Jennifer Brozek | December 2015

Tell Me - Lawrence M. Schoen

by Jennifer Brozek 31. December 2015 08:43

Tell me something that you’ve always wanted to tell the world about the project.

I can’t speak for other authors, but in my case my writing often reflects some idea or desire that my unconscious mind is trying to share with me, but which because I am such an obvious dunderhead fails to slip through to my awareness. As one example, I’ve committed more than half a million words to the story of a protagonist and his alien animal companion (two novels, three novellas, two novelettes, and half a dozen shorts) that turned out to be all about mourning the passing of my first dog. Finally, someone pointed this out to me and I realized that twelve years of missing her was enough, and I went off to animal rescue and got a new dog.

Another such idea that shows up in my fiction a lot is death, or more specifically how the essence of who we are survives our own mortality. Barsk deals with a lot of topics and themes, including intolerance and friendship and prophecy and history, but the notion that something of us lives past physical death permeates all of these other ideas. That’s the piece I wanted to explore, both overtly and more subtly, in this novel. More importantly, and in keeping with the messages from my unconscious, I suspect that what it’s really all about for me is exploring a way to hold on to those we’ve lost.

Like many people, I routinely see and speak in my dreams with friends and family members who have died. In Barsk I formalized this, conjuring up some plausible and vaguely scientific explanations for the how and why of doing this in the waking world. I’m pretty pleased with the result, which in turn allowed me to tell an interesting story. Ultimately, I suppose I find it all oddly comforting to think that my fictional characters are connecting with their loved ones in ways that those of us in the nonfiction universe can only dream about. It holds out the promise that mortality is not the end of our connection with those dear to us.

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Lawrence M. Schoen holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, has been nominated for the Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula awards, is a world authority on the Klingon language, operates the small press Paper Golem, and is a practicing hypnotherapist specializing in authors’ issues.

His previous science fiction includes many light and humorous adventures of a space-faring stage hypnotist and his alien animal companion. His most recent book, Barsk, takes a very different tone, exploring issues of prophecy, intolerance, friendship, conspiracy, and loyalty, and redefines the continua between life and death. He lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his wife and their dog

Website: http://www.lawrencemschoen.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lawrencemschoen
Twitter: @klingonguy

 

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Quantifying 2015

by Jennifer Brozek 29. December 2015 10:34

When it comes to year in review posts, there’s two ways for me to look at it: What did I do? Did I enjoy myself? The short version answer to these two questions is: A lot. Yes.

Being a full-time freelancer, I need personal metrics that keep me going. To let me know I didn’t just spin my wheels. To know that I have done good. I can’t rely on money to tell me whether or not I’ve been productive. The publishing industry is so weird about money and timing. It’s feast or famine… mostly famine. Even if you’re working all the time.

So, to answer the second question first. Did I enjoy myself? On the whole, yes. I’m happier that I’ve ever been. Yes, there were hard times. Yes, I really do understand “leveling up to a better (harder) class of problem” thing. And yes, not everything was a success. But, by and large, I had the best time.

As for the first question of: What did I do? I keep a daily summary log. I need to. I must schedule myself and I must know what I’ve done and when I did it. Thus, I can quantify my freelance year like so:

  • Writing:  I wrote 110,000 words of new fiction. This does not count any blog posts or articles written.
  • Editing: I edited 10 novels, 4 novellas, 1 anthology, and 90 EGM.Shorts flash fiction pieces.
  • Submissions: I had 5 of 9 short stories accepted. Not bad. Just didn’t have a lot of time to submit short fiction around.
  • Published: 4 novels, 1 novella, 1 fiction collection, 1 anthology, and 5 short stories. That is a lot. A whole lot.
  • Email: Answered email 320 days out of the year. This is much worse than last year. I answered email 268 days in 2014. I had hoped to do less email. I failed.
  • New Positions: Managing Editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and voted in as a SFWA Director-at-Large. I am still the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.
  • Awards: I had 4 nominations (Scribe x2, an ENnie, and a Hugo). 1 win (Scribe for best YA tie-in novel for The Nellus Academy Incident).
  • Reading: I read 41 novels (mostly for pleasure). Not bad, given my schedule.
  • Vacation: Took 23 days off to do nothing. This is better than I did last year. This averages 2 days off a month. Though, most of these came in the last third of the year.

Honestly, reading this list makes me both proud and tired. I already know I will be doing a lot less of some and a lot more of another in 2016 but that’s for another post in a week, next year.

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Tell Me - Adrienne Dellwo

by Jennifer Brozek 16. December 2015 14:06

It's kind of a fluke that Through the Veil even happened. I got the original flash of inspiration not long after coming home from an SSF convention where I'd gone to a world-building panel. I only went because I wanted to see one of the panelists. I didn't think I'd need to build worlds from scratch, since I was more of a modern-day, almost-real-world kind of writer. (Yes, that requires world building too, but less.)

Anyway, I thinking about the panel and a thought crossed my mind: If I were going to create my own fantasy world, what would it be like? A moment later, a scene flashed through my mind of a girl in Renaissance-esque clothing running up a hill in tears, looking back at a walled city, and disappearing – then reappearing in a big-city penthouse.

Right away, I knew a lot about her. She was a violinist (like I used to be, but a whole lot better.) She loved the fantasy world and was miserable at home. She used music to cross between the worlds.

I knew a lot about the other world, too. The city she visited was all about order and somewhere in that dimension was a region that was all about chaos. (As a long-time Dungeons & Dragons geek, I'm fascinated by those ideas as well as the difference between law and justice.) Music was supremely important there, and her exceptional talent gave her a special status.

I settled on the name Dedra for kind of a funny reason. A Ouija board once told me I'd have a daughter with that name. It was wrong. But in thinking about a name, I was going over some I'd considered for my daughter, it came to me and I decided it was perfect. So, in a way, it was a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I immediately started writing her story. A few scenes in, back to the fantasy world, I asked myself, "What's unique about this world?" The character was looking over the city at night and I thought about what would be visible in a world without electricity. It came to me – what if music is visible?

I wrote more, then put it away. I didn't have much time to write as it was, and I had, months earlier, started a book that was slowly plodding along.

As it turned out, both projects sat for months until I decided to take a step back from an organization I was involved in that had sucked up all of my time. I told myself that was my year to finally get a novel written or admit that I wasn't going to do it.

I took part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that November to make myself write every day instead of here and there as the mood struck. I read through the earlier project and realized my heart wasn't in it. Then I came across Dedra's story and read what I'd written. It was better than I'd remembered and, even better, I was excited to write it.

I met the NaNo goals and kept going, through December and into January, when I finished it. After lots of editing, it was picked up by Sky Warrior Books. Now I'm polishing up the sequel so I can get it to them soon, and I'm about to jump into the final book in the trilogy.

It's still kind of surreal to me that this book even happened. It makes me realize how important it is to open yourself to different kinds of ideas, even if you don't think they pertain to you.

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Adrienne Dellwo lives in Washington state, where she works as a freelance medical writer, writes and produces indie films with her husband, and is raising a son and daughter who keep life magical. She's had short stories published by Alliteration Ink, Local Hero Press, Siren's Call, and DarkFire Fiction. Her first novel, Through the Veil, is available from Sky Warrior Books.

 

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All I Want For My Birthday…

by Jennifer Brozek 9. December 2015 09:04

Happy birthday to me! I turn 45 today. I’ve officially crossed over into that 45-60 year old category. This year, I had four novels, one novella, one fiction collection and an anthology come out. All I want for my birthday is for you to buy one of them and leave me a review. It’s been a standing birthday wish now for about five years. Please consider getting yourself a gift of one of my books for my birthday. You have a great selection.

If you want to know which one I want you to buy… the Melissa Allen series, Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, or Never Let Me Die. I get royalties and kudos on them all but those are the newest.

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming – Fiction collection
Travel from the weird west to the hidden worlds of Kendrick all the way to the far reaches of space. This collection contains twenty previously published short stories and includes the brand new Kember Empire story “Found on the Body of a Solider.” Enjoy your journey and don’t forget your survival gear. Apocalypse Girl is waiting. Includes a foreword by science fiction author Jody Lynn Nye.

DocWagon 19 – Shadowrun tie-in novella
DocWagon—saviors of the needy, rescuers of the desperate. Willing to go anywhere, rescue anyone, as long as that “anyone” has forked out enough advance cash to justify the effort. Reporter Amelia Hart has embedded herself with a DocWagon team to see what their life is really like, and she’s in for a wild ride. From an OD’ing celebrity to an aggressive team of hackers, from pesky gangs to an extremely rich and powerful client teetering at death’s door, this night will give the team all they can handle. But will they survive long enough to remember that in the Sixth World, nothing is truly random?

Chimera Incarnate – Fourth and final book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles
“The Veil is breaking. The Nightmares are coming through.” The supernatural forces of Kendrick may have defeated the Children of Anu, but every war leaves destruction in its wake. And fixing the collateral damage is never easy. The fourth and final volume of the Karen Wilson Chronicles tells the story of what happens when all the chips are down, places of power have been consumed, and one of Karen’s greatest allies teeters on the edge of oblivion. The Grey Lady and her people are fading. Only their pact with the Makah people, and the land of Kendrick itself, is holding their ancient foes at bay. Karen and her allies must find a way to save one of their own before the Veil falls and the world as they know it is destroyed.

Never Let Me Sleep – Melissa Allen #1, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if you discovered everyone in your house, on your street, and in your town dead? Then discovered you weren’t alone and what was out there was hunting you? Melissa Allen knows exactly how it feels. With only a voice on the phone for help, she must stop what is happening before the monsters find her.

Never Let Me Leave – Melissa Allen #2, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if you found yourself locked in an underground lab with a murderous alien hunting you? Melissa Allen and her new friends know exactly how it feels. With no help from the outside and time running out, it’s up to Melissa to keep herself and the other teens safe. How can she do that when she’s not sure who she can trust? Someone in the lab helped that alien escape. Someone human.

Never Let Me Die – Melissa Allen #3, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if your sister was shot and your brother was kidnapped? Melissa Allen knows. It’s been six months since the attack at PAR Lab. Melissa, Carrie, and Adam have settled into a semblance of domestic bliss with Heather as their guardian. Things seem too good to be true. Someone has been watching them. Someone who has no problem trying to kill them.

Naughty Or Nice: A Holiday Anthology – Adult-oriented SF Anthology
With a little bit of nice, a sprinkle of dark, a handful of sexy, and a whole lot of naughty, this adult-oriented anthology is filled with blushes, laughs, and gasps. This is not your average holiday reading. From the story behind Marley's fate, to a little elf who makes the perfect "toy" to the holiday rituals that keep the world going, Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology, keeps the pages turning. Be prepared to be a little bit shocked!

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NEVER LET ME DIE has been released!

by Jennifer Brozek 8. December 2015 07:50

NEVER LET ME DIE, the third book in the Melissa Allen trilogy has been released. All of these books have been doing really well. NEVER LET ME SLEEP is even on the HWA Bram Stoker Award™ 2015 Reading List!

What would you do if your sister was shot and your brother was kidnapped? Melissa Allen knows.

It’s been six months since the attack at PAR Lab. Melissa, Carrie, and Adam have settled into a semblance of domestic bliss with Heather as their guardian. Things seem too good to be true.

Someone has been watching them, taking photos and keeping notes. Someone who seems to know everything about them. Someone who has no problem trying to kill them.


Happy Book Release Day to me!

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Latest Releases

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The Last Days of Salton Academy
YA Horror

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Ragnarok Publications

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Never Let Me
YA SF-Thriller Omnibus

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Permuted Press

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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

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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.