Sarah Younger and Jeffe Kennedy at RWA 2016

At Last: My Big News!

Sarah Younger and Jeffe Kennedy at RWA 2016So, I’ve been making vague remarks about big changes in my writing career life. More than I thought, because a number of people have asked me about it! But there were Reasons I couldn’t say until today.


I’m moving to a new agent and agency!

As of today I’ll be represented by Sarah Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency. I’m super excited about this move. Sarah just celebrated her 80th deal (which just happened to be a fabulous one for my wonderful friend, Grace Draven). She’s also just a lovely person all around – and not just because she loves my books! Here’s us at the Harlequin Ball in San Diego last summer (2016), at the RWA annual conference, long before either of us had an inkling we might work together. 

What’s funny is – and you longtime readers will particularly appreciate this – Sarah read and loved PETALS & THORNS way back when I published it under my Jennifer Paris pseudonym. Let me tell you, finding an agent who’s read your books for pleasure is a fantastic feeling. She really groks what I write and I think we’re going to make an amazing team.

So, as of today I’m bidding a fond farewell to Fuse Literary. I notified them and my previous agent, Connor Goldsmith, back at the end of February that I’d be making this change. My agency agreement with Fuse (like many), required a 30-day notice to wind up business with them. I will always appreciate what Fuse and Connor have done for me. Agency partner Laurie McLean really worked hard to find a place for me in the agency after my first agent (Pam Howell) left. (For those who don’t know, an author signs with a literary agency, not an individual agent, so if an agent leaves the agency, the author has the option of following them to the new agency or staying put and working with a new agent.) In the end, I approached Sarah about moving my work in a new direction. I liked what she had to say and was hugely gratified that she offered to represent me when I asked. 

Big changes like this never seem to be easy, even for the person who initiates them. The last month of conversations and logistics have been surprisingly emotional for me. It’s kind of like filing for divorce and planning a wedding to someone new, all in the space of 30 days. 

Plus there was that whole RITA finalist thing in the middle. 

All good things, but – WOW! – I’ll be happy to settle into a steady, quiet routine again. ~fans self with hankie~

So, stay tuned for news. Exciting days ahead!


Drafy Nest Pich Logo last stageThe submission window for NestPitch NOW OPEN, and will remain open for 24 hours 12-noon 1st April to 11.59am 2nd April (USA EST) There’s no cut off number. Everyone who submits during the window will make it into the contest.

All entries will receive a receipt.  If you don’t, check with Nik Vukoja on Twitter @nestpitch and/or @nik_vukoja

Send your entries to nestpitch @ outlook .com (no spaces)

For formatting instructions and rules go to this post go to:

NestPitch is a contest where participants email their 35-word pitches together with the first 300* words of their (finished) manuscript,(100-word for PBs).

The selected pitches will be featured on these blogs:

Brooke Powell 

Kimberly P. Chase 

Jeffe Kennedy 

Tina Moss  

Amanda Foody 

Dannie Morin 

Sharon M Johnston 

Sharon Bayliss 

Stacey Nash

Then agents, their identities hidden, will leave a request for pages, partials and/or fulls of the featured pitches.

 Entries must be embedded within email (no attachments) with following:



Genre: Category/Genre of Manuscript (i.e. NA Romance)

Word Count: (nearest 1000)

PITCH: 35-word (max) log-line

Answer to qu:

(question: in one sentence, max 15-words in the sentence: If my Main Character were an Easter Egg, what flavour would he be & why)

First 300-words of your manuscript. If the 300th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of the sentence.  For Picture-book submissions please only submit 100-words.  If the 100th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of the sentence.

Please ensure

(i)                 your manuscript has not been featured in another Pitch Competition in the past 12 months – that’s ANY pitch competition (not twitter pitches), from the period April 1st 2013 to 31st March 2014

(ii)               your manuscript IS NOT published.  This INCLUDES self-published.


Our Slush Bilbies & Nest Bloggers will read through the pitches and pick the top 72 pitches for the agent round; April 17th – 18th  

We try to get a good mix of various genres, but the writing comes first. Basically, if the submissions aren’t ready, it’s in your best interest that we pass, the last thing anyone wants is your manuscript to be old & tired from “doing the rounds” before its ready.

More Jeffe! News on Workshops and Pitch Opportunities

026I love how I’m patiently posing for the picture while Carolyn Crane is mugging away beside me.

This was at Ten Thousand Waves and we were all squidgy with relaxation from soaking in the hot tub. Carolyn visited me this last week from Friday to Tuesday and it was so much fun spending time with her. We also hatched Secret Plots that we’re very excited about!

Just you wait.

So, I have some newsy things today. First of all, all y’all who’ve been asking for me to teach a workshop on smexytimes and/or folding origami table lamps? I’m ready! In fact, I have two workshops lined up for you this spring!

These are hot off the press, so the listings may not have come up yet, but here’s the two scheduled so far.

Writing Sexytimes in Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Stories

FFP – April 7-20 –

Sex is a fundamental human experience and arguably the most powerful. The intimacy of sexual interaction can elevate the tension, emotion and visceral impact of most any story. But how do sex scenes best function in the speculative fiction genres?

 This class will cover the basic of adding vivid, sensual and heart-pounding sexytimes to any story. In particular, students will explore examples of sex scenes that enhance the world-building and fantastic elements of any speculative fiction tale. Finally, writers will come away with tools for using sexytimes to enhance and build unique excitement in their worlds. Students will be able to submit short scenes to the instructor or the group for feedback.

Walking that Consent Line

Romance Writers of America, San Diego Chapter – June 2-13 –

BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Submission/Sadism, Masochism) and kidnap/captivity stories are all the rage. But why? Is it all just a kinky fad? No! These questionable consent/loss of control stories are about a deeper, darker aspect of human nature. One that taps into both psychological and story dynamite.

In this class, students will learn where the lines of consent, questionable consent and non-consent lie – and also which genres tolerate how much line-crossing. The role of the reader in giving consent will be examined and students will learn techniques for mining the tension around those lines. Finally, the concepts of redemption and what exactly can be forgiven will be explored. Writers will be able to submit short scenes to the instructor or the group for feedback.

These will both be online workshops, conducted via email loops. I’m really excited to be teaching them!

ALSO, there’s a great online pitch opportunity coming up for those aspiring writers out there. I’ll be one of the author mentors helping you polish that pitch for the fabulous agents who will be participating in NESTPITCH. Check out today’s post to guess who’s hiding behind the Secret Agent Bunny Masks – and a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card! I may know who one of them is, which should be a CLUE for those keeping score at home.

Drafy Nest Pich Logo stg 3Good luck everyone and Happy Friday!

How Not to Talk to Agents

010Jackson loves to sit on the kitchen garbage can to supervise all food preparation. It’s his special stool. So funny.

My lovely agent, the vivacious and Bookalicious Pam, keeps a Tumblr where she generously answers publishing questions. I amuse myself by reading through it. Not long ago, an aspiring writer asked her a question about whether Pam wanted to see a book from a particular genre. The writer said:

Should I send it your way (you are my top pick from Foreward), or to one of the other Foreward agents? Thanks.

*minor note that the agency name is Foreword

This triggered a memory from college. One evening our apartment phone rang and I answered. Now, this was in Ye Olden Days and we had a landline phone with a verrry long cord. Six of us shared an apartment suite with six bedrooms off a super long hallway. We’d drag the phone into our rooms to talk. But we all shared this one phone. I just happened to answer this particular time.

A guy on the other end invited me to a fraternity dance. I only vaguely knew who he was, but I was flattered to be asked. Sadly, I had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t go. When I told him as much, he said “Oh, well how about one of your sorority sisters?”


I mean, not only was I more or less interchangeable with my sorority sisters to him, but he didn’t even specify which of them he might be interested in spending the evening with. Because, well, it ultimately didn’t matter to him, right? He needed a date for the dance and any girl would do.

I think my analogy here is obvious.

You know – I get this. I really do. I felt this way back when I was first seeking an agent. They all seemed pretty much the same to me. One big sorority of faceless people who could bestow the boon of their efforts upon me or not. I wanted to go to the Publishing Ball and I really didn’t care who escorted me.

I just wanted to BE THERE.

One of the things you learn over time, however, is that it really does matter how you get to the Publishing Ball. You can buy your own ticket and go. Maybe you’ll be invited as a special guest. But I can tell you this – if you go with the wrong escort, that can suck way worse than staying home alone. At best you might be miserable. At worst you might get date-raped in the parking lot.

Seriously. I don’t think I’m taking this analogy too far.

So, that’s one piece of it. Pick your agent carefully. It may seem that any one will do, but that’s just not so. And I’m saying this as someone who does not believe in the “Dream Agent” concept. Nor do I believe in True Love. Just as I believe any of us could find any of a number of people to make delightful life partners, I think any number of agents would work out great for a given author.

But don’t treat them that way, okay? I mean, that guy who called me up so long ago clearly didn’t care a whit for actually dating me. He never asked me out again or made any effort to get to know me. So far as I know, he planned to ask out whoever answered the phone in our six-sorority girl apartment. Now, WE all know that he missed out BIG TIME, but he wasn’t looking for a life partner. If he was, he went about it in absolutely the wrong way.

What if I might have been the girl for him? Maybe True Love did await us and we would have hit it off, found a delicious mutual accord and gone on to marry right out of college and have brilliant careers, a scintillating social life and a passel of over-educated kids.

(Hey – I write fiction, run with me here.)

The way he treated asking me out, that one incidental time, ruined that possibility forever. I couldn’t go that night – just as an agent might pass on your book because it’s simply bad timing – and by treating me like I was unimportant as a person and interchangeable with any of my random sorority sisters, he not only blew it with me, he blew it with everyone in my sorority. Because OF COURSE I told them about it. It became a running joke that this guy said this to me.

Agents gossip, too. Especially when someone treats them carelessly, as less than an important individual in their own right.

Something to contemplate.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Making Conversations Be More Than Talking

012It’s a funny thing, living in the desert. Like getting junk mail that so does not apply.

So, you all know that I’ve been busily drafting Rogue’s Paradise, the third book in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy. Well, maybe you don’t breathlessly follow my daily doings and so wouldn’t know, but I am. And – I think this isn’t spoilery – there are *ahem* dragons in it. Because, you know, they were in the first and second books. I’m just indicating the trajectory continues is all.

But it’s funny because, as I deal with the ins and outs of dragons and their role in my overall story, I keep remembering this conversation I had a few months back.

I was at a writers conference and, when I arrived at the area where the workshops were being held, I saw Agent Pam talking to this guy. She spotted me walking up and introduced me to the guy. I can’t recall exactly what she said, but it was along the lines of “Jeffe writes fantasy and [Guy] writes some kind of fantasy, too.” And then she ducked away really quick, which should have given me a clue. But I was freshly arrived, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, feeling generous and friendly, so I made a little joke, something like “oh, one of those, huh, who doesn’t know it exactly what kind of fantasy it might be?”

I mean, come on – I have internet conversations almost every day where we debate if something is epic fantasy or urban fantasy or contemporary fantasy or fantasy romance. It’s not like our stories come pre-pigeonholed.

 At any rate, Guy gives me a look (you know, the mansplaining kind) and says to me, “No, I know exactly what kind of fantasy I write. It’s [insert some way-too-specfic term here].” Seriously I can’t remember what he said, because as soon as the words came out of his mouth, I started to glaze over. Then he proceeded to give me his resume, which largely included his “near-misses” along with the books he had written. A near-miss happens when, say, your book makes it all the way to the second meeting of the editorial team at TOR and they ultimately decide to pass. I total “I coulda been a contenda” moment. Agonizing for the author, yes. Not a good way of introducing yourself.

Writers, of course, discuss and commiserate over the near-misses all the time. But they never count for making you more legit or important. (Pro-tip, there.)

Anyway, Guy tells me about a near-miss. Then also tells me how this prestigious role-playing game (which meant nothing to me, since I don’t know that world) wanted him to write a spin-off of book. He, however, refused! “They wanted to me to write about dragons sitting around discussing war,” Guy said, in a disgusted and dismissive tone. “No amount of money would get me to write about a conversation. I write action!”

Okay then.

So, as I write about my dragons – who are, by the way, not sitting around discussing war, for what it’s worth, though there may be other, similar conversations – I keep hearing Guy’s voice. And thinking how he just didn’t get it.

I mean, yes, write action! That’s great stuff. Nothing wrong with writing action. A good writer, however, can make a conversation into a fight scene. Or a love scene. Hell, look at Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants or Dorothy Parker’s Here We Are. Conversely, I’ve read tons of fight and battle scenes that I skimmed because they were all about the blow-by-blow and contained no emotional tension.

I think that’s why the conversation with Guy keeps coming back to me. The thing is, while the STORY is key, it’s the writing that makes it come alive. Written well, a conversation adds to the overall tension and climactic build of the plot. Written poorly, the most dramatic fight scene can, well, droop and fail to satisfy. 

I’ll leave you with a snippet from the amazing Dorothy Parker’s Here We Are.

“Well, you see, sweetheart,” he said, “we’re not really married yet. I mean. I mean—well, things will be different afterwards. Oh, hell. I mean, we haven’t been married very long.”

“No,” she said.

“Well, we haven’t got much longer to wait now,” he said. “I mean—well, we’ll be in New York in about twenty minutes. Then we can have dinner, and sort of see what we feel like doing. Or I mean. Is there anything special you want to do tonight?”

“What?” she said.

“What I mean to say,” he said, “would you like to go to a show or something?”

“Why, whatever you like,” she said. “I sort of didn’t think people went to theaters and things on their—I mean, I’ve got a couple of letters I simply must write. Don’t let me forget.”

“Oh,” he said. “You’re going to write letters tonight?”

Guy would no doubt disapprove, but something also tells me he wouldn’t get it.

Too Many Tits

Too many tits, erotic romance, Falling Under, Going Under, contemporary romanceLoved this dragon sculpture on the waterfront in San Diego.

So, in the flurry of travel for a weekend-long seminar for my day job in San Diego – which was illuminating, valuable and utterly exhausting – I totally forgot to announce the THING I’d been waiting to announce officially since, um, August. You all pretty much know about it already – that I signed on with Carina for a new trilogy. These are essentially more Facets of Passion books, but full-length novels, which means 2- to 3-times as long.

All you people saying “I wish it had been longer!” – see how I give you what you wish for??

The reason we did not announce immediately is because we – meaning Agent Pam, Carina and I – all wanted to go for a retitling and rebranding of the series. It’s sad on the one hand, because I really did love my “jewel” titles. But readers would see those titles – Sapphire, Platinum, Ruby and Five Golden Rings – and not know that they were erotic romances. I’m no marketing or business guru, but apparently that’s a problem. 😛

Thus, though I snort-giggle at some of the titles out there, I have gone full Borg and have been assimilated.

(You would not believe the cool stuff this ocular implant can do!)

So, I’m delighted, excited and just really pleased to OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE

*clears throat*

*makes jazz hands*

My new erotic romance trilogy:


The books will be

GOING UNDER (July 2014)

UNDER HIS TOUCH (January 2015)

UNDER CONTRACT (mmfflbrg 2015)

When you all get your paws on them, you’ll find that the titles really *do* reflect the stories themselves, which was important to me.

You all know about GOING UNDER already, because I had been calling it Emerald here. And yes, it’s all written. In fact, I’ll be working on developmental edits on it as soon as I finish this post.

An amusing story came out of my critique partner (CP) reviews of the initial draft, which carries a useful take-home message.

See, these books will also be a departure for me, because I’m including the hero’s point of view (POV). The Facets books were all from the heroine’s POV. Going Under, at least, alternates between the hero and heroine’s POV’s. (Probably they all will, but you never know what will happen when I get to actually writing them.) I wrote from the hero’s POV once before, in the fairly obscure Hunting the Siren, but this was my first significant effort to capture a “guy voice.”

Part of his voice emerged in that, at least in the lustful throes of sex, he thinks of her breasts as “tits.” To me, this is a convincingly guy thing. Particularly this guy. It’s a strong word, as these things go. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever used it in a story before – and pretty much not in real life either. Well, one of my CPs (nothing against you, darling!) mentioned, pretty much as her very first comment, that I needed to search for “tits” in the manuscript because I’d used it way too many times.

Taking her comment to heart, I searched for it and found 19 occurrences. In 308 pages and over 82,000 words. Conversely, I used the word “breast” well over 100 times. (Hey – it’s erotic romance. What did you expect?) That’s a 0.02% incidence of tits versus over 0.12% for breasts (I got tired of counting) – an order of magnitude in difference.

But, because “tits” struck her as such a strong word, it stood out.

I guess I mention this because readers will always have their pet peeves. Especially with sexual terms. Sometimes a blog post or Twitter hashtag will prompt people to riff on the words they hate. “Moist” crops up quite often. Surprisingly often, to me, because I don’t have the issue with it that so many seem to.

The thing is – this is something a writer simply cannot control for.

It falls under the “you can’t please everyone” umbrella. It’s simply not worth worrying about. Let the readers have their fun and riff on most-hated words and phrases – heavens know, I have them, too – but don’t write accordingly.

Way too crazy making to fret over too many tits.

I need that on a t-shirt.

Two Turtle Doves, Special Gift from My Agent for You and a Cover Reveal!


Thanks to the sharp-eyed Sullivan McPig for seeing it in the wild and telling me about it!

I’m all breathless.

Finally, on this penultimate day of the Twelve Days of Gifts for all you writerly types who are online today, my lovely agent Pam has a special gift for you! She’s offering a query and first chapter crit to TWO of you! Just spread the word and let me know that you did!

Tomorrow I’ll draw ALL THE WINNERS!

This Stuff Ain’t Stayin’ in Vegas!

hotel viewSo, I’m here in Las Vegas, downtown at the Plaza Hotel. The hotel website referred to the pool as “iconic.” David asked me what that meant and I said probably that we’ll recognize it from movies. We’ve now decided it means “old, but not neat enough to be historic, but you still can’t bitch about it being ugly.” We’ve also labelled the elevators iconic, the strange service and the decades-old cigarette smell. I noticed this morning that a casino hotel on the next block is labelled “legendary,” which suspect means the same this as “iconic.”

I met my Kensington editor, Peter Senftleben, last night. He’s just lovely in person. Agent Pam arrives this morning, so it should be a good time to be had by all. Now I need to work on my presentation for tomorrow!

Also, I’m guesting on the fabulous Suzanne Johnson’s Preternatura blog today, talking about worldbuilding as gardening. Comment to win a copy of either Pawn or Possession!

But first… You guys have to read the joint review Bookpushers gave Rogue’s Possession. Okay, you don’t HAVE to, but it’s the most wonderful, amazing review ever. Just to indulge myself, here are some quotes. You’re welcome.

This is one of the most imaginative, seductive and darkly sensual fantasy romances I’ve ever read.

There is a real emphasis on the characters and the plot as well as the world-building which is explored in much more depth but retains the surreal and dreamy tone with great touches of humour as well as darkness.

This was another great installment that was well worth waiting for. Now I can’t wait for the next one!

The tension between them which I thought was hot and sizzling in the first book, was an inferno for this one!

I stayed up into the wee hours of a workday morning because I was so hooked.

All right. Thank you for indulging me. You may now go on about your business.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Breaking News!!

headerI’ve been sitting on this news for a couple of weeks, so I’m SUPER EXCITED to finally get it off my chest!

You all know how I am – not much for keeping interesting news to myself. Ask me to keep a secret and I’ll carry it to my grave. But fun, exciting news like this, that I just have to hold onto until a Specific Day? Gah!

So, what? You haven’t skimmed ahead yet? You have. I know you have.

Okay, okay.

Fabulous Piece of News #1

The amazing Agent Pam has announced today that she and Laurie McLean have left Larsen-Pomada and are forming their own agency!!


When Pam called a couple of weeks ago to tell me their plan, I didn’t hesitate to tell her I would go with her. I have great faith in Pam and Laurie’s abilities and ambitions. They have exciting plans and I’m thrilled to be part of them. I feel so lucky to have signed with Pam when I did and privileged to be part of this grand, new adventure.

Also, now that the agency-thing has been settled and is public and all….

Fabulous Piece of News #2

With Pam’s assistance, I’ve agreed to a two-book deal with Carina Press for the next Covenant of Thorns books!!! Yes, all you Rogue fans – this means two more books to round out the trilogy! Yay! Looks like Rogue’s Possession will come out around the beginning of October. I know, I know – it’s a long time from the first book. 🙁 BUT, the plus side is that book 3 should come out about six months after that! Whee!!!

All very exciting, isn’t it?

I think so, too.