Con Report: ChessieCon 2018

chessielogoGoing to a convention after a major holiday would be pretty crazy, but luckily this convention is local, chill, and a chance to visit with friends. So it’s easy to treat it as an extension of the holiday, and I had a lovely time at ChessieCon this year.

FRIDAY

Friday started with how all days after Thanksgiving should start, with a massive lunch of leftovers. We ate at my mother-in-law’s house, where my parents also dropped by, so by the time I headed home to prepare for the convention, pretty much no NaNoWriMo writing got done. I was not super upset about that. Instead, I made sure my con bags were sorted and that I had questions prepared for the panel I was moderating on Saturday afternoon. Even though my first scheduled event was not until 9:15 that night, I headed up to Baltimore around 5 PM so that I had time to greet friends. Continue reading

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October Wrap-Up & November Goals

SJ outlineAnother month has flown by in a fun and bewildering blur! I’m writing this post on Halloween, and my biggest dilemma right now is figuring out what to wear while I hand out candy tonight. Oh, and write two thousand words so that I can kick off NaNoWriMo at an even 10k. Yep, you read that right. More details below.

October Wrap-Up

  • I finally finished the detailed outline for book 6, tentatively titled Steel Justice and I’m really pleased with it! This will be a fun adventure.
  • Like I said above, I’m 8k words into the first draft already! I’m really enjoying writing from the POV of a character who has been around for a bit, but I hadn’t dipped into his head yet.
  • I had a blast at a writers retreat on the beach with a bunch of romance writers. Not my usual crowd, but they were all lovely ladies. The second retreat was cancelled last minute, so I spent a quiet weekend at home with the husband instead. No complaints there.
  • I started reading the final book of my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project, but then I got distracted by an advanced copy of a fun fantasy novel. I’ll get back to that soon.

October Book Reviews

October Speculative Chic Contributions

November Goals

  1. I’m officially a crazy person. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for 2018, to write 50k words of Steel Justice in 30 days. Feel free to follow along and keep track of my word count at my NaNoWriMo page!
  2. And I’m doing all that writing during a month when I have two conventions! I’ll be at World Fantasy in Baltimore the first weekend of the month and ChessieCon on the last. (At least both of these events have minimal travel time.)
  3. Finish reading An Acceptable Time and write up the review to finish my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project.

I feel like that’s a short list, but: FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS IN THIRTY DAYS.

I’d better start eating Halloween candy now.

beach writers

Seven romance writers at the beach plus one tall urban fantasy writer to take the selfie.

For Love the Bell Tolls: Author Interviews

Today, I’m pleased to spotlight a new anthology featuring some fabulous authors. These gothic romance short stories will have you quivering (in whichever way you choose to interpret the phrase) in your hot apple cider!


For Love the Bell TollsABOUT THE BOOK

Six haunting stories of love with a paranormal twist, including a traditional nineteenth century possessed house, lycanthropy and voodoo, zombies, a soul-stealing journal, a reaper for death, and a bargain with the fey folk. This book will tempt you to give in to your darkest desires.

Featuring Cara McKinnon, Sheri Queen, Serena Jayne, Read Gallo, Kylie Weisenborn, and Heather Sheldon.

Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play


I asked the For Love the Bell Tolls authors to tell us about the characters in their story, particularly their favorites and least favorites. I also asked them about coming up with the character’s names and the title for the story. That can be a difficult process sometimes.  Continue reading

Author Interview with Shannon Eichorn

To celebrate the release of her first novel, I was delighted to interview author Shannon Eichorn about topics near and dear to both of our hearts. If you’re at DragonCon this weekend, be sure to track her down in the armory and pick up a copy of Rights of Use for yourself!

For those of us not at DragonCon, Rights of Use is now available for pre-order at the link below! The book comes out tomorrow, so there’s no time to waste!

Look for my full review on Wednesday — this is definitely one book you’re not going to want to miss.


Rights of UseABOUT THE BOOK

In the 1960s, Project Blue Book assured America that no aliens visited its amber waves or shining seas.

Thirty years later, Project Black Book knows better and has the flying saucers to prove it, but they still can’t stop the body-possessing Kemtewet from scooping their pick of young women from Earth to host an alien queen.

Sarah Anderson yearned for an escape from her new life in Pennsylvania, but not for this: being kidnapped by aliens and faced with a choice between having a Kemtewet queen erase her brain or sharing her body with a Gertewet insurgent. Unless the Air Force can rescue her in time, it’s either death or a chance to make a difference in the galaxy, because with Sarah, the Gertewet have one last shot to end the Kemtewet Empire and free billions of humans subject to their body markets.

In a war over consent, only some things are black and white.

Amazon | Goodreads


UFO sightings are one of my favorite mysteries, so your riff on “Project Blue Book” is one of the things that attracted me to your book. Do you believe that aliens have ever visited Earth?

The universe is so vast, and chemistry and life are at once so predictable and so surprising. Everything we know says it’s so unlikely that aliens have ever visited Earth. Space travel is harsh. Wide-open nothingness lies between stars, and everything we know about physics says that it’s going to take decades to get from one system to another — if there’s even life on the other side. If it’s even life that humans can communicate with.

I don’t think aliens have visited Earth, but I don’t know all the facts. Maybe I’m wrong. At the very least, I would love to see first contact in my lifetime.  Continue reading

Con Report: Confluence 2018

Confluence 2018I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since my first visit to Confluence as a professional writer. In 2013, I was promoting a speculative fiction anthology I had edited and announcing my contract with Dog Star Books to publish my first novel the next year. Now, my fourth novel comes out next month, and Confluence has become one of my favorite conventions. A weekend where I can relax, have fun with friends, and meet awesome new authors.

FRIDAY

Got a later start than usual because I had to get some day-job work done in the morning, but I hit the road by 11 AM. Considering I drive to western Pennsylvania a few times a year now, I have my routine down to a science. I arrived at the convention hotel in mid-afternoon, immediately got to hug some friends, and had plenty of time to check into my room before my first programming event.  Continue reading

June Wrap-Up & July Goals

giant TARDISThis whole linear time thing is for the birds. I feel like it was just yesterday that I sat down to write last month’s version of this post. That usually means that I got a lot of work done during the month, or absolutely nothing at all. Let’s see how it all fell out.

Either way, I now have a giant TARDIS of my very own.

June Wrap-Up

  • I completed my enormous editing job! The book was amazing, and I can’t wait to share it with the world when my friend releases her debut novel.
  • I only managed a bit of work on revisions to Steel Shadows, but my production schedule has shifted this year, so I’m not stressed too much about that.
  • I did complete my initial research for the as-yet-untitled book 6 and did some preliminary brainstorming. I’m excited to sink my teeth into that project once Steel Shadows is off to my editor.
  • The annual pilgrimage to Hogwarts In Your Write Mind’s annual writer’s conference was an absolute blast. You can find the full story of the giant TARDIS in my con report.
  • Reading advance copies of novels by authors I adore is the best part of my job, and I’m excited to share Sally Malcolm’s Perfect Day with you soon!

June Book Reviews

June Speculative Chic Contributions

July Goals

  1. Complete revisions to Steel Shadows and send it off to my editor!
  2. Complete first draft of book 6 and get it reviewed by other writers/editors. This one is going to get complicated, I think, so I’d rather have my outline solid BEFORE I start writing.
  3. At the end of this month, I’ll be in Pittsburgh for Confluence 2018 (July 27-29)!
  4. Even though I’ve held gorgeous copies of Steel Time in my hands, the book isn’t officially out yet. Time to start working on a book launch party for September and additional online promo.

There’s got to be something I’m missing. Luckily, you’re reading this blog post in the present, but I’m writing it in the past, so if I remember something, I’ll just rewind the clock and add it in.

I’m going to need more coffee if I’m going to start courting paradox.