SPFBO 5: The End is Nigh!

April is swiftly disappearing (ok, not that swiftly), and with it the final weeks of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) hosted by Mark Lawrence.

A brutal trial by combat for self-published fantasy authors from around the world, ten review blogs whittle down 300 books over five months, leaving ten finalists remaining, bloodied and bruised.

SPFBO 5 kicked off in June 2019, with entries filling up fast and Blood of Heirs huddled amongst them. Not expecting much, I was pleased yet nervous to see my little book allocated to Fantasy Faction, a blog I’ve followed and respected for years. These reviewers were no push overs. They would pull no punches, so I knew the book they chose as their finalist couldn’t muck around.

I got on with preparing Legacy of Ghosts for launch, watching the reviews roll slowly in from the other nine blogs, and eventually from the Faction, cutting books and nominating others as semi-finalists. My partner, Graham Austin-King had his military urban fantasy The Lore of Prometheus pegged as a semi-finalist by Lyn’s Books, but conspicuously, there was no mention of Blood of Heirs until the final week.

The week I was launching Legacy of Ghosts.

The week I was leaving Australia to move to the UK for six months.


Yet, it was worth it. The wonderful team at Fantasy Faction ended up choosing my little book baby as their finalist!

An excellent start to a powerful epic trilogy that left me yearning for the next book in the series.


Fantasy Faction

And so began Phase 2, a whirlwind five months that has culminated in these last few days of April. Scores are still dropping for many of the finalists, who I am proud to say have become incredible friends, without whom I could not have managed to survive the competition’s ups and downs. If you get a chance, I highly recommend you check out their books:

The competition isn’t over yet, but so far Blood of Heirs has held its own against some serious contenders. To date, six of the nine blogs (other than Fantasy Faction) have reviewed it. Check out what the bloggers have said about it below!

Wow. That is all. GoodbyeA riveting story with two relatable characters set in a brutal, cold and dark time.


Lyn’s Book Blog

Lovely prose, great plot, brilliant characters. The world was crafted excellently … There is no aspect of this that was not a joy to read!


William Gwynne, Booknest.eu

…incredibly well-written, engaging, and manages to bring new elements to fantasy… A devastatingly beautiful debut, Wanstall-Burke is chiseling her way into the literary world with a story that’s unafraid to venture into the darkest corners of fantasy.


Fantasy Book Critic

The story goes along at a good pace and I never felt like there was a dull moment … a very fun read and a book series I would happily continue with.


Kitty G

It was well written, well edited, and read very quickly. The plot had all kinds of surprises and ups and downs and it left me on the edge of my seat more than once. 



Blood of Heirs is a book that just floored me from the start and then had me obsessively burying my face into every free reading moment that I had. 


RockstarLit Book Asylum

By the end of next week we’ll know how the chips have fallen, but whatever the outcome, I’m so grateful to have made it this far and for the experience of this unique and challenging contest. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the bloggers and reviewers for their time, especially in the current climate of world events. Your commitment to the contest is very much appreciated.

If you want to catch the other finalists and I in person (not really! Thanks lockdown), check out our panel, Contests: What Can They Do For You? It’s streaming live for QuaranCon2020 at 10pm UK Daylight Savings Time, Friday 24th April, and will be on YouTube shortly after. I may even be doing an AMA (Ask Me Anything) one evening during the Con, so keep an eye out for that one on the schedule. It’s all totally free, so come along and say hi!

Until next time,



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