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Monday, July 24, 2017

GIVEAWAY: Win a Copy of Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty





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Fantasy Book Critic is excited to partner with Disney-Hyperion to offer this amazing giveaway for Serafina and the Splintered Heart. Serafina is a favorite series of mine and I am so excited to be able to offer you a chance to win a copy of the newly released Serafina and the Splintered Heart!

For the giveaway, one lucky winner will get a copy of Serafina and the Splintered Heart and a pair of customized earrings that go along with the book! 



Details for the giveaway are below, but before we get to that lets learn more about Serafina!

Learn about the Serafina Series:
Set in the magical Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Robert Beatty’s #1 New York Times best-selling series stars the fierce, resilient character of Serafina, a wild girl longing for kinship and struggling to understand her place in the world. This timeless story of finding one’s true family and best self chronicles an epic battle between good and evil and rewrites the rules of who can be a hero.

Book 1: Serafina and the Black Cloak
Book 2: Serafina and the Twisted Staff
Book 3: Serafina and the Splintered Heart

Learn about Serafina and the Splintered Heart:
The storms are coming....

Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.

A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it's too late.

With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.

In the epic third installment of Robert Beatty’s #1 bestselling series, Serafina takes her rightful place among literary champions as she battles fiercely to defend all she loves and become everything that she is meant to be.



About the Author
Robert Beatty lives in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife and three daughters. He writes full-time now, but in his past lives he was one of the pioneers of cloud computing, the founder/CEO of Plex Systems, the co-founder of Beatty Robotics, and the CTO and chairman of Narrative magazine. Visit him online at www.robert-beatty.com.
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1. This contest is open to the US.
2. Contest starts July 24, 2017 at 12:00 a.m. EST and ends July 31, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. EST. Entries after this time period will not be considered. 
3. Only one entry per person. 
4. To enter please send an email with the subject "SERAFINA AND THE SPLINTERED HEART" to FBCgiveaway@gmail.com. Please include your name, email, and physical address you want the book sent to. 
5. One entry will be picked at random to win a copy. 
6. All entries will be deleted once a winner is picked and contacted.

2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Giveaway Part VII (by M. D. Presley)


We’ve reached the final week of our SPFBO giveaway, but as we round the last turn as we hurtle towards the Grand Prize of over 40 books, there’s still plenty of goodies to grab along the way. Four winners will be treated to today’s haul, mostly coming from The Qwillery’s cohort, features a murder mystery, woefully mismatched quest partners, a girl hatched from a dragon’s egg, and a lightning-wielding prince.

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog, or head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did. https://www.facebook.com/fantasybookcritic/

James Jakins: Son of Thunder

Official Author Facebook & Twitter pages.


Official Blurb: In the country of Sohlgain, all young men are expected to chain a dragon and claim its charge. For Berun Toirnach, the eldest son of the nation’s ruler, this means venturing onto a dragon reserve and hunting a wild dragon. A tradition his family has upheld for generations. 

The aftermath of this hunt will shape Berun’s life. He is given a position as a Thunder Priest and gifted the power to control lightning, Berun must decide what to do with this new power. Will he use it selfishly, or will he use it for the benefit of his country?

Years later, in an attempt to escape responsibility for a short time, Berun and his friends take a trip to the idyllic beachside city of Hurthow, where an ancient festival is celebrated by locals and foreigners alike.

But the safety and warmth of the sun and sand is an illusion. Dangerous enemies wait, hiding behind smiles and cold eyes.

Soon the lives of Berun’s friends and family are put in danger, and the young prince must rely on his power and his allies, old and new, to save them. His father's most trusted bodyguard, a disgraced assassin known for his skill and ruthless precision. A young God Mage and her companions. And a coward with a power he's afraid to use. All of them will be needed to save those threatened. But time is against them and their enemies have secrets of their own.

Sonya Black: The Snow White Files

Official Author Website, Facebook & Twitter pages



Official Blurb: Brendan Hunter is a private investigator stuck on dead-end cases until seven dwarves show up in his office and offer him a King’s ransom to track down a missing girl. Their description of Lily Whitaker sparks his imagination, leading him into the dark world of twisted fairy tales, magical machinations, and political gambits...

"It's Casablanca meets The Dresden Files with a fairytale twist."

Pauline M. Ross: The Dragon’s Egg

Official Author Website


Official Blurb: A stand-alone epic fantasy set in the Brightmoon world…

Garrett has been many things in his time… street hustler, warrior, professional gambler, spy. He’ll do whatever is asked of him, legal or not. Now he’s paid to search for those with a touch of magic in them. But magic is unpredictable and hard to find, and he doesn’t have much luck until he meets Dru, whose family claim she hatched from a dragon’s egg. She looks different, doesn’t say a lot, and likes to talk to the chickens, though they don’t listen much. There might be real power behind her strangeness, if she could only learn how to reach it.

When Garrett is asked to escort Dru on a journey, accompanied by a scholar, a princess, a guard and a priest, it seems like a simple enough mission, until they fall into the hands of raiders. Garrett has lived on his wits all his life, but he’ll need all his talents, and a little magic too, to get them out of this mess and reach safety.

If he can manage that, maybe he’ll find out the secret of the dragon’s egg, and the girl who hatched from it.

Dorian Hart: The Ventifact Colossus

Official Author Website & Twitter page



Official Blurb: Banished to an otherworldly prison for centuries, the monstrous Emperor Naradawk is about to break free and wreak havoc upon the world of Spira. The archmage Abernathy can no longer keep Naradawk at bay, and has summoned a collection of would-be heroes to help set things right.

Surely he made a mistake. These can’t be the right people.

Dranko is a priest-turned-pickpocket, expelled from his church for his antics. Kibilhathur is a painfully shy craftsman who speaks to stones. Aravia is a wizard’s apprentice whose intellect is eclipsed only by her arrogance. Ernest is a terrified baker’s son. Morningstar is a priestess forbidden from daylight. Tor is a young nobleman with attention issues. Ysabel is an elderly farm woman. Grey Wolf is a hard-bitten mercenary.

None of them are qualified to save the world, but they’ll have to do. Even Abernathy himself seems uncertain as to why he chose them.

What starts with a simple scouting mission soon spirals into something more far-reaching and sinister. The heroes will contest with dream warriors, evil cultists, sentient gemstones, and a devious yet infuriatingly polite gentleman with a perfect mustache, on their way to a desperate encounter with the unstoppable: The Ventifact Colossus.

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Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at mdpresley.com.

Friday, July 21, 2017

2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Giveaway Part VI (by M. D. Presley)


Closing out our second week of the SPFBO giveaway, we again bring together three digital books from one blog’s selections: Fantasy Faction. With divergent settings ranging from Elven farms to sprawling fantasy epics, to even some Romans thrown in, this giveaway promised over 1,000 pages for four winners to while away their summer with.

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog, or head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did. https://www.facebook.com/fantasybookcritic/posts/10154576671566993

Ryan M. Meuller: Empire of Chains

Official Author Website, Facebook, & Twitter pages



Official Blurb: Five hundred years ago, powerful magic sealed Emperor Darien Warrick inside a ring of mountains. For five hundred years, his subjects have been trapped beside him. Some say he’s evil and these actions were necessary. Others say he’s a man willing to sacrifice anything for the greater good.



To young noblewoman Nadia, he is nothing but a murderer. On the day Warrick’s executioner takes her mother’s head, Nadia dedicates her life to one goal: killing Warrick. She spends her days training with the castle guard, her nights poring over the notes her mother left behind. In them, she finds the location of the only spell that can defeat the immortal sorcerer. But it feels too convenient. If she is to succeed in her quest, she must figure out Warrick’s true motivations and outsmart him.



For young woodsman Markus, Warrick is the man who owns him. Markus has spent his entire life training to become an Imperial Guard, but it’s a future he can’t stomach. However, it’s the only option he has, or at least the only sane one.



Until he meets Nadia.



Reformed thief Berig doesn’t care about Warrick one way or the other. Berig would rather keep his head down and try to scratch out what meager living he can. But in a world like this, he’ll never get what he wants.



Warrick has other plans.

Brandon Draga: The Summerlark Elf

Official Author Facebook, Instagram & Twitter pages






Official Blurb: Enna Summerlark has spent her entire life as a farmer's daughter in the kingdom of Hallowspire, paying little mind to anything past what to sell at the next market day. When the next market day comes, however, strange events take place that will reunite her with an old friend, bring her into the world of a pair of sell-swords, and reveal a secret that will change Hallowspire forever, and cause ripples across the whole of the Four Kingdoms.



The first book in "The Four Kingdoms Saga", The Summerlark Elf introduces readers to compelling characters in an engaging world of swords and sorcery, personal turmoil and political intrigue!

Frances Smith: Spirit of the Sword: Pride and Fury

Official Author Website & Twitter page



Official Blurb: The Divine Empire teeters on the brink of collapse, riven by division and ravaged by a lack of purpose in its soul. Miranda Callistus, the first Aurelian mage born in five hundred years, may have the power to save the Empire from itself...if she decides that the proud and vainglorious nation is worth saving.



Meanwhile, believing that Miranda's life is in danger, her estranged brother Michael sets forth to her rescue, hoping to prove himself a true hero on the battlefield. But the allies he gathers to his side may be as dangerous to Miranda as any of her enemies.



While Michael fights against his foes, Miranda banters with them in the parlours of the Empire’s great families. Princes, princesses and patricians all claim to have the cure for the Empire’s sickness, and all seek to bend Miranda to their will – or break her, for if they cannot make her their friend then none in the capital will hesitate to make her a corpse.

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Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at mdpresley.com.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Giveaway Part V (by M. D. Presley)


If only hump day meant more camels in our lives—one hump or two, it makes no matter—life would be significantly better for everyone involved. Alas, we can only offer succor in the form of three fantasy fans picking up digital copies of these three SPFBO competitors.

But then, to sweeten the deal even further, we’re adding one FREE SPFBO download for everyone who wants it. Look for the link at the bottom of the post as you gorge your eyes and imaginations while checking out the three other entrants for the daily giveaway.

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog, or head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did. https://www.facebook.com/fantasybookcritic/posts/10154571640471993

Maya Starling: Dragon’s Treasure

Official Author Facebook & Twitter pages


Official Blurb: “She was the girl who longed for the freedom of the dragon, and he was the dragon who longed to be a man.”



A heroine reclaiming her fate. A dragon with a secret. A prince on a quest.



Olivia flees to the forest seeking freedom from her family’s demands. She finds refuge in a cave, only to discover it is a dragon’s lair. The dragon, Kaden, is not the monster she first thinks him to be. After overcoming her initial fright – of not being eaten – Olivia discovers that the dragon has a gentle heart.



Kaden is resigned to loneliness after centuries of wandering the lands. Meeting Olivia brings joy to his solitary life, and never has he dreamed that a young woman would be the one to start the change in him.

A storm brews on the horizon.

A prince with a handsome face and a cruel heart is on a quest to slay the dragon, and take the throne. He will do whatever it takes to have what he believes is his to own. And now, he has his eyes set on the pretty little maiden from the forest. He will make her his Queen, whether she wants it or not.

Beth Hammond: The Sound of the Stones

Official Author Website



Official Blurb: An ancient book

A hidden prophecy

A quest to save humanity



When Frankie breaks the binding on an ancient book Ashra's world intertwines with her own. 



Evil seeks to destroy humanity, but Ashra is more powerful than she knows. As a new king ascends the throne both her virtue and her life are in danger. She risks everything to flee the city in search of answers. In her quest to save humanity she finds love, uncovers mysteries from the past, and unlocks a primordial magic she never knew she had. 



The multi perspective, epic setting of Game of Thrones meets the "book within a book" concept of The Never Ending Story. With a sense of humor similar to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and romantic undertones reminiscent of The Name of the Wind, The Sound of the Stones appeals to a wide fantasy loving audience.

Jeramy Goble: Souls of Astaeus
Official Author Website, Facebook, & Twitter pages


Official Blurb: The Astraeans access their millions of previous lives whenever they wish. Their semi-immortality is a curse as well as a blessing. 


Book one of the completed Akallian Tales trilogy, Souls of Astraeus, is a fresh take on fantasy adventure, and plunges you into the fight among a myriad of worlds and characters.


Everyone has a part in this story.

When Akal Atka loses his wife and dies from a related horror, he is slammed into an awareness of being the owner of millions of previous lives. As he struggles to adapt to the steep learning curve of ancient reincarnation, Akal learns he is only one of many with access to his semi-immortal gift.


With the death of his last regular life's love still fresh in his soul, Akal seeks to take advantage of his new abilities to somehow go back and prevent her death. Akal fails to do so however, and has no choice but to slow down and show his past lives the proper respect they deserve. As he grows in the wisdom of this patience, Akal develops relationships with others like him, and sets upon a path of discovery that reveals he and his comrades are not alone in their presumed authority over the multiverse.

D.E. Olsen: The Eagle’s Flight (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Official Author Website & Facebook page


Official Blurb: Peace in the Seven Realms of Adalmearc is only as strong as those who rule them. With the death of the high king and his heir too young to assume the throne, political intrigues fill the landscape as the leading noble families scheme and plot their way to power. Meanwhile, enemies abroad sense the changes and make their own preparations.  

Standing as a safeguard against both foreign foes as well as enemies closer to heart are the Order and its knights. Keeping the realms of Adalmearc united and at peace is their foremost duty. But when the strife turns political and the enemy is difficult to discern, when alliances shift and allegiances are torn, even the hitherto unassailable honour of a knight may become stained.  

The Eagle's Flight compiles the first three of the Chronicles of Adalmearc. It is a journey into the world of Adal, its realms, peoples, cultures, and conflicts.

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Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at mdpresley.com.

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Giveaway Part IV (by M. D. Presley)


Well, our first week of giveaways is now under our belt with nary a hitch. Messages are out to our first 16 winners, and now it’s time to turn our attention to the second week with the first giveaway revolving around four digital copies of books in Kitty G’s stable.

Feel free to put on your figurative (or literal) judge’s cap as you peruse this eclectic lot. All four kick off their own series to open up their own unique worlds, and if we were trying to make a sentence combining bits of each of their titles, it would go a little something like this: “The Eighth God uses The Sword to Sunder the Crown in the Darklands.”

To enter, leave a comment here on the blog, or head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did https://www.facebook.com/fantasybookcritic/posts/10154565072571993

M.L. Spencer: Darkstorm

Official Author Facebook, Twitter & Goodreads pages  


Official Blurb: Braden and Quin Reis share a tragic past, but it’s now up to them to save the future. When a secret conspiracy resorts to harnessing the powers of the Netherworld to save their legacy, Braden and Quin are the only mages capable of stopping them. But these two would-be heroes are compromised, harboring terrible secrets.



Can Braden and Quin put aside their differences long enough to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they relent and join the conspiracy?



Darkstorm is the prequel to the epic grimdark fantasy series The Rhenwars Saga. If you like morally gray antiheroes, page-turning action, and mind-boggling plot twists, then you’ll love Spencer’s award-winning series.

T.H. Paul: The Legacy Chronicle: The Sword

Official Author Facebook, & Twitter pages 



Official Blurb: In The Sword, the first volume of his new fantasy series The Legacy Chronicle, T.H. Paul brings you into a vast world of gods and mortals. The story of The Sword follows the life of Trem Waterhound, a half-elven hermit who, against his own judgment, heals and befriends a wounded young man when he finds his unconscious body in the thick undergrowth of Silverleaf Forest. 

Together, Trem and his former patient, Jovanaleth, embark on a journey to find Jovan's missing father. Along the way they become embroiled in a conflict that extends across the mortal world of Teth-tenir and even into the Godly Realms, and both are forced to confront their past in order to face an even more dangerous future.

Paul Lavender: The Eighth God

Official Author site


Official Blurb: For thousands of years, five great fortresses have stood sentinel between the Borderlands and the rapacious Orcs. But the Orcs have allies and these allies are about to set a chain of events in motion that will lead to war...
Heroes will rise to answer the call.



Saethryth has just returned from the Orc Lands where he has been killing them for over twenty years. He is one of the last Orcslayers left alive.

 Melress is a Half-Elven Battle Mage, recently promoted to Captain and sent to the fortress of Knight's Perch, where there are rumours of a traitor.

 

Tierra has been sleeping with the enemy and now she wants revenge.

 And Bazak-Kul, well he just wants to get home alive.

They, and others, will face the onslaught at Knight's Perch, but battle is the least of anyone's problems, because The Eighth God is on the rise and everything can change when the Gods are playing.

Matthew Olney: Heir to the Sundered Crown

Official Author Facebook page


Official Blurb: A realm torn asunder by civil war will give rise to a hero. 

The Kingdom of Delfinnia is in chaos. After assassins kill the king and his family, greedy self serving men battle one another for the crown. Unknown to them is that one heir yet lives, a baby boy now hidden and protected. 



In the mage city of Caldaria is a boy named Luxon. A young mage who will discover his past and his powers. For he will one day become known as the Legendary, the wizard who would break the world, the man who would embrace death and live and the hero who would give a realm its greatest king. 



Sent on a quest to find the one responsible for the King's assassination Luxon teams up with Ferran of the Blackmoor the legendary Nightblade and hunter of fell beasts, Sophia Cunning the land’s greatest witch hunter and Kaiden, a noble knight sworn to defend the world from darkness. 

Together they find the answers they seek, but the truth is far worse than anyone could possibly imagine. 



The Heir to the Sundered Crown is a fantasy tale that will ignite the imagination and set the stage for an epic battle between the light and the darkness.

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Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at mdpresley.com.

Friday, July 14, 2017

2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Giveaway Part III (by M. D. Presley)


I can’t promise this will be the last time I go to the High Fidelity well, but I will assure you that it will be the last time this week (TGIF!). But you should all know that the making of a great giveaway, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You got to kick it off with a killer (done) to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch (also done). But you don’t wanna blow your wad, so you got to cool it off a notch.

And what could be cooler than the theme of this, our third giveaway, where all three competitors are currently battling it out under the Booknest blog banner? Only one has the opportunity to rise to the position of Booknest’s champion, and four folks now have the chance to sample nearly one third of Booknest’s crop and decide for themselves which one they’d personally advance.

As always, head on over to Fantasy Book Critic’s Facebook page and SHARE this post to enter for a chance to win. I assure you, you’ll be glad you did. https://www.facebook.com/fantasybookcritic/posts/10154554860256993

Darrell Drake: A Star-Reckoner’s Lot

Official Author Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook Pages 


Official Blurb: Ashtadukht is a star-reckoner. The worst there's ever been.



It is said she commanded the might of constellations—though her spells often backfired. That her exploits caused the stars themselves to pause and take notice. It is said that, though dogged with illness, she crossed the lands of Iran in pursuit of demons that have since passed into myth, and brought them to heel.



She is spoken of in hushed tones, in half-truths and lesser lies.



Ashtadukht is a star-reckoner. The worst there's ever been. This is the story of her path... a warning to those who would follow in her footsteps.

Russ Linton: Pilgrim of the Storm

Official Author Facebook page 


Official Blurb: Sidge knows the rituals of the Stormblade Temple in meticulous detail. He has mastered every word, every phrase of the twelve thousand mantras. Among those who seek to defend humankind, he is a model in every way except one.

 He isn't human.



Adopted by an eccentric mentor, Sidge has never known his own people, an insectoid race more often pressed into menial labor than meditation. The temple is his entire life. Yet for many of his fellow acolytes, his presence is an affront to their vigil against an ancient foe who once held all mankind captive.



Dark omens follow Sidge on his first pilgrimage. The Wisdom of the mighty storm dragon, Vasheru, seeks a new vessel to lead the temple and the most likely candidate sees Sidge as an abomination. He and his mentor begin a desperate attempt to compete for the title. But an encounter with a streetwise woman named Kaaliya sets off a chain of events millennia in the making which will reshape Sidge’s destiny.



His first journey outside the temple walls will not only test Sidge’s faith but his sense of identity as he races to ensure his beloved temple does not fall into the wrong hands. 

Tara Saunders: Requiem for the Wolf
Official Author Facebook & Twitter pages 


Official Blurb: They told him that the Lost were animals. Crazed and brutal, they said, a danger to themselves and others. Hero, they called him, for providing the mercy of a clean death. They lied.



The Tiarna Beo is a land frozen in the still moment between acts of savage violence. Forty years after a Purging that drove an entire race either into the ground or north through the mountains, every man watches his words and his neighbour. Only a fool draws attention to himself, and only the suicidal travel from the North.



Growing up fatherless in a cold and grieving home, Breag had a clear vision for his future – a good woman, a family of his own and a quiet life. When his good woman betrays him, her confederates force him into the Tiarna on a mission to find one of the Lost and bring it home to be sacrificed. Mired in hopeless duty and wandering rootless among people who would kill him if they knew what he was, Breag struggles to hold on to the frayed edges of his humanity.



But no good deed goes unpunished. When his rescue of a brutalised young woman reveals her to be the Lost he has spent eight years hunting, Breag is forced to choose between her life and his future. And she’s not prepared to go quietly. Breag’s choice will create ripples that ignite the fumes of anger among his people and theirs, and ultimately to burn the entire kingdom down around his ears.

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Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley
is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at mdpresley.com.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Giveaway Part II (by M. D. Presley)


To paraphrase from High Fidelity, the making of a good giveaway is a very subtle art. Many do’s and don’ts. First of all, you’re using someone else’s poetry to express how you feel. This is a delicate thing.

So delicate, in fact, we wouldn’t be able to build off of our solid foundation from our first giveaway without the steadfast support of the following three authors. Ergo, get those pointer fingers and thumbs primed to share this group. Because the only way three people are going to win these three books, ranging from swashbuckling pirates to sleuthing witches, to the answer of what happens when an enigmatic elf, a crotchety dwarf and a bumbling wizard walk into a tavern, is to SHARE the Fantasy Book Critic’s post for this on Facebook.

So head on over and get to it to get some of this action: https://www.facebook.com/fantasybookcritic/posts/10154542890831993

Rob Hayes: Where Loyalties Lie

Official Author Website
Official Author Facebook & Twitter pages


Official Blurb: Everybody knows Drake Morrass is only out for himself.

As the fires of a dying city burn on a distant shore, Drake sees an opportunity to unite the other pirate Captains under his flag and claim a crown for himself. If he is to succeed he will need allies and the Oracle named Keelin Stillwater, the best swordsman in the isles, as Drake's right hand.

With enemy ships sailing his waters and setting fire to his cities, and the sinister Tanner Black threatening to steal the throne before Drake has even sat in it, Drake must somehow convince the other Captains that his best interests are also theirs.

Author Rob J. Hayes, after his successful completion of his award-winning grimdark trilogy, The Ties That Bind, now continues the saga of First Earth.

Alexa Grave: Mind Behind the Mind

Official Author Website
Official Author Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages & Blog


Official Blurb: A witch who believes one of her own kind could never kill...

In a world where people believe the crimson sun is a dead witch’s head and the witch hunter who killed her stalks the night sky, a witch who ventures outside of Haven risks losing her life. Tessa is one such witch. Like many of her kind, she hopes to help the people of Leera, not harm them, and she’s on her first mission to heal an ailing man named Jeremiah. But when she crosses paths with a witch hunter, instead of avoiding him like she knows she should, she succumbs to her desires and ends up in his bed.

The local Enforcers believe a witch is behind Jeremiah’s sickness, so they call Bastian to town. He’s a young witch hunter who normally has a knack for sniffing out witches. But when he runs into the striking Tessa, she scrambles his senses. He’s inexplicably drawn to her and abandons his usually cautious nature.

As Tessa and Bastian uncover clues about Jeremiah’s illness, Tessa has to face the possibility that another witch may have had a hand in the incident. And if Bastian learns she’s a witch, he may point his finger at her. Then her head will surely roll.

JA Andrews: A Threat of Shadows 

Official Author Website



Official Blurb: When Alaric’s beloved wife is poisoned, he uproots his life as a Keeper and sets out to find a way to heal her. Along the way he befriends magical characters — and encounters an ancient evil that stands between him and a cure.

Alaric was a Keeper; a good man, protecting the land with knowledge and magic, until his wife was poisoned and he betrayed everyone and everything to save her--only to fail.

Now Alaric has one last chance at a cure, but it's buried in an ancient stone. To find it, he'll need the help of an enigmatic elf, a crotchety dwarf, and a bumbling wizard. However, Alaric isn't the only one seeking the stone; an old evil stirs, and one of Alaric's companions will betray them all.

The task would be nearly impossible for a Keeper; so what chance does the shadow of a former Keeper stand?

Alaric must find the strength to become the man he used to be, cure his wife, and save the world from the looming shadows--but he cannot have all three. Which will he sacrifice?

Join Alaric in a land of magic, elves, and the occasional dragon as he is forced to make impossible sacrifices to save everything he knows.

Remember to SHARE on Facebook for your chance to be the cool kid who wins these gems.

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Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Bio: MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at mdpresley.com.

Monday, July 10, 2017

2017 Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off Giveaway Part I (by M. D. Presley)


Birthed by blogs, SPFBO (pronounced “spiffbo” to those in the know) came about when Mark Lawrence wondered how many great undiscovered self-published fantasy novels were out there and ten heroic blogs took him up on the challenge to churn through the slush of nearly 300 novels and declare a single winner. There were a few tears, and maybe the loss of a limb or two, but eventually Michael McClung stood atop the tower of vanquished foes and even earned himself a traditional publishing deal, as did Jonathan French the second time around.

Now in its third year, a new crop of ravenous, steely-eyed self-published fantasy challengers step into the SPFBO ring for the amusement of fantasy fans everywhere. But instead of battle, this time 37 SPFBO authors have banded together to give away 170 copies in ten chances three times a week throughout July, culminating in a Grand Prize consisting of 31 books.

The entry fee is free: Just share our host Fantasy Books Critic’s Facebook https://www.facebook.com/fantasybookcritic/posts/10154542890831993 and you’re in. Winners will be chosen at random after two days and treated to 3-4 ebooks.

Please note that it says “SHARE,” not “like” or “comment.” Both are always welcome, but if you want a piece of those 170 books, you better play by the rules.

And to show we mean business, let’s kick it off with the opportunity for nine folks winning the following four books:

Jamie Edmundson: Toric’s Dagger

Official Author Website
Official Author Twitter & Facebook pages


Official Blurb: Toric's Dagger is just another religious relic, until it's stolen. Belwynn and her twin brother, Soren, volunteer to lead a team tasked with its retrieval. Drawn into a world of danger and treachery, they must rely on Soren's magical abilities, and on the telepathic bond they share.

Now, as kingdoms and empires start to fall, the twins confront the dark forces that threaten them. They must not let the Dagger fall into the wrong hands. But when mercenaries, zealots and sorcerers are all hunting for the same weapon, who should they trust?

Book One of The Weapon Takers Saga, an Epic Fantasy Series in the tradition of Tolkien, Tad Williams & G.R.R. Martin. The story is told from multiple points of view, and is perfect for readers who like their fantasy done on a grand scale.

Mike Rutledge: The Apotheosis Break

Official Author Website
Official Author Twitter, Instagram, Facebook pages


Official Blurb: The life of an airshipman is violent and short, but every sailor still breathing in the clouds has a tale of Anton Mikhailovich.

Vasili, his fourteen year old son, never knew the man. The swashbuckling captain died mysteriously when the boy was five, leaving only tall tales and long shadows. His father’s remembrance ever looming, Vasili wants to leave his tiny frontier village and become a skysailing legend of his own accord.

A charismatic traveler arrives on an airship, a bishop with robes as worn as his smile. He comes to convey a funerary Telling of Anton some nine years overdue. Late but still timely, the traveler hints that his vessel may be looking for a new deckhand. He could put in a good word for the son of Anton.

The twinkling lights of home disappear over the horizon and the boy begins his own adventure, starting his own tale as he learns the truth of his father’s.

But the world and its skies are nothing like Vasili’s books. The serendipitous airship is the famed Apotheosis Break, Anton’s old ship, filled with beguiling shard hunters now at the end of their rope. They have already lost good men looking for Vasili. They may still lose everything seeking the forgotten legacy of Captain Mikhailovich.

Vasili will learn that the memories you try to escape are the ones you will always carry with you. And if half of what his crew says is true, his father’s story was one of loss, betrayal, and madness. If Vasili is to survive in the skies he will have to be as clever as his father and twice as lucky. Otherwise a traveler will return home with a Telling of another Mikhailovich boy.

Howard Gurney: Twin

Official Author Website


Official Blurb: Jack and Tul are twins separated at birth by evil monks who seek to break down the Weave that separates hell from the world. One is raised in a monastery and the other in the southern wilderness of Ganya but their lives are again brutally changed when a prophecy is revealed that says the twins must find each other to save the world.

But in a land where the separation of good and evil is rapidly fragmenting, Tul and Jack find that no one is who they first seem to be – including each other! They struggle with the discovery that they can control the pattern of life so that impossible things become a reality. Is that chaotic power magic? And more importantly, is it evil?

Twin is a rich and gripping story of action and adventure, isolation and the strength of family, and the choice between good and evil. Maybe it’s not a fantasy after all

MD Presley: The Woven Ring

Official Author Website
Official Author Facebook page


Official Blurb: A fantasy reimagining of the American Civil War, The Woven Ring pits muskets against magic, massive war machines against mind readers, and glass sabers against soldiers in psychic exoskeletons.

In exile since the civil war that tore the nation of Newfield apart, former spy and turncoat Marta Childress wants nothing more than to quietly live out her remaining days in the West. But then her manipulative brother arrives with one final mission: Transport the daughter of a hated inventor deep into the East. Forced to decide between safely delivering the girl and assassinating the inventor, Marta is torn between ensuring the fragile peace and sparking a second civil war.

Aided by an untrustworthy Dobra and his mysterious mute companion, Marta soon discovers that dark forces, human and perhaps the devil herself, seek to end her quest into the East.

Have you entered by sharing this on Facebook yet? Well then get to it.

And show up in two days (July 12th) for the next opportunity to score some 2017 SPFBO ebooks.

*---------------*---------------*---------------*



Official Author Website
Order The Woven Ring HERE

Guest Author Information: MD Presley is a screenwriter, blogger and occasional novelist… which basically means he’s a layabout. But if you’ve ever got a hankering for some grimdark gunpowder fantasy with a female anti-hero, check him out at mdpresley.com.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Court Of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark (Reviewed by Michael E. Everest)


Official Author Website
Order the book HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)
Read Michael's Interview with Anna Smith Spark
Read "On Writing Violence In A Violent World" by Anna Smith Spark (guest post)

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: Anna Smith Spark lives in London, UK. She loves grimdark and epic fantasy and historical military fiction. Anna has a BA in Classics, an MA in history and a PhD in English Literature. She has previously been published in the Fortean Times and the poetry website www.greatworks.org. Previous jobs include petty bureaucrat, English teacher and fetish model.

Anna’s favourite authors and key influences are R. Scott Bakker, Steve Erikson, M. John Harrison, Ursula Le Guin, Mary Stewart and Mary Renault. She spent several years as an obsessive D&D player.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: They’ve finally looked at the graveyard of our Empire with open eyes. They’re fools and madmen and like the art of war. And their children go hungry while we piss gold and jewels into the dust.

In the richest empire the world has ever known, the city of Sorlost has always stood, eternal and unconquered. But in a city of dreams governed by an imposturous Emperor, decadence has become the true ruler, and has blinded its inhabitants to their vulnerability. The empire is on the verge of invasion – and only one man can see it.

Haunted by dreams of the empire’s demise, Orhan Emmereth has decided to act. On his orders, a company of soldiers cross the desert to reach the city. Once they enter the Palace, they have one mission: kill the Emperor, then all those who remain. Only from ashes can a new empire be built.

The company is a group of good, ordinary soldiers, for whom this is a mission like any other. But the strange boy Marith who walks among them is no ordinary soldier. Marching on Sorlost, Marith thinks he is running away from the past which haunts him. But in the Golden City, his destiny awaits him – beautiful, bloody, and more terrible than anyone could have foreseen.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS:The Court of Broken Knives’ is the stunning debut to Anna Smith Spark’s ‘The Empires of Dust’ series. One of two Anna’s to be released in June 2017 (UK), by Harper Voyager, the story of ‘The Court of Broken Knives’ is outmatched only by the unique voice that tells it. Bold, beautiful, brutal, Smith-Spark lives up to her twitter handle @QueenofGrimdark whilst pushing the boundaries of storytelling amongst recent releases.

THE GOOD: The voice is strong in this one! Right from the start, as the reader, you’re drawn into a world by the power of the words used to describe it to you – but it’s not so much description, more a depth that brings it all to life. Both beautifully inventive as it is brutally evocative, the characters are morbidly mortal, dragged into a doomed destiny of a plot.

THE BAD: The voice is strong in this one! I know, I’ve already said that, but it’s true. You will either love this voice, or never quite grasp the sumptuous simplicity of what it’s saying. If you’ve looking for an a-to-b quest fantasy with paint by numbers characters and complexities, this book is not for you.

THE UGLY TRUTH: The voice is strong in this one? I know, I know, I know! I’m labouring a point, but it’s only fair that I give this book the credit that it’s due. Anna Smith Spark’s voice is equal parts mesmerising as it is magical. It’s more than epic – it’s operatic! But at the same time it has the distortion and drop tuning of a metal band in full force. The Court Of Broken Knives is cranked all the way to 11, and you’ll either be a fan for life, or not quite sure what’s going on.


What sounds like a relatively simple plot line (mercenary hand hired to assassinate an Emperor) turns into one of the most stunning imaginings of fantasy in recent times. Naturally, and not in the least because of the author’s twitter handle, this has earned the label of Grimdark (because who doesn’t love a label), but The Court Of Broken Knives is so much more than that. If I had to throw tags together in an effort to label this, it’d be Grand-Dire, for the sheer opulence of the story telling and the world itself, versus the stakes and the events set in motion.

The world Smith-Spark has woven – and I say woven, because building inspires thoughts of blocks, and The Court Of Broken Knives is a rich tapestry not levels of lego – is breath taking. Soul destroying at times, too. Yet, somehow, it comes crashing back to earth right when you need it to.

I will have to admit that this took me a moment or two to get used to. Actually, not a moment or two – a chapter of two, in fact.

I fell in love with the first chapter – the opening page in particular. You’ll know what I mean when you read it, but the language, the choice of wording, even the tempo…there’s something about it. A je ne sais quoi that will breed diehards by the thousands, but naysayers, too.

But as I reached the second chapter, I began to notice that I wasn’t grasping everything that the voice was trying to tell me. A sentence here, there, there and there. I was almost reading the words rather than reading what was going on. Now, let me be clear, this isn’t because the voice is speaking in a language that I didn’t understand, the words I knew, but as a reader who takes joy in simple pleasures and straight forward prose (e.g. Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, and RJ Barker’s Age of Assassins, as examples from 2017, and of course my love of David Gemmell) I wasn’t fully appreciating what Anna was saying in the telling of this story.

So, I restarted.

Not once.

Twice.

And then I got it. Oh boy, I got it.

And it wasn’t just speaking to me. It was singing!

I must’ve only been 10 or so pages in when I restarted (note: I checked, it was page 11) but I’m glad I did. Once I had tuned myself in to the voice, I went from enjoying it, to being wrapped up in it.

And why was this?

Without overdoing it any more, it’s the voice! The sentence structure and wording will be new – dare I say unique – to many readers, and the shifts between first and third person will be staggering until you’re used to it.

Speaking of perspectives, the story is told through that of a quartet of diverse characters. A priestess, a politician, a veteran mercenary, and a seemingly-simple-yet-forever-suffering ranking soldier. The contrast between the two pairings allows for interplay and a comparison of human nature, that is both provocative as it is a pleasure to read and explore. For me, my favourite as is the norm, was the veteran, who I connected with. The priestess in particular allows for an eye-opening account of the perversities and providence in divinity, whilst the politician delves into the sheer determination of mortal will and the downfalls that come with it.

The Court Of Broken Knives is not for the faint hearted – both in terms of themes and the style of delivery. It’s a hard book to put down and come back to, potentially another reason why I had to restart, as I was so caught up with work at time of beginning reading. But, I felt that’s because it’s meant to be devoured. Not a page turner, but a page burner. Once you get into the flow of things, you’ve dragged along, sucked down into the depths, and when you come back up you’ll be gasping for air.

CONCLUSION: I realise that this review is thin on the ground in terms of detail on the plot or the characters – but you can get that from the blurb. This review is here to tell you what the blurb won’t. That this book really is different. It will make you think differently. It will challenge you. Recommended for fans of Mark Lawrence and R. Scott Bakker, I can understand why, but by the time you’ve finished, you’ll realise there isn’t another author quite like Anna Smith Spark. Not just a new voice. But a different voice.

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