Midwinter Holiday Romance Reads!

This week at the SFF Seven we’re talking books! Well, we always talk books, but this time we’re jingling our wares for your delectation. You can find all of my books on my website, of course, but today I’ll focus on a few that are perfect for your midwinter holiday reading pleasure.

First off is FIVE GOLDEN RINGS, which is a bit of a throwback to my early days writing contemporary erotic romance, and is a re-release. It’s a kinky, Christmas, Caribbean holiday romp. I’ll be re-releasing this entire four-book series, the Facets of Passion.

The Twelve Days of Christmas were never quite this naughty…

All Matilda Campbell wanted was to spend a romantic and relaxing Christmas in the Mexican Caribbean. When her lover dumps her—at the airport, no less—she decides to go solo. But fate and a well-timed margarita intervene, introducing her to the charming and seductive Miguel D’Oro on the plane.

Miguel offers Tilda an outrageous bargain, involving escalating naughty gifts for each of the twelve days of Christmas. The only rule is that she must accept what he gives her and what he tells her to do, or face a sensual punishment. Giving up control is just what Tilda is looking for, so she impulsively agrees.

As Tilda embraces a newfound freedom in abandoning herself to pleasure and Miguel’s demands, she only wonders what will happen when the holiday is over…

 

If you prefer my fantasy romances, THE LONG NIGHT OF THE RADIANT STAR is my newest release. It rounds out the Heirs of Magic series and is a midwinter holiday (the Feast of Moranu, for those who know the Twelve Kingdoms world) wedding extravaganza!

At long last, Jakral Konyngrr—lowly sailor, gambler, and sometime rogue—has won the heart and hand of Princess Stella of Avonlidgh. Never mind that Stella’s mother is determined to make their wedding the event of the century, he’s happy to endure any trial to marry the love of his life and his guiding star. Very soon they can sail away together into the rest of their lives. Unfortunately the wedding becomes delayed for several months, until midwinter.

Stella—sorceress, empath, and bearer of the mark of the Tala—has been through great trials. But nothing has tested her as sorely as her passionate and flamboyant mother planning their wedding. Even Jak’s steady love and companionship isn’t enough as Stella finds herself crumbling under the pressure of being snowbound in a castle with the press of so many minds and emotions. When she lashes out, she hits the worst possible target, jeopardizing her chances for happiness.

With several kingdoms and a former enemy empire bearing down on them, Jak and Stella’s wedding on the longest night of year might not happen at all… Unless they can create their own happy ever after.

 

Finally, there’s FAMILIAR WINTER MAGIC. This novella in the Bonds of Magic world first appeared in the Fire of the Frost anthology. For those who’ve read the Bonds of Magic and Renegades of Magic books, this story follows Han and Iliana.

It’s holiday time at Convocation Academy, but best friends Han and Iliana are finding it hard to celebrate. As a familiar, Iliana is facing her assignment to a life of servitude to a wizard, very soon. And Han… despite being tested by the oracle daily, he is still uncategorized. As Iliana and Han face being separated forever, they at last find the courage—or desperation—to break the rules and acknowledge their deeper feelings for each other. But it will take more than true love to save them from the laws of the Convocation…

Happy Holidays, all, and happy reading!!

 

FAMILIAR WINTER MAGIC Out Now!

FAMILIAR WINTER MAGIC is out in the world, available as a standalone! A print version is coming soon (hopefully today). This is the same novella that appeared in the FIRE OF THE FROST anthology, so if you’ve read that, you’ve read this. The novella takes place in the Bonds of Magic world and occurs concurrent with BRIGHT FAMILIAR and just before GREY MAGIC. If you’ve read the Bonds of Magic or Renegades of Magic books, this is Han and Iliana’s origin story.

That’s what’s on my mind today!

First Cup of Coffee – September 29, 2022

It’s release day for SHADOW WIZARD!! My audiobook narrator says it’s her favorite so far, so that’s awesome. I’m also talking about taking audiobooks wide vs. ACX exclusive and which platforms I’m using and how.



Jeffe and her Iconic Scene

 

SHADOW WIZARD releases tomorrow!! Preorder price of $4.99 will be good into tomorrow, then it goes up. (Along with my grocery bill, alas!) The audiobook is being recorded now and should be available in about 2 weeks.

This week at the SFF Seven, we’re asking: Do you have an iconic scene that inspires your writing?
I think most of my stories arise from certain pivotal images. For most every book I’ve written, I can almost certainly identify what the core image was. It’s more than visual, however, and feels more like a snippet of a moment: a character in a situation. For a long time I have had an iconic scene. I started drawing it when  was a little girl and it’s found its way into any number of stories over the years. I’ve never quite felt like I fully wrote the story of it, though it’s haunted me less recently, so maybe I’ve come close enough for it to leave me alone.
The scene:
A woman stands on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Waves rise in whitecaps, dashing themselves against the rocks below. A wind off the water blows back her hair and gown. She’s waiting…  Perhaps for an enemy to arrive on her shores? That’s my usual feeling. Sometimes a large wolfhound is with her. Sometimes I think she’s a sorceress, other times a queen.
If you’ve read a lot of my books, you’ll probably recognize ways that this scene appears in various forms. I might’ve finally worked it out of my system with the Forgotten Empires trilogy, although it still didn’t feel precisely like that iconic scene. Maybe I’ll wend my way back to it someday!
For the time-being, however, I’ve been in the marshes and woodlands with the denizens of the Renegades of Magic world. SHADOW WIZARD takes us to a new high house (if you’re familiar with the Bonds of Magic trilogy), and increasingly wild adventures. In this book, this snippet of a scene is one of my favorites:

She flung herself against him, embracing him with fierce tenacity, face buried against his neck, her chin digging rather sharply against his collarbone. For a slender, barely-there wraith, Seliah possessed a surprising amount of tensile strength. And she smelled of water in the moonlight, her tough, tense, thin little body vibrating with spiky silver magic, her breasts surprisingly—and distractingly—soft and full pressed against his chest. He couldn’t help a tiny fantasy of how it would feel to be buried inside that intensity, to have that passionate body surging against his, embracing and engulfing.

It’s never going to happen, he told himself firmly.

Are you sure? part of him whispered back slyly.

Yes. Ruthlessly banishing the image, he refused to touch her any more than he already had. Holding his hands out, even more awkward than ever, he kind of waved them around as he waited for the hug to end.

It didn’t. Instead she held on, a buzzing bundle of intoxicating magic and tempting woman. Jadren tried patting her back, thinking maybe that would satisfy her enough to encourage her to go away, but she only purred, snuggling closer, like a cat who’d found the one cat-hater in the room and had no greater goal in life than encamping on his lap forever.

Preventing Burnout with Non-Monetized Creativity

If you missed it, SHADOW WIZARD is now available for preorder! It releases September 29, 2022. This is Book One in my new trilogy, Renegades of Magic, and continues the story begun in the Bonds of Magic trilogy. Preorder links below!

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven involves our non-writing hobbies.
In various discussions around burn-out and sustainably productive writing habits, I’ve discovered that many professional authors (as in, getting paid to do it) have another creative outlet that is non-monetized. Ted Kooser, a U.S. Poet Laureate (1004-1006), told me that he painted as a hobby. His paintings were apparently glorious and much-sought, but he’d made the decision to only give them away. It was important to him to have a creative outlet that wasn’t connected to money. This was a startling thought to me at the time, and one I’ve come back to often.
Other authors I’ve talked with in various scenarios have also discovered that approach: that having a non-monetized creative outlet not only refills the well, but prevents burnout (or allows a creator to recover from it).
What happens to many of us – and I’m speaking of authors, but I imagine it happens with all creatives – is that we begin with writing as the hobby. It’s the passion, the special something that we do because we LOVE it. Eventually, with persistence, hard work, and luck, we make that hobby into the profession. Then it’s no longer the alternative to the day job and other responsibilities. It’s become work.
Which, let me be clear, is good and natural. I’m a big believer in treating writing like my job. That’s how I support myself and my family.
Still, to manage the creative self, I’ve found I need other outlets to refill the well and take the place of that other, special, and relaxing Thing. Keeping it non-monetized is the challenge. Especially since the pandemic began, I think we’ve all become adept at casting about for side-gigs. In fact, the gig-culture was going strong before that. It’s tempting to take that successful hobby – I imagine Ted Kooser’s friends admiring a painting, offering money for it, and him turning it down with a slight smile and shake of his head – and begin to dream of taking that art viral and making an avalanche of comforting money from it.
I sometimes think there’s a certain magic in refusing that temptation, in enjoying creativity for its own sake.
And magic is precious.

Converting the Reluctant Reader

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is our favorite reader interaction.

Once we get past the fact that ANY AND ALL positive reader interactions are a balm to every writer, then we come to the inevitable truth that the more recent ones spring to mind first. I am so blessed to have each and every one of you out there sending me happy messages about my books. I treasure each and every one, I really do.

But I’m going to pick a recent one that really thrilled me because of the unusual source. You’ll see what I mean when you read it, but I can preface by saying this was from a new friend, a guy my age(ish), who bought DARK WIZARD to be nice. He was in town visiting and bought a hard copy to support me and my local indie bookstore. I seriously never expected him to read it.

Then I got this email:

I, at last, had time to read “Dark Wizard” over the weekend and I was so impressed!

It’s totally not my sub-genre, and would never consider reading the book if someone gave me a plot summary, but it is so well executed and such a page-turner – I was really sucked in. And, despite myself, I want to read the rest of the trilogy. What really amazes me, is that you have such an extensive bibliography – you must be writing very fast – but the quality is so high – no idea how you do it.

Is there anything better than converting a reluctant reader? Not in my book! (lol)

Grey Magic, Dark Wizard, and Storm Princesses – Oh My!

This week at the SFF Seven we’re sharing newsletter info and promoting work. For those feeling hesitant to promote their books during this terrible time, I’ll remind you – as I’ve been reminded – that art brings us joy and books open minds. When we’re dealing with close-minded bigots, hatred, and war, we need stories more than ever. We provide the counterbalance. Please share about your books, because the world needs them.

So: Promo from me! Book Three in my Bonds of Magic seriesGREY MAGIC, released on Monday!!

      

This series is The Witcher meets The Selection.

His Darkness, Her Brightness… Together They Defy the World

Lord Gabriel Phel at last holds his dream in his grasp—and faces losing everything. He’s finally won the love of his wife, familiar, and mother of his child, and she offers him a heartfelt commitment he can truly believe in. Together they’re building a true house, one with a growing family of friends and allies that can help them stand against their enemies. And he’s learning to master his magic, to use it as the powerful tool and weapon it should be. But old and new enemies array themselves to take it all away.

Lady Veronica, now fully of House Phel, is doing her best to embrace happiness. After all, she has her hands full managing her mercurial and powerful wizard as he navigates taking his place as the head of their house, and with learning her own extraordinary ability. But she fears whatever peace they win won’t last long. When their enemies inevitably strike—including, perhaps, her own father—they must be ready to defend all they hold precious. It doesn’t help that her idealistic husband insists on making foolishly noble decisions that put them at even greater risk, nor that she loves him all the more for it.

As Nic and Gabriel struggle to put their household in order, giving ill-advised safe harbor to Nic’s runaway sister and risking their lives to save Gabriel’s sister’s sanity, their enemies draw the noose tighter on their well laid plans. When the unthinkable occurs, it’s up to both of them to trust in the nascent, unknown magic they’ve woven together.

      

If you’re into audiobooks, you can listen to the first in this series, DARK WIZARD. Books 2 & 3 will be out on audio soon! Comment on this post and I’ll pick one person to receive a promo code (US only, not my fault) for a free copy of the DARK WIZARD audiobook!

Finally, if you follow me, you’ll know that I canceled the preorder for THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING, Book Four in the Heirs of Magic series. Several things came together to force me to cancel, alas. BUT, this neatly segues into our main topic, the newsletter! Subscribe to my newsletter for news on when this book will release. There are also regular yummy giveaways.

 

DARK WIZARD Available in Audio!

DARK WIZARD is now available in audiobook format! BRIGHT FAMILIAR and GREY MAGIC will also be in audio soon!

“A delicious performance of a captivating story

With her signature world-building mastery, Jeffe Kennedy has once again delivered a deeply compelling romantic fantasy. The characters are dimensional, complex and endearing. You have to keep listening, longer than you intended to, to find out if Nic and Gabriel can manage to not only find love and power, but to retain their very humanity in a world engineered to deny it to them. Everything about this story is refreshingly original, brilliantly conceived and beautifully rendered. I really can’t wait for the next entry in this series.

I also have to confess that I now have a huge crush on Deborah Balm. Her voice is like a big mug of hot, dark chocolate, with maybe some spiced rum mixed in. I could listen to her read the phone book for hours and be happy. She portrays the wide spectrum of characters, moods, and… activities, with engaging grace and charm. I will be looking for more of her work, as well.”

In The Witcher meets The Selection

***

She ran from him… but couldn’t escape her heart.

Lord Gabriel Phel wants one thing: to rebuild the shattered fortunes of his people and restore his ruined house to its former station in the Convocation’s highest tiers of elegant society. Fortunately, through a wild chance of birth, he was born with powerful wizard magic, the first in his family in generations. If he can obtain a familiar to amplify his magic, a highborn daughter he can marry, to be mother to his children, he’ll be that much closer to saving his family. With her by his side, he can ascend to such a position of power in  the Convocation that he can destroy it forever.

Lady Veronica Elal, captive in her tower, has only one way out. To her bitter disappointment, she will never be a wizard. Instead, through a twist of fate, and despite her expensive Convocation Academy education, Nic is doomed to be a familiar like her mother. Forced to participate in the Betrothal Trials, she receives a wizard suitor for one night each month. Whichever man impregnates her will bond her to them forever. With no choice but to serve the one who wins her, Nic has one hope for control over her life: a wizard she can manipulate.

Gabriel Phel seems like the perfect choice for Nic’s gambit—he’s desperate and untutored in wizardry—but within moments of meeting him, she feels the bonds of magic tying them together. Afraid of losing her will to the compelling wizard who touches her heart like no other, Nic does the unthinkable: she runs. Pregnant and alone, Nic eludes monstrous hunters, searching for a safe haven. But when Gabriel catches up to her, their adventure has only begun.