First Cup of Coffee – February 11, 2022

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

First Cup of Coffee – February 8, 2022


Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. I did a little bit less half and half today still works today is Tuesday February Eight Twenty Twenty two ah how are you guys. Um, so yeah, I’m ah.

I’m ah clicking along here I I got up to do something I paused because I didn’t want to forget to do it. Um. Went out for drinks last night with some fun writer people. Lezli Robyn who is in town editor at galaxy’s edge. Um, um. It ended up being a funny evening but I’ll I’ll tell you ending of the evening I think is funny but she was there and Emily Mah and then Twig and I’m thinking oh Twig Deluje yeah ah Twig is the manager at Beastly Bookstore and then also Jim Sorensen and Jack who writes as some jmbarton he he does the podcast I interviewed him on here anyway. So it was 6 of us. And we had this great table by the fire at Rio Chama which is one of my favorite bars and it was um, terrific conversation. Very fun evening. We sat there a long time like 3 hours I think so so that was that was awesome. It was really fun. And so and I gave Leslie a ride because she is blind she has like ten fifteen percent of her sight and cannot drive so and she’s staying at George R Martin’s house in 1 of his casitas has kind of like oh. Walled compound deal and so when I picked her up she was waiting at the gate for me and had just newly discovered freedom because there’s a um, you know a lot of times way that these gates work on these walled places. For those of you who do not live in a walled compound. Ah there’s a sensor so when you pull up in your car to the sensor it automatically opens the gate but she had discovered that a human being was not big enough to trigger this sensor so she was like. There has to be a way for a person on foot to do this and and she’s she’s funny and we were just cracking up about it because I was like were you like dancing around in front of the sensor trying to look big like a car and she’s like I was who you laugh but I was so anyway she found out the trick which is surprising.

And I won’t say it on the podcast. But so she was like no I’m free I can leave the compound whenever I want to so she you know triggered the gate and opened it and came out so then I dropped her off again at like eight thirty or something and it’s cold. It’s been cold here the last. Couple of weeks really the coldest we’ve been all winter and snowy and it’s Santa Fe and so we were a you know dark compliance dark sky city so you know not many streetlights so it’s pretty dark so I take her to the gate and I said um. Do you know how to get back in. Do you have a code and she said no but I’ll just text George and and he’ll let me in so she texts George and George does not reply because he had some other guests come in and she’s like you know he probably has his phone like and it’s just sitting off to the side and I said I know I know. So then she tries George’s assistant but it’s her day off 1 of George’s assistants it’s her day off. So she’s not picking up the phone and so then I call one of our other mutual friends and ask if she knows because I know she’s been to George’s house a number of times and I said do you know the gate code and she said no so i. Call Melinda Snodgrass who’s like George’s best friend I was like do you know the code or you know and she’s like oh are you out with Lezli I said yes I’m trying to take her back but we’re trapped outside and and Melinda’s like I don’t she said every time I’ve gone there. It’s been opened for me like well yeah, good for you. So finally Lezli gets through to 1 of George’s other assistants who gives her the codes. It was just funny quite the quite the shenanigans and then Lezli said um, she said well I I could just walk from here and I’m like don’t be selling I’ll drive. You. The rest of the way. Yeah, which was good I get because it’s like you go off around and behind the big house and then down and you know like there’s a number of little casitas and stuff and she’s like in the very last one I was like okay yeah, definitely dropping you up. So. It was just an entertaining evening I may have had a little too much wine as my mother says I was over served ah but not that much I mean I was I was fine to drive obviously but feeling a little rough. This morning but progress on gray magic is going well I’ve got um I got through 70 pages yesterday. Oh I guess I should say I went back to the beginning and and longtime listeners will recognize this pattern in me i.

Mentioned yesterday that I hit about 87 almost eighty 8000 words on the book. Well, that’s after yesterday right? Anyway, I’m at 87 8 28 it’s probably going to be somewhere around 106 to 9000 words. So I’ve still got 20000 words to go? Um, not that I’m concerned so I decided definitely go back to the beginning yesterday now begin my revising. And so and I made it through 70 pages 70 of 322 so and it was pretty solid. Um, you can tilt by my speed that that was um, yeah I didn’t have to do a lot I ended up adding. Let’s just see here. Added 543 words and deleted 52 that’s not too bad. I don’t cut everything I delete. But if I cut like if I remember I put into an outtakes document just so I can kind of keep track of how much I’m deleting so we’ll see I do feel like I’m getting a better. Fix on the arc and remembering things so I would like have my little notes of things that I have to remember to wind up for the end which was good because I was concerned I was forgetting some things and it’s giving me ideas on winding it up. Not that I didn’t have plenty but it’s always good to kind of know what I’m doing. Ah, so other things. Um, so I’ve been reading a lot while I read a lot all the time but I’ve been reading thorn by Intisar Khanani hope I’m saying the name right? And. Grace had told me a long time ago to read it and I bought it a long time ago and you know languished on my kindle as books are wont to do and oh my god you guys. It’s so good. It is just so good. So it’s a goose girl retelling and some of you may know that I did a goose girl retelling Heart’s Blood and so it’s fascinating to me to see the ways that Intisar and I both use the same story elements in similar ways only she’s like.

So much cleverer I think she did such a better job now I’m like insanely jealous that she did such a better job than I did ah but of course mine’s a novella so I’m going to cling to that excuse that she did a full novel and so hers is naturally richer and more complex than i. I really love how she solved the problem of and I feel like this is not a spoiler right? because it’s goose girl fairy tale which has been out for a long time was ah at the workshop on Saturday when I was teaching it I was talking about. Meeting romance expectations and I said um yeah, like for example, Romeo and Juliet is not a romance. It’s a tragedy because the lovers die at the end and somebody what spoiler alert is like yeah you know that’s like what’s what’s the rule of if it’s been out for at least 100 years then can spoil the ending so that have to take a moment to be amused by that that spoiler. So anyway, spoiler alert on the goose girl if you are not familiar with the fair tale. It’s one of my favorites. So the princess is traveling with a lady-in waiting to meet her this prince of a foreign kingdom to whom she is betrothed to go and marry him and along the way the lady and waiting forces. The princess to trade places with her and. Masquerades as the princess goes and marries the prince and the real princess is forced to become a gooseg girl and it was something that I struggled with and it’s interesting when you do fairy tale retellings and I was. Touching on this a few weeks ago talking about the difference between like when do you do it or retelling when is it. You know to what degree do you cleave to the source material because it can be well. It can be challenging and I I think to the detriment of the story sometimes. If you cling too closely to the source material and you can’t make it justify itself within the I’m waving my hands in the air if you are not on video but this I’m I’m thinking of the. To me stories are like a globe for some reason I always come back to this idea of a globe. It’s like this big bubble and it’s full of all this stuff and like the shimmering surface I don’t know why that’s my mental image of a book but it but it is for better or worse know what your process is own. It.

For me. That’s what it looks like you know if you have read Nora Roberts Born in Fire I’ve I really love Born in Tire. It’s one of my favorites of hers. There’s a scene where Maggie gets drunk and passes out in the meadow as as an irish artist will do. And she’s looking up at the moon and then she creates that globe for ah the guy who is like a Roarke prototype I forget what his name is in the book. Anyway, that’s that’s the story image for me that that globe that she thinks. So if you can’t so so your story has to have this internal integrity. It. It becomes its own thing which is I think partly why I think of it like a bubble because like you know like you blow it like a soap bubble. You you keep breathing air and air into it and it grows bigger and bigger and then eventually it detaches and it goes floating off which is why I talk about like books feel like they take a little piece of me once they detach there’s that little bit of essenceence goes off with it. That’s why I think it’s exhausting when you finally release a book because like that packet of energy that’s inside the globe goes with it anyway, I’m waxing philosophical today at least it’s not self-excoriating. That’s a joke for bonds of magic readers I put in I created a house name. Yesterday that I tickled me immensely some things I put in just because I think they’re funny. You guys will have to see what you think. So um I keep losing my original thread here. So when you’re doing a retelling if you are determined to cleave. To certain story elements for the sake of cleaving to the source material and it doesn’t vibe with the internal integrity of your story then it’s a problem so when I did my goose goal retelling. I struggled with justifying. How did this lady in waiting overpower the princess and force her to change places. What did she have on her. What did she do to her and I had it. Developmental edited at the time and the editor pushed me on it and I I don’t. Don’t think it worked very well I don’t like the way that she pushed me on it I think what Ansar did is is superior far superior and I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me that part of it is magic. It’s like duh. Why didn’t I think of using magic because I’m not as.

Smart just into sorrow I don’t know and I haven’t ever met her. But if she listens to this. She’ll probably be amused but she also did I thought it was interesting that we did similar things with the character of the princess and why. And sort of her arc what it takes for her to to sort of overcome this problem and and it’s interesting. A lot of our beats are the same. So but I’m sure that comes from the source material. Anyway, it’s a really good book. Um i’m. I’m I’m really interested to see how she ends it I’m excited to read it. 1 thing I did over the weekend because I had finished a book that I was doing a blurb for and so i. Kind of finished up my reading obligations and so that’s why I was kind of going back through my my tbr the the leaning tower of to be read books and trying to decide. What was I going to read next and I briefly settled on persuasion by Jane Austen because I had not read persuasion ever and full caveat I have read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility all more than once I have never read I’m looking at my bookshelf now I’ve never read Mansfield Park or Northanger Abbey though I have copies of them on my shelf and I had not read persuasion and I bought it a while back for Kindle I think I don’t have a paper copy of Persuasion and I know I watched one of the I don’t know how many there are but I had watched one of the. Movie versions of it was my friend Margaret and she had said that Persuasion was her favorite and had bought the Kindle book some years ago when I was sort of casting about for something to read and I was looking for something of a particular style and a lot of people it said or someone had. Chimed in I I feel like it was more than one saying oh well if you’ve never read persuasion. You have to so I started reading it and I was so bored and I wasn’t liking it I mean and I kind of want but I was almost gonna post on social media being like is this just me because then I went and looked up. Um, you like to see if people say because I know that people feel like Mansfield Park and Northanger Abey are not her best works but you know persuasion they were sort of waxing and it was like the Jane Austen society or something. So of course they’re going to say nice things but they were saying that it was what that it’s one of her most popular works.

Which surprised me, do we think that’s true I mean what would be the empirical evidence for that none but I don’t think it’s and they said oh well and then it’s infused with this perspective of a more mature woman because it was her last book and I mean i. I should resonate with that right? Um, ah so I got through I read to like 20% of Persuasion and I was not having fun for a while I thought well I just need to settle into the pace and the language you know it’s different and like. 20% I was like I do not care about this heroin I don’t care about any of these people I’m really tired of reading about the silliness of the discussions around the children and so forth. So I I bailed so is this just me what am I missing on persuasion. Um. Please let me know or even better. Let me know that’s not just me because it’s like I’m so not getting it and I didn’t love the movie either. Even though my friend was rhapsodizing over it and I was like okay well maybe it’s because I haven’t read the book you know because I do think especially with books like Jane Austen or Henry James some of these books from that era you you get a lot more out of the movie version if you’ve read the book and you have all of that nuance but I did um, discover a lovely quote when I was looking up. Is it just me that I’m not liking persuasion and this was something that her brother had said about her he had said an invincible distrust of her own judgment induced her to withhold her works from the public till time and many perusals had satisfied her. That the charm of recent composition was dissolved and I threw that up on social media. But I love that because there’s the charm of recent composition. There really is something to that that like what you’ve just finished writing. It’s hard to see it clearly and when we talk about like the kill your darlings thing I think a lot of people don’t understand that that’s like only after some time and distance when you can step back and see things that you have put in there. Well like if you make up a house name just to amuse yourself. But that’s a tiny thing I get to keep that because at heart harms nothing. But if your darling is for example, cleaving to an element of the sourcement material because you feel like it’s important or you should then then that’s something to evaluate.

Once the charm of recent composition has dissolved. So. That’s why it’s interesting for me to go back and start revising from the beginning because it was interesting to read stuff that I started writing like back in November because it’s taken me a while to write this book and yeah, there is no charm. Recent composition. In fact, there’s like sometimes little recognition. It’s like oh god I put that in there. So I thought that was good insight. So on that note I’m going to get busy, get my shit done as as they say. I hope that you all have wonderful Tuesday I hope that you are getting your own shit done in a way that is pleasing to you and rewarding and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.

Now Available in Print!

Because you asked! The four Twelve Kingdoms and Uncharted Realms shorts and novellas that weren’t available in print are now combined into two print volumes! The prequel short story, NEGOTIATION, can be found with THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN, and the shorter novella, THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN, is in a volume with HEART’S BLOOD. Just go to the book detail pages for THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN and HEART’S BLOOD, to find those print copy purchase links. If you order the physical copies direct from me, I’ll sign and even personalize them! Happy reading!

What I Have and What I Want

As requested, I’ve put THE SNOWS OF WINDROVEN, HEART’S BLOOD, NEGOTIATION and THE CROWN OF THE QUEEN into print format! You can find those on my website. 

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is One thing we’re really good at as an author and one thing we’d like to do better. Come on over to find out mine!

Retelling the Fairy Tale

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is which fairy tale would you pick to rewrite and why?

It’s kind of a funny question for me, because it’s starting to be more accurate to ask me which fairy tale I *haven’t* rewritten yet. Come on over for more. 


On Funerals and Fairy Tales


I’m up in northern Wyoming for a funeral. Always good to see the Big Horn Mountains again, and to spend time with family. The one good part of sad events like these is that family from long distances come together and stories get told that people haven’t heard before. Something about a person’s death unlocks old memories, as if their passing has opened a window into all of their life.

Heart's Blood by Jeffe KennedyThis week in the Bordello we’re discussing our favorite fairy tales. Come on by and find out about my current obsession

Cover Reveal!!

Jeffe-Kennedy-Hearts-Blood-(Type)Look at this gorgeous cover the amazingly talented Louisa Gallie made for HEART’S BLOOD! She’s the artist who did Grace Draven’s gorgeous MASTER OF CROWS cover. I love, love, love that cover. So this is a big treat for me, to have a Gallie cover of my very own!

What’s super cool is you can get the image on various things and support the artist, too! 🙂 

This is my Goose Girl retelling, set in the world of The Twelve Kingdoms, previously available in the Dark Secrets Paranormal Noir Anthology, which no longer exists. The story stands alone, but intertwines with the other stories. 

A dark fairytale retelling of a princess robbed of rank, husband and even her name.

Nix is nothing. The Princess Natilde—her former waiting woman—attacked her on the journey to wed Prince Cavan, stripping her of everything and taking her place. With no serving skills, Nix becomes a goose girl. Perhaps if Nix keeps her promise never to reveal who she really is, Natilde won’t carry out her vile threats. Prince Cavan entered his arranged marriage determined to have a congenial, if not loving relationship with his future queen—for the sake of both their kingdoms. But, his wife repels him more each day and he finds himself absurdly drawn to the lovely Nix.

With broken vows, anguish and dark secrets between them, Cavan and Nix struggle to find the magic to restore what’s gone terribly wrong… if it ever can be.

As soon as it’s available, I’ll add the buy links!

Now available in Kobo!

And at Smashwords!

And on Amazon!

Heart’s Blood with a Side of Whiskey Dick

Dark Secrets No AuthorsI’m offering a little peek into HEART’S BLOOD, my contribution to the soon-to-be-released DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY, over at Here Be Magic today.

This excerpt is especially special because it contains the phrase “whiskey dick,” which Megan Hart called out as entirely my fault that it appears in her story. In fact, it appears in all six stories.

Which is… well, fair enough. *How* did this happen?? Because of my smart-ass, riffing ways.

See, I learned the term from P!nk (as one does). In her song Blow Me (One Last Kiss), she has this line:

No more sick whiskey dick, no more battles for me

I asked on Twitter if it meant what I thought it meant and people assured me that, yes, it mainly refers to when a guy can’t get it up as a result of overindulging. (Though I understand that Cindy Eden used it a bit differently!)

As I was writing, the phrase popped into my head. Unusual for me when writing a fantasy story, and yet it fit the gritty, noir feel we were going for. Because it was fun for me to have a group to talk to while I was writing my story – we have a private Facebook group, for kitten-herding- I announced that I’d used this phrase. Then I threw out the semi-serious gauntlet, challenging them all to use “whiskey dick” in their stories.

To my surprise – they did!

Can’t wait to read everyone’s and find this little Easter egg.

So you can read the excerpt from mine over at Here Be Magic today and I thought I’d share excerpts from the others all this week here. Let’s start with Rachel Caine‘s!

The overall blurb:

Six award-winning authors bring you this spellbinding collection of stories about dark desires, mysterious worlds, and danger that lurks in the shadows of the night. Where nothing is black and white; where things might not be as they seem; where magic and mayhem rule.

MARION, MISSING by Rachel Caine

Valentine is a detective with two major problems: he’s been offered a kidnapping case that will probably get him killed, and his partner won’t let him turn it down. He owes her that much … since his partner’s a ghost, and he’s the one who killed her. A dark, haunting noir mystery of love, hate and loss.

The Excerpt

“Tell you what,” he said. “I can’t give you any guarantees I can make much progress. I’ll take twenty as a retainer. We’ll settle up once I report back.”

“We don’t want no favors, young man,” Carlyle said. He looked like what he was—an upright, dignified man in the last quarter of his life. A man who’d probably never taken a dime he didn’t earn by the sweat of his brow. A man who’d never bought on credit. A church-going voter who pulled the lever every election, faithfully, even when others lost that faith.

Val looked at pulling the lever like playing a broken slot machine. But he wasn’t Carlyle. Not even close.

“It isn’t a favor,” he said. “I work for a living. Tilde would have told you that.”

Carlyle frowned, but he nodded and passed over the bill. Val wrote him out a receipt on a corner of his notepad, tore it off, and passed it over. “Sorry. All the receipt pads are packed up.”

“This’ll do. We trust you.”

Carlyle stood up. Mrs. Carlyle—he’d never heard either of their first names, and likely they hardly ever used them anyway—stayed seated with her knees primly together, and her purse on her lap like a dog that might run away. She stared right at Val’s face and said, “You believe in spirits, Mr. Valentine?”


Tilde’s whispering laugh came to him from the file room. “Liar.”

“I do,” she said. “I believe my niece wants you to find our little Marion. You find her. For Tilde.”

He stood up and offered his hand to her. He meant to help her up, but she shook it, firm as a man, before she got up all on her own, took her husband’s arm, and walked out.

The door closed softly behind them, and the closed blinds swayed. He went and locked it, after. No sense letting more trouble come in.

Barn door, and the horse already bolted, he thought, and before he could turn, he knew she was there. He smelled that light, floral perfume again.

This time, he felt a cold hand stroke gently over the back of his neck. He didn’t turn. He was afraid that if he did, he might see the wrong Tilde. The one from his nightmares.

“Thanks,” she whispered in his ear, and then she was gone.


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The End!

Grape Arbor 6_29_15So, yesterday I finished writing THE PAGES OF THE MIND!

(There’s nothing on that link yet – I just put it there for the FUTURE.)

I’ve been writing in the grape arbor pictured above, which has been really lovely. A nice place to finish this book.

This is book four of The Twelve Kingdoms, picks up in the aftermath of THE TALON OF THE HAWK, and moves into the librarian Dafne Mailloux’s point of view. I’m pretty sure I say this every time, but wow – I was not at all sure how that one was going to come together. Even yesterday when I started writing, I didn’t know how the riddles would be answered or what Dafne would decide to do. I wrote the final pages yesterday in a sudden, accelerated rush as it all fell into place. Astonishingly wonderful experience. Worth all the emo thrashing I was doing there for a while. Which is something you all can absolutely remind me of when I’ll undoubtedly do it again.

But for now, the next book isn’t due until January 1, 2016, which feels like a *luxuriously* long time from today.

In one of those serendipitous coincidences of timing, I also found out yesterday that THE TALON OF THE HAWK was nominated by RT Book Reviews for best book of June 2015! Book 2 in this series, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, was also nominated, in December 2014, and book 1, THE MARK OF THE TALA, received the win, the Seal of Excellence, in June 2014. So, all in all, I’m tremendously gratified at the reception this series has received. It’s been amazing.

Regina Small at RT said of TALON:

“Every time I finish a book in the Twelve Kingdoms series and declare that it’s better than the last, I feel like I’m betraying my past self. After The Tears of the Rose, I thought there couldn’t possibly be a more moving portrayal of a character’s evolution or a sexier fantasy romance. But somehow, Jeffe Kennedy has proven me wrong yet again. In The Talon of the Hawk, Kennedy explores Ursula’s divided loyalties — to her sisters and the future of the Twelve Kingdoms, and to her increasingly unhinged father, Uorsin. Ursula stepping out of her father’s shadow dovetails beautifully — and painfully — with her sexual awakening, brought on by Harlan, the powerful-yet-gentle mercenary captain. For series fans, Ursula’s story pays off so much of the ongoing mythology of the Twelve Kingdoms. And Harlan’s unwavering devotion to Ursula is so poignant and perfect — I’m still swooning.”

(Also, THE MARK OF THE TALA is on sale at Amazon for only $2.51, which is a great deal to snap up – it’s usually $9.00 or more.)

People are asking me what the next steps on PAGES are. It’s technically due tomorrow, July 1, but my excellent editor Peter Senftleben gave me an extra couple of weeks to polish. So today and maybe tomorrow, I’ll do some tweaking. Fix a few things that changed when I discovered the ending. Weave in some backstory. Fill in all the [ ] I leave in the text as I’m drafting for people and place names I need to decide on. Then I’ll send it to the CPs. They’ve already read the first 75% or so and gave me feedback on that.

Then I’ll spend the end of this week letting PAGES cool, to give me a little distance from the story, while I revise HEART’S BLOOD. This is a story – a Goose Girl retelling set in the world of The Twelve Kingdoms – that will be in an anthology with five other authors, out September 29. It’s called DARK SECRETS: A PARANORMAL NOIR ANTHOLOGY. You can read more about it here.

I’ll pick up PAGES again around July 6, after spending July 4th weekend – Independence Day in the U.S. – doing absolutely *nothing* productive.

After that? I have plans to work on a secret something I’m brewing with fabulous sister Fantasy Romance author Grace Draven.

There will also be enjoying summertime in the grape arbor. Hope you all get to also!