Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors.

I am very pleased to announce that I am now a UK ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors (Alli).

With a membership made up of authors from across the world, ALLi Ambassadors enable the ALLi organisation to think globally and act locally. Our Ambassadors are knowledgeable, motivated, experienced and professional ALLi members who help us to champion independent authors and forge new links across our core territories: Australia & New Zealand, Canada, Europe, South Africa, the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

ALLi’s Mission is to foster excellence and ethics in self-publishing.

•We empower authors through community and collaborationauthor forums, contract advice, sample agreements, contacts and networking, literary agency representation, and a member care desk.

•We advise, through our Self-Publishing Advice Center—blog, podcasts, emails, magazine, guidebooks.

•We monitor the self-publishing sectorwatchdog desk and approved partner program.

•We campaign and advocate for independent authors throughout the publishing and creative industries globally.

Member Benefits

•Discounts on self-publishing services

•Approved partner directory and database of services e.g. editors

•Free guidebooks, member magazine and resources

•Sample contracts & agreements and a contract review service

•Watchdog desk

•Dedicated literary agent & rights services

•Private member forums—ask questions and receive helpful advice from ALLi team, advisors, ambassadors and members

How ALLi Ambassadors can help you:

They tell us what our global campaigns can do, locally

Our Ambassadors can share with us which awards or other opportunities are closed to indies, in their own countries, so that we can help open up more doors for indie authors. Often our Ambassadors work hard to get through a door… so they can leave it open for future indie authors to follow in their footsteps. A win for one indie is a win for us all.

They share ALLi’s knowledge and expertise

The Ambassadors share important information to authors in their areas. Sometimes individually, sometimes through writing associations, festivals, literary events and charities, they can provide up to date information and useful guidance for authors everywhere.

Organization Partner Badge

Ask them about our Organization Membership for writing associations

We have developed a category of Organization Membership to ensure good quality self-publishing information can reach even more authors. Our great value membership for writing associations means an organisation can partner with us, bringing their own author members high quality self-publishing resources. 

They can arrange for fantastic speakers at your literary events

Many of our Ambassadors are accomplished speakers and workshop facilitators, who can run self-publishing workshops or speak about their own books. If you need a speaker for your literary event, do get in touch: they can tell you about great indie authors in your area, or speak at the event themselves.

If you want to know more about ALLi, its member benefits, or how to join (affiliate link), then please do not hesitate to contact me on helen.garraway@hotmail.com, or access the ALLi website.


If you would like to stay in contact and follow my writing career, then 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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The Alliance of Independent Authors - Author Member

Author Interview – The Author Accountability Podcast

Join me as I chat with indie author Rhianne Williams on her Author Accountability podcast, about my Sentinal series and all things writing.

Topics discussed:

  • Realising you want to be a writer ⁠
  • What inspired my book
  • Who my favourite character is ⁠ (only I heard cover lol!)
  • What tools I use ⁠
  • Why I chose self publishing over traditional
  • What mistakes were made along the road ⁠
  • An insight into what I am working on now ⁠
  • Advice for other writers⁠

Link to podcast.

The Sentinal Series

Immerse yourself in this epic fantasy series of ancient myths and legends. Set in the world of Remargaren, a world guarded by the goddess Lady Leyandrii and her sister Marguerite, evil is stirring, an evil that would ensnare and beguile her people as slaves.

Desperate to protect them she reaches out to one man who will become her Captain and wake her sleeping guardians. Only the guardians, her personal gurad, have been sleeping in the tall sentinal trees for three thousand years, and noone really believes there are people inside. And even if there are, her new Captain has no idea how to wake them.

Start the adventure with Sentinals Awaken.

Next Book Release: Sentinals Banished

Release Day: February 23rd, 2023

Preorder Link: Sentinals Banished

Add to Goodreads: Sentinals Banished

Launch Giveaway

I am running a Kingsumo Giveaway until launch day. All you have to do is follow the link to the Kingsumo page and enter the draw, addional actions are available for extra entries, so please do sign up to my newsletter, follow me on Goodreads and shelve Sentinals Banished and/or join my Sentinals Readers Group over on Facebook. Chance to win a bookish swag box full of Sentinal goodies, including a signed paperback copy of Sentinals Banished.

Open Internationally. 18+ only. One winner. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours. See Giveaway for full terms and conditions.

Good Luck!

Readers’ Favorite awards Five Star Review to Sentinals Justice.

Five Star review from Reader’s Favorite

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

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite

Sentinals Justice is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy and adventure sub-genres and it serves as the third installment of the Sentinal Series. The work is best suited to the general adult reading audience for its mature themes and moderate sexual and violent content and was penned by author Helen Garraway. Continuing the epic action-packed adventures of the high fantasy world of Remargaren, we follow the events of this particular novel into the intricacies of the court of King Benedict. Diplomatic tensions result in a meeting between Commander Jerrol Haven and Grand Duke Randolf, with an unexpected guest along the way.

Author Helen Garraway holds a lot of information together in this massive fantasy world, and it makes for a truly thrilling setting filled with political and royal intrigue, interpersonal drama, and dangerous games of secrets, warmongering, and missing persons. I really enjoyed getting to know Jerrol and exploring the various pressures he was under in such a tense situation, but the character selection is so large that everyone will find someone they can relate to in the wider ensemble cast. The dialogue was also a big part of the engagement factor in this novel for me, as I felt like I got a lot of plot-relevant information from it which kept the novel pacey and interesting despite the epic nature of the overall story arcs. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Sentinals Justice to fans of epic fantasy and the series so far; you won’t be disappointed.

You can read the five star review for Sentinals Justice at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/sentinals-justice 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 Three 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: Sentinals Banished (Spring 2023)

Change is a constant.

The phrase, ‘Change is a constant’ feels like a contradiction, but it isn’t, it’s reality. Change happens all around us, constantly. In the UK it seems that everything has changed, from the monarch to prime minister and now the company I work for. Yesterday was the first day of a new reality for me. The company I work for was acquired and Tuesday was ‘Day One’. We are now the new company.

The last week has been a series of goodbyes from people I have worked with for years. Another well known saying is that ‘change begets change’. And massive changes like an acquisition makes people think about where they want to be. Some choose to leave, others don’t have the choice. Uplifting for those making positive changes in their lives, lowering for those leaving and also for those left behind and feeling depressed at the loss of valued colleagues.

Photo by Hakon Grimstad

Photo by Håkon Grimstad on Unsplash

I am a writer who also works full time. I am also one of those who stays put. I have been at my company for over seventeen years, not in the same job, nor the same department, but I have moved around, learnt new skills, met new people, all within the same company, and I take my knowledge with me.

For me, I would love to be a full time writer, but very few independent authors reach those starry heights, and so we have to work in a full time job to make the ends meet, and pay to publish our books. There is no big publishing house sitting behind us funding the expenses. They come out of of the independent author’s pocket.

So, be impressed at the rate some of these independent authors release books. One book a year is an an amazing accomplishment, more than that, we shoud be praising their dedication. It is a major achievement. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that. Support those independent authors for following their dreams, that drive to create and share the results. Appreciate and recognise their bravery, because it is not easy putting your work out there for others to critique.

Back to day one, the start of a new adventure, part scary, part exciting, but still change. As an author every emotion is a learning experience. Something to be captured and used at a later date. Nothing in life goes to waste! So onwards, ride the change, embrace the new opportunity and lets write!

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.

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Realm of Darkness and SoulBreather hit #110 on the USA Today Bestseller list.

I am pleased to announce that the Realm of Darkness boxset, including my fantasy romance novel SoulBreather, reached #110 on the USA Today Bestseller list for the week ending 12th September 2022.

So excited to be able to say I am a USA Today Bestselling author.

Thank you to all my readers who supported me by purchasing a copy of the Realm of Darkness boxset. I hope you enjoy the 30+ novels included in the set. All the authors worked so hard to bring this boxset to you, stepping out of their comfort zone to promote and speak about their books.

I look forward to hearing which are your favourites, please do leave a review, and make sure you update your eReader if you want to get all 35 books in one file.

My contribtion is SoulBreather, the first book in the SoulMist series:

If you fall in love with the shadows, does that mean you are fallen too?

A dying angel. A fractured realm. The SoulBreather who might be able to save them both. 

Solanji has a secret. One that is becoming increasingly difficult to keep. She can touch souls and see into a person’s inner thoughts. Soulbreathing is exhilarating and addictive, until the day Solanji caresses the wrong person’s soulmist. 

Dragged into a long forgotten angelic mystery, she is forced to venture into Eidolon, the godforsaken last resort for those without souls. In order to save her brother, she must rescue a broken and tortured man. Can she save him from the shadows? Does he even want to be saved? And can she find a way to return to the light before the darkness engulfs them both?

Book One of the SoulMist Series

A very big thank you to J.A Armitage of Enchanted Quill Press; J.A Culican of the Dragon Realm Press; and our Box Managers, Susan Stradiotto and A.L Morrow who guided us through the whole process. We couldn’t have done it without them. Hope you love all our books!!

Author Interview – Sky Sommers

Author of Charm and Mayhem.

I am excited to chat with Sky Sommers today about her contribution to the Realm of Darkness boxset, Charm and Mayhem, which released yesterday! October 4th, 2022 and is currently available to order.

Helen: Welcome Sky, I am so excited that we get to chat about your book today!! I love how all your books have a little twist, and I am sure Charm and Mayhem is no exception. Tell us a little about your book.

Sky: My book in the anthology is a quirky and slightly humorous romantic fantasy between a guardian angel bodyguarding a noob Goddess of Fate. It’s called Charm& Mayhem: The Goddess of Fate. It’s the first book in a new Goddesses Saga, but it builds on my multiverse that encompasses the modern Earth and Magic Kingdom. And then some. I use magic mirrors as portal-hopping elements and there is some hilarity around Medieval dating intricacies of being married from first kiss (and even before). Marina introduces Gabriel to Moscow’s glitzy life, he saves her from the havoc of her own making. It’s light, it’s fun, I hope it’s worth a read.

Helen: I have no doubt it will be as you always bring a new aspect to the most mundane of things. I love the way you think!! How about your cover, I assuming it’s Marina and Gabriel?

Sky: It’s a quirky romantic fantasy between a Russian-born goddess and a guardian angel who has got something to atone for. Hence, a couple on the cover; the girl looks Russian and the angel’s wings are a little less than white. Since most of the book takes place in Moscow, there’s a St.Basil’s Cathedral in the corner.

Helen: What made you write a novel for an anthology?

Sky: Jealousy. Pure and simple. An author friend of mine who I look up to was in a USAT aiming set and touted her badges last year and I asked her – how did you do it. She told me. I approached the set managers and here we are.

Helen: As good as reason as any! If I asked your characters why we should read your book, what would they say?

Sky: If it’s Marina you’re asking, she’d say, don’t be daft, it’s fun and the kissing scenes, ahhh.

If it’s Gabriel, he’d think for ten minutes and then say something about hope and new beginnings. In French. Without cusswords.

Helen: Love it!! Now the set is launched, what are you working on now?

Sky: Current WIP: book #2 in the Goddesses Saga called Life&Death: The Goddess of Light. It takes place 10 years after book #1 finishes and is about the Goddess of Death needing a replacement coz she wants to check out.

Helen: Oh I am already rolling my eyes at the fun you are going to have with that! Who do you prefer to write heroes or villains?

Sky: Villains have more layers and better whys, so gimme those. In fact, one of my most loathesome character of all time – Godmother from Cinders – is begging for her own book coz she wants to be the Red Queen in Wonderland. And I’m sooooo tempted.

Helen: That would be awesome. You have the most wonderful ideas. Cinders was a brilliant book. How you twisted the relationship between the step mother and Cinders was clever and so funny! Do you find you have to do much research for your books?

Sky: Initially – minimal. But on the go – I check stuff obsessively. And then I twist them beyond recognition, but based on facts. Absolutely.

Helen: If you didn’t write Fairytale retellings, is there a genre you would be tempted to try?

Sky: Well, I might just try historical fiction – Russian Civil War and WWI time in a retelling of The Nutcracker – with one of my favourite authors, Astrid V.J. no less. #happydance

Helen: Oh! What a tease, that would be great! I hope you guys do collaborate. Thank you, Sky, for spending time with me today. Just to close us out, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Sky: Based on my own recent experience of getting a first draft of a book together in 40 days – set an aim to write a specific word count every day – e.g. 1k words or 2k words or 500 words. You’ll inevitably end up overshooting and if you think about it – 1k words for 50 days and you have a decent-size novel. The perfecting and polishing and developmental edits and proofreads will all come after. Just write something, anything during a designated time and hit that target. Even when you think you don’t want to write. Even when you think your head is empty. Write something and it’ll grow. Trust me.

Helen: Great advice. Thank you so much Sky. We can go and continue celebrating now, as it’s launch day +1!! I hope all you readers come and join us for the party in the Dark Book Boyfriend Facebook Group. Play the games and comment on the giveaway posts for a chance to win prizes. Spread the word – Realm of Darkness is now live!

You can order the anthology here for the insane price of 99c!

Realm of Darkness Anthology

Make sure you can check out some of my other posts as I interview and spotlight the authors!

Want to know which is the best book for you in the boxset? Take the ‘Which book is for me quiz‘.

About the Author:

Sky Sommers

Sky was born to Estonian-Russian parents and for most of her life has lived and worked as a lawyer in Tallinn, Estonia, with brief escapes to Finland and the United Kingdom for work/study and to all but the top and bottom continents in search of her muse. Her debut e-book in 2012 was about ancient goddesses running amock, trying to get their wilted powers back. She then proceeded to indie publishing her own ebooks and paperbacks and found her way from myths and legend via the Angelic Agency to fairytales retold for young adult and adult audiences.

So far, Thumbelina has been updated for suspicious adults, a more sinister version of Cinderella was released on 21.12.20 and an adult Red Riding Hood retelling is about to be released on 21.03.21. A Wizard of Oz retelling and several short stories are in the works. All her books are linked by some character or another and she loves making you choose at the end – by letting you pick an ending to read – one for the optimist and a slightly different one for pessimists (well, except in the Cinders-Embers-Ash trilogy because only Douglas Adams could pull off a trilogy in 5 parts). She lives in a house with a small garden with her husband and mostly one, but on occasion plus four kids. No dog.

You can find her on:

Facebook

Instagram

Other books by Sky Sommers

You can purchase Book One: Cinders here:

Link to book on Amazon UK: eBook

Link to book on Amazon US: eBook

Link book on Amazon Canada: eBook

And Book Two: Embers here:

Link to book on Amazon UK: eBook

Link to book on Amazon US: eBook

Link book on Amazon Canada: eBook

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

If you enjoy fantasy romance books then you will love my new release SoulBreather, part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology, and 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 get notified when my next books are published.

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Author Interview – Becky James

Author of The Shadow of Death.

Joining me today is another of my co-conspirators from the Realm of Darkness boxset. I am chatting with Fantasy author, Becky James about her contribution to the boxset, The Shadow of Death, which releases today! October 4th, 2022 and is currently available to order.

Helen: Welcome Becky, I am so excited that we get to chat about your book on launch day!! Tell us a little about your book.

Becky: I have always loved Scotland, and spent four years living there next to the sea, so I knew I wanted something Scottish. I researched and played around with some Celtic myths and legends for a romantic fantasy collaboration project. In some parts of Scotland, it was believed that a Cu Sidhe, a dog fae, could sense imminent death, and in other parts, they thought a black cat fae called a Cat Sidhe would steal the souls of the recently departed. Talking to an author friend, she suggested they were at war with each other over souls, and I started to put together why they would be at odds. What do they use souls for, or what do they believe is happening to them?

I came up with the Cu Sidhe taking them to be sent to the Otherworld, but they don’t know what that is, and the Cat Sidhe using them to generate magic, which they need to live. It’s been fun putting together a world that allows for shifters, a magic system based around different gemstones and selkies!

Helen: Your cover is very mystical with your main characters shadowed by their other forms. How did you come up with the design?

Becky: I knew I wanted Allegra Pescatore to make a cover: I love her vibrant styles and clever details. When she showed me the concept for Neri I was blown away, she is perfect! She has carried that style over into Book 2, The Thief of Souls, and done a fantastic job!

Helen: Allegar did a fantastic job! What made you write a novel for an anthology?

Becky: Writing can be a lonely hobby. Yes, you’re spending time with your characters, but it’s lovely to have a support system, a place where everyone is going through the same thing. Release week is full of ups and downs, it’s one of my favourite and least favourite times! It’s great to have your characters go off and meet new friends, but it can also be very stressful as you watch for fan reactions.

Joining into an anthology was a no-brainer for me. Working alongside other committed, caring individuals has been so refreshing. I have learnt so much, and also helped out a ton! My network has grown considerably.

Helen: I agree. It has been such a valuable experience. If you put in the hard work, then we all reap the benefits. Launch day is here, which is so exciting! Writing is so much fun, but what made you take that first step and begin writing?

Becky: Well, characters will stride into my life first and foremost, and then loudly demand that their stories are told. It took a few years to build up my writing skill to the point where I felt able to do their stories justice, although I’m still learning things every day. I write very character driven stories, so I’ll often only get a glimpse of the plot and then they will react to it faster than I can type!

Helen: Tell us about some of the other books have you written.

Becky: If you like sword and sorcery portal fantasy mixed with a bit of multiverse (think the good doctors – Doctor Who and Doctor Strange!), then The King’s Swordsman series is for you. It follows the adventures of a cocky swordsman and his exasperated companions. I’m over the moon to have people say good things about the series and how they enjoyed hanging out with these guys as much as I have. 

The Tempered Turns of Time, King’s Swordsman Book 4

Helen: I am already intrigued to meet your characters!. Readers can find links to book one at the end of the interview. Was their anyone special who inspired you to publish your books?

Becky: I grew up reading Tamora Pierce, Robin Hobb / Megan Lindholm, and Anne McCaffrey. McCaffrey is an interesting blend of sci-fi and fantasy but it’s all character driven to a large extent: Hobb very much so as well. Pierce has that wonderful blend of characters coming to terms with hard real life issues and not always making the right choices. The works I most admire are those by Leigh Eddings, as in David and Leigh Eddings, because she’s recognised as the “secret” co-author on some of the books too. The Redemption of Althalus was my first “grown up” fantasy, and I absolutely loved the characters with their balance of humour and heart. 

Helen: Oh yes, I love the Eddings books; they inspired much of my writing as well. We’re almost at the end of our time. Just to close us out, how do you fit writing into your daily life?

Becky: I usually write early in the morning or on public transport. I’ll be working on a Google doc to start with so I can use both laptop or phone, and then transfer it to Word for prettifying and self-editing before it goes to betas and my editors. 

I’ll listen to music when running, and have a story playlist where songs relate to how the characters are feeling, but I write in silence. I like to get up before anyone else and have time when no one is asking for a snack or where something is: just me and the page.

Helen: Thank you, Becky, for chatting with me today. We can go and start celebrating now, as it’s launch day!! I hope all you readers come and join us for the party in the Dark Book Boyfriend Facebook Group. Play the games and comment on the giveaway posts for a chance to win prizes. Spread the word – Realm of Darkness is now live!

You can order the anthology here for the insane price of 99c!

Realm of Darkness Anthology

Make sure you can check out some of my other posts as I interview and spotlight the authors!

Want to know which is the best book for you in the boxset? Take the ‘Which book is for me quiz‘.

About the Author:

Becky James

Becky James is the author of The King’s Swordsman series. Based in the UK, she has a deep love of the British countryside, canals, and all things fantasy; she devours anything that has magic, swords, good friends and good times.

For all the latest news:

Other books by Becky James

The Tenets in the Tattoos, Book One of the King’s Swordsman series

Link to ebook on Amazon UK | Amazon US
Link to paperback on Amazon UK | Amazon US

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

If you enjoy fantasy romance books then you will love my new release SoulBreather, part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology, and 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 get notified when my next books are published.

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Author Interview – S.R Breaker

Author of The Curse of the Dragon Heir.

Joining me today is another of my co-conspirators from the Realm of Darkness boxset. I am chatting with Fantasy author, SR Breaker about her contribution to the boxset, The Curse of the Dragon Heir, which releases tomorrow! October 4th, 2022 and is currently available on preorder.

Helen: Welcome Sara, I am so excited to chat with you about The Curse of the Dragon Heir. Tell us a little about your book.

Sara: My contribution to the Realm of Darkness anthology is a Fae+dragon shifter fantasy romance entitled “Curse of the Dragon Heir.” Set in a second-world mystical land of fantastical magic called Arcadia, it’s a thrilling, slow-burn, enemies-to-lovers, closed-door fantasy romance about a rare Fae mage with no magic who accidentally sets a mysterious evil demon free, except he just might be the key to unlocking her powers. Perfect for fans of “Throne of Glass” and “Shadow and Bone.”

Here’s the description:

Second-born of the High Fae mage family of the Priori clan of Arcadia, Soleia was only expected to do certain things. Mind her dull familial duties. Undergo training to master portal summoning, the rarest form of casting among her people. Free a dangerous demon from a fifty-year-old curse and release him into their village–oops, that was an accident!

If only the Priori elders’ solution wasn’t to bind the evil demon to her to ensure everyone’s safety. If only Soleia hadn’t been lying about actually having any powers all these years. If only the gorgeous demon’s intense gold-red gaze didn’t send delicious shivers up her spine.

Soleia can no longer escape her fate. She has to harness her magic, keep the cursed demon at bay, and somehow keep her secret.

But the demon has secrets too. And while Soleia discovers that he is much more than he seems, a decades-long conflict for the fate of Arcadia comes to light. It could also be the key to unlocking her powers.

Helen: I’m loving the colours of your cover. The beige tones help give a sense of brooding and uncertainty. How did you come up with the design?

Sara: Funny story, I recently realized that all of my fantasy book covers are BLUE. So I seriously made a conscious decision to set this book in the desert. And voila, the cover for “Curse of the Dragon Heir” was born! The aesthetics are partly inspired by the movie “Prince of Persia: Sands of Time”, and honestly, the random wallpapers that keep popping up on my laptop—the beautiful canyons in Utah. I’d love to see them in person one day!

Helen: What made you write a novel for an anthology?

Sara: My decision to participate in this anthology was total spur-of-the-moment. I saw the sign-up sheet on an author friend’s Facebook posts and just went for it. I had never been involved in an anthology before at the time but I always like to try anything once and I’m really glad I did. I can barely believe it’s been a year since! This experience has been most educational, hard work but actually fun! I’ve met so many amazing people in this journey and seeing everyone work together to achieve the same goal is quite inspiring. I can’t wait to see the final product and am very excited to share all our stories with the world!

Helen: I can’t believe the year has gone so fast! We’re in the home straight (or home stretch for those in the US!) and it is so exciting as we build up to the launch. For a moment, let’s go back to the very beginning. What made you first start writing?

Sara: I’ve always loved telling stories. Every day, stories unfold in my head so I decided to write them down. I get ideas from literally everywhere. I’ve often found that my writing is a reaction to something I’ve read or watched. Usually, it’s because whatever it was had a sad, bad, or unsatisfying ending. So I’ll want to create my own version. I love creating because you set your own rules. In my world, anything is possible, and regardless of what struggles I put my characters through, I am guaranteed that they will always have a happy ending because I am in control.

Many books out there are too dark/heavy for my preference. I wanted to create compelling worlds where there is just as much conflict and danger while maintaining an overarching atmosphere of levity and hope.

Helen: Tell us about some of the other books have you written.

Sara: My latest complete series is a YA epic/portal fantasy entitled “The Curse of the Arcadian Stone: Nameless Fay.” It’s about an ancient forest fairy tasked to guard a legendary treasure and a sneaky guy from Earth who had been STUCK in her world for almost a YEAR. The treasure is the ONLY thing that can get him home but if he steals it, she dies. What will he choose, I wonder? Lol.

Interestingly, the first complete series I had written is a YA sci-fi/portal fantasy entitled “Selfless.” It’s about a teenage girl who stumbles into a parallel world and gets mistaken for her genius scientist “alternate self” whose life is in danger. And the hottest guy in school who never noticed her before is now a genius ninja spy scientist who can’t stop risking his life for her. SWOON alert.

Most of my speculative books involve portals and multiverses. I am just fascinated by them.

Helen: I think the unknown intrigues everyone and being unknown gives us authors license to create whatever our brains can think of! What are you currently working on?

Sara: I am currently working on the second book in my current series “The Dragons of Arcadia.” My novel “Curse of the Dragon Heir” which is included in Realm of Darkness is the first book in this new fantasy romance series. Book 2 will be another thrilling, enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn fantasy romance set in the same world as Book 1. I’m so excited to dig in and see where the story goes next!

Helen: Oh can’t wait! Let’s chat a bit about your writing life. How do you fit writing into your daily life?

Sara: As a stay-at-home mom to young children, it can be a challenge to find time to write. I can only imagine how much more difficult it would be if I was working a full-time job too. But for now, I have allocated time in the evenings (as soon as my kids have gone to bed) to write and work on book-related business. Being an independent publisher, my work is almost completely online so I can do many things with just my phone, which is good in some ways, except it also means I’m almost always “on.” So I still do have the same challenges to figure out a work-life balance. It gets more interesting because I’m in a very odd time zone (New Zealand) and would be asleep when most people are awake. So FYI, if I reply late to your message, that’s why. Haha.

Helen: At least your working day is uninterrupted. That is a good thing! Do you find yourself planning out your books or are you a pantster?

Sara: I used to be a 100% pantser. I think this was even the exact reason why my first YA sci-fi/portal fantasy trilogy “Selfless” was largely plot-driven and action-packed. Though I don’t think I could ever be a 100% planner because much of the enjoyment I find in writing is with the discovery part. I like not knowing where my own story goes sometimes. There’s both good and bad in there as well. It can be stressful when you’re on a deadline. Nowadays, I have adapted a few plotting strategies that have helped me churn out words more effectively and ensure my story structure is solid. I often base my rough outlines on a combination of the 3-act structure, The Plot Dot, and a couple of beat sheets.

Helen: I think most authors move to some form of planning as they learn more about the craft. The trick is to keep the creativity free to flow and constrain yourself to a hard plan. Do you have a special place to write or a writing nook?

Sara: I would LOVE to write at a café. Set up my laptop in the corner with my cup of coffee and write all day long. Maybe someday I will be a lot less self-conscious and actually do that. Right now, I have a small corner desk in my bedroom. It’s not much and it’s always a mess but it’s already an improvement from last year when I used to just slouch on the sofa. I also dream of having my own home office someday. Many authors have such beautiful workspaces.

Helen: I dream of having a library with a solid oak desk, lol! Though I wonder if being surrounded by others books might make it more difficult to write? Tough question coming up! Who is your favourite character to write?

Sara: In all my books, I always relate more to the quirky comic relief sidekicks. I simply do not think I am brave enough to be a hero. Lol. In “Curse of the Dragon Heir”, one of the heroine’s best friends is named Tobias. He’s an easy-going Fae mage, hangs out at the pastry cart every morning, enjoys giving sensible advice to his less-sensible friends, and moons over cute guys. If I had to self-insert, he would be my vibe for sure.

Helen: Can’t believ we’re at the end of our time already. Thank you so much for chatting with us today. Just to finish, if you didn’t write fantasy books, what genre would you like to try?

Sara: I actually write across several genres. Growing up, I remember the first books I loved to read were YA romance pocketbooks and that’s why I started writing YA sweet romance first under my pen name “Sara Breaker.” I like sweet, simple stories that always have happy endings. This eventually branched out into my YA sci-fi & fantasy books under my pen name “S. Breaker” where I write nonstop action adventure stories. And now I’m venturing into New Adult fantasy romance under “S. R. Breaker.” All my books are feel-good reads. I’m deeply committed to happy endings because I think everyone needs an escape—specifically, one that leaves you feeling so good, you’ll be virtually bulletproof from the harshness of reality for the rest of the day.

Helen: Thank you, Sara, for joining me today. I wish you lots of luck with all your books. I am so excited to be part of this anthology, it has been a great experience, and I can’t believe the launch is in a few days. It has come around so quickly! You can preorder the anthology here for the insane price of 99c!

Realm of Darkness Anthology

Make sure you can check out some of my other posts as I spotlight the authors as they reveal their covers!

About the Author:

S. R. Breaker lives in New Zealand with her husband and two kids. She writes non-stop action adventure, offbeat science fiction and fantasy books.

Suburban mum by day and author by night, she loves to live vicariously through her characters. They don’t have to vacuum all day long and are almost always guaranteed to survive any fantastical or thrilling incidents, no matter how treacherous she writes them.

She likes binge-watching TV shows and reading books that take her to far enough unknown worlds—but then still have enough time to wash the dishes after.

For all the latest news:

Other books by S.R Breaker

Curse of the Arcadian Stone

Link to ebook on Amazon UK | Amazon US
Link to paperback on Amazon UK | Amazon US

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

If you enjoy fantasy romance books then you will love my new release SoulBreather, part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology, and 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 get notified when my next books are published.

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Author Interview – Vivienne Lee Fraser

Author of The World Below

Today’s Realm of Darkness Author chat is with Fantasy author, Vivienne Lee Fraser about her contribution to the boxset, The World Below, which releases on October 4th, 2022 and is currently available on preorder.

Helen: Welcome Vivienne, Thank you for joining me today. I am so excited to chat with you about The World Below. To start us off, please tell us a little about your book.

Vivienne: My book in the Realm of Darkness is The World Below. I started with the age old idea of what if a girl found out the world she lived in was full of magic and she was part of it. Then added a guitar playing magical creature to guide her through this new world. I loved the idea of mixing the real world and magic, and exploring the relationships between the magical creatures.

Helen: Sounds very intriguing, and by the colours of your cover not all is going well in the world! How did you design your cover?

Vivienne: The cover for my book was inspired by the Divergent Series. I loved the idea of colours and shadows, and the accents with leaves and feathers.

Helen: What made you write a novel for an anthology?

Vivienne: I loved the idea of working with and learning from other authors. It has been an exciting and whirlwind experience and I would do it again in a moment.

Helen: It has certainly been a learning experience, a lot of hard work, but definitely worthwhile participating in at least one anthlogy if you get the chance! What genre do you typically write?

Vivienne: I write YA Fantasy. I love the way Young Adults suspend belief and you can create amazing fantasy books for them.

Helen: Tell us about some of the books you have written.

Vivienne: I have a traditional fantasy series: The Wizard and The Warrior and a portal travel adventure: The Guardians of Time.

Helen: You have been very busy writing. What first made you put pen to paper and publish your books?

Vivienne: I have always written stories, but it wasn’t until I wrote The Wizard and the Warrior Series for my son that I decided to actually publish some of my work.

Helen: Oh that’s so cool that you wrote your first book for your son. I hope he treaures it. Now we are almost at launch day for The World Below, what else are you working on?

Vivienne: I have two projects on the go at the moment. Suffragette is a passion project for me and the last book in the Time Guardian Series. I am still in the first draft phase as the time travellers try to navigate their lives while looking for a missing Suffragette. The Minotaur’s Maze is the second book in the World Below Series and I am going through final edits for a November release. In this book Pris and Snake must face more challenges to save their parents.

Helen: You are so far ahead of me, my second book in the SoulMist series won’t come out until next year, but I am being chased for the next book in my Sentinal Series so I’ve been working on that instead! Do you have to do much research for your books?

Vivienne: I love history and I love accuracy, so for my time portal series I did a lot of research into all the time periods. I also did a lot of planning for The World Below because I wanted to include magical places in England in the book.

Helen: With being so busy with your writing, do you have any other hobbies?

Vivienne: Obviously I love reading, but I also, knit and crochet and love walking, movies and music.

Helen: Tell us something completly random about yourself.

Vivienne: I have been learning to play the piano. I’m not very good, but I enjoy the challenge.

Helen: I learnt to play as a child, but never took it any further. I regret that now, but isn’t that always the case? You said you were a big reader, who’s your favourite author?

Vivienne: I have so many – Isabelle Allende because of her beautiful prose and her different world view, Agatha Christie because no one writes a cosy mystery better, Maria V Snyder, Juliet Marillier and Aimee Kauffman because of the beautiful fantasy worlds they create.

Helen: There are some great choices in there, the only one I haven’t read is Isabelle Allende, I’ll have to go and check her out. We’ve reached your final question. Thank you so much for chatting with us today. Just to finish, which books have you read recently that you woudl rcommend to others?

Vivienne: I read everything and anything, and this year I found two unexpected reads that I have been recommending to everyone. The first is Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osmond.

Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your favourite reads. We have been so lucky to be part of this anthology, it has been a great experience, and I can’t believe the launch is in a two days. It has come around so quickly! You can preorder the anthology here for the insane price of 99c!

Realm of Darkness Anthology

Make sure you can check out some of my other posts as I spotlight the authors as they reveal their covers!

About the Author:

Vivienne Lee Fraser is an Australian YA Fantasy writer, who writes stories she would enjoy reading. Her books range from traditional, to portal, to paranormal fantasy. They all have a touch of magic, strong females, quirky males and the occasional sentient
animal.

For all the latest news:

Other books by Vivienne Lee Fraser

The Beginnings, Book One of the Wizard and the Warrior

eBook: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK

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

If you enjoy fantasy romance books then you will love my new release SoulBreather, part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology, and 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 get notified when my next books are published.

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Author Interview – RA Winter

Author of Themis

Today I am chatting with Fantasy author, RA Winter about her contribution to the Realm of Darkness boxset, Themis which releases on October 4th, 2022 and is currently available on preorder.

Helen: I am delighted to welcome you to my blog today, and I am so looking forward to chatting with you about Themis. To start please tell us a little about your book.

RA Winter: My contribution to the Realm of Darkness Boxset is Themis. I’ve been wanting to write about Greek Mythology for a while and Themis fit my idea of a strong woman and one who wouldn’t take any sass from the other Olympian gods.  It’s a fantasy/mystery/adventure that will take you on a journey into the underworld of Hades, Tartarus, and beyond.

Helen: Strong heroines on an adventure, sounds exciting! Your cover is striking. The colours remind me of the fires of hell, which is sounds like we get to visit. How did you come up with your cover?

RA Winter: A friend of mine designed the cover. I gave her the model and the background but she really made it pop! I just love the colors and the vibe the covers gives off.  It tells a story-and brings you into the feel of the novel.

Helen: It is striking. What made you write a book for an anthology?

RA Winter: I’ve done a few anthologies and enjoyed the creative process and the behind the scenes action.  It also pushes me to be a better writer-and stick to deadlines. I need a rigid schedule to force me to finish. Otherwise-I’d be editing for years and would never hit publish.

Helen: Deadlines are good motivators, though they can also be quite stressful. What made you write this specific book?

RA Winter: Themis is the prequel to a four book series.  (The other three books are available for preorder or will be shortly). My father read mythology and history books to me when I was young.  There were a couple of stories-and historians- that were my favorites. The Illiad, the Odyssey, and Herodicus.  I would sit and listen to my father’s voice while  gazing at a painting of a scene (or photos of statues) and wonder why those stories were translated in such an incomprehensible translation. (I was young!) Then I’d look at the painting and think-why didn’t they describe the monsters better?

Helen: I love that you were absorbed in mythical history so early and can use it now. What genre do you usually write?

RA Winter: Magical Realism has always been my go-to genre to write.  Now, MR isn’t all about magic and wands.  It’s anything that the ‘normal’ world can’t see or interact with or more precisely- everyday life with ‘otherworldy’ events.  Most of my novels revolve around Native Americans and the unseen world of the ancestors. I’ve dipped into paranormal too, and added in lots of humor. 

Helen: Tell us about the other books you’ve written.

RA Winter: The Spirit Key Series. It’s five novels that follow one Native American  family as they deal with the ancient spirits that inhabit their land.  Each book follows a romance of one member-and a ten thousand year old spirit that is just as ornery as he can be.

Helen: That sounds really interesting, especially the ten thousand year old spirit! What made you fisrt start writing?

RA Winter: My cat, Dingle, passed away.  I’ve always wanted to write but I wanted to share his special personality with everyone.  Dingle is a major character in my Spirit Key Series.  He’s the ten-thousand-year-old spirit who finds himself inhabiting the body of a cat and is always causing trouble-in a lovable way. He’s unable to articulate his needs with words but he certainly can with actions.  He was funny, loveable, ornery, cute, and didn’t like my husband at all. He was constantly fighting with my husband over a chair and my affections. I’m not going to tell you what happened when my husband came near me. Yeah, it’s a whole story. I loved that cat. Miss him horribly.

Helen: He sounds adorable, and I am sorry you lost him, but I am so glad you managed to capture his personality in your books. I am excited to meet him through your stories. Tell us about what you are currently working on?

RA Winter: Currently, I’m getting ready to release the other three books in the same series as Themis. The other books in the Queens of the Underworld series are Demise, Death, and Bane.   I’m at the end stages of editing and once I’m finished-I’m thinking about a series where the Death Takers are given a vacation and the Greek gods have lost their power.  So-imagine Zeus running into a restaurant and demanding food-or ‘service’ from a woman. Or-a grim reaper is on earth for the first time and able to interact as a human. I think I could have a lot of fun with those stories lines.

Helen: Oh yes, you could have a ball! When writing, do you listen to music or do you prefer silence?

RA Winter: I love every type of music from classical, to heavy metal and everything in between.  My character decides the music to play and it’s based on their needs.  In the 2nd Spirit Key book, RedHorse, he’s in a war zone and I listened to Diamond Eyes over and over while writing and editing. Then when the female MC was being written she asked for Garth Brooks.  Dingle likes the flute.

Helen: Writing about Greek mythology, I imagine you had to do a lot research to get your facts right?

RA Winter: With Themis and the rest of the Queens of the Underworld series I really did a lot. I wanted to keep the characters close to the ‘oldest’ form of the Greek myths.  I took  three classes in mythology at the university and did a lot of my own research.  It was harder to find information about the earlier myths than I thought!

Helen: And research can be so time consuming, taking you down all those rabbit holes. When not researching or writing, tell us what you do to relax.

RA Winter: Genealogy. I love solving mysteries and finding secrets!  ok, so I have written a couple of genealogy books under my married name!  I also love libraries and dark rooms with old books. Something about it calls to me.

Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today. It’s been such fun chatting with you. Writing a book for this anthology has been a great experience, and I can’t believe the launch is in a few days. It has come around so quickly! You can preorder the anthology here for the insane price of 99c! You can also enter the competitions and claim free gifts if you buy a copy on Apple or Barnes and Noble here.

Realm of Darkness Anthology

Make sure you can check out some of my other posts as I spotlight the authors as they reveal their covers!

About the Author:

I started writing under my married name, writing genealogy books as history was my first love. Now I write stories that give me joy-be it fantasy, magical realism, ghosts, urban fiction, or romance. All my novels contain strong females with sass, sarcasm, and humor. You know, women exactly like me. I love animals and it doesn’t matter what kind either. I’ve even petted a crocodile in Egypt-tried to take him home too. Apparently, that’s not allowed.

For all the latest news:

Other books by RA Winter

Demise, Book one of The Queens of the Underworld series

Link to ebook on Amazon UK | Amazon US

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

If you enjoy fantasy romance books then you will love my new release SoulBreather, part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology, and 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 get notified when my next books are published.

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