Jennifer Brozek | Wordslinger & Optimist! - Page 2

Operation Rescue Singas

by Jennifer Brozek 24. December 2014 14:15

Or how I became a six cat household on Christmas Eve.

For the last seven weeks, I’ve been keeping an eye on a pair of singapuras put up on A pair of girls had been willed to a doctor who already had pets. They tried for seven weeks to integrate the kitties and it didn’t work. All the back and forth ended up with an email yesterday that came down to, “it’s not working, will you come get them tonight?”

I emailed Jeff and asked if he was willing. He was. (My hero!) And suddenly, we had Operation Rescue Singas, the cutest escort mission ever. We drove 540 miles roundtrip in about 11.5 hours (holiday traffic) to pick these little loves up. The story got a little weirder. (IE: The deceased woman’s husband is still alive. He didn’t even know the kitties names. I need to contact him for any information on the breeder, shots, paperwork, etc… HIS contact info is forthcoming.)

So, currently, Talia and Lyta are temporarily housed in the cat room in full airlock mode—much to the disgruntlement of the current four living here. And they such little lovebugs. Talia is super friendly and loving and outgoing. Lyta is very shy but does cuddle and purr.

Now, this six cat household is not a permanent thing…unless it is. There is a couple in Korea from the Singapura list that will be adopting them. We are in contact and they are working out a courier arrangement to get them to Korea. I hope it works out. If it doesn’t, Plan B—you know me, I’m a planner—involves a couple of other people on the Singapura FB list. Plan C is that Jeff and I keep them. We both know that’s a possibility and are prepared for it.

Today they went to the vet. No feline leukemia or feline aids. Yay! No fleas. Yay! No microchips. Boo! Talia has a watery eye but it’s healthy. Yay! Vet bill we didn’t expect. Boo! Generous donations from the Singapura FB list covers a lot of it. Yay!

So, the kitties are happily ensconced in the cat room. My cats are pissed. But all is well in the world. Merry Cat Christmas to one and all.

This is what the singas traveled in. Plus a furry bed. No tight carriers for this escort mission.

Lyta on the left. Talia on the right.

Even shy Lyta can't resist the cuddles of the Husband.

Talia refuses to stay still except for cuddles...briefly.

The Cat Airlock and only one of the four cats eyeing it. Yes. Pharaoh is in a cone. He keeps scratching at his eye.


Bubble and Squeek for 16 Dec 2014

by Jennifer Brozek 16. December 2014 09:35

Editing. Writing. Getting end-of-year things done. Here's some links for you. Hope your December is as awesome and productive as mine is shaping up to be.

Review: GeekDad reviews Chicks Dig Gaming. He gives it a big thumbs up.

Review: GeekMom reviews Chicks Dig Gaming. She also gives it a big thumbs up.

Review: SFRevu Review by Bill Lawhorn of Athena’s Daughters anthology where he gives a great shout out to my story, “Janera."

Article: How I remain productive while traveling. I wrote this for the SFWA blog while traveling.

Book Release: Jazz Age Cthulhu anthology with my 1920s Lovecraftian novelette set in Assam India, "Dreams of a Thousand Young."

Book Release: New Valdemar antholog, No True Way, with my dark YA story, "Written in the Wind."

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Tell Me - Andrew Williams

by Jennifer Brozek 15. December 2014 10:09

Andrew Williams from Journeys in Color Photography is a local Seattle photographer who recently did my new, amazing headshots. He travels. He's wonderful. He's open to new clients. I can't recommend him enough. Below, he talks about taking photographs of cosplayers.

On Cosplay Photography

I first got serious about photography around four years ago. As a writer, I frequently wrote about places I traveled, and I wanted good pictures to accompany articles and blog posts.

Among the places my travels took me was science fiction and fantasy conventions. I’ve always been a fan, but I missed out on conventions in my childhood, mostly because I wasn’t aware of them—or if I was, I’d been conditioned to think of them as places for total geeks. (This was back before being a geek was cool, and I didn’t yet have the self-confidence to revel in being different.)

But as I began writing fiction, I got involved in the writing community, which meant going to conventions. And not only did I discover a huge community of people who passionately loved the same things I did, I was astonished by their creativity, as people took their geeky passion and channeled it in ways I hadn’t even considered.

Among those people were cosplayers—people who put in huge amounts of work to create costumes and even whole identities, which they then wore about in broad daylight! Now these were people who quite literally wore their geekiness on their sleeves.

As a budding photographer, I naturally turned my camera in their direction. It was my first real opportunity to take photographs of people—I’d been taking plenty of pictures of landscapes and flowers, but an ongoing case of Social Awkwardness had kept me from engaging much with actual humans. Taking pictures of cosplayers not only helped me practice photography, it helped me make friends with people I might not otherwise have met. And as my skill improved, photography became not just want a way to complement blog posts, but a creative end all its own.

When we write, we take temporary ideas from our head and transcribe them to the page, where they gain permanence. There’s a magic to that which I also find in photography—capturing a fleeting moment in time and transcribing it to a picture. Like stories, pictures are ways of taking what’s in our head and making it more permanent, not to mention easier to share with others.

Whereas a writer or a photographer can take their idea and transcribe it by themselves, the creative act of cosplay is a bit different. On its own, it’s temporary. At the end of the day, or the end of the convention, the cosplayer resumes their everyday guise. Their real life transformation ends, and the idea—briefly brought to life through makeup, clothing, and props—turns back to an idea.

But a photographer can capture the cosplayer’s transformation, their “story,” and help give it permanence. Sometimes a photographer might be more like a reporter, giving a straightforward nonfiction account of what’s in front of them. Sometimes they might be more of a creator, collaborating with the cosplayer and adding their own style or ideas, through setting, lighting, and more. I like these occasions the best, when two people work together to create something that neither could have done alone.

Now that I’ve started a photography business, this is an attitude that I apply not just to cosplay photography, but to portrait photography in general. As a photographer, I’m a collaborator, helping someone to create something memorable, something neither of us could create by ourselves.

But cosplay photography will always be one of my first creative loves; not only does it make for great pictures, but it’s taught me a lot about confidence, creativity, and passion.

My chosen author photos. In case you were interested in seeing some of Andrew's work without clicking links.


My Birthday Week

by Jennifer Brozek 8. December 2014 09:12

Today begins my birthday week. (My actual birthday is on 9 Dec, Tuesday.) Birthdays are important to me because, sometimes, I’m twelve. The Husband knows this and he left me a bar of chocolate and a little love note to kick things off. I won the world with that man.

As with most authors, what we really, really, really want for our birthdays is to be acknowledged in some way. I don’t need a gift from you but if you want to gift something to me, I’ve listed some little things out.

1. Like my Amazon author page. (If that’s still a thing.)

2. Leave me an Amazon or GoodReads or Barnes and Noble or DriveThruFiction review. Every single word helps.

3. Like my Facebook fan author page or the Apocalypse Ink Productions Facebook page.

4. Take a picture of one of my books with you or a furry friend or a fabric friend and send it to me.

5. Buy yourself (or a friend) a book from Apocalypse Ink Productions. If it is one of my books and you want a hard copy, I can even sign it for you. If it’s an ebook, I still believe I can sign it for you through authorgraph.

6. Gift yourself with the gift of editing from me.

And I hope you have a great week, too. Ping me on twitter and tell me about it. Send me puppy and kitten pictures. Tell me something awesome about your day.


Breaking Up is Hard to Do

by Jennifer Brozek 5. December 2014 16:32

This month I took a hard look at money coming in and money going out. The money going out exceed the money coming in. Thus, opening up my schedule to freelance editing clients. Then I went back to one of my rules from The Little Finance Book That Could: determine “wants” versus “needs.” A couple things immediately came to mind.

First, DVDs from Netflix. As much as I love getting them, I halved my Netflix bill by dropping that part of the service. We’re keeping streaming because the Husband uses Netflix streaming almost every single day. Thus, it is worth the cost.

Second, my Verio email/website account. This one is definitely a “want.” But it is also very hard to give up. I’ve had this account longer than I’ve known most of my friends—since 1994 when it was owned by a different company. Verio took it over in 2001 (I think). I’ve kept this account all that time. Over two decades.

But, I don’t really use the email or the website anymore. I have my own domain,, for the website and I use yahoo and gmail for my email addresses. The email address has been mostly used for the other accounts I’ve had for so long: Amazon, my bank, PayPal, etc… All these important accounts that, for the most part, I’ve already added 2nd and 3rd email accounts to.

In essence, my Verio account is like me having a paid storage locker filled with once needed books I never intend to read again, but it looks good on reference papers. Occasionally, I glance in it to make sure something important didn’t get lost there but otherwise, it’s useless to me. I’m just being a digital packrat. Or digital hoarder.

There’s a lot of emotions wrapped up in an email / web account I’ve had longer than all my nieces have been alive. At the same time that’s $300/year I don’t need to spend. So, I took a lot of time yesterday officially shifting the accounts to other primary email addresses I use on a daily basis.

This included a lot of swearing as my Live ID was also linked to the old email address. When I opened it up, it forced a merge with Skype which then locked me out of both. Yeah. Not fun. Luckily, the Husband was able to fix most of it remotely and finally fixed Skype by uninstalling and reinstalling it.

Now, I get to spend the next couple of weeks making sure that nothing important, that I’ve forgotten about, is linked to the Verio account and remind everyone (once more) to shift my email to one of the email accounts I actually use. Then, before the end of the month… I cancel the account.

It’s weird. It almost feels like I’m breaking up with someone. Untangling everything, dredging up old memories and forgotten lore. Having second thoughts then letting reason prevail. When I hit the “cancel” button, I can only hope that I didn’t leave something important behind to be lost to the digital void.


Bubble and Squeek for 3 Dec 2014

by Jennifer Brozek 3. December 2014 09:46

Article: An SFSignal Mind Meld on the Best Book Openings.
Interview: Wag the Fox interviewed me about Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

Podcast: Baen Books Podcast: BFRH 2014 11 21. Bryan and I talk about Shattered Shields.

Review: SF Crowsnest reviews Shattered Shields. It appears that the review, Kelly Jensen, really liked it. Awesome.

Review: Bookwraiths review of Shattered Shields. 3 out of 5 stars but really like it.

Sale: Apocalypse Ink Productions is running a Winter Special. Code: WINTER2014. 20% entire order. If you ever wanted my Karen Wilson Chronicles, or Industry Talk... or Jay Lake's Process of Writing... or Ivan Ewert's Gentlemen Ghouls series... or Peter M. Ball's Flotsam series... or Dylan Birtolo's Sheynan series... now is the time.

Writers: I am now open to edit your work. Here are my freelance editor rates.

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Freelance editing rates

by Jennifer Brozek 1. December 2014 17:17

Give the gift of editing for your favorite writer or to yourself.

All prices include a Skype call if desired.

Short stories up to 7500 words. $35/hour. 2 hour minimum (Usually doesn’t take me more than 2 hours).

Editorial read on a novel. $35/hour. Average is about 10 hours. (This is not copy editing. This is a chapter by chapter analysis of the novel, looking for holes, repeated writing bad habits, and such.)

Novel copy edits will be based on word count or page count and the due date. The sooner you need the edit, the higher the fee. (Average is $1-3/page – 12 point, double space, courier font.)

Contact me through my contact form or ping me on twitter: @JenniferBrozek.


Freelancer Summary November 2014

by Jennifer Brozek 1. December 2014 09:35

Only one more of these to go.

Ever wonder what a freelance author/editor does? Each month of 2014, I’m going to list my daily notes on what I do. As I always say, being your own boss means you choose with 70 hours of the week you work. None of this talks about the random pub IMs, time doing research, time reading books for blurbs, introductions, and reviews, or short author questions. It doesn’t cover my pays-the-bills work either. This is just publishing industry stuff. “Answered pub industry email” can be anything from a request for an interview, to contract queries, to reading anthology invites, to answering questions about dates… and the list goes on.




Answered pub industry email. Wrote 2100 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. Googlegroup posts. Personal blog post. (2100)





Answered pub industry email. Wrote 2200 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (4300)


Answered pub industry email. Skype Interview with Adventures in Scifi Publishing podcast. Client call. Blog post. Wrote 2300 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (6600)


Answered pub industry email. Editing for a client. Wrote 2700 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (9300)


Answered pub industry email. Editing for a client. Art notes for novella. Skype interview. Wrote 3000 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (12300)


Convention prep. A whole lot of it. Editing for a client. Layout proof. Wrote 2300 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (14600)


OryCon. Panels. Publisher meeting. Back cover copy of a book. Wrote 1700 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (16300)


OryCon. Panels. Publisher meeting. Shattered Shields release party. Wrote 1300 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (17600)





OryCon. Panels. Powell’s group signing. Answered pub industry email.


Answered pub industry email. Proofed final of Dreams of a Thousand Young. Editing for a client. Anthology admin stuff. Wrote 2200 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (19800)


Answered pub industry email. AIP Blog post. Personal Blog post. Editing for a client. Anthology admin stuff. Wrote 2500 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (22300)


Answered pub industry email. Baen Universe Podcast. Processed proof notes for FROST. Wrote 2200 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (24500)


Answered pub industry email. Processed edits on an anthology story and returned it to the editor. Anthology admin stuff. Wrote 2300 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (26800)


Answered pub industry email. Reoutline act four of NLML. Wrote 3200 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (30000)


Answered pub industry email. Article for Wrote 2400 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (32400)





Wrote 2600 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (35000)


Answered pub industry email. Invoiced a client. AIP Blog post. Reoutline act four of NLML. Reading at University Bookstore. Wrote 2600 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (37500)


Answered pub industry email. Wrote an SF Signal Mind Meld. Invoiced a client. Wrote 2500 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (40000)


Answered pub industry email. Contract negotiation x2. Author picture photoshoot. Wrote 3500 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (43500)


Answered pub industry email. Signed contract to be a special guest at the 2015 Gamehole convention. Signed contract to be a GoH at LepreCon 2015. Wrote 2500 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (46000)


Answered pub industry email. Wrote 4180 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (50180)


Answered pub industry email. Article for SFWA blog. Wrote 620 words on NEVER LET ME LEAVE. (50800)





Updated AIP store. AIP Blog post. FROST last minute details.


Answered pub industry email.


Answered pub industry email. Wrote 1850 words for Girls on Games chapter.


Answered pub industry email. Answered an interview.


Answered pub industry email. Answered convention survey. Blurb for a novel.


Answered pub industry email. Answered SFWA survey. Answered HWA survey.


Answered pub industry email. Back cover copy. Paid PA.





Answered pub industry email. Update AIP website. Wrote 101 words for Girls on Games chapter.


Thanksgiving Excitement

by Jennifer Brozek 29. November 2014 10:08

I spent the last week in Ogden, Utah, visiting with the Husband’s family. I must admit, it was an eventful trip—mostly, but not all, good.

Visiting with the In-Laws: I like the Husband’s family. We stayed with his parents. They are so cool. And his 93 year old Grandma Ruby who is spry and talkative. We crocheted together. We spent a day with Jeff’s sister and her husband, who are, unabashedly, our favorites. The four of us get along so well. Thanksgiving day gathered the whole clan and spouses to an amazingly good meal. Got to see both brothers and spouses and the new baby. It was a really good afternoon. Full and fun.

Illness: My pink-eye from a couple weeks back returned with a vengeance. So, I had to stay well away from people. Fortunately, my MIL had antibiotic eye drops that fixed things up and made it so I wasn’t contagious. Bacterial pink eye sucks.

The stress that induced it: my mom ended up in the hospital with viral RSV that caused pneumonia and a host of other complications and bad things. For a while there, I thought I was going to have to fly out from Utah to North Carolina. Mom is doing better now but she’s still in the hospital. So, I’m still worried. Dad caught a really bad cold and my sister has been the champion keeping everything altogether between updates, visits, and making sure Dad eats. I’m grateful for that.

Travel: Travel there was a piece of cake. It’s a 14 hour drive with stops. I always start. I usually go about 4-5 hours. Then Jeff takes the rest of it. Going, there was a tiny bit of slush in the pass that made me tense. Driving it in the dark (5am start), around curves, means I need to keep all my concentration on the drive and feeling the wheels against the road. But, all in all, it was a really easy, pleasant trip.

Coming home was another matter all together. Utah has a post speed of 80mph on the highways now. That’s fast. Even through the winding passes. There was no ambient light. No moon. There was no messing around. At 80mph, coughing at the wrong time could get you killed. After white-knuckling it for an hour, I decided I had faced my fear enough and asked Jeff to drive we got to Oregon. Then I would drive through Oregon and he would take over at Washington.

We did that. But, oh man, am I ever glad that we left 30 minutes before we had planned. I fought the wind for the last hour of Oregon. Then Jeff fought the wind from the border of Washington (through a dust storm even) almost to Snoqualmie Pass, he had to fight with rain, sleet, and snow. If we’d been 30 minutes later, it would’ve been so much worse. But we made it.

Added insult to injury: my iPod nano died within the second hour of the drive home. Fortunately, my Windows phone has almost all my play lists.

Oh-So-Flat: As an aside, I cannot get over how flat Ogden is. It’s a huge lakebed surrounded by mountains. The whole city is set up on a very regular and logical grid. You drive down one road and you can see for miles down the side streets. Coming from the Bay Area and the Seattle area, this both amazing and freaky. I’m so used to hills and turns and one-way streets. No wonder people from Utah have trouble driving in Seattle when they first get here.


When I type THE END

by Jennifer Brozek 21. November 2014 15:27

I've just typed "The End" on NEVER LET ME LEAVE at 51,000 words. But the book is nowhere near complete. When the novel hits "The End" for me, it isn't done. The bare bones have been laid. I have the shape of the story down and in my head.

But, I have a ton of notes that I've written myself that will add probably another 5K to the book. THEN there's the polish and descriptor adds so that I don't have talking heads in a white room. Here's some of the notes I left myself for NEVER LET ME LEAVE.

NOTE: Change floor to Level. Change “taser” to stun gun and describe.
NOTE: Figure actual, specific timeline for the book.
NOTE: Figure out when Carrie got the sedative.
NOTE: Mention the purse a couple more times.
NOTE: Figure out where stun guns and guns are for each chapter.
NOTE: Figured out where access cards are.
NOTE: Stairwells are black dark when red. Hard to get through. (find flashlights)
NOTE: Signs of eating and drinking.

While I'm adding these things I already know I need, I will mark certain spots to strengthen. Or that need a bit more an expert's advice. For example, I know just enough about computer programming to be dangerous. I broke software for a living before I became a writer. I need someone like The Husband to help make the technobabble not only plausible but real. Or get my friend, Joe, to help me with some of the stun gun details.This will add another 2000-3000 words.

After that, the manuscript is put away until January. January 1, I open the file and I start from the top, polishing, adding, fixing, editing. By the time that is done, I will feel like I almost have a real novel in front of me.

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Apocalypse Girl Dreaming
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Book Three of the Karen Wilson Chronicles,
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The Nellus Academy Incident
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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is an award winning editor, game designer, and author.

 Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited ten anthologies with more on the way. Author of In a Gilded Light, The Lady of Seeking in the City of Waiting, Industry Talk, and the Karen Wilson Chronicles, she has more than fifty published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

 Jennifer also is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of both the Origins and the ENnie award, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is also the author of the YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident.

  When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW.