Book Spotlight: Steel Blood

Hi friends! I’m swinging by here to introduce you to a writer friend of mine. Because the historical fantasy genre is a place where we can mix up so many variables, we write in the same genre (and frequently co-habit panels at local conventions!) but her world is intriguingly different than mine, and it’s SO GOOD! So please read on to meet my friend J.L. Gribble and learn a bit about her newest release – I think you’ll really like it.

Steel-Blood-Jacket.inddAs her children begin lives of their own, Victory struggles with the loneliness of an empty nest. Just when the city of Limani could not seem smaller, an old friend requests that she come out of retirement for one final mercenary contract—to bodyguard his granddaughter, a princess of the Qin Empire.

For the first time in a century, the Qin and British Empires are reopening diplomatic relations. Alongside the British delegation, Victory and her daywalker Mikelos arrive in the Qin colony city of Jiang Yi Yue. As the Qin weredragons and British werewolves take careful steps toward a lasting peace between their people, a connection between the Qin princess and a British nobleman throw everyone’s plans in disarray.

Meanwhile, a third faction stalks the city under the cover of darkness.

This is not a typical romance. It’s a good thing Victory is not a typical vampire.

Gribble photo colorBy day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program.

She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Find her online (, on Facebook (, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits).

You can buy STEEL BLOOD on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or direct from the publisher. And don’t forget to check out the first two books in the series, STEEL VICTORY and STEEL MAGIC.


My Balticon Schedule is Up!

That’s right, after years and years of going to my local SFF convention as a fan, I’m actually there this year as an author! Dreams DO come true! Childcare DOES get more complicated!

Here’s the panels I’m scheduled to attend at Balticon, which is held over Memorial Day weekend in beautiful Baltimore, Maryland (I may be biased).


  • 5 PM: Baltimore in Science Fiction
  • 6 PM: Writing Major Minor Characters


  • 10 AM: The State of SFF Publishing
  • 11 AM: Superheroine to Wise Woman: Creating Powerful Female Characters
  • 2 PM: Reading Outside Your Genre for SFF Writers


  • 4 PM: Judging an Editor’s Work
  • 5 PM: Blurred Lines: Writing and Marketing Mixed-Genre Books

I’m really excited to be attending as a Real Live Author this year, and I’m pumped about my lineup of panels, because they all sound awesome. (I’m SUPER excited in a deeply nerdy way about the Baltimore in Science Fiction one, and I’m proud that two of the others are panels I proposed! One other of my proposals was also accepted, but I wound up not being able to be on it because of a scheduling conflict.) And as a fan, I’m pretty excited at the chance to meet some of my author heroes.

If you’re in the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, I can heartily recommend Balticon as a great convention to attend. I’ve always had an amazing time there, and I’m excited to be building my career there now. Come see me!

Plus, bonus, they have great children’s programming! A certain pair of three year olds will DEFINITELY be down for that.

The Silk and Scandal Giveaway!

How could I resist participating in a giveaway that’s named SO PERFECTLY? That’s right, I couldn’t. Check it out!

Join the historical romance list-building giveaway?5_8 - 5_15-3.png

How much do we love our readers? We’d like to show you!

One winner will win a Kindle and an E-book from each author.  A second winner will win an E-book from each author.

One simple entry will subscribe you to 9 Historical Author Newsletters. Plus, gain additional entries through bonus sign ups!

Unsubscribe any time, but please don’t label us as spam. Better still, stick around and get to know us.

The participating authors in this one are awesome, and you’re definitely going to want to meet them:

Amanda Roberts | Emily Murdoch | Jamaila Brinkley | Samantha Holt | Dianne Trimble | Aubrey Wynne | Tess Hardwick | Tammy Andersen | Jane Reynolds |

Enter here:

WITCH’S STONE is here – and THIEVES’ HONOR is free!!

That’s right! Duncan and Fiona’s story is finally here! You can get WITCH’S STONE exclusively on Amazon, and read the story of the battle mage and the witch who has his heart. I’m so excited for you to read this one – I love everybody in this book, up to and including Duncan’s ancestral castle itself!

duncan promo image

And, to celebrate the release of WITCH’S STONE, we’ve put THIEVES’ HONOR up for FREE! You can get the first book in the series and meet all the Wizards of London for the first time. It’s a limited time offer, though – only through May 9th! So go grab it!

thieves honor em promo image

St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway!

StPatricksHopJoin IndieSage PR and 80+ authors and bloggers on the St. Patrick’s Day Hop to celebrate!

How does a hop work? In addition to the grand prize giveaway, each stop will have a chance to win MORE prizes. You can enter one, pick and choose, or enter them ALL. We hope you find new friends, new books, and new authors to enjoy.

Start the hop at my Facebook page here! If you encounter a broken link, you can always come back to the schedule.

Mushroom Risotto and Important Dates

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season and is settling in to the New Year. We prolonged our holidays by taking our extended family on a trip to Walt Disney World. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know that it didn’t quite go as planned. Fortunately, we’re all home and mostly recovered – just one pesky broken toe left as a souvenir! 

So now it’s back to reality, which means two things: writing and cooking. On the writing front, I’m happy to say that WITCH’S STONE will be available on May 3rd from Soul Mate Publishing, and CAPTAIN’S LADY will be out in August! Stay tuned here for a cover reveal for Duncan’s story very soon! And stay tuned on Twitter and Facebook for sneak peeks at Jack’s story as I write it.

In the meantime, it’s been a while since I posted a recipe here. So how about some risotto? My kids love pretty much anything if it involves rice, and this is no exception. It’s also good for toddler fork scooping practice, since it holds together. I serve it in various ways; sometimes with seared scallops or roasted chicken. Tonight, I served it on a bed of baby arugula and tossed a fried egg on top. It was delicious.

Mushroom Risotto

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (feel free to add more. Garlic is good.)
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat or olive oil
  • 2 pint containers mushrooms, sliced (I like a mix of baby portobellos and shiitakes)
  • 1 cup uncooked arborio rice (or any short grain rice)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you’re keeping it veggie)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper 

Heat the bacon fat over medium high heat (or olive oil, if you’re boring) in a large pot such as a Dutch oven. Sautée the onions in the fat until they’re starting to become translucent, about five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste (I use about a teaspoon of each. I went to see Ina Garten talk recently and she got very snippy about people who don’t specify what ‘to taste’ means. So there you go.) Add the garlic, and sautée for another minute.

Add the mushrooms, and stir to coat everything in the fat. Add the rice, and stir more to make sure that all of the rice grains get coated in fat. Sautée for about two minutes. 

Add the wine, and stir to get any brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Let it cook, stirring frequently, until the wine has bubbled nearly completely away.

Add enough chicken stock to cover the rice and mushrooms (usually about two cups). Stir, then again let cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is basically gone. Repeat this process with the remainder of the stock, a couple cups at a time, until all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through when you test it (just bite a grain – if it’s still hard in the center, keep going).

Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Serve.

(Risotto texture is basically goop; you shouldn’t have any actual liquid left, but the grains of rice will all be surrounded by a pasty, goopy sauce. Hard to describe, delicious to eat.)

Book Recommendations and Reviews

Reviews are starting to come in for THE STAR OF ANATOLIA, and I’m loving that readers are loving it. (Special thanks to my hard working review team! They are awesome.)


I hope you’ll pick up SoA, as well as THIEVES’ HONOR, over the holiday season. I might be biased, but I think they’re both pretty great for some light, fun reading, which is all I personally ever want during this time of year. (Save your angsty literature for, like, March, is all I’m saying. Madame Bovary can wait until at least May.)

When I’m not basking in the glow of all that reader adulation, I’m still working away on CAPTAIN’S LADY, book three in the Wizards of London series. Jack Boone is still my favorite. In the meantime, I had the privilege of attending ChessieCon this weekend, and got to be on a couple of really fantastic panels. One of them, ‘The Evolution of Women in Fantasy,’ was an absolutely amazing discussion (special thanks to my co-panelists, J.L. Gribble and C.S. Friedman, and our moderator, Kim Headlee). During that talk, I recommended some books to our audience, and I wanted to recommend them here, too, because they’re fab and you should read them. Without further adieu:

Read them. Love them. Come back here and tell me what you thought of them. (Also post reviews, authors love reviews.)

Tell me about some amazing lady-centric books you’re reading! Fantasy – in all of its incarnations (urban fantasy, paranormal romance, epic fantasy, YA, etc. etc. etc.) is an amazing place to be reading these days.

(PS: More inspiration wanted? Check out Rejected Princesses. Or head to Twitter, and follow author Mackenzi Lee’s hashtag #BygoneBadassBroads!)