Tag Archives: The Multiverse Chronicles

Infinitas Publishing Status Report

Time for a status report! Now that the move to Michigan is mostly complete (and I’ve finally gotten my car back after a run-in with the local wildlife), we’re slowly getting back into the groove of things. Still got a few things to take care of before we’re all settled in, but things are finally getting back to normal. 🙂

DH Divider

Glitch: I’ve completed the major edits, handed the manuscript to Isaac to check over, and have been working on his changes. Due to the structure of the story, we’re actually considering breaking it into three individual stories, each around 35,000 to 45,000 words long. They’ll rely heavily on being read in order, but should each have their own beginning, middle, and end. I’ve sent the first part to a beta-reader to see what she thinks. If we do split the story into three parts, we’ll most likely release each part around two-three weeks apart, so readers won’t have to wait long to read each book. With luck, we’ll be moving forward with this project sooner rather than later.

Fractured Skies: I’ve made the second round of major edits based on Isaac’s feedback from a year or two ago, and now I’ve handed it back to him to look through. It needs a bit of work in order to match it to the style and tone of Distant Horizon. But this one is certainly in progress.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Book 3 of The Wishing Blade Series: Working on plotting. Once Fractured Skies is out to beta-readers, I plan to start editing what I already have written of this manuscript, then write the other half of the book.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Finished one formatting project, now working on book covers. Not much new here.

Game Development: Trying to work out the kinks in a fantasy-based civilization building game. We have a few ideas, but we’ll need to test-play them.

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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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Thoughts On Publishing – Infinitas Publishing Annual Report

Now that a full year has passed since officially starting Infinitas Publishing, it’s time to compile the annual report. So, for those of you who want to see numbers, here you go. 🙂

Since starting the business, we’ve released 1 book, 2 games, and 15 episodes of a serialized novel. (Plus, we pulled in one short story and a collection of short stories that I had published previously)

We had 4 appearances. A book Signing at the Readers World in Sedalia (January 29th, 2016), Game Room at Stealth Con (February 13-14th), Vendor’s Booth at Old Drum Days (April 9th), and the Book Signing at Hastings in Warrensburg (June 4th).

 

Now for the sales stats:

 

Magic’s Stealing

Ebook (Released September 17th, 2015) ($2.99)

September:

  • Smashwords: 1 Sale (Kobo)
  • Kindle US: 3
  • Kindle US (Pre-order): 5
  • Kindle UK: 1

October:

  • Kindle (US): 1

November:

  • Kindle (UK): (1 Sold and Returned)

December:

  • Smashwords: 1 Sale (Kobo)
  • Kindle (US): 1 Sale

January:

  • Kindle (UK): 1 Sale

February:

  • No sales

March:

  • Kindle (US): (3 Sold, 1 Returned)

April:

  • Smashwords: 1 Sale (Barnes & Noble)
  • Kindle (US): 1 Sale

May:

  • No Sales

June:

  • No Sales

 

Total Ebooks Sold: 18

 

Print Edition (Released December 1st, 2015) ($7.99)

December:

  • No Sales

January:

  • Amazon (US): 2 Sales
  • Readers World (Sedalia) Book Signing: 5 Sales
  • Readers World Sedalia (1 Prior to Signing, 4 bought by store after signing): 5 Sales

February:

  • No Sales

March:

  • No Sales

April:

  • No Sales

May:

  • No Sales

June:

  • Hastings Book Signing: 6 Sales
  • Hastings (Later Date): 2 Sales

 

Total Paperbacks Sold: 20

Total Copies of Magic’s Stealing Sold: 38

 

Ashes ($0.99)

Online Only (Short Story – Released prior to creation of Infinitas Publishing)

June:

  • No Sales

July:

  • No Sales

August:

  • No Sales

September:

  • No Sales

October:

  • No Sales

November:

  • No Sales

December:

  • No Sales

January:

  • No Sales

February:

  • Kindle (US): 1 Sale

March:

  • No Sales

April:

  • No Sales

May:

  • No Sales

June:

  • No Sales

 

Total Copies of Ashes Sold: 1

 

1000 Words – A Collection of Short Stories

(Released prior to creation of Infinitas Publishing)

(Note: All but one of these short stories are available for free online through Smashwords)

Ebook ($0.99)

June:

  • No Sales

July:

  • No Sales

August:

  • No Sales

September:

  • No Sales

October:

  • No Sales

November:

  • No Sales

December:

  • No Sales

January:

  • No Sales

February:

  • No Sales

March:

  • No Sales

April:

  • Amazon (AU): 1 Sale

May:

  • No Sales

June:

  • No Sales

 

Total Ebooks Sold: 1

(Note: I did not track sales of the individual free stories. If you’re interested in those, let me know)

 

Print ($11.99 – full color paperback)

June:

  • No Sales

July:

  • No Sales

August:

  • No Sales

September:

  • No Sales

October:

  • No Sales

November:

  • No Sales

December:

  • No Sales

January:

  • Amazon (US): 1 Sale

February:

  • No Sales

March:

  • No Sales

April:

  • No Sales

May:

  • No Sales

June:

  • No Sales

 

Total Paperbacks Sold: 1

Total Copies of 1000 Words Sold: 2

 

 

The Multiverse Chronicles

(Prologue and 1st 3 episodes released February 5, 2016)

(Online Only – Free Blog Series)

6 Followers

 

Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel

(Released February 12-13th, 2016)

Deluxe Edition: ($37.99 – Online Only) No sales

Basic Edition: ($24.99 – Online Only) No sales

Total: 0 sold

 

Phalanx

(Released April 9th, 2016)

Cloth Edition: ($25.00 – Local Only) 4 sales (3 sold in April, 1 sold in June)

Wooden Edition: ($75.00 – Local Only) 1 sale (April)

Board Game Edition: ($28.99 – Online Only) No sales

Total: 5 sold

 

 

I suspect that having the games be primarily online only is hurting chances of impulse buys, especially given that it is direct from The Game Crafter website, rather than a site people are familiar with (such as Amazon). For Ashes and 1000 Words, these are older works, so I rarely advertise them.

 

Marketing

Twitter – Every so often, I tweet for Magic’s Stealing on my writer’s account. Also, Isaac and I created a Steampunk-themed curator Twitter account, The Dapper Pigeon, from which we occasionally tweet about Battle Decks and The Multiverse Chronicles.

Facebook – We created the Infinitas Publishing Facebook page, and I tried running a short campaign ($10.00, from Feb 19th-20th, 2016) but didn’t see any sales.

Word-of-Mouth – We have poker card-shaped business cards and fliers with the first episode of Multiverse that we hand out at events.

Newsletter – We created the Infinitas Publishing Newsletter on June 3rd, 2016. At the moment, we have 0 followers.

Goodreads Giveaway – I gave away 1 copy of Magic’s Stealing in January, 2016. 893 people entered the giveaway, but there were no noticeable sales based on the giveaway (I can attribute the print sales that did happen to people I know personally).

Rafflecopter Giveaway – I offered up 1 ebook of Magic’s Stealing during the first giveaway and 2 ebook copies during the second giveaway. The first had 3-5 people entering, and the second had one.

 

Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂

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Episode 15: The Siege of Hague – Part One

Finally got the next episode of The Multiverse Chronicles up! We hope you enjoy it! 😀

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

SEASON ONE: EPISODE FIFTEEN

“The Siege of Hague – Part One”

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The Multiverse Chronicles - Buford War Map

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General Buford laid a map of Prussia on the table before him. Several of his executive officers gathered around. They stared, eyes locked on the map, their bodies tense.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Buford started, his face expressionless. “We have our orders from the Dragon Queen herself to set up a landing point for a larger invasion fleet at the city of Hague. I’ve spoken with a representative for the Franks, and they have decided to stay neutral in this conflict. They would rather spend their resources expanding overseas than get in the middle of our bloody feud.” He paused. “Can’t say I blame them.”

“Where does that put us?” Sergeant Cornwell raised an eyebrow and tapped his scone on the edge of his plate. “They won’t be able to stay neutral and…

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Thoughts on Writing – When Good Characters Do Things You Hate

When co-authors disagree… the war behind the war… and characters you love doing things you hate.

*Sigh.*

Sometimes co-authors have two different visions for the same story. That’s when editing gets difficult. You go round and round in circles, and a few choice characters should probably hide lest they get caught in the force of a full-scale rewrite.

Part of the reason I haven’t gotten the next episode of The Multiverse Chronicles edited yet is because I’ve been busy catching up on formatting and book cover projects, and Isaac and I were preparing to go out of town to see Planet Comicon and ConQuest.

The other reason I haven’t gotten the next episode out yet is that I haven’t been sure how to approach this episode (and the ones going forward).

See, before we started releasing The Multiverse Chronicles, I ran through a loose edit of the first half of the story. Each week, I did polishing edits, and then sent the episode to our beta reader.

Not too difficult.

On the most recent episode (episode 15), I ran into a hang-up.

I hadn’t edited this episode whatsoever.

At first, I blamed that for the reason I wasn’t working through it very quickly.

Then, while working on the episode last night, I finally understood the major problem.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t edited it before.

It was that I didn’t agree with what the characters were doing.

Their actions didn’t make sense.

Quick backstory, (includes spoilers): The Britannian queen’s daughter is murdered, and suspicion is on the Prussian prince. The prince is nowhere to be found, an important message is prevented from going through to the other side, and the furious queen launches an invasion fleet on the Prussians. Our Britannian heroes are on the front lines.

There’s just a small problem from my point of view…

Who cares if the queen’s daughter was murdered? No one likes her or the queen, everyone knows it’s only rumor that the prince is involved, and why go in and attack a random city or hurt soldiers who have absolutely nothing to do with the conflict, other than being  members of the offending country?

In particular, why should one of our heroes, a general who obviously cares about his people, whose best friend is a Prussian general, why would he send his people to attack? He knows his queen is hot-headed. He knows innocent people will be hurt if he follows through with the orders.

By moving forward with the queen’s orders, his integrity drops immensely in my eyes.

It hurts. I care about his character, and I don’t want to see him make a stupid choice.

He should know better.

Thing is, he’s loyal to a fault.

After thinking about this a while (because how am I supposed to co-author a story in which I want to rattle a character into his senses?) I found consolation in knowing that good characters have faults.

To be nuanced, to be interesting, to make us pull at our hair and wonder why would you do that?, good characters must have both good traits and bad.

What gets even more fun is that someone else may consider his loyalty a good thing, despite how much I might be railing on about it being terrible.

(I’m the person who watched Once Upon a Time and thought the entire village who called Rumpelstiltskin a coward just because he mutilated his foot so he could go home to his son and not die in a pointless battle were insufferable jerks. Anyway...)

General Buford cares for the people under his command. He steps in to reconcile a wrong when one of his captains lets prejudice get the best of him. He recognizes when there’s a problem, and takes it into consideration. He doesn’t go running blindly into battle.

But he’s loyal. That’s a problem when his loyalty lies with a queen who is known for mangling her messengers when they deliver bad news. A queen who is controlling, and temperamental, and just a tad bit power-hungry.

(I came to the conclusion that the Britannians are very much playing the “bad guys” in this story… at least until you realize that someone else is pulling the strings to cause the whole war).

In order to not throw the not-yet-edited book across the room, I personally needed something more than just “he’s going to follow orders” if he’s going to go along with the invasion plan. Even if he is loyal.

Why does he have the orders he does? To invade and secure the port city, then set up a launch point for further troops to come through.

What reason do they have for invading? (Other than the queen being a dragon-blooded hot-head who’s reasonably angry about the murder of her daughter… just not so reasonable in her tactics.)

From a logical standpoint, the prince–who is suspected of murdering the princess–has vanished… as has one of the queen’s captains who was in charge of the princess’s personal bodyguards. They never got the message that said an investigation was underway, and that the Prussians where cooperating with said investigation.

So, logically, if the Britannians need to search for the prince, having a secured locale allows them to bring in more people as they need to, whether the Prussians want them to or not (Could be that the prince did kill the princess, and now the Prussians are trying to keep him hidden).

It’s not much to go off of, but it’s better than just doing something because the queen everyone knows is illogical said so.

Still, Isaac (first author) wants Buford to be “loyal to queen and country,” and that be the main reason he follows through (despite having him think that the invasion is pointless–since the queen just wants to punish the Prussians). But at least he’s willing to go along with the idea that Buford could reason out the above tactical advantage–the invasion puts them in a position to search for the prince and find out what really happened the night the princess was murdered.

And from all that, we realized we have differing views of how we want the story to go.

Isaac wants it to be a war story… where the war is pointless and the soldiers on either side are not necessarily good or bad. I want a steampunk fantasy with elements of a war story, where smart characters say ‘no’ to stupid queens, or have good reasons for following stupid orders… (I am very much looking forward to the inevitable revolt that’s coming in future seasons.)

This is where I also realized that our branding of the story may be wrong. I mean, I had been picturing the slogan of “Dragons and dinosaurs and dirigibles, oh my!” which insinuates a lot more light-hearted or quirky of a read than what the route the story seems to be taking.

(This is the downside of trying to release a serial novel before it’s completely written).

Will the story continue? I imagine it will, but there’s probably going to be a few more tirades of arguing that characters shouldn’t be blind loyalists.

But when they are, I’m not sure whether it tugs on our the heartstrings even more, because we don’t want to see them making bad decisions… or if it makes the author overlord side of me really happy when their blind loyalty bites them in the behind later on.

But hey, that’s all just an opinion.

Have you ever been stuck writing a character (or reading about one) who you really cared about doing something you really despised?

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Episode 14: The Test – Part Two

The next episode of The Multiverse Chronicles is now online! 😀

Trish must successfully complete her flight examination or lose her pterosaur for good…

The Multiverse Chronicles

The Multiverse Chronicles

SEASON ONE: EPISODE Fourteen

“The Test – Part Two”

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The Multiverse Chronicles - Pterosaur and a Steam Boat

* * *

After the young pterosaur’s capture, the mangy humans kept her chained to their floating hut. At first, she fought the chain. She snapped at it and flapped her wings, but the chain held fast and the boat was anchored. Though the humans at the hatchery had kept her enclosed in their dome, they never bound her with a dirty, ragged chain, which tore at her skin and mangled her scales.

She was not a happy pterosaur.

Later that evening, the weathered man with straw-colored hair and grit in his wrinkled skin approached her with a pile of hemp rope in his hands. She shrieked at him and flared her wings, but he just smiled, revealing a set of broken teeth. The pterosaur snapped at him—let him see that her teeth were not broken! He…

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Thoughts on Writing – Referencing Other Books For Writing Style

One of the things I’ve found helpful when writing specific scenes, especially if I’m aiming for a certain tone or voice, is to read a book with a similar style. For example, in the latest scene I’m editing for The Multiverse Chronicles, I’m working on part two of an episode that has a certain pterosaur’s point of view. In the previous episode (Episode 13: The Test – Part One), the curious pterosaur has been captured by “mangy humans.”

This is the first paragraph from one of the earlier drafts of the intro to Part Two:

 

For days, the mangy men dragged the young pterosaur around the island with their floating hut. If she could keep up, she was rewarded with fresh fish. If she failed to keep up, the pain of the chain around her neck motivated her to try harder. Eventually she got fast, and then the men started taking her to a small village on the main land.

 

Curious about what the antagonists were actually doing, I asked Isaac what he was picturing the antagonists doing (partially because I wanted to know more about the boat). He gave me a bit more detail, and I ended up taking a 700 word scene and turning it into a 1,600 word scene. (Remember what I said before about my tendency to go into detail? This is especially true when I ask him questions about a small scene, then run rampant.)

When I first tried figuring out how we might flesh this out, the imagery that came to mind was an old book. If I have my classics right, that book is Black Beauty, which I vaguely remember as a story about a horse’s life as he’s passed from owner to owner. Though I could be mixing up horse stories, I seem to remember a scene with a cruel or uncaring master, which is similar to what I wanted for this scene.

While I didn’t have a copy of Black Beauty on hand, the Goodreads page for this book had a nice-sized preview which gave me a feel for the writing style, voice, and things I might look for. In fact, reading about the horse’s “breaking” reminded me of handicapped horse races, which involved using weights to slow horses down (I was a fan of horse-racing computer games).

Thus, I wondered if the antagonists might be able to use lead weights to burden our pterosaur protagonist, intending to build her strength so she would fly faster. (Originally, they started up their steamboat and dragged her around the island, making her keep up. But when the pterosaur is mentioned later in the story as being able to fly up to 80 miles per hour without a rider, and a quick Google search revealed that an average steamboat speed was 30 miles per hour… our antagonists had to improvise.)

 

Anyhow, the first paragraph turned into something like this (still needs polishing):

 

After the young pterosaur’s capture, the mangy humans kept her chained to their floating hut. At first, she fought the chains. She snapped at the chain and flapped her wings, but the chain held fast and the boat was anchored, and she found herself pulled from the shore and into the water. Though the humans at the hatchery had kept her enclosed in their dome, they never bound her with a dirty, ragged chain, which tore at her skin and mangled her scales.

 

She was not a happy pterosaur.

 

Later that evening, the weathered man with straw-colored hair approached her with a pile of hemp rope in his hands. She shrieked at him and flared her wings, but he just smiled, revealing a set of broken teeth and grit in his wrinkled skin. The pterosaur snapped at him—let him see that her teeth were not broken! He only laughed. He dumped the rope on the sand and returned to his hut.

 

Shortly thereafter, the two men cornered her. The jeered as she tried to thwap them with her wings, and too soon they had cast a net of rope over her head. Her beak caught and her claws caught and her crest caught, too. She struggled, but the only result was to become further tangled. No escape.

 

Now that she was tethered, the weathered man knelt beside her and bound her beak so she could not bite, tied her claws so she could not scratch, and finally, strapped a leaden pad to her back.

 

They removed the net.

 

Furious, she tried to launch herself at them, only to stumble and collapse in the sand. How heavy were these weights, which prevented her from standing. She shrugged her shoulders, trying to at least sit upright. No such luck, for the weights held her down.

 

A fierce whistle pierced the air and a gust of steam rose from a metal pipe above the floating hut. What a terrible noise!

 

Then suddenly her chains lurched and she was torn into the ocean. Salty water splashed into her eyes and nostrils.

 

The floating hut moved, and the weights dragged her deeper. Her mind screamed that she could not fly, nor swim, so long as the chain held her fast. She sank, still flapping her wings, splashing.

 

This goes on for a bit before we see the end of the original paragraph with the pterosaur in the village, but hey… we get a lot more personality from the characters, more of the world, and more emotion. However, there might be some trimming in the near future. We’ll see what our beta-reader says.

The scene might not feel exactly like Black Beauty, but it isn’t meant to. I was looking for inspiration. Reading sections of a book with a style you want to mimic helps improve similar scenes as those books can give insights into the style of writing, voice, and terminology you might need.

I’ve used this technique several times. Reading Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes for the rough draft of Little One, various horror stories for Glitch, and Steelheart for final touches on Distant Horizon.

You don’t want to match the voice exactly, but seeing what other books do or don’t do well can teach you tricks to use in your own writing.

I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek of the next episode of The Multiverse Chronicles. 🙂

Have you found any books to be helpful in developing the stories you’re writing?

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Thoughts on Writing – Writing A Serial Novel – MVChron Midpoint Evaluation

Now that Isaac and I have reached the midpoint of The Multiverse Chronicles (or what was originally going to be the midpoint), I thought it might be fun to look at what we had planned for this series, and what the current trajectory is.

For those of you who are new to my blog, The Multiverse Chronicles is a pseudo-steampunk fantasy blog series that my husband and I write. Isaac writes the rough draft for each episode, which I then edit. We send that draft to a beta-reader, who gives us feedback. We polish the episode, and then post it to our blog (approximately once a week between episodes).

The series started because we wanted a way to advertise our Battle Decks: Trials of Blood and Steel card game. So we worked out more of the universe and wrote it into story format. (Fun Fact: The story came from the card game, but the card game from a story… which came from a role-play game Isaac game-mastered and created the world for. It’s just one big cycle.)

When we first planned the series, we thought they’d be short little episodes, each an individual story following the lives of various characters who we occasionally revisited (actually, we first pictured this as a comic strip). As the story progressed, certain themes would reoccur and a larger story arc would appear, but would only be important to those who read the whole series.

That didn’t happen.

The story evolved to have a full-blown plot. Even then, we determined that we would still keep the episodes short (around 500-1500 words), and we would keep some level of independent story from episode to episode, that way new readers could fall in at any time and be able to reasonably follow what was going on.

Ahem.

Let’s take a look at the actual word count of the first twelve episodes, shall we?

  • Prologue: 478
  • Episode 1: 2,318
  • Episode 2: 3,287
  • Episode 3: 2,771
  • Episode 4: 3,395
  • Episode 5: 3,829
  • Episode 6: 2,202
  • Episode 7: 3,082
  • Episode 8: 3,660
  • Episode 9: 2,760
  • Episode 10: 2,018
  • Episode 11: 3,918
  • Episode 12: 4,226

Ignoring the prologue, which we added at the last minute because we wanted to have at least some reference of why we call this “The Multiverse Chronicles,” the episodes are well above the intended length.

Granted, a lot of that is my fault. I like details. I want to see the world…

And I enjoy knowing what the bad guys are doing.

Isaac’s original drafts are closer to the intended length (for example, the original draft of the first episode is only 1,645 words long, and episode twelve was only 1,672 words long (note: this does not include the end scene, which was added later and raised the total count to 2,591 words).

Combined,the total word count for the first twelve episodes without the prologue is 37,466 words, with an average of 3,122 words per episode.

That’s double the original word count we had in mind.

Adding to the word count was the decision to add “Meanwhile“scenes at the end of each episode to show what other characters, especially the antagonists, were up to. The idea was to build suspense. Per feedback from our beta-reader, we later stopped calling them “Meanwhile” scenes and just made them a part of the regular episode, albeit with a section break.

What remained as planned, however, was to have an illustration with each story, hearkening back to the idea of penny dreadfuls and dime novels. Though the style and number of illustration varies a bit from episode to episode, we try to have at least something.

Originally we planned to have 24 episodes, though looking at our current structure, we now have 27 episodes planned, and I haven’t checked to see if any of the remaining episodes need to be split into two parts (as we did with one of the earlier episodes, and the two episodes we’ll be releasing next).

Once the first season has been released, I’m hoping to go back through the full story, make any final changes and polish the writing, and then publish a print and ebook edition. But that’s a post for another day.

Though we deviated from our original plans, I hope that readers will still enjoy The Multiverse Chronicles. And please, feel free to chime in with thoughts and comments as you read each episode. We would love to hear from you. 🙂

Previous posts about the serialization process:

Thoughts on Publishing – Serial Publishing Methods

Thoughts on Writing – What does a Serial Episode Need?

 

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