The Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest featured thousands of contestants from over a dozen countries, ranging from new independent authors to NYT best-sellers and celebrities.
Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
We receive thousands of entries from all over the world. Because of these large submission numbers, we are able to break down our contest into 140+ genres, and each genre is judged separately, ensuring that books only compete against books of their same genre for a fairer and more accurate competition. We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).
“When the right books are picked as winners we pay attention. We will be spreading the word about Readers’ Favorite.” –Karen A., Editor for Penguin Random House
Readers’ Favorite is proud to announce that “Sentinals Awaken” by Helen Garraway won the Finalist Award in the Fiction – Fantasy – Epic category.
“The book then turns in a direction I would never have in a million years guessed. But I loved it.”
“Even if Fantasy is not the genre of your choice, I would challenge anyone not to be swept up into this story and the charismatic lives of the characters of Remargaren in ‘Sentinal’s Justice’. It will change your view of this genre completely, and leave you, like myself, wanting more.”
Sentinals Justice is the third book in the saga of Remargaren, a vibrant, ancient world of high fantasy suffused with magic and adventure.
The third installment of the Sentinal series takes us to the frozen north, to the Grand Duchy of Elothia. Border tensions with Elothia force King Benedict to send a diplomatic envoy to sue for peace. Benedict has his hands full with Vespiri and Terolia, he can’t afford a war on his northern border as well. Commander Jerrol Haven is sent to broker peace. Having met Grand Duke Randolf the thirteenth before, Jerrol hopes their previously successful negotiations will assist in a speedy resolution and allow him time to discover how to rescue Birlerion from the Ascendants.
Meanwhile, the Chapterhouse has received a request for a scholar to assist in searching for signs of the Sentinals in Elothia. Taelia is assigned the task, because Scholar Torsion is also missing after the attack at the Watch Towers.
Amidst escalating tensions and conflicting needs, Jerrol journeys to Elothia, hoping to meet with Randolf before the Ascendants can influence him. Escorting Taelia is an unexpected bonus. Can Jerrol stop Elothia and Vespiri from going to war? Will they find more Sentinals? And can they find out where the Ascendants took Birlerion and Torsion before it is too late.
Sentinals Justice concludes the opening trilogy…though the adventure will continue!
Today I am chatting with Luci Fer, who joins me to talk about her humourous romance What Happens on Tour which releases tomorrow August 15th! Welcome Luci, congratulations on your new release and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about your book.
Luci: The Tour series is about an up and coming Australian music band who venture on a regional tour. Having started at the record label at the same time, Lead Musician Braxton Carson and his band have forged a solid friendship with Photographer Charlotte (Charlie) Bancroft. The entire group is thrilled to learn that they will be traveling together on Tour in the upcoming weeks.
The band ventures on a road trip around their country to connect with fans in remote areas, rather than just playing for the big city stadiums. It doesn’t take long for the Tour to show the close bonds they all share as friends, while also uncovering the undertones of romance between the two leads.
After just a few stops on the Tour, we learn that not only do Brax and Charlie have very similar interests, they also have an unspoken longing for each other. Their rather comical similarities and differences guarantee a hysterical and eventful trip ahead.
A night of drinking and mayhem with the band reveals Brax’s true intentions for Charlie. After an awkward conversation, the sizzling spark we’ve sensed intensifies when Brax takes what he feels is his only shot of getting the girl.
True feelings ignite and humour unravels as the band learns of the shift in the relationship status. When a catastrophic chain of events unfolds, Will Brax and Charlie fight for their love or crumble under the intense scrutiny?
Helen: It sounds like an intense read. How did you decide on the cover?
Luci: The story, while a comedy at heart, also explores the personal and professional growth of the lead characters, being the band, their agent and of course, photographer Charlie. Charlie’s backstory plays a pivotal part in the plot across all 7 books. As writers we create the image of our characters in our minds, while developing the story. I happened to be scrolling through instagram back in 2018 when I first wrote this and stumbled across a woman who embodied everything I saw in my character. As the saying goes, you don’t know unless you ask. So I approached her and explained what I was doing. Becca Medlin, my cover model who can be found on Instagram under @beccamedlin kindly agreed to be a part of the story and I am eternally grateful for her kindness and support. She embodies the same spirit my character does, and while beautiful in her own right, her heart is nothing less than extraordinary. And of course the magic would never have happened without the incredibly talented girls at Books and Moods who worked tirelessly with me to help understand the vision.
Helen: It is wonderful when you can find such a close connection between your cover and your story. I am glad you asked because your cover is amazing. Tell us about the genres you write becuase it not only humourous romance is it?
Luci: I am a romance novel writer, but the sub-plots vary as I do like to explore and push myself. I have a four part series that is a heavy erotica, a thriller and of course Tour series which is a romantic comedy.
Helen: What made you write this particular book?
Luci: What Happens on Tour was the fourth story I wrote. I had finished two books in my first series, and was deep into a standalone that was dark romance. I came to a chapter towards the end of this book where I was using real life experience, nearly losing my mother and writing it from her perspective in a coma, and before I realised it, I found myself getting sucked into a vortex with it and seeking ways to balance the heaviness I was experiencing. A passion of mine had always been to travel to music festivals and concerts, or road trips with my friends so I drew on these experiences and combined my two loves. It became the perfect balance I needed to give both books the justice they deserved.
Helen: Balance is very important. Writing emotional scenes can be draining, especially when they pull on personal experiences. We are lucky you were able to combine your love of music with your love of writing. What made you first start writing?
Luci: My mother was a writer and poet. Growing up she worked as a children’s story teller and I was often fascinated by her creativity. By my teenage years I knew that I wanted to follow in her footsteps. Finishing highschool I studied at University theatre and the arts. My passion was to be a playwright and director. One of my now adapted novels was originally written as a theatre production for a University assessment back in the early 2000’s. I was inspired by my mother and my love of theatre. I have always been a little dramatic at heart, thus the pen name.
Helen: With such a creative background, it must be easy for you to come up with ideas for your books?
Luci: I have an overactive imagination. I work full time in a highly stressful yet rewarding job, and as a result I struggle at times to switch off. I have been known to wake up at random hours of the night to pen an idea that has come to me, because I can’t sleep until I get it off my chest.
Helen: Which do you prefer, Writing or Editing?
Luci: I don’t know that anyone ever truly loves editing, especially Manuscript Developmental edits which is what I have undertaken with Tour. But to see the finished work makes it all worthwhile. As the writer, our perspective is often biased, since it’s difficult to keep from becoming your own reader. As a writer it is easy to be captivated by your passion in your work and therefore lose perspective on how your message will resonate with your audience. My editor has taught me that this often translates to us not realising whether something that works for you will also work for the audience. She’s helped me to engage with my target audience while also bringing out my author voice. I have a better perspective as a writer and greater insight as to what will work for a reader.
Helen: Did you have to spend much time researching for your books?
Luci: My first series I wrote, I spent a year researching and evolving those characters as there were so many complex elements to it. Tour series, I have been fortunate to have assistance from some industry insiders – family members who are performers, and incredible artists who have agreed to work with me and be on the covers of other books in the series. I also draw from my real life experiences so each of my stories has an element of me as a person in them.
Helen: It sounds like your research was really interesting. Who was your favrorite character to write?
Luci: He is always the audience favourite and that is Chester. He is everything my best friend is to me – lovable with a hint of mischief but a heart of gold. He also tends to take over my creative process because his voice is so powerful. easy, Stewart, the main protagonist. He is such a complex character in many ways, with a quick temper. He also has an agile mind that can read situations quickly, and a very dry, roguish sense of humour. I really enjoyed developing him.
Helen: And your favorite character from your book?
Luci: Mark, from my Tour series. He has a depth to his soul that I recognise and appreciate in a lot of my friends. I have incorporated many of their traits into this character.
Helen: Have you ever been given a piece of advice about writing that has helped you with your writing process?
Luci: During the editing process I become extremely hypercritical and my editor continually reminds me, it’s okay to do so. The hypercriticality pays off and you have to trust in your editor to guide you the right way with it.
Helen: How do you fit writing in your daily life?
Luci: My day typically starts at 3am to let me get caffeinated before I spend two hours editing. I then do a very long day at work before picking up writing on my wips at night.
Helen: I couldn’t get up at 3am. That is a no from me. I don’t know how you do it! Being so organised with your time, how are you with writing? Are you a pantser or a planner?
Luci: Ultimately, I know where the story is going, and how it will end. But as much as I do try to plan, I am definitely more of a pantser. Particularly with tour due to the comedic element to it. Much of the shenanigans are based around my real life group of friends and our acquired taste of crazy.
Helen: Does music play an important part in your writing process?
Luci: I don’t listen to music while I write, I do need silence in order to focus on the words and the flow of the story. That being said, I do have music that inspires my works and each has their own playlist on spotify for my readers to enjoy.
Helen: Do you have a favourite place to work?
Luci: Outdoors. I am blessed to live away from the city surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests. My favourite place to write is out on my deck with the serenity of nature. It reminds me it’s okay to slow down sometimes and enjoy the process.
Helen: Sounds perfect! I am jealous! Most authors are prolific readers. Tell us what you like to read and who your favourite author is.
Luci: I love all the works of Bertolt Brecht and anything Theatre of the Absurd. The irrational or fictive nature of reality and the essential isolation of humanity in a meaningless world is fascinating to me. I am currently reading Regrets and Revenge by Zavi James. It is the second book in her Foster family series. Zavi’s creative genius is unparalleled. I would recommend Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman, but before starting it is important to know there are over 30 books in this series.
Helen: Do you have an all time favourite book?
Luci: Forget you had a daughter, by Sandra Gregory. Caught in a situation due to misfortune and trusting the wrong people, it shows one woman’s struggle to learn from her mistake but not let it define the person she is. It can feel like we’re alone. It can seem like you’ve let everyone down and it can be easy to tell yourself that everything was riding on you. But forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. We aren’t robots, we are humans and we do make mistakes, it is a beautiful journey of self forgiveness.
Helen: When not writing, (and if you have the time!). Do you have a favourite pastime or hobby?
Luci: I love the theatre and the arts, and my best friend’s partner is an incredible performer. We all love to support and watch his shows. And it goes without saying, my best friend is a huge part of my life, not a week goes by where we don’t do something. In fact it was the very road trips he and I have taken together over the years and our love of exploring new places around our country that Tour was born from. As our group always says, “No Shady beaches.”
Helen: Your friends sound wonderful, it’s great that you’ve been able to draw from your own experiences for your writing. Have you ever performed yourself?
Luci: I was a dancer for 16 years, not ballet or ballroom. I chose Scottish dancing because I wanted to own a pair of swords. It requires a huge level of trust in your ability to be able to move over those swords without causing injury to yourself.
Helen: It’s been lovely meeting you, Luci. Thank you so much for spending the time with me. I usually finish with a question to help aspiring authors, what advice would you give someone setting out to write?
Luci: Pen the story first, then go back to it. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to edit at the same time because it is easy to lose your natural story progression if you are weighing yourself down with all the elements of composing a story.
About the Author:
▪️ PA @csinbo
▪️ Sold Series on @galatea.stories
▪️ Tour Series publishing 2021
▪️ Carefree and slightly crazy
▪️ The Road to hell is paved with works in progress.
Today we meet historical novelist Daisy Wood, who joins me to talk about her historical novel Full Circle. Welcome Daisy and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about your book.
Daisy: My current book ‘Full Circle’ was published on January 30 2020, just as the world was going into lockdown. It is historical fiction, set in 1886, and concerns a family whose small estate called ‘The Willows’ nestles quietly just outside the town of Mere, in Wiltshire, close to the river Nader in the West Country of England. The estate’s main produce is the growing of Flax, but it also boasts a small Dairy Herd, Goats and Sheep, growing all of its own vegetables. It is, you might say, self-sufficient….and idyllic… but, it holds a secret from the past within is walls, that if revealed, could destroy the present family, and all they hold dear.
Helen: It sounds the dream location, deep in the English countryside. A beautiful estate and a long history hiding many secrets. Why did you choose such a simple cover when you could have chosen an idyllic country scene?
Daisy: I wanted a plain cover, as the story encompasses so many emotions, hate, avarice, vengeance and love. To express this in a cover would be impossible, so I graduated the colour to try and represent these emotions. The colour I chose is also symbolic of the main protagonist in many ways, including his eyes.
Helen: It sounds like a complex and twisted story in contrast to the simplicity of the cover What about the title? Are there any hidden meanings?
Daisy: The title is multi-faceted, ‘Full Circle’ portrays life’s cycle…what we start with…and then finally end with. The ring in itself represents the title, as its style is a never-ending Celtic vine, which depicts both the cycle of life and love itself. Our lives I believe are made up of many such circles, as likewise within the book these circles exist, one of kindness repaid, one of hate avenged, one of love rekindled.
Helen: Full Circle is a big book, not only in content but in length. Kudos to you Daisy, for completing such a challenging project. What made you write this book?
Daisy: I have always loved reading from an early age. I also had a passion for making up stories. I would get told off in ‘composition’ for not adhering to the word count. (Hence the length of my book.) I never knew when to stop…. I had this book inside me from the age of 20, which was when I started to write it, completing around 10 chapters on my works typewriter, as I would stay in at lunchtime to type what I had written, but then my life took a different path. I thought about it many times throughout my life, but it was many years later when both my parents had passed, while clearing out a cupboard, I found the typed and hand-written pages at the back, in the same brown envelope I had left them in. My Mum had kept it. It was then I decided, when I retired, I would finish the story. It took me three years to complete (including research) then two years to publish. I dedicated the book to my parents.
Helen: I am so glad your mother kept your manuscript. That is a wondeful trait in mothers, they keep everything. I’m sure my daughter will roll her eyes when she has to dig though all her stuff in the attic, whilst reminiscing over most of it, hopefully! What inspired you to write?
Daisy: My inspiration…that came from my love of reading. In my office books would be passed around like sweets at a children’s party, but it was one book that set me one my path. ‘Devil Water’ by Anya Seton. The story still resonates with me, and it set me to thinking that I would like to write one. Not on the scale of her book, but one that I had had in my head for a while. As I wrote each new chapter, I would let the other girls there read them, and comment. It was from that, the Italian part of the book came to life from a dear Italian friend that I worked with then, Marisa. I also put a dedication to her in the book.
Helen: You write historical fiction, what made you choose that genre?
Daisy: All my life I have had a love for History, how they lived, what their lives were like then. It fascinates me, and always will, but the 1700’s, especially the later part of that century, always drew me in. It was just after the start of the Industrial Revolution, in 1760, but where people still worked the land. Oh, it had its poverty, especially in the large towns, but nothing like the type people experienced when they migrated in their masses to the cities to work in the factories. I hope I have been able to convey some of this in my book, as I have tried to keep as true to the time as possible in my writing.
Helen: I would imagine that you had to spend a lot of time researching to make sure you reflected the era correctly?
Daisy: I did an immense amount of research on that era, most before I started to write, but quite a lot as ideas unfolded and took hold as I wrote. I wanted to try and depict to the best of my ability what life was like then. This included dress, food, education, birthing, the role of women, and the hierarchy of the servant household, as well as money, wages, and travel, but most importantly the language they spoke. Words were not abbreviated then, and being set in the West country I also looked to the dialect there of that time. There were also the customs of that era, in what was acceptable, and how to address people. I found a whole other world. All this is reflected in the Bibliography.
Helen: It sounds like you almost wrote another book! History is such fun but it can lead you down a rabbit hole! Who was your favourite character to write?
Daisy: That’s easy, Stewart, the main protagonist. He is such a complex character in many ways, with a quick temper. He also has an agile mind that can read situations quickly, and a very dry, roguish sense of humour. I really enjoyed developing him.
Helen: Tell us a little about your working process, do you prefer writing or editing?
Daisy: I’m afraid there is only one answer to that question – WRITING It took me forever to edit my book before I sent it to the publishers, you re-read so many times you get word-blindness, and even then, there are still some mistakes you miss.
Helen: Having completed your lifetime project, are you tempted to write another book?
Daisy: My current WIP follows on from my first book. I have introduced new characters, as well as expanding on some of the old ones. The theme throughout the second book still concentrates on the family, its values, and the bond that ties them together. It is that tight bond, which allows them to overcome the perils, resentment and hostility that surrounds them at every turn, especially when the arrival of a step-brother, threatens to destroy the stability they have fought so hard to achieve over the past two years of turmoil.
Helen: I think it’s wonderful that you are writing another book. You said you were retired, so I imagine you have the luxury of writing whenever you want to?
Daisy: Yes. For me that’s easy as I am retired and my time is virtually my own. There are times when I can sit in the morning and everything flows. Other times I find that early evening, when I can squirrel myself away to my room, and I have had jotted down many new thoughts, or characters who have spoken to me during the day, that I am at my most productive.
Helen: Sounds perfect! Most authors are prolific readers. Do you have a favourite author?
Daisy: I don’t have one. Every author is prolific in their own right, just as no two readers have the same story in their head after they have read a book. Each person’s interpretation is unique, just as each book is. That is why books will never fade. I read a book once by Carlos Ruez Zafon ‘Shadow of the Wind’ in which he talks of the ‘Cemetery of forgotten books’ I loved the idea of that.
Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, I have enjoyed learning more abut you and your books. Just to finish, what advice would you give aspiring authors?
Daisy: There is only one thing I would say… ‘Never give up on your dream’ even when things around you seem so insurmountable, that is the time when you are at your most creative. For me, setbacks only made me strive harder for what I wanted. Don’t let anyone tell you ‘you can’t’ because ‘YOU CAN!!!
About the Author:
I have lived in London for most of my life, and started writing this book when I was 20, but then life took a different path and it was left. Many years later, after my parents passed, I found my work hidden at the back of a cupboard where it had lain for nearly 50 years – my Mum had kept it. Having time on my hands now, I decided to finish the story, which took two years to complete, never dreaming it would be published. I still seems surreal to me, and often I look at the book and ask myself, did I really write this!?
Join me as chat to Bertha Raw about her debut YA fantasy novel The Raven which released on March 1st, 2021. Welcome Bertha, and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about The Raven.
Bertha: The Raven, that’s the title of my current book. It’s about this girl, Camille Stark that lived in a void–not literally, her life was empty and she knew something was wrong with her. She was different from everyone else but didn’t stop to think about it. She took full advantage of her weirdness and made life out it.
She was wayward and did all sort of things. Her adopted parents loved her but they hated her lifestyle, so her adopted mother forced her into going to a boarding school for troubled kids.
Getting to the school, Camille realized that the school wasn’t for troubled kids but people with magical powers. She thought she’d seen it all and had enough of the fable fairytale the Headmaster told her, and decided she was going to sneak out but didn’t because she needed answers.
She started asking questions but no one was willing to give her the answers she wanted. She started to question everything including her existence because she didn’t know who to trust.
Her mission change when her adopted parents suddenly became missing. She set out to find them with the help of new friends but came back empty. Camille realized someone was playing a game and they didn’t know how dangerous she could be especially when she just found out she was the granddaughter of one powerful warlock and a mad demon.
Helen: How did you come up with the cover? It is very atmospheric with the brooding ravens watching.
Bertha: I spent months trying to create the perfect cover, and I couldn’t find the one I loved. I changed the cover three times before I found the cover I wanted. The cover features ravens on the tree and a school, it’s black and white. The ravens represents Camille because she is a Raven. And the school represents The Vale, the boarding school that changed her life forever. The black and white symbols everything else in the story. I chose the cover because it explains everything in the book.
Helen: Although this is your first YA FAntasy novel, you don’t just write fantasy novels, do you?
Bertha: I’d like to think that I’m not genre specific. I’ve written many genres like Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Action and Adventure, Crime Thriller, Sci-fi, New Adult and Young Adult.
I write base on inspiration. I’m always scared to start a book because I don’t know if I’m confident enough to finish it or do justice to the specific genre but I do it.
My favorite genre to write is Young Adult paranormal because I started writing with that.
I was thirteen when I wrote my first book and I think it was because of the movie I saw then, and I love it.
Helen: Having the ideas is a great start, it takes discipline and hard work to finish a book, and then being very brave to release it! What made you begin writing?
Bertha: I was very lonely with no true friends in highschool. I went to a boarding school and I hardly ever watch TV at home, so whenever we go back to school after vacation, my roommates would talk about the movies they watched at home and they’d ask me if had seen those movies. Not to feel out of space amongst them, I’d make up my own movie and tell them all about my imagination, they didn’t even question it. Once I realized that they love all the movies I tell them, I found myself writing them down, planning my next movie. And that’s how I started writing.
Helen: Congratulations on finishing and publishing the book. Which type of character do you enjoy writing the most?
Bertha: Villains. I love writing about villains because I think they are misunderstood. I like to dive into all my characters backstory, to write about what made them who they are and the reason they became what they are.
Everyone has a story, good or bad. I like to tell the good version even though they are bad, I like to tell people there’s more to them then they think even if they end up disappointing everyone.
Writing about Heroes are boring, I prefer Anti-Heroes. People that don’t care about anyone else but themselves. I always portray my characters in a way where people are going to hate to love them.
Helen: Most indie authors are juggling writing and life. Tell us how you fit writing into your daily life.
Bertha: It’s kind of hard because I’m still a student, a sophomore in College, and I try to write everyday except weekends, my weekends are mine. I write immediately I wake up and before going to sleep if I know I’m going to have a busy day. But writing is fun.
Helen: Tell us a little about your working process, do you enjoy listening to music whilst you write?
Bertha: I love writing in silence but sometimes I listen to music, mostly music scores. When I was writing The Raven, I created a playlist and would listen to them over and over again as I write. It depends on the mood of the chapter, if I want to write a sad chapter, I listen to Novo Amor, his voice makes me cry because it cries emotions that I can’t understand or explain. I listen to music scores when writing an action scenes. I just listen to Billie Eilish every other time because she’s my favorite.
Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, just to finish, are you working on anything new?
Bertha: It’s a dark romance, and it’s the first time I’m writing one, so I’m taking my time to explore my characters because my hero is a villain without superpower, actually I’m having a hard time because I’m used to writing villains with powers.
About the Author:
Bertha Raw is a writer, and Author of the the new novel The Raven. She has spent the last decade reading and writing novel across all genres. Her lastest novel is her first published work.
Bertha loves and works out of her home, spends her free time exploring the world and catching up on history and culture. linktr.ee/Bertha_Raw
Climate is a hot topic on everyone lips at the moment, from the horrendous floods in Germany to the raging fires in Canada, the climate is not behaving as we expect. Even here in the UK the weather is more changeable than usual, (and you know how much we love talking about the weather!) veering from a scorching hot mini heatwaves to torrential rain from one day to the next. It feels like we have our own monsoon!
We all react differently to the weather and the changing seasons. We even had favourite seasons – when they used to be distinct and reliable.
When world building, the expectation is that the world will behave predictably dependent on how you set it up, how many suns or moons do you have? How does the planet rotate? How much water covers the surface? The pull and push on your world should follow scientific expectations, and if not then you need to have a good reason for it that you can explain to the reader.
My world evolved as I travelled through the story. Trees were my starting point. Trees are very important in my story and my world. They stand for hundreds of years, persistent guardians of history and lore, seeing everything around them and holding it close. I wanted that longevity and sense of continuation to reflect in the Sentinals as Guardians of Remargaren.
Because I had these long lived coniferous trees, I needed a cool temperate environment with plentiful water and rich soil. The forests and timber plantations of the Watches evolved, plentiful in the west of Vespiri and petering out as they reached the hotter borders of Terolia in the east, and the parched and arid deserts.
The deserts, and the lack of resources, especially water, drove the evolution of the Familes, and the need to travel where the resources could be found. Although as knowledge of how to find and hoard water grew over time and towns and cities took root, the inherent need to move around remains, and the nomadic Families of Terolia were born.
In Sentinals Justice, we travel north, to the icy wastes of Elothia. A harsh and cold environment where it never rains, it snows. Most of the time! Here people hunker down and hibernate for the winter, only poking their noses out in the spring. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but they have to live in the cold, and tend to group together in the cities, the land is too harsh to live off of.
As you can see below, even my covers are influenced by the environment the book is set in. Book Two – Sentinals Rising is currently in the AllAuthor cover competion, you can vote for it here. (Note if you can’t log in using facebook, it is quite easy to create a reader account, and then you can vote.)
I’m hoping to finish book four in the Spring of 2022, where will be introduced to the mysterious Island Empire of Birtoli. The Sentinals don’t remember Birtoli being islands, it used to be joined to the mainland so what happened? Expect turquoise seas and white sands and plenty of adventure.
Just for a bit of fun I created a quiz to see where you would live in Remargaren. Complete the quiz and see which country you hail from. Let me know on twitter or Instagram, or on my facebook page using the hashtag #Sentinals.
They say not to judge a book by its cover but I need you to do just that. If you like the cover of my book, Sentinals Rising: Book Two of the Sentinal series, please vote for it in the Cover of the Month contest on AllAuthor.com!
The voting is really tight and every vote counts in the “Cover of the Month” contest on AllAuthor! I need as much support from you guys as possible. Please take a moment to vote for my book cover here:
Novella o.5: Sentinals Stirring (Free if you sign up to my newsletter.)
Fantasy author Katharine Ann Melton released her debut urban fantasy novel Behind The Mirage on October 12th, 2020, (the day after I released my first novel. Almost book twins! )Welcome Katharine, thank you for joining me to talk about your debut novel. Tell us about Behind The Mirage.
Katherine: My book is Urban Fantasy. It is about an assassin that is given the most important job of her life: enter modern day Greece and assassinate Zeus to stop him from destroying mankind. If that isn’t hard enough, she has to juggle an unwanted proposal from Oberon her king, the threat of war and the realization that Zeus was responsible for the death of her parents. When she crosses into the human realm, she realizes that she isn’t the only one hunting Zeus. She is quickly confronted with uneasy alliances, vengeful gods, unsolved murders and the occasional malevolent portal to another world.
Helen: How did you come up with the name of your book?
Katharine: The title of my book ‘Behind the Mirage’ started out as a different name. I started writing the book over 20 years ago and it went through so many changes. Character names, traits, locations. The original title is closely related to the final title, but I just didn’t like the original. To me, it felt like I didn’t put to much thought into it.
Helen: I love the cover, how did you come up with the design?
Katharine: Since the book’s location is Greece, I wanted to make sure it was presented in the cover so the reader will be automatically transported there. I wanted my main character on the cover, but I didn’t want her face to be shown because I want readers to create her features in their mind. The cover turned out better then I had ever imagined. I believe it really showcases what the book is about.
Helen: It truly is a lovely cover. What made you choose to write this novel?
Katharine: Writing has been a part of my life since I was very young. I am not really sure what made me start, I just had so many stories to tell in my head that I needed to get them on paper. I would start out by writing scenes, maybe write a sentence or two about just different things. My mom has kept everything I have ever written since I could write. It all started as a hobby, never thinking I would actually write a book. I used to write screenplays, and then I wanted to turn one of them into a novel and that’s how the book started out.
Helen: Congratulations on finishing and publishing the book. Which character did you enjoy writing the most?
Katharine: I of course enjoyed writing my main character because I wanted a strong female lead that knew how to handle herself in different situations. A personality that the readers could relate to. I also enjoyed writing Hades; God of the Underworld. He is very sarcastic, he only helps when it benefits him, self-assured, blunt. I enjoyed writing his personality.
Helen: The Greek gods and myths are a great source of ideas and characters, how else do you find ideas to write about?
Katharine: This varies. I have gotten ideas by just looking at an object and developing a story around it. I have ideas from reading other books too, and even tv shows.
Helen: Tell us a little about your working process, do you enjoy listening to music whilst you write?
Katharine: I do. It is a mix from pop, to old school hip hop, to classic rock. Sometimes I will listen to a song while I am writing a scene because it helps me to visualize the scene better. There are most times that I write with the tv on too.
Helen: Thank you for chatting with me today, it’s been great learning about your novel. If you didn’t write urban fantasy what genre would like to try and write?
Katharine: If I didn’t write Urban Fantasy, I would like to try writing horror or sci-fi. I have started working on other projects because I never run out of ideas for stories. One story is horror/sci-fi that I write when I have writers block in my current project. I also would like to write a thriller novel. I believe you can write whatever genre you want; don’t limit yourself to one.
About the Author:
I grew up in Northern California and moved to the Washington DC metro area about 13 years ago. When I am not searching for new locations for my books, I am spending time with my friends and family. My book Behind the Mirage is the first book in a new series.
Joining me today is YA fantasy author C.A Bleu who released her debut fantasy novel The Trinity Ring on June 1st! Welcome Cindy, congratulations on publishing your first book. Such an achievement; I am so excited for you. Please tell us a little about your novel.
Cindy: Zara Trinity was ready to find her place in the world, but she never thought she would have the power to change it.
Her eighteenth birthday brings betrayal and family secrets to the surface that threaten to overwhelm her as she learns to wield her new powers.
Losing her mother at a young age Zara was raised by her guardian Aaron. As the leader of the Protectors of the Trinity, Aaron had sworn an oath to protect her. He regretted his role in the secrets he kept, but knew it was necessary for the prophecy.
Being hunted by Dimitri, an assassin she never expected to have feelings for leads Zara down an unexpected path. Holding the fate of Humanity in her hands will she be strong enough to withstand the tests ahead?
Helen: The Trinity Ring is your debut novel. What made you put pen to paper and write a book?
Cindy: I have worked in hospice over 15 years and about 6 or 7 years ago I decided to start journaling as an outlet. I kept feeling that I just needed to write, but I never thought I would actually write a book…I began writing about life, but gradually it changed to this story… over the years and after many edits it has evolved to The Trinity Ring.
Helen: Congratulations on completing your book. Writing can certainly be an escape from the daily pressures. You have a unique cover. How did you come up with the deisgn?
Cindy: For my cover I reached out to a local University of Tennessee art student. She read my book and then did an original painting of Zara Trinity. Bri Mckamey photographed her painting and created my book cover. She is still in art school at UT and this is her first book cover she has done.
Helen: How wonderful. Original art makes your book even more special. It is a lovely picture. Which character did you enjoy writing the most?
Cindy: Great question! I actually think I may have enjoyed writing about Dimitri the most. I think there is so much that he goes through that really connects all humanity. Grief, faith, self doubt these things know no boundaries. Both Dimitri and Zara go through a lot of change and self growth throughout this story and I think many people may be able to relate to some of it.
Helen: I saw from your bio that you work full time, and you are working on a second novel which is great news! How do you fit writing into your life?
Cindy: This is tough sometimes. I often write early in the mornings before the rest of the house begins to wake. Usually it is on the weekends and I love to sit on the back porch when writing.
I am a hospice social worker, I began with journaling…I never set out to write a book…let alone publish one… but it was my niece and daughter who one day looked at me asking why I wasn’t going to publish. As I looked at them I realized I had written about a strong female character battling self doubt and trying to be brave. How could I not show the women in my family the same courage. So for them, and myself, I decided to take the leap and publish. I wanted to show my daughter and niece that through our fears we can show our greatest strength.
Helen: How do you come up with the ideas for your books?
Cindy: This is the first book I have written and in this process the words just flowed. If felt like this story just came to life and needed to come out. The final printed book has many changes from my first draft, but getting that first draft out seemed to have a mind of its own as if poured out of me. Many parts of this book came from my own personal feelings and experiences having lost my mother at a young age as well.
Helen: I think what we experience in life must come though in our writing, you of course inherently write what you know, but it also colours other aspects as well. A long time ago I did a degree in Politics and International Relations, and I have a feeling that may influnce my world building! We just spice it up with a LOT more action and adventure! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. As a debut author just completing a book, what advice would you give to aspiring writers.
Cindy: I would tell new writers to just keep writing. Someone out there needs to read what you have written. Self-doubt creeps in, but just remember that your story will likely touch someone else out there in a time and place that they need to hear it. We are writing for a reason…whether it is to positively impact someone else’s life or to allow someone a way to escape the day-to-day routine.
About the Author:
Currently living in East Tennessee, I love being surrounded by the mountains and being in nature in general. After growing up in Ohio, I moved to Tennessee to play soccer in college. With my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work I have been working in hospice these past fifteen years. As an outlet for self care, many years ago I decided to start writing. Journaling a few minutes each day gradually turned in to so much more. I never planned on publishing a book and likely may not have taken that step if not for the encouragement from my family and friends! Keep shining your light everyone!
I am joined today by author Emily Michel who releases her fantasy novel Memory of Wings on August 3rd! Links to the pre-order are at the end of this post. Welcome Emily. Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your book. Please tell us a little about your novel.
Emily:A Memory of Wings(coming August 2021) is an enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance. Shax tries to escape his past as Lucifer’s best assassin after the Gates to Heaven and Hell explode, casting down to Earth all of the angels and demons caught in the blast. But then he runs into the one that got away, Guardian Angel Kheone. After rescuing her from the falling body of her friend, he finds himself searching for the killer. Shax questions his nature as a demon and faces a choice between love and saving his own skin.
Helen: What an exciting premise, it definitely sounds like a novel I would pick up. What made you begin writing?
Emily: I began writing stories in elementary school but had the joy of writing stripped from me by all the essays in high school and college. When my husband deployed in 2012, I used creative writing as a way of acknowledging and processing my feelings. It took seven more years, but I turned that story into three novels, which I self-published.
Helen: Congratulations on finding the joy of writing. I agree with you that writing is a cathartic experience. The fact that we also create amazing books is a bonus we get to share with other readers. Your preferred genre is paranormal fantasy isn’t it?
Emily: I’ve mostly written paranormal romance (five books out of seven drafted), probably because I was heavily inspired by Anne Rice, Laurell K Hamilton, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I find it fun to create these hidden worlds. I’ve also drafted a contemporary romance that I’m considering changing into a paranormal and a fantasy romance.
Helen: Seven books drafted and five of them published is an amazing feat. Did you plan the whole series or did it just sort of happen?
Emily: Oh, I’m definitely a pantser, though I have learned the wondrous utility of the Beat Sheet. I pantsed my way through my first five books then discovered Save the Cat! It helped me revise books 4 & 5 — a contemporary romance that I couldn’t fix at that time and what became A Memory of Wings. I approached my next two books (a fantasy romance and the sequel to AMOW) with beat sheets in hand, and the drafting was much easier. It’s like having a road map with the important stops marked on it, but how I choose to get to those stops is still very much freeform.
Helen: Save the cat! is an amazing book, for those writers out there, you can find the links on my recommended writing tools page. Tel us a little bit about how you write. Do you like music or silence?
Emily: I love listening to music as I write. I have multiple playlists depending on what I’m writing that day. There’s usually one overall playlist for each series, sometimes a secondary playlist for a specific book. I also have mood music: music for fight scenes, love scenes, sad scenes, sex scenes, etc. Then when it’s time to edit, I choose instrumental music. Sometimes classical, sometimes more “new age”. My playlist for A Memory of Wings features a lot of music from the TV show Lucifer and music by Klergy.
Helen: It’s been great finding out about your novel, thank you for joining me. Congratulations again on the forthcoming release of Memory of Wings. Just to close us out, can you tell us what advice you would give other authors?
Emily: Keep writing and keep learning. Writing is a skill, and as with all skills, you can learn to do it better. The more you practice, the better you will get. Set aside regular time to write, not necessarily everyday if that stresses you out, but frequently and guard that time. Read inside and outside your genre. The more you read, the more you see how other authors put together stories, both the good and the bad. I’ve used some favorite books to help me determine how to structure a story. The structure behind Devil’s Claw & Moonstone, my second book, was based on an amalgamation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Voyager (Outlander 3).
About the Author:
Emily Michel spent most of her life as a military family member. She has called many places home, including Germany, Belgium, and Kansas. After nearly twenty years traipsing around Europe and the US, she settled back in her home state of Arizona a few years ago with her husband and kids.
When not writing, Emily reads, walks, hikes, and pets her feline overlords. Emily is the current President of Saguaro Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. She also volunteers for the PTA, but do not accuse her of being a PTA Mom. She’s cooler than that. Maybe.
In 2019, she self-published her Magic & Monsters trilogy, a steamy witchy romance, and is currently working on a new angel/demon romance set in Kansas City. Please buy them. Her two teenage boys eat a lot of food.