Jennifer Brozek | May 2014

Bubble and Squeek for 27 May 2014

RELEASE: The Future Embodied anthology has been released. It has my short story, "The Bathory Clinic Deal," in it.

REVIEW: Coins of Chaos anthology reviewed by Russ Thompson of Hellnotes. He liked it!

REVIEW: Bless Your Mechanical Heart anthology reviewed by John Edward Betancourt on Girls of Geek. He liked it!

INTERVIEW: I participated in an SF SIGNAL MIND MELD with a bunch of The Future Embodied anthology authors.

FACTOID: Just figured out how much new writing I've done so far this year: 5 short stories, 3 novelettes, 70,250. Not bad. 3 of those short stories have already been bought. Not bad for the first 6 months of the year.

Tell Me - Ken Scholes

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Ken for years. He is a gregarious and generous man as well as a spectacular and lyrical author. He talks about how he was inspired by Jay Lake to write the latest in the METAtropolis series.


METAtropolis:  The Wings We Dare Aspire by Jay Lake and Ken Scholes, Wordfire Press.


Back in 2010, Jay took on the editing role for Audible’s award-winning METAtropolis series, a “near-future” SF audio anthology featuring a diverse range of authors all lending their talent to a shared world.  Jay had appeared in the first volume, edited by John Scalzi, and in his novella, “In the Forests of the Night,” he introduced the characters of Tygre, Tygre and Bashar.  When Jay took over editing METAtropolis:  Cascadia he offered me the opportunity to play along and I jumped at the opportunity.


I read the first anthology and, as often happens with Jay, I instantly sparked a story.  What if Bashar took what he’d learned from Tygre, Tyre and wrote a book about it – a kind of Saul of Tarsus to Tygre Tygre’s unusual Jesus – and what if the plot that Jay started unpacking in his tale was suddenly expanding?  I told him my idea and we decided that we would link our stories for Cascadia.  I wrote “A Symmetry of Serpents and Doves” and then Jay took my story and wove his own around it in “The Bull Dancers.”  That volume went on to win the Audie award thanks to the amazing writers and the amazing voice talent that Audible brought together. 


Of course, that set the stage for METAtropolis:  Green Space and because of Jay’s failing health in his years-long fight with cancer, I was brought in to co-edit with him.  This time around, we decided to continue the story of Bashar and Charity Oxham and to connect our stories even more tightly.  Jay wrote “Rock of Ages” and set us up, then I ran us across the goal line with “Let Me Hide Myself in Thee.”  Both stories stand alone but work much better as a set.


Meanwhile, while we were drafting our stories for Green Space, I had breakfast with Kevin J. Anderson at Norwescon.  Jay and I had met Kevin as a result of our Writers of the Future wins and he shared with me that he and his wife, Rebecca Moesta, had launched Wordfire Press, an author-friendly publishing company that hit the ground with a solid catalog of well-known writers in the genre.  Kevin and I talked about doing something together one day down the road.


Ideally, we had hoped a publisher would pick up the entire anthology, putting all of the stories from volume two and three into print, but no markets bit and we all collectively decided we would pursue publishing our individual stories on our own.  But…in looking at the five tales Jay and I had crafted, it was readily apparent that we had something that stood up fairly well as a shared collection of stories telling one overall story.  Jay and I talked about it and decided to approach Kevin.  Kevin was excited about the project and once he took it on, brought in artist Jeff Sturgeon to create a cover that captured the Pacific Northwest flavor of the book.  And so METAtropolis:  The Wings We Dare Aspire was born.


This is an especially meaningful project for me.  Jay has been one of my closest friends for over a decade now and as his fight with cancer winds down, I’ve wanted every opportunity I can get to work with my friend and to support his career.  This book, coming out now in the last few months of Jay’s life, is a tangible marker of that friendship and a great example of what has happened whenever our muses (Fred for him, Leroy for me) come out to play.  These our paper children, born from a love of story and the bonds of our brotherhood.  I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy today.



Ken Scholes is the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of over forty short stories and four novels with work appearing both in the US and abroad.

Summer Snow

I was out to lunch with a friend of mine recently and we got to talking about how bad the dogwood was this time of year. I told him the story of the first time I’d seen dogwood.

There I was, walking down a Microsoft hallway that had a window at the end and I swore it looked like it was snow—heavily. I couldn’t believe it. I stopped at the window and watched. It overlooked a protected courtyard and the grass was white beneath me. I didn’t know what I was looking at and all I could think of was snow.

No one else was reacting to this at all.

My first thought, “Am I crazy? Am I the only one who is seeing this?”

Then I realized it was snow but something like industrial strength dandelion fluff. My second thought, and I kid you not, was, “Are we being invaded?” It’s because I had just seen a Darkside episode that involved invasion by sex and pollenization. Strange episode but it stuck with me.

Still, no one was reacting to this phenomena. So I went back to my first thought. “Am I crazy?”

So, I didn’t ask anyone. I was still not sure what was up. I waited until I got home and asked my roommate. I figured he wouldn’t think I was any stranger than I already was. “So… what’s with the white stuff?”

“The dogwood? Yeah, it gets bad. It’s going to get worse.”

I’m glad he told me. It was a lot worse the next day.

My friend laughed his butt off at me and my “Are we being invaded?” thought. Told me that it fit with who I am. I’m not sure if he was talking about Apocalypse Girl or the writer side of me. I suppose he could’ve meant both.

Blog Hop

I was tagged by Steven Savage for this blog hop with these questions:

1. What am I working on?
2. How does it differ from others of its genre?
3. Why do I write what I do?
4. How does my writing process work?

What am I working on?
I work on several projects at a time and which gets preference is based on which deadline is soonest in conjunction to the amount of words due. Usually have a number of editing gigs going on at the same time as my writing gigs. Currently, as an author, I am working on the following:

Unnamed short story - due at the end of the month for an invitation-only anthology. It is urban fantasy.

The Last Days of the Salton Academy 3: Plan for Success - the third in a trilogy of novelettes. This is a near future, post apocalyptic zombie tales. Due in June.

Chimera Incarnate - Book four of the Karen Wilson Chronicles. Urban fantasy due at the end of the year.

How does it differ from others of its genre?
Unnamed short story - I don't know if it does. I just know it is relevant to today and I haven't read a story like it yet.

Salton Academy - I don't particularly like zombies and I think the genre is getting stale. For the most part, I'm not writing about the zombies. I'm writing about the survivors and how they handle the stress of the apocalypse. I thought it would be interesting to set the story in a boarding school in-between quarters.

Chimera Incarnate - This is the last in the urban fantasy series and, really, it is classic urban fantasy: a hidden supernatural world set next to our reality. I'm not trying to stretch the genre. I'm writing within it. Only the details differ.

Why do I write what I do?
I write the stories I do because it is what I like to read. I have stories to tell—to myself, to my fans, to anyone who wants to read them. I would write whether or not I was getting paid for it. I really do live to write and write to live. It is my passion.

How Does My Writing Process Work?
Once I have an idea, I let it sit for a week or so. Ideas are easy. Writing/execution is hard. If the idea is still shiny in a week, then I work on it.

First, I outline. My idea of outlining is deciding if it has a 3 or 5 act structure and then bullet pointing the main thing per act. That's it for a short story. For a long work, I break each act out into 3 or 5 scenes and bullet point the main thought per scene. That's it. I know where I start, where I believe I'm going, and where I will end up.

Then I write. Write. Write. Write. Splat it to the page. Get the whole of it down. Never mind the mistakes. I don't look back until it's complete. Unless I figure out a giant plot hole as I'm going. Then I stop. Re-outline to fix the hole. Then I write again.

After it is complete, I give it a single edit pass to smooth out the edges.

Once I'm satisfied, I put it away to stew and work on something else. If it's a short story, a week. If it's longer, a couple of weeks.

After stewing, I take it out and look at it with fresh eyes and fix everything I couldn't see before. When I'm not ashamed of it, I send it to my 1st round readers. That gives me more time and distance and people outside my head a chance to tell me where I messed up.

Then I fix those mistakes. I polish the manuscript. I read it out loud away from wherever I wrote it.

When I'm finally happy with it, I send it to my editor and pray they like it, too.

After chatting with them, I am tagging: Lucy Snyder, Nate Crowder, Minerva Zimmerman, and M Todd Gallowglas.

Freelancer Summary April 2014

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.




Answered pub industry email. Tell Me blog post. Wrote 1000 words on Salton Academy 2. Updated AIP website.


Answered pub industry email. Googlegroup posts. Wrote 2200 words on Salton Academy 2. Updated personal website.


Answered pub industry email. Wrote 2200 words on Salton Academy 2.


Answered pub industry email. Wrote 2100 words on Salton Academy 2, finishing the first draft at 14,100 words.


Answered pub industry email. Polish edited Salton Academy 2, added 150 words, and sent it to alpha reader. Re-outlined Salton Academy 3.





Answered pub industry email. Updated personal website.


Answered pub industry email. Tell Me blog post. Editorial read of Famished: The Commons, Chapter 1. Sent in playtest feedback on a game in development.


Answered pub industry email. Final proof of “Janera” for Athena’s Daughters I. Posted AIP blog post. Editorial read of 3 chapters for Famished: The Commons.


Answered pub industry email. Editorial read of 9 chapters for Famished: The Commons.


Answered pub industry email. Editorial read of 7 chapters for Famished: The Commons and emailed notes to the author. Contract negotiations for an RPG gig.


Answered pub industry email. Signed the contract for the RPG gig. Editorial read of 9 chapters for Exile novella. Updated my deadlines calendar for the next 6 months.


Answered pub industry email. Editorial read of 8 chapters for Exile novella and emailed notes to the author.





Went to Norwescon Stuffing Party to put AIP bookmarks in the swag bags. AIP blog post. Personal blog post.


Answered pub industry email. A whole lot of Norwescon prep. Signed short story contract. Created my convention autograph card. AIP blog post.


Answered pub industry email. AIP blog post. Personal blog post. Packed for Norwescon. Updated AIP website sidebar. AIP googlegroup post about book releases.


Norwescon. 1700 words on Salton Academy 3.


Norwescon. AIP Booth. Panels. Answered pub industry email. Meeting with EGM.


Norwescon. AIP Booth. Panels. BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART and KEYSTONES release party.


Norwescon. AIP Booth. Answered pub industry email. Meeting with Vorpol Games.





Norwescon. AIP Booth. Home. Keel over.


Answered pub industry email. So much email. Posted a new “Tell Me” guest blog. Outlined Red Aegis RPG assignment.


Answered pub industry email. Posted a blog post. 300 words on Salton Academy 3.


Answered pub industry email. Signed gig contract. Norwescon follow-up activites.


Answered pub industry email. Answered an SF Signal mind meld. Read Red Aegis updates. 160 words on Red Aegis assignment.


Answered pub industry email. 200 words on Red Aegis assignment.


Answered pub industry email. Had to remind the internet not to send me unsolicited novels to my personal email account.





Answered pub industry email. Playtested Red Aegis. Re-outlined Red Aegis assignment.


Answered pub industry email. Posted Tell Me post. 1400 words on Red Aegis assignment. Edited 50 pages of Gaming anthology.


Answered pub industry email. Posted convention blog post. 1500 words on Red Aegis assignment. Edited 52 pages of Gaming anthology.


Answered pub industry email. 800 words on Red Aegis assignment. Edited 55 pages of Gaming anthology. Created the convention card for VikingCon.