Tag Archives: horror

Cover Reveal! — Glitch: Whispers in the Code

Guess what!

Today is the reveal for the cover of Glitch: Whispers in the Code!

*Squee!*

There’s several things that coincide with its release (new newsletter specifically for the Distant Horizon universe, updating the cover for Distant Horizon, and the new website for the Distant Horizon universe), so I’m trying to get everything organized. We’ve finished the read-aloud for Whispers in the Code, so all that’s left is formatting. Yay!

In the meantime, I’m proud to present the cover for the first book of the Glitch saga.

SBibb - Rising Sun Cog Divider

Upper YA/NA Sci-Fi with Horror Elements

SBibb - Glitch: Whispers in the Code Book Cover

SBibb - Rising Sun Cog Divider

Blurb:

A haunted airship made from living people…

 

Nineteen-year-old hacker Tim Zaytsev is a traitor, but he never expected his betrayal would earn him the highest honor among the international community—a place among the Camaraderie’s elite council.

 

Ushered into a glamorous lifestyle of fancy airships and a chance to use his programming skills to better the world, Tim is assigned the task of finishing their secret Legion Spore project—a living airship made from shapeshifters.

 

Inside the Legion Spore, dozens of humans have been forcibly hooked to the vessel’s computer, but fragments of their memories reside in the airship’s internal code as glitches. Their faces appear in the walls, and their whispers invade the code of the Camaraderie’s base. Tim’s ability to telepathically connect with computers means that he’s the only one who can make the ship fully functional.

 

But programming a computer is one thing. Dealing with a haunted, living airship will not only test Tim’s wit, but his sanity. If he can’t learn to trust himself and his abilities, his mind will be trapped in the Legion Spore as just another whisper in the code.

I don’t have store links yet, but in the meantime you can add it to your Goodreads shelf. 🙂

Add Glitch: Whispers in the Code to Goodreads

SBibb - Rising Sun Cog Divider

I hope you enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for updates about the release date and upcoming newsletter. 😀

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Business Ventures, Writing

Thoughts on Writing – The Little Details Count

My husband, Isaac, enjoys creating houses on the XBOX 360 Sims 3 game, and since my parents are coming up to visit, he decided to create a model of my parent’s house. He created the general layout, placed the furniture, and after fussing with the game to find the proper sized lot so he could include the backyard, he handed the controller over to me so I could add in the little details. Funny thing… I hadn’t realized how many “decorations” this game has. I added a boom box on an end table in the corner of the dining room. I added the chair that sits beside the hallway. I added a shelf-organizer-thing over where the piano should be (no piano, though), and a little phone on the table beside my grandma’s chair. Then I added a couple paintings (posters) for my room, appropriate colored walls, and a clock above the bay window… and a lot of other little things to make the Sims house look more real.

The end result was uncanny. Depending on the camera angle and the placement in the room, the model house actually looked like my parent’s house.

Those little details made it feel real.

A little detail, carefully slipped into a story, can make a world of difference.

Details enhance the world, make readers feel like they are actually there, and reveal the tone of the novel. A lot of my favorites books and movies pay careful attention to detail across various senses. The background detail in the Babylon 5 TV series, particularly whenever they went into seedy areas on the station, always captured my attention. The last time I watched Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on a large screen TV, I was captivated by the snakes and vines in the swamps of Dagobah. Rebekkah Ford’s Beyond the Eyes series always made me feel like I was in a forest, or at a loud dance club, wherever the character happened to be.

Often, you only need a few carefully placed details to inspire a full scene in the reader’s mind.

Take a look at this paragraph from The Multiverse Chronicles draft:

Ten minutes later, the cart topped a hill and revealed a large military camp in the close distance. Trish eyed the rows upon rows of canvas tents, men marching in formation, and packs of wolves running attack drills on wooden manikins.

Of course the reader will see what is directly mentioned within the text.

But what else do they imagine? What else do they see? What do they feel? Do they feel like they’ve been traveling a ways? Do they hear the muffled din of people and wolves interacting, despite not being told how they sound?

Coupled with the rest of the story, a reader’s mind might add other details which were never explicitly mentioned, based on previous experiences with the words involved and the various connotations those words carry.

That’s why choosing to slip in a detail here and there, relevant to the action but never fully stopping the story, can offer a strong boost to your world building. Some stories will use more details than others, but you can choose when you want the reader to “stop and smell the roses” by letting the character say more about the world around them.

Take a look at this section from the intro of Magic’s Stealing:

Toranih kicked off the covers, knife in hand, and hopped out of bed. She waited, just in case the shadow returned, then walked to her dresser, picked up the crystal, and carefully raised the light again.

 

The dresser was pristine, with only an oil lamp sitting in the dustless corner. A small oak chest at the foot of her bed remained locked with steel. Heavy brocade curtains obscured the window.

 

No sign of intruders.

 

So why couldn’t she shake the feeling that someone had been watching her?

We linger on the details of the room as she surveys her surroundings, tension mounting because she thinks someone is there. But how different might it be if she paid only a little attention to these things?

Toranih kicked off the covers, knife in hand, and hopped out of bed. She waited, just in case the shadow returned, then walked to her dresser, picked up the crystal, and carefully raised the light again.

 

No sign of intruders.

 

So why couldn’t she shake the feeling that someone had been watching her?

Without the line detailing what she sees (thus “showing” that there are no intruders), we feel like she’s not really putting any effort into her search. She turns on the light, sees no one is there, thinks something’s odd, but moves along. Having extra details, as in the first example, show that she’s not just shrugging her shoulders at the notion. She really is concerned.

However, if you want to do a slow build-up, you might have a character notice something is odd but not pay much attention to why. Then, as they become more and more concerned, they notice more details, which may or may not truly be ominous.

Going back to that Sims house that Isaac created, the downside of that house was that the model wasn’t quite right. There weren’t stairs where there should be. The swings overlooked a creepy ocean instead of another house. The back room looked similar, but not the same. The windows didn’t fit memory, and he used a white bookshelf instead of a bunch of clear storage tubs in the corner for old toys.

As cool as the Sims house was, I didn’t want to look at it from certain angles too long because the house was unsettling.

You can use this mechanic in stories.

For example, a hero coming home after a long time away may find that things have subtly changed. In a horror story, a picture frame that always sits by a lamp may seem a smidgen too far back. In a desolate future, a character may look out over a ruined landscape, able to see a familiar sight here or there, while the rest is in shambles. What remains in place and what does not can affect the tone of the story. Consider the Statue of Liberty in the Planet of the Apes movie.

A little detail in the right spot can make a world of difference.

This can also be used in game creation.

While I haven’t played the game myself, MatPat’s theories on Five Nights at Freddy’s (a popular jump scare game) often references the little details that make the game creepy, such as the fan on the desk. The detail used in these games gives clues into the world’s backstory, all while adding to the nightmarish atmosphere.

When I first played Portal (a puzzle game), I was alone in my dorm room. The empty quietness of walking through the testing chambers had me super jumpy as I expected a turret to shoot me at every turn. And that game isn’t horror.

If you happen on the one detail that gets under a player’s skin, that one detail will have them on the edge of their seat.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have any favorite details that you’ve read in a book or seen in a movie? 🙂

 

8 Comments

Filed under Gaming, Writing

Behind the Scenes – The Doors

This is a cover for Melange Books.

For this one, I used texture overlay (the mosaic around the edge), as well as scene creation to create the desired stormy atmosphere and remove some of the birds from the original haunted house stock photo. I added in the girl, then at the author’s request, gave her longer hair. There are benefits to finding pictures where the hair is similar in color and goes roughly the desired direction you want it to go.

My original proof for this cover was too dark and gray, looking more like a horror novel than paranormal, so I lightened it a bit with the various blue and green tones to give it the sea/ocean-side feel, while still keeping the stormy atmosphere.

For this blog post, I’ve also included what I did for the back of the book. I usually keep these fairly simple, and in this case, I took part of the stock image that wasn’t used on the front cover to complete the back. That way the atmosphere remained consistent, while offering something a little different to look at. I used the same texture overlays and adjustment modes to keep the covers consistent, and included the publisher’s logo and barcode information on the back. I also include a separate layer with the author name and book title, that way the publisher can adjust for the spine as needed. I also flipped the back cover image so the white clouds act as a line, leading the eye back to the spine, and so that the dark blue mosaic would act as a frame.

SBibb - The Doors - Book Cover  SBibb - The Doors - Back of Book Cover
Stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-man-walking-field-towards-haunted-house-scary-dark-atmosphere-image35050105
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-dark-storm-clouds-image2046209
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-calgary-beach-mull-scotland-bay-located-north-west-framed-low-hills-broad-area-machair-grassy-meadow-image42890362
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-beautiful-teenage-girl-outdoors-portrait-jeans-wear-looking-away-image36670484
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-broken-green-wall-tiles-image19929346
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-sad-girl-image22656428

2 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Client Work, Photo Illustration

Behind the Scenes – The Art of Madame Whitsome

This is a cover for Melange Books.

I really enjoyed putting this one together, especially given that so much of it was playing with how the textures interacted and overlapped. This was a case where the art form gave me enough detail to give me an idea what kind of mood I needed to convey, and the kind of symbolism that might work well, but gave me a bit of free reign as to what I actually did. The result? I had an idea almost immediately that I wanted to try, though it was a while before I had a chance to work on the actual cover.

Of course, the auto-align function in Photoshop CS6 came in helpful as usual, and I also played with various filters and masking to achieve the final effect. One thing to keep in mind when playing with filters, especially if you’re starting with a proof, is that it can be really helpful to name the layer you worked on with what filter you used, and the basic numbers you input into that filter. That way you achieve the same, or a similar effect on the final image. 🙂

 

SBibb - The Art of Madame Whitsome - Book Cover

 

Stock images from: Dreamstime.

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-grunge-texture-image19642535
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-grunge-wood-texture-image6312920
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-green-grunge-background-abstract-texture-image33062940
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-musical-notes-image6760767
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-sheet-musical-notes-image1041320
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-angel-wings-digitally-rendered-image-white-feathered-image31948892
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-celtic-harp-chair-image17238791

 

2 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Client Work, Photo Illustration

Cover Reveal and Review – The Devil’s Third

This is the third and final book cover for Rebekkah Ford’s Beyond the Eyes trilogy, as well as a few of the promo pieces I put together for it. You can see the wrap-around cover here: http://sbibb.deviantart.com/art/The-Devil-s-Third-Book-Cover-423981244?q=gallery%3ASBibb&qo=0

SBibb - The Devil's Third - Book Cover

Facebook Banner:

SBibb - Devil's Third Promo

Bookmarks:

SBibb - Devil's Third Promo SBibb - Devil's Third Promo

A bit about the cover: All images are my own, and I used the camera’s timer to get a few shots of me posing for the main character. We had a couple different ideas to work from, and when the first didn’t work out, it turned out handy that I’d done a few standing poses as well. Side note for photography– it can help to take multiple angles and poses in case one doesn’t have the desired effect. Photoshop CS6 to blend everything and photomanipulate the hand reaching out from the text.

(See the the previous covers for the series: https://sbibb.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/dark-spirits-cover-reveal/ and http://sbibb.deviantart.com/art/Beyond-the-Eyes-Wrap-Around-309769699 )

And now for the review. 😀

Disclaimer: Paranormal romance isn’t my preferred genre, and therefore, my opinions may be skewed compared to that of someone who regularly enjoys paranormal romance.

Overall, an enjoyable read. The characters have a realness about them that I enjoyed, and the description of setting was wonderful. (Seriously, I read one passage that made me think I could smell a rainy autumn day. Descriptions that really engage the senses like that make me a happy camper).

My favorite part of the story was where Paige goes into Carrie’s memories (so-to-speak, trying not to give away spoilers). The visuals were awesome, the pace really picked up (the beginning was just a bit slow, but served well to remind me what happened in the previous book), and the plot revealed a few nice tid-bits of information about the dark spirits.

I also enjoyed the magic system and finding out more about their world and <spoiler>the different doorways Paige can open. I actually would have been interested in seeing more of the different dimensions</spoiler> but we also got to see other new abilities, as well, which I enjoyed reading about.

That being said, there were a few downsides for me. A minor thing, but I did notice more typos in this story than in the previous ones. Also, there were several times I felt like something convenient happened or wasn’t fully explained. In all fairness, I was reading this in ten minute intervals while on break at work, so my attention wasn’t completely focused. Might have been different if I’d been able to read it in longer intervals.

I didn’t really get into the romance between Nathan and Paige, but then, I don’t typically read stories for the romance. And Brayden… I still kind of want to strangle him. I did, however, like seeing more of Ameerah’s character, and I also liked seeing the new characters, like Pip.

For me, I think my favorite book out of this trilogy was actually Dark Spirits. I really liked the interactions between Bael and Paige in that story, but I liked seeing Paige’s new powers in this one. Overall, though, I think this was a good series that paranormal romance readers are likely to enjoy. 🙂

2 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Business Ventures, Client Work, Photo Illustration

The Blind Vampire Hunter – Cover Reveal

Another cover for Melange Books. For this one, I got to have a bit of fun with piece-parting images together (we wanted a very specific kind of cane with the older man, and part of it I digitally illustrated), as well as manipulating expression. (If you look at the original image for the vampire, she has a slightly different expression. Eyes, eyebrows, and mouth changed position slightly to get the effect I was wanting for the cover. Goes to show that the liquefy and puppet warp tools can both be extremely helpful when you’re trying to achieve a specific mood. Also helpful when you have a stock image that is almost what you want, but not quite right. 🙂

 

SBibb - The Blind Vampire Hunter - Book Cover

Photoshop CS6

Stock from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-fashion-hard-rock-girl-black-cloak-image29546626

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-grandfather-blowhole-boss-man-thinks-portrait-cane-image31520111
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-family-home-night-image19659116
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-thoughtful-older-man-image24460795

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Covers, Client Work, Photo Illustration

Wolfman Owner’s Manual – Book Cover Reveal

Today we have a cover a bit different from the romance covers I’ve been doing. Today we have a cover for the horror genre from Melange Books. 🙂

SBibb - Wolfman Owner's Manual Book Cover

 

Let me tell ya, this was fun to do. One, because it involved the anthropomorphic art I enjoy (yay, werewolf!), and two, because it involved a lot of the photographic manipulation I also enjoy doing. Take a look at the original stock images from Dreamstime:

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-timber-wolf-growling-iii-image8983996
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-shirtless-young-athletic-man-growling-outdoors-park-beijing-image31106656
http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-young-woman-screaming-image10656977

In order to create the wolf (which, while working with the author, I realized needed to be more werewolf-like and less anthro wolf), I used a human base to get the pose and body structure. Then, using the wolf image, I cut and pasted sections of fur across the body, paying attention to the direction of the fur. I varied the opacity in areas on the face and chest in order to show just a bit more of the body structure underneath. I also cut and pasted section of the wolf’s face along the man’s face so it fit better. Then the puppet warp tool, the perspective and skew tools, and the smudge tool, became very good friends.  They helped to get the wolf-man look I was aiming for. I added in the girl, gave the wolf-man an arm, and played with lighting (opacity layer) to make everything fit together, then finally added the text. The background I did in the early stages.

Of course, one of the factors that gets to come into play with creating an image with a lot of variation due to the puppet warp tool is that the final image doesn’t look quite like the proof image. A section of fur isn’t laid the same, the mouth doesn’t angle quite right. When that happens, I try making the image stronger than it was before, using what I learned in the initial set-up to make the final look more complete. In this case, something wasn’t quite right. The wolf didn’t look as imposing as before. So I made a copy of the image as a whole on a new layer (Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E) and used the perspective tool to make the wolf just a bit bigger, a bit closer, and the girl a bit smaller. The change was subtle, but did a lot to help. 🙂

4 Comments

Filed under Book Covers, Client Work, Photo Illustration