Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'conventions'

Jennifer Brozek’s Virtual Gen Con 2020 Booth

Hello everyone. I wish we were at Gen Con in person but circumstances have dictated that we cannot be. I miss you. Considered yourself hugged, or given a handshake, or a smile and a wave. I will be on twitter to celebrate one of my all-time favorite conventions.

Below are the books I have available. If you already have them all and would like to support me, please buy me a coffee. I really am made of caffeine and I sincerely appreciate your support. You are the reason I write. (That and the fact that I need to feed my cats.)

BATTLETECH

 

BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident. Eight cadets and a general on a PR event gone horribly wrong. This one will break your heart.

BattleTech: Iron Dawn, Rogue Academy One. A pair of war orphans lead their academy to rescue their own when the adults can’t do it.

(New!) BattleTech: Ghost Hour, Rogue Academy Two. After sibling cadets, Jasper and Nadine Roux rescue Emporia’s MechWarriors and ’Mechs, the enemy fights back because they—like the siblings—have nothing left to lose.

SHADOWRUN

(New!) 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: 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?

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)

URBAN FANTASY

The Karen Wilson Chronicles. Omnibus. Karen Wilson is a 911 operator in the city of Kendrick, who receives a very strange phone call and discovers that her city is not at all what it appears to be. Pulled into Kendrick's hidden, supernatural world, she finds herself appointed as the mysterious Master of the City's visible representative to-well, everyone-and then gets adopted by a baby gargoyle. Can things get any stranger? In Kendrick, they probably can.

Join Karen and her allies as they fight to protect not just themselves, but the entire city and its denizens, from dangers within that threaten to consume them whole. This omnibus contains all four of the Karen Wilson Chronicles novels (Caller Unknown, Children of Anu, Keystones, Chimera Incarnate) as well as bonus content including a never before published short story, "The Fool's Path."

A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods. Bram Stoker award finalist anthology edited by Jennifer Brozek. The ongoing battle against the immortal Elder Gods enters the modern age. Magic, mayhem, and murder no longer reign in dusty books discovered in decrepit libraries. Today’s monsters can be called by more than uncanny rituals in candlelit basements. Madness lurks on the internet and lives in the locker room. It breeds in the mall and ambushes its victims outside the club.

But those who fight this vast evil have also moved into the modern age. Teenagers from every walk of life use whatever they can to defend our world. Sometimes they win. Sometimes they lose. Sometimes…they give into the temptations of eldritch power.

If you didn’t find anything you liked, check out my podcasts: Five Minutes Stories and Shadowrun: ShadowBytes.

Sands Through the Hourglass

We are well past the halfway point in 2020 and part of me doesn’t understand how that could happen. How is time slipping by so fast? What have I been doing with my time. (I mean I know what I’ve been doing, but still, the question lingers.)

I think it’s because we are in the middle of what would’ve been my convention season. Norwescon, Westercon, Origins…and coming up Gen Con and Worldcon. For the last ten years, spring and summer have been broken up with travel—be it local or not. Everything used to hinge on what convention did I just do and what convention do I need to prepare for next? It chopped up the months nicely.

Now, I’ve got “before Rainforest” and “after Rainforest.” I went away for a writing retreat and the world changed. Possibly—probably—forever. The only things marking time right now are “when I said good-bye to dad” and “when dad died.” These are not things I want to mark my time. I’m trying to find other things to focus on.

A Kiss to Die For BattleTech Ghost Hour

I did have two books come out last month. Shadowrun: A Kiss to Die For and BattleTech: Ghost Hour. Both are doing all right, but this would’ve been the convention season I would’ve touted them, showing them off, and signing copies for old and new fans alike.

I was recently (in the grand scheme of things) nominated for two awards: the Scribe award for BattleTech: Iron Dawn and the Bram Stoker award for A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods. I lost both of them, but, as they said, it is an honor to be nominated. (Of course, not going to lie, I would have rather have won one or both of them.)

I do miss traveling to conventions or for weekend trips with the Husband. They were much needed vacations from reality. I think both of us have realized how much we miss them, even though conventions were so much work. They filled the creative well for me and allowed the Husband to get away from the computer. I hope we get back to them again someday.

In the meantime, we’re doing a bunch of virtual events for conventions. My next one is Gen Con. My author card will be linked to this blog and I’ll be posting books for sale and such. I don’t have any panels. I just did a series of panels for “JulyCon” on Arvan Eleron’s twitch channel. There’s a recording of the panels on YouTube.

Virtual events are fun, but they are a stop gap measure until we find the new normal for conventions and other writing/fan events. Mostly, they just make me miss going to conventions and seeing my friends and peers all the more. Plus, I miss the business aspect of them where me and my editors/publishers can get some face-to-face talking time about what’s the plan for the next year. That said, we are lucky to have the opportunity to host and participate in virtual events.

In the meantime, I’ve got my last BattleTech novel to write. I’ve got a deadline to meet. It’s good to have something keeping me busy. I hope everyone else out there has stuff to keep them busy and is doing as well as they can be. I miss my friends. Know you are missed and loved.

Life in the Age of a (Currently) Mild Pandemic

Parameters for this blog post: Pandemic level 0: Normal flu season. Pandemic level 5: Contagion movie. Pandemic level 10: The Stand by Stephen King.

I think we’re somewhere around Pandemic level 3. I say level 3 because of the following:

·         There is a cause for concern. We are no longer at containment. We are at leveling the curve for emergency care and working to mitigate the spread as much as possible. The breakdown of hospital resources (ventilators) in Italy is an example of why we need to flatten the curve.

·         There is some mild panic. It’s still thoughtful and rational. It’s “I need hand sanitizer and TP.” There is no real threat of looting. It’s not a real panic. Real panic is where you will accidently drown another person trying to find the surface of the water. It’s where you will leave behind loved ones in the face of danger because you are no longer thinking. It’s where fight or flight has taken over and where people refuse to open doors to neighbors out of fear.

·         Long asymptomatic infectious period. A person can be infected with COVID-19 for as many as 14 days without showing any symptoms while being contagious. The R0 (R-naught), the estimated number of individuals that each infected person will transmit to, for the COVID-19 is currently between 2 and 3.

·         Specific vulnerable population. In Contagion and The Stand, anyone and everyone could get the virus and all ages would get sick and die. Whereas COVID-19 is specifically lethal to elderly and autoimmune compromised populations. I’ve read a lot of data out there that say up to  40-70% of the world’s population will catch COVID-19, but only have comparatively mild symptoms. Obviously, more than just the elderly and autoimmune compromised can get sick and die.

·         There is no vaccine. Yet. We don’t try to contain the flu during flu season. That’s because we have a vaccine. COVID-19 does not yet have a vaccine. That’s one of the reasons it is so dangerous.

·         There’s a lot more data out there. This is not an exhaustive list. It’s some of the reasons for my thought process and estimate of the danger. Don't forget to do your own research.

 

In the Seattle area, many companies (mostly tech companies) have cancelled all non-essential travel. Also, those who can work at home have been sent home until the last week of March (at the earliest). Many of those companies have put support staff on “holiday hours” but are still paying full-time wages. Some are not, and that will lead to future problems.

As an author of dark speculative fiction, and a former military brat who lived in Europe during the Cold War, I watch this all with a wary eye. Every person of my local social writing group, Wit’n’Word, has a spouse who has been sent to work from home. Including me. This isn’t too bad. The Husband understands I need quiet and long periods of time to write. On the other hand, this entire week he has early morning conference calls with the people he was supposed to meet in Boston.

My dreams are unquiet. Example: last night, I dreamed that the Husband agreed to taken in 14 cats without asking me because two of them were singapura kittens and he knows I love them. There were also a LOT of people in the house because of the cats. By the end of the dream, I was slowly containing the cats and kicking the unwanted house guests out.

Clearly, my brain believes that the Husband is bringing a lot of chaos home and it doesn’t know how to deal with it all…yet.

I do have some anxiety. I really don’t want to live through an actual Armageddon. At least, not one this slow moving. Give me Night of the Comet any day of the week and let me have the world’s resources to survive on. You can skip the zombies, though.

Still, I have hope. Hope that the spring and summer months will become an obstacle to COVID-19 and its spread. Hope that a vaccine will be approved over the next year. Hope that I will still be able to make some of my summer convention season.

I also have common sense. Washing my hands regularly. Limiting my forays out into the world. Plans of what to do when I do go to conventions—gloves, wipes, no handshakes or hugs. The knowledge that some events may be postponed or cancelled and there’s little I can do about that.

Now, I guess we will wait and see.

 

Origins Game Fair Schedule 2019

I will be at Origins Game Fair this coming weekend, spending most of my time in the Origins Library and participating on panels in the Writing Seminar. The authors area will not be inside the exhibit hall. They decided to place us in the spotlight area across from the main entrance of Hall A. They have co-located the seminar room with the authors area so attendees will have one spot to go to listen to authors then buy their books.

   

Reminder: no shyness around me. Come say hello (unless I'm running to the restroom). Ask your questions. Get your books signed. There are some fabulous authors in the Origins Library this yere.

Thursday
1pm - 2pm | Career Expectations: What can you expect from a writing career?
How do you decide if you’re a success or a failure? | Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Brozek, Michael R. Underwood (M), Robyn King

2pm - 3pm | Writing RPG Fiction: The nuts and bolts of RPG short story, novella, and novel writing. | Larry Dixon, Jennifer Brozek, Robyn King, Tracy Chowdhury, John Helfers (M)

5pm | Emberwind. Jennifer and the Embercrew will play Skies of Axia, streamed (hopefully).

==================
Friday
1pm - 2pm | Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly Magazine
: Even after many years and dozens of novels and short stories, Mercedes Lackey is still trying new avenues of publishing, including launching Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly, a brand-new fantasy digest magazine, in 2019. Join her and associated editors Jennifer Brozek and John Helfers and learn about this new venue for the best in original and classic short fantasy fiction. | Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Brozek, John Helfers (M). 

3pm - 4pm | Networking: Who should you be talking to? And how? And when have you crossed the line? | Mercedes Lackey, Addie J. King, Jennifer Brozek, Gregory A. Wilson (M)

5pm - 5:30pm | Reading. Jennifer Brozek will read from BattleTech: Iron Dawn and Shadowrun: Makeda Red.

==================
Saturday
10am - 11am | Professional Writing Organizations
: What is SFWA and what does it offer? What about HWA? IAMTW? Which ones should you join—if any? | Cat Rambo, Jennifer Brozek, Aaron Rosenberg (M)

==================
Sunday
10am - 11am | Ask the editors anything
: Questions you were too afraid to ask when your story was on the line | Jennifer Brozek, Lucy Snyder, John Helfers (M)


Cover Reveal and Early Release of Shadowrun: Makeda Red!

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 

 

 

Norwescon and New Books

This weekend, I’ll be at Norwescon in the Dealers Room. I’ll be located in the back right corner, next to the Girl Genius booth. That right there says it’s going to be a fun convention. I like hanging out with the Foglios.

I don’t have any panels this year but I do have two new books! The first is A Secret Guide to Fight Elder Gods—a Lovecraftian YA anthology with some of my favorite authors in it, including Seanan McGuire who will be at my booth on Saturday, 12-2pm, to sign that book a couple others she will be bringing with her.  The second is BattleTech: Iron Dawn—the first book in a new YA BattleTech trilogy. Now, this book is in the mail as I type, so it might not get there on the first day of Norwescon, but I’m hoping it will.

I will be at my booth all weekend. It’s a “no shyness” zone. Come by, say hello, buy books, or get your books signed. If you want to have a longer conversation with me, just keep to one side or the other of the booth so I can keep selling books while we have our conversation. If you want to meet up for a drink or a meal, ping me and I’ll see how my schedule looks.

See you at Norwescon!

 

The Plan for 2019

Now that you’ve seen what I did in 2018, here’s the basic plan for 2019.

Writing/Editing:
•    Finish processing publisher edits on BattleTech Rogue Academy 1: Iron Dawn.
•    Write two BattleTech Rogue Academy novels – Complete Rogue Academy 2: Ghost Hour (writing and publisher edits), complete Rogue Academy 3: Crimson Night first draft.
•    Edit Shadowrun long fiction – First, edit the novella, A Kiss to Die For. Next, in-between Rogue Academy novels, process publisher edits for my long-ago written Shadowrun novel, Makeda Red.
•    Release a limited run Shadowrun Flash Fiction Podcast called Shadow Bytes. This includes three excerpts from DocWagon 19 and five loosely linked original pieces of fiction.
•    Edit/manage a brand new, soon-to-be announce project. It is super exciting and I can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Expand My Creative Horizons:
As it’s turned out, I’ve received the opportunity to try some new things in 2019. Each is new to me and something I’ve wanted to for a while.
•    I’ve joined a Twitch RPG game. It will be set in the Emberwind universe. I believe we’ll be playing once a month.
•    I’ve joined the cast of the Dire Multiverse podcast as voice talent. I’m voicing two characters so far and I’m already having a lot of fun with this ensemble podcast.
•    I’ve joined Curious Fictions. It’s a little like Patreon, but is focused on writers. I’ll be posting weekly. Two weeks will be open to the public, two weeks will be for my subscribers only. I’m not completely sure how this will go, but if you become a subscriber, know that I appreciate you immensely.

Travel:
I have five conventions scheduled for 2019. There will, most likely, be a couple of one-day driving events that I do with Raven Oak or with Books & Chains. I’m really making the effort to do less travel because I have a heavier writing schedule this year. Also, me and the Husband plan to spend a couple of weeks in New Zealand in 2020.
•    Mar - Rainforest, WA (Teaching a workshop)
•    Apr - Norwescon, WA (Dealers table)
•    May - StokerCon, MI (Teaching a workshop)
•    May - MisCon, MT (TBA – I haven’t heard if I’m in the dealers room or on panels yet.)
•    Aug - Gen Con, IN (TBA – Author’s Avenue most likely)

Personal Growth:
I’m 48 now. Something clicked in 2018 that proved I really need to take control of my space, my work-life balance, and my health—both physical and mental. I worked 316 days last year. That is too many. I should be closer to 260 days. Also, there’s not that much in my life I have complete control over. Based on the business I’m in and the world at large, I need to take control over what I can control.
•    Physical health – I’m eating better and I’m exercising more. This isn’t a resolution. I started this back in August 2018. I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing.
•    Declutter – I have now lived in one place, one home, for longer than I ever have in my life. 10+ years. For someone used to moving every 2-5 years, I’ve gotten good at decluttering and downsizing my stuff. That hasn’t happened in 10 years. Needless to say, the house is a mess. A cluttered mess. Because I have a hard time being motivated to work on Mondays and because I can’t seem to actually take a weekend day off, I’m scheduling Mondays to declutter, downsize, and clean. I can write/edit on Monday if I want, but Mondays are guilt-free no publishing work days for 2019.
•    Crafting – Finish craft projects. Compared to most, I am not a crafter. I’m a dabbler. I’m okay with this. I have one baby blanket and a couple of nebulous projects in the works. I want to get those done and evaluate if I get any joy out of crafting or if they are just added stress.

That’s it for me. What’s on your plate in 2019?

What Did I Do in 2018

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

Wrote:
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.

OryCon and SF Authorfest Schedule

Here is my OryCon and SF Authorfest schedule. If I'm not at my table, I'm at a panel. Come say hello, buy books/ebooks, get stuff signed, and get holiday gifts for your loved ones! I've got some out-of-print books as well as collectible books to sell. I'm going to be right next to Angelwear Creations.

Friday, Nov 9
3:00:pm-4:00:pm, Horror For Beginners, Room: 166 B   

Want to write a scary story, but don’t know where to start? Advice from some of our favorite horror authors!

---

Saturday, Nov 10
12:00:pm-1:00:pm, Willing suspension of disbelief, Room: 166 B   

A discussion of earning the willing suspension of disbelief, why you need it, and when to overstep it.

1:00:pm-2:00:pm, Are You Doomed by Your Muse?, Room: Pettygrove   
Creatives have a reputation for self-destructing, suffering, starving, succumbing to various illnesses and addictions... How much of this is self-fulfilling prophecy, how much is sensationalism and cultural influence, and how much is it the nature of being a writer, poet, artist, musician, or other creative?

7:30:pm-8:00:pm, Jennifer Brozek Reading, Room: 152 Readings   
Jennifer Brozek reads from her works—one published, one not published.


---

Sunday, Nov 11
10:00:am-11:00:am, Horror vs Modern Technology, Room: Pettygrove  
 
A discussion of how things like cellphones and the internet impact horror stories, and how to write stories incorporating them.

1:00:pm-2:00:pm, Autograph Session, Room: TBA   
Get your books signed by Jennifer Brozek, Dayle A. Dermatis, David D. Levine

***

SF AUTHORFEST, Nov 11, Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
4:00:pm-5:30:pm, 20-25 authors all signing books!

"On Stage" at WorldCon 76

I have survived both Gen Con and Worldcon. I’ve come home to a mountain of work and a clowder of kitties alternating between needy and pissed off. I am so glad to be home. It’s been a lot of travel over the last three weeks.

I only had two panels and both were good. I was nominated as moderator for the Media Tie-In panel and did adequately well for having no warning and no prep. The second panel, “How to Pitch a Story”, was something else altogether.

The room was almost full by the time I arrived ten minutes early. I was already fretting that I had to condense a 2 hour workshop into 50 minutes. By the time the panel started, it was standing room only and people were lining the walls. It was one of my most successful panels to date (second only to my Tracon panel, “How to make the ordinary terrifying.”).

I spoke fast, recovered without making a fool of myself when a pair of sign language interpreters appeared at my side (thank goodness I recognized what they were doing before I asked), and I got out 95% of what I wanted to do. Based on the myriad of responses and compliments, I did well. I’m pleased. I feel prepared for the North Coast Redwood Writers Conference version of the workshop I’ll be giving in September.

I did have a husband (D) and wife (S) come to my table later and ask how D could learn to put himself out there. S explained that D was extremely shy (he was) and that networking was going to be really hard for him. S was vivacious and engaging. D looked like he wanted the ground to swallow him. I knew I had to do two things: 1. Explain that “Jennifer Brozek, Author and Editor” was a different person than me. 2. Explain how the two of them could work things so D would be able to talk to editors, publishers, and agents.

1. When I am at a convention and in public, I’m “on stage.” I’m playing a character who likes people, is extremely patient, is confident, knowledgeable, and happy to be there. 80% of the time, this isn’t really an act. This is a mode that I get into. It’s true. However, when I saw how packed my workshop was, I had to take that ten minutes to “gird my loins” as they say and remind myself that I did know what I was talking about. I wasn’t a hack. And they weren’t going to throw rotten fruit at me.

I did this by taking on a power stance, standing in front of the panel table, and taking control of the room. I didn’t let anything bother me. If I didn’t have an answer for a question, I said so. I was the character. As soon as the panel was done, I fled. Flat out. I thanked everyone. Reminded people that another panel was coming in there. And I didn’t wait to talk to anyone. Except for William Ledbetter who said, “That was the best 4 hour workshop in 45 minutes I’ve ever heard.” It was the right thing to say to me then.

2. D is shy. Extremely so. But, he’s a gamer. I explained how I put on a character and recommend that he try something similar. Also, practice your elevator pitch. Practice your longer pitch. Practice on your friends and family. If you have to create a LARP of friends who are different publishers, editors, and agents. Then have a party. He seemed to consider the idea as a possibility.

The other thing I had to do was gently tell S that she needed to step back a bit and let D take the lead. D would be the one working with the publishers, editors, and agents. He had to be the one to talk and he had to get used to the idea. Eventually, the two of them could tag-team it, but for her to help, she had to let D work through his issues. She had to have the patience to do so.

I wasn’t always as “confident” or “smooth” or “clear and concise” or “engaging” as I seem now. I remember I wouldn’t go to my first Gen Con until my editor, Brian Gute, agreed to shepherd me around. Now, I’ve had over ten years of experience on the convention circuit, talking with people I wanted to impress, and generally learning how to be a people-person or “on stage” at a convention.

I think it’s important for people just starting out to realize that a lot of us in the front of the room are faking it. Yes, we generally know what we’re doing, but we don’t have all the answers. We have the experience of what worked for us. We’d like to help those following in our footsteps make less mistakes… or at least different ones. “Fake it until you make it” works for me. It might work for you, too.