I emerged from that pivotal workshop I took in 1996 from Don Snow, “Essays on Self and Place,” with three polished essays. With his advice, I began submitting them to literary magazines. With incredible luck, I placed one of them in the inaugural issue of Wyoming Magazine in winter of 1997. Though I also wrote some articles for the local newspapers, I consider that essay, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel, to be my first publication.
In 1998, a literary magazine published another of those essays, Inheritances, which went on to be republished several times and won a number of awards. It was the first essay I’d ever written.
To keep the flow of work going, I started getting up at five o’clock in the morning every weekday, to write for two hours before I had to dress to go to work. I had two young stepchildren and my evenings were booked. I was *so* not a morning person, but it was the only way I would get anything done.
In 2000, Redbook magazine purchased another essay. Not only was this high profile, but they paid me a dollar a word, for a three-thousand word piece. Amazing times, those were.
I continued to write essays and place them in various magazines. When one, Of Swallows, Snakes and Science, won an award, I sent it to my religious studies professor from college. The themes in the essay continued ones he’d taught, and I’d written about. Without telling me, he sent it to his sister, Beth Hadas, who happened to be the acquisitions editor for University of New Mexico Press. She read it, loved it, and emailed me to ask if she was in time to publish my first book.
I know—don’t try this at home.
Of course, I had no book for her to publish. I did have, however, thirty-five pieces, from early stages to published, to work with for a collection. I laid them all out on a spreadsheet—which I still have—and categorized them by theme. The Silver Sages, having read most of them, helped me select and group the essays. In the end, I proposed five groups of three essays. Beth asked me to swap out one essay and modify another. And there we had it, my first book, named for the title track, Wyoming Trucks, True Love and the Weather Channel.
Tomorrow: Jeffe Kennedy Day 4 - Time of Transition
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.