When I started writing In a Gilded Light, it was called Freaky Friday Fictions and it was never intended to be a horror collection. I needed a regular writing exercise to teach myself two things: How to write concisely and how to write a significant amount of words in a short amount of time. The best way I could think to do this was to write a weekly fiction blog post every Thursday or Friday at lunch and to post it on Fridays. Thus, Freaky Friday Fictions was born.
The more I wrote professionally, the more I understood how important it was to write with an economy of words. Florid prose has its place but as I shifted from writing novels to writing short stories, I realized I needed to figure out how to tell an effective story in a comparably small amount of words; stories that had full beginnings, middles and ends. That is one reason I decided on flash fiction. Each story in my collection is one thousand words or less.
The other reason I decided on flash fiction is the fact that I only had about 45 minutes (one lunch period) to write the story in. Through this time constraint, I taught myself to focus on the story and to 'just write.' The only time I did any editing was one edit pass just before I posted the story online. So, my writing had to be fast and good all at the same time.
I decided to call the original series Freaky Friday Fictions because they were posted on Fridays and my inspiration was for me to post stories inspired by my everyday life but with a twist. In essence, I decided to let the world see how my mind worked and see how I looked at people, events, and objects around me. I never knew what that week's story was until something hit me and I thought, "Aha! There is it."
After two and a half years, I closed the project down to move on to other things. My professional writing and editing career had taken off and I needed that time and inspiration for the new projects that were coming in. I was surprised when a couple of small press publishers expressed interest in the collection. While I did not go with any of them, it made me realize that I had something on my hands I did not expect: a horror collection.
Obviously, not every story could make it into a published collection. Originally, I wanted to call the collection 105 Freaky Friday Fictions. I do so love alliterations. But I decided not to use that title because of the other media out there with the name "Freaky Friday." I kept the "105" idea because I knew that not every story was a good one. Some were real clunkers. That was the first real task: cull 25 stories from the collection. Task number two was to edit the living daylights out of every story. Task number three was a new title. Once I remembered that the archaic form of "gild" meant "to bloody," the title wrote itself.
It worked. Dark Quest Books picked me up, the book was put together and review copies went out. I am pleased to say that the record of 100% of the reviewers having nightmares while reading my collection, or shortly thereafter, still stands. I'm glad my view of the world has worked its way into people's heads. Some of the favorite reviewer stories includ "Drowning", "Aversion Therapy," and "Overheard."
Fortunately, my relationship with Dark Quest Books has not ended. As an award-winning editor, I have been contracted to edit two anthologies: Beauty Has Her Way and Human Tales. Beauty Has Her Way is about women across the ages using all of their assets to get what they want—even if they have to get down and dirty to do it. Beauty Has Her Way is due out in the 3rd quarter of 2010. Human Tales is a series of cautionary tales in the vein of Grimm's Fairy Tales about the dangers of dealing with humans from the supernatural creature's point of view. I am currently in the process of putting this anthology together now. It is due out at the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011.
Jennifer Brozek is a freelance author for many RPG companies including Margaret Weis Productions, Savage Mojo, Rogue Games, and Catalyst Game Labs. Winner of the 2010 Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Game Supplement, her contributions to RPG sourcebooks include Dragonlance, Colonial Gothic, Shadowrun, Serenity, Savage Worlds, and White Wolf SAS. Winner of the 2009 Australian Shadows Award for edited publication, Jennifer has edited 3 anthologies with more on the way. Author of In a Gilded Light and The Little Finance Book That Could, she has more than 25 published short stories, is the creator and editor of the semiprozine, The Edge of Propinquity, and is an editor for the Apex Book Company. She also writes the monthly gaming column Dice & Deadlines. When she is not writing her heart out, she is gallivanting around the Pacific Northwest in its wonderfully mercurial weather. Jennifer is a member of Broad Universe, SFWA and HWA.