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Thursday, July 5, 2018

SPFBO 2018: An Introduction, What To Expect & Top 3 Cover Finalists (By Cindy H., D.C. Stewart, Lukasz P., & Mihir W.)

SPFBO 2017 closed off with a bang and WHERE LOYALTIES LIE by Rob J. Hayes won the coveted stick. So here we are with the fourth edition of our beloved SPFBO and this time, FBC is doubling up on its judges. I’ve been active in SPFBO since its inception and last year, Cindy was kind enough to join me in the phase 1 of the contest. So this year along with Cindy and me, we have two new reviewers joining us and we are extremely glad to have them on board. Here are all profiles for all of us:

About Cindy H: By day, Cindy works as a freelance writer where she writes product descriptions for companies and articles/websites for doctors and other members in the healthcare industry. By night, she is a bookworm who loves to read almost anything, but can usually be found with a fantasy or sci-fi novel. Cindy has been able to share her love of fantasy and sci-fi through FBC where she has been a regular contributor since 2008.

When she isn't reading, which is unusual, she can be found drawing, creating cards to send as happy mail, and writing for fun! Cindy can be found on Goodreads.

About D.C. Stewart: D.C. was living as a mild-mannered librarian when one day he stumbled into a radioactive vat full of books and video games and was instantly transformed into Nerd Man. His powers include not being qualified (or interested) in having anything to do with the realities of life, and so he spends his time reading and writing and gaming, with occasional breaks for work and family. D.C. named his daughter Coraline, proof that he has very little respect for normal society and is completely immersed in fantasy. His favorite authors include Grandfather Tolkien, Uncle Steve (Erikson), and that weird cousin with the crazy hair, Neil. He also loves trees and bears.

D. C. Stewart can be found over here on Goodreads.

About Lukasz: Lukasz Przywoski is an avid fiction reader from Poland. As a reviewer, he tries to be critical and thoroughly analyze books that he reads. As a result, he rarely gives 5 stars ratings - he reserves them to books that feel special. Apart from being keen on reading and inhabiting imaginary worlds, his biggest passion is the science of movement and movement in multiple forms. Life without sport and books wouldn't be worth living. 

While fantasy is his favourite genre, he tends to read pretty broadly and is always eager to try new things. 

Favourite authors: Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Mark Lawrence, Craig Schaefer, Seth Skorkowsky, Matt Suddain and many others.. He's also active on r/fantasy as barb4ry1. he can be found on Goodreads as well.

About Mihir W: Born and raised in Mumbai, India. Mihir Wanchoo is an avid book collector and longtime reader of fantasy, thrillers and Indian mythology with additional interests in historical fiction and urban fantasy.

Favorite writers include John Connolly, David Gemmell, Rachel Aaron, Rob J. Hayes, Mark Lawrence, Craig Schaefer, Ilona Andrews, James Clemens  and a few others.

With additional interests in cricket and football (the actual kind). Mihir lives in the Pacific North West and is ever looking forward to discovering new authors and old books. Mihir can be contacted directly at Goodreads HERE.

As always Mark Lawrence has our eternal gratitude for commitment towards running this contest and being the patron saint for self-published authors everywhereAll ten bloggers have their lots allotted to them and these are the titles from which the FBC finalist will arise:

D.H Dunn - Under Everest 
Skyler Grant - Glitch Hunter 
Raymond St Elmo - Quest of the Five Clans 
C.D Gallant-King - Hell Comes to Hog Town 
Jason A. Holt - The Bladesman of Darcliff 
Ingrid Seymour - Godmaker 
A.K.R Scott - Inharmonic
Karen Peradon - The King's Voice 
J.A Devenport - By Raven's Call 
William Markham - Missing 
Michael R.E. Adams - Recumon 
E.M. Wooden - Dominus Silentia 
Coleman Grey - Seeking Shiloh 
Debbie Taylor - Nia Rae 
Dale Ivan Smith - Agent 
Derek Hampton - The Soul Prison 
E.A. Burnett - Silverglen 
Sheryl R. Hayes - Chaos Wolf 
Heide Goody & Iain Grant - A Spell in the Country 
Craig Aird - Truth or Darkness 
Mitchell Edward Bell - The Kingdom of Thieves 
Gwendolyn Pendraig - Dancing in the Dust 
Matt Larkin - Apples of Idunn 
J.D Hart - The Chronicles of Nartesis Shazarack 
Jonathan J. Bowerman - The Secret Realms of the Hidden Elves 
David Macpherson - Here be Dragons 
Dominic Watson - The Boy Who Walked Too Far 
Amy McNulty - Fangs & Fins 
Philip Tucker - Death March 
Nerine Dorman - The Firebird 
Justan Henner - Death's Merchant
Following on from last year, Fantasy Book Critic is doing things a tad differently again. Among the four of us, we will spreading all the titles equal-ish. We aim to read and review as many titles as we can. So what does this mean? similar to last year, each one of us will be talking about our group and then going on to select 1-2 semifinalists.

However we will not be just sticking to our delineated groups and will be reading titles from each other’s selections. This way we can be sure about selecting 6-7 semifinalists which will be strongest of the lot in terms of story/plot, characterization & writing style (IOHO).

We will try to post our thoughts on each book but that might not always be possible. We will ideally go through batches of 7-8 books and announce one or two semi-finalist each time. However that might not always be possible as we might not like any book in that batch.

All of these semi-finalists will be getting proper reviews and we will be offering each author an interview to go along with the review. Authors please understand the main reason why we are not able to offer reviews to all of our 30 books as FBC is a passion project outside of our professional and personal lives.

We strive to make sure that our reviews truly reflect how we feel about the books that we read and enjoy. Authors please don’t feel slighted if your book isn’t selected. It doesn’t mean that it was a crappy book but simply that it didn’t match our tastes and hence it wasn’t put forward. The books that we love might not always be the ones that you like and vice versa. Keep in mind that we will do our best to select the book that we feel is the best of our lot (irrespective of the sub-genre it inhabits within fantasy)

From the last couple of times, I’ve also learnt that we aren’t the quickest in terms of finishing through our lot so authors please feel to email us at fantasybookcriticblog@gmail .com or message us on Facebook or Twitter asking for updates or any other queries. I promise we are very friendly and will do our best to reply back promptly. If you just want to say hello or have other ideas, we welcome them :)

Along with this introductory post, we are announcing our top 3 covers among all the wonderful ones. With this we rated all our books from a possible score of 40 (10 from each judge) and here were the top 5 of which besides the top 2, the remaining three were all within 1 point of each other (in random order):

- Dancing in the Dust (Gwendolyn Pendraig)

- Death March (Phil Tucker)

- Recumon (Michael R. E. Adams)

- The Kingdom Of Thieves (Mitchell Edward Bell)

- Truth Or Darkness (Craig Aird)

All of these covers struck a chord with each of our judges and were visually pleasing. Infact besides the top 2, we had a hard time separating the remaining 3 and it was only by a thin margin that we selected a third cover finalist.

So it’s our great pleasure to present our top 3:

 1) Truth Or Darkness (Craig Aird)

2) Death March (Phil Tucker)

3) Recumon  (Michael R. E. Adams)

Congratulations to our cover finalists and we have already started reading our titles. We will only start posting reviews, interviews and announcements after August 1st. So best of luck to all and we can’t wait to find newer SPFBO gems.

In a couple of days, we will run a small post highlighting some wonderful books in all of the other nine blogger groups so keep an eye out for it.


Nat-Merry said...

What a fantastic contest! I love anything that makes it easier for indie authors to get their books some more publicity. We can always use more patron saints for self-published authors. I cannot imagine how much work must go into this. I applaud you all for your efforts!

Out of curiosity, do collections of short stories qualify? If they do, I think Alexandra Casavant's The Voiceless Voice will be making an appearance on this list next year. It covers some beautiful themes like the power of words and how much our communication abilities (or lack thereof) reveal about ourselves. Of course, this is all done with some fantasy elements and settings. I'm very much looking forward to reading it.

I've got a bit of a wait until it comes out but this list will keep me entertained in the meantime! I'm very much looking forward to reading The King's Voice by Karen L. Peradon.


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