Jennifer Brozek | All posts by jennifer

A Writer's Life on Deadline

"Okay. That was fun. You guys enjoy game night. I need to get back to work if I want to play Pathfinder on Sunday." -Me, 8:30pm on a Friday night

Have some kitties.

Tell Me – David Raiklen

I've backed this movie kickstarter because it looks like exactly the kind of thing I love. Toss in some of my favorite creators and how could I say no? They are very close to being funded. Here's David to talk about the awesomeness of working with creatives.

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Why Blood Kiss?

First, thank you Jennifer for letting me guest blog, I feel honored to contribute here plus it's great fun. There's a sense of magic on this site. And that leads to Blood Kiss.

There's a sense of wonder and magic in the screenplay and the people involved. I want to help bring a unique story to life, and work with some of the most wonderful creative people in the world. Neil Gaiman, Amber Benson, Michael Reaves, Tom Mandrake and Daniela Di Mase are warm, funny, creative, and inspiring. Every day one of them says or does something that makes me think, laugh, and do better than I could before. Being part of a great team is key to having a successful project, and somehow I fit into this creative team. We blend our skills and make something new happen every day.

We all want to make the best movie possible, and that involves a lot of people, time, money, and resources. With such strong personalities there are differing opinions, and finding a middle way that works for everyone is a real challenge sometimes. Designing the campaign for Kickstarter took months, and everyone contributed. Because we believe in the project, the final version looks great and holds your attention. All the parts fit and help tell the story. In a sense it's a microcosm of how the whole filmmaking process works. Collaboration-Communication-Completion.

I'm a composer and love the Golden Age of Hollywood. Blood Kiss is set in that world and gives me a chance to update grand romantic gestures and spice them with creepy electronica. To do that takes money to hire live musicians. People are better than boxes. And more authentic. That means we have to raise enough money to hire great performers, string players and brass. In a project like this everything goes on screen and the more we raise the better our production values. Everyone knows what classic movies sound like and I have to create that sound. A real challenge. But with the support of fans it's possible.

Michael tried to get the studios to see the value in a new kind of character driven, glamorous Hollywood vampire tale. They didn't get it. But you do. We can do this together with your support. That's kind of amazing, that Michael's dream can come true, Neil gets to act, Amber can sing, I can orchestrate melodies, do things we really believe in and do well. With fans giving us the green light.

A big reason I'm part of Blood Kiss is that crowdfunding gives me a chance to to my best work, be creative in ways the old system might never allow. If we have great success, maybe we can even change the system a bit.

I'm grateful to Michael, Neil, Amber, Tom, Daniela, Leah, Dave, Dan, Tommy, and Fernando for doing amazing work. Please see their work at PledgeBloodKiss.com We're making magic here!

—David Raiklen, Producer/Composer, Blood Kiss

Bubble and Squeek for 20 May 2013

Here's the back cover copy for CHILDREN OF ANU. This book will be released on 1 June 2013.

I will be reading at the University Bookstore on 27 June with Kat Richardson and Lily Cohen-Moore. I know the post says it will be at the temple. That's wrong. It will be in the Bookstore.

I have now officially signed a contract to write a Shadowrun novella! Tentatively called "A Day in the Life of a Lifesaver." It will be about Doc Wagon 19.

That unexpected job interview from last week? I got the contract. I'll be onsite doing a short term contract writing / editing for an awesome RPG company. More details when (if) I'm allowed.

Mena is fine and frisky. She's on meds to help her ear. Her one month check up is on Friday.

The Magic of Reading

As we celebrate Children’s Book Week, I thought I’d talk about when I discovered the magic of reading. Not that reading could bring you stories but that reading could transform your world and take you into a new world so deeply that, for a short time, you don’t realize you’re not there.

The book series that gave me this epiphany was The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. It is a retelling of the Arthurian tale—as told through the eyes and experiences of an eleven year old boy and his friends. His friends included a girl, Jane.

I was nine at the time, living in Belgium, no TV, no real friends. My home was a 300 year old mansion complete with bell tower and escape tunnel (that I wasn’t suppose to know about but I did), and a backyard as big as a football field with an eight foot stone wall. It was easy to get into the books. I was already out of my element and looking for an anchor.

The tale told by Susan Cooper opened my eyes to the magic of reading the day I sat down to read “Over Sea, Under Stone” one afternoon and I came up for air only when I was called to dinner. I was dazed, still in that other world. All through dinner, I was torn between wanting to get back to the book and wanting to tell everyone about it.

In the end, I finished my meal, did my chores as quickly as possible, and went back to my room and into that other world without sharing. I knew the rest of my family would never understand. Except, they did. My parents, especially my mom, were always reading. From that day on, going to the library to get a new book (or five) was my special treat. Ransacking my parents’ library was high on the list, too.

I reread The Dark is Rising series about once a year. They are old friends that bring me comfort and joy with every page turn. It was this discovery of magic that eventually made me into the author I am today.

Tell Me – Warren Schultz

The whole concept of Geek Field Guide started with the idea of traveling the world and documenting regional and local martial arts styles for others who share our passion for that sort of thing. The idea quickly took on a life of its own, and grew as we assessed where our talents and passions overlapped that we could provide a more compelling project to a larger number of people.

Some background… Photography has always been a great passion for me, and I’d always felt restricted by technology. Using cheap 110 film as a child was a great learning experience, but the quality ultimately left me disappointed by the results. The 35mm point and shoot that my dad owned was a significant improvement, but it wasn’t something I could go play and experiment with due to the rather significant cost of the camera for my family at the time. It wasn’t until college that I took a photography course and bought an old fully-manual Minolta SLR that I really grasped photography as an art form.

The ability to present a view of the world with such carefully-tuned composition and exposure was a door flung open in front of me into a new world. Between my third and fourth year of college, I took a trip to Italy through the university and studied art in Florence (Firenze) for a summer. This falls under the category of Life-Changing Experience. This was when I realized that I was truly happy out exploring and seeing the world, camera in hand. But… You can’t make a real career out of that, right? So I went home, and continued down the path of life toward jobs that happen in office buildings. Fast-forward through over a decade of game development from QA to co-owning an indie studio, a couple years of finally giving in and taking up fiction writing (including one published short so far), and splurging to get a DSLR, I finally had the experience I needed to re-assess my dreams.

Working in an office was no longer a requirement to my subconscious after freelance writing and dev work. I’d spent enough time living in hotels that I found that while it is essential to have a home base somewhere, the amount of time I feel I need to spend there isn’t that significant. I realized that the time to put all the skills and networking to use had arrived.

As the idea for The Project (as we came to refer to it) became more concrete to me, I started reaching out to friends with varied hobbies and careers for feedback on what would be useful to them. The response was staggering. Finding good reference for the types of projects that geeks do for fun and profit can be extremely time-consuming, or sometimes impossible to find. Everyone I talked to wanted to see me try to make this project happen.

I'm a tech geek at heart. While I no longer get as excited about technology for the sake of technology, new hardware, software, and techniques for furthering my art will grab my attention every time.

For this reason, the increasing low-light capabilities of DSLR cameras (I prefer to shoot in natural light), portability of HD video cameras (such as the GoPro), and techniques such as photogrammetry (turning a series of perspective photos into a 3D model), leapt into my mind as ways that we could document the world in new and exciting ways.

We tried to capture a cross-section of these techniques in our promo video on Indiegogo.

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/geek-field-guide/

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Juggling Something

My schedule has hit a point where I have enough projects in the air that I need to work on several a day instead of my preferred: focus on one, get a lot done.  Most of it is editing projects in various states of editing.

I now have to portion out my time like this:

  • 2 hours – Chicks Dig Gaming (edit polish pass)
  • 1 hour – Anthology story (write)
  • 2 hours – Jay Lake’s Process of Writing (edit pass)
  • 1 hour – Email, reminders, schedule check, social media
  • 2 hours – Pays-the-bills work
  • 1 hour – Apocalypse Ink stuff


Once I have that done—I know it’s only 8 hours—if I want, I can go back to the anthology story. I’ll probably have this schedule for the next week. All of this needs to get done while dealing with vet visits, house cleaning, remembering to eat, laundry, exercising, etc…

I much prefer doing something like 6 hours on project #1 and 4 hours on project #2 each day. But, alas, deadlines conspire against me. So, while I’m not quite to the “juggling chainsaws” type of schedule, I am definitely juggling something. Maybe just knives.

A Much Better Day

Mena is home! She's eating, got a cream for her ear, and antibiotics. I'm really happy.

Also... 5 years ago, Jeff and I wed in front of family and friends. It's been fabulous and I am so happy. I'm looking forward to many more years to come.

 

Mena Update

I really wanted this update to be all about how good Mena’s doing but, while her stitches seem to be healing well (she was supposed to get them out tomorrow), she’s started vomiting in the last couple of days and wouldn’t accept treats today. Yesterday and today it looked like she tried to eat her kibble but couldn’t keep it down. Thus, a call to the vet. Thus, a request to bring her in immediately. *sigh*

Doc quizzed me on medicine and such. It could be anything: she needs more antibiotics or she ate something bad or something’s going on with her ear that’s making her nauseated. No one knows right now. I’m going to call later in the day. I know she’s going to be kept overnight and probably x-rayed. 

My poor fur baby. She just can’t catch a break.

 

The full story of Mena is here.

Tell a Story Day - Me Again

The Genre Underground is sponsoring a "Tell a Story" roundtable. This is my second time at bat. It's a fabulously kooky story. Start at the beginning here.

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As soon as Dr. Glockenspiel’s hands stopped waving, the bright glow faded, leaving both the doctor and Burbleglax blinking away the tears. It was Burbleglax who saw Princess Zyx’s new face… and new form. “Princess…?”

The small lady elf with chubby cheeks, big blue eyes, and a generous smile, nodded. “How do I look?’

Burbleglax shook his head. “Not like you.”

Sitting up in alarm, the Princess touched her face and looked at her tiny, delicate hands. “I’m not ugly, am I?”

Dr. Glockenspiel smiled as he presented her with a mirror. “My spell was to make you the perfect match for your true love—in image only. You, my dear princess, are already perfect.”

Princess Zyx took the mirror and looked at herself for a long time. She turned her face this way and that. She practiced smiling. She practiced puppy dog eyes. She practiced a stern, regal look… that didn’t quite work with her new face. Then, she just stared… a single tear coursing down her apple cheek.

“Princess?” Burbleglax turned from her and glared at the doctor. “Oh, you’ve done it, Mister. You upset my princess. I’ll have your license, your practice, your wives, even your yappy little dogs before I’m done with you. I don’t forgive and I’m her highness’ best chief practitioner of minutiamancy.” The little imp was beginning to froth.

All the while, having the doctor never seen an imp in a full on rage before, backed away slowly, his hands raised in supplication. “But… but… the spell.”

“When I’m done with you, you would be able to clean toilets, much less—”

“Burbleglax. I need you.” Princess Zyx’s voice was higher pitched but still the same imperious tone.

The imp gave the doctor one last glare and hurried to Princess Zyx’s side. “Yes, your highness?” He bowed low.

Still looking at herself in the mirror, she smiled. “It’s perfect! It’s absolutely perfect! That cranky old Claus can’t deny me my love for Tinselton… or his love for me. We’re going to the North Pole to rescue Tinselton from Claus—even if it’s the last thing you do. And we’ve got to do it before the android gets free.”


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Francis Pauli is up next here.

Bubble and Squeek for 22 Apr 2013

I have a new interview up at Roleplayers Chronicle. Lots about Colonial Gothic and Shanghai Vampocalypse.

There is a SFWA Reading on Tuesday, the 23rd, in Kirkland.

I will be reading at Soul Food Books in Redmond on Wednesday, the 24th with Brenda Cooper, Keffy Kehrli, Cat Rambo, K.C. Ball, and Caren Gussoff. It starts at 7pm.

I sold "A Card Given" to the What Fates Impose anthology, edited by Nayad Monroe.

Here's the cover image of CHILDREN OF ANU. The character on the cover is a version Vicki. I love it! Cover photography by Amber Clark.