips something along the lines of: “Throw it all up! The only way to write is to throw up everything until it’s a complete mess. Once it’s all out, then you can go back and sift through the barf to find the actual story you’re looking for.”

Helen: Thank you Eric, for spending time with me today, I’ve loved chatting with you. Just to close out, is there any advice you would like to share with any aspiring writers?

Eric: Don’t expect to succeed in the traditional sense. If you aren’t writing because you enjoy writing, this will almost undeniably be a heart-breaking experience for you.

About the Author:

Reader, author, and purveyor of top-shelf science fiction, speculative fiction, and fantasy. My favorite subjects to read and write about include transhumanism, esotericism, cosmological ontology, existential ontology, Eastern philosophy, hard sci Fi, soft sci Fi, time travel, space exploration, psychological exploration, pansexualism, religion, mythology, space opera, experimentation with entheogens, and more. I like strange characters dealing with strange situations. Check out some free short stories on my site: Officialesfein.com

For all the latest news:

You can preorder A Dream of Waking Life from Amazon:

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and keep up with progress on my next books are published.

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Author Interview – Edith Pawlicki

Author of Trials of Fire and Rebirth

Today I am chatting with epic fantasy author, Edith Pawlicki, about her new novel Trials of Fire and Rebirth, which is a standalone novel in her Immortal Beings world and released, June 14th, 2022.

Helen: Welcome Edith! Congratulations on the release of your new book! I’m so excited to be chatting to a fellow epic fantasy author. Tell us a little about your latest book.

Edith: Trials of Fire and Rebirth is a standalone in my Immortal Beings world. The whole series is epic fantasy, but this book is much more intimate than the first two – it focuses on the complicated histories of an young immortal who cannot remember her past and a powerful god who is ashamed of his. Of course, their mysteries and regrets are tied together, and both come to the fore as they deal with a very unpleasant mortal cult.

Helen: I love your cover, the imagery is very clever, especially the person within the butterfly. But you have chosen to have two covers haven’t you?

Edith: The Kindle cover reflects book’s magic, which is based on color. Karana, the God of Destruction, has red and white magic, and An Ning, the Peace Bringer has black magic. Butterflies are tied to redemption and rebirth in my mind, and when I saw this premade art with the butterfly and the person inside, I thought it matched the themes of the book and the interior motif. I edited it to be red and black and added the white smoke, hopefully evoking fire!

The physical book cover shows Karana, the God of Destruction, and An Ning, the Peace Bringer, with one of their pet Bulgae (aka a firedog). The series marker is actually a red ink stamp, the material is scanned and color-edited rice paper, and washi origami paper is behind the artwork. This is a character-driven epic fantasy – thus the artwork – and a pan-Asia influenced world, so I tried to echo the style of antique Chinese epics.

Helen: Both covers are lovely! How did you come up with the title?

Edith: All the titles in the Immortal Beings series follow the — of — and —- format, to tie them together. For this book, the God of Destruction is dealing with fire, the Peace Bringer is dealing with rebirth, and both of them go through some really wretched situations – trials! – together.

Helen: What inspired you to write this book?

Edith: Recent world events had led me to ponder objective versus subjective truth, and I realized that since the magic of the Immortal Beings is shaped by belief, it would be a great way to explore the way they interact and influence each other. There’s a temptation to assume everything is either true or false, but the power of the human imagination is such that if enough people deeply believe in something (i.e. that paper printed with faces and numbers is valuable) it becomes so. And yet, it’s also possible for thousands of people to believe something and yet it remains a lie that is dangerous to humanity as a whole. Anyway, I set this story up with a character who was facing her own internal contradiction (gender dysphoria) and a human cult with theirs (burning people alive to reincarnate), and set off to find the lines between truth and lie, denial and acceptance.

Helen: Oh my, what an interesting and deep concept. You would need some resolute characters to shoulder such heavy burdens. Tell us about them.

Edith: This book started with Karana; he’s a side character in the first two books, and I became intrigued by his contradictions. He embraces his bad reputation, and he has done terrible things, but he’s genuinely kind and clearly regretful. I wanted to understand him better and also give him a path to redemption. Since he starts as a deeply cynical character who’s running from his mistakes, he had to be balanced by An Ning, an optimistic character with an over-developed sense of personal responsibility. She is strong and compassionate character – a joy to write. Since Karana was in the middle of condemning a mass delusion with the cult, I wanted An Ning to have a “delusion” of her own, something deeply personal that had no effect on others but hurt her when denied. I saw an interesting way to explore gender identity within the magic system, so that just clicked, contrasting and complementing the cult arc.

Helen: They sound amazing and so rich. You’ve created a complex world. What genre do you typically like to write?

Edith: I write speculative fiction with a strong focus on characters and romance. The Immortal Beings fiction is epic fantasy, my YA series is light sci-fi set in a nuclear winter. Characters and relationships (romantic or not) are really what fascinate me, and when I first started writing, I actually leaned into romances. However, I found it really difficult to keep the tension high for a whole novel because I have no patience for angst or miscommunication! I realized that when I start with a speculation, a conflict that is larger than the characters, and then grab an internal conflict that echoes it, I have no problem keeping the tension high for a whole book, and I enjoy it more! Why I do fantasy instead of an adventure or a mystery… well, I don’t know! It’s just the way my brain works!

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I wish you all the best with your books. Just to close, if I asked your characters why we should read this book, what would they say?

Edith: If you asked Karana, I think he’d tell you the book was none of your business! He’s pretty standoffish. But if you asked An Ning, she’d say you should read the book because it’s terribly romantic and because it shows that it’s never too late to change – redemption is always there for those who choose it and that we can all be more ourselves.

About the Author:

Edith Pawlicki lives in Connecticut with her husband, twin sons, dog, and two rabbits. She fell in love with words in fourth grade and finds writing necessary to free the worlds and characters in her head. When she isn’t busy being a mom and author, she enjoys cooking and crafts. In addition to the Immortal Beings series, she has also written a YA science fiction novel, Minerva.

You can order Trials of Fire and Rebirth from Amazon:

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

Papaerback preorder -release 16th September 2022.

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and keep up with progress on my next books are published.

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Author Interview – Laura Quinn

Author of Thicker Than Water.

Today I am chatting with historical fiction author, Laura Quinn, about her debut novel Thicker than Water, which is an investigation into family ties and a sweeping saga of betrayal, lies, and loss on all sides et against the abckdrop of the First World War.

Helen: Welcome Laura! First congratulations on writing a novel and now publishing it. Such an amazing feeling to publish your first book. Tell us a little about it.

Laura: Titanic meets Boardwalk Empire in this historical fiction set against the picturesque shore town of Cape May, NJ, at the onset of World War One. Siblings Danny and Shannon Culligan are trapped under the thumb of their alcoholic father. Danny’s been in love with his childhood sweetheart, Jennie Martin- a wealthy cottager from Philadelphia- for as long as he can remember while her cousin, Hugh, is smitten with his sister.

As the foursome struggles to surmount the class differences between them, the nation is plunged into the Great War, changing all of their lives forever. Danny is drafted into the Army and Hugh enlists in the Navy- defending the home front as a lieutenant at Cape May Section Base Number 9. While Jennie works tirelessly on the Liberty Loans campaign in Philadelphia, Shannon finds herself ensnared in a rum ring operation as the temperance movement ebbs closer to its goal of Prohibition. A sweeping saga of betrayal, lies, and loss on all sides, Thicker Than Water, marries the historically accurate world building of Ellen Marie Wiseman’s The Orphan Collector with the emotional resonance of Renee Rosen’s works.

Helen: I love writing Fantasy novels because I can make it all up, but you have written a historical novel about real places and real events. This must be so much more challenging. I have been really fortunate to read an early copy, and I loved it – (you can read my book review here) – Your attention to detail is phenomenal. How much research did you have to do for your book?

Laura: I spent two years in research and development before putting pen to paper. With regard to historical events in narrative, I tried to stay as close to source material as possible throughout. A NJ resident myself, making sure the details were accurate was a matter of utmost importance to me from the beginning. Writing about a pandemic while living through one was particularly difficult. My research and outline for TTW was completed prior to the COVID-19 lockdowns. There were times in the last two years where I strongly considered changing these chapters (or eliminating them completely from a reader-sensitivity standpoint). My only hope is that I did justice to those lives impacted in both outbreaks.

Helen: You have chosen quite a dramatic cover, with the monotone colours and the stormy seas. Is there a story behind how you came up with your cover?

Laura: The cover and paperback interior design were done by Elite Authors. As a debut author, I  had many questions and the staff were wonderful to work with. I had some very clear ideas when it came to the cover, and shared samples of photography I’d found on iStock and Unsplash that I felt conveyed the tone of my novel. Without getting into spoilers, I can tell you that a crucial scene occurs in the midst of a nor’easter storm coming ashore. The event goes on to impact all four main characters in different ways, some of which are explored in Thicker Than Water, the others in the two sequels planned.

Helen: It’s great news that there is more to come! Let’s talk a little about how you write. Do you have a specific writing space where you like to work?

Laura: Oddly enough, at my dining room table. I like to spread out, so my “workspace” has plenty of room for me to lay out reference materials on one side of me and notes on the other. The room also has large windows and gets a lot of natural sunlight, so it’s a cozy environment. The back window faces my kids’ play area in our yard, so I can keep eyes and ears on them, too, from where I am. You can usually find our tabby, Tigger, snuggled somewhere close by.

Helen: Writing companions are the best! My cat Alfie is usually the same, curled up nearby. When not writing what do you like to do?

Laura: I enjoy many hobbies outside the bookish variety. Spending time with my family is my favorite, even if it’s just shuffling the kids to-and-from one of their activities. I love watching them perform, be it on the ballet stage or the soccer field. I also love gardening, and just planted my annuals for this season. We can learn so much from nature. It always inspires me.

Helen: Most writers are great readers, do you have a favourite book?

Laura: Little Women. I read a junior edition when I was in third grade for my first book report and fell in love with the story. My late grandmother gifted me a beautiful hardcover to commemorate the event. I’ve read it several times over and it holds an honored place on the coffee table in my living room.

Helen: How lovely! I love it when a book has a story to go woth it, evoking special memories. Thank you so much for spending time with me today. Good luck with your launch and congratulations again on the launch of your debut novel. Just to finish, do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Laura: Get it down. Whether handwritten in a notebook, typed up on a laptop, or texted from your phone when you can’t sleep. Tell your story. Be authentic and don’t hold back.

About the Author:

Laura Quinn currently resides in southern New Jersey with her husband, two children, and spoiled tabby cat. When not writing or consuming copious amounts of coffee, she enjoys hiking, the beach, and spending time with her family. Thicker Than Water is her debut novel, with two additional books planned to round out the Culligans’ saga.

You can order Thicker Than Water from Amazon:

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

Papaerback preorder -release 16th September 2022.

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my books which are available in eBook, paperback or hardcover: Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Book Two: Sentinals Rising. Book Three: Sentinals Justice. Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next book releases.

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My Author Patreon is live!

I have been writing fantasy books since 2016, published my first book in 2020 and have now published five books in the Sentinal series. I have come to the realisation that I cannot sustain the finances to self-publish and create the audiobook versions without selling a lot more books, or subsidising the costs though an activity like patreon.

So I have created a patreon. Are you Team Arifel, Team Darian, or Team Sentinal? I hope you choose a team and join my writing journey. I have so many books already written, they just need polishing and publishing. I could easily continue publishing two books a year, if not more, it is the cost that is prohibitive.

So this is where you wonderful people come in. Supporting me and my writing, means you get them quicker! And access to early sneak peeks, deleted chapters, extra stories, character interviews and more.

Thank you once again for your interest in my books, and for joining me on this journey. Welcome to the wonderful world of Remargaren and many others I can’t wait to introduce you to.  I hope you stay for all the exciting adventures that are surely coming your way.

And don’t forget…

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.

Check out my Author Interview on the Scribbled Notes Podcast

I had such fun chatting with Jahmil Effend on his podcast Scribbled Notes.

We chat about my writing journey, my books, world building and the sheer joy of writing.

You can find it on:

Spotify

Youtube

or iTunes

If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my epic fantasy Sentinal series. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.

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How Old Did You Say?

One of the sparks of inspiration behind my writing my epic fantasy Sentinal series occurred while I was strolling through an ancient woodland near where I live. I wondered how old are these trees? Some of them are centuries old. What history they must have seen, and what tales they could tell if they were to wake up and speak.

That led me to thinking what if a man slept in the tree, and what if he woke thousands of years into his future? And so was born the Sentinals series.

The Druid’s Oak , 2013 in Burnham Beeches, UK. Picture by Wim Brinkerwink

One of the oldest trees in Burnham Beeches in England, is the ‘The Druid’s Oak’ which is approx. 800 years old, about 9m tall and nearly 9m wide (girth). The Druid’s Oak is a Pollard. The crown used to be cut just above headheight for firewood, and then allowed to regrow and was recut many times. The practice of pollarding died out in the early twentieth century, as coal replaced firewood.

The oldest trees in the world are thought to be the Bristlecone pines which thrive in really cold conditions in places like Atlanta in the USA. The cold conditions mean that the trees grow really slowly. It can take two years for a pine cone to mature. The slow growth and adverse conditions mean the wood is really dense which helps them resist insect and fungi attacks.

Prometheus, Image credit: Mother Nature Network

The Bristlecone pines are known to have lived for over five thousand years, (five thousand years!!!) and grow to heights of fifty feet. An amazing feat for a tree. Some are older than the neighbouring glaciers!

I love how some of these trees are even named. These monumental trees grow to have fame all of their own and are mourned when they die.

My Sentinal trees are not so far-fetched after all. Reality is stranger than fiction most of the time. The Sentinal trees are tall silver-trunked trees, with a crown of emerald-green, pointy leaves. Each one houses a Lady’s Guard, one of Lady Leyandrii’s Sentinals, who she encased in the tree when she sundered the bloodstone and banished all magic, including herself from the land of Remargaren. Unable to follow the Lady, her guards have slept for three thousand years, or so the legends say.

Find out more in Book One of the Sentinals series, Sentinals Awaken. Now also available as an audiobook via Audible, Apple iBooks and Amazon.

Sources: