Calico in Conversation: Boosting Confidence with J.L. Gribble

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J.L. Gribble

By 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 (www.jlgribble.com), on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram (@hannaedits).

Editor’s Note: this is part one of a three-part interview. Parts two and three will be published July 12th and July 19th, respectively. Also, this interview was originally conducted in March through June of 2016.

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Now, to get started, I ask all of my interviewees the same starting question, and that’s this: how do we know each other?

Hi, Shara! We both attended Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. Our terms overlapped by a few years, and I’m so glad that gave us the opportunity to meet. My earliest memory of you is that your first residency was the year we all gave ourselves Battlestar Galactica names. I was Officer Dualla and you were D’Anna Biers. I have equated you with the badass Lucy Lawless ever since.

Badass Lucy Lawless? I’LL TAKE IT. Hell, why don’t I cosplay that more? I’ve totally got the hair and the jawline… just not the muscles.

I’m glad you brought up Seton Hill. Back then, it was a Master of Arts, which has now become a Master of FINE Arts in Writing Popular Fiction. I never went back for the “F” in my MA. Did you do that, and if you haven’t, would you consider doing that, considering this point in your career?

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It’s Been A While…

I haven’t posted in nearly a week. I apologize. It’s funny to watch how my site’s stats go downhill when there isn’t regular content, but my brain has been so full of stuff that posting in the blog has been the last thing on my mind.

So to catch-up:

1) The husband and I marathoned the fourth and most recent season of Homeland. This last week was the 10 year anniversary of the pilot episode of Battlestar Galactica, and one of the articles I read discussed how the last ten years of television has failed the expectations set up by the show. Mostly, it discusses how science fiction and fantasy has failed, and it makes some interesting points. It also talks about how the successors of the show aren’t actually science fiction or fantasy at all, and after watching this fourth season of Homeland, I think you can make a case that this show could indeed be a successor. No, it’s not science fiction or fantasy. But you want to take some (not all) of the really hard questions BSG asks, the moral ambiguity it puts its characters in and find a current show doing the same thing? Take a good look at Homeland, especially this last season. Damn, it was good.

2) I’ve been reading both published and unpublished work. The latter has taken up most of my time, but I also sank my teeth into Jo Walton’s My Real Children and found myself completely absorbed. The structure is such that once you get to a certain point, you’re compelled to read two chapters at a time, due to the parallel structure. And I’ll give Walton credit where credit is due: at first, I feared she was making a case for one obviously good life and one obviously bad one, and yet it slowly became obvious that wasn’t the case. A clear picture is painted in the last chapter, and the reader is always asking oneself, which life would YOU choose? The ending doesn’t provide a clear answer, but it definitely provides food for thought, especially in light of both realities being alternate universes to ours. A fascinating read, and one I could read again.

3) I’ve changed up my elliptical schedule. Since 2013, I’ve been getting up early to put in my thirty minutes on every work day, but the end of 2014 had me cutting that out completely, and while in 2015 I’ve gotten back on the saddle, I’m looking at a serious change to my work schedule which, in order to keep working out in the mornings, means I’d have to get up an hour earlier, and I’m not sure my body will tolerate that. So, before the work schedule changes, I’m retraining myself to work out in the evenings. The pros: I can do the full 30 minutes without feeling rushed, and I’m fed with plenty of calories, so I don’t get tired. The cons: it takes an hour when it’s all said and done, and I have to take a second shower that day.

4) Nothing of note to report on the writing front. That being said, I’m starting to make plans. I have three projects that I want to reach a certain state, and I making plans to ask myself the following: 1) what is my goal for this project? 2) when do I plan to accomplish this goal? It’s a good start, considering I’m notoriously bad at PLANNING things when it comes to writing, unless it’s something simple, like a word count per day. But what I’m embarking on is a level up, maybe two levels up. We’ll see how it goes.

5) That’s it for now. My brain is still kind of fuzzy and fill, so I’ll leave you with this song that I pulled the headline from: “It’s Been a While,” from Staind’s Breaking the Cycle. You can hear it here.