SPFBO8 SPFBO Participants

Books entered in the competition of SPFBO beginning May 2022.

https://mark---lawrence.blogspot.com/2022/05/spfbo-8-self-published-fantasy-blog-off.html?m=1


Envy by Tim Beeden

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When Charlie Lightfoot plays his fiddle, people listen. More importantly, they pay. It could be that music is Charlie’s way out of a tough life on the Backstreets of Calver. There are, however, plenty of people who are only too happy for Charlie to stay exactly where he is. Not only that, they’ll do whatever they can to keep him there. But when Charlie decides to take his future in his own hands, he realises just how far-reaching the hands of others can be. A story about always keeping your eye on someone else’s blessings. “Envy is a Seven Deadly and Four novel set in and around the notorious city built on a hill – Calver. Once within the city’s great walls you’ll encounter such luminaries as Auntie, Drunk Morgan, Mr. Lunk, Blind Watch ‘em, as well as Charlie Lightfoot and his friends. Just remember to watch your step, keep your wits about you and carry something pointy.” The Seven Deadly and Four books have been described as “ideal for fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.”


India Bones and the Ship of the Dead by Set Sytes

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The smoking black line rolled forward, taking over the sea and the sky in its approach. Fog stole onto the shore and soon most of the beach was invisible. Out of the fog there came a long, slow horn, and as it cut short there came the unmistakable creaking of ship masts. The mist rolled back, as though someone were sweeping it away with a broom. The blackness dissipated and the beach lay clear and dark gold. Anchored in the bay was a grey and white ship and pulling up to the shoreline were three boats full of the dead. A street kid grown up parentless on Mexico Island suddenly finds himself amongst a crew of skeletons on the legendary Ship of the Dead. Eager for adventure, he sails the Caribbean, searching for pirate treasure and the father he’s never met, all the while making friends . . . and bitter enemies. INDIA BONES AND THE SHIP OF THE DEAD is the first book in a thrilling new pirate fantasy series, featuring the adventurous exploits of the young India Bones in an exotic yet dangerous world as different from our own as it is similar.


The King & Kishar by Timothy S Currey

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Every word King Adzi Akkatha writes on sacred stones is binding, and lasts for all eternity. 
But how can he rule when he has been cursed to forget everything? His city is in chaos. Hinatsi rebels clash with his soldiers, and their mysterious leaders try to capture the King. With the help of High Priestess Idza and General Qanatha, he must relearn their laws and customs, and who he was as a King. His former self seemed cruel and cold, and he is plagued with doubts. He is an imposter in King’s clothing—do they even have the right man?  They must flee to the great Temple of Mesopos where the King’s memory might be restored. The rebels are never far behind, and day by day the curse progresses.  There is little hope they will reach the temple in time.  Even if they do, will the King want to continue ruling as a cold tyrant?


The Harbinger of Freedom by Freddie A. Clark

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In the millenary world of Taenand, the continent of Empiria is oppressed by a fifty year lasting military dictatorship perpetrated by the Army of the Harpy, the leader of which is the young General of aristocratic descent Ludwig Maximilian Eckhale who inherited the throne and became the second Emperor of his Era.In these challenging times, Valerius Raleigh, a young noble as the Emperor himself, takes on the mission to inspire his country to break its chains and free itself from the ever more raging tyranny, first becoming a symbol and a messenger of freedom, then building an army whose purpose is to take down the reign of terror and injustice which threatens to spread all over Taenand due to the ruthless ruler’s strategic mindset and powerful alliances.The Harbinger of Freedom is the first act of the Falling Feathers Series, a crazy mix of blood, sex, drugs, hacking, cybernetic augmentations, shamanism, fantasy creatures, artificial life and an overall retrofuturistic and cyberpunkish aesthetic. In this vast, complex world, liberty and self-determination play a pivotal role in the search for balance and justice for all, while the diverse characters are pawns in a gritty game of power, intrigues and violence in which there is no place for surrender or subjugation.


The Locket: Magician's Prophecy by Rachel L. Tilley

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A fun standalone YA fantasy novel with magic, adventure, and a dash of romance too. Carra and her sister are unexpectedly kidnapped, taken across the border, and sold at auction to a local family. There, she learns of the existence of magic but, despite the help of Nicholas her new owner’s son, she struggles to find any magical ability of her own.This is only the beginning of Carra’s journey, as she finds herself traversing unknown lands - forests, sinister claustrophobic tunnels, and a desert - searching out a locket under the justification of a vague prophecy. The locket will not be given up easily. A mysterious tower holds a number of trials she must pass, and challenges her to take control of her own fate. Only through understanding her own flaws and thinking on her feet can she unlock her true potential. Even if she can find her magic, and gain entrance to the Academy where she can develop her skills, how will she choose to use it?


The Apprentice In The Master's Shadow by Ian Gregoire

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Two years after the thrilling events of The Exercise Of Vital Powers, Kayden Jayta’s apprenticeship to join the Order is about to come to a dramatic end. The long awaited sequel to Ian Gregoire’s unheralded fantasy debut, raises the stakes and takes the perilous adventures of the precocious anti-heroine to the next level. (The must read fantasy release of the year) Sometimes Respect Has To Be Earned The Hard Way. The end of an arduous apprenticeship is close at hand, and Kayden Jayta unexpectedly learns that being the favoured apprentice of a living legend is not conducive to gaining the respect she deserves. With little time left to change perceptions, simmering resentment persuades her that drastic action is required to redress the slights of her detractors. Measures that may jeopardise her induction into the Order, and endanger her life. An overheard conversation presents Kayden with both the means and justification to pursue her objective. The key to attaining the respect she craves lies beyond the borders of the Nine Kingdoms. But the window of opportunity is small; the danger she must face, great; and the price of failure, greater still. Undeterred, she will allow nothing and no one to hinder her from the path she must walk. The one-woman mission to a foreign land will test Kayden's abilities like never before. If she is to succeed in her dangerous manhunt, she must overcome enemies new and old before facing an adversary she maybe ill-equipped to defeat. And little does she suspect that her reckless endeavour will have unintended consequences, forcing the legendary Fay Annis to confront her infamous past. But the trials and tribulations that lie ahead must surely be worth the risk, for only unprecedented action will permit the headstrong apprentice to step out of her master's shadow.


Our Dead Gods by J.T. Williams

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The race of men has failed. The undead and the necromancers of Mortua reign supreme. Nurias was once a holy warrior. Now, he wanders across the barren wasteland doing what he has to in order to survive... killing for whoever will pay. When a chance happening reveals a way to kill the supposed immortal necromancers, Nurias and others spring to act but nothing goes as planned. Nurias is cursed with the soul of the very thing he tried to destroy... and now, everyone is hunting him. Across the Sunkenlands, other heroes and heroines arise, as Nurias wanders into the most dangerous region of the wastelands, others seek him out not to kill him, but to unite together for a single chance to save their broken race. But what can any of them do when their gods and hope are dead? Become what they were always meant to be. Our Dead Gods is set in the Dwemhar Realms in a time before any currently published book. See a world only mentioned in the lore and legends up until now... the Sunkenlands await!


The Crux of Eternity by Lane Trompeter

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One must be saved, one must be broken, one must seek vengeance, and one must choose. This epic fantasy series is set in a world shaped by a select few masters of the natural elements, whose magic can control the fabric of reality. The visions of a long-forgotten queen, the Master of Time, foretell a crossroads in the future of humanity. Oblivious to their own significance, four strangers will dictate the fate of the world, and all life balances on the knife edge of their choices. A pariah in her homeland for being too pale and out of place elsewhere for being too dark, Kettle creates her own family amongst the dregs of society... Beggared after a fire consumed his surrogate mothers, Jace attempts a desperate theft which leads him to a mysterious benefactor and a life he never imagined... The princess of a continent-spanning kingdom, Iliana is torn between her father’s demands and a burgeoning love for both her childhood friend and the guardswoman who protects her... The power to shape thought and desire should be tempered by a moral compass, something Bastian lacks. After magic-hating zealots capture him, their demand in exchange for his freedom is simple: save the world. One decisive night will gather them all together under the same roof, where the flickering fires of life will continue to burn... or be extinguished forever.


Lightblade by Zamil Akhtar

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In three days, Jyosh will slay the God Emperor, or die trying. But first he must train his lightblade skills. While asleep. Each hour of sleep equals a day in a lucid dream, plenty of time to master the essential lightblade techniques and hopefully get skilled enough to defeat the monster who enslaved him and beheaded his parents and sister. When Jyosh awakens to learn that the God Emperor has surrendered to an even crueler foe, a mysterious lightblade master who can summon divine dragons to burn whole cities, he’ll face a trial by fire against forces far more frightening than he could ever dream. That is, if he’s not still in one.


Gold Dust by Catherine Weaver

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Alex Lee is a Freshman at Palo Alto High in the Silicon Valley. With no friends and the most ordinary name ever, not to mention a mother who has somehow turned into a mindless zombie, Alex doesn’t know how things could get worse. But when she comes face to face with a leprechaun on her way home from school, she finds out. Armed only with a clarinet and advice from her Buddha-quoting grandmother, Alex is forced into an adventure that will lead her from a high-tech security breach, through an army of griffins to a point where she could save her mom- if she isn’t torn apart by overwhelming magical forces first. Marked by humor and insight, this fresh take on the classic Spanish romance of the magical Island of California will keep readers turning pages as they try to find the answer to the question, “What will Alex do next?”


The Game of War by Glen Dahlgren

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Never meet your heroes—especially if they're dead. Dantess wants to follow in the footsteps of his dead grandfather—a legendary priest of War—but his father forbids it. In fact, his father's hatred of War lands him in a cell within the god's temple. The only way to free him is from the inside, so Dantess must choose: let his father die or defy his upbringing, become a priest, and win his father's freedom in the temple's deadly Game of War. Torn between the legacies of his father and grandfather, Dantess finds that both paths hide secrets that threaten to destroy everything he cares about, including his sanity. Percy Jackson enters the Game of Thrones in what reviewers are calling, "one hell of an action-packed thrill ride." It's a don't-miss page-turner full of mysterious magic, crafty competitions, and plenty of pirates!


The Wake of Manadar by T R Peers

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Strive not for power, but for control. Power without control is nothing, control without power is a beginning. - First Book of Thelen, first stanza. The civil war that has riven the Empire of the Thelenic Curriculum for five long years nears an end. Besieged in Manadar, their final fortress, the surviving twelve Royalist Magisters hatch a desperate plot- to break the walls of reality itself and turn the power of another universe against the Lily College. Unknown to the Twelve, that universe is home to Operative Amanda Devereux, and the most highly-advanced dimensional research facility on Earth. When the Royalists’ magic touches the cutting-edge science of The Office, the results are apocalyptic. Of the Twelve and their bastion, there is no trace. But in the crater that lies in the wake of Manadar, Amanda Devereux stirs, a cybernetic infiltration agent hurled into a world she could never have imagined- a world that has never seen anything like her. Science-fiction and fantasy collide head-on in the first novel of the Thelenic Curriculum: The Wake of Manadar.


Whispers of Ruin by J.D.L. Rosell

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A trader of secrets. A king's demise before his time. The dragon god threatening to consume the world... In a city divided by schemes and treachery, Airene the Finch is a penniless commoner scraping a living through a trade in valuable secrets. Despite coming from a debt-ridden family, she has claimed a sliver of notoriety through her relentless ambition and ingenuity. But Airene has always yearned for more. She wishes to be a Verifier of Truth, part of an ancient order that uncovers corruption at the highest echelons of society. She longs to bring justice to an unjust world. So when her nation's figurehead ruler dies under suspicious circumstances, Airene seizes her opportunity. Her search for the truth behind the ruler's death will bring her into conflict with outlaw sorcerers, underground societies, corrupt politicians — and far deadlier dangers. Can Airene uncover the plot and stop the forces behind it, or will the price of victory be too high to pay? Whispers of Ruin is the first book in the epic fantasy series The Famine Cycle. Perfect for readers who like political intrigue, hard magic systems, awakening gods, and seedy medieval cities, or love books like The Lies of Locke Lamora and Mistborn. Read the complete trilogy today.


Blind the Eyes by K.A. Wiggins

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In the City of Nightmares, one haunted girl is taking back more than just her dreams.
A lush & lyrical gothic-dystopian YA Fantasy of stolen choices, eldritch horrors & sisterhood beyond the grave. _______ In a drowned city overrun by shapeshifting monsters of the climate apocalypse, human contact is forbidden and the slightest wilfulness or sign of inner life can draw down ravening horrors. Haunted outcast Cole would give anything to be able to follow the rules, silence her rebellious pest of a ghostly best friend, and live a virtuous (and peaceful) life in Refuge. But her shameful secret obsession with the monsters' victims is only the start of her downfall when a dangerously tempting encounter with a tattooed stranger entangles her in a deadly conspiracy. Hunted for what she knows—and what she doesn’t yet even suspect—Cole scales the austere heights of the Tower of Refuge and scours the depths of carnivalesque underground club Freedom for allies. But with mysterious unseen threads tugging her into gruesome visions of the monster-taken and absolutely zero practice in making friends (much less navigating an unexpected and not entirely welcome romance whiledrumming up a revolution), her survival and the fate of the city are both at risk. Can she untangle the most earth-shattering secret of all, confront her forbidden feelings, and lay to rest the ghosts of her past in time to escape a bloody end? An award-winning series starter for fans of post-climate-collapse dystopias, monsters-and-magic urban fantasy, and genre-bending gothic dark fantasy with messy and morally grey characters, dreamweaving and threadwitchery, and intricate worldbuilding.


Excalibur Nights by Daniel Aegan

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Excalibur Nights is just a book… Or is it? What is Ralph supposed to know about fantasy books meant for young adults anyways? He’s an electrician by trade, and he’s way too old to be reading about princesses, castles, and centaurs. Who has time for that kind of nonsense in their lives when you have a job, an ex-wife, and bills to worry about? But then Abby came along, and ruined Ralph’s blissful ignorance. She introduced him to the book and movie series that changed his life. Her obsession leaked into their budding relationship. To make matter a hell of a lot worse, Ralph found himself magically transported to the fantasy world of Mariella. You read that last sentence right. Now Ralph is trapped inside the world of Excalibur Nights with no idea why and no way to get home. Does he go along with the story and try to woo Princess Abbie, the literary counterpart to the girlfriend he left behind in the real world? And what does he do about the love triangle between himself, the princess, and the centaur named Poe? He doesn’t know enough about the genre to untangle the mess of crisscrossing mythos, magic, and royal drama. Excalibur Nights by Daniel Aegan is an unapologetic fantasy that spins the fantasy genre on its head. Come on… You know they had it coming!


Beckoning of the Gate by Benjamin J. Ryan

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The only life Santha Lathagin has ever known has become her prison. Vicious gossip is everywhere. Whispers of a scandal have turned to accusations of murder, and fingers are pointing her way. Feeling powerless and alone, she yearns for escape. When Santha stumbles upon a small, rusted key in the forest near her home, it seems her silent pleas have been answered. Awakened by her touch, the key demands to be heard—and she is not the only one to heed its call. Thrust into a world only glimpsed in the stories of her childhood—of faeries and princes and eldritch magick—Santha sets out to unlock its secrets. But uncovering the truth has its own perils, and as the key’s influence grows, she will be left with a choice: survival or sacrifice. But will it truly be hers to make? … All the while, in the north, something ancient stirs. A great power that could unravel the very threads of existence.


Chosen by Heather N. Russell

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Pure of heart and human A chosen warrior comes The barrier shall be broken Two worlds unite as one. Growing up feeling insignificant and anchorless in foster care, Seline never expected to one day step through her front door into a world where myth and magic reigned. An ancient Fae prophecy names her Chosen, a hero meant to reunite the worlds of Earth and Fae. Blood-hungry enemies from the darkest of Earth legends seek conquest rather than unity, threatening the future she is called to initiate. While forces of evil gather to take control of one world in pursuit of the the other, Seline fumbles for mastery of new magical gifts and struggles to come to terms with destiny. Unexpected friends teach her trust, powerful enemies challenge her soul, and a memory wakens a long-forgotten identity. Can she fulfill the destiny written for her long ago and unite worlds divided by ancient treachery, or will evil consume the future as well as the past?


King Arthur vs Robin Hood by Sargey Ravenwood

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Fantasy featuring the characters from Arthurian legend, and Robin Hood folklore. A five year war has just ended. Arthur Pendragon, the man who was never meant to be king, sits uneasily on the throne of Avalon. He is among a court of allies and enemies, including the loyal Knights of the Round Table and the powerful mage, Merlin. Meanwhile, Robin of Locksley arrives at Moonhallow far to the south. He finds a military division of hostile soldiers. Robin will need to find allies in the ranks if he is to uncover the secret of Moonhallow and return to Locksley. Disaster and treachery laps at the borders of Avalon, and forces beyond understanding draw the king and the soldier together for a fateful battle. Find out what happens when these legends meet.


Gingerbread Children by Carol Carman

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Family secrets... an ancient curse... confectionery. Not quite what Dominica Tort is expecting when her friend dies. But then her friend was the most powerful witch in the country: the Matriarch of the University of Nature, where witches have been trained for longer than history can remember. A new Matriarch must be inaugurated, but who will it be? Nothing is certain until the envelope’s opened – and not even then. Especially when one candidate disappears and suspicion falls on another. And what’s the shortbread cottage all about? As Vice-Matriarch, Dominica must save not only people’s lives, but the future of witchcraft itself. Warning: contains gingerbread.


Emperor's Fate by A J Walker

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In Rhydenar, ancient dragon remains possess rare magic; elements used to fight an age-old war. A war where the enemy is a people born of dragon fire. An enemy who uses dragon hearts to wield fiery magic. An enemy known as the Volurem. In this world, the strong survive, the politically astute thrive, and those with dragon remains reign supreme. As the Rhydarian Empire prepares for a tough season of fighting the fire of the Volurem, agents of corruption scheme to remove the Emperor. One cloudless night, Shylo walks into a living nightmare. His host’s villa is the target of a blood feud. This one, more vicious than any other quarrel among the Noble houses, leaves every member dead, except Shylo. Just as Shylo discovers the massacre, bells toll from the palace, bells that only ring for two reasons – an army of Volurem threatening to burn the city, or the death of the Emperor. Shylo realizes he’s now a loose end in a plot far broader than a blood feud between Nobles. He’s caught in the crossfire of a fight for Imperial control and needs to clear his name. He quickly learns, he’s not alone… Emperor’s Fate is the first book in a thrilling new epic fantasy series. Dive into a story where magic is used in armor, swords, and military strategy. Where the most powerful people aren’t solely those who wield magic but also those who design political subterfuge. Where a plot to overthrow the Empire brings unsuspecting characters together, forcing unlikely partnerships. This is a book where epic worldbuilding meets one-of-a-kind characters in a plot that will keep you turning the pages. Start reading Emperor’s Fate today!


The Gatherers and the Illness of the Isle by Alex J. Eiseman

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There is hope... Under the rule of the Isle’s Voice, the people of Aeris suffer from a jarring divide between the wealthy and impoverished. The Isle’s Voice controls the distribution of immersia, a magic that keeps bloodthirsty monsters known as the vayle away from Aeris’s people. Laborers slave to do the jobs allotted to them while privileged families remain in control. When young Aselle Attete, a laborer in the great city of Aurora, hears a mysterious song in the desert that surrounds her city, a series of events unfolds that proves there is hope of salvaging Aeris. With the help of a group calling themselves the Gatherers, Aselle embarks on a journey to level Aeris’s class system, bring equality to the rich and poor alike, and build a new world free of the vayle’s presence. In the process, Aselle chases a destiny that has been waiting for her since her birth. Along the way, she will uncover secrets about her past and her future… if the many dangers that pursue her do not kill her first.


Thrice by Andrew D Meredith

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"Steeped in a wealth of brooding Slavic folklore, Thrice is a deeply personal story of a reluctant father and the mysterious child in his care. It beautifully weaves a tale of personal survival with a much grander narrative of ill-fated bargains and dangerous magic of the past to tell a story that's both intimate and epic." — Graham McNeill, New York Times Bestselling Author of A Thousand Sons Forced out on the road with the boy left in his care, Jovan determines to journey into the cave of the bear—to seek out those that would do him and his boy harm. It is the boy and his bottomless well of soul-searing magic that they seek. They would do anything to exploit it. And Jovan would do anything to stop them. Thrice is the first book in the Needle and Leaf series.


House of Bastiion by K.L. Kolarich

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BEHIND THE MASK OF DUTY AND POWER, NO ONE IS WHO THEY SEEM... Centuries after the Forgotten Wars ravaged the world and turned it to ash, the Houses of Pilar, Darakai, Boreal, and Bastiion forged an accord with the royal line of Thoarne, founding a Quadren of advisory to the throne of Orynthia. Every generation, a single haidren from each of the four Houses is appointed to this coveted chair.

Upon her Ascension to adulthood, Luscia Tiergan takes her seat at court as al’haidren to the House of Boreal and is quickly drawn into a maze of political traps and dark secrets. As she adjusts to her new life, Luscia uncovers a pattern of forgotten children, slain in the streets of Bastiion.

Raised on superstitious rumors about Boreal’s penchant for sorcery, Zaethan Kasim, al’haidren to the House of Darakai, inevitably clashes with Luscia when she arrives in Bastiion. But when his position is threatened by an old rival, Zaethan is forced to set aside his hatred and form an uneasy alliance with the Boreali al’haidren to secure his claim.

Following a disturbing stream of innocent bloodshed across Orynthia, Luscia and Zaethan discover their ideals are far more aligned than they might have imagined. But in a land of war and deceit, the path to peace should never be trusted.


Heartless Hette by M.L. Farb

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When Princess Hette refuses a sorcerer's proposal, he retaliates by stealing her heart—literally. Desperate to resist his influence, Hette makes herself emotionless, stifling all feelings until she can find her heart and win it back. Only Konrad, the despised Court Fool, knows where to find the sorcerer, and he has his own curse to battle. Riddles and magic plague their path, including a memory stealing witch, an unbeatable knight, and a magic book that would as soon drown them as lead them to their destination. Yet, if Hette can't find the sorcerer in time, her heart will be the least of her losses.


Afterworld by James G. Robertson

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Death comes, and misery follows. As a man in his early twenties, Leon never genuinely contemplated what would happen after his death. Like those before him, he never understood the truth of our universe. After his sudden demise, the terrorizing reality of a mysterious dystopian afterlife begins crushing him as it has those prior. Men have started enslaving and killing each other to sate their greed while enigmatic creatures oppress the masses. Only a select few have shown the courage that is needed to challenge their supremacy. Through this eclipsing darkness, there is hope. But will that hope prove to be enough to save this turbulent cosmos? The revelations of advanced science, magic, human savagery, and even our gods will be showcased. Both in a new light and disturbing darkness, will the verities of Earth and Afterworld give him a greater understanding of our universe; or in turn, begin to break him as they have done to so many before?


The Serpent Lord by Wren Murphy

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A princess torn between tradition and truth. Princess Sarra of Olmalis is a vision of the future—poised, proud, and confident. As her kingdom settles into peace after a long civil war, she yearns to escape the shackles of expectation her father and his court place upon her. But when she is abducted at the command of a man known only as ‘The Serpent Lord’, Sarra is led to question everything she has ever known. Taken from the safety of her castle to the treacherous bogs and cold, stone walls of a forgotten city called Ro’al, she embarks on a journey searching for answers, intent on solving the mystery of her intriguing captor. However, the more she learns of The Serpent Lord and his plight, the more she discovers secrets that surround her kingdom and the people who rule it. When she finally uncovers the truth, will Sarra trust her past or will she believe in her future?


The Wolf in Winter by Barbara Lennox

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How do you protect a hero? Corwynal, son of the King of Lothian, dreams of reputation as a warrior. But when his half-brother, Trystan, is born on The Night of Thresholds, he’s forced to rein in his ambitions to become the child’s guardian and mentor.

For seventeen years, he’s kept Trystan safe in Lothian. But now the British Kingdoms have declared war on the powerful Caledonian Confederacy, and there will be no safety for anyone. Especially a young man determined to win fame as a hero.

As war spreads throughout the Lands between the Walls, Corwynal must emerge from the shadows and reclaim his lost dreams if he’s to guard the boy he’s given up his future to defend. But how much more will he be willing to sacrifice for the boy with the secret he can never reveal?

A spell-binding story of second chances, of love and letting go. An epic journey into the heart of a man riven by conflict, set amidst the warring cultures of dark-age Celtic Scotland.

First in The Trystan Trilogy, The Wolf in Winter is a thrilling retelling of the classic Arthurian story of Tristan and Isolde, and is perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell, Juliet Marillier and Jules Watson.


Tethered Spirits by T. A. Hernandez

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A man with an unknown past For years, Amar has traveled the Kavoran empire, seeking a way to recover his lost memories and end the curse that plagues him. With support from loyal friends, Amar may finally be on the verge of finding answers, but to do so, he’ll need to enlist the help of an unexpected guide. A girl afraid of her own powers Kesari is a Tarja, granted magical abilities through her Bond with a spirit named Lucian. Haunted by past mistakes that have left her desperate to sever her Bond, Kesari has her own reasons for agreeing to help Amar. But in doing so, she may finally have to face the fears she’s carried ever since leaving home. A woman on a vital mission Meanwhile, a young refugee named Aleida is in hot pursuit, hoping the secret behind Amar’s curse can save her brother from a fatal illness. With so much at stake and little left to lose, Aleida will stop at nothing to get what she wants. And when their paths collide, all three are set on a journey to unravel a mystery far deeper than they ever suspected.


The Jinn and the Two Kingdoms by Peter Blaisdell

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Thiago doesn’t think of himself as a demon, but he is. He’s a thief too, and therein lies this story. A portal connects medieval Arabia to a magical kingdom of mile-high palaces and brewing revolution ruled by a psychopathic king. Thiago, a daredevil jinn, uses the portal to seize the king’s treasure. Thiago can become fire and windstorms. However, his enemies – and that’s almost everyone including the king he stole from – are even more powerful. They’ll slaughter Thiago to get the treasure back. Helping Thiago – or not – are a brilliant and beautiful scribe who might be Thiago’s friend, a pretty demon who isn’t Thiago’s lover anymore, and a motley collection of magical bandits. But will they share the treasure with Thiago? And there’s more at stake than treasure. The demon and human realms will violently collide if the king recovers his treasure from Thiago and uses it to finance his invasion of the human world. Thiago began as a thief, but now he must stop a supernatural war.


Champion's Rising by S.F. Claymore

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Prince Snarmis is a giant of a man, one of the strongest in the kingdom of Psykoria. But although he towers above his peers, Snarmis’s skill at fighting fails to impress his father, whose approval he seeks. His close friend Celtor, leader of a mysterious and hermetic group of forest-dwellers, advises him to seek help from werewolves. Before he sets off, Serenity, a young, enthusiastic and naïve member of the tribe, pleads with him to take her with him to give her a taste of life beyond the forest. He is giving Serenity a tour of Psykoria’s capital, when the country is invaded by the daemons – terrifying, blood-thirsty monsters set only on death and destruction. Snarmis realises he must become a great warrior or die in the attempt, and accept help from anyone willing to offer it – including Serenity. Snarmis’s quest is no longer just about proving himself, for if he fails now, Psykoria will be reduced to ruins. If you like action-packed fantasy with lots of character development set in a world filled with almost every magic creature you can think of, then you'll love this heroic fantasy tale.


A Crack In The Rock by Amber Gabriel

SPFBO8

Born the daughter of goatherds in the Granite Mountains of Berush, Sashia longs for greater challenge and adventure. Her active mind constantly gets her into trouble. Unable to stand by while others suffer, Sashia intervenes, often with unintended results. When an itinerant healer and his wife discover Sashia and offer her an apprenticeship, she jumps at the chance to sate her curiosity of the natural world and change her future. Heir to the throne of Berush, Cyrus is strong, decisive, and a born leader. He longs for a wife who will share his vision for the country--a wife of his choosing, not his father's. Sashia catches his eye, but even a handsome prince finds capturing her heart a challenge. Life is uncertain, and Sashia soon finds she cannot control every outcome. Used to relying on logic and her own resourcefulness, no amount of training can prepare her for the choices that lie ahead. She struggles to shape her destiny in a patriarchal society where polygamy is legal and women are subject to their fathers or a spouse. As Berush is threatened by enemies from without and within, Sashia's creativity, stubbornness, and tenacity place her in a perfect position to both save lives and affect the course of the entire country. The consequences of her decisions will reverberate for generations. Slight of frame, but fierce in heart, Sashia will need every ounce of strength she possesses to live her dreams and win a future of love and happiness.


Bystanders by Phillip Murrell

SPFBO8

"Intrepid reporters end up dead." That's what Claire Kennedy's boss told her. Claire doesn't care. She's prepared to risk her life to land an interview with her city's superhero. The mysterious vigilante is a demolition force against the criminal empire operating inside Colberton. He won't identify himself to the public, so Claire will assign him a name herself. She's willing to create other "facts" as necessary, anything to get a promotion at Data to Information News. The hero, Votary, cares not for her goals. Nor does Votary worry about the actions of the police or criminals. The city must be protected from itself and outside threats. Votary is the only person capable of this, though the methods used will lead to death and trauma for many citizens of Colberton. Most will debate the methods of this crusader. Some support Votary, others fear the vigilante, but none will know the person beneath the armor, despite trying.


The Chaos Storm Expedition by Ashton Gaskill

SPFBO8

When magic-school-dropout Estinance Ratter runs away from home to work as a cartographer at the edges of reality, she quickly realizes that the world may be larger and more dangerous than she’d anticipated. Assigned to a team under the leadership of the hot-headed Decory, will Esti return from her first expedition with maps to sell and fund her dreams, or will the dangers of living on the world’s edge be a stark awakening?


Fate's Long Shadow by Marcela Carbo

SPFBO8

Her power was born of a giant's rage. One wrong word could seal her fate. Jassae is destined to wield the dark sorcery of the Mornae. First, she must master her own goddess gift: the power of peace and harmony.   Enslaved by brutal giants as a child, she finds herself at the center of their political struggle to determine their next chief.   Ancient grudges fester. War is inevitable. Jassae's survival depends on developing her power to manipulate their rage and put her own master on the chieftain's throne. Can she endure their savagery long enough to fulfill her own destiny as a Mornae priestess? A dark coming-of-age story for readers of character-driven stories in a high fantasy setting. This book is a standalone but also part of a larger story world.


A Day of Darkness by Suzannah Rowntree

SPFBO8

A warrior running from his future. A djinn running from her past. Can they save the city…or will they doom it? Tripoli, 1289: Trapped by black magic in a hostile future, John Bessarion is determined to find his way home to a family and homeland that desperately need him. Yet when his quest leads him to a city trembling on the brink of destruction, John discovers that not everyone in this strange future has forgotten his name...or the terrible things he's already done to protect his people. As an enslaved djinn, Soraya fears she will never be anything more than a killer. Sent to infiltrate and betray a city under siege, she is helpless to subvert her mission until she stumbles across a face from her long-forgotten past. When John and Soraya join forces to save the city, they attract the attention of opposing sides in an ancient battle of evil against evil. Yet the greatest danger they face might not be the demons struggling for control of Tripoli...but the secrets buried in both their pasts. Is there any way home for killers like them? A Day of Darkness is Book 3 in the critically acclaimed Watchers of Outremer series (though it can be read as a standalone). City of Brass fans will love this stunning historical fantasy featuring time travel, palace intrigue, and immortal assassins!


A Gathering of Chaos by Cameron Hopkin

SPFBO8

The world of Asunder is dying. Its gods are long fled, and they took all the world's metal with them... but it all happened so long ago that not even legends remain. In the now, a country girl sails into port, the only survivor of a plague ship, and a scheming priestess takes charge of her. Far to the south, an aging warrior monk forcibly recruits one of the Beast Riders to be his tracker. A remarkable vision of a demon lord binds them all together, and they scramble to find a bit of Chaos, the raw energy of their world, to protect humanity against this new threat. It's too bad they're only going to make things worse.


Delphinium, or A Necromancer's Home by V. M. Jaskiernia

SPFBO8

The Larkspur Quartet vol. I Book Two in The Courting of Life and Death Lady Elizabeth Anne does not know about the dark magic her beloved practices, and he has no intent to tell her. As they travel to his childhood home for the summer, Pierre Salvador attempts to balance his newfound love with his murderous cræft. After they arrive, the future Duc de Piques finds there is much to be done, and duties cannot be put off any longer. A fatal illness is spreading throughout his land, he is being claimed by those of Faery, and someone has already tried to take his life. But it will take much more to kill a lord of death.


Spiritbridge by Chris Fritschi

SPFBO8

Lose yourself in this epic adventure of discovery, danger and secrets.

Kase’s parents disappeared twelve years ago and a smuggler has just handed him a clue that they’re alive. But where? The key to unlocking the clue comes at a price. He must retrieve centuries old, magic artifacts from a cursed and spectral battlefield. Accepting the ominous task, brings Kase face to face with a creature out of a nightmare. Fighting for his life, he barely escapes, but now he is lost and alone. Facing mounting odds, he forms a brittle alliance with Brell, a Teck bounty hunter, who's tracking a murdering synthetic/human hybrid. With only his wits and untested magic, the unlikely pair must cross a fractured world of strange and dangerous sorcery, and rogue technology. You won’t be able to put down this sprawling Epic Fantasy blended with Science Fiction to create an expansive world filled with discovery, danger and mystery.


The Sorcerer Within by Will Rice

SPFBO8

How do you solve a murder when the victim and suspects are sorcerers? Elliot can't escape the feeling he has a connection to his colleagues at Arthan Associates. Even though they all have supernatural powers while he is just another faceless nobody. When one of the sorcerers is murdered, the others are all under suspicion. No one seems a likely culprit, but their kind are naturally secretive. Who is not what they seem? As the investigation continues, Elliot's sense of unease grows. What is that familiar feeling? Why does he feel a darkness in his dreams and an echo of violence within? When he discovers the truth, he will have to give up everything. If he is to stop another murder, Elliot needs to find out who he is.


His Ragged Company by Rance D. Denton

SPFBO8

A pissed-off warlock with a taste for revenge. An army of sand-golems with fistfuls of magic. A wishing well with a mind of its own. No wonder Blackpeak, Texas never got its spot on the map. Town marshal Elias Faust thinks that he can make any problem go away if he throws enough lead at it. The living’s easy for a lawman. Bloody, but easy – that is, until Magnate Gregdon arrives with his undead syndicate to tear the town of Blackpeak, Texas apart. When a shootout with a pair of outlaws goes sideways, Elias Faust accidentally draws the Magnate’s attention. As if dealing with arcane sorcery, reanimated corpses, and the Magnate’s personal vendetta aren’t enough, Faust finds himself at the center of a power-struggle for Blackpeak’s eldritch secrets. Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot more complicated. Hunted by a cadre of sandshades and hounded by sinister spellcraft, Elias Faust may be the only bag of skin defiant enough to keep Blackpeak from being destroyed. To outlast the Magnate’s disciples, he’ll need to shoot straighter, run faster, and live longer…even if it means sacrificing a part of himself to do just that.


The Boy Who Drew Horses by M. L. Roberts

SPFBO8

A custody hearing, an explosion, a boy on the run. Benjamin does not know what awaits him, but he knows what he leaves behind: a burned mansion, a dead guardian and the police who think he did it. If he stays to prove his innocence, he will not last the night. The blast summoned the unseen world. They seek the one using forbidden magic, and not to give him praise.


The Price of Honor by Richard Fierce

SPFBO8

Some traditions are meant to be broken. Lailani has always known that being a woman means that she will never be a dragon rider, but when a messenger shows up demanding that all dragon riders must prepare for war, Lailani knows that her father’s crippling illness will get him killed. She must choose between two paths: let him go and die or put on his armor and go in his place. Disguising herself as a boy, she joins the dragon riders and finds herself facing danger at every turn. With her father’s dragon the only friend she can trust, Lailani must learn to be a warrior and fight to save her homeland … if she can keep her secret that long. Mulan meets Eragon in this epic tale!


Princess of Undersea by Leslie Conzatti

SPFBO8

Mermaid princess Ylaine has only ever wanted one thing: her father's recognition and approval. King Davor of Undersea, however, is obsessed with launching a war against the ignorant, pact-breaking humans. Ylaine believes that if she can convince her father that not all humans are evil, he might listen to her, and call off his plans for war. Such an outcome seems so far out of reach, till the day she willingly trades a most precious gift to have the thing that she hopes will help her make peace between the realms: magic that transforms her into a human. Safe in the palace of Overcliff, Prince Nathan seeks his own comfort, and dreads the day when the people of his failing kingdom will depend on him for their well-being. His father, King Theodore, remains distant and forgetful, while the Royal Council runs things--and as far as the Prince is concerned, he is free to continue doing as he likes. When a mysterious young woman arrives on the island, he begins to realize that all is not as it seems--and threats can come just as easily from across the sea as under it.


Waking Ursa Minor by Helen Rygh-Pedersen

SPFBO8

Waking Ursa Minor is the first book in the debut epic fantasy series, Riverda Rising by Helen Rygh-Pedersen. Spanning different countries and cultures readers are taken on a journey of love and loss, the search for identity and a thrilling fight for survival. As Gesland swelters in extreme heat, Serakela watches the nomadic Clans make their way across the plains on their annual pilgrimage and resigns herself to the monotonous life of servitude at the institution which raised her. But Serakela is not the orphan she always believed herself to be. On the night a crazed assassin tries to kill her, her heritage is revealed catapulting her into an island-hopping fight for survival, and the search for the fabled Stone of Riverda. The sundered islands of Riverda are dying. The earth magics that protected and sustained them before the Rivening are unbalanced; dwindling in some areas whilst stifling others. As time runs out and tensions rise, countries teeter on the brink of war, starvation and extinction. A way to save them has just arisen from the realm of rumour but Brother Okrafkus of the Separamus cannot allow this to happen. Not only will Serakela’s quest lead her to her long-lost family, rumour has it that she who wields the Stone will restore the islands of Riverda to their former glory. Rumour also has it that in doing so, she will unleash the evil that split them.


Aria of Rivers by Lilse Asalt

SPFBO8

Aria is an orphan who has spent her life trying to live up to the luck that made her into a priestess. Her only dream is to be the perfect acolyte for the goddess she serves. She has little understanding of the wheels turning around her. As a curse is spreading through the land and wiping out what little hope the common folk have, she is given a gift by the goddess she serves. But how can she live up to expectation as a nobody? How can she save everyone if she cannot save herself?


The Rage of a Boy by Edward Patrick

SPFBO8

A destructive magic, long gone from the world, has returned, and new dangers rise with it. Tristan was a young boy when his home was invaded and captured by the crown prince of Felixandria. Now, he serves as a mercenary for Grauberg. When fate intervenes, he is put face-to-face with the man who took his home away all those years ago. Now, he has the chance to defeat this enemy, reclaim his home, and prevent war from coming to those who gave him shelter and refuge. Together with his closest friends, Garit and Ella, he sets out on a secret mission. Can vengeance quench the beast inside? Is evil truly a matter of black and white, or does understanding lie in the grey?


The Pacts We Make For Love by S.K. Nova

SPFBO8

Otherworldly entities lurk on the edges of existence. Haints. Witches. Things from Beyond. Call them what you will. They love us. They want us. They need us. And they want in. But they can’t exert their alien will without a connection to our world. They come at your weakest moment, at your most vulnerable, and they offer a deal. A pact. A favor for you, now. In return, you do a favor for them, later. Any favor. Something as simple as posting a letter at a certain time. Or something as ghastly as murder. You won’t know until it’s time to fulfill your end of the bargain. Five individuals make their Pacts out of love. Love of family. Love of self. Love of success. Alissa Sorrow, a poor scholarship student at Taliaferro Mann, the private school of choice for the elite, finds herself at the center of these Pacts. A point of convergence. These entities want her. But she doesn’t know any of that. She’s just trying to navigate the treacherous social waters of Taliaferro Mann. What price will she pay to survive?


Aya and the Alphas by Berneta L. Haynes

SPFBO8

When a young girl, Aya Wright, develops extraordinary abilities and becomes a target of the world’s most powerful fader, Eve must protect her. But at what price? In the twenty-five years since she exposed the existence of faders, Eve Cooper has survived the collapse of her country and the loss of her closest friends. Now she lives a mostly solitary life in rural Indiana, where she runs a secret network and safe house for faders—individuals like her with extraordinary abilities. In nearby Chicago, a young girl named Aya Wright becomes a target of the world’s most powerful fader because of her unparalleled abilities. When she arrives at the safe house after an attack, Aya soon sets in motion a series of events that threaten not only to upend Eve’s settled life but potentially change the world. As Eve struggles to reconcile her past with the choices in front of her, she must decide whether to leave her recluse life to protect Aya or allow the headstrong girl to find her own way in the world…

Aya and the Alphas is an action-packed and expansive sequel to Eve and the Faders that will thrill readers!


The Gritikah Castle by Emmanuel Akeyo

SPFBO8

A contestant in SPFBO 8, in 2022.


Bloody Spade by Brittany M. Willows

SPFBO8

A girl full of heart A thief touched by darkness A boy with a fiery temper An unwitting servant of evil The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergenceushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has sincebecome a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—aspecialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively asCardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens toconsume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy. But the Reemergence was only the beginning. When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recentJoker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergencemay not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed. Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realmsfrom the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it'stoo late Bloody Spade is the first installment in anurban fantasy duology that follows a cat-eared thief and a spirited girl as they try to navigate his wild magic, her hotheaded brother, asinister plot, and the feelings they're developing for each other.


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