Vanessa Finaughty


Vanessa grew up in Cape Town and still lives there with her husband of 24 years, her two daughters and her furry, four-legged ‘children’.

Her passion for the written word started her career as an editor and copywriter, and she ran a writers’ critique group for close on seven years and is editor of the Grumpy Old Gods anthologies. She's been writing ever since she learnt how, has always been an avid reader, and currently lives on coffee and chocolate.

Her interests include reading, ancient history, conspiracy theories, photography and graphic design, the supernatural, life's mysteries and martial arts, of which she has five years’ experience.

Review copies of all Vanessa's books are available upon request, and fans are welcome to e-mail her at - she loves to hear any type of feedback and answers all e-mails personally.

*** Please note that Vanessa uses UK/RSA spelling and grammar, which is not always the same as US spelling and grammar.

Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
As a young child, I recall handwriting short 'books', binding them with wool or string (and sometimes illustrating them), and then trying to sell them to family members. I used to make family members sit and listen to me read them aloud too. I must have been an annoying child in that sense!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Gosh, no. That was too long ago as a very young child. The first story I ever completed and had published, though, was Mantis, which was published in South Africa's Something Wicked horror magazine.
Read more of this interview.


Wizard of Ends
Wizard of Ends follows the adventures of the wizard Lashlor Leaflin. Lashlor has a secret personal mission to complete, but others' troubles continually keep him from it. Despite this and the fact that he's forced to use magic far more often than he'd like, he finds he cannot refuse the requests for aid.


Magic in the Real World: A Wizard of Ends companion
Price: Free! Words: 10,980. Language: British English. Published: November 13, 2014 . Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Magic
Do you think that magic is merely a thing of fantasy? Think again.
Wizard of Ends Companion
Price: Free! Words: 9,040. Language: British English. Published: November 13, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
A companion to the Wizard of Ends fantasy adventure series - learn more about the characters and author, and read two free chapters of Wizard of Ends.
Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature
Series: Wizard of Ends. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 29,900. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: October 23, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
The Queen of Ends has been cursed into a rabid creature of darkness. Only Lashlor’s old flame, Rune Arcana, might be able to remove the curse. Lashlor believes he can find Rune in the Mountains of Eclador. The only trouble is – Rune now despises him, and, in all of recorded history, no one has ever returned from these mountains.
Wizard of Ends
Series: Wizard of Ends. Price: Free! Words: 29,370. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: October 8, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.43 from 7 reviews)
A powerful sorceress wants the Queen of Ends dead, hoping her demise will render the king unable to defend his crown. Only the wizard Lashlor Leaflin is in a position to protect Queen Narraki Dragonsbane, but he avoids using magic – at almost any cost. With creatures of darkness hunting the queen, however, he may be left with little choice but to call on the power he holds within.
Doorway to Destiny (A Thirteen-Book Fantasy and Science Fiction Adventure Box Set)
Price: $12.99 USD. Words: 1,015,380. Language: British English. Published: August 29, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
(5.00 from 1 review)
This collection of eleven fantasy and science fiction novels and two anthologies will transport you to strange and exciting worlds to share in the tragedies and triumphs of complex yet endearing heroes and heroines. Discover the gripping works of authors TC Southwell and Vanessa Finaughty and be swept away by magical adventures, epic battles and futuristic voyages to unknown universes.
Legends of Origin 3 - Creator Species
Series: Legends of Origin, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 79,030. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: June 12, 2014 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
(4.00 from 1 review)
Liam and Arthean are trapped on a Harvester spaceship, hunted by the crew, when the rescue mission to save the mysterious Lenora Fairen goes horribly wrong. The ensuing events bring to light some disturbing information about the Harvesters – and their creators – and cause Arthean’s previously unfaltering faith to waver.
Sorcery & Subterfuge
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 21,360. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: November 15, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(4.20 from 5 reviews)
A magical sceptre that holds the power of the gods, an invisible prince, an elf with ogre genes and the ability to bend others’ minds to his will, a peasant girl turned queen, a tortured phoenix in human form, mystical fogs, dwarf pirates and majestic ryokin – sentient winged sabretooth cats with magic flowing through their veins…
The Better Writing Guide
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 22,410. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: September 20, 2012 . Categories: Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Literacy » Composition & creative writing, Nonfiction » Reference » Writing skills
(5.00 from 1 review)
The Better Writing Guide offers myriad tips to improve your writing, and delves deeply into things that will enhance your skills, such as character point of view, tenses and writing style. If you have purchased the EDITORS’ BIBLE, please do not purchase this book.
Editors' Bible
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 49,410. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: September 11, 2012 . Categories: Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Literacy » Editing & proofreading, Nonfiction » Education & Study Guides » Literacy » Composition & creative writing
(5.00 from 6 reviews)
A few well-chosen words can fire the imagination and evoke images, but badly written manuscripts will damage your reputation as an author and chase away readers. This book gives authors the tools and knowledge, with ample examples, to write and self-edit effectively, and is a practical guide for professionals to refer to.
Legends of Origin 2 - Orion's Harvesters
Series: Legends of Origin, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,150. Language: English. Published: June 2, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
Two months after Liam MacAskill’s return to Earth from Tridor Monastery, a portal opens in Orion’s Nebula, and a continent-sized spaceship emerges. It heads for Earth, where it hovers over Africa. Shortly thereafter, a second alien species comes through the portal. Then impossibility becomes reality – the second species steals Earth’s sun.
Crimson Rain
Price: Free! Words: 4,000. Language: English. Published: December 29, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
(4.77 from 13 reviews)
Short story. They say the time will come for the darkened sky to violate our Earth with her tears of blood. The legend foretells of a blood-thirsty race being born from these tears; Mother Nature’s punishment for our evil deeds. They say that day will come when mankind’s thirst for the blood of his own consumes him. They say that day is near.
December 21, 2012: Survival Guide
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 25,450. Language: English. Published: December 21, 2011 . Categories: Nonfiction » Science & Nature » Earth sciences
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
December 21, 2012: Survival Guide explores some of the theories, predictions and science about this date, but focuses more on survival in nature and a post-apocalyptic world. Much of the information included can be used in everyday life, even if there is no cataclysm, and knowing the planet you live on is never a bad idea.
Dance with Evil
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 52,830. Language: English. Published: December 2, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
When a black magic cult unwittingly draws evil incarnate to Earth’s dimension, it sets off a chain of events that play out over a period of two years before most of those involved even realise they’re being toyed with.
Legends of Origin 1 - Sanctuary for the Devil
Series: Legends of Origin, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 88,370. Language: English. Published: October 22, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.88 from 8 reviews)
In his search for the origin of the human race, Liam MacAskill travels to another planet and comes face to face with the Devil himself. He’s driven to claim sanctuary from the monks and nuns at Tridor Monastery, where another stranger to the land lies in a coma.
Ashes to Ashes
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 52,380. Language: English. Published: October 5, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Erotica » Suspense/Mystery
(5.00 from 4 reviews)
When Mathieu Cousteau dies, twenty-seven-year-old Michelle van Wyk is relieved that the man intimidating her can no longer make good on his threats. Her relief is short-lived, however – Mathieu’s soul lives on, and is hell bent on avenging his murder. Michelle’s situation grows direr when Mathieu’s handsome brother, Pierre Dumaine, becomes obsessed with her.
Dragon Kin and other fantasy stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 30,700. Language: English. Published: August 14, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.80 from 5 reviews)
The Dragon Kin anthology is a collection of fantasy stories with plenty of twists that will keep you turning the page for more. In this anthology, a young man's incredible past is uncovered when he saves a young woman from conjured, fire-breathing dragons. A novice wizard’s resolve is tested when he is chased by rabid dogs for accusing a king’s beloved queen of murder.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 24,760. Language: English. Published: July 6, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Science fiction meets the real world in this short story anthology, with stories guaranteed to spin your mind into an alternate reality. Are you ready?
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 14,620. Language: English. Published: July 5, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
(5.00 from 1 review)
Can’t decide between horror and thriller? Chill your bones with thrills from this three-part anthology including flash fiction, Lovecraftian horror and short stories that bring you a full scope of terror.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,560. Language: English. Published: June 30, 2011 . Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Horror
(5.00 from 1 review)
A collection of short horror stories that will leave you with chills and urge you to think twice before taking anything at face value.

Vanessa Finaughty's tag cloud

21 december 2012    adventure    alien abduction    aliens    ancient civilisations    ancient magic books    anthology    armageddon    assassins    book characters    book of thoth    character interviews    character point of view    creator    cyborg romance    dark fiction    dark psychology    dragons    dragons adventure fantasy    editing    editing fiction    editing skills    editing your manuscript    editors bible    elves    enlightenment    epic fantasy    erotic thriller    fantasy    fantasy action romance    fantasy adventure    fiction life on other planets    first aid    garden of eden    gods and demons    healing magic    heroic epic fantasy    history    horror    horror anthology    horror anthology short stories    horror anthology short story    horror compilation    horror ebook    human race origins    human violence    humour    kings and queens    legends    legends of origin    lovecraftian horror    magic    magical plants    manuscript editing    modern science and ancient magic    mother nature    myth    origin of man    origins of existence    origins story    phoenix    ryokin    science fiction    science fiction adventure    scifi fantasy    selfdefence    short stories    short story anthology    sorcerers    sorcery    supernatural thriller    survival guide    survival in nature    tautology    thriller    thriller and mystery    thriller and suspence    urban fantasy    vampire    whisperer    wizards    world cataclysm    writing    writing advice    writing tips   

Smashwords book reviews by Vanessa Finaughty

  • Demon Lord on June 30, 2011

    The first in a series, TC Southwell’s Demon Lord tells the story of Mirra, a young healer who cannot find it within herself to hate, and Bane, a Demon Lord who seems incapable of caring for anyone. Bane has been sent to the Overworld by his father, the dark god Arkonen, to destroy the seven blue wards that trap him in the Underworld. What Bane doesn’t realise is that Arkonen is not his real father – Bane was stolen from his human mother at birth, raised as Arkonen’s son and trained in the usage of the dark powers, because only a human can enter the Overworld and free Arkonen from the Underworld. Mirra, too, has been unknowingly raised to serve one purpose only: the purest and most powerful of healers, only she has a chance of turning Bane from his task. Near the start of this story, Mirra is captured by Bane’s army of humans and dark beasts. Bane discovers that he is unable to cause her pain and, determined to discover a way in which to hurt her, he ignores his father’s orders to kill her immediately. Despite being forced to be witness to the murder and mayhem that Bane causes all who cross his path, Mirra tries to ease the pain that using the dark power causes him. Bane, however, is convinced that she is trying to kill him, and becomes all the more cruel to her. It’s certainly good to see local fantasy talent blooming, and, although I’m not a lover of the black and white version of ‘good versus evil’, I thoroughly enjoyed Demon Lord. Anyone who enjoys a good fantasy filled with deceit, betrayal and a little romance thrown in on the side should enjoy Demon Lord.
  • OtherWhere The Vagrant’s Tail on July 10, 2011

    I liked the main character in The Vagrant's Tail, and found the author's voice to be easy to read and enjoyable. The story needs a bit of an edit, but I'd still recommend this as a good read.
  • The Broken World Book One - Children of Another God on July 16, 2011

    Aside from the Queen's Blade series, this is my favourite series from this author. No one else I know has close to the imagination this author does, and I end up losing sleep because I can't put the book down!
  • The Queen's Blade on July 16, 2011

    Blade is my favourite type of hero - reluctant! He has a nasty past he'd rather forget, but can't, and prefers to be left alone to his own devices, never allowing anyone too close to him. The good nature he was born with, however, seems to win out where the important people are concerned - those who truly care for him despite his ugly attitude towards and treatment of them. I recommend this entire series to anyone with an imagination, particularly if you love animals and seeing bad guys suffer.
  • The Cyber Chronicles - Book I: Queen of Arlin on July 16, 2011

    The Cyber Chronicles is filled with dry humour that lightens the dire situation Queen Tassin finds herself in. At the start of the book, she's a spoilt cow who expects to get her way at all times (as all rulers do), yet I found myself liking her as the story progressed, despite not wanting to. Sabre is the perfect companion for Queen Tassin, since he takes no nonsense and refuses to give in to any of her demands if he thinks it will cause harm to her. He's a cyber warrior, after all, whose sole purpose is to protect Tassin. An enjoyable read that I couldn't put down, as with all this author's books. I recommend this to anyone who can read, even if fantasy isn't one of your favourite genres - this is the author who first hooked me on fantasy, and now I know what I was missing out on all those years and kicking myself.
  • In the Mirror (A Short Story) on July 19, 2011

    Interesting take on mirrors, and a nice read.
  • Twilight of The Bald on July 20, 2011

    This unique story had me chuckling in places. Very entertaining!
  • The last stroll on July 20, 2011

    Very depressing, since it's true that so many humans hunt for fun. Nice, quick read with a biting point! I'd work a little on the formatting, though.
  • Hank Hunter - Prologue on July 20, 2011

    This is an entertaining piece of writing. I love the dry humour thrown in here and there, and am looking forward to reading the rest of the book.
  • The Queen and the Castle on July 22, 2011

    A fast-paced, action-filled story that leaves the reader wanting more. I look forward to reading more of Wilson's work. Nice cover, too!
  • Smashwords Book Marketing Guide on July 28, 2011

    There are some excellent marketing tools in here that I'd have never thought of, but that I've found to be easy and effective. The usual tips also helpful, since most of us can't think of everything when we really need to! I recommend this book to anyone who is serious about marketing their books.
  • Muuyaw Taavo: My Encounter with the Clarkdale Ghost Rabbit on Aug. 13, 2011

    Interesting read that makes you wonder!
  • Inside (A Short Story) on Aug. 14, 2011

    An entertaining read that leaves you contemplating.
  • They on Sep. 14, 2011

    An interesting story with good, vivid descriptions that allow the reader to experience the situation almost first-hand. It's just a pity that it seems to not have had an edit before being published.
  • The Author Business: A Practical Guide to the Business of Being a Self-Published Author on Oct. 14, 2011

    A must-read for any American author! I just wish someone would write a book like this for South African authors :-(
  • The Cyber Chronicles V - Overlord on Oct. 24, 2011

    Overlord, Book 5 of The Cyber Chronicles series, will keep your eyes glued to the pages. The book is filled with action, and details the universe’s politics in such a way that even someone like me, who isn’t too fond of politics, found it intriguing. Tarl, an ex-cyber technician – now a smuggler with a death sentence on his head – has returned Sabre’s memories to him, but he is no longer the man Tassin knew and grew to love on Omega Five. His traumatic experiences on Myon Two have changed him, and not for the better, particularly in Tassin’s view, since he seems colder towards her now. In Overlord, readers meet the Overlords, universal judges – and executioners – who enforce peace, sometimes by means of destroying entire planets. To gain one’s attention is generally considered a bad thing. Thankfully, they rarely involve themselves with issues that don’t affect entire planets, yet three of the seven take an interest in Sabre. One wants him as a romantic companion, one as a mentor and friend, and another wants him dead, thinking him an abomination. Anyone who likes a good science fiction story minus the many technical terms most non-scientists are unable to understand will enjoy this book. I strongly suggest that you read the first four books in the series (the first is free) – although Overlord is readable as a standalone novel, the adventures and back story in the first four books are truly entertaining and, in my humble opinion, anyone who doesn’t read them first will be doing themselves a disservice.
  • Choices: A Short Story (Thomas Lord of Death) on Oct. 30, 2011

    Nice creepy story.
  • Betrayers of the Trust on Nov. 25, 2011
    (no rating)
    This looks like it could be a really good read, but the formatting has too many strange symbols inserted into it for me to be able to read this at all - perhaps try formatting as per Smashwords' style guide and upload again?
  • The Window on Nov. 27, 2011

    When I saw all the five-star reviews for this book, I thought 'no way'. I'm pleased to say, after reading, yes way! I was thouroughly entertained and hooked until the end, which was very well done, too.
  • The End Of Time on Nov. 27, 2011

    Interesting, well-written story!
  • The Shortcut on Nov. 27, 2011

    Interesting story!
  • Murder On The Mountain on Nov. 27, 2011

    I don't think people realise how difficult it is to write flash fiction like this and still wow your readers - this was very nicely done, with the type of twist I love. I've always believed that animals are much more like us than we give them credit for, and I completely agree with the idiot murderer being depicted as that. Well worth the read.
  • The Snow Globes on Nov. 27, 2011

    Entertaining story!
  • The Magic Bag on Nov. 27, 2011

    Interesting read!
  • The Mirror on Nov. 27, 2011

    I'd kill for a mirror like that! Nice story!
  • The Watchman on Nov. 27, 2011

    Great story, and I really like the cover too.
  • The Best Friend on Nov. 27, 2011

    Nice twist at the end!
  • The Letter on Nov. 27, 2011

    Another really interesting story - I'd have loved to know more about the letter writer, though.
  • When Is Ever After? on Nov. 27, 2011

    Entertaining, easy read.
  • Soul Survivors on Nov. 27, 2011

    Sad, but also uplifting. Well-written story worth reading.
  • Wishful Thinking on Nov. 27, 2011

    This is such a sad story. Very well written and emotive, and it makes you think. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone.
  • The Cyber Chronicles Book II: Death Zone on Dec. 27, 2011

    If you think Book 1 in the Cyber Chronicles series was brilliant, wait until you read Book 2! With each book in the series, it becomes harder to stop reading, particularly since the book is character driven, and the characters are so realistic. Readers will also find a very different Tassin by the end of this book – one who isn’t nearly as selfish and conceited as the Tassin of Book 1 – as with all people, Tassin is changed by her experiences. In this book, Sabre battles the cyber control unit for domination of his body and mind as they travel through the Death Zone, a fearsome and dangerous place where no man – or machine – is safe. Despite the danger, Sabre’s sense of humour starts to come out, along with a very human personality, giving the reader an insight into the type of person he could be without the brow band controlling his every move. As in all Southwell’s books, the descriptions are so vivid that I could actually picture myself in the Death Zone, as if watching a movie in my mind. I also loved the way the author reminds the reader that Sabre isn’t as all-powerful as it would seem, and can bleed and die, just like the rest of us, when pitted against a strong enough foe. I’m not as widely read on fantasy or science fiction as some, but I’ve never read anything, or seen any movie, where science fiction and fantasy are linked the way this author links them, so I have to give this ten stars for originality. It’s obvious to me that Southwell put a lot of effort into writing Death Zone and that she enjoyed it immensely, making it an unforgettable read that I’d recommend to any sci-fi fantasy lover – and even those who aren’t lovers of the genre.
  • The Cyber Chronicles Book III - The Core on Dec. 27, 2011

    Another thoroughly entertaining book! A little more of Sabre’s personality comes out in this book, and Tassin becomes even more likable, although I couldn’t stand her in Book 1. Both their personality changes are gradual, as it would be in reality, making this an even more enjoyable read. The battle with the Core was vivid, once again playing a movie in my mind, lending an air of immediacy and being part of the action. I’ve loved every book in this series so far, and can’t wait to get through them all! This book is definitely for any sci-fi fantasy lover!
  • The Cyber Chronicles IV - Cyborg on Dec. 27, 2011

    In Cyborg, Book 4 of the Cyber Chronicles series, Tassin finally finds a way of finding Sabre. On the strange, modern planet where Tassin believes Sabre to be, she is forced to seek help from a hacker, Kole, to search for the cyber – a difficult, if not impossible, task. As usual, an entertaining book with exceptional descriptions, realistic characters and an utterly engaging plot. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: once you’ve read one of Southwell’s books, you won’t want to stop, even if you aren’t fond of the sci-fi fantasy genre – I wasn’t… until I my first Southwell book.
  • The Cyber Chronicles VI - Warrior Breed on Dec. 27, 2011

    Once again, an excellent read and entertaining story, written superbly, as I’ve come to expect from this author. Can you imagine trying to be something you are, but were never intended to be? A part human killing machine that hates killing, trying to be completely human? Sabre doesn’t have to imagine it. Every second of every day, he lives with the torment of knowing he can never be fully human – something he longs for, if only to please Queen Tassin Alrade, one of the few in the universe who would risk their own life to save a cyborg. In Warrior Breed, Book 5 of the Cyber Chronicles, Sabre, Tassin and ex-cyber technician Tarl find themselves on a Trykon warship, where Sabre is forced to prove his worth as a warrior and take over command of the ship in order to reach their destination, Omega Five – Tassin’s home world. While the Trykons initially resent and look down on the unwelcome group, each battle fought, including one with Overlord Ramadaus, as always intent on killing Sabre, instils deeper respect for the cyber warrior. Fantasy lovers will not be disappointed in this book – and if you don’t already enjoy the genre, you might find that, like the respect Sabre’s abilities stir in the Trykons, you will find a respect and enjoyment for the genre through this author’s story telling ability.
  • The Cyber Chronicles VII - Sabre on Jan. 01, 2012

    Another fantastic read where the author displays her ability to manipulate words and draw readers into her world. It may be effortless to read, but a mountain of hard work is what it took to get it this way. In Sabre, Book 7 of the Cyber Chronicles, Tassin, Sabre and Tarl finally arrive at Omega Five, yet life cannot go back to normal as Tassin had hoped. Although the Queen of Arlin had been gone for only months, four years have passed on her home world, and Torrian rules her kingdom through her cousin, Dellon. This story is a nice mix between sci-fi and fantasy, with many battles to be fought and enemies to be thwarted. Well worth the read, for adults and teenagers alike.
  • Anthology of Short Stories From Authors Glenn C. and Sasha Gabriel on Jan. 01, 2012

    I've read all of these stories, and would have paid for them if they hadn't been free - they are certainly worth that, and definitely worth the read! These two writers have an amazing natural talent that not many do. Never stop writing!
  • The Bones of the Sea on Jan. 14, 2012

    This story was rather sad, but mostly because of the sorry truth - that humans tend to destroy anything that's inconvenient to them. Very well written and entertaining, this story will leave you thinking long after you've read it. A definite must-read for all deep-thinking sci-fi lovers.
  • The Praying Mantis on March 05, 2012

    I enjoyed this book so much that I read it twice. The Praying Mantis is a must read for anyone who enjoys a good crime thriller. After reading this book, you’ll almost certainly want to keep an eye out for Van der Poll’s next crime thriller, The Butterfly – I certainly can’t wait to get stuck into reading it. While Detectives Reeve and Porter juggle two serial killer cases, a group of prostitutes gets up to ‘mischief’ – just not the type one would expect. With The Praying Mantis killer always one step ahead of the law, both detectives are in danger of losing credibility, but one of them stands to lose a lot more if the truth doesn’t come out soon. The Singles Killer, while not being the focus of this novel, adds a nice twist to the plot and makes for interesting reading, perfectly emphasising the fact that it’s a small world and everyone has their secrets… I found the characters realistic, making this a truly enjoyable read. We never really realise how much we affect those we come into contact with, but, too often, the ripple effect is catastrophic if you use or treat others badly. This author knows that and has portrayed it well, leaving me to ponder human nature and all it’s complexities at the end of the story. Although this is not a whodunit novel – the reader finds out almost immediately who The Praying Mantis is – the characters alone will keep you reading to see what they get up to next, how that affects those around them and whether or not the killers will be apprehended. If you haven’t bought this already, go for it!
  • The Harpy Chronicles - The Namari Book I on March 15, 2012

    Aneza Lee’s debut novel, The Namari, is the first book in The Harpy Chronicles series, and a definite must read for anyone who enjoys a good fantasy story. I was astounded by this first-time author’s flowing writing style, intense imagination, excellent command of the English language and characters I found realistic and intriguing, giving her book an air of being written by an accomplished writer, which I am convinced is exactly what she will soon be. The main protagonist, a young elf called Kirin, is a Namari, a rare persona with the gift of foresight, able to disguise her appearance and find anyone merely by thinking of them. A past previously unknown to Kirin leads her into the service of the goddess Alorana, who helps her to discover and learn how to use her gifts. Alorana tells Kirin that her biological father, a man she hadn’t known existed, has asked to see her, and commands the handsome trader, Kherilon, to escort her to her father. However, Kherilon is not who he seems. Who is Kherilon really, and why does he hide who he truly is? Other interesting characters join Kirin and Kherilon along the way, including a harpy and an elf who turns lycan on the full moon, each with their own story. Things turn ugly when they realise that the evil goddess Olunagh wants Kirin dead or serving her, and Kherilon vows to do whatever it takes to protect his ward and discover why the goddess is trying to kill her. There are usually a handful of things I don’t like about any given book, however minor they may be, but my only complaint about The Namari is that it ended too abruptly, as many authors tend to do with a series, and I desperately wanted to read more! I recommend this book to anyone who loves original fantasy with a few common fantasy elements thrown in for good measure, characters you can relate to and feel for, and an easy read that came from hard writing. I can’t imagine that anyone will read this book and not want to pick up Book 2.
  • The Cyber Chronicles VIII - Scorpion Lord on Sep. 03, 2012

    The fast-paced Scorpion Lord kept me reading hours after my bedtime. There’s always something happening in this book, and I found myself craning my neck forward while reading, as if that would magically enable me to read faster. I read this in two nights, and can’t wait to get stuck into the next one. The book begins when Sabre wakes up on Myon Two – once again at the mercy of the despised cyber technicians. Sabre frees himself and begins to free his clone brothers too, in the process proving to some technicians that cyber hosts are, indeed, human. Two cyber technicians help him to escape, but how far will they get with a powerful super-corporation in pursuit? In the meantime, Tassin and Tarl search with growing frenzy for the emergency bracelet given to Sabre by Overlord Fairen, the Scorpion Lord, for only he has the power to find and rescue Sabre. If you haven’t read Book 1 in the Cyber Chronicles yet, do yourself a favour and download it (it’s free). I think Scorpion Lord would make a good standalone read, but it’s far more enjoyable if you already know Sabre and Tassin. Just be warned that you might find Book 1 so enjoyable that you’ll be compelled to buy the rest of the series. I promise you: it’s worth a lot more than it’s priced.
  • Self-Destructive Love Poems for the Sanely Challenged on Sep. 09, 2012

    Well-written and intense, Self-Destructive Love Poems for the Sanely Challenged will move you, rock your world and perhaps even change the way you view certain things. In this debut book, Eadson proves he’s a true master of the romantically macabre – oh yes, there is, indeed, such a thing, as you will discover when you read. I assure you, if you want gushing soppiness and candlelight dinners, forget about it – this poetry anthology will give you far better. Some have described its poems as ‘disturbingly romantic’, and I can’t disagree. Eadson delves into the soul itself, the driving force behind the heart – from which all love and hatred stem. Self-Destructive Love Poems for the Sanely Challenged will take you on a whirlwind tour of your soul with vivid visuals and insane romance. I enjoyed these poems so much that I had to hold back in my review, lest readers mistakenly think I’ve become infatuated with the author’s soul – although I do have to admit to more than a fair amount of intrigue. My only disappointment was that the book ended. Do yourself a favour and read this anthology.
  • Vexyna's Awakening on Sep. 25, 2012

    Vexyna’s Awakening grabbed my interest from the word go. The story begins with a bit of light humour, which the author continues to throw in here and there where you least expect it. The humour works well to keep the story light-hearted enough for young readers, though Vexyna’s experiences and discoveries are anything but, and there are plenty of philosophical aspects for readers to contemplate. Vexyna is different from others in many ways, particularly with regards to her eyes, which she cannot allow anyone to look into, lest the person come under her control. To avoid the issue, she permanently wears dark glasses. When Vexyna is driven from her village by external forces beyond her comprehension, it sets her on a collision course with fate – something one cannot avoid no matter how hard one tries. On Vexyna’s journey to save her land from the Red Empress who engineered her village’s destruction, she begins to discover her hidden heritage and joins up with an ever-hungry thief, a crystal-generated life force and a few other intriguing characters. Vexyna’s Awakening is young adult fantasy, though even as an older adult I found it quite enjoyable. The author’s descriptions are well written, giving good visuals of each scene, and the world she’s created and all it’s ‘rules’ are well explained and interesting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy. As the enigmatic talking cat says, ‘magic comes in many forms’.
  • The Master of Dimensional Intrigue on Dec. 29, 2012

    A delightfully humorous story that I thoroughly enjoyed! The humour is truly brilliant! This book only took part of a night to read and I’m sorry it’s over. The fast-moving plot kept my interest all the way through, and I laughed out loud frequently – something I’m not prone to do all the way through any given story. I liked all elements of this book, but particularly loved Marlin’s character and the sentient plants. As with the author’s other book, Vexyna’s Awakening, the scene and character descriptions in The Master of Dimensional Intrigue were well written and easy to visualise without being overly complicated. I recommend The Master of Dimensional Intrigue to anyone who enjoys a good laugh and light-hearted, fun fantasy – and some life lessons as a bonus for those paying attention.
  • The Broken World Book Two - StarSword on Feb. 22, 2013

    In StarSword, Book 2 of The Broken World fantasy series, Southwell takes you on a whirlwind journey of adventure, thrills, fear and hope. By the end of the first book, I already loved these characters, particularly Chanter, and I wasn’t disappointed this time either. This book introduces many new characters, all of whom add to the story’s enjoyment, and the ideas put forth in this series will entice and intrigue you. If that’s not enough, the well-rounded characters and their interactions are assured to keep you turning the page until long after your self-appointed bedtime. If you’re a fantasy lover, don’t miss reading this series… or anything else this author has written, mind you.
  • The Broken World Book Three - A Land Without Law on Feb. 28, 2013

    Yet another excellent offering from this author. A Land Without Law is filled with action and intriguing new ideas that will keep you turning the page and leave you hungry for more. With the Staff of Law broken, its pieces scattered across the land, the world begins a descent into chaos. Convinced that nothing can be done, Chanter creates a place of safety for the chosen so they can live out their lives in peace, but it’s not long before Talsy convinces him to take her on a quest to find the staff’s pieces. He believes it futile, but his ‘little clan’, as he fondly calls her, asks for a Wish and he cannot refuse. I found this book to be a riveting read with entertaining, well-rounded characters whose interpersonal relationships grow ever more complex without slowing the pace or bogging down the plot. Nicely written too! I look forward to Book 4.
  • Laughter & Pain on Feb. 28, 2013

    I’m in awe of these two poets’ skills. Not only are they able to write rhyming and free styles equally well, but their ability to write humour and thought-provoking poetry alike is not to be missed. Poetry lovers will love this book, especially those who love to laugh in between all that serious thinking.
  • The Broken World Book Four - The Staff of Law on May 07, 2013

    Staff of Law is an action-packed fantasy tale that is, as I’ve come to expect from this author, thoroughly enjoyable and ‘unputdownable’. Without the laws that govern life, the world in which Talsy lives falls deeper into chaos, becoming more dangerous with each passing day. When Talsy hears about a young Mujar captured by Truemen, she insists on going to rescue him. It’s a selfless decision – and a dangerous one, for he is imprisoned far from their safe haven and even Chanter is not sure he can protect them on the journey… I must warn readers that this story may very well bring you to tears in places – due to truly realistic characters with feelings we can all relate to, though thankfully not many of us will have to endure as much hardship as Talsy, Chanter, Kieran and their companions. This book is a definite must-read for all fantasy lovers, and fans will be pleased to know there’s a Book 5 to be savoured too at some point in the future.
  • Dark God on May 12, 2013

    Dark God, the thrilling sequel to Demon Lord (the novel that first piqued my interest in fantasy reading as an adult), continues the saga of Bane, the Demon Lord. Bane, left vulnerable and near death by his ‘father’, the dark god Arkonen, is saved by the healer, Mirra, whom he held captive for most of the first novel. Mirra, the most powerful healer in the Overworld, is a gentle soul and unable to hate Bane for the ordeals he forced her to endure. Weakened, Bane allows her to take him to her temple, where the elder healers plan to heal him… but will Bane allow himself to be healed at the temple? If not, the dark magic that writhes in his body could kill him, if Arkonen doesn’t get to him first… Bane struggles to understand the kindness offered to him by the healers, and attempts to come to terms with his father’s betrayal. He is suspicious and wary of the healers’ supposed good intentions, and his raging temper and the coldness that emanates from him make many of the healers ill at ease. Time is running out – the goddess Lyriasharin is growing weaker with each passing moment, and the fire that protects the abbey to which Bane has fled to regain his strength is growing dim. Will Bane be able to defeat Arkonen and save the Overworld? Will he be able to overcome the dark urges that flood his mind, and admit his feelings for Mirra? Will he be willing to give up the corrupting dark power if he banishes Arkonen? Will either of them even survive Arkonen’s rampage through the Overworld? Most importantly, will Bane realise, before it’s too late, that in order to defeat Arkonen once and for all he will have to do something he has never been able to do before – ask for help? Dark God is a gut-wrenching tale of the devastating effects of betrayal, tempered by the offer of unconditional love, friendship and forgiveness. Through Bane, Southwell shows that even the darkest soul has a chance to turn to the light, no matter how slight that chance. Dark God is a heart-warming story that had me in tears in places, and giggling in others as Southwell’s undeniable sense of humour seeped into the telling. A must-read for any fantasy lover.
  • Demon Lord III - Grey God on May 13, 2013

    Grey God is another brilliant read from Southwell, who never ceases to wow with her literary skills, vivid imagination and realistic characters. Bane, an unlovable character at first (in Book 1), has certainly found his way into my heart, and I found myself holding my breath in places, feverishly willing him to remain unscathed. Lyriasharin’s father, Kayos, returns home after a thousand years. The Grey God isn’t at all happy to find a dark god in his domain, but it isn’t long before he discovers that Bane is a tar’merin – the only type of dark god who is willing and able to fight on the side of light. Kayos asks Bane to travel into the God Realm with him to save his granddaughter, but the dark god has no wish to do so. If he can’t be swayed, Lyriasharin’s daughter could die… This is the best book in this series up until now, so if you enjoyed the first two, this is an absolute must-read! In fact, any serious fantasy lover will enjoy this book as much as I did. Go on, buy it; you know you want to…
  • Demon Lord IV - Lord of Shadows on May 14, 2013

    Lord of Shadows is another excellent read from this author, with never a dull moment. Between the evil he must fight, the dark power’s corrupting influence and those who cannot bring themselves to believe that a dark god can be good, Bane has his work cut out for him. Even with Kayos to guide him, Bane is at risk of letting the dark power consume him. I once again found myself rooting for Bane, willing him to overcome the many obstacles in his path. Bane is an incredibly realistic character with all the flaws one might expect from one able to carry such evil in his being, yet the ways in which he overcomes his inner (and outer) demons is believable and entertaining. If you enjoyed the first three books in this series, you’ll love this one, and if you haven’t read the first books yet, you’re losing out on a thoroughly entertaining story.
  • Demon Lord V - God Realm on May 15, 2013

    As another reviewer said, Southwell’s books are certainly, at the very least, equal to Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind and co. God Realm is no exception to this, and, as with each book in this series, I enjoyed this one more than the previous. In this book, Bane has been separated from the group after being caught in a trap, and it’s anybody’s guess whether or not he’ll find a way out of the trap. Will his friends and family survive without him to protect them in the merciless God Realm? Filled with adventure and countless obstacles, this story had me on the edge of my seat. I recommend this to any fantasy lover and, really, anyone with an imagination.
  • Demon Lord VI - Son of Chaos on May 16, 2013

    I love the sci-fi elements included in Son of Chaos. As another reader stated, I can see our world governments reacting much the same way as that of the society in this story – if it doesn’t fit in with our modern machines and beliefs, and if we cannot understand or ‘box it’, kill it. While Bane is a captive of this domain’s godless people, his spirit father, Kayos, is in grave danger. A dark god with a Key attempts to unravel Kayos’ shield, and only Bane can save him. However, only a light god can save the Demon Lord, but where to find one when the only one he knows is trapped in the God Realm? Another action-packed story with the promise of more to come in the next book. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a riveting tale filled with new wonders – and new nightmares.
  • Demon Lord VII - Dark Domain on May 17, 2013

    Dark Domain brings you more thrilling escapades that will keep you turning the page long past the midnight hour. The only thing I can say I’m disappointed about is the fact that Book 8 is not yet published. While Bane tries to save a domain from dark gods, its human rulers pit themselves against him, believing him to be evil. Not even Kayos can aid him, as the domain’s inhabitants don’t believe in gods. Southwell draws you into her world with ease, and I was hooked long before the end of Book 1 in this series, and still am, seven books later! I look forward to the next book and recommend this entire series to any avid fantasy reader, particularly if you enjoy the addition of some sci-fi elements.
  • Slave Empire - Prophecy on May 20, 2013

    Slave Empire is a little different from Southwell’s other series, and, while I thoroughly enjoy all this author’s writing, the difference makes for a unique reading experience that will almost certainly leave you wanting more. The prophesised golden child who will save a gigantic galactic empire is trapped on a dying Earth, searched for by friend and foe alike. Rayne has never heard of this prophecy, and her priority each day is to find food and stay alive – not save an empire she’s never heard of. It’s anyone’s guess how she will react to being abducted by her saviours. A brilliant read that kept me reading – just be prepared to purchase all the books in this series, because you’re bound to enjoy this one that much.
  • Slave Empire - The Crystal Ship on May 22, 2013

    Yet another excellent offering from TC Southwell. I’ve yet to be disappointed in any of this author’s books. Note: if you haven’t read Book 1 in this series, it’s advisable, as the story follows on from Book 1 and might not make complete sense unless you’ve read the series from the start. The golden child of prophecy, Rayne, is anxious about the prophesised coming of the Crystal Ship and its evil inhabitant, the Envoy, which has destroyed an entire world in the distant past. It’s said that Rayne can prevent this catastrophe from occurring again, but she has no idea how. The mysterious Shrike can help her, but he, too, isn’t sure how. Southwell had done a remarkable job of creating a realistic world of boundless intricacies with characters we can all relate to and sympathise with. Science fiction lovers will want to sink their teeth into this entire series, and you will, no doubt, be tempted to start another of this author’s series once you’ve completed this one (I recommend The Cyber Chronicles for a brilliant mix of sci-fi and fantasy).
  • Slave Empire III - The Shrike on May 23, 2013

    The Shrike is everything a good science fiction book should be. The author gives enough explanations for anyone to follow and visualise well, but not so much that it boggles the brain and numbs the mind with its intricacies. Rayne knows the Shrike’s secrets, and some will do anything to know them… Can he keep her safe despite her independent will that often takes her out of his sphere of protection? As with all this author’s other books, this one has a professional polish not often seen in indie authors’ books, and the fact that she’s a best-selling author shows that others have also noticed the high quality of Southwell’s books.
  • The Cyber Chronicles IX - Precipice on May 27, 2013

    Precipice is a riveting read that most readers will find hard to put down. Make sure you start reading this book over a weekend when you don’t have too many other plans! In their endeavours to rescue Sabre from Myon Two, Tassin and Tarl are abducted and sold. When Sabre discovers that Tassin is lost and there’s little hope of finding her, it sends him into a downward spiral of hopelessness and despair. Will he be able to cope with these strong human emotions and find her, or will it be the end of both of them? Each time I think a book in this series can’t be bettered, Southwell proves me wrong. An intense, rewarding read that I’m sure you’ll recommend the same way I am. Although romance isn’t the focus of this story, it does drive the plot, so romance and science fiction lovers alike will enjoy this story – which is better read after reading the rest of the series.
  • The Queen's Blade II - Sacrifice on May 28, 2013

    The Queen’s Blade is without a doubt Southwell’s best series to date. You won’t be able to prevent Blade from sneaking into your heart. While he’s outwardly obnoxious and uncaring, as you read, you’ll discover a softer side to him that he rarely acknowledges even to himself. Blade has some heavy decisions weighing on him in what seems to be Jondar’s last days as a free city, and it’s anyone’s guess what this unpredictable character will do. He’ll keep you on your toes, ensuring an entertaining read that’ll leave you wanting more. Be prepared to purchase Book 3 in the series – you’ll almost certainly want to!
  • The Queen's Blade III - Invisible Assassin on May 29, 2013

    If you thought it wasn’t possible to be more engrossed in a book than you were with The Queen’s Blade 1 and 2, think again… Book 3 in this superb series is even more eloquently written than the first two books. As usual, this author wows with her vivid imagination and descriptions, and the action is almost non-stop. It seems Blade’s enemies will never learn that the more they try to push him into doing something for them, the more likely it is they will meet the assassin’s blade. Like another reviewer said, this series is highly addictive!
  • The Queen's Blade IV - Sacred Knight of the Veil on May 30, 2013

    Book 4 in this captivating series takes readers fifteen years into the future, when Cotti princes once again threaten peace. Only Blade can set things right, but he isn’t the least interested – until Shamsara promises him the reward of a lifetime… Readers will be entranced by the seemingly impossible reward and thrilled by how Blade handles the greatest mission of all. Get ready for rip-roaring action, devious plotting and an unstoppable assassin. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an excellent story that’s well written to boot.
  • The Queen's Blade V - Master of the Dance on May 31, 2013

    The Queen’s Blade could very well be the best fantasy series you’ll ever read. Each book is more compelling than the previous, particularly since readers gain an ever deeper understanding of Blade’s moral fibre and quirks as the series progresses. Under threat of torture and death, Blade’s skills are put to the ultimate test, but even the Regent’s life being in danger can’t thaw the protective wall of ice encasing the assassin’s mind. These books are worth far more than the author is charging for them. Grab them at this bargain price before Southwell sees sense and ups the price!
  • The Queen's Blade VI - Lord Protector on June 04, 2013

    Lord Protector is a quick read in that the story is easy to follow and so captivating that it’ll be a case of ‘just one more page’ or ‘just one more chapter’ before you’re finally able to put your head down to get some sleep for the night. Don’t let the potential lack of sleep put you off, though – you aren’t likely to find a better indie read! It’s best to read this series from the beginning (Book 1 is free to whet your appetite), and it’s a bargain in all senses of the word. Don’t miss out – sink your teeth into one of the best fantasy series around!
  • The Queen's Blade Prequel I - Conash: Dead Son on June 04, 2013

    Conash: Dead Son is one of the most heart-rending stories I’ve ever read. This prequel to The Queen’s Blade series had me in tears in places, though I’ll admit to laughing rather hard in other places. A brilliant mix of gut-wrenching pain and stomach-cramping humour! This book tells the tale of how a gentle, innocent young boy was led to being a pitiless, cold-hearted assassin. By now, you’ve probably read the other books in this series and know why Blade is the way he is. However, knowing why and experiencing it with him are entirely different things, so have a few tissues handy even if you aren’t prone to getting teary when you read. This book will exceed your expectations in countless ways.
  • The Queen's Blade Prequel II - God Touched on June 06, 2013

    This second prequel to The Queen’s Blade series is just as enjoyable and tear-jerking as the first, and fans won’t be disappointed. No longer the gentle little boy his mother raised, Blade has become the Master of the Dance, a merciless assassin who is already the best in all of Jondar. Though many try to kill him, he seems untouchable and insanely lucky. If you enjoyed the rest of this series, you’ll love this book, and if you haven’t had the pleasure yet, do yourself a favour and download Book 1 (it’s free). One can only hope that the author will see fit to write a final book that ends with Blade enjoying a pleasant retirement surrounded by loved ones.
  • Liquid - A Flash Story of Obscurity in the Fabrics of Reality on June 27, 2013

    I enjoyed this flash fiction piece. I have to admit that I didn't quite get the end, but I'm still giving it five stars, because the descriptions were so vivid, like a movie in my mind as I read. Well worth your time if you visualise when you read!
  • Faceless on June 29, 2013

    A story that shows how bad a life of crime can go and how it can even affect one's mind in the end. Entertaining and well written; worth the read!
  • I'm Sorry on July 03, 2013

    A moving story that I enjoyed reading. I found it quite sad, but it mirrors countless real lives, so makes one sit back and think long and hard about the world we live in and our choices.
  • Demon Lord VIII - When Angels Fall on Feb. 12, 2014

    This latest offering from Southwell, filled with the usual action and adventure fans have come to expect from this author, will keep you reading long past your bedtime. It’s another entertaining read that won’t disappoint Demon Lord fans, and you’ll meet some new and interesting characters in this book, such as the archangel Majelin, whose wife pleas with Bane to rescue her husband, trapped in the underworld. The rescue goes a bit wrong, trapping Bane and Majelin in another, bizarre realm, the likes of which he’s never encountered before – nor has he come across the strange beings that inhabit the realm, deadly even to a dark god. I recommend this book to all Southwell fans, and, if you haven’t already sampled this author’s writing, strongly suggest that you read the first book in this series, which you can download for free.
  • Gone to Shit: Surviving on Oct. 07, 2014

    This book follows the journey of a man determined to protect his loved ones in a post-apocalyptic world - no matter the cost. It's an example of how adversity can change a person, often for the worse if one isn't careful. I found this to be an entertaining read and, while the topic and lessons are deep, the book was still an easy read.