BattleTech: Iron Dawn
Book 1 of the Rogue Academy Trilogy
Now available for pre-order!
GHOSTS IN THE DARK…
Jasper and Nadine Roux are cadets at the Ritza MechWarrior Academy; a dream come true for the orphaned siblings from the war-torn planet of Hoff. For the last six years, Emporia has been their home. Sponsored to the academy by the powerful Vogel House, both cadets are expected to excel in all tasks.
Their dream becomes a nightmare when the Draconis Combine comes knocking.
It’s up to the siblings to stop the renegade Seventh Ghost Regiment warlord when he lays claim to a piece of the Inner Sphere—starting with the Federated Suns’ planet of Emporia. The border world looks like easy prey, but this warrior of the Dragon is about to learn how wrong he is. After the few MechWarriors on the planet are taken hostage, the Sponsored and Blooded cadets of the Ritza Academy fight like they have nothing left to lose.
It’s a fight that will cost them more than they know.
Click here to view the full wraparound cover.
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?
There are no sweeter words to write on the first draft of a manuscript. Today, I finished the first draft of Rogue Academy #1: Iron Dawn. It’s 84,000 words. Long for a YA novel, but it’ll break 90,000 by the time I’m done. I tend to add into my manuscripts rather than take out. Now that I have the whole story down, I know what needs to be added and where. I know what can be foreshadowed and what can be cut. It’s a beautiful feeling.
I’m going to ignore the manuscript for the next five days to get ready for and go to the Washington State Toy and Geek Fest. I’ll be there with Books & Chains as a dealer. I’ll take one day off to sleep/rest, then I’ll spend the next ten days fixing the novel before I turn it in on July 15th.
This won’t be the last time I see the manuscript by a long shot. It will need to go through a reading by the Cat Labs fiction editor, the BattleTech line developer, and the BattleTech fact checkers. I hope that’s only two iterations of edits. Then a final polish. Then proofing. There may be another iteration of edits in there. I don’t know. We’ll see.
I’ll take a couple of days off to sleep after turning in Iron Dawn. Then I’ll begin the next project. Two of them actually; both Shadowrun.
The first is five flash fiction pieces for a podcast project. The second is my Shadowrun YA novella: A Kiss to Die For. I’m looking forward to digging into both projects. I love Shadowrun and I love new projects. They’ll be a good brain palette-cleanser for when Iron Dawn is returned to me with edits/revisions and I can look at it with fresh eyes and a critical mind.
Typing “The End” is always just the beginning of any novel. A sweet one. It is also the herald of something new to work on.
Her malady—nightmares that left her bloody—seemed, at first, to be a common self-harm complex. Then I looked at the wounds. The mind is powerful, but I have never seen the mind create wounds like these. Little did I know her wounds were just the first of many mysteries I would face while caring for Josephine.
–Jennifer Brozek, To Fight the Black Wind
Not all patients can be cured—or want to be.
Psychologist Carolyn Fern’s newest patient suffers from nightmares that leave glyph-shaped wounds across her skin. The case is odd, even for an institution like Arkham Sanatorium, where the unusual becomes the everyday. Things become even more complicated after the young woman claims to have met Malachi—Carolyn’s former patient whose treatment was cut short when he was brutally murdered—in her dreams. What is the link between the two, and how can Carolyn help a patient who, it seems, does not wish to be cured?
This Arkham Horror novella was previously called Sekrit Project Alex. It was named after Alex Baker, one half of the duo (the other being Johanna) that introduced me to Call of Cthulhu LARPing. I’d always enjoyed Lovecraftian fiction, but it took that LARP to really understand the meaty horror of the stories. You can blame all of my Lovecraftian writing on them.
It wasn’t an easy novella to write. My editor, Katrina, was technical and exacting. She pushed me to do my best. I’m thrilled with the end result. Even more thrilled with the perfect cover by Shane Pierce.
To Fight the Black Wind is the fourth Arkham Horror novella to come out.
I’m in mighty fine company.
I think you all will enjoy Carolyn’s trip to the Dreamlands. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Yesterday was Jeff’s one year of playing Ingress. Today is mine. It’s both a surprise and a long time coming. We joined Ingress after leaving a LARP that ran too late, became too toxic, and just wasn’t for us anymore. My friend, Heather, likened Ingress to us LARPing without all the drama. I agree. There’s drama, yes. But a lot less of it.
Over the last year of Ingressing, the Husband and I have met a lot of great new friends, visited all kinds of places we wouldn’t have without Ingress. Revisited old places with new eyes. Got us both out hiking. I mean, I willing went and got hiking shoes. That’s not something I ever thought possible. I’m not as in good shape as the Husband. So, he does other hikes solo or with a friend.
I’ve participated in a Mission Day—GenCon because BigMatty told me to, and a couple of anomalies—field team for Obsidian, recharge for Aegis Nova.
Yesterday, I did something I didn’t know I would ever do: I got my onyx illuminator, throwing 4 layers of a 15 layer Pongolyn field for about 9.62 million mu. The husband also got 4 layers for the same amount. We also met up with the other field team and they helped me throw a YOLO (you only link once) to Hawaii for 4048km.
I’ve recruited a number of people to come play. Unfortunately, about half of them have chosen the blue (wrong) side because the Resistance has better PR. :) The in-game storyline is interesting. The Resistance is currently run by an extremist who recently caused the death of a beloved scientist and is working for the N’Zeer (think tech-based inter-dimensional aliens). The Enlightened is currently run by an extremist working for a man who wants the death of ADA, the sentient AI who is aligned with the Resistance. The Enlightened work for the Shapers (think mind-based inter-dimensional aliens). It’s kinda like Skynet versus Vorlons. The whole thing is actually very complex.
There are many in the Resistance who don’t like Jahan and want her gone. There are many in the Enlightened who don’t want the death of ADA. As stories go, neither side is perfect and that is what makes it work. No one really knows what’s going on (except the storytellers—sorta) and it’s in the gray areas that we all exist, figuring out the mysteries presented to us. I appreciate that.
It’s one of the reasons I started Project Isthmus on G+ with 5 other agents (BigMatty, Morgyan, derp, pORFECTION, labeljumper). And even that has grown beyond the in-character storyline I originally designed it to be. Now, there’s the in-game Isthmus storyline, a “world at large” storyline, and the cross-faction investigative community. We have the Project Isthmus Street Team hangout. I’ve written a Glyph Talk series and now run the Glyph Drill Down Roundtables. Working with agents from both sides to investigate the mysteries has been wonderful. We’re not as big or as extensive or as scholarly as Project Essex, but I think we do well enough.
Over all, I’ve enjoyed my year of Ingressing. I’ve met so many new people, gone so many new places, and have a new set of eyes to look at old places. Especially at conventions when I’m a dealer, a panelist, or a GoH. It’s been the perfect “couples” game for me and the Husband who like road trips and experiencing new sights, new adventures, and, of course, huge green triangles. [Note: If you would like to join Ingress, let me know. I'll send you an invite. That will give me more points towards my recruiter badge. And, of course, I encourage you to choose the Enlightened side.]
May the skies ever be in your color.
I am home from Origins Game Fair. It was a good time, if exhausting. I had multiple business meetings that were awesome for things in the future. I got to see people I don’t usually get to. I love that. However, the thing that stood out to me were the fan reactions to meeting me. More than any other convention, Origins is where people seek me out to tell me what my writing means to them.
The first was a young man and his girlfriend. The guy couldn’t talk. He stood in front of my table saying, “I… I… I…” His girlfriend poked him and grinned. I said hello and asked how he was doing. He said, “Excuse me. I’m kinda fanboying over here. Wow.” I assumed he’d gone to talk to Tim Zahn or Mike Stackpole. I told him that there were lots of awesome people to fanboy over and asked who he was excited for. He grins and bursts out, “I love your writing. I love DocWagon 19. You write some of the most amazing Shadowrun I’ve ever read.” I was pleased and surprised. We talked more and he was so enthusiastic about what I’ve done and looked forward to everything else I had coming out. He even talked about The Nellus Academy Incident, and asked when it would be out in physical form. It was a wonderful feeling.
The second one was a young woman who walked up to my table, clutching the World of Shadows Shadowrun anthology. She looked at me and said, “Best day ever.” We talked as I signed her book. Then she told me, quite seriously, that my Shadowrun stories saved her life. That she had a medical condition that caused memory loss and her brain to shut down. She needed to do something to keep her brain stimulated. She dove into Shadowrun reading and it was what saved her. The fact that she could remember my stories, that I wrote them, and details about them meant the world to me. It wasn’t just my stories, it was all of the Shadowrun stories, but she wanted me to know that my writing saved her life and she couldn’t wait for my next stuff. I almost cried. We talked more. She showed me her Shadowrun tattoo. I made sure she met some of the other Shadowrun writers.
These two moments were highlights among several—including someone telling me they got their dream job of writing for an RPG company because of Industry Talk and my advice—that illustrate why I write. It’s more than the fact that I have stories to tell. It’s the fact that these stories mean something to those who read them. They touch people in ways I can’t imagine. That is worth everything in the world.
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.
Release: Colonial Gothic: Lost Tales - This is my "Oops! I have a fiction collection" book. Rogue Games collected all my RPG fiction in the Colonial Gothic universe. Supernatural horror in 1776 for the win!
Review: The Melissa Allen series got a NICE shout out in this: Where Are My Damn Heroes? This article makes me really happy. It's nice to be understood.
Sale: Reminder - Last Chance Karen Wilson Chronicles Trade Paperback Sale. 4 Trade for $30.
In the "I've been so busy writing the Shadowrun novel, I didn't notice this was announced" side of things, Project Joe got announced two months back. Project Joe is actually H.E.A.D. Hunters from Gut Shot Games. I wrote all of the background stories for every character and the setting. The announcement and podcasts are system focused, but it is nice to be able to talk about the game now.
Announcement: Gut Shot Games Announces H.E.A.D. Hunters, designed by Ben Cichoski and Danny Mandel (the guys who designed Legendary Encounters).
Podcast: Dukes of Dice - H.E.A.D. Hunters, system discussion starts at 1:10. Pretty crunchy discussion.
Podcast: Bearded Bards of Board Games - H.E.A.D. Hunters, more detailed system discussion starts at 1:19. There are brief comments about the character stories. It seems I really disturbed the designers with the Lechuza (Owl Witch) story. :)
I’m going to ignore that it is the first of April and pretend that “lie and be cruel to the people who trust you most” day doesn’t exist.
Fiction words written: 58,210 / 200,000
Article words written: 4230
My novels/collections edited: 3
Other novels/anthologies edited: 4
Events attended: 4 / 9
Mostly, I’m boring. I’m drafting my Shadowrun novel, MAKEDA RED. This means no social media until I hit word count unless there are extenuating circumstances… like picking up my new car.
I didn’t want to have to buy a new car, but mine got totaled at the end of February. I’m still reeling from sticker shock, but I do like my new car. It’s a Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid in sage green. I got my all wheel drive hatchback. The Husband got his hybrid. We’re both happy.
We think he’s told us his name but we’ve got to drive it a bit more to be sure.
I’ve already written about what I did in 2015. Now I’m looking forward to what I need to do for 2016. The short version: A whole lot of contracted tie-in fiction, some editing, and a bunch of travel.
Contracts signed: 1 board game mythology/background, 1 reprint RPG fiction collection, and 1 tie-in novel.
Forthcoming contracts: 1 serialized YA tie-in novel, 1 anthology as editor, and 2 tie-in short stories. (As in, discussion is done, I’ve agreed to do it, and we’re just waiting on paperwork.)
Planned contracts: 1 tie-in novella. (Proposal requested. Writing is probably slated for early 2017 if all parties agree.)
Planned editing: 2 novels, 2 omnibuses, 3 novellas, 1 monthly fiction feature, and 1 anthology. (For Apocalypse Ink Productions and Evil Girlfriend Media.)
Events planned: 8 conventions (3 as GoH), 1 workshop, 2 readings, 1 wedding in Iceland.
The writing metrics for 2016 are daunting. It’s about 200,000 words of contract tie-in fiction. This doesn’t count any of the editing for that work or research or one-off anthologies or one-off articles. Or any blog posts. Or any of the 10,000 other things a freelance author-editor does.
What this means is that I’m going to have to buckle down and change my personal working schedule. I’m probably going to have to institute a “no internet before noon” policy to focus on my writing. Leave all the email and such to the afternoon once my word count for the day is done. It is too easy to fritter away my time online, answering emails, reading articles, and watching videos.
- Jan 8-10, 2016, OrcaCon, special guest
- Jan 26, Reading at University Bookstore
- Feb 5: Foolscap, Workshop leader
- Feb 12-14, 2016, RadCon, Writer GoH
- Mar 23-27, Norwescon, dealer/panelist
- May 12-15, StokerCon, Panelist
- Jun 15-20, Origins Game Fair, dealer/panelist
- Aug 17-21, Worldcon/MidAmericon, ??
- Sep 4-6, Tracon XI in Tampere, Finland, GoH
- Nov 4-6, We Are All SF Con, Ocean Shores, Lead Writer GoH