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.



I’m participating in a fun giveaway for the month of March! The grand prize is a $100 gift card, which – hey – who can’t spend that??

For my part, I’m giving away this very cool Phantom of the Opera charm bracelet.

PTO55681To win, just post something excited about MASTER OF THE OPERA on some form of social media and comment back here to let know what you did. Every entry in my contest – or the other 19 authors – counts as an entry in the grand prize!

Winners will be announced April 1 – no foolin’!

More details here.

Master of the Opera: Dark Interlude – Release Day!

Master of the Opera, Act4 Dark Interlude (ebook)Release Day for the Next Episode!

In the fourth fiery installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s scintilliating Master of the Opera, a woman surrenders-body and soul-to the one man who is everything she desires, everything she craves, and, possibly, everything she fears…

Reeling from the discovery of a dead body in the Sante Fe Opera House, intern Christy Davis is forced to reassess the strange, erotically-charged relationship she’s forged with the mysterious masked man who lives in the labrynths below. Could her masterful lover be capable of murder, and worse? Perhaps it was the thrill of danger that drew Christy to him in the first place-like a moth to the flame-instead of a more conventional romance with the opera house’s handsome benefactor, Roman. For the sake of her sanity, she must at least give Roman a chance. But for the love of her master, she must give in to every wild fantasy, every wicked game, and every whim he commands…

Is Christy prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice? To surrender her heart, her soul, her everything? First she must acknowlege the truth: a woman in love can serve only one master…

and here’s a fun review: (entirety here)

Worldbuilding: I’m thrilled out of my mind about this installment in the serial, but even more so about the next one. As you might have seen from my Genre OCD-ness, in this one we get to see a glimpse of a fantasy world that I CANNOT wait to explore! Aside that, the brilliance of the Santa Fe setting with the Opera in particular still made my heart throb.
Characters: I will admit I found Christy somewhat less likable than in previous parts of the story, but to her credit this is the make or break point (I think) in her and the Master’s chemistry. It makes sense that she’d be confused, hesitant, indecisive – her behavior makes sense to me in the circumstances. Then again, she did end up doing what I wanted her to :D So all is good. I loved Hally, I always love it each time she shows up because she has this cool, spiritual vibe while being wicked fun at the same time – love the combination.
Characters I’ve previously found annoying got even more so now, and can I just say I hope they get a rash in parts they can’t scratch? :) If you’ve been reading this serial, you know for sure who it is I’m talking about *coughRomancough*.
Plot: Aside the growing mystery vine, a fantasy tangent made a teasing entrance and I’m dying to follow all these leads to the end of the story.
Writing: Awesome third person narrative, Christy’s POV. The more the Master shows and his world, the more I fall in love with Jeffe Kennedy’s atmosphere-building and relationship-building.
Curb Appeal: Great cover, hooking blurb, instant buy author name = epic win.

All in all, I felt this was a great addition to the serial and that it ended with a huge teaser (for me), making me want to REALLY want to read the next one like right now. But then again I feel that way after reading anything by Jeffe Kennedy, so no surprise there.