First Cup of Coffee – March 24, 2022




Transcript
00:00.80
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Ah happy chair dance. Today is Thursday March Twenty Fourth only a week of March left and which means that the first quarter of 2022 is almost gone. How did this happen. We don’t know it’s a mystery. I always love that line in Shakespeare in love with the I can’t think of the afters name but the date owner where he’s like it’ll work out. People are like how how and he’s like I don’t know it just ah yeah, something like that that was probably bad. Ah. Not a brilliant anecdote. There’s another movie quote from you for you. Ah, so my week is going well the ah 2000 words a day is working remarkably well um, I’m yeah on track so far this week we’ll see what happens yesterday Darynda proposed a slight change to our um. Morning routine. So we’re starting at Eight o’clock this morning well almost eight o’clock I there eight o’clock was the plan and then I as you guys may or may not know I don’t set an alarm I wake up naturally which is like something that I cling to I don’t want to have to set an alarm. Now that I’m a full-time writer. It’s like the one gift I give myself. It’s a a special thing for me that I get to wake up naturally otherwise I tend to be a real bitch of a boss so this morning for whatever reason it It’s very interesting if you do sleep on a natural calendar. You will find that and I’ve been doing this for what almost seven years now wow ah your sleep time or at least my sleep time waxes and wanes from night to night. Some nights are shorter and some are longer and last night was a longer night for whatever reason. Um, because as I recall I think I was in bed by like nine I usually I’d start turning into a pumpkin after about eight o’clock and of course the daylight savings time.

02:34.82
jeffekennedy
Has kind of messed that up. But you know my evenings are very low key and I start winding down early and I’m one of those people who falls asleep really fast. So I was asleep for a few hours and then my elderly cat Isabel beautiful fluffy Isabel. She doesn’t get as much press as Jackson does I’m not quite sure why maybe because Jackson was like the kitten and Jackson’s very charismatic and I think feel like Isabel does get short shrift because sometimes people will say well you know does because because. Visitors you know Jackson is so gregarious and so engaging and charismatic and everyone’s well people will say be like well does isabel do anything almost in those exact words you know like is there anything special about her Isabelle’s also a main coon cat and she is blue smoke. Min ku cap and I’ll put her photo on the show notes here. So and I realize I’m going off off topic but hey that’s the brand here at first cup of coffee. So last night. Isabel Isabel is now 16 and she sleeps a lot and she’s deaf and last night every once’s while she wakes up I don’t know if there are nightmares or I’ve tried to look it up and it’s like ah a kind of dementia in cats. Otherwise she doesn’t seem to have any kinds of dementia but she woke up and she was crying and crying. And she has this very loud meow now that she’s deaf and I was sound asleep. But for some reason that penetrated which very little does I’ve often joked or I don’t joke David says that the great thing that he brings to our relationship is that if the house burns down. During the night that he will carry me out of it and save my life because he thinks I’d sleep through it. So this penetrated and I got up and I didn’t know David wasn’t in bed. He’s often up at night. So I went blially out looking and. He like came out of the kitchen and I said where is she and he said I don’t know and she was back in his office and that was at Eleven Fifty five so I’ve been asleep for a few hours and so I picked her up and brought her in. Bed with me which she just doesn’t come do on her own anymore. She used to sleep with me every night but now she sleeps in his office which is the warmest room in the house and I think that’s why I’m interested to see if this changes as summer comes on but we have um, brick floors with radiant heat.

05:21.90
jeffekennedy
And I have the temperature in his office. David’s just I mean he’s skinny skinnier than I am and and he’s just ah, you know as he gets older. He gets colder so the warmth in his office come guest room is. Up there and Isabelle has this little throw rug that we’ve put down for her and it’s this one corner of the floor that she’s figured out is like where the radiant heat gathers. There’s certain places where the floors definitely warmer than others and the cats have found those in their feline way. So she. Spends a lot of time sleeping on that little rug in his office and but I brought her into bed with me since she seemed disturbed and she slept by my pillow for most of the night so that was nice because I know I woke up once around 4 and she was there and I went back to sleep. And normally if I go back to sleep like that it means another hour and a half and sometimes I’ll calculate it because it’s like far is a little early to get up but usually like another hour and a half and that’s right in line with you know, like scientific studies on sleep cycles that a full cycle is an hour and a half more or less. So but then I woke up at six thirty oops so um yeah we’re supposed to start at 8 it’s seven fifty seven now but we moved at tape 15 at my behest during it was ready because she said she wants to. To start and were earlier which is big because she originally for her meeting me at 9 was a lot for her and I had you guys know I track everything you know I was like well you know I’m usually starting by 9 we could just make it be 9 but for me writing wise the earlier I start the better off I am and I do have graphs to show that I get better work counts if I start earlier. So this works great for me. It’s just a little bit of adjustment. Especially after daylight savings time kicking in but it’ll be interesting to see how that works I’m going to keep doing the two k per day this week and then next week I might see if I can go up to 2.5 um, yeah, we’ll just sort of see I’m going to experiment a little bit I’m going to be curious. We have some travel coming up so that’s going to change things around some we are going to go up to Blackhack Colorado.

08:10.51
jeffekennedy
And meet up with David’s siblings for a couple of nights just a little get together and I’m going to do the It’s a it’s a casino hotel thing and I don’t really like and I’m like. But they do have a spa and I’m going to do I’ve been dying for a body scrub and they do a body scrub and wrap so very excited for that and then at on April Seventh and eighth I will be down in portalis. New Mexico fabulous Portales which is ah where Doronda Jones lives ah and it’s down right near the Texas panhandle but it’s where Jack Williamson famed science fiction writers from. And I’m going to be down there and doing some panels and stuff I believe they will also be streaming looks like some interesting panel topics too. There’s a new guy in charge this year David Sweeten who seems to be I haven’t met him in real life yet. But he seems to be just really on the ball I’m really smart and he thinks I’m a great writer so you know clearly he has excellent taste and discernment. So I’m looking forward to this last year I was on a weird panel that it’s it’s this happened. To me a lot and I think it might be the whole crossover fantasy romance um woman writer with kissing in her books is ity a is it really not fantasy confusion but there are certain conferences. Especially these very little ones where I think what happens is that the organizers don’t really this always sounds bad. They don’t know who I am ah and I think this can happen to any of us you know, like there are certain people that they know what they write. But what happens is is if you are a writer that like quivers doing programming hasn’t actually read if they don’t know much about you then they end up sort of sticking you on panels in weird places like I got put on a panel that. Like a great transgressor on this and I’ve complained about it before is mile highcon up in Denver which I like to go up there because I have family up there. Denver’s my hometown. A lot of people in the area I know.

10:55.37
jeffekennedy
I’d like Mile Hi Con but they always put me on these fucking weird panels like once they put me on a superhero panel. You honest like I don’t really write superheroes or not even really I don’t write superheroes at all and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say. And so last year with the old organizer on the Jack Williamson lectureship I got put on this panel on what was it was like writing science fiction or something. I wish I could remember the topic but it was really kind of strange I was like I do not know why I’m on this panel and the bad thing is is there are a couple of reasons for writers to do panels 1 is that it’s fun. Um, some of the. Most gratifying times that I’ve had as a writer is being on a panel with other wonderful writers where we end up having these amazing conversations. That’s the pinnacle because then you get a lot out of it being on the panel. So that’s good reason. Um. Reason that we do it is promo is to know, get ourselves out there um have people know who we are the other reason to do it is to be nice to you know, pay it forward contribute to the community. It’s like and I and a lot of writers view it that way. Because they’ll be like I don’t want to be on more than one panel for the conferences and I’m like really then why are you going? What are you doing there. They’re like oh it’s so exhausting. Really you know it’s like you know they’ll be like I’m on three panels cisconfer and. 1 every day and it’s exhausting like oh well, what do you do all day I know I’m bitching I just think about people who have jobs that you know like where they actually have to work really hard i. Well I will always say that being a writer is mentally draining and you really have to balance that creative flow and be smart about how you do it, especially if you’re a full-time writer or not even especially, it’s I think it’s worse if you’re trying to maintain another career and kids and family and all of that too. You know you really have to balance that energy but you know some of these writers I know for a fact have like never had a full-time job and you know there are jobs that you know like if you are working at it all day long. That’s all it’s a lot It’s.

13:37.90
jeffekennedy
Just you know a lot of running around in meetings and dealing with stuff and I will always say that the most the hardest job I ever had was being a cocktail waitress you know, full stop I am so glad that I don’t have to make my living as a cocktail waitress. Because waiting tables sucks you guys it sucks and it’s really hard and I know that people who haven’t done it sit back and be like well she goes a scurry back and forth between the kitchen. It’s like you have no idea absolutely no idea which is why I always tip well unless somebody really. Sponning it in anyway. So I’m sure I had a pointer in there somewhere I got interviewed on um, was it Tuesday afternoon yeah Tuesday afternoon by the kingdom of thirst podcast Abigail a great interviewer. We had so much fun I really enjoyed her podcast I should go ahead and link to it in here. So that. In fact, I’m going to type that in right now so that you guys can check it out but my old air. And a couple of weeks um kingdom of podcasts but she was talking about this podcast about first cup of coffee and just saying how. Relaxing. It is that it’s zen and I love that I love that it’s she said it’s just like having a conversation with your friend over coffee and it’s just like a nice chill thing to do and I love that I think that’s awesome. So. If I can’t think of stuff to stay say I feel like I can always fall back on the fact that that I’m just offering a zen experience here. Actually really, it’s more of a Dallas experience but we’re not going to to quibble lines there. So um, my point and I did have 1 oh that darinda and I are starting earlier. Um and maybe trying to get our 3 hours done by noon which is great and yesterday I was done by like 1130 and I got more stuff done on the to do list. You guys will be delighted to hear it i. Um, trying not to obsess about like getting everything off the list which I think is helpful. You know it’s that um, you’ll like the measureable goals. The ones that you can actually reach so but I got several things done off the list and so that’s great I got.

16:24.41
jeffekennedy
Bright Familiar uploaded, the audiobook. So just waiting for approval on that and then that will be out soon and other just little piddly things. Oh and so this is where I was had kind of started with all of this I did register for. World con in Chicago at the end of August beginning of September – Chicon. So I am planning to attend that and I also went ahead and registered for world fantasy con in November so planning to be at that and I will be at a polycon. In July so I need to get fact, let me make a note tear put this on my list I’ll get carene to put these appearances on the website.

17:20.45
jeffekennedy
So that’ll be good. So it’s like um, yeah for but but that’s the sound of the ah the world gradually sort of like revving up again. We’re kicking into gear. The other thing that happened yesterday is I got to. Email with an amazing writer someone who I particularly fangirl cut to exchange emails. You guys I can’t tell you what it is yet, but it’s very exciting, very exciting news. Not my career related but otherwise related. So. If you are canny. Your little brains will be thinking about what could this be? Ah yeah, so it was um yeah, particular little fan Girll moment there that I got to email with this writer from my myer. Who I admire I almost never use whom I just dislike whom I once had an editor my quiinsington editor had a special note saying this author hates whom don’t use it. So so yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how shaking it up here. A little bit will do and. Feeling good about things. So on that note I’m gonna go and meet up with the fabulous Darynda Jones and I will talk to you all tomorrow you take care bye bye.

Advice for Introductions at Conferences

Spring is here, which means the start of conference season!

Well, if we *get* to have a conference season this year. Hopefully COVID-19 won’t ruin all of our plans. The SFWA Board met yesterday and we’re planning to go ahead with Nebula Conference at the end of May. We’ve talked with the hotel and put contingency plans in place, but for now we’re still on.

One thing that’s been on my mind to mention for a while is introductions at conferences. People talk about this from time to time, but I think it’s always worth revisiting. Here’s a little story I want to tell you, to explain why this topic is evergreen.

Not long ago, I was on a call with a number of people. One of them was new to the group. We’ll call her Sally. I said, “Hi, Sally! Have we met before?”

She said, “Yes, Jeffe. Like four times.”

Of course I felt bad about that. And I remembered her after that! But how do I remember her? As the person who called me out. My feeling shitty about not remembering her is now the feeling I most strongly associate with Sally.

Introductions are not an easy thing to navigate. And I freely cop to this failing of mine. Yes, it’s a failing, and I’m not getting better as I get older. I’m terrible at recognizing faces. I’m pretty good at retaining names – I’m primarily an auditory learner – and I’m likely to remember obscure facts you tell me about yourself, but I might not put your name to your face. I’m the person at the table who has no idea what the server looks like. I once mixed up Matt Dillon/Matt Damon & Ben Stiller/Ben Affleck, because Something About Mary and Good Will Hunting came out around the same time. Never mind that these people look nothing alike, nor are the movies anything alike – but look at the cadence of the names and titles.

This is how my brain files stuff. I’d say it’s annoying, except that overall it’s a pretty good filing system. I can recall a lot of information and my brain has served me well all my life. I’m a great test-taker. I’m not so great at remembering faces, or if I’ve met someone.

That’s the other thing. I meet a lot of people, especially at conferences. I hit overload pretty quickly, too, often after the first day. I can be a gregarious person, but I’m functionally an introvert. I live in the country where it’s quiet, with dirt roads and no street lights. I can go days never seeing another live person besides my husband. We don’t have many visitors, besides the birds, coyotes and bobcats – and I can’t really tell them apart either.

I know I don’t remember people well, and I’m not proud of it. But I also loathe leaving people unacknowledged. So, I err on the side of reintroducing myself. I’ll usually give my name, and ask if we’ve met before. Most people are super gracious about it if we have. What I love is if they offer me context. Something like, “Yes, we met last year at Nebula Conference and were on the burnout panel together.” Then I’ll be all “Oh, right! And you talked about how you went through x, y, z.” I just need that contextual trigger.

You know how I remember them after that? With pleasure. And I’m more likely to retain that identifier and remember them next time.

One year, when my Twelve Kingdoms series was first taking off, I went to a conference and was introducing myself, as I always do. Only that year, for the first time, when I said, “Hi, I’m Jeffe Kennedy,” the other person said, “Oh, I know.” People, this happened not once, not twice, but at least three times. Maybe more. It was a total conversation killer. I don’t know if they meant it flatteringly – or if they’d heard unkind gossip. But it was most unsettling. I can tell you this, too – some of the most famous authors I’ve met have introduced themselves. I think that route is far better than expecting everyone to Know Who You Are.

So, what’s the advice?

  1. Introduce yourself to everyone you’re not sure you know.
  2. Don’t be shamed if someone says you’ve already met.
  3. Feel free to look at name tags. That’s why we wear them.
  4. Don’t be shamed if someone calls you out for looking at their name tag.
  5. If someone you’ve met before doesn’t remember you, don’t be offended. Don’t call them out. Be gracious. Maybe offer a helpful bit of context for when you met before.
  6. If they still don’t remember you, be cool about it, because this is your opportunity to create an impression with them. Don’t make it a shitty one.

 

Remember: we go to conferences to meet each other and celebrate our shared profession. It can be awesome.