No Thank-You

I’ve been thinking about our customs around saying “thank-you” to people. Since our topic at the SFF Seven this week is whatever is on our minds, I’m going for this!

Way back in January 2013 I did a post on why I hate thank-you notes, and I tell you – I *still* get people finding my blog by Googling that topic, and sending me messages. So, this is something I’ve been mulling for a long time. I’ve gotten a new perspective on the topic lately, so come on over to read more!

Trolls and Toxicity – Battle Strategies for Dealing

the talon of the hawkI’m over at Word Whores today, talking about strategies for dealing with both online trolls and toxic people in your life. Because it’s the same answer for both.

I’m also at Urban Girl Reader today, talking about more frivolous things – namely my favorite moments in Rogue’s Paradise when modern human woman runs up against the inhuman mindset of her fae lover.

Party! Party!! Party!!!

AfternoonDelight finalA great big HAPPY BIRTHDAY goes out to my delightful friend and brilliant critique partner, Anne Calhoun!

Yes, she was born on September 11, which is a date shaded with bad feels now. In fact, 9/11/01 was a milestone birthday for her – and she was in Manhattan.

Right?

I think we can make THIS birthday a titch more fun!!

In one of those serendipitous co-occurrences of fortune, Anne and I have almost overlapping release dates this week, too. Rogue’s Paradise, book 3 in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy, came out on Monday, and Anne’s fabulously sexy Afternoon Delight, first in her new IRRESISTIBLE series (who can resist that??) comes out next Tuesday.

So many things worth celebrating at once that I just can’t even!

Therefore, I propose a game. For the next 24 hours, from midnight Central US time on September 11 up until the hands of the clock switch over to September 12, I want you to give Anne gifts.

Virtual ones.

Send her pictures of what you think she’d love. Tweet them to us, at @jeffekennedy and/or @annecalhoun – be sure to use the hashtag #annebday. Or paste them to our Facebook pages! Stick that #annebday hashtag on there and put them on https://www.facebook.com/Author.Jeffe.Kennedy and/or https://www.facebook.com/anne.calhoun. We’ll be picking our favorites, too, and sharing them. Be creative! Have FUN!

And….

Oh, yeah – we’ll be giving away books! I’ll be giving away two digital copies of Anne’s Afternoon Delight and Anne will give likewise two of my Rogue’s Paradise. International is okay, since these are digital!

We’ll also be giving away each other’s backlists. Watch our Facebook and Twitter feeds – especially that #annebday hashtag – for flash giveaways from us and our partygirl friends!

Can’t wait for this party to get started!

~runs off to chill champagne and heat up dancing boys~

Back Off, Man – I’m a Scientist!

Win-A-Book WednesdayRelease Week celebrations continue and today brings TWO opportunities to win one of the Covenant of Thorns books of your choice! All depends on where you are in the series and your personal preference. Over at Here Be Magic, it’s Win-A-Book Wednesday with a Rafflecopter giveaway and Amy at So Many Reads is hosting a giveaway along with an interview with me about the trilogy and her lovely review of Rogue’s Paradise, which she calls her favorite. I’m also at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers blog, talking about the reader responses I’ve gotten over the last couple of years to Gwynn being a female scientist.

Delicious Quotes and Reviews

BxGc3zrIEAAG7nkI love how Carina Press puts together these quotes from the books for release week.

As part of the ongoing celebration of the culmination of Rogue and Gwynn’s adventures in the Covenant of Thorns, I’m at the Carina Press blog today, talking about the best way to end a series. I’m also over at Jen’s That’s What I’m Talking About blog with an excerpt from Rogue’s Paradise and there will be a review posted there later today. Speaking of reviews, the fabulous E and Has at The Bookpushers came out with their joint review of Rogue’s Paradise today – very fun to read!

Rogue’s Paradise Release Day!

Rogue's ParadiseToday marks the end of an odyssey for me – the release of Rogue’s Paradise – the third (and final?) book in my Covenant of Thorns series. So many feels about this. I’ll be in lots of places talking about it. For today, you can find an excerpt at the Contemporary Romance Cafe and join in a discussion about Fantasy Romance at Jill Archer’s blog. We’re looking for other recommendations, too!

Making Conversations Be More Than Talking

012It’s a funny thing, living in the desert. Like getting junk mail that so does not apply.

So, you all know that I’ve been busily drafting Rogue’s Paradise, the third book in my Covenant of Thorns trilogy. Well, maybe you don’t breathlessly follow my daily doings and so wouldn’t know, but I am. And – I think this isn’t spoilery – there are *ahem* dragons in it. Because, you know, they were in the first and second books. I’m just indicating the trajectory continues is all.

But it’s funny because, as I deal with the ins and outs of dragons and their role in my overall story, I keep remembering this conversation I had a few months back.

I was at a writers conference and, when I arrived at the area where the workshops were being held, I saw Agent Pam talking to this guy. She spotted me walking up and introduced me to the guy. I can’t recall exactly what she said, but it was along the lines of “Jeffe writes fantasy and [Guy] writes some kind of fantasy, too.” And then she ducked away really quick, which should have given me a clue. But I was freshly arrived, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, feeling generous and friendly, so I made a little joke, something like “oh, one of those, huh, who doesn’t know it exactly what kind of fantasy it might be?”

I mean, come on – I have internet conversations almost every day where we debate if something is epic fantasy or urban fantasy or contemporary fantasy or fantasy romance. It’s not like our stories come pre-pigeonholed.

 At any rate, Guy gives me a look (you know, the mansplaining kind) and says to me, “No, I know exactly what kind of fantasy I write. It’s [insert some way-too-specfic term here].” Seriously I can’t remember what he said, because as soon as the words came out of his mouth, I started to glaze over. Then he proceeded to give me his resume, which largely included his “near-misses” along with the books he had written. A near-miss happens when, say, your book makes it all the way to the second meeting of the editorial team at TOR and they ultimately decide to pass. I total “I coulda been a contenda” moment. Agonizing for the author, yes. Not a good way of introducing yourself.

Writers, of course, discuss and commiserate over the near-misses all the time. But they never count for making you more legit or important. (Pro-tip, there.)

Anyway, Guy tells me about a near-miss. Then also tells me how this prestigious role-playing game (which meant nothing to me, since I don’t know that world) wanted him to write a spin-off of book. He, however, refused! “They wanted to me to write about dragons sitting around discussing war,” Guy said, in a disgusted and dismissive tone. “No amount of money would get me to write about a conversation. I write action!”

Okay then.

So, as I write about my dragons – who are, by the way, not sitting around discussing war, for what it’s worth, though there may be other, similar conversations – I keep hearing Guy’s voice. And thinking how he just didn’t get it.

I mean, yes, write action! That’s great stuff. Nothing wrong with writing action. A good writer, however, can make a conversation into a fight scene. Or a love scene. Hell, look at Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants or Dorothy Parker’s Here We Are. Conversely, I’ve read tons of fight and battle scenes that I skimmed because they were all about the blow-by-blow and contained no emotional tension.

I think that’s why the conversation with Guy keeps coming back to me. The thing is, while the STORY is key, it’s the writing that makes it come alive. Written well, a conversation adds to the overall tension and climactic build of the plot. Written poorly, the most dramatic fight scene can, well, droop and fail to satisfy. 

I’ll leave you with a snippet from the amazing Dorothy Parker’s Here We Are.

“Well, you see, sweetheart,” he said, “we’re not really married yet. I mean. I mean—well, things will be different afterwards. Oh, hell. I mean, we haven’t been married very long.”

“No,” she said.

“Well, we haven’t got much longer to wait now,” he said. “I mean—well, we’ll be in New York in about twenty minutes. Then we can have dinner, and sort of see what we feel like doing. Or I mean. Is there anything special you want to do tonight?”

“What?” she said.

“What I mean to say,” he said, “would you like to go to a show or something?”

“Why, whatever you like,” she said. “I sort of didn’t think people went to theaters and things on their—I mean, I’ve got a couple of letters I simply must write. Don’t let me forget.”

“Oh,” he said. “You’re going to write letters tonight?”

Guy would no doubt disapprove, but something also tells me he wouldn’t get it.