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.


December Wrap-Up & January Goals

Happy new year from all of us at Casa Siamese! Though you won’t see this post until it goes live on Wednesday morning, I’m writing it late Monday afternoon with a tummy full of amazing New Year’s Day brunch and a hot mug of tea. I’m excited to start 2018 with a bang, and by bang I mean working on some blog posts and then curling up on the couch with a book.

December Wrap-Up

  • I decided not to kill myself finishing Steel Shadows in the midst of all the other holiday craziness, but I came pretty dang close. The book is currently at a touch over 83,000 words, and I have the two short concluding scenes to finish up. If you follow me on social media (and you should, obviously), expect posts of extreme joy within the next few days.
  • I had a blast beta-reading the next novel in what has become one of my favorite series. I never expected to enjoy paranormal thrillers as much as I now do, but then again, I never expected to read as much romance as is currently mixed in with my science fiction and fantasy. I’m not quite sure when this novel will be published, but I’ll definitely have an excellent review to post on release day.

December Book Reviews

According to Goodreads, I read well beyond my goal of 50 books for 2017, though some of those listed on my account were short stories or books that I abandoned for whatever reason. The list above doesn’t even include everything I read in December this year, because I’ve already queued up book reviews and other blog posts through mid-January!

December Speculative Chic Contributions

January Goals

  1. Okay, seriously, this time I’ll finish the first draft of Steel Shadows.
  2. Since I can’t immediately launch into the first round of revisions without giving the entire book time to percolate, it’s a good thing I have edits for book 4, Steel Time, that also need to get done this month!
  3. Once Steel Time goes back to the editor, it’ll be nice to sit down and look at Steel Shadows from the beginning. Since I wrote that beginning 6 months ago, I definitely need the refresher before I start tweaking things. It will then go to the beta-readers either in late January or early February.
  4. Speaking of beta-reading, I have another book by a friend to review! I haven’t read his work before, but I’ve only heard good things, so I’m excited to experience a new writer.

I hope you are all looking forward to whatever 2018 brings us. I have lots of events already planned throughout the year, and I’m hoping that a proper vacation is also in my future. Now, I have more blog posts to write and a box of macarons I got for my birthday to eat.

Though I didn’t ask for any this year, for either Christmas or my birthday, my family knows me too well! The new additions to the TARDIS collection are:


  • Retro pencil holder from my mother-in-law
  • Stained glass wall-hanging from my mother
  • Jewelry box from my sister- and brother-in-law

Two separate people also gave me bottles of port this year. Good thing I have book 6 to write in 2018, because I’ve got the writer-juice to do it!

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.

Continue reading

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

July Wrap-Up & August Goals

Steel-Blood-Jacket.inddWe are officially at two months in a row where I manage to accomplish everything on my list of goals (sort of). Obviously the biggest accomplishment this month was the publication and launch of my third novel, book 3 in the Steel Empires series. If you haven’t yet gotten your copy of Steel Blood, it’s available here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press

If you have a copy, awesome! I really hope you enjoy it.

If you’ve already ready, and you did enjoy it, this is my first and only annoying author plea to please consider leaving a rating someplace like Amazon or Goodreads. Even a review as simple as “I liked it!” goes a long way toward helping indie authors published by a small press like me. Thank you.

Now, let’s get to work.

July Wrap-Up

  • I completed the first 15k words of Steel Shadows!
  • The Steel Blood blog tour was a huge success! If you missed any of the guest posts, excerpts, or interviews, I’ve added a page to my blog where you can find the full round-up of links.
  • I did not manage to have a local launch party for this book (that’s the “sort of” caveat from above). My mother was out of the country for most of July, and my husband will be out of the country for most of August, and I’d be sad to not have either of them in attendance.

July Book Reviews

July Speculative Chic Contributions

This month, we celebrated our one-year anniversary at Speculative Chic! Don’t forget that this cool blog features a lot more than the movie reviews and commentary that I link to here. There are also book and video game reviews, a cool monthly column on the history of feminist science-fiction, and much more. For a taste, just search for the #OneChicYear on your social media of choice and check what our columnists shared on for our anniversary celebration.

August Goals

  1. Write the next 15k words for Steel Shadows, bringing my total to 30k words.
  2. Attend Confluence in Pittsburgh.
  3. Build my Saturn V LEGO set while my husband is away. 🙂
  4. Organize and promote a fun contest to celebrate Steel Blood‘s one-month birthday! (If you didn’t think I was a huge nerd before, you’ll definitely know I’m one when you see what I have planned.)

Currently reading: Heart of the Dragon (Supernatural #4) by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Currently writing: 15,035/30k words

June Wrap-Up & July Goals

book 5 outlineEvery once in a while, I’m totally allowed to have a month where I not only complete EVERYTHING on my list of goals, but also exceed it! (Mostly because sometimes I forget things when I’m writing up the list of goals, but I’m going to take the win anyway.)

June Wrap-Up

  • Steel Time was officially submitted to my editor this month! (Wow, it already feels like it was ages ago.) The LEGO Snowspeeder was completed in celebration.
  • The epic Steel Blood blog tour has been coordinated and scheduled, barring a final confirmation for one stop (he knows who he is). Events will kick off on Monday, July 17 and go non-stop until July 30. I’m excited to share this book with everyone in so many cool ways (guest posts, character interviews, author interviews, and excerpts).
  • And this past weekend (which was technically July) (shhhh), I finally completed the scene-by-scene outline of book 5! I think I’ve settled on the name Steel Shadows for this one.

And for the stuff I totally forgot to put on my list:

June Book Reviews

June Speculative Chic Contributions

July Goals

  1. It’s book writing season at Casa Siamese again! My goal this month is 15k words on Steel Shadows.
  2. Write the posts for and pull off the epic Steel Blood blog tour.
  3. Organize and host some sort of local launch party for Steel Blood.

See, it freaks me out now when my goals list is so short. But I’ve checked my calendar, and I’m not traveling until August. So maybe this really is all I have to do.

Trust me, I’m not complaining!

Currently reading: Nevermore (Supernatural #1) by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Currently writing: 0/15k words

May Wrap-Up & June Goals

No matter how many things I crossed off the list this past month, my to-do list keeps getting longer. Since I’m at the point where I’m doing work (writing blog posts) to take a break from doing other work (line edits on Steel Time), let’s jump right in.

May Wrap-Up

  • I have printed out a copy of Steel Time to do my final pass through before it gets sent off to my editor for her review. The good news is that it is solidly below 90k words! Based on the recommendations of my beta readers, I cut two and a half scenes (which are saved and will appear on the blog as deleted scenes after publication). That got me down to 92k words, and my massive word search for passive and filtering language took care of the rest. That’s a huge weight off my shoulders (my editor was pleased, too).
  • I created a form for anyone interested in participating in the July blog tour for Steel Blood. I’m still looking for volunteers, so check it out!
  • I totally forgot to include Balticon on my list of goals last month! I had a blast last weekend, which you can read about in my con report.
  • Let’s not talk about book 5 right now.

May Book Reviews

May Speculative Chic Contributions

June Goals

  1. Finish and input Steel Time line edits and submit to my editor. I have a the LEGO Snowspeeder set waiting for me in celebration.
  2. Finish coordinating the Steel Blood blog tour and start writing guest posts.
  3. Book 5 outline. There’s a heavy sigh there, which is a poor representation of how I feel about the book. I’m excited to write it, but I’m also scared that I won’t do my story ideas justice.

As usual, thank you to everyone for coming along for the ride!

LEGO cats

Helpful cats are not actually that helpful.