Ghosts in the IM: Conversations Between Writers


Luna Lindsey and Jennifer Brozek


Luna Lindsey
Luna Lindsey
Jennifer Brozek
Jennifer Brozek

Luna Lindsey has self-published her novel Emerald City Dreamer and the recent non-fiction Recovering Agency Her blog is at and Twitter is

Jennifer Brozek runs the micro-press on top of working with various publishers of all sizes as a writer, game designer, and editor. Website: Twitter:


Luna Lindsey: How’s it going today?
Jennifer Brozek: I’m finally getting over being sick. Travel takes it out of me sometimes. I don’t usually get sick after a con but when I do, it really messes with me.
Luna: Oh man, that sucks. Yeah, I hate getting con plague. I try to switch into obsessive hand washing mode as soon as I enter the airport 🙂
Jennifer: Jeff got sick at the con. I catch something on the way home.
Luna: Airports are the worst
Jennifer: Me too. And lots of hand sanitizer. So many people want to shake my hand at conventions.
Luna: But cons are bad, too. I got Swine Flu from PAX, and Norro Virus from Radcon. So.
Jennifer: Yikes!
Luna: I’m still alive to tell the tale! How was the con? It was Gencon right?
Jennifer: People forget that menus at restaurants are teeming with little nasties.
Luna: Worldcon? One of those big cons I’ve not been to yet
Jennifer: Gen Con was great. Tiring.
Luna: I need to get to one of those someday.
Jennifer: Worldcon is in Spokane next year!
Luna: WHOA. ok putting that on my calendar
Jennifer: It’s practically in our backyard.
Luna: Totally. lol from London to Spokane.
Jennifer: And if people love Chicks Dig Gaming like I hope they will, I have a half of a percentage of a chance of maybe being nommed for a Hugo.
Luna: Oh that would be great. Is that your latest release?
Jennifer: That will be released in November along with my Baen anthology Shattered Shields. November will be a good month.
Luna: Very nice. You’ll be quite busy. I’m reading the description. It looks interesting.
Jennifer: I usually am.
Luna: It’s always extra busy the month around a release.
Jennifer: How’s things since your latest book came out? Any hate mail?
Luna: Going well! The aforementioned extra-busy seems to finally be dying down, but it will pick up again if I manage to do more guest posts. No hate mail. Some hate tweets when I advertise, but it’s all manageable. Lots of really good feedback so far. It seems to be accomplishing my primary goal, which was to help exmormons adjust.
Jennifer: I’m happy for you. I was a little afraid that people might jump on you for it. Religion is a very touchy subject.
Luna: I’m still braced for it. If it hits any mainstream outlets, it could still happen. So far, only a few people know about it, which is both good and bad 🙂
Jennifer: Is that by design or are you looking to push the PR?
Luna: I did get a DEFCON (hacker con) talk rejected because religion was too controversial haha.No, I’ve done my main PR push. I’ve spent a bit on Twitter ads, and had a small investment in a publicist. Time will tell if it pays off? This seems to be a word of mouth kind of book
Jennifer: That works.
Luna: I’m kind of new to the publicity end of things, too 🙂 I’ve only marketed one other book before this
Jennifer: You’ve got a good cover. I recently read an article about most people still shopping online with their eyes. So a good cover is must.
Luna: Yes. Thank you. 🙂 I knew cover would be important.
My artist, BTW, is Ana Cruz. She’s great to work with, and totally reasonably priced.
Jennifer: Blurbs are the second most influential selling point. IE: Hey, I read this and it’s not crap!
Nice! How reasonable?
Luna: lol yes. And I’m starting to get good blurbs now.
$180 for this cover. I think Emerald City Dreamer was $150? something like that. I did my own layout, so that’s just for the art
Jennifer: That’s on part for my cover budget for AIP.
Luna: What I like is she works with me. I tell her my concept, and she does a sketch, and I let her know what to change before she does the post-production I had SO many tweaks to this cover, and she was very patient hehe
Jennifer: Heh. Cool.
Luna: I like the cover on Chicks. It’s nice. What else are you working on right now?
Jennifer: Me too. Mad Norwegian Press commissioned it but the artist, Katy Shuttleworth, worked with me on it. Right now?
Luna: (It looks great.)

Jennifer: I’m writing Karen Wilson Chronicles #4 – Chimera Incarnate. It’s the last in the series. Then I’m going to be writing Never Let Me Leave, which is Melissa Allen #2 – my young adult SF-Thriller series. Plus, I’m editing 2 books for AIP – Frost from Peter M. Ball and The Bringer of War from Dylan Birtolo. Also have a couple of short stories on the horizon.

Luna: Do you find it’s better to have lots of pans in the fire? Or would you rather focus on one thing at a time?
Jennifer: Weirdly, the general answer is “Yes.” I like to work on one thing at a time but I like to have multiple projects going on. For example, I spend 3 days on Frost, doing an editorial letter but I didn’t write. That was on purpose. But this week, I’m doing copy edits on The Bringer of War while I write on Chimera. I write in the morning. Edit in the afternoon.
Luna: That sounds awesome. I have trouble switching gears. So I do better if I can have 5-7 days in a row where I do nothing but the one project, and then maybe take a couple days off or to do “must do” tasks, and then try to get back into the same project again. Which makes it hard to strategically get things done as they’re needed. especially for huge projects like Recovering Agency was.
Jennifer: *nod* Do you have a day job?
Luna: Nope. My partners support me.
So when I’m at the peak of that 5-7 ramp up, I’m writing 8000, 9000 words a day
Jennifer: Or, as I like to say “pays the bills” job. And that’s awesome. I recently figured out that without the Husband, I could make it on my own but I’d be living hand-to-mouth. I’m happy he supports my publishing habit.
Luna: or editing 5-15k words a day. Hehe yes. It’s a shame that writers don’t get paid more. Especially for those of us who work hard and produce solid work.
Jennifer: Nice! I do a steady 2000 a day or so. As for editing, usually 50-60 pages is optimum.
Luna: It’s that myth that creativity isn’t work because “Anyone can do it”
Jennifer: True. The intern at the game store shamefully admitted to me that she wrote fan fiction and I applauded. Fan fiction teaches writers about writing and world building and showed this both how to do it and how hard it is all at one time. Writing is one of the hardest jobs a person can do.
Luna: Yes, and in the end, I think it’s all fan fiction 😉 It is. And it’s more than full time. I’m working even when I’m not working I can’t just watch a movie anymore without analyzing plot structure.
Jennifer: Hey, I write media tie-in fiction… which means I get paid to write canon fan fiction! 🙂
Luna: Yay! I think that since we are building on the concepts of giants, even when we have totally new ideas, they can’t exist without the foundation laid before. So that’s what I mean by, “it’s all fan fic”.
Jennifer: You can’t. You must write well. Tie-in fiction has a built-in audience that will know when you mess up. Plot structure, story, characterization all must be there.
Luna: Exactly. 🙂 I haven’t really written any fan fic or tie-in, so.. Well, okay I wrote some Changeling: The Dreaming stuff 15 years ago. I guess that counts.
Jennifer: It does.
Luna: I thought my ideas were the best, of course 😉
Jennifer: I’ve done Battletech, Shadowrun, Valdemar, Elemental Masters, and I have one coming up that I’m super excited about but, of course, can’t talk about. NDAs and all that. But I tell you, I’d kill to write a Haven book. I really would.
Luna:– Haven? This?
Jennifer: The TV show that was vaguely based on Stephen King’s Colorado Kid. Yep. That’s the one. And I will admit, the only unpaid fan fiction I’ve every written has been Haven fan fiction.
Luna: Ok I’ve somehow not heard of this. I like to get into shows. I’ll have to check it out.
Jennifer: It’s good. Pure Stephen King (whom I adore). 4 seasons out now? Or is it 3? I can’t remember.
Luna: I like some Stephen King, not others. It seems like the “flavor” of King I prefer.
Ok that’s a great start 🙂 I’m starting to finally run low on shows to watch so I’ll add it to my list
Jennifer: You watch Hannibal?
Luna: Not yet. It’s also on my list.
Jennifer: 🙂
Luna: There are a few shows I have on my list to watch with my partner, Roland, and that’s one. So I’m saving it. I might go ahead and watch it anyway if he doesn’t get a move on hehe
Jennifer: Heh. It’s good. But where Haven is almost pure popcorn, Hannibal? You have to pay attention to the body language. A good half of the conversations are non-verbal.
Luna: Ah, so it’s like Downton Abbey (maybe only in that one way)
Jennifer: I don’t actually watch that one.
Luna: I wouldn’t normally have watched it, but we started watching it as a family. It was pretty good. I was surprised. It hooked me and I watched all four seasons.
So let’s see. I love talking about autism. You mentioned you’re high functioning? When did you get diagnosed?
Jennifer: Cool.
Luna: (speaking of body language lol)(I guess I shouldn’t assume you got diagnosed.)
Jennifer: Let’s see… I was diagnosed shortly after I got here… so around 2003. I was part of a study for adult Asperger’s. I got paid something like $250 to have stuff glued to my head and to answer questions.
Luna: Oh wow
Jennifer: My twin brother has Asperger’s too. His daughter is full blown autistic. She’ll never be able to live on her own.
Luna: So, you didn’t know before you started in the study? It does run in families. My son is most likely on the spectrum. And one of my step kids, which there’s no genetic link there, but it does imply people tend to be attracted to that DNA somehow.
Jennifer: No. But when the study asked for people who did things like: rocking (to get to sleep or when in a specific situation), OCD tendencies, and other such things… also, a couple of friends pointed out that I had a lot of the hallmarks, signed up. But none of my family knew and that was in a tense period between me and my family. So… I was the only one not surprised when my brother’s daughter was diagnosed.
Luna: Ah. Wow that is the most unique way I’ve ever heard of someone finding out. That’s a great story.
Jennifer: I rock when I’m intensely focused, tired, or hungry. I have a thing about sets… and comfort reading/watching the same things over and over. Well, I didn’t want to be … hm. Broken. :\
Luna: I started letting myself rock once I’d figured it out. I didn’t get diagnosed until last year, and hadn’t even suspected until the year prior to that. For me, finding out was both a relief and a grieving process.
Jennifer: But it explains why I didn’t respond to yelling or high praise as a child. My mom used to get so mad because she couldn’t figure out why I didn’t show emotion. She used to call me fish face / stone face to try to get a reaction. That was an interesting conversation to have after the whole thing was discovered. Relief and grieving… I don’t know if I ever went through that.
Luna: Yes, there’s that whole thing where people suddenly “get” you. My sister was able to forgive me of a bunch of stuff I didn’t even realize she was hung up on, after I told her.
Jennifer: It was more. “Oh. So, that’s why I’m like this.”
Luna: Yeah.. Relief for knowing there was an explanation for the many ways I am, and relief for finally being able to learn some new coping mechanisms, and relief that those around me could finally understand me better. Grief in that, many things I thought I could eventually “overcome” were intrinsically part of me and I’d probably always be that way.
Jennifer: It did explain why I did things. Why I spend so much time watching people.
I had to train myself to recognize that certain cues meant certain things.
Luna: Yes, the conscious learning of rules. I’ve always done it. But now I can forgive myself when I fail to do it.
Jennifer: I have slips now and then.
Luna: It also allowed me to be okay with getting medicated for my anxiety. That’s been a huge improvement.
Jennifer: That’s good. I’m glad.
Luna: Yes. 🙂 I still slip up, too. In any situation I’m not familiar with. Having decreased anxiety helps. Plus self-acceptance. And the ability to explain it to people. Do you also have synesthesia? Lots of autists do.
Jennifer: I forget that people get uncomfortable when I openly watch them. No. No synesthesia. But I am a super taster. 🙂
Luna: Well, you can also say you’re a writer to excuse that hehe Oh nice! Yes, that’s a common trait. It’s nice of course when it means you can enjoy food better. It’s not so nice when all food seems overpowering and gross. I oscillate between the two modes.\ I go to Rainforest Retreat (I think you do, too, but a different session?) and I’ve noticed some common aspie-like traits among writers. Like a tendency to eavesdrop (and the ability to do so because of super-hearing), difficulty in discerning people talking when in a loud area, sensitivity to senses.
Jennifer: I’m getting a new tattoo to celebrate the sale of my Melissa Allen series and I made my tattooist uncomfortable watching him set up. He admitted that and I had to apologize. I do want to have a tattooist in a new series I’m planning. Later we talked about it and I thanked him for reminding me of the social cue.
Luna: And it seems like for some autists, writing can be a huge outlet. So there are some interesting correlations there.
Jennifer: Rainforest! My favorite writers retreat!
Luna: Oh that’s awesome. Congrats on the new tat AND on the sale. Yes 🙂 I ❤ it.
Jennifer: Thanks.
Luna: It was my 2nd year this year. I’m in 3rd session next. It’s sad because 2nd session got split. So I couldn’t decide who I wanted to see more.
Jennifer: I use it to train myself to write with people around. I think I do pretty well.
I ended up in the 2nd session for 2015.
Luna: I use it to make great contacts. I do my most productive writing back in the room. Nice. Lots of good people there 🙂 People I will miss!
Jennifer: I average about 10-15K each weekend. And, so far, I’ve sold everything I’ve ever written there. 🙂
Luna: Nice. Yes, I write my best stuff there, too. I try to focus on short stories so I can have quantity. I usually work on many many projects while there. It lets me break out of my rigid structure and planned projects to go off on tangents and whims.
Jennifer: There’s something about being around a bunch of enthusiastic, productive authors that fills the creative well for me.
Luna: Totally. Hm I think I’m out of questions for you. Got any for me? (I didn’t really plan any questions, but the little thing that pops up ideas is out of ideas hehe)
Jennifer: How’d you get into self publishing? It’s not a career for the weak.
Luna: Oh, good question. I’ve been familiar with the publishing industry my whole life. My parents were both writers (not professionally, but my dad made a sale to Galaxy). So I knew if I ever went fulltime, there’d be this incredibly long arc to getting an agent, making the sale, and finally seeing it on shelves. So when I lost my job in 2010, and was kicking around the idea of writing fulltime, I stared at this really long track. My girlfriend is a huge reader. And she had a Kindle, and suggested I look into it. She mentioned a number of good books she’d read that were published thru KDP.
Jennifer: Neat. You got a kick in the pants from life.
Luna: So I decided to give it a shot. I didn’t even try to get an agent. Just went straight for it. (I do hybrid, tho so I still sell stories to magazines) Yes. 🙂 And my partners were willing to support me through it, which is beautiful and amazing.
Jennifer: I do hybrid, too. You have great partners!
Luna: I do! 😀
Jennifer: A writer’s best friend is the one who will support their impossible dream.
Luna: Exactly.
Jennifer: I self pub because I can’t sell the Karen Wilson Chronicles because they started out as a webseries. But, in truth, I do prefer small press and traditional publishing. I guess it’s the pat on the head and the belief the publisher puts in you to do a good job. I’m super excited with Permuted Press.
Luna: That’s awesome. Yes, small press is pretty cool, too.
Jennifer: What is the next thing on your plate?
Luna: I’m glad there are so many options. Once I’m done promoting Recovering Agency, I’ll start edits for Emerald City Iron. I’ve got a number of people pushing me to do it. So that. 🙂 I’d also like to catch up on a pile of blog post ideas, particularly ones on autism I’ve been putting off.
And I need to spend a couple weeks getting more short story submissions out the door. 🙂 But ECI is the next big project.
Jennifer: I still have your first one in my kindle. It’s on my to-read pile.
Luna: Nice 🙂 I read the first one in your series as well 🙂 couple years ago I think
Jennifer: I hope you liked it.
Luna: All these huge to-read piles we all have. I did 🙂
Jennifer: I’m having so much fun wrapping up the series but I had to remember things like… Oh, I left 2 people in comas. One from book 2 and one from book 3. I need to do something about it.
Luna: haha yes, the tying up loose ends business. I’m reading the Anita Blake series right now and I was like, Oh, Anita’s friend Catherine. I haven’t seen her for a couple of books. I don’t like her. Why is she back? I liked her better when she was just forgotten about.
Jennifer: Speaking of loose ends, I’m sorry but I need to cut this short now. I still have words to get down on Chimera Incarnate to make today’s word count.
Luna: Yes. It was great chatting with you 🙂
Jennifer: Wonderful chatting with you, too.