First things first, if you preordered TWISTED MAGIC, you’ll have gotten a notice that I’ve delayed the release. I know, I know – yet again. (Well, first time for this book, but I really thought I’d given myself enough time.) The new release date is November 28. That should give me plenty of breathing room. (Famous last words!) Seriously, I am at midpoint and on the downhill run. I just knew I couldn’t have it completely done by October 26 (two weeks away!), which was the upload drop-dead date.
Apologies. I know you all are waiting. But it’s going to be awesome!
More on topic: this week’s subject at the SFF Seven is writing retreats. We’re asking each other if they work for us and, if so, in what way?
I’m pretty sure I suggested this topic because this continues to be a conundrum for me. I love the IDEA of writing retreats. When I see writer friends posting about being on retreats, I am invariably envious. I want to go! I want to be there, with the friends, in the pretty places, thinking and talking about writing all day.
In truth, I have gone on very few writing retreats. The only one I can think of in recent years is when I went to Kauai almost a year ago and stayed in the gorgeous beachfront home of a friend along with three other writing companions. It was a fabulous group and we did have wonderful conversations.
I got very little written.
What I think it comes down to for me is that I’m fortunate enough to have a serene home life which is entirely built around enabling me to write as productively as possible. For many people, it seems that going on retreat gives them time and quiet away from the demands of home. For me? Being around people at a retreat is considerably “noisier” than my daily life.
So, I’ve come to face that, for me, writing “retreats” are truly excursions. They aren’t time away; they’re time into.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. As KAK noted on Monday, there can be other reasons to go. But I have to realize I’m not going to be maximizing wordcount.
Today sees the re-release of my Kinky Christmas Caribbean Vacation, FIVE GOLDEN RINGS! I’m talking about where I’ve been, what a writing retreat can do to clear the mind, refill the well, and provide a creative reset.
Big thanks to loyal listener Meghan Ciana Doidge for the gorgeous coffee cup! Also about my writing retreat, what was fabulous about it, what I like about the phrase “story brain,” and other news, etc.
Good morning Everyone! Oh I forgot.
Good morning. Everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee who clearly all. Discombobulated today is Monday um June twentieth 2022 and I’m back yay and look if you’re on video you can see that I have this gorgeous I feel like qvc. This beautiful mug suitable for all occasions. Um hand paintted with beautiful flowers. This was a gift from lovely and amazing steadfast podcast listener Meghan Ciana Doidge ah she asked me a while back. If she could send me something and it turned out to be this gorgeous mug that she got at her local farmers market I could totally be on Qvc couldn’t I the way I gesture her to the and she also sent me a yummy chocolate bar I got it like the morning that I left. And so I didn’t have an opportunity to say anything. But thank you Megan that was really sweet and she sent me a really nice note with it thanking me for the podcast and um sifwi work and all of these things and. And it meant a great deal I was incredibly touched and I shall treasure. It. Thank you as soon as I saw it was a coffee cup I was like yeah oh if you’re on video you can see jackson s lurking behind me. He’s out here. Um. We’ve been having rain while I was gone. The monsoons came in which is subject for rejoicing. Um, so great. Ah free water falling from the sky. It is truly a miraculous thing I know I use the metaphor. All the time in my books about drought and like water in the desert and there’s a reason for this people. Everyone’s well I think maybe I shouldn’t use this yet again and then it’s like but it’s the bar right of our so um. Last week I went on a writing retreat I went on Tuesday and left very early I did have travel shenanigans um, think this is just going to be our lives for the near future that there’s just going to be.
Airline travel shenanigans they are desperately trying to make back their money. Ah from pandemic. They don’t have enough people they’re charging extortionate prices and giving shitty service. So yay, but. And went on this writing retreat. Um I finally did find out for those of you who who listen regularly that um that the person hosting it preferred not to have their name connected to it yet because they’re still putting things together. This was um. Little bit of a test they’re considering hosting ongoing writing retreats and had invited me and a few other people to kind of come be the guinea pigs and see you kind of kick the tires that kind of thing. And to keep an eye on Jackson um, and you you guys it was. It was fabulous. It was so wonderful. Um, in fact, that reminds me I meant to they gave me an exit survey and I meant to reply and say um that I’m happy to give a testimonial anytime. Have to remember to do that fact, let me put that on my things to do list I hope you guys don’t mind – testimonial – otherwise I forget to do these things. Um. So oops so it was beautiful. A location I will post a picture of my writing spot. It was very different from my natural habitat in that it was um in a warm and humid place and was forestres. And I would sit and write at the verge of the forest in a they called it a pergola I always call this the grape arbor they call it but it was very much like this um only their vine was not growing. Um, and I’m not sure why it was kind of fascinating because this. Land has been within the same family for a really long time over 100 years and I could see evidences of previous gardeners. A lot of the garden had been neglected for a very long time. But. It was really cool to see where the garden had been and sort of identify with this person who had gone before and spent all this time putting things into place and I had a ah very strong desire to.
To work in that garden and reconstruct it I remember when my mom married for the first time my mom’s been twice widowed and my when my stepdad died her second husband my first stepdad. After he died and she remarried to my current stepdad stepdad Dave ah Dave was like going through our house. They ended up eventually selling that house in Denver and he was going to the house and you know like. Down in the basement through Leo. My stepdad’s workroom and he said made a really interesting comment that because he hadn’t known Leo and he said that he felt like he had kind of come to be friends with him. Sort of seeing his projects and seeing how he had organized things and not organized things and that is how I feel about this probably in a more distant way. But this ah unknown gardener I felt like I could see the traces of I’m I’m gonna. Like I guess there see that although I was picturing a woman that I could see the traces of her design and her aesthetic and I found some. There were some plants amidst the overgrowth you know that were still struggling on and I could. Picture her planting those things and seeing how it looked when it was all in life. So I think that’s going to turn up in the new book I did start the new book. Um. And I believe it is the working title which I believe will be the sticking title is shadow wizard du um, and and I’ll set up a approved or for it soon because it’s goingnna be september you guys. It’s gonna come out in September but. It started and I’m happy with that title Shadow Wizard things for all of you who sent suggestions greatly appreciate it I think that this trilogy title is going to be. Renegades of Magic. It’s what I’m playing with so. So yeah, um, the retreat. It was very late back. It was unstructured.
Ah, my friend who is organizing and hosting it um did offer a conversation writing conversation but not necessarily direct teaching that sort of thing. I think that this would vary depending upon who decided to do it. But I think that um yeah, it was just it was so relaxing and and you all know if you are a longtime listener. You know that I am more than a little um I know. Want to use the word. Compulsive Jackson is really watching something over there I making sure he’s not going to go over the wall I don’t know what he’s got his gaze on oh mustve been a bird all right? So I am. Highly ritualized about how I get my work done. So I said to my friend that I think I’m the only person who goes on a writing retreat and panics about not getting any writing down and my friend said no everybody feels that way. Everybody worries that they’re not going to do it and I thought well it’s not exactly the same thing because for me I can feel reasonably confident that if I stay home I will get my work done and you know and I lost time and energy to travel right? that Tuesday was was a wash. Um. Did do some shopping if you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I did buy a couple things while I was stranded at the dallasport where is that airport. Ah. Yeah, I’m not going to talk about my travel shenanigans. So and then Wednesday I spent a lot of time just kind of getting my head back into the bonds of magic world and then I did. Get writing done on Thursday Friday and then Saturday before I leave for the airport. So I’ve got I’m about 5,000 words into the new book and and I’m happy with it. One thing that I decided to do since I was on retreat was. Thought okay, well this is an opportunity for me to mix things up a bit that I don’t have to do try to replicate my at home experience. In fact, I will not be able to replicate my at home experience. So I I kind of just left it open I let it be.
Working on stuff as I felt like it I let myself be a little bit more dreamy and less focused on getting the word count done I didn’t keep track of my hours and so forth and it was definitely a much more relaxed approach. Um. There was a lot to be said for that kind of Approach. What’s going on. Okay, he’s just up under the tree have to make sure he’s not marauding the Avian Life. Cat wrangling. So So yeah, now I’m I am kind of wondering if I should mix up my process a little bit and I don’t know. Something to keep in mind anyway or maybe it was just good for me to do that every once in a while I Really loved um, just being out of my routine I loved being off on my own day. It was great having someone who is a career author organize something like this because my friend was sensitive to just how writers are and so for like breakfast and lunch. They they did all of the food they provided the food they wanted it to be like. You know that I could just have whatever whenever I was ready so they would just set out like um bowls with different kinds of fresh fruit berries and that kind of thing they had asked me ahead of time if I had food allergies or what I didn’t didn’t like to eat and then at lunchtime they had set out salad makings. So. You know, big bowl of lettuce and then various other things that I could construct my own salad with and so like when I finished working on stuff when I finished writing I could just waltz in and you know find everything set out for me and it was very princess-like. And then they cooked dinner for me and provided conversation and that was um, it was all charming I did get to ask my friend about this thing I’ve been pondering about going to multiple povs. Ah. With shadow wizard and and she asked really good questions. Um, instead of offering advice asked me a series of questions about why did I want to do it and which is really a good way to do things and after I finished talking about it.
She pointed out that I had only one reason not to do it and a whole bunch of reasons for why I wanted to do it and she used the phrase story brain which I really like um and would like to credit her with and will someday when I am given leave to say where I was and who I was with. But I found that really helpful because for some reason and you know this is all part of like figuring out what your process is of owning it. Um the terminology like muse inspiration that kind of thing. Just doesn’t work for me because I don’t know I don’t like the idea that the muse is some sort of external deity that deigns to come or go I think. Well my stories seem to come from somewhere that is not always within my conscious control. It also doesn’t feel like this numinous thing that has its own mind and personality. Instead whoops have to stay back. Get a little bit of sun breaking through the clouds monsoon. Ah I like the idea of storybra. Because it does feel like a very particular part of my brain. Let’s see where he went now. Oh there. He is okay, you guys might be able to see him on video. He’s right under the tree but he’s also in with the flowers. Yeah, so. That’s really how this feels is that this is my story bring really wants to do this thing and so I’m gonna do it I’m excited and I feel. Um, relieved maybe. And then sense and energized to have permission I’m putting that in air quotes to to do this so that was a great outcome. Um, and yeah, it was just ah, it was basically a vacation where i. Got to still talk writing stuff and get some writing work done and and that was fabulous. It was great. So I’ve got about 5K words so far on Shadow Wizard.
Start ramping up into that. Um, thank you all for the lovely comments on Storm Princess and the Raven King it’s a um out it got to be in the like top 5 recommended indie books on. Barnes and noble that was kind of cool huh. So I’ll share that on social media today that came while I was gone I didn’t look at email the whole time I was there that was one thing where they offered me the wi-fi password and I just never asked for it until like the. Day before I left when it occurred to me that I didn’t know anything about my plane flight and maybe I should look but but otherwise I didn’t look at email and that was um, wonderfully relaxing and good. So um. Yeah, storm princess is out. Thank you all for the ratings and reviews kind comments really happy that you all love it that it satisfied expectations and did the cover reveal on the covenant of Thorn’s books I will be sharing those. The coming week and those will be releasing through the summer the preorder is up I’ll add that to the show notes I ended up for those of you who have been following for a while I did not delete that scene that I was considering deleting. Um. I think I did the work on this on Monday. So yeah, oh that’s right I didn’t do a podcast Tuesday so I ultimately decided not to take it out I did change a couple of things I changed a line about rape that I decided was. Way too flip for today’s sensitivities a change of ten years Yeah, but I read to that scene and it was a not as bad as I remembered it. The same thing that Carien found when she went through and and read it that it was. Not as long, not as terrible not as sexual as she had remembered it. So again I do think this is a migration of what is shocking to us over time. It was no longer as much as I thought it was and also. If I had taken it out. It would have required a lot of work to the book and I decided to leave it so that was an interesting discovery so preorders are up for those books and thank you all for preordering i’m.
Amused by how many people have preordered the first one some people have preordered all 3 um but it’s something like um I don’t know 4 times as many have I have 4 times as many preorders for book one as for 2 and 3 which totally fair. I mean I would do that too was like no I want to read book one and see if I want the rest. So just interesting to see. Yeah, so um, we’ve got July and August for those three books releasing. And then Shadow Wizard out in September I think and I think book two will be wild familiar. We’ll see so that’s all my excitement happy to be back in the saddle refreshed rejuvenated Thank you again. Meghan. And I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye-bye.