Sunday, October 21, 2018

What's Your Favorite - First, Second, or Third Person?

Minerva Spencer's kitchen in Taos - isn't it gorgeous? I'm up here visiting for the weekend and she wants me to tell you it's normally much tidier than this but we've been having an eating, drinking, talking writer's bacchanalia. 

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven, to continue the contentious cycle of last week's one vs. two spaces throw-down, is: First Person POV vs. Third – or Second – Which Do You Like to Read?

I've blogged about this topic a fair amount and discussed it on my podcast. And I've been asked there to explain the difference between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, so I think I'll kick this topic off in part by defining some terms.

POV = Point of View

Point of view, commonly referred to as POV (Pee-Oh-Vee), is how the story is told, from what perspective. You can think of it like a camera recording the scene - it can be close up on faces or panning over the landscape. We refer to close up as "deep POV" and the most distant focus as omniscient, where the story is told by someone who knows everything that's happening and that everyone is thinking. Who is telling the story gives you the POV.

One way to look at the type of POV is like you may have learned in grammar or if you learned a foreign language. You learn to conjugate verbs according to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, singular and plural. For example:

I am
We are
You are
You are
He/She* is
They are
*"They" is also appropriate for a gender-neutral 3rd person singular, though the verb conjugates as the plural.

Most writing is going to have instances of both singular and plural POVs, but whether the author chooses 1st, 2nd or 3rd person to tell the story - or a combination of those - affects a great deal about it.

First Person

First person POV, the "I" perspective has the camera very close, essentially inside the character's head, viewing the world through their eyes, knowing only what that person knows. It's the deepest POV.

Example: I was at the store the other day and saw the strangest thing.

Second Person

Second person POV is kind of funky but also hip, especially in more literary efforts. It speaks to "you," drawing into into the story as the character and telling you how you're behaving and feeling. This is also a deep POV, though I find it also has a distancing quality, like a game or a dream. It's almost always done in present tense (that I've seen). 

Example: You're at the store and you see the strangest thing.

Third Person

Third person is the most traditional storytelling style. It can range from deep - though never quite as deep as first person - to omniscient. This is telling a story that happens to someone else. 

Example: She went to the store last week and saw the strangest thing. 

With all that established, what do I prefer, as a reader? I actually don't really care what POV a story is written in. I read for character and story and don't pay much attention to POV. That said, I don't love second person and it often reads as pretentious to me. And it's a flag that the story is meant to be more literary and I rarely enjoy something deliberately designed to feel erudite. Just me. 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Two Spaces or One Plus NEWS!


(Squints at this week’s topic.) Really? One space or two after a period??? Well, ok, I started typing at the age of 7 or 8, banging away on an old Royal typewriter, never took a typing class (which is apparently where this two spaces thing was taught) so no, I don’t leave two spaces after a period. Or only by accident LOL.

(Dusts hands.) Done with THAT.

I had an exciting week – Pets In Space 3 made the USA Today Best Seller’s list, which is the second year in a row we’ve hit the list with this anthology. My fellow scifi romance authors and I are very grateful to our readers! We’re about to take the ebook off the wide distribution, as of October 25th, and go into Kindle Unlimited on November 1st, which is a new experiment for us regarding the collection. When the KU period ends after ninety days, the book goes off sale completely because we only have the rights to the stories for so long. So if you wanted to buy the ebook so you can read and re-read any time, here are the links!

Blurb: Pets in Space™ is back! Join us as we unveil eleven original, never-before-published action-filled romances that will heat your blood and warm your heart! New York Times, USA Today and Award-winning authors S.E. Smith, Anna Hackett, Ruby Lionsdrake, Veronica Scott, Pauline Baird Jones, Carol Van Natta, Tiffany Roberts, Alexis Glynn Latner, E D Walker, JC Hay, and Kyndra Hatch combine their love for Science Fiction Romance and pets to bring readers sexy, action-packed romances while helping our favorite charity. Proud supporters of, Pets in Space™ authors have donated over $4,400 in the past two years to help place specially trained dogs with veterans. Open your hearts and grab your limited release copy of Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space™ 3 today!
Amazon     iBooks     B&N    Kobo     Google

And then, I released the next book in my own scifi romance series, the Badari Warriors, Timtur: The Teacher’s Alien Healer, under the In the Stars Romance banner.

The blurb: Genetically engineered soldiers of the far future, the Badari were created by alien enemies to fight humans. But then the scientists kidnapped an entire human colony to use as subjects in twisted experiments…the Badari and the humans made common cause, rebelled and escaped the labs. Now they live side by side in a sanctuary valley protected by a powerful Artificial Intelligence, and wage unceasing war on the aliens. The luckiest Badari find their mates among the humans.

Far from her home in the human Sectors after the mass kidnapping, teacher Lily Garrison is making a niche for herself in the valley by running a school for the Badari young. Although she yearns for Timtur, the pack’s healer, another Badari male has his eye on her and won’t take no for an answer.

Timtur feels the weight and responsibility of being the pack’s only healer, constantly on call as the soldiers fight ferocious battles against the alien scientists and their troops. With scarcely a moment to himself, he’s drawn to the gentle Lily but worries he won’t be able to juggle his duties, his loyalty to the pack and a relationship with a human woman.

When Lily’s stalker takes direct action to kidnap her and steal her from the safety of the valley, she’s forced to reach deep inside to find the strength to battle for her life. Timtur realizes too late how foolish he’s been to resist the bond with his fated mate and leads the rescue effort.

Before this situation can be resolved both will have to put their lives on the line and decide what really matters in a dangerous world ruled by the enemy.

Although this is the fifth book released in the Badari Warriors scifi romance series, the story of Timtur and Lily is a standalone and actually comes immediately after book two’s events.

A tiny teaser excerpt:
He’s late. I hope he’s not planning to stand me up entirely.

Despite her concern and annoyance over her date Timtur’s failure to arrive on time, Lily sat on the flat rock jutting over the serene lake trying to remain calm. She raised her face to the sky, enjoying the warmth on her skin. Of course, all too soon she’d get a sun burn and be sorry for her rash behavior if she remained in the same spot. Red-headed, pale humans had that problem on every world, not just this one she’d been brought to by alien pirates as a kidnap victim.

Now she scanned the azure sky with less pleasure, fearing the sight of enemy flyers, even if this valley was labelled as a sanctuary by the Badari pack, including Timtur, who’d rescued the humans. Rising, she retreated to the shady forest glade surrounding the rock formation. The climb was an easy one, only a few feet, and she made it quickly. Heights were one of her phobias so she wouldn’t go much higher than this.

Except for the brief moment of savoring the sun’s warmth, on the whole, she felt safer hidden under the canopy of branches.

The picnic lunch remained in its container, probably still perfectly fine to eat, but not as delicious as it had been when she packed the foods in the valley’s communal kitchen a while ago. Winking and nudging her in the ribs playfully, the head cook made a joke about what big eaters the Badari warriors were. “Definitely, the way to his heart,” she’d said wisely.

Lily plunked down on the edge of the blue-and-green striped blanket she’d brought for this special date and knotted the fringe nervously. I can’t use the food to appeal to his heart if he doesn’t show up. This picnic had been his idea so surely Timtur wasn’t planning to avoid meeting her. She’d cancelled her afternoon classes to be free, gotten her hopes up maybe today was the day he’d want to talk about how he saw them as a couple…I probably placed too much emphasis on his wanting us to have time alone today, away from his packmates and my sisters. After all, dating is a totally new concept for the Badari.

She imagined him placing his strong, healer’s hands on her body, not just gliding above her skin exercising his special power. When she’d first arrived, she’d had a relapse of stasis syndrome that defeated the best efforts of the human doctor in the valley, and Timtur had spent hours attempting to heal her, monitoring her condition. In the course of the treatments, the two of them had talked endlessly about every topic under the sun and grown close. Of course, she’d fallen hard for her handsome healer. She wasn’t sure if he felt the same way.

Opening her eyes, she sighed. The healer was something special all right but, despite her best efforts to let him know how interested she was in taking their relationship further than friendship, he always held back. He didn’t show any interest in any of the other human women now living in the valley. She had no rivals for his affections. But still there was something keeping them from going to the next level, and today was the day she wanted to discover what the impediment was.

Which was going to be impossible if Timtur didn’t even bother to show up.

Should I give up on ever being more than friends? The idea of never seeing where their relationship could go, never exploring the deep emotional bond she felt with him brought a wave of cold sadness, and she shivered despite the warmth of the sun. Cutting herself off from contact with Timtur would break her heart, not cure her of desire for him.

 “Dreaming again?” His voice, deep and full of good humor, came from behind and to the left.

 Amazon     Apple Books     Nook     Kobo     Google

Friday, October 19, 2018

Apparently, I'm Alll Kinds of Modern.

Who knew?

This week's topic is whether we type one space or two after sentences. I just checked. I type one.

I know that sounds odd, but it's not something I think about. i just do it. I think always did it and, when I had to, I fixed it on edits.
These days y computer does most of it before me. My manuscript is typed double-spaced. My em-dashes fix themselves automatically. The space at e beginning of a paragraph is trained into the format first thing after I start. Yay, modern technology!

Without modern technology I have absolutely no idea how many spaces I type. I think it's just one. I know that I used to have to consciously think about it, and that nine times out of ten I still got it wrong. So, yay for computer software. I have a powerful suspicion I would still be on my first noel manuscript and fixing typos if not for the advances in technology.

I am the King of Typos. I am a hot, wet mess when it comes to run on sentences and extra apostrophes. My hands do not keep up with my brain. I type very, very fast, which is how I've often managed five to six thousand words a day. And then I clean up the mess, which, even with autocorrect, takes time.

There are no rights or wrongs on this front, not for me. The end result is what matters.

We're closing in fast on Halloween, and so I'll throw a reminder that scary stuff need not be gory by reminding you that Shirley Jackson wrote one of the very finest haunted house stories ever done with remarkably little by way of violence. What you got was atmosphere.

I loved the new adaptation on Netflix. I especially l've that it took several root ideas from the novel and then went in a completely different direction. Previous adaptions have been done and stuck close to the source material. The original version of  THE HAUNTING was, in my opinion, very nearly a perfect movie adaptation. Sometimes moving away from the source is the very best thing you can do.

Just a moment of admiration for a truly phenomenal author.

Have  great week, folks!

James A. Moore.

"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone." -- Shirley Jackson: The Haunting of Hill House

And on another unrelated note: fans of the Griffin and Price books by yours truly and Charles R. Rutledge should know there's a new novella coming out soon. 
Cohesion Press is releasing SNAFU: Resurrection in December You can pre-order it right here. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Portrait of the Writer as an Odd Kid

So, let's talk a bit about Marshall Was A Weird Kid. 

(I know, you're probably shocked.)

Now, despite the fact that I spent a good chunk of time watching and rewatching a bunch of bad movies, I did, in fact, have other activities, including going to summer camps.  One of the day camps I went to regularly was structured thusly: it had two-week sessions, in which you would register for a single course, be it theatre or computers or filmmaking or auto mechanics or what have you.  Whatever you signed up for? That was your morning for the two weeks.  The afternoon, though, was a little more loosely structured, in that there were a handful of varied activities, and you chose, daily, which ones you were signing up for.  One of the most popular afternoon ones was the limited-capacity trip to the local state park for swimming, which my sister made a point of signing up for Every. Single. Day.

That?  Was not me.

In fact, my first year there, I was seven, which was itself a bit odd because the camp was for 8-14 year-olds, and I think my mother got an exception made for me because my sister was there as well.  So there I was, the only seven-year-old among older kids, looking at choices for afternoon activities, most of which were outdoorsy and/or athletic, to which I was nope.  But then one caught my eye.


Seven-year-old me signed up for a goddamn typing class that was mostly populated by teenagers who were there for summer school (the camp was held on the campus of a private school), and I'm pretty sure I was the only one from the camp who signed up for it.  But I signed up for it EVERY SINGLE DAY of my first session there.

Every day. Typing. At the age of seven.  And this was 1980, so it was on a typewriter.  That's how and when I learned, and obviously it was a valuable skill that stuck with me.

BUT, since that's how and when I learned, you're just going to have to accept that a double-space after a period is simply embedded in my muscle memory.  It's there, and there's no dislodging it.  So there we are.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Manifesto of a former grammarista

Folk who know me best also know I used to be a copy editor at a book publisher. I mean, for like a decade. And then I managed copy editors. And then I wrote style guides. That sort of work history will scar a girl, and even to this day, despite my best efforts at self-improvement, parts of my brain remain a bit proscriptive. If you could make Strunk & White's Elements of Style into a verb, that would be my brain ("Oh, don't mind me, I'm just over here StrunkNWhiting").

So, even though I'd never harp on these abominations to your face (we don't do this! we never do this!), here is what those brain-parts are screaming as I read your manuscript:

1. Dangling or misplaced modifiers help no one, ever. Unfortunately, I see a bunch of these, even in published books. Educate yourself on these things and avoid them. Please, please, please.

2. Yes, character names ending in S are fun (I love me a Rhys, an Alexis, a Lucius, maybe a...Salacious?). However! Be aware that there are two legit ways of making possessives of a singular noun ending in S: one way has you add an apostrophe+S, and with the other you add just the apostrophe. It's important that you know going in that whichever method you choose, half of your readers will be completely and totally convinced you're doing it wrong. So, just stick with boring non-ending-in-S names, yeah? Also, don't harangue people who are choosing the other method. They're okay, too.

3. There can be only after a period. If you are putting two spaces, congratulations for passing typing in high school all those years ago. Also, welcome to variable-width fonts and the twenty-first century. (Aside: This is the topic at SFF Seven this week. We are seriously discussing whether there should be one space or two. I love this blog so much!)

4. I know you really want to use a semicolon, but restrain yourself. Don't do it. Even if you think you know how to use a semicolon, sadly, you're probably doing it wrong.

Oh, now that you've got me rolling, I can think of SO MANY peeves, things that just make me crazy: sentence fragments with no subjects and a whole buncha -ing phrases, homonym misuses, pronouns that refer to the wrong thing or nothing at all, word repeats, run-on sentences... yikes!PANIC!JUDGMENT!

*in through your nose, then out through pursed lips*

You know what, though? Don't mind me and my ridiculous, proscriptive (adj, StrunkNWhiteous?) brain. Tell your story. Tell the hell out of it. If you tell me a good enough story, I won't even pick nits.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Writing in Days of Yore: A Walk Down Memory Lane

Image: Wikipedia
Ah, The Old Rules. The Way Things Must Be Done. The bygone era of two spaces after a period. Of flipping the manual return and that gloriously distinct sound of the carriage sliding left, ready to start a new line. Lo, those were the days of typewriters. Then came the dawning of carbon paper copies; when correction tape gave way to white out, which was eschewed for erasable ink, that was then thrown out for dot-matrix-printed papers.

Get ready to shout GET OFF MY LAWN if these ring a bell:

  • You not only know what "CC" really means, but you've also used carbon paper. 
  • You recall the agonies of retyping an entire document. Back before auto-save, back when one line-edit meant rewriting everything.
  • Picking white-out from under your nails and the dread upon spotting the ink/carbon smeared across the side of your hand is quite familiar.
  • Tearing off the hole-punched paper guides from dot-matrix papers and cursing when the perforations tore before the print job was done.
  • The joy of learning Wordperfect 5.1 for DOS still gives you a warm fuzzy.
  • The days when apps were software and you had to buy them in a box from a brick-and-mortar store, which meant planning a trip to a bookstore or CompUSA. 
  • You can describe cartridges, cassettes, floppies, and 3.1s.
  • The sight of grey text on a blue screen brings back fond memories. Yep, green on black too.
  • Adding sticky notes to your wall of DOS command codes to run programs and locate files (and threatening bodily harm to co-workers if they took one of those notes).
  • The arrival of Windows 3.1 meant you didn't need to remember the DOS codes and was cause to celebrate; probably coincided with the start of your Solitare addiction.
  • You laugh recalling at the first time you used spell check (F2+Ctrl). 

Progress, it's a fabulous thing.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

One Space or Two? That Isn't Even a Question

This has been a busy week for me! Funny how things work that way. Always with the cycles, the waxing and the waning. 

Not only did THE ARROWS OF THE HEART - the next novel in The Uncharted Realms - release on Tuesday, October 9, but we revealed the cover of SEASONS OF SORCERY on Thursday, October 11.  SEASONS OF SORCERY is a fantasy anthology I'm doing with Amanda Bouchet, Grace Draven, and Jennifer Estep. It releases November 13 and you can preorder on some retailers now!
My novella in the collection is THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER and is told from Harlan's point of view, in the aftermath of THE ARROWS OF THE HEART

THE DRAGONS OF SUMMER BY JEFFE KENNEDYAs unofficial consort to the High Queen, former mercenary Harlan Konyngrr faces a challenge worse than looming war and fearsome dragons. His long-held secrets threaten what he loves most—and he must make a choice between vows to two women.

As for today's topic? We're asking this week if we type two spaces or one after a period. This is an easy answer for me, because I'm not a freaking dinosaur.


Here's the thing: Yes, back in the day, before we had supercomputers on our cell phones, when we typed on typewriters instead of keyboards, then it was correct to type two spaces after a period. I learned it, too, in high school typing class. That's because typewriters created a fixed font page - which means all the letters all took up the same amount of space, regardless of their size. An "i" is skinnier than an "m," but in a fixed font system, they get the same amount of space on the page. Courier font is like this. Because all the letters get the same space, we typed two spaces after a period to make the sentence endings clear.

Once God came down from heaven and handed Moses a word-processing program, we were able to use proportional fonts. That means the letters take up only the space they need, in proportion to their size. Almost all fonts are proportional.

This is a fixed font.  Two spaces works to set the period apart.

This is a proportional font. You don't need two spaces to make it look right.  In fact, two spaces looks like a mistake.

One space after a period has been industry standard since I was an academic editor in the early 90s. For those not great at math, that's over 25 years now. A QUARTER OF A CENTURY.

And don't tell me it's a habit and you can't retrain yourself. You've learned how to work your desktop supercomputer, haven't you?

Hopefully you don't still have your hairstyle from back then either...

~peers through webcam~

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Debut Year? I Only Remember the Sparkles


“If I could go back to my debut year…”  Um, why on Earth would I want to do that LOL?

My debut year was fun and sparkles and I DID get The Call, the actual CALL, from Angela James at Carina Press, to say they wanted to acquire Priestess of the Nile, which I had sent in response to a note on their website about wanting Ancient World romances. I was basically incoherent on the phone with Angela that day because I was so excited and thrilled.

That first year was so much fun because I had no expectations, knew  nothing really about the publishing industry or the ebook industry – Priestess came out as an ebook and an audiobook in 2012 but I did understand that status from the getgo (i.e. there’d be no print version) – and it was all fun and exciting. I think my view of the publishing world was still somewhere between Jo of Little Women up in her attic writing for a penny a word and Joan Wilder in “Romancing the Stone”, you know? I didn’t belong to RWA, I wasn’t in any author groups online, I only knew one other published author at the time.

I had a fulltime career at the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the business side of the house and this, having Priestess published, was a lifelong dream for me. In 2012 I also self-published Wreck of the Nebula Dream (“Titanic in space…”), so there I was with not one but two books out there and more to come in due time, I was sure. I had READERS. I had REVIEWS, even one from RT magazine. Oh my gosh.

In that debut year I learned about blogging, the ins and outs of social media, fell in love with twitter,  worked with a fabulous editor (Allison Dasho), I joined RWA, I went to the national conference and met PEOPLE, I had a Carina Press balloon on my signing table, the Harlequin people came and talked to me, I was actually in the same room as Nalini Singh, signing books (the conference was in Anaheim so there were local people I l knew who came, who kindly had me sign for them). I was too shy to actually approach Nalini, which is amusing to me now and she is the sweetest person, easy to talk with. Her table was actually EMPTY of fans for a few minutes while she sat there and I was still too shy to walk up to talk to her! But then I was just in awe of breathing the same actual air as my favorite author.

I met JEFFE! And she was such a mentor to me, helping me figure out various things…she was very patient with all my questions.

So that debut year was all kinds of fun for me, in part because I didn’t have expectations about anything. I didn’t want an agent. I wasn’t angling for a contract with a traditional publisher. I had no thought of being able to quit the challenging and enjoyable day job. I was simply basking in the state of actually being a published author.

Now, if it was all so much fun, then you may ask why I don’t want to go back to 2012?

Well, I only got the two books out that year. I wrote another one for Carina, got a Revise & Resubmit letter, which was something of a surprise to me (welcome to the world of publishing LOL), and even after they did acquire it, the process to get it published was wayyyy longer than ever-impatient I expected…I decided self-publishing was my thing and scifi romance was my primary genre…I got bitten by the bug to hey, maybe work up to being a full time author (which took me three more years to accomplish)….

So the debut year was a very special time in my life and my memory, and I cherish all the experiences but I have no desire to relive it again. I like new adventures. I’m happy with having more detailed and concrete goals as an author, I like being deep in the scifi romance author community, I love self-publishing…lots more stories to tell and I’m always moving forward.

But thanks again to Carina Press for my start, and for the memories!