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.

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…


B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Book Expo – Stop #3

Introducing the Spellbound Collection featuring Ash Krafton

Ready to stack up your summer reading list? The SPELLBOUND boxed set is coming…and it will keep you reading, world after world after world!

The Spellbound Boxed Set is a compilation of 20+ Full-Length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads!

Readers of all ages will be swept away by this fascinating mix of existing titles and brand new content, full of pages brimming with faeries, witches, vampires, shifters, psychics, Greek gods, angels, demons, and even ghosts!

With over a million words of fiction, this is your one stop shop for urban fantasy, epic fantasy, sword and sorcery, shifter romance, vampire romance, elemental magic, time travel, and MORE from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling authors!

Although some of these reads may be gritty and dark, this is a collection of clean reads that anyone will enjoy!

Amazon/Barnes and Noble/iBooks/Kobo

Giveaway#1 : $100 gift card

What kind of magic will you make with this prize?

Enter the $100 giveaway, just click here

Giveaway #2: Reader Rewards!

Order your copy of SPELLBOUND on your favorite retailer.

Email a screenshot of your receipt to spellboundpreorder@gmail.com

Now you’re getting 30 BOOKS for 99 cents!

 It’s okay to say it…MIND BLOWN 🙂

 

Giveaway #3: (to infinity)

Daily giveaways at the ongoing FB party!

Join here to see what’s up for grabs today:
 PREORDER NOW…before it disappears!
only $0.99

Amazon / Barnes and Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Surrender to the spell…

Previous Stop | Next Stop | Tour Index | Genre Index

Back Porch Writer (February 21st 2017) – Living The Indie Author Life, Take 4

I had the pleasure of chatting with Kori Miller yesterday, over on her podcast “Back Porch Writer”.

9033c608-0595-481e-9b20-5591a5bdca5b_backporchwriterLiving The Indie Author Life, Take 4

We discuss internet search histories, werewolves, vampires, favorite films, writing, research, the upcoming Brain to Books Cyber Convention…

Listen to the episode here

I’d like to thank Kori for taking the time to chat with me, especially because we had to reschedule, and for putting up my ramblings.

Go show Kori some love, and check out her other Back Porch Writer episodes

A History Of Werewolves: From Cave Paintings To The Hunters Saga – A Guest Post by Heidi Angell

At the start of the week, I introduced you to Heidi Angell, author of the Hunters Saga, and fellow urban fantasy writer. Today I bring you the second of two stops I’m hosting on The Hunted tour.

I originally offered to host this particular post, because it’s a subject very close to my heart, writing about shapeshifters myself. It’s also a topic Heidi and I have discussed from time to time, and our discussions have always left me with new insights into the whatever topic we’ve covered. So, when Heidi said she had this idea for a stop on her blog tour, I jumped at the chance to host it.

What you’re about to read is a very insightful piece that covers many aspects of mythology, medical diagnosis, and legends from ancient times right up to modern day. Please read until the very end, and visit some of the other stops on the tour.

A Brief History of Werewolves: From Cave Paintings to The Hunters Saga

The “History” of werewolves is a strange thing indeed. It might even predate written history. There are many ancient cave paintings that appear to depict werewolves and other human/ animal composites.

Every culture has a variation on the theme of shapeshifters, werewolves, and other were-creatures, but the oldest written tale of actual men turning into wolves goes back to ancient Greece and the tale of King Lycaon, who Zeus turned into a werewolf after the man was foolish enough to try and trick Zeus by feeding him human flesh.

Tales such as Little Red Riding Hood show our fear of wolves eating humans, and may explain many “Werewolf serial killer cases” throughout European history, such as the 1589 case of Peter Stumpp, the Werewolf of Bedburg. Indeed, many of the werewolf cases where the men (why is it always men? It certainly isn’t in legend.) were convicted based on evidence that these men did indeed kill and consume the flesh of their victims. Were they truly Werewolves, or were people linking the two fears?

There is even a rare psychological diagnosis of clinical lycanthropy, in which a person is afflicted with the delusion that they are or have changed into an animal. The patient will exhibit animalistic behaviors, but no physiological change has ever been noted.

wolfman-01-1200x887There is a genetic condition, often referred to as Werewolf Syndrome that causes massive growth of hair in unusual parts of the body, and is known to be hereditary.

And with all of this to muddle about in, there comes into play the legends. The oldest legends involved it being a curse on the man in some cultures (like King Lycoan) or the work of the Devil. Perhaps this is why people throughout history tended to have a softer spot for werewolves than for vampires. Other tales have it that the afflicted was harnessing the animal power through a magic girdle made from a wolf’s pelt, through spirit magic, ( such as in Norse mythology, the legends of Ulfhednar, who were similar to berserkers, but dressed in wolf pelts and channeled the fighting power of the wolf during battle.) or even through Saintly Divine intervention ( such as the story of St. Natalis, who cursed an illustrious Irish family with the result that each member of it was doomed to be a wolf for seven years).

werewolf_in_rise_of_the_lycans-underworldThe stories of werewolves being forced to change with the moon, and only being able to be killed by silver are relatively modern concoctions of fiction, with little reference prior to the 1600s. But the idea of some being born as a werewolf, and made as a werewolf have deep roots.

And of course, in modern paranormal romance, the idea of shifters who’s transitions are not as agonizing and who’s forms are more true to their animal counterparts, also brings a whole other wealth to pull from.

In The Hunters Saga, the Weres are of two groups: Made-Weres (based on the legends of those bitten by a werewolf, who are changed because of it.) and Born-Weres (families of genetically born werewolves who transition in puberty) and I pull from all the legend and history, twisting it all into the tale, which in future books we will see in more depth as we learn the origins of vampires and werewolves.

Want to learn more? The Hunters Saga is an urban fantasy series for those who believe that vampires should be killed not kissed. The tour for the second book in the series, The Hunted, is in full swing, and we would love for you to join in. See the tour master list here.

You can get a free copy of the first book in the series, The Hunters, by subscribing to my weekly e-newsletter full of bookish news from all genres.  Subscribe Here

The Hunted releases February, 18 th. Join the release party Here on February 17th-19th on Facebook.

Author Spotlight – Heidi Angell

You’re going to see this lady’s name pop up a couple of times in the next few days, because I’m a great fan of her work. Because of that, I couldn’t help but jump on board when she announced she wanted to do book tour for the release of her latest book “The Hunted”.

Heidi was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself, for today’s slot. And then on the 28th, come back to read her take on “The History Of Werewolves”, a topic we both love discussing…

At the end of the interview is a big banner image, which when clicked will take you to Heidi’s website, where you can check out the other stops on the tour. And don’t forget to check out the books, which I’ve linked to at the very bottom of the post.

Introducing Heidi Angell

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac and wordsmith. She is the author of The Hunters Saga, The Clear Angel Chronicles, and The Hell School Series. She also created Royal Prince Vince, and Creative Exercises to Inspire.

When she is not reading and writing, she can be found spending quality time with her lovely family camping, hiking, swimming, or watching movies.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

Goodness, what is there to say? I am a closet introvert, who loves to fangirl over books, movies and anime. We just introduced our teen boys to Firefly and it was AWESOME! I love helping others, sometimes to my own detriment, which is why I have started partnering with other groups (Like Brain to Books and Our Write Side) so that I have other volunteers to help make sure I don’t get burned out.
I am eclectic in my interests, and so my books tend to be pretty eclectic as well.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

My latest book is The Hunted, the second book in The Hunters Saga. This is an urban fantasy/ horror series for those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed. The Hunted releases February 18th.

Who is your intended readership?

Well, beyond those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed, the book tends to appeal to fans of action, gratuitous violence (my vampires explode) and who like the idea of vampires, werewolves, immortals, and other supernatural beings as scary. They aren’t necessarily monsters, per se, but they are dangerous! Also, I deal in werewolves, not shifters. This isn’t PNR.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

It really feels like forever. I have always wanted to be a storyteller. My mom has pictures of me when I was no more than 2 or 3, on stage “telling a story”. I could read before I started school, and was a voracious reader, but it wasn’t until my 1st grade teacher used “publishing” a book to teach us about the different components. From then, I was hooked. I wrote my first full-length novel in fourth grade (it was horrible and will NEVER see the light of day!) and have just kept going from there, dabbling in different forms of story-telling, from poetry, to screenplays, to music, and beyond.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

Nope, I cannot pick one. I couldn’t even pick 15! I find inspiration in every story I read, see, hear. That is part of why I started my bookish blog, to share these awesome authors that I am reading and meeting. Also, the fangirling thing. Yeah. Totally the fangirling thing!

What advice would you give beginning writers?

Start networking now. You need a strong tribe to make it as a writer. And that doesn’t mean just networking with readers (though, you definitely should!) You also need to connect with other authors. They will be there to answer questions, to offer support, to read and critique. My top favorite networking groups right now are OWS– run by Amanda Mabry and Stephanie Ayers, B2B CyCon– Headed up by Angela B. Chrysler and run by some incredible volunteers! (like you!), Sci-fan Society – run by Richard M. Mulder, Support Indie Authors, and Beta Readers and Critique Partners–  run by Dianne Wolfden.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

Fun fact, though I do not recommend taking NyQuil recreationally, you would be surprised the crazy things one writes when one is powering through the soporific effects. As many great writers were known to abuse drugs of one form or another, this is the closest I have ever come to that.  And it only happened about a month ago. But I also learned that one cannot edit when in the same condition. True Story.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I actually really enjoy marketing my books. Sometimes more than writing. Now that I am writing full time, I actually have to schedule in writing time because I would just spend all my time marketing if I didn’t. And I LOVE marketing, because to me it is just another form of story telling!

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

Well, I was working on an Infection story, but I have this little novelette in Romance (GASPS! I know, I can’t believe it either!)that is kind of demanding my immediate attention. You can learn more here.

huntedbanner1200x627

The Hunters Saga

#1 The Hunters: For those who believe vampires should be killed, not kissed.

What would you do if you found your town had been infested with vampires? For Chris and his brother Lucas, the answer was simple enough: you fight back. Gathering a small band of other people in their town who have been affected by the vampires, they begin a resistance. But after a year of fighting, they have only managed to kill a handful, while the vampire leader has turned five times that many.

Then two enigmatic strangers appear, changing the group’s lives even further.

Fury and Havoc. They call themselves hunters, and want no part in this little band of heroes. Ordering them to lay low, the duo vow to rid their town of vampires. When Fury is injured, Chris aides these strangers, entwining his future with theirs.

Now that the vampires know the hunters are here, and that Chris and his friends have helped them, the group is in more danger than ever before. Lucas is torn between protecting his new family from the vampires, and protecting them from these seemingly inhuman beings who say they are there to help.

After all, what beings could be so powerful as to scare a vampire?

The Hunted: Now The Hunters become the hunted.

The highly-anticipated sequel to The Hunters Saga. Follow Fury, Havoc and Screvin as they track down the Werewolf who turned Screvin and try to help her come to terms with what she is. Things are going better than expected with Avie, then the Counsel comes after them. Now the hunters have become the hunted.

Buy Your Copies Of “The Hunters” and “The Hunted” NOW!

Where to find Heidi Angell:

Learn more at her website www.heidiangell.com

Want to get to know Heidi better? Follow her on Goodreads, Instagram, or join her e-newsletter to get weekly emails that show Heidi’s reader side with author interviews, book reviews, and other awesome bookish fun!

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Amazon, Smashwords

I’m A NaNoWriMo 2016 Winner – 1 day early

nanowrimo-stats-timothy-batesonThe Story of a NaNo-Rebel

At the start of the month, I declared myself a NaNo Rebel, for a number of reasons, but I didn’t share them at the time.

Firstly… NaNoWriMo is usually for writing the first draft of a novel, from scratch. Though NaNo-Rebels will often tackle other projects.

Secondly… I wanted to pickup my existing novel project, “Of Wolves & Men: Shadows Over Seattle #1”, and actually finish it.

Now, I was already a little over half-way through writing the novel, based on the outline I’d written, so I was certain I’d finish the project with time to spare.

And I did!

Not only that, but I also managed to go back through about one-third of the book and re-write, or add a pretty sizable chunk of new material. Of course, I didn’t delete anything I’d written, just tagged it for later removal.

At the rate I was writing, I wasn’t sure if I’d catch up to where I’d started the month, so I had to retain everything I wrote to keep that word count up.

November Had Ups and Downs

Not only was I working to complete a novel, I was also working full time, helping my wife find a new job (at short notice), dealing with United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, and planning out some new writing projects.

Consequently, there were days when I failed to hit the daily word goal of 1,667 words. But on the whole, I was able to pick up the slack on other days.

The infographic above is a brief breakdown of my month… To get a more detailed breakdown, visit my NaNoWrimo profile.