Holiday Romance Special Part 2: Victory & Mikelos

SteelVictoryARC_cov.inddAs promised, the husband and I shared a delicious meal of Indian food in front of the TV last night to celebrate Valentine’s Day. We watched another few episodes of The Grand Tour and then went to bed early.

Today actually marks 8 years since we officially started dating! Not because of the holiday, but because in 2009 I had agreed to pick him up from the airport after a 2-week class in California, and he had a Valentine’s Day bouquet delivered to my apartment that morning as a thank you.

But you’re not here for my sappy love story. You’re here for the much more interesting one between Victory and Mikelos, who were introduced in Steel Victory. Vampire and daywalker will return for their own adventure this summer in Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood, but for now, here’s some backstory and behind-the-scenes info to tide you over.

How and why did they meet?

After the drama (and trauma) of the Last War, Victory settled in Limani with her progeny Jarimis. She helped Jarimis’ daywalker open a bar, supporting Allesdandra’s dream. One day, in walks a human man she recognized from back in Europa, a former concert violinist.

For 200 years, Mikelos had lived as the daywalker to his musical partner, the vampire and cellist Connor. When Connor disappears without a trace, he leaves his old life behind, escaping into anonymity in Limani. Or so he thinks.

When Mikelos is mortally wounded defending Allesandra, Victory turns him back into a daywalker to save his life. Continue reading

January Wrap-Up & February Goals

rdsp2017I had a very good, low-key January that also included some major news and accomplishments. First of all, I’m excited to announce that Steel Empires #3: Steel Blood will be released July 2017 from Raw Dog Screaming Press, along with a full slate of other amazing books. Want to know what Victory has been up to during the events of Steel Magic, while Toria and Kane have been mucking things up in Europa? My tag line for the next one is “Romeo and Juliet with werewolves and weredragons…with bonus feminism.” Who in their right mind cast Victory as Nurse? Oh…that’d be me.

January Wrap-Up:

  • The other good news: I finished the first draft of Steel Time! It clocked it an an astounding 105,951 words, which is waaaaaaay over my publisher’s word limit. Lots of work still to be done.
  • Because it’s so long, I’m still working on the first round of revisions before I can send it to my beta readers. I’m about halfway done, and it’s already down to 99,927 words.
  • On the plus side, I’ve been getting some reading done and I’m keeping up to date on my book reviews!

Continue reading

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!

IMG_6748

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?

…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!
FullSizeRender

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!

 

April Wrap-Up & May Goals

What a roller coaster of a month!

April Wrap-Up:

  • Vacation successful and new job started! I’m three weeks in and enjoying myself immensely. I’m doing a very different sort of editing, along with a bunch of other interesting projects. My small team is great, and I love the area of Baltimore that my new office is in.
  • I finally got cranking on the Steel Time scene-by-scene outline this weekend and have just the climax left to do!
  • I received a full review of Steel Blood from one of my favorite beta readers, but haven’t gotten a chance to dive into his notes yet because I got distracted by another major project, which was…
  • Doing a last major publicity push for Steel Victory before Steel Magic is released this summer. Over the course of the last week, I put together a database of close to 100 book review bloggers and submitted Steel Victory for consideration to everyone who was currently accepting (between 60 and 70). So far I have sent out 16 review copies! If you are also a book review blogger interested in reviewing Steel Victory within the next few months, please drop me a line!
  • I only poked at the prequel story edits a bit on the cruise, but nothing substantial. Because there have been so many changes with Amazon self-publishing lately, I’m no longer in a big hurry to get those ready.
  • Book reviews! I’m down to a backlog of 11 books. Here’s what I was able to post after the cruise this month:
IMG_6346

Zip-lining in St. Thomas above Magen’s Bay

May Goals:

  1. Steel Magic cover reveal! This is coming soon, so let me know if you’d like to participate.
  2. Dog Star Books book-signing in Dayton, Ohio, later this month (Saturday, May 28)! The link goes to the Facebook event page for more details. I’ll be joining Matt Betts and K.W. Taylor for a few hours of discussion on science-fiction and fantasy, including readings and time for Q&A.
  3. Finish the Steel Time outline and do all the research I’ll need in preparation for writing. More on that later this week.
  4. Steel Blood edits.
  5. Book reviews!

What are you all up to in the next few weeks?

Currently reading: Frost Burn by K.T. Munson and Nichelle Rae

March Wrap-Up & April Goals

Some highs and lows this month, for sure. See last Friday’s post about the major milestones in my life I’m currently in the middle of.

March Wrap-Up:

  • Complete the scene-by-scene outline for book 4, Steel Time. It turns out that the power in the ‘verse that can stop me is my own brain! I have three poster boards in my office liberally decorated with post-it notes in four different colors. But the new outlining method I tried got me a bit bogged down in the details, and even though I’m genuinely excited about this book, I became really overwhelmed by the outline. I’m hoping to come back from vacation refreshed and ready to tackle it with new eyes, so that I know what I need to investigate during the May research stage.
  • Prequel story #2 scene revisions: I’m about halfway done, and have gotten some great notes from my new critique group!
  • Attend Cleveland ConCoction: Done! It was a great event, and you can see my con report for it here.
  • Book reviews: Hell yeah! I got five of them done:
  • Make a dent in the to-read pile: Sort of? I did get some reading done, but I may have “accidentally” bought more books instead. However…

April Goals:

  1. Vacation! I’m going to spend some much-needed quiet time on a boat with my husband for 10 days. This is our vacation before he leaves for military tech school for 5 months this summer and fall. There will be much, much reading of books while we are gone. I’m bringing my computer because I am a workaholic, but any writing goals I have are totally unofficial and won’t count here.
  2. Start my new job! But real life is boring. Let’s talk about writing goals instead.
  3. Steel Time scene-by-scene outline.
  4. Steel Blood edits. Three beta readers have book 3, and I should have notes from them by the time I get home in 10 days. I’m giving myself until the end of the month to do any necessary rewrites and start my line edits.
  5. Prequel story #2 revisions.
  6. Book reviews!
IMG_6189

I have half a dozen more books on my Kindle (the thing leaning on the left), and I always find something interesting in the ship’s library! The Star Trek books are my husband’s, but I’m quite intrigued by the rise of the Federation myself…

Final STEEL BLOOD Wrap-Up

12669637_10154740115353018_2522471737006392144_n

The lovely tea set my amazing editor made during our mad tea party last weekend. This picture has nothing to do with the post. I just wanted to show off the tea cup.

Now that I’ve finally completed the first draft of book 3, tentatively titled STEEL BLOOD, I wanted to do a bit of a wrap-up on it. These questions were gleefully stolen from fellow writer Breeanna Pierce, and you can check out her final thoughts on her most recent novel here.

Previous posts I’ve made about book 3, which was also my NaNoWriMo novel for 2015, can be found here and here. Continue reading

January Wrap-Up & February Goals

First of all, can we just spend a moment basking in the fact that this happened yesterday?

12642672_10154723247353018_5528401716544057887_n

I did a bit more tweaking today, and STEEL BLOOD is currently at 79,999 words and on it’s way to the beta readers!

January Wrap-Up:

  • Finish book 3: DONE! WOOT!
  • Finish edits on prequel story 1: DONE! I’m on a roll!
  • Start edits on prequel story 2: …Did I mention that I finished book 3?
  • Steel Empires bible: I got a crash course on the best way to set up an Excel spreadsheet for this, and it’s organized and updated! I have tabs on characters, locations, world-building details, and future story ideas.
  • I did, in fact, proof a novel for my publisher. You should all go pre-order it here: STARRIE, by Heidi Ruby Miller (another novel in the Ambasadora-verse).
  • mumblemumblebookreviewsmumblemumble

February Goals:

  1. Not look at book 3. I’ll come back to it in a few months once the beta-readers are done with it.
  2. Start revising prequel story 2 and send scenes to my new critique group!
  3. Start outlining the major plot points of book 4 using a great method I learned about during my writing retreat.
  4. Something about book reviews? Maybe?

Remember, February is Women in Horror Month! I’m not a horror writer myself, but I’m friends with a bunch of them. Last year I attended a great panel on gender diversity in the genre, and the takeaways are still applicable. You can read about them on the Raw Dog Screaming Press blog here.

December Wrap-Up & January Goals

December was both a slow and hectic month for me. Slow in that I was out of commission with a nasty cold for the first 1/3 of the month and hectic because the holidays coincided with the deadline for the final draft of STEEL MAGIC. (But it was submitted on time! Go me!)

December Wrap-Up:

  • STEEL MAGIC final edits done and submitted!
  • Steel Empires series bible started with character names and places from book 2! (Typing it up from the various pieces of scrap paper they’re written on is a different matter…)
  • Read my critique partner’s full short story collection and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait until she has it in a position for me to brag about it more.
  • Posted one of my Star Wars book reviews (5 stars for Claudia Gray’s LOST STARS!) before my husband and I saw the premiere and then had no more time to read for pleasure the entire month. On the plus (minus?) side, my husband keeps buying all the Star Wars tie-in novels, so you’ll get to see lots of reviews of those from me.
  • I only poked at book 3, STEEL BLOOD, a little bit, which leads us to…

January Goals:

  1. Finish STEEL BLOOD. Luckily, I’m attending a writing retreat this month. That will give me both the time and creative energy for the final push.
  2. Finish edits on prequel story 1 (STEEL FORGED 1: THE RELUCTANT MASTER), which has been languishing during the writing of book 3 and editing of book 2.
  3. Possibly start the rewrite of prequel story 2 (STEEL FORGED 2: THICKER THAN BLOOD).
  4. Type up and begin to organize Steel Empires series bible.
  5. Proof a novel for my publisher. (And possibly a second.)
  6. Blah blah book reviews blah blah I know you are so bored of hearing me claim that I am going to write book reviews.

I recently had somebody ask why I do these monthly update posts. Two reasons:

(1) Accountability on my part. It’s a lot harder for me to slack on my projects if I feel like a lot of people know what I’m supposed to be working on.

(2) To remove the mystique of the writer. Since I attended a graduate program on writing, it means that I have a lot of friends who are also writers. What we do and go through is completely normal to me. But in the rest of my life, I am the only writer that many of my friends know. The concept of not only writing a book (or multiple books) but also all the work that goes into publishing and marketing it can sometimes be like magic. It’s really not, and I consider this my small way of educating the interested public.

But that’s it for now. Message me on Twitter (@hannaedits) if you want to talk Star Wars!

IMG_5842

Husband and I appropriately attired for our first viewing of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.