Announcing the 2021 May M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Month and Other Book Cover News

Greetings all,

Today marks the official end of May’s Book Cover competition. June is still ongoing, but the voting for May’s winner-take-all poll ended Friday, and that means I get to announce a new winner! The 2021 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of May is …

Betrayed by me! This is the first time one of my covers has ever actually won Book Cover of the Month! I really think this is one of my stronger covers. Carlos really outdid himself. The stats still aren’t flattering at all, but I won fair and square (100 percent of three votes). I still need your help to get this contest going the way it was before I took that break. The more votes the competition gets, the more legitimized it is. I’ve always been a fan of book covers, and I truly want this award to become meaningful, but I need your help to do that. Please take moment to vote when you see the new poll come up. Please share it with readers you know. Just taking the time to do that will go a long way.

That means Betrayed has found its place in the 2021 Book Cover of the Year poll, which will begin in another 10 months.

That’s not the only other winner to announce! The 2021 June Book Cover of the Week polls have been going on for two weeks now, and I have have the pleasure of announcing the winner for week two.

That winner is …

A Clash of Fates by Philip C. Quaintrell!

The Week 3 poll is available right over here, so please take a second to let your vote be counted.

I’d be grateful if you would be so kind as to watch my channel, where I talk about all seven of the covers and why I think they were so cool.

Remember to vote for your favorite through the link I provided above! This means that A Clash of Fates is the second book to make it in the finals for the 2021 June Book Cover of the Month! You guys can choose who wins the title and then support your favorite in the yearly competition (obviously next year)! I hope you’ll participate.

Thanks for reading and watching,

Matt

Now Presenting the Cover to Betrayed!

Now Presenting the Cover to Betrayed!

Greetings all,

Last weekend I presented this cover on my YouTube channel. You can check out how that went by watching below.

However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to show off this cover here on my blog. So before I get too far into the details, let’s just have a look.

Once again I just want to make sure I thank Carlos Villas for all of his hard work. I think the cover is beautiful! I’m still planning on a May 1 release date. I’m proofreading as quickly as I can, but I desperately want to make this book as polished as I can, so June 1 is a possibility, but I guarantee June 1 is the latest this book will be out.

I hope you all like the cover!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The November Book Cover of the Month Begins!

The November Book Cover of the Month Begins!

I’m a bit sad as this is the last Book Cover of the Month (at least for a year).  It’s well timed as Brackify is being sold if it isn’t being shut down.  It’s been fun, and I like the idea that I’ll bring it back once I get more of my life in order, but it doesn’t mean I won’t miss this part. We will still do the Wild Card Round and then the 2018 Book Cover of the Year, but that will be it for an undetermined amount of time.

 

For now, let’s send this contest off with a bang!

NOV_Cover_Collage

Unrelenting Tide by Alexa Dare and Into the Fire by K. Gorman join 30 brand new covers this month.

You can vote all the way through the tournament, supporting the covers you like best through each round. I like to make sure people get the credit they deserve, so please show your support. Please vote and share as much as possible to get people a chance to pick their favorite.

As always, I’d appreciate it if you tag the authors and artists if you know them. I try to tag or friend every author I can, but sometimes it’s hard to track someone down. Max participation is a huge deal to me. The more people who vote, the more recognition these authors and artists receive, and I want this to be as legitimate as possible.

If you are the author, let’s remember to be good sports! 1) Please feel free to message or contact me at any time. 2) Please feel free to like, share, text, ask for support, and call everyone you know. I absolutely want max participation. However, if you’re going to offer giveaways or prizes, please offer them for voting, not just voting for you.

Also, while your summoning your army of voting soldiers, please make sure you ask them to vote in every match. Part of the idea of this is to get exposure to as many artists and authors as possible. By all means, if you can get 1,000 people to vote for your book, do it. Just please also send some eyeballs to the other matches.

A final note to authors and artists: I currently have links to the books’ Amazon pages. If you’d prefer I switch that link to sign up for your newsletter or like your social media page or whatever, just send me the link and let me know. I want this to help you. I want this to be as helpful as possible, so whatever you need me to do to facilitate that, just let me know.

I hope you keep having fun. Please, vote, share, and discuss as much as possible.

The runner up from this month gets an automatic bid into the 2018 Wild Card Round. So even finishing in the top two helps you out.

All you have to do now is head over here to vote!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the July Book Cover of the Month!

Announcing the July Book Cover of the Month!

Hello everyone,

We’ve just wrapped up another month. It was simply a historically amazing month. It did so well, I’m pinching myself trying to make sure I’m not dreaming. My goal for this is exposure for authors. Yes, I get some exposure as well, but I’d rather get exposure through helping others get visibility than any other way. This month made me hope we’re reaching a new level.

We had 9,787 votes this month. That’s far and away a new record! Thank you so much! For a moment, I thought we were actually going to crack 10,000.

One cover pulled away early; another surged late (big time), but it wasn’t enough to catch this month’s winner.

The July Book Cover of the Month is…

51LNftEIUAL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Asunder by L. Steinworth! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Steinworth received 784 total votes. I’d put her as the early favorite to win the Book Cover of the Year Bracket in December.

Age of War by Michael J. Sullivan came in second, so Sullivan gets a shot at next month’s title. Hopefully he gets the same support. Usually, 30 Finals votes will get a win.  Sullivan had 64, so he’d be the very early favorite. Also, Sullivan has been in several of these brackets. He’s come in second a few times. I think he’d like to get a win.

But for now, let’s look at this month’s winner!

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Alden knew life in the Shadowen Thieves Guild would cost him greatly, but when their next mission means abducting Princess Mayli Drake of Ammos, the price is too high. Defying the guild, Alden sets out to return Mayli safely home in hopes of restoring peace with the kingdom of Brimley. Mayli feels as though her life has torn asunder after being taken captive. However, if she is to survive, she must come to trust the renegade thief loyal to her mother’s killer. As Alden pleads for Brimley’s innocence, Mayli begins to question what she thought she knew about her kingdom’s enemies.

(END BLURB)

I’ve added Asunder to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I buy all the winning covers. I’ve already bought JuneMayAprilMarchFebruaryJanuaryDecember’s book.


MAY_Cover_Collage
Here’s Steinworth’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about her and her work.

Steinworth actually designed this very cover herself.  There’s a video of some of it somewhere, and I’ll try to link it.

The August Book Cover of the Month is coming along, and that contest will launch Sept. 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

A January Book Cover of the Month Update

A January Book Cover of the Month Update

With just seven days left in this month’s bracket, it’s time to update you all on how things have been progressing.

As I type this, we have 4,735 votes so far. That’s almost 2,000 votes more than we had at this point last month.


51WBNePLngLBlunt Force Magic
 by Lawrence Davis is on a mission! He’s been working Facebook like a crazy person, and his followers and supporters are passing it on. If anyone is going to challenge him, they’ll need to really call on their fans to get in the hunt.

Most Voted on so far: BlunnBlunt Force Magic is running away with it at the moment. He has 473 votes so far. I haven’t checked yet, but I THINK that’s a record already.

Least Voted for:  Echoes of Esharam  by Robert Davies. This cover has 38 votes. It’s a well designed cover I think deserves a bit more support.

Lawrence Davis has a commanding lead in every round. The only cover even remotely threatening is The Promised One by Morgan G. Farris, which would need 45 voters to push it all the way through the finals to help it win.  Frankly, Davis is high-stepping to victory. But that’s in the Sweet Sixteen. The runner up for the month is currently The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson.  That means Johnson gets the second shot if he can’t make up the 60-voter lead Davis has.

51hndehUYlLA quick reminder of how the tournament works. The easiest way to win is to have the most people vote for you in every round. The trick is you have to have the most people vote you through in each round, all the way to the final.  As an example, 100 people could vote someone through to the finals, but that doesn’t do a cover any good if he doesn’t win the first round. It’s not total votes. It’s not simple championship votes. The winning cover has to have the most votes in each round of the competition.

This will be the only update for this type of bracket. It’s been an amazing tournament to watch thus far, and I hope readers continue to support their authors by voting, liking, and sharing the bracket with as many people as possible.  You can vote at this address!

I’ll announce the winner is just seven days!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

The Results Are In! The M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round Winners!

The Results Are In! The M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year Wild Card Round Winners!

Greetings all,

WildCardFive days of voting have come and gone, and that means it’s time to announce the last four seeds of the 2017 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year entries!

To say it was close doesn’t begin to give the statement justice. Three out of four of the elimination matches were decided by just one vote. I certainly hope everyone had a chance to vote and share. The fact is, I need a few days to get the tournament set up. I’m already concerned with how much I’m asking of people to vote on essentially four tournaments in two months. I’ve tried to walk the line between getting word out and pestering authors and followers. I hope I’ve done that.

Whatever success I’ve had, we now how the field of sixteen.  These are the four who moved on:

The Dragon Rider Vol. 1 by T.J. Weekes: Right from the start it looked like Weekes wasn’t going to be denied. She took the lead and never let it go. She ended with 13 people voting her all the way through to the winners’ circle and 52 votes overall. This is now the 13th seed.

Fate of the Big Bad Wolf by Neo Edmund: This cover earned the 14th seed with three voters calling it the best of all eight and 24 votes total.

The Other One by Amanda Jay earned the 15th seed with 20 total votes.

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson: Swanson took the 16th seed with 20 total votes.

The WeechSo it comes to this. Sixteen covers have been chosen, but only one will be named the 2017 M.L.S. Weech Book Cover of the Year.  Voting will start Jan. 1 and last two weeks.

My goal: I’m a fan of this sort of stuff, but I want it to actually mean something to the people involved. The best way to do this is to get as many votes as possible.  The Most votes we ever had in one bracket was 6,102 (May’s bracket). I want to shatter that record. My dream is 10,000 total votes. This is a (perhaps overly) ambitious goal.  First, there’s one less round.  In order to meet this goal, I’d need 2,500 people to vote all the way through. I can’t do this without all of your help plus that of the authors and artists.  I only have 400 or so followers here on my Blog, so I’d need all of you and seven of your friends to vote. I’d need half of my Twitter followers or three times my Facebook followers.  In short, I need help.

I expect (and hope) the authors call on their readers. But in order for this to be more about the quality of the book than the following of any one author, word needs to get out. Please help me make this as meaningful as possible. Even if it’s just 16 authors bringing their readers to the table, it’s enough, but it can be more with your help.

I look forward to seeing who will win.  I hope you are, too.

Thanks for reading,

V/R
Matt

Announcing the October Book Cover of the Month!

Hello everyone,

The October Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. I’m happy to report we’re off the snide we were on.  This month had a solid amount of support, and I’m so grateful to everyone for helping make that happen. These brackets are special to me, and they grow more legitimate and meaningful each time we keep heading forward.

We had 4,007 votes this month.

We had another one of those months where someone leaps out and charges ahead of the crowd. Let’s here it!

The October Book Cover of the Month is…

519QjKk845L
This image was taken from Amazon.com to critique and advertise the author and artist.

 

 

 

 

Demonhome by Michael G. Manning! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Manning received 297 total votes. He jumped out in front around Day 2, and never looked back.

OCT_Cover_CollageChosen by R.S. Broadhead finished second, which means that’ll have another chance to be the Book Cover of the Month for November.  Since November only has 30 days, The Fallen Queen by Janie Marie, who fell to third, also get’s a shot at another bracket. This is actually critical (see below).

That said, Manning is the winner this month, so let’s look at his book.

 

 

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Matthew is the first human wizard to possess the true heritage of the Illeniels, a secret gift no one fully understands. Alone, he travels to another world, seeking the source of their mysterious enemies. There he will discover the origin of their ancient foe, the mysteries of the past, and possibly the future of humankind.

If he can survive long enough.

In a land beyond death and suffering, he finds the true source of evil, within the heart of humanity, and their newest creation. In the search for knowledge, some doors, once opened, can never be closed.

(END BLURB)

Confession one, this wasn’t the cover I personally voted all he way through. It’s beautiful, it just wasn’t my favorite. (For the record, no book I voted number one never actually won.) Confession two, I’m still glad this book won because I had already intended to read it, so while my TBR pile still goes up by one, it doesn’t double the way it normally does around this time. I’ll buy the audio edition of this book (my preferred medium with this saga).

5215279Manning is the first author to have two winning book covers, which is also cool. I’ve added Demonhome to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s first cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s coverJones’s CoverHubert’s Cover,  MacNiven’s cover,  Jon del Arroz’sRob J. Hayes’sChris Philbrook’s, and R.L. Week’sThey are also on my TBR. Manning’s review is here.  Howard’s review is here. Deyo’s review is here. I’ve read Jones’s book, and I’ll post a review for it next week.


Here’s
 Manning’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

I wonder if Amalia Chitulescu (who did Manning’s other BCOTM winning cover) was the artist for this one. I’m not sure.  I’ll try to find out. If so, she’d be only the second artist to win BCOTM. Shawn King has credit (or partial credit) for two covers as well.

The November bracket is still under development, but it looks good so far. It’ll kick of Dec. 1.

Now, that brings up some additional news. My first ever BOOK COVER OF THE YEAR tournament is coming. This will feature all 12 BCTOM winners and four “Wild Card” covers.

The Wild Card Round: This will be a one-week bracket featuring covers that performed well, but just didn’t ever win. It will have eight covers, and the top four will earn places in the BCOTM bracket.

The Book Cover of the Year Bracket (for which I’m purchasing an actual trophy to send to the artist) will launch Jan. 1. It will be a two-week tournament. Then, I’ll laugh the December Book Cover of the Month, which will start off a new year. Honestly, I haven’t decided weather or not I will do another year. At this moment, as I type this, I’m leaning toward doing it, but it takes a ton of energy to do this. (For the record, a lot of participation in the brackets motivates me). I promise I’ll close out the year because that had always been my plan. I’ll make a decision on next year at the end of the November bracket.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

August Book Cover of the Month Midway Update

August Book Cover of the Month Midway Update

With just about seven days left in this month’s bracket, I thought this would be a good chance to update you all on how things have been progressing. Things started off fast, but we’ve slowed down a bit.

2,433 votes the support has been nice to see, but some of these covers need your help.

Colony Lost by Chris Philbrook has taken the lead an run with it.

Least Voted for: Kaiju Wars by Eric S. Brown currently has the fewest votes (31). Fans of Brown should rally to help this cover get at least a bit more credit than that.

The Sweet 16 is the closest round so far. Half of those matches are within 10, but Philbrook is the story here as he’s got a commanding lead in every round, so anyone who wants to beat him needs to summon the followers by the dozens.

A quick reminder of how the tournament works. The easiest way to win is to have the most people vote for you in every round (like Philbrook). The trick is you have to have the most people vote you through in each round, all the way to the final.  As an example, 10 people (the second most) have voted Blood-Stained Heir all the way to the championship, but that’s not enough because Norman can’t get past Black Ruins Forest (though he’s only four votes away). Just remember. It’s not total votes. It’s not simple championship votes. The winning cover has to have the most votes in each round of the competition.

515dtiG8DILSo let’s take a look at the three covers that have the BEST shot at upsetting Philbrook.

Blood-Stained Heir can grab victory if he gets 23 people to vote him all the way through to the championship. (That’s assuming those 23 voters aren’t answered by voters of Colony Lost or Black Ruins Forest.)

Black Ruins Forest actually needs more championship votes than Heir. While Forest has what it needs to get to the last round, the cover is actually further behind than Heir. That said, if Forest can get 26 people to vote it all the way through, it’ll take the lead.

Lucky or Not, Here I Come is actually the third-closest contender if one looks at the bracket as a whole. It’s behind Black Ruins Forest, but not by much. That said, he’d need a massive show of overall support because he only has one championship vote so far. He’d need 33 people to vote him all the way to the championship in order to take the lead.

Getting 33 people to vote anyone all the way through would be a great start, but believe it or not, the 23-vote lead Colony Lost has in the finals is actually the smallest margin of victory he has. Anyone cover not mentioned above would need more than 40 unanswered voters to push the cover all the way to the championship, and that’s not nearly enough to upset Colony Lost in that initial round (Colony has more than 100 votes in that first round.)   

This will be the only update for this type of bracket. It’s been an amazing tournament to watch thus far, and I hope readers continue to support their authors by voting, liking, and sharing the bracket with as many people as possible.  You can vote at this address!

I’ll announce the winner is just seven days!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Announcing the June Book Cover of the Month

Announcing the June Book Cover of the Month

Hello everyone,

The June Book Cover of the Month bracket has just wrapped up. It was honestly a fairly disappointing month in terms of votes. We only had 2,652 votes, which is the lowest total we’ve had since the very beginning (when we only had a few days to vote). I have some concerns, and I’d be immensely grateful if any viewers could provide me some honest feedback. Was one week not enough time? Should I simply extend the number of days the bracket runs? Should I keep the “vote once” tournament we’ve used the last few months, or should I go back to the “round-by-round” format we had a while back? I want this to be as fun and easy as possible, but I need your help to make that happen.

Now, 2,600 votes is still a lot. Those voters who came by did so for three books in particular, but only one cover could win.

The June Book Cover of the Month is…

 

For Steam and Country by Jon del Arroz! If you’re curious about how I felt about the book, check out the Facebook post that I posted when this book first landed on the bracket, here.

Let’s look at the stats!

Steam and Country took the lead late on the last day and pulled away. This was one of those contests where the match was decided in the #FinalFour. It was either going to be The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson or Steam and Country. Argon by E.L. Patrick made it to the finals, but it couldn’t muster any actual bracket wins in comparison to the other two books. (More on that in a moment.)  The finals came down to Steam and Argon, but Steam won a total of 28 brackets.

Steam received 205 total votes, which was seven more total votes than The Girl and 99 more than Argon.

June_Cover_CollageLRI usually have the runner up get a spot in the next month’s bracket. I just can’t, in good conscience, place Argon in July’s bracket when The Girl had more votes and more bracket wins.  If this were a 30-day month, I wouldn’t have a problem because I’d have two open spots, but July has 31 days, and I have to try my best to allow the book that the voters most liked get a slot. As this wasn’t a “round-by-round” tournament, I can’t honestly tell which voters would prefer in a head to head. I can only go by the number of votes and brackets each cover won. I’m very dedicated to making this a fun, fair competition, so I have to make these calls with as much integrity and data as I can. So I offer my congratulations to The Girl Who Could See, as that book will have another chance to move on in the July bracket.

That said. Arroz is the winner this month, so let’s look at his book.

Amazon blurb.

Amazon:

(START BLURB)

Her father’s been pronounced dead. Destructive earthquakes ravage the countryside. An invading army looms over the horizon. And Zaira’s day is just getting started…

Abandoned at an early age, Zaira von Monocle found life as the daughter of a great adventurer to be filled with hard work and difficulty. She quickly learned to rely on only herself. But when a messenger brought news that her father was dead and that she was the heir to his airship, her world turned upside down.

Zaira soon finds herself trapped in the midst of a war between her home country of Rislandia and the cruel Wyranth Empire, whose soldiers are acting peculiarly—almost inhuman. With the enemy army advancing, her newfound ship’s crew may be the only ones who can save the kingdom.

For Steam and Country is the first book in the Adventures of Baron Von Monocle series by top-10 Amazon best selling space opera author, Jon Del Arroz.

“Witty, charming and downright thrilling!  Del Arroz nails the feel of good old fashioned Steampunkery with wit, aplomb and of course… panache.” – Nick Cole, author of the Dragon Award winner, CTRL ALT Revolt

“FOR STEAM AND COUNTRY is a rousing girl-powered fantasy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed airship adventure!” – Laurie Forest, author of The Black Witch

(END BLURB)

As always, I’ve purchased the book and added it to my TBR. (For those who are new to the deal, I buy the Book Cover of the Month to read and review in the future. I bought Manning’s cover, Howard’s cover, Deyo’s coverJones’s CoverHubert’s Cover, and MacNiven’s cover, and they are also on my TBR. (I just finished reading Deyo’s cover.)

18221611_10207749242842260_3867576595174516287_nHere’s Arroz’s Facebook page. Give it a like if you’re curious about him and his work.

The artist for that beautiful cover is Shawn King, whom I contacted to see if he’d like to do an interview about his victory.

The July bracket is still under development. Conventions and honestly a string of not-very-good covers made it harder to fill this bracket than normal. But it’ll still be ready to go by Aug. 1.

I will continue to identify and select covers for each day from Amazon’s New Release section for fantasy and science fiction. If you follow and like my Facebook page, you can see what covers will make the bracket.

Thanks for reading

Matt

Interview with Michael G. Manning

Interview with Michael G. Manning
15326549_1179426122094499_6318367043184922848_nI recently had the honor to correspond via social media and email with Michael G. Manning, author of the December Book Cover of the Month, Betrayer’s Bane. I’ve already posted the review for that, and you can check that out here. I’ve also interviewed Amalia Chitulescu, which you can read here. I’ve mentioned how much I enjoyed Bane, and I actually just finished the first book in the Embers of Illeniel trilogy before posting this blog.  I’ll post my review for The Mountains Rise (the Audible version), in time (there are other reviews scheduled to post first, and I try to respect the order in which I read books). I’m a huge fan of the series so far, and I can’t wait to finish it.  That makes me all the happier I had a chance to interview Mr. Manning.
Without further ado, here we go:

You have quite a few projects out there, and I understand some (if not all) of them are related. Can you explain how Embers of Illeniel fits in with other projects you have out and other projects you have coming? 

 

My first series, was Mageborn, starting with ‘The Blacksmith’s Son’ and finishing with ‘The Final Redemption.’  It was five books in all, and during the course of it I frequently referred back to hidden memories that were trapped in the main character’s mind.  So, once I had finished it, I felt a strong need to go back and write the story of what had been haunting Mordecai throughout those books.

So my original series was Mageborn, with Embers of Illeniel being a prequel set two thousand years before it.  I also have a sequel series, ‘Champions of the Dawning Dragons.’  It takes up where Mageborn left off, following the children that were born during that series.

At the moment I have finished Mageborn, and Embers of Illeniel, and the last book of the sequel series, Demonhome, is due out later this year.  I have a stand-alone book also, ‘Thomas,’ that is based on an old roleplaying game campaign I was in.

5215279What was the inspiration for the series?
I was bored. I went on a Kindle binge and read eighteen books in a single week and found myself without anything interesting to read.  So, I sat down and made a mental list of the things I was looking for in my hypothetical perfect book.  When I had finished the list, I realized that I had already read everything remotely similar, so I just said to hell with it and started writing.
Betrayer’s Bane was the best book I’ve read so far in 2017.  What do you think are the things that made that book so great? 
Pain and suffering.  One of my biggest complaints about books, movies, and TV shows, is that very often everything is sugar-coated.  There’s almost always a happy ending, and it’s rare for anyone of importance to the story to die.  Since I already knew this was going to be a dark story, I decided to go all out, though at times I wondered if I had gone too far.
Tyrion is such a compelling character. How did you come up with him? What made you decide to write a series focused on him with that series? I understand (at least I THINK) Ileniel happens generations before the Mageborn series. Is that true? If so, what made you decide to go so far back in the world you’ve built?

Again, there were numerous veiled references to this story in my first series, so it felt almost compulsory for me to come back and write it.

I think Tyrion himself is so interesting because he starts out as a perfectly ordinary young man, perhaps even kinder and gentler than most, but his experiences gradually warp and shape him into the monster he eventually becomes.  It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion, it’s horrible, but you just can’t look away.
How did you feel when you finished that series?
Relieved.  I don’t think readers always realize that all the same emotions they experience while reading a book affect the author as well.  The main difference is that it takes us weeks and months to get them all down, so we suffer the same trauma in an extended drawn out sort of way.  That’s fine when it’s a light-hearted novel, but when it is something like this—well it can be agonizing.  Day after day you’re forced to repeatedly live out the same pain.  I thought I might lose my mind before finishing it.
Bane was the first book I’ve read from you, and it has me going crazy trying to see what happens after the epilogue. For those like me, what book can I jump to to find out?
51eWo3W81OLYou should start with ‘The Blacksmith’s Son,’ and then follow it through the entire Mageborn series.  Once that’s done you can read ‘Thornbear,’ which is the first of the sequels.
As you know, I discovered Betrayer’s Bane when I selected it as my Book Cover of the Day. It went on to become the December Book Cover of the Month. First, congrats to both you and Amalia for winning.  I’ve spoken about what I think makes the cover stand out on my blog, but I’d like to know your thoughts about what made the cover work for you. Why do you think that cover stands out?

Well, the cover represents a particularly traumatic scene in the book, the death of one of the more lovable characters, although it’s done with a bit of artistic license.  I think that’s what makes it a great cover.  It perfectly captures the raw emotion that I tried to embody throughout the story.

What did you think about the cover when Amalia showed it to you?

I’ve never been disappointed with her work, so naturally I was pleased.  Not only does she have great artistic sense, but she always arranges the less obvious elements perfectly as well as picking fonts that fit the theme.

Can you walk me through the process of creating the cover from your point of view? What did you ask Amalia for? What was she like to work with? What was your goal for the cover?

904677_568318963202210_169616517_oI’ve been working with her for a couple of years now, but in each case I merely describe the scene I think would fit best on the cover.  She takes it from there, and usually within a few weeks she has something to show me.  Thus far I’ve never had to request a major change after that point, just minor refinements.  She has excellent taste.  As always, my only goal for the cover is to evoke a feeling in the viewer, something that will entice them to examine the contents.

Bane was, as I said, a great book. It was so good I went back and bought book 1 of Elleniel (audio version). If there are any new readers out there, where would you recommend they start reading your work?

My preferred reading order would be the order I wrote them in, starting with the Mageborn series.  After that I’d alternate the prequels and sequels, starting with the first of the prequels, ‘The Mountains Rise.’  I switched back and forth between the prequel and sequel series, so there are hints about each in the other.  I know that sounds confusing, but if you look at the publishing dates just follow them chronologically.

Even if you don’t, you can’t go wrong just reading each series on its own.

What’s your newest released project? Please tell us about it.
51setgNvqYL._SY346The latest thing I did was release a short novel called, ‘Thomas.’  It’s actually something I wrote before I started publishing, but I never took the time to finish it.  After Betrayer’s Bane I needed something light to cleanse my palate and wash away the evil that had sunk into my bones.  It’s a great book that has nothing to do with any of my other work, being based on a roleplaying game I was in with some friends.

The main character is a boy named Thomas (funny how that works).  He starts as an orphan and the mystery of the tale revolves around his origin, although most of the story itself doesn’t directly relate to that.  I think anyone that enjoys fantasy would like it, even though the main character is a cleric, which is uncommon in the genre.

What are you working on next? 
Currently I’m working on ‘Demonhome,’ the last book in my sequel series.  It follows Matthew, the son of the protagonist in Mageborn, as he travels to another dimension to try and find his missing father.  I’ve hinted at it before, but there will be some science fiction elements introduced there that I think will be fascinating.
I thank you again for all of your time. You’ve created a fascinating series that I highly recommend to any fans of action fantasy. (Disclaimer, this is a dark story.)
END INTERVIEW
I’ve purchased the Audible version of The Silent Tempest, which will allow me to complete this trilogy, and I can promise I’m moving straight on to Mageborn. I’m very high on this series and this author at the moment. I hope a few of you try him out.
Thanks for reading,
Matt