News, Featured Author

Featured Author: Raquel Herrera

Meet Raquel Herrera, author of Hunters I: The Mission.

About Raquel Herrera

Raquel is a 25-year-old student of Classic Philology. She fell in love with books when she was in high school and her literature teacher made her read The Hunger Games for her final test, soon after that she found her passion to write too. Her first attempt to write was around 2016 on Wattpad, with a story called “Just one heart” but for some personal situations she stopped writing back then. Also, she is a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout. She has been following her for years. Besides writing she loves traveling and music, and she actually play bass and transversal flute.

So let’s talk a bit about Hunters I: The Mission.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Hunters I: The Mission:
Hunters is a high fantasy world, with seven kingdoms and each of them hunt a specific type of animal or creature. In the first book (The Mission) we meet Akane, she is a huntress/crown princess, who has to do a mission for her to become queen. But the day before she starts her mission, a bunch of different things happen, from a prince showing up to an ancient legend, her world will soon turn upside down.

When did you start writing Hunters I: The Mission? What inspired you to write it?
I start writing hunters back in 2018. That’s when the first idea came up. I believe I got it from a dream, this princess hunting in the woods. Back then I was living in New York alone, away from my family and I was homesick so I started writing it as a way to escape. I’m sure the sad/angry/tense scenes where the first ones I ever wrote.

Who is your favorite character?
People are going to be upset about this, but it’s actually Killian. He is not the main character at all, he is in just 2 or 3 chapters but I just love him so bad.

What was your favorite part to write?
Probably the scenes where Killian and Ashton are together (that’s around chapters 29-30) I love the chemistry of those two characters together.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Hunters I: The Mission?
Even though the situation might be hard, or what’s in front of you seems impossible, with friends and family you can make it through. Also, not giving up, writing the book was hard for me as well this mission is hard for Akane, but we didn’t give up. People should follow their dreams.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
There’s a face-to-face dragon scene

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Hunters I: The Mission?
Well, who doesn’t like a badass warrior crown princess with a sarcastic and funny sidekick friend? Plus, there’s a bit of an enemy to lovers.

Hunters I: The Mission sounds like so much fun, and I love how it has been influenced by your life.

So speaking of your life…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

If you could sit down with your favorite author for an hour, what would you ask them?
I’ll probably have time just for 1 question because I’ll freak out (no joke, this already happened, I got into the same elevator as her, and I didn’t know what to do so I got out on the wrong floor) so I’ll ask her any tip she can give me to grow as an author. Or about her mistakes in her journey so I can try to avoid them

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one?
Let’s say it includes a lot of procrastinating, but there’s something I always do, and it’s setting a daily writing goal, I even do a chart where I can keep track of it. I can’t really write without it because I need to see that I’m in fact making some progress.

Who do you consider your biggest support when you are writing?
My parents and brothers hear me talking about my own nonsense all the time, they aren’t readers and of course, they don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, but they still support me. My parents even read my first book, even though it took them months to finish it. And I’m sure that was the first book my dad ever read completely. 

How do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
For me, success is being able to inspire people, for me publishing my first book was a long journey, and the fact that there are people out there telling me my book inspired them to follow their own dreams, is more than enough for me.

What have been some of your biggest successes as an author?
There are two things I can think of right now, the first one is that my book was the most sell book in my local bookstore back in June 2021. And the second one is that I got an invitation to be one of the authors signing in ApollyCon 2022, which is a really big signing event in DC, organized by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Basically, I’ll be signing books along with other amazing and popular authors like Brigid Kemmerer and Danielle L. Jensen. 

Check out Hunters I: The Mission below…and be sure to follow Raquel Herrera to discover more of her work!

Featured Author, News

Featured Author: R.T. Cole

Meet R.T. Cole, author of Genesis of War (Book One of the Realm of Aeron).

About R.T. Cole

R.T. Cole is a fiction writer and the author of THE REALM OF AREON series. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and son.

He has been a fan of fantasy since the days of Willow, Conan the Barbarian, and The Princess Bride. When he was a teenager, he saw The Fellowship of the Ring in theaters; After that, he knew that he wanted to write epic stories and turn them into books for a new generation of fantasy fans. R.T. now spends his days working to bring life to his own worlds.

He grew up reading science fiction & fantasy, from Star Wars to Harry Potter, and writing fan-fiction Transformers stories. He was, and still is, a gamer that prefers RPGs for their intricate plots and detailed magic systems. If there’s ever time left in the day, he can also be found reading the latest issue of DC’s The Flash.

So let’s talk a bit about Genesis of War.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Genesis of War:
Genesis of War is the first book in a 5-part epic fantasy series called The Realm of Areon. It tells the story of three brothers who are thrust into a new war with a vengeful sorcerer. While the siblings are together in the beginning, they’re quickly separated by duty, and we then follow each of them on their unique journeys.

When did you start writing Genesis of War? What inspired you to write it?
Technically, I started writing it in 2002. By “writing it”, I mean I jotted down a notebook full of ideas, lol. After spending years compiling more notes—never fully taking it seriously until I was older—I finally took the plunge and wrote the whole novel in 2017.

As for the inspiration, the reason I began writing down notes in early 2002 is because I had just seen “The Fellowship of the Ring” in December 2001. I will always credit that film for giving me the realization that I wanted to tell stories.

Who is your favorite character?
I have a lot of characters, lol. But if I had to choose one, I’d say Thasus Palidor. He is the oldest of the three brothers I mentioned before. It’s a lot of fun writing him because he’s the one character who has taken on a life of his own in the story—meaning he has turned out completely different than what I had envisioned in my outline. It has actually worked out for the better.  

What was your favorite part to write?
Any part where there was a battle, or when I had the opportunity to describe one of the many abilities used throughout the book. For example, the first time we find a character utilizing the ability to read minds, I wanted to give the reader a perfect glimpse into what that would be like.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Genesis of War?
All heroes have flaws, and all villains have at least one redeeming quality.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
The evolution of one character may surprise you.

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Genesis of War?
It’s an easy read for a first-in-a-series.

Any other things you want us to know about Genesis of War?
While there’s talk of different locations, history, and people called Sages, there’s a map at the front of the book and appendices at the back to make things a lot easier to follow.

Genesis of War sounds like an amazing first book to a series! I just started reading and can’t wait to dive into it more!

So speaking of writing…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

So tell me…why do you write?
I just want to tell stories. Books, movies, TV shows, comic books, and video games have all shaped me with the amazing stories they tell. I hope my stories reach just one person at that level.m out of my mind. 

Do you prefer physical books, eBooks, audiobooks or all of the above? Why?
I prefer physical books. Not only do I love the smell of a new book, but also it’s easier for me to stare at over a screen any day of the week.

How do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
Book sales are great. Reviews are even better because they can lead to more sales through word-of-mouth. But I consider myself a successful author if my stories resonate with the readers. There’s no greater feeling than seeing one of my books mentioned in a social media post, or receiving a message from a reader with positive thoughts.

What have been some of your biggest successes as an author?
’ve had two that come to mind: 1) I’ve sold over 1,000 copies of Genesis of War since it was published in 2018; and 2) My third book, Shards of the Sun, received the #1 New Release banner on Amazon in January 2021, and the banner remained for the entire first week of publication. That last one was a bit of a big deal because the book could’ve lost the banner after the first day, due to lack of sales, but it thrived for its first 7 days in the world. I was shocked!

What has been one of your biggest mistakes on your publishing journey?
Rushing my first two book releases. In that regard, I mean that I didn’t know the ins and outs of obtaining ARC readers, sending out newsletters, marketing for months leading up to the day of release, etc. I did well enough with Book 3, but I’m hoping I can perfect the process when I come out with Book 4.

Check out Genesis of War below…and be sure to follow R.T. Cole to discover more of his work!

News

Amending My Review System

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I average a 3 to 4 star review on most books. I really do reserve 5 stars for the absolute best and 1 stars for irredeemable stories. This is not changing.

However, with my average review being 3.5 stars, I have decided to amend how these reviews appear on Goodreads and Amazon.

Starting this year, 2022, any book that is rated 3.5 stars will be rounded up to 4 stars on Goodreads and Amazon. For the past few years, since I started actively reviewing books, I rounded these down to three stars. While I personally still consider 3 stars a decent review, I know not everyone feels this way.

I feel that, especially since I am featuring 50 small authors this year, that rounding up is more fair to ALL authors – whether big, small, or in between. While I will still mention in my reviews that I am rating the book 3.5 stars (which has always been the case), increasing the rating to 4 stars on these websites will provide a more honest review to how I felt: I enjoyed it – just there were things I also didn’t enjoy.

Hopefully this makes sense and will further support authors in their endeavors. One thing I want to do is help small authors shine…because really, we’re all in this together.


For reference, my review system is as followed:

★★★★★
This book is absolutely spectacular. I could not find any flaws in it and will be thinking about it for years! Everyone should add this to their shelves!

★★★★☆
This book was great! I really enjoyed it despite a few minor things. Definitely recommend this book!

★★★☆☆
This book was good. I enjoyed it and definitely think others will as well. There were some issues that prevent me from rating it higher though.

★★☆☆☆
While this book wasn’t necessarily the greatest book and there were some pitfalls in it, it definitely has its merits and I can see why people should check it out. Don’t let my review sway you from not taking a look.

★☆☆☆☆
Very rarely do I give 1 star reviews. These are typically reserved for books that I find completely and utterly irredeemable. This is rare.

☆☆☆☆☆ (DNFs)
I won’t rate a DNF unless I make it half-way through the book. If I do not reach that point, I will still leave a review WITHOUT a star rating explaining why I did not finish the book. I do not think I can give an honest opinion on a book unless I reach that 50% mark.

Featured Author, News

Featured Author: Jesse M. Harvey

Meet Jesse M. Harvey, author of Scythia Protostar (Book One of the Dark Stellar Legacy).

About Jesse M. Harvey

Jesse M. Harvey debut book is ‘Motherhood at the End of the World.’ She writes many types of fiction, including science fiction, space fantasy, supernatural, thriller and mystery. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s degree in history.

Jesse currently lives in Syracuse NY. She is married with three school age children. Her family comes from a military background, and her husband is a veteran.

Through all her work, Jesse includes underlining themes of hope, compassion, courage and determination. She believes that fiction shapes the future. Jesse wants to help inspire a more diverse and inclusive world.

So let’s talk a bit about Scythia Protostar.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Scythia Protostar:
It is a Science Fiction/Fantasy adventure. It’s the first in a series. Evil Galactic Empire, where a group of misfits are brought together. They are sent on their first mission together and it does not go as planned.

When did you start writing Scythia Protostar? What inspired you to write it?
I started writing it about five years ago. It started as a NaNoWriMo challenge. My husband and I were discussing working together on a book. We originally talked about writing a Romantic Comedy. Somehow, we went from, Bad guys need love too; to what if the henchmen fell in love. Then, too what if they were really bad at being bad guys, ending up with a group of morally grey characters inadvertently becoming heroes as they try to survive a very dangerous world. It was a wild ride honestly.

Who is your favorite character?
Djaem is my favorite. He is the sneaky, brilliant master mind, and manipulator. I love the super smart characters, like Sherlock Holmes, or Loki. But he is also the physically weakest of the group, so he must be very clever to not get hurt. It also means that when he does put himself in harm’s way it is even more of a sacrifice.   

What was your favorite part to write?
I really enjoy writing the descriptive scenes. I feel that this book lets me get a little more poetic with some of the descriptors because it is in space. I also really like the funny parts. They still make me laugh.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Scythia Protostar?
Scythia is written in a pulp style. So, it is supposed to be fast and fun. I hope they feel a little inspired, a little hopeful. The darker it is the, brighter our little light becomes.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?
Uthraith is one of the smallest people from his tribe. He was sent from his tribe to the Inner Ring of the empire because he was the smartest and spoke the most languages. He only keeps and decorates the skulls of the enemies he finds worth.

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Scythia Protostar?
It is a wild ride, and it will make you smile.

Any other things you want us to know about Scythia Protostar?
We didn’t get rid of the Romantic idea. In fact, we decided to make the romance and unlaying theme. Each book is like an episode, each episode is a beat to the romance plot. Book one is boy meets girl. Book two will have book boy realizes he likes girl. Etc.  

Scythia Protostar sounds like an amazing and fun book! I love that you enjoy writing descriptive scenes…I feel like a lot of writers don’t.

So speaking of writing…let’s dive a bit more into your writing life…

So tell me…why do you write?
I have been writing since I was 11. I joke that if I don’t write the people and worlds in my head will make my brain explode. It helps to tell their stories. It clears them out of my mind. 

Ok so you must have more hobbies outside of writing. What are they? Do they influence your writing in any way? Oh I collect hobbies. I love puzzles, and games. I play roleplaying games, as well as video games. I also do cross stich, and pain by numbers. I love baking and stuff like that. I think it helps a lot with my writing. It helps give ideas, and keeps my calm, it also gives my brain a way of sorting through things while I do the hobby and relax.

What is your favorite word? Why?
I don’t think I have a favorite word because there are so many. But I do have a favorite curse word. I love the word Fuck. Because it is so diverse, and I can use it in so man different ways.

Ha! That’s great! It really is quite a diverse word…it can be used as a verb…adjective…noun…oops! I’m getting carried away.

Anyhow, who do you consider your biggest support when you are writing?
My Husband really is my biggest support. As I said I have been writing since I was a teen. But I didn’t think I would ever publish. I wasn’t even going to try. I was writing to get the stories out of my head, and to share with friends. He was the first person to keep pushing me to send out samples of my work. To finish a novel, to do the edits. He has always been the one to keep me working. He never lets me quite and always keeps me believing in myself.

I love that! It is so important to have support. But it is also important to meet our goals. So with that being said, how do you define success as an author? Is it the number of book sales? The number of reviews? The fact your story made someone smile? Or something else?
Success for me I guess it hard to really explain. I absolutely love when someone enjoys my books, or stories. And I get so excited when someone leaves a review. But I have a dream. It is to walk into a bookstore and see My books on the shelves. Or on a display. Like at Barnes and Nobles or the library. That is my dream.

I think that’s a common goal for all of us. So I’m sure you always need to remind yourself to keep pushing. So, with that in mind, if you could give one piece of advise to your past self, what would it be?
Write. Just keep writing. Different genres, different styles. Just write.

Thank you so much for answering these questions Jesse! I think it will help readers really get in touch with your writing. Do you have anything else you want to say before signing off?
Thank you, and I hope you enjoy my book. I have many more in the works.

Check out Scythia Protostar below…and be sure to follow Jesse M. Harvey to discover more of her work!

News

2022 Author Features

If you’ve been following me for a bit, you’ll know that I used to regularly feature authors on this site.

While that has dropped off over the past year, I am picking up again in 2022. I have selected fifty authors who I will be featuring over the course of the year, as well as reading their books. Some of these authors have made appearances on this blog before, but so many of them I have never read or interviewed.

This page will serve as the master list that I will update regularly with both the book reviews and the interviews with these authors.

Below, you can find all the authors with their books in alphabetical order. These will be reorganized as I finalize the features…but for now, make sure to check out these authors.

AUTHOR FEATURES COMING SOON…

A day at the park (warm-blooded vampires) by Gaz R Galey
A Realm of Stones and Whispers by Ginevra Mancinelli
Archaic Deception: The Guardian of Emblems by Joe Dayvie
Awakened by Elizabeth J. Rekab
Awakened: Book 1 of the Lightbearer Chronicles by Dan Kenner
Awakening by Kris branham
Being The Dead Girl already out on Amazon by TM Perkins
Breakaway: The Blighted Trilogy Book One by Dezarea Dunn
Breaker by Amy Campbell
Bulletproof by Monica T. Rodriguez
Clarity Castle by Marie-Hélène Lebeault
Contained in Darkness by Amberly Henning
Curse of the Gods by R. L. McIntyre
Cursed Legacy by H. Everend
Dance of the Elements Ignited by A. M. Deese
Derailed and dispersed Volume 1Stranded in the wilderness by Samuel J white
Destiny by Olivia Ali
Dragon Tempest by J.E. Taylor
Everlong by R. Raeta
Flowers For Fara by Amara Lynn
Forbidden Healing by Rachael Watson
Free Me by Kat Winters
Genesis of War by R.T. Cole
Hunters I: The Mission by Raquel Herrera
Little Hood by Joanna G. Holden
Lucky: A Novel by Kristina Parro
MARTHA BLOOM AND THE GLASS COMPASS by Estelle Grace Tudor
Moonshadow’s Guardian by Dianna Gunn
Myths, Legends & Dreams: A Worldsmyths Anthology by Ally Kelly / Worldsmyths Publishing
Perfect Piece by Molly Jones
Piker’s Retribution by Amanda N. Newman
Rejected (Book 2 in The Delivery Company series) by Lane Northcutt
Scorched Feathers by Bri Mooney
Scythia Protostar (Book One of the Dark Stellar Legacy) by Jesse M Harvey
Sleepwalker by Mikel J. Wisler
Sophie & the Bookmobile by Kathleen M. Jacobs
Summer of ’77 by Rebecca Amiss
Tetarul Parallel by Emé Savage
The Coming of Jack Walker by Chrystal Lee Stevens
The Deep Space Between by Cassandra Stirling
The Goddess & The Bee by Jill Jenkins
The Magi Menagerie by Kale Lawrence
The Pen Pal A West Virginia Mystery by Storm Young
The Stars Plot Revenge by L.J. Kerry
The Taking of Persephone Series: Kore by Ambrosia R Harris
The Vult by Katelyn Young
The White Witch’s Daughter by J.C. Wade
Two More Lives, Card Holders Book 2 by Kaitlyn Legaspi
Voice of a Stranger by Ellie DaKaye
Where the Gulls Fall Silent by Lelita Baldock
News

Updated Website

Hi there!

It’s been a bit since I made a post that wasn’t a book review. Woops!

Well, I’m just popping in to say that I’ve updated my website with new links to all my books. In addition, I’ll be starting to feature more Indie Authors again in 2022…so stay tuned for all of that.

In the mean time, don’t forget to check out my updated pages for my books:

Stay tuned for more book reviews, more features, and more articles!

Thanks again.

E.S. Barrison

News

*Cover Reveal* A Pool of Peony

The mist has thickened with a vendetta. A bounty has been offered for answers.⁠

And no one’s story is safe.⁠

It’s been six months since the Storm of Nightmares and Bria has not gone home. With wanted signs plastered throughout Rosada, she has been stuck chasing the so-called Story Collector throughout the Independent City of Mert. Yet, when a break-in occurs in Todd Dray’s shop, it unleashes a chain of events that sends the city into disarray.⁠

With his mind tormented by demons and flashes of his past catching up with him, Brent has been navigating Mert as a half version of himself. When a masked figure offers to help, he accepts, unknowingly stepping into a conflict that has riddled the world for centuries.⁠

The City of Mert has become a target for both the Order of the Effluvium and the Council of Mist Keepers. With fear mounting, Bria, with the help of a mysterious, red-eyed woman, a palaver of immortals, and a silver pool, must decide what part she plays in this oncoming storm.⁠

Can she find the Story Collector before it’s too late?⁠




A Pool of Peony, the much anticipated sequel to The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice, will be released on August 22, 2021! ⁠

While pre-orders aren’t available online yet, you CAN pre-order directly from me and receive some exciting bonus items! ⁠


Details on pre-orders for Amazon, B&N, and more coming soon!⁠

Haven’t read The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice? Make sure to pick up a copy before A Pool of Peony is released

News

The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice: Audiobook Now Available!

Storytelling was outlawed. Magic had all but vanished.

That all changed when the woman in black came to town.

Branded with the black stamp at a young age, Brent thought he would end up a vagrant like his father. His craft was telling stories, but the Order had long forbidden any weaving of tales. When Brent sees the woman in black, she leads him into a menagerie of tunnels beneath the earth where his life falls into the nauseating, but beautiful, mist of the dead.

He finds friendship in Rho, a young woman who hides her face with a tree branch while roots and vines bow to her every whim. Together, they embark on a journey to explore the world, escape the watchful eyes of the Order, and discover the woman in black’s secrets.

For thousands of years, the mist and the tunnels were under the sole guardianship of the Council of Mist Keepers. But as new monsters enter the mist, and magic is forced out of the shadows, the Council searches for young blood to join their ranks and Brent’s next in line.

Content Warning: This book is rated 16+ for mentions of death, violence/sexual assault, adult language, alcohol use, and psychological abuse/trauma.


The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice is now available in audiobook format!

Over the past month I have worked with the fabulous Jack Nolan to produce an audiobook for The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice.

Jack has done a phenomenal job bringing my characters to life!

I have a select number of free audiobooks to give away (in exchange for an honest review). If you are interested, please fill out the form below! I’ll select recipients in the coming days.

News

Help: Cover Text

If you’ve been following me on social media, you know I’m evaluating the book cover of The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice. I love my cover. I won’t be changing the artwork.

But, I am evaluating how it appears when someone sees it on websites like Amazon, Goodreads, etc. While I’ve been posting plenty on social media, the answers have been variable.

Below I’ve made a survey that will hopefully help me narrow down the ideas. Perhaps I am being overly critical, and the cover is fine!

So please, if you have a minute, answer the survey below. It will mean the world to me.

Thank you!

ESB

News

Tuppence: A Fairy Tale Retelling – PREORDER NOW

A farmgirl. A goat. ⁠
And a song that will change her life.⁠

Her whole life, Tuppence has dreamt of leaving the hillside to make a life in the Kingdom. When the King hosts a Grand Ball, she finally sees a way out, only to have her dreams squashed by her bitter mother and two sisters, Uma and Tertia.⁠

With only a goat and her gift of song, Tuppence begins to develop her own plan to escape…only to discover the true nature of the Kingdom beneath the Hill. ⁠

Inspired by the Grimm Fairy Tale, One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes, with a touch of Cinderella, venture from the hillside with Tuppence and her sisters to discover where true magic lies. ⁠

Content Warning: Contains mentions of violence and animal cruelty.⁠⁠