Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'Shadowrun'

Thinking About Thinking as an Author

Here’s something I do as an author: I think. A lot. About pretty much everything in regards to writing any length of work. Admittedly, the shorter the work, the less I have to think about it unless it is something in a very, very specific format or is on something I am not super familiar with.

Right now, I’m thinking about my next YA Shadowrun novella, The Kilimanjaro Run. It is the fourth in the series (even though each novella is standalone, there is a throughput line). It’s taken me weeks to figure out what POV this novella should be written in. Partly because I’m not familiar with the physical location where the novella will be taking place. Partly because I couldn’t decide who would be the best point of view character. That difficulty has come down to not having the confidence/experience to write the story from the POV character I would like to write it from. Thus, after much internal debate (and my editor’s approval), I will write it from the POV character I am most comfortable with, and the one the readers would be most likely to forgive should I muck things up. I have already hired a sensitivity reader. Hopefully, that will help with the not-mucking-up part of things.

In the meantime, I’m thinking…about the story…about the characters…about specific scenes. Basically, thinking about everything I’m going to write. I haven’t written much yet. Art notes for the cover (talk about putting the cart before the horse). An nascent outline. Character names with 1-3 lines of background. Facts about hippopotamuses and Tanzania. The first paragraph in the story (which I’m sure I’m going to toss out and start over, but it’s easy to start with a brief edit than to stare at the tyranny of the blank page). Probably about 600 words in total.

What does thinking about writing look like? For me, it looks like playing PokemonGO, cleaning my house, folding laundry, or doing some other bit of busy work that keeps most of me occupied while my creative part churns. I’m making inspired butter out of creative cream (or is that creative butter out of inspired cream?). Today, thinking looks like updating every single one of my apple devices because I bought more music for the first time in forever. It also looks like processing author bios for my anthology 99 Fleeting Fantasies. And eating lunch. And staring off into space, occasionally having an argument with myself or with the characters in my head. Not to mention writing this blog post.

While it doesn’t look like much, it is hard work. It is mentally taxing. It can be physically tiring. But it’s not the “sexy” part of writing. It’s not really a thing you can show without being stereotypical—and what you “show” is what writer’s block looks like. It’s funny how a writer thinking looks like writer’s block to someone who doesn’t write. It shows the fundamental disconnect between the writer and the reader.

The best way I can describe an author thinking to a reader who is not a writer is an earworm. An earworm of the literary kind in the best, most distracting, way. You don’t know the complete tune, nor do you know all the words, but it is enticing. You know it. But you don’t really know it, yet. You will…but only after it is on the page and has been edited a half a dozen times. Then you will know what the song/story really was all along.

So, that’s what and how I’m doing. What about you?

 

Mena being adorable in the cat tower.

Jennifer Brozek Items in the SFWA Worldbuilders Auction

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has partnered once again with Worldbuilders, an organization of geeks doing good that supports humanitarian efforts worldwide, to run their annual silent auction. This auction runs from May 9, 12noon, Pacific until May 16, 12noon, Pacific.
https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/auctionhome.action?vhost=wbi

Three items from me up for bid:
A 30-minute one-on-one virtual career session via Zoom with Jennifer Brozek, an award winning author, editor, and tie-in writer. Tell me where you want to go with your career and I'll do my best to guide you.
https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/item.action?id=342557558

Four seats in a one-hour virtual author kaffeeklatsch via Zoom with Jennifer Brozek, an award winning author, editor, and tie-in writer. Come talk about anything gaming or publishing related. On request, I will go get all my cats to show you.

Seat 1: https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/item.action?id=342557553

Seat 2: https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/item.action?id=342557555

Seat 3: https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/item.action?id=342557556

Seat 4: https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/item.action?id=342557557

Jennifer Brozek will do a tuckerization for the winning bidder (or as a gift from the winning bidder to someone else). Tuckerization will be in a new Shadowrun YA novella and possibly used in a later Shadowrun novel.
https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/item/item.action?id=342557560

Please support this worthy cause.
Thank you,
Jenn

Bubble & Squeek for 30 Mar 2022

This Bubble & Squeek is brought to you by many many release, re-releases, and reviews! Plus, bonus pictures.

Print Release: Here's the public print release of  THE LAST CITIES OF EARTH anthology by me and Jeff Sturgeon.


Review: Literary HubMarch's Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books: THE REINVENTED HEART anthology by me and Cat Rambo. It's always a joy to be on a "Best" list.

Review: nerds of a feather… Here's a good review of THE REINVENTED HEART anthology. Didn't tick all their boxes but did tick a lot.

Re-release: Speaking Volumes has re-released my Bram Stoker Finalist YA novel...THE LAST DAYS OF SALTON ACADEMY. Come read how I murdered all my friends in a zombie apocalypse. Also, that cover!


Re-release: Speaking Volumes has re-released my short story collection…APOCALYPSE GIRL DREAMING. This is my first short story collection. And again, that cover!


Publication: After 5 months of wrangling with Amazon, 99 TINY TERRORS, is published there, too. (The physical version will show up eventually.) Here's the universal link.


Publication: My latest Shadowrun novel: ELFIN BLACK is in the wild! How do the powerful deal with being powerless? Badly. Then with malice and forethought. I'm so pleased with this novel.


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: Elfin Black Has Been Released

For the Ides of March comes my latest Shadowrun novel, Elfin Black! It isn’t a direct sequel of any of my other Shadowrun releases, but it does have characters from Makeda Red, A Kiss to Die For, and DocWagon 19 in it. At least one with a major role (ahem, Imre Dahl).

 

TIES THAT BIND…

Mage Jonathan Leeds has built himself a comfortable life owning and operating an exclusive night club in London, far from the iron grasp of his family. But when his father, Gordon, abruptly summons him to the Seattle Metroplex, John finds himself a stranger in a strange land, thrown into the wilds of the ’Plex to manage a situation apparently only he can handle. Although he’d prefer to ignore his father’s wishes, John knows that no one—family or foe—says no to Gordon Leeds. At least, not if they want to live to tell about it.

But family obligations aren’t the only reason John is in Seattle. His patron back in England, Lord Callen Nassau, has asked him to look for a missing woman. John is only too happy to oblige, as the elegant elf noble is everything his father is not. But when Gordon’s and Callen’s tasks intertwine in unexpected ways, John is forced to question everything he knows about both men, and soon discovers not all that glitters is gold.

When the desires of these rich and powerful beings collide in the Sixth World, John finds himself a pawn in their vicious game. If he’s to escape the Emerald City in one piece, John knows he must take control of the situation—any way he can—or suffer the lethal consequences.

Happy book birthday to me! I’m very happy with this book. I’ve had it mind since I wrote “Dark Side Matters” for the Shadowrun: Drawing Destiny anthology. I hope you enjoy it.

Tell Me - Russell Zimmerman

Today, Rusty Zimmerman tells me what it’s like to put together a collection of game fiction that was written over many years. It’s a walk down memory lane.

 

Down These Dark Streets is a Shadowrun first-ever; a collection of a writer’s short fiction, gathered up from across all the various sourcebooks, setting books, rule books, magazines, and where ever else it first showed up.  A lot of Shadowrun fiction is spread out in intro pieces, short, punchy, stories that separate big chapters in sourcebooks, and that sort of thing, and The Powers That Be took a shot at gathering mine all together between one set of covers.

Readers can follow along as a handful of threads and characters weave from story to story, a sort of universe-within-a-universe that started with my very first piece of Shadowrun work, intro fiction for Attitude, two editions and *mumble* years ago.  The protagonist of that short piece shows up as part of a team in some later intro fics I published, that team shows up alongside Jimmy Kincaid in Dirty Tricks, Jimmy Kincaid’s entangled with Ms. Myth and the Shadowrun Fifth Edition crew in his novels, their nemesis Rook first showed up in some adventure intro fic, etc, etc. 

I’ve long felt like Shadowrun works best when the shadows feel small, tangled, and reputation-centric – everyone knows everyone, word gets around, and when you’re looking for reliable talent, the odds are good they’ve worked together before.  I wanted that feeling, and a sense of continuity, even in my seemingly-unrelated pieces that were initially scattered across books (and even editions).  Getting to see them all side by side in this book was a lot of fun.

What else was a lot of fun?  Writing intros!  In addition to a sappy love letter to Shadowrun that kicks off the whole collection, each and every piece has a small writer introspective from me.  In them, I talk about what the original pitch for the story was, I talk about cover art (sometimes changing cover art!) that inspired the piece, or I just share my thoughts on how it came together and what I think about the finished product.  Having the chance to open up and ‘chat’ with readers was a lot of fun, and I hope I’m not too cringe-worthy when I talk about what fun, and what an honor, it’s been to get to do what I do.

Also included among the already-published sourcebook and Game Trade Magazine-exclusive pieces are four brand new, never before published, short stories.  Some of them spun out of the ‘enhanced fiction’ line before finding a home here instead, but the largest story in the collection was written just for this book.  It’s a novella-length Jimmy Kincaid story, set as an ‘in-betweener’ in his novel trilogy, fitting in there any place before his latest novel, On The Rocks.

Assembling this collection was a good time, and the short walk down memory lane for the dozen years, now, I’ve been writing Shadowrun stories.  I was very excited to get to share a little bit of the creative process with readers, I was excited to hear there are paperback and hardback versions available right off the bat, and I’m excited for the future, to hear what fans think of the whole kit and caboodle. 

---

Russell Zimmerman got started in writing as a freelancer for wargames like Warmachine, and since then has contributed to dozens of projects including fan-favorite fiction in Shadowrun and writing the international award-winning PC game Satellite Reign. His most noteworthy work has been for the Shadowrun role-playing game and associated properties, but he's spilled some ink in the universes of Vampire 20th Anniversary, Earthdawn, Wrath & Glory, and Mutants & Masterminds, and more!

Planning for 2022

In a previous post, I said that I’m going to slow down in 2022. I really need to. I ended up taking an unintentional vacation over Christmas week. The words just would not come and I didn’t have the motivation to force them. The last couple years have taken their toll emotionally, physically, and mentally. I’m feeling better now and getting back on the wagon, so to speak.

Here’s what I have planned for 2022, broken up by type of work. Some dates are subject to change due to the vagaries of the publishing industry.

Writing Projects:

  • FiveFold Universe project (Jan, actually quite excited about this project)
  • 3 contracted short stories (2 in Feb, 1 in ?)
  • Shadowrun YA novella #3: Unrepairable (3rd quarter 2022)
  • Shadowrun YA novella #4: The Kilimanjaro Run (Bonus points if I do it at all in 2022)


Editing (This is where I’m going to be resting):

  • Shadowrun: Elfin Black (final polish/proof, Jan/Feb?)
  • The Reinvented Detective anthology (Jan-Jun)
  • Freelance editing (recurring gig, Mar-Aug?)


PR (Social media bits):


Conventions/Events (*Planned for, not yet official):

  • Rainforest Writing Retreat (Feb)
  • Norwescon (Apr)
  • Origins Game Fair* (Jun)
  • Gen Con (Aug)

From one point of view, this is still a lot and it doesn’t cover any pop-up requests or the classes I will teach. What is important is that after January, I have no long fiction writing projects planned until the third quarter of the year. The recurring freelance editing gig actually is rest. I’m working, yes, and it is detailed work, but it isn’t hard.

I need these months to not be under contract. I need to rest and refresh the creative well. I need to let my mind wander and gambol and drift. I’ve been telling all my mentees for years to remember to rest. Mentor, listen to thyself. Besides, there’s an unwritten story I’ve been flirting with for years that has become more insistent and I want to think about it. It might be fun to just play for a while.

Of course, if my fabulous agent sells one of my books currently in circulation…all bets are off.

2021 Eligibility Post

Despite the fact that 2021 was another emotional kick in the shins for me, I did produce a number of works I believe are worthy of notice.

 Short Fiction
Seven Steps to Immortality” – Daily Science Fiction
Science fiction/Fantasy
(I am particularly pleased with this one.)

 “Unsavory” – Boundaries: All-New Tales of Valdemar anthology, DAW
Fantasy, Tie-in

Novella
Shadowrun: See How She Runs, Catalyst Game Labs
YA, SF, Tie-in

Novel
BattleTech: Crimson Night, Rogue Academy 3, Catalyst Game Labs
YA, Military SF, Tie-in

 Anthology (edited)
99 Tiny Terrors, Pulse Publishing
Flash fiction horror anthology

Audiobook
BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident, Catalyst Game Labs
YA, Military SF, Tie-in

If you are on the jury for anything you believe these works qualify for, contact me and I will send you an electronic version of the work.

Nothing Better Than Typing The End

There is nothing better than typing “The End” on a novel. Once you do that, you finally understand what the whole story is about. You are aware of your beginning, middle, and end. You, the author, have brought forth a new story into the world and it is the best thing ever. There is the moment of completion to revel in. Raise your mug (of whatever; coffee, tea, beer…) high and celebrate.

There is nothing worse than typing “The End” on a new novel. The original act of creation is done. You know the whole story now. You see your early flaws, the holes, and your needed systemic rewrites. You, the author, are aware the pacing is wonky, the prose is substandard, and it is the roughest manuscript ever. There is a moment of revelation of how much more work there is to do. Raise your mug (of whatever; blood, sweat, tears…) high and prepare to dig in. The real work is about to begin.

I’ve finished Draft Zero of Shadowrun: Elfin Black. I’m going to take one or two days to do nothing and rest my brain. Then I’m going to begin again. I already know what I need to add beyond filling out the [Brackets] that past Jennifer left me to figure out. I am aware that a lot more details need to be filled in to help with the foreshadowing. I know of a couple early scenes that need to be added. I’m an adder type of author rather than a subtractor type of writer. This is how I write.

This novel makes me happy. I’ve brought in characters from my short story “Dark Side Matters”, my podcast ShadowBytes, and from my novel(la)s Makeda Red, DocWagon 19, and A Kiss to Die For. If do this writing stuff correctly, every single Shadowrun short story, podcast, novella, and novel I write will be interlinked in some way. This pleases me to no end.

Now...I rest.

Bubble & Squeek for 2 Aug 2021

Deadlines, like lemmings, all rush to the same point. Same thing with updates and book releases. July was a huge month for me.

•    Audiobook Release: BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident audiobook. This is my award-winning YA BattleTech book read by the ever-talented Liisa Lee.


•    Reading: Shadow Bytes for Wily Writers. I read the origin story for By-the-Numbers for Wily Writers, a group that is designed to help all writers succeed. This was one part of Shadow Bytes hosted by The Violent Life podcast. (YouTube video.)

•    Release! Shadowrun: See How She Runs. YA Shadowrun novella set in Barcelona. Ridley Ruiz has plans. Big ones. However it seems that the shadows have plans for her, too.


•    Release! BattleTech: Crimson Night, Book Three of the Rogue Academy trilogy. Just released! Can Jasper and Nadine Roux save their planet from a rogue Draconis Combine warlord? Winner takes all in this explosive conclusion to the Rogue Academy trilogy.
 


•    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.

All About Shadowrun

Happy Goblinization Day! In the Shadowrun Universe, (from the Shadowrun wiki) “Goblinization began on 30 April 2021. On this day many humans (approximately 10% of the world's population), without any evident reason, transformed into Orks and Trolls. In most cases, those humans started changing en masse before the very eyes of horrified spectators, causing much panic and alarm. This event made the population fearful and discriminatory, much more than UGE, meeting metahumanity with hostility and sometimes force.

Riots as a result of Goblinization escalated, especially after the 14th amendment of the UCAS constitution gave the same rights to metahumans, culminated into the Night of Rage in 2039. It has had a negative influence on Japan's metahuman policy, and goblinization is indirectly responsible for the formation of the Humanis Policlub. This event caused the Coffee Famine of 2022.”

Happily, I get to announce that I have signed a contract for my next Shadowrun novel, Elfin Black, staring the main character, Elfin John, from the short story “Dark Side Matters” that was in the Drawing Destiny anthology. I’m super excited for this novel. It’s set on the outskirts of Seattle in the wilds of Snohomish—a place I am familiar with because of playing Ingress.

Elfin Black will draw in a couple of characters from Shadowrun: Makeda Red and Shadowrun: A Kiss to Die For. I think, eventually, all of the characters from all of my Shadowrun novels and novellas will be linked. I have a plan. It is a very cunning plan…

Shadowrun: Makeda Red. 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. (Also available in audiobook format.)

Shadowrun: DocWagon19. DocWagon—saviors of the needy, rescuers of the desperate. Reporter Amelia Hart has embedded herself with a DocWagon team to see what their life is really like. When the past comes to haunt the team, Amelia is in for a wild ride. (Novella, also available in audiobook format.)

Shadowrun: A Kiss to Die For. When Sartorial meets Kintsugi at a jabber—an illegal warehouse party—they fall in love as only teenagers can do. But the world conspires to keep them apart…as do the secrets the teenagers hold. (Novella)


Shadowrun: See How She Runs. Ridley Ruiz is an ambitious teenager from a poor family, but she’s got dreams of a bigger, better life. One night at a jabber changes everything. Ridley sees something she wasn’t supposed to see, and is given a package she isn’t supposed to have. After she makes the delivery to a dangerous person and receives a handsome reward, chance conspires against her, and this one-time event becomes a deal with the devil.