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.
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.
Tomorrow, the Scribe Awards happen at SDCC. This is not a convention I ever intend to go to. I’m not sure how I would deal with the crowds. However, it’s got me thinking about awards again. I’m up for four awards with three different styles of nominations and voting for the win.
The Scribe Awards is a juried nomination and awarding system. Both of my nominated works were sent into the jury who decided on whether or not it should be nominated. Then that same jury chose the winner. This way is probably the smallest number of people to nominate and vote on the win.
The ENnie Awards is a juried nomination system followed by a popular vote. My work, Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It, was sent in to the jury who decided on which works should be nominated. From July 4-14, anyone and everyone can vote in the ENnies. You do not have to vote, nor are you expected to vote, on every category. Chicks Dig Gaming is listed under Best RPG Related Product. If you are going to vote in the ENnies, I’d appreciate any love you could throw my way.
The Hugo Award is a limited popular vote for the nomination and a limited weighted vote system for the win. Only people who were at/supported the previous world con or are going to/supporting the current worldcon can nominate. Only the people who are going to/supporting the current worldcon can vote in the Instant Runoff System.
Three very different types of voting systems for three different types of awards. I’m really not sure which one I like better. Awards are a strange thing. They can be something you shoot for. Or something that you are surprised with. Or, something some people dread. Other people don’t care one wit about them.
I do care. I would be a liar if I said otherwise. I’d love to win at least one of these awards but, realistically, the nomination is all the honor I will enjoy.
They are all honors. I think my favorite part of the whole award process is the notification you’ve been nominated. It’s like lightening from the blue. 90% of the time, you can’t tell anyone for a couple of weeks. That’s the feeling I try to keep in the forefront of my mind as the ceremonies go on with or without me. That's what I recommend anyone who is nominated keep to the forefront.
I won’t be at the Scribe Awards. I will be at the ENnies and the Hugo Awards. Despite the nervousness that comes with being in attendance, I’m looking forward to both.
I am home now from five weeks of travel and events (3 conventions, 2 readings, 1 wedding). I ended with LepreCon in Phoenix, AZ. Yes, it was hot. Really hot. Like 110+ degrees hot. However, it was a great convention. Highly recommended. Small, enthusiastic, and great guests of honor.
In particular, I was pleased to meet Dayton Ward, whom I know from IAMTW, and David Gerrold (most famous for “Trouble with Tribbles.”), who soothed all my fears about the Sasquan Hugo Awards ceremony. After talking with him about my concerns (David is the host), I feel like I can relax and just enjoy the ride. That’s a huge deal for me.
Also, I got to meet my Shadow Minion, Sarah Hendrix, who is as awesome in person as she is online. She took to being my in-person assistant like, well, my shadow. She got me to where I needed to be (Seriously, I have the direction sense of a stoned newt. I couldn’t find my room even once without her.), made me eat, even when I was cranky, found out all the answers, and even played in my Big Demons in Little China game. There’s already an offer on the table to bring the both of us to an LA convention.
Then, on the way to the airport, I discovered that Chicks Dig Gaming: A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It has been nominated for an ENnie award for Best RPG Related Product. Ya’ll have no idea just how happy I am about this. I joke that this means I have four awards (2 Scribes, 1 ENnie, 1 Hugo) to lose over the next two months, but I really am honored by the nomination. We worked hard on the anthology and it deserves some love and recognition. So, yay!
Now, I have a month to whip NEVER LET ME DIE into shape while fielding the edits of other projects from various publishers. Then, off to Gen Con as part of the Writers Symposium and as one of the Industry Insider Featured Presenters.
It's been an amazing couple of weeks. Really amazing.
Awards: I've been nominated for two different Scribe Awards. One for best tie-in short story. One for best tie-in YA novel.
Conventions: I've been named one of Gen Con's Industry Insider Featured Presenters. I'm really excited about this.
Election: I've been voted in as one of the new Directors-at-Large for SFWA along with Matthew Johnson. I will take office on July 1, 2015.
Interview: I've been interviewed by Katie Teller, focusing on my Dark Quest Books anthologies.
Review: Thomas Gondolfi of Scifimonkeys.com reviewed CALLER UNKNOWN and gave it an "Unexpected A-". He had some interesting points to make.
The Hugo Voting Packet is now available for those people who are eligible to vote in this year’s Hugo Awards. In 2014, I had four anthologies published. (Blog post about my Hugo nomination.) I knew that Baen Books was going to have Shattered Shields put into the packet because both Bryan and I were nominated for Best Editor (Short Form).
I chose to have Bless Your Mechanical Heart added as well because it was diametrically opposed to Shattered Shields—which is military fantasy. Bless Your Mechanical Heart is pure science fiction and is still one of my favorite anthologies.
I thought the two anthologies would give Hugo voters a good look at my range. I hope everyone who reads them enjoys them.
Also, in other interesting news, I’ve been nominated for a Scribe Award for two categories. The first is my Valdemar tie-in, “Written in the Wind,” for Best Short Story. The second is my Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident for best Young Adult Novel.
I’m so pleased to discover this. I enjoy both stories and am proud of them. I’m really happy that they’ve been nominated.
This Norwescon was pretty intense and event-filled. The biggest thing that happened was the Hugo Award nomination short list announcement. I have been nominated for Best Editor, Short Form. I’m simultaneously thrilled beyond words and terrified. I know a whole lot more people will be looking at me now, trying to figure out who I am, what I do, and what I’ve done.
I once wrote about working in the publishing industry was to be an obscure celebrity. When people find out, they get very excited. The stars in some people’s eyes is really amazing to see.
To be an editor is to be a stealth troubleshooter, designer, and artist all at once—specifically to make someone else look awesome. I’ve worked hard in the last five years, putting out 14 anthologies, being an assistant editor for Apex Publications, being the editor in chief of Apocalypse Ink Productions, and doing the thousand myriad jobs one does in the publishing business. I am currently editing a charity anthology as well as an open call for flash fiction for Evil Girlfriend Media.
In 2014, I had 4 anthologies released. I am proud of all of them. The first is pure science fiction, the second is steampunk fantasy, the third is a non-fiction anthology from women about games and the gaming industry, and the last is traditional fantasy-military.
- Bless Your Mechanical Heart anthology - Evil Girlfriend Media, Editor, April 2014
- Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls anthology - Graveside Tales, Editor, October 2014
- Chicks Dig Gaming non-fiction anthology - Mad Norwegian Press, Co-Editor (with Robert Smith? and Lars Pearson), November 2014
- Shattered Shields anthology - Baen Books, Co-Editor (with Bryan Thomas Schmidt), November 2014
Below are the other 10 anthologies I edited since 2009, including my award winning anthology, Grants Pass.
- Grants Pass anthology - Morrigan Books, Co-editor (with Amanda Pillar), August, 2009 (AU Shadows Award Winner 2009)
- Close Encounters of the Urban Kind anthology - Apex Book Company, Editor, April 2010
- Beauty Has Her Way anthology - Dark Quest Books, Editor, January 2011
- Human Tales anthology - Dark Quest Books, Editor, April 2011
- Beast Within 2: Predator & Prey anthology - Graveside Tales, Editor, June 2011
- Space Tramps anthology - Flying Pen Press, Editor, Sep 2011
- Human for a Day anthology – DAW, Editor, Dec 2011
- Dangers Untold anthology - Alliteration Ink Press, Editor, 1 October 2012
- Beast Within 3: Oceans Unleashed anthology - Graveside Tales, Editor, 7 December 2012
- Coins of Chaos anthology - EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Editor, October 2013
Since the announcement, several people have asked me if they can vote. The answer is “yes, but…” Yes, but you need to be at least a supporting member of Sasquan / Worldcon 2015. This is a minimum of $40. However, if you do become a member in time to vote (by the end of July 2015), you will receive the Hugo packet which will have a whole of books and stories from the nominees in other categories so you can make an informed choice. The Hugo packet will include examples of my editing work.
I want to thank everyone who has contacted me with cheers, support, and well wishes. I’m tickled pink that authors I’ve edited are happy about the nomination. Every congratulations message means the world to me. More than you can know. I do feel a little bit like the “home town girl does good” and I don’t want to let anyone down.
There you have it. I’ve been nominated and I’m thrilled. If you have any questions about my work, please let me know.
Along with me and my stuff being eligible for the Hugo Awards, I wanted to post some other recommendations. These are works that I have really enjoyed.
The Martian, Andy Weir
Symbiont, Mira Grant
"The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell" Mira Grant
“Yesterday’s Kin” Nancy Kress
“Dead Weight" The Tombs” M. Todd Gallowglas
“Rappacini's Crow” Cat Rambo
“A Necessary Being” Octavia Butler
"The Ghosts of Bourbon Street" Seanan McGuire
“The Meeker and the All-Seeing Eye”, Matthew Kressel
“The Lambs”, Seanan McGuire
“Goodnight Stars”, Annie Bellet
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short
“And the Apple of Discord" The Librarians
“Korra Alone” Legend of Korra
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Edge of Tomorrow
Guardians of the Galaxy
Best Editor (Short Form)
Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Best Editor (Long Form)
Toni Weisskopf – BAEN
Jim Minz – BAEN
Sheila Gilbert – DAW
Best Related Work
Chicks Dig Gaming, Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith?, Lars Pearson, Mad Norwegian Press
Invisible, Jim Hines
We’ve turned that corner and awards season is upon us, especially the Hugo Awards. This is a big deal in the publishing industry and one of the pie in the sky goals for me. First, to be nominated. Second, to win. Though, I think at this point, I would be over the moon to be nominated. Especially since Worldcon/Sasquan is in Spokane, WA this year—which is practically in my backyard.
The Hugo nomination period is open from late January to March and is open to everyone who went to Worldcon last year, is going this year to Worldcon/Sasquan, or is a supporting member.
I’m eligible for nomination in two categories.
Best Editor (Short Form): Jennifer Brozek
I work hard as an editor and would be pleased to be nominated for this category. In 2014, I edited, or co-edited, the following published anthologies: Shattered Shields (Baen Books), Chicks Dig Gaming (Mad Norwegian Press), Bless Your Mechanical Heart (Evil Girlfriend Media), and Beast Within 4: Gears & Growls (Graveside Tales).
Best Related Work: Chicks Dig Gaming (Editors: Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith? and Lars Pearson; Publisher: Mad Norwegian Press)
This collection of women game designers, artists, and gamers brings forth a series of personal essays that look at gaming, social constructs, literary criticism, and so much more. It is a positive book on women and gaming. I’m very proud of this book and would be so pleased to see it nominated.
There you go. My best offerings for the Hugo Awards. I really appreciate your consideration. I would love to have a “home town girl does good” experience.
You know, life was a lot easier when I didn’t know about awards like the Hugos or the Nebulas. It was an abstract thing. “Oh, there are awards and people win them. Cool.” Then, I started knowing the people who were nominated. “Oh, there are awards and my friends are up for them. Cool!” Then, I started being eligible and nominated for awards. Suddenly, it’s becoming, “There are these awards. How the hell am I good enough for them?”
I think I was lucky. The first two awards I was up for, I wasn’t at the awards ceremonies where I won. This vexed me. The third one, I made sure I was at and wanted to throw up the entire time. I won. I had a speech to read because a friend forced me to write one even though I was sure I wasn’t going to win. When I sat down, I realized I was starving. So, that’s what awards are like for me. Am I good enough? I’m going to throw up. Then, win or lose, I’m starving.
That being said, I still want to be nominated for awards and, yes, I want to win them. Winning is awesome. It really is. But, award season is stressful. People get cranky if you post about awards. People get cranky if you don’t post about awards. It’s really a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.
And since I’m going to be condemned either way, here’s what’s eligible of mine for the Hugo this year:
• "Iron Achilles Heel" - The New Hero II anthology - Stone Skin Press, February 2013
• "An Infestation of Adverts" - Blue Shift Magazine, Issue #1 anthology - White Cat Publications, June 2013
• "Dust Angels" - Beyond the Sun anthology - Fairwood Press, July 2013
• "Lock and Key" - Shadowrun Returns kickstarter anthology - Catalyst Game Labs, July 2013
• "The Price of Family" - Elementary (All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters) anthology - DAW, December 2013
• "A Nightmare for Anna" - By Faerie Light anthology - Zombie Sky Press, December 2013
• Children of Anu: Book Two of the Karen Wilson Chronicles, novel - Apocalypse Ink Productions, June 2013
• Coins of Chaos anthology - EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, Editor, October 2013 [Short form editor]