Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is our favorite reader interaction.
Once we get past the fact that ANY AND ALL positive reader interactions are a balm to every writer, then we come to the inevitable truth that the more recent ones spring to mind first. I am so blessed to have each and every one of you out there sending me happy messages about my books. I treasure each and every one, I really do.
But I’m going to pick a recent one that really thrilled me because of the unusual source. You’ll see what I mean when you read it, but I can preface by saying this was from a new friend, a guy my age(ish), who bought DARK WIZARD to be nice. He was in town visiting and bought a hard copy to support me and my local indie bookstore. I seriously never expected him to read it.
Then I got this email:
I, at last, had time to read “Dark Wizard” over the weekend and I was so impressed!
It’s totally not my sub-genre, and would never consider reading the book if someone gave me a plot summary, but it is so well executed and such a page-turner – I was really sucked in. And, despite myself, I want to read the rest of the trilogy. What really amazes me, is that you have such an extensive bibliography – you must be writing very fast – but the quality is so high – no idea how you do it.
Is there anything better than converting a reluctant reader? Not in my book! (lol)
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee.
I need that kick today today is – say it with me – friday!
Ah, ah, April Twenty ninth for all intents and purposes. Not for all intensive purposes which is how some students hear it the end of April I mean we get tomorrow. But. If today is actually your Friday and your last work day of the week that’s pretty much sand of april.
Um, so amazing huh First third of 2022 over has it been fast for you or slow. Um a lot of people. It seems like been having. You know, not a great year so far even though things are better. You know we’re opening up from pandemic and everything um people still coping coping with all the things right? So let’s see. Things are good here. We have a little bit of haze from the fires a little bit of smoke haze and very cold tumbling wind this morning I tried to go out to the grape arbor and it was um, yeah too too chilly too. Um. With the high walls around the garden. It’s usually more protected but not this morning so I am being a weeny and being inside.
I’m trying to think of what do I have to tell you I think I’m a little tired today I kind of hit tired yesterday afternoon I’ve hit 10000 words for the week that the guy should turn this off. Okay, um, um, it. 67500 on this book and yeah I’ve done over 10000 words this week a little bit more 11000 if you count a couple of blog. Posty type things that I’ve done. Um, so yeah, so the question is it’s not really a question. Ah I I’ve been doing slightly more than 2500 each day just by like 50 words to get myself back on trap track. To finish on May thirteenth is a day I want to be done drafting so that I can then spend the week of May sixteenth doing a full revision and the following week doing a proof I’m doing something different this time did I mention this. I am I’m going to do my own proofing. Usually I pay a proof reader. It’s funny as time goes on I stop paying so many editors and turning into these authors that I speak out a guest saying that everybody needs an editor. But. Do think everybody needs an editor except now I think I don’t um, I’ve stopped paying a developmental editor partly because it’s expensive. It added several weeks into the drafting time and. I didn’t feel like I was getting that much out of it I didn’t feel like um, the editors I was paying to give me content edits were really changing all that much about the story or the things that they were changing I wasn’t convinced that it was making them. All that much better which is kind of a funny place to be but if I have doubts I have my crip partners or beta readers read and since everybody uses those words. Interchangeably I think it’s just out of fashion to say crit partner ah nobody seems to use that word anymore. I think maybe it’s the the shit sandwich thing you know nobody wants to use the word criticism anymore. Um shake my cane shake my wand.
Oh and it chimed. ah ah ah yeah so whoever having someone read to give me content subsantive feedback on the book. Um, probably I should do that. I do everyone’s while but it’s when I have doubts so I had gone to having someone proofread the book whos also would give me copy edits and 1 thing I found in doing my big reread of the Heirs of magic. Books because I read the prequel novella and the first 3 in order to write this book for and I kept finding mistakes and I know that there’s you know mistakes are always going to get through but I was trying to decide. I mean I write pretty clean copy I’m I’m fortunate that way that I’m a good speller and I know the punctuation and grammar rules you know and I always say that I don’t know Commas I think comma rules are arbitrary. So I was thinking oh and then one other thing happened is that now I have all 3 Bonds of Magic books in Audio Grey Magic is still waiting to go live but my audiobook narrator. Sent me lists of like errors and typos that she found because reading it out loud. She catches those things and my proof reader was adding five days into the process which and she was doing a great job. You know. Really nothing against her I know that things are always going to slip through but on this book I thought I would experiment and see because I know I want to make sure to catch everything to wind up this series and possibly in this world I don’t know if all right in this world again. Um. Yeah we’ll see but I’m I’m feeling like maybe that’s enough for this world for the moment anyway. So if I spend a week revising this book and then I thought well if I did my own proofing if I spend four days the week of May Twenty third reading the book out loud then I should be able to catch all the typos I can look up any of the formatting our grammatical stuff that I’m not entirely certain of and save myself some money and also give myself that final.
Chance to go through because I find things like those word echoes on those awkward phrasings. So this is my experiment I’m going to see if that extra pass of reading aloud um will add anything. To my revision process. So um, let’s see seems like I something happened on Thursday yesterday that I wanted to tell you about hold on who else. I suppose anything that happened Wednesday I would have talked about yesterday I did notice looking at my calendar I was trying to figure out what all I’ve been doing the last few days who knows playing on the streets obviously but shout out to agent Sarah it is her birthday today. Happy birthday Sarah! Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency who works her butt off for her clients and I say this? um I think it’s easy for people to say that. Ah, you know and it’s authors develop certain lingo that then other authors imitate wanting to sound like real authors you know and they’re like oh my amazing agent I remember that when I was a newbie writer. Ah like this one gal I followed was always talking about. And should always put it in capital letters. Amazing agent I don’t remember Anastasia it wasn’t that I don’t remember who it was and you know she would just gush. You know oh spoke with amazing agent and this was in the newer days of Twitter when I felt like we had more conversations. Got to know people. It could be people still do that. But I’ve ended up backing away from Twitter so much and now that Elon Musk wants to turn it into a free for all of we all are we gonna be leaving Twitter.
I’ve been seeing some think pieces on what it means for a billionaire to own a social media marketplace like Twitter or Facebook and how that shapes the world question is what are we gonna do about it. Somebody posted the other day about um that the Eu has passed a law. It’s like in the first stage it hasn’t been ah, fully executed like whatever their version of like then you know, starting in the senate and having to go to the house or vice versa. So it’s not a thing yet but they did pass the resolution to make the law or what have you ah to force companies like Amazon and Facebook and so forth to reveal their algorithms and to make them egalitarian and people were saying oh they were excited. Celebrating saying you know Amazon might finally have to reveal their algorithm to us you know like how are they you know promoting some books and not others and I thought I didn’t want to reign on their happy parade. But I was thinking. It’s just never gonna happen Amazon. These companies are never going to ris feel there there I’ll go the rhythms they’re gonna consider it proprietary information. They won’t do it I I could be wrong. It’s happened put it on the calendar. So anyway, um, how did I get there.
Sometimes I wish I could replay this thing so I could find my train of thought again sorry I’m a little fuzzy brained today. So let’s see algorithms legalities. Is it gone forever. It might be you guys are shouting at me I also wish that I could hear you tell me what was I thinking about something I was gonna tell you and then I figured out know that Sarah’s birthday I guess yeah, that was it. Agents ah see I can rewind mentally kind of um, but anyway the scout that I used to follow you know and people would always be like oh my amazing agent this and and following her particular journey which I’ve always hated my journey to publication. Ah, we don’t hear that nearly so much anymore probably because there’s so much self- publishing but especially back then because we’re talking more than ten years ago now right? That’s amazing. You know like 2009 is when I joined Twitter. Things were very much about tribe publishing you know and so people would be like posting their milestones so that you like we could follow their journey from pre-published to astonishingly successful the problem with chronicling your journey to publication like that is that. Not everybody made it there and that certainly happened with this gal and I could see her being going back and forth with her agent where she would like revise her book that her agent had signed her on and the agent still didn’t like it and she would talk about oh well, she was going to have to gut it again, but amazing agent Anastasia had given her. You know all of these great notes and she was going to do it again and and I mean this went on for a long time and I was thinking and she’d never even gone on submission and even then being well I wasn’t entirely a baby writer because I’d been in the nonfiction circles for a long time. So I knew how publishing worked and was like she just. And I keep you revising forever chasing some goal some intangible it wasn’t clear to me like what this agent wanted her to do and then eventually she ended up parting waste with the agent you know and she reported this faithfully too. We’ve parted ways because we’re just not a great fit and like and this agent never took her book out on submission. So it was a live and learn kind of thing. Maybe that was beneficial to me that she chronicled her journey to not publishing I don’t think she ever got a book published.
Anyway, um, was her agent really amazing was she as delighted as she wanted her chronicle to portray probably not but my agent Sarah is a hell of a worker. She is. Communicative ambitious she takes amazing care of her clients. Ah she is a delightful person in every way and I know that you know like I’m not always an easy client to work with.
Neither is Grace Draven for that matter. Also one of Sarah’s clients because we are very definitive about what we need as far as making money and what we put into our self- publishing careers which isn’t always easy for an agent because and there are some agents out there who are like no I don’t want you to so. Publish and Sarah doesn’t ask that of us she she works with us and I I appreciate her I appreciate you Sarah if you listen to this? Um, yeah, you really are an amazing agent. So um, the other exciting thing is that Lonen’s War is out today in Kindle Unlimited with the new covers I probably have to figure out how to brand things. As far as the metadata for Kindle Unlimited readers but because right now the ranking is really really super low. Ah you know and it’s interesting because and I’ve said this often right that I feel like the kindle unlimited ecosystem is just a really different set of readers. And I see this all the time I see these? um you know, authors celebrating other author who are like Kindle un limited famous that I’ve never heard of and the reader is recommending these books and series and they’re just these circles almost don’t overlap anymore. I grew irritated with some of the science fiction and fantasy people the other day and I won’t say why sorry I’m not going to spill that tea but there are circles of snobbery in this business and people forget that. Their particular circle is not the only one in the universe and they take that because they’ve they have never heard of an author that therefore what they’re doing is not worthwhile and it’s not true. That’s not true. So. This is like so far the most abysmal release that I’ve had in a really long time. But I think it’s because I’m so unknown to this Kindle unlimited audience. So I’m looking on it as a challenge to to pick it up I was ah. Venting to some of my writer friends hi gals. Thank you I appreciate you yesterday because one of my longtime readers and I mentioned this I think on yesterday’s podcast does not like the new covers for sorcer moons and and it it kind of got me down and and one of the gals said you know not to let it.
Diminish my joy and an assistant Carien said that said the same thing assistant Carien is always ah, awesome. Awesome assistant andastasia ah, um, but yeah, this girl. Who is my reader said well that she missed the pretty covers and said um, finished up with saying she said it was only weapons and she wouldn’t pick these up in a store and I was like oh okay, well first of all I mean the first covers are always going to be there. Guys they’re they’re out there if you love the first covers. Great um, but also I’m not trying to tell this series to the people who already read it right? I’m trying to communicate the genre to this new group of readers. And for the record it is not only weapons on the covers. It is. There’s lots of other elements on the covers and and Carien was resistant to me changing it at first too and now even she is saying that she loves the look of the new series. It’s it’s much more cohesive than it used to be and. I’m looking forward to yeah to just to reach these new readers. Ah, it’s it’s exciting. So um, yeah, lones were out today if you’re in kindle unlimited if you know people enkindle unlimited please share. Um. I I want to want to reach those fantasy romance readers slow burn romance lots of epic fantasy and warrior stuff in it which this was another thing when we were discussing it when this gal said you know gone were the the girls and the horses. And the dragons and that it was only weapons and that it looked like masculine fantasy and I thought why are we correlating weapons with masculine fantasy because I mean and this is someone who’s read all of my books I have female warriors right? You know I invented an entire martial arts system for ah well for Ursula and then ah Kaja and Jenna/Ivariel all follow it. Jepp follow follows it and Jack does too now. They’re all part of that. System and it’s part of the marsh I I not part of I imagined it reimagined it from mar martial art systems that I trained in and I have weapons in my office and and I’m a girlie girl. So um, yeah i.
I don’t like the idea that that warrior stuff is correlated only with masculine fantasy. So anyway, off I go to get my final 2500 for the week I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Um I hope I get to get out in the garden this weekend. That’s my my big goal for it and I will talk to you all on Monday take care bye bye.
I’m having trouble I like hit my coffee cup with the mouse here. This is the blooper reel all right by.
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee as the chimes echo away. Delicious. Today is I have no idea Thursday April Twenty Eighth and I am looking at my plant that I potted the lobelia does not seem to be doing well whyness lobelia always seemed to not do well. Just dries out so quickly here have to pause you now that we are back outside. We have Jeffe obsessively checking her plants all part of the brand here at first cup of coffee. Ah I will endeavor not to do that. So um, hope you all are having a wonderful week. My Week’s going pretty well so far knock on wood dive. No wood well does great plain. Oh the arbor knock on wood. Helping get my 2500 words on Storm Princess and the Raven King
Feels like it’s going well um, yeah, so we’ll see if we can sustain that get that done in the next few weeks um been uploading the rebranded covers. For um, Sorcerous Moons. They are ah so far I’ve gotten the first 3 books up did my 4 matters getting me 1 per day so they’ll release starting tomorrow. So Friday Saturday Sunday. Ah yeah, so. 1 reader commented about the pretty covers being gone I mean they’re not gone. They’re immortalized in history but but yeah, um, I’m I’m trying to rebrand I’m trying to reach a new audience and so. I mean that’s always a balance right? You know you try to reach new readers but sometimes the old readers feel left behind old in a former sense. Not an aged sense. Ah, she commented that that these looked like mill. Fantasy which I thought was funny because I don’t think they look like male fantasy. Um there’s definitely more masculine element to it and lonen’s double bladed axe is front and center a consistent element for all the covers and. That’s not to emphasize Lonen necessarily one is it’s a striking image. Um, and for me partly symbolic of of Oria’s power as well. But yeah, she said oh well the horses were gone and. Female elements were gone and it was like but and dragons were gone but they’re not, they’re still there. They’re just more subtle elements. There’s the dragon’s tail and dragon wings. There’s the representation of the the horse silhouette in the background. It’s there if you look for it and oria’s hair and her magic which is really the one of the most essential parts of oriah so of but. That’s the thing is when you try to reach new readers. You know you’re trying I’m trying to reach people who who maybe haven’t read my books at all before that’s partly why I’m putting them in Kindle unlimited because there’s a lot of readers that only read on Kindle unlimited as I talk about on here.
Probably ad nauseum and yeah so I’m excited about it I’m I’m interested to see what happens it says an experiment.
Ah, sucking down the coffee this morning I am going to ride her coffee later this morning so that’ll be fun first time in a few weeks. She’ll be able to sit outside just like I’m sitting outside here this morning in the secret garden planning to do a lot of gardening this weekend I have a lot of cleanup. To get after here and it’ll finally be nice enough to do that I think we’re supposed to have wind again this afternoon and tomorrow but hopefully looking like the weekend should be pretty nice. So I watched the movie gifted. Um, with adorable Chris Evans and what’s the little girl’s name Mckenna Grace Octavia Spencer is in it to always want to call her Octavia Butler which I think is funny. Ah the actress not the writer. Maybe because I don’t know that many Octavia ah not that I know her anyway I watch this movie because it was brought up at the Jack Williamson lectureship I know I keep referencing that but we had so many great conversations there. And that movie had been recommended I think by Connie Willis and I had never seen it. Um, what was it 2013 movie I’ll link to it the show notes maybe not even that old. Well we won’t look it up right now. Anyway, it’s um, it’s it’s an amazing movie I I loved watching this movie. It’s about Chris Evans is this um uncle who. After the death of his sister is raising his niece who is 7 at the time of the movie and he is living in is it Florida or South Carolina I think they say it’s Florida um. Preparing boats for a living. The script is so great. It’s really well written within a few moments of of like the opening scene of his conversation with this little girl. Her character is Mary. You learn so much about them and they’re arguing about whether or not she has to go to school and she’s you could just tell by the way that she’s debating this that she is really super smart and and he replies to her. Ah.
There’s just a couple of different things he says but 1 thing is he says we’ve already discuss this ad nauseum and she says ah and she said what does as ad nauseam mean and he goes ah looks like somebody needs to go to school to learn some things. And then later when he’s having a conversation with her teacher who is identifying Mary as a math prodigy which she is and he says no, she’s just using the the trakteberg formula I think I have that correct to to do these multiplications. It’s not a big deal. Which he’s putting her off because he knows it’s a big deal and you you put together very quickly that he is also a genius but is very deliberately not using his intellect and we find out later that he had been teaching. Ah, had been a professor of philosophy at Boston University and had quit after his sister died and and it’s wonderful. How these things are revealed why he’s doing what he’s doing and his sister was a math prodigy and his mother is a math prodigy and you know they. Want to have them go and work on these important you know unsolvable math problems which I’ve read some interesting essays on how on these like supposedly unsolvable problems and and what they really mean, but it’s a great device for. For movies because otherwise it’s like there’s not a um, a tangible goal when you want to give like your genius character a tangible goal that they’re striving for a math problem makes a lot more sense to an audience then I don’t know what you know like. Writing the great novel or whatever it is whatever that means
I promise I won’t go on a rant about what it means to write a great novel so tempting though it may be so anyway. Ah a lot of it is about him wanting her. To grow up having a normal life. Um and not suffer what her mother suffered by being treated as by not getting to have a normal life and it really just it’s it’s a beautifully done movie. It poses a lot of very interesting questions about. If you have a talent um or a genius. Even what that what responsibility do you owe to it. Um, if any yeah so I enjoyed that very much. And ad nauseum I won’t rant addd nauseum I can’t remember what it was. There’s something else that he says that he uses some sort of um, word you know like a $5 word or or something I don’t recall what but very. They do a nice job of revealing character through just how he behaves and and how he speaks even though he is trying not to be this thing anymore. It’s like inherent and and in the same way it is in his niece I also tried to watch Spencer um about princess Diana Lady Spencer played by ah Kristen Stewart which I’ve been wanting to see for a long time and we ended up with this subscription to hulu. Which I want to say it was an accident you know is sort of like oops I stumbled and tripped and fell into a subscription to hulu I think it was because David wanted to watch the super bowl and we were trying to figure out a way for him to watch the super bowl so you know like we signed up for the month free and then got charged for it and then I was like how did I end up subscribed to hulu. Which is I know entirely their scheme so I canceled it. But I’d already been charged so we have it for like thirty more days and when I canceled it. You know they want to know my reasons for canceling and one of them on there said, um, one of the options was too many ads. And now I wish I could have checked too many ads because we’ve been watching some stuff on hulu while we you know since we paid for thirty more days of it and the reader there are too many ads it. Ah just I know this is I’ll probably just be saying this from now on my gen x thing.
But it really pisses me off to pay for something that then also has ads. It’s either you pay for it or you suffer through ads you shouldn’t have to do both and I’m um I’m very bitter that the world has changed this people.
Ah, anyway, so I started watching this on hulu because I was like oh yeah cause David was he was napping and we’d already eat and did or I was getting ready I was cooking dinner and stuff and I thought oh well I’ll watch this because I bet he won’t want to and and then if I think he will. You know I can always stop and start over and it was um, discordant what is up with that people. It’s like they wanted to use all of this discordant jazz to show her mental breakdown which was this necessary. And I even looked at the reviews to see if anyone else bitched about it and I didn’t see any. So maybe it’s me I thought Kristen Stewart did a great job I thought she although I thought she made Diana awfully diffident which apparently like her bodyguard said that. Stewart got her meant got Diana’s mannerismism is better than anyone else. But yeah I didn’t I didn’t care for her diffidence and I don’t know it was just so over the top I thought you know it. It takes place at Christmas at sandra noon sandingham palace and it’s right before the divorce and all of this and so of course things are going badly but I just I don’t know I didn’t care for it. I’m not going to keep watching it I didn’t like how much of the victim. She’s portrayed as maybe. Maybe she rallies later in the movie but you know I’m one of those people that you know diana always my princess I was always on her side against camilla and after watching this, it’s like ah I don’t know so There’s my inarticulate review of that movie. Ah maybe I could watch it muted with only closed captions. So I don’t have to listen to that I found the music so disturbing in a way that I didn’t want to be disturbed. And then the other thing we started watching also on hulu too many ants cashhtag too many ads was ah pam and tommy about tommy lee and pamela anderson and ah it is really a delight. It has a lot of the same irreverence and sort of storytelling gambits that they used in the dirt about motley crew I’m sure tommy lee consulted heavily on this series. Apparently pamela anderson had nothing to do with it.
Ah, so I’m sure he like used the same writers I didn’t look but he he borrowed heavily from what made the dirt a charming movie to watch which we’ve watched a couple times because we’ve really it’s really fun if you haven’t seen that. Um. But pam and Tommy was it Tommy and pam I think it’s Pam and tommy a link to it ah is she is played by Lily James who I just adore ever since I saw her in Cinderella. I adore her and Tommy Lee is played by Sebastian Stan and I now Stan Sebastian Stan I didn’t really before you know like the whole bucky thing winter soldier. Never really floated my boat. But I’m getting I’m getting the mystique now and it is wittily done and my my only objection man that’s probably a strong word I think Lily James is doing a great job playing Pamela Anderson but Lily James has this essential sweetness to her. She’s I don’t know she’s lisome and has this artlessness to her personality that I don’t know if it means that she’s not a great actress. But she doesn’t come across to me the same way. Pamela Anderson always did she doesn’t come on. She’s not as brazen and confident in a way even though she’s trying to seem like that. It’s just that Lily James has this. Yeah, this. Artless wholesomeness to her. But anyway, it’s a really interesting show and I’m enjoying that and then I’m still finishing this book I’m almost done now on ah Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning and you know it’s it’s extraordinary I don’t. Read that much historical stuff unless it’s historical romance and I kind of fell off of reading those but it’s extraordinary to read about people living in victorian times and maybe this is just extraordinary for me because i. Haven’t read tons of it. You know like Jane Austen stuff regency stuff. Um, anyway, this maybe it’s because it’s nonfiction. But the um the prevalence of disease is just extraordinary. How people are for.
Everyone getting sick and I’ve heard people reference this, you know and talking about like with the pandemic that with the pandemic talking about how they now understand why everyone in victorian times you know writes letters about their health. It’s um. It’s really interesting to to read this and you know like a child will get sick with gastric fever. Ah, and then be dead by evening and I looked up what gastric fever was and it was typhoid and and I guess I knew. Kind of distantly that you know of course antibiotics weren’t introduced yet but they had cholera and typhoid and tuberculosis I knew they had tuberculosis but I mean they were just. Um, you know, like with everything they ate and drank they were risking death. You know, no wonder the victorians had such a fascination with death because people could just die at the drop of a hat and of course Elizabeth’s Barett browning was not in great health for most of her life. And just the way she struggles with her health and at the end it’s sounding like probably a lot of depression just really is making me conscious of what a huge thing it is. For us to be liberated from the ravages of disease in you know, just ah, you know like 100 years that that changed so dramatically. Ah you know and now we have ah all the anti vaccine stuff. It’s such a luxury for people to you know, not want to get vaccines because we don’t have this thing where at any moment you could encounter the thing that kills you by nightfall definitely and. Interesting realignment of perspective for me. So um, on that note I’m going to go celebrate my good health get my words done. Um, hope you all have a wonderful Thursday and I will talk to you all tomorrow take care bye bye.