News Update: A Wizard’s Forge Passes First Hurdle in the 2018 SPFBO

coverThe Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) is an annual competition run by Mark Lawrence (author of Prince of Thorns and Red Sister, among others) since 2015. Each year, Mark takes a maximum of 300 entries (first come, first served; this year the 300 slots disappeared in about a day and a half) and distributes them among 10 fantasy book review websites, including several big names in the book blogosphere (see his site for the list). I’ve entered A Wizard’s Forge, and I’m pleased to announce the cover was selected as a finalist by Lynn’s Book Blog, the judge for AWF in the first round. This is a huge validation of the creative thinking and hard work that went into the creation of this cover, which was designed by Steven Meyer-Rassow. Just about two years ago, I detailed the collaborative process by which Steve, the team at Wise Ink Creative Publishing, and I came up with the cover.

Vic’s image is now up against 29 other gorgeous covers, all of which can be found here on Mark’s blog. The cover competition, like the main event story competition, is entirely in the hands of the judges, and the only prize for winning is bragging rights (and exposure). The cover competition doesn’t affect the judging in the story competition either–the bloggers’ choices for best books might be a completely different set of novels. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled to make this “first cut.”

As of this writing, two blogs had not yet announced their finalists, so I’m listing my favorites out of those posted so far. I don’t know anything about any of these books (except Song, which was on my TBR before the competition began), so I’m selecting purely based on whether I’d pick up the book if I saw it in a book store. To learn more, click on the cover, and it will take you to the book’s Amazon page.


This is my favorite cover out of the bunch (not counting my own). The book is also with A Wizard’s Forge in the SPFBO batch judged by Lynn’s Book Blog. I’m expecting some serious competition from this one.


This is a wicked good cover, with great kinetics that promises a page-turner. This cover alone makes me want to read this book.

tidesThis cover intrigues me. The art reminds me a bit (a bit) of some of the old Earthsea Trilogy art from the 1970s (when it was still just a trilogy). And as I’m writing this I have only just noticed there’s a woman’s face in the waves.


This cover is so beautiful, it belies the grimdark story within, about a prison break and the mage-warden who gathers a posse to round up all the dastardly villains now on the lam. The cover of Hemlock, the sequel to Song, is even more gorgeous.

RecumonI have no clue what this story is about or why it’s fantasy, but the cover is crazy intriguing. I would definitely pick this up and read the jacket copy, if I saw it in a bookstore.

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