First Cup of Coffee – April 19, 2022

Um, good morning. Everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee I’m noticing that the cream separated that a bad sign tastes fine.

No, maybe not please to stand by all right? sorry about that. Ah, the cream had indeed gone sour does it taste quite as good with the half and half in there turns out that the cream had ah expired on March Seventh who knew and I’ve been drinking it up till last week and it was fine. That’s why I get for only doing little tiny dollops at a time I suppose but apparently left unsupervised for a few days. It went rogue alas. Today is Tuesday oh you know I’ve know this I forgot to put sweetener in it. Okay, we’re having a blooper morning stand by all right I think I’m set now. Ah so much better. All right. Today is Tuesday April Nineteenth and for those of you on video or those of you ah keen to the audio intro I’m back out in the grape arbor um, and so thus. Big chimes again and you know things are greening up out here. The roses are coming up. You might be able to see some daffodils in the background crap Apple tree is starting to bloom. It was so nice being outside in Tucson. That’s why I have been away from the podcast for a few days. And been away visiting my mother who is the one who complains the most if I don’t record a podcast. So um, haven’t had 1 since a week ago tuesday but here I am back in the saddle. It was great being out in the tucson weather flowers blooming everywhere. Yeah, thank you? And yeah, so I thought I really need to make an effort to get out into the grape arbor again which transcript. Really hates that phrase. We’ll see how it did. Um, we’ve had so much wind that they I to throw a bunch of tumbleweeds over the wall because they’ve like blown in and mess things up so clearly I still have I’ve done some garden cleanup I need to do more. Did a little bit at my mom’s house that was fun. Although I’m not sure she appreciated it. She had a um, a volunteer lemon tree coming up where they’d cut 1 down as one does in Tucson I would love to have a volunteer lemon tree.

Ah, and she told me to do whatever because it had also it was more like lemon Bush and she said to do whatever I wanted to it so I trimmed out a whole bunch of stuff to create a single trunk to make it give it an upright growth. But I think she was shocked. But anyway I’ve decided um this fall I’m going to keep track of the temperature at which I am driven inside and then pay attention in the spring as soon as those temperatures start to get up ah to that same level to come outside. Um, it is 47 here this morning °f with like a real feel of 53 I still don’t know how they decide that. Um, yeah, so. Good to get out here and to be looking at stuff again and be part of the garden I made notes on the airplane um of things that I wanted to talk about. I probably have too much for a single podcast but that’s good. That’ll keep us going this week I did take the whole time off of writing I got some words. Um, well I take not since Wednesday um I did do sifwell work. Had to be done and and last night I slept like the dead and dreamed tons of selfful stuff. So there. We are my plan had been with The Storm Princess and the Raven King to come back from this and start over revising from the beginning because I’ve passed midpoint and I’m not sure if I will because I kind of do have a feel for the scene where I stopped so I might just try poking at that and seeing if that works and. Save the revising for later. Yeah that’s just sort of a matter of coming back and getting a feel for for where I’m at.

I um, have been reading Connie Willis’s short stories I’m not usually a short story reader. Some people love them I to me I think it’s because I love to read novels I love to read long. And a short story. Some people love short stories because they can read it in a single city. My stepsister Hope who I saw over the weekend is going to read this same collection of Connie Willis’s which is called Firewatch after the story that is the first one on the collection called. Fire watch um and a number of her award winning stories are in this and I have read her novels before because did I mention I’m a novel reader for me a short story is. It. It usually leaves me hanging I I feel like I just um, like I’m just learning the world and the characters and syncing in and it’s done I always want more? Um, it was interesting reading a collection of her short stories. Because there was a congruency to it and it let me do one of my favorite things which is to study like her themes and her recurring images and so forth. Um, fire is a thing for her. Not so shockingly. But on one of her stories. She mentioned Fred a stare and I should have grabbed the quote wonder if I should go grab it. Okay I opened it on the Kindle app on my phone which took an extraordinarily long time just for the record. So she said she has little um epigraphs little explanations between her shorts before her short stories which I admire greatly because I never know what to say about my own stuff and i’m. Totally going to I’m glad I have this book on my kindle because I’m gonna borrow from her. Um, yeah, she’s just very smart about what she says so she says Fred Astaire is my hero he used to report to his movie six weeks before filming started. And practice his dance routines wearing out a couple of pairs of of tapshoes and Hermes Pan who claimed he could only dance backwards for the rest of his life. Also he could stand there and look like he had just made it up in the words of almost every one who ever saw him dance.

He makes it look easy and what she says after that is that’s what I want to do even though it looks like I’m going to wear out dozens of pairs of shoes before I even come close make it look easy. But I thought that that was really striking about Fred Astair and. My husband David who is a musician from way back. He always talks about the Beatles and how the Beatles played in those German bars for a really long time playing cover songs playing hours and hours every night. And that that brought them together as a band and it’s an example, he uses a lot. Um for the value of practice and while we were at the Jack Williamson lectureship that I was at a few weeks ago yeah I guess a couple weeks ago what is time who am I we the the question came up as it always does um, you know like essentially how do you get better. How do you know when your work is good. how how do you level up? How do you improve your craft How do you um. Get over feeling like your work sucks newbie writers and even experienced writers and ask this sort of question all the time It’s like how do we how do we do this had to change my angle slightly because the sun is coming up I’m running a bit behind this morning. Yeah, although I went to bed early but like I said slept like the dead. So how do we improve and I think this is one of the answers and it’s the answer I always give and it’s not the answer that people necessarily want to hear because. Saying that something just takes a whole lot of time and you just have to keep doing it over and over and over again is not the optimum answer right? It’s not what we want. We want something else. We want the magic pill. We want the here read this book. But I think there’s a huge amount of truth in this that what it takes is a lot a lot of practice and I’ve used the metaphor many times but bringing up here again in case, it’s new to you of running water through pipes and it’s this isn’t mine. Other authors have talked about it that when you first begin writing um your creative pipes are corroded. They’ve been sitting there unused. They’re full of crud and when you first start running water through them and getting the words that come out at the end. The words are cruddy.

I mean that’s just how it is. They’re Rusty. They don’t come out very fast. They’re full of all sorts of stuff right? they’re muddy, they’re unclear. But if you keep running water through those pipes eventually those pipes will flush. And it will get rid of all of that crud and soon you will have clear water coming out. What do you do with the cruddy water doorway put it on the you know reuse put it on the garden. Um I think it is one of the at the risk of sounding like I’m shaking my cane. 1 of the great drawbacks of the ease of self-publication these days is that it’s very easy still in the sun here there that’s better and you could see the for Scythia in bloom behind me. Um, ah, what was oh. Ease of self-publication I mean I self-ublish yeah you know, a lot of people do it’s a great thing. It’s wonderful for income. Ah, the great drawback of the ease of self-publication is that you could publish those books. The ones that come out when you’re first running water through the pipes. Um, you know and some of that’s inevitable I was talking with some other authors of the podcast I did withronda we were talking about that whether we would go back and change things in our first books if we could um. There is a point at which you just have to go with it. You know because it’s it’s not gonna be perfect and you know maybe your twentieth book is the one that’s gonna be really good but I do think that you have to resist the urge to publish the first stuff you write and certainly this audience of writers at the Lectureship. We’re kind of shocked to discover that Dorinda has a bunch of trunk books and they asked what that meant and it’s like books that are in our trunk and well never come out I have a couple of unpublished books I’ve one that one day I will maybe rewrite. Ah, it. Could be that the idea was too ambitious for where I was at the time and now I will come back around to it. But the thing is is that we have a tendency to want to preserve everything we write because of the effort that we put into it and. It’s not always the best impulse sometimes that means that you should ah you know not be afraid to put a book in the trunk. So 1 thing I was noticing is um oh hold on a moment here.

Was my mom texting me I’ll text you back in a moment mom. She’s awake. Um, so um, excuse me I did a reread those of you who have been following along consistently. Know that I did a reread of the heirs of magic books. So I read the prequel and then the first 3 books in the series and I just finished the one over the weekend as I was heading to Tucson I think I finished it on the plane and then. That was when I started Connie Willis’s stories and read those over the weekend I really do recommend that firewatch collection. It was excellent. Some stories have stood the test of time far better than others and my stepsister hope plans to read it as well and we shall discuss because I’m interested to know what she thinks. Um, and I’ve I’ve talked about that a lot you know how do we know? what’s going to stand the test of time and I know creators artists and so forth who really try to I don’t know game it try to do the thing that will stand the test of time you know and. Ah, be universal on all of this and sometimes I think you just don’t know you don’t know what’s going to stand the test of time and I’m I’m interested to discuss with her the reasons why I think some of these did not whereas others have so but you know all same writer. All at the top of her game. So it was interesting for me reading the third book in airs of magic the one that came right before this the dragon’s daughter in the winter mage. Um I knew people had received it a little differently than the others. And it is a different book and it’s interesting to think about because it’s different in tone than the first 2 and I didn’t do that on purpose. But I think a lot of it had to do with what was going on in my life as I was writing it. And it’s this push pull right? that I was thinking well some people would argue that that was a mistake of mine that I should have made more of an effort to consider the market and design that book. To match the others in the series and to match the market but at the same time I feel like as creators right? We are um as I often say we are not making widgets. Um, if i.

Wanted to make widgets I would probably be doing that which I don’t I think that sometimes the stories what comes out when we tell a story is we have to be authentic to that. You know it is what it is. That’s what’s coming out of our subconscious self I reading that book I was recognizing themes. Um, just stuff that was going on and in some ways it’s a. I don’t know maybe a sadder book a little bit darker book. Um, it’s certainly not sad or dark overall but it is not as fun and lighthearted as the others and and there were reasons for that and. You know I think that those things are going to bleed into our work unless we really separate it out. Um I think that um. Yeah, you know we’ve been talking lately. My family was talking about it over the weekend. You know, just how different our world is with social media. So I’m more aware of things that people have said about this particular book because I just see the conversation about it or I catch things. That people don’t say like somebody tweeted me and said that they were surprised that this book didn’t sell as well as some of the others that the first 2 books in this series were their favorites of anything I’d written which is great. Thank you I love I love that but I did notice that she didn’t say the third book and it’s It’s different it’s a different book and I did see one review by accident where somebody had said just skip this one because nothing happens and it anyway and you know reader’s prerogative. Absolutely you know if you feel like that’s the best advice to give then sure give it. Of. Where am I going with this I will I’ll see and I do this as a reader too where I’ll say well I didn’t love this. What is much you know I I wish that the books had stayed the same as books one 2 3 in this series or whatever but you know what.

Sometimes what comes out is what comes out and and I don’t think that I can regret that. Ah, some of that has to do with growth as as a creator right? You know it’s that this is the water that came through the pipes at this particular time and the pipes are me. Right? So unless you are an Automaton or able to separate yourself entirely from who you are in your life which I don’t know maybe a sociopath can do that.

wren’s that beautiful, beautiful spring song. Um, yeah, that though even if the water running through your pipes is clear of mud and rust and other things lead that come out of whatever kind of pipes you have um. It’s still gonna be flavored by those pipes and that’s that’s part of being a creator and on that note I will sign out I hope that you all are having a wonderful week and I will talk to you all probably Thursday you all take care. Bye-bye.

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