First Cup of Coffee – September 29, 2022

It’s release day for SHADOW WIZARD!! My audiobook narrator says it’s her favorite so far, so that’s awesome. I’m also talking about taking audiobooks wide vs. ACX exclusive and which platforms I’m using and how.



First Cup of Coffee – August 16, 2022

ROGUE’S PARADISE, Book 3 in the Covenant of Thorns re-release, is out today! Also, ORIA’S GAMBIT, book 2 in the Sorcerous Moons series is out on Scribd audio! Plus insights on managing To-Do lists and my Vegas vacay.




Transcript
00:06.35
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee home. Delicious today is tuesday. August Sixteenth why am I having trouble focusing on that. Yes August Sixteen ha and I’m back went to Las Vegas for the weekend tra la tra lay as one does it was super fun. We went on Saturday morning picked up my friend Megan our friend Megan and went to drove down to Albuquerque there was a little bit of concern with whether or not our flight would go. We actually did a backup flight just in case. But then we made it. Got to Las Vegas um I think I’d mentioned on the planning that we’ve gotten free rooms at the venetian from David’s gambling last spring his. Ah. Big party so they gave us two free nights and we got these extremely cheap tickets on spirit airlines which I’d never flown before and the airplane turned out not to be made of balsa wood um I would fly spirit again I was um. Actually considering how much and I feel bad I have tremendous loyalty for southwest airlines I’ve flown them forever. Ah, but both southwest and american have gotten kind of shoddy and the spirit jets were very new. Very nice. Yes, you have to pay for every little thing they really tried to nickel and dime you. But if you don’t go in for that. It’s um, you know it’s really quite inexpensive. They charge for food and drink on the airplane. But. You know it’s it’s not that different. You know? Ah, ah, if you want wine or anything alcoholic. You have to pay for it on any airline and you know for your free seltzer coke or really bad coffee I had the worst coffee. Coming back on Delta and I really like delta otherwise so I didn’t complain about this but something had gone wrong. It was like brown water. There was like no coffee in the coffee and I didn’t complain but it was like seriously.

02:53.37
jeffekennedy
So yes I would have had to pay $4 on spirit for coffee which I did not do because I thought I don’t want to pay $4 for crappy coffee and you have to pay to check your bags which you have to do on everybody but southwest um, the huge difference is is you have to pay that carry on a bag. You can have a personal item which is like a small item that what did they say 18 by 14 by 8 which they were not enforcing at least on the way from Albuquerque to Las Vegas there were kids with. Great big backpacks as their personal items that clearly didn’t count unless I’d paid to check to carry them on so people get mad that they have to pay pay to carry on a bag but I’ll tell you what the boarding and de cleaning was so much faster because of it and. There was a time when I was a real road warrior and traveled so much for the day job that I had said that if I were ever in charge of the world that people would not be allowed to carry on luggage because people spend so much time fucking around with that carry on luggage trying to get a fit and they overhead been. And worried about there. They’re going to have space for it. Is it wheels in or wheels out and ah ah and then trying to get it down again. You know and the people who aren’t strong enough to lift it down which you know I I understand but why do you have to fucking carry on your bags. Just check them. So making people to pay to carry on their bags turns out to be a pretty great incentive. It’s like well if you have to pay anyway, you might as well check it. Their whole model is based on saving gas so they check baggage. Um, excuse me checked baggage weight is um, max weight is £40 not £50 so it was pretty funny in Las Vegas coming home. There were people did a fairly sophisticated system. Not so much in Albuquerque not sophisticated system in Albuquerque that’s all right. Ah, but in Las Vegas where which might be their mothership. They had these um where you did the bag drop they had these horizontal scales so you did the kiosk so print your tag put it on there. Do the bag drop. Put your suitcase on this um scale that is also a conveyor belt and it scooted it back and forth and then it read the id and confirmed the id electronically which was kind of cool and also did the weight and.

05:34.50
jeffekennedy
As we were watching as we’re waiting for our turn. There were many people there um like taking things out of their bags and some of them looking very sad and we laughed because on the way there from Albuquerque. Ah, we saw a pair of ripped up jeans in the garbage can like right next to they just had the regular scales right next to the ticket counter and I was like yeah somebody decided they didn’t care enough about these jeans to to keep them was kind of funny. They should put like a. Ah, used clothing bin there. so so yeah it was funny to watch the people having fits trying to take stuff out of their their bags I don’t maybe funny is wrong I didn’t mean to laugh at their misery but it was it was very very clear. You know that your bag couldn’t be over 40 pounds and I had been. Exceptionally and careful to you know, make sure that we didn’t exceed that and we were fine and even though I couldn’t weigh on the way back. So I was slightly nervous on the way there we were like 39.4 pounds and David said well we you know don’t have anything more going back than we did going there maybe less. We should be fine and I was like yes, but you got that t-shirt and my dress had gotten wet at water ads weight I was like we don’t have much margin but I took a couple things that put them in my. Personal item and we were fine. So so it takes more jiggering. Ah, they really do annoy you to death to upgrade seats. They want you to pay for like the big seat in the front. Um and they keep sending you like text some email saying. Better, get your seat. We can’t guarantee. You’ll sit together and David and I were assigned seats together I just went with the phrase I’m I’m like if we can’t sit together for an hour-long flight. We’ll probably live um and it worked out just great. Um, would totally totally fly spirit again. It worked out. Well so um, so yeah, we got there. Um Charlie met us at the airport he was flying in from work Charlie and Megan went to a different hotel. They did not have a great experience. Um, they picked out this hotel I think because. American Express had recommended it and american express ended up making it making it up to them. They stayed because they said their room was fabulous, but the rest of the hotel sucked. So they’re like we’ll just like hold our nose and walk through the hotel on our way.

08:19.65
jeffekennedy
But the Venetian was amazing. Oh yes, and as I said we’ve got the free rooms and I did get reeled in when we checked in they said well if you want to upgrade and they had sent me an emails. You know one did I want to upgrade to a view room for like. $56 a night I’m like now I don’t care about a few enough. Well when we checked in the gal was like well we could she said there are no rooms available which I don’t know if it’s a trick or not probably wasn’t because we were there a little early. Um. And we could have had them hold our bags but she said but we do have rooms available if you want to upgrade and I was like ah and she said well let me show you and she she was very good I mean I almost did it partly because she was so good. She had her tablet and she said for a hundred and twenty dollars a night you could upgrade to this. She did not say it this way but fucking amazing sweet. You guys you all? Um, it’s a view of the pool and the strip and it had a living area and the. Bedroom was off to the side and it had a walk-in closet and an amazing bathroom with a sunken bathtub and so we just like you know $120 a night. How often do we get a chance to stay in a really nice suite like that so we did it and it was it was lovely. We really enjoyed that and as David said we have paid $120 a night to stay in some really shitty places so it was um, it was well worth it. We went down to the pool that afternoon um had a snack and a froze that was excellent. And we um and that I hung out by the pool for a while then we met Charlie and Megan for dinner at bouchon at the venetian which was a french bistro that I had wanted to go when we were there before and we could get in partly because of pandemic hours. Everything was so much more open now. Everything felt like it was totally back. It was interesting, almost nobody wearing masks. Um, so we had wonderful dinner at Bouchon which Charlie picked up the tab. He has just the I I tried to stop it and he was like no no because it was. It. It was my almost birthday so it was um because my birthday is well a week from yesterday. So next monday and I had put it down as a birthday at Bouchon just because it would be fun and they brought us free desserts. We had a creme brulee and lemon tart and.

11:05.00
jeffekennedy
Charlie Bought us two bottles of rose because the first thing we did when we sat down they handed us like the you know the wine list and then the special that was summer of Rose which gets me and Megan where we live and so we ended up having 2 bottles of rose which reader we did not need that second bottle. And then we went to see Celeste barber um who I’m you know, just loved from Instagram australian comedian she put on a very tight show. We laughed all the way through it. It was great. um it was um yeah it was absolutely wonderful. So we all felt a little rough the next morning except for Davis who doesn’t treatak anymore because of the parkinson’s he is like I can’t decide if I’m sad that I can’t drink anymore i’m really glad that I’m not not as rough as you all are it’s like yeah um, so. but but I rallied and Megan rallied and she had gone ahead and gotten a kabana with the american express we’re sorry money at virgin hotel she did research on the different pools so I met her over there and we had ah a wonderful day of just. Hanging out at the pool in the cabana having drinks and it was um, it was delightful and then that evening yesterday evening. No Sunday evening I was gonna say go to be that right? No Sunday evening. It was um. They decided they were not Charlie actually never made it out of the hotel room Sunday he was going to meet us over at the pool and made several efforts and just couldn’t do it. He was definitely overserved I think they had also pregamed before they met us. They’d had several cocktails. So it was great party and Megan and I said as we were hanging out by the cabana that we wouldn’t change the thing because it was just one of those really fabulous evenings. There are times when you regret we didn’t need the second bottle of wine and yet it was so fun. So wonderful. Amazing food. Ah so with oysters on half show. They were so wonderful that they’re like Charlie’s favorite thing. He always orders them. So um. Yeah, they did not make it to dinner Sunday night Megan Texted and said yeah, we’re not leaving this hotel room tonight I said no problem because it’s not like we don’t see them here and so David and I went down and went to ah Matteos at the venetian this italian restaurant and.

13:51.64
jeffekennedy
Ah, we had the but probably the best pasta we’ve ever had in our whole lives. It was incredible. Pasta um, you know the the handmade fresh pasta and perfectly balanced sauces and we had a. Chocolate souffle for dessert where we had to wait for it. But then it came out warm with the creme Anglais and a pistachio gelato and yeah, it was delightful. So it was kind of like um, kind of a birthday celebration have a birthday weekend and good partying. Whirlwind. We got it very early Monday morning and flew home we were back home by um, eleven thirty in the morning. So and I got some words yesterday I did not get my full two k but I got some words done and um. Yeah, it was good. So now I need to buckle down and get more work done this week ah exciting news which I should have let off with but then I forgot ah is that rogues paradise. Is out today. So that completes the release the rerelease of the trilogy. Ah I’m really happy in that I had for rogue’s pawn um a certain number of preorders that was. Quite low but I didn’t expect it to be high. Um, you know I thought well it’s going to be just a few right and I had this exact same number of preorders on book 2 on rogue’s possession which I actually think is good because that means an equivalent number of readers. Ah, if not the exact same readers committed to those first two books ah and for book 3 for rogues paradise I have doubled those pre-orders. It’s still not a phenomenal number. But what do you expect for a re-release right? so. So at least that’s what it was as of yesterday evening when I shut down so very excited for rogues paradise to release today. The trilogy is now all out there wide and so forth also in a coincidence. Ah. Book 2 of sorcerous moons on audio at scribd release today. So Oria’s gambit is out today on scribd I think they’re staggering those releases like every two weeks or so so I’ll link to both of those things.

16:39.60
jeffekennedy
If you have been listening to sorcerous moons though you can continue on with book 2 and I’m I’m still working on getting those books out wide but I will get them out wide. Ah. So so those are the big things. Um, it’s it’s interesting because ah, Megan and I had a great conversation on the ride down Albuquerque airport on Saturday David volunteered to get in the back. So he could doze he knew he was going to be pretty sleepy and so Megan and I could talk which we did nonstop the whole way and that was great but she was talking about I can’t remember who she said she was listening to I should ask her so I can um, link to it but we were talking about. To do list. She was saying that she had taken Instagram off of her phone that was kind of how it got started ah making choices for happiness which you all know if you’re a longtime listener I talk about a great deal on here so I was immediately interested and she was talking about the things that slide down your to do list and how. You move them from your to do list from one day to the next which I was like oh my god ah I really hate that I do that and I was telling her that in a recent SFWA meeting somebody had said that they had read possibly in the same place who knows. That you’re not supposed to re-jigger your to-do list that you’re not supposed to rearrange it during the day from today today and we all kind of groaned because we all do that? Um, so 1 thing that Megan said that this person suggested. Is that you can have your ongoing list of things that need to get done but you move them off of the dates you move them like onto another list entirely that you then reference and only put on each day. What you absolutely. Plan and need to get done and and my big problem is is that I would put this whole raft of things on there of like in case I get to it in case I have time which never happened then I should know better because I’m a big believer in the oh if I happen to find time. I’ll do this thing that that never happens especially with writing right? You know I never find time to write. No, you have to make time to write you have to make time to get things done on your to do list. So one thing I did when I got home. Ah, which was possibly a bit of.

19:20.55
jeffekennedy
Writing procrastination but I was also excited about this idea was I rejiggered my to do list for hopefully the final time and I took all of these things that are like pending projects and moved them to another list entirely and put only on that day. What I needed to get done that day and. Reader I got everything done yesterday that I had on that list and it was it was like oh angel singing the sun broke through the clouds here. We go the sun if you’re on video ah some broke through the grape leaves. Um, it was an immense relief. So I’m very excited about this if you’re on video. You’ll also see it’s a little bit of a breezy working here a little cool and breezy. Um, but not much rain yet. They Las Vegas people said that it had been the ah coolest August. That they remembered several people said that um so monsoons in the southwest. It’s been a thing there I scooted out of the sun briefly just to say goodbye. Ah, because the the sun ah did indeed break through the clouds. I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – July 26, 2022

ROGUE’S POSSESSION is out today!! Otherwise I’m talking about worldbuilding from a character-driven perspective and being aware as an author of what readers want for your characters.




Transcript
00:01.87
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance here with my first cup of coffee.

00:14.67
jeffekennedy
But delicious today is Tuesday July Twenty Sixth um last working day week of July for me, not day week. Um, yeah. Kind of short week for me as I mentioned yesterday tomorrow I fly to a polyon word. The transcript cannot handle and. See if I do some podcasts from there or not. We got some rain last night. So everything is looking sprightly this morning sprightly and happy. And yeah. Ah, so I got a lot done yesterday. I was happy with what I got done yesterday I got a full hour of words in before I even met up with Darynda and so I was done by um I could tell you what time I was done by. Love being done early in the day I was done by 1130 had my 2000 words in by 1130 and that’s just the best. Um I really love having my words done by noon and I think iquito think I might have to go back to that. Kind of schedule. Um, it means getting up earlier. Sorry for the squirming around if you’re on video thesquitoes are getting me. Ah yeah, just really helps me to. Have words done before noon so that the afternoon is then for business I hear some writers talk about that they do like writing in the morning and then editing in the afternoon. But for me editing takes very much the same muscle as drafting. So. I think um, it it draws from the same world. So it doesn’t work that way for me sounds like a nice way to do it. But sorry for the scrape there decided to scoot you a little closer so I could sit back sit back and relax so um one thing that I did make some notes while I was gone of things I wanted to talk about I was reading a book. Ah I’ve I’ve discovered that.

02:58.45
jeffekennedy
It’s growing harder and harder for me to talk about the books that I’m reading because and it may be partly the podcast because I want to be able to dissect them and talk about what doesn’t work for me in them. And I feel I’m torn because I want to support the authors of the books by talking up their books. But then if I’m talking about their books. Critically I don’t feel like I should say. So I read this book that is by ah, it’s a fantasy romance. The romance was very thin um slow burn and picks up in the next book. But I didn’t. Didn’t care enough to keep going. Um, you know so that’s like not something I would ever what to say publicly about a book tell you guys which book it was tell you all which book it was ongoing effort to flense “guys” from my. Vocabulary. So so one I wanted to talk about I don’t need to go down this rabbit hole of this specific book and what worked and what didn’t for me but one thing I want to talk about is being aware and it’s a delicate line to walk of what your readers want for your characters and and this is. It’s dicey right? because you don’t know what you don’t know what your readers want necessarily but you do have to know for guess sense. There’s a certain amount of fan service in satisfying the readers with what they want a character to be able to have and do and. There’s a lot of joking that goes around all the time about um, authors torturing their characters I shared a meme a little while back that was pretty funny. Ah it was from a movie that I have to he’s.

05:39.14
jeffekennedy
So and there’s our hummingbird. Ah so a lot of activity out here this morning. Sorry the birds distracted me so thinking in terms of oh the beam. The meme. Ah it was from a movie that I recognized but couldn’t identify. You know what? I mean but it showed. Ah. Driver of the car ah with a manic expression on their face. Um the car clearly hurtling out of control and two people in the back seat screaming and it said ah when oh I’m not going to do a good job of explaining it. Ah, it said basically ah when ah when my when a favorite character dies and it’s shows you know the person driving the car is the author me my best friend screaming in the backseat I thought it was funny. So so but there are a lot of jokes about. Authors torturing their characters and I see authors talking from time to time about you know someone once called me out on that saying see someone talking but you see somebody talking and writing right? I. You I’m distracted this morning and I I saw an ah I see authors talking often about how they love to torture their characters and it never feels that way to me. I’m always on the side of my characters. Um the the world does terrible things to them sometimes but I’m always on the side of my characters figuring out how to deal with it. So I feel like I’m riding in the car too. I think that would be more accurate. So.

07:54.86
jeffekennedy
Ah I probably should have formulated this idea better before I start talking about it. But I figure out things as I talk about them just as I figure out things as I write about them. There’s a theme there right? So So this book. Let me go back to my concrete example that eventually the author did deliver on what I wanted but there was an extended period of the character being thrust into a role. That they did not want and being unhappy about that and longing for their old life which is I mean that’s heroo’s journey so you know it’s It’s certainly a a standard trope you know resisting. Call to action. But as a reader I really wanted this for this character I wanted this um responsibility this position and I didn’t like that. So many of the other characters. This is another thing about characters being mean to each other but I’ll come back to that. Hopefully if I remember I didn’t like that So many of the other characters were so against this person. Having this position. Um, and I felt like the world building was a little weak and I just taught this class for ah the clarion White Riaththon and I’m gonna be teaching it at Worldcon I just got noticed I’m gonna be giving this workshop at Worldcon. Which is world buildinging from a Character-d Driven perspective. So. It’s really cool that people want to to see this workshop and find it valuable. Basically it’s my approach that setting up the world in order to. Ah. Best put your characters through the crucible right? So which I suppose is is me driving the car to be fair. No, it’s me picking out the worst possible car I don’t know we won’t go. We won’t spend a lot of time on that analogy. But in this particular book. The there was this sense that the protagonist.

10:36.13
jeffekennedy
Could not have this position because of their gender and but the rest of the there were elements of that. But then the rest of the world didn’t necessarily support this and this is something I talk about in that workshop a lot.. It’s like. Okay, if you decide that you want females to be second class citizens and because of gender. Then first of all, be aware that you are Kneejerk Mimiic mimicking our patriarchal society. Which has been. You know our history has been extensively massaged to support that idea so be aware of those things and and if you’ve listened to me for a long Time. You’ve heard me talk about this before. But also know why you’re choosing that I mean are you choosing that just to sort of keep your your female characters down. Um, if there is a. It. It just has to be supported and and I realize I’m getting myself into a muddle because I’m trying not to give Details. So This isnt like an alternate fantasy world where the the lord of of the of the Land. Um. Yeah, which is basically it’s sort of like a a feudal. It’s It’s kind of like a Victorian England type society. Ah so it’s sort of as if the the duke were chosen by a magical means and the. Female protagonist is unexpectedly chosen and there’s a sense of that. No the world can’t that there’s There’s a dueling sense of that. No. She can’t. Be this because she’s female but she has to be this because she’s magically chosen and it was sort of halfway done. It was like well be can can a woman hold this position or not ah and I felt like the author just and it was a first book So you know. There’s something to that. The son is coming after me here I have just good over. Um, in fact I think I’ll just commit and do that That’s better. So You know it’s like either females have rights so they don’t.

13:17.57
jeffekennedy
Either females can be in positions of power or they can’t and obviously we’re talking a binary here. But so that’s that’s one piece is like when you’re creating a world even if you’re creating a world that is a close fac simile of our world or what we believe our historical world to have been. And you all have if you’ve listened for a long time. You’ve heard me talk about ah the de faux medieval fantasy setting which has very little to do with what the medieval era was actually like I had one um, really interesting reader contact me and talk about. Ah, gave me some interesting feedback where she um I believe she was a she her said that she was an historian and that she could talk about all of this stuff. You know like of how our ideas of what medieval. Society and culture and daily life were like are so incredibly wrong and have been so extensively massaged and really um oh what’s the word I want denigrated um, made to see much much worse than it was anyway, that’s another topic. Ah, but I will touch on this that when you do have a society where rights are based on gender which does reflect our society but you have to look at why and. How this is a very very long complicated history and how it affects people’s interactions you know is it exactly against the law or is it custom in this book. It wasn’t clear is it is there a higher law There wasn’t a sense of there being any higher law to the land. Um, it’s just it’s not devastating but it’s just slightly weak world-building you know it’s different whether or not things are actually illegal or whether they’re custom. Ah, but also how do. The other if things are very gender based how do other people react and this kind of comes around to my thing about characters being mean to each other I have a problem in books where where every character.

15:54.81
jeffekennedy
In the book is aligned against the protagonist and that was not the case in this book but there were a lot who who either were or were just sort of tangentially oblivious and it’s. In cases like that people do form alliances. You know like for instance, if females generally don’t hold positions of power and a female is thrust into a position of power ah by magical decision. The other females are going to have opinions about this. The males are too. But the other females are going to have feelings and many of those will be feelings of solidarity and again if you’ve listened to me for a long time. You know that I have that it’s one of the things that I complain about a lot is when female characters in a story. Are not supportive of each other that they don’t have real friendships. Ah I feel like this comes from fiction tropes rather than from real life because at least I hope because in real life. Especially where when rights are threatened people who are being deprived of those rights band together to protest right? That’s what we’re seeing. You know we see it with black lives matter. We see it with ah the protests against the overturn of Roe versus wade in the us. The other people who are being similarly oppressed are going to have feelings about this you and I realize that in a fantasy story. You may not want to get into all of that but it it has to be part of that world building iceberg right? There’s that great diagram with. The tip of the iceberg being like the things that show in the story. But then there’s all that stuff underneath. So so yeah I think um, but then the other piece is and I talked about this in that workshop as well is being. Aware of what your reader wants for that person and what your reader is bringing to the page because one person asked me if there were tropes I felt like were outdated world building tropes and I said well like one that I personally have a lot of trouble with is the. Fantasy story where the female characters are not allowed to have the education where they’re not allowed to go to the academy where they’re you know not allowed to get x y z and yes I know I have written this with ah.

18:39.68
jeffekennedy
Chronicles of test area that women are universally not taught anything even how to count and I did that for very specific reasons but I and and I made it extreme on purpose for that reason because when a reader. Picks up a book where the female characters are not allowed to go to university where they’re otherwise educated but not allowed to go to university it begins to feel a little unsupported it begins. It’s hard for us to identify because. Well I know there are parts of the world where females are denied education. It’s pretty rare now and so it’s a leap you want to keep in mind what your character what your reader wants for the character and in my case I really wanted my character. To be to seize this opportunity and not be all oh woe is me I wish I had my old life back I’ll ah allow a little bit of it. But then I wanted and eventually that change did happen. Um, but I want to. Ah, wanted more and maybe more would come in the subsequent books. So ah, that may have been a slightly muddled explanation I’ll keep thinking about it. Ah, but maybe I’ll weave it into the worldt building from a character driven perspective wforkshop at WorldCon if you’re going to world con or which you should be able to attend virtually as well and I’m realizing that I should have led with this today’s release day for Rogue’s Possession! Woohoo so it’s out in the world now. Um. So now you can buy the first two books and the third book comes out in a few weeks which means I need to get my act together and make my tweaks on it. So um, it’s weird having these releases of books I’ve already written because it feels like ah I don’t know. It’s it’s slightly anti-climatictic um, but I’m really pleased at how well these books are selling. It’s great to see a book that’s been out for ten years by any new readers. So on that note I am going to go do a few release day things. And I am going to get more words and get ready to fly to world con tomorrow if if you’re going to be there and you see me, please please say hi would love that every once a while I um.

21:26.94
jeffekennedy
Like I talked to this gal online and she said you know I wrote in an elevator with you at a conference and I was I wanted to say hi but I was too ah too shy like ah like oh please don’t be shy I am I try to be nice I think I’m nice. I love talking to people so do say hi and I will um, maybe talk to you all on Thursday maybe on Friday probably not on Monday because I have jury duty right. So certainly a week from today if nothing else you all take care bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – June 13, 2022

THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING is out today!!! FINALLY! I’m talking about that, my busy and productive weekend – including a tour of the secret garden – plus special appearance by Jackson.

(Apologies for the failure to stop at the end…)

     




Transcript
00:00.97
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:39.45
jeffekennedy
So today is Monday June thirteenth and very exciting day. It is the release day for THE STORM PRINCESS AND THE RAVEN KING!! I feel like we need extra – Let’s do an extra ringing of the chimes for that. Because a long time coming right? I originally planned this book to come out in like freaking I don’t know November what was my first I bet I could tell you what was my first plan my. Sadly benighted plan that got completely derailed. What was the one that I had to cancel I know if I must have it on here somewhere. Okay. I know this is boring but I’m I’m going to look sorry surely I kept it recorded somewhere. Yeah well now I’m just hitting the wrong buttons a new. Well it doesn’t matter. It was something like. November but didn’t exactly work out. Jackson is out here with me this morning. He’s been being a good kitty. Um, we’ve been letting him out in the secret garden with us without harness and he’s been not going over the wall. Was very funny when my friend Megan Mulry first moved to Santa Fe and she house sat for us and I tried to teach how to use the harness how to put it on him and she even called me and I was trying to walk her through it and she couldn’t get the harness figured out and I said um. I’m noticing. Somebody’s been digging one of my plants I know this because I cleaned everything up yesterday. It’s a little disconcerting have to put rocks in these plants to keep the rodents like to the mice like to dig into them and bury themselves. It’s for their sleeping spot. Anyway, um, so I asked her we were like in Tucson for Thanksgiving I think it was and I asked her if she’d gotten it figured out and she said oh I realized that I could just put him out in the back garden because it has walls. It was like um, you might see if he’s still there and she’s like why can he go over the walls and it’s like someone who has not been around cats. It’s like yeah there are not walls who can keep a cat and all right hold on.

06:13.41
jeffekennedy
Now right? I put some rocks it. It was a different plant than what I thought but um I poked and no mouse came jumping out which is what they do sometimes which can be alarming at least temporarily and by put some rocks in. I feel better film anyway, release day for storm princess on the Raven King um I even queued up my photo to show you guys and I’ll put on the show notes. But um, oh and of course we have. This is the problem with using phones because then it’s all fingerprinting over the image and cleaning off my screen and then we’ll probably get glare anyway. But. Ah, ah, ah, all right? So I’m very excited. Um I don’t love the cover model. We ended up out and with this one and it took a lot of work to find the right cover model and he’s twice. He’s on this one and then on long night of the crystalline moon because they’re the. Sort of bracketing couple and I ended up putting up a picture of to Monte Charlemagne instead that’s what ah Ryan looks like so so yeah. Great to have this out great to have that series finished um plans for today are to do release day things. So I feel like I don’t have many to do and then um work on rogue’s pond. If I can get that revision done today. I’ve got a lot to do since I leave early in the morning. Um I did ask the person involved about the yeah sorry I started looking at my email to see if they had replied and they had not. And then um, yeah Karine sent um a question so that got involved with looking at that? sorry. Must be a little scattered this morning I actually feel great. It’s good to have that book out. Um I’m heading off to do this fun thing tomorrow. Oh that’s why I started to tell you was that they said they were going to craft a social media policy because I asked I said you know what can I say on social media about this because I feel like.

11:45.71
jeffekennedy
Part of why I’m doing this is because they want to spread word of mouth and yet there are other aspects that I know are preferred to be kept confidential. So anyway I have not yet gotten that social media policy so we will see I don’t know if all podcasts for the rest of the week it’s um I think I could say this bunch is that it’s a writer’s retreat and it’s kind of an experimental thing and it’s um, right now by invitation only so look how snazy I am ah no, it’s it’s a friend. Um, and yeah, so it’s gonna be great and I think that. Ah, one of the people hosting it also as a podcast so I might ask them if they would like to do a podcast with me have a cup of coffee and chat so we’ll see otherwise I think I might try to embrace the writers retreat thing and um. Actually retreat and just do that. Ah, ah yeah I don’t know I’m fussing with my hair this morning I probably do this a lot on the if you’re on video. Um, so yesterday I I ended up taking a shower last night and I did wash my hair. But. Just let it dry naturally and it’s kind of my today I should’ve done some with it. So that’s why fucking around with it. Ah I had um had a great weekend. It was really nice. We had a board meeting on Saturday that was very quick. That was really great and then um, then David and I went to a party that Emily Moth through I got to meet some of her family and we ran a few errands and that was nice to get done and then we um. Yeah, had a very quiet evening. It was really beautiful weather hot but still and um, wonderful and then I yesterday did massive cleanup in the secret garden.

16:07.49
jeffekennedy
I’m hearing suspicious wrestling noises and I’m going to jackson let me go see what he’s doing this is like the old days right? with the the cat wrangling if you’ve been listening to the podcast for a long time when I like actually walked. Jack’s during the podcast. Okay hold on false alarm. He’s just being a good kitty lying in the tall plants when the shade I thought that was the sound of him going over the wall. So um. Oh so hair in my mouth. What’s going on here pace all right? So anyway I did this big cleanup of the secret garden and I’ll do a little pan about for those of you on video. If you can see but actually I’ll do like a little walk through for those of you who are good people being on video so well, it’s not good I really don’t judge I don’t care if you’re on video or just audio but see I trimmed back this Lilac Bush a whole bunch. And I trimped back the grapevine so it’s all cleaned up and there’s now an easy way to walk through and now you could see it from coming the other direction. See how nice it looks I’m really happy. It was a lot of work. It took me all freaking day but much better. Sorry for the sun blast there. So yeah, that was my ah big project yesterday and it was um. Hot and my hair was like I sweated so much I had my hair on a ponytail and I sweated so much that my hair was actually stiff with salt you do and then I start doing this thing trying to. Fix David’s computer he got this laptop in like January and it was a cheap one and we thought well they’ll be fine because you know he doesn’t use it for that much stuff.

21:05.81
jeffekennedy
Sorry, all this possing this morning I just got a text message on something I’m trying to get tied up before I leave so it’s that kind of day isn’t it. so um so yeah I’m I’m really happy with the work I got done and. In two weeks my friends Kelly Robson and Alex Delamonica will be here. They’re going to house it from my friend Megan Moury so it’s like I’m losing Megan and Charlie as my playmates. But then I’ve imported other friends to be my playmates while they’re gone. Best of both worlds for me and we’re going to have a little party to introduce Kelly and Alex to the other local writers. So welcome to party central um, it finally looks like habitable for other human beings. So I have to clean up the front when I get back next Sunday but that’s um, otherwise I think I’m in pretty good shape I’m hoping to get as I keep saying I know over and over that rogues pawn revision done today. Ah if i. Focus on trying to get it done today I want to put a reader letter at the front and I want to delete that scene and then do a quick read through to see if there’s any ramifications from deleting that scene and I feel like there’s something that I want the. Male lead trying to say male lead instead of hero the male lead to acknowledge to the female lead at some point in the book and it could be that he does more than I think he did but um. Yeah I don’t know so I want to look for that so we’ll see if I can get all that done today. But I’m hoping having the restricted timeline will encourage me not to go into the weeds on this revision I have the preorders set up for all 3 covenant of thorns books I shouldn’t hold up 4 fingers. Why I just have pull None um, and it’s um I did that on Friday boy you know what setting up pre-orders for 3 books at one time and I had to write new backc cover copy for all 3 was a little much but it just took a long time. It took a long freaking time doing all the different platforms and I I sometimes am snarky. Mildly snarky to other authors who say oh well that they use something like drafted digital or they hire someone to upload because they don’t want to have to up to load to all of the different platforms and I’m like oh it’s not that hard. Well when you’re doing 3 books and filling it out for all the different platforms because I upload to.

26:47.53
jeffekennedy
I set it up on Amazon kobo barnes and noble and smash wordss. So for sites. They all ask for information different order had to grab my isbms for all of them betting white’s done um, and then after all of the ah. W Ringling I got the blueberry pie recipe to Karine on time and she forgot to put it in the newsletter because there was like a mini crisis with the website so that’ll be in the next one. It’ll be in the release newsletter coming in a ah day or 2 oh so I was talking about yesterday. Um. Once I got really hot I’d finished everything but I still my great big brush pile you know of leavings outside the the gate and I thought well I’m going to wait for it to cool down a little bit before I can do that because it was like 4 and the hottest point in the day so I went inside and. Tried to deal with this thing on David’s laptop this new laptop has never worked right. It’s just a funky little thing and by funky I am thinking of many other f you words which I know I don’t normally scruple to say but I’m just yeah. Um I ended up being on chat customer support chat for like 2 hours trying to fix this fucking thing. It won’t take the microsoft 3 65 subscription which I have. And I have the family version so I can share with like 5 people and I only share with David and it worked fine on his previous laptop. It will not take it’s just um, it’s so weird it does these. It’s almost like it gets caught in these loops and then it can’t get out of it I suspect the thing’s a limit because the customer support person was doing the remote control in everything and she finally she said have you tried taking this back to the store where you got it? Well unfortunately he got it at Walmart. Which I don’t shop at Walmart but he likes to go there and I think he paid cash and did not keep the receipt. This is what we get for me not doing it just saying so I think we’re just gonna buy him a new laptop. He’s gonna try. Reformatting the hard drive and see what happens? Um, but it’s um, it’s funky. It also has this thing where you cannot delete Microsoft Edge it will not let you delete it. It says that it’s um, critical to the operation on the computer which I thought.

32:18.79
jeffekennedy
Microsoft was not allowed to do that anymore. It used to be. You know they tried to make you know back in the day it was Microsoft explorer they tried to make you that you had to use that for your web browser and I thought they weren’t allowed to do it anymore. But they’re so doing not on this. So anyway, it was like later after it was like 6 – six thirty david even brought my dinner into me and then we finally signed off and the customer service gal even said, um, she said I don’t often get to to say this but it’s been a rare pleasure trying to help you. She was really sweet. Um I was. I was being good and not using profanity. But I was referring to the fing computer e f f I n g so I said I’m gonna go drink wine now and she said have some for me too. But ah so then you know we sat in 8 and. Started watching um one for the money with catherine hegel is she hegel or hegel. Ah from the jenna ivanovvi book I don’t know why that movie got so hugely panned it. It was funny. We we enjoyed watching it so we watched it for a little bit and I they’re like dirty and. Wet stiff hair and all of this to paint an image for you and I um I said and david was getting a little snoozy anyway which he often does right? after he eats. So I said well I’m gonna go deal with this brush pile and so that could be done and I clean the cat boxes too and then I could take a shower and be done for the night and so he came out and helped me move that brush pile that was really nice and yeah, so then I took a shower and it was a quick shower and my hair was so sweat soaked did I mention and snarled that I um put a whole bunch of conditioner in it. So all of this is a very long way of saying that I feel like my hair looks a little. Over conditions today but I had to be able to get a fricking comb throughout That’s the other thing about working on the grapevine is that you like gets your hair up in it and stuff. So anyway, everything looks really great I’m feeling accomplished. A lot to do today packing all of this my flight leaves at like six thirty in the morning so got to be up and adder ready to go but um, yeah, ah, release day for storm princess awesome and then. Hopefully starting tomorrow certainly later in the week I am going to be working on book 4 of bonds of magic I think we have decided that the new trilogy should have a new title for those of you who have been reading the books suggestions. Welcome I’m also looking for. Um.

37:57.69
jeffekennedy
Individual book titles. Ah should we call book one jet ah and it is going to be judgment and Sally for those of you wondering um, should we call book one sarcastic wizard spy wizard ah for those of you who may not have been listening for a long time. You know dark wizard was my working title. It was my working title excuse me from a long time back when it was just a concept when it was just a glimmer in my eye and I’d been thinking about this the dark wizard concept. Here comes Jackson you guys want to see Jackson prowling along there. He is. He’s so handsome Jackie Cat yeah are you a handsome boy yes you are are too. Yes, he knows he is what a good little. Posing kitty I was gonna call him a poser but that sounds wrong doesn’t it. He’s looking for lizards so um, yeah I I had just been calling it dark wizard and thinking I was gonna come up with a better title and Grace Draven was the one who said no you must call it this you I’m I’m ordering you to call it this and I said I cannot name a book dark wizard she said yes you can. So maybe I should ask Grace what should we call it. Spy wizard I kind of like spy wizard sarcastic wizard anyway, suggestions welcome feed them along please feel free to share. On storm princess and Raven King I’m hopeful that now that the series is complete that more people will pick it up I hope that you guys I’m trying not to say you guys anymore. We could talk about that I hope that you all enjoy it I hope that it’s um. Delivers on the promise I think I got it there. so so yeah enjoy and I will um I don’t know if I don’t podcast the rest of this week then you’ll hear from me next Monday you all take care. Bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – February 28, 2022



      
Transcript
00:00.00
jeffekennedy
Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee which if you are on video you will have noted is actually Starbucks today. Um, oh I should say today is Monday February Twenty Eighth Twenty Twenty two last day off 2022? Ah, no wrong last day February that was a funny slide. Um, and the husband went and did an airport ride for someone early this morning. And he brought me back a special release day Starbucks treat because yay today’s release day Woooo Grey Magic out in the world living large very exciting. Yeah, um I was trying to think about what am I going to talk about today other than gray magic is out in the world I mentioned on Friday like maybe I could do a reading or something like that. But only 1 person said that they wanted that sorry Laura. Um, you know and like Facebook live and I don’t know we’ll sort of see how the day progresses. Um, yeah, yeah, it’s a funny thing. I often get asked what I do to celebrate release days and release days. Um, and I I do think I’ve talked about this many times before to release days to me feel like a um, a relaxing a letting go a coming down. As opposed to like a pitch of woohoo. Um I love that there were so many wonderful preorders for this book I reached a personal best more preorders for this book than any book that’ve done on my own a couple of the anthologies have. Gotten bigger but you know for all that the anthologies there’s like 4 of us. There’s not 4 times. It’s manying preorderss for this. so so yeah I’m just um, I’m thrilled delighted and thrilled. Ah, and of course you know it’s a funny time with with Russia invading Ukraine and how that’s been going and the people working on that lots of of good comments out in the world though.

02:51.20
jeffekennedy
You know people reminding us that we still need joy. We still need those things oops that’s the Darynda text tone hold on a moment all right? So Darynda is going deep into writer cave to finish her books so she’s. Tapping out for the week her books her book I’m like fuzzy brain to- today I don’t know why. Yeah, um, it could be just like that release day energy going out into the world. Maybe I won’t do a whole lot today. We’ll see it was funny because um I had church yesterday with. Megan and Charlie we had a bottle of champagne that was lovely I’m trying to think if I’m allowed to we were celebrating a couple things I can’t remember if I’m allowed to say so and I don’t know. Could it be that drinking a lot of champagne yesterday afternoon is responsible for me being muzzyheaded this morning say it isn’t so I don’t think that’s it. So anyway, um, rambling podcast today I should be like doing. Some sort of snazzy release day thing and yet this is what you get, you get me muddling my way through my Starbucks.

04:30.85
jeffekennedy
Yeah, so um, Darynda’s crunching to finish this book I may not do a lot today. That’s what I was thinking about was um, Megan was asking me if now that I’ve finished gray magic and released it if I’m going to take some time off and I said well I did take some time off. Last week and she she was very funny because she’s like and what did you do and I said well Monday and Tuesday I was in l a doing the hotel search for nebula conference and Wednesday I pretty much flew back. You know there was a travel day and. I did do copy edits and polishing. So I said okay you know, but that’s that’s not drafting but I did work on the book that day and I said that then Thursday and Friday and over the weekend I didn’t write at all. And she said yes, but what did you do and I was like well I did a lot of business stuff getting things off my to do list and she’s like that doesn’t count as taking time off I’m like yeah but what would I do? What would I do with myself, especially with it being the end of February I mean. It’s kind of warming up but it’s not great. Weather. It’s not like I can be out puttering on the garden It’s not nice enough for that and yeah, what would I do I mean I did take you know yesterday afternoon I went and ran some errands and and I did dork around a lot this weekend. I got a lot of household things done. So so I don’t know I’d much rather if I’m going to take time off and like not work on anything at all I’d much rather do it when I get to go do fun things.

06:19.40
jeffekennedy
Ah, so so yeah, I’ve got some some things to do I’m doing a panel this afternoon an online panel for pro writing aid they asked if sifho would do something and so I’m doing it. Um, Lexi Chantal put it together. And I’m doing it with Mary Robinette Kowal and I don’t think anybody else we asked a couple other people and I think they couldn’t do it so but we’re gonna talk about writing fantasy and that’ll be interesting. Otherwise I don’t think I have major obligations today I may just try to um you know, just post things and be around and that sort of thing and who knows Laura Darnell maybe I will do a Facebook live thing but um, right now I’m feeling a little. Like not so much do I want to do that I also feel like even though it’s good to promote things and remind people that there’s you know, give us our escapism and. And my story I mean great magic is very much about fighting tyranny and fighting the putants of the world. Um, even though I you know do think it’s okay I also feel weird partying too much. You know? Yeah. So um, it’s only seven and a half minutes I need to think of other things to talk about here I do have notes I should talk about that. So I’ve been reading Juliette Marillier I had mentioned that. Gonna try to only say her name once because the transcript really hates that name but I’m now on the third book of the 7 waters series and so first one’s daughter of the forest then son of the shadows and now child of the prophecy. And it’s very interesting how she goes about her series I kind of feel a little bit like where has she been all my reading life. Why didn’t I pick up daughter of the forest a long time ago since it’s been on my Kindle forever. She really writes fantasy romance guys. Um, it’s each one of her books has a core romance. That’s very important to the development of the character.

09:03.00
jeffekennedy
And it’s interesting to me that she’s published by tor and she’s really presented as being fantasy and her fantasy is very dense and delicious. Her word world building is gorgeous. Although it’s more like a historical fantasy. It’s all set in. Um. I think sort of a non-time delimited ireland a lot of it’s you know, sort of with the old ones and the the fae and humans and then the conflict between Ireland and Britain. And there’s vikings who arrive. So you know it’s sort of that vaguely Authurian time scale someone who knows more about specific history periods might be able to tell me but I I suspect she’s deliberately vague about it. Um. And there’s nothing at least so far. No mention of of Arthur or any of that stuff. Besides that would be in Britain and there’s occasionally trips into Britain. But for the most part it takes place in Ireland and it’s very irish and. I would say that one of the huge differences between how she writes the kind of story that she writes and the kind of story I write is sneeze I want to say that she kills people off. More readily than I do and I’m wondering if that’s true. She takes a a broader scope approach than I do so for example and I feel like this isn’t spoilery. But if you don’t want to know anything tap out. In the first book. Oh and I should look up what this fairy tale is hold on. Okay, so daughter of the forest is a retelling of the wild swans which was ah now I’m fresh on this knowledge Hans Christian Anderson’s story where. Princesses 11 brothers are turned into swans and she must labor to break the enchantment in daughter of the forest. There’s 7 and the 6 brothers are turned into swans and the youngest the daughter has to do all this stuff to break the enchantment. And after that I mean I could really see how she deliberately set out to do this fairy tale retelling and then the subsequent stories are not but she uses romance tropes you guys I mean they’re totally she does enemies to lovers.

11:49.32
jeffekennedy
In the first 2 books second book is even secret baby. Um, which I just wonder what people would think if I said you know these are these strokes that are being used. Um, so I think. Were I writing it I would have um, wanted to go on from daughter of the forest because it’s all told from ah sosha’s point of view. The the daughter who must labor and I think it’s I think they’re all first person point of view. Seems to me so that’s all told from her point of view and I really expected the next book to be like go into one of the brothers stories which is I think what the traditional romance canon approach would do and instead it picks up with sources. Daughter um, son up the shadows of about her daughter and there are I’m trying to do this without spoilering I feel like this really isn’t much of a spoiler because you find out within a couple of first couple of pages but like. In the time between the first and second book 2 of the brothers have died and they’ve died in battle and I guess that’s very realistic and she wants I feel like she kills people off much more readily than I do um and I know that I have characters die. But i. Think I tend to I would have liked had all the brothers live and so it’s an interesting choice to me. um and yeah you know it’s um I think she’s going for this sort of generational scope which is. And I tend to be much more close focused and maybe that’s the difference between you know people often ask? What’s you know, like romantic fantasy fantasy romance and this has a much more over the generations scope like that. And so now the third book child of the prophecy is someone else’s child and and I was really trying to figure out who it was gonna be and it took me a little while because told from that first person it’s like what are the clues who who is this. And so it’s kind of cool when you figure out who it is and so now it’s not as big a leap in time as there was from well actually it is close to the same leap in time from book 1 to 2 and 2 to 3.

14:35.39
jeffekennedy
So so yeah, that makes it interesting I don’t know that I would do it that way shit I get much more attached to my characters I think than she does and maybe that’s part of where I’m getting this where she’s much more willing to kill her characters off. You know, like having. 2 of the brothers die in battle like that off page in the interim and I mean it’s like well I guess that’s realistic because that’s what happened in that era still yeah. I would not be so willing to do that and that may be my um, you know we talk about voice. What is an author’s voice and I was explaining this to someone over the weekend this gal who for romancing the vote I donated six months of author coaching and the gal who won paid. Over $1500 to to win that and was like wow um, and so we were talking about voice and I said that voice the best explanation I’ve ever heard of author voice is that it arises from your beliefs. And yeah, so that your beliefs infuse everything you write and you do refine that over time and she was talking about refining voice and what that meant and she kind of had. I don’t know a different perspective on it than I do she was talking about trying out different kinds of stories and seeing which ones fit her voice and and I was voice is a hard thing to talk about because it doesn’t always make sense. Yes, it. Or maybe it defies quantification rather than making sense. Yes, it arises from your beliefs it arises from the core of who you are as a person but many of us are muddy about who we are as people especially when we’re younger and. Especially when you’re first refining your craft as a writer. You don’t always know how to have that shine through in everything you write if that makes sense and 1 thing that she said was I said so that you sound. It takes a lot of writing it takes a lot of words and a lot of refining and I’m repeating myself cutting away things cutting away the chaff and I said so that you don’t sound like your influences anymore and she said oh well I have.

17:24.31
jeffekennedy
So many influences that won’t be a problem for me and it’s like yeah actually I that does muddy things I think that muddies things. Um you want your voice to come through like clear water and. When you have a lot of influences or a lot of things ah getting in the way then it’s not clear water and I think the only thing that does get to that point where you purify is writing a whole lot and that’s why we talk about you know like a million words. To learn your craft or to get your voice to come through or there’s a lot of people who you know like this end goal. Whatever it is but write a million words. Um, yeah, it just takes that that repeated practice. David’s always telling me. You know about because he’s a musician about the ah you know like how the Beatles played in those german pubs for a long time and they played a lot of covers and they played their own songs too. But you know like night after night after night and that’s the kind of thing that you need to do like be. Before you hit this this point of recognizable I want to say brilliance but it doesn’t have to be brilliant, but where your voice comes through where it’s like this is your thing that you’ve created this is your art you have to spend. A lot of time doing it over and over again until you really cut away all of the things that are not you and that part that is you really shines through It’s interesting to me with the bonds of magic books and people have already been setting me. Notes because people have read it already. That’s so funny to me. It’s like well this one gals in France. So I guess she read it all day today and she already read it and loved it and she said that this is her favorite of my books and I’ve been hearing that from a lot of people. And I’ve been thinking about that and I think in some ways you know though I loved all of the 12 kingdoms and uncharted realms books those started from a slightly muddier place for me and that world is shaped by my other influences. Um. And then there’s all the spinoffs to that and I I do love all those books but I do think that they speak more to my influences than to where I’m at now. Um forgotten. The empires is maybe a step in between.

20:11.58
jeffekennedy
But then when I wrote Dark Wizard that was a book I really wanted to write for a long time and I do think that that book and maybe this series is more me than than anything else. Maybe my voice is shining. Most clearly through this. So um, so now happy release day to me and to you thanks to all of you for supporting these books and I will be rounding about today. So now. And I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye bye.

A Midwinter Holiday Gift – FIRE OF THE FROST Is Out Now!

Today is release day for FIRE OF THE FROST

A midwinter holiday fantasy romance anthology…

A Wynter Fyre by Darynda Jones

In a world where vampyres have been hunted to near extinction, the daughter of a demon is sent to save their race. Wynter ends the Blood Wars, but a single drop of vampyre blood accidentally crosses her lips. As punishment, she’s encased in stone for a hundred years. When she awakens, she vows revenge. Even if it means her demise. Her quest leads her to the vampyre prince who supposedly started the wars. He comes to her aid after she’s attacked, and Gareth’s deadly prowess may be exactly what Wynter needs to defeat the woman who created her. Or exactly what she needs to thaw her frozen heart.

Of Fate and Fire by Amanda Bouchet

The Kingmaker Chronicles meets modern-day New York City! Piers, an exiled warrior from Thalyria, finds himself in the Big Apple just before the holidays. The world and everything in it might be utterly foreign to him, but that won’t stop Piers from helping to complete a vital mission for Athena and protect Sophie, a French teacher from Connecticut who’s suddenly knee-deep in inexplicable phenomena, danger, and henchmen after an Olympian treasure that should never have ended up in her hands—or remained on Earth after the Greek gods abandoned it.

The King of Hel by Grace Draven

Castil il Veras, daughter of lesser boyars, attends the gatherings that celebrate her best friend’s upcoming marriage to the cursed king of a sorcerous kingdom. She soon learns that even marked by the magic of the Wastelands, Doranis of Helenrisia is everything she’s ever desired in a mate—and absolutely forbidden to her. Bound by duty to crown and country, Doranis has traveled to the Caskadan empire to marry a woman who loathes the sight of him. During the prenuptial celebrations, he meets a scribe who finds him fascinating instead of repellent, but Castil is beyond his reach. Fate, however, would have it otherwise, and a beseeching letter from a dying queen will bring them together again in a land gripped by endless winter and old magic.

Familiar Winter Magic by Jeffe Kennedy

It’s holiday time at Convocation Academy, but best friends Han and Iliana are finding it hard to celebrate. As a familiar, Iliana is facing her assignment to a life of servitude to a wizard, very soon. And Han… despite being tested by the oracle daily, he is still uncategorized. As Iliana and Han face being separated forever, they at last find the courage—or desperation—to break the rules and acknowledge their deeper feelings for each other. But it will take more than true love to save them from the laws of the Convocation…

THE DRAGON’S DAUGHTER AND THE WINTER MAGE Now Available!

     

Invisible Loner

Gendra—partblood daughter of an elite mossback soldier and the only shapeshifter to achieve the coveted dragon form—is anything but interesting. She’s actually plain and awkward and … invisible. Every guy she meets either looks right through her or—worse—thinks of her as just a friend. Fortunately Gen is far too practical to wallow in self pity. Much.

A Search for True Love

But as Gen accompanies her oldest friends on a quest for Her Majesty High Queen Ursula, she can’t help feeling bitter about her lonely fate as, two by two, they pair off with each other. As usual, everyone but odd-woman-out Gen seems to be finding the happiness in true love that has always eluded her. And Gen’s pathetic attempts to come out of her shell have only met with social disaster.

Dragon’s Daughter

Still, with magic rifts plaguing the Thirteen Kingdoms and a strange intelligence stalking them from an alter-realm, Gen has plenty to deal with—especially when she’s cut off from the group, isolated and facing a lethal danger. It just figures that Gen is on her own, once again. But with no one coming to save her, she has only herself to rely upon.

And, perhaps, the help of a mysterious, stranded magician…