jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Yesterday was Jeff’s one year of playing Ingress. Today is mine. It’s both a surprise and a long time coming. We joined Ingress after leaving a LARP that ran too late, became too toxic, and just wasn’t for us anymore. My friend, Heather, likened Ingress to us LARPing without all the drama. I agree. There’s drama, yes. But a lot less of it.

Over the last year of Ingressing, the Husband and I have met a lot of great new friends, visited all kinds of places we wouldn’t have without Ingress. Revisited old places with new eyes. Got us both out hiking. I mean, I willing went and got hiking shoes. That’s not something I ever thought possible. I’m not as in good shape as the Husband. So, he does other hikes solo or with a friend.

I’ve participated in a Mission Day—GenCon because BigMatty told me to, and a couple of anomalies—field team for Obsidian, recharge for Aegis Nova.



Yesterday, I did something I didn’t know I would ever do: I got my onyx illuminator, throwing a 4 layers of a 15 layer Pongolyn field for about 9.62 million mu. The husband also got 4 layers for the same amount. We also met up with the other field team and they helped me throw a YOLO (you only link once) to Hawaii for 4048km.

I’ve recruited a number of people to come play. Unfortunately, about half of them half of them have chosen the blue (wrong) side because the Resistance has better PR. :) The in-game storyline is interesting. The Resistance is currently run by an extremist who recently caused the death of a beloved scientist and is working for the N’Zeer (think tech-based inter-dimensional aliens). The Enlightened is currently run by an extremist working for a man who wants the death of ADA, the sentient AI who is aligned with the Resistance. The Enlightened work for the Shapers (think mind-based inter-dimensional aliens).  It’s kinda like Skynet versus Vorlons. The whole thing is actually very complex.

There are many in the Resistance who don’t like Jahan and want her gone. There are many in the Enlightened who don’t want the death of ADA. As stories go, neither side is perfect and that is what makes it work. No one really knows what’s going on (except the storytellers—sorta) and it’s in the gray areas that we all exist, figuring out the mysteries presented to us. I appreciate that.



It’s one of the reasons I started Project Isthmus on G+ with 5 other agents (BigMatty, Morgyan, derp, pORFECTION, labeljumper). And even that has grown beyond the in-character storyline I originally designed it to be. Now, there’s the in-game Isthmus storyline, a “world at large” storyline, and the cross-faction investigative community. We have the Project Isthmus Street Team hangout. I’ve written a Glyph Talk series and now run the Glyph Drill Down Roundtables. Working with agents from both sides to investigate the mysteries has been wonderful. We’re not as big or as extensive or as scholarly as Project Essex, but I think we do well enough. 

Over all, I’ve enjoyed my year of Ingressing. I’ve met so many new people, gone so many new places, and have a new set of eye to look at old places. Especially at conventions when I’m a dealer, a panelist, or a GoH. It’s been the perfect “couples” game for me and the Husband who like road trips and experiencing new sights, new adventures, and, of course, huge green triangles. [Note: If you would like to join Ingress, let me know. I'll send you an invite. That will give me more points towards my recruiter badge. And, of course, I encourage you to choose the Enlightened side.]



May the skies ever be in your color.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I am home from Origins Game Fair. It was a good time, if exhausting. I had multiple business meetings that were awesome for things in the future. I got to see people I don’t usually get to. I love that. However, the thing that stood out to me were the fan reactions to meeting me. More than any other convention, Origins is where people seek me out to tell me what my writing means to them.

Two stories:

The first was a young man and his girlfriend. The guy couldn’t talk. He stood in front of my table saying, “I… I… I…” His girlfriend poked him and grinned. I said hello and asked how he was doing. He said, “Excuse me. I’m kinda fanboying over here. Wow.” I assumed he’d gone to talk to Tim Zahn or Mike Stackpole. I told him that there were lots of awesome people to fanboy over and asked who he was excited for. He grins and bursts out, “I love your writing. I love DocWagon 19. You write some of the most amazing Shadowrun I’ve ever read.” I was pleased and surprised. We talked more and he was so enthusiastic about what I’ve done and looked forward to everything else I had coming out. He even talked about The Nellus Academy Incident, and asked when it would be out in physical form. It was a wonderful feeling.

The second one was a young woman who walked up to my table, clutching the World of Shadows Shadowrun anthology. She looked at me and said, “Best day ever.” We talked as I signed her book. Then she told me, quite seriously, that my Shadowrun stories saved her life. That she had a medical condition that caused memory loss and her brain to shut down. She needed to do something to keep her brain stimulated. She dove into Shadowrun reading and it was what saved her. The fact that she could remember my stories, that I wrote them, and details about them meant the world to me. It wasn’t just my stories, it was all of the Shadowrun stories, but she wanted me to know that my writing saved her life and she couldn’t wait for my next stuff. I almost cried. We talked more. She showed me her Shadowrun tattoo. I made sure she met some of the other Shadowrun writers.

These two moments were highlights among several—including someone telling me they got their dream job of writing for an RPG company because of Industry Talk and my advice—that illustrate why I write. It’s more than the fact that I have stories to tell. It’s the fact that these stories mean something to those who read them. They touch people in ways I can’t imagine. That is worth everything in the world.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

When I first got home from StokerCon, I wrote:

Home from StokerCon. I did not win a stoker award for my YA novel, NEVER LET ME SLEEP. John Dixon did for his, and he is a complete sweetie. But, I didn't walk away empty-handed. I got to see old friends like Lucy A. Snyder and Jonathan Maberry, meet new friends, pitch the Melissa Allen series to a producer, have an in-depth conversation with an agent, meet Gini Koch, got asked to write a short story, and finished red lining my Shadowrun novel. It was a good convention.

My thoughts haven’t changed. It was a good convention. It was the first time I’ve been thanked by a winner of a major award during their acceptance speech. Lucy gave me a shout out and I appreciate it.

However, I hate the Vegas strip. I can’t say I hate Vegas. I spent time with my friend Drake in the north end of Vegas and it was lovely, if hot and dry. You can buy a lot of house for a lot less money than you can in the Seattle area.

That said, I won’t ever move out of the Pacific Northwest if I can help it. Monday, when I was taking out the trash, I had an honest-to-goodness “Calvin and Hobbes Trash Moment.” I dropped the trash in the can, then stopped and realized how quiet it was. I could only hear birdsong. Not even cars at that moment. The sky was filled with light grey clouds, bringing a depth the world around me. I could actually fill the moisture in the air. After 5 days in Vegas, it was exactly what I needed to truly appreciate where I live.

I’m home now. I’m catching up on email and other notices.

Here’s a really great review of NEVER LET ME from Amazon. This is the kind of review that makes my heart sing.

Also, my location supplement, Colonial Gothic: Roanoke Island, has been nominated for d-Infinity Independent Game Awards for best RPG supplement. I’m not going to win. It’s one of those click to vote popularity things but I’m happy to have been nominated.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Release: Colonial Gothic: Lost Tales - This is my "Oops! I have a fiction collection" book. Rogue Games collected all my RPG fiction in the Colonial Gothic universe. Supernatural horror in 1776 for the win!

Review: The Melissa Allen series got a NICE shout out in this: Where Are My Damn Heroes? This article makes me really happy. It's nice to be understood.

Sale: Reminder - Last Chance Karen Wilson Chronicles Trade Paperback Sale. 4 Trade for $30.

In the "I've been so busy writing the Shadowrun novel, I didn't notice this was announced" side of things, Project Joe got announced two months back. Project Joe is actually H.E.A.D. Hunters from Gut Shot Games. I wrote all of the background stories for every character and the setting. The announcement and podcasts are system focused, but it is nice to be able to talk about the game now.

Announcement: Gut Shot Games Announces H.E.A.D. Hunters, designed by Ben Cichoski and Danny Mandel (the guys who designed Legendary Encounters).

Podcast: Dukes of Dice - H.E.A.D. Hunters, system discussion starts at 1:10. Pretty crunchy discussion.

Podcast: Bearded Bards of Board Games - H.E.A.D. Hunters, more detailed system discussion starts at 1:19. There are brief comments about the character stories. It seems I really disturbed the designers with the Lechuza (Owl Witch) story. :)

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I’m going to ignore that it is the first of April and pretend that “lie and be cruel to the people who trust you most” day doesn’t exist.

Year-to-date stats:
Fiction words written: 58,210 / 200,000
Article words written: 4230
My novels/collections edited: 3
Other novels/anthologies edited: 4
Events attended: 4 / 9

Mostly, I’m boring. I’m drafting my Shadowrun novel, MAKEDA RED. This means no social media until I hit word count unless there are extenuating circumstances… like picking up my new car.

I didn’t want to have to buy a new car, but mine got totaled at the end of February. I’m still reeling from sticker shock, but I do like my new car. It’s a Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid in sage green. I got my all wheel drive hatchback. The Husband got his hybrid. We’re both happy.

We think he’s told us his name but we’ve got to drive it a bit more to be sure.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I’ve already written about what I did in 2015. Now I’m looking forward to what I need to do for 2016. The short version: A whole lot of contracted tie-in fiction, some editing, and a bunch of travel.

Contracts signed: 1 board game mythology/background, 1 reprint RPG fiction collection, and 1 tie-in novel.

Forthcoming contracts: 1 serialized YA tie-in novel, 1 anthology as editor, and 2 tie-in short stories. (As in, discussion is done, I’ve agreed to do it, and we’re just waiting on paperwork.)

Planned contracts: 1 tie-in novella. (Proposal requested. Writing is probably slated for early 2017 if all parties agree.)

Planned editing: 2 novels, 2 omnibuses, 3 novellas, 1 monthly fiction feature, and 1 anthology. (For Apocalypse Ink Productions and Evil Girlfriend Media.)

Events planned: 8 conventions (3 as GoH), 1 workshop, 2 readings, 1 wedding in Iceland.

The writing metrics for 2016 are daunting. It’s about 200,000 words of contract tie-in fiction. This doesn’t count any of the editing for that work or research or one-off anthologies or one-off articles. Or any blog posts. Or any of the 10,000 other things a freelance author-editor does.

What this means is that I’m going to have to buckle down and change my personal working schedule. I’m probably going to have to institute a “no internet before noon” policy to focus on my writing. Leave all the email and such to the afternoon once my word count for the day is done. It is too easy to fritter away my time online, answering emails, reading articles, and watching videos.

Scheduled Appearances:



  • Jan 8-10, 2016, OrcaCon, special guest

  • Jan 26, Reading at University Bookstore

  • Feb 5: Foolscap, Workshop leader

  • Feb 12-14, 2016, RadCon, Writer GoH

  • Mar 23-27, Norwescon, dealer/panelist

  • May 12-15, StokerCon, Panelist

  • Jun 15-20, Origins Game Fair, dealer/panelist 

  • Aug 17-21, Worldcon/MidAmericon, ??

  • Sep 4-6, Tracon XI in Tampere, Finland, GoH

  • Nov 4-6, We Are All SF Con, Ocean Shores, Lead Writer GoH

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

When it comes to year in review posts, there’s two ways for me to look at it: What did I do? Did I enjoy myself? The short version answer to these two questions is: A lot. Yes.

Being a full-time freelancer, I need personal metrics that keep me going. To let me know I didn’t just spin my wheels. To know that I have done good. I can’t rely on money to tell me whether or not I’ve been productive. The publishing industry is so weird about money and timing. It’s feast or famine… mostly famine. Even if you’re working all the time.

So, to answer the second question first. Did I enjoy myself? On the whole, yes. I’m happier that I’ve ever been. Yes, there were hard times. Yes, I really do understand “leveling up to a better (harder) class of problem” thing. And yes, not everything was a success. But, by and large, I had the best time.

As for the first question of: What did I do? I keep a daily summary log. I need to. I must schedule myself and I must know what I’ve done and when I did it. Thus, I can quantify my freelance year like so:



  • Writing:  I wrote 110,000 of new fiction. This does not count any blog posts or articles written.

  • Editing: I edited 10 novels, 4 novellas, 1 anthology, and 90 EGM.Shorts flash fiction pieces.

  • Submissions: I had 5 of 9 short stories accepted. Not bad. Just didn’t have a lot of time to submit short fiction around.

  • Published: 4 novels, 1 novella, 1 fiction collection, 1 anthology, and 5 short stories. That is a lot. A whole lot.

  • Email: Answered email 320 days out of the year. This is much worse than last year. I answered email 268 days in 2014. I had hoped to do less email. I failed.

  • New Positions: Managing Editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and voted in as a SFWA Director-at-Large. I am still the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

  • Awards: I had 4 nominations (Scribe x2, an ENnie, and a Hugo). 1 win (Scribe for best YA tie-in novel for The Nellus Academy Incident).

  • Reading: I read 41 novels (mostly for pleasure). Not bad, given my schedule.

  • Vacation: Took 23 days off to do nothing. This is better than I did last year. This averages 2 days off a month. Though, most of these came in the last third of the year.


Honestly, reading this list makes me both proud and tired. I already know I will be doing a lot less of some and a lot more of another in 2016 but that’s for another post in a week, next year.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Happy birthday to me! I turn 45 today. I’ve officially crossed over into that 45-60 year old category. This year, I had four novels, one novella, one fiction collection and an anthology come out. All I want for my birthday is for you to buy one of them and leave me a review. It’s been a standing birthday wish now for about five years. Please consider getting yourself a gift of one of my books for my birthday. You have a great selection.

If you want to know which one I want you to buy… the Melissa Allen series, Never Let Me Sleep, Never Let Me Leave, or Never Let Me Die. I get royalties and kudos on them all but those are the newest.



Apocalypse Girl Dreaming – Fiction collection
Travel from the weird west to the hidden worlds of Kendrick all the way to the far reaches of space. This collection contains twenty previously published short stories and includes the brand new Kember Empire story “Found on the Body of a Solider.” Enjoy your journey and don’t forget your survival gear. Apocalypse Girl is waiting. Includes a foreword by science fiction author Jody Lynn Nye.



DocWagon 19 – Shadowrun tie-in novella
DocWagon—saviors of the needy, rescuers of the desperate. Willing to go anywhere, rescue anyone, as long as that “anyone” has forked out enough advance cash to justify the effort. Reporter Amelia Hart has embedded herself with a DocWagon team to see what their life is really like, and she’s in for a wild ride. From an OD’ing celebrity to an aggressive team of hackers, from pesky gangs to an extremely rich and powerful client teetering at death’s door, this night will give the team all they can handle. But will they survive long enough to remember that in the Sixth World, nothing is truly random?



Chimera Incarnate – Fourth and final book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles
“The Veil is breaking. The Nightmares are coming through.” The supernatural forces of Kendrick may have defeated the Children of Anu, but every war leaves destruction in its wake. And fixing the collateral damage is never easy. The fourth and final volume of the Karen Wilson Chronicles tells the story of what happens when all the chips are down, places of power have been consumed, and one of Karen’s greatest allies teeters on the edge of oblivion. The Grey Lady and her people are fading. Only their pact with the Makah people, and the land of Kendrick itself, is holding their ancient foes at bay. Karen and her allies must find a way to save one of their own before the Veil falls and the world as they know it is destroyed.



Never Let Me Sleep – Melissa Allen #1, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if you discovered everyone in your house, on your street, and in your town dead? Then discovered you weren’t alone and what was out there was hunting you? Melissa Allen knows exactly how it feels. With only a voice on the phone for help, she must stop what is happening before the monsters find her.



Never Let Me Leave – Melissa Allen #2, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if you found yourself locked in an underground lab with a murderous alien hunting you? Melissa Allen and her new friends know exactly how it feels. With no help from the outside and time running out, it’s up to Melissa to keep herself and the other teens safe. How can she do that when she’s not sure who she can trust? Someone in the lab helped that alien escape. Someone human.



Never Let Me Die – Melissa Allen #3, YA SF-Thriller
What would you do if your sister was shot and your brother was kidnapped? Melissa Allen knows. It’s been six months since the attack at PAR Lab. Melissa, Carrie, and Adam have settled into a semblance of domestic bliss with Heather as their guardian. Things seem too good to be true. Someone has been watching them. Someone who has no problem trying to kill them.



Naughty Or Nice: A Holiday Anthology – Adult-oriented SF Anthology
With a little bit of nice, a sprinkle of dark, a handful of sexy, and a whole lot of naughty, this adult-oriented anthology is filled with blushes, laughs, and gasps. This is not your average holiday reading. From the story behind Marley's fate, to a little elf who makes the perfect "toy" to the holiday rituals that keep the world going, Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology, keeps the pages turning. Be prepared to be a little bit shocked!

jennifer_brozek: (Author Dec 2014)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

This is the Scribe Award. I’m in love with this little statuette. Right now, it’s my most favorite award of all-time. Not because of what it is for—though I’m very proud of my YA Battletech novel—but because of what it represents.

On a professional level, it means a jury of my peers, who read and write tie-in fiction, judged it worthy of the award. That means a lot. On an personal level, it means I’m not a hack. I can write and affect readers. I do know what I’m doing. On an emotional level, it means I didn’t lose four awards in a row. No matter what happens with the ENnies and Hugos, I’m still an award winner in 2015.

I didn’t realize just how much was riding on the Scribe Award. It was the one I had the least stress about and was the award I was absolutely certain I would not win. I had already prepared myself to congratulated the winners and move on. Then I won and I felt 90% of the pressure from the ENnies and Hugos just melt away. The feeling is amazing and startling. I can relax now. I’d won one of the awards I was up for. Hurrah!

Sometimes, the littlest things mean the most.


This is what I wrote to accept the award for The Nellus Academy Incident. I’m really glad Matt Forbeck got to read it:

“Having grown up a military brat, I wanted to give Battletech fans an idea of where hard-bitten warriors come from. The military is a way of life and that starts when you’re a young dependent. Military kids grow up fast. I wanted to show this with The Nellus Academy Incident. I think I succeeded. Thank you to my editor, John Helfers, and to Jason Schmetzer who pushed me out my comfort zone. Thank you to my Battletech Thinktank group who helped me get the details of the story right. And thank you to the jury for this award. It is an honor.”



It looks good up there. I like it.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I am an OrcaCon Special Guest for their kickstarter. There's only one of these:

Pledge $350 or more. Limit 1 of 1.
Ready to be a super sweet badass, in the style of Big Trouble in Little China meets Highlander? Game Designer Jennifer Brozek will be running you and 4 friends through Katanas & Trenchcoats RPG, in a custom con-only adventure! Five OrcaCon Standard Memberships included in this reward level.


C'mon... you know you wanna. This is going to be a blast.

jennifer_brozek: (Author August 2011)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)


The Life of a Lifesaver

DocWagon—saviors of the needy, rescuers of the desperate. Willing to go anywhere, rescue anyone, as long as that “anyone” has forked out enough advance cash to justify the effort.

Reporter Amelia Hart has embedded herself with a DocWagon team to see what their life is really like, and she’s in for a wild ride. From an OD’ing celebrity to an aggressive team of hackers, from pesky gangs to an extremely rich and powerful client teetering at death’s door, this night will give the team all they can handle. But will they survive long enough to remember that in the Sixth World, nothing is truly random?

Full of memorable characters and rich Sixth World flavor, DocWagon 19 is a thrilling ride with the people struggling to save lives in a sprawl with a million ways to make people dead. Strap in, hold on, crank up the siren, and get ready for a crazy ride-along through the full chaos of the Shadowrun setting.


You can buy it here: Amazon | BattleShop | DriveThruRPG

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Article: Black Gate Magazine calls JAZZ AGE CTHULHU a new treasure. It's got my novelette, "Dreams of a Thousand Young", in it.

Cover Art: Catalyst Games Lab revealed the cover art to my Shadowrun novella, DOC WAGON 19. It's wonderful.

Release: Rogue Games has released COLONIAL GOTHIC: ROANOKE ISLAND. My take on what happened to the colony in the Colonial Gothic RPG world.

Release: CHIMERA INCARNATE has been released to the world. Cover art by Amber Clark.



Chimera Incarnate
Karen Wilson Chronicles #4
This is the final book in the series.
More InformationBuy Now.
Amazon | B&N | DriveThruFiction

jennifer_brozek: (Author August 2011)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Chicks Dig Gaming:
A Celebration of All Things Gaming by the Women Who Love It
essay collection slated for November 11th release


Mad Norwegian Press is proud to announce the forthcoming publication of Chicks Dig Gaming --- an essay collection and sister publication to the Hugo Award-winning Chicks Dig Time Lords, the Hugo-nominated Chicks Dig Comics, and more.

The book is edited by Jennifer Brozek (Apocalypse Ink Productions), Robert Smith? (Who’s 50: The 50 Doctor Who Stories to Watch Before You Die) and Lars Pearson (editor-in-chief, the Chicks Dig series), and features essays by nearly three dozen female writers.

Contributors include Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland…, Indistinguishable from Magic), Seanan McGuire (the October Daye series); G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen), Rosemary Jones (Forgotten Realms), Emily Care Boss (Gaming as Women), Mary Anne Mohanraj (Bodies in Motion), Jody Lynn Nye (the MythAdventures series), E. Lily Yu (“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees”) and more.

Also included: exclusive interviews with Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens and Dragonlance author Margaret Weis.

Chicks Dig Gaming will be published on November 11, 2014, and retail (print version) for $14.95. The book will also be available as an ebook on Kindle, Nook and iBooks on the day of release.

To request a review copy of Chicks Dig Gaming, or to schedule an interview with one of the editors or contributors, please email: MadNorwegian@gmail.com

A web-quality version of the Chicks Dig Gaming cover is attached; please email: MadNorwegian@gmail.com if you require a print-quality version.



I'm super proud of this collection. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with it. Lars and Mad Norwegian Press took it in ways I didn't expect. This is a fabulous set of essays. Really. I don't think I could be more proud than I am right now about this book.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I love this review. I think it's a great look at the novel, even if the choice at the end wasn't to share it with his young daughter, yet.


--


The Nellus Academy Incident (review)
I went through The Nellus Academy Incident in a night. Not surprising: it's a YA novel that was originally written as a web-serial.

I have to approach this as an old BattleTech Gamer, as a Parent, and just as a general reader. I'll try to be clear which voice I am using. I am also going to do my very best to avoid spoilers.

Gamer first: I can't find anything in terms of BT Canon or Tech that she got wrong. That is the first (and for some, only) thing that many will look at, and if she made a mistake, it's going to take somebody far more anal-retentive about these things than I am to find it.

Well, let me take that back. There is one thing that Jennifer got very wrong, and in doing so, she finally got it right. I don't care if the BT purists disagree with me on this!

See, it is an article of faith in Battletech fiction and gameplay that Ton For Ton, Nothing Matches A BattleMech. Oh, sure, Aerospace Fighters can fly...but a 'Mech can shoot them down easily enough. Tanks are cheaper, but 'Mechs just step on them: they are nothing more than a distraction. Infantry is useful for guarding the barracks where the 'MechJocks sleep, but in a real fight, they are only good for suicide attacks against a Mech's kneecaps--and then only if the MechJock is stupid enough to let them get that close. Traditional BattleTech is a story where the real heroes are giant robots in a world populated by parasites called humans and also annoying things like aerospace fighters, helicopters, tanks, hovercraft, and gun emplacements--and occasionally useful things like DropShips and JumpShips. Oh, and WarShips, but no 'Mech really likes them. They cheat: they bombard from orbit.

Jennifer Brozek breaks that rule repeatedly, consistently, and in an authentic manner. A Mech is still a very powerful piece of equipment, and it can do things none of the others can do and do them very well. But a Tank is nothing to sneer at, Aerospace can ruin your whole day, even Infantry is a serious threat. In this relatively short story, she manages to showcase each of these things without going all grognard on us (another common flaw in BT fiction). The characters have a Combined Arms/Team philosophy where every part is an important piece of the whole. The first person to seriously kick ass is the Medic: yes, there are some ugly things you can do with a medkit. Nobody looks down on the tech or the groundpounder or the pilot. They all have a job to do.

So, the author got all that wrong, but it's a wrong that has been too long in coming. Kudos!

Now for the "General Reader" voice:

The youthful characters are believable. For no particular reason other than "feel", I found myself reminded of Taps: a group of cadets--kids, really--in a situation that would challenge many adults, doing the best they can with what they have. These kids are the product of a formal military education, and one is, technically, already a veteran. Compare what they accomplish with the feats of kids the same age in Poland in World War II who did not have the advantage of military training, and you have to say, "Yeah, they could have pulled that off." I liked the way they handled the shock of combat and death: having lived with a combat vet who still had nightmares years later, I find their reactions all too authentic. This is not a game....

Quick-paced and you never know where the next threat is coming from. These are kids up against professionals, including a rather sociopathic antagonist. To say more would be to get into spoiler-land.

As a Parent, and also that guy with a degree in teaching Junior High/High School English:
The one thing that gave me pause was the amount of profanity. I realize that I am a product of my culture, here: somebody getting shot in cold blood is OK in a story, but shouting "Fuck You!" is a problem. It would be a bar to getting this book into a High School Library in many places.

I was mostly viewing it as the parent of an almost-10-year-old who is reading on the High School level. This isn't something to lay at the feet of the author, it's just the classic dilemma of "finding appropriate reading material for the young Gifted child." We won't even talk about what I was reading at that age, thanks to a clueless librarian. I pay closer attention now that I am Daddy.

The language...fence-sitting. She hears that language every day: we live in the city that gave us "Rocky Balboa", and whenever we visit his old stomping grounds, we are reminded that the "F-Word" just means that two guys really want the same parking space, and that it can be used as noun, verb, adjective, adverb, and pronoun. The language in this book doesn't begin to approach that level. It's just how teenagers talk when authority figures aren't around. She knows she is not to use that language herself. And she doesn't--at least where we can hear her.

The violence...well, there is a lot of it. It's a war story. She took Pacific Rim, Harry Potter, and Hunger Games in stride, I think she could handle the violence level, but we would really want to talk about it and the context.

And that last is what made me decide that, even though she really loves all things Mecha, my daughter is not ready for this book. Yeah, I am still fence-sitting on the other stuff, but this is what decides me: it's not an entry-level book for any age. It was written for a website full of people who already know the backstory, have probably played one of the games, etc.

In English Teacher mode, I look at it as "The student will already know and understand the following: ER Laser, TAG, neurohelmet, Free Worlds League, Lyran Alliance, Inner Sphere (not mentioned but implied), LRM, SRM, [....]" This is not a flaw: it's written for someone who has already experienced BattleTech.

So, I am going to give it a year. Maybe I'll teach her how to move little mech figures across a hex map and kick my butt the way Mommy used to do when we were younger.

(Permission given to Jennifer Brozek to repost in whole or in part. I don't make public posts for a reason.)

jennifer_brozek: (Author August 2011)
NellusAcademyIncidentLarge

Brozek creates well-developed and complex characters whose failures and successes, strengths and weaknesses pull you in, making you care about them and their fate. I would definitely recommend this book for older YA Lit, New Adult, and Adult readers.”
– Janine K. Spendlove, War of the Seasons trilogy, USMC pilot

“Jennifer Brozek's superb storytelling makes me want to play Battletech again.”
– M. Todd Gallowglas, Tears of Rage and Halloween Jack series
jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Here are some great Nellus Academy Incident blurbs! I'm really excited about this first one because the author is also active duty USMC. When I write military fiction, I want military members to enjoy it and not groan at the mistakes. The Nellus Academy Incident release date is 27 Jan 2014. Next Monday!




“This is the first Battletech novel I've ever read, and given that I knew nothing about the “Battletech universe” prior to this as well, I had no idea what to expect going into it.

What did I find? A well written story where I immediately identified with each of main protagonists: eight, hand selected, teenage military cadets. This is a story where it would be so easy to write a “Mary Sue” or “Gary Stu” type character, but Brozek doesn't do that. She not only manages to carefully balance and develop each character, but she does it naturally and through the flow of the narrative, so the story never feels bogged down with extraneous details - instead, it pulls the reader along, making it very difficult to put down.

As an active duty member of the military myself (USMC), I am grateful for the fact that she didn't shy away from broaching difficult/realistic subjects such as courage and fear in the face of battle, loss and sacrifice, and of course the effects of the trauma that the cadets go through. Additionally, like real combat, just because you're a “well developed character,” that doesn't protect you from dying - meaning, there are no “red-shirts” here. No one is safe in this story, no one. And I appreciated the stark reality of that brutality. It hurt my heart to read it, and that's how war should feel: painful.

Brozek creates well-developed and complex characters whose failures and successes, strengths and weaknesses pull you in, making you care about them and their fate.  I would definitely recommend this book for older YA Lit, New Adult, and Adult readers.”
– Janine K. Spendlove, War of the Seasons trilogy, USMC pilot 

“Jennifer is a pro. Her dedication to the Battletech series is worth your time.”
– Ivan Van Norman, Outbreak: Undead and King of the Nerds

 “A fun read. Jennifer Brozek’s Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, takes us on a wild journey as we follow Cadet Allegra Greene from the classroom to the battlefield. Battletech fans, this one’s a winner.”
– Bobby Nash, Evil Ways and Earthstrike Agenda

“In a solid reworking of the classic rites of passage story, Jennifer Brozek uses solid characterization and great action scenes to make The Nellus Academy Incident a real winner.” 
– Michael A. Black, author of Chimes at Midnight and Sleeping Dragons in the Mack Bolan Executioner series

 “Brozek's made the world of Battletech accessible to those new to the game with The Nellus Academy Incident, all while putting new names and faces into a world beloved by longtime Battletech fans. If you're looking for action-packed, smartly paced sci-fi, then get your hands on a copy of this book.”
– Lillian Cohen-Moore, Convention Book: Void Engineers



jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

A couple years back, Jason Schmetzer, the fiction editor for battlecorps.com, asked me if I wrote stories about “big stompy ’Mechs.” My answer was an unhesitating “No.” Jason, not to be denied, asked me if I could crash a big stompy ’Mech and then write him a story. I thought about it and said that I thought I could… if I could think of the right story.

It took two years and some back and forth between me and Jason to hammer out the idea for The Nellus Academy Incident – a YA Battletech webserial about 8 cadets and a General in a PR event gone horribly, horribly wrong. I figured it would be about 25 episodes of about 2000 words each and was designed to go up on a weekly basis. That’s not exactly what happened but, in the end, the webserial was 25 episodes and almost 60,000 words.

I was surprised and delighted beyond words when Jason told me that The Nellus Academy Incident was going to be packaged up as a novel for general sale. This wasn’t my intent when I wrote the serial but, wow, it looked like I had written a YA novel without planning on it.

Yesterday, I got the cover. The book will come out towards the end of January. Isn’t it pretty?



As a side note, I do know what I’d write for a sequel if Jason asked for another serial for battlecorps.com.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Before I get into stuff. A couple of notes:

First, while I was at Convolution, I was quoted in an Examiner article about the convention. And they even got a picture of me smiling and looking tired. I enjoyed Convolution quite a bit. (Warning: the website is cluttered with ads.)

Second, I’ve got my first COINS OF CHAOS anthology review. It’s from Bitten By Books and the anthology got four tombstones. Not bad. Not bad at all. I can forgive them not getting my last name right.

I’m home from my last convention of the year. Really, I shouldn’t have gone to it but no use worrying about that now. I really am busy. But, at the same time, I know I can handle it. It just seems harder right now having just finished a ton of travel. Part of it is me fighting with the outline of KWC#4. Part of it was everyone asking me what all I still need to do this year.

I’ve looked at my list due by the end of the year and it is fine. I will just need to do a lot of head’s down work. There is actually not a whole lot to stress about. Plus, no more conventions again until April. Yay! (Yes, I have some travel but it is all FUN travel.)

I’m still completely in love with crocheting. I’ve discovered that crocheting at conventions is a great conversation starter if you're downstairs in the lobby waiting for someone. And it is a great way to decompress upstairs in the hotel room after a very loud party. This fourth cat blanket is actually looking like a blanket and not a mutant yarn thing. I’m pleased with myself.





So. Things left to do this year:

1. Finish Colonial Gothic: Roanoke supplement.
2. Read and select all stories for the unannounced anthology. Begin edits
3. Finish Karen Wilson Chronicles #4 outline and begin.
4. Finish over all polish of THE NELLUS ACADEMY INCIDENT book.
5. Submit various manuscripts to awards/various people by request.

See? Nothing too onerous.


 

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I’m about to run off to a long family reunion / vacation thing. So, me on the internet might be scarce. Though, I always have Twitter and my phone. The cat / house sitter has the usual instructions to text me daily cat pictures and to spoil them rotten. In the meantime, here’s a link round-up: an interview, an announcement, a photo, a release!

First up, I was interviewed on Jim Knipp's blog.

Rogue Games has announced my book, Colonial Gothic: The Lost Colony.

David Mitchell and his brother did a horror photo based on my In a Gilded Light collection story “Finishing Touches.”

And a reminder that my Coins of Chaos anthology is released on Oct 15 while I'm away.

jennifer_brozek: (Default)

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

Gen Con was third convention in 4 weekends. It was a rough convention to end on. But, it was really a good time. As always, conventions are about the people I got to meet and see again.

Walter Koenig – I didn’t even know Walter was signing at Gen Con. I just happened to walk by at the right time. There was almost no line and I hadn’t talked to him since I ran StarQuest ’95, the first Babylon 5 convention. He didn’t remember it at all and I didn’t mind. As he put it, when I ran into him later in the elevator, “Conventions tend to blur together.” But I enjoyed my small moment with him and got an autographed picture as well as this one.






Ken Hite – Ken is a wonderful man to have a drink with. Super smart and knowledgeable. It’s unfortunate that I had to cut the drink short when my tummy disagreed with my dinner. But the short time I did have was worth it.

Jason Sanford – I’ve know Jason online for years. It was a great pleasure to meet him in person finally. Easy going and fun to hang with, I look forward to doing it again.

John Helfers – My editor of many things (Shadowrun, Battletech, Karen Wilson Chronicles, anthology stories), it is always a boon to meet up with him face to face, have a conversation, and plan to take over the world. Kerrie Hughes is often a part of these meetings, too, which makes them that much more awesome.

Jim Hines – Jim is always a lot of fun to talk with. I caught him at his signing and saw that he had the UK versions of his Magic Ex Libris books. I love those covers and asked if I could buy those. I think he brought them only for show but he was kind and allowed me to throw money at him. I consider this one of my biggest scores of the convention. These covers are amazing.






Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon – I finally got to meet Misty and Larry in person at this convention after knowing them online for ages. I’ve written for Misty’s Valdemar and Elemental Masters anthologies and I used to game with Larry online. I had the chance to sit with them for about 30 minutes and then again while we were all signing at the same time.

Saladin Ahmed – One of the humblest authors I know, Saladin is an amazing author. Misty actually stopped signing to come over and tell him that Betsy Wollheim of DAW told her that he was one of the best new authors she’d ever found. Saladin was so taken aback, he was almost speechless. Then Misty told the line of people waiting for her autograph that they should buy his book. I agree.

Cat Labs Games – I got to see and hang out with many of the Cat Labs folk—Randall, Loren, Herb, Jason S., Jason H., John, Heather—and listen to the chaos that is them at a convention, brainstorming, pranking each other, and doing business. It is amazing to see it all in action. Most of the time, I just sit back and enjoy the ride. I do have more stuff coming up from these guys and it is all good. Shadowrun and Battletech fans have some sweet things to look forward to.

True Dungeon – Most years, I don’t do True Dungeon. If I do, I only go if I can go with my friend Dylan Birtolo. This year, we had the uber-smart team: Dylan Birtolo, Chris McEniry, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Paul Peterson, John Helfers, Kerrie Hughs, R.T. Kaelin, Pat Rothfuss, Pat’s Librarian friend (whose name I forget), and me. This group gelled together so well that we finished almost every room in 5 minutes or less. It was a real joy to play with them all.




Harebrained SchemesJordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman from Harebrained Schemes gave a presentation on what’s coming next for Shadowrun Returns. I came by to support them and to say hello. My favorite moment was when they gave me a shoutout in the panel and the audience had the collective reaction of an inhale of breath and then applause. It made me feel like a rockstar. Also, I got to meet up with @UGplex (RC) what’s coming next for Shadowrun Returns is going to knock your socks off.

Writer’s Symposium – I was at Gen Con this year because of the Writer’s Symposium. Run by Marc Tassin, it was a blast to be a part of. Professional, well-run, and well-attended, we had a packed house most of the time. I love the space we’re located in and I can’t wait to do come back next year. There’s a lot of good information for writers who want to learn about all aspects of the publishing industry.

These are some of the highlights but, by no means, all inclusive. These are what my addled brain can remember right now. There were so many good people and events that I can’t list them all.









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