My Favorite Phantom

I’ll be at the Willamette Writers Conference In August! I’ll be teaching a workshop and giving manuscript critiques. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be in person or online, but I’m hoping for the former!

This week at the SFF Seven, we’re discussing which fictional villain we’d totally write a redemption arc for if copyright and trademarks weren’t a thing.

You know, I did this once before – although I was in the clear legally, as the original work had just moved into common domain. My villain? The phantom from The Phantom of the Opera. I don’t know know that I redeemed him, but – SPOILER – I did ensure that the heroine picked the correct guy!

My version is called MASTER OF THE OPERA, and is a contemporary, erotic retelling of the old phantom tale as written by Gaston Leroux. I set it at the Santa Fe Opera house, so it has more of a Southwestern mystical vibe than the Parisian opera house of the original stories. I won’t post the cover(s) here. There are a number of them, as the book was originally published as a serialized ebook, and so had six different covers. Then it was published in print as a single edition with a different cover. Salient and recent good news: I received word that my publisher plans to put a new cover on the book and repackage it! So, stay tuned for that re-release. I’m super excited to see this new cover and a new bounce for this book and my sexy villain.


First Cup of Coffee – May 10, 2022

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

My mom said that I sounded perky on yesterday’s podcast which I guess I was I think I am still perky. Um I am in the throes of this book was book. Talking with one of my writer friends last night and she said well you’re doing a lot of brain work. A lot of thinking which is true I am which is you know for those of you listened a lot. No is not my favorite way to do it I prefer to um stream from the subconscious and this one I’m thinking thinking taking and yeah, so the revision is going slowly. I am typically when I revise I can get through about 70 pages a day. That’s my average. So sometimes I do a lot more than that and that’s typically with like 3 hour sprints so you know Twenty Ish pages an hour 20 to 30 and on this revision I’ve just slowed down overall. But on all my things I’m doing 28 pages a day. Ah day. So the revision’s taking a long time I still have a hundred and thirty pages to go I know I’m going to cut them cut some cut them won’t cut them full stop I’m gonna have to cut some words. Because as I suspected an argument that Lena and Ryan have later on is almost verbatim an argument that they have earlier on so I’m going to have to reconcile the two. It’s not that they can’t have essentially and and amusingly enough. The argument is about how they always have the same arguments. So I don’t know maybe it’ll stay sometimes I wish I could be like the minimum viable product people I’m always thinking about that when I’m laboring over a book like this. Ah. Because as I mentioned you know these books don’t sell as well as some my other books. The heirs of magic but they still sell well so I shouldn’t let that stop me somebody tweeted me and said that they were really surprised because these were their favorite books of mine and and this is one of the great truths.

Is that the book you’re thinking about writing the book that you’ve already written is somebody’s favorite book I have this one book that was an e-serial to begin with master of the opera modern retelling of phantom of the opera. That it was interesting I don’t think I ended up doing what I originally set out to do and yet I mean it’s a good book. But it’s I don’t know I think it was mispackaged. I I can’t even tell you but anyway almost nobody finds this book or and reads it I get a miniuscule amount I get like I don’t know in royalties I get something like $20 a quarter. But I know at least 1 person who that’s her favorite book of mine and one of her all-time favorite books and she rereads it regularly so and I only know this because she told me right? So just like all the people out there that you don’t know about who reread your book. Over and over and that’s their favorite book. So so that keeps me going on the one side. But then when I know that there are people out there who are just um, basically printing the same book over and over again and I know they do this because they tell me they do this. I think why am I laboring so hard. Why am I worrying so much about Lena and Ryan having the same conversation over and over. But that’s me that’s how I write. That’s what I do.

I’ve been rereading this old favorite series of mine and there are many things I still love about it and I know I’ve been Cagey about saying who it is um and there are reasons. Reasons for that but reasons which I shall not divulge. But I’ve been rereading it with an eye towards what makes it? Why do I love it and it’s very much like um, there was a certain strain of series like these for quite a while that did very very well. And some of the authors continue to do will and Wednesday they have is lots and lots of action. Lots of fighting and there’s this scene this is just where I get hung up I get hung up on. When you have like these incredibly powerful virtually immortal beings and they’re having a hard time fighting zombies because you know like your immortal beings have incredible speed incredible strength and the. Zombies can’t be killed but they can be chopped into pieces and they’re like well the pieces will keep coming in. It’s like yeah, but after a certain point the pieces can’t do much to you and so you know like these people who ah like can move in a blur of speed. They can fly they can like tear limbs off like paper that’s kind of strength they have but they’re like getting nawed to death by these zombies and okay the zombies are fast and I know that this is like a suspension of disbelief thing. But. For some reason and this is like my particular thing right? I can’t get past the disbelief. It’s like well how come if you’ve got all of these people who can move at super speed. Why don’t you just like. All of them go move it super speed through the zombies and just like rip them apart because like all you have to do is like go through and rip their legs off first so they can’t keep coming and then go back and chop them up into little pieces and who cares if they keep coming and coming and you could do that for a long time right.

This is why I don’t write zombie scenes I know I did kind of undid type creatures in uncharted realms in the final few books, the dare war and I did that entirely for assistant Karine who loves zombies. And they were not even real zombies. So I guess I didn’t do a great job with that either. Ah yeah, sometimes I wish that I could be a writer who thinks less about stuff and that sounds kind of arrogant and awful doesn’t it. But. Now I just get too caught up in wanting to in getting these meticulous details right? 1 of my new ideas and thank you all for saying that it’s perfectly cool that I have many new ideas I appreciate that one of the new ideas I’m toyed with. I’m hoping will be more action. Packed. It’s got an action packed premise. So maybe I can pull that off in that one. Although I did think that errors of magic would be more action packed and I just. Um, who knows who knows what my problem is I I like people having interesting conversations. Ah now. So um, we watched finally the. Final episode of Julia season one last night and it was very interesting to see how they structured that episode for those of you trying to figure out how to write a book that could be either standalone. Or a series right? We always say standalone with series potential is the that is the catch phrase if you’re out there trying to submit a book to traad publishing. Um, that’s how you say standalone book with series potential if you’re trying to figure out how to do that. Watch the 8 episodes of Julia and pay attention to what they did in that final episode because you could really see how they were structuring it to go either direction that either it would be a sweet wrap up. That’s all she wrote or. Extended to season 2 and so there’s from about you can see them laying the groundwork in the first half of the episode but then for the second half of the episode on you could see how all of the scenes could have gone either direction that either it’s gonna be.

Another season of Julia which it is hooray or not and I don’t I’m not a screenwriter I don’t know maybe they wrote them and didn’t film them but I wouldn’t be surprised if they hadn’t filmed both sets. Ah, films going each direction because all of the characters. It’s it’s a branch like and so they could either go this way or that way and and it was really well done. It’s fascinating how they tied it up and I enjoyed it very much a delightful delightful show. This is just going to be our adjective. Thank you Laura Darno and we also finished off winning time. The story of the liquors I thought that tied up nicely that one had a very obvious ending because it was the story of. That first season of the lakequor. So it ends with them spoiler alert winning the championship if it’s history. Can there be a spoiler. It’s like the people who go to see titanic and were upset that the boat saying if people died that was also spoiler. So yeah I thought um I liked how winning time ended up that one does not have such an obvious I haven’t looked to see if they’ve got a second season for that one but it doesn’t seem to be as clearly moving on to the next thing. But again that one had a much more natural here’s the story of how the l a wake Lakers went from being a shit team to winning the championship boom done your your plot structures there.

Yeah, so for this new series which I am mulling using my skalsy method. It has um, a very high paced premise.

I’m actually basing it off of a movie an old movie that is very fast paced and only it would be like a fantasy version of that. It’s such a great idea you guys. It’s such a cool idea but I will not be writing it just yet. Soon once I finish out storm princess on the Raven King and I have got let’s see I was going I hadn’t finished reporting in on that. So I have got almost 74000 words on this book. And as I mentioned the other day I might have screwed myself that instead of having 20000 words to go to finish this out because I was aiming for 95. It’s really looking like it’s gonna be more like 102 from where. Beats are falling out. Unfortunately yeah, so that means I’ve got almost 30000 words to go can she finish it. We shall see this book is gonna have four epilogues. So. For those of you who love this series. You could probably guess what I’m gonna do for epilogues I’m tempted to just go ahead and write to maybe I’ll go ahead and write those. Um, if I get stuck. But I think I can get this done I think I can. I should go through and look at my podcast episodes for like the 3 to 4 weeks before I release a book and I bet I say these same things over and over again I always get to that I think I can point how well. Learn what your process is a Nona right? That’s what we’re trying to do here I was thinking about something I wanted to tell you guys and I had a great segue to it as I was like. Getting ready this morning I was thinking about it and I was thinking oh and then that would be a really good segue into this other thing and now all I could think of is the other thing and not how I was going to segue to it from the writing stuff. And I’m probably not gonna be able to think about it. But I so I’ll just go straight to it. Ah no segue. No nice transition if we were editing. We would go back and add the transition but no transition for you.

I was thinking about the things we say to each other and how a lot of times people are very careless in how they talk to each other ah without meaning to it’s oh I know what? damn it. Now if we were doing postproduction I would go back and do this neat little segue. Oh well, here’s your transition because last week I was talking about my author friend who was upset that a reviewer had said that it was not her best effort because she’s like you could say anything about my book. But I always put in my best effort. Ah, she is also not a minimum viable product kind of gal and those people you could maybe safe. Not unless you want to say that they’re putting their best effort into creating a minimum viable product. So I was thinking about that some and thinking that probably the reviewer didn’t mean it necessarily the way it was received. Because it’s one of those catch phrases almost like a cliche phrase. That’s just um, you know it’s not easy to wrote viewbooks. It’s not easy to explain why you liked or did not like a story and sometimes it’s just because. That was not your favorite story but you you know that’s a short review right? So I think people sort of reach for and that’s what makes things cliches is their crutches. They’re these phrases that we sort of have. Laid into our brains like a tape recording that we trot out when it’s the easiest thing to grab and it’s 1 reason why people tend to be awkward in talking to each other about important things. Um, because sometimes words are inadequate. Sometimes it’s just hard to think of what to say hummingbird see if we can get her in there. Nope she’s. Took off again.

Or is she up there. She might be up there drinking a well ah you know so call, you’ve read that before in other places and you think oh well, you know it’s not her best effort and. That’s just in place of digging deep and coming up with more stuff to say that’s why cliches are bad in writing because they are these crutches to get us from place to place and they don’t most of the time don’t say anything meaningful. And so it’s in some ways I think it I mean it was upsetting to my friend but which I totally understand. But I think also the reviewer didn’t mean it how it sounded she meant it’s not my favorite effort in many ways and I think we. Say these things to each other not intending it to come across the way it does. We’re just hurrying through things and you know my husband was talking about this yesterday because he has parkinson’s disease and something that he says. Fairly regularly is yo. He’ll be upset by something that somebody says to him like oh well, you know we should do this thing. Let’s you know, but let’s work on this and do this thing and and he’ll say it’s like they don’t understand that I’m sick and how can people not understand that I’m sick. And I can’t do these things and and and it’s hard for me to to find the words to be comforting to him but that was what I was saying I said you know I think that you know like this most recent person who said something to him. About doing something that David just simply doesn’t feel like it can do you know I said he wasn’t thinking about it. He was thinking about all the other stuff that he has to go get done and that was just one of those tape recorded phrases. This is something I learned a long time ago with like high school reunions. Um, the first few like the 5 year and the 10 year my friends would all say the exact same thing they would say oh this has been so great. We should get together more often and they would all exchange contact information and say let’s get together more often. And they did this at like the 5 10 n and the 15 year reunion and finally I started to clue into the fact because nobody ever got in touch with anybody that this was just a way of saying goodbye of being you know, expressing affection and so forth, but it they were empty words.

And I think we use empty words with each other a lot and it’s it’s easy to do particularly if you’re conducting an internal monologue. You know like if you’re thinking about your work project or your book that you’re trying to finish or you know worrying about. Something else that you don’t always monitor the words that come out of your mouth and when that happens those tape recording parts of our brains. You know, just sort of insert comforting phrase here and we’re like oh yeah, we should get together sometime not meaning it at all and on that note. You know you guys. We should totally get together sometime and I will talk to you all on Thursday bye bye.

Will Contemporary References Crash and Burn a Novel?

Master of the Opera Bundle High ResMASTER OF THE OPERA, my erotic retelling of The Phantom of the Opera set in modern day at the Santa Fe Opera House, originally published as a serial ebook, is now available in print! Exclusively from Books A Million for the time being. You can read a snippet from the book at That’s What I’m Talking About today. Also, if you like my contemporary erotic stuff, you can vote for a scene from UNDER CONTRACT here for six more hours! Finally, over at Here Be Magic, we’re celebrating August with Beach Week. I’ve got an excerpt of Ursula at the beach – a scene I really love.

This week at Word Whores, we’re talking about whether topical or contemporary references should be avoided in fiction.

When to Listen to Advice – and When NOT to!

Master of the OperaThose of you who’ve waited (nearly forever!) for a consolidated version of my serial novel, MASTER OF THE OPERA, it starts shipping from Books a Million tomorrow. It’s in paper only. If you want to read it digitally, you still have to by each of the six episodes separately. Good news is that the first episode is FREE. So you can try it out and see if you like the story – then go for digital or paper, as you please.

Other housekeeping items:

The second New Release Newsletter from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) goes out tomorrow! Subscribe to learn about new releases from the best-selling Sci Fi and Fantasy writers out there, AND have a chance to win free books! You can sign up here.

Also, I’m teaching an online class on writing sex scenes starting tomorrow. Getting Away from Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am – only $15 for non-members of OIRWA!

Now, on to what you really came here for. A bit of a rant on listening to advice.

So, yesterday I was at my nail salon, getting a manicure. The place is run by two Vietnamese sisters and their husbands. The sisters sit next to each other (which I find fascinating, but that’s another story) and my gal’s sister was doing the nails of a lady who must be a lawyer. The sister’s husband took notes as lawyer gal gave them advice on dealing with a construction/contractor problem on their house. She told them exactly what to say, how to say it and when to escalate.

It was all really good advice and they were lucky that she shared it so freely.

That said, not all advice is good advice. Free or purchased.

The thing to remember is that people LOVE to give advice. I’m not exactly sure why, because it can be a time suck and often you can put a lot of effort in trying to give thorough, solid advice and then the person who asked doesn’t listen. Of course, there are plenty of people who try to make careers of advice-giving. Those are the ones who charge huge amounts to teach you how to write a bestseller or how to be a millionaire. (I’m cynical – I always want to know why they aren’t making money by writing bestsellers or making millions a different way.)

Hopefully this isn’t ironic, given that I pimped my online course above. 😀 However, I didn’t teach writing or give writing advice for a really long time – until I thought I had something solid to give. And my point today goes beyond writing advice, though it certainly centers there. My author loops are full of people offering their opinions, sometimes insisting on the rightness of their advice and battling others to “win.” A dubious trophy, at best. Twitter has the #pubtip hashtag which *anyone* can toss up there – which means the advice can be good or atrocious. Very often the latter.

And people’s friends and families – usually well-meaning – give tons of advice. A newbie writer messaged me recently, apologetically asking for advice on querying agents, etc. I was happy to answer her questions, as she asked very nicely and has supported my books. I was sorting through a bunch of misinformed ideas she had, when she mentioned that her family had told her a bunch of it, particularly regarding the publishing industry and self-publishing. I had to tell her to stop listening to her family. I’m sure they’re lovely people, but their “advice” seemed to be entirely drawn from skewed media stories. Not that self-publishing isn’t a viable option – of course it is. But what the media likes to broadcast and what’s the real scoop can be two wildly different critters.

My point is that, with all things, when listening to advice, consider the source – particularly their motivation and their experience.

As I mentioned above, people have a wide range of motivations for giving advice. Some of the time it’s to make money off of people, which is at least straightforward. A whole bunch of the time it’s to feed their egos. Spreading advice and opinions is a great way to pump up one’s feeling of self-worth and mastery of a topic. I’m sure I’m guilty of this from time to time, but mostly I try to restrain myself to giving advice only when I think it’s because it can be helpful. I believe this is the only motivation to trust.

As far as experience, there’s a Catch-22 in that the people with the most experience and the best advice to give are frequently way too busy to give it. Beware of people with so much free time that they can spend it giving lots of advice. Conversely, when someone with lots of experience in a subject offers you advice, listen to it! The lawyer next to me at the salon knew her stuff. The advice she gave was probably worth $500 and hour and she gave it for free – or maybe for the price of a manicure – and they listened diligently. I’d even add that the advice is particularly valuable if it contradicts ideas you already had. That doesn’t mean you have to take it – but it does mean you’ve been given something you didn’t have before.

And that’s my advice. For what it’s worth. 😀

Happy weekend, everyone!


Act 6, CRESCENDO! Final Master of the Opera Release Day

Master Of The Opera Act 6 600Finally the wait is over!

Today sees the sixth and final installment of my serial novel, Master of the Opera. Act 6: Crescendo winds it all up.

In the sixth and final installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s sizzling Master of the Opera, a man and a woman risk everything they’ve ever loved-for the most dangerous passion they’ve ever known. . .

Caught in a web of secrets and lies, Christy Davis has come under the suspicion of the local police. Since becoming an intern at the Sante Fe Opera House, she has witnessed strange occurences in the underground tunnels. She has heard inexplicable whispers in the shadows after midnight. And she has found the lover of her dreams in the masked man who lives down below. But after the discovery of a dead body and other sinister events, Christy realizes that her life is in danger. Two men hold her fate in their hands: Roman, the opera house’s wealthy benefactor who uses his money and power to control her. And the masked maestro known as the Master who demands her surrender and commands her pleasure with each stroke. Both want her; only one can have her. . .

In a rising crescendo of madness, obsession, and lust, Christy must take a chance and follow her heart-to a breathtaking climax as powerful as love itself.

I’m breathless just reading that!

Here’s a couple of fun reviews of the final installment:

From Amy at So Many Reads

For those that have been following the story you will love it. Jeffe sure had me in quite a fit of emotions at the end. I thought it was going to end one way and was coming to terms with it but then she gave me quite a surprise!  All I can say is that I hope this series comes out bundled together because I can’t wait to read it all again at one time.

Lisa over at My Favorite Things says

What an ending – very classy. The story is wrapped up succinctly and neatly with just enough drama to stay consistent with the series but not so much it seems like a cheap shot thrown out for added “bang for the buck”. The steamy scenes in this series have been STEAMY, but the series itself is not about only sex…

 And Livia at Butterfly-O-Meter Books loved it too!

All in all, I felt this serial was a great read and I totally recommend it if you’re into paranormal / fantasy elements and awesomely hot romance. There’s some super-awesome imagery going on in this story as a whole and this is a definite must read if you’re into creative, original romance stories. Trust Jeffe Kennedy to make your toes curl and butterflies flutter in your tummy and keep you biting your lips. Master of the Opera is an awesome read, and now you can get it all and read it one go, so I say go for it!

As for me? I’m celebrating by wearing the fab over-the-knee purple socks David gave me for Christmas. Doesn’t get better than that!


Release Day! Master of the Opera: A Haunting Duet

Master of the Opera Act 5 600Act 5 of Master of the Opera, A Haunting Duet is out today!

In celebration, I’m over at the Contemporary Romance Cafe, talking about breaking the rules by retelling a classic tale with a new twist.

I’m also at the Here Be Magic blog, discussing magical realism and how anyone knows what is really real.