My weekend at Bubonicon: great conversations with other writers and coming home ready to put a new project into motion. Also, how some members of the SFF community treat Romance like antimatter.
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Good morning everyone this is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I'm here with my first cup of coffee. Amazing today is I have no idea oh it's monday. I wanted to say is it Friday no gosh I'm so mixed up. It's Monday August Twenty Eighth and I've realized that I've forgotten to mute my phone acute listeners out. There will note that I am inside today that is because. My darling friend the fabulous Kelly Robson is visiting me right now she came up with me after bubonicon and so she is actually hanging out in the grape arbor because it's a wonderful place to be and I invited her to be out there and so I am inside. Ah, so yeah, had a great time at bubonicon this weekend saw a lot of terrific people. It's you know, always fun to people. Um, love that about sort of emergence from our pandemic isolation. It was also the first conference that I've been to where masking was not mandated a few people did still wear masks. But for the most part people were not wearing masks and yeah it was great. It was freedom. Ah, not going to lie I know that a lot of people still feel strongly about masking.
But it was it was really nice was nice not to have to mask and it was kind of funny because like I would be walking into the main conference area excuse me and. I kept feeling like I was forgetting something right by not putting on a mask. So a lot of great representation at bubonicon for those of you who don't know I get this question on occasion is why is our local New Mexico science fiction and fantasy conference. Called bubonicon this was number 54 so it's been going for a long time and it is called that because of bubonic plague because ah, New Mexico is one of the very last places where there is bubonic plague in the wild. Not that it really comes up much. Um. But it is out there and so the mascot for the conference is Perry the ratand there you have it? Ah so it's always interesting being at the conference and hearing people say to me that they listen to the podcast which. You know like I know that you're out there because I can like see the listening numbers and so forth. But so and some of you comment but a lot of you are you know you listen. Thank you and like when you see me at conferences say something to me about it.
So I did get a piece of feedback that the podcast is sometimes too quiet and ah so mom you are totally vindicated I always telling her you're the only one who says says too quiet and I tell her it's you know she needs to turn up her laptop. Volume where she needs to put in her earbuds or her hearing aids which she doesn't like to wear and so but somebody else said to me that sometimes it's too quiet and then it'll be too quiet and like then there's a loud startling noise. So I am trying to fix this I have changed the gain on the microphone. So hopefully it will be and I could see that it's much louder today. So hopefully this will help so um, trying to think of what ah 1 thing I want to tell you all before I forget. Is that I have new head shots. You may have seen that I posted them on Friday got those up on social media. So my other ones were something like I think I had them done in like 2009 or 2010 so I don't know. Update them every decade whether I need it or not. It's one of those things where like you'd rather keep your younger self as your head shop. But then when you meet people and they say things like you don't have black hair you have red hair or.
Acknowledging the fact that my face does indeed change over time. Ah I know of a couple of authors who kept their useful author photos I felt like way too long because there's nothing more disconcerting than like knowing an author is in her 50 S.
I just had a birthday right? Um, still in my fifty s though. Ah, but then like seeing their author photo that when they're like 30 or 40 ah time marches on not changing the photograph doesn't change that.
So new head shots if you happen to notice I'm using an old head shot somewhere. Let me know I'm trying to update those everywhere. Ah, they're pretty fun I like them they were done by Richard Mann at he took them at nebula conference and I just got the process version. So I think he did a great job. It was um, they're different than my previous head shots and I like that. Um, let's see so feedback on bubonicon. Ah.
Yes, because I talked to you all on Friday I had to think about where I had last updated you. So you know I was on vacation. Ah I did not write over the weekend I did not write at bubonicon I thought about it and I was just like not feeling it. So this goes back to this thing of like when do you hold your feet to the fire. But you all know that I typically don't write on the weekends anyway and I was spending a lot of time talking to people and I thought okay well this is why I'm at a conference is to have conversations with people. Ah, one of the funny things about having conversations with people was that on Sunday morning. The topic came up repeatedly of people looking for ah science fiction and fantasy writing community. Ah, why don't we get together more often than just in the bar at the Marriott for bubonicon. It was really great talking to people so I had wonderful conversations I'm just going to name some people you know Carrie Vaughn comes down from Colorado and it's always great talking to her. Ah, oh and in fact, I need to make a note I asked Carrie Vaughn to give a um, a talk for SFWA she ran a very successful kickstarter and when I asked her to do it at first she said that she.
Felt like she wasn't an expert on it and I said well no, this is exactly what we want because she had to learn what she was doing. She's an established author but she learned how to reach her existing audience and to create this kickstarter from scratch and I said you are exactly the kind of person that we want to. To be talking to people so and and she said the more she thought about it the more she realized that she did have a lot to say that she had learned so much. Um and and the counter to like having someone who's really expert is people forget what they didn't know when they started and it's still all fresh in Carrie's mind so hopefully we'll get that um other people that I saw will Mccarthy came down from Colorado lu j berger more local people there were Arkady Martine and her wife Vivian Shaw who is also a wonderful writer and Editor. Have a long conversation with them and with Diana Rowlands um Kelly Robson was toast Master Rebecca Roanhorse was there as one of the co- guests of honor along with Carrie and I'm probably forget oh the fabulous Darynda Jones was there hung out with her some.
So one of the things we were talking about I was introduced by will mccarthy to a new writer who's coming down from moving from Colorado to Albuquerque and looking to incorporate in the community. And then I talked to a couple of other authors who had a booth in the dealers' room. They're just starting to write stuff self-p publishing um and you know it's interesting. How writers don't miss as you like they start self publishing but they don't incorporate themselves into the community. Ah, they don't necessarily know who else in the area is writing the same kind of thing that they write. So anyway. Um I've been meaning to do this for a long time. We've been talking about doing it pre pandemic and so now the time has come because I had like this come up 3 separate times. It's like okay universe I hear you I hear you and I want to start organizing some regular monthly media regular meetings not necessarily month maybe monthly. Um, some like just Santa Fe folks but then also maybe combined Santa Fe and Albuquerque folks.
Because it's just really nice to have those rightly conversations. Ah yeah, so so that was really fun to do what else about the bonicon of course lovely to have Kelly come. She did a great job as toast master and it's great to have her visiting here today I am. Hoping to get back on track with writing but it's also going to be a little bit piecemeal with her being here today. We're going up to town 10000 waves around midday so that'll be fabulous. Um. 1 of the things that happened was my car some of you know that I have this at this point it's like antique. It wasn't antique when I got it but I have a 96 jaguar x-ras convertible and ah which you know now it's over twenty years old coming up on. 30 years old right yeah because it was twenty five years old and 2021 so it's funny because I don't regard it as being an old car but then people look at at and they're like wow why don't you have like 1 of those antique car license plates and stuff almost like my baby. My baby isn't old and neither am I ah.
But um I I've learned so there's this thing about this jaguar is better than some of the older models but there are still funky things about the wiring and I ended up explaining this to several different people because I inadvertently left the lights on. When I arrived on Friday which was my bad but it's also silly easy to leave the lights on in that car because it's not automatic like newer cars and it's a toggle switch and you can't tell which way it is. And so I'd driven through some really bad thunderstorms I turned on the lights when I see other people have their car lights on I turn on mine since I don't have the sensor right? Um, and then I even when I pulled in I made it was bright sunshine again and I checked to make sure but I apparently. Check the wrong direction I thought oh I've had them on so I need to turn it off I looked and it didn't look like they were on. But apparently that night the hotel personnel noticed they were on but they didn't have any way to tell me ah that because they didn't have me register. They don't record license plates.
So ah, when Kelly and I went out Sunday morning to put our bags on the car to check out of our room. Um batteryy was dead. In fact, it was so dead that it could not take a jump. Ah first one of the hotel people. The Marriott people were really great. So George from security came out and he brought the little portable charger and tried to jump and it wasn't enough and we decided well maybe the portable charger hadn't been charged enough so we'd let it go in in charge for a couple hours and then another guy came and helped me that wasn't enough. And then he brought his cart around and used jumper cables to do it and I could see the battery charge. It was not taking charge. Um and you know 1 thing about this car is it drains the battery and you but all probably have heard me talk about this before because I think it's so funny. My mechanic says. To me, you know like you've got to take it out on the highway sometimes like apparently I am the modern equivalent of the little old lady who drives only to church in the grocery store I mean I like drive to write or coffee I drive to get my nails done occasionally I drive down to Albuquerque but. Um I have learned which I I think this is really interesting because um, even my friend Kelly said well once you get the battery jump then you have to go drive it around for a while and I said aha actually just sitting there idling is enough and 1 thing I've learned to do is that if I have a trip that's less than 20 minutes
Ah, to leave it idling in the driveway that until I've hit at least 20 minutes because my mechanic has explained to me that the amount of charge to start the car um is balanced out by 20 minutes of running even if it's just idling.
Ah, so I have apparently gotten much better about this because the battery was four years old for a while I was draining it dry within the 2 wo-year warranty but I did better this time and clearly the battery was about done so I had to get a new battery. And so ah, my wonderful friend Jim Sonson drove me over to like O'reilly auto parts and we got the new battery and fortunately I was clever enough to think of haha well we need a tool to do this on the hotel parking lot so bought the tool for it as well. Ah, Jim was my hero. He swapped out the battery for me, but it like wasn't bolted in right and all of this. He's like it should be good enough to get you back to Santa Fe but the upshot was I had to go to my mechanic this morning and like mess up his schedule and have him. Help me bolt in or bolt in the battery for me can the really sad part is that apparently I blew a fuse on my radio and so now my radio is not working and my mechanic drew the line there. He's like I have cars to fix I'm like this counts his car to fix but no, he also didn't charge me so you know. Bickers can be choosers um other things from the conference it was kind of funny being back in the land of science fiction and fantasy to the exclusion of all else. Um, there were a couple of.
weird weird things um my my friend who writes and I won't say who it is who writes a combination of paranormal and romance and another genre was on a panel about. I'm going to just pick one because I don't want to say what it is but I'm going to say like history. Okay, let's say that she writes history with paranormal and romance in it and it was a panel on writing history and all of the different subgenres and the moderator kept asking her. About romance and saying well you write history you write romance with history and she was like well you know I wouldn't put it exactly that way that I do have romance in my books but I also have paranormal elements and the historical elements are very strong and like at 1 point. Moderator but she said every single question the moderator asked her had to do with romance. It was always with oh but you write romance and this is funny after a couple of weeks ago when I was telling you all about my experience on the panel at willamette writers which by the way will ammet writers. Paid me so nicely for doing the stuff that I did there for the master class and everything if you're an author will ammet. Writers is a great conference to go to really they treated me so well. Ah, but so back to this panel like every question.
That she posed to my friend had to do with romance and even like they were talking about characters having flaws and she said well. What do you think? Jeffie's friend ah would you say that your heroine's flaw is romance.
Okay, I'm waiting for you all to react to that because when my friend told me that I went what and I like actually screech and she's like how is yeah and she's she replied she said I don't regard romance as a flaw. How is romance a flaw. Um, it's just this weird weird perception. And somebody said something to me that I found Um, really it bothered me um and it had to do with romance and I I won't say more than that. But it's like I don't know there's a certain segment of people who feel like that romance is lesser. That it's not not as valuable that it's not as artistic. That's that's not actually art that you'd say something like well. It's the flaw romance. Ah, and then there's you know people feel. A certain segment of people and and I should say that most people are really wonderful and very embracing of it. But that there are some people who simply um, feel like it's okay to to laugh at romance to to treat it as a lesser genre and to be like oh. You know it's not actually you know back to my whole thing of romances not antimatter so I don't know it's It's one of those things. It's like do you keep fighting it or do you just turn to blind turn a blind guy. Ah some conferences or worse.
Then others these this way it kind of makes me not want to go to Science fiction and fantasy conferences. Unfortunately, we don't have that many others but I don't know it's this constant reexamining of why do you go to conferences. What are you trying to do there. Um.
Kelly asked me how much I you know how I was enjoying Bubonicon and I said well I'm enjoying it. But it's also the same group every year. It's not like I'm gaining new readers. Ah, it's fun to talk to people but you know what am I really getting out of it professionally. Hard to say whereas going to something like Willamette writers I met so many new people and so many new readers so you know I hate to break things down to direct roi but at the same time I have to be thinking about my career right? and especially if I'm around people. Who don't regard me as a legitimate fantasy writer should I go to a conference where I'm there. You know as a fantasy writer and you know am I an imposter. So um, that's where my thoughts are right now. Ah. But overall it was great to see people. Eastern New Mexico University have to give the shout out to you folks because you were so well Represented. It was great that so many of them came up. They are the sponsors of the Jack Williamson lectureship which I talk up frequently. That's a really great event and I enjoy doing that. So um, I'm going to try to get some work done before we head up to the spa I hope you all had a great weekend and I hope that you have a fabulous peep week. Um, where people recognize your contributions for the valuable things that they are regardless of the label.
You all take care Bye bye.