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My latest Apex blog: Gravestone Stories 3: F.A.T.A.L. with the Five Pointed Star

With Hugo nominations closing in about a week, here's my last reminder that I am eligible for the Short Form Editor Hugo award and who else I'm recommending.
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My plans this year involve a number of large, long term projects where I am writing for me with intention of sending out to agents or self publishing. This means I need to severely limit the other contracts I take on. I know this. However, as projects drop off my plate, I am getting more and more anxious. I shouldn’t. I know what I’m doing. I’ve even talked it over with the husband. But, I can’t help it. I feel like I’m slacking.

This is the bane of a freelancer’s existence. The need to constantly having new freelance jobs arrive. And the lack of such really playing havoc with the brain and the emotions. I am slowing down my pace but the rest of me is still running like crazy. I’m not sure what I need to do to convince myself it will be okay. I suspect I will do much better once I have ramped up into serious work on the next novel.

In the meantime, this is what I’m working on:

• YA novel #1. Status: red line edits with intention of getting it out to alpha readers by the end of February.

• Monthly – Gravestone Stories. Status: in progress. Monthly article for the Apex Blog about gravestone symbols.

• Consulting Gig. Fiction book. Status: pending. Should complete my consulting by mid-March

Industry Talks. Non-fiction writing book. Status: edits back from editor. Next in queue for work. Intentions to get it out the door by late March.

• Untitled Ghost Story. Graphic photo novel. Status: pending. Scene outline needs to be to photographer by end of March. Full outline by end of April. Script by end of June.

• YA Novel #2. Status: pending. Outline by mid-April. Writing as of August.

So, I have plenty to do. In the meantime, I’m turning down contracts… for the most part. I could not resist verbally agreeing to the RPG contract that involved Roanoke Island. That’s the kind of stuff I adore.
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My new column over at Apex is up: Gravestone Stories.

This year for Apex, I wanted to write a column that was not aimed at authors or prospective authors. I wanted to write something for readers that authors could also use. Actually, that's not true. I wanted to write something specifically for readers to enjoy. As it turns out, authors can certainly use what I write about in Gravestone Stories as part of their research or to hang plots on.

I love graveyards and cemeteries. I always have. There are stories in the stone and peace in the air. Jeff took me to a cemetery to see Rucker's Tomb—something of a legend around here—and I found so much more to see and an amazing sense of history of the Everett (Washington) area. I just knew I wanted to do more research into what I found there.

I wasn't sure that Jason would go for it when I pitched the idea but was very pleased at his "That sounds neat!" response. It is neat and I'm really happy to be working on this project. Also, I'm really happy to be working on it with Amber for the pictures. She is a consummate photographer and a hoot to be around. This won't be the only project I work on with her this year.
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Happy book release day to me! Yay! Human for a Day has been released! Yesterday I posted about what this means to me. I am happy dancing today. Also, a number of people asked me what I wanted for my birthday.

Honestly, what I really want is for people to buy my books and send me photos of them, their pets, their fabric friends and/or their plants with my books. Keep the books or give them as gifts. That really is the best gift you can give me. Email me your pictures at gaaneden at gmail dot com.

Here's some of the books you can buy.

  • Human for a Day, anthology, DAW, December 2011. Amazon | Barnes & Noble

  • Finding Home: Community in Apocalyptic Worlds, anthology, Timid Pirate, December 2011. Amazon | GoodReads

  • Space Tramps, anthology, Flying Pen Press, September 2011. Amazon | Flying Pen Press

  • Beast Within 2: Predator & Prey, anthology, Graveside Tales, July 2011. Amazon | Graveside Books

  • Human Tales, anthology, Dark Quest Books, March 2011. Amazon | Dark Quest Books

  • Beauty Has Her Way, anthology, Dark Quest Books, January 2011. Amazon | Dark Quest Books Store

  • In a Gilded Light: 105 Tales of the Macabre, Dark speculative fiction collection, Dark Quest Books, July 2010. Amazon | Dark Quest Books Store

  • The Little Finance Book That Could, Non-fiction finance book on becoming debt free, Lean Marketing Press, June 2010. Amazon

  • Close Enounters of the Urban Kind, anthology, Apex Publications, April 2010. Apex Book Store

  • Grants Pass, anthology, Morrigan Books, August 2009. Amazon | Kindle

    If you would rather give me something more tangible than a photo, here are my Amazon and ThinkGeek lists:
  • Amazon Wishlist
  • ThinkGeek Wishlist


    Goodreads Book Giveaway for Human for a Day

  • jennifer_brozek: (Default)
    Neil Gaiman came up with the idea of "All Hallows Read." This is where, along with candy, you give out a scary book for Halloween. Most years, we are not actually home for Halloween. So, we just set out a big bowl of candy with a sign. It works well. The little kids come early and get candy. The big kids come by and clean out the bowl.

    This year, we were home but it's game night… and nothing stops game night short of a missing gamer. So, thanks to a little help from my gaming group, who I told about All Hallows Read, we had a box of books from Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Richard Matheson and John Crichton. The first set was in plastic baggies with a business card sized flyer that included the URL of All Hallows Read.

    While we were gaming, we could hear the kids come up to the door to get candy and about a third of them got really excited about the books. I mean, squeaky, screamy, yelly, "Mom, they're giving away books!" excited. That really thrilled me. Though, next year, I need to prepare better and get some for the younger crowd—Goosebumps, Lemony Snicket, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and the like.

    The books went faster than expected. So, I grabbed extra copies of Close Encounters of the Urban Kind and Grants Pass for the book box. That disappeared. The third group of books I set out, didn't go. But that's because we set them out a little late.

    I did not know how well the book giving would work and now I do. I need to spend part of the year scouring the used bookstores for good, cheap scary books for readers of all ages. I'm so pleased that it worked out and that we gave away at least 40 books last night.
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    Making of an Anthology, Part 7: The Value of Proofers:

    Leeloo ended up at the vet with an eye problem and that killed my weekend somewhat. Though, I did get some treasure hunting in.

    Other than that, I've been focused on "pays the bills" work. I'm front loading that this month to help pay the vet bill while waiting for the pet insurance to kick in. Also, while stalled on the Battletech webseries, I'm working on a couple of short stories based in my weird west Mowry series.

    When it comes to being stalled in one writing project, your best bet is to work on the next one until you can get the issue resolved.
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    Part six of my "The Making of an Anthology" series for Apex has been published. This one is all about author biographies and what I, as an editor, would like to see.
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    GenCon, as usual, was amazing. It really was. Some 37,000 people came through the convention and I got to see a lot of them from my place in the Writer's Symposium and in the Dealer's Hall. I had a good, if stressful time of it.

    Travel was interesting. On the way there, we couldn't have had a smoother time of it. On the way home, I was cursed with Mary Robinette Kowal's travel karma from hell. The way home ended up with us being up for about 33 hours with 27 hours of those hours spent in airports or in the air.

    I mean, our plane was diverted to Nashville because we didn't have enough fuel. This was amusing because AirTran just got bought by Southwest and we were the first AirTran plane to land at Nashville. There were a lot of curious Southwest workers peeking into the plane.

    All I can say is that I'm glad the bad travel karma happened after the convention.

    I had my booth in Author's Avenue. I sold 90 of the 124 books, gave away 30 books to charity, contests and last day sales. It was a good time. I like the new set up for Author's Avenue in the middle of the Dealer's Hall. We got a lot of exposure and decent sales. I have to admit, it's nice to have a table to retreat behind with all of those people at the convention. It was extra awesome because Lily and Jeff worked the booth with me.

    Writer's Symposium
    All my panels were early morning panels – 8am and 9am. Which is 5am and 6am my time. But I made it and I'd like to think I was coherent. It's nice to see writers come back again and again with intelligent questions.

    So, this was the big deal for me. I didn't realize just how stressful it was to be at a convention where you are up for an award. Now I know. I almost didn't go to the ceremony. But, I did because, dammit, I wanted to be there if I won. And, guess what, I did win! I won the silver ENnie for the best electronic book for Shanghai Vampocalypse, published by Savage Mojo. This is the RPG industry's equivalent of the Golden Globe awards.

    I know I squeezed the heck out of Jeff's hand and he says I shrieked when Shanghai was announced. I can neither confirm or deny this. Heck, I can't even remember the applause as more than a rush of noise. This was my thought process: OMG, I won! I WON! OMG. Ok. Ok. Don't trip going up the stairs. Don't fall. Don't faint. Read your speech. Slow down, dammit! OMG. Wait for Aaron. Ok. Ok. Don't fall. There's Jeff! One stair at a time. Ok. OMG, I won!

    That was it.

    Here's my speech; short and simple: "I want to thank Martin Klimes and all of the people at Savage Mojo for their work on Shanghai Vampocalypse. In particular, Alan Bundock for his statting expertise and my artists, Aaron Acevedo and Jason Engle. Also, I want to thank my husband, Jeff, who, as a gamer, a geek and an engineer, is the perfect sounding board. Finally, I want to thank Ryan Macklin for making me write this acceptance speech."

    I really didn't think I was going to win but I did and it was awesome.

    Future Projects
    You know how I said before that August always brought changes? Well, this August is crazier than normal. Because of the ENnie (coupled with last year's win of the Origins award), I immediately was offered a number of big writing tie-in projects. These are the kinds of projects I have been working towards for years. Suddenly, just when I was shifting my career to editing/publishing with a little bit of writing, I am now back to lots of writing with a little bit of editing and no publishing.

    I had to have a long talk with Apex about Black Room Publications and step back and managing editor. I will not have time in the next year. At all. I'm still with Apex, but I'll be back to assistant editor, conventions and the like. They are really happy for me.

    As for the tie-in projects, they are fabulous and wonderful and exciting (and a little bit intimidating). I will announce them as contracts are signed and permission for public knowledge is given.
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    August 1st is my personal New Year's Day. Has been since I moved to Washington. Something big and life changing always seems to happen to me around August. So, I've just embraced the 1st as my New Year's Day and the month of August as a month of change. This year is no exception.

    I've accepted the position of managing editor of Black Room Publications. This is the special projects division of the award winning Apex Publications company. What does this entail? An awful lot. What does it entail in specific? I don't know. I do know that after all of the congratulations comes the hard work. Black Room Publications is mine and I'm responsible for it all. From the acquisitions of new projects to seeing through the projects already under contract to marketing to slush.

    Obviously, I can't do this alone. And I won't. I just don't know who is doing what yet.

    I do know I've been moving towards this for a while. I've been with Apex Publications for 2.5 years. First as a slush reader. Then as an assistant editor (read: editing and other duties as assigned). Now this. This is what I needed to continue to grow. I get to learn a lot more about the business side of things: the budget, unit pricing, marketing costs, and other such painful, real details that all small press companies deal with.

    What will Black Room publish? Well, I've got some ideas on that but I still have to run them by the head honcho. So, for now, I'm going to finish out the current contracts. In a way, Black Room Publications is stepping in for Apex Publications while Apex Publications works on leveling up with its national distributions.

    For right now, I'm not accepting submissions. The website is just a splash page until I'm able to digest more of this huge piece of pie I've been given. I do know I'm excited beyond all believe and just a tiny bit intimidated. I can't wait to see what is going to come of it. It will be awesome and terrifying and that's exactly what I want.
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    My life is about to be insane. Very late Tuesday night, I get on a plane and go to GenCon where I will man my booth in Author's Avenue, participate in five Writer's Symposium panels, have two autograph sessions at the Savage Mojo booth, attend the ENnies where I will win or lose my first ENnie nomination, have countless business meetings and party like a writer.

    It will be EPIC. (As GenCon always is.)

    Then, I will have five days to recover before WorldCon.

    Five days after I get home, I will get in my car, drive from here to Grants Pass, OR, see giant cats, then drive to Reno, NV for RenovationSF. At WorldCon, I will man the Apex Publications booth, participate in four panels, two readings and one KaffeeKlatsch while attending countless business meetings and party like a writer.

    It will be EPIC. (As WorldCon always is.)

    Then, I will drive home and keel over for a few days before getting back to work.
    jennifer_brozek: (Default)
    Apex Publications has announced that it is now accepting novel submissions here:

    Our novel submission guidelines are here:

    The best way to sell a book through Apex Publications is to be very aware of our current library.
    jennifer_brozek: (Default)
    Sent to my Googlegroup first. Here because I remembered. :)

    Because I think I would forget my head if it wasn't attached, I've asked my PA, Lily, to collect monthly round ups for me so that ya'll will hear from me once a month. They won't be as long as this one normally.

    April 1-May 31
    At the end of April, Jennifer was able to upgrade to active status with SFWA after recent sales to DAW. Go Jennifer!

    "Discordance" to the anthology Tales of Valdemar #7 (DAW)
    "Showdown at High Moon" to the Westward Weird anthology (DAW)
    "A Promise Made" to Showdown at Midnight anthology (Science Fiction Trails)

    Norwescon 34, April 21-24 in Seattle was a fantastic weekend attended by Jennifer, who could be spotted anywhere from the Apex Books table in the dealers room to the green room, sitting on a number of panels and catching up with folks along the way.

    Jennifer’s “Making of an Anthology” series at the Apex Blog published a new installment, on invites and anthologies.

    Over at Geeks Dream Girl, her “Dice and Deadlines” series delved into expanding your horizons as a RPG writer.

    ==On the editorial side…
    Issue 64 of The Edge of Propinquity published, with new stories from universe authors Kaolin Fire, Peter M. Ball, Ivan Ewert, Alina Pete and guest author Lillian Cohen-Moore.

    Human Tales, the dark and twisted anthology of ‘faerie tales’ from the supernatural side was released by Dark Quest Books.

    Jennifer’s “Dice and Deadlines” columns’ newest installment discussed the nature of the freelance job hunt, and how a positive approach makes all the difference.

    At the Apex Blog, Jennifer’s “Making of an Anthology” series saw a May installment, discussing how story selection for anthologies can work.

    ==On the editorial side…
    Issue 65 of The Edge of Propinquity published, with new stories from universe authors Kaolin Fire, Peter M. Ball, Ivan Ewert, Alina Pete and guest author Mars Hage.

    In April Jennifer was interviewed by about her story in No Man's Land, book four in the Defending the Future series.

    Rigor Amortis Review, by Nick Bronson.
    Jennifer’s story “Swallow It All” appeared in the anthology.

    CTHULHUROTIC - by Robert Derie.
    Jennifer’s essay “The Sexual Attraction of the Lovecraft Universe” appeared in the anthology.

    Beauty Has Her Way review

    Written by the Fabulous Lily.
    Edited and approved by Jennifer.
    Thank you all for reading.

    jennifer_brozek: (Default)
    I has it.

    I think I'm doing pretty well on the main project on the table right now. I'm 15,000 words in a 25,000 word (or so) novella. It's moving along smoother than I thought it would. As it turns out, I outlined it into 5 acts and a coda. I say coda because it is part of the story, just after the main story is done. It ties up a loose end and isn't an epilogue.

    I'm also mentally outlining my next Apex Blog post on anthologies. But really, I'm mostly focused on the novella. I do have a little bit going on the side with my new darling of a novel idea but I really can't get too deep into that. I have an RPG supplement and a web series to get through first. I'm thinking about them on the side, too.

    I think I'll need another 2 weeks to finish writing and clean up the novella before it can go out to readers. I'm feeling good about this.
    jennifer_brozek: (Default)
    The newest Apex article from my series, "The Making of an Anthology" is up. I've linked all of the articles to date.

    Part 3 - Why some stories make it while others do not.

    Part 2 - Invitations - How to get one.

    Part 1 - Introduction.


    Apr. 25th, 2011 01:03 pm
    jennifer_brozek: (Default)
    Norwescon was really good for me. We had excellent sales at the Apex table. I made it to all my panels and spent a lot of time with friends. I don't currently have the con-crud but I am exhausted. I was not as careful as I should have been on keeping up with eating. Especially on Sunday. I had too little sleep and too much caffeine. By the time I realized I had messed up, I almost fainted. Then, when I went into the hotel restaurant for their poached eggs and corn beef hash, I almost burst into tears because it was after breakfast and I did not have the coherency to make another choice.

    Note to self: Remember to bring protein bars to conventions.

    The parties at the convention were a good place to catch up with people I only see at cons and to meet new people but I spent a lot more time at barcon this year because it was smaller and quieter in the grand scheme of things. Talked a lot, gave advice as requested and had some good industry talk with other people.

    In particular, I had an excellent talk with Jay Lake, who, despite some of the heavy things on his mind, was still very willing to give of himself, offer his advice and to talk about a forthcoming cool thing that he and I will be working on. I sincerely appreciate is blunt opinions, experience and offer of help.

    As productivity goes, I got nothing done at the con. No writing or reading. I don't feel as guilty about this as I probably should but that's OK. I will be focused going forward.

    Shout out recommendation – Square is invaluable for the small business person. We made more than 50% of our sales because we could accept credit cards.
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    This is my Norwescon Schedule. If I am not at one of these places, I will be in the Dealers Room at the Apex Publications table...or a party. Come by and say hello!

    Friday 4pm Cascade 4 New Shared World Anthologies
    Where are they headed? What makes them good? What are the pitfalls? Are they headed in a new direction? Is this an old idea being addressed in a new way? What are examples? Do they have staying power? Is it difficult for writers to maintain an internally consistent continuity and to avoid contradicting details in earlier works?
    Mary Robinette Kowal, Jennifer Brozek, Nathan Crowder, Jay Lake, Jordan Lapp

    Friday 8pm Cascade 4 Scary Comics
    Everyone is familiar with Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, but what other horror comics are out there?
    Mark Rahner, Steve Holetz, Jennifer Brozek

    Saturday 11am Cascade 5&6 Good Markets for Short Fiction in 2011
    In the universe of SF periodical publishing, the market for short fiction is constantly in flux, but we still have a fairly stable field in both print and electronic periodical media. We’ll try to list and discuss as many of the print and ezines specializing in science fiction and fantasy as we can.
    Lou Anders, Jordan Lapp, Jennifer Brozek

    Saturday 1pm Evergreen 3&4 Women in the Gaming Industry
    Our all-female panel of gaming professionals discusses the growing presence/awareness of women playing and designing games, and the struggle with working in the industry. If you are a woman interested in working in this industry, our panelists want to encourage you!
    Donna Prior, Julie Haehn, Liz Courts, Jennifer Brozek

    Saturday 10pm Cascade 9 Putting the “R” in RPG
    Not a 13-year old gamer anymore? Wanting your games to have that adult themed content? Our panelists will discuss how to successfully incorporate the R-rated elements of sex and/or violence into your game or campaign. MATURE CONTENT
    Ogre Whiteside, Jennifer Brozek, Mickey Schulz, SatyrPhil Brucato

    Sunday 11am Cascade 8 Which Point of View Serves Your Story Best?
    Any story can be told from any point of view: How do you find the best one for yours? What gains and losses come with first person, with limited third person, with multiple third, with multiple first?
    Jay Lake, Susan R. Matthews, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jennifer Brozek, Sandra Damiana Buskirk
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    Things are going well.

    I'm finishing up edits on BEAST WITHIN 2 for Graveside Tales.

    I've started my novella THE LADY OF SEEKING IN THE CITY OF WAITING for Dark Quest Books.

    I have started a new column on the Apex Blog called "The Making of an Anthology" which debuts on Monday the 28th and goes deep into my personal process on how I create an anthology from invitations all the way through turning in a final manuscript and afterwards.

    Still reading slush for The Edge of Propinquity.

    And I think I'm just about caught up with things. For now.

    In April I will start from the edits on SPACE TRAMPS for Flying Pen Press, finish the rough of the novella, and start a new personal project with an artist friend of mine. Also, the HUMAN TALES anthology is officially out in April from Dark Quest Books.
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    I wanted to say "Happy birthday, Jason!" But, I don't know if that is enough. Let me tell you why I admire and appreciate Jason Sizemore: the man, the author, the publisher.

    Jason is a businessman with heart. He really wants what's best for the genre community and he is committed to producing the best books he can. Because of this, Apex Publications is a multi-award winning publishing house. He looks at everything he can and he works with some of the most qualified, enthusiastic people in the business. He loves dark speculative fiction and it shows.

    When I met Jason at GenCon 2010, I found him to be quite the southern gentleman. He listened to what I had to say, expressed his opinion and proved himself to be exactly what he portrayed himself to be online: a caring, kind man who loves books, his company and the genre. He has a smile that lights up his face and a drawl that makes you smile in return.

    But Jason is more than a businessman and publisher. He is also an author; talented and expressive, his stories are always a joy to read. His dark sense of humor comes through and he makes you want to read more of what he has written.

    All of this barely scratches the surface of why I admire and appreciate Jason. So, I can do now is wish him a very happy birthday.

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