First Cup of Coffee – April 25, 2022




Transcript
00:00.00
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:12.83
jeffekennedy
Ah, dreamy sigh for the deliciousness. Those of you acutely observant either on video or listening to the sounds of the chime will note that I’m back inside today. It’s a stormy morning here in Santa Fe not precipitation. Alas. But um, a cold wind blowing. Ah today is Monday April Twenty Fifth it’s the perfect date. Um, all you need is a light jacket. Ah, hopefully that’ll be us this afternoon you I’m sure all of you get that. Maybe not my mom but ah, you know what can you do. Ah I had a great weekend. Um, did get to get out in the garden hung up my hanging plants. You can’t see them on the video. It’s to glare e f. It’s not gonna happen. But. Yeah, got my hanging plants hung up just in time for them to be blasted by the cold wind. But I’m sure they’ll be fine. It’ll be fine. Everything is fine I got some other ones planted I put together a couple of hanging baskets of my own. We’ll see how they turn out. I did go out and check on them see if I could sit outside and I thought oh it’s not gonna be pleasant been scraping tumbleweeds out of the property. So Friday we got this wind that was. Unreal I mean they’ve been given us the high wind warnings by afternoon we had ah the alert go off on our phones saying warning us of dust storms that you know if we were traveling that the visibility could go down to 0 in like no time at all. We were having like seventy mile an hour seventy five mile and our gusts and the wind roared all night long it was it was something people so I’ll put a photo on the show notes. But the ah. Tumble weeds I was bitching about the tumbleweeds last week there they’re everywhere I had already cleaned up a bunch from like under the juniorni per out front and that kind of thing tons under there now but they had mounted up in front of our garage. You know like the old. Um I don’t know.

02:49.26
jeffekennedy
You know if you grew up reading Laura Ingalls Wilder like I did or that sort of thing but you you know instead of having snow piled up to the eaves of our house so that we have to dig our way out with tumbleweeds piled up in front of the garage and I had did like. Get out there and drag them out of the way just to get the car out of the garage. It was um and was something and on Saturday I saw some of the writer people Melinda Snodgrass did a plot break with us done at beastly books. And Melinda has lived here all her life I’ve just been here like 13 years but I asked Melinda because she lives not far from me just like we’re we’re both sort of in the same outskirts of Santa Fe area she’s a little bit more outskirty than I am. But I asked her I said knew the wind had to be bad at her house too and she was and she said it was the worst she’d ever experienced in all her time here. Good thing. There’s no such thing as global climate change right? Otherwise we’d be concerned. Ah, um. Total aside for those of you who you probably were not you probably were not worried about my laptop screen but it is gradually drying out it dried out someone I was in Tucson and there’s like only a couple little spots left. It’s mostly good now i’t been meaning to mention that. There’s like 1 that’s like right if I do this of your own video I could put it like right over my face and then it looks like I have some sort of skin condition. But if I don’t do that. It’s sort of like the ah the thing with the doctor you know it’s like you know, stop doing that it hurts when I do this. Then don’t do that. Ah, so um, yeah, been cleaning out tumbleweeds I told David that for the first time really ever I understand now why people want to burn stuff because. There’s like what can you do with all of these tumbleweeds except set them free again. I wish the ha would hire like a big wood chipper and put it in the community parking lot and so that we could just haul all our tumbleweeds there chop them up. That’s it’s so tempting to set a match to the fuckers.

05:24.61
jeffekennedy
Except then we would be we would have big problems but I understand now why people want to do it? Um, yeah, so so had a great time. Got I was pretty efficient on Saturday got the laundry done got some chores done around the house. And then in some nebula meeting stuff and then headed out in the afternoon and ran a few errands and then met up with the writer folks for the plot break talked to Grace Draven on the phone for a while and that was really nice to get to talk to her. She had so some good news career wise so that’s nice because she’s been having a hard time with dealing with family stuff. So it’s funny when we have these conversations we our conversations are this mix of personal family and career. But it was nice to get to have a ah long conversation with her and yeah and just debate stuff. You know we were we? Um, we rubb her neck on other authors and and judge them. Ah quietly to each other. Um, but it’s always interesting to look at what other people are doing and do it it helps reaffirm our own guidelines for what we’re trying to do and 1 conclusion I came to I’ve been sort of mulling 1 question. And I’m trying to think of how to phrase this because I don’t want to to give you guys the exact details. But ultimately I came around to well I don’t know why my writing is perceived this way and someone else’s writing is perceived that way. And then I kind of circled around on it and said but you know why am I even thinking about this because even if I could figure it out. It’s not like I’m going to change what I’m doing and and I come back to this over and over again and I’ve even got this little. Well I’ve got it stuck on here pretty well on my monitor but it’s a Georgia O’Keeffe quote and she says if you can believe in what you are and keep to your line that is the most one can do in with life and I really do believe that. Ah, you know it’s. Tempting tempting when you look at maybe something else being ah more widely regarded you know more popular selling better um, having a better reputation that you think oh should I should I be trying to do something more like that.

08:16.57
jeffekennedy
And of course there’s always the drive to improve to to grow and to do better and are those things in line with each other or are they going in different directions and what I ended up circling around to on this was. I’m not going to try to write like somebody else does even if I could I couldn’t do that all I can do is believe in what my what I am and keep to my line and I think that’s that’s.

08:53.36
jeffekennedy
That’s just part of you have to grow and develop in your own way but you can’t be someone else and we were ah looking at another author who is trying very very hard to look like somebody else and and. And she’s not the only one it’s tempting. You know everybody wants to be as hugely successful as some of the big authors some of the big popular authors right now and but imitating them isn’t gonna get. Anywhere something that I don’t do and it may be effective marketing. It probably is effective marketing grace and I were acknowledging that it probably is and at the same time we will just hate it is when people have perfect for fans of. Sarah J Maas and that’s always like the same 3 authors you know, perfect for fans of these books and it’s like well ah, what maybe it’s perfect for fans of your books guys. Ah I ah, um, shake my cane at you can I shake I’ll shake my ah. Permission wand here shaking the permission wand ah Scott the same as shaking a cane. But um, yeah, be yourself right? like you if. If you want to do a cover that’s more in line with the subgenre now I just did this rebranding for sorceress moons books they’ll start releasing on Friday I am’m trying a new a few new marketing things on those I’m gonna put them in kindle unlimited ah but I want to signal to readers that I think these books fit in that genre but I am not going to tell you that you know perfect for fans of throne of glass. You know first of all, okay, Mea Culpa I’m going to say it right out here. Um I hate a throne of glass I tried to read it. I read about half of it and nearly threw it against the wall because I found it insipid and stupid I know a lot of people. Love it. I’m sorry yeah and and it’s one of those ones that like people say oh well, it gets better after the next book and it’s like yeah I’m not gonna spend any more of my life reading about this. Girl who’s supposed to be an assassin. she’s supposed to be a trained assassin and she’s like the stupidest assassin on the face of the earth who never does actual assassin things there. There’s my unpopular opinion and I know a lot of people. Love it.

11:40.60
jeffekennedy
And it’s a great premise. It was a really wonderful premise and I I read it. You know as part of genre research. Ah there are other books are wildly popular that I think are abysmally stupid and I never ever ever. I shouldn’t say never ever ever. But I I feel like at this moment I can say with confidence that I’m not going to compare my books to those because I don’t I think I write better books on that. Yes or not as popular, but so anyway it’s it’s back to that same thing. And I know I talk about this a lot. But um, don’t try to write like somebody don’t try to make your book be a clone of somebody else’s so anyway, it was fun talking Grace always grounding for me. Do that with her and I’ve got I cleaned off my desk I had like all this crap you know how it like slowly grows I like a really clean desk so I’m very happy that my desk is now clean, but I’ve got a couple of stickies. So I’m gonna throw this one in here. Um, I thought I was gonna talk more about it. But I was you know last week or the week before I talked about generation x stuff. So I think maybe this is a Genx thing. But when I see on a I don’t know any of these social media sites. When I’m trying to find something or look at something in particular and they have the thing like look at what’s trending it’s like is it just me that I am automatically suspicious of anything that’s trending this is not a feature for me. It’s a bug It’s like if it’s trending I don’t want to know about it because. That’s like mass mind shit I’m I’m in a feisty mood this morning aren’t I I mean when you guys see stuff that’s trending do you go to magpie to it I know that’s what they want us to do I think this is like a gen x thing Megan tell me sit since we are. Fellow Gen Xes um so then my other sticky note I was well I want to finish what I was saying about melynda. Um, she’s so smart and it’s really fun to hang out with her and for those of you not familiar with Melinda Snodgrass um she has written. You know she wrote for star trek the next generation she was the show run showrunner for the third season she wrote the episode the measure of a man where they did the trial for whether or not data was human I think is was the question.

14:28.80
jeffekennedy
Um, she’s also written on other shows the profiler ah stuff like that. She’s writing on a new show. It was fun because after we did the plot break stuff which I’d like to go and listen to that’s how I got into this I was explaining to grace. That I don’t go to get my own work critique because I have feelings about that. But I like meeting with this group because I really like hearing how melynda approaches plotting she has such a different approach to it than I do so this is part of how I want to learn and grow because. I may not be able to do it like she does I’m tempted to try it with one of my upcoming books to have her do plot break with me and just see if I can do it but 1 of her things is is she she has to know the ending she wants to know the ending so that she can figure out everything. Leading up to that and she’s very firm in her opinions and which I adore about her. But I think is funny sometimes too because sometimes I just totally don’t agree with her. Um, but she puts things with such conviction I I admire that. Ah. But she’s like you have to know the ending otherwise you never end anything and it’s like I finish stuff all the time. Ah, but I never know the ending till I get there but there is one book that I do kind of that I’m one of my upcoming projects for the fall I do kind of know the ending of it. And I’m going to get her to ah maybe do plot break with me on it. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens it maybe I don’t know I might drive us both crazy. Yeah, we’ll find out but um, yeah so I was telling grace how interesting it is. Just to go through that mental process and it was very stimulating for me refilling the well and and now I have all of these ideas of things that I want to do and and she’s funny I may never get around to my sticky note here because I have other things to say. I did ask her a question because 1 of my upcoming projects is very much inspired by a particular movie and and I love her that she didn’t ask me what it was I said basically it’s an alternate fantasy world version of of a big movie. And she well she did say well if it’s Casablanca and I said it’s not Casablanca ah they all love casab blanca. It’s like the perfect moving perfect story. Ah they were going on about it at the Jack Williamson lecture ship too and I guess at tous toolbox they have a casa blanca viewing night.

17:10.47
jeffekennedy
Where people um are forced to watch it and then they analyze why it works so well I know I saw it a long time ago when I was younger and I keep thinking she watch it again. But I don’t I don’t know maybe I’d appreciate it better this time anyway. Um. Yeah, I’m clearly never going to get to the stick keynote so it’s just gonna have to live on my desk today. Um I asked her is it. You know this is what I want to do I said if you were going to do this if you knew not me would you. Try to plot the book according to the exact beats of the movie or would you just allow that beat to be the inspiration and and get away from the movie and she kind of cocked her head at me in a funny way and she’s like I would even take the movie of course she said that’s. That’s how you do good work is you find the right template and you use it. So I’ve never done this before but I’m I’m intrigued so I have these 2 potential projects that I could try to plot break with her and I would find very interesting to. Know just try stretch myself a little bit that way I’m having all these stretchy feelings as those of you who have been participating in the podcast for a long time having coffee with me for some time now. Um. That you know like I’m wanting to go into multiple povs which I know should not be as big a deal as it feels to me but it does and I think it’s it’s breaking out of that romance structure is what feels like such a big deal. Um. And I kind of want to do that for the next bonds of magic book once I finish this one? Um I found out interesting things about the book that I’m writing I’m enjoying that and let’s see oh but I know that there’s something I’m supposed to tell you guys. Also. Have to go look at my um to do list because I know I noted it on there something I’m supposed to publicize as a responsible author. Oh yeah, um I have I’m going to start putting the link in the show notes. But I do have a. List of ah but bla for the polyon convention in July I have a preorder link and it’s only it’s a good to like the first week of June or something like that. But if you want to preorder print books for me to have their.

19:56.50
jeffekennedy
For you to purchase and sign and so forth. You can do that and I’ve been meaning to say things about it but I need to put it out there a little bit more um and then sorceres moons rebranding. Coming the end of this week exciting. Yeah so um, there’s my 20 minutes further stickies tomorrow I hope you all had a great weekend to hope you are feeling. Like stretching and growing in all the most positive ways and I hope that April Twenty fifth is indeed the perfect date for you and I will talk to you all tomorrow take care bye bye.

Exile of the Seash

First Cup of Coffee – September 4, 2018 & Release Day!

Exile of the SeashToday is the release day for EXILE OF THE SEAS! 

Around the shifting borders of the Twelve Kingdoms, trade and conflict, danger and adventure put every traveler on guard . . . but some have everything to lose.
 
ESCAPED
Once she was known as Jenna, Imperial Princess of Dasnaria, schooled in graceful dance and comely submission. Until the man her parents married her off to almost killed her with his brutality.
 
Now, all she knows is that the ship she’s boarded is bound away from her vicious homeland. The warrior woman aboard says Jenna’s skill in dancing might translate into a more lethal ability. Danu’s fighter priestesses will take her in, disguise her as one of their own—and allow her to keep her silence.
 
But it’s only a matter of time until Jenna’s monster of a husband hunts her down. Her best chance to stay hidden is to hire out as bodyguard to a caravan traveling to a far-off land, home to beasts and people so unfamiliar they seem like part of a fairy tale. But her supposed prowess in combat is a fraud. And sooner or later, Jenna’s flight will end in battle—or betrayal . . .

Read More…

“The storytelling is lush and vivid, some parts, particularly the peeks into Jenna’s psyche, so beautiful and raw, they make your heart hurt.”

~Julie Fine on Goodreads

“(…) a sweeping piece of fantasy that captured my imagination and I’m blown away by this authors talent.”

~Marta Cox on Goodreads

“Jenna’s character is one of the best that I’ve read in terms of development. I may not have read the first book, but she grows so much during the course of this book that I didn’t feel like I was seeing her for the first time.”

~TheDigressiveApproach on Goodreads

Jump the Shark or Cut to the Chase – It’s All Cool Beans to Me

2016-06-18 14.58.01

I got to go on  a tour yesterday of Georgia O’Keeffe’s winter home and studio in Abiquiu. That’s been on my list for a while now and – wow! – it was totally worth it. I love studying how other artists live and it turns out that she and I share many aesthetics. No surprise as I love her work. Also no surprise that she’s more visually oriented than I am. My sister-in-law who’s a painter asked me if I got any “vibes” from the place. Yes. Yes, I did. Her powerful personality haunts that space and they’ve kept it exactly as the day she left. Remarkable experience.

This week on the SFF7 wonder blog, we’re discussing catering to younger generation – what words and ideas have we given up because younger readers won’t know them. This is my topic, so I’ll kick it off with a few stories for why this has been on my mind.

Art and Twitter


How do you like where I hung our cow skull? I’m feeling very Georgia O’Keeffe.

It’s hard to say if I’m imitating her, or Santa Fe design in general. Sometimes you do something just because it looks good. We happened to have this cow skull – which is kind of a long story. Suffice to say that David and I are both biologists and we have a lot of different bones and skulls. In this landscape they become less eccentric and more fashion statement.

RoseMarie sent me this article about a “new writer” giving up Facebook and Twitter. I kind of hate to give it the dignity of a link, because it’s really very silly. “Article” is really a strong word. It’s only 434 words long (yeah, I checked), which is comparable to my shorter blog posts. Really it reads like “Hey, this one friend of mine, who got an MFA? Well she gave up Twitter and Facebook, even though she was really good at it, you know? And she thought it totally worked for her.”

I don’t think I exaggerate there.

The “premise” was the “new writer” who’s been published in Narrative Magazine, which is respectable but hardly earth-shattering, and is, um, exactly one publication credit, cut herself off from the social media to concentrate on her writing. (By the way, the phrase that she’s “hoping to publish her first book soon” can be translated as anything from “it’s not done yet” to “she’s pitching to agents” to “she’s working her way through the university presses. In short, we have no idea where she stands on it.)

But I digress.

The result of the grand experiment? Even in the full essay, she never mentions if she gets any more writing done. Of course, she comes from an MFA frame and one of the amusing things about that mindset is three months of “focusing on your writing” isn’t really expected to produce anything in the way of wordcount. Deep thoughts can be enough. Her conclusion was she felt she “detoxed” from Twitter and maybe she needed to. Most of her musing is about whether she’s abandoning her social media platform when she needs it most.

There’s this guy on Twitter I followed recently. He followed me first, for a reference I made, so I followed back – he looked reasonably amusing and I usually give anyone who’s not only posting links a shot. He’s looking for a job. So he takes other people’s posts and mentions that he wants a job. For example, someone will say “I’m a writer – I have the papercuts to prove it” and he’ll reply “I need a job – I have a ‘hire me!’ sign to prove it.”

He’s clever and makes me smile, which is what it’s all about. So, I bit.

I asked him where he is and what kind of work he’s looking for. This is the opening he’s looking for, right? If I could, I’d be willing to point him in some directions.

So what does he do? He replies, twice, about how he needs a job and how sad it is that millions of people don’t have jobs. He tells me a state and a vague kind of work and gives me absolutely nothing to go on. Oh, and he tells me he got on Twitter because he’d heard it was a great place to connect with people.

And yet – he completely failed in his opportunity to connect with me.

I think that’s the part people miss: if you’re going to do the social media thing, you have to do it because you enjoy it, to really connect with people, not to manipulate the medium to get what you want. It’s fascinating, really, how invulnerable the system is to insincerity.

I suppose that’s the difference, too, between imitation for the sake of status and repeating an idea because of the image it creates.

Can I help it Georgia had a brilliant eye? Maybe the cow skull is just my little way of connecting with her, in a cosmic non-Twittery way.

Native Landscape


This sunset was still on the camera when I left for Virginia. I dragged it all over the country with me and now I’m not sure when I snapped the picture. I like the subtlety of the peaches, though.

I’m happy to be back in my vista.

People from the East and South complain of the open spaces here, how they feel exposed and swallowed up by the expanse of it. I recall someone telling a story about being tailed for miles on the highway on the eastern plains of Colorado or Wyoming — I forget which — slowing so the person could pass, though the other car never would. The driver simply clung to the back bumper. Finally the storyteller pulled over and the other car did, too. An East Coast woman tumbled out, apologizing, saying how she felt so overwhelmed by the empty sky and deserted highway that she just wanted to be near another car.

My New Hampshire boss complains that she has a difficult time judging distance here. She can’t tell how fast a car is approaching or how close it is, because she feels she has nothing to reference it to.

I understand what they mean because I feel suffocated in places like Virginia. The Appalachians are pretty, yes, but they hem you in. The trees, even shed of leaves seem to block the sky. Granted, it was foggy and rainy during our visit, compounding the feeling. Even the houses, though, seem to be built to wrap around you and divide you from the outside.

Not like our house, designed to pull the vista in and fill the rooms with it.

I drove from Abingdon to the DC area, to visit Allison. Oh, said the innkeeper in Abingdon, you’ll drive through the Shenandoah valley. It’s so beautiful. At one point it just opens up and you can see the valley and the mountains.

Even with all this fog and rain? I asked.

Oh, he said.

It cleared enough going north that I did see some of the valley and the distant rolling hills, which I just can’t quite bring myself to call mountains. Theirs is a vista of softness and blur. Eternally smoky.

Something in me relaxed to return to the crisp Western light, our slice-edged mountains. Even in a sleepy photo like this one, the outline of the peaks is crisp and defined.

I suppose it’s all what you’re used to. I grew up in the West and some restless part of me only settles down when I’m here. Georgia O’Keeffe came here for the light though, among countless others.

Great is the gift of being able to see.

Life, Art and Imitation


There’s something to be said for waking up to this kind of view.

It’s like having a Georgia O’Keeffe painting on your wall. Only it’s real and ever-changing. I see now, what she saw here.

Of course, I can’t quite capture the image like she could.

I remember a story I read in her biography (autobiography?). The book is still packed, so I’m pulling this out of memory.

When Georgia was a young woman, she drew and painted. She wanted to be an artist. At one point a teacher told her she didn’t have what it took. That her skills and talent were adequate, but that she lacked that something extra that would make her a great artist.

And really, you have to be great if you want to make a living at it. The Pro-Football player analogy.

Georgia went back to her room — she was living at a boarding school, though I don’t recall now if she was still a student or teaching there. And she took all of her work and hung it on the walls. She papered the walls with it and sat there and looked at all of it.

She saw her teacher was right.

None of it had that extra something that would transform it from image into art.

So, she destroyed it all. Burned it, maybe? Or something less dramatic — perhaps she just stuffed it all in the trash can.

I can’t recall the sequence after that, except that she discarded all she knew and started over. She might have not painted for a while. And when she began again: it was there. The thing that makes Georgia O’Keeffe art instantly recognizable.

Sometimes someone would bemoan the art she’d destroyed. She would reply that it was no loss.

Maybe I’m leaving out the important part of the story here, the “how she did it” part. But I don’t think so. Clearly that’s not the part that stuck with me. The part that did is the image of her, standing in the center of her room, with everything she’d done stuck all over the walls. And what it took for her to see that it wasn’t good. To destroy it for that reason.

Every time I see her art now, I think of that moment. It magnifies my admiration.