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Thursday, 10 December 2015

VBT & #GIVEAWAY - Dragon Apocalypse by Josh Powell


Humorous Epic Fantasy



On their way to apprehend a temple thief, Gurken Stonebiter, a templerager of the temple of Durstin Firebeard, and Pellonia, a little, but infuriatingly clever, girl stumble onto a quest to save a town from an evil dragon. The dragon is demanding sacrifices of maidens, and the town is fresh out. Can they discover a way to sate the dragon's bloodlust and save the town?

Along the way, Gurken and Pellonia meet up with Maximina, a half under-elven woman that also happens to be a tad psychic, a ranger with a dash of necromantic ability, a smidgen of samurai training, and just enough time living as a rogue to acquire the ability to sneak up on and stab a foe in the back. Maximina is full of clever ideas on how to gain a tactical advantage over her foes, and on occasion they even work.

During their adventures, Gurken, Pellonia, and Maximina face a snarky unicorn, do battle with a terrible frost giant, contend with a rival adventuring party bent on their utter humiliation, and confront the end of the world in the form of an evil sorcerer and a teeming dragon horde. Can they save the world one more time?


“Stand aside, master thief,” Gurken said.  “Your skills are useless here.  As you can see, there is no lock for you to pick.  The door is barred from the other side.”

“You haven’t even tried to open it yet,” Pellonia said.  She walked up to the door and gave it a nudge.  It did not open.

“As I said,” said Gurken, “stand aside.”  Gurken took an enormous swing at the door, his axe biting deeply and lodging into it. Gurken strained to pull the axe back out of the door.

The board behind the window slid aside and a face with bushy eyebrows and a bulbous nose looked out.  “Did you just cut into my door with your axe?” the dwarf asked.

“Aye, I did,” Gurken agreed, turning red.

“Without knocking first?  Just come cuttin’ your way in?”

“Well, the door was in our way.”

“I should hope so!  That’s what doors are for.  To keep some people in, some people out, and let others pass between.  It wouldn’t be of much use if it didn’t get in folks’ way.”

“But we needed to get by,” Gurken said.

“Did you consider knocking?”

“I did try to push it open,” Pellonia said.  “It didn’t budge.”

“Of course not!  It’s locked!  To. Keep. People. Out.  You have seen a door before, have you not?”

“Well, yes.”

“Then let’s try this again. I’m going to close the window.  You knock.”

“But we’ve already got your attention,” Pellonia said.

“It seems to me, that you need the practice,” said the dwarf, closing the wooden cover behind the window.

Amazon UK  |  Amazon US

7 signs that a self-published book is crap (before reading it)

Self-publishing has been a boon to the writing community.  Now anyone can write a book and make it available to everyone with only an investment of time. During NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), people track how many words they’ve typed and 168,000 people wrote 3,245,408,855 words (  That’s a lot of writing.  If an average person reads at 200 words per minute, that’ll keep them busy for 30.87 years reading at 24 hours per day.  That’s a lot of years.

With so much being written, how does one prioritize what to read? Traditional publishers act a kind of quality control, ensuring that the book gets edited and a professional does the cover, but they also are usually looking for books that sell and books that sell can be formulaic.  That’s not to say they are bad, many are quite good, it’s just that if you read a lot they can become predictable.

One way to seek out new adventures is to turn to the self-published writers, because there is no traditional publisher gatekeeper.  But, that means that there is no one but the author confirming the quality of the product before publishing.  So here are 7 signs that a self-published book is not worth reading.

1)     Awful cover design
They say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.  For self-published books, you should. While not every book with a bad cover is a bad book, it does show how much effort the author has gone through to make sure they’ve written a quality book. An author can either learn the art of book design themselves well enough to produce a decent cover, hire a professional, or use a professional services company. 

For Dragon Apocalypse and The Berserker and the Pedant, I used 99 designs to produce the covers and got to choose between 50 different designs.  I couldn’t be happier with the results, and they haven’t even paid me to endorse them... yet.

2)     Has not been professional edited
Some authors think they can edit their book themselves, after all they’ve written at least one book!  It’s not so, authors are too close to the manuscript to see the mistakes, they wrote the mistake, they’ve read the mistakes, if they could find them they would have.  It helps to put a manuscript aside and come back later for a fresher read, but some will still sneak through.  Also, just because you have the creative capacity and discipline to write a novel, doesn’t mean you are an expert at grammar.  When writing The Berserker and the Pedant, I learned that despite having always been complimented for my writing skills I didn’t have a solid grasp on when to use then vs than and the possessive apostrophe, especially in it’s.  I was much better when writing Dragon Apocalypse but my professional editor still caught many typos and made many good suggestions on alternative phrasings.

3)     Low rating on Amazon and Goodreads
It is actually very hard to get a high rating on these sites and keep it there.  Goodreads raters typically rate books up to a full star lower than Amazon readers, which can be frustrating for an author. One star reviews are killers, it can take 5-10 five star reviews for a rating to recover from a single one star. To me a one star review should mean that a book is riddled with typos, glaring logical inconsistencies and is boring.  Any one of those not happening means a book deserves at least two stars.  Every book, however, has its one star review and if there aren’t any that could be suspicious.

There is also a difference between a three star average book that has a combination of five star and one star reviews and a three star average book that has mostly three star reviews.  The first is probably a better book that pushed some buttons for some readers.  Read the one star reviews to see what buttons those were and if you aren’t annoyed by the same things, the book may be worth taking a chance on.

4)     Very few star ratings
Star ratings are very difficult to get for unestablished writers.  At least they have been for me. I’ve had friends read my books and then say they would write a review later after gushing to me about it. Of course, they never get to it. I’ve had other friends take months to finally get around to it, and then finally writing that review. At first I was worried this was because the book wasn’t any good, but I’ve now had a number of strangers write good reviews of the book who I’ve never met and didn’t even have to give a copy to.

5)     Hasn’t received any awards
There are a lot of book awards out there. Most of them are pay to enter, but I think that’s fine as long as there are enough entries to merit some competition.  In the pay to enter awards, the book won’t be competing with best sellers because awards are a marketing tool for the book and the best sellers are already best selling.

What a book award does indicate is that a book is good enough to compete against other books and come out on top. The Berserker and the Pedant won the Awesome Indies Seal of Approval and the Green Apple Summer Books award.  The audio version was a finalist for Outstanding Production in The Voice Arts awards. Having an award doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll like a book, it’s just an indicator of higher quality and that you’ll be more likely to enjoy it.  Of course, this is biased towards authors who can afford to enter their book into awards competitions, so not having an award isn’t necessarily and indication of poor quality.

6)     Only book by that author
Like any profession, the more one practices it the better one gets.  Having more than one book means an author is practiced at their trade.  It doesn’t mean a book won’t suck and not having more than one book doesn’t mean a book does suck, but they are indicators.

7)     Author has no traditionally published books/short stories
Traditional publishers do enforce a certain level of quality and an author that has published books traditionally before has gone through their process at least once. I published a book through a traditional publisher in the non-fiction industry, so saw the steps they took to do quality control on a book and followed them when writing and publishing The Berserker and the Pedant and Dragon Apocalypse.

Josh Powell will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here

JOSH POWELL, wielder of the Sommerswerd, destroyer of the thread, expeditioner to Barrier Peaks, discoverer of his magic talent, and venturer into the Tomb of Horrors is known for having survived a harrowing adolescence full of danger and fantasy. He's gone on to write The Berserker and the Pedant and Dragon Apocalypse and is currently working on the yet to be named third book in the series.

He also spends some not inconsiderable amount of time wiggling his fingers over a keyboard as a software engineer.  He lives with his wife, Marianne, and two amazing children, Liam and Chloe, in sunny California, where winter is, most decidedly, never coming.





Tour Organised By: 

Goddess Fish Promotions


  1. Do animals really have a sixth sense?

  2. Enjoyed the guest post and excerpt, sounds like a fantastic read, thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post, I enjoyed reading it! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I really enjoyed the excerpt, thank you!

  5. I really enjoyed the entire post, especially the excerpt and 7 signs that a self-published book is crap (before reading it)! Thank you.