Introducing: Helena Š. George and The Lost Bard of Taliyaven

The name is George. Helena Š. George.

There, I've said it. Some of y'all might already know this. But perhaps others are unaware. And there are still more who call me by my penname by choice (which I'm totally cool with).

But it's time to let y'all know: I'm stepping away from the penname. "Julian Daventry" was created back when I first started blogging as a way to be safe on the internet. But now I'm a published author, and I published under my own name, and I'm worried it'll confuse people to have the two names floating around.

With this announcement comes one big change: I'm moving to another blog. From now on, be sure to check out Druhý, my new home in the blogosphere.

And, ESPECIALLY, check this new blog out today, because I am releasing the blurb for my latest and greatest release, The Lost Bard of Taliyaven. If you enjoy epic fantasy, you won't want to miss this one!

So. Until we meet again. *hugs*

The Red War Annals

 So....what is The Red War Annals??

Firstly, it's a series that I started writing in 2015. I didn't intend for it to become the grand story that it currently is. I simply wanted to try a new outlining style, and shoved together a couple loose plots and characters that I had lying around.

Secondly, it's gone through a lot of revisions over the years, but the core plots and characters have always remained.

Thirdly, the first two books release this year!! Keep your eyes and ears open for cover reveals, release dates, and more. :)

So. What sort of questions do you have? What would you like to know about The Red War Annals? Drop your questions below, and I'll answer them in a blog post. :)

2021 Wrap-Up

I didn't get to do everything I wanted to this year. I missed out on fun trips. I had to cancel plans. Work was stressful and even had me in tears. Life gave me a thorough beating and completely wore me out.

But there were good things, too, and I should not forget them. Life may look perfect when all you see are the picture, but there are trials and troubles people don't share online. And life may feel dark and dreadful, but there are always moments of genuine happiness and contement.

And, though it all, the good and the bad, is God's great Providence, giving me what I need, what I can bear, and what is good for me.

January we cleared the horse trails (they close for hunting season), had a dusting of snow, and made exciting plans for the new year. I even got my dad to come and join us on a trail-clearing expedition!

You can see the tiny patches of snow beside the road...that's about all the snow we got all winter!

February I practiced mounted archery, got farm work done, and struggled through a few days of icey rain. Mars, Sarah, and I also got together and went for a hike and chatted about all sorts of things.

This park has lots of memories...Ride and Tie races, ultra races, and now a lovely hike with friends.

March I finally purchased a cozy, one-person tent, all for myself! I also went on a camping trip with some dear friends. We had days of farm work, nights of music jams, and afternoon trail rides.

Our motley crew of horses and ponies!

April I got to go to the beach for a business expo (hotel and food paid for, oh yeah!) and spent way too much money on swords and knives (in my defense, the store sold a lot of used weapons/armor from the nearby Medieval Times dinner theatre). A friend and I also did a 10 mile Intro Race with Shadow and Pepper, and had a lovely time.

I'm not really a beach person (give me the mountains any day!) but I did enjoy standing in the water and looking for pretty shells.

In May we had our yearly Presbytery meeting, and my congregation was hosting this time around. Which meant all my church family came to town!! <3 We had church meetings, picnics, hikes, psalm sings, music jams, and rainy-day ultimate frisbee games.

Got a photo of me and Max during one of the Presbytery hikes.

In June, we had a scare at work, where a customer hit a nearby state-owned building, breaking some pipes. Air was wooshing out, someone thought they smelled gas, and the place was cleared before it blew up. (Turns out it was just regular air, and there was no danger.) I went horse camping with my sister and a friend. And the cook at the restaurant gave me a kitten (don't ever say "oh, I love kittens" when someone mentions their cat had kittens).

Tiny little Sammy. If you've been following my Instagram, you've probably gotten to see him grow up, lol. He makes regular appearances.

Of course, July was REALM MAKERS!! Sarah and I drove together and had a lovely time. The courses were amazing, I got to meet some amazing people, and Order of the Pen Press had a book table. I cosplayed as Hadrian Blackwater, and got to have a drink at a bar while in full costume.

I didn't know that getting a drink at a bar while in full costume was on my bucket list, but apparently it was, and now I've crossed it off. 

August was full of conditioning trail rides, and at the end of the month, Shadow and I completed our first 25 mile endurance race. We also lost a lot of employees at work, and I was working over 50 hours a week.

Our race photo. Temps were close to 90 degrees. But Shadow did great, and was still ready to go by the end of it. He handled everything quite well, and I'm very proud of him.

I organized my Ride and Tie race in September, and also turned in my work notice. The month was full of stress, attempting a horse trip in OH (that didn't happen), getting the race course ready, and making sure the job would be okay with me gone. Pepper raced both days in the Ride and Tie, and carried his teams to a second place finish (out of four teams) both days. And while the eagerly-awaiting OH trip didn't happen, I did go hiking in the Blue Ridge with Mars and Sarah (and we saw a bear, which was cool).

Pepper really is such a lovely horse...he gently carried a youth team the first day, and then kept a fast speed on day two, fighting with a half-Arab for the win (he only slowed on the final uphill...gravity works against him, haha).

Despite my worries, October was relaxing. I went on a family trip and didn't have to stress about work. I caught up on piddly things I'd pushed aside because of work/riding/writing. And I went hiking in the mtns with my family.

Top of the mountains with brother and sister.

I started a new part-time job in November, working at a friend's bookstore. I also began helping out at my dad's shop. Some dear friends came to visit for Thanksgiving, and we all went out to the Zoo and a horse auction. (Guess where we got to see a Zebra up close? Hint: not the Zoo...) I also did NaNo, and did a mash of drafting new scenes for Lost Bard and starting on a secret OotP project.

That awkward moment when the local horse auction sells...a baby zebra...

And December, the month of wrap-ups. I finished up on my goals, settled into my jobs, and got to hang out with Sarah and Joe. We strolled around town, watched Joe snowboard on what little man-made snow was out on the mtns, got coffee and tea, and went bowling. A perfect end to an interesting year!

Planning some epic things for the next few years!!

2021 Recap (Goals)

2021 has been quite a year, and I can't believe it's over. All things considered, it was a pretty nice year. Good and bad, like usual. That's part of life, I guess.

But did I reach my goals?? Hmmm..

Read 100 Books

So this is my goal every year, and at first I was worried I wouldn't reach it. Normally my family takes a long trip or two (basically to Presbytery, and then another church conference), but Presbytery was hosted by our congregation this year and we didn't go to the conference. Usually I get a bunch of reading done on those trips.

Not sure if it's "cheating" or not, but I also added up the full-read-through edits and the proof copy read-throughs for the three books we released. That boosted my book count a bit.

And I still had to sit down and do some speed-reads at the end of December. But I made the goal, if barely.

I do have a wrap-up post coming with my favorite reads of the year. :)

Compete in an Endurance Race

I've been wanting to do an endurance race for years, but a few things always stopped me, namely the time limits and the fact that my main horse is a chunky Friesian. But after getting Shadow the Paso last year, I figured the time had come.

And yes, Shadow and I completed two races this year. We did a 10 mile "Introductory Ride" in April, and then completed an actual 25 mile race in August. Shadow did great, and I also have a blog post about that. 

Drive Pepper 3 Times

I ground drive a lot, especially when I don't feel like riding or want to change things up for the boys. But actually hitching up the cart? Much harder. The cart is heavy and awkward, and getting the shafts in place by myself is a PAIN. But I did manage to hitch up 3 times and drive around for a bit. Pepper is always such a sweetie, and every time I drive I think "boy, I should do this more often" lol.

Quit My Job

Sad that I had to make this part of my "yearly goals" but I had to. I loved the job, and appreciated my bosses, and met some really great people (coworkers and customers), but it was stressing me out and also taking way too much of my time. People would call me when I was at home, and even on Sundays, and I even spent a good hour or two at Realm Makers making phone calls. And none of that was paid for, since I'm not salary, nor was I able to clock in for those times.

I put in my notice in September, and have since begun working part-time at a friend's bookstore, and part-time with my dad's repair shop (again).

Publish Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs

Publish Rumors, Reunions, and Revenge

Publish Rogues, Royals, and Raiding Roc

As you might know, all three books have been published, and are available on our website and Amazon!

I'll be back next week with my 2022 goals!

Journey Before Destination

I did my first endurance race this year. And while it was really fun and I have TONS of great memories and stories from that day, do you know what I also have?

Even more great memories and stories from all the training rides I had to do to achieve that goal of finishing the actual race.

Like the day I was supposed to do an out-and-back on the trail, and got bored and just rode home instead of back to the parking lot. We rode through the "downtown" area (just a post office and hardware store, really), passed by the local winery, and along the train tracks. Lots of fun!

And then the day I went into the nearby "big city" and did the 7 mile loop around the lake. I hadn't been there in years and it was so fun to do it again.

Or the day I did the most popular trail section and trotted the whole trail, breezing past big groups of trail riders while playing dramatic soundtrack music on my phone.

Or getting together with friends and just racing along for a few miles, laughing and enjoying the horses.

The race comes for a weekend and is over, but the conditioning rides will continue.

We published more books this year. I can't believe Sarah and I wrote and published an entire series. How cool is that?? Even better than release day, though, are the memories made during the journey.

Getting our "dis"sertations from Mars Evan, and the laughter and merriment that ensues.

Talking with Sarah over the phone and getting way too excited about a character or plot thread we just came up with or figured out.

Writing or editing a scene and just...GRINNING SO HARD BECAUSE IT'S PERFECT.

"Journey before destination" is one of the core statements of the Knights Radiant order in the Stormlight Archives. SA is a series I read this year, and really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

But journey before destination really hit me, because I feel it. I have done a lot of journeying this year. A lot of my goals have been made, but in other ways, I'm still travelling. I'm still journeying, and haven't quite reached my destination yet.

If the journey lasts longer than you expected, don't give up. After all, it's not the destination that changes you, it's the journey you take along the way.

It's nearing the end of 2021. A lot of us are looking at the goals we had, and some of those goals...they haven't been reached yet. Some might have been tossed out the window completely. We're not where we expected ourselves to be a year ago, for good or for bad.

I'm here to tell you: embrace the journey, no matter how long or hard it is. Look back and see how you've grown. See what has changed. See what progress, however big or small, you've made, and be proud.

Dare to dream big for next year. Dare to try something new. Dare to challenge yourself, push yourself. And accept the journey laid before you.

Journey before destination, y'all.

NEW RELEASE: Rogues, Royals, and Raiding Roc

 Today is the day...the final Pirate Hunter book is out in the wild. You can grab your copy off our website HERE or order from Amazon HERE.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our amazing team of beta readers, Chloe and Samantha especially. Thanks to your help, your encouragement, your advice...these books are complete and published. To everyone who read these books, who left reviews, who cheered us on...thanks, from the bottom of my heart.

What is the book about?

Two queens fighting for a throne.

A king returns to his home.

And the master of the seas.

Three years, and Pirate Queen Bonnie Clearwater still sails the seas. She continues to evade the pirate hunters, and her army only grows stronger until it threatens the whole Alliance of Kingdoms. In a desperate move, Captain Adi sails to the east to look for allies before her cousin begins to march across the kingdoms, one by one.

Meanwhile, Ravin must do the impossible—return to his home country of Arrothray and gain the leadership of the del Mankayl assassin clan. After running from his past for years, the time has come to confront the truth behind his family name.

The Red Wind Legends were once fire-side stories, told by sailors, parents, and travelers. But they continue to grow, wild and free, like the seas themselves. As the Alliance makes a final desperate stand against the Pirate Nation, the legacy of the Master of the Seas holds the key to victory.

Tabor Cover Reveal!

 I first read Golgotha earlier this year (and fell in love with the cover much, much earlier, lol). And then I beta-read the sequel, Tabor (also earlier this year).


Tabor is the second book in the Remnant Trilogy, and it was really fun to read! A diverse cast of characters (from noble Finn to roguish Gunnar to sweet Ama)(and EPIC MORAY) and some exciting plot twists!

(Maybe I should do mini reviews more often...that totally sold y'all, right??)

Anyways, here's the official blurb:

Five ragtag friends must close the Rifts between the Realms before an ancient war snuffs out all innocent life for good.

King Finnigan’s kingdom is crumbling—traitors plot in his midst, a witch has fled execution, and enemies attack allied lands. When Rifts form between Golgotha and Mazzabah, the ragtag remnants must close them before the ancient warlock, Shafiq, takes control of the realms.

With darkness engulfing both realms, the group parts ways to seek answers about the histories and what can be done against Shafiq. But what they find changes everything. If they can’t fight the darkness, Mazzabah will be lost, and so will every innocent life left behind. But to survive the ancient war, they need help. And with more help comes more traitors.

Preorders open today and all receipts can be sent HERE. Just be sure to do it before 11/15!! The first thirty pre-orders will get: a map, character cards, a bookmark, a customized note, and an exclusive monster art print!

Also, TWO readers who preorder and submit their receipts will be entered to win signed paperbacks of Golgotha and Tabor AND a scented candle inspired by one of the characters (as well as the swag previously mentioned).

For the record, these two books look absolutely beautiful together. I have both covers below as proof. :)