First Cup of Coffee – May 17, 2022




Transcript
00:00.92
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. What do you think should I just say that I should probably like stick to None thing. This is the story of my. Writing life that I don’t stick to None thing today is Tuesday may none outside again. Beautiful morning running a little bit later this morning because the man suggested a walk then we took a walk. It was lovely. He needs to exercise more so I was like yeah I’ll take a walk with you I was seeing what you can see of my gardening stuff there. Got a little bit nicer background now see I’ve got my moved my plants outside I don’t think I mentioned that yesterday because I sort of got off on this whole rant about details details shmi tells right? Um, yeah, so. Ifinally moved all the plants outside decide that the terrible winds were done with and so it was time to do that isaac I also didn’t mention that we had a really nice time on Sunday because I wanted to go to the nursery get a few more plants I got that nice orange poppy see that. Pretty I got a pink poppy too. For some reason I have trouble growing poppies here I don’t know why I don’t know if it’s too dry. They don’t over winter I’ve also realized belatedly because I do not keep a chart spreadsheet of my garden, Alexia. People really do that I am not see okay tangent. But and I’ve mentioned this before that my friend telling me many years ago that she had read that people who have uber organized lives tend to have very messy gardens. And people with messier lives have very organized gardens I am the first she told me about it because she was so incredibly amused that this was like me in a nutshell because it’s like yes and I’ve always been this way. I’m the meticulous volcano right? Leo Virgo Cusp and my life is very calm and neat and ritualized and organized I like it that way I like it peaceful no drama. No um, you know what.

05:18.32
jeffekennedy
Best I can do it no unexpected things but my garden is chaos which I like it that way and she was so amused that this is like exactly who I am I like the absolute. You put my picture next to it. So anyway, I was realizing as I was planting some new stuff that none of my echanasia over winter I have planted I got really serious about it and I think maybe I didn’t notice last year. Maybe I forgot. I can’t remember which year it was but I’ve planted I bet none a connection purple comb flower various stages bear root full plant none of them over winner. So I don’t know our winners are very dry. So maybe they dry out too much. Maybe they get munched by the go fars, you know and people laugh when I say I don’t know how to categorize my podcast is it. A fitness podcast is it a writing podcast is it a. Gardening podcast I don’t know.

08:11.66
jeffekennedy
That was funny like little rock dropped or something ghost. At a dream the other night that I attended my own funeral guys ever had that kind of dream. First time I’ve ever had it. It was funny because I was with my friends and I was going to something else or thought I was going to something else and we were going to this huge auditorium. And there were all of these people here and they had my picture up on you know, like the poster on the easel like they do for memorial services and stuff and um, like little. You know the little pamphlets that they give out at funerals and there were a lot of people there I mean it was a big auditorium and I was like why are there so many people here at my funeral and I don’t know most of them. What does it mean. I was just really kind of funny and it was I wasn’t sad. In fact, I kept thinking they’re all could be really surprised when they find out I’m not dead. Um, so. So that was a tangent and I shouldn’t have gotten on the tantret because now I’ve forgotten what I was going to say not knowing how to categorize my podcast. What did I start out with sorry you guys. It’s like the final two weeks of finishing the book. Plus the nebula conference what brilliant timing on my part and by this I mean it was not brilliant timing I did. Okay yesterday I didn’t get None words but I got enough to keep on track and I’ve got. None words 80400 so I’m getting close. Um, especially since I figure in the neighborhood of um, None to None are going to be my 4 epilogues.

12:44.62
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Dang I could we wish I remember what I was starting out say going to the garden center. We had fun who knows. But anyway it was fun going to the garden center and it was fun that David went with me. He doesn’t always feel like going out and doing stuff but he felt like doing that and then we went to whole foods something else. We never do because we wanted to look for some good fresh fish and Sunday morning is really time good time. Go shopping at whole foods. And yes, it was expensive even with the prime discount but we did get some really good fresh fish in fresh cherries. There was a lady ahead of me in line who had gotten the same cherries we had in those none cherries that we’ve seen this season. And we’ve gotten 2 bags of it without looking at the price and it turned out they were like $15 a bag. Ah $8 a pound none a pound um and £2 in a bag. So yeah, those were expensive cherries. But the lady in line ahead of me was questioning how much she’d been charged for the cherries and they said oh but there’s seven ninety nine a pound and she said no, they’re supposed to be none of pound and she whipped out her phone and she was showing the ad and. I’ll tell you what this kfuffle took a long time to settle. Ah and I mean we were good. It was gorgeous day. We were having fun out doing our Sunday shopping and she kept apologizing to me and I was like no no worries at all I said we bought some too so you’re you know, doing a service for me and I said it drives me crazy. When it’s a different price on the bin versus at the register or in an ad you know because I think a lot of people don’t pay attention.

16:59.98
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So we did that and then David suggested we go out to breakfast so we went out to breakfast and that was lovely too and then I came back and planted my plants and that was fun. So yeah I think um. Started into that whole chaos. Oh I guess the whole point was that I I don’t know what happened to the echhanasia things just don’t come back and then I forget about them until like years later when I’m like but wonder what happened to my whole plan to plant a bunch of Ehanesia and make more ihanneia tincture. So this time I um I was complaining to David when we were at the nursery that I couldn’t couldn’t seem to get poppies to grow here and he said why not they should you grew them and learn me and I’m like I know I don’t know what it is know and maybe our son’s too intense I don’t know. And he said well maybe you should try planting them in a different place and which was sort of like oh well gully g whiz maybe I will do that because there’s this one part of the garden that is a little bit of a barren wasteland. It’s very sandy. There. It’s I don’t know. I’m not sure why but things do not thrive there and I keep planting new stuff there because it is the barren wasteland but now I’m realizing that I’m also maybe dooming things to die. So I planted the poppies over here to see if I could get them to grow. There had to move the computer a little bit because the sun is coming so um, what else do I have to say I know I was thinking about things and I was going to write them down and then I did not being bad and wrong. I think I’m going to scoot over here. So I’m not leaning okay, that’s better. It’s whoops have to do this angle a little bit there. Ah the sunshine angle this time of day. So nicer view for me. Not so nice for you. If you’re on video which I don’t you know I don’t look at my stats much but that’s a whole nother whole nother discussion. So let’s see. Yeah I’ve just been thinking hard about the book. How to finish the book. Um and reading.

22:23.30
jeffekennedy
Still doing this read of this series and picking up these other novellas and something that I am considering doing is and I had this long conversation with Grace on Saturday because I think she should consider doing it too. But. A lot of people have asked me about writing from rafe’s point of view from the mark of the talla and he is the only one that I’ve never really written. Well there’s a couple I haven’t written from Raeve’s point of view I’ve not written from marsalll’s point of view 0 point of view careen or crawl. Um, would be hard to write from Karl’s point of view but I had always thought with the None kingdoms books that especially when I was younger and more idealistic than I am now. That I would eventually get my Hbo of me and miniseries. But that series this is what we all think right and I thought that when I got my Hbo miniseries for the Twelve kingdoms one of the things I would do is I would go in and I would write the intervening storylines like what was going on with the people who are not on the page since those books are written from none person point of view of whoever’s book. It is so like the first book. It’s all from Andi’s point of view and but there are other things going on. Ah you know because that’s the thing about first person point of view. So I love first personson point of view because it’s very intimate but also it imposes a certain kind of discipline because the story can only take place where the None person narrator. Is observing so you only know what they hear about so there are all these other so things going on in other parts of you know the world other characters and so forth that Andy only learns about right? We only know about it because she learns about it. So I had always thought you know it would be really cool to write these other storylines and that I would do that I wasn’t planning to be the screenwriter. But I thought I’d write these other storylines I mean it still could happen. You know people get these shows or that um you know like Patricia Briggs is getting ah.

27:59.88
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a show for Mercy Thompson and when did those books come out.

28:15.26
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So sorry about that it wasn’t letting me pause. So the none book in the mercy thompson series is moon called and that came out in 2006 you know so 16 years she’s just now getting her series. So anyway, I was thinking recently why wait although it’s not like I’m running out of stuff to write but would it be interesting to rewrite those 3 Twelve kingdoms books at least from the hero’s point of view. I know this is kind of in vogue right now but partly because it’s in vogue. It’s um, it’s an interesting way to regenerate interest in a series I think and I’m observing my own reader behavior. Going to this series which you guys could totally guess what it is at this point. Um, but I’m not going to confirm nor deny since I’ve been complaining about it. I also love it I mean that’s the thing is I really love this series and so it’s been educational to go back and reread. And I know something I was going to say earlier because yesterday I was talking about how I thought that I had not finished that um, whatever it was book None and now I’m on book None something like that. Um. I I have totally I thought maybe I would have to buy book 6 because I thought I fell off the series but I had book None on my Kindle and and it’s familiar. So it’s like did I just like not finish book None and skip to book None or what it’s before I was tracking. Which books I read so now I’m just really curious. What went on but I didn’t remember easily the second half of that book 5 so I don’t know what I did so anyway I um. Starting to think about other things and I can’t do that and talk at the same time I’m thinking about that it could be fun and interesting to redo at least rewrite Mark the Tala from Rayfe’s point of view. Um, because what I’m doing with this series is like I said I’m going back and I’m buying the novellas I didn’t get and I’m probably going to buy whichever book will find out where did I fall off this series for real because I’ll probably end up buying the rest of the books. Um.

33:38.96
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And it has been a great way to get me thinking about this series again. So I think that there’s something to be said for that. Um, there are readers who will say that it’s a cop out. Ah, and yeah. I mean yeah, but it’s also like a good way to pay the mortgage and also provide fan service because I know people ask me about Rayfe’s point of view all the time I don’t get it so much for the others other than my assistant Carien campaigning for Zyr’s point of view and I don’t know Carien – would you be happy if I rewrote um, what is it? the arrows of the heart if I rewrote that from Zyr’s point of view or does it feel like too much the same story. She wants her Zyr novella she wants. Um. She is none? That’s all there is to it but you know I did those novellas from Ash’s point of view and Harlan’s point of view and I’m my forgetting any I don’t know. See that’s the thing you start to forget your own books too. Anyway, it’s not like I’m running out of stuff to do but um I think that that could be fun. Um, so what else I told you got great magics out in audio book I told you that. Sorcerous Moons is on KU with the new covers I told you that that I’m getting new covers for covenant of thorns that were very excited. Oh and I was going to follow up on this because I had a conversation with Carien – Assistant Carien who has read all my books which is one of her wonderful qualities I talked to her about deleting that scene that I’ve been talking about in Rogue’s Pawn in covenant of thorns and she agreed it should be deleted. She said that? yeah she thought it didn’t match the tone of the rest of the book. So there. We are um and and Megan Ciana Doidge who listens in comments sometimes said made a very good point that just because Jim and I would go back and look to see what had been changed does not mean that the normal reader will do that. I fully am aware that I am not a normal reader if I ever was I stopped a long time ago being a writer reader is different reading what that editor bring analytical bring. So.

39:07.14
jeffekennedy
I am going to delete that scene and then I it was funny because Carien and I were chatting like on Google chat and I said well if anything occurs to you in the other books that should be changed. Let me know and she’s like well actually there is something. And it was something that had never occurred to me that um that she thought I needed to clarify and clean up I was like oh all, right? and opinions. So any of you out there who loved covenant of thorns. Um. If you think that there’s stuff that needs to be tweaked or clarified etc. Here’s your chance and and thank you all for the advice that you have been passing along and I appreciate the support and on that note I’m going to go get to work. And I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take care bye bye.

The Best Title That Never Was

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week concerns the reality of having to change names. We’re asking the crew if they’ve ever had to change the name(s) of a character or place in a book after we’d drafted it? Who is the character who will forever go by their “unpublished” name in our minds?

For me, it wasn’t a character. But I will tell you about the title I wish I hadn’t changed. 

A Better Answer to: Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Last week I attended SFWA’s Nebula Conference and got to meet our 2018 Grandmaster, Peter S. Beagle. I legit teared up when we talked and he signed my battered old copy I received forever and a day ago. I felt like a teenager again and all those feelings that led into my early love of fantasy rose up and swamped me.

The conference in 2019 will be at the Marriott Warner Center in Los Angeles. I highly recommend it! It’s become my absolute favorite gathering of SFF writers and industry professionals.

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven is “Where do you get your ideas – the least popular question ever.” Come on over for three avenues I rely on for ideas. 

 

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!

Patreon Treats Are Up!

Detente and CircumstancesBox of Rogue's Pawn print copiesI got a surprise box in the mail the other day of ROGUE’S PAWN in print! Harlequin decided to resurrect this, my first fantasy romance and my first novel, and send print copies via their Direct-to-Consumer subscription program. I don’t think it will be up for general sale in print (ebooks are available, though), but I do have all of these lovely copies! If you’d like one, just drop me a note with your physical mailing address. 

The Covenant of Thorns trilogy, not incidentally, is super fun because of the chapter titles, like the one above. They’re all some kind of joke, even if they amuse only myself. 

In other news, I put up my first Patreon posts! I’ve got a public post up on overtraining syndrome for writers on my Patreon for Writers. I also have a special treat only for patrons on my Patreon for Readers. It’s a from Rayfe’s point of view, where he first learns about the betrothal, years before the beginning of The Mark of the Tala. Aside from being read aloud at the Coastal Magic Convention, no one else has seen it. A little exclusive content for my wonderful patrons! A special exclusive Thing is coming up next week just for writers on their Patreon page. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Great News for ROGUE’S PAWN!

Rogus_Pawn_finalA lot of you have been with me for a long time. In fact, I happen to know that more than a few of you discovered me as an author via my first full-length novel, ROGUE’S PAWN, book one of my COVENANT OF THORNS trilogy. It was also my first fantasy romance, though I didn’t know what genre that was when I wrote it.

Well, I just received news that ROGUE’S PAWN will be seeing print! The book will be part of Harlequin’s Direct-to-Consumer shipment in February. For those who don’t know, this is a program where readers subscribe and received a shipment of romances each month. This means a LOT of new people will see this book! I really hope they love it.

This came as a total surprise, seeing as how this book has been out over three years now. But I’m also celebrating the serendipity here – this was a last-minute decision that came right after my move to go to writing full time. I’m calling this a yes vote from the universe.

Feeling pretty good over here!

Knowing When to Stop

Kindle ranking #2A little while back I mentioned that monsoon season was starting in New Mexico, bringing all that metaphorical and literal goodness to my life. Such a rain of blessings, indeed! Carina Press put Rogue’s Pawn on sale for 99 cents (through July 19, if you haven’t snapped up that deal yet) and it was featured on Book Bub. Amazing results in that it hit #2 in Fantasy Romance. Right behind Dean Koontz, which had us all scratching our heads. Turns out he’s doing more romance and less horror these days.

Still – me and ol’Dean, yanno? Such a major rush to see this book ranked so high.

Br765aqCEAAwF4XI saw this go by on Twitter this week – Henry Miller’s set of “commandments” for himself on getting his work done. I’d never seen it before and thought it’s so very smart.

One aspect I like best here is that he made this list for himself. Who knows, in today’s era he’d maybe have put it up on his blog. But then, he’s clearly addressing himself. I particularly love that he forbids himself from adding more material to “Black Spring.” There are a lot of great nuggets here – the acknowledgment that “creating” doesn’t always feel like it can happen every day, but work can. To work with pleasure and not make it into a chore. The one that really struck me, however – maybe because I’m not sure I’ve seen another writer encounter this – is #4: Stop at the appointed time.

I’ve discovered this is really key for me. We all have the bad days, the tooth-pulling ones. Where every word feels hard-fought. On the worst ones, I don’t get my wordcount and that bothers me. I’ve discovered, though, that sometimes that happens. Sometimes the story needs to cook or I just don’t have the mojo that day. If I’ve put in the diligent effort, I try to cut myself the slack and let it go. Usually the next day is much better. Sometimes I’ll have several days in a row like this and I just have to chip away at it.

The reverse is the true glory. The days that every writer lives for – when the words pour out in a rush, as if from another place, and I only have to type as fast as I can to get it all down. On those days, it can be VERY tempting to keep going. Especially since I usually have time, because I got the wordcount fast and easily. Often I go over on those days by 100 or 200 words.

And I find myself thinking, why not go for an extra 1K?

I used to do this, but I don’t let myself anymore. Which is why I’m fascinated that Henry Miller apparently set this rule for himself, also.

It’s important for a working writer to learn to write through mood. In essence, you can’t let the bad days get you down. I think it’s equally important not to let the good days carry you away. Inevitably, if I milk that flow and push for extra words, push past the appointed time, I incur some damage.

I’m not sure why this is, it just is.

(Okay – I suspect it has something to do with breaking an agreement with my subconscious self, but that gets into complicated territory fast.)

What kind of damage? Usually I’ll trigger a crash and then I’ll get a run of days of shortfall. So much so that, in the overall scheme, I’ll end up behind my timeline instead of ahead of it. Totally not worth it. It would be interesting to know if Henry encountered the same thing.

So this is my rule for myself now, too. I stop at the appointed time or at my wordcount goal and call it done. Has anyone else encountered this? Either in an artistic pursuit or some other arena?

Hope you all have a fabulous weekend!

Closing the Circuit with Readers – Plus Voltage!

the dance 2 croppedLovely shot (IMO) of my stepson and his bride dancing at their New Year’s Eve wedding. There’s something so classic about this moment, the “first” dance. Two people full of hope and love.

We come together over these things, don’t we?

So, an unusual thing happened along those lines.

It started when my longtime friend and CP, Allison Pang, discovered the easter egg I hid for her in Rogue’s Possession, and wrote a blog post about it. I wondered if anyone would notice it, but Allison and I think it’s hysterically funny, which is always good enough for us. 

 Well, turned out one of Allison’s readers saw the blog post and went out and read Rogue’s Pawn and Rogue’s Possession. I know this because she emailed me to say so. Now, let me say right now that getting messages from readers is a kick that never loses its impact. It’s something not easy to explain – and maybe something that I would never have predicted would mean so much – but hearing from someone who just loved loved loved your story completes a kind of circuit. It’s like in physics, where the electrical current doesn’t flow until the circle is complete. When someone writes or talks to me about one of my books, it’s like they bring all that energy back around and it lights me up.

And this was even better.

The lovely and enthused Heather wrote this to me:

So I’m still basking in the afterglow of Rogue’s Possession. When stories affect me like this I usually create a music playlist for the book/series. I put my IPod on shuffle and see what comes up and fits the mood the book evokes in me and fits the story or characters. The first song that came up was one of my all time favorites from nineties industrial rock, Waking Up Beside You by Stabbing Westward. It was never released on the radio but it is my favorite on their album Darkest Days. I don’t know what your music tastes are but this song is so passionate about something so simple with an intense rock sound becoming so complex. It reminded me of Rogue and Gwynn immediately, a couple who is passionate, intense, and complex but crave simplicity in their lives. I see the song from both of their points of view. I hope you give it a listen, but if not no biggie. I just wanted to share it with you.

 Of course I listened to the song! I mean, right?? And I shelled out my 99cents and bought it. It moves me deeply, both how perfect the song is for Rogue & Gwynn, and that Heather shared it with me. This was like completing the circuit and amping the voltage. I love that I wrote about this feeling and she reflected it back. A shared moment.

I’m still high from it.

She’s right on, so I’m sharing it here.