Return of the Newsletter

Yep, you read that right. I’m bringing back something that has gone neglected for far too long, my newsletter emails.

What happened to the newsletter anyway?

Back in 2015, I tried to start up a regular newsletter, with people subscribing to receive updates and book news by email. Well, needless to say I got very mixed results, because I really had no idea how to go about running a newsletter, and I had very little to say.

It didn’t help that between changes at Gmail, and alterations to the services offered by the site I sent the newsletter from, emails were likely ending up in people’s spam folders instead of being delivered. Now remember, everyone on that list had already confirmed they wanted to hear from me, but the open rate dropped considerably, and I lost interest in continuing the newsletter.

What changed?

It all started when I began putting together the events for the Brain to Books Fantasy Genre events, and needed a way to keep in touch with authors who were participating. All of the authors needed to receive the same email, and some of them needed to receive event-specific emails, and so was born a new mailing list.

Through careful planning of the events, and working out ways to send specific emails to the relevant authors, I got a feel for how the newsletters could work. Fast forward a few days, and I come across a service that did what my old one did, but came with the bonus of many of the features I needed being free.

So, I started looking into the details, and wondered if I could get my newsletter back off the ground. And thankfully, there were a number of people who’d already expressed an interest in hearing more from me, after they had completed the Brain to Books Fantasy “First Lines” Scavenger Hunt event.

I had a ready-made list of new people who actually wanted to know more… hmmm… but what to send them?

Well, I was already updating my graphics for my social media sites, so why not try something new with the newsletter. I created some new graphics to us as headers…

And here’s what went out…

Actually, the answer to this question wasn’t a simple one.

In my first email to you, I promised to give you some background information on my favorite lupine (werewolf), Richard Parsons. And then I realized just how hasty I’d been in making that promise.

You see, when you’ve been writing about a character for the best part of eight years, they undergo a kind of metamorphosis. Initially, what you have is a very basic idea of the character, some broad personality traits, and maybe a rough idea of what they look like.

Then you sit down and start writing, and things change. In Richard’s case, they changed a lot. Which meant making sure what you got was actually representative of Richard as he turned out.

So, I dove through my piles of notes, website pages, story outlines, finalized stories, and everything I’d shared with others, and discovered the ideal way to introduce Richard…

Read “A Fireside Chat with Richard Parsons” by A.F. Stewart & Timothy Bateson

Find out who Richard is connected to…

There is a lot of other information about Richard, and the other characters in the “Shadows Over Seattle” series, over on my website.

Now, it’s a little sparse compared to the depth of information that Sandi and I have created over the years of creating this series.

So, here’s an open invitation to find out more.

  • Keep following these emails, my blog, and the website for information as it’s posted…
  • Or, drop me an email, and let me know what you’d like to know more about, and find out information before anyone else.
  • Just don’t expect too much in the way of spoilers…

Join The Conversation

Now, it may look like I’m just giving away a bunch of links to material that I’ve already put out there, and that’s true.. For now!

I want the newsletter to be more than a rehashing of old material. I want to turn it into a way for people to be part of the conversations that go on behind the scenes.

By subscribing, you’re going to have access to me as a writer, and be in a position to ask me questions, show what projects most interest you, and maybe even influence some of my writing. You see, I know that I don’t know everything, so if you have knowledge that might be relevant to one of my projects, I might just be asking you questions too…

You’ll also receive updates from my blog, so you’ll never have to miss a single post, unless you want to.

As time goes on, I might expand the newsletter to include other things, like reviews of books I’ve recently read, or reviewed in the past. Of course, if I hear enough people want to see something, I will definitely try to include it.

10 Things Your Mother Never Told You About: Fae (Shadows Over Seattle – 1st Looks)

Back at the start of last year, I posted a racial genealogy of the races in the “Shadows Over Seattle” setting. It is still one of the posts that I’m proudest of, because of the way I was able to represent some very abstract thoughts in a coherent infographic. Since then, Sandi and I have put a lot more work into creating the actual histories that are represented in the chart.

Today’s post is about the fae races.

10 Things Your Mother Never Told You About: Fae

  1. Fae almost never discuss the origins of their species, only saying admitting that they are ancient
  2. It is known that the fae pre-date the origins of the human race, possibly by hundreds of thousands of years
  3. There are three councils of fae: Wyld, Seelie and Unseelie
  4. None of the fae will explain the differences between the councils
  5. All ancient fae belong to one of the councils, though it is unclear how membership to a council is determined
  6. Supernatural experts have determined that fae are capable of shape-shifting all the way down to the cellular level, and able to take any form
  7. After the advent of modern hominids, a ‘second-generation’ of fae arose, who broke away from the ancient councils
  8. At some point after the first mortals walked the earth, they started cross-breeding with the second-generation fae, giving rise to the Great Wizards, Shape-shifters and other species
  9. The more human blood a supernatural species carries, the less power they have relative to their fae origins
  10. The weaker the fae portion of the bloodline, the less likely it is that a supernatural’s children will inherit the powers of their parents

So, now you know a few things about the fae. Some of them may even be true.

To find out what s fact, and what the far have made up, check out the “Shadows Over Seattle” stories

B2BCyCon2017, Scavenger Hunts, and Publicity Hounds

A Round-Up of the Weekend

The B2BCyCon event is at an end, but the fun isn’t over, and I’m left wondering what’s happening next.

After spending the best part of two months coordinating over seventy authors, putting together scavenger hunt quizzes, arranging genre tours, and fighting technical issues that could have derailed my planned discussion panels, I’m finding myself with a lot of spare time all of a sudden.

But, that’s not going to stop me working on the post-event activities that will help me get stuff ready for next year, and improve on what we did as a genre.

Things That Went Right:

  • We ran THREE very successful discussion panels, (despite some technical issues on my end). I’d like to thank everyone who took part, either as a panelist, or watched from the sidelines, and commented in the chat. Those videos are still available.
  • The Scavenger Hunt has received a LOT of very POSITIVE feedback. See the breakdown below for some interesting stats.
  • I saw a lot of our genre members interacting with the readers, and other writers, which was great to see, especially from those new to the event.
  • For those of you who took part in live events, discussions, or dropped in to see me fumble my way through running discussion panels for the first time… THANK YOU! This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to do these events, and why I volunteered to do so much behind-the-scenes work this year.
  • Brain to Books launched it’s first anthology collection, with stories provided by participating authors – including “April Fool (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #0.5)”. The proceeds from “Book Dreams: Volume 1” will be funneled back into funding the 2018 CyCon.
  • We were BY FAR the BIGGEST genre at the event, and event though I didn’t manage to reach EVERYONE, I think we all learned a lot along the way.

Things That Went Wrong:

  • For me, it was technical problems on Sunday, that almost canceled the last of the discussion panels.
  • Also, I should NEVER send emails when I’m tired, especially without checking that I changed everything I needed to.
  • The biggest thing we’re looking at behind-the-scenes, for next year, is ways to clean up communication channels, and better represent the various events being run.

The Scavenger Hunt – A Breakdown

The First Lines Scavenger Hunt has apparently been a success on a number of levels. Even though it’s still running until Saturday, I thought I’d give you a breakdown of the stats so far (as of 4/10/17).

  • We had 77 Visitors
  • 13 of those visitors completed the whole quiz
  • The average completion time was 40 minutes, meaning people spent time actually visiting the book pages
  • Of those who completed the quiz, only 2 got a wrong answer (and ONLY one wrong). I’ll NOT be disqualifying them from the prize draw as a result of this, because right answers was never really the goal.
  • 9 of the 13 have agreed to signup for newsletters from the participating authors.
  • On a 1-to-10 scale, 9 people rated this quiz a 10, 1 rated it a 9, 2 rated it a 6, and 1 rated it a 4. From my perspective that means we had an enjoyable quiz, in a format that people found interesting enough to do again.

So in conclusion, I would DEFINITELY run this event again, even if we don’t get any more participation. That said, PLEASE feel free to pass the word around that the quiz is still running, and will close on Saturday night. Here’s the link: https://timothybatesonauthor.typeform.com/to/tshdCP

It Gets Better…

Even more interestingly though… This little quiz drew very positive comments from someone I have followed for a while, and whose opinion I trust. Joan Stewart (AKA The Publicity Hound) is a blogger, publicity consultant, and mentor, who has helped a lot of small businesses and self-published authors become better at marketing what they do, and who they are.

The Publicity Hound puts out a twice-weekly email, with tips, blog posts, videos, training classes and dog videos. In Tuesday’s edition of her email, there was a section on using quizzes as a means to get people’s attention, along with an invitation to have a quiz featured in her blog.

Well, I sent out the information about the Scavenger Hunt quiz, along with a link, and Ms Stewart was very interested in featuring it. I’m very excited by this development, not just because the quiz was really an interesting experiment, but because The Publicity Hound emails and blog posts go out to a massive audience.

We are just discussing some final details, and I’ll post the link if/when it goes live on her blog.

Some Thoughts From Other Participating Authors

Here are some thoughts from other B2BCyCon participating authors:

If you took part in the Cyber Convention, either as a reader, or as an author, I’d love to hear your impressions in the comments.

And here’s those discussion panels for you…


Seattle: Through The Eyes Of A Fantasy Writer (pt 5)

This is part five of my Seattle trip, and we’re heading into the end of day 2. If you missed part 1, you can find it here, and part 2 is here, part 3 is here, part 4 is here.

So far my wife Sandi, and I have arrived in Seattle in the early hours of the morning, caught sunrise over the city at Gasworks Park, and taken a lot of pictures. Then we headed up to the University District, before booking into our hotel, and hitting up Treehouse Point and Snoqualmie Falls. Then we made our way up onto Cougar Mountain, and back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Day two started with a visit to Fremont to see The Fremont Troll, the Center of the Universe Signpost, and then a trip south to Kerry Park. Once the scenic photos had been taken, we made our way to the Space Needle, took a tour of the city on an amphibious vehicle, and then drove down to the Columbia Center.

For a sneak peek of what I had planned for the three days you can click here.

Feb 14th 2017 – Driving Around & Some Much Needed Downtime

Even after taking the trip up the Columbia Center tower, we had some time to kill, before our next planned stop.

So, Sandi and I drove around Capitol Hill, First Hill, and Squire Park, trying to locate a church that Sandi had used as a template for one in her draft for “A Rose By Any Other Name”. I drove, while she looked up churches on her cell phone, and tried to direct me to them. After a couple of wrong turns, and changes of destination, we finally arrived at St James Cathedral.

I let Sandi out, so I could go hunt down a parking space, and she made her way inside. While there she asked permission to take some reference pictures, under the understanding that they would not be shared online or used to make money. With that in mind, I’m respecting that, and not sharing them here. Even more interesting was the chat Sandi had with one of the pastors about her work, and the churches views on vampires and other supernatural creatures we write about. (And yes, we’re withholding the outcome of that discussion, because it impacts a key scene in “A Rose By Any Other Name”).

In all that time of driving around, I found I was already familiar with many of the streets, and intersections, from hours of wandering around on Google Maps. It was funny watching Sandi’s reactions when I’d point at something and say something along the lines of “There’s where Richard chases the vampire” or “Hmmm, I didn’t realize just how steep this hill was. I’ll have to change that scene”. Admittedly, you don’t get a “feel” for the locations until you’re actually there, but being able to navigate just based on online time is still a lot of fun.

Our next stop was north of the city, near Bitter Lake, where we hooked up with a couple of friends I knew from online, and Sandi knew from her time living in the Seattle area. This was a lot of fun, because everyone was either a writer, a role-player, or both, and it gave us a lot of things to talk about. It also gave Sandi and I a really great opportunity to wind down from a couple of very hectic days of flying, driving, and rushing between stops to see everything we wanted to.

Feb 14th 2017 – The Space Needle (visit #2)

Having decompressed a little, we parted ways with our friends, and returned to the Space Needle.

Now, if you read part four of this series, you already know about the Space Needle, and how impressed I was by it. But that was nothing compared to seeing it all lit up for the night.

Approaching the structure from the parking lot, it’s impossible to miss, and can be seen for miles along any clear line of sight. Because we’d already booked our tickets for the second trip up, we headed straight for the elevators, and were back up the top for another run photographs.

And this time, the views were even more spectacular than during the day. We were able to capture some amazing pictures where the city lights are reflected in the waters of the bay. In some of the shots, the only way to tell where the city ended and where the bay started was from the distortions caused by ripples on the water. Other shots were typical high-angle shots of the city at night, showing buildings and streets lit up, with vehicles heading to who knows what destinations.

Since this was our last stop for the day, we headed back to the hotel to decompress, and make plans for the following day. But honestly, the last day was going to be an was one, because we really hadn’t made many plans.

Feb 15th 2017 – Seattle Aquarium

This was one of the stops that we’d scheduled for another day, but ended up moving so that we had time to do the Ride the Ducks. And I’ll be honest, I’m glad we did that, because it gave us the time to actually see the Aquarium and all the wonderful creatures.

We arrived with just enough time to wander around part of the ‘touch and feel’ exhibits, before they announced that the seal show would be starting shortly.

Now I’m a sucker for almost any kind of fuzzy sea creature, so having a chance to see the seals in action, and get some photos was an opportunity not to be missed. So much so, that Sandi and I took turns with the camera, and even stood outside in the torrential Seattle rain, while taking pictures.

From there we took in the sea otters, river otters, and assorted fish displays, all the while snapping pictures and pointing out things we wanted to share with each other.

In all, this was a very fun and relaxing way to start the last day of our trip, even if we were subjected to the finest rains Seattle could summon.

Feb 15th 2017 – Ye Olde Curiosity Shop

After spending a couple of hours touring the Aquarium, we had just enough left on the parking to do a little shopping. So, we headed along the shoreline, and checked out a few of the stores and eateries. While we didn’t find anything to eat that we could both agree on, we did find Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, one of the most fascinating places to browse.

Carrying everything from souveniers to locally made fudge, this store has been open, in one location, or another, since 1899.

How has it managed to stay open so long, and become one of the most sought out stores in Seattle? The answer is both simple and elegant at the same time.

When it originally opened, the store carried curios and souvenirs for travelers using the docks. But over the years it has become part museum in the process. With artifacts like their mummies, shrunken heads, mermaids, origami dollars and walrus tusks, it’s hard not to be fascinated by the displays as much as the variety of goods they carry.

And Then We Left Seattle Behind

After considering a trip to the Pike Place Market, we decided to head for the airport, and get a meal inside us before flying home.


Well, that concludes the trip to Seattle, and I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with me for some of the highlights. Be sure to check out some of the places next time you’re down there.

If you have any travel tips, or think we missed seeing something that really should have been on our list, please feel free to comment below.

B2CyCon might be over, but the fun doesn’t stop!

I just got done with a huge online event (#b2bcycon2017), which I use for networking with readers and authors every year. I’m a three year veteran at The Brain to Books Cyber Convention, and I’m always trying new things.

Trying New Things

My latest experiment was a Fantasy themed scavenger hunt, where I challenge participants to match the first lines of books to their covers. It uses the Amazon “Look Inside” feature to encourage people to actually look at the books featured, and explore the first few pages.

What Were The Results?

It’s proved to be an interesting experiment, because a lot of the participants have agreed to sign up for author mailing lists, and indicated they would do similar quizzes in future.

The event can be found here, for those interested in having a look, and will be available until Saturday 15th April, when I draw the winners

3rd Annual Brain To Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo

I’m Timothy Bateson, and this is my third time doing the Brain to Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo. Every year, this event has just got bigger and better organized, and I’ve gone from a participating author to Fantasy Genre Manager. What makes this year different is that I’m more excited than ever, because there are so many great authors coming on board this year, as well as some old friends returning from previous years.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the honor of helping over 70 fantasy authors prepare themselves for the CyCon, as well as getting ready myself.

So, what have we got going one?

  • Fantasy Blog Hop – Your chance to take a tour of some of the authors websites and learn more about them. Discover additional materials, uncover great books, sign-up for exclusive offers/news. The blog hop is separated into three groups, and will go live on April 6th at 9pm EST:
    • Tour #1starts here – featuring: Aaron-Michael Hall, Alexandra Carey, Alexis Kennedy, Amanda Mabry, Andy Peloquin, Angel M., Angela B. Chrysler
    • Tour #2starts here – featuring: Angela J. Ford, Assaph Mehr, C.T. Callahan, D. Thourson Palmer, Ilana Maletz, Jack Massa, Jodie Pierce
    • Tour #3starts here – featuring: Logan Miehl, Mackenzie Flohr, Sarah Kennedy, Stephen Morris, Toi Thomas, Zachary Chopchinski, Mary R. Woldering
  • Fantasy Genre Tour – This is where we give the authors the spotlight, and let them take the floor. You’ll find book expos, articles, and giveaways inside:
    • Tour #1“Showcase & Giveaways” – A showcase of books, series, and giveaways. Follow it all the way through for a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card
    • Tour #2“Behind The Scenes” – See what goes on in the minds of fantasy authors,
  • First Lines Scavenger Hunt – Match the first lines of the stories to the books they came from, and be entered for a chance to win some amazing prizes. The participating authors have offered up everything from books to gift cards.
  • Fantasy Author Showcase – Drop in on the authors over at Goodreads, where you can find out more about over 30 great fantasy authors. We’re the largest group in the expo, with some of the most diverse readers. Come find out why!

What I’ll Be Doing

I’m taking part in many of the events that are listed above, as well as overseeing several  things happening on Facebook, running some discussion panels, and much more.

So head over to the Brain to Books website, and save the dates for this amazing event, and discover some fantastic books and writers.

Seattle: Through The Eyes Of A Fantasy Writer (pt 4)

This is part four of my Seattle trip, and we’re finally getting into day two. If you missed part 1, you can find it here, and part 2 is here, part 3 is here.

So far my wife Sandi, and I have arrived in Seattle in the early hours of the morning, caught sunrise over the city at Gasworks Park, and taken a lot of pictures. Then we headed up to the University District, before booking into our hotel, and hitting up Treehouse Point and Snoqualmie Falls. Then we made our way up onto Cougar Mountain, and back to the hotel to crash for the night.

Day two started with a visit to Fremont to see The Fremont Troll, the Center of the Universe Signpost, and then a trip south to Kerry Park.

For a sneak peek of what I had planned for the three days you can click here.

Feb 14th 2017 – The Space Needle (visit #1)

Now this is were things got really interesting, because there is nothing like having the opportunity to see a city from above, and the Space Needle is a great way to do that.

Standing over 600 feet, this is one of the tallest landmarks in Seattle, and was once one of the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. What is most impressive not only it’s height and structural stability, but the fact that it was built in 1962, for the World Trade Fair, and they had to lay a 300 foot deep foundation to support it’s weight.

From the base of the structure to the Observation Deck takes a mere 41 seconds in the elevator. Once there, you have an uninterrupted 360 degree view of Elliot Bay, the mountain ranges, and the city skyline.

Sandi and I took the opportunity to make two visits over the course of the day, but I’ll get back to our second visit later.

Feb 14th 2017 – Ride The Ducks Tour

The next stop on our tour actually came about as a last minute decision, and it’s one I’m glad we made, even if it didn’t fit into my original plans for the day.

Ride the Ducks of Seattle is a city tour with a difference, because you ride through the city in a WWII amphibious landing craft (AKA a Duck). The route takes in the Seattle waterfront, Pioneer Square, Pike Place Market, the downtown shopping district, and then eases it’s way into Lake Union for a leisurely view of the city from the water.

Throughout the tour, the crew provide a guided tour of the city, covering history, architecture, famous figures, and even a few glimpses of sights from movies filmed in Seattle. It’s a fun ride, full of music, and entertainment for all ages. And then you’re in the water.

This was where things got really interesting, because we floated right by Gas Works Park, which we’d visited the previous day, and it looks so different from the water. And then as the craft motors it’s way around the bay, there are opportunities to take some amazing shots of the skyline. There are vantage points on the lake that give you views you couldn’t get from anywhere else. I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting the city.

Feb 14th 2017 – Columbia Center

Not done with visiting tall buildings, our next stop was the Columbia Center, famous for it’s Sky View Observatory. At 943 ft in height, for a total of 76 stories, this is the tallest structure in Seattle, and covers a full city block on it’s own.

Up on the 73rd floor, at a height of 902 ft is the Sky View Observatory, which wasn’t actually intended to be part of the original layout for the floor. Originally designated for office space, it was converted into an observation deck and provides an unprecedented view of the city.

Tune in next week for Part 5 of this series, when we finish out our second day, and head into our final day in Seattle.