Review: “The Steam Pump Jump” (Chronicles of St. Mary’s short) by Jodi Taylor

Steam Pump JumpThis short story very much needs the context of pretty much all of the novels in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series so far to understand the detail of what’s going on. But otherwise, it’s a “typical” St. Mary’s lark, full of the usual shenanigans and mayhem (#disastermagnets). And as an added bonus, it’s from Markham’s point of view! Any perspective from security department versus the historians is fun, but Markham just adds that much extra flavor.

I felt that the beginning of the tale was a bit drawn out until we got to the interesting bits, but even that section had it’s laugh out loud moments of humor. This tale is not to be missed by St. Mary’s fan(atic)s.  Continue reading

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Build Report: Hans Christian Andersen

HCAThe first step to admitting you have a problem is to buy more LEGOs. That’s how it works, right? Regardless, I’m officially buying LEGO sets faster than I can build them, but the LEGO sets I buy are expensive enough that they keep coming with awesome freebies to tide me over until my next major goal is met. The current major goal is finishing revisions to book 5 and sending the first draft to my editor. In the meantime, I just completed a major freelance editing job, and this is the result.

Hans Christian Andersen (40291) — 307 pieces

As a writer and reader, this was the perfect set for me!  Continue reading

In Your Write Mind 2018 Schedule

IYWM 2018

This weekend, I’ll be returning to Hogwarts Seton Hill University for the annual writers retreat hosted by the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program alumni, of which I am one. Mostly, we just wanted an excuse to come back to our favorite place in the world and meet up with our tribe. But because everyone should get to experience that awesomeness, the In Your Write Mind program is open to all writers!

As usual, I’ll be arriving on campus early Thursday afternoon and heading home late Sunday afternoon. I’m staying in the dorms, which isn’t glamorous, but is always a party.

Here is the full schedule. I can’t wait to attend some of these awesome presentations, but below is what I’ll be up to and where you can specifically find me. Will I see you there?

FRIDAY

  • Costume Ball at 9 PM: The theme this year is “Storybook Land.” I’m being a total slacker with my costume, but I promise it’s still prize-worthy.

SATURDAY

  • Behind the Scenes of Military Life at 8 AM: I’m moderating a panel of current and former service members and others attached to the military life (I’m both a brat and a spouse). This is a chance to get an inside look at what being in (and attached) to the military is really like, by those who’ve been there…and are still there.
  • Mass Book Signing from 5:30 to 9:30 PM: I’ll have copies of all books currently available in the Steel Empires series…and maybe a surprise extra!

Build Report: BB-8

There was no reason for me to buy this year’s special Star Wars Day LEGO set, but that didn’t stop me! While the awesome Y-Wing Starfighter set is waiting patiently in my “to be built” pile (dwarfed only by my “to be read” pile), I couldn’t resist putting together this cute freebie I got with it.

BB-8 (40288) — 48 pieces

Obviously, this was a short and sweet set that I was able to throw together in about 5 minutes. But it does answer the question of what BB-8 wears under his metal exterior!

BB-8 inside

The answer is apparently LEGOs.

Once finished, BB-8 survived a careful car ride to take his place of pride with his buddy R2-D2 in my office! They have teamed up with a Dalek to protect the TARDIS from the Weeping Angels.

BB-8 complete

An unexpected alliance

TARDIS and Weeping Angels miniatures hand-painted by Tower of the Archmage

Balticon 52 Schedule

balticon logoHere’s my schedule for Balticon 52, taking place over Memorial Day weekend at Baltimore’s Renaissance Harborplace hotel!

Friday

  • The Blurring of Genre Borders (panel) at 4 pm

Saturday

  • Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading at 1 pm
  • Slash of Our Ancestors: A History of Fanfic (panel) at 2 pm
  • Autograph session with J.L. Gribble & Jay Smith at 5 pm

Sunday

  • Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (presentation) at 12 pm
  • Fandom Trolls and How to Vanquish Them (panel) at 4 pm
  • Readings with J.L. Gribble & Paul E. Cooley at 7 pm
  • Taking Off the Training Wheels: Fanfic to Original Fic (panel) at 8 pm

Monday

  • Writing Compelling Villains (panel) at 10 am
  • How to Keep Writing After the Workshop (panel) at 11 am

It looks like you can find me wandering on Friday night, between my events on Saturday and Sunday, and probably a bit later into Saturday night. Please drop me a line if you’d like to meet up for a drink or a meal!

Cleveland ConCoction Schedule

Cleveland ConCoction 2018 logo This weekend, I will be attending Cleveland ConCoction for the third year! This is one of my favorite conventions in terms of how authors are treated and the variety of events. I made some great friends last year that I can’t wait to reunite with.

The convention is a new hotel this year, farther from the airport. Slightly inconvenient for me, but I’ll get to have a new experience: renting a car! Here’s my schedule for the weekend, hopefully to be filled with other awesome new experiences.

Friday

  • 2 PM: Stories of Coming up with Characters
  • 3 PM: Mistakes Beginning Authors Make 1.0
  • 4 PM: Author Perspectives on Fan Fiction
  • 9 PM: Vampires, Werewolves & Gods: Rewriting Legends 1.0

Saturday

  • 5 PM: Author Showcase: Reading from Steel Blood
  • 10 PM: NSFW Authors Panel 2.0

Sunday

  • 11 AM: What’s in a Genre?

I’ll have all three of the current books in the Steel Empires for sale in Authors Alley, and when in doubt, you can probably find me in the hotel bar with Brent Seth and Sara Dobie Bauer. I’m also looking forward to the awesome party that Barfleet throws!

Will I see you in Cleveland?