The Extrahuman Union

Archive for the ‘Fly into Fire’ Category

Some people, when they post to their dormant-ish blog after a lengthy time of not posting, get apologetic and make all kinds of excuses. Not here. I’m just going to pretend it never happened and continue on as normal!

So.

What’s been happening? Well, next week (Nov. 22) BROKEN officially launches in print. Ha ha, I know! You bought your copy from Amazon like six weeks ago! This hasn’t been a release date that’s been paid a lot of heed. Oh well. Anyway, we had a launch party for the book at Modern Myths in Northampton on November 5th, and it was a blast! Candlemark & Gleam have the roundup, which includes a few pics. I did a reading from the book, which was amazing. I’ve never done anything quite like this before.

Lucky for me, in about two months we get to do it all again. 2011 has been the Year of Constantly Rolling Out BROKEN, because we did the initial launch in e-book format only back in January, then launched the print version this fall. For the next book in the Extrahumans series, FLY INTO FIRE, we’re launching everything at once–and it’s all happening in late January! I think we may even be having another party.

In other news, I’m hard at work on new projects! Here’s where things stand:

FLY INTO FIRE (EXTRAHUMANS #2): Done, ARCs are shipping out from publisher, launch set for January! I’m sure we’ll be doing pre-orders soon! Want to win a copy? There’s a contest up at Goodreads!

THE SPARK (EXTRAHUMANS #3): I’ve sent this into my editor, and am waiting to hear about it. If all goes well, we may end up releasing this one sometime in late 2012. Stay tuned!

THE DAUGHTER STAR (MARTA GRAYLINE #1): Also sent in to editor. But that’s all I know about it! I’m hoping this one sees the light of day, I think it’s a cool book with lots that readers will like.

THE DEMON GIRL’S SONG: Somehow this title has stuck. I’m at 40,000 words on my first draft of the adventures of Andín dal Rovi and Lynde Shevariat, and I’m shooting to finish the draft by the end of the year. We’ll see.

[NO TITLE YET] EXTRAHUMANS #4: I’ve made a start on this and have some very fun ideas. Haven’t cracked 10,000 words, so I’m still considering it to be in the very early stages.

RED DAUGHTER (MARTA GRAYLINE #2): Planning is sort of done, and about 5,000 words and some opening scenes written.

POLITICAL WRITING: Lots and lots and lots. Here’s the latest run of columns at CT News Junkie.

Also, a short story! Really! Frog F**kery, a Stacy and Jazz Story, is up at 30pov. Sad to say, 30pov has gone on hiatus for a while, and I don’t know if they’re coming back. I’m working on other Stacy and Jazz stories, though, so never you fear! One of them involves some really rotten, mean and insulting eggs.

That’s it for now. Check back in December, I’ll be doing guest posts in at least two places, so I’ll be sure to link to those!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks! I’ve been working on projects both old and new, and I thought I’d give you all an update.

Broken – The print book is still set to come out in late November, and you can still get in on pre-orders over at Kickstarter. The stuff we’ve got as extras is really fun. I actually have some of the action figures, and they are great. When we were down at ComiCONN the action figures at our table were a big draw! Well, that and the Play-Doh. Note to all convention dealers: always have Play-Doh handy.

We’re going to be doing a launch party in early November for the print run, and it’ll be in Western Massachusetts! More details on that will be available soon, but I hope to see lots of you there.

Fly Into Fire (Extrahumans #2) – I’m working through the first round of revisions handed to me by my wonderful editor now, and once again it’s great to see the book improving a little at a time. I’m looking forward to all of you reading this story and meeting these characters. I may do some biographical sketches and other fun stuff of them as we get closer to the release date in January.

The thing about edits and revision requests is that they’re simultaneously painful and amazing. On the one hand, it feels like someone just tossed your manuscript into the woodchipper, but on the other hand it’s nice to actually make the revision and know for a fact that the story is better.

The Spark (Extrahumans #3) – I finished my third edit pass and thought, hey. This is about as good as I can make it. So I sent it off to Candlemark & Gleam on Saturday.

This was a very hard book to write, but I think it was worth the effort. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten into a character’s head the way I got into Dee’s (she’s the main character, you’ll meet her in Fly Into Fire), and I hope that shows through.

The Daughter Star – Ah, my little dark horse book. It’s still undergoing some copyediting, and will be ready for submission soon. I have no idea what will happen to it once I do submit it. For the record, this was my favorite book to write of the four I’ve done so far.

The Demon Girl’s Song (this title will probably change) – I’ve started work on a book about a teenage girl with a thousand-year-old demon stuck in her head, a fisherman’s daughter with a strange and hopeless quest to complete, and a world that keeps developing maddening holes. I’m about 20,000 words in, right now, and so far so good. I may need to take a break to work on edits, but hopefully this one will get done at some point next year.

Extrahumans #4 – Plotting, plotting. Nothing written yet, but the shape of things is starting to form in my tiny mind. I may even have figured out who the main characters are!

Other Stuff – You like Connecticut politics, right? You can find my take on it every week at CT News Junkie. Oh, and check out my essay at 30POV about rejection.

I did submit a short story to a random small press, but now I’m wondering if they’re still in business. Hmm. I better check on that.

And that’s all for now!

Update: Now includes ACTUAL POLL

The writing and revising frenzy of the past seven months or so has subsided, leaving me with two more-or-less complete drafts. I’ve hit the point with THE SPARK (Extrahumans: Book 3) where I’m sick to death of even looking at it, so it’s probably time to set it aside to marinate. In a few weeks I’ll pick it up again, do another editing pass, and then perhaps send it off if it feels ready.

I’m still working through editing THE DAUGHTER STAR, which is a book that I’m not exactly sure what to do with yet. I suppose I could simply glut my publisher to the point where she’s built up a massive backlog of SJB books. Why not? There’s also a few things about it that don’t sit entirely well with me, and I intend to revisit them soon.

My first two books continue to percolate. You can pre-order the print version of BROKEN, which hits shelves in November, through Kickstarter. FLY INTO FIRE, due out in January, now has a Goodreads page–please add it for all kinds of updates! You can also friend me there or become a fan if you want.

This leaves me at an impasse. For the first time in a while, I don’t have a priority fiction project! So, help me out here. What do I write next? Below, find a lovely list of ideas I’ve been kicking around. Help me find some direction already!

Sometimes it’s good to have awesome superpowers in mundane situations. Here’s an excerpt from the draft of The Spark I’m working on, featuring Dee. She’s a character you’ll meet in Fly Into Fire, and her abilities are luck and firestarting. She basically has a lot of heat energy, and can do some very useful things with it:

Dee ordered something relatively cheap (Will couldn’t be counted on to pay for both meals) and forced a respectable portion of it down. The potatoes, she discovered to her irritation, had arrived cold. She unobtrusively stuck a finger in them; they started steaming instantly.

This is something I wish I could do.

(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.

You think there aren’t benefits to working with a small press? Well, it turns out that after I posted about the images that I had in my head which led to Fly Into Fire, my editor at Candlemark and Gleam, who also designs my book covers, got an idea. She designed a few covers, we emailed excitedly back and forth, and the next day settled on this:

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Big news, folks, the follow-up to Broken, Fly into Fire is coming out in January of 2012! Here’s a blurb from my awesome publishers at Candlemark & Gleam:

The last Sky Ranger of the Extrahuman Union, defeated by his former allies and detested by everyone else, fled Earth and the repressive Confederation in a desperate attempt to put the past to rest. But when his refugee ship crashes on a desert planet his life is thrown back into chaos, and his future becomes less certain than ever. In that hostile environment, the abrasive, impulsive Renna and flighty, secretive Dee are the only two refugees who can stand him.

When Dee wanders into the wilderness, Sky Ranger chases after her, touching off a series of events that lead them and their companions from the deserts of Seera Terron through alien Räton space and into the very heart of the Confederation itself. Sky Ranger must confront his past and a intrusive, ruthless government if he wants to be able to save both Dee and what remains of his people, the Extrahumans, from utter destruction.

FLY INTO FIRE is a story of hope, adventure, friendship, and sacrifice, in a world where the only freedom to be found is within.

I’ll have lots more to say about this book over the next few months, so watch the blog for more announcements and other good stuff!


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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