Monday, 23 January 2017

Red Sister giveaway on Goodreads. Just click and you're in!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Red Sister by Mark  Lawrence

Red Sister

by Mark Lawrence

Giveaway ends March 23, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
It's signed too!

Thursday, 19 January 2017

List of Lists ... Six

(I did this last year, the year before, the year before, the year before and the year before ... I'm doing it again!)

2016 has been kind to The Wheel of Osheim!

Below are the 24 'Best of 2016' lists that I know of featuring The Liar's Key (presented in chronological order of publication). The two main reasons for assembling this list of lists are:

i) A thank you to the reviewers in question. It's a labour of love maintaining a book blog.

ii) You're probably here because you liked The Wheel of Osheim. These reviewers (or in one case, these 200,000+ voters) appear to share your taste in one book, perhaps you will enjoy the other books on their lists.

Queen of Blades
Leona's Blog of Shadows
Fantasy Book Critic
Reddit Stabby Awards
Best Fantasy Books
Grimdark Magazine
Kristen Reads Too Much
Laura M Hughes
ATG reviews
The Royal Library
Konjam Random
Lynn's Book Blog
Grimdark Readers and Writers chose it as their best book of 2016
Derek Alan Siddoway
Book Scrolling
The Reading Frenzy
Pat's Fantasy Hotlist
From the Dust Returned
Mighty Thor JRS
Bookworm Blues
Goodreads Choice Awards

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Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Stabbies - reddit r/fantasy awards 2016

It's all about the Stabby. The voted award handed out each year by r/fantasy in many categories, including Best Book, Best Debut, and Best Self-Published Book. 

Check out the official results and the nominations

The book results (many more categories on site)

Best Fantasy 2016

Image result for morning star pierce brown
Morning Star - Pierce Brown

The Obelisk Gate - N.K Jemisin

The Wheel of Osheim - ME!!!!!!

Age of Myth - Michael J. Sullivan

City of Blades - Robert Jackson Bennett

Blood Mirror - Brent Weeks

Best Fantasy Debut 2015

Image result for ninefox gambit

Ninefox Gambit - Yoon Ha Lee

All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders

Steal the Sky - Megan O'Keefe

Too Like the Lightning - Ada Palmer

Paternus by Dyrk Ashton

Best Self-published / Independent Fantasy 2015

Image result for mirror's truth fletcher
The Mirror's Truth - Michael R. Fletcher

Unsouled - Will Wright

The Demons We See - Krista Ball

Path of Flames - Phil Tucker

Paternus - Dyrk Ashton

Congratulations to all!

Despite The Wheel of Osheim managing a measly finalist place, I did get a surprise compensation for the second year in a row in the form of the Stabby for favourite active author on r/fantasy. So HOORAY! Many thanks to everyone ... I promise to only use it on people who annoy me in any way at all.

See the results of the 2015 Award2014 Award2013 Award and the 2012 Award.

Reddit r/fantasy has 145,000 members (up from 85,000 last year and 69,000 the year before) and is the most active fantasy forum on the internet. Well worth checking out - though the interface is a steep learning curve at first.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Charity Book Auction! (completed)


As part of the Booknest 100 signed books charity drive I am hosting an auction that closes at 9pm GMT on Wednesday 11th of January.

The highest bidder will have delivered to their house 20, yes TWENTY, fantasy books signed by the authors involved.

This little lot includes works by bestsellers like **ME**, Anthony Ryan, Christian G Cameron and Michael Sullivan, and by authors who I know should be bestsellers if they aren't already, like Daniel Polansky and Myke Cole, as well as fine writers like Luke Scull, Mazarkis Williams and Phil Tucker.

Image result for path of flamesImage result for emperors knife

We also have SPFBO finalists Dyrk Ashton, David Benem, & Daniel Potter, Voyager 2017 debutante Anna Spark-Smith, and highly regarded authors Jen Williams and Emma Newman!

And many more that are largely unknown to me but very likely that's due to my ignorance!

01) Mark Lawrence ~ The Wheel of Osheim (US edition) 02) Daniel Potter ~ Off Leash 03) Michael J. Sullivan ~ Age of Myth 04) David Benem ~ What Remains of Heroes 05) Anthony Ryan ~ The Waking Fire 06) Aderyn Wood ~ The Raven 07) Daniel Polansky ~ TBA 08) Phil Tucker ~ The Path of Flames 09) Emma Newman ~ Between Two Thorns 10) Amanda Bouchet ~ A Promise of Fire 11) Jen Williams ~ TBA 12) Ulff Lehmann ~ Shattered Dreams 13) Luke Scull ~ TBA 14) Sue Tingey ~ Marked 15) Anna Smith-Spark ~ The Court of Broken Knives 16) Timandra Whitecastle ~ Touch of Iron 17) Christian G. Cameron ~ TBA 18) Dyrk Ashton ~ Paternus 19) Myke Cole ~ TBA 20) Mazarkis Williams ~ The Emperor's Knife

So, TWENTY fine, signed, fantasy books. I'll even put a dedication and a doodle in mine or send you an alternative if I have it!

Image result for waking fire

What am I bid? Winner takes all, losers lose nothing!

All the money goes to the fine international charity Doctors Without Borders.

You can bid in the comments but you must also email me at

I will post the current winning bid here.

Current Winning Bid

£430 ($516) Heine F
£417 ($500) Rich Craft  *lead bid*
£417 ($500) Anonymous (has emailed)
£333 ($400) Rich Craft
£185 ($222) Jeff Wooliscroft
£180 ($216) Anonymous (has emailed)
£175 ($210) Jeff Wooliscroft
£150 ($180) Ben
£115 ($138) Curtis Vidulich
£87 ($104) Alex de Jong
£60 ($72) Shinda
£50 ($60) Anonymous (has emailed)
£40 ($48) Parmenion Books

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Monday, 9 January 2017

Self-Publishing ...exchanging gate-keepers?

This is a ponder piece rather than an opinion piece.

Despite having run the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off for two years I don't have strong opinions about self-publishing other than to say that there are definitely brilliant self-published books and that being brilliant does not guarantee that they will take off.

Here's my thought.

To get a book off the ground you need either a lot of luck or a significant push. Any book needs to break the noise barrier and achieve a critical mass of readers before it can launch as far as its quality can carry it.

If you get a good deal with a large publisher they will put their weight behind you and it helps a lot. Bloggers will be interested because the publisher's name carries a cachet (an expectation of quality), and the book will be in stores. This all gives significant advantage.

But the big publishers (and the literary agents who have their attention) are the much-maligned gate-keepers. It's their opinion that keeps countless books from the public. The tastes and guesses of a handful of people are standing in the way of writers having their work tested in the crucible of public opinion. That's the theory, and it is true. It sounds elitist.

Now consider the alternative. Self-Publishing allows anyone to put a book immediately before the general public. The trouble is that so many books are put into the public eye this way that almost all of them are overlooked, and that brilliant books can flounder.

So, many self-published authors consider how they can help themselves. Many spend some dollars. They might buy a great cover. They might pay for some Facebook adverts etc. And with swift access to sales statistics I have already seen sensible scientific approaches to this where an author spends in one way, looks at the impact, spends in another, looks at the impact etc.

It seems clear that these publicity strategies will be honed and shared, with ever more bang-per-buck delivered.

But what then? Consider two authors with equally good books. Jenny A is a stock broker and Sarah B stacks shelves at Walmart. Jenny drops $10,000 into tried and tested book publicizing methods. Sarah B does not. Jenny has purchased herself a much better chance of success.

But if they approached a traditional publisher both would stand exactly the same chance. Suddenly the elitism of the big publishers is sounding egalitarian and the even playing field offered by self-publishing is sounding as if it can be tilted in favour of those with money.

Conclusion? I don't really have one. There are problems on both sides of this fence. Do you feel better thinking it was the opinions of a minority of supposed experts that kept you from success or that it was your inability or unwillingness to invest (gamble) enough in publicizing your own book? Neither sounds good.

On the plus side, it is certainly still possible to do well following either route if you have a good book and some luck!

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Sunday, 8 January 2017

GRRM toon

Offered up as a fan rather than a critic.

(in pieces for better visibility)
(click for detail)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

REVIEW: The Long Earth


Everyone loves Sir Terry. I love Sir Terry. I love the books & have great respect for the man. This review is simply my opinion of the success of this particular collaboration. I'll be 1st in line for the next T.P book and I'd even give T.P + S.B another go. 

From the slew of 4 & 5* reviews already on show I may be out on a limb on this one - so don't listen to me - give it a try.


Collaboration. It’s a word with an unfortunate aftertaste. Collaborators get a bad rap. Sir Terry Pratchett’s collaborations with other notable authors have been limited. In 1990 we saw Good Omens, produced with Neil Gaiman. On the crest of that success Pratchett found another partner in Larry Niven but this effort floundered with Niven producing Rainbow Mars in 1999 as a solo work built upon some of their shared ideas. And now 2012 sees The Long Earth, a collaboration with Stephen Baxter. The accompanying promotion contains a photo of the two grandees locked in combat before a laden bookshelf. A certain degree of dynamic tension does help in collaborative writing, too little and you get compromise writing, too much and it’s never going to get finished. I think here both men were pulling punches and the pages could have benefited from a good blooding!

Collaborations can be port and stilton good, or marmite and custard bad. I suspect it’s impossible for two fine writers like Baxter and Pratchett to serve up anything wholly unpalatable, but the Long Earth feels long, although it is short, and is decidedly blah. Think porridge.

The Long Earth is science fiction. In science fiction the IDEA tends to overshadow the characters and even the story. Here the IDEA has flattened both. Glimpses of story and character may be seen poking out from the margins of the IDEA, vital juices pooling. You can’t see much but you can see enough to know you don’t need an ambulance.

The Terry Pratchett of Discworld fame has not shown up to this party. There’s rarely a smile in The Long Earth, and never a laugh. The idea explored is that Earth sits in one of an infinity of parallel universes and that these become opened up to humanity such that pretty much everyone can step through them like moving from one card to the next in a deck of cards. We get to hear a lot about the impact this has on humanity, both social and economic. Sometimes we hear this from characters who pop up and are not heard of again, giving the book a disjointed feel. Of the hundreds of thousands of Earths open to Joe Public almost all are Earth as it would have been without us. A lot of time is spent detailing minor evolutionary variations in the flora and fauna, to the point where you just don’t care about one more slightly smaller elephant or slightly uglier crocodile. A lot of time is spent hopping from one forest world to the next. It’s an idea that is interesting in a paragraph but becomes increasingly dull over 300 pages.

The writing, line by line, is fine. It lacks trade-mark Pratchett sharpness but it does the job. The story arching over chapters is . . . not gripping. There’s essentially no tension in it. Our heroes (a young man who is very good at moving through the worlds, and an artificial intelligence named Lobsang) are exploring, they don’t have any clear goals stated, nothing is after them, they have no serious problems, they don’t appear worried or even to care that much, and thus as a reader one tends to a similar disposition.

The book ends with a bang, but it’s a rather ineffectual one that is, like the bulk of the book, hard to care about. I’m a fan of Sir Terry’s work and I applaud his willingness to experiment with new styles and new writing partners. I hope he keeps doing it. I cannot though, hand on heart say I enjoyed this book. Not even a little.  

Edit: RIP Sir Terry - you left us many great books to remember you by.

You can go and 'like' my review on goodreads, if you like.