First Cup of Coffee – January 12, 2023

On burnout – how to identify it, prevent it, and recover from it, should you have to. Also other thoughts on sustainable creativity, monetization (and not) and making a living from your art or passion.

First Cup of Coffee – January 10, 2023

Superpowers, immortality, and whether we’d keep everyone alive forever if we could. Also the movie She Said, reflections on the naughty Tumblr I used to have and how the #metoo movement changed so many things for me.

First Cup of Coffee – January 9, 2023

Sad news – my 17yo cat Isabel passed away over the weekend. She went peacefully at home though. Otherwise I’m talking about productivity, training to increase wordcount and asking a Tarot question.

First Cup of Coffee – November 18, 2022

The novella is done! I’m reviewing my productivity over the last year and discussing the next projects. I’m also mulling writing retreats, why we go on them, and what I hope to get out of the one I’m going to.

Preventing Burnout with Non-Monetized Creativity

If you missed it, SHADOW WIZARD is now available for preorder! It releases September 29, 2022. This is Book One in my new trilogy, Renegades of Magic, and continues the story begun in the Bonds of Magic trilogy. Preorder links below!

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven involves our non-writing hobbies.
In various discussions around burn-out and sustainably productive writing habits, I’ve discovered that many professional authors (as in, getting paid to do it) have another creative outlet that is non-monetized. Ted Kooser, a U.S. Poet Laureate (1004-1006), told me that he painted as a hobby. His paintings were apparently glorious and much-sought, but he’d made the decision to only give them away. It was important to him to have a creative outlet that wasn’t connected to money. This was a startling thought to me at the time, and one I’ve come back to often.
Other authors I’ve talked with in various scenarios have also discovered that approach: that having a non-monetized creative outlet not only refills the well, but prevents burnout (or allows a creator to recover from it).
What happens to many of us – and I’m speaking of authors, but I imagine it happens with all creatives – is that we begin with writing as the hobby. It’s the passion, the special something that we do because we LOVE it. Eventually, with persistence, hard work, and luck, we make that hobby into the profession. Then it’s no longer the alternative to the day job and other responsibilities. It’s become work.
Which, let me be clear, is good and natural. I’m a big believer in treating writing like my job. That’s how I support myself and my family.
Still, to manage the creative self, I’ve found I need other outlets to refill the well and take the place of that other, special, and relaxing Thing. Keeping it non-monetized is the challenge. Especially since the pandemic began, I think we’ve all become adept at casting about for side-gigs. In fact, the gig-culture was going strong before that. It’s tempting to take that successful hobby – I imagine Ted Kooser’s friends admiring a painting, offering money for it, and him turning it down with a slight smile and shake of his head – and begin to dream of taking that art viral and making an avalanche of comforting money from it.
I sometimes think there’s a certain magic in refusing that temptation, in enjoying creativity for its own sake.
And magic is precious.

First Cup of Coffee – August 2, 2022

A well-kept secret about the reality of signing with an agent, one way to assess whether your agent is really working for you, and other thoughts on building the ability to produce work. Also, LONEN’S WAR is out in audio!

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

Sheer ambrosia today is Tuesday August Second so it’s 8 2 2022 a good set of numbers. My birthday is coming up ah later this month in twenty days so that will be another set of eights and twos though I don’t know if I’ll get to podcasts that day I’ll um, be visiting my mother man stepdad in Tucson. So I don’t know maybe we can convince my mom to do a birthday podcast with me and we could just I don’t know reminisce about my birth. Probably we don’t want that. Let’s rethink. So anyway, today is exciting because the. Audio book of Lonen’s War releases today. Very exciting. Ah this is book one of the sorceer’s moon’s books of which there are None um sorceress moons was the none series I did. Totally indie that I did plan to self-publish from the beginning and did it indie all along that as opposed to some of the others where it was like a series that started in trab traad pub. That I continued in indie or it’s a lot of noises out there. Don’t know what that was um or one that I’d gotten the rights back and self-pubished so to. Ah, sorcers moons first came out in 2016 which is amazing right? Six years ago now and I started that when I first left the day job was kicked out of the nest in a fall of 2015 because my team was downsized and I decided to try to. Make it as a full-time writer without a day job. That’s my definition. Um, there are people who disagree with me but um, and I think it’s because being a full-time writer has a certain cachet and so people want to lay claim to it. But. Yeah, that’s what it is for me is if ah I have no other day job.

Ah, so ah, but Scribd Scr I bd scribb bought the audio rights for Sorcerous Moons which my lovely agent negotiated for me for those of you who are wondering how that works. For your indie pub books. You don’t have to have an agent to negotiate for you. But it’s great that my agent does want to do that for me and then she does get the percentage which is you know that’s fine. Ah she made a lot of changes to the contract. The negotiations took a long time. Ah, which I knew she was actively working on because she would send me updates as opposed to a previous agent who claimed to be spending a lot of time in negotiations when actually that meant he just wasn’t getting to it and it was sitting ah on his desk. If he had one not that I’m bitter. He claimed to spend a lot of time on negotiations on the contracts for a particular pair of books and I’ve compared it to the contracts that my previous agent. Ah. Put through that I know she did not do a lot of negotiating and I don’t see any difference so that’s one way that you know how do you know? I’m not a Broadway singer. But if I were. I would want to play Cinderella in any of her incarnations. That’s probably not true I like Amy Adams so so there’s a little bit of a stream of consciousness riffing for you. Ah, anyway, Lonen’s War out today. Dave started releasing the audiobook at the same time I have polled Sorcerous moons ah out of KU Lonen’s Reign book 6 will remain in KU until like September sixth because for some reason that never got uploaded into k u correctly, so it’s lagging behind the others but gradually the other books in the series are coming out of k u and I am putting them back up wide. So Lonen’s War is now wide again everywhere. So oh and I even had my phone out so I could show you the script listing here. It oh big flashing glare from the.

Rising sun if you’re on video but there’s the cover for Lonen’s War audio pretty cool and ah I’ve scribbed as an app on my phone and I really like it which I know is sounds like much right? because yo here I am. Like oh look listen to my audio book. Ah, but that’s exactly how I sound to but um, one cool thing that Scribd when they bought the rights to do audio for this series is they gave me a free subscription to scrib for like a year which. Let me tell you people none of my other audio book trad publishers have done that they in fact, some of my other books they would even give me a copy of my own frickin book on audio and I ended up having to buy it. Just so I could listen to it and know what my book sounded like on audio It’s such a huge mess. It’s stupid. Um, we all know we don’t really love audible and this is one of the big reasons. Why but scribbed is interesting because you can um. Read ebooks on here as well as listen to audiobooks and it’s a nice It’s a really nice app and they have a lot of stuff on here. I’m not a big audiobook listener but sometimes because I can listen. For free. Well, it’s actually is for free since I didn’t have to pay for my so so my subscription that I can try books out on audio that I’m not sure if I want to to buy and rate and then sometimes if I like them on audio i’ll. Stand by them and read them on kindmda or whatever. So anyway, I will put those links up in the show notes please check out the audio book if you’ve already read sorceress moons um, tell your friends who like to listen to fantasy romance on audio. Ah, Lonen’s War is a slow burn princess in a tower. One of the things that I learned as an aside at a polyon is that the readers who ask you to tell them about your books. They really want to hear the tropes and I am not. Always good at saying tropes. Ah I found that I was not good at explaining what dark wizard was about dark wizard did not sell as well in person as it does online. It was really interesting to see the difference of what things sold well in person as opposed to online. Ah.

But I did not do a good job of communicating what the dark wizard books were about for whatever reason. But I think it’s tropes I need to figure out what the tropes are for that book and series. Yeah, ah. But Lonen’s War. Do I even know my tropes I mean it’s enemies to lovers and he is attacking her city. He comes from the barbarians and she is literally a princess. Who is psychically fragile and so must live up in the tower away from all of the psychic energy of the city and because of this she’s like the only member of the royal family left alive when the barbarians win and. She ends up and lonan is a younger son but he is also ends up being the only one left alive of his family and so the 2 end up negotiating with each other to stop the violence to find a peace. Which of course inevitably involves them getting married right? Um, but that doesn’t happen till later. It is a slow burn I’ve seen I think it’s still like the top review on Amazon is this one person is like they don’t even touch each other. For the first book and it’s true but oria can’t be touched because of the um of her psychic abilities. She um, it’s it’s agonizing for her to be touched by somebody so they figure out very creative ways. To overcome that although much of that happens in book two after the wedding night. Um I’ve considered consolidating those and making them into a trilogy. You could put books 1 and 2 together and I mean it would work. 1 and 2 3 and 4 5 and 6 but I just left them as the separate books. So I do have um the audio books are they’re putting them out as a staggered release and let’s see if I can tell you. I think um, today’s August second I think the second one’s coming out. She gave me a tentative list. she said it might not happen um exactly on that she said it might change that’s it August Sixteenth is book 2 so they’re putting them out.

I think they’re looking at every two weeks so yeah by the time um the sixth book comes out and audio it will come out. It’ll be white. It’ll be out of k you so um. Have to kind of keep up with those things.

One thing I talked about with agent Sarah when we had lunch at Apollycon was I might just have the agency take over publishing the ah 7 contemporary bdsm books that I got back from Carina Press ah that would mean that the agency gets 15% of those books but would also mean that I don’t have to deal with them I’m trying to decide. Um, it would be good for me to do them myself. Algorithm wise I do get more money It’s also more work and. It’s no longer squarely on brand for me. So I don’t know if it would help with my other list. You know. Um, so still remaining on my notes that I took on the plane. 1 thing I was thinking about is how we learn how to work how we learn how to produce work and i. Got to have lunch with a newbie author at Apollycon. She’s an agency sister Tiff Holloman and she is not yet published so she signed with my same agent. Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost literary right before pandemic hit and excuse me that first book just didn’t so which happens sometimes um, actually happens more than people realize. And Tiff and I had lunch in part I think because she she did say that Sarah suggested that she make contact with me just because here I am I am the advice giver and ah, you know and I said you know I know it’s really frustrating when. The book that you signed an agent with doesn’t sell because there is a tendency to think when you’re a newbie author that once you get your agent that you haven’t made and I know so many people that it just doesn’t work out that way for whatever reason the book doesn’t sell. The agent doesn’t turn out I don’t know to be someone who actually does any work which is not the case with Sarah Sarah is awesome but

Sorry I’m starting to go down the mental path of like that first agent that didn’t like to work. Ah, if he had liked to work. He could have done a lot but he was just um I don’t know fatally and eternally distracted. So anyway, um, we talked about that Dave Tiff has written another book and they’re going out on submission with that so fingers crossed with her for her on that. Ah, really lovely. Go. She’s a lawyer works for the federal government. In Dc so she was local and so she came to the con to see how it was but then ah you know into meet with Sarah and so it was really nice that we got to have lunch with each other and one of the things we talked about was productivity. Ah, which of course is something people ask me about a lot and I talk about a lot on this podcast and I do a fair amount of author coaching on the topic because that’s always a question right? is how do we be productive. How do we get the work done and so I was giving her advice on writing in the morning. Before she goes to work. It’s ah yo that for me writing every day at the same time every day was the thing that worked and it’s the thing is is as I believe that is a guaranteed process. A lot of people feel like that’s not possible and I understand ah but. If you do that if you get in the habit of writing every day at the same time every day and it doesn’t have to be for very long that you will build a writing habit and that’s the most important thing that you need to reliably produce work. And she was lighting up as I was talking about this because she’s saying you know when I get home at the end of the day and after I’ve put the kid to bed and all of that and I said yeah, you’re done. You’re you’re out of juice and that’s why I write in the morning because that’s when I have the juice different people. Have different processes and some people have more juice late at night but if you have a day job if you have children if you have lots of day responsibilities then it’s not reasonable to expect your creative self to have much juice. At the end of the day after you’ve already done everything for everybody else, some people might but most of us know me I’m I’m kind of brain fried after these days. Ah after about five or six o’clock at night I am just I’m done and that’s when I want to read books.

Or watch shows and that was ah that’s where I’m at. I was thinking about talking about something ah that I just watched but or several things that I watched but I think I’ll save that and finish this thought. So anyway, one of the things I was thinking about was how no one ever taught me how to study. I did get the advice to write every day at the same time every day for more than one author and I resisted it for a very long time I did not want to do that. It felt incredibly difficult for me and part of the reason that I started doing it in the morning was it was the only time. That I could find where I could actually reliably write at the same time every day so I started getting up at four thirty or five and I was not a morning person so that I could write 2 hours before I went to work and then from there my day got progressively crazier. So. That was the one thing I could count on and as I told Tiff some of the stuff I wrote back then like hopeful monsters is one oh I’ll link to hopeful monsters if you all want to read that little story. Um, some of those things are seriously psychedelic and it’s because I was sleep deprived. And she was saying well I don’t know if I could go to bed early enough to be able to get up that early and I said I tell you what? at least the way it worked for me was if I made myself get up that early eventually I shifted and I was going to sleep early which is why I go to sleep around 9 because I wake up at 5 and that works for me. So anyway I was just thinking about in college my transition from high school to college and how in high school I just almost never studied I was fortunate enough to um. I’m an auditory learner so I could sit in class and listen and as long as the teacher had said it at some point I could put it down on the test I’m also good at absorbing from reading and I like to read so I would read the the assignments. Ah but I never worked very hard because I didn’t have to. And the classes I would have had to work in. Um I did not do great in and I was thinking about my transition to college because I went to a private liberal arts University Washington University in St Louis which I loved but I struggled in some of the classes because.

I needed to study and I didn’t know how and looking back mosquito if I had implemented that schedule then which of course never occurred to me but that first semester. I took a calculus class that started at seven thirty in the morning because I had already in high school been used to getting up that early. We had an ap biology class that I think school started at like 8 or 8:05 and the ap biology class had all um. Voted and agreed because we were hopeless overachievers to start class at seven thirty so that we could do some dissections and the sun is coming to get me here but I’m almost done. Ah, so I did that calculus class at 7:30 4 days a week and and I liked getting up and going to that class early but I didn’t work on learning the equations and so forth outside of class. Ah so it was not not. Not great and I felt like it was because I wasn’t good at it. But it’s simply that I couldn’t just absorb it and regurgitate it. So I wish if I were going back and I don’t often have something to say to my younger self but i. Wish that it had occurred to me or that someone had suggested it to me. Ah, if I had just in college and grad school gotten up early and studied did my. Um I could always do the readings I always did the readings. But if I just like run the math problems worked the various things biochemistry and so forth if I had just done that stuff for like 2 hours every morning I would have um. Probably would have done much much better than I did and I didn’t do abysmally but I didn’t do it brilliantly either. So there’s something to be said for that learning how to work incrementally incrementally which I know I’m a big fan of that. It took me a long time to figure it out and it was because I wanted to write novels and I had deadlines it was only after I had a traditional deal. Um, actually I ended up with several at once and I started to panic about being able to meet those deadlines.

That that was when I got really ritualized with my goals and deliberate about writing for a couple hours every morning and I still did it for a very long time up until I left the day job that was a nice circular. Discussion which I don’t often do wrap around to the beginning again. Um, and then I continued it after I got laid off because I already had the habit built so thoughts thoughts um, please share about the Lonen’s War audio book or and that’s wide now. Be nice to this series has new covers. So let’s um, we’ll be lovely to see it get a little resurgence and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – April 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. Today is say it with me Friday wooo. It’s also April first April fools stay here in the Us. Um. So far I have not seen any fooling I haven’t looked at much I looked at Instagram but I I think I probably say this every year am not a fan of April fools day I’m not a fan of pranks in general of trying to trick people. Um, just not my thing I know some families are much more into it. But for me, it’s um I think there’s a level of cruelty in pranks that is um, just not part of who I am.

It’s interesting because I w rid coffee yesterday and had a long conversation with Jim Sorensen and we always have interesting conversations. We were talking about how SFWA’s new membership requirements are. Based on affidavit. It’s based on the honor system which some people object to somebody There’s always somebody objecting to something but part of our reasoning on this is that if somebody wanted to game the system. If they wanted to cheat their way into membership. It’s not that difficult to falsify documentation in this day and age so and interestingly Jim commented that if there were rules that he might be. Tempted to cheat them just because he would feel like he was being clever in circumventing the rules. But if it’s on our system then he feels like he has to abide by it because it’s like oh well, if you expect me to be honorable then I guess I have to. Interesting psychology huh. So um I I wonder if there’s not something connected to that with like whether or not you like to play pranks on people I think some of it’s the getting away. It’s the feeling like you’re clever and that you’ve managed to trick somebody for me. It. Very rarely has to do with actual good humor and the stuff that is actual good humor. We don’t have to have a special day for it right? I did contemplate doing some sort of. April fools podcast today. In fact, I very nearly when I start up Zencastr here I label all of my episodes by date. So I had the you know saw yesterday’s March thirty first twenty twenty two and I was very very tempted to label Today’s March Thirty second 2022 but then my ah my inner data nerd rebelled because it would be incorrect.

The other conversation that Jim and I had was about answering questions on Panels and at conferences. Um, and I don’t remember how we got on that topic but we were talking about. When people ask how there are certain questions that come up almost every time in interviews or when you’re on a panel or when you’re doing a q and a and that sort of thing I’m going to pause because I know that i’s something I plan to talk about today if I made a note which I thought I did. And not finding it a well I’ll go I’ll keep on this one and then I might have to look if I still have time I know something kind of important I think I promised someone I would talk about it today if I forget and I brought and you were the one I promised. Ah, remind me and I’ll talk about it. Well maybe not Monday we have to talk about that too. Anyway. So we were talking about answering questions and like there are certain questions that come up over and over again and that are difficult to answer and I was using this as an example that one of them is. Well I so what I was explaining is that one way that I handle that that I’ve come to handle this over time is that I try to answer the content of the question. The what I think the person is really wanting to know but they’ve kind of gone for this very standard. Um. Almost empty question and so the example I was using is the where do you get your ideas people ask where do you get your ideas a whole lot and that I think people aren’t really, they aren’t asking where do you get your ideas that they want to know something else. Basically they want to know. How do they get good ideas and become successful writing them and so I was in the midst of this is sort of a meta explanation I was in the midst of explaining this to Jim when he cut in and said being clever. And said, um, well that Harlan Ellison always said Schenectady New York that he sends off a self-address stamped envelope and they send him back ideas and and I said well that but that’s an asshole answer and that Harlan Ellison it should be pointed out. Was an asshole and Jim said yes, but it’s amusing to the audience and that’s what matters so we got into this big debate about it because I was like I can understand why he thinks performing for the audience and being amusing is like your job when you’re on that kind of thing.

But he’s much more in this niche profession of like you know he works on like transformers in Ji Joe so he goes mainly to fan conventions it and he said well do you feel like you have this. Onus or this responsibility to answer people’s questions sincerely and authentically and I said yes, um, but I guess that’s who I am I mean that’s like I’m always trying to give sincere and authentic answers answers for better or worse and i. I said you know I feel like um sure you get a laugh out of saying something like I send off to Schenectady New York for my ideas and you know ha ha ha it’s it’s the equivalent of like an April fools joke. It’s like let me let me make fun of you for and asking this question. Instead of honoring what you are really wanting to know. Um, but this is this is where we fall out and you know and I could see both sides of it. Um I think I’m there to pass long information Jim thinks he’s there to entertain people. Um, so I think the best answer that I’ve ever heard to this one is something that John Scalzi has talked about when I saw him here in Santa Fe because somebody asked where you get your ideas. And he said that he thinks that a better way to address. It is to think in terms of that. Really the question is how do you know? an idea is a good one and and he talked about his method for this that if he gets an idea he sits on it. He doesn’t write it down. He just molds it over. If he still has it the next morning he gives a little bit more thought if he still has it in a week gives it a little more thought and he said and if the idea persists for like six months then it’s a worthwhile idea and he actually invests in it and I find that a really useful both approach. And way of answering that question in an am. Um, authentic and useful way. Um, and and Jim kind of disagreed. But or maybe he didn’t disagree but um. He still thought that it was better to give a funny answer.

Or if not better, certainly easier. Um, and I mentioned that this had backfired on me because when I did that interview with Julia Quinn I don’t know if that like went up and got recorded or or what. Was an interesting interview but 1 of the people in the online chat asked where she got her ideas and and I sort of translated that into this. Maybe it’s you know, saying that was the question and but that maybe it was more useful to think of it in these terms of How do you know? It’s a good idea and Julia Quinn completely bamboozled me and she said oh no, she said I’m not one of these writers who has tons of ideas she says I’m the one who’s always sitting there going. What can I write about this time. So so then she actually talked about. what she does to get ideas so that’s what I get for assuming and and maybe that part of the take home messages. You know we’re all different. You know the whole find out what your process is and own it and I’m still looking around for like where I wrote down. But maybe I just didn’t write it down. Whatever it was I was thinking of talking about yesterday. Alas, maybe it will return to my brain eventually. So um, yeah yesterday I did not get my 2000 words. In fact, ah, barely eked out I don’t think Cphon got a thousand you guys. Ah some of it was going to ride her coffee I think I got eight eighty five so I’m actually going to try for 3000 today if I do 3021 ah, have 10000 for the week. So I and then I’ll have the weekend to recupering so we shall see what happens? Um, yeah, we shall see.

Yeah, I’m not quite sure why I crashed yesterday I actually was feeling kind of fuzzy I don’t know if it was being off schedule or being fuzzy or what sometimes we don’t know next week is going to be a little different I am um. Going up to Colorado to spend a little bit of time with my husband’s siblings so we are driving up on Sunday and staying there Sunday and Monday nights so I made you a podcast on Monday and Tuesday morning I don’t know I want to try to keep getting my 2000 words and we don’t have to get up and leave early on Tuesday so I’m hoping that I might be able to get words before we hit the rod and drive back but that’ll take priority over podcasting so we’ll just see see how I feel tra la tra lay. And then I am home for a couple of nights and then Thursday afternoon I drive down to beautiful protellus new mexico home of Deronda Jones incidentally I’m going to be at Eastern New Mexico University’s Jack Williamson lectureship talking to students and being part of panels Jack Williamson is a very famous ah old timey science fiction writer. What’s interesting about him is like I never read him and don’t know him don’t know his work really. But apparently he coined. Whole bunch of commonly used science fiction words today. How’s that for a cool legacy Melinda Snodgrass told me that and now I have to find that list of words. Okay, you guys I did the thing where I failed to properly unpause. So now I have to. I’m not sure if I’m repeating words coined by Jack Williamson this is the point this thing I’m trying to get at ah terraforming these are not all in 1 place but um, also genetic engineering ion drive. It turns out that he um got his bachelor’s degree and master of arts from Eastern New Mexico university and Portales so that’s why they did the lectureship for him and I was trying to find I wish they did have them all in 1 place. But. They don’t so anyway I think that’s really cool to have that kind of legacy that um there are all these words that are attributed to you I know um I have a friend who writes fantasy who was credited with coining hydromancy.

Using water magic and she was so pleased to be credited with that. So anyway, I won’t keep um, looking for these. Oh here’s another oh psionics. He’s credited with them coming up with the word psionics psi. Um, but I already mentioned genetic engineering. So anyway, that’s really cool should be a fun lectureship. So. I should be able to do a podcast on Thursday but I don’t know if I will on Friday again I’ll have to prioritize getting those words I’m so be a disrupted week. We will see how I do I’m hoping that going for a lower word count will help me. Actually get those words and then we’ll go from there I may have to rethink my schedule. So um, only other news is that yesterday the FIERCE HEARTS anthology came out that was incredibly well received. I will borrow a post from Instagram put it on the photos showing that was number 1 in all the subcategories. Thank you everyone for supporting this anthology to benefit Ukraine that’s just really an incredible amazing thing. Um. I do think it’s funny that like my name is first. Ah, it’s like I don’t know if I’m that high profile you guys but hope hope I could bring you readers I mentioned yesterday that the book contains a sneak peek. The. Prologue in first 2 chapters of the storm princess and the Raven King the book I’m currently attempting to write I’m actually doing okay, um, where am I don’t do that Jeffe but there I like hit the x instead of. Maximize not I mean to duta done to du I’ve got 36000 words so not slouching. Um and that’s kind of fun to write. So um, on that note I think I will go get to writing. I hope that you all have a fabulous weekend I will be patchy here maybe next week but we shall um, it’ll be what it is right? I don’t know how many of you look for me at like a particular time regularly or if you just wait to see it pop up.

Probably a mix of wells anyway, um you guys have good time and I will talk to you all sometime next week you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – March 24, 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 happy chair dance. Today is Thursday March Twenty Fourth only a week of March left and which means that the first quarter of 2022 is almost gone. How did this happen. We don’t know it’s a mystery. I always love that line in Shakespeare in love with the I can’t think of the afters name but the date owner where he’s like it’ll work out. People are like how how and he’s like I don’t know it just ah yeah, something like that that was probably bad. Ah. Not a brilliant anecdote. There’s another movie quote from you for you. Ah, so my week is going well the ah 2000 words a day is working remarkably well um, I’m yeah on track so far this week we’ll see what happens yesterday Darynda proposed a slight change to our um. Morning routine. So we’re starting at Eight o’clock this morning well almost eight o’clock I there eight o’clock was the plan and then I as you guys may or may not know I don’t set an alarm I wake up naturally which is like something that I cling to I don’t want to have to set an alarm. Now that I’m a full-time writer. It’s like the one gift I give myself. It’s a a special thing for me that I get to wake up naturally otherwise I tend to be a real bitch of a boss so this morning for whatever reason it It’s very interesting if you do sleep on a natural calendar. You will find that and I’ve been doing this for what almost seven years now wow ah your sleep time or at least my sleep time waxes and wanes from night to night. Some nights are shorter and some are longer and last night was a longer night for whatever reason. Um, because as I recall I think I was in bed by like nine I usually I’d start turning into a pumpkin after about eight o’clock and of course the daylight savings time.

Has kind of messed that up. But you know my evenings are very low key and I start winding down early and I’m one of those people who falls asleep really fast. So I was asleep for a few hours and then my elderly cat Isabel beautiful fluffy Isabel. She doesn’t get as much press as Jackson does I’m not quite sure why maybe because Jackson was like the kitten and Jackson’s very charismatic and I think feel like Isabel does get short shrift because sometimes people will say well you know does because because. Visitors you know Jackson is so gregarious and so engaging and charismatic and everyone’s well people will say be like well does isabel do anything almost in those exact words you know like is there anything special about her Isabelle’s also a main coon cat and she is blue smoke. Min ku cap and I’ll put her photo on the show notes here. So and I realize I’m going off off topic but hey that’s the brand here at first cup of coffee. So last night. Isabel Isabel is now 16 and she sleeps a lot and she’s deaf and last night every once’s while she wakes up I don’t know if there are nightmares or I’ve tried to look it up and it’s like ah a kind of dementia in cats. Otherwise she doesn’t seem to have any kinds of dementia but she woke up and she was crying and crying. And she has this very loud meow now that she’s deaf and I was sound asleep. But for some reason that penetrated which very little does I’ve often joked or I don’t joke David says that the great thing that he brings to our relationship is that if the house burns down. During the night that he will carry me out of it and save my life because he thinks I’d sleep through it. So this penetrated and I got up and I didn’t know David wasn’t in bed. He’s often up at night. So I went blially out looking and. He like came out of the kitchen and I said where is she and he said I don’t know and she was back in his office and that was at Eleven Fifty five so I’ve been asleep for a few hours and so I picked her up and brought her in. Bed with me which she just doesn’t come do on her own anymore. She used to sleep with me every night but now she sleeps in his office which is the warmest room in the house and I think that’s why I’m interested to see if this changes as summer comes on but we have um, brick floors with radiant heat.

And I have the temperature in his office. David’s just I mean he’s skinny skinnier than I am and and he’s just ah, you know as he gets older. He gets colder so the warmth in his office come guest room is. Up there and Isabelle has this little throw rug that we’ve put down for her and it’s this one corner of the floor that she’s figured out is like where the radiant heat gathers. There’s certain places where the floors definitely warmer than others and the cats have found those in their feline way. So she. Spends a lot of time sleeping on that little rug in his office and but I brought her into bed with me since she seemed disturbed and she slept by my pillow for most of the night so that was nice because I know I woke up once around 4 and she was there and I went back to sleep. And normally if I go back to sleep like that it means another hour and a half and sometimes I’ll calculate it because it’s like far is a little early to get up but usually like another hour and a half and that’s right in line with you know, like scientific studies on sleep cycles that a full cycle is an hour and a half more or less. So but then I woke up at six thirty oops so um yeah we’re supposed to start at 8 it’s seven fifty seven now but we moved at tape 15 at my behest during it was ready because she said she wants to. To start and were earlier which is big because she originally for her meeting me at 9 was a lot for her and I had you guys know I track everything you know I was like well you know I’m usually starting by 9 we could just make it be 9 but for me writing wise the earlier I start the better off I am and I do have graphs to show that I get better work counts if I start earlier. So this works great for me. It’s just a little bit of adjustment. Especially after daylight savings time kicking in but it’ll be interesting to see how that works I’m going to keep doing the two k per day this week and then next week I might see if I can go up to 2.5 um, yeah, we’ll just sort of see I’m going to experiment a little bit I’m going to be curious. We have some travel coming up so that’s going to change things around some we are going to go up to Blackhack Colorado.

And meet up with David’s siblings for a couple of nights just a little get together and I’m going to do the It’s a it’s a casino hotel thing and I don’t really like and I’m like. But they do have a spa and I’m going to do I’ve been dying for a body scrub and they do a body scrub and wrap so very excited for that and then at on April Seventh and eighth I will be down in portalis. New Mexico fabulous Portales which is ah where Doronda Jones lives ah and it’s down right near the Texas panhandle but it’s where Jack Williamson famed science fiction writers from. And I’m going to be down there and doing some panels and stuff I believe they will also be streaming looks like some interesting panel topics too. There’s a new guy in charge this year David Sweeten who seems to be I haven’t met him in real life yet. But he seems to be just really on the ball I’m really smart and he thinks I’m a great writer so you know clearly he has excellent taste and discernment. So I’m looking forward to this last year I was on a weird panel that it’s it’s this happened. To me a lot and I think it might be the whole crossover fantasy romance um woman writer with kissing in her books is ity a is it really not fantasy confusion but there are certain conferences. Especially these very little ones where I think what happens is that the organizers don’t really this always sounds bad. They don’t know who I am ah and I think this can happen to any of us you know, like there are certain people that they know what they write. But what happens is is if you are a writer that like quivers doing programming hasn’t actually read if they don’t know much about you then they end up sort of sticking you on panels in weird places like I got put on a panel that. Like a great transgressor on this and I’ve complained about it before is mile highcon up in Denver which I like to go up there because I have family up there. Denver’s my hometown. A lot of people in the area I know.

I’d like Mile Hi Con but they always put me on these fucking weird panels like once they put me on a superhero panel. You honest like I don’t really write superheroes or not even really I don’t write superheroes at all and I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say. And so last year with the old organizer on the Jack Williamson lectureship I got put on this panel on what was it was like writing science fiction or something. I wish I could remember the topic but it was really kind of strange I was like I do not know why I’m on this panel and the bad thing is is there are a couple of reasons for writers to do panels 1 is that it’s fun. Um, some of the. Most gratifying times that I’ve had as a writer is being on a panel with other wonderful writers where we end up having these amazing conversations. That’s the pinnacle because then you get a lot out of it being on the panel. So that’s good reason. Um. Reason that we do it is promo is to know, get ourselves out there um have people know who we are the other reason to do it is to be nice to you know, pay it forward contribute to the community. It’s like and I and a lot of writers view it that way. Because they’ll be like I don’t want to be on more than one panel for the conferences and I’m like really then why are you going? What are you doing there. They’re like oh it’s so exhausting. Really you know it’s like you know they’ll be like I’m on three panels cisconfer and. 1 every day and it’s exhausting like oh well, what do you do all day I know I’m bitching I just think about people who have jobs that you know like where they actually have to work really hard i. Well I will always say that being a writer is mentally draining and you really have to balance that creative flow and be smart about how you do it, especially if you’re a full-time writer or not even especially, it’s I think it’s worse if you’re trying to maintain another career and kids and family and all of that too. You know you really have to balance that energy but you know some of these writers I know for a fact have like never had a full-time job and you know there are jobs that you know like if you are working at it all day long. That’s all it’s a lot It’s.

Just you know a lot of running around in meetings and dealing with stuff and I will always say that the most the hardest job I ever had was being a cocktail waitress you know, full stop I am so glad that I don’t have to make my living as a cocktail waitress. Because waiting tables sucks you guys it sucks and it’s really hard and I know that people who haven’t done it sit back and be like well she goes a scurry back and forth between the kitchen. It’s like you have no idea absolutely no idea which is why I always tip well unless somebody really. Sponning it in anyway. So I’m sure I had a pointer in there somewhere I got interviewed on um, was it Tuesday afternoon yeah Tuesday afternoon by the kingdom of thirst podcast Abigail a great interviewer. We had so much fun I really enjoyed her podcast I should go ahead and link to it in here. So that. In fact, I’m going to type that in right now so that you guys can check it out but my old air. And a couple of weeks um kingdom of podcasts but she was talking about this podcast about first cup of coffee and just saying how. Relaxing. It is that it’s zen and I love that I love that it’s she said it’s just like having a conversation with your friend over coffee and it’s just like a nice chill thing to do and I love that I think that’s awesome. So. If I can’t think of stuff to stay say I feel like I can always fall back on the fact that that I’m just offering a zen experience here. Actually really, it’s more of a Dallas experience but we’re not going to to quibble lines there. So um, my point and I did have 1 oh that darinda and I are starting earlier. Um and maybe trying to get our 3 hours done by noon which is great and yesterday I was done by like 1130 and I got more stuff done on the to do list. You guys will be delighted to hear it i. Um, trying not to obsess about like getting everything off the list which I think is helpful. You know it’s that um, you’ll like the measureable goals. The ones that you can actually reach so but I got several things done off the list and so that’s great I got.

Bright Familiar uploaded, the audiobook. So just waiting for approval on that and then that will be out soon and other just little piddly things. Oh and so this is where I was had kind of started with all of this I did register for. World con in Chicago at the end of August beginning of September – Chicon. So I am planning to attend that and I also went ahead and registered for world fantasy con in November so planning to be at that and I will be at a polycon. In July so I need to get fact, let me make a note tear put this on my list I’ll get carene to put these appearances on the website.

So that’ll be good. So it’s like um, yeah for but but that’s the sound of the ah the world gradually sort of like revving up again. We’re kicking into gear. The other thing that happened yesterday is I got to. Email with an amazing writer someone who I particularly fangirl cut to exchange emails. You guys I can’t tell you what it is yet, but it’s very exciting, very exciting news. Not my career related but otherwise related. So. If you are canny. Your little brains will be thinking about what could this be? Ah yeah, so it was um yeah, particular little fan Girll moment there that I got to email with this writer from my myer. Who I admire I almost never use whom I just dislike whom I once had an editor my quiinsington editor had a special note saying this author hates whom don’t use it. So so yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how shaking it up here. A little bit will do and. Feeling good about things. So on that note I’m gonna go and meet up with the fabulous Darynda Jones and I will talk to you all tomorrow you take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – March 15, 2022

Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Oh that’s so good. Today is Tuesday March fifteenth if you’re on video you will see that I actually have a latte if you’re on audio only you probably heard how much happy I have that made no sense. How happy I am to have my latte I am um, doing things slightly out of bounce today because I am in my health marathon finally getting all of these things handled like a responsible adult. Ah, usually don’t go in for the adulting thing but this feels very much adulting. So um I get to have a colonoscopy tomorrow afternoon a girl never forgets her first colonoscopy. um yeah it’s um I don’t know if it’s even a funny story but I feel like it’s a funny story I may tell you guys this story? Um, but it’s not writing related but the the short the tl tl deal. Tiol didn’t listen. Is that I um have to do the fasting for the colonoscopy these rituals of getting older. It’s just one of those you know you’re supposed to do it when you hit a certain age and. So I can’t eat anything solid after 10 a m today and my appointment’s not till three o’clock tomorrow afternoon. So I figured id better go ahead and have my breakfast if I were doing my sixteen eight fasting thing I wouldn’t get to eat till like noon. So I figured well. Last solid food for more than 24 hours I’ll take advantage so I figured that means I get to have my latte small reward make you sure I didn’t smear my lip pencil. There. So.

So I’ll I’ll tell you this this story because I think it’s funny so I’m seeing this new general practitioner he had ordered you know all these things I had to do mammogram bone density colonoscopy you know, joy joy and. Yeah they’d said the physician’s assistant when she gave me in New Mexico we get doctor’s orders you have to have like an order from a gp to go see a specialist. Maybe they do that everywhere did we did not have to do it in Wyoming so it was a real adjustment when we came here that was like you have to have a doctor’s order to do anything. So when she handed me the order she had said um I guess they’re not very good about getting back to people so just keep calling I was like oh okay so I call get their voicemail and I’m you know ready to leave a message and. Their voicemail is incredibly long. You know and they say leave a message with your you know referring physician and your name and your date of birth and the reason for the procedure. It’s like gestural enterology associates and. And they said do not leave more than 1 voicemail only leave one voicemail and we will call you back in within five business days I was like wow five business days okay so I leave the message with all of the information as instructed. And Mark it on my calendar for like five business days later and I even went business days took out the weekend and any relevant holidays to tag back reader. They did not call me back. So I even gave them a couple extra days I think because I didn’t feel like. Calling you know how that is right? and it’s like oh I do and can’t make phone calls today. So then I called them back and I get the same message. So I say I left a previous message. No I’m not supposed to but nobody called me back in the five business days and I noticed they also had something on there when they said or you can stop by our offices at reader. They did not call me back so I was like okay yesterday afternoon I had to go in for my fiscal and I thought since I’m going to be in that kind of general neighborhood. It’s not a big town I live outside of town but it’s still only like fifteen twenty minutes but you know I treat it like I’m going on an arctic expedition once a year coil are out there this morning. So.

I Go to the doctor and actually everything’s great. My blood work is great. Everything is wonderful. Much much Physician Love which surprised me because I thought I was I don’t know.

That’s actually another story off to decide if I’m going to tell you guys that so he says you know any trouble with any of the other tests and I said well I said to gastroenterology people. I left them a couple of voicemails and they’ve never gotten back to me and and he’s kind of a serious gentle guy and I could see behind him the I don’t know what to aid I’m not sure I don’t know if she was a p a or what but she said she was very sweet but she was in there because I had to have a. You know pelvic of the examined papin stuff so she was she was like I’ll be your chaperone today. But so I could see her behind him when she kind of closes her eyes and shakes her head a little bit and I I just know that this is a thing right? They’re just never calling anybody back ever and he’s like oh. Yeah, he says you know they’ve had trouble since the pandemic and I’m thinking this is not pandemic. This is like something else and he says but you can’t stop by in person and I thought and I said actually that’s what I’ve planning to do today I had my order in the car and I’m just going to stop by there. So. So I do I stop by there and step in the door and there’s a sort of a receptionist and there’s 1 guy gal talking the receptionist and she says um, hi ma’am do you have an appointment and I said ah. No, and she said are you here to schedule an appointment and I said yes and she said okay, sit here behind the divider and you know so like our mask mandate is lifted this place acts like we are you know, major height of pandemic thing. They sta the dividers up they have the. Caution tape across the every other chair. It’s not that I’m against it. But it’s sort of like everybody every other place has opened up a lot more. You know like the the doctor’s office I was just in doesn’t have the social distancing on the chairs anymore you have to. There’s a little screaming machine that you have to like verify that you don’t have covid and haven’t been around anywhere from that covid and you put a sticker you know, verifying that your visitor for the day but you know and they have some of the dividers but this place is like crazy right? so. So I go and sit behind the divider in my chair next to the caution shape take chair and displaces like tomb. You guys. It’s empty and and they have big signs like on the outside too saying procedures are not done here and I’m like what do they do in this office. So the receptionist this other gal comes out.

And she said do you need to schedule an appointment and I said yes and she said I can help you with that so she takes me back so we sort of wents through this cubicle farm which is empty. She’s sitting at her desk and there’s a gallot another desk and I can’t there’s like There’s not phones ringing because clearly it’s all going straight to boysmail ah guys I I don’t know what anybody in this office is doing right? I mean this might be a cream puffed job if you need a job in Santa Fe where you don’t actually have to do any work. This is the job. So but so she like gets in the computer and she gets my information and she said how soon do you want to do this procedure and part of their voicemail message has this whole thing about if this is an emergency procedure ordered by your doctor. Have your doctor call directly and all this kind of thing and I said well whenever you know I don’t really care and she said well she said we could get you in this week I have openings on Wednesday Thursday and Friday afternoons this is when I stare into the camera. They have openings Wednesday Thursday and Friday afternoon I was like okay and she offers me like 6 different times 6 different openings now it’s occurred to me now that I’ve read the instructions and it’s like no eating after 10 a m today for my 3 Pm appointment tomorrow I can have clear liquids broths that sort of thing nothing purple or blue and you know you have to do the purging and all of that I was like well I’m sure most people don’t want to do those appointments in the afternoon because you know people want do it in the morning so they can eat but still I mean. It’s not like they’re so slam jam packed that they can’t be scheduling people right when David had his ah difficulties stomach stuff before Christmas. Had suggested that we also go to the gastroenterology people. So I I kind of left out that bit of backstory that I had heard this voicemail was before and they had never called back and David decided he didn’t need it so you know we didn’t pursue but ah so I was like well let’s do it Wednesday afternoon because this is a. Ah, much more relaxed week for me might as well get it done with I just I just can’t even but ah so um, you guys aren’t here to hear here to hear about my um.

Antics with the medical establishment. Um, yes, so yesterday I did get my 2000 words it felt it felt really good to only go for 2000 words it felt incredibly relaxed. I did have it my head that I needed to get to this doctor’s appointment in the afternoon. Um, which is a really funny thing and I’ve I’ve talked to a lot of people about this who have you know we’re we’re very lucky and blessed and privileged to have these. Kind of unscheduled lives where we work from home where we work for ourselves where we don’t have a really structured schedule and some people do fine with a really structured schedule. Other people do not and you I think that’s part of. Knowing what your process is and owning it I I think you have to know what kind of worker you are some people simply simply do not self direct and that’s it’s not a. Negative I mean I think it’s so tempting to think of this stuff as a negative but it’s it’s just what it is. It’s like if you have brown hair or you know, maybe you can learn to color your hair but maybe you just have brown hair. You know, maybe your hair is so dark that it doesn’t bleach out when I got my mammogram back to medical stuff the hispanic gal or the nurse was an hispanic gal and she really liked my hair color and she was and she said i. She said I don’t want to be offensive but can I ask if it’s natural and I said oh no honey was my stylist. Thank you and she said my hair doesn’t bleach out light enough for me to get that color you know and it’s hard when you have that really really naturally dark hair. Although it’s you know I I colored my hair black for a long time and I really wanted that. Glossy, rich, black like the hispanic ladies have but it sometimes you just have to take the cards you’re dealt. You have to take what you’re born with and you learn to work around it I spent a long time in my day job. Being kind of mental management for a team of people who worked across the country all working out of their homes I’ve been working out of my home for a long time even when I had the day job I started an office and then they closed that office and moved me home.

And 1 of the great take-home lessons of this was that some people do great working from home and other people do not there was this one guy who had been in the military. He’d been in a couple of branches in the military. Very sharp. Um, really. A great dynamic worker in many ways except that you he could not deal with working from home. He would slack off and we found out much later like he would log on to our company chat and then. So it would appear he was there and then he would go take a nap and then he would come and if you messaged him and he didn’t answer. He’d come back and say oh you know I was not I wasn’t looking at the chat I didn’t have you know I’ve had my head down in this document he got shit done working from home. Um, he was great when he was with a group of people. He could not make him sit down and work. You know I found out later that he was like going out and having long lunches with people. He was just like fucking around all day but that was his kind of personality. He did really well in. A more military situation which is incredibly structured where someone is telling you what to do all the time and there are many many people like this who if you want to you know if you do better in an office environment. A lot of people prefer going to an office and being there and. Now we’re all working I think some of it has to do with you know, like how gregarious of a person you are if you’re an extrovert versus an introvert I think one of the reason that so many writers and other creatives are introverts is because. We don’t need to be around people if you want to be particularly a writer I think but probably other kinds of creatives too. You spend a lot of time by yourself in your own head and introverts are happy with that. Extroverts are miserable but you can also be an introvert and still need structure. So if you are finding that and this is something that lots of writers talk about you know, even if they have the time to write. Ah, somehow they just never quite. Do you know? There’s always something else. There’s a lot of procrastinating dread and procrastination. Ah, there’s there’s just a difficulty in creating that structure. So yeah.

If you are struggling with that and I know many many people who do then you have to find a way to create that structure. You might need somebody else to tell you to do it. That’s 1 reason why Darynda and I meet on Zoom and work together. Because she really needs that I have to meet jeffie at Nine o’clock and so I can’t screw around I have to get there and I need to be there and be ready to work. It’s just something she knows about herself and she’s willing to admit about herself. So you know again, it’s not a good bad thing. It’s knowing which things in yourself. Um are not optimal for producing what you want to produce and finding ways to correct for that.

so um so yeah it did make a difference for oh that’s where I started on all this was that 1 thing that we’ve noticed for those of us who have these kind of unstructured lives where we don’t have fixed schedules. Is if we have something in the afternoon and these days I almost always have some kind of appointment in the afternoon usually an online meeting but leaving the house is worse that it creates a sense of pressure. It creates this deadline I need to get my stuff done by then even if I’m normally done by them. You know because I always tell people. I’m available after like two o’clock mountain time which gives me plenty of room to get things done theoretically. But I’m also fighting with the clock right now because of daylight savings time. So I’m a little better today. It’s um, it’s just 8 53 right now. So. I’m ah I’m working it backwards. So hopefully I’ll get um, a little bit earlier. But yeah yesterday duinda and I didn’t start writing until like nine forty five which is latish but I did get the 2000 words it felt good. It felt more relaxed. I mean do that this whole week and then reevaluate so we shall see so on that note I am going to get this uploaded and get to work I hope you all have a fabulous Tuesday and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.