July Wrap-Up & August Goals

helper cat

Let me help you do crunches, Mom.

Another summer month has flown by. I’m going to be honest — my production on the creative side has been crap. Even the unbuilt LEGO sets calling my name from my guest room haven’t been motivation enough to get work done. I’m not going to stop working on the Steel Empires series. But after 4 years of cranking out a book a year, I think I’m going to…not take it easy on the next one, but write with more intention. That’s going to mean fewer words a month, and more months to write the book. But my physical health also needs to starting taking a higher priority as I get older, and I’d rather build good habits now.

So my monthly goals are going to look less challenging, but the hope is that those of you reading at the other end won’t actually notice a drop in production. This may or may not make sense. I’m only on my first cup of coffee for the day.

July Wrap-Up

  • Revisions to Steel Shadows are not complete, and have not been sent to my editor.
  • The book 6 outline has not been completed, though there’s lots of fun ideas rattling around in my brain.
  • I did attend Confluence in Pittsburgh last weekend! Being around other authors is always a great shot of creative juice. Check out my full con report.
  • I came up with some great ideas for how to launch Steel Time in September. Now I just have to implement them.

See, I told you this month was a wash. I did get lots of reading done, however, which I will never regret.

July Book Reviews

July Speculative Chic Contributions

August Goals

  1. Seriously: Steel Shadows revisions to my editor.
  2. So that I can build a LEGO set!
  3. And also complete a first draft of the outline to book 6 and send it out for review.

That should be do-able, right? I’m not traveling this month, though I do have a bunch of things planned on the weekends. But today is Friday, so tonight I’m going to put on some music and bury myself in Steel Shadows. Wish me luck!

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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.

In Your Write Mind 2018 Schedule

IYWM 2018

This weekend, I’ll be returning to Hogwarts Seton Hill University for the annual writers retreat hosted by the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program alumni, of which I am one. Mostly, we just wanted an excuse to come back to our favorite place in the world and meet up with our tribe. But because everyone should get to experience that awesomeness, the In Your Write Mind program is open to all writers!

As usual, I’ll be arriving on campus early Thursday afternoon and heading home late Sunday afternoon. I’m staying in the dorms, which isn’t glamorous, but is always a party.

Here is the full schedule. I can’t wait to attend some of these awesome presentations, but below is what I’ll be up to and where you can specifically find me. Will I see you there?

FRIDAY

  • Costume Ball at 9 PM: The theme this year is “Storybook Land.” I’m being a total slacker with my costume, but I promise it’s still prize-worthy.

SATURDAY

  • Behind the Scenes of Military Life at 8 AM: I’m moderating a panel of current and former service members and others attached to the military life (I’m both a brat and a spouse). This is a chance to get an inside look at what being in (and attached) to the military is really like, by those who’ve been there…and are still there.
  • Mass Book Signing from 5:30 to 9:30 PM: I’ll have copies of all books currently available in the Steel Empires series…and maybe a surprise extra!

May Wrap-Up & June Goals

Fable the DragonlingIt’s been done before, so I’ll skip the trite comments about “OMG how is June here already??!” Instead, let’s get to the good stuff. After you admire the absolutely adorable dragonling that I bought at Balticon last weekend. Fable has been tasked with protecting my TARDIS die, and if you think he’s amazing, check out Emizart for your own!

Okay, enough squeeing (is there such a thing?). Let’s get to work.

May Wrap-Up

  • I had a lovely first visit to Cupboard Maker Books in Enola, Pennsylvania, for their Women Writing Mysterious Worlds booksigning event. I was joined by mystery writers Nancy A. Hughes and Yvonne Schuchart, who you should definitely check out!
  • I closed out the month with my return to Balticon, where I participated on multiple panels and gave my alternate history presentation again! Check out my con report for all the details.
  • I’m a bit behind on doing some research for the as-yet untitled book 6 of the Steel Empires series, but I did order the books I needed! They’re sitting behind me on my to-be read shelf…watching me…staring at me….
  • I did, however, get the final edits for Steel Time (book 4) back to my editor! I’ve also seen the cover, and it’s GORGEOUS. Brad Sharp is my hero.
  • I’ve also gotten a start on the revisions that Steel Shadows (book 5) desperately needs. My beta readers are amazing. You can’t have them. They’re mine.
  • Beta read and critiques of my own were completed this month! I’m so lucky to have such talented writers I can look up to that I can also call friends.
  • And finally, I’m set to begin copy-editing a book I’ve been dying to read for literally years! I worked out a contract and got the text, so that’ll be my top goal for June.

May Book Reviews

May Speculative Chic Contributions

June Goals

  1. The top priority this month is my big editing job. I can’t wait to get to work on it!
  2. Next, I’ll be tackling the major revisions my beta readers have identified for Steel Shadows. Everything is completely doable, and I only have a few scenes that need major rewrites, so I’m looking forward to returning to that story.
  3. I’m also looking forward to doing some major brainstorming for book 6! The research books that are staring at me will get cracked open. I might have a working outline for book 6 by the end of the month, but I’m not going to kill myself to get there.
  4. Because I also have a trip to look forward to! The annual pilgrimage to Hogwarts Seton Hill University takes place later this month, where I’ll be participating in the In Your Write Mind writers retreat.
  5. In between all that, I’ve had the pleasure of receiving two advance reader copies of novels I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing.

Time to make some coffee, snuggle some kitties, and get to work!

Con Report: Balticon 52

balticon logoIf you’re here for a copy of my alternate history presentation, read on!

I consider Balticon my “local” con for many reasons — it was the first SF/F convention I attended as an adult (back in college), it’s currently located a few blocks from where I worked for almost a decade, and Baltimore is the city that I’ve adopted as home. So it was a genuine pleasure to be invited back for a second year to be on programming, and I had a blast.  Continue reading