1. I can’t quite describe how excited I am for everyone to see the cover for my upcoming novel, Fragments. On Monday I started the reveal with a short article and a bit of the final image.

    Today, it’s the real deal full cover reveal. No teases. Just the whole beautiful image by Isis Sousa.

    Check it out over on BarhamInk.com!


  2. Recommended - Begin

    The last few days have seen quite a few posts unrelated to tech. When you’re publishing a book, that tends to happen. But, as it turns out, one of the tools I’ve been using during that process needs and deserves to be recognized.

    About a month ago, on a recommendation from Ben Brooks and at a sale price, I picked up Begin. Now, I have todo apps—probably too many of them. There are apps that work great for location-based reminders, apps that I downloaded years ago that have long since languished, Apple’s own reminders app, brilliantly designed list apps that just aren’t for me, and on and on. So why start with Begin?

    Number one is always the same: I like exploring new designs and writing about them. Number two is that I was deep in the publication process, a project that could benefit from its own set of reminders and todos, so I went for it.

    I already had a makeshift list in Scrivener. I just needed to port it over, and I was ready to go. Here’s how the experiment has worked out.

    Begin is great for specific, day-to-day todos. There’s one list. It has fields for today and tomorrow (and an uncompleted section hiding below the main screen). You can complete, delay until tomorrow, restore uncompleted items, and delete. And that’s pretty much it. It’s incredibly simple. And there, Begin shines. I needed a running list that I would address every day and throughout the day, for just one project. For that, Begin is almost perfect.

    Some apps deal with priorities on todo items, Begin’s way of managing that is by filing it in Today or Tomorrow and then allowing the user to drag and drop the order. There are no heat maps, no tiers to worry about, and no due date/times.

    Now, on the subject of due times, Begin again excels. The app provides a daily reminder system which sends a push notification at the same, user-defined time. If it is your preference, you can set a “last chance” notification for the app, upping the forced interruptions to a whopping two. I love this feature. For my ordinary reminders, such a system would be terrible. In fact, almost the entire point of regular reminders, for me, is to be notified at specific times throughout the day that I should be doing something that I was likely to forget.

    Begin sees its list (rightly) in a different way. There are things that need doing today, and you’ll be reminded of those at the start of your day (or your decided time). From there, it’s your responsibility to return to the app and check those items off as the day goes on. If you so choose, you get the second reminder before you leave the office or after lunch (or again, whatever time you predetermine).

    It’s refreshing to see an app that works hard to control the amount of times it interrupts the user throughout the day. And for an app that is strongest when users are focusing on a single project, the lack of buzzing distractions will hopefully keep users on task more often and for longer periods. I know it has for me.

    You can download Begin for yourself on the App Store. It’s free with a $0.99 in-app purchase (each) for extended features and bonus themes.


  3. Over on my publishing site, BarhamInk.com, I’ve written a couple of posts (one today, one later this week) detailing the cover art portion of the process. They culminate in the reveal of the book cover for my upcoming novel: Fragments.

    I hope you all choose to go check it out. The artwork is beautiful. I’m very proud of what the designer and I were able to put together (obviously, she did all the hard work).

    From now on, longer posts concerning the book will appear at the Barham Ink blog, though I’ll be linking them here on Think Critical for those who want to follow along with the publishing process but are more interested in reading about tech, apps, games, and Apple.


  4. On this week’s Critically Speaking podcast: Theme is more than a simple bullet point to be added amongst the various graphical effects, multiplayer modes, and stat systems. When big name titles aim for thematic resonance, is there ever a possibility in which they can be successful in the way that writing and filmmaking can be? If not, the possibility exists that AAA games are just not the place for thematic subtlety.

    Check it out on ShoutEngine or subscribe in iTunes.


  5. Barham Ink

    Earlier this week, I officially announced that my novel Fragments: Alora’s Tear, Volume I would be published this summer. In the same post, I also promised more information shortly. The response I’ve received so far has been wonderful. Thanks for every share, like, favorite, retweet, and comment that you sent along. Each one means a lot.

    In the process of creating the necessary files, researching proper book design techniques, and generally learning about self-publishing, I established Barham Ink: the company name under which all of my personally published works will appear. Along with that, I spent a great deal of time and care creating an online home for Barham Ink and the books that will soon appear there.

    One of the things that I found incredibly important in making this site is that it include more than just gigantic links that help direct readers to places where they might purchase books (there’ll be some of those, too). Specifically, readers should be able to find information about writing, the process of creating and publishing one’s own work, and of course, information about the world, characters, and details of the Alora’s Tear series.

    So without belaboring the point too much, today I’m announcing BarhamInk.com. Much of the aforementioned material is available on the site already (day one!). And anything that doesn’t appear there is only left out because it might compromise the upcoming story (no spoilers!).

    My two current favorites are the back cover text for Fragments and the excerpt from the Fragments Prologue. I highly recommend checking them out first.

    Please, take a moment to have a look around. I’d love to hear your comments. Twitter’s great for this sort of thing. Find me there @natebarham. Also, the contact form on BarhamInk.com would be a great way to test one of the shiny new website features.

    Special thanks to Benjamin Brooks for his notes on the site design, Isis Sousa for the brilliant artwork (no cover reveal just yet, but the world map is there if you look for it), and my brother Alex Barham for some of the site’s stunning photography.

    Next up, cover art.