Tag Archives: SBibb

Behind the Scenes – M.O.B. (Mean Old Bastard)

I based the style of this cover on the Matt Helm and Travis McGee series per the author’s request. While I still tried to modernize it, I applied several illustrative effects to the pictures using photoshop filters and layer styles. Originally I looked on Dreamstime and Shutterstock for stock photos that fit the main character of the novel, but they weren’t hitting the mark, so the author sent me a picture of his own (that he was free to use), as an example. I liked the look and asked if I could try working that photo into the design of the cover, and this is the result:

SBibb - MOB_Cover_Blog

MOB - Wraparound Book Cover

Photo of the man on the motorcycle provided by the author. Other stock images are my own.

I also formatted both the print and ebook editions of the book. For the ebook edition, I decided to use the silhouette of the man on the motorcycle as a break between section (whereas the print edition has extra line space between sections, and uses the silhouette as part of the chapter title). Since I wanted to try matching the title font to the chapters, I created all the chapter titles as images and used those in place of the typed titles in the ebook. However, the current previewer for Kindle wouldn’t render a transparent GIF properly in the iPad/iPhone option (rendered them as black, illegible boxes), so I created them as JPGs. They might look a tad bit funny if on a background color other than white (such as cream), but at least all the main devices should be able to read them. I plan testing a PNG file for transparency on a future project, but I wanted to make sure that the current file will be readable for everyone until I can test the file formats separately.

Buy M.O.B. for the Kindle or as a paperback.

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Behind the Scenes – Red Sun Over Mexico

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted to stick with the same theme as the first book in the series, Red Sun Over Panama. I kept most of the same imagery, including quite a bit of the retouching I’d already done, and inserted an image symbolic of Mexico.

To figure out which image to use, I emailed the author about symbolism relevant in the book. Other than the Japanese Red Sun, pulled from the first cover to give this a historical touch, he mentioned the temples as a landmark. So that’s what we went with.

The publisher repurchased a licence for each of the images we used a second time, as well as picked up the new image we needed.

Keeping with the first cover, I hid part of the title behind the landmark. In this one, more of the title is hid than in the first, but I was careful to make sure that the title was still legible.

This is the end result:

SBibb - Red Sun Over Mexico - Book Cover

SBibb - Red Sun Over Mexico - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime and Dollar Photo Club.

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

Today I’m reading chapter sixteen of Magic’s Stealing. Enjoy. 🙂

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

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post (Stealth Con and Battle Decks Release)

Just a quick video blog post today. Isaac and I had an awesome time at Stealth Con, and in the blog post I go into a bit of detail regarding our upcoming plans. 😀

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

Infinitas Publishing: http://www.infinitaspublishing.com/

Buy the game!

Deluxe Edition: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/battle-decks:-trials-of-blood-and-steel-deluxe-edition
Basic Edition: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/battle-decks:-trials-of-blood-and-steel-basic-edition

Free Trial Version: http://www.infinitaspublishing.com/battle-decks.html

Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/infinitaspublishing/
Check out our Twitter: https://twitter.com/InfinitasPub

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Battle Decks – Release Weekend!

Hello everybody… I know I’ve been silent on this blog for the past week. But there’s a special reason. Isaac and I have finally released Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel!

We’re still working on the final touches for the online printout of the trial version, but the basic and deluxe editions are now online for sale! 😀

You can download a PDF of the rules, glossary, and printable tokens at our Infinitas Publishing web site.

There are two versions available.

The basic edition has only the cards and a two-page sheet of rules. (We suggest downloading the PDF of rules for larger text and pictures). The deluxe edition has the cards, a shiny rules booklet, two six-sided dice, counter tokens, and a mini poster (Technically, the basic edition also comes with the mini poster, at least for the time being).

Basic Edition

BD-BasicBoxFront

Buy Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel – Basic Edition!

 Deluxe Edition

BD-DeluxeBoxFront

Buy Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel – Deluxe Edition!

Last week, Isaac and I have created an Infinitas Publishing Facebook page. Feel free to like the page to keep up-to-date with various announcements. 🙂

And lastly, episode four of The Multiverse Chronicles, where Trish confronts a rampaging pterosaur, is now up.

Next week, I plan to do a video blog post about our experiences at Stealth Con, and then I’ll get back to my usual schedule of doing a reading, a post about writing/gaming/publishing, and uploading one episode of Multiverse a week. 🙂

Enjoy, and if you know of anyone who might be interested in the game or blog series, please share! 😀

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Behind the Scenes – The Girl Who Flew Away

This is a cover for Barking Rain Press. The author had several ideas on their art form for how the cover might look, and they listed a few options for symbolism. After reading the form, I had an idea of the style I thought might work. I found the images (including the sketchy dragonflies, both the illustration and the creature referencing the book) and put together a mock-up. My initial mock-up had a different background, which included cliffs and a waterfall but didn’t really give the right feel in regards to setting. I sent another idea for the background, just the picture, along with the mock-up, and they asked to try it. This is the end result. 🙂

SBibb - The Girl Who Flew Away - Book Cover

SBibb - The Girl Who Flew Away - Wrap-Around Book Cover

Stock images from Shutterstock:

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=94726207

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=171422249

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=116280835

http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=146807903

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Thoughts on Publishing – The Excerpt at the Front of a Print Book

I’m in the process of creating a paperback edition of Magic’s Stealing. I’ve got most of the formatting complete, save for a couple blank pages, and I’m currently focusing on adding an excerpt at beginning of print book. The idea is that as soon as a potential reader opens the book, the first thing they see is a teaser that makes them want to read more (and encourages them to be patient if that scene takes time to reach).

Keep in mind, when a reader is browsing a book store or examining a book at an author’s table, they will likely look at the cover, then at the back cover blurb, then at the excerpt on the first page of the book. The goal is to draw them in more and more until they choose to buy the book.

This is how I ended up buying The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross (and ultimately loving it) at a Barnes and Noble. I’ve seen other books do the same. Adding the excerpt provides a teaser so that the reader knows what to expect.

(You might see another form of this on a hardcover book, but the excerpt may be on the back cover, usually something of action or intrigue, with the blurb inside the cover flaps).

Let’s take a look at Magic’s Stealing and see how this compares.

Back Cover Blurb:

For centuries, ribbons of magic have provided the kingdom of Cirena with light, healing, and protection. Then, in a span of minutes, those ribbons fly from their masters, stolen, save for the magic of a few chosen mages. One of these mages is Toranih, a young noblewoman who would rather have a sword in her hand than use her powers to heal or throw fireballs. As a result, her magic skills are lacking. But with former mages dying from magic withdrawal, and the looming threat of an army of shadows who are impervious to mortal weapons, she must either embrace the responsibilities of a mage or watch her home perish.

Whatever excerpt I choose, the excerpt should enhance the understanding of the content inside the book.

These were the two excerpts I’m considering:

First Excerpt

Toranih cast a glance toward the distant mountain and shivered. The closer they came, the more her unease grew. It wasn’t her usual dislike of magic. As close as they were now, the magic inside the forge glowed like a star. Yet the whole place was shrouded with a thick fog, a veil that kept the magic hidden from the distance.

She frowned.

She could almost see thin filaments weaving through the fog, like the shadows of strings from a poorly played puppet theatre. The filaments lashed out in different directions, disappearing as they touched bright, sunlit sky. She tilted her head and squinted, but the strings vanished altogether.

She shivered and returned to picking at the soft innards of her roll.

There was something different about that magic. Wild. Unsteady. Like a foal that hadn’t been broken, and might never be. The magic was curious, like a dark storm cloud spewing cracks of thunder and lightning when the rest of the land was gold.

Toranih shivered.

All this magic was bound to cause strange visions.

So why was she drawn to follow?

In this excerpt, we get a glimpse at shadow magic, a sense of eeriness, and a taste of the writing style. There is a also a question at the end, which would hopefully draw a reader’s attention. However, this scene doesn’t jibe with the back cover blurb. We have a mountain forge, shadowy, string-like magic, strange visions, and some kind of call to follow that magic. While the scene should be intriguing in itself, it doesn’t mesh well with the blurb.

Second Excerpt

Toranih could actually see faint ribbons in the distance, rising from their masters. The ribbons streamed into the sky, a dazzling array of colors, then fled east, away from the city in a glaring river.

She looked at the bowl again and blinked her eyes to clear the spots. She had to know what was going on. The liquid had gone milky-white, but if she could see what was happening . . .

She ran her fingers along the strings at the top of the water. One here, one there. The tips of her fingers tingled as lavender wisps flooded the bowl. The image swirled, faint. The mountain forge reappeared. The man held his sword fixed between both hands, raised to the sky. His feet were spread strong under his shoulders. Ribbons streamed to his sword from across the kingdom. The sword glowed bright and brighter, and as the screams outside died into a disjointed murmur, the sword faded and the image darkened.

The water was clear now, devoid of life.

Everyone’s magic had fled into the stranger’s sword.

First, this excerpt shows the ribbons mentioned in the blurb. Second, we see Toranih using magic (which conflicts with her dislike of magic, but the blurb does say she must embrace the responsibilities of being a mage). Third, we see a bit about the antagonist. Fourth, we see the event that the blurb mentions, and the end of the excerpt sets the problem up further.

Ultimately, I’m thinking the second excerpt is a lot stronger as a potential hook, especially when paired with the back cover blurb.

I hope you find this post helpful. 🙂 Have you considered adding an excerpt to the front of your book?

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Behind the Scenes – A Wolf Slayer Saga: Dragon Sword

This is a cover for Melange Books. Since we knew we had a sequel coming, we put a little more focus in setting up the basic structure of the cover… the wolf head at top, the series name on the side, and the placement of the title and author name. We also played with the mood, choosing the dark blue color for the forest and the red of the title to create a dramatic, dangerous tone. We chose a model with multiple poses, though I did a bit of photomanipulation to make him look more like how the character is described in the book. I also made both him and the wolf have a more noticeable scowl, and I played with the depth of field to put more of the emphasis on the model.

For the back cover I went with a simple leather texture to match the edge of the front cover with the series title. This is the end result:

SBibb - Dragon Sword - Book Cover

SBibb - Dragon Sword - Back Cover

Stock images from The Dollar Photo Club:

https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/64831097 – leather texture
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/48895294 – wolf head
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/59929394 – swordsman
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/45294831 – snarling wolf
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/58438380 – winter forest
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/19521274 – wolf group

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Thoughts On Writing – Using Subplots To Tie Everything Together

Last time I blogged, I talked about figuring out what happens next in a scene. That process helped me out considerably with the scene I was working on, along with a few scenes before that. However, I’ve been running into a new problem–figuring out how to get the ending to fit together.

The story I’m currently working on is supposed to be a romance with science fiction elements. One of the scenes I visualized for the ending was… well… not romantic. The characters stay together, but there’s this looming shadow of oppression hanging over them both.

Not exactly a happy ending.

I tried day-dreaming alternative ways the scene could play out. I originally had Special Forces tapping Cole’s phone, and so they overhear when Amy says that Mr. Rivera is a member of Challenge, a supposed terrorist organization. But then my husband pointed out that, as Cole’s supervisor, Mr. Rivera would be the one to hear the message first.

No Special Forces agents descending on the group, leading to a major fight scene that doesn’t end well for anybody. Not unless Tamara called the police earlier, but that didn’t make sense with her motives.

So I started plotting what might be said if Tamara and Cole sat down confront Mr. Rivera directly. One of the things I pictured Mr. Rivera saying was that not all members of Challenge were the bad guys. Then I realized that I already had the elements in place to include an actual bad guy who was working for Challenge.

All in the form of a separate subplot that I’d largely forgotten.

This is a scene from earlier in the story, one which made me realize I had an undeveloped subplot waiting to be used.

“What took you so long?” Amy looked up from her phone and raised an eyebrow. She was probably playing an EYEnet game, or something like that. “Get lost in the cafeteria? Or did you meet somebody cute downstairs?” She eyed my empty laundry basket suspiciously.

 

“Unless you count the police officer, not really.” I dropped onto the bed and yawned.

 

Admittedly, the guy had been cute. Light brown hair, closely cropped to his head. Square jaw, and a smattering of super-light freckles across his cheeks. Didn’t look badly built, either. But I’d been too worried about the ‘painting’ to dwell on his looks.

 

“Police officer?” She frowned and lowered her phone to her lap. “What happened?”

 

“Someone drew a picture on the wall.” I sighed, already removing my phone from my pocket to show her.

 

“A policeman came for a picture?”

 

“Not just any picture.” I passed her the phone. Her green eyes widened as she stared at the picture I’d taken. “You okay?”

 

I wrestled the phone back from her fingers. Her knuckles had gone white from how tight she was gripping that thing.

 

“Yeah,” she whispered. “Wish I’d thought of that.”

 

I blinked. “What?”

 

She laughed dismissively. “Using laundry detergent to paint a picture. It’s imaginative. Even if it is… well… you know.” Her voice dropped off, and her lips twisted into a frown. She was still eyeing my phone.

 

“Should I delete the picture?” I asked.

 

“What?”

 

“You know… so it doesn’t look like I’m supporting them?”

 

She scoffed. “You? Supporting them? Please. You’re like… the community ideal. Or you will be, if the whole EYEnet Match thing works out. You already reported this to the police, didn’t you? That’s how they found it?”

 

I nodded.

 

“Then you’re fine. Long as you weren’t the one who painted it.” She swiveled around to her computer.

 

“I’m fine? Someone around here is painting terrorist symbols on campus. In our dorm.”

 

Amy shrugged. Her blond ponytail bobbed inconspicuously. “I’m not worried. It’s probably just a student wanting to cause a ruckus. And even if it is someone from Challenge, I still wouldn’t worry too much. Didn’t you read those articles I gave you? Most those people probably aren’t going to do an outright attack. They need allies, not enemies, and attacking innocent people isn’t going to win them brownie points.”

Originally, I had planned for Amy to be the one doing the painting, since she has ties to Challenge. But as I wrote this scene, I got the distinct impression that Amy wasn’t the culprit. While I want readers to wonder if she is the culprit, this scene is also foreshadowing. If I weave in other incidents similar to this one, I can hint that there’s someone else on campus who is leaving behind these symbols.

Someone being reckless.

When I get to the scene where Tamara and Cole must choose between reporting to the police that Mr. Rivera is part of Challenge, or working with him, it helps if they have someone to rally against. In this case, a rogue member of Challenge who might actually be a threat.

The stakes are high for both sides. If this rogue is discovered, they draw attention to the ‘good’ Challenge members–Mr. Rivera and Amy. In addition, if this rogue makes an attack, innocent people are at risk. Since Tamara is interested in finding out the truth behind Challenge, she’s likely to get involved. Cole may get involved to protect Tamara and learn more about his supervisor’s (Mr. Rivera’s) secrets, while Amy would get involved because she wants to dispel the notion that all members of Challenge are terrorists.

Thus, by following a subplot that got planted earlier in the story, I may have a way to bring both sides together, raise the stakes, and still have the potential for a happy-ever-after.

But that’s still to be determined.

Now that I know someone other than Amy is leaving the symbol in public places, I’ve got to decide who they are, what they want, and how far they’ll go to get that.

Lesson learned? Subplots can be a helpful tool to move your story along and flesh out the world.

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

Have you ever found a piece of foreshadowing or minor subplot to be useful later when writing a story?

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Behind the Scenes – Oh Wicked Escort

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, the author already had a pretty good idea of what they wanted it to look like, and they provided a mockup along with the art form.

My job, then, was to find the appropriate stock images, the right font, and position those images based on what they had. In addition, I added the gilded, embossed effects to enhance the feeling that the book came from the particular era. I was a little concerned about being able to find an actual omnibus, as they requested, but once I went to the idea of using the gilded effect, I searched through the stock site’s illustrations along with photos, and found something that worked. This is the end result:

SBibb - Oh Wicked Escort - Book Cover

SBibb - OWEbackcoverblog
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-brown-leather-book-cover-image7811399
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-vector-image-omnibus-th-century-image30204939
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-street-lamp-isolated-white-background-image51506457

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