Tag Archives: Multiverse Chronicles

Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

A month has passed since our last status report, so here’s the update!

The Shadow War: Currently being read by beta-readers. There’s a few edits I need to make based on the rough draft for the third book of The Wishing Blade series, but we’ll see how that goes. I’m working on that book for Camp NaNoWriMo, and I hope to have a rough draft for both the third and fourth books before releasing the second one, that way I can make sure the plot is smooth. I’ve also been developing the Cantingen word magic language for the books, which has been both distracting and fun.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: Currently on an unofficial hiatus. The first fifteen episodes are available, but Isaac and I are working through some plot issues, and the last half of the episodes still need editing. A few episodes need additional scenes written. We plan to come back to this project later, but since there seems to be a lack of interest from readers regarding Trials of Blood and Steel, we’re focusing our energy on other projects. That being said, if you read and enjoy it, please let us know.

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: Nothing new here, for the same reasons as above. Game development takes a lot of time, and since there doesn’t seem to be a sustained interest in the game, we’re focusing on other projects.

The Dapper Pigeon: I’m still posting to our steampunk curation twitter account, and every once in a while I’ll post about the Trials of Blood and Steel episodes and games. Check it out if you’re interested in steampunk stuff. 🙂

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Currently working on one formatting project and doing minor tweaks to another project. Continuing work on book covers.

Beta-Reading: Making progress! I’m aiming on reading at least a chapter a day.

Distant Horizon: Finished making notes about editing on the paper manuscript, and I’m now inputting those notes into the computer. Afterwards, I’m hoping to send it to a beta reader. I also did a few more edits on the prospective book cover.

Video Blogging: I still need to finish reading the last four chapters of Magic’s Stealing. I’m also considering reading/singing bits of the Cantingen language I’m creating, but I’m not sure about that. Anyone interested in hearing how the language sounds as it gets developed?

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl ~

Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with our latest book releases and promotions, sign up for our Infinitas Publishing Newsletter! (Which might include an upcoming sneak peak at the current Distant Horizon cover before I reveal the cover here) 😉

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl ~

SBibb - Magic's Stealing Cover

Also, Magic’s Stealing is currently half-price at Smashwords when you use the coupon code: SSW50 at checkout. The offer is only available at Smashwords, and should be valid through the month of July. If you haven’t picked it up yet, now’s the time to do so! 🙂


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Episode 13: The Test – Part One

Episode Twelve of The Multiverse Chronicles is now up!

Trish goes about her week at camp, facing trials of textbooks and tack…

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles


“The Test – Part One”

* * *

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel - Silent Morning

* * *

Trish chewed on a granola bar from the mess hall as she crossed the campground. The early morning sky was dark. Cool air whispered through her hair and across her cheeks, helping her wake. The stable tent stood as a dark silhouette on the distant hill, mostly silent except for the few wolves prowling nearby in search of a wild snack.

At 0430, Trish had plenty of time to make the journey up the hill, which was fine by her. The chilly air raised gooseflesh on her skin, but lately, the still mornings were the only downtime that could calm her nerves.

At least, the only downtime she’d found.

This was her seventh day at the camp in Francia. Thus far, her training had consisted of textbooks, tests, practicing basic commands with her pterosaur—which…

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post – Reading Chapter Nine of Magic’s Stealing

Today I’m doing a reading of chapter nine from Magic’s Stealing, my YA fantasy novella. I’m using my new microphone, plus, I have a few updates regarding some of the other projects you should see coming soon from Infinitas Publishing. 😀

Click here for the link if you can’t see the video.

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

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Thoughts on Writing – Sweating the Small Stuff

At the latest writer’s club meeting that my husband and I attended, I read a scene from The Multiverse Chronicles to see if I had cleared up a few problem spots we’d found when I read the scene at the previous meeting.

Overall, the description seemed to be taken care of, which opened up the ability to notice other little details that were out of place.

For example, in this particular scene, the main character, Trish is meeting with various members of the Britannian army. The story doesn’t revolve to heavily around the military operations, but there are some present… and Isaac and I aren’t exactly familiar with military procedures (About the closest reference I have is from Stargate SG-1… which doesn’t exactly count, and I really didn’t pay attention to the military side of things. I was much more fascinated with Daniel Jackson and his archeological endeavors. There’s also M.A.S.H., but it’s been a while since either of us have watched that show. Of course, these are TV shows, so those might not be the most helpful references).

Anyway, one of the other writers questioned whether or not Trish (a private) would salute the corporal.

This is the section:

Trish had arrived at Corporal Smith’s tent, stepped over the sabertooth cub who slept at the foot of the door, then stood at attention in front of the quartermaster’s desk.


Of all the offices in camp, this was by far the tidiest. Every paper was neatly tucked in its proper manila folder, and each folder was labeled and placed in a metal divider with further library codes etched into their spines. Several bookshelves lined the walls of the canvas tent with books tucked alphabetically by author and several notable gaps between the books, most likely where Cornwell hadn’t returned them.


This time the lower shelves were empty. A few books were stacked haphazardly on the top shelf. The tell-tale teeth marks on their spines suggested that the sabertooth had thought them a chew toy, and Smith had disagreed.


“Can I help you?” he asked, eyeing her cautiously.


Trish saluted the corporal. “Yes, sir. Colonel Pearson wanted me to read The Honour of Tactical Flying, fifth edition.”




“Sir James Cuvier, sir.”


The quartermaster selected a stack of papers from its proper folder, skimmed through the names on his list, then winced. “Sorry, Private. I’m afraid Sergeant Cornwell has that book.” He gave her a pitying look.


Trish sighed. At this rate, she’d never get everything done. “Thank you, sir.”

After the meeting, one of the writers asked someone who had been part of the (US) army, and they said that a private would not salute anyone who is not an officer, and since a corporal is not an officer, Trish would not salute Corporal Smith, nor would she refer to him as “sir.”

Now, I’m not sure how this compares to the British army (especially of the given time period), so Isaac and I may need to do some quick research to compare the two, but this does give us a good reference point to start from.

On the bright side, The Multiverse Chronicles are supposed to be more on the fantasy side than the alternate history side, so we’ve got a  little bit of leeway than if we were trying to write military fiction with a lot of historically accurate details.

Either way, I’ll be making a few adjustments.

A different example of small stuff to consider is period anachronisms.

Another writer at the meeting had their story set in 1995, but the policeman in the story was pulling a cellphone out from his pocket and there were computers being used to check where a patient was being held in a hospital.

I wasn’t sure that this fit the time period (mostly because I was thinking that’s the problem horror films have nowadays… they have to explain what happened to their protagonist’s cellphone), so I questioned that.

As such, another member said that they thought the police might have had cellphones at the time, but they would have been worn on the hip (not small enough to fit into a pocket), and that the hospital probably wouldn’t have been using computers at the front desk.

By having someone other than ourselves take a look at our manuscripts, we authors can catch anachronisms or potential problems that we would have missed before they get too ingrained into our plots.

In some cases, these problems aren’t too big of a deal. They’re “the small stuff.”

On the other hand, these problems have the potential to throw a reader out of their reading, and so it can be good to remove as many problems as possible… or make sure there’s an explanation in place (or you could just lampshade it… though make sure you have a good reason to do so).

There’s a lot more I could cover here, so I may make another post about a similar topic later.

I hope you’ve found this post helpful. 🙂 Have you had beta readers point out things like this in your manuscripts?


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Thoughts on Writing – Creating Tension

In my previous post about what a serial episode needs, one of the key elements I mentioned was having tension and/or conflict. Each episode needs to have some kind of tension, or else the story will be boring.

Often times we add conflict to a story by adding action. But that’s not always what creates tension (and action scenes can be boring if the stakes aren’t right for the character involved). At times, I’ve struggled in my edits of The Multiverse Chronicles to see what is missing. In some cases, it’s the lack of scenery details. In other cases, the characters aren’t interacting properly. In yet others, there’s a lack of tension, as I discovered in one of the recent episodes I edited.

In the first part of that episode, Trish, a cadet in the Queen’s Royal Army, is riding a cart towards the camp where she will be stationed for the next six months. She has a chat with the driver, but everything is peaceful.

Too peaceful.

So I delved deeper into the scene. There needed to be some tension involved, or the scene would fall flat. Upon looking closer, I realized there was plenty of tension to be had. The tension starts with Trish. She’s not just a cadet, she’s a second-chance cadet. An earlier mishap got her dishonorably discharged. She still feels guilty for the incident, but she’s determined to prove that she will make a great rider. But, compounding the problem, she wasn’t the best student to begin with (she didn’t think pterosaurs would be that difficult to ride), and she’s prideful. By examining the scene through Trish’s eyes (What is she worrying about? What does she think of the driver?), the tension starts to develop.

So I built up the relationship between her and the driver (who unintentionally makes a major jab at her pride), showed her in a world where the details lend to uncertainty, and watched the tension rise.

(Note, this scene may change in the final version of this story.)


 The cart ahead of them swayed, sending its recruits wincing against the frame, and Trish braced herself for another jolt. The cart lurched and the young driver next to her yelped under his breath.

 (Already we know that Trish isn’t in the most comfortable situation. The stage is being set.)


Mr. Ó Riagán was lanky and pale—made more pale by his flame-orange hair and prominent freckles—and he sported a bright pink sunburn anywhere that wasn’t covered. Trish guessed he wasn’t more than eighteen years old, given his baby face, but he still donned the crimson uniform of Her Royal Army.

(The driver seems young. This will come back later.)


He drew back the reins and slowed the horses. “Easy there, Norwich,” he crooned in a soft Irish accent. “You’re going to break your leg if you hit one of those holes directly.”

 (Another problem… a horse breaking its leg isn’t good. Not a major hindrance, but it’s now something the main character could worry about.)


The mare nearest to him shook her head as if to protest. In fact, Trish got the distinct impression that she was more likely to break his leg if he didn’t give her a little more lead. He frowned uncertainly and loosened the reins a bit.

(Now we see Ó Riagán being a bit unsure of himself, at least in Trish’s mind, due to his earlier mentioned age.)


“So…” The guy glanced at Trish, licked his lips nervously, then went back to watching the roads. “You’re the one who can control the rogue?”

(He’s trying to make conversation…)


Trish blinked, surprised that he’d said anything. He hadn’t spoken more than a mumbled “hi” to her until now. (Apparently he hasn’t been very talkative.) She turned to their cargo behind her, the rogue pterosaur. The creature slept peacefully, drugged so that the trip wouldn’t be too stressful. The other drakes flew overhead, but since Trish wasn’t a trained pterosaur rider, this one had to be brought in by cart. (A reference back to how she was able to re-enlist, and a stab at the fact that Trish isn’t trained to ride yet).


With that in mind, Trish wasn’t sure how Colonel Pearson planned to handle her training. Her deployment had been sudden.

(This is all happening a bit fast for her.)


Still, she nodded to the young man and smiled fondly at the sleeping pterosaur. “You could say I can control her, but I think that’s because she likes me.”


The young man’s green eyes lit up in awe. “You have a familiar bond?”


“A what?” Trish frowned. She wasn’t sure what he was talking about.

(More uncertainty on her part.)


He blinked. “You don’t know about familiar bonds?”


Trish shook her head.


“Oh, I’m sure the colonel will explain when he has the chance.” The young man grinned. “I would try, but I’m afraid I’d butcher the explanation.”


“Butcher the explanation?”

(She’s trying to get information, but he’s not giving it.)


“Yeah… I graduated from the beastmasters’ academy in Oxford, but—”


“Wait. You went to Oxford?”

(Guy who looks younger than her went to prestigious academy)


“Yeah, well…” He scratched the back of his neck, sheepish. Trish hadn’t thought his sun burnt cheeks could get any redder, but they did. “The instructors said I was gifted. I started using beast mastery when I was eight.”


Trish stared at him. “You were eight?” Here she thought she’d been special, given the strength of her beast mastery. But she’d started showing her powers when she was thirteen, along with most the other people who had powers.


Not nearly so young.

(And now she’s feeling a bit dejected because this guy is obviously more gifted than her. Earlier episodes revealed her prideful tendencies.)


Mr. Ó Riagán nodded enthusiastically. “I liked to scare my older sister when she was reading. I’d have Jesse—that was our terrier—sneak up behind her and bark real loud.” He chuckled. “I was such a twerp.”


Trish forced a smile. “So what do you do now? Are you a rider, a pack master…?”

(She’s trying to change the conversation…)


“General Buford and Ruger are the pack masters for the wolves. I’m the head assistant for Lady Akeyo Kaburu. She’s the beasts’ caretaker.” He puffed out his chest with pride. “Just call her Lady Akeyo, though. She doesn’t like formalities. Not unless she doesn’t like you. By the way, I’m Sean. Do you mind if I call you Trish?”


“Um… sure.” She wasn’t sure what to think of him quite yet, and he was… chatty.

(She’s not so sure she likes this guy… but she’s trying to withhold judgement.)


“Hey!” he called out to the horses. “Stop trying to aim us for the potholes!”


The second mare nickered, as if she were blaming Norwich, but they maneuvered cleanly around the rugged hole that the cart ahead of them hit square on.


Trish eyed him, amused. “Do you talk aloud to all your beasts?”

(A sort-of jab at him.)


Sean shrugged. “Well, sometimes. Most the soldiers don’t talk to me. Granted, these fellows don’t talk back either, but I can get their general feelings.”


Trish nodded sympathetically. She hadn’t gotten much chat from the other soldiers, either, though that might have had something to do with the short notice in which she’d joined and been deployed to this particular station.

(And now they’ve found common ground. The tension has shifted from her dealing with Ó Riagán to her dealing with the other soldiers.)

By adding the details of the jolting wagon and the uncertain road, we’ve added scenery details to the world that enhances the tension. Those scenery details also lead to the characterization of Ó Riagán, who thereby gets into an in-depth conversation with Trish, which leads to more uncertainty on her part.

There’s not a lot of action, but there’s still tension between characters.

I hope you found this post helpful. Have you read any books where the story felt flat and lacked in tension? Have you worked on any stories where you realized that conflict was missing?

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Thoughts on Writing – How Studying Movie Scenes Can Help With Writing Book Scenes

I’ve been thinking about how movies pace their scenes and use various shots to draw a viewer in. This started after watching an episode of Film Theorists (they’re a Youtube Channel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyVlnPLaC7s which talked about where some of the common elements of movies got their beginnings.

We can learn a lot about writing scenes in a book by studying the methods used in film. I’m mostly going to take a look at three primary shots used in movies and TV shows: the wide shot, the medium shot, and the close-up. There are several others, though, which can also be incorporated.

For today’s examples, I’m mostly going to be talking about dinosaurs. I recently made some edits to the Multiverse Chronicles story my husband and I are working on (Dragons and dinosaurs and dirigibles, oh my!) And since we watched Jurassic World a week or two ago, that movie is still on my mind. Enjoyable movie, though the deaths didn’t quite hit it right for us.

And I kept wanting to call Owen, ‘Starlord of the Dinosaurs…’

*Ahem.* I digress. Here’s the three primary types of shots we see in movies, as well as my version of shots from Jurassic World (No spoilers, don’t worry).

Wide Shot / Long Shot: When a movie or TV show moves to a new area, they often pan over a larger scene. We get the setting details as to where the movie is taking place. (For example: A plane glides over the ocean and approaches a dense jungle island. (wide shot) Dark green, bushy trees rush underneath the plane (could be a medium shot) and in the distance, a tall pyramid breaks through the foliage, surrounded by a bustling theme park. (wide shot))

Medium shot: After the setting has been established, the movie closes in a bit more on the setting. Not too much, but enough to show who or what the particular scene is about. (For example: (Not related to previous example) Inside a posh, two-story home (a wide-shot), a mother hurries to collect her son from his room (medium shot). The room is a mess of toys, and it’s filled with posters of dinosaurs (medium moving on close-up shot). A curly haired boy sits by his desk with a View-Master in hand. (medium shot))

Close-up: Alternative to a wide shot, you might start with a close-up, then pull back to slowly reveal the surroundings, especially if mystery and tension can be built. (For example: Small cracks form on an alabaster egg. A tiny claw breaks through. It peels back the shell. A slitted, reptillian eye peers out. (All of these were close-ups. As the shot moves out of close-up to a medium shot , we see this:)Behind the dinosaur egg, several scientists wander past the white table, clipboards in hand. (medium shot) They walk around the pristine laboratory, unobservant to the tiny dinosaur. (medium-going-on-wide))

Let’s take a look at the (rough) intro for the Multiverse Chronicles story my husband and I are writing.

Four pterosaurs glided over the cliff-lined coast of Britannia in fingertip formation. Their tawny green backs glistened in the spotty sunlight that filtered through the clouds. The lead drake dipped its wings, following the mental call of its master, and landed on an outcrop of rock just offshore. The other three pterosaurs dropped through the warm, misty air and perched behind it.

As the scene starts, we see the pterosaurs gliding over a cliff-lined coast. A wide shot, to give us a feel of placement. Then we see a medium shot following the appearance of the pterosaurs with their tawny green backs, and finally, a close-up as the lead drake dips its wings. Consider how your mind visualized the image as you read the scene. Does how you visualized the scene follow this kind of sequence?

If you know how a scene looks in terms of the various shots, you can draw a reader’s focus to a particular detail and make it seem more important than before. If a detail is only mentioned in passing, it won’t stand out as much as if you spend a lot of time describing it.

An example from the manuscript of book two of our Distant Horizon series (No dinosaurs here, sorry).

Snow dusted the Community’s long, paved roads, swirling past two-story buildings and pelting my bare face. I wished I’d brought a heavier coat. Lance, my best friend and current partner in crime, tucked his hands under his armpits and grumbled about the wind. Though everything we wore was grey or white, same as the heavy parkas and thick hoods of the people hurrying to work, we had only the lighter jackets we’d left the Community with.

My grandfather, on the other hand, was bundled in a knee-length jacket and scarf, with fitted gloves. He kept his back straight and chin high. A passing security guard only tipped his hat and said, “The Community is safe.”

Pops inclined his head, lips twisted in a smile. “It is our duty,” he replied.

I shuddered and pulled my arms closer, careful not to squish the vines underneath my jacket. Everything I used to believe about the Community… half of it was a well-formed lie even high-ranking officials believed.

We stopped in front of a diner, where blue efficiency lights illuminated the snow outside the window and gave the gray world a little bit of color. “Ready, Jenna?” Pops asked, laying his hands across the top of his cane. His breath came out in short puffs.

Might as well be; we were here.

A blast of warm air whooshed past me, along with the smell of coffee, toast, and freshly scrambled eggs. The diner hadn’t changed much. Same pale colors, swept floors and mended chairs. Pops chose a seat at a round table next to the door, uncomfortably close to the security guards at the table beside us.

The first sentence gives us a feel for the world and setting. It’s snowing outside and cold, and we’ve got a vision of a town with two-story buildings and paved roads. A wide shot. Later, it describes the grandfather as being ‘bundled in a knee-length jacket and scarf, with fitted gloves.’ A medium shot. We see the grandfather and get a feel for his character. Then, ‘He kept his back straight and chin high.’ A close-up, conveying a special detail about him. Later, the characters stop in front of the diner, ‘where blue efficiency lights illuminated the snow outside the window and gave the gray world a little bit of color.’ Personally, I think this straddles the line between medium shot and wide shot, since it shows where the characters are without giving us the full scope of where we’re at. But when we get to ‘A blast of warm air whooshed past me, along with the smell of coffee, toast, and freshly scrambled eggs,’ I’d consider this a close-up, because we’re focusing on particular details. When Pops chooses a seat at a round table, and then we see the security guards at the table next to them, it’s two medium shots side-by-side (or one medium shot that pans across the scene).

That’s my interpretation of the different shots, but I’m not an expert, by any means. These are just my observations. There are several other types of shots and angles that movies employ, and I found several good examples at this site here, if you’re curious: http://www.serif.com/appresources/mlx5/Tutorials/en-us/tutorials/basics_shottypes.htm

By keeping these various shots in mind, you can choose how and when to add emphasis in your own scenes.

Other things to consider is where the focus is placed in a movie. Often, based on depth of field, our eye and attention will follow exactly what the director wants us to watch, even if there’s action happening in the background. A sharper focus on the main character of the scene, while the other characters are blurry, leads our eye to the sharper character. In a story, this happens when a writer gives us more detail about what one character is doing, while maybe only mentioning that another character is there.

This happens in the example, when I mention the people hurrying to work. They’re present in the scene, but they’re not the main focus, so I only briefly allude to them before moving on to the next ‘shot,’ the description of the grandfather. You don’t have as good of a view of them.

If you mention something in your story, the reader ‘sees’ it. Pay attention to this, especially in deep points of view. If you’re writing really close to the main character, and they don’t see something, the reader shouldn’t, either. Now, if you present clues that the character dismisses, but the readers can piece together, that’s a bit different. It links back to my earlier post I wrote about foreshadowing.

Another trick you can employ from movies is evoking the sense of slow-motion. This happens by paying attention to several particular details in a sequential action. One of my favorite examples of this is in Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart. I don’t want to spoil the scene itself, so I’m not going to give all the details, but during the scene a gun is fired, and due to his description of each of the little details (the trigger being pulled, the hammer striking, the movement of the bullet), it felt like the scene was moving in slow motion, much like a movie sequence.

There’s a lot you can do with description to create pacing and enhance the world, and by choosing which details to focus on, you can employ cinematic effects in your writing.

Knowing how to employ these shots might also prove useful when creating book trailers.

I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know what you think. 🙂

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