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.

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Build Report: Women of NASA

Lego dragon selfieI recently took a trip to Orlando, Florida, to attend a series of workshops for the day job. This was not exactly a hardship, because the conference was located at one of the Disney World Resorts. This meant that the first night I was in town, I hopped on the shuttle to Disney Springs to make a pilgrimage to the local (and enormous) LEGO store.

I had no idea what I was going to buy there, just that I was going to acquire something. I was limited by what I could carry home in my suitcase, of course, so when I saw a stack of the newly released Women of NASA set, my decision was basically made for me! Even more special was that the sales person who rang up my purchase mentioned that this was her retirement gig, and that she’d worked for NASA at Cape Canaveral for almost 30 years.

After getting home late Saturday night, I put together this adorable set on Sunday afternoon while watching some Netflix. Yes, I should have been writing instead.

Women of NASA (21312): 231 pieces

My favorite part is definitely the adorable miniature space shuttle, complete with external tank and solid rocket boosters.

I also love the cosmos picture behind Dr. Roman, which was part of the piece and not a sticker (same with the chalkboard and satellite solar panels). Overall, I’ve been really impressed with the quality of each LEGO Ideas set I’ve built so far.

Women of NASA lego set

October Wrap-Up & November Goals

vampire WaldoHappy Halloween! I’m traveling tomorrow, so getting a jump on my monthly round-up post today. Please enjoy this picture of a vampire writer in her natural habitat from a Halloween party I attended this weekend. Apparently Waldo has gone to the dark side. Tonight I’ll be packing for my trip and giving out candy to the kids in my neighborhood. What are your Halloween plans, and what did you dress up as? Pictures encouraged!

Overall, I consider October a success! I ended up adding a weekend retreat with some awesome writer friends to my trip out of town to Seattle, but still managed to have a productive writing month. Let’s see where things fell, shall we?

October Wrap-Up

  • I did not catch up on September’s writing deficit, but I did meet my back-up goal of reaching 55k words in the first draft of Steel Shadows this month, for a total of 13.5k words written in October.
  • I had a fantastic time visiting Seattle for a conference related to the day job, but got to catch dinner with a friend from high school as an added bonus!

October Book Reviews

October Speculative Chic Contributions

November Goals

  1. I won’t be participating officially in NaNoWriMo this year, but I am looking forward to joining my local chapter for many of the evening write-ins! My goal this month is another 15k words on Steel Shadows, for an end goal of 70k words of the first draft completed.
  2. As I mentioned above, I’m going to out of town again tomorrow for a set of workshops for the day job. Don’t feel too sorry for me, though — this conference is at a Disney World resort, and I planned a free day to visit the new attractions at Animal Kingdom while I’m there!
  3. Later in the month, I’ll be a returning panelist at a local SF/F literary convention, ChessieCon, which takes place in Timonium, MD, the weekend after Thanksgiving. I’ll be sure to post my schedule soon. Will I see any of you there?

I have to wrap this up, because my husband is anxiously awaiting me to get back to our binge-watch of Stranger Things season 2. In the meantime, here’s a great shot of RDSP authors tackling an escape room together, which was easily one of the highlights of my month!

RDSP escape room

How many authors and editors does it take to escape a locked room? Featuring John Edward Lawson, J.L. Gribble, Jennifer Barnes, R., Heidi Ruby Miller, Jason Jack Miller, and Stephanie M. Wytovich

Build Report: Iconic VIP Set

I freaked out to my husband the other day that a LEGO set I wanted might disappear soon, according to the ominous wording in the latest catalog. (Yes, I get the LEGO catalog and pour through it religiously.) Because he is the best husband, his response was, “So order it already.”

That particular LEGO set goes into the build pile as a future writing/editing reward, but what I did get to build tonight is the cute freebie that came with it!

Iconic VIP Set (40178): 205 pieces

VIP store

Not terribly complicated, but definitely adorable. There’s supposed to be a red post on the empty floor pegs up front, but it photographed better without it.

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

Con Report: Salt Lake Comic Con 2017

big tardisGetting to Salt Lake Comic Con was a hell of a ride. Some back story:

A year ago, you may remember that my husband headed to the wilds of Mississippi for 6 months for work. While Erik was there, he met a very cool guy, comedian and actor Jay Whittaker.

A few months ago, Erik and I were trying to figure out what to do for a vacation this year. Between both of our work schedules, we had some leave built up, but neither of us felt like blowing it all on a cruise for a week. Since Jay had talked up SLCC so much, and neither of us had ever been to Salt Lake City or a giant comic con, we decided to go for a shorter trip this year. We told Jay we were coming, and he asked me to send him my media kit so he could try to get me on programming. Which would have just been a bonus — honestly, we were going anyway at that point, and had even bought the fancy passes that came with the cool t-shirt.

But I sent Jay my media kit (after frantically putting one together), and lo and behold, I got an email from the person in charge of author guests! It was official — J.L. Gribble was going to SLCC, not just Hanna.  Continue reading

SLCC Panel: So I’ve Written a First Draft: Now What?

The panel I’m most excited about at Salt Lake Comic Con this week is definitely “So I’ve Written a First Draft: Now What?” (Saturday 9/23, 7 PM in room 150G). I’m a weird sort of writer. Putting the first draft on paper is often like pulling teeth (even though once I actually start writing, the time flies by). However, cleaning up that brutal first draft is where my passion for my craft really shines — I guess that’s the editor in me.

Last year, as part of the blog tour for Steel Empires Book 2: Steel Magic, I wrote a post that covers the panel topic! So if you can’t be in Salt Lake City this weekend, head over to author Cara McKinnon’s blog to find “So You’ve Finished Your Novel: What Next?

Hopefully the other panelists have some added words of wisdom to share from their experiences, which I’ll try to include in my con report when it goes up next week. Until then, we can have our own panel here! (Because being online is more entertaining than packing, which just pisses off my cats.) What do you do when you’ve finished your first draft?