SPFBO Creator Interview: Mark Lawrence

There’s a lot of great advice for authors in Michael Baker’s interview with best-selling SFF author Mark Lawrence.

The Thousand Scar's Muse

So this is a short intermission in interviewing you lot to bring you a very special interview, and certainly the most prolific so far that’s been on my blog. I present to you a chat with who is possibly the Prince of Grimdark. It is none other then the founder of SPFBO, critically acclaimed author and the mastermind behind writing awesome little shits, Mark Lawrence himself! Turns out he’s a lot more then just his books. Speaking of his books, pick them up! And yeah….this is only a few of what he has published!

Speaking of, I really need to read more of his books.

First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?

I’m a fulltime author, as of 2015 when the entire Advanced Research Centre, where I worked as a research scientist, was closed. I write fantasy and science fiction.

How do you develop your plots…

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Intro to Female-Authored Speculative Fiction

Love this list of speculative fiction by female authors!

The Fantasy Inn

We at the Fantasy Inn are always a fan of anything that helps people to discover new books they might enjoy. It’s one of the reasons we became reviewers in the first place.

This time, we explored female-authored speculative fiction! It’s mostly fantasy with a little science fiction thrown in for good measure.

We had a few goals when developing this flowchart:

  1. Include books from a variety of decades, not just recent releases.
  2. Provide enough variety that seasoned and novice fantasy readers alike can discover new books to love.
  3. Feature a variety of storytelling mediums, such as graphic novels, short fiction, and audio dramas.
  4. Only first books in a series are included, and each author is only listed once.

The final flowchart has 127 entries, and we could’ve included many more if we had room. Feel strongly about a book we left out? Let us know in a comment!

Here’s…

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SPFBO Author Interview: Amanda M. Justice “A Wizard’s Forge”

Michael R. Baker, author of The Thousand Scars, a grimdark fantasy novel that was long-listed in the 2018 Booknest Awards, invited me over for a chat. We get to talk about how the Woern are like midchlorians, among other things.

The Thousand Scar's Muse

Welcome back to a wonderful Sunday of happy adventures, grimdark treks through villages seeped in blood and. . .other things. I really need some coffee.

So it’s one week until Booknest’s Award voting ends, so get voting!

The Thousand Scars is longlisted as Best Debut. The categories are chock full of amazing authors and great books, so visit the website by clicking on the fancy image below. Voting ends on the 14th October. Pick the best.

booknest.jpg

So today I bring you an awesome interview I held with Amanda M. Justice, author of The Wizards Forge and her SPFBO entry! Click on the Amazon link down below and check her out. These people are pretty awesome!

First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?  

The Woern Saga is a blend of science fiction and fantasy (aka science fantasy), with a setting similar to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern novels…

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#SPFBO Guest Post: Finding Fairy Tales by A M Justice

I’m super excited to share this guest post I wrote for Lynn’s Books. Lynn is the SPFBO judge who will be reviewing A Wizard’s Forge, and she gave me some space on her blog to talk about how “Rapunzel” made its way into the narrative. Thanks, Lynn!

Books and travelling with Lynn

Today, I’m really pleased to welcome to my blog the author of A Wizard’s Forge: Amanda Justice.  Amanda has written a post about the inspiration for her book A Wizard’s Forge which will be one of my upcoming reads for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off.  A Wizard’s Forge is a deconstructed version of Rapunzel.  If you know anything about my blog you’ll know I love fairytale retellings so excitement am I to read this post: 

Rapunzel4‘Sometimes inspiration is like a beacon, drawing the author toward her goal. Other times, the influence is a sleeper agent that infiltrates the subconscious and adds unexpected layers to the narrative. My SPFBO 2018 entry, A Wizard’s Forge, is a retelling of “Rapunzel,” but not necessarily one I set out to write.

Because we’re usually introduced to fairy tales as children, and we hear or read them over and over, they tend to…

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Guest Post: Gender-Equal Fantasy – On Writing Fantasy Without Patriarchy by E.J. Beaton

E..J. Beaton beautifully articulates the rationale for and approach to writing epic fantasy where genders share power equally. I share the same philosophy about gender-neutral fantasy worlds and the possibilities they create for readers and writers alike.

The Fantasy Inn

I began writing epic fantasy (also known as high fantasy), the kind of fantasy fiction set in an entirely imagined world, partly because I am a woman. That might seem strange, in a genre historically known for stories about male heroes and patriarchal dynasties. Women were often constrained by their roles as love interests or victims in the fantasy novels I had read. Yet epic poetry and literature called strongly to me, and the prospect of making it my own glinted like a spear-tip on the horizon.

I wanted to see a person like me as the lead character in a story. I wanted to see a woman driving and shaping the narrative, not merely fitting into it as a complement to the hero’s journey. I had read and loved The Lord of the Rings, but I longed for a story where someone like Arwen could be the ultimate queen…

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Let the #SPFBO 2018 begin : my process

The SPFBO starts today (Aug 1, 2018). A Wizard’s Forge is being judged over at Lynn’s Book Blog, and in today’s post she explained how it’s all going to go down.

Books and travelling with Lynn

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Today sees the start of the fourth Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (#SPFBO).  The competition involves 300 self published books, distributed between 10 blogs.  Each blog will eventually choose 1 finalist leaving 10 finalists for the second phase.  Each blog will then read and score the finalists which will hopefully result in one book with the highest score winning the competition.  More details can be found here and if you scroll down you can see the list of books and how they’ve been distributed.

I’ve taken part as a judge in the past 3 competitions but this year I might shake my format up a little.  Previously I’ve divided my books into six batches of 5 books and then chosen 1 book from each batch – this has then given me six semi finalists to choose between.  In the past I’ve usually aimed to read at least 20% of the…

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Author Spotlight: Soundtracks by A.M. Justice – Guest Post

Today on RockStarlit Book Asylum, the spotlight is on Prince Ashel of A Wizard’s Forge. Even though Ashel cedes the narrative center stage to Vic, he is a born frontman. Many thanks to Rock Star Timy for letting him shine!

RockStarlit BookAsylum

When I gave a call to a few grimdarklings friends to write submit articles and any other materials they see fit for my blog, one of them asked what topics I’d like to see. I gave him a few, music in fantasy among others. Amanda, like a hawk sensing its prey, swept in and took the opportunity. Which made me pretty happy, because, well, you know, I’m a music addict, so finally someone combined my two love: books and music! Amanda gives us a glimpse how she uses music during her story. This article is rather interesting, so hopefully you’ll like it as much as I do! And now I give the spotlight to her:


A.M. Justice  I’m a Brooklyn-based author, lover of science and wit, sporadic scuba diver, and once and future tango dancer. My characters live only in my head, but they’re real, and I put them through hell.

Music…

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Separating Immigrant Children from Parents

A lot of bloggers have offered opinions on the immigrant children crisis lately. D. Wallace Peach’s thoughts beautifully echo my own.

Myths of the Mirror

This child was not removed from her mother at the border, but her cries demonstrate the stress these children are under even without being separated from their parents. Time Magazine cover.

This isn’t a political blog. and yet there are times when it’s vital to speak out and use whatever platforms we have available. This is such a time.

The US is in the midst of a moral crisis as the Trump Administration continues a border policy that results in the systematic abuse of immigrant children. Many Americans, of both parties and of all faiths and walks of life, are horrified, and we are doing what we can to support these children and their families by sharing our outrage, time, talent, and treasure.

There are some people who insist that these children are just fine. And physically, that may be true. But that comment conveys a lack of understanding about…

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Victoria of Ourtown, aka Vic the Blade (of A Wizard’s Forge, by A.M. Justice)

Thanks to Assaph Mehr for including Vic in his Protagonist Speaks series on his blog.

The Protagonist Speaks

Dear readers, tonight we are republishing an article from the premiere newspaper in Latha, on the fantasy planet Knownearth.

After Vic, a former scholar turned soldier, nearly killed her erstwhile captor, the newspaper issued a scathing article condemning her actions.

The newspaper has followed this up with an interview with Vic, to hear her side of the story. We publish this second interview in full. Read on to learn of Vic’s adventures, and what drove her from being a shy scholar to become a warrior and pick up the fight against Relm.


Last week, this paper published the news that Captain Victoria of Ourtown—aka Vic the Blade—had tried and failed to assassinate Lornk Korng, the Lord of Relm. The Monarchy and Prime Minister’s office have protested that the Heralds’ coverage of the incident was biased. As members of the Lathan free press, we stand by our story, but invited the…

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My Most Anticipated Books of 2018

Gosh, what an honor to be included on the Critiquing Chemist’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2018” list. This may be just the kick in the pants I need to finish A Wizard’s Sacrifice. Check out this list for all the other great books coming up in 2018.

The Critiquing Chemist


Happy New Year Friends! With 2017 having drawn to an end it is time to look forward to what 2018 has in store for avid book lovers! Similar to last year, I’ve comprised a list of the top books in 2018 that I’m looking forward to being released.  While at least one book on the following list might be classified as wishful thinking, i.e., Winds of Winter, whereas optimistically I couldn’t help but group it in with the rest.  I’m hopeful that I will be able to get a few advanced review copies of these prior to their release date! I already was lucky enough to receive and read an advanced review copy of Iron Gold. You can read my spoiler free review here. Here’s to hopefully receiving a few more ARCs.

Let me know what you think of the titles on my lineup? Have I…

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