Jennifer Brozek | Wordslinger & Optimist!

The Reinvented Detective Table of Contents

Cat and I are pleased to announce that we have final cover, release date, and table of contents!

December 12, 2023, The Reinvented Detective, the second installment of the Reinvented Anthology series from Jennifer Brozek and Cat Rambo, appears from Arc Manor.

The evolution of crime, punishment, and justice in the future.

What happens when time and technology change the definition of crime and punishment?

Science fiction often focuses on future technology without considering the society housing it. Social norms may change as tech changes — or not. What will criminals, investigators, judges, and juries look like in a complicated future of clones, uploaded intelligences, artificial brains, or body augmentation? What stories emerge when we acknowledge the possibilities of new laws, new police methods, and the birth of sentient Artificial Intelligence, as well as all the ways they can clash or combine?

The Reinvented Detective presents stories that complicate law and order as well as the concept of criminals, detectives, punishment, and justice for all by showing how shifting technology, the rise of sentient AIs, and shifting social attitudes may affect what is not only acceptable, but expected, within both real world and digital communities—and everything in-between. These stories reinvent detective and true crime tropes, recasting them for the 21st century, and above all, experimenting, astonishing, and entertaining.

Table of Contents

Foreword – Jennifer Brozek

Poem: That Missing C: Police Report #1 – Jane Yolen
The Best Justice Money Can Buy – C.C. Finlay
The Gardener’s Mystery: Notes from a Journal – Lisa Morton
Someone Else’s Device – AnaMaria Curtis
Coded Out – Frog and Esther Jones
Murder at the Westminster Dino Show – Rosemary Claire Smith
The Unassembled Victims – Peter Clines

Poem: Ghosts – Seanan McGuire
Agents Provocateur – Lazarus Black
Great Detective in a Box – Jennifer R. Povey
Color Me Dead – E. J. Delaney
The Unremembered Paradox – Maurice Broaddus and Bethany K. Warner
Go Ask A.L.I.C.E. – Lyda Morehouse
Request to Vanish – Lauren Ring
Overclocked Holmes – Sarah Day and Tim Pratt

Poem: Final Judgement – Jane Yolen
Dead Witness – Marie Bilodeau
We Are All Ourselves Inside Our Skins – Sam Fleming
Inside, Outside, Above, Below – Premee Mohamed
To Every Seed Their Own Body – Guan Un
In the Shadow of the Great Days – Harry Turtledove
Gum5hoe – Carrie Harris

Afterword – Cat Rambo

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Sewage Saga and Other Interesting Times

At my age, one does not want to live in “interesting times.” “Gallons of Sewage” are words you never want to hear in relation to do with your house. Ever. Whether you own the home or rent. Nor does one want to suddenly hear a “KZZZZZZAKkkk...” from the Husband’s office (everyone’s fine). Nor does one want to feel an earthquake after a bunch of plumbing work under the house was done. Here’s the time line based on my social media posts and private whining to friends about everything.

===5 Oct 2023===

Oh crapola and many swear words. There was a bad smell in the garage. The crawlspace inspector (Scott—he was very nice) found a broken sewage pipe and “gallons of sewage under there.” Need to have the pipe fixed (easy), need to clean everything out and re-lime the crawl space. Expensive. Buy my books?

===6 Oct 2023===

And the plumber had to cancel. Next appointment? Sunday. Well, this leak has been going on for months. How much worse can it get in 2 days? Especially since we won't be using the dishwasher or sink (which are the worst offenders in this grey line break).

Oh. Oh dear. The Husband's second (very old) monitor just made a horrific noise I could hear from across the house and died. The smell of burnt electronics is awful. We have no idea what just happened but it is DEAD, Jim. Very dead.

===8 Oct 2023===

The plumber came! Yay. They fixed things. All seemed well. They left. The Husband started cleaning up the kitchen and discovered sink won't drain. At all. Well then. Plumber has been called again.

Note: the plumber’s apprentice did the actual fixing of things. The plumber barely fit into the crawlspace because of his shoulders but was in good spirits about things. I don’t think he’s going to be in good spirits now.

So, they have snaked the line out to 50 feet. The blockage is farther downstream apparently. Them fixing the grey water line has revealed a different problem (the inciting incident that caused the water line failure?) It is now a slow drain and no leak. Thus, different plumber with different equipment tomorrow.

Woo! 4.2 earthquake near Port Townsend, WA. Of course, because I write horror, my first thought was: Dammit, we woke something up (due to our plumbing issues).

Note: We didn’t, of course, especially not with Mount St. Helens social media declaring: I’M BACK BITCHES

===9 Oct 2023===

New plumber came out and determined the line needs to be “hydro-jet cleaned” and didn’t have the equipment or information on timing. Needs to get the boss out to see for his opinion/quote and then to schedule. [At an additional expense and we are into 4 digits already before getting the whole crawlspace cleaned.] But, at least the sink drain slowly. Ever so slowly.

Boss plumber has come and gone. Hydro-jet cleaning will happen tomorrow or the next day and cost twice as much as the grey water line fixing.

===10 Oct 2023===

Plumbers have come and gone with the hydro-jet equipment. It’s an impressive set of kit. Gotta admit that. It was impressively loud and they ended up hydro-jetting several hundred gallons through the line to clean the blockage that was a combination of grease and eggshells. Thing I learned today: Do not put eggshells down the garbage disposal. Even ground up, the shells will catch in any seam in the line. Always toss or compost. Yes, it took decades of doing so to block the pipe, but now I know, and the more you know… It’s an expensive lesson to learn the hard way.

All that’s left is to have the literal cesspool under the house cleaned out…which is scheduled for Friday the 13th. What could go wrong?

===13 Oct 2023===

The cats were put away with a minimum of fuss. The Crawl Pros specialists arrived on time and got to work. They immediately put up plastic sheeting everywhere to protect floors, walls, furniture—which was clearly needed based on the muck I saw on it from time to time. One small problem in the grand scheme of things. The Husband and I were trapped upstairs with no way to get downstairs, more importantly, no way to get into the kitchen. At all. Fortunately, I had already had one cup of coffee and had lots of water upstairs. I hadn't planned on OMAD today but there you go.

The Crawl Pros specialists finished, leaving behind a clean house, a cleaned crawl space that has been re-limed and had new insulation put in. All that’s left is the lingering scent of cleaner and a hefty bill. But, at least it is done.

May I recommend you buy one of my books? Please?

Tell Me - Iori Kusano

I had the joy of meeting Iori Kusano by being on a podcast (about Shin Kamen Rider) with them. I found them interesting, exciting, and worth listening to. Then I found out they wrote Hybrid Heart, a novella about a pop idol pursuing fame while trying to keep the heart of who she is as a person. What Iori has to say about quitting is profound. I’ve always said it: you are allowed to stop.

I am a quitter. Jobs, romances, grad school, hobbies, gym memberships: I’ll walk out on anything. If it sucks, hit da bricks, as the skeleton says.

(photo credit: dasharezone)

 This is not a trait that the rest of the world generally considers a virtue.

In both real life and fiction, our heroes are usually the ones who don’t give up—people who press forward no matter what obstacles or opponents stand in their way, those whose determination outweighs their sense of self-preservation. A good person sticks to their chosen path, keeps chasing their dreams, follows through on their commitments.

The final structure and plot of Hybrid Heart changed considerably from my first half-draft, but I knew from the first scene that it was going to be a story about the life-changing magic of just goddamn quitting.


The Japanese entertainment industry is almost universally brutal, but pop idols have it worst: the longest hours, the strictest and most unrealistic beauty standards, the sub-minimum wages. Whether it’s legal to ban idols from dating as a condition of employment is debatable (more judges rule in favor of the idols these days), but regardless of whether it’s written down, it’s commonly understood that to be caught in a romantic relationship is a career killer.

My protagonist, Rei, has to learn how to quit because her commitment to her career is actively hurting her. When we meet her, she’s so close to breakthrough success that she can taste it. All she needs is another couple of hits to cement her place in the public’s heart. In the meantime, she has no friends, she’s dieted herself halfway to death, and she lives in a smarthome panopticon that tells her boss how many minutes she spends in the shower and how hot the water is.

I think most of us wind up in a situation like that at some point in our lives—those moments when you’ve sunk-cost-fallacied yourself so far down some road that you don’t know how you’ll ever find an offramp again. We may not have brain implants reporting our social media browsing history straight to our manager yet, but everyone eventually becomes familiar with the sweaty-palmed fear of having to admit that you made the wrong choice.

And once you’ve admitted it, how do you go about fixing it?

I wrote Hybrid Heart while I was still feeling my way through the emotional fallout of quitting grad school. I’d struggled to make that decision because it felt like I was throwing away not only my own hard work, but the effort of everyone who had invested their time and knowledge in mentoring me. I couldn’t talk myself out of believing that I was letting other people down, so I had to learn how to make peace with having done so. (Fun fact: I am still too scared to talk to my former professors!)

What I wanted to communicate with Rei’s character arc was the terrifying, empowering feeling of learning how to quit. It’s heart-level stakes, but in the moment it feels apocalyptic. How do you decide to prioritize yourself when you’re sure that doing so will overturn your entire life? I don’t think there’s a definitive answer, but with Rei I put forward my answer: flipping the proverbial table and then accepting the consequences. Like my protagonist, I had to teach myself to move forward in an irrevocably changed world with compassion for myself.

Iori Kusano is a queer Asian American writer and Extremely Ordinary Office Gremlin living in Tokyo. They are a graduate of Clarion West 2017. Their novella Hybrid Heart is available from Neon Hemlock Press, and their short fiction appears in various magazines. Find them on Twitter @IoriKusano and Instagram as iori_stagram, or at

Bubble and Squeek for 26 Sep 2023

There are many, many projects in progress even if it seems calm above the surface of the water. You know I'm padding like hell underneath.

Article: Stop Multitasking by Cat Rambo. I say “Multitasking is doing many things badly.”

Classes: You know that I teach online classes at the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers, right? Did you know the academy has a long list of on-demand classes?

Release: Shadowrun: The Kilimanjaro Run ebook novella. YA Shadowrun goodness set in Tanzania! The Transporter meets E.T. in the Sixth World.

Release: The Many Deaths of Jennifer Brozek ebook. First time in ebook format. Just in time for spooky season!

Laud the Artist: This Ukrainian artist, Kateryna Shelyhina (SeaStainedGlass on Etsy), has some of the most beautiful works of art I’ve ever seen.

Shout out: Fabulous Raven Oak has a new kickstarter. The Bell Ringer is filled with holiday stories and art written and drawn by her!

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.

The Many Deaths of Jennifer Brozek

Surprise Book Release! Technically, it is on the 21st of the month but everything just kinda happened. I knew this was coming. We’d planned it. But, with Gen Con and all of my projects landing at once, it slipped off the radar. Of all the balls I’m juggling right now, this one isn’t too bad to recover from.

TL;DR: New flash fiction collection from me (Jennifer) called The Many Deaths of Jennifer Brozek is available to order! It also includes my flash fiction chapbook Mastication. Not only that, The Karen Wilson Chronicles will be on sale for $2.99 from Saturday (9/16) at 1 am PST until Midnight PST on Thursday (9/21).

How this came about...

From 2014 to 2015, Jennifer Brozek wrote an “Author Story Card” for every convention she went to. On one side would be a piece of flash fiction: The Many Deaths of Jennifer Brozek: [Convention Name Year]. On the other side was a list of her currently available books and a QR code on where to find them. They were free for the taking and were a huge hit.

(A fact that still occasionally disturbs the author.)

With this edition, all of the convention story cards have been gathered up into a single collection, for the first time in ebook format. It debuted in the Gen Con Writers’ Symposium limited-edition ebook bundle to benefit Symposium writers and programs. Now it is available for you to enjoy.

Also included is Jennifer Brozek’s chapbook, Mastication. A chapbook created for Gen Con 2009 in an act born from desperation and a lack of experience because none of her books arrived in time to be sold at the convention.

Good-bye Isis

It is with a broken heart that I need to say that Isis, our beloved Egyptian Mau, has gone to the clearing at the end of the path. She is survived by her twin brother, Pharaoh, and her sisters Leeloo and Mena. The Husband and I are in shatters. I am not kidding. It will be a long time before we are okay again.


I know you are not supposed to have favorite kitties, but Isis was exceptional. I chose her from the litter. She chose the Husband to be her human. She loved me, but he was her favorite. That much was clear. Just like the Husband chose Pharaoh from the litter and he chose me to be his human.

Isis lived for almost sixteen years and she brightened our lives every single day. She was our siren—enticing, flirty, and sweet to draw you in. She was our siren—as loud as any alarm and twice as persistent in getting what she wanted. She will always be our lovely little girl.


She had been sick for a while and by the time she dropped below six pounds, moving in and out of lucidity, unable to move well or eat much, we knew it was time.

Her last day was a good day. Mostly lucid, spoiled with churu whenever it looked like she wanted it, Isis left this world to pass into the next in the lap of her beloved chosen human in a beam of sunlight. It was a gentle passing full of love and warmth. It was the kindest thing we could do for her after all she had done for us. Afterwards, we let her siblings smell her body and sense her passing.


We will miss Isis so much. So very much. It was one of the hardest, most responsible things we could do as pet owners. One of the kindest, too.


(We used Compassion 4 Paws. Dr. Julia was understanding, patient, and respectful. It helped with this hard, necessary procedure.)

Order The Kilimanjaro Run

(Aug 22 update - It's live and in the wild now!)

My fourth YA Shadowrun novella, The Kilimanjaro Run (Amazon link), is available for pre-order right now and will be released on August 22nd. I had so much fun with this novella. I think this cover (by Jori Bolton) is one of my favorite to date. It is so good. I mean, see for yourself.

Pre-Order Shadowrun: The Kilimanjaro Run here from your favorite ebook shop
. (Books2Read link)

Charlotte lives with her expatriate family in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. While visiting her best friend Neema, a hippopotamus shaman, a commotion next door interrupts their weekend plans. Neema’s older cousin has been arrested, leaving her younger cousin Elijah responsible for a “job.” Charlotte insists on helping Elijah complete what seems like a simple task: drop off a car in a parking lot. Simple, easy, and doesn’t piss off the wrong people, right? Reluctantly, Neema agrees, and they set off.

On the road, they get a message from BlotterBabe, a known fixer, that they aren’t just delivering a car—they’re perpetrating a horrendous crime. Together, the trio must make a choice to do the job as they were told—and keep their cousin out of trouble with the worst of society—or do the right thing.

In the end, there is no choice. Charlotte, Neema, and Elijah do the only thing they can do: make a run for it…and hope they’re not too late to save a strange visitor to their world…not to mention themselves.


The Kilimanjaro Run is a wildly entertaining story that takes us on a supernatural road trip from the urban sprawl of Dar es Salaam to the rocky slopes of Africa’s tallest mountain with a motley and lovable group of characters. It’s thoughtful, it’s fun, it’s The Transporter meets E.T. set in the fascinating world of Shadowrun served with a healthy portion of its own special sauce. Readers are in for a good time.” ~Wole Talabi (author of Shigidi And The Brass Head Of Obalufon)


Bubble and Squeek for 15 Aug 2023

It's after Gen Con and projects are picking up speed as predicted. Have some Bubble and Squeek.

Blurb: I got the most fantastic blurb from Wole Talabi (author of Shigidi And The Brass Head Of Obalufon) on my forthcoming Shadowrun YA novella The Kilimanjaro Run (release date Aug 22). Cover reveal soon! The Kilimanjaro Run is a wildly entertaining story that takes us on a supernatural road trip from the urban sprawl of Dar es Salaam to the rocky slopes of Africa’s tallest mountain with a motley and lovable group of characters. It’s thoughtful, it’s fun, it’s The Transporter meets E.T. set in the fascinating world of Shadowrun served with a healthy portion of its own special sauce. Readers are in for a good time.”

Comic: Comic 233 by Akimbo Comics – The perfect illustration of why I write dark fiction. I’ve been thinking about this comic for the last couple of days. I wish I could have it on a poster. I keep losing it. So I'm posting it here.

Instagram: Leeloo and Miss Lemon… Sometimes she decides she’s going to be in my lap and that’s it. Singapura kitties are stubborn as hell.

Interview: I was interviewed for Writer Wednesday over at Gareth L. Powell’s blog on substack…

Review: Haunted MTL reviewed A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods. They liked it with some caveats.

Twitter: Illustrator Jon Kubina drew me and my fellow panelists from the panel I moderated at Gen Con. How fun!

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.

Gen Con 2023 AAR

Gen Con 2023 has come and gone in a wave of many, many people (reported between 70K-80K) and hot, muggy weather. I enjoyed myself despite the aforementioned crowds and weather.

Grace P. Fong and Jennifer Brozek at "Meet the Pros" for the Gen Con Writers Symposium.


  • My mornings were odd since I didn’t have to get up super early and prep to run a booth in Authors Avenue. On one hand, I miss it. On the other, I do not. I prefer just participating in the Writers Symposium.
  • My workshops were well-attended and got great feedback. I enjoy teaching eager students. I had some great questions. I loved every panel I was on and can’t wait to come back.
  • My last panel of the convention included Ed Greenwood. It was cool circling back. I attended my first Gen Con in 2006 to sign a book we co-wrote. I was such a novice back then. Now I’m holding my own and having a good time. It was nice to have that moment with Ed.
  • Tactical error. I was able to get into the dealers hall early with the judicious use of a borrowed exhibitors badge. I hadn’t been able to see any of the dealers hall before then. I specifically didn’t want to be involved in the morning “Running of the Nerds.” Thus, I headed back to the dealer booth but I did so too late. I got caught between rows 200 and 300 right at the front of the dealers hall when they opened the doors. I swear to goodness, it was like watching the zombie hoard race towards me as attendees poured into the dealer hall and sprinted towards the booths they needed to get to buy the limited, exclusive Gen Con merch. I realized too late that I should have recorded the moment.
  • While the Husband and I attended the convention masked for the whole time, I did eat in restaurants and have a couple of private business meetings without my mask. I’m aware of at least four panelists from the Writers Symposium are down with covid and a couple more with con crud. As of now, both the Husband and I feel fine. Negative tests for covid and no con crud. So, that’s nice. However, we will continue to isolate and test until Friday.
  • Seeing old friends and catching up was worth it. Dinner with Ivan was so nice. Doing PokemonGO trades with Grace was the best. Talking Shin Kamen Rider with Brandon was wonderfully weird.
  • It is always nice to get a face-to-face with my editors. There are some very cool things writing/editing-wise coming out of this convention. I can’t wait to be able to talk about them.
  • There was one scary moment outside the convention. Monday morning, the Husband and I went to Café Patachou for breakfast. As we were leaving, a very, very angry young man crashed into me as he barreled his way into the restaurant, shouting incoherently. I have no idea what he was saying or why he was so angry. As we left the scene, the man came out of the restaurant with a half-cup of coffee (it’s self-serve at Patachou) and slammed it to the ground, still shouting. He ended up walking in the same direction we were but then stopped to hail a cab. I have no idea what it was all about and have decided, “Not my monkeys, not my circus.”
  • Oh, here’s a TMI but interesting bit for the science-y people out there: When you sneeze into a mask (and it’s not one of those gross sneezes that makes you replace the mask immediately) you get the opportunity to understand what the inside of your lungs smell like. I can’t describe the smell. It’s not bad but it’s not pleasant because of the biological nature of it. Still, it’s an interesting experience from a writer’s POV. I just wish I could figure out how to describe it.
  • Also, laud me, for I have already logged all my Gen Con freelancer expenses!

Jennifer Brozek and John Helfers having one last meeting at the Indy airport.

There’s more than this. But it’s all I can remember at the moment. It was a very busy convention and I am still recovering. I have my kitties, my bed, and my coffee. I am a happy author/editor. Until next Gen Con!

Gen Con is Coming

Next week is Gen Con. I actually don’t know how many of these conventions I’ve gone to (more than 10? 15?) but, I suppose, at this stage of the game it doesn’t matter.

This year is going to be a little bit different for me. I do not have a table in Authors Avenue. I chose not to have one because I’m at a point in my career where it is not necessary. Also, there are other newer, more hungry authors out there who need that spot. Thus, I bow out. Also…honestly, I’m feeling my age a little. I cannot vend in the Dealers Hall and do workshops/panels for the Writers Symposium. There is a half mile jaunt between locations which is a 12 minute brisk walk one way (ask me how I know).

Thus, this year I am only participating in the Writers Symposium, the BattleTech/Shadowrun group signing at the Cat Labs booth, and various business meetings. The Writers Symposium is located on the 2nd floor of the Downtown Marriott and will have much signage to help you find it.


Here is my schedule for the Writers Symposium. The link will take you to the events page and my official schedule. You can search for any author’s schedule in this place. In addition to my panels and workshops, I will be doing three signings:

  • Friday, 2:00-2:50pm BattleTech Signing - Signing: Multiple BattleTech Authors, ICC – Catalyst Game Labs booth 1611
  • Friday, 3:00-3:50pm Panel GCWS - Signing: Chesya Burke and Jennifer Brozek, ICC : Signing table near Authors Avenue. Both of us will have books to sell.
  • Saturday, 11:00-12:00pm Shadowrun Signing - Signing: Multiple Shadowrun Authors, ICC – Catalyst Game Labs booth 1611

Finally, the Symposium will be releasing the first-ever Gen Con Writers’ Symposium Collectible Drive! This USB drive will only be available in person at Gen Con 2023, and limited to 500 drives. It contains 19 retail books, including 2 new releases and one pre-release. GCWS-exclusive collections of previously unpublished short fiction from E.D.E. Bell, Jennifer Brozek, and Richard Lee Byers. The drive also includes several bonus short stories, music from The Road, and an audiobook narrated by C. S. E. Cooney.

I’m really looking forward to Gen Con this year. I hope to see you there.