Happy Sunburner Launch Day!

Happy Sunburner Launch Day!

It’s officially arrived: launch day for my second book, Sunburner! I wrote the first draft of Sunburner in the fall of 2015, so this book has definitely been a long time coming! I can’t wait for all of you to read the continuation of Kai and Hiro’s adventures. 

Here’s the blurb, if you’re wondering what it’s about:

Kai, the newly-crowned queen of Miina, finds her reign threatened by a plague of natural disasters that leave death and destruction in their wake. Are the gods truly angry at the peace between the moon and sunburners, or is something more sinister to blame? Kai’s throne and her very life may be forfeit unless she can appease the gods’ anger and her peoples’ superstitions.

Determined to find a solution, Kai and the Sunburner Prince Hiro embark on an extraordinary and dangerous journey to discover the true cause of the plagues. What they find is an ancient enemy determined to plunge their world into eternal darkness — and one desperate chance to save it. 

And as always, if you do read it, I would love, love, love you to leave an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Reviews make a huge difference to readers, and may be the difference between a new reader giving the book a chance or not. So please help this author out, and leave a review! 

Sunburner Cover Reveal!

I’m so excited to share the cover reveal for my second book, Sunburner! This cover was also designed by the talented Sarah Hansen (like Moonburner), and she did a fantastic job capturing the feel I wanted for Sunburner! This second book focuses on both Kai and Hiro’s point of view, so we decided to put Hiro on the cover to have a nice contrast to the Moonburner cover.

Want to know what that creepy monster is? You’ll just have to read the book! It officially launches September 26, and is available for preorder now! Preorders are eligible for some exclusive bonuses and swag, including deleted scenes, a high-res digital poster of the cover plus map of the world, plus a Moonburner/Sunburner bookmark! 

 

Now without further ado, here it is!

Sunburner: editing is complete + prologue sneak peek!

Sunburner: editing is complete + prologue sneak peek!

Yesterday was an exciting day for me! I finished the last substantive edit of Sunburner, the sequel to my debut novel Moonburner! Considering that I wrote Sunburner in October-December of 2015, it feels so satisfying to finally be done with editing! (PS writing books takes a long time, guys).

So Sunburner was with beta readers for November and December, and I got some wonderful feedback that I have spent the last six weeks incorporating. (Thanks beta readers!) I think Sunburner is stronger than ever and I’m very excited about the finished product! Now, I will do just one last read through for typos and such and it will be ready to go to the publisher!

The one thing I’m pondering currently is a change in title. I like the ease and symmetry in having the two books titled Moonburner and Sunburner…but the second book isn’t actually about the sunburners only, its really about both countries fighting together against a common enemy. So, Sunburner isn’t an accurate preview of the story. I will do some brainstorming to see if I can come up with something fantastic that fits with the story, and if I can’t, I’ll probably keep it the same. Stay tuned…


I wanted to bring you guys a little sneak preview of Sunburner! Here’s the prologue…

The days and nights blended together in this place of darkness. They slid food through the slot at the base of the door from time to time. The prisoner suspected, from the deep gnawing hunger in her belly, that it was not every day. Her body was wasting away, eating itself from the inside out. 

At least they didn’t hurt her. She supposed she should be grateful for that. Overall, this captivity was far more pleasant than her last. This time, they seemed content to let her slowly waste away, forgotten and alone. 

But she hadn’t resigned herself to death. And so yet again, she prepared to perform the ritual that should summon the goddess. She didn’t have light and she didn’t have a sacrifice. She only had the words, her will, and her own blood. She didn’t have a weapon; they wouldn’t have been foolish enough to leave her in here with a means to end her life. So she scratched ragged marks across her inner arm with her fingernail, bringing the warm blood welling to the surface. She couldn’t see in the darkness, but she could smell the metallic tang of the blood as it mingled with the smells of her filth, feel its slick wetness against her skin.  She could feel the scabs up and down her arms, bearing witness to her previous failed attempts to summon the goddess. 

This time, though, this time she had something different. She didn’t have a sacrifice, but she did have a bone, picked from the measly scrap of oily meat that had been her latest meal. Maybe the blood and the bone together would come close enough to the little creatures she used to sacrifice to summon her. 

The prisoner dipped the bone in the blood coating her forearm, and chanted the words she had said so many times. Please. She willed it to work. Please. 

For the first time in many weeks, something happened. A breeze tickled her skin, and energy crackled in the air, raising the hairs on the back of her neck. 

The goddess appeared, radiant in gray light.  

The prisoner closed her eyes and cowered from the being, the sudden brightness burning her retinas. As she cracked her eyes, letting them adjust to the light, the goddess’s figure became clear, her black gown billowing as if in a storm. She filled the space of the small filthy cell, towering over the cringing prisoner. “Why have you summoned me to this place?”

“I have been jailed,” the prisoner said. “They mean to let me die in this cell. Please free me, so I can continue your work.”

“Why should I?” the goddess asked sternly. “You failed. The moon and sunburners are at peace. The centuries of hatred and war that we have worked for threaten to be for nothing. Without the discord and death, we are wasting away.”

The irony of that statement was not lost on the prisoner, as she looked down at her own emaciated form for the first time in months, dimly lit by the goddess’s glow. She fought down the urge to laugh. It came out as a deranged hiccup.

“There must be some way I can be of use to you,” the prisoner pleaded, her mind racing. “The burners believe me a traitor. Think of what pain it will cause them if I escape and assist in their downfall. They will fight amongst themselves, blaming each other.”

The goddess seemed to consider her, though it was hard to tell though the blurry nothingness where her face should be. “Perhaps you may be of use to me yet.”

“How?” the woman said eagerly, latching on to the goddess’s statement like a lifeline. “Let me help you. I will do anything.”

“Anything?” the goddess asked. “You do not even know the task.”

The question was a test. She had no real choice here. She had made her choice two decades before, in the dark dank of another cell. “The task doesn’t matter. I will serve,” the prisoner said. 

The goddess seemed satisfied. “The era of the burners is coming to an end. They have stood in our way long enough. We will destroy their power so they are left with nothing but the bitter memory of their former glory and remake this world so it serves us.”

 “I don’t understand,” the prisoner admitted, afraid to voice the words, but more afraid to misunderstand her mission. “Burning needs the sun and the moon. How could you destroy that power?”

“That is not your concern,” the goddess said sternly. “Your only concern should be whether you will do your part to bring about the end of this world, and usher in a new one. A world of darkness.”

She already lived in a world of darkness. The darkness of her cell was only a shadow of the blackness that lived in her soul, what she had been twisted into. She had left the light a long time ago. “Tell me what to do.”

 

Update on Sunburner (Plus Some Editing Insights)

Update on Sunburner (Plus Some Editing Insights)

I’ve been posting a lot about reading and books lately because I’ve been indulging in some summer reading. But that’s not all I’ve been up to! I’m now working on my second big edit of Sunburner, the sequel to my debut novel, Moonburner.

Some Sneak Peaks of Sunburner:

If you’ve read Moonburner, you know that in the epilogue, the moonburner oracle tells a new prophecy: “And in the reign of Kailani Shigetsu, daughter of Azura, there will be a great war. A war of gods and men. For Tsuki and Taiyo are displeased with the lands of Kita and Miina, and only one side will remain standing when it comes to the end.”

As much as Kai wishes that this prophecy was a dud, it’s not! When Sunburner opens, one year after the end of Moonburner, the lands of Miina and Kita are in trouble. They are suffering through a terrible drought and famine, and a new disease has cropped up–a spotted fever that seems to have no cure. Kai, Quitsu, Hiro and the rest of Kai’s friends and allies have to figure out if these deadly conditions are really the result of the gods’ displeasure, and how to stop them.

I’m excited about several aspects of Sunburner! First, there are some new characters, including Colum, a mercenary-adventurer (remember the guy who worked the dirty-tavern song into the steps of the moonburner treasury?) and Jurou, a sunburner historian with his nose buried in a book. We get to visit new corners of Kita and Miina, including the Misty Forest, the high Akashi Mountains, and islands in the far south of Kita (palm trees, anyone?). You’ll learn about what really started the Burning War all those years ago and finally understand the magic of the seishen. You’ll even get to meet the seishen elder himself!

Sunburner is told from two points of view, Kai’s and Hiro’s, which is a big change from Moonburner! I’ve been having fun figuring out how to write from a male POV, and will be blogging on that in the coming weeks. Kai and Hiro’s relationship has evolved from googly-eyed infatuation to more mature love as they try to figure out how to balance the running of two countries and their different cultural backgrounds. Is Hiro man enough to handle a relationship with a strong woman in a position of power like Kai? We’ll have to wait and see!

How’s the Editing Going?

In case you’re curious about my process, I thought I’d share how things are going in writing this second book. I’ve streamlined the process a lot since I wrote my first book, which involved so much trial and error.

I don’t outline much before I write my first drafts. I know generally how things will start and end, but there is a lot of discovery in the middle as the draft gets written. So I’ve learned that it’s very important for me to take a good hard look at plot and character after that first draft. I now write an outline with one-sentence summaries of each scene, to help me get a sense of plot and pacing of the whole book. I don’t write in chapters anymore, just scenes, waiting until much later to put the book into chapter form.

I also do character sketches of my main characters at this point. I identify their internal and external character arcs and motivation, likes and dislikes, mannerisms and key traits. These are helpful for me to keep in mind as I’m doing my first edit, and allows me to be consistent as I’m working through the draft.

Then, I identify what big picture items I want to change. Big stuff, new scenes, plot points. I resist, AT ALL COSTS, line editing or correcting grammar or punctuation at this point. It is so hard to ignore these easy-to-fix glaring errors, but the fact is, I might end up cutting that scene tomorrow, so why should I spend an hour line-editing it today? It’s not until the book is in roughly the shape I want it to be in that I start worrying about such things. This was also a big lesson learned from the six months it took me to edit Moonburner.

I made some significant changes to Sunburner after my first draft, and basically rewrote the entire final battle and closing scenes. I am now feeling good about where it is, after having completed one whole edit! On my next edit, I’ll be focusing on making sure every scene and plot point has a purpose and moves the plot forward at the pace I want. I’ll also be keeping a careful eye on my characters, and adding more backstory if needed to make them feel robust and well-formed.

Timing!

My goal is to finish editing Sunburner by the end of October, so the book can go to beta readers in November (If you’re interested in beta reading, send me an email!) I am aiming to finish two more complete editing passes by that point. I have a new book idea in a totally new world, called The Confectioner’s Guild, that I want to write in November through NaNoWriMo.

Helpful Resources:

For you authors out there, I highly recommend the following three books for editing your manuscript. All have been invaluable to me in my learning and editing processes!

The Story Grid, by Shawn Coyne

Manuscript Makeover, by Elizabeth Lyon

The Selling Writer, by Dwight Swain


Featured photo by Claudia, cc license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Claire Luana is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Don't forget to grab your FREE copy of Burning Fate, my young adult fantasy romance!

You have Successfully Subscribed!