Jennifer Brozek | All posts by jennifer

Tell Me - Aaron Rosenberg

Today, Aaron Rosenberg tells us how he allows research to inspire his writing in other people’s worlds without getting bogged down in it. And how it inspires his original works.

I love research. Maybe it’s the failed academic in me (I have a Master’s in English Lit and had finished all my PhD coursework before I left the field) but I do, I love getting stuck into history and mythology and language and culture and clothes and so many other things you can read about and learn about. And of course the Internet makes that all so dangerously easy, you click on just one link and it leads to a dozen others and pretty soon you’ve spent the past three hours reading about some obscure headgear and the rites associated with it and your eyes are killing you and you’ve completely missed dinner.

This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Not the eyestrain and missing dinner part, that’s all bad. But falling down the research rabbit hole. Because it can lead to so many amazing story ideas.

That’s even more true when you combine it with my favorite way to come up with stories in an existing IP (or intellectual property), which is to “mind the gap.” When I start thinking up ideas for an IP, I like to look around, see what’s where, and see where the spaces are, the little chinks between the big bricks of worldbuilding and history and character development. Those chinks are missing material, spots that weren’t necessary to create the setting and the main story—but they often contain fun little moments a writer can exploit, throwaway mentions you can tease out into an interesting tale that helps fill in the space and make the wall that much more solid and believable. And fun.

Most of the time, I only use that technique for tie-in writing. After all, if it’s my own world I’m the one creating those big blocks in the first place.

But that’s not how things went with Time of the Phoenix.

When Steve Savile and I first had the idea, we just had the one setting, Elizabethan London, and the playwriting scene there in particular. But we knew we’d want more. So we started looking at history, and especially at major literary figures.

Hence the rabbit hole.

What we found initially, and what I found later as I continued the project on my own, were lots of little gaps, the kind that occur naturally all the time—a person’s life documented here and there but nothing between those two moments, a single brief mention of a strange incident with little context and no follow-up, a bit of folklore wrongly attributed but now indelibly linked to that person. All those fun little gaps that can lead to exciting, amazing stories that both fit into real-world history and are wholly original fiction at the same time.

I wonder if I should go back and thank my old professors for getting me hooked on that? Maybe I should just send them some of my books instead. They’re clever, they should see what I mean.

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Aaron Rosenberg is the author of the best-selling DuckBob SF comedy series, the Time of the Phoenix historical dark fantasy series, the Relicant Chronicles epic fantasy series, the Dread Remora space-opera series, and, with David Niall Wilson, the O.C.L.T. occult thriller series. His tie-in work includes novels for Star Trek, Warhammer, World of WarCraft, Stargate: Atlantis, Shadowrun, and Eureka. He has written children’s books (including the award-winning Bandslam: The Junior Novel and the #1 best-selling 42: The Jackie Robinson Story), educational books, and roleplaying games (including the Origins Award-winning Gamemastering Secrets). You can follow him online at gryphonrose.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/gryphonrose, and on Twitter @gryphonrose.

Surviving Cons in the Time of Covid

Two major conventions within three weeks is not something I wanted to do even before the pandemic happened. Imagine trying to navigate travel, talking to people, and handselling books after almost two years of limited contact. That was Gen Con (40,000 attendees) then Origins (8000 attendees).

It was both wonderful and horrifying. It was like slipping on a favorite pair of shoes and discovering too late a tiny rock jabbing your foot. It was way better than it was bad. It was worth doing despite my paranoia.

The Good:

Friends and Peers – It was so, so, so wonderful to see good friends and peers. So good to talk to people face-to-masked face (and occasionally, naked face). There is a connection in person that you cannot get online. It’s different. It’s indescribable. It’s one of the reasons I go to conventions.

People/Gamers taking this seriously – At Gen Con, I’d say that 98% of everyone was properly masked and making an effort to distance as much as you can at a con. We all know that we can roll a “1” on a con check. I’ve heard of only one case of covid from Gen Con. Nothing from Origins yet (early days).

Old convention friends – There are some people you only see at convention. You know them in the convention sense and that’s it. You may or may not recognize them outside of the convention scene, but there, in the right context, you know exactly what to expect. And it’s good. You remember about their pets. You know which of your books they’ve read. You know. There is a beautiful familiarity that is worth everything.

Hungry customers – The convention goers were hungry for product. For new books. For something they hadn’t seen. For something that had a touchstone to the author. As a business woman and an author, it was astounding. I felt like a rockstar half the time. I’ve never seen people come running to my booth at a convention before. To see me, in specific.

Exciting conversations – Though they were few, there were some exciting conversations and great networking for the next year. I got to talk to an excellent editor and plan some stuff. I had a conversation with an author that turned my brain inside out and I’m still thinking about it. This is why I go to conventions. It sets up success for the next year and it engages my brain in new and wonderful ways.

The Bad:

The rules don’t apply to me – There were, of course, people who flat out did not want to mask up, who did not care about any rules, and who got angry when you enforced it. One couple came to my table to look at my books. Another guy walked up in a gater that barely covered his mouth. The woman asked him to raise his mask, told him it made her uncomfortable. He flat out ignored her. My husband backed her up and told the man he needed to raise his mask. Now. It was making people uncomfortable. The man complied with a grump, but only because my husband insisted.

Chin warmers/naked faces/people are hell – Origins shared the convention hall with a dentist convention and those people didn’t give two shekels about the mask mandate. There were a LOT of masks warming chins and people carrying their masks instead of wearing them. They really didn’t care. Added insult to injury? Some of the dentists came by the Origins Library with a bemused and condescending attitude of “Oh, you write things? Isn’t that cute.” Some of them just wanted you to entertain them and had no actual interest in the books or the author. I compared it to being a zoo exhibit.

It’s all a LOT – The travel, the people, the convention, the messed up schedule. It was a lot. A whole lot. I enjoyed what I could, took the zen approach as much as possible, then was grateful when I hid in my room after working the booth. Most of the time, I didn’t have the energy to do anything else. My convention muscle has atrophied.

Paranoia – I was paranoid most of the time. I had a total of two meals with someone that wasn’t my husband. Both were at Origins. The first night there, a bunch of the Origins Library people were together at the Big Bar on 2. We confirmed we were all vaccinated. Big open space, very few customers. That was nice. The second was a meal with my Eberron GM. It was a nice quiet meal talking all things gaming/twitch/writing/etc. They were both good meals, but part of me was very, very aware that we were flirting with danger.

Overall:

Was it worth it? – Yes. Absolutely. There were way more successes than not. Way more good people than bad. I feel like I set myself up for success for next year. I did enjoy the convention. I also missed the interactions. They were worth the pain and paranoia.

Am I glad I’m done for the year? – Yes, Absolutely. Like I said, my convention muscle has atrophied. I don’t have the same kind of hunger/energy that I once did. I appreciate the travel, but I am glad to be home, safe and sound, in my own territory where I know what to expect, where I can go, and who I can see.

Thoughts on Going to Gen Con

As DragonCon winds down and I hear both good and bad things about the convention (mostly good), I am working hard not to be utterly useless the week before I go to Gen Con. It’s a hard battle, but I have so much to do. I am a conflicted person. I am excited. I am wary. I am hopeful. I am paranoid.

Why am I going? I’ve been asked this a couple of times. The main reason is to set myself up for success in 2022. It’s been two years since I’ve been to an in-person convention. I’m so out of practice preparing for it physically and mentally. Don’t get me started on the idea of pitching my novels. My steel trap is rusted shut and I don’t remember how to people. Plus I’m going to have the added complication of a mask.

But then there’s the small fact that I had multiple books come out in 2020 and 2021. Two BattleTech books in my Rogue Academy series. Multiple anthologies plus A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods was nominated for two major awards in 2020. I have a small, but dedicated group of fans who want to say hello and get their books signed. I want to sign books for people.

Mostly, I’m going to Gen Con because Author’s Avenue has a new manager and I want to make a good impression on them. Plus, those who are in Author’s Avenue get grandfathered into the next Gen Con. I don’t want to have to apply/compete for a spot in 2022. (Yes, I would like the world to be less virus-ridden by then. I have hope.)

 

I know there is a chance me or the Husband will catch Covid. But I also know we will do absolutely everything we can to remain as safe as possible while traveling and while there at the convention. The Husband is also of two minds about things, and he will be safe about stuff, but he’s the less high-strung one of us. Me? I’ve got masks, hand sanitizer, healthy paranoia, and a decent Gen Con Covid policy to fall back on. The Husband and I will not be eating in any restaurants. All meals will be take out or store bought. All socializing will be masked and as socially distanced as possible.

My plan for the convention is to work the dealers room during the day (doing all my social stuff there) then go back to the hotel room at night. To be fair, I also have a Shadowrun novel due soonish and I’m on “deadline mode”, so I would be doing a lot of that whether or not there was a dangerous virus running around. Right now, I only have one meeting scheduled and, to be perfectly honest, it could be done over Zoom, but I’d really like to have a masked face-to-face meeting with this person for the discussion. It’s just better for creative types in order to feed off each other’s excitement.

That’s the thing I miss most: that excitement and renewed love of the business. To spend time talking with other like-minded people who really get it. To be inspired. To feel refreshed mentally. (Physically is always another story when it comes to conventions.)

So, yes, I will be at Gen Con in Author’s Avenue, Booth A, on the corner, across from the entertainers (Downloadable PDF). I will have Shadowrun, new BattleTech, Karen Wilson, Melissa Allen, several new anthologies, and some very special enameled cat pins. If you are going to be there, please come by and say hello and get a book signed or pick up a pin. I don’t know if I will be signing at the Cat Labs booth or not. I’ll be somewhat active on Twitter as my schedule updates itself. Follow me there @JenniferBrozek.

Tell Me - Loren Rhoads

Loren Rhoads tells me where her morbid sensibilities come from and they led to her memoir.

Putting together a memoir is a very strange thing. There are so many stories from you that have to pick though and choose which to tell. A book by its nature seems to indicate some kind of thread to tie them all together—but you have to decide which thread you’re going to follow. My thread is summed up pretty well in the title: This Morbid Life.

It took me a long time to own up to being morbid. I discovered horror movies on TV as a kid and spent my Saturday afternoons watching the old black & white Universal monsters. Eventually my mom, who’d been a ninth-grade English teacher, pointed out that a lot of the monsters I loved had started out as characters in books. That led me to Dracula, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Frankenstein.

That led me to writing. I wrote short stories for years to escape from the farm where I lived, the small town where I grew up, the dying city where I went to college. Nothing about my life seemed interesting enough to write about until I moved to San Francisco in the late eighties.

Before I really got settled, I met the owners of RE/Search Books just before they released Modern Primitives. It’s hard to recapture that time now. Before Modern Primitives was published, very few people had tattoos. Most tattoos weren’t artistic. Body jewelry was limited to the S/M underground. RE/Search didn’t create the movement, but they documented it at exactly the right moment. And I was there, standing on the fringes, watching.

The first essay I ever wrote about my life was about accompanying my friend Christine to get her labial piercing. Christine had been my roommate when we attended the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop. She introduced herself by asking me to shave her head and touch up her mohawk. She was brave and fierce and I was honored when she asked me to come to her piercing. The experience was so amazing that I had to record it.

Once the essay was written, I sent it to a zine I loved called File 13. The best part of File 13 was the editor’s introductory essays, which were smart and honest. He inspired me to risk sharing my life with the world. To my amazement, he accepted the essay. He even featured it on the cover of the next issue.

I wrote for other zines after that: Cyber-Psychos AOD and Tail Spins, Gothik Voluptuary, Chaotic Order, and Zine World. Each one had its own focus, but they all allowed me to record and examine my life from facing my best friend’s HIV diagnosis to the days I spent exploring a cadaver lab to dealing with my dad’s catastrophic heart attack to my thrill at donating blood.

I started my own zine in 1996. The only name I ever considered for it was Morbid Curiosity. It collected first-person confessional essays from contributors around the world. It also gave me a platform where I could follow the inspiration of File 13’s introductions and talk about my own life.

My memoir This Morbid Life collects all those essays and more. It opens with a piece I wrote for Gothic.Net about taking prom pictures in two cemeteries in Flint, Michigan. It explores what it was like to publish Morbid Curiosity. It goes on to celebrate following my curiosity wherever it led.

In the end, being morbid is the thread that stitches my life together. It’s the element that brings joy to the darkness. It makes every sunny day that much sweeter. Every day above ground is a gift, which is exactly what This Morbid Life is about.

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Loren Rhoads is the author of a space opera trilogy, a duology about a succubus who falls in love with an angel, and a collection of short stories called Unsafe Words. You can find out more about her work at https://lorenrhoads.com/

Grief Two Years Later

Dad died two years ago today. I said good-bye to him over Memorial Day 2019. I grieved him for those 112 days before he died. We said what we wanted to say to each other. The rest was a series of declining medical reports. It was so hard on my sister. To this day, I still marvel at her fortitude.

Grief comes for us in subtle and unsubtle ways. I didn’t write for the six months around my father’s death. My editor and publisher understood. I tried. It just didn’t happen. This was one of the unsubtle ways grief affected me.

Subtle was the way it affected my reading. I don’t know exactly when I stopped reading fiction novels for fun, but I know when I realized that is what had happened. It was April 2020. I picked up Stephen Blackmoore’s GHOST MONEY. This was a book I had been looking forward to for a while. I opened the book and this greeted me:

Dying is easy. Grieving is hard.

Right then and there I “noped” out of the book. I closed it and didn’t look back. A week or two later I realized I’d been doing something similar to fiction novels for months; picking them up and putting them back down. There was something about fiction novels I couldn’t deal with.

I still read. I shifted to nonfiction. Autobiographies and health books. If I read fiction, it was for work. Short fiction for the anthologies I was editing or the novels I was proofing. I have a very different mindset when I read for work than I do for pleasure.

Fifteen months after Ghost Money, I realized that I missed my fiction novels. Mom had died in February of 2021. She was the main reason I was a reader. I took some of her novels home after her memorial. Two things happened to make me realize I missed reading fiction novels: LATER, a short novel by Stephen King had come out and I received an ARC of Seanan McGuire’s 15th October Daye novel, WHEN SORROWS COME. At that point, I realized I hadn’t read the 14th novel, THE KILLING FROST.

So, I sat down with one of my favorite authors and read Later. My mind was hungry for it. Then The Killing Frost. This one was a little harder. I’m still not completely sure what it is/was about fiction novels that my grieving mind wanted to avoid, but I still enjoyed it. Then came a road trip to Utah. We fell back on an old favorite, listening to the Dark Tower series by King. We started WOLVES OF THE CALLA. Once we got home, I was able to move to When Sorrows Come.

(As an aside, I have to say that When Sorrows Come is one of those books that October Daye fans have been waiting for. In essence, despite its name, it’s a happy book—one of the happiests that a character like October can have. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Toby finally gets married. I also very much enjoyed the added novella. This isn’t a book to start the series with, but it is one to look forward to.)

I shifted back to listening to Wolves of the Calla after that because I don’t like leaving favorite books half-finished. But I’ve also gone back to Ghost Money. I needed to. This time, when I read the opening two lines, I didn’t wince. I empathized and understood. I’m halfway through and enjoying it. Eric Carter is one of those characters that can get under your skin. I’ve already bought DEMON BOTTLE (Eric Carter #6) in anticipation of wanting to dive in head first as soon as Ghost Money is done.

I suspect I will continue with the Dark Tower series until it is done after that. Then, I think I will go to the Sandman Slim novels by Richard Kadrey and start them over from scratch. I’m 4-5 novels behind on the series and I’ve just read that the final Sandman Slim novel has come out. Kadrey is one of those authors that can turn off my writer brain. I think that’s what I need these days: reading for the joy of reading.

Grief at the loss of my parents in less than two years is still strong, but I think, little by little, I am healing.

Bubble & Squeek for 2 Aug 2021

Deadlines, like lemmings, all rush to the same point. Same thing with updates and book releases. July was a huge month for me.

•    Audiobook Release: BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident audiobook. This is my award-winning YA BattleTech book read by the ever-talented Liisa Lee.


•    Reading: Shadow Bytes for Wily Writers. I read the origin story for By-the-Numbers for Wily Writers, a group that is designed to help all writers succeed. This was one part of Shadow Bytes hosted by The Violent Life podcast. (YouTube video.)

•    Release! Shadowrun: See How She Runs. YA Shadowrun novella set in Barcelona. Ridley Ruiz has plans. Big ones. However it seems that the shadows have plans for her, too.


•    Release! BattleTech: Crimson Night, Book Three of the Rogue Academy trilogy. Just released! Can Jasper and Nadine Roux save their planet from a rogue Draconis Combine warlord? Winner takes all in this explosive conclusion to the Rogue Academy trilogy.
 


•    Support: As always… if you appreciate my work and would like to support me, I love coffee. I am made of caffeine. This is the quickest way to brighten my day.

Cover Reveal - BattleTech: Crimson Night

Behold the beauty of my newest cover reveal!

BATTLETECH: CRIMSON NIGHT

Book Three of the Rogue Academy trilogy!

Icing on the cake? Cats Labs updated all of the Rogue Academy covers. They are all beautiful. The cover artist for all three is the ever-talented Marco Mazzoni

Iron Dawn and Ghost Hour look wonderful. What do you think? If you haven't read the first two books, now is a good time to catch up. I didn't get to celebrate the release of Ghost Hour. I will get to celebrate the release of Crimson Night at Gen Con and Origins this year. Woot!

Tell Me - Elizabeth Guizzetti

Elizabeth Guizzetti has been a friend and peer for years. Today, she tells me about her love of language, how it shifts over the decades, and how she keeps slang of the past alive in her vampire books today.

Thank you for having me today, Jennifer. I’m so excited to talk about one of my favorite types of research.

As an author, I love all historical research, but one of my passions is idiomatic phrasing and slang. As everyone is aware, slang changes generationally and within generations. Sometimes a word slides through several groups and is dropped within a year. Idioms tend to last longer but still follow fads and expose a period's morality and generational fears. For an author, idioms can make handy shortcuts to depict the inner thoughts and even a character's personality.

One of the biggest pitfalls that an author can run into while using idioms and slang is the human habbit of classifying speech by decade or era. An author must still be careful to research when a word is actually coined if your novel has a definite place and time.

My latest novel, Accident Among Vampires or What Would Dracula Do? is set in 1951-52. I did quite a bit of research on Seattle and Issaquah during these years, but I also researched the post war era as a whole and previous generations as the book is about vampires. I chose phrases that they would say (or write in their journals as this is an Epistolary novel) which defines their true characters.

For example: for the character of Agata, I ensured her idioms are primarily religious in nature and very old-fashioned because she is deeply religious and was born in 1478 and Reborn in 1509 in Moldavia (Currently Romania).  An idiom she uses often is she "knows her offspring/husband/whoever like the Lord’s Prayer.”

Derrik, a vampire born in 1824/Reborn 1851, uses religious phrasing too. They are more active, violent, and stereotypically curses of the Victorian Era. The idioms tend to appear when he is stressed or angry as literal curse words such as "Go to Blazes" and "Damn your eyes." He does not use the mild versions of these words, however, he does use “Blazes” as a filler word.

He also has a few secular phrases which he directs towards Norma, specifically, meaning nonsense. “Moonshine over water” and “All my eye.”

Now  the protagonist of the novel, Norma, is a 1950's teenager who is culturally Christian but does not have deep religious beliefs.

To show the innocent part of her personality: she uses childish versions of known idioms such as "Mind your beeswax," which became popular in the 1930s but were still used in the ’50s. She speaks politely to adults. As period-appropriate, she calls adults: "Sir" or "Ma'am" and after she is a vampire, "Honored Individual."

But her slang has Beat Generation roots. The Beat Generation began as a literary group that included: Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs II, Allen Ginsberg John Clellon Holmes. "Beat Generation" was coined in 1948, but the movement started earlier.

This means by 1951, Norma would have thought the Beats were cool. She would have likely appropriated from movies and detective stories based out of New York, such as Broadway is my Beat (aired 1949 – 54) or Inner Sanctum (1941 – 52). (The LGBTQ relationships were often coded while drug use and Jazz were obvious threats.)

Some examples of Norma’s slang includes referring to the police as “The fuzz.”

She refers to adults who annoy her as “duds” or “squares.” She also calls certain vampires “pretend squares” since outwardly, they appear to conform to societal rules, but their personal lives do not conform.

As an aside, this also means she would never use a word like “Beatnik” because the word did not exist until 1958, but even if it did, it started as a derogatory word.)

My goal is to always give readers an idea of who the character really is and the life which they have lived. Some people might say a bookish, radio, and movie-loving teen girl from a 1950s farming town would be shocked by activities between consensual adults in a vampire coven. No, the shocking thing was vampires existed. And suddenly she was a full-blown telepath and ached for blood.

Here is one of her reactions which she writes in her diary:

“I tried to question Bill about the vampires of the Paper Flower Consortium and other covens. He would barely speak of them, except Derrik. Yet, sometimes I had visions of Bill with them. Sometimes I think I dreamed them.

Many vampires, Bill included, exist openly in ways that would have been hidden or simply not allowed if they were humans in Issaquah. I am not sure if that’s why vampires love the city or if we can exist in ways we wish because we’re vampires. At any rate, Mom would tell me to be polite, mind my beeswax, and don’t show my onions.

(I bet Derrik wants me to do the same.) ...”

 If you want to use idioms in your work, some of my favorite online sources:

Of course, sometimes you just can't find the perfect turn of phrase you want, so I also occasionally make my own versions of expressions such as "hide your onions" or "don’t show your onions," which is something Norma's mother and her vampire father, Bill, say, based off the 1920s idiom, "You know one’s onions," which just means someone is knowledgeable about something.

 

ACCIDENT AMONG VAMPIRES (Or What Would Dracula Do?)

Issaquah, Washington, USA, 1951

My name is Norma Mae Rollins. I’m fourteen and an illegal vampire. I miss my mom, but new ghoulish appetites force me to remain with my creator. Bill didn’t mean to transform me. At least, that’s what he claims. His frightening temper, relentless lies, and morbid scientific experiments makes it hard to know what to believe.

However, someone snitched about Bill’s experiments to a nearby Coven. Now both of our corpses will burn. Bill won’t run. He is curious what happens to a vampire after final death. I don’t want to die again. It hurt so much the first time. Bill thinks his vampire boyfriend might shelter me. I must brave an eternal existence with elder vampires and other monsters who don’t think I ought to exist. Oh and figure out who I am allowed to eat.

A vampire’s reality is nothing like the movies.

Available on Kindle and Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Accident-Among-Vampires-would-Dracula-ebook/dp/B08ZFQRYQS/

Signed Paperbacks can be found on my website: https://www.elizabethguizzetti.com/product-page/accident-among-vampires-paperback

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Elizabeth Guizzetti is an author, podcaster, illustrator, and a collector of dragons — the ceramic kind. She loves writing about vampires. Elizabeth lives in Seattle with her husband and dog, Walnut. Visit her at Instagram or Twitter at @E_Guizzetti, FB Author Page:  /Elizabeth.Guizzetti.Author or https://www.elizabethguizzetti.com

 

"Benign"

Life has been interesting in the most complex sense of the word. The medical stuff I’ve been dealing with for the last six weeks has cumulated in the word: benign. It means, in a medical sense, “Not harmful in effect.”


Once you turn fifty, a whole lot of extra medical checks happen. This meant my body was looked at with more rigor…and will continue to be looked at for various and sundry things. (After this first set, I had to take a break. Did you know, after 50, all people should get a colonoscopy? Yeah.) The worst thing a doctor can say is, “Uh, that’s odd.”


That’s what happened to me in two places. Both required biopsies and needles. Breast and neck. Neither fun. But as I said, benign. Except there was still a suspect mass in my breast. That required surgery to remove—more in a preventative measure than not because abnormal and malignant cells have a higher tendency to grow in the type of mass I had. It was also benign.


The worst (then best) thing that happened was the thought that I would lose my thyroid. That was the initial recommendation. However, after the biopsies (needles in the neck) and “benign,” the doctor walked back her initial assessment and decided on a wait-and-see approach. Ultrasound in a year. No meds. No surgery. No nothing.


I’m really happy about this. Believe me, I am. However, I feel a bit like someone who has studied hard for a final only to discover that the professor cancelled it at the last minute. No one wants to do a final, but darn it, I did the work! I studied. (I mourned the potential loss of a part of me and worried about the future.) I did all the emotional investment.


Benign.


The more I think about it, the happier I get. Even if I feel like I got contracted to write a story, started it, then had the contract pulled for no fault of my own. The story’s not done. I still got the kill fee. Mildly incomplete but getting over it fast. That story may not be done but there are many other stories to write.


So, that’s been my last few weeks or so. There’s other stuff going on. Sad and scary and happy all at the same time. 2021 is not a year I will forget, but at least, for now, it is benign.

It's Not Ideal But It's Not Terrible

Generally, if I’m silent on my blog, it’s because something major is going on in my life and I am distracted by it. This is so true. Whoever is writing my life right now needs an editor, because if I wrote what I’m experiencing (many things, all bunching up—kinda like deadlines), my own editor would tell me to dial it back and spread the excitement out.

Some of it has been personal, some of it legal, some of it professional, some of it medical. I’m not going to go into detail on any of it. At least, not yet. The excitement that’s good is wonderful. Seriously. The excitement that is not good is…well, my sister and I have a saying these days: “It’s not ideal, but it’s not terrible.” This has been our mantra for 2021.

Aside: You know, I used to think 2020 was a bad year. It wasn’t. It was the equivalent of being grounded on date night—seems like the end of the world when you are experiencing it but in retrospect, it wasn’t. 2021 is a bad year. It’s been the equivalent of having your shins kicked while you’re already down. I don’t like it.

Much of the personal excitement is already done and over with or was a false start to begin with. Some of it I am now going through. Especially the medical. Nothing mortal, but nothing fun. I may end up with scars—emotional and physical. When it is all said and done, I’ll talk about it. What it does mean now is that my attention span is short and my thoughts are distracted.

In the meantime, I’m working on my newest Shadowrun novel: Elfin Black, starring Elfin John (from “Dark Side Matters”) and a previous protagonist, Imre Dahl (From Makeda Red). A couple of characters from my YA novellas will also be making an appearance. All of this is making me very happy. It’s nice to be distracted by a handsome pair of fictional characters who will get along like a house on fire once they meet up. Of course, I’ve had an inkling of what my next Shadowrun YA novella will be about. Thus, it is threatening to eat my brain while I work on Elfin Black. Isn’t it always the way?