Here, for your reading enjoyment, is another one of the bits of Line and Orbit that was cut from the final version of the book. It was one of the casualties of our many cuts for length, and ended up going because it doesn’t do a huge amount to advance the plot. However, what it does do is present a sweet little slice of life at home with Kae and Leila, and also builds their characters a bit. Additionally, it brings to light something about Kae’s character that, without this scene, actually doesn’t get revealed until later in the book.
It made me sad to have to cut it. But hey, here it is for free. Hope you enjoy.
A note on chronology: This scene originally came at the end of chapter 9, after Lochlan has taken Adam to meet with the Council and Adam has had his first awkward meeting with Ixchel. There are no majorly important spoilers to speak of unless you count Kae’s character thing, but the scene also won’t make the maximum amount of sense if you haven’t read the book.
The trees thinned out around her, the path widening, and then they fell away entirely and she came out into the fields, the grass whispering in the breeze and carrying the sweet smell of heather and the bracken that grew at the edge of the wood, mixed with the headier scent of honeysuckle. The light of the sunlamps was deepening into afternoon, and for a moment Nkiruka stood, breathing it in. She tilted her head back. Far above her, through the transparent ceiling, the stars shone in the night that went on forever.
She had not been born on Ashwina but on Suzaku, where the High Fields were drier and faded into patches of red desert, and the Arched Halls were–strangely–lusher and more humid, more like what people described as the equatorial jungles of Terra. She had grown up in those Fields and those Halls, had carried their dust and drifting pollen within her when she came to Ashwina to learn how to fight, to dance the death dances, to pilot an escort fighter. It had been an adjustment but she had made it. She would never love these lands the way she loved the lands that rested at the top of Suzaku’s great bulk, but she had grown to love them all the same.
Anything growing. Miracles in the black.
I am so, so happy to be back here again. And I love this character.
Some of you may – or may not – be aware that Line and Orbit used to be quite a lot longer. Specifically, it was almost an entire book’s length longer. A great deal was cut, some of which we loved, and it seems a shame to think those bits might never see the light of day in any form.
So something that I and my co-author will be doing in the next month or so is pulling out some of the scenes that were cut from the final edit of Line and Orbit, dusting them off a bit, and posting them here for your reading pleasure.
The scene below is actually a huge chunk of what was chapter three, before chapter three became the segment that introduces us to Lochlan and Ixchel. It should be understood to take place directly after the scene in which Ixchel reads Lochlan’s future. It’s significant in that it’s actually the scene that was originally supposed to introduce readers to Kae and Leila, whereas in the final cut Kae and Leila are introduced only after Adam arrives on Ashwina.
It also features Lochlan being his cocky, promiscuous self. And Kae’s full, glorious name.
For those concerned: There are no major spoilers for the plot itself. If you haven’t read or haven’t finished reading, do not fear. Enjoy.
As work on the Line and Orbit sequel continues, I thought it might be appropriate to check on the previous book’s two main characters. Between Line and Orbit and its sequel, a lot of time has passed, there’s a bunch of catching up to do, and anyway I miss them both. So I managed to get hold of them and sit them down for a short chat… Which Lochlan of course entirely highjacked and stripped of any decorum or meaningful substance it might have had.
He’s basically a jerk. See for yourself, after the cut.
Line and Orbit has been out for a month now, and what a month it’s been. I want to once again thank everyone who’s spread the word about it, and again encourage anyone who reads and enjoys it to do the same – you do me and my co-author a truly immeasurable favor when you do so, and we appreciate it so much.
So in honor of its releasiversary, I’m doing two things.
- I’m running a Tumblr giveaway of a free copy of the book. Have a Tumblr account? All you have to do in order to enter is reblog. Monday after next I’ll pick a winner at random.
- I’m posting the entire third chapter below, wherein we introduce our roguish smartass secret-man-pain MC2 Lochlan d’Bideshi, and blind-seer delightfully prickly wisewoman Ixchel. Enjoy.
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
– Carl Sagan
One of the cool things about writing – and I think this is especially true of writing anything book-length – is that you’re not always aware of what’s going in there. What you’re producing is coming out of you; in that sense what you
courtesy of NASA
write is a jumbled mirror image of all the fragments of you that make you who you are. Your values, your dreams and your fears, what you think you are and what you hope you might become. Fiction is self-reflexive, though it’s that way implicitly; it’s not a memoir but it is a part of the greater whole that makes up the messy history of you.
So it’s always neat when people find things in it that are unquestionably there but that you didn’t notice at the time. Again, my friend Natalie is a great example of this in that she spotted a big overarching ecological theme in Line and Orbit that I didn’t realize was there at all, and that I don’t recall discussing with my co-author aside from a few things about Melissa Cosaire’s orchids.
But it’s also the case that sometimes things come out in such a way that you don’t think what you meant is clear. Or that you didn’t think through the theme enough to specify it clearly – which is always the risk you run when you’re not explicitly trying to Be Thematic, which I don’t recommend doing (it smacks of ham-handed effort and Look How Deep I Am and people can usually spot it). So I was rereading a bit of L&O the other day – always fun when you can read your stuff with enough distance that you can enjoy it as if it weren’t actually yours – and I spotted something that troubled me a little: that the book might be open to an interpretation of being anti-science. (very mild spoilers under the cut)
So a bunch has happened with Line and Orbit in the last couple of weeks (aside from just it being released). Here are a few of the highlights:
And just a reminder: Since I’ve seen a couple of people be all like I WANT MORE IN THIS ‘VERSE there are actually two short stories in existence that provide some backstory for a couple of the characters.
- “Thin Spun”, which was featured in the (fantastic) anthology Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic, and which deals with Kae as a child and a meeting with an Aalim in exile.
- “Starcrossed”, which was published in Help: Twelve Tales of Healing (a benefit anthology for Doctors Without Borders), which concerns Ying the healer and a difficult confrontation with a Protectorate Peacekeeper.
And watch this space for some freebie shorts, which I and my co-author will be posting soon.
And again, to everyone who’s read it and talked it up: Thank you so much. We’re not big names, either of us, so we’re really depending on word-of-mouth to make people aware of this book. And to the people who haven’t read it yet and intend to: The single best thing you can do if you like it is the above. It’s like presents.
Release Week for Line and Orbit is almost done, and oh, what a week it’s been. It’s been great to see people reading and reviewing on Goodreads, seeing what people are liking about the book, what’s striking a chord with people – it’s been so much fun. Those of you who have reviewed it already, thank you so much. Those of you who are reading now and come out of the experience pleased, the single best thing you can do for us is to leave a rating or a review, or to blog about it, or to otherwise spread the word, because word-of-mouth is what a book like this really needs.
But as we come out of this week and into the next, I find that what I’m really thinking about isn’t the present, but what’s coming next for this universe. Because yeah, I feel comfortable being very clear about this now: Sequels are in the works. (very mild spoilers for the first book below. hints, really, more than anything.)
Well, as I write this, my computer clock says it’s 11:48 PM, which isn’t of any special significance EXCEPT that it means that Line and Orbit’s day-of-release is minutes away (!!!!!!).
IT ALSO MEANS that there are now just about 24 hours left to enter to win a free copy. DO IT
I swear, I’d be dancing if I wasn’t so tired and if I didn’t have to teach at 8 AM.
The delightful Catherine Lundoff – whom I’ve worked with before in the anthology Hellebore and Rue (which, incidentally, features a story set in the L&O universe) – asked me to do a guest post on Line and Orbit over on her LJ/DW, so I can be found there, talking about some of the things about the process of writing the book that were surprising to me or otherwise unexpected in some way.
Thanks to Catherine for offering the opportunity!