Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'rpgs'

A Year of Ingressing

by Jennifer Brozek 10. July 2016 09:36

Yesterday was Jeff’s one year of playing Ingress. Today is mine. It’s both a surprise and a long time coming. We joined Ingress after leaving a LARP that ran too late, became too toxic, and just wasn’t for us anymore. My friend, Heather, likened Ingress to us LARPing without all the drama. I agree. There’s drama, yes. But a lot less of it.

Over the last year of Ingressing, the Husband and I have met a lot of great new friends, visited all kinds of places we wouldn’t have without Ingress. Revisited old places with new eyes. Got us both out hiking. I mean, I willing went and got hiking shoes. That’s not something I ever thought possible. I’m not as in good shape as the Husband. So, he does other hikes solo or with a friend.

I’ve participated in a Mission Day—GenCon because BigMatty told me to, and a couple of anomalies—field team for Obsidian, recharge for Aegis Nova.

Yesterday, I did something I didn’t know I would ever do: I got my onyx illuminator, throwing 4 layers of a 15 layer Pongolyn field for about 9.62 million mu. The husband also got 4 layers for the same amount. We also met up with the other field team and they helped me throw a YOLO (you only link once) to Hawaii for 4048km.

I’ve recruited a number of people to come play. Unfortunately, about half of them have chosen the blue (wrong) side because the Resistance has better PR. :) The in-game storyline is interesting. The Resistance is currently run by an extremist who recently caused the death of a beloved scientist and is working for the N’Zeer (think tech-based inter-dimensional aliens). The Enlightened is currently run by an extremist working for a man who wants the death of ADA, the sentient AI who is aligned with the Resistance. The Enlightened work for the Shapers (think mind-based inter-dimensional aliens).  It’s kinda like Skynet versus Vorlons. The whole thing is actually very complex.

There are many in the Resistance who don’t like Jahan and want her gone. There are many in the Enlightened who don’t want the death of ADA. As stories go, neither side is perfect and that is what makes it work. No one really knows what’s going on (except the storytellers—sorta) and it’s in the gray areas that we all exist, figuring out the mysteries presented to us. I appreciate that.

It’s one of the reasons I started Project Isthmus on G+ with 5 other agents (BigMatty, Morgyan, derp, pORFECTION, labeljumper). And even that has grown beyond the in-character storyline I originally designed it to be. Now, there’s the in-game Isthmus storyline, a “world at large” storyline, and the cross-faction investigative community. We have the Project Isthmus Street Team hangout. I’ve written a Glyph Talk series and now run the Glyph Drill Down Roundtables. Working with agents from both sides to investigate the mysteries has been wonderful. We’re not as big or as extensive or as scholarly as Project Essex, but I think we do well enough. 

Over all, I’ve enjoyed my year of Ingressing. I’ve met so many new people, gone so many new places, and have a new set of eyes to look at old places. Especially at conventions when I’m a dealer, a panelist, or a GoH. It’s been the perfect “couples” game for me and the Husband who like road trips and experiencing new sights, new adventures, and, of course, huge green triangles. [Note: If you would like to join Ingress, let me know. I'll send you an invite. That will give me more points towards my recruiter badge. And, of course, I encourage you to choose the Enlightened side.]

May the skies ever be in your color.

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Reader Reactions at Origins

by Jennifer Brozek 21. June 2016 14:00

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.

Two stories:

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.

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Catching Up

by Jennifer Brozek 18. May 2016 09:19

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.

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Bubble and Squeek for 27 April 2016

by Jennifer Brozek 27. April 2016 16:30

Release: Colonial Gothic: Lost Tales - This is my "Oops! I have a fiction collection" book. Rogue Games collected all my RPG fiction in the Colonial Gothic universe. Supernatural horror in 1776 for the win!

Review: The Melissa Allen series got a NICE shout out in this: Where Are My Damn Heroes? This article makes me really happy. It's nice to be understood.

Sale: Reminder - Last Chance Karen Wilson Chronicles Trade Paperback Sale. 4 Trade for $30.

In the "I've been so busy writing the Shadowrun novel, I didn't notice this was announced" side of things, Project Joe got announced two months back. Project Joe is actually H.E.A.D. Hunters from Gut Shot Games. I wrote all of the background stories for every character and the setting. The announcement and podcasts are system focused, but it is nice to be able to talk about the game now.

Announcement: Gut Shot Games Announces H.E.A.D. Hunters, designed by Ben Cichoski and Danny Mandel (the guys who designed Legendary Encounters).

Podcast: Dukes of Dice - H.E.A.D. Hunters, system discussion starts at 1:10. Pretty crunchy discussion.

Podcast: Bearded Bards of Board Games - H.E.A.D. Hunters, more detailed system discussion starts at 1:19. There are brief comments about the character stories. It seems I really disturbed the designers with the Lechuza (Owl Witch) story. :)

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March Monthly Stat Thing

by Jennifer Brozek 1. April 2016 09:37

I’m going to ignore that it is the first of April and pretend that “lie and be cruel to the people who trust you most” day doesn’t exist.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 58,210 / 200,000
Article words written: 4230
My novels/collections edited: 3
Other novels/anthologies edited: 4
Events attended: 4 / 9

Mostly, I’m boring. I’m drafting my Shadowrun novel, MAKEDA RED. This means no social media until I hit word count unless there are extenuating circumstances… like picking up my new car.

I didn’t want to have to buy a new car, but mine got totaled at the end of February. I’m still reeling from sticker shock, but I do like my new car. It’s a Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid in sage green. I got my all wheel drive hatchback. The Husband got his hybrid. We’re both happy.

We think he’s told us his name but we’ve got to drive it a bit more to be sure.

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2016 is the Year of the Tie-In

by Jennifer Brozek 5. January 2016 14:14

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.

Scheduled Appearances:

  • 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

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Quantifying 2015

by Jennifer Brozek 29. December 2015 10:34

When it comes to year in review posts, there’s two ways for me to look at it: What did I do? Did I enjoy myself? The short version answer to these two questions is: A lot. Yes.

Being a full-time freelancer, I need personal metrics that keep me going. To let me know I didn’t just spin my wheels. To know that I have done good. I can’t rely on money to tell me whether or not I’ve been productive. The publishing industry is so weird about money and timing. It’s feast or famine… mostly famine. Even if you’re working all the time.

So, to answer the second question first. Did I enjoy myself? On the whole, yes. I’m happier that I’ve ever been. Yes, there were hard times. Yes, I really do understand “leveling up to a better (harder) class of problem” thing. And yes, not everything was a success. But, by and large, I had the best time.

As for the first question of: What did I do? I keep a daily summary log. I need to. I must schedule myself and I must know what I’ve done and when I did it. Thus, I can quantify my freelance year like so:

  • Writing:  I wrote 110,000 words of new fiction. This does not count any blog posts or articles written.
  • Editing: I edited 10 novels, 4 novellas, 1 anthology, and 90 EGM.Shorts flash fiction pieces.
  • Submissions: I had 5 of 9 short stories accepted. Not bad. Just didn’t have a lot of time to submit short fiction around.
  • Published: 4 novels, 1 novella, 1 fiction collection, 1 anthology, and 5 short stories. That is a lot. A whole lot.
  • Email: Answered email 320 days out of the year. This is much worse than last year. I answered email 268 days in 2014. I had hoped to do less email. I failed.
  • New Positions: Managing Editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and voted in as a SFWA Director-at-Large. I am still the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.
  • Awards: I had 4 nominations (Scribe x2, an ENnie, and a Hugo). 1 win (Scribe for best YA tie-in novel for The Nellus Academy Incident).
  • Reading: I read 41 novels (mostly for pleasure). Not bad, given my schedule.
  • Vacation: Took 23 days off to do nothing. This is better than I did last year. This averages 2 days off a month. Though, most of these came in the last third of the year.

Honestly, reading this list makes me both proud and tired. I already know I will be doing a lot less of some and a lot more of another in 2016 but that’s for another post in a week, next year.

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All I Want For My Birthday…

by Jennifer Brozek 9. December 2015 09:04

Happy birthday to me! I turn 45 today. I’ve officially crossed over into that 45-60 year old category. This year, I had four novels, one novella, one fiction collection and an anthology come out. All I want for my birthday is for you to buy one of them and leave me a review. It’s been a standing birthday wish now for about five years. Please consider getting yourself a gift of one of my books for my birthday. You have a great selection.

If you want to know which one I want you to buy… the Melissa Allen series, Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, or Never Let Me Die. I get royalties and kudos on them all but those are the newest.

Apocalypse Girl Dreaming – Fiction collection
Travel from the weird west to the hidden worlds of Kendrick all the way to the far reaches of space. This collection contains twenty previously published short stories and includes the brand new Kember Empire story “Found on the Body of a Solider.” Enjoy your journey and don’t forget your survival gear. Apocalypse Girl is waiting. Includes a foreword by science fiction author Jody Lynn Nye.

DocWagon 19 – Shadowrun tie-in novella
DocWagon—saviors of the needy, rescuers of the desperate. Willing to go anywhere, rescue anyone, as long as that “anyone” has forked out enough advance cash to justify the effort. Reporter Amelia Hart has embedded herself with a DocWagon team to see what their life is really like, and she’s in for a wild ride. From an OD’ing celebrity to an aggressive team of hackers, from pesky gangs to an extremely rich and powerful client teetering at death’s door, this night will give the team all they can handle. But will they survive long enough to remember that in the Sixth World, nothing is truly random?

Chimera Incarnate – Fourth and final book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles
“The Veil is breaking. The Nightmares are coming through.” The supernatural forces of Kendrick may have defeated the Children of Anu, but every war leaves destruction in its wake. And fixing the collateral damage is never easy. The fourth and final volume of the Karen Wilson Chronicles tells the story of what happens when all the chips are down, places of power have been consumed, and one of Karen’s greatest allies teeters on the edge of oblivion. The Grey Lady and her people are fading. Only their pact with the Makah people, and the land of Kendrick itself, is holding their ancient foes at bay. Karen and her allies must find a way to save one of their own before the Veil falls and the world as they know it is destroyed.

Never Let Me Sleep – Melissa Allen #1, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if you discovered everyone in your house, on your street, and in your town dead? Then discovered you weren’t alone and what was out there was hunting you? Melissa Allen knows exactly how it feels. With only a voice on the phone for help, she must stop what is happening before the monsters find her.

Never Let Me Leave – Melissa Allen #2, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if you found yourself locked in an underground lab with a murderous alien hunting you? Melissa Allen and her new friends know exactly how it feels. With no help from the outside and time running out, it’s up to Melissa to keep herself and the other teens safe. How can she do that when she’s not sure who she can trust? Someone in the lab helped that alien escape. Someone human.

Never Let Me Die – Melissa Allen #3, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if your sister was shot and your brother was kidnapped? Melissa Allen knows. It’s been six months since the attack at PAR Lab. Melissa, Carrie, and Adam have settled into a semblance of domestic bliss with Heather as their guardian. Things seem too good to be true. Someone has been watching them. Someone who has no problem trying to kill them.

Naughty Or Nice: A Holiday Anthology – Adult-oriented SF Anthology
With a little bit of nice, a sprinkle of dark, a handful of sexy, and a whole lot of naughty, this adult-oriented anthology is filled with blushes, laughs, and gasps. This is not your average holiday reading. From the story behind Marley's fate, to a little elf who makes the perfect "toy" to the holiday rituals that keep the world going, Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology, keeps the pages turning. Be prepared to be a little bit shocked!

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It’s a Star!

by Jennifer Brozek 22. July 2015 09:18

This is the Scribe Award. I’m in love with this little statuette. Right now, it’s my most favorite award of all-time. Not because of what it is for—though I’m very proud of my YA Battletech novel—but because of what it represents.

On a professional level, it means a jury of my peers, who read and write tie-in fiction, judged it worthy of the award. That means a lot. On an personal level, it means I’m not a hack. I can write and affect readers. I do know what I’m doing. On an emotional level, it means I didn’t lose four awards in a row. No matter what happens with the ENnies and Hugos, I’m still an award winner in 2015.

I didn’t realize just how much was riding on the Scribe Award. It was the one I had the least stress about and was the award I was absolutely certain I would not win. I had already prepared myself to congratulated the winners and move on. Then I won and I felt 90% of the pressure from the ENnies and Hugos just melt away. The feeling is amazing and startling. I can relax now. I’d won one of the awards I was up for. Hurrah!

Sometimes, the littlest things mean the most.


This is what I wrote to accept the award for The Nellus Academy Incident. I’m really glad Matt Forbeck got to read it:

“Having grown up a military brat, I wanted to give Battletech fans an idea of where hard-bitten warriors come from. The military is a way of life and that starts when you’re a young dependent. Military kids grow up fast. I wanted to show this with The Nellus Academy Incident. I think I succeeded. Thank you to my editor, John Helfers, and to Jason Schmetzer who pushed me out my comfort zone. Thank you to my Battletech Thinktank group who helped me get the details of the story right. And thank you to the jury for this award. It is an honor.”

It looks good up there. I like it.

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OrcaCon Special Guest

by Jennifer Brozek 10. April 2015 20:04

I am an OrcaCon Special Guest for their kickstarter. There's only one of these:

Pledge $350 or more. Limit 1 of 1.
Ready to be a super sweet badass, in the style of Big Trouble in Little China meets Highlander? Game Designer Jennifer Brozek will be running you and 4 friends through Katanas & Trenchcoats RPG, in a custom con-only adventure! Five OrcaCon Standard Memberships included in this reward level.

C'mon... you know you wanna. This is going to be a blast.

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Latest Releases

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The Last Days of Salton Academy
YA Horror

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Ragnarok Publications

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/NeveLetMeOmnibus200.jpg
Never Let Me
YA SF-Thriller Omnibus

Amazon | Barnes&Noble |
Permuted Press

http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/pix/NeverLetMeDieCover200.jpg
Never Let Me Die
YA SF-Thriller Novel
Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


Never Let Me Leave
YA SF-Thriller Novel
Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


Never Let Me Sleep
YA SF-Thriller Novel

Amazon | B&N |
Permuted Press


DocWagon 19
Shadowrun novella
Amazon | BattleShop
DriveThruRPG


Chimera Incarnate

Karen Wilson Chronicles #4
More InformationBuy Now.
Amazon | DriveThruFiction


Apocalypse Girl Dreaming
Fiction collection
Amazon | B&N |
Evil Girlfriend Media

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Jazz Age Cthulhu
Amazon | B&N |
Innsmouth Free Press


The Nellus Academy Incident
YA Battletech
novel
Amazon | Battleshop |
DriveThruRPG
| B&N

Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award nominated editor and a Bram Stoker nominated author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, and the acclaimed Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty-five published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Jennifer is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of the Scribe, Origins, and ENnie awards, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is the author of the YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, and the Shadowrun novella, Doc Wagon 19. She has also written for the AAA MMO Aion and the award winning videogame, Shadowrun Returns.

When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is a Director-at-Large of SFWA, and an active member HWA and IAMTW. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.