Bronze Medal, Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards

Palantir Press is proud to announce that the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards has bestowed a Bronze Medal on “Toru: Wayfarer Returns.”

Thank you, Billy Bob Buttons and your hardworking reading groups in the U.K. and Sweden!

This award means a lot to independent authors because “civilian” volunteer readers under Mr. Buttons’ leadership read the books for the competition, discussed them in their reading groups and came up with the finalists. That’s a lot of work by volunteers who care about indie authors, and Palantir Press would like to thank them for their efforts! Selection by real readers means so much to independent authors.

We also wish to congratulate the other independent authors on the winners list and offer Billy Bob Buttons’ advice about the entire list: “If you happen to be looking for a good read, the readers at The Wishing Shelf Awards thoroughly recommend the following.

If you haven’t already, give “Toru: Wayfarer Returns” or the other Wishing Shelf medalists a try.

Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Finalist!

We are proud to announce Toru: Wayfarer Returns has been named a Foreword INDIES 2016 Book of the Year Finalist in the Multicultural (Adult Fiction) category!

Foreword/Clarion also bestowed a nice five star review  last year.

Winners will be announced during the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago on June 24, 2017. We would like to congratulate our fellow finalists on their very intriguing books and wish everyone good luck as we wait for news of the winners.

The US Review of Books RECOMMENDED 5 Star Review of “Toru”

Palantir Press is proud to share with you the latest editorial review of “Toru: Wayfarer Returns,” just in from reviewer John E Roper at The US Review of Books. Or find it here on Goodreads. We include it here as well for easy access.

Tōru: Wayfarer Returns
by Stephanie R. Sorensen
Palantir Press



“Jiro was shouting, pointing urgently at something, but Tōru couldn’t hear. Just in time he saw the men at the anchor raise a blade and slice down, severing the line to the anchor.”

He knew he was taking a tremendous risk in coming home. For two years, Tōru had lived among Americans, learning their language and their ways, studying the technology of the West that far outmatched that of his homeland in the East. It would have been much safer to stay where he was, even if he would never fit in completely, than make the forbidden journey back to a land where the Shogun’s law demanded his death as a “spy,” But Tōru also knew that Japan was a ripe plum in the eyes of the Western powers, and before long, the Americans or perhaps one of the European nations would sail with their mighty ships of war to pick it. So he felt compelled to return with the knowledge and secrets he had gained and to try to convince his people of their danger before it was too late, even if that meant paying for his courage with his life.

In an impressive debut Sorensen weaves a page-turning tale of alternate history that examines what might have been if Japan had been on a more equal footing militarily when Commodore Perry attempted to open up trade with the island nation through gunboat diplomacy. That question alone would be enough to fuel an interesting novel, but the author takes the narrative up a notch by adding elements of steampunk to her storyline along with some familiar characterizations from Japanese anime and manga. The result is a satisfying blend of serious historical speculation, military action, suspense, and romance that at times also evokes the mood of a Miyazaki film. Tōru’s tale is just the first installment in a much bigger saga. If future volumes are as well-written and entertaining as this one, Sorensen’s future as an author looks extremely bright.

RECOMMENDED and awarded 5 stars on Goodreads by the US Review of Books.

“Toru: Wayfarer Returns” Virtual Book Tour Live!

Palantir Press is excited to announce our first ever book tour of our first published book, Toru: Wayfarer Returns, the story of a Japan that might have been. Over the next thirty days, we’ll be making stops at thirty book blogs, with author interviews, excerpts, giveaways and more. We’d like to thank the great folks over at Goddess Fish who organized the tour for us. Here’s the list of blogs we’ll be visiting each day for the next month! We’re excited to meet these book bloggers and hope you will check them out as well.

During this upcoming month, we’ll be running additional promotions on Goodreads and Amazon and through the thirty book blogs, so sign up to follow author Stephanie R. Sorensen on Goodreads and Amazon to get notified about upcoming giveaways and promotions. Follow Palantir Press on Twitter to get updates on Toru: Wayfarer Returns news and promotions, as well as our reviews of other books.

Speaking of news and awards, we have some!

First up, Toru: Wayfarer Returns was just shortlisted for the Cygnus Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction Novel award by Chanticleer. We’d like to congratulate the other shortlist authors as well–check us all out here!

Then, the fine folks over at IndieB.R.A.G. awarded their B.R.A.G. Medallion to Toru: Wayfarer Returns. We’re proud of that recognition because it’s a mark of quality, as they explain below:

“Our mission is to discover talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves….All ebooks brought to the attention of indieBRAG, LLC are subjected to a rigorous selection process. This entails an initial screening to ensure that the author’s work meets certain minimum standards of quality and content. This initial screening may involve a review of sample chapters available on (or other on-line booksellers), or portions of the nominated ebook. IndieBRAG, LLC reserves the right to reject an ebook during this initial screening assessment for any reason in indieBRAG, LLC’s sole discretion. If it passes this preliminary assessment, it is then read by a selected group of members drawn from our global reader team. In both the initial screening phase and, if appropriate, the subsequent group evaluation phase, each book is judged against a comprehensive list of relevant literary criteria.”

We’ll proudly take that!

But that’s not all! The excellent folks over at Awesome Indies also saw fit to bestow their Approval upon Toru: Wayfarer Returns. Check out their 5 Star Assessment! Like IndieB.R.A.G., Awesome Indies also seeks to find quality independently published work, so we are very proud to receive their approval as well. Here’s a peek at their criteria for approval:

‘The Awesome Indies is a not-for-profit indie book accreditation service that approves independently published works of fiction that meet the same standards as books published by mainstream publishers – as evaluated by publishing industry professionals. We aim to showcase books that meet a specific set of standards for fiction writing so readers can browse for indie books knowing they will be buying well-crafted works.”

Thank you all for helping us get the word out!


Congratulations to Biserka Design, the awesome team behind this cover. They’ve been awarded a gold star, one of four runners up to the April winner out of 96 entries, by Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer. See for yourself here!

Here’s our entry and the judge’s commentary:

Stephanie Sorensen submitted Toru: Wayfarer Returns designed by Biserka Design. “The design also credits Phelan Davion and Michael Lars for the samurai image used and adapted by the designer. Biserka Design has a Facebook page. No plot summaries, but the designers nailed the genre (steampunk set in Japan) and the heart of the brief–samurai with dirigibles!”

Toru: Wayfarer Returns
JF: Samurai with dirigibles, what’s not to love? This cover has it all, with great atmosphere, the mystery of that looming airship, and the seriousness of the samurai at the center. 


For the photo used by the designers, check out Phelan Davis’s site.

Now check out the cover one last time, big enough to see and savor!

Tōru 1600x2500 (3)