Jeffe Kennedy, Author of LONEN’S WAR: Has fantasy become a catch-all category?

Today’s guest is Jeffe Kennedy, whose new book LONEN’S WAR just released two days ago. She’s here to discuss the Saturn Awards, the RITAs, and our favorite topic — FANTASY!!


If a show has any kind of “woo woo” … it’s getting called Fantasy

Several things have happened lately to make me question how the fantasy genre is being labeled and represented in the larger world. Specifically, I triggered at the announcement that OUTLANDER won the 2016 Saturn Awards for Best Fantasy Television Series. (The link is here: http://www.saturnawards.org/, but as they have the winners on the current home page and not at a specific link, I grabbed a screenshot, too.)

2016 Saturn Awards for Best Fantasy Television Series

Now let me be clear: I *love* OUTLANDER. I’m a huge fan of both the books and the television show. I think the show deserves all the awards.

Except… maybe not the Fantasy award.

Because it’s not Fantasy.

I mean, sure, there’s time travel. But the time travel events occur at widely spaced moments. One per season, at this rate. Otherwise there are no fantastical elements. (Okay – Sam Heughan is fantastic, but I’m talking about the *other* meaning, as in relating to fantasy. And not that kind of fantasy, people.) Aside from the time travel that forms the premise, the story is really historical.

For comparison, let’s look at the other nominees. (Link here: http://www.saturnawards.org/The-Saturn-Awards-Annual-Nominations.php)

Game of Thrones
Haven
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
The Magicians
The Muppets
Outlander
The Shannara Chronicles

Of these, four – Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin), Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (Susanna Clarke), The Magicians (Lev Grossman) and The Shannara Chronicles (Terry Brooks) – are taken from novels or series firmly planted in the fantasy genre. They have solidly magical themes and alternate fantasy worlds.

I haven’t seen Haven, but it looks to be more paranormal. Kind of like Supernatural? Maybe someone who’s seen it can weigh in here.

I can’t even with The Muppets being included in the nominees.

BUT – that inclusion goes to a theme. If a show has any kind of “woo woo,” not solid reality elements, it’s getting called Fantasy by this group.

Let’s take a look at the Science Fiction category for contrast. (I’ll stick with the television series nominations, in an attempt to keep this apples to apples.) The nominees were:

The 100
Colony
Continuum
Doctor Who
The Expanse
Wayward Pines
The X-Files

I had to look up Colony, Expanse and Wayward Pines but, with the possible exception of the last, they all seem solidly Science Fiction. I dunno on Wayward Pines – maybe it’s really different from Haven in the fantasy nominees, but I’m not sure where the line is being drawn there.

ANYWAY, my point is that the Fantasy category tends to be a catch-all for “weird shit.” Which kind of bothers me. I’m seeing books out that are marketed as Fantasy Romance that read solidly to me as Historical Romance. It’s not enough to me for a story to take place in a non-tech world, especially one very recognizable as from our past. There needs to be more for it to be actual *fantasy*. Just as one time-travel even is not enough to make Outlander into a true fantasy, then a few magical elements in a historical don’t quite lever it into fantasy for me.

Another area that makes this problematic for me is RWA’s RITA awards. For the 2016 awards there were twelve categories. Some, like Contemporary Romance, are broken into subgroups of Long, Mid-length, and Short. Historical is broken into Long and Short. So, five of the twelve were for contemporary and historical romances.

How many for Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction Romance and Fantasy Romance? One. All under Paranormal.

Now, I understand some of the category breakdowns are fueled by number of entries. Maybe there aren’t enough entries in Paranormal to break down into more granular categories. But lumping all of these under the equivalent of the “weird shit” category seems unfair to the breadth of these genres.

Let’s look at the Paranormal finalists. (I added my take on their genres – feel free to argue!)

Midnight’s Kiss by Thea Harrison – PNR, splash of UF
Must Love Chainmail by Angela Quarles   – Time Travel
Possessed by a Wolf by Sharon Ashwood – PNR
The Shattered Court by M. J. Scott – Fantasy
Soulbound by Kristen Callihan – PNR/Steampunk
Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts – PNR
Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Maria Bradley – Historical with a dash of magic? (Haven’t read this one and hard to tell from the descriptions)

The book that won, Angela Quarles’ Must Love Chainmail is a pretty solid time-travel, much like Outlander. No shade on her or her book – big congrats to her on what I understand is a well-deserved award! – but is this like comparing Outlander to Game of Thrones to, well, The Muppets? To me these books aren’t all the same genre. Is it really fair to lump them all under one umbrella for our industry’s highest award?

Maybe I’m wrong here. Help me out, people!!


More about Jeffe

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and the third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind May 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, and was followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular SFF Seven blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.


Lonen's War, Sorcerous Moons, Jeffe Kennedy, fantasy

Lonen’s War

Sorcerous Moons – Book 1

An Unquiet Heart

Alone in her tower, Princess Oria has spent too long studying her people’s barbarian enemies, the Destrye—and neglected the search for calm that will control her magic and release her to society. Her restlessness makes meditation hopeless and her fragility renders human companionship unbearable. Oria is near giving up. Then the Destrye attack, and her people’s lives depend on her handling of their prince…

A Fight Without Hope

When the cornered Destrye decided to strike back, Lonen never thought he’d live through the battle, let alone demand justice as a conqueror. And yet he must keep up his guard against the sorceress who speaks for the city. Oria’s people are devious, her claims of ignorance absurd. The frank honesty her eyes promise could be just one more layer of deception.

A Savage Bargain

Fighting for time and trust, Oria and Lonen have one final sacrifice to choose… before an even greater threat consumes them all.

Available now at Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Smashwords. For buy links, click here.


Jill’s take:

I think the fantasy label often serves as a catch-all, but I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. I agree that defining Outlander as “fantasy” isn’t entirely accurate. It’s kind of like calling Game of Thrones a romance because of Sam and Gilly. I always refer to Outlander as historical fiction with lots of romance and a bit of time travel.

Focusing on the Saturn Awards, I guess I’m wondering what other category it could have been nominated in. Best Television Presentation? Even if it had been, it would have been competing against even more apples-to-oranges shows though.

Similar to your point above — I’ll share a pet peeve of mine: When people use the term “science fiction” as a catch-all label for ALL books with ANY type of speculative element. Drives me absolutely nuts.

Terrific post, Jeffe. And great cover for LONEN’S WAR! Thanks for guest blogging today!!

EVERYONE– WEIGH IN! WHAT DO YOU THINK? HAS “FANTASY” BECOME A CATCH-ALL CATEGORY? IS THAT BAD? OR ARE YOU OKAY WITH IT?

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fantasy romance, Jeffe Kennedy, Twelve Kingdowns, The Crown of the Queen

Jeffe Kennedy: “Grateful I couldn’t selfpub easily” (#amrevising #writerslife)

The speed at which one can self-publish is often mentioned as one of its biggest advantages. A writer can get a book to market via self-pub MUCH faster than via traditional publication. But fast isn’t always best. If the mantra of real estate is location, location, location then the mantra of writers should be revision, revision, revision. Both rising star and hard-working author (those two adjectives are hardly a coincidence; they go hand in hand), Jeffe Kennedy, is here to share her thoughts on drafting versus revision and why all of us should take the time to get it right. Welcome, Jeffe!


One of the best parts of being a writer, I often say, is getting to have in-depth conversations with writers I admire. At the RT Booklovers Convention in Las Vegas, I had lunch with amazing SFF author Kate Elliott. Not only is she a brilliant author of some of my favorite fantasy series, she’s been in the business for over twenty years and generously shares her accumulated wisdom.

At any rate, during lunch, as we talked about our current projects, she asked me if I love or hate revising. This is one of those litmus test questions writers often ask each other, because most of us fall into one of two camps on it. I always say I hate it. For me, revising has always given me the sense of fixing the things I got wrong the first time I wrote it. In contrast, one of my good writer friends calls revision “God’s work.” Which I find amusing because, biblically speaking, God didn’t do much revising at all. Unless you count Lilith as the first draft of woman and Eve as the revision.

Kate falls into the revision camp. She hates drafting and feels she really shines when revising. What she hates are the ups and downs of drafting, the going from exaltation to utter despondency. As we discussed the ins and outs of both phases of writing, it occurred to me that maybe I’ve changed.

Because I really don’t hate revision as much as I used to. Largely because that feeling of fixing mistakes has diminished considerably.

I wouldn’t go so far as saying that it feels like God’s work, but revising gives me the opportunity to make the story better. Learning to relish the revision process has also taken the pressure off of drafting for me. I don’t have to get everything right on the first draft, because I can retool it later.

Finally, I think I’ve changed my feelings on this for two more reasons: I’ve grown as a writer and I’ve grown as a human being.

Seriously, I think I’m a better writer than I used to be (which is a huge relief), and because of that, I’m stretching more. I’m taking on bigger story challenges, which means that revising gives me sometimes much-needed opportunities to dig in.

Also, and this was the big revelation: I think I’ve matured into this place. A lot of that “revision is just fixing mistakes” feeling comes from me being a perfectionist and from me being impatient – two of my greatest flaws. I’ve never liked having to labor over a task. I want it to be perfect, yes, but I also want it to be perfect right out of the gate. Because I’m rational enough to know that nothing is ever perfect, I’ve managed to disengage a lot of that particular expectation, but it’s always seemed that the price I pay is still wanting it to be wonderful the moment I finish.

But not so much anymore. I still want the book to be as wonderful as it can be, but I have much more patience these days for working and reworking until it is. I don’t feel the same pressure of vanishing time that I used to.

Maybe that comes from being older, or from being farther along in my career. Regardless, it’s a better place to be.

I often reflect on how grateful I am that self-publishing was not so easy, acceptable and readily available when I was shopping my first novel. I revised that sucker numerous times because I felt forced to. If I wanted to sell that book to a publisher, I had to find ways to make it better. If I’d been able to publish it myself, I would not have put myself through that pain. And it is a much better book. Though not as good as I’d make it now, if I could go back and revise. I cringe a little when someone says they’re reading that first novel, but nothing like I would if they read that first version I hugged and cuddled like a precious baby – and lacked the perspective to recognize just how bad it was.

Perspective that also now allows me to value the revision process in a way I never could before.

So, though I’ll still answer the question that I love drafting more, I also don’t hate revision the way I used to. Which is kind of a cool place to be.

What about you all – Team Drafting or Team Revision?


This was such a great post and so timely for me! Here are a few of my thoughts:

  1. I’m Team Drafting: While I definitely understand the value of revision (I think its presence/absence can make or break a book), I much prefer drafting. The story feels immediate and real. Yes, the “exultation to utter despondency” can be emotionally draining, but I prefer riding the roller coaster to reviewing its engineering plans. Revision, for me, always requires bird’s- eye view to microscopic… big picture to itty, bitty and back again… It’s enough to give me a migraine.
  2. I probably feel that way because I’m currently revising Pocket Full of Tinder. 😀
  3. I’ve talked before about the pressure writers feel to produce more work faster so I’m not going to belabor that point again, but I think it’s related to Jeffe’s post. I absolutely agree with her — revision is ESSENTIAL. Don’t rush to publish. And yet I understand why some writers would want to. You hear a lot about FOMO these days (“fear of missing out”). Whenever I read those articles or posts, my gut reaction is to scoff. “Yeah, right,” I think. “Like I’d ever feel like I’m missing out. I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.” … … … But I realized the other day that I *do* experience FOMO. Maybe not with respect to social events or life experiences or keeping up with every little bit of online info but with respect to PUBLISHING. So, yeah, ye writers in the starting gate who are kicking at the door — I get you.
  4. I envy writers like Jeffe who seem to grow more and more confident with each book. For me, I feel like each one is as tough as the last, just in different ways.
  5. But you know what they say: if it was easy, everyone would do it. ANYONE can click a “publish” button these days. But not everyone can write a quality novel. Don’t be the person that just clicks a button. Take the hard road. You’ll be in great company! 🙂

fantasy romance, Jeffe Kennedy, Twelve Kingdowns, The Crown of the Queen

The Crown of the Queen

A Twelve Kingdoms Novella

Dafne Mailloux, librarian and temporary babysitter to the heirs to the High Throne of the Twelve – now Thirteen – Kingdoms, finds it difficult to leave the paradise of Annfwn behind. Particularly that trove of rare books in temptingly unfamiliar languages. But duty calls, and hers is to the crown. It’s not like her heart belongs elsewhere. But how can she crown a queen who hesitates to take the throne?

This novella will be part of a duology called For Crown and Kingdom, which will also contain a novella by Grace Draven called The Undying King

For Crown and Kingdom (The Crown of the Queen) will release on May 31, 2016 and will be available in digital format and print.

Buy links will be added to the bookpage once available: http://www.jeffekennedy.com/for-crown-and-kingdom/

More on Jeffe

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review was nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose was nominated for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2014 and the third book, The Talon of the Hawk, won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Best Fantasy Romance of 2015. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind May 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, and was followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

* Jeffe also gets the award for Most Links In A Bio. 😀 😀 😀

Writers, what about you? Which is your favorite — drafting or revision? Do you regret mistakes in earlier works? Wish you could go back and change them? Thank you, Jeffe, for guest blogging today. Best wishes for The Crown of the Queen!

#Writing #Workshops for October (#indiepub #selfpub and cross-genre #fantasy)

Below are the online workshops being offered in October by RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Chapter. If you are a writing instructor and are interested in teaching a workshop, please contact me for available dates, rates, and proposal submission guidelines. (I just signed up for the self-pub one. Come join me! 🙂 Not in the mood for a workshop? There’s a cat pic below. Enjoy! 😀 )

Self-Publishing Part 2: Self-Publishing Your Manuscript

10/01/2015 – 10/22/2015

This workshop is Part 2 of a two-part, five-week self-publishing workshop designed to teach students about the business of self-publishing books digitally and in print. (Part 1 is not required to take Part 2.)

Self-publishing provides an amazing opportunity for authors to take control of their own publishing career. It’s also a lot of hard work. Authors must build successful, long-running businesses and supervise their own production and distribution process.

Part 2 covers:

  • Finding and working with freelance editors, formatters and cover artists
  • Distributing directly to retailers vs using aggregators or publishing services
  • Self-publishing audio books and foreign translations
  • Where and how to sell your book
  • Building a basic timeline and budget
  • Best practices for building your self-published book
  • Understanding metadata and how and where it’s used
  • Is self-publishing really for you?

Workshop Goals include:

  • For students to gain a clearer understanding of how to self-publish
  • For students to take ownership of their publishing career path
  • For students to gain perspective on the financial and artistic reasons to choose self-publishing
  • For students to gain knowledge and tools to help them embark on self-publishing their work
  • For students to discover trustworthy resources for further research

About the Presenter, Kelli Finger

Kelli Finger is published under her pseudonym Abbey MacInnis and publishes books under her sole-proprietorship publishing company. Kelli recently added a certification in grant writing to her writing experience. A classically-trained vocalist with a Masters of Social Work, Kelli is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and has worked for over six years as a Braille proofreader. Having faced the challenges of developing her own self-publishing career, she’s eager to help others save time and understand their many options.

Cost: FFP Members:$20.00/Non-Members: $25.00

Register for This Workshop

Defying Gravity: Writing Cross-Genre and Succeeding Anyway

10/18/2015 – 10/31/2015

Genre definitions have a profound influence on writers’ careers. From the first queries where we must specify the book’s genre to long-term decisions about pursuing or giving up on a “dead” genre, dealing with what feels like a false construct is a necessary skill. However, following our hearts and inspiration often means tossing aside these considerations.

Or chopping them to pieces in a murderous rage.

But shedding conventions can be what sets a book apart. That’s what takes a writer’s career from midlist to break-out. So… how do you know? More—how do we find the courage to embrace a bold move?

In Wicked, the heroine Elphaba is faced with that crucial decision, of whether to choose the safe path or to risk flying on her own. This workshop will explore genre definitions and how Jeffe Kennedy went from being a “Crack Ho” – being told that her work fell in the cracks between genres – to receiving a nomination for Book of the Year and an RT Seal of Excellence for the one title each month that stands out from all the rest by an innovative twist on a familiar story or pushing genre boundaries. Participants will discuss their experiences with genre—both coloring inside the lines and stepping across them—and will leave inspired to take risks and follow their hearts.

Everyone deserves a chance to fly!

About the Presenter, Jeffe Kennedy

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated forbest fantasy romance of the year. Two more books will follow in this world, beginning with The Pages of the Mind in Summer 2016. A fifth series, the erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, started with Going Under, followed byUnder His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, on Goodreads and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

Cost: FFP Members:$10.00/Non-Members: $15.00

Register for This Workshop

Nutmeg Back to School
WHO SAID CATS ARE TOO COOL FOR SCHOOL?

Jeffe Kennedy: A Personal History of an Emerging Genre (#fantasy #romance)

Today’s guest blogger is Jeffe Kennedy, who, among other recent successes, finaled in this year’s PRISM (FF&P’s published author contest) in the Fantasy category. She’s here to discuss how popular fantasy romance is these days..

I’ve just returned from the RT Booklovers Convention and – wow! – was it ever a great year for Fantasy Romance.

A number of us hosted the Mad Hatter Fantasy Romance Tea Party. We planned for 100 people, something like 150 came in for standing room only, and RT volunteers turned 30+ away. Next year RT suggests we plan for 200! What a rousing – and unexpected – success. I saw other signs of increased interest in the genre, with people snapping up my books, some after standing for hours in line! I’ve never experienced anything like it.

In fact, I had a long, winding (two-hour) conversation with Fantasy Romance author Grace Draven. It was fascinating to compare notes with her, because she was similarly blown away by the genre love. She said that, like me, she’s never been on the upsurge of anything in her life. We are both bemused and incredibly grateful.

What’s most interesting is our shared history, though we only just met at this conference.

Her book, Master of Crows – which was my Grace Draven gateway drug and I love, love, love – came out from Amber Quill in 2009. She told me it didn’t do well, largely because the cover wasn’t good. When she regained her rights to the book, she reissued it in 2011 with an amazing new cover and it took off from there. Meanwhile, my first book in the Covenant of Thorns trilogy, Rogue’s Pawn, finally sold after much muttering about how cross-genre it was, and came out from Carina Press in 2012. I think it’s salient that Grace and I both sold these “unmarketable” books to digital presses. We both reflected on our gratitude for those digital presses and the technology that allows these cross-genre books to find audiences, which allows new genres to emerge.

Amber Quill called Grace’s book Fantasy, but Carina classified mine, three years later, as Fantasy Romance – a genre I had never heard defined that way, before that moment. But in between the first publication of Master of Crows and mine for Rogue’s Pawn, something else happened. C.L. Wilson’s Lord of the Fading Lands was published in July 2010 by Harper Collins and debuted on the New York Times bestseller list. She, as Grace puts it, kicked the door down for Fantasy Romance.

This year, RT Magazine awarded the first of my Twelve Kingdoms books, The Mark of the Tala, the Seal of Excellence for stretching genre boundaries. The second book, The Tears of the Rose, was nominated for best Fantasy Romance of the year, along with books by C.L. Wilson and Amy Raby, and Grace’s book, Entreat Me, won the category. 2014 was the first time the magazine gave awards in the subgenre.

So, what’s ahead? I’m a big believer that a high tide floats all boats. More love for Fantasy Romance means more opportunities for writers! Bring it on, people!

the talon of the hawk

More About The Talon of the Hawk

A HEAVY CROWN

Three daughters were born to High King Uorsin, in place of the son he wanted. The youngest, lovely and sweet. The middle, pretty and subtle, with an air of magic. And the eldest, the Heir. A girl grudgingly honed to leadership, not beauty, to bear the sword and honor of the king.

Ursula’s loyalty is as ingrained as her straight warrior’s spine. She protects the peace of the Twelve Kingdoms with sweat and blood, her sisters from threats far and near. And she protects her father to prove her worth. But she never imagined her loyalty would become an open question on palace grounds. That her father would receive her with a foreign witch at one side and a hireling captain at the other—that soldiers would look on her as a woman, not as a warrior. She also never expected to decide the destiny of her sisters, of her people, of the Twelve Kingdoms and the Thirteenth. Not with her father still on the throne and war in the air. But the choice is before her. And the Heir must lead…

Available at Amazon   BN

Jeffe Kennedy
Jeffe Kennedy

More About Jeffe

Jeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author whose works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns; the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and book 1, The Mark of the Tala, received a starred Library Journal review and has been nominated for the RT Book of the Year while the sequel, The Tears of the Rose, has been nominated for best fantasy romance of the year. A fifth series, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, released starting with Going Under, followed by Under His Touch and Under Contract.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Connor Goldsmith of Fuse Literary.

Thanks for guest blogging today, Jeffe, and congratulations! It sounds like RT Booklovers Convention was a lot of fun. 😀

Jeffe Kennedy: Magic in the Twelve Kingdoms… and Our Everyday World

Jeffe Kennedy‘s latest release, THE TEARS OF THE ROSE received a 4 1/2 stars Top Pick Gold review from RT Book Reviews. For those of you who are unfamiliar with RT Book Reviews (go subscribe!) that’s a really terrific review. (I happened to see it not long after she sent me this post so I figured mentioning it would be a great way to introduce her). 🙂 She’s here with a topic that should appeal to fantasy and paranormal romance writers, as well as readers who love to hear about how we create the magic in our stories. Welcome, Jeffe!

“I’m fascinated by the idea that magic and other supernatural phenomena are simply products of universal laws we don’t yet understand.”

Thanks to Jill for inviting me to her blog today!

She asked me to talk some about the magic systems in my books, which isn’t something I get asked about all that frequently. In both of my fantasy romance trilogies thus far – A Covenant of Thorns and The Twelve Kingdoms – magic plays a fundamental role in the worlds.

A Covenant of Thorns takes place in Faerie, a world entirely infused with magic. The denizens of Faerie, with the exceptions of the human minority, are magical beings – some to the extent that they subsist entirely on magical energy. In The Twelve Kingdoms books, the world is populated mostly by humans and magic is scarce, mainly confined to the realm of Annfwn, where the Tala live. However, like the fae in my other series, the Tala are a magical people and the presence of magic in their world infuses everything about their lives and culture.

More than one reviewer has noted that Annfwn is a metaphor or form of Faerie, which I didn’t consciously intend, but I think the comparison is fair. In both series, the magical systems are outgrowth of Celtic culture, mythology and fairy tales. They both hearken to the earliest tales, such as the Táin Bó Cuailnge, which is an eighth-century cycle of Irish heroic tales. Much as in Greek mythology – another of my influences – they embody almost a form of magical realism, where magic infuses the world and shapes the creatures, landscape and events in the same way that the laws of physics, biology and ecology do.

This is my sweet spot.

As a scientist by training, I’m fascinated by the idea that magic and other supernatural phenomena are simply products of universal laws we don’t yet understand. In the Faerie of A Covenant of Thorns, I play with the idea that evolution follows a path similar to the one we know, but is accelerated and supercharged, if you will, by the mutating power of magic – which functions almost like a form of radiation in some cases. In The Twelve Kingdoms, the magic arises from the divine and from the land, which are profoundly intertwined. The Tala are shapeshifters and wizards because they have retained a stronger divine bloodline than the rest of the world.

In both of these series, the power of mental control, of self-discipline, self-knowledge and self-mastery all play a huge role. Thought is what controls the magic. This, then, loops back to the magical realism of the old stories, whether Celtic, Greek or from many other cultures I could list, that these tales teach lessons about how to govern our lives. Everything we struggle with – overcoming bad events, hoping for good outcomes, striving for more – all of that is essentially about manifesting what we want in our lives. Rather than waving magic wands or reciting spells, we govern our thoughts, eliminating negative thinking and focusing on the positive. In that way, we transform our lives and make them what we want them to be. That concept is at the core of all of my work, in truth.

A kind of magic we can all wield.

Thank you, Jeffe, for guest blogging today! Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Jeffe Kennedy: The Future of Fantasy Romance

Jeffe Kennedy’s third book in her Covenant of Thorns trilogy releases today. She’s here to chat about the fantasy romance genre and share a bit about her new book, Rogue’s Paradise. Welcome, Jeffe!

“It’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in”

Thanks to Jill for hosting me today, on the release day of Rogue’s Paradise!

Jill and I are both members of RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal special interest chapter (FFP). We’ve been having a lively discussion on our chapter loop lately about genre and how to categorize our own books.

This kind of question comes up fairly frequently, particularly from newer writers wondering how to describe their books in query letters or in choosing genre categories in self-publishing. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not easy for writers to know what genre to put their stories in. We generally write the stories and THEN figure out what to call it. Jill also writes what she calls “genre-bending fantasy.”

That said, it’s interesting to me to have this trilogy culminate at a time when the genre, Fantasy Romance, is considered “hot.” At the risk of sounding like I’m groaning out an old, sad tale about walking to school in hip-deep snow, uphill, both ways , when I wrote the first book, Rogue’s Pawn, Fantasy Romance wasn’t really a genre. Certainly not one I was aware of.

I know this because for a long time, I shopped that book as Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance. And it was politely explained to me (sometimes less so, as one agent sent me away in tears) that it was neither. When Carina Press bought the Covenant of Thorns trilogy, they called it Fantasy Romance. I swear that was the first time I was aware of the genre, though I had been reading other books classified that way. Rogue’s Pawn was only the tenth book at Carina to be published in that genre, in July of 2012, just over two years after Carina launched their first books.

Now, with Rogue’s Possession, the second book in the trilogy, finaling in FFP’s PRISM contest (though as Fantasy – even WE don’t recognize Fantasy Romance as a separate category yet!), and Rogue’s Paradise coming out today, I often hear my Covenant of Thorns trilogy cited as “classic” fantasy romance. Or, at least, as a solid example of the genre.

In our discussions on the FFP loop, I described myself as an interdimensional being who straddles genres, (we get to talk that way in FFP) especially since my other current trilogy is called Fantasy. One of our other members suggested the term “interstitial genres” – which, if you know biology, is a great choice. It would be interesting to trace the history of which books were first dubbed “Fantasy Romance.” Amusingly the Wikipedia link for Fantasy Romance redirects to Romantic Fantasy (last updated August 2014) – not the same thing at all.

At any rate, it’s so fun to have this trilogy culminate at this time, with so many wonderful writers doing great things with fantasy stories in all types of settings and romantic flavors.

It feels like a big party.

~throws confetti~

~twirls~

Jill’s Thoughts:

Every time these discussions come up about subgenre definition, I think of the last scene from Back to the Future when Doc says, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” lol.

Ah, if only it were that simple.

 I’m always tempted to call the Noon Onyx books “Fantasy” (which is what the spine says they are) and be done with it, but I also know it’s important to give readers information to help them decide if they want to read a book. And the fewer words a writer uses to do that, the better. So labels and genre definitions can be helpful. But they can also be limiting and misleading.

My books are genre mutts, full of fantasy (they’re set in an imaginary world), urban fantasy (the focus of the stories is the main character, a magic-wielding woman), and romance elements (there are several suitors and lots of emotion and inner conflict regarding Noon’s relationships). And, because the stories are written in the youthful, first person voice of a twenty-something postgrad, I even played around with the New Adult label. Plus each book in the series has drawn from the well of these other genres: mystery, adventure/quest, and legal thriller. Gah! See why I want to call up Doc and borrow his DeLorean?

Jeffe mentioned these discussions regarding subgenre definition come up fairly frequently among writers. Yep, too true. But, even though I joke about calling up Doc, I love discussing this stuff. In fact, just last week I was swapping emails with some of the writers who will be doing the Dark Fantasy Panel with me at the upcoming Baltimore Book Fest. Betcha can guess what one of the things we were discussing was. Yep, the future of dark fantasy and what the heck that label is supposed to mean. 😀

More About Rogue’s Paradise

Rogue's ParadisePregnant, possessed, and in love with a man I don’t dare to trust-those are the consequences of the risks I took to save my life. But Faerie, the land of blood and magic, is filled with bitter ironies, and the bargains I made now threaten me and my unborn child.

The darkly sensual fae noble Rogue still tempts me to danger and desire. As we await the birth of our child, I’ve been forced to question whether our offspring is part of a bargain Rogue once made to save himself. He can’t tell me the truth due to a spell the vicious Queen Titania has him under. Would he betray our family against his will? Could I ever forgive him if he does?

Rogue insists on an eternal commitment from me, even as Titania’s forces close in on us. I don’t know if Rogue and I can withstand her onslaught, or that of the beast within me. But I will not stop looking for answers-even if it brings the walls of Faerie crashing down.

 More About Jeffe

Jeffe KennedyJeffe Kennedy is an award-winning author with a writing career that spans decades. Her works include non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and novels. She has been a Ucross Foundation Fellow, received the Wyoming Arts Council Fellowship for Poetry, and was awarded a Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Award. Her essays have appeared in many publications, including Redbook.

Her most recent works include a number of fiction series: the fantasy romance novels of A Covenant of Thorns;  the contemporary BDSM novellas of the Facets of Passion, and an erotic  contemporary serial novel, Master of the Opera, which released beginning January 2, 2014. A fourth series, the fantasy trilogy The Twelve Kingdoms, hit the shelves starting in May 2014 and a fifth, the highly anticipated erotic romance trilogy, Falling Under, will release starting in July.

She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with two Maine coon cats, plentiful free-range lizards and a very handsome Doctor of Oriental Medicine.

Jeffe can be found online at her website: JeffeKennedy.com, every Sunday at the popular Word Whores blog, on Facebook, and pretty much constantly on Twitter @jeffekennedy. She is represented by Foreword Literary.

What sort of stories do you think of when you hear the term “fantasy romance”? Have you read any books that would fit that description? In addition to Jeffe’s Covenant of Thorns trilogy, two authors to try might be C.L. Wilson and Amy Raby.

Congratulations and best wishes, Jeffe. Thank you for guest blogging today!

Rogues Paradise Banner

Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway

Bewitching Book Tours organized a holiday giveaway, which includes a Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch (or equivalent value Amazon Gift Card), three prize packs full of fun swag, and TONS of ebooks, which are all listed below. I’m not offering an ebook because I currently only do print giveaways, but I did contribute to the big prize and I wanted to let you all know about the giveaway because it’s a great opportunity to be introduced to some new authors… and, of course, possibly win a new Kindle Fire — for yourself or to give as a gift.

Hope everyone is having a great week. I’m in the midst of revisions for WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, which are going well. On the horizon? The holidays, finishing up a wonderfully dark and romantic short story I’ve been working on as well as a proposal for a new (totally awesome) series. 😀

Happy Thursday and Good Luck with the Holiday Giveaway!

Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway Banner

Bewitching Book Tours Hot Holiday Giveaway Nov 15- Dec 15

Giveaways:

1 Kindle Fire HD 8.9 inch or equivalent value Amazon Gift Card

3 Bewitching Prize Packs full of books and book swag goodies- open to US Shipping- prize packs may contain print copies of The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle, Would Be Witch by Kimberly Frost and Earth Angel by E Van Lowe, Paranormal Pleasures by Roxanne Rhoads, Tasty Christmas Treats by Roxanne Rhoads- books will be distributed among the 3 prize packs

1  e-book set of the first three books in the Seven Seals Series by Traci Douglass

1 Release, book 3 of The Angler series by Annie Nicholas

1 ebook copy Murder on Mars A New Orleans Mystery by MM Shelley

1 Ebook giveaway Hollow’s End by Marianne Morea

1 Ebook copy of Tigress by JE Taylor

1 ebook copy of In Flames by Jessica Jayne

1 copy of River Road by Suzanne Johnson

1 ebook copy of Visionary- Unleashed by N Dunham

1 copy of each Bleeding Hearts and Blood Rush by Ash Krafton

1 ebook copy of Soul Meaning (Seventeen Book 1) by AD Starrling

1 ebook copy of Blaze Ignites by JL Madore

1  e-book copy of Operation Earth by Maria Hammarblad

1 Earth’s Requiem. Print if in the U.S., an e-copy otherwise.

1 ebook copy Silent Oath (Book 2 of the Locked Within Trilogy) by Paul Anthony Shortt

1 Ebook: Five Golden Rings by Jeffe Kennedy from the Season of Seduction Carina Press erotic holiday anthology

1 eBook: An Unexpected Bride (The Bride Series, Book 1) by Shadonna Richards

1 eCopy of Divine Destiny by Joanna Grace

1 Ministry Protocol: Thrilling Tales of the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

1 Ebook giveaway. “Beautiful Stranger” by Katalina Leon

1 ebook copy of Chasing the Star Garden by Melanie Karsak

1 ebook copy of Cleaning Up by Jophrael L Avario

1 One e-book copy of Haven by Celia Breslin

1 one e-book copy of Dragon Fire by Dina Von Lowenkraft

1 ebook copy of Hex and the Single Witch by Roxanne Rhoads

1 one kindle copy of Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective by Christine Amsden

1 One ecopy of Cursed Ever After by AC James

1 copy of The Miss Education of Dr. Exeter by Jillian Stone

1 ecopy of Catwalk:Messiah by Nick Kelly

1 ecopy of Wucaii by Pembroke Sinclair

1 ecopy of The Bottom Line by Shelley Munro

1 Ebook copy of Dangerous Pursuit by Margaret Daly

CLICK HERE FOR THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM.

Happy reading! 😀