Jennifer Brozek | October 2013

Convolution Calling

by Jennifer Brozek 29. October 2013 09:09

I survived the family reunion. In fact, I had a really good time. Surprising, since my family and I are diametrically opposed politically. However, everyone was on their best behavior. My mom and my sister-in-law even taught me how to crochet. I’m in love and I’ve discovered some things about crocheting that I’m noodling over as an author. More on this in a later post.

In the meantime, I’m about to drive down to SF for Convolution. I have a table there with Apocalypse Ink Productions and a small set of panels. If you are there, come say hello. No shyness around me. I’m there for my readers and authors.

Here’s my convention schedule:
Friday, November 1, 4:00pm
Tech Writing for the Creative Author

Many SF/F authors often double as tech writers to help pay their bills. Are the two occupations really compatible? Do you want to learn what it takes to be a tech writer in the high tech industry? And how do you come home from a hard day of tech writing to actually allowing your muse to run free and write creatively? Come talk to our panelists of tech writers with more than 40 years of experience in the tech writing field.

Friday, November 1, 11:45pm
Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks

Join co-hosts Matt & Tyler and some of their friends as they read (and comment on) "Steampunk Erotica" by Ora Le Brocq. MATURE CONTENT ADVISORY.

Saturday, November 2, 2:00pm
Editing Your Own Work

Every writer has favorite ways to get stuff down on paper when they're stuck. However, that might not make for the best writing. How to spot your flaws. People are encouraged to bring writing samples for possible discussion.

Saturday, November 2, 6:00pm
Guest of Honor Interview with Richard Kadrey

An interview with Q&A session with our guest of honor: Richard Kadrey.

November 8-10, I'll be at Orycon.

Tags:

Tell Me—Loren Rhoads

by Jennifer Brozek 28. October 2013 09:53

Growing up, my experiences in cemeteries were pretty limited. My mom took me and my brother to make gravestone rubbings only once when we were kids. My family sometimes visited the graves of famous people while on vacation: Kennedy in Arlington, George Washington at Mount Vernon. When I was in high school, I used to take dates to the little country graveyard up the road to park, but the mosquitoes were pretty fierce, so we didn’t get out of the car and explore.

It never really occurred to me that you could visit graveyards just for fun. Then my husband and I got stranded in London during the 1st Gulf War. We were heading to Barcelona to do sound for a Survival Research Laboratories performance, but airline security made us miss a couple of connections and we decided to stay in a country where we spoke the language until everything got sorted. Since this was in the days before cell phones, it wasn’t easy to call country to country back then.

I bought a book of cemetery photos at Victoria Station – because it was full of *beautiful* statuary.  Inspired by that book, which I found by chance, my husband decided he’d rather see Highgate Cemetery than the Tower of London.  We’d never done anything like that:  just go to a graveyard to wander around.

To my immense surprise, I fell in love. Highgate Cemetery was lush and overgrown, even in January. We only saw the more modern side on that visit, but even it held famous names:  Karl Marx, George Elliott, Sir Ralph Richardson. Highgate was home to an army of angels. It had been the set of Taste the Blood of Dracula – and had been overrun with real vampire hunters in the 1970s. Best of all, it was falling to decay in the most romantic way possible.

Highgate led us to visit to Pere Lachaise Cemetery, where Jim Morrison is buried, which led to visiting Marie Laveau’s tomb in New Orleans, which led to looking for Lafcadio Hearn’s grave in Tokyo. It took a decade for me to morph from dropping by cemeteries when we traveled to building vacations around graveyards. Now I think everyone should add a burial ground or two into their vacations.  It’s easy to do.  There is literally a graveyard everywhere you go.

I make my argument for visiting graveyards in Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, recently published by Western Legends Press.  It contains 35 travel essays about visiting 50 cemeteries, graveyards, and gravesites from Tokyo to Prague, Boston to Maui, and New Orleans to Yosemite, with stops in Paris, Rome, Michigan, Hollywood, and more.

The book is being given away on Goodreads this month.  You can enter to win your own copy here:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18010009-wish-you-were-here

The giveaway ends on October 31, so hurry – and good luck!

 

Tags:

Tell Me – Michaelbrent Collings

by Jennifer Brozek 21. October 2013 10:53

The Colony Saga
i.e., Let’s Talk Zombies

Okay, short bit about me (so’s y’all know I’ve got street cred, yo): I’m an indie author.  I write spec-fic: sci-fi, fantasy, horror.

Mostly horror.

I’m a produced screenwriter (two horror movies), member of the Horror Writers of America, and have been one of Amazon’s Most Popular Horror Writers for most of the last year.  I’ve written about ghosts, vampires, serial killers, demons, devils.  If it goes bump in the night, I’m interested.  But one thing I’ve never done is a multi-volume work. 

Until now.  And it’s a zombie story.

Usually when I write, I can tell pretty much how long the book’s going to end up being.  But when I started writing The Colony Saga, I discovered to my chagrin that the first two plot points took over two hundred pages to cover.  And that was because I was trying to do something a bit different with my zombies. 

In most zombie stories, the zombies are essentially interchangeable with a force of nature.  They are an earthquake, or a series of twisters, or a tsunami.  They are there to be dealt with as an additional problem in between the “real” story issues: a marriage on the rocks, a group of plucky survivors who have to deal with the power mad/rapey governor/priest/ex-biker/whatever who lives nearby and wants what they have.  The real questions aren’t about the zombies (“Where did they come from?”  “How do we get rid of them?”), they are about the people.  So the zombies become a stumbling block in service of the author.

Concerned Husband: Honey, let’s sit down and talk about our marital problems.
Spunky Wife: You just haven’t understood me since we lost little Timmy.
Concerned Husband: But I’m here now.  Let’s figure it out.
Spunky Wife: Okay, let’s –
Zombie Horde: Rowrrrr!
Concerned Husband: Oops!  Gotta get outta here!
Spunky Wife: I know!  We’ll figure out our marriage after this brief survival episode!
Zombie Horde: ROWRRRR!
(three weeks later)
Spunky Wife: Good thing we found that abandoned military installation and weapons cache!
Concerned Husband: I know!  Should we talk about our marriage now?
Zombie Horde: Rowrrr!
Spunky Wife: Headshots rule!

I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to create a world where zombies are THE ONLY problem.  Where you don’t have time to really get into a bitch-slap fight with your neighbor, because time is all too precious.  If you argue, you die.  That’s it.  But that meant I had to create a whole different kind of zombie.  A kind of zombie immune to typical “zombie killing” methods.  Headshots won’t work.  Setting ‘em on fire isn’t an option.

And the zombies had to have a reason.  Most zombie stories are, again, about a natural event.  Even the viral zombies that are so in vogue now are at heart a natural event, in the sense that nature has fought back against humanity overstepping its bounds.  So the zombies become a sort of modern wrath of God.  A crucible to burn away the impure – morality plays on a massive scale.  But never really explained beyond that.

I wanted zombies with purpose.  I wanted them so scary that there literally appears to be no way to stop them.  I wanted survivors who were at their cores good people, willing to put aside differences in order to try to save not just themselves, but the human race.

And I wanted to do the one thing that no zombie story has ever really done, to fully address the most horrific aspect of zombies. 

As to what that is… well, I gotta keep some secrets in reserve.  But there are things worse than dying.  Worse than not staying dead.

Zombies are a lot of fun to read, and a lot of fun to write.  Whether I’ve accomplished my mission of creating a completely new kind of zombie is something that I can’t answer – I’ll have to leave that to my readers.  But it’s taught me a lot about horror, about the nature of community, and about the things that are truly worth fearing.


The Colony: Genesis (The Colony, Vol. 1):
Kindle
Paperback

The Colony: Renegades (The Colony, Vol. 2)
Kindle
Paperback

---
Michaelbrent Collings is a #1 bestselling novelist and screenwriter. His bestsellers include Strangers, Darkbound, Apparition, The Haunted, The Loon, and the YA fantasy series The Billy Saga (beginning with Billy: Messenger of Powers). He hopes someday to develop superpowers, and maybe get a cool robot arm. Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that's a low bar to set), and much MUCH cooler than he is (also a low bar). Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MichaelbrentCollings and can be followed on Twitter through his username @mbcollings. Follow him for awesome news, updates, and advance notice of sales. You will also be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins!

Tags: ,

Bubble and Squeek for 10 Oct 2013

by Jennifer Brozek 10. October 2013 13:39

I’m about to run off to a long family reunion / vacation thing. So, me on the internet might be scarce. Though, I always have Twitter and my phone. The cat / house sitter has the usual instructions to text me daily cat pictures and to spoil them rotten. In the meantime, here’s a link round-up: an interview, an announcement, a photo, a release!

First up, I was interviewed on Jim Knipp's blog.

Rogue Games has announced my book, Colonial Gothic: The Lost Colony.

David Mitchell and his brother did a horror photo based on my In a Gilded Light collection story “Finishing Touches.”

And a reminder that my Coins of Chaos anthology is released on Oct 15 while I'm away.

Tags: , , ,

Tell Me - Matthew Warner

by Jennifer Brozek 7. October 2013 10:08

I've never met Matt but I gotta give it to him... I love this book trailer. It's the kind of book trailer I'd like. Give it a look.-JLB

---

The Correct Response is "Whoa"

by Matthew Warner

As in, "Whoa, baby. That looks awesome." As in, "It looks so awesome, I gotta buy that book right the hell now."

That's the reaction I want you to have to my new book trailer about The Seventh Equinox, coming Nov. 6 from Raw Dog Screaming Press. (Hopefully, you'll remain that enthusiastic after you read it.)

Did you know someone owns the term book trailer? Yep. It's a service mark, registration #2868140, duly recorded at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. But that doesn't stop hordes of writers from creating videos about their novels and calling them "book trailers," as if they're on par with trailers at the movie theater.

But here's the rub. Most of them suck. I'm sorry, but they do. They're text-heavy, too long, and they look like they were made with PowerPoint in less than 15 minutes. But you get what you pay for, and most writers don't have the dough to hire actors and CG artists. I'm not saying I do, either. Not usually. In fact, I'm certain I blew all my future royalties several times over when I collaborated with Darkstone Entertainment to make the 2.5-minute video linked below. But I'm happy to do it in the interests of recruiting new readers, hopefully ones who will stick with me for life. I have another job to keep me in whiskey, so I don't mind raking all my writing income back into advertising. My publishers don't seem to mind, either.

For this trailer, it helped to have a target audience firmly in mind. The Seventh Equinox is set in the fictitious city of Augusta, Virginia, based on my home of Staunton. I didn't set it in the real Staunton because I wanted some leeway in my descriptions of geography and government, and also to insulate me from potential libel suits. In my book, the sheriff is an alcoholic, bigoted redneck, while the real-life Staunton police chief is anything but.

Anyway, I still want locals to buy my book, because its descriptions otherwise ring with regional flavor. That's why a Staunton landmark, the Clock Tower, appears on the book cover. And that's why, when I wrote the trailer script (which you're welcome to read here), I loaded it with Staunton landmarks, such as Betsy Bell Mountain. During the three-day shoot, I even revised it to include more local landmarks, such as the Gypsy Hill Park band stand and the iconic DeJarnette buildings.

The other thing I did differently with this trailer was to load it with multiple settings and story lines, more like a real movie trailer. My previous three trailers for Blood Born were each confined to one or two locales. That made this one three times as hard to make. Read more about the sausage-making at The Seventh Equinox's production blog.

So, what did I learn from all this? New ways to nervously pull my hair out when production problems sometimes cropped up. I also learned I should keep my mouth shut when an actress is working herself into an emotional state at my request. (Major kudos to actress Elle Clark for crying real tears.)

The jury is still out on my main questions, which are: did it help to target a local audience, and was the more cinematic writing style worth the trouble?

Maybe you can help me figure it out. In the meantime, enjoy (book trailer link)!

 


Matthew Warner's new novel, The Seventh Equinox, comes out from Raw Dog Screaming Press on Nov. 6, 2013. Preorders receive $2 off.

Tags: ,

Calm Surface, Paddling Feet

by Jennifer Brozek 3. October 2013 12:12

The quieter I am online, the more heads-down I am on a project. I’ve been working my butt off, knocking projects off my list left and right. Mostly, it’s been KEYSTONES, Karen Wilson Chronicles book 3 and Shattered Shields, a Baen anthology I’m co-editing with Bryan Thomas Schmidt. I’m on the final push of the anthology. After I finish that, I’m going to be working on Colonial Gothic: Roanoke.

There’s also a couple of things I’m working on that are under NDA that are super exciting but definitely not sharable right now. Someday. Hopefully someday soon. I’m pretty jazzed about one in particular that’s come about because I was the GoH of GothCon 2013. Sometimes, I live in a state of total, constant amazement.

I’m also doing things like volunteering with the HWA and also volunteering at the local Boys & Girls Club on creating/running their haunted house. It’s not writing work but its good work nonetheless.

With Lily shifting to her own amazing, awesome work, I did hire a new minion—Chris Ward—who will be referred to as The Minion or Chris or Chris the Minion depending on my mood at the time. Pretty happy about this. He will be working for me and for Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Now that it is October, the month of All Hallows Read, I’d like to recommend a couple of scary books for you.

IN A GILDED LIGHT by me. It gave the first five reviewers nightmares.

FAMISHED: THE FARM by Ivan Ewert. Gentlemen ghouls from the creation of the US.

DARK HARVEST by Norman Partridge. A wonderfully creepy book.

AMERICAN ELSEWHERE by Robert J Bennett. It’s very much like Stephen King meets Lovecraft. So worth a read.

Tags:

Latest Releases

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

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Ragnarok Publications

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


Chimera Incarnate

Karen Wilson Chronicles #4
More InformationBuy Now.
Amazon | DriveThruFiction


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


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

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.