First Cup of Coffee – July 7, 2022

Print version of ROGUE’S PAWN is available! I’m also talking about some history, mean reviews from the past, the conversation about whether authors should talk to readers, “hidden gems” & asking for recs.




Transcript
00:02.90
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Delicious Today is Thursday July seventh and it’s it’s a Thursday here we are I’m feeling so behind on all of the things and I was excuse me complaining to David about it saying why am I so behind on everything. Have I been saying this for a while I kind of feel like I’ve been behind since a nebula conference. But then in June I went traveling for a week right? And then I’ve had friends here which hasn’t been that intensive but it’s been. Disruptive you guys know how I don’t like my schedule to be disrupted I am also totally aware now of how ubiquitous the phrase you guys is it’s in movies. It’s everywhere I am trying to lense it from my vocabulary with limited success thus far. Least I’m aware of saying it but a lot of people say it. So um, so yeah, I’m really hopeful this weekend that I can get caught up on some stuff. David asked me this morning. If I had ridden my bike that we let’s see when we came back from Tucson in April April while we were gone I had it. At the bike shop so they could tune it up so because it wasn’t in shape to ride and I wanted to ride it and I was pulling into the garage last night and saw my bike there poised in front of my car and David asked me if I had ridden it since we picked it up and the answer is no I have not spent. Hundred and fifty dollars to get all tuned up and ready and I haven’t touched the fucking thing but but you know for a while it was really windy and then it’s I don’t know I have no excuse except that. Just feel like I haven’t had time and so I was starting to say hopefully this weekend I would get caught up on a bunch of stuff I’m hoping to but then on the weekend I also want to relax. So maybe I can go for a bike ride I have.

02:50.31
jeffekennedy
Ah, shit ton of stuff to mail out and I think would help me I I keep thinking in terms of and I do this to myself a lot where I want to get everything ready so I can mail it all out at once and and it creates this enormous bottleneck whereas what I should do is just mail things out gradually. So I do have print copies of storm princess I need to mail those I should just start mailing. Um, mailing mailing so some of it requires. Research like what is the least expensive way to send a thing and well I feel like I almost need a step by step list. Um I also feel like I need that with some of the side projects you know like. Rogue’s pawn is out but already I need to be thinking about getting book two rogue’s possession I just have to make a few changes to it. That’s these little tasks right? and making good progress on shadow wizard I’m having a lot of fun writing jeron. Even sent a snippet to caring yesterday I should ask her if it’s too spoilery because I’m thinking about posting it. You guys know. Ah you all know that I don’t um, post a lot of snippets of my work in progress. But I’m tempted to post this one. 1 of the things on my list is get to get the preorder set up for shadow wizard. So just all these things to do. Um I need to ship stuff out for a polycon too. And yeah. So let’s see. Yeah um, Kelly and Alex are only here for two more days they fly out on Saturday. So um, so we’re doing some fun things today and tomorrow which won’t help with getting caught up. But maybe I could get a few of these tasks. Done. So let’s see um one thing that was um, just this kind of funny serendipitous thing was I complained to a group of authors I was emailing with.

05:26.65
jeffekennedy
We were emailing about something else organizing a thing but I was um I was being cranky and I apologize for being cranky and I said that part of it was because um, what was of miscellaneous things. But anyway we got into telling these stories about I’m trying to say if I want to tell you I don’t want to sound ungrateful or like a bad person I’m still thinking about Mary Robinette talking about. Ah. Like apologies on the internet and are you really trying to apologize or do you want people to think that you’re a good person because don’t we all want people to think we’re good people and sometimes we’re not sometimes we’re not a good person. Um, so okay so I’ll be honest. Ah I saw this Instagram post from a reader who did a really nice post showing one of the uncharted reless books and she called it an underrated series. And she loves it and I love that she loves it and it’s it’s meant in all sincerity and but you know it’s just sometimes when you’ll it’s like one of my oldest series and when. I don’t know when somebody calls it underrated I understand what they mean they mean that it doesn’t have the fandom you know like Sarah J Mos or Jennifer O out arm in Trump which is absolutely true. It’s it’s not as well known, but it still. It just put me in a little bit of a mood where I was just like and I think I was already in that mood because I was talking about this some at the beginning of the week it’s just like I don’t know every once in a while and and people do mean it in all sincerity and enthusiasm. But you encounter readers. Who um, discover your books and they’re like why haven’t I heard of your books before and you’re like it’s the million dollar question I don’t know why I wish you had I’m glad you know now. So i. I hesitate to complain about that kind of thing because I don’t want anyone to not share about in fangirl. My books. You know? So um, but it’s still I don’t know it was a mood and.

08:12.92
jeffekennedy
So I I shared this with these girls and said you know and one of them wrote back to me and she said Jeffe I want you to know that a few weeks ago I was at a book signing and a reader came up to me and she said ah. That I that she knows I’m new to this and that but that I’m very talented and she really hopes that I keep going which is a lovely thing to say right? The thing is is it wasn’t for that this author it was she said it was like for the 7th book in her sixth romance series. You know? So it’s like but you know hope you keep going and one of the other girls chimed in and said that she saw a Tiktok video that was like on hidden gems. Which you know people like to do and it’s a wonderful impulse because it’s like let’s not all always post about the same 5 books and I’m seeing more and more complaints about this kind of thing. Um, even my assistant said something about it the other day after I’d heard some other people complaining about it where she was saying. She was finding it hard to get good book recommendations because everybody recommends the same 5 books and and there’s a cultural phnom to that right? because the people who are posting like the Tiktok videos and so forth they want their posts to be. Liked and get a whole lot of comments. So if you post about something that I just knocked myself off the ledge here. Oh there we go um, overly dramatic. Not much but you know you you if you post about a book that already has a huge fandom. You’re much more likely to get attention for that right? It’s sort of a side effect of that fandom. Um, but it does result in this the same book’s being recommended and my assistant was. Frustrated the other day saying I can’t get book wrecks anymore because it’s always the same same books and so the the whole impulse behind underrated books or undervalued books. Hidden gems. All of it. It’s great because the thing is is that and and I should say this to myself is it’s not really hidden gems or underrated books. It’s just like books that aren’t these five books. It’s ah like this big huge the venn diagram right is like everything else.

11:01.43
jeffekennedy
The 5most popular books and everything else. Um, but anyway she said that she had seen a tick talk video on hidden gems that ah was about a book by colleen hoover ah who is easily the james patterson of romance you know and it’s like not exactly a hidden gym. So so yeah, um, it’s all good I really don’t want to stifle. Anybody’s enthusiasm. You should be able to rave about anything that you like. Whether it’s the same 5 books that everybody else likes or something that nobody’s heard of It’s just a funny, a funny phenomenon I saw somebody quote yesterday um about again about tiktok and how. Maybe the quieter books don’t have the content that makes for good tiktok videos and it’s like I don’t know you know and I think that’s a response to if it’s not about. Big blue aliens was vibrating dicks than it makes for bad content I think anything to make for good content. So anyway, that’s that’s one of my thoughts. Um I was very interested I made a note about this. And I’ll see if I can link to it in the comments. Um, but there was this thing that happened quite a few years ago and I was reminded of it when I was looking up rachel vincent I mentioned her in my podcast the other day. Um, because Rachel Vincent had written that book Stray that I liked very much that was an urban fantasy and when I went to look her up to see you know like what is she doing these days I don’t know rachel I don’t think I’ve ever met her um wish her well in general because I enjoyed her books. So I was looking her up and I found a review of Stray on Dear Author and I think I don’t think dear author is still extant um Jane Litte was one who did dear author with another gal I think it was amy tan and then amy tan backed away. And Jane Litte and Sarah wendell were very good friends and sarah wenddell had smart smart bitches trashy books which I know is still going. Um, but there used to be a lot of back and forth between the 2 but anyway Jane Litte did a review of Stray and.

13:51.36
jeffekennedy
I will link to it because it is in her inimitable style. A really mean review. Um, and it was interesting because at the time she was leading a whole lot of conversation about how authors. Um, should not interact with readers that reviews were for readers and someone pointed out to her that by writing her reviews as dear author and then sincerely Jane as if she was writing a letter to them made it seem very much as if she is writing the review for the author. And not for the readers. She gave the book a d and it was um, it was harsh. It was really harsh and I noticed in her bio on there that she had updated it where she said that she writes. Um, contemporary and and a romance and I happen to know that that’s not the only thing she writes she has a number of pen names. But I remember when it came out that she was also a writer because prior to that it had been a secret and Sarah Wendell had known the secret and had kept it quiet and Sarah Sarah posted an apology and it’s hard to explain how explosive this was at the time because Jane had been so much on this side of that authors should stay out of reader conversations. And reviews are for readers and you know, never the Twain shall meet and she um called out authors for you know, interfering with readers. She was even say she would even say that. Um. Authors shouldn’t even like say thank you on reviews or respond in any way because it would have a chilling effect. I mean there were a lot of these conversations and then it turned out that she had been secretly writing under a pen name. So I found it interesting that her bio now acknowledge is the thing that everybody found out. And the reason they found it out was because of the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit ah because Jane had written a blog article about Ellora’s Cave and all of the things that they were doing to cheat authors and Ellora’s Cave sued her. For slander and just to revisit quickly in order to sue for slander you need to prove that it has had a negative effect on your business and that it is um.

16:36.54
jeffekennedy
I’m not sure if it has to be untrue, but at any rate they sued and her real name which is not Jane Litte her but her actual real life name was named in the lawsuit and so it all came out this way that because it was public record right. So it. It was I believe they settled out of court and then Laura’s cave subsequently folded. But yeah, it was just interesting to recall some of that history. So I thought I would share it. With some of you. But um, you know it’s it’s one reason why I don’t review books that I don’t like um and in some ways I could say that I don’t even I don’t know if I even. Review books because I certainly don’t do a critical review where I break stuff down sometimes I complain to you all anonymously here. Um without naming the book just so I can talk about general principles of story. But um I take it can be It is a narrow line between critiquing the work and being unkind or even mean to an author because you didn’t like their book and. And I think it’s interesting to read this review and I I encourage you to go read it because things have changed since then this was quite a while ago I didn’t look at the date on it but probably something like 2007 2006 given that’s when I was. Trying to figure out my how many words were on a page reference Tuesday’s podcast um so I’m not sure that people would get away with it in the same way now or that they would want to? um. early days of the internet versus maturity where I don’t know maybe the meanness is of a more pointed and different variety. But um, yeah, breaking down someone’s book like that as if you’ve written them a letter and. But it’s posted publicly and then just saying all this stuff and I suppose it’s admirable in some ways that she has not taken these down she clearly stands by them. But I think we have to ask ourselves what we’re doing particularly knowing that she was an author at the same time.

19:23.68
jeffekennedy
It’s um, yeah, a pretty fine line between critiquing work in a thoughtful way and attempting to eviscerate the competition. Ah you know and maybe it comes back to that thing that I was talking about the other day that. You know competition especially in like the reading and writing world. It’s it’s invidious. It’s unfair. There’s no place for it. Maybe that’s part of the frustration with people recommending the same books over and over Again. It’s like well it’s Great. You know and they’re. They’re wonderful books. That’s why people love them. But you can only reread them so many times right? and then you want to read other books. So So I’ve been looking through some things in my tbr trying some different stuff out I’m um. I’m really in the mood for a very emotional lush romance and it doesn’t have to be fantasy if anyone can point me to that I want something. That’s really yeah, emotionally transporting not mean I’m I’m finding I don’t want any of the bully stuff. Um, but yeah, something something really moving hit me with your res please and you all take care and I will talk to you to crew Bye bye.

First Cup of Coffee – June 30, 2022

How I’ve been learning to use TikTok and other thoughts on keeping up with technology. Also damaged protagonists, how Romance treats them differently, & potentially selling Bristish rights to Prisoner of the Crown.




Transcript
00:02.42
jeffekennedy
Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee.

00:14.58
jeffekennedy
Um, wonderful. Ah today is Thursday June thirtieth last day of June. It’s very exciting isn’t it so exciting I had to set up again. Um, yeah, so here we are at the end of June halfway through 202022 I probably said too many 20 somewhere there didn’t I no wonder the transcript can’t figure out my numbers It’s choking on my coffee a little bit there excuse me.

00:54.94
jeffekennedy
So here. We are um what do I have to report I don’t know. Ah my allergies are finally receding I’m feeling much much better and. Although occasionally still coughing a little bit much much less much less than I was and my voice is better I think so um, so yeah, ah. Been working on shadow wizard I nearly said storm princess and that’s not correct. Is it ah something that I have finally gotten to on my list is is the ticks on the talks the Tiktok. Um, you know it’s really hard when you get to be a particular age. A woman of a certain age so that awful that we even say that um and you become aware of like. how how much technology you have witnessed. Um you know and it’s funny to me because I’m you know I’m sure it annoys the young people. It is the job of older people to annoy young people anyway and one of the ways that. Is traditionally done is to talk about how things were different when you were their age but you know I find it very interesting I’m I’m somewhat absorbed by the fact that my beautiful mug this beautiful mug that I got for christmas. Handle is starting to detach at the top I picked it up this morning and it’s like crack through. So if I tug on it. It actually separates which I know the answer is don’t tug on it but can I trust it to hold um is there anything I can do. Um, you know there’s the which it feels like it’s become ever so fashionable to mention now the japanese art of Kintsugi ah where you repair breaks and fill them in with gold and or make the the breaks decorative. Um, another way to look at it is visible mending. Um my friend Mary Robinette Kowal is really into visible mending and posts about it occasionally where you fix things but you don’t attempt to conceal the fact that they were broken instead you make.

03:39.98
jeffekennedy
Fix be decorative in some way and I don’t know if there’s a way to do it on this? Um, but I really love this this mug and I’ve I’ve been handwashing it people which is a big concession. So I don’t know what to do. But it’s interesting because in the essex serpent which I was talking about the other day that I I gave up reading it like um, 62% because I don’t know it wasn’t making me happy I wasn’t enjoying it. I could kind of see where she was going but and I went and read some of the reviews and I would review this one myself except I don’t like to post reviews of other authors’ work. That’s critical instead I just rant about it here to you all because you keep my secrets. I know it’s like it’s not like this is it public but I don’t think Sarah Perry is going to seek out my little podcast and if she does it’s on her right whereas I feel like ah posting a review is a little bit more putting it in her lap I thought the book had a lot of early promise and I noticed a lot of reviews said that. Because I was compelled from the beginning and one of the things that I loved is the damaged heroine, Cora – is there anything more compelling than the damaged heroine or hero damaged human being and and she references Kintsugi um because she had this horrible sadistic controlling husband. Um, and and I almost kept reading to find out more about that except I was starting to feel like she was never going to tell me any more than that. Um. Which is kind of a thing that I think literary fiction does um as opposed to to romance that maybe romance will go to these places that that other genres won’t because it’ll go in and delve into. Um. People’s feelings and their scars and how they overcome them in a way that other genres sort of stay away from when I first was writing prisoner of the crown I was working with a critique group of mainly. Science fiction and fantasy writers which I thought was going to be just fine because in many ways prisoner of the crown is one of my few books that has no romance in it at all. Um, this series ends up going that direction but prisoner of the crown itself is more or less high fantasy.

06:26.63
jeffekennedy
Um, and for those of you who have not read it. It is about a young woman being forced into a cruel and sadistic marriage and she is also treated very badly by her mother. She’s basically groomed to be I hope this isn’t spoilery, but. Um, she’s basically groomed to be a victim ah from a very early age she is subjected to treatment from her mother who has long range plans for her daughters this political alliance to make her into. Kind of person who will accept what she later must endure and in some ways it was interesting to do because in some ways her mother. Um, while awful. Her mother is is simply repeating the generational cycle she is repeating what was done to her. And and in many ways she feels like she’s doing what’s best for her daughter because she’s preparing her to endure and she doesn’t see any other paths for her daughter but there’s some stark stuff that happens at the beginning of the book because I really wanted to show. How how these how a particular victim is created and I remember that the other people in the group actually all the guys one other woman in the group did not have this reaction but the other guys were all like whoa. This is really dark. This is really brutal and you know should you really show all of this. And it’s like you know this is what some women’s lives are like you guys. You know how how precious are we going to be I was frankly taken aback that they were so squeamish about it. They’re like well maybe have the mother be a little bit less cruel and. Okay, but so ah reader I did not take their critiques and I know that that book is hard to read for some people because it is um, does explore so much of that. I believe I have recently sold um u k rights to that book. Although Kensington didn’t actually tell me um because why would they tell me it’s only my book that is sarcasm in case, you need the sarcasm emoji I find it really irritating that publishers. Ah, don’t bother to tell us these things. Um, but they sent me money they sent me what appears to be a advance. It says. Um, it’s weird I shared it with doranda when we were working yesterday.

09:16.35
jeffekennedy
The sort of the check memo from Kensington says BristishAdvSign anyway those are all capped so it looks like british advance signing so like my signing advance only why is it bristish and and I asked Darynda what she thought and she said oh that um Bristish is near Britain. So. It’s not quite Britain but it’s bristish. We were amused. Ah thank you for the person who ah commented I believe on Instagram longtime listener and lurker Thank you explaining that, yes, an effort is being made lately to specify authors as being english. And they pointed out that we don’t refer to like welsh authors or scottish authors or Northern Irish authors as british so we should then specify english authors as english so. Good to know. So anyway, that was a winding path to get there. Um, so yeah, kind of cool that prisoner of the crown will be published in the uk in brist dish I have no I worked I idea on that. I was corresponding with the financial gal at the literary agency because agent Sarah is on vacation good for her until next week so Sarah will be able to exp explicate further. Um, so so yeah it’s interesting that that little trilogy chronicles of des area is seeing the translations because it’s also been translated into check and the checks gave it perfect colors. Gorgeous covers the covers. It should have had all along um, piss me off, no end. The way Kensington punted on those fucking covers and then tried to and then my editor who I loathed and is now gone. Um, she was awful. She would lie to me all the time she would blow sunshine up my skirt you know and she would by like flattering me flattering me in a way that um. I mean was obvious I mean she would just any time I questioned anything she would start telling me what a wonderful writer I am and it would be like okay am I supposed to just like fall down on my knees and start sucking now sorry you guys? um, show me crazy and she’s like well this is very expensive art.

12:08.17
jeffekennedy
And it’s like I can recognize clip art when I see it anyway. I keep um, diverting off topic here. So I was talking about technology and I got totally off on other things. Let me finish the thought on technology ah because I do talk about how when I was in high school I learned to program in dos and now the thing about technology is it keeps changing and my very first website I programmed my first website and. I knew how to do html programming but then it keeps growing and changing and after a while you either have to devote yourself to keeping up or hand it over to other people who have time to keep up. So. Every onces a while you know like what somebody says oh well, you know it’s so easy to learn this. You could do this yourself and I’m like yeah talk to me after you’ve been doing that for 20 years you know after a while you just you have to c seed certain territories. So I’ve been learning tick talk um playing with it. Which I do think is one of the best ways to learn things and it’s the way that we learn things when we’re young the way that kids learn things. Is you play with it because you’re not afraid of doing it wrong. You’re not afraid of breaking it and as you get older, you get more worried about doing it right. Which is unfortunate. So I’ve just been trying to take some time to play with Tiktok and share some things. So I think I’m clumsy at it. But I’m getting better and it’s been fun going and finding. Wonderful videos people have been making about my books and sharing this so that’s been a kick and if I lost other points along the way please remind me um, sorry. If I edited this podcast. We would catch those but since I don’t they are um, lost lost to the wind and the dregs of the coffee. So I can’t remember if I had a point how did I get on to prisoner writing dark things. Oh The Essex Serpent. That’s right and Kintsugi. That’s it um, that there’s I was very very intrigued by this marriage where the husband tells her he wants to break her apart and mend the cracks with gold and.

14:49.10
jeffekennedy
I wanted to know more about that and I finally decided I probably wasn’t going to find out more and that it wasn’t worth it shen a lot of themes in there I think um and this is probably uncharitable. The whole review is uncharitable. Um, you know she got to this whole thing about. Housing crisis in London and I don’t know I felt like she was trying to make it be an important novel you know with capital letters and trademark and I don’t know I wanted to know more about the woman whose husband tried to break her apart. And men the cracks with gold and what that made her into and I felt like at 60 to 65 I hadn’t found out nearly enough about it and I was finding out way too much about the housing crisis in London and so. So I bailed I don’t this all came from trying to mend my coffee mug. Um or thinking about mending it. Alas.

16:04.17
jeffekennedy
So um, I had another thing I wanted to talk about and I was trying to decide if I had time time to address it. Okay I thought about it. Um. I’m not sure I have complete thoughts on it. That’s why I’m not sure how long it would take and I I do remember it from last night even though I didn’t write it down I went out with my friend Kelly Robson and we did some shopping and I even found a birthday present for me which is not till the end of august. But I texted my mom about it and said what if I found a birthday present and she said get it. So I got it and have it set away so that she can wrap it up. We have to talk about how you want to do that mom but um and we had drinks and we got takeout and took them back to her wife, Alyx, and sat and had pizza and then I got home and David had been watching five hundred days of summer which I remember vaguely seeing the first time I liked it well enough that I bought the soundtrack but I think a lot of us went into that movie thinking it was going to be a romance. And it is decidedly. Not I did not remember it was Joseph Gordon Levitt in it which is why David was watching it because he really likes that actor I remembered it was Zooey Deschanel I remember how that whole thing about the manic pixie dream girl came from that. And I understand the criticism more because um I would like to watch it from the beginning again because David and I kind of came away from it disagreeing on it I felt like she had been kind of unkind to him. Um, that she had let him on and and David said no he wanted her to be something that she couldn’t be interesting so we don’t often swap like swap sympathies gender wise that way. So now I kind of want to watch it from the beginning again, but the script I was reading in the trivia. You guys know I’m always ah scrolling the I am db trivia as I watch your show. Um that the screenwriter had written it. About a specific woman that he even calls out in the credits Jenny Beckman bitch um so it’s always questionable right? when you.

18:52.98
jeffekennedy
Write about something that is a deeply personal experience and I think that especially as new writers we have a great tendency to make the protagonist be an avatar of ourselves. Um, maybe it’s because it’s like. That’s a story. We have to get out or we just don’t know better. It’s interesting releasing Rogue’s Pawn now because that was um, out soon right? Thank you all for all the preorders I should include those I think it is in the show notes. Um, but that was the none novel I ever wrote and the ah I mean the protagonist is a neuroscientist who accidentally ends up in Faerie and was absolutely my avatar. In fact, I even gave her my name and a lot I gave her my dress I gave her a lot of my same characteristics and I felt very clever at the time not realizing as so many newbie writers. Do. Is we think we’re very being very clever and we’re actually following a very well-trod um, unfortunately so path. Um, it’s like we have these blinders on and we don’t see how many people have tried this path and the other writers going. Don’t go down that path. Which is why I don’t totally hold things against Sarah Perry because she’s still a new writer. So even if she says things like I want to create the first female monster villain. Um I just. Shake my head and say oh you sweet summer child because she’s thinking of her predecessors as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Shelley and is apparently oblivious to the entire world of genre fiction because literary writers think that. Those books don’t count. There’s a grand tradition of that too. Um writers like ah Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro thinking that they have invented genre. Because somehow all the other genre being written is beneath notice and that they’ve come up with something really interesting like Ian McEwan talking about that he was going to write about artificial intelligence but he wanted to write about how it was affecting society not in terms of like ah.

21:38.25
jeffekennedy
Space Boots with rockets on them. It was really that Bad. It’s like you have no idea how much thoughtful, really wonderful and entertaining stuff has been written about artificial intelligence Anyway, I’m running out of time. So I think I’ll just stop there if I had a point I probably didn’t make it. But you all will forgive me and feel free to poke me about it because I will definitely talk to you all tomorrow you all take care Bye bye.