Another handful of SPFBO6 titles with no romance

After posting the 24 or so “friendship, no romance” titles submitted to the 6th annual Self-Publishing Fantasy Blog-Off, naturally a handful of other entries were brought to my notice.

This brings the total proportion of submissions this year that center friendship rather than romance to a startling 10%. Not that 90% isn’t a pretty overwhelming majority, but 10% is a substantially larger percentage than I expected. I do think the proportion of no-romance fantasy is smaller in traditionally published works, but I could be wrong. In the next week or so, I’ll try to come up with a handful of my favorite traditionally published fantasy novels that don’t include romance. For the moment, here are the remaining SPFBO6 entries in that category, so consider this continued from the previous post:

25. Steve Gowland, Soul’s Abyss.

 As Kaoldan fights to unravel the mystery and his own dark past, reunited with his daughters after years apart throws him into another unfamiliar role – how to be a father again. This is another battle he cannot lose.

26. ED Lazure, Of Fractured Lands and Sundered Dreams:

[F]acing a revolt by the enslaved Dwarfs, Faija Soothing Wind must find the will to survive and to embrace motherhood. On the run with her daughter, she meets an ailing slave claiming a divine mission which would lead north to Fimara, the accursed land of her ancestors.

27. M Askins, Beyond the Spire of Naverene:

A Young Knight undertakes an impossible quest deep into the fabled and perilous Fenrirfang in order to protect his sister from a conspiracy that involves the Church that he has sworn to serve.

28, Toby Frost, Blood Under Water:

Giulia Degarno thought that coming to Averrio would be the start of a new life. But when a renegade priest turns up dead in a canal, the City Watch needs somebody to take the blame. And who better than a woman with a dark past and an even darker future?

I haven’t been posting covers in these lists because there are so many entries and covers take a certain amount of room, as well as time to get the images. But I really like this cover, so here:

Okay, a few more, let me see, what number are we on …

29. Gordon Greenhill, Flight of the SkyCricket:

[T]hree sisters-Eli, Anna, and Rose Hoover-stumble through a window in the wine cellar of an old Victorian house and find themselves in Errus, a world where natural disasters give birth to mythological creatures-some harmless, some horrific. 

This one looks like a MG story, which makes the second MG entry I’ve seen. This is a tough contest for MG novels, but this one does look like it’s got plenty of charm.

30. Keith Blenman, The Girl Drank Poison;

[T]ragedy befalls Zellin Percour, a young woman tricked into drinking an expired love potion. Now, transformed into an abomination, she’s rampaging her way toward the town of Sleeping Bear, hellbent on finding the man who deceived her…

There we go, 30 entries out of 300, exactly 10%. Quite a few of the six above look pretty decent, don’t they? I’m not sure Blood Under Water is eligible, actually, since it is Book 2 in a series and I sort of thought I saw somewhere that all entries had to be standalone or Book 1. In this case, the first book is called Up to the Throne, and sounds rather promising:

Giulia Degarno returns to the city-state of Pagalia with one intention: to kill the man who scarred her and left her for dead. But Publius Severra is no longer a mere criminal, and has risen to become a powerful politician – and perhaps the only man who can save Pagalia from anarchy. Now, as Severra stands poised to seize the throne, Giulia must choose between taking her revenge, and saving her home.

I’m picking up a sample of this one.

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6 thoughts on “Another handful of SPFBO6 titles with no romance”

  1. Joel Shepherd’s A Trial of Blood and Steel Series has only a small amount of romance and his Drysine Legacy has none. Both series are terrific.

  2. In ‘Trial’, romance is one of the two parallel drivers of plot–it drives at the personal level while politics and religion drive at the global level. Indeed nearly all of the POV characters has a love interest. But most of the actual romance is off-page. But the series as a whole is dominated by politics and war.

  3. This list has been so interesting to me, I am getting the sense that in the absence of romance people are mostly driving their plots with: 1. threat to family members in place of threat to romantic partners, 2. going on quests with family members, 3. rebuilding one’s life after traumatic events (that may include loss of family or romantic partner), or 4. unexpectedly, parenthood stories, frequently single parenthood after the loss of a romantic partner. I expected the grief and loss themes because those are big in fantasy generally, but the recurrence of biological family surprises me, I expected a lot more found family/family of friends stories!

  4. I was also surprised, and pleased, abut the parenthood category. I really like good parent-child relationships and good sibling relationships.

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