Interview with Samantha Holloway

“Married to the Wind, Part 3: Goddess’s Hand” by Samantha Holloway

The final book in Samantha Holloway‘s epic fantasy trilogy is coming out soon, and to celebrate, I’ve asked her here to pick her brain about the specifics of writing books in series format rather than one by one.

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August Wrap-Up & September Goals

August Wrap-Up:

  • Goal: Write 10,000 words of book 3, STEEL BLOOD. Progress: A little over 5,500 words. Part of that was because I didn’t even start writing until August 18, and the other part was crippling uncertainty as to the way I was starting the novel, which is one of the hardest parts of any book. But after two great sessions with my critique partners, I think I’ve got my mojo back and I’m ready to press on!
  • Goal: Finally finish the complete draft of the first STEEL EMPIRES universe prequel story. Progress: Done! I’m really pleased with this story and my critique partners seem to like it. It’s currently with another beta reader for a final coherence check.

September Goals:

  1. Reach 20,000 words in the first draft of STEEL BLOOD.
  2. Finish my massive re-read of Carrie Vaughn’s entire Kitty the Werewolf series before reading the final book (I just started book 7 tonight).
  3. Become much, much better at remembering to write my weekly book reviews. (This will probably involve picking a different day of the week, because Thursdays are just not working out lately.)
  4. Fix anything the beta reader finds wrong with the prequel story and send it off to my copyeditor and cover artist.
  5. STEEL VICTORY book promotion! I’ve started slacking on that due to my current love/hate relationship with book 3, but I’ve got a list of great ideas that I need to start working on.

Thanks for hanging in there with me! Here’s a picture of cat:

Nicki the cat presents "Kitty's House of Horrors" by Carrie Vaughn as his sister Lucy photobombs in the background.
Nicki the cat presents “Kitty’s House of Horrors” by Carrie Vaughn as his sister Lucy photobombs in the background.

STEEL VICTORY and the Morgantown Poets Society

Last Thursday, August 20, the Morgantown Poets Society hosted authors from Raw Dog Screaming Press at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. STEEL VICTORY and I were joined by bizarro poet B.E. Burkhead, with his new poetry collection THE UNDERSIDE OF THE RAINBOW. My friend Julia was kind enough to take some pictures, which I’ve shared here.

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Upcoming Event and Other Tidbits

Had a whirlwind of a weekend, so your regularly scheduled blog post is a day late. Oops! So here’s a bunch of news to make up for it.

This Thursday I will be featured by the Morgantown Poets! I and fellow Raw Dog Screaming Press author B.E. Burkhead (author of THE UNDERSIDE OF THE RAINBOW) will be doing readings and a joint Q&A at 7 PM at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. We will have books on hand to sign and sell. Hope to see you there!

Progress on book 3, STEEL BLOOD, is continuing, albeit slowly. More importantly, though, the book now has its theme song! Check out the video for “2 Heads” by Coleman Hell and let me know what you think.

Finally, one of my favorite book series is coming to an end. KITTY SAVES THE WORLD came out last week by author Carrie Vaughn. I started reading it immediately, and then realized that this was the book that is going to tie everything together. Which means, of course, that characters and events from the previous 13 books are going to be mentioned. So now I’m re-reading the entire series, and loving every bit of it. If you’d like to keep track of my progress, I keep a running announcement of each new book I start over on Twitter (@hannaedits). In honor of Kitty the Werewolf, I’m posing each book in the series next to one of my cats for each tweet.

Review: REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi

REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi
REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi

As I think I’ve mentioned in a previous book review, I’m a bit of hipster when it comes to popular books. REDSHIRTS, by John Scalzi, was another book that I’d heard great things about, but since everyone was reading it already, I put it off in favor of other books on my epic to-be-read pile. But while I was on vacation last spring, I panicked that I didn’t have enough books on my Kindle and bought REDSHIRTS on a whim right before I left.

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Deleted Scene from STEEL VICTORY

I’m such a bum. Forgot to do a book review last Thursday and I’ve got no mental energy for a blog post today. The good news is that is because I’ve been living and breathing the start of book 3. The better news is this means you get a deleted scene from STEEL VICTORY!

SteelVictoryARC_cov.indd

Spoilers ahead!

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July Wrap-Up and August Goals

July = Success!

My goals for the month of July were relatively simple: Complete a scene-by-scene outline of book 3 (tentatively called STEEL BLOOD) and finish the initial rewrite of the first prequel short story (formerly called “Peacekeeping” but now in search of a new name). I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo with the goal of 10,000 words between both of those goals. My final word count for the outline and the last half of the story was a little over 11k words. Right now, it looks like STEEL BLOOD will be about the same length as STEEL MAGIC, both a little shorter than STEEL VICTORY. I met with my lovely critique partners last night, and they gave me some great notes for “The-Story-Formerly-Known-as-Peacekeeping” (TSFKaP).

For August:

  • Write the first 10,000 words of STEEL BLOOD.
  • Complete the next stage of rewrites of TSFKaP. Send it to final beta-reader. Start working with cover artist for Kindle release.

Wish me luck!

Here’s a picture of some kitten enchiladas:

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Nicki and Lucy

Review: THE CURIOUS CASE by Gail Carriger

THE CURIOUS CASE by Gail Carriger
THE CURIOUS CASE by Gail Carriger

This is a short story, rather than a novel, so you’ll forgive me if my review of it is short and sweet as well. This story serves as a lovely taste of the shared world of Gail Carriger’s three series, the Parasol Protectorate, Custard Protocol, and Finishing School, in terms of both world-building and writing style. The author does both of these well, but since everyone has different tastes, I would not hesitate to recommend this story as an introduction to the curious (pun totally intended).

Rating: 4 (out of 5) stars.

Cross-posted to Goodreads and Amazon.

Guest post at Divas of Desire

Today I had the chance to stop by and hang out with the lovely Divas of Desire! There you can find a review of STEEL VICTORY by one of the Divas, Rachell Nichole, author the excellent erotica novel TO SIR, along with a note from me. They invited me to write about why my vampire book has no sex in it, contrary to recent publishing trends. I hope you all check it out.

Con Report: Confluence 2015

This weekend I attended Confluence, Pittsburgh’s science fiction/fantasy/horror literary convention, hosted by Parsec. I had a great time being on panels and meeting other writers and readers.

I’m lucky enough to live close enough to other writer friends that I didn’t have to make the 4.5 hour drive to Mars, Pennsylvania, all by my lonesome. K. Ceres Wright, fellow Dog Star Books author of COG, was excellent company on the road. We both attended graduate school together and it’s crazy to think we’ve known each other for 10 years already!

I had a busy convention schedule, which kicked off Friday night with a panel on “Work-Life Balance for Freelance Writers.” Major point: Avoiding distractions is just as important as not letting yourself get sucked into your work to the exclusion of everything else. My personal addition to that is to remember that your physical health is an investment in your work, too. The moderator was publicist Beverly Bambury, and it was great to finally meet her in person! She and I spent a lot of time hanging out and plotting over the rest of the weekend.

Following that was a reading with another fellow Dog Star Books author, Albert Wendland of THE MAN WHO LOVED ALIEN LANDSCAPES. He read from the first chapter of his novel, while I read a section closer to the end of STEEL VICTORY. Both passages seemed well-received by the audience.

I spent the rest of the evening drifting between panels, the (very well-stocked) Con Suite, and hanging out near registration. I reconnected with some friends I’d met at last year’s Confluence and drank way too much caffeine. At 11 PM, I joined forces once more with my fellow Dog Star Books authors to host a Kaffeklatsch on genre blending, where we discussed how the changing way that people buy books is allowing for more diversity in fiction that would otherwise not be easily shelved in traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores.

At 2 PM on Saturday, I set up in the lobby for a bit of book signing. Once again, I was very pleased with my sales numbers for this event.

Afterward, I ran into a new friend I’d made the month before. Julie is a first-semester student at Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction, where I also graduated many eons ago. The really cool thing about Julie is that she writes speculative fiction and geeks out with me about all things Marvel. The second-coolest thing about Julie is that she is Tamora Pierce‘s personal assistant, and she invited me to join them for lunch.

YOU GUYS. TAMORA PIERCE TOUCHED MY BOOK. AND THEN SHE READ SOME OF IT. AND THEN I GOT TO HAVE LUNCH WITH HER. HOW IS THIS MY LIFE?

In all seriousness, both of them are awesome people and I had a great time. This is why everyone should go to conventions! You never know what might happen!

I had two more panels in the evening. At 7 PM, I moderated “The Manuscript on the Doorstep: Successful relationships between authors and editors.” Major point: Be respectful, be open to communication, and trust that everyone is working as a team to make the book/story better.

At 9 PM, I participated on a panel on “Disability in Science Fiction and Fantasy.” I’m so glad that I was able to orchestrate the attendance of Steven Spohn of AbleGamers. I was both pleased and surprised by how many people attended this discussion, and the conversation bounced back and forth between both positive and negative representations of disability in the media and how to best represent disability in writing. Major point: Disability should be more than a plot device. And as with all things writing-related, do your research!

The rest of the evening was spent attending a party hosted by Fortress Publishing, a great group of people. Thanks for the fantastic local beers!

On Sunday morning, I attended my last panel on “Agents: To Have or Have Not?” This can be a contentious topic of discussion, and that panel was no exception! Major point: Again, do your research. My personal addition: Know what you want out of your career to determine whether an agent would be helpful or necessary, and know that this decision is certainly not permanent.

I drove home Sunday afternoon and did absolutely nothing productive that evening. I did finally finish season 1 of SENSE8, but that is a whole other blog post. (I am looking for people to talk about it with, though, so drop me a line if you want to!)

I already can’t wait for Confluence next year!

And finally, the all-important book haul:

Books acquired at Confluence at 2015. List below.
Books acquired at Confluence at 2015. List below. (Companion Cube shown for scale.)

Look for reviews of these books to appear over the next few months, and let me know if you want me to move any up in the to-be-read queue!