The Gypsy Muse – Author Rachel Kenley

July 14, 2011

Thursday Favorite Things – The Movies

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As has been our tradition for several years, my friend, and fellow writer, Jeffrey C. Pettengill, and I will attend the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter film tonight.  We look forward to these each time they are released (although not the day after during which I am ridiculously tired).   There’s something about being one of the first to see a movie – along with several thousand other people. Still, it’s fun to be there with all the fans, some dressed up some not.

I love going to the movies.  Heck, I love movies period.  I watch them on cable, on hulu, on demand, and on dvd/blueray.  Give me a good story and great characters and I’ll give you two hours or more of my life.  Mostly… it’s the great characters, which isn’t surprising since as a writer, that draw me in. 

I want to see someone or more than one character redeemed.  Tim Allen’s character in “Galaxy Quest”, Jude Law’s character in “Gattaca”.  I want someone to be changed, like Rose in “Titantic” or Red in “Shawshank Redemption”.  I want them to go on an emotional – and occassionally physical – journey such as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” and Luke Skywalker in his “Star Wars” trilogy.  I want to be carried along with them.

And if I can be inspired?  So much the better.

What movies do you lose yourself in?


July 11, 2011

Monday Writer’s Prompts – Memories

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In the Joan Baez song “Diamonds and Rust” (my favorite recording is by Blackmore’s Night) there is the lyric:

We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust

So my prompt today for you is this: What memory is haunting your character and influencing him/her in a way that is not helpful to their ultimate goal?

And if that doesnt work for you, you can try: What memory do you have that you would like to rewrite/change? Give a moment in your life a dramatically different outcome and see where it takes you.

Just remember to have a productive week!

July 6, 2011

Wednesday Web Wanderings – Savvy Authors

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What’s not to love about a site that’s all about writer’s helping writers.  There are classes, opportunties to pitch to agents and editors, blogs on the art and craft of writing.  It’s a means to market and learn about marketing. It’s a place to find new authors to read and new reader for your books.

Their mission statement is: Savvy Authors strives to provide the best tools, classes, and networking opportunities for authors in all stages of their writing careers, from aspiring novelists to multi-published authors.

We at SavvyAuthors are committed to developing a community that embraces:
– Mentoring and sharing of knowledge and expertise among our members.
– Fun and respectful competition in the pursuit of writerly excellence.
– High quality opportunities for publication, promotion and advancement.
– A strong writer’s support network.
– The tools to let each of our members achieve their publication goals.

You can have a basic membership for free (can’t beat that!) and a premium membership for $30, which is also a great deal and gives you discounts on classes and access to special events.  One of my favorite premium membership benefits is the online tools and resources which includes an agent/editor database, blog tour wizard, craft sheets, and a clique finder tool!

A community of supportive writers and tools to make your writing and your career better.  Now that’s a great site!

June 9, 2011

Thursday Favorite Things – Music and my iPod

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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?

May 4, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Just write

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Like many, I think, yesterday I couldn’t focus.  I would turn on the news, surf the internet, and stay close to my kids.  It was an odd day, and nothing got written.

Today, other commitments kept me from writing (including here) until the end of the day.  In fact, I was going to skip it all together, and then a good friend said – Just write something.  It doesnt have to be on the manuscript you are working on at the moment, just write and own that this is who you are and what you do.

And that’s the best advice of all.  Just write.

April 21, 2011

Thursday Favorite Things – Chocolate

Dive in!

Yes, it has to be said… chocolate is wonderful.  Proof of ongoing goodness in the world.  Okay, maybe that’s a little strong, but have you ever noticed countries that are known for producing great chocolates are relatively peaceful?  Seriously – when was the last time Belguim or Switzerland tried to start something?

You can’t be mad when you’re eating chocolate.  Hot chocolate has wonderful calming effects.  And as a gift, it is something I always appeciate *and* thoroughly enjoy.

My heroines frequently have a weakness for chocolate in either one or all of its forms.  We’re supposed to write what we know, aren’t we?  I keep a stash of wrapped dark chocolate pieces in my writing room.  It’s my treat to myself and the better the quality the less I eat in a serving.

And if all it’s feel good properties weren’t enough to recommend it, scientists have found that chocolate is actually GOOD FOR US! (I would have been happy to help with that research).  According to an article I found: Chocolate is made from plants, which means it contains many of the health benefits of dark vegetables. These benefits are from flavonoids, which act as antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from aging caused by free radicals, which can cause damage that leads to heart disease. Dark chocolate contains a large number of antioxidants (nearly 8 times the number found in strawberries). Flavonoids also help relax blood pressure through the production of nitric oxide, and balance certain hormones in the body.

Good for blood pressure and endorphins.  More antioxidants than strawberries!!  Don’t you love it?

So in this season of chocolate rabbits and other goodies, go ahead and guiltlessly enjoy!

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?

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