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.”