December Wrap-Up & January Goals

Happy new year from all of us at Casa Siamese! Though you won’t see this post until it goes live on Wednesday morning, I’m writing it late Monday afternoon with a tummy full of amazing New Year’s Day brunch and a hot mug of tea. I’m excited to start 2018 with a bang, and by bang I mean working on some blog posts and then curling up on the couch with a book.

December Wrap-Up

  • I decided not to kill myself finishing Steel Shadows in the midst of all the other holiday craziness, but I came pretty dang close. The book is currently at a touch over 83,000 words, and I have the two short concluding scenes to finish up. If you follow me on social media (and you should, obviously), expect posts of extreme joy within the next few days.
  • I had a blast beta-reading the next novel in what has become one of my favorite series. I never expected to enjoy paranormal thrillers as much as I now do, but then again, I never expected to read as much romance as is currently mixed in with my science fiction and fantasy. I’m not quite sure when this novel will be published, but I’ll definitely have an excellent review to post on release day.

December Book Reviews

According to Goodreads, I read well beyond my goal of 50 books for 2017, though some of those listed on my account were short stories or books that I abandoned for whatever reason. The list above doesn’t even include everything I read in December this year, because I’ve already queued up book reviews and other blog posts through mid-January!

December Speculative Chic Contributions

January Goals

  1. Okay, seriously, this time I’ll finish the first draft of Steel Shadows.
  2. Since I can’t immediately launch into the first round of revisions without giving the entire book time to percolate, it’s a good thing I have edits for book 4, Steel Time, that also need to get done this month!
  3. Once Steel Time goes back to the editor, it’ll be nice to sit down and look at Steel Shadows from the beginning. Since I wrote that beginning 6 months ago, I definitely need the refresher before I start tweaking things. It will then go to the beta-readers either in late January or early February.
  4. Speaking of beta-reading, I have another book by a friend to review! I haven’t read his work before, but I’ve only heard good things, so I’m excited to experience a new writer.

I hope you are all looking forward to whatever 2018 brings us. I have lots of events already planned throughout the year, and I’m hoping that a proper vacation is also in my future. Now, I have more blog posts to write and a box of macarons I got for my birthday to eat.

Though I didn’t ask for any this year, for either Christmas or my birthday, my family knows me too well! The new additions to the TARDIS collection are:


  • Retro pencil holder from my mother-in-law
  • Stained glass wall-hanging from my mother
  • Jewelry box from my sister- and brother-in-law

Two separate people also gave me bottles of port this year. Good thing I have book 6 to write in 2018, because I’ve got the writer-juice to do it!


Holiday Letter 2016


Lucy would like to remind everyone that she is the best present (and that the heating vent is warm).

Happy holidays to all of my readers! Every year, my husband and I send a card and newsletter to family and friends. Since I include all of you in that category, below is a (slightly redacted for privacy) copy of the newsletter. I hope you are all having a great holiday of your choice.

(In case it’s not obvious, the name I actually use in day-to-day life is Hanna!)

Dear Family & Friends,

This has been a year of changes in the Gribble household, but for the most part, they have all been for the better. Continue reading

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.

Bean Hollow

Tomorrow night, I should be meeting my writing group at an amazing local coffeehouse in Historic Ellicott City. But I can’t, because it is functionally gone.


The street around it is gone, but the eggplant survived!

As a military brat, I’m only a transplant to Howard County, Maryland. I’ve been here since I finished undergrad, because it was where my parents happened to be stationed at the time. I stayed in Howard County despite over 10 years of working in Baltimore City, meeting and marrying my husband here. He’s been an Ellicott City resident since birth, and I finally put down real roots when we had a house built here (a few miles away from the flooding). It took a long time for an introvert such as myself, but I eventually pulled together a circle of local friends. I had things like a local pizza joint, a sushi place where everyone knew my name, and the beloved indie coffee shop that every writer needs. One day, I looked up and realized that I’d spend over a third of my life here. For this reluctant wanderer, it was amazing to finally have a home.

I’ve experienced loss of the physical in my life. My mother and I evacuated Clark Air Base during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, leaving everything we owned behind. A few years later, when my stepfather was transferred to Ft. Lewis in Washington State, our moving van caught fire during the cross-country drive and we lost almost everything again.

And even with that, I have absolutely no idea what the residents and business owners on Main Street must be going through. I know just enough to barely grasp the scope of it. I know enough to want to do what I can to help those people recover. I know enough to know that the city will recover.

She might be the artist of the group, but as someone who has also lived in Ellicott City her whole life, who has spent over a decade with Bean Hollow as opposed to my handful of years, Julia says it best:

I am still in disbelief that I won’t have the smell of Bean Hollow lingering in my hair and my clothes and my backpack Wednesday nights. That I won’t get to have the best damn corn muffin or hot chocolate that’s ever been made. That I won’t be sitting at that back table with my writing group tomorrow. That I won’t get to see awkward first dates falling in love with what I and many others call ‘my coffee shop’. Disbelief that the place I always feel at home in, no matter how far away or how long I’ve been gone for, is wrecked. I am glad everyone made it out of the building safely (and from Discoveries). I hope they frame the phone and put it back in the shop when it is rebuilt. I can’t wait to get back to my coffee shop.

We’ll miss you, Bean Hollow. We can’t wait for you to be back.


From the Howard County  Government Facebook page:

Those looking to donate money or food can contact the United Way of Central Maryland which established a fund called “ECStrong.” Donations will be used exclusively to support humanitarian relief for the victims affected by Saturday night’s severe flooding. Those who wish to contribute financially can text ECStrong to 51555 or follow the link

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?


STEEL MAGIC: Parisii, City of Light and Darkness

With clues leading to the old world of Europa ahead of them, and enemies behind them, Toria and Kane cross an ocean to reach Parisii. This ancient city has changed hands multiple times over the centuries between Roman and British control, with occasional bouts of independence.

Will the warrior-mages find what they’re searching for in Parisii? Or will they find a hell of a lot more than they expected?


Clockwise from top left: Delicious tea and pastries at Laduree, bones within the Catacombs beneath the city, Victor Hugo’s house, and the obligatory Eiffel Tower picture.

Continue reading