Review: ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean

ApocalyptiGirlA post-apocalyptic story starring a strong female character and her adorable pet cat? This should have been right up my alley. But despite the art being streamlined and stunning, the story never quite grabbed me.

Though the internal narration conceit was very cool, it seems the author erred on the side of “less is more” when it came to world-building. Unfortunately, that “less” led to a world that didn’t make much sense. I also did not figure out Aria’s place in it soon enough to care, and only finished the story because it was so short.  Continue reading


January Wrap-Up & February Goals

SS 1st draft word countWow, is the first month of 2018 done already? Seems like it flew by in a whirlwind of writing and reading and LEGO. Oh wait — because that’s basically all I did this month.

January Wrap-Up

  • First of all, the good news: The first draft of Steel Empires #5: Steel Shadows is DONE! Final word count clocked in at 85,836 words. You have no idea how happy I am that I don’t have to stress about cutting 15k+ words like last year.
  • While letting that first draft simmer a bit, I also finished major edits for book 4, Steel Time, and sent them back to my publisher. In addition, I wrote up my acknowledgements and the back cover text, and the book is on its way to layout!
  • Now it’s back to revising Steel Shadows, which I’m about 1/4 done with. I’m enjoying it, so that’s a good sign, right?
  • In the midst of all that, I also beta read a novel for a grad school friend. IT WAS SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. When it’s a bestseller, I’ll totally get to say that I got to read it first.

January Book Reviews

January Speculative Chic Contributions

February Goals

  1. Finish revisions on Steel Shadows and get it out to my beta readers!
  2. Note to self: Find beta readers…
  3. I’ve added another convention to my list! The weekend of Feb. 9-11 I’ll be attending Farpoint in Hunt Valley, MD (just north of Baltimore).
  4. And at some point, I need to start thinking about the presentation I’m giving in March for the Uniontown Public Library’s 2018 Author Series. I’ll be discussing how alternate history can be used to create amazing stories!

How’s 2018 working out for all of you? Have you accomplished any of your New Year’s resolutions? I did mine! (See my Speculative Chic post about reading A Wrinkle in Time.)

Now, time to get back to work on Steel Shadows. I have my biggest LEGO set to date to build once it’s off to the beta readers!

fireplace cats

Hard at work on their own New Year’s resolutions.

Annual Holiday Update

Below is the holiday letter my husband and I sent in our cards this year. Thank you to all of you for also being amazing supporters. I couldn’t have gotten through this year without you.

Dear Family & Friends,

This has been a much-needed quiet year for the Gribble household. Of course, quiet for us still means lots of work and travel!  Continue reading

STEEL BLOOD featured on The Skiffy and Fanty Show: A Book By Its Cover!

In a surprise blog tour spot that I knew was coming, but had no idea of when, Steel Blood has been “reviewed” as part of a relaunched monthly feature at The Skiffy and Fanty Show: A Book By Its Cover! It’s a joke column that literally makes up a book review based on what the cover alone looks like, and I was honored to be chosen. The writer has been a good friend to my publisher, and he even dropped in references to my three cats!

When novice librarian Nicki Blakougar becomes suspicious of Shadowseizer’s research activities, he begins to investigate. But this curiosity heats up into endangerment after Nicki trips some of the sorcerer-knight’s wards and his spying is discovered. Narrowly escaping alive, Nicki goes to Lucy, his kitten-hood friend and now City Chief, for help. Together with the aid of Thun-daar Constable Alex Blulynx, Nicki and Lucy set out to figure out Shadowseizer’s ultimate intent and stop her slaughter of rare dragons at any cost.

Here are the actual cats, for reference:

Skiffy Fanty cats

From left to right: Nicki, Lucy, and Alex

Thanks for supporting small press, Skiffy and Fanty!

Review: SHORT FUSE by Brent D. Seth

Short FuseDisclaimer: I acquired this novel at a convention through a book trade with the author, whom I consider a friend.

What an incredibly refreshing science fiction novel to find in a market that sometimes feels saturated with overly complex space opera and violence-infused military epics. Though this novel includes complex world-building and plenty of (sometimes violent) action and adventure, the tone and voice were a pleasure to immerse myself into.  Continue reading

December Wrap-Up & January Goals


My 2016 holiday/birthday TARDIS acquisitions, with bonus Alex-cat photobomb. (Not shown: Hand-painted miniature TARDIS I’ve already moved to my desk at the day job and the gorgeous laptop slipcase that a sleeping cat had claimed when I was ready to take this picture.)

Happy 2017 to all! This year I’m looking forward to continuing work on the Steel Empires series, contributing to Speculative Chic, reading lots of amazing books, and attending fun conventions, and watching lots of great movies and television shows. This year’s motto is probably “Work hard, play hard.” Continue reading

Holiday Letter 2016


Lucy would like to remind everyone that she is the best present (and that the heating vent is warm).

Happy holidays to all of my readers! Every year, my husband and I send a card and newsletter to family and friends. Since I include all of you in that category, below is a (slightly redacted for privacy) copy of the newsletter. I hope you are all having a great holiday of your choice.

(In case it’s not obvious, the name I actually use in day-to-day life is Hanna!)

Dear Family & Friends,

This has been a year of changes in the Gribble household, but for the most part, they have all been for the better. Continue reading