jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-07-20 09:13 am
Entry tags:

No Longer Just About the TARDIS for Me

No Longer Just About the TARDIS for Me

by Jennifer Brozek 20. July 2017 09:03

My first Doctor was the 4th Doctor played by Tom Baker. I loved the show. There was something about it that struck me as wonderful. To be able to travel through time and space and to be home in time for dinner. To see wonders and fight monsters and to always work for the good of humanity. I loved the show for many reasons. However, as a military brat, I loved Doctor Who most because of the TARDIS itself. For a kid who had to move every 2-3 years, the idea of having a house that you could take with you was beyond wonderful. It was magic itself.

Because of this, I was the kid who kept a packed backpack by my bed. I was ready for when the Doctor came and offered me a place in that wondrous blue box. The one that always knew where to go. I wanted to be a companion because I wanted to travel in the TARDIS.

The first time I saw the Doctor regenerate, I realized that maybe, someday, the Doctor could be female. That instead of being the plucky companion, a girl like me could live in the TARDIS and choose her companions. But, being the cynical child that I was, I knew it wouldn’t happen anytime soon.

I disliked the 6th Doctor so much that I stopped watching Doctor Who altogether. I ignored it for three seasons when the new Doctor Who came out. It took Rich Taylor, one of my best friends, a legion of fans gushing about it, and a music video to get me to watch. I went to Netflix and found the episode “Blink.” Rich had described it as “The episode I would point people to if I had to describe what Doctor Who was without getting into the long history of the Doctor.” After I watched “Blink” and admitted I liked it, Rich told me to watch “The Empty Child” next. That’s when Eccleston became my new Doctor. He’s still my favorite.

At least for now.

After Tennant, I wanted a woman or non-white Doctor. I wasn’t picky. I just wanted the Doctor to regenerate into someone who wasn’t white and male. Someone a tiny bit closer to me. After Smith, I was so disappointed that Capaldi was chosen. (Note: Capaldi did a fantastic job as the Doctor.) The world kept telling me “No.” Once more, I was back to focusing on the TARDIS itself as my favorite.

On this 13th (or 14th, if you want to be pedantic, because of the War Doctor), I wanted a woman or a non-white man so bad. My cynical side said it wasn’t going to happen. They were going to get Kris Marshall and he would do a good job and that would be that.

I did not expect my visceral reaction to the discovery that a woman, Jodie Whittaker, would be taking on the titular role of the Doctor. I felt my cheeks flush and my heart beat faster. I punched the air and ran to the Husband’s office to tell him. In those scant steps between his office and mine, tears sprang to my eyes as I formulated the words to tell him, the new Doctor would be played by a woman. My voice cracked when I told him. It was like the world had changed in some indefinable way.

It’s taken me a week to figure out what that way was and why this meant so much to me: Finally, I’m no longer just a guest in the TARDIS. I don’t have to the companion who will eventually be left behind. The TARDIS can be my home, too.

Now, thousands upon thousands of little girls and boys will see Jodie Whittaker as their first Doctor. The potential for them will always be there in a way that wasn’t for me until now.

I can’t wait for this next season of Doctor Who.

My TARDIS Little Free Library in my front yard.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-07-11 07:58 am
Entry tags:

Bubble & Squeek for 11 July 2017

Bubble & Squeek for 11 July 2017

by Jennifer Brozek 11. July 2017 07:50

Adventure! - What happens when Seanan McGuire asks if you want to go on a “little adventure.” I give you: The Dollhouse. Too good not to share.

Announcement - EGM on hiatus. It was a good run but life has a way of turning the corner for you. We don’t know when or how we’ll be back—yet—but we will be back.

Blog - Live Your Art Daily. This is one of those blogs posts I think more authors junior in their careers should read.

Education - Writing Speculative Fiction: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror: Teacher's Edition. Some of my writing was used as an example in this textbook. I thought the homeschoolers out there might be interested.

Podcasts - I’ve been listening to a lot of serial fiction podcasts lately. Part research, part for the love of serial fiction, part because it’s something to listen do while I’m working on a mindless task. I’d like to recommend these podcasts: The Black Tapes, Alice Isn’t Dead, Slumberland, and Rabbits.

Pharaoh on an adventure!
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-07-08 09:43 pm

Conversations with the Husband

*Something downstairs falls over*
Me: You hear that?
Him: No, but I'm going to check it out...naked.
Me: You are a cliche.
Him: I'm a guy. Naked man's defense.
Me: Point.

Naked man's defense: If you come across a naked man in the road, avoid him. He knows something you don't know, is crazy, or has skills to back up his nakedness.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-07-06 03:32 pm

The Good Kind of Procrastination....

Restructured my bibliography page to break things out by type instead of year. I've done a lot. What do you think? http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/bibfiction.html
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-07-05 03:15 pm
Entry tags:

THE BRIGHTEST FELL with All the Feels (No Spoilers)

by Jennifer Brozek 5. July 2017 15:08

October “Toby” Daye is hearing wedding bells in her future—or she would be if her mother, Amandine the Liar, hadn’t just walked back into her life with an ultimatum: Find her missing sister, August, or suffer the consequences. To ensure Toby’s obedience, Amandine has taken hostages: Toby’s fiancé Tybalt, the local King of Cats, and Jazz, the Raven-maid girlfriend of Toby’s Fetch. …

It is no secret that I adore the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire. THE BRIGHTEST FELL is book eleven in the series and the first slated to come out in hardback.

Over the series, Toby has changed, grown, and become comfortable in her own skin. She’s got friends, allies, a dysfunctional family that is slowly on the mend, a loving fiancé, and a squire who has grown along with her from teenager to young man. Of course, McGuire can’t leave Toby so happy. This is a book where some past debts and past demons come home to roost.

It’s one of the reasons I enjoy the Toby books. Nothing written in the series is a throwaway line. Everything has a purpose. Even actions I didn’t understand when they happened. A lot of those questions are cleared up with THE BRIGHTEST FELL. This book feels a bit like a tour of Toby’s life. She is forced to travel with an old enemy and to revisit some of the scariest places she’s been. There, she’s required to face the consequences of past actions and to understand why certain people have hurt her so badly.

The best this about this book is McGuire’s ability to give the reader another point of view. To make you want to sympathize with the most evil of characters. To understand why they did what they did. Even to cry for them a little. None of this stops you from still wanting to punch them in the face, but does give you a better understanding of their motivations.

It is one of those books in the series that a new reader can pick up and enjoy the ride. While they may not get the same emotional impact that long-time readers of the series will get, they will still feel the urgency of Toby’s quest and the hard choices she’s required to make. For new fans and old, this is one of those don’t-miss novels.

THE BRIGHTEST FELL includes an original novella, OF THINGS UNKNOWN, set in the County of Tamed Lightning. I cried throughout this novella. That’s all I’m going to say about it.

5/5 stars

jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-06-26 08:45 am

Blog: On Luminaries and Events.

by Jennifer Brozek 26. June 2017 08:36

As I'm sure you've seen, I will be speaking at Verne & Wells on RPG tabletop and video games on July 7th at 6:30. But what some of you don't know is that I've accepted a position as Luminary. It's a great opportunity for me to reach out to fans and others who may be starting their journey into RPGs. I feel very honored to have been asked to fulfill this position. For those of you who aren't familiar with Verne & Wells or what a Luminary is let me elaborate.

Verne & Wells is a geek social club. It's a place where gamers, designers, artists, and authors can meet and play games, discuss their favorite platforms, learn from each other and collaborate. A monthly fee covers services such as the game library, gaming rooms, snacks, and drinks. They have a calendar full of gaming, movie nights, and more.

Verne & Wells seeks out industry professionals to become Luminaries. About once a quarter, each Luminary will discuss a subject in their realm of expertise. Luminaries range from video game designers to authors to more. The Luminary events are free to the public, so feel free to join me.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-06-22 12:28 pm
Entry tags:

Renovations All Over the Place

by Jennifer Brozek 22. June 2017 12:23
There are a lot of changes going on in my life right now—physically, mentally, and atmospherically. This is a good and bad thing. Change is hard. Change can hurt. Doesn’t matter if everything is so much better when it’s done. Change is life.

Atmospherically...
The Husband and I have decided that, unless something drastic changes, this is our house until retirement. It is a 30+ year old house in decent shape. We are the second owners. There have never been any kids living here. But, it is still 30+ years old and things are slowly falling apart. Thus, we have decided that since we would have to update the house to sell when we move anyway, we should go ahead and update the upstairs bathrooms now so we can enjoy the updated look and feel of the place while we live here.

This means I’ve had people in the house almost every day for three weeks. For an introvert like me who prefers to work in silence, this has been hard. My productivity has dropped. My sleep schedule is all messed up. The cats are unhappy and anxious. It’s no fun. But the master bathroom is almost done. Almost. And it is beautiful. I’m going to love using it. The Husband can’t wait to take a bath in the new tub. It will be worth it.

Of course, next week, the destruction of my bathroom happens. My bathroom is right next to my office. I suspect I’m going get even less done. The work is going to be louder and there will be constant movement in my field of vision. I won’t need to lock the cats up the whole time, so I don’t be able just close my door—not that my paranoia would allow that anyway with strangers in the house. (Change is hard but good for you.)

Physically... I’m definitely getting older. I’m figuring out how to deal with perimenopause. Not fun and total TMI, but women go through it. Just look it up.

I cut my hair off in a drastic (for me) new style that’s gotten good responses. Soon I’m going to see how much gray hair I actually have. I’m so glad I did this. I needed the change. Though, I don’t recommend this to everyone. I have EPIC bed head every single morning. I have to fix my hair every day. There is no brush it once and it’s good. It’s not hard, but it is a change. At this point, I’ve forgotten I’ve cut my hair off and I’m surprised when people are surprised. I will be growing it back out over time. It will take a while and I won’t be going as long as I did before. Probably to a 1920s bob. I do love Miss Fisher’s sense of style....

Mentally... I’ve been thinking about what I own and what I want versus what I need. I’ve been looking at my life. I think Millennials have the right idea with paring down and thinking hard about each thing they own. I’m not going to become a minimalist, but I can see why so many adults—young and old—have taken to the lifestyle. I’ve discovered the more I get rid of stuff, the easier it is to pare things down. It gives me more room for what I truly love.

There is a relief to divesting yourself of those things and that gift you just don’t care about anymore. The obligation to keep what was given, even if you hate it, weighs heavily. I knew this intellectually, but not viscerally. I grew up poor. My parents stored things for “just in case.” I’ve picked up this habit. I’ve learned to converse and to save. Not to my determent. Not really.

I’m not a hoarder or even close to it. I’m much more of a I could use this in the future maybe... kind of person. But sometimes I wonder what I would do if something drastic happened (like a flood or fire) and I could only rescue one or two or five non-living things from the house. My list is simple. Pictures. Laptop. The anniversary book where, instead of exchanging anniversary cards, the Husband and I write each other anniversary love notes in a book each year.

That all said, I do like my stuff. I’m just getting rid of that which I no longer love, want, or need.

I can’t say I’m enjoying this set of changes, but I think I will appreciate them after they are done. As I change, I feel like I’m leveling up as a person. I don’t need to hold onto things or to do something because “that’s the way it’s done.” I am forging a path I wish I’d learned earlier. Ah, well. Better late than never.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-06-15 08:04 am
Entry tags:

Live Your Art Daily

by Jennifer Brozek

15. June 2017 07:55

“Write every day.” I hear this writing advice bandied about over and over as if it were the one golden truth. In some ways it is. In a literal sense, it’s pure poppycock. There is a lot more to writing than stringing words together in some semblance of a sentence and putting it down on paper. For me, “writing” involves everything from daydreaming, brainstorming, outlining, plotting, character creation, world building, putting words to paper, re-outlining, sounding boards, and staring into space while the voices in my head argue without me interfering.

“Live your art every day.” ~John P. Murphy

Yes, putting words on a page in a consistent fashion is important. It is one of the most important things you do as a writer. Write one word at a time until you are finished. However, unless you have a good foundation, your house of words is going to come crumbling down the first time someone (your inner critic?) asks, “Why would that happen?” A good foundation comes from careful thought, long experience, or both.

“Live your art even if you can’t practice it daily.” ~Jason Sanford

Just as important—and largely ignored—is the author’s need to think, to consider, to ponder the work they are creating. You may see me playing a puzzle game on the outside, but on the inside, I’m working out what went wrong in the previous scene. You may see me doing the dishes or pacing around the dining room table and all the while I’m mentally writing the pivotal scene that’s coming up next—trying out different tacks, different reactions, different tones. You may see me sitting somewhere drinking a cup of tea. On the inside I’m watching a furious discussion going on between two characters.  I may not use what I dream up in a specific sense, but it will inform my writing on the world and how the characters act.

What I’m getting at is that thinking, fantasizing, and daydreaming is just as important as putting words to the page. “Write every day” doesn’t cover this. At least, not in a literal sense. This is super important for authors to know. There is value in doing “nothing” on the outside. Even for people who don’t like to outline. It may be more important for those who don’t outline because the more they think about what they’re going to write, the better their foundation will be.

“Do what you have to do in order to ensure that today is not the last day you write.” ~Matthew Bennardo

Also, there is the practical aspect of writing every day. Authors have jobs, families, health issues, and general responsibilities. Sometimes, they can’t physically put words on the page on a daily basis—for whatever reason. A good example of this for me is when my editing schedule goes pear-shaped and I literally only have 15 minutes that day to “write.” Sometimes I write. My log shows “Wrote 12 words on WIP.” Those one or two transitional sentences could’ve taken me three hours to figure out (while I was cleaning, eating, driving, showering) and cleared the way for tomorrow’s 2000 words. Sometimes, my log shows “Re-outlined WIP.” I tend to re-outline my novels 1-2 times during the first draft phase. I often add to the outline when I’m doing my first read-through so I know I need to add in more details, foreshadowing, or an explanation for something that wasn’t as obvious as it should have been.

“Do something writing related daily and no, promotion doesn’t count.” ~Raven Oaks

I know it is important to work on your current WIP as consistently as possible. Sometimes, a direct command to “write every day” is what we need to get things moving forward in the beginning. I want to point out that that doesn’t always mean something as tangible as a word count. Everything else is as important. Maybe this is something you learn as you level up in your craft, but I wish I’d learned it a little bit earlier in my writing career. Then I wouldn’t have beaten myself up as much for not getting my “2000 words a day” in.

I’m just glad, ten years in, I’ve finally figured out a workable meaning for “write every day.” For me, it means “Live my art daily.” When this advice is proclaimed at a convention, event, or online, I add my two cents to the conversation. Thinking is as important as writing.

This blog post is brought you by the letter W, the number 3, and a twitter conversation I had.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-05-30 12:33 pm
Entry tags:

Bubble & Squeek for 30 May 2017

by Jennifer Brozek 30. May 2017 12:27

Here's a quick Bubble & Squeek for you. I'm still writing on Fever County. I'm still proofing novels for ebook publication. Travel is done until the 24th.

Anthology: I have a Predator story! It will be published in IF IT BLEEDS from Titan Books. A salvage crew stumbles upon a Predator. Bad things happen. It was fun to write.

Interview: I was interviewed by File 770. A lot of good questions here. Some I've not seen before.

Kickstarter: The H.E.A.D. Hunters Kickstarter is in full gear. This is the CCG-Miniatures games that R.L. King and I wrote the lore for. It's a neat game. Check it out.

Podcast: My story “Endless and the End” is on The Overcast, Episode 49. This is my creepy little steampunk story.

The Great Chop: My quest to return to my natural hair color has begun. I got most of my hair chopped of. Now, I need to figure out how to style this new cut. Also, all my author photos are now out of date. Ah, well.

Taken by my stylist. I still like it the next day.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-05-16 09:09 am
Entry tags:

Shades of Brown and Gray

by Jennifer Brozek 16. May 2017 09:06

I’m not a natural redhead. I had a lot of red in my hair (part of my Scottish heritage) when I was younger. I used to put a gold-blond dye on my hair and came up a deep strawberry blond. Then I dyed my hair purple-red. Then I settled into a nice burgundy-brown; redder than my natural color but not too red.

Now my hair is starting to gray. I can’t tell how much of my hair is gray but I’d say 10-20%.  It makes keeping up with the hair dye a bit more noticeable. At least to me. I really don’t like the skunk look next to the vibrant red-brown of the hair dye.

Recently, I visited with my family. Both my sister and mom have their natural hair color and it’s a beautiful brown. All their red has mostly vanished. I’ve decided I want to see my natural hair color again. To see how much of my gray is silver versus pewter and how it looks in general. The problem is the transition. I’ve tried to shift from a full dye to a highlight. It didn’t work. Mostly because of the contrast between the red and the brown made my hair look dirty all the time.

I worry about this because, as obscure as I am (as most authors are), I’m still a semi-public figure in the fact that I am an author. I do speak at events. I do attend conventions as a GoH. I’m expected to be presentable. I’m expected to let people take my picture and/or record me at readings. I do have a lot of pictures of me floating around the web. I want to maintain some level of professionalism while I go back to my natural hair color.

I’ve starting investigating “easy” ways to go gray naturally. Spoiler alert: there is no easy way. I’ve considered the following:

1. Shaving my head. Yep. Seriously. There’s no transition line for me to worry about. While there’s a whole host of cons involved in this one, but who hasn’t wanted to shave their hair at least once in their lifetime just to see what it’s like?

2. Strip the dye out of my hair with something like Malibu CPR or Rusk ELIMIN8. This still damages my hair but not as bad bleaching it would—which seems to be a favorite tactic. I don’t know about this one.

3. Try to dye my hair the color of my roots. Pull in fake gray highlights. This is a maybe. Could be a disaster. Could be perfect.

4. Go for the “Short Hair with Side Swept Bangs + Half Shaved Head” hairstyle that’s so on trend right now. Let my natural hair grow in as the rest of the red (or dyed brown) grow out. This would be a drastic hairstyle change. One I’m kinda leaning towards.

5. Pixie cut for the win! Let my hair grow long roots and do the pixie cut thing with tipped ends. I’m not sure I want to go for a pixie cut. This might be as bad as the shaved head thing.

Yes. As much as I hate it, authors have to care about their looks, too. At least female authors. We get judged by our looks all the time. I notice a difference in how the public treats me as a professional when I’m wearing a little makeup versus when I’m not. So, of course, this hair issue is going to weigh on me.

Fortunately, the Husband doesn’t care what I do. “I married you, not your hair. Do what you need to do.” I really lucked out with him, didn’t I?

Guess we’ll see what my hair dresser says.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-05-09 10:11 am

Train of Thought

by Jennifer Brozek 9. May 2017 09:59

Crypticon Seattle has come and gone. We did well enough in the sales department. We’ll probably be back next year—timing of the convention and other conventions willing.

It occurs to me that I should probably mark down somewhere all the conventions I’ve been a Guest of Honor at. I no longer remember the years. I mostly remember all the conventions. I should probably look that up now.

30 minutes later, I think I have the list. If you remember one that I don’t remember, please let me know.
•    BayCon 2009 – Toastmaster (San Jose, CA)
•    GothCon 2013 – Guest of Honor (Gothenburg, Sweden)
•    Context 2014 – Featured Presenter (Ohio)
•    LepreCon 2015 – Guest of Honor (Phoenix, AZ)
•    Gen Con 2015 – Industry Insider Featured Guest (Indianapolis, ID)
•    Gamehole Con 2015 – Special Guest (Madison, WI)
•    OrcaCon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Everett, WA)
•    Radcon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Pasco, WA)
•    Capitol Indie Book Con 2016 – Featured Author (Olympia, WA)
•    Tracon 2016 – Guest of Honor (Tampere, Finland)

The slow paring down of stuff continues apace. I move stuff to donate out of my overstuffed office and into the cat/exercise room. Currently, there’s a huge mound of stuff. I think once a month, we get out to donate it to Saint Vincent’s.

Thinking of paring down stuff, I’ve come to a realization on some of my knick-knacks. I’m keeping them because someone 10 years ago gave them to me. It’s an obligation. Not a joy. I think I’m going to pull down all the knick-knacks I no longer love, put them on the dining room table, and invite my friends over to pick out what they want. The rest will be donated or sold if our neighborhood ever gets organized enough to do the neighborhood garage sale.

Thinking of the neighborhood. Can I just say that I love that my neighborhood has a close FB page? It allows us to post about rescued pets, lost keys, found items, mention stuff we’ve seen, and warn each other of danger.

Thinking of danger… I’m getting better at the “not panicking, planning” thing. One of my projects dropped a bombshell on me and it was a doozy. However, as one of the other people involved said, “We can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” with this. I was in “fix it” mode for most of yesterday. It’s a good thing I have the ability to know who might have an answer if I don’t have it.

Thinking of fixing things, I have a 5.5 lb cat insisting it is time to play and that is the only answer she cares about. Have a cat picture. Leeloo and Pharaoh were very glad I was home from the convention.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-05-02 10:00 am
Entry tags:

Raw Thoughts About Losing the Award…Again.

by Jennifer Brozek

2. May 2017 09:53

When I was nominated the second time for the Bram Stoker award, I wrote about Awards and Imposter Syndrome.  Now that I’m home from StokerCon 2017 and have lost the same award twice, I have a number of thoughts about this. It’s a bit disjointed, but stay with me. These are my personal thoughts.

1. This is the perfect example of graduating to a “better class of problem” as an author as you level up in your career.

2. Even thought you may arrive at the convention in a zen state of mind, this will be shattered by people congratulating you and saying things like “I’ll be very surprised if you don’t walk away with this.” That pessimistic shield/armor you’ve built over time to protect your fragile side will come tumbling down like dominoes.

3. It’s better if at least one of the people you are competing against is someone you know and like. That way if you both lose, you can commiserate. If your friend wins, your happiness for them outshines your sadness for yourself.

4. Sometimes, being gracious (in public) sucks. And you must be a gracious loser. I had a little help with that. I must admit I still straddled that line between envy (I wish I had what you have) and jealousy (I want what you have and I don’t want you to have it). This is human. Anyone who says they don’t fight with this is either a much better person than I or is lying to someone (including themselves).

5. Condolences after the fact will kill you.

6. Everyone who privately messages you with funny, catty, witty, snarky versions of “you were robbed!” will make you smile through the pain. As long as you keep it private, you can agree in the same tone.

7. Time heals. 24 hours later, the pain is there, but distant. I’m back to thinking about what I need to do next. I have novels to write and an agent to feed. Honestly, there’s always next year. Or the year after that. At least I got to see some of my favorite people and spend time with them.

8. 48 hours later, I get to marvel at my life. Ellen Datlow asked me how many times I’d been nominated. Gini Koch shared a couple of dirty jokes with me. I got a hug and a smile from Jonathan Maberry. I flew down to the Queen Mary for a banquet and an awards ceremony. People I know specifically watched the Stoker livestream just to see if I won. My life is amazing and I am grateful for it.

9. But losing a second time still stings. I look forward to the moment I win. I look forward to the moment losing an award is just part of the process (like story rejections). I look forward to continuing on. As I said when it happened: “Didn’t win. Kinda sad. Will keep on keeping on.” I’ve got work to do.

Thank you to all of you for joining me on my journey.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-04-26 02:45 pm

Stuff and Things

Stuff and Things

by Jennifer Brozek 26. April 2017 14:39

So, life continues at a breakneck pace. I am grateful for all that I have and all the opportunities I’m pursuing. Sometimes, thought, it’s hard.

Travel: I recently returned home from North Carolina where I visited my family and had a very good time. I dislike the act of travel (especially planes), but I enjoy the visiting. Next up for travel is a whirlwind appearance at StokerCon for the banquet and ceremony. I won’t be on any panels (that I know of) and I don’t have a table in the dealer’s room. It’ll be strange to just attend the convention for a day and a half. The following weekend is Crypticon Seattle, the local premiere horror convention. Dealer only, but there will be much visiting to be had.

Writing: I got the official “Sekrit Project Alex” is accepted and checks are in the mail. Super happy about that. I’ve also turn in a short story and I’m about to return to Fever County. I was away a lot longer than I expected to be. Such is life. I also got interviewed by File 770. Oh, yes. I now have a local writing group for me and several work-at-home authors called Wit’n’Word (see what I did there?). It’s not a critique group. It’s a social writing group. We write. We talk. We play with kitties. We write some more.

Editing: Still dotting I’s and crossing T’s on the two anthologies I’ll be editing this summer/fall. The spin up part of anthologies is the hardest part. I’m looking forward to the editing part. Thinking of editing I’m processing the final proof notes for Ivan Ewert’s Famished: The Gentlemen Ghouls omnibus. It’s looking really good.

Domestic 1: I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos on minimalism and tiny houses. I don’t think I’d ever become a minimalist or live in a tiny house, but there’s a lot of good and inventive ways do de-clutter, organize, and pare down the things you don’t use or need. This has helped with my need to de-clutter and organize my house. We’ve been living here together for over nine years now. We both tend to packrat things for “just in case.” That makes it difficult to do things like use the closets efficiently.  Thus, I’m working on it. The Husband helps when I need him to. Mostly, this is one of those things I can control, thus I am. Each slain task feels like a real victory.

Domestic 2: We’ve decided that since this will probably be our house until we move to a retirement house (with no stairs), we’re going remodel and upgrade both upstairs bathrooms. We’d have to do it any way before we sold the place. Might as well enjoy the upgrades now. I suspect it is going to be an exciting summer for the cats.

Domestic 3: Thinking of cats... all of mine are doing well. They are fat and happy and demanding. I have an Instagram account that’s mostly cats. In the wild kingdom that is our backyard, a territorial hell beast of a bunny has moved in. This hellbunny has challenged and run off: other bunnies, crows, stellar jays, a pair of mated ducks, and a myriad of squirrels. They keep coming back. It’s a never ending battle and a never ending source of amusing cat TV.

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)
2017-04-13 12:45 pm

Dreamwidth

Right. For those who would like to know, I am on Dreamwidth now. I'm still figuring out how the whole thing works. Subscribe to me so I know you're there and can subscribe back. https://jennifer-brozek.dreamwidth.org/
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-04-12 03:51 pm

Travel, Escape, and Social Media

Travel to see family always has its ups and downs. I dislike the travel part of almost any trip I go on that involves a plane. (My kingdom for a transporter!) This trip was a good one. My nieces have grown into lovely young women. My parents are still ticking, even though they’re getting up there in age. My sister and I have way too many medical issues in common for comfort. And my BIL is Enlightened and Valor. It made for an interesting and fun trip.

The Husband helped Dad buy, deliver, and build a patio set that is really nice. We got to use it the last day before we came home. I liked it.

The biggest event of the trip was the escape room event called "Lunar Lockdown" by Bull City Escape. It was a crashed spaceship with six people. That allowed it to be just family to solve the puzzle. And solve it we did. The first 15 minutes were crazy. My family solved puzzles even before I knew they were there. My main job was time watcher and hint communicator. I watched and took in what was going on around me then suggested things when something got stuck. I also caught a couple of mistakes we made and solved one puzzle myself.  Everyone did something. We all contributed to the win.

Though, we did need all three hints. Technically, we “needed” one hint that we would never have figured out the code without it. The other two hints were to point out mistakes—once was mislabeled jars and once was not seeing the key stuck to the inside of one of the boxes.

We solved the space crash puzzle with 6:41 to spare. The room only has a 40% success rate even when hints are used. It was a good time.

That said, I never want to do another escape room event. This one went as well as it did because all six of us were family. We knew how each other thought. We were able to get in each other’s spaces. I’m not sure we’d be able to do that with strangers in the group. Also, it would’ve been a serious downer to have lost the event. As a personal note, I dislike timed events in general and never play that kind of game. They make me anxious.

However, if you like timed events that require a lot of puzzle solving, Bull City Escape does an excellent job.

I enjoyed seeing my family. It was a good trip. However, five days away was enough. I missed my bed, my kitties, and my routine. I’m in the middle of a novel and I have a short story due at the end of the month (Hi John!). Not to mention the two anthologies in progress. I had to put the novel work on hold to get some much needed revisions on Sekrit Project Alex done, but I’m happy to be back to it.

This family trip is one of the reasons I’m not going to be at Norwescon. I’ve been to the last 6-7 of them and enjoy the heck out of them, but I need the break to rest and to write. At the end of the month, I’ll be at StokerCon for Saturday and Sunday. My next full convention, it will be Crypticon Seattle where I’ll be a dealer.

As an aside, I do have a new Dreamwidth account now and will be phasing out my pro-LJ to crossposting only. Until I figure out how to get the crossposting to Dreamwidth done, those will be manual copy/paste. My GaanEden LJ is a permanent account. I haven’t decided what to do with it, yet. I mostly use it for non-writing stuff.

Other social media: Facebook page (one of my main social accounts), Facebook author page, Twitter (super active on this), Tumblr (which I rarely use), and Instagram (if you like cat pictures), G+ account, and finally, of course, my blog. My LinkedIn, Amazon, GoodReads, etc... are all crossposted from one of these.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-04-12 03:41 pm
Entry tags:

Travel, Escape, and Social Media

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Travel to see family always has its ups and downs. I dislike the travel part of almost any trip I go on that involves a plane. (My kingdom for a transporter!) This trip was a good one. My nieces have grown into lovely young women. My parents are still ticking, even though they’re getting up there in age. My sister and I have way too many medical issues in common for comfort. And my BIL is Enlightened and Valor. It made for an interesting and fun trip.

The Husband helped Dad buy, deliver, and build a patio set that is really nice. We got to use it the last day before we came home. I liked it.

The biggest event of the trip was the escape room event called "Lunar Lockdown" by Bull City Escape. It was a crashed spaceship with six people. That allowed it to be just family to solve the puzzle. And solve it we did. The first 15 minutes were crazy. My family solved puzzles even before I knew they were there. My main job was time watcher and hint communicator. I watched and took in what was going on around me then suggested things when something got stuck. I also caught a couple of mistakes we made and solved one puzzle myself.  Everyone did something. We all contributed to the win.

Though, we did need all three hints. Technically, we “needed” one hint that we would never have figured out the code without it. The other two hints were to point out mistakes—once was mislabeled jars and once was not seeing the key stuck to the inside of one of the boxes.

We solved the space crash puzzle with 6:41 to spare. The room only has a 40% success rate even when hints are used. It was a good time.

That said, I never want to do another escape room event. This one went as well as it did because all six of us were family. We knew how each other thought. We were able to get in each other’s spaces. I’m not sure we’d be able to do that with strangers in the group. Also, it would’ve been a serious downer to have lost the event. As a personal note, I dislike timed events in general and never play that kind of game. They make me anxious.

However, if you like timed events that require a lot of puzzle solving, Bull City Escape does an excellent job.



I enjoyed seeing my family. It was a good trip. However, five days away was enough. I missed my bed, my kitties, and my routine. I’m in the middle of a novel and I have a short story due at the end of the month (Hi John!). Not to mention the two anthologies in progress. I had to put the novel work on hold to get some much needed revisions on Sekrit Project Alex done, but I’m happy to be back to it.

This family trip is one of the reasons I’m not going to be at Norwescon. I’ve been to the last 6-7 of them and enjoy the heck out of them, but I need the break to rest and to write. At the end of the month, I’ll be at StokerCon for Saturday and Sunday. My next full convention, it will be Crypticon Seattle where I’ll be a dealer.

As an aside, I do have a new Dreamwidth account now and will be phasing out my pro-LJ to crossposting only. Until I figure out how to get the crossposting to Dreamwidth done, those will be manual copy/paste. My GaanEden LJ is a permanent account. I haven’t decided what to do with it, yet. I mostly use it for non-writing stuff.

Other social media: Facebook page (one of my main social accounts), Facebook author page, Twitter (super active on this), Tumblr (which I rarely use), and Instagram (if you like cat pictures), G+ account, and finally, of course, my blog. My LinkedIn, Amazon, GoodReads, etc... are all crossposted from one of these.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-04-11 12:04 am

It was about time.

I now have a Dreamwidth account. More to come.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
2017-03-20 08:15 am

Busy Gets It Done

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

For the last two weeks, I’ve been putzing around with my writing, my freelancing, and the reorganization of my home. Not that I haven’t gotten anything done—I have. I’ve mostly been doing everything except the writing. It’s been almost a vacation. Now, the time for a loose schedule is done.

Round 4 of edits for Sekrit Project Alex have dropped.

For the next two weeks I need to have a tight rein on things. Each day I will need to work on Fever County, Anthology 1, Anthology 2, and Sekrit Project Alex. Both anthologies are spinning up. This means a LOT of email. Project Alex should be in the last major edit of the project and I have two weeks to get it done. That’s at least a chapter a day of revision, edit, polish. I need to keep a momentum on Fever County. I'm deep into book one. I’ve scheduled 500 words a day. If I hit it, yay. If I don’t, that’s OK. As long as I get some good words in.

This all means that social media is going to fall by the wayside until the evening. I have extra daily things happening this week, including trying out a new writing/social group at my house, having a chat with a local friend/game shop about an official writer-in-residence thing, and other more mundane things involving the house.

This is why I have a daily schedule written down for two weeks out so I know everything I need to do in a given day as well as where I need to go and when.

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)
2017-03-06 12:57 pm

The Danger of Writing Too Fast

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

At the Rainforest Writers Retreat, I wrote 28,000+ words in 5 days. This was a mistake for me and the way I write. I’m not saying that I regret my adventure at Rainforest. I don’t. Here’s pictures of me in the waders and wading through Lake Quinalt to get to my cabin. That part was awesome.




I say writing that much was a mistake because the moment I got home and started editing my work, I realized a few things:
1. My prose was a disaster.
2. My story foundation was on shaky ground.
3. My pacing was off.
4. I forgot a number of pivotal scenes and details.
5. There was so much to fix, I wasn’t sure where to start.

In the end, I determined that while I understood where my story was going, I had to treat the 28,000+ words as a long outline and reset my manuscript to the point I was at before I arrived at Rainforest. It would’ve been too much work to try to patch up what I’d written.

There’s something else I realized: I’m tired.

I’ve written 2+ books / year for more than three years. I’ve edited three times that many. I’ve pushed myself hard. I need to slow down. Just a little. This is the first book in a new series in a sprawling world. I love what I’m creating for Fever County. That’s why I need to do this first book right. Yes, I know what the second book is already. But it depends on me getting the first book set, grounded, and written to my satisfaction.

I’m not saying that I won’t write two novels this year. I’m saying that I’m going to give myself permission to slow down. If that mean only one novel and a couple of short stories? So be it. I know I have novel revisions coming. At least 2 of them. So, if that means I’m writing only 500-1000 words a day, then spending the rest of the time cleaning out my drawers, cupboards, and closets, before doing novel revisions? Awesome.

I’m a little surprised that it’s taken me this long to get to this point. To realize that Fever County is too important for me to rush through it. I suppose this is one of those leveling up things as an author.  Not to mention a reminder that every author approaches their work differently.



jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)
2017-02-27 09:43 am

Awards and Imposter Syndrome

(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.