Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'Shadowrun'

Happy Book Release Day to Me!

Shadowrun: A Kiss to Die For...
A Shadowrun novella.

A Kiss to Die For

LOVE VERSUS DUTY...

When Sartorial meets Kintsugi at a jabber—an illegal warehouse party—he falls hard and fast for the beautiful human girl. She is everything he didn't know he wanted—and everything his family hates. Kintsugi is drawn to the handsome elf boy like no other, but her future has already been planned. A future she intends to thwart. But now there's something worth staying around for, she's torn over what to do.

Unfortunately, they both have secrets that will not be kept, and powerful families that have their own goals. It seems like the entire world is trying to keep them apart. Can Sartorial and Kintsugi overcome all obstacles to be together—even after their secrets are revealed?

Books2Read (ebooks Amazon, B&N, etc...) | Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Bubble & Squeek for 15 June 2020

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.

 

Tell Me - Rusty Zimmerman

Rusty Zimmerman is a friend and peer of mine, working in the word mines of Catalyst Game Labs. Today, he tells me what he’s done to try to change the perceptions of Shadowrun fans (and wanna-be gatekeepers) about what “does” and “does not” belong in the Sixth World.

===
The catalyst for my latest Jimmy Kincaid yarn, Chaser, came from the real-life political climate and how it all-too-often shows itself in geek spaces. I’m a moderator for a sprawling (8,000+ member) Shadowrun Facebook community, the Shadowrunner’s Union. While the vast majority of our users are terrific, and while we do everything we can to keep the place inclusive and welcoming, sometimes a little ugliness seeps through the cracks.

That’s what happened when someone posted some artwork of their character in this magic-rich, cyberpunk/transhumanist setting; a catgirl. Only a few people commented on the artwork itself, or asked our intrepid poster for more about his character. The majority of the memorable conversation was, instead, the dully predictable attacks of angry geeks against someone they thought was a little geekier than them. A pack of nerds descended on someone they thought was having fun wrong, and the joy of an artwork post was taken away as gamer after gamer insisted catgirls and furries have no place in ‘their’ game (and that’s without even mentioning that he was a male-presenting player with a female-presenting character).

First, I swung the banhammer around and took out the garbage. Next, I politely reminded everyone that Changelings—people affected by SURGE, Sudden Recessive Genetic Expression, who mutated due to a spike in magic—had been a part of Shadowrun since 2001, nineteen years ago in real-life and nineteen years ago in-universe, and that the first artwork AND first in-character lore about them both featured a catgirl. After that, I reminded people that furry-style cosmetic modifications had also always been an option in Shadowrun (and even in Cyberpunk 2020), literally for decades, even prior to Year of the Comet introducing SURGE.

But then? Then I decided to really show that catgirls belonged in Shadowrun more than gatekeepers. I messaged the original poster, and asked him to tell me more about his character.

I’d had the idea for a Kincaid story brewing for a while, you see, where our hard-boiled paranormal investigator shows that not all of the classic noir-PI tropes hold true. Like a lot of aging media, some of the original private dicks are, well, kind of dickish. Not every genre ages well, not every trope is the same almost a hundred years later, and maybe it was time to be a little clearer that Jimmy Kincaid—and Shadowrun and I—want readers to feel welcome, regardless of their gender, orientation, skin color, or, yes, even their other fandoms.

It was time for Jimmy to work on some hate crimes, and to tackle head-on the metaracism and bigotry that’s so often sidestepped in Shadowrun work. This submachinegun-firing catgirl from some artwork, then, was the last ingredient I needed. With my new friend’s blessing and a few new notes, I got to work making a bullied player’s favorite character into a canon character, and the final puzzle piece fell into place, completing the story I’d had idly bouncing around in my skull for a while.

I hope everyone will enjoy Chaser, not just because it’s an important reminder that Shadowrun has room for everybody, but because it’s a heck of a story, too. We find Jimmy racing all over his Puyallup neighborhood, staking out, interviewing, roughing up, and being roughed up by all manner of Shadowrun troublemakers—from troubled priests with dark secrets to racist cops, Humanis policlub bigots to the mutated shadowrunners they target.

It adds to the existing Jimmy Kincaid stories, Neat and Shaken (and includes the first chapter of Stirred, my next novel), and it does so in a way that I think readers will have a great time with.


===

Rusty Zimmerman (“Russell” when he’s writing, so he sounds less like a dog) is a Texan who took the long way getting there from California, then Kentucky. He, his wife, and their princess-pupper Bodie can be found in the DFW Metroplex, slinging dice, playing Overwatch, and telling stories with their friends. When he’s not gaming face-to-face, he can be found on Discord and Twitch at all hours of the day and night, hanging out with his geeks and, as he insists on calling it, “researching for work.”

He is a full-time freelance writer in the gaming industry, known for credits ranging from the Warmachine and Spinespur wargames to the award-winning Satellite Reign PC game, but most of all for his work in role-playing games in particular. While he’s always eager for another game world to play in and another notch on his gunbelt, he’s still investing most of his word count into Shadowrun, particularly writing novels, novellas, and anthology fiction in the Sixth World.

 

 

The ShadowBytes Podcast

It has been an eventful couple of weeks. I didn’t have a chance to cheer about the final ShadowBytes podcast episode being released. With that, the eight episode series is done. I wrote and recorded each of the ShadowBytes episodes after Damien from The Violent Life Shadowrun podcast asked if I would like to work with him. Three of the episodes were excerpts from my Shadowrun novella, DocWagon 19. The other five episodes were a loosely linked story that told the origin and motivation of a shadowrunner who’d once been a happy corporate wage slave.

There are a couple of little things in each episode that I really like. The short format of the stories leans itself to hint at a much greater world without spelling it out. In one episode, I foreshadow the end. In another, I get to use a character who starred in a Shadowrun story called, “Between a Corp and a Hard Place.” In another episode, I hint at the origin story of another shadowrunner… assuming she survives long enough to run the shadows. In still another, I play with the trope of an easy run. In the final episode, a take an emo trope and turn it on its head. It’s a fun series.

If you are interested in other podcasts by me, I have Five Minute Stories. All 26 episodes are online and free. Each one is a standalone modern day supernatural flash fiction piece. I am also voice talent in an urban fantasy podcast called the Dire Multiverse. I voice a couple of different characters.

I do like podcasting. I’d like to do more of it. I’m just not sure what. Yet.

2019 Awards Eligibility Post

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.

 

Bubble & Squeek for 30 Sep 2019

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.

Bubble & Squeek for 8 July 2019

Spending a lot of time with my head down and fingers on the keyboard. Turned in a couple of lingering projects including an Emberwind story and another Shadowrun novella.

Release: Shadowrun: Makeda Red has been released! I know this is old news, but I'm super happy with this book.

Podcast: ShadowBytes 04: Hey Jude. This one is called "Hey Jude" and you learn about this ork's background and one of her surprising hobbies.

Podcast: ShadowBytes 05: Hunger and the Hand that Feeds It. This is one of my favorite in the series. I think it really captures the fragility of life running the shadows.

Review: Skiffy and Fanty review: A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods. They liked it.

Review: Tor.com review of A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods – “Us and Ours” by Premee Mohamed. The snark is beautiful in this review.

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.

And a cat picture. Just because.

 

 

Origins Game Fair Schedule 2019

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.

Thursday
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).

==================
Friday
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.

==================
Saturday
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)

==================
Sunday
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)


Cover Reveal and Early Release of Shadowrun: Makeda Red!

Shadowrun: Makeda Red is officially out at Origins Game Fair. This Shadowrun novel is part of the origin story for Rune Red of "Rune's Avatar Cafe" (my Casablanca homage) from the World of Shadows anthology. This cover was created by the marvelous Peter Tikos!

ON A COLLISION COURSE... It was supposed be a simple extraction from the Brussels2Rome party train. With an eclectic crowd, a willing target, and a lot of nuyen at stake, what could go wrong?

Everything—as Makeda Red discovers the hard way.

There’s more than one target on the train, and more than one shadowrunner team in play. When someone sabotages the tracks in the middle of the Swiss Alps, she’s forced to extract her client much earlier than planned.To complicate matters, other survivors are also fleeing the crash for their own reasons. One of them is trying to escape his corporate masters as well, and offers to pay Makeda to escort him to his safe haven.

A paying client is a paying client, and his corp won’t be looking for three people traveling together. Makeda knows it’s a risk, but one she’s willing to take. In the shadows, however, nothing and no one is what they seem. Before it’s over, this already complicated run may be Makeda’s last...

Amazon / Amazon ebook | Barnes & Noble 

 

 

The Plan for 2019

Now that you’ve seen what I did in 2018, here’s the basic plan for 2019.

Writing/Editing:
•    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.

Travel:
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)

Personal Growth:
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?