STEEL BLOOD cover reveal contest announced!

The amazing cover artist for the Steel Empires series, Brad Sharp, did such a fantastic (fang-tastic?) job on the cover for Steel Blood that my publishers and I couldn’t decide between them! So we’re leaving it up to all of you with a vote. Head over to Raw Dog Screaming Press’ website to choose your favorite cover.  (Note: No registration necessary to cast your vote.)

Here’s an excerpt to tide you over, of Victory being badass (as she is).  Hopefully you’ll be intrigued enough to go check out the full version and let your voice be heard. There’s no unhappy ending to this election! So vote early, vote often, and tell your friends to do the same!

Steel Blood cover excerpt

And if THAT wasn’t incentive enough, the back cover text of this novel is also available on the voting page. Find out what Victory and Mikelos have been up to during the events of Steel Magic!

Review: A THEFT OF MAGIC (Fay of Skye #2) by Cara McKinnon

theft-of-magicDisclaimer: I consider the author a friend, and the two of us have worked together to help promote each other’s work as nontraditional authors. I won a hardcopy version of this novel from the author in a random giveaway drawing during a social media launch event. I would absolutely have purchased this novel anyway.


Romantic fantasy is not my usual cup of tea, but McKinnon hits it out of the park once again with this delightful blend of alternate history, historical fiction, action, and sensuality. This novel focuses on another member of a magical family set during Queen Victoria’s reign in a world inhabited by magic. At first glance, Sorcha is a stereotypical fantasy heroine, a loner Scotswoman with a talent for visions, while Ronan embodies the cliche Irish rogue. However, McKinnon’s talent for world-building also extends to character building, and Sorcha and Ronan’s relationship, set in the larger framework of missing magical artifacts, set in the even larger “Fay of Skye” series framework of disappearing magic, is an exciting magical romp from start to finish.

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NaNoWriMo 2016 (sort of)

timey-wimey-quoteIt’s that time of year again, kids! When the writers in your life disappear for hours upon end, consume copious quantities of caffeine (and sometimes alcohol), and come out the other end of 30 days with some semblance of a book completed. Though I’m not officially signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which consists of 50,000 words in 30 days, my goal is 30,000 words in 30 days. This will hopefully get me close to the end of Steel Empires Book 4.

If you follow me on social media, you already know that I’ve been particularly obsessed with all things time travel lately. This isn’t new, really. I’ve maintained a fascination with the TARDIS for almost ten years, and so I figured it was time to put my own spin on it.

Today, I’d like to officially introduce you all to my current project: Steel Time.


Question 1: What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I already talked a bit about this above, but I’ve known since soon after I started drafting book 2, and decided that this would be a 7-book series, that I wanted to explore time travel at the midpoint of the major story arc. Don’t worry: I won’t be resetting my world and wiping out things that have gone before. Instead, I wanted something epic to bring Victory and Toria back together as POV characters in a novel.  Continue reading

Guest Post: Cara McKinnon on Alternate History

theft-of-magic

I’m pleased to host author Cara McKinnon today for a discussion on alternate history. And it’s a special occasion! Today marks the release date of the second novel in her Fay of Skye series, A Theft of Magic.

I’m a huge fan of the alternate history version of Victorian England McKinnon has created, as evidenced by my 5-star review of book 1, Essential Magic. I can’t wait to read this next installment of the series to see where McKinnon takes her world next!


Alternate History: One Alteration Changes Everything. Or Does It?

When writing any sort of speculative fiction, the accepted wisdom is that you get a single “buy in” for your world-building. Maybe time travel works, or FTL travel is a thing. You don’t need to explain it (unless you want to). Your audience will accept that change from the world as they know it. The more you add to your world after that, the more you will need to elucidate. Continue reading

STEEL MAGIC cover reveal coming next Tuesday!

Next Tuesday I will be featuring the full cover for my second novel, STEEL MAGIC, along with a link where you can pre-order it!

Here’s another teaser image:

Steel Magic title image

I’ve created a Facebook event for the cover reveal here, where I’ll be featuring odds and ends for the next few days. Please check it out and spread the word.

If you would like to get a sneak-peak at the cover by volunteering to host it on your blog and/or other social media accounts any time on Tuesday, May 24, please email me at johanna.gribble@gmail.com!

Steel Magic is the second book in my Steel Empires series published by Dog Star Books. Check out the back cover text below:

Funerals are usually the end of the story, not the beginning.

Newly graduated warrior-mages Toria Connor and Kane Nalamas find themselves the last remaining mages in the city when a mage school teacher mysteriously falls ill and dies. But taking over the school themselves isn’t in the cards. They’re set to become professional mercenaries—if they make it through the next 18 months as journeymen first.

The debate over whether to hunt mutated monsters in the Wasteland or take posh bodyguard jobs is put on hold when a city elder hires them to solve the mystery of the disappearing mages. Toria and Kane’s quest brings them to the British colonial city of New Angouleme, where their initial investigation reveals that the problem is even greater than they feared.

But when a friend is kidnapped, they’ll have to travel to the other side of the globe to save her, save themselves, and save magic itself.

Review: THE CURIOSITY KILLERS by K.W. Taylor

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THE CURIOSITY KILLERS by K.W. Taylor

Today I’m celebrating the launch of K.W. Taylor’s first science-fiction novel, The Curiosity Killers! This book is close to my heart because I have been friends with the author since she was still writing it, cheered her on as it passed as her thesis for Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, and then threw her together with my publishers at Raw Dog Screaming Press/Dog Star Books and cackled to myself as the sparks flew. This phenomenal book is the inevitable end result.

In the twenty-second century, a second Civil War is decades past. The states of the New British Empire have been reduced to working with Victorian-era technology–that is, except physicist Edward Vere, who invents time travel with a little help from aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright.

Vere partners with historian Ben Jonson to monetize the invention, founding the first time travel agency. Unbeknownst to them, a serial killer is using the technology to murder without detection. When Ben discovers the killer has targeted the woman he loves, the mild-mannered academic must become brave enough to change history rather than merely observing it.

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STEEL MAGIC cover reveal coming soon

The official release date for Steel Magic, book 2 of the Steel Empires series and direct sequel to Steel Victory, is July 2016! This novel features the first solo adventure of Toria and Kane, journeymen mercenaries of Limani, as they embark on a magical quest.

Soon I will be hosting an official cover reveal to coincide with the announcement of the pre-order link. If you would like to participate by featuring the book cover image and pre-order link on social media (blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), please like this post or leave a comment and I will contact you with details soon!

Brad Sharp is the cover artist for Steel Magic as well, and I didn’t think it would be possible for him to create a cover I like more than the first. The two are very similar stylistically, while also bringing into focus the different elements and locales that make my second novel dramatically different from Steel Victory.

Here’s the gorgeous Steel Victory cover:

SteelVictoryARC_cov.indd

Here’s a teaser for Steel Magic. The colors are different! There’s no moon at the top! And…is that the tip of a sword peaking up next to the R?

_Steel-Magic

I figure my name itself isn’t much of a spoiler.

Please consider volunteering to help in any small way. As an indie author, my marketing team consists of me alone, and any assistance means potentially reaching readers that I might not have found on my own. I am always happy to return the favor and do the same.

STEEL VICTORY sequel coming in 2016!

And now for the good news that I teased yesterday!

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve signed the contract with my publisher, Dog Star Books/Raw Dog Screaming Press, for the sequel to STEEL VICTORY. STEEL MAGIC will be released in 2016, and follows the adventures of warrior-mages Toria and Kane as they set off on their first contract as professional mercenaries.

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You can find the official press release here, but here’s the teaser blurb:

“In Steel Magic, warrior-mages Toria and Kane are finally ready to begin their mercenary careers and debating between monster hunting and cushy bodyguard jobs. Instead, they are hired to investigate a much more serious problem—the world’s mages are disappearing. But when a friend is kidnapped, they’ll have to travel across the globe to save her, save themselves, and save magic itself.”

I started writing this sequel pretty much immediately after signing the contract for STEEL VICTORY. I know one of the greatest frustrations of fantasy/science fiction readers is having to wait years between installments in a series, and I am determined to buck this trend. In fact, I had the first draft of book 2 in the hands of RDSP only a few days after the launch of book 1! And if you’re keeping track of my NaNoWriMo progress, you know that I’m already hard at work on book 3.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read and reviewed STEEL VICTORY so far. Starting the sequel before the first book saw the light of day was a real leap of faith, and I’m thrilled by all the positive feedback I’ve gotten in the past few months. STEEL MAGIC is definitely written for you.

As a special treat, the first scene is included here behind the jump. (Please note that this is not the final version.)

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