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.

Finding Solutions to Conflict – in Life and in Fiction

Lonen's War Book Cover

I received a very interesting set of questions on Facebook from a reader who just finished reading WARRIOR OF THE WORLD. They’re such good questions that they deserve a thoughtful answer, so I decided to do that here. I hope she doesn’t mind! 

She said:

…one of the things that I feel like you do extremely well is create empathy for both “sides” of a war/ disagreement/conflict. In art, as in life I see most often empathy/sympathy being created with blame/making the other side the “bad guy”, etc. You seem to…skip that part? So this is a two part question:
1. Do you find yourself able to do that within your own life? (like are you less of a blamer, more of a solution finder – I’m working so so so hard on that with my kids and am interested in the HOW of it)
2. And two, HOW do you do it, first within yourself, and then secondarily, how do you WRITE it so that I, as a reader, don’t find myself coming down overly hard on one side – how do you make the gray the overwhelming tone, rather than the black and white?

So, here are my answers, plus a few more thoughts.

  1. I would say that I’m more of a solution finder than a blamer. I’m an INTJ and the Thinker/Judger very much plays into a lot of how I approach life. I’m pretty good at stepping back and taking an analytical, less emotional view of a situation. I think that kind of objectivity and critical thinking is key to problem-solving. It’s not always easy – and sometimes I have to wait for the initial emotional storm to blow through before I can get to that place of greater objectivity (none of us can ever be fully free of bias) – but once I can reply the situation from their point of view, then I can get closer.
  2. Part of being a storyteller is being able to tell ALL sides of a story, so that’s part of how I do this, both in fiction and in real life – I look at how I’d tell the story from THEIR point of view. In life, one my mantras is “compassion and tolerance.” I don’t always *practice* this as well as I’d like to, but if someone pisses me off in traffic, for example, I try to imagine the person driving that car is one of my closest friends, who I adore, but who is a TRULY TERRIBLE driver. Or I imagine their story – they just had a big fight with their spouse, or they’re sick and feel miserable and just need to get to the store to pick up their prescription. That makes it much easier for me to forgive their behavior and move on. One of the truths of life is that everyone is struggling with something. We may not know what it is, but we can either try to find out (not always practical) or imagine what their story might be (always an option). So, I think as a writer, what I do is give you a window into the story of the people on the other side of the conflict. I suppose that, in my heart, I don’t believe in good or evil – I think everyone does what they do for what they see as very good reasons of their own. Some of those reasons have horrible consequences for other people, but they do have them. Understanding those reasons helps us to cut off their actions at the root.

Looking at the story in WARRIOR OF THE WORLD, part of what I wanted to get was the female perspective on war. I think a whole lot of war – both in real life and in fiction – tends to be driven by male aggression. It’s not across the board, but I think it’s a strong driver, particularly in this century when so many wars have been driven by political ambitions and corporations wanting to monopolize resources. The war pending in this book is about controlling scarce resources, with those on the lean end wanting to attack those with plenty. The women in the book point out that just because one arm of a society is aggressive, however, doesn’t mean that everyone in that culture feels the same. A large part of any society gets dragged along with whatever the leaders decide – and often those being dragged along are women, children, the elderly, and those unable or unwilling to be warriors, for whatever reason. I think this was maybe different in other wars. I like to imagine the women of the American Revolutionary War and Civil War were much more involved because those were conflicts that directly impacted daily living and quality of life.

Now, men often criticize women writers for focusing on what they perceive as minutiae. Naturally, however, the person who sits down at table to consume a meal has a very different perspective than the person responsible for putting three nutritious meals on that table every day. This doesn’t have to fall out along gender lines, but it often does, particularly in the last century. When you have pretty much one gender in another country fighting a war and the other back at home, then you know which one is thinking about the daily minutiae of living. So, in this story, I wanted to deliberately draw that out and have the women of the family say, “Hey, who are you raging at? Do you think the babies and eldsters want to attack you?” They’re taking that position of recognizing the other’s story.

This is something that’s important to me as a person and as a writer, which is part of why I love the trope of enemies-to-lovers. That’s part of why I put LONEN’S WAR at the top, though I also explored similar themes in THE MARK OF THE TALA. That LONEN’S WAR cover encapsulates a great deal of that theme for me – of confronting the supposedly monstrous enemy and coming to not only understand them, but to love them. That whole Sorcerous Moons series is about two warring cultures coming together in part by learning each other’s stories. 

How’s that for a long answer?