Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'Melissa Allen'

“I don’t read female protagonists.”

by Jennifer Brozek 23. August 2017 08:16

Gen Con 50 was an amazing experience. I had a thousand-thousand good things happen. I saw old friends, made new ones. Announced a three book deal, confirmed pending contracts, had old gigs in retirement re-ignite with the power of the sun, and agreed to work on a couple of new, exciting things.

With Apocalypse Ink Productions, I sold out of 7 of my 10 available titles, debuted 2 new omnibuses with both authors there at the convention, and met some people who were so glad to know me first as an author. I had someone come up and tell me I was the reason for their success. They’d taken my advice over the years and now they had the career they wanted. I was told I was someone’s most favorite author in the world. Out of all the fabulous authors out there, they loved my books best.

I got to meet and have a lovely, brief conversation with Charlaine Harris.

And yet…

And yet, I had one unpleasant thing happen. Just one. Kind of a record, really. This one small micro-aggression keeps coming back to overshadow everything else. I’ve had this specific thing happen before. I’ll have it happen again.

When you come to my booth at a convention, I usually ask you something like “What do you like to read?” Even if this isn’t the first thing that comes up, I ask it pretty frequently. I don’t believe in trying to sell someone a book they don’t want to read. If you don’t read horror or urban fantasy, I won’t even try to sell it to you.

This older guy stops at my booth and we have a conversation. It’s a pretty good conversation from all cues. When I discover he only really likes sci-fi, I admit I only have one book on the table that fits the sci-fi genre. It’s NEVER LET ME, my Melissa Allen trilogy omnibus. I don’t get a chance to say more than, “It’s a YA sci-fi thriller that was nominated for the Bram Stoker award.”

He looks at the book cover.

Then he looks me up and down in an obvious, deliberate manner before he says, “Let me guess, female protagonist?”

I blink at him for a moment and nod. “The first book has a female protagonist, but—”

“I don’t read female protagonists.” He turns on his heel and stalks off like I’d insulted his mother.

All I could think to say was “I guess not.”

I’m not sure what this guy wanted to accomplish. Having a reading preference is one thing. Being deliberately mean is another. He knew he was insulting me when he said what he did then flounced off. Half the covers of my books have women on the front. (The others include dripping blood, a man with an ax, and ravens.) I introduced myself as the “author or editor of everything on the table.”

Part of me shakes my head at all the wonderful books this man will never read because of the assumptions he makes. Part of me wants to shake some sense into him. Part of me is feeling very uncharitable and thinking “Well, he’s old and will die soon. Good riddance.”

Just wish this one thing hadn’t happened to mar my convention experience. Just wish this one thing wouldn’t happen again, but I know it will. And I know I’m not the only author it will happen to.

 

Added note: The main reason I wrote about it is the fact that some people don't believe this sort of thing happens all...the...time... because people don't talk about it. This needs to be talked about. It needs to be pointed out when people behave badly with a purpose.

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Forthcoming Birthday Wishes

by Jennifer Brozek 7. December 2016 08:58

On Friday, December 9th, I turn 46. I didn’t have a problem with 29, 30, 35, 40, or 45. But, for some reason, 46 is messing with me a bit this year. I don’t if it’s because 2016 has been a rough year all the way around or what.

All I want for my birthday (and for Christmas for that matter) is for you to buy one of my books (for yourself or as a gift to someone else) and leave me a review. It’s been my standing birthday wish for a few years now. Please consider getting yourself a gift of one of my books for my birthday. You have a great selection. I would love to see pictures of you and my books, too.

This year, I’d like to highlight a couple of books that came out in 2016.

Never Let Me – This is the omnibus of my Bram Stoker nominated YA sci-fi thriller series. It contains Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, and Never Let Me Die as well as an original short story in the universe, “Never Let Me Feel.” This omnibus is only available in print form.

The Karen Wilson Chronicles – This is the omnibus of my urban fantasy quartet. It contains Caller Unknown, Children of Anu, Keystones, and Chimera Incarnate as well as every Kendrick short story ever written and a John Corso story that is only published in the omnibus. This is available in trade and ebook as well as a signed, numbered, limited edition hardback.

The Last Days of Salton Academy – This is my most recently published book. It’s YA horror. Think Night of the Living Dead meets Lord of the Flies. It’s been called a “gothic zombie book” and I’m just fine with that. It is available in trade and ebook formats.

Of course, if you have those already or aren’t interested in them, you can pop by my website and see the whole list. As always, if you want a signed book by me—even my obscure stuff—the University Bookstore is your best bet. Also, I signed a bunch of books for the Cedar Hills Powell’s Bookstore, too.


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The Question #HoldOnToTheLight

by Jennifer Brozek 12. September 2016 07:30

(This is a fictional blog post, written from Melissa Allen’s POV, protagonist of Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, Never Let Me Die, and the Never Let Me Omnibus.)

Adam finally asked The Question.

“What does it feel like to be, you know, like you?”
“Crazy, you mean?”
“That’s not how I’d put it. I mean, I know what it feels like to be afraid of the sky, of falling off the world because there’s no ceiling, but that’s not something you can be medicated for. Not really.”
“How does it feel to see things that aren’t there, hear things that aren’t said, feel things to a point where it’s all too much, or feel nothing at all?”
“Yeah.”
“Overall, it sucks. But, then you deal. You, of all people, should understand what it’s like to just deal with something you have no control over.”


It was a copout. I didn’t want to answer. I didn’t want to go into the anger or frustration or the helplessness. I didn’t want to spiral into…into what I’m spiraling into now. How does it feel to know your brain chemistry will never be considered normal? That it actively tries to sabotage you? That even when you get the pills right, eventually your brain will change and make the pills wrong again?

It sucks. It sucks so bad I don’t think about it. Unless I’m forced to.

Doc and I are going to have a lot to talk about in this week’s therapy session.

But, like I said, you deal. As broken and uncooperative as my brain is, it still has the capacity to deal with its shitty hand. I know I can’t explain it to anyone who hasn’t felt this. It’s too alien. I can’t even try. Not in this “let me fix you/it” world.

Some things can’t be “fixed.” Only understood, categorized, combated, accepted, or mitigated.

I live by the clock, but I survive by the pills.

It helps that my family understands. We all have our own problems. Adam is agoraphobic because of where he grew up. Carrie has the prejudices of her deformity. We all know what’s really out there, trying to get it. We all have the nightmares of our time in the lab. Hell, all of us have been shot. Not many adoptive siblings have that experience to bond them. So we understand when any of us flinches at a car backfire.

But, we still have walls. It’s why Adam asked The Question. It’s why I’m thinking about it now. It’s why I’m sure he’s agonizing over his stupidity at asking. It’s why Carrie will come see me later tonight to see how I’m doing. There’s understanding. Then there’s understanding.

Yeah. It sucks, but you deal until you can’t deal anymore. At that point, either you break or you get help. Sometimes both. Sometimes the help can mend the break. Make you a little bit better.

Right now, I’m dealing with it as best I can. It’s all I can do.

#holdontothelight - Support for PTSD and mental health issues

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Bubble and Squeek for 26 July 2016

by Jennifer Brozek 26. July 2016 09:31

I've finished MAKEDA RED. I've edited 3 novels and I'm on a novella. I'm starting to prep for WorldCon and Tracon—both of my schedules require research. Life is slowing down. It is. But this is the calm before the storm.

Article: On the Semiotic Standard: The Collective: Bringing Books to Film. I didn't cheat and say Melissa Allen. I talked about my true love... THE DARK TOWER.

Awesome: The daughter of a friend has just cosplayed one of my characters: Melissa Allen. Achievement unlocked!

ReviewNice review for the World of Shadows anthology from Forgotten Tomes.

In the SFWA section...

SFWA Chat Hour about game writers... wherein we talk about the background behind the decision to admit gamer writers.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America to Admit Game Writers. The actual guidelines.

Follow-up SFWA Admits Gamewriters, All Heck Breaks Loose, Film at 11

No, the guidelines aren't perfect. Yes, we are looking at specific cases. Yes, it will take time. We will not be making a knee-jerk reaction to everything.

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Catching Up

by Jennifer Brozek 18. May 2016 09:19

When I first got home from StokerCon, I wrote:

Home from StokerCon. I did not win a stoker award for my YA novel, NEVER LET ME SLEEP. John Dixon did for his, and he is a complete sweetie. But, I didn't walk away empty-handed. I got to see old friends like Lucy A. Snyder and Jonathan Maberry, meet new friends, pitch the Melissa Allen series to a producer, have an in-depth conversation with an agent, meet Gini Koch, got asked to write a short story, and finished red lining my Shadowrun novel. It was a good convention.

My thoughts haven’t changed. It was a good convention. It was the first time I’ve been thanked by a winner of a major award during their acceptance speech. Lucy gave me a shout out and I appreciate it.

However, I hate the Vegas strip. I can’t say I hate Vegas. I spent time with my friend Drake in the north end of Vegas and it was lovely, if hot and dry. You can buy a lot of house for a lot less money than you can in the Seattle area.

That said, I won’t ever move out of the Pacific Northwest if I can help it. Monday, when I was taking out the trash, I had an honest-to-goodness “Calvin and Hobbes Trash Moment.” I dropped the trash in the can, then stopped and realized how quiet it was. I could only hear birdsong. Not even cars at that moment. The sky was filled with light grey clouds, bringing a depth the world around me. I could actually fill the moisture in the air. After 5 days in Vegas, it was exactly what I needed to truly appreciate where I live.

I’m home now. I’m catching up on email and other notices.

Here’s a really great review of NEVER LET ME from Amazon. This is the kind of review that makes my heart sing.

Also, my location supplement, Colonial Gothic: Roanoke Island, has been nominated for d-Infinity Independent Game Awards for best RPG supplement. I’m not going to win. It’s one of those click to vote popularity things but I’m happy to have been nominated.

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Bubble and Squeek for 7 April 2016

by Jennifer Brozek 7. April 2016 13:59

It is all Shadowrun all the time right now. I'm deep into MAKEDA RED and that's pretty much all I'm doing right now. So, here's some links for you and a chance for you to win a set of Melissa Allen audiobooks.

REVIEW: Here's a great review of NEVER LET ME. I really appreciate reviews like this.

REVIEW: Here's a really good review of APOCALYPSE GIRL DREAMING. I love the fact that some of the stories stick with her.

REVIEW: Here's a great review of DECISION POINTS. The reviewer says that my story, "The Prince of Artemis V," hit a home run.

SALE: Apocalypse Ink Productions is having a sale of my Karen Wilson Chronicles books! If you were waiting to get any of the individual trade paperbacks, Now is the time to get them. After May 1st, they are gone for good. Karen Wilson Chronicles Trade Paperback Last Chance Sale. 4 Trade for $30.

AUDIOBOOKS: All three Melissa Allen audiobooks are available. You can listen to NEVER LET ME SLEEP, NEVER LET ME LEAVE, and NEVER LET ME DIE, read by the marvelous Elizabeth Evans. Also, email me at gaaneden at gmail dot com for a chance to win all three audiobooks!

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Bubble and Squeek for 22 March 2016

by Jennifer Brozek 22. March 2016 08:49

Bubble and Squeek is full of all kinds of good news. It helps me get over this terrible throat thing ("acute pharyngitis") I've been dealing with. Thank goodness for antibiotics. I am no longer contagious and will be at Norwescon.

Article: Never Let Me Sleep got a shout out in this article: 13 Horror Books that Might Be the Next Hit Movie. Can I just say, "Yes, please."?

Audible: All three Melissa Allen books (Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, Never Let Me Die) are available for pre-order on Audible! My first audiobook series. This is thrilling and terrifying.

Award: I’ve won 2nd place in the 2016 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award Contest! The thing I really like about this contest (besides that it is free to enter) is the fact that it is a blind read. It is the story that won. Not the author’s rep or connections.

Pre-Order: The Usual Path to Publication edited by Shannon Page. My own essay, "No One True Way," has three different examples of how I sold something to be published.

Release: Happy book release day to me. The Karen Wilson Chronicles ebook and paperback omnibus! It has all four KWC novels, every Kendrick story written (even the ones not in the four KWC books), and a new John Corso story. It’s pretty hefty and can be used as a bludgeoning instrument. I am so proud of this book!

Release: Speaking of the Karen Wilson Chronicles omnibus, it is also available in a Signed, Limited Edition Hardback form. We will only sell these at conventions (like Norwescon) and on the AIP website. Once they are gone, they are gone.

Reminder: I will be at Norwescon this weekend and here is my schedule. Hope to see you there.

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UBS Reading and Signed Copies

by Jennifer Brozek 27. January 2016 10:01

Last night’s reading was really good. It was nice to see familiar faces (shout out to my Ingress buddies!) as well as unfamiliar faces drawn in by the concept of NEVER LET ME. Lots of books were sold and it was a good time.

Readings are funny things. You never know if you are going to get 200, 50, 10, 2, or 0 people showing up to them. Here’s the trick about readings—I read to an audience of 2 the same way I read to an audience of 200. I try to make sure everyone there feels like they are the most important person in the world. Because, in truth, they are. Without readers, we authors would be shouting into the void. So, I try to make my readers know they are very much appreciated.

Duane Wilkins and the University Bookstore were lovely hosts as always. If you would like a signed copy of NEVER LET ME or any of my other print books, you can get it from the University Bookstore.  Visit their website or call 1.800.335.7323.

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Bubble and Squeek for 20 January 2016

by Jennifer Brozek 20. January 2016 08:50

So much writing on Project Joe! Other than my computer setup exploding on me recently, requiring me to get a new keyboard and to vacuum the dust from the computer, my life is mostly about writing and editing. And petting demanding cats.

EVENT - READING: I will be reading at the University Bookstore in Seattle on Jan 26th. Please come! There will be cookies and book giveaways and I'll be reading from NEVER LET ME which Publisher's Weekly calls "a strong, entertaining tale."

And now back to your irregularly scheduled Bubble & Squeek.

Article: MIND MELD: The Growth and Future of SF/F. An interesting question.

Article: Nightmare Magazine – The H Word: Shifting Away From the Common. I talk about what I enjoy about shapeshifters that aren't werewolves.

Blog: I have a guest blog over at Jim Hines’s Blog site about revealing personal details in your writings. I didn't manage to post about this more than once. So, here it is again.

Event: I am a workshop leader at Foolscap on Feb 5th. I'm teaching a class on writing series called "Combat in the Land of Forgotten Details."

Review: Publisher's Weekly reviewed NEVER LET ME. It's a good review. I'm happy with it. I don't even mind the quibble.

SALE: COLONIAL GOTHIC: LOST TALES. This is one of those "oops, I have a fiction collection" sales. Totally unexpected but very happy for it.

SALE: MAKEDA RED. I'm running the shadows again. This time in novel form. I've wanted to write a Shadowrun novel for ages. Now I get to. MAKEDA RED stars the protagonist from my Shadowrun short story, "Rune's Avatar Cafe."

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2016 is the Year of the Tie-In

by Jennifer Brozek 5. January 2016 14:14

I’ve already written about what I did in 2015. Now I’m looking forward to what I need to do for 2016. The short version: A whole lot of contracted tie-in fiction, some editing, and a bunch of travel.

Contracts signed: 1 board game mythology/background, 1 reprint RPG fiction collection, and 1 tie-in novel.

Forthcoming contracts: 1 serialized YA tie-in novel, 1 anthology as editor, and 2 tie-in short stories. (As in, discussion is done, I’ve agreed to do it, and we’re just waiting on paperwork.)

Planned contracts: 1 tie-in novella. (Proposal requested. Writing is probably slated for early 2017 if all parties agree.)

Planned editing: 2 novels, 2 omnibuses, 3 novellas, 1 monthly fiction feature, and 1 anthology. (For Apocalypse Ink Productions and Evil Girlfriend Media.)

Events planned: 8 conventions (3 as GoH), 1 workshop, 2 readings, 1 wedding in Iceland.

The writing metrics for 2016 are daunting. It’s about 200,000 words of contract tie-in fiction. This doesn’t count any of the editing for that work or research or one-off anthologies or one-off articles. Or any blog posts. Or any of the 10,000 other things a freelance author-editor does.

What this means is that I’m going to have to buckle down and change my personal working schedule. I’m probably going to have to institute a “no internet before noon” policy to focus on my writing. Leave all the email and such to the afternoon once my word count for the day is done. It is too easy to fritter away my time online, answering emails, reading articles, and watching videos.

Scheduled Appearances:

  • Jan 8-10, 2016, OrcaCon, special guest
  • Jan 26, Reading at University Bookstore
  • Feb 5: Foolscap, Workshop leader
  • Feb 12-14, 2016, RadCon, Writer GoH
  • Mar 23-27, Norwescon, dealer/panelist
  • May 12-15, StokerCon, Panelist
  • Jun 15-20, Origins Game Fair, dealer/panelist 
  • Aug 17-21, Worldcon/MidAmericon, ??
  • Sep 4-6, Tracon XI in Tampere, Finland, GoH
  • Nov 4-6, We Are All SF Con, Ocean Shores, Lead Writer GoH

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Latest Releases

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The Last Days of Salton Academy
YA Horror

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Ragnarok Publications

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Never Let Me
YA SF-Thriller Omnibus

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Permuted Press

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Never Let Me Die
YA SF-Thriller Novel
Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


Never Let Me Leave
YA SF-Thriller Novel
Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


Never Let Me Sleep
YA SF-Thriller Novel

Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


DocWagon 19
Shadowrun novella
Amazon | BattleShop
DriveThruRPG


The Karen Wilson Chronicles
More InformationBuy Now.


Apocalypse Girl Dreaming
Fiction collection
Amazon | B&N |
Evil Girlfriend Media

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Jazz Age Cthulhu
Amazon | B&N |
Innsmouth Free Press


The Nellus Academy Incident
YA Battletech
novel
Amazon | Battleshop |
DriveThruRPG
| B&N

Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award nominated editor and a Bram Stoker nominated author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen 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 acclaimed Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty-five 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. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.