Jennifer Brozek | All posts tagged 'conventions'

Blowing Up Felicia Day AKA the Origins Report

I have to say, Origins rocked my socks so hard.  I had a much better time with it than I thought I would. Better than any Gen Con I have gone to because it is a smaller, more intimate convention centered in a single hotel.

We started off to a slightly rocky start with the discovery that the tables in the Library where all of the writing seminar authors were in the Dealers room would not fit into the allotted space. Dylan Birtolo and I took charge and fixed it as best we could, figuring that it was easier to ask for forgiveness. Fortunately, Jean Rabe and Mike Stackpole were both pleased with the effort.

Dylan (AKA the Iron Writer) is the perfect convention buddy. He is awesome “booth cake” getting people into the Library and then selling books. Plus, he had my back at all times. Comforting since the Husband could not be at the convention. We both had moments where we needed to accommodate each other and it worked out well.

The conversation with my fellow Library denizens was spectacular. In particular, Maxwell Alexander Drake, his PA Evan, Ryan Kaelin, Bryan Young, and Daniel Meyers were particularly amusing. Getting to know them was brilliant. All of the denizens were fun to hang out with and speak on panels with.

Though it was a smaller convention, the opportunities to network, brainstorm, and have a really good time with other gaming professionals were abundant. There are several contacts I need to follow up on for future work. I particularly like the Big Bar on 2. First, I like truth in advertising. Second, it was a great place to mingle. I spent so much time with people I rarely get to see. It was wonderful.


***



The geektastic highlight of the convention occurred on Friday night when I happened upon John Scalzi, his wife Krissy, Robert (owner of Geek Chic), Pat Rothfuss and Wil Wheaton.  I knew Pat was at the con. I had already spent time talking with him. But John surprised me. I was so pleased to see him and to meet his fierce and lovely wife.  John introduced me to Wil and we talked about the time he crashed my convention 17 years ago* and talked about mutual friend, Ryan Macklin**. Then, I wandered off to go talk to Mike Stackpole again.

When I returned, they were gone from their seats but a jacket was left. I found the group in the Geek Chic room and returned the jacket to Krissy. Then I sat down to watch the gaming. Honestly, you had to be there to believe it. Boyan Radakovich (assistant producer of TableTop) was running a game for the crew and the trash talking was amazing.

Just before Felicia got there, Wil spilled his beer, prompting a flurry of activity and John to move his glass out of the way… which was then knocked over and broken. While that clean up went on, Krissy moved to a different seat and Felicia arrived. She promptly kicked a glass left on the floor—breaking it, too. All of which happened in less than five minutes.

This prompted someone to declare they were as destructive as rock stars. That demanded a rock star photo and Felicia handed me her phone, insisting on the photo. I got two pictures. You can see the best one here on John’s write up of the evening. Did I think to ask if I could get a picture with them? No***. Did I think to ask to get a photo with even one of them? No. Too much in the moment having a good time.

As soon as Boyan showed up with more games (Felicia did not like the game that started the rock star behavior) and I was suddenly roped into a game of BANG! by Wil. Oh, twist my arm. I used my naivety at the game to pretend to not be a bad guy, helped kill one of the deputies, and pretend to be a good guy… Until I tried to blow up Wil the Sheriff with dynamite.  He was able to pass it on, there by blowing up and killing Felicia. Oops. She turned her trash talk on me****.
Then Wil then murdered me like the punk I was. It was hilarious. A good time was had by all.

After that, I left. It was getting late and as much as I wanted to play Cards Against Humanity, it wasn’t fair for me to keep other fans from enjoying some time at the apex alphageek table in the room. It was so good to see John again and to meet Krissy—fierce and welcoming. I really enjoyed the whole thing.




*Wil didn’t remember the convention, StarQuest 95, but apologized anyway because he said it was 'a dick move and he was old enough to know better' even back then. I said it was all cool.

**I got to explain to Wil that I knew Ryan before he was Ryan Fucking Macklin from the Internet.

***Dammit. Will I ever learn?

****Felicia is an extremely talented trash talker. I’m also kind of sorry I blew her up.

Origins Schedule

 

Here is my Origins schedule. If I’m not in one of these panels, I’m in The Library at my table in Exhibit Hall C (PDF), top left corner near concessions. As Cherie Priest likes to say, there is a “No Shyness” zone around me. Come up and say Hello! I’m happy to chat while I sell books. I’m bribable—take me out to lunch or for a drink and I’ll talk your ear off.

 

THURSDAY

3 p.m. Flash Your Fiction: In how few words can you tell a story? Flash fiction has been gaining in popularity, but it’s not an easy art form. Brevity is tough to tackle, but if you can master it, there are markets for your scant words. Learn the secret to “Kissing Your Fiction.” KISS . . . keep it short, sister. Then consider entering our flash fiction contests Friday and Saturday.

Donald J. Bingle, Jennifer Brozek, Kelly Swails

 

4 p.m. Writing For Games: Writing opportunities about in the game industry for persistent and talented freelancers. Our panelists found success writing for various game companies, and they provide helpful hints for landing work amid the dice and battlemaps.

Jennifer Brozek

 

FRIDAY

3 p.m. The Care and Feeding of Your Editor: Award-winning editor Jennifer Brozek has published dozens of authors in her many anthologies. She explains what it takes to get an editor’s attention and respect, offering suggestions that will move your submissions higher in the slush pile and closer to publication.

Jennifer Brozek

 

4 p.m. Write What You Don’t Know: We remember English teachers lecturing: “Write what you know.” Well, we think you ought to write what you don’t know. How else can you write about space travel and alternate history and fire-breathing dragons and vampire detectives? We’ll discuss how a little research and common sense can give you just enough background to really write what you don’t know.

R.T. Kaelin, Jennifer Brozek, Bryan Young

 

6 p.m. Reading: Jennifer Brozek: Award-winning editor Jennifer Brozek offers up a serving of one of her favorite fantasy tales.

Jennifer Brozek

 

SATURDAY

10 a.m. Slaying Writer’s Block: There’s debate whether there is such a beast as writer’s block. We’ll not argue that point here. Rather, we’ll show you what you can do to knock down the barriers that are keeping you from typing away at your keyboard. Writer’s block . . . or whatever you want to label it . . . we’ve faced it and beat it to a bloody pulp.

Aaron Allston, Jennifer Brozek, Bryan Young

 

11 a.m. Practice Makes Perfect: How can you tell if you’re getting better as a writer? How can you judge your progress? And what does it take to get to that next level of expertise? We’ll talk about benchmarks, writer’s groups, and how to analyze your fiction. You have to grow as a writer to compete in the marketplace; we’ll teach you how to measure your skills and to improve them.

Kelly Swails, Jennifer Brozek, Brad Beaulieu, R.T. Kaelin

Avoiding Con Crud

Some days, working in the publishing industry is tougher than others. What’s an author to do when that happens? Blog, of course. Today, I thought I would talk about why I rarely get sick during or after conventions.

Why I don’t get sick anymore comes from three bits of advice. The first is from Seanan McGuire, a good friend whom I shared a hotel room with in Australia for Worldcon and discovered her secret. The second is from someone I read on the internet… unfortunately I just can’t remember who but this person has some spectacular convention germ avoiding advice. The third is one I picked up while my best friend was in the hospital. A nurse told me about it.

Tip #1: Start taking Sambucus a couple days before the convention and take a dose of Sambucus every morning and night you are in the hotel. Made with a base of elderberry extra and virologist tested, Sambucus is a miracle. I haven’t been sick during or after a convention since before August 2010 and I’ve gone to a LOT of conventions.  Heck, any time I start to feel ill, I take this awesome elixir and I either feel better immediately or my cold is shortened.

Tip #2: I really wish I could remember who posted about this but the first thing you should do every single time you enter your hotel room while at a convention is to wash your hands well. I’m talking warm water, lots of soap, and a minimum of half a minute. This gets the grim off your hands before you relax and touch your face and accidentally infect yourself with whatever is lingering on your hands.

Tip #3: Keep your hands as clean as possible when you are in public. Cleaning your hands frequently with a sanitizer helps. It may only last a bit but it kills a lot of what is already on your hand especially after handling something like a hotel menu. Avoid touching door handles and elevator buttons. I’ve found that I tend to use the outside of my sleeve for those jobs.

And that’s it. Sambucus, wash your hands, protect your hands. Your body will thank you and all of the people you don’t get sick will thank you.

Norwescon Schedule

I am not manning a table this year. So, if you want to meet up with me, ping me before the convention or give me a call/text during the convention. Do not be afraid to come say hello or to ask me questions.

Thursday 8 pm Cascade 11
Big Press, Small Press, or Self-Publishing?

Each publishing method has pros and cons. Come find out what they are and share your experiences.
Patrick Swenson (M), Jennifer Brozek, Donna Barr, Bruce Taylor

Thursday 9:30 pm Cascade 1
Jennifer Brozek reads The Lady of Seeking in the City of Waiting

Crossed genre fantasy-horror Rated PG
Jennifer Brozek

Thursday 10 pm Cascade 7
Writing Tie-In Fiction

Many video games today have accompanying fiction which often provides a more detailed storyline of current events as well as past or future action. Many role-playing games have companion novel series expanding their worlds with characters, cities, and events that become canon. Join our panelists as they discuss how a game’s setting is translated into a novel that, in turn, gives back to the game.
James L. Sutter (M), Jennifer Brozek, Erik Scott de Bie

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Friday 8 pm Cascade 7
Gamers are Saving the World...

Is gaming becoming a positive force in the world? Dr. Jane McGonigal thinks so, in her book “Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How they Can Change the World”. How is this so? Recently video-game players solved a molecular puzzle that stumped scientists for years. The Child's Play charity donates toys and games to hospitalized children around the world. Join our panelists in discussing how gaming encourages us to make a difference and make the world a better place.
Julie Haehn (M), Jennifer Brozek, Satyros Phil Brucato, Joshua Howard

Friday 9pm – Midnight Presidential Suite Friday Night Theme Party

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Saturday 11 am Cascade 7
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading

Come hear a wide range of Broad Universe women read from a selection of their work.

Saturday 1 pm Cascade 7
The Horror Short

In books and movies, what is the difference between a novel and short story, and a feature and a short film?
Eric Morgret (M), Jennifer Brozek, Steve Holetz

Saturday 2 pm Evergreen 1&2
Women in Gaming

Our all-female panel discusses gaming concepts that attract girls, what girl gamers are looking for in games, and how to get more girls into games. They will also discuss the growing presence / awareness of women playing and designing games, and their struggles with working in the industry. If you are a woman interested in working in this industry, our panelists want to encourage you!
Julie Haehn (M), Jessica "GiGi" Blair, Jennifer Brozek, Claire Hummel

Saturday 1:30-3:30pm Fairwood Writer Workshop Social – Presidential Suite


Saturday 9pm – Midnight Presidential Suite Spotlight Publisher Party – DAW Books

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Sunday Noon Cascade 7
Independent and Small Press Publishing

Thinking about starting up a small press? What do you need to know? Where do you find authors and artists? What niche do your books fill? Do you need a million bucks, or will a couple hundred do? How do you get what you publish into stores? Are independent small press projects financially viable in today's market?
Sandra Damiana Buskirk (M), Jennifer Brozek, Patrick Swenson, Scott Gable