Archive for the ‘Promotion’ Category

Apex Book Company Blog

Christopher Kastensmidt’s “The Fortuitous Meeting of Gerard van Oost and Oludara” was my main reason for subscribing to Realms of Fantasy this year.  I’d been reading about the world Christopher was building thanks to the website he developed to serve as its landing page, The Elephant and Macaw Banner, and had to get my hands on the first story in the series. Read more of my interview with Christopher Kastensmidt


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Apex Book Company Blog

Apex Publications State of the Union

I have reason to celebrate. Yesterday, Jason Sizemore of Apex Publications announced that I will be the web editor for Apex starting in June. I am so excited to continue my work as part of the Apex team. Next month, I will share more about what this means. I just really wanted to mark the occassion here on my professional site.

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Traffic here is driven by how often I post and how much I promote the entries. It is also fed by flowthrough from the places I comment and leave this link. I have two book reviews I am behind in posting. I set this website up to put a professional spin on my efforts and to be a hub for my activities. I find it hard to quantify some of the things I do in my writing life much less recount them here. This was to be the home of author platform which is a concept Justine Musk explains very well.

I joke often that I am leading thirsty horses to an empty stream. One of these days I will have more publications of my own for you to check out. For now I am just as happy to share the work of my friends and other talented folks with you and send you in their direction. That thrills me. You come here and then head there. I thank you for that. I thank you for your support and encouragement most of all. You help keep me going. Thanks for 4000+ hits. When we hit 5000, we will have to have a virtual party.

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Jennifer’s mom was kind enough to pitch in for the roast. She was the first volunteer in fact. She was also the first person to turn in a story. That must run in the family.

Ms. Sigrid Brozek takes the mic:

In this life there are those people who never have a nickname … and those who have nicknames galore.  Jennifer is one who “collects” nicknames.  One of the nicknames she had was “Calamity Jane”.  She earned that.  It started with all the usual childhood accidents/injuries/mishaps that everyone goes through, then added a few more notable incidents.


  • She and her twin brother were born in Alaska at Elmendorf AFB outside of Anchorage.  When she was three, Mom, Dad and older sister were in the backyard working.  She and her brother were supposed to be taking a nap – or at least having quiet time.  Well, Jenn really, really wanted to be outside with us.  Not sure exactly what she was trying to do – watch, or escape through the window, but somehow she got stuck half in and half out of the window (no screens).  She couldn’t go the rest of the way out and she couldn’t get back inside.  We were called to the window by cries of “Help me, somebody, help me!”  She was clearly stuck and in no danger. It was so funny, I laughed till I cried. It has become a watchword in our family.


  • Belgium was a dangerous place for Jennifer. 


  • She went to school in a Belgian school that only spoke French (she didn’t.) and survived. 


  • That was also where she decided to see if a 220 light bulb was hot and stuck her thumb on it.  It was!  She got a badly burned thumb for her efforts.


  • She cut her hand to the bone with a bread knife and had to be rushed to the ER.


  • She tried to drive and put the car into neutral causing it to roll out and completely block the roadway.  We lived on a very sharp curve, not 90 degrees but probably 75 or 80.  It was down the road a half mile or so from a sugar beet factory and huge trucks raced past our house all the time. Needless to say, it ended well. 


  • And there was the time she fell from a second story window inches from an old style water pump.  We were living in a 300 year old house that had 18 foot ceilings.  She should have been badly hurt.  But another trip to the ER showed only a small bruise on her shoulder.


Through it all she was usually stoic and didn’t complain.  She has always been my adventurous one.  She always wanted to try new things and was never afraid of getting lost.  She wanted to be different.  She wanted to be the eccentric auntie.  She’s pretty much achieved whatever she set her mind to.  It was not easy most times, but if she set the goal, she kept at it until she attained it.  If someone else set the goal, maybe she would do it, maybe not, depending on whether it suited her. 

Jenn’s Response:

I am a danger to myself though rarely to others.


I suppose it is a good thing that I don’t remember much of Alaska. It might have been traumatizing otherwise. However, I have to admit, the image of a kid, perfectly balanced in a window so that they could not go forward or back, is a funny one. Especially Mom’s mimic of what I apparently sounded like.


Belgium was an interesting time. To be fair, I was actually trying to turn off the light when I stuck my thumb on it. It was Dad’s “Oh, look, fried thumb for dinner” that made me holler louder.  Actually, the more I think about Belgium, the more surprised I am that I survived it.


And people wonder why I’m content to be the weird aunt to my nieces. I know what kids do to themselves.


Oh, and the part about getting lost… I can’t help it. I have a heroically bad sense of direction.


That’s a wrap for the Jennifer Brozek Roast. Please visit the landing page for more entries!

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HaxanMy good friend, Kenneth Mark Hoover, volunteered to roast Jennifer Brozek. No sooner had I agreed, than I had one heck of a roast post on my hands.

Mark takes the mic:

I first became aware of Jennifer Brozek when the totality of the published words she was putting out threatened to overload the speculative fiction landscape and doom us all to an existence in Literary Black Holedom. An existence in which she is the literary center and the rest of us revolve around her in the knots and whorls of some gravitational word-vortex.

Seriously. This woman writes. Some of us talk about writing. She does it. And she never stops. I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually completes hardcopy in her sleep.

Result? She has success after success. Rightfully so, I might add. Because not only is she prolific, she’s just downright GOOD. And that’s an awesome combination.

Okay. I’ve had a modicum of success myself. I ‘ve had a few things published. Limited. That stunted Leprechaun jumping up and down and waving his arms in a frantic gesture? That’s me in the speculative fiction world. *waves*

But Jennifer? She’s that iron ziggurat over there with a foundation that goes directly to the Earth’s core and a peak that scratches the stars.

We but toil in her shadow.

But here’s the real deal. As good as she was she was never a real threat to me because I pretty have my own little corner of the universe where I play with matches. I write westerns, mostly dark fantasy westerns like my Haxan series. And, like I said, I’ve had a little success and gotten a little attention from it.

It’s a paltry existence but it’s mine.

Until I got a letter from Jen asking me for help on a supernatural western she was working on for an anthology.

Have you ever had your blood freeze with uncomprehending fear? Here I was in my own little corner of the world tinkering with my stupid western stories, and the Brozek Ziggurat was prepared to lay down a new foundation. Being intimidated by that (and, of course, loving her anyway) I said, “Sure, I can take a look at your story.”

She wrote it and I pointed out some things I thought might help. She thanked me and I went off to crawl into a corner and assume a fetal position because I knew resistance was futile. Dark fantasy westerns? Soon to be just another feather in Jennifer’s cap, Little Writer Boy. You’ll be lucky if she leaves you scraps.

But, hey, sometimes you have to go with the flow. I for one welcome our new Overlord in western speculative fiction. I mean, it’s only a matter of time.

Oh, and that Literary Blackholedom I spoke of earlier is the result of the impressive quantity and quality of her work. Well, look at it this way. With Jennifer Brozek you know the ride toward the event horizon will not only be memorable, it will be downright fun.

Love you, Jennifer. Lots. 🙂

Jennifer kindly responds:

Well, you know what they say, Mark, “Emulation is a form of admiration.”

Actually, I just made that up but it is still true. I remember looking at the Haxan series and being, 1) entertained and 2) impressed. I truly adore weird west and you do it very well. How could I not try to put something out there in that arena? Think of it this way: you inspired me. You honestly did and that can be rare. Things inspire me all the time but rarely does someone else’s writing send me to my keyboard with the hopes of possibly doing that good.

You are still the king of the weird west arena… for now. But don’t look over your shoulder. You will see me standing there.

Now, how about that joint novella I suggested a couple months back?

Visit the Jennifer Brozek Roast Landing Page

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Apex Book Company Blog

Inertia and the Practicing Writer

My latest blog post is up over at Apex. Please go take a look and leave me some comment love.

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I am lucky enough to have met Dylan through a small crit community we belong to. I knew he and Jennifer were friends and asked him to help roast the lovely lady.

Dylan Birtolo takes the mic:

Let’s see, I submitted to the Edge of Propinquity out of the blue because I had heard about it, read it a couple of times, and thought it would be a good match for my writing style. So, I submitted and was rejected. I tried again, with a separate story, and was rejected again. But, both times they were nice rejections where she said she wanted to see more.

I wound up meeting Jennifer at GenCon the following year. I was working in Author’s Avenue and she came by to talk to authors. We talked for a couple of minutes and her name was familiar. When she handed me her business card I loudly proclaimed “Oh! I know I knew you – you rejected me a couple of times!” It was a very interesting and amusing way of introducing myself to her and she was a little red-faced. We talked and she told me that she really liked my writing and spoke about what exactly I would need to do in order to get accepted. We talked about a story idea I had, and then I wrote the story and submitted it to her and was accepted!

From that point, we exchanged a few emails and she was generous with sending links and opportunities my way that she thought I would be good for. She is a very generous person that way. When she joined me at Author’s Avenue, I tried to return the favor with my previous experience.

I think my favorite smile-inducing experience was at GenCon this past year and having her, pitching her stories, saying to random passerby’s “Are you interested in some mastication?”

Jennifer Brozek responds:

Oh, come on, who can resist a little mastication? I masticate all the time. Alone and with people. Sometimes with many people. I will admit, though, I usually don’t masticate in bed. Most of the time, I masticate with my husband in the family room.

(For those who don’t know, I have a chapbook out called Mastication. It is ten stories about things eating people. My husband is the one who pointed out that I seem to have a thing about writing stories involving odd things that eat people. We had taffy to give away as part of the luring in of potential buyers.)

Yes, meeting Dylan was first for me. He was the first author I did not know who told me I had rejected him—twice. Most people don’t know but one of my greatest fears is to have someone I rejected come yell at me about it at a convention. I’m not sure what I would do if that actually happened.

But Dylan wasn’t that way. He had a huge smile on his face when he said it and his smile only got wider as I told him I remembered his stories and talked with him about why they weren’t accepted. He was a good first “rejected author” to have. He didn’t yell. He listened. He smiled and when he did submit again to The Edge of Propinquity, he wrote a story I bought.

Check out more roast posts on the Jennifer Brozek Roast Landing Page.

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