First Cup of Coffee – April 3, 2023

What to do when an author’s editor leaves the house, the one question to ask career authors, studying movies made from books to understand theme and what subplots/side characters aren’t important.

First Cup of Coffee – March 22, 2022

Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author fantasy romance and romantic fantasy I’m here with my first cup of coffee but I left the spoon in it’s a good thing that I noticed that. Before I sipped today is who knows Tuesday March Twenty second I could show you guys this little spoon for those of you on video. It’s um, make sure it’s the right way up. It wasn’t I think people used to collect these things. But anyway it says um Denver engraved. It’s a little like a little baby silver spoon I like it because I could do just a little dollop of cream I’m pretty sure it’s real silver and it’s got a um indian head. I would say native american head but this is clearly like fantasy indian somebody’s conception of the thematic ah ideal of Denver was this ah I don’t know. I mean it’s really kind of funny because if you could see him on video like there’s ah, an ear piercing and a necklace that looks considerably more maori than any native american who lived anywhere in the Colorado area. Definitely an artist’s fantasy. But then in the bowl of the spoon it says Denver and so I kind of like it. It’s it’s a nice little petite spoon I should probably sell it melt it down for silver just because it’s a little bit heinous with the fantasy indian chief on there but um. I like it I was some I think my grandmother’s might have been what if my great aunts. There were a lot of Maiden Aunts among the Kennedy family.

So um, today is a special day because I know something that I rarely know about my own podcast but today is episode 700 whoo ah, a little while back I was trying to figure out how many episodes I’d recorded and I believe Laura Darnell was very helpful with that and telling me exactly how many there were I got a little confused even though I do keep it on the spreadsheet of course um some of them were like 2 parters. Mostly through my own technological ineptitude. So but now I figure out a better way to keep track and I believe that today is officially 700 so kind of cool and and I even made a note to myself to remember it. And say something. Other people know like how many episodes they’ve had I do not well clearly I do know more precisely I should say that um, when I first started doing this lo these what five years ago honey how time flies. Um I started keeping track by seasons. Um, so I did um season one you know and and then where I started season 2 I started over so season 2 episode 1 whereas other people do it numerically which is probably wiser and I did not keep track of dates for that first season I had 80 episodes in that first season and I know I started like sometime around July. Probably look at it on buzz sprout. But do we care that much. So anyway I should probably like put the years on these that would be helpful so this is season 5 so we know it’s been five years and this is 2022 last time I check. I’m just gonna tap these in here right now. Sorry if this is boring.

Yeah, so season 1 was 2018

Pretty amazing. How so. I was just noticing I keep track of that on my goals spreadsheet because I have a spreadsheet for everything and as no say ah I have not updated these goals in a while. Um right. I have goals for 2019 2020 and then clearly I did not do it for 2021 and 2022 so I guess I must have moved on to other things but I should probably like. Revisit that and see which things I’ve already done and which things I need to do always good. Okay, there now. My spreadsheet’s a little bit neater for at least today I get to do. On the kingdom of thirst podcast today being interviewed on that so that’ll be fun and it’s um, cold and snowy morning here in Santa Fe more snow. It’s nice. So yesterday we got quite a bit of rain it rained whilst allll the day i. Did get my sweet pea seeds planted before the rain started so that’s that’s ideal that’s like the ah the gardener’s nirvana right is if you can get things planted right before a gentle soaking rain and the sweet pea seeds are great. That’s part of why you can plant them early because they can withstand the frost. So um, yes I saw again Laura Darnell who often comments on stuff was nice to hear from her she um, had not been familiar with sweet pease. How is this possible. Ah, you know like I said I follow I was talking about this yesterday anyway, you know I follow my grandmother again my grandmother with the anus indian spoon I follow her gardening advice. My mom often says that the green thumb skipped a generation that I have my grandmother’s. Gardening ability my grandmother beautiful garden but my grandmother would plant sweet peace seeds in Denver on St Patrick’s day and so I do the same or more or less st patrick’s day is the trigger and I don’t know she did it exactly on.

And soak the seeds and buttermilk overnight like she does. But boy you know all, but you know my even my mom complaining that she did not have ah a very good garden. She I always thought she had a great garden and my aunt. Um, they we always had sweet pe. And and my mom would cut the sweet piece and bring them inside and they are. They’re so fragrant. They’re beautiful and they’re fragrant and um, they bloom for most of the summer so so yes if you are not familiar with sweetpeas. Go get you some I’m Laura I hope that you will share some photos of yours. My mom can’t grow them in Tucson. It’s just way too hot as but you know in Laramie Wyoming they were great and I don’t know. Kansas City maybe they’ll do better in like the spring and the fall might get a little hot for them in the muggy part of summer since Kansas City really does that muggy part of summer. So um. Yesterday was good day. Got my um 2000 words we got the Jeep into the mechanic have to do a little bit of work on it but it should be certified for David David to drive it for lyft and uber today. And he already has a scheduled ride for tomorrow. Did you guys know that lyft is doing a real scheduled ride thing. Um, it’s it’s really pretty cool because you know how like on uber it offers you the scheduled ride option. But then it’s not. They don’t actually schedule a ride for you. They just like send out a call for a car at that time because uber is so freaking wedded to that algorithm they do not want to budge off the algorithm. So this is something that has cropped up in the last couple of months where lyft has asked. David sent him a message through the app and asked him if he would like to accept a scheduled ride for this address at this time on this date and he can opt in or not and then the first time we were like what is this? What is this strange creature and. It was someone in our neighborhood who needed a ride to the albuquerque airport. So the at once he confirmed we’re like okay try it. Why not once he confirmed then it said okay you know be online on the app like 15 minutes before this time.

And he did and then it directed him to the pickup and and he drove the person down to Albuquerque so it’s it’s a real kind of scheduling and it’s it’s great and he’s gotten one for like you got a request for like may fifteenth. Um, so. You can you can actually plan ahead and I think it’s just so smart of lyft to be doing that because it’s what we all want you know uber keeps trying to force us to bend to their their algorithm I think they think that they’re going to be Amazon and may and enslave us to the algorithm. But. What they don’t realize is that the reason that we become enslaved to the Amazon algorithm is because Amazon makes seems really really easy for the consumer. They give us exactly what we want in exactly the way we want it. Ah. And uber is not doing that they they want their algorithm to work and they want us to you know be and trained to it but something like that like actually being able to schedule a ride and have a car show up. And exactly the time you want it to show up. Um, uber doesn’t want to do that. So interesting. So sir David’s already got a ride scheduled for tomorrow so he’ll be back in action. We still don’t have word on the camera. Ah apparently Usaa was taking down to their. Approved storage facility in Albuquerque which is an hour away and this is new. This is new because we’ve had Usa a for a long time but you know they’ve gone public now and things are different. Things are changing which is unfortunate because I don’t I try not to resist change for resisting changes sake but some of these changes to sa a I feel like are not positive.

Then also it adds time so we shall um we shall see apparently whether or not the car is totaled is still in question I mean obviously it’s in question but different people have weighed in Darynda’s husband owns. Um. Body shop and he looked at the photo and said he doesn’t think the car is totaled so he said unless there’s damage. You can’t see which is possible. So so why she’ll find out and. Got my nails done yesterday I went with yellow mom isn’t that funny I was kind of thinking yellow anyway, my mom and I were talking about how we’re like into yellow all of a sudden I think this is like how fashion trends happen I always think of William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition. Predicting the trends before they become a trend is yellow. The next trend you heard it here first on first cup of coffee. So um, yeah, otherwise I’m I’m feeling like. And maybe I say this all the time my business to do list is very long at this point and some of it’s because I’ve broken things out into smaller tasks. Ah but like i. Need to upload the audiobook for bright familiar I have to register for a couple of conferences I still owe spreadsheets to someone because I was crunching her. You know like how she does her writing over the course of the year um I’ve got to set up a preorder of. Gotta put some books on ingram because I didn’t do it. Yeah, bright familiar and gray magic I didn’t put on inggram and I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and do it um make a preorder list for a polyon I had to update a bunch of books and I need to reupload them I go. Ah, the faro gal gals a blog post for March and now we are March Twenty second I really got to get that done. So I’ve still got figure out a plus marketing I like I don’t know what is time who am I but. I don’t understand why I’m like not well I guess I do kind of understand why I’m not getting to all these things but it’s annoying me that I’m not getting to all these things I should look at my at those goals right? Um, which.

I Do have these different categories like revivifying the to do list minimizing the tasks that float for a long time god. That’s an ongoing thing so I won’t examine this list but maybe that was meant I need to um I need to figure out ways to get to some of this. Stuff that maybe you know maybe it’s partly being president of sfwa that like those hours that I would spend doing business-y things I’m spending a lot of that on SFWA things.

So um, what else because I wrote down those things to talk about. Maybe I don’t have much else to talk about. Yeah, maybe I don’t it’s interesting talking to people about conferences I’m sorry we’re not doing nebula conference in person. Ah the board felt very strongly that it was too much of a financial risk. I wanted to do it but I wasn’t gonna go against what the rest of the board wanted and it made things easier in a lot of ways. Ah but I was texting yesterday with Mary Robinette Kowal and. For for a funny. It was actually very funny because someone asked a question in the sifwa slack that had to do with last year’s conference like how long the panels were going to be up and because we’d kept the recorded panels up in the nebula airship. And somebody they asked how long are they going to stay up because they hadn’t finished watching all of them and I was like oh that’s a really good question even I do not know the answer but let me talk to the team and find out what everyone is thinking because I was a part of the events team last year and and. Then this text pops up for Mary Robinette and and she answers the question she says um, let’s see if I can find it here. Well she said we told. So she just texts me out of the blue and says we told panelists that we would leave nebula panels up for 1 year and I was like and I said god is that you and she said verily it was I and it turned out that she. Had notifications set on that channel and so it had she didn’t even remember she had had it because I know she doesn’t monitor slack closely and so she’d gotten a notification on it and answered the question for me and it was just it was just a funny thing. You know like. It goes in here and comes out there. So then we text it back and forth for a little bit and I was catching her up on just she’s very good about checking in with me on whether or not I’m being aggravated by being president and then she asks me for background stuff on some of the.

Ah, stuff that we’re dealing with and it’s um, it’s very kind of her. It’s very supportive of her. We one of the things that we have in so well which is a semi-official role is the role of past president and the past president I mean we have lots of past presidents. But we have. Usually each president designates 1 person to be their past president advisor and she is that for me and she’s good about checking in with me and just like doing the are you taking care of yourself thing because 1 thing about having been president before is you know that some of it can be aggravating and stressful. So at any rate I said well um, you know if we get to see each other in person again. We can do a a long drinking binge and I think it’s gonna be I told her I think I think I’m gonna go to chicon at the end of August. Um, world con in Chicago but I think that’s the next time so but at least there will be that time so that’s one of the things I have to do is register for that conference and I’m gonna register for world fantasy convention which is in New Orleans and November so I’m committing. And committing to things du but Don it’s exciting all right I’m going to go and get going on my things I’m gonna try to get some of this shit off of my to do list but this is my resolve wish me luck. And I will talk to you all on Thursday you all take him bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – March 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. Which is actually not all that satisfying. It’s green tea this morning and I didn’t get the water hot enough. Alas today’s Monday March Twenty first was my stepdaughter’s birthday today. Happy birthday Lauren ha. So um, how was your weekend. Mine was good. Mine was good. Um, rejuvenating I did stay unplugged almost entirely yesterday I did plug. Turn on the laptop in order to set up a Zoom call with my husband’s siblings and so we did a cocktail hour with them. What was fun. Oh I take to. And went ahead and made some coffee and I boiled hot water and tried rejuvenating my grain tea so going to let that steep. Ah all right? So let’s dry that first cup of coffee. Ah, that’s so much better. All right? So Monday Monday Monday I’m going at it with renewed vim and vigor. Hopefully um I didn’t quite get. Two k per day every day last week I actually did about the same as I did the previous week which is interesting. Um the previous week I got eighty nine sixty and last week I got 87 64 so not quite as good. And that was the previous week was going for three k per day which I still didn’t do. But I think I’m going to do another week of trying to do two k per day and see what happens. Um Thursday i.

Hit tired and didn’t get much and then Friday I did better but I still got just 1500 I was I don’t even remember Fridays feels like a long time ago. Um I was not getting many per hour on Friday. Well no, what my problem was. 4 ah 2 6 15 and 5 ah two were my 3 word count averages. Oh although I that’s right? So for that third hour I actually went back and revised the prologue in chapter one because I sent those off. To the romantic fantasy shelf is organizing a benefit anthology for ukraine and they had asked me if I would contribute something but they wanted like a 5000 word short story and reader I do not do 5000 words short stories and I didn’t really have anything that I could give them um and they so they said well um Miranda Honfleur and Jessica fry have been organizing this. They said what we’re asking some of our authors to do and they were very flattering to me so that that always works where they said something about me being like a leader in the field and I don’t know what? All. Ah, but it was like oh you know? and besides I wanted to help but they said you could give us the first chapter of your work in progress and then it’s a sneak peek for the readers and I was like oh because you guys know I just don’t normally show stuff until I’m done. Especially since sometimes my first chapter changes. So but they’re putting the caveat in there and I think that this first chapter won’t change that much of course now I’m totally paranoid that it sucks and everybody will hate it. But. When I went back to revise and I spent an hour we’re revising the prologue in chapter one which together are pretty close to 5000 words. Let us just see what they are. That’s why I love excel. And knows that excel is telling me now that I can ask it to analyze my data without all those troublesome complicated formulas which I think is kind of funny. It’s like I know how to use formulas. Um 4500 words between the 2 so so yeah that’s what I did I didn’t want to send it.

As is and so I went and revised and I didn’t end up changing a whole lot. So for what it’s worth.

I could have put a little dollop of cream in this and it would have been better zip terrible if I pop off and fix my coffee yet again, it’s a Monday I’m gonna do that. Okay. And guys will be relieved to know that I’m finally happy now so much better that even if I do just a tiny little spoonful of cream. It just helps take the edge off. So um, yeah. Was kind of a different weekend I ended up running a lot of errands. Um, for those of you who watched the podcast on Friday you will know that our car is probably totaled David got rear ended. Um, we haven’t gotten the. Final word yet, but that’s what that’s what everybody is predicting so we shall see I suppose there’s possibility that it will be repairable. But I I think we’ll probably find out today. Um. So on Saturday David was feeling I mean he was sad. You know he goes out and drives for uber a lot on the weekends and he was so he was kind of feeling at loose ends and kind of. I mean it is a loss right? I mean I I know that like a car’s an inanimate object but he um went out Friday morning and got all his stuff out of the car and he said it looked kind of sad being there in the tow lot left. Left alone. He said you know we’ve had that car for 5 years and he’s spent a lot of time in it. So um, so Saturday I had a board meeting for a SFWA at 11 so we kind of hung out in the morning. Took it easy bread and stuff and then I did the board meeting and gave them notes for the one o’clock nebula conference planning meeting and instead I skipped out with David and we went and looked at cars we went out for lunch that was very nice and we. Went to carmacs the inevitable stop and we went to Toyota to look at their came rays and we went out to the Tesla dealership because we were thinking maybe of going electric or hybrid. Um, but.

The cost for the car is probably yeah like even a used tibrid car is probably going to be a lot more expensive than what we want to spend so we did a lot of number crunching. We do have a jeep. And he’s going to see about maybe being able to drive the gp if we don’t have the car payment. The camera was almost paid off. We would have had it paid off by like November of this year so that’s it that just figure. Um, the good news is we don’t know much on it. But. We um, you know if we’re not paying insurance and not the car payment then that frees up some money each month and he figured out that it cost him something like ¢13 a mile to drive. Camera and it’ll cost ¢19 a mile to drive the gep so it’s not terrible difference. So we’re going to see how how that works we’re going to see if he can drive that for uber he has to get it inspected and everything. But. Probably have to put a new battery in it. But we’re going to see how that works for a while and then maybe see if we could save up cash for a hybrid. So so that’s the plan. Um, we could finance it maybe. 1 of the things about and I don’t know if other people talk about this so you know David and I are both basically on freelance income at this point in time with him driving for uber he does get a small retirement stipend because he took early retirement and he gets and he has his social security. Which is also not a lot and I’m the major wage earner now. But one of the I know the downsides one of this odd parts about being a writer, especially if you’re self publishing is people don’t want to give you loans It’s hard to get financing for stuff and Grace Draven and I were talking about this. Not long ago because she’s looking at getting another traditional publishing contract for a standalone. She said she’s not going to do a series again. But she does have an idea that she gave our agent because we have the same agent and possibly go on submission with that and the major reason for her to go and I was surprised because Grace was like I don’t want to go tread ever again because she hates the externally imposed deadline. She doesn’t.

Feel like she makes as much money. In fact, she’s calculated. She doesn’t make as much money on tried. But if you’re getting paid by somebody else if you have a contract like that. It’s easier to get credit to get financing for stuff isn’t that funny. Whereas if you have freelance income where you’re just making money you know like from Amazon selling stuff you know selling your books on Amazon They don’t even care how much you’re making each month they don’t want to give you a loan. So I guess it makes you go to? um. More of a pay by cash which is good. Um, but yeah, funny thing so we shall see on the cars. Um, we we did have 3 which is arguably one too many for 2 people. Ah the ah thing is is is our other car is my. 96 jag convertible which doesn’t do great on snow and ice. So it’s a bit of a limitation there but the car’s in great shape. So somebody the other day called it. My vintage jag. Were saying Jeffe drives a vintage jag and I thought you know this is one of the things about you know and I and I feel like I you know I’m middleaged but you know it’s like getting up there in years. It’s like when I bought the car. It was not vintage. So it’s just um, funny how things in your life become vintage over time and I was trying to think about how old my stepdaughter is today and I think she’s forty I think she’s turning 40 rty today so and and when we were having the cocktail hour with David’s siblings last night it was um, you know we were just talking about the ages of the various grandchildren and so forth and Kathy his older sister. Her granddaughter. Is they’re taking her to blackcock Colorado to to the casinos for her birthday and I said yeah but is she old enough to to go to a casino and I was joking but you know they’re like yeah she’s 25, but so anyway, ah so it was. It was fun going out and looking at the cars and seeing what was available and we do have a couple of salespeople looking for something good for us apparently hybrid cars are moving pretty fast with the gas prices. So no surprise there and let’s see what else um.

Oh and then Saturday night I did the live stream the Youtube live stream for the group that is doing the campaign to combat violence against women be a w and they have I will include the link in the show notes because. They have um, part of their fundraiser I’m giving away several things so you can get a tuckerization from me and I forgot to talk about this before the live stream because I suck but you get a tuckerization is something that you can purchase and that means that you get to have your name. In 1 of my future books as a secondary character. Although um, what’s funny is Karyn Hardie in The Arrows of the Heart. That’s her book. She started out as she was a tuckerization that guide. Bought for his wife from another fundraiser and so that was that was her name and so that’s where when I she was originally a very minor character I thought she was probably only going to be mentioned and then I thought she was only going to have a cameo and then she ended up having her own book. So you never know you also I’m also offering a um, a 30 minute Zoom chat coaching or just to shoot the breeze and also a critique of first five thousand words of a chapter or some such. So I will put that link in the show notes but really great group. They’re pretty awesome and well worth bidding on those things. So so yet we ended up staying up late Saturday night which is just kind of funny for me. Um. That’s like a big deal. But after the live stream I hadn’t wanted to eat before it because we’d been out like running around. We’d had lunch outright and I wasn’t hungry before I’d just be there for the live cast by like six thirty so David made this dinner afterwards. So we ate late which is also very unusual for us and we watched the truman show and I was enjoying watching that I hadn’t watched it for a long time so we ended up staying up and watching the whole thing. So I stayed up to like 11 I know right. And then slept in Sunday morning. So that was lovely and then as I mentioned I stayed offline all day yesterday. So that was restful I got a lot of things done I went and bought my sweet pea seeds which I am going to plant today the tradition in my family.

At least it comes from my grandmother I don’t know if my grandmother got it from anyone is that you soak the sweet pea seeds in buttermilk overnight and you’re supposed to plant them on St Patrick’s day I didn’t do obviously I missed planting on St Patrick’s day but I figure as long as I observe that. Particular timing the magic still works. It’s funny because um, some of you who have been watching the podcast for a long time may recall two springs ago in March of 2020 when I could not get sweet piece sees I looked. Everywhere for them and I was planting them late because we’d been in lockdown of course and and and oddly enough my little local neighborhood hardware store which has a whole lot of stuff that we need. Um. They had tons and tons of seeds and they had 1 pack of sweet pea seats only 1 kind and I even asked the guy who owns the store and he’s like I think there’s there’s you know it’s like they buy the collection but the collection did not contain sweety sees so I went out to the nursery. My favorite nursery here in Santa Fe Newman’s and they had tons so there is not a sweet piece shortage I want you all to be aware that we we’re okay so I’ll get those planted today on one of my writing breaks and. I got some of my pictures framed and’s see the the little witch that krene gave me and you probably there’s too much glare on the one above from the window. But that’s ah, a new piece I got a a unicorn had to pause to sneeze. There are tree pollin is now high officially high. So. So it begins and I also framed the piece that you gave me for a Christmas mom so that’s hanging up so you know like lots of little things I got a lot of that kind of stuff done. This was my to do list from yesterday because I wrote it on paper. So I wouldn’t have to go turn on my laptop to look so I got quite a few things done. You’ll notice quite a few are crossed off not everything. But so anyway, um, yeah I guess I don’t have a whole lot to say today. But the. 1 thing that about doing the Youtube live cast is one of the girls said that she really liked listening to the ah the first cup of coffee and she was like it’s just like having a little chat over coffee and I said that’s exactly what I’m going for so I hope that it was.

Ah, good little trap for you guys too and I will talk to you all tomorrow take care Bye bye.

Sweet Peas and Gratitude

Remember back in March when I planted my sweet-pea seeds and wondered how they’d do here?

Oh yes – so very pretty.

I was all about planting the seeds then, about six weeks into what would become The Body Gift. Full of hope and uncertainty.

Now my sweet peas are blooming, The Body Gift is done, but I’m still waiting to gather my rosebuds.

(I know – I’m just full of poetic references these days. No, I have no idea why. I’ve been working on burning fat. Perhaps the old lines of poetry, like emotional energy and toxins get stored in the fat cells, too? When that cell is emptied, it all dumps into the bloodstream, pathos and literature together.)

What I’m reaping lately is favors. People have been helping me in a way that touches my heart. An author friend wrote an email to her agent introducing me and saying all kinds of nice things. An editor friend gave me a list of agents she likes and told me to drop her name at will. Another author friend maneuvered me at convention to sit next to agent and editor friends.

I’m supposed to be good with words, but they fail me on this.

To have people go so out of their way to help me – well, it moves me. I get a little teary about it. So many people complain about the cutthroat nature of publishing, the competition, the professional jealousy. It’s the incredible generosity that stuns me.

The Body Gift has all the help she can ask for. Two of my readers promise me comments soon, so I can take action if the novel isn’t snapped up.

If I don’t hit it with this novel, it’s not because no one cared.

Ides and Flowers

The Ides of March at least produced the first blossom of Spring.

I know. I know. It’s one flower component of an an entire hyacinth. But, hey, the journey of 10,000 leagues begins with that single step, right?

Besides, I’m tickled to have actual flowers by mid-March.

It’s long been the tradition of my Irish-Catholic family to plant sweet-peas on St. Patrick’s Day. We soak them in buttermilk the night before. Living in Laramie for over twenty years disabused me of that notion. I used to try for Easter instead. Then I just gave up on a date and waited for the ground to thaw.

But it’s supposed to hit the 60s tomorrow. I think I’ll buy some seeds and buttermilk this evening, along with the eggs and Earl Grey on the list. Work is quiet, so I’ll take a little time to plant my seeds. I don’t know how well sweet peas will do here, but it’s worth the experiment to find out.

I’m a believer in planting seeds. In the incremental approach. I’m not the first gardener to note that planting seeds is an act of supreme faith, in the universe, in the rhythm of nature. I’m not the first writer to go about putting down words little by little. Sometimes you have no idea what exactly is coming next in the story, but you take the seeds that fall into your hand and lay them into the fertile soil with love and precision.

By the end, you hope you’ll have something beautiful.