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.

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Why my eBook, Tirfo Thuin, is now free

During June my debut fantasy fiction novel, Tirfo Thuin, is free as an eBook. That means all you lucky people with Kindles, iPhones, iPads, Kobo’s etc will be able to download it for free. That is free. Zero Pounds/Dollars/Euros/Spondoolies.

You might wonder at my motives. Why make something that took years of my life to complete absolutely free? Well, there are a few reasons.

The first is that I did not write Tirfo Thuin to make money. Don’t get me wrong, I am far from rich but I did not sit there as the characters and story of Tirfo Thuin unfolded thinking, ‘Cha-ching, this is going to make me money.’ I wrote it thinking only of the story and where it might lead. Getting Tirfo Thuin published was an afterthought and one that actually came long after I had finished my first draft.

When you have a love of writing, and a passion to put pen to paper, you do it because you enjoy it. Some people like football, some people like video games or chess. I like all these as well but I also get the same level of enjoyment from seeing a story unfold. Therefore, I did not write to make money so it doesn’t matter that I give my book away.

The second reason is simple. I have just uploaded a second edition that includes a few minor tweaks/refinements. Nothing major, the story is the same but feedback from readers is crucial to me and after so many sales it was inevitable that I would receive some constructive feedback. After all, what is the point in being a writer if you do not listen to your readers? As a thank you to all the people who have already bought it but are yet to read it, and to all you that are new to Tirfo Thuin I offer you the shiny new version for free. Go ahead, download it again and get rid of the old version.

The third and final reason is that I want my book to be read and to receive lots of honest reviews. If you decide to take the chance to download the book (you might as well, it’s free after all) please do leave an honest review where you bought it and, if you get the chance, on Goodreads.com too. The only way readers know whether to get a book is if good honest people like yourselves let them know it is worth clicking the Download button.

I hope you enjoy it. At present you can only download it for free at Smashwords as I am waiting for Amazon to update my price based (they match the lowest price available apparently which is, at present, free) –https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/119228

I’m back!

I have struggled to find time recently to dedicate to my blog and Twitter but that should change again soon. As a brief update a fair bit has happened since my last post.

  • My paperback cover is now complete and approved and I am awaiting my final hard copy proof before my paperback can go on general sale.
  • I have reached a mighty 600+ followers on Twitter. Might not sound like a lot but I am really pleased so many people are interested in what I have to say.
  • I am now set up on Goodreads with an author profile and have already recieved good reviews on there.
  • I have begun the basic plot of the sequel to Tirfo Thuin – yet to be named – and am very excited about it.
  • I have completed a first draft of a post containing details of self publishing a novel for my work blog. It is a kind of whistle-stop tour of what I have done over the last few years. I’ll post a link soon.
  • I have become a ‘Stealth Editor’ – more details on this to come in a following post but this is consuming a fair bit of my time at present. You authors who have been ‘Stedited’- as I am calling it – know who you are and I hope it has proved to be a useful exercise
  • Fantasy fiction novel is now on sale at more retail outlets. More details on my Tirfo Thuin specific site here: http://tirfothuin.wordpress.com/purchase/

I hope to get more time to dedicate to my followers and my blog over the coming months and get back on to author interviews. Therefore, if you are a self published author and would like to partake in an author interview just let me know.

Thanks.

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

 

Tirfo Thuin now available on Amazon Kindle

Now my debut novel – Tirfo Thuin – is available I wanted to write an opening post on my new blog that contained loads of promotional stuff about my book – buy buy buy it’s amazing etc.

However, when I really thought about it I realised I didn’t actually care about getting lots of sales. I am writing this post using a note app on my iPhone while traveling home on a packed tram from a manic day at the office. I’m tired. I’m miserable. I’m cramped. However, all I can think as I look around the tram is ‘I wonder if the middle-aged business woman in her grey suit would love my book. I think so. I wonder if the guy who looks like a graphic designer would like it. For sure. I wonder if the group of noisy rebellious teens would love my book. I would bet money on it.

Please do not mistake my lack of care for how well Tirfo Thuin sells as me not caring about my audience because I do, greatly. Or that I may not care about the quality of my writing because, again, I do. My first novel took years to complete and I will probably still think of things I could improve now it’s published – none of us are perfect.

What I mean is that I write because I love it (not to make money) and I publish to give my writing a purpose and so, hopefully, some of you can get pleasure from the hours, days, months I spent slaving over notepads and laptops to make what I hope is a great book.

I don’t need high sales. I have a day job as a project manager that I love. I am far from rich from a money point of view but I am comfortable. I am rich from a family point of view as I have a great wife, daughter and family who I love very much. So you see the measly 30p from each sale means very little to me. If I cared only for money I wouldn’t sell my years of work for less than a double cheeseburger 🙂

What is actually priceless to me is that just 1 person who I have never met, maybe never even come across online, takes a chance on my novel and tells me they liked it.

I would get more pleasure out of receiving 5 nice reviews on Amazon than I would if I sold 100,000 copies, made a great chunk of money but got no feedback. After all, I’m never going to leave my job to be a writer no matter how many books I sell.. It is something I love to do but I also like the day-to-day aspects of my life. That is where I draw inspiration and structure from. That is just life.

I’ll wrap this up by saying if you like a good read about a rebellious hero, someone who has all the odds stacked against them but still tries anyway, this book is for you. It is a great fantasy fiction novel that also covers day-to-day issues we all encounter (loss of parents, single parent families, coming of age, racial and religious divides) in a subtle way. I here you all cry ‘that doesn’t sound like a fantasy fiction book’ but that is the beauty. I am sure all you Harry potter fans are going to love it anyway. I even got a comment off one reviewer stating it could be better than HP – the book not the sauce. Done in the right way you can combine any genre with hard-hitting themes like these and it means you do not need to be a hardcore fantasy fiction fan to love this book.

Anyway, check it out and I hope you like it.  I will be happy if just one of you tells me you enjoyed it and as a thank you for taking the time to read and review my book I will be giving away some free goodies – http://tirfothuin.wordpress.com/bonus-material/

Check it out on Amazon here

Thank you all for your support.

Andy.

Author Interview – Patti Roberts (author of the Paradox series)

I would like to introduce Patti Roberts – self published author of the Paradox series. She has kindly agreed to answer some questions and offered to throw in a free copy of Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence to one lucky reader. See below for more details.

Patti Roberts1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Dedicated. I like to research particular aspects of the story line to make events as realistic as possible. And although a work of fiction, I like to feel that the reader has learnt a little something that they didn’t know before they read on of my books. Usually, an event from history.

2. Can you tell me a bit about how the Paradox series came about?

I need to do something creative and positive with myself. Writing Paradox – The Angels Are Here, was a kind of therapy for me. It helped me put a positive spin on the negativity of a failed relationship. It most certainly worked!

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

I can’t compare it with traditional publishing, as I have never walked down that path. I never even considered it – I’m way too impatient and independent to wait around for someone else to tell me yes or no. So I went ahead with the idea of letting the reader tell me yes or no. Most have said YES, so I’m more than happy with that!

4. Who have you published with?

Self published with Smashwords, Amazon and Createspace.

5. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

Yes I did. I have done everything. Formatting, cover design – I bought the artwork however, I’m not that talented. Promotion and marketing. Lots of very long hours but very rewarding. I highly recommend everyone thinking about writing to join Goodreads. They are such a supportive bunch of people over there!

Progeny cover6. Who does you cover art?

I bought the cover art from Dreamstime.com. Some really talented artist can be found there. I love your cover by the way! Then I work on the text. Oh, and people do judge a book by the cover… So make sure you pick a winner. If people don’t stop to admire the cover, chances are they won’t bother to read what the book is about. Result – Sale missed!

7. 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?

Anyone can self promote and market if they are prepared to put in the hours. HOURS. I use twitter and Facebook. I provide lots of free copies of my book to bloggers that do reviews and host giveaways. Recently I held a comp and asked people to help me chose a cover for book 2. I had 3 different covers designed for voters to choose from. Then after the comp I gave two winners a copy of Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence. I thought it was a way to get people involved. And it certainly did.

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

Sure, that is the way it goes. The more promotion and marketing you do the more feedback and interest you receive.

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

Use you first book as a marketing research. Get it out there as much as you can. Find out what people loved and hated about it. And listen to what the readers are telling you. Learn from what they are telling you… Listen to the good and the bad. You can learn more about the bad than the good… That is if you want to keep getting better!

10. What lies in store for Patti Roberts?

Lots more books in the Paradox Series. I start writing for book 3 in the New Year for a 2012 release. I would actually like to bring out 2 books in 2012, but we will just have to wait and see.

Thank you so much for the interview Andrew. I have enjoyed answering your questions. Patti

More information

The Paradox Series Book Trailers
Twitter
Facebook

e-book from Smashwords – all formats
US – e-book from Amazon
UK – e-book from Amazon
Nook – Barnes & Noble
Paperback – Createspace
Thesaurus Bookstore – Melbourne

Paradox – Progeny Of Innocence Giveaway – Free e-book alert!
Patti often gives a free e-book to a reader along with an interview or a review. Therefore, all you need to do is Tweet/Like this post and then add a comment. I will pick a winner at random on 21st December and post here who the lucky winner is. What a great prize for you to enjoy over the Christmas break. Good luck.

Author Interview – Robert David MacNeil

I want to open by saying how glad I am Robert agreed to answer some of my questions. I’m loving Iona Portal so far and thought I’d find out a bit more about him and his work.

First of all let me introduce Robert David MacNeil, author of Science Fiction Thriller IONA PORTAL.

Robert bio pic 2011Robert is a teacher, author, wine-lover, and world-traveler. Over the past twenty years, his travels have taken him from the steppes of Mongolia to the jungles of Thailand, and from the Eskimo villages of Northwest Alaska to le fin del mundo, the “end of the world,” at the tip of South America.  He presently lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

Robert has authored five non-fiction books under a different pen-name. His first novel, IONA PORTAL, is currently the top-rated Science Fiction book on Amazon, and #2 in mysteries and thrillers.

Robert is presently working on the sequel, IONA STRONGHOLD.

1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Thanks for inviting me to do the interview, Andy. I really appreciate the opportunity.

In my “day job” I’m a writer, speaker, and dean of a graduate school.  I also travel frequently. Several times a year I teach in schools in other countries. As my bio indicates, I’ve traveled to some remote places, including the steppes of Mongolia, the jungles of Thailand, and the remote isles of the Scottish Hebrides-which includes the Island of Iona.  (A lot of these locations turn up in Iona Portal, and the other books of the Synaxis Chronicles trilogy.)

Concerning my writing, I’ve been an avid reader all my life, and to me, that’s the first step in becoming a writer. In high school I got frustrated when I realized I’d read every science fiction book in our hometown library! I read many genres, but continue to love science fiction and suspense thrillers.

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

I’ve written five non-fiction books under a different pen-name, but my first novel is Iona Portal.  Iona Portal is a SF thriller that views the ancient battle between good and evil through the lens of Science Fiction.  I like to think of it as Lord of the Rings meets The Matrix. 

3. Can you tell me a bit about how Iona Portal came about?

I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural, and in the course of my travels have talked with a lot of people about their experiences. Other cultures are often more open to the supernatural than ours, and I’ve met people with some incredible stories. In the process, I’ve had a few unusual experiences myself. There’s a lot more “out there” than most of us suspect.

Two years ago a friend encouraged me to write a science fiction book about some of these encounters. The result is Iona Portal.

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

I’ve published non-fiction books through traditional publishing houses and assumed I’d do that with fiction, but as I began to research agents and publishers, I found that the ebook revolution has shaken the publishing industry to the core. Sales of traditionally published books are plummeting.  Bookstores are going out of business. Agents and publishers are fearing for their existence. In the light of these new realities I decided to go the indie route and e-publish Iona Portal. It’s harder in some ways. You have to wear a lot of hats. But I’m convinced it’s the wave of the future.

5. Who have you published with?

Iona Portal is now published on Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Apple’s iBookstore, and at Barnes & Noble for the Nook. A paperback version is coming out this month through Amazon’s CreateSpace.

6. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

Yes. It’s not an easy process, but there are some excellent tutorials available online. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing also has some great step-by-step instructions. I’d advise reading several of these tutorials before you begun, then take your time and go step by step until the process is finished.

front cover of Iona portal7. Who does you cover art?

I do all my own graphics. I’m fortunate to have some skills in that area. For those who don’t have those skills, I would definitely recommend getting professional help for a cover design. People really do judge books by their covers.

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?

I’ve done most of my promotion thru Twitter.

Twitter is a great tool for marketing, but you need to understand what you’re doing. Some authors think marketing means posting a “BUY MY BOOK!” tweet several times a day. That’s not an effective way to market.

The primary goal of twitter is to engage people and build relationships. I also believe there’s a principle in the universe that says, if you want to receive, you must first be willing to give. It’s the whole “do unto others…” thing, and I’ve found it to be true.

So in addition to promoting my own book, I actively read books of other authors. When I find books I like, I try to promote their books as much as I promote my own. This has brought me into some mutually supportive relationships with other authors I respect, and it has definitely helped in marketing.

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

Sales peaked after the first week or two when my close friends had all bought their copies. But I’ve tried to be pretty consistent in promotion. Sales picked up by the end of the first month, and have been increasing ever since. This last month, sales more than tripled.

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

Go into self-publishing with the expectation that being a writer is hard work. That’s true no matter whether you publish traditionally, or self publish. If you just write a book and post it on Amazon, it won’t sell, no matter how good it is. No one will even know it’s there. You have to learn to market your book. That’s part of being a writer.

Your ultimate success, of course, will depend on the quality of your book. If your book is dull, boring, or poorly written, it won’t sell no matter how hard you promote it. But if you write a good book, and do a reasonable amount of promotion, your book WILL find its market.

11. What lies in store for Robert David MacNeil?

In one interview, Clive Cussler said he viewed himself more as an entertainer than a writer. That’s my desire also. I want to entertain my readers, whether they’re reading my tweets or my novels. I want to write books that entertain and enthrall, and that open the reader’s minds to new dimensions. If I can do that, I’ll be a happy writer.

Beyond that… I’d LOVE to see Iona Portal made into a movie!  (In 3-D of course!)

My website is http://ionaportal.com/, and my blog is http://ionaportal.com/blog/

Readers can also follow me on Twitter at @RDavidMacNeil

You can find Iona Portal on Amazon here…  http://www.amazon.com/Iona-Portal-Synaxis-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B005IA87WA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313854512&sr=8-1

Author Interview – Faith Mortimer

I am extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to interview author of The Crossing, Faith Mortimer. I think there is a lot of great advice here for other authors so please Rate, Tweet and Like this post to spread the word.

How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Good morning Andy. May I take this opportunity to thank you for interviewing me? I am delighted to feature on your splendid website and I must say I take good interest in your other articles. You publicise lots of interesting views and news to share! Briefly, I am Faith Mortimer, and I live in an old stone-house in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains on Cyprus. Cyprus is a beautiful Mediterranean island and is also known as Aphrodite’s own. I originally come from England and I began writing seriously around 2000, when I had completed a degree in Biology. I realised that after studying for my degree I had found new dedication, stamina and confidence to finally finish my first novel. Before then I had qualified as a Registered nurse (in my twenties) and latterly run my own business from home. I am a qualified Yachtmaster and before we settled in Cyprus, my husband and I explored the seas from as far north as New York down the coast to the Caribbean and Venezuela and then back across the Atlantic into the Mediterranean where we finished our travels in Turkey – a fantastic eight years living on our sailing yacht – just the right place to write books

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

I now am so proud to have three published novels under my name and I’m currently working on my fourth, which I’d dearly love to have out for Christmas!

the crossingThe Crossing:
The Crossing was my first novel and covers many genres: action and adventure, romance, wartime hero, family saga and a rite of passage. It took me about two years to write including six months of intense research. It is a bumper book of some 130,000 words and readers tell me they love the characters and the story.

Assassins villageThe Assassins’ Village (a Diana Rivers mystery novel):
The Assassins’ Village is a mystery thriller set in Cyprus and written in an Agatha Christie-like style. The story is about a village of locals and expats. The setting is an open-air amphitheatre and because of some dreadful past secrets one person is found murdered. A whole chain of events is set in motion with some shocking repercussions. Love, hate, sex and retribution all feature in this sinister tale.

children of the plantationChildren of The Plantation (a Diana River mystery novel):
Children of The Plantation” is set in Malaysia. As I lived there as a child I always wanted to write a novel about it. “Children” came to me only this year as an idea and within a couple of months I had a full blown new novel. It’s quite spooky and mysterious and so far the reviews have been fantastic! I had the original idea from a play I starred in and took the story from there. It’s nothing like the play really but it gave me the initial idea. I’ve also written a short story, The Bamboo Mirror; released as a TRUE short ghost story and set in Singapore at a boarding school during the sixties and going back to the occupation by the Japanese. A chilling tale! And finally, my anthology of short stories, Echoes of Life and Love. These feature romance, horror, paranormal and murder! A real good mixture.

The Assassins Village. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about? I see it did well on Authonomy.com

The Assassins’ Village came about when I was living in our first house in Cyprus. There are a lot of old stories about assassins’ of the mountains and our village was reputedly the original Assassins’ Village. Apparently you could have (and still can) anyone murdered for a couple of hundred dollars! I decided to put this book in eFormat first as I wanted to control the sales and marketing myself. Yes it reached the number one position on Authonomy in November 2010. So far I believe I made the right decision as sales have been great and I believe have not yet reached their potential.

Who have you published with?

I first published with Olympia Publishers of London and now I use Topsails Charter from Southampton.

Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

I write my own books and as I’m a complete dinosaur on the PC I get my husband to prepare the manuscript for publication on Amazon. He’s brilliant at it. The main thing I believe is to make sure you’re absolutely happy that the book is READY for publishing.

Who does you cover art?

I choose my cover art with my husband and then he prepares and finalises it for me.

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 afraid I have to do a lot of self-promotion. No one else is going to advertise me and my books. I’m on Facebook with about 1800 followers, on Twitter with 8000, and over 1000 on Goodreads. There are other sites but it all takes masses of time and energy when I’d really much prefer to be writing. I host a blog twice a week, have other guest writers and sometimes put all my books on special offer of just 99c for a period to attract sales. But quite honestly I think most serious readers are wary of ‘cheap’ books and prefer to pay a bit more (up to $5.50 say) for a decent read. I say decent – there’s nothing wrong in hundreds of 99c books but – hey I have to eat and I’d have to amass huge sales to survive on 99c sales full time! I like to think my followers and buyers of my books are friends – I listen to what they have to tell me, what they want and how they feel. This does help sell more.

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

Sales do peak when there’s something special going on and then there’s a natural trend of some dropping off. But I’ve found that the more I write and the longer I’ve been around more and more people now know and (hopefully) trust me enough to know a good book when they find one, then the peaking stays higher for longer. Nowadays whenever I promote the peak lasts a lot longer.

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

Many of my blog posts are about writing and keeping at it. You do need stamina, dedication and confidence when writing. A lot of writers do hit a low in the middle of their books. I’d say if this happens to you then walk away, do something else and then when you come back to it the problem usually has resolved itself.  Don’t give up. Don’t write for others, write for yourself. Your followers and fans will find you, don’t worry. Your life is in your own hands and be true to yourself.

I would also like to tell other authors that you’re never alone in your work. The actual writing is a lonely business, but with today’s technology at our fingertips there’s always someone out there who is willing to give help and advice when you’re looking for inspiration and just need a little friendly chat. I’ve made hundreds of friends on Facebook, Twitter and from followers on my website. Some are amazing and we share loads of news and often trade ideas.

Don’t ever feel you are alone – there is no need to be. And don’t ever, ever give up! If you feel a deep yearning inside then you are going to get that first book written. Good luck and remember I’m always there with a willing and ready ear. If you would like to connect with me feel free to join me on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/FaithMortimer.Author and Twitter http://twitter.com/FaithMortimer If readers want to read over some of my earlier blog posts they’re all on my website – I’ve had some brilliant comments about them.

The link is: http://www.faithmortimerauthor.com

What lies in store for Faith Mortimer?

A Work in Progress – my latest endeavour.  Upon the birth of her baby, Holly, Diana is determined to enjoy her first taste of motherhood. She decides to have a rest from writing until Holly is a little older. As soon as her infant is a few months old, Diana returns to her mother country, England and stays with a cousin of hers, Robert. Robert is a helicopter pilot, with emotional problems of his own and is involved with a woman, Libby whom he rescued during an accident at sea. He recognises in Libby, a character not unlike his cousin Diana and realises she is just as accident prone and seems to be mixed up with some characters who are perhaps not as they appear to be on the surface. Is Libby in danger when she has an intruder during the night? And then there are hints of her being stalked. A series of horrendous attacks on female nursing staff at the hospital where Libby is a ward sister set off a chain of events that reaches an exhilarating climax. Who is the attacker? Is it the hospital porter, Peter, Libby’s enigmatic and superior surgeon fiancé or is it long-suffering and emotionally damaged Robert himself…find out more when “The Surgeon’s Blade” is released in the next month or so!

Author Bio

Faith MortimerFaith Mortimer was born in Manchester and educated in Singapore, Malaya and Hampshire, England. She qualified as a Registered nurse and after some years changed careers to oversee a number of travel and sport related companies.

She is happily married with four children. Once the children attended University, she decided to join them in reading for a Science degree and obtained an Honours Science degree with The Open University in 2005. She believes that the dedication and stamina needed to sit for a degree gave her the confidence to finish writing her first novel. On achieving this, January 2009 saw the publication of The Crossing. This novel is based on a true
incident and Faith thoroughly enjoyed the six months or so research that went into the book and the 12 months writing and editing.

The Crossing is available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon.

In 2011  finished  second novel; a murder mystery set in the Troodos mountains of Cyprus.

This 93,000 word novel was posted on the Harper Collins/Authonomy site and out of over 8000 books was chosen in November 2010 to be the Number 1 book! You can read the review here on Faith’s Amazon page.

Faith Mortimer’s novels can be found  at http://www.faithmortimerauthor.com

Author Interview – Eric J. Krause

I am extremely pleased to reveal my interview with Eric J.Krause, published author of speculative fiction.

Eric J Krause image1. How would you describe yourself and your writing?
I always describe myself as a speculative fiction writer. I love writing horror, fantasy, and science fiction. I usually write short stories for adults and novels for young adults, though I do plan on writing novels for adults, as well.

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

I’ve published three books so far, two as only ebooks, and the third as both an ebook and paperback. The first is The Breath of Life and Other Stories. It’s a collection of twenty short stories that have been published in various print and online magazines. The second is The Friday Flash Stories of Eric J. Krause: Volume One. This is a free book available only at Smashwords.com, and it contains fifty flash fiction stories that were originally published on my blog. For anyone not familiar with Friday Flash (or #fridayflash as it’s known on Twitter), it’s an event every Friday where writers publish a flash fiction story (1000 words or less) on their blog and publicize it on Facebook and/or Twitter. It’s a nice community, and I’m thrilled that I’m a part of it, though I don’t post stories as often anymore. My third book is a science fiction/baseball novel called Way Over the Line. It’s written for the upper middle grade audience (10 to 13 years of age). It stars a young boy, Jessie, who loves baseball but is afraid of the ball. He and his best friend, who is a natural at the game, are abducted by a group of aliens who need them to play for their team in the huge Intergalactic Over the Line tournament. Not only must Jessie learn to not fear the ball, but he must also dodge space pirates, who seem to think he’s the key to a prophecy.

Book cover3. The Breath of Life and Other Stories sounds fascinating. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?

I published The Breath of Life and Other Stories simply because I wanted to see what the process of creating an ebook would be like. I had the stories sitting around, so I decided why not give it a shot? I played around with the order of the stories, and when I was satisfied, I began the process of creating an ebook.

4. How long did this collection of stories take from start to finish and do you feel you would change anything if given the chance?

It took me probably a month to create the book, though I took my time to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. The stories were already written, so other than some final edits, all I had to worry about was getting the formatting right. I could have probably had it done in less time, but this was a new experience for me, so I didn’t rush.

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

With my two short story collections, I knew there was no chance of a traditional publisher picking them up, so I decided to publish them myself. As I already said with The Breath of Life and Other Stories, that one was basically a test to see if I could self-publish an ebook. It worked, so I continued. I self-published Way Over the Line mostly for the same reason – I wanted to see what self-publishing a novel would be like. I sent query letters to maybe ten agents, but had no luck. Instead of pressing on (I’ve heard stories of some novels being rejected dozens of times), I decided to simply do it myself. Part of me wishes I would have stuck with the traditional route of agents and publishers, but another part of me is glad the story is out there for people to see. I’m proud of the story, and I’m thrilled when people tell me they enjoyed it, but I wish I would have given myself more of a chance to have it traditionally published so more eyes could see it.

6. Who have you published with?

For The Breath of Life and Other Stories and the ebook copies of Way Over the Line, I’ve published with Amazon for the Kindle and Smashwords.com. Smashwords also has sent them to Barnes and Noble for the Nook, the Apple iBook store, and a few other online retailers. The paperback versions of Way Over the Line are available at CreateSpace and Amazon. The Friday Flash Stories of Eric J. Krause: Volume One is available only at Smashwords, but it is a free download.

7. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

I did prepare my ebooks myself. Smashwords has a style guide that was very helpful. There are also plenty of free guides to help with preparing a manuscript for Amazon for the Kindle. I followed these to the letter and didn’t have many problems. I don’t have any nice photo/graphic programs, so I constructed my cover images using Microsoft Paint. I would advise against this. If you don’t have a program to construct a nice cover image, I would pay someone to make one for you. I know I will next time I create an ebook.

8. Do you do a lot of self promotion? What do you feel are the most effective methods of self promotion?

My biggest problem is self-promotion. I’m not very good at it. I tweet links to my books every once in a while. I post the links on Facebook occasionally. And, of course, I have links clearly visible on my blog. I know I should do more, and my sales have backed that up. I plan on giving away a couple of paperback copies of Way Over the Line soon, so I hope that will help. I am on Goodreads in the author program, but I haven’t yet taken the time to learn the ins and outs. Basically what I’m saying is that I need to get much better at the self-promotion game for any future self publishing releases.

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

I have found that to be the case. I think continuing creativity in self-promotion can fix that to a degree. And, as I said, it’s something I need to get better at.

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

The biggest piece of advice I would give a newbie in the self-publishing biz is to have a clear plan of self-promotion in place before publishing. It’s advice I wish I would have taken when I started. Also, make sure the cover to your book is attractive. People really do judge books by their covers, even if it’s all in e-format. These are not mistakes I will repeat next time I self-publish a book.

11. What lies in store for Eric J. Krause?

I have an urban fantasy YA book currently being queried to agents. I’m currently plotting the second book of that series. And after that, I have plenty of other ideas, both for the YA crowd and for adults. I still hold onto the dream of being traditionally published, but I obviously have no problem with self-publishing, so you’ll see my books in print one way or another.

 

For links to all formats of Eric’s books/links to some of his short stories/how to find him on Twitter and Facebook/link to his blog visit his website: http://ericjkrause.com

I hope you found this interview interesting and useful. I certainly did. Please rate/tweet/like this post so other authors can benefit from Eric’s wise words.

Bryce Beattie Interview – Author of Zombie Novel ‘Oasis’

Bryce BeattieI am extremely pleased to welcome Bryce Beattie – author of zombie novel ‘Oasis’ amongst others – as my latest author interview.

1. A quick intro to Bryce Beattie

Born 70 Years too late. Likes big band jazz, audio theater, pulp novels. Wrote a zombie novel. Is working on a sequel.

2. How would you describe yourself and your writing?

Myself – I’m a nerdy father of three that likes writing, jazz, beekeeping, and firearms.

My writing – well I suppose you might say it’s an homage to the pulp greats of years past, guys like Robert E. Howard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. There’s lots of action and improbable circumstances and general crazy fun.

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

I have two books and several short stories published.

The first book is a real estate investment book, and it’s not terribly exciting, but it is very practical. In the real world, I work as a programmer with a family company whose real business is real estate investment. I absolutely hate all the get-rich-quick gurus out there that preach risky and unsound investment methods. I wrote this book with my father kind of as a reaction to those guys.

The second book is my pulp/action/adventure/zombie novel. It’s called Oasis.

The sequel to Oasis is called “The Journey of St. Laurent” and it should be out by the end of the year, assuming I get my butt in gear.

I also have a couple of fantasy short stories that can be picked up for free at smashwords.com or the nook store. I guess I should get those up on Amazon, too.

4. I am particularly drawn towards Oasis out of your back catalogue. Can you tell me a bit about how this book came about?

At the time I was often playing a browser game called “The Urban Dead,” so I had Zombies on my mind. I had long wanted to write a novel, so I started posting chapters on my old wordpress.com blog and picked up a small following. Once you have a couple of people egging you on, you just have to keep going, right?

5. How long did Oasis take from start to finish and do you feel you would change anything if given the chance?

It took over two years to write and edit and such. One thing I would change is that I would carve out some time every day to be writing. It takes me way too long to finish anything.

And then I’m always reading and trying to improve my craft so there’s lots of little things in the book I’d like to change, but at some point you just have to move on and write something new.

6. What made you self publish some of your novels?

Honestly, impatience. I didn’t want the hassle of taking down the first draft from online and writing queries and such. I just wanted to write, get it done, and get it out there.

I did submit it to one publisher, though, and now I wish I had been a teensy bit more patient. The day after Oasis went live on Amazon, the publisher contacted me saying they were interested. *Sigh*

The short stories I self-published so that I could make them free and hopefully get my work in front of more eyeballs.

7. Who have you published with?

I have a couple of short stories published with now defunct magazines, including “Astonishing Adventures Magazine” which was really fantastic for lovers of old pulps.

The self-publishing companies I’ve worked with are CreateSpace, Lulu, and UniBook for physical books, then Barnes & Noble’s PubIt, Amazon’s KDP program, and Smashwords.com for eBooks. I highly recommend CreateSpace for paperbacks (& access to distribution) and UniBook for hardcovers.

8. Did you prepare your e-books yourself? Any pointers?

I do all that work for myself, and have done file prep for a little extra change on the side as well.

However, it’s easy for novel writers to get their work ready for distribution (from a technical standpoint, anyway.) At risk of tooting my own horn, I have a tutorial website where I show how to do all that. (www.HowToSelfPublishABook.org)

I’ve even written a piece of free software that takes a text file and chews it up and spits out all the formats you need to self publish on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and CreateSpace. It’s pretty slick. You may want to tweak that CreateSpace (paperback) output, but it’ll still work as is. You only need to learn how to so some simple formatting to a text file and that’s it. It’s called SPAB! (Self Publish A Book) http://www.howtoselfpublishabook.org/self-publish-a-book/

9. Do you do a lot of self promotion? What do you feel are the most effective methods of self promotion?

I don’t do anywhere near as much as I should. During the periods when I hit the promotion thing hard, my sales definitely jump. I blog and interview authors and such.

There are two things which have worked best, though: Twitter and giveaways.

There’s a glut of ideas out there to help you use Twitter in your promotion without seeming like a slug. The two that I have enjoyed the most and were the most helpful to me were John Locke’s book “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months”, and Michael R. Hicks’s articles (the first one: http://authormichaelhicks.com/2011/09/07/marketing-tips-for-self-published-authors-using-twitter-effectively-part-1/).

The thing that worked much better for me was giveaways. I went on several forums and offered to give away a physical copy or two of my book. No strings attached, no hokey “like me on Facebook for a chance to win” crap or anything like that. Response was fantastic and I earned a couple of rabid fans that went out and mentioned me everywhere. I think this worked because I was never one of those lame guys who signs up for an account and then started four threads that all basically say “Buy my book”. Plus, everybody likes free stuff.

From a financial standpoint I made about 300% almost immediately over the cost of the books by giving those few copies away to the right crowds. And sales kept up higher for longer than anything else I’ve done.

Oh, oh, oh. I almost forgot. After I finish writing Oasis, I also built a site to help set up virtual book tours. I built it specifically so I could set up a tour when I finished the sequel and I wanted an easy way to do so. It’s free to use and located at www.BlogTour.org. I’ve never really structured a full on tour before, but I’m trying it out when I finish the book I’m working on now.

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

Yeah, I ran out of Zombie-themed forums on which to do giveaways. And became distracted by other pursuits.

Zombie Novel Cover11. Who does you cover art? I love the Oasis cover.

I did the original cover for Oasis and I just didn’t think it really fit the genre I was shooting for. So I set out to find an artist who could do it better. I found him by going on to deviantart.com and browsing around until I found a bunch of artists whose styles I liked and though would fit my book. Then I just messaged all of them (50 or so) and asked if they would consider doing a book cover and if so how much would they charge.

Over then next week or two I heard back from most of them. Several that got back to me had absurdly high rates. A few came back way out of the range of what I could afford. Adam Masterman was the one of the fairly priced group http://www.adammasterman.com/ and is who I ended up hiring. He was fast and easy to work with and I was very pleased with the quality of the covers. I say covers because he’s already painted the cover to the sequel as well.

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

Try not to be freaked out by the myriad options out there. Concentrate on your writing and then make it easy for yourself to distribute your work. Publishing for the Kindle should be a first priority and then the Nook, Smashwords and CreateSpace. The Kindle has the biggest market share but the Nook is giving it a good run for its money. Smashwords distributes to so many places that it’s impossible to ignore.

Warning! Shameless Self Promotion Ahead!

Remember, I’ve got that free software that’ll pretty much do all the text layout work for you, anyway.

So, yeah. Write, write, write.

13. What lies in store for Bryce Beattie?

Next up is a couple of Fairy Tale – type books for my kids and then I’ll concentrate on some novella-length political thrillers that I’ve been dying to write. I’m hoping the shorter formats will make it easier for me to finish in a decent amount of time. If I don’t get something done quick, I get bored and its hard to keep working on it.

14. I can’t leave the interview without asking – ‘Beekeeping?’ How did you get into that and do you find it helps you relax and think through your novel ideas?

My brother-in-law is a commercial beekeeper, and I traded him some site design work for a couple of hives. I did it primarily because I’ve always been paralyzed by my fear of bees and I wanted to prove to myself I could overcome it. After I got to be okay around them, there was no reason to lose the hive. As far as insects with stingers go, honeybees are really quite gentle.

Unfortunately, It doesn’t help my writing in the least, but I do get the best tasting honey in the world. I can’t even stand the store-bought stuff anymore. I’ve become a local, raw honey snob.

Thank you Bryce for your time and your great advice and insights. Everyone please follow Bryce on Twitter @BryceBeattie, check out his site here www.storyhack.com or view more information about his hit novel Oasis here www.zombienoveloasis.com.