Creating a Mythology

The Mark of the Tala
The Mark of the Tala

A serendipitous shot as the setting sun sent rays of light across my desk and lit up the globe that Kensington gave me with the cover of THE MARK OF THE TALA inside. If I’d been thinking, I would have turned it around to show the flip side, with the cover of last week’s release and the sequel, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE. The glow lasted barely long enough for me to grab my phone and snap. Ah well, so goes serendipity. 

One of my favorite bits of feedback lately on THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, was when my longtime friend, Kev, commented this on my release day post:

There was an absolutely gorgeous sunrise today. I looked West and the mountains were this perfectly lovely shade of pink against a slightly lighter pink sky. I felt strongly compelled to sketch some circles in the air, but my Lutheran upbringing wouldn’t quite allow it.

If you haven’t read the book yet, that’s a reference to the observances of the goddess Glorianna, which occur ritually at sunrise and sunset, when her circle is drawn in the air. And her color is pink.

There’s something wonderfully invigorating about hearing comments like this, knowing that something you wrote went into another person’s mind deeply enough to invoke this impulse. Even if it wasn’t enough to overcome that childhood programming, alas! Inventing this mythology of the three goddesses came about organically as part of writing the story. I hadn’t anticipated that would even be a factor of the world as I began writing Andi’s story in THE MARK OF THE TALA. While all three goddesses – Glorianna, Moranu and Danu – make an appearance in the first book, in the sequel, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE, part of Ami’s journey is finding her place as an avatar of Glorianna. So I ended up exploring the mysticism and influence of the goddesses much more. I even wrote an entire myth! B3xuAqfCcAA-_mq

In writing book 3, THE TALON OF THE HAWK, I found myself inventing a martial arts system for my warrior princess Ursula, one that stems from the teachings of Danu. Speaking of which, if you love the cover as much as I do, Addicted to Heroines is running contest to choose the Hottest Heroine from among eight covers and THE TALON OF THE HAWK is one. You can vote daily, even!

(As if you have nothing better to do with your life… but the option is there!)

MistletoeMadness-388399_200x200At any rate, playing with this mythology was so fun that I even wrote an extra bit for Jen Twimom’s holiday Mistletoe Madness event on That’s What I’m Talking AboutThe post is here and is told from Ami’s point of view about their observation of the Feast of Moranu on the winter solstice. That was a kick to write also. I’m sure it contains many familiar elements that you all will recognize, but it still felt special to me.

Glorianna’s blessings on you all!

 

A Great Big Thank You – and Giveback

B3UC_XVIYAAE9_II’m over at Here Be Magic, offering a very special Thank You giveaway. And being thankful in general for the whirlwind release day yesterday. You all are so wonderful – I’m overwhelmed.

Happy Thanksgiving to my U.S. cohort – and I hope the rest of you find some time to indulge in good food, better company and an excellent book!

So Much to Give Thanks For

jeffekennedyseriesNext week should be a great one – US Thanksgiving AND the release of THE TEARS OF THE ROSE!

Do you know what this means? Yes – you can stuff yourself silly and then loll about and read! That’s definitely what I have in mind. Not my *own* books, mind you – but I have some yummy ones in the pile.

For those of you who haven’t read THE MARK OF THE TALA yet, RT Book Reviews – along with saying they love me truly, madly, deeply, which made me a little verklumpt with the smile for the movie reference – is hosting a giveaway of three bundles of both books!

There’s also some great reviews filling my feeds, which I just love to see. This one of THE MARK OF THE TALA at Reading Reality by Marlene Harris is really wonderful. She says all sorts of smart, insightful things about the book – *and*compares it to MALIFICENT, which I finally watched last week. The movie electrified me and blew me away. It it kind of uncanny, some of the story parallels. Now I want Angelina Jolie to play Salena.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Also, Lisa A at I Smell Sheep gave THE TEARS OF THE ROSE five transforming sheep to celebrate the heroine’s tremendous character growth, which means a great deal to me also. And Gikany and Una at That’s What I’m Talking About said that TEARS is a gripping and exciting read as Ami explores her own potential and power growing from a spoiled immature princess and into a woman worthy to be a queen. She also discovers that a first love may not always be the only or the true love of your life.

Pumpkin pie (or dessert of your choice) for everyone!

RT Reviewers Choice Nominations!

themarkofthetala_300The Tears of the RoseYesterday I flew back from World Fantasy Con – there’s a post all about it on the RMFW blog today – and when I landed to change planes in Dallas, I found out this amazing news about my girls.

The RT Reviewers Choice Awards Nominees were announced and THE TEARS OF THE ROSE has been nominated for best Fantasy Romance and THE MARK OF THE TALA for Book of the Year.

WOW.

I’m just thrilled and verklumpt.

It’s such a huge honor to have both books in this series nominated. And everyone has been so excited for me that I’m feeling surrounded by love and all the warm fuzzies.

~throws confetti~

Cover Reveal for THE TALON OF THE HAWK

The Talon of the HawkLook what appeared today!!

The cover for book 3 of The Twelve Kingdoms: The Talon of the Hawk.

It’s really just so perfect – exactly what I asked for. I particularly love the progression of the three covers, which capture so well my three sisters and their journeys.

 

themarkofthetala_300The Talon of the HawkTHE TEARS OF THE ROSE high res

 

Also, the tagline? “A different kind of battle.”

Spot on!

Serendipitously enough, I’m over at Shut Up & Read today, talking about how the three sisters are alike – and how they’re also very different.

Birthdays and Bluebirds

Third BirthdayIn honor of my birthday today, I dug out this photo of my third birthday. Possible first hat sighting. 🙂

One of these years, I totally want to have another swimsuit-clad birthday party. Maybe in the Caribbean. Everyone can come! (We may need a bigger cake, however.)

rainbow over Sandia - Marlita Reddy HemfeltToday feels very blessed and special to me. When I blinked my eyes open, David rolled over and wished me happy birthday. I’m so lucky to   have him in my life. It’s raining today, always a welcome blessing in the desert – and Sandia was lit up bright pink, complete with rainbow. We went and ran at the gym. I’m in bSialia_mexicana_07094etter cardiovascular condition than I’ve maybe ever been in my life, thanks to the running and my treadmill desk. I rotate through a number of playlists and today’s happened to be a hit list of longtime favorites – Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Tonight Is the Night I Fell Asleep at the Wheel, Dar Williams’ Alleluia, Running Down a Dream, and the Waltz for Eva and Che. Interestingly, they all follow the theme of reviewing the past and taking in both the regrets and joys. At the end of Waltz, Eva wishes for a hundred years – something I wish for, too.

A flock of bluebirds dashed past the windows as we ran.

Migas with chorizoDavid took me out to breakfast, my mom sent me beautiful flowers and since then I’ve been catching up with all the warm and wonderful 10599556_10151969113019364_9074084243050980582_ngood wishes from my online community – longtime friends, new friends, authors, readers and everyone in between.

A few readers and reviewers are celebrating the occasion by posting favorite reviews of my books, or quotes from them. That’s a first for me – and it’s just staggering. It feels like the most amazing way to give me a virtual hug. One of them, that I particularly loved seeing, partly because I don’t remember reading it before, says this of The Mark of the Tala:

I felt different after reading this book. The lines of my imagination were tested, and I LOVED IT. Jeffe writes with a paintbrush of a talented artist. Her words are filled with beauty and pain all at the same time. I found that this story was so well written, that even the simplest line, And there was Rayfe. Waiting for me,” overflowed with emotion. You could feel what she was feeling as she wrote the words. It was an amazing feeling to be so tuned into the author just by reading her words.

Amazing for me, to read THAT.

Lucky for me I have presents to give back! I just happen to have a box of hot-off-the-press ARCs of The Tears of the Rose. I’ll be mailing out a bunch tomorrow, so let me know if you want one!

~passes cake, too~

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