Friday, August 31, 2012

Hunting the Siren

Word Whore Jeffe Kennedy has a brand new novella out today! Welcome to the Russian Steppes. In a world devastated by natural disaster, vampires hunt the few humans remaining. And sometimes, one of those humans hunts the vampires in turn. Click the title to read an excerpt or to buy.


Book two in the Blood Currency series.
A vampire queen grown powerful with age, Imogen has protected her band of nightriders through the centuries. When refugee vampires from earthquake-shattered Europe seek shelter and sustenance, she’s honor-bound to feed them, by any means necessary. When her lieutenants dump the vengeful human man Kasar at her feet, Imogen succumbs to his masculine vitality and her overwhelming hunger for his blood—and his body.

Kasar has survived the breaking of the world, only to discover the vampire queen has slaughtered his sister and her unborn child. With the last of his bloodline dead, only his desire for vengeance keeps Kasar alive. He imagines he can pretend to succumb to Imogen’s seduction—not that he has a choice, chained as he is to the foot of her bed—and bide his time until he has an opportunity to kill her. The passion he finds in her arms is unexpected and impossible to resist. But this haven of desire and satiation could easily destroy them both.

As for rejections? It's that old Clint Eastwood movie. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The bad were easy. Those were the crooked photocopies or the obvious auto 'thanks but no thanks' responders. Good rejections have feedback. The feedback may sting like mad for days or weeks, but it's at least a point of evaluation. You can go back to your work looking at it with an eye to the feedback and then decide whether you agree or disagree. The ugly? There was one. It was a rejection letter written by an editor at a publishing house that no longer exists. The wording of the rejection felt deliberately insulting in this form letter - and it WAS a form letter - it simply said "the writing's not good enough", but offered no other information about what, where or how. Granted, it was not this editor's job to hand hold anyone through a rejection. But if you're going to auto-reject someone, why not go with the old, polite, useless standby "not to our taste, best of luck elsewhere"? Sure, I think we all get that 'not for us' means 'this sucks' on some level, but professionalism and good manners let us all pretend we're not thinking that when we write 'this isn't my cup of tea'. Moral: don't sub to a house that doesn't respect you. Life is too short to expose yourself to that kind of passive aggressive abuse.

The best rejections, though? Two. The first came from Marion Zimmer Bradley. I'd written a short story and submitted it to her sword and sorcery anthology. The letter came back saying, "This is a perfectly fine story, but I've already bought one on this theme." Looking back, let's just say she was being kind. This was a great rejection because it was first. It was the marker. I'd actually finished something. I'd gathered up my courage and sent it out to someone who had the power of life and death over it. The letter is still filed away in a box, a symbol of the beginning of the journey.

The second? It wasn't actually a letter. It was a message relayed by my then agent. It was from Leis Pederson at Berkley. She'd passed on Enemy Within when it was first making the rounds. But, she'd said, if no one else picked it up, she'd like to talk with me about a revise and resubmit. No one else picked up the book. Rather than writing up a revision letter, Leis called me and talked me through what she wanted to see if I agreed to undertake the rewrites. I came away with pages and pages of notes. And even though these revisions didn't guarantee a sale, editors do not call to talk about your book unless they're REALLY interested. So I revised. Besides. While Leis talked, I saw in the story everything she mentioned. Everything she wanted to see really did make the story better. This initial rejection, then, became the one that sold my first book. That's a pretty sweet rejection.


  1. Ha! I love these "revise and resubmit" stories. I wonder how many of us get our first big sales that way?

  2. That's a great story! (And boo to that one rejection. Just plain rude.)

  3. Ooo. MZB. I'm such a fangirl I probably would have framed a rejection from her.