Hunger Games Trilogy Review

HUNGER-GAMES-jacket

I have just completed the Hunger Games Trilogy and have given it 5*.

Collins tells us of a young girl, Katniss, and her involvement in what can only be compared to the scenes from The Running Man but with children and a stronger back story.

The crazed, dystopian future sees a yearly event in which children are drawn from each district to fight to the death among a plethora of traps and obstacles. The intention is for the Capital to reinforce its stronghold over the population, remind them of the previous rebellion and what little good it did them and suppress them to prevent any kind of future uprising.

Katniss soon becomes a figurehead for all the suppressed people of Panem and the story takes some interesting turns during the second and third books.

I believe Suzanne Collins has created a great piece of young adult fantasy fiction that, as my own book Tirfo Thuin tries to do, covers some important themes on humanity and our want for self destruction and violence towards each other.

The only thing that frustrated me slightly was the ‘whiny, everyone is against me’ personality that Katniss sometimes fell into and the never ending Peeta vs Gale battle that left me thinking ‘just pick one and move on’. However, I have to remember that she is just a young girl and this is probably aimed at a slightly younger market than me.

That said, it was not enough of a distraction to cause me to drop to 4* and I will certainly be looking for more of Collins’ work and the film adaptations.

I find it interesting that this is effectively a story about children killing each other – and quite violently at times – and that this is being read by quite young readers themselves. It is an interesting, and obviously very effective, theme Collins has tackled and she has done it well.

I’d recommend it to anyone who likes young adult, coming of age, fantasy fiction with an element of sci-fi and violence.

New site for Tirfo Thuin – a fantasy fiction novel by Andrew Butterworth

Tirfo Thuin coverI’ve just realised that I created a nice shiny new site for my book before Christmas (a site and blog specific to my debut fantasy fiction novel Tirfo Thuin) and didn’t even post about it here.

It might look quite similar from a design point of view but the content is very much focussed on my debut fantasy fiction book and my general thoughts about how I came to get the book published and who I think will enjoy it etc. I wanted a site focussed on me as an author and a separate site all about the book. There is also a bonus materials section that ties in with some content at the end of my book where you can uncover further explanations of items in the novel as well as get information on how to get your free gifts.

Tirfo Thuin is already receiving great reviews with an average of 5* on Amazon. I hope you all give it a try. After all, it’s only 99p/99c. What have you got to lose? If you hate it, follow the instructions, get your free gift and what have you lost. Nothing. However, I’m sure you will like it. I hope you absolutely love it because that would make the time and hard work I put into it all worth it.

You can visit my new site here: http://tirfothuin.wordpress.com

Details on Where to Buy Tirfo Thuin can be found here: http://tirfothuin.wordpress.com/purchase

 

Author Interview – Nicholas A. Rose

I would like to start by thanking Nicholas for taking the time to answer my questions and to say how much I enjoyed reading his contributions. If you find his answers useful please follow him on Twitter, add your comments/questions below and Like/Tweet this post.

Bio

Nicholas A RoseNicholas A. Rose is the author of the Ilvenworld novels and novellas.  He has read fantasy fiction for longer than he can remember and writing it for only a little less time.  Love of the sea and ships; mountains and the outdoors; and the rather more sedentary pastimes of chess, real ale and reading have all influenced his writing.

Nicholas lives in and is inspired by North Wales and believes all his best ideas come when out in the hills.

For those who must know, the “A” stands for Andrew.

Questions

1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

I tend to be a prolific writer.  It’s always been fantasy for me.  The boundaries between the sub-genres have become a little muddled over the years, but I would call my books epic and heroic fantasy.

2. How many books do you have published and tell us a bit about them?

So far three:

Markan Throne is the first book of a trilogy.  Rival claimants battle for the right to be Marka’s first emperor for three centuries.  The winner, Marcus, is implicated in a murder, so his claim is suspended.  Marcus must prove his innocence, which means breaking a man free from jail and risking losing his right to the throne forever.

Markan Empire is book two, following on from Markan Throne.  A new enemy threatens the stability of the new empire, while an old enemy lurks to one side.  Marka cannot fight two wars at once, so spies are sent to Re Taura to learn what the new enemy is up to.  But spies have a habit of being caught and killed on Re Taura.

And though Marcus has proven his innocence, Marka’s Senate is still not quite ready to grant his life’s dream and refuses to let him ascend the throne he covets.

Gifted Apprentice is a novella, separate from the trilogy, but using a central character who appears in those books.  It marks the beginning of Sallis ti Ath’s journey from farmboy to feared bounty hunter.

3. Gifted Apprentice. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?

Gifted Apprentice CoverA minor character in Markan Throne sparked my interest.  This is the bounty hunter Sallis ti Ath.  When I first published online, I knew one book looked very lonely all by itself, so GA was born.  It was one of those ideas that was so bright it almost burned, so the book had to be written.  I feel this novella is an excellent introduction to the ilvenworld series and, while not strictly a prequel, will help make the world of the trilogy more familiar to readers.

If I’m allowed to make a selfish plug, this novella is free on Amazon.

4. What made you self publish your novels and what has the experience been like to date?

It is now almost impossible for a new writer to break into traditional publishing, so self publishing, or “indie” was really the only way open.  Once I learned of the explosion in popularity of ebooks, then I was away.

I published MT in March 2011 and the experience since has been fantastic.  (Sorry about the pun!)  There is a wonderful and growing community of indie writers online and most of us are happy to share information.  It’s been a steep learning curve and I wouldn’t kid anybody by claiming it’s easy, but I’m glad I came this way with my books.

5. Who have you published with?

ePublished, rather than published.  My books are with Amazon and Smashwords.  Amazon is the big beast of course, but Smashwords have connections with most of the other ereaders, such as B&N’s nook, Sony and quite a few others.

6. Did you prepare your ebooks yourself?  Any pointers?

I did prepare them myself. This is the part many aspiring authors don’t like.  The proofreading, copyediting and so on is entirely up to the author.  In essence, the author is also the publisher and has to deal with the less glamorous aspects of that.

As for pointers, read the publishing guidelines that Amazon issue (and the Smashwords Formatting Guide for those going to Smashwords as the requirements are different) and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

I would recommend getting a copyeditor or, if that’s too expensive (most of us start off on a really tight budget), then get some beta readers.  If anybody reads your published work and points out an error, correct it immediately and reupload the book.  Amazon provides a useful guide how to do this in their help section.

But, if the choice is between spending on a copyeditor or really good cover artwork, go for the artwork.

7. Who does your cover art?

Joleene Naylor.  Worth her weight in gold.

8. Do you do a lot of self promotion? How do you market and promote your work & what do you find are effective methods of self promotion?

Yes.  I’m particularly active on Twitter.  The most effective method of self promotion is to be accessible, friendly, polite and helpful.  That’s to other authors as well as your readers.  As for marketing your work, books are very hard to sell directly.  People prefer to “discover” authors for themselves, or for those known to them to make recommendations.  Being active on the social networks is probably the best way of promoting yourself, but it’s a fine line to walk.  Kindleboards, for example, do not like overpushy authors plugging their work all the time.  By all means jump into discussions, but be mindful not to cross the line.

The most effective method of self promotion is to ensure your name is familiar to people, rather than selling your book all the time.

9. You seem quite proactive in IAN circles.  What are your experiences here?

IAN – the Independent Author Network – is probably where I’m most active right now.  My experiences are good and I’ve made a lot of friends there.  It’s a good place for a new author to go (the only requirement is that you have at least 100 followers on Twitter), and the guys you’ll meet on IAN are a really friendly and helpful bunch.

Another good place for a new author to cut teeth is Twitters #sampleSunday.  That’s where I started out!

10. Do you find sales peak and then drop off after your initial self promotion?

Sales peak and trough all the time.  I’ve found it impossible to directly link rises and falls to promotion.  I would say that you need to promote all the time.  There is a large element of luck when it comes to sales.  But keep on promoting.  All you need is the right person to notice, download, read and… hey presto!  You’re selling.  But that right person might be weeks or months in coming.  If you stop promoting, that reader has passed by…

11. What advice would you give to a newbie to self publishing?

Get your book as professionally finished as possible.  That means polished, edited, proofread.  Get the best possible artwork for the cover, and ensure that artwork is unique.  Get involved in social media, such as Twitter, Kindleboards, Goodreads and the like.  Keep writing and get as many books up as you can.  The more books, the greater the chance you’ll be discovered.  Be accessible, friendly, helpful and polite.  If unsure about something, ask questions.  Read the publishing guides and follow what they say.  Avoid shortcuts.

And DO NOT give up!!

12. What lies in store for Nicholas A. Rose?

2012 is promising to be as productive as 2011.  The third and final book of the trilogy, Markan Sword, should be out in the middle of the year and the sequel to Gifted Apprentice should be out at the end of January.  Beyond that, two more trilogies are planned.  Exciting times indeed!

Thank you for interviewing me.

Useful Links:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/Nicholas_A_Rose

Blog: http//ilvenworld.blogspot.com

Markan Throne: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004SBZ16A

Markan Empire: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005OYDNYC

Gifted Apprentice: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005DZ4FJE

Fantasy fiction cover art inspiration

I am looking for some inspiration to make my first fantasy fiction novel cover stand out from the crowd. You can view it here. I would love it if you could comment with links to similar genre artwork, illustrations and illustrators or general sites with examples of interesting book covers.

I have also received some great advice on Twitter such as losing the fancy ‘i’s. Any feedback – good or bad – is appreciated.

Remember, rate the post as well so I know the general verdict on the cover art.

Thanks.

Fiction Authors on Twitter

Introduction

Twitter imageAs a Fantasy Fiction author who is hoping to self publish before the end of the year I have spent just over a month now on Twitter (@tirfothuin) and scouring the Twitterverse for authors like me, people I think I can help or could help me in my quest to become a successful published fiction author. I now follow many authors and many of these follow back. I thought it might be useful for people in the same position I was a month ago to have a ready made list of people they could follow from the off to kick start their Twitter experience.

If you would like me to add you to this list please Like/Tweet this post and then comment below with your Twitter account, a link to your site and whether you are already published or not.

The following list is a mixture of Fantasy, Sci-fi and general authors who I find interesting or useful. Please let me know if you believe you fall under a different category as I expect this list will develop and grow over the coming months.

Published

Unpublished

Other

Please can you Rate/Like/Tweet this post so as many people as possible can benefit from this start list of fiction authors on Twitter.

You can also find an additional list that contains some extra accounts not mentioned here over at Brian Rathbones site – http://BrianRathbone.com

Fantasy Fiction Authors on Twitter

The reason for this post is two-fold. Firstly I wanted to begin generating a list of Fantasy Fiction and Science Fiction author Twitter accounts. I know I have spent some time over the last month looking for, and following, other fiction authors so thought this list might help people.

I currently have quite a large selection but would like to open this up to any fantasy fiction and sci-fi authors who would like to be included. All you need to do to get on the list is follow @tirfothuin and send a DM. I need your Twitter name, fantasy fiction/sci-fi/both, published/not published (as I will create two categories) and a link to a published piece of work if you have one.

In exchange if you have a blog of your own I would appreciate if you could add a link to my blog and I’ll do the same in return.

The second reason for this post was to check out how well my new WordPress iPhone app adds posts to my blog so we will see.