First Cup of Coffee – December 16, 2022

Looking back at where I was this time last year and how I really have reduced my stress levels. Also, the difference between writing short and writing long and how not all craft/skill approaches work for both.

First Cup of Coffee – June 23, 2022

Changes in language and what’s acceptable in a culture, and making the effort to keep up with the times and not be THAT person. Also, the pitfalls of reader magnets and some thoughts to take into consideration.

Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I’m here with my first cup of coffee. Um, delicious. So today is Thursday June Twenty third a lovely rainwashed morning. I woke up around five and it was pouring rain. But now if you could see on video the sun has come out and we’re supposed to get warm today yesterday was cool. We never got above like um, f cloudy all day. Which was just fine. You know it’s delightful. Come a little bit froggy this morning. so um so yeah it’s we’re supposed to be up to F today and my friends arrive tomorrow. Kelly Robson and Alyx Dellamonica also known as L.X. Beckett are going to be here for like two and a half weeks oh that’s not good getting little dribbles on the laptop I’m gonna have to figure out something here because. There’s drips coming down from the grape leaves above I know I don’t have to tell you to hold on. But I’m telling you to hold on there. Yeah, if you are on video you can now see the the Jameson logo on my green umbrella which I now have. Propped somewhat um, unbeautifully over the keyboard to shield it from further drippings I spent a little bit of time fussing with it trying to come up with a better system and then I just decided this was gonna be a. So what? if this would work actually that works doesn’t it. Yeah all right that works I moved it sort of out of frame and it’s still good enough to shield the keyboard that’s actually in simple and elegant solution. Unlike. Many of the several tried um all right? So let us ah recommence with first cup of coffee here under the dripping grape arbor ah um, so let’s see.

What’s going on I’m getting back into the groove writing Shadow Wizard um I got 2000 words on Tuesday but I did not yesterday. Um, it was just a. Distraction day that seemed to be a lot of um I just wasn’t concentrating well I did come back from my trip tired I think tired from traveling I think you know that’s been one of the great. Realizations of the pandemic right is that traveling is exhausting. Um, it’s the the breaks right? Um, yeah, being in airplanes being in airports. Um, yeah and I got my sleep. Schedule all disrupted on the way there because of travel shenanigans I ended up not getting there I didn’t land until close to midnight eastern time at least it was only like do 10 my time which if you guys know me. I’m trying not to say “you guys” did I tell you that I am um well’ll finish that thought that ah no I lost the thought oh just that I got all disrupted. Yeah and if you all know me. You know that I am um am an early bird and early to bed at least these days. so um so yeah one of the. Things I’ve been thinking about and conversations that we’ve been having you know is and part of it comes out of some of the stuff that happened at nebula conference and um, whether or not older people should be excused from using. Language that has been determined to be offensive since their youth because wanting that people so come back and say older people who are in their seventy s and eighty s is you know when I was younger. This was a polite term and it was perfectly fine to say this and even when we try to explain that well times have changed and it is no longer a polite term and has not been considered a polite term for decades. They tend to entrench and.

What to argue the point rather than change and I realize change is hard. Um, but one thing that I was talking about with my friend while I was on this writing retreat is we were just talking about some of the recent changes in languages in language and what’s considered. Appropriate not and she was not aware I told her which is something that one of my friends told me that it is no longer appropriate to use the term master bedroom or master bathroom because it implies masters and slaves and which is. You know what it came from right? The master’s bedroom and realtors are now saying primary bedroom and bathroom and so we were trading these things off you know, talking about another one I learned recently. Um, is that it’s not considered appropriate to say homeless anymore that people are saying unhoused which to my ear sounds like pretty much exactly the same word, but this is my initial reaction right? This is you know would somebody tells me something like this I think well that’s just dumb. Ah. Why is it better to say unhoused instead of homeless. Well there are reasons right? So and I do not want to be in 30 years you know creeks don’t rise maybe one day I will get to be fetid on a panel and be there with starry-eyed young writers are excited to meet me and I do not want to be the older person who. Carelessly uses a word that is offensive to people that is harmful to people and it requires keeping up with the language. It requires keeping up with the politics. It’s not easy, but it’s something that i. Absolutely assigned myself to do it. My friend was feeling the same way. It’s like we have to be able to keep up with this. So for me, the new project is to lense you guys from my language which hurts my heart people. Because I am a child of the rocky mountain west I grew up saying you guys as a gender neutral term. It has always been gender neutral in my vocabulary. Um as I used it.

I use it on this podcast I’m sure all the time. Oh little moth is caught in the water here you’re gonna get out.

There’s some standing water on my table here. So I fished the moth out and put it over in the plant in the Sun. So its little wings could dry out. Yes I was also that kid who. Fished mods out of the swimming pool and put them up on the edge to dry.

You know? and and this is an aside but I remember being so struck by Vonda McIntyre’s novella Dreamsnake and I got to be on a panel talking about Vonda McIntyre and how great her books were ah after her death which. You know it was both fabulous and sucked because I didn’t get to meet her and she was an amazing writer and very influential on me but I remember so vividly the line when they the people that she’s trying to help that she’s there to heal. She comes back and they. Broke in the back of her little dream snake and she says um, do people feel nothing for small things and their pain. What a great line. Wonderful writer all right? So anyway. I was talking about something oh cleansing you guys from my language so I felt very stubborn about this so far I recognize this stubborn behavior when people have said that you guys sounds like you are. Talking to men. It’s like saying you men that is not gender neutral um and reader I do not want to change but I’m going to because the point is valid and I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to be the person who stubbornly persists in saying you guys just because it’s what I grew up saying which is the same argument that people have used for some of these other things that are now considered racial slurs that they were not racial slurs when they are younger and it’s like well. I accept that it was not a racial slur when you were younger I accept that you guys was not intended to be gender specific when I was younger. But now that’s how we hear it and the world turns and times change that’s a line from another. Great author Anne McCaffrey. So I’m trying to not say it anymore which means I kind of have to go with either you intending the plural I wish we had vous like in french but we don’t um or you all, um i’m. Never’all because I’m not that much of a southerner I have southern blood I have that much southern breeding you all you people you people I don’t even love because it sounds a little bit like um, othering right? So ah.

Onward always. Um, so the other thing I wanted to talk about is that I was reading I finally finished my reread of that trilogy I’ve now exhausted all of that author’s books I’m going to move on with my life and I am. Reading a short story. Um by an author that I had not read before and because um, she had recommended Dark Wizard and I was so pleased that she recommended Dark Wizard and I thought oh I should check out her books and. My assistant happened to have I asked my assistant if she had read this gal because ah, that’s our ah our reader check I’m like what I like her books and she said you know I haven’t read them but I have her free story the reader magnet from her newsletter and I’ll send that to you and I said oh okay, great. So the thing is for those of you who do not know and and I am actually one of them because I don’t do reader magnets. Um, and I apparently don’t understand them very well because when somebody asked if I did a reader magnet I said. Which is something that you do for newsletters I said oh well. Um I yes, I do if people sign up for my newsletter. They get a choice of one of a couple of free books depending on what genre they like and my assistant sends them and they said oh my sweet summer child that is not what a reader magnet is and I was like. Oh okay, so apparently a reader magnet is something that you write specifically for the newsletter. Um, and it is when people subscribe to your newsletter. They get this but it’s the only way they can get it I think that’s the definition and if I am wrong. Please feel free to comment and illuminate for all of us do not be like the gal who commented about how we should only be drinking organic coffee. Um, normally I do really believe in organic stuff and I’m leaving her comment up for general information. But um. Feel like it mainly illustrated that she doesn’t actually listen to the podcast since we don’t talk about coffee here the title out withstanding. Um so ah.

So do explain please do if I’ve got it wrong but that I think this is how the reader bag works. So the thing is is that I’m reading this gal’s short story and and I think she’s a good writer I can see that she’s a good writer. Um.

I’m not in love with the story and I think probably what I’m gonna have to do is go get one of her novels because I can just tell by reading this short story that her it. It’s written like like a novelist would write a short piece. Pass out. Um and it made me think that um we have to be careful because I know that this is a standard piece of advice to build your newsletter by having a reader magnet that you write. A standalone short so that readers will subscribe to your newsletter. The thing to keep in mind is that very often people are going to read this as I am as a sample of your work right? Do I want to read this author and the skill set for writing. Ah, short story versus a novella versus a novel are very very different skill sets and I feel like this has gotten lost in part because um, with all of the self-p publishing stuff. There’s such a relentless focus on marketing and promotion and less on craft. Which I know I bitch about all the time I’m sorry but you wouldn’t be listening right? If you didn’t want to hear me bitch about how kids these days don’t pay attention to craft least. Hopefully so The thing is is that I feel like the chops are not there for this short story and it makes me not want to keep reading her I think that I will give her a chance and go read one of the novels because because I think that. Probably the novel writing chops are there. Yeah, some water just poured down on the umbrella fix is working so and and I’m not sure what to tell you tell you all, um, as a fix for this except. If you’re going to use a short story as a sample for your work. Make sure it’s it’s well done. Um I know that there is a sense that there are short stories that are um, reader rewards. You know that you write like that. Scene that didn’t get into the book. Um readers like reading the deleted scenes and those of you who have been listening to me for a long time know that I’m very hesitant to share deleted seats I only rarely share them because I feel like.

They are deleted for a reason and usually that reason isn’t because they’re not that good because they don’t so. Don’t do what they should they they’re they’re flat out just not up to the standard of the rest of it and I know that die hard fans love seeing. Those little glimpses and I think that there’s a place for that. But I think you also have to be really careful about sharing substandard work because it does influence. How people see your work. Um. I think that’s different than delivering something that people have asked for um, one thing I actually no one has asked for it yet. But I’ve got it sort of in my hip pocket that if you have now read all of the airs of magic. Books. Ah, there is that bit in book 4 the storm princess and the Raven King where Jack and stella go off for a few days by themselves and and I have an idea of of what happens there besides. Lots of sex and napping because they’re supposed to be recuperating ah that there is a conversation that happens there that it’s hinted at in storm princess and I’ve thought about that I will write that story so far nobody has said hey jeffie I mean I know you guys have sent me other stuff and I appreciate the. Thoughts but I really did think people would say something like what happened with Jack and Stella while they were away. Maybe you guys all just figured. It was sex and napping which is legit. Um, but yeah I appreciated all of the thoughts people sent for It’s it’s interesting because readers ask for very different things than I think that you will ask for. So it’s always um, illuminating to hear your thoughts on I would really love more of this kind of thing. So anyway, I think you have to be really aware of what your reader magnet is doing and. If you see with this author if I had not had access to this free short story which I obviously got through um, underhanded means right? because I did not sign up for the newsletter I got it from my assistant. But because I don’t like signing up for newsletters. There’s my my dirty little secret I kind of hate newsletters and I don’t like getting them I don’t like email I I want to be I want to be like C.M. Nacosta who does not read email.

Um I figured out how to pull that off although my email has been very light lately. So maybe I’m getting there I’ve been ah, unsubscribing to lots of things and ruthlessly blocking. So we’ll see um but my point. And and I do have one is just because you have a reader magnet doesn’t mean that it is accomplishing the function that you want it to if I had not been able to get this short story that was already free. So I didn’t feel bad about getting it through underhanded means. Even though I did not keep my end of the contract by signing up for the newsletter I would have probably gotten a sample of the novel and I think that would be better on trade and I probably still will at this point and probably there are readers out there who are far more forgiving than I but I would be aware of that. That it. Um yeah, requires very different approaches and some people can’t write short just like some people can’t write long so back to the same mantra right? Discover what your process is own. It. If you want to develop new skills new chops. Then yeah, do that but be aware that you need to do that that it’s not something that you can just churn out. It’s not and I and I hate that phrase I shouldn’t use it. But it’s. Writing a short story or writing a novella is not like writing a novel that takes less time. It’s different skills and maybe that’s something I could talk about on here I know that you guys ask me to talk about stuff and then I forget but um I could talk a little bit about. How those things are different and and how maybe if I could figure out to how to explain how this reads like a gutted novel and instead of an actual short story. Um, that might be helpful. So anyway, not today because I’ve already gone long. Um, and now I’m going to go get to work hope you all have a wonderful Thursday under your umbrellas or not and I will talk to you all tomorrow you all take care bye bye.