The Gypsy Muse – Author Rachel Kenley

September 16, 2011

Friday Bedside Book Review – The Second Betrayal by Cheyenne McCray

The second in the Lexi Steele Series

I’m taking a break from talking about my book to talking about an author who inspires me – Cheyenne McCray, who’s books are passionate, well paced, peopled with great characters and (grab the ice water) *very* hot.  She’s done several different series including the Armed and Dangerous series, Night Tracker series, and the Magic series (along with some great stand alones).  I, however, happen to be a fan of the Lexi Steele series and this is the second Ms. McCray has written to date.

Lexi Steele and Nick Donovan are an excellent team. Nick is that strong alpha you dream about. However, without a great heroine I lose interest.  I particularly like Lexi because she is both strong when she must be and has a touch of understandable vulnerability because of her history and her deep love and commitment to her big Irish family.  Together Lexi and Nick are a fiery combination. The heat between these two was papable in the first book and is even more so now.  If you like your romantic suspense with sizzle – this is the series for you.

One of the interesting things about this book is the mix of POV (points of view).  When we are in Lexi’s POV, the book is in first person.  For Nick and everyone else, it’s in third.  When I read The First Sin I was surprised and it took me a while to get used to it, but I’ve definitely come to like it and appreciate the differences it gives the reader.  We are *in* Lexi’s head, hear all of her thoughts as though she were talking to us and I’ve found it made me feel more connected to her, which is espeically important given the intense plot going on all around her (professionally: human trafficing; personally: mom has breast cancer).

When I am working on a manuscript, the closer I get to the end, the more I need to read books only in my genre because the language and the atmosphere are similar.  This is where I find Ms. McCray inspiring.  Her mix of characterization, plot and heat is strong and consistent. Her pacing is excellent; her dialogue snappy and realistic. It’s like having a mentor at my bedside. 

Ms. McCray… I wanna third Lexi novel, and I’m certain I’m not alone in that desire!

September 12, 2011

Monday Writers’ Prompt – I think I forgot something

Filed under: Monday Writer's Prompts — authorrachelkenley @ 3:42 pm
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Deadlines, family, hurricanes, end of summer…. I could keep the list going of the things that kept me from my daily blogging routine.  Instead – I’m going to use it (’cause that’s what writers do with everything, isn’t it?) as my writing prompt for the day

What is something your character might/could forget that would cause a problem?  A meeting?  A birthday?  A date?  How does the forgetting change them or their situation?

Or… start a story with someone forgetting something important go from there.  Do they not care at all?  Are they terribly upset?  Do they miss out on something important because of their mistake?

For my current heroine, she actually needs to forget something.  She needs to forget to live her life by rigid lists.  Do you have a character who would benefit from forgetting?

And in the mean time, I hope you remember everything you are supposed to today and this week!

May 20, 2011

Friday Bedside Book Review

Read this book!

There are not enough glowing adjectives for me to describe the incredibly sexy vampire books of Joey W. Hill — but I’ll try. 

Vampire Mistress is the fourth of Ms. Hill’s vampire books I’ve read and it is as moving, intense and erotic as the others.  For those who’ve read The Vampire Queen’s Servant and The Mark of the Vampire Queen, Gideon is the brother of Jacob Green (the hero of those novels and of an upcoming third book, Bound by the Vampire Queen – Dec 2011).  If ever there was a character less likely to commit himself to a vampire, it’s the tortured Gideon.  And if ever there were an author who could make his journey believable – it’s Ms. Hill.

Gideon is looking for release at the BDSM club, Atlantis, run by the sexy and intuitive domme Anwyn Naime.  When she is turned into a vampire in an act of violence and vengence (because of her friendship with the vampire Daegan Rei), Gideon finds himself in a situation that will rip his emotional foundation apart, only to put it back stronger than ever.  His journey, along with Anwyn and Daegan is riviting and wrenching.

And did I mention how sexy it is?  OMG – not to be cliche, but this book deserves a warning label.  Few writers can match Ms. Hill for her ability to maintain a consistently high level of sensuality even when she’s not writing a love/sex scene.  The book is erotic ALL THE TIME, not only when there is something physical going on. 

..then read this one!

There is a second book to Gideon’s story, Vampire Trinity, which I cannot wait to read.  Also coming this year, along with the previously mentioned Jacob and Lyssa story, is a second in the vampire Daniella’s story, Vampire Instinct, which is being released in July.  That should keep the summer hot.

If you like paranormal romance, and you like your romance *hot*, you cannot go wrong with a novel from the Vampire Queen series by Joey W. Hill.

Which authors immediately go to the top of your to-be-read pile?

May 16, 2011

Monday Writer’s Prompts – Well, I never…

I was once given a great idea for getting develoing a character and for creating scenes in a story.  As yourself what would your hero/heroine/villan never

a) do

b) say

c) think

Because, my fellow writers, they are going to have to do just that before the end of the book and we as the authors will have to decide under what circumstances they would be willing to do/say/think what they never thought they would. Don’t we have the best jobs?!! 🙂

One of my favorite instances of this is in a *terrible* movie, Catwoman, with Halle Berry.  Her friends have given her this totally wild and sexy leather outfit as a gift telling her it’s for when she’s having a dating emergency.  She says it’s lovely, but she’ll never wear it. Oh yeah?  Guess what she reaches for the first time she goes out embracing her new life.  Wearing the outfit shows her – and us – how much she has changed.

So…. what would your characters never do?  Now go make them do it!

April 20, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings – The ocean

The boardwalk at Belmar, NJ where I went as a kid

As a Jersey Girl, I grew up going to the shore during the summer (not the beach – the shore).  To this day I love taking trips there and go throughout the year if I can.  There is something specail about the ocean no matter when I’m there – in the fall when summer memories still linger, the winter when there’s snow everywhere else, after or just before a storm. The smell of the salt from an ocean breeze, the sound of waves breaking, gulls circling overhead wondering who is going to drop something for them to eat. It’s all wonderful.

I feel differently when I’m near the ocean.  Calmer, happier.  Quieter inside.  I know there are studies about how we are connected to the tides since there is so much water in our bodies.  I don’t particularly care if it’s true or not; I simply like the rejuvenating feelings I get when I’m there. 

Of course, in New Jersey there are also the joys of boardwalks and piers, not something I get to experience in Massachusetts, where I livenow.  I grew up playing skeeball, eating frozen custard and thinking about when I would be old enough to have a boy win me something at one of the midway-like booths.  I take my kids there now and they are as enchanted as I am, looking forward to each trip, no matter the season. They love funnel cake, sicilian pizza and salt water taffy. And skeeball (have you seen

A timeless game

the movie Dogma? Skeeball holds a special place in people’s hearts.)

And somehow when I’m back at my desk later, sometimes with a shell or a tacky gift from the arcade, my muse and I are more in tune and creativity ab0unds.  There is something so unique and yet universal about the beach that I am working on a series of paranormal romances set in a diner near the shore. I love writing it and incorporating both memories and desires into the manuscript.

Is there a place that is almost magical that you love to visit?

April 15, 2011

Friday Beside Book Review – Maya Banks

Sweet Persuasion

When I’m writing an erotic romance, I need to read erotic romance.  Good – and preferably great – erotic romance.  I was very happy, therefore, to finally take SWEET PERSUASION by Maya Banks off my to-be-read list.

This was my first Banks novel and it wont be my last.  Serena is a strong heroine, which makes her fantasy of wanting to be a sex slave hard for her to believe.  Fortunately Damon, a man more into reality than fantasy, is there to help her.  In addition to a great love story and fiery sex scenes, I was very moved by Serena’s dilemma around the importance of fantasies and fantasy fulfillment.  Is it a good thing?  Or does it just make you realize what you don’t have when the fantasy ends.

This book stands alone,  but it is the second in the “Sweet” series, the first being Faith’s story. According to Ms. Banks’ website: Book 1:Sweet Surrender.
Book 2: Sweet Persuasion
Book 3: Sweet Seduction
Book 4: Sweet Temptation
Book 5: Sweet Possession
Coming Soon! Book 6, Sweet Addiction, will be  releasing April 2012.

Fans of erotic romance will not be disappointed by this book.  I certainly wasn’t and will be looking for more by Maya Banks in the future.

What erotic romance do you recommend?

April 5, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Wish it could happen faster sometimes

Filed under: Tuesday Tell All — authorrachelkenley @ 5:48 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

My 500 word-a-day goal is going well.  I wrote over 2,000 words last week and GUARDED HEART is not only getting longer, but I’m seeing more of where the characters are and where they need to go, specifically my heroine.  But there are days I wish the total was getting higher faster.  I dont necessarily want to write more – but I want more results.  Does that make sense?

I am liking my heroine alot which is important. My focus always starts with my heroine and what she needs to learn to have happiness/love/success in her life.  Sometimes the hero is not what she wants when the story starts, but, knowingly or not, he will help lead her to what she needs.

In GUARDED HEART, Chloe needs to begin to trust herself, her instincts and her ability to have a good relationship with a man.  Her mother’s relationships never lasted and Chloe has a physcially abusive relationship in her background.  Her increased self confidence needs to extend out to her romantic relationships and the reader will see this happen for her over the course of the book.

What leads you into your story or your characters?

Hope your wordcounts are growing too!

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