The Extrahuman Union

Archive for the ‘Broken’ Category

I really meant for Broken to be a stand-alone book. Honestly.

I’d finished it up, everything was wrapped up in a glorious little package (or so I thought), and while I waded through endless rejection emails I figured, hey, I did manage to write a novel after all, even if it never sees the light of day. That’s enough, right? I could take it the Shelley and Mira route and self-publish it into oblivion, and then be done.

Weirdly, after editing and editing Broken one year, I couldn’t get a specific image out of my mind: Sky Ranger, flying alone, high above a vast and empty desert. Why was he there? What was he doing? So, because I thought it might be fun, I wrote him a little scene. Then, because I wanted some back story, I wrote another one, and another one, and after about fifteen pages I realized I’d started something.

I cheekily titled it “The New Adventures of Sky Ranger.” I like giving works-in-progress silly titles. That’s one of the ways I can not worry about them, and relax enough to trick my brain into actually letting them happen. I have thus far come up with the following chapter and book titles for other works:

NOVELS
The New Adventures of Sky Ranger
Novan Ladies in Terrible Peril

CHAPTERS
The Long Haul Truckin’ Gals
Jeena and Lauren are Friends
Celeste is the Boss of You
Penny Lives Like A Hermit in the Wooooooods
In Which Everything Sucks
The Bad News Shows Up and Gets Comfy
Things Get Manly

There are others which for all kinds of great, career-saving reasons I’m not reproducing here.

My experience so far is that every book, every story feels different to write, and this one was no exception. Writing Broken was a very raw, emotional experience. This book, Fly into Fire was a lot more fun to do a first draft of. I felt like I was along on a cool adventure with new, interesting people. It exhausted me, it excited me, and along the way I felt like I learned a lot about story structure and pacing.

I also discovered that I’d written An Unintended Sequel. I’m sure there are writers out there who have the entire twelve-book arc for their characters plotted out before writing the first sentence, but I didn’t. I had a general idea of where the universe itself was going, but I didn’t have the first clue what would happen with the characters from Broken once that book was over. Surprise!

Naturally, once I finished Fly into Fire, I was left with was even more story ideas for the same characters in the same universe. Series writing is addictive. Soon I’m going to have to come up with a title for the whole thing. I fully intend to use the word “saga” or, if I’m feeling perky, “cycle:”

The Extrahuman Cycle: a Rip-Roaring Saga of Galactic Girth

Yes! I’d buy all twelve.

A lot of this probably seems pretty trivial, since it’s (mostly) about a book that won’t see the light of day until next January. But what’s happening in my head is that I’m working on a bunch of past, present and future projects all at once. I’m doing promotional stuff for Broken, edits and preparation for Fly into Fire, drafts of two other books, and more. I think this qualifies as a Real WriterTM moment.

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This past month was the month of the BROKEN blog tour, which was the first time I’d done (or, um, heard of–I am a publishing world n00b) anything like that. You can see the list of blogs I toured here. It was a decent amount of work to prepare for, as the blog tour wasn’t just reviews but short interviews, memories, lists and other provided-by-me content.

I did wonder whether it would be worthwhile before starting, but now that it’s done I’m glad I did it. I got to post on or be reviewed by a lot of cool book blogs, and hopefully get some new readers interested in the book. One extra awesome thing that popped up a lot during the tour’s reviews was that the reviewers weren’t necessarily fans of science fiction, but they still found the book accessible and interesting. I have some thoughts about science fiction and accessibility, but that might be another post for another time.

I have no idea how a blog tour translates to sales, but as a way to connect with readers and bloggers it seemed to work well. So, a huge thanks to Jessica at the Teen Book Scene for coordinating it!

I’m going to try and gather all the reviews and post them on the reviews page at some point today or tomorrow.

The BROKEN Blog Tour is ongoing! You can click the above image for more information on what’s happening. So far this week, I’ve done an interview over at The Fiction Enthusiast, with a review coming tomorrow at Rex Robot Reviews.

Wednesday and Thursday are reviews at The Neverending Bookshelf and Novapsych, and the week ends back at The Fiction Enthusiast for a fun top ten list.

And that’s that!

In Other News

I’ve got a post up about the transgender anti-discrimination bill being considered in Connecticut at CT News Junkie. I don’t usually mix trans stuff and state politics, but in this case, I felt I had a lot I wanted to say.

Also: Shiny things have arrived at my publisher. Oh yes.

Before I began my current existence in this world of writers, reviewers and readers, I had no idea what a blog tour was. This came as something of a surprise to me, considering I’d been a political blogger for five years beforehand! However, I’ve learned that this is a way for writers to connect with new audiences by popping up on various book blogs for either a review, or a guest post/interview.

It’s actually been a lot of fun to pull diverse material together for the tour I’ve just begun. I’ll keep you posted about what’s going on with it as it progresses, but so far the tour has gone to two blogs this week:

Hobbitsies – I wrote a little biographical sketch for this site.

Bibliophile Brouhaha – There is a lovely, thorough review of the book up here today.

Planned stops for the rest of this week:

Wednesday: Alisia Leavitt
Thursday: Girls in the Stacks
Friday: Lost for Words

It was a ton of work to get everything put together for this tour, but I had a blast doing it, and I hope you all enjoy the stuff I came up with!

Other updates

Do YOU like early voting? Well, I do, and you can read about it at CT News Junkie. My favorite negative comment on the article asks, “Do you actually think before you make statements like this?” The answer, unsurprisingly, is no. I just make it up as I go along!

Sorry I haven’t posted here in a bit, I’ve been busy with all kinds of other work! A few updates:

  • I have a new piece up at 30Pov, “Sinners in the Hands of a Forgetful God.” The topic for the month is Saints and Sinners, so my mind gravitated for some reason to Jonathan Edwards’s famous “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” sermon, which was delivered in the town where I live some 270 years ago. I once had to teach this miserable thing as part of a literature course for high school kids when I was a student teacher. They loved it just about as much as you’d expect. Also: this piece is NOT about gender. I swear! I SWEAR IT TO YOU.
  • New at CT News Junkie is this cool piece with a map in it, all about using census data to make more sensible congressional districts. There is no way in hell my plan will happen, but hey.
  • Lastly, The Book Smugglers are reviewing BROKEN this Friday, so check that out. Update The review’s up! Here it is

There’s also all kinds of good stuff I’m working on, including new book(s), a short story in the BROKEN universe that will hopefully see release at some point, and an extended blog tour happening next month. I’m busy! It’s great.

An awful lot of blogs have reviewed BROKEN, so I thought I’d try to gather them all together in one place, and at least send them some linkage in thanks for reading and reviewing! So please do go check out these sites, and support all these wonderful bloggers–without these folks, publishing with a small, new house would be much more difficult (and less fun).

Nancy Brauer
Glinda Harrison
Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Tiger Gray
Bibliognome (Bibliognome also did an interview with me)
Judy Black Cloud
Reading With Tequila
Fandomania
Superhero Novels
Between the Covers
Obligated to Exaggerate
Blather. Rants. Repeat. [Captainsblog]
SF Book Reviews
SciFi Mafia
The Book Smugglers new! 3/17
The Discriminating Fangirl New! 3/23

There’s also some nice reviews at Goodreads and Amazon.

Did I miss any? Please let me know if I did!

Also see this great short interview I just did for Saundra Mitchell, whose book VESPERTINE is coming out very soon (and looks seriously cool).

One of the things that caught both my publisher and I off-guard was that BROKEN started getting reviewed as a YA novel. I hadn’t written the book specifically for young adults, and I know we wondered (and are still wondering) just what it is about the book that makes some people class it as YA fiction. Part of the the reason might be the age of one of the protagonists: Michael Forward is 14. There is also a definite theme of growing up; Michael has to find a way to do the right thing despite facing his worst fears, and he doesn’t always succeed. Plus, BROKEN is relatively short, it clocks in at about 60,000 words (most non-YA SF/Fantasy seems to be longer, averaging around 100K, at least from what I’ve heard).

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s exactly the kind of story I would have loved when I was 14.

But does that make it YA? What does make something YA? I’m still not sure. I’ve found a couple of definitions here and there, but I haven’t found any of them satisfying. I think there are plenty of books which are easily identifiable as YA fiction, but there are plenty more that fall into this sort of gray area BROKEN is in. Is YA in some cases more about marketing than content (see: Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal Romance for another very, very fine distinction that may just come down to which cover goes on the book)? Does the author’s intended audience matter? I have no objection to BROKEN being classed this way, for the record, but I do have to admit it wasn’t my thought when I was writing it.

I’m still mulling all this over. What do you think, folks who have read the book? Could it/should it be classed as YA? Does the label we give a book matter, except as a tool to reach new audiences?


Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union

Hey! Welcome to the Extrahuman Union, home of Susan Jane Bigelow. Prepare to be stripped of all meaningful identity. While you're processing, check out more about me on the about page!

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BROKEN

Extrahuman Union #1

SKY RANGER

Extrahuman Union #2

THE SPARK

Extrahumans #3

THE DEMON GIRL’S SONG

YA LGBT epic fantasy!

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Check out my Amazon author page!

Follow @whateversusan on Twitter!

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