New Release Blitz: Siphany and the Whale by Susan Jane Bigelow (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title:  Siphany and the Whale

Series: Siphany and Lurbira, Book One

Author: Susan Jane Bigelow

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/25/2024

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: No Romance

Length: 93700

Genre: Science Fiction, sci-fi, lit/genre fiction, action/adventure, trans, cyborg/undead/altered beings, space battles, kidnapping/abduction, social anxiety, violence

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You blow up one crappy little space drone, and everything goes to hell.

Siphany was just trying to be nice when she returned the drone she’d sort-of-accidentally blasted a hole in. But when its owner tries to kidnap the reclusive space mapper and steal her beloved ship, Siphany teams up with pint-sized robotic psychopath, Lurbira Call, to make a daring escape.

Soon Siphany and Lurbira, along with unwanted passengers Isan, the undead teenage cyborg; Siphany’s enigmatic former lover and Sovene spymaster, Qas; and moody, electrically beautiful fighter pilot, Pati, are all caught up in a deadly game of spies, starships, and interstellar war. When everything comes to a head, Siphany and Lurbira must find a way to face their tumultuous pasts in order to really, truly find freedom at last.


Siphany and the Whale
Susan Jane Bigelow © 2024
All Rights Reserved

Lurbira could hear the past calling her.

She extended her sensor range, then quickly drew it back in again. She could barely tell the direction.

“Shut up, shut up, shut up!” she seethed, and she punched the hull of the Junk so hard that it actually made a dent. Fine! Open the damn tin can to space; let it be nothing but vacuum inside. It wouldn’t bother Lurbira; the replica lungs she had didn’t work anyway.

She rapidly flicked her gunports open and closed, over and over.


She spun around and put on her most innocent face. “Yes, Mother Junk?”

Mother Junk was tall and wiry, her white hair pulled back in a bun and her mouth set in a permanent frown. “Don’t you have work to do?”

“I’m sure I do,” said Lurbira brightly.

Mother Junk let her gaze drift down to the dent in the hull the size and shape of Lurbira’s child-sized fist. “Be careful I don’t send you off with the Loyans, Artificial,” she said icily and brushed past.

Lurbira watched her leave, fuming.

“She would,” said a faintly static-laced voice from nearby. Lurbira turned to focus on Isan, who stood awkwardly in the corridor, watching Mother Junk go. The girl still looked remarkably like who she’d been, just with more ashen skin, less hair on her scalp, deep bruises, and silvery implants on her face and arms.

“What do you want, corpse?” Lurbira snapped.

“Mother Junk never lies. She won’t hesitate if she thinks you’ve become a burden.”

“Great.” Lurbira turned her back. “I’ll keep that shit in mind.”

“Be careful, Artificial.” Isan’s voice hardened. “And be careful of me too.”

“Pff,” said Lurbira as haughtily as she could manage. “Don’t make me laugh.”

She stood there, back turned, until Isan finally gave up and left.

This had become completely intolerable. It was time to get off this miserable station in the middle of nowhere. And Lurbira knew just how to do it.


Leshandre Siphany woke to the howling of proximity alarms and screamed in panic.

She fought for control of herself. Siphany had dreamed she was back in the institution on Sovena, confined in that awful too-large, too-bright room. Control, the nurses and wardens had shouted at her. Control!

You must learn to show us your outward, smiling self.

You must control yourself, Siphany.

These outbursts and tantrums are un-Sovene!

And then she had seen the unmistakable shimmer of bluenet surround her. She screamed as it molded and shaped her body back into what it had been before she’d set foot on Derstan Station a decade ago.

The present pierced the nightmare fog, and she steadied herself.

She was on her ship, she was alone with her cat in the middle of deep interstellar space far from Sovena, and the nurses and the institution were a hundred light years away and thirteen years in the past. I’m okay. I’m safe. Safe.

But the proximity alarms were still blaring. Siphany tumbled out of bed, cursing, sending poor Kit flying off the sheets in a furry panic.

She sprinted into the cockpit, dove into her chair, and ordered the computer to feed her as much information as possible. A ship was near. Where was it? What was it? How close? Heat signature? Movement? Threat potential?

Information came at her in a steady stream; Siphany let it wash over her as she awakened to the universe around her.

The proximity alert had automatically switched on her bright and shiny high-end defense systems. Her scans swept the sector and quickly fixed the offending object in her target sights.

The sensors weren’t giving her anything conclusive, and the old familiar panic rose. What was it? Pirates? Not out of the realm of possibility, but pirates were rare. Piracy wasn’t profitable enough for many people to risk it. Loyans, maybe? She was close to the border with Haeld space. The Loyan military had their fingers all over Haeld’s long-running civil war, so it was possible. Might be Sovene, too—the Sovenes were in just as deep.

“No,” she muttered to herself as the scans resolved. “Not a ship. Way too small.”

Debris? A random unmapped rock? She trained active scanners on it, trying to gather more data. Frustratingly, she wasn’t getting a lot of readings from it at all, almost as if it were only half there.

Then, as she settled on the idea of an inert piece of debris or rock, it changed course.

“Ah!” Siphany said, surprised. A drone, then. That’s what it had to be, though she’d never seen one quite like this before.

Drones could be bad for business. Mappers like Siphany made money because it was cheaper to pay people who already owned their own ships to head out into space and run the sensor turret rather than send unreliable, expensive drones.

But if someone had figured out how to make a better, cheaper drone…

She ought to just vaporize the damn thing.

Kit jumped onto the console top next to her and peered intently out at the void. His whiskers curved forward, and his eyes darted around. Kit thought space was fascinating.

He’d love this, then.

“Watch this,” she told her cat and stabbed the fire button. A white-hot beam lanced out from her starboard cannon, puncturing the hull of the drone where Siphany suspected its drive section must be.

She lazily targeted a forward section as the drone tumbled out of control, when, to her shock, the speakers crackled to life.

“Unknown ship!” a frantic female voice said. “Stop firing! I surrender! I mean no harm! I’ll give you whatever you want! Please don’t kill me!”

“Oh, no,” Siphany cried, leaping to her feet. What did I just do?


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Susan Jane Bigelow is a librarian and writer from Connecticut. She loves reading, spending time with her spouse and their cats, and wandering the green hills and wide valleys of her home state.

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