NEW RELEASE: THE FATE OF THE TALA

THE FATE OF THE TALA is out in the world!! You can order it on all the retailers. If you preordered (or still want to order!) a signed print copy, I’ll be sending those out by February 14. (I should have them by February 13, so it could happen!) A nice Valentine for us all. Once I send those, I’ll get the print versions uploaded on the retailers, too.

Also, as a super fun thing – if you subscribe to Pikko’s House Book Lovers Box this month, a limited number of subscribers will get the first book that started it all, THE MARK OF THE TALA, for free!!

 

 

The exciting conclusion of the story begun in The Mark of the Tala

An Uneasy Marriage,

An Unholy Alliance.

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, conquered her inner demons to become the high queen. The youngest, and most beautiful outlived her Prince Charming and found a strength beyond surface loveliness.

And the other one, Andi? The introverted, awkward middle princess is now the Sorceress Queen, Andromeda—and she stands at the precipice of a devastating war.

As the undead powers of Deyrr gather their forces, their High Priestess focuses on Andi, undermining her at every turn. At the magical barrier that protects the Thirteen Kingdoms from annihilation, the massive Dasnarian navy assembles, ready to pounce the moment Andi’s strength fails. And, though her sisters and friends gather around her, Andi finds that her husband, Rayfe, plagued with fears over her pregnancy, has withdrawn, growing ever more distant.

Fighting battles on too many fronts, Andi can’t afford to weaken, as she’s all that stands between all that’s good in the world and purest evil.

For Andi, the time to grow into her true power has come. . .

 

NEW RELEASE: THE FATE OF THE TALA

THE FATE OF THE TALA is out in the world!! You can order it on all the retailers. If you preordered (or still want to order!) a signed print copy, I’ll be sending those out by February 14. (I should have them by February 13, so it could happen!) A nice Valentine for us all. Once I send those, I’ll get the print versions uploaded on the retailers, too.

Also, as a super fun thing – if you subscribe to Pikko’s House Book Lovers Box this month, a limited number of subscribers will get the first book that started it all, THE MARK OF THE TALA, for free!!

 

 

The exciting conclusion of the story begun in The Mark of the Tala

An Uneasy Marriage,

An Unholy Alliance.

The tales tell of three sisters, daughters of the high king. The eldest, a valiant warrior-woman, conquered her inner demons to become the high queen. The youngest, and most beautiful outlived her Prince Charming and found a strength beyond surface loveliness.

And the other one, Andi? The introverted, awkward middle princess is now the Sorceress Queen, Andromeda—and she stands at the precipice of a devastating war.

As the undead powers of Deyrr gather their forces, their High Priestess focuses on Andi, undermining her at every turn. At the magical barrier that protects the Thirteen Kingdoms from annihilation, the massive Dasnarian navy assembles, ready to pounce the moment Andi’s strength fails. And, though her sisters and friends gather around her, Andi finds that her husband, Rayfe, plagued with fears over her pregnancy, has withdrawn, growing ever more distant.

Fighting battles on too many fronts, Andi can’t afford to weaken, as she’s all that stands between all that’s good in the world and purest evil.

For Andi, the time to grow into her true power has come. . .

 

 

THE ORCHID THRONE now available!

          

Welcome to the world of Forgotten Empires from award winning author Jeffe Kennedy that begins with The Orchid Throne.

A PRISONER OF FATE

As Queen of the island kingdom of Calanthe, Euthalia will do anything to keep her people free—and her secrets safe—from the mad tyrant who rules the mainland. Guided by a magic ring of her father’s, Lia plays the political game with the cronies the emperor sends to her island. In her heart, she knows that it’s up to her to save herself from her fate as the emperor’s bride. But in her dreams, she sees a man, one with the power to build a better world—a man whose spirit is as strong, and whose passion is as fierce as her own…

A PRINCE AMONG MEN

Conrí, former Crown Prince of Oriel, has built an army to overthrow the emperor. But he needs the fabled Abiding Ring to succeed. The ring that Euthalia holds so dear to her heart. When the two banished rulers meet face to face, neither can deny the flames of rebellion that flicker in their eyes—nor the fires of desire that draw them together. But in this broken world of shattered kingdoms, can they ever really trust each other? Can their fiery alliance defeat the shadows of evil that threaten to engulf their hearts and souls?

Reviews

The Orchid Throne captures from the first page and doesn’t let go as Jeffe Kennedy weaves a timeless tale of love and survival amidst a lush backdrop teeming greed and deceit. You will fall for Lia and Con and root for them with every breath you take. This is a book that will linger in your thoughts for a very long time.”- Darynda Jones, New York Times bestselling author

“A fantasy romance by a writer at the top of her game.There are two strands to this story and each is beautifully distinctive. The chapters portraying Lia, the virgin queen who protects her people from the ruthless emperor through statecraft and artifice, are lush and hypnotic. Those that follow the damaged Conri and his army of rebel slaves are raw and propulsive. Kennedy plays with these differences building tension so that when the two come together it is like a match to tinder. The world building is immersive and there are secondary characters to root for (especially fond of Ambrose, Conri’s wizard). I only wish I didn’t have to wait so long for the 2nd book.” – Maria Vale, author of The Last Wolf

“An enchanting world awaits in The Orchid Throne … With detailed world building and an intriguing cast of characters–especially a warrior woman and an enigmatic and amusing wizard–this captivating story will have readers holding their breath.” – Bookpage

The RITA® Award – Jeffe’s 2019 Scores

Happy Book Birthday to L.X. Beckett! GAMECHANGER is out in the world and ready to be snorfled up! Those of you who listen to my First Cup of Coffee Podcast will remember L.X. from a guest interview back in July.  I’ve got the book on my Kindle and can’t wait to read it!

It’s become something of a tradition here on my blog for me to share my RITA® Award scores each year. Here’s my post from 2018, which summarizes the previous few years.  I think it’s important to share this information, so that there’s greater transparency in what the scores shake out to be for various books. Of course, I totally respect that some people prefer to keep their scores private, but that’s not a thing for me, so I’m happy to hang them out there.

I entered three books this year – the max I could enter – and for those who say we should only enter one book, our best book from the year, I totally did not expect THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER to be the one that finaled. I think it’s impossible to predict these things. So much depends on which judges you get. Read on for more!

So, these are the scores for THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER, which was a finalist in the novella category. As you can see, it finaled with an average score of just over 9, on a scale of 1.0 to 10.0, with 1.0 being the lowest (poor) and 10.0 being the highest (excellent). (If you’re doing the math at home, remember that the highest and lowest scores are dropped.) So, yeah – Judge 4 *really* didn’t care for the novella. Did it deserve a score 4.5 points below the next lowest score? Opinions are subjective, but that’s a marked gap.

Here are my scores for my Fantasy Romance novel, THE ARROWS OF THE HEART. It got an average score of 8.3, which put it in the top 25% of scores in that category, which means it came pretty damn close to finaling! As you can see, however, Judge 4 Did Not Like. (And no, it’s not the same judge as for DRAGONS – it’s just a coincidence.) And look, they also marked it as not a romance. I get one judge saying this on my Fantasy Romances pretty much every year. I think it’s because some readers have rigid ideas about what romance should be. Also, I do think some judges score out of spite. As impossible as it may be to believe, there are people out there who don’t like me. I know, I know – but it’s true! I’m very interested to see if the new measures RWA is taking to track judges and how they score over time will eliminate some of these kind of wildly different scores.

Finally, I entered my rock star Contemporary Romance SHOOTING STAR, just because I wanted to see how it would do. This book has just never gone the way I thought it would. We couldn’t sell it to a trad publisher, so I self-published it. And it turns out those trad folks predicted well – lol! It has never sold well. Though it does get really good reviews. It scored here much better than I thought. Interestingly, it didn’t get the hate score, but it also didn’t get any love scores. High mediocre, maybe? But I was happy to get this much validation for it.

So, thoughts? Questions? Comments? Hit me up! And any of you who entered and feel the urge, go ahead and share your scores in the comments 🙂

Signing THE ORCHID THRONE!

If you’re in the Albuquerque, NM region – or want to be! – I’m signing THE ORCHID THRONE (Forgotten Empires Book 1) at Page One Books, 4:00 pm Saturday, October 5, along with the wonderful Jane Lindskold, who will be signing WOLF’S SEARCH (Firekeeper Saga Book 7).

The Arrows of the Heart Is Out!

Just in case you missed the news, THE ARROWS OF THE HEART, sequel to THE SHIFT OF THE TIDE, and the fourth book in The Uncharted Realms series, is out in the world! 

 

A STRANGER’S FAITH

As the Twelve Kingdoms and their allies are drawn toward war, a princess cast aside must discover a purpose she never dreamed of…

Karyn af Hardie behaved like a proper Dasnarian wife. She acquiesced, she accepted, she submitted. Until her husband gave her a choice: their loveless, unconsummated royal marriage—or her freedom. Karyn chose freedom. But with nowhere to run except into the arms of Dasnaria’s enemies, she wonders if she’s made a mistake. She wants love, security, a family. She can’t imagine finding any of it among the mercurial Tala.

Worst of all is Zyr. The uninhibited shapeshifter is everywhere she looks. He’s magnetic, relentless, teasing and tempting as if she’s free to take her pleasure where she wishes. As if there isn’t a war rising before them, against a vile and demanding force far stronger than they. But with Karyn’s loyalty far from certain, Zyr offers her only chance to aid the defense—a dangerous gambit to seek out a land not seen in centuries, using clues no one can decipher. Together, they’ll have every opportunity to fail—and one chance to steal something truly precious…

Exile of the Seash

First Cup of Coffee – September 4, 2018 & Release Day!

Exile of the SeashToday is the release day for EXILE OF THE SEAS! 

Around the shifting borders of the Twelve Kingdoms, trade and conflict, danger and adventure put every traveler on guard . . . but some have everything to lose.
 
ESCAPED
Once she was known as Jenna, Imperial Princess of Dasnaria, schooled in graceful dance and comely submission. Until the man her parents married her off to almost killed her with his brutality.
 
Now, all she knows is that the ship she’s boarded is bound away from her vicious homeland. The warrior woman aboard says Jenna’s skill in dancing might translate into a more lethal ability. Danu’s fighter priestesses will take her in, disguise her as one of their own—and allow her to keep her silence.
 
But it’s only a matter of time until Jenna’s monster of a husband hunts her down. Her best chance to stay hidden is to hire out as bodyguard to a caravan traveling to a far-off land, home to beasts and people so unfamiliar they seem like part of a fairy tale. But her supposed prowess in combat is a fraud. And sooner or later, Jenna’s flight will end in battle—or betrayal . . .

Read More…

“The storytelling is lush and vivid, some parts, particularly the peeks into Jenna’s psyche, so beautiful and raw, they make your heart hurt.”

~Julie Fine on Goodreads

“(…) a sweeping piece of fantasy that captured my imagination and I’m blown away by this authors talent.”

~Marta Cox on Goodreads

“Jenna’s character is one of the best that I’ve read in terms of development. I may not have read the first book, but she grows so much during the course of this book that I didn’t feel like I was seeing her for the first time.”

~TheDigressiveApproach on Goodreads

DANGEROUS Release Day!!

A special shout-out today to the debut release, DANGEROUS, for my friend Minerva Spencer! She lives in nearby Taos and is an amazing person who’s become a great friend. She is a Vegan for compassionate reasons – most of her earnings goes to feeding her zoo of rescue animals – and has had a remarkable series of careers. She’s owned a bar, a B&B, and has been a lawyer who did pro bono work for asylum applicants. Her interest in history along with her keen intellect and love of romance combine in perfect harmony in this book. 

Full disclosure: I read an early version of this book. This can be dicey in the author world – just because you like the person doesn’t mean you’ll like their writing. And this is Minerva’s first book, so I was cautious. Also, while historical romance was my gateway drug to romance, I’ve fallen off of it for quite some time. I’d gotten bored and the subgenre had lost its freshness for me. 

To my utter delight, I *loved* it! I loved it so much that I posted a review to Goodreads. Because it was on Goodreads and Minerva hadn’t asked me for a blurb or anything like that, I just raved about how much I liked it, in a chatty, irreverent way.

Shockingly enough, Kensington grabbed my quote and printed on the back of the book.

Just to clarify, it says:

“Georgette Heyer, BUT WITH SEX!”

 

For those not in the know, Georgette Heyer is one of the great lights of historical romance. She is Austenesque in the exquisite details of the manners she portrays. She is incredible at layering sexual tension into the polite restraints of the eras she sets her stories in. But I can’t read her books because she always closes the door on the actual sex! I end up so frustrated that I can’t stand it. That’s why I was so thrilled to find that Minerva tells a tense, mannered, intelligent story in the same way – but takes me all the way to the hotness I love. 

Whew! Is it warm in here?

Anyway, I’m highly amused that, of all my carefully crafted blurbs that I’ve written for fellow authors, it’s THIS irreverent and joyous burble that gets highlighted in all caps.

Says something, doesn’t it? 

So, this book is truly wonderful and I advise you to pick it up. You’ll at least be feeding a lot of animals!

A Little Ditty ’bout Joe and Ava

Today sees the release of SHOOTING STAR! This is a dark and intense romance, one unconnected to any other of my books or series.

See, what happened is this. I wrote this book starting in July of 2015. Arguably, however, I’ve been working on this idea for almost fourteen years, since autumn of 2004. I know this because that’s when I saw this magazine cover.

I was on travel for my day job as an environmental consultant – as I often was in those days – and hustling through an airport, when I saw a newsstand plastered with this magazine. For those of you lacking historical context, this was the same year that Mean Girls released. But that was a bit of a sleeper and hadn’t made much of a splash. Far more present in our minds was the Freaky Friday remake, where Lohan starred with Jamie Lee Curtis and did an amazing acting job of body switches. Five years earlier, Lohan played both twins in the Parent Trap remake – and did so brilliantly – but her role as a teen with her Type A mother inside her body blew us all away. She was a charming, smart, vivacious and tremendously talented teenage actress.

But in the autumn of 2004, Lohan turned eighteen – and was immediately splashed in sexy poses in a men’s magazine. I stood there flipping through it, stunned and flabbergasted. They had her posing on a bed in her underwear. In those days, I wrote mainly essays, and published many of them in magazines. So I knew the lead times, which usually were four to six months. That meant they’d done this very sexy photo shoot with a seventeen-year-old girl, one filming a movie where she plays a high school student.

I stood there, wondering how the hell this happened. 

Of course, we know more now – about her mother and various other factors. And we can guess the rest, all of which contributed to a spiral she still hasn’t broken out of. I wrote an essay about it back then, about protecting our young women. I could never sell that one. Nobody was interested.

But her sad story sat in the back of my mind. Fast forward to July of 2015, when I attended the RWA National Convention in Times Square in New York City. My room looked out on the flashing stories-tall digital screens, advertising all manner of things, usually with beautiful women involved. I decided to fictionalize the story, to tell the tale of a child star of tween movies and shows, but who grew up to continue as a pop star. More of a Miley Cyrus career arc. 

Ava was born. And when I looked around for the man to save her from herself, Joe Ivanchan walked in and insisted. I really hadn’t planned to write about an Army vet who’d suffered terribly and had a service dog to keep him on the steady – but sometimes I don’t get to decide these things.

I wrote the book. My agent took it on submission. And we couldn’t sell it.

I revised it, and we took it on submission again. No luck.

I revised it yet again, my new agent took it on submission. And still no luck. One house told me they loved the book, but hadn’t had any luck selling “issue-driven fiction.”

So, I finally decided to publish it myself. In many ways, more than any other book I’ve self-published, this one is a labor of love. I’ve been mulling this story for so many years and it’s finally out there.

That’s enough for me. 

 

 

Not all desires are shiny and sweet—and the dark ones might change you forever…

It’s not the kind of obsession a tough Army guy can admit to—a jones for Ava, the pretty-princess pop star. Not just her body, the perfect product that sells all those magazines. Her music.

The critics call her human lip gloss, all style and no substance. To Joe Ivanchan, Ava is the exact blend of reality and fantasy that he can tolerate, the closest he’s willing to get to giving his heart after the injury and breakdown that got him out of the service.

But Ava is real. She’s a flesh and blood woman with a publicity machine and an album deadline, along with a whole team of handlers paid to shellac a pristine sheen over a damaged, desperate soul. A woman with fears, with secrets, with desires.

When Joe finds himself in an interview to join her security team as her driver, his instinct is to get away. But the woman behind Ava’s carefully focus-grouped image is even harder to walk away from. The angry needs tormenting her speak to something within Joe. Something empathetic, protective—and primal…

Besides, even a falling star can light up the darkest night.

Buy the Book

Release Day for SINCE LAST CHRISTMAS!

Santa arrived just in time! The third Missed Connections book, SINCE LAST CHRISTMAS, made it out for Christmas!

(We could even call it a Christmas Miracle!)

Anyway, it’s out and available for… did I mention CHRISTMAS??

Hey, there’s a menorah joke in it, too. 

Buy the Book

 
A little excerpt for you all!
 
**********

With renewed determination, I wove through the crush looking for Brad. The whole point of bringing him was so I wouldn’t have to stand around alone. I’d brought him to be my arm candy. Men did it all the time, so I refused to feel bad about wanting the same. I craned my neck, looking for him. There he was, taking a group pic with some guys using the telescoping selfie-stick he kept in his jacket pocket like a ballpoint pen. The pocket-protector of the modern era—that fashion statement telegraphed social media aficionado. The guys held up their signature cocktails, identical smiles of white and even teeth, the flash strobing from flattering shadows to glaring bright reveal.

“Amy.” Jon Ahearn appeared in front of me, a serious smile on his stubbly face. And not stubbly in a hip statement way, but in an “I forgot to shave” way. Or maybe an “I didn’t bother to buy new razor blades” way. He, for one, had barely changed since our teens. I’d know him anywhere, though we only ever saw each other anymore at this party.

“Jon. Merry Christmas.” I gave him a light hug with lots of air in it, trying to look past him unobtrusively. They were trying another pose.

“How’ve you been?” Jon asked. “I mean,” he added, “you look fantastic. But then, you always do.”

“Thanks.” I gave up keeping an eye on Brad and focused a smile on Jon. I would not be like our ruder classmates, forever scanning for someone more important to talk to. Jon had been a scholarship student, too, only he’d been defiantly uncaring about it, wearing whatever and refusing to play any of the polite games. He was at Wildwood, he’d once told me, to get into MIT, and that was all he cared about. He’d done it, too, then went for graduate school at University of Chicago. “How’s grad school?” I asked politely. Then jumped as my phone chimed with notifications. I sipped more from my drink.

“A gauntlet from hell,” Jon confided, adding a rueful grimace. “Which is exactly how they intend it to be. Semester ended today, so I at least have teaching over with, except for the grading. I’m hoping to get some substantial work done on my dissertation over the break.”

“Hmm,” I said. He’d told me at a previous reunion party what he was working on. Last year or the one before. He worked on an intersection of math, physics, and engineering, something esoteric enough that I’d retained little of it. Perpetual motion and entropy… Nope. Wasn’t in my head, so I shouldn’t try or I’d butcher it. “That will be good.”

“How’s your job—ready for world domination yet?”

I smiled. “World domination through silk and cashmere, anyway, but yeah—working at Exposition Way is amazing and Adelina is even looking at my designs.”

“She’s smart then, because you’re really talented.”

“Thanks.” We gazed at each other and I was thinking up something else to ask when my phone chimed again. At least I didn’t jump that time.

“Do you need to get that?” Jon pointed his chin at my clutch, hanging from its silver chain against my hip. “Your phone.”

“No.” I should have silenced the damn thing. Flicking open the purse catch, I reached in and flipped the side switch to mute. “It’s just tags—Instagram, Facebook. You know.”

“Tags. Yeah. No.” He shook his head and I had to laugh.

“You’re still not doing social media? I can’t believe you’ve escaped its clutches entirely.”

“The secret is never looking at the stuff.” Then he tilted his head slightly and added a significant lift to his dark brows. “I never heard from you.”

Quite the transition, there. I searched my mind. Had I promised to call him or something? People ask me for job leads sometimes—fashion is all about who you know—but that wouldn’t be Jon. Besides, we didn’t have any contact outside of these semi-awkward annual reunions. Jon was part of a past I didn’t like to think about, and I’d thought he, if not delighted about that, at least had not objected.

He watched me flailing, not giving any more hints, a kind of benign resignation settling over his expression. Jon wasn’t unhandsome, once you got past the scruffiness, with curly black hair that tended toward unruly—especially as he never bothered to get a good haircut—and dark brown eyes, intense with intelligence. I felt a bit like a lab rat that failed to escape the maze. No cheese for you, I thought to myself grimly, and awarded myself a healthy swallow of the cocktail.

“You don’t remember,” he said. Not accusing, but stating a fact. He shook his head a little, as annoyed with himself as I’d been about my phone. Then he met my gaze again and, to my surprise—and you know I don’t like surprises—I saw anger in them. Jon was pissed at me and I had no idea why.

“So, what is it?” he asked in a measured tone that didn’t fool me. “Do you have some special pit in your head where you toss everything that has to do with me?”

**************

Need those buy links again? 

(ho ho ho!)

 

And all of you have a wonderful holiday season, whatever and however you celebrate!