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For those interested, I updated my free fiction page with a couple more pieces for you to enjoy.
http://www.jenniferbrozek.com/jbfreefiction.html

Also, four years ago today, Jeff and I eloped on the day that did not exist, Feb 29. Yes, we also married in front of friends and family on May 1st. Every leap year, Jeff and I celebrate. This year, our first "elopement-anniversary," I made him a book of all of our "Conversations with the Husband," added pictures, and bound it. It's kind of what authors do for their loved ones.

If you want to see the book I made, "Conversations with the Husband" for my anniversary, look here: http://www.bookemon.com/book-profile/conversations-with-the-husband/177698
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I've been quiet because I've been working on Colonial Gothic: Popham. That is sort of how it is when I write. Not much more to report.

I also have become the calendar coordinator of the HWA. With the help of Angel McCoy, webmistress of awesome, we now have a working HWA calendar of events.

Finally, we have snow. Beautiful, cold, wet snow.
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[livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire complimented me in this morning's post. I was surprised and so pleased.

7. You know what? Seriously, go pick up Human For a Day. It's my good friend Jennifer's first editorial job with a big six publisher, and I really want her to be able to do more of these, because she really does a fantastic job. She brings a degree of integrity and focus to the table that really shows in the finished product, and I want to see her wind up becoming a name on a level with John Joseph Adams or Ellen Datlow, where anthology construction is concerned.

You know, that is what I want for myself. It is stunning and lovely to hear it from an author I admire and am friends with.
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In a serendipitous moment, Seanan wrote about something I've been thinking a lot about lately: the concept that "Easy is for Other People" in regards to writing. The essay is worth the read. The tl;dr version can be summed up as: Having a story idea is easy. Everything else is hard.

Writing is not easy for me. It never has been. But I love it all the same. If a story comes too easy, I look at it with a suspicious eye and wonder what I've missed. I know there are logical plot holes and dangling threads that must be fixed. Not to mention dropped words, mucked up grammar, and spelling errors.

I did not want to be writer growing up. I wanted to be an astronaut, a singer, a musician and a firefighter—that I can remember. Writing wasn't that important. Reading was. But I do have a talent for writing. I know that. Like all talents, it needs to be honed and that takes work. Writing is the one thing in my life that I have scraped and scrimped and beaten my head against a wall for. It rejects me time and again and I keep coming back for more.

Writing is not easy but it is who I am. It is the one thing I have wanted enough in my life to do the work that the talent requires.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately because the editor on the Battletech web series has requested some specific world changes that will require serious rewrites. These are not outlandish edit requests and are perfectly doable… but they are not easy. However, the whole time I'm quietly whining to myself about it, another part of my brain is already cataloging where all the rewrites need to be done to make the background change seamless throughout the story.

There are days when I want to give up the whole mess for a lark. Go back to playing my games and skip the writing altogether. Because writing is hard. But I know I would not be happy. I would never be happy without my writing. Looking back, all of my hobbies have included writing whether or not they needed it.

I needed it.

It's why I keep accepting the freelance offers as they come by and stack my schedule with my own writing. The only thing that really changes is the type of writing I do. Sometimes short form. Sometimes long form. Right now, I'm shifting back into long form writing because I want to see where it will take me. Last I time I did this was 2006… and my long form writing gave me a career as a freelance author. Who knows where it will take me this time?

It may not be easy, but it is worth it.
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I've been emailing with an old college currently stationed in Kandahar and he wanted to know what was up with me. Since I know his internet time is limited, I figured he had not heard the latest news that has happened in the last month or so. I rounded it up for him and then looked at the doom and gloom list and had to laugh a little. I rewrote the email and put it into my perspective. This is what I told him:

Well, things haven't been the best but I'm making do. Still got all the necessities and that's what counts.

You know how TV shows about people making it big always talk about the dark time just before that? That's what I feel like I'm going through now. Only, things aren't THAT dark.

- I'm losing my pays the bills job next year because we didn't get extra funding. But the boss is stretching it out as far as he can.

- I lost my book contract with the game company because the acquisitions editor left. But, I still have two other contracts I'm working on and I have a novella coming out soon.

- Just discovered I have a hiatal hernia which is one of the reasons my lap band stopped working and I'm suffering from reflux (medicated) and near constant low level nausea. It'll take surgery to fix it but Jeff has damn good insurance.

There's a lot of disappointment and uncertainty in the air right now.

On the other hand, I just finished the draft of a YA novel. I'm writing on a Battletech web series. I have a contract for another Colonial Gothic PDF setting. I have the nascent outline for a new YA series. And, after a talk with Jeff, we've decided that I'm going to be writing for me next year.

So, it's not all bad.

~Jenn


Really, that last bit is the best way I can state it. I've been disappointed a lot lately but it's not all bad. I still have my husband, home, cats and, overall, my health. All I can do is look to myself, smile, and get back to work.
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Much to my surprise, I am fully done with my first complete draft of IF I DIE BEFORE I WAKE. I finished it in 13 days, completing NaNoWriMo in 11. The last two days were used to comb the manuscript for obvious errors and to fill out the placeholder scenes.

This is first time I wrote a book targeted at teen readers and the first book I wrote with a first person perspective. It feels good. Really good. So now, I'm going to put it away for at least 2-3 months while I work on something else. Then, I will print it out and go over it with a red pen away from a computer. After that edit, it will be off to my 1st Round Reader's group.

I really hope they like it as much as I do. It's the kind of sci-fi horror book I wanted to read growing up. It's scary. The main character has to get over herself and fight for her life. It's a little outlandish but that's the fun part. And, in the end, despite her problems, the main character saves herself and the world.

Here are my stats:

Nov 8: 4720 / 35,025
Nov 9: 5090 / 40,115
Nov 10: 6055 / 46,170
Nov 11: 3837 / 50,007
Nov 12: 548 / 50,555
Nov 13: 695 / 51,250

Next up, back to Battletech. I got the go ahead on the rest of the story.

NaNoWriMo

Nov. 7th, 2011 09:43 pm
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I like to participate in National Novel Writing Month if my schedule allows it. I treat each time I participate as good way to write "draft zero" of a project. Or, as I like to say, to write a 50,000 word outline for the novel in question.

I have just completed my first week of NaNoWriMo and, for the first time, the words are coming almost faster than I can type—and I'm a very fast typist. I have never had a story come this fast or this easy before and I am enjoying the hell out of it, even if I'm forgetting to do just about everything else.

This is the first time I set out to write a YA novel—a sci-fi/horror YA novel. The kind of novel I wanted to read when I was a teen but could not find. The novel is called "If I Die Before I Wake" and I start the novel off by murdered most of South Dakota.

Here are my stats.

Nov 1: 3136 / 3136
Nov 2: 2928 / 6064
Nov 3: 4199 / 10,263
Nov 4: 4755 / 15,018
Nov 5: 5112 / 20,130
Nov 6: 4997 / 25,127
Nov 7: 5178 / 30,305
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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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Money is a very touchy subject. It is one of the few things that will end family relationships, marriages, and friendships. People don't realize just how emotional the subject of money is or the far reaching consequences of not having money.

Recently I read Seanan's post called Across the Digital Divide. It's a good article and worth reading. Trust me.

For those who feel it is TL;DR – to quote Seanan, This doesn't change the part where, every time a discussion of ebooks turns, seemingly inevitably, to "Print is dead, traditional publishing is dead, all smart authors should be bailing to the brave new electronic frontier," what I hear, however unintentionally, is "Poor people don't deserve to read."

The thing that struck me about Seanan's post was how right she was.

I grew up poor. Three kids, enlisted Army father, stay at home mother to begin with. Luxuries were not in the budget. Period. That included books. It affected me. I wrote about it in my finance book, The Little Finance Book That Could, which is the finance book I wish I had read when I entered college.

Library books were the only new books I read. Or, I was gifted the rare book here or there. Otherwise, I read what was in my mother's personal library, collected and cared for over years. Going to the library became a treat in my tween period while I lived in Belgium. That was when I discovered Susan Cooper and suddenly understood that books meant that I could travel to whole new worlds.

But with all that, I did not by a book for myself until I was twenty-three. Me, the owner of some 1500 books, didn't buy my first book until I was out of college and had moved out of my parent's home.

Why? Because I didn't have the money. My first personal library came from culling my parent's library. They let me take all the books I wanted out of a certain set of bookcases. At this point, I don't remember what the first new book I bought myself was. Nor can I remember if it came from a used bookstore (probably) or if it came from a chain bookstore.

When I realized this, I had to contact my mom and ask her if this was right. It boggles my mind that I was an adult before I was able to buy my own books. But thinking back, before Belgium, I didn't really read. In Belgium, I had the base library. From 12-14 (NJ, second time), I had the local library. From 14-16 (PA), I had the school library. I remember spending a LOT of time in the school library. From 16-18 (CA), it was the local library and borrowing books from my friends.

If I had been required to have an ebook reader, I don't know how much reading I would have done. An ebook reader would have been a luxury my family would not have been able to afford.

Also, there is something so comforting to me about used bookstores that allow me to buy books 2nd or 3rd hand. I'm not rolling in money. I have to think about my purchases. I also think about what it would be like if I were a poor kid in this day and age and I'm terrified at the idea of what kind of person I would have become without the benefit of books to escape into.

It's like Seanan says, we need paper books to continue. We need them for everyone poor (as in poverty level) military brat whose parents have to watch every single penny. We need them for the kid who saves every single nickel and dime they can to buy that $.99 beat-to-hell paperback because that is what they want and need. We need the next generation to be able to get their hands on books to read. We need to understand that while digital books are awesome, there's a group of people who would be left behind if print books went away and these are the people who need them the most.

Busy-busy

Sep. 13th, 2011 11:05 pm
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
I'm busy with the Battletech web series and, thus, not that exciting. I'm up to episode 3.

The current excitement in my life is a sick Leeloo and a talented Pharaoh who managed to rip a claw clean off his toe. It will grow back but in the meantime it means antibiotics and painkillers. Stone Pharaoh is kind of funny and he takes his medicine like a champ. Leeloo, on the otherhand, is a fighter. I've been drenched in her medicine once so far.

On the good side of things, I've found a crunchy L-lysine based treat that all the cats like. Now, I will be able to dose them all and know they each got what they needed.

My life, so exciting.
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Right now, I don't want to write. I don't want to edit. I don't want to do anything in my chosen field of work. Because it is work and it is hard. But, because it's my job, I will write.

Fortunately for me, the business of writing encompasses a lot more than ass-in-chair-and-fingers-on-keyboard. It includes emails, social networking, blogging and all kinds of other things that don't actually mean I need to work on the current work in progress.

However, I've noticed something: as I drop projects off my plate and shift into long term projects with much higher word counts, I have less things to turn to when I just don't want to write. That means I need to either be more creative about my procrastination or I need to stop whining and get to work. I suspect I will come to a happy medium between the two.

I have also discovered that on this long term web serial, I actually do my best writing late at night. I'm pretty sure this is because I get too tired to hear the doubts of my inner critic. Also because I'm allowing myself the luxury of 1000 words a day instead of 2000 while I work on edits for the novella and do research for unnamed projects.

Research is awesome for 'not-writing' moods. I need to do it anyway and it allows me to shift gears. This usually involves a lot of reading.

You know, it's clear I don't want to write. This blog post is all over the place. Time to go find something else to do. Tonight I'll focus. But for now I think my writing brain needs a small rest.
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I posted the story of Leeloo and how I ended up with an unexpected kitty. There are a whole mess of pictures over there, too.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
If you would like to receive a once-a-month email round up of everything I have going on in a month, I do have a Googlegroup for that. It is notification only and highlights my sales, publications, interviews, events, and current projects. The email goes out on first of the month (or as near to it as I can manage).

http://groups.google.com/group/jenniferbrozek
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
The power went out in my neighborhood. This is unusual because we are on the same grid as the military base and FEMA. I had just gotten out of the shower and sat down to the computer when everything stopped.

I took a moment to listen to the silence. Really listen. The world is an amazing place when technology is silent.

Then I when into survival mode.

Rule 1: Get dressed. Girls in skivvies die when the power goes out.

Rule 2: Sensible shoes. You don't know what you'll need to run away from or to.

Rule 3: Know where your weapons are. I've got a baseball bat right there for this sort of thing.

Rule 4: Know where your exits are. It's my house. I know the exits but if I weren't at home, this would be vital.

Rule 5: Gather information. In this case, find out if the neighborhood is out of power or just me. It was the neighborhood.

Rule 6: Twitter. C'mon, why wouldn't you twitter about a power outage on your smart phone? Or text or any of that. My husband knew immediately when the power went out and I pinged some friends down the street, too.

The power was out for 20 minutes or so. Just long enough to disrupt my day and put me off schedule. However, I'm dressed, in sensible shoes, aware of my weapons and exits, and fending off bad jokes on Twitter.

Not so bad, really.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
Well it finally happened. My car was broken into. Jeff and I went to the symphony and this is what we returned to. Yes, we were in a parking garage. Yes, it has security. No, we weren't the only ones damaged. No, the bastards weren't caught.



More pictures and thoughts underneath the cut. )

I'm fine physically. I wasn't there when it happened. Emotionally, I'm all over the map. Anger is the main feeling. With moments of wanting to cry. Disgust, too. While I am grateful--so very grateful--that nothing was stolen, I can't decide what I'm more offended by: the ineptness of the thieves (my PURSE was in the car in the trunk area) or the maliciousness of wanton destruction.

I'm lucky. Nothing else was damaged. Nothing was stolen. Jeff is dealing with the cops now (they called) and he'll deal with the insurance, too.

Still, I'm really upset about this.
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!

===Sales:
"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)

===Events:
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.

===Publications:
APRIL
Jennifer’s “Making of an Anthology” series at the Apex Blog published a new installment, on invites and anthologies. http://www.apexbookcompany.com/2011/04/making-of-an-anthology-part-2-invitations/

Over at Geeks Dream Girl, her “Dice and Deadlines” series delved into expanding your horizons as a RPG writer. http://geeksdreamgirl.com/2011/04/19/dice-deadlines-expanding-your-horizons/

==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.

MAY
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. http://geeksdreamgirl.com/2011/05/10/dice-deadlines-to-find-jobs-just-ask-and-share-the-love/

At the Apex Blog, Jennifer’s “Making of an Anthology” series saw a May installment, discussing how story selection for anthologies can work. http://www.apexbookcompany.com/2011/05/making-of-an-anthology-part-3-choosing-the-right-stories-for-an-anthology/

==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.

===Interviews
In April Jennifer was interviewed by MilSciFi.com about her story in No Man's Land, book four in the Defending the Future series. http://www.milscifi.com/files/inter-JB-NML.htm

===Reviews:
Rigor Amortis Review, by Nick Bronson.
Jennifer’s story “Swallow It All” appeared in the anthology.
http://www.shocktotem.com/05/14/2011/rigor-amortis/

CTHULHUROTIC - by Robert Derie. http://www.yog-sothoth.com/threads/20856-Unusual-Finds-Cthulhurotica-%28Adult%29
Jennifer’s essay “The Sexual Attraction of the Lovecraft Universe” appeared in the anthology.

Beauty Has Her Way review
http://sciencefictionmusings.blogspot.com/2011/05/beauty-has-her-way.html


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

Sincerely,
Jennifer
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
In the style of a friend of mine, here's a status report of my many writing projects—in progress, waiting in the queue, and languishing on the backburner. I hope to get to all of these at some point. But, there is only so much time in a day.

The Lady of Seeking in the City of Waiting – Shadeside novella – I'm first. I'm the top of the queue. Go me! It's good to be worked on finally. Aren't I pretty?

The Geinah-Nestor Incident – Battletech webserial – I'm next right? I'm gonna be the top dog here soon, right? Assuming I'm still wanted. I should be. C'mon. YA sci-fi with a high body count? What's not to love?

The Edge of Propinquity – Urban fantasy ezine – Do-do-do. Just chugging along. The end is in sight but that doesn't mean I shouldn't still do my best. I think I've been around longer than all of you younglings.

Colonial Gothic: Charlotte Haven – RPG PDF setting – Wait! Aren't I next in the queue? Oh, I'm next in the queue for RPG supplements. Gotcha. You know you need to be looking at me sooner rather than later. I mean, think of all the research you need to do for me.

Colonial Gothic: Popham Colony – RPG PDF setting – Meh. Wake me when Charlotte shuts up or autumn shows up, whichever comes first.

If I Should Die Before I Wake – Horror novel – I'm the new darling and I know it. I can bide my time. I know she sneaks time with me when she shouldn't. Soon enough, I'm all she's gonna be working on. I'm patient. I can wait.

Kendrick: The Karen Wilson Chronicles – Urban fantasy serial novelization – Wait, what? You're still interested in me? Really. Cool. Someone else is interested in me? Even better. Let me know when you know more.

Janera, Brannon, The Reunion Feast – YA scifi trilogy – Don't mind us. You've only been thinking about us for a year or so. We'll wait while you play with others. We won't sulk over here in the corner or anything.

The Sundered – YA science-fantasy graphic novel – Oh, boy! I'm still in the running for attention, yay! You know you love the graphic novel script format. You even have an artist interested. You know you want to continue writing me.

Death Caul – Urban fantasy novel – Don't mind me. I'll just be over here in the hospital waiting for you to get around to me. No, go ahead and play with the others.

Meat Tag – Thriller novel – I'm only an idea. I know it. I'm not even going to pretend that I'm in any sort of queue. Go away until you're serious about me.

Regresser's Evolution – Scifi space opera novel – I'm still over here, just waiting for a rewrite. Still waiting. Yep. Got nothing else going on. Not bitter or anything.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
I adore Bordertown. I really do. And now, there's a new anthology, Welcome to Bordertown, coming out. If you want a taste of what Bordertown is, check out the free fiction they have on their website.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
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.
jennifer_brozek: (Default)
This is one of those weeks where I feel like I'm juggling chainsaws. I have so much coming in and going out that it is hard to keep the balls in the air. This week alone I have:

• Publishing TEoP
• Due date for DAW anthology stories (Complication: 4 authors dropped out in the 10 days, needed to find pinch hitters.)
• Due date for Beast Within 2 anthology stories
• Follow up with interns
• Follow up on contract #1
• Follow up on contract #2
• Follow up on contract #3
• Pays the bills work

It doesn't seem like a lot but it is. Especially the DAW anthology with scrambling for good tier 1 (personal classification) authors who can get me what I need in a timely manner. TEoP needs more time because all new stories. Three new authors.

There's more on the plate for next week including stories and an RPG supplement I need to finish writing. Can't talk about most of it. But it's there. Then little things like people wanting to talk to me about stuff going on with Apex. Or to talk anthologies. Or writing. Or whatever else. Then there are the things I'm putting off because I just don't have time.

It's taken me two days to write this far into this post. "I would blog about that if I had time."

I have an hour between now and a phone call. I think I'm going to work on one of the stories I have due.

This post seems calm. The poster is not nearly so calm. Juggling chainsaws and hoping I don't get cut.

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