Love Books? – Want to win a book dedication?

Celebrating the first bookaversary for Sentinals Awaken, the first book in my epic fantasy Sentinal series, I am offering you the chance to be listed in the book dedication of the first novel in a new series I am writing.

The book is called SoulBreather, and it is part of the Realm of Darkness Anthology, an anthology of paranornal romance books.

All you have to do is to enter the competition here, and follow me on Bookbub and/or Goodreads, and while you are there add my books to your tbr list! And that is it!

One lucky winner will be listed on the dedication page of SoulBreather, the first book in the SoulMist series.

***Give@way closes on Oct 30th, 2021 @2pm UTC. One winner will be chosen at random to receive their prize and announced on my Instagram account on October 31st, 2021. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize; if they do not claim their prize within that time, they forfeit their prize and another winner will be randomly selected.***

Realm of Darkness Anthology

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…

Pre-order eBook now!

If you order on Barnes and Noble for your nook – you can claim a free copy of the Realm Of Darkness Shorts, a selection of short stories form some of the participating authors including me!

Release Day: October 4th, 2022

The Sentinal Series

Remargaren is a vibrant, ancient world. With Goddesses, Sentinals, Rangers and Ascendants all trying to protect or attain that which is important to them.

Join me on the journey, as we meet Jerrol Haven, a King’s Ranger, who is destined to become Lady Leyandrii’s Captain. A role lost in the mists of time after her last Captain spectacularly disappeared with her when she sundered the Bloodstone and banished all magic from the world.

Throw into the mix some magical creatures, magic seeping back in, an insidious disease affecting the countries of Remargaren and the mysterious Sentinals trees, the only reminder of the Lady’s Guards, her faithful Sentinals, and we have the Sentinals Series.

Get ready for Book 3.5 – Purchase the first book Sentinals Awaken now:

Book One: Sentinals Awaken

Book Two: Sentinals Rising

Book Three: Sentinals Justice

Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery (Preorder)

Sentinals Awaken- Book One Cover Reveal!

I am so excited! My cover is finished!

So here is the big reveal! Would you stop and take a look inside? I hope so, let me know what you think via the contact page.

Cover by Jeff Brown of jeffbrowngraphics.com

From a rough sketch, which my cover designer, Jeff mocked up in front of my eyes as we chatted on a video conference call, (see left), to more formalised 80% done (see below right) to the finished article (above!)

Jeff has created a beautiful work of art as well as a book cover, and I can’t wait to see it as a poster.

So a big thank you to Jeff from Jeff Brown Graphics (www.jeffbrowngraphics.com) for designing such a beautiful cover; from the Lady and the Moon symbol to the grand panoramic scene (see at bottom of post) as Jerrol and his Sentinals ride through an encroaching storm to attempt to rescue the King of Vespiri.

With the advent of online bookstores and eReaders, the cover must be eye-catching as a thumbnail image, which means the main image must be more prominent, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be artistic.

The cover is one of the most important aspects of a novel, it is what catches the readers eye in the first place, to take note and stop and browse, and hopefully, to pick up out of the choice of many, and then the first few lines of the book catch your attention and draw you in.

Want to know what’s inside Sentinals Awaken? – Sneak peek!

Chapter 1
Lady’s Temple Gardens, Old Vespers

The sword missed his nose by an inch, if that. A momentary relief as solid steel thunked into the ground and Jerrol jerked back like a snake about to strike and then slithered away, inhaling the scent of soggy grass, dirt and roses. Roses?

His brow wrinkled in confusion as he scuttled away and regained his feet. Backing towards the tall Sentinal tree arching over the Lady’s temple, he strained to see his assailants. He leaned against the trunk as he scanned the gardens. He would have to apologise later; staying alive was more important than the sanctity of the temple gardens.

There were three guards, large and brutal: Chancellor’s men eager to deliver him up more dead than alive. The complaint of him snooping around the Chancellor’s business would be enough to get him placed on report, if not demoted. He wasn’t supposed to be near Chancellor Isseran, let alone following him.

Gritting his teeth, Jerrol considered his options. He couldn’t kill them, not on the Lady’s soil, yet he couldn’t let them report back, either. The satin-smooth bark of the tree beneath his fingers warmed for a moment as he hesitated. The image of a tall, black-haired man stood before him. This apparition wore a silvery green high-necked uniform that glimmered in the swirling mist. He was striking to look at, unnaturally pale, with distinctive features and straight, black eyebrows over silver eyes that gleamed in the dim light.

Jerrol gaped at him, unable to stop staring. It wasn’t possible. Lady help him, it wasn’t possible, was it? He recoiled as the man spoke, taking a step back.

“Captain? Is it time?” the man asked, his silver eyes burning bright.

He was young – younger than he was, Jerrol thought. Yet his expression was grave. There was a sense of a burden understood and accepted; of experience over youth. He had a sword strapped to his hip and a bow across his back, and he looked like he knew how to use them.

Jerrol frowned. “Time?” he asked, and the image faded.


Sentinals Awaken, is set in the word of Remargaren, a world where magic was banished by the deity Leyandrii over three thousand years ago along with the malevolent Ascendants. Jerrol Haven, a Captain of the King’s Rangers discovers treason at the highest level and although the ailing King tries to help him, the Crown Prince sentences Jerrol to death. Jerrol must escape, discover why magic is returning to his world and discover the source of an insidious disease spreading through the Watches. After accidentally awakening a Lady’s Sentinal he needs to discover how to awaken more Sentinals and rescue the King – but even then, his troubles are only just beginning.

I hope the cover and opening excerpt tempt you to order Sentinals Awaken when it launches in the autumn and you enjoy reading the book. Please ensure you leave a review when you do, reviews drive visibility and keep an independent author like me writing!

If you’re interested in delving into the world of Remargaren and would like to visualise the Kingdom of Vespiri, I have been collecting some images on a Pinterest board at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/helengarraway/vespiri-world-of-remargaren/

Sign up to my newsletter below, to find out first when Sentinals Awaken will be available for order! And to gain access to the bonus content on the members only corner when it goes live.

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Just look at that scenery, gorgeous!

I’m Unstoppable

Here we are halfway through July, wondering where summer has gone, and I’m listening to Sia’s album, This is Acting, as I edit Book three: Sentinals Justice. I’ve mowed the lawn, procrastinated on twitter and am now knuckling down to work, by writing this blog!

As Sia sings, I’m alive, I think I feel most alive as I delve into the world of Remargaren and embrace my characters, who are no doubt thankful to still be alive, or maybe not. I can see Birlerion’s indignant face as I write, he is not happy with me and nor is Jerrol. Authors do put their favourite characters through the wringer at times, all in the name of tension and conflict.

As I edit, I can’t help but get drawn back into the story. I can see why we need independent editors to keep us on the straight and narrow because I write the type of fantasy I enjoy reading. I must admit, when I return to a piece of work, I’ve forgotten elements of what I wrote, and I get lost in the story again and forget I’m supposed to be editing.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Book One, Sentinals Awaken, is progressing. It’s gone back to the copy editor for final review. The map of Vespiri is in progress, the book cover should come in any day soon. I keep checking my email, but it hasn’t arrived yet! Then its formatting and ISBN numbers and working my way through the publishing process. It’s surprising how long everything takes, but fingers crossed I’ll be launching in October 2020.

I’ve also found time to read. I have started to post book reviews, predominantly fantasy as that is my favourite genre, if you’re interested in finding other books to read, check out my first Book review on Cully Mack’s Voice of Thunder. You can find it here.

Thanks again for joining me on my journey, and I look forward to sharing my debut novel soon!

To Dither or not to Dither?

It is more difficult than expected to know when to take the next step. Development editor – check! Copy editor – check! And now what?

Then the doubts start crowding in, is it good enough? Should I self-publish or find an agent? Should I try and format myself or pay someone to do it? How much is too much to spend on a getting a book published? Especially when the full time job takes up most of your energy and there is little enough left over for writing and editing – let alone marketing and building that author platform!

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

And then the doubts creep in again, dare I think my book is good enough to publish? My Number One fan Michael thinks so! Maybe I should listen to him, he even put down Game of Thrones to read my book, Sentinals Awaken – that’s saying something isn’t it?

Yes, thumbs up, even one fan is better than no fans.

Therefore next step.

Cover Design. Oooh – this should be fun, I’ve done my research, found a designer I like, scheduled time on his calendar, watch this space as the cover develops…

And then it’s formatting the inside, and what about a map and that glossary and…and…so much to do and it’s all exciting again and back to editing book number two – Sentinals Rising.

Oh yes, and back to the day job.

Editing Book One : Sentinals Awaken

Sentinals Awaken is the first book in my Sentinals series set in the world of Remargaren.

I invested in a Market Editor to make sure my story was on point and made sense! And was surprised to find out that my weakness was grammar! Sentence structure and use of commas. So back to the grammar drawing board to relearn the grammar rules and how to avoid the dreaded comma splice! And hello semicolon. I’ve never used semicolons, and was interested to see that the eye does run over it more than a full stop, which if used too often I think can make sentences choppy. (Unless you want choppy of course!)

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

The good news was that she loved the story, found the plot original and the characters engaging. And learning grammar is probable simpler than rewriting the story or having to address plot holes or flat characters! I am sure there will many who disagree.

I addressed the issues the editor raised and relearnt my grammar (and groaned over the comma rules), and had a discussion about Point of View (POV) and how to bring out a character’s inner thoughts. I then developed one of my Sentinal characters a bit more as I had deliberately down-played him as he was threatening to take over, and he was obviously down-played too much! I have written a book just for him so he doesn’t get too downhearted and that led to me writing his backstory which became the prequel as it was such fun discovering where the Sentinals came from to begin with.

Next step is to get a few beta readers to do a final sanity check and then to find a copy editor/proofreader to check the final version, and then it will be on to formatting and cover design as dip my toe into the world of self-publishing.