I Need A Map – What To Do?

I have had a couple of reviews placed on Amazon for The Spiral Tattoo suggesting that I need a map of the city. Now I would have happily obliged and I have at various points hand drawn maps, and looked for some free piece of software to help me draw a map. But nothing has worked well enough for me to put up here or pass to the publishers to include in the story.

My lovely partner has suggested that I run a competition. Send me your best map of Delvenport and I will, ummm, get it included in the next version? Include your name in the next book? Send you a free copy of The Oaks Grove when it comes out?

So I need advice. What can I use on no budget to produce a good map? Or what would be a good prize for a competition?

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: A Reflection

While I am putting this out as the first in a series of book reviews, in many ways it is more a reflection than a review. So in one sense I must apologise in advance if I segue from the matter at hand to my own writing.

There are many motivations for writing a review. Mostly people like a story and want to share what they like with others. My motivation is partially this, but also to reflect on what I liked in the writing and how I can use that to better my own writing.

So, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The movie is coming out and is touted as the “Franchise” for the next couple of years to replace Harry Potter and Twilight. I can certainly see why they would be saying that. The trailer looks good and after reading the first book I can see why it has caught many people’s attention.

The central thesis of the story is not entirely new. In a dystopian world a game is played in front of a TV audience where the contestants fight to the death to be the victor. Two others that spring to mind are both stories written by Stephen King under his Richard Bachman pseudonym; The Running Man and The Long Walk.

In The Hunger Games our central Character is Katniss Everdeen who along with Peeta are selected from their district to fight in the Hunger Games, the mechanism that the Capitol keeps control of their subject districts.

I thought the writing was in the most part very well done. I read the book quickly and was reluctant to put it down. There were a couple of jarring notes. The ease with which the children killed each other jarred a little for me. I am not sure the full impact was really felt. It is something to bear in mind about motivations and reactions.

 That being said the scene where Rue is killed and Katniss’s response had me snivelling and getting strange looks from the kids. It was an emotionally strong scene, which is something I have difficulty writing.  It is difficult to achieve that without it being forced.

I also found some of the flashbacks a bit disjointed.  I was jolted out of the books at points where I suddenly realised I was in flashback without knowing it. I don’t use flashbacks much in my writing , but if I do that is something I must watch.

One thing that I did like, and which I try for in my own writing, is that the story could be self contained.  At the end, while there are questions that need answering, and you want to know what happens next, you can still have a sense of completion. It has confirmed for me, that if I write a trilogy, I want each story in it to be complete in itself. I am beginning to dislike series where you have to read all three to get a sense of completion. I blame Robert Jordan for that.

I would give The Hunger Games a rating of four out of five. Which means for me I would re-read, I will read the others in the series, and I would buy if I saw it and it was a good deal. It is not a compulsory addition to my shelves.

A Success: Lots Of Free Copies Of The Spiral Tattoo Fly Out The Electronic Door

Last Friday, for one day only, we gave away copies of The Spiral Tattoo for free on Amazon. This was a big success with over 850 copies being downloaded. Not only that, but there has been an onflow to sales with The Spiral Tattoo consistently sitting at its highest ranking in the Amazon Charts for several days now. 🙂

Thank you to everyone who spread the word, and I hope all of you who downloaded the story enjoy it!

Coming Up This Year On The Worlds Of Michael J. Parry

This year I want to have more content up on this site. I have a plan, but it isn’t a cunning plan. 🙂

I have decided to write two regular posts; a book review and a discussion on writing.

Every week I will be posting a book review. The idea is not only to discuss books that I like, but in an effort to improve my craft, to look and what works in that book so I can apply that to my own writing. I will be rating books out of five, with five being “must have on shelf, comfort reading, will re-read often”, four being “will re-read but not a go to book”, and three being “good, will read others by author but won’t hunt out”. I won’t review books I would rate as one or two, as if I don’t like them enough to give a three, I don’t want to waste my time reviewing. Harsh but there you go.

A little less regularly I will post on some aspect of writing. Not that I will be saying I am a font of wisdom or knowledge, rather this will be a me putting my thinking down as I work through various aspects of the writing craft. I could do that internally but as a writer it would benefit me to write it down. 🙂

Kindle Give Away Including a Pre-Loaded Copy Of The Spiral Tattoo From SpecFicNZ

SpecFicNZ Kindle Give-Away

Happy New Year and Good News!

We are thrilled to announce that SpecFicNZ will be giving away a Kindle to one of our lucky members at the end of January.

Not only will the lucky winner get a new e-reader, but it will be loaded with already purchased speculative e-fiction by SpecFicNZ members inlcuding:

Dragons Away by K.D. Berry

Sword: Tales of the Green Sahara and The Overman’s Folly by Lisa Agnew

The Last Arrival in Time by Tim Kilgour

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Ripple by Tui Allen

Act of Will by Darusha Wehm

The Spiral Tattoo by Michael J. Parry

Nmemesis by Pat Whitaker

Samiha’s Song by Mary Victoria

To be entered in the draw for the SpecFicNZ January Kindle Give-Away, you must be a member of SpecFicNZ with membership paid up for the 2012 subscription year.


If you have renewed your subscription or joined SpecFicNZ for 2012, you are already automatically entered in the draw.

If you renew or join SpecFicNZ by the end of January, you will automatically be entered in the draw.

If you purchase a gift membership to SpecFicNZ for a friend or colleague, they will automatically be entered in the draw, and you will be entered a second time for giving a gift membership. If you give SpecFicNZ membership as a gift, be sure to send us your details in an e-mail to specficnz@gmail.com, so we can enter you in the draw.

SpecFicNZ committee members are not eligible to enter.


If you had speculative fiction work e-published in 2011 and are a member of SpecFicNZ in good standing, we’d love to purchase your fiction to include in our Kindle Give-Away.

SpecFicNZ is giving priority to single-authored work, single-authored collections, and short stories by our members.

E-fiction must also be available for free or purchasable download by Amazon Kindle.

If you feel your work qualifies, please send your name and a link to your work to specficnz@gmail.com with the subject line Kindle Fiction by January 15, 2012.

Good luck and Happy Reading.

SpecFicNZ Kindle Give-Away

2012: What’s Around The Corner, And The Spiral Tattoo Now on Kindle Prime

It’s a new year and things are around the corner. So what’s happening for me this year?

Coming up the next couple of months I will be editing The Oaks Grove, which should come out sometime around the end of March. The Bluebell, which I need to finish writing will be coming out later in the year. These releases will be in eBook format. I am still hoping that I will be able to bring these out in paperback format – maybe if you contact my publisher, Sky Warrior Books, this will happen sooner?

The Spiral Tattoo is now exclusively on Amazon as I am trying  the Kindle Prime Lending Library service – this means that if you are a Kindle Prime member you will be able to borrow it for free. If you like why not buy as well?

I hope to be doing more writing more stories this year, so look out for more news as we go….