Rogue’s Pawn – How An Ugly Duckling Became a Swan



I know every author gets excited about release day. And release day for each book is special, each in its own way.

But this is huge for me.

Seeing Rogue’s Pawn enter the world of readers is an emotional moment for me, the end of a long and often painful journey. You’ve all heard these kinds of stories – how long it took to write, even longer to sell. You always hope for the happy ending.

This is mine.

See, I first had an idea for this story back in 1995. Maybe it was before that, but I’ve found notes and fragments of scenes that date back to that year. I wrote them on my ancient Apple computer wedged into the corner of the bedroom. I had pitiful writing habits, little understanding of craft and no idea how to write a novel. I finally – and proudly – finished a draft nearly twelve years later, in 2007. In between that time, I’d gotten proficient at writing essays, had published them in big magazines like Redbook, and published an essay collection with a university press – but I’d never forgotten this haunting idea. So, I’d drag out the novel yet again. I learned to write long.

I took my newly minted novel and started shopping it. I sent it to Stephenie Meyer’s agent with high hopes that I had another Twilight on my hands.

Yeah – I hear you all groaning for me.

I actually did amazingly well with the agents for right off the bat – they liked my concept and my credentials – but they all came back saying that it needed work and that it was too different.

So I worked on it. I did two major overhauls and countless minor revisions. I kept sending it out. Some agents read it twice. Though they stopped saying that it needed work, they all told me they had no idea how to market it. It wasn’t sword and sorcery fantasy. It wasn’t paranormal romance. It wasn’t urban fantasy. Nobody was sure what it was – just what it wasn’t.

This story I’d worked on for so long, that I loved so much – was just too weird to sell.

Fortunately I had the benefit of good friends. Early readers told me what they loved and to keep going. Contest judges told me it was a hard sell, but that I’d do it some day. Catherine Asaro, a pioneer in science fiction from a more feminine point of view, told me I’d written a nearly classic fantasy, but from a very female perspective. She said selling it would be like wading through waist-deep snow.

I swear – I nearly got frostbite.

And then Carina Press bought it. Bless their adventurous spirit! From my fabulous and insightful editor, Deb Nemeth, to the very savvy excutive editor Angela James, and all the Carina acquisitions team, especially the inimitable Malle Vallick – they all have the courage and vision to take on books like this. Stories that don’t fit the mold.

Rogue’s Pawn hit the reviewers a month ago.

I held my breath, afraid that readers really would find it just too weird.

And I’ve gotten comments like:

“I adored the absolute creativity and rareness this supernatural romance offers its readers; it definitely is not your average Fae story.”

“It brought a new life to both the story and character that I haven’t seen in many novels to-date.”

“…a very unique read…”

“This book really took me by surprise by how much I liked it even though it was pretty unusual and quirky.”

All of this just does my heart good. I even love the reader who didn’t like it because she thought it was too “Fifty Shades of Fae” – if only she knew how long ago this story started!

So, all of this is a long-winded way of saying thank you. Of offering my immense gratitude to everyone who believed in this book and encouraged me. And now to all you readers, for receiving my weird book with such open-hearted love for something unusual.

Blue stargazer lilies for everyone!

Or at least a copy of Rogue’s Pawn – which you can buy here on Carina.

Jeffe Kennedy took the crooked road to writing, stopping off at neurobiology, religious studies and environmental consulting before her creative writing began appearing in places like Redbook, Puerto del Sol, Wyoming Wildlife, Under the Sun and Aeon. An erotic novella, Petals and Thorns, came out under her pen name of Jennifer Paris in 2010, heralding yet another branch of her path, into erotica and romantic fantasy fiction. Since then, an erotic short, Feeding the Vampire, and another erotic novella, Sapphire, have hit the shelves. Her contemporary fantasy novel, Rogue’s Pawn, book one in A Covenant of Thorns, will be published in July, 2012. Jeffe lives in Santa Fe, with two Maine coon cats, a border collie, plentiful free-range lizards and frequently serves as a guinea pig for an acupuncturist-in-training.

Find her on Facebook ( and Twitter (@jeffekennedy) or visit her at her website


7 thoughts on “Rogue’s Pawn – How An Ugly Duckling Became a Swan”

  1. This is a fascinating account of your path to publication! And Catherine Asaro is a great writer, so knowing she appreciated your book must have been a huge morale boost. You also give us heart that our upcoming Carina book, which is very much a hybrid between fantasy and romance, can also find its audience.

  2. Yes! Having Catherine look at it and offer support was just tremendous. She’s a terrific gal as well as a great writer. She gave me the thumbs up when I desperately needed it. And,ooh, looking forward to yours!

  3. Michelle_Garren_Flye says:

    It takes a lot of talent to write well on the unmarketable side of things. Congratulations! I’m looking forward to this one!

  4. Eleri Stone says:

    Classic fantasy from a female perspective? Yes! Also, I totally think you should write Fifty Shades of Fae.

  5. What a nice way to look at it, Michelle – thank you!!

    LOL, Eleri. Glad you agree! Fifty Shades of Fae would be just hysterical to do…

  6. Kathy Ivan says:

    Congratulations on the newest release. Isn’t it wonderful when a book you love, even written many years previously, finally finds an audience that loves it equally as much as you do. Wonderful story. Wishing you many sales!

  7. It is pretty darn wonderful – thanks Kathy!

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