Countdown to Cleveland ConCoction!

As the Dog Star Books authors prepare to invade Cleveland ConCoction (March 11-13), our fearless leader* Matt Betts is conducting interviews so that other con attendees can get to know us ahead of time.**

Go here to see my answers to some science-fiction questions*** and be sure to follow Matt’s blog to learn more about the rest of the Dog Star authors as well!

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*This a a rotating position in based on location, planetary alignment, and the opinions of our pet cats. Also, it’s hilarious to me that the majority pet in Dog Star author households is of the feline persuasion.

**Forewarned is forearmed.

***I am terrible at following instructions. Please don’t hold that against me.

February Wrap-Up & March Goals

Though I didn’t hit any major milestones in February, I feel like I had a decently productive month. Let’s see how the numbers look.

February Wrap-Up:

  • Not look at book 3. Success! I did, however, do a bunch of fun work for book 2, Steel Magic, like write the back cover text, coordinate potential pre-release readers for back cover blurbs, and get a sneak-peak at the cover. The cover is AMAZING, by the way. Brad Sharp hit it out of the park once again.
  • Prequel story #2 revisions. Success! The first two scenes are with my new critique partners, and I have a third (out of 10) revised. I also completed critiques for both of them, and I’m excited to help with their new projects.
  • Preliminary book 4 outline. Success! I’ve brainstormed the major structural parts of the next installment of the Steel Empires series, including major character arcs, subplots, and even–gasp!–a romance!
  • Book reviews. SUCCESS! I wrote, count ’em, three whole book reviews this month. My backlog is now caught up to July of 2015.

March Goals:

  1. Complete the scene-by-scene outline for book 4. I am armed with poster board, index cards, post-it notes, and colored pens. No power in the ‘verse can stop me now.
  2. Continue revising the next scenes in prequel story #2 for submission to critique group.
  3. Attend Cleveland ConCoction from March 11-13! I will post my schedule of panels, readings, signings, and PARTIES soon.
  4. More book reviews!
  5. Start making a dent in my t0-be-read pile. I’ve been a bit of a Netflix fiend for the past few months, and my shelves are overflowing. Some of these I am intentionally saving for my vacation at the beginning of April, but others have been languishing on my shelves for an embarrassingly long time. Please leave a comment if you think any of them should be started immediately!
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So many books, so little time…

REVIEW: A NEW DAWN (Star Wars) by John Jackson Miller

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A NEW DAWN: STAR WARS by John Jackson Miller

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Star Wars Rebels is a kid’s show. A New Dawn is not a kid’s book, which was a surprise and provided a bit of interesting cognizant dissonance while I read it. It is not necessary to be familiar with both to enjoy either, but both of them do inform each other.

If you enjoy the character of Kanan in the television show, you’ll probably enjoy this look at his backstory. My favorite Jedi are not the ones who are black and white, and Kanan definitely has some shades of gray, especially during the time period this novel is set.

Hera is the only other familiar face from the crew in Star Wars Rebels to make an appearance. Though she and Kanan are definitely a couple in the show, A New Dawn is not their courtship or love story. I appreciated this representation of Hera has a character in her own right, and not just appearing as Kanan’s love interest.

As a writer, I found Miller’s language clear and the pacing very well done. I was very impressed with his ability to write Kanan and Hera as adult characters that still felt very true to the way they are portrayed in Rebels. As a Star Wars fan, I found the plot of the novel and Kanan’s journey within in it, even as part of the “new canon,” to be in the same spirit as the novels that came before.

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars.

Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

I’d really like a Sabine Wren novel now, though. She’s my girl.

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Review: ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger

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ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE by Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger’s foray into young adult fiction is set in the familiar world of her Parasol Protectorate series, but with a bit more…everything. Which is funny, because her adult series is pretty awesomely extreme all on its own. This novel drew much more from the steampunk genre than on the supernatural in regards to plot, with more focus on fantastical mechanical creations and devices and less on the political relationships between the worlds of humans, vampires, and werewolves. Unfortunately, all of the world-building backstory that a veteran Carriger reader might want is lost on the focus of adolescent characters and drama.

Because this is definitely a young adult novel, though I in no way mean that in a negative light. However, some young adult novels are called thus because the main characters happen to be younger than adults, and some young adult novels are intentionally targeted to younger readers. This book is the latter. Despite my love of the world and Carriger’s writing, I probably will not continue reading this particular series.

I would recommend this series specifically to middle school readers of either gender (though girls will probably relate more to the main character). I am content to anxiously await the sequel to Prudence!

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars.

Cross-posted to Amazon and Goodreads.

Cover Reveal: UNDERWATER FISTFIGHT by Matt Betts

My fellow Dog Star Books author, Matt Betts, is betraying his speculative fiction roots by writing for the parent company of our imprint: Raw Dog Screaming Press. The audacity! The outrage!

He’s publishing a book of…pirate poetry. Like, actual pirates. With parrots and peg legs.

“Poet. Pirate. It’s all the same really. They both pillage, plunder, drink rum, look for treasure, and sometimes, after too many drinks, they’re known to throw a right hook or two. But that’s the beauty of poetry and piracy-it’s unhinged, a stream of emotions that make you laugh, cry, bleed, bruise, and eat oranges to prevent scurvy. It’s an adventure. It’s feeling the wind on your face from the sea or the page. It’s tasting the salt in the ocean or in your tears. But most importantly, it’s the experience of getting from one port to another, one page to the next, killing one more siren and murdering just one more darling.”

It’s called Underwater Fistfight. It’s going to be AWESOME.

Check out the fantastic cover, featuring artwork by Steven Archer!

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There are severe lack of pirates on this cover, Betts.

Archer’s work has previously been featured on poetry collections by RDSP author Stephanie Wytovich (Hysteria and Mourning Jewelry). You can find other pieces at his Etsy store.

For more information about Underwater Fistfight, including the ability to pre-order it, visit Raw Dog Screaming Press or Amazon.

Liebster Award tag

I’ve been tagged in another fake award chain letter thing. Whooo! This time, I was tagged by author Shannon Eichorn (blog and Twitter here) to answer more questions about things you will 100% need to know the next time I am a topic at your local trivia night.

I like answering these things because I am a firm believer in the idea that an author is more than just a writer. For example, Shannon is cool because she is a fellow speculative fiction writer. But Shannon is interesting to me because she is a woman who works for NASA! It is that extra interest that adds to the impetus for me to eagerly await her upcoming novel, Rights of Use.

Hopefully you’ll read something here that makes you interested enough to check out my own Steel Victory.Continue reading “Liebster Award tag”

THE CURIOSITY KILLERS Cover Reveal!

I had the honor of proofreading the science-fiction (time travel/steampunk/murder mystery) novel THE CURIOSITY KILLERS by fellow Dog Star Books author K.W. Taylor late last year. Hands down, it is one of the best novels I’ve read within the past few years, and I’m really excited for the rest of you to get to read it soon. But for now, feast your eyes on the amazing cover by artist Brad Sharp (who also did the art for my novels, STEEL VICTORY and the upcoming STEEL MAGIC).

The blog SF Signal is hosting the exclusive reveal today, so click here to see the full cover!

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For more information about K.W. Taylor and her upcoming novel (and other works), you can visit her blog here.

For more information about cover artist Brad Sharp, including other book covers and works of art, you can visit his website here.

Final STEEL BLOOD Wrap-Up

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The lovely tea set my amazing editor made during our mad tea party last weekend. This picture has nothing to do with the post. I just wanted to show off the tea cup.

Now that I’ve finally completed the first draft of book 3, tentatively titled STEEL BLOOD, I wanted to do a bit of a wrap-up on it. These questions were gleefully stolen from fellow writer Breeanna Pierce, and you can check out her final thoughts on her most recent novel here.

Previous posts I’ve made about book 3, which was also my NaNoWriMo novel for 2015, can be found here and here.Continue reading “Final STEEL BLOOD Wrap-Up”

January Wrap-Up & February Goals

First of all, can we just spend a moment basking in the fact that this happened yesterday?

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I did a bit more tweaking today, and STEEL BLOOD is currently at 79,999 words and on it’s way to the beta readers!

January Wrap-Up:

  • Finish book 3: DONE! WOOT!
  • Finish edits on prequel story 1: DONE! I’m on a roll!
  • Start edits on prequel story 2: …Did I mention that I finished book 3?
  • Steel Empires bible: I got a crash course on the best way to set up an Excel spreadsheet for this, and it’s organized and updated! I have tabs on characters, locations, world-building details, and future story ideas.
  • I did, in fact, proof a novel for my publisher. You should all go pre-order it here: STARRIE, by Heidi Ruby Miller (another novel in the Ambasadora-verse).
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February Goals:

  1. Not look at book 3. I’ll come back to it in a few months once the beta-readers are done with it.
  2. Start revising prequel story 2 and send scenes to my new critique group!
  3. Start outlining the major plot points of book 4 using a great method I learned about during my writing retreat.
  4. Something about book reviews? Maybe?

Remember, February is Women in Horror Month! I’m not a horror writer myself, but I’m friends with a bunch of them. Last year I attended a great panel on gender diversity in the genre, and the takeaways are still applicable. You can read about them on the Raw Dog Screaming Press blog here.