Con Report: Confluence 2017

signing at Confluence 2017I was thrilled to once again be invited to Confluence, the annual SF/F literary convention hosted by Parsec. I have a ton of fun, and this year was no exception.

FRIDAY

Road trip company is the best, and this year a friend drove to my place outside of Baltimore on Friday night to join me for the weekend. With her company, the 4.5 hour drive to Pittsburg was a breeze. We arrived in time for a late lunch at a bagel place up the street from the hotel, then I dove into my three panels for the afternoon and evening.  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

Book excerpt: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #14

It’s been a whirlwind two weeks, but today is the last stop of the Steel Blood blog tour! If you missed any stops along the way, you can find the full roster at my Guest Blog page. For our final stop, author Weston Kindcade was kind enough to discuss his thoughts about Steel Empires Book 1: Steel Victory and host a short excerpt from Steel Blood for me.

[The Brit] raised one hand and bit a thumbnail, then flicked his thumb at the robed Qin. He didn’t get the insult, but his friend did. The man in pants threw the first punch, snapping the Brit’s head to the side. But the Brit recovered at once and tackled his aggressor. They both crashed to the street in a mess of limbs, leaving the robed Qin shouting above them.

It was like watching a train wreck, exactly the sort of political bullshit Victory had been concerned about dealing with. But she had expected pointed jibes over state dinners and cocktail parties, not brawling in the streets. This was embarrassing for everyone. She passed Mikelos her overnight bag and waded into the fray….

Head over to Kincade’s blog to see the rest and make sure to check out his fiction while you’re there. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this journey with me!

Steel Blood is available in hardcopy and ebook formats at the following online retailers:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Raw Dog Screaming Press


Seriously, it’s the end of the tour. What are you still doing here? I have cats to snuggle and writing to get back to.

Oh, you want more?

Check back here on August 21st (or better yet, subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss anything) for a fun contest announcement! You’ll have a chance to win a hardcopy or ebook of your choice from the Steel Empires series!

Not your typical vampire: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #13

Author Jennifer Loring asking me the ever-important question about writing in the fantasy genre. What makes my vampires and other supernatural creatures stand out from the crowd? How did I put my own spin on the mythology while still making my characters recognizable? Take a quick look:

My vampires fit the mold in that they’re essentially immortal creatures who drink blood to sustain themselves and can’t be out in direct sunlight. They are apex predators who have evolved to be humanity’s greatest hunter. But rather than slathering monsters, for the most part my vampires are part of a civilized society that would much prefer a cold beer to the hot blood of an unwilling victim.

Along with vampires, I also discuss werewolves, who have been a part of this series since the first book, and weredragons, a recent newcomer to the pantheon on the Steel Empires. I hope you check it out.

While you’re there, take a look at some of Loring’s available work! She’s a prolific author who writes in a variety of genres, so there’s sure to be something for everyone.


Tomorrow is the LAST STOP of this blog tour!! It’s been a wild ride, and I appreciate everyone who’s joined for the fun. We’re closing things out at Weston Kincade‘s blog, with a final book excerpt. Obviously a Romeo & Juliet pastiche has to have the requisite “No, sir, but I do bite my thumb, sir” scene!

Author Interview: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #12

The weather is spectacularly stormy here in my corner of Maryland today. I can only assume that the star of Steel Magic, storm-mage Toria Connor, is perturbed that all the attention has been on Victory lately as the main character in Steel Blood.

Too bad for both of them, though, because today the focus is on me! Fellow Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction grad Jacob Baugher interviewed me on his blog today, for the latest stop on the tour.

What is your writing kryptonite? 

The biggest obstacle to my writing time is definitely my Netflix addiction. My queue is enormous, partly because some shows I literally don’t have time to watch during their season, even with DVR, and partly because there are some shows that I just have to keep watching now that I’ve started, no matter how outside my genre (ScandalReignHawaii 5-0). On the other hand, Netflix’s new ability to download episodes has been amazing, because during the months of the year when I’m drafting a new book, I can limit my Netflix time to my treadmill time. Watching an episode takes about the same amount of time it takes me to speed-walk 5k, so everyone wins!

Check out the rest of the interview on Baugher’s blog, and while you’re there, drop him a note and tell him to get back to working on his novel! I read the beginning of it when he was still a student, and I’m anxiously awaiting the day it gets published. (There’s a violinist, which means it already has a special place in my heart.)


Tomorrow, I’ll be visiting author Jennifer Loring to talk about what makes my supernatural creatures stand out from the rest!

But I’m not a horror writer!: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #11

Yesterday, we got a look at the more “human” side of my main character, the vampire Victory (over here, if you missed it). And while I love that scene, it’s not unique — being a vampire is just part of who Victory is, which also includes being a partner, a mother, a politician, a mercenary, etc. Today, fellow RDSP author Maria Alexander asked me to talk about why I write urban fantasy for a primarily horror publisher. Well, it’s because I think the monsters are people, too. A quick look:

Urban fantasy allows me to explore that sense of “otherness” using the supernatural, just as science-fiction has been teaching us about humanity through the lens of alien races for decades. Though still incorporating elements of monstrousness, supernatural creatures can be an equal part of society in open-world urban fantasy. That unique facet draws me in, and challenges me to create well-rounded characters no matter their species.

While you’re there, be sure to check out BOTH of Alexander’s award-winning RDSP novels, Mr Wicker and Snowed. She’s also much better at using her blog as an actual blog than I am, and there are some great gems. (Not that any of you have complained about my book reviews, thankfully.)


Tomorrow, author Jacob Baugher asked me to answer some interview questions about both my writing and Steel Blood!

Book excerpt: STEEL BLOOD Blog Tour Stop #10

Author Anna Zabo offered to host a short excerpt from Steel Blood on their blog for this stop of the blog tour!

The scene takes place near the beginning of the novel, when Victory and Mikelos have arrived in the Qin Empire’s colonial city of Jiang Yi Yue. As a vampire, Victory was prepared to wait on the ship until night fell to safely transfer to the palace and begin her mercenary contract as a bodyguard to the Qin princess. But the British delegation would have none of that, and arranged for alternative transportation.

Sound interesting? Click the link above to get the full story!

While you’re there, I highly recommend checking out Zabo’s work. I literally devoured one of their entire series in less than a week, and they are definitely one of the reasons I have to claim to be a romance fan now!


If you thought this excerpt humanized Victory, tomorrow I’m stopping by fellow RDSP author Maria Alexander‘s blog to talk about why I think monsters are people, too.