Team Weatherwax in SPFBO7

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Kristen and I are back for our 4th year together! We work pretty well as a team and we’ve developed a nice rhythm and understanding and we tend to cruise through both phases smoothly.

For those of you who are new, welcome! Here’s a snapshot of our tastes, likes and dislikes, favorite fantasy tropes etc. Between the two of us we like every subgenre there is, and we balance each other out nicely since we have different favorite subgenres and like/dislikes. We also have fairly different reviewing styles which I feel compliment each other.

The Judges:


  • Three Favorite Genres: Epic High Fantasy, Comedy, Military
  • Three Least Favorite Genres: Romance, New Weird, YA
  • Three Favorite Tropes: Grey Characters, Lost Races, Rediscovering Magic
  • Ideal Protag: 30s-50s, Healer, Snarky, Quirky
  • Three Favorite SPFBO Entries: Orconomics, Lost War, Hero Forged
  • Preferred Book Length: 300-400 pages
  • Three Pet Peeves: fake cursing, instalove, too much exposition


  • Three Favorite Genres: Romance, Steampunk, Urban
  • Three Least Favorite Genres: Military, Horror, Western
  • Three Favorite Tropes: Vampires, Pirates, Thieves
  • Ideal Protag: 30s-50s, Snarky, Quirky
  • Three Favorite SPFBO Entries: Gods of Men, Lord of Stariel, Symphony of the Wind
  • Preferred Book Length: 300-400 pages
  • Three Pet Peeves: misogyny, poorly handled assault/rape, homophobia



  • The Stillwater Project by Craig Askham
  • Snowborn by Larema Dixon
  • Red in Tooth and Claw by Ryan Howse
  • Born of Water by A.L. Knorr
  • The Executioner’s Right D.K. Holmberg
  • Deliverer’s Destiny by Sara Jolene H
  • Sentinel – Masked by Gabriel Michaelson
  • Olde Robin Hood by Kate Danley
  • One Nation Under Gods
  • The Wayward Wizard by Alesha Escobar
  • Truth and Other Lies by Lyra Wolf
  • Scars of Gaia by R.P. Lauer
  • Tribesman by Paul Freeman
  • Kings and Deamons by Marcus Lee
  • The Gatekeeper’s Staff by Antoine Bandele
  • From Chaos Comes Order by Jimi Rodriguez


  • This Quest is Bullshit by JP Valentine
  • Thunder Heist by Jed Herne
  • We Men of Ash and Shadow by HL. Tinsley
  • Flesh Eater by Travis M. Riddle
  • The Lords of the Summer Season by Peter W. Blaisdell
  • A Game for Gods by Keith Deininger
  • The Other Magic by Derrick Smythe
  • Fool’s Proof by Eva Sandor
  • Dragon’s Chains by Robert Vane
  • Saint Dorian and the Witch by Michael Raship
  • Cold From the North by D.W. Ross
  • Temple Knight by Paul J. Bennett
  • Storm of Divine Light by Ernesto San Giacomo
  • The Child of Chaos Glen Dahlgren


During Phase One each of the ten blogs will be given a list of thirty books to sort through to find their finalist.

There won’t be much of a system used as each of us reads through the first fifteen entries. We’ll just pick through them as the mood strikes and hammer out some reviews!

I’ve tried putting us on reading schedules before, but with our lives getting more and more hectic it doesn’t make any sense to do that this year; there won’t be any scheduling this year – it just ends up in a headache.

Kristen and I will each pick two or three semi-finalists, then we’ll exchange them, rate them, and whichever book has the highest averaged rating will go on to be our finalist.

In Phase Two, both Kristen and I will read each finalist and submit an averaged score for all of the finalists. We tend to be pretty quick readers, so we will likely have reviews coming out quickly in both phases. We have a rip the Band-Aid off approach to cutting people, we cut books first before announcing any semifinalists.

Each blog has a different way they rate books, and even the way they view the raw scores can vary from judge to judge. One blog may not like books they rate 5/10, while others may think it was an enjoyable book they just didn’t love it. Both Kristen and myself view a 5/10 as an “okay” book with equal parts we liked and didn’t like, but those scoring under a 5/10 will be those we struggled with.

Our goal is not to undermine the confidence, creativity, or motivations of the authors. We have heard feedback from some previous SPFBO contestants about their struggles with critiques, and the way they are delivered. This isn’t meant to be a traumatic process where authors give up writing after entering. That said, we can only be honest or what’s the point? If we have major problems with the contents of the book we’re going to express that in our reviews.

At the end of this post there’s a link to a form for the authors who are in our group. In it, there is an OPT OUT option for a review that’s going to be under a 5/10, if you would prefer to be cut without rating/review, please select that option.

This does not mean our reviews will be free from criticism, even books I rate as 8/10s I still have constructive criticism or things that just didn’t click with me in my reviews. What it does mean is that a book we truly did not like, and will struggle to say positive things about – instead of posting a negative review we will just cut that book and move on if the author opts out. That option will not be there for Phase Two when we review the finalists.

The form also has book demographic questions that will help us pick out what we’re in the mood to read – so I’d advise our authors to fill it out either way.

Our Finalists from years’ past:

Gods of Men by Barbara Kloss

Kalanon’s Rising by Darian Smith

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Last Memoria by Rachel Emma Shaw

Last Memoria (Memoria Duology, #1)