Jennifer Brozek | All posts by jennifer

Holiday Books From Me For You

Tis the season to be giving and getting; the holiday season. For those of you who want signed books by me, there are a couple of ways to go about it. I’ve been asked about this several times. I’m putting it all in one place this year. 

My preferred way: the University Bookstore in Seattle, WA. Visit the website or call: 1.800.335.7323. They have many of my books, even obscure ones. All of them are signed. If they are not, they can contact me and I’ll head over and sign them.

Alternative 1: Buy a physical book from the Apocalypse Ink Productions website and email, requesting that I sign it.

Alternative 2: Buy the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your retailer of choice, then mail me a bookplate to sign with all the appropriate information.

Jennifer Brozek
6830 NE Bothell Way, STE C #404
Kenmore, WA 98028

The above address is excellent for sending me holiday cards or birthday cards (Dec 9) as well.

OryCon and SF Authorfest Schedule

Here is my OryCon and SF Authorfest schedule. If I'm not at my table, I'm at a panel. Come say hello, buy books/ebooks, get stuff signed, and get holiday gifts for your loved ones! I've got some out-of-print books as well as collectible books to sell. I'm going to be right next to Angelwear Creations.

Friday, Nov 9
3:00:pm-4:00:pm, Horror For Beginners, Room: 166 B   

Want to write a scary story, but don’t know where to start? Advice from some of our favorite horror authors!

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Saturday, Nov 10
12:00:pm-1:00:pm, Willing suspension of disbelief, Room: 166 B   

A discussion of earning the willing suspension of disbelief, why you need it, and when to overstep it.

1:00:pm-2:00:pm, Are You Doomed by Your Muse?, Room: Pettygrove   
Creatives have a reputation for self-destructing, suffering, starving, succumbing to various illnesses and addictions... How much of this is self-fulfilling prophecy, how much is sensationalism and cultural influence, and how much is it the nature of being a writer, poet, artist, musician, or other creative?

7:30:pm-8:00:pm, Jennifer Brozek Reading, Room: 152 Readings   
Jennifer Brozek reads from her works—one published, one not published.


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Sunday, Nov 11
10:00:am-11:00:am, Horror vs Modern Technology, Room: Pettygrove  
 
A discussion of how things like cellphones and the internet impact horror stories, and how to write stories incorporating them.

1:00:pm-2:00:pm, Autograph Session, Room: TBA   
Get your books signed by Jennifer Brozek, Dayle A. Dermatis, David D. Levine

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SF AUTHORFEST, Nov 11, Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
4:00:pm-5:30:pm, 20-25 authors all signing books!

The Jennifer Award for October 2018

From now until I decide I want to stop doing this, I will be giving out a monthly “Jennifer Award” for the best new-to-me thing I read that month. This can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be an essay/article, a short story, a novelette, a novella, or a novel. It doesn’t matter when it came out. It only matters that this is the first time I read it and I thought it was the best thing I read all month. Yes, it is completely subjective and biased towards what I like to read.

The winner will receive a shiny digital badge of honor and a $5 gift card.

The October winner of the Jennifer Award is Planetside by Michael Mammay. It’s a military space book, but it’s not. Not a standard one. Anyone in the military, or former military, will recognize the customs and courtesies, the different chains of command and how one power structure is often at odds with another. Planetside, at its heart, is a mystery and it’s about the relationships that people build. Enjoyed the heck out of this one. If you like mysteries and reading about military culture (from an author who was in it), you’re going to like this one.


2018
Jan: Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M. Odell
Feb: “When We Fall” by Kameron Hurley
Mar: The Alastair Stone Chronicles by R.L. King
Apr: Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
May: “The Soul of Horses” by Beth Cato
Jun: “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue
Jul: “By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry & A. Merc Rustad
Aug: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
Sep: Immortal House by Elizabeth Guizzetti
Oct: Planetside by Michael Mammay

 

Music and Memory

I took an honest-to-goodness vacation recently. I spent a lot of time listening to audiobooks or music, crocheting, and staring at the ocean. It was so needed. I didn’t understand how much I needed an actual vacation. Not a convention or event where I was “on stage” or selling books. The Husband saw the need and insisted we take it. I’m so glad.

One of the things I noticed while I was on vacation and afterwards was that certain songs made me think of certain people. Mostly because of old LARPing characters interactions. But others, I have no idea why and it mystifies me. It was something I wanted to note.

These are all of the people and songs I’ve noticed recently.

  • Chantelle – “I Miss the Misery” by Halestrom (RPG character interactions.)
  • David – “A Dangerous Mind” by Within Temptation (RPG character interactions.)
  • Evan – “War” by Poets of the Fall (RPG character interactions.)
  • Eric R – “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” by Fall Out Boy (RPG character interactions.)
  • Johanna – “Vampires” by The Pet Shop Boys (No idea, but I also think about drinking red wine, too.)
  • Jeff – “Tide” by Tarot (RPG character interactions.)
  • Rae – “Paint It Black” by Ciara (Not a clue, but I have to assume it’s LARP related.)
  • Rich T – “Eyes of a Stranger” by Queensryche (RPG character interactions.)
  • Ross – “Let You Down” by Three Days Grace (RPG character interactions.)
  • Thea – “I’m with You” by Avril Lavigne (No idea. Seriously.)
  • Toni – “Life is Beautiful” by Sixx A.M. (RPG character interactions.)
  • Yonatan – “My Immortal” by Evanescence (Probably because we once dated.)

What about you? Do songs make you think of people?

Tell Me - E.D. Walker

Today, E.D. Walker tells us how her own romantic life inspired her romantic story in the newly released Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 anthology.
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I’ve been writing some flavor of romance since my first book, The Beauty’s Beast, was published in 2010 by a small e-press, and ever since then I’ve returned several times to one of my favorite romance tropes: “the reunited lovers.” These are lovers who were together and then something drove them apart, whether it was external events or internal turmoil. For my story in the latest installment of the Pets in Space anthology series, Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3, I decided to return to this trope once again. But I’ll tell you the secret of why I’m so fond of the reunited lovers trope: it’s because my husband and I are “reunited lovers” ourselves.

We dated for six years in our early twenties then broke up when I moved for school. We were apart for almost four years, but in that time we never stopped missing each other. I always mark this period of separation as the time when “reunited lovers” really took hold of my heart and my brain. I often reread Jane Austen’s Persuasion, and I wrote my own “reunited lovers” story that was based in part on trying to write a happy ending for myself that I thought I would never have in reality.

And, this might be a bit silly, but it was a reunited lovers story that finally gave me the courage to contact my old boyfriend. I went to see the Veronica Mars movie one day and the reunited lovers in that story inspired me to try my own luck. “If Veronica can get her man back, maybe I can get mine?”

I wrote a very scary email that night to my old boyfriend to see if he still felt the same way about me that I felt about him. (Spoiler alert: He did.)

It’s four years later and now we’re married with a toddler, and the reunited lovers trope has a permanent place in my heart because I’ve seen firsthand how wonderful it can be to recapture that old flame and then make it even better. To take the time apart you require and find that you’ve both grown in just the ways you need to in order to make your romance work this time. And that’s why I decided to revisit the trope again in "The Bajo Cats of Anteros XII" for Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3. My characters Aliette and Zandro had a good thing once, but his job and her fear got in the way. Now they’ve been thrown back together, and they’ll need to see if they can make it work this time.

Personally, speaking from experience, I like their chances.

NOTE: A portion of the proceeds from the first month of sales of Embrace the Passion: Pets in Space 3 will be donated to Hero-Dogs.org, a charity which helps place specially trained dogs with veterans. 

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E.D. Walker, a native of Los Angeles, is the author of The Fairy Tales of Lyond Series that begins with Enchanting the King. As a child, she grew up knowing all the words to the songs in Disney’s fairy tale retellings. (Sleeping Beauty was always her favorite.) Lo and behold, she eventually grew up to write fairy tale retellings of her own.

By day, E.D. helps corral engineers for NASA (without doing any of the tech stuff herself, of course). By night, she loves to write her clever heroes and heroines bantering their way to true love. E.D. is a total geek, a movie buff, and a mediocre swing dancer. E.D. and her family live in sunny Southern California with one of the neediest housecats on the planet.

For more information about E.D., please visit her website, “Like” E.D. on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads. Make sure you also join E.D.’s newsletter to be the first to hear about the next book in The Beauty’s Beast Fantasy Series. She’s always thrilled to hear from her readers. Email her directly at e.d.walker.author@gmail.com.

Pets in Space Buy links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play, iBooks.

 

Tell Me - Elizabeth Guizzetti

It is no secret that I enjoyed the heck out of IMMORTAL HOUSE by Elizabeth Guizzetti. The novella did win my Jennifer Award for September. Now, Beth tells us where she got the inspiration for her book.
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I love horror movies and vampire films are some of my favorite. It isn’t surprising, I was a teenager in the 1990’s and vampires were huge. (Also they didn’t sparkle, but that’s another story.)

The idea for my novella, Immortal House, was first generated when I was rewatching Tale of a Vampire, 1992 starring Julian Sands. I noticed he lived in this great old loft, what looked like it might have once been an abandoned factory. I started thinking about one of my favorite cop shows, Forever Knight. The title character also has an expansive urban loft. In fact, many vampire stories begin with a vampire buying a house or land such as Dracula, 1931, 1992, (so many remakes it’s impossible to list them all) Salem’s Lot, 1979 or Fright Night (1982/ Remake 2011). Even in legend, vampires have a distinct connection with real estate—they carry their earth.

However, many of the older buildings in Seattle—the type of places vampires are often shown to like—are being torn down. Many blame gentrification due to the tech industry. While gentrification is a real issue, destroying architectural history is not a new problem for Seattle.

Though Immortal House is a comedy, here’s a very brief, not funny, architectural history of Seattle.

Settlers from Europe took what is now the city of Seattle from the Duwamish people who lived in the area since the end of the last ice age. While some came as friendly neighbors or traders, many disregarded treaties. They burned the Duwamish’s longhouses and passed laws forcing Indigenous Americans out of Seattle. They even refused a reservation to be established near Seattle and exiled the Duwamish to Ballast Island.

Settlers built the earliest buildings from wood as lumber was plentiful. Seattle’s population continued to grow. In 1889, most of this original city burned in the Great Seattle Fire which was caused by an overturned glue falling onto a carpentry shop’s floor. While a few Victorian homes still stand today, much of what counts as “historical” is questionable. Many older residential neighborhoods are filled with Craftsman houses built in 1910-1920 interspersed with mid-century and later housing. Even our cute quaint houseboat community on Lark Union had an early beginning which was destroyed. Houseboats were originally little more than huts on rafts for loggers, trappers and folks who organized unrespectable or illegal activities, however once the logging moved further away from the city, Seattle used zoning laws to get the “riff-raff” out and let the wealthy use the lake for pleasure activities in the 1920’s.

Many large Victorian era buildings were demolished in the middle of the last century in the name of progress. In 1961, the Seattle Hotel was demolished to build a parking lot on the corner of 1st and Yesler. While it might seem strange that beautiful Victorian architecture was demolished for one of the ugliest two-story parking lots in the city, at that point the Seattle Hotel only had stood for seventy years and had fallen into disrepair. The parking lot sparked a movement to protect Pioneer Square as a historical district. However, plenty of other buildings were demolished: The Metropolitan Theatre was torn down in 1956, the Haller Building in 1957, and Ballard City Hall in 1965 just to name a few. All this was to make way for modern progress.

In the past twenty years Seattle’s population has grown from 536,000 in 1998 to over 750,000 in 2016. With a growing population and limited land, Seattle is becoming denser. Developers are buying up old houses with large lots and dividing the land so they can build several modern three-story rowhouses. In areas, where there were once grocery stores with open parking lots, mixed-use towers have sprouted up. The closer the neighborhood is to the downtown core, the higher the buildings are built. In Capitol Hill and South Lake Union, developers sometimes try to save old façades by topping them with modern architecture, but these have a top-heavy awkwardness about them. In the Central District, there is an apartment building topped with a Wonder Bread sign, as a nod to when the land was a factory.

My goal was to be brief and I know I missed a lot, but Seattle is no more innocent than any other American city. I encourage you to understand the history of where you call home. Some of it will make you proud, some will make you mortified. 

For its faults, Seattle is the city which my husband and I call home. We’re attached to the city, culture, and people. My husband and I chose to live in a 640 square-foot condo in a midrise tower so we can afford an urban lifestyle. Our condo is small, but it’s in walkable distance to parks, stores, coffee houses. Assuming it doesn’t fall down in an earthquake or I sell a million books and can afford a bigger place in the city, we’ll live here comfortably.

When I wrote Immortal House, I thought of two important questions: why are vampires so connected to their homes? And what would an average, every day, middle class vampire do when faced with the reality of life in Seattle 2018? Laurence is searching for a house he would love forever: an Immortal House.
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Much to her chagrin, Elizabeth Guizzetti discovered she was not a cyborg and growing up to be an otter would be impractical, so began writing stories at age twelve.

Three decades later, Guizzetti is an illustrator and author best known for her demon-poodle based comedy, Out for Souls & Cookies. She is also the creator of Faminelands and Lure and collaborated with authors on several projects including A is for Apex and The Prince of Artemis V. 

To explore a different aspect of her creativity, she writes science fiction and fantasy. Her debut novel, Other Systems, was a 2015 Finalist for the Canopus Award for excellence in Interstellar Fiction. Her short work has appeared in anthologies such as Wee Folk and The Wise and Beyond the Hedge. Between long projects, she works on a ten-part novella series, The Chronicles of the Martlet, following the life of an elfin assassin turned necromancer just for funsies. Immortal House is her seventh written book.

Guizzetti lives in Seattle with her husband and two dogs. When not writing or illustrating, she loves hiking and birdwatching.

To find out more about her work
Website: elizabethguizzetti.com
Twitter: @E_Guizzetti
Facebook: /Elizabeth.Guizzetti.Author
Instagram: @e_guizzetti

Immortal House is available from most bookstores, but below are a few links:
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
ELLIOT BAY BOOK CO.
LIBERTY BAY BOOKS
QUEEN ANNE BOOK COMPANY
THIRD PLACE BOOKS

The Jennifer Award for September 2018

From now until I decide I want to stop doing this, I will be giving out a monthly “Jennifer Award” for the best new-to-me thing I read that month. This can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be an essay/article, a short story, a novelette, a novella, or a novel. It doesn’t matter when it came out. It only matters that this is the first time I read it and I thought it was the best thing I read all month. Yes, it is completely subjective and biased towards what I like to read.

The winner will receive a shiny digital badge of honor and a $5 gift card.

The September winner of the Jennifer Award is Immortal House by Elizabeth Guizzetti. Humorous books are not usually my thing, but when Beth said it was about a non-stereotypical, out-of-touch vampire house hunting in the Seattle area where the real monster was the real estate prices, I had to look. I’ve house hunted. It sucks. Poor Laurence has it even worse. And all the rest of the vampires can’t understand why he won’t just settle down in a nice crypt or something normal like that. Ya’ll are going to smile at this one.

2018
Jan: Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M. Odell
Feb: “When We Fall” by Kameron Hurley
Mar: The Alastair Stone Chronicles by R.L. King
Apr: Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
May: “The Soul of Horses” by Beth Cato
Jun: “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue
Jul: “By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry & A. Merc Rustad
Aug: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire
Sep: Immortal House by Elizabeth Guizzetti

 

Bubble & Squeek for 11 Sep 2018

Article: From Bookwraiths Author Spotlight – Observations of an American Military Brat. “For most of America, “kids don’t act that way,” but on military bases and in military academies, they do.”

Interview: Community Outreach – Interview with Jennifer Brozek, Author Of BattleTech: The Nellus Academy Incident. I love Sarna.net. I really do.

Publication: “An Open Letter to the Family” is live in Uncanny Magazine’s Disabled People Destroy SF issue. I love this story, even thought it was really hard to write.

Review: To Fight the Black Wind reviewed by Uncaged Reviews. Short but sweet.

Reminder: For the North Coast Redwoods Writers Conference, I will be reading in Crescent City on Friday the 21st at 7pm and teaching two workshops (The Principles of Tie-In Fiction and How to Pitch a Story) on Saturday. There are still openings in both workshops and the reading is free.


The Jennifer Award for August 2018

From now until I decide I want to stop doing this, I will be giving out a monthly “Jennifer Award” for the best new-to-me thing I read that month. This can be fiction or non-fiction. It can be an essay/article, a short story, a novelette, a novella, or a novel. It doesn’t matter when it came out. It only matters that this is the first time I read it and I thought it was the best thing I read all month. Yes, it is completely subjective and biased towards what I like to read.

The winner will receive a shiny digital badge and a $5 gift card.

The August winner of the Jennifer Award is Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire. It is no secret I adore the October Daye series. But, like book six, Ashes of Honor, Night and Silence is one of those books in the series that brings many plot threads to a close with an emotional satisfaction you can feel. There was a turn in the series at book six. There is a definite turn in book twelve. So many mistakes, bad assumptions, and hidden truths came to light. At the same time, so many more questions and so much potential revealed themselves. It’s divine.

Yes, Night and Silence can be read out of order. Seanan does a good job catching everyone up on the series. You will enjoy this book on its own. However, if you have a chance, read the series. The emotional impact will be so much more. And may I just say, it’s nice to see the male lead vulnerable. He’s still a killing machine, but he’s got PTSD in the worst way. He knows it and he’s finally open to help. I’m happy to see that.

2018
Jan: Godfall and Other Stories by Sandra M. Odell
Feb: “When We Fall” by Kameron Hurley
Mar: The Alastair Stone Chronicles by R.L. King
Apr: Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys
May: “The Soul of Horses” by Beth Cato
Jun: “Daddy’s Girl” by Jennifer R. Donohue
Jul: “By Claw, By Hand, By Silent Speech” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry & A. Merc Rustad
Aug: Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

 

Home Improvement Never Ends

In early summer, the Husband and I decided we needed to do something about the driveway. It was broken in multiple places with some parts raising and some parts lowered. With last year’s rains, it had moved from ugly and mildly inconvenient to ugly and an honest trip hazard. After some debate, we settled on replacing the driveway (and walkway up to the house) with paver stones. That project is scheduled to begin within the next two weeks.

The side effect of that decision, and having just had the house repainted, was me mentioning to the Husband that I’d really like the back patio redone. The old red brick looked terrible. When I said this, I thought it would be a “next year” project. We had the front driveway and the painting of the back deck to do. That’s not what happened and the deck repainting is now scheduled for next year.

In mid-July, the Husband turned to me and said, “Okay, let’s go pick out the paver stones for the back patio. I want to get the job done before Gen Con.” I was surprised but game. He finished it in time. This is all the Husband’s work. The most I did was pick out the pavers, move six wheelbarrows full of stone, then laud the honey when it was done. I’m still in awe of his skill.

This blog post is mostly for my mom to show my dad and to preen over the Husband’s success.

The old patio with the old stairs.

The length of the side of the house the paver stones had to travel in 90+ degree heat.

Stacking the paver stones to work with.

Placing the stones.

Pouring the sand.

Smoothing the sand.

Placing the stone and leveling them once…

Twice. Maybe three or four times.

Here is the freshly done patio without the new deck stairs. There’s a lot more that went into this… paver sand, leveling with a vibrating machine, hand leveling, a chemical spray to set the paver sand so it’s like grout…. And more that I don’t know about. Like I said, this was the Husband. He’s awesome.

Here’s the back patio with the new deck stairs (also built by the husband). At some point, when the rainy season starts up again, he’ll put down fresh sod to cover the areas where he added a French drain to keep the water draining away from the house.

The driveway project foreman doing the front was impressed with the back patio. He said that if the Husband were younger and interested in a career change, doing paver installation, he’d have a job without a doubt. Both of them then laughed and agreed that paver stone installation sucked and was a young man’s job.

I think it looks marvelous. Don’t you?