First Cup of Coffee – June 13, 2022

THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING is out today!!! FINALLY! I’m talking about that, my busy and productive weekend – including a tour of the secret garden – plus special appearance by Jackson.

(Apologies for the failure to stop at the end…)

     




Transcript
00:00.97
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:39.45
jeffekennedy
So today is Monday June thirteenth and very exciting day. It is the release day for THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING!! I feel like we need extra – Let’s do an extra ringing of the chimes for that. Because a long time coming right? I originally planned this book to come out in like freaking I don’t know November what was my first I bet I could tell you what was my first plan my. Sadly benighted plan that got completely derailed. What was the one that I had to cancel I know if I must have it on here somewhere. Okay. I know this is boring but I’m I’m going to look sorry surely I kept it recorded somewhere. Yeah well now I’m just hitting the wrong buttons a new. Well it doesn’t matter. It was something like. November but didn’t exactly work out. Jackson is out here with me this morning. He’s been being a good kitty. Um, we’ve been letting him out in the secret garden with us without harness and he’s been not going over the wall. Was very funny when my friend Megan Mulry first moved to Santa Fe and she house sat for us and I tried to teach how to use the harness how to put it on him and she even called me and I was trying to walk her through it and she couldn’t get the harness figured out and I said um. I’m noticing. Somebody’s been digging one of my plants I know this because I cleaned everything up yesterday. It’s a little disconcerting have to put rocks in these plants to keep the rodents like to the mice like to dig into them and bury themselves. It’s for their sleeping spot. Anyway, um, so I asked her we were like in Tucson for Thanksgiving I think it was and I asked her if she’d gotten it figured out and she said oh I realized that I could just put him out in the back garden because it has walls. It was like um, you might see if he’s still there and she’s like why can he go over the walls and it’s like someone who has not been around cats. It’s like yeah there are not walls who can keep a cat and all right hold on.

06:13.41
jeffekennedy
Now right? I put some rocks it. It was a different plant than what I thought but um I poked and no mouse came jumping out which is what they do sometimes which can be alarming at least temporarily and by put some rocks in. I feel better film anyway, release day for storm princess on the Raven King um I even queued up my photo to show you guys and I’ll put on the show notes. But um, oh and of course we have. This is the problem with using phones because then it’s all fingerprinting over the image and cleaning off my screen and then we’ll probably get glare anyway. But. Ah, ah, ah, all right? So I’m very excited. Um I don’t love the cover model. We ended up out and with this one and it took a lot of work to find the right cover model and he’s twice. He’s on this one and then on long night of the crystalline moon because they’re the. Sort of bracketing couple and I ended up putting up a picture of to Monte Charlemagne instead that’s what ah Ryan looks like so so yeah. Great to have this out great to have that series finished um plans for today are to do release day things. So I feel like I don’t have many to do and then um work on rogue’s pond. If I can get that revision done today. I’ve got a lot to do since I leave early in the morning. Um I did ask the person involved about the yeah sorry I started looking at my email to see if they had replied and they had not. And then um, yeah Karine sent um a question so that got involved with looking at that? sorry. Must be a little scattered this morning I actually feel great. It’s good to have that book out. Um I’m heading off to do this fun thing tomorrow. Oh that’s why I started to tell you was that they said they were going to craft a social media policy because I asked I said you know what can I say on social media about this because I feel like.

11:45.71
jeffekennedy
Part of why I’m doing this is because they want to spread word of mouth and yet there are other aspects that I know are preferred to be kept confidential. So anyway I have not yet gotten that social media policy so we will see I don’t know if all podcasts for the rest of the week it’s um I think I could say this bunch is that it’s a writer’s retreat and it’s kind of an experimental thing and it’s um, right now by invitation only so look how snazy I am ah no, it’s it’s a friend. Um, and yeah, so it’s gonna be great and I think that. Ah, one of the people hosting it also as a podcast so I might ask them if they would like to do a podcast with me have a cup of coffee and chat so we’ll see otherwise I think I might try to embrace the writers retreat thing and um. Actually retreat and just do that. Ah, ah yeah I don’t know I’m fussing with my hair this morning I probably do this a lot on the if you’re on video. Um, so yesterday I I ended up taking a shower last night and I did wash my hair. But. Just let it dry naturally and it’s kind of my today I should’ve done some with it. So that’s why fucking around with it. Ah I had um had a great weekend. It was really nice. We had a board meeting on Saturday that was very quick. That was really great and then um, then David and I went to a party that Emily Moth through I got to meet some of her family and we ran a few errands and that was nice to get done and then we um. Yeah, had a very quiet evening. It was really beautiful weather hot but still and um, wonderful and then I yesterday did massive cleanup in the secret garden.

16:07.49
jeffekennedy
I’m hearing suspicious wrestling noises and I’m going to jackson let me go see what he’s doing this is like the old days right? with the the cat wrangling if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a long time when I like actually walked. Jack’s during the podcast. Okay hold on false alarm. He’s just being a good kitty lying in the tall plants when the shade I thought that was the sound of him going over the wall. So um. Oh so hair in my mouth. What’s going on here pace all right? So anyway I did this big cleanup of the secret garden and I’ll do a little pan about for those of you on video. If you can see but actually I’ll do like a little walk through for those of you who are good people being on video so well, it’s not good I really don’t judge I don’t care if you’re on video or just audio but see I trimmed back this Lilac Bush a whole bunch. And I trimped back the grapevine so it’s all cleaned up and there’s now an easy way to walk through and now you could see it from coming the other direction. See how nice it looks I’m really happy. It was a lot of work. It took me all freaking day but much better. Sorry for the sun blast there. So yeah, that was my ah big project yesterday and it was um. Hot and my hair was like I sweated so much I had my hair on a ponytail and I sweated so much that my hair was actually stiff with salt you do and then I start doing this thing trying to. Fix David’s computer he got this laptop in like January and it was a cheap one and we thought well they’ll be fine because you know he doesn’t use it for that much stuff.

21:05.81
jeffekennedy
Sorry, all this possing this morning I just got a text message on something I’m trying to get tied up before I leave so it’s that kind of day isn’t it. so um so yeah I’m I’m really happy with the work I got done and. In two weeks my friends Kelly Robson and Alex Delamonica will be here. They’re going to house it from my friend Megan Moury so it’s like I’m losing Megan and Charlie as my playmates. But then I’ve imported other friends to be my playmates while they’re gone. Best of both worlds for me and we’re going to have a little party to introduce Kelly and Alex to the other local writers. So welcome to party central um, it finally looks like habitable for other human beings. So I have to clean up the front when I get back next Sunday but that’s um, otherwise I think I’m in pretty good shape I’m hoping to get as I keep saying I know over and over that rogues pawn revision done today. Ah if i. Focus on trying to get it done today I want to put a reader letter at the front and I want to delete that scene and then do a quick read through to see if there’s any ramifications from deleting that scene and I feel like there’s something that I want the. Male lead trying to say male lead instead of hero the male lead to acknowledge to the female lead at some point in the book and it could be that he does more than I think he did but um. Yeah I don’t know so I want to look for that so we’ll see if I can get all that done today. But I’m hoping having the restricted timeline will encourage me not to go into the weeds on this revision I have the preorders set up for all 3 covenant of thorns books I shouldn’t hold up 4 fingers. Why I just have pull None um, and it’s um I did that on Friday boy you know what setting up pre-orders for 3 books at one time and I had to write new backc cover copy for all 3 was a little much but it just took a long time. It took a long freaking time doing all the different platforms and I I sometimes am snarky. Mildly snarky to other authors who say oh well that they use something like drafted digital or they hire someone to upload because they don’t want to have to up to load to all of the different platforms and I’m like oh it’s not that hard. Well when you’re doing 3 books and filling it out for all the different platforms because I upload to.

26:47.53
jeffekennedy
I set it up on Amazon kobo barnes and noble and smash wordss. So for sites. They all ask for information different order had to grab my isbms for all of them betting white’s done um, and then after all of the ah. W Ringling I got the blueberry pie recipe to Karine on time and she forgot to put it in the newsletter because there was like a mini crisis with the website so that’ll be in the next one. It’ll be in the release newsletter coming in a ah day or 2 oh so I was talking about yesterday. Um. Once I got really hot I’d finished everything but I still my great big brush pile you know of leavings outside the the gate and I thought well I’m going to wait for it to cool down a little bit before I can do that because it was like 4 and the hottest point in the day so I went inside and. Tried to deal with this thing on David’s laptop this new laptop has never worked right. It’s just a funky little thing and by funky I am thinking of many other f you words which I know I don’t normally scruple to say but I’m just yeah. Um I ended up being on chat customer support chat for like 2 hours trying to fix this fucking thing. It won’t take the microsoft 3 65 subscription which I have. And I have the family version so I can share with like 5 people and I only share with David and it worked fine on his previous laptop. It will not take it’s just um, it’s so weird it does these. It’s almost like it gets caught in these loops and then it can’t get out of it I suspect the thing’s a limit because the customer support person was doing the remote control in everything and she finally she said have you tried taking this back to the store where you got it? Well unfortunately he got it at Walmart. Which I don’t shop at Walmart but he likes to go there and I think he paid cash and did not keep the receipt. This is what we get for me not doing it just saying so I think we’re just gonna buy him a new laptop. He’s gonna try. Reformatting the hard drive and see what happens? Um, but it’s um, it’s funky. It also has this thing where you cannot delete Microsoft Edge it will not let you delete it. It says that it’s um, critical to the operation on the computer which I thought.

32:18.79
jeffekennedy
Microsoft was not allowed to do that anymore. It used to be. You know they tried to make you know back in the day it was Microsoft explorer they tried to make you that you had to use that for your web browser and I thought they weren’t allowed to do it anymore. But they’re so doing not on this. So anyway, it was like later after it was like 6 – six thirty david even brought my dinner into me and then we finally signed off and the customer service gal even said, um, she said I don’t often get to to say this but it’s been a rare pleasure trying to help you. She was really sweet. Um I was. I was being good and not using profanity. But I was referring to the fing computer e f f I n g so I said I’m gonna go drink wine now and she said have some for me too. But ah so then you know we sat in 8 and. Started watching um one for the money with catherine hegel is she hegel or hegel. Ah from the jenna ivanovvi book I don’t know why that movie got so hugely panned it. It was funny. We we enjoyed watching it so we watched it for a little bit and I they’re like dirty and. Wet stiff hair and all of this to paint an image for you and I um I said and david was getting a little snoozy anyway which he often does right? after he eats. So I said well I’m gonna go deal with this brush pile and so that could be done and I clean the cat boxes too and then I could take a shower and be done for the night and so he came out and helped me move that brush pile that was really nice and yeah, so then I took a shower and it was a quick shower and my hair was so sweat soaked did I mention and snarled that I um put a whole bunch of conditioner in it. So all of this is a very long way of saying that I feel like my hair looks a little. Over conditions today but I had to be able to get a fricking comb throughout That’s the other thing about working on the grapevine is that you like gets your hair up in it and stuff. So anyway, everything looks really great I’m feeling accomplished. A lot to do today packing all of this my flight leaves at like six thirty in the morning so got to be up and adder ready to go but um, yeah, ah, release day for storm princess awesome and then. Hopefully starting tomorrow certainly later in the week I am going to be working on book 4 of bonds of magic I think we have decided that the new trilogy should have a new title for those of you who have been reading the books suggestions. Welcome I’m also looking for. Um.

37:57.69
jeffekennedy
Individual book titles. Ah should we call book one jet ah and it is going to be judgment and Sally for those of you wondering um, should we call book one sarcastic wizard spy wizard ah for those of you who may not have been listening for a long time. You know dark wizard was my working title. It was my working title excuse me from a long time back when it was just a concept when it was just a glimmer in my eye and I’d been thinking about this the dark wizard concept. Here comes Jackson you guys want to see Jackson prowling along there. He is. He’s so handsome Jackie Cat yeah are you a handsome boy yes you are are too. Yes, he knows he is what a good little. Posing kitty I was gonna call him a poser but that sounds wrong doesn’t it. He’s looking for lizards so um, yeah I I had just been calling it dark wizard and thinking I was gonna come up with a better title and Grace Draven was the one who said no you must call it this you I’m I’m ordering you to call it this and I said I cannot name a book dark wizard she said yes you can. So maybe I should ask Grace what should we call it. Spy wizard I kind of like spy wizard sarcastic wizard anyway, suggestions welcome feed them along please feel free to share. On storm princess and Raven King I’m hopeful that now that the series is complete that more people will pick it up I hope that you guys I’m trying not to say you guys anymore. We could talk about that I hope that you all enjoy it I hope that it’s um. Delivers on the promise I think I got it there. so so yeah enjoy and I will um I don’t know if I don’t podcast the rest of this week then you’ll hear from me next Monday you all take care. Bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – February 28, 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 which if you are on video you will have noted is actually Starbucks today. Um, oh I should say today is Monday February Twenty Eighth Twenty Twenty two last day off 2022? Ah, no wrong last day February that was a funny slide. Um, and the husband went and did an airport ride for someone early this morning. And he brought me back a special release day Starbucks treat because yay today’s release day Woooo Grey Magic out in the world living large very exciting. Yeah, um I was trying to think about what am I going to talk about today other than gray magic is out in the world I mentioned on Friday like maybe I could do a reading or something like that. But only 1 person said that they wanted that sorry Laura. Um, you know and like Facebook live and I don’t know we’ll sort of see how the day progresses. Um, yeah, yeah, it’s a funny thing. I often get asked what I do to celebrate release days and release days. Um, and I I do think I’ve talked about this many times before to release days to me feel like a um, a relaxing a letting go a coming down. As opposed to like a pitch of woohoo. Um I love that there were so many wonderful preorders for this book I reached a personal best more preorders for this book than any book that’ve done on my own a couple of the anthologies have. Gotten bigger but you know for all that the anthologies there’s like 4 of us. There’s not 4 times. It’s manying preorderss for this. so so yeah I’m just um, I’m thrilled delighted and thrilled. Ah, and of course you know it’s a funny time with with Russia invading Ukraine and how that’s been going and the people working on that lots of of good comments out in the world though.

02:51.20
jeffekennedy
You know people reminding us that we still need joy. We still need those things oops that’s the Darynda text tone hold on a moment all right? So Darynda is going deep into writer cave to finish her books so she’s. Tapping out for the week her books her book I’m like fuzzy brain to- today I don’t know why. Yeah, um, it could be just like that release day energy going out into the world. Maybe I won’t do a whole lot today. We’ll see it was funny because um I had church yesterday with. Megan and Charlie we had a bottle of champagne that was lovely I’m trying to think if I’m allowed to we were celebrating a couple things I can’t remember if I’m allowed to say so and I don’t know. Could it be that drinking a lot of champagne yesterday afternoon is responsible for me being muzzyheaded this morning say it isn’t so I don’t think that’s it. So anyway, um, rambling podcast today I should be like doing. Some sort of snazzy release day thing and yet this is what you get, you get me muddling my way through my Starbucks.

04:30.85
jeffekennedy
Yeah, so um, Darynda’s crunching to finish this book I may not do a lot today. That’s what I was thinking about was um, Megan was asking me if now that I’ve finished gray magic and released it if I’m going to take some time off and I said well I did take some time off. Last week and she she was very funny because she’s like and what did you do and I said well Monday and Tuesday I was in l a doing the hotel search for nebula conference and Wednesday I pretty much flew back. You know there was a travel day and. I did do copy edits and polishing. So I said okay you know, but that’s that’s not drafting but I did work on the book that day and I said that then Thursday and Friday and over the weekend I didn’t write at all. And she said yes, but what did you do and I was like well I did a lot of business stuff getting things off my to do list and she’s like that doesn’t count as taking time off I’m like yeah but what would I do? What would I do with myself, especially with it being the end of February I mean. It’s kind of warming up but it’s not great. Weather. It’s not like I can be out puttering on the garden It’s not nice enough for that and yeah, what would I do I mean I did take you know yesterday afternoon I went and ran some errands and and I did dork around a lot this weekend. I got a lot of household things done. So so I don’t know I’d much rather if I’m going to take time off and like not work on anything at all I’d much rather do it when I get to go do fun things.

06:19.40
jeffekennedy
Ah, so so yeah, I’ve got some some things to do I’m doing a panel this afternoon an online panel for pro writing aid they asked if sifho would do something and so I’m doing it. Um, Lexi Chantal put it together. And I’m doing it with Mary Robinette Kowal and I don’t think anybody else we asked a couple other people and I think they couldn’t do it so but we’re gonna talk about writing fantasy and that’ll be interesting. Otherwise I don’t think I have major obligations today I may just try to um you know, just post things and be around and that sort of thing and who knows Laura Darnell maybe I will do a Facebook live thing but um, right now I’m feeling a little. Like not so much do I want to do that I also feel like even though it’s good to promote things and remind people that there’s you know, give us our escapism and. And my story I mean great magic is very much about fighting tyranny and fighting the putants of the world. Um, even though I you know do think it’s okay I also feel weird partying too much. You know? Yeah. So um, it’s only seven and a half minutes I need to think of other things to talk about here I do have notes I should talk about that. So I’ve been reading Juliette Marillier I had mentioned that. Gonna try to only say her name once because the transcript really hates that name but I’m now on the third book of the 7 waters series and so first one’s daughter of the forest then son of the shadows and now child of the prophecy. And it’s very interesting how she goes about her series I kind of feel a little bit like where has she been all my reading life. Why didn’t I pick up daughter of the forest a long time ago since it’s been on my Kindle forever. She really writes fantasy romance guys. Um, it’s each one of her books has a core romance. That’s very important to the development of the character.

09:03.00
jeffekennedy
And it’s interesting to me that she’s published by tor and she’s really presented as being fantasy and her fantasy is very dense and delicious. Her word world building is gorgeous. Although it’s more like a historical fantasy. It’s all set in. Um. I think sort of a non-time delimited ireland a lot of it’s you know, sort of with the old ones and the the fae and humans and then the conflict between Ireland and Britain. And there’s vikings who arrive. So you know it’s sort of that vaguely Authurian time scale someone who knows more about specific history periods might be able to tell me but I I suspect she’s deliberately vague about it. Um. And there’s nothing at least so far. No mention of of Arthur or any of that stuff. Besides that would be in Britain and there’s occasionally trips into Britain. But for the most part it takes place in Ireland and it’s very irish and. I would say that one of the huge differences between how she writes the kind of story that she writes and the kind of story I write is sneeze I want to say that she kills people off. More readily than I do and I’m wondering if that’s true. She takes a a broader scope approach than I do so for example and I feel like this isn’t spoilery. But if you don’t want to know anything tap out. In the first book. Oh and I should look up what this fairy tale is hold on. Okay, so daughter of the forest is a retelling of the wild swans which was ah now I’m fresh on this knowledge Hans Christian Anderson’s story where. Princesses 11 brothers are turned into swans and she must labor to break the enchantment in daughter of the forest. There’s 7 and the 6 brothers are turned into swans and the youngest the daughter has to do all this stuff to break the enchantment. And after that I mean I could really see how she deliberately set out to do this fairy tale retelling and then the subsequent stories are not but she uses romance tropes you guys I mean they’re totally she does enemies to lovers.

11:49.32
jeffekennedy
In the first 2 books second book is even secret baby. Um, which I just wonder what people would think if I said you know these are these strokes that are being used. Um, so I think. Were I writing it I would have um, wanted to go on from daughter of the forest because it’s all told from ah sosha’s point of view. The the daughter who must labor and I think it’s I think they’re all first person point of view. Seems to me so that’s all told from her point of view and I really expected the next book to be like go into one of the brothers stories which is I think what the traditional romance canon approach would do and instead it picks up with sources. Daughter um, son up the shadows of about her daughter and there are I’m trying to do this without spoilering I feel like this really isn’t much of a spoiler because you find out within a couple of first couple of pages but like. In the time between the first and second book 2 of the brothers have died and they’ve died in battle and I guess that’s very realistic and she wants I feel like she kills people off much more readily than I do um and I know that I have characters die. But i. Think I tend to I would have liked had all the brothers live and so it’s an interesting choice to me. um and yeah you know it’s um I think she’s going for this sort of generational scope which is. And I tend to be much more close focused and maybe that’s the difference between you know people often ask? What’s you know, like romantic fantasy fantasy romance and this has a much more over the generations scope like that. And so now the third book child of the prophecy is someone else’s child and and I was really trying to figure out who it was gonna be and it took me a little while because told from that first person it’s like what are the clues who who is this. And so it’s kind of cool when you figure out who it is and so now it’s not as big a leap in time as there was from well actually it is close to the same leap in time from book 1 to 2 and 2 to 3.

14:35.39
jeffekennedy
So so yeah, that makes it interesting I don’t know that I would do it that way shit I get much more attached to my characters I think than she does and maybe that’s part of where I’m getting this where she’s much more willing to kill her characters off. You know, like having. 2 of the brothers die in battle like that off page in the interim and I mean it’s like well I guess that’s realistic because that’s what happened in that era still yeah. I would not be so willing to do that and that may be my um, you know we talk about voice. What is an author’s voice and I was explaining this to someone over the weekend this gal who for romancing the vote I donated six months of author coaching and the gal who won paid. Over $1500 to to win that and was like wow um, and so we were talking about voice and I said that voice the best explanation I’ve ever heard of author voice is that it arises from your beliefs. And yeah, so that your beliefs infuse everything you write and you do refine that over time and she was talking about refining voice and what that meant and she kind of had. I don’t know a different perspective on it than I do she was talking about trying out different kinds of stories and seeing which ones fit her voice and and I was voice is a hard thing to talk about because it doesn’t always make sense. Yes, it. Or maybe it defies quantification rather than making sense. Yes, it arises from your beliefs it arises from the core of who you are as a person but many of us are muddy about who we are as people especially when we’re younger and. Especially when you’re first refining your craft as a writer. You don’t always know how to have that shine through in everything you write if that makes sense and 1 thing that she said was I said so that you sound. It takes a lot of writing it takes a lot of words and a lot of refining and I’m repeating myself cutting away things cutting away the chaff and I said so that you don’t sound like your influences anymore and she said oh well I have.

17:24.31
jeffekennedy
So many influences that won’t be a problem for me and it’s like yeah actually I that does muddy things I think that muddies things. Um you want your voice to come through like clear water and. When you have a lot of influences or a lot of things ah getting in the way then it’s not clear water and I think the only thing that does get to that point where you purify is writing a whole lot and that’s why we talk about you know like a million words. To learn your craft or to get your voice to come through or there’s a lot of people who you know like this end goal. Whatever it is but write a million words. Um, yeah, it just takes that that repeated practice. David’s always telling me. You know about because he’s a musician about the ah you know like how the Beatles played in those german pubs for a long time and they played a lot of covers and they played their own songs too. But you know like night after night after night and that’s the kind of thing that you need to do like be. Before you hit this this point of recognizable I want to say brilliance but it doesn’t have to be brilliant, but where your voice comes through where it’s like this is your thing that you’ve created this is your art you have to spend. A lot of time doing it over and over again until you really cut away all of the things that are not you and that part that is you really shines through It’s interesting to me with the bonds of magic books and people have already been setting me. Notes because people have read it already. That’s so funny to me. It’s like well this one gals in France. So I guess she read it all day today and she already read it and loved it and she said that this is her favorite of my books and I’ve been hearing that from a lot of people. And I’ve been thinking about that and I think in some ways you know though I loved all of the 12 kingdoms and uncharted realms books those started from a slightly muddier place for me and that world is shaped by my other influences. Um. And then there’s all the spinoffs to that and I I do love all those books but I do think that they speak more to my influences than to where I’m at now. Um forgotten. The empires is maybe a step in between.

20:11.58
jeffekennedy
But then when I wrote Dark Wizard that was a book I really wanted to write for a long time and I do think that that book and maybe this series is more me than than anything else. Maybe my voice is shining. Most clearly through this. So um, so now happy release day to me and to you thanks to all of you for supporting these books and I will be rounding about today. So now. And I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye bye.

A Midwinter Holiday Gift – FIRE OF THE FROST Is Out Now!

Today is release day for FIRE OF THE FROST

A midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology…

A Wynter Fyre by Darynda Jones

In a world where vampyres have been hunted to near extinction, the daughter of a demon is sent to save their race. Wynter ends the Blood Wars, but a single drop of vampyre blood accidentally crosses her lips. As punishment, she’s encased in stone for a hundred years. When she awakens, she vows revenge. Even if it means her demise. Her quest leads her to the vampyre prince who supposedly started the wars. He comes to her aid after she’s attacked, and Gareth’s deadly prowess may be exactly what Wynter needs to defeat the woman who created her. Or exactly what she needs to thaw her frozen heart.

Of Fate and Fire by Amanda Bouchet

The Kingmaker Chronicles meets modern-day New York City! Piers, an exiled warrior from Thalyria, finds himself in the Big Apple just before the holidays. The world and everything in it might be utterly foreign to him, but that won’t stop Piers from helping to complete a vital mission for Athena and protect Sophie, a French teacher from Connecticut who’s suddenly knee-deep in inexplicable phenomena, danger, and henchmen after an Olympian treasure that should never have ended up in her hands—or remained on Earth after the Greek gods abandoned it.

The King of Hel by Grace Draven

Castil il Veras, daughter of lesser boyars, attends the gatherings that celebrate her best friend’s upcoming marriage to the cursed king of a sorcerous kingdom. She soon learns that even marked by the magic of the Wastelands, Doranis of Helenrisia is everything she’s ever desired in a mate—and absolutely forbidden to her. Bound by duty to crown and country, Doranis has traveled to the Caskadan empire to marry a woman who loathes the sight of him. During the prenuptial celebrations, he meets a scribe who finds him fascinating instead of repellent, but Castil is beyond his reach. Fate, however, would have it otherwise, and a beseeching letter from a dying queen will bring them together again in a land gripped by endless winter and old magic.

Familiar Winter Magic by Jeffe Kennedy

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…

THE DRAGON’S DAUGHTER AND THE WINTER MAGE Now Available!

     

Invisible Loner

Gendra—partblood daughter of an elite mossback soldier and the only shapeshifter to achieve the coveted dragon form—is anything but interesting. She’s actually plain and awkward and … invisible. Every guy she meets either looks right through her or—worse—thinks of her as just a friend. Fortunately Gen is far too practical to wallow in self pity. Much.

A Search for True Love

But as Gen accompanies her oldest friends on a quest for Her Majesty High Queen Ursula, she can’t help feeling bitter about her lonely fate as, two by two, they pair off with each other. As usual, everyone but odd-woman-out Gen seems to be finding the happiness in true love that has always eluded her. And Gen’s pathetic attempts to come out of her shell have only met with social disaster.

Dragon’s Daughter

Still, with magic rifts plaguing the Thirteen Kingdoms and a strange intelligence stalking them from an alter-realm, Gen has plenty to deal with—especially when she’s cut off from the group, isolated and facing a lethal danger. It just figures that Gen is on her own, once again. But with no one coming to save her, she has only herself to rely upon.

And, perhaps, the help of a mysterious, stranded magician…

     

THE FATE OF THE TALA Not Yet – But Close!

This is the time of year when kitties display their cunning in knowing when and where the rising sun will hit – and their wisdom in knowing to be ready for it. Also: tongue baths and sunbaths go together. Jackson, cat guru, at your service.

So, today is January 15, 2020. But no, it is not the release day for THE FATE OF THE TALA.

For those who don’t follow the podcast, I can officially announce that THE FATE OF THE TALA is done, done, done!! It came out at just shy of 109K and is in the hands of my fantastic editor, Rebecca Cremonese. I told her not to bitch at me about how long it is; she said not to bitch at her about how long it takes. So we’ll see. As soon as I get her edits, I should be able to turn that around and get it formatted within a couple of days. I’m hoping to get it uploaded and on sale the last week of January.

And wow: that book was a difficult write. Some books go slower than others, and that one was determined to unspool at its own pace. With a Prince

It’s not just me, either, because I’ve switched over to moving some other projects forward and those are speeding right along. One thing I’ve noticed – in trying to figure out why my overall wordcount production has dropped – is that some genres also write faster for me

than others. I could see from my handy charts that 2014 and 2015 were my highest wordcount years. I went to writing full time at the end of 2015, so this was NOT the trend I expected. What I’ve realized, however – and what the chart doesn’t show – is that I also moved to writing a LOT more fantasy, and much denser fantasy, and pretty much stopped writing any erotic/contemporary. The closest I came was writing books two and three of the Missed Connections series, WITH A PRINCE and SINCE LAST CHRISTMAS, in 2017 – and, notably, 2017 was my third-highest wordcount year. It’s anecdotal data, but the correlation is enough to satisfy me.

I’d forgotten that I used to alternate writing Fantasy stories with Erotic/Contemporary ones. And that worked for me. Many of you know I hadn’t finished the last two books I’d planned for the Missed Connections series because they just weren’t selling as well as the Fantasies. But, heck, even books that don’t sell amazingly well are better than books I haven’t written! Besides which, some of my other erotic stuff – PETALS & THORNS, the Falling Under series, and the Facets of Passion books – have all continued to sell steadily. Clearly writing those has served to keep my words flowing all around.

Also, the Missed Connections books have very nearly earned out my investment – I’m only about $500 in the hole on the three books so far – so those of you waiting for Julie and Ice’s stories may yet be in luck! Also, I think I’ll write more short erotic stuff, if only as a palate cleanser. Dark Wizard, anyone? You know I’ve been stewing over that one for a long time.

For the sharp-eyed among you who noticed that 2019 was the lowest wordcount year since I began tracking (*sigh*), I attribute that mainly to taking off most of July and all of August from writing – the longest break I’ve taken in ten years! Also, everything I did write was Fantasy, one project worked up an entirely new world in a new-to-me genre, and one was the very slow moving THE FATE OF THE TALA. So it goes.

Now, off to write something erotic… ~rubs hands together in glee~