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Behind the Scenes – Hunter in the Darkness

A cover for Melange Books. We wanted the cover to resemble the other books in the series, Night of the Hunter, and Demon Hunter. Per usual, we used the same model, but a different pose of the head, and a different body, so as to vary the general look. We kept the stormy background from the previous cover, and I changed the lighting so that it would look more consistent across the cover as a whole. The font and placement of text remained the same.

This is the result:

SBibb - Hunter in the Darkness - Book Cover

Stock images from DepositPhotos and Dreamstime:

http://depositphotos.com/11103958/stock-photo-chichen-itza-mayan-pyramid.html – pyramid

http://depositphotos.com/19515051/stock-photo-man-holding-gun.html – man

http://depositphotos.com/39715889/stock-photo-couple-with-bows-and-historical.html – head

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-businessman-gun-white-image47821012 – eyes

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-smoke-moves-black-background-image48826804 – fog

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Behind the Scenes – Entrance to Dark Harbor

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover, we wanted to keep the same style as the first book, Dusk Runner. I used the same two textures to create the background (though I made sure to do the retouching on the basic layers this time, so that next time will require less retouch work). The author already had an image in mind for the main picture. While it wasn’t from one of our usual stock providers, I used the provided image and their description of the ship to find a similar picture at Dreamstime. I kept the text placement and style the same (though some adjustments had to be made, since the title was longer). We also tried two different font colors, a pale, near-white blue, and then a light blue. We ultimately chose the light blue since the color was still visible and provided the closest match to the previous title.

This is the result:

Behind the Scenes - Entrance to Dark Harbor Book Cover

Behind the Scenes - Entrance to Dark Harbor - Back of Book Cover

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-brown-leather-texture-image21958744 – leather texture

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-old-yellow-brown-vintage-parchment-paper-texture-image24082203 – paper texture

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sailing-ship-image12784651 – ship silhouette

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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Wheee… it’s been a busy month, and I almost forgot to write up a status report. So here we go, an end of the month report! (Which means I should probably try to schedule the December report sometime mid-month. We’ll see if that happens or if it ends up being end of the month again).

Here it is!

Mid-Missouri Artists – Arts and Crafts Show: This was a local, one-day show Isaac and I attended. It went well, and we enjoyed talking to everyone there. We sold 4 copies of the Phalanx game, the cloth board edition, 1 copy of Magic’s Stealing, and 3 copies of Distant Horizon. I still need to run the numbers, but I’m pretty sure we broke even on the cost of the booth, and might have made a little profit, too. (Note: I factor in the basic costs of the individual items when figuring out the break-even point, as well as taxes and credit card processing fees). We also gave away 1 copy of Magic’s Stealing for the show’s raffle. Plus, the local newspaper ran a small article about Infinitas Publishing, so that was neat, too. 🙂

UCM Holiday Market: A local, one-day event that takes place at the University of Central Missouri. It’s scheduled for Wednesday, November 30th. We plan to have our current books there, as well as the remaining cloth boards of Phalanx. We’ve gone there before to sell art prints while I was majoring in photography at UCM, but this is our first time selling  our books and games.

Distant Horizon: The book is out and in the wild! Woot! (Seriously, I’ve read through it so many times that I’m glad it’s finally complete).

We did a book blitz with YA Bound Book Tours during the last week of October/first week of November, which helped get the word out about the existence of the book. In the meantime, a wonderful author friend helped us get the word out about review copies through an email form, and we’ve gotten quite a few reviews on Goodreads from that mailer. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed Distant Horizon so far! You’re awesome! 😀

(Note: YA Bound Book Tours still has the request up for bloggers interested in review copies, so if you missed out on the mailer and want to request a free copy of Distant Horizon in exchange for an honest review, take a look ).

Glitch: This is the next book I plan to work on based in the world of Distant Horizon. It’s technically a companion novel, but it follows what happens to Tim after the end of Distant Horizon, and overlaps book two (Fractured Skies) in the series. Since Fractured Skies has major spoilers about the end of Glitch, and Glitch only has minor spoilers about Fractured Skies… I’m going to try getting this one done next. The good news: the first draft has been written and semi-polished for story plot. Bad news: It needs a lot of tightening and edits for continuity. The tone is also a bit different, as well, as Glitch is intended to lean more into the horror spectrum.

The Shadow War: Ebook pre-orders are up, with the release day set for February! This is the second book of The Wishing Blade series, and I’m in the polishing stages. Or… I’m in the polish-and-let-Isaac-rip-apart-the-plot-holes stage. After he’s finished reading the manuscript, I’ll attempt to fix the holes so that we don’t have as many “How It Should Have Ended” moments (which, if you haven’t seen the clips, which poke at the popular sci-fi/fantasy movies, you should totally look it up on Youtube. They’re entertaining and have rather useful points for writers to keep in mind). Anyway, The Shadow War is my major writing/editing focus at the moment.

Stone and String: I’ve got a few short story ideas in mind for this particular storyline. I had planned on writing them for NaNoWriMo, but got side-tracked editing The Shadow War. The freebie promotion days on Kindle Select recently ended (we had 13 downloads and 1 review… thank you!), and I’m planning on pulling it from Select at the end of the month. I’m hoping to put it on Smashwords sometime in December, which will open the ebook’s availability across multiple platforms.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: On hold. At the moment I’m focusing on the bigger projects, but I want to return to it at a later date. (Note… if you’ve read it thus far and want to see more, let us know! Nothing like having readers show interest to let us know which projects we should be prioritizing). 😉

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: We’ve got a few ideas of how to lower the base cost of the game so that we can have copies available at local conventions/events. At the moment, it’s only feasible to have it available to order online. More information on that in the future.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration:  Finished one cover today and I’m aiming to finish another cover/formatting project at the end of the week. I’ve been scaling down the amount of projects I have here so that I have more time for Infinitas Publishing projects.

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!

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

That’s all for now, and I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report and Sneak Peek of Distant Horizon!

Wow, time flies when you’re super busy! Anyway, it’s time for another Infinitas Publishing Status report before October creeps up on us.

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Burg Fest: Yesterday, Isaac and I had our booth at Burg Fest (A Friday/Saturday event). Isaac and I manned the booth with help from a few of our beta testers (thank you!). Overall, the event went really well. We sold out of our wooden Phalanx boards, and sold several of our books. More on the event as a whole in a future post, once we’ve had a chance to reorganize and take inventory of everything.

Distant Horizon: This book is just about complete! Got notes back from my editor, completed those notes, and I’m now doing the last round of proofreading before I reformat the print edition and order a proof copy. We recently did a cover reveal with Lola’s Blog Tours, which  went well. Around twenty blogs participated. I’ve still got a few promo items to complete (book trailer–partially completed, and Twitter/Facebook pictures) before setting up a book blitz, but we’re getting closer. The ebook is available for pre-order now, and the release date is set for October 27th!

The Shadow War: I’ve got the latest draft out to a beta reader. I’m hoping this one may be a bit closer to complete (with fewer plot holes) than the previous draft. May be a little while before I can continue work on this, but that depends on how fast other projects get done and when I get beta reader feedback. I’ve got a personal goal in mind for a release date, so I’m working towards that.

Stone and String: I released this short story through Kindle Select earlier this month. Same universe as The Wishing Blade series, but different region. I’ve been having fun developing the word magic system, and I hope to write a few more short stories in this series once I finish preparing Distant Horizon for publication.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Trials of Blood and Steel: I have the next episode ready to send to our beta-reader, but I want to make sure Distant Horizon is complete before I turn my attention back to this series. I think Isaac and I may have worked through some of the plot issues slowing our progress on this series, so hopefully you’ll be seeing more episodes of The Multiverse Chronicles soon. Based on feedback I heard at Burg Fest, I’m thinking we’ll definitely want to compile the completed episodes into book format once the whole series is written.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Once I have the proof copy of Distant Horizon ordered, I have two formatting projects to complete. I aim to have them both done before the end of October.DH Divider

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!

DH Divider

And now a sneak peek of Distant Horizon!

Chapter One

The first time I flushed an adominogen pill, the oblong capsule tumbled from my hand and bounced off the bathroom sink, once, twice, then fell into the toilet with a finalizing plop.

Gone.

I waited all day for someone to ask why I didn’t report accidentally losing my pill. But no one did, and I didn’t have any of the hallucinations that­­ the health officials said I would have if I didn’t take it. Instead, the world around me felt so much more… alive. My attention improved, not that it was bad to begin with, and I could think clearly. Be more efficient.

After that, I stopped taking the pill. I graduated high school and started my first year of college—no sign of any hallucinations or crazy delusions that come with being infected by theophrenia. But when our hall advisor announced that the annual Health Scan would take place in two days, I panicked.

I needed three things to graduate: excellent grades, as many efficiency points as possible, and to pass the scan. It wasn’t often someone failed, but it did happen. One of my friends in high school had a sister who failed—Galina. She took the scan at the clinic downtown, and Special Forces escorted her away, all while assuring everything would be fine.

I didn’t want to end up like her, so right after the announcement, I took the pill. It was like throwing a clear, plastic tarp over my world. I felt like an unbalanced gyroscope and I spent half the day in the bathroom, sick to my stomach. But I couldn’t go to the doctor for the symptoms. Not taking the pill was an international offense.

The next day, today, I shuffled around a bathroom stall, fighting to extract an orange pill bottle from my backpack. For the love of efficiency—the stupid thing had dropped between my textbooks. I shoved the books aside, snagged the bottle, and tucked a pill into my palm. I didn’t need it skittering across the floor where someone might notice.

My phone beeped and I dropped the pill.

The plop echoed and the toilet flushed automatically. The pill swirled to its watery demise. The toilet gurgled, and the water rippled in the bowl.

Well, I had considered taking the pill, but that wasn’t happening now. I stared at the toilet a moment longer, then hoisted my backpack onto my shoulder and froze halfway out the stall door. A woman wearing all black stood between me and the sinks. The red, rising sun half-cog of E-Leadership was stitched across her left shoulder sleeve, and though she wasn’t wearing her visor, the sight sent a jolt of terror through me.

Special Forces. If she’d heard the plop…

She glanced at the orange pill bottle in my hand and raised an eyebrow. “Everything all right?”

I nodded too quickly. “Yeah—I forgot to go to the bathroom before I left my room.”

She scowled. “Aren’t you late to your morning meeting?”

I stared at her, my whole body shaking. Of course I was late, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. I fumbled for something to say, but she shook her head and sighed before I could speak.

“Freshmen,” she muttered. “You need to get your act together if you plan to get anywhere in life. You can start by washing your hands.”

I rushed to the sink and dropped the pill bottle on the counter.

“The Community is safe,” she said.

“The Community is secure,” I replied. What was Special Forces doing here?

She crossed her arms in the mirror, her eyes firmly on the pill bottle. “The Community is efficient.”

I wasn’t sure if I remembered to say, “It is our duty,” before I snatched the bottle from the sink and dashed out. The hall blurred around me and my sneakers thumped the tile as I sprinted from the bathroom. I stuffed the bottle into my backpack. Maybe Ivan would be late to the morning meeting. Just for once, he could be late. Not just me.

Not just—

I flung the glass doors open to the lounge, skidding as the roomful of students stopped listening to the morning announcements to give me a curious stare. Lance gave me an accusatory “where were you?” glare while Sam—college gossip—cocked her head, interested in my evident demise. Because, of course, Ivan wasn’t late.

No one said a word. The heater rattled softly as it blew air through the vents along the windows. The words “Safety, Security, and Efficiency” framed the smooth stone wall behind Ivan, while a lone screen hanging near the windows flashed silent reminders. “Take the pill! Theophrenia kills!” andAre you seeing something strange? Save a life—get your Health Scan today!”

Ivan cleared his throat. He was tall and slender, dressed in the crisp gray uniform of a hall advisor. At twenty, he was only a couple years older than me, but he was prepping for E-Leadership. Not the guy I wanted to mess with, especially after being late to all but one of my classes yesterday. He waited as I slid into the only empty chair and pulled my backpack into my lap. The books settled unevenly, but their closeness offered some comfort.

Ivan made a notation on his tablet. “You’re late. I’ll have to deduct efficiency points from your record.” He looked up at me and his forehead wrinkled with concern. “Everything all right?”

“I’m fine!” I clutched my backpack, speaking too fast to sound innocent. “I was just worried about the Health Scan and didn’t get any sleep. I had a nightmare that I failed and security was chasing me.”

The monitor near the windows flashed to a mug shot of a man with dark circles under his eyes. Underneath, the subtitles ran a story I’d read a hundred times. The man had killed his family because he didn’t take the Health Scan and theophrenia made him think he could control fire. We’d all been forced to watch a documentary of the old news coverage as kids, and some images just didn’t go away. I shuddered. The man had burned his family alive. That’s what the plague—theophrenia—could do. Make a person go crazy. See things that weren’t there. Hear voices or act on terrible impulses. My father’s parents had died during the plague years. What had they seen? Anything?

What if I started seeing things, too?

I clamped my hands around my backpack straps, but Sam giggled, oblivious to my thoughts. She twirled her fingers through her curls. “Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll do fine. Besides, you aren’t supposed to run away from security. They’re the ones who help you.” She started to lay a sympathetic hand on my shoulder, but withdrew when I glared at her. She’d probably borrowed that gesture from some video of Lady Black, or maybe from reading How to Behave like a Proper Leader, a textbook for the one class I’d permanently dropped.

“Sam’s right,” Ivan agreed. “Security is here to help.” He turned his attention to the rest of the students. “As a reminder, tomorrow afternoon is this year’s Health Scan. Be on time so that everything runs efficiently.” He shot me a warning glare before addressing the rest of the room. “That’s all the news I have for today. The Community is safe.”

“The Community is secure,” we replied automatically. “The Community is efficient. It is our duty.”

Dismissed, the other students filed from the lounge and into the hall. I must have been later than I thought. Normally I got to the meetings on time, but after being sick yesterday, I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. I hadn’t lied. I really did have nightmares of security guards chasing me around campus, pelting me with white adominogen pills and Health Scan fliers. The whole dream sounded ridiculous now, but it had been terrifying while I slept.

I waited for the crowd to pass until my best friend, Lance Mechnikov, came up beside me. He waited until we were behind everyone else, then lowered his voice so that I was the only one who could hear him. “You know, Jen, I heard of a guy who got stuck working road crew because he was absent too often.”

“I’m feeling better, okay?” I forced a smile, though I was still jittery from my encounter with the Special Forces agent. “Let’s get food.”

Lance patted my shoulder. “Sure. We can talk after breakfast.”

The bright blue LEDs in the downstairs cafeteria glinted off the polished stone walls, making them shine. Though most pre-Community buildings had been burned to prevent further spread of the plague, I understood why E-Leadership made the effort to keep this one. The craftsmanship was amazing; the seams where the stones had been placed were hardly visible. I’d only noticed because I’d found a tiny bit of ivy creeping from a crack in the corner of the building where I liked to study.

We dropped our backpacks at a nearby table and took our place in line. The smell of egg burritos, complete with tangy salsa, wafted through the cafeteria. Apple juice drizzled into the glasses of students who were already ahead of us. If it wasn’t for the Health Scan tomorrow and already being late to the first meeting, this day would almost be normal.

“Jenna! Lance!”

Tim, a sandy-haired guy, pushed his way through the breakfast crowd, a backpack hanging loosely over one shoulder. He fished a tablet from his pocket, breathless. “Did you hear? They’re doing the Health Scan—”

“Yeah, we’ve heard.” I accepted my plate from the server. It was warm from sitting beside the heating elements. “Ivan told us yesterday.”

Tim paused, then followed us to our usual table. “You already knew?”

“She worried herself sick.” Lance twisted his lips and glanced at me, but it wasn’t my fault I’d gotten sick. Not exactly.

“What are you worried about?” Tim protested. “I’m the one whose pills have been missing for a week!”

Lance held up his fingers. “Four days. You lost your pills four days ago.”

Almost a week! What happens if the scan doesn’t register that I’ve been taking them? What if I fail? What if—”

“They would’ve given you replacement pills if it was that big a deal,” Lance said. “Think about it.”

“But how do I know? My grandmother died in the plague. What if I’m a carrier?” He scooted into a chair at our table.

Lance and I exchanged glances. Neither of our parents wanted to talk about our grandparents. Few did. Theophrenia had wiped out half the world’s population. Who wanted to remember that?

I shifted uncomfortably. If the disease was still out there, even in the slightest, I might carry it and accidentally infect others.

“Your parents were fine.” Lance nudged Tim with his plate. “You’ve only been off the pills for a week. Like Miss Worry-wart over here—” He glared at me. “—you’ll pass.”

Tim scowled, then scuttled toward the breakfast line with his tablet. I poked my fork at my burrito, but I’d lost my appetite. The other students around the room chatted as if the Health Scan wasn’t a big deal. But why would they worry? They took the pills.

“Lance—” I looked up hesitantly. “Have you heard anything from Galina?”

He sighed. “You’re really worried about this, aren’t you?”

“Well duh. We need the scan to graduate.”

“You take the pills, right? You’ll be fine.” He smiled. “Galina was an odd case.”

“Did she come back?”

His smile faltered. “I’m not sure. You were closer to her than I was.”

My chest constricted. How long was the treatment supposed to take? If theophrenia was supposed to be dead—or dormant, at least—how did Galina fail? Had her failure been a precautionary measure?

I glanced around the room. A Special Forces agent sat at a table near the wall. Security guards I was used to. But Special Forces? I’d never seen any agents on campus before. It felt like a sign of impending doom.

The agent paused from his breakfast and looked up, as if he realized he was being watched, and I quickly returned my attention to my burrito.

A moment later, Tim returned to the chair beside me and sat his plate on the table. He twisted his fingers in the chain of the light bulb efficiency charm around his neck, opened his mouth to speak, then paused. “So, Jenna… Do you think you might be able to talk to Sam for me and see if she’s going to community service tomorrow evening?” He talked so fast that his words muddled and I almost didn’t catch what he said. “If I could get a date, it would take my mind off the pills.” He smiled, his blue eyes wide and hopeful.

“I’m not really that good at talking to her,” I said hesitantly.

“Please? I’d owe you a huge favor.”

I glanced to where Sam sat with her group. They giggled and pointed to her phone. She was probably showing them a picture of her mangy cat, Little Beastie, the photograph I’d seen enough times in biology class to recognize the blur of pixels from a distance.

She flipped a blond curl over her shoulder, laughing a little too loudly, then whispered something to one of the girls, who nodded vigorously. She pocketed her phone and headed our direction.

Tim’s eyes went wide. “Well?”

“Sure,” I mumbled. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Sam joined us beside the table, her hands clasped behind her back as she cozied up to Lance. She had tucked her yellow shirt into her pale blue slacks to reveal more of her form than usual, as if she were trying to look like a member of E-Leadership. “I’m going to community service at the gardens tomorrow,” she said. “Do you have a partner yet?”

Lance’s cheeks flushed red. “Jenna, we’re still good for tomorrow, right?”

I gave Sam as big a smile as I could muster. Beside me, Tim’s eyes widened. “Of course,” I replied, then looked toward Sam. “But Tim doesn’t have a partner.”

Sam gave Lance a baleful pout. “Uh, sure.” She flashed a halfhearted smile at Tim. “I’ll see you then.” She waved and returned to her friends, who all patted her back and said their disappointed apologies.

Thank you,” Lance mouthed. Tim punched the air, gleeful in our unplanned success, and I suspected he would be posting this to his EYEnet account later. At least it would give him something to distract his mind.

If only I had a good distraction, too.

Tim might not have taken the pills for a week, but I hadn’t taken them for six months.

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Like what you read? Want to find out what happens next?

Pre-Order Distant Horizon today!
Amazon – Amazon UK – B&N – Kobo – iTunes – Smashwords

You can also find Distant Horizon on Goodreads.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Behind the Scenes – Night of the Hunter

A cover for Melange Books. For this cover we wanted a dark, sinister tone, and the author asked for the demon-like creatures to be staring out of the darkness. To achieve the appearance of the demon, I used a base image to start with, then used various layers in Photoshop to apply the red glow, which I then smudged and liquefied to match the model’s facial features.

Since the author said the main character is supposed to be a reincarnation of the main character from his other books, I used the same model, but with a different hairstyle.

This is the result:

Book Cover - Night of the Hunter

Back of Book Cover - Night of the Hunter

Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-young-vampire-man-shirtless-gesturing-to-camera-portrait-showing-his-torso-chest-abs-looking-dark-background-image60136451 – demon

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-fog-smoke-background-image69643118 – fog

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-dangerous-man-gun-sunglasses-standing-abandoned-house-image65411957 – black shirt

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-businessman-gun-white-image47821012 – aimed gun

Head image from Dollar Photo Club

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Behind the Scenes – In the Camp

This is a cover for Melange Books‘ young adult imprint. For this cover, the author wanted a symbol rather than a scene, and in their art form they mentioned that their story revolves around elves using nature to reclaim the modern human cities after a devastating war. Based on that, and since the author said that there was a phone that played a large role in the story, I tinkered with the idea of having an old, cracked phone on the cover.

Vines partially cover the phone (showing nature beginning to take over again), and I added the “reflection” in the phone’s screen to show more of the setting (a swampy area). To give the cover a dystopian feel, I used a couple grungy concrete textures in addition to the concrete background. For the text, I tried a bolder font to keep with the genre, and added a more “computery” text to the phone for the series title.

This is the result:

Book Cover - In the Camp

SBibb - ItCBackcoverBlog
Stock images from Dollar Photo Club:

https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/86638759 – concrete wall
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/87991955 – ivy
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/72301540 – cracked phone
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/95588080 – Night Sky
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/75505794 – abandoned warehouse
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/69503655 – swamp
https://www.dollarphotoclub.com/84770412 – concrete grunge texture

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Thoughts on Publishing – A Video Blog Post (Battle Decks Announcement)

No reading from Magic’s Stealing today, however, I’ve got exciting announcements regarding the release dates for Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel and The Multiverse Chronicles. 😀

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

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