First Cup of Coffee – May 30, 2019

Wherein I develop a new analogy for what revision feels like to me, plus general musing on revision vs drafting because I’m deep into revision brain, working on THE FIERY CITADEL. Did I mention revision?

Setting the Record Straight

A blustery, blizzardy day here in Santa Fe! My iron fairy sculpture has wind-blown rain and snow frozen to it. Springtime in the Rockies!

We had a lovely time in Tucson over the weekend, though they weren’t a whole lot farther along springwise than we are. A cold winter, with lots of precipitation. We’re hoping that bodes well for a lush and lavish summer.

I know, I know. I am an idealist at heart. 

Last week I had a conversation that really stuck with me. Well, to be honest, I was hurt, which wasn’t at all the intention of the person speaking. See, what happened is, I was talking with an aspiring author of science fiction. She’d been struggling with some structural issues and genre expectations, and she mentioned she’d re-read one of my books to study how I’d done certain things. Which is lovely and flattering! I then offered to read her book for her and see if I had any suggestions to offer. She asked if I was sure and I said, yes, I wouldn’t offer if I didn’t want to. And she said, oh, well, a mutual acquaintance of ours had warned her that I was territorial about science fiction and fantasy so not to expect help from me there.

I was frankly stunned.

You know that feeling, like you’ve been punched? That.

And my friend felt terrible. She even tried to convince me that being territorial about a genre isn’t a bad thing, that lots of people feel that way. I suppose that’s true, that territoriality and jealousy are part and parcel of our profession. But to me those are terribly negative emotions and go against everything I believe in and work toward. 

I don’t hold her to blame for telling me, but I am unhappy with the person who said this thing about me. No, I don’t know who it is. My friend wouldn’t say. It maybe doesn’t matter, except that it reflects on the mindset of that person. I don’t know where they got this idea about me, and since they haven’t said it to my face, I’ll have to speak up for myself here. 

I have to tell you all, I immediately went to Grace Draven and she said “Whaaa?” and then “Who said that and why would they say it? You’re one of the most generous people out there with your help and experience. It’s unfair, unjust, and just totally out in left field.” 

Which made me feel much better. Maybe I should just hold Grace’s purse while she beats them up for me. She’s a good friend. She’d probably help me dispose of the body, too.

As satisfying as that would be, I’d rather set the record straight. No, I’m not territorial about SFF. I’m not sure someone CAN be territorial about an entire genre. Even if I wanted to somehow keep all the SFF-writing to myself, I don’t know how I’d go about it. Decline to read and critique other’s work? Refuse to blurb books written by debut authors? Talk smack about my fellow authors in the genre instead of cheering their releases and sharing good news about them? Walk away from collaborative projects? Go all ninja on their asses and slip poison into their morning coffee?

Demonstrably, I don’t do any of those things. (Except maybe the ninja poison thing, in which case no one will ever know I was there BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!)

I devote a lot of time to supporting my fellow authors and their books, at all levels of the game. In fact, people close to me gently suggest I spend LESS time on stuff that isn’t my own work. I am a Director at Large on the Board of Directors for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) because I want to support the genre and profession. People close to me gently suggest I spend less time on volunteering too. I ignore those gentle suggestions because I believe in giving generously of myself. That’s important to me. Probably one of my most closely held values.

So, you can see why it bothered me that someone out there talked smack about me this way. You could accuse me of many flaws. I’d most likely agree with chagrin on what they are and renew my intentions to do better. But this is not one of them. I am not a person who worries about there being only so much pie to go around. Pies are easy to make. I’m totally in favor of more pie.

I’m really enjoying my friend’s book, too. When she gets it published, I’ll be the first to cheer about it. 

A Fab Year Ahead for SFF Romance!

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is books we’re looking forward to in 2019. 

Can I just say ALL OF THEM???

Okay, I’ll try to hone it down to a few. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the final book in my Chronicles of Dasnaria trilogyWARRIOR OF THE WORLD, will be out January 8. A fine way to kick off 2019! Come on over for more. 

Answers to Reader Questions

These rainy days and chilly evenings have made for a cozy autumn. So lovely to build a fire, put on a warm robe, and read by the fireplace. 

I sometimes get questions from readers – for the most part through my website contact form, Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter – and usually I answers those questions where they’re asked. The other day, however, I received an email via the website contact form, with enough questions and enthusiastic thoughts, that I asked for permission to share it here. Pretty much the fun version of asking the question so the whole class can hear, because other people probably have the same question. 😉

Here’s the email from Ellen: (I added the handy links)

Hello! First of all I have to say that I’m a huge fan! I recently discovered you through another favorite author of mine, Grace Draven. I started with “The Mark of The Tala” and then literally binge read every book in your entire 12 kingdoms universe in a matter of weeks. I absolutely loved how you tied in all the stories and I’m so excited to see what happens next, especially with war on the brink! That being said I do have a few questions I was wondering if you can answer (if not I totally understand!)

I always try to answer questions! Plus, I love to hear what readers love and what snags their curiosity. So here are some answers!

1) many of your Dasnarian characters use the term “cvan”, however I can’t find a definition for the word anywhere in your books. What does it mean? (On a side note it might be cool if future books had a glossary of terms. Just an idea! )

That’s a great idea to include a glossary of terms and Assistant Carien is on it! I don’t always define terms in my books unless I can find a way to make it a natural part of conversation. “Cvan” is a Dasnarian word that I made up, working off Old Norse – which is the springboard for all of my Dasnarian language – and means essentially “my lover.” Because that’s meant in a very sexual sense, there’s rarely opportunity to work into conversation a discussion of the term!

2) I understand both of Ami’s twins can shift, due to the barrier expanding, but what does it mean that only Stella has the “mark”? Before I thought the mark meant that she had enough magic to shift, so now I’m just a bit confused as to what the mark means. Is it in reference to her magical gifts? Like Andi with the foresight and Stella with emotions?

Aha! This is still somewhat mysterious and will not be explained until the final book. There are lots of guesses out there, and it’s nothing that people probably haven’t already intuited, but it’s not surprising that you’re confused since I’ve never come right out and explained. You’re on the right track – that it has to do with the magical gifts.

3) Will we ever find out the significance of Salena’s sea shells and the connection of them with Rayfe’s mother?

It’s funny, Carien had to go look for this for me, to remind me of the reference. For those wondering, the scene Ellen references comes at the end of THE MARK OF THE TALA, in the vision Andi experiences. Really there’s not much significance to this. Andi tells Rayfe’s mother, Garland, about the seashell because it’s part of showing that it truly was a message from Salena – something only Salena and Garland knew about. It was simply a memento of their friendship.

4) I can’t wait for “Seasons of Sorcery,” after that will there be any more “Uncharted Realms” releases? I’m so curious to see what future POV characters will take the main stage!

Right now I’m planning one more book in The Uncharted Realms series, which will tie up all the current threads and reveal some answers to questions posed back at the beginning of The Twelve Kingdoms. I haven’t publicly announced this anywhere yet (I think) because I was still noodling it, but that book will be called THE FATE OF THE TALA, and if all goes well, it will be out in May of 2019. 

One Space or Two? That Isn’t Even a Question

This has been a busy week for me! Funny how things work that way. Always with the cycles, the waxing and the waning. 

 

Not only did THE ARROWS OF THE HEART – the next novel in The Uncharted Realms – release on Tuesday, October 9, but we revealed the cover of SEASONS OF SORCERY on Thursday, October 11.  SEASONS OF SORCERY is a fantasy anthology I’m doing with Amanda Bouchet, Grace Draven, and Jennifer Estep. It releases November 13 and you can preorder on some retailers now!

My novella in the collection is THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER and is told from Harlan’s point of view, in the aftermath of THE ARROWS OF THE HEART

THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER BY JEFFE KENNEDY
As unofficial consort to the High Queen, former mercenary Harlan Konyngrr faces a challenge worse than looming war and fearsome dragons. His long-held secrets threaten what he loves most—and he must make a choice between vows to two women.

As for today’s topic? We’re asking this week if we type two spaces or one after a period. This is an easy answer for me, because I’m not a freaking dinosaur. Come on over anyway!

 

Cover Reveal! SEASONS OF SORCERY

We are revealing the cover today for SEASONS OF SORCERY, a new anthology from me, Amanda Bouchet, Grace Draven, and Jennifer Estep. These gals are so awesome that this has been a total kick to work on. Each of us took one of the four seasons and the anthology comes out in November. 

Preorders Available!

 

WINTER’S WEB BY JENNIFER ESTEP

An assassin at a renaissance faire. What could possibly go wrong? Everything, if you’re Gin Blanco. This Spider is trapped in someone else’s icy web—and it seems like they don’t want her to leave the faire alive . . .

A CURSE FOR SPRING BY AMANDA BOUCHET

A malevolent spell strangles the kingdom of Leathen in catastrophic drought. Prince Daric must break the curse before his people starve. A once-mighty goddess trapped in a human body might be the key—but saving his kingdom could mean losing all that he loves.

THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER BY JEFFE KENNEDY

As unofficial consort to the High Queen, former mercenary Harlan Konyngrr faces a challenge worse than looming war and fearsome dragons. His long-held secrets threaten what he loves most—and he must make a choice between vows to two women.

A WILDERNESS OF GLASS BY GRACE DRAVEN

The stretch of sea known as The Gray rules the lives of those in the village of Ancilar, including widow Brida Gazi.  In the aftermath of an autumn storm, Brida discovers one of the sea’s secrets cast onto the shore—a discovery that will change her world, mend her soul, and put her in the greatest danger she’s ever faced.