November Wrap-Up & December Goals

This month, it feels like I wrote all the words, read all the books, and went to all the conventions. Okay, it’s actually about 32k words, 15 novels, 8 short stories, 3 graphic novels, and 2 conventions. Still a hell of a month.

NaNoWriMo 2018 words

Obviously, that 32k words means that I did NOT “win” NaNoWriMo. As you can see from the chart, I missed the first few days for World Fantasy, wrote for a bit, stalled out for a week, then went hardcore for a few days until Thanksgiving and ChessieCon. In theory, I could have done another 18k words in the time left. But I’ll refer you to what I said in my con report for ChessieCon:

“During some time spent chatting with friends after the panel, mentally moaning to myself that I should have been working on NaNoWriMo, I had a bit of an epiphany. I didn’t sign up for NaNoWriMo this year to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. That would have been nice, but it wasn’t the main point. The main point was to kick myself in the pants and actually get some words written on my the next book. I started the month with 8 thousand words. I now have 40 thousand. I’m going to call that a win in my book and keep writing at a pace that is comfortable for me.”

In addition, I also found out this month that I’m perfectly capable of writing up to 3,500 words in a day, where before I’d felt like 2,000 was my maximum. So, I didn’t win NaNoWriMo…but I totally accomplished what I needed NaNoWriMo to do for me, which is more of the point.

November Wrap-Up

  • See above for NaNoWriMo details.
  • I had a fantastic time at both World Fantasy and ChessieCon! The links for each name go to my con reports.
  • I still have about 200 pages to go in the last Wrinkle in Time series book, An Acceptable Time. This one is not grabbing me as much as the others, alas.

November Book Reviews

November Speculative Chic Contributions

December Goals

  1. Now that I’ve started, I have no excuse not to write another 15k to 20k of Steel Justice!
  2. Finish An Acceptable Time and review it for Speculative Chic.
  3. Contribute to four group blog posts for Speculative Chic: my wrap-up of my 2018 resolution, a description of my 2019 resolution (more reading!), my biggest disappointment of 2018, and my most anticipated thing of 2019!
  4. As is my new tradition since I became obsessed with LEGO, I’ll build one set between Christmas and my birthday (Dec 31).
  5. And most importantly: VACATION! The husband and I will be on a giant boat in the Caribbean for 7 days. No internet. No writing. Just lots of sun and warm and reading. And maybe a caipirinha or three.

I reorganized my To Be Read shelves after all the free books I got from World Fantasy, and then Nicki-cat told me to get back to writing.

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ChessieCon 2018 Schedule

chessielogoThis weekend, I will be recovering from Thanksgiving by hanging out at the Red Lion Hotel Baltimore North for ChessieCon 2018! My schedule is below.

I’m not staying at the convention hotel for this one, so give me a shout if you want to meet up for coffee or a meal. As usual, the best way to reach me during a convention is through a Facebook message or Twitter DM.

FRIDAY

  • 9:15 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
    • With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Margaret Carter, Roberta Rogow, Michelle D. Sonnier, and Elektra Hammond
  • 10:30 PM: Alternate Endings for your Favorite Canceled TV Shows (panel)
    • The show was brilliant, but that’s how they ended it?! Firefly, Enterprise, Jericho, Terminator, to name a few, all ended before their time. This panel is a group discussion/impromptu exercise to make our own endings.
    • With Elektra Hammond, Jeff Gritman, Timothy Liebe, and Harrison Demchick

SATURDAY

  • 10 AM: Time Management for the Overachieving Creator (panel)
    • Wearing too many hats? Going it indie as an author or publisher can really fragment your time. Panelists discuss ways you can streamline your process to be productive while still getting necessary things done.
    • With Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Intisar Khanani, Valerie Mikles, and Linda Adams
  • 4:15 PM: Young Adult Fiction: Why Then? Why Now? (panel)
    • In 1967, highschooler S.E. Hinton wrote The Outsiders, and the YA genre was quickly off and running. Now, over thirty years later, YA is rapidly expanding again. Both adults and teenagers are reading it, and YA books pop up on every bestseller list. What happened then, and what’s happening now that causes YA to grow so wildly?
    • With Mary Fan, Tamora Pierce, and Intisar Khanami
  • 6:45 PM: Mass Author Signing

SUNDAY

  • 10 AM: Author Reading

Con Report: World Fantasy 2018

World Fantasy 2018 banner

When a professional convention in your field is literally in your back yard (or at least 2 blocks away from where you used to work for 12 years), there’s really no excuse not to go. And I’m so glad that I attended World Fantasy 2018 in Baltimore, MD!

THURSDAY

I worked from home on Thursday morning, and then my mother-in-law was nice enough to drive me up to the convention hotel, where I stayed for the weekend. I could have commuted, but sharing a room was literally the same cost as I would have paid in parking fees over the course of 4 days.

After checking in, a friend dragged me to a small workshop on using Tarot cards to help prompt story ideas. While I don’t disbelieve in using Tarot for more personal means, I adore the concept as a storytelling exercise.

Following that, my afternoon workshop on Working with Editors went well. Scott H. Andrews, of Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine, was a great presenter and very knowledgeable about the subject. I was pretty much there to speak from the novel perspective, and help wrangle one of the small Q&A groups we held with other editors — and I am totally okay with that!

I joined the three lovely ladies I shared a hotel room with for dinner at the Irish pub across the street. All of us are former students from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction graduate program, but the best part of that is how many of those former students are now my friends and colleagues.  Continue reading

World Fantasy 2018 Schedule

World Fantasy 2018 bannerI’m very excited to attend World Fantasy this year! It’s in Baltimore, so I really have no excuse not to be there. I think it’ll be a great opportunity for me to start meeting agents BEFORE I have a novel to pitch to them (the UFO book, which gets written in 2020!), so it will be a more relaxed atmosphere for everyone involved.

As an added bonus, I’ll get to see so many writer friends from my grad school tribe and beyond, and I’m even on programming!

  • Thursday, 2 PM: Working with Editors
    • Workshop with limited space available
    • A broad discussion about editor interactions regarding short fiction and novels, including hiring developmental editors, finding sensitivity readers, submitting short fiction to magazines, sending queries for a novel to agents or publishers, and handling rewrites and line-edits. Plus a Q&A session with leading editors in the speculative fiction field today.
    • With Scott H. Andrews, Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine
  • Friday, 11 AM: Writing as Sanctuary
    • Panel: How does the art and/or exercise of writing provide sanctuary from the world. Can writing take you away from the external or is that always carried through to your work? #SanctuaryWriting
    • With Jacob Baugher, J.D. Blackrose, J.L. Gribble, Anna La Voie (M), and K. Ceres Wright
  • Friday, 8 PM: Mass Author Signing
  • Saturday, 10 PM: Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
  • Sunday, 11:30 AM: Individual Author Reading

I’m staying at the hotel in Baltimore, so I’ll be around all weekend if you want to hang out and chat or grab a meal/coffee/adult beverage. As usual, the best way to reach me during a convention is through a Facebook message or Twitter DM.

Con Report: Capclave 2018

Capclave dodoThis weekend was amazing, and I’m absolutely exhausted. (I apologize in advance that this con report will not be as in-depth as usual.) I’m very glad that spent the weekend at the hotel, despite Capclave being a “local” convention to where I live (Rockville, Maryland, is a 40-minute drive from my house without traffic). But it meant plenty of social time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, which is really the best part of conventions anyway!  Continue reading

FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018 Schedule

FanX 2018 author imageThis weekend I will be attending my second FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention (formerly Salt Lake Comic Con)! My husband joins me at this con, and we use it as our annual anniversary celebration because it falls near the date of our wedding. We have a great time people-watching, spending too much money on nerdy things, and catching up with friends. My husband refers to himself as my sherpa-slash-arm candy while I promote my writing, and this year, I’m excited to have our friends Lauren and Chad fly out with us.

I will be presenting on the alternate history genre and participating in a few panels. You’ll also definitely be able to find us at anything related to the Geek Show Podcast to support our buddies there. Schedule and additional details below.

I acknowledge that there has been some controversy surrounding this convention due to harassment issues between guests and fans that were not resolved satisfactorily during or after the 2017 event. While I am not 100% satisfied with the way things turned out after the issues last year (from what I know through the press and the Internet grapevine, at least), I do see that changes have been put in place that will hopefully make the 2018 event a success for all involved. For example, I personally know two of the people on the new community council and trust in them to help the convention through these issues. Though this is a larger convention (by many magnitudes) than the others I attend, my usual policy still stands: If you feel unsafe in any way, even if it’s just mildly uncomfortable, you can find me and I will be your new best friend (and help you out with whatever steps you need to feel safe). Fandom is a community, and communities look out for each other.

To anyone who might be at this convention, please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like to meet up for a meal, a drink, or even just to chat, especially since this is the one event a year that I’m not on the Easy Coast! I’d love to meet you. This applies to pretty much anytime I’m not busy. Facebook and Twitter DMs will be the best way to reach me before or during the event.

Thursday, September 6

  • 4 PM: Alternate History: Creating Stories by Changing the Past (Room 150G)
    • Join author and editor J.L. Gribble as she leads an interactive presentation on alternate history as a genre, subgenre, and storytelling technique, using examples from all forms of pop culture media. Appropriate for authors and readers. Hosting and color commentary provided by comedian Jay Whittaker.
  • 5 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)

Friday, September 7

  • 5 PM: Avengers, Re-Assemble! Infinity War and Beyond (Room 151D)
    • With the fate of the universe (well technically, half of it) hanging it the balance will the Avengers be able to put their differences aside and become The Universe’s Mightiest Heroes? In this panel we will discuss what we think/hope we can expect from the next Avengers movie as well as the movies leading up to and following ‘Avengers TBA’!
    • With Robert J. Defendi  (moderator), Jacob Dietz, Christian Lambert, McCord Larsen, Cameron McVey, and Travis Tate
  • 7 PM: Book signing at The Printed Garden (Booth 801)
  • 8 PM: Get Your Geek Off: Two Teams Debate Random Topics Suggested by the Audience (18+) (Room 251A)
    • With Shannon Barnson, Scott Drakeford, Kerry Jackson (moderator), Jimmy Martin, Kyle J. Steenblik, Jay Whittaker

Saturday, September 8

  • Wandering around and having fun!

August Wrap-Up & September Goals

I didn’t travel anywhere this month, but I still managed to have plenty of adventures! The highlights of the month were definitely the cover reveal for my next book, Steel Time, and buying the very first new car for either of us with my husband, a Tesla Model 3! Other fun things included some home improvement (installing a storage room under the stairs in our house), an epic ropes course through the treetops with my best friend at Adventure Park, and escaping a Nicola Tesla-themed escape room with my husband and friends with 45 seconds to spare.

Oh, and I got some work and reading done, too.

August Wrap-Up

  • Book 5, Steel Shadows, has been submitted to my editor! WOOT!
  • To celebrate, I will be building the Star Wars Y-Wing Starfighter LEGO set this weekend while I binge the most recent Marvel movies to prepare for a panel I’m on at a convention next month.
  • Prepping for the launch of Steel Time put my book 6 plans on hold, but I’m looking forward to buckling down on an outline in the next few days (technically, I’m writing this post on Wednesday, even though it’s going up on the blog on Friday).

August Book Reviews

August Speculative Chic Contributions

September Goals

  1. Well, to start, build a LEGO set while I watch Thor Ragnorok, Black Panther, and Avengers Infinity War to prep for that panel. I have such a hard life.
  2. Create a detailed scene-by-scene outline of the as-yet-untitled book 6 and write 5 to 10 thousand words of the first draft.
  3. Prep for a short and sweet blog tour to promote Steel Time. It comes out on September 6! Have you pre-ordered your copy yet?
  4. Attend FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention 2018! I can’t wait to return to this awesome convention and meet up with friends. This is the convention my husband attends with me (happy 6th anniversary to us!). I’ll be giving my presentation on the alternate history genre, participating in a few cool panels (including one on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, hence the film rewatch), and getting my picture taken with David Tennant!
  5. Later in the month, I’ll also be participating in a more local convention, Capclave 2018 outside of Washington DC. Plans are afoot for a Steel Time launch party, and I’ll be sure to share the info here.

So much to do, so little time! I could use my very own time machine right about now.