Con Report: World Fantasy 2018

World Fantasy 2018 banner

When a professional convention in your field is literally in your back yard (or at least 2 blocks away from where you used to work for 12 years), there’s really no excuse not to go. And I’m so glad that I attended World Fantasy 2018 in Baltimore, MD!

THURSDAY

I worked from home on Thursday morning, and then my mother-in-law was nice enough to drive me up to the convention hotel, where I stayed for the weekend. I could have commuted, but sharing a room was literally the same cost as I would have paid in parking fees over the course of 4 days.

After checking in, a friend dragged me to a small workshop on using Tarot cards to help prompt story ideas. While I don’t disbelieve in using Tarot for more personal means, I adore the concept as a storytelling exercise.

Following that, my afternoon workshop on Working with Editors went well. Scott H. Andrews, of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, was a great presenter and very knowledgeable about the subject. I was pretty much there to speak from the novel perspective, and help wrangle one of the small Q&A groups we held with other editors — and I am totally okay with that!

I joined the three lovely ladies I shared a hotel room with for dinner at the Irish pub across the street. All of us are former students from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, but the best part of that is how many of those former students are now my friends and colleagues.  Continue reading

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Build Report: BTL-A4 Y-Wing Starfighter

IMG_8739Just because I’m behind schedule with all of my writing projects doesn’t mean I will deprive myself of a reward when I do get something done! To celebrate submitting my fifth novel to my editor, I built this year’s special Star Wars set, the Y-Wing Starfighter. The Y-Wing is not one of my favorite ships from that particular universe, so I didn’t expect to enjoy this build as much as I did.

Between travels and other obligations, this build was spread out over the course of about two weeks. But it started with an epic night of watching Marvel movies, spanned the latest season of the Great British Baking Show, and then most of season 2 of Luke Cage.

Y-Wing Starfighter (75181) — 1,967 pieces

Continue reading

September Wrap-Up & October Goals

Steel Time Jacket.inddHow is it almost the end of the year? What happened? Where have I been?

Writing and reading and traveling, for the most part. Oh yeah, and I published my fourth book. Welcome Steel Empires Book 4: Steel Time to the world!

But now October has already started, so there’s no time to waste!

September Wrap-Up

  • Hey, something I completed! I built an awesome LEGO set to celebrate turning my fifth book in to my editor. The built report will show up here next week.
  • Hey, something I absolutely did not complete! As of the time of this writing, book six is all of eight outlined scenes on the floor of my office. But it has a title — Steel Justice. So, a partial win? Maybe?
  • Book 4, Steel Time, did have awesome blog tour. If you missed any of the stops, you can find the full round-up here.
  • Two conventions were also attended this month, which probably contributes to my current haze of mild exhaustion. You can find my con reports for both events below:

September Book Reviews

September Speculative Chic Contributions

October Goals

  1. Finish the detailed outline of book 6. I have no idea why this book is giving me such a mental block.
  2. Write at least 10k words of book 6. Maybe once I start, it’ll go a lot easier.
  3. No conventions this month, but I’m attending two writing retreats over two weekends. The scheduling was unintentional on my part, but I’m looking forward to handing out with writers. Hopefully some of their productivity and enthusiasm for their projects will rub off on me.
  4. I have one more book to read for my Speculative Chic 2018 Resolution Project, so I’d better add it to the list before 2018 slips away from me completely!

A question for you writers in the audience — what do you do when you’re so intimidated by a project that you’re too terrified to even start it? This isn’t writer’s block, I think. I’d appreciate any advice.

For you non-writers, gentle and not-so-gentle nudges on social media of “You should be writing!” are probably welcome in the coming weeks.

These guys are not helpful:

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Con Report: Capclave 2018

Capclave dodoThis weekend was amazing, and I’m absolutely exhausted. (I apologize in advance that this con report will not be as in-depth as usual.) I’m very glad that spent the weekend at the hotel, despite Capclave being a “local” convention to where I live (Rockville, Maryland, is a 40-minute drive from my house without traffic). But it meant plenty of social time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, which is really the best part of conventions anyway!  Continue reading

Steel Time Blog Tour Round-Up

Steel Time Jacket.inddThe difficult part of launching a new book while also traveling out of town to an enormous convention is that it’s difficult to promote the blog tour posts that I organized at the same time. So, here’s a handy round-up and GIANT thank you to everyone who supported Steel Empires Book 4: Steel Time by sharing information or hosting me on their blogs! Check out the posts below for some cool behind-the-scenes details about my life and writing process, excerpts from Steel Time, a character interview with Toria, and pictures of my adorable cats.

COVER REVEAL

BLOG TOUR

BOOK SPOTLIGHTS

Thank you so much to everyone who helped boost the signal about my latest book!

Con Report: FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018

FanX 2018 author imageWow. What an absolutely amazing trip.

[If you’re here to find the copy of my alternate history presentation, you’re in the right place! It’s included below!]

I’m not even going to recap last year, because this year blew it out of the water. I was honored to be invited back, and I hope to return again next year. Many thanks to Jay Whittaker and Blake Casselman for their continued support — I genuinely feel like I leveled up as an author last weekend, and it could not have happened without the support from both of you.

THURSDAY

My husband Bach and I traveled to the airport early in the morning, where we met two friends we were traveling with. Our trip was smooth, including the connection in Chicago and catching the new Utah train service from the airport in Salt Lake City to our hotel downtown. We checked into our hotel 30 minutes ahead of my mental schedule, and then it was off to the races!  Continue reading

FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018 Schedule

FanX 2018 author imageThis weekend I will be attending my second FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention (formerly Salt Lake Comic Con)! My husband joins me at this con, and we use it as our annual anniversary celebration because it falls near the date of our wedding. We have a great time people-watching, spending too much money on nerdy things, and catching up with friends. My husband refers to himself as my sherpa-slash-arm candy while I promote my writing, and this year, I’m excited to have our friends Lauren and Chad fly out with us.

I will be presenting on the alternate history genre and participating in a few panels. You’ll also definitely be able to find us at anything related to the Geek Show Podcast to support our buddies there. Schedule and additional details below.

I acknowledge that there has been some controversy surrounding this convention due to harassment issues between guests and fans that were not resolved satisfactorily during or after the 2017 event. While I am not 100% satisfied with the way things turned out after the issues last year (from what I know through the press and the Internet grapevine, at least), I do see that changes have been put in place that will hopefully make the 2018 event a success for all involved. For example, I personally know two of the people on the new community council and trust in them to help the convention through these issues. Though this is a larger convention (by many magnitudes) than the others I attend, my usual policy still stands: If you feel unsafe in any way, even if it’s just mildly uncomfortable, you can find me and I will be your new best friend (and help you out with whatever steps you need to feel safe). Fandom is a community, and communities look out for each other.

To anyone who might be at this convention, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a drink, or even just to chat, especially since this is the one event a year that I’m not on the Easy Coast! I’d love to meet you. This applies to pretty much anytime I’m not busy. Facebook and Twitter DMs will be the best way to reach me before or during the event.

Thursday, September 6

  • 4 PM: Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (Room 150G)
    • Join author and editor J.L. Gribble as she leads an interactive presentation on alternate history as a genre, subgenre, and storytelling technique, using examples from all forms of pop culture media. Appropriate for authors and readers. Hosting and color commentary provided by comedian Jay Whittaker.
  • 5 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)

Friday, September 7

  • 5 PM: Avengers, Re-Assemble! Infinity War and Beyond (Room 151D)
    • With the fate of the universe (well technically, half of it) hanging it the balance will the Avengers be able to put their differences aside and become The Universe’s Mightiest Heroes? In this panel we will discuss what we think/hope we can expect from the next Avengers movie as well as the movies leading up to and following ‘Avengers TBA’!
    • With Robert J. Defendi  (moderator), Jacob Dietz, Christian Lambert, McCord Larsen, Cameron McVey, and Travis Tate
  • 7 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)
  • 8 PM: Get Your Geek Off: Two Teams Debate Random Topics Suggested by the Audience (18+) (Room 251A)
    • With Shannon Barnson, Scott Drakeford, Kerry Jackson (moderator), Jimmy Martin, Kyle J. Steenblik, Jay Whittaker

Saturday, September 8

  • Wandering around and having fun!