Jennifer Brozek | January 2016

UBS Reading and Signed Copies

by Jennifer Brozek 27. January 2016 10:01

Last night’s reading was really good. It was nice to see familiar faces (shout out to my Ingress buddies!) as well as unfamiliar faces drawn in by the concept of NEVER LET ME. Lots of books were sold and it was a good time.

Readings are funny things. You never know if you are going to get 200, 50, 10, 2, or 0 people showing up to them. Here’s the trick about readings—I read to an audience of 2 the same way I read to an audience of 200. I try to make sure everyone there feels like they are the most important person in the world. Because, in truth, they are. Without readers, we authors would be shouting into the void. So, I try to make my readers know they are very much appreciated.

Duane Wilkins and the University Bookstore were lovely hosts as always. If you would like a signed copy of NEVER LET ME or any of my other print books, you can get it from the University Bookstore.  Visit their website or call 1.800.335.7323.

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Tell Me - Wendy Hammer

by Jennifer Brozek 25. January 2016 08:36

I love it went writers tell me something I didn't know about them that makes me look at their books in a different light. Wendy is an excellent author and now I understand what makes her meals scenes in her novels so good.
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I have a weakness for skill-based reality TV shows. I’ll watch participants design, drive, build, forge, style—you name it—but it’s cooking shows that really hook me in. So when I heard the buzz about The Great British Baking Show, I binge watched the season. It delivered everything I love about the genre. No surprise there. But I never expected it would also give me an “Aha!” moment about my writing. THIS. This is what I was going for.

The connection grew with each episode and by midseason I’d started to play around with elevator pitches. “The Cross Cutting novellas are The Great British Baking Show meets Half-Resurrection Blues and Supernatural” or “The trilogy is like TGBBS with fewer cakes and more monsters.” Clearly, I won’t be teaching a pitch class any time soon; however, the spirit of the show is an example of what I wanted to capture.

Those bakers put their all into that competition. Each contestant clearly wanted to win the big prize. There was loads of dramatic tension. And yet, despite the stakes, the atmosphere remained warmly supportive. The drama mostly focused on the task at hand instead of personal conflicts.

In the Cross Cutting trilogy I wanted to create a fundamentally harmonious group of characters to face the darkness. The problem is there’s a danger of making them sticky sweet and—boring. Trying to hit the right balance is a cool challenge. I tried to tackle it in the novellas because they’re long enough for character development and short enough to keep a lot of the attention fixed on action.

The route I chose began with thinking about the magic. My main character, Trinidad, has magic that’s cooperative in nature—she has to work with whatever city she’s bonded to. She needs a strong will and a stronger sense of self, but she can’t be selfish. One of the trade-offs is that she doesn’t deal with many people. She relates to the fringes and periphery better than the mainstream, anyway.

I balanced her by making Achilles a clairvoyant. His abilities are tied to his empathy and connection to people. It feels like a different form of cooperative magic. The rest of the supporting crew are family—tied together by blood or by choice. Put them all together and you have a group of characters engineered for harmony. It doesn’t always work, of course. A little friction is like salt. You need some for flavor amplification.

My favorite thing to do as a writer is to experiment with tones and genres. I learned a lot about finding balance while working with the novellas. I’m hoping it will help me out when I tackle more divisive characters.

In the meantime, I’ll still be looking to The Great British Baking Show to satisfy my cravings for seeing elaborate pastries being constructed in a tent by lovely people.

In case anyone is disappointed by the turn I took here, I’ll end by saying the cake is not a lie in The Thin. All of the novellas do include actual food moments. It’s another way to create bonds, to show fellowship. Characters do need fuel to keep fighting, after all.

And yes, everyone gets dessert. 

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Wendy Hammer teaches literature and composition at a community college in Indiana. She has stories in Urban Fantasy Magazine, the horror anthology Suspended in Dusk, and elsewhere. The first of the Cross Cutting novellas, The Thin, has been published by Apocalypse Ink Productions. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably making a mess in the kitchen or telling herself  “Just one more episode.” You can find her at wendyhammer.com or on twitter @Wendyhammer13.

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Saner Thoughts on the Bram Stoker Preliminary Ballot

by Jennifer Brozek 21. January 2016 09:54

From last night: I'm stupidly excited I've been listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot! Once for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for Apocalypse Girl Dreaming and once for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel for Never Let Me Sleep.

Now that the excitement of being listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot has died down, I can look at what this really means. The preliminary ballot is not an official nomination. That will come after the active and lifetime members of the HWA vote. I won’t know until Feb 23rd if I’m officially nominated or not. In the meantime, I can enjoy being that much closer to the award.

Also, I can enjoy the success of my friends and peers. In particular, I am super happy for Seanan McGuire who has been listed in the Long Form category for her spectacular story, “Resistance,” from The End Has Come anthology. And for Peter Clines who has been listed in the Novel category for his amazing novel The Fold.

I’m also pleased to see “Little Dead Red” by Mercedes M. Yardley (Long Fiction), “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Short Fiction), “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong (Short Fiction), “Hannibal: The Wrath of the Lamb” (Screenplay), Midian Unmade by Del Howison and Joseph Nassie (Anthology), and Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth by Michael Knost (Non-Fiction).

In my own two categories, I’m pleased to be going head-to-head against Samuel Sattin and The Silent End for Young Adult Novel. Also against both Lucy A. Snyder and Gary Braunbeck for Fiction Collection. What company to be in!

The competition is tough this year for the Bram Stoker Awards. I’ve read most of the entries listed and I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking and comparing before I vote.

I want to wish to congratulate everyone who was listed on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot. Good luck to one and all.

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Bubble and Squeek for 20 January 2016

by Jennifer Brozek 20. January 2016 08:50

So much writing on Project Joe! Other than my computer setup exploding on me recently, requiring me to get a new keyboard and to vacuum the dust from the computer, my life is mostly about writing and editing. And petting demanding cats.

EVENT - READING: I will be reading at the University Bookstore in Seattle on Jan 26th. Please come! There will be cookies and book giveaways and I'll be reading from NEVER LET ME which Publisher's Weekly calls "a strong, entertaining tale."

And now back to your irregularly scheduled Bubble & Squeek.

Article: MIND MELD: The Growth and Future of SF/F. An interesting question.

Article: Nightmare Magazine – The H Word: Shifting Away From the Common. I talk about what I enjoy about shapeshifters that aren't werewolves.

Blog: I have a guest blog over at Jim Hines’s Blog site about revealing personal details in your writings. I didn't manage to post about this more than once. So, here it is again.

Event: I am a workshop leader at Foolscap on Feb 5th. I'm teaching a class on writing series called "Combat in the Land of Forgotten Details."

Review: Publisher's Weekly reviewed NEVER LET ME. It's a good review. I'm happy with it. I don't even mind the quibble.

SALE: COLONIAL GOTHIC: LOST TALES. This is one of those "oops, I have a fiction collection" sales. Totally unexpected but very happy for it.

SALE: MAKEDA RED. I'm running the shadows again. This time in novel form. I've wanted to write a Shadowrun novel for ages. Now I get to. MAKEDA RED stars the protagonist from my Shadowrun short story, "Rune's Avatar Cafe."

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Tell Me - Ivan Ewert

by Jennifer Brozek 18. January 2016 09:08

I've worked with Ivan for years now as an editor. He's a great guy and I've enjoyed watching him grow as an author.
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The biggest thing I learned while writing Famished: The Ranch (Book Three of the Gentleman Ghouls series) was just how much better a community can make a writer.

The first book I wrote, Famished: The Farm, was almost monkish. I wrote the entire thing on my own, and only sent it out for a review at Jenn’s insistence. I didn’t realize that was a thing, to be honest. Writing had always seemed a very solitary endeavor, and I made it so. The able assistance of Lillian Cohen-Moore and Jeff Meaders certainly improved the book, and I came to understand the value of beta readers.

After writing Famished: The Commons, I sent it willingly to a handful of beta readers. Unfortunately, that wound up requiring a rewrite of over half the book, cutting out a character whose presence didn’t make sense to most of the readers. At the same time, Jenn asked me to be an “alpha reader” for a book of hers.

Alpha reader? What?

She sent a chapter a week, more or less, for us to review as she was writing. It seemed half-mad to me at first. Don’t you need more time to polish and perfect the work? Well, as it turns out, you really don’t. That’s how I saw first-hand the value of these individuals. As an alpha reader myself I was able to catch one or two things which could have become bigger issues as the book, and I realized I could have saved myself a lot of headaches with The Commons by approaching alpha readers.

With Famished: The Ranch, I reached out to a handful of alpha readers. I wasn’t as quick or as disciplined in getting the chapters done, which meant I naturally lost a few of those original aides. Understandably, mind you. If I’m not willing to be disciplined around deadlines, I can’t howl when life gets in the way for people offering free assistance.

Those who remained helped a great deal, however. Two of them also served as beta readers once the entire work was done, providing more feedback in their close-up readings, along with a few additional readers who hadn’t seen the work before.

Finally, I was fortunate to have two wonderful friends and fans who saw I was flagging near the end. I was tired of writing, tired of the story, and tired and ashamed of missing my promised deadlines. These two picked me up when I was down and helped me cross the finish line with a mix of gentle encouragement, minor bribes, and very occasional threats of violence.

Famished: The Ranch was my first true community effort as a writer. It won’t be my last.

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Ivan Ewert was born in Chicago, Illinois, and has never wandered far afield. He has deep roots in the American Midwest, finding a sense of both belonging and terror within the endless surburban labyrinths, deep north woods, tangled city streets and boundless prairie skies.

His work has previously appeared in the award-winning anthology Grants Pass, as well as the anthologies Human Tales and Beasts Within 3: Oceans Unleashed, while his culinary writing has appeared in Alimentum: The Literature of Food. An early treatment of the Gentleman Ghouls series appeared in the e-zine The Edge of Propinquity from 2006 to 2011. He was the sole author to span all six years of that publication.

In his spare time, Ivan occupies himself with reading, gaming, and assisting with the jewelry design firm Triskele Moon Studios. He currently lives near the Illinois-Wisconsin border with his wife of seventeen years and a rather terrifying collection of condiments and cookbooks. Ivan can be reached at www.ivanewert.com and on Twitter @IvanEwert.

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I'm running the shadows again...

by Jennifer Brozek 12. January 2016 08:49

Press Release

For Immediate Release

 

 

 

WHEN AN EXTRACTION GOES BAD, WHAT’S A SHADOWRUNNER TO DO? TAKE RISKS, THAT’S WHAT.

 

Award winning author Jennifer Brozek returns to the world of Shadowrun® with a new novel.

 

January, 2016 -  Catalyst games announces a new Shadowrun® title scheduled for publication mid 2017- Makeda Red

 

Hugo nominated editor, author and game designer, Jennifer Brozek, delves into the Shadowrun® world once more with an exciting new novel.  With the success of her first novella, DocWagon 19, Jennifer takes on a new challenge. This time, her Shadowrun® operatives face intrigue, and action.

It was supposed be a simple extraction from the Brussels2Rome party train. With an eclectic crowd, a willing target, and a lot of nuyen at stake, what could go wrong?

Everything—as Makeda Red discovers the hard way. There’s more than one target on the train, and more than one shadowrunner team in play. When someone sabotages the tracks in the middle of the Swiss Alps, she’s forced to extract her client much earlier than planned.

To complicate matters, other survivors are also fleeing the crash for their own reasons. One of them is trying to escape his corporate masters as well, and offers to pay Makeda to escort him to his safe haven.

A paying client is a paying client, and his corp won’t be looking for three people traveling together. Makeda knows it’s a risk, but one she’s willing to take. In the shadows, however, nothing and no one is what they seem. Before it’s over, this already complicated run may be Makeda’s last.

John Helfers, editor and Shadowrun® novel live developer, says this about the new novel:

 

“I’ve been a fan of Jennifer’s intricate, character-driven fiction for years, and after the terrific stories she’s written for Battletech (The Nellus Academy Incident) and her recent Shadowrun novella DocWagon 19, I can’t wait to see the story she has in mind for her first Shadowrun® novel come to life. Action, intrigue, and suspense aboard a train speeding through 2070s Europe—what could be better?”

 

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award-nominated editor and an award-winning author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies and 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 award winning YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, and Shadowrun® novella, DocWagon 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 of HWA and IAMTW. Read more about her at her blog or follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.

 

Publication date is scheduled for mid 2017, so watch Catalyst Games (www.catalystgamelabs.com) and Jennifer Brozek (http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/blog/ ) for more details.

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Tell Me - Chaz Kemp

by Jennifer Brozek 11. January 2016 08:54

I had the pleasure of meeting Chaz at LepreCon. I enjoy his artwork and his passion. He's one of the good guys.
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I call my Patreon the "Ashelon Tarot Project" and it's been a long time coming.  Ashelon is a world that my fiancée, Carolyn Kay, and I are creating.  It's a blend of fantasy and steampunk and takes place in the mid 1800s.  A comet struck what is now called South America and it had the effect of revealing all of the hidden faerie creatures the world over - no longer could they hide behind faerie glamour.  Not only must they learn to co-exist with humans and their steam technology, but they must also deal with the most unscrupulous villain the world has ever seen... Queen Victoria.

The tarot deck will be divided into 4 courts of 13 cards each. Each of the cards will be a character in the world of Ashelon and will represent a virtue or a vice.  You'll be able to read these cards to tell your fortune but the cards themselves will be much simpler to interpret than a standard tarot deck.  For example:  You ask the question, "Should I quit my job today?"  You turn over a card, and instead of the card being the Chariot like in a normal tarot it will simply say, "Strength".  You could then interpret that as finding the strength to stay because things will get better - or that you need to finally muster the strength to give your two-week notice.

Another thing that will set my deck apart from a lot of the others is that I'm planning on turning each card into its own art print that you can hang on your wall.  So if you love the art on a particular card, you can purchase the art from me as an 11x14, 18x24 or even a 24x36 poster.  As an illustrator, this is the thing that excites me the most, because I LOVE the idea of everyone having posters from my tarot deck prominently displayed on their walls.  I'm even going to have a few exclusive pieces that will only be available to my Patreon members.

If all of this goes well, I plan on creating a booster pack of 26 cards next year which will have 2 new courts and all new virtues and vices that can be added to the 2016 main deck.  In the not too distant future, Carolyn will be writing short stories and novellas within the world of Ashelon using the characters on the cards, which will be awesome.  I'm also planning to turn the cards into a game and maybe even doing an Ashelon tabletop RPG down the road.

I have a ton of ideas and Patreon is giving me a portal through which I can really explore this new world that we're creating and it allows me to bring lots of friends along for the ride.  This project really makes me happy and it's only just begun!  If you want to see the project for yourself, take a look at:  www.Patreon.com/ChazKemp.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to tell your fans about my dream come true, Jennifer. 

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Bram Stoker Award finalist Chaz Kemp embraces an Art Nouveau style that incorporates vibrancy and color into fantasy and steampunk art in a way that is rarely seen. As an illustrator, the influence of Alphonse Mucha is evident in his award-winning work that combines the artistic energy of the Roaring 20s with the untamed possibilities of steampunk and fantasy.

Chaz Kemp is a featured artist in steampunk legend Paul Roland's book "Steampunk: Back to the Future with the New Victorians". Amazing Stories magazine featured him in the November 2014 issue, and his work has been seen in other publications such as Steampunk Magazine, Savage Insider and Aurealis. Over the years Chaz has created art for game publishers, sci-fi/fantasy conventions and several book covers including the anthology "Cthulhu Passant"  by Travis Heerman & the Oilman's Daughter by Local Hero Press. In 2012, he illustrated his first graphic novel entitled "Behind These Eyes" written by Guy Anthony De Marco and Peter J. Wacks. The graphic novel was a Bram Stoker Award finalist.

Patreon Page: www.patreon.com/ChazKemp
Portfolio: www.ChazKemp.com
Etsy Page: www.etsy.com/shop/ChazKempIllustration

 

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2016 is the Year of the Tie-In

by Jennifer Brozek 5. January 2016 14:14

I’ve already written about what I did in 2015. Now I’m looking forward to what I need to do for 2016. The short version: A whole lot of contracted tie-in fiction, some editing, and a bunch of travel.

Contracts signed: 1 board game mythology/background, 1 reprint RPG fiction collection, and 1 tie-in novel.

Forthcoming contracts: 1 serialized YA tie-in novel, 1 anthology as editor, and 2 tie-in short stories. (As in, discussion is done, I’ve agreed to do it, and we’re just waiting on paperwork.)

Planned contracts: 1 tie-in novella. (Proposal requested. Writing is probably slated for early 2017 if all parties agree.)

Planned editing: 2 novels, 2 omnibuses, 3 novellas, 1 monthly fiction feature, and 1 anthology. (For Apocalypse Ink Productions and Evil Girlfriend Media.)

Events planned: 8 conventions (3 as GoH), 1 workshop, 2 readings, 1 wedding in Iceland.

The writing metrics for 2016 are daunting. It’s about 200,000 words of contract tie-in fiction. This doesn’t count any of the editing for that work or research or one-off anthologies or one-off articles. Or any blog posts. Or any of the 10,000 other things a freelance author-editor does.

What this means is that I’m going to have to buckle down and change my personal working schedule. I’m probably going to have to institute a “no internet before noon” policy to focus on my writing. Leave all the email and such to the afternoon once my word count for the day is done. It is too easy to fritter away my time online, answering emails, reading articles, and watching videos.

Scheduled Appearances:

  • Jan 8-10, 2016, OrcaCon, special guest
  • Jan 26, Reading at University Bookstore
  • Feb 5: Foolscap, Workshop leader
  • Feb 12-14, 2016, RadCon, Writer GoH
  • Mar 23-27, Norwescon, dealer/panelist
  • May 12-15, StokerCon, Panelist
  • Jun 15-20, Origins Game Fair, dealer/panelist 
  • Aug 17-21, Worldcon/MidAmericon, ??
  • Sep 4-6, Tracon XI in Tampere, Finland, GoH
  • Nov 4-6, We Are All SF Con, Ocean Shores, Lead Writer GoH

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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.