Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'Misc'

Life Update

by Jennifer Brozek 18. July 2018 14:25

Life has been busy, busy, busy, but good.

Writing
I've finished Rogue Academy: Iron Dawn, polish-edited it, and turned it in. I feel accomplished and actually pretty good about the manuscript. Of course, now I’m in that “I finished a novel, now what?” flail. It’s not that I don’t have stuff to work on. I do. It’s the fact that it feels like I’m doing “procrastination work” – which is what writing flash fiction, editing, and outlining is while I’m novel drafting. I’ll shake my brain out soon enough.

What am I working on now?

  • Shadow Bytes – five pieces of Shadowrun flash fiction for a podcast.
  • Editing the stories for A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods Lovecraft anthology.
  • Prepping to write a Shadowrun novella, A Kiss to Die For.


What does my brain want to work on? After a call with my agent, a far future oceanic novella that I've been noodling over for about a year now. It might become a good Wit'n'Word writing group project.

Conventions
August – I have two major conventions coming up in August: Gen Con and WorldCon. I am a dealer at both and a panelist at WorldCon. I’ll find out this week if I have any panel things to do for Cat Labs at Gen Con. I’ve got my house/cat sitters in place. I’ve started my plans for packing. Gen Con will be more complex than WorldCon, but all of it is doable.

September – I’m participating in the North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference. I’ll be reading Friday night, 21 Sep, and teaching two workshops on Saturday, 22 Sep.

Household Stuff
Back patio – Our house is 30+ years old. We’re the second owners. We’re slowly making it look less like a 30+ year old house. The latest project is replacing the back red-brick patio with pretty grey paver stones. The Husband did most of the work. It’s involved and still ongoing. There’ll be a blog post about it soon. It’s not done because it includes replacing the deck stairs on the patio side of things.

Eating from the pantry – Twice a year, the Husband and I do what we call “eating from the pantry.” We don’t eat out. We don’t grocery shop except for fresh veggies and milk. We eat from what we have in the pantry and the deep freeze for the full month as a way of cleaning out the older / soon-to-expire dry goods. It’s also a way to save money. Of course, this means we end up with some strange meals by the end of the month. Bubble-and-Squeak for the win!

Kitties
All four of them are fat and happy. I’m sure you can see that from my Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to join us there.

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Science Space Summer Camp for Writers and Other Artists

by Jennifer Brozek 5. June 2018 10:23

I’ve been back from Launch Pad Astronomy Workshop for two days. The first day was easily taken up with catch up work. Memories of the workshop flittered around my head like the cottonwood blowing in Laramie. Today is the first day of “normal” work. I’ve got a BattleTech novel to finish and I find all I want to do is read space opera and hard SF. I’m not going to succumb to the urge (yet). I’m delaying things by writing this AKA procrastination work.

I learned so much and had much of what I already knew confirmed. It’s nice to know I actually set up the Kember Empire almost exactly correct and I will always thank Yonatan Zunger for helping me with my SLING space travel via branes and gravitational waves. (Helpful to have once dated a theoretical physicist from Stanford back in the day.)

Even better, I got to talk to other authors about a space combat problem I knew I’d have coming up in Rogue Academy #2. Michael Mammay (author of Planetside) not only helped me work it out, he gave me a great idea on how to do it. That was one of the best things about this workshop: the caliber of people attending and the conversations we had in and out of class.

Our professors, Mike Brotherton and Christian Ready, were excellent teachers. Dynamic, playful, smart, engaging, and challenging. We got about a semester’s worth of cosmology science thrown at us in a week. Long days, too. Start at 10am and go until about 9-10pm every day with breaks in-between. I took 40 pages of notes. A lot of it was “Look up, X. It’s about Y if you need it.”

Also, I had the dubious honor of being interviewed by campus police because I didn’t go on the WIRO telescope visit due to personal biology.

*Everyone leaves for the WIRO telescope.*

Me: “I’m alone in a dorm building on a college campus. This is the beginning of a horror movie.” I sit in the 2nd floor lobby and read.

*20 minutes later, footsteps on the stairs. Campus security, teens doing walkthroughs. We startled each other.*

Me: “There’s the first tension breaker. Now I’m going to be murdered.*

*15 minutes later, lots of footsteps on the stairs. The teens and two cops come through, but don’t stop.*

Me: WTF?

*5 minutes later, all four of them come back to the 2nd floor lobby and surround me.*

Me: WTF?!

*For the next 10 minutes, I’m interviewed by the cops on why I’m there, did I know anything about the pot smell, and where is everyone else? I explain who I am, where everyone else is (at the WIRO telescope), and that, no, I don’t smoke. They want to know what I write (“Genre fiction with a high body count”), and I end up giving all four of them my author card so they can look up my books later. Then I explain they all scared the crap out of me. The teens apologize.

After they leave, I debate about calling either of the professors, realize they aren’t even at the telescope yet, and I haven’t been arrested for existing. So, no. I’d tell them tomorrow.*

Me: “Now I’m really going to be murdered.” I go back into my dorm room, close and lock the door, then call the Husband because I’m so keyed up. We talk, then I write for a while.


That aside, Launch Pad is one of those once-in-a-lifetime workshop that really opened my eyes. The science is mind-blowing, the education is mind-opening, and the experience is the kind of thing that you’ll remember forever. If you get a chance, you should try to go. It’s hard to get into. I had to apply multiple times before I got in, but it is so worth it.

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Valentine’s Day Toolkit

by Jennifer Brozek 14. February 2018 15:41

The Husband just got me the best Valentine’s Day gift! It's an Apollo hard case toolkit. One of the things I bought myself when I moved out was a home toolkit. Over the decades I've looked and couldn't find one with a hard case. I love it!

He even charged the drill for me. It's really what I wanted. Seriously. Diamond earrings are nice and I wear them, but a good hard case toolkit is worth gold.

I don't know if you all understand just how cool this gift is. I have a thing about wanting things in their place and a place for all things. A good toolkit that has its place means I can do little chores/tasks without hunting for tools.

It means, I can find tools when I actually /need/ them. It means small tasks remain small. It means I can fix things myself. The Husband does a lot around the house, but there are little things I do every week.

Also, that first toolkit (a Black & Decker bought at Sears) was the symbol that I was really on my own. No family to fix things if they needed immediate fixing. It was a small rite of passage. This beautiful new toolkit means so much and the Husband understood that.

A good toolkit means you are ready to face what comes.

I got him a star map of the night we first kissed with the caption “That one kiss led to the rest of our lives.” It is perfect for his new office and he loved it. We’re going on ten years married and it is so nice that we get each other.

 

 

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2017 Publishing Recap

by Jennifer Brozek 1. January 2018 14:41

Like most authors, looking back at what I did during the year is a good way to convince myself that I’m not just spinning my wheels and that I really am still headed ‘towards the mountain.’ This is also why I keep track of my daily activities in my private Freelancer Summary document. It allows me to see what I’m doing and when. I think I did pretty good in 2017.

Short stories submitted
•    6 short story acceptances
•    5 short story rejections
•    1 short story outstanding

Newly produced
•    8 new short stories written
•    1 new novel written
•    26 episode podcast produced (with the Husband)
•    12 Author Etiquette blogs produced (with Sarah Craft)
•    5 mini fiction collections and 1 “stealth” fiction collection released
(Not as much as I wanted but I did have two bathrooms renovated in the middle of it all that mucked with my productivity.)

Edited for others
•    3 novellas edited
•    6 EGM Speculate! stories edited
•    9 BattleTech/Shadowrun novels proofed for ebook editions

Social
•    15 events (readings, conventions, signings) attended
•    2 writing groups joined (Wit’n’Word [social writing], TBD Writing [critique group])

Signed
•    3 novel contracts
•    1 novella contract
(Due between now and the end of 2019 = about 300,000 publishable words.)

It’s nice to look at the quantified amount produced and be pleased with what you see. Supposedly, 2018 is going to be a slower, longer set of projects with only one novel, one novella, one anthology, and one short story currently on the docket. We all know this will change. Also, I already have seven confirmed events and four not yet confirmed, but planned for, events.

Then again, I’ve gotten good at producing while traveling. It’s taken me a bit to learn the skill. Now, I think it’s just a survival reflex. If I don’t write, the words will eat me.

Note: I’m leaving out all of the personal blogs, SFWA meetings (when I was a Director), looped edits/revisions, kickstarters participated in, weekly phone calls to various publishing folk, and the myriad of other freelance details.

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The Car Games We Play

by Jennifer Brozek 27. December 2017 09:32

The Husband and I take a lot of road trips. Some of you have asked about the car games we play, for they are many and varied. I probably should’ve posted this earlier in the holiday season, but better late than never.

License Plate Anagram Game
Level: Easy.
Occurrence: Often.
Object: Make an anagram out of every letter on a license plate.
Rules:
•    License plates only.
•    Moving cars only.
•    The more interesting the word, the better the bragging right.
Scoring:
•    Single word score: Use all the letters but out of order. License: BGG-123, “Garbage”
•    Double word score: Use all the letters in order by not next to each other. License: TXS-554, “Taxes” or “Texas” or “Taxidermies”
•    Triple word score: Use all the letters in order and concurrent. License: STL-826, “Costly” “Castle”


Alphabet Game
Level: Simple to Moderate (gets progressively harder).
Occurrence: Often.
Object: Look for the alphabet in order.
Rules:
•    License plates take priority, but signs and other writing on vehicles count.
•    No more than one letter per discreet object. (“Alphabet” on a sign only counts for “a” and not “b”).
•    Can use a particular type of sign once (IE: Exit sign can be used for E, X, I, and T once.)
•    License plates are always allowed.
Scoring: How many iterations of the alphabet can you get through before the end of the trip?


State License Plate Game
Level: Hard.
Occurrence: A rare game to play unless we are on a long road trip. Usually begins when someone sees Maine, Florida, Alaska, or Hawaii.
Object: Look for every state license plates in the country.
Rules: Any order. Parking lots are fair game.


Alphabet License Plate Anagram Game
Level: Insane
Occurrence: Long, multi-day trips only.
Object: Make an anagram out of every letter on a license plate. Alphabetic. Begins with the letter sought.
Rules:
•    License plates only unless there have been no cars for more than 3 minutes.
•    No more than one letter per discreet license. (“JBA-222” only counts for “a” and not “b”).
•    Word must begin with the letter sought for.
Scoring:
•    Single word score: Use all the letters but out of order. Looking for “G.” License: GGB-123, “Garbage”
•    Double word score: Use all the letters in order by not next to each other. Looking for “T.” License: TXS-554, “Taxes” or “Texas” or “Taxidermies”
•    Triple word score: Use all the letters in order and concurrent. Looking for “S.” License: STE-826, “Steady” “Stenosis”


Perched Birds of Prey Spotting
Level: Simple.
Occurrence: Long trips and random.
Object: See a perched bird of prey.
Rules: Bird of prey. Must be perched. Only one person in the car needs to see it, but better if more than one does.
Scoring: See the bird and note it. Smile at the good omen.

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Black and White Photo Challenge

by Jennifer Brozek 23. October 2017 08:40

The talented Jean Rabe challenged me to the black and white seven day photo challenge. Each day for a week, I posted a black and white photo of something without explanation. The first day, when I moved my podcasting microphone from my desk to its place, I thought it looked neat. That was the first picture. The rest were pictures of things on my desk. I decided this was a good way to look at my every day world in a new light.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite? I think mine is either the microphone or one of the two gargoyle figures and their adornments.

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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a multi-talented, award-winning author, editor, and tie-in writer. She is the author of the Never Let Me Sleep, and The Last Days of Salton Academy, both of which were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Her BattleTech tie-in novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, won a Scribe Award. Her editing work has netted her a Hugo Award nomination as well as an Australian Shadows Award for Grants Pass. Jennifer’s short form work has appeared in Apex Publications, and in anthologies set in the worlds of Valdemar, Shadowrun, V-Wars, and Predator. Jennifer is also the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions, and was the managing editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and assistant editor for Apex Book Company.

Jennifer has been a freelance author, editor, tie-in writer for over ten years after leaving her high paying tech job, and she’s never been happier. She keeps a tight schedule on her writing and editing projects and somehow manages to find time to volunteer for several professional writing organizations such as SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She shares her husband, Jeff, with several cats and often uses him as a sounding board for her story ideas. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at jenniferbrozek.com.

"I see story ideas. All the time. They're everywhere. Just walking around like normal ideas. They don't know they're stories."