Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Scraps of Life- IWSG

May 4, 2016

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

I’ve been published since 2003 and if there is still one thing I struggle with, it’s sticking to my officially scheduled writing time. I have a pretty good idea of everything I need to cram into a single day. Work, family, friends, home & hearth, puppy Deuce, writing.

Did you notice how writing is at the tail end of that list? So it is in real life.

So many times I get to my office and I’m simply too brain-numb to make the words come out. Is it lack of discipline that I allow myself to give up for the evening before I’m even started? I think it’s safe to attribute a small degree of “blame” to that. It’s difficult to be disciplined when you fall asleep over the keyboard.

There was a day I didn’t have this problem. Now I feel that the day job gets the best of what I have to give and everything else in my life gets the scraps. Without a doubt, I’m tired. I console myself by looking at my countdown clock several times a day, but it doesn't really help. 

It’s time to do something differently. Perhaps I need to get up earlier and do some writing before the day job. Give the writing the best of me and let the day job have the scraps. Who knows for sure?

What I do know for sure is the way it’s going isn’t going to get it done. It’s up to me to make the change, make it stick, and make the writing happen. 

KC Kendricks
http://www.kckendricks.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dreams to Sell made the All Romance eBook Best Seller list!

May 1, 2016

Dreams to Sell, the eighth book in the Men of Marionville collection, made the All Romance eBook Best Seller list! Into the top half, no less! I'm doing a happy dance!

Why is this a big deal to me? Dreams to Sell is out in the second edition, that's why. It was first published in 2014 at the now defunct Amber Quill Press. The only thing that changed on that book was the cover. I didn't even write a new cover blurb.  

Covers are a big deal. They introduce the book to the reader. Everyone is aware of this. Publishers even go so far as to write clauses into the publisher/author contract about cover art. Every contract I've ever signed, with ten different publishers, contains copious and detailed language about cover art. And they all put it in writing that the publisher has the last word and final say on the cover. The author's opinion is, at best, noted. 

Hmmm. 

I'm consumed by what's going on in the publishing world. Authors across the broad spectrum of genres, myself included, are going independent at an ever increasing rate. Based on my somewhat limited experience, I think I know one of the reasons - book covers. 

Dreams to Sell. The original cover just about reached the visible level. It was not eye-catching at all. Go to any online book seller and you'll find white backgrounds. Does a white cover stand out? I don't think so. The original cover was very white and there was nothing I could say about it without risking every subsequent cover from the publisher's cover artist also being very white. 

I made the current cover all by myself. Is it the cover to end all covers? Oh, hell no. It's adequate. It has the necessary elements - the lovers, the house, the sunbeams to represent riding off into the sunset together. And I tossed in a little series banner at the bottom just because I wanted to. But to me, the most important thing is, it's visible. It doesn't fade into the background of a white product page. 

If, as my cover making skills improve, I decide to redo a cover, I won't have to put in a request with a publisher. I'll simply do it. I like that. 


KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks

Dreams to Sell. Available now at All Romance eBooks
www.allromanceebooks.com/product-dreamstosell-2028703-149.html

2016 Survivor!

May 1, 2016

I survived the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge! And that's all I can say right now.

KC
www.kckendricks.com

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Z is for Zig-Zag

Day 26
April 30, 2016

And so we come to the last day of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge. I’ve zig-zagged all over time this year, sometimes making sense and sometimes not. In the end, I’m glad I did the challenge again. Will I hop onboard for 2017? I don’t know. Life changes and not always for the better or easier.

I sometimes wish my path through life traveled more of a straight line, but it’s the zig-zags that keep it interesting. From being a writer to raising a new puppy to caring for family members, I zig-zag through my days. And at the end of the day, my feet are rarely planted where I thought they would be at the beginning of the day.

Much of my blogging is done for myself. It’s a way for me to mull things over and see how I really feel about an issue. It’s a sort of thinking out loud. After the intense blogging in April, for the challenge, I generally fall silent for a while. I don’t have the luxury this year.

With the closing of Amber Quill Press, I’m busy getting my books back out as independent publications. Same stories, new covers. I’ll have to blog and promo more since AQPs mailing list died with the company. What a shame. So it might be time for you to sign up on my mailing list. (see the little button in the left sidebar) It’s a zig-zag in my well-ordered plans, I assure you.

Embracing the zig-zags of life isn’t a talent I came by naturally. It’s been hard work, but it has paid a few dividends. Each and every one of you who have come by Between the Keys, some multiple times, some only once, have done something to enrich my life even if it’s just a tick on the counter. That tens of thousands of people have been here is amazing.

My thanks to all of you. Stop back. I’ll still be here, zig-zagging through life, dreaming with my fingers, and exploring visions of life and love in the spaces down between the keys.

 KC Kendricks

Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for Your Time

Day 25
April 29, 2016

Welcome to the final days of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge! This is the SIXTH year I’ve participated in the challenge - and yes, I will complete it on time. Which is a good thing since I’ve been writing about time. Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys as part of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

*_*_*_*_*

I’ve been blathering about my time for the entire challenge month and if I’ve learned one thing it’s that while I do respect time, I also waste a fair amount of it. Coming down to the next to the last day of the challenge I think some of the blogs were a waste of time this year. Maybe I didn’t spend enough time thinking about setting time as my theme. Maybe if I do the challenge again next year I’ll say to heck with a theme. A theme can really be tiresome.

If it’s true we only have 960 waking minutes a day, then how much time does each writer need to take for himself or herself each day? Writing is a time-intensive pursuit. Too often I forget to step back and take time to relax. It needs to be scheduled and prioritized as part of an uncluttered calendar to be guilt free, but it’s some of the most important time I have.

In January of this year, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Yeah, we saw it coming but I still hated like hell to hear that word applied to her. Spending more time with her takes time away from other pursuits, such as writing.

So what is my time worth? What is your time worth? Life is certainly a balancing act. One day the job comes first. Another day family. I’m not sure I’ll be up to the task each and every day. But there’s one thing I will remember and that’s to take time for myself when I need it even though I doubt the people around me will like it much.

 KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com

www.twitter.com/kckendricks

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X is for X=Time


Day 24
April 28, 2016

Welcome to the final days of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge! This is the SIXTH year I’ve participated in the challenge - and yes, I will complete it on time. Which is a good thing since I’ve been writing about time. Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys as part of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

*_*_*_*_*

X=time.   

I’m not a math whiz, and I never aspired to be one. It’s a good thing, too, because when you start to look at the mathematics of time, it gets scary.

One day is 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds. I thought there would be more. Only 1440 minutes in a day? That doesn’t sound like much at all.

I knew my grandfather for 17,520 days and it wasn’t nearly enough time. I only knew my father for 9,640 days. No wonder I still miss him. My step-dad has been in my life for 8,395 days. It’s sobering when you look at it in those terms.

Measuring time sucks, but if I don’t measure it, time will get the best of me. And time doesn’t play fair. It will never be a level playing field. All I can do is be diligent and make time work for me whenever I can.

X=time. I’ve got approximately 960 waking minutes a day to make my own. I don't want to waste any of them. 

 KC Kendricks

*_*_*_*

X is for …. Another promo free day! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

W is for Write the Right Story Now


Day 23
April 27, 2016
2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge


Do I really have enough time to write a story I don’t want to write? 

No. I learned early on that if the words aren’t coming, shut it down and move on to something else. While this has netted me a file full of half-thought about ideas, it has also given me a treasure chest of characters to choose from.

Having more experience, I can go back to those earlier idea sheets and mix and match to find the perfect pair. Maybe I’ll find the perfect match to the character I just wrote a new bio for. The possibilities are endless.

I think you see the point. Don’t struggle with something that isn’t flowing organically onto the page. It’s a waste of time - in that moment. Save it, and save future time by using it somewhere down the road.

Then settle down and write the story you want to write now. You'll be a lot happier with the end result.  


 KC Kendricks

*_*_*_*



What You Don't Confess
Contemporary gay romance
available at

Bright and beautiful, Cassidy Barlow is one of Marionville’s new breed of movers and shakers. Outspoken on political and social issues, Cass draws a lot of media attention, and knows how to us it. Out and proud, Cass makes no apologies for who he is, or who he wants – and he wants Dylan Donoghy. The only thing is, from where Cass stands, Dylan seems to be involved with two different men.

Coming out. The most difficult phrase in Dylan Donoghy’s vocabulary. Handsome, successful, wealthy, he’s made it this far in life with only his closest friends knowing he’s gay. Dylan has a good reason for that to change – his deepening attraction to Cassidy Barlow. It doesn’t come easy, but Dylan takes a few first steps out of the closet. It’s his only choice if he wants to be with Cass, even though he knows Cass has some secrets of his own.

Every man has a private past, and an unwritten future. What he won’t confess stands between the two.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

V is for Vacation

Day 22
April 26, 2016
2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge

Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys as part of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

*_*_*_*_*

Since time waits for no woman, it’s up to the woman to seize time - time for a vacation!

As strange as it may seem, I’ve been counting the number of vacations I’ll get before I retire. My annual big week off is the week of Memorial Day. If all goes according to plan, I will only have four more May vacation weeks. I need to use them wisely.

Well, three actually, since the last one will be my exit. The plan is to have the last half of May be paid vacation and my official retirement date to be June 1. In a perfect world. 

Past years have seen my vacation time spent on home & garden projects. No more. I now have a handyman to save me time. He’s semi-retired. I’m in that age bracket where everyone I know is either planning to retire, semi-retired or finally retired. It’s a hazard of life. Anyway, by the time my vacation week rolls around, the handyman should have my spring projects finished. Provided he has the time. He’s good so he's in demand.

I’d like to spend my vacation time on my patio playing with the new pup. He’ll be almost four months old by the end of May - a great age for fun. It’ll be time to get him walking calmly on a leash and show him all about our woods.

Yep. A vacation with a young puppy. What could be better?

 KC Kendricks

Monday, April 25, 2016

U is for Un-clutter

Day 21
April 25, 2016

Un-clutter. Usually one hears the word “de-clutter” but I needed a U word for today so it’s unclutter.

Is it time to unclutter my time? Like a lot of people, I sometimes cram an awful lot into one day, and something always suffers. I shortchange the people I love and/or the story I’m working on to do more. Why? No one pressures me to expend my time in large chunks that haven’t been scheduled or prioritized. Some days I talk the talk but forget to walk the walk.

The day always rolls around when I know it’s time to look at my calendar and unclutter my time. Sometimes all it takes is a concerted effort to actually finish some to-do list items. Other times I might push back a girl’s night out for a week. I might even take a Friday night off from the bowling league to finish projects.

But I know if I don’t allow the clutter to accumulate in the first place, I won’t need to take the time to scramble and unclutter.

 KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks

*_*_*_*

U is for Undeniable

Undeniable
Available now at Amber Allure

Certified an All Romance eBook Best Seller!

With a summer storm threatening to ruin his Friday afternoon, Asa Burton packs his briefcase and bolts for home before the driving gets dangerous. On the interstate, stuck behind an accident, he regrets his decision until he sees Ford Weston standing along the side of the road talking to a police officer.

Ford Weston can’t believe his luck, bad and good. First his car gets clipped on the tail end of an accident, and than none other than Asa Burton pulls over and offers him a ride home. Coming face-to-face with the biggest regret of his life leaves Ford off-balance. He’d screwed up with Asa all those years ago. It was his fault the relationship ended.

Asa can’t believe he’s found Ford again, so why is he angry with himself? Could it be because Ford walked out on him without a word seventeen years ago and he did nothing to stop him? Asa’s sure of only one thing – Fate just handed him the opportunity to win Ford back – and get some answers.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pondering? Nope - I'm brooding and it's ugly

April 24, 2016


pon·der
ˈpändər/verb

think about (something) carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion.
"I pondered the question of what clothes to wear for the occasion"
synonyms: think about, contemplate, consider, review, reflect on, mull over, meditate on, muse on, deliberate about, cogitate on, dwell on, brood on, ruminate on, chew over, puzzle over, turn over in one's mind, overthink
"she had time to ponder over the incident"

 ======================================================

So I've been pondering. 

For the last two years, I was party in many conversations about the state of the publishing industry. Book sales seemed to be tanking. Royalty checks were shrinking, and I mean shrinking. 

I hate to air dirty laundry, but I've been pondering. 

Writing, being a writer, is what I was meant to do. I think I knew it when I was quite young but it wasn't an option for me before the desktop computer changed everyone's world. I got a [good-paying] job and I've worked it for a long time. And yes, it provides benefits writing doesn't like an old-fashioned secure pension plan, primo health insurance, and enduring friendships with past co-workers. 

Writing is the hardest work I've ever done, so I've been pondering.

When the last publisher I was with decided to close its doors, I was shocked. Everyone was shocked. It appeared very sudden on the surface, but I've been pondering. In retrospect, I think it was planned out well in advance, if not collectively by the primaries, at least individually. 

Not to tell my secrets, but the indie publishing is going well. In three weeks, my totals have reached four-digits - without a decimal point in there. 

So I've been, okay, I admit it - BROODING. 

What, exactly, IS the state of the publishing business? Why are the same books I had with a publisher suddenly moving copies indie at a rate that out-strips what they did in the last two years? 

Yes, I'm brooding. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks 




Saturday, April 23, 2016

T is for Time

Day 20
April 23, 2016
2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge
It’s All About Time Squared

I wish I were a great brain and could really understand Einstein's theory on the space-time continuum. Einstein's theory of relativity states that time and space are not constant, and the only true constant is the speed of light. 

O-kaaay.

It seems like Star Trek did, on the one hand teach me something, and on the other hand leave my education seriously lacking. I need something much simpler when it comes to time. I need more of it. 

As much as I’d like to say I never “waste” time, that would be a lie. I waste time every day, in one fashion or another, but I survive it because I have a positive relationship with it.

Time is a tool I use to live my life. Time doesn’t use me. I like it that way.

KC Kendricks


Friday, April 22, 2016

S is for Schedule

Day 19
April 22, 2016
2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge

I schedule as much as I can, as far ahead as I can. Back in the day, I had a bulky day-planner I carried around in a large pocketbook, but now, thank you God, all I need is my cell phone. And a much smaller handbag.

It was necessary for me to go online and actually count the Google calendars I have. The total surprised me - TEN. I have ten separate, yet shared, calendars. My personal calendar, my honey’s personal calendar, the birthday/anniversary, and the “what’s for dinner” calendar are shared between us. Then I have the day job calendar, a promotions calendar, NASCAR, full moon, holidays, and yes, my own A to Z Blogging Challenge calendar. I suppose it's also time to create a calendar to keep track of my mother and stepfather. 

Is it visually bulky to have all those schedules in front of me? Nope. A few clicks and all but the one I want to see will disappear. I do use the day view on my phone and the monthly view on my desktop computer. Only occasionally does any single day get overcrowded with items I need to prioritize to accomplish. It's easy to look at any particular date and know whether or not I can schedule something else for that day. 

Keeping my time scheduled keeps me on track, and out of trouble, and that works for me. 

 KC Kendricks

*_*_*_*

S is for Sundown

THE BACK STAIRS (Book 1 of the Sundown Saga)

Fallon Roxbury has a nose for trouble, and the uncanny ability for landing in the middle of it the moment he finds it. While investigating the gruesome murder of a young male prostitute in the red-light district, Fallon gets a whiff of something very strange. Forensics has unidentified hairs. Very unidentified hairs, like nothing in any of the textbooks. Following a tip from a person of interest, Fallon meets Sundown, an apparent hustler who knows a lot more than he will admit.

Getting personally involved with Sundown breaks every rule in the police manual, and in Fallon’s own personal code. Sundown is like a drug, and Fallon can’t stop at just one hit. When Sundown is forced to reveal the truth, Fallon’s world is turned upside down, and he’s left with only two options: check himself in for psychiatric evaluation, or accept a new reality with a strange shift.

Shapeshifters, that is.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R is for Rewind

Day 18
April 21, 2016

Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys as part of the 2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge. 

*_*_*_*_*

I believe it was Jim Croce who wrote in song lyrics we never have enough time to do the things we want to do once we find them. I think that’s true. I was forty before I completely acknowledged I was at my core a writer and that’s what I wanted to do.

Oh, maybe I suspected it, or actually knew it on some level, but I didn’t actively pursue it. I’m not angry that I waited so long. I think everything happens when it’s supposed to. But do I sometimes wish to go back and rewind? Sure.

Maybe it’s knowing I can’t do a rewind in time that keeps me better focused on moving forward. I think of the time I spent on idle pursuits and I wonder why I did them. My only excuse is I was younger then.     

If I could rewind my writing career, would I be as happy with the outcome as I am today? What direction would I have taken?

Would I have made the same wonderful friends? I wouldn’t want to lose any of them. 

Would I have learned the same things on different paths? 

Maybe the universe is right to keep the rewind button inactive.

 KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks

*_*_*_*

R is for Ride Your Luck

RIDE YOUR LUCK
(Modern cowboy)

Regan Oakley’s luck ran out. After a stint in rehab, he’s putting his life back together without the booze. What he thinks is an old friend’s charity is really a plea for help. There’s trouble at the Bar RC Ranch and the friend’s son is in the middle of it. Regan takes one look at Wythe Carver and knows that young man isn’t the only one with his world turned upside down.

Wythe Carver’s life took a strange turn. Suspected of murdering the ranch foreman, he’s hanging on, one day at a time. The person who could alibi him has disappeared and Wythe can’t find him. To make matters worse, his prize stallion is loose on the range. Complicating his life even more, his father called an old friend to come help out at the ranch. One look at Regan Oakley is all Wythe needs to know it’s going to get hot at night. 

Regan sets out to find the truth of what happened that night at the Bar RC. He’s sure Wythe is innocent, and he’s just as sure he has no business getting involved with the boss’s son. With no solid proof to clear Wythe, Regan needs to ride his luck to get to the truth and keep Wythe by his side

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q is for Quality over Quantity

Day 17
April 20, 2016

There’s few who would argue we live in a world that values quantity over quality. That’s okay if your fetish is socks or golf balls. 

Okay. I guess pocketbooks should also be on the list of things of which you can never have too many. Color me guilty there. But I think it’s time some of us took a step back and looked at quality over quantity. Take the aforementioned pocketbooks for example.

A few years ago a girlfriend and I bought into the Miche bag craze. It was fun. We bought the shells and traded them back and forth. The downside was the shells didn’t hold up. Neither did the liners. We ended up with a quantity of Miche we no longer could use. I found an Ellen Tracy bag that cost what two of the Miche shells cost and I’ve carried it for four years now. People still ask me if the bag is new. Quality shows itself.

I think writing is better if approached from the “quality before quantity” viewpoint. To my way of thinking, I don’t help my career if I churn out quickie story after quickie story with no real substance. Whatever time it takes to accomplish the writing - that’s what it takes. I want to end up with a book I can feel good about having written, especially since I’m in this for the long haul.

 KC Kendricks
www.twitter.com/kckendricks

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P is for Prioritize

Day 16
April 19, 2016

2016 A to Z Blogging Challenge

I can’t think of anything more important to managing my time effectively than prioritizing. 

And that’s prioritizing everything, not just writing projects. Every day I take the time to figure out what needs done and then prioritize what needs done today. It’s part of that mountain climbing thing I talked about a few days ago.

What I thought was vitally important yesterday may be less so today. Needs do change. Decisions made by others have a ripple effect. So it’s important to examine what I need to do to maximize my time.

Unfortunately for me, or maybe it’s fortunately because I do like getting a paycheck, my day job is a priority Monday through Friday. Everything has to fall in around the day job and that includes family, friends and writing career. Everything. I don't like it much, but that's the financial reality of it.  

If I keep the main things in my life a priority, those little things that slip away maybe weren’t so important. It’s up to me to decide.

 KC Kendricks
www.twitter.com/kckendricks