First Cup of Coffee – January 19, 2024

A historical perspective today on the LKH bruhaha this week regarding self-publishing, including Gen X cane-shaking, salacious gossip, and insight into how profoundly the publishing landscape has changed in 30 years.

First Cup of Coffee – July 15, 2022

A bit more on the internet/cell data saga (fair warning), and then further ruminations on RPGs, Wizardry, my own experiences along with other female/enby/etc. folks in the community, and Frosé.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Very good. Um, today is say it with me Friday woohoo. Ah July fifteenth the ides of july.

Ah, beautiful here in Santa Fe this morning we went for a walk. It was very pleasant even more pleasant and exciting is the xfinities tech is supposed to come um between nine and eleven this morning. And it’s now none I’m running a little bit later today partly because we went for the walk and we went up to the store and then I had to like move shit around in my office so that they had all these instructions you know, make sure that. Technician we can get to the outlets of that. There’s nothing in the way. Um, so that has been It’s interesting to me how much of a contributor to my feelings of chaos to have my office disrupted. Oh. There’s my mother. I asked her how she was and she never replied up. She’s thinking more clearly she’s feeling better all right I will reply to mom when I am done doing the podcast I’d left my phone on in case, the Xfinity tech calls. Um, it’s funny cause they send these some text messages saying. You know reschedule and you know as all these you know press one to confirm and None to cancel and None to reschedule it. It’s like I was just terrified of hitting the wrong wrong button and so please come please please please come and fix our internet. Yes, ah. Ah, ongoing saga if you have been following. Um, my phone was not working right yesterday I tried to tried calling Megan because um, so so I’ve answered my question that I posed yesterday of why can’t I just run internet through my hotspot. Maybe if I hadn’t gotten the basic plan I could but you know I got like the most basic unlimited plan I could and uploading my podcast video to Youtube took a fucking hour hou hour hou hour you guys I couldn’t believe it and it was. I could barely do anything else on my laptop at the same time because it was like hijacking the signal from my mouse and my keyboard and everything was running very slowly and it was it was miserable I mean champagne problems right? but still it was miserable I didn’t even try to upload to instagram. Apparently instagram is changing like if you’re going from if you’ve had a business page and now they’re going to teams or something so that’s probably why I can’t upload the podcast video to internet or to instagram sorry um, so then.

After I finally got everything uploaded and I thought this just is not a tenable substitute and I need to do the s simple board meeting yesterday afternoon. So I called my friend Megan she had texted me and said did I want to go for frose – #perfectlyfine – Um, in the evening fros or Harry’s and our whole tradeoff balance there is is it raining or not because it’s monsoon season monsoon rains come in in the afternoon. Um, if it’s a sunny hot afternoon frose is the thing to do if the rain has come in. Because we’re high altitude desert. It gets cold right? So yeah, then it’s then it was Harry’s roadhouse and margaritas. So I was thinking about it that we were getting together anyway and so I tried to color because I didn’t feel like typing it all out. Um. Another minor inconvenience is that I’ve been using the the text app on my laptop to do a lot of my texting but I can only do that if we actually have internet because you have to have the phone and the laptop on the same internet but apparently having the laptop get internet from the phone is not the same thing. Don’t ask me so I tried to call her and my call would not go through would not go through would not go through then she tried to call me back and leaves me a voicemail saying hey I saw you tried to call me but it didn’t ring on my phone. Ah. So then I had to get on with chat with the verizon tech and it was one of those deals where the Verizon tech was taking like 5 minutes between replies and you know because they’re clearly helping I don’t know None different people at the same time. And eventually after 45 minutes I got to a place where they had me reset reset the network on my phone and now my phone is working fine and they’re like well I’m so glad that and maybe they are doing this because they said you are awesome. You made this work. And I was like yeah too bad it took 45 minutes to get to the solution. There was a point at which the person had said to me. Um, you know Well so I understand that you’re having trouble with your hotspot is that correct and I said no, that’s not correct. And they said well can you tell me what the problem is exactly and I said how about you reread the conversation. We’ve been having for the last half an hour during which I’ve explained what the problem is exactly multiple times and which I think they did because then they came back and said oh you’re having trouble making and receiving calls I was like.

Um, my gosh this week I tell you I’m just hoping that the xfinity appointment goes well that I’ve internet. So anyway, I finally got to have a voice conversation with Megan and I said can I come up to your office to radius and use your internet for this board meeting and then we can go for Drake’s you know. Me a quiet corner and I could do that and she said well even better. Why don’t you go to my house because ah, her husband is out of town I guess I could say husband now right? Husband is out of town doing San Diego comic con working and. They have the big dogs that prefer to have company and she’s like it would be a great favor to me if you would go over and sit at my house and do your board meeting there and use our internet I was like perfect and she said and then I could come home from work and we can go have drinks well then ah a wrench in the works as her daughter is having a medical crisis. And mean ended up being home. She said I’m just she so I’m gonna come home I’ve got to arrange everything and now she’s um, leaving this afternoon flying to to Arizona to be with her daughter and she’s gonna be there for the whole week because her daughter has to have surgery and all this kind of thing. So ah, she would so she spent her afternoon like finding house sitters and dog sitters and all of this and she had to run out and then she came back and so it was like none and I’d already started drinking her champagne as. She had told me to do my board meeting was done my other work was done and so she was like she still has cases of champagne leftover from the wedding she was like please drink some champagne so I was sitting out on her porch drinking champagne when she got back and she said okay so the house Sitter’s coming over at None and. I said well do we have time to go for Burgarita still and she’s like oh it’s gonna be a little tight and I said you know why don’t we just sit here and drink champagne and have food delivered and she was perfect so we had italian food delivered. We sat out there. We drank champagne we chatted and now she’s taking off again. So I may yet be going over to our house to use internet. We’ll see ah yeah, ah, such as life right? It’s amusing to me. Can’t recall if I reflected on this yesterday, but it’s amusing to me that ah it has wreaked so much havoc in our lives this week not having internet and having so difficult cell service for these 2 things that.

And I know I sound like an old lady at this point you know shit came like can you kids don’t know but you know that I before you know that there was a time in my life would those were things that we did not have we simply did not. Have it all and it’s like and now the loss of them makes it almost impossible for me to work. Um and yet I remember a time when I worked without those things was trying to find a way to embrace it. But it’s just um, it’s disruptive. So hopefully after this all will be back to normal. Um, follow up on um, excuse me the game stuff I talked at the beginning of the week about I guess on tuesday. Tuesday’s podcast I talked about um, doing the roleplaying games and I told you the story about a pith Jennifer Dieys and my high school boyfriend who was involved in that story did listen to the podcast I did not point it to it so I don’t know if you listen every day kev or if you saw the descriptor on that None but he replied to me on Twitter and he said actually let me tell you exactly what he said because he told okay I found his clarifying tweets. He said wizardry was the game. We sent your poor low- level character into a dungeon with a higher level crew. Even if Jennifer had survived the pit. She definitely would have been slain in the none encounter with enemies. She was set up to fail. Ah, and I kind of. Loved that he told me all of that and I don’t recall if we if he told me before that my character was set up to fail but it was very interesting having this conversation with Gregory Wilson and some other people another um. Female friend of mine who is an amazing fantasy author ah told me a story saying that she stopped playing games rpg games I guess that’s redundant isn’t it role-playing games when she was 19 when the boys that she was playing with decided to cast a sleep spell on her character and rape her and yes, it’s the fantasy of the game but it’s also a representation of yourself and we know that people take this.

Kind of things seriously right? You know it’s that it’s the avatar of yourself and I felt so bad for her and it was interesting sharing with them. Kev’s information about it being wizardry and ah Gregory Wilson said oh that he had this epic rant about wizardry and playing it in the eighty s. And how much he hated that game and I will link to his rant because it was an entertaining rant and it’s just like 9 minutes long so um those of you interested might enjoy hearing this rant Kev if you are listening ah you may enjoy hearing this rant. And um, but it was it was It’s been interesting to revisit that because I had never really connected that maybe a lot of my current aversion to. Role-playing games or lifelong aversion to role-playing games may have stemmed from that incident in which I was set up to fail ah in which my boyfriend and his friends mainly wanted to get rid of me and successfully did so um, you know and it’s like hardly a big thing. In the scheme of things but it is interesting. How we do learn aversion to stuff and and I mainly am still thinking about it because I know that this has been such a pervasive experience for women and. Non-binary non um, heteronormative people in the science fiction and fantasy community that that gaming particularly roleplaying gaming is such a big part of the um, kind of the group. Interaction right? The the fantasy of playing together and that there you know has been so much terrible, cruelty and abusiveness that’s flourished in that aspect of the community and a lot of people are doing much better work to to combat it. But. Um, yeah, it’s ah it’s just it’s too bad. That’s gone on for so long and I’m glad that people are battling it and I’m glad to have conversations with people like Gregory who are very welcoming and saying you’ll come back and play this game and and I think I’m gonna try I’m gonna. See about playing some of these games because maybe I would like it. ah good kev also clarified that ah the town I mentioned was gold hillll and it was till desk do party was the name of the production company doing the murder mysteries. He says None stars would recommend.

And he also said it’s possible. He had an unfair advantage in the game as well since he had attended many times before as I recall he was also the only person who wasn’t drinking so another unfair advantage. So um. Let’s see so there’s those things I’ve got rogues possession upload it ah ready to release soon. What did I say July Twenty Sixth something like that I should know I know that and it’s all upload. It. So. It’s nice to have these things where I’m not ah uploading under the wire rogueeson continues to sell very well I did see on um, good reads. My assistant was saying that it wasn’t on Goodreads and I found it for her. But now we have multiple versions so I have asked. The librarians on goodreits to consolidate the additions. But I couldn’t help noticing that there was like ah not great reviews on the new edition. Some of them could be trolls. Ah but there was one on there like the the top review. Um I didn’t read all of it I just started to. Read it but she was complaining that there should have been a trigger warning for exactly that section that I was thinking about deleting people I was like yeah but it was funny because she said um that that was an abusive relationship and that she dnfed at that point because. Should have been a trigger warning for abusive relationships and that she just couldn’t read that and it was like well that particular section is an abuse. It’s not supposed to be ah, a relationship. It’s it’s basically torture. It’s it’s It’s like it. No no, no, it’s not an abusive relationship. It’s being kept captive by hostels who torture you? Um, so maybe not a close reader. Ah maybe a troll I don’t know so anyway, if you have never reviewed. Ah, rogues pawn on good reads and you feel like saying something nice about it on either edit I assume they’ll blend together and so that will that will help I do think it’s funny because it’s like ah now I’m back to thinking maybe I should have deleted that scene. But It’s really important for her character. It’s important for shaping what happens later and so when I did look at deleting it and having it be like just flashback and all that it would have been really hard to disentangle at this point.

And I know that a lot of readers feel the same way and I don’t blame them a bit but for prisoner of the crown that prisoner of the crown starts out with um, her early life and how you know how she was basically set up to be a victim. And then how she’s victimized in her marriage and all of this is about how this changed ah changed her family and ultimately brings about the downfall of an empire because she was they picked the wrong girl to victimize um and. I understand people hesitating to read that first book. But yeah, it, It’s what shapes our character so funny and what else.

I’m I’m making good progress on shadow wizard I’m having a lot of fun writing jadron um I’m I’m liking Cellie too but Jadron in particular is in really interesting character isn’t he. Here’s one of those characters by the way if you have read the bonds of magic books when he appeared on the page in bright familiar. Basically when he stepped out of the carriage I did not know what was going to happen in that scene and when he stepped out of the carriage. It was like this character who had decided he wanted to be part of these books and. Total surprise to me and so I’m so I’m enjoying delving into exactly what his deal is and I’ve been listening to the audio book of bright familiar and then I’ll finish that then I’ll read that listen read the audio book of great magic. So. Getting those things done and hoping to get a lot of stuff cleared out of my office because oh as I started out and probably didn’t finish saying my office is utter chaos in part because like the modem and internet connection was all behind bookshelves so there’s like. Books everywhere and I also have to mail out a whole bunch of stuff for Sifwa and I have a whole bunch of stuff for a polycon. So I’m hoping this weekend to like put my office back into order and then I will feel like um, it makes a big difference for me. I I um I wouldn’t say I’m a scrupulously neat person but I am like a clean desk person and I am a non-cluttered organized office person and um, yeah, deep cleansing breaths right? on that note. I hope that you all have wonderful relaxing fabulous weekend and I will um, talk to you all on Monday possibly with internet how you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – July 14, 2022

A long, involved saga of internet and cellular data woes, including multiple interactions with service providers, three trips to the store, two lightning storms, and one coincidence so incredible that I blame Thor.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Um, delicious today is Thursday July fourteenth halfway through July race and ride along I don’t know is this like summer syndrome. Ah delicious. So. Um I have had just how do I describe it. It’s it’s just been an epic few days and in some ways it began a couple of weeks ago with ah a storm it is monsoon season here. And New Mexico I’ve mentioned a number of times which is fabulous because it means rain we are most grateful everything is green. Um, it’s incredibly incredibly important to get these monsoon rains. It’s when we get most of our moisture. However, with rain. Often comes lightning and a couple of weeks ago. We had a storm where we were getting this gorgeous rain and a lightning bolt hit nearby and it was one of those ones where you know like when the lightning cracks right? overhead and makes you kind of. Just jump out of your skin and this one was particularly shocking because we hadn’t had the normal lead up. You know, like normally you can like hear the storm getting closer and closer and the thunder is ah coming faster after the lightning cracks and so you can count and. You know the the childhood game of counting. Ah you know, basically knowing the difference between speed of light and speed of sound and how close that lightning is getting well. We didn’t get any of that. Um, even though there had been like some lightning and thunder in the distance. All of a sudden we had this. Crack right? overhead. Um that you know like everything went really bright I was like whoa and we’d already had things unplugged but it knocked out our internet and we got texts from. Xfinity saying ah internet is out. We’re working on repairing it. Um, they didn’t get it fixed until this was already like um I don’t know seven-thirty Eight o’clock at night and they didn’t get it fixed till like 4 in the morning but it came back up and you know.

Hoay. But then our internet just wasn’t the same again. It was um, slow our you know we kept it kept dropping. We had to keep rebooting the router. Um, it would be unstable. You know like in Zoome. Your internet is unstable. Um, so I’d gotten on with an xfinity ah helper person on chat who was great and we were we were on for like an hour and a half and she ended up like upgrading our internet we got faster internet. Um. She like cleared clean things up I don’t know what they do when they clean things up but she cleaned things up and she um when I complained I said ah she said that she could actually get us a better plan where we’d be paying like $10 less a month I said that would be great because we’d already spent like. $30 on cell phone overage charges because we hadn’t had that internet I think we finished watching a movie that night which we were feeling profiglet. Um because you know was like well use our cell data so a bit of background to this. Is we have had this plan that is a very old plan capital V Capital O Capital P Very old plan with ah Verizon which did not have unlimited data but it was it was inexpensive. And Verizon kept trying to get me to switch to unlimited data and I’d looked at it a couple of times but every plan change would have us paying like one ah hundred dollars more a month and we were paying like every time we went. A gigabyte over or four gigabytes over um on our allow allotted data allowance. It was costing us $15 so even on some months when we like. It was mostly if we were traveling if we were on a road trip and we wanted to play music or something like that we would use data and it would you know everyone’s why we would have like $60 in over its charges but it was still you know made more sense financially than $100 more every month. So we were using this cellular data overage I mentioned to the xfinity gal. Oh well, you know with like $30 in overage charges. So be nice to have less on our plan and she said oh well let me credit you $30 so that was lovely.

She even said by the time we finished and everything was really working great that she said that I was one of the nicest customers that she had dealt with all day and she really appreciated that I got that twice in a couple of days and I thought are they saying that to make me feel good or am I really nicer. Most David thinks it’s because I’m nicer than most people. Um, maybe it’s I’m I’m not generally and a nice person. Maybe I am I don’t know. But um I can be very forceful about getting what I want but what I’m dealing with. Customer service people like that on chats are on the phone. You know it’s it’s never their fault. It’s it’s never their problem that things are not okay I thought it was showing weird connection speaking of um. You know? So. There’s no reason not to be kind to them. You know, working in those call centers sucks. They’re always just doing the best that they can every once while if they’re not listening and they’re just going through their script then I will get pointed about it. So anyway. We’d come away thinking aha success on the internet’s working well well reader it was not working well it continued to the grade we were rebooting the router many times a day. The router was getting really hot. It was um. Just not. It wasn’t up to speed. You know all of these things lagging dropping signal so I was doing a little bit of research on this I thought I’d have to get on with Xfinity but we decided that probably what we needed was a new rubber. So. On um, we’ll see today’s Thursday so on Tuesday David went and because our router was you know they they start getting old and I was concerned that it was so hot. It’s always a bad sign so he went and got a new router which. Cost like $200 I was a little shocked it was that expensive. Ah, but he came home with the new router and he ah installed it and got it working in time for um, oh just a couple things that we were doing whatever. Um, and so we had it was like installed by like two or three o’clock and it was great internet was perfect it was solid this was clearly the great solution everything was going fabulous and um, we were all pleased. It’s like problem solved then we can move on with our lives.

Ah, it’s amazing to me how integral having internet is now but wait. There’s more so storm rolls in that evening and it’s starting to rain and I’m very happy because we’d had a couple of storms come through that hadn’t produced any rain so I was like hooray rain and then. Can you believe it all is sudden crack this massive lightning bolt and I saw it from the kitchen window like it went down and I don’t know where it hit but it hit close and you know instantaneous crack of sound and David was in the kitchen cooking dinner. Like a good man and he just about jumped out of his skin and we were like whoa and ah and it fried our new router it fried the new router it stopped working. What are the odds what are the odds I mean that’s like like Thor coming after me personally. So we um. Best buy didn’t open until Eleven Wednesday morning till the next morning so we used cellular data to do work stuff. Um have both both writing and SFWA stuff. And so we start burning the cellular data and I told David because this happened again at like 7 or 8 at night I was going to go to bed and read and but you know he has parkinson’s disease. He doesn’t always sleep well and he’s very restless at night and I said you know. If you want to watch movies or whatever tonight. Um, go ahead and use the cell data. So I wake up in the morning to like another $30 worth of over its charges but you know what can you do and I do. Stuff that morning pretty much without internet. Fortunately, it’s Wednesday which is my blog day I ended up not blogging at all I thought I could do it later in the day but I didn’t get to it. Um, so apologies there if you were looking for a blog post. Ah fortunately no podcast. Tuesday morning I used cell data to do the podcast to ah, record it and to upload it which that burned a lot of data. It’s funny because it it reminds me of that quote. Um.

Which there’s some question of like whether or not it’s apocryphal. Ah, apparently bill gates denied ever saying this but then they found evidence that he did that in a 1985 article. April 20, 1985 issue of info world that bill gates said when we set the upper limits of pc dos at six hundred and Forty k we thought nobody would ever need that much memory. It just amuses me when I’m like burning. Ah, gigabytes of data at a time I could tell you like how much we went through I’m not sure it matters. But oh yeah, like our overage got up to $120 for eight gigabytes um so we had considered lying about the router right? when David was going to take it back. We were like well we could just say you know I mean we didn’t didn’t even have it 24 hours that we could just say oh well, it didn’t work so we need to exchange it. And we decide that that would be wrong that that would be unfair. Ah and so he took the router back and he explained to the best buy person what had happened and and they just said oh sounds like you need to exchange it. So fortunately, we were not out. An additional $200 for this router. So David comes home with the router. Um I’ve pretty much got my words done I had to give a class for the clarion folks. The clarion writathon folks at two o’clock my time. Ah, hello to any of you who may have tuned in today normally I talk about writing more but today’s the epic story of our internet and loss thereof. It’s it’s a variable feast here at first cup of coffee. You just never know what you’re going to get. So I by now it’s like David got home at like noon and so we’re trying to set up the router and I figure it’s going to go fast right? because we’ve done it once already we’d know how to you know we’ve done the drill the day before even though David handled most of it and so. We get it all set up and it won’t connect. There’s no internet. It does connect it says connected. No internet. So I finally get on with an Xfinity person and because I can’t do chat.

Because we don’t have internet right? and I don’t want to try typing on my phone and I’m trying not to use the cell data to power my laptop so it and it really was a lot of effort to talk to a person on the phone like even while I’m on the waiting. For to get somebody to come on. They’re like sending me text saying click this text to have a chat I’m like no I talk to a person finally get on with a person. He tries bunch of times tries to help me um, resets it and. It will not connect. There is nothing there and he says we have to send somebody out to your house because there’s there’s something wrong. Um that like the internet data is not making it to the Router. So and of course they can’t send somebody until Friday. So two more days so I’m just like fuck my life. Whatever I can live so I’d hope to have internet back in time to do this clarion class I did not so I ran it on cell data. Did my laptop on connected to the hotspot did the class. It was fun if any of you were listening. It was really fun chatting with you all? Um, we can talk more about the heroine’s journey versus the hero’s journey. Ah, but um. I I don’t know maybe I should read Gail’s book anyway that’s a side conversation. So um, finish that I have like half an hour before I have a meeting for SFWA and so I do that via Discord and. You know I’m watching like getting the messages from Verizon telling me about my overages and so right before I get on this meeting with SFWA I decide. Okay I I cannot be stubborn on this any longer I go to Verizon I pick the cheapest plan I can with unlimited data. It’s still going to cost us like $100 more a month I’m griping about it. But um, at this point it’s just got to be done right? And also I’m noticing for the first time that apparently like we could go to nine gigabytes of overage. But. And we’ve already used like 8.4 and I’m thinking oh it’s not unlimited overage I mean I can’t just keep shelling out otherwise I might have done. It. Also I had gotten a message from Verizon recently. Ah, where they’d said that they were.

Absolutely making my Very Old Plan go away and I was gonna have to change anyway. So I was like all right capitulate have to change so I go in and I change it on the website and I figure. Okay, it’s fine. So I’m in the middle of this meeting and it’s like started at for It’s like 4:45 and all of a sudden internet just drops I have nothing I’m kicked out of the meeting. Ah and my phone has not only no cell data but I can’t even use it to make calls. Says oh you can make emergency calls only um and but actually I’m sorry I left out a little piece of this story I changed it before the meeting but then during the meeting I got another notice for an overage charge and I was like what the heck. So as we’re talking I go back into the Verizon website. And sure enough the changes had not taken effect. So I do it again and it’s weird because it’s like different prices now actually lower. So yay me so I go ahead and set it and I don’t know if it’s like when I confirmed the plan change but that was like when it kicked me out and it um. My phone becomes a brick I can’t use it I have no internet can’t use that to contact Verizon so it was like oh well this is just really charming. So I go and get David’s phone which is like down to 10% charge I can’t even with this so I have to find his charging cord too. Culverizon I get on with somebody. Ah this person can’t help me. They say they have to like connect me to someone else and and it takes a while to get to the point where they can’t help me and so then he’s like well let me ah, get you to someone who can help you change your plan and he puts me on hold and. Comes back once to check with me and we’re still on hold and then I get this message saying please enter your pin I’m like what again. So I entered my pen and then it says I’m sorry your the call center is closed like no no the call center cannot be closed so that was when I go. And um I am oh I’m sorry I already was on David’s phone so I call again and I get through and this guy is um, sounds very nice and helpful and but he says you’re you’re so static I can barely hear you and I’m like I am desperate I really am afraid that if I hang up I will not be able to get. Ah, person again. Ah so I’m like yelling into the phone so he can hear me and he says he’s he’s like that looks like you have unlimited data now. You should be fine. He said if you tried restarting your phone and I was like ah fuck me no I had not tried restarting my phone.

So while he’s there I restart my phone it clicks in my phone is no longer a brick I’m able to use it and then David’s phone at the same time like even though I didn’t restart it now. All of a sudden it has connects to the 5 g and everything. So. This is this has been a 20 minute story so I apologize to those of you who are here for talk about writing and industry but you know this is like part of it. So I’m um, accessing internet through my cell phone for the next couple of days till they come fix our internet. It is occurring to me now that I have unlimited data. Why don’t I do this all the time. Also when I was on with the the lovely first xfinity gal who gave me all these deals she had asked me who we did our cell phone service with. And I said oh I don’t want to change our cell phone service and she said oh I I completely understand that well dear reader I am now considering changing our cell phone service. We have been with Verizon since the beginning. Um and now I’m wondering um should I consolidate. My internet and cell phone service. It makes me think maybe it would be bad. You know like in this case, it was good to have 2 different services so I could go back and forth and it really sucked when both were down I couldn’t even I had no way to contact the people I’d been in the meeting with. To tell them what had happened I tried to text them and my texts wouldn’t go through. Um, so it’s disconcerting when there’s like 0 ability to contact the outside world I thought that I was going to have to my my final plan and I had another meeting at six and now it’s like after five but my next plan was was like get in my car and drive to the Verizon store I wasn’t even sure what time they closed and I had no way to check since I had no internet or sell data. But I thought well I’ll just go. Drive to the Verizon store and if I can get them to restore our service um desperate measures I was also thinking that I could actually go to a place today. We have a board meeting and I’m probably gonna be online for a couple of hours for that board meeting. Um, we are so reliant on internet now right hummingbird up above. So um, and I could go to a friend’s house too and use their internet.

But I think there’s no reason now why I can’t just burn cell data right? I have unlimited data I’m so we’re going to be paying out the wazoo ye old wazoo for it. So I might as well. Just do that right? So on that note I’m going to go upload this podcast. Um, this has been. The latest installment of all the things going on my mom said you certainly don’t lead a boarding life. Um my 80 year old mother who has covid thinks her life is boring and comparison to mine. Thank you for all of the kind thoughts on that she um. Has probably had it since Saturday she was diagnosed on Monday she’s been taking the medication which she said makes her feel like she’s sleepwalking but it is helping she is doing better. Um, stepdad has not gotten it. So. I think which kind of bitches are out because she’s annoyed that she got it and he hasn’t but um, you know it’s just weird. It’s funny how the viruses work some people get some people don’t ah but at least we have the medications and the vaxs now right? Ah all right. This has been a long podcast consisting of very little but ranting I will be back tomorrow I hope you all the wonderful Thursday and I will talk to you in the morning you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – July 12, 2022

My crazy afternoon and evening yesterday, including a vehicle near-mishap, along with thoughts on role-playing games, doing the Bag of Giving, and about my early game-playing trauma when I was a teen.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

Ah, that’s good. Delicious. Today is Tuesday July Twelfth Two Thousand and twenty two and well big news in our household is my mother has COVID. Um, it’s the first time that it’s hit my immediate family I guess guess everybody’s getting it now. Um, um so they caught it pretty early. She hasn’t felt too terrible tired headache little bit of a fever. She is um you know twice boosted four shots. So and they’ve got her on Paxlovid so hopefully she’ll kick it pretty quickly and it won’t be a big incident. Um, it reminded me though of an incident from fairly early on in the pandemic it was after. Walk down had let up. So I think it may have been summer of 2020 and a lot of the restaurants around Santa Fe had opened again. But they’d also created all of these socially distanced outdoor spaces and I went to dinner with. My friends Megan and Charlie and they yeah we went to the Compound and the Compound had set up these tents those you know like the kinds you get for parties. They’d set up tents with tables and them so we’ve been hoping to like. Sit on the patio. You know just have drinks on the patio and or d’euvs and stuff and it turned into this whole. Um we couldn’t because the patio had been taken up by the tents because in case it rained I guess but we were having a good time. And we were talking about New Mexico had a mask mandate very early on so we were talking about people wearing masks and not wearing masks and the young man came up to fill our water glasses and. There was something about where we like we’re explaining our conversation to him. We’re like oh ah, you know we were just discussing masks and we appreciate you wearing yours and because all the servers were really, but we were sort of.

You know, like sometimes you randomly include the survey in your conversation and he said oh yeah, he said we’re all wearing masks because we have to and he says but I figure. Um, you know there’s not a lot of point in it because sooner or later. We’ll we’ll all just have it and there may have been more to it but it was really kind of funny because we went from being jovially optimistic and compliant to this like complete downer and the young man left again and ah and Megan said well that went downhill fast. Like yeah bit unexpected and now I feel like soon or later we’re all gonna have it right? He was um, oddly prescient which I don’t attribute to any foresight of his. But. Seems to be the the case at Megan and Charlie’s wedding somebody asked the morning after when we were all kind of like sitting around in a big circle nursing our hangovers and somebody said so has everyone here had covid already. Which I thought was a funny question and I think several other people did too because we were like no and and I said not to my knowledge and couple of girls said yeah not to my knowledge. You know if we’ve had it. We’ve had it asymptomatically there are mosquitoes buzzing around me this morning. Getting on the laptop screen. So um, hopefully everything will be fine. It’s fine. Everything’s fine. So um, otherwise things are going pretty well, we’re struggling with our internet we had this outage from xfinity a couple of weeks ago with big storm I may have mentioned that and ever since they restored it. It’s been um. Different and weird and this morning I can’t connect to it at all. So I’m doing this through my hotspot I’ll have to discuss with David Hugh when I got home last night. It was a very frenzied evening for me. Um. Because I knew it’s go to be a busy day anyway, it’s kind of a busy week. A lot going on and I think I get so used to not having anything going on that having a lot going on always feels like much so I got to um, got my words in which is great and.

Writing went fairly well finished um talked to Grace on the phone for the first time in a long time and that was really nice. We talked on the phone for about for over an hour and I had to leave for my very important mani/pedi. Had an appointment at 3 so I just kept talking to her in the car and um, got there did the mani/pedi got back home at four thirty left the jag running outside the garage because I didn’t know if the airlock was on. Because Jackson will escape if he’s in the house and the airlock isn’t on and it’s if you’ve been listening to to this for a long time. You know that? um my jag battery ah is drains fast. It’s like something to do with the old car. And my mechanic has told me that it’s much better to leave it running if I’m driving it for less than 20 minutes at a time. So if I’m going to like go in the house and make sure that I can open the garage door I just leave the car running. So I go in. And David starts talking to me about the internet and how we need to change the administrator on the router and he wants to know what email address I’ve been using on to you see the hummingbird humming hovering over my head. That’s very nice. Youre on video getting very nice hummingbird shot. They’re coming in for the feeder. It’s buddy. Ah so you know he’s like changed the password. But. He doesn’t know what email address I’m using for it and you know it’s like one those communication things where I sit down and look at it and he’s like is it a capital j or a lowercase j for the email address and you know so I try that one and he said no I think it’s supposed to be capital j and I’m like. I don’t know that’s it and he said well that’s email you’re using for the router and I’m like I don’t fucking know the email address I use for the router and I’ve got this thing at 5 that bag of giving deal and time is ticking. It’s like 20 minutes till and I said I need. Internet I have to do this thing at 5 so he’s undoes, whatever it is. He’s done and fortunately I could get on the internet in time. So ah, you know? so then I like go pee and put on lipstick and I sit down and I get there like right at 5

And we’re doing setup and we’re doing things and we’re getting everything figured out and it’s ah you know like five-twenty I I did manage to pour myself a glass of wine because I have high priorities and ah. And it’s we’re going to start at like 5:25 and it’s like 5:20 and I said um, can I have a couple minutes because I haven’t explained to David any of this and they’ve told me it’s going to take 3 hours which I did not know it was going to take that long and so. I I said can I take a couple minutes and they’re like well only one or 2 and I said okay you know let’s play I just need to go talk to David so I go in and explain to him. This could be long but um I can eat dinner after or if he wants to bring dinner into me whatever and he’s going to go to the store and we talk about that and ah. And then I realize do you realize? oh alert listeners. Yes I’d left the jag running. It’s been almost an hour ah fuck my life. So I quickly ran out brought the car in. Turned it off then did this thing to like 8:30 and and during all of this my mom had texted me while I was driving back and my phone had fallen on the floor and I’m trying not to look at my phone when I’m driving anyway and so. She texts me around eight fifteen while we’re still going in this game and says you know where are you and I realize I never looked at that text from when I was driving back from the mani/pedi and that was when she told me that she had covid so sorry that I didn’t reply um so I was just it was just kind of crazy. Um, it was interesting playing the game. Ah Kelly Robson wrote me into it. Derek Kunsken was part of it and Derek is a great guy. Um Michael Underwood and ah the game master was ah Gregory Wilson I think that’s right hadn’t met him before and so you know it’d been this thing where they’d asked us to do this and people would be watching and I never saw. The interface where people were watching have no idea what’s wrong with this eye. Well right? So um, playing the game I had told them all that I am not a game player that I have.

Played very very rarely my whole life and they all said that that’s not necessary that I don’t have to I didn’t have to do any research to prepare that I could just come and play and that people would donate money was I’m like real. Okay. And I knew that it was like I wasn’t going to be any good because I I think with games like that I overthink and we can um we can get to that. But ah I as we’re waiting this is before I’ve remembered that my car is still running. Ah um. I said well can I tell you all my ah, my gameplaying trauma and I said oh yes, please and it’s funny because I hadn’t thought of this story for a long time and, Kev, I might tell you to listen to this podcast because I think you will be amused. Ah, no I’m gonna sneeze all right sneezing accomplished. So I said well my game playing trauma when I was in high school with my very first boyfriend. My first. Love not my actual first boyfriend but um, Kev he and his friends were playing this game that they that they stole that they shoplifted um and these were not poor people. But. They may have been out of money and I was already in great disapproval that they had shoplifted this game and they were all agog to play it and it was this is so long ago that it was one of these computer games. That you would play with like dos commands I mean there’s no graphics nothing um and you would just type in commands and it would do things and so. They they convinced me to play this game despite my high dudgeon and gave me a character because I think they wanted me to you know they wanted me to not take kev away. You know there was already some tension there with. Ah, at least one of his good friends who felt very competitive about the time that Kev spent with me and so my name is actually Jennifer many of you know that.

And so they’d named my character Jennifer and she was a mage and and I was just starting to get kind of intrigued because I had like these mage powers and could do things and then all of a sudden we’re like going down some tunnel or something and the dos readout says: A pit. Jennifer dies. And I was like wait. What does that mean and they’re like oh well, you know you didn’t have enough power or whatever we all fell in the pit but you died and I’m like well do I get another life or whatever and I said no no, you’re you’re dead now and. You know and that’s funny because ah I remember this so vividly and I was so annoyed and I so I was telling them all this story kind of at first in jest you know, just saying ah you know here’s my gameplaying trauma and I’ve really never gotten into roleplaying games. And Gregory said. Ah I mean he was incredibly sweet I I’m hope by getting his name right? Um, he was incredibly sweet and said ah I’m feeling like I should look up his name hold on. Let me make sure I’m getting it right. Was right? Gregory Wilson I um remembered better than I thought so anyway Gregory took this incredibly seriously and he said um, he said you know game playing came at a time in my life also in high school. When I needed it very very much and in many ways it saved me and so I’m really sorry to hear stories like this because of a bad experience and he says and there are other stories of people who had bad experiences like this from inexperienced game players who didn’t take things seriously. And didn’t take care of the other players and I’m really sorry that happened to makes me all over clumped and I wanted to say I mean I nearly came back and said well it wasn’t that big of a deal I’ve always thought of as kind of a funny story but but looking back you know I wonder. How much of that bad experience did affect the fact that I really never wanted to play any role playing games again. Um, and it’s not if you do listen to this gift. Maybe I won’t tell you to listen. Um, it’s not your fault that your friends were mean to me. Um, no brad was such a fucking ass right? You know? Um so competitive. Ah so anyway, it was an interesting experience playing this game. Um.

And it did remind me of one of the few other occasions that I’ve played a game similar to that which was also with Kevin his wife Linda David and I went with them in a group of other friends ah up to um, can’t remember what was called a. This old ghost town in the mountains where they did like the murder mystery dinner and you’re supposed to solve the mystery and both playing that game and playing this one last night I find myself. Interrogating the people much too closely and it’s an interesting phenomenon because I know that the roles that they’re playing that they have certain kinds of information that they can give and and Kev won that game. At the murder mystery thing and I think he knows how to abide by the game architecture in a way that I don’t because I keep trying to interrogate people more closely and I think it’s because I can tell they’re lying to me and so I’m always trying to extract. What what are they not telling me and I suspect what it is is that it’s that they’re lying to me because they’re playing a role and so they’re saying stuff that they know is it true? Ah, ah. So this is what I mean that I think I totally overthink this stuff. Um, it’s ah it’s a funny thing isn’t it. So yes: A pit. Jennifer dies. Ah I did um, kick ass with my bow and arrow and my quarter staff in the game last night so cheers um yeah I know that’s probably shocking to all of you that I may overthink these things. Um. I was also um I understand now more why so many fantasy writers generate books from their fantasy role-playing games. Um. Which I do think has a certain stamp to it and there were a couple of people who were like doing more to like be descriptive and talk about the storytelling type things that they were doing and I I feel like I I did not quite get into that because.

Um, Gregory was doing a great job of leading me through it and I think he was being especially tender with me knowing that I had this like terrible trauma from the pit in my teenage years and at the end everybody congratulated him on being a great game master which. I I probably should have just echoed. But I don’t know from good or bad but I enjoyed it and and he um was walking me through stuff but at one point he’s like all right, you know because I decided to rescue this deer and he said so what what are you going to do and I was like I don’t know what to say um and there was 1 other ah person who was um, being much more descriptive and so I don’t know it was interesting to play. So. That was my yesterday hopefully today will will be a little bit smoother. Hopefully my mom will be feeling better. Hopefully my stepdad won’t catch it from her and yeah and then I have to save this sticky note again for like Thursday. So. Um, yeah, well go get to work get away from these mosquitoes and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – September 29, 2021

I go long today talking mostly to the authors out there about buying ads, marketing, and promo – and why putting time, money and attention into writing instead will not only make you happier but more successful in the long run.

Increasing Peace and Productivity – No Monastery Necessary

I mentioned on my podcast – First Cup of Coffee with Jeffe Kennedy – just about two weeks ago, that I’d read this very interesting article on how starting the day by looking at the internet changes how your brain functions. The author specifies going for three hours before looking at the internet, which I realize not everyone can do. Many people start their jobs within three hours of waking up and those jobs may specifically require checking email or company social media.

But for many of us… do we HAVE to look at those things within three hours of waking?

And I’m not saying it has to be like this author frames it. Not everyone has the luxury of spending the first three hours of the day meditating, quietly reading, or journaling. Sure, it sounds lovely in theory, but most of us don’t lead monastic lives. I don’t think it’s necessary anyway.

If a person, say, wakes up at 6 am, does the grooming/hygiene thing, maybe eats breakfast or has a hot beverage, could be getting other people ready for their days, perhaps some exercise, likely a commute to the job, then settling in – that’s usually about two hours, right? I mean, I know more than once in college I woke up at 7:30 and still made it to an 8 am class, but college students are not famed for their grooming, nutrition, or good planning. For someone a bit less subject to chaos and late nights than a college student, it seems that arranging a morning to allow for three hours before checking email and social media is entirely a possibility.

It would mean not checking email on the phone while sitting on the subway, and ignoring Twitter until later in the day. It means Facebook instant messages go unanswered for *gasp* maybe a whole twelve hours!! (Seriously – it pisses me off that Facebook tries to shame me by displaying how long it takes me to reply to messages on my author page, encouraging me to respond faster to earn some fucking badge like I care for their rewards. *ahem*) I’m not saying it’s easy to break this habit, especially when these internet companies are hugely invested in training us to look All The Time. I’ve turned off all of my notifications on my phone, and I can’t tell you how often they prompt, then try to command and trick me, to turn them back on. If they want that so badly, we have to know it’s not for OUR benefit.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Time Before the Internet (TBI) and how different the flow of my attention was. And let me be clear: I love what the internet has brought to my life and to the world. Through social media and online groups, I have made many, many lasting friendships, kindred spirits I very likely would never have encountered otherwise. That’s a *huge* thing. As is the flow of information and sharing of important events. But, I’m not a fan of the way I’ve arranged my schedule, thinking, and life to accommodate the internet’s demands for attention.

One thing about the TBI, which closely predated cell phones (at least affordable ones normal people could actually carry around), was that no one expected us to be instantly available. I remember when email became widely used and my older boss commented that it used to be you’d send out a paper and could count on a week or two of it being off your plate before comments arrived in the mail. With email, that buffer time shortened to a day or two – or less. Now we have Facebook exhorting businesses to reply within an hour – or less. In some ways this decreased latency has helped productivity, but I can also see how it forces me into a responsive mode. If I let it, the internet could have me in a constant battle to respond to messages and notifications.

In that state, when I do produce work of my own?

So, I’ve been trying this. I wake up between 5 and 6 am, do the hygiene thing, feed the cats, exercise (which means some reading), record my podcast or write a blog post, and then I go straight to writing. This means I can’t post the podcast or blog to social media until later in the day, but oh well. Does it really matter what time those things post? I don’t think so.

The result has been astonishing. I’ve been getting my 3,000 words done before noon most days. Then, when I’m done and switch over to business, I get through email much more efficiently than before. I go from one task to the next: post my stuff, answer emails, reply to Facebook messages, reply to tweets. Work on other business.

People: I can feel the difference in my brain. My concentration is vastly improved. The book is flowing well. And when I do face the business tasks, those much-dreaded tasks that tend to slide down my To-Do List are actually getting done.

Highly recommend trying this, however you can make it work. No monastic existence necessary