Sunday, 15 April 2018

Audio covers it.

I'm starting a collection of audio book covers that are quite different from the covers on their better known paper book counterparts.

Friday, 13 April 2018


This would have been less bother if they had just got the colours right to start with.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Big Seven-Oh oh oh oh

I've been doing this for a while now with posts to celebrate my first book, Prince of Thorns, turning 30, 40, 50, 60, and 70 ... as in 70,000 ratings on Goodreads.

This time the milestone has fallen just after the release of my latest book, Grey Sister, in the US. It comes out in the UK on the 17th of May.

Since the last post it's been a busy time on the blog. We've had:

The results and winner of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2016.

Prince of Thorns reaching half a million sales.

My grimdark reworking of The Three Billy-Goats Gruff.

A crowd-sourced definition of grimdark.

I found out if my readers were "angsty teens".

The finalists of the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2017.

My observations on unfinished series.

I discussed LITERATURE.

Assessed the major causes of fantasy deaths.

& announced my appearance in a talkie!

But what exciting and controversial subject am I going to broach in honour of the big

Actually, none. I'm just going to share with you some of the roughs that artist Tomasz Jedruszek did on his way to producing the UK cover for Grey Sister.

Bastien Lecouffe Deharme, artist for the US cover of Grey Sister (and who you may have heard of recently in connection of Terry Goodkind's latest cover) also did some great roughs, but didn't want me to share them. That's an attitude I can understand. Many writers wouldn't want their readers to see the first drafts of their books. But I can tell you that it is very interesting to see the artists' process.

Like most authors my input into the cover is minimal and it is the publisher who directs the artist toward the result they want. Self-published authors cite the control they have over their covers as a freedom they cherish, and I can appreciate that. But on the flip side, I have no great confidence that my instincts for covers aligns closely with that of the hoped for readership of my books, and in one sense it is nice not to have to agonise about it. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Friday, 30 March 2018

All the Grey Sister reviews I know about so far!

Grey Sister hits the shelves in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand on the 3rd of April.

In the UK we have to wait until the 17th of May (not a decision I had any say in).

Here are all the reviews I know about so far!


"Grey Sister is an epos in its original meaning; a literary masterpiece with no equal that will undoubtedly stand the test of time."

Fantasy Hive:

"This book, like its heroine, is full of fire and worth."

RT Magazine:

"With the strategy of a general and the finesse of an artist this master storyteller fills each page with vivid imagery, making the beautifully brutal scenes, alien landscapes, and impressive characters come to life for his audience."

Publishers Weekly:

"Lawrence’s suspenseful account of Nona’s efforts to complete her training and gain control over her powers balances action and introspection, and will keep readers hooked."

Parmenion Books:

"I LOVE this series, Mark Lawrence is one of the most exciting writers in the fantasy genre."

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist:

"Darker and more ambitious than its predecessor, Grey Sister is definitely one of the fantasy books to read in 2018! This just in: That thorn guy is pretty damn good!"

Forever Lost In Literature:

"Now this was a thoroughly good book!"

Drey's Library:


Mayticks, a drawn review!

"It's exhilarating!"

The Quill to Live:

"let me ease your worries and stoke your excitement, Grey Sister is excellent and something to be very pumped for."

Mystic Fibrosis:

"I’m pleased to say that Grey Sister more than holds up, and unusually for a ‘middle’ book in a series, is actually better than the first."

The Grim Dragons:

"There is just MORE of everything here! Action, tragedy, villains, friendship, KICKASS SWORD-WIELDING NUNS WHO USE MAGIC! It’s fucking GLORIOUS!!"

Fantasy Book Review:

"Book of the Ancestor is Mark Lawrence's finest series by a great distance and Grey Sister is a far superior outing than the critically acclaimed first entry and his previous works."

Between Dreams and Reality:

"I really had a great time with this story once again and after all the events here, I’m really looking forward to discover what the author has in store for the future."

The Bloggin' Hobgoblin:

"I thoroughly enjoyed Grey Sister and I can’t wait for the final book. Obviously I give it 5 out of 5 stars"

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Nona's charging ahead!

Today Red Sister caught up with The Liar's Key in the Goodreads ratings stakes!

Red Sister has been out nearly a year and The Liar's Key has been out nearly three years, so clearly Nona is doing well. Next in her sights is Prince of Fools.

Number of Goodreads ratings for the books in my trilogies.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The first book you write will be rubbish.

"The first book you write will suck."

This is something that I saw on a writing group on Facebook today and have seen many times before.

Googling on "the first book you write will be" the top hit I found that was relevant to this blog was in a piece by the bestselling author Amanda Hocking who says "Almost universally speaking, the first book you write will be terrible."

She is certainly not alone in saying so.

I asked 38 authors how many novels they completed before the one that first got published. I've shown the results in diagram form below.

(click figure for detail)

18 of 38 had the first novel they finished published. These 18 included mildly successful authors such as George RR Martin, Rick Riordan, and Joe Abercrombie.

It should be noted that a good fraction (but by no means all) of these authors had also written short stories and part finished novels.

Before his debut (Dying of the Light) GRRM wrote multiple short stories and 30 pages of a novel. Rick Riordan, who like GRRM published multiple novels before breaking big, also wrote a great many short stories. Robin Hobb wrote lots of novellas and "many many" short stories.

There are also some on that "zero" row who wrote no short stories, no part finished novels, and just knocked it out of the park first go.

The thing is that like almost every bit of writing advice or statement about writing ... this truism isn't true. Writers vary hugely in their methods and results. Statements about writing, however definitively someone delivers them, are a bit like the Pirates' Code ... more by way of guidelines.

With all this said, the first book I wrote was rubbish.