Shadowrun: A Kiss to Die For...
A Shadowrun novella.
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?
Awards: Woot! A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods has been long-listed for the Bram Stoker award in superior achievement in an anthology.
Blog: A Decade in Review. How does one review a decade of growth, change, expansion, and experience in a single career? Start with the stats and end with the lessons learned.
Podcast: Dire Multiverse, part 5 – A Wild, Hopping Tale. Answers and alliances come at the point of a gun as our heroes try to make it out with their lives intact while learning more about what’s driving Dana Lessington — and one of their own.
Publication: SEASONS, the latest Valdemar anthology, has my 7th Valdemar story in it, “One Town at a Time.” It's the opening story. I love having anchor stories in anthologies.
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.
Spike in snow.
How does one review a decade of growth, change, expansion, and experience in a single career? Much less in an industry like the publishing industry? I suppose by starting with some of the stats from 2010 – 2019. Note, this is an imperfect list of stats. It doesn’t mention the number of words written, the stories submitted then rejected, the novels written and trunked, the journals, articles, and blog posts. But, really, you’ve got to start somewhere. That is what I’ve done.
- Short stories published: 65
- Fiction collections published: 4
- Novellas published: 5
- Novels published: 11
- Omnibuses published: 2
- Podcasts produced and published: 2
- Comic books published: 1
- Anthologies edited: 16
- RPG books contributed to: 7
- RPG books written/co-written: 6
- Award nominations: 18 (including 2 Bram Stoker awards and a Hugo award)
- Awards won: 7 (including an AU Shadows award, an ENnie award, an Origins award, and a Scribe award)
Gotta admit, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. In 2010, if you’d told me that one day I’d be an internationally published author and editor who’d been nominated for both the Bram Stoker and the Hugo award, I would’ve laughed at you and said it was a nice idea. I thought those things were so far out of my reach that I couldn’t imagine it. If you’d told me that I’d get to write for some of my favorite non-RPG properties like VWars, Valdemar, and Predator, I would’ve wondered what you’d been drinking. Stuff like that didn’t happen to me.
Then again, I didn’t know I was going to start my own publishing house.
…Or serve a term as a Director-at-Large of SFWA.
…Or volunteer for the HWA.
…Or be a Guest of Honor at ten different conventions, including conventions in Sweden and Finland.
…Or get an agent after I’d given up the search.
In truth, this is no real way to quantify a decade of my career in a meaningful manner that gives the scope of “everything.” I’ve always been ambitious when it comes to my career. I’ve got plans for the next decade. I’m sure they’ll change. But, that’s all right.
I’ll leave you with some lessons I’ve learned along the way.
- Share the love. Publishing is not a zero sum game. No one has to lose for you to win. Eventually we will work together on a project.
- Default to being kind. Publishing is a small industry.
- Write what you love and what you want to read. My greatest success has come from settling in to write exactly what I want to write and to love what I do.
- Figure out what kind of writing career you want. Casual? Part-time? Full-time? Just hang out with other writers? It’s all good. The sooner you realize what you actually want, the better it will be for you.
- You are allowed to change your mind and to change direction. Shift gears on the type of story telling you do. Flash? Podcasts? Epic novel series? One-off books? Tie-in work?
- You are allowed to stop. To quit. To take a break. To rest.
- You are allowed to start again. No one is going to take away your writing card.
- There is no one path to a successful writing career. YOU determine what makes you a success. Self-pub? Big 5? Hybrid? It’s all fair game. This is one of the most exciting times in the publishing arena. Nothing is off-limits.
Of course, the last decade wouldn’t have been as successful as it’s been without the Husband’s support. He helped make it all possible. For that, I am ever-grateful.
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.
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.
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.
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
BattleTech: Iron Dawn
Book 1 of the Rogue Academy Trilogy
Now available for pre-order!
GHOSTS IN THE DARK…
Jasper and Nadine Roux are cadets at the Ritza MechWarrior Academy; a dream come true for the orphaned siblings from the war-torn planet of Hoff. For the last six years, Emporia has been their home. Sponsored to the academy by the powerful Vogel House, both cadets are expected to excel in all tasks.
Their dream becomes a nightmare when the Draconis Combine comes knocking.
It’s up to the siblings to stop the renegade Seventh Ghost Regiment warlord when he lays claim to a piece of the Inner Sphere—starting with the Federated Suns’ planet of Emporia. The border world looks like easy prey, but this warrior of the Dragon is about to learn how wrong he is. After the few MechWarriors on the planet are taken hostage, the Sponsored and Blooded cadets of the Ritza Academy fight like they have nothing left to lose.
It’s a fight that will cost them more than they know.
Click here to view the full wraparound cover.
End of the Year. Time to take stock. According to my 2018 Freelancer Summary sheet, I worked 316 days. I may not have done a lot each one of those days, but I wrote down “Nada” only 40 times in 2018. There were a lot of those days where I wrote on two different projects, edited, and had a phone call. Almost all of those work days included some form of email. Blah. Blah. Blah. Yes, freelancers work a LOT.
So, what did I accomplish in 2018? These are just facts and figures.
Published: (Incidentally, these are all eligible for 2019 awards)
A novella, an ABC book, and four short stories. Not a bad set for the finally reaching the published stage.
• Arkham Horror: To Fight the Black Wind (novella)
• A is for Apex (ABC book)
• “An Open Letter to the Family” - Disabled People Destroy SF issue, Uncanny Magazine
• “The Silence of Coventry Shrine” - Masters of Orion: To the Stars anthology
• “Home and Hope Both Sound a Little Bit Like ‘Hunger’” - co-written with Seanan McGuire, Chiral Mad 4 anthology
• “Feathers In Deed” - Choices: All-New Tales of Valdemar anthology
About 160,000 words of new fiction and not counting any articles, blogs, or other miscellaneous writing. It’s not as much as I wanted, but acceptable in the long run. I had a couple of bad writing months with house renovations.
• 14 new short stories
• 2 novellas
• 1 novel
Short story submission scorecard:
I wish my acceptance percentage was higher, but when you’re submitting to some of the hardest markets to get into, a lower acceptance rate is expected.
• 5 acceptances (35%)
• 9 rejections (65%)
• 3 outstanding pieces
Conventions/events attended: 12
This made it for 48 days of business travel. I really am going to cut this down in 2019. I have to. I have a heavier writing schedule in 2019. Though, I will never regret going to Launch Pad. That was an amazing week. Still highly recommended.
And, of course, there’s the Jennifer Award for 2018. Too many good things to read and not enough time. My to-read bookshelf grows larger with every passing week.
Article: From Bookwraiths Author Spotlight – Observations of an American Military Brat. “For most of America, “kids don’t act that way,” but on military bases and in military academies, they do.”
Interview: Community Outreach – Interview with Jennifer Brozek, Author Of BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident. I love Sarna.net. I really do.
Publication: “An Open Letter to the Family” is live in Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy SF issue. I love this story, even thought it was really hard to write.
Review: To Fight the Black Wind reviewed by Uncaged Reviews. Short but sweet.
Reminder: For the North Coast Redwoods Writers Conference, I will be reading in Crescent City on Friday the 21st at 7pm and teaching two workshops (The Principles of Tie-In Fiction and How to Pitch a Story) on Saturday. There are still openings in both workshops and the reading is free.