Tag Archives: horror

Spirits of a Glitch – Launch Day

Woot! Spirits of a Glitch is now available! 😀

This is the final book in Tim’s story, following what happens when a second terrifying airship made from shapeshifters and technology is created… only this one isn’t as obedient as the first.

With Spirits of a Glitch, the Glitch Saga is now complete, I’m off to work on other books in the Distant Horizon Universe. But, seeing as how those books still need editing before I can release them, why not check out Tim’s story in the meantime?

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Spirits of a Glitch - Banner

Upper YA Science Fiction

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

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Spirits of a Glitch - Book Cover

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“We are legion. But you, Master Zaytsev, are only one…”

Nineteen-year-old council member, Tim Zaytsev, is tasked with removing glitches from the council’s newest living airship, the CLS Manticore. Like its predecessor, the Manticore is formed from living shapeshifters. Their minds were wiped and their memories erased, but the occasional “ghost” of their personalities remain.

Removing the “ghosts” should be simple after dealing with the first vessel. But the task descends into madness when the Manticore traps Tim within its fleshy walls and attempts to force him to join the shapeshifters who made the merge.

Determined to undermine the ship’s dangerous, telepathic games and convince the other council members that the ship is manipulating them, Tim must summon a courage he’s never had, the courage to stay and fight. But doing so would force him to confront the vessel alone—a path that can only end in his destruction.

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Buy now!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

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Haven’t read the first book yet? Sign up for the Distant Horizon Universe newsletter to read the first book, Whispers in the Code, for free!

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Enjoy! 😀

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Weekly Book Promotion Highlight

Continuing with the weekly book promotion highlight, I’m featuring two giveaways where you can download free ebooks from a variety of authors. 🙂

This week we have the Speculative YA Giveaway and the Spring Break Fantasy Giveaway!

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For our first giveaway, we have a wide range of young adult books with speculative elements. Science fiction… fantasy… horror… If you’re looking for speculative YA, give this giveaway a look.

Speculative YA - EBook Giveaway

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The second giveaway has a variety of fantasy ebooks, so if you want fantasy, this is a good place to start.

Spring Break Fantasy Ebook Giveaway

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(Note: These giveaways are hosted through Book Funnel. They will usually ask for your email address. In most cases, the author will collect these addresses for their newsletters.)

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I hope you find yourself a good book. Let me know if you would like to see more of these posts. 🙂

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Weekly Book Promotion Highlight

You guys seemed to like these posts from last month, so I decided to go ahead and continue these for now. Today I’m highlighting two giveaways where you can download free ebooks from a variety of authors. 🙂

This week we have the Amazing SciFi & Fantasy Giveaway, as well as the March Mayhem Giveaway.

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The first giveaway contains a wide range of both science fiction and fantasy books.

Amazing SciFi and Fantasy - Book Funnel Ebook Giveaway

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The second giveaway contains books with horror elements underlying them.

March Mayhem - Book Funnel Book Giveaway

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(Note: These giveaways are hosted through Book Funnel. They will usually ask for your email address. In most cases, the author will collect these addresses for their newsletters.)

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Good luck finding a book you enjoy, and let me know if you would like to see more of these posts. 🙂

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Ghost of a Memory – Launch Day!

Hey, everybody! Today’s the launch day for Ghost of a Memory! 😀

Ghost of a Memory is the second book in The Glitch Saga, and continues the story of Tim Zaytsev as he attempts to reprogram a living airship made from shapeshifters. But the glitches are getting worse, and the Legion Spore’s rogue personality is threatening Tim’s sanity with a series of nightmares that are more real than Tim wants to believe.

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Ghost of a Memory

Upper YA Science Fiction

Ghost of a Memory - Banner

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

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SBibb - Ghost of a Memory - Book Cover

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Some ghosts refuse to be forgotten.

Nineteen-year-old council member, Tim Zaytsev, oversees the Legion Spore—a living airship made from shapeshifters. He’s tasked with removing glitches, fragments of the shapeshifters’ memories that reside as “ghosts” in the ship’s code.

But as he removes each glitch, the ship shows an alarming trend toward developing its own personality. It clearly prefers to work with Tim instead of his superiors, and its haunting dreams invade Tim’s sleep, filling his mind with false memories of an affair with the alluring Lady Black, a council member known for her seductive advances. As the dreams intensify, he can’t even look at his loving girlfriend without remembering Lady Black’s touch.

Determined to perform his duties to the council while remaining faithful, Tim searches for the source of the Legion Spore’s rogue personality. But as the dreams descend into nightmares, Tim begins to suspect they aren’t random glitches; they’re warnings from the “ghost” of Lady Black’s lover.

To ensure a lifetime with the woman he loves, Tim must find the source of the Legion Spore’s rogue personality before the vessel usurps his mind, trapping him like all the other “ghosts” in the code.

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Purchase Today!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | BN.com | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

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Haven’t read the first book yet? Sign up for the Distant Horizon Universe newsletter to read the first book, Whispers in the Code, for free!

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Enjoy! 🙂

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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.

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Upper YA/NA Sci-Fi with Horror Elements

SBibb - Glitch: Whispers in the Code Book Cover

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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

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

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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? 🙂

 

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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

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