Readers’ Favorite awards Five Star Review to Sentinals Rising.

FIve Star review from Reader’s Favorite

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

Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers’ Favorite

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

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

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

Book Two of the Sentinal Series

Books in the Sentinals Series:

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

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

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

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice

Novella 3.5: Sentinals Recovery

Book Four: Sentinals Across Time

Book Five: Spring 2023

Book Review Alert: The Binding Day Truce by Allegra Pescatore & JP Burnison

Reviewed: June 1st, 2022
Released: January 13th, 2021
Genre: Epic Fantasy Short Story

The end of centuries of war is looming. 

Ilyas of Vine, War Leader of the armies of the Mad Queen Maevian Oriset, is sent off once again to hunt the deadliest foe he has ever faced: Willow of Herb. Tired of the fighting, but with too much on the line, Ilyas knows that this will be their last fight. This time, failure is not an option. This time, he will kill that damn monster, or die trying. 

Willow of Herb has fought against Vine all of his life. Ever since the day the Mad Queen’s forces killed his parents, he has revelled in the bloodshed of war. As the only one with a hope of matching Maevian’s power, it is up to him to find a way to put an end to her reign of terror. Only one thing stands in his way: Ilyas.

In a war where neither side is truly good or evil, and shades of grey run rampant, who will be triumphant when these two forces meet again for the final time? Read my thoughts...

It’s Launch Day!! Sentinals Across Time

Sentinals Across Time: Book Four of the Sentinal series, is now live!!!!

I am excited to share the fourth installment of the Sentinal series. In my latest book Jerrol is flung three thousand years into the past, and not only has to adjust to living in a different time, the Lady has a few tasks she needs him to complete as well.

And don’t forget Readers’ Favorite recommend the whole series, check out the Five Star book review for book two Sentinals Rising “…this is a book and a series that is likely to be adored by all fortunate enough to read it. Very highly recommended.”

5 Star Goodreads reviews are already being posted!!

“Helen Garraway has written a Fantasy Saga of epic proportions, and the story of these gallant young men – Captain Jerrol Haven and the Sentinals – will remain with you, long after you have turned the last page. A Beautiful read!!!”

“I cannot tell you how awesome this book was. It weaved so well in to the books we already know and love whilst creating whole new places to visit and fall in love with.”

“Helen is a master of the art of storytelling. Each scene is played out so well you find yourself not just the reader, but a willing participant, pulled into an amazing fantasy, where you feel every emotion that her characters go through. You cry with them, laugh, and feel their pain and terror.”

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 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.

Purchase Sentinals Across Time here.

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

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice

Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery (Novella)

Book Four: Sentinals Across Time

Author Interview – Helen Rygh Pedersen

Author of Waking Ursa Minor.

Join me as I chat to Helen (This could get confusing with two Helen’s but we’ll do our best!) about her debut novel Waking Ursa Minor, the first book in her Riverda Rising epic fantasy series which releases on February 22nd! It is available on preorder now!

Helen: Welcome Helen! To start us off, tell us about your new book.

Helen RP: Waking Ursa Minor is the first book in my epic fantasy series, Riverda Rising, as well as being my debut novel. The paperback and ebook versions are available on 22nd February, (pre-order is available now on most major retail sites) and I am hoping to release a hardback version around May and who knows, maybe even an audiobook.

Blurb:

As Gesland swelters in extreme heat, Serakela watches the nomadic clans make their way across the plains on their annual pilgrimage and resigns herself to the monotonous life of servitude at the institution which raised her. But Serakela is not the orphan she always believed herself to be. On the night a crazed assassin tries to kill her, her heritage is revealed catapulting her into an island-hopping fight for survival, and the search for the fabled Stone of Riverda.

The sundered islands of Riverda are dying. The earth magics that protected and sustained them before the Rivening are unbalanced; dwindling in some areas whilst stifling others. As time runs out and tensions rise, countries teeter on the brink of war, starvation and extinction. A way to save them has just arisen from the realm of rumour but Brother Okrafkus of the Separamus cannot allow this to happen.

Not only will Serakela’s quest lead her to her long-lost family, rumour has it that she who wields the Stone will restore the islands of Riverda to their former glory. Rumour also has it that in doing so, she will unleash the evil that split them. 

Helen: This sounds amazing! Congratulations on releasing your first novel. It is a very special feeling! What was the inspirarion behind the cover design?

Helen RP: The wonderful Franziska Stern of Cover Dungeon Rabbit did my cover and all I can say is she did a wonderful job. A huge thank you goes out to her for all her hard work and for putting up with me throughout the process.

It was quite hard to come up with a cover as the book takes place over various different islands, each with their own distinct culture and aesthetic. I’m also not a huge fan of characters on the cover of books so that was very important to avoid, even if it goes against current trends.  

I can’t actually say too much about the cover’s meaning, I’m afraid, as it does contain certain images of items/characters/ places in the book that I don’t want to spoil for the readers, but I love the way Franzi managed to get the books darker undertones into the cover.

Helen: This being your first novel, is Fantasy your first love?

Helen RP: I write fantasy, or to be more specific, epic fantasy with a darker side. I’ve always loved fantasy since I really got into books at about 9 years old. I love that you can go absolutely anywhere, you aren’t bound by the laws of nature and physics of our world. I also like how a lot of fantasy harkens to a pre-industrialised, almost medieval setting, as I’ve always been fascinated with history and how people lived. The combination of magic, mythical beasts and historic settings…what more do you need?

Helen: I couldn’t agree more! An irresistable combination. What made you first start writing?

Helen RP: According to my mother, I have been telling stories since before I could even write. They gave me a notebook at nursery which I filled with strange symbols and squiggles: stories that I could recite perfectly to anyone that asked. This continued when I learnt the real alphabet and I actually have a lot of my early writing. If you are at all interested, please check out my “Quotes of Christmas Past” challenge on Instagram from December 2020.

Creative writing (in our English classes) was my favourite class at school and I am very sad that it disappears from the curriculum the older a child gets.

Waking Ursa Minor actually started with a “novel” I wrote when I was 11 years old involving a plane crash where the teen protagonists find themselves on an island called Utopia. I am very pleased to say however that only two things remain from the original book; a character name and one event which I won’t mention as it contains spoilers.

Helen: How wonderful that you were able to evolve your original novel into your debut. Such an achievement. If you didn’t write fantasy what would you like to write?

Helen RP: Easy, historical fiction. When I was younger, I was obsessed with ancient civilisations and wanted to be an archaeologist (a small part of me still does, but I think it might be a bit late now). I’ve always been inspired during or after museum visits, my fingers literally itching to write. The only problem is I wouldn’t know which era to start in!

I do also like books which blend the historical and fantastical, such as Barbara Erskeine’s and Kate Mosse’s novels. So maybe that’s a route I can go down too.

Helen: Who is your favourite character from your book?

Helen RP: This is such an interesting and difficult question. I suppose an author should say the protagonist but I loved writing Okrafkus. He was so much fun and he has so many layers, that I am still uncovering. I also really like Cheskia for her sheer determination to survive.

Helen: When not writing, do you have time for other hobbies?

Helen RP: When I’m not writing and looking after my two young children, I of course love reading, but also enjoy crafts. I knit, I sew, and more recently I have fallen down the rabbit hole of making yarn and cloth from stinging nettles.

I also enjoy going for walks in the countryside, which in rural Norway is literally on our doorstep.

I’m currently having a little break from drawing and painting as creating my own picture book, A Whiff in the Woods, as fun as it was, rather took it out of me. Although I have drawn my own maps for the Riverda Rising series.  

Helen: You are keeping extremely busy!! You said you read. What is your favourite book?

Helen RP: My favourite book and the one that really got me into fantasy is The Hobbit. I have a beautifully illustrated edition and it doesn’t matter how many times I read it, I am always transported back to sitting on the floor at 10 years old, hanging on every word the teacher (who I didn’t like very much) read. I was absolutely transfixed!

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I wish you all the best with book launch. Just to close, what advice would you give new writers?

Helen RP: Get that first draft finished, just write it. Don’t stop to think how awful it is and try to edit it, just write the damn story. You can fix it later.

Don’t tell yourself that other writers are better than you, that no one wants to read your book. All writers had to start somewhere and I can promise you that there is someone out there, possibly even a whole fandom who want to read what you have written.

Lastly, don’t be lonely. The best thing I did to give my writing the kick up the bum it needed was to find like minded people through the writing community. It doesn’t matter that I live in a remote village in Norway, I have writing friends, mentors, and cheerleaders across the globe, and trust me on this journey you are going to need them!

About the Author:

Helen Rygh Pedersen

Reading and writing are two things Helen Rygh-Pedersen has been heavily involved with from a young age. She could always be found with her nose in a book or with a notebook in hand, especially on long car journeys as her family moved from place to place.

She graduated from the University of Exeter with a BA in French and Italian and after a brief career teaching languages in the UK, she moved to Norway with her family. It was here that she really reignited her passion for creating worlds. She dipped her toe into the publishing process by first releasing her dystopian short story, Heifer, and a picture book which she illustrated herself, A Whiff in the Woods, before taking the leap with her debut novel. Waking Ursa Minor is the first book in her Riverda Rising epic fantasy series.

When she isn’t writing she can be found spending time with her family, sewing and knitting or catching up on the latest fantasy series.

For all the latest:

Website
Facebook
Instagram
Amazon
Goodreads
Tiktok

You can preorder Waking Ursa Minor from Amazon:

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

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

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

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Author Interview – Mark Piggott

Author of The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart

Join me as I chat to Mark Pigott about his latest release and all things writing. Welcome Mark! I am so pleased we’ve finally had the chance to catch up. I read your book The Last Magus back in 2021, (you can see my review here) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Marcus is a worthly MC!

Helen: To begin with, Mark, tell us about The Last Magus.

Mark: The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart is my latest novel. Marcus Gideon, left for dead at a crossroads, is saved by a modern magical miracle—a clockwork heart. This second chance gives him the opportunity to discover his forgotten past while forging a new future as the apprentice to a Magus. The Magus were legendary warrior-wizards, the sacred guardians of magic on Attlain, until a failed rebellion forced them into hiding. As the apprentice to The Last Magus, Marcus Gideon takes his destiny into his own hands, combining the strength of a warrior with the power of a mage. The story takes you from his rebirth and apprenticeship to assuming the mantle of a Magus and training at the Basilon Magical Academy. He makes friend, allies and enemies along the way in this first step into a fantasy steampunk world of machines and magic.

Helen: I just love the cover, it is so fantastical and atmospheric. How did you come up with the design?

Mark: Since this novel focused on one main character, Marcus Gideon, I wanted to represent him and his powers on the cover. I also wanted to touch on the steampunk aspect of the story with the gears and mechanical frame. Through my contact with other independently published fantasy authors on social media, I discovered a great cover artist, Anna-Lena Spies (@eerilyfair_design on IG) and she worked great with me, even though we communicated only through email (She’s in the Netherlands). She deftly showed the power of a Magus, summoning a magical weapon from thin air. I plan to have her do all my covers to ensure consistency across the series I intend to write.

Helen: I’m so glad there are more stories to come in the series and I can’t wait to see what you come up with for the covers! What made you write this particular story.

Mark: I grew up as a child of the nuclear age, living through the Cold War, wondering how the world would end. You had so many post-apocalyptic movies and books in the 60’s through the 80’s, so much so that it overwhelms the mind. I wondered what would happen if the world ended by magic? That’s where this story came from. I imagined magic returning to the world, in such a force, that cities and countries would fall, people and animals would change form, and the world would start anew. But I also didn’t want a pure fantasy world, so I thought about my new favorite genre . . . steampunk. What if I combined magic and machines and built a world around that idea. It may look and act like a “Tolkien-esque” world, but it is one of magic and machine where the two mingle and merge into one.

Helen: Steampunk fantasy is so cool, with all the inventions and ‘new’ technology at your fingertips, your imagination is your limit really in what you could come with. What made you choose to write fantasy?

Mark: As a young teen, I loved comic books. I started creating my own comic book characters and stories. I even drew a little. I wanted to be the next Stan Lee or Jack Kirby but my artistic skills didn’t pan out. I went the writing route instead. I joined the US Navy as a Navy Journalist, but I wrote mostly news releases, feature articles, and press releases. It was during that time that I started developing my writing skills and developed my story into the Forever Avalon series. I can also say my time playing Dungeons and Dragons helped me with world building, character creation, and developing a story. All of that was part of the game so it helped me in my writing. I am a full-time writer, both personally and professionally. I work as a writer-editor with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. My job is to try to make the complex writings of government rules and regulations more readable and clearer for everyday people. At night, I work on everything for my novels, from social media posts, marketing, and writing whatever work in progress I have.

Helen: You are very lucky that you are able to write for your work, keeps your writing juices flowing! Aside from translating indecipheral regulations, what else can you tell us about yourself?

Mark: I am a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. I deployed on four aircraft carriers, including aboard USS Enterprise (CVN 65) when 9/11 happened. We were on our way home, at the end of a six-month deployment, as we watched it happen via satellite TV. You could feel the ship turning around as we moved on station, waiting for the chance for a little payback, as it were. The Enterprise was first to launch strikes against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. It was during this deployment that I wrote my first novel, Forever Avalon, as a way of dealing with the separation from family and war.

Helen: First, thank you for your service. Second, those experiences at sea must have given you so much material for your books! No wonder you like to combine the wonder of technology onto your novels. You must have had time to read as well. What is your favourite book?

Mark: The Elric of Melnibone series by Michael Moorcock. It was the fantasy book series that inspired my own writing style, going beyond the norms of fantasy to find something new. I loved the dark gritty character in Elric and villains he faced, simple but intimidating, and the conflicts he faced in each and every story. Plus, the new mythologies created in this world were sheer brilliance, a first-rate study in fantasy world building for any writer.  

Helen: I haven’t read that series, I must go and check it out. Thank you so much for chatting with me today. To close us out can you share a little about your plans for 2022?

Mark: I have two books being released in 2022 (no dates yet): Corsair and the Sky Pirates, a steampunk historical fiction bringing the war between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison to a new level of adventure from Revolutionary Press; and The River of Souls, a fantasy novella showing love can cross time and space from Curious Corvid Publishing.

You can also find Mark at the Katsucon 2022 anime convention, February 18-20 at the Gaylord Convention Center, National Harbor, MD. Where he will be signing and selling his books during the three-day event.

About the Author:

Mark Piggott at the Willamsburg Festival

Mark Piggott, a native of Phillipsburg, N.J., enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1983, beginning a 23-year career.

He served on three aircraft carriers and various duty stations as a Navy Journalist before he attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. He retired from active duty in 2006.

His first novel, Forever Avalon, was published in 2009, followed by his second novel, The Dark Tides, in 2014. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series from Austin Macauley Publishing, was released in 2020. He is currently working on the fourth book in the Forever Avalon series, The Prometheus Engine, and a new fantasy/adventure series, The Last Magus.

He and his wife, Georgiene, live in Alexandria, Virginia. They have three children.

For all the latest:

Website

Instagram

You can purchase The Last Magus: A Clockwork Heart from Amazon:

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

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

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

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Preorder available on Amazon – Sentinals Across Time

Fourth book in the Sentinals Series. Release Date: March 22, 2022.

Sentinals Across Time

Have you started the adventure yet? Here is the next chapter in the journey.

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 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 like Epic Fantasy then check out my Sentinal Series

Get ready for Book Four of the Sentinal Series coming Spring 2022- Purchase the first book Sentinals Awaken now:

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice

Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery

Book Four : Sentinals Across Time (Add to your Goodreads shelf.)

Author Interview – J.L Kodanko

Author of Storyteller

Today I am chatting to Jenifer Kodanko from the writing team of Jennifer and Luke Kodanko who are the authors of fantasy book series The Hurricane Chronicles of which the first two books Storyteller and Intruder are now available.

Helen: Welcome Jennifer. So excited to meet half of a writing team. Tell us how it works!

Jennifer: My pen name is J.L. Kodanko, and the initials stand for both mine and my husband’s first names. (Jennifer and Luke) Our writing is a joint effort and we truly make a phenomenal team. I usually have the seed of an idea, and my husband helps flesh it out into a full story. I dream up the characters, and he helps round them out into credible people. Together we work on the plot and scheme up all kinds of twists and turns and schemes to make it the most enjoyable reading experience possible. 

Helen: Sounds like a perfect writing team! So what books are you working on?

Jennifer: My current fantasy series is called The Hurricane Chronicles. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy series that follows Reka of the Agiles. Our tagline is “She knows all the legends, but she doesn’t know her own story.” The series has two books published, and there will be two more before it is complete. By the end of Storyteller (book 1), all the players have been assembled. By the end of Intruder (book 2), we understand that things are not as they seem in the drought ravaged land of Orosea. And in the final two books, we will see the culmination of this story, where our heroes will hopefully triumph over evil, as long as I do my job right!  

Helen: I have Storyteller on my physical TBR list. I am looking forward to starting your series! The cover is gorgeous, how did you come up with the design?

Jennifer: Reka sits around the fire with her traveling acrobatic troupe and tells them stories in the evenings. Through them we learn about the world of Orosea, and the problems that have been plaguing it. So choosing a cover with a dynamic fire was a shoe-in, and the sword is meant to evoke the warrior that she encounters in her travels. He will be a critical part of her story! This was our first attempt at designing a cover, and a year later I’m still thrilled with the results! 

Helen: I love it when the cover supports the story. Tell us what made you write this particular story.

Jennifer: Three years ago, my husband challenged me to write a book-any book, start to finish. I chose to write a historical romance. It’s not going to win any awards, but it proved to me that I could, in fact, write an entire book. After that we started playing around with ideas for the premise to a fantasy series. We found our inspiration in Mayan mythology and I started writing. Six months later, I had a complete manuscript! I let a few friends read it and they loved it, and we started getting serious about publishing it. We chose to go the self publishing route because it allows us to retain all of the creative control over our work. Also, we can publish as quickly as we can write the books, which is immensely satisfying for both us and our readers!  

Helen: Why did you choose to write fantasy?

Jennifer: I write fantasy because I learned from Star Trek: The Next Generation that you can tackle really big issues if you place the story in a fantastical setting. Fantasy has a way of putting people at ease, because no one feels attacked and everyone likes escapism. Then, once you’ve drawn readers into your fictional world, you can talk about things like courage, equality, honesty and integrity. Fantasy breaks down the walls that society builds, and I truly love that about the genre. 

Helen: That is a great way of looking at it. When you think of your writing journey, what is the best piece of advice you’ve recieved?

Jennifer: This is specific to writing, but my mantra these days is “done is better than perfect.” I’d rather take a crack at something, give it my all, and then move on before I can spiral out into endless revisions and tweaks and adjustments. Looking back on the two books I’ve published, I’d change word choices and even some aspects of storytelling. But overall, I’m still really happy with the books I’ve written. I strive to improve with every book, and as a reader, I always enjoy watching an author grow in their craft. I’d rather have ten good books finished and published than one almost-perfect-but-it-needs-one-more-pass manuscript that no one else ever sees. For me, so much of the enjoyment of writing comes from hearing how people enjoyed my stories. If I don’t publish them, I’ll never get to share them with others. By and large, our readers have been immensely kind and supportive of the fact that writing is an endless learning curve. 

Helen: How do you fit writing into your daily life?

Jennifer: It depends on the season I’m in. Sometimes I can schedule out 3-4 hour uninterrupted blocks each day to write, and that is glorious. Other times (like right now), I write for an hour in the mornings, fit in a little more throughout my day, and then another hour after the kids are in bed. That last hour is usually also brainstorming plot points and character arcs with my husband. It’s a bit piecemeal, but I’ll take writing time however it comes! 

Helen: I’m the same. I think most writers have to fit writing into pockets of time, but sometimes, when I have a writing urge, I just have to take time off work because I can’t concentrate until I have got my thoughts on paper! How about music? Do you listen to music when writing or do you prefer silence?

Jennifer: I almost always listen to instrumental music when I’m writing. If I’m really stuck on a scene, music is one of my foolproof writer’s block busters. I’ve used Marvel Avengers soundtracks heavily in my writing of The Hurricane Chronicles-the scores are just so epically inspiring! 

Helen: Which do you prefer, writing or editing?

Jennifer: 1000% writing. I see the value in editing, and I do it because my books are so much better after that effort. But writing a first draft is…magical. Everything is possible. The story is yet undiscovered. My characters are still raw, vague ideas in my mind. And I get to watch it all unfold through my fingertips. It’s glorious. I wish all writing could be just writing, and no editing! 

Helen: So, if you didn’t write fantasy, would you try another genre?

Jennifer: I’m trying my hand at contemporary romance. It’s a whole different beast, and although I’ve written several different things, I feel like I’m just starting to get a handle on it. Emotional stories that aren’t plot driven are MUCH more difficult to write! But I’m a diehard romance fan, so it’s worth it to me to learn how to do it.

Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today, it has been great chatting with you. Last question, what are some of your favourite books that you’ve read recently?

Jennifer: I recently finished The Folk of the Air series by Holly Black, and I wholeheartedly recommend the entire series. That said, The Wicked King was my absolute favorite. The writing was top notch, I fell in love with the characters, and the entire plot was just so clever. Also, I’ve read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir and her worldbuilding was masterful. I need to get back to that series! If you’re looking for a lovely, simple fantasy romance, Radiance by Grace Draven was an absolute delight. And I’ve read A Court of Mist and Fury so many times I’ve memorized some parts, so I guess that deserves a mention as well. 

About the Author:

Jennifer Kodanko

My first memory of a writing assignment should have been a signal to me that I would end up writing epic fantasy stories. I was tasked with a two paragraph story in second grade, and I filled two pages, front and back! My next memory of writing is a fun little story in sixth grade called Molly and the Terrible Day. It was a cast full of anthropomorphized kitchen items; the star, Molly, was a chipped cup (perhaps a Beauty and the Beast reference?). The villain was a blender, and the kitchen item in distress was a birthday candle. I printed it out (by hand!), bound it, and even gave it a hand drawn cover. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I eventually ended up becoming serious about writing stories, since I was obviously a child prodigy.

High school and college gave me enough writing assignments about horribly boring things that I never had time for creative writing. Then I got married and started playing around with words again. I wrote a decorating blog for seven years, but then I started having kids, and time (along with sleep, and clean clothes) became a scarce and oh-so-precious commodity. Fast forward a few years, with a husband who never stopped encouraging me to write, and I finally just sat down and started writing. And the rest, as they say, is history.

For all the latest:

Website

You can purchase Storyteller from Amazon:

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

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

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

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Preorder available on Amazon – Realm of Darkness Boxset

My book contribution to this anthology: SoulBreather | Book one of the SoulMist series

Join me on the Dark Book Boyfriends facebook page on January 18th for the cover reveal for SoulBreather. Only available as part of the Realm of Darkness anthology so preorder your copy now while it’s available.

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. She rescues a broken and tortured man named Mav, but without a SoulWeaver, how can she save him? 

Can Solanji save Mav 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?

Realm of Darkness Boxset: 40+ novels for just 99c – Preorder now, publishes October 4th 2022

When darkness falls, beware of the creatures that come out to play…
Fall under their spell over and over again in this ultimate paranormal and fantasy romance boxset! Over 40 full-length novels with heart melting heroes and devastating anti-heroes, full of romance, magic, mystery, and adventure can be yours for an insanely low price.

Ready to be swept away? Your book boyfriends are waiting… Enemies-to-lovers, alphas, fae, werewolves, dragons, shapeshifters, vampires, gods, angels, demons, and more: with novels ranging from sweet to spicy, there’s a flavor to sate your every craving.

You won’t find these exclusive novels anywhere else, so don’t miss your chance. Over ten thousand pages by New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors and at less than three cents per book, this collection is a steal, but only for a limited time. Grab it today before it’s gone forever…

If you like Epic Fantasy then check out my Sentinal Series

Get ready for Book Four of the Sentinal Series coming Spring 2022- Purchase the first book Sentinals Awaken now:

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice

Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery

Book Four : Sentinals Across Time (Add to your Goodreads)

Author Interview – Morgan Gauthier

Author of Wolves of Adalore

Welcome to 2022 and my first Indie Author interview of the year. Morgan and I met on a recent Author live session on facebook, the recording of which you can find here. Morgan is a fellow Epic Fantasy author. Wolves of Adalore is the first book of the Mark of the Hunter series and Morgan revealed her cover for her second book in the series, The Red Maiden, yesterday! Congratulations on such a gorgrious cover Morgan!

Helen: Welcome Morgan. Tell us about your latest book, The Red Maiden.

Morgan: The Red Maiden is my current project, and it will be published April, 10, 2022. This is the second book in the Mark of the Hunter Trilogy and E-Book Pre-Order is Now Available on Amazon.

Cover Art done by the amazing @artzzofkae

Synopsis:

Separated and on opposite sides of the continent, Salome and Crispin continue to amass an army to face their sister while avoiding other enemies set on killing them before they get close to Northwind.

In the Isles of Myr, Salome meets her mother’s kin while facing the ugly truth of her family’s past and her potential future as a magic wielder.

Trapped in the cutthroat Kingdom of Pulau, Crispin makes a deal with the pirates of the Shadow of Death to get him off the island and returned to his companions. But their service comes at a price.

Fully aware of her siblings’ survival and whereabouts, Niabi is left to face her past and embrace the darkness growing within her. With usurpers coming for her throne and traitors in her own court, Niabi readies herself for war.

Helen: Sibling rivalry, sounds intense! The cover is quite powerful. How did you come up with the design?

Morgan: The cover was specifically designed by @artzzofkae. She will be redesigning the first book’s cover as well as creating the cover for the third book in the Mark of the Hunter Trilogy. I commissioned character artwork from her as well and the pictures turned out better than I could have ever imagined. 

When talking with my artist, I told her I wanted Salome and Niabi on the cover because they’re our two main characters. One the heroine, the other the villain. I wanted strong women as my protagonist and antagonist, and I’m beyond thrilled with seeing them on the cover.

Helen: It is gorgeous. What inspired you to write the Mark of the Hunter series?

Morgan: I often get asked the question of what inspired me to write Wolves of Adalore and The Red Maiden. I was 14 years old when I started writing this story and it all stemmed from my love of fantasy fiction (especially The Lord of the Rings) and my interest in medieval history. But the one major problem I was finding in the books I got my hands on were the female characters were either the “damsel in distress” or the “token love interest” and I didn’t identify with either trope. I wanted to read about a girl who wasn’t perfect, wasn’t the heroine that made every right decision, but the girl who took control of her destiny and saved herself.

As I got older, I found myself fascinated with the villains in stories (Hello, Cersei Lannister!). What happened to mold them into the villain? And I realized that the villain doesn’t see themselves in that wicked light. They are normally the heroes of their own stories.
So with those concepts in mind, I wrote the Mark of the Hunter Trilogy. Both the protagonist and antagonist are women. And they are pretty badass women if I say so myself.
I wanted girls to read a book that showed they didn’t need to wait for a man to save them or slay the dragon that hunts them. They could slay the dragon and save themselves.

Helen: That is a wonderful story. How did you first begin writing?

Morgan: At eleven years old, I remember watching The Lord of the Rings and being enamoured with everything epic fantasy offered. I decided I wanted to write a story of my own that would stay with readers the rest of their lives. 

As an avid reader, I read a lot of fantasy books that featured strong males as the hero and had any female character as either the damsel in distress or a one-dimensional love interest. I decided I wanted to write a story that highlighted females as the protagonist and antagonist. I wanted to create characters I could relate to, and other little girls could look up to.   

Helen: Sounds amazing, Which characters do you prefer to write, heroes or villains?

Morgan: I really enjoy villains. But I also really enjoy morally grey heroes and villains because I believe we as people have both light and dark inside us. I find morally grey characters more relatable and villains who have the right motives but the wrong way of going about accomplishing their goals to be interesting to read about. A well-written villain will have you questioning if they are actually the bad guy of the story or not.

Helen: Who is your favourite character from your fantasy series?

Morgan: A lot of people have asked me this question and I never give them an actual answer. I feel like it’s almost like choosing my favourite child. BUT. I would say I really enjoy the villains in my books. Some of them have righteous motives but go about achieving those goals in the wrong way. Some of them are deliciously wicked and are hell-bent on wreaking havoc on their enemies. I find villains to be more interesting to read about (and at times, secretly root for).

Helen: What is your preferred genre? You don’t only write fantasy, do you?

Morgan: I write Young Adult Fantasy. I love the adventure, romance, and endless creative possibilities that fantasy offers. The gorgeous worldbuilding and the memorable characters are some of the aspects that stood out to me as a child and spurred me into reading and writing fantasy.

I have dabbled in, and published, a Contemporary Romantic Comedy entitled Aloha, Seattle, and I’ve thought about writing another book in that genre when I have the time. 

Helen: If you didn’t write fantasy, would you consider more contemporary romance books?

Morgan: I have dabbled in Contemporary Romance and published my first Rom-Com November 2, 2021. It is entitled Aloha, Seattle. I enjoyed the process of writing such a fun, light-hearted, and loving story and would definitely be interested in writing another one in the future.

Helen: Which books would you recommend from your recent reads?

Morgan: What a tough question! I have read a lot of great books this year in the Fantasy, Romance, and Mystery genres, but these are some of my favourite Fantasy reads in no particular order:

1.       On These Black Sands by Indie Author Vanessa Rasanen

2.       The Prison Healer and The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni

3.       Six of Crows Duology by Leigh Bardugo

4.       These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

5.       Daughter of the Pirate Queen Duology by Tricia Levenseller

Helen: Who is your favourite author?

Morgan: My favorite author hands down is Agatha Christie. I LOVE her Hercule Poirot mysteries. Death on the Nile, Murder in Mesopotamia, Appointment with Deathand The Mystery of the Blue Train are some of my all-time favourites! If you’re looking for great whodunnits, then look to the Queen of Mystery!

Helen: We’re approaching the end of our time together. I really appreciate you joining us today. Tell us something random about yourself.

Morgan: I LOVE Gordon Ramsey. I watch all of his shows. I look up his recipes and don’t even come close to duplicating them. My husband is an amazing chef and I get really excited when he tries new recipes!

I also really hate heights. I won’t even get up on a six-foot ladder. 

Helen: I must admit I am not a fan of heights either! Thank you so much for spending some time with me today. Just to finsh do you have any advice you would give aspiring writers?

Morgan: I would give a new writer the same advice my husband gave me when I thought about quitting before I had finished writing my first book. I was a new mom of a one-year-old and pregnant with my second child. I was frustrated that I never seemed to be able to get any writing done so I told him I was just going to give up on being a published author. The words he spoke that night in our cramped condo have stayed with me and fuelled me over the years. He said, “Even if it’s just five minutes a day, write for those five minutes. Soon, five minutes will turn into ten minutes, one sentence will turn into a paragraph, and sooner or later, you will have a finished book. Don’t give up on your dream.” That was four years ago, and I’ve written/published three books and will begin my fourth in a couple of months. If you want it, you can achieve it.

About the Author:

Morgan Gauthier

Storytelling is in Morgan Gauthier’s blood; She can’t seem to turn her brain off at night and some of her best ideas have come to her in the shower.

Born to two book-loving parents, Morgan was raised on a healthy diet of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, and any fantasy book she could get her hands on. She started writing her own stories at eleven years old and hasn’t looked back.

Wolves of Adalore was her first self-published YA Fantasy title and since then, she has published a Contemporary Romance (Aloha, Seattle) with the second YA Fantasy installment in the Mark of the Hunter Trilogy (The Red Maiden) coming in April of 2022.

Morgan Gauthier lives in East Tennessee with her husband and best friend, Brad, with their three children, Remi, Archer, and Roux (who are 4 years old and younger!). If five people wreaking havoc in the same house wasn’t enough, Morgan also has three dogs, Potter, Skye, and Bubba, and one grumpy bird named Titus.

If Morgan isn’t writing or reading, she can be found binge watching Netflix shows, attempting to cook like Gordon Ramsay (not even close to his level), and practicing archery.

You can find out more about Morgan via:

Website | Facebook | Instagram

You can purchase Wolves of Adalore from Amazon:

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

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

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

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Cover Reveal – Sentinals Across Time

Book Four of the Sentinal Series

Add to your Goodreads TBR

Release Day: Spring, 2022

If you would like to read an ARC for my latest novel, then sign up to my ARC team via the link in my linktr.ee. All I ask is that you leave an honest review on the week of the launch.

Sentinals Across Time

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 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.

Get ready for Book Four – Purchase the first book Sentinals Awaken now:

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice

Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery