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.

April Wrap-Up & May Goals

You know that saying, about how the best way to get something done is to ask a busy person?

Yeah, apparently I need to be that busy person.

Broadkill beach selfieDid I get everything done that I set out to do this month? Nope. But I did a bunch of other cool things, like see my little sister’s final college dance performance, attend my first Orioles game of the season with my best friends, escape for a weekend to Broadkill Resort, and participate in the March for Science in Washington, DC! On the work front, I also had the pleasure of beta-reading the next novel in one of my favorite series.

April Wrap-Up:

  • Alas, there is no fully detailed outline to book 5 yet. Book 5 doesn’t even have a name yet (ugh, I know). I have lots of notes, and lots of crazy ideas. I’m feeling really overwhelmed by this book for some reason, so it’s taken more than usual to scrounge up the time and effort to sit down and COMMIT to taking the time.

April Book Reviews:

April Speculative Chic Contributions:

May Goals:

  1. Finish final revisions to Steel Time and submit to my editor.
  2. Start organizing the blog tour to celebrate the release of Steel Blood this summer.
  3. Outline book 5…?
Science March

I may be a medical editor by day, but what else would a fantasy author wear to the March for Science? With friends Karrie and David outside the EPA.

March Wrap-Up & April Goals

NYC March 2017

My first time to the Empire State Building!

I’m having one of those awkward moments where I feel like I got absolutely nothing accomplished all month, even though I still managed a lot. Perhaps it’s because everything that did happen was all toward the first 2/3 of the month (such as trips to Ohio for Cleveland ConCoction and New York City for the day job), and for the past week I will gleefully admit to not doing very much at all. Continue reading

September Wrap-Up & October Goals

I know the month isn’t quite over, but I’m off to Broadkill Resort for DogCon V tomorrow, so let’s do this thing!

September Wrap-up:

  • Words were written in book 4! Specifically, 15k of them, so the goal was officially met. I’m in the swing of things now, and doing that thing where I look at the rest of my outline and panic that the book is going to be over 100k long.
  • Book reviews were completed! Not many of them, but I think the quality of my reviews is going up as I get more practice at it.
  • Speculative Chic was contributed to! This month featured more group participation along with my debut solo post.
  • I haven’t yet been to DogCon, but I did get to spend a glorious week with my husband at the not-so-glorious place where he is training! Teleworking and writing with a view of the beach for a few days was so tough.


October Goals:

  1. Write words! Specifically, 20k words.
  2. Write book reviews! There are currently 11 in the queue (I also did a lot of reading at the beach).
  3. Participate in DogCon V! Please continue to keep all fingers and toes crossed for Steel Victory in the Reader’s Choice Award. Less than 48 hours until it’s announced!
  4. Sell books! I will be in the Dealer’s Room at TridentCon with copies of both of my books (Oct 8-9). I have no panels or presentations to attend, so this is a great chance to come hang out and chat with me about writing and gaming.
  5. Travel! I’ll be going to Denver for work and spending back-to-back weekends in Pennsylvania and Ohio for two weddings. On the plus side, my husband is meeting me in Ohio for one of the weddings and afterward I get to bring him home for good.


August Wrap-Up & September Goals

Another slow month production-wise, another stressful month regarding real life. I’m having a hard time living by myself, and disaster struck one of my favorite places in the world earlier this month.

August Wrap-Up:

  • I aimed for 15k to 20k words drafted for book 4. I am actually impressed that I ended the month with a whopping 10k. Having a detailed outline helps a lot, but there are a lot of really difficult scenes early in this book. The first scene is even already with my critique partners to be shredded, and I’m going to dump another on them this month. (My critique partners are the best.)
  • I did write some book reviews!
  • I’ve participated in some group posts over at Speculative Chic, which is now officially live and posting new content daily!
  • And finally, I snuggled my cats a lot and attended the traditional first day of the Maryland Renaissance Festival with some of my best friends.

    Ren Fest August 2016

    Selfie Credit: Julia Vilece

September Goals:

  1. Write more words! Hopefully 15k to 20k. Will be happy with another 10k. (But I think I’ve over the first major hump and it should come easier now.) (Hopefully.)
  2. Write more book reviews! I’ve been doing more reading lately, and the back log is at 7.
  3. Continue to participate in Speculative Chic. This month will even feature my first solo post; make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it.
  4. Count down the days to DogCon V! Technically, that’s in October, but I don’t know when I’ll get to do my September Wrap-Up post, so let’s start getting excited early. (And continue to keep all fingers and toes crossed for Steel Victory for the Reader’s Choice Award!)

I’m already in mourning for the end of summer, but there’s a lot to look forward to this fall. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

June Wrap-Up & July Goals

June has definitely been one of my rougher months in recent memory. The bad news is that I don’t feel like I got as far on a lot of my projects as I wish I could be. The good news is that I’m spending the long holiday weekend with my husband!


His funny face is because he thinks selfies are silly.

Mississippi is hot and humid and gross, but you can’t beat the view from the condo he’s staying in for 5 months.

June Wrap-Up:

  • The substantive edits for book 3, Steel Blood, are complete. I’m about 75/260 pages through my final hardcopy markup to check for basic spelling/grammar/typo issues.
  • I put together my research list for book 4, Steel Time, and…had a bit of a meltdown because I had literally no time to work on it. However, I have the best friends in the world who also think researching weird stuff is fun. Go visit David’s blog and tell him how awesome he is for letting me outsource some of my work to him! So far he’s covered symptoms and immediate care of seizures and a variety of women’s clothing issues from the 194os for me.
  • Needless to say, not a word has been written for Steel Time yet. But I have committed to 30k words for Camp NaNoWriMo to finally get some motivation going.
  • I attended Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind 2016 and had a blast. Make sure to check out my con report for the weekend.
  • Book reviews completed last month:
  • Survived my first month sans husband. I got a few house projects done, but I’ve still got a pretty big list of things to accomplish.

Work stress has put a damper on a lot of my energy for things lately, but I’m trying my best to power through.

July Goals:

  1. Steel Magic book launch on July 6! Have you pre-ordered your copy?
  2. Steel Magic blog tour! Check out the schedule here.
  3. Steel Magic release party at East City Bookshop in Washington, DC, on July 19. All are invited for a reading, signing, raffle prizes, and most importantly, celebratory cake! RSVP here (no admission required).
  4. Not all the love this month will be for book 2. I will definitely have Steel Blood submitted to my editor for consideration this month.
  5. Another fun event I have coming up at the end of the month is my third year as a returning guest at Pittsburgh’s Confluence convention!
  6. Book reviews! I didn’t get much reading done this past month, but I still have four books waiting for reviews in the queue.
  7. And finally, my Camp NaNoWriMo commitment of the first 30k words of Steel Time drafted. Considering I’ve done 50k words each of the previous two Novembers, 30k words should be a snap, right?


May Wrap-Up & June Goals

I’m not going to lie: This month has been really busy and kind of rough. I’m satisfied with my progress on some things, and not as happy with others. Unfortunately, June is looking like more of the same.

May Wrap-Up:

  • The Steel Magic cover reveal happened, to great success! A great group of people came together and featured me across both blogs and social media. I’m incredibly thankful for all the help, and it was great to how excited people are for my second book.
  • I also had a great time at the Dog Star Books reading and signing at Bluejacket Books in Dayton, Ohio, with fellow authors K.W. Taylor and Matt Betts.
  • I finished the scene-by-scene outline for book 4, Steel Time, but have not yet had a chance to do any research, because…
  • I’m not yet done with book 3 edits! I’m about halfway through the substantive revisions needed for Steel Blood.
  • But I still managed to get some reviews of great books done!

My favorite photo set from the reading. From left to right: K.W. Taylor, J.L. Gribble, and Matt Betts. (Photo credit: Tom Kollman; layout credit: K.W. Taylor)

June Goals:

  1. Finish substantive and line edits for Steel Blood and submit to my publisher.
  2. Start research on Steel Time.
  3. Start drafting Steel Time! I’d like to get 20k words done, but I will be happy with 10k.
  4. Participate in Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind retreat, which will include moderating a panel discussion on freelance editing and participating in the mass book signing (where advance copies of Steel Magic will be available).
  5. Book reviews! (I currently have 9 waiting on reviews.)
  6. And finally…

Well, this last one isn’t a goal so much as a lifestyle decision. Part of the reason June (through October) is going to be pretty rough on me is because it’s just me and the cats for a bit. My husband is away for military training in his new career field. Before you feel too sorry for me, this is significantly better than a deployment, because he’s only one time zone away and I already have multiple trips planned to visit him! However, I know that I will have to be extra dedicated to working out regularly (for both my physical and mental health) and not sliding into bad eating habits (because I already hate cooking, and cooking for one is even worse).

On that note, I’m off to do a few miles around the lake near my house. Wish me luck!


September Wrap-Up & October Goals

September Wrap-Up:

  • Reach 20,000 words in book 3, STEEL BLOOD. Progress: Better than August! After a few rounds of scene edits with my criqiue partners in which some narrative vomit was thankfully cut, I ended up with approximately 9,000 words written for the month, and I’m hanging out at about 14,000 words right now.
  • Goal: Finish re-reading Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty the Werewolf series before reading the final book. Progress: I was cranking through them at a good clip (according to my Instagram posts), but I got distracted about two weeks ago by trying to re-watch the original Heroes before checking out the new Heroes Reborn. Three books left until the final KITTY SAVES THE WORLD!
  • Goal: Weekly book reviews. Progress: Uh, I wrote one. Oops.
  • Goal: Get prequel short story copyedited. Progress: Got sucked into book 3 and still have to email copyeditor to check his schedule. Oops.
  • Goal: STEEL VICTORY book promotion. Progress: On track! Lots of work has been started with my lovely publicist, and things should start appearing soon!

October Goals:

  1. 10,000 words of book 3. I’d like to have 25,000 done before NaNoWriMo starts.
  2. Finish Kitty the Werewolf series and tackle my next reading project: The five new novels that take place before Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My husband has finished them already and is impatiently waiting to discuss them with me.
  3. Get something rolling with the prequel story. Find a new name for the prequel story since the original name no longer fits after the rewrite!
  4. Weekly book reviews.
  5. STEEL VICTORY promo!

In other news, my Friday-night Dungeons & Dragons campaign has come to a close. Half the group is moving out of state, and they will be sorely missed. This was actually the first time I’ve ever been able to complete the conclusion of an adventure like this–most campaigns tend to fizzle out mid-quest. For the complete write-up of our adventures, check out the 5th edition “Weird New World” (5e WNW) campaign notes featured over at the Tower of the Archmage.

That’s it for now! Check back later this week for an interview with an erotica writer (because I’m looking at writing my first sex scene in book 3 and I needed some professional advice) and (hopefully!) a review of Gail Carriger’s ETIQUETTE & ESPIONAGE!

Requisite picture of an adorable cat (selfie taken yesterday with my mother-in-law’s seal-point Siamese Boris):