The Gypsy Muse – Author Rachel Kenley

June 29, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings – Facebook

Filed under: Wednesday Wanderings — authorrachelkenley @ 8:47 pm
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Okay… it’s not really wandering, but in a way it is.  I do get lost on the pages of Facebook and the internet, especially on weeks when I have few plans or occasions to be out and about.  Recently a friend of mine found this list on Facebook and I was wondering…

What do we, as writers, think of these rules?  I do like #10:

 Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing:
1.) Never open a book with the weather.
2.) Avoid prologs.
3.) Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialog.
4.) Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”
5.) Keep your exclamation points under control.
6.) Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”
7.) Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8.) Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9.) Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10.) Try to leave out the parts the readers tend to skip.

No opening with the weather?  Poor Snoopy. Guess he’s going to need to do some editing.


June 28, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – New Contract, Better Discipline

Filed under: Tuesday Tell All — authorrachelkenley @ 11:16 am
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I am SO excited to say that PEAK EXPERIENCE has been accepted by Ellora’s Cave.  This is my older woman/younger man story which had its rough draft completed during Nanowrimo ’09.  I am thrilled to have a new book coming from the publisher who released my first book. *And* I have been accepted to write as Rachel Kenley there, which is great since my other two books with them are as Rowan West.

So now I have two books contracted to two different publishers.  I’ve gone from writing 500 words a day a few weeks ago to over 1,000 a day.  Some days it’s slow, some easy, but it is thrilling and worth every moment of “AAHHH, what have I gotten myself into?!!”

Sometimes when your dreams come true, it takes a second to get past the overwhelmed feeling – doesn’t it?

June 27, 2011

Monday Writer’s Prompts – A Gift

Filed under: Monday Writer's Prompts — authorrachelkenley @ 12:38 pm
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Yesterday my sons gave me a lovely gift of light changing optic flowers.  They found it at a yard sale, paid for it themselves and presented it to me with great flourish.  It now sits on my desk adding some lovely feng shui movement to the space I do my journalling in.

And, of course, it got me thinking… what gifts – expected or not – have you received that were special to you?  How about unwelcome gifts?

Or what if your character received a gift?  Would it make her/him grateful?  Uncomfortable?  Sad?  Happy?  What would this action and the ability (or lack) to receive show about your characters?

This gave me a idea for my own work. I’ve decided that there is a space in the charm necklace worn by my heroine in WAVES OF PLEASURE and when my hero gives her a charm to put in that spot, she’s not  certain how to react.

Hope your week is filled with lots of great gifts!

June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Be Honest With Yourself

Filed under: Tuesday Tell All — authorrachelkenley @ 1:55 pm
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I am working on one book I have under contract (yay!) and another that is part of a multi author series.  The one under contract has an August 1st delivery date and needs to be a minimum of 50,000 words.  The second, will be around 27,000 words and I had planned to turn it in by July 1st.  This was before the other book was contracted.

So there I was, trying to find a balance to get both books done. And driving myself crazy in the process.

Worse, when I was honest with myself, I knew that if I tried to keep both of these deadlines, I was not going to turn my best work for either project.  It’s been a challenge for me in the past for when Ihave a picture in my head of how things should go, and then it turns out to be improbable. It’s hard to let it go it, reorganize, and re-evaluate.  But that’s what I did.

Now, my writing time is focused on the contracted book which will get in by the deadline (which will make my publisher happy) and I’ve set a new goal of submitting the shorter work by September 1st.  Both books deserve my best efforts as do my editors and readers. 

Sometimes it’s best to be honest with yourself on what you can – or can’t – accomplish and then replan accordingly.

Ever ben in a similar situation?

June 20, 2011

Monday Writer’s Prompts – That Was Unexpected

Filed under: Monday Writer's Prompts — authorrachelkenley @ 12:48 pm
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Hello fellow writers – let’s keep this one short and sweet:

“I was minding my own business, when I unexpectedly walked in on….”

Write it from your point of view or your characters.  I just discovered while writing this, that it will work in GUARDED HEART for an important scene.  How cool is that!

Have a great and productive week!

June 10, 2011

Friday Bedside Book Review – The Romance Genre

Filed under: Uncategorized — authorrachelkenley @ 9:41 pm

After seeing some recent nastiness about the genre I choose to write in, I’ve decided to “review” it instead of a book today. I am not certain why people so often blanketly criticize the romance genre.  Not liking a genre is a reason not to buy the books, not make negative comments.  Fiction, by it’s nature and definition, is story telling that is fabricated.  Some is presented more realistically than others (Middlesex  and The Hours blew me away), some complete fantasy.  I think for the most part – romance is nearly complete fantasy and it is a one I adore.
I write within the romance genre (and have been reading it since I was 14) because I love exploring the dynamic of two people who, hopefully, will gain a great deal from being in a relationship together.  I am considered an erotic romance writer because my love scenes are very explicit, longer than average and move the characters (and occasionally the plot) forward.   I enjoy the focus of a book being the relationship, how it grows develops and changes the people involved. For those who dont want that aspect central to what they read – then the genre will likely never be for them, no matter how well written.
I do admit that my characters may fall in love (or lust) quickly, depending on the word count restrictions I am writing to, but falling in love always complicate their lives.  It is the last thing they are looking for at this time.
Are my heroes all good looking.  Yup… this is my fantasy.
Are my heroines beautiful.  Yup… this is my fantasy. They usually have no challenges with their weight (again, my fantasy) but sometimes they do and that’s frequently part of their character’s journey
It is the fantasy that may readers choose and I can tell you keeping a reader interested when she already knows that the end will be happy is a trick in and of itself.

Romance is a genre and a place where some of us find a strong writing voice.  I live with reality and the romance or lack in it.  I want my books to occasionally sweep me away into what doesn’t exist in my life or what I am craving.  I can’t explain to people why I like to read and write romance any more than I can explain why I like sushi.  I just do.

June 9, 2011

Thursday Favorite Things – Music and my iPod

Filed under: Thursday Favorite Things — authorrachelkenley @ 12:33 pm
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I grew with a variety of music around me – classical, opera, rock, broadway musicals – and today I still love all kinds.  When I’m writing music one of the things that helps me to get into my own little world.

Mr. Desplat at work

Since I cannot write to music with words (distracts me from my own) I am a huge fan of movie soundtracks because just as they set the mood for a movie, they do the same for me.  The music from Grindhouse/Planet Terror is great for writing love scenes.  Rachel Portman’s work (Emma, The Cider House Rules, Chocolat) has a lightness and joy which carries me along from scene to scene.  I have an outrageous amount by Alexandre Desplat (including his newest, The King’s Speech). I love the emotion he puts into his music and hope each time I listen to it, that I can put the same into my words. 

In addition to having individual playlists from the movies, I have combined lists of just the composer for Desplat, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Mark Isham, Thomas Newman, Angelo Badalamenti (remember Twin Peaks?)and Danny Elfman (for those funky moods!) 

I have a few favorite New Age playlists that are also wonderful – especially for paranormal and fantasy works.  My newest focus is an old favorite, R Carlos Nakai.  I discovered his music nearly 20 years ago on a trip to Arizona.   Finding him again has been a thrill.

My ipod classic. Love it!

Thank goodness making new playlists and shuffling old ones is easy on my iPod – even my classic one, now over four years old.  I love that I can change my mind, my music and my mood with only a few clicks.

Music definitely allows me to be more productive and I love discovering new music that inspires me.  More and more authors are listing their favorite playlists with their books, on their blogs and acknowledging the groups that inspired them (Stephanie Myers can’t write without the group Muse, isn’t that appropriate?)

Do you have a favorite?

June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – 1K A Day

Filed under: Tuesday Tell All — authorrachelkenley @ 8:58 pm
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Writing 500 words a day was great.  The progress was happening and GUARDED HEART was nearing the end of its first draft.  And then…

My editor at Ravenous said, “Who wrote the mermaid story in your anthology SPELLBOUND?  Do you think she’d be  interested in writing a novel for us?”  Well, it turns out I wrote that story (It’s called LEGS and it’s one of my favorite shorts).  She then asked if I’d consider doing a mermaid novel.  I thought about if for a while and said, “How about one where the mermaid comes on land on the Jersey Shore.” (I grew up there). She loved it… and on that sentence I’ve been contracted for a new book. 

Very thrilling.  And doable, right?  Except being a mermaid and beach story, it really should come out in the summer.  So before my brain could kick into gear, I said “Sure I can get it to you by August 1st.”


I have never been so grateful for already having a discipline in place.  Instead of having to go from 0 to 60, I’ve gone from 60 to 75 and that feels much more doable.  I’m writing at least 1,000 words a day on the new book (tentatively titled WAVES OF PLEASURE) while GUARDED HEART sits for a week before I go back to edit and expand it.

Am I nervous?  Oh yeah.  But I’m more excited so that’s a good thing.

After years of fighting it I surrendered to putting discipline in my life and planning my days according to my priorities (another hooray for and, oh, how happy I am that I did.

What disciplines make your life work better?

June 6, 2011

Monday Writer’s Prompts – Alternate History

Filed under: Monday Writer's Prompts — authorrachelkenley @ 2:41 pm
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I saw the new X-Men movie this weekend with my family.  I really liked it (and now have a bit of a crush on Michael Fassbender), although I will admit that my knowledge of the X-Men mythology comes mostly from the movies, so changes they made from the original comics doesnt upset/distract me as much as it does the real fans.

In addition to giving the supposed history of the beginning of the X-Men, it offers and alternate history idea for the Cuban Missle crisis.  What if there were someone pulling the strings to bring Russia and the United States to the brink of Nuclear War?  What if they wanted that war?

The boys and I talked a little about this (at 11 and 8, it’s a little too serious for them), but they liked the idea of changing the reasons or backgrounds of history.

So that’s my long winded way of getting to my prompt for the day – What if:

Dontcha love it!

– something from history happened/ended differently?

– something from history had a completely different reason from what we thought?

– something from your personal history never happened or ended differently?

Steampunk is practically an entire genre of alternate history, and it’s popularity is growing fast.  What’s your favorite alternate history book or story?

June 1, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings – Little League Baseball Games

Filed under: Wednesday Wanderings — authorrachelkenley @ 5:03 pm
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(is it really Wednesday?  With the holiday Monday I’m a little lost!)

Okay… so this isn’t something that I necessarily love to go to or seek out, but with two sons in two leagues, my scheduled is guided a lot by the 35 games of their combined seasons.  In fact, starting this Friday, I have games 6 days in a row.  I do love watching them.  My older son is very serious about his game and is an amazing athlete (It’s wild seeing your children do something you know you can’t.) My younger son just likes to have fun and for his team to win.  With getting there a half hour early and post game team meetings, I’m looking at a minimum of three hours out of my day/evening.

Which is why what I really love – is being a writer.  I think I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have this as my job and my passion because I can take my work with me.  I have learned to edited in between innings and during slow periods, do character sketches or interviews, even work out timelines.  I even print out pages to do research.  It’s wonderful.  No, it’s not my most productive time, but at least it’s not completely unproductive.

Now… as long as I stay away from those snack shack foods, everything will be great.  What do you mean I still have to make dinner??

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