The Extrahuman Union

Archive for the ‘The Seeker Star’ Category

IT’S FINALLY HERE.

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Candlemark & Gleam shop: THE SEEKER STAR in print and DRM-free digital!

Amazon link: THE SEEKER STAR for Kindle!

Barnes & Noble: THE SEEKER STAR for NOOK!

Oh man. This book has had THE most difficult birth, but at last. AT LAST. I hope you check it out!

Hey everyone,

Some rough news, SEEKER STAR is having some kind of technical troubles. My publisher, Candlemark and Gleam, is on it, but that means that the release, which was scheduled for today, may be pushed back.

Needless to say, this is how I feel about it:

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Please watch this space for further updates–hopefully it’ll all be fixed soon!

Seeker-Star-v1b-L-300x451Want to win a copy of THE SEEKER STAR? Sure you do.

And now you can, over at Goodreads!

Seeker-Star-v1b-L-300x451The second book in the Grayline Sisters trilogy, THE SEEKER STAR, is out next week (11/18)! So I imagine a lot of you are asking:

“What’s up with these Grayline sisters, anyway?”

To celebrate the impending arrival of Book #2, here’s a quick Q&A.

What’s the backstory, here? This story takes place about 300 years in the future, after most people took off from an Earth they’d been told was absolutely doomed for the Family Ternary System. There are three stars in this system, Father, Mother, and Daughter, with a single habitable planet orbiting each. Charming, Earth-like Adastre orbits Father; huge, heavy-gravity Nea orbits Mother; and tidal-locked (one side always facing the star) Haven orbits Daughter.

Who are the Grayline sisters? There are three of them, Marta, Violet, and Elizabeth (Beth). Marta is the oldest, Violet the middle, and Beth the youngest. They live in the city of Muller-Darvan, in the deeply religious and conservative country of Gideon, on Nea.

Sullen Marta is a space pilot who ran away from her country’s restriction and sexism when she was 18, willful Violet wants to get married and take her place as a Gideon Mother, while all dreamy Beth wants is to go to the stars and find the voices that have been calling her since childhood.

That’s how they start out, anyway.

Are there aliens in this? You bet there are. The Abrax are a shape-shifting, mostly-energy species of alien who, uh, “encouraged” humanity to leave Earth 300 years ago. They tend to form deep connections with those rare humans who can mentally communicate with them.

What’s their deal? That’s a secret.

Aw, c’mon. SECRET.

The-Daughter-Star-web-cover-298x450Okay, okay. So can I read THE SEEKER STAR if I didn’t read THE DAUGHTER STAR? Yes! Most of what happened in DAUGHTER STAR does get recapped and explained. There are some references you might miss and a few characters who showed up in DAUGHTER STAR do return, but otherwise it should be fine.

Anything else I should know? Hmm. Ah, I know! This is a trilogy, and each book follows the adventures of one of the three sisters. The first book, THE DAUGHTER STAR, was all about Marta, the current book, THE SEEKER STAR, follows Violet, and the eventual third book, THE FALLEN STAR, will be about Beth.

THE SEEKER STAR is out on Tuesday, November 18th! Check back here then to learn about bundles, giveaways, and more!

Here it is at last, the cover for THE SEEKER STAR (Grayline Sisters #2)!

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The big reveal happened yesterday over at The Book Smugglers. They’re also hosting a giveaway of the first Grayline Sisters book, THE DAUGHTER STAR, so go check it out and enter!

Recently I wrote about finishing the first draft of the final book of the Grayline Sisters trilogy, and how that felt. I had no idea I’d be making another post like it so soon after.

I finished the second draft of WAKING GIFTS (Extrahumans #4) last week. It was an excruciating effort–I basically rebuilt the story from the ground up because what I’d originally put down simply wasn’t working. I changed just about everything about the book, including the title (it was originally THE GIFT OF GREAT YIA, then THE BELLS OF VALEN, and now WAKING GIFTS). I think it’s pretty decent. I know I can turn it into something good. So at some point, this book will exist, and you’ll get to read all about what happens when Jill gets everything she thinks she wants (hint: nothing good).

And then that will be the end of the Extrahumans series.

There are several reasons for this, some about business, some personal. Mainly, though, this is a decision that grew out of the story.

I’d originally planned on five books, but at some point I realized that the plans I’d had for the fifth book were not particularly workable, and not actually about the characters we’ve been following.

Worse, it had nothing to do with Penny. Basically, even though she is the main character in only one of the books, Extrahumans is at it’s very heart the story of Penny Silverwing, her friends, her family, her lovers, and her transformation from who she is at the beginning of BROKEN to who she becomes by the end of WAKING GIFTS. Penny drives the stories and ties them all together, and she’s at the center of the extended “family” of characters. Her arc, after this story, is done.

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This story also completes the arcs of many of the other characters, such as Jill (obviously), Emily, Sky Ranger, and Felipe. It also does provide some answers to some of the big questions that the series has been asking, and wraps up some of the larger, overarching storylines.

So this is a good place to end it. I thought about ending it with THE SPARK, but there were simply too many unanswered questions. I don’t feel that way about this book. This is a good end point.

Now, that doesn’t mean that this will be the last story in this universe, and that this is the last we’ll ever hear of these particular characters. There is so much left to tell! But this particular series will end with book 4, and I’m happy with that.

I am so grateful to all of you who’ve been sticking with this series. I know WAKING GIFTS has been a long time in coming compared to the first three. I hope I can make it worth your while!

So, on to the updates!

THE SEEKER STAR (Grayline Sisters #2) – Hoping to have a cover reveal for you real soon. Plans are that it’ll be out late this year, but I don’t have a date yet.

WAKING GIFTS (Extrahumans #4) – Second draft finished. I’d like to send this to the publisher by the end of the year.

THE FALLEN STAR (Grayline Sisters #3) – First draft done, doing a few edits here and there.

Short stories: WAR STORIES has been sent out to Kickstarter backers! My story “The Radio” is in the first section. It is a very, very cool anthology from Apex which you should check out when it goes on general sale in the fall. I should also have another short story out either late this year or early next year, we’ll see.

Lastly, I’m going to be at Readercon this Friday–if you’re there, say hi!

That’s all for now!

Finally, after what’s felt like way too long, we’re back on the book release train.

THE SEEKER STAR is coming out later this year!

Here’s the blurb:

Find your sisters, Violet.

So said Aunt Melody, but Violet Grayline knew it was impossible. Marta and Beth had disappeared at the end of the Haven War, leaving their middle sister alone in their harsh homeland of Gideon. No one knows where they went, there’s no trail to follow, and Violet keeps getting warnings to forget all about it.

Violet’s going after them anyway. She won’t let threats, the meddling of the alien Abrax, strange portals to other worlds or even her own planet’s government stop her.

After all, what does she have to lose? Her husband didn’t want her, her country turned its back on her, and everyone seems convinced that she’s nobody.

But if there’s one thing governments, generals, aliens and priests will learn, it’s to never, ever underestimate Violet Grayline.

What will you give up to change the world?

I’ll be honest–this was one of the hardest books to write that I’ve ever done. I changed its concept completely, had major surgery while I was struggling with the first draft, and just about drove myself around the bendiest of bends trying to shape it into something I could be proud of.

But I did. Readers, this book sings to me. I think you’re going to like it, and I can’t wait for it to get to you. Right now there’s no cover, no release date (we’re planning for the latter half of 2014) and pretty much nothing else. But it’s gonna happen. Violet Grayline’s story is gonna be a book.

I am so damn relieved I could cry!

I will have LOTS more announcements about this one as they happen.

When I write I like to leave notes for myself. I use the comment function in Word for this, and by the time a draft is finished I’ve usually left a few hundred notes. Some of them are quite helpful reminders about plot or character, some of them are musings on where the book is going, and some of them are just me enjoying the chance to troll myself.

Here’s a few I’ve used while writing THE SEEKER STAR and THE FALLEN STAR (Grayline Sisters #2 and #3, respectively).

Note: Some of the images are NOT LARGE. Click on them to embiggen.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Halloween! And here is a black cat for you:

molly revenge

That’s Molly, by the way, and she is the nicest, shyest cat of all. But this is her special day!

On to the updates:

Things in production

There’s a short story upcoming in THIS MUTANT LIFE: BAD COMPANY which should be out in a few weeks. But that’s it for right now.

Things I’m working on

Here’s a list of books, etc., I’m writing/working on at the moment:

THE SEEKER STAR (Grayline Sisters #2): Violet’s story. Submitted to publisher.

THE FALLEN STAR (Grayline Sisters #3): Beth’s story. First draft in process. Slow but steady work being done.

THE BELLS OF VALEN (Extrahumans #4): In which Jill gets everything she ever wanted, and it almost kills her and everyone else. Stalled in revisions as I think of how to make it not suck.

THE DEMON GIRL’S SONG: Revising, again. And again. I’m going to make this book good if it kills me.

RAMONA’S MIRROR: Ramona comes face-to-face with herself and blinks. Stalled in the first draft, because of everything else going on.

Plus various short stories, etc. I’m writing a lot of short stories and essays.

In the meantime, NATIONAL NOVEL AVOIDANCE MONTH is upon us again. Get ready to avoid those novels, everyone!

Yesterday I got into a conversation on Twitter about whether killing off characters is always cheap or an easy way out in some way, and I’ve been turning that question over in my mind ever since.

I actually agreed when the topic came up, mainly because of where my own head’s been at lately when it comes to character death. For three of the last books I’ve written (none of which are published yet), there has been a moment where I killed off a fairly major character, and for a while I thought this was a great idea.

But then, after I’d written the really satisfying scenes where the character is there and then just… gone, and everybody deals with the fallout, I thought better of it. I started to wonder why these characters needed to die. What purpose in the larger story did that fulfill?

I had to admit that I didn’t know.

Eventually I came to realize that I’d done it for a couple of different reasons. In Book A, I did it to remove one leg of a love tripod. In Book B, I did it to make another character suffer, and out of some sense of justice for what the dead character had done. In Book C, I think it was purely for shock value, because the character had been a major part of three previous books.

And in each case, I think killing off these characters was taking the easy way out.

In Book A I thought, wouldn’t it be more interesting if the person survived, and they had to find another “solution” to the protagonist’s feelings for two other people? In Book B I thought, wouldn’t it be better if this character lived and the other characters had to figure out what to do with her? And in Book C I thought, wouldn’t it be better if the character wasn’t killed and remained in the story to be a pain in everyone’s butt?

In all three cases, the answer was yes. Book A was the most satisfying, because the “solution” to the love tripod was pretty novel, and fit well with the ethos of the book. Book B? It turned out not to matter. And Book C… well, I’m still fixing that one up, but I think it’ll be an improvement.

But I will say that my position on this is a little more nuanced than I’d originally thought. Sometimes character deaths are very meaningful, and belong in the story. In Book B another fairly major character does die, because that’s what the story basically screams for. The moment of her death is extremely high-stakes and is a turning point for the protagonist in a lot of ways. The entire book seems to be building up to it, and it works.

There is also an incredibly important death at the end of my first book, BROKEN. I won’t spoil it. But it’s the sort of death that some people, including my wife, are annoyed at me about years later. Was that death worth it? Was it necessary?

I go back and forth. Yesterday, I said I might do it differently. Today, I don’t think I would. It’s good that I can’t edit it anymore! My own self-doubt as a writer sometimes leads me to make unfortunate decisions.

That death did serve the story in very important ways–in fact, that death was the story in a fairly obvious way–and the entire universe of that book and the following books would be vastly different if that character had lived.

So I think you can do character death well. I’m planning a major one for the end of the series I’m working on now, and I’m doing everything to make sure it counts, it’s meaningful, and it serves the story and the character well. I think you can have death that doesn’t feel cheap or wasteful, and you can have death that isn’t just there to tug at heartstrings.

But it’s also definitely possible to have character deaths that are the opposite. As writers, I think it’s smart to not just toss characters away, but to really think about why we’re doing it. When we do that, our stories get better, and when characters do die, their deaths have a bigger impact and are more meaningful to readers.


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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