Happy Halloween! I’m traveling tomorrow, so getting a jump on my monthly round-up post today. Please enjoy this picture of a vampire writer in her natural habitat from a Halloween party I attended this weekend. Apparently Waldo has gone to the dark side. Tonight I’ll be packing for my trip and giving out candy to the kids in my neighborhood. What are your Halloween plans, and what did you dress up as? Pictures encouraged!
Overall, I consider October a success! I ended up adding a weekend retreat with some awesome writer friends to my trip out of town to Seattle, but still managed to have a productive writing month. Let’s see where things fell, shall we?
- I did not catch up on September’s writing deficit, but I did meet my back-up goal of reaching 55k words in the first draft of Steel Shadows this month, for a total of 13.5k words written in October.
- I had a fantastic time visiting Seattle for a conference related to the day job, but got to catch dinner with a friend from high school as an added bonus!
October Book Reviews
October Speculative Chic Contributions
- I won’t be participating officially in NaNoWriMo this year, but I am looking forward to joining my local chapter for many of the evening write-ins! My goal this month is another 15k words on Steel Shadows, for an end goal of 70k words of the first draft completed.
- As I mentioned above, I’m going to out of town again tomorrow for a set of workshops for the day job. Don’t feel too sorry for me, though — this conference is at a Disney World resort, and I planned a free day to visit the new attractions at Animal Kingdom while I’m there!
- Later in the month, I’ll be a returning panelist at a local SF/F literary convention, ChessieCon, which takes place in Timonium, MD, the weekend after Thanksgiving. I’ll be sure to post my schedule soon. Will I see any of you there?
I have to wrap this up, because my husband is anxiously awaiting me to get back to our binge-watch of Stranger Things season 2. In the meantime, here’s a great shot of RDSP authors tackling an escape room together, which was easily one of the highlights of my month!
How many authors and editors does it take to escape a locked room? Featuring John Edward Lawson, J.L. Gribble, Jennifer Barnes, R., Heidi Ruby Miller, Jason Jack Miller, and Stephanie M. Wytovich
Alas, the streak has been broken and I did not quite meet all my goals this month. I blame the con crud I picked up at Salt Lake Comic Con. (Which did not stop me from having an awesome book signing while I was there.)
- Between a week where I didn’t write a word and being unable to catch up on the flights to and from Salt Lake City, I did not write 15k words this month. As of this writing (Saturday evening), I’m actually at 41.5k. I remind myself that my goals are self-imposed that that it’s not the end of the world.
- Salt Lake Comic Con, however, was a total success! Participated in great panels, met some cool people, and best of all: Got my picture taken with John Barrowman. Check out the full con report for all the craziness.
September Book Reviews
September Speculative Chic Contributions
- I would love to catch up on last month’s deficit and make it to 60k words on Steel Shadows by the end of the month. However, I will still be happy with myself if I make it to 55k words instead.
- I’m traveling again this month, heading to Seattle for a few days for the day job.
Ugh, it looks like I hardly did anything at all! Two simple reasons: I watched a lot of Netflix instead of reading, and no movies I wanted to review for Speculative Chic came out in September.
But I’ve already got a cool author interview and another book review queued up on the blog while I’m away this upcoming week, so don’t think I’m going anywhere!
Honestly, my brain is still mush from meeting John Barrowman. I’m not sure why I’m even sharing this picture with you all, considering how much I look like a goofball. Continue reading
Ack, I’ve been productive again! Met all my goals for August and everything.
- I completed another 15k words in Steel Shadows, bringing me to 30k done! That’s definitely over one-third of the book, and while I often have trouble slogging through the middle, this story has been a hell of a roller coaster so far. I’m excited, and I hope that shows through my writing.
- Confluence in Pittsburgh earlier this month was a blast, and you can read my con report here.
- When I got home from Pittsburgh, my husband headed off to Europe for a few weeks for work, so I had to entertain myself somehow. Luckily, I had a brand new LEGO set to build, and you can check out my build report for the Saturn V rocket here.
- And finally, the contest I hosted for Steel Blood’s one-month birthday was a ton of fun! Entrants guessed the total number of my TARDIS collection for a chance to win free books from the Steel Empires series. I’m already brainstorming fun ideas for another contest later this year.
August Book Reviews
August Speculative Chic Contributions
- Another 15k words of Steel Shadows, bringing me to 45k completed.
- Attend Salt Lake Comic Con! I still don’t have my schedule, but my husband and I planned this as our 5-year wedding anniversary present to ourselves, so being on programming was just a bonus. We’re excited to see some friends, visit a new city, get books signed by cool authors, and get our photo taken with John Barrowman. Okay, I’m getting my photo taken with John Barrowman. The plan is to politely ask for a hug from my favorite immortal and try not to burst into tears.
We are officially at two months in a row where I manage to accomplish everything on my list of goals (sort of). Obviously the biggest accomplishment this month was the publication and launch of my third novel, book 3 in the Steel Empires series. If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of Steel Blood, it’s available here:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press
If you have a copy, awesome! I really hope you enjoy it.
If you’ve already ready, and you did enjoy it, this is my first and only annoying author plea to please consider leaving a rating someplace like Amazon or Goodreads. Even a review as simple as “I liked it!” goes a long way toward helping indie authors published by a small press like me. Thank you.
Now, let’s get to work.
- I completed the first 15k words of Steel Shadows!
- The Steel Blood blog tour was a huge success! If you missed any of the guest posts, excerpts, or interviews, I’ve added a page to my blog where you can find the full round-up of links.
- I did not manage to have a local launch party for this book (that’s the “sort of” caveat from above). My mother was out of the country for most of July, and my husband will be out of the country for most of August, and I’d be sad to not have either of them in attendance.
July Book Reviews
July Speculative Chic Contributions
This month, we celebrated our one-year anniversary at Speculative Chic! Don’t forget that this cool blog features a lot more than the movie reviews and commentary that I link to here. There are also book and video game reviews, a cool monthly column on the history of feminist science-fiction, and much more. For a taste, just search for the #OneChicYear on your social media of choice and check what our columnists shared on for our anniversary celebration.
- Write the next 15k words for Steel Shadows, bringing my total to 30k words.
- Attend Confluence in Pittsburgh.
- Build my Saturn V LEGO set while my husband is away. 🙂
- Organize and promote a fun contest to celebrate Steel Blood‘s one-month birthday! (If you didn’t think I was a huge nerd before, you’ll definitely know I’m one when you see what I have planned.)
Currently reading: Heart of the Dragon (Supernatural #4) by Keith R.A. DeCandido
Currently writing: 15,035/30k words
Every once in a while, I’m totally allowed to have a month where I not only complete EVERYTHING on my list of goals, but also exceed it! (Mostly because sometimes I forget things when I’m writing up the list of goals, but I’m going to take the win anyway.)
- Steel Time was officially submitted to my editor this month! (Wow, it already feels like it was ages ago.) The LEGO Snowspeeder was completed in celebration.
- The epic Steel Blood blog tour has been coordinated and scheduled, barring a final confirmation for one stop (he knows who he is). Events will kick off on Monday, July 17 and go non-stop until July 30. I’m excited to share this book with everyone in so many cool ways (guest posts, character interviews, author interviews, and excerpts).
- And this past weekend (which was technically July) (shhhh), I finally completed the scene-by-scene outline of book 5! I think I’ve settled on the name Steel Shadows for this one.
And for the stuff I totally forgot to put on my list:
- I attended the 2017 In Your Write Mind writer’s conference at Seton Hill University (con report here).
- Speaking of con reports, I finally added some supplemental indexes to my website so that you can more easily find the following things:
June Book Reviews
June Speculative Chic Contributions
- It’s book writing season at Casa Siamese again! My goal this month is 15k words on Steel Shadows.
- Write the posts for and pull off the epic Steel Blood blog tour.
- Organize and host some sort of local launch party for Steel Blood.
See, it freaks me out now when my goals list is so short. But I’ve checked my calendar, and I’m not traveling until August. So maybe this really is all I have to do.
Trust me, I’m not complaining!
Currently reading: Nevermore (Supernatural #1) by Keith R. A. DeCandido
Currently writing: 0/15k words
No matter how many things I crossed off the list this past month, my to-do list keeps getting longer. Since I’m at the point where I’m doing work (writing blog posts) to take a break from doing other work (line edits on Steel Time), let’s jump right in.
- I have printed out a copy of Steel Time to do my final pass through before it gets sent off to my editor for her review. The good news is that it is solidly below 90k words! Based on the recommendations of my beta readers, I cut two and a half scenes (which are saved and will appear on the blog as deleted scenes after publication). That got me down to 92k words, and my massive word search for passive and filtering language took care of the rest. That’s a huge weight off my shoulders (my editor was pleased, too).
- I created a form for anyone interested in participating in the July blog tour for Steel Blood. I’m still looking for volunteers, so check it out!
- I totally forgot to include Balticon on my list of goals last month! I had a blast last weekend, which you can read about in my con report.
- Let’s not talk about book 5 right now.
May Book Reviews
May Speculative Chic Contributions
- Finish and input Steel Time line edits and submit to my editor. I have a the LEGO Snowspeeder set waiting for me in celebration.
- Finish coordinating the Steel Blood blog tour and start writing guest posts.
- Book 5 outline. There’s a heavy sigh there, which is a poor representation of how I feel about the book. I’m excited to write it, but I’m also scared that I won’t do my story ideas justice.
As usual, thank you to everyone for coming along for the ride!
Helpful cats are not actually that helpful.
You know that saying, about how the best way to get something done is to ask a busy person?
Yeah, apparently I need to be that busy person.
Did I get everything done that I set out to do this month? Nope. But I did a bunch of other cool things, like see my little sister’s final college dance performance, attend my first Orioles game of the season with my best friends, escape for a weekend to Broadkill Resort, and participate in the March for Science in Washington, DC! On the work front, I also had the pleasure of beta-reading the next novel in one of my favorite series.
- Alas, there is no fully detailed outline to book 5 yet. Book 5 doesn’t even have a name yet (ugh, I know). I have lots of notes, and lots of crazy ideas. I’m feeling really overwhelmed by this book for some reason, so it’s taken more than usual to scrounge up the time and effort to sit down and COMMIT to taking the time.
April Book Reviews:
April Speculative Chic Contributions:
- Finish final revisions to Steel Time and submit to my editor.
- Start organizing the blog tour to celebrate the release of Steel Blood this summer.
- Outline book 5…?
I may be a medical editor by day, but what else would a fantasy author wear to the March for Science? With friends Karrie and David outside the EPA.