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Thoughts on Writing – Using Music for Plotting (The Wishing Blade series)

When writing and plotting stories, I like listening to music. (Not so much when editing… then I prefer to see how the story is speaking for itself). Listening to music helps me set the tone of the scene, and it provides inspiration while I’m plotting, whether I’m stuck in a scene, or just want something to help convey the tone. Another benefit I’ve found is that if I listen to music while plotting, then listen to the same song again later when writing, I can reintroduce that feeling, that mood I was in when I originally crafted the story. (For this, playlists are extremely helpful).

For example, I’ve used music constantly while writing and plotting The Wishing Blade series. There are certain songs I listen to when I want to be reminded of specific characters and their motives. For example, “The Other Side” by Blackmore’s Night is one I’ve recently found useful when I want to think of Shevanlagiy’s character arc (since there’s a particular character she’s trying to keep from dying again that drives her motives).

As for influences on the world of the story in general, “Shadows” by Gordon Lightfoot, and “Rainbow Connection” from the Muppet Movie (I must admit that I’m not a fan of the original recording; I heard a different version of it when I was taking singing lessons that I became a fan of), both influenced the world. “Shadows” inspired some of the longing of Daernan’s character in The Shadow War, who sees that the world is no longer what it appeared, and it influenced how he sees the war affecting Toranih. “Rainbow Connection” pushed me toward the original idea of the Wishing Blade and more importantly toward the idea of there being some unnatural call (in this case, Magic’s Lure) pulling characters in directions they hadn’t expected (though the call in the story is a bit more sinister than that of the song).

But not all of the songs that influence the story and character arcs are ones I listened to in the early stages of writing. Aside from “The Other Side,” which was a fairly recent discovery, I enjoy several versions of “Luna’s Future” that fans have covered from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV series. When I listen to the song, I enjoy picturing it as a dialogue between Madiya and Shevanlagiy (minus the names of the ponies involved, since neither characters would wish to be caught in a musical, or as their equine counterparts…). I also enjoy “Elf Glade” by Meg Davis, which I picture as a dialogue between young Lord Menchtoteale and Shevanlagiy… despite the fact that there are no elves in the story, and that I can’t go into too much detail about why I see this song with those characters without giving potential spoilers.

If you listen to music while plotting, consider the reasons for it. Does it inspire a certain mood for you? Help you picture scenarios between characters you hadn’t pictured before? If you’re stuck on a certain plot point, try putting together a list of songs that have influenced your story, or look for new ones in a similar vein to help inspire you. (Just don’t do like I do and discover that a couple hours have passed with nothing written, but with a host of new songs added to the playlist).

Another joy of plotting while listening to music is misinterpreting lyrics. The first time I heard “The Skye Boat Song,” I heard “Carry the lad that’s born to be king, over the sea to die” rather than “over the sea to Skye.” Though the plot arc that resulted hasn’t appeared in the current version of The Wishing Blade series, it led to a concept that played in the original draft, where a young boy who was stillborn was brought back to life by the high god so that he would later become king. There was no sea involved in the plot, but the character played a large role in the original story. (And who knows… he may later play a role in the world of Cirena, even if he doesn’t appear in The Wishing Blade series). Likewise, “Kingsword” by Heather Dale also makes me think of that particular story arc.

Have you found any songs to have given you story ideas because you didn’t quite hear what was being said? Or because there are variations on the song?

There were certainly other songs that influenced the world of The Wishing Blade and helped shape it into what it is today. Most of the stories I write have been influenced in one way or another by the songs I listen to (and the songs I listen to have been influenced by what I write).

If anyone’s interested, I’m considering looking at how music has influenced the other stories I’ve written and that I’m working on. But, for now, do you listen to music while you plot, and have you found any songs to be helpful in writing a particular story? 🙂

 

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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for another status report! Also, Isaac and I have a bit of news–we’re moving to Michigan! Not the lower part of Michigan, either: the Upper Peninsula. Long story short, Isaac got accepted into a PhD program. 🙂

So… if there are periods of time where things are a bit slow for Infinitas Publishing, it’s probably because we’re in the middle of the long, slow process of packing. We expect to be moving in mid-to-late June.

However, that doesn’t mean you won’t still see new projects and updates. 🙂

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Glitch: I finally finished the latest round of edits meant to put Glitch in continuity with Distant Horizon, and now I’ve got to go back and insert chapter breaks, fix minor errors, tighten the story (I already cut one character’s appearance), and make sure each scene is pulling its weight. Still a little ways to go before it’s complete, but progress has been made.

The Wishing Blade series Book 3 (Title To Be Determined): On hold until Glitch is complete. Parts of it have been written, but I have a big chunk of Shevanlagiy’s point of view to write, along with Siklana’s point of view. Yes… Siklana is intended to be a major character in this one. 🙂

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold. The problem with having two writers telling a story–especially a serialized story where you might not catch issues until later–is that both writers may have different ideas of how they want to tell that story, and what story they want to tell. It’s a learning point that we’ve discovered in the process of writing The Multiverse Chronicles. However, we’ve gotten a better sense of what we want this story to be (and where we should compromise on plot points), but we may need to do some revamping of the first part of the story to really make everything cohesive so The Multiverse Chronicles can be the best story it can be. We’ll likely need to review the story and make adjustments from beginning to end before we release any new episodes.

Webb City Library Summer Reading Kick-Off: Isaac and I went to the Webb City Public Library (Missouri) to help with their summer reading program kick-off. We set up a table with our books and games, as well as a lot of the “in progress” pieces to show how we go about making them. I had an early proof copy of Distant Horizon on display, and we had sketch art and concept pieces from all the games. We enjoyed talking about the process, and even sold a couple of books (Distant Horizon and The Shadow War), which was a bonus, since we weren’t specifically trying to sell anything. 🙂

Isaac at the Webb City Public Library Summer Reading Kick-Off

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: I now offer formatting services in addition to book cover design. And I’ve finally gotten the FacebookDeviantArt, and Flickr pages updated with the book covers I’ve posted on this blog. 🙂

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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!

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 I hope you enjoyed this post! 🙂

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ConQuest 48 – Panels and Readings!

Hey guys, I’m excited to announce that I’m going to be sitting on a few panels at ConQuest 48 in Kansas City, Missouri! The convention runs from May 26th-28th (that’s this weekend), and it’s a great resource for fantasy and science fiction writers. Definitely an event to check out to gain all sorts of writing information.

If you’re going to be in the area, and you want to see me on a panel, these are the ones I’m scheduled to be on:

Saturday, May 27th

3:00 pm || How to over-think your way out of writing

5:00 pm || Fantasy and Science

Sunday, May 28th

10:00 am || Creating Languages (I’ll be moderating this one)

12:00 pm || Reading

Thus far I’ve been enjoying practicing a couple different selections I’m considering for the reading, and tomorrow I’ll be brushing up on the panel topics to remind myself of all the awesome things there are out there.

The times I’ve gone to watch the panels in the past have been really informative, and a lot of fun. Plus, there are several other authors and speakers there worth listening to. I hope to see you there! 😀

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Book Signing Today (Saturday) at Sedalia Reader’s World!

Isaac and I will be at the Reader’s World in Sedalia, MO, signing books from 2 – 4 pm. Stop by and say hi! 🙂

 

40654-distant-horizon SBibb - Magic's Stealing Cover The Shadow War - Book Cover

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Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for another status report! 😀

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Stealth Con: Isaac and I had our books and games at this year’s Stealth Con, a two day event at UCM. We had a vendor’s booth upstairs in the vending room, and we had our games available to play downstairs. This is the first time we had Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel available to sell, as well as its expansion. Though we didn’t sell much of our inventory (3 Magic’s Stealing, 2 Shadow War, 1 “Stone and String,” 1 Distant Horizon, 1 Cloth Phalanx Board, and 2 specialty dice), having the vendor booth did allow us to point interested visitors toward the gaming area. Plus, we got a chance to meet other authors who were at the convention, and visit with the people who had come to look around.

Infinitas Publishing - Stealth Con 2017

Vendor Room Setup for Infinitas Publishing – Stealth Con 2017

We switched up the organization of the table on the second day, to allow different products to shine (put Battle Decks and Phalanx on the ends of the table, and the books in the center).

We also debuted our upcoming game, The Legends of Cirena. For those of you who tried out our games in the gaming area, thank you!

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End of the Day in the Gaming area on Saturday – Stealth Con 2017

The Shadow War: The Shadow War is now available! It’s the second book in the series, available in both ebook and print. It took a month longer than I planned before release, but I’m much happier with the outcome. Soon I’ll be working on the third book of The Wishing Blade series, and I’ve already got quite a bit outlined,.Parts of Toranih’s POV have also been written.

The Legends of Cirena: This game is still in beta, but Isaac has been hard at work developing what will be game-changing expansions and making sure everything in the game works well together. It’s a role-play/adventure board game where you create the map from a deck of cards you draw as you explore… encountering adventures and collecting treasures! It’s also loosely based on the world of The Wishing Blade series.

The Multiverse Chronicles: Still on the back burner, but not forgotten.

Glitch: This is a spin-off of Distant Horizon, and it’s my current writing project. I’m about halfway through the initial reading to see what needs revision, and I have another round of edits I make before I hand this over to Isaac. After that, I expect that there will be substantial revisions, because that’s how this process usually works. But I’m looking forward to getting this one out there, because it delves more into the Camaraderie’s side of things. 😉

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Life as usual, except that I’m going to be making my formatting services available soon.

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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!

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I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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The Shadow War – Launch Day!

After an extra month of waiting, The Shadow War is finally here! It’s the second book of The Wishing Blade series, so if you’ve been wondering what happens next, that wait is over!

*Squee!*

I’m both excited and nervous with this one. For this one, we get to see Daernan’s point of view for a large part of the story (60%, to be exact), and we get one short scene from Siklana at the end. But don’t worry, Toranih and Shevanlagiy also get their fair share of scenes, too. Not only that, but we get glimpses of both Maijevan and Cantingen cultures, and the bit of rivalry that might be brewing between the various countries and cities. 😉

So, without further ado…

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War

Upper MG / Lower YA

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

The Shadow War - Book Cover

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Though a shadow is as good as a ghost, with no free will to speak of, they may still be saved…

The kingdom of Cirena is under attack from an army of shadows—beings who can only be hurt by magic or fire. Magic has been stolen, and as the shadows spread, infecting all they touch, the last two ribbon mages race to the nearest port city to warn them of the impending invasion. One of those mages, Toranih, is among the few who can see the Trickster-cursed army, and she’s determined to get magic back—no matter how much she distrusts it. When she is captured by shadows and a dark secret is revealed about her future, her best friend, Daernan, is left to defend the city. But his only methods of stopping the shadows are by fire and the devastating magic of the shodo’charl.

With the knowledge that the shadows are innocent townsfolk forced to do a warlord’s bidding, Daernan must choose between saving the shadows or saving those who have not yet turned.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Now Available!

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Paperback Edition

Add to Goodreads

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

A sneak peek…

The roof afforded a smoky view of the burning courthouse and the surrounding mayhem, and here Daernan understood the madness of the shadows. As their victims faded, turning into shadowy wisps, they, too, turned on the crowd. The more the shadows converted, the faster the crowd disappeared.

No wonder they used the explosions. People in the affected areas fled from their homes and the markets, trying to evacuate because the smoke in the distance meant the whole southern side of the city might be burning. But the ghostly shadows waited for them with impromptu weapons, and the refugees fled right into their hands.

“It’s so easy for them,” Daernan whispered. “Lord Menchtoteale found a simple way to conscript his army.”

Siklana frowned as she dug the shodo’charl free from the bag and passed him the stone. “What are they doing?”

“Using the explosions to force people from their homes.” Daernan reached to take the bundle, then stopped. Siklana’s brown eyes were wide with worry, her lips forming an unhappy frown. He quickly turned away and clasped the oilskin tight in his fingers. There were so many shadows. If he released the stone now, he might be killing countless innocent people. But if he didn’t release the stone’s magic, more would be trapped.

“Should we do this?” he asked softly.

Siklana peered over the ledge. “You’re asking me?”

He whispered a soft prayer to Madiya—primarily because she was responsible for taking the dead through her realm—but he fervently hoped he was wrong. Hoped that somehow, some way, the shodo’charl did not kill them.

He hooked his fingers under the oilskin, trembling, already feeling the cold sweat forming on his neck and soaking his back. To do this . . . if he killed them . . . he wasn’t sure how he was going to sleep. How he was going to account for their deaths? But the longer he waited, the more who would die when he finally released the oilskin.

The Wishing Blade - Section Break - Magic Swirl

Enjoy! Feel free to tell your friends, or anyone you think might enjoy the book. 😀

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Thoughts on Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Wheee! Time flies when you’re having fun… and frantically running around trying to get everything done by a deadline. Either way, February’s almost over, and it’s time for the Infinitas Publishing Status Report!

Book Signing at Reader’s World: On Februrary 25th, Isaac and I went to a book signing with other local authors affiliated with the Writers of Warrensburg. We sold 3 copies of Magic’s Stealing and 5 copies of Distant Horizon, so the signing went well for us. A lot of people stopped by the store to speak with the various authors. I think we all had an enjoyable time. In the meantime, I’d like to give a shout-out to G.A. Edwards for arranging the signing and Reader’s World of Warrensburg for hosting the event. 🙂

Isaac and Stephanie Flint at Reader's World Book Signing (Photo by G.A. Edwards)

Isaac and Stephanie Flint at Reader’s World Book Signing (Photo by G.A. Edwards)

The Shadow War: This is the second book of The Wishing Blade series, and the ebook will be released on March 16th. I’m currently finishing making edits per my proofreading before formatting the print edition.

 

Glitch: Once everything is done with The Shadow War and Isaac and I have finished making preparations for Stealth Con, this is my next big project. The manuscript has been written, but it’s now undergoing edits and revisions.

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel: Isaac and I just placed an order for Battle Decks cards, so we’ll be able to offer the game for sale at conventions and event for the first time since releasing the game. Woot! (Now we just have to finish making the boxes for the games).

Not only that, but we also have expansion cards to start allowing for a deck building mechanic. There will be two expansions… one Prussian (Cogs of War) and one Britannian (Queen’s Pride), which primarily include extra cards from the original set to allow for a range of choices as to which cards to include in your deck, as well as a few all new expansion cards that weren’t in the original deck.

WIP Game: We’ve got the prototype of the game ordered! We’re not ready to release all the details about it yet, but I can say this… it’s a sort of mini RP/board game where you explore and reveal the map as you complete quests and collect treasure. The themes are based on the lore from the world of The Wishing Blade series and “Stone and String,” which is why the game is called: *Drumroll, please…* The Legends of Cirena!

Look for more information about The Legends of Cirena game once I finish formatting The Shadow War. 🙂

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: I’m working on completing one formatting/cover design project and beginning another. Basically, the same routine as usual.

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

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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