March Wrap-Up & April Goals

Some highs and lows this month, for sure. See last Friday’s post about the major milestones in my life I’m currently in the middle of.

March Wrap-Up:

  • Complete the scene-by-scene outline for book 4, Steel Time. It turns out that the power in the ‘verse that can stop me is my own brain! I have three poster boards in my office liberally decorated with post-it notes in four different colors. But the new outlining method I tried got me a bit bogged down in the details, and even though I’m genuinely excited about this book, I became really overwhelmed by the outline. I’m hoping to come back from vacation refreshed and ready to tackle it with new eyes, so that I know what I need to investigate during the May research stage.
  • Prequel story #2 scene revisions: I’m about halfway done, and have gotten some great notes from my new critique group!
  • Attend Cleveland ConCoction: Done! It was a great event, and you can see my con report for it here.
  • Book reviews: Hell yeah! I got five of them done:
  • Make a dent in the to-read pile: Sort of? I did get some reading done, but I may have “accidentally” bought more books instead. However…

April Goals:

  1. Vacation! I’m going to spend some much-needed quiet time on a boat with my husband for 10 days. This is our vacation before he leaves for military tech school for 5 months this summer and fall. There will be much, much reading of books while we are gone. I’m bringing my computer because I am a workaholic, but any writing goals I have are totally unofficial and won’t count here.
  2. Start my new job! But real life is boring. Let’s talk about writing goals instead.
  3. Steel Time scene-by-scene outline.
  4. Steel Blood edits. Three beta readers have book 3, and I should have notes from them by the time I get home in 10 days. I’m giving myself until the end of the month to do any necessary rewrites and start my line edits.
  5. Prequel story #2 revisions.
  6. Book reviews!
I have half a dozen more books on my Kindle (the thing leaning on the left), and I always find something interesting in the ship’s library! The Star Trek books are my husband’s, but I’m quite intrigued by the rise of the Federation myself…

End of an Era

Today marks the end of a journey. If you’ve read my Bio page, you know that I’m a medical editor for my day job. That’s not going to change, but as of this morning, I can announce that I am no longer employed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) , where for the last 10 years I have been an editor for the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development (JRRD).Continue reading “End of an Era”

Book Review Policy

As I slowly get caught up on the never-ending list of finished books that need to be reviewed, I figured I should put together an official review policy (even though I definitely don’t consider myself an official book reviewer). Go here or click the “Review Policy” tab at the top of the page for information on what sorts of books I read, why I am writing reviews, and whether I will review your books or you can review mine (the answer to both is generally yes).

Apparently book reviews were not just on my mind today, because I stumbled across a great blog post on the topic this morning. Author Romarin Demetri wrote about “Why bloggers should vet ‘self-published’ authors instead of discriminating against them.” I’m not going to be that hardcore since I’m not doing this in any official capacity, but I fully agree with her sentiments. As an “indie” author myself, I am committed to the idea that I am not in competition with other authors. We’re all in this together, kids.

Can’t wait for my reviews and want to know what I’m reading right away? And see adorable cats, too? Follow me on Twitter or Instagram, where I post pictures of every book I start with whatever cat happens to be sitting still at the moment. This is the most recent one:

Alex the blue-point Siamese is perturbed that the green-toned cover of Ilona Andrews’ MAGIC SHIFTS is ruining his color-coordination with my library carpet. His sister Lucy attempted to photo-bomb but wandered away at the last second.

I’m almost finally caught up with my reviews after getting backlogged last March, when I read 14 novels during a 10-day vacation. Let’s see if I can beat that record and get completely behind once again when I leave for my next 10-day vacation next week!

Review: CLOSER TO HOME by Mercedes Lackey

closer to home
CLOSER TO HOME by Mercedes Lackey

I think my biggest complaint about this book is probably the fact that the back cover text has very, very little to do with the actual plot of the novel. And if that’s my biggest complaint, I will definitely call this book a win. I’ve read every Valdemar book by Mercedes Lackey, many of the multiple times, and I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous series that starred Herald Mags, mostly because I felt little to no new ground was covered in regards to world-building or character creation. So it was with some trepidation that I began the next incarnation of his adventures–but I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed this installment tremendously!Continue reading “Review: CLOSER TO HOME by Mercedes Lackey”

Review: MAGIC BREAKS by Ilona Andrews

magic breaks
MAGIC BREAKS by Ilona Andrews

Not only is this one of my favorite books series, it is also one of the major inspirations for my own writing. So it’s no surprise that I absolutely loved and devoured this set of the series.Continue reading “Review: MAGIC BREAKS by Ilona Andrews”

Review: ARMADA by Ernest Cline

ARMADA by Ernest Cline

Because I loved Ready Player One so much, I didn’t argue very much when my husband insisted on pre-ordering the hardcover of Ernest Cline’s second novel, Armada. My husband read it first, and I have to admit that my stomach sank a little bit when he described it to me. My takeaway was that it was yet another novel where the straight white nerdy male saves the world through being special.Continue reading “Review: ARMADA by Ernest Cline”

Review: TO SIR by Rachell Nichole

to shir
TO SIR by Rachell Nichole

Disclaimer: I am friends with the author; however, I purchased this novel at full price.

This was my second official foray into the erotica genre–this time, without the cushion of the paranormal to root me in something familiar! I also normally stay far, far away from novels where the protagonist is also an author. However, a conversation with author Rachell Nichole convinced me to give her book a shot.Continue reading “Review: TO SIR by Rachell Nichole”

Review: THE COST OF HONOR (Stargate SG-1) by Sally Malcolm

cost of honor

A good media tie-in novel should hit a number of criteria. Expand upon the established universe. Give the reader better insight into the internal motivation of the characters. Build a setting that goes beyond the restrictions of the original format.

Sally Malcolm’s conclusion to the story she started in A Matter of Honor does all that and more (you can see my review of that book here). Continue reading “Review: THE COST OF HONOR (Stargate SG-1) by Sally Malcolm”

Con Report: Cleveland ConCoction 2016

I was excited to be part of the Dog Star Books invasion of Cleveland ConCoction this year, and I’m happy to report that this was one of the best conventions I’ve ever attended. I hadn’t been to a full media (versus strictly literary) convention in a few years and this was a fun way to jump back in the fray. It was also fun to see the great cosplay and mixture of people attending the rest of the convention.

I promise I am not actually a tiny adorable puppy.

As I told as many of the staff as I could, it was hard for me to believe that ConCoction was only in it’s third year. Everything was very well run and I had zero problems as a guest and panelist. I highly recommend ConCoction to everyone in the Ohio area, and even from farther away.Continue reading “Con Report: Cleveland ConCoction 2016”

Cleveland ConCoction Schedule


Next weekend, March 11-13, I will be at the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel for Cleveland ConCoction 2016. Below is my official schedule, but please feel free to say hi anytime. I love meeting new people and talking about our shared passions.

Steel Victory will be available for purchase in Author’s Alley, but I also keep a few copies on hand if you’d rather buy one from me directly (the price is the same either way, so it’s really just a matter of what is convenient for you).


1 PM (Lyra Room): Writing for YA vs Adults: Find out what is different about writing for a young adult audience, what is the same, and how to get started

7 PM (Lyra Room): Publishing Expectations: Ask authors questions that may have been holding you back and discover the expectations of the publishing industry—JL Gribble

8 PM (TBD): Dog Star Books party! We’ll be celebrating the release of Underwater Fistfight by Matt Betts and Starrie by Heidi Ruby Miller. All of the Dog Star and Raw Dog Screaming Press authors will be in attendance with books for sale.


10 AM (Lyra Room): Growing Up Sci-Fi: No matter what generation we are, we all have grown up “sci-fi”, with many of our innovations coming from what was once considered science fiction…

12 PM (Lyra Room): Why Villains Matter: The best and worst of villains. Could we have heroes without them? Discuss your favorite character to hate with our panel of authors


12 PM (Lyra Room): Reading from Steel Victory…or maybe from Steel Magic!

1 PM (Gemini Room): Selling and signing books


We provide…Leverage. (a Convention Guest’s Promise)

ConCoction does have an official harassment policy, which can be found here. Never be afraid or too self-conscious to approach me for any reason, and if someone is bothering you and I’m around, let me know. I may look like a nerd with a funny haircut, but I have experienced my share of harassment at conventions, and I am firmly committed to helping be the change.