First Cup of Coffee – April 21, 2022

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Um, delicious. 1 thing I like about these chimes. The outdoor chimes is that they ah the tone lingers humming in the air like that isn’t that lovely today is thursday. April Twenty first back out in the grape arbor as those of you on video will note and yeah, we have had such high winds so it’s a combination of things. The recent high winds are blowing in the. Tumblewes which we have copious numbers of because we had a robust monsoon season last summer and with all that robustness comes lots of brain means lots of plant matter that springs up and so. Have lots and lots of um I don’t want to say dead. It’s it’s like cured vegetation. It’s part of the natural cycle because it dried out over the winter and the tumble weeds are that’s part of their thing is they are made to tumble which means that when they cure they easily pop up off of their. Roots and or so I don’t even know the mechanism but there’s some sort of suffering there and then they tumble cat scattering their seeds and people are always surprised by this. Um I decided to move slightly so you could see the flowering crab Apple tree. A little bit better of you but people most people are surprised by this when I tell them that tumbleweeds are not indigenous to the American West They are an exotic which is part of what makes them so pernicious. Ah David was commenting on this the other day. Both of us being child. Childs children of the american west me growing up in Denver Colorado him up in Northern Wyoming Buffalo wyoming and he was saying something he likes watching westerns which I really don’t but neither one of us is much into western kitchen at all. And my contention has always been that is because the western kitchen has very little to do with actual life in the west and so he was commenting about the the wren is up here talking to me he was talking about how western movies.

Don’t accurately portray the west at all I was like yeah I know right? and you know we were talking about the tumbleweed thing you know you cannot have a western movie without a tumbleweed tumbling across a road and yet those are exotics. Ah you know say with horses horses are not indigenous to North America they’re they’re an old world. Species ah horses only made it to the american west because the spanish conquistadors brought them. Ah you know so the whole idea of people get very caught up and the romanticism of the wild horses you know and saving the wild horses and oh you know that’s. Part of the natural land to have the wild horses and it’s like well actually no horses double weeds introduced not part of the american west at all and now me with my walled garden here in Santa Fe New Mexico um ah the winds are wafting the tumbleweeds over and piling them up so I actually took a few moments to ah de-t tumbleweed the background but there’s a whole bunch over in this corner. Um, actually you could probably see it if you’re on video if you look over towards the bird bath over there. See all of those tumbleweeds piled up in there. This garden was clean before this but no, it’ll it’ll stop eventually. One would hope I bought. My hanging plants for this summer I’ll show you guys those see look that oh beautiful beautiful petunia baskets sitting there. Um on the floor of the gray harbor because we’re it’s supposed to freeze Saturday our frost free date is may like May twenty second it’s our last frost. And normally it’s not that late. But I called my favorite nursery the other day and what was it Tuesday I called them to find out when they were going to get their hanging baskets in because they have the best ones best ones best price are they beautiful you know and said why’t you gonna get them in and she said oh we’re already almost sold out I was like fuck I was afraid of that because they they do this every year like they don’t have them don’t have them don’t have them and and then all a sudden they’re greenhouse that grows them just a little ways away from here sends them all and. There is like a secret signal you guys that I do not know I’m signed up for their newsletter. They don’t ever send their newsletter They don’t update their website I mean in many ways got to love them right? How do people know so she says come today.

So I actually took time out of my day on Tuesday even though I had like other things going on and did an emergency trip to the nursery and bought all of my hanging plants which I’m not going to hang in because it’s going to freeze on Saturday and so I will have to bring them. Inside is this what everybody does I feel like there is I’ve been here that’ll be 13 years in August and I feel like there’s still this Santa Fe mystique that I’m kind of missing out on that I don’t know how things work. And if I do find out of course I will not tell you guys because then I will be in on the secret and you will not get to know. So something that’s been on my mind actually hold on a moment I changed my mind I was going to do something but could wait these need to be watered. But I don’t have to compulsively do it right now. My coffee is hot I shall chat um, ah, total aside but I don’t know grace if you are keeping up with the podcast probably not but Grace is just having a shit year. You guys Grace Draven my bestie and I was chatting with her some yesterday. Ah, send her some love the woman needs some love. It’s not her it’s her family everything in her family is just like go on topsyurvy. So um, go on my mind. So I’ve been thinking about. Volunteer ethic being current president of SFWA Science fiction and fantasy writers association. Um, it’s a volunteer job. Some people seem to be surprised by this It’s a volunteer job. Yeah I do not get paid. In fact, our whole board of directors is a volunteer board of directors because we are a five zero one C Three charitable organization. We cannot pay our board of directors because when you run a charity and you get. Tax exempt status for running a charitable organization. 1 of the stipulations is that the people running the organization cannot be using the charitable funds to line their own pockets.

And for those of you who were not around in the 80 s and 90 s when some of this shit went down you go there were what was it Unicef. There were a couple of high profile cases where the. People who are on the boards of directors of these really big charitable organizations were taking most of the money to enrich themselves and the rest you know, very small percentages were going to the. Charities or the people they purported to be supporting siffa exists to support writers and the genre and the genre community and volunteers are our lifeblood. We have a few people on staff. Ah, and we have a few people that we contract work out to occasionally. But for the most part it’s run by volunteers and we recently had a deal where um, a volunteer demanded to be paid a whole lot of money to. Continue their work and and I’d explain that we can’t do that and and the person became very upset with me and accused me of trying to bespirch their reputation by it I don’t know what? all. And and 1 thing this person kept saying was when I volunteered for this position I understood it would be paid and so I had an you know an in ego montoo moment where I was saying you know you keep using this word volunteer and I don’t think it means what you think it means um and it. It’s been on my mind obviously because this was a difficult situation but it’s it’s interesting to note that maybe is the volunteer ethic not as strongly understood in younger generations now. Um, I know that it’s always been a thing where the volunteer ethic is very strong in particular families I think people either learn it in their family or they don’t and I also know that volunteering comes from a place of privilege and this is something I’ve talked about um, a great deal. Especially with you know, helping marginalized people become more involved in some of these organizations where you know those of us who can afford to volunteer huge amounts of our time. Um, you know you tend to get really privileged people running things and you don’t always want that situation right.

We don’t want that situation but it’s a delicate balance. Um, you know I think we could argue about whether I can afford to volunteer this as much of my time but I also grew up in a family where we volunteered a lot of our time. Um, whether we could afford it or not now. Obviously we always had that level of privilege where we weren’t worried about a roof over our heads and the example I often think of is you know like the single parent usually a single mother who is working you know sometimes a couple of jobs. Plus single parenting her children and every moment of her day is crammed with things that she must do ah and and we could talk about that you know, maybe you know parenting in a way is the ultimate volunteer job right? You you don’t get paid to be a parent. And you you give everything to it. Um, it’s it’s kind of an obligation. You can’t walk away from it but 1 of our other volunteers that we were in a meeting yesterday we were thanking her for sticking with it and she’s like oh I’ll stick with it. She said. That’s the midwesterner in me, we do not give up made me laugh. But these things do come from our our raising right? Whether or not we believe in in sticking a thing through all the way. Ah. Whether we volunteer time. Um, my family was always very politically active. Both of my parents volunteered a whole lot in politics and sometimes volunteer positions lead to jobs like my mom. Um, after she was widowed when I was only 3 she had money supporting her from the air force from my father’s death but she couldn’t you know she she needed things to do she needed to occupy herself and she began volunteering for a political campaign for those of you familiar with Denver history. She. Volunteered on Dale Tooley’s campaign for district attorney and after he was elected. He offered her a job sometimes it works that way. However, it’s not it’s not a direct line. Um, and maybe this is like an inside thing that. People who are coming at this system you know again, the mystique how do people know when the hanging plants are ready. How do you know whether or not maybe you’ll get a job. Um, and I know that it’s partly our responsibility to.

To clarify these things for the community to let people know how this stuff works. Um, one of the things I talk about often about volunteering for civil and volunteering for anything in general is it does a few things. It. It allows you to participate in the organization in a way that being a a member doesn’t you you get to know people because you’re working together with people on stuff. It’s just part of how I don’t know life and humanity works. Ah you network with people people know who you are. So that when you come back to people and say hey will you help promote my book they they you’re not coming to them from out of the blue back to the hanging baskets. You know it’s like I feel like I need a friend at the nursery um I need to make friends with somebody there. Who will slip me the news. The hanging plants are in not that I’m obsessed people. Another thing that volunteering does and I have said this out loud to a number of our volunteers who have apologized for. Lack of experience or for messing something up as I will tell them. It is not a big deal because part of the point of volunteering is you get to practice new skills and your life isn’t on the line. You know your mortgage isn’t on the line. If you screw up you screw up and we fix it but volunteering is a great way to to try out new stuff. Ah, but I this seems to be coming up against some of the. The other ethics lately about people deserve to be paid for their work which is yes, yes, absolutely people deserve to be paid for their work but we also rely on volunteerism to make a lot of stuff run so we can’t pay everybody. We. We are not allowed to pay people even if we ah had the money the infinite funds to do it. We are not allowed to do it because I Rs and and every once while someone accuses me of using the irs as an excuse. And it’s like yeah, no, this is a thing. It’s a real thing and as president of the organization. Um, it falls to me and the board of directors to be fiscally responsible for how the organization is run. So if we lose our tax exempt status. It’s my fault.

So sometimes I have to be a hard ass which I don’t like being but there we are. But I talked some time ago about um, people you know, requiring everyone who works on a convention to to be volunteers not paying anybody. And how that leaves out the marginalized groups that leaves out our single mother who can’t afford to volunteer her time. She’s got to be bringing that money in and this other writer came to me and said well do you think that this one guy who runs a convention is. Privileged because I don’t see it I think he’s working class and I’m like okay well yeah, let’s take him as an example. Yes, he’s working class but he’s also single um has a full time job has a partner has a house of straight white male you know playing on. Un easy mode as John Scalzi says and yeah there’s privilege to that I have a lot of privilege I mean even though sometimes I feel like I’m piecing things together from you know month to month day to day and you know subsisting on. Writing income probably subsisting is the wrong word because we obviously have a pretty nice life but a lot of this is what we bought from working from many many years but I also come from families who are well off and and we have a safety net that a lot of people don’t have. So I’m going to continue this tomorrow because I want to talk more about art and business and so forth, but those are my thoughts on this today and I might go and ask some of the younger people what they think about volunteering and you know I can’t tell if I’m running across. Particular people who have not run grown up with a volunteer of ethic in their families or if if we’re not communicating well intergenerationally or what have you so we shall see but. Ren up above me again. Hi actually I think that’s a little Bush tip. Ah, anyway you all have a wonderful Thursday and I will talk to you all tomorrow take care bye bye.

Staycations and Refilling the Well

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is whatever is on our minds. Come on over for the results of my staycation!


Also, today is the last day to preorder THE LOST PRINCESS RETURNS at the lower sale price! The print version is also now available!

More than two decades have gone by since Imperial Princess Jenna, broken in heart and body, fled her brutal marriage—and the land of her birth. She’s since become Ivariel: warrior, priestess of Danu, trainer of elephants, wife and mother. Wiser, stronger, happier, Ivariel has been content to live in her new country, to rest her battered self, and to recover from the trauma of what happened to her when she was barely more than a girl.

But magic has returned to the world—abruptly and with frightening force—and Ivariel takes that profound change as a sign that it’s time to keep a promise she made to the sisters she left behind. Ivariel must leave the safety she’s found and return to face the horrors she fled.

As Ivariel emerges from hiding, she discovers that her vicious brother is now Emperor of Dasnaria, and her much-hated mother, the Dowager Empress Hulda, is aiding him in his reign of terror. Worse, it seems that Hulda’s resurrection of the tainted god Deyrr came about as a direct result of Jenna’s flight long ago.

It’s up to Ivariel—and the girl she stopped being long ago—to defeat the people who cruelly betrayed her, and to finally liberate her sisters. Determined to cleanse her homeland of the evil that nearly destroyed her, Ivariel at last returns to face the past.

But this time, she’ll do it on her own terms.

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   Or Buy Direct from Jeffe

THE FIERY CROWN today at GRRM’s Beastly Books!

Check out this super cool video of THE FIERY CROWN from George R.R. Martin’s Beastly Books here in Santa Fe!

This was supposed to be a live event, but it’s virtual now. Instead of a live interview, Melinda Snodgrass, of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, interviewed me via Zoom and we had a great conversation. You can watch it this afternoon at 4pm Mountain Time here. You can also support this wonderful local indie bookstore by ordering a signed copy of THE FIERY CROWN from them – plus get it well before the May 26 release date! (Or you can preorder via the links below.)

Afterward, I’ll be doing a Facebook Live *and* Instagram Live Q&A. Look for me on Facebook or Instagram, according to your preference. I’ll be on once the Beastly Book event ends, around 5pm Mountain Time.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is “Updated writing tools/apps – what’s new and different in your writing world.” My answer? Umm… nothing? I’m pretty happy with my current system, which I’ve been using for years now. I write in Word, track everything on my own spreadsheets I’ve meticulously retooled in Excel, and I save everything in Dropbox. It works well for me and I see no reason to add more “tools.” Come on over for my (non-) answer!


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