First Cup of Coffee – July 8, 2024

On knife-throwing and yoga – and why the process is the most important part, not the goal. Also, “rules” for submitting to traditional publishing, talent vs. discipline, gardening, and having the bandwidth to take on new projects.

First Cup of Coffee – January 29, 2024

The TWISTED MAGIC audiobook is live! Also sharing a call for authors influenced by Tanith Lee. And why I think classes teaching “plotting for pantsers” are damaging to intuitive writers, and other thoughts on process.

One Piece of Advice for Aspiring Authors

Figure out what your process is and own it.
See, the point is that every single creator has the0ir own creative process. It’s as individual as retinal patterns. While it can be helpful to take classes on writing processes and techniques, to learn from other authors, in the end we all find that our process is unique to us. I’ve seen SO MANY writers struggle to change their process and try to “make it be” something or other, to no avail. The whole point of learning various techniques is to triangulate on what works for you. It can be a long and iterative process, but that’s the “magic formula.” Figure out what your process is and own it. Don’t try to make your process be something other than what it is, even if you are occasionally frustrated by it. (I often am by mine!)
Like learning to love yourself, learn to embrace your process. Own it. It’s yours.

First Cup of Coffee – February 7, 2023

How to write a synopsis – or, at least, fake it the way the pros do! Great news on BANDITS and next steps there. Also, why agents/editors ask for partials, why you should include your profession in your query, and other crazy checks.

First Cup of Coffee – October 28, 2022

Why I don’t believe in muses and how conflating the experience of writing – joyful or otherwise – with the experience of reading is counterproductive, and how writing turns out the same whether it was fun to write or not.

First Cup of Coffee – July 11, 2022

Why I don’t think of storytelling as lying, conversations with writer friends about process, achieving Inbox Zero, fitting things in, efficiencies with To Do Lists, the story muscle as a visceral thing, and why I love Romance.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Um, delicious today is Monday July Eleventh we’re full of perkitude here at Chez Kennedy Hope you are too. Um, yeah I ah. Good weekend I had a restful weekend had some good conversations with people not with all the people I meant to I reached out to a couple of friends that I owed food and conversations to say we could talk on Sunday I’m getting my life back and one said okay that should get back to me with the time. And then she never did and the other one I’m going to talk to this afternoon. Um, so I’ll keep pursuing the former and hopefully talk to the latter and then I did get to talk to another friend yesterday. Um, we had a. Virtual well I was trying to explain how it was because I told my mom that I’d had a glass of wine with my friend and she said um I assume you mean a virtual glass of wine and I was like well the wine was real but the the interface was virtual. But it was funny because my friend is also a writer and a very busy person and she was showing me a new kind of scheduling system that she’s using ah sort of an online calendar. Um, because that was partly how I had scheduled to. Have like social time with her and I I want to set up my mind the same way. Um I was using callendly before and I should do that again. So that people can like schedule social time to chat as me because I did like doing that and she was glad that I did and so were like okay. Keep this going I think she was intent on reciprocating which is very nice. So but so she’s showing me this other scheduling system that she’s using which would probably be a little much for me. It’s really cool, but one thing I’ve discovered about myself is that if I am. Too heavily scheduled I I start to feel pressed and I don’t like it but you can pick the things that you put in there. It’s kind of a cool system and so one of the things she was showing me on the sidebar she was sharing her screen on the sidebar.

You know have like lunch exercise you know email you know, along with scheduled meetings and an attempt to like handle daily things like we all do and um and it showed for that day for Sunday and on exercise it said couldn’t fit in and I started laughing. I don’t think she thought it was as funny as I did because I was like isn’t that just the way it’s like exercise couldn’t fit in even our Ai driven scheduling systems can’t figure out a way to fit in some of those things I was very amused by. She not so much it could have been that she was more focused on like trying to explain to me why the calendar couldn’t fit in exercise on that given day but I was I was going for the um, the the universal irony of the thing could not fit in it’s like writing right it’s the thing that although I hear it much less now I don’t know if it’s because where I’m at or where aspiring authors are at but you know for so long. It seemed like I would hear from people you know oh I want a book. But I can’t find the time you know what? I wonder if pandemic changed that people were like well I definitely have the time but maybe so that’s an interesting thought isn’t it anyway. Yeah writing could not fit in um because. And and that’s how this calendar is is you could set things as being um, immovable appointments and then it would shift other things which it is a cool system. You know so like if you end up having if you usually schedule lunch for noon and you end up having a meeting that goes till twelve thirty it’ll shift lunch down. Um, so I mean I could see that I could see that I I kind of do that on my own scheduling. Some things are more flexible than others. So on the one hand I’m I’m tempted and interested and on the other I think ah. Is it really doing anything I can’t do for myself I was in a meeting the other day and somebody was referencing their to-do list and they said that they had read that you should never change the order of your to do list. That you shouldn’t spend any time rejiggering your to do list because then that you’re just using time that you could have been using to do the thing which I can see but all of us on the call kind of groaned.

And we’re all like I spend a lot of time rejiggering my to-do list and and the person said well that’s the point and it’s like yeah but it’s important to rejiggering. Um I’m not sure I want to I don’t know. You know it’s sort of like the other efficiency advice you know like you only pick up a piece of mail once which now translates to email that you only look at an email once and you respond to it then I’m happiest when I’m in that place I am not always in that place. It would be interesting to try to do that with the to do list. It would take quite a bit of rejiggering for me to get it to a place I could do that because I do always have more on my list on any given day than I can get to which I do know is a problem. Um, and so I I do think in terms of if I move things to particular days and really commit to on this day I’ll get this thing done and I can’t move it will that help I don’t know. But I did get um I got to inbox 0 over the weekend whoo which is great because ah, especially my SFWA inbox had gotten up to like 42 emails which I know is not a lot compared to other people run their lives. But mine was at that because they were all things I had to deal with and and it had slid back to um the beginning of June that there were things lurking in there in my defense we had had a little bit of an. Email server hook hiccup and a whole slew of emails that sort of came through like to the general president email had gotten stuck and so they were all liberated at once and they were all things that I had to consider in some way or another. So now that I’m back at inbox 0 hopefully I can keep keep going. Um, but my friend and I were just talking about one of the difficulties with inbox 0 is that there are days when you simply can’t face. Opening your email I was glad to hear her say the same thing. It’s like you know that after you get traumatized a few times. It’s like oh I don’t want to open my email but but yeah, so I actually have notes today I was thinking about.

Things this morning. My brain was clicking along which is a good thing. Ah I was talking to David because so we have this puzzle box for the cats that we got it off of Amazon you know and you put it together. It’s cardboard. It’s got like two levels. And got little boxes inside and you put their toys inside and you put treats in there and then the cats absorb their energies by digging the treats out of the box and at first only Jackson liked it. Um Isabel completely ignored it. But Jackson got tired of it. He I think it’s too much work for lazy boycat. Um, and then Isabel discovered it a few weeks ago I don’t know why it suddenly caught her attention. But. She loves this box she loves this box she like sleeps beside it she loves it so much. Sometimes she sits on it sometimes she lies next to it and gazes at it lovingly and she wants us to put treats in it all the time. And she is senior cat and she has started to decline and wait. So I’m not concerned about um, her eating too much sometimes I worry about her eating too many treats and not enough of her cat food. But I don’t know how much of a concern that is so. She yells at us to put more treats in the puzzle box and this morning I was making my coffee prepping to come out here and David walked through the living room and Isabel stared meowing at him rather strenuously and I said don’t listen to her stories I already gave her. I already refilled her box with treats and I thought it was funny that I say that and I recall that coming from my grandmother that she would say stories now don’t be telling stories as a way of saying telling lies. And it made me think about there are always some some writers out there who say things like I lie for a living I tell lies for a living. Um and I don’t like that and. And I could see probably where they come from culturally because it’s the same place. My grandmother came from right with that. Don’t tell stories. Don’t listen to her stories where stories are equivalent to untruths and I don’t really believe that.

Um I don’t believe that storytelling and lying are the same thing.

Incidentally and completely off topic Thursday and Friday I was not able to get Instagram to load this podcast I don’t know why I might have to go back to doing a clip. But if you missed the podcast at the end of last week this is why. If you watch on Instagram and I know a lot of you do so it just keeps saying can’t load or or can’t share I think can’t share probably Instagram changed their settings again. Alas so. Ah, just wanted to mention that if um, if it won’t load today I’ll try to do the snippet again and see if that works hello hummer.

Hammers coming in to feed off of the hanging lobilia very picturesque. So oh the other thing that my friend and I were talking about. I’ve got something fuzzy on my face. Sorry I don’t know what something floated down. Um, oh we were just talking about the storytelling muscle and what that feels like. And how for both of us. It feels like more of a visceral thing than ah, a floaty thing and I was saying that’s partly why I don’t really grok with people saying things like the muse or the spirit or the inspiration. Ah, you know the word inspiration comes from inspire to draw breath in it never feels like an airy breathy thing to me. It feels like a gut thing. It feels like a muscle and she was asking me about something I’d been sort of debating been waffling on in writing shadow wizard. And I said oh you know what? I I got to the point in the book I meant like um, a little more than 25K words now I’m closing in on act one climax and so I meant I mean we could see I lied to her probably and said I was at like 25K words and i. I don’t think it’s that many 21.4 give or take a few 3,500 words but it was good enough for the conversation and I said that I had gotten to that point where I started to do the thing I wanted to do. And it felt so good I was so happy that I could do that and she had kind of given me quasi permission waved the permission wand to try this new thing I wanted to do oh who am I kidding I’ve already told all of you ah that I want to write more than 2 povs in Shadow Wizard. So I’ve been alternating with Jadren and Seliah for the first part of the book and now I have switched to Gabriel’s pov and. And she asked what did I think about it I was like ah felt so good and she’s like that’s that visceral feeling is it like yeah yeah, and and we’re both talking about how it feels like a she said sometimes it almost feels like sculpting like you’ve got this big thing and you’re kind of wrestling it. So I find it interesting that we both.

See it the same way. Always fascinating to me how people see their process. Um, you know that I also wrote these notes on this and I’m tried to decide if this is like a whole nother topic and I’m probably not going to get to in the. Next 5 minutes but I can talk a little bit about about that first act. Um I’ve been reading several different books over the next last few days or the next few days um trying to. Trying to satisfy various obligations and settle in um, for something that’s going to feed me through writing shadow wizard and I haven’t quite found it yet. I was reading a book that ah. Kelly Robson recommended to me and she really really wanted me to read and it’s a fantasy, a new fantasy. It’s not romance though and and I do feel occasionally a little bit of chagrin about. When people will say well does a book have to be romance and it’s it doesn’t I read a lot of books that are not romance. But if I read a book that is I’m trying to explain what it is about this book without getting too specific um romance. Adds a level of of happiness and reassurance to a dark story for me so I can read a story that is nonfiction or that is um, even something that is like. I don’t know. Um, ah I’m not sure I can even say what it is but if there is a story like this one that was fantasy but where the protagonists are all really unhappy people and it’s. Macabre ah, in a way that is similar to and I’m going to mention this one um Gideon the Ninth I know a lot of people loved Gideon the Ninth I did not get through it and it’s I read it for quite. I don’t know I think I read like the none 25% and it’s nothing against Tamsyn Muir because I I do think that um Tamsyn is a wonderfully skilled writer and created a fascinating world and I loved that opening scene the opening scene was

Amazingly well done which kept me going but then it goes into this world where there is so much darkness and the people are miserable and they are all unkind to each other and I know that. Least people say that there is eventually a romance but I didn’t I didn’t believe that it was going to be a romance with a capital r because the people were already so unkind to each other and I thought it might end up being more of a um I don’t know. Kind of a gray romance if you know what I mean because it was really more of a fantasy or science fiction story and of course there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s perfectly fine perfectly. Fine I should tell you all the story about perfectly fine but I won’t write now. Have to get permission. Ah no, but it’s it’s been become our new favorite hashtag so I’m totally distracted by perfectly fine perfectly fine as a way of seeing saying. I understand why people enjoy this thing and it’s perfectly fine for them to enjoy this thing but but I don’t get it and I seriously but I don’t get it because I see it so differently. Um, the. The hate hate relationship thing is just not something that’s fun for me and in this book that Kelly wanted me to read. It was um, there was a lot of that and it was. A very interesting magic system and an interesting world and setup. But I knew that I was not going to get happy emotions from reading this book and I think that’s what it comes down to is. And maybe that’s something that romance readers and writers have a difficult time conveying. It’s it’s not just that we want the romance or the love affair. It’s that I want that emotional satisfaction and that was RWA’s definition for a long time. Probably still is. Um, I’m really not sure what’s going on with RWA these days but you know it’s that emotionally satisfying conclusion and and that’s what you want? Yeah I mean they probably didn’t want to say happy. But there’s something to that you know that we want to come out of it feeling.

Joyful and optimistic and believing in um, in a satisfying relationship. Whatever kind of relationship that may be and if I am in doubt about getting that and I’m not going to. Get happiness from the story in any other way than I’m unlikely to want to keep going with it and so I think Kelly was pretty disappointed in me that I wouldn’t keep reading this book and then she was talking about another book. She said well did I ever tell you to read this book and I said yes and I tried to read it and I didn’t like it. She’s so we’re we’re just um, doing perfectly fine to each other so ah on that note I think I will go on I know I didn’t finish talking about first 25% but I’m gonna talk about that more tomorrow because I’ve. Other things to say about that and yeah, but now I need to go get some work done. So I hope you all have a wonderful Monday and I will talk to you tomorrow I’ll take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – March 4, 2022

Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Ah, that hits the spot. Ah, but all right there we go. Let’s get this day started today is say it with me friday. Um, March fourth March Fourth into Friday all ye brave soldiers. All you warriors of words and other things. Ah so I apologize that I had no podcast yesterday I had a um, kind of a busy morning and I had to go get my blood drawn. That’s wonderful, ah annual. Actually I haven’t had it done in a long time. I’ve been very bad I’ve been neglectful of things physical but I’m seeing this new general physician and he’s fine. Whatever I won’t go into detail I mean he’s okay David really likes him so that’s it’s harder to get David to like people. Um, he’s a young man. And in some ways I don’t feel like we speak the same language. For example, when I said something about dealing with being post-menopausal. He asked me how long ago I had gone into menopause or finished you know. It’s funny because men always think menopause just means the period you know it’s like when did you last have your period and I told him it had been a few years and he’s like well then you’re not. You know you’re done. You’re not postmenopausal anymore and it’s like um, okay tell me honey. Ah. Speaking from experience there so otherwise but he’s fine. So I’d go get my blood drawn 4 tubes of blood. Um, do I didn’t miss it and yeah it was kind of. Interesting. The phlebotomist was an older guy very experienced and so he was talking about my veins that um like I have these veins that are very close to the surface of my skin. You know the blue veins I thought like everybody had them. He even asked me he did this arm.

And it’s ever so slightly bruised but not too bad. He did a really great job and he was like are you sure I’ve been drawing your but before your veins look very familiar but he said that a lot of phlebotomists don’t like to use those veins that are very close to the surface which are called verriccose veins which I immediately want to be like. And do not have variricosetains. But obviously I do but um, but it’s always has such a negative connotation right? but he said a lot of them won’t a lot oflebotoists or nurses. Don’t want to draw from those veins because they’re so fragile and he said but they’re great veins to use it. You know what you’re doing. And he knew what he was doing. He was very gentle and efficient and did a great job. So it’s something I’ve been putting off for a very long time something that I needed to get done and I was gonna go to writer coffee yesterday. It was just me. Jim Sorensen and Jack Mitchell and so I thought okay I would go there and you know get my blood drawn first because I do get the fasting draw you know and and then meet them for breakfast. And I ended up sleeping in yesterday I’ve been sleeping so much I mean I think I’m just still recovering from that push on gray magic um I slept long today too. So yesterday I’d had this bold plan that I was going to be like up by 5 and would you know get. All of my things done exercise and podcasting get some writing done and then be at the lab by 8 kind of happened did not happen instead I woke up at like 156 and I was moving pretty slowly I did exercise did to did to my Thursday weightlifting did not get to the lab until like eight thirty did no writing got no podcast done. Um, yeah. What was I doing in all that time we don’t know I have no idea lifting weights feeding cats. So I am get my mother I sometimes I think about this because my mom once asked me what do I do when I wake up so early. You know she’s like what do you do with all that time and it’s like you know it never feels like that much time probably if I like really tried to keep myself efficient I would do better but I don’t I go back and forth because I sometimes.

Think well I should try to be a lot more efficient and not drift about and burn up those early morning hours and then I think why am I always pushing myself so hard dead and it’s okay to drift about in the early morning hours I don’t know so. Um, yeah, so I got to the lab late and I had to wait a little bit and then it took a while. So then I didn’t end up meeting Jack and Jim until 159 and they’d been there for a while had already had a lot of coffee. It’s always bad when you get to the party late. You have to catch up. Ah, but we had a great time. It was delightful and I didn’t leave there until I left there around ten thirty five um and give my mom a calling way home. That’s what I was checking to see what time was it that I left. So. So yeah, um, it’s funny because I paused in order to check what that time was not that it matters. But you know, heck and then I saw that I had a text from my friend Megan about drinks tonight. So of course I had to answer in the affirmative. Yes, please. Yeah, so um, so then by the time I got home. It was like 11 and I was sort of waffling should I try to write and I have been thinking about my friends my concerned friends and all of you out there. Some of you comment to me. It’s like oh. You know if I’m feeling this empty maybe I should not be trying to write the next book already. And yeah, so I don’t know if this is just like brain drain some of it might be from traveling might have had like a little bug from traveling not covid I don’t have covid um. Yeah, so I slept again long this morning I didn’t wake up till like six thirty but I am feeling beach day a little better and so yesterday I did a lot of business stuff I caught up on a ton of business reader. I had over a hundred emails in my sifwa inbox. How did this happen you know and a lot of it is just because I get cced on stuff which is good. You know it’s like I have to get ccd on stuff. So I see it. But it’s like oh my god and. And I know that some of you this sounds like nothing but I am an inbox 0 kind of gal I tend to view my inbox as my to do list which I don’t think is entirely healthy. But I revert to it. Um I did answer an email yesterday that I knew I had been taking a long time to reply to and it was from January thirty first

How did this happen. It’s like February vanished vanished into the ma of writing so that’s where I’m at ah I did get my inbox down considerably I got it down to less than 10 I would have gone for total zero but a few of them take a little bit more time and and I by the end of the day I was kind of tired I was done I also had to go yesterday was the day of medical stuff so later in the afternoon I had to go get my mammogram and my bone density test. Ah, girl never forgets her first bone density test but it was actually pretty cool. It was kind of um you lay on the bench and they like do the scan up and down on all of this. So I am slightly shorter than I used to be she said sitting up straighter i.

I’ve always been 5 four maybe slightly over five four and I was um, 5 three and a quarter with I’m making a sad face. Um I suspect. It’s this curvature in my upper spine. So I really need to get back into doing yoga. The great news is is my favorite yoga teacher sent a thing yesterday that they’re opening a new yoga center this spring it was fake this spring. Um, so that’ll be wonderful because I do not like doing the video yoga. Just doesn’t work for me so I’m very excited to get back into in-person yoga. And yeah, get that see if I can reclaim that inch. She said sitting up straighter again. I do have scoliosis and kyhosis a relic of my adolescence. When I was um in middle school and early high school I actually had to wear one of those back braces you know, like from Deanni and Judy Bloom you know that went from my hips with the thing opening my tomb like that. So my back has sort of been the thing that I always have to take care of. So let’s that’s a good goal right? Reclaim the inch hashtag then we’ll see how all my other metrics come out even though I’m not post-menopausal I mean aren’t you like. Postmenopausal for the rest of your life right? You know it’s like you have menopause and then your post and then from there on but otherwise I think I really healthy I’m blessed with ah genetically blessed with usefulness that and lots of sleep and a clear conscience I think. so um so yeah will I try to write today I don’t know um I think I started to touch on this before. Yeah with some of my concerned friends saying what I was like but last week I did take the week off I mean I was in l a for. Monday and Tuesday and then Wednesday yeah I did do copy on its while I traveled and polishing and all of that and then I didn’t do anything on Thursday and Friday um, but it’s been pointed out to me that doing business doesn’t count as resting which I don’t know. It’s really pretty weather today I’m tempted to not do much but I also feel kind of guilty ish if I don’t work. It’s pathological. What? Ah what can I say.

Ah, so and Darynda has taken. She’s not taken this week off she’s gone into her fugue state of trying to finish this book where she wants no contact and I think she sort of spirals through the clock and so I really don’t have her to contend with either. So. Know I know you guys Laura Darnell you’re gonna be out there. You’re gonna say I think you should take the day on maybe I will um, definitely feel like I need some more will refilling. So but I do feel like a good kitty cat that I’m getting all of the medical stuff done I I really have let it slide for quite a while. Ah. I know. But maybe yeah now that I like like more or less like I do like the um the offices and all of that and I feel like the um I don’t know if this is true everywhere if you guys are experiencing the same thing but I feel like the offices are just much. Nicer now I don’t know if this is like a post covid thing but they’re much more efficient. They’re much better at getting me in and out I mean I couldn’t believe how fast the mammogram and bone density went yesterday I mean it was boom boom and you know from place to place and they were really. Pleasant and efficient and friendly and helpful in all of this and there wasn’t you know it just seems like even five years ago going to the doctor I felt like I was being chewed up by a machine or something and all of these places are doing so much better and they you know I’ll send surveys afterwards. How did we do. Um, yeah, so they did good. They did good I’ve got my windows open I don’t know if you can hear the birds singing Zoom’s pretty good at suppressing background noise. Oh this isn’t Zoom – Zencastr. But still yeah might be a good day to go for a walk and enjoy the sunshine. It was ringing when I woke up this morning that was lovely. It was um that might have contributed to the oversleeping. It was very overcast and a little bit of rain and then I went out to put. Water and the bird bath and the air smelled of petricore I love I that was like in some of my very very first essays that I wrote you know the center of rain in the desert and that was before I knew the word petroorps but.

It’s just one of my favorite sense of the whole world and maybe all the more precious for being fleeting. So I don’t remember if I talked about this the other day. So I’m going to talk about it again now that you’ve had to sit here and listen to all of my burbling on about. Medical stuff. Um, the maintenance of the human body right? Oh before I forget before I forget I should tell you guys I almost did forget didn’t I that dark wizard is a Kindle daily deal today. Who Amazon picks us they they send you an email saying. Do you want to be part of this and then you say yes and then they say okay, we’ll think about it and then they send it to you so they sent it to me and dark wizards on sale at Amazon ebook for two forty nine so if you haven’t bought it now’s a great time to buy it if um, we buy it for your friends buy it for your family. But um, yeah, feel free to share because yeah would love to kick that up sales for Grey Magic have been great. So I’m hoping that this will be an additional boost. 1 thing I did start doing yesterday was getting through my to do list I really feel like I need to put together a promo plan for my backlist. And I was mentioning this on a chat and one of the girls asked. Well, what do you mean by backlist. She said that’s confusing to me and I said well for me it means completed series because when you have active series for example, like bonds of magic and Grey Magic came out monday. And so that means I’m like you’re putting up stuff about hey release great magic. It’s out. It’s in the world and then that bumps that whole series right? You know and people are like oh it’s just like I’m doing today right? Dark Wizard’s on sale and then you get book 2 bright familiar and great magic. So that’s very active. But then I have other books that have you know like a completed series for instance like uncharted realms. Um, that have been out for a very long time that I like just forget to talk about and Carrie Anne Ryan gives a really smart seminar on promoting your backlist. Just having this regular schedule where you bring up these completed series and like hey did you know why I wrote these books? Um, and it’s it’s really very smart in something like the doctor’s appointments I have not been doing and it has felt like too much to think about.

And I did work on that some yesterday and I had the brain power for that so that was really good. Um, so then the other thing I wanted to talk about was from the pro writing aid panel that we did on Monday afternoon the online panel that I did. With Alexia Chantel and Mary Robinette Kowal one of the things we’re talking about process and and I did touch on this I know because I talked about me being an intuitive writer whereas Mary Robinette is much more analytical and she was saying. She was asking me if my books really do come out when I’m done because I like pants my way through a garden. Um, right for discovery. However, you want to put it if they come out that way at the end and she said because your books are very tightly plotted. Which gave me a little flutter of pleasure I was like well thank you I appreciate that I love that she thinks my books are tightly plotted and and what I wished I had said at the time was this is part of why I don’t like the dichotomy. Or even the spectrum I don’t like the names of plotter versus pantzer because you guys know I don’t like pantser because it’s like fly by the seat of your pants which to me implies a loss of control that I think reflects the other end of the spectrum sphere of losing control. But. It’s also that if you write for discovery if you pants if you garden. It’s not that you don’t plot which is why I always refer to it as being a pre-plotter I am not a pre-plotter I do have plots and. I mean there we have it Mary Robinette Kowal says my books are very tightly plotit I just don’t plot them before I write them and I think that’s the difference. That’s why I really wish people would adapt that term I oh wait. Oh I should show you guys look at this. Was gonna wave my wand and make it so but look at this what I have if you’re on video not on video. It’s a long box burgundy colored box and dorinda brought me this from Harry Potter World is a gift because she is lovely and it is. Ah, magic wand so it’s um, if you’re not on video. It’s a beautiful dark wood warrant with kind of like a tulip shape at the end and it’s um, it’s from Ravenclaw house which is I have done the test to find out that I’m Ravenclaw.

And I think she said she thought it was Lena Lovegood’s wand those of you who know better if you are a video you could tell me if that’s true. It actually doesn’t say anywhere that I see in the box. So no way I’m going to wave my wand and make it so in the world that we say preplloter at least i’m. I’m gonna give up on people getting rid of the word panter because a lot of people like it but can we just say preplotter because if you’re writing a book and it’s any good at all. Then it’s plotted right? a book without a plot is a problem. Words to live by I’m wishing and making it so all right? So on that note I don’t know what I’m gonna do today I just do where I feel like um so I hope that you all wonderful friday. And hope you have a wonderful weekend and I will talk to you all on Monday you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – March 1, 2022

Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. It tastes a little different this morning. Maybe that’s just me I know I don’t have covid now anytime somebody says that they taste something. Taste funny. It’s like all of you lost your sense of smell and taste. It’s co today is Tuesday March first and it is mardi gras woo happy mardi gras um yes, I’ve been to various kinds of merit Mardi Gras um my mom lived in New Orleans for a while and so I’ve been to. Um I’ve actually never been there on fat tuesday on the Tuesday itself I’ve been there for leadup I’ve also attended Mardi Gras type things in Memphis went to um. Ball when I was in college and it was fun. So I know it’s um, different sorts of festivals and other parts of the world in Netherlands and italy it’s carnival. So if you are on video. You will see I am wearing my enormous ginormous Mardi Gras earrings that are masks 1 on either side I guess I could have put on beads I didn’t put bes on purple green and gold are mighty gra colors. So. So yeah, a little bit of mardigra festivizing here I do have tons of Mitiggra be’s not nearly as many as I used to and no I never showed anyone my tits so that’s a thing for those of you who don’t know a us tradition. When the floats go by the the boys on the floats will yell out show us your tits and girls will lift up their shirts some of them and show their their breasts to get like the really good beads and a friend of mine pointed out who is a detective in New Orleans he was like. Don’t show those yahooos your breasts when you can go buy that string of beads like the really good beats the really good ones. You know you could go buy it nanny store along here for like ten twelve dollars like isn’t it worth more than that I was like huh.

It’s a good point. I was going to say something else but I will so.

Ah, so yeah I did not write yesterday I just did release stay things I was as you guys know if you listened yesterday I was feeling very empty brained and I’m perkier today. So we’ll see I need to now get into the business of. Reorienting my brain back into thinking about The Storm Princess and the Raven King tying up Heirs of Magic I guess I should say that release day yesterday went fanabulous. You guys are awesome. Wonderful. You know, additional sales on top of the preorders I’m I’m very happy I also anticipate it will go on this week 1 thing that we talk about a whole lot and I know I’ll come back to storm princess because I did want to talk about release day stuff. Especially if you’re indie is because when we get to choose what day we release on is there’s all this debate of what is the best day to release books if you’re traditionally published books come out on Tuesday and so. You guys may or may not know this. But the reason that traditionally books come out on Tuesday is because The New York Times bestseller list comes out on Wednesday and which means that they would go to press on Tuesday night or Tuesday afternoon so they would count sales up through Monday. So the publishers started releasing books on Tuesday because that gave the books a full week of sales before the New York Times counted them. But best seller list. That’s why Tuesday that’s why Tuesday is the magic publishing day I think it’s funny. You know like how the how the tail ends up wagging the dog on these things. My nose has been inching lately. Doesn’t that mean that like someone’s giving you a gift or something I could ever keep track of the superstitions. Um, yeah, so so that’s why and now we know that the New York Times best seller list is even more a combination of. Black magic smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand because there are books that how do I put this. How do I say this delicately maybe by not saying it delicately at all. Ah, there is certainly exchanges of favors if not money.

For books to be placed on the bestseller list because the publisher wants them there regardless of sales if you’re looking at it from a purely numbers perspective. Those numbers are from particular bookstores. So The New York Times bestseller list counts books sold in bookstores I don’t know how they’re doing ebook sales since didn’t they add it or maybe it’s Usa today that added ebooks. But so like even counting just paperbooks. It wasn’t even all paperbooks. It was paper bookss at particular bookstores and and I know this because when not back when I lived in Laramie Wyoming I had a very good friend who was a manager at the local independent bookstore and she worked very hard to get that bookstore to be. 1 of the bookstores whose sales counted towards New York Times bestseller list in order to support one of the Wyoming authors Cj box. So so you know what’s interesting. It’s always been very selective very very much. Picking and choosing only particular um venues books and so forth. So if you’re self publishing. There are some people who will release on tuesday if they’re really trying to hit a list I’m really am not persuaded that it makes any difference. Hit a list. Not just for the sake of hitting the list and that’s something I notice a whole lot with self publishers is that that we can take these things that are hallmarks of success and kind of um, put the cart before the horse as it were. So something like um, like 1 hallmark of success is selling enough books to hit a bestseller list. So now there are all of these people who’ve reverse engineered it and figured out ways to hit a bestseller list so they can have those letters and say Usa today. Usat bestseller because then it gives them the hallmark of success but you didn’t actually get there because of the success of the books you just picked this thing another one I’ve noticed is people commissioning. This is funny. Commission fan art and it’s like well fan art is art that fans of the books create because they love the books and so it’s a great hallmark of success right? when somebody’s so inspired by your books that they create art about it. So.

Some of these self-publers are going out and commissioning paying artists to create what they call fan art but it’s not actually fan art so you know it’s all of these things where you sort of create this window dressing the appearance of success in order to be successful. You know and I do get that there’s you know some of that magical thinking and manifestation realization of the um you know like dressing for the job. You want to have kind of thing but and I’m not saying. That people should do those things but I think don’t make don’t mistake it for anything but what it is so other than that if you’re self publishing then the question becomes where do you. What day. Do you publish on for maximal success and and kind of the answer is we don’t know it doesn’t seem to matter I try not to publish on Tuesdays because all of the trap books are published on Tuesdays each week and so there just tends to be a glut at the same time. You know like a high tide floats all boats. You know, maybe there’s something to that to being on Tuesday this time I published on the twenty eighth because on a Monday because it was the very last day of February and I wanted that Amazon many. A month earlier right so if I had published today instead of yesterday then I would have gotten the money for that book as it is I’ll get this at the end of April if I’d published today I would have gotten it at the end of may so it’s a significant difference for me so far as. Money flow. So yeah because I was behind on the book I picked the very last day of February that I could and made it whoo. So so that’s awesome. But now I’m interested to see. Because I think normally I would not have picked a Monday and yesterday was a very very quiet day I know a lot of people are staying off of social media because of the war in Ukraine. Um, it’s just it’s been a lot and the people who are online are paying attention to that and not to other things. So yesterday felt very quiet as far as release days go but I’ve noticed already today I’ve noticed already today that there have been some more people popping up and congratulating me on the release of gray magic.

And I’m interested to see if like some of those usual, you’ll like where people do the weekly roundup of releases if some of those pick it up today because a lot of people just do those on Tuesdays and pick up all the books both tred and self published for the week um so maybe that will create a nice tale for this book which is definitely something we want. We want to keep those sales up for the the entire week also and you’ve heard it here. Um, the first book. Dark wizard is going to be a Kindle daily deal on Friday Amazon offered that to me so that’s pretty awesome. So I’m really going to try to keep that momentum going this week and yeah it was great time and on their part I think they may have been watching. Pre-orders on gray magic I mean that makes sense doesn’t it. So maybe that is the 1 thing about Amazon for as much as we bitch about them is that Amazon is very invested in selling books and so they they help us sell books and that’s. Kind of an awesome thing that they are running these algorithms all the time and looking at stuff and looking at how to boost sales. So um, yeah, so that’s all my stuff on release I’m interested to see how it goes this week um you know it is a funny time and I think we’re all very concerned. Um, so it goes right? So yes, now I need to get my head out of release of great magic. Of bonds of magic I need to start thinking about strong princess on the Raven King tying up this series and how do I do that I don’t know. Um so I did this very interesting online panel yesterday. With um pro writing aid they’d asked ssu one if we would be interested in putting together a panel and I handed the task off to Lexi Chantel who listens hi lexii Alexe did an amazing job. She ended up with me and Mary Robin at Koal and and I think it was great. Ah, she had asked other people and for various reasons people couldn’t do it that day it was yesterday was a strange day I don’t know whatever I was so busy doing so people couldn’t do it so it ended up being.

Just the 3 of us and Lexi did a great job of asking questions I feel like you didn’t talk about your own books in athley but that’s what you get for getting me and Mary Robinette on something is we will both talk a lot but they um. Audience was super engaged and asked great questions and it was really fun and Mary Robinette I think is very smart and and we have very different processes and so it was just interesting to to look at you know, like how she does things versus how I do things. And you know for me I think so much of it has to do with whether or not, you’re an analytical whether you take an analytical approach or an intuitive approach almost more. So I think that’s even more important than. Looking at things in terms of whether or not you are a pre-plotter or an architect versus a pancer or a gardener. Um I think whether how you approach the process of writing whether. For you. It’s an analytical thing which I think it very much is for Mary Robinette the way she describes things she um she works. She’s accustomed to working with teams because she comes out of theater. And so she actually has people read along as she stays a couple of chapters ahead but she has people read along and give her feedback on the story as she writes and she adjusts accordingly. Um, which I said gives me his It’s hard for me to imagine doing that having that. Feedback I um I want to to be in the story and I think it’s because I am an intuitive writer and it’s difficult for me sometimes when people try to get me to approach the story analytically because I just can’t um. I think that’s partly why I’m not a pre-plotter because I just you know when people ask me like well what is this character’s goal. My brain just doesn’t work that way which is funny because I’m very analytical in other ways. But as far as the creativity i’m. Very much an intuitive writer. So I feel like when I’m going moving back into the story and finding these characters again. It’s kind of a.

It feels like a process of submersion of concentrating and getting into that. So so one of the things I’m thinking about today is that the nebula finalists calls will start going out and I have already seen the list of. Finalists for this year’s nebulous and approved it and now it goes through a couple of stages of verification. But then I will probably be making some phone calls today. So which is a fun thing to do It’s definitely a perk of being president. But i. Also feel like it’s going to interfere with me sinking into this story.

That’s why um, Mary Robinette talking about working so collaboratively kind of gives me hives because all I can imagine is like having so many other voices in my head as I’m writing which she loves apparently I mean that’s that feeds her. Um I don’t want none yours voices in my head. But maybe I’m feeling southern today with ah with the Mardi Gra missing south I haven’t been to New Orleans in a while world fantasy convention is in New Orleans in November and I’m considering going. That would be nice wouldn’t it. Mema’s last time I was there might have been the RT conference in 2014, 2015 surely I’ve been there since ah I don’t know all right? well. This isn’t interesting. So um, so yeah I wish me luck getting back into the story congratulations to those of you who are nebula finalists the british science fiction awards also announced. Was it british science fiction hold on I was wondering why my counter wasn’t going up. Um, so yes, it is the british science fiction association and they they announced that yesterday nebula finalists will start being notified today and that’ll announce after. Um, I just wanted to remind you all that if you are not a nominee shortlisted a finalist if your books didn’t make this debt that is only 1 kind of recognition. Yes, it’s a hallmark of success. We’re coming back to this. You know how do you know what what are the emblems of success. What are the milestones yeah, getting nominated for awards winning an award those are those are 1 kind. They are not the only kind of having readers read and love your books. That’s the most important thing not having bestseller letters after your name not having art of your characters commissioned or. I want to say authentically generated there people receive things in different ways and do different stuff with it. So so yeah, if you are an author or other kind of artist out there and it can be.

Difficult during a award season when these awards are announced and very often. It’s the same names on these lists because those are the ones that a small community of people has decided is worthy of this particular kind of recognition. Um, don’t don’t worry about it because keep in mind that’s one community of people and it’s not It’s not everybody and it’s not the only thing so on that note. I’m going to wander off and see about getting my head back in this book and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care happy fat Tuesday.