#SPFBO 7 Wrap Up and #SPFBO 8 Introduction #WyrdAndWonder


First a little bit about SPFBO:

What is SPFBO?  This is a competition for self published authors of fantasy fiction.  It’s the brainchild of Mark Lawrence and its mission is :

‘The SPFBO exists to shine a light on self-published fantasy. It exists to find excellent books that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. It exists to help readers select, from the enormous range of options, books that have a better chance of entertaining them than a random choice, thereby increasing reader faith in finding a quality self-published read.’

Check out Mark Lawrence’s post here to look at this year’s entrants, judges and allocations list.

Last year’s SPFBO competition was perhaps one of the closest contests so far with the eventual winner being revealed on literally the final day – it really was that close.

The winner was Reign and Ruin, the first instalment in the Mages of the Wheel series by JD Evans and a lovely Eastern inspired story of magic and politics with a delicious slow build romance.


I highly recommend this and look forward to reading more from the series.

Check out the finalist scoreboard here.  All the reviews are linked and there is literally something for everyone amongst these finalists.  There were also some other great books discovered during the competition and I highly recommend checking out the other judge’s blogs to discover plenty more reads to topple your tbr.


This year I’m including my wrap up and intro post alongside an event that runs during the month of May known as Wyrd and Wonder – an event that is a celebration of all things fantasy, which to me makes the two a fantastic fantasy fit. Wyrd and Wonder comes to an end on the last day of May and the SPFBO begins it’s journey on the 1st of June.  It’s a perfect fit and although the event is almost complete it’s never too late to join in.  This is the fifth year that the event has run and it’s simply gone from strength to strength. Check out the details here. (IMAGE CREDITS: tree wolf image by chic2view on 123RF.com)

So, this year I will once again be teaming up with the lovely ladies from The Critiquing Chemist. Last year was a lot of fun and we’re hoping to continue in the same vein.  In previous years I’ve tried to give a brief overview of how I intend to sort through my own batch of books.  This year I’m going to change things a little.  I haven’t fully worked out my process yet but would like to keep things flexible and loose for now.  I will certainly give every book in my batch a fair chance.  I will definitely read at least 30% and more than likely complete most of the books I’ve been allocated.  I will also provide a full review for every book I complete and a shorter synopsis for those that I don’t finish with reasonings of why that particular book might not have worked for me but might well work for others.

As with previous years I would reiterate that 300 entrants to this competition will eventually be whittled down to one winner.  Those are some tough odds right there.  My advice is to come for the competition but to stay for the camaraderie.  Reach out to others.  Make friends. Have fun.

Check out the Critiquing Chemist’s intro and book cover post here.  The cover competition has now finished and the winners can be found here.  Stop and take a look – there are some amazing covers.

Finally, a huge thank you to all the authors for entering your precious book babies into this competition, we all understand what a big step this can be and how difficult to have your work held up for such public scrutiny.  Without you there wouldn’t be a competition.

Authors we salute you!


#SPFBO Wrap Up and Announcement

Posted On 12 May 2021

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Artboard 1

300 books           10 Judges            1 winner

If you’ve been following SPFBO (The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off competition, brain child of Mark Lawrence) you’ll probably be aware already that we have our winner.  It was a close competition with some excellent reads – I advise you to step over here to see what takes your fancy. 

The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson topped the charts and is a worthy winner.  This was closely followed by my first book (and definitely not my last) by Michael R Fletcher a dark and grim little number called Black Stone Heart.  Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire was actually the first finalist I read and it really set the bar high (so no surprise that it came in the top three).  Anyway, I won’t go through all the finalists here, the final order, scores and all the reviews can be found on the link above and I highly recommend giving them all a try in fact I think I can safely say that there’ll be something here to satisfy every taste – from epic style fantasy to character focused, to grimdark, to norse retelling to gladiatorial style fight club and much, much more.  (Never forgetting of course that there were some amazing books that didn’t make the final cut – check out the blogs to see their thoughts on their original batch of books and eventual semi finalists).


Moving swiftly on – ‘WHAT!!’ you may say.  ‘Already? No, it’s too soon’. 

Well, SPFBO 7 will be starting on the 1st June so this post also acts as a ‘heads up’ for all you authors out there who would like to submit your work for the next competition.  The details can be found here  – (hint – the doors for submission open on the 14th May).

Two things must thee know about SPFBO.  

Firstly, it’s a competition – you have to be in it to win it.

Secondly, 300 books may enter the gates but…


Don’t be put off by those odds though – come for the competition but stay for the community, the camaraderie and the friends you will make along the way.

That is all.  Keep your eyes glued to Mark Lawrence’s blog, check out the SPFBO Facebook group or sign in to Twitter (#SPFBO) for further updates.



#Wyrdandwonder – It’s a wrap

Posted On 1 June 2019

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Another Wyrd and Wonder event comes to an end, all too quickly!  I’d like to thank the hosts this year imyrilLisa and Jorie.  I’ve loved taking part and I know how time consuming all the organisation can be so thank you again :D.  I perhaps didn’t get round to everything that I’d planned but I still had a great time and here’s what I managed to include:

FFOFive Friday Face Offs with the following themes:

  1. A Cover that is blue
  2. A cover featuring a festival/party/celebration
  3. A cover featuring a fantasy beast
  4. A cover that features ‘magical things’
  5. A favourite fantasy cover 

Can’t Wait Wednesday in which I highlight books that I’m excited about that aren’t yet released.:Can't wait

  1. The Bone Ships (The Tide Child #1) by R.J. Barker
  2. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
  3. Stormsong (The Kingston Cycle #2) by C.L. Polk
  4. Flamebringer (Heartstone #3) by Elle Katharine White
  5. The House of Sacrifice (Empires of Dust #3) by Anna Smith Spark

ThrowbackThursday.pngThrowback Thursday where I highlight books from the past – maybe the next in series is due out for example and this is a good way to highlight the series for other readers:

  1. The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire
  2. The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
  3. The Winnowing Flame Trilogy by Jen Williams
  4. The Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell

Books read and reviewed:

  1. Westside by WM Akers
  2. A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay
  3. Dark Shores by Danielle  L Jensen

I did read a further four books that fit the theme but unfortunately haven’t posted the reviews yet so I’m not including them here.

Another year comes to an end but hopefully there’ll be another wonderful celebration of all things fantasy next year and with a bit of a forward planning I might keep on track.