Jennifer Brozek | August 2013

Bubble and Squeek for 27 Aug 2013

by Jennifer Brozek 27. August 2013 16:56

Charity: CALLER UNKNOWN by ME is included in the BUNDLE OF HOLDING +5 to benefit Defenders of Wildlife and the Wikimedia Foundation. Only three days left to get an awesome bundle of ebooks and help out two charities.

Announcement: "Dreams of a Thousand Young" will be in Jazz Age Cthulhu. Yes I know I'm late on posting this.

Funded: The Sheynan trilogy by Dylan Birtolo, to be published by Apocalypse Ink Productions, has been funded. New stretch goals have been plotted out.

Kickstater: Broken Eye Books has a kickstarter that now includes a critique from me: $75 level - BROZEK CRITIQUE: Everything included in the WEIRD LOVE reward, plus you receive a critique from Jennifer Brozek of either a story up to 5,000 words of text or a novel synopsis and query. 1 of 2 is already taken.

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Tell Me – Scott Gable

by Jennifer Brozek 26. August 2013 09:35

I met Scott at a convention. He was funny, happy, and enthusiastic. A real pleasure to be around. When he asked me to write for By Faerie Light, I agreed and I'm so pleased with how my story, "A Nightmare for Anna," came out. Thus, I'm not unbiased about this anthology or kickstarter. Just 10 days to go to fund this kickstarter. And there's so much more offered by Broken Eye Books than the marvelous anthology talked about below.

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What is By Faerie Light? It's the bump in the night, the forgotten memories, the stolen children. It's the worlds unseen within your dreams, hidden in the trees, lost in your cupboard. It's the tricksy, dark, otherworldly personalities of the fae.

By Faerie Light is an anthology of dark fantasy. Specifically, it focuses on the supernatural creatures you like to call fae. These are tales of moral ambiguity and emotional intensity. Frightful and fanciful. They draw from our own mythologies and folklores, but these aren't fables or retellings of classics. There are no lessons here to learn. We just want to play with your heads.

And really, that's our greatest joy. The fair folk are such a treasure trove of wonderful stories. They’re unpredictable and complicated. Anything can happen anywhere and anywhen. You never really know just where you stand, and even when you think you do, you’re generally wrong. They are unconcerned with your quaint customs and morals. You’re typically just a bother, a toy, a fling to them. It’s when they start to pay attention to you that you should worry.

And what better way to bring something so multifaceted, so complex, to life than in an anthology, my most favorite of beasts. You get to see through the eyes of different authors, each with their own take on what it means to be fae. What it means to be human interacting with a cold, remorseless, alien world.

Eighteen short stories woven together by the editors, Caroline Dombrowski and myself. All from top-notch authors with the knack for hitting just the right notes of creepy and weird: Jennifer Brozek, James L. Sutter, Elaine Cunningham, Erin Hoffman, Shanna Germain, Cat Rambo, Jeffrey Scott Petersen, Christie Yant, Lillian Cohen-Moore, Torah Cottrill, Erik Scott de Bie, Andrew Romine, Ed Greenwood, Amber E. Scott, Jaym Gates, Nathan Crowder, Julia Ellingboe, Minerva Zimmerman, and Dave Gross. Each bringing to life an exciting and strange new world to explore.

We're just putting the final wards on this title now. You know, for your protection. It’ll be available to the public in November, but you could get it a little earlier by joining in our Kickstarter, which offers this anthology along with four novels and some other special goodies to choose from.

It appears you’ve heard their call already. They’re beckoning you, aren’t they?  May history forgive us for unleashing this overwhelming, amoral tide of tales upon you.

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Gen Con Wrap Up

by Jennifer Brozek 20. August 2013 16:02

Gen Con was third convention in 4 weekends. It was a rough convention to end on. But, it was really a good time. As always, conventions are about the people I got to meet and see again.

Walter Koenig – I didn’t even know Walter was signing at Gen Con. I just happened to walk by at the right time. There was almost no line and I hadn’t talked to him since I ran StarQuest ’95, the first Babylon 5 convention. He didn’t remember it at all and I didn’t mind. As he put it, when I ran into him later in the elevator, “Conventions tend to blur together.” But I enjoyed my small moment with him and got an autographed picture as well as this one.


Ken Hite – Ken is a wonderful man to have a drink with. Super smart and knowledgeable. It’s unfortunate that I had to cut the drink short when my tummy disagreed with my dinner. But the short time I did have was worth it.

Jason Sanford – I’ve know Jason online for years. It was a great pleasure to meet him in person finally. Easy going and fun to hang with, I look forward to doing it again.

John Helfers – My editor of many things (Shadowrun, Battletech, Karen Wilson Chronicles, anthology stories), it is always a boon to meet up with him face to face, have a conversation, and plan to take over the world. Kerrie Hughes is often a part of these meetings, too, which makes them that much more awesome.

Jim Hines – Jim is always a lot of fun to talk with. I caught him at his signing and saw that he had the UK versions of his Magic Ex Libris books. I love those covers and asked if I could buy those. I think he brought them only for show but he was kind and allowed me to throw money at him. I consider this one of my biggest scores of the convention. These covers are amazing.


Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon – I finally got to meet Misty and Larry in person at this convention after knowing them online for ages. I’ve written for Misty’s Valdemar and Elemental Masters anthologies and I used to game with Larry online. I had the chance to sit with them for about 30 minutes and then again while we were all signing at the same time.

Saladin Ahmed – One of the humblest authors I know, Saladin is an amazing author. Misty actually stopped signing to come over and tell him that Betsy Wollheim of DAW told her that he was one of the best new authors she’d ever found. Saladin was so taken aback, he was almost speechless. Then Misty told the line of people waiting for her autograph that they should buy his book. I agree.

Cat Labs Games – I got to see and hang out with many of the Cat Labs folk—Randall, Loren, Herb, Jason S., Jason H., John, Heather—and listen to the chaos that is them at a convention, brainstorming, pranking each other, and doing business. It is amazing to see it all in action. Most of the time, I just sit back and enjoy the ride. I do have more stuff coming up from these guys and it is all good. Shadowrun and Battletech fans have some sweet things to look forward to.

True Dungeon – Most years, I don’t do True Dungeon. If I do, I only go if I can go with my friend Dylan Birtolo. This year, we had the uber-smart team: Dylan Birtolo, Chris McEniry, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Paul Peterson, John Helfers, Kerrie Hughs, R.T. Kaelin, Pat Rothfuss, Pat’s Librarian friend (whose name I forget), and me. This group gelled together so well that we finished almost every room in 5 minutes or less. It was a real joy to play with them all.


Harebrained SchemesJordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman from Harebrained Schemes gave a presentation on what’s coming next for Shadowrun Returns. I came by to support them and to say hello. My favorite moment was when they gave me a shoutout in the panel and the audience had the collective reaction of an inhale of breath and then applause. It made me feel like a rockstar. Also, I got to meet up with @UGplex (RC) what’s coming next for Shadowrun Returns is going to knock your socks off.

Writer’s Symposium – I was at Gen Con this year because of the Writer’s Symposium. Run by Marc Tassin, it was a blast to be a part of. Professional, well-run, and well-attended, we had a packed house most of the time. I love the space we’re located in and I can’t wait to do come back next year. There’s a lot of good information for writers who want to learn about all aspects of the publishing industry.

These are some of the highlights but, by no means, all inclusive. These are what my addled brain can remember right now. There were so many good people and events that I can’t list them all.




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More Conventions

by Jennifer Brozek 12. August 2013 10:44

Spo Con was a quiet little convention with intense fans. Seriously. For a small con, its members went all out in costuming, game playing, and panels. There were some hiccups but all of the Spo Con volunteers were calm and professional. It was nice. And all of the writing panels were packed—standing room only.

After a very good business dinner with Kaja and Phil Foglio of Girl Genius fame (there are some very fun things on the rise!), the Husband and I headed back home Saturday night. Too many things to do before Gen Con. My favorite moment of the convention was when a fan came up to me with 6 of my books and asked me to sign them, saying, “If the book’s got your name on it, I know I’m going to like it.”

We spent about 110 miles driving through the most awesome thunderstorm. I have never seen anything like it. Thousands of lightning flashes with about a third of them striking the flat-flat-flat land of I-90 W in a glorious display of nature’s beauty and danger. I’d never seen sheet lightning or lightning arcing from cloud to cloud like that before. And, when we stopped at a rest stop, the skies opened up in torrential rain and hail. It was truly an experience.

Next up is Gen Con. I’ll be gone from August 14th-19th. The Husband won’t be with me this time, so I’m going it alone. As alone as one can be in a crowd of 40K people. I’ll be in the Writers Symposium or signing in Author’s Avenue.

GEN CON SCHEDULE
THURSDAY

3:00pm, Dealer’s Hall, Hillfolk signing, Booth 101
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FRIDAY
8:00am, Business of Writing 101: Dealer Hall, Room 245
Learn the ins and outs of the publishing business. We'll cover queries, cover letters, advances, and more.

11:00am, Signing in the Dealer’s Hall, Authors Avenue

2:00pm, Pitches, Proposals, and Promises, Dealer Hall, Room 245
Different types of writing use the same tools applied differently. What you need & how to use them.
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SATURDAY
10:00am, Exploring Genres: Horror, Dealer Hall, Room 245
Learn to make your reader shudder, shiver, and scream as we explore the art of writing horror.

11:00am, Exploring Genres: Urban Fantasy, Dealer Hall, Room 245
We teach you the tips and tricks you'll need to write amazing urban fantasy stories.

12:00pm, Exploring Genres: Steampunk, Dealer Hall, Room 245
Uncover the secrets of writing stories that capture the rich and highly visual style of steampunk.

4:00pm, Signing in Dealer’s Hall, Authors Avenue
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SUNDAY
11:00am, VIP Panel, Marketing Material Review, Dealer Hall, Room 243
Get expert feedback on your marketing material in this exclusive 8 seat, round-table panel.

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Bubble and Squeek for 6 August 2013

by Jennifer Brozek 6. August 2013 14:30

Review: This review really liked the Shadowrun Kickstarter anthology with my story "Locks and Keys" in it.

Publication: Blue Shift Magazine #1 is out. It includes my satrical SF story "Infestation of Adverts."

Contest: Apocalypse Ink Productions is doing a GoodReads giveaway of Children of Anu, Book 2 of the Karen Wilson Chronicles.

Event: I'm about to run off to SpoCon and then GenCon. My SpoCon schedule is:

FRIDAY
5:00pm – Spokane Falls, Ballroom C
Creating a Background Story for Your RPG Character / Villain
Come join our panel of experts to up your game on a believable and dynamic background story for you RPG characters/villains.


SATURDAY
11:00am – Parkside II
World-Building: Developing a Realistic Cityscape
No, you don't have to be an architect or engineer. And while it certainly couldn’t hurt to have some knowledge, what you need can be gained from any city. Just be observant; look and watch the actions of the world around you. Take account of how things are set up in the city…. Buildings, streets, sidewalks, bridges, and yes, even skywalks, too. Consider anything that you would find useful in your city, and then build upon it - futuristic, fantasy or even ancient ruins. The more real it is for you, the better you can share it with others. Talking it over with others can help. So come and hear what the Pro’s do to create their cities.

12:30pm – Reading Room
Reading by Jennifer Brozek
- probably from "Infestation of Adverts."

6:30pm – Parkside I
How to Get Your Gaming Works Published

Come engage with the pros on how to get your fantastic ideas from the gaming dungeon to the halls of published gaming works.

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Tell Me – Jim Hines

by Jennifer Brozek 5. August 2013 09:55

Jim Hines is a friend of mine, a great writer, and I love these books. I think all readers and writers want to know what it would be like to pull something--a lightsaber, a wand, the grail--from a book to have for their very own. Here, he talks about his protagonist's greatest love.

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One of my favorite things about Libriomancer and Codex Born is the protagonist’s attitude toward magic. Isaac Vainio is a librarian and shameless geek, with the ability to pull things from books—phasers, light-sabers, magic rings, pretty much anything that fits through the pages.

And he loves it. Isaac is completely and utterly in love with magic … occasionally to the detriment of whatever he’s supposed to be doing at the time. Even when he’s facing steampunk-style insects that escaped from a book and are oddly determined to kill him, a part of Isaac’s mind is distracted by the beauty of their construction, the combination of magic and miniature jewels and gears, the elegance of the metalwork...

He’s constantly asking “What if?” about both the books he reads and magic in the real world. How far could Harry Potter travel with that apparating spell? Did J. K. Rowling’s witches and wizards ever blip over to Mars to explore the planet? Could magic seeds from Piers Anthony’s Xanth series be pulled into our world to revolutionize farming? And where could Isaac get his hands on a magical chronoscope that would let him check out the lost episodes of Doctor Who?

Magic comes with a cost, of course. Overusing a particular book leads to magical charring, damage that spreads through every copy of the book and can make Bad Things happen. Magic also weakens the boundaries between the lirbiomancer and the book, meaning characters from those books can begin to creep into the libriomancer’s mind. And there are the occasional monsters and villains trying to use magic to take over the world.

But the core of the series is about hope and discovery and the thrill of learning something new. It’s about an insatiable need to learn, and to explore the possibilities of magic.

I have nothing against darker, grittier fantasy novels. But there seems to be an awful lot of it these days, where the world is a harsh, ugly place, and magic is a burden to be suffered with stoicism and occasional angst.

Isaac’s life certainly isn’t perfect. Any number of things are busily trying to kill him, his love life is confusing to say the least, and he’s not on the best of terms with Johannes Gutenberg, the centuries-old founder of the world’s magical organization. I mean, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t torment my characters?

But no matter what I put Isaac and his companions through, it never takes away that central thread of joy. The thrill Isaac feels when he discovers something new or finds that a long-understood “rule” of magic was actually more of a guideline.

At the heart of the series is the idea that magic is awesome. And that’s one of the things that makes these stories such an absolute blast to write.

 

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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award nominated editor and a Bram Stoker nominated author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, and the acclaimed Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty-five published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Jennifer is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of the Scribe, Origins, and ENnie awards, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is the author of the YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, and the Shadowrun novella, Doc Wagon 19. She has also written for the AAA MMO Aion and the award winning videogame, Shadowrun Returns.

When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is a Director-at-Large of SFWA, and an active member HWA and IAMTW. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.