The Gypsy Muse – Author Rachel Kenley

November 7, 2011

Monday Writer’s Prompt – Missed Holidays

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It's that time again....

Last night on November 6th I took my sons trick or treating, almost a week after the actual Halloween holiday.  We live in Massachusetts and had an unexpected and destructive snow storm last week which caused the delay.

And it made me wonder…

How would my character feel if she didn’t get to celebrate her favorite holiday?  What would it take?  What would she do instead?  What if it was her birthday (like in Sixteen Candles when everyone forgets).  Would the hero find a way to make it up to her or create something even more special?

What would your characters do?

Have a great and productive week!


September 20, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – Gotta get back to work, but first…

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As I work to get the edits and additions done for PEAK EXPERIENCE… here’s another excerpt from WAVES  OF PLEASURE.  Today… Drew and Lyria finally meet :).



The combo was in full swing when Drew noticed the gorgeous woman at the bar. Her very long red hair was hard to miss since it hung loose to the center of her back with strands curling around her face. She turned as if sensing his attention and he was riveted by her features. Her mouth was full and lush, begging to be kissed, and her eyes were almost doll-like in their size. He wished the room wasn’t so dim so he could see their color, but even from a distance he noticed an uncertainty.

He watched her sip a margarita. The pleasure on her face as she swallowed made him long to keep her pleased. It was the strangest reaction, but too strong to ignore. She wore a light blue sleeveless dress that appeared to be made from a material so thin he wondered if in the ankles. He was dying to see her legs.

He saw other men noticing her and, with a sudden feeling of possessiveness, he moved to introduce himself. He was glad for the noise because it gave him an excuse to lean close to her when he spoke.

“Welcome to The Siren. I don’t think I’ve seen you here before. I’m Drew Crawford.” He held out his hand and she slid hers gently into it. No businesslike handshake from her. Instead the touch had an intimate feel as though she were caressing the most available part of his body.

“I’m Lyria, and no, you haven’t seen me here before. I only arrived in town today.”

“How did you hear about us?”

“I didn’t hear about you. I heard the music and came to hear more.”

“You like it?”

“Yes, very much. It has a beautiful flow and harmony.”

“We only started hosting jazz nights a few months ago.”

“Clearly it’s popular,” she said, gesturing to the crowd.

It was the most casual conversation he’d experienced in a while, but as long as her attention was on him, he didn’t care. “So, what brings you to the area?”

She paused before answering and he hoped her reply wouldn’t mention a man. “I needed some time away. I’d visited years ago so when I was looking for a place to disappear to, and this seemed like a good choice.”

“It’s still early in the season. Wait until schools are out. Then it gets really crazy.”

“I can handle a little crazy,” she said with a smile. The uncertain and distant look in her eyes disappeared when she smiled. It was as good a reason as any to keep her smiling. Unfortunately, business took the opportunity to intervene in the form of one of his servers.

“Hey, bossman, there’s a problem in the kitchen. A clash of wills—or won’ts—again.”

He shook his head. Drew’s two lead chefs were at each other’s throats at least once a night, more often if he was unlucky. He had come to understand the literal meaning of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

Something needed to change and soon, or it was going to be a long and painful summer. Tonight, however, was not the night to do it. For now he’d calm the waters and get back to Lyria as quickly as possible. “I need to take care of this personally. I hope you weren’t planning on leaving.”

“I’m enjoying being here, so I expect I’ll be staying.” A stray piece of salt clung to her lip and she licked it away. Drew wondered if standing up without attracting attention was going to be an option.

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 15, 2011

Thursday Favorite Things – A new release – excerpt

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Waves of Pleasure

Yes, I am going to be giving you teasers from WAVES OF PLEASURE for the next few days.  Have a new novel released is definitely a favorite thing for any author.

Today’s excerpt is from the opening of chapter one.  Enjoy!

Drew dove naked into the ocean, unconcerned about the lack of a lifeguard. In early June the water on the Jersey Shore was still brisk from the winter’s chill, but he didn’t care. The water finally hinted at summer and he had been waiting to feel the embrace of the waves since he came back in March. He probably wouldn’t be able to stay in it long, but even a short swim would be worth it.

He loved the salty coldness on his skin and reveled in the slightly illegal swim. Not only was it two in the morning, but if he remembered correctly, skinny dipping was against some ordinance. Somehow, when he was in the ocean he had no worries and any problems he did think about seemed small and insignificant. Maybe when he was back on his financial feet he would start saving for a houseboat so he could eventually leave land behind for good and live on the water. Or at least live closer to the ocean—just not in this area. He had lots of college friends who liked the West Coast. He could go out there.

As he floated and allowed himself to dream of an unanchored life, he felt something brush against him. He didn’t think too much of it, assuming it was part of the undercurrent, but when it happened again and it felt like a stroke from his foot to his waist, he dropped into the water and came up treading.

“Hello? Anyone there?” Spinning around, Drew stared into the shadows, trying to discern shapes. The beach had been deserted when he arrived, but it didn’t mean that someone hadn’t come by after him. When there was no answer but the waves breaking on the shore, he stretched out on his back and resumed his swim.

The caress happened again a moment later, this time gently sweeping over his chest and directly to his cock, where it lingered for a breath before disappearing again. He knew it couldn’t be a wave. The placement seemed too deliberate. But lifting his head he still saw no one. He felt beneath the water but didn’t discover anything. He’d always found swimming naked to be arousing, but this was different. If he didn’t feel the Atlantic around him, he would have sworn he’d been stroked by a woman.

September 13, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – I’m a little behind

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It's a little behind... get it?

Yeah, after doing so well through the beginning of August, the last few weeks have been busy with things other than writing – which makes me feel very unbalanced.  I love writing, and I miss it when I don’t take the time to do it daily.

I need – and want – to get back to my 500+ words a day (closer to 1,000 words would be better) and get the edits and additions to PEAK EXPERIENCE done.  I have figured out how to get rid of the charcter/conflict that was weakening the book and upped the heroine’s conflict, both internal and external, which should help overall.  My goal is to have it complete by the end of the month.

But how did it get to be the 13th already??

How are you doing?  Are you where you want to be?  Need to catch up?

August 22, 2011

Monday Writer’s Prompt – I’d be rich

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I’m in kind of a dreaming mood today. Sort of that “what if…” feeling. Now usually that’s a great thing for writers and writing.  We’re always asking “what if..” and it leads us down new and (hopefully) exciting fiction paths.  Today, I’m feeling esepcially positive and hopeful so my prompt to you is:

What if you or your character suddenly had $5,000,000.  Yes, five million dollars.  And let’s really have fun… after taxes 🙂

If you choose to write about this money for your character – how would their life change, where would they go, what would they do differently, what would they go for that they couldn’t or wouldn’t otherwise?

If you choose to write about this for you, the same questions apply but first ask yourself what would you do for your writing career?  Me?  I’d run to the store and purchase the best computer and printer available, register for all the conferences I want to go to, and buy advertising to market myself and my books more.  And that would only be the beginning!

Where would this money take you?

Wishing you a week – and more – filled with an abundance of all good things.

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 5, 2011

Tuesday Tell All – The Act and Art of Writing

Filed under: Tuesday Tell All — authorrachelkenley @ 12:44 pm
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I have about four weeks to finish and submit my mermaid story and make the deadline I agreed to.  28 days.  And many thousands of words to go. But it’s not the words I am focused on as much as having the first draft done as soon as possible because the faster it’s complete, the more time I have for editing.

I know that edit is a four letter word that scares or horrifies many writers, but I’ve never minded it.  A first draft allows me to tell a story.  With edits and revision, I can tell it well. And definitely better than it comes out the first time (or two).

At the International Women’s Writer’s Guild’s annual conference, Remember the Magic, writer and  frequent workshop presenter, Eunice Scarfe, once spoke to us about the act and art of writing.  There can be no art without the act first.  And truly, there can be to act without the desire for the art. I have come to appreciate both sides of this coin.

The sooner the draft is complete, the sooner Lyria and Drew complete the journey this book is to tell, the sooner I can get to editing and polishing and bringing out the heart and wonder of their journey.

So, how is editing for you?  Do you dread it or look forward to it?  Or a little of both?

June 29, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings – Facebook

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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 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?

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