First Cup of Coffee – November 21, 2022

THE LONG NIGHT OF THE RADIANT STAR is out today! I’m burbling about that, controlled chaos, the importance of female friendships, and also story structure and applying screenwriting tricks to writing novels.



First Cup of Coffee – November 17, 2022

Some background on the difference between Back Cover Copy (BCC) and blurbs, how BCC remains the property of a publisher, even if rights are reverted, and what is a big NO to a publisher trying to retain.



When to Ditch Showing and Just Tell

Coming Soon! THE LONG NIGHT OF THE RADIANT STAR.

This is a novella in the Heirs of Magic series and occurs after THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING. It’s Jak and Stella’s wedding on the longest night, the Feast of Moranu. I think I’ll release it on Monday, November 21, 2022. No preorder this time. I’ll post when it goes live!!

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At long last, Jakral Konyngrr—lowly sailor, gambler, and sometime rogue—has won the heart and hand of Princess Stella of Avonlidgh. Never mind that Stella’s mother is determined to make their wedding the event of the century, he’s happy to endure any trial to marry the love of his life and his guiding star. Very soon they can sail away together into the rest of their lives. Unfortunately the wedding becomes delayed for several months, until midwinter.
Stella—sorceress, empath, and bearer of the mark of the Tala—has been through great trials. But nothing has tested her as sorely as her passionate and flamboyant mother planning their wedding. Even Jak’s steady love and companionship isn’t enough as Stella finds herself crumbling under the pressure of being snowbound in a castle with the press of so many minds and emotions. When she lashes out, she hits the worst possible target, jeopardizing her chances for happiness.
With several kingdoms and a former enemy empire bearing down on them, Jak and Stella’s wedding on the longest night of year might not happen at all… Unless they can create their own happy ever after.

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This week at the SFF Seven, we’re talking about Telling vs. Showing, particularly we’re examining when some narrative exposition is needed.

It’s an interesting question, and one very much focused on genre fiction. Many of you know I began my writing career in creative nonfiction. For many years I wrote and sold essays. My first book was an essay collection. At no point in that time – in classes, in critique groups, in discussions with editors – did anyone bring up Telling vs. Showing. It was only after I began writing fantasy romance (etc.) that the concept was introduced to me. I had to learn not to use the narrative exposition that had worked so well for my creative nonfiction voice, but to “show” instead.

Why is this a thing?

The oft-cited example is attributed to Anton Chekhov: “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” It turns out this exact quote is probably apocryphal. A passage from the article I linked to says:

In May, 1886, Chekhov wrote to his brother Alexander, who had literary ambitions: “In descriptions of Nature one must seize on small details, grouping them so that when the reader closes his eyes he gets a picture. For instance, you’ll have a moonlit night if you write that on the mill dam a piece of glass from a broken bottle glittered like a bright little star, and that the black shadow of a dog or a wolf rolled past like a ball.”

It’s salient to note that he’s talking about description here. When my genre-fiction editors and critique partners introduced the concept to me, they framed it as a way to deepen the point of view (POV). In genre fiction, in particular, readers love to be immersed in the characters and world, thus the incentive to deepen POV.

I worked diligently to learn to show, not tell.

Fast-forward to my current agent, the insightful and incisive Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency. One day, after reading one of my manuscripts we planned to take on submission to traditional publishing, she said, “Jeffe, I know you work really hard to show, not tell, but sometimes we just need a line or two telling us what the heck is going on.”

And she was right. I was so busy describing the glint of light on broken glass that I was failing to explain that this world had three moons.

In the end, as with all things, it comes down to balance. We need both in order to tell effective stories: immersive description and deep POV, along with some clear narrative exposition to ground the reader in the world.

I’m getting better at it!

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.

 

THE DRAGON’S DAUGHTER AND THE WINTER MAGE Now Available!

     

Invisible Loner

Gendra—partblood daughter of an elite mossback soldier and the only shapeshifter to achieve the coveted dragon form—is anything but interesting. She’s actually plain and awkward and … invisible. Every guy she meets either looks right through her or—worse—thinks of her as just a friend. Fortunately Gen is far too practical to wallow in self pity. Much.

A Search for True Love

But as Gen accompanies her oldest friends on a quest for Her Majesty High Queen Ursula, she can’t help feeling bitter about her lonely fate as, two by two, they pair off with each other. As usual, everyone but odd-woman-out Gen seems to be finding the happiness in true love that has always eluded her. And Gen’s pathetic attempts to come out of her shell have only met with social disaster.

Dragon’s Daughter

Still, with magic rifts plaguing the Thirteen Kingdoms and a strange intelligence stalking them from an alter-realm, Gen has plenty to deal with—especially when she’s cut off from the group, isolated and facing a lethal danger. It just figures that Gen is on her own, once again. But with no one coming to save her, she has only herself to rely upon.

And, perhaps, the help of a mysterious, stranded magician…

     

Scraping Under Those Deadlines

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is whatever is on our minds. Which is always dangerous to ask. We’re all busy people, so I’m going to bet we all have about 10,000 things on our minds, all bumping and jostling for priority. Come on over to learn about how I’m living dangerously!

Cover Reveal! THE DRAGON’S DAUGHTER AND THE WINTER MAGE

I’m super excited to share the stunningly gorgeous cover for THE DRAGON’S DAUGHTER AND THE WINTER MAGE, Book #3 in my Heirs of Magic series, releasing September 24!

 

Book Three in the adult Fantasy Romance adventure series from award-winning, bestselling author Jeffe Kennedy. Follows the prequel novella, The Long Night of the Crystalline Moon, in the Under a Winter Sky romantic fantasy holiday anthology—now available as a standalone—and Book One of Heirs of Magic, The Golden Gryphon and the Bear Prince, and Book Two of Heirs of Magic, The Sorceress Queen and the Pirate Rogue.

Invisible Loner

Gendra—partblood daughter of an elite mossback soldier and the only shapeshifter to achieve the coveted dragon form—is anything but interesting. She’s actually plain and awkward and … invisible. Every guy she meets either looks right through her or—worse—thinks of her as just a friend. Fortunately Gen is far too practical to wallow in self pity. Much.

A Search for True Love

But as Gen accompanies her oldest friends on a quest for Her Majesty High Queen Ursula, she can’t help feeling bitter about her lonely fate as, two by two, they pair off with each other. As usual, everyone but odd-woman-out Gen seems to be finding the happiness in true love that has always eluded her. And Gen’s pathetic attempts to come out of her shell have only met with social disaster.

Dragon’s Daughter

Still, with magic rifts plaguing the Thirteen Kingdoms and a strange intelligence stalking them from an alter-realm, Gen has plenty to deal with—especially when she’s cut off from the group, isolated and facing a lethal danger. It just figures that Gen is on her own, once again. But with no one coming to save her, she has only herself to rely upon.

And, perhaps, the help of a mysterious, stranded magician…

 

Ready to see it?

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Updates on My Release Schedule!

BRIGHT FAMILIAR releases on Friday!! I’m super excited not only because I got the book done in time – whew! – and not only because I have over 1,000 preorders on Amazon for this book and still climbing – a personal record! – but because early reader-reviewers are saying such wonderful things about it. My heart and cup runneth over, for sure. You all are amazing in your love for this series. If you haven’t preordered yet and want to, you still can 🙂

Some of you have been asking about my release schedule for both this series and Heirs of Magic. The obsessive fans alert among you have noticed that my release date for THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING has drifted into 2022. And GREY MAGIC, sequel to BRIGHT FAMILIAR , is coming out at the end of December. The reason for the release date drift is that I’m wedging in a novella for another midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology! Everyone is still figuring out if they can fit it into their writing schedules, so I won’t tell you the participants yet. But as soon as I know, you’ll be hearing about it! Worse comes to worst, we pull the plug on the anthology and all of these release dates move up.
Here is my current plan (italics indicate tentative dates):

 

THE DRAGON’S DAUGHTER AND THE WINTER MAGE (Heirs of Magic 3) 9/13/2021

holiday novella 11/15/2021
GREY MAGIC (Bonds of Magic 3) 12/20/2021
THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING
(Heirs of Magic 4) 2/22/2022

Finally, in case you missed it, THE LONG NIGHT OF THE CRYSTALLINE MOON, the prequel story to Heirs of Magic, previously only available in the UNDER A WINTER SKY anthology, is now available as a standalone.

Winter Magic in Summer – THE LONG NIGHT OF THE CRYSTALLINE MOON

At the SFF Seven this week, we’re recommending our frothiest books for a light summer read. Well, if you’re one of those who likes to celebrate the midwinter holidays in the heat of summer, I’ve got one for you!

Just out today, I give you THE LONG NIGHT OF THE CRYSTALLINE MOON.