Question of the day: What Is Bullet Journal Day?

Before I answer that question, I should answer another one:

What IS Bullet Journal?

Simply put, it’s a process for getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper through a system called rapid logging. It was developed by Ryder Carroll back in 2013, has been the subject of 900,000+ Instagram tags and 680,000+ YouTube videos, and has a following of over 92,000 on Facebook.

And if that wasn’t enough:

  • the Quick Guide for this system has been translated into 25 languages
  • There is a dedicated app to help Bullet Journal users
  • and a journal format specifically designed for this system.

Oh, and the Bullet Journal website (www.bulletjournal.com) just turned four years old.

Rapid logging consists of four elements

  • Topics
  • Page numbers
  • Short sentences
  • Bullets & Signifiers

Topics allow you to utilize individual pages for particular uses. In my case, that’s my:

  • yearly/monthly/weekly planners
  • my daily to-do/notes lists
  • lists of websites I need to keep handy
  • event planning
  • reading lists
  • notes on things I’ve read/watched that I need to reference from time-to-time
  • blog/website planning
  • story writing/editing/promotion plans

Page numbers are used to index all of those topics, so you can find them easily.

Short sentences make it quicker and easier to get your thoughts on paper, and prevent the entire process from becoming a chore. They’re intended to act as a quick reminder, more than a detailed description. But if you need to provide more details, just start a new page, give it a topic header, and put a reference to that page alongside the short sentence, and  your index.

Bullets encourage you to keep sentences short, since that’s exactly what bullets are intended for, and it’s pretty instinctive to use. Different bullets represent tasks, events, appointments, and notes. Add a signifier alongside that bullet and you can mark it as urgent, a deadline, something you want to investigate more later, and so on…

Bullet Journal 101

In Conclusion:

Go check out the other resources out there, but if you’re easily distracted don’t spend too long looking. There is a vast number of Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, blog entries, and more waiting for the unwary.

I’ve been using this system since January, and my personal advice, is to stick to the basics while you learn the system. Then start customizing your bullet journals to fit your needs, as you discover them. I’ve developed a customer weekly layout that tracks my work hours, my household chores, writing/editing, blogging and book promotion tasks, which I’ve included in the pictures below.

Here’s how my Bullet Journal looks:

My Materials:

Links:

http://help.bulletjournal.com/category/5-bullet-journaling-101

http://bulletjournal.com/blog/

 

 

Authors Talk About It! and Me

If you’re a member of my newsletter, then you’ve already heard that I’ve been busy getting interviewed for a number of different blogs.

Well one of those blogs is over at the “Authors Talk About It” site run by the amazing Rob and Janelle Alex. This husband and wife team are pod-casters, marketers and branding experts, with years of experience behind them. They host book competitions, offer editing assistance, book critiques, and help indie authors to shape their bios.

I had the pleasure of being selected for a featured author interview. I had a lot of fun sitting down and going through these questions. Some of them were the kind of questions you see on almost all author interviews, but others really made me stop and think. Go check it out!


My newsletter is the place to get my weekly blog post round-up, book release news, and more… Join now and get the first chapter of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” for free!

Weighing in on the 13th Doctor Announcement

If you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you might not have seen all the recent Doctor Who posts on social media.

This is what the fuss has been all about…

And here’s the news from the BBC themselves…

So What Do Fans Think?

Reactions from fans have been very mixed. I’ve seeing every kind of response from “Best idea ever” to “Worst mistake ever”.  Personally I’m excited to see what comes from this.

It’s obvious to me that that BBC has been building up to having a female Doctor for some time. Even the shows creators had suggested the possibility to the BBC controllers back in the 80s.

Even more interestingly, the last couple of seasons have teased the possibility of the Doctor becoming female, one day.

  • In “The Doctor’s Wife” Neil Gaiman wrote a line that more than suggested that the Time Lords can change sex
  • Then there was the Time Lord who regenerated from male to female on screen
  • The Master became Missy, and we’ve still yet to see how that resolves itself
  • And finally the seemingly throw-away line about the future being “all female”

To say I saw this coming so soon would be a lie, but it’s definitely something I’ve been hoping for.

Looking Foward…

Unlike with David Tennant, I’ve not seen Jodie Whittaker in anything, so I’m not going to be going into this with any preconceived ideas of what to expect. So I’m ready to see what the Christmas Special brings, and how Chris Chibnall handles transitioning into the role of show runner, and the switch over from Peter Capaldi and Jodie Whittaker.

The one thing that is certain is that the dynamic between the Doctor and Bill is going to change, and things could potentially get very interesting.

Whatever happens it can’t be as rough a transition we had from Peter Davison to Colin Baker…

“Evaline Transcendent” Is Coming July 26th!

Hey folks… I have my first sci-fi book release coming up on July 26th, and would love to get some support for the HeadTalker and Thunderclap campaigns…

Here’s what it’s all about:

“Evaline Transcendent” is a massively updated version of the story that appeared in “Across the Karman Line” a couple of years ago. Not only have I gone back through to make sure the editing is top notch, but I’ve reinstated parts of the story that I had to cut because of the word count limits I originally had.

I’ve added almost another 5,000 words to the original length of the story, and I think it’s a much stronger story as a result, because it really brings Evaline’s mission into perspective.

How HeadTalker & Thunderclap Work

  • People create advertising campaigns for their books/services/projects/fundraisers
  • They then set a minimum number of backers for the campaign, and a deadline
  • They then try to rally support for the campaign by asking people to back it
  • By supporting the campaign, each backer pledges to allow a message to be placed in their social media feeds advertising the book/service/project/fundraiser
  • No money changes hands

Here’s Where I Ask For Your Help

I have two campaigns setup, that I’m asking for support on. Here’s some reasons you consider for backing the project:

  • You really love a good sci-fi story
  • You know some friends who’ve thought of colonizing other worlds
  • You’ve read the original story and want to see what’s new
  • You want to see humanity out among the stars

And here’s the links (feel free to share them with others)

Headtalker: https://headtalker.com/campaigns/evaline-transcendent-release/
Thunderclap: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/59308-evaline-trascendent-prerelease

Pre-Order “Evaline Transcendent” for $0.99 (*) on Amazon until July 25th ($1.99 from July 26th)

 

* The release date is July 26th 2017, and all pre-orders will be delivered on that date.

 

Thoughts On Independence

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, today is Independence Day here in the US, and I’m experiencing it as an American citizen for the first time. Rather than go through the history of how I went from being a British citizen to an American, I’ve spent the last week trying to find quotes that typify how I see my new country.

I was lucky enough to come across this one from ‘Eddie’ Rickenbacker…

Here’s how Wikipedia describes ‘Eddie’ Rickenbacker…

Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 23, 1973) was an Americanfighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. With 26 aerial victories, he was America’s most successful fighter ace in the war. He was also considered to have won the most awards for valor by an American during the war according to the April 2017 VFW magazine in their special World War I edition.

He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.

For the full article, click here. I recommend taking a look at the full article, because it covers the life of someone who fought for the rights and freedoms that we enjoy today.

It is because of people like ‘Eddie’ Rickenbacker that we can enjoy the independence that so many have fought for.

Here’s my challenge to you all:

  • Take the initiative to live your lives your way.
  • Have the imagination to believe that whatever you desire is possible
  • Explore and thrive in your individuality
  • And have the independence to be yourself, no matter what others think

Feel Free To Comment Below:

I’d love to hear from those of you reading this.

How did you spend your Independence Day?

Do you have thoughts on what has shaped America since it’s independence?

Which of my challenges will you be taking up? And what plans do you have for meeting that challenge?

Why Writer Communities Matter

For my birthday last year, I gave myself one of the weirdest presents someone can give themselves.

I published my first self-published book, “Under A Hunter’s Moon”. I so desperately wanted to get the release right that I went on a desperate hunt for a cheap cover artist, and put together my advertising. At this point, a family matter came up, that meant I had to go out of state and I’d either have to cancel my book launch, or push it back.

I went online to the writer communities to get some advice on which route to take, and was amazed by the responses I got.

Fellow Indie Writers To The Rescue

Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know that I belong to several online writer groups, and have done, since before “Under A Hunter’s Moon” was first released, as part of an anthology.

But, you might not know just how generous indie authors can be to one another.

My request for advice turned into a flurry of discussions, and out of those I got sent a cover image for “Under A Hunter’s Moon” by a paranormal romance author I’ve beta read for.

I also received a lot of advice on doing a ‘low-maintenance’ release, which would get the book launched on Amazon, and advertised on a few author blogs, newsletters, and more. Along with the advice came offers to host posts related to the launch, and promises to share the information.

I Can’t Thank My Fellow Indie Writers Enough…

I was speechless. As thanks to those involved in the launch, I sent out a few copies of the book, and set the price to free for the weekend of my birthday. It did reasonably well, but wasn’t a huge seller.

And Now We’re A Year On…

I’m planning to start ramping up the rate at which I release books, and that means being able to get book covers in place for the stories I’ve already completed.

You probably already saw last week’s “Anatomy of a Cover” post, on how I created the cover for “Evaline Trascendent”. That cover design came about, because I got a lot of feedback from fellow indie authors. I posted a draft image on several groups, and asked for comments.

Not only did I get a much better book cover as a result, but I got several ideas on how to make more of my own covers for planned releases.

But it wasn’t the new releases that concerned me, it was the lack of reviews for “Under A Hunter’s Moon”.

So, I thought I’d try something….

I touched base with some of the author groups, and asked for volunteers to read, review, and provide feedback on “Under A Hunter’s Moon”. And several volunteers stepped forward.

And Huge Thanks To Rebekah Jonesy…

I sent a free copy of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” to Rebekah Jonesy, among others, and she read it in a single sitting.

Then on Facebook chat, Rebekah sent me her feedback, which included some corrections that had somehow been missed by me, my wife, two editors, and everyone else who’d read the story.

And So It’s Time For The “Anniversary Update”

Along with the corrections from Rebekah, I decided to go ahead and update the cover too.

There were several reasons for this, but mostly, it’s so that I can use whatever images I want on future covers, and have features that unite the series.

So, go ahead, and buy your updated copy of “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, if you don’t already own one.

(If you already own a copy, Kindle should automatically update it, when the new version goes live.)

And if you enjoy reading “Under A Hunter’s Moon” check out “April Fool”, which appeared in this year’s “Book Dreams” anthology from Brain to Books.

Anatomy Of A Book Cover “Evaline Transcendent

This is not going to be my usual Midweek Mumbles ramblings. Instead I’m going to do something a little different, and give you a behind-the-scenes look at some of the steps involved in creating my first book cover design.

How I Made My Last Cover

When I published “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, I had a lot of help with the cover design. Ariel Marie was kind enough to Photoshop the components for me, and all I did was do the type-setting for the text.

What Makes This Time Different?

The cover for “Evaline Transcendent” is a much more interesting journey, because it’s a science fiction story, and there are very few stock photos that could be tweaked to work for what I had in mind.

I wanted to invoke the sci-fi genre right from the start, so setting the cover in one of the ship’s corridor was always part of my plan. The representation of the main character, Evaline, was a more difficult decision for a number of reasons:

  • This is re-release of a story that was originally published in an anthology.
  • Since that release, I’ve been interested in updating it with ideas that didn’t make the original draft.
  • I also wanted to represent Evaline in some way, but in the original story she was only a disembodied voice.
  • To give her more presence that meant either putting an image on a computer screen, or creating a holographic presence, which was not originally in the story.

Was There A Way To Do What I Wanted?

After looking at some ideas for cover designs, I decided to go with a sci-fi corridor with a holographic figure to represent Evaline herself.

Having previously used 3D software, specifically Daz3D,I was already familiar with what was possible with the right tools at my disposal. I did a search through the database of 3D models available, and found a sci-fi corridor that looked matched my list of requirements. Then I took the base female figure and a basic pose and put her into the scene.

After some tweaking, I clothed her in a skin-tight outfit, which had sections I could hide, and then bought a shader that allowed me to turn the textures into holograms.

Once the image was rendered, I transferred it into Canva and overlaid it on a background color, before adding the title and author text.

And here was the first attempt, but there were several issues…

  • The text fonts didn’t match up very well
  • The pose was a little problematic, and too ‘sexy’ for my tastes
  • The presence of the background frame didn’t mesh well the current trends in sci-fi cover designs
  • I wasn’t keen on the colors or the outfit
  • Because of the 3d models, outfits, and tricks I’d used to build this particular hologram I didn’t have a lot of control over how it rendered
  • I also didn’t have any way to adjust the placement of the figure within the final image

So I Sought Help From Fellow Authors..

I approached some authors I’ve worked with in the past, so I could get some ideas of ways we could try and fix the issues. And once I got some feedback, I dove deeper into to capabilities of the 3D software, and online forums, in the hopes of figuring out the solutions. And here’s the result…

I think you’ll agree this is a much better cover. It was created in several steps…

  1. Setup the scene, with the figure in place, posed, and clothed in single color clothing.
  2. Light the entire scene.
  3. Render the corridor background, with the lighting effects already in place.
  4. Hide the figure and clothing.
  5. Render the corridor background.
  6. Remove the corridor and place the figure against a black background.
  7. Set all the clothing colors to solid black, and render the visible flesh areas and hair
  8. Set the figure and hair to black
  9. Add a digital opacity layer to clothing and set the colors
  10. Render just the clothing
  11. Import the individual layers into GIMP2 for editing.

How The Layers Stacked Up…

  • Layer 1 – Background (Mode=Normal, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 2 – Flesh #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 3 – Flesh #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 4 – Flesh #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 5 – Flesh #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 6 – Leggings #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 7 – Leggings #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 8 – Leggings #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 9 – Leggings #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 10 – Top & Shoes #1 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)
  • Layer 11 – Top & Shoes #2 (Mode=Dodge, Opacity=40%)
  • Layer 12 – Top & Shoes #3 (Mode=Lighten Only, Opacity 100%)
  • Layer 13 – Top & Shoes #4 (Mode=Addition, Opacity=100%)

As you can see, that’s a lot of layers… And that was all before I pulled the image into Canva and added the text layers.

So here’s a look at the images that went to the cover…

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And that folks, is how I wasted three weeks of writing and editing time…

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the covers, or even my methods of creating them. Post in the comments below, or email me at timothy.bateson.author@gmail.com

Oh, and just between us… “Evaline Transcendent” will soon be available in the Kindle store… Once I’ve gone through some final edits, and finalized my revisions to the original story. There are aspects of the original story I wasn’t happy with, and plot points I wanted to update.