Jennifer Brozek | Wordslinger & Optimist!

The Jennifer Award for November 2018

by Jennifer Brozek 30. November 2018 11:56

From now until I decide I want to stop doing this, I will be giving out a monthly “Jennifer Award” for the best new-to-me thing I read that month. This can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be an essay/article, a short story, a novelette, a novella, or a novel. It doesn’t matter when it came out. It only matters that this is the first time I read it and I thought it was the best thing I read all month. Yes, it is completely subjective and biased towards what I like to read.

The winner will receive a shiny digital badge of honor and a $5 gift card.

The November winner of the Jennifer Award is “The Shaman’s Tale” by Ari Marmell. It’s a free story that Ari posted just because. I read it because I know Ari and I like his writing. I didn’t expect the story I got and I am a serious sucker for origin myth stories. I didn’t catch on to where it was going until almost the very end. I love that. It’s free on Google Docs and worth the read. Ari also writes the Mick Oberon novels that I enjoy.

2018
Jan: Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M. Odell
Feb: “When We Fall” by Kameron Hurley
Mar: The Alastair Stone Chronicles by R.L. King
Apr: Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
May: “The Soul of Horses” by Beth Cato
Jun: “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue
Jul: “By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry & A. Merc Rustad
Aug: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
Sep: Immortal House by Elizabeth Guizzetti
Oct: Planetside by Michael Mammay
Nov: “The Shaman’s Tale” by Ari Marmell

 

Tags:

Perimenopause Rant

by Jennifer Brozek 29. November 2018 11:58

This is a rant. This is about the hellish transitional period a woman goes through between being fertile and menopause. It’s called perimenopause and I didn’t hear of it until I turned 47. It’s like a particularly evil right-of-passage that women go through to say, “Have a baby, now or never! In the meantime, your body is going to be one whacked-out mess of hormones where NOTHING will act as it once did.”

I’ve been dealing with perimenopause for almost a year and it sucks. You want to know what’s worse? Perimenopause lasts between 4 months and 10 YEARS (on average). Yes, I said “years.” That isn’t a joke and this isn’t a laughing matter.

The reason I didn’t hear about this from my mom is the fact that she had a hysterectomy after “bleeding every day for a year” and never dealt with it. She had her own brand of hell to walk through.

You want to know what some of the symptoms of perimenopause are? These are the ones I’ve personally experienced:
•    Heat flashes
•    Night sweats
•    Insomnia
•    Dry skin
•    Irregular periods (We’re talking 16 to 36 day periods, randomly.)
•    Morning poop explosions (Like spending an hour on the toilet 2-3 times a week in the morning while your butt goes through the equivalent of dry heaves. I literally need to make all my appointments for the afternoon now because I never know when my body is going to act up on any given morning.)
•    Mood swings (Crying at commercials, laughing at unfunny things, general moodiness—oh, you think you [or your loved one is] are being moody now? You ain’t seen nothing yet.)

Some I haven’t experienced but was told about:
•    Tender boobs
•    Fatigue
•    Depression
•    Urine leakage (laughing, coughing, sneezing, living)
•    Increased PMS symptoms
•    More that I can’t remember or don’t know of because bodies are all different

Remember… these symptoms, on average, last between 4 months and 10 YEARS.

You wanna know who has or is dealing with this in your life? Mention the word “perimenopause” to any group of women and see who makes a face and that “ugh” noise.

You wanna know how you might be able to treat this? Birth control pills. Not to keep you from having kids, but a low dose to try to regulate your hormones. But birth control pills come with their own set of problems. Between side effects, political talking points, and religious I-know-what’s-right assholes, that’s something I don’t even want to think about.

Why don’t more women talk about perimenopause? We know all about men and their erectile dysfunction AKA the much more polite and less embarrassing “ED.” No, women have to talk around the bullshit happening to their body because it’s too embarrassing, it’s “TMI.” It’s not polite.

Fuck that.

This is something almost all women have to go through. I’m tired of it being a secret rite-of-passage for older women who are already facing enough discrimination in health care. Thank goodness my doctor is plain spoken and blunt about what’s happening to me. It sucks and I wish I’d known sooner this was going to happen to me. There’s no real physical way to prepare for it, but there are mental ways.

And knowing is half the battle.

Tags: ,

Holiday Books From Me For You

by Jennifer Brozek 21. November 2018 08:49

Tis the season to be giving and getting; the holiday season. For those of you who want signed books by me, there are a couple of ways to go about it. I’ve been asked about this several times. I’m putting it all in one place this year. 

My preferred way: the University Bookstore in Seattle, WA. Visit the website or call: 1.800.335.7323. They have many of my books, even obscure ones. All of them are signed. If they are not, they can contact me and I’ll head over and sign them.

Alternative 1: Buy a physical book from the Apocalypse Ink Productions website and email, requesting that I sign it.

Alternative 2: Buy the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your retailer of choice, then mail me a bookplate to sign with all the appropriate information.

Jennifer Brozek
6830 NE Bothell Way, STE C #404
Kenmore, WA 98028

The above address is excellent for sending me holiday cards or birthday cards (Dec 9) as well.

Tags:

OryCon and SF Authorfest Schedule

by Jennifer Brozek 6. November 2018 08:36

Here is my OryCon and SF Authorfest schedule. If I'm not at my table, I'm at a panel. Come say hello, buy books/ebooks, get stuff signed, and get holiday gifts for your loved ones! I've got some out-of-print books as well as collectible books to sell. I'm going to be right next to Angelwear Creations.

Friday, Nov 9
3:00:pm-4:00:pm, Horror For Beginners, Room: 166 B   

Want to write a scary story, but don’t know where to start? Advice from some of our favorite horror authors!

---

Saturday, Nov 10
12:00:pm-1:00:pm, Willing suspension of disbelief, Room: 166 B   

A discussion of earning the willing suspension of disbelief, why you need it, and when to overstep it.

1:00:pm-2:00:pm, Are You Doomed by Your Muse?, Room: Pettygrove   
Creatives have a reputation for self-destructing, suffering, starving, succumbing to various illnesses and addictions... How much of this is self-fulfilling prophecy, how much is sensationalism and cultural influence, and how much is it the nature of being a writer, poet, artist, musician, or other creative?

7:30:pm-8:00:pm, Jennifer Brozek Reading, Room: 152 Readings   
Jennifer Brozek reads from her works—one published, one not published.


---

Sunday, Nov 11
10:00:am-11:00:am, Horror vs Modern Technology, Room: Pettygrove  
 
A discussion of how things like cellphones and the internet impact horror stories, and how to write stories incorporating them.

1:00:pm-2:00:pm, Autograph Session, Room: TBA   
Get your books signed by Jennifer Brozek, Dayle A. Dermatis, David D. Levine

***

SF AUTHORFEST, Nov 11, Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
4:00:pm-5:30:pm, 20-25 authors all signing books!

Tags: ,

The Jennifer Award for October 2018

by Jennifer Brozek 1. November 2018 09:22

From now until I decide I want to stop doing this, I will be giving out a monthly “Jennifer Award” for the best new-to-me thing I read that month. This can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be an essay/article, a short story, a novelette, a novella, or a novel. It doesn’t matter when it came out. It only matters that this is the first time I read it and I thought it was the best thing I read all month. Yes, it is completely subjective and biased towards what I like to read.

The winner will receive a shiny digital badge of honor and a $5 gift card.

The October winner of the Jennifer Award is Planetside by Michael Mammay. It’s a military space book, but it’s not. Not a standard one. Anyone in the military, or former military, will recognize the customs and courtesies, the different chains of command and how one power structure is often at odds with another. Planetside, at its heart, is a mystery and it’s about the relationships that people build. Enjoyed the heck out of this one. If you like mysteries and reading about military culture (from an author who was in it), you’re going to like this one.


2018
Jan: Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M. Odell
Feb: “When We Fall” by Kameron Hurley
Mar: The Alastair Stone Chronicles by R.L. King
Apr: Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
May: “The Soul of Horses” by Beth Cato
Jun: “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue
Jul: “By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry & A. Merc Rustad
Aug: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
Sep: Immortal House by Elizabeth Guizzetti
Oct: Planetside by Michael Mammay

 

Tags:

Music and Memory

by Jennifer Brozek 18. October 2018 10:21

I took an honest-to-goodness vacation recently. I spent a lot of time listening to audiobooks or music, crocheting, and staring at the ocean. It was so needed. I didn’t understand how much I needed an actual vacation. Not a convention or event where I was “on stage” or selling books. The Husband saw the need and insisted we take it. I’m so glad.

One of the things I noticed while I was on vacation and afterwards was that certain songs made me think of certain people. Mostly because of old LARPing characters interactions. But others, I have no idea why and it mystifies me. It was something I wanted to note.

These are all of the people and songs I’ve noticed recently.

  • Chantelle – “I Miss the Misery” by Halestrom (RPG character interactions.)
  • David – “A Dangerous Mind” by Within Temptation (RPG character interactions.)
  • Evan – “War” by Poets of the Fall (RPG character interactions.)
  • Eric R – “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy (RPG character interactions.)
  • Johanna – “Vampires” by The Pet Shop Boys (No idea, but I also think about drinking red wine, too.)
  • Jeff – “Tide” by Tarot (RPG character interactions.)
  • Rae – “Paint It Black” by Ciara (Not a clue, but I have to assume it’s LARP related.)
  • Rich T – “Eyes of a Stranger” by Queensryche (RPG character interactions.)
  • Ross – “Let You Down” by Three Days Grace (RPG character interactions.)
  • Thea – “I’m with You” by Avril Lavigne (No idea. Seriously.)
  • Toni – “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx A.M. (RPG character interactions.)
  • Yonatan – “My Immortal” by Evanescence (Probably because we once dated.)

What about you? Do songs make you think of people?

Tags: ,

Tell Me - E.D. Walker

by Jennifer Brozek 9. October 2018 09:28

Today, E.D. Walker tells us how her own romantic life inspired her romantic story in the newly released Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology.
---

I’ve been writing some flavor of romance since my first book, The Beauty’s Beast, was published in 2010 by a small e-press, and ever since then I’ve returned several times to one of my favorite romance tropes: “the reunited lovers.” These are lovers who were together and then something drove them apart, whether it was external events or internal turmoil. For my story in the latest installment of the Pets in Space anthology series, Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3, I decided to return to this trope once again. But I’ll tell you the secret of why I’m so fond of the reunited lovers trope: it’s because my husband and I are “reunited lovers” ourselves.

We dated for six years in our early twenties then broke up when I moved for school. We were apart for almost four years, but in that time we never stopped missing each other. I always mark this period of separation as the time when “reunited lovers” really took hold of my heart and my brain. I often reread Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and I wrote my own “reunited lovers” story that was based in part on trying to write a happy ending for myself that I thought I would never have in reality.

And, this might be a bit silly, but it was a reunited lovers story that finally gave me the courage to contact my old boyfriend. I went to see the Veronica Mars movie one day and the reunited lovers in that story inspired me to try my own luck. “If Veronica can get her man back, maybe I can get mine?”

I wrote a very scary email that night to my old boyfriend to see if he still felt the same way about me that I felt about him. (Spoiler alert: He did.)

It’s four years later and now we’re married with a toddler, and the reunited lovers trope has a permanent place in my heart because I’ve seen firsthand how wonderful it can be to recapture that old flame and then make it even better. To take the time apart you require and find that you’ve both grown in just the ways you need to in order to make your romance work this time. And that’s why I decided to revisit the trope again in "The Bajo Cats of Anteros XII" for Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3. My characters Aliette and Zandro had a good thing once, but his job and her fear got in the way. Now they’ve been thrown back together, and they’ll need to see if they can make it work this time.

Personally, speaking from experience, I like their chances.

NOTE: A portion of the proceeds from the first month of sales of Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 will be donated to Hero-Dogs.org, a charity which helps place specially trained dogs with veterans. 

---
E.D. Walker, a native of Los Angeles, is the author of The Fairy Tales of Lyond Series that begins with Enchanting the King. As a child, she grew up knowing all the words to the songs in Disney’s fairy tale retellings. (Sleeping Beauty was always her favorite.) Lo and behold, she eventually grew up to write fairy tale retellings of her own.

By day, E.D. helps corral engineers for NASA (without doing any of the tech stuff herself, of course). By night, she loves to write her clever heroes and heroines bantering their way to true love. E.D. is a total geek, a movie buff, and a mediocre swing dancer. E.D. and her family live in sunny Southern California with one of the neediest housecats on the planet.

For more information about E.D., please visit her website, “Like” E.D. on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. Make sure you also join E.D.’s newsletter to be the first to hear about the next book in The Beauty’s Beast Fantasy Series. She’s always thrilled to hear from her readers. Email her directly at e.d.walker.author@gmail.com.

Pets in Space Buy links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks.

 

Tags:

Tell Me - Elizabeth Guizzetti

by Jennifer Brozek 4. October 2018 10:47

It is no secret that I enjoyed the heck out of IMMORTAL HOUSE by Elizabeth Guizzetti. The novella did win my Jennifer Award for September. Now, Beth tells us where she got the inspiration for her book.
---

I love horror movies and vampire films are some of my favorite. It isn’t surprising, I was a teenager in the 1990’s and vampires were huge. (Also they didn’t sparkle, but that’s another story.)

The idea for my novella, Immortal House, was first generated when I was rewatching Tale of a Vampire, 1992 starring Julian Sands. I noticed he lived in this great old loft, what looked like it might have once been an abandoned factory. I started thinking about one of my favorite cop shows, Forever Knight. The title character also has an expansive urban loft. In fact, many vampire stories begin with a vampire buying a house or land such as Dracula, 1931, 1992, (so many remakes it’s impossible to list them all) Salem’s Lot, 1979 or Fright Night (1982/ Remake 2011). Even in legend, vampires have a distinct connection with real estate—they carry their earth.

However, many of the older buildings in Seattle—the type of places vampires are often shown to like—are being torn down. Many blame gentrification due to the tech industry. While gentrification is a real issue, destroying architectural history is not a new problem for Seattle.

Though Immortal House is a comedy, here’s a very brief, not funny, architectural history of Seattle.

Settlers from Europe took what is now the city of Seattle from the Duwamish people who lived in the area since the end of the last ice age. While some came as friendly neighbors or traders, many disregarded treaties. They burned the Duwamish’s longhouses and passed laws forcing Indigenous Americans out of Seattle. They even refused a reservation to be established near Seattle and exiled the Duwamish to Ballast Island.

Settlers built the earliest buildings from wood as lumber was plentiful. Seattle’s population continued to grow. In 1889, most of this original city burned in the Great Seattle Fire which was caused by an overturned glue falling onto a carpentry shop’s floor. While a few Victorian homes still stand today, much of what counts as “historical” is questionable. Many older residential neighborhoods are filled with Craftsman houses built in 1910-1920 interspersed with mid-century and later housing. Even our cute quaint houseboat community on Lark Union had an early beginning which was destroyed. Houseboats were originally little more than huts on rafts for loggers, trappers and folks who organized unrespectable or illegal activities, however once the logging moved further away from the city, Seattle used zoning laws to get the “riff-raff” out and let the wealthy use the lake for pleasure activities in the 1920’s.

Many large Victorian era buildings were demolished in the middle of the last century in the name of progress. In 1961, the Seattle Hotel was demolished to build a parking lot on the corner of 1st and Yesler. While it might seem strange that beautiful Victorian architecture was demolished for one of the ugliest two-story parking lots in the city, at that point the Seattle Hotel only had stood for seventy years and had fallen into disrepair. The parking lot sparked a movement to protect Pioneer Square as a historical district. However, plenty of other buildings were demolished: The Metropolitan Theatre was torn down in 1956, the Haller Building in 1957, and Ballard City Hall in 1965 just to name a few. All this was to make way for modern progress.

In the past twenty years Seattle’s population has grown from 536,000 in 1998 to over 750,000 in 2016. With a growing population and limited land, Seattle is becoming denser. Developers are buying up old houses with large lots and dividing the land so they can build several modern three-story rowhouses. In areas, where there were once grocery stores with open parking lots, mixed-use towers have sprouted up. The closer the neighborhood is to the downtown core, the higher the buildings are built. In Capitol Hill and South Lake Union, developers sometimes try to save old façades by topping them with modern architecture, but these have a top-heavy awkwardness about them. In the Central District, there is an apartment building topped with a Wonder Bread sign, as a nod to when the land was a factory.

My goal was to be brief and I know I missed a lot, but Seattle is no more innocent than any other American city. I encourage you to understand the history of where you call home. Some of it will make you proud, some will make you mortified. 

For its faults, Seattle is the city which my husband and I call home. We’re attached to the city, culture, and people. My husband and I chose to live in a 640 square-foot condo in a midrise tower so we can afford an urban lifestyle. Our condo is small, but it’s in walkable distance to parks, stores, coffee houses. Assuming it doesn’t fall down in an earthquake or I sell a million books and can afford a bigger place in the city, we’ll live here comfortably.

When I wrote Immortal House, I thought of two important questions: why are vampires so connected to their homes? And what would an average, every day, middle class vampire do when faced with the reality of life in Seattle 2018? Laurence is searching for a house he would love forever: an Immortal House.
---

Much to her chagrin, Elizabeth Guizzetti discovered she was not a cyborg and growing up to be an otter would be impractical, so began writing stories at age twelve.

Three decades later, Guizzetti is an illustrator and author best known for her demon-poodle based comedy, Out for Souls & Cookies. She is also the creator of Faminelands and Lure and collaborated with authors on several projects including A is for Apex and The Prince of Artemis V. 

To explore a different aspect of her creativity, she writes science fiction and fantasy. Her debut novel, Other Systems, was a 2015 Finalist for the Canopus Award for excellence in Interstellar Fiction. Her short work has appeared in anthologies such as Wee Folk and The Wise and Beyond the Hedge. Between long projects, she works on a ten-part novella series, The Chronicles of the Martlet, following the life of an elfin assassin turned necromancer just for funsies. Immortal House is her seventh written book.

Guizzetti lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs. When not writing or illustrating, she loves hiking and birdwatching.

To find out more about her work
Website: elizabethguizzetti.com
Twitter: @E_Guizzetti
Facebook: /Elizabeth.Guizzetti.Author
Instagram: @e_guizzetti

Immortal House is available from most bookstores, but below are a few links:
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
ELLIOT BAY BOOK CO.
LIBERTY BAY BOOKS
QUEEN ANNE BOOK COMPANY
THIRD PLACE BOOKS

Tags:

The Jennifer Award for September 2018

by Jennifer Brozek 1. October 2018 09:09

From now until I decide I want to stop doing this, I will be giving out a monthly “Jennifer Award” for the best new-to-me thing I read that month. This can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be an essay/article, a short story, a novelette, a novella, or a novel. It doesn’t matter when it came out. It only matters that this is the first time I read it and I thought it was the best thing I read all month. Yes, it is completely subjective and biased towards what I like to read.

The winner will receive a shiny digital badge of honor and a $5 gift card.

The September winner of the Jennifer Award is Immortal House by Elizabeth Guizzetti. Humorous books are not usually my thing, but when Beth said it was about a non-stereotypical, out-of-touch vampire house hunting in the Seattle area where the real monster was the real estate prices, I had to look. I’ve house hunted. It sucks. Poor Laurence has it even worse. And all the rest of the vampires can’t understand why he won’t just settle down in a nice crypt or something normal like that. Ya’ll are going to smile at this one.

2018
Jan: Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M. Odell
Feb: “When We Fall” by Kameron Hurley
Mar: The Alastair Stone Chronicles by R.L. King
Apr: Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
May: “The Soul of Horses” by Beth Cato
Jun: “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue
Jul: “By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry & A. Merc Rustad
Aug: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
Sep: Immortal House by Elizabeth Guizzetti

 

Tags:

Bubble & Squeek for 11 Sep 2018

by Jennifer Brozek 11. September 2018 10:31

Article: From Bookwraiths Author Spotlight – Observations of an American Military Brat. “For most of America, “kids don’t act that way,” but on military bases and in military academies, they do.”

Interview: Community Outreach – Interview with Jennifer Brozek, Author Of BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident. I love Sarna.net. I really do.

Publication: “An Open Letter to the Family” is live in Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy SF issue. I love this story, even thought it was really hard to write.

Review: To Fight the Black Wind reviewed by Uncaged Reviews. Short but sweet.

Reminder: For the North Coast Redwoods Writers Conference, I will be reading in Crescent City on Friday the 21st at 7pm and teaching two workshops (The Principles of Tie-In Fiction and How to Pitch a Story) on Saturday. There are still openings in both workshops and the reading is free.


Tags: , , , ,

Latest Releases


To Fight the Black Wind
Arkham Horror novella

Amazon | FFG


The Prince of Artemis V
All ages comic book

Amazon


The Nellus Academy Incident
YA Battletech
novel
Amazon | DriveThruRPG | B&N

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/Last-Days-of-Salton-Academy_200px.jpg
The Last Days of Salton Academy
YA Horror

(Out of Print)

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/NeveLetMeOmnibus200.jpg
Never Let Me
YA SF-Thriller Omnibus

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Permuted Press

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/NeverLetMeDieCover200.jpg
Never Let Me Die
YA SF-Thriller Novel
Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


Never Let Me Leave
YA SF-Thriller Novel
Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


Never Let Me Sleep
YA SF-Thriller Novel

Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


DocWagon 19
Shadowrun novella
Amazon | BattleShop
DriveThruRPG


The Karen Wilson Chronicles
More InformationBuy Now.


Apocalypse Girl Dreaming
Fiction collection
Amazon | B&N |
Evil Girlfriend Media

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/JazzAgeCthulhu200.jpg
Jazz Age Cthulhu
Amazon | B&N |
Innsmouth Free Press


Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a multi-talented, award-winning author, editor, and tie-in writer. She is the author of the Never Let Me Sleep, and The Last Days of Salton Academy, both of which were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Her BattleTech tie-in novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, won a Scribe Award. Her editing work has netted her a Hugo Award nomination as well as an Australian Shadows Award for Grants Pass. Jennifer’s short form work has appeared in Apex Publications, and in anthologies set in the worlds of Valdemar, Shadowrun, V-Wars, and Predator. Jennifer is also the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions, and was the managing editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and assistant editor for Apex Book Company.

Jennifer has been a freelance author, editor, tie-in writer for over ten years after leaving her high paying tech job, and she’s never been happier. She keeps a tight schedule on her writing and editing projects and somehow manages to find time to volunteer for several professional writing organizations such as SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She shares her husband, Jeff, with several cats and often uses him as a sounding board for her story ideas. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com.

"I see story ideas. All the time. They're everywhere. Just walking around like normal ideas. They don't know they're stories."