jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Here is a paraphrased IM conversation I had with Seanan from Wednesday morning, the 23rd (mostly because I can’t find the chat log).

Seanan: Yay!
Jenn: Yay?
Seanan: Have you looked at your email today?
Jenn: No. Didn’t sleep well last night. Guess I should.
Seanan: Go read your email, hon.
Jenn: Oh! Oh! Yay!
Seanan: Yay!!
Jenn: Thank you. I was a little afraid of reading my email this morning because of this.


I read my email and discovered that The Last Days of Salton Academy has been nominated for the Bram Stoker award. My imposter syndrome had convinced me that I would never make the ballot two years in a row. It’s why I didn’t sleep well the night before the announcement and why I was afraid to check my email that morning. I didn’t want to face the disappointment.



Being a finalist for an award is awesome. Especially something like the Bram Stoker award.

However, being a finalist for an award for the second time is even better—for me that is. There’s something wonderful and concrete about the second finalist nomination. It tells me:
…I wasn’t ‘just lucky’ the first time.
…It wasn’t a pity vote.
…It wasn’t just my friends voting for me.
…I do have skill and talent as an author.
…It validates me as a creative professional.

Imposter syndrome is a green-eye monster that wants your attention. It doesn’t want you working on the next thing. It doesn’t want you to celebrate your wins—no matter how large or small. It wants you spiraling into its clawed embrace with no way out. With this repeat nomination, I have a reprieve from imposter syndrome’s ever-present looming nature. At least for a little while.

I’m happy. I really am.

Of course, I want to win the Bram Stoker award. The Last Days of Salton Academy is a good book. Also, that haunted house statue would look lovely on my brag shelf. It really would. Until then, I really am honored to be Bram Stoker nominee again.


jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Five days in the rainforest with minimal internet, an outline, and someone to compete with = 28,356 words written. I am brain fried and dead. I don’t actually recommend this to anyone. I took Monday off writing to recover a bit and it was needed.

All day Monday, while I did other things and played PokemonGO, I kept thinking of things I forgot to add into the manuscript. From descriptions to full scenes. I’m probably going to spend the next two days editing what I wrote to see what else I missed and add it in. Then I’ll feel comfortable enough to continue on. I just feel like my narrative foundation is a bit too cracked and shaky.



View from the 2nd floor Parkside Suite, Thursday morning. Before they brought me a boat and waders.


Beyond teaching a session at RWR, I got to experience the adventure of having Lake Quinalt rise two feet. The Husband thought we might have to evacuate. We didn’t, but I did have to borrow thigh-high waders to get to and from the rest of the resort for two days. A couple of attendees who didn’t know me thought I was part of the Park Service. It was a fun and interesting experience. I’m glad the lake didn’t have a current. I put more pictures and a video of it up on my Facebook.



What Lake Quinalt usually looks like. Saturday morning.


Also, while I was in the land of no internet, the podcast of my short story, “Endless and the End,” went live on The Overcast. My story is episode 49. It’s my creepy little steampunk story inspired by the likes of The Mummy and the casual game Bejeweled. The end of the story includes an afterword by me and a "warning" from The Overcast. I hope you listen to it.


 


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Article: Learn From Autistics - Voices From the Spectrum #26: Jennifer Brozek on Creating Neurodiverse Characters.

Article: How to Escape the Slush Pile: A self-editing checklist for short story writers by Brandon Taylor. Just an article I think is worth reading.

Awards: The Last Days of Salton Academy is listed on the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel. I will find out if it a finalist on the 23rd. So, yay! Cross your fingers for me.

Review: Another review of the Karen Wilson Chronicles. This short one is from Germany. They liked it.

Review: On Goodreads - Just got a lovely review for NEVER LET ME, the Melissa Allen omnibus. These are always nice to read.

Writing: Chuck Wendig: Why Persist As A Writer In Times Of Such Heinous Fuckery?

Writing: Kameron Hurley: How to Keep Writing Through Times of Great Political Upheaval

Writing: Jennifer Brozek: Self Care and the Creative in Turbulent Times.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Yesterday, I began writing the first book of a new teen horror series. The series is called Fever County, thus the first book has the temp title of FC01. I’ve got another title in mind, but I’ve discovered that, sometimes, in the writing of a novel, a new title will present itself. I don’t know if that will happen here or not. We’ll see.

I do know that the day flew by. It wasn’t the only thing I had to do. There’s a myriad of tasks I do each day / week. But when it comes to writing, new writing always comes first. I ended the day content and feeling productive. It was one of those days when I looked up from my last task and saw that it was 4:55pm. I was surprised. Some days drag on and on. Not yesterday.

Not today either.

The first words to a new novel always come slow for me. It’s like warming up an engine. I schedule no more than 500 words a day for the first week and I don’t worry at all if I make that or not. If it’s only 200 words—so be it. If it’s 700 or a thousand words—awesome. It’s not until the second week that I usually drop into a minimum of a thousand words a day or more. By the third week, I’m writing as fast as I can.

I’ve scheduled myself to finish the first draft of FC01 by Mar 31st.  April will be for the short stories I know I have to do. The first part of May will be the first edit pass. Then I’ll hand the novel off to Alpha Readers. While that’s going on. I’ll fully outline FC02, write the 2 page synopsis, and generally begin the mental stewing process. Maybe I’ll figure out the 1 paragraph synopsis for FC03. June will be for fixing FC01 before handing it off to my agent for her thoughts. While she’s reading/critiquing it, I’m going to be writing FC02.

Of course, that’s all in the future. For now, I am content. I’m writing new words again. Not just editing. Not writing in another IP’s world. Fever County is all mine. I can’t express just how right everything feels.

Also, I have the best map ever. I commissioned Elizabeth (she's fab!) to draw it for me. It is the perfect reference doc.

(P.S. Yes, Mom. I really am feeling better.)

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

A lot of people—including me—are experiencing a wide variety of distressing emotions in regards to what’s going to on right now in the world. Sometimes, it’s hard to create when the world feels like it’s on the brink of a disaster there’s no turning back from. What good is a short story or a piece of art in the face of that?

Everything. Absolutely everything.

In-between the real life horror of politics, protests, cruel laws, crueler enforcement of those edicts, and numerous other terrible things, those who fight need a space to go to recharge, a respite, a safe fictional place or a piece of beauty to remind them what they are fighting for.

Still, it’s hard to reach for the life-saving, life-affirming creative work. This is why self care for the creative is so important. Here are a couple of suggestions to add into your daily life.

UNPLUG
Daily or at least weekly, schedule time to get away from the 24/7 news. Unplug from the internet. Whatever is happening will still be happening when you get back. I choose at least 2 hours away every other day. Being online is part of my job, but I don’t need to be connected all the time. If it is an emergency, those who need it have my phone number.

COMFORT ACTIVITY
Enjoy an activity you know you like. Watch reruns of a favorite TV show or movie. Listen to music. Listen to an audiobook. Crochet or knit. Read comfort books and comics. Cook a grand meal for one or many. Meditate. Do something you know you enjoy. Let yourself get lost in it. Forget about the world and its troubles as much as you can for as long as you can. It will be there with you get back. Dedicate this time to you. Bob Ross and I are becoming very good friends again.

MOVE
I’m not telling you to exercise—though exercise is a good thing to do. But walk away from your desk, your computer, your phone (turn your phone off if you can’t stand to leave it behind). Window shop at the mall or the bookstore. Go to the lake and watch the waves for a while. Visit that nearby museum that tourists always go to, but you’ve never visited. Get out of the physical space you are usually in. This helps your mindset. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or to pace the stairwells in your office building. For me, I play Ingress and PokemonGO.

These are all coping mechanisms that I use. Creatives have deadlines and decisions to make that don’t go away. Writing, painting, carving… creating… while in the midst of turbulent times can be the hardest thing to do, but that is when the world needs us most.

Finally, after you have taken some time to care for yourself, you can ENGAGE with the world again. Volunteer. Protest. Call your representatives. Donate to the cause. Do as much or as little as you are able to. Remember, your creative work may be the thing that recharges another so that they may also create while working towards their political and social goals.



Cat pictures always help.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)


The Last Days of Salton Academy is listed on the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel. I am so happy to see this. After the thrill of discovery wore off, like last year, saner thoughts prevailed.

Quoting from my previous post, “I can look at what this really means. The preliminary ballot is not an official nomination. That will come after the active and lifetime members of the HWA vote. I won’t know until Feb 23rd if I’m officially nominated or not. In the meantime, I can enjoy being that much closer to the award.”

It does appear that Feb 23 is the official date again. All I can do is hope that I wrote a good enough novel that it is nominated. HWA Active and Lifetime members vote from Feb 1 to the 15th.

In a more personal thought, I’m thrilled to be on the ballot 2 years in a row. There’s something validating in this fact. Other creatives will understand what I’m talking about. Heck, anyone who competes understands getting a repeat nod is worth a lot.

I’m really happy to see the list of people I see on the ballot. Everyone is excellent at what they do. I’m particularly pleased for Stephen Graham Jones and Paul Tremblay; Bill Gorman and Stephanie Wytovich; Cullen Bunn, Nicole Cushing, Aric Cushing, Victor LaValle, Mark Matthews, Tim Waggoner, Laird Barron, Joyce Carol Oates, Pete Kahle, and so many more. I stopped when I realized I was going to repeat more than half the ballot. My category for Young Adult Novel makes me both proud to stand side-by-side and quake at the competition. I wrote a fine novel… but so did they all.

At the end of the day, I’m thrilled to be listed on the 2016 Bram Stoker prelim ballot. It makes me happy. Of course, I want the official nomination and to win. But that part is out of my hands. It's up to the voters now. So, I’m going to enjoy this ride for as far as it will take me.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Joe is spot on with one of my complaints about glorifying war and the military through fiction in his novel The Fortress at the End of Time. I come from a military family and background. His thoughts hit the nail on the head.
---



The student loan crisis is also a spiritual crisis. We tell students this dream, sell them on the idea of a future where anything is possible. Then, we encourage them to sign up for the dream, and to take out loans. Then, after schooling and the promise of the bright, shining future arrives, it's not so bright, and not so shining, because wages have not kept up with the cost of tuition. That college degree becomes an anchor that holds aspirants down into the lower classes for the crime of trying to lift themselves up.

My family members all served in the military. (Yes, all of them. My parents met in the Army. My sister is a West Point graduate and decorated Iraq war veteran. My brother is a retired Marine. I got an MFA in Writing. I chose a different path than them. That is another story, though, for another time.) The military sells folks a dream of glory. There are all these videos of people jumping out of planes, and running, and shouting, and it's very exciting. On TV and Film, it all looks so vigorous and important and intense. Yet, that is not true to the stories I hear around the kitchen table. Even my sister, a decorated war veteran, an MP (the only combat MOS available to women at the time), who has jumped out of planes and all of that exciting stuff, will not tell you about shooting a weapon in the direction of an enemy. I will leave her stories for her to tell; they belong to her.

I just think that there's this huge disconnect between what is sold and what is experienced. In fact, from where I stand, military service looked like a lot of paperwork and a lot of training for something that, for most soldiers, never comes. The vast majority of military personnel will never stare down a gun barrel at the mythical enemy. The gunships will be kept ready, but rarely fire. What little extreme violence occurs will be rare, I hope, very short and precise. It's not a bad thing, that so few actually face down the guns and bombs, comparatively, but it is also the opposite of what is being sold to us in the stories of military service that are often not at all like 24 or Saving Private Ryan.

While I was reading Military Science Fiction, I felt that this fact of military life was not present. Very few members of the military actually train for combat. The rest live and work inside an exceptionally brutal version of a government bureaucracy. Inside this massive bureaucracy, the facade of war is maintained, and desk clerks shout HOORAH! but even in an actual war, most members of the service are not hopping between houses hunting after bad guys. The majority of the military is a bureaucratic support structure for those few and proud that do that dangerous, bloody, patriotic work. And, I did not see a lot of military science fiction about this side of the military: the soul-crushing bureaucracy that chews up bright, young, energetic people and dumps them out on the other side more broken than when they began, and nary a shot fired, nary a moment of the glory they dreamed about.

It's a hard career, and it isn't for everyone. And, everything around it, everything inside of it, sells this dream of glory; for an overwhelming majority, the glory never comes.

This is one of the things I was thinking about when I thought about writing an old-fashioned space opera. There are all these huge, beautiful exciting ships and battles and weapons. But, most of the people who spend their whole careers inside those ships will never get what they want. They will never experience the dream that they were sold when they were young.

That crisis of spirit, when the revelation comes, is what I wanted to write about inside this deep space universe, inspired by Ursula K. Leguin and Dino Buzzati and Julian Gracq. I wanted space to be the thing that strips the dreams away, to reveal the self, and the lengths that people will go to survive, mentally, the soul-crushing bureaucracy wrapped in a shell of the dream of glory. What happens at the deep space stations when the enemy is not imminent? What happens in those long stretches of darkness where nothing and everything is looking back, and you don't even know what you're looking for? What happens when you realize all those dreams you had are narrowed to a room more like a prison cell than a home?



Different characters deal with this crisis of spirit differently. Captain Ronaldo Aldo deals with this by committing a crime against every human colony in the universe, and calls his crime his triumph.

His confession is out in January from Tor.com, called FORTRESS AT THE END OF TIME, and I hope you check it out. Thanks, Jennifer, for letting me come around and talk about it.

---
JOE M. McDERMOTT is best known for the novels Last Dragon, Never Knew Another, and Maze. His work has appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. He holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program. He lives in Texas.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I've worked with Glenn in the past and I appreciate his deft story telling. I also like the way music inspired him unexpectedly. I love it when that happens.

---

Three years ago, I began a short ghost story for a writing group. I was trying to come up with something when Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness on the Edge of Town” came through my headphones. Bruce is one of my favorite artists of all-time, and although I had listened to this song about half a million times, I heard a line in it that I’d never really heard before:  “tell ‘her there’s a spot out ‘neath Abram’s Bridge….and tell ‘em there’s a darkness on the edge of town.” The lyrics go on to tell about how “every man has a secret” and how they carry that secret with them “every step that they take.”  I took notice. I asked myself what kind of darkness, what kind of secret was out ‘neath Abram’s Bridge?

My short story quickly turned into something larger. The deeper I went, the more the mystery aspect of the story began begging to come out. At that time, I’d never written any kind of real mystery piece, and I wasn’t comfortable trying to do so, but at the end of the day, the story dictated where it wanted to go. I took a shot and let go of the reigns.

Aspects of the book are heavily influenced by two of my favorite writers: Mercedes Yardley and Ronald Malfi. Without Yardley’s Beautiful Sorrows and Malfi’s Floating Staircase, I’m not sure this story would have ever come to fruition. Yardley showed me it was okay to write something sweet into the horror we create, while Malfi showed me how to capture atmosphere, and how to funnel that swirling danger into an explosive and effective crescendo.

When I was finished writing, I knew I had something special. Abram’s Bridge is a about a twelve-year-old boy named Lil’ Ron, and Sweet Kate, the ghost girl he meets beneath Abram’s Bridge. Ron sets out to discover who or what is responsible for her death. He discovers is that the small Maine town his father has moved him to is full of secrets. When he starts asking about Kate, he disturbs a slumbering darkness that digs deeper and closer than he could ever know.

Part ghost story, part mystery, and part coming-of-age, this novella is still one of my favorite pieces in my catalog. Not the blood and gore horror of some of my other works, Abram’s Bridge is more of a supernatural-tinged thriller. I am extremely proud of this book and happy to see it back in circulation thanks to Crossroad Press.

---
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Hunter Shea, Brian Moreland and many others. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

The nomination period for the 2017 Hugo Awards is now open. Below is what I am eligible for and what I published in 2016 I believe deserves to be nominated.

Novels
The Last Days of Salton Academy, YA horror novel - Ragnarok Publications
(While I had two other omnibuses and a fiction collection published, none of those are eligible and I am not eligible for the John W. Campbell award.)

Short Stories
“ARMIN LAAS” - ROBOTS! Origins Game Fair anthology (Science fiction)
“Inky, Blinky, and Me” - Man and Machine anthology (Science fiction)
“Dark Side Matters” - Drawing Destiny, a Sixth World Tarot anthology (Science fantasy)
“The Unfortunate Case of Sister Ruth” - Shockwaves, a V-Wars anthology (Urban fantasy)
“Feathers in Flight” - Tempest, All-New Tales of Valdemar anthology (High fantasy)

Editor – Short Form
I edited both EGM Shorts and Speculate! short fiction in 2016.

Remember, you need have been a member of last year’s Worldcon, and/or be a member of this year’s Worldcon, and/or be a member of next year's Worldcon to be eligible to either nominate or vote.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

As I finish up my work from 2016, I’ve decided that 2017 is going to be a year of experimentation. I have very few deadlines scheduled for me. The month of January is taken up with completing the tie-in story due this month and final edits to Sekrit Project Alex. After that, my year is mostly open. I will assign my own deadlines and stick to them.

This is the time to experiment. Under the Apocalypse Ink Productions umbrella, I have two really interesting projects (in addition to the books we’re already doing).

The first is the “Five Minute Stories” podcast. This podcast will run for thirteen weeks. I’ve never done a podcast. This will be a series of flash fiction pieces, old and new, written and read by me; hosted and produced by AIP. This podcast is for me to figure out whether or not I like podcasting as a storytelling medium. If I discover I like it, I’ll write and produce an original podcast story. If I don’t, I’ll consider the next option.

The second is The Prince of Artemis V comic. I’ve wanted to do a comic book for a long time. The Prince of Artemis V is my most popular short story. I’ve signed a contract with an artist to do the comic and, already, she’s bringing the goods to the table. I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out in the end.

The third is to publish at least one short story as a Kindle Single. This is mostly to figure out how this works and if it is a viable thing for the future. As a full-time freelance author/editor, I must always diversify my revenue streams. It might be a good outlet for my erotica writing (under a different name).

Getting down to the nitty-gritty of writing goals for 2017, I want to write at least six new short stories and get them out to market. That is a good goal as far as short stories are concerned. They are a good thing to write in-between novels.

As for novels, I plan to write at least two novels in my new teen horror series called Fever County. I’m super excited about this series. I’ve already created the world and set up a map as well as done a lot of the world building. More of that will happen as I write. I’ve got the 2 page synopsis of the first book completed with a paragraph synopsis of the second book completed.

When it comes to travel, I’m limiting myself in 2017. I do have 3 definite conventions and 3 one-day events on the schedule with 4 “maybe” conventions waiting in the wings for me to decide what to do with them. Most likely, I’ll only do 2 of the maybes. It depends on a whole lot of factors including time, effort, and money.

There you have it. There are a couple of other interesting things on the horizon, but nothing is contracted/set in stone. 2017 is going to be an experiment. I’m going to stretch myself in some uncomfortable ways creatively to see what happens. At the same time, I’m going to set up a writing schedule that lets me finish those 2 novels and 6 short stories. It’s a little scary to focus mostly on my own stuff after more than a year of tie-in fiction.

Not only am I ready for it, I’m excited for it. That’s the best feeling.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Since I’ve figured out that I’m not going to write any more this year… Final stats for 2016. As a full-time freelancer, stats are important to me. They give me a concrete, discrete measurement for accomplishments. None of the word count below includes social media or blogs.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 195,416 (2 novels, 1 novella, 12 short stories, 3 RPG projects)
Article words written: 25,780
My novels/collections edited: 11
My short stories proofed: 9
Other novels/anthologies edited: 14
Events attended: 12

Short Story Submissions:
Total subs: 19
Acceptances: 6 (35% average)
Rejections: 11
Pending: 2

This year was almost all tie-in fiction. 2017 will be all about my new teen series. (And, of course, all the edits for the turned in novels and novellas.)

jennifer_brozek: (Author August 2011)
Hello and welcome to my professional blog. In this blog, I will mostly write about writing, editing, publishing, slush reading and the calls for submission I am making or responding to. There will be writer advice based on whatever lesson I am relearning, interview links for current projects and random bits that relate to writing in some emotional or technical way. I have no filters and make liberal use of the tag system.

See my profile for my event appearances, book covers, bio and other such things.

My personal blog, [livejournal.com profile] gaaneden, is where I talk about my husband, my cats, my gaming and other randomness of everyday life. It is a lot less structured and a lot more fluff. Feel free to add my personal LJ as well.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I'm working on revisions for the Sekrit Project Alex extras and the final tie-in story for 2016. They both have fiddly bits to get correct. So, here's a Bubble & Squeek for you.

All I want for my Birthday (and Christmas for that matter). Please consider buying one of my books for yourself or as a gift for someone else. It helps keep my cats in kibble and me working on the fiction you know and love.

Article: On the Qwillery – The Perfect Line in the Sand on why zombies are the perfect kind of monster and why we used them so much.

ebook Release: The kindle version of THE LAST DAYS OF SALTON ACADEMY is live! Here is the Barnes and Noble link.

Interview: On Wag the Fox focused around THE LAST DAYS OF SALTON ACADEMY and YA fiction.

Interview: On Ginger Nuts of Horror. This was one long, meaty interview filled with intriguing questions I’ve never had to answer before.

Release: TEMPEST, All-New Tales of Valdemar. I've got my second story of Hadara and Kitha in here. This is the fourth Valdemar anthology I've written for. I'm still pinching myself at how lucky I am I get to play in Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar world.

Review: Ginger Nuts of Horror reviewed
THE LAST DAYS OF SALTON ACADEMYIt doesn’t look like the reviewer liked it very much. But they are correct in saying the book was written for a different age group. (I much prefer these kinds of reviews. :) )



And a picture of Mena being oh-so-dignified. I love this picture of her.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Jean Rabe is a friend of mine whom I adore. She is kind, smart, generous, and talented. I've just started reading The Dead of Winter and I'm in love with it. The woman can write a mystery. If I didn't have revisions and a short story due, I'd be curled up in my comfy chair with some coffee, reading. Later. Work now, play later.

As an aside, this is the 100th “Tell Me" guest blog post. Woo-hoo!
---



Tell me…

…I’ll tell you that I’m worried, nervous, downright frightened.

I’ve read mysteries for years, decades. Love them. Harry Bosch, Elvis Cole, and any investigator penned by Val McDermid are among my favorite characters. My bookshelves are filled with mysteries.

And now I’m writing mysteries. I’ve written 35 fantasy, urban fantasy, SF, and adventure novels. And one mystery, The Dead of Winter, which came out in November. And which has been getting awesome reviews. It even received a glowing review by Steven Paul Leiva in The Huffington Post. Floating, I am!

I received an email this morning: “So... Good time to be reading your book. :-) I'm a handful of chapters in, and really loving it. In fact, I think -- though you've done well in many genres -- you may finally have found your "thing." So far, this sings "Jean Rabe" to me more than any of your other stuff I've read. Of course, I've never read a bad book or story by you, but something about Piper and her cast strike me as "it."

I worked really really really hard on The Dead of Winter. I wrote and rewrote and polished until my fingers ached. I “knew” I had a good book. I was pleased with it. It was a finalist for the Claymore Award. I love my publisher, who asked that it become a series. Floating, I am!

And nervous. Worried. Downright frightened.

I fret that I can’t equal that effort. I suppose a lot of authors feel that way, but I hadn’t until this plunge into mysteries. The genre is tough because there are sooooo many mystery books out there. Can I equal the effort with the next book?

I’m working on it now, 10,000 words in. I should be 40,000 words in, but I’m writing, rewriting, polishing as I go. I’m the sort of writer who can’t keep going until I’m happy with what’s in the computer so far. I fiddle. I finesse. I fret.

And I keep going. Because I made the jump to mysteries. And this is where I want to be. This is the stuff I want to write. I’m determined to win at this. Losing isn’t viable for Piper Blackwell and her fellow cast members.

I’m hoping my readers will stay with me as I meander through the sleepy little county and spice it with murders and thefts and cold cases. Here’s an excerpt of The Dead of Night:

     The old man sat in the middle of a bench under a big oak, his shoulders hunched and back curved, reminding Piper of a turtle. Hard to make out more details from where she stood under the streetlight.
     The light didn’t quite reach his perch, and she suspected he’d picked the spot for that reason; there were closer benches. The clouds hindered, a dense gray dome that coupled with the hour had turned the stretch near the bluff into a mass of twisting shadows. Lights in houses at the edge of the park were flickering dots, will-o-the-wisps, she mused, more fitting for Halloween than spring.
     She started toward him as threads of lightning flashed. Maybe the rain would hold off for a little while. Despite the frequent storms of the past several days, Piper hadn’t brought an umbrella. The ground felt spongy, comfortable to walk on. She quickened her step.
     Maybe this wouldn’t take long and she could go home and crawl into bed with the latest Harry Bosch book.


---
USA Today bestselling author Jean Rabe has written thirty-five fantasy and adventure novels and more than eighty short stories. The Dead of Winter is her first mystery, a cozy police procedural, of which she was told there is “no-such genre.” When she’s not writing, which isn’t often, Jean edits. She has edited more than two dozen anthologies and over one hundred magazine issues so far. She’s a former news reporter and news bureau chief who penned a true crime book with noted attorney F. Lee Bailey. Her genre writing includes military, science-fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, mystery, horror, and modern-day adventure. Jean teaches genre writing courses at conventions, libraries, museums, and other interesting venues. Her hobbies include reading, role-playing games, visiting museums, dog-minding, and buying books to add to her growing stacks. She lives in central Illinois near three train tracks that provide “music” to type by, and she shares her home with three dogs and a parrot. Visit Jean at her website: www.jeanrabe.com

Jean has newsletter filled with tidbits about her upcoming books, reviews of things she’s reading, and writing advice. You can subscribe here.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

On Friday, December 9th, I turn 46. I didn’t have a problem with 29, 30, 35, 40, or 45. But, for some reason, 46 is messing with me a bit this year. I don’t if it’s because 2016 has been a rough year all the way around or what.

All I want for my birthday (and for Christmas for that matter) is for you to buy one of my books (for yourself or as a gift to someone else) and leave me a review. It’s been my standing birthday wish for a few years now. Please consider getting yourself a gift of one of my books for my birthday. You have a great selection. I would love to see pictures of you and my books, too.

This year, I’d like to highlight a couple of books that came out in 2016.

Never Let Me – This is the omnibus of my Bram Stoker nominated YA sci-fi thriller series. It contains Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, and Never Let Me Die as well as an original short story in the universe, “Never Let Me Feel.” This omnibus is only available in print form.

The Karen Wilson Chronicles – This is the omnibus of my urban fantasy quartet. It contains Caller Unknown, Children of Anu, Keystones, and Chimera Incarnate as well as every Kendrick short story ever written and a John Corso story that is only published in the omnibus. This is available in trade and ebook as well as a signed, numbered, limited edition hardback.

The Last Days of Salton Academy – This is my most recently published book. It’s YA horror. Think Night of the Living Dead meets Lord of the Flies. It’s been called a “gothic zombie book” and I’m just fine with that. It is available in trade and ebook formats.

Of course, if you have those already or aren’t interested in them, you can pop by my website and see the whole list. As always, if you want a signed book by me—even my obscure stuff—the University Bookstore is your best bet. Also, I signed a bunch of books for the Cedar Hills Powell’s Bookstore, too.


jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Sekrit Project Alex already has revision notes back. So, I’m in the thick of that. I’m also almost done with an interview for a conventions and I’ve finished several interviews for The Last Days of Salton Academy as well as turned in another short story. Left this year… revisions and another tie-in short story that has been outlined and started and maybe do quickie RPG splat for a funded kickstarter. The year is wrapping up nicely.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 185,645
Article words written: 23,200
My novels/collections edited: 11
My short stories proofed: 9
Other novels/anthologies edited: 14
Events attended: 12

One more of these after the new year, then I’ll have to think of something else to stat for you guys on a monthly basis. I like to mix it up. Next year, I’m going to attempt to do less conventions and 90% original, non tie-in fiction. But, the universe sometimes laughs at my plans.

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

As of this week, I have survived ten years as a fulltime freelance author/editor and created a career I am proud of. The past decade has been nothing like I expected it to be. When I began, I wanted to “just write” and to see if I could make it as an author. Within the first year, I started editing. Time has flown by as well as taken forever. I had a plan and a series of professional goals to meet. I have met every single one of these. Though… the last one, “get an agent,” happened in the last couple of months.


  • Sell short stories to pro markets

  • Get into SFWA with novels or short stories

  • Sell a novel

  • Sell a trilogy

  • Get an agent

  • Be invited to conventions as a panelist

Ten years later, I have discovered there were a whole lot more professional goals I wanted to achieve that I didn’t know I wanted to achieve when I started out. Some of them shocked me when they happened. (Honestly, some of them still surprise me when they occur.)


  • Sell a short story collection

  • Have a story listed in a “Best of” collection

  • Have my books become audiobooks

  • Have a stranger squee over my forthcoming presence at a convention

  • Have a stranger come to a multi-author event to see me specifically

  • Learn how to say “no” to a gig

  • Be nominated for an award – any award

  • Be nominated for a Hugo award and a Bram Stoker award

  • Be mentioned in Locus Magazine and Kirkus Reviews

  • Win an ENnie award, a Scribe award, and/or a Cleo (Origins Game Fair) award

  • Be a Guest of Honor of a convention in America

  • Be a Guest of Honor of a convention abroad (Sweden, Finland)

  • Become a Director-at-Large in SFWA

  • Become an adjective (a “Brozek” book or a “Brozek” anthology)

It’s been ten years. I’ve achieved so much and I’m so grateful to the people who have helped me along the way—editors, publishers, other authors, fans, cheerleaders, shoulders-to-cry-on, friends, family, and my husband. I’m not going to stop now. I just have to set goals for the future. Here are the ones I know I want to achieve:


  • Sell stories to Analog, Asimov, Psuedopod, and EscapePod

  • Sell stories to Ellen Datlow and to John Joseph Adams

  • Create a long-running Teen/YA series (6+ books)

  • Create a successful fiction podcast

  • Have someone option my work

  • Have my work become a TV pilot, TV series, and/or movie


The more I know about the publishing business, the more I can narrow down what I really want out of my career. Now that I have a wonderful agent, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.

In celebration, and out of duty, I have filed ten years worth of editing and writing contracts… much to the enjoyment and annoyance of my cats. (The red folder is filled with 10 years worth of editing contracts and the black one has 10 years of writing contracts.)


jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I am completely biased on this one. I edited Jon's new book, Star Realms: Rescue Run. I think it's a hoot. Especially the singing AI. A great tie-in novel.
---



One topic I often am approached on for Star Realms: Rescue Run is regarding my artificial intelligence who bursts into song when he starts going haywire. I have a lot of lyrics interwoven throughout the text, and people ask if I wrote them myself, if they come from favorite bands, or if the songs in the story have any deeper meaning.
 
To the first question, yes I write all the lyrics myself. A lot of people don’t know that I write songs but I actually released an album in 2006 with the band Aprilsrain, and a couple of those songs were picked up by MTV’s Real World: New Orleans and actually play in the background of that show.
 
I love music. I am versed in piano and guitar, and can sing decently well. As of late I haven’t had a lot of time to play music, so sometimes I have to live vicariously through my characters, which I had a lot of fun with while writing this book.
 
The singing AI also served as a nod to one of my favorite writers, Anne McCaffrey, of which I tend to write a lot of references to her in my book. This particular one is in homage to her short story, “The Ship Who Sang,” which is one of the most powerful emotional stories ever written. As much as I hate to admit it, I cry every time I read that story. I wanted to have my main character have a reference to an emotionally powerful piece while she saw her best friend and AI slipping away.
 
Beyond that, I tried to put some thought into the lyrics, but wanted them to flow naturally as if randomly from an AI’s archive. Though most of the AI’s singing is couched in silly romance songs, as I imagine most pop songs from here to eternity will have those themes, I tried to have the lyrics match/mirror the story to some degree whether that be in the feel of the song or more directly what's going on around it. The AI has an awareness of what’s going on and is at least trying to communicate.
 
I started out with a longer verse to get the reader used to the fact that the AI would be singing, and then did short one-off lines from that point forward to try to highlight the glitchiness of the AI’s virus that slowly overwhelmed its programming throughout the course of the book. 
 
Lyrics and poetry have a long tradition in sci-fi and fantasy. Tolkien used them to great avail and another of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, weaves them into a lot of her work. I had a lot of fun continuing that tradition with these and hope to be able to work them into future pieces as well.

---
Jon Del Arroz began his writing career in high school, providing book reviews and the occasional article for the local news magazine, The Valley Citizen. From there, he went on to write a weekly web comic, Flying Sparks, which has been hailed by Comic Book Resources as “the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with early Marvel comics.” He has several published short stories, most recently providing flash fiction for AEG’s weird west card game, Doomtown: Reloaded, and a micro-setting for the Tiny Frontiers RPG. Star Realms: Rescue Run is his debut novel. You can find him during baseball season with his family at about half of the Oakland A’s home games in section 124.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Here is my OryCon and Authorfest SF schedules. If I'm not at a panel, I will be at my dealers table. Come by, say hello, get a book signed, and/or buy gifts for friends! I'd love to see you there. I'm even going to have some of my signed, numbered, limited edition books.

FRIDAY
Writing in Other People's Worlds

Meadowlark (3)
Fri Nov 18 8:00pm - 9:00pm
Christina Hartley, David Boop, Diana Francis, Elton Elliott, Jennifer Brozek

========================================================
SATURDAY
Freaking Me Out, Not Grossing Me Out

Salon C (LL1)
Sat Nov 19 1:00pm - 2:00pm
Colleen Anderson, Jennifer Brozek, Judith Conly, Laurel Anne Hill, Matt Haynes

Reaching Readers Who Don't Know You Yet
Meadowlark (3)
Sat Nov 19 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Anthony Pryor, Blythe Ayne, Deborah Ross, Jennifer Brozek, Josh Boykin

Reprints
Salon A (LL1)
Sat Nov 19 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Bruce Taylor, Jennifer Brozek, Maura van der Linden, Wendy Wagner

========================================================
SUNDAY
SFWA Meeting
Sunstone (3)
Sun Nov 20 10:00am - 11:00am
Jennifer Brozek

Synopses, Summaries, and Blubs, Oh My!
Meadowlark (3)
Sun Nov 20 12:00pm - 1:00pm
DongWon Song, Jennifer Brozek, Mary Rosenblum, Ripley Patton, William Hertling


AUTHORFEST SF 10
Cedar Hills Powells Bookstore, Beaverton, OR
Sun Nov 20 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Many authors

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Here's a Bubble & Squeek for you. I'm going to keep on writing. There's not much else I can do right now.

Article: On Risingshadow. The Apocalypse Has Come and Gone. I talk about where The Last Days of Salton Academy is set.

Article: On Ragnablog. The Idea That Won’t Leave You Alone. I talk about what prompted me to write a YA zombie novel when I don't like zombies.

Article: I got mentioned on Kirkus Reviews in 13 Horror Books to Put You in the Mood for Halloween for The Last Days of Salton Academy! The fact that I got mentioned in Kirkus has me over the moon. Then, to be in such good company...

Ingress: In completely non-writing news, I got mentioned by a major Ingress character on his blog. So, that was exciting. I also was awarded a really hard badge to get: the EAW badge.

Review: Slap Happy Fun Time reviewed The Last Days of Salton Academy and really liked it – “…this is the kind of novel that you simply don't read. It consumes you, it demands your attention just like a great novel should.” 

Review: Goodreads review of The Last Days of Salton Academy – “Gothic zombie book.”

July 2017

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