Monday, 16 May 2022

SPFBO 8 - The Cover Contest!

Each year I run a cover contest for the SPFBO entrants. Each blog chooses its 3 favourite covers from their pool of 30 entrants. The 30 favourites collected from the 10 blogs are then voted on in separate ballots by the bloggers and by the public.

The public vote is of course a bit of fun and subject to all the issues of brigading and cheating that online polls often are - though our anti-cheat software is more effective than the raw poll results might lead you to believe.

We did this in 20212020201920182017 & 2016 too.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

SPFBO 8 - the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2022 - PHASE 1


This page is for phase 1 of SPFBO 8  -  read more about the contest here.

As usual, some demographics:
And the traditional word cloud from the titles!

This year's generi-title appears to be Dust of the Blood-Shadow!

And check out the ongoing Cover Contest.

300 of 300 contestants are still in the running!

red = cut
indicates semi-finalist

These are provisional assignments to blogs - subject to rearrangement before the contest starts


Jennings Zabrinsky Troupe of Shadows

Kaleigh McCann The Darkness Calling

Clementine Fraser Dust Bound

Melissa McShane Burning Bright

Juliet Vane The Scorpion's Lullaby

Joseph J. Bailey Master of the Flying Broom

Edward Rose The Soul Trade 

Rachel Emma Shaw Sacaran Nights

Mitchell Hogan Raven: Reawakening

Nathan Hall An Altar on the Village Green

Jessica Grace Wright Tails

S.C. Gowland Imagine The Fire

David Samuels Blood on the Canvas

Neil Adam Ray Gold Glamour's Ghost

Andrew C. Piazza A Song For The Void

J. W. Benjamin Dungeon Man Sam and the Orphaned Core

Brand J. Alexander Rise of Tears

Elayna R. Gallea & Daniela A. Mera  The Pirate's Deal

Elise Carlson Manipulator's War

Dawson George The Crypt Lord's Call

Amy Campbell Breaker

Liz Delton The Alchemyst's Mirror

Tony Debajo In The Shadow of Ruin

R R Carter Born of Fire

Selkie Myth Beneath the Dragoneye Moons: Oathbound Healer

Grace Carlisle Forest of Forgotten Vows

Fowler Brown The True and Accurate Log of the Sand Ship Uncertainty

Kel E Fox Darkhaven

James G. Robertson Afterworld

Philinna Wood The Heart of the Bloodstone

Fantasy Book Critic

Holly Karlsson Kingdom of Essence

L. Ryan Storms A Thousand Years to Wait

Sarah K. L. Wilson Fly With the Arrow

Anitha Krishnan Dying Wishes

Tatiana Obey Bones to the Wind

J E Hannaford The Skin

J. B. Cantwell Wild Lands

Kristin Gleeson Awakening the Gods

Pablo Suarez The Broken Oath

Morgan K. Bell Broken Sky

Morgan Stang The Spider and the Scribe

P.D Ball         They call me Princess Cayce

Anna Tan Amok

Hiyodori         The Lowest Healer and the Highest Mage

Marcus Abshire Hard Skip  

HJ Tolson Liches Get Stitches

Pat Luther Yellow Tape and Coffee

Derrick Smythe To Wield a Plague

Julianne Munich The Reborn Prince

O. J. Barré Awen Rising

Jonatan HÃ¥kansson The Girl of Precinct Five

J. W. Judge Vulcan Rising

Lauren Louise Hazel The Reign of the Occult

Sean Crow Quenched in Blood

Kyoko M The Black Parade

E J Doble The Fangs of War

Jacob Stewart From A Great Height

Patrick LeClerc The Beckoning Void

L. Krauch The 13th Zodiac

Thomas Howard Riley We Break Immortals

Lynn's Books + The Critiquing Chemist

Stephen Taylor Candle and Claw

Joshua Derrick Ser Ghostwriter 

Alex C. Pierce The Blood of Crows

HJ Ramsay Ever Alice

Melissa Wright Between Ink and Shadows

Noor Al-Shanti When the Traveler Stands Still

Kat Loveland Testament of An Archangel

Aaron Fown Asterius & Thesius Walk Into the Light

Zak Dragon The Lich of Thandorien

Ben Merrick Where the Valley Meets the Sky

Aaron S. Jones Memories of Blood and Shadow

Joseph Sale Dark Hilarity

Evie Marceau Scarlight

R. Ramey Guerrero Dust of a Moth's Wing

Tristan Dineen Falhorne: The World Is Burning

S. R. Cronin One of One

Kian N. Ardalan The Fantastically Underwhelming Epic

Staci Olsen Falling through Stars 

Kelvin Womack Elusion of Freedom

Luke Tarzian The World Breaker Requiem

Thane Tyler The Heretic

Christopher G. Brenning The Hellborn King

Quenby Olson Miss Percy's Pocket Guide (to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons)

Anne Wheeler Crownkeeper

Steven Smith Cutthroats and Traitors

L. R. Schulz A King's Radiance

S.A. Klopfenstein Den of Thieves

Marie M. Mullany The Hidden Blade

R.E. Davies The Prophecy

Patricia S. Bowne Fountain Girl


Emerson Laine Augustine

S.G. Blaise The Last Lumenian

Willow Woods The Shadow Courtesan

Steven Rudy The Binding Tempest

Ron C. Nieto Captain of the guard

Meredith Hart A Matter of Dragons

Jennifer Allis Provost Heir to the Sun

Chelsea Harper Wake of the Phoenix

Rune S. Nielsen A Company of Adventurers

Ashley Capes Crossings

K.E.Andrews The Assassin of Grins and Secrets

Jowsey Jones Blazing Coffins

Hayley Reese Chow Odriel's Heirs

A.J. Calvin The Moon's Eye

Jean Gill         Queen of the Warrior Bees

E.C. Static 9 Levels of Hell

K.A. Honeywell Damn Wilds

Alex Raizman The Wastes of Keldora

Thiago Abdalla A Touch of Light

Frank Dorrian Horns of the Hunter

Ned Marcus Orange Storm

Audrey Simmons Child of the Moon

Lucas Pederson Ashes of the Witch

Noel Coughlan Fatal Shadow

Joe Coates Blood For Wages

J.J. Thorn Heavy (The Weight Of It All)

Rachael Vaughn The Last Culling

Elizabeth S. Trafalgar The Courts of Fate and Fear

Cat Rector The Goddess of Nothing At All

Shaun Paul Stevens Servant of the Lesser Good

The Weatherwax Report

S. S. Rundolin Sabin Escape From Foster Care

Sinnamon Carnelian A Trashy Medieval Romance

Azalea Forrest A Bitter Drink

Slifer274 / Aaron Shih Heretical Oaths

Bruce McKnight Forged In Flame

Samuel Thomas Fraser Abby Normal

Lewis Knight The Eye of Everfell

S. Lynn Helton Crystalborne Sigils

Kevin Wright The Definition of Vengeance

Trina L. Talma Silver and Blood

D.G. Redd You Can't Prevent Prophecy

David Oliver Draconis

Erynn Lehtonen Spirit of the Dragon

Ryan G. Beaty Crown of Madness

Stephanie Burgis Scales and Sensibility

Raina Nightingale Children of the Dryads

D. T. Kane The Acktus Trials

Adam R. Bishop A Sea of Cinder

Brittany M. Willows Bloody Spade

Emmanuel Akeyo The Gritikah Castle

Juniper Lake Fitzgerald METANOIA

Berneta L. Haynes Aya and the Alphas

S.K. Nova The Pacts We Make For Love

Edward Patrick The Rage of a Boy

Jami Fairleigh Oil and Dust

T.M Kohl The Lost King

Helen Rygh-Pedersen Waking Ursa Minor

Leslie Conzatti Princess of Undersea

Richard Fierce The Price of Honor

M. L. Roberts The Boy Who Drew Horses

The Fantasy Inn

Rance D. Denton His Ragged Company

Will Rice         The Sorcerer Within

Charlotte E. English Hell and High Water

Dwayne Leroy Homefall

Lily Anne Crow Dreams of Dust

Katie Cherry Blessed With A Curse

Topher Metcalf/Walt Allen The Gates Of Anak'anor

Ben J Henry The Order of Chaos

Rebecca Crunden These Violent Nights

Krista Wallace Gatekeeper's Key

Stephanie Caye The Flaws of Gravity

Steve McHugh No Gods, Only Monsters

Meg Cowley Flight of Sorcery and Shadow

Chad Retterath Weapons of Disharmony

Jarryd Smith Oath Broken

Blake Severson Atlas Rising

Jamie Jackson Fear and Fury

Dave Dobson The Woeling Lass

C.G. Harris The Nine

Elizabeth J Brown The Laughing Policeman        

Drew Montgomery The Last Dragonkeeper

Abbie Evans Mysterious Ways

Christopher D. Brand A Blade For Hire

Travis M. Riddle On Lavender Tides

A.R. Henle Water for Blood

Mae Jordon Flowers and Bones

Chris Fritschi Spiritbridge

V. M. Jaskiernia Delphinium, or A Necromancer's Home

Heather N. Russell Chosen

Benjamin J. Ryan Beckoning of the Gate

Becky M

Daniel Aegan Excalibur Nights

K.A. Wiggins Blind the Eyes

J.D.L. Rosell Whispers of Ruin

T R Peers The Wake of Manadar

Glen Dahlgren The Game of War

Catherine Weaver Gold Dust

Zamil Akhtar Lightblade

Lane Trompeter The Crux of Eternity

J.T. Williams Our Dead Gods

Ian Gregoire The Apprentice In The Master's Shadow

Rachel L. Tilley The Locket: Magician's Prophecy

Freddie A. Clark The Harbinger of Freedom

Melissa Polk Beneath the Shadow Dark

Timothy S Currey The King & Kishar

Set Sytes         India Bones and the Ship of the Dead

Sargey Ravenwood King Arthur vs Robin Hood

Carol Carman Gingerbread Children

A J Walker Emperor's Fate

Cameron Hopkin A Gathering of Chaos

Suzannah Rowntree A Day of Darkness

Marcela Carbo Fate's Long Shadow

Ashton Gaskill The Chaos Storm Expedition

Phillip Murrell Bystanders

Amber Gabriel A Crack In The Rock

S.F. Claymore Champion's Rising

Peter Blaisdell The Jinn and the Two Kingdoms

T. A. Hernandez Tethered Spirits

Barbara Lennox The Wolf in Winter

Wren Murphy The Serpent Lord

Jesse Teller Onslaught of Madness 

Before We Go Blog

Tom Mock The Long Nights

M.L. Farb Heartless Hette

K.L. Kolarich House of Bastiion

Andrew D Meredith Thrice

Alex J. Eiseman The Gatherers and the Illness of the Isle

Tim Beeden Envy

Lee H. Haywood The Order: Shadow of the Assassin

H.C. Harrington The Inquisitor

Kody Boye A Deadly Bloom

Allegra Pescatore & J.P. Burnison A Bond of Thread

Jim Wilbourne The Seventh Cadence

Hannah Steenbock Dragon Prey

Keith Healing The Burnt Watcher

Connor Ludovissy Honor for the Dead

John Palladino The Trials of Ashmount

Casey White The Library

Craig A. Price Jr. Way of Thieves

W. B. Biggs Come Hell and High Water

Ted Rabinowitz The Wrong Sword

Joseph O. Doran Empire Under a Dying Sun

Jodi L. Milner Stonebearer's Betrayal

Trudie Skies The Thirteenth Hour

Claudie Arseneault Baker Thief

Jillian Maria There's Magic Between Us

Roderick T. Macdonald The Killer and The Dead

Nathan Tudor The Empire's Lion

Dito Abbott Debunked

Alex Gilbert A Journey of Black and Red

Ross Hughes The Night Comes Alive

Rob J. Hayes Spirits of Vengeance

Queen's Book Asylum

Heather G Harris Glimmer of The Other

Andrea L. Staum Rogue's Kiss

JC Kang Dragon Charmer's Apprentice

Michael E. Thies The Clash of Fates

Cal Black No Land For Heroes

Reginald Lewis The Guardian of the Ward

Melissa Stone Stars of Destiny: Light

Robert H Fleming The Talon's Fury

Valinora Troy The Lucky Diamond

Aiden L Turner The Banner of the Broken Orc

Reuben J Eckhart Dissension

Lorain O'Neil Azalea & Syzygy

Chris Fox Shattered Gods

Katy Mullett The Stone Guardians: The Path of Fate

Ben Stava A Hunter Among Wolves

K.A. Ashcomb Penny for Your Soul

Coby Zucker Nomads of the Sea

Brianna da Silva City of Reckoning

Carissa Andrews Secret Legacy

EM Howell Queen of the Wild

Pedro Gabriel     Ironcraft

J.R. Mathews Portal to Nova Roma

Emma L. Adams The Lost Sentinel

Olivia Atwater Small Miracles

MJ Carstarphen The Wandering Tree 

Rick Waugh The Eternal Muse: Desecration

Alec Hutson The Umbral Storm

Casey Hollingshead The Witch Hunter

Olga Werby Pigeon

Sean Mauss The Three Sons


Mark Holloway The Soul's Aspect

JCM Berne Wistful Ascending

A.C. Cross Where Blood Runs Gold

Ron Sami The Cradle

Christopher Clargo The Stones of Valtara

Alex Hanson The Lady of the Mark

Lorne Ryburn The Menocht Loop

Leslie Aldridge Guardians of the Light

K. H. Nelson The Grim

Hannah E. Carey The Hunter

Marco Mizzi A Phantom's Vengeance

D. A. Smith The Blood of Outcasts

PJ Wilson Profane Rites

Johan Faire The Merchant Prince

D. H. Willison Hazelhearth Hires Heroes

Grace J Roberts Sekhmet

Charlotte Kersten Sweetness and Blessings

Kai Greenwood Deep's End

Scott Warren Ought to be Dead

Karen Lykkebo Heir to The Sun

L. James Rice Eve of Snows

L.A. Buck Fire of the Forebears

Jonathan King Morrigan

Alfred Wurr Phantom Frost

Phil Parker The Valkyrie of Vanaheim

Michael DeAngelo D'Aprile's Fools

CF Welburn I Shall Return With Winter

Toby Bennett The Sickle's Edge

AK Faulkner Jack of Thorns

Craig Schaefer Any Minor World

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Friday, 6 May 2022

The Evolution of a Signature!

I saw a recent post in the Fantasy-Faction Facebook group where a reader had found a hardback copy of Prince of Thorns in a charity shop. He was very happy, and deservedly so, since on ebay the same thing is this much! 

BUT ... he was worried, because the signature didn't look like the signature he'd seen online. Did he have a ~£300 signed copy, or a copy spoiled by some fraudster, and that might be worth as little as £15?

To cut to the chase - it was real. My signature has ... simplified over the years. It appears to be heading towards a flat line.

I've blogged about this before, but here's a fuller accounting of the evolution. The biggest change came during the first few years. When you're signing 300 signatures, and later 500, or even a 1,000 in one batch ... you rapidly come to the conclusion that letters are really an optional extra, and if the line wiggles vaguely in the direction of them, that's fine, people will work it out.

Here's an example of my signature from every year, starting at 2011 and reaching 2022.

And a more detailed take on how it looked by 2014:

So, there you have it. Not the best of signatures, not the worst, but it's mine and I'm owning it. And, apparently, owning it can make you a little richer!

Monday, 2 May 2022

The new SFPBO champion!

The 7th annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off is over!

After 11 months of hard labour by ten wonderful blogs, 300 books were whittled down to 10 finalists and then to 1 champion. 

And here it is!

And again, in the traditional pose, flanked by the historic SPFBO owls and with the magnificent SPFBO Selfie-Stick award at its feet.

And here we have our champion with her hallowed award!


Please check out the finalists' score-board. It was the tightest contest we've ever had and there will be something you'll enjoy here.

And if you have a self-published fantasy book of your own, the next contest - the 8th annual SPFBO, opens its doors to contestants in 12 days. Take a look!

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

The Girl And The Moon has risen!

The Girl And The Moon has risen in the west - in America to be precise ... and Canada.

Two more days before its light bathes us in the UK (28th April).

If you've been waiting to read them all in one go ... stop waiting.

Here are some handy links for the lazy - but do try to get along to a bookshop!

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Super cheap signed UK copy from Forbidden Planet (£12.99 + p&p)
Signed and numbered UK edition + art print from Anderida Books
Signed US copy from VJ Books

If you've been reading along as we go - very many thanks. There's a catch-up at the start of the book to refresh your memory of the story so far.

Here's how the Books of the Ice and Ancestor overlap!

This is - and it amazes me to say it - my 15th published book!

You can totally enjoy The Girl And The Moon having only read the two other books in the trilogy. Enthusiastic 5* reviews on Goodreads show this to be true.
There are, however, subtle and not so subtle call outs to all of my other books. So, if you're a Lawrenceologist, go to it!

What's next?

Hopefully you'll be pleased to know that I have a book deal with my usual publishers (Voyager and Ace) for another trilogy, to be published in 2023,2024, and 2025!

This will be something completely new, and since I'm about a third of the way through the last book, I expect to have all three written before the first one goes on sale (as I usually do).

My publishers, beta reader, and test readers are all really excited about this one!

The first entry is called The Book That Wouldn't Burn, and the setting is a vast, ancient library.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2022

New Moons!

 I spent quite a while in a back office at Forbidden Planet today. The mounds of books that greeted me were both heartening and daunting!

But kept company by the fearless Jay who supplied coffee and book-lugging services, I prevailed. I signed every last one of them.

This wasn't even all of them!

   here's more!!

plus - I signed examples of all my other books - ALL!

You can, while stocks last, get a signed copy of The Girl And The Moon from Forbidden Planet for a jaw-droppingly cheap £12.99

These books will by shipped out to all the UK stores, plus you can order online:

It was great of Forbidden Planet to support me by ordering so much stock - so please support them by buying it!

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Saturday, 9 April 2022

The Moon has landed ... kinda.

 I have my author copies of The Girl And The Moon. Bathe in their reflected glory!

In the US you can get signed copies from VJ Books.

In the UK Anderida Books will list a signed and numbered special edition on their site around the 19th of April.

In the UK you can get signed copies from Forbidden Planet.

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