First Cup of Coffee – February 12, 2024

Happy (almost) Mardi Gras! I’m talking planning author finances over the longer term, offering some predictions on the rise and (inevitable, eventual) decline of Romantasy, and looking at the 10 year anniversary of THE MARK OF THE TALA.

Writing Believable Scenes

We had big fun at Beastly Books yesterday celebrating FaRoFeb! The delightful Vela Roth came up from El Paso, and A.K. Mulford and A.J. Lancaster joined us online from down under. The panel was also broadcast on Instagram Live and you can find a recording of it on the FaRoFeb Instagram account.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is “How do you make your love scenes believable?”

By “love,” I assume the asker means sex – though how to make the confessional of heartfelt love feel earned and not pasted on or saccharine is an interesting question. But, in truth, the answer to both, or even really ALL scenes – love, sex, fight, daily conversation – believable is to ground them in character.

This is true whether you are a plot-driven or character-driven writer. Stories are about the emotions of the people in them – what they want, what they can’t have, what drives them to chase what they want anyway. So, a fight scene is never just about the choreography and who wins or loses. It’s about what that win or loss MEANS to the characters, what impact their injuries might have on them beyond the physical.

Likewise, a sex scene is never just about tabs and slots fitting together. It’s about emotional intimacy, what the sexual interlude means to the characters. It has nothing to do with whether or not multiple orgasms are believable or making first-time encounters awkward or including realistic body noises and accidental passing of fluids and gases. Those things might factor in if they relate to the characters’ emotional lives, but by themselves, they don’t change anything, one way or the other.

Because believability comes from emotional truth, regardless of everything else.


First Cup of Coffee – February 9, 2024

More foreign rights news, this time Russian! Also a fun panel on Romantasy tomorrow at Beastly Books and Instagram Live. And thoughts on influencing social media algorithms being the new superstition.

In Our Romantasy Era

Join me next Saturday, Feb 10th, 4:00 – 5:30 PM ET/2:00 – 3:30 PM MT for a super fun panel: “In Our Romantasy Era” – how and why romantasy stories are resonating with readers and authors today. The event will take place in person at Beastly Books in Santa Fe, NM and online on Instagram live @farofeb and @beastlybooks418. Should be a great conversation!


First Cup of Coffee – February 4, 2022

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

Today is say it with me today is Friday um, February fourth I knew that why did I look I knew what it was but look anyway. Um yeah, chill me here. And Santa Fe this morning we were in the negative digits when we woke up, but my our outdoor thermometer is showing ° now but the sun’s shining on it. Everything here is about sunshine people tend to be confused that it’s cold in New Mexico but we are high altitude. Um, my house is at about 6 60 8 hundred feet and we get snow and we have mountains and it’s not all hot desert quite a lot of New Mexico Northern New Mexico is like foot pills and mountains. It’s always surprising to me that people don’t know that. But of course there are people who also think that it’s Mexico so there you have it? Ah so happy that it’s Friday um I ended up not going to the dinner last night I wasn’t feeling great I was feeling a little. Rundown on headache and you know in this new world. It’s like well if I feel not wonderful if I feel ever so slightly sick like my glance felt a little sore and I thought well I don’t want to give covid to george r um, so. I stayed home. Also it was really cold out and I was um, you know I’ve become a wimp I’ve become a deliberate wimp after living in Wyoming for 20 years when we. Forged through all kinds of terrible weather when we dealt with um, you know, drove through white out on black ice. Um everything I mean basically living where we especially where we did in Wyoming but I think it’s true of a lot of Wyoming. You know if you let the winter weather stop you. It’s going to stop you from doing anything at all, you know you go out like two or three months of the year so you know you get really tough about it. But it’s not fun. David and I often talk about the sort of the Wyoming. What’s I want to say aesthetic and that’s the wrong word. Um credo manifesto value.

More maybe it’s a more of this um of being tough. You know like you’re very tough and you put up with all of the difficulties of the weather and not having some things not having conveniences and it’s ah it’s a measure of character that you. Put up with all of this stuff and and people kind of compete with each other for like how terrible something is. It’s like oh you know let’s live. They’re like oh I just came up this road with black ice and it was white out and I couldn’t see. I was having to drive by the delineator posts which are the posts along the side of the road. You know that have the little reflectors on them I have driven by the delineator posts more than once because you can’t see the edge of the road or the line on the road. So you’re marking. You know hoping you don’t go off the road in between delineator posts. That’s why they’re there and so oh I had to drive by delineator post to get there and someone else be like oh well that’s nothing I had to go over Togwotee pass and you know blah blah blah blah blah it’s um, it’s a weird kind of competition for who’s overcoming the most. Difficulty. So when we moved to Santa Fe it was just ah, almost an indescribable relief to live somewhere that was not so harsh where the ground. You know, like even if it’s ° here and ° in Laramie Wyoming it’s a totally different ° because the ground stays where we’re here and all of our house plants started growing larger I mean it’s just um, just amazing. But we have snow occasionally. But rarely enough that like when it is really bitter weather which you know last night there was a wind chill advisory out I don’t think they ever give maybe they do maybe they do now but like in Wyoming they didn’t give wind chill advisories because you were just gonna tough it out but you know like here they give a. Ah, windchill advisory and that’s like why go out why leave my house if I don’t have to I don’t want to so funny funny stuff so let’s see um so yesterday yeah I don’t know what was my deal yesterday. Um I did not get my 3000 words reader. There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth I got 578 words although I did see somebody else proposing a challenge saying um, who wants to you know, try to get at least 500 words today.

And I and it made me feel better because I thought well at least I already got 500 words so I got um it was a very slow first hour of writing 530 words and then the second hour I got 48 words and I admit I did start dorkking around because I just um, either the manuscript is pushing back or I was tired or both. But anyway I hit something of a wall I meant 86000 words I’m guessing this manuscript is gonna be 106000 so um, I’m gonna see what happens today I’m gonna poke at it I am at a penultimate climactic scene. Obviously if I’m at 86000 words I’ve still got that I’m expecting 106000 we can do that math right. About 20000 words to go and I just have to have it done by February eighteenth so my cheerleaders are all like you can do this. You’ve got this I do need some time to revise it. So. So yeah, I’m I’m kind of at my climactic action scene and. Ah I don’t know how they’re gonna do it I don’t know how they’re gonna do the thing they need to do I kind of know what happens after this I’ve got an idea for a number of things that will resolve after this and even Darynda was saying you know it’s too bad. You don’t write out of order. And and I said you know I was even considering that I was feeling stuck enough that I was considering maybe I will skip this scene get to the outcome write the rest of it and then come back and figure out how I get to the outcome. But I think I’d have to rewrite it. I think I’d end up rewriting too much of it because too much changes as I write. Do you know and like the emotional arts changes. That’s that’s 1 reason why I don’t write ahead because it just um, it doesn’t blend later. So. Thinking hard about that and I think I I don’t know it feels like um you know it’s this interesting. It’s probably not interesting to watch me sit here and gaze off into space. But I’ve sort of been um, doing this for about the past. Not quite 24 hours but 22 hours mulling over this There’s something that needs to happen in this scene and and I may be overthinking because I feel like it needs to be more actiony you know, like yesterday.

And I’m sorry I didn’t talk to about it till the end of the podcast but I find it very interesting watch I’ve completed the first season of the expanse which adapts about the first half of leviathan wakes. Except to make sure to put my s on the right part I don’t know why I want it to be leviathan’s wake does not mean the same thing maybe Leviathan’s wake should have been like the last book but tying Daniel didn’t ask me and it would have confused everybody. It’s a terrible idea Jacky um. In the wake of the leviathan will be my next book. Dear Leviathan is not asleep. Ah, okay, so so yeah I I guess I’m feeling I’m really noting the ways in which the. Dance series amped up the action and the tension making things much more 1 thing after another and I know some of that is the visual medium because and and people say oh, it’s such an exciting show. And I’m not someone who normally looks for excitement. Um, but oh by the way you know it’s I’m I’m almost certain I’m right about season when ending halfway through Leviathan wakes they did take in some stuff from. Later books in the series like I was reading this in the trivia anyway, um I am Db Trivia is my friend so they took some stuff and characters from the second season and added them in ah to because it was like context that was only revealed in internal monologue. And good for them. They did not resort to the much loathed voiceover I really do not like the voiceover as a of solution I’m not sure anyone does sometimes I suppose it can be done well. But for the most part it’s like and then. I wrote you know ers was thinking this I don’t know it was it was neat to see the visualization of stuff that occurred only in internal monologue like um, Holden’s family and I do like the addition of alma of the ambassador. Um I’m not sure exactly what her. Don’t remember what her title is but it does give that perspective of earth and I think it does help connect people to give them a frame of reference since we are currently earthbound as a species. So.

But I’ve I’ve know that where it season one ended was I noted that it was midpoint in the book as I was reading because I thought it was an interesting choice for midpoint. That’s the author brain doesn’t to quite kick off and I almost always notice midpoint of the book I notice. The first 25% is what they’ve put is the climax and what stakes they’ve set by then and then I noticed the midpoint those are the 2 things that no matter how caught up I am I always noticed that part and it’s always interesting to me when neither one is notable I was like oh but. Leviathan wakes midpoint was like okay this is turning point in the story I know that they also worked with Melinda Snodgrass who is really great at 18 react structure and does plot breaks according to it so she’s going to have a little session for us. In a couple of weeks and I’m very interested to learn from her. So yeah I guess I’m I’m thinking because I feel like this needs to be a more action-y scene that I’m making it because I always I don’t know why I always try to make things be Maybe it’s because of who I am as a person you know it’s like I always try to I always do the Taoist approach email the what? ah you know, asking myself. What am I really trying to win here but in fiction. There is a real stake and something that they’re trying to win and I think I know need to I know what needs to happen. It’s just funny. You know you would think that it’s like okay I think it needs to be boom boom boom point five five action action. This is what I need to write and then when I try to write it. It just goes new. Ah, ah you think I could just make myself type the words. But for some reason it just doesn’t work that way I guess maybe because spinning the story is more than typing words. There’s a take home message for you. You guys can that can be my tagline so anyway um yeah so I’m teaching the workshop tomorrow I mentioned that yesterday there is a link to register in the show notes. Um, transcript is working so I’ll do that I noticed that um on my free trial of this pro version of it that there’s like things I can do. There’s like an intro and outro or I could do like dramatic piano.

Or drums. Oh It doesn’t let me do it while I’m Recording. Ah or I could do the ballpark the drums not funny I feel like this is not on brand for Me. Could do Traumatic piano.

So anyway, maybe who knows if I do the pro version. Maybe I will actually become more pro. The transcript is probably worth it right? $20 month yeah ah but but pop up. So I’m forging on right when I go back and revise I tighten up the tension too. I I tend to add in more conflict and more ticking clocks. So I don’t know if I’ll talk about that in the workshop tomorrow. We’ll be live streamed a couple people will be there live on site but otherwise it will be live streamed I will try to answer questions. It’s kind of funny because I do have a talk planned but then Twigg. The beastly books manager. He’s so funny I could tell you like what he texted me I mean I’m just there for like it’s an hour long talk right? and then have an hour for questions and stuff just in case and um. He says I’d love to hear about your process examples who you read for information for inspiration how you got started etc. These are simply suggestions and I fully trust your expertise on how you want it to flow and it’s like well I can talk about all of that stuff. But it’s actually not the topic of the workshop I could. Spend a long time talking about all of those things. So anyway, um I will try to start out with that frame of talking about how you weave romance into sf f and then if you have questions out there. You can let me know ahead of time I’ll say. If I can incorporate it along with twigs long list of things and yeah, yeah should be fun I have a very busy day tomorrow I have like wall to wall meetings tomorrow culminating in this workshop. So. Will attempt to be full of perqutute. Um and we’ll see how I do I’m moving this book forward. Yeah, all right? So let’s see do I have anything else to report to you guys I think I don’t um. Ah, can’t tell you that things are looking up for Grace and her husband he should be discharged from the hospital today and they have a plan going forward. So the the worst crisis is over at this point cross our fingers.

Grace is very hopeful that this will not happen again. I’m hoping that for her too because she needs to get some sleep and retro books not necessarily. You know in that order. So if you listen to this grace darling. We are all thinking of you. You know that because I’ve been talking to her but ah. Other people are as well. So and wishing best Mr Draven so um so yeah I hope you all have a wonderful weekend I hope it is both restful and productive in whatever proportion you need that to be and. I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – February 3, 2022


Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Oh and I didn’t even sip from it because I started thinking. Ah, excellent today is Thursday February Third Twenty Twenty Two 2 3 two zero to 2 hope you’ll are working on those manifestations right Um. Love goes out to Grace darling this morning. She posted a Facebook that she’s dealing with medical emergency with Mr Draven and so far things are are okay-ish but sending her good thoughts and sending him. But that’s. I did talk to her last night and this morning. So um, she’s holding up. She’s holding up but she could use support. Um, so here we are. Thank you all for the kind messages about the transcript. I believe that it’s recording the transcript again today I don’t see it doing it I’m gonna pause. Well, it’ll be an experiment. It seemed to me like last time it showed me that it was going to do the transcript but maybe it just doesn’t automatically I may have to toggle the settings. So all in all, it wasn’t too painful. Um I did edit 2 things. First of all, it spelled Jeffe J E F F Y I noticed that the um auto captioning on Instagram does the same fucking thing. It’s not Jeffe with a y like family circus. Jeffe with an e thank you? What was the other thing. Oh it didn’t handle the numbers well because when I said something about it being 2 2 2022 it did like um T O O T O and then I don’t know it it barfed it up. So I had to fix that other than that I didn’t really read it. It exported it allowed me to export to text and I changed the text wrap. Um and for using the formatting and text editor and then I just pasted it into the blog post. So um.

So Yeah I know a few people read it and and seemed Happy. So Apparently it was at least Semi-coherent. It doesn’t add as many periods as I think there should be so something about the pacing of my speaking. Does weird things with grammar which is not surprising to me at all because like grammar is just so not my thing which is probably surprising because I I do write very clean I should be specific. Punctuation is not my thing. Um. I Do not have strong opinion opinions about Commas Periods Semicolons colons most of them I do know how to use most of them I choose not to I know some people have like a passionate a love affair with semicolons I don’t understand. How you can have emotions about punctuation Frankly I like to sneeze there That’s God punishing me for not having emotions about punctuation Apparently Commas Commas I Actually do not believe there are real rules about commas people try to make up rules about Commas. I Think that’s why people and love the Oxford Comma because it’s like a Comma rule that they understand It’s my opinion I know that a lot of people don’t agree with me but it’s like all the other Comma rules seem to me optional because it’s always like well except and when and. Some people say you just put a comment in whenever you would have a natural break when speaking and other people say no, that would be wrong. Um, like I said I don’t care I almost never argue commas with copy editors unless it’s a situation where I really want that. Brief break before the next phrase.

So um, what else What’s going on. Got my three thousand yesterday it was really nice because I got a thousand before I met up with Duranda we start meeting up again. Um, she’s logging through that book you guys. She’s working away on it. Oh I did successfully um, move the release date for gray magic it is set now for February Twenty Eighth I can’t move it again or Amazon will come to my house and. Take away my cats and paint a big scarlet letter of some sort I was trying to be with either there but I I don’t know what letter it would be. It would be like um shirker or something a scarlet s on my garage. It’s funny because and and I’ve mentioned this but Amazon is the. Only retailer that punishes us for not for moving our release state when we have a preorder and they’re like to main turn or good customer experience. So they’ve backed off on the strictness of it so they let me move the release state for gray magic to February Twenty Eight and I did get the scolding notice saying we let you do it. You pushed it again. Oops you did it again and but we are not going to punish you this time. But if you do it again. You won’t be able to do pre-orders for a year and you’ll lose your pre-orders which is. Point that dund is in and she says um that she does not care because she’s not gonna do any preorders for which I don’t blame her for some people you guys I just looked at this and like it stopped recording again and I have no idea. When it stopped I’m gonna have to like glue my eyes to this countdown I don’t know if there’s I don’t even know what I did this time. It’s weird it’s weird I don’t know why it’s doing this and I I have no idea. Where I was what I was saying um so we’ll just bullet point. The recap here. Ah I wish it was an easy way for me to look back at what I was doing without like having to stop and splice. But I can’t. Um, anyway, you’ll hear me talking about it but storm princess I’ll set that new release date I realize for gray magic I have to still do the description and get the tagline to revven.

Because the cover’s still temporary. You know it’s just funny. You know like all of these little things. All of this businessy stuff. It’s been great for me to finish my words earlier in the day because then I have the whole afternoon to do business and that makes a huge difference. Today. However, reader will not be 1 of those days because I overslept I slept till six thirty and so I have not written any words yesterday before I met Duran I think I said this already but I already got a thousand before I talked to her and so then I was done. Um. By like noon which is ideal. Yeah I was done by 1130 and that’s just um, checking make sure the clock is still going. Um, that’s just the best. Oh if I could do that every day I would be very happy. Um. But so it goes not doing rider coffee today because we’re doing rer coffee dinner this evening. Also we got a fair amount of snow and it’s very cold. So everybody’s tucking in this morning. Oh. And then the other thing is is I do have a link now to the workshop that I’ll be teaching on Saturday I’ll be teaching it at beastly books here in Santa Fe but they’re limiting the attendance to 6 in person people. Um. And I think I said this before but because I don’t like talking to an empty screen. It’s the worst I really like to if I’m teaching I have to be able to see pay faces and okay I’m pausing I wonder if my previous pause was when I sneezed and I forgot to unpasuse. Or it didn’t quite unpause. You know how like if you’re in a Zoom meeting and sometimes it like mutes without you realizing it because there’s the keystrokes I didn’t move the keyboard today I should have but we won’t keep pausing I’m getting too free with that pause button. Ah, but anyway the workshop will be streamed online live so it’s going to be at 3 p M mountain time on Saturday February fifth so if you want to um, join the in and watch it live then you can ask questions and stuff. And I am talking about writing cross on romance or crush on yeah romance with you know sff so I will try to I just got that link yesterday late yesterday I was gonna put it in the blog post by I didn get them time so please um, share share with your friends.

It’s free and could be a lot of fun. It’s always more fun if there’s more people there. So um, I’m going to make myself 1 more note getting free with that pause button resume fun. I swear I have got I’m not gonna pause this time but I will tell you guys on my to do list I have 1 2 3 4 pause 13 141516 17 eighteen I have 18 items under business. I categorize my to- do list in an an attempt to balance my day I don’t know how well it works. Um I have some things I put timing on I try to keep sifus stuff to 30 minutes to an hour a day um it doesn’t always work out that way I try to do like an hour on finances every day and then I have doing the blog post and pointing. You know when posting it and then I have appointments and and business. And then household I also have a household and then promo which I really need to I always end up like moving I’m supposed to spend 30 minutes on promo every day not counting podcast promo and I haven’t been doing that and I really need to um. Really need to get that a plus marketing figured out on Amazon I have like Tiktok videos to watch on how to do tiktok not participate in pick Tiktok. It’s um, yeah, just sometimes feels like more more than I can get to. However, the good news is is I got. All of the royalties crunched for January paid all the bills yesterday got those funds dispersed. So that’s always a good thing. Get all that stuff sent out but that is 1 thing about my unplugging on Sundays I could tell it’s really good for me. But. It’s like a lot of times on Sundays I was doing all that business catching up and but and I ended up having so many meetings on Saturdays now that I’m not getting all of that business stuff done on Saturdays but you know like last Sunday I didn’t go online at all and i. Went down to tomayall with my friend Katie Laden and we did spa and lunch and it was all very relaxing but it was like there were a lot of things on my to-do list that didn’t get done how how do you how do you handle that you know right.

I guess you face the fact that some things on your list aren’t going to get done. Um I sometimes feel like I need a second assistant because Assistant Karine is very busy and so she hasn’t been able to get to everything anybody want to do anyone want to figure out Amazon fucking a plus marketing for me. That would be awesome who would pay you I would pay you anyway, let’s see what else Um, but but bu boom but boom I think I was not paused for very long because there hasn’t been that much elapsed time. Have a sifwa board meeting this afternoon. Um go sif what hasn’t been too bad but I I feel like I’m getting behind on that stuff too. But I don’t know. Got to prioritize the writing of the books right? That’s just just how how it goes. Um, that’s 1 thing that I’m thinking about with this new project Sarah was asking me about timing about it and I was like okay fortunately.

Fortunately I think that um if if all goes well it should be lucrative. It should be worth my time so that will be ah hopefully I mean that’s sort of that that will be the go. No go at this point I think is whether or not. They agree to what Sarah suggests we ask for because it will take a fair chunk of my time and if that happens then we will come up with a code name and and I need to talk with Sarah about how open I should be about. Um, um, and with this other gal with how open I should be about what I’m working on because we know I’m a blabber mouth right? I’d like have to talk about what I’m working on.

Dinner tonight I mentioned with the writer coffee people. It’s going to be with George R Martin will be there and there’s a gal in town whose name I’ve forgotten but I will know it tomorrow and I will tell you guys about dinner. So that should be fun even though it does mean leaving my house in the cold and snow sacrifices must be made so okay, well I guess I don’t have tons of stuff to say today and I do have tense to do so I think I will hop off. Slightly early apologize for like bloopers again, what is with this week I blame all the twos the twos and threes what do you think I mean well the first one was on January thirty first but clearly something is like. Going backwards or forwards retrograde or andterot grade or dorsal grade. Oh I should mention that um I have been watching the expanse and you know what? and this is a whole huge topic. So maybe I’m not leaving quite yet but it’s been very interesting to see ah a good instruction in storytelling. To see how the screenwriters adapted the book to the series and if you are interested in tightening your stories and amping up tension conflict and action. What I suggest you do is read Leviathan’s wake no I always want to do that leviathan’s wake it’s leviathan wakes by James I say Cory Ty Frank and Daniel Abraham read the book. It’s it’s a it’s a book worth reading. Ah. I could quibble some choices but you know we can always quibble some choices they did a great job writing this book it very interesting to me one of the things I objected to about the book is they went with this kind of noir tone and it takes place in the belt which is like a very blue collar place of that. Asteroid belt around Jupiter and saturn sort of in those outer planets maybe just around saturn and lots of miners and workers and that sort of thing and they call them the belters. So. It’s a really wealth out out world and very interesting that way.

But because I think it’s because of the duwar theme There’s like tons of references to prostitution and it’s always female, always female prostitution and I think it’s because like they have this very noirre detective and so they’re like sort of ran with that theme. But very interestingly in the adaptation to the series. Um day they took out a lot of that there are occasional references to sex workers. But it’s handled in a much more I don’t want to say woke. But. It’s handled much better and there’s references to both male and female sex workers and even a moment where which I aim why wouldn’t anybody tell me how adorable Amos is love that actor where he says it’s honest work. It’s good work and it pays better than other work and I thought oh yeah, but my point and I did have 1 all evidence to the contrary is that it’s fascinating to see I think I do think you should read the book first because then it’s really interesting to see. What they did putting it on the screen. 1 thing they did was they condensed characters and I noticed this happens quite a bit I think that happened with a song of ice and fire becoming game of thrones and I think it’s a good lesson for writers. It’s. You know why did you bring in this new character when you could have used this other character and that’s what this existing character especially secondary characters. In fact, almost entirely secondary characters. So it’s fascinating to see how the show did that. Also. It’s really interesting to see the ways in which the show created tension where there was not tension in the books. So like within the initial Crew Holden’s crew is pretty much a happy crew to begin with but the show. Has initial tensions there and I think it’s to keep that conflict and interest going to to make it exciting I’m learning a lot from it because I tend to want things to be happy in my books and I don’t introduce tension between characters as much as. Like these screenwriters do so definitely worth studying that kind of thing besides which it’s a really well done show and fascinating to fascinating to see very enjoyable so all right.

On that note I’m really gonna go start getting some my shit done I Hope you all are getting your shit done too and I will talk to you all tomorrow morning you all take care Bye bye.

The Alphahole Conundrum

My books! Spotted in the wild at George R.R. Martin’s Beastly Books.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is “Sex on the Beach & Sand in the Wrong Places: What’s your favorite bit of pop-culture fiction doesn’t work well in reality?”

For the record, I’m going to put out there that you CAN totally have sex on the beach without getting sand in the wrong places. It’s not even that difficult. Are these other people rolling around in the sand with sticky parts first?? I can’t even.

Anyway… Come on over for my thoughts!