First Cup of Coffee – May 24, 2022

On rewarding ourselves for hard work, getting the thing you want, even if it’s frivolous. Also, I’m delaying the release of THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING – sorry! – but not by much.




Transcript
00:00.00
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:28.16
jeffekennedy
It’s actually my second cup of coffee today is Tuesday may 24th so right I to double check who’s trying to give you guys like a little bit of scenery. Um, later this morning because this is actually the second podcast I’ve recorded I recorded the first one and then the more I thought about it the more I thought I’m not ready to talk about all of that publicly. So I it’s the lost podcast recording and. This is the second one for the day.

01:43.80
jeffekennedy
Ah so I apologize for no podcast yesterday rest assured my mother already gave me a guilt trip about it and I was just wiped out yesterday I was exhausted nebula conference was fabulous. And exhausting and trying at times there were a lot of things that were wonderful about it. There were some things that were very difficult about it. Um. And I very much appreciate everybody who has reached out and offered support. Overwhelmingly people have been really supportive and you all are awesome I appreciate that? Ah, the nebula conference went very well. All things considered. We did not look like the Airmeet interface at all. In fact, everyone was looking forward to being able to set it on fire once the weekend was done our um own created system had been much better for previous years. So next year looking forward to doing a hybrid conference seeing a lot of people in person and we will come up with a different system for the conference. None thing that was funny about air meat was that if you were. Logged into the system. There were I mean it was very pretty It looked nice. But if you were in there and a panel hole started. It would suck you into the panel which we began to refer to as wormholing it was we turned out to be prescient. Because those of you who have been able to watch the nebula awards ceremony. It was live streamed. It was recorded. It’ll be available if it’s not already. Um I loved the nebula award ceremony Kate Ristau um knocked it all the park she deserves so much kudus kudus. I know somebody who used to pronounce it kudus and there I accidentally said it that way. Kudos for all of her amazingly hard work ably assisted by LD Lewis who handled the technical direction Kate just pulled it together amazingly and. So for those of you who saw it you saw that we had recordings from Neil Gaiman coming in as a time traveler and with references to wormholing. so so yeah the wormholing thing where even if you were like at.

07:21.10
jeffekennedy
None of the virtual tables and having conversations with somebody you got worm holed into their into ah the panel or into office hours which were supposed to be private that was really charming at none where it was supposed to be like a one on one thing and you’d get 50 people. Sucked in there and when we came back to Airmeet and asked them to fix the problem that they seemed to believe it was a feature and not a bug that this is like oh but this is how you get participants to your panels. It’s like no the other charming. Not charming thing about it. Was that it would wormhole you into whichever panel started first. So even people who had particular panels for that time slot like saved on their schedule. Um, it would still wormhole you into which everyone started first. It was an abysmal system. Um. We are um, conference project manager Kathleen Monin who also did an incredible job. She was compiling a document of all of our technical problems that I can’t remember exactly but she had it entitled something like. The flaming garbage wreck that is air meat so we are not pleased with Airmeet. We paid a fair amount of money to use that flaming garbage wreck. Ah, but our staff was amazing. Kate Baker, Terra Lemay, Becca Gomez Farrell all rocked it people put in a huge amount of work. Um, and it was you know yeah exhilarating and at times we got very emotional. Some difficult decisions had to be made and now we are in recovery mode. So on Friday I finally decided when I ended up getting sucked into some things early on in the conference. Realized that I was just not going to be able to get storm princess and the Raven King uploaded by Friday this Friday so I apologize to all of you who have been waiting on this book I appreciate your patience I’m sorry I pushed it out two weeks um new release state is June thirteenth to all of you who preordered you would have gotten the notice from Amazon if you preordered on Amazon um, it probably won’t take me that long to finish knock on wood. But i.

12:59.50
jeffekennedy
Thought well if I was gonna push it out I might as well give myself a little bit of leeway. So 1 thing I can do is once it’s done I can just push it live right? then early. Ah or I can just wait for the for June thirteenth what do you guys vote for let me know what you think. I not sure it manners. Yeah cool breeze where it’s not supposed to be very warm to do. It’s gorgeous this morning but we’re maybe gonna get rain today which would be nice. So um. Assistant Carien did read storm princess so far and she really loves it really loves Ryan’s redemption arc so that’s awesome and I am close to finishing I really am I think I was just tired. Um. Just get to that. Um, creatively drained point right? and so I’m probably going to ease in today by starting my out loud proofing and then finish it off. Um, so yeah, I’m I’m getting back to it. Yesterday I just did nothing I thought I was gonna work yesterday but I was just so wrung out and completely drained from the conference and all that happened so I just took a day off. And I went and of all things went shopping David and I went shopping for this rock fountain that I have been watching and when I get it I did buy 1 when I get it installed I will share pictures of it. My mom asked me to share a picture I was like oh I forgot to take None at the shop. Um, but they’re really cool because they’re natural rock and you dig a basin down in the ground and then there’s a grate that goes on top of it with smaller rocks on top of the grate. So the water spills down over the rock and goes back down into the basin to be recirculated so it really saves on water and there’s a lot more water um, stored inside so you don’t risk burning out the pumps. Ah. With the wind. We’ve been having my other fountain the wind keeps blowing the water out of the fountain and then my pup dries out overnight. Alas, so those of you who have been listening to the podcast for a long time know that? ah.

18:33.30
jeffekennedy
Ah, my mind just went temporarily blank there. What do you know? What do we know about me. Um I don’t know oh that I’m a big believer in rewards that when we’ve been doing a whole lot of work going to a tremendous effort. That it’s very much important to to reward our subconscious selves to give ourselves a treat the benefit of something that is desired and so. We went shopping for this fountain. Finally I’ve been wanting one for probably 10 years at least and I’ve been saving up for it. It’s gonna cost a little more than what I wanted but you know how you can do the thing where there’s the thing that you really really want. And tell me which you want what you really really want. Um, you have this thing that you want and it’s more expensive than what you want to spend or what you feel like you could spend so you get the the quasi thing you get like the next. Quality down or several qualities down or smaller or not so much and then it’s not quite satisfying because you always think about the thing you know it’s like well I really wish I would have had this one that I didn’t settle for this one I was. Seeing someone sharing over the weekend. Terry Pratchett’s theory of poverty. It’s probably not his but this is what he wrote up in a book about the poor man who buys the that a good pair of boots costs $50 and that but the man only makes $38 a month and so it’s very difficult for him to pay $50 so instead he buys the $10 pair of boots but those wear out in a year so in a year he has to buy the $10 pair of boots again and. And it’s nicely written it. You know it’s from ah None of his books and it goes you know into the downsides of the shoddy pair of boots that wears out but the person who can afford to buy the $50 boots can wear them for None ears and never never wears them out or you know wears them out only after a very long time and so in the end they spend less money because they can afford to pay more upfront and this is a way that we talk about that. It’s very expensive to be poor.

24:15.28
jeffekennedy
And that’s not a perfect analogy for what I’m doing because obviously this is a frivolous purchase. This is not something that I need to make it to work or to keep a roof over our heads but it is um, it’s a special tree and and it was. Felt important to me to reward myself for for hard work and I am wanting to reward the people that that worked with me on this too. So I’m have that in in place ongoing. So. Um. So yeah, um, sort of getting back into the groove now and she’ll be able to get this book finished off and starting the next one is my plan quite a lot happening. In June next big thing for me is my friend Megan getting married in less than 2 weeks and I need to get my act together on the flowers for them.

26:47.80
jeffekennedy
And let’s see. Yeah I I do need to make a plan there and then hopefully I’ll get that fountain installed in like the next week they said so that’ll be exciting I won’t maybe we’ll do a special. Podcast by the fountain. How exciting is that you know don’t say that we don’t have fun here at none cup of coffee.

27:49.20
jeffekennedy
So let’s see what else. Um, this is why I did not do a podcast yesterday because I am I feel so much better today and my brain is still feeling pretty empty. So I can’t even remember. Much in the way of specifics from the conference over the weekend. Um, there was just a lot of really great programming and I learned a lot from people my own panels went great and yeah, there were just a lot of magical things about it. And I’m very much looking forward to doing the hybrid version next year and yeah, so I think that what I will do is go ahead and get in and get to work and yeah. I hope that you all have a wonderful Tuesday that your week is going well and I will talk to you all on Thursday take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – May 20, 2022

Exciting events for me today and this weekend – I get to interview Mercedes Lackey! – and more and extended thoughts on building an author platform, what’s most important, and being aware of how others do it.




Transcript
00:02.95
jeffekennedy
Ah, good morning. Everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:31.61
jeffekennedy
Didn’t mean to make that extra loud clang. Ah, but you know what day it is say it with me Friday woo Friday may um, something who knows may none yeah. None nebula weekend yay kicked off with some mentoring last night that was really fun. And um, yeah yesterday was my mom and stepdad’s wedding anniversary fifteenth wedding anniversary of congratulations cannot believe it’s been fifteen years that going to that wedding feels like yesterday and yeah, so they were going to celebrate last night but then turns out that stepdad Dave has an infection in his leg still from that accident. So we had to be on antibiotics. So my David had a good idea. Um, and we had door dash send them dessert from the bakery so that they at least got to have a little treat I thought that was such a great idea feel free to use that. Um, um, so let’s see other things I’ve got I don’t think I even opened up where I am on the let me do that. It’s not going as fast as I want it to. But None is is good I have somewhere in the neighborhood of None None or None words to go? Um, none of you even responded. To me yesterday saying I was going to kill all the characters off. Apparently you guys just like didn’t take me seriously I’m gonna do it I swear ah I almost don’t have to kill them off because they’re all about dead right now. Wouldn’t take much really? So if I’m figuring on that about the last ten thousand words are going to be the epilogues which is what I’m hoping for that means I have like None to None words to save the world.

05:56.15
jeffekennedy
We’ll just see we’ll just see what happens a nebula conference panels are starting Today. No hummer and there’s one I want to watch at 10 my time I’m on 1 at 2 30 you could still register if you want to. Um, be part of the conference programming is great. Lots of good stuff happening tonight I get to interview mercedes Lackey Grand Master very excited about that little hummingbird. So panel at two thirty is about combating misogyny and romance Cecilia Tannis our moderator so that should be great looking forward to that looking forward to doing this reception and interview tonight. Lots of good stuff going on tomorrow award ceremony tomorrow night um I sent the trailer to my friend Megan Mori who is getting married in a couple of weeks that I have to deal with flowers for her wedding which. I really want to do I just um, need to do some dealing on that trying to figure out the best way to do that I know what I want to do I’m just trying to figure out the best acquisition method. So um, yeah. I get to see her next Wednesday she texted this morning and we will go um, scope out the site so I can make my nefarious plans. Ah, and then she will buy me a drink afterwards because she’s awesome vaway I sent her the. Yeah bu award ceremony trailer because she has been um, sort of my what do I want to say not objective ear. But um, she’s the person who is like. That I can tell things too that I could tell the secret things to because she’s not involved right? So you know like when you have an Nda and you don’t disclose stuff. You can’t disclose to you know anyone that where it’s gonna go anywhere but you know. Between her and I it’s the cone of silence on many many things so she knew what I went through and so I sent her the trailer and she said I have 3 words with for you and she did them in a separate text each line Neil fucking gayman amen amen sister

11:25.79
jeffekennedy
so um so yeah right now I’m in that kind of weird limbo state of getting this conference done feeling a little tired getting this book done. Looking very much forward to havingbbing the conference behind us as much as I’m looking forward to having the conference and then I will see what happens. Um, as far as getting this book out getting it finished. Ah what I’m hoping is. That I can like get that ending down today and I don’t know if I’ll work on it any over the weekend I’ll see how I feel see if it’s better for me to decompress or not. But if I can get the ending finished out between today and tomorrow. Or tomorrow Monday and then to a couple of long to sound running out of time month I really need to get that ending done today. Don’t I so that I can then have a couple of days to do my really pound words on those epilogues. Fortunately I know pretty much what those epilogues are going to be I just need to get them done and then have a little time to revise and improve not a lot of time to prove. Maybe I should push this release date I have to figure out what is the last day that I can push that release date.

14:29.77
jeffekennedy
I’m torn on that it would make things easier if I pushed the release date give me a little bit more time to get this proofing done in everything. Um, but then I also feel like maybe I can do it so I’ll figure out what is my. Drop dead day to push that release date and then you know if I do push it’ll be like by a week nothing big so um enough about me. What do you think about me. ah ah I did want to talk a little bit about author pal. Platform stuff because I blogged about it on Wednesday and received quite a few notes about it with people saying that they really needed to hear that so I thought I would talk about it a little bit more on here. Hummingbirds do not worry about platforms and I feel like I said should switch by hanging baskets because this one is so much happier than this one and this one’s really getting battered by the wind is it that I just need to move it in some but it’s symmetrical the way it is. I don’t know or I can move it over there so author platforms not hanging baskets. Ah so. For those of you who did not read the blog post. Although I’ll try remember to link to it if you’re interested. It comes from the term author platform comes from the early 90 s when. The internet was kicking into gear and people really started looking in terms of sales platforms on the internet and and reach and in the beginning author platform really applied to nonfiction books. It was in order to sell a nonfiction book you kind of wanted an author who was a perceived expert in the field a celebrity. Ah you know what? I’m saying um, had a following this. That’s part of why this is related to the early days of the internet because. People gain these followings. It was sort of like um Instagram influencers only with blogging and the early bloggers would gain these followings you know and and I remember you know like there were ones that I would follow every day like um, dous.

19:49.47
jeffekennedy
Don’t even know what she’s doing now haven’t looked at her blog in a long time but they gained these huge followings they had these enormous platform. Well so you have to think about things in terms of the New York people and especially the agents. And editors especially the young and hungry ones who are looking at building their careers and being able to sell the house and the salespeople on publishing a book and. 1 of the things that they want and sometimes I will see um agents in particular um will have in their submission materials tell me about your author platform tell me about your social media platform because what they really want. Is these people who already have none or hundreds of none or none followers already that they can target this book towards and you be say to yourself if you are a I don’t even want to say savvy. Um, but if you are following this line of thought to its logical conclusion and it is something that the newbie authors ask all the time is like well if I am a debut author and I have not yet done anything. How am I supposed to have a platform of readers already and. Is it that what the publishing house should be doing well my child this is one of the things that changed with the internet was these publishing houses figured out that they didn’t necessarily have to do all of that expensive and. Splashing of coffee up for the on themselves. That’s why get for getting worked up that they realized that they could make the authors do this especially because they did have authors coming to them with substantive platforms already right? so. It it really was a major change and and how how the business went about selling books because now they could sell books through social media and they really wanted authors who already had social media platforms. Well. You you can see the catch 22 here right? Ah and so that became the push for many authors to begin establishing their social media presence. You know, have your website have your Facebook page have your Twitter following ah before you even sell that debut book.

25:27.90
jeffekennedy
Because to back up a little bit on what platform is if you are not a celebrity or an Instagram influencer or a noted expert in dog feces bull feces. Ah, then what does it mean for you to have a platform. What what it is is. It’s your reach. It is ah who you can and let me get the exact definition here hang on. Okay I found it. And this is not me this is Jane Friedman’s definition which I believe I paraphrased but I linked to her article on it. She has a really great write up on author platform. It’s in the blog post if you go to that you’ll find it. But um. I am finding hint finding it. Okay, so an author platform is an ability to sell books because of who you are and who you can reach all right? So who you are may not necessarily. Be anything right? If you are not a noted expert in bovine feces. Male bovine feces. Ah, but who you can reach is a different thing now a lot of New York would love to have the person who comes with their ready-made. 0 followers. Whatever but do you have to have this no and the point that I was making in my blog post is the way for fiction authors to reach people is through their stories. And so the best way that you can build your author platform is by writing more writing more books writing more stories ah getting that work out there. That’s the most That’s why that’s why everybody says and I’ve been hearing this for decades now. Eep. And it is true that the very best way to market a book is to write the next book. Ah if you can write a series because writing sequels is great for marketing that none book but the more books you write. And I’m going to add this I didn’t say this in the blog post but this is why I’m always emphasizing craft and improvement over marketing efforts write better books get better at what you’re doing and as you get better. You will reach.

30:59.13
jeffekennedy
More readers as you write the things that move you you will reach the people who are moved by the things that you write. You don’t have to change up the marketing things as much as you need to get those stories out there that will actually reach people that’s. Ah, different kind of reach than the salespeople and marketing people are thinking about but that’s because they are sellers of widgets not creators of stories so something to think about. The other thing to keep in mind is that there are other ways to create reach and that is networking in the community being of service to people being helpful to people. Ah, but also the. The success people know this right? This is not a secret that the more you can build your platform your reach the more it will bleed into everything that you are doing So This is why there are. Members of the writing community who claim to do things out of the goodness of their hearts ah and present company accepted because I really do do things out of the goodness of my heart Actually, that’s not true I mean I wouldn’t do this podcast. Only. The goodness of my heart or only because my mother requires it I do it in part to increase my reach right? It’s It’s a way for me to do that. That’s why we do our social media things right? And that’s why it’s important to do the ones that you enjoy because. The more that you come across authentically the better it is but like somebody who for example, puts on a huge conference for self-published writers and says I don’t make any money off of this. Um, I’m only doing this to help out other self-published writers. Well great, but you know what else they’re doing is they’re increasing their reach even if somebody is not making money off of a thing. It’s because they’re investing in the platform. That will enable them to make money later. So a lot of um I don’t know the success community will will employ that kind of language where they will attempt to legitimize themselves by saying that.

36:25.89
jeffekennedy
They don’t charge for doing a thing that they’re not making money off of it and you know, okay, great, but just because someone isn’t making direct money off of a thing does not mean that they’re not benefiting from the thing. So and I’m not saying that they shouldn’t benefit for it from it but be aware of that because there are those who will do any and everything to draw attention to themselves and including bad behavior. Because in a way that’s why they say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity which isn’t really true, but there is a kernel of truth in that because the more people who know who you are the broader your reach. Bigger your platform so on that note I am gonna go in and get to work I hope that you all have a wonderful Friday a wonderful weekend if I see you at nebula conference say hi to me. It’s totally online but there’s lots of virtual chat rooms and that sort of thing. And I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – May 19, 2022




Transcript
00:00.99
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:35.41
jeffekennedy
Ambrosia.

00:43.21
jeffekennedy
Lovely morning here in Santa Fe today on Thursday May nineteenth yes I was just wondering if I titled the podcast correctly because I always titled with the date and um. Fortunately I did ah so um, lots going on here tonight. We kick off the events for nebula conference mentoring happens this evening. Everything is in place. Everything’s come together I believe um, yeah, events tomorrow. How’s the book coming along. They say who they ask? Jeffe it’s coming. It’s coming. Um I have got of 83600 words and um, so I’ve got like None to go. Um, doable. See how much time I have for that out loud proof. Fortunately I do write pretty clean. So if I have to upload a penultimate version I could do that and fix the commas after.

03:49.51
jeffekennedy
Knowing that I’m not going to have it proofed I have been paying more attention to like instead of punting on Lay Lilade I’ve been actually checking. Although I think I have it right now the one that I don’t. Get is each other and one another and I’m not sure anybody actually cares.

04:39.50
jeffekennedy
Other than the grammarians. So theoretically I can finish it right now. Things are an other disaster and I don’t know how they’re going to get themselves out of it. Ah, but there’s a possibility that the book will just end with them all dying and then they all died I mean I can understand why Shakespeare did that sometimes it’s like yeah and then they all died. So what she’s here. In fact, I well I’ve said this before but I think that the people who go for the tragic ending instead of trying to figure out how to make a romance end happily when they think that they’re being so terribly clever and like oh I’m going to write a romance except it ends tragically. Like actually the tragic ending is the easy ending. It’s um, super easy to have everybody die or everything not work out. It’s much more difficult to figure out how the fuck are they going to get themselves out of this situation. So I guess we’ll find out won’t we um, there’s a panel I want to see tomorrow at None my time. The none sequence of panels for the conference. But then I will um, actually there’s 2 at None but they’ll all be recorded so I can watch them later as well. It’s fun to watch stuff in person because of the chat role and everything you could talk to people and I see my peony is about to bloom. Oh. It’s so pretty glowing pink. So so yeah, quite a lot going on the next couple of days. Did you guys see I might link to it the trailer for the nebula award ceremony. Amazing, amazing people worked on that and it just gives me a shiver of delight because I can’t take any credit for the actual work. But you guys you have no idea what I went through to get that to happen the way that it happened. And I don’t feel like I can talk about it necessarily but Neil Gayman me I got him there other people helped me many thanks to the people that helped me and connected me. Um.

10:08.33
jeffekennedy
But for for reasons that are too arcane and absurd to explain and besides which it would be impolilitic I had to fight to have Neil Gaiman be our toast master in the way that he is. And it’s gonna be awesome and I’m just so happy. So happy without it turned out so that’s often I find the role of people in leadership. Um, which sounds kind of funny for me to say in leadership. But you know is that if you’re doing it right? You step back and and you don’t trumpet your credit like I’m doing right now but you know it’s it’s the other people who do the actual work but sometimes that work of being the one. Determined to have a thing happen and fighting for it and fighting people who don’t want it to happen that just takes a lot sometimes and it’s work. That’s not always noticed by people which is fine. Um, but it is an interesting thing to me. To show. You guys have my nebula nails. Oh here’s a little Ray of sunshine if you’re on video I am got. There’s sort of a deep blue purple with gold sparkleys nebula nails um, anyone else was I going to say on that. Oh on the the leadership thing. Ah so I had 1 funny. You guys know that if you’ve been listening to me for a very very long time because I don’t think I’ve brought it up recently that I think that as human beings. 1 of the things we have to combat is ego is the overweening ego the dominating ego. Um, and that’s partly my taoist perspective ah taoists are very much. Um. Anti-ego. You can’t be None with the dow if you are filled with ego and I think ego drives a whole lot of negative behavior. So I work very hard not to be egotistical. Not to let my ego take over and it’s funny in some ways because it’s this balance between not letting the ego run everything but also taking credit for stuff so quite a long time ago.

15:47.55
jeffekennedy
My very favorite professor from college professor David Hadas who was the one who is the non-practicing orthodox jew if you get that joke my religious studies professor amazing man. Huge influence on me and. He was he was dying. He got colon cancer and he decided and this was very true to who he was that he would not get radiation or chemotherapy. He had the surgery but he didn’t want. To have any of the other treatment because he wanted to spend his last days in the classroom um to doing what he loved best what he was so good at and so oh I’m gonna get over for clem talking to about him. So. I organized a thing where we had a kind of a memorial service for him while he was still alive and I worked with my University Washington University in St Louis and a bunch of my old friends. And we worked with the alumni office and contacted as many people as possible who had been as students. You know they gave us the records and I emailed everybody. It was early days of email you know and invited people to come and say nice things about him and. It was a really cool thing to do and the university dedicated this um one of the salons. One of the I don’t know teaching halls to him they put that put his name on it and it was just we all went back to St Louis it was really lovely weekend. It was funny because like some people that I emailed. Got so mad about me emailing them almost. Everyone was nice but a few people were like take me off of this mailing list. It’s like did you even read the email dip shit anyway, early days of email it would probably be harder to do now only illegitimate spammers or. Don’t to email people anymore. So ah, this one gal did um I don’t even remember she was a reporter and she was doing an article I don’t think it was for the student newspaper. It might have been for the St Louis Post dispatch I don’t remember what paper. But anyway she called me up ah to interview me about the event and so we talked about what was going on and everything and she was asking me about me and she said um, she said well I understand that you organized this event and I said well um.

21:21.61
jeffekennedy
A great many people worked on this event and she said oh okay and then there was like no mention of me in the article at all. It was like I very effectively erased myself which was actually fine. Because I wanted it to be about him and I’d said that to her several times you know that this is to celebrate professor Hadas. Um, but at the same time I was like oh note to self about giving away all credit. Um, you know it’s ah. Because people people will let you do it? So I don’t really remember how I got off on that whole thing. Oh just like leadership credit stuff and that sort of thing. Um, yeah, a lot of things with nebula conference and ceremony were things that I that I masterminded. Or such intermotion. But everybody else did all the work and they were fabulous and everybody will be very glad to have the work done with because it’s been a lot and then next year we will be doing the hybrid conference. Ah, that’ll be exciting moment. Back in person. So ah, the other thing I wanted to talk about is this funny thing about people not being aware of of the order of things of the precedence of naming and the reason this came up was um. My friend posted a picture of purple Columbine blooming in her garden and None of her family members who lives across the country said oh I love those purple and white flowers and I messaged my friend and. Because it made me laugh and I I said it made me laugh that she called the columbine purple and white flowers. So and I totally get this as a regional thing you know like that people on the East Coast may have never seen Columbine but I’m a Colorado girl by births or not by birth exactly but certainly by a nativity. Ah, my mother was born there stepfather was born there I grew up there hometown of Denver Columbine is the State Flower Purple Columbine ah and so it was funny to me that somebody would not. Recognize the flower and big I mean maybe just it’s so pervasive here. But also you know it’s like people who know nothing about the your american west right? and it is a pretty flower.

27:05.89
jeffekennedy
So and she replied back and said yes that um, when she and her son were skiing that there was a trail called Columbine and her son who’s a teenager said. It’s really sad that they named a trail after that town where all of those kids died. So this is the perspective partly of youth and partly of people who’ve grown up in a digital world that they’re not aware of the order of history. So in case, you don’t. Follow that whole thing probably most of you do, but he was referring to the massacre at Columbine high school which took place in Denver it was not a town but Columbine high school Columbine high school of course named for the state flower of Colorado and. Lots of mountains around here have Columbine this are that because it’s a flower that grows everywhere here right? I have none of yellow columbine in my garden blooming right now I should take a picture and of None of them put it on the show notes. Because the peony is not ready for full viewing anyway. So it’s just it’s it’s just a really funny thing and I’ve noticed it happen a lot and I can’t think of the books but like when people pick an older property. And say oh and ah I don’t think this was the exact one but um, like the one that I pulled out in the example for her was wizard of oz like when people complained that the wizard of oz rips off Harry Potter or some of these older fantasy works Rip off Harry Potter and it’s funny because when I none read Harry Potter I thought it was incredibly derivative of previous fantasy works. But once something becomes very large. It supersedes everything else and and there’s also the wherever someone none encounters. Ah, piece of information a story a name then that becomes none in their mind regardless of precedent. It’s a funny thing. And this was making me think too which is just sort of a sideline but I was ah thinking about how someone had asked me a long time ago. Um, and it was someone who was young and they were asking me about your song.

32:24.65
jeffekennedy
By Elton John and Bernie Toppin and they said why do you think he says um, but then again, no in the song. Why why would he do that and I said well it’s it’s meant to Reflect you know they’re like why why wouldn’t he just change that the song if he if he changed his mind and I said well it’s meant to be like this conversational tone and it’s meant to transmit his sense of of uncertainty and insecurity by having that in the lyrics and they said no I don’t think that’s it I think he just. Made the mistake and didn’t change it. It was like no I don’t think that’s what happened, but for some reason that song’s already that conversation’s always stuck with me and I was thinking about Jim Croce’s song. Where he says I’ll have to say I love you and a song and it starts out with I know it’s kind of late I hope I didn’t wake you? Um, there’s I didn’t look up the date on this one I well let me go back. I was wondering which of those came none and the answer is is Elton John and Bernie Taupin that song was 1970 Jim Crowie’s was 1973 um, lot of names I’m gonna have to fix in the transcript. Sorry if I don’t get them all and then there’s. Ah, what can I think of the band. Um I’m leaving on a jet plane has a similar thing. We’re addressing the person and the song where they say um, don’t now have to look.

36:09.97
jeffekennedy
It’s not letting me pause funny that song was written by John Denver I didn’t realize that I was thinking of someone else singing it. Maybe you guys will remember because I’m not gonna keep researching it. But anyway, ah. He says the same sort of thing in there as in um I hate to wake you up to say goodbye and what year was that oh Peter Paul and Mary that’s who I was thinking of um, singing it. Okay, hold on.

37:34.17
jeffekennedy
Okay, so that was 1966 which I should remember because that’s the year I was born. So anyway, this person who I can’t even remember who they are I want to go back and expand on the explanation and say that this was part of a songwriting trend. In the apparently late sixty s through the early 70 s of having kind of having lyrics that were more conversational and directed to a particular person we could probably do a whole essay on this and if you want to take that up. For your ah thesis. You’re welcome to do so so I’m going to go on my way and get some stuff done. Wish me luck. Um, if I kill off all the characters will you forgive me? Ah, ah. All right? Um I hope you all have a fabulous Thursday and I will talk to you tomorrow I’ll do my podcast tomorrow. What the hell it’s only it’s only time you all take care bye bye.

A Year Ahead with Jeffe

This week at the SFF Seven we’re taking a look at the future! We’re asking: “What does your writing life look like for the upcoming year?” That includes book releases, WIP’s, retreats, cons, signings, etc.
I just had my annual planning call with my agent, Sarah Younger at NYLA, yesterday and my year ahead is looking pretty damn busy!
Book Releases
First release of 2022 is the audiobook of DARK WIZARD, Book #1 in Bonds of Magic. This is Baby’s First Self-Published Audiobook (TM) and I couldn’t be more delighted about it! Book #2, BRIGHT FAMILIAR, and Book #3, GREY MAGIC, will also be releasing in audiobook this year, probably in March for both. Whee!
Next up is GREY MAGIC, the current WIP, slated to be out February 28. After that, the long awaited finale, THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING, Book #4 in Heirs of Magic, will be out in April (I hope!)
Those are my only slated releases at this point, but there’s lots more coming!
WIP’s
Does it count as a WIP if it’s out on submission? I have one of those out.
I’m going to finish a science fantasy I started two years ago. Super excited to get that out!
I may be doing a ghostwriting project 😀
I’d like to begin a new trilogy in the Bonds of Magic world.
I have a new shiny idea that I’d love to write, that Sarah is excited about too!
If this sounds like more than one person can humanly write, it probably is. Ever in motion is the future!
Retreats
I don’t do retreats because I do my best writing at home.
Cons
I’ll be attending SFWA’s Nebula Conference in May!
Also the Jack Williamson Lectureship in April, Apollycon in July, maybe ChiCon in September and possibly World Fantasy Con in November.
Signings, etc.
Dependent on in-person events – cross our fingers!!

       

Confronting Failure – and Learning from It!

Did you see the cover for THE LOST PRINCESS RETURNS yet? I’m so in love with it for so many reasons, but mainly because it so perfectly captures Jenna/Ivariel in my mind. Especially everything she’s feeling about returning to Dasnaria after all this time.

I’m glad everyone nagged me to write this story! The novella turned out to be a short novel, and releases June 29. You can preorder at the links below at a special sale price or here. Yes, there will be a print version; it should be available for preorder later this week.

Our actual topic at the SFF Seven this week is confronting failure. Not just the occasional downturns of fortune which is the lot of every writer, but also being able to take an honest look at what is just not working. Come on over for my take!

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  Or Buy the ebook Direct from Jeffe

More than two decades have gone by since Imperial Princess Jenna, broken in heart and body, fled her brutal marriage—and the land of her birth. She’s since become Ivariel: warrior, priestess of Danu, trainer of elephants, wife and mother. Wiser, stronger, happier, Ivariel has been content to live in her new country, to rest her battered self, and to recover from the trauma of what happened to her when she was barely more than a girl.

But magic has returned to the world—abruptly and with frightening force—and Ivariel takes that profound change as a sign that it’s time to keep a promise she made to the sisters she left behind. Ivariel must leave the safety she’s found and return to face the horrors she fled.

As Ivariel emerges from hiding, she discovers that her vicious brother is now Emperor of Dasnaria, and her much-hated mother, the Dowager Empress Hulda, is aiding him in his reign of terror. Worse, it seems that Hulda’s resurrection of the tainted god Deyrr came about as a direct result of Jenna’s flight long ago.

It’s up to Ivariel—and the girl she stopped being long ago—to defeat the people who cruelly betrayed her, and to finally liberate her sisters. Determined to cleanse her homeland of the evil that nearly destroyed her, Ivariel at last returns to face the past.

But this time, she’ll do it on her own terms.

Why This Wasn’t Your One Big Chance

This is a photo from one of my very first author events, for my first book, which was an essay collection: Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel. I was so excited to be there, all shiny and wet behind the ears. I had a lot of ideas then about how my writing career would be – and most of them were wrong. Not because I was ignorant or idealistic (though I was), but because life takes its twists and turns.

I can say, however, that though many people told me I’d “made it,” I hadn’t – because there’s no such thing. And, though I thought my days of facing rejection and defeat were over, that wasn’t true either. On the other hand, many amazing things have happened that I could never have predicted.

I saw a meme on Instagram yesterday shared by my lovely friend Megan Mulry. It’s the Gen X reaction to the COVID-19 #stayhome initiatives.

It helped me to see this, because I’ve been feeling terribly disappointed about missing out on some events of my own – and it’s always good to realize that it’s okay to be upset. I can be both upset for myself and be concerned for people who are facing far worse trials. I was super excited about the release of THE FIERY CROWN on May 26. The first book in the trilogy, THE ORCHID THRONE, has been gaining traction with more and more people reading and recommending it. It was even a Staff Pick at Powell’s Books! Since I was planning to be in Los Angeles for SFWA’s Nebula Conference that week, I had planned for a release day party at The Ripped Bodice bookstore, then the mass autographing at the conference itself, then a jaunt for a signing at Mysterious Galaxy the following week – with maybe a little beach time in San Diego. I also have an event lined up at George RR Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema & Beastly Books on May 17 here in Santa Fe. Maybe those will still happen? We don’t know. But the Nebula Conference is definitely happening online.

I had shiny visions of THE FIERY CROWN really taking off. And, really, that hasn’t changed. It’s just my parties that might not happen. I truly feel for all the authors with March book releases who had everything canceled – and I’ve seen a lot of the writing community online expressing sympathy in particular to the debut authors. This is because there’s the perception that you only get to be a debut author once. Which is kind of true, but it’s also like virginity – it really depends on how you define it, extenuating circumstances matter, and really, it’s not as big of a deal as people think.

The thing is, we – and by this I mean human beings – tend to think we have One Big Chance at something. As a newbie writer, I recall being crushed by rejections from agents or editors on occasions I’d become convinced were my One Big Chance. Opportunities arrived, I seized them to the best of my ability, and they went rushing past anyway. It was tempting to give up on those occasions. After all: I’d tried and failed.

I think some of this perception comes from the tired saying “Opportunity knocks only once.” If that’s not a lot of pressure, I don’t know what is. What if you’re in the bathroom when opportunity knocks? There it goes: your one opportunity ever. Might as well die now.

It’s patently ridiculous. And it turns out, is a proverb probably adapted from Phaedrus in A.D. 8, “One lost, Jupiter himself cannot bring back opportunity.” Who knows? Maybe they had fewer opportunities to go around in those days. The opportunity population hadn’t rebounded from being eaten by dinosaurs.

Regardless, there are tons of opportunities. They present themselves all the time. Some work out; some don’t. Some we deliberately bypass because the cost is higher than we’re willing to pay at that time. Sometimes there’s a global pandemic and we have to stay home.

But if I’ve learned anything in these years since my ears dried and I’ve written something like thirty more books since that first collection, it’s that there’s no solid trajectory to success. As with all things, my success as an author – and of each new work – waxes and wanes, and greatly depends on how I define it. (Much like virginity and being a debut.) For all of you feeling like you missed your One Big Chance: you didn’t. I promise. It was one opportunity (or several) in a lifetime of them. Often the most amazing incidences are the ones you don’t see coming and couldn’t possibly have predicted or planned for.

We won’t have to #stayhome forever, and when we emerge from our sparkling isolation, we’ll be ready to party. It will be as epic. 😉

Advice for Introductions at Conferences

Spring is here, which means the start of conference season!

Well, if we *get* to have a conference season this year. Hopefully COVID-19 won’t ruin all of our plans. The SFWA Board met yesterday and we’re planning to go ahead with Nebula Conference at the end of May. We’ve talked with the hotel and put contingency plans in place, but for now we’re still on.

One thing that’s been on my mind to mention for a while is introductions at conferences. People talk about this from time to time, but I think it’s always worth revisiting. Here’s a little story I want to tell you, to explain why this topic is evergreen.

Not long ago, I was on a call with a number of people. One of them was new to the group. We’ll call her Sally. I said, “Hi, Sally! Have we met before?”

She said, “Yes, Jeffe. Like four times.”

Of course I felt bad about that. And I remembered her after that! But how do I remember her? As the person who called me out. My feeling shitty about not remembering her is now the feeling I most strongly associate with Sally.

Introductions are not an easy thing to navigate. And I freely cop to this failing of mine. Yes, it’s a failing, and I’m not getting better as I get older. I’m terrible at recognizing faces. I’m pretty good at retaining names – I’m primarily an auditory learner – and I’m likely to remember obscure facts you tell me about yourself, but I might not put your name to your face. I’m the person at the table who has no idea what the server looks like. I once mixed up Matt Dillon/Matt Damon & Ben Stiller/Ben Affleck, because Something About Mary and Good Will Hunting came out around the same time. Never mind that these people look nothing alike, nor are the movies anything alike – but look at the cadence of the names and titles.

This is how my brain files stuff. I’d say it’s annoying, except that overall it’s a pretty good filing system. I can recall a lot of information and my brain has served me well all my life. I’m a great test-taker. I’m not so great at remembering faces, or if I’ve met someone.

That’s the other thing. I meet a lot of people, especially at conferences. I hit overload pretty quickly, too, often after the first day. I can be a gregarious person, but I’m functionally an introvert. I live in the country where it’s quiet, with dirt roads and no street lights. I can go days never seeing another live person besides my husband. We don’t have many visitors, besides the birds, coyotes and bobcats – and I can’t really tell them apart either.

I know I don’t remember people well, and I’m not proud of it. But I also loathe leaving people unacknowledged. So, I err on the side of reintroducing myself. I’ll usually give my name, and ask if we’ve met before. Most people are super gracious about it if we have. What I love is if they offer me context. Something like, “Yes, we met last year at Nebula Conference and were on the burnout panel together.” Then I’ll be all “Oh, right! And you talked about how you went through x, y, z.” I just need that contextual trigger.

You know how I remember them after that? With pleasure. And I’m more likely to retain that identifier and remember them next time.

One year, when my Twelve Kingdoms series was first taking off, I went to a conference and was introducing myself, as I always do. Only that year, for the first time, when I said, “Hi, I’m Jeffe Kennedy,” the other person said, “Oh, I know.” People, this happened not once, not twice, but at least three times. Maybe more. It was a total conversation killer. I don’t know if they meant it flatteringly – or if they’d heard unkind gossip. But it was most unsettling. I can tell you this, too – some of the most famous authors I’ve met have introduced themselves. I think that route is far better than expecting everyone to Know Who You Are.

So, what’s the advice?

  1. Introduce yourself to everyone you’re not sure you know.
  2. Don’t be shamed if someone says you’ve already met.
  3. Feel free to look at name tags. That’s why we wear them.
  4. Don’t be shamed if someone calls you out for looking at their name tag.
  5. If someone you’ve met before doesn’t remember you, don’t be offended. Don’t call them out. Be gracious. Maybe offer a helpful bit of context for when you met before.
  6. If they still don’t remember you, be cool about it, because this is your opportunity to create an impression with them. Don’t make it a shitty one.

 

Remember: we go to conferences to meet each other and celebrate our shared profession. It can be awesome.