Jennifer Brozek | Wordslinger & Optimist! - Page 2

Gen Con Schedule 2015

by Jennifer Brozek 13. July 2015 09:11

If I’m not at one of these panel spots, I’m probably in the writers lounge area outside the Writer Symposium Rooms 243, 244, 245. Don't forget to ask for my Convention Story Card.

Thursday
11:00am – Signing in the Exhibit Hall


4:00pm – SEM1580472, How SFWA Can Help You, RM211
Whether or not you are a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association, SFWA has the ability to help you with expert advice, tools, examples, & community outreach.

6:00pm – SEM1577164, Craft: RPG Tie-In Fiction, RM243
Learn about the tips & tricks authors use to write amazing fiction based on your favorite RPGs, & find out what it takes to write successfully in a shared world setting.

7:00pm – SEM1577168, Craft: Plotting for Short Fiction, RM243
Explore the differences when plotting short fiction VS novels, & learn tips and tricks that the pros use to create fantastic short story plots.

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Friday
11:00am – Signing in the Exhibit Hall


2:00pm – SEM1580463, Diversity in Gaming, RM210
Discrimination ordinances, Gamergate, & the expanding Geek culture emphasize the importance of diversity. This is an opportunity to brainstorm how we can make gaming more welcoming for everyone.

8:00 PM – ENnies 2015 Ceremony at the Union Station, Indianapolis, Indiana

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Saturday
10:00am – SEM1580486, Women in Games After Gamergate, RM211

In the wake of Gamergate, we'll explore what the industry is doing to help, how women are interacting differently & ways we as a community can support women as leaders in the evolving gaming world.

11:00am – SEM1577138, World Building: Flora, Fauna, and the Natural World, RM244
Nature & its denizens are crucial background elements in many genre stories. Learn how to subtly incorporate them into your story to make the reader's experience even more enjoyable.

7:00pm – SEM1577100, Writer’s Craft: Erotic Interludes, RM245
Explicit sex scenes are perhaps the easiest type of scene to write badly. Learn from the pros how to turn up the sexual heat without making your readers laugh mockingly.

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Sunday
Hanging outside the Writer Symposium Rooms 243, 244, 245 when I'm not in meetings.

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More Thoughts On Awards

by Jennifer Brozek 9. July 2015 15:56

Tomorrow, the Scribe Awards happen at SDCC. This is not a convention I ever intend to go to. I’m not sure how I would deal with the crowds. However, it’s got me thinking about awards again. I’m up for four awards with three different styles of nominations and voting for the win.

The Scribe Awards is a juried nomination and awarding system. Both of my nominated works were sent into the jury who decided on whether or not it should be nominated. Then that same jury chose the winner. This way is probably the smallest number of people to nominate and vote on the win.

The ENnie Awards is a juried nomination system followed by a popular vote. My work, Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It, was sent in to the jury who decided on which works should be nominated. From July 4-14, anyone and everyone can vote in the ENnies. You do not have to vote, nor are you expected to vote, on every category. Chicks Dig Gaming is listed under Best RPG Related Product. If you are going to vote in the ENnies, I’d appreciate any love you could throw my way.

The Hugo Award is a limited popular vote for the nomination and a limited weighted vote system for the win. Only people who were at/supported the previous world con or are going to/supporting the current worldcon can nominate. Only the people who are going to/supporting the current worldcon can vote in the Instant Runoff System.

Three very different types of voting systems for three different types of awards. I’m really not sure which one I like better. Awards are a strange thing. They can be something you shoot for. Or something that you are surprised with. Or, something some people dread. Other people don’t care one wit about them.

I do care. I would be a liar if I said otherwise. I’d love to win at least one of these awards but, realistically, the nomination is all the honor I will enjoy.

They are all honors. I think my favorite part of the whole award process is the notification you’ve been nominated. It’s like lightening from the blue. 90% of the time, you can’t tell anyone for a couple of weeks. That’s the feeling I try to keep in the forefront of my mind as the ceremonies go on with or without me. That's what I recommend anyone who is nominated keep to the forefront.

I won’t be at the Scribe Awards. I will be at the ENnies and the Hugo Awards. Despite the nervousness that comes with being in attendance, I’m looking forward to both.

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Travel and Awards

by Jennifer Brozek 30. June 2015 10:13

I am home now from five weeks of travel and events (3 conventions, 2 readings, 1 wedding). I ended with LepreCon in Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it was hot. Really hot. Like 110+ degrees hot. However, it was a great convention. Highly recommended. Small, enthusiastic, and great guests of honor.

In particular, I was pleased to meet Dayton Ward, whom I know from IAMTW, and David Gerrold (most famous for “Trouble with Tribbles.”), who soothed all my fears about the Sasquan Hugo Awards ceremony. After talking with him about my concerns (David is the host), I feel like I can relax and just enjoy the ride. That’s a huge deal for me.

Also, I got to meet my Shadow Minion, Sarah Hendrix, who is as awesome in person as she is online. She took to being my in-person assistant like, well, my shadow. She got me to where I needed to be (Seriously, I have the direction sense of a stoned newt. I couldn’t find my room even once without her.), made me eat, even when I was cranky, found out all the answers, and even played in my Big Demons in Little China game. There’s already an offer on the table to bring the both of us to an LA convention.

Then, on the way to the airport, I discovered that Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It has been nominated for an ENnie award for Best RPG Related Product. Ya’ll have no idea just how happy I am about this. I joke that this means I have four awards (2 Scribes, 1 ENnie, 1 Hugo) to lose over the next two months, but I really am honored by the nomination. We worked hard on the anthology and it deserves some love and recognition. So, yay!

Now, I have a month to whip NEVER LET ME DIE into shape while fielding the edits of other projects from various publishers. Then, off to Gen Con as part of the Writers Symposium and as one of the Industry Insider Featured Presenters.

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Tell Me - Jason Sizemore

by Jennifer Brozek 30. June 2015 09:32

For the first time, someone has turned the tables on me in these Tell Me guest blogs. When I asked Jason Sizemore to tell me something about For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher, I didn't expect him to talk about me. I won't lie, this post made me a little teary-eyed.

Also, I've read For Exposure. It is laugh out loud funny, informative, and a very good look on the inside of a small press publisher. It is very much worth the read.

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For Exposure: Jennifer Brozek

You’re reading this because I wrote a book titled For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. It’s a behind the scenes look at the business of publishing, some of the more outlandish predicaments I’ve landed in, and an ode to all the hardworking authors, artists, and editors who have helped me over the years. One such person is Jennifer Brozek.

Jennifer—you are about to be exposed.

If I recall properly, Jenn Brozek started her editorial journey working as an Apex Magazine slush reader. For the uninitiated, a slush reader is a publication’s first reader. In publishing circles, these hardworking first readers are almost always unpaid interns, volunteers, or friends you can talk into sorting the submissions chaff from the diamonds. I admit with some degree of sadness that Apex is no different—the company has never been solvent enough to pay slush readers in anything other than experience, free books, and my undying gratitude. Back when Jenn joined our crew, we have 10 to 12 people fighting the slush.

Once in a while, a slush reader will stand out from the rest—just like how a great story that finds its way out of the submissions pile to the editor-in-chief. The stories I was receiving from one of my first readers consistently impressed me in terms of quality and style. This newbie, Jennifer Brozek, had obviously studied the type of work I liked to publish in Apex Magazine. I got to know Jenn better via email and Gchat and found her to be highly motivated, responsible, and career driven. She was (and still is) a strong, professional woman. I immediately liked her, and impressed by her skills, I asked if she would take on more responsibility for Apex. She said “Yes” and before long, Apex was benefitting immensely from Jenn’s presence on my editorial team.

A couple of years passed and our friendship grew. My professional estimation of Jenn also grew. I figured it was only a matter of time before she left to pursue the next, bigger steps in her career.

It came to be that Jenn and I would be in attendance at GenCon. She had asked for a private meeting with me. “Uh oh,” I thought. “Here it is. The big kiss off. The parting of the ways. The thanks for everything but I’m out of here.”

We had our meeting. I was braced to hug her and wish her well. Instead, she caught me completely off guard. She politely outlined all the ways she had helped Apex over the previous three years. I nodded in confused agreement. Finally, the shoe dropped.

“I want you to make me your senior editor.”

I was stunned into momentary silence. At first, I found such a bold request to be off-putting. But as my brain analyzed the situation, it became obvious that this wonderful, career-oriented, intelligent, and charming lady absolutely deserved to be my senior editor.

I accepted her offer. [Editor's note: I thought he was going to fire me for being so audacious.]

If you get a chance to read For Exposure, you’ll recognize that Apex has a knack of finding incredibly skilled young editors to be part of the company. Jenn is one of the best examples of this knack.

So here we are, several years later, and she has earned a much-deserved Hugo Award nomination. When I heard she was a nominee, I was filled with pride and happiness. The woman has worked her butt off for every one of her many successes.  She selfless and pays it forward to anyone who needs help. In an awards season filled with petty bitterness, endless debates of merit, and slate-based cheating, Jenn’s nomination is a bright spot. A nice person who is extremely talented made the final ballot, and that is good.

Thank you to Jenn Brozek for all that she’s done for Apex Publications and for giving me a guest spot on her blog. I only hope that she didn’t mind being exposed!

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Jason Sizemore is the author of For Exposure: The Life and Times of a Small Press Publisher. It is available now from Amazon, B&N, and Apex Publications. For more information about the author, visit his website at http://www.jason-sizemore.com, or follow his Twitter feed @apexjason.

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LepreCon Schedule 2015

by Jennifer Brozek 22. June 2015 20:14

This coming weekend, I am the gaming GoH at LepreCon. I'm looking forward to the convention. I've never been in Arizona before. Everyone promises me I'm going to be hot. I believe them. If you're at LepreCon, be sure to say hello and ask for my Convention Story Card.
  
Fri 10a-11a, Ventanas: Opening Ceremonies
Fri 3p-4p, Suite C: Meet Jennifer Brozek                                                
Fri 4p-5p, Suite E: Industry Talk: Tabletop vs. Video games                            
Fri 8p-9p, Suite C: Writing for Licensed Properties
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Sat 10a-11a, Suite C: Help, I’m Stuck!
Sat 11a-1130a, Suite E: Autographing
Sat 8p-9p, Suite C: Freelance Illustrator: Making It
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Sun 12p-4p, Goblin Table: Big Demons in Little China
Sun 6p-7p, Ventanas: Closing Ceremonies

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Tell Me - C.A. Suleiman

by Jennifer Brozek 22. June 2015 08:31

I've not yet met C.A. Suleiman but I have met a lot of the contributors to THE LOST CITADEL, all of whom are worth reading. This is one reason why they decided to do a shared world anthology. One I can get behind.

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"The city is called “Redoubt”... and so far as anyone knows, it is the last.

Seven decades ago, there were cities upon cities; kingdoms and nations, the remains of ancient empire. Cultures at war, cultures at trade. Races with varying degrees of alliance and distrust. Humans, elves, dwarves, and others; magic and monsters, rare but real. Regions of desolation, certainly, but also regions of plenty; forests, farmlands, and fields. And so it was for millennia, through two dynamic ages the lorekeepers and scribes called Ascensions.

Until the world ended. Most call it the Fall, but whatever term a given people choose to use, it marked the point where everything—everything—changed. Nations crumbled. Races died. Magic sputtered. Nature sickened.

The Dead woke."


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The Lost Citadel is a shared-world horror fantasy edited and developed by yours truly, based on an idea I percolated with my longtime collaborator, fantasy and horror novelist Ari Marmell. The first project in the world of the Lost Citadel is an anthology of short stories called Tales of the Lost Citadel (now live on Kickstarter), featuring some of the most acclaimed voices in fantasy and horror fiction

The idea of the Lost Citadel is more ambitious in scope than a single collection of words. Both Ari and I grew up on, and were pretty strongly inspired by, the shared-world fantasy explorations of the late '80s, especially the setting of Thieves' World and its signature city, Sanctuary. That series was formative for more than a few fantasy writers, but Ari and I had what we feel is a 21st-century vision of the shared-world approach to world-building and narrative, and that's what really got us excited.

With this setting, we're trying to re-define the idea of what it means to “share” a fantasy world, to have different voices and talents come together to build, express, and explore a world with a particular set of themes and aesthetics. We're working with writers, yes, but also fine artists, musicians, graphic designers, cartographers, and more; anyone whose gifts might help flesh out and embolden the world of the Lost Citadel.

Like in all the best stories, the written word is just the beginning.

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C.A. Suleiman has contributed scores of books to some of fandom's top properties, including Dungeons & Dragons and the World of Darkness. Along with being the developer of the award-winning Mummy line, he co-authored the flagship game Vampire: The Requiem and created the Egyptian-fantasy world of Hamunaptra (first published in boxed set form by Green Ronin Publishing). He’s especially proud to have shepherded development of the world’s first fantasy campaign setting – Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor – and to have worked alongside its storied creator until his passing in 2009. In addition to the books he’s written and developed, C.A. has written material for board games, hobby periodicals, and of course fiction. C.A. is a long-standing member of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design (GAMA), for which he has served for years and as jury foreman for the annual Origins Awards, and is a regular Guest of Honor at hobby and fandom conventions around the world, including a two-time diamond Guest of Honor at Dragon*Con and Fan Expo U.K.

C.A. lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where his band (Toll Carom) is busy toiling away at its latest concept album. Despite the many and varied protestations of his better judgment, he finds himself a regular contributor to the Facebook.

 

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Tell Me - Angélique Jamail

by Jennifer Brozek 10. June 2015 15:53

As a writer, I have, on occasion, been accused of pulling my punches.

Not often, but that criticism has been levied once or twice in feedback on a WIP. And like most writers, I’ve fallen into the hateful trap of obsessing over negative details (valid or not), rather than seeing what actually works in a manuscript. Some might call this counterproductive. Usually they’d be right, but paying careful attention to critiques that stick in my craw has helped me improve my work. And grow a thicker skin.

One time, though, this fixation led to a change in me, not in the manuscript. I was going through final edits of my novelette, FINIS.. In it, a character considers drowning herself. I knew in my gut the end of her arc was the right one. I wasn’t trying to be Kate Chopin or Shakespeare; nor was I writing realistic fiction. FINIS. is magic realism, a fantastical type of literary fiction. I could make anything happen to this character that I wanted, John Updike and the laws of nature be damned.

“You want nice things to happen to your characters,” one workshop partner insisted, her nose crinkling just slightly above her smile. “You love tidy endings.”

I didn’t roll my eyes.

But while finishing the edits for FINIS., I did wonder if I had a problem.

That week, I got a call from a friend I’d gone to college with. Another of our contemporaries, Heather, whom I hadn’t seen in a few years, had died. She’d drowned. Tethered to a paddleboard in a calm-looking but swiftly moving river, snagged underwater by some fallen tree branches, her board got lodged, and she got held under. Her ten-year-old daughter screamed and screamed for help, but when it arrived, Heather was dead.

Every part of this, from the unnecessary loss of my friend’s life to the trauma of her young daughter’s watching it happen, is horrifying. There’s no getting around that, and no amount of condolences, though appreciated, will ever change a single detail.

In my grief, I put my story away. I couldn’t even look at it. But deadlines don’t care about the dead, and eventually I had to bring it back up and smooth out those final line edits.

I considered changing the story, but I knew that wouldn’t be right for the character. I fixed a comma splice and changed a few more words around. I tweaked a metaphor and added a line of wry dialogue. In places, I’m told, FINIS. is funny, but I couldn’t feel it anymore. I couldn’t take pleasure in the craft of writing. All I could hear was Heather’s daughter crying for help, and all I could think about was that the child’s anguished shriek was the last thing her mother ever heard.

I’m told that drowning is a peaceful way to go. The senses dull, everything fades into a heavy quiet, a liquid thrumming. Like going to sleep on a boat, maybe like going to sleep in the womb. I don’t know, but the idea that there is peace, that one goes back to the beginning of things, was strangely comforting.

I added that detail to the story. That was the extent to which I changed my manuscript as a result of Heather’s death.

But the more I worked on those edits, the more I let the story wash over me, the more I submerged myself in it––the more my grief subsided, like ripples on a lake growing wider, gentler until indistinguishable from the lake itself. No longer a disturbance, but a feature of the world. I will never lose this grief. I don’t have to. It simply is.

Tim O’Brien, in The Things They Carried, speaks of writing as unintentional therapy. I don’t think that’s what was happening to me, not really, not in the way writing about the Vietnam War arguably staved off his PTSD. But in the chapter “The Lives of the Dead,” he writes about a nine-year-old girl named Linda, whom his character Timmy loved and lost to brain cancer in elementary school. Later, in his adult life, he dreams her back into existence. She speaks of the afterlife as if being dead were like being a book on a shelf that no one is reading at the moment. It’s not some agony or paradise, it just is. And he realizes that writing a book about a character who is himself is like trying to save his own young life “with a story.”

I don’t know if something could have saved my friend’s life. I don’t know whether it’s better or worse to think that her accident could have been prevented. I look at my own ten-year-old daughter, on the cusp of middle school, and worry preemptively about the things she’s going to deal with in her world, and I hope that the worst tragedy she ever encounters is the death of our ancient cat. We cannot save everyone, after all.

But we try. We are writers and we destroy lives and worlds and ideologies. And sometimes, we don’t.

And sometimes, that choice is the right one.

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Angélique Jamail’s poetry and essays have appeared in over two dozen anthologies and journals, including Time-Slice (2005), Improbable Worlds (2011), Pluck Magazine (2011), and The Milk of Female Kindness – An Anthology of Honest Motherhood (2013). Her work was selected as a Finalist for the New Letters Prize in Poetry in 2011. Her magic realism novella Finis. (2014) has been praised by fiction writer Ari Marmell as having “some of the most real people I’ve encountered via text in a long time,” and by poet Marie Marshall as “a witty tale of conformity, prejudice, and transformation, in a world that is disturbing as much for its familiarity as for its strangeness.” She teaches Creative Writing and English at The Kinkaid School in Houston. Find her online at her blog Sappho’s Torque (www.SapphosTorque.com).

 

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Origins Schedule

by Jennifer Brozek 1. June 2015 09:42

If you are going to Origins Game Fair, I will be there as a panelist or in the Library section of the Dealers Room. Come by and say hello.

Thursday 2pm, C223
Freelancing 101

What does it mean to make a living as a freelance writer or editor? Our panelists tell you how it's done.
Bryan Young, Josh Vogt, John Helfers, Jennifer Brozek, Aaron Rosenberg

Thursday 4pm, C223
The Novel and You

So you've written a few (or a few hundred) short stories. A novel should be easy, right? Wrong! It's a whole different skill set. Our panelists discuss writing a novel from inception to completion.
John Helfers, Josh Vogt, Tracy Chowdhury, Jennifer Brozek, Gregory A. Wilson


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Friday 2pm, C223
Writing for RPGs

What goes into writing a campaign or an entire game setting? These authors have traveled that road and can show you the map. 90 minutes.
Aaron Rosenberg, Jennifer Brozek, Josh Vogt, Richard C. White, Donald J. Bingle

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Saturday 4pm, C222
Ask the Editor

Do you have questions about writing, editing, or submitting your work? Now is your chance to ask an editor anything that's on your mind.
Jennifer Brozek

Saturday 5pm, C222
Consult on My Query

Jennifer Brozek

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Sunday 12pm
Anthology Creation Workshop

How do editors make an anthology? Award-winning editor and author Jennifer Brozek walks you through the process from idea generation to finished product.
Jennifer Brozek, John Helfers

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Where is Jennifer?

by Jennifer Brozek 21. May 2015 09:09

This weekend begins a five week stretch of off-and-on travel. It is the heart of convention season for me and why I pushed so hard to get the rough draft of NEVER LET ME DIE done.

So, where is Jennifer through the end of June?

For most of this, I’ll be traveling alone and the Husband will have charge of the house and the kitties (who will become angry balls of fur at my disappearances). For the one time the Husband will be with me, I’ve got a house/cat sitter lined up (the cats love the sitter, he bribes them with treats).

I’m looking forward to each of these events. I’m hanging out with Katie Cord and Tim Long at Crypticon. Origins is one of my favorite conventions ever. I’m reading at the University Bookstore with Kristi Charish, a super keen author and podcaster. Yay weddings! It’s always fun to go to a friend’s wedding where you will know almost everyone. I’m very excited about LepreCon because my PA, Sarah, will be there with me.

All this means that my life is going to be insane. Because, while I’m doing all this, I’ll be editing two novels and two novellas for myself and for AIP.

It’s going to be crazy but fun.

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Bubble and Squeek for 20 May 2015

by Jennifer Brozek 20. May 2015 16:01

It's been an amazing couple of weeks. Really amazing.

Awards: I've been nominated for two different Scribe Awards. One for best tie-in short story. One for best tie-in YA novel.

Conventions: I've been named one of Gen Con's Industry Insider Featured Presenters. I'm really excited about this.

Election: I've been voted in as one of the new Directors-at-Large for SFWA along with Matthew Johnson. I will take office on July 1, 2015.

Interview: I've been interviewed by Katie Teller, focusing on my Dark Quest Books anthologies.

Review: Thomas Gondolfi of Scifimonkeys.com reviewed CALLER UNKNOWN and gave it an "Unexpected A-". He had some interesting points to make.

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Latest Releases


DocWagon 19
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Karen Wilson Chronicles #4
More InformationBuy Now.
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Fiction collection
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http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/JazzAgeCthulhu200.jpg
Jazz Age Cthulhu
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novel
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| B&N

Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

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 fourteen 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 Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty 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.