It’s 2018 and awards season has already begun. Nebula nominations are open. Hugo nominations are just around the corner. That means it’s time for me to take a critical look at what I’m most proud of from 2017 and what I’d like to highlight for your nomination consideration.
“To Lose the Stars” in The Jim Baen Memorial Award: The First Decade anthology.
I am super proud of this near future SF story. The anthology editor posted the story in the SFWA forums. It is also available for those who would like to read it for awards consideration. Just contact me.
New Podcast / Fancast (Hugos) / Podcast Series
Five Minute Stories podcast by Jennifer Brozek (author/reader) and Jeff Brozek (post production).
This was my first time at creating an SFF anthology podcast series. I worked with the Husband on it. We’ve produced and released all 26 episodes. I’m stupidly proud of this project. My favorite episodes of the series are: Train to Topeka, Elevator of the Damned, Responsible, Questions, and Two Letters.
Blogging / Best Related Work (Hugos)
Author Etiquette blog series by Jennifer Brozek and Sarah Craft.
This monthly series has been going on for three years now and I think there’s some really good stuff in it. We’ve put together a series of articles to help authors across the spectrum navigate some of the trickier social customs and courtesies of the publishing arena. Sarah’s post.
(Edit: Shifted Author Etiquette series from "Fan Writer" category to "Best Related Work" category based on advice given.)
When I was nominated the second time for the Bram Stoker award, I wrote about Awards and Imposter Syndrome. Now that I’m home from StokerCon 2017 and have lost the same award twice, I have a number of thoughts about this. It’s a bit disjointed, but stay with me. These are my personal thoughts.
1. This is the perfect example of graduating to a “better class of problem” as an author as you level up in your career.
2. Even thought you may arrive at the convention in a zen state of mind, this will be shattered by people congratulating you and saying things like “I’ll be very surprised if you don’t walk away with this.” That pessimistic shield/armor you’ve built over time to protect your fragile side will come tumbling down like dominoes.
3. It’s better if at least one of the people you are competing against is someone you know and like. That way if you both lose, you can commiserate. If your friend wins, your happiness for them outshines your sadness for yourself.
4. Sometimes, being gracious (in public) sucks. And you must be a gracious loser. I had a little help with that. I must admit I still straddled that line between envy (I wish I had what you have) and jealousy (I want what you have and I don’t want you to have it). This is human. Anyone who says they don’t fight with this is either a much better person than I or is lying to someone (including themselves).
5. Condolences after the fact will kill you.
6. Everyone who privately messages you with funny, catty, witty, snarky versions of “you were robbed!” will make you smile through the pain. As long as you keep it private, you can agree in the same tone.
7. Time heals. 24 hours later, the pain is there, but distant. I’m back to thinking about what I need to do next. I have novels to write and an agent to feed. Honestly, there’s always next year. Or the year after that. At least I got to see some of my favorite people and spend time with them.
8. 48 hours later, I get to marvel at my life. Ellen Datlow asked me how many times I’d been nominated. Gini Koch shared a couple of dirty jokes with me. I got a hug and a smile from Jonathan Maberry. I flew down to the Queen Mary for a banquet and an awards ceremony. People I know specifically watched the Stoker livestream just to see if I won. My life is amazing and I am grateful for it.
9. But losing a second time still stings. I look forward to the moment I win. I look forward to the moment losing an award is just part of the process (like story rejections). I look forward to continuing on. As I said when it happened: “Didn’t win. Kinda sad. Will keep on keeping on.” I’ve got work to do.
Thank you to all of you for joining me on my journey.
Here is a paraphrased IM conversation I had with Seanan from Wednesday morning, the 23rd (mostly because I can’t find the chat log).
Seanan: Have you looked at your email today?
Jenn: No. Didn’t sleep well last night. Guess I should.
Seanan: Go read your email, hon.
Jenn: Oh! Oh! Yay!
Jenn: Thank you. I was a little afraid of reading my email this morning because of this.
I read my email and discovered that The Last Days of Salton Academy has been nominated for the Bram Stoker award. My imposter syndrome had convinced me that I would never make the ballot two years in a row. It’s why I didn’t sleep well the night before the announcement and why I was afraid to check my email that morning. I didn’t want to face the disappointment.
Being a finalist for an award is awesome. Especially something like the Bram Stoker award.
However, being a finalist for an award for the second time is even better—for me that is. There’s something wonderful and concrete about the second finalist nomination. It tells me:
…I wasn’t ‘just lucky’ the first time.
…It wasn’t a pity vote.
…It wasn’t just my friends voting for me.
…I do have skill and talent as an author.
…It validates me as a creative professional.
Imposter syndrome is a green-eye monster that wants your attention. It doesn’t want you working on the next thing. It doesn’t want you to celebrate your wins—no matter how large or small. It wants you spiraling into its clawed embrace with no way out. With this repeat nomination, I have a reprieve from imposter syndrome’s ever-present looming nature. At least for a little while.
I’m happy. I really am.
Of course, I want to win the Bram Stoker award. The Last Days of Salton Academy is a good book. Also, that haunted house statue would look lovely on my brag shelf. It really would. Until then, I really am honored to be Bram Stoker nominee again.
The Last Days of Salton Academy is listed on the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel. I am so happy to see this. After the thrill of discovery wore off, like last year, saner thoughts prevailed.
Quoting from my previous post, “I can look at what this really means. The preliminary ballot is not an official nomination. That will come after the active and lifetime members of the HWA vote. I won’t know until Feb 23rd if I’m officially nominated or not. In the meantime, I can enjoy being that much closer to the award.”
It does appear that Feb 23 is the official date again. All I can do is hope that I wrote a good enough novel that it is nominated. HWA Active and Lifetime members vote from Feb 1 to the 15th.
In a more personal thought, I’m thrilled to be on the ballot 2 years in a row. There’s something validating in this fact. Other creatives will understand what I’m talking about. Heck, anyone who competes understands getting a repeat nod is worth a lot.
I’m really happy to see the list of people I see on the ballot. Everyone is excellent at what they do. I’m particularly pleased for Stephen Graham Jones and Paul Tremblay; Bill Gorman and Stephanie Wytovich; Cullen Bunn, Nicole Cushing, Aric Cushing, Victor LaValle, Mark Matthews, Tim Waggoner, Laird Barron, Joyce Carol Oates, Pete Kahle, and so many more. I stopped when I realized I was going to repeat more than half the ballot. My category for Young Adult Novel makes me both proud to stand side-by-side and quake at the competition. I wrote a fine novel… but so did they all.
At the end of the day, I’m thrilled to be listed on the 2016 Bram Stoker prelim ballot. It makes me happy. Of course, I want the official nomination and to win. But that part is out of my hands. It's up to the voters now. So, I’m going to enjoy this ride for as far as it will take me.
The nomination period for the 2017 Hugo Awards is now open. Below is what I am eligible for and what I published in 2016 I believe deserves to be nominated.
The Last Days of Salton Academy, YA horror novel - Ragnarok Publications
(While I had two other omnibuses and a fiction collection published, none of those are eligible and I am not eligible for the John W. Campbell award.)
“ARMIN LAAS” - ROBOTS! Origins Game Fair anthology (Science fiction)
“Inky, Blinky, and Me” - Man and Machine anthology (Science fiction)
“Dark Side Matters” - Drawing Destiny, a Sixth World Tarot anthology (Science fantasy)
“The Unfortunate Case of Sister Ruth” - Shockwaves, a V-Wars anthology (Urban fantasy)
“Feathers in Flight” - Tempest, All-New Tales of Valdemar anthology (High fantasy)
Editor – Short Form
I edited both EGM Shorts and Speculate! short fiction in 2016.
Remember, you need have been a member of last year’s Worldcon, and/or be a member of this year’s Worldcon, and/or be a member of next year's Worldcon to be eligible to either nominate or vote.
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.
From last night: I'm stupidly excited I've been listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot! Once for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for Apocalypse Girl Dreaming and once for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel for Never Let Me Sleep.
Now that the excitement of being listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot has died down, I can look at what this really means. The preliminary ballot is not an official nomination. That will come after the active and lifetime members of the HWA vote. I won’t know until Feb 23rd if I’m officially nominated or not. In the meantime, I can enjoy being that much closer to the award.
Also, I can enjoy the success of my friends and peers. In particular, I am super happy for Seanan McGuire who has been listed in the Long Form category for her spectacular story, “Resistance,” from The End Has Come anthology. And for Peter Clines who has been listed in the Novel category for his amazing novel The Fold.
I’m also pleased to see “Little Dead Red” by Mercedes M. Yardley (Long Fiction), “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Short Fiction), “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong (Short Fiction), “Hannibal: The Wrath of the Lamb” (Screenplay), Midian Unmade by Del Howison and Joseph Nassie (Anthology), and Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth by Michael Knost (Non-Fiction).
In my own two categories, I’m pleased to be going head-to-head against Samuel Sattin and The Silent End for Young Adult Novel. Also against both Lucy A. Snyder and Gary Braunbeck for Fiction Collection. What company to be in!
The competition is tough this year for the Bram Stoker Awards. I’ve read most of the entries listed and I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking and comparing before I vote.
I want to wish to congratulate everyone who was listed on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot. Good luck to one and all.
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.