Jennifer Brozek | August 2020

Bubble & Squeek for 24 Aug 2020

Upcoming Class: Pitches and Synopses with Jennifer Brozek (me). This is a repeat of my super popular WorldCon panel, September 13 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am PST

Event Recording : Here is the recording of JulyCon - all 6 writer panels. I'm on two of them.

Audiobook Releases: YA'LL! They are finally out…not one but two #Shadowrun works in audio! DocWagon 19 (novella) about a high threat response team as told by a novahot reporter.  AND... Makeda Red (novel) about an adventure across Europe that starts with a train heist.  Both are narrated by the fabulous Liisa Lee!  

Helpful YouTube: The Four Organizing Styles - Breakdown and FAQs. Since more of us are using our houses differently because of working from home or homeschooling, this could help.  

Helpful YouTube: How to Be Alone. Four areas that you can, and should, control: Environment, Body Upkeep, Productivity, Relaxation. If quarantine is getting to you, you're not alone.

Support: As always… if you appreciate my work and would like to support me, I love coffee. I am made of caffeine. This is the quickest way to brighten my day.

Nine Gentle YouTube Channels

Things are not fine in 2020. We know it. There are a lot of things to worry about. There is also a distinct need to be able to disconnect or distract from our problems. One of the ways I do that is having a series of YouTube channels to watch. I’ve listen nine of them below that are what I consider to be “gentle.” They are happy, have little in the way of stress, and are interesting.

Cute Animals

MilkyBokiTan – This is a channel about a Samoyed dog (Milky), a Norwegian Forest cat (Goboki), and a recent adopted orange rescue cat (Tan). It is super cute. The owners adore their pets. In fact, at this point, it appears their job is taking care of the pets and giving them interesting enrichment. This channel posts almost every day. English subtitled.

ChooChoo's Story – This is a quiet channel about a woman who has semi-tamed a colony of chipmunks around her house by a lake. She feeds them, pets them, and keeps you up-to-date on their lives. It’s super cute. This channel posts a couple times a week. English subtitled.

Walter Santi – This channel is about a colony of cats in a guy’s backyard in Bulgaria (I believe). This is the closest I’ve ever seen to a living Court of Cats in the real world. Every cat has a name and a personality. They feed the cats, make up stories about them, and build shelters for them. The most persistent sounds are the cats and the guy laughing. He also has two indoor cats and a dog. This channel posts about about once a week or so. English subtitled.


Got Skills

LockPickingLawyer – This channel is about what it is named: a lawyer who is a champion lockpicker. I watch this dude because he’s fast, has a nice voice, and his videos are short. The writer in me loves this. So does Fantasy Jenn. You don’t see his face. And you won’t have faith in locks after this. Updates several times a week.

Gardeners Cottage Blakeney – Set in the UK, this is a new channel for me. This channel visits seaside cottages, English flower and vegetable gardens, and other such pleasant places. Updates several times a week, the host has a nice, quiet English voice, and shows the viewer just places of beauty and interest.

Renovation East – Set in Germany, this is one of those channels that blew up overnight. It is about a guy buying and renovating a house next to his by the lake. He’s not a professional renovator, but he’s pretty good. He explains what he’s doing, why, and where he makes mistakes. It’s a once-a-week channel and is weirdly interesting and soothing to watch.


Knowledge and Information

The British Museum – The official channel for the British Museum. It posts about once a week about something intriguing found in the museum. It’s random. It’s interesting. It’s informative. The video lengths vary. Bonus, British voices which I find soothing.

The B1M – This is the “definitive” channel for construction all over the world. It has a regular weekly post on some topic involving construction. This is one of those really neat channels that inspires my writer brain. Especially for near future stories. There’s so much that’s really interesting about how skylines are constructed and the technology involved.

Launch Pad Astronomy – Science for the win! This channel is run by one of the two main professors for the Launch Pad Astronomy for writers workshop. Christian puts out 2-3 videos a month about something in-depth about astronomy, telescopes, NASA, or the like. Super interesting and informative. Bonus because I know Christian personally.


These are not all the video channels I watch. There’s a lot more on PokemonGO, animal rescue, DYI channels, tiny houses, minimalism, and a variety of vloggers. These were the ones I chose because they soothed me. 

As a bonus, I’m going to leave you with my Slow TV Playlist. This is a YouTube playlist of train rides (driver’s view), snowfall, the ocean shore, a campfire at night, and a birdfeeder. This is the kind of thing I like to put on in the background for ambient noise and pretty moving pictures. You don’t have to pay a lot of attention to it. It’s more to keep you company than anything else.


I hope you’ve found something gentle and soothing for you to enjoy in this list.

Update to Fantasy Jenn

This year, I decided I wanted to work on Fantasy Jenn. IE: the Jennifer I think I want to be or think I should be. I’ve been doing one-month sections at a time. And yes, CoVid did interrupt this little exploration of shifting fantasy to reality, but I’m still keeping on as best I can.

First up, Fantasy Jenn and pretty polished nails. You might remember in the past of 2-3 years ago, I spent a significant amount of time with hard gel on my nails. I got my nails done every 3 weeks or so. It was expensive, but I was doing between 10 and 14 events a year. I considered it image upkeep. Then my fabulous nail artist moved. Her apprentice did pretty well, but she was much farther away and the gel nails popped off. This was something that didn’t happen with my first nail tech.

Thus began an 18 month attempt at not doing gel nails and only getting shellac done the day before a long convention. Otherwise I did my nails at home. Badly. Thus, this month, I’m officially giving up on polished nails. Regular nail polish doesn’t last. One chip and I start picking at it. And during The Great Pause, I’m working at home anyway. It is sad, but I’m saying good-bye to Fantasy Jenn nails for now.

Next up, Fantasy Jenn and stretching. I’m happy to say that I’ve kept up on this “should have” habit. I can’t touch my toes yet, but I’m getting closer and steadily better. I spend time, on average, stretching five days a week. So, not all is lost when it comes to Fantasy Jenn. That’s a nice feeling.

Finally, Fantasy Jenn and cutting the cable cord. This is the newest decision for Chez Brozek. Now, me and the Husband have talked about it for years. The last time we decided we were going to cut cable (keeping internet), we got talked into lowering our bill and getting even more channels. It felt like a loss then and I decided to keep an eye on what I actually watched. What I recorded on DVR. What would I miss?

This time when the Husband brought up the idea, I jumped all over it. I told him to cut it because the only thing I would really miss was PBS and we could get that over streaming. So, he did. And, wonder of wonders, they didn’t try to hard sell him an upgrade. Possibly because we were keeping internet. In the end, after adding PBS Passport to our streaming line up, we are saving $90/month on the cable bill. That’s over $1000 a year saved.

I wondered if I would miss it. I don’t but I have noticed that I really need to be much more deliberate about my TV watching. I can’t just turn it on and flip through channels until something catches my eye. I like this. It means I have the shows I want to watch and I have time to do more reading/listening to audiobooks (another Fantasy Jenn thing that I’m not specifically working on but I want to).

Next up for Fantasy Jenn…Declutter Round 3. As of the end of August, I will have not decluttered for a full year. As I’ve decided The Great Pause is the new normal, it’s time for me to get my declutter on. I suspect it’s going to be harder this time around. More emotions. More to think about. More difficult to get rid of things.

Though, it may have to wait until October. I need to get BattleTech: Crimson Night written, edited, and turned in first. It’s what is taking most of my cycles right now.

On Tooting One’s Own Horn

Yesterday, Jeff Sturgeon came over with the hardback Last Cities of Earth anthology to sign for the kickstarter backers. It was, of course, socially distanced and masked at a table set up in the garage. It’s the only way I see people now who are not in my socially distanced bubble. He gave me my copy of the anthology and I put it up on my brag shelf.

The last time we updated my brag shelf, I thought about posting pictures of it online. I didn’t because, well, there was (is) a lot going on in 2020 and it didn’t seem like a good time. I took pictures and did nothing with them. I figured it would be in bad taste. It wouldn’t be appropriate. It wouldn’t be [insert whatever excuse here].

Still, after I added the new anthology, I took more pictures then paused and wondered if it would be appropriate to show off the shelf. As a woman, I’ve been taught to not take up space. That if I talk about my own accomplishments, I am arrogant and should be more humble. If I announce that I have works that are available for reading and even awards consideration, I am being a gold digger. It doesn’t matter that none of these things happen to my male counterparts. I am the one who hesitates because I’m the one who gets hit with it inside and out.

No more. I can’t allow that. If I don’t believe in my own work, no one else will.

Slowly, I am teaching myself that it is fine, it is right, it is appropriate to take up space. I am allowed. I can show off my accomplishments. I can tell the world that I have works to consider for reading, and dare I say it, awards. It’s so easy for me to tell my friends that they and their work deserve space, notice, and praise. Why not me?

I am learning that I can be my own friend. I can toot my own horn. I can cheer for myself as much as I cheer for others. I have to learn this to be a good example to others like me.

It’s hard. My fingers stumble over the keyboard keys as I type this. I hesitate. I am not sure.

That doesn’t matter. I will damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead anyway. Because if I won’t, who will? Sometimes, you must be your own cheering section.