Sentinals Across Time is a Semi-Finalist for the 2022 CIBA OZMA Book Awards for Fantasy Fiction

I am so excited to share that Sentinals Across Time, the fourth book in the epic fantasy Sentinal Series has made it through to the Semi-Finals for the 2022 Chanticleer International Book Awards (CIBA) OZMA Book Awards for Fantasy Fiction!

The Ozma Book Awards recognize emerging new talent and outstanding works in Fantasy Fiction. The Ozma Book Awards is a division of the Chanticleer International Book Awards (The CIBAs).

Chanticleer International Book Awards discovers the best books in the Ozma Awards featuring magic, the supernatural, imaginary worlds, fantastical creatures, legendary beasts, mythical beings, or inventions of fancy that author imaginations dream up without a basis in science as we know it. Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Dragons, Unicorns, Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Gaslight Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, or other out-of-this-world fiction. These books have advanced to the Semi Finals in the 2022 CIBAs OZMA division.

Sentinals Across Time has moved forward in the judging rounds from all 2022 Ozma Fantasy Fiction entries to the 2022 Ozma Book Awards SEMI FINALS. Entries are now in competition for 2022 Ozma FINALIST.  Finalists will be selected from the Semi Finailsts. All FINALISTS will be announced and recognized at the Chanticleer Authors Conference (CAC23) on April 29th, 2023.

Sentinals Across Time is the fourth book in the saga of Remargaren, a vibrant, ancient world of high fantasy suffused with magic and adventure.

Jerrol’s fragile balance between duty and family life took two years to refine and one brief moment to tear apart as the Lady Leyandrii and the Oath conspire in a desperate bid to protect the Birtolian Empire. As a result, Jerrol finds himself stranded in the middle of an ocean, lost across land and time and seas.

Unsure what is expected of him, Jerrol learns to appreciate the idyllic life of the Birtolians, the vibrant people and the beautiful coastline. To his growing horror, he realises the devastation which lies in their future.

Can Jerrol prevent the destruction of the gentle people he has grown to love? Is he meant to? Desperate to find a way home, he begins to leave clues in anything he thinks will survive the test of time. Taelia and the Sentinals are his only chance of ever returning to his own life but can they find him before the Lady sunders the Bloodstone and changes the Birtolian Empire forever?

The fourth installment of the Sentinal Series takes us to the beautiful Island Empire of Birtoli. Only once, it wasn’t an archipelago of islands, it was a land of majestic mountain ridges, mystical forests and exquisite sandy bays joined as one to the southern Vespiri borders.


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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Book Review Alert: Moonshadow by Krystina Coles

Reviewed: January 25th, 2023
Released: November 12th, 2019
Genre: Dark Portal Fantasy

Heather Harrison is dead.
Her body lies at the bottom of the lake named after their little town. Undiscovered. Undisturbed. And all of Cedar Crest has moved on.
All but Melissa Moonwater.
Eleven months after the accident that claimed her best friend’s life, fifteen-year-old Melissa is still searching for answers—clinging to the belief that maybe, just maybe, Heather may still be alive. But since Heather’s death, the small Oklahoma town—once untouched by even the slightest act of evil—has been haunted by the disappearances of young girls with the passing of every full moon.
Melissa is convinced Heather was the first.
But can she prove it?

Read my thoughts…

SoulBreather is now live in eBook!

It’s Launch day! SoulBreather is now available as an eBook. I am so excited to share my first Fantasy Romance book in ebook format, and the first book in the SoulMist series. If you love feisty heorines, wounded heroes, plenty of intrigue, forced proximity blended with found family then this is the book for you!

SoulBreather

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?

SoulBreather is the first book in the Romantic Fantasy SoulMist series.

I hope you enjoy my new series and once you’ve read SoulBreather, it would be really great of you could please leave a review and let other readers know what you liked about it. You can find SoulBreather on Amazon, Goodreads or Bookbub.

SoulBreather was first released as part of the USA Today Bestselling Realm of Darkness Anthology, and has received a Readers’ Favorite Five Star review. Check out the full reveiw and the Readers’ Favorite press release here.

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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Book Review Alert: Fugitive’s Vow by Gail Z. Martin

Reviewed: January 22nd, 2023
Released: December 29th, 2020
Genre: Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery

Buddy flick epic fantasy! The third in the Assassins of Landria series from the award-winning, bestselling author of Scourge: A Novel of Darkhurst and The Chronicles of The Necromancer.

Rule-breaking, unconventional assassins Joel “Ridge” Breckenridge and Garrett “Rett” Kennar are back, and the stakes have never been higher.

The Witch Lord remains at large, orchestrating his plot against Landria’s throne from the shadows. Then tragedy strikes, the kingdom is in jeopardy, and Rett disappears. Framed for murder, Ridge flees with a bounty on his head, still intent on fighting the Witch Lord’s threat. Landria’s fate hangs in the balance, leaving only hard and dangerous choices.

Can an unlikely alliance of outlaws and fugitives turn the tide for justice and vengeance?

Read my thoughts…

Book Review Alert: Kidnapped by the Pirate by Keira Andrews

Reviewed: January 21st 2023
Released: October 26th, 2017
Genre: MM Fantasy

Will an innocent captive surrender to this pirate’s sinful touch?

Nathaniel Bainbridge is used to hiding, whether it’s concealing his struggles with reading or his forbidden desire for men. Under the thumb of his controlling father, he’s sailing to the fledgling colony of Primrose Isle, where he’ll surrender to a respectable marriage for his family’s financial gain.

Until pirates strike and he’s kidnapped for ransom by the Sea Hawk, a legendary villain of the New World.

Bitter and jaded, Hawk harbors futile dreams of leaving the sea for a quiet life. But men like him don’t deserve peace. He has a score to settle with his captive’s father—the very man whose treachery forced him into piracy—and he’s sure Nathaniel is just as contemptible.

Yet as days pass in close quarters, Nathaniel’s feisty spirit and alluring innocence beguile and bewitch. The desire to teach Nathaniel the pleasure men can share grows uncontrollable. What’s the harm in satisfaction?

Hawk would never feel anything for him…

Nathaniel realizes the fearsome Sea Hawk’s reputation is largely invented. He sees the lonely man beneath the myth, willingly surrendering to his captor body and soul. As a pirate’s prisoner, he is finally free to be his true self. With danger mounting, the time for Hawk to relinquish his prize looms. Will his greatest battle be with his own heart?

Read my thoughts…

Author Interview – Maxx Victor

Author of Hearts and Diamonds.

Today I have the pleasure of talking to Indie Fantasy author and podcaster, Maxx Victor, who is the author of the paranormal romance The Anchor and the Moon series which also has a fairytale twist.

Helen: Welcome Maxx, I am so happy we get to chat about your books today. I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by Maxx on his Indie Author podcast, but today I get to turn the tables and find more about his books. Let’s start with your latest release. Tell us about Hearts and Diamonds.

Maxx: Hearts and diamonds, is part two of my Anchor and the Moon paranormal romance series. It is the continuing story of my two main protagonists Cinder and her love interest Angus (also known as Black because of his black hair and dark features). The series is mainly set in a small beach town called Heathcote which is reminiscent of the beach towns I spent my summers in as a kid with my family. Angus is a dairy farmer who lives on one side of Heathcote and Cinder lives in an old mansion the overlooks the town. While the Anchor and Moon series centres around Cinder and Angus’s relationship, there is also the mystery of the strange creatures that roam the forests around the small beach town. Book one, Cinder and black was inspired by the Cinderella fairy-tale. This book, Hearts and Diamonds, is based on Snow White.

Helen: It’s nice when you can blend locations you know into your story, and have fun with known fairytales which you can give a fantastical twist. Tell us about your cover, the heart shaped tree must have an importance in your story?

Maxx: My good friend Paul Mah designed the cover. The large moon at the centre will appear on all three books of the trilogy. Red is a theme of the book and I’ll explain that more in the next question. I picked the Gold-shadowed text because that seems to be a feature of other books in my genre at the moment. I wanted the forest around the border to look dark and mysterious but the heart silhouette is also a follow on from the cover of book one. (Book one has a surfboard in front of the moon to make an eye shape).

Helen: How did you come up with the title?

Maxx: This book is inspired by Snow white. Both the mother and the daughter in the story are referred to as Red-Queens because of their red hair. The mother is more concerned with power and riches (the Queen of Diamonds) whereas the daughter is driven by love, friendship and compassion (the Queen of Hearts).

Helen: What made you write this particular story?

Maxx: This is the second book in what will be a trilogy. Most of the reading time I have is over the summer. Many years ago while I was reading Twilight at the beach, I begun to imagine what it would be like for there to be a something like that set in one of the small Australian beach towns that I had been vacationing in since I was a child. At the same time, I watched a documentary about Star Wars (My all-time favourite movies). The documentary explained how George Lucas reinvented old tales to create a “Space Opera”. I decided to use fairy tales as the inspiration for my trilogy. Book one was based on Cinderella, as I said this book has Snow White as its inspiration, and book three will have themes from Rumpelstiltskin. From my early teens, I had also been interested in Nephilim, strange superhuman characters mentioned in the bible and wanted to include them in my books. I didn’t realise until after I had published book one that Nephilim are the Shadow Hunters from Cassandra Clare’s books. 

Helen: The ‘What if’ scenario is so useful for sparking new ideas. And seeing as most stories have already been written, it’s all about taking what is a known trope and putting your own orignal spin on it. When did you first realise you had a passion for writing?

Maxx: I loved writing stories even as a small child, I still have some of the funny things I wrote. As most writers, I have always enjoyed reading and read an eclectic variety of books. In my teens and early adult life, I wrote a lot of poetry and song lyrics but my passion for story telling returned when my two sons were little. To get them to sleep at night, I would make up funny stories with them as the main characters and they would go on all kinds of adventures. I wrote down some of these stories and others and begun entering local writing competitions. When I won some of these competitions, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel.

Helen: And we are so glad you did! Which element of the writing process do you find most challenging and why?

Maxx: The element I find most challenging is time. I have never been a fast writer and I just don’t have enough time to get all my ideas down.

Helen: There are never enough hours in the day. Which genre do you prefer to write?

Maxx: I guess you could call me a fantasy writer. My short stories are sci-fi/ time travel. I have always imagined what it would be like to go back and change the past or to be in the past with knowledge of the future.

My trilogy is paranormal romance. I didn’t know what paranormal romance was when I started writing them, that is just the genre that fits with my ideas. I also still have some of the children’s stories that I wrote for my kids that I would like to publish in the future.

Helen: I started by writing what I enjoyed reading, which was epic fantasy, but I didn’t write specific tropes, I was writing what I thought should be in the book. I retroactively fitted the tropes to my story, once I realised what I had written! Who first inspired you write?

Maxx: My mother and father. As a child I struggled with dyslexia and found reading and writing a challenge. To help, my father would read to my brother most nights. My mother encouraged me to write journals and ideas. My mother passed away just before I published my first book, but I dedicated it to her. My older sister should also get some of the credit, she gave me the first book in the Narnia chronicles when I was about 10 years old, sparking my love for reading.

Helen: What is the best thing that has happened to you since you began writing?

Maxx: The best thing is seeing that my books appeal to a wide range of people. One of my friends who is in his forties enjoys reading my books, but his 11 year old daughter loves them and is always asking when the next one is out.

Helen: That is so great, reaching across generations. It’s been great chatting with you today, just to close us out, is there a tool you have found useful when writing?

Maxx: I Love Pro-Writing-Aid. I have never been great at punctuation and because of my dyslexia, I am bound to misspell words or put the wrong word in place of another. As for a resource for anyone thinking of self-publishing I am a big fan of Joanna Penn and all the work she does for Indie Authors.

Helen: Oh yes, Joanna Penn and her Creative Pen podcast is a great resource for all Indie authors. Thank you Maxx for joining me today. Wishing you all the best with your books and don’t forget to check out Maxx’s Indie Author podcast for more writing advice and great indie author interviews.

About the Author:

Maxx Victor is an Australian author, musician, and secondary school science teacher, who has achieved award winning success with his short stories. A dedicated husband and proud father of two, he is also highly involved in his local arts community; performing in bands and producing and directing amateur films.

Maxx’s author journey began at a very young age. As a child with dyslexia, reading and writing were a constant struggle. To help, his father implemented the nightly routine of reading Titin and Asterix comics and Biggles books to Maxx and his brother; installing a lifelong passion for reading. Maxx’s mother also encouraged him to write stories (some which he has kept to this day).

During his secondary school years, Maxx unearthed a love for music. He regularly wrote poetry and song lyrics, as well as scripts for plays and short films. Something again sparked the curiosity for writing stories when Maxx’s children were toddlers. He frequently created impromptu, twisted fairy-tale bedtime stories, with his family members as the main characters. Maxx now writes teen fiction and hopes that his writing can inspire young people to be defined by their passions and talents, not by the things that the world will tell them are impairments.

Social Media: Find Maxx’s scocial media links here.

You can purchase Hearts and Dimaonds here:

Link to book on Amazon UK: eBook | Paperback

Link to book on Amazon US: eBook | Paperback

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, book one of the SoulMist series, 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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Book Review Alert: Soul Mage by Lisa Blackwood

Reviewed: January18th, 2023
Released: December 16th, 2022
Genre: Epic Fantasy

A stoic warrior-maiden and a villainous priest-king make the most unlikely alliance in the history of the five kingdoms.

When a rescue attempt to save a clutch of dragon eggs from the soul mages goes terribly wrong, Warrior-Priestess Verdria of High Rock finds herself on the wrong side of a portal, deep in enemy territory.

She soon learns she’s in the heart of the soul mage’s empire and when Honryn, the future priest-king of the mages, takes a liking to Verdria and saves her life, she’s pretty sure she’s facing down a ‘fate worse than death’ scenario.

Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, Priest-King Honryn introduces her to the Royal Court of the Soul Mages, the most morally corrupt and bloodthirsty court in existence.

Life is cheap. Souls are currency.

And Verdria has caught the fancy of the young priest-king, and while he doesn’t want to steal her soul, he’s set on winning her heart.

And she’s equally set on having his heart, after she’s carved it out of his chest.

But when she discovers Honryn’s most monstrous secret, a secret he’s even hiding from his fellow soul mages, she’s moved to pity and offers to aid him. Read my thoughts…

Book Review Alert: Bound by Julie Embleton

Reviewed: January16th, 2023
Released: August 1st, 2014
Genre: Paranormal Shifter Fantasy

Would you sacrifice love to stay alive?

Nyah’s wolf has been bound by dark magic. Defenceless and terrified she finds sanctuary on the run, but choosing to live demands an impossible price.

The new alpha of Nyah Morgan’s pack has aligned with dark forces, and his plans for Nyah break the most absolute of Lycan Laws. With her entire pack under his thrall, and her own wolf maimed by his magic, she turns rogue, her incapacity landing her in unfamiliar territory where she catches the unwanted attention of Dean Carson, an alpha determined to learn the truth she hides.

As her crazed alpha closes in, Nyah is forced into making a choice. Her bound wolf is killing her, both alphas can save her, but which one, and at what cost?

Bound launches the suspenseful Turning Moon series, a contemporary world where wolves, vampires, and witches defy prejudices, join forces, and fall in love. The heroines are feisty, the heroes gutsy, and the villains heinous.

Read my thoughts…

Book Review Alert: The Borderland Princess by Ophelia Wells Langley

Reviewed: January14th, 2023
Released: November 28th, 2022
Genre: Fantasy Romance

Not Everything Is As It Seems In Fae….

What her people need, or what her heart wants?

Destined to unite the war-torn kingdoms of humans and Fae, Princess Sorcha must do her duty. But her heart has other ideas.

The road to Fae-lands is long, and her Fae escort, Lord Conall, is handsome, dashing, and brave-all things a loyal knight should be. Yet no fae wants a human queen, and more war is on the horizon. Her betrothed, High King of the Fae, has secrets of his own, and she’s not sure that he’s her destiny. But her handsome knight and her heart will have to stand aside, for the princess has a duty-her people need this alliance. Until terrible secrets are exposed and the princess must choose between upholding her duty or following her dreams.

One mistake, one wrong choice and it’s not just her heart that will suffer, it’s her entire kingdom…

Read my thoughts…

Book Review Alert: The Reluctant Companion by H. L Day

Reviewed: January 5th, 2023
Released: May 2nd, 2022
Genre: MM Fantasy

Sebastian might have the power to summon animals, but winning Jack over? Far more difficult.

As first encounters go, Jack and Sebastian’s isn’t ideal, leaving Jack nursing a grudge he’s not about to let go of in a hurry. Yet, if Jack is to find his missing sister, and Sebastian is to rescue his captured prince, they’ll need to set their differences aside and work as a team.

Jack is stubborn and somewhat volatile. Sebastian is vain and clearly in love with himself. But as the unlikely companions face all manner of dangers together, they grow closer. Rescuing the prince should be easy. Rescuing him from an impenetrable tower guarded by dragon-shifting knights? Okay, that part is harder.

But once the adventure is over, letting Sebastian go might be the hardest thing Jack has ever had to do.

Read my thoughts…