Quintina (The Starseed Series #2)
by Meghan Riley
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Release Date: 2016
Summary from Goodreads:
No longer on Earth, Anna must now piece together her memories on the strange, new world of Enki. Guided by Julianus, the mysterious man who brought her back, she soon realizes this isn’t the same world she was starting to remember, making it even more difficult to figure out why she was sent to Earth. Will she be able to solve the mystery before the people who sent her away realize she’s back? Or will her memories forever remain lost?
The Starseed Series on Amazon:
is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Quintina (Book 2 of the Starseed Series),
available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.
A steady, low pitched hum radiated from above
and pulled me out of the darkness. I rolled over to my side, buried one ear in
the soft pillow I laid on, covered the other with my hand, and prayed for it to
go away. Whatever it was – my brother, a neighbor – I didn’t care. All I wanted
was sleep. Lots of sleep.
But the sound didn’t go away. My attempts to
block it only seemed to make it louder, like voices echoing down a tunnel. I
tucked my hands under my head and told myself to ignore the sound, to focus on the
blissful feeling that came from being on the edge of slumber.
But I couldn’t. My senses were uncontrollable.
I tried to reign them back in, but it was too late. I became increasingly aware
of my surroundings.
An annoying chill stretched up my legs from my
feet. I promptly drew them toward me banging my knees against something cold
and hard. I gasped and squinted firmly against the pain, letting out a groan.
The room…it didn’t smell right. It smelled like a…shower curtain.
I rolled over and opened my eyes. Something
clear like glass hung low
and distorted the dark ceiling above me. Confused, I reached out and touched the
barrier, sliding my hand
across it from where it met the white padded bed I laid on to the slick curve
it made over me like the lid of a coffin. This wasn’t the thin, flat glass of a window
pane, but thick and molded. I followed it with my eyes to the foot of the bed
where it continued to surround me.
I twisted my body and looked behind me, toward
the source of the humming. It was coming from a large white case attached to
the head of the bed. When the doctor was trying to figure out the source of my
hallucinations, he put
me in an MRI machine about this size, but it wasn’t as large. I stared at it trying
to process what I was seeing, but the longer I lay there, the more it felt like
the glass was closing in around me.
As I reached up with both hands and gently
pushed on the glass, the
long sleeves of my plain white shirt slid down my forearms toward my shoulders.
It held firmly in place.
I ran my hands along the seam between the
barrier and bed trying to feel for a latch or button, but there was nothing. I
once again reached up with both hands and pushed, harder this time. The glass
refused to budge. My heartbeat quickened.
I looked down at my white pants and bare feet.
What am I doing here? I thought back
over the last 24 hours. It was fuzzy, but it was starting to come back to me –
stargazing, Jared, Doctor McCormick, Steve, the shadow man…some hazy images of
space. Is it true? Did I really travel to
The sound of a voice broke my train of
thought. The glass acted like a conductor, making it resonate around me. I
couldn’t understand exactly what was being said, because the language was none
I had ever heard before, but I could tell it belonged to a man and he was
Through the distortion of the glass at my
feet, I noticed something moving. Focusing on that end of the room, I could
just make out a gray door with a window. It was closed, but someone was
standing in front of it. Their body blocked part of the white light that was
passing through the window. I was sure they were the source of the voice. Their
shoulders rose at the climax of each angry sentence and it occurred to me,
whoever they were, there was a chance they were hostile.
With both hands, I hit the glass full force.
It lifted off the bed a little, which was just the encouragement I needed. I
hit it again. It gave a little bit more and fell back into place.
I hit it again and again and again. All my
emotions from the memories of Jared, Dr. McCormick, Steve, and my family came
flooding out of me.
I pounded the glass until my knuckles split
open and tears streamed down my face. Then, surprisingly, the glass slid back
behind me. When I blinked away the tears, someone was standing in front of me.
“Quintina?” It was the man with the blue eyes
I had seen when I first arrived. Now, fully awake, I saw I was wrong: he wasn’t
the man I had seen in my visions on Earth. He had the same blue eyes, thick
angular brow, and close-cut brown hair, even the same chiseled jaw, but the
mouth was wrong. It was smaller and carried a permanent hint of disapproval at
its corners, not the teasing of a playful grin. And the nose didn’t match. The
ridge was bowed, like it had been broken and never healed correctly, but it
seemed fitting for the 5 o’clock shadow and general ruggedness that he seemed
to encompass, a contrast to the man in my visions, who was more refined and
polished, like the gentleman you’d find in a Jane Austen book.
10 Things I Didn’t Know About Becoming a Published Author
My newly released book, Quintina, is the second book I’ve published. Like many, I dove into publishing headfirst, not entirely sure what I was getting myself into, but driven by my dreams of being published. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about publishing, not just from my own mistakes, but those of other writers, as well. I want to share those lessons with anyone who may be considering publishing a book.
- Writing a book and publishing a book are two different things. You can spend hours putting words to paper, but publishing a book requires tenacity. It’s what gets you through hours of editing, formatting, graphic design, and rejection. It requires you to be more than just a writer, because you’re creating a product.
- Published authors spend as much time learning about formatting and marketing as doing research for their books. Be prepared to learn the technology behind publishing and marketing, or be ready to pay someone else to do it for you. Even if you are picked up by a traditional publisher, you’ll be expected to know social media and other marketing outlets.
- Editing is a necessity. I don’t mean going through your book a few times looking for errors. I refer to a second party taking a close look at grammar, punctuation, syntax, etc., possibly even fact checking. Too many writers skip editing or have an unqualified friend do the work. As soon as you hit publish, you’re not just putting your writing out there, but establishing a reputation. You want to make a good first impression and a poorly edited book can follow you for years.
- Editing is expensive. No, really. It’s EXPENSIVE. New writers are often surprised by this, but you get what you pay for and a good editor can really help you to elevate your writing (and help you improve your own skills).
- The cover is very important. Investing in a professional cover designer can increase your chances of getting a cover that will increase sales of your book, but won’t guarantee it. I paid a professional to do the first cover of Anna, the first book in the Starseed Series, but I wasn’t 100% happy with it. When I redid the cover myself, I sold more books, but I did a lot of research and chose features from popular books in my genre. Do your research and ask the opinions of others before you finalize your cover.
- Packaged deals may sound like a convenient solution, but they’ll cost you a good deal more. With my first book, I paid a service that handled everything from editing to formatting. I paid about twice as much for editing than I should have. I also got upsold on some services that had little bearing on the success of my book. With the second book, I broke up those services. I took control of what I could confidently handle (the cover and marketing pieces) and outsourced what I wasn’t (editing and formatting). I saved a good deal of money.
- Book review services are not worth the money spent. With my first book, I paid for a service that advertised my book to a list of reviewers. Those interested could request a copy of my book in exchange for an honest review. I sent out a lot of copies. Only a fraction followed through and some of those clearly stated in their reviews that they don’t usually read my genre and didn’t really enjoy my book (so why did they request it?). I don’t suggest going that route. Take the time to research bloggers and reviewers who read your genre and contact them directly with a request to review your book.
- Brick and mortar stores will not instantly warm up to you if you’re self-published. There’s a general feeling that independent authors do not sell and stores are constantly struggling to compete with companies like Amazon, so they have to focus on the bestsellers. You’ll need to prove that you have a large enough audience to make stocking your book worthwhile. It helps if you offer to do a book signing or some other promotion to drive traffic to their store.
- One book will not produce a significant income, because published authors rarely make it big with their first book. So, don’t write a book to get rich. You need to establish an audience first. The sales of one book will fuel the sales of the others. The only exception may be if you already have a large amount of followers on social media, a blog, or an email list. Some bloggers with a strong following see significant success when they publish a book in their niche.
- Published authors need thick skins. This may seems obvious, but until you start getting reviews, you don’t realize how true this is. Not everyone will like your book…and that’s okay! No one is a perfect writer. Heck, even Amazon will question the validity of your reviews if all you get is 5 stars. Low reviews are expected at times. There’s no need to worry about it unless that’s all you ever get.
If you’re considering publishing a book, I highly suggest that you join a writer’s group. You can learn some invaluable information from the other members, including recommendations for editors and formatters. You can even round up some beta readers. If you’re short on time, it doesn’t need to be a local group. There are some good writing groups on Facebook. Here are some of my favorites: