Ryan LovingYouAlways ebook-197x300

 

 

Welcome Kennedy Ryan!

Author of 

The Bennett’s Series:

 When You Are Mine, June 17

 Loving You Always, October 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kennedy Ryan

 

I’m excited to feature Kennedy Ryan on my Pubbed Margie-Grad Blog! I had the best time working with Kennedy in an Immersion class in Atlanta, July, 2013. She’s as fun in person as she is talented on the page. That’s a lot of fun, and a lot of talent.

 

 

Here's a little bit about Loving You Always:

Kerris Moreton should be the happiest woman in the world: She has a successful business and is about to start the family she's always wanted. But the man of her dreams-the one whose green eyes see straight into her soul and whose gentle hands make her body hum with pleasure-is not hers.

Each secret moment with Walsh Bennett reminds Kerris what she's missing. And every stolen hour makes it harder to see her future without him. But being with Walsh would betray a sacred promise and upend her perfect life. When tragedy strikes, the razor's edge between love and loyalty grows sharper than ever. And Kerris must decide where her heart will fall . . . 

 

 

Margie Asks Kennedy:

 

I’d love for you to share your publication journey with our blog guests. Dive in!

 

Kennedy Responds:

 

My road to publication was not what most would call typical. I always knew I wanted to tell stories. Even as a little girl, I would tell stories on my grandmother’s back porch. My heroine was a long-haired mop! LOL!

 

I think for a while the true story seduced me because I landed in Journalism school, which was great and made me a very clean writer, but didn’t give me the creative outlet I had always longed for. A lot happened in life to sidetrack me. My son was diagnosed with Autism, which is an all-hands-on-deck endeavor, and rightfully so consumed me for a good eight years. And I started a foundation for families in Georgia living with autism. Writing dreams firmly on the ol’ back burner!

 

Writing a book was a really dusty dream at the back of my closet until two summers ago. I took my son to the Chattahoochee River every night for weeks because he, like so many kids on the spectrum, is a little water obsessed. A story started forming in my head with a fictional town called Rivermont at its center. And then a few scenes invaded my head. I took notes on my phone. I voice recorded dialogue, but I didn’t actually write that whole summer. At the end of the summer of 2012, I started writing and didn’t stop until what is now books 1 and 2 of my Bennetts series were done. It was 600 pages of behemoth What-The-Crap-Have-I-Done! LOL!

 

I joined RWA and my local chapter, Georgia Romance Writers, to help me figure out what to do with this thing. The folks at GRW were amazing. They really emphasized learning craft and developing relationships. I joined in June 2012. Our Moonlight and Magnolia’s Conference was in October. Everyone asked if I planned to pitch. OK. I didn’t even know what that WAS, but I thought it would be good practice. At the conference, I pitched to one agent and an editor from Grand Central Publishing. Both requested full manuscripts. I’m thinking this is cool. I get to go through the whole process. Again. Good practice.

 

I was as shocked as anyone when in April of 2013, the agent offered to represent me. And then a few months later, the editor said she wanted to acquire my too-long book, under condition that I would split the books into two. Of course, I would. Why not? And then she asked me if I would be willing to write a third book to extend it into a 3-book deal/series. Of course, I would! Why not? LOL!

 

I think I actually signed the contract in September 2013. My first book was out June 17, 2014. It was fast by most standards. I don’t have that “stack of rejection letters” story, but it has been a steeeeeep learning curve since I was not in this world before then. Craft-wise and emotionally.

 

Cover Blurb-1024x696

 

Margie Chats with Kennedy:

 

Your writing is so strong and fresh, you definitely had me locked in on every page. Kudos to you!

 

I’ll share a few of your fresh dialogue cues and facial expressions, and ask you questions below.

 

When You Are Mine -- Dialogue Cues:

 

The girl’s voice was husky-hot and sweet. Honey burned to a crisp.

 

Jo used her don’t-play-a-player voice on him. “He’s going to propose again.”

 

His voice hardened and bounced off her troubled mind like pebbles against a windowpane.

 

Loving You Always -- Dialogue Cues:

 

The words heated up in her mouth and boiled over. “I’ve told you that I love you.”

 

Something quiet and deadly slid into Walsh’s voice.

 

“Walsh!” Meredith’s voice snapped a warning, like twigs underfoot. “You have to leave now.”

 

When You Are Mine – Facial Expressions

 

Kerris’s smile played tug-of-war with her sad eyes.

 

Kerris felt Meredith’s eyes locked and loaded on her face with the focus of a sniper. She willed herself not to squirm under the eye of her friend’s scope.

 

Walsh lobbed a silent yes-get-me-out-of-this expression to his mother. She returned with a mama-always-knows smile.

 

Loving You Always – Facial Expressions

 

Walsh’s smile died a quick death.

 

“Yes,” Walsh said without pause, his face a riddle no one would be able to solve.

 

“Don’t say it.” She cut him off, a please-get-out-of-here-before-I-break plea in her eyes. His voice was a dull-edged knife slicing clumsily through her heart, fiber by bloody fiber. Dull and slow and imprecise and drawn out. She would have preferred a quick cut, but he just kept talking.

 

Margie Asks Kennedy:  Is it easy for you to write fresh dialogue cues and facial expressions? What’s your process?

 

Kennedy Responds:

 

Sometimes it is easy, but most times it is not! When I “try too hard” and think too much about it, I get bogged down. I need to just get the story down. Dialogue comes first for me, and most naturally. It’s a legacy from that long-haired mop on my grandmother’s back porch. I act out my dialogue before I write it. Literally with tears and screaming and a “wildly racing heart.” The whole nine. I do it a few times, and certain lines stick.

 

You’re so smart to act out your scenes. I want videos!

 

Cadence is really important to me, and sometimes I need to hear myself saying the lines before I write them. A lot of my visceral responses come in that “acting” process because I feel them myself. I get that dialogue down and where cues would be, I just make a not for later like “what is his face doing here?” Or I’ll write it in a tired, mundane way just to get it down.

 

I collect words and phrases. I have an ongoing note on my phone, and whenever a phrase strikes me, or I hear a word I haven’t heard in a long time, or someone says something I think I can manipulate for my purposes, I jot it down on that note. When I circle back through my MS, I have that note handy and identify where I can use those phrases to freshen the “slumpy” stuff I did on the first pass.

 

There was one point while writing book two that I literally wrote out DABS and TIP-QVR (from Margie’s classes) to remind myself of all the things at my disposal to communicate what was going on! Ha!

 

Good for you!

 

Margie Asks Kennedy:  What did you learn writing book two that you wish you’d known when writing book one?

 

Kennedy Responds: I was much too isolated when I wrote book one. Well, actually books one and two were, as I said, originally one book. When we split the book, the second half essentially became another book that I got to attack with fresher eyes because I had more time. 

 

I did my 5-day immersion class with Margie (Hello Veranda Vixens!), and I did a Fab 30 (Advanced Deep Editing class online with Margie), but I didn’t use beta readers much. With book two, I used betas and got such useful feedback.

 

I am spoiled by the Margie process, so I have my girl Kimberly Belle (featured in the previous Pubbed Margie-Grad Blog) to make sure I am Margie-fying! LOL! But just plot and story, I wasn’t very collaborative. I’m still not instinctively, but I see the benefits of it. And to just write.

 

I learned that more with book three even than with book two. I was not used to writing on deadline. Wasn’t used to the pressure. Book three made a much more disciplined writer out of me.

 

I also learned not be afraid to overwrite. Sometimes, if you’re not careful, you can abuse these tools and it’s too much. I got a lot of overwriting from my editor when I thought I was just amplifying.  But it was OK because I would rather have too much power or too much of a good thing and have to pull it back, than have anemic text that doesn’t pop.

 

I trimmed those hedges she though were overgrown and put my scraps in a document for another MS!

 

When it was time to write book three, I went to my scrap bag of all those phrases my editor thought might be too much, and recycled them for another book. Especially smiles and tone and cadence and expression - things like that which could be easily transferred between characters, and made my writing fresh.

 

Smart, smart, smart!

 

Margie Asks Kennedy:  Do you remember how you developed the dialogue run below? Did it look close to this on your first pass? If not, what was different?

 

“What does he have to feel guilty about?” Something quiet and deadly slid into Walsh’s voice.

“Um…”“Don’t even think about lying to me. What are you not telling me?”

 “Walsh—”“I’ll find out, so just tell me now.”

“Well, they had a fight.”

“Uh-huh.”

“And apparently Cam…”

“Cam what?”

“Cam had been drinking and stormed off. Kerris was scared he’d hurt himself, so she went after him, and it was raining. There was something in the road. She veered and hydroplaned.” The details tumbled out in a rush, the waiting stillness on the other end making Meredith wish she could take back every word before they reached his ears.

“And you expect me to back off for him?” His words were so soft and ominous, a shiver of fear ran along her arms.

 “If she dies, Meredith, I’ll twist that pretty face of his beyond recognition.”

 

Kennedy Responds:

Yeah. I remember it as a part of the acting out process I mentioned before. When I act it out; when I hear it aloud, and I record it, it helps me as I describe it.

 

I listened to how my voice naturally dipped and changed on certain phrases, and I looked for ways to describe that. I know that is not for everyone, but it’s just my process! LOL! The first pass, once I actually started writing, was very close to that, but it had expletives!

 

Margie Asks Kennedy: Do you have a plan for deep editing?  Which Margie-tools do you make sure you use?

 

Kennedy Responds: Some things come more naturally to me now more  than others. I always think, end this sentence with power. I find myself doing that as I write; rearranging sentence structure until the most powerful word “cabooses” that sentence (Margie’s backloading). Other things I really have to think about. I actually have a dialogue cheat card with me when I write. I focus on specificity. (Ex:  instead of a shirt, I say in book 3 a Ninja Turtles t-shirt because it says something about the character’s age and innocence, which is important juxtaposed with the sexual abuse taking place in that scene.)

 

I also jot down the rhetorical devices I want to focus on because that list can be overwhelming, like an elephant I have to eat!  Some of them are naturally occurring, but sometimes when I can tell a section needs some “oomph”, I’ll refer to my list and ask myself which of those 30 rhetorical devices might provide it.

 

My faves are anaphora, asyndeton, metaphor, personification, and amplification for power. I like enallage, too. Like I used “caboose” earlier in this post as a verb. I’ve noticed that I do that from time to time. I just like playing around with words; testing my command of the language. I also find myself using the setting to communicate what’s going on inside. For example, in this snippet from WHEN YOU ARE MINE:

 

Walsh stood to scrape the remnants of their meal into the garbage disposal, grinding the food and the intimacy they’d shared with the flick of the switch. He rinsed and dried the plates, packing everything up.

 

I love that example. I love all of your examples. I'm so glad you could share them on the blog! Thank you!

 

Kennedy is giving away two e-copies of Loving You Always.

Want to win? Just leave a comment below.

Winners will be drawn Friday evening.  

 

Want to connect with Kennedy?

Website  Facebook  Twitter 

 

Kennedy Ryan grew up in North Carolina, but loves living in Atlanta with her husband (tall – check, dark – check – handsome – check), and her handful of a son. Though she knew, like writers often do, that she was supposed to tell stories, the road to fulfillment has been paved with “some of everything” jobs that kept her family eating and living indoors. With her degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!), she has focused on writing for non-profit organizations and even doing some non-fiction ghost writing. Only in the last few years did she start telling stories again.

 

In addition to being a devoted wife and mom, she’s also passionate about serving families living with Autism. Her son was diagnosed with Autism at the age of two, and she has made it her mission to help as many families as possible find the resources and services they need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments  
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanKennedy Ryan 2014-10-09 11:55
Thank you for having me today, Margie! Really appreciate all you've done to help me as a writer! :-)
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanKimberly 2014-10-09 12:17
One of my favorite writers, both on and off the page! I love this story ~ as you know :) ~ and can't wait for part 3, Cam's ending. It better be happy! xo
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 00:14
Kimberly, you know there are no words for us, boo! Loves ya! I say it all the time, but I'm so glad we are in this together!!! :-) I even followed you on the Margie blog! Nothing separates us, shugah! LOL!
# Editing ProcessChristina Delay 2014-10-09 16:09
Hi Kennedy - thanks for sharing your writing process and journey to publication! I can only imagine how much work went into splitting the book into two. Can you give some examples to what you had to do to make it work? Character cuts? Plot changes?

Thanks and look forward to reading your work!!
# RE: Editing ProcessKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 00:10
christina,

Great question! It was actually easy to execute, but hard for me emotionally. There was no "good" stopping point. No satisfying spot to split the book because it was written with a story arc that didn't really resolve til the end, of course. So we found a point halfway through the book that was a, gulp, cliffhanger! And you KNOW how some readers hate those! It was a huge one, too. Book 2 literally picked up right where book 1 left off. Even though readers really needed book 1, we made sure to orient everyone with basic info w/out insulting those who had read book 1. It was emotionally difficult b/c I knew some readers would hate it. And some did, but it did create a lot of anticipation for the next book. Fortunately, we only had about 4 months in between.
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanLisa Wells 2014-10-09 16:12
Kennedy,

I can't wait to read your series. I love, love, love all of the examples Margie shares from your book.

Dialogue cues are my nemesis. I have to work at them like a fallen angel trying to escape hell.

Congrats on your new book.

Lisa Wells
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanKennedy Ryan 2014-10-09 23:52
Lisa, thank you sooo much! I hope you enjoy! :-)
# Yay Kennedy!Laura Drake 2014-10-09 17:08
I had the great fortune to meet this lady at last year's RWA conference. She's has a generous, loving spirit that shines out of her skin when you meet her.

She was one of those rare people that you meet, and you recognize each as a friend, before you know each other!

Wow, you wrote one massive book your first try? I can't even imagine that!

Oh, I just learned something! Keeping a list of rhetorical devices handy and choosing which one will work best in that situation - brilliant! I even have a cheat sheet I made up in class - all I need to do is print it out and have it handy! Thanks for the great tip, Kennedy!
# RE: Yay Kennedy!Kennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 00:13
Larua, you know I give a big, fat DITTO to that. Meeting you felt more like a reunion than a first time! I mean that. Mwah!!!
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanJulie Glover 2014-10-09 18:55
Great examples! Wow. That twig line took my breath away. Congrats and best wishes! Can't wait to read more.
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 00:00
Julie, After I wrote the twig one, I was like...where did that come from? LOL! You ever do that? It seems like someone else wrote something you wrote? Thank you so much. :-)
# Howdy, NYT Veranda Vixen!Suzanne Purvis 2014-10-09 19:37
I'm smiling thinking of you acting and speaking out loud all your dialogue in the wee hours of the night listening to awesome music I bet. :lol:

Love your advice on overwriting and then trimming and saving the cues, phrases, looks for future use. That's going on my must-try list.

I loved Book 1. Excited to read Book 2.

Love and miss you. :-)
# RE: Howdy, NYT Veranda Vixen!Kennedy Ryan 2014-10-09 23:53
Suzanne!!! We need our own VV Reunion, huh? Thank you for reading, and yes! It is HILARIOUS to see me acting out the scenes. Hubby walked in on one last week and just shook his head. I tried to explain. He said, "Just stop. It's not getting less weird." LOL! Talk soon!
# Soon to be Margie GradVicky Gresham 2014-10-09 21:55
Hi Kennedy.

Looks like I'm the only one to comment so far who is unpublished/una gented. However - my immersion is less than a month away, and with some trepidation, I do expect that status to change.

I've hung around Margie's class long enough to internalize some of rhetorical devices and to always be aware of "caboose" endings as you put it. (Not to be confused with the innate ability to use them each time they're called for.)

I have a co-worker, analytical by nature, who's finishing a masters program, and had to take a creative writing class. She kept giving me her work and asking for suggestions to make her passages more engaging.

One day she caught me drumming my fingers as I read. She grabbed my arm and said, "Are you counting the syllables? That's how you make my words flow better." Then she added, "Well, that and your mind comes up with punchier words."

Love your examples. Signing off to order Book 1.

All my best to you -

Vicky
# RE: Soon to be Margie GradKennedy Ryan 2014-10-09 23:55
Vicky, I do that, too! With my fingers. Sometimes when I'm holding my husband's hand, he feels my fingers counting out the words he's saying. He's like that's really distracting. Stop! Nice to know there's another mind... and another set of fingers...out there like mine! Hope you enjoy! :-)
# Re: Soon to be Margie GradTalia Pente 2014-10-10 00:41
What an freaking AWESOME idea to keep an ongoing notebook on the phone for cool words and powered up phrases.

I am soooo starting a notebook in Evernote for this!

So great!

:)

Talia
# RE: Re: Soon to be Margie GradKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 04:00
Talia, it is leftover from the days when my dad use to have me read with a pad beside me. He'd say every time you encounter a word you don't know, write it down. Once you're done with the book, use that word at least once before the week is out! So I got in the habit of carrying around a pad for words. Now it's my phone, and it's a very long note with all kinds of goodness! ;-)
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanDarcy Crowder 2014-10-10 04:47
Veranda Vixens Rock! :)

Absolutely LOVE your tips and examples, Kennedy! Can't wait to read this book.

I miss seeing your shining, smiling face. Laura couldn't have said it better, meeting you for the first time is like running into a long-time friend! I don't think I've ever met someone with quite your exuberance for life! LOL. It even comes through in your comments. :) Hope to see you again soon.

Darcy
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 15:12
Darcyyyyyyyyy!! !!! I miss seeing you, honey. And getting to read your rich prose! I hate that we haven't connected. Your sweet comments remind me of how much I miss getting to hang with you! We have to make it happen. Now that these first 2 books are out, maybe I can breathe a little. I'm hoping life is giving you a little time to breathe, too, so maybe we can breathe together some. I would love that! #VerandaVixens :-)
# Margie's daughter, Tiffany, EditorTiffany Lawson Inman 2014-10-10 05:30
THANK YOU for posting your road to being pubbed. I am a phone noter type of person too. :) If someone were to take my phone, what a wild read they would have.

Congrats on your success. Keep it up :)

~~Tiffany
# RE: Margie's daughter, Tiffany, EditorKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 15:13
Tiffany, thank you for the congrats! And, yes, my phone is GLUED to my palm, to my hubby's chagrin! He is hoping to wrest it from my cold, stiff fingers for a little bit! Best to you and your family! Are you Scout's mom?!?! LOL
# RE: Margie's daughter, Tiffany, EditorJenny Hansen 2014-10-11 15:43
Waves hi to Tiffany!
# Love the mopM.L. Guida 2014-10-10 21:31
I loved the mop story. I can picture a little girl doing this. Also, I'm very impressed on your work with autism. I work with autism students, and it's a challenge. I'm up at Margie's now and hope to learn how to push my writing to the next level. Congrats on your success!
# RE: Love the mopKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 23:24
Yes! Little did I know when I was hanging with the mop while everyone else was playing kick ball that it was training me to tell stories! LOL!

Thank you for your work with our ASD kids. You guys are angels! If you want to push your writing to the next level, you are in the right place! Enjoy. :-)
# Re: Soon to be Margie GradTricai Wheeler 2014-10-10 21:36
Thank you for sharing your process Kennedy - fantastic examples.
# RE: Re: Soon to be Margie GradKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 23:25
Thanks, Tricai! It was fun talking to fellow Margie-ers! Have a great weekend. :-)
# Immersion GradKim Handysides 2014-10-10 21:37
Kennedy,
Thanks so much for sharing your process. Love the fresh slices you cut up for us to sample. I'm looking forward to reading your books. Also love the idea of saving fresh thoughts. words, notes to your phone and recycling some of the trimmed "good stuff" for other books. Excellent idea. Which I aim to emulate (if you don't mind!)
# RE: Immersion GradKennedy Ryan 2014-10-10 23:26
Kim, oh please emulate! I am sure all of you have dozens of things that when it's your turn to blog on the pubbed page, I'll be ready to steal and use! LOL! We are all in this together, huh? Glad it could help even a little! :-)
# RE: Margie Grad Kennedy RyanCarol Michell Storey 2014-10-11 06:04
It is always helpful to hear how others work through the writing process. I never thought of recording dialog as I act it out. That is brilliant.

Thanks for sharing.


Carol
# More CowbellJenny Hansen 2014-10-11 15:42
Kennedy, what a great post! I love the idea of saving those little darlings that get cut for a later book in the series. Margie's right: that is turbo-smart.

Thanks for sharing. :-)
Jenny
# Immersion GradJenny Hansen 2014-10-11 15:44
Didn't realize the title wasn't a book or blog. Whoopsie. MORE COFFEE please.
# Proud of you NYT Veranda Vixen!Jaki Towns 2014-10-11 18:33
Dialogue comes first for me too. Mine from professional storytelling and years of public school teaching. Miss your joyous laughter.
Jaki

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