Monday, August 31, 2015

The end of summer

August 31, 2015

The end of summer always brings mixed emotions. The lazy hazy days are gone for another year. Cooler mornings brisk nights move in to take their place. The lush dark green begins to fade, becoming paler. The occasional leaf drifts from the poplar trees to grace the fading grass. The grass isn't finished, though. It will be back. Cooler temps brings regrowth, regreening, and renewed mowing.

The big poplar on the edge of the backyard is always a forerunner in the race to lose summer foliage. Singularly and in pairs, yellowish brown leaves begin to drop off that tree around August first every year. I've paid attention. I know this for fact. The poplar is an impressive tree, but come fall it lacks the splendor of its counterpart in the front yard. That maple puts on a yearly display of vivid red orange. Every year I take pictures of it with the intent to eventually get the perfect one framed. 

This summer, much like most, my writing slowed and for a bit actually stopped. I hear the writers out there gasping. The prevailing wisdom is you must write something every day. That makes a lot of sense. If you write something every day, just keep chipping away at it, before you know it, the story is complete. Early on in my career I understood that wasn't always going to be the case, for me. At least not yet. I do look forward to the day when my writing will be my only career, but it is not come yet.

But it's not like my writing suffered during those still times. There were ideas to formulate into stories and then to plot. My website got a few updates as I improved my photoshop skills. There were blogs to write and blogs to plan. The future needs a great deal of groundwork.

Today there is work to be done. I'm taking a few more vacation days at the end of this week and I want to be able to relax. I need to clear one To Do List before I create another. Seems like it's time to get crackin' on it, but not before I give a nod to the summer just past. Good days. 

KC Kendricks

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Cat Named Hercules by KC Kendricks - #MSS107

August 29, 2015

This past week most of my friends celebrated National Dog Appreciation Day. Having lost my beloved Jett earlier this year, I celebrated in private. I looked through thirteen years worth of photos and reminisced about the joy he brought to my life. And who sat on the desk and helped me? Why, the little black and white guy on the book cover! He, too, misses his buddy. 

So this week I'm a little off the My Sexy Saturday topic but I'd still like to introduce you to Shiloh and Galen, and the real hero of their love affair, A Cat Named Hercules. Enjoy!


I gulped the last bit of liquid in my glass and followed him all the way to his Jeep. With his head lowered, I couldn’t tell if he realized I was behind him or not. When we got to his vehicle he must have seen my reflection in the darkened window glass. He turned, his eyes black and wild with a mix of fear and longing. I closed the distance between us. Galen’s arms snaked their way around my neck. We stumbled hard against the side of his ride. His hold tightened and I seized the opportunity and covered his mouth with mine. 

 I felt the shock go through him but I didn’t back off. I couldn’t. His lips slid over mine as he opened to me, a low moan rolling out of him and into me. He was alive under my hands as I caressed down his backside. His scent was in every rapid breath I managed to take. My cock filled in a few pounding beats. I gripped his hips and flexed my pelvis to his, eager to learn if he was equally hard. Galen sucked in a breath and tore his mouth from mine.

“Shiloh. Shiloh, I have to leave.”

Hot frustration burned inside me, but quickly cooled. He wasn’t playing with me. The man shook violently in my arms. An uneasy realization dawned. I cradled the back of his head and pulled him closer.

“Shh. Lean on me, Gale. Just let me hold you for a second. It’s okay.” I rubbed his back. “Talk to me.”

He eased away from me. “I have to go. I thought I was ready for this, but I’m not.”

“If you want me, know this. I definitely want you.” I reached for him but he planted his hand in the middle of my chest and kept me at arm’s length. 


available now at Amber Quill Press

About the book:

New in town, Shiloh Rudy joins a group of civic-minded volunteers to better acquaint himself with his recently adopted community. It’s a good way to make friends, network, and help make a difference, not to mention perhaps meet someone interesting—in a romantic sort of way. The one thing Shiloh didn’t expect was a love to rival all others to come with four white paws.

Gale Widmyer is on his feet and moving forward after piecing his life back together following a series of wrong choices. The one bright spot in his existence, even in his darkest moments, was the fulfillment of his dream to become a veterinarian. Gale’s making good on a promise to himself when an abandoned kitten leads him to Shiloh Rudy and a chance at the happiness he never hoped to have.

Laying the cornerstone for a developing relationship comes easy for Shiloh and Gale. But the wounds of the past often remain unhealed at their deepest point. A few careless words erect a wall of silence between the two men, one Shiloh has to breach if he hopes to win Gale back. But it will take more than apologies to win Gale’s forgiveness and put old fears to rest. It’ll take a cat named Hercules.

KC Kendricks 

Be sure to visit the My Sexy Saturday blogs below for more great excerpts! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

ACBW - Who has fleas??

August 28, 2015

I'm working hard today. I had a big shipment come in yesterday, so today is see how much I can get listed. I need some $$$. I want to go to the fleamarket this weekend and I won't go unless I have some cash. I'm not into browsing.  - Brenda Williamson
~   ~ ~ ~ ~           
I haven't been to a real flea market in ages. Mostly because I don't have any money either :( .  I blew my wad of cash on the John Deere.  - KC Kendricks

Monday, August 24, 2015

Drilling holes

August 24, 2015

I'm quite sure there's something wrong with getting excited about composite deck boards. There must be. 

And now you're saying, "that's what the hcck that picture is." (It's the 12'x 8' sunroom porch sans new railing.)

I've been so very blessed in my life. I had grandparents who were a huge influence on my life. In 1980, when I was barely into my twenties, they gave me three acres of ground adjacent to their home. Now I know they had some ulterior motives - how better to keep their only granddaughter close and share in her life? But their gift has made all the difference in my world. 

It also means the wooden deck boards on my front porches went down in 1982. That's a lot of wear and tear and painting. Every other summer, I've painted the deck. In the heat. In the sun. Sweating. Sweat burning my eyes. In the freakin' heat. 

New composite decking means I'll never, ever, NEVER have to paint the deck boards EVER, NEVER, NEVER again!!!!!!!!

So when my private carpenter/electrician/mechanic/chef/plumber/husband handed me a drill and told me to get busy pre-drilling the holes so he could follow along behind me and insert the screws, I got right to work. 

I've never been so happy to work in the middle of an August afternoon with the sweat pouring into my eyes, the sun beating down on my head and my back feeling like it was going to break. And next weekend I'm going to cheerfully do it again on the deck at the other end of the house. 

Who knew drilling holes could be so rewarding?


Friday, August 21, 2015

A Conversation Between Writers - Different Connections

August 21, 2015

I didn't bowl a 300 but I did pretty good. 199-166-192. Don't know what happened that second game. Must have been that freaking 10 pin that scared the crap out of my ball so bad the ball wouldn't hit it. - KCKendricks
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~
Haven't done any writing in a while. Signed up for again (6 mo) and so I've been researching family records again. Progressed quite far. It's terrific the way so many people connect. -Brenda Williamson

Monday, August 17, 2015

an excerpt from Circle of Steel by KC Kendricks

August 17, 2015

New yesterday! Circle of Steel, book IV in Ian Coulter's Amethyst Cover series. 
(I got the WIP finished just in time to get this promo up everywhere today.) 


Book IV in Ian Coulter’s Amethyst Cove series
Available at Amber Quill Press

Private investigator Ian Coulter and his FBI partner Rick Mohr work hard and play harder. Making their relationship a priority is a challenge they willingly embrace. Life is better together, and when their cases overlap, it also gets pretty interesting.

An evening stroll turns deadly when a sniper targets Rick. Needing to be with his lover, Ian has to trust Rick’s team with the hunt for the shooter. As Rick heals tensions between the men escalate and some uncomfortable truths are revealed.

Ian gets a break in the case but the sniper proves to be elusive.  With the FBI conducting a manhunt in Amethyst Cove, Ian has to deal with his own man. It’ll take patience and some tough love to heal recent fractures and secure the future he wants with Rick. 


My life with Rick was important to me. I never expected to fall in love and I had. It didn’t matter it blindsided me because it had Rick, too. Becoming “us” hadn’t been part of any original plan but we had become “us” in ways I couldn’t imagine ending.
I picked up my cell phone. Rick answered before the first ring ended.
“Ian. Darling, what’s really wrong? Are you going to be okay?”
Was I? A tenuous connection opened between us, powered by wireless magic.
“I’m better for hearing your voice. I feel like a real ass saying this to you, Rick, but it’s been a rough couple of weeks.”
“Believe me, I know. Please come back so we can talk.”
I downed the remainder of the bourbon in the glass.
“Can’t. I shouldn’t drive. I’ve had more than a little to drink.”
I heard him take a deep breath.
“Okay. You’re right, of course. And you’re right about the other things. Listen, Ian. We need to stop being stupid with each other and I’ll start. I love you. I hurt bad enough I can’t rest, and I’m miserable being off my feet. I’m taking it out on you, and that’s not fair. I promise to stop being bitchy.”
My throat tightened. “Rick. I almost lost you.” My voice broke. I couldn’t breathe. The city lights blurred in my vision. His voice was soft in my ear.
“It’s okay, my darling. You’ve been my rock, Ian. I forgot even diamonds crack under enough pressure.”
I managed a deep breath and swiped my fingertips across my eyes. “We’re still gonna talk, big guy.”
“I know. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Ian, but I can’t promise it’s always going to be easy living with me.”
“Well, I guess I can’t make that promise, either. We just have to remember life is better when we’re together.”
“How about we have a safe word to tell each other to back off?”
“What? Like ‘fuck you, Rick’?”
He chuckled softly. “No, babe. That’s foreplay. I live to hear you say those words.”
I laughed in spite of myself. “Yeah. I know what you mean. I need to go to bed. Get some sleep. I’ve got a bunch of installations to finish tomorrow and God only knows how big a job Sheldon’s going to sell next.”
“Can I call you?”
“Yeah. That would be great. I love you, Rick. I guess maybe I’m a little afraid you’ll leave me.”
“Never, Ian. Not gonna happen. Are we good?”
“We’re good. ‘Night, Rick.”
“Goodnight, Ian.”
The call disconnected and left me staring at my phone, exhausted. Were we really good? Sometimes when something cracked, it stayed that way,
And sometimes, when mended, it was stronger than before.
I twisted the wide silver band on my right ring finger around, then took it off and slipped it onto my left hand. It glittered, a circle of steel reflecting the city lights.

Book IV in Ian Coulter’s Amethyst Cove series
Available at Amber Quill Press

KC Kendricks

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Circle of Steel by KC Kendricks

August 15, 2015

Welcome to Between the Keys! I'm covering a lot of ground today. It's a My Sexy Saturday Saturday for me, the cousin's picnic is today, AND Circle of Steel is to be released sometime this weekend. I don't even want to talk about tomorrow yet! 

Ian Coulter's Amethyst Cove series is a complete joy to write. I think Ian and Rick are the best couple I've created. They're human, and flawed, yet perfect for each other. They struggle to make things work but never fail to pull together when the going gets tough. 

Circle of Steel is book four for Ian and Rick. It's due out sometime this weekend (whenever the powers that be a Amber Quill press the button). You can put it on your Amber Quill wish list at .

**UPDATE**  Circle of Steel is now on sale!

Now on to seven sexy boyfriend paragraphs from 
Circle of Steel.


There was still a cool edge between us that demanded caution. We were two strong-willed guys and we both knew butting heads was inevitable. It was how we handled the aftermath that would keep us strong. Love, respect and forgiveness were watchwords for us, as was understanding that frequently the frustrations we felt, and the ones that spilled over, were not necessarily with each other, but outside forces.

“Oh, my God. My own bed! I really did die and go to heaven.”

“What a fucking drama queen.” I kicked off my running shoes and peeled out of my shirt before I turned to help him with his sling.

“Ian. What’s that bulge in your jeans?”

“A really big dick, unlike the fake sock in your pants.”

“Now he’s throwing insults—ouch!” He grimaced and cradled his bad arm. He’d let the arm drop to his side too fast.

“Let that be a lesson to you. Pay attention.”

Book IV in Ian Coulter's Amethyst Cove series
Available August 16, 2015 at Amber Quill Press 

More about Circle of Steel:

Private investigator Ian Coulter and his FBI partner Rick Mohr work hard and play harder. Making their relationship a priority is a challenge they willingly embrace. Life is better together, and when their cases overlap, it also gets pretty interesting.

An evening stroll turns deadly when a sniper targets Rick. Needing to be with his lover, Ian has to trust Rick’s team with the hunt for the shooter. As Rick heals tensions between the men escalate and some uncomfortable truths are revealed.

Ian gets a break in the case but the sniper proves to be elusive.  With the FBI conducting a manhunt in Amethyst Cove, Ian has to deal with his own man. It’ll take patience and some tough love to heal recent fractures and secure the future he wants with Rick.  

KC Kendricks

Check out all the My Sexy Saturday blogs for more great boyfriend excerpts. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

ACBW - A Conversation Between Writers - Donut Holes & Bowling Balls

August 14, 2015

Got no writing done today--wore myself out hunting for granny smith apple trees. Went a dozen places, found one. I tore out my other fruit trees close by the house as they were making too much of a mess. Now starting a new orchard by the barn. Only going to have apples. Peaches, cherries and other such trees never did well here.

Also stopped at Dunkin Donuts, told the guy I wanted two dozen, then thought about it and told him one more dozen. It's so far from home and they freeze well. By the time my son and I got home, we had polished off a half dozen. Not as quickly as you'd think--we were out for four hours. - BrendaWilliamson
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We're quite found of doughnuts, too, or at least we used to be. The place to get doughnuts in this town is Krumpe's. It's a little hole in the wall down an alley but they built up a great business. Trouble is they deep fry the doughnuts and the last couple of times I could taste the grease. Very disappointing. I want to make my own. Ina Garten did baked doughnuts on her tv show. I'd like to give that recipe a try. Before you think, 'ack! baked!' the recipe uses over a stick of butter. What's not to like about any recipe that uses a stick of butter? Didn't we just talk about dieting and now we're talking doughnuts? Now I need to go buy a doughnut pan. 

PS. Bowled good Friday night. Had a 248 game. Yea, me!!!! - KC Kendricks

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Seeing red

August 9, 2015

I firmly believe if you're going to indulge one of your flights of fancy, you should go big. That's advice for YOU, not for ME. I should keep a firm grip on myself and my wallet. I should stick to the plan and retire early. It's not necessary to drive by the local dealership and trade in a trusty car on a whim. 

But what if a bit of indulgence won't derail those long term plans? What if it will enhance them? What if we work hard and deserve a reward? Something like, oh, say, a 2011 Dodge Charger to replace 2006 Dodge Charger?

Oh, the justifications we give ourselves when we go a little crazy! 

The truth is, only one thing matters. IT'S MINE AND I LIKE IT! 

KC Kendricks

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Circle of Steel cover reveal

August 8, 2015

It's time for a cover reveal here at Between the Keys. I know, I know. We authors are trained like Pavlov's dogs to yell "new cover" into every corner of the Internet. It gets old and that's why I don't do it all that much. BUT.... I like this cover.

That's only fair since I photoshopped the concept photo and sent it to the cover guru at Amber Quill Press. I think he did a good job of taking my idea and morphing it into the house style cover. 

We've got the sunset view off the hero's balcony. We've got the pair of wineglasses for him and his lover. But we've also got the high rise building that comes into play when a sniper targets the residents of Amethyst Cove. And of course we have Ian - our hero. 

(I won't mention how much I like my name above the title because that seems a bit, you know, shallow. True, but shallow.)

Yep. Good job.

Circle of Steel is due out next weekend. I'll do the full-blown promo then, probably as part of My Sexy Saturday.

Check back! 


Friday, August 7, 2015

A Conversation Between Writers - Diet Fixes

August 7, 2015

Diet - what’s that? Someone gave us yet  another Bob Evans gift card. We need to set some folks straight. If they’re going to give us gift cards, make it for the Longhorn Steakhouse. Actually, we had a grilled chicken cut into strips on a salad last night with a homemade vinaigrette so that was pretty low fat. - KC Kendricks

I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Bob Evans, but I buy his Mac-n-cheese at the grocery store. Grilled chicken on salad sounds good. I like to use Greek dressing a lot, especially on diced tomatoes and cucumbers. - Brenda Williamson

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG - The Ruination That Is Multi-tasking

August 5, 2015

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, 
once you find them

I’m going to date myself here. Those words are from the song “Time in a Bottle” by the late Jim Croce, circa 1973. The words are hauntingly prophetic considering Croce died at age thirty not long after the song was released.

If you do a search using the words 'time management for writers' you will find a plethora of information. Probably the most prevailing bit of wisdom says what you've already heard everywhere you've ever searched for tips for living the writing life - make time to write something every day. In my world, it’s more like make time to take care of the business of writing every day.

I used to try to do everything at once. I felt this incredible NEED to be able to write, to network, to do promotion, and cook dinner simultaneously. I tried, and I failed. Oh, boy did I fail. Miserably, too.

I’m not sure when it hit me that multi-tasking is not all it’s touted to be. I’m just grateful I realized it before it killed me. Why did I have to do all of it every day? Who said I needed to drive myself insane?

If there was ever a time I was riddled with writer’s insecurity it was when I let multi-tasking rule my life. I put so much effort into reading posts in Yahoo groups and wondering how in the world those people had time to make so many friends in the chat rooms AND write a book. They were doing it so I felt like I had to do it or I’d fall behind. Why did I need to compare myself to them? 

It wasn’t until I quit writing for about three months that I came to the conclusion some of that crappy so-called “writer’s wisdom” is very Darwin-esque. The truly insecure and wicked put it out there to weed out the weak and set them up to fail. People, that behavior will not help you be a better writer.

What will help is FOCUS.

If you need to improve your technical skills, FOCUS on that first for a while. If you need to finish a chapter, FOCUS on that and to heck with facebook for an evening or two. If your next new release is scheduled and you need to beef up your Twitter followers, FOCUS on that for a designated space of time.

Listen to the inner voice. It’ll tell you where your energy needs to be applied. Let it guide to the most important thing you have to do or learn today, and then give it your all. You might be surprised what you can accomplish if you scale the writing mountain one step at a time.

KC Kendricks

To the writers of the IWSG - network with me on Twitter at @kckendricks. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Passionate Muse

August 1, 2015

People talk in different ways about writing. Some call it a craft, or an art. Others talk about skills and the need to keep them sharp, while yet another camp says it’s all about hard work and dedication. Personally, I believe in the muse, that magical thing that binds all of these things into the singular process.

My muse is an ethereal inspiration, a passion that drives me to pull pure thought from the air and trap it on the page. It is the muse that whispers to me it’s time to write, or time to seek knowledge and improvement. There are times it says go play, then rest, but I resist that. I’m like a junkie suffering withdrawal if I stay away from the stories for too long. The muse knows this, and compensates with the promise of renewed energy. So far, it hasn’t reneged. 

A few years back when I needed to abandon old roads for awhile, the muse whispered of private passions. My muse is a powerful ally, and I listened carefully. Three stories, the Victory collection, were born of that late night session, written in remembrance of a beloved friend who died during the years when AIDS had a face, but no name. I never planned to go farther than Surrendered Victory, Passion’s Victory, and Shining Victory.

Seven years on, I think it’s safe to say the muse held a differing and prevailing opinion.

As we step into August, I’m finishing up a story entitled September Morning. It occurred to me I might be at the beginning of another collection. First came December Promise and more recently, Hot August Comes.

The work of the subconscious? A trick of the muse? I don’t have the answer. I’ll just follow whatever instructions my passionate muse dictates and see where I end up. There's not much else I can do. 

KC Kendricks 

Friday, July 31, 2015

ACBW - Open Wide, Bite Down

July 31, 2015

 I have a toothache for the last five days, so I didn't make it past watching Sleepy Hollow last night. This morning I go to the dentist and find a miracle cure.  - Brenda Williamson
I went to the dentist for what I thought was the last small thing that needed done. Aye. Right. She started looking at an old silver filling and said she thought it was cracked, too. So she took an x-ray and it wasn't cracked. There was decay under the old filling. So she fixed the little one and then dug out the old silver and put in the white composite. Now that's all fine with me but dang it. My upper lip is so numb I can't drink from a water bottle without dripping and drooling like a 1-year old. - KC Kendricks

Monday, July 27, 2015

Surrendered Victory by KC Kendricks

July 27, 2015

It's been a while since I've done a promo on the very first KC Kendricks book ever written. This evening seemed like a good time to share one. -KC

Surrendered Victory
KC Kendricks

Contemporary gay romance
available at Amber Allure

Dalton makes Reed tingle in all the right places. Now Reed’s ready to answer the question that’s haunted his every failed relationship. Is he really gay?

Reed walked into Dalton’s life and everything changed. This time, Dalton won’t hide the fact he’s gay from anyone, even his son.

Together they surrender all to each other and claim the ultimate victory - love.


We tapped our shot glasses together and downed the golden-brown nectar in unison. Funny how I’d never cared too much for the stuff and now I liked it. Dalton flopped down on the bed beside me. My gaze dropped to his groin.

He shook his head. “First, I have a question.”


He grinned, showing even white teeth. “Does the elder Mr. Kauffman know you’re gay?”

I snorted. “What makes you think I’m gay? Because I’m naked in bed with another man?”

“Well, Reed, that is sorta my first clue.”

The nervous tapping of his left index finger drew me. “If you want a cigarette, go get one.”

Dalton shot me a sideways glance. “I’ve had my one for today. I’ve come this far to quitting, I’m not backsliding now.”

It didn’t seem wise to point out to him if he could get by on one a day he could get by on none. I chose a safer course. “Congratulations. It’s a tough addiction to break.”

“So is boffing guys up the ass. I’m not even going to think about rehabbing myself on that. Are you going to answer my question?”

“I wouldn’t want you to, and no, dear old Dad does not know for certain his heir likes boys,” I told him dryly.

“That’s not the talk.”

“Oh? That’s always been the talk, and I’m sure he’s heard it. That’s why, when I broke it off with the last girlfriend, his head exploded. The fallout of that eruption landed me out here where he doesn’t have to look at his ‘failure.’” I sighed and stroked his cheek with my knuckles.

“His loss.” Dalton propped up on his elbow and looked down at me, his face earnest in the light from the bathroom. “Do you think you’re a failure?”

“Because I’m gay?”

Jesus, I’d uttered those two syllables as though they were merely words and didn’t define my past, present and future all at once. I’d come a long way in the space of a few hours. Or had I? I’d been moving toward tonight for a long time.

Dalton splayed his hand in the center of my chest, his middle finger gently tapping the flat disk of my nipple.

“I’ve failed at a lot of things, but never at being me,” I said.

His face underwent a curious change, morphing from earnestly curious, to surprise, to something akin to pleasure, before turning sad.

“You’re one of the lucky ones then.” He trailed his hand down my torso to my belly button. I nipped his shoulder.

“Go lower, Dalton. Just a few inches lower.”

He pinned me to the bed with a quick, controlled roll, the move of a street fighter. A frisson of excitement, mixed with trepidation, swept me. Those large, calloused hands cupped my face.

“Reed, you have to be sure. If you’re not, we’ll call it a night.”

That notion scared me worse than anything he would physically do to me. If he backed off now, I’d never get this close to him again. The demons we both danced with would see to it.

Before I could answer, his mouth claimed mine, searing my lips as his fused to mine. My world reeled as his kiss stole my breath. His body covered mine, tense with the urgency of his desire and his demand. His intention was clear. He meant to have me before I could change my mind. I cupped his ass and pulled him closer.

A low moan rumbled in his chest as his arms held me still. My cock filled to bursting. He guided my hands to the headboard and I grasped the rail and held on as he licked his way down my chest.

Surrendered Victory
Available now at Amber Allure

KC Kendricks
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