Rick takes the mic:
I met Jenn Brozek online around the time she was just beginning the project that would become Grants Pass, but I truly got to appreciate her talents during an online freeform roleplaying game that we both played in for a while. Even more specifically, I got to appreciate Jenn while discussing killing off one of her characters. Jenn is a prolific dealer of death in her fiction, a sort of authorial version of The Joker or George Stark from The Dark Half, leaving a trail of fictional bodies strewn in her path through whatever literary ground she treads. So there we were, plotting out this scene where the good guys get ambushed, and there is this one minor supporting character who is just really exceptionally likeable. Fun, spunky, quirky. Totally deserving of her own spotlight. Now this was in a somewhat technology-limited circumstance for me, so the whole conversation was taking place by email. I mentioned the pros and cons surrounding the ways I could see the scene going, and Jenn admitted that, yes, she really did have a soft spot in her heart for this particular character. And although I was separated from her by pretty much the entire United States, and limited to the rather bland medium of email messages, I swear that I could see the grin take shape on Jenn’s face as she followed her admission up with, “Yeah. Let’s kill her.” We ended up inflicting a rather horrible demise on the poor victim. It was one of the best scenes in that game.
Jenn is not only unafraid when it comes to looking at the dark places in the hearts of and minds of humanity, she takes a sort of gleeful delight in it, and enthusiasm that can be contagious. She wrote a series of dark tales every Friday, almost always ending them with murder, and cheerfully inserted friends and relatives alike into the mayhem and slaughter. In the time I’ve been writing for The Edge of Propinquity, I’ve watched as Jenn has done a brilliant job as “Chief Cat-Herder”, managing the various contributors and keeping everyone on deadline (notice how that word “dead” keeps following her around?). In my second year of TEoP, I had an ongoing plot involving rune pendants. I actually went to a local bead shop and bought three rune pendants to use in the photos that accompany the stories. When that year finished up and I was done with the runes, I gave them away, two for my first-readers, and one for Jenn, in appreciation for the opportunity and for all of the work she puts into editing TEoP.
The next Friday, Jenn wrote a story in which I sent her a magical rune. And used it to kill her.
Rick is awesome and I adore him. I vaguely remember the conversation about killing off a beloved character but I am sad to say… I can’t remember which character this was. It was years ago. I’ve killed off so many characters since then. I guess that tells you something about me. What that is, I don’t know.
I still have the pendant Rick gave me and I appreciated the gift. I figured the best way to thank him was to use it in a story. Normally, I would kill him off with it but since he was doing the giving it was only fair that he got to kill me off with it. Now, that story, and many like it, are in my forthcoming collection by Dark Quest Books. It’s called In a Gilded Light: 105 Tales of the Macabre and is out in June 2010.
Please visit the Jennifer Brozek Roast Landing Page