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Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - The Perfect Line in the Sand


Please welcome Jennifer Brozek to The Qwillery. The Last Days of Salton Academy was published in October 2016 by Ragnarok Publications.



Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - The Perfect Line in the Sand




The Perfect Line in the Sand
Jennifer Brozek

I used to wonder why anyone would like zombie books and movies. Zombies are too gooey, messy, and gory for my literary/visual tastes. I tend to avoid zombie-based entertainment, especially when they focus on the beginning when everyone is alive and being snacked upon like popcorn.

Later, it occurred to me that what makes the traditional zombie so attractive is the fact that they are a simple monster to understand and deal with. There is no black or white when it comes to a zombie. They are the perfect line in the sand. There is no trying to reason with them. There is no trying to see the other side. There are only three options:
  • You can kill the zombie.
  • You can escape the zombie.
  • You can become the zombie.

That’s it. Everything else is detail.

What attracts me to a zombie story are the survivors. Where zombies are a line in the sand, the survivors and their actions are nothing but shades of grey. The moral compass of society is mutable, malleable, and flexible in ways it could never be in a civilized world without an unrelenting monster.

It’s this conflict of the hard line monster clashing against the morals of a civilized society that intrigues me as a creator and consumer of media. Most of the time, when I read a zombie book or watch zombie TV or movies, I tend to skip over the gory parts and focus in on the character interactions. Agonize with the characters over the choices they are forced to make. Agree or disagree with them, then watch the fallout of their actions.

When I write about them, zombies are the everyman and the nobody rolled up in one. They are moving scenery that bleeds and kills. Just a bit more mobile and flexible. The best thing about them is that they can be killed. That option allows heroes to be heroic and survivors to survive.

Zombies are now part of our collective unconsciousness of fears. Like all of the classic monsters—vampires, werewolves, mummies, ghosts, sorcerers, cryptids—they will remain in the cycle, waxing and waning as the fickle mainstream audience allows. They will stay in the cycle because they bring something to the table that no other monster does: the hard line in the sand. Fast or slow, zombies cannot be, and will not be, reasoned with.

I don’t think I’d have it any other way.





The Last Days of Salton Academy
Ragnarok Publications, October 25, 2016
Trade Paperback and eBook, 186 pages

Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - The Perfect Line in the Sand
“The Last Days of Salton Academy is a dark, twisted rollercoaster of a book. Jennifer Brozek knocks it out of the park.”
— Stephen Blackmoore, author of City of the Lost and Broken Souls

It's referred to as 'The Outbreak,' and it happened just over three months ago, casting the world (or at least this part of it) into a state of powerlessness and chaos. The Salton Academy has become a rare sanctuary for those few students who remained behind over fall break.

As winter approaches, cracks are revealed in the academy's foundations as it's discovered someone is stealing food, another is taking advantage of a captive audience, and yet others have banded together and are thinking about mutiny, even murder. One thing's for certain — a supply run must be made soon, or everyone will starve before winter's end.

Oh yes, and then there’s the matter of the headmaster’s son and his undead dog…

The Last Days of Salton Academy is a classic tale of horror in the spirit of Night of the Living Dead meets Lord of the Flies, featuring an ensemble cast and written by Hugo Award-nominated editor and award-winning author, Jennifer Brozek.





About Jennifer

Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - The Perfect Line in the Sand
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 with more on the way, including the acclaimed Chicks Dig Gaming and Shattered Shields anthologies. Author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming, Industry Talk, the Karen Wilson Chronicles, and the Melissa Allen series, she has more than sixty published short stories, and is the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions.

Jennifer 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, Doc Wagon 19. She has also written for the AAA MMO Aion and the award-winning videogame, Shadowrun Returns. She is the author of The Last Days of Salton Academy, published by Ragnarok.

Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter @jenniferbrozek

Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - Irreverence in the Holiday Season


Please welcome Jennifer Brozek to The Qwillery writing about Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology. Note that the first two months of profits from the anthology go to Cystic Fibrosis research. Check out the Table of Contents below. This looks fabulous!



Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - Irreverence in the Holiday Season




Irreverence in the Holiday Season
Jennifer Brozek
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!
Why on earth would any editor put together an anthology where Santa pits the reindeer against the elves in a bloody televised war? Or accept a story about the gift of a haunted mirror that revealed a past horror? Or a story about a supernatural chimneysweep battling a monster of corruption? Isn’t the holiday season about goodness, family, and light? It’s the celebration of another year well spent. Right?

Right?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

The winter season is a contentious time of the year where tempers flare at unrealistic expectations, depression rears its ugly head at another disappointing year gone, and sadness abounds for those who do not have loved ones to share the darkest time of the year with. Over and over, we are bombarded with images of gift-giving between members of the perfect nuclear family. Frankly, this sucks for those who do not have the time, money, or family to celebrate the holiday season in advertised style.

Naughty Or Nice is an anthology for those people… and for anyone who is tired of the standard picture perfect story. I wanted to put together an anthology that was a little bit nice, a whole lot of dark, with a splash of sexy and the irreverent. Everyone needs a good giggle, gasp, and wince during the winter months to enjoy. It gives you that secret smile that makes people wonder what you’re thinking.

Do you tell them? Maybe not. Let them keep on wondering.

More than that, Naughty Or Nice was created as a charity anthology for cystic fibrosis research. One of my authors’ son has been afflicted with this terrible disease. He was the one who came up with the idea for the anthology because, as he put it, “Parents of CF kids need to laugh, too.”

As such, we played with the all of the speculative fiction genres (horror, erotica, urban fantasy, sci-fi, fantasy, and apocalyptic) for the holiday season. (Almost) No topic was off-limits. Needless to say, but I’m saying it anyway, this isn’t an anthology for kids or for dear old grandma… unless she has a wicked sense of humor.

As part of the charity effort for Naughty Or Nice, the anthology is part of Kevin J. Anderson’s Holiday Fantasy StoryBundle. We want to get this anthology into as many hands as we can. With stories from authors like Peter Clines, Rachel Caine, Jody Lynn Nye, Kevin J. Anderson, and Lucy A. Snyder, we think you are in for quite the treat. Though, be careful. Like a lush Thai chili chocolate, this anthology bites back!





Naughty or Nice: A Holiday Anthology
Evil Girlfriend Media, October 31, 2015
Trade Paperback or eBook, 238 pages

Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - Irreverence in the Holiday Season
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!

NAUGHTY OR NICE: A HOLIDAY ANTHOLOGY
Table of Contents
Foreword by Jennifer Brozek
“Cold Dead Turkey” by Kevin J. Anderson
“Mistletoe” by Jody Lynn Nye
“Coming up the Chimney Tonight” by Josh Vogt
“The Kwanzaa Kid” by Maurice Broaddus
“Letters To Santa (From the Arctic Academy for Gifted Creatures)” by S.G. Browne
“The Longest Night of the Year” by Shannon Page
“Passing the Torch” by M. Todd Gallowglas
“Forged” by Peter Clines
“Sweet Peppermint Blow” by C. Thomas Hand
“Monster Mingle and Kris Kringle” by Jon Del Arroz
“The Wench Who Stole Christmas” by E.S. Magill
“He Knows When You’re Awake” by Cat Rambo
“Spam, the Spooks, and the UPS Bandit” by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
“Santa’s Bloody Reign” by Timothy W. Long and Jonathan Moon
“The Toymaker’s Joy” by Lucy A. Snyder
“By the Light of the Silvery Moon” by Rachel Caine





About Jennifer

Jennifer Brozek is a Hugo Award-nominated editor and an award-winning author. She has worked in the publishing industry since 2004. With the number of edited anthologies, novel sales, RPG books, and nonfiction books under her belt, Jennifer is often considered a Renaissance woman, but she prefers to be known as a wordslinger and optimist. Read more about her at www.jenniferbrozek.com or follow her on Twitter: @JenniferBrozek.

Guest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - The Perfect Line in the SandGuest Blog by Jennifer Brozek - Irreverence in the Holiday Season

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