EarthpillarIcon (© 2014)

A belated post today. This one originally went out to Earthpillar subscribers back in July. Earlier this year I entered two contests, and here are the results!

Back in during the spring, when Covid-19 was just starting to bloom, Lords of Deception was judged in the Benjamin Franklin Awards hosted by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), of which I’m a member.

I didn’t win, but received good reviews and ratings from the judges in the categories I entered, Best New Voice and Science Fiction/Fantasy:

  • "What a feat your fantasy novel is...It must be hard for you to live in this world when your imagination is so much more captivating! …This is a book I'll be recommending to my book-loving friends and colleagues."
  • "The author creates a world with myriad cultures, rich descriptions, and depth of backstory...This well-written novel is recommended for readers of epic fantasy and medieval-like fantasy."
  • "Nice maps! It's clear that the author has given a lot of thought to world-building."

Next up, the covers for my three novels were judged in an April cover contest hosted monthly by book designer Joel Friedlander to provide constructive criticism to indies.

Guest judge and cover designer Tanja Prokop described my covers unique, intriguing, and praised the typography.

Here’s the link to the full results of the contest, where you can also learn a bit about the design inspiration of each cover.

Can you guess which one involves a Congolese wedding blessing mask, one of the best preserved monasteries in Europe (Maulbronn), or a medieval Dutch shield boss?

I didn’t win, but still fun.


And finally, I'm going to start including some trivia and behind-the-scenes factoids from the Earthpillar world in these posts. Here's the first one!

The aerina arcanae that you read about in the novels, which includes Gallerlander tree running and Candlestone fighting techniques, were partially inspired by a couple movies: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and The Musketeer, choreographed by martial arts experts Yuen Woo-ping and Xiong Xin-Xin, respectively.

These movies are marked by sword fights high in a bamboo forest, on rolling barrels, and running across the side of a tower while grasping ropes. All of these techniques are done well enough to suspend disbelief.

Subscribe to get Earthpillar news and discount codes straight to your inbox.