Winning design

Science fiction abounds in a variety of media, whether it?s computer games, movies, books, television or stories your mom tells you at night before you go to sleep.
Sci-fi imagination has taken the world to many places and introduced us to a variety of iconic characters and events, such as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth Vader in ?Star Wars,? a crazy tornado filled with sharks in ?Sharknado,? an intelligent computer in ?2001: A Space Odyssey? and talking apes in the ?Planet of the Apes? series.
Audra Crebs? imagination has taken her and the rest of us to Earth 20,000 years from now, where one of the main characters is an angelic creature named Dovian.
Crebs wrote a book, ?The Esoteric Design,? which is a full-written sci-fi fantasy novel comprising a little more than 500 pages, complete with drawings. In the back, it features character biographies with likenesses of characters, a bestiary, which shows monsters in the book, and drawings of armor and weaponry.
?It just kinda gives you more background information about everyone,? the Halstead resident said. ?It just makes it more well-rounded.?
Crebs is a skilled artist, having graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration from the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in December 2008. She put many of her skills to use in the book, which was released in February.
?I did everything?even formatted it myself, the whole process,? she said.
The book started as concept art for a video game. Crebs loves video games.
?The artwork is really a selling point of the book,? Crebs said. ?When I show people the artwork and tell them about it, people really get into that.?
The book, much like video games, has lots of ?war and action and monsters and battles,? Crebs said.
The story involves Aria and Troy, two soldiers sent to investigate a base that?s been attacked on Earth.
?They find out the base was attacked by monsters instead of humans, and the evidence points to the land of Ives,? Crebs said.
Ives is home to an extinct angelic race, and that?s how they meet Dovian, ?who joins them to solve the mysteries of the monsters,? she added.
The novel encompasses a variety of genres?romance, horror, adventure, action, fantasy and science fiction?and is written in the third person from militant Aria?s point of view.
Crebs wrote the first four chapters in 2009, dropped the project and then returned to it two years ago. She said the writing process takes six months, while the entire process is two years.
She likes having a book finished.
?It?s pretty cool,? Crebs said. ?It?s pretty exciting (but) it?s kinda scary because you have self doubt.?
She said she got over the self doubt when the book was completed because she felt accomplished. But then doubt snuck back like a monster in the night.
?You get scared again because you don?t know if anyone is going to read it or like it,? she said. ?You?re always afraid everyone is going to hate it.?
But from the sounds of it, people enjoy the book.
?I haven?t talked to a single person who has said they hated it,? Crebs said. ?It?s fun, and that?s what makes it exciting.?
She has a five-star rating on Amazon, and she did her book through CreateSpace through Amazon. It?s a place to self-publish, and it doesn?t cost anything, unless a person uses paid services. Books have to go through an approval process, and authors have complete control of the book, Crebs said.
?For me, it was all fun to do,? Crebs said. ?For the most part, it?s entirely free (at least for me).?
FreeSpace handles distribution, and authors get to choose what kind of distribution they wish. Crebs? book is available worldwide and also is available worldwide on Kindle, too.
?The next step is to figure out the audio book, which will be interesting,? Crebs said.
With the printed books, Crebs gets 60 to 70 percent of the royalties, but she has to take care of her own publicity.
?But if you go with a publishing house, you?ll get like 5 percent,? Crebs said. ?This is my hard work, and I?d like control and (to) make money off of it.?
Many people have become quite successful on Create?Space, Crebs said, selling millions of copies. If she doesn?t sell anything, she?s not out any funds, and the only books she has to purchase are the ones for herself. Some people who go with publishing houses have to spend thousands of dollars on their own books, Crebs said.
Crebs worked for several years at an area newspaper, but now she spends her time freelancing and writing books. She?s working on the sequel to the ?Esoteric? book, which is the second of a four-book series, and hopes to have it done by the end of this year or the beginning of next.
Crebs wasn?t sure she was going to publish the book until she did a reading at Pages in Newton a few years ago. At the time, people really liked it and wanted to know when the book was coming out.
?Sometimes, you need that reassurance,? Crebs said. ?I think it would be an awesome movie.?
She?s also had positive feedback from other authors who like her drawings, as she?s attended Smallville Comic Con in Hutchinson and the Anim? Festival in Wichita. Some authors want her to draw for them.
All of this success had to start somewhere?somewhere in her background with hard work and passion. Crebs began drawing at age 8, which was when she decided she wanted to work with video games and movies.
?Video games are the reason I started drawing,? the 28-year-old said. ?I love video games. Final Fantasy is what kinda inspired me to start drawing these characters.?
For her college graduation project, Crebs had to have a series of creative pieces, and that?s when Dovian came into her life. She did concept art of Dovian and his world.
?That?s when I got the idea to write him out as a story,? she said. Dovian is Crebs? favorite character in the book.
Crebs also had been writing fan fiction in college. Fan fiction is where a writer takes a pre-existing story and uses the story to create his or her own stories. Crebs wrote fan fiction about ?Final Fantasy 7,? a video game. She ended up having 20,000 followers and received an Internet award.
?I just did it for fun because I was really bored one day,? Crebs said.
From that day, she wrote a chapter a week.
?They kinda planted a seed,? Crebs said.
In anything she does, Crebs said she incorporates the names of her cats for characters?Hector, Xena and Petey. For instance, Hector is Dovian?s smart pet lizard in ?The Esoteric Design.?
But drawing creatures is not her favorite.
?I love drawing people,? Crebs said. ?Character design is my favorite thing to do.?

About the book and contact information
The softcover book sells for $17.99 for print on Amazon and CreateSpace and $4.99 for Kindle.
Check out Crebs? websites for updates, full-color artwork and to participate in future contests:
-?ARCrebs.com
-?ARCrebs.devient?art.com
-?facebook.com/ARC?rebs.
She can be contacted at audracrebs@gmail.com.