Jennifer Brozek | December 2023

Wrap-up and Looking Forward All in One

Each year, I wrap up what I’ve done and how I feel about the year. I have the urge to give caveats and excuses for the “lack of work” I did in 2023. I’m not going to do that. I deliberately took the first half of 2023 off and I don’t regret it. Still, when you are a full-time freelancer in the publishing industry, you often feel like you live and die by the cold hard numbers. I’ve been doing this for 17 years now and I think I’ve almost learned that my self-worth is not wrapped up in these yearly report cards.

2023 Numbers

  • New words written: 91,000 (2 novellas, 5 short stories, beginning a new novel)
  • Words edited (for others): 307,400
  • Works submitted: 10
    • Acceptances: 5 (50%)
    • Rejections: 4 (40%)
    • Still out: 1 (10%)
  • New works published: 2 omnibuses: 1 new, 1 re-release (Tears of Perseus and Never Let Me respectively, 1 novella, 1 collection, 1 anthology, 1 short story.
  • Works that got pushed to 2024: 2 anthologies, 3 short stories

This is a respectable amount of work no matter what my inner critic says. I don’t mind it as long as I remember that I didn’t start writing in earnest until July 2023. Also, a number of projects that were supposed to be released this year didn’t happen. So, there’s that. There are the numbers. Do with them what you will.


Looking Forward to 2024

Of course, taking it easy in the beginning of 2023 means that I’m already deep into the weeds of things for 2024. I’m working on a new Shadowrun novel that is the end of my YA Shadowrun series. It has a tight deadline. I have four contracted short stories due in the first half of the year that I need to write in and around the novel. I also have two anthologies in the works for publication in 2024. Both are in the end stages. So, yes, there’s already a lot going on.

Then there is Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980.” This is a unique, middle grade-appropriate ghost story told through 24 physical letters, and is a passion project I conceived over five years ago. I finally got the ball rolling this year. The kickstarter for it is at the end of March 2024. Once it funds (dear universe, please), I’ll have 15 months of physical and digital rewards to send out. The Husband will be helping me, but it is still a lot of work. I am so excited about it. Won’t you be my penpal?

On the freelancing side of things, I’ll be taking on more editing for Catalyst Game Labs while writing for them. Shepherding the anthologies through their end stages. Writing contracted and other short stories. At this time, I have four in-person conventions planned: Norwescon, Origins Game Fair, Gen Con*, and Can-Con. I’m the Editor GoH of Can-Con. I’ll be a dealer at Norwescon and Origins as well as doing panels. (Gen Con isn’t confirmed but is hoped for.)

In general, after I get this first novel done, I plan on 2024 being a new, steady, busy (but not too busy) year for me. I’m hoping 2024 is the year I figure out how to keep work and life actually balanced and not the pretend stuff I’ve done for the last few years. I know there are some big changes coming up in my life and I’m looking forward to experiencing them.

I hope you have had a lovely holiday season and I wish you a bright new year. May you realize as many of your hopes and dreams as it is feasible within the laws of physics. (Me? I will never stop wishing for my own TARDIS.)

Bubble and Squeek for 13 Dec 2023

BackerKit: I am launching a kickstarter for in late March 2024 called Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980.” It is a cozy, Middle Grade appropriate, ghost story, loosely based on fictionalized me at ten years old while living in a 300-year-old manor house in Belgium. Won’t you be my penpal?

Fun Fact: I have been a member of the HWA for 10 years now.

Good-bye: Good-bye Pharaoh. Pharaoh, our beloved Egyptian Mau, has gone to the clearing at the end of the path.

Interview: Cat and I were interviewed by Arley Song for Clarkesworld on how we edit together on the Reinvented Anthology series. I think it turned out SO good.

Panel: DECEPTIONS & DEATH: TALKING THRILLERS with Thriller Authors, recorded on YouTube. It was a good time and full of tips on writing thrillers.

Publication: I have a new story in the latest Valdemar anthology, Anything With Nothing. It is called “Needs Must When Evil Bides.” This was one of those stories that made me want to write more about the character.

Publication: The Reinvented Detective anthology has been released! Get at your favorite store now. On Amazon and Barnes&Noble.

Shoutout: The Reinvented Detective anthology edited by me and Cat Rambo got a shout out in Gizmodo.

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.

Happy Birthday Week to Me

December 9th is my birthday. As is tradition around here, I celebrate my birthday all week. Usually I say something like: “Buy yourself or a friend one of my books and leave a review.” That is a good and standard request. This year I have a different request. Something special and specific.

Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980

I have a passion project I am launching a kickstarter for in late March called “Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980.” It is a cozy, Middle Grade appropriate, ghost story, loosely based on fictionalized me at ten years old while living in a 300-year-old manor house in Belgium. The story will be told through 24 physical letters (already written) over a one-year period. This is the kind of odd project I could never sell traditionally, so I’m rolling up my sleeves and doing it myself.

This is the only thing I really want for my birthday. Sign up to be notified about it here:

Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980

I’m so excited about this project. I hope you will be my penpal. However, if signing up to be notified of my kickstarter’s launch isn’t enough, yes, please feel free to “Buy yourself or a friend one of my books and leave a review.” Bonus: You can get it personalized by me if you buy it through Brick and Mortar Bookstore!

If that isn’t to your taste, I do have a wishlist on Amazon and a Ko-Fi account where you can buy me a cup of coffee. I love coffee and am made of caffeine.

But, really, all I want for my birthday is for you to sign up to be notified of when “Dear Penpal, Belgium 1980” goes live. After that you can decide if it’s your cup of tea or not.