Jennifer Brozek | All posts by jennifer

Bubble & Squeek for 8 July 2019

Spending a lot of time with my head down and fingers on the keyboard. Turned in a couple of lingering projects including an Emberwind story and another Shadowrun novella.

Release: Shadowrun: Makeda Red has been released! I know this is old news, but I'm super happy with this book.

Podcast: ShadowBytes 04: Hey Jude. This one is called "Hey Jude" and you learn about this ork's background and one of her surprising hobbies.

Podcast: ShadowBytes 05: Hunger and the Hand that Feeds It. This is one of my favorite in the series. I think it really captures the fragility of life running the shadows.

Review: Skiffy and Fanty review: A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods. They liked it.

Review: Tor.com review of A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods – “Us and Ours” by Premee Mohamed. The snark is beautiful in this review.

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.

And a cat picture. Just because.

 

 

Tell Me - Gregory A. Wilson

Greg is a friend of mine from conventions and twitch. I was delighted by his first comic, Icarus. Now he’s doing a Kickstarter for the re-launch of the Icarus and Jellinek graphic novels. More over, he's writing what he wants to see in this world for his family and all of us.
--

I first sat down to write Icarus at a time when it felt like compassion and community was in short supply—and with my first child just about to arrive (my daughter was born about a week after I finished the manuscript), that sort of thing was really on my mind. The story, about a young man with wings who falls into the heart of the volcano and the creatures he finds there, was told from alternating perspectives, Icarus's (kind of the Queen's English, I guess) and Jellinek's (a four foot tall, red-skinned, gruff flamepetal prospector—kind of a Gabby Hayes, Old West type). The two characters seem as different from each other in demeanor, language, and outward appearance as one could imagine, but internally, they're much more similar than either of them realize. A lot of the story, which involves them running from the magisters who dominate the land of Vol and desire Icarus's powers for themselves, focuses on Icarus trying to regain his memory, with Jellinek trying to understand what the hell has just happened. But the heart of the story remains friendship and community: creatures coming together in common purpose, determined to stand with each other come what may.   

When the graphic novel finally had its first iteration in 2016, a lot of this came through in the visual images and the script done by Keith DeCandido. But for a variety of reasons, we were only able to tell part of the story. Much of the rest of it—the ways in which Icarus, Jellinek, and their two-tailed, lava resistant companion Rig (kind of a big, lava resistant dog) try to escape their pursuers and unlock more of Icarus's mystery—was still to be revealed. When Athila Fabbio, our new artist, came on board for the entire story in this new edition, it wasn't so much his attention to detail and masterful grasp of color and shading which grabbed me, although those were awesome things too! But it was his ability to capture the characters' emotions, their care for each other, their generosity of spirit, which was most stunning…and moving. For the first time, I could see Icarus's sense of loss, his sadness and concern for his friends, Jellinek's desire to help Icarus in spite of every bit of history telling him you can't trust "others." A picture might be worth a thousand words, but these ones are worth a couple of deeply powerful emotions too.

My daughter is now eleven, and once again we're in a difficult, contentious time. And now my son, only three years old, has also joined the world. I think a lot about them in my writing; I wonder if they'll understand what it means to pull together, even when some around them are trying to push them apart. Part of that is my job as a parent…but part of it is also my job as a writer, and it's one I'm trying to take seriously. So really, Icarus and Jellinek is a story of hope; along with Athila's art, I'm doing everything I can to help that hope come across.

--
Gregory A. Wilson is Professor of English at St. John's University in New York City, where he teaches creative writing, speculative fiction, and various other courses in literature. In addition to academic work, he is the author of the epic fantasy The Third Sign, the graphic novel Icarus, the dark fantasy Grayshade, and the D&D adventure/sourcebook Tales and Tomes from the Forbidden Library. He also has short stories in a number of anthologies, and has several projects forthcoming in 2019. He co-hosts the critically acclaimed Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers, and Fans (speculatesf.com) podcast, is a member of the Gen Con Writers' Symposium and other author groups, and is regularly invited to conferences nationally and internationally. Finally, under the moniker Arvan Eleron, he is the host of a successful Twitch channel focused on story and narrative, with several sponsored TTRPG campaigns. He lives with his family in Riverdale, NY. His virtual home is gregoryawilson.com.

 

Origins Game Fair Schedule 2019

I will be at Origins Game Fair this coming weekend, spending most of my time in the Origins Library and participating on panels in the Writing Seminar. The authors area will not be inside the exhibit hall. They decided to place us in the spotlight area across from the main entrance of Hall A. They have co-located the seminar room with the authors area so attendees will have one spot to go to listen to authors then buy their books.

   

Reminder: no shyness around me. Come say hello (unless I'm running to the restroom). Ask your questions. Get your books signed. There are some fabulous authors in the Origins Library this yere.

Thursday
1pm - 2pm | Career Expectations: What can you expect from a writing career?
How do you decide if you’re a success or a failure? | Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Brozek, Michael R. Underwood (M), Robyn King

2pm - 3pm | Writing RPG Fiction: The nuts and bolts of RPG short story, novella, and novel writing. | Larry Dixon, Jennifer Brozek, Robyn King, Tracy Chowdhury, John Helfers (M)

5pm | Emberwind. Jennifer and the Embercrew will play Skies of Axia, streamed (hopefully).

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Friday
1pm - 2pm | Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly Magazine
: Even after many years and dozens of novels and short stories, Mercedes Lackey is still trying new avenues of publishing, including launching Mercedes Lackey’s Fantasy Quarterly, a brand-new fantasy digest magazine, in 2019. Join her and associated editors Jennifer Brozek and John Helfers and learn about this new venue for the best in original and classic short fantasy fiction. | Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Brozek, John Helfers (M). 

3pm - 4pm | Networking: Who should you be talking to? And how? And when have you crossed the line? | Mercedes Lackey, Addie J. King, Jennifer Brozek, Gregory A. Wilson (M)

5pm - 5:30pm | Reading. Jennifer Brozek will read from BattleTech: Iron Dawn and Shadowrun: Makeda Red.

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Saturday
10am - 11am | Professional Writing Organizations
: What is SFWA and what does it offer? What about HWA? IAMTW? Which ones should you join—if any? | Cat Rambo, Jennifer Brozek, Aaron Rosenberg (M)

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Sunday
10am - 11am | Ask the editors anything
: Questions you were too afraid to ask when your story was on the line | Jennifer Brozek, Lucy Snyder, John Helfers (M)


Cover Reveal and Early Release of Shadowrun: Makeda Red!

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 

 

 

Declutter Monday, Round 2, for 3 June 2019

Now that we’ve hit the half-way mark for the year, it’s time for Declutter Monday, Round 2. Technically, that’s 1 July, but I have enough travel that I wanted to start this month and it’ll work itself out in the end.

Today was all about the clothing. I decluttered my drawers and my closet. Every single drawer, every single hanging item.

Thought 1: How do I have so much clothing still? I know I did a heavy round of clothing decluttering but I still had / have so much clothing it feels ridiculous. I got rid of 15 t-shirts, 5 sweaters, 4 shirts, 5 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of pants, 5 good quality bras, and 3 pairs of socks. I still have a lot of clothing. Some of it new. Some of it old.

Thought 2: It was both easier and harder this time around. In the grand scheme of things, decluttering my clothing was easier—Does it fit? Do I like it? Have I worn it in the last 6 months? But, it was also harder. Last time, there was so much to get rid of, it was easier to toss something in the “maybe” pile. This time, I was working with things I mostly liked. Or thought I liked. Or wondered if it was insecurity talking. There were a lot of emotions tied up in the clothing. I’ve now got a sentimental/“work” (re: conventions) t-shirt drawer for t-shirts I just don’t want to give up yet.

Thought 3: Fighting the “just in case” syndrome. I’m a fat woman who is losing weight. I’ve lost weight before. I’ve gained it all back. I want to say this time is different. I think it is. But, the part of me that grew up poor wants me to keep some of the bigger clothing for “just in case.” I can hear my inner voice whispering, You like this. What if you gain the weight back? You’ll never see it again if you let it go. None of this is true. My style has changed. My needs have changed. If I regain the weight, I’ll deal with it then.

Thought 4: Weight loss is inconvenient for decluttering. When you are in the process of losing weight and your body is in transition, it’s hard to declutter. You don’t know where the new norm is. All you know is that half (or more) of your clothing doesn’t fit anymore. Old favorites don’t fit, look awful, are unwearable. Thank goodness my sister was able to save some of my favorite shirts by cutting 6-8 inches from the sides and sewing them to fit my body now. It ticks me off that some of the good quality clothing that was barely worn needs to go. It’s because of this that I think I need to give my closet a full year before I do another round of decluttering. I need to know where the new normal is.

Thought 5: Impatient to start. I’ve been thinking about Declutter Monday, Round 2 for more than a few weeks. In truth, I probably should’ve put my clothing last because of the weight loss and body changes, but I’ve been impatient to start an “official” round 2 for a while. I’ve thought about getting rid of random things in a haphazard manner and forced myself to stop. I think after this official round, I’m going to let myself declutter as I go…with the exception of clothing, of course. Maybe a monthly general scan? I don’t know.

One thing is certain. I’ve changed my viewpoint on how I look at my possessions. I’m more careful about what I bring into the house. I’m more thoughtful about what I have and how I use it. I know I appreciate my knick-knacks and the other things I’ve chosen to keep more. This is a good change for me.

A great picture of Mena playing, taken by Raven Oak.

 

 

 

 

Bubble & Squeek for 17 May 2019

I'm writing, editing, traveling, and working on sekrit projects won't be secret for much longer.  Here's a Bubble & Squeek for you. Reviews, Releases, Podcasts, and Interviews.

•    Interview: With No Wasted Ink about BattleTech: Iron Dawn.

•    Release: Here’s the How2Read link for all the different stores you can get A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods

•    Release: Here’s the How2Read link for all the different stores you can get BattleTech: Iron Dawn.

•    Review: (Tor.com) Taking School Rivalries Seriously: Seanan McGuire’s “Away Game.” From A Secret Guide to Fighting Elder Gods.

•    Review: A new review of BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident.

•    Podcast: ShadowBytes #3: Non-Compliant. And you thought being a shadowrunner in the 6th World was hard. Try being an office worker.

•    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.

I love it when my kitties get into the corner kitty condo.
Here's Pharaoh (top) and Isis (inside).

Relearning the Same Lesson Over and Over

Back in August 2018, I decided to change my diet to see if everything I’d been hearing about wheat’s effect on joints and the stomach was true. I cut wheat from my diet. I tapered it off, then cut it out altogether. Much to my surprise, my knees stopped hurting when I took the stairs and my gastric reflux disappeared. I still have some acid tummy problems but nowhere near what it was. I also cut sugar from my diet because it gave me headaches.

For me, a lifestyle change means, “I don’t (usually) eat X.” If I really want it, I can have it, but it needs to be a special occasion or an unusual circumstance. For the first time in a long time, I really need to consider food on “indulgence” days because, now, if I eat wheat, my knees ache for 2-3 days after the indulgence and sugar headaches really depend on what else I’ve eaten.

I love bread and chocolate and ice cream, but they really need to be a rare thing. My sweet tooth is all but gone. I share sweet things because a little goes a LONG way. As for bread/wheat indulgences, I seem to need to relearn my lesson about once a month. “It isn’t that bad, is it?” Yes. Yes, it is. When standing up from a writing session hurts and my whole body is achy, I wonder why I need to relearn this lesson over and over. And part of me wonders if this is why I have had sore muscles and bad knees for most of my life.

It’s a hard lesson to learn that food I love the taste of hurts my body so much. I’m getting better at turning down pastries and, if I indulge, sticking to gluten-free options. Though, it is the choice of gluten free and an acid tummy, or sticking to my normal diet. I think I’m at about 50-50 right now and I just know to take something for my stomach in prep for the indulgence.

All this makes travel for conventions that much more exciting and inconvenient. I can’t just go get a burger and call it good. I need a burger without a bun and a way to eat it that doesn’t interfere with being on panels or at my dealers table. In general, we try to stick to gluten-free while traveling. Gluten won’t kill either of us, but it will make the Husband’s asthma act up and me hurt. Not something either of us wants while traveling. Family visits are less complex because both families have been informed of what we can and can’t eat.

Human bodies are complicated. Right now, I’m learning what that means and relearning lessons over and over. At least now, it’s like my parents taught me: Always consider whether or not the punishment is worth the crime. Critical thought is important. If you decide it is, then take your fate into your hands and go for it.

Just some thoughts I’ve been noodling over after date-night with the Husband. (And yes, it was so worth it.)

Norwescon and New Books

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!

 

Iron Dawn now available for pre-order

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.

 

Cover and TOC of A SECRET GUIDE TO FIGHTING ELDER GODS

To be released on April 15.
Edited by Jennifer Brozek.
Such a beautiful cover by Peter Tikos!

“Away Game” by Seanan McGuire
“The Icarus Club” by Weston Ochse
“Stormy Monday” by Chesya Burke
“Pickman’s Daughter” by J. C. Koch
“Us and Ours” by Premee Mohamed
“The Art of Dreaming” by Josh Vogt
“Visions of a Dream Witch” by Lucy A. Snyder
“The Tall Ones” by Stephen Ross
“Just Imagine” by Tim Waggoner
“Holding Back” by Lisa Morton
“The Mouth of the Merrimack” by Douglas Wynne
“The Geometry of Dreams” by Wendy N. Wagner
“Being Emily-Claire” by Jonathan Maberry

I had so much fun editing this anthology. Ya’ll are going to love it.