Ask the Readers: How Do You Feel About Interference with Reviews?

Master Of The Opera Act 6 (eBook)Here’s the cover for the sixth and final episode of my Master of the Opera e-Serial. The first one comes out January 2 and the series finishes with this one, on March 20. What’s cool to me about this cover is the opal ring. It’s EXACTLY how I described it in the story, which is just way cool to see. You can see about all of them here.

So, this is Ask the Readers week in the bordello – where we ask you all those questions we *really* wonder about. Imagine yourselves up on the panel at the front of the room and we’re sitting in those crowded-too-close conference chairs.

Hie on over there for my long-winded question.

On Living with the Results of Our Decisions

Master Of The Opera Act 5 (eBook)The covers for the final two acts of Master of the Opera are in the wild! Head over to The Bookpushers to see both!

You all know I’m online a lot. Some might say TOO Much. I’m looking at you, Mom. And Anne Lamott. Between my laptop and my SmartPhone, I’m pretty much connected to the internet in some way during my waking hours. A major exception is when I’m at the gym. The other is when I sit down to read.

I need the internet to do both of my jobs. As a writer, I start my day by writing blog posts, answering business and reader emails, posting links to new covers, corresponding with my website designer over new info, etc. I interact with people on Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. For my day job, I work for a company based out of Boston, interacting with colleagues and clients across all the timezones. That’s necessary connectedness, too.

But, in order to do the core work of both my jobs – writing or thinking through data – I have to step away from the distractions of the internet. When I write, I use Freedom to shut off access, to remove all temptation. When I switch over to the day job, though I might dip in and out of Facebook and Twitter, I mostly don’t look. The less I look, the more productive I am. I save things that take longer than a quick look – like Tumblr – for the evenings, when we’re watching a movie.

Yesterday, I was very productive, as I needed to be. I made excellent progress on developmental edits for The Mark of the Tala. I’m trying to finish those out this week, to stay on schedule with all the writing work. And I delivered the two items on my list for the day job that had to be done yesterday.

I finished my day job just in time to do an online chat with Night Owl Reviews for an hour, finishing up at 7pm.

It was a good day.

Settling into my armchair for the evening, I scrolled through Tumblr. As is my habit, I scrolled back to where I stopped looking the night before and worked forward.

And I saw it.

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer. HERE. In Santa Fe on September 29.

I clicked the clicky as fast as my fingers could fly.

DENIED.

They’d already sold out. The notice had gone up at some point yesterday and I had already missed the window.

You guys know how I feel about Neil and Amanda. I even dreamed about them coming to my house for dinner. I don’t identify as a fan for much, but I’m a total fangirl for them.

Clearly, I’m not fangirl enough, I thought, or I would have known about this sooner.

But then… I only have so much energy to spend. I had to make choices and I did. I have to live with all the results of my decisions.

I’ve always found it interesting that the word “decide” means “to cut away.” (Think of other words, like “excise” – to cut out.) Deciding on one course of action means that you cannot do another. Working from home for so many years means I’ve developed a fair amount of self-discipline. I decide to get my work done first, which means I’ve decided not to be a 24-7 Neil Gaiman/Amanda Palmer fangirl.

Thus, while I’m happy to reap the satisfaction of having completed my work, missing out on those tickets is as much a result of that decision.

And I wouldn’t sacrifice the one for the other, in the final analysis. I guess that means my decision was a good one.

Or, at least, I’d make the same decision again.

Which is the most important point.

Taking Stress Seriously

Master of the Opera, Act3 Phantom Serenade (ebook)The cover for Act III of the Master of the Opera e-serial coming out starting December 31. No blurb for this one yet, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

You know you want to.

So, this week was kind of difficult for me due to the day job. A big project was due on Tuesday. It’s a long story, but let’s see if I can summarize. I worked on this project as one of the team leaders for about 13 years, until it was finally cancelled. Early on, I began recording our protocol – the rules we followed for making audit decisions – mainly because that’s the kind of girl I am. Eventually we were tasked to take our informal document into a more formal format. Over the years, it became a terrific and popular tool in our niche field. I was referred to as the “Protocol Queen.” Yes, I admit it – I was proud of it and my work on it.

Fast forward to now – the project was axed due to lack of funding. This year we were tasked to make a final update to the Protocol, set it up so people could use it without us and set it free. Of course, I did most of the work, along with a junior person. Then we ran into a SNAFU with the client currently in charge. My boss got into trouble for no fault of her own and we ended up burning a LOT of hours dealing with the problems. Our big boss asked someone else in the company to step in as project manager, to help deal with the client. At the end, the new manager did her QA. On Tuesday morning, the day it was due, I discovered she’d not only done her QA on an old version, she’d done it without Track Changes due to time constraints. The document was 125 pages. My junior person did a document compare, to make sure all the fixes we’d made between the version she changed and the good one, got transferred over. She said the edits were so dense, she could barely find our previous fixes.

I didn’t have time to read it, so what had been my baby went out that way.

I tried to let it go.

But what had started as a headache and feeling tired the previous week, turned into a full-blown, knock-me-out being sick Wednesday morning. I felt exhausted, achey, crushing headache, nauseated, roiling gut – I was miserable. Unable to think, I had to take a sick day – both from day job and writing – and spent the day whimpering in my armchair.

For the record, I’m not really a migraine girl, but I do get headaches when I’m sick.

Fortunately, I live with a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and he gave me acupuncture and some teas and by that night I was somewhat human again and much better the following afternoon.

It doesn’t escape me, however, that the project was over and I spent time resting and letting it go.

This reminds me of an article I’ve saved, because I wanted to blog about it. It’s an interesting article and well worth reading. In fact, I think everyone should probably read it and see if they recognize themselves. This gal ended up going completely bald from stress.

I was in Chicago for a sales conference, and I remember being in the hotel room and seeing that my hairline looked weird. I thought maybe I was just having a bad hair day. When I got home, I had a quarter-sized hole in the back of my head. I went into panic mode. I was seeing this guy, who is now my husband, and we were spending a lot of time together, so I was like, “You need to just look at this. Am I crazy? What do you see?” Within a week, I went to the doctor who told me I have Alopecia. It’s a genetic condition, but it doesn’t necessarily manifest until stress triggers it.

My doctor asked if I had gone through a traumatic event recently or if anything had changed in my life. I said, “No, but it’s been pretty stressful at work.” I had been thinking, “If I don’t get this promotion, I’m going to quit.” That may not seem like a big deal, but I felt like I had helped build the company, and I thought I would be there forever. I don’t know if it was the stress I’d felt struggling so hard to find the right fit at work and then the fear of leaving that made me go bald, but it was definitely a huge contributing factor.

This struck me, because it reflects so much of what gives me stress – that emotional commitment to my work. When she talked to her manager:

I went to speak to my manager. I said, “Look. I don’t know what needs to happen here, but I’m overwhelmed. I’m losing my hair.” He didn’t know how to react. He just looked kind of dumbfounded, because at that time it wasn’t obvious yet. I was still able to maneuver my hair so no one could tell. Maybe they just thought it was in my head. My manager said, “I know you want to move into this new position. Are you saying you can’t put those hours in to get there anymore?”

I think what’s striking about this is, how little the medical establishment and employers credit stress for what can be massive effects on our health. It’s one of those “It’s invisible, therefore it can’t be real” things. (For the record, my boss is wonderful and totally gets it – this was out of her hands.) The doctors look for trauma. The employers want us to get over it and move on. Neither of these approaches gets at the real problem.

Once, when we were in Scotland on vacation and riding one of their lovely trains, we overheard a conversation between a woman and her companion. She told her friend, “My doctor says I have the heart of an American. I have to slow down and reduce stress or it’s gonna kill me.”

That has stuck with me ever since. “The heart of an American.”

Apparently the international symbol for stress.

But, as Americans, we don’t realize it. We’re so accustomed to living with certain stress levels that we’re only aware when it really puts us out of commission. Even then – as I did – we tend to blame it on a virus or some such. And it could have been a virus that made me sick (that’s what it felt like). If that’s the case, then emotional stress of the preceding days diminished my immune system enough that it got the upper hand.

I don’t know that there’s any solution but to take stress seriously. At least for me, it’s something that can affect me profoundly. It’s something just to “get through.”

Fortunately, today is Friday.

~does the Friday dance~

Writers Meeting Readers – Making a Good First Impression

Master of the Opera, Act 2 Ghost Aria (ebook)

Here’s the cover for, the second episode (Act II) of Master of the Opera: Ghost Aria. I posted the one for Act I, Passionate Overture, last Friday. The next two will be revealed by Bookpushers on Thursday, August 15! I love how each cover is the same image, with a slight variation to reflect the theme of that Act. Here’s the blurb for this one:

In the second seductive installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s thrilling Master of the Opera, a young woman falls deeper under the spell of the man who haunts her dreams, fuels her desire, and demands her surrender. . .

With each passing day of her internship at the Sante Fe Opera House, Christine Davis discovers something new, something exciting–and something frightening. Hidden in the twisting labyrinths beneath the theater is a mysterious man in a mask who, Christy’s convinced, is as real as the rose he left on her desk–and as passionate as the kiss that burns on her lips. He tells her to call him “Master,” and Christy can’t deny him. But when her predecessor–a missing intern–is found dead, Christy wonders if she’s playing with fire. . .

If her phantom lover is actually a killer, how can she continue to submit to his dark, erotic games? And if he is innocent, how can she resist–or refuse–when he demands nothing less than her body and soul?

I love how they wrote these up – they sound ever so much better than what I would have written.

I also got this yesterday:

BRf_GkeCIAACtIt

Nothing like a shiny award to perk a girl up! This award comes at a great time, too, because the sequel, Rogue’s Possession, comes out October 7! Which no longer seems forever in the future, huh? The other day, a couple of book bloggers who loved Pawn heard about the sequel’s release date and were squealing with excitement on Twitter, speculating about what might happen next. I may or may not have succumbed to teasing them a bit about it. 😀

Still, there’s really nothing better than having smart enthusiastic readers excited about the next book. My favorite kind of conversation ever. Having someone else love my characters and story as much – maybe more! – than I do is a kind of transcendent feeling. This is why, if for no other reason, writers should find ways to communicate with their readers. It closes that loop, the one that starts with daydreams and hours alone at the keyboard, in a way that nothing else does.

It’s difficult for many authors, I know, to figure out how to behave in public. This might sound silly, but many people who become writers succeed because they’re happy being away from society for the huge chunks of alone time needed. Musicians and others in the performing arts are necessarily more social. They have to learn to engage with their audience, at some level or another. Visual artists have a long history of being cantankerous, cranky or just plain crazy. In times past, lovers of art and books rarely met the creators. Except for publishing house horror stories about autocratic and terrifying authors, for the most part no one knew what the writers themselves were like.

Recently a book blogger asked people about meeting their favorite author and asked if they regretted it. Of course, this is like asking people about car wrecks or kitchen accidents – everyone trots out the most horrific story they know. But they told of authors ignoring them, blowing them off, acting snobbish, being downright mean, etc. If I remembered where I read it, I’d post the link because it really was instructive.

The thing is, I could kind of read into some of the stories and know where the author was coming from. Not in an excusing-them way, but in a sympathy way. Often what’s read as snobbishness or a blow-off is the author not knowing how to behave. If they’ve never worked in corporate culture, never learned to deal with a range of people, they can come off as frozen, when they’re really overwhelmed.

I read this article recently. No, I didn’t click on it just because it’s about Hugh Jackman. Okay, maybe I did, but then I *stayed* for the content! It’s a terrific contrast piece about meeting a CEO and meeting Hugh Jackman – and the first impression each made.

For me the key part of the article is this:

In three minutes, Hugh Jackman turned me into a fan for life–but he didn’t sell me. He didn’t glad-hand me. He just gave me his full attention. He just acted as if, for those three minutes, I was the most important person in the world–even though he didn’t know me and has certainly forgotten me.

There’s the way through that deer-in-the-headlights moment (or two-hour signing). The ubiquitous “they” often give the advice to ask people questions about themselves, when you’re in conversations that are stalling. It never hurts to focus on the other person and, as writers, we’re all naturally interested in character. Give that person your full attention, treat them as important and learn something about them.

After all, it’s only three minutes.

Less, in social media.

Being the Good Example (for once) and Making a Difference

JK_PassionateOverture_300

Looky! The covers for my Master of the Opera e-serial are starting to appear! The first two are on my website. I actually have the next two, but those will remain SEKRIT until Bookpushers reveals them on August 15. After that, there will be two more! Very exciting. There will be six episodes in all, released about every two weeks starting December 31. (At least, that’s the current word.) Here’s the blurb for Act I: Passionate Overture.

In the first tantalizing installment of Jeffe Kennedy’s ravishing serial novel Master of the Opera, an innocent young woman is initiated into a sensual world of music, mystery, passion–and one man’s private obsession. . .

Fresh out of college, Christine Davis is thrilled to begin a summer internship at the prestigious Sante Fe Opera House. But on her first day, she discovers that her dream job has a dark side. Beneath the theater, a sprawling maze of passageways are rumored to be haunted. Ghostly music echoes through the halls at night. And Christy’s predecessor has mysteriously disappeared. Luckily, Christy finds a friend and admirer in Roman Sanclaro, the theater’s wealthy and handsome patron. He convinces her there’s nothing to fear–until she hears the phantom’s voice for herself. Echoing in the labrynths. Singing of a lost love. Whispering her name: Christine.

At first, Christy thinks she’s hearing things. But when a tall masked man steps out of the shadows–and into her arms–she knows he’s not a phantom of her imagination. He is the master of her desire. . .

Didn’t they make it sound awesome? Even *I* want to read it…

So, I mentioned on Twitter that I was the subject of a priest’s sermon – and I was the GOOD example. Now, I’m trying not to be hurt that none of you believed me and I *did* promise to tell the story today, so….

Back in July, as some of you may or may not know, David and I made the journey up to northern Wyoming to bury his father. We’d been expecting it as his dad, GF, had moved into hospice a week or two before he died. Still, it was wrenching. GF was the head of a large and happy family, a courageous and warm-hearted person and we’ll miss him greatly. For us this was a three-day event, because Buffalo, Wyoming is one of those “you can’t get there from here” places. We spent Wednesday driving an hour from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, flying to Denver, taking a 19-seat prop airplane to Casper, Wyoming, renting a car and driving another two hours to Buffalo. Then we turned around and did it in reverse on Friday.

The rosary was Wednesday night and the service Thursday morning. If any of you are Catholics – or have the misfortune to be connected to Catholics – then you’ll know these were not brief services. The full Catholic Mass funeral and graveside service on Thursday took 3 1/2 hours. After that we returned to the church to eat, then hung out at David’s parents’ house for the rest of the day and evening.

It ended up being good, because it slowed us down. There was nothing to be done, but hang out, eat food, drink wine (this is the up-side of the Catholics!) and talk.

Driving back down to Casper on Friday morning, we were emotionally exhausted. We talked about the family and related conversations we’d had without each other. David was driving and I glanced down, noticing something between my seat and the center console. I dug it out and discovered it was an American passport. The owner hadn’t filled out his contact information (Bad!), but I had his name, birthday and general location.

So I searched on my smart phone and found a guy his age living in the right area. I called the number and got an anonymous voice mail, so I left a message. I really hoped he wasn’t traveling somewhere and stuck without his passport. We debated what to do then. David suggested leaving it with TSA at Casper airport. I thought TSA would likely destroy it or it would disappear into the vast depths that suck up all the stuff TSA confiscates. When we returned the rental car, I asked the very young workers at the counter if anyone had called looking for the passport. They said no. I didn’t really want to leave it with them either, because, well… they seemed sweet but not terribly conscientious.

I took it with me.

During our layover in the Denver airport, my cell phone rang and it was him! Turns out this guy is a priest, lives in Buffalo, New York, and had missed the passport but had no idea how to go about dealing with it. He’d flown out to Wyoming the week before to help another priest struggling with a problem in his community.

I felt kind of emotional about it. The time we’d spent doing the rosary, mass and funeral was easily the most time I’d been in a church in years, maybe decades. I’m not a religious person – this likely comes as no shock to you all – but I did major in religious studies in college. More, I associate the church with my family. I often joke that I’m Catholic the same way that I’m Irish – it’s in the genes, whether I observe anything or not. GF died on July 4. David and I were in Denver at the time, helping my mom and Stepdad Dave clear out the house I grew up in. My stepfather Leo, a former Catholic priest, had married my mother a year after we moved in and died there 35 years later. His brother, my uncle who is still Catholic priest, was heavy on my mind. He’s living in an assisted living/retirement community and had really dropped contact with us after Leo passed away. While I was in Denver, I called the place, as my uncle canceled his cell phone, and got his mailing address. I tried to call him on his room phone, but got his voice mail.

The Monday after we got home, I took the passport to the post office and mailed it to Father Sam. With it I included a note where I talked about some of these same things. I wasn’t sure what it all meant, but it felt like it did mean something.

This week, a big box arrived for me. Turns out Father Sam of Buffalo, New York, also runs a bakery! This story can’t get any better. He sent me pita bread, amazingly delicious olive oil, salsa and these thin nacho chips that are out of this world. He also enclosed a note:

Dear Jeffe Kennedy,

Thank you! It is always good to be at the other end of a nice action. I have already used what you did as an example in my sermon this past Sunday. It often is a “pain in the neck” to go out of our way esp. when we are about hard stuff in our own lives.

You have made a difference and I preach a lot that God calls us to make a difference not save the world. He will do that!

God Bless you and your family,

Father A Sam

I want you all to know that I wept a little bit, even transcribing that. I’m not sure I can explain why. Maybe because I struggle sometimes with feeling like I’m not always the best person I can be. I dwell sometimes on friendships and connections I’ve lost, why some seem to end for no reason at all – except that I suspect it’s my fault, somehow. Maybe part of the take-home message is that making a difference for someone else doesn’t have to be a grand action. Even the little things count.

At any rate, I didn’t mean to make this a sad story – or such a long one! You all have a lovely weekend. Carien and Amy, you won books from Tuesday’s post, so let me know which ones you want!

On Juggling Projects, Starting New Novels and Title Angst

HEA USA TodayWhat’s that? Oh, just Ruby as a recommended read at USA Today. 😀

Okay, I might be a little THRILLED AND GIDDY!

*ahem*

This has been a bit of a transition week for me. On Saturday I finished making the additions to Oro that Carina asked for and sent that off.  That one will be in the Erotic Holiday Anthology (which I’ve been referring to as the Ero Ho Ho Antho), scheduled to release November 21. With that production deadline looming, the Carina team has been busy with getting cover ideas and, sadly, retitling the story. Apparently a surprising number of people out there don’t know that Oro means gold in Spanish.

~drums nails on desk, looking mean~

I haven’t ever dug in my heels on a title before – and, now that the ever-patient Carolyn Crane talked me out of my tree – I won’t now. But that story will always be Oro in my heart.

So, I’m also aware that, after ORO, I don’t have anything contemporary or erotic romancey lined up for next year. Thus I spent a few days this week working up new project ideas. With the brainstorming and insightful feedback of my lurvly CPs, Carolyn and Marcella, I’ve now got concepts for six novels. One would be a contemporary romance trilogy and the other three would be new installments in the Facets of Passion series – but longer stories. And now all six are sketched out.

I know, I know. Can this really be me? Is the non-plotter actually pre-plotting?

Noooo… Don’t be silly. These are just overall road maps. But I am getting better at preconceiving how a story will go. It takes a different kind of writer muscle, but I think I’m developing it. Fabulous Agent Pam will take those out on the road, so I’ll keep you posted!

Then yesterday, I started in on Book 2 of The Twelve Kingdoms. This is the sequel to The Middle Princess, which I’ve been calling The Flower Princess. Those names will change, but that’s what they are to me until then. I set up my storyboard for Flower Princess – which meant retiring all the notes for Master of the Opera, which is pretty much done now, except for line edits, etc. – and dug into the opening scene.

It feels less huge now, but it’s always interesting to start a project I know I’ll be working on for the next three months or so. I expect developmental edits for Middle Princess during that time, but those two should dovetail nicely. In fact, I’m delighted by that timing as it will let me really submerge in that world.

It also occurred to me yesterday that, with turning in Flower Princess by November 1 and with the Book 3, The Sword Princess, due May 1, that I’ll have the whole trilogy written before most readers ever see the first book (out in June). In some ways I think that’s a really good thing for me. I’ll have less of a sense of anyone looking over my shoulder. I felt a lot of that in the Covenant of Thorns cycle, when I wrote Rogue’s Possession, with Rogue’s Pawn being out for so long. Twelve Kingdoms will be in more of a bubble. I’ll be interested in the difference.

What I am noticing is that I’m also getting much better at compartmentalizing projects. A very useful skill to have, the way I’m wanting to get these different stories out there.

So, that’s a rambly recap of where I’m at right now. Apropos of nothing, really.

You all have a fab weekend!

On Being a Disgruntled Kitty

at Harry's 5_27_13My folks came through this weekend, so we spent time doing fun things like going out for breakfast and visiting galleries. It’s important to make sure you match the tablecloth at fine-dining establishments.

My mom and Stepdad Dave are on their way to Denver for the summer and stayed two nights with us. Because this is their spring migration of the household, they have their cat, Sally, with them. Sally stays safe in the guest bedroom and bathroom, where our kitties won’t bother her. Sally is a rescue cat so she’s particularly shy and sensitive. She went on strike, not eating or drinking, which made my mom anxious to get her home.

This morning I’m feeling all discombobulated, which is what happens to me when I break from my routines. Not just the family visit, but we’ve been having some work done on the driveway and the influx of people coming and going has me all rattled. It doesn’t seem reasonable that just having worker people around the house would make that much difference. At the same time, I look at Sally and recognize that the animal in me reacts much the same way. It’s not a logical thing, but it is real.

I need a few days of quiet in my den to get myself settled again.

Maybe roll a rock over the door.

I’ve got 55 pages left on my developmental revision of Master of the Opera. This has just been one of those difficult books. It was hard to write and the revision has been carving out my gut, too. I’ve rewoven threads from beginning to end and now I just have to adjust this final episode. I’ve been procrastinating on it, even, which is just not like me.

Time to put my head down and get it done.

~rolls rock over den opening~

In Which I Catch You Up on ALL THE NEWS

eK lunchAnother photo from the RT Convention. This is me (in the yellow hat, if you don’t know) going out for barbeque with the eKensington group. I’m standing next to Alexandra Nicolajsen, who is the Digital Content/Marketing Manager for Kensington. The rest are other authors, except for the lady kneeling by the pig’s snout. That’s Alicia Condon, Editorial Director of Kensington’s Brava line. Just in case any of you want to stalk her at a conference. 😉

I feel like I have a lot of news to catch up on. I’ve been posting things in dribs and drabs, but I’m not sure where I posted what or who I told which thing. So, it seems like a Fridayish, wrap-the-week up kind of thing to list it all here. Forgive me if this is stuff you all already know.

So…

RUBY, Book 3 in the Facets of Passion series, releases on Monday!!!!Ruby_final  There have been a lot of great reviews already, so I’m really excited for this one to hit the world. I’ve also been giving copies away on Twitter this week to people who sing back the songs to me when I post lyrics. Pretty fun! Maybe I should do it on Facebook, too?

Along those lines, Book 4 in Facets of Passion, ORO, will be in Carina Press’s erotic holiday anthology coming out in December that Angela James is editing. I’m just thrilled about that, especially about the stellar writers I’ll be keeping company with: Christine d’Abo, Jodie Griffin and newbie writers to Carina, Elise Logan and Emily Ryan-Davis.

 This weekend (starting today, in fact) is the Southwest Book Fiesta. I’ll be hanging at a booth with my local chapter, the gals from LERA. I’m the Featured Author at the booth from 11 to 12 Saturday, May 11, and again from 5 to 6. Also, at 2pm, I’ll be on a panel with some other romance authors, including the fabulously famous New York Times Bestselling Author Miss Darynda Jones. I fully intend to bask in any glory she happens to reflect.

By way of promoting the Book Fiesta, I was interviewed on local TV. It’s kind of fun to watch – and very brief!

When I was at the World Fantasy Convention last fall, I met this Australian gal, Em Craven, who has a popular website called the E-book Revolution. She later interviewed me via Skype and posted the podcast recently. It’s about an hour long, but we had a really interesting conversation. She comes at things from a more fantasy/science-fiction perspective, a group of readers who’ve been oddly slow in embracing eBooks, especially as compared to the romance community.

In other news, I have confirmation now that my modern retelling of The Phantom of the Opera will officially be called MASTER OF THE OPERA. It will come out in January 2014, in six digital episodes, releasing every two weeks. SO interested to see how it’s received. I’m working on edits for it now and having a great time with my new Kensington editor, Peter Senftleben.

After that, Book 1 of The Twelve Kingdoms will come out in trade paperback in June 2014, with Book 2 in December. Book 1 is the one I called The Middle Princess, but that title will change. The spin-off story Negotiation, a prequel to the trilogy, will be out in an anthology, THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD, Volume II,  in June – eBook first, followed by mass-market paperback.

I’m auctioning off two things in Brenda Novak’s big online auction to benefit diabetes research. One is a one-on-one mentorship with me, for you aspiring writers out there. The other is the opportunity to have a meal (your choice, as schedules allow) at the RWA convention in Atlanta with me and the fabulous Carolyn Crane. We’ll treat and you can bring one friend along – or keep us all to yourself! – and dish with you on any topic you like.

Finally – and this is funny – I’ve been talked into having a Street Team. For those who don’t know, this is just a loose association of readers who want to pimp my books to the world. Because this concept always makes me think of Westside Story, the team is officially the Jeffe Jets. Yes, you can absolutely sing the theme song and I think we *have* to get the jackets at some point. At any rate, if you want to play, let me know. If you want to coordinate, even better because I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

Whew! I think that’s everything. A lot, right?

Have a great weekend, everyone!