Tag Archives: writing tips

Thoughts on Writing – Flash Fiction – “Into the Dark”

A while back I posted a couple flash fiction pieces based on the prompt, “Unicorn.”

Today, after a group meeting regarding flash fiction, Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch (A flash fiction writing community), gave us the prompt, “Into the Dark.”

For the purpose of these prompts, flash fiction is fiction with an exact count of 99 words.

I decided to write two variations. One that is unrelated to my other stories and is “lighter” in tone. The other is based on the events of Spirits of a Glitch / Fractured Skies, and is darker in tone.

Isaac also wrote a flash fiction piece. Since he doesn’t have a blog, I’m posting it for him here.

Enjoy. 😀

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“Freedom in the Darkness”

by Stephanie Flint

(Contemporary / Portal Fantasy)

Locust trees stand fast in the brambly forest before her, their long thorns defying the night wind, a forest dark with promising secrets. The steel gray sky flashes light. Flocks of swirling birds race the wind, specks of coal dust against the embers of clouds.

She wraps her arms tight around her sundress. One hesitant step after another, closer to the forest. The chilly wind raises gooseflesh along her bare neck.

A glance behind, to safety.

Thunder growls behind a distant farmstead. Cows shuffle close to the chicken coop.

They have safety, but her freedom lies in the darkness.

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“Stalling”

by Stephanie Flint

(Based on the events of Spirits of a Glitch / Fractured Skies)

The agent holds his rifle close. Sweat trickles from his forehead, dripping into his eyes. Quick blinks. Fear… he senses danger around the corner. The seething, burning wrongness presses against his powers, then pulls.

Pulls at his spirit, his life…

Angry spirits, thirsting for revenge.

He swallows hard. The looming hall twists before him, his terror spinning familiar architecture into an uncertain whirl of rich rugs, steel doors, and clockwork lamps.

Clockwork lamps tick, tick, ticking until the generator stalls.

The hall goes dark.

Burning voices whisper in his head with cold, eager glee.

We are Legion… join us.

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“Day of the Hawk”

by Isaac Flint

His nose fell to the ground, his whiskers twitched, his pupils constricted. He’d stayed out too late. The sun was out; the Hawk was out. His heart raced. He took to his feet across the garden.

A swoosh in the wind, his ears perked, he dodged around a stone, slid under a vine, splashed in a puddle.

The wind brought the scent of sundried feathers. He thought of pups, he thought of his mate. He was glad they were not in the sun. They were safe, deep down in the burrow, where he would soon go, into the dark.

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I hope you enjoyed this post. Though we were a bit late for the Carrot Ranch “Into the Dark” prompt, if you want to participate in their weekly posts, head over to Carrot Ranch. 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Outlining Results (Cyberpunk Snow White) and New Release

Last year, I wrote a post on outlining a novel with the goal of reaching between 50,000-60,000 words in 12 days (a condensed version of NaNoWriMo). This was for a cyberpunk Snow White retelling.

The goal was met, I did a bit of editing on that project, handed it off to a beta-reader, and then sat it on the proverbial back burner.

Though I was busy with other projects, I occasionally thought back to that cyberpunk fairy tale but didn’t do much with it until several months later, when (in classic fairy tale-style fashion), I had a dream that I was busy editing the cyberpunk story.

Later that same day, the beta-reader who’d read it contacted me to ask if I had a cover for it yet or if I had made progress.

I took that as the “go-time” flag to get back to work on that project.

(I’m not kidding. I really did have a dream about editing the story before getting contacted out of the blue on the same day by my beta-reader. Coincidence? Probably. But still a great story to tell about the writing process of a fairy tale retelling).

Anyway, I proceeded to make revisions, sent it out to another round of readers, polished it, did a read-aloud for errors, and then proof-read.

The book… now dubbed “Huntress” (and the first in a series), released on Sunday. 😀

*Happy-dance*

If you’d like to see how it turned out, grab a copy!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

From now until Sunday, December 9th, you can grab it for 99 cents (or read it for free with Kindle Unlimited).

And, of course, you can get an idea of what the original outline looked like (and what changed) by reading the original post here).

Without further ado…

Huntress

A YA Cyberpunk / Dystopian Retelling of Snow White

SBibb - Huntress Book Cover

Her touch is poison.

Verdi is a huntress for Koenigin Corp. She’s augmented. Perfect.

Determined to earn her dear president’s favor and finally have her voice heard, Verdi agrees to target Maria Snow, the favored candidate of the Society for Natural Progression, in an acid attack.

After all, once Maria is no longer so lovely, surely she’ll accept the nanite-based technology that can remove her scar—thus branding her as a traitor to her cause.

But when Maria Snow refuses treatment and Verdi catches her secretly meeting with an enhanced, sapient bird, she realizes Snow might be the one woman who can forge an alliance between the technology-loving corporations and the nature-oriented Progressionists.

Forced to choose between loyalty to the corporation who raised her, and falling in love with the woman who could finally unite the two factions, Verdi’s decision will change the face of the city.

Buy Huntress today!

Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

I hope you enjoy the book! 😀

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(Note… I don’t plan to keep Huntress in Kindle Unlimited forever. The first three months are a test run, and then, depending on how it does, I plan to eventually release it wide across other retailers.)

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In the meantime, I wrote the rough draft of the sequel for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I used a similar process, creating an outline (though I diverged more from it), and writing 50,000 words in ten days instead of twelve.

Now it needs editing, but the start of the story is there. 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

It’s been a busy month between a trip to San Diego (school conference for Isaac where I got to tag along and see the sights), and a condensed NaNoWriMo (my goal was 50,000 words in 10 days, which I managed to succeed at. More about that in the “Cyberpunk Snow White” section).

In the meantime, here are the updates! 😀

 

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Fractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). Still needs a print edition. I’m hoping to work on that early next year.

Starless Night: (Book 3 of the Distant Horizon series). On hold until Magebane edits are complete, and then this will be the next major project. The first step will be to assess what’s already been written and figure out what still needs to be written or rewritten.

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off novel) On hold. (Needs rest of rough draft written).

Sky Runner: *Cough.* Isaac and I might have seen a really cool premade cover that was on sale, bought it, and gotten an idea for a story about an airship pirate captain. *Cough.* Same universe as The Multiverse Chronicles, but takes place about fifty years later. On hold, but with plans to construct an outline. Not sure if this will be a short story or novella.

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

Little One: On hold. (Needs revisions per Isaac’s notes).

Magebane: (Book Three of The Wishing Blade series) Needs a couple scenes added, and then smoothed out. After that, a read-aloud with Isaac. Then we’ll determine if it needs another round of beta-reading. Still hoping to release this early next year.

Stone and String 3: Since a few events of this story coincide with events of The Wishing Blade book 4, I need to wait until that rough draft is written (or at least outlined) to work on this one. That will happen sometime after Magebane is complete.

The Secret in the Shadows: (Prequel novella for The Wishing Blade series) Out to beta-readers. I’m hoping to finish revisions this month, depending on how extensive revisions are.

The Legends of Cirena – Collaborative Adventure Facebook Group: Already completed one short story (tentatively called Livena: The Wind Mage of Maijev) and I’ve created a cover mock-up for it. We’re midway/toward the end of the second story now.

My current project is to revise Livena’s story and see what still needs to be done with it, so I can release it early next year.

“MOG”: On hold. Needs further revision.

SBibb - Huntress Book CoverCyberpunk / Dystopian Snow White Story: *Cough.* Meet Huntress, a YA SciFi retelling of Snow White with a female huntress as the main character. You might remember me talking about the outline last year.

This was my surprise project of last month that I hadn’t planned to work on… but ended up going into overdrive to complete. I finished revisions, sent it out to beta-readers, made a few minor changes, did a read-aloud with Isaac, proofread it…

And Huntress should be launching sometimes next week. 😀

More on that in a few days. 😉

(And if you want more details, I’ve started a newsletter. Click here to subscribe!)

Yes, there will be a sequel following the same character, but focused on a different fairy tale. (That was the condensed NaNoWriMo project I mentioned at the beginning of the post).

I’m super excited and nervous to get it out there, but I hope readers enjoy it. 😀

Game Design: On hold.

Geek U.P. ConventionMarketing: Continuing working on understanding AMS/Amazon Ads. Maybe seeing a tiny bit of traction… particularly with the UK ads?

Not enough data to say for sure yet.

Also, Isaac and I had a booth at the Geek U.P. convention hosted by Black Ice Comics, which went well. (Even with the surprise snow that morning. Not quite a storm, but definitely a lot of snow in a short amount of time. Looked outside once… it was misting. A few minutes later… heavy snow). Still, a lot of fun. Got to meet several other artists, and enjoyed talking to con-goers. 😀

I also dropped off doing the Weekly Book Promo Highlights last month due to the crazy schedule, but I intend to start back up again this month and see how it goes.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Ebook loosely formatted. Working on details for print formatting.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: On hold. Debating whether to release the first one as I soon as I complete revisions (and go through the usual read-aloud/proof-reading process), or to wait until I get the second one written.

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That’s all for now!

I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

Eeeps! I’m behind on getting this Infinitas Publishing status report out. But we’ve got a lot to talk about. 😀

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Fractured Skies - Book CoverFractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). Fractured Skies is now available to the world! Check out the release post by clicking here.

A print version should be in the works sometime in the next few months. 🙂

Starless Night: (Book 3 of the Distant Horizon series). Parts of the rough draft have been completed but need to be reorganized and rewritten. Once Magebane is complete, this will be my next major project.

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off novel) Temporarily on hold while completing other projects.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Little One: On hold.

Magebane: (Book Three of The Wishing Blade series) Figured out how to reorder the scenes for better pacing and what needs to be added in order to make the ending more satisfying. I still need to write those scenes, but I’ve started the editing process of making sure earlier scenes are transitioning smoothly.

In the meantime, the cover for Magebane is now complete. Hopefully we’ll be releasing this book at the beginning of next year. 🙂

Stone and String 3 (and assorted Wishing Blade short stories/novellas): The novella whose protagonist I can’t reveal yet does have a name (at least a working title): The Secret in the Shadows.

I’m currently working on revising this story for Isaac to read. Most likely, it will release after Magebane, in order to avoid spoilers for those reading The Wishing Blade series.

Then I’ll be working on the third Stone and String story.

The Legends of Cirena – Collaborative Adventure: I started a new Facebook group where I post a new story section each week, and group members can vote on what happens next. Learn more here, or join the group here! It’s been lots of fun thus far. 😀

“MOG”: On hold.

Cyberpunk / Dystopian Snow White Story: This story now has a rough cover and a name: Huntress. I’ve begun a round of edits based on beta-reader feedback. No idea how soon this one is coming, but I’ve been switching between editing this and The Secret in the Shadows now that Fractured Skies is complete.

Game Design: On hold.

Black Ice Comics Author Meet & GreetMarketing: Starting to learn Amazon Ads… we’ll see how this goes.

Also, Isaac and I did an Author Meet & Greet at Black Ice Comics in Houghton, Michigan. We had a lot of fun, and Shana (the store owner) provided yummy snacks. 🙂

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Continuing along with projects. Need to create a book cover and format an ebook. Finished the typing side of a project.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: Temporarily on hold, though I’ve been itching to work on revisions.

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I think that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

It’s time for another Infinitas Publishing status report! 🙂

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Fractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). Feedback is in for Fractured Skies, and Isaac and I have proceeded through the read-aloud proofing stage. With that complete, I’m now ready to make a couple tiny adjustments, print out the manuscript and proceed to proofreading.

The blurb for Fractured Skies is also complete, so we’ll be announcing more details soon.

While we’re not 100% sure of the release date, we’re aiming for an October release!

In the meantime, we’ve just about finished the cover for book three of the Distant Horizon series, so stayed tuned for a reveal!

(Sign up for the Distant Horizon Universe Newsletter to get an early look at the next book cover!)

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off novel) On hold while completing the main series’ projects.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Little One: On hold.

Magebane: (Book Three of The Wishing Blade series) I’m still in the process of working on revisions, but I think Isaac and I have diagnosed a few possible issues with the current story (pacing and climax). This is going to take a bit longer to complete, as I need to shuffle a few scenes and add a couple plot points.

I’m not sure yet whether this is going to go through another round of beta-readers, but the current plan is to go through a read-aloud phase once the aforementioned issues have been resolved.

We’ve got a plan… but it’s going to take a little work to get this where we want it.

We also did a photoshoot for the main image of the book cover, and have a near-final draft of the cover.

The Wishing Blade – Book 4: (Title to be determined) On hold while I revise Magebane. 

Stone and String 3 (and assorted Wishing Blade short stories/novellas): On hold while completing Magebane and Fractured Skies.

However, I created a cover for the novella I mentioned last time, so that’s done, at least. Once I’ve made progress revising the novella, then I’ll reveal the cover. So that’s coming soonish.

(Want to be the first to see new covers in The Wishing Blade universe? Sign up for that newsletter here).

“MOG”: While I haven’t made any further progress on this particular universe, Isaac has read through the story I’ve managed to edit thus far, and he’s provided me with a loose plot outline for future books in this series.

Cyberpunk / Dystopian Snow White Story: On hold.

Game Design: On hold.

WCPL Book Sighing - August 2018Marketing: Continuing to work on newsletter swaps with other authors. Also, I’ve picked up a couple ebooks on copywriting with the intent to improve my blurbs and newsletters.

Isaac and I also did a book signing at the Webb City Public Library in Missouri. At least one person checked out one of our books from the library that was in circulation. Thank you! 🙂

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Finished a book cover proof and am preparing to do a typing/formatting project.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: I’ve received feedback from beta-readers and I have some notes from Isaac on the beginning of the story. Once Magebane and Fractured Skies are complete, I’ll start revisions. For now, it’s on hold. The tagline still eludes me.

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That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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Thoughts on Writing – Why Rose Tico is an Awesome Character

When I watched The Last Jedi, it was before a number of rather vocal movie goers started ranting about how much they hated it.

Was it my favorite movie? No. I’m picky when it comes to movies.

But did I enjoy The Last Jedi? Yeah, I did. I also enjoyed it the second time I watched it, after I’d heard the arguments against it.

Today, I want to explain why.

I’ve been a Star Wars fan for a while (especially the Extended Universe/Legends), and for me, The Last Jedi hit a lot of the things I love about Star Wars, especially in regards to the Force.

But today, I want to focus on a character from the The Last Jedi. For some reason, a number of people who watched the movie seem to hate Rose Tico (and some “fans” have gone way too far with their criticism and directed inappropriate comments at the actress, prompting her to delete her Instagram account). (EDIT: Further information can be read in this New York Times article.)

I’m not really sure why people hate Rose’s character, (or the actress, since I thought she did a wonderful job with her portrayal) since Rose was one of my favorite characters in the movie. (I think my favorite might have been Kylo Ren, because of his fascinating ongoing struggle, but that’s a subject for another post).

((Warning… spoilers ahead for The Last Jedi.))

Rose Tico - Movie Still from The Last Jedi

Rose Tico (Movie Still from The Last Jedi)

The thing I loved about Rose is that she’s a bright-eyed idealist who is willing to go out and try (even when trying sometimes ends in failure). She cares about people and creatures, and she wants desperately to protect the people she cares about.

That bright-eyed wonder when she comes up close to a fathier (those adorable dog-horse creatures on the race tracks)… and the compassion she has for the kids in the stables because she’s been there, and she wants to see them have a better life… that’s the reason she’s awesome. She’s had a bad incident in her past (multiple, given that she recently lost her sister), but she’s not jaded. She gives those kids hope, which we see at the end of the movie when one of them kids peeks out at the stars and reveals the rebellion ring Rose once had.

(A note on the movie as a whole…) Not only do we see the kid’s hope, but this felt like a nice callback to the Expanded Universe. The kid is obviously Force-sensitive, as we see him snag the broom to sweep without touching it. This reminded me quite a bit of a scene from one of the Expanded Universe (now known as Star Wars Legends) books in which a Jedi was out searching for other Force users, and one scene involved him going to the racetracks and looking for the people who were unusually lucky to see if they had the Force. (Unfortunately, I can’t remember which Jedi it was that did this, or who it was that got recruited. If you remember who this was or which book, feel free to drop a comment below).

(Another note on the movie as a whole…) I also really liked the Canto Bight scene because it reminded me a lot of the Knights of the Old Republic games… especially with the morally gray “these people are weapons dealers, but they sell to both the First Order, and the Rebellion.”

Anyway, back on topic: Rose’s character seemed to center around hope and compassion. In the beginning of the movie, when we see her upset about the loss of her sister, we also see her hopefulness when she meets Finn for the first time–a hero.

But rather than going into complete despair when she realizes that he’s trying to flee the ship and leave behind the people she cares about, we see this petulant (slightly adorable) look of frustration. Here she thought he was a hero, and after everyone who just died, he’s trying to flee?

She zaps him.

(Though I felt bad for Finn, because I really didn’t blame him, I loved this reaction because we can just feel her frustration). She’s relatable. How many times do we sometimes wish we could just zap somebody who is doing something stupid? (Not a good idea in real life, but hey… wish fulfillment).

While I’m not usually a fan of characters who are big on loyalty (They can be rather frustrating to write because they keep wanting to do stupid stuff in the name of loyalty), I liked that she has loyalty to an idea, rather than to a single person or group, who can be deeply flawed.

She wants to save people (as stated by her quote, “That’s how we are going to win. Not fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”) and she’s willing to risk her life and place in the rebellion to do so. Yes, she’s part of an insurrection, but it was done out of the belief that what Admiral Holdo was doing was going to get those people killed.

(I would like to add another note here. The entire problem of the fleet being nearly destroyed at the end of the movie could have been avoided if one of two things happened: A. If Holdo had simply told Poe the plan so he would realize that she wasn’t some kind of untrustworthy spy, or B. If Holdo had thrown Poe in the brig after he’d gotten so many people killed by refusing orders and getting in her face demanding answers. Topic for another day).

Though Rose, Finn, and Poe’s choice to go after the tracking technology the First Order has ultimately ends in tragedy, Rose was doing everything she could to save the people she cared about, to try and prevent them from dying like her sister.

And you know what?

I found that completely believable.

Good guys don’t always make the right choices. They don’t know everything, and can’t predict the future. They can only do what they think is best, and hope they’re doing the right thing. That’s what we see from Rose.

She’s trying her hardest to protect people after the loss of her sister and so many of the rebellion members in an earlier battle scene. She wants to make a difference. She wants to help.

And she saves Finn, who was so dead-set on self-sacrifice to stop the big cannon from tunneling through the door that he would have gotten himself needlessly killed. She cared about him, and protected him.

She was saving the people she loved.

(Granted, it probably would have been better if the editing of the movie didn’t show the door to the rebel base being blown up behind her and Finn… but that wasn’t exactly Rose’s fault. I will also admit that the kiss between her and Finn felt a little cliche, but then, movies are very rarely perfect.)

Overall, I found her to be a great character. She was well-written, and Loan (Kelly Marie) Tran did an excellent job depicting her.

I look forward to seeing her again in the next movie, and I’m curious as to where the Star Wars saga goes next.

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That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know if you’d like to see more in depth posts on what I thought of specific characters or plot points. 🙂

8/22/2018 – Edited to include link to a recent article that came out yesterday and to include Kelly Marie Tran’s real name per that article, Loan.

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Infinitas Publishing – Status Report

July flew by quickly, and now it’s time for the monthly Infinitas Publishing status report!

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The Glitch Saga: The Complete Collection - Ebook

Glitch: Everything in the The Glitch Saga is now complete! All the individual books are now available at online retailers, including the compilation ebook (more on that in this blog post).

Fractured Skies: (Book 2 of the Distant Horizon series). I ended up needing to send this through another round of beta-readers since the previous round had other things come up and weren’t able to complete the reading.

However, based on feedback from this round, it looks like Isaac and I might be about ready to move into the read-aloud proofing stage. We’ll see in a couple weeks, once the rest of the feedback comes in.

We’ve also got a work-in-progress blurb written. Yay!

Lily’s Story: (Distant Horizon series spin-off novel) Err… this did not get completed in time for Camp NaNoWriMo. (Having a road trip and working on another project slowed down the momentum on this). I have 8,800 words written thus far, and Isaac has provided feedback on the current rough draft. I’m hoping to get back to working on this project at the end of August.

The Multiverse Chronicles: On hold.

Little One: On hold.

Magebane: (Book Three of The Wishing Blade series) Beta-readers have looked over the latest version of Magebane and provided notes. There are a few pacing issues to clear up, but it looks like it won’t be too long before I’ll be able to move to the read-aloud proofing stage. We’ll see what happens after the next round of edits/revisions.

The Wishing Blade – Book 4: (Title to be determined) I’ve started a plot outline for this book. It’s not complete, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of where this is going.

Stone and String 3 (and assorted Wishing Blade short stories/novellas): I inadvertently managed to spend most of my writing time last month working on a story that I haven’t yet named and I’ve been avoiding saying the name of the main character due to spoilers.

But suffice it to say that I completed a rough draft last night at 35,800 words. (Which means that, unedited, it’s about the same length as Magic’s Stealing. Whew. The main character had a lot on his mind).

Anyway, it’s technically a prequel to Magic’s Stealing, but it’s intended to be read after Magebane due to spoilers. Despite that, it should be able to be read as a stand-alone novella for those who want to jump right in.

In the meantime, I’ve continued plotting the story that takes place (chronologically) after that one but is meant to be read before Stone and String 3, and I’ve also been plotting Stone and String 3.

“MOG”: (I’ll reveal what title the acronym stands for in a future blog post). I’ve finished revisions on the first quarter of this story and intend to tackle the rest of it this month. It’s been sitting on my hard-drive for a while, and I’ve been wanting to work on it but haven’t yet had a chance. Now I’m working on revisions so that Isaac can look through them before I move on to the rough draft of the next book. This is a series that I hope to have at least the first three books written before release… so I’m not sure when this is going to be coming out.

In case your curious, what I’ll reveal about it thus far is that it’s a science fiction space story. Lots of exploration and intrigue.

Cyberpunk / Dystopian Snow White Story: On hold.

Game Design: On hold.

Marketing: Started working on doing newsletter swaps with other authors.

SBibb’s Photographic Illustration: Finished a book cover/formatting project.

LitRPG / GameLit Story: First complete round of revisions and editing done. It’s now out to beta-readers. I still need to figure out a tagline.

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That’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed this post. 🙂

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