6th Annual Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off: Cover Contest

Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off #6

Cover Competition!

Three Flavours of Binge-Worthy SFF Podcasts

Three Flavours of Binge-Worthy SFF Podcasts


Firefly – The Big Damn Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel

Firefly – The Big Damn Cookbook

Cookbook Review



Our friends over at TOR.COM have been in touch to tell us about an upcoming fantasy epic they’ve got scheduled for early next year called, Cold Counsel. Once they told me a bit about it, I surmised that Cold Counsel would combine a huge battle axe, anti-hero trolls and a Norse-inspired story that sounds truly epic… As you can imagine: I was 100% in! Here’s the blurb written by the folk over at TOR:

In Chris Sharp’s new epic fantasy Cold Counsel, Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans.

However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species?save two.

Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge.

For cold is the counsel of women.

Now, we’re all readers, and we’d never judge a book by it’s cover, right? Well… true, but when TOR offered me (and you) an exclusive look at the Cold Counsel cover, promising it would include aforementioned axe, troll and Norse-y feel: how could we resist? Check it out:


Stunning, eh? The artwork is by Dave Palumbo and the design is by Christine Foltzer. I know Gemmell didn’t have many covers in that kind of style, but there is something very ‘Gemmell’ feeling about it and I love that. Additionally, it’s a troll! We don’t see too many of those these days do we? I guess we had Steven Harper’s Iron Axe, a few years back, but based on the popularity of Orcs in World of Warcraft and the Lord of The Rings movie franchise, I’m surprised we’ve not seen more of them popping up as bigger parts of fiction. I guess it’s the trend of ‘realism’, currently dominating the SFF market, holding them from popping up in publishers’ lists at the moment, but I’m really up for a dose of trolls, goblins, giants and elves battling it out in the mountains.

Anyway, enough of my speculation. I’m going to leave you with some words from Chris Sharp about the novel and what is at the heart of it:

“At its heart, this is just a simple tale of a boy, his aunt, and his ax.

The boy may be a troll, his aunt an ancient goddess, and the ax a relic from a forgotten age, but that’s beside the point. It’s my dark fantasy take on the hardboiled, anti-hero crime novels of the 60’s and 70’s, like Richard Stark’s Parker series if all the characters were actual monsters.

Set against the backdrop of a world steeped in the slow death of magic and legend, it’s also a revenge yarn that rebuts the Norse Myths we all know, and those god figures of yore who to this day flit about the silver screen with fancy armor and pretty hair. Myth, like history, is too often told by the winners of war and conquest. This story is about the losers from those old Norse battles, and the anger that the few who remain still carry.

I hope you have as much fun reading as I did writing it.”

Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp will be on sale from Tor.com Publishing 2/21/2017 ( for British folks, that’s the 21st of February 🙂 )


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