Jennifer Brozek | May 2017

Bubble & Squeek for 30 May 2017

by Jennifer Brozek 30. May 2017 12:27

Here's a quick Bubble & Squeek for you. I'm still writing on Fever County. I'm still proofing novels for ebook publication. Travel is done until the 24th.

Anthology: I have a Predator story! It will be published in IF IT BLEEDS from Titan Books. A salvage crew stumbles upon a Predator. Bad things happen. It was fun to write.

Interview: I was interviewed by File 770. A lot of good questions here. Some I've not seen before.

Kickstarter: The H.E.A.D. Hunters Kickstarter is in full gear. This is the CCG-Miniatures games that R.L. King and I wrote the lore for. It's a neat game. Check it out.

Podcast: My story “Endless and the End” is on The Overcast, Episode 49. This is my creepy little steampunk story.

The Great Chop: My quest to return to my natural hair color has begun. I got most of my hair chopped of. Now, I need to figure out how to style this new cut. Also, all my author photos are now out of date. Ah, well.

Taken by my stylist. I still like it the next day.

 

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Shades of Brown and Gray

by Jennifer Brozek 16. May 2017 09:06

I’m not a natural redhead. I had a lot of red in my hair (part of my Scottish heritage) when I was younger. I used to put a gold-blond dye on my hair and came up a deep strawberry blond. Then I dyed my hair purple-red. Then I settled into a nice burgundy-brown; redder than my natural color but not too red.

Now my hair is starting to gray. I can’t tell how much of my hair is gray but I’d say 10-20%.  It makes keeping up with the hair dye a bit more noticeable. At least to me. I really don’t like the skunk look next to the vibrant red-brown of the hair dye.

Recently, I visited with my family. Both my sister and mom have their natural hair color and it’s a beautiful brown. All their red has mostly vanished. I’ve decided I want to see my natural hair color again. To see how much of my gray is silver versus pewter and how it looks in general. The problem is the transition. I’ve tried to shift from a full dye to a highlight. It didn’t work. Mostly because of the contrast between the red and the brown made my hair look dirty all the time.

I worry about this because, as obscure as I am (as most authors are), I’m still a semi-public figure in the fact that I am an author. I do speak at events. I do attend conventions as a GoH. I’m expected to be presentable. I’m expected to let people take my picture and/or record me at readings. I do have a lot of pictures of me floating around the web. I want to maintain some level of professionalism while I go back to my natural hair color.

I’ve starting investigating “easy” ways to go gray naturally. Spoiler alert: there is no easy way. I’ve considered the following:

1. Shaving my head. Yep. Seriously. There’s no transition line for me to worry about. While there’s a whole host of cons involved in this one, but who hasn’t wanted to shave their hair at least once in their lifetime just to see what it’s like?

2. Strip the dye out of my hair with something like Malibu CPR or Rusk ELIMIN8. This still damages my hair but not as bad bleaching it would—which seems to be a favorite tactic. I don’t know about this one.

3. Try to dye my hair the color of my roots. Pull in fake gray highlights. This is a maybe. Could be a disaster. Could be perfect.

4. Go for the “Short Hair with Side Swept Bangs + Half Shaved Head” hairstyle that’s so on trend right now. Let my natural hair grow in as the rest of the red (or dyed brown) grow out. This would be a drastic hairstyle change. One I’m kinda leaning towards.

5. Pixie cut for the win! Let my hair grow long roots and do the pixie cut thing with tipped ends. I’m not sure I want to go for a pixie cut. This might be as bad as the shaved head thing.

Yes. As much as I hate it, authors have to care about their looks, too. At least female authors. We get judged by our looks all the time. I notice a difference in how the public treats me as a professional when I’m wearing a little makeup versus when I’m not. So, of course, this hair issue is going to weigh on me.

Fortunately, the Husband doesn’t care what I do. “I married you, not your hair. Do what you need to do.” I really lucked out with him, didn’t I?

Guess we’ll see what my hair dresser says.

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Train of Thought

by Jennifer Brozek 9. May 2017 09:59

Crypticon Seattle has come and gone. We did well enough in the sales department. We’ll probably be back next year—timing of the convention and other conventions willing.

It occurs to me that I should probably mark down somewhere all the conventions I’ve been a Guest of Honor at. I no longer remember the years. I mostly remember all the conventions. I should probably look that up now.

30 minutes later, I think I have the list. If you remember one that I don’t remember, please let me know.
•    BayCon 2009 – Toastmaster (San Jose, CA)
•    GothCon 2013 – Guest of Honor (Gothenburg, Sweden)
•    Context 2014 – Featured Presenter (Ohio)
•    LepreCon 2015 – Guest of Honor (Phoenix, AZ)
•    Gen Con 2015 – Industry Insider Featured Guest (Indianapolis, ID)
•    Gamehole Con 2015 – Special Guest (Madison, WI)
•    OrcaCon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Everett, WA)
•    Radcon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Pasco, WA)
•    Capitol Indie Book Con 2016 – Featured Author (Olympia, WA)
•    Tracon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Tampere, Finland)

The slow paring down of stuff continues apace. I move stuff to donate out of my overstuffed office and into the cat/exercise room. Currently, there’s a huge mound of stuff. I think once a month, we get out to donate it to Saint Vincent’s.

Thinking of paring down stuff, I’ve come to a realization on some of my knick-knacks. I’m keeping them because someone 10 years ago gave them to me. It’s an obligation. Not a joy. I think I’m going to pull down all the knick-knacks I no longer love, put them on the dining room table, and invite my friends over to pick out what they want. The rest will be donated or sold if our neighborhood ever gets organized enough to do the neighborhood garage sale.

Thinking of the neighborhood. Can I just say that I love that my neighborhood has a close FB page? It allows us to post about rescued pets, lost keys, found items, mention stuff we’ve seen, and warn each other of danger.

Thinking of danger… I’m getting better at the “not panicking, planning” thing. One of my projects dropped a bombshell on me and it was a doozy. However, as one of the other people involved said, “We can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” with this. I was in “fix it” mode for most of yesterday. It’s a good thing I have the ability to know who might have an answer if I don’t have it.

Thinking of fixing things, I have a 5.5 lb cat insisting it is time to play and that is the only answer she cares about. Have a cat picture. Leeloo and Pharaoh were very glad I was home from the convention.

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Raw Thoughts About Losing the Award…Again.

by Jennifer Brozek 2. May 2017 09:53

When I was nominated the second time for the Bram Stoker award, I wrote about Awards and Imposter Syndrome.  Now that I’m home from StokerCon 2017 and have lost the same award twice, I have a number of thoughts about this. It’s a bit disjointed, but stay with me. These are my personal thoughts.

1. This is the perfect example of graduating to a “better class of problem” as an author as you level up in your career.

2. Even thought you may arrive at the convention in a zen state of mind, this will be shattered by people congratulating you and saying things like “I’ll be very surprised if you don’t walk away with this.” That pessimistic shield/armor you’ve built over time to protect your fragile side will come tumbling down like dominoes.

3. It’s better if at least one of the people you are competing against is someone you know and like. That way if you both lose, you can commiserate. If your friend wins, your happiness for them outshines your sadness for yourself.

4. Sometimes, being gracious (in public) sucks. And you must be a gracious loser. I had a little help with that. I must admit I still straddled that line between envy (I wish I had what you have) and jealousy (I want what you have and I don’t want you to have it). This is human. Anyone who says they don’t fight with this is either a much better person than I or is lying to someone (including themselves).

5. Condolences after the fact will kill you.

6. Everyone who privately messages you with funny, catty, witty, snarky versions of “you were robbed!” will make you smile through the pain. As long as you keep it private, you can agree in the same tone.

7. Time heals. 24 hours later, the pain is there, but distant. I’m back to thinking about what I need to do next. I have novels to write and an agent to feed. Honestly, there’s always next year. Or the year after that. At least I got to see some of my favorite people and spend time with them.

8. 48 hours later, I get to marvel at my life. Ellen Datlow asked me how many times I’d been nominated. Gini Koch shared a couple of dirty jokes with me. I got a hug and a smile from Jonathan Maberry. I flew down to the Queen Mary for a banquet and an awards ceremony. People I know specifically watched the Stoker livestream just to see if I won. My life is amazing and I am grateful for it.

9. But losing a second time still stings. I look forward to the moment I win. I look forward to the moment losing an award is just part of the process (like story rejections). I look forward to continuing on. As I said when it happened: “Didn’t win. Kinda sad. Will keep on keeping on.” I’ve got work to do.

Thank you to all of you for joining me on my journey.

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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.