Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'conventions'

Context and the Great, Big Shock

by Jennifer Brozek 30. September 2014 14:17

I'm back from Context 27 and it was a great time. Steven Saus and Lucy Snyder did an excellent job of Programming and Workshops. My audiences were engaged, inquisitive, and eager to learn. That's ideal for workshops. I'm so pleased that many of my students thanked me after my workshops and panels were done.

Betsy Mitchell was wonderful to talk to and Jonathan Maberry was a joy to meet. He really is that awesome. I finally got to go to an Apex party and taste Jason's "red stuff" and "purple stuff." The Apex parties legend for a reason. Geoffrey Girard was part of it with his Cain's Blood (too tasty for safety for me).

Context 27 really was a good conference. If you are looking for an intimate, informative writing convention, Context is a good choice.

And now for the great, big shock...

I spent a lot of time talking with the convention attendees. One guy, RR, dropped this little factoid on me. He has 6 completed genre novels but he is afraid to send them out because, according to his writing professors at Purdue... “If your first novel is not the 'great American novel' you will never have a writing career.”

WTF?!

When I was told this, and it was confirmed by another student from Purdue, I was aghast and outraged. Every single publishing professional I told about this was just as shocked and angry as I was.  “If your first novel isn't a Great American Novel, you will never have a writing career.”? This is so wrong as to be farce. At best, it is pure ignorance. At worst, it is pure maliciousness. Either way, it sounds like the Purdue English department (or some of its professors) are so out of date and out of touch with the publishing industry as to be a detriment to its student body and need a refresher course themselves.

This is one of the most exciting times in the history of publishing. There are so many avenues to take, so many opportunities to be a success as a writer. Your first novel tank? Try again. Use a pseudonym if you need to. Investigate traditional press, small press, self publishing, crowd funding, and anything else that comes up. (Except for vanity presses. Those guys are scammers.)

Good gracious, things are changing so fast and there are so many ways to get your words out there. Don't say a writer will never succeed if they don't succeed with their first novel. That’s just dumb.

You have to get your novels out there. It's the only way to learn and grow as an author. You have to fail, to only partially or fully succeed, to go through the submission process, dealing with contracts, dealing with revision and rewrites, to work to a publishing house schedule. You have to get out there and learn by doing. It is this process that makes you a better writer and a professional. Until you do, you can't understand what is expected.

And another thing, Purdue...

While talking to RR and the other student, I noticed something. Anytime they spoke about themselves or their writing, their shoulders hunched in anticipation of pain. Both of them marveled at just how much the publishing industry professionals, and the other convention members, were positive, helpful, and supportive. How much they worked to help each other to advise, or direct each other to needed resources.

Apparently, at Purdue, the writing students are mentally and emotionally beaten about the head and shoulders and told how much the publishing industry is all about competition. When the idea of being supportive and collaborative is foreign, there is something wrong.

Almost every successful writer got advice as they emerged. They learned, grew, and were support as a writer by other writers. Mentorship is not an extinct concept. Don't teach that it is. One author does not need to fail in order for another to succeed. Publishing does not work like that. And no, it's not all roses and sunshine. For that point of view, read Chuck Wendig's Tough Talk post. But still. Your students shouldn't walk around wincing like a veteran with PTSD.

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The Writing Life for Me

by Jennifer Brozek 20. August 2014 10:45

I just got back from Gen Con. As usual, it was the busiest four days of the year – panels, signings, manning the booth. I got to see old friends and new. I sold a thing. I got offered a gig which I will do. I got to talk to a bunch of fans. I shared my experience and knowledge with those who asked. It was a convention.

We got to have three of AIP’s six authors at the table at one point. Four if you count me. Dylan, Ivan, and new author Wendy. She’s a sweetheart and smart! I’m so happy we’ll be publishing her next year.

I had to take the week of Gen Con off writing for two reasons: 1. Con. That’s a given. Unless under deadline, I shouldn’t do a lot of writing at a convention because I’m so tired by the end of the day. 2. I did something very bad to my shoulder and needed to rest it. It seems to be better now. But no clicky games for the foreseeable future.

Not being allowed to write always makes me want to write more. I love conventions but I’m never happier to get home, back to my routine and to write. I’m almost half-way through Chimera Incarnate and Never Let Me Leave is fully outlined. I’m giving Peter M. Ball’s Flotsam #2 a read through and then it’s onto Dylan’s Sheynan #2 for a full edit.

It’s a busy schedule but I’m looking forward to it.

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Gen Con 2014 Panel and Signing Schedule

by Jennifer Brozek 5. August 2014 16:34

If I'm not at a panel/signing, I’ll be at my Apocalypse Ink Productions booth in Authors Avenue. Feel free to come by and say hello. Make sure you ask for a Gen Con 2014 author story card!

Thursday
2pm – Rm243 – Writer’s Craft: Romance and Love Stories
4pm – Dealers – Signing

Friday
12pm – Rm244 – Editing: The Writer Editor

Saturday
11am – Rm244 – Publishing: Small Press
12pm – Rm244 – Publishing: E-Publishing
4pm – Dealers – Signing

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Origins Quotes

by Jennifer Brozek 18. June 2014 09:03

Some really awesome things said to me at Origins. I want to remember them. It's quotes like these that make going to conventions and working my butt off worth the sweat and toil.

“I want to be you when I grow up. You are just awesome.”

“Last year, you told me that I should consider writing short stories because they do have a faster turnaround than novels. I did that and I just recently made my first sale. Thank you for that.”

“You may not remember me but last year, you told me that I needed to focus and figure what I really wanted to do… and I did. I decided that I wanted to edit comic anthologies. Here are my first two. So, thank you for that kick in the butt.”

“You are one of my favorite people at Origins. I always have to come see you.”

A conversation with a nine year old budding author that was just too cute for words. “My first story is a mystery and I don’t know if I have enough paper to print it out on but I wanted to know… how big is a chapter?” and “Do you get to draw the pictures, too?”

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Origins!

by Jennifer Brozek 8. June 2014 22:51

I will be at Origins Game Fair this next week. I have a no shyness zone around me. Come over and say hello. I have 10 panels or I will be in the Library section (back left) of the Dealers Hall. Make sure you get one of my convention cards. It's a good one!

Thursday, Jun 12, 11am - Writer's Block and You   
Thursday, Jun 12, 12pm - Storytelling and Plot   
Thursday, Jun 12, 4pm - Women in Fiction   

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Friday, Jun 13, 12pm - History in Fiction   

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Saturday, Jun 14, 11am - Writing Tie-In Fiction   
Saturday, Jun 14, 12pm - Anthology Creation Workshop   

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Sunday, Jun 15, 10am - Writing for RPGs   
Sunday, Jun 15, 11am - Pitch Session for Small Press   
Sunday, Jun 15, 1pm - What's the Next Big Thing?   

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A Confusion of Conventions

by Jennifer Brozek 29. April 2014 10:22

I’m recovered from Norwescon. It was one heck of a convention. We had very good sales and I really like the new Dealers Room coordinator. She was on-the-ball. My panels went well. Full rooms for most of them. The BLESS YOUR MECHANICAL HEART / KEYSTONES release party was insane. It was standing room only from the doors open until they kicked people out at 1am. I was very happy about that. The Horror Track was very well received.

I have to tell you, though, I was bone deep weary by the end of it. Slept 12 hours Sunday night.

Next up, I have a one-day convention, VikingCon in Bellingham, WA, on May 3. I will be on one panel and will have a dealers table there from 1-5pm. I will be giving out convention cards there. So, if you go to VikingCon, be sure to ask for one.

Then, thanks to the sponsorship of a writer friend, I have a ride and one day badge to World Horror Con in Portland. I will be there on May 10th. No panels. I’ll be wandering around, checking out the dealers room, barcon, and I’ve been offered a banquet ticket for the Bram Stokers Awards. I believe I will attend that as well. If you want to meet up, let me know. I think I’ll have convention cards there, too.

My next convention after that is Origins Game Fair. I’m not going to worry about it until I’m back from World Horror Con.

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Convolution and then OryCon

by Jennifer Brozek 6. November 2013 13:26

Convolution was a heck of a lot of fun. I spent a lot of time with Wendy and Richard Pini, Richard Kadrey, Ivan Van Norman, and M. Todd Gallowglas. The Frouds were very busy but I did get to chat with them in passing.

10 Things that may or may not have happened at Convolution. 8 of these are real.

1. Richard Kadrey may or may not have referenced “bad eggs in a trucker’s bordello in Mississippi” during a conversation.

2. I may or may not have missed a couple of my panels.

3. M. Todd Gallowglas may or may not have been drugged to the gills.

4. I may or may not have punched Matt Marovich for making me read that awful book for his podcast “Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks.”

5. Richard Pini may or may not have been walking around with a tabloid newspaper for some serious Sunday morning reading.

6. Multiple Convolution staffers may or may not have forgotten their pants.

7. I may or may not have made the Convolution Chairwoman, Kimmi, cry.

8. Tycho may or may not have told me a secret about his hair.

9. Ivan Van Norman may have convinced me to write a zombie novella even though I hate zombies.

10. I may or may not have made the papers while I was in California.

***

Next up… OryCon 35. Here’s my schedule as far as I know.

Sat Nov 9 1:00pm-2:00pm
Hybrid Vigor: Choosing Both Traditional and Self-Publishing

Don't believe the True Believers on both sides of this non-existent divide: you can be both a traditional AND a self-published writer. Learn how to let the project choose the path.
(*)Annie Bellet, Phoebe Kitanidis, Tod McCoy, Ken Lizzi, Jennifer Brozek

Sun Nov 10 11:00am-12:00pm
Urban Fantasy made real

Increasingly, stories are being placed in modern times or locales but with fantasy elements to them.  Whether it is wesen in Portland or vampires in Washington, how does one effectively blend these very different elements? Alternatively, what are some examples of how NOT to accomplish this?
Patricia Briggs, Anne Bishop, (*)Devon Monk, Rhiannon Held, Jennifer Brozek

Sun Nov 10 1:00pm-2:00pm
Writing in Other People's Worlds

The fine art of franchise writing: working with established universes like Star Trek, Star Wars and more--including the new Kindle Worlds licensed fan fiction program.
(*)Jess Hartley, SD Perry, Wendy N. Wagner, Jennifer Brozek, Scott Alan Woodard

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Convolution Calling

by Jennifer Brozek 29. October 2013 09:09

I survived the family reunion. In fact, I had a really good time. Surprising, since my family and I are diametrically opposed politically. However, everyone was on their best behavior. My mom and my sister-in-law even taught me how to crochet. I’m in love and I’ve discovered some things about crocheting that I’m noodling over as an author. More on this in a later post.

In the meantime, I’m about to drive down to SF for Convolution. I have a table there with Apocalypse Ink Productions and a small set of panels. If you are there, come say hello. No shyness around me. I’m there for my readers and authors.

Here’s my convention schedule:
Friday, November 1, 4:00pm
Tech Writing for the Creative Author

Many SF/F authors often double as tech writers to help pay their bills. Are the two occupations really compatible? Do you want to learn what it takes to be a tech writer in the high tech industry? And how do you come home from a hard day of tech writing to actually allowing your muse to run free and write creatively? Come talk to our panelists of tech writers with more than 40 years of experience in the tech writing field.

Friday, November 1, 11:45pm
Your Book is Why Daddy Drinks

Join co-hosts Matt & Tyler and some of their friends as they read (and comment on) "Steampunk Erotica" by Ora Le Brocq. MATURE CONTENT ADVISORY.

Saturday, November 2, 2:00pm
Editing Your Own Work

Every writer has favorite ways to get stuff down on paper when they're stuck. However, that might not make for the best writing. How to spot your flaws. People are encouraged to bring writing samples for possible discussion.

Saturday, November 2, 6:00pm
Guest of Honor Interview with Richard Kadrey

An interview with Q&A session with our guest of honor: Richard Kadrey.

November 8-10, I'll be at Orycon.

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Gen Con Wrap Up

by Jennifer Brozek 20. August 2013 16:02

Gen Con was third convention in 4 weekends. It was a rough convention to end on. But, it was really a good time. As always, conventions are about the people I got to meet and see again.

Walter Koenig – I didn’t even know Walter was signing at Gen Con. I just happened to walk by at the right time. There was almost no line and I hadn’t talked to him since I ran StarQuest ’95, the first Babylon 5 convention. He didn’t remember it at all and I didn’t mind. As he put it, when I ran into him later in the elevator, “Conventions tend to blur together.” But I enjoyed my small moment with him and got an autographed picture as well as this one.


Ken Hite – Ken is a wonderful man to have a drink with. Super smart and knowledgeable. It’s unfortunate that I had to cut the drink short when my tummy disagreed with my dinner. But the short time I did have was worth it.

Jason Sanford – I’ve know Jason online for years. It was a great pleasure to meet him in person finally. Easy going and fun to hang with, I look forward to doing it again.

John Helfers – My editor of many things (Shadowrun, Battletech, Karen Wilson Chronicles, anthology stories), it is always a boon to meet up with him face to face, have a conversation, and plan to take over the world. Kerrie Hughes is often a part of these meetings, too, which makes them that much more awesome.

Jim Hines – Jim is always a lot of fun to talk with. I caught him at his signing and saw that he had the UK versions of his Magic Ex Libris books. I love those covers and asked if I could buy those. I think he brought them only for show but he was kind and allowed me to throw money at him. I consider this one of my biggest scores of the convention. These covers are amazing.


Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon – I finally got to meet Misty and Larry in person at this convention after knowing them online for ages. I’ve written for Misty’s Valdemar and Elemental Masters anthologies and I used to game with Larry online. I had the chance to sit with them for about 30 minutes and then again while we were all signing at the same time.

Saladin Ahmed – One of the humblest authors I know, Saladin is an amazing author. Misty actually stopped signing to come over and tell him that Betsy Wollheim of DAW told her that he was one of the best new authors she’d ever found. Saladin was so taken aback, he was almost speechless. Then Misty told the line of people waiting for her autograph that they should buy his book. I agree.

Cat Labs Games – I got to see and hang out with many of the Cat Labs folk—Randall, Loren, Herb, Jason S., Jason H., John, Heather—and listen to the chaos that is them at a convention, brainstorming, pranking each other, and doing business. It is amazing to see it all in action. Most of the time, I just sit back and enjoy the ride. I do have more stuff coming up from these guys and it is all good. Shadowrun and Battletech fans have some sweet things to look forward to.

True Dungeon – Most years, I don’t do True Dungeon. If I do, I only go if I can go with my friend Dylan Birtolo. This year, we had the uber-smart team: Dylan Birtolo, Chris McEniry, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Paul Peterson, John Helfers, Kerrie Hughs, R.T. Kaelin, Pat Rothfuss, Pat’s Librarian friend (whose name I forget), and me. This group gelled together so well that we finished almost every room in 5 minutes or less. It was a real joy to play with them all.


Harebrained SchemesJordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman from Harebrained Schemes gave a presentation on what’s coming next for Shadowrun Returns. I came by to support them and to say hello. My favorite moment was when they gave me a shoutout in the panel and the audience had the collective reaction of an inhale of breath and then applause. It made me feel like a rockstar. Also, I got to meet up with @UGplex (RC) what’s coming next for Shadowrun Returns is going to knock your socks off.

Writer’s Symposium – I was at Gen Con this year because of the Writer’s Symposium. Run by Marc Tassin, it was a blast to be a part of. Professional, well-run, and well-attended, we had a packed house most of the time. I love the space we’re located in and I can’t wait to do come back next year. There’s a lot of good information for writers who want to learn about all aspects of the publishing industry.

These are some of the highlights but, by no means, all inclusive. These are what my addled brain can remember right now. There were so many good people and events that I can’t list them all.




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More Conventions

by Jennifer Brozek 12. August 2013 10:44

Spo Con was a quiet little convention with intense fans. Seriously. For a small con, its members went all out in costuming, game playing, and panels. There were some hiccups but all of the Spo Con volunteers were calm and professional. It was nice. And all of the writing panels were packed—standing room only.

After a very good business dinner with Kaja and Phil Foglio of Girl Genius fame (there are some very fun things on the rise!), the Husband and I headed back home Saturday night. Too many things to do before Gen Con. My favorite moment of the convention was when a fan came up to me with 6 of my books and asked me to sign them, saying, “If the book’s got your name on it, I know I’m going to like it.”

We spent about 110 miles driving through the most awesome thunderstorm. I have never seen anything like it. Thousands of lightning flashes with about a third of them striking the flat-flat-flat land of I-90 W in a glorious display of nature’s beauty and danger. I’d never seen sheet lightning or lightning arcing from cloud to cloud like that before. And, when we stopped at a rest stop, the skies opened up in torrential rain and hail. It was truly an experience.

Next up is Gen Con. I’ll be gone from August 14th-19th. The Husband won’t be with me this time, so I’m going it alone. As alone as one can be in a crowd of 40K people. I’ll be in the Writers Symposium or signing in Author’s Avenue.

GEN CON SCHEDULE
THURSDAY

3:00pm, Dealer’s Hall, Hillfolk signing, Booth 101
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FRIDAY
8:00am, Business of Writing 101: Dealer Hall, Room 245
Learn the ins and outs of the publishing business. We'll cover queries, cover letters, advances, and more.

11:00am, Signing in the Dealer’s Hall, Authors Avenue

2:00pm, Pitches, Proposals, and Promises, Dealer Hall, Room 245
Different types of writing use the same tools applied differently. What you need & how to use them.
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SATURDAY
10:00am, Exploring Genres: Horror, Dealer Hall, Room 245
Learn to make your reader shudder, shiver, and scream as we explore the art of writing horror.

11:00am, Exploring Genres: Urban Fantasy, Dealer Hall, Room 245
We teach you the tips and tricks you'll need to write amazing urban fantasy stories.

12:00pm, Exploring Genres: Steampunk, Dealer Hall, Room 245
Uncover the secrets of writing stories that capture the rich and highly visual style of steampunk.

4:00pm, Signing in Dealer’s Hall, Authors Avenue
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SUNDAY
11:00am, VIP Panel, Marketing Material Review, Dealer Hall, Room 243
Get expert feedback on your marketing material in this exclusive 8 seat, round-table panel.

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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is an award winning editor, game designer, and author.

 Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited ten anthologies with more on the way. Author of In a Gilded Light, The Lady of Seeking in the City of Waiting, Industry Talk, and the Karen Wilson Chronicles, she has more than fifty published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

 Jennifer also is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of both the Origins and the ENnie award, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is also the author of the YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident.

  When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is an active member of SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW.