A reminder that tomorrow night is my rescheduled event at Mysterious Galaxy. Come on by and hang out!
For those of you who listened to the Beastly Books interview with Melinda Snodgrass for the release of THE FIERY CROWN – and if you didn’t, you can watch it here – you’ll know that we discussed the ending. (Also, Beastly Books is a great Indie Bookstore where you can buy signed books from me.) Melinda asked me why I ended the book where I did, instead of where she thought I would. I explained that I did waffle on the ending, and my editor ultimately weighed in and I went with her suggestion. After we stopped recording, I asked Melinda where she thought I would end it – and it was an even worse point than I’d contemplated! Then she told me how she’d frame the closing shot in the screenplay. (Melinda started out writing for Star Trek: The Next Generation and still writes a lot for Hollywood, along with her excellent novels.) And, damn people – I want this woman to write the treatment for the miniseries! Because it’s such a cool idea, I wanted to share it.
But, obviously, this spoils the ending. Read on forewarned and so forth.
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS
What I waffled on was, I very nearly had Con go back to the citadel after delivering Lia’s corpse to the boat. He’d go on his suicide mission and Lia would awaken on The Last Resort thinking him dead. Very Romeo and Juliet – which, tragedy, I know – and because I had book three to fix it all again, right? But Editor Jennie said, weeeeellllll…. since it’s a Romance, we need a happy ending in this book, too. Since I wasn’t committed to my tragic R&J ending, I agreed.
SHE thought I would’ve ended it when Lia dies! That’s where she’d end the season, she said, with a closing shot of the orchid ring on Lia’s finger withering away as she dies on the wizard’s slab.
There’s a reason this woman is besties with George RR Martin!
Also, I can totally picture this closing shot and how I’d be bouncing out of my chair about the ending of Season 2 and how I had to wait forever for Season 3. Clearly she also knows her business.
What do you all think of these alternate endings? Would you have come after me for either of those? 😀
Yesterday, June 2, 2020, many of us observed Blackout Tuesday to show respect for the Black Lives Matter protests. This followed on a weekend of protests, particularly in the US, over police brutality and the resultant deaths of black people in police custody. The peaceful protests were deliberated escalated by white nationalist groups hoping for violence, and culminated on Monday afternoon with Trump ordering tear gas and bullets to disperse a peaceful crowd demonstrating in front of the White House so he could appear to part the crowd like Moses and pose in front of a church with a Bible.
I was supposed to have a book event at Mysterious Galaxy on Monday evening – one already moved from an in-store event due to the COVID-19 pandemic to an online party via Zoom – and I’d been wondering about how I could pull off a fun and engaging event when the store coordinator reached out to me via Facebook. We agreed that it wouldn’t be right to have a book celebration under those circumstances, so we put out a statement to that effect. And we rescheduled for Thursday, June 11. I hope you’ll all still attend!
It was easy to reschedule. I was happy to step back on talking up my book for the evening as we wrestled more important matters. And I felt strong emotions the following morning when I changed my social media profiles, banners and top posts to black squares. I didn’t post a podcast interview I had planned. I also took down all of the ads I could think of. That was me, shutting up for a while.
And no, I didn’t use any hashtags, or even any words, because I was shutting up for a while.
A few hours into the blackout day, people began sending around cautions that the blackout posts were flooding the hashtags needed to convey information, and many people hastily pulled those off. Much later in the day, an author friend tagged me on Facebook telling me I shouldn’t be doing it at all because the world needed my voice (and those of the other people she tagged). I explained that’s why I hadn’t used the hashtags. I refrained from saying that the world could do without white voices for 24 hours.
That was the point: to step back, shut up, and allow black voices to be heard.
That’s why I didn’t use any hashtags to begin with, because I didn’t need to make this about me. I saw so many white authors using this crisis to elevate their brand and visibility. Seriously? Can’t we just STOP for 24 hours?
Anyway, I’m clearly back to yammering about Me and My Book. But I also hope to be aware of allowing others to speak. Right now, listening and letting others speak is the best thing we can do.
The upside of me not being in San Diego on June 1 is that my event at Mysterious Galaxy will be available to all of you via Zoom! Would love if you all joined in!
Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Names: What’s your favorite source/method for naming your characters, places, etc? Come on over to learn my secrets.
Some updates today on the release of THE FIERY CROWN! The book is still releasing May 26 – so hooray!! – though my in-person events are all canceled due to COVID-19. The good news is, they’re still happening online! AND, you can still get early paper copies – signed by me! – from my local Independent bookstore, George R.R. Martin’s Beastly Books. The event scheduled for May 17 is still happening online. The fabulous Melinda Snodgrass will be interviewing me, I’ll read a bit from the book (any votes for a section I should read??), and it will all be posted on You Tube! The books are on their way to be entered in the inventory. Meanwhile, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a signed copy. This is a great way to support both this fantastic local indie bookstore (the only genre-friendly one in Santa Fe) and this book. ♥
You can find other virtual events for me here. And here is a current list! (Mind the time zones.)
May 18 at 6pm ET, I’ll be doing a Facebook Live event with the Buchanan County Public Library. You can find their page here.
May 21, I’ll be on Facebook all day at The Romance of Reading.
May 27, I’ll be at the r/fantasy Reddit doing an Ask Me Anything! Please drop by and I’ll do my best by the AMA 🙂
June 1 at 7pm PT, the Mysterious Galaxy event will occur via Zoom! You can also preorder copies of the book from them, another wonderful SFF Indie Bookstore.
June 13 at 4pm MT, I should be live and in person (cross your fingers!) at Page 1 Books, another wonderful local Indie Bookstore. I’m doing a double signing there with S.M. Stirling, as his original event for the release of SHADOWS OF ANNIHILATION got canceled last month. I’m delighted to share the day with local author buddy Steve Stirling. It should be big fun! Real live people! (in masks 🙂 )
Questions? Requests? Drop me a line!
“A timeless tale of love and survival amidst a lush backdrop teeming with greed and deceit.”–New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones
A desperate alliance. . A struggle for survival. And a marriage of convenience with an epic twist of fate. . .
WILL THEIR LOVE STAND THE TEST OF TIME
Queen Euthalia has reigned over her island kingdom of Calanthe with determination, grace, and her magical, undying orchid ring. After she defied an empire to wed Conrí, the former Crown Prince of Oriel—a man of disgraced origins with vengeance in his heart—Lia expected the wizard’s prophecy to come true: Claim the hand that wears the ring and the empire falls. But Lia’s dangerous bid to save her realm doesn’t lead to immediate victory. Instead, destiny hurls her and Conrí towards a future neither could predict…
OR TEAR THEIR WHOLE WORLD APART?
Con has never healed after the death of his family and destruction of his kingdom—he’s been carefully plotting his revenge against his greatest enemy, Emperor Anure, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. When Lia’s spies gather intelligence suggesting that Anure is planning an attack against Calanthe, Con faces an agonizing choice: Can he sacrifice Lia and all she holds dear to destroy the empire? Or does his true loyalty exist in the arms of his beguiling, passionate wife—’til death do they part?
The Forgotten Empire series is:
“Captivating…engrossing.” —Romance Reviews Today
“Sensual fantasy romance you won’t want to miss!”—Amanda Bouchet, USA Today bestselling author of The Kingmaker Chronicle
“Action-packed…sexy…highly recommend.”—Harlequin Junkie (Top Pick)
“Kennedy’s world building is attentive and luxurious in this middle volume of a trilogy. The enjoyable supporting cast is fleshed out, and the couple is given opportunities to exchange confidences even in the midst of grave crisis. Readers looking for a well-balanced blend of romance and fantasy with a gradually building relationship and ever-increasing stakes should give the series a try.” – Booklist
“Now this is how you write a five star book and I absolutely loved everything about it.(…) Fabulous characters, magic, action, betrayal and truly vile deeds not to mention snark and passion all go to make this a fabulous second instalment to what I’m guessing might be a trilogy.” – Marta Cox on Goodreads
“What a fantastic follow up to The Orchid Throne and a great second book in the Forgotten Empires series! The ending of Orchid Throne left a need to know more, and The Fiery Crown came through for me in a fantastic way! I love the pacing and how we jump into the action, keeping me engaged and totally into the plot! Action and adventure never seem to stop with sparks flying between Lia and Con, the implications of their actions, and the response of the Emporer and Calanthe.” – Tara on Goodreads
“Well, well, well….. that was absolutely possibly the best read of the year! That was so unexpectedly amazing. The first book was great, but hot damn this blew it out of the park. Same amazingly written characters but the author took this story to a whole new level of WOW. The twists and unexpected turns will have you glued to these pages until the last sentence and wondering how it can possibly just end ….” – Celeste on Goodreads
This is a photo from one of my very first author events, for my first book, which was an essay collection: Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel. I was so excited to be there, all shiny and wet behind the ears. I had a lot of ideas then about how my writing career would be – and most of them were wrong. Not because I was ignorant or idealistic (though I was), but because life takes its twists and turns.
I can say, however, that though many people told me I’d “made it,” I hadn’t – because there’s no such thing. And, though I thought my days of facing rejection and defeat were over, that wasn’t true either. On the other hand, many amazing things have happened that I could never have predicted.
I saw a meme on Instagram yesterday shared by my lovely friend Megan Mulry. It’s the Gen X reaction to the COVID-19 #stayhome initiatives.
It helped me to see this, because I’ve been feeling terribly disappointed about missing out on some events of my own – and it’s always good to realize that it’s okay to be upset. I can be both upset for myself and be concerned for people who are facing far worse trials. I was super excited about the release of THE FIERY CROWN on May 26. The first book in the trilogy, THE ORCHID THRONE, has been gaining traction with more and more people reading and recommending it. It was even a Staff Pick at Powell’s Books! Since I was planning to be in Los Angeles for SFWA’s Nebula Conference that week, I had planned for a release day party at The Ripped Bodice bookstore, then the mass autographing at the conference itself, then a jaunt for a signing at Mysterious Galaxy the following week – with maybe a little beach time in San Diego. I also have an event lined up at George RR Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema & Beastly Books on May 17 here in Santa Fe. Maybe those will still happen? We don’t know. But the Nebula Conference is definitely happening online.
I had shiny visions of THE FIERY CROWN really taking off. And, really, that hasn’t changed. It’s just my parties that might not happen. I truly feel for all the authors with March book releases who had everything canceled – and I’ve seen a lot of the writing community online expressing sympathy in particular to the debut authors. This is because there’s the perception that you only get to be a debut author once. Which is kind of true, but it’s also like virginity – it really depends on how you define it, extenuating circumstances matter, and really, it’s not as big of a deal as people think.
The thing is, we – and by this I mean human beings – tend to think we have One Big Chance at something. As a newbie writer, I recall being crushed by rejections from agents or editors on occasions I’d become convinced were my One Big Chance. Opportunities arrived, I seized them to the best of my ability, and they went rushing past anyway. It was tempting to give up on those occasions. After all: I’d tried and failed.
I think some of this perception comes from the tired saying “Opportunity knocks only once.” If that’s not a lot of pressure, I don’t know what is. What if you’re in the bathroom when opportunity knocks? There it goes: your one opportunity ever. Might as well die now.
It’s patently ridiculous. And it turns out, is a proverb probably adapted from Phaedrus in A.D. 8, “One lost, Jupiter himself cannot bring back opportunity.” Who knows? Maybe they had fewer opportunities to go around in those days. The opportunity population hadn’t rebounded from being eaten by dinosaurs.
Regardless, there are tons of opportunities. They present themselves all the time. Some work out; some don’t. Some we deliberately bypass because the cost is higher than we’re willing to pay at that time. Sometimes there’s a global pandemic and we have to stay home.
But if I’ve learned anything in these years since my ears dried and I’ve written something like thirty more books since that first collection, it’s that there’s no solid trajectory to success. As with all things, my success as an author – and of each new work – waxes and wanes, and greatly depends on how I define it. (Much like virginity and being a debut.) For all of you feeling like you missed your One Big Chance: you didn’t. I promise. It was one opportunity (or several) in a lifetime of them. Often the most amazing incidences are the ones you don’t see coming and couldn’t possibly have predicted or planned for.
We won’t have to #stayhome forever, and when we emerge from our sparkling isolation, we’ll be ready to party. It will be as epic. 😉