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
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!
Now that you’ve seen what I did in 2018, here’s the basic plan for 2019.
• 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.
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)
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?
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
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.
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!
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.
I will be at Worldcon and easy to find in general. Most of my time, during the day, will be spent behind my booth in the dealers room. Come find me at the Apocalypse Ink Productions booth, say hello, buy a book and get it signed! I'll have copies all of my new stuff as well as the sudden and unexpected appearance of my SF anthology, Bless Your Mechanical Heart. It is out of print and filled with wonderful stories about robots and cyborgs dealing with emotions.
I do have a couple of panels. They are listed below. Hope to see you there!
Dealers Room Hours: 12 Noon – 6 PM
Dealers Room Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM
1-2pm, 210F (San Jose Convention Center)
Playing in Other Sandboxes: Media Tie-In Writing
The media tie-in. Once, the dirty secret of the spec fic market -- now the best way to get exposure for your name. Movies, TV, Video Games, RPGs and even other books. How does an author find the room to move in an often already crowded world? Dancing with license holders, tiptoeing around cannon, and waltzing with readers expectations; is it worth it? And why the sudden upsurge in tie-in short fiction?
David Boop, Joy Ward, Jennifer Brozek, Sarah Stegall, Wesley Chu
Dealers Room Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM
11am-12pm, 212D (San Jose Convention Center)
DD: How to Pitch a Story
Participants will learn four basic pitch techniques, two verbal and two written, to help sell both short and long fiction. We will also discuss how, why, and when each is used. Participants will be asked to present a pitch based on a provided prompt.
Dealers Room Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM
Dealers Room Hours: 10 AM – 3 PM
Let me sum up Gen Con: Busy, exhausting, awesome.
As usual, way too many things happened for me to talk about them all. I’m going to hit some highlights.
Melissa Allen Trilogy
I discovered that Melissa Allen #1: Never Let Me Sleep is on TV Tropes! There’s an author bucket list checkmark!
Arkham Horror: To Fight the Black Wind
I have never had so many fans come up and be so complimentary about any of my tie-in fiction before. People told me that, because of my novella, Carolyn Fern was now their favorite Arkham Horror character. That To Fight the Black Wind was “the holy grail” of the Arkham Horror novellas to find. That there is even a subreddit discussing To Fight the Black Wind that was complimentary. (Another author buckle list checkmark). I was even asked to sign the Carolyn Fern Arkham Horror card game card (checkmark!). I really am thrilled at how much people enjoyed my novella.
Cat Labs (So Many Projects)
BattleTech – The Nellus Academy Incident sold out at both the Cat Labs booth and mine. Several people came to find me with the book they’d bought elsewhere to get it signed. A huge number of BattleTech fans came to as about the new YA Rogue Academy BattleTech trilogy and say nice things about Nellus Academy.
Shadowrun – I got to see all the Cat Lab people and thank Jason Hardy for all he does to protect his authors. I got compliments on Doc Wagon 19 and asked if I was writing more Shadowrun…. To which I could say Yes! I’m writing the first YA Shadowrun novella, A Kiss to Die For. I don’t know when it’ll be out. I also got to meet the people behind the MyViolentLife Shadowrun podcast. I’ll be working with them later in the year on Shadow Bytes, short Shadowrun podcast fiction.
Of course, there was all kinds of cool stuff with one of my favoritest editors, John. We all got to sign the Masters of Orion anthology that he edited and I wrote for. I had meetings with him on a couple of “sekrit” projects that promise to be very exciting, some time in the future.
Breakfast with Misty was a joy and a relief. Especially after her scary adventure. Check out her FB page for more, entertaining details.
We made it home in good time with only a handful of books to spare. Someday, I will completely sell out of all my books. This was close, but not quite there, yet.
Yes, I’m going to WorldCon. Schedule soon.
Next week is Gen Con. I'm not officially on any panels, but I'm in the Authors Avenue in the Dealers hall, Booth AL, right across from Extra Life. I'll be there for most of the Dealer Room Hours. I've got morning breakfast meetings set up, and I will be attending the "What's New with Catalyst" panel. Other than that, my evenings are free. Let me know if you'd like to get together. Otherwise, come see me at my booth and say hello!
I'll have copies of:
- The Prince of Artemis V (new to Gen Con).
- A is for Apex (debuting at Gen Con).
- BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident (new to Gen Con).
- Arkham Horror: To Fight the Black Wind (new to Gen Con).
- The Last Days of Salton Academy (out of print).
- All the AIP books.
Hope to see you there!
Life has been busy, busy, busy, but good.
I've finished Rogue Academy: Iron Dawn, polish-edited it, and turned it in. I feel accomplished and actually pretty good about the manuscript. Of course, now I’m in that “I finished a novel, now what?” flail. It’s not that I don’t have stuff to work on. I do. It’s the fact that it feels like I’m doing “procrastination work” – which is what writing flash fiction, editing, and outlining is while I’m novel drafting. I’ll shake my brain out soon enough.
What am I working on now?
- Shadow Bytes – five pieces of Shadowrun flash fiction for a podcast.
- Editing the stories for A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods Lovecraft anthology.
- Prepping to write a Shadowrun novella, A Kiss to Die For.
What does my brain want to work on? After a call with my agent, a far future oceanic novella that I've been noodling over for about a year now. It might become a good Wit'n'Word writing group project.
August – I have two major conventions coming up in August: Gen Con and WorldCon. I am a dealer at both and a panelist at WorldCon. I’ll find out this week if I have any panel things to do for Cat Labs at Gen Con. I’ve got my house/cat sitters in place. I’ve started my plans for packing. Gen Con will be more complex than WorldCon, but all of it is doable.
September – I’m participating in the North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference. I’ll be reading Friday night, 21 Sep, and teaching two workshops on Saturday, 22 Sep.
Back patio – Our house is 30+ years old. We’re the second owners. We’re slowly making it look less like a 30+ year old house. The latest project is replacing the back red-brick patio with pretty grey paver stones. The Husband did most of the work. It’s involved and still ongoing. There’ll be a blog post about it soon. It’s not done because it includes replacing the deck stairs on the patio side of things.
Eating from the pantry – Twice a year, the Husband and I do what we call “eating from the pantry.” We don’t eat out. We don’t grocery shop except for fresh veggies and milk. We eat from what we have in the pantry and the deep freeze for the full month as a way of cleaning out the older / soon-to-expire dry goods. It’s also a way to save money. Of course, this means we end up with some strange meals by the end of the month. Bubble-and-Squeak for the win!
All four of them are fat and happy. I’m sure you can see that from my Twitter and Instagram. Feel free to join us there.