GraphicCredit: The Qwillery


Greetings folks, it’s time for a quick SPFBO update for those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the latest developments in this year’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off. First of all, with more or less two months having elapsed since the contest officially got under way, just over a third of the 300 entries have been eliminated from the competition so far. (You can view the list of titles that have fallen by the wayside at this point by visiting Mark Lawrence’s blog where he is keeping track.)

To my great surprise, The Exercise Of Vital Powers has avoided elimination, for the time being, so it remains (in theory) a contender. On Sunday, SPFBO judge “Kitty G” delivered a video round-up of the first five books of the thirty she was assigned to read. While I was already aware that Kaitlin had enjoyed reading my story, I didn’t realise just how much. I was genuinely shocked to discover that she had chosen The Exercise Of Vital Powers as her pick from that initial batch of five books, especially as two of the other titles (The Heart Of Stone and Gift Of The Phoenix) were both considered to be among the favourites to progress to the final round from my group.

I have to confess that I have watched Kaitlin’s video at least a dozen times as I still can’t believe my luck. It’s surreal to me that despite its lack of literary polish, my first ever novel has made enough of an impression on an avid fantasy reader to allow it to overshadow the work of two established indie authors with a handful of titles each to their names. Needless to say, Kaitlin has really boosted my confidence and made me even more determined to improve as a writer because I am nowhere near the level I want to be. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it previously, but Jacqueline Carey, Guy Gavriel Kay and Lois McMaster Bujold are the benchmark by which I judge myself, and I know that I’m a long way short of matching the quality of their work, though I now have even more motivation to keep trying.

So that concludes this SPFBO update. You can watch Kaitlin’s video round-up of the first five books, below, while a full video review of The Exercise Of Vital Powers is in the works and should be forthcoming later in the week. If you are subsequently interested in finding out for yourself why she enjoyed my book so much, you can purchase a copy of the ebook edition from the following marketplaces:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

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I am still running a reader poll asking, What Initially Attracts You To A Book By An Unknown Author? Please take a moment to cast your vote; the poll will remain open for the foreseeable future.

Thanks for reading,