December Wrap-Up & January Goals

Happy new year from all of us at Casa Siamese! Though you won’t see this post until it goes live on Wednesday morning, I’m writing it late Monday afternoon with a tummy full of amazing New Year’s Day brunch and a hot mug of tea. I’m excited to start 2018 with a bang, and by bang I mean working on some blog posts and then curling up on the couch with a book.

December Wrap-Up

  • I decided not to kill myself finishing Steel Shadows in the midst of all the other holiday craziness, but I came pretty dang close. The book is currently at a touch over 83,000 words, and I have the two short concluding scenes to finish up. If you follow me on social media (and you should, obviously), expect posts of extreme joy within the next few days.
  • I had a blast beta-reading the next novel in what has become one of my favorite series. I never expected to enjoy paranormal thrillers as much as I now do, but then again, I never expected to read as much romance as is currently mixed in with my science fiction and fantasy. I’m not quite sure when this novel will be published, but I’ll definitely have an excellent review to post on release day.

December Book Reviews

According to Goodreads, I read well beyond my goal of 50 books for 2017, though some of those listed on my account were short stories or books that I abandoned for whatever reason. The list above doesn’t even include everything I read in December this year, because I’ve already queued up book reviews and other blog posts through mid-January!

December Speculative Chic Contributions

January Goals

  1. Okay, seriously, this time I’ll finish the first draft of Steel Shadows.
  2. Since I can’t immediately launch into the first round of revisions without giving the entire book time to percolate, it’s a good thing I have edits for book 4, Steel Time, that also need to get done this month!
  3. Once Steel Time goes back to the editor, it’ll be nice to sit down and look at Steel Shadows from the beginning. Since I wrote that beginning 6 months ago, I definitely need the refresher before I start tweaking things. It will then go to the beta-readers either in late January or early February.
  4. Speaking of beta-reading, I have another book by a friend to review! I haven’t read his work before, but I’ve only heard good things, so I’m excited to experience a new writer.

I hope you are all looking forward to whatever 2018 brings us. I have lots of events already planned throughout the year, and I’m hoping that a proper vacation is also in my future. Now, I have more blog posts to write and a box of macarons I got for my birthday to eat.

Though I didn’t ask for any this year, for either Christmas or my birthday, my family knows me too well! The new additions to the TARDIS collection are:

2017 TARDIS

  • Retro pencil holder from my mother-in-law
  • Stained glass wall-hanging from my mother
  • Jewelry box from my sister- and brother-in-law

Two separate people also gave me bottles of port this year. Good thing I have book 6 to write in 2018, because I’ve got the writer-juice to do it!

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Steel Blood Deleted Scene

Steel-Blood-Jacket.inddHappy New Year to all of my awesome readers! In honor of 2017 finally being over, and to celebrate my birthday (yes, I’m a New Year’s Eve baby), I’d like to share a scene that was left on the cutting room floor after my beta readers read one of the earliest drafts of Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood.

This scene takes place early during the novel, while Victory and Mikelos are traveling by ship to Jiang Yi Yue. While I had fun writing it and exploring more of Rob and Guy’s characters, it was ultimately felt that the scene didn’t add to the larger story of the book itself.

My only birthday wish is that if you have been enjoying my writing, please consider leaving an honest review of any of my books someplace like Amazon or Goodreads. A review can be as simple as “I liked it!” and leaving a rating. This is the cheapest and easiest way to continue supporting authors you enjoy after buying their books.

Thank you, party safely tonight, and enjoy this look at Victory in her element — with a sword in her hand!  Continue reading

Review: Outside the Lines (Bluewater Bay #22) by Anna Zabo

Outside the LinesDisclaimer: I am friends with the author of this novel; however, I purchased the ebook for full price.


My metric for how I view a good romance novel has turned into whether the interpersonal relationships are occurring between mature adults. I don’t have time for whiny teenage angst produced by characters in their twenties, thirties, or beyond. This novel succeeds in this goal, and even the necessary miscommunication necessary for a romance plot was realistic rather than over(melo)dramatic. In short, I loved this book.  Continue reading

Build Report: 2017 Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar

Ghost FalconI honestly can’t remember the last time I had an advent calendar as a kid. I have vague memories of the ones with cheap chocolate in middle school, which is when my littlest sister was a toddler.

Now that I’m an adult, for various definitions of the word, it was time to start the tradition anew!

2017 Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar (75184)

I’m not going to talk about each day’s present. There are plenty of more hardcore Lego blogs out there for that. Instead, here’s a quick summary with pics, in no particular order.  Continue reading

Annual Holiday Update

Below is the holiday letter my husband and I sent in our cards this year. Thank you to all of you for also being amazing supporters. I couldn’t have gotten through this year without you.


Dear Family & Friends,

This has been a much-needed quiet year for the Gribble household. Of course, quiet for us still means lots of work and travel!  Continue reading

Build Report: Cargo Railway & Octan Twin Tank Rail Tanker

My husband and I have been married for five years, and living together for almost nine. And every time we think we’ve gotten all of our random belongings from our respective mothers’ houses, something else gets dredged up from a dark basement corner. This past summer, it was a ratty box of various LEGO pieces. Thus began my quest to resurrect a train set from 1996.

Cargo Railway (4559-1) & Octan Twin Tank Rail Tanker (4537-1)

I’ll spare you the picture of the original box. It was GROSS. The first step was letting the entire set soak overnight and then laying it out to dry, back in August.

This got me familiar enough with the pieces as a whole to use the wonders of the Internet to hunt down the instruction manuals for both sets, which I was able to download as PDF files.  Continue reading

Review: Moving Target (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) by Cecil Castellucci & Jason Fry

Moving TargetThis was an excellent Star Wars young adult novel that succeeds at showing realistic decisions that must be made in war, and how people involved in those wars end up making essential decisions regardless of how much power or authority they might have. I also appreciated that Princess Leia is given much authority and agency in this book, leading a mission she devises in order to give the Alliance a fighting chance against the second Death Star.  Continue reading