First Cup of Coffee – June 10, 2022

A bit about how to write back cover copy (BCC), otherwise known as blurbs, and why there’s confusion. Also several kinds of good news for me, plus the fabulous effect of gushing reader recommendations.




Transcript
00:03.77
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! Gracious. This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic romantic fantasy and I’ve lost my first cup of coffee here. We go I was shifting around. Looking for the correct spot to be in. Um today is say it with me Friday woo June tenth yeah good day. I’m still running a bit behind today. Not as much as I was yesterday but um, taking it easy, not pushing too hard. We went for a walk this morning and I did my run so that was great and feeling good feeling good I um. Hope you all are feeling good.

02:09.73
jeffekennedy
I have things eating plants in my garden which is annoying me though. Alas, maybe time for the purge of the rodentia. So um, so yeah I got the book. Uploaded yesterday. It’s ready to go release on Monday woohoo. Thank you. Everyone for all those preorders. They’ve really been going up the last few days now that you know that I’m actually going to finish the series hope you all like it. Um, yeah, so it was good to get that done I had kind of a different day yesterday I did a lot of businessy things did writer coffee um got this podcast up late as as predicted. But I got it up and ended up not going to in-person yoga unfortunately because I had a few things I had to get done. Um, and I’ve still got to finish a few of them today writing that new backcover copy for the covenant of Thorn’s books I need to just plow through it I did look I did peek. At the bcc on the first one and this is one of those weird terminology things because the traditional publishers call it the back cover copy or the bcc but sometimes even with other authors I’ll say bcc and they don’t know what I mean. Um. So it’s clearly industry jargon of limited usefulness and a lot of people call it the blurb and I recall doing that as um, when I was purely a reader when I would you know be looking at stuff and I would say oh you know the blurb. Blurb on the back of the book. But we also talk about the thing on the front. That’s like the pimping from other authors is the blurb right? You know we’re you know, like the during the jones says this is the best book I’ve ever read. We also called out the blurb so it gets confusing. But any rate I need to write those I did do some other stuff for corine so that we could get out the next dispatch from Jeffe’s closet and we’ll do the cover reveal for the Covenant of Thorn’s books in there lizard going by on the wall. Doing his dominance display for me. They do this little thing that looks like pushups and go up. It’s very cute. That’s it. That’s all right? I’m not gonna get your territory so and another cool thing happened yesterday. So I do have this? um.

07:56.85
jeffekennedy
Google Search set up for my name and it it’s of limited usefulness but I get it usually picks up this podcast. It sends me stuff. That’s just mentions I used to do very early on I did like mentions for my book titles. But that ended up being like. Totally not useful. Ah, one thing I learned is that oneword titles are really hard for search engine optimization. They’re really cool and I did them at first but they actually suck for people being able to find your books. And so you’ll like that first book I did with Corina Press Back in the day sapphire which I now have rights back to and need to upload. One thing at a time. Um I used to have a Google search for that because it was early days and I you know I wanted to go in. About my books that people heard and so I had it set up for just sapphire and then got garbage results and I had it sapphire plus Kennedy and then I started getting all these weird Google alerts for mentions of like. Jewelry sapphire jewelry and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that was like everything I would get so finally I just ditched that one but this one brings me um, you know, fairly useful stuff and every everyone’s well it gives us gold gives me gold. So I saw this yesterday. Um, that’s a Reddit’s read that this gal put up a couple of days ago and it’s just so cool I have to share it with you ah, because she said I have found my fantasy romance white whale dark wizard by Jeffe Kennedy and she put it under gush slash recommendation. She says the further I read the more checks on my perfect fantasy romance check-list were ticked off I had to tell some one so my white whale book was an adult fantasy romance with dark themes political intrigue and great smut scenes. The premise was to be in a magical world where the hero and heroine have to be magically bonded for reasons. And either one or both of them don’t want the bond preferably with a heroine who is strong but in a smart cunning way. Not a feisty way and with a hero who is powerful and dominant without being an arrogant arsehole hard checklist 1 I didn’t think I could get all of but dark wizard fulfilled it. And she says the blurb the blurb gives a great feel for the book. However, from reading it, you might think the hero is going to be obsessed with revenge and treat the heroine like crap a common trope but that is not the case he is such a sweetheart to her. He didn’t grow up in high society like her so he sees the horrible laws of the convocation.

13:41.83
jeffekennedy
The government for what they are he sees how unjustly familiars like the heroine are treated and wants to change things. He also respects her knowledge mallet magic and politics. The reason he needed her in the first place to restore his house yet. He is also scary and powerful when needed. And is dominant in the bedroom. So my ideal hero I think that lizard must be down in the leaves. There’s something scrabbling round in there I read the 3 books released so far in four days that is how much I loved this series. Fair warning though, the series is not finished but each book ends in a happily for now. No major cliffhaners and 1 of the really nice things too is like the first comment on there is um, she said jeffe is also a lovely person and somebody else chimed in and said 100% she is amazing. Which thank you? You guys? That’s just warms my heart so I’m I was just thrilled to see that and then lots of comments on there with people saying souls going to read this now. And you guys would not believe my um sales jumped hugely for that book I mean massively just today because I hadn’t been looking at them because I as you know if you’ve been listening. You know I’ve been busy so I went looked at at Amazon and. Yeah, my sales hugely jumped hugely yesterday and or usuallyly two days ago after she posted that and then even more yesterday. So thank you thank you readers who gush like that that makes all the difference in the world and it’s. The kind of thing that you just can’t engineer right? and so this kind of goes back to some of the stuff I was talking about. Um I don’t know yesterday or Tuesday you know like about wanting to create a new book platform that makes this kind of thing happen I think. Understandably authors are wanting to make this kind of thing happen because it’s so great for getting books out there and getting books into the the hands of the readers who will love them I mean that’s that’s what we really want or at least it’s what I want I think um, some authors are happy to get. Just anyone to read them. But I always am looking to get them to the readers who who will love them and I thought it was funny because this the the op that’s what we say on Reddit because we are hip and cool. The original poster.

19:07.45
jeffekennedy
She replied in some of the comments saying that um that she was surprised when she went to goodreads to see that I was not a more popular author it was something like that it it she didn’t mean it mean right? but it was um. So then they were talking about some of my other series saying that they had just discovered me um, somebody else said they’d just gone on a big run of my books. Maybe it wasn’t the O p.

20:17.25
jeffekennedy
Maybe it doesn’t matter exactly what she said I won’t go through this this whole thread.

20:39.21
jeffekennedy
Here I am going through the whole thread. It’s just nice reading all the happy comments. Um, anyway, yeah there there was this reference to like why haven’t I heard of her before I like I don’t know. But um i. It’s always a mystery right? So but it made me happy make me happy of day. You know it’s just um, done. That’s it’s just amazing getting that kind of thing. Um. But you know you can’t you I feel like internet marketers are always trying to create this sort of thing because it does have such a huge impact you know so they’re always trying to do this thing where they like access influencers and get influencers to recommend stuff and gush about stuff and. Maybe this is you know it goes way older because you know it’s like um room the oldversals remember those I’m not a doctor but I play one on Tv and I recommend um, you know it’s that ah someone that you trust. Recommending a thing even if it’s just you trust them because they’re a celebrity you recognize you like the character that they play or or that sincere gushing that I love love love to sing it. It ticked all of my boxes. Um, Grace and I when we recommend books to each other. We often talk about catnip you know oh this is your catnap. So I understand the temptation to try to create this for everybody. But. You know because it’s so awesome when it happens but part of why it’s awesome is because it is unforced and spontaneous and um, people recognize that people recognize the the honest gushing recommendation. It is funny. If you go to that thread and I will link to it. Um, ah hang on I had something in my eye there. Um, and now the flo thought has fled the plot. What was I going to say chich.

25:52.30
jeffekennedy
This one I wish I could rewind hold on now I thought of it sometimes I just need a minute right? have to pause and think ah one of the other things that’s funny about that thread is that somebody else commented popped in there and so. Recommended a totally different author and series and the op was all thanks for the wreck and you could kind of hear in her tone being like but I didn’t ask for recommendations I was here to talk about this book that I love and recommended it to other and recommend it to other people. I didn’t want your recommendation and the recommendation is for these books that are actually do not tick the do not tick the boxes. That’s one of the funny things because the person. Um, let’s see if I could find oh yeah, they said um. I’m a picky reader and really enjoyed it and it seems to align with what you’re looking for. But um, I’ve read that book and reader it does not ah so I mean I liked it I liked it. Fine. It’s a classic. Um. But it’s it’s a phenomenon assistant Carien and I talk about a lot how people just want to be able to recommend a book. They want to be able to recommend something anything and and this particular book is like sixteen years old which is you know, nothing wrong with that. But at the same time It’s like yeah, but by now most people will have I mean there’s going to be some exceptions but most people who wanted to read it will will have read it. Um, green green mentioned that it has been sitting in her tbr pile. Um. Pretty much since it came out ah or actually it’s a different one by that same author that she said that has been in her has been a tbr orphan as we say the books that go into your 2 b red pile and then languish their little orphans because. We somehow never pick them up and you know it’s like after a certain point you know, maybe you’ve read the thing. Maybe you haven’t whatever I also got some. It’s funny I’ll go like for a long time with like. Feel like is anybody out there reading my books I hear nothing and then things will happen all at once but I got a note from my first agency the one that sold ah my original Twelve kingdoms books and they said that my publisher Kensington.

31:30.91
jeffekennedy
Had renewed the serial rights on The Mark of the Tala and and and she said my agent. She’s the head of the agency now. So she just like handles financial stuff on those books for me and Laurie McLean at at fus. She’s great and. Laurie said um she said this is really a great thing for a book as long in the tooth as The Mark of the Tala which I thought was kind of funny and that came out in 2014 so and and i. I asked her I said well what does this mean and I forwarded it to my current agent Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost literary to give her equal billing and I said what does it mean which is funny because at this point in my career. It’s not often that I come across some kind of right sale. That I have no idea what it means and so Sarah said it’s probably for something like radish that the first serial is before publication and the second serial is after but Laurie McLean said something slightly different. She said oh well, it’s probably for. Being excerpted into a book or textbook and which would be really cool. So Laurie is checking to see what it is and I mean it’s it’s like $40 you guys. It’s like it’s not like a so lot of money. But um, it is cool and one thing that Sarah said was. You know that is great although not promising for getting rights backs and I ah I was like I am just never going to get rights back on those books because they they continue to sell and that’s one of the criteria for rights or version is like if they’re no longer in print if they’re no longer for sale. If if the sales aren’t reaching a certain threshold so you know it’s one of those good bad things. You know it’s great that they continue to sell um never getting those rights back but you know since I just got the rights back on ten books I’m busy for a little while so one of my. Big projects for today is to write the new backc cover copy blurb for the covenant thorns books I have to do 3 of them and it’s just not a fun task and I ran out of bandwidth yesterday I started one and if you want tips on doing that. Um. I only have a couple one of them is that you focus on who’s the character. What do they want? Why can’t they have it and you could do it for both characters. In this case, it’s first person point of view. So I’ll write it in that first person point of view and you try to kind of capture the same tone and feel of the book.

37:03.85
jeffekennedy
And then one way that I do it is I just like write it all out first and then tweak it I just sort of like try to get it all down and then fix it ah because otherwise you could just spend forever on it and then I’m going to start going through rogues spawn and. Doing a bit of editing I’d like to get that done today and Monday before I go on this trip and I still haven’t asked if I can talk about where I’m going and what I’m doing. So um I will have to do that today as well. So um, yeah. Should be a fun weekend should be pretty laid back I hope you all are looking forward to a weekend full of all the things you want or empty of the things that you don’t want and I will talk to you all on Monday take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – May 16, 2022




Transcript
00:00.00
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:28.10
jeffekennedy
Delicious. Today is Monday may sixteenth and I am indoors for those of you on video you might be able to tell it sound wise too. We had a gorgeous gorgeous weekend. I’ve got lots of gardening done I am a happy gardening camper and last night we got a backdoor cold front. Um, which brass means it comes from the east. So almost all of our weather comes from the well actually every direction but east um. Northwest south ah, every once’s while we get 1 backing up on us from the east and I posted some photos I’ll put one on the show notes of the hermit’s peak fire near Las Vegas New Mexico not Las Vegas Nevada and we’ve been very fortunate. Even though we could see those smoke plumes from our house. It’s it’s actually quite close as the crow flies as the interstate drives. It’s about an hour but that’s cause it’s weird from here. You have to like actually go to go north on I 25 you have to dip south and then you wrap around. But otherwise like I can see the smoke flu plume from my office window which faces east so we’ve been very fortunate that we’ve had these beautiful clear skies with you know that smoke plume you know every once’s will take get really big really soon. Pop up and I’ve been reflecting on how lucky we are well last night we had all the windows open and that back door cold front came in and lots of smoke this morning. So. It’s also still kind of a pretty cool breeze coming from the East. So. Indoors I am I was just reflecting as I was saying my author of spiel that I wonder if I should change what I say do I even know what I write this has been my thing I’ve never known what I wrote but I just wrote a blog post for the. FaRo gals the fantasy romance gals. It’s sorry I think a gen x enough that I find like the whole file row thing really kind of funny the the eliason of ah you know it’s ah sorry some of that’s from french the eliding. Of of 2 words to make them and to to shortened words I try to keep up with changes in language I’m always interested in changes in language. But yeah anyway I did a blog post for them.

06:14.92
jeffekennedy
Which was way way overdue and and it ended up being like 450 words and I sent it to one of the girls till the set time the set and said that there is no reason on earth why that took me months and months to write. But so it did and. It was on epic fantasy romance. What is epic fantasy romance and basically I was saying well that’s what I write is epic fantasy romance. So just now as I was starting the podcast I was thinking huh how come I don’t say author of epic fantasy romance. Maybe I should because that way I don’t have to like say. 12 different things. Ah because I do think it pretty much all falls into epic fantasy romance.

08:04.32
jeffekennedy
Well thinking that there are few exceptions to that. But I don’t know I don’t know.

08:27.88
jeffekennedy
So yeah, actually it was a great weekend I had 2 meetings both quite short nebula conference is next weekend. So our Saturday meeting was the final nebula conference meeting and. After this things will be considerably better. Looking forward to the conference itself I hope everybody else really loves that the programming is gonna be great. Very excited for everyone to to see it. Ah. Had a meeting yesterday afternoon got to be on a Zoom call with oh I don’t know Mercedes Lackey Larry Dixon Connie Willis just another Sunday in my household doing rehearsal for the ceremony. All pretty pretty cool. So um, other than that like I said did I did a lot of hanging out on Saturday that was nice. Did a lot of reading. Still working my way through this reread of this series and now I’m going back and rereading some of the novellas long way that I never got to before It’s very interesting on book 5 it’s interesting. To me to see at which point I fall off a series as a reader book five I am I remember the beginning of I am quite certain I did not finish it. Um, none of the ending. Like from I should have looked to see where it was that I bailed but I I know I didn’t finish that book and I remember being and and this was I was looking when it was and it’s it was like about ten years ago see I’m craftily not giving you the exact date. So that you can’t figure out what I’m writing some of you might be able to anyway, if you know me, but it. Um yeah I remember. Not being happy with the beginning of that book I’ve been unhappy with book 4 and I was unhappy again with book 4 and I I rant it to d ringa about it because that’s her job to listen to me ran. But also it was in a.

13:52.68
jeffekennedy
By way of studying. You know it was. It was very interesting to me the ways in which a crucial part of book 4 did not work for me and it’s very funny in book five I could say the author. Assiduously addressing certain things that had bothered me about book 4 so I think I must not have been the only one who complained because she is almost being ostentatious about some of the things like ah ah. You know, um I feel like I’m gonna give too many details but Leslye Penelope who has wonderful podcast. My imaginary friends I haven’t listened in a while but I assume she’s still doing it. Um, Leslye had talked about. Revising a book and realizing she had forgotten about the dog. This is a thing and and Darynda and I were talking about it too because you catch these things on revision where you realize um, did somehow the beloved dog got left behind. And nobody gave it another thought for the entire rest of the book. It’s 1 reason why a lot of writers don’t put pets on their stories because you have to make sure that they are fed and then somebody goes to feed them and stuff and so there was a little bit of red conning in this book about. Heroines cat and I know I complained about this before with Seanan Mcguire that I kept getting really anxious about the cats until finally she liked and I knew I must not have been the only one because she created in the October day series. She created a next door neighbor who had a key who like if the heroine didn’t show up. At feeding times she would just go feed the cats. It’s like yeah, we all wish we had to have in this case in book 5 there was a bit of rec conning where she like says something about oh good thing that we had a house sit to be there for a couple of months to feed the cat and it’s like oh. but con the house center hu but I mean it it happens if if you forget about these things if you don’t have a good editor if you don’t have a good beta reader to say somebody needs to be feeding the cap. Ah or sometimes it’s like. You put in these details these great character details like a piece of jewelry and you make it be like this thing. Oh she never takes it off right? Great detail, wonderful thing until the writer forgets and somehow.

19:20.74
jeffekennedy
She is never ever wearing that piece of jewel bit again for the rest of the book. So you’re going back over it and you’re like reading your first pages and she’s like admiring her. Well so this was another thing in the book that there was an engagement ring an incredibly valuable engagement ring that got forgotten in several different ways. And it’s like oh admiring her incredibly valuableu engagement ring which you know like she loses an arm when it was the arm that the engagement ring was on. It’s like oh did somebody go back and that ring it’s easy to forget these details. Um and your reader. We’ll notice because and we could come back to this thing that I often talk about where I think you cannot conflate the process of writing with the process of reading because a lot of writers do want to. Say things like well one of my least favorite pieces of writing advice if you are bored the reader will be bored too. No no, no sometimes writing is boring sometimes it takes a long time. Well it almost always takes a long time and going back over details like that is. Meticulous and difficult and tedious tedious is the word I want but your readers are reading this book in 4 to 6 hours so they’re going to remember that. Cat and they’re gonna remember that ring. Ah you know if you take a year to write a book. Of course you’re gonna forget those things so some of that is just having time to revise and I realize that I am very much a black pot in this case because I am well. I did finish my revision on storm princess I revised a bit more on Friday I added more words this week I need 15000 words and I think I I should be all right on this. This is a little bit of I diversion here. But oh I won’t well. Let’s look it up. It means I have to open a few different documents though. So please have patience while we work because I have several different excel workbooks that I have open on any given day. And excel won’t let me change the order of them so I have to open them in order because I am persnickety that way and so the progress count workbook is the third one that I open because it start from the left. Don’t.

24:51.92
jeffekennedy
Ah, so yeah, I’ve got 78000 words I’ve got somewhere in the neighborhood of 19000 little shrive 20000 to add. So if I can get those fifteen thousand this week that would be awesome and then I can fill in the last. Thousand beginning of next week and have time to do my out loud proofing so you know I did this myself in um, dark wizard for those of you who have read dark wizard. There is a. Point at which so so this is part of the writing process is especially when you write the way I do as a gardener or write for discovery you discover things as you go along. So if you don’t want to be this isn’t very spoilery. So I don’t think it’ll matter. But if you don’t want to know anything about dark wizard and you haven’t read it yet tap out now. Ah, but she wears this copper bracelet right? That’s in the shape of a snake and it has little fangs on it and she uses that to keep herself from thinking about Gabriel because she doesn’t want him to be able to find her. With his sorcery. So as I was writing along I’d gotten to the point where she was on the run and being really really careful. Not to think about him so that he wouldn’t be able to triangulate her position and. I thought oh well she needs something to to remind herself and I’ve used this device in a couple of books I also gave it to Stella in the heirs of magic book books so she loses the habit after she falls in love I’ve like I like doing that. But it was something that I taught my stepdaughter to do because my stepdaughter would suck on her too littlest fingers and they got all shriveled up and so she would put a rubber band around her wrist and every time she wanted to suck on her fingers when she decide she wanted to write the habit she would snap the rubber band. And that little bit of pain is just enough to start teaching you to break that habit. So I ah gave that to Nick as well in dark wizard that she would have this bracelet to poke the fangs into her wrist and it kind of sometimes she does it hard enough to draw blood or you know don’t think about it because she’s. Obsessively thinking about him of course. So then I had to go back and layer in when she decides to get the bracelet and you know dug it out of virtualry box and that’s just a few lines you know like oh she’d gone and found it and dug it out of her jewelry box and all of this.

30:29.72
jeffekennedy
And it was all really cool and I had written like up to midpoint of the book and given it to readers to read and so forth and I was going to stop there I’d given it to page Sarah I was going to stop there but then i. Start and I was gonna move on to something else and I just couldn’t I just had to keep writing this book. Well I had to keep writing this book but I totally forgot about the bracelet. So upon revision when I went back over the whole thing. It was like oh guess that. Copper bracelet she never ticks off got taken off at some point. So then I had to go back and and weave it through and when somebody has a familiar or a pet I do the same thing. And go back and make sure that that it’s accounted for in our daily lives we have so much complexity that we’re we’re not even aware of all of the things that that we are responsible for that. We do just for daily life. It’s a level of complexity that we can’t replicate in a character in a book because it’s a boring amount of detail but you have to be aware of which details are critical ones I do wish that more authors would include pets in my work. Because very very few people do not have any kind of pet so we accept this about our characters, especially these kickass ones that are out you know like running all around the world fighting evil and so forth. But in reality if you want to portray someone who is I don’t know a pretty much standard person in some ways there are going to be pets with animals are a huge part of our lives. Many good reasons so I didn’t mean to get off onto that whole thing. But that’s how it is here at first cup of coffee I had a couple things that I was actually going to talk about but I’m almost out of time something else I was thinking about. This is kind of a short thing is wanting to pay attention to also especially for female characters is do they have friends and especially female friends.

36:05.66
jeffekennedy
And if they don’t have female friends but why not ah a woman who has no female friends is and and I have known women like this who are sort of quasi friends but some women are. I don’t even want to go into all the reasons why I think it is but some women are not good at being friends with other women. There’s like always a layer of well I’ll say competitiveness there and it’s it’s a problem and sometimes it can manifest in stories where you have. A woman surrounded by men all of her friends are men you know like lovers and so forth and it’s like why aren’t you why is it she relating to another woman and sometimes an author will like implement a best friend. Oh this. This gal is ah is her best friend Leon she’ll say oh you know my best friend but if she never has actually an onpage conversation with her best friend it makes you wonder if well maybe that girl doesn’t think the heroine is her best friend because she ain’t there for her right. she’s just um she’s just a prop I think this is somewhere where there are a lot of reasons for it but the bechyll test is very useful. It’s supposed to be a test of. Of female representation and stories I think it came from gaming created by Allison Beckel but it’s are there it’s It’s a very very simple test is there more than one female character. Ah do the 2 female characters have 2 or more. Have conversations with each other um without men present that 3 are not about men and it’s amazing. How many stories fail to meet that test and I would definitely encourage any writers who want to have. Well-rounded female characters that they have conversation with their friends about things that are not about men and without men present because women’s lives are rich and full without men being in. That we have to say that all right on that note I’m going to get to work. Wish me luck and I will talk to you all tomorrow take care bye bye.

Converting the Reluctant Reader

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is our favorite reader interaction.

Once we get past the fact that ANY AND ALL positive reader interactions are a balm to every writer, then we come to the inevitable truth that the more recent ones spring to mind first. I am so blessed to have each and every one of you out there sending me happy messages about my books. I treasure each and every one, I really do.

But I’m going to pick a recent one that really thrilled me because of the unusual source. You’ll see what I mean when you read it, but I can preface by saying this was from a new friend, a guy my age(ish), who bought DARK WIZARD to be nice. He was in town visiting and bought a hard copy to support me and my local indie bookstore. I seriously never expected him to read it.

Then I got this email:

I, at last, had time to read “Dark Wizard” over the weekend and I was so impressed!

It’s totally not my sub-genre, and would never consider reading the book if someone gave me a plot summary, but it is so well executed and such a page-turner – I was really sucked in. And, despite myself, I want to read the rest of the trilogy. What really amazes me, is that you have such an extensive bibliography – you must be writing very fast – but the quality is so high – no idea how you do it.

Is there anything better than converting a reluctant reader? Not in my book! (lol)

Two Pieces of Advice on Crafting the Perfect Opening Line

Ah, the much-discussed, celebrated, and labored over first line… Is it that important?

(See what I did there?)

Many in the writing and publishing world will go on at length on the critical importance of the opening line of any work, long or short. There are long-standing contests for opening lines – brilliant or cringingly terrible. Writers are expected to trot our their favorite first lines (which I notice is also part of this week’s assignment at the SFF Seven). But do those opening lines deserve the significance they’re given?

Yes and no. The thing is, first lines are low-hanging fruit. They’re easy to pick on. They require very little reading and it’s easy to analyze a single line of text. For the teachers, coaches, and advice-givers of all stripes, an opening line is a simple aspect of a work to assess. In that way, they’re probably given far more emphasis than they deserve.

Unfortunately, a whole lot of the advice out there – not unlike a lot of writing advice – isn’t terribly helpful. Writers are told that their opening line must “hook” the reader, who is presumably like a fish in this analogy, and reel them in to keep reading more. And hopefully buy the work in question.

And people rhapsodize over favorite opening lines, analyzing brilliance, but – again – this rarely yields useful advice on how to write them.

I spent a lot of years not sure what made an opening line a good one or not. Only recently, with a bunch of published works behind me, have I come across actually useful advice on how to craft an opening line: It needs to establish the sort of story it is, and pose some sort of question. It doesn’t have to be a literal question, but it should invite the reader to wonder about something of interest to them.

A famous example of this is Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem How Do I Love Thee. (Those who listen to my podcast, First Cup of Coffee, know I’ve been going down an Elizabeth Barrett Browning/Robert Browning rabbit hole lately. I blame Connie Willis.) Almost anyone can quote the opening line, even if they don’t know the rest of the poem:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

What does this line do? It establishes that the work is a love poem, and invites the reader to wonder about what those ways are.

Thus, my opening line above: I established what sort of writing this is – an informational article on first lines – and I posed a literal question that I’d be addressing.

Once I figured out this was all I needed to do, it made crafting that opening line much easier! Here’s one of the first ones that I used this technique to write, from DARK WIZARD.

Gabriel Phel crested the last ridge of the notorious Knifeblade Mountains that guarded Elal lands on nearly three sides, and faced the final barrier.

This first line isn’t brilliant by any stretch. What it does, however, is inform the reader that this is an alternate fantasy world, and it invites them to wonder about who Gabriel Phel is, why he’s in this inhospitable land, and what this final barrier is. That’s it. And you know what? It works. That book has done a better job of hooking new readers than anything else of mine. I think there are other reasons for that book’s success, but I think that opening helps.

What’s most important to remember is: just because the first line comes first, that doesn’t mean it has to be written first. Certainly not perfected first. A lot of writers spend forever crafting that opening, trying to get it perfect – possibly because of this emphasis on first lines – and can circle that effort endlessly. That’s my second piece of advice. Craft the opening once the work is finished, or at least drafted. It will wait. And that gives that low-hanging fruit time to ripen.

 

Grey Magic, Dark Wizard, and Storm Princesses – Oh My!

This week at the SFF Seven we’re sharing newsletter info and promoting work. For those feeling hesitant to promote their books during this terrible time, I’ll remind you – as I’ve been reminded – that art brings us joy and books open minds. When we’re dealing with close-minded bigots, hatred, and war, we need stories more than ever. We provide the counterbalance. Please share about your books, because the world needs them.

So: Promo from me! Book Three in my Bonds of Magic seriesGREY MAGIC, released on Monday!!

      

This series is The Witcher meets The Selection.

His Darkness, Her Brightness… Together They Defy the World

Lord Gabriel Phel at last holds his dream in his grasp—and faces losing everything. He’s finally won the love of his wife, familiar, and mother of his child, and she offers him a heartfelt commitment he can truly believe in. Together they’re building a true house, one with a growing family of friends and allies that can help them stand against their enemies. And he’s learning to master his magic, to use it as the powerful tool and weapon it should be. But old and new enemies array themselves to take it all away.

Lady Veronica, now fully of House Phel, is doing her best to embrace happiness. After all, she has her hands full managing her mercurial and powerful wizard as he navigates taking his place as the head of their house, and with learning her own extraordinary ability. But she fears whatever peace they win won’t last long. When their enemies inevitably strike—including, perhaps, her own father—they must be ready to defend all they hold precious. It doesn’t help that her idealistic husband insists on making foolishly noble decisions that put them at even greater risk, nor that she loves him all the more for it.

As Nic and Gabriel struggle to put their household in order, giving ill-advised safe harbor to Nic’s runaway sister and risking their lives to save Gabriel’s sister’s sanity, their enemies draw the noose tighter on their well laid plans. When the unthinkable occurs, it’s up to both of them to trust in the nascent, unknown magic they’ve woven together.

      

If you’re into audiobooks, you can listen to the first in this series, DARK WIZARD. Books 2 & 3 will be out on audio soon! Comment on this post and I’ll pick one person to receive a promo code (US only, not my fault) for a free copy of the DARK WIZARD audiobook!

Finally, if you follow me, you’ll know that I canceled the preorder for THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING, Book Four in the Heirs of Magic series. Several things came together to force me to cancel, alas. BUT, this neatly segues into our main topic, the newsletter! Subscribe to my newsletter for news on when this book will release. There are also regular yummy giveaways.

 

DARK WIZARD Available in Audio!

DARK WIZARD is now available in audiobook format! BRIGHT FAMILIAR and GREY MAGIC will also be in audio soon!

“A delicious performance of a captivating story

With her signature world-building mastery, Jeffe Kennedy has once again delivered a deeply compelling romantic fantasy. The characters are dimensional, complex and endearing. You have to keep listening, longer than you intended to, to find out if Nic and Gabriel can manage to not only find love and power, but to retain their very humanity in a world engineered to deny it to them. Everything about this story is refreshingly original, brilliantly conceived and beautifully rendered. I really can’t wait for the next entry in this series.

I also have to confess that I now have a huge crush on Deborah Balm. Her voice is like a big mug of hot, dark chocolate, with maybe some spiced rum mixed in. I could listen to her read the phone book for hours and be happy. She portrays the wide spectrum of characters, moods, and… activities, with engaging grace and charm. I will be looking for more of her work, as well.”

In The Witcher meets The Selection

***

She ran from him… but couldn’t escape her heart.

Lord Gabriel Phel wants one thing: to rebuild the shattered fortunes of his people and restore his ruined house to its former station in the Convocation’s highest tiers of elegant society. Fortunately, through a wild chance of birth, he was born with powerful wizard magic, the first in his family in generations. If he can obtain a familiar to amplify his magic, a highborn daughter he can marry, to be mother to his children, he’ll be that much closer to saving his family. With her by his side, he can ascend to such a position of power in  the Convocation that he can destroy it forever.

Lady Veronica Elal, captive in her tower, has only one way out. To her bitter disappointment, she will never be a wizard. Instead, through a twist of fate, and despite her expensive Convocation Academy education, Nic is doomed to be a familiar like her mother. Forced to participate in the Betrothal Trials, she receives a wizard suitor for one night each month. Whichever man impregnates her will bond her to them forever. With no choice but to serve the one who wins her, Nic has one hope for control over her life: a wizard she can manipulate.

Gabriel Phel seems like the perfect choice for Nic’s gambit—he’s desperate and untutored in wizardry—but within moments of meeting him, she feels the bonds of magic tying them together. Afraid of losing her will to the compelling wizard who touches her heart like no other, Nic does the unthinkable: she runs. Pregnant and alone, Nic eludes monstrous hunters, searching for a safe haven. But when Gabriel catches up to her, their adventure has only begun.

First Cup of Coffee – February 17, 2022




Transcript
00:00.00
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Well ambrosia today is Thursday February seventeenth one day from deadline not that we’re counting. Okay, we’re totally counting. Ah yeah, getting there on gray magic I’ve got. About 50 fty-five hundred words to go I passed a hundred thousand words yesterday. Um, yeah, and so I like I’m down to the last couple of chapters and we’ll see how they go. Um. Yeah I I did get over three thousand words on it yesterday and I hope to get at least that many today so that I can have wind it up tomorrow and have a little bit of time to revise before I send it off. I only have to revise I’m guessing. Well let’s see that’s that’s how much it will. It is at this moment I know a lot of you don’t know worktown you know a lot of authors we work by work count because it depends you know people will ask me how many pages is that. And so I work in word and I use like standard one inch margins 12 point times new roman double space industry standards people will try to argue with me that those shouldn’t be industry standards and it’s one of those things like okay. Yeah, and there are a lot of things in this world that necessarily shouldn’t be but are so that’s still industry standard. That’s how I turn in all my manuscripts. Um, so that’s three hundred and seventy pages and I am guessing. That I will have in the neighborhood of 400 pages total when I’m done and so that means that I could go back over I mean do we know I guess we can see it’s. Guessing what it would cut it also depends on how much white space is on the page right? How much dialogue there is or as opposed to like really dense paragraphs. That’s why page county isn’t a really great mark for progress although readers of course use that. Ah.

02:44.56
jeffekennedy
So I’m gonna have something like 57 pages to go over. Although that’s probably not accurate because I have um I’ve been going over them so far as I’ve been working. Yesterday I had three lattes I’m cranking it. So um, yeah I could tell I’m tired I’m getting mentally tired but this is a push but then. Once I get this done turned in by about midday my time then I’m gonna do a little bit of cleanup around the house where things have been falling apart and then Darynda Jones arrives tomorrow evening in the flesh. She’s skin spend the night and then on Saturday we will do our panel for at beastly books that’s in the show notes she emily ma and I will be in person at the Jean Cocteau theater and it’ll be streamed. I think live streamed and some other people joining us via Zoom zoom. Yeah I was just thinking about something else like I won’t talk about it yet I’ll talk about next week and then we will then do into and I can have a nice lunch. She’s vegetarian these days so we’re going to um Sweetwater Kitchen here in Santa Fe which is great has great. Vegetarian choices and then we’re going out to Melinda Snodgrass’s house to learn about plot breaking very interested to learn her technique so it will be a um, a convivial weekend once I set this book aside then I will be able to just sort of enjoy company and peoples. And then Sunday morning I fly to Los Angeles where I’m going to meet up with a bunch of the SFWA people who are working on the nebula conference. We’re gonna do our site walkthrough and I will be there Monday and Tuesday coming home Tuesday evening so we’ll see how about. Podcast on Monday day Tuesday I um I might see if people want to some of the people who are there want to come on the podcast with me I might not do it. We’ll see because this is also going to be a little bit of a mini break for me. So I’m gonna set all those things aside and kind of um.

05:17.10
jeffekennedy
Try to kick back and rest my poor strained brains. So then yeah I get home Tuesday night and the plan is then to who knows of we have to find the correct date. So then I should have copy edits back for Wednesday so I’m going to do copy edits on Wednesday which will really only take me a couple of hours so that should be a good um drained brain activity for me and then upload on Thursday so I do have some time I mean I just have to have it uploaded by like. 5 p m on Thursday so I’ll have time if I want to do another full read through I could and then although I already have several things stacked up for the plane people have been asking me for various things that I promised to do and. So I may work on some of those things on the plane or at the hotel and yeah, and then we’ll see on Thursday and Friday we’ll see how perky am I am I might start storm princess I might just wait until the following week and then release stays the following monday. Monday the Twenty eighth and I don’t know if I mentioned here but I have officially surpassed the pre-orders for bright familiar. Thank you very much. Yeah I have more pre-orders for gray magic than for bright familiar which I think is a testimony to the the building. Interest in the series. It’s really gratifying. It’s just fantastic folks I I appreciate all the support and I have to tell you guys this really cool thing so there was someone who was in town a little while ago. And he bought a copy of dark wizard in print for be from beastly books and it was one of those things where I think he bought it to be nice. He did it to be nice to me. He did it to support beastly books. Um, he is a. You know a guy who’s really heavily into finance like Bren’s a hedge funded and this sort of thing and I really didn’t expect him to actually read the book you know because you know you do these things you do these things to be nice sent me an email you guys. I’m not guess say who it is because I don’t know if he’d want me to but listen to this email. He sent me yesterday. Um, you know nice things nice to meet you in Santa Fe thank you for being so welcoming I at last had time to read Dark Wizard over the weekend and I was so impressed.

08:01.68
jeffekennedy
It’s totally not my sub-genre and would never consider reading the book if some one gave me a plot summary but it is so well executed and such a page-turner I was really sucked in and despite myself I want to read the rest of the trilogy. What really amazes me is that you have such an extensive bibliography. You must be writing very fast but the quality is so high no idea how you do it isn’t that nice. It’s I’m just ah, just thrilled I mean it’s it’s so wonderful to hear something like that I you know love all of my readers and all of you guys are so awesome. But. Winning over someone for whom this is not their genre is um, is there a better feeling I don’t know and such high praise. So one of the and and I did answer him and this isn’t. Something I talk about extensively maybe not all the time. Um I did share some stuff with him. And I don’t know maybe I do talk about it more than I think I do but I kind of hesitate to go there because it sounds kind of woo woo. But I mean first of all. I’m sorry I should clarify that I’m talking about how do I write fast and of course I don’t write as fast as I want to you guys hear me bemoaning that things aren’t going as fast as I want them to go especially right now as I’m like brain drained on finishing this book. I don’t know why I have to go into the the high whiny voice I say that so writing fast and producing quality. I think the first thing is is that you have to decouple the idea that working slowly produces higher quality and this is something I’ve talked about a whole lot. This is really ingrained in us I think it gets ingrained at us in school. The idea that you must slow down that you must be working very slowly in order to produce high quality is just really pounded in us over and over again. Um you know like they tell us that on taking tests you know.

10:41.33
jeffekennedy
Slow down you know and give yourself time to think and go back over it. Um, all of these kinds of things. Ah I have a lot of complicated ideas about this I wanted to mention sort of as a sideline here that we watched marry me with. Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson and enjoyed it. It was very cute. My nail tech yesterday I got my nails done yesterday. Very important at least it was relaxing my nail tech yesterday said that ah she liked it? Okay, but she thought that Jennifer Lopez just played herself. She thought Owen Wilson was great but that Jennifer Lopez was basically Jennifer Lopez and I was like yes, but you know is it she always with basically oh she is um, but there’s this line in the movie that comes around because Owen Wilson is a math teacher and he says. If you sit with the problem. The answer will come to you and so so there’s part of this this idea of slowing down that you give yourself time to think about it. Um, and I don’t think. That it’s necessarily true. In fact I think it’s often not true that this idea that slower work produces higher quality. Certainly we’re all familiar with the idea that if you rush through something. You are more likely to make mistakes and so I think that this is sort of developed as the the opposite face of that if rushing causes mistakes therefore not rushing will eliminate mistakes is that actually true though. Because there’s something else going on here, especially when we talk about problem solving and creative work is that our brains don’t necessarily work slowly. So if you’re really wedded to the idea of you know we’re basically biological machines. Um. You know? and so all the wet work up here is what’s doing the work den sure you can still look at it this way because ah the way that neurons fire the the movement of electrical activity through the brain is incredibly fast. Thought. Is incredibly fast. Um, yeah, we can think about this in terms of um, you know like is thought faster than the speed of light and I think arguably it is right I don’t know why I have to mess with my hair and scratch my head while I’m thinking. But.

13:29.60
jeffekennedy
It helps with that biological wetwork in there. Um, but then there’s something else involved and this is where I get into the woow woo thing is that I very much believe in the creative subconscious and I know I’ve talked about that because I have that as part of like my author coaching and mastermind stuff and I you know. Productive creative I always forget. Do I do Um, yeah, productive creativity and I very much believe in accessing the subconscious that stories come from. From a place that is beyond conscious thought. However, you want to think about it. You know if it’s um, you know another world or who knows we don’t really know and in many ways I don’t think it matters. The thing is is that our creative subconscious. Offers us this incredible wealth of storytelling of problem solving for all kinds of things that we don’t have to plod through in a conscious way. In fact. The more that you can remove that conscious control the more you can get that subconscious to flow so in a way this still fits with the line that Owen Wilson used and I guess this came from a comic that was discovered at San Diego comic con on a table which is. Really fantastic that that’s where the story came from I saw it on Twitter and’s I was like this is your reminder to finish your comic or your story or whatever because here it was like on a table at Sand Diego Comic Con and 2019 I was there I didn’t see the comic but somebody picked it up and then it became this movie. Very cool. That’s kind of trusting in the serendipity of the universe too. There are these things that move beyond what we can control and understand but they work in our favor this this is like Taoism this is like the flow of the tao right. So the more you can get out of your own way the more that this can work for you and so this is how Owen Wilson’s line has the other meaning if you sit with the problem. The answer will come to you. You’re not sitting there with your brows furrowed demanding. You know trying to calculate doing the calculation in your head or something like that you allow it to come to you and that’s much like storytelling and this is why.

16:14.72
jeffekennedy
You know if we go back to talking about learning in school about taking exams and so forth working your way methodically through the exam might work for some people know what your process is and own it. But for many people if you. Are in tune with yourself if your mind is clear and you’re going to an exam you can look at a problem and the answer will come to you and for me I I learned to never go back over the exam because if I went back over and changed the answer I would in. Inevitably change it wrong. It was second -guessing myself is just like always bad and I’ve learned this about myself know what your process is um, a lot of writers talk about that when they get stuck when they slow down when the story isn’t working. That they know that they’ve made a mistake and that means that they need to go back that they’ve gone down a blind alley and they need to go back and figure it out. Um, for me, it means that I need to peck away and keep going because if i. Change my mind if I go back. That’s second guessing myself and I know for me that second guess sing myself is always wrong. So for me, the ideal is to get that creative flow and and I spent and this is sort of the part I don’t always talk about but um. I may have mentioned from time to time that I spent a lot of years doing martial arts um like more than 15 years doing kung fu taichee bag washingi various martial arts forms um various kinds of meditation and. I did a lot of work to kind of clear the garbage out of my mind. Um and be able to sort of sit with myself in silence to eliminate all of the distractions and overthinking. To get out of my own way that was something we talked about a whole lot getting out of your own way and so I think that’s part of why I can do what I can do and it and david has said it. Yeah because we did that together and he’s like yeah you know you’re just really good at. Clearing everything out. It’s sort of like having that nice open pipe with all of the garbage gone and just letting that story flow in and I don’t no matter how I talk about it here. It probably sounds like I’m laboring over it. But ideally I get to the point where it just comes and I just type.

18:59.58
jeffekennedy
But comes in when I get to the point where I’m really really thinking about it. That’s when I slow down and I think I I get in the way of the story so that wasn’t necessarily what I had started up talking about today or planned to talk about today but I won’t get my own way. Same as here on the podcast. Um, yeah, so wish me luck I’ll be back here tomorrow morning hopefully feeling good about things and yeah, you guys all have a wonderful Thursday good luck. Um. Doing whatever it is. You need to do take some time to to clear your mind and just silence all the distractions you all take care bye bye.

 

First Cup of Coffee – February 11, 2022




Transcript
00:00.67
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first iridescent cup of coffee.

00:19.58
jeffekennedy
We just gotta take a moment to say for that today is say it with me is everyone ready. It’s Friday Woo Whoo um whatever day of the week is an actual Friday for you. I hope that you can take a moment to celebrate the existence of fridays.

00:47.12
jeffekennedy
Ah, today is 2/11/2022 lots of twos and ones today seeds and soil we’re working them hope 2023 really is the manifestation right. Ah, so um, yeah here we are here we are then I I have a little bit of a tired at this point it was funny Lexi Chantal hi Lexi who often listens to this podcast. Messaged me last night and asked me a question about something. Um, what date I preferred for an event and I was like I had absolutely no, no fucking clue what she was talking about frankly and I said remind me what this thing is. And she said you know this thing that you asked me to put together that you assigned to me for SFWA so I was like oh that thing my god had totally dropped out of my brain although I will argue that that is um, successful delegation. And successful trust in your volunteer that you can hand something off and never think about it again until they ask a question about it which unfortunately I told her that I would participate in this thing not unfortunately I’m happy to participate Lexi. It was just funny. Because right now I’ve got I’m trying to get better at compartmentalizing because I am fighting this ah you know what? our deputy executive director Terra Lemay calls it the curse that being president of SFWA makes you lose a book a year whichever whatever that means. Ah, book for every year that you are president a book. Um each year that you would have write written and didn’t I don’t know anyway, I’m I’m fighting this particular I don’t want to call it a curse. What is it. It’s a um. Dire prediction I’m trying to fight this because since I write full time I should be able to do this. But what I find is that it it has to do with mental bandwidth because you all know that I I always go back to the. Picking cotton thing. You know that writing isn’t picking Cotton running an organization like SFWA isn’t picking Cotton um, and and I have family who picked cotton my.

03:35.86
jeffekennedy
Great grandparents were sharecroppers in North Carolina Scottish um known and even my grandparents didn’t pick Cotton but you know my my grandfather worked in a furniture factory. So I mean there’s hard labor and and I will often freely invite it or not tell people that the hardest job I’ve ever had in my whole life was being a cocktail waitress that was the worst that was the most grueling work and I am so glad. I have the education and intelligence and privilege and all of those things that I was able to make my living in ways that was not being a cocktail waitress because I got paid way better for doing way less work. But. Ah, it’s one of those fundamental unfairnesses of the world. Tip your cocktail waitress as well people. Um they they seriously deserve it anyway. I probably went on a couple of different tangents. There. So let’s see not picking Cotton ah, but. There is a thing of mental bandwidth that mental bandwidth is a thing and one of the things that I’ve discovered is especially the way I write a book I mean I I know I’m fortunate in that I write a book pretty much from beginning to end and then I hold the whole story in my head. But. Holding out entire book in your head especially as you get into the final week of writing it is um it it takes up a lot of mental bandwidth right? It takes up there. There’s a little finch that just landed on my window ledge and is peering in at me. Ah. What that was a sign from the universe little redfinch and the blue birds of happiness are outside so all as well. But 1 thing I’ve discovered is that being president of SFWA. Does require a certain amount of of mental bandwidth as well and I’m trying to get better about compartmentalizing and I was talking about this with Kelly Robson the other day because she was talking about. Ah. How much of she feels like writing occurs in the back brain when she’s not actually writing and she’s had a very difficult several months here and she’s been grieving and she said she thinks that maybe grieving was taking up a lot of that. Um you know that back brain and she wasn’t um.

06:18.92
jeffekennedy
You know it was like the well wasn’t refilling and I can see that I don’t think vine’s the same way because it’s not grieving but I told her I’m really trying to figure out ways to not think about SFWA stuff when I’m not doing SFWA. Or getting distracted by birds now. There’s a ah flicker out there. Very beautiful flicker big bird I like looking at the birds because they are merry you get points if you get that reference. So. Um, compartmentalizing. It’s a big thing because the and in some ways I’m doing better because the book is edging everything else out so yesterday. Oh I haven’t even opened my um oh well I won’t but well hold on. I don’t have to tell you to hold on but I do anyway pause. Okay, so yesterday went faster than Wednesday did Wednesday I only made it through 32 pages though I added over 2000 words Yesterday I added 1300 words and I made it through 59 pages which was better. But that means I’m on page two forty One of 3 34 they have gone up you alert readers will notice. So I’ve got 93 pages left on this revision I’ve got. Ninety Thousand four hundred and seventy nine words so 15000 words to go which theoretically I can get done next week 15000 en thousand work week 3000 words a day does it give me any time to revise so I may do some work over the weekend. Sort of see how I feel but yesterday required you know some adding of words and still some pretty intense mental work and there’s still 1 thing that I’m trying to decide even woke up this morning thinking about it which is that. Back brain working on the story. You do want that to happen but I was thinking about where I could if I need to put this thing in if it’s important to the cascade of the story. I’m not convinceded yet. But I won’t sit here and think about it while you guys are watching and listening I’m I’m gonna let it go for now I’m not gonna revisit it this morning I’m going to come back to it and decide. It’s breaking me that I’ve got like this.

09:03.49
jeffekennedy
You know what? this is this little poofy thing on my sweater for those of you on visual. It’s because I don’t ever lay flat to dry right? when you wash your clothes when you’re supposed to lay flat to dry I put them on hangers and hang them. We have a big 4 poster bed and I hang them from the struts on there but everyone’s want to get like this poofy sleeve thing. What I’m wondering is I know my mother lays some stuff flat to dry but does anybody else in the world actually lay stuff flat to dry I mean if I had everything that I’m supposed to lay flat to dry. When I do Andrew was actually laid flat to drive and it would like I would have to have them I anywhere’t know all over the floors and stuff where does this come from who has a place where you can lay stuff flat to drive I know that that’s a total digression but I’m wondering these things. Let me know if you have an answer very important question. So anyway, um I did get that work done yesterday and then I was just depleted I was brain dead and I more or less took the entire day off of. Stuff with stuff I answered a couple of emails but I just had to have an afternoon of doing not much at all I mean like I emptied the dishwasher and we went for a walk. We went for a walk in the outside it was. It was nice enough to go. Walk outside so that was pleasant and I don’t know I didn’t do a hell of a lot else I’m reading I’m reading um J D Robb’s Abandoned in Death which came out on Tuesday and that’s really fun because I fintished – fintished? – I finished a work. Um, um, we’ll just see how this comes out on the transcript I’m doing a pretty good job of not editing too much although I do have to go through and fix names because it’s not right if names are wrong. There is some profound wisdom for you. It’s not right if names are wrong, but you could. Mark that down make a tattoo of it ofsh my brain my brain is empty you guys ah so anyway, um, what was I even saying fit to oh I finished reading Intisar Khanani’s Thorn and I loved it. I really did it is um, especially because the romance is not only slow burn but it’s.

11:47.94
jeffekennedy
Barely there but it’s really earned by the story. Um I appreciated that the way that the story flows and it’s really one of the big divergences between the way she did her goose girl retelling and I did because mine of course has sex. Because my stories always have sex and hers. Not only doesn’t but it barely has that romance it’s it’s implied that the romance will come later. There’s the beginnings of it I guess. And but I do feel like the way the story goes that’s some you know it I do think that it makes sense and I I think it’s a gorgeous book I think she did a beautiful job of writing this book. I loved it. Um I do think it’s funny that um one of the. Faro fep gals Lisette Marshall like her books a lot or was it her that that some these gals have conversation Stephanie Prater SL Prater and Coleen Crowley, Vela Roth, Maria Zuniga – hope I got that right? anyway. Ah they were having this conversation about authors who have sex in their books also address other bodily functions whereas other authors who I you know I I don’t like to use the learn word clean because it drives me crazy. But. Ah, have off the page sex or no references to sex at all also tend not to reference bodily functions which I think is an interesting insight because and they were I saw it because they mentioned me I think lizette mentioned me. Because they were joking about how dark wizard opens with Gabriel and his aggressive peeing. You know he arrives on the land of his enemy and the first thing he does is is pee on it and and I think that’s funny because my characters do. Have bodily functions of all kinds and I think that’s very interesting that those of us who write on the page sex also are more willing to embrace more willing or we’ll leave it at more willing that that within text we also. Discuss the body in all of its many functions. It’s enticing or not whereas in a book like Thorn. There’s um, almost a.

14:35.50
jeffekennedy
I’m trying to think of what the word I want is the the characters become you know I mean they’re very rounded and real characters. But they become almost avatar-like in a way in that they don’t seem to have human bodies other than where. Injuries are concerned. There’s not much else about their bodies and even the injuries were I don’t know like a step removed and I think it just has to do with like where we where we root ourselves. It’s it’s more of ah of an intellectual. Approach. It’s more in the head or in the spirit even as opposed to being rooted in the body I know that Grace Draven writes much more rooted in the body like I do that something that we have in common. It’s. Just an interesting thing to think about so let’s see oh. So then I finished thorn fat I should do something I realized I hadn’t noted that I’d finished thorn. And started reading abandoned in death on my spreadsheet and I don’t like it if I get my dates behind very important things. so um so yeah it’s really It’s always fun to read Nora she’s she’s good for especially when i’m. Drafting this intensely It’s really good for me to have these really competent writers in my head.

16:16.12
jeffekennedy
Sometimes people ask me if I worry about what I’m reading leaking into the story and I don’t I think I’ve talked about it here before once or twice but you know people who plagiarize other works are doing it on purpose. The. When they say that it’s subconscious or inadvertent. That’s an excuse we we are what we take in It’s a way of refilling the well. Um, yeah so I read abandoned and deaths quite a bit yesterday afternoon. Did a few things. Not a lot. Not a lot and we watched oh you know what? we watched Little Miss Sunshine had not seen that I think since it came out back in 2006 and I did not remember that Steve Carell was in it I mean it’s ah it’s a great cast. Um, you know Alan Arkin and Toni Collette who I love I think she’s amazing and I’m not gonna be able to think of his name. He wasn’t as good as it gets it might come to me but also Abigail Breslin she got you know was nominated for best supporting actress in that movie. She plays a little girl paul danow is in that but Steve Carell plays Tony Collette’s brother who tried to commit suicide and I was thinking. Well how did I not remember that and it turns out that Steve Carell was kind of a nobody and. 2006 he was a relative unknown in hollywood and but that same couple of years and it took him 5 years to make the movie and it it said that the producers and directors were a little hesitant who cast Steve Carell because he was so unknown but then by the time the movie came out. He had just won um maybe an emmy for his first year in The Office season. 1 of The Office and and also 40 year old virgin had come out and so he’ had like rocketed to superstardom. So I just think that’s really funny. I have to figure out the name of the guy Greg Caner you guys probably all knew this you were probably all shouting it at me all right? So ah yeah, I’m just going to get back to revising today at least now I’m into the stuff that I wrote more recently let’s just see. Yeah I am I am now into the stuff that I wrote three weeks ago so it’s much more alive in my head which is good and bad. Ah, it’s good to have that distance get that distance from the charm of recent composition right? But also it.

19:10.53
jeffekennedy
Feels more um, alive does that make sense I’m not going to search for more words I spent a lot of time yesterday trying to think of or maybe it was the day before what is time who am I trying to think of what’s the word for like if you leave school. And it’s like well not ditching and is it. It’s was it dropping out or was it skipping um being delinquent I was really having a hard time if only you guys were there too. Yeah, a little speaker on my desk and tell me these words when I need to think of them. But anyway so we’ll see we’ll see how far I get today. We’ll see how I feel I may work over the weekend to give myself buffer time and then I will probably take the following wake off see like I’m learning. Um, trying to learn anyway. I hope that you all have a wonderful Friday I hope that you have a wonderful weekend whether it’s time off for you or not I hope you are productive I hope that your brain delivers the words that you need when you need them. And I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye-bye.