Book Review: Palom by L.L.MacRae

‘Now the fighting’s over, you want to pick up where we left off? How? Everything’s changed.’

Linaria’s cities lie in ruin and her lands are scarred following Aciel’s war. The devastation worsens as dragons turn against the survivors in retribution for Aciel slaying their kin and stealing their power.

As the world attempts to recover from one global war and arm itself against another, Palom, hero and creator of the dragon-forged weapons that thwarted Aciel, flees across the Val Sharis wilds to rid himself of unwanted fame. Overwhelmed by guilt for failing to protect loved ones, his greatest threat is not just the weapons he created, but the new shadow growing over Linaria.

He is accompanied by a dragon hatched in his care – but with the god-like creatures turning against the world, will she be his salvation or destruction?

Discover new friends and rejoin old ones in World of Linaria – Book Two.

Palom is the second novel in an epic six-book saga, following a group of characters as war rages across their world. With pirates and soldiers, smiths and princes, Linaria is a vibrant land with a deeply unsettled past and an equally ominous future.

Amazon | goodreads

My Review

Palom continues on from where Moroda, the first book in the World of Linaria series left off. The title character, Palom, a tiger shape-shifter, is now a reluctant war hero – recognized wherever he goes and struggling with PTSD from the aftermath of the battle and loss of his friends. I really enjoy the shape-shifting aspect of the characters in this series – the Ittallan and Varkain have the ability to change into an animal form (snakes for the Varkain). This leads to some interesting fight scenarios such as who would win in a fight between a crocodile and a tiger?

Sapora the Varkain is now king, having slaughtered the old royalty in a ‘Red Wedding’ style event at a ball. He has moved into the palace with his half sister, Isa, and half brother Tacio. Isa is coming to see and despise his true nature in this book, but Tacio still supports him. Sapora has evil plans for the realm and now with more power at his fingertips is becoming a formidable villain.

Palom is beset by dark power which according to his beloved Lathri emanates from the sword he forged. She urges him to rid himself of the sword and refuses to marry him – leaving him broken-hearted while she busies herself organising a rebellion against Sapora. His humour improves with the addition of a baby dragon which he hatches in his fireplace! This was a cute addition to his storyline, which was otherwise fairly gloomy.

Amarah is travelling by airship with Kohl to his home realm of the Arillians, based in the clouds. I really enjoyed the world-building around the Arillian home world of Oren. Their ability to fly and wield storm magic is one of my favourite things in this series. The fact they have an army of ice golems standing guard at the entrance to their realm is also very cool. Amarah wants help to set free Moroda from the fate she consigned herself to in the previous book, sealed inside a huge crystal by a dragon. She has been told the golems might have the answer. Amarah is my favourite character in this series so far. Unfortunately she suffers more tragedy in this book, but doesn’t let it defeat her purpose.

Palom has a slower pace than Moroda as characters recover and move on with their lives. There is still action, but less than we saw in Moroda. We get to know the characters better in this book and there is a fair amount of scene setting for the next book, Amarah.

About the Author

Lauren is a fantasy author of character-driven stories and epic adventure.

Her DRAGON SPIRITS epic fantasy series explores the magic-drenched world of Tassar, where powerful spirits reign supreme.

Her WORLD OF LINARIA epic fantasy series is a light-hearted, fast-paced fantasy adventure with bucket-loads of magic, dragons, sky pirates, and airships.

She lives in a tiny village in the UK, has a degree in Psychology, and was a professional copywriter before going full-time as an author – swapping corporate copy for magic and dragons!

For signed paperbacks, visit

Twitter | Instagram

Lauren’s Books


The Citrine Key (Book 0.5 – prequel) Read My Review
The Iron Crown (Book 1) Read My Review
The Shadow Gate (Book 2) ➜ Coming Soon


Rise of a Sky Pirate (Book 0.5 – prequel) Read My Review
Moroda (Book 1) Read My Review
Palom (Book 2)
Amarah (Book 3)
Isa (Book 4)
Kohl (Book 5) ➜ Coming soon
Morgen (Book 6) ➜ Coming soon

Review: The Greatwood Portal (The Heroes of Spira #3) by Dorian Hart

The end of the world is a week away, and only Horn’s Company can stop it. All they have to do is find and rescue Ivellios, who’s been kidnapped by the Black Circle to fulfill their prophecy of freeing the all-powerful Naradawk Skewn from his prison world.

Meanwhile, Morningstar must ready her team of Ellish dream warriors to battle the vicious Aktallian Dreamborn, who continues to harass Abernathy and the archmagi. And Aravia must master the Crosser’s Maze, the most powerful and complex magical artifact ever created.

What could go wrong?

According to the goblin shaman Irligg, Horn’s Company is destined both to succeed and to fail in their quest to save the world of Spira. Kibi always says there’s no such thing as destiny, but as the forces of Charagan prepare for Naradawk’s invasion, there’s a hidden thumb on the scales of fate…

Amazon | goodreads

My Review

In this, the third episode in the five book epic fantasy series, The Heroes of Spira, we find found family, plenty of magic, adventure, bravery, romance, tragedy, mathematical torture and fabulous storytelling!

By now, the members of Horn’s Company feel familiar and it is great to see their personalities develop with each book. In The Greatwood Portal they are based once more at the archmage Abernathy’s Greenhouse, having been teleported out of the Crossers’ Maze at the end of Book 2. They are even more dedicated in their goal to defeat the Big Bad, evil sorcerer Naradawk Skewn, as the time of his prophesied escape from prison is fast approaching. The company is no longer traveling all together, having split into smaller groups.

Ivellios has been kidnapped by the cult of the Black Circle, who believe he is the key to freeing their leader, the aforementioned Naradawk.

Morningstar is dream-walking to warn her religious Sisters of Ell of the mortal danger which is facing them from Aktallian (Naradawk’s lieutenant), who is trying to pick them off while they sleep and who they must fight and defeat within the dreamscape. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story – being able to affect events in real life through dreams is a really cool concept.

Aravia is traveling in her mind through the Crosser’s Maze in order to learn as much about its secrets as possible from one of its previous Keepers, her aim being to seal up the portal through which Naradawk plans to escape, while Tor keeps an eye on her in the real world.

Meanwhile Dranko, Ernie and Certain Step are trying to find Ivellios, in order to rescue him. Each of the separate strands is expertly woven together eventually, as we approach the inevitable, exciting and heart-wrenching climax of the book.

Horn’s Company is much tighter knit now, having spent a lot of time together and shared many hardships and victories. A romantic relationship has developed between Tor and Aravia, which has changed her character quite substantially. She is now a much warmer, softer, more tolerant person than we saw at the beginning of the first book. Tor has dedicated himself to Aravia’s protection and may have lost some of his hot-headed impetuousness in the process.

Dranko and Morningstar, the two misfit outsiders within their chosen religions, are also becoming closer, having started off mistrusting and disliking one another.

I enjoyed getting to know the butler, Eddings, better in this book and continued to enjoy Aravia’s relationship with her cat, Pewter, with whom she can telepathically communicate. There wasn’t enough of Kibi communicating with rocks in this book for my liking! He didn’t seem to have much of a role for most of the book, which was a shame as he has been one of my favourite characters. He does play a significant part in the cliffhanger ending, so I can only assume he will be more present in the next book.

I felt that Ernie was also somewhat underused, being relegated to Dranko’s fighting sidekick during Ivellios’ rescue, which was a shame as his wholesomeness was something I really enjoyed in the previous books.

The world of Spira is extremely expansive and in this book it only gets larger. I felt a little lost at times and couldn’t remember why the characters had been to places that were name-checked. Maybe a list of places with their role in the story would be helpful to readers who haven’t read the previous books for quite a while.

The early part of the book seemed fairly slow-paced as storylines from previous books were reiterated and I felt like the book could have benefitted from a dedicated “story so far” section, since such a lot has happened to these characters over the space of the last two books! However, once the action kicked off the pace increased and the story became a lot more exciting and more enjoyable.

There was a lack of surprising monsters/creatures in this book – a feature of the previous two which I really enjoyed. There were only really two new monsters this time, one of which captured my imagination better than the other.

The Greatwood Portal ends on a rather large cliffhanger which will no doubt entice readers to continue with book 4, The Infinite Tower and the recently released final installment, The Adversary’s Hand and I would encourage fans of rpg style games such as D & D to dive into this series as you will undoubtedly love it!

I was lucky enough to be sent paperbacks of the first 4 books in this series by the author. Thank you Dorian Hart! My review is honest and my opinions are my own.

About the Author

Dorian Hart is the author of the recently completed Heroes of Spira epic fantasy series, which includes The Ventifact Colossus, The Crosser’s Maze, The Greatwood Portal, The Infinite Tower and The Adversary’s Hand. He also wrote the interactive science fiction novella Choice of the Star Captain for Choice of Games.

In a bygone century, Dorian graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in creative writing. This led circuitously to a 20-year career as a video game designer, where he contributed to many award-winning titles including Thief, System Shock, System Shock 2, and BioShock. 

Now he writes books in his Boston-area study, serves as the stay-at-home dad for his two daughters, and happily allows his wife to drag him off on various wilderness adventures.

Website | Twitter

Indie Spotlight – Daniel Meyer

Today I am welcoming Daniel Meyer into the Indie Spotlight.

Daniel Meyer tried his hand at a few careers, but fearing they were too realistic and achievable, he became a fantasy writer instead. Now he spends his days writing stories about magic and explosions. He is a lover of Eighties rock, an occasional kilt-wearer, and a supporter of raccoons. He lives in Missouri, where, as ever, he’s working on his next novel.

Twitter | Official Website

Welcome to my blog, Daniel!

What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

I can remember three specific things that pushed me in that direction. One was a Reddit post by Michael J. Sullivan describing how it could make more financial sense to go indie as opposed to trad. A second was reading about L.J. Smith, author of The Vampire Diaries, being fired from her own series by her publishers. A third was an offhand remark by Bernard Cornwell in which he stated that his publishers had the final say on his book titles.

Overall, it was kind of a gradual process in which I found myself leaning toward indie publishing more and more, until eventually, I knew that was what I wanted. Basically, I just wanted more control over the process, and I have no regrets. And these days, an indie author is capable of gathering just as much of a fanbase as a trad author, at least in the fantasy scene.

My path to publication wasn’t overly long, in the grand scheme of things, but it was still rather circuitous. (Good grief, only a writer would work the phrase ‘rather circuitous’ into a conversation.) I had so many ideas for stories that I basically couldn’t resist the temptation to turn them into books any longer, so I decided to take the plunge and become a writer. First, I concentrated on getting all my ideas down on paper, and then I spent months waffling over which one I should write first. I finally settled on what would become Credible Threats, book one of the Sam Adams series, though it wasn’t called that back then. I sat down to write it and enthusiastically bashed out a bunch of words, and quickly realized that I didn’t have anywhere near enough material. What was intended to be a full-length novel turned out to be a thirty-thousand-word short story. Oops.

So, I went back and forth between Sam Adams and a few other ideas for maybe three plus years, until finally I felt like I’d done all I could do with it and found my wonderful editor, Sarah Chorn, who helped me whip it into shape.

Then, I had to do the behind-the-scenes stuff, like cover art (thanks to Luke Tarzian,) setting up my website (ugh,) stuff like that. It was pretty overwhelming, but eventually the book released on November 15 of last year.

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

I guess it was because fantasy automatically makes everything cooler. Solving a murder? Throw in magic. Fighting a battle? Throw in magic. Planning a heist? Magic. And so on. (In that sense, any sort of story could become a fantasy story if you add magic. Something to ponder.) Writing SFF automatically introduces all these exciting possibilities to your story. You have the freedom to let your imagination just run amok. When you can write a story about dragons and ghosts and spaceships, it’s like… why wouldn’t you?

And I have written in other genres, albeit still under the SFF umbrella. (Hooray, an excuse to ramble about my trunk novels!) Very early in my writerly career, I made an attempt to write a space opera; it suffered from the same lack of material that Sam Adams did, but unlike Sam Adams, I never revisited it. I’m not sure why; there was definitely some stuff there that I liked. Maybe I just wanted to move on to other things. I also took a couple stabs (thank you, I’ll be here all week) at writing horror novels. They were called Dead End and The Prom, respectively, and I remember feeling very proud of them because that was when my drafts started getting longer, more like proper novels. I’d like to revisit them at some point, and write new and improved versions now that I have more experience, but I’m not sure when I’ll find the time. 

Oh yeah, and then there was my attempt at a vampire novel that I’m still not quite sure what to do with. That was my last ‘trunk novel’ before I devoted all my energy to finishing Credible Threats.

I’ll branch out eventually; I’ll write other subgenres of fantasy, as well as science fiction, horror, and so on, but I’ll probably stay under that broad SFF umbrella I mentioned.

Do you only read the genre that you write?

No; I branch out into other stuff. Last year, for instance, I actually didn’t read a ton of fantasy; not good when you’re a fantasy writer. That’ll change this year, though. When I’m not reading fantasy, I like science fiction and historical fiction. I really like nonfiction as well; basically any era from the Bronze Age to the Old West is interesting to me, but particularly the Middle Ages.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

My current read is The Exploits and Adventures of Brigadier Gerard by Arthur Conan Doyle and I’ve been enjoying it so far. TV wise, I’ve been watching House of the Dragon and just eating it up with a spoon. (It’s giving me further inspiration, as if it were needed, to finally buckle down and write my own epic fantasy. Stay tuned…) And there’s plenty of other stuff I’m working my way through or looking forward to getting back to: Locke and Key, The Umbrella Academy, Into the Badlands, Twelve Monkeys, Babylon 5, The Mandalorian, Frasier, Dollhouse, Andor, The Peripheral, on and on… (Haha I love watching TV.)

I absolutely listen to music for inspiration! There’s not a particular type, it’s all over the map. I listen to lots of movie soundtracks, which are great for providing inspiration. The action-packed stuff is obviously a big help, but writing Credible Threats, I also occasionally listened to music from Body Heat and Chinatown for some noirish vibes. They provided the soundtrack for one scene in particular in which Sam Adams meets with another character, Alexandra Tyler, a local heiress who has some information he needs. That scene was sort of my riff on the old ‘femme fatale walks into PI’s office with a case’ trope. There’s always been a bit of a noirish undercurrent to the Sam Adams books: venal rich people who run the city, cops on the take, gangsters, and a sarcastic, oft-beaten up hero who’s constantly in over his head. 

There were other, more random songs as well. I listened to “Heat of the Night” by Bryan Adams, for instance, because it always made me imagine Sam Adams skulking around the streets of his hometown of Williamsport. “Disconnected” by Face to Face was something I listened to when I needed the right vibe for the high school scenes. And Sam has “I’m the Only One” by Melissa Etheridge as his ringtone, so now I always associate that song with the books. No doubt there are more I’ve forgotten.

Plus, whenever Sam was up in his feels, I could always count on the soundtrack from The Vampire Diaries to get me in the right frame of mind. Musical spoiler: “Poison and Wine” by The Civil Wars was what I listened to when writing the final scene of book two. (Speaking of book two, “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins will be making a slightly goofy appearance.)

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

While I’m by no means the first person to suggest this, I think the number one thing is to get your writing time carved out. For instance, I would write when I got home from work, but whenever you do it, the important thing is to get into that groove where you can write regularly. And it’s easier said than done and will probably take a long time before you can manage, but once you get into the habit, it makes a big difference and you start making some real progress on your WIP. You’ll see things going from the idea stage to reality and it’ll feel great.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I’m currently working on Sam Adams Book Two: Rising Shadows. It’ll pick up about six weeks after the end of Credible Threats, and Sam will have to deal with a new threat that comes to town while another lurks closer to home. He’s gonna have to ally with some people he has good reason not to trust, and try to figure out how to stab them in the back before they do the same to him. And it’ll get very complicated and very dangerous. I’m still working on it, but it’s coming along nicely.

 I also want to write an epic fantasy series called The Voice in the Mist. It’s a bit tough to wrangle because I have to figure out where to work it into my schedule along with Sam Adams Three, to say nothing of the fact that it’ll easily be the longest thing I’ve written so far, but I’m impatient to get to it, so it’s a pretty high priority. It’ll most likely be the first thing I publish that’s not a Sam Adams novel. And lots more, someday!

Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today – I wish you every success with your books!

Credible Threats

Sam Adams, sixteen-year-old wizard, has zero interest in saving the world—but staying out of the line of fire isn’t an option for wizards.

When a new designer drug hits the streets, giving ordinary humans magical powers and leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, it threatens to turn his city of Williamsport’s long-simmering conflict between the haves and the have-nots into a full-scale war.

The only one with the skills to protect the city, Sam finds himself thrust into a conspiracy far darker and more dangerous than he ever imagined, with tentacles stretching into the criminal underworld and the wealthy elite—and into the spirit world. Fighting for his life, surrounded by enemies, Sam has to dig deeper than ever before to keep Williamsport from going up in flames.

But even magic has its limits.

Amazon | Goodreads

BBNYA Spotlight – Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines) by Courtney Maguire

BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or Twitter @bbnya_official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads. Today I am happy to be shining a spotlight on the 9th place finalist, which I will definitely read and review at a later date – just look at the amazingly striking cover!

Bloodlaced (Youkai Bloodlines) by Courtney Maguire

Publisher: City Owl Press
Length: 314 Pages
Genre: Paranormal
Age Category: Adult
Date Published: 29 September 2020

Kanjin hardly view their servants as human. Even less so when they are different.

Asagi is different. Both a man and a woman.

In the wake of his failure to protect a boy they saw as a son from their abusive master, Asagi is sold into the house of a young nobleman, Mahiro, who is the opposite of everything Asagi has ever known—gentle, kind, and generous.

Mahiro bonds with Asagi and their friendship blooms into a deep and profound love.

But when Asagi is poisoned out of jealousy, Mahiro reveals himself to be youkai, a demon who feeds on blood, and he has no choice but to turn Asagi to save their life.

Asagi awakes reborn, strong, and eternally youthful. But the price for Asagi’s new life is high.

The blood of the innocent.

Just as Asagi’s trust in Mahiro falters, the boy they failed to protect, now a man, reappears.

New master, same threat.

With both a literal and proverbial monster at the door, Asagi must decide what it means to be human to protect what they love most.

Content Warnings: physical abuse, sexual abuse (off-page), self-harm, blood, graphic violence.

If you like Bella Forrest, P. C. Cast, AJ Tipton, or Anne Rice, you will love this beautiful dark paranormal fantasy romance.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Goodreads

Author Bio

Courtney Maguire is a University of Texas graduate from Corpus Christi, Texas.

Drawn to Austin by a voracious appetite for music, she spent most of her young adult life in dark, divey venues nursing a love for the sublimely weird. A self-proclaimed fangirl with a press pass, she combined her love of music and writing as the primary contributor for Japanese music and culture blog, Project: Lixx, interviewing Japanese rock and roll icons and providing live event coverage for appearances across the country.

FlightLog: The Novel Adventures of a Stewardess Wannabe Who Becomes a Flight Attendant by Suz

Today I am excited to be joining the blog tour organised by iread book tours with a review of FlightLog by Suz. The full tour schedule can be found here. Besure to enter the Giveaway further down the post!

Book Title:  FlightLog: The Novel Adventures of a Stewardess Wannabe Who Becomes a Flight Attendant by Susan Humphrey
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  338 pages
Genre:  Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Memoir(ish), Coming-of-age
Publisher:  Majuscule Press
Release date:   August, 2022
Format available for review:  print (US), ebook (EPUB, PDF), audiobook (audible download)
Tour dates: Mar 6 to Mar 24, 2023
Content Rating:  PG. A few romantic encounters but light on the details. Reference to tobacco use.

“It was 1978. People didn’t have home computers, video players, or answering machines. We rented our telephones from local phone companies and hand-wrote letters. The terms ‘politically correct’ and ‘African-American’ had not been coined. ‘Eating disorders’ and ‘alternate lifestyles’ were not yet common household phrases. Only strippers wore thongs, which made perfect sense to me, as they only caused one to gyrate their hynie in a desperate attempt to dislodge the bothersome wedgie.”

So writes Sherri Van Ness, an unassuming girl from the burbs of Kansas who’s about to embark on the adventure of her life when she signs up to become a stewardess. But it’s much more turbulent than this doughy-eyed 19-year-old ever imagined as she tries to navigate past grouchy passengers, fly-by-night relationships and the unforgiving, relentless, humiliating, monthly weigh-ins. Some dreams come true. Others require a vomit bag.

That’s not to say Sherri doesn’t enjoy herself. Au contraire! There are friends to be made and men to be made and the maid who made up her room in New York is so nice!

Yes, the work is difficult at times and the money isn’t always good, but there are perks: free flights and an endless supply of tiny vodka bottles and salted peanuts (peanut allergies hadn’t been invented yet.)

Like Dorothy Gale sans Toto, Sherri leaves Kansas and finds herself amidst a cast of characters as strange to her as the Scarecrow and the Munchkins were to Dorothy. Her whirlwind journey takes her from innocent, insecure stewardess to mature and confident flight attendant. Or does she?

Book your flight now with this very enjoyable read, put your seat back in the upright position, and enjoy the ride!

AMAZON ~ Audible
BAM ~ B&N ~
add to goodreads

My Review

The author of FlightLog has worked as a Flight Attendant and her experience really shows in the detail of this book. In fact it often reads like a memoir rather than a work of fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all about Sherri Van Ness’s adventures as she trained to be a flight attendant with Gateway Airlines at the end of the ‘70s – and then during her career, based out of New York. It was really interesting to learn about all the different escapades that the flight crew got up to on their layovers and the juicy gossip about the varied characters made it very difficult to put this book down!

The main character is extremely likable – a hard worker who is friendly and personable – she always seems to have a witty put down to hand, and a smile for all of her customers. Everyone who meets her falls for her personality and appearance and appreciates her hard working nature. Her life in New York is full of glitz and glamour despite her thinking of herself as a normal girl from Kansas.

I equally enjoyed the secondary characters, from fabulous Maurice, determined Danny, to glamorous Jeanna and Alex, and the gorgeous men Sherri finds herself hooking up with.

Each of the chapters is given the name of a popular song from the decade in which the story is set and song lyrics are peppered throughout the narrative – I really enjoyed this original idea and found myself singing along with some of them.

FlightLog was a really quick and fun read which didn’t require much concentration – ideal for a flight or vacation read!

US Giveaway

About the Author

Susan Jo Humphrey, the daughter of a diplomat, was born in Izmir, Turkey where she lived for three years. She also lived in Korea and Thailand, before returning home to the US with her family as a teenager. She has traveled all over the United States, and has called several parts of this country ‘home.’ Her many airplane rides as a child convinced her she must one day become a stewardess.

Suz was a flight attendant for thirteen of her twenty-five years with UAL. She began penning FlightLog with the help of the Naperville Writer’s Group, outside of Chicago. There, she published in their annual pamphlet, had a humor piece printed in an online magazine, and contributed many articles to local newspapers. At the time of publication, she is busy working on FlightLog II.

Away from the keyboard, Suz loves yoga, reading, cooking, listening to music and playing her guitar. She still enjoys mapping out travel to faraway places she’s never seen, as well as planning return trips to her favorite spots.

She currently lives in Southern California and has two grown children. Today, she’s in healthcare, where she’s worked since 2014. Suz was the ‘baby’ of her flight attendant classes – and the ‘senior’ student in her nursing classes. She’s eager to write that story as well: a novice baby-boomer RN begins her dream career as a travel nurse – just as a pandemic breaks out!

Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Meet the Authors 2023 – #Familysagas Judith Barrow, #familyhistory S. Bavey, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

The lovely and supportive Sally Cronin was nice enough to include me in her summary of authors of family sagas. The link below will take you to her blog to read the article.

Welcome to the 2023 series of meet the authors. This series offers me the opportunity to not just share my personal recommendation for the author, …

Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Meet the Authors 2023 – #Familysagas Judith Barrow, #familyhistory S. Bavey, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

Cover Reveal: Stargun Messenger by Darby Harn

Today I am thrilled to be joining the Cover Reveal for the latest novel by Darby Harn: Stargun Messenger, organised by Escapist Book Tours.

Series: Stargun Messenger
Genre: Science Fiction/Space Opera
Intended Age Group: Adult
Pages: 368
Published: May 5, 2023
Publisher: Fair Play Books (Self Published)

To save the stars, Astra Idari must outrun her own shadow.

Astra Idari is a mess.

She drinks too much, remembers too little, and barely pays for it all as a Stargun Messenger. She hunts down thieves who steal filamentium, the fuel that allows for faster-than-light travel. When Idari meets Gen Emera, she meets the girl of her dreams and the last living star. There’s just one problem.

Filamentium is only found in the blood of living stars.

Everyone wields knives and justifications for butchering the living stars to get around, but once Idari knows the truth, she faces a stark choice. Either she turns Emera over to her employers who control the filamentium monopoly, or risks everything to help Emera fulfill her quest to save her people.

The choice should be simple, but it’s not losing her life that terrifies Idari. It’s finally living. Idari knows she’s human despite outwardly appearing to be an android with a failing memory stitched together by her ship’s irascible AI, CR-UX. She’s been just getting by for longer than she remembers, assured in her humanity, but not enough to risk it.

Idari has lived her entire life in darkness. The dark comforts and shields. The dark preserves in its cold, and Idari may not be able to keep her star out of her shadow.

“If James Joyce had grown up reading X-Men comics and obsessively playing Destiny, he would have written this. A breathtakingly imaginative, star-spanning romp that is equal parts swashbuckling galactic adventure and lyrical introspection about love and identity.”

– Wayne Santos, author of The Chimera Code

Amazon | goodreads

And here’s the striking cover you’ve been waiting for…

Cover Artist Info: Al Hess

Twitter | Instagram | Website

Author Bio & Contact Information

Darby Harn is the author of the SPSFC quarterfinalist Ever The Hero, which Publisher’s Weekly called “an entertaining debut that uses superpowers as a metaphor to delve into class politics in an alternate America.” His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, and other venues. Visit for more.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter

Indie Spotlight – JCM Berne

Today I am welcoming author JCM Berne into the Indie Spotlight.

JCM Berne codes by day. By night he retreats to his secret lair and fights the deconstruction of the superhero genre by writing stories where the heroes are trying to do the right thing and, for the most part, succeed. He spends far too much time on twitter, discord, and instagram, whispering to himself that scrolling through one more set of pictures of expensive watches will somehow further his writing career.

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Free short story

Welcome to the Indie Spotlight!

What made you decide to publish your books independently? What was your path to publication?

I spent a couple of months looking for agents interested in superhero/space opera adventure stories and found … none. I believed then (as I do now) that this genre has a significant audience, but the publishing world doesn’t seem to care, and I wasn’t particularly interested in writing a middle grade cozy fantasy (nothing wrong with middle grade cozies! Just not my thing).Once I decided to publish, I released my book with a relatively inexpensive cover and waited for the accolades to roll in. I actually got quite a lot of positive feedback on that early version, and I decided to actually learn the craft of writing and rework the book. I hired an editor, started taking classes, and revised Wistful Ascending a couple of times to make it what it is today.

What made you decide to write in your specific genre rather than other genres? Have you ever written in other genres?

I think flying superheroes are cool! I don’t have a more academic answer than that, really. I think people punching things is cooler than people tossing fireballs, so I write about people who punch things, and not about wizards. I don’t think guns are cool (I mean aesthetically, in an action story, I’m not making a political statement about gun regulation) so I write about worlds where magic makes guns less than useful. Those choices to me aren’t about right and wrong, correct and incorrect, it’s just about the aesthetic one prefers. I imagine if I were a retired marine sniper I’d be a lot more into guns and tactical action and I’d be writing those sort of stories… but I’m not, I’m a lifelong martial artist.I’ve written plenty of straight fantasy! My first several (unreleased) books are high fantasy, and the book I just finished is high fantasy (release plans to be determined). I cannot imagine ever writing hard sci fi or trying to write non-genre fiction.

Do you only read the genre that you write?

For the most part, yes. I like genre stories – sci fi and fantasy. I’ll read some hard sci fi once in a while, and I certain read outside the superhero world, but I really prefer the SFF world. In the past I’ve delved into literary fiction, detective fiction, and thrillers, but never for very long.

What are you currently reading? Watching on TV? Is there a type of music you listen to for inspiration?

I’ve been reading a lot of SFF indie books – largely books written by people I know. I just finished The Crew, which was hilarious, and started Prince of the Wasteland. I’m also re-reading Harry Dresden and JR Carrel to discuss on his youtube channel. I’ve been watching very little TV the last few months, though I typically watch most of the genre stuff that hits Netflix and quite a bit of anime. I’m sure my Netflix queue is enormous right now! I listen to Bollywood music for inspiration. I have a playlist:

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Your first draft will be awful. That’s okay. You can break the rules, but only if you have a really, really good reason. The rules are there for a reason. Don’t write superhero stories, they’re very hard to market.

What are you working on right now and what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I’m editing The Millennium Qi, a high fantasy wuxia-inspired novel about a retired monster hunter tearing apart a continent to rescue her kidnapped daughters. I’m honestly not sure what will happen to that book. I might query it and I might self publish it! I just started writing Turn Four of the Hybrid Helix, Shadow of Hyperion. It should appeal to anyone who enjoyed the first three turns!

Thank you so much for joining me on my blog today – I wish you every success with your books – I enjoyed the first two and have the short story on my kindle!

Wistful Ascending (Turn One of the Hybrid Helix)

The il’Drach have conquered half a galaxy behind the civilization-ending Powers of their mixed-species children.
Half-human Rohan, exhausted by a decade fighting for their Empire, has paid a secret and terrible price for his freedom.
Now retired, he strives to live a quiet life towing starships for the space station Wistful. His most pressing problems are finding the perfect cup of coffee and talking to a gorgeous shuttle tech without tripping over his own tongue.
A nearby, long-dormant wormhole is opened by a shipful of scared, angry refugees, and the many eyes of the Empire focus uncomfortably on Wistful.
As scientists, spies, and assassins converge, reverting to the monster the Empire created is the surest way to protect his friends. And the surest way to lose them.

Amazon | goodreads | My Review of Wistful Ascending

Return of The Griffin (Turn Two of the Hybrid Helix)

Humanity faces extinction. Ten-kiloton monsters are rising from the depths of the Pacific, levelling entire cities in frenzies of destruction. Earth’s heroes have been decimated. The survivors put their hope in one last, desperate plan: find Hyperion, Earth’s most powerful hero, and ask him to return from exile to save them.What they don’t know is that Hyperion is dead.
The Griffin spent ten years fighting wars across the sector as a weapon of mass destruction for the il’Drach Empire. His victories made his name a curse on a dozen worlds and a nightmare on scores more. He retired to the peaceful station Wistful and discovered that leaving his name behind didn’t clear his sins, his debts, or his conscience. Earth’s peril may give him a chance for redemption, if he can only find a way to stop the monsters without turning into one. Without becoming The Griffin again.

Amazon | Goodreads | My Review of Return of the Griffin

Blood Reunion
(Turn Three of The Hybrid Helix)

People are dying, their corpses left savaged and drained of blood. The obvious culprit: vampires. But vampires shouldn’t be able to sneak around Wistful undetected or shadowstep freely inside her body. Soon the station herself becomes oddly uncooperative, leaving Rohan and Wei Li bewildered and all her inhabitants in danger.
Finding and defeating the killer will require a deep dive into the ancient history of Wistful and of the il’Drach people. Into the connections between the Ursans, the wormholes, and the races that preceded them. Into the dark past of a tormented space station that yearns only for death.
Rohan will be forced to fight, and maybe even to kill. He’ll have to face those who bear grudges from his past, the Empire he once served, and his own reluctance to again become the warrior he sometimes needs to be.

Amazon | goodreads

BBNYA Spotlight: Lesser Known Monsters by Rory Michaelson

BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 15 finalists and one overall winner.  If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website or Twitter @bbnya_official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads. Today I am happy to be shining a spotlight on Lesser Known Monsters, the book which came tenth in this year’s competition. Congratulations, Rory Michaelson!

Publisher: Self-Published 
Length: 290 Pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Category: New Adult
Date Published: 31 October 2020

Being the chosen one isn’t always a good thing…

Oscar Tundale is not a hero. Anxious, indecisive, and awkward, he can barely get through a normal day. Now he’s about to find out monsters are real. Oscar’s friends: brave, stubborn Zara, and hyperactive, paranoid Marcus, might help discover what hunts him, and unravel the truth about the handsome doctor he pines for. But only heroes can save the world, so maybe the best Oscar can hope for is to not end it by accident.

The LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS series is a dark queer fantasy featuring diverse characters on a found family adventure. Perfect for fans of horror and paranormal romance who seek LGBTQ+ heroes.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Goodreads

Author Bio

Rory Michaelson is always doing too many things, and rarely the ones that they ought to be. The Lesser Known Monsters series includes Rory’s debut novel and short story collection. They were born and raised in the UK, love stories in all forms, and are easily bribed with cookies.

You can follow Rory on Twitter (and other social media platforms) for shenanigans @RoryMichaelson, or subscribe to their newsletter at

Cover Reveal: Mrs. Covington’s by K. R. R. Lockhaven

Today I am excited to be joining the Cover Reveal for cozy fantasy, Mrs Covington’s by K. R. R. Lockhaven, organised by Escapist Book Co. I was privileged to be able to beta-read this book and it is a lovely story with capybaras, a scavenger hunt, karaoke and nachos!

Book Information

Mrs. Covington’s by K.R.R. Lockhaven
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Cozy Fantasy
Intended Age Group: Adult
Pages: 276
Published: Forthcoming, Kickstarter launches 03/14
Publisher: Self Published

When Jacob Bright strikes out on his own and moves to a new island, he quite unexpectedly finds himself the owner of a failing, capybara-themed pub named Mrs. Covington’s. He quickly learns that he’s going to have to make new friends and innovate if it’s going to succeed. But when he learns that a neighboring Faun food restaurant, run by his kindhearted new friend, might have to close its doors, his priorities change.

Years ago, a reclusive wealthy woman lived on the island, and she wrote a clue in poem form which leads to a mysterious buried treasure. The treasure may be just the thing they need to save the restaurant, but they aren’t the only people seeking it.

Mrs. Covington’s is a cozy fantasy book brimming with kindness, empathy, found family, and nachos.

💥💥A Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the production costs of this book launches on 03/14 💥💥
Click here for more information.

And here it is – the lovely cover

Artist Info: Daniel Wekellis

Author Bio and Contact Details

K.R.R. (Kyle Robert Redundant) Lockhaven started out writing humorous fantasy (hence the stupid pen name) but now finds himself being pulled in the direction of cozy fantasy.

Website | Twitter | GoodReads | Amazon