The Halloween Crazy Train Is About To Start

Tomorrow marks the start of the lead up to Halloween night, and I have a very full month of events scheduled for you. If you haven’t already taken a sneak peek at what’s coming up, then take a look at this post, where I give you a list of everything that’s happening. (And trust me, if you love reading as much as I do, you’re going to discover some great books, some fun stories, and hopefully uncover a new favorite author or two).

So What Happens To My Normally Scheduled Posts?

  • “Midweek Mumbles” will be in hiatus until November 1st 2017. This is my normal rambling post that goes up on a Wednesday, but it will be replaced an Author Spotlight, 2 Book Spotlights, and a Character Interview during the month of October.
  • “Someone Else’s Words” will also go on hiatus, returning November 4th 2017. This is my weekly quote post, and during October, it will be replaced by a Book Spotlight, and Author Spotlight, and two posts yet to be determined.

In the meantime, here’s a little piece to get us all in the mood:

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists is a non-profit organization offering extracurricular music opportunities to local children at little or no cost. And here they are playing Crazy Train by Ozzy Osborne.

And here’s the original

Are There Any Particular Posts That Have You Excited?

If there is a particular part of this month’s schedule that has you excited, let me know in the comments…

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31 Days Of Halloween – Here’s What’s Coming Up

October is a month where I have a lot to celebrate. October 1st marks the anniversary of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” first appearing in print, and takes place on Halloween Eve itself.

This year the story turns three years old, so I decided to create a huge Halloween event, celebrating the work of my fellow indie authors. Everyone involved has submitted a Book Spotlight, Author Spotlight, Story, or Guest Post.

So What’s Happening? [updated @ 11:10 pm (AKST) 10.20.17]

Here is a full listing of posts and events that are happening throughout the month.
The links in the Author column will take you to the individual author’s websites.
The links in the Topic column will take you to the posts, once they are live. Please note that posts will not be live until around 8am EST on the date of release. (This post will be updated as more authors join the event).

Date Author Topic
10/01/17 Anita Stewart Book Spotlight – “Horror Haiku Pas De Deux
10/02/17 Assaph Mehr Storytime – “Shade’s Shadow”
10/03/17 Anaïs Chartschenko Book Spotlight – “Bright Needles”
10/04/17 Stephanie Ayers Author Spotlight
10/05/17 Suzanna J. Linton Guest Post – “Black Cats On All Hallows Eve”
10/06/17 Angela B. Chrysler Event Spotlight – 4th Annual Brain To Books CyCon
10/07/17 Angela B. Chrysler Book Spotlight – “Broken”
10/08/17 Marnie Cate Book Spotlight – “Envy”
10/09/17 Angela B. Chrysler Book Spotlight – “Zombies From Outer Space… and Vampires”
10/10/17 Joe Compton Book Spotlight – “Amongst The Killing”
10/11/17 Kayla Matt Book Spotlight – “Hell Bent Arc 1”
10/12/17 Timothy Bateson “Asteroids In Film & Fiction”
10/13/17 Mackenzie Flohr Book Spotlight – “The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove”
10/14/17 Renee Scattersgood Author Spotlight
10/15/17 Timothy Bateson Top 10 Scary Superheroes & Super Villains
10/16/17 Heidi Angell Book Spotlight – “Elements of a Broken Mind”
10/17/17 K.N. Johnson Book Spotlight – “A Haunting Of Words”
10/18/17 Ariel Marie Book Spotlight – “Mating Two Dragons”
10/19/17 Timothy Bateson Top 10 Haunted Locations
10/20/17 Toi Thomas Author Spotlight
10/21/17 Catterfly Publishing Book Spotlight – “Mirrors & Thorns”
10/22/17 Ed Ireland Storytime – “The Iconic Face”
10/23/17 Ani Manjikian Book Spotlight – “Do You Believe In Legend?”
10/24/17 A.L. Mabry Author Spotlight
10/25/17 A.L. Mabry Character Interview – “Miranda Spencer”
10/26/17 Tiffany Apan Book Spotlight – “Descent”
10/27/17 Timothy Bateson Book Spotlight – “Under A Hunter’s Moon”
10/28/17
10/29/17
10/30/17
10/31/17 Timothy Bateson “31 Days Of Halloween – Happy Halloween”
10/27/17 thru 10/31/17 Timothy Bateson “Under A Hunter’s Moon (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #1)” will be FREE over on Amazon

30 Days Of Halloween pt2. – Updated Guest List

Our Guest List… So Far!

Three days ago, I pitched a request for authors to send me their requests for blog slots, and things are shaping up very nicely. Here’s a few of the things that will be coming up. I’ll be linking the individual authors and posts, and adding dates as things continue to develop.

Guest Name Featured Slot
Angela B. Chrysler Book Spotlight – “Broken”
Event Spotlight – TBA
Book Spotlight – TBA
Toi Thomas Author Spotlight
A.F. Stewart Book Spotlight – “Horror Haiku Pas De Deux”
Kayla Matt Book Spotlight – “Hell Bent Arc 1”
Ami Lutkus Pjhillips Book Spotlight – TBA
Stephanie Ayers Book Spotlight – TBA
Ed Ireland Story – “The Iconic Face”
Nina Johnson Book Spotlight – TBA

Readers: If you have a Halloween experience you’d like to share, please email me at timothy.bateson.author@gmail.com . I love collecting stories, and I’d love to hear from those of you who follow the blog. Alternatively, you can leave comments on individual posts, especially if you read a post and loved it.

Writers: I’m looking to gather 30 individual posts for this event. I’m looking for Author Spotlights, Book Spotlights, Poetry, and Guests Posts themed around Halloween. There are forms to fill out for the book and author spotlights, but for anything else, click the “Pitch A Guest Post” image, and email the information.

Deadlines: I need to get all the guest posts and spotlight information as soon as possible. If you would like the post to release on a give date, let me know in your email (or in the “Additional Notes” on the forms)

300 Followers On Pinterest, And No Sign Of Slowing Down

I’m always surprised by milestones, especially when I hit them without seeing them coming.

Over the weekend, I was checking Pinterest for possible images and articles to pin. Having added a few writing prompts, bird of prey images, and articles on writing, I checked the statistics for my account, and discovered the numbers you see on the image to the right.

So… What’s everyone following?

Since a lot of people who follow me here might not be aware of my Pinterest account, here’s a few of the things you can discover there.

  • City of Seattle collects together images, articles, and reference materials that I’ve used when researching my stories.
  • Book Reading List is a collection of books I’ve featured on my blog, which I’ll try and update as soon as possible.
  • Urban Fantasy & Science Fiction by Timothy Bateson is a great way to discover my available books and stories.
  • Birds of Prey covers a huge selection of some of the most amazing creatures in the world. Anyone who knows me personally will be able to tell me how passionate I am about falconry and raptors.
  • Creative Coloring – when  I have a little downtime, or need to think or relax, I love to color. Here’s a collection of images from adult coloring apps on my iPad.
  • Bullet Journalling is a collection of articles and images about the system I use for keeping organized.
  • Writing Prompts are the life-blood of writers who need something to get the creative juices running.
  • Writing Advice is just one of several boards I’ve setup to help guide others through the writing journey.
  • Latest Posts From Ramblings Of An Author is the Pinterest board where all my latest blog posts will be collected, as they happen.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Drop in on my Pinterest account, take a look around, and follow me for the latest updates as they happen.

400 Posts And Counting (And A New Service For Authors)

I’m proud to announce that “Ramblings of an Author” now has OVER 400 posts.

I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who’s visited, and taken the time to read my posts. Also to all the authors who’ve contributed to this milestone, by allowing me to interview them for Author Spotlights, and letting me share their books in the Book Spotlights. (See below the infographic for some exciting news for authors).

In honor of the occasion, I rounded up some statistics from the WordPress.com servers.

 

And Here’s Where Things Get Interesting For Authors

There’s a little something I’ve been working on behind-the-scenes of this blog, and I’ve had a couple of author friends test it out.

Until last month, if an author wanted to book an Author Spotlight, or Book Spotlight slot on this blog, they had:

  • Approach me on social media, or email me a request
  • Wait for me to respond with the criteria and list of questions, required images, and links
  • Give me enough lead time to format the post
  • Then I had to check the post for errors, email the author and confirm any new images/changes
  • Finalize the post schedule, and then email the author the posting date, time, and links

Well, I just removed MOST of the first three steps of that process… How?

Announcing The Author & Book Spotlight Application Forms…

Starting about a month ago I decided that I wanted to make things easier for my fellow authors to apply for a slot on this blog. To that end, I’ve put together two forms, which both serve the same functions:

  • They walk you through the entire list of things I need to know
  • They allow you to upload images directly into the form
  • I receive an email to let me know that you’ve applied for a blog spot
  • All the information goes into a database, which I can refer to at any time
  • A draft blog post is AUTOMATICALLY created, and formatted with the information you provided

From there the following things happen:

  • Once I get the email notification, I check the draft post, and make any changes that are immediately obvious (like removing text for links that aren’t provided).
  • If it’s a Book Spotlight, I create the advertising poster, and insert it into the post.
  • I then touch base with the author, by email, with any questions, requests for further information, (and approval on Book Spotlight posters), as well as confirm any preferences on posting dates.
  • Once any changes are finalized, I email the author the date and time the post will go live, as well as the links to that post (which only work once the post is live).

My Preferred Genres to Feature:

  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Paranormal
  • Urban Fantasy

However, just because your book doesn’t fall into one of those categories, that doesn’t mean I won’t feature it if something about it catches m interest.

Apply For A Slot Today… Or Bookmark These Links For Later…

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.

Announcing My New Facebook Page

In conjunction with my recent announcement of the reboot of my newsletter,  thought I’d offer as many ways to reach out to my potential audience as possible.

Until now, I’ve fed information, blog posts and more to my personal Facebook page, but it’s time to move beyond that, and do something a little more professional. Which means, I’ve put together a brand new author page.

I’m not sure, at his point, how much the page will get used, or updated, but I want to leave my options open. But here’s where you can find it, so you can keep an eye on it…

(Oh, and you can search for it, reference it, or message me there using @TimothyBatesonUrbanFantasy)

Click to be taken to my new Facebook page