Special Mid-Month Update!

Snowspeeder topI come bearing excellent news! But first, a little bit of background.

After Steel Victory was accepted for publication and I received my publisher’s blessing to create a series with that world, I gave myself a goal. The next book in the series would be delivered to my editor by the time the previous novel was published.

Steel Empires book 2, Steel Magic, was delivered less than a month after Steel Victory came out. Book 3, Steel Blood, was also delivered less than a month after Steel Magic was officially released. Not too bad, and it certainly avoided major time crunches later, but still not technically meeting the goal.

Last Saturday, June 3, in the early afternoon, I emailed a solid draft of Steel Empires book 4, Steel Time, to my editor. Steel Blood doesn’t come out until July 19.

I feel like a rock star.

In celebration, I got to indulge in my other recent passion. Specifically, building my next intricate LEGO set! The Snowspeeder from the Battle of Hoth during Empire Strikes Back was released for this year’s Star Wars day, and I’ve been saving it for just such an occasion. You can see the final product above, and check out the nerdy building process after the jump.  Continue reading

Participants needed for STEEL BLOOD blog tour this July

Steel-Blood-Jacket.inddAre you a book blogger and/or reviewer? Would you like to be part of a blog tour this summer to promote the next book in the Steel Empires series, Steel Blood?

Please use this Google form (no registration required) to submit your contact information, availability, and interest in the following:

  • Spotlight (book and author info)
  • Short excerpt
  • Author interview (questions provided by me or you)
  • Guest post (topic to be mutually determined)

I am also looking for book reviewers who are interested in receiving an advance electronic copy in exchange for an honest review, to be posted at your convenience sometime this summer.

Thanks!

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.

STEEL BLOOD cover reveal contest announced!

The amazing cover artist for the Steel Empires series, Brad Sharp, did such a fantastic (fang-tastic?) job on the cover for Steel Blood that my publishers and I couldn’t decide between them! So we’re leaving it up to all of you with a vote. Head over to Raw Dog Screaming Press’ website to choose your favorite cover.  (Note: No registration necessary to cast your vote.)

Here’s an excerpt to tide you over, of Victory being badass (as she is).  Hopefully you’ll be intrigued enough to go check out the full version and let your voice be heard. There’s no unhappy ending to this election! So vote early, vote often, and tell your friends to do the same!

Steel Blood cover excerpt

And if THAT wasn’t incentive enough, the back cover text of this novel is also available on the voting page. Find out what Victory and Mikelos have been up to during the events of Steel Magic!

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

Holiday Romance Special Part 1: Kane & Archer

_Steel Magic-Jacket.inddI’ve been happily married for a few years, and while I could wax poetic about my amazing husband, when it comes to real life, we’re not the most romantic couple. He doesn’t work on Mondays, so our Valentine’s Day plan is to get some take-out Indian food and catch up on the DVR tonight. Honestly, we can’t be bothered to do anything tomorrow since he gets home late.

I am more than happy, however, to gush about the fictional couples in my life. Today, I’ll be discussing Kane Nalamas and Archer Sophin, who meet in Steel Empires #2, Steel Magic (now available in ebook or hardcopy). Tomorrow, in preparation for Steel Empires #2, Steel Blood (available July 2017), I’ll highlight Victory and Mikelos, whom you met in Steel Victory.

Some of the information below will be familiar from Steel Magic, though I’ll avoid overt spoilers. I hope you enjoy the rest as a mixture of delightful background information and a glimpse into their future within the series!

How and why did they meet?

With his warrior-mage partner, Kane was on a mercenary job to investigate the disappearance of mages in the world. Though the head of New Angouleme’s mage school assures them otherwise, Archer reaches out to reveal that not all is well. He has been functionally imprisoned, exchanging his physical safety for access to his magical power. Archer throws in his lot with Kane and Toria, following them to the other side of the world to save magic. 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

December Wrap-Up & January Goals

2016-tardises

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

Steel Magic Featured at Library Journal

_Steel Magic-Jacket.inddI had a bit of a SNAFU earlier this year with professional review sites, so I hadn’t been paying that much attention to them since the release of the second book in the Steel Empires series, Steel Magic. Therefore, I’m about half a year late in telling you all the fantastic news!

Steel Magic received a lovely shout-out in Library Journal earlier this year, and I’d love to share it with you here:

Gribble, J.L. Steel Magic. Dog Star: Raw Dog Screaming. (Steel Empires, Bk. 2). Jul. 2016. 188p. ISBN 9781935738855. pap. $14.95. FANTASY
Newly graduated Toria Conor and Kane Nalamas discover they are the last warrior-mages in Limani after the strange death of one of their teachers. Yet they are set on becoming professional mercenaries after their 18 months as contracted journeymen. As a bonded pair, Toria and Kane understand their elemental powers work even better than most, but it does not solve the mystery of disappearing mages. Hired by a city elder to resolve the matter, they travel to New Angouleme with their elven friend Syri to investigate the local mage school. When Syri is kidnapped, Toria and Kane must find and save her as well as magic itself. In this excellent follow-up to Steel Warrior, Gribble brings the newest generation to the forefront with an adventure reminiscent of Tamora Pierce’s “Alanna” series. VERDICT Strong plotting and captivating characters will please fans of fantasy quests.—KC

Direct link to post here.

I mean, there’s a minor quibble in the fact that I’m hoping they meant Steel Victory rather than Steel Warrior, but otherwise I’m humbled and pleased by that succinct review.

I’ll be back later today for my monthly roundup, but I wanted to share this delightful news first.

NaNoWriMo 2016 (sort of)

timey-wimey-quoteIt’s that time of year again, kids! When the writers in your life disappear for hours upon end, consume copious quantities of caffeine (and sometimes alcohol), and come out the other end of 30 days with some semblance of a book completed. Though I’m not officially signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which consists of 50,000 words in 30 days, my goal is 30,000 words in 30 days. This will hopefully get me close to the end of Steel Empires Book 4.

If you follow me on social media, you already know that I’ve been particularly obsessed with all things time travel lately. This isn’t new, really. I’ve maintained a fascination with the TARDIS for almost ten years, and so I figured it was time to put my own spin on it.

Today, I’d like to officially introduce you all to my current project: Steel Time.


Question 1: What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I already talked a bit about this above, but I’ve known since soon after I started drafting book 2, and decided that this would be a 7-book series, that I wanted to explore time travel at the midpoint of the major story arc. Don’t worry: I won’t be resetting my world and wiping out things that have gone before. Instead, I wanted something epic to bring Victory and Toria back together as POV characters in a novel.  Continue reading