Category Archives: Writing

Writing Jenna as Bi – Plus 4 Tips for Writing a Bisexual Character

(Warning… spoilers for the romance subplot of Fractured Skies ahead.)

Fractured Skies - Book Cover

In the first Distant Horizon book, we don’t see much romance on behalf of the main character, Jenna. What little we do see is extremely slow burn.

It makes sense.

Having just been plunged into a world of super powers, rebellions, and a world government trying to capture her, Jenna simply isn’t interested in pursuing a romantic relationship.

There’s not enough time, and she has other things to worry about.

So the first book gets by with a few hints to Jenna and Lance possibly liking each other, but not much else.

Then, we get to Fractured Skies, and things begin to change. Not only do we see a romance subplot begin to develop, the course of that plot takes a slightly unexpected turn with the introduction of a new character.

Originally, Isaac and I planned for Jenna to go with Lance. After all, Lance is her best friend, they’ve been trying to save the world together, he likes her, and she sees him as a potentially practical partner. (And everyone else seems to think they’re already dating).

Problem is… they have rather different world views and life goals.

Lance wants to dismantle the Community and establish a world with new freedoms.

Jenna wants to keep the Community but make a few select changes… namely, no more beast transformations.

As the story proceeded in the rough draft, two things became very clear:

  1. Jenna likes Lance as a friend, but they have very different ideas of what they want.
  2. Jenna has a whole lot more chemistry with Lily, and they work really well together.

Sometimes our characters surprise us.

Either we can rewrite their goals and motivations to push them toward our original plan, or we can go with the flow and see what happens.

So, during one of the final major revision passes, I rewrote scenes between her, Lance, and Lily, with more of a push for Jenna expressing interest in Lily, while exaggerating the differences between her and Lance.

It worked.

Suddenly we had a romance plot we were actually interested in, and the tension between Lance and Jenna allowed for more character development and exploration of the differences in points of view–something this series really likes to explore.

Now, as a caveat, we tried to make sure that Jenna’s interest in Lily didn’t come out of the blue. Aside from building up a slow burn interest in Fractured Skies, early on in the series we had an idea that Jenna was bi, though the first book really didn’t present many opportunities for her to show that, and we were still expecting her to show interest in Lance.

One problem with writing a bi character, especially one who isn’t particularly romance- or sex-focused, is that they don’t always make that interest clear very quickly, which can lead to readers think they’re heterosexual, gay/lesbian, or asexual, depending on what is initially presented.

For Jenna, there is a teensy-tiny hint of her bisexuality in the first book (when she first meets Lady Black), but there wasn’t really a need to bring up her preferences at that point in time.

Romance and sex isn’t at the top of her list of things that are important–especially when she thinks she’s infected with a hallucinogenic plague and a person claiming to be her grandfather just tried to abduct her.

Segment from Distant Horizon, the first hint that she’s bisexual, though her reaction could be fairly easily attributed to Lady Black’s persuasion power or that she’s simply trying to calm Jenna down after the incident:

“Relax,” Lady Black crooned, brushing my cheek with her gloved hand. “You’ll do fine.”

As much as I wanted to pull away from her touch, I closed my eyes. She was safe. I wanted her to stay with me, to protect me from the old man and theophrenia. Her touch was comforting and secure…

“Trust me,” she whispered.

I smiled and swayed, dizzy with warmth. Of course I trusted her. She was an international leader. Why wouldn’t I trust her?

Ivan shooed the other students from the scene. “Thank you, my lady. Commander. The Community is safe.” He looked to me. “Why don’t you go inside? You’ll feel better in the morning.”

I murmured affirmation. Lady Black kissed my forehead and stroked her hand through my hair. “Yes, Miss Nickleson. Come along. Perhaps I could keep you company until your nerves have settled?”

My cheeks warmed, but Commander Rick cleared his throat. The lady pouted at him, then whispered goodnight and returned to the path beside him. Together they disappeared into a cluster of Special Forces agents who walked them through the courtyard.

The cues are subtle, which was intentional since we didn’t want readers to expect a romance-heavy plot this early in the series.

But once things start going back to (relatively) normal by the time we get to Fractured Skies, the idea of dating, of finding someone to share the same life experiences and who has the same sort of mentality Jenna does… that option opens up.

And certain characters clicked.

Things to keep in mind when writing a bi character:

  • Just because they’re bisexual doesn’t mean they’re going to find everyone attractive.
    • Even if you’re heterosexual, do you find every man or woman attractive? No? Same thing with being bi.

Jenna occasionally shows attraction to Lance as well as to Lily. But she doesn’t notice everyone in terms of attractiveness or sexiness. And what she does notice about them is very relevant to her personality. When she first sees Lily, well before she realizes she likes her in a romantic way, she notices the practicality Lily displays and the things which are relevant to the Community (since Jenna is proud of the Community).

One of the first times Jenna starts showing (still subtle) interest in Lily in Fractured Skies comes during a skirmish, when they’re still fighting on opposite sides of the battle:

I glanced at her from the corner of my eye, trying to see if there was anything about her that I could use to my advantage. She couldn’t be much older than me. No make-up, no nail polish, and her hand had a light pink scar running from the knuckles to the wrist. Except for her tunic and the braid, which was longer than Community standard, she could have easily been Community.

Too bad she was a merc.

Bisexual or not, when having a character notice someone, be sure to keep in mind what that character finds important, and what they like.

Once they start warming up to them, they might start noticing other things they like about that person.

  • Being bi doesn’t necessarily mean they’re only attracted to cis men and women… they may also be attracted to nonbinary or transgender people.

There are a lot of terms that surround bisexuality. Bi, bisexual, pansexual, non-monosexual, plurisexual… It’s easy to get lost in knowing what terms to use. On the technical side of things, “bi” typically means “two” and would seem to imply that someone who is bisexual is interested in two genders.

However, this is largely technical and falls a lot to personal preference. Someone who identifies as bi might not always take such a limiting approach (though some people do).

You may wish to consider if the character leans toward being attracted to one gender more often than another.

  • Being romantically interested and sexually attracted are two very different things.
    • This is why someone who is asexual may still be romantically inclined, or why someone who enjoys sex might not be interested in romance.

Romantic tension tends to be more emotionally related, whereas sexual tension tends to be more physical. Often, your characters will display both forms of tension, but not always.

  • You don’t have to make a big deal of sexual preference.
    • Caveat: a historical or contemporary piece may be very different than a story set in the far future. Different cultures have different reactions. Keep in mind context.

When writing Jenna’s character, the first time she realizes she likes Lily, she’s not surprised that she likes a woman. She’s surprised because Lily is a mercenary. She wouldn’t have thought Lily to be her type, and yet she has shown more consideration for Jenna’s feelings and been someone she enjoys being around.

Lily cleared her throat and offered a shy smile. “So… um… no hard feelings? About the teasing?”

A lump formed in my throat. Unlike Lance, she seemed to understand where I was coming from, even if she didn’t know as many details about the memory attacks and the battle.

“No hard feelings,” I agreed.

She ducked her head, trying to hide her grin, and then opened the door for me. “Thanks.”

“For what?” I asked, heading back inside.

“For being a good friend. Mercenaries don’t have many friends they can really trust. True friends. Not just acquaintances. But then, I’m not really a mercenary anymore, am I?” She scuffed the toe of her boot on the floor.

I raised an eyebrow suspiciously. “Are you?”

“No.” She grinned, waved, and jogged toward the training room. I stared after her, watching her braid swing back and forth until she was out of sight.

For the love of the Community…

Why did I get along better with a former mercenary than my best friend?

It takes her a little while to acknowledge that she likes Lily romantically, not just as a friend, but these little steps bring her closer and begin building that foundation for a relationship. (Also… it’s slow burn romance. Some romances are set to burn much faster).

Isaac and I actively chose to have Jenna’s interest in both genders be accepted by those around her, or at least not be a point of contention. Are there people in her world who wouldn’t like that? Sure. But we haven’t seen them at this point, and I’m not sure if we will. One of the nice things about writing in a science fiction or fantasy world is that we can choose to portray the world we would like to see, selecting the good things as well as the bad things that the characters are trying to fix.

Of course, as with many relationships, things don’t always go smoothly.

Distant Horizon is a world where manipulation (especially involving powers) runs rampant, and without too many spoilers, the romance and friendships that begin to develop in Fractured Skies take a major hit by the end of the book.

Like many relationships, working to build those ties back up, and hopefully into something better, will take time… which we’ll work on developing in the third book.

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I hope you found this article helpful. 🙂

Have you tried to include any romances in your stories? What did you find the most useful or hardest to write about?

Further Reading:

This was a helpful explanation of the difference between bisexual versus pansexual: https://medium.com/@pricelindy/bi-vs-pan-whats-the-difference-6587cdadce89

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The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear – Now Available!

Fooling a gryphon?

Not on her ideal day of treasure hunting.

But that’s exactly what she’s going to have to do if she wants out of the ruins alive–with her treasure in tow.

The next Legends of Cirena short story is now available as an ebook! 😀

“The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear” is the second story written for my collaborative adventure Facebook group.

Like “The Wind Mage of Maijev,” this one takes place approximately 200 years before the events of The Wishing Blade series and the Stone and String series.

Except, instead of a wind mage in a city that hates magic, we’re dealing with a shapeshifting thief and an uppity gryphon. Can the thief outwit the gryphon and get the treasures inside the ruins?

Read “The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear” to find out. ;-D

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | KoboSmashwords

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

“The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear”

YA Fantasy Short Story

The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear - Cover

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Fooling a gryphon? Not her ideal day of treasure hunting…

After a hunter cheats Nuaka in a game of cards, she’s ready for payback. A few shapeshifting ribbons later, she sneaks into his room and steals a promising set of directions to the local ruins—and treasure horde.

If she gets the treasure before he does, she’ll be rich, and that cheater will learn his lesson:

Don’t mess with the shapeshifter.

At first, everything goes smoothly.

And then she runs into the gryphon.

Can she use her wit and her magic to make it out of the ruins alive… and with her treasure?

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Explore the trickery of a shapeshifter in this exciting short story.

Read “The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear” today!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | KoboSmashwords

Add "Wind and Words" to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Enjoy! 😀

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99 Cent Fantasy and Science Fiction Ebooks

Jumping in to mention this 99 cent ebook promo for science fiction and fantasy books. It wasn’t running at the time of my monthly book promo highlights, but I didn’t want you to miss out if there was something you’re interested in.

There’s only two days left in the promo, so act quickly if you see anything you want to read! 🙂

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99 Cent July Sci-Fi & Fantasy EBooks

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Enjoy!

I hope you find a good book to read! 😀

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Monthly Book Promotion Highlight

Since I’ve fallen behind on posting weekly book promotion highlights, I thought I might try giving the monthly version a shot. (Or maybe switch to every other week).

So today, have a look at the various discounted and free ebook promotions happening this month!

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This promo is huge and features free ebooks across a wide variety of science fiction and fantasy sub-genres. While most of these books will be free throughout the month, it officially ends on July 21st, so be sure to check this out sooner rather than later.

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This promo includes a mix of free YA Fantasy and Paranormal reads. If you’re looking for something young adult with a little bit of magic, try this giveaway.

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Here we have fantasy galore. There’s a mix, but with a fairly strong emphasis toward epic fantasy. It’s great for quest seeking.

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This promo sports a wide variety of fantasy options and sub-genres. Everything from epic, to GameLit/LitRPG, to urban fantasy, to humorous fantasy. There’s something for every fantasy mood.header-1

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(Note: Most of the giveaways above are hosted through Book Funnel. Authors will usually ask for your email address, and in many cases, the author will collect these addresses for their newsletters.)

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Last, but not least, if you enjoy fairy tales, check out this selection. These books are free for those with a Kindle Unlimited subscription (though they may be full price otherwise). Worth a look even if you don’t use KU, because you might find something new. 😉

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Enjoy!

I hope you find a good book (or several)! 😀

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

The vacation month has passed (spent a lot of time roaming around Missouri visiting friends and family), and now it’s time for another Infinitas Publishing Status Report! Not quite as much to report, since… you know… vacation, but there’s still a few updates. 😉

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Starless Night: (Book 3 of the Distant Horizon series). Outline needs review.

SBibb - Glitch: Whispers in the Code Book CoverThe Glitch Saga (Distant Horizon spin-off series): As of July 12th, we will be removing the Glitch Saga (Whispers in the Code, Ghost of a Memory, and Spirits of a Glitch) from all retailers except Amazon. Then, once it’s been removed from all retailers, we will place it in KU (Kindle Unlimited). KU requires exclusivity, but we’re hoping to see a boost in readership similar to what we saw with Huntress.

In the meantime, I’m writing a new short story for the reader magnet. It will be free to newsletter subscribers, and I intend to make it available for 99 cents elsewhere.

The new short story will be from the point of view of a Community student who has failed the Health Scan, which means an inside look of a beastie plant from someone who doesn’t know/believe that powers exist. Currently working on the rough draft.

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off/prequel novel) On hold. (Has outline).

Lady Black’s Story: Needs brainstorming.

Sky Runner: (Multiverse novel). On hold. (Has outline)

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. (Needs edits).

Little One: Needs Isaac’s notes input into manuscript, and then revisions.

Magebane Book CoverMagebane: (Book Three of The Wishing Blade series) Needs paperback edition formatted.

TWB 4: (Book Four of The Wishing Blade series). Isaac has read the first few chapters and provided notes. I will be revising those chapters based on his notes and then I’ll adjust the outline before continuing with the rough draft.

Stone and String 3: Original outline needs updating after discussing plot with Isaac. New plan for the story.

The Secret in the Shadows: (Prequel novella for The Wishing Blade) On hold.

The Legends of Cirena – Collaborative Adventure Facebook Group: We’ve completed the cross-over story between Livena and Nuaka, and have started a new story following an ex-militant merchant who has discovered a threat in Sastae, the city of the gods.

“The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear”: (A Legends of Cirena short story). Beta-reader feedback is in. I need to make revisions and edits, and then I’ll move on to finalizing it for publication. I’m almost finished finalizing the book cover.

“MOG”: On hold. (Needs revisions)

Huntress: Proofreading the print edition for typos.

Changeling: (Huntress #2) Needs to be formatted for print.

Huntress 3: Still brainstorming. Have a few more plot points, but may need to re-evaluate the fairy tale I originally planned on using for this one.

Game Design: It’s summer, so Isaac has been making progress. He’s revised the rules for one of our games (as of yet unannounced, but has been through multiple beta-testers, and is the second game we started working on with Infinitas Publishing). Plus, he’s made place-holder tokens for testing, along with an updated map to allow for more space. All of this still needs more artwork finalization, but the good news is that version two is almost ready for testing.

SBibb - Space Adventure Comic Preview

Character from our Work-In-Progress Space Adventure Comic

Space Adventure Comic: We’re diving into the waters of comic book creation!

This is still very much in development, but is a project we’ve been working on here and there for the past couple months.

I’m using Daz (a 3D modeling program) to create the art. Right now we have most of the basic character designs, as well as the assets needed to render the images. Isaac has put together a couple different ships and ship bridges from those assets, as well.

Currently we have a rough draft of the script for the first issue, and our next step is to edit that draft so that I can begin finalizing characters and rendering the images.

We are still debating where to host the comic, but it will be online.

Marketing: I kind of slacked on marketing, largely due to vacation. Did attempt Facebook ads, which was… an experiment. Definitely needs more work.

I plan to revisit Amazon ads later in the month to decide how to proceed. Also, I would like to get back into creating Book Funnel promos, which I plan to focus on a bit more once I have the new reader magnet written for the Distant Horizon universe.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: On hold. (Needs revisions and restructuring).

Also, Isaac and I did a panel on Self-Editing Your Manuscript at the Writers of Warrensburg Writer’s Workshop. We had a lot of fun, learned some new things, met new people and had a chance to catch up with old friends. Definitely an enjoyable experience. (Plus, book signing at Reader’s World in Warrensburg!)

Writers of Warrensburg Book Signing 2019

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Happy writing and reading! 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

Almost hit two months between Infinitas Publishing Status Reports, but here it is!

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Fractured Skies - Book CoverFractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). The paperback edition has now been proofed and is ready for ordering! You can grab it from Amazon.

Plus, it’s part of the Kindle Matchbook program, so you can get the Kindle edition for yourself when you order the print copy.

Starless Night: (Book 3 of the Distant Horizon series). Need to review the outline with Isaac.

The Glitch Saga: The Complete Collection - EbookThe Glitch Saga (Distant Horizon spin-off series): Debating on putting this into KU for a few months and seeing how it does. I’d like to have another reader magnet prepared before pulling it from wide retailers, though.

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off/prequel novel) On hold. (Has outline).

Lady Black’s Story: Needs a bit more brainstorming and an outline.

Sky Runner: (Multiverse novel). On hold. (Has outline)

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. (Needs edits).

Little One: Preparing to input Isaac’s notes into the manuscript and begin revisions.

Magebane Book CoverMagebane: (Book Three of The Wishing Blade series) This is the next one up on the formatting list for a paperback edition now that the paperback for Huntress is complete.

TWB 4: (Book Four of The Wishing Blade series). First part outlined, and the rough draft of this story is currently sitting at 14,500 words.

Stone and String 3: Outlined, with plans to write the rough draft after TWB 4.

The Secret in the Shadows: (Prequel novella for The Wishing Blade) On hold.

The Legends of Cirena – Collaborative Adventure Facebook Group: The current cross-over story continues Livena’s adventures from “The Wind Mage of Maijev,” and we’re a few episodes away from wrapping this up!

After that, I’ll see whether the group would prefer another cross-over between characters we’ve already seen, a single-character continuation of the characters we’ve already seen, or a whole new character.

“The Gryphon and the Mountain Bear”: (A Legends of Cirena short story). Currently out to beta-readers. Then it will go through one more round of revisions before I move on to the read-aloud and proofreading. I also have a cover proof created, which needs to be finalized.

“MOG”: On hold. (Needs revisions)

Huntress: Paperback edition is here! I am currently in the process of proofreading the paperback in case there are any formatting errors, but this time I checked those pesky ellipses before submitting it, and so far I’ve only found a couple issues that need to be corrected.

Changeling Book CoverChangeling: (Huntress #2) Published! (Also available to read for free for those with Kindle Unlimited subscriptions). Next step, creating the paperback edition. (This is my next formatting project after creating a paperback for Magebane.)

Huntress 3: Still in brainstorming stage. Next step is creating outline.

Game Design: On hold.

Marketing: Getting back into using Amazon Ads now that Publisher Rocket is working smoothly again. In the event that I put The Glitch Saga into KU, I’ll need to change the set-up for the reader magnet (currently Whispers in the Code).

LitRPG / GameLit Story: On hold. (Needs revisions, possible restructuring).

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Have a good month! 🙂

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Changeling – Now Available!

Changeling has arrived! 😀

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

99 cents for a limited time… and free with Kindle Unlimited!

Changeling is the second book of the Huntress series, and it picks off almost immediately where the first book left off.

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“Changeling”

Huntress #2

YA Dystopian/Cyberpunk Fairy Tale Retelling

Changeling Book Cover

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When the clock strikes midnight, will the huntress become the hunted?

With President Koenigin stuck in the form of a changeling miner, Koenigin Corp is in disarray.

A new president has stepped into power, and he’s asked Verdi to trade her role of huntress for that of an ambassador to the Society for Natural Progression.

At first, Verdi is eager to accept. Being an ambassador means she’ll finally have her voice heard. Better yet, she’ll be able to spend more time with Maria Snow, the woman she loves.

But participating in social “balls” isn’t a job she trained for, and certain members of Koenigin Corp are determined to get revenge on those who pushed Koenigin out of power.

When Verdi is framed for murder and placed on house arrest, will she find a way to get to the ball and warn Maria of the rising threat?

Or will she, too, find herself trapped in a changeling body?

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Step into her shoes in this Cinderella retelling… and read Changeling to find out what happens!

99 cents for a limited time, or free with KU!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

Add to Goodreads

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Also, check out this cool bookstagram image one of my beta-readers made for Changeling: https://www.instagram.com/p/BxIq4uinDTo

Enjoy! 😀

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