The Extrahuman Union

Archive for the ‘Connecticut stuff’ Category

Seanan McGuire makes these lists every month of what she’s working on, and every time she does my eyes grow big. Every once in a while I like to do the same thing, just to get an idea of where I’m at with all my projects. It’s been almost a year since I did this last. To be fair: it’s been quite a year.

I’m not including anything that’s not in process in one form or another. I’m not including a couple of things because they haven’t been announced yet, or I’m still trying to find a home for them. But here’s the rest:

The Daughter Star – Announced this week (more on that Monday)! I’m working on the first round of revisions now. First in a planned trilogy about the Grayline sisters. This thing has eaten my life at the moment.

The Seeker Star – Second book in the Grayline sisters trilogy, it’s at over 50,000 words. Stalled while I finish revisions on Daughter Star.

Gifts of the Sky – Extrahumans #4, starring Jill, Penny, Torres and some big flying doofus. A little over 20,000 words but stalled out while I work on other stuff.

Siphane and the Whale – The book formerly known as Memory’s Fire, about the adventures of introvert Siphane and her bitchy robot pal Lurbira Call. New SF universe, far future, giant war, space whales, lots of fun. First draft done, no energy to revise right now.

Fury’s Stand – Disgraced fortysomething princess gets sent into exile, only to bump up against plots to ruin everything. Set in a world modeled after the 12th century Byzantine Empire. 16,000 words. Slow going, stalled while I sort out everything else.

The Adventures of Stacy and Jazz – Short stories about a suburban woman and her demon-hunting pal. Shopping them around in various places. I have three stories done and the first bit of a fourth written.

CT News Junkie column – Every week. Politics and Connecticut. What could be better?

And that’s it! It’s a surprisingly robust list.


Last week I read a report about how Connecticut is graying, which made me think about Northeast PA (the place my family comes from), and what we can do to keep young people from leaving. Here’s the article: To the Young Yankee Far Away: Come Home (

I have a lot of feelings about the Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton area. My family is from there, and a lot of them are still there. It’s a beautiful place. My own parents moved back there recently, so I have even more reasons to visit. Someday soon, I probably will.

But when you’ve changed as much as I have, and in ways that don’t always make people comfortable, going home gets harder. That’s probably why I’ve put it off as long as I have. I’m just not sure I’m ready to face what’s waiting for me there. I don’t know if I want to feel that sense of loss at having cut myself off from the ancient, powerful current flowing from those hills.

I know I don’t have a lot of time to do some of the things that need doing there. So I’ll go back someday, and face that final, most difficult coming out. Just… not today.


Your intrepid author and her even more intrepid publisher loaded up a car full of goodies and headed down to Stamford, CT, for ComiCONN on Saturday. And, despite the facts that the entire east coast was under threat from Hurricane Irene and said hurricane was due to make landfall at Stamford, hundreds of fans, artists, dealers, guests and entertainers showed up!

We had an excellent time. We got to meet some amazing people, including some fantastic cosplayers, other creators, dealers and more. There was a remote-control R2-D2, a landspeeder, and loads of guys dressed as Imperial stormtroopers. Did we mention we’re endorsed by Cobra Commander? Because we are.

We felt like we’d come home to Geekland! Best of all, we spread the word about Broken and Candlemark & Gleam in general, and even made a few sales. If you’re wondering, it’s absolutely wonderful to sign a copy of your book for someone!

I’d never done a convention from this side of the table before, and I had a blast. We’ll definitely be doing more of these. If you know of local conventions in New England or New York that would be a good fit for some nerdy booksellers, let me know!

First: the giveaway contest! Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile is giving away an ebook of Broken right now! RIGHT NOW. Here’s the contest; all you have to do is write a post about your favorite superhero and link it in the comments on their original contest post! And hey, you can let me know about it, too, right here.

This is tied in with a short guest piece about doing nothing in the summer that I did for them, which went up yesterday. I like the way that piece came out. Some guest posts that I do turn out really well, some kind of fall flat. This one was one of the good ones.

Plus, this weekend an ARC of the print version of Broken arrived in the mail from Candlemark & Gleam! Here I am gazing at it.

I knew I wanted to be an author when I was just a little kid. I always wanted to someday open up a package in the mail and withdraw a book with my name on it that I’d written. On Friday, that’s just what I did. I can’t describe the emotions I felt. I carried the book around with me for a few hours, reading little bits of it just so I could see my words on the page. It was amazing.

My publisher also sent along this mysterious, ominous package along with buttons, bookmarks and post cards. She loves extras. I mean, she really REALLY loves extras. Our preorder site has a ton of extras you can get with your preorder of Broken, including an exclusive short story, cool swag like what came in the mail, and more. I think the people who order the extras will love them!

Let’s see… what else? I finally did update the reviews list for Broken, which I haven’t done since March. There’s a lot more, now. Go check them out.

Also, my latest political piece for CT News Junkie is up here. It’s based on part on thoughts I started developing in a post on this blog from a month ago. Warning: politics!

Lastly, I do not know what this is (except that it involves PONIES) but I can’t stop watching it.

Can't unsee

I saw the picture above today somewhere and this popped into my head. You have to admit…


The meltdown following rejection of the labor deal has been bad; very bad. The whole thing is a tragedy, and the layoffs make it worse. Cities and towns are going to get whacked. Our bond rating just got lowered, too, so now everything’s in doubt. Many Democrats seem to be edging closer to open revolt, and even people like me who like and respect Gov. Malloy are wondering what, exactly, he thinks he’s doing.

The special session is going to be rough sailing, and I have no clue what’s going to come of it.

There’s no way to take back what happened, but maybe we can learn something from all of this chaos. Maybe we can learn how to do this better next time.

This op-ed I wrote for CT News Junkie is getting a fair amount of attention and generation decent discussion, both of which are satisfying things. I don’t have a lot more to say on the nuts-and-bolts, what-comes-next piece of this, that’s all in the article. But there’s a lot more to say about this piece:

The other thing to consider here is the continuing decline of the American middle class, the continuing stranglehold of the wealthy on the nation’s politics, and the utter failure of economic policy in the nation’s capital, all of which contributes to the siege mentality on display here. The historic and political context is not an excuse, but it is part of an explanation.

I’m mad at the unions who voted no. I’m even mad at organized labor in general; I think they’ve failed more often than they’ve succeeded over the last thirty years. I’m not sure if I have any clear idea of what they’re for.

But, that said, I tried to fix this particular event into a long, long chain of many events. Something one commenter either at CTNJ or somewhere else said stayed with me; it boiled down to: “We’re tired of being pushed around.”

Pushed around? The unions? Well, sure. Unions, especially public employee ones, have been shoved around by big business, both political parties, national pundits, business organizations, taxpayer groups, parent associations, voters and everyone else who wanted a scapegoat for the fiscal woes of their town, city, state or country. This has been going on for decades. If you look at Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, a man famous for his sneering tirades against public workers, you’ll get a flavor of the kind of bullying the public sector gets routinely from everyone.

But the ‘we’ here isn’t just unions, is it? The story of the last thirty years is a story of people being pushed around. I could talk about Ronald Reagan’s scapegoating of “welfare queens” and his gentle-but-brutal dismissal of liberals, or the incredible pressure to toe the conservative, “patriotic” line liberals and moderates came under during the Iraq War years. I could talk about the tea party and its bizarre attacks on President Obama, or I could talk about the Clinton Derangement Syndrome of the 1990s. I could mention the utter lie that tax cuts for the wealthy means prosperity for the rest of us (if it’s true, where are the jobs and prosperity?), or the belief that protecting business is far more important than protecting people. I could bring up about Scott Walker, sure, but he’s just the culmination of a decades-long war against labor unions which has in part led to the erosion of the middle class in this country.

There’s so much more, too. It’s personal, it’s emotional. It’s my mortgage is overwhelming, I’m drowning in debt, I have kids and a car and a house and everything costs more, the roads are awful, schools are failing, we’re stuck at war in three countries, the economy is lousy, our country is broken, my health care already sucks and now they want MORE? Are you KIDDING?

We’re tired of being pushed around.

I’m disappointed in the union members’ decision to reject the cuts. It’s shortsighted, and will lead to a weakening of both union and progressive positions (these have become different things). I think some people voted no for purely selfish or foolish reasons, but I think others voted no because, well, they were tired of being pushed around by everyone.

Why, they asked, couldn’t we tax the people who could afford it instead?

Good question. The answer had something to do with the economy, but if you believe that taxing the wealthy a bit more is worse for the economy than laying off 7,500 members of the middle class, then there is something wrong with your head.

And yet, in today’s political climate, it wasn’t possible. The Connecticut legislature wouldn’t do it, the governor pushed taxes as far as he dared. What happened with this vote is that the way the country does function and the way it should function crashed into one another.

Hence, the “no” vote, born out of frustration. It’s the same as when I see when I see liberals criticizing Obama for what are, in fact, practical positions aimed at keeping Democrats in power long enough to see more liberal polices enacted. Liberals have been waiting, and they have been bullied, and they have poured all their hopes and dreams and energy and money into campaigns and people who don’t deliver fast enough, if at all. They want action, they want to be heard. And so you get Dan Choi ripping up posters and (some) liberals at Netroots Nation turning their backs on the Obama ’12 campaign.

They don’t want to be pushed around anymore. By anyone.

Are these sorts of positions useful? Not in the least. They’re shortsighted and ultimately self-defeating. What good does opposing Obama do if all it gets liberals is President Romney or, God forbid, President Bachmann? What good does voting “no” to union concessions do if all it gets you is a pink slip?

So yes, this kind of thing is incredibly stupid. But I get why it happens. It happens because of everything else that’s happened for thirty long years, and because there’s only so much people can take.

Consider it a warning of things to come.

(concept shamelessly stolen from the amazing Seanan McGuire, whose list puts me to shame)

I know. I never update. There’s a space in Blog Hell reserved for people like me; I only hope I earned enough credit with the Elder WordPress Gods from blogging daily for five years to get me into one of the nicer circles. Y’know, less the “pain and jabbing sticks” punishment section, more the “irony” punishment. Irony I can take; pain’s another story.

For the past six months I’ve done next to nothing but write, write, write. What does that actually mean in terms of what I’m getting accomplished or working on? Here’s the list:

Fly Into Fire – You know about this one if you’ve been following along, it’s the second book in the series I guess I’ll just call “The Extrahumans,” and it’s due out in January. It’s the story of Sky Ranger trying to redeem his lousy self after the events of Broken, among many other things. Mostly what I’ve been doing is nervously awaiting revisions, and changing all the characters in my mind. This is going to be a killer rewrite.

The Daughter Star – Marta Grayline was a happy camper hauling freight back and forth between Nea and Adastre, but when an interstellar war breaks out her life is thrown into absolute chaos. This book is set in a completely! new! world! and is the first in a planned series of books about the adventures of Marta Grayline. Marta kicks my butt, by the way. I love her to death. Right now my awesome wife is helping me out with copy-edits, after I rewrote the ending three entire times. I’m getting to a point where I’m happy enough with it to send it off.

The Spark – This is the working title of “The Extrahumans,” Book Three. This is the story of firestarter/lucky girl Deirdre Burns White’s struggle to reconcile her Extrahuman nature with her desire to live a normal life, all while her city is falling into violence, protest and revolution around her. Dee is a supporting player in Fly Into Fire who pretty much demanded her own book. This is the most difficult and challenging book I’ve ever written, and I have to admit, it’s kicking me around a little. Right now I’m still fighting my way through the rough draft.

Other Stuff – You should see a new piece up at 30pov tomorrow, and I am still writing about Connecticut politics every week at CT News Junkie.

Future Projects – I’m in the planning stages for the second Marta Grayline book, though when I’ll get around to starting it, I have no clue. I’ve also been trying to get started on an urban-fantasy send-up, and I’ve got the initial fight scene in a supermarket all done.

Plus, you know, my day job.

That’s it for now! At least, I think that’s it.

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.

Lots of cool stuff here, including a map widget that won’t embed on this site, darn it.

One thing I saw right away in the Excel data released (Excel file) is that all of the big cities have gained population, for the first time that I can remember. Has the urban bleed started to reverse? What’s going on? Is it immigration, a trickle of people moving from suburbs to cities, or what? Either way, it’s something new.

Susan Jane Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union

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