Review: How the Cookie Crumbles (Bluewater Bay #12) by Jaime Samms

How the Cookie CrumblesI got incredibly spoiled by how good all the books in the Bluewater Bay series have been so far. This installment certainly wasn’t a terrible book by any means, writing-wise, but it didn’t hold up to the story-telling quality of the other novels.  Continue reading

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Con Report: Cleveland ConCoction 2018

Cleveland ConCoction 2018 logo

As always, I had a fantastic time at Cleveland ConCoction this year! It’s one of my favorite cons, for the people I get to see, how many books I tend to sell, and especially how well this convention treats the authors they invite to participate in programming. I wish other conventions would take note!

FRIDAY

My flight from Baltimore to Cleveland was smooth. But after collecting my bags in Cleveland, it was time for something totally new. Since ConCoction moved hotels this year, I had to rent a car to get there. I’d never rented a car before! But the process was smooth, and I drove a nice Ford Focus hatchback out of the rental lot.

Luckily, the snow had tapered off and the roads were clear, so I only had to deal with flurries during the drive. I arrived at the hotel with enough time to drop my bags off in a friend’s room, then it was off to three panels in a row!

First, I moderated a panel on coming up with characters, where we discussed elements of character creation and everything from basing characters on real people to effective ways to leave things up to the reader. Then, I launched right into a panel on mistakes that beginning authors tend to make. This discussion touched on both writing issues and submission issues, and we got some great questions from the audience. The themes I tend to push on panels like this are “Don’t be a jerk” and “There’s no one, right way.” Finally, supported by soda and chips acquired by a friend, I headed for a discussion on author perspectives on fanfiction. We never really reach consensus, which is totally fine. All authors have different goals with their careers and different ways they are willing to get others play in their sandbox.  Continue reading

Review: Stuck Landing (Bluewater Bay #11) by Lauren Gallagher

Stuck LandingThough at first it seems odd to have an F/F romance in the midst of a series that has been primarily M/M to this point, Anna Maxwell has been a recurring character through the Bluewater Bay tales, and it was lovely to finally see her find some happiness of her own after the drama of her drawn-out breakup with Leigh featured over so many stories.

Of course, the elephant in the room for this book is Anna’s biphobia. Continue reading

Review: Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay #7) by Anne Tenino

Wedding FavorsThough I wasn’t a huge fan of the short story that featured these characters in the Bluewater Bay Valentine’s Day collection, I’m very glad I went back to read Lucas and Gabe’s novel when I realized I’d missed it. I didn’t have the patience for either character when they were teenagers. As adults, I still don’t have much patience for their angst, but they make up for it by being slightly more adorable.  Continue reading

Review: A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet #1) by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time cover 1I read this novel for my 2018 Resolution Project over at Speculative Chic, the other blog I contribute to. This year, I resolved to fill a gap in my knowledge of the science-fiction classics and read the book before the film comes out in March.

I succeeded! You can find my full review at Speculative Chic.

Overall, this book holds up as an entertaining and unique story for a new, adult reader. I look forward to continuing this series and experiencing more of L’Engle’s fantastic imagination.  Continue reading

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?

February Wrap-Up & March Goals

Wow, the year is flying by. So are the deadlines! Just kidding — I’m actually on pretty good track with all of my current projects. But things are only going to pick up again before they slow down.

Homemade foodOn top of everything else, my husband and I joined one of those meal delivery services in an attempt to eat healthier and learn new skills. Since my social media has already been inflicted with a bunch of food pictures, it’s only fair to spread the love here.

February Wrap-Up

  • I completed my review and revisions to book 5, Steel Shadows! It took longer than I expected, until the day I tied myself to my kitchen island with a ton of tea and cranked through the last third.
  • And off it went to the beta readers! I have a mix of readers in terms of how far they’ve read in the series so far, so I’m interested to read their final notes.
  • I had a blast at my first Farpoint convention a few weeks ago and made some awesome new friends. You can read about my adventures and check out some cool cosplay in my Farpoint con report.
  • My presentation at the Uniontown Library Series is coming up quick! Luckily, I found out the presentation part is significantly shorter than I thought it was. That means I’ve done literally nothing to prepare yet. (I’m too busy building LEGOs right now, honestly.)
Farpoint Jessica-Xena and Jay-WW

With cosplayers Jessica Crouse and Jay Justice at Farpoint 2018

February Book Reviews

February Speculative Chic Contributions

March Goals

  1. Finish my current LEGO set! I’m finally working on my biggest set to date, the SHIELD Helicarrier from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  2. The Steel Empires work never ends. Now that book 5 is out of my hands for a few months, it’s time to do another round of proofing on book 4 and get it back to my editor.
  3. I need to put together my presentation on alternate history for the upcoming Uniontown Library Author Series.
  4. But before that, I’ll be heading to Ohio for one of my favorite annual conventions, Cleveland ConCoction!
  5. And finally, I have some beta reading of my own to do! Two projects due within the next month or so, but authors whose work I always enjoy. Definitely more of a pleasure than a chore.

Wow, that was a lot of movies in February. I think I’ve got even more lined up in March, considering I already saw Red Sparrow last night (review to come over at Speculative Chic this Tuesday).

2018 is shaping up to be a hell of a year! I’ve got my convention schedule pretty firmed up (note to self: Update events page at some point). To top everything off, the husband and I scheduled a Caribbean cruise this December. Definitely something to look forward to!