Rayfe, from THE MARK OF THE TALA

Show Rayfe and The Mark of the Tala the Lurv!

Rayfe, from THE MARK OF THE TALAKensington is running a Hero vs. Hero Ultimate Showdown. They’re pitting the heroes from various books against each other for fans to vote on. For all of you out there who share my mad love for Rayfe, King of the Tala, then get ready to vote tomorrow, February 11! He’s up against some shaggy blond dude, so this is our chance to show that Rayfe rules supreme in our hearts.

Shapeshifting wizard kings FOR THE WIN!

(I nearly typed “wine,” which is accurate also.)

Here’s Rayfe’s dossier:

KENNEDYtextFeel free to share both the pic above and this dossier. And vote as often as you like!

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

Sex Workshop!

B6TQt4wCEAAPMqnEven in Santa Fe, winter can get frosty, keeping restless kitties indoors…and bored. Watch your toes!

I’m busily preparing the online workshop I’ll be teaching that starts next week. It’s for Outreach International Romance Writers on Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation. Non-members can register here up through the 5th. (As far as *I* am concerned, you can sign-up anytime, but OIRWA might not feel the same way…)

If you want to know a bit more about WHY I think transformation is key and how sex plays into that, I wrote a post about it yesterday.

A couple of people have pinged me on social media asking if this class would be good for someone who hasn’t written much – or any – sex before. The answer is yes. In fact, I think you could write any heat level and this class would work for you – just be aware that conversation will be straightforward and explicit.

And also really interesting.

In other news, THIS happened right before Christmas and I didn’t get a chance to mention it here. THE TEARS OF THE ROSE got first Honorable Mention for the RT December Seal of Excellence. The list of other books up for consideration are not in alphabetical order, so that’s how I’m taking it. 🙂 They said:

I had been waiting for this second installment of Kennedy’s fabulous Twelve Kingdoms series since I turned the final page of The Mark of the Tala, our June SOE winner. While Andi, our previous heroine, always doubted her worth, the same could not be said for Princess Amelia. Ami was the beloved beautiful princess, the crown jewel of the Twelve Kingdoms. And when she married handsome prince Hugh of Avonlidgh, it seemed like she’d already found her happily ever after. But The Tears of the Rose tears Ami down — and rebuilds her. After Hugh’s shocking and sudden death, Ami is paralyzed with grief and without direction. Pregnant with Hugh’s child, she is torn between kingdoms, seeking — ultimately empty — gratification in the idea that she is the human avatar of the goddess Glorianna. The irresistible White Monk, Ash, shakes Ami out of this grandiose, false vision of herself. He helps her find the real Ami – not a goddess, not a pampered princess, but a person of conscience. Kennedy does a pitch-perfect job of not only charting Ami’s belated journey into adulthood, but of making her love for Ash emotional and believable.” — Regina Small

 I know a lot of people (my editor, my agent, assorted members of my cheering section) were hoping this book would receive the Seal of Excellence as THE MARK OF THE TALA did, but I’m thrilled with this nod. I think it’s good for another author to experience the sweetness of being singled out this way, too.

Besides, being in the company of heavy hitters like Tiffany Reisz, Sarah MacLean and Eileen Dreyer is pretty damn awesome!

I was chatting on Twitter with Rachel Caine, whose PRINCE OF SHADOWS, is also an RT Book of the Year nominee. As one does. HEE! Seriously, she tweeted that she’d ordered THE MARK OF THE TALA and THE TEARS OF THE ROSE and was looking forward to reading them and I had a fangirl mini-meltdown. See, I picked up her first book, ILL WIND, back in 2003. For those keeping score at home, that was when my own first book – WYOMING TRUCKS, TRUE LOVE AND THE WEATHER CHANNEL – came out, which means I was solidly writing nonfiction then. It’s a serious kick to know SHE is reading MY books now. Also terrifying, but that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

Anyway, she mentioned that she’s going to try to read all of the Book of the Year nominees, which I think is a really fun idea. I might try to do this, too. We should have a book club and discuss! Hmm…

At any rate, welcome to 2015 – the water seems to be just fine. Best wishes to everyone in the year ahead!

New Tattoo!

feather tattooI kept quiet-ish on this and waited until it healed to take a photo. But I got my first tattoo!

feather tattoo cropfeather

If you haven’t been keeping score at home, it’s the feather from THE MARK OF THE TALA cover. Having that book come out, and how wonderfully the whole series has been received has been a watershed for me.

So this is how I commemorated this year, apropos as it comes to a close.

Who knows what 2015 will bring?

Happy turn of the year to you all!

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.