Jennifer Brozek | April 2014

A Confusion of Conventions

by Jennifer Brozek 29. April 2014 10:22

I’m recovered from Norwescon. It was one heck of a convention. We had very good sales and I really like the new Dealers Room coordinator. She was on-the-ball. My panels went well. Full rooms for most of them. The BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART / KEYSTONES release party was insane. It was standing room only from the doors open until they kicked people out at 1am. I was very happy about that. The Horror Track was very well received.

I have to tell you, though, I was bone deep weary by the end of it. Slept 12 hours Sunday night.

Next up, I have a one-day convention, VikingCon in Bellingham, WA, on May 3. I will be on one panel and will have a dealers table there from 1-5pm. I will be giving out convention cards there. So, if you go to VikingCon, be sure to ask for one.

Then, thanks to the sponsorship of a writer friend, I have a ride and one day badge to World Horror Con in Portland. I will be there on May 10th. No panels. I’ll be wandering around, checking out the dealers room, barcon, and I’ve been offered a banquet ticket for the Bram Stokers Awards. I believe I will attend that as well. If you want to meet up, let me know. I think I’ll have convention cards there, too.

My next convention after that is Origins Game Fair. I’m not going to worry about it until I’m back from World Horror Con.

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Tell Me - Friday Elliot

by Jennifer Brozek 28. April 2014 09:05

I met Friday at Norweson this year and found her to be delightful. Her geeky themes teas were a welcome addition to the dealers room and I enjoyed what I tasted. When I found out she had a kickstarter (5 days left and less than $2000 to go), I knew I had to have her tell me something about how she creates her tea blends. And, frankly, the idea of Friday creating a set of teas based on some of my books is really cool. Maybe. Someday.

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My interaction with the world is hugely based on flavor. I have a sensory integration condition known as Lexical-Gustatory Synesthesia. Translation: my brain applies flavor profiles to abstract concepts. I've managed to find a strange little niche market, selling geeky tea blends to awesome nerds.

It all started with a friend's Dark Alice-themed tea party, for which she requested some custom blends based on Lewis Carroll's work. I didn't even have to think about it. Carroll's characters have been so richly entrenched in my mind since childhood, they already had strong flavors to them. Thus, the Queen of Hearts and Wonderland blends were born.

Since that first Alice tea party a few years ago, I've almost exclusively been blending themed teas. I now have customers from all walks of nerd-dom commissioning custom blends based on their LARP characters, their favorite characters from various fandoms, their favorite music, etc.

If you want a more in-depth description of my blending process, please read a blog post I wrote about it a bajillion years ago here: http://fridayknowstea.blogspot.com/2013/04/synesthesia-and-blending-as-sensory-art.html

My tiny tea company has thrived and grown in the last few years as I've been working the convention circuit, selling to sci-fi and fantasy fans, steampunkers and gamers of all sorts. My nerd teas are now carried at several gaming cafes and bars, and I'm on the cusp of expanding my entire operation!

I've recently launched a Kickstarter project, now in its last week, to raise funds for my company to level up. Specifically, we're planning to revamp our entire website (it won't just be a crappy template-built site anymore! Huzzah!), get new labels, new packaging, lots of great stuff all around. Pledge levels run from $1-$850+, and rewards are anywhere from a thank you note to co-designing a full collection of teas with me!

We're rocking right along, and it's looking like we'll at least meet our goal. I'm hoping we get to some of the stretch goals, because they're just too fun! We have a collection of blends inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, a collection inspired by Sailor Moon, and the possibility of a collection based on a community vote!

So hey, if you like nerd tea, weird brain science, small businesses and nice people, check it out.

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Bubble and Squeek for 22 Apr 2014

by Jennifer Brozek 22. April 2014 15:36

Article: Not written by me but worth a read: Ten Commandments of Social Media.

Article: Not written by me but worth a read: What do Editors do?

Award Nomination: My Shadowrun short story, “Locks and Keys,” from the Shadowrun Returns anthology has been nominated in the Best Short Story category for the Scribe Awards! Woo-Hoo!

Sale: I’ve sold my short story collection, Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, to Evil Girlfriend Media. I’m quite pleased with this.

Convention: I’m just back from Norwescon. As usual, I’m doing my list of ten. Seven of these are true.
1. I may or may not have met a person legally named Peter Pan.
2. I may or may not have had a panic attack at the Bless Your Mechanical Heart release party.
3. I may or may not have been randomly offered a condom.
4. I may or may not have signed so many books my arm hurt.
5. I may or may not have gotten a hangover.
6. I may or may not have plotted mayhem with Seanan McGuire.
7. I may or may not have convinced an artist to sell me a painting that was not for sale.
8. I may or may not have gone to bed by midnight each night of the convention.
9. I may or may not have been mistaken for someone else.
10. I may or may not have plotted murder at a Vorpal Games meeting.

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Tell Me - Erik Scott de Bie

by Jennifer Brozek 21. April 2014 10:54

When I told Erik Scott de Bie to "Tell Me about Shadow of the Winter King" I meant it in all senses. I didn't know a thing about the book but I did know Erik. He's a great author whom I've published and shared a TOC with. We're even working on an RPG project togther. Now, Erik talks about why persistence is one of the keys to writing.

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SHADOW OF THE WINTER KING, my latest fantasy novel coming out this week, is the culmination of a long quest that started when I first picked up a pen professionally.

In 2003, before I even submitted the novel proposal that would eventually become my first novel GHOSTWALKER, I wrote a novella about a character named “Tear”: a retired assassin on the run from a very bloody past. That particular writing exercise never went anywhere itself, but the character stuck in my mind. I wanted to capture that particular perspective—to provide a character that was both a deadly warrior and a broken man, torn by regret and longing for a life lost to him.

In 2004, writing for the Forgotten Realms setting, I crafted a character called Arya Venkyr: a canny, capable knight who faced impossible odds without flinching. That book was a stand alone, but again, I never forgot the character or her uncompromising sense of duty. Not Arya herself, exactly, but a character like her: passionate, determined, and unwavering. And having just read Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Dart, I absolutely wanted to instill some of that same erotic power in the character: to up-end expectations of female characters the way Carey does so eloquently in her work.

In 2005, I ran a warmage in a D&D game who broke the mold of what one might expect in a spellcaster: an androgynous waif of a creature who spoke in a rasping tone and wore to hide a body ravaged by destructive magic. I played “Mask” exactly once, but the character persisted as a NPC with (as you might expect) a massive, complex back story. Mask was the most compelling NPC I ran in that game: vicious, sardonic, fatalistic, but with an undercurrent of undeniable destiny. Unforgettable.

These disparate characters had one thing in common: I needed to write more about them.

But where?

I first wrote about the World of Ruin in 2005-2006, about the time GHOSTWALKER came out. I loved writing in the Forgotten Realms, but that wasn’t an end-point. I wanted to tell stories that were entirely my own in a setting entirely of my own creation. This was my first genuine attempt at that, and I got to the point of shopping it around to agents.

Most of them turned it down, and for good reason. The novel I created was flawed—too dark, too squicky, not quite balanced—and will never see the light of day (don’t worry!). A few saw the potential in my style and setting, and I received important words of encouragement, particularly from the late Brian Thomsen of TOR. I had what it took, but this particular book wasn’t quite ready. Not yet.

The novel may have failed, but the setting that came out of it was a dark masterpiece: a fantasy world after environmental collapse, reduced to a new Dark Age after greed and excess destroyed civilization. Where empathy was a rare, almost perverse impulse, and cruelty was the nature of life.

Thus, with these four elements, I crafted the book I’d wanted to write all along: Shadow of the Winter King, the debut of my sweeping World of Ruin series.

And that was the first lesson this book taught me: sometimes the writing process is messy and unexpected, blossoming out of failure and dead ends. You pull inspiration and concepts from things you’ve done, things you’ve dreamed, and sometimes it all fits together into one amazing whole.

The second lesson was perseverance, which is a writer’s first and most essential trait—before talent, connections, or anything else. Whenever you get knocked down, you pick yourself right back up and keep writing.

And the third lesson is something that all artists know well and true: when you believe in something, you make it happen.

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Erik Scott de Bie is the author of numerous speculative fiction novels and multifarious short stories. He dabbles as a game designer, occasional fitness junkie, and swordsman. His latest work, SHADOW OF THE WINTER KING—an epic tale of love and revenge set in the dark full-metal fantasy World of Ruin—will be available soon through Dragonmoon Press. Catch up with him on his website, erikscottdebie.com, or find him on Facebook: www.facebook.com/erik.s.debie


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Bless Your Mechanical Heart is out!

by Jennifer Brozek 16. April 2014 10:55

Just a quick reminder, my latest anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media, BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART, is out in the wild now and is getting awesome reviews. Cover art by Larry Dixon. There are some really awesome stories in this one.

I just love this cover.

 

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Keystones has been released!

by Jennifer Brozek 15. April 2014 09:44

Book release day is always fun. KEYSTONES, Karen Wilson Chronicles #3, is out. Buy it at Apocalypse Ink, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

“The Keystone. It must be destroyed.”

Defeated.

By the Children of Anu.

But the Children aren’t done with Karen or the city of Kendrick yet. The supernatural societies of Kendrick are being attacked, one by one. As each falls, the Avatar of Anu grows stronger, and Karen is left to defend the city with fewer and fewer allies… while also being hindered by a new leader of Kendrick's Special Unit Police Force.

Karen knows that she and her allies must stop the Children before everything important is destroyed. Only by working together, and sacrificing what some hold most dear, will they prevail. It’s time for the denizens of Kendrick to determine what they’re willing to give up in order to stop the evil running  rampant.

Some will sacrifice everything they have—and everything they are—to protect the ones they love.

 

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Jennifer's Norwescon Schedule

by Jennifer Brozek 14. April 2014 07:32

Feel free to come by and say hello. There is a no shyness zone around me. If I have time, I'll be happy to chat, go for coffee/drinks and such. If I am not in one of these panels, then I will be at the Apocalypse Ink Productions booth in Writers Row just outside the Dealers Room. We will have the new AIP releases as well as selling Bless Your Mechanical Heart from Evil Girlfriend Media.

THURSDAY
Congratulations, It Sucks! Thu 3:00pm-4:00pm Cascade 2
Marta Murvosh (M), Jennifer Brozek, Renee Stern

The Americanization of International Horror, Thu 5:00pm-6:00pm, Cascade 6
Jennifer Brozek (M), Tori Centanni, Amber Clark, Shannon from Seattle Geekly

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FRIDAY
Military Motifs in Fantasy, Fri Noon-1:00pm, Cascade 6
Jennifer Brozek (M), Myke Cole, Russell Ervin, Brent Kellmer

Women in Horror, Fri 4:00pm-5:00pm, Cascade 10
Jennifer Brozek (M), Katie Cord, Mae Empson, Angel Leigh McCoy

Military SF Revisited, Fri 6:00pm-7:00pm, Cascade 9
Mike Brennan (M), S. A. Bolich, Jennifer Brozek, Russell Ervin, Brent Kellmer, Jim Fiscus

Release Party for Bless Your Mechanical Heart, Fri 8:00pm -1:00am, Room 5439
Evil Girlfriend Media and Apocalypse Ink Productions will be releasing BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART, edited by me, and KEYSTONES, written by me!

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SATURDAY
Cycle of the Horror Movie, Sat 1:00pm-2:00pm, Cascade 9
Shannon from Seattle Geekly (M), Jennifer Brozek, Katie Cord, Eric Morgret, Mark Rahner

Reading: Jennifer Brozek, Sat 2:30pm-3:00pm Cascade 1
I'll be reading a Karen Wilson Chronicles story!

The Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading, Sat 6:00pm-8:00pm, Cascade 7&8
More Karen Wilson Chronicles and a bunch of other wonderful authors.

Surviving the Slush Pile, Sat 8:00pm-9:00pm, Cascade 10
Keffy R. M. Kehrli (M), Wolfgang Baur, Jennifer Brozek, Anne Charnock, Patrick Swenson

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SUNDAY
LARPing in Washington, Sun 11:00am-Noon, Cascade 6
Jennifer Brozek (M), Fish

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Tell Me - Steven Savage

by Jennifer Brozek 14. April 2014 07:10

I met Steven Savage at Convolution 2013. He is enthusiastic in his love of fandom and doing what you love as well as integrating technology into life. He's here to help you make your hobby and your passion work for you.

--

I just wrote "Fan To Pro", subtitled "Leveling Up Your Career Through Your Hobbies."  What do I want to Tell You?

This book is a rewrite of my very first book.  I want to tell you not why I wrote it so much as I why I rewrote it.

Many years ago a friend and I noted that a lot of geeks, otaku, hobbyists, and so on had so much career potential due to their hobbies but didn't know how to use it.  We kicked around ways to help them, and eventually started doing a blog at www.fantopro.com (now www.musehack.com).  I started speaking at conventions on the subject, doing what I could to help.

Eventually I realized I should write a book (which, ironically, is something discussed much earlier).  Since it was an age of self-publishing, I decided to do it myself, compiled all my advice, and wrote the first "Fan To Pro" book.  It was an interesting write, I learned  a lot, and I got some great reviews - and most importantly people telling me how it actually changed their careers for the better.

I wrote other career books over time, touching on Cosplay, Fanart, resumes, and the job search.  Each time I wrote, I learned more.  Each time I wrote, I did a little more research.  Each time I wrote I saw my own work a bit differently.

In fact, as I blogged I was constantly learning, reviewing, re-thinking, and integrating new information into my whole "Geek Job Guru" routine.  Everything you write changes you, and at times we can forget that.

So I looked back at my old book (and, frankly, the rather weird art deco cover) and said "I really ought to rewrite this."  After all I had a lot more to share, a lot more to tell people, and the world had changed since the first book.  Then again, I had changed as well.

I wasn't the same author that I was those years ago.  So it was time for a rewrite, which took a good 8 months, involved adding a lot more information, expanded it by 100 pages, and involved an entire rearrangement of the contents.  It was, to be brutally honest, not as easy as I'd expected.

After finishing it, I realized just how much I'd changed, discovered, grown, and even forgotten.

So what do I want to Tell You?  That rewrites are worth it, and sometimes they're even inevitable (especially if you do advice books and similar).  We all change, and there are times our books need to change with us.

This isn't true for all books.  Some books are a statement of a time or place, some are meant to be so personal or intimate that we don't alter them.  But this isn't every book.  Sometimes books are dialogue in slow-motion.

I'd also say that rewrites are important as, since we grow as authors, our works can grow with us.  Even works we think are flawed or are ashamed of we can return, revise, reconstruct, and breathe new life into.  Sometimes a work is finished - sometimes it can be re-finished.

Now I can't say I'm going to rewrite everything I've done.  But in the future, I'll be more open to it . . .

 

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Tell Me - Danielle Ackley-McPhail (Dance Like a Monkey)

by Jennifer Brozek 7. April 2014 14:30

I’ve with Danielle off and on over the years. She’s a wonderful writer, an excellent editor, and has a warm heart. She has spearheaded this campaign to help CJ Henderson and is waving the pom-poms for all she’s worth. This is why she’s spearheading the campaign. I, being a stretch goal author, am not unbiased. This Indiegogo campaign has funded but every little bit helps.

---

I have a secret for you. I…am the Queen of the Outcasts.

No…really. With a few, rare exceptions I fit nowhere in society. Not at work, not at church, not among my family. Always I have been that awkward figure on the fringes wanting to be embraced and brought in to the crowd. Always. This doesn’t mean I wasn’t welcome or loved, just that in general the world—yes, even my family—doesn’t get me and can’t relate.

Halfway through my life I found my exception to this rule.

Fandom. From the moment I entered my first convention I was greeted with open arms, with smiles, with understanding. A heady experience, I can tell you! I think this, more than anything else, keeps me doing what I do, no matter that it often feels more work than reward. When I walk among the community I am at peace and I am comfortable. When things go wrong, I find support without even asking.

What does this have to do with Tell Me? Well…let me tell you…

Things have gone wrong. Very wrong. Not for me, but for an icon of the community, CJ Henderson. He has cancer. Again. Twice in less than six months’ time he is fighting for his life and losing his livelihood. With the first course of treatments unsuccessful CJ is now subjected to 96 hours of continues chemotherapy every two weeks. He can’t write. He can’t go to conventions. In short, he can’t make the money vital to his family’s continued well-being.

Here is where the community comes in. Within two days of learning of the reoccurrence of CJ’s lymphoma plans were already in place for a charity anthology, Dance Like a Monkey. From stories to artwork, to publisher and administrative and marketing staff not only was everyone on board, but everything was in place and ready to go. Jean Rabe got on board as editor. Gail Z. Martin stepped in as Promoter. Silence in the Library Press agreed to not only fund this anthology, but also run the crowdfunding campaign that would make it possible. Authors Timothy Zahn, Joe Haldeman, Gene Wolfe, Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Jack Dann, Jonathan Maberry…I could keep going, but soon I’ll be running out of words. But in short, over sixty authors have pledged short stories, artwork, and music with absolutely no compensation to them. Before word even got out, fandom was lifting CJ up and helping to bear his burden.

Since then we have gone live with our campaign, Monkeying Around for a Good Cause. Unfortunately, due to Kickstarter’s policy against charity projects we have had to take this to another platform, Indiegogo, which is equally as able, but not nearly as frequented. Support has been heartening with over 220 donors getting behind the project, and whole legions of people helping us to spread the word via social media and news websites, professional organizations and fan bases. The love being shown to CJ heartens me every day. But sadly, it still is not enough. You would think something as inconsequential as a platform would not make a difference to such a worthy cause. Nearly ten days in and we still have not funded, let alone started to work our way through the many fabulous stretch goals that have been donated. But we have time and we have the support, so now it is up to us to spread the word. And that word is…

Help!

We aren’t asking for a handout. Really. Despite our purpose we are not asking you to GIVE us anything. No. We are offering you an amazing collection of fiction in either DRM-Free ebook or in print (depending on your donation choice), plus plenty of awesome pledge rewards and potential stretch goals—ALL donated—we offer you value that well exceeds any contribution we are requesting, and all the money save the platform fees, print costs, and shipping, go directly to CJ Henderson so he can stop worrying about bills and focus on kicking cancer’s ass.

Between his years of fiction writing, mentorship, advice, and general jocularity, CJ has given so much to fandom. Let’s give him something back. And not just something, but the very best we can manage. I have seen what that looks like and we aren’t even close yet. If you can’t participate in the crowdfunding please help us spread the word to those who might be in a better position to.

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Freelancer Summary March 2014

by Jennifer Brozek 3. April 2014 11:38

Ever wonder what a freelance author/editor does? Each month of 2014, I’m going to list my daily notes on what I do. As I always say, being your own boss means you choose with 70 hours of the week you work. None of this talks about the random pub IMs, time doing research, time reading books for blurbs, introductions, and reviews, or short author questions. It doesn’t cover my pays-the-bills work either. This is just publishing industry stuff. “Answered pub industry email” can be anything from a request for an interview, to contract queries, to reading anthology invites, to answering questions about dates… and the list goes on.

March

 

2014.03.01

Answered pub industry email.

 

 

Sunday

2014.03.02

Answered pub industry email. Dealt with an issue of miscommunication via email and phone. Edited 40 pages of Sheynan novel #1.

2014.03.03

Answered pub industry email. Juggled AIP release schedule. AIP Googlegroup post. Jennifer Brozek Googlegroup post. Blog post. Edited 41 pages of Sheynan novel #1.

2014.03.04

Answered pub industry email. Edited 37 pages of Sheynan novel #1 and returned it to the author.

2014.03.05

Answered pub industry email. Submitted a query to an agent. Voted for the Stokers. Voted for the Nebulas. Voted for SFWA board.

2014.03.06

Answered pub industry email. Processed all of the publisher copy edits for BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART. Received publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS.

2014.03.07

Answered pub industry email. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS. Edited and wrote 500 words on the Bear Cult story I’m co-writing.

2014.03.08

Answered pub industry email. Wrote back cover copy for BYMH and for KEYSTONES. Final proof of my story in a forthcoming anthology.

 

 

Sunday

2014.03.09

A whole lot of PR stuff for AIP, including approval of new book covers and bookmarks.

2014.03.10

Answered pub industry email. Posted cover art for BYMH. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS.

2014.03.11

Taxes. Feel like I’ve been beaten with sticks by them. Agreed to go to VikingCon in Bellingham, WA on May 3. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS.

2014.03.12

Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS.

2014.03.13

Answered pub industry email. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS. Proofed “Janera” for Athena’s Daughters.

2014.03.14

Answered pub industry email. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS. Proofed “Ley of the Land” for Time-Traveled Tales 2.

2014.03.15

Answered pub industry email. Approved the final covers of the Sheynan trilogy for AIP. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS. Updated AIP store with forthcoming book covers.

 

 

Sunday

2014.03.16

Answered pub industry email. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS.

2014.03.17

Answered pub industry email. Processed publisher copy edits for SHATTERED SHIELDS and turned the manuscript in. Posted AIP blog of cover of Sheynan #1. Wrote tax checks (OW). Wrote 700 words on Chimera Incarnate. Invoiced a client.

2014.03.18

Answered pub industry email. Mail SHATTERED SHIELDS manuscript back to Baen. Redlined 3 chapters of Sheynan #1. Wrote 86 words on Chimera Incarnate.

2014.03.19

Answered pub industry email. Invoiced a client. Read AIP submissions. Redlined 6 chapters of Sheynan #1. Wrote 300 words on Chimera Incarnate.

2014.03.20

Wrote 1000 words on Chimera Incarnate. Redlined 4 chapters of Sheynan #1.

2014.03.21

Answered pub industry email. Wrote 1200 words on Chimera Incarnate. Redlined 6 chapters of Sheynan #1.

2014.03.22

Wrote 1000 words on Chimera Incarnate. Redlined 7 chapters of Sheynan #1.

 

 

Sunday

2014.03.23

Answered pub industry email. Wrote 1200 words on Chimera Incarnate. Final proof polish of KEYSTONES.

2014.03.24

Answered pub industry email. Blog post. AIP blog post. Processed the redline edits for Sheynan #1and turned it in. Wrote 400 words on Chimera Incarnate.

2014.03.25

Answered pub industry email. Revisions to Salton Academy 1.

2014.03.26

Answered pub industry email. Added 830 words to Salton Academy 1. Outlined Salton Academy 2.

2014.03.27

Wrote 1700 words on Salton Academy 2.

2014.03.28

Answered pub industry email. Wrote 1800 words on Salton Academy 2. Turned in edit requests on the Valdemar story.

2014.03.29

Answered pub industry email. Wrote 700 words on Salton Academy 2. Got contracts back for cover art.

 

 

Sunday

2014.03.30

Wrote 1000 words on Salton Academy 2. Paid PA.

2014.03.31

Answered pub industry email. Read AIP submissions. Wrote 1500 words on Salton Academy 2. AIP website work. Tell Me blog post.

 

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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.