November Wrap-Up & December Goals

Disney World 2017The holiday season is in full swing here at Casa Siamese, after a successful Thanksgiving (complete with fried turkey!) and my outside Christmas decorations newly put up. (The artificial tree will have to wait until my husband’s muscles can help.) I didn’t accomplish 100 percent of my November goals, but I’m in too good a mood to care.

Especially since my month started at Disney World! I’ve been riding that high ever since.

November Wrap-Up

  • Due to the aforementioned Disney World, because apparently writing goals go out the window at the happiest place on earth, I started the month behind and never quite caught up. I’m calling the month done at 13k words completed, bringing the current total for Steel Shadows to 68k words.
  • The Disney trip was definitely a success! Okay, so I was really there for a conference related to the day job. The four workshops I attended were well worth the time, and my day off in between was a blast. I thought it might be weird spending a day alone at a theme park, but it was nice to enjoy the day at my own pace, and sticking my Kindle in my purse for the few long lines I experienced was pure brilliance. I even saw the kitty trifecta of lions, tigers, and cheetahs to make my day at Animal Kingdom complete.
  • While not quite as extravagant, I closed out the month with a great time at ChessieCon in Baltimore, Maryland. You can read my full con report here.

Continue reading

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Con Report: ChessieCon 2017

ChessieCon 2017The curtain has closed on my final convention of 2017. For all the other drama of the year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every convention (new and old) I’ve attended this year, and I can’t wait to do it all again in 2018.

FRIDAY

Since ChessieCon is held less than half an hour away from my house, I commuted instead of staying at the hotel. After seeing Coco with my husband and mother-in-law in the afternoon, I ate a quick dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers and headed north. The first thing I did was reunite with my friends Cristin Kist and Jeff Grittman, of the science-fiction comedy Prison Dad series and Silly Talks About Science Fiction podcast.

My two events that evening where the rapid-fire reading with Broad Universe, where I read the prologue to Steel Blood. Then, I participated in a panel on “What We’re Watching on TV.” I plugged my current favorite shows, such as The MagiciansThe Expanse, and The Good Place, and learned about some other awesome series to check out. The conversation didn’t just stick to the usual sources of television shows, but also branched out into YouTube series and short discussion about why SF/F has had a bit of a renaissance on television in the past decade.  Continue reading

ChessieCon 2017 Schedule

chessielogoThis weekend, I’ll be attending ChessieCon 2017 at the Radisson North Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore, MD! This is a local convention to me, so I’ll be commuting from home rather than staying at the hotel. I’ll still be around most of the weekend if you want to grab a snack or drink with me!

Where you can definitely find me over the course of the weekend:

  • Friday, 8 PM: Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading
  • Friday, 9:15 PM: What’s good on TV?
  • Saturday, 12:30 PM: PowerPoint Improv
  • Saturday, 8 PM: Author Meet & Greet
  • Sunday, 12:30 PM: Reading from Steel Blood

Did you know that I did improv comedy in college for almost four years? Well, now you do. So I’m really looking forward to exercising my ridiculous, much-neglected talent on Saturday afternoon. Before that, on Friday night, be amazed by how much I DVR and catch on Netflix as I tell you about the best stuff on TV to catch these days.

Please let me know if I’ll see you there!

Author Interview with A.E. Hayes

shatteredFor something a little bit different today, I’m interviewing author A.E. Hayes about Shattered: Memories of an Amnesiac! I know, it sounds like science fiction, despite my own medical knowledge about traumatic brain injury gleaned from my years of editing a medical journal on rehabilitation. So I was instantly intrigued about, well, everything about this.


ABOUT THE BOOK 

“You’ve been captive far too long,” she whispered. “So I’m releasing you.”

The universe was bathed in white light, and as I touched the azure and ruby stars dancing above my head, the crack within me split and fractured into madness.

I felt the shatter. But I was powerless to stop it.

A.E. Hayes wakes up in a bright hospital room on the afternoon of August 24, 2010, with no idea of who she is or what has happened to her. When her doctors begin saying words such as “traumatic brain injury” and “retrograde amnesia,” she realizes that she cannot remember anything at all – including the man sitting beside her who claims to be her husband.

Guided by numerous doctors, hospitals, trauma units, her husband, a mysterious person known only as Starlight Boy, and an equally mysterious voice inside her head that tells her to seek the truth, Hayes sets out to uncover the answers about her rare condition. But is her amnesia truly all there is to her story? Through various sources, Hayes must learn about her startling and often traumatic past – and how that past may permanently alter the future.

Raw and riveting, Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac leads readers down a path of darkness, mystery, and redemption – where heroes are often villains, fiction routinely gives way to fact, and how, ultimately, the truth can be both the disease and the cure.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play


Though your academic degree is in writing fiction, I know from my own professional experience that writing nonfiction is another beast. How do you balance the difference in writing styles?

Writing nonfiction — especially a memoir — was absolutely a massive undertaking. I’m very used to writing fictional pieces, in which the characters come into my head, take over, and create a fantastical fictional playground. And I’m quite used to a distanced form of nonfiction, since I worked as a music magazine writer and as a newspaper editor. But writing a memoir — a story that is one-hundred percent true about my life and the events that have occurred — forced me into a different head space. But telling the truth was the key to balance. With fiction, I do have to tell the truth as my characters would tell it — if character X says she didn’t have an affair, but character Y says she did, those are their truths, and I must be honest to those characters and write out those events. But with nonfiction/memoir, I had to tell the truth as it actually occurred in this very human, real life. The only things that were not one-hundred percent factual were names, some locations, and some identifying characteristics (I’m really not a fan of lawsuits). But the events were all true, and I couldn’t have made them up if I tried. Since these things did occur to me, I could rely on my own experiences to guide me, and I think that made the process a little easier (despite the amnesia, which I will get to in the next question).  Continue reading

September Wrap-Up & October Goals

SLCC book signingAlas, the streak has been broken and I did not quite meet all my goals this month. I blame the con crud I picked up at Salt Lake Comic Con. (Which did not stop me from having an awesome book signing while I was there.)

September Wrap-Up

  • Between a week where I didn’t write a word and being unable to catch up on the flights to and from Salt Lake City, I did not write 15k words this month. As of this writing (Saturday evening), I’m actually at 41.5k. I remind myself that my goals are self-imposed that that it’s not the end of the world.
  • Salt Lake Comic Con, however, was a total success! Participated in great panels, met some cool people, and best of all: Got my picture taken with John Barrowman. Check out the full con report for all the craziness.

September Book Reviews

September Speculative Chic Contributions

October Goals

  1. I would love to catch up on last month’s deficit and make it to 60k words on Steel Shadows by the end of the month. However, I will still be happy with myself if I make it to 55k words instead.
  2. I’m traveling again this month, heading to Seattle for a few days for the day job.

Ugh, it looks like I hardly did anything at all! Two simple reasons: I watched a lot of Netflix instead of reading, and no movies I wanted to review for Speculative Chic came out in September.

But I’ve already got a cool author interview and another book review queued up on the blog while I’m away this upcoming week, so don’t think I’m going anywhere!

Honestly, my brain is still mush from meeting John Barrowman. I’m not sure why I’m even sharing this picture with you all, considering how much I look like a goofball.  Continue reading

Author Interview with Rebecca Halsey

51g1zqIbhdL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Not every book gets two birthdays, but sometimes life happens. Since I’m a huge fan of authors who face adversity and come back swinging, I’m pleased to host an interview with author Rebecca Halsey on the occasion of her novel’s re-release. I previously read and reviewed Notes of Temptation last year, tearing through it while on vacation and loving every moment of this historical romance with a touch of magic.

I hope this interview with the author and the snippet below provide their own temptation for you to check out this awesome book.


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Carrie Cooper leaves her small gold-mining town to seek her fortune, it’s not until she arrives in L.A. that she learns her college certificate is a fraud. The only work available is in a less-than-respectable speakeasy. The job comes with the opportunity to take the stage with Oz Dean, the club’s captivating bandleader. But rivals out for her blood along with her place in the spotlight lurk behind the curtain. Oz Dean has the rare ability to “see” music as brilliant colors, but nothing has ever dazzled him like Carrie’s pure, choir-girl voice. With a mob debt hanging over his head like a guillotine, he organizes a revue that will launch them all to stardom. Unfortunately, his bold move attracts exactly the kind of criminal attention he would like to avoid. Mired in Hollywood’s underbelly, caught off-guard by their growing attraction, Carrie and Oz are forced to consider the cost of success. Or their one chance to make beautiful music together could be their last. Together they take the stage. Together they must defend it to the death.

Amazon


Writing an historical novel means a ton of research. What was the coolest thing you learned while gathering information to craft the world of this book?

I wanted to set this story at the end of Prohibition and the beginning of the Depression when things were starting to change. So I picked the year 1931. As I was investigating the time period, I discovered that demand for coins dropped off in these years. No quarters were minted in 1931, so if you find one, it’s surely counterfeit.  Continue reading

August Wrap-Up & September Goals

signing at Confluence 2017Ack, I’ve been productive again! Met all my goals for August and everything.

August Wrap-Up

  • I completed another 15k words in Steel Shadows, bringing me to 30k done! That’s definitely over one-third of the book, and while I often have trouble slogging through the middle, this story has been a hell of a roller coaster so far. I’m excited, and I hope that shows through my writing.
  • Confluence in Pittsburgh earlier this month was a blast, and you can read my con report here.
  • When I got home from Pittsburgh, my husband headed off to Europe for a few weeks for work, so I had to entertain myself somehow. Luckily, I had a brand new LEGO set to build, and you can check out my build report for the Saturn V rocket here.
  • And finally, the contest I hosted for Steel Blood’s one-month birthday was a ton of fun! Entrants guessed the total number of my TARDIS collection for a chance to win free books from the Steel Empires series. I’m already brainstorming fun ideas for another contest later this year.

Saturn V final

August Book Reviews

August Speculative Chic Contributions

September Goals

  1. Another 15k words of Steel Shadows, bringing me to 45k completed.
  2. Attend Salt Lake Comic Con! I still don’t have my schedule, but my husband and I planned this as our 5-year wedding anniversary present to ourselves, so being on programming was just a bonus. We’re excited to see some friends, visit a new city, get books signed by cool authors, and get our photo taken with John Barrowman. Okay, I’m getting my photo taken with John Barrowman. The plan is to politely ask for a hug from my favorite immortal and try not to burst into tears.

TARDIS contest extras