I am home from Origins Game Fair. It was a good time, if exhausting. I had multiple business meetings that were awesome for things in the future. I got to see people I don’t usually get to. I love that. However, the thing that stood out to me were the fan reactions to meeting me. More than any other convention, Origins is where people seek me out to tell me what my writing means to them.
The first was a young man and his girlfriend. The guy couldn’t talk. He stood in front of my table saying, “I… I… I…” His girlfriend poked him and grinned. I said hello and asked how he was doing. He said, “Excuse me. I’m kinda fanboying over here. Wow.” I assumed he’d gone to talk to Tim Zahn or Mike Stackpole. I told him that there were lots of awesome people to fanboy over and asked who he was excited for. He grins and bursts out, “I love your writing. I love DocWagon 19. You write some of the most amazing Shadowrun I’ve ever read.” I was pleased and surprised. We talked more and he was so enthusiastic about what I’ve done and looked forward to everything else I had coming out. He even talked about The Nellus Academy Incident, and asked when it would be out in physical form. It was a wonderful feeling.
The second one was a young woman who walked up to my table, clutching the World of Shadows Shadowrun anthology. She looked at me and said, “Best day ever.” We talked as I signed her book. Then she told me, quite seriously, that my Shadowrun stories saved her life. That she had a medical condition that caused memory loss and her brain to shut down. She needed to do something to keep her brain stimulated. She dove into Shadowrun reading and it was what saved her. The fact that she could remember my stories, that I wrote them, and details about them meant the world to me. It wasn’t just my stories, it was all of the Shadowrun stories, but she wanted me to know that my writing saved her life and she couldn’t wait for my next stuff. I almost cried. We talked more. She showed me her Shadowrun tattoo. I made sure she met some of the other Shadowrun writers.
These two moments were highlights among several—including someone telling me they got their dream job of writing for an RPG company because of Industry Talk and my advice—that illustrate why I write. It’s more than the fact that I have stories to tell. It’s the fact that these stories mean something to those who read them. They touch people in ways I can’t imagine. That is worth everything in the world.
Here's my Origins Game Fair Schedule. If I'm not here, I'm at my dealer's table in the Author Library area. I'll have copies of the Melissa Allen omnibus, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, Lost Tales, and more. Come say hello. Buy some books/ebooks. Get stuff signed. The usual. Don't be shy.
All of the panels will be in the Origins University section, hosted by the Library.
Thursday, Jun 16
12 Noon – Where are We? (worldbuilding)
How do you create a believeable setting without having a degree in sociology, biology, or geography? Our panelists will tell you the ins and outs of making a fantasy or science fiction setting.
6pm – Story Hour (Reading from Never Let Me)
With Bryan Young
Friday, Jun 17
1pm – Writing a Series
Writing one book is hard enough--what about three? Or ten? Listen to our panelists discuss how writing a trilogy or septology is different than stand-alone novels.
Saturday, Jun 18
11am – Business of Publishing 101
Traditional publishing, self-publishing, and crowdsourcing all have their place in today's industry. Our panelists tell you how it all works together to make a career.
2pm – Networking
Building relationships is crucial to an author's success. This panel will teach you how to build a career through meeting people and cultivating relationships.
Origins Award Ceremony (because John says I have to go)
Sunday, Jun 19
10am – Tales From the Slush Pile (Solo)
The slush piles are where dreams die. Or is it? An editor and author discusses the good, bad, and ugly in the slush pile, as well as what one can learn.
4pm – Break down dealer table
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.
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.
Here is my Norwescon schedule. If I am not at a panel, I will be at the Apocalypse Ink Productions table in Author Avenue. Come say hello, buy books, and get them signed. I’m happy to chat with you. Don’t be shy around me.
Thu 8:00 PM-10:00 PM - Cascade 12
Writers Workshop: Practicing Your Pitch
Jennifer Brozek (M)
Fri 3:00 PM-4:00 PM - Cascade 9
Why Editors Pass
Phoebe Kitanidis (M), Jennifer Brozek, Betsy Wollheim, Sheila Gilbert
Fri 4:00 PM-5:00 PM - Cascade 10
Diversity, Society, Military, & SF
Kevin Mathews (M), Mike Brennan, Cheryce Clayton, Jennifer Brozek
Fri 6:00 PM-7:00 PM - Cascade 9
Writing is a Long Con
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Annie Bellet, Gregory A. Wilson, Jennifer Brozek, Dean Wells
Fri 8:00 PM-9:00 PM - Cascade 10
Young Fans & the Military
Elliott Kay (M), Alicia Faires, Jennifer Brozek
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM - Grand 2
Autograph Session 1
Amber Bariaktari , Caroline M. Yoachim, Dave Bara, Dean Wells, Erik Scott de Bie, G. Willow Wilson, James C. Glass, Jennifer Brozek, John (J.A.) Pitts, Kristi Charish, Django Wexler, Frog Jones, Rhiannon Held, Sonia Orin Lyris, S. A. Bolich, Morgue Anne, Robert J. Sawyer, Spencer Ellsworth, Steven Barnes, Tori Centanni, Cat Rambo, Don Maitz, GregRobin Smith, Jeremy Zimmerman, Laura Anne Gilman
Sat 6:00 PM-7:00 PM - Cascade 10
Outlining for Pantsers & Everyone Else
Tori Centanni (M), Jennifer Brozek, Catherine Cooke Montrose, Raven Oak, John (J.A.) Pitts
Sun 12:00 PM-12:30 PM - Cascade 1
Reading: Jennifer Brozek
Jennifer Brozek (M)
I will be reading from Never Let Me Sleep.
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.
- 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
I am at OryCon in Portland, OR this weekend. If I'm not at a panel, I will be at the Apocalypse Ink Productions booth in the Dealers Room. Come say hello, buy a book, get it signed, and pick up my convention story card! Sunday early evening is SF Authorfest 9, hosted by the Cedar Hills Powell's Bookstore.
Fri Nov 20 4:00:pm, Sunstone
How to Blurb Your Novel
We all need them, we all hate them. Summing up our books may be harder than writing them in the first place! Learn techniques to write compelling book descriptions (aka "blurbs"), and hook readers.
Sat Nov 21 2:00:pm, Salem
The Softer Side of SF
What is "social science fiction"? How have authors used ideas from "soft" sciences like sociology, anthropology, and linguistics to craft convincing future scenarios, telling fascinating stories while shedding light on current human problems? Discuss authors past and present (LeGuin, etc.) who specialize in this.
Sat Nov 21 4:00:pm, Salmon
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
Join members of Broad Universe--an organization dedicated to women in genre fiction—for a whole bunch of really short readings crammed into one hour.
Sat Nov 21 6:00:pm, Salem
Writing and Art for the RPG Industry
A how-to workshop on what it is like to work for the RPG industry.
Sun Nov 22 11:00:am, Sunstone
What should the relationship between publishers and writers look like, as well as writers and readers? Both situations require respect. What does that look like?
Sun Nov 22 12:00:pm, Sunstone
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.
Sun Nov 22 4:00-6:00:pm, Powell’s Bookstore, Cedar Hills
SF Author Fest 9
Come see 30 authors in their natural habitat—a bookstore! Chat, buy books, and get them signed.
Q: Now that the Hugos are over, how do you feel?
A: I feel fine.
A: Yes, really. Yes, of course I’m sad I didn’t win—it was a beautiful award and I worked really hard. I wanted to win, but as I said on twitter, I’m happy people voted the way they felt they needed to. There are other nominations and other Hugos. All voices need to be heard. I don’t want to dwell on anything else. It’s done for me.
Q: What about the numbers?
A: The numbers came out exactly as I thought they would. Without “No Award,” Mike Resnick would’ve won.
Q: What about the nomination numbers, discounting the slates?
A: I saw that I probably would’ve been 6th or 7th nomination place in Best Editor, Short Form. Respectable. More importantly, I saw that CHICKS DIG GAMING got 92 nomination votes in the Best Related Work category—second only to Jo Walton’s WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SO GREAT. Which meant, incidentally, I lost a second time on Hugo night. I lost an Alfie to Jo. Still, that means I probably would’ve been nominated for a Hugo whether there was a slate or not. So, I’m feeling pretty good about things.
A: Go ask GRRM. It was a kind gesture.
Q: Hey, in and around the Hugo stuff, I saw that you’ve become the Managing Editor of Evil Girlfriend Media. What happened to Apocalypse Ink Productions?
A: It’s still there. I’m still the Creative Director of AIP. I’ve just added the job of Managing Editor of EGM to my roster.
Q: Can you do both?
A: Yes. I'm talented that way.
Q: So, what are you going to do now that the Hugo stuff is over?
A: Keep on keeping on. I’ve got my YA SF-Thriller series coming out in October, starting with NEVER LET ME SLEEP. I’m editing NAUGHTY OR NICE: A HOLIDAY ANTHOLOGY for EGM. I’ve signed a contract for something very, very cool that will be announced soon. I’m working on the outline of my next tie-in novel. I’m a busy-busy freelancer. There are some great things to come.
Q: Did you bring home anything cool from the con?
A: I did! Cat Rambo gave me a SFWA 50th anniversary coin. Howard Taylor gave me a couple of “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” coins. I bought a print by Rob Carlos, the newest Ken Scholes fiction collection, and Apparitions, a book of translated Japanese ghost stories. Also, of course, my little Hugo rocket pin—I earned that sucker.
Q: Are you sure you’re okay?
A: Yes. I promise. I'm okay. I appreciate everyone’s care and concern. I get the warm fuzzies when people tell me how much me and my work meets to them. Yes, I lost three awards this year but I won one and that’s awesome.
Q: Anything else you want to say?
A: Yes. Thank you to everyone for your support. I want to give a special shout out to Howard and Sandra Taylor, Kelly Swails, Jonnalyhn Wolfcat, Minerva Zimmerman, Sarah Hendrix, and Seanan McGuire who were heroes behind the scenes, super kind, and helped keep me relatively sane.
Here is my Sasquan schedule. There is, as usual, a no-shyness zone around me. If you want my attention, talk to me. I will have a limited number of my Story Convention Cards with me. Find out how I (fictionally) die at Sasquan. I do have several meetings and Hugo-related things not listed here and I will probably show up at some of the publisher parties.
10:00 am - 6pm SFWA Board Meeting, 304 (CC)
7:00 pm - Role Playing Games as an Author's Tool, 401C (CC)
11:00 am - Comics and Graphic Novels for Teen Readers, 303A (CC)
12:00 pm - Hard SF for Teens, 401C (CC)
4:00 pm - Autographing, Exhibit Hall B (CC)
10:00am - The Range of the Small Press, Conference Theater 110 (CC)
1:00 pm - 3pm, SFWA Business Meeting, 300B (CC)
3:00 pm - Getting Your Game Published, 303A (CC)
6:00 pm - Hugo Pre-Reception
8:00 pm - Hugo Awards Ceremony, INB Performing Arts Center (CC)
11:00 am - Kaffee Klatche - Jennifer Brozek, 202A-KK2 (CC) [Note: This is the only event of mine you need to sign up for.]
1:00 pm - Worlds We Believe: YA World Building, 300D (CC)
I am home from Gen Con. It was a very good and busy time. I did not win the ENnie for Best Related RPG Product but with the caliber of the competition, it really was an honor to be nominated.
This year I was both part of the Writers Symposium (run by Marc Tassin) and one of the Industry Insider Featured Presenters. I got to do a lot of panels that were both valuable and hard. Fortunately, my two most daunting panels, Diversity in Gaming and Women in Gaming After Gamergate, both went off without a hitch. I like to think this was because we all did our homework and prepared and we had excellent moderation.
Like most conventions, there’s too much to tell. Here are some of the highlights:
• Chatting with Wesley Chu in the dealers room about working at conventions. This spawned the quote, “It’s all push-ups and prose.” from Wes.
• Sitting in the authors lounge area watching Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes be themselves. I have pictures…
• Actually sitting down to game with Erik Scot de Bie and Brian Cortijo. I’d not played D&D 5 yet. It’s a good system. Also, I kinda love the dwarf warrior I was playing.
• Having a number of people come to my “office hours” to follow up on panels and to ask me about my writing. Doc Wagon 19 and Discordance (my first Valdemar short story) were highlights.
There were two standout events that made Gen Con awesome for me.
The first is Ingress. I started playing about 3 weeks ago and I was told there was a mission day happening at Gen Con. I had no idea what a mission day was but I was game. I sent out a call for someone to come walk with me because I really have no sense of direction. I was fortunate enough to be answered to by Sarah Babe, Host of Plot Points Podcast. The two of us banded and bonded together to do this thing called Gen Con Mission Day.
It was 13 missions. Walking around, hacking 5-7 portals per mission and answering questions. We started about 8:45pm at night. We ended the last mission at about 1:30am. It was hot, tiring, and sweaty. By the end of it, both of us had blisters and were finishing the quest out of malicious spite. But it was still awesome. I got a bunch of digital badges, leveled up, and despite shredding my feet (30,000 steps that day – 20,000 on the mission day quests), I had a great time. Sarah and I hit it off so well. I look forward to meeting up with her at GameholeCon in November.
The second is my friend Monte. I haven’t seen Monte in years. One of my favorite GMs and friends from the Bay Area, he made it out to Gen Con. Monte is one of those people that I click with. We can go for months without talking, but when we do, it’s like no time has passed.
He decided to introduce me to The Mountain Witch. We played with Albert and Nancy (also friends from the Bay Area who now live in Canada). It was the best time. Sparse on rules. Heavy on the roleplay. Awesome for narrative storytelling. Honestly, this game, with these people, made Gen Con worth it. I will be thinking about this game for a long time to come. I just bought a copy of The Mountain Witch from IPR.
It was a very good time. I’m glad I went. I’m also very happy to be home with the Husband and the kitties.