Today’s Bubble & Squeek is brought to you by galley proofs, workshops, and the letter “C” for cover reveals!
Cover reveal and Release: Pre-Order/Order Shadowrun: A Kiss to Die For. Meet Sartorial and Kintsugi. This happens the night they meet. The cover is by the ever fabulous Peter Tikos.
Review: Way of the Laser: Future Crime Stories. Five star review. “I’m very glad I picked this book up to review, and I know any science fictions fans will be glad they picked it up to read.” This one has the story, "When a Patch Won't Do" by me and Katie Cord.
Cover reveal for BattleTech: Ghost Hour. Jasper and Nadine are having a very bad time of it. The blonde is Lyric, Nadine’s girlfriend and all around “Death Pixie.” This is by the wonderful BattleTech artist Marco Mazzoni. He does such a good job!
Workshop: Clarion West - The Business of Writing, June 30. NOTE: However, sign-up will take place through a lottery system and you have to register for the Write-a-thon in order to sign up. They are closing the class lottery next Wednesday, June 17, so anyone interested needs to have signed up by then!
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.
I need to re-outline BattleTech: Crimson Night for a fourth time--in the words of one of my SFWA mentees "to stop being precious about my writing"--and add in a fourth point of view character that will make all my problems go away. In the meantime, here's a Bubble & Squeek for you.
• Awards: A SECRET GUIDE TO FIGHTING ELDER GODS is a 2019 Bram Stoker finalist! Congratulations to everyone who got the nod. I'm so happy.
• Interview (Video): I’m interviewed by Dacre Stoker about my Bram Stoker nomination.
• Publications: “Lair of the Infernal Thief” AKA “Untitled Infernal Goose Adventure” in Mini-Dungeon Monthly #12, An adventure for two to five characters of 3rd-5th level. Yes, inspired by THAT “Untitled Goose Adventure…”
• Publications: It looks like Fantasy Flight Games did a reprint of the physical book of my Arkham Horror novella, TO FIGHT THE BLACK WIND, for those of you who were looking for it as well as the rest of them.
• Random Video: In honor of having my first lucid dream in years, probably brought about because of this video by Matt D'Avella: I learned how to lucid dream.
• 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. Especially since most of my conventions have been cancelled this summer. Pretty please.
As the year moves into the last month of the year, it’s time to remind the world what you had published in 2019 and is eligible for the forthcoming awards season. For me, it was 1 anthology, 2 novels, 3 short stories, and 1 podcast. Not bad despite the horrendousness of my personal life this year.
Anthology: A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods. YA, Lovecraft.
Teenagers fighting Elder Gods in the modern ages. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose. Sometimes they fall to temptation.
Novel: BattleTech – Iron Dawn. YA, Military Scifi.
The first of a trilogy. Orphaned siblings need to take matters into their own hands when the enemy comes knocking on their adopted home world. This is where hard-bitten military veterans come from…if they can survive.
Novel: Shadowrun – Makeda Red. Adult, Science fantasy (the Matrix meets Tolkien meets Bladerunner).
An homage to Casablanca’s back story. It begins with a train heist across Europe and gets messy, complicated, and deadly in a hurry. High adventure, fun, and a bit sexy.
Short Story: Shadowrun – “Between a Corp and a Hard Place.” Adult, Science fantasy.
This one was a five part serial short story published in Gama Trade Magazine. It’s a kidnapping become willing extraction as two factions bargain with the same runner team for the same target. And, of course, nothing is what it seems to be.
Short Story: Emberwind – “Written in Red.” Co-written with John Helfers. Adult, Steampunk fantasy.
Available online, this story skims the top of the double and triple dealings that happen in the Red Market of Adriel. The question is…who controls who?
Short Story: Valdemar – “One Town at a Time.” Adult, Traditional fantasy.
For those who love the Heralds of Valdemar, sometimes it’s fun to go back to normal Heralds in the field, dealing with unexpected discoveries the best they can. One of my most upbeat Valdemar stories.
Podcast: Shadowrun – ShadowBytes. Eight episode series hosted by The Violent Life podcast.
Available online. Eight pieces of Shadowrun fiction. Three are excerpts from my novella, DocWagon 19. Five are linked flash fiction pieces that give you a glimpse into the hard life of running in the shadows. Dark and gritty.
Over all, I’m pleased. Every story was commissioned and contracted. These all came out in and around writing a novel, a novella, writing several short stories, attending multiple conventions, dealing with the death of my father, dealing with the death of a mentor, and one of my cats having surprise surgery.
Days go by until days become weeks and weeks become a month. I’ve spent most of this last month writing hard on my BattleTech: Ghost Hour novel and mostly avoiding the internet. Now that I can see the end of it—four or five scenes left—I can say this novel isn’t going to be the death of me. But, I gotta tell you, it was a hard book to write. Mostly because of the circumstances in my life. I really hope Crimson Night goes easier. (Note: I finished the novel before I managed to post this blog post. :) )
I still think of my Dad a lot. I think of John, too. Less often though. John and I didn’t have a complicated relationship. We were writers, gamers, and dreamers. We had a lot in common—married, with pets, book collections, mutual friends. It was a good relationship. My Dad and me, the relationship was a lot more complicated and messy. But, I find myself thinking mostly of the good things about him these days. It makes things easier somehow.
For the first time in a long time, I’m going to spend Thanksgiving and my birthday with my mom. (Like a decade for Thanksgiving that I can remember, and longer than that for my birthday.) I’m going to help her with some house stuff. And, I think, since I’m staying with her, it’ll be a good visit to reconnect with her. (I still say “my parents’ stuff” about a lot of things and have to remember to change it to “my mom’s” thing.) It’s going to be mostly me, mom, and my sister. I’m looking forward to it.
The Husband won’t be coming with me. He’s got the cats, the house, and a couple of appointments to deal with in my absence. We’ve realized that this forthcoming trip is going to be the longest he and I have spent apart since we before we got married. I’m going to miss him. I know it. We’ll have Skype and Discord, and texting. But, I will miss him. And the kitties—who will believe I have abandoned them forevermore, I’m sure.
I think the visit is going to be a good life break. I’ll turn in Ghost Hour before I leave. I’ll get it back after I get home. My wrists will have gotten a break. So will my mind. Part of me has grand plans to write the rough of a novella while I’m in North Carolina. Part me of me has grand plans of sleeping a lot. We’ll see what actually happens. I suspect a little of column A and a little from column B. After all, the novella is already outlined.
We had another small tragedy in the last week. An abandoned kitten that Seanan was taking care of died. Nature sucks. It’s true. I’m sad about the kitten. She had a lot of life in her. I’m sad for Seanan. The whole situation was harder than it should’ve been…and I have nowhere to put this free floating anger that won’t hurt someone I care about. So, I’ve got to deal with it another way. Still working that one out, too.
Right now, I’m working to keep on keeping on. The staying calm part isn’t working so well, but I’m managing. Grief sucks, but little by little I get better. Baby steps.
I have an earworm because of this blog’s title: “Days Go By” – Dirty Vegas. You can have it, too.
Life has been a bit rough lately. Not just for me. It is getting better. Slowly, surely, life moves on. Still working on BattleTech: Ghost Hour. The words are returning. In the meantime, here's a Bubble & Squeek for you.
• Podcast: The Dire Multiverse. I am voice talent on this urban fantasy podcast, mostly playing the character Dana Lessington…who you will find out is more than she seems. I occasionally play other NPC character parts, too.
• Podcast: ShadowBytes 06: Miyazaki – From DocWagon 19. The team rescues someone they know. Trivia: Miyazaki stars in the serialized Shadowrun story in GTM magazine, “Between a Corp and a Hard Place.”
• Podcast: ShadowBytes 07: Literal Milk Run – This is my play on a heist supposedly being so easy it’s like running out for milk. This is the penultimate episode of ShadowBytes.
• Publication: “Written in Red” by Jennifer Brozek and John Helfers. This is my first collaboration with John and it turned out be a good one. Tie-in story for Emberwind, the RPG.
• Recommendation: The Imaginary Corpse by Tyler Hayes. My blurb: “This book is messed up in all the right ways. It’s as if Pixar’s Inside Out mugged Toy Story in a surrealist Raymond Chandler novel. Weird, fun, scary, and a great mystery to boot. Hayes sticks the landing.”
• 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.
I will be at Origins Game Fair this coming weekend, spending most of my time in the Origins Library and participating on panels in the Writing Seminar. The authors area will not be inside the exhibit hall. They decided to place us in the spotlight area across from the main entrance of Hall A. They have co-located the seminar room with the authors area so attendees will have one spot to go to listen to authors then buy their books.
Reminder: no shyness around me. Come say hello (unless I'm running to the restroom). Ask your questions. Get your books signed. There are some fabulous authors in the Origins Library this yere.
1pm - 2pm | Career Expectations: What can you expect from a writing career? How do you decide if you’re a success or a failure? | Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Brozek, Michael R. Underwood (M), Robyn King
2pm - 3pm | Writing RPG Fiction: The nuts and bolts of RPG short story, novella, and novel writing. | Larry Dixon, Jennifer Brozek, Robyn King, Tracy Chowdhury, John Helfers (M)
5pm | Emberwind. Jennifer and the Embercrew will play Skies of Axia, streamed (hopefully).
1pm - 2pm | Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly Magazine: Even after many years and dozens of novels and short stories, Mercedes Lackey is still trying new avenues of publishing, including launching Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly, a brand-new fantasy digest magazine, in 2019. Join her and associated editors Jennifer Brozek and John Helfers and learn about this new venue for the best in original and classic short fantasy fiction. | Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Brozek, John Helfers (M).
3pm - 4pm | Networking: Who should you be talking to? And how? And when have you crossed the line? | Mercedes Lackey, Addie J. King, Jennifer Brozek, Gregory A. Wilson (M)
5pm - 5:30pm | Reading. Jennifer Brozek will read from BattleTech: Iron Dawn and Shadowrun: Makeda Red.
10am - 11am | Professional Writing Organizations: What is SFWA and what does it offer? What about HWA? IAMTW? Which ones should you join—if any? | Cat Rambo, Jennifer Brozek, Aaron Rosenberg (M)
10am - 11am | Ask the editors anything: Questions you were too afraid to ask when your story was on the line | Jennifer Brozek, Lucy Snyder, John Helfers (M)
I'm writing, editing, traveling, and working on sekrit projects won't be secret for much longer. Here's a Bubble & Squeek for you. Reviews, Releases, Podcasts, and Interviews.
• Interview: With No Wasted Ink about BattleTech: Iron Dawn.
• Release: Here’s the How2Read link for all the different stores you can get A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods.
• Release: Here’s the How2Read link for all the different stores you can get BattleTech: Iron Dawn.
• Review: (Tor.com) Taking School Rivalries Seriously: Seanan McGuire’s “Away Game.” From A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods.
• Review: A new review of BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident.
• Podcast: ShadowBytes #3: Non-Compliant. And you thought being a shadowrunner in the 6th World was hard. Try being an office worker.
• 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.
I love it when my kitties get into the corner kitty condo.
Here's Pharaoh (top) and Isis (inside).
This weekend, I’ll be at Norwescon in the Dealers Room. I’ll be located in the back right corner, next to the Girl Genius booth. That right there says it’s going to be a fun convention. I like hanging out with the Foglios.
I don’t have any panels this year but I do have two new books! The first is A Secret Guide to Fight Elder Gods—a Lovecraftian YA anthology with some of my favorite authors in it, including Seanan McGuire who will be at my booth on Saturday, 12-2pm, to sign that book a couple others she will be bringing with her. The second is BattleTech: Iron Dawn—the first book in a new YA BattleTech trilogy. Now, this book is in the mail as I type, so it might not get there on the first day of Norwescon, but I’m hoping it will.
I will be at my booth all weekend. It’s a “no shyness” zone. Come by, say hello, buy books, or get your books signed. If you want to have a longer conversation with me, just keep to one side or the other of the booth so I can keep selling books while we have our conversation. If you want to meet up for a drink or a meal, ping me and I’ll see how my schedule looks.
See you at Norwescon!
BattleTech: Iron Dawn
Book 1 of the Rogue Academy Trilogy
Now available for pre-order!
GHOSTS IN THE DARK…
Jasper and Nadine Roux are cadets at the Ritza MechWarrior Academy; a dream come true for the orphaned siblings from the war-torn planet of Hoff. For the last six years, Emporia has been their home. Sponsored to the academy by the powerful Vogel House, both cadets are expected to excel in all tasks.
Their dream becomes a nightmare when the Draconis Combine comes knocking.
It’s up to the siblings to stop the renegade Seventh Ghost Regiment warlord when he lays claim to a piece of the Inner Sphere—starting with the Federated Suns’ planet of Emporia. The border world looks like easy prey, but this warrior of the Dragon is about to learn how wrong he is. After the few MechWarriors on the planet are taken hostage, the Sponsored and Blooded cadets of the Ritza Academy fight like they have nothing left to lose.
It’s a fight that will cost them more than they know.
Click here to view the full wraparound cover.
Now that you’ve seen what I did in 2018, here’s the basic plan for 2019.
• Finish processing publisher edits on BattleTech Rogue Academy 1: Iron Dawn.
• Write two BattleTech Rogue Academy novels – Complete Rogue Academy 2: Ghost Hour (writing and publisher edits), complete Rogue Academy 3: Crimson Night first draft.
• Edit Shadowrun long fiction – First, edit the novella, A Kiss to Die For. Next, in-between Rogue Academy novels, process publisher edits for my long-ago written Shadowrun novel, Makeda Red.
• Release a limited run Shadowrun Flash Fiction Podcast called Shadow Bytes. This includes three excerpts from DocWagon 19 and five loosely linked original pieces of fiction.
• Edit/manage a brand new, soon-to-be announce project. It is super exciting and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Expand My Creative Horizons:
As it’s turned out, I’ve received the opportunity to try some new things in 2019. Each is new to me and something I’ve wanted to for a while.
• I’ve joined a Twitch RPG game. It will be set in the Emberwind universe. I believe we’ll be playing once a month.
• I’ve joined the cast of the Dire Multiverse podcast as voice talent. I’m voicing two characters so far and I’m already having a lot of fun with this ensemble podcast.
• I’ve joined Curious Fictions. It’s a little like Patreon, but is focused on writers. I’ll be posting weekly. Two weeks will be open to the public, two weeks will be for my subscribers only. I’m not completely sure how this will go, but if you become a subscriber, know that I appreciate you immensely.
I have five conventions scheduled for 2019. There will, most likely, be a couple of one-day driving events that I do with Raven Oak or with Books & Chains. I’m really making the effort to do less travel because I have a heavier writing schedule this year. Also, me and the Husband plan to spend a couple of weeks in New Zealand in 2020.
• Mar - Rainforest, WA (Teaching a workshop)
• Apr - Norwescon, WA (Dealers table)
• May - StokerCon, MI (Teaching a workshop)
• May - MisCon, MT (TBA – I haven’t heard if I’m in the dealers room or on panels yet.)
• Aug - Gen Con, IN (TBA – Author’s Avenue most likely)
I’m 48 now. Something clicked in 2018 that proved I really need to take control of my space, my work-life balance, and my health—both physical and mental. I worked 316 days last year. That is too many. I should be closer to 260 days. Also, there’s not that much in my life I have complete control over. Based on the business I’m in and the world at large, I need to take control over what I can control.
• Physical health – I’m eating better and I’m exercising more. This isn’t a resolution. I started this back in August 2018. I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing.
• Declutter – I have now lived in one place, one home, for longer than I ever have in my life. 10+ years. For someone used to moving every 2-5 years, I’ve gotten good at decluttering and downsizing my stuff. That hasn’t happened in 10 years. Needless to say, the house is a mess. A cluttered mess. Because I have a hard time being motivated to work on Mondays and because I can’t seem to actually take a weekend day off, I’m scheduling Mondays to declutter, downsize, and clean. I can write/edit on Monday if I want, but Mondays are guilt-free no publishing work days for 2019.
• Crafting – Finish craft projects. Compared to most, I am not a crafter. I’m a dabbler. I’m okay with this. I have one baby blanket and a couple of nebulous projects in the works. I want to get those done and evaluate if I get any joy out of crafting or if they are just added stress.
That’s it for me. What’s on your plate in 2019?