See my profile for my event appearances, book covers, bio and other such things.
My personal blog, gaaneden, is where I talk about my husband, my cats, my gaming and other randomness of everyday life. It is a lot less structured and a lot more fluff. Feel free to add my personal LJ as well.
Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
Ever since the day I died, I’ve been trying to write my story. On September 18th, 1988 at the young age of 18 my family, everyone I’d ever known or cared about, killed me.
I was raised a strict Jehovah’s Witness and when they disfellowshipped me, everyone, even JW’s I don’t know, treated me as if I were dead. I’d been disfellowshipped once before when I was fourteen. It lasted for six months and it was hell to get reinstated. I couldn’t do it again. So, I’m still dead to every JW the world over, including my mother, father and sister.
I left that confining existence, where you aren’t allowed to associate with anyone but other JW’s, and went out into the real world. That experience is told in Jolene, but fictionalized big time, in Jolene, You're Not a Monster. Instead of a JW, Jolene was created and raised in a lab. Military Intelligence trained her and uses her as a spy, but one of the doctors that created her is trying to terminate her and another group is trying to capture her.
I made her birthday September 18th 1988 and the story is set in 2009. She’s hardheaded, resourceful and wants to live. There are so many things she’s never done, just like there were so many things I’d never done.
One of the first things I did when I got out on my own was have sex, so does Jolene and it kind of sucked for both of us. I’ve never talked to anyone whose first time was all that good. Still, like me she doesn’t give up until it gets better. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an erotic novel, but it is a character driven a science fiction thriller and young twenty-somethings do it. (Okay we all do it, I hope.)
Another aspect of Jolene that mirrors my life is that from a young age, her father figure, Dr. Carter taught her to never kill. They may have kicked me out of the religion, but I still believed that Armageddon was coming soon and when it did I was going to die with the rest of the worldy, non-JW people. I had nightmares for years about Jesus riding down as explosions went off around me, pointing his sword at me personally and yelling, “You betrayed me.” Lightening would flare out of his sword and I’d explode with my last thought being I’d screwed up.
It wasn’t until college that I managed to chip away some of that brainwashing it. It’s hard to look at something you’ve believed all your life and pick holes in it. Jolene goes through what that feels like when to save herself and others, Dr. Carter tells her to kill. Everything she’s believed about Dr. Carter was from a daughter’s perspective. She has to see Dr. Carter as a person not just a parent. She has to go through everything I did when I got hit in the face with that realization at 18. My parents who were supposed to love me more than they feared dying at Armageddon, didn’t.
I am not 18 anymore, I’ve had children of my own and I’m no longer brainwashed, but that 18 year old, naïve girl is still inside of me, just a little less now because she’s also out there as Jolene who is now her own person born of my pain and joys at that time in my life. It wouldn’t surprise me if she knocked on my door and asked who gave me permission to write her story. It would scare me though, because she is a bad ass monster.
Kacy Jey is an award winning author with short stories in Bonded by Blood Anthology III, SNM Horror Magazine and articles in various magazines. Jolene, You’re Not a Monster is her debut novel. Kacy, born in San Bernardino, California, currently lives in Texas via Michigan after six years.
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
This Friday, I will be at Foolscap, teaching a workshop on planning a book series that I call "Combat in the Land of Forgotten Details." Then, next week, I will be the Writer GoH at RadCon. Hope to see some of you there.
Radcon 2016 Schedule
Friday, 12 Feb
7am-2pm, School Visits
Support our local schools by volunteering for school visits to libraries and classrooms! RadCon provides drivers to and from the schools. Lunch is provided for visiting professionals who volunteer all day.
6:45pm-8pm, Opening Ceremonies, Bronze Room
Saturday, 13 Feb
12:30-1:30pm, Writer Guest of Honor: Jennifer Brozek, Bronze Room
Writer Guest of Honor Jennifer Brozek shares her insights, inspirations, and latest work.
1:45-2:45pm, Making Your Own Way, 2201
Living the creative life and making a living at your art seems like the impossible dream to some. There are conventional ways to go about this, but breaking the rules may be just the thing. A discussion on the trials, challenges, and benefits of escaping from the default world's default choices.
Jennifer Brozek, John Lovett, Kevin Wiley, Tamra Excell, Vandy Hall
Sunday, 14 Feb
10-11am, The Business of Gaming, 2207
So you love gaming and would like to do it for a living? Come learn about the reality of gaming for a living, from Table top to video games. It can be fun, but to make money at it, you have to remember... It's a business.
Jennifer Brozek, Will Carson, Zach Brockway
11:15-12:15pm, Writing With Dyslexia, 2203
Dyslexics are creative, imaginative and natural born storytellers, who happen to have problems reading and writing. That paradox never stopped Agatha Christie, Mark Twain or Anne Rice. We will discuss tricks and technologies that can help get the world in your head onto paper.
Eytan Kollin, Jeanette Bennett, Jennifer Brozek
12:30-1:30pm, What is Ingress?, 2207
After 2 years this game is growing around the world. So come learn what the game is and how to play. All you need to play is a smartphone and the eagerness to get off your butt.
Gene Armstrong, Gibbitt Rhys-Jones, Jennifer Brozek, Martin Cameron
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
My first professional short story sale was a zombie story without any zombies in it, and zombie fiction has always had a special place in my heart. But while I love zombies, I generally prefer science fiction and fantasy to horror, and optimistic stories to grim ones.
To me, there's a connection between zombies and rebirth—it's a twisted connection, but that doesn't make it less real. Zombies do come back from the dead, after all. They're animated by a hunger for brains and human flesh, but they are up and moving around. Undead is as much of an opposite to dead as alive is. And in some zombie mythology there is at least a vestige of the person that they once were, hidden deep beneath the hunger.
I wanted to explore that connection, and I ended up writing this zombie novella. It never felt like the best idea, really, but It was one of those stories that I couldn't help but write, even though I had a list of other projects as long as my arm. I also wanted to explore the thing that makes zombies scariest to me—their ability to take anyone that you care about and turn them into a monster.
In every zombie movie that I've ever watched, the instantaneous and correct response to a zombie bite is suicide—because death is preferable to transformation into a zombie. But in Moving Forward, people can survive infection. They can live for years, even decades, before the virus catches up with them and transforms them into ultra-dangerous, living zombies. Is suicide still the correct choice? Or is the time that you have left worth more than the danger to those around you when you finally turn? Is there a way to manage the danger, a way to be prepared for the worst while taking advantage of the life you have left?
That is where the infected sanctuaries come in. Infected people are isolated from the rest of society, where they can't infect anyone else. They're like leper colonies, except that the residents could lose it and start attacking everyone else at any moment.
Jamie Lackey earned her BA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in 2006. Since then, she has sold over 100 short stories to places like Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the Stoker Award-winning After Death... anthology. Her fiction has appeared on the Best Horror of the Year Honorable Mention and Tangent Online Recommended Reading Lists. She read slush for the award-winning Clarkesworld Magazine from 2008-2013, and she worked on the Triangulation Annual Anthology from 2008 to 2011. She edited Triangulation: Lost Voices in 2015 and is currently editing Triangulation: Beneath the Surface. She studied under James Gunn at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction's Writer's Workshop in 2010. She's a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Her short story collection, One Revolution, is available on Amazon.com, and her debut novel, Left Hand Gods, is forthcoming from Hadley Rille Books. Find her online at www.jamielackey.com.
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
Last night’s reading was really good. It was nice to see familiar faces (shout out to my Ingress buddies!) as well as unfamiliar faces drawn in by the concept of NEVER LET ME. Lots of books were sold and it was a good time.
Readings are funny things. You never know if you are going to get 200, 50, 10, 2, or 0 people showing up to them. Here’s the trick about readings—I read to an audience of 2 the same way I read to an audience of 200. I try to make sure everyone there feels like they are the most important person in the world. Because, in truth, they are. Without readers, we authors would be shouting into the void. So, I try to make my readers know they are very much appreciated.
Duane Wilkins and the University Bookstore were lovely hosts as always. If you would like a signed copy of NEVER LET ME or any of my other print books, you can get it from the University Bookstore. Visit their website or call 1.800.335.7323.
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
I love it went writers tell me something I didn't know about them that makes me look at their books in a different light. Wendy is an excellent author and now I understand what makes her meals scenes in her novels so good.
I have a weakness for skill-based reality TV shows. I’ll watch participants design, drive, build, forge, style—you name it—but it’s cooking shows that really hook me in. So when I heard the buzz about The Great British Baking Show, I binge watched the season. It delivered everything I love about the genre. No surprise there. But I never expected it would also give me an “Aha!” moment about my writing. THIS. This is what I was going for.
The connection grew with each episode and by midseason I’d started to play around with elevator pitches. “The Cross Cutting novellas are The Great British Baking Show meets Half-Resurrection Blues and Supernatural” or “The trilogy is like TGBBS with fewer cakes and more monsters.” Clearly, I won’t be teaching a pitch class any time soon; however, the spirit of the show is an example of what I wanted to capture.
Those bakers put their all into that competition. Each contestant clearly wanted to win the big prize. There was loads of dramatic tension. And yet, despite the stakes, the atmosphere remained warmly supportive. The drama mostly focused on the task at hand instead of personal conflicts.
In the Cross Cutting trilogy I wanted to create a fundamentally harmonious group of characters to face the darkness. The problem is there’s a danger of making them sticky sweet and—boring. Trying to hit the right balance is a cool challenge. I tried to tackle it in the novellas because they’re long enough for character development and short enough to keep a lot of the attention fixed on action.
The route I chose began with thinking about the magic. My main character, Trinidad, has magic that’s cooperative in nature—she has to work with whatever city she’s bonded to. She needs a strong will and a stronger sense of self, but she can’t be selfish. One of the trade-offs is that she doesn’t deal with many people. She relates to the fringes and periphery better than the mainstream, anyway.
I balanced her by making Achilles a clairvoyant. His abilities are tied to his empathy and connection to people. It feels like a different form of cooperative magic. The rest of the supporting crew are family—tied together by blood or by choice. Put them all together and you have a group of characters engineered for harmony. It doesn’t always work, of course. A little friction is like salt. You need some for flavor amplification.
My favorite thing to do as a writer is to experiment with tones and genres. I learned a lot about finding balance while working with the novellas. I’m hoping it will help me out when I tackle more divisive characters.
In the meantime, I’ll still be looking to The Great British Baking Show to satisfy my cravings for seeing elaborate pastries being constructed in a tent by lovely people.
In case anyone is disappointed by the turn I took here, I’ll end by saying the cake is not a lie in The Thin. All of the novellas do include actual food moments. It’s another way to create bonds, to show fellowship. Characters do need fuel to keep fighting, after all.
And yes, everyone gets dessert.
Wendy Hammer teaches literature and composition at a community college in Indiana. She has stories in Urban Fantasy Magazine, the horror anthology Suspended in Dusk, and elsewhere. The first of the Cross Cutting novellas, The Thin, has been published by Apocalypse Ink Productions. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s probably making a mess in the kitchen or telling herself “Just one more episode.” You can find her at wendyhammer.com or on twitter @Wendyhammer13.
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
From last night: I'm stupidly excited I've been listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot! Once for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection for Apocalypse Girl Dreaming and once for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel for Never Let Me Sleep.
Now that the excitement of being listed twice on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot has died down, I can look at what this really means. The preliminary ballot is not an official nomination. That will come after the active and lifetime members of the HWA vote. I won’t know until Feb 23rd if I’m officially nominated or not. In the meantime, I can enjoy being that much closer to the award.
Also, I can enjoy the success of my friends and peers. In particular, I am super happy for Seanan McGuire who has been listed in the Long Form category for her spectacular story, “Resistance,” from The End Has Come anthology. And for Peter Clines who has been listed in the Novel category for his amazing novel The Fold.
I’m also pleased to see “Little Dead Red” by Mercedes M. Yardley (Long Fiction), “Sing Me Your Scars” by Damien Angelica Walters (Short Fiction), “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” by Alyssa Wong (Short Fiction), “Hannibal: The Wrath of the Lamb” (Screenplay), Midian Unmade by Del Howison and Joseph Nassie (Anthology), and Author’s Guide to Marketing with Teeth by Michael Knost (Non-Fiction).
In my own two categories, I’m pleased to be going head-to-head against Samuel Sattin and The Silent End for Young Adult Novel. Also against both Lucy A. Snyder and Gary Braunbeck for Fiction Collection. What company to be in!
The competition is tough this year for the Bram Stoker Awards. I’ve read most of the entries listed and I’m going to have to do a lot of thinking and comparing before I vote.
I want to wish to congratulate everyone who was listed on the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot. Good luck to one and all.
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
So much writing on Project Joe! Other than my computer setup exploding on me recently, requiring me to get a new keyboard and to vacuum the dust from the computer, my life is mostly about writing and editing. And petting demanding cats.
EVENT - READING: I will be reading at the University Bookstore in Seattle on Jan 26th. Please come! There will be cookies and book giveaways and I'll be reading from NEVER LET ME which Publisher's Weekly calls "a strong, entertaining tale."
And now back to your irregularly scheduled Bubble & Squeek.
Article: MIND MELD: The Growth and Future of SF/F. An interesting question.
Article: Nightmare Magazine – The H Word: Shifting Away From the Common. I talk about what I enjoy about shapeshifters that aren't werewolves.
Blog: I have a guest blog over at Jim Hines’s Blog site about revealing personal details in your writings. I didn't manage to post about this more than once. So, here it is again.
Event: I am a workshop leader at Foolscap on Feb 5th. I'm teaching a class on writing series called "Combat in the Land of Forgotten Details."
Review: Publisher's Weekly reviewed NEVER LET ME. It's a good review. I'm happy with it. I don't even mind the quibble.
SALE: COLONIAL GOTHIC: LOST TALES. This is one of those "oops, I have a fiction collection" sales. Totally unexpected but very happy for it.
SALE: MAKEDA RED. I'm running the shadows again. This time in novel form. I've wanted to write a Shadowrun novel for ages. Now I get to. MAKEDA RED stars the protagonist from my Shadowrun short story, "Rune's Avatar Cafe."
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
I've worked with Ivan for years now as an editor. He's a great guy and I've enjoyed watching him grow as an author.
The biggest thing I learned while writing Famished: The Ranch (Book Three of the Gentleman Ghouls series) was just how much better a community can make a writer.
The first book I wrote, Famished: The Farm, was almost monkish. I wrote the entire thing on my own, and only sent it out for a review at Jenn’s insistence. I didn’t realize that was a thing, to be honest. Writing had always seemed a very solitary endeavor, and I made it so. The able assistance of Lillian Cohen-Moore and Jeff Meaders certainly improved the book, and I came to understand the value of beta readers.
After writing Famished: The Commons, I sent it willingly to a handful of beta readers. Unfortunately, that wound up requiring a rewrite of over half the book, cutting out a character whose presence didn’t make sense to most of the readers. At the same time, Jenn asked me to be an “alpha reader” for a book of hers.
Alpha reader? What?
She sent a chapter a week, more or less, for us to review as she was writing. It seemed half-mad to me at first. Don’t you need more time to polish and perfect the work? Well, as it turns out, you really don’t. That’s how I saw first-hand the value of these individuals. As an alpha reader myself I was able to catch one or two things which could have become bigger issues as the book, and I realized I could have saved myself a lot of headaches with The Commons by approaching alpha readers.
With Famished: The Ranch, I reached out to a handful of alpha readers. I wasn’t as quick or as disciplined in getting the chapters done, which meant I naturally lost a few of those original aides. Understandably, mind you. If I’m not willing to be disciplined around deadlines, I can’t howl when life gets in the way for people offering free assistance.
Those who remained helped a great deal, however. Two of them also served as beta readers once the entire work was done, providing more feedback in their close-up readings, along with a few additional readers who hadn’t seen the work before.
Finally, I was fortunate to have two wonderful friends and fans who saw I was flagging near the end. I was tired of writing, tired of the story, and tired and ashamed of missing my promised deadlines. These two picked me up when I was down and helped me cross the finish line with a mix of gentle encouragement, minor bribes, and very occasional threats of violence.
Famished: The Ranch was my first true community effort as a writer. It won’t be my last.
Ivan Ewert was born in Chicago, Illinois, and has never wandered far afield. He has deep roots in the American Midwest, finding a sense of both belonging and terror within the endless surburban labyrinths, deep north woods, tangled city streets and boundless prairie skies.
His work has previously appeared in the award-winning anthology Grants Pass, as well as the anthologies Human Tales and Beasts Within 3: Oceans Unleashed, while his culinary writing has appeared in Alimentum: The Literature of Food. An early treatment of the Gentleman Ghouls series appeared in the e-zine The Edge of Propinquity from 2006 to 2011. He was the sole author to span all six years of that publication.
In his spare time, Ivan occupies himself with reading, gaming, and assisting with the jewelry design firm Triskele Moon Studios. He currently lives near the Illinois-Wisconsin border with his wife of seventeen years and a rather terrifying collection of condiments and cookbooks. Ivan can be reached at www.ivanewert.com and on Twitter @IvanEwert.
(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
For Immediate Release
WHEN AN EXTRACTION GOES BAD, WHAT’S A SHADOWRUNNER TO DO? TAKE RISKS, THAT’S WHAT.
Award winning author Jennifer Brozek returns to the world of Shadowrun® with a new novel.
January, 2016 - Catalyst games announces a new Shadowrun® title scheduled for publication mid 2017- Makeda Red
Hugo nominated editor, author and game designer, Jennifer Brozek, delves into the Shadowrun® world once more with an exciting new novel. With the success of her first novella, DocWagon 19, Jennifer takes on a new challenge. This time, her Shadowrun® operatives face intrigue, and action.
It was supposed be a simple extraction from the Brussels2Rome party train. With an eclectic crowd, a willing target, and a lot of nuyen at stake, what could go wrong?
Everything—as Makeda Red discovers the hard way. There’s more than one target on the train, and more than one shadowrunner team in play. When someone sabotages the tracks in the middle of the Swiss Alps, she’s forced to extract her client much earlier than planned.
To complicate matters, other survivors are also fleeing the crash for their own reasons. One of them is trying to escape his corporate masters as well, and offers to pay Makeda to escort him to his safe haven.
A paying client is a paying client, and his corp won’t be looking for three people traveling together. Makeda knows it’s a risk, but one she’s willing to take. In the shadows, however, nothing and no one is what they seem. Before it’s over, this already complicated run may be Makeda’s last.
John Helfers, editor and Shadowrun® novel live developer, says this about the new novel:
“I’ve been a fan of Jennifer’s intricate, character-driven fiction for years, and after the terrific stories she’s written for Battletech (The Nellus Academy Incident) and her recent Shadowrun novella DocWagon 19, I can’t wait to see the story she has in mind for her first Shadowrun® novel come to life. Action, intrigue, and suspense aboard a train speeding through 2070s Europe—what could be better?”
Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award-nominated editor and an award-winning author. Winner of the Australian Shadows Award for best edited publication, Jennifer has edited fifteen anthologies and is a freelance author for numerous RPG companies. Winner of the Scribe, Origins, and ENnie awards, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun®, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Jennifer is the author of the award winning YA Battletech novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, and Shadowrun® novella, DocWagon 19. She has also written for the AAA MMO Aion and the award-winning videogame, Shadowrun Returns.
When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is a Director-at-Large of SFWA, and an active member of HWA and IAMTW. Read more about her at her blog or follow her on Twitter at @JenniferBrozek.