Monday, April 30, 2012

Z is for Zoom!



On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2012
April 30
Day 26


Welcome to the last day of the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I've focused on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine-plus years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope I've offered an inside glimpse into the writer’s world as it applies to me. If you’re new to writing, I hope you've perhaps gleaned an insight or two (and I hope I haven't scared you off writing). If you’re an established writer, maybe you've seen similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, thanks for sharing this past month with me as part of the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.
Coming to the end of most projects is bittersweet for me. No matter how the process works for each story, the end plays out the same - I hate to say goodbye to the characters with whom I've spent so many hours of my life. As we wrap-up the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge, I find this, too, is also bittersweet.

I amazed myself when I did the A to Z Challenge in 2011. I mean, I did it! I blogged every day, on the schedule, no matter what. And it was hard last year. I didn't have an eleven-month lead-in. I had to organize in a hurry, and I scrambled to get some of the blogs up in time. Sure, I had a topic for each day, but time to blog? Ha! Even with an entire year to prepare for this year, it took eleven months to get every blog written and a corresponding photo found, so imagine what a scramble it was to do it in less than two months. But the bottom line is I've completed the challenge - AGAIN!!

You have been following along all month, haven't you?

Authors, books, contracts, conventions, development, endings, first or third person, Google, heroes, ice cream, jargon, kiss, language blue or purple, motivation, multi-tasking, next project, orgasms, promotion, quickies, reviews, sticking with it, time management, unswerving dedication, voice, websites, wine, making your mark, you the writer. So what’s up for Z? Z is for Zoom!

Is this you? You’re in a hurry to become published. You’re on those endless lists with people who are published and you want it so bad it keeps you awake at night. You’ve set a deadline for yourself to be published and it’s almost upon you. What the heck are you going to do if you fail?

Fail? Oh, no. If you’ve managed to string together thousands of words into a story, you have not failed. If you’ve submitted that story to a publisher and they haven’t responded, you have not failed. If you’ve had a publisher pass on your story, you have not failed. You’ve succeeded at everything you have control over!

Nothing in the publishing world travels at the speed of ZOOM. Even with the advent of epublishing, it still takes time - a lot of time - to get published. It takes a lot of time for a published author to move a story from concept to “on sale now.”

I can’t emphasize this strongly enough. Nothing in publishing happens at the speed of ZOOM. So relax! Develop your story and keep it fun - for you. Fall in love with your characters - for you. Spend time with them - for you. If you go ZOOM, will you really hear everything they’re telling you?

I’ve fallen victim to ZOOM a few times in my career. Offers and invitations come along and it’s very difficult to pass on them. There are a few I should have said 'no thanks' to, but those experiences taught me valuable lessons. I can’t go ZOOM all the time, nor can I make a publisher or editor go ZOOM.

What I can do is write my story the way I want to write it at a pace that keeps me sane. I will control the things that are within my power, and let go of those things that are not. No more ZOOM for me. I want to ensure I get to enjoy every moment of the writing life.

I don’t want to get to the end of things, to the Z of my days, and find the only “Z” I knew was ZOOM. I want to savor every experience, each joy, because I’ll only pass this way once. I want ZEAL and ZEST
to continue to be a part of my life.

A few weeks back I blogged about endings, and how it's difficult to get them just right. So it is now. The "perfect" words have zoomed away, leaving me with nothing left to say except thanks for being with me during the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. I hope you’ll check back from time-to-time, and maybe even enjoy a few of my books. I wish you all the best things in life - love, health and happiness. Until next time,

KC

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yummy

On Being a Published Writer
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge
Day 25
Saturday, April 28, 2012


Writing erotic romance has many, many, many perks. Monday winds up the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge and I think it’s time to share a few of the snapshots that launched the author’s imagination. 


They aren't in any particular order. They're just pictures that I saw and something inside said, "I have a story for that guy." And the funny thing is, different pictures of the same man don't tell me a story. Go figure.

Enjoy!



















KC Kendricks

website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for Making Your Mark




On Being a Published Writer
2012 A to Z Blogging
April 27, 2012
Day 24

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

What do you want to accomplish as a writer? What mark, if any, do you want to leave on the publishing world? There are as many responses to the questions as writers. It doesn’t matter if no one else is privy to your reply. This question is just for you. For a lot of people, myself included, one easy answer won’t suffice, and I can only speak for me.

I think it’s important for people to understand what motivates them to do something. I constantly examine the ‘whys’ of my actions, but I don't feel compelled to share all my answers. I don’t have to. My reasons are specific to my own path.

I’ve passed the half-century mark and I know that writing fame isn’t what I want. It’s been a fun ride to get to today, but somewhere along the line I realized that whatever mark I make on the publishing world (or not) isn’t anywhere near as important as the mark I make on myself. That’s the one that counts, and at the end of the day, the one I have to live with. I want it to be a good one.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.comblog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.comTwitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricksmailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeysGoodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_KendricksFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Websites and Wine




On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Day 23

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.


Your website is the most important promotional tool in your arsenal, and you need to have complete – and I mean complete – control over its content. Even if you pay someone to be your webmaster, you need to know what questions to ask to make sure your web presence is what you want it to be.

Is creating and managing your website yourself difficult? Yes, it is, but it’s not impossible. Software abounds. I call mine Software for Dummies. It came free from the company I buy my domain name and webhosting from as a marketing tool. It works well and that’s the important thing. But how to make the most of? How to get it listed in all the search engines?

Often times the answer is as easy as putting the question into a search engine. Whether it’s a good thing or not, Google handles the biggest chunk of the search engine business, so let’s talk about Google.

Obviously I can’t cover everything in this one little blog, but I have a few tips I want to share that I hope will help. First up, how many pages of your website and blog can Google find? Go to Google.com and type in this: site:kckendricks.com. Now try it for your website and your blog. If Google is missing pages, you might need to verify your sites with Google. It’s easy for the brave, but the faint of heart (like me) might need a glass of wine first.

As strange as this may sound, check out YouTube for tutorials. I once took a workshop in SEO (search engine optimization) but after the week was over, I still had questions. I found those answers on YouTube. Type “tutorial” as your first word in the YouTube search box and prepare to be amazed.

Probably even more important than having your site registered with Google is the use of key words. Google found my website for years before I verified and registered it. How? By the use of key words.

It took me awhile to get on right track with key words. I thought adding them to the meta tags was enough. Turns out, it’s not. Those words should also appear in the text of the webpage they’re in the meta tag for. Really good key words for what KC Kendricks writes are “gay” and “romance.” So every page of that website has “gay romance” somewhere on the page.

More wine? I like Sutter Home White Merlot.

I know a lot of freebies are out there, but if you can afford it, consider going “dot.com.” What’s the first thing we do when we want to check out a company? We type in [company name].com. I want the publishing world to know I’m a serious writer, and I think owning your dot.com projects that.

All this might reads like a lot of work, but doing your own website is fun, too. You control the content so add a page of vacation photos if you like. Have a banner exchange page. Plant a few Easter eggs. Create a wine list. (Why didn’t I think of this sooner? I’ll get to taste the wine!) Share your free reads.

Whether you create it to be all business or throw in some fun, your website is your home on the Internet. Use it to showcase your work, and who you are as a writer. The future is already here and the Internet is not going away. Claim your unique space and make it your own with no apologies. You’ll never regret it.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.comblog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.comTwitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricksmailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeysGoodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_KendricksFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks


Tomorrow… X is for Making Your Mark

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Voice


On Being a Published Writer
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge
April 25, 2012
Day 22

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

The writer’s voice. We read about it, talk about it, angst over it, and yet we struggle to define exactly what it is. I once read where voice is a literary term that describes a writer’s style (style being defined by the use of character development, dialogue, syntax and diction).

I’m a simple girl. For me, voice is where the ‘telling’ of the story and the ‘showing’ of the action blend. The more seamless the blend, the better the finished story. Voice is each author’s unique and individual style of bringing the reader inside the story to the same place as the author.

A writer’s voice will show some of their inner character and personality. The characters created often reflect some of the writer’s attitudes. How can they not? Laying yourself bare for the reader isn’t easy. It’s a gradual process, one you can move through at your own pace.

When a writer is just starting out, everyone encourages her/him to develop their voice. The only way to do that is to write so the voice can emerge and develop. The time it takes to do that is another reason aspiring writers get so frustrated with the industry. It takes as long as it takes, so be patient. Remember - there are no worthwhile shortcuts to success.

Over the years, my voice has matured. I see it as a matter of gaining confidence - I’m no longer afraid to sound like myself. Having the reader come and sit in the same spot from where I wrote the story is no longer scary.

Whether it’s conscious or not, everything we do as authors strengthens our voice. Making each story better than the last is ingrained in our psyche. We constantly strive toward that goal, collectively and individually. We nurture our voice, and our ultimate reward has nothing to do with money.

It’s reading a book and, at the end, saying, “Wow. I wrote that.”

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Unswerving




On Being a Published Writer
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge
April 24, 2012
Day 21

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.



Working as a published writer is without a doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Published being the keyword. Writing is easy. I was given the talent. I merely tap into it. It’s being published that’s work.

My journey wasn’t the usual one. I didn’t have the burning passion for publication so many people possess. I merely wanted to see if I could actually write a novel. Once I knew I could, a new world opened up to me.

I had to get serious about writing. I had to set aside the time to do the work and acquire knowledge about my field. I have to constantly work to improve my basic skills. No one else can do these things for me. Writing truly is a venture where I am accountable to myself. I can think of no other field where “I” is more important to the finished product.

If I want to continue to be a published writer, I must be unswerving in my goals. I must know where I want to go and do the work to get there.

There are no worthwhile shortcuts to publication. There is a learning curve, and everyone is on it. The first few years were rather steep for me. I struggled, but looking back I wouldn’t trade any of it. I learned from every experience.

Of all the things I’ve done in my life, writing is the most personal and the most powerful. It’s a solitary pursuit where achievements are frequently intangible. For me, the road goes straight ahead. I’ve set my path and I won’t swerve from it.

There’s an old saying, “If it is to be, it is up to me.” When it comes to writing, those words are my unswerving truth.
KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Time Management



On Being a Published Author
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge
April 23, 2012
Day 20

A question I'm frequently asked is how I balance working full time and writing. The quick answer is, I just do it. Now I know that's not very helpful. Truth is, I've been balancing my real life and a full time job all my adult life. Adding writing was like adding biking or jewelry making or a puppy. One simply does.

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 and that is to make time to write something every day. Sound advice - if you have time for it. The good news is you do!

Because there is so much information available, I’m going to skim over a few things I’ve found to be helpful.

#1 - Stop multi-tasking every waking hour. Seriously. Go back and read the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge M blog on April 16th. Sometimes a project needs your undivided attention. By focusing on one task, you actually get it done faster, and sometimes better.

#2 - Set goals. Which ones are up to you, but set a few so you have something to work toward. Just keep your expectations of what you can accomplish realistic.

#3 - Make a reasonable To Do List. Checking items off the list can be enormously satisfying. Make yourself feel good.

#4 - Invest in yourself. Get good equipment. Do I need a fancy wireless keyboard? YES! Do I need a laser printer? YES! Do I need two monitors? YES!I love having my character bio sheet open and visible on the second monitor as I write. And never shortchange yourself in the acquisition of knowledge and skills. The bigger the skillset the easier the writing, i.e., the quicker the story hits the page.

#5 - Always make time to do what you love. It recharges your batteries.

#6 - Learn the difference between urgent things and important things. If you do the important things first, your stress levels will be low. You can’t avoid all urgent tasks, but you can eliminate a lot of them by doing important things first.

#7 - Don’t overbook yourself. Get a good calendar in a format you like and will use, and write down everything you have scheduled. Incorporate your To Do List into your calendar and really get ahead.

#8 - Break down big tasks into smaller, manageable chunks. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know. You’ll get just as far taking small steps as you will big ones, and some days are made for small steps.

#9 - Keep an eye on the big picture. You’re greater than the sum of your parts. Getting two small things done correctly is better than getting four big things done poorly, because that’s four big things you might have to spend time re-doing, which is no fun.

#10 - Make time to exercise. A lot of good ideas have come to me while I’m walking. I’ll even call and leave a message for myself on my phone so I can write it down when I get home. Keep the oxygen flowing to your brain. You’ll get more writing done in a shorter amount of time!

So there it is. Ten tips that save me writing time. Some might seem counterintuitive, but they work for me, and that’s all that matters. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out what works best for you.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Sticking With It



A to Z Blogging 2012
On Being a Published Writer
Day 19 - April 21, 2012

Nothing I have ever done in my entire life has called for more determination and dedication than writing.

I have never worked so hard and put in so many hours for a purely personal satisfaction.

Every day I wonder why I’m doing this to myself because writing romance can make the soul bleed.

Each new release opens the author up to unimaginable levels of criticism from jealous friends all the way to jealous reviewers.

And yet I keep writing, and I’ll keep on writing, under one name or another, until I can no longer sit at a keyboard or speak into a headset.


KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks


Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Reviews



A to Z Blogging 2012
On Being a Published Writer
Day 18
April 20


Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Every review you get is the subjective opinion of ONE person who more than likely got your book for free from your publisher.

I’ve written under a few different names because I write in different genres, and every time I started a new brand, reviewers jumped. You know - fresh meat. I got lots of reviews. But the longer I write under those brands, the fewer reviews I get. Why? I think it’s because I don’t give them enough to find legitimate fodder criticize.

Many review sites are out there for one reason - attention. And they get more attention if they slam an author. It’s more about marketing the review site and its personnel than your book. So what should you do?

Forget about ‘em. Seriously. Let me make a couple of points, in no particular order.

1) Maturity level of the reviewer. An immature reviewer will not understand a mature writer and therefore the maturity of the writer’s characters. Maturity comes from a place they don't know.

2) Writers reviewing writers. Ever hear of jealousy? It’s far too easy for a bad writer to hide behind the persona of a reviewer and take swipes out of jealousy.

3) Reviewers are not necessarily insiders to the publishing industry. Ever read a review where they bash an author over a book cover? Yes, that shows just how little the reviewer knows about how things really work.

4) Some reviewers have romance/relationship rules. Recently there’s been a spate of reviewers using the phrase “insta-love” as if  a) it can’t happen and b) it’s a bad thing. Reference Item 1 and the maturity level of some reviewers. In my world, my partner has yet to go home from our first date twenty years ago. Insta-love? You betcha.

5) Reviewers like attention, and they think tearing a person down is the way to get it. (It certainly is the easiest, isn't it?) Yes, they get attention. If you’re a published author and you talk privately with other authors, you know exactly what kind of attention they get.

6) The Internet is a magnet for unhappy people. Reference Item 5.

7) Some review sites, in effect, sell reviews. Pay for advertising - get a review. So don't forget this basic rule: Money flows TO the author, not FROM the author.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some very good, legitimate review sites out there. The Romance Studio and Literary Nymphs are the two that quickly come to mind. So is Romance Junkies and Coffee Time. There are others, and I apologize to them for not taking the time and space to list them. The four I've named do not encourage any sort of author bashing in a public forum setting, and therein lies the difference.

I’ve been lucky in the review process, but others haven’t. I’ve read some really vicious reviews and it’s been blatantly obvious it was an attack on the author, not a book review. And yet the owner of the review site tolerated it. By the fact it was posted, the owner stamped her/his approval of it. I have to wonder at the purpose behind it, not to mention the character of the people involved.
Kindness is never out of vogue. Politeness is something most people readily respond to. When pointing out the perceived flaws of another, or their work, those two qualities are the proving point to the intentions of the reviewer and the motives for owning a review blog/website. 

When confronted, it’s too easy for a bad reviewer to say, “Oh, I didn’t mean it like that!” My fellow author, you’re not that stupid so don't fall for that line. And don’t for a moment think you must go thank anyone for a review that you know is meant to be damaging to you. That only lets them know you saw their vitriol. Some rules were meant to be broken.

I applaud all the honest reviewers out there. I appreciate all the work they do within the industry and the way they treat the author with respect. I, in turn, respect them. They restore my faith in the goodness of strangers. We need more of them.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for Quickie

A to Z Blogging 2012
Day 17
April 19, 2012
On Being a Published Writer

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.


Ah, the quickie. I’m quite fond of it in real life. Hope that’s not TMI (see the J is for Jargon blog).

In another blog, I mentioned a comment my mother made about a well-known author’s sex scenes. Mother correctly observed that every sex scene this multi-published, best selling author writes is the same. Ooooooookay. I know what you’re saying.

Part A and Part B only fit together in very specific ways.

True. But great sex is rarely about how the parts fit together. Great sex is how the brain perceives it. Great sex is a lot of fun and this is where the quickie fits into the plot.

Here comes another personal story so consider this your TMI alert. Once upon a relationship we used to enjoy hopping in the car and driving around to see the Christmas lights. New housing developments are usually the mother lode for decorations but sometimes true gems are found on lonely country roads. One year we found the classiest Christmas display I’ve ever seen out in the middle of a virtual nowhere.

White lights might be all the rage, but this place was a rhapsody in blue. The ranch-style house was outlined in a single string of the larger bulbs. The driveway and walkways were outlined in single strings of the larger blue bulbs, as was the split rail fence along the edge of the back yard. In the side yard, a trio of pines wore garlands of the same color blue lights. It was understated and, I think, a perfect example of how to light a yard for the season.

My partner leaned over and kissed me and….yep. Right there on the side of the road. The Quickie. I mean - seriously. Would you want to take a lot of time on a COLD winter night? And it was dark, sure, but other cars have headlights! We still tap our coffee mugs together and laugh about it.

The quickie is the fulfillment of a simple urge to mate. To have some fun in the moment. In romance fiction, if it fits your characters and the plot, don’t pass up the chance to let your characters have a little fun with a quickie. It’s a great way to show the daring, playful side of your characters without delving into the deeper emotions of lovemaking, and ramp up the heat level for your readers.

It might not work in every story you write (or read) but when it does, it’ll make you smile.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

P is for Promotion



On Being a Published Writer
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A to Z Blogging 2012
Day 16


Today’s blog is short and sweet. I could write paragraph after paragraph but …why? I have one singular point to that I hope you will always remember.

If you don’t promote your book, who will?

This is the bottom line on promotion. If you don’t promote your book, who will? The answer is a big blank page. No one will promote your work the way you will.

Sure, you can pay someone to do the promo. Rates vary as does the quality of the promotion. Be prepared to either track a promo company all over the Internet to find proof of what they’re doing to earn their money, or be prepared to ignore them and hope you’re not getting ripped off.

Don’t get me wrong or credit me with saying something I’m not. There are some good companies out there and if you do your homework, you’ll see which ones they are. Stick with them. Just remember no one will work as hard to promote your book as you will yourself.

Is promotion confusing? Yes. Exhausting? Yes. Too many rules and regulations on everyone’s list/blog/forum? Yes. Even I have posting rules over at Saturday Evening Romance and Saturday Morning Reviews.


Keep at it. You’ll find what works best for you. I once bought book that used three hundreds pages and a lot of words to get one simple point across. It doesn’t matter what you do to promote your book as long as you do something.
And the absolute very best promotion for your current release is something only you can produce - your next release.

Now get busy writing!

KC Kendricks

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

O is for Orgasm




On Being a Published Author
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
A to Z Blogging 2012
Day 15


Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

No matter what you call it - the Big O, climax, release, to come, to cum, get off - the sexual orgasm is an essential part of erotic romance. It doesn’t matter if you write straight het, man-on-man, or for the ladies, the orgasm matters.

We all like the romance, the building of the relationship. We root for the two (and sometimes three) main characters to find each other, and common ground. And we want them to experience the unique bonding of the sexual orgasm.

There are as many schools of thought about how the climax should be handled as there are readers. As a writer, how do we please them all? The short answer is - we shouldn’t even try. Above all else a writer has to be true to their own voice and characters.

When I first started to write, I bought a book by a very well known romance writer. As in very well known. I read it, then passed it on to my mother for her opinion. What I got was a comment I’ll never forget.

“I guess it was a good enough story, but this woman only knows one way to have sex and it’s boring.”


Yes, girls and boys, that was my Mommy’s comment. It set me back on my heels a bit, coming from her, but I got over it. Mostly. (Yes, it made me think things about my mother best unthought.) The thing is, she was absolutely correct. I reread the book and every sex scene was exactly the same, and Mother wasn’t talking about Part Boy fitting into Part Girl. She referred to the emotional intensity, or lack thereof, of the orgasm.

Is every time you have sex the same? No. At least for your sake I hope not. We make love slowly, or we have quickies. We’re full of energy, or not. We orgasm multiple times, or not at all. We do a little oral, or a lot, or not. We may like toys, or visual aids. We may be in the mood to go to bed early, and alone, for some private time.

It doesn’t matter which scenario we choose as long as we tap into the emotions present when the sex act happens. It’s that balance of feeling and action that most readers like and keeps them reading.

Is it easy? No, but no one said pulling pure thought from the air and turning it into a romance novel would be easy. Taking it one step deeper into erotic romance is even harder. But the best things never come easy.

No pun intended.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com

blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks

mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kckendricks

Coming tomorrow - P is for Promotion.

Monday, April 16, 2012

N is for the Next Project


On Being a Published Writer
April 16, 2012
A to Z Blogging 2012
Day 14
When I finished my very first story, I wondered if I could write another one. What if I was a one-book-wonder? How did other writers keep coming up with ideas for the next project? I really did worry and it was a waste of energy.

Every story starts differently. Some begin with a tiny seed, a single word. Some arrive complete and it’s a rush to get everything down on the page before it flees the feeble human brain. I never knew I had so many stories inside!

The longer I’m at this craft, the easier it is to develop the next project. I believe it’s a matter of building on the successes and not anything magical. It becomes a way of thinking.

In the beginning, you search for the seed. Once you find it, you plant it and nurture it. After a while, you recognize a worthwhile seed without the search, and you learn the best way to grow it is to leave it alone until the harvest. Yes, it really can be that easy.

But never forget that you are the fertile soil the story must grow in. Spend more time expanding your knowledge and abilities and less time going crazy because your plot doesn’t fall into the perfect W-plot or plot worksheet. Be glad it doesn’t! How cookie cutter do you want to be?

Be open to those tiny seeds. They’re all around you. It’s not magic - it’s awareness. Channel it using whatever method works best for you because every next project is your chance to strut your stuff and show the world how good a writer you really are.

KC Kendricks

Tomorrow's blog - O is for Orgasm.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

M is for Motivation & Multi-tasking



A to Z Blogging 2012
On Being a Published Writer
April 14, 2012
Day 13

It’s the rare author who doesn’t occasionally run out of steam. We’re spouses, partners, parents, children, siblings. We wear a bunch of different hats every day. So how do we stay motivated to sit at the computer and write something every day when the dishes, the laundry, the kids, the job, the significant other, and even the dog, all need our attention?

For me, the first step in answering that question was accepting that some days I couldn’t do everything in my day the way I wanted to do it. Yeah, it was tough. I aspire to be the modern woman but my roots go waaaaay back to Helen Reddy. “I am woman, hear me roar…”

When I was growing up, it was fashionable to be a superwoman. We were told we could have it all, but no one ever told us how exhausting achieving everything can be. I learned to pace myself - until I signed the first contract and became a published author. After that, I did a bit of backsliding. Multi-tasking became a way of life.

But you know what? For me, too much multi-tasking is counterproductive. I get a lot more accomplished when I stop trying to do four things at once and focus on completing one phase of a project at a time. Getting that one thing finished and out of the way is a great motivator, too. I find a peculiar personal satisfaction in knowing I’ve done something well.

I’ve reached the point in my life where I realize that I’m happy with what I’ve done in a day even if it’s not everything on my To Do List. I don’t have to stress over those twelve things undone in my day. The sky won’t fall if I don’t get five hundred words done in an evening when I’ve had to take care of something in my life. I’ll get another crack at my list again tomorrow.

There’s an old saying - “if it is to be it is up to me.” Now here’s the thing. I get to say what “is to be” every day. Most days, it’s all the motivation I need to moving forward.

It’s a good place to be.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Language

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.


On Being a Published Writer
April 13, 2012
Day 12
A to Z Blogging 2012

The use of sexy language in erotic romance can be tricky. When you get to the sex, how “blue” do you go? How “purple” do you go? At what point is down and dirty too much and over the top?

“Purple prose” is often used to describe paragraphs that are more sensual than sexual in nature. No one today uses this term as a compliment. It’s generally considered to be too flowery or ornate by those who think they’re in the know.

“Blue prose” is more straightforward. Instead of writing “He pulled Joe to his knees and took him,” the sentence would be closer to, “He pulled Joe to his knees and fucked his ass.”

Hmm. Creates a dilemma, doesn’t it?

No. I don’t think it does. There’s room for both purple and blue prose in your story. Each style reflects the emotions of your characters at that moment. Let’s face it - sex isn’t the same every time it happens. So why describe it the same all the time and bore your readers?

Yes, there certainly are publishers who want nothing but sex, sex, sex, sex. They’re publishers. They are not writers. They want to sell, sell, sell, sell. So do you, but your first concern needs to be staying true to the characters and the story - and YOUR readers. If all you’re doing is going for the money, it will show. (Check back to the “E” entry for why it’s good for your book to sound like you wrote it.)

Here’s a review from Joyfully Reviewed for Seducing Light, which is my all-time best selling book.

Seducing Light is an emotional tsunami that takes you to such incredible places; from tender moments to heart breaking misery as well as red hot encounters. Asher Myles and Nick Light are complete opposites – their personalities clash, they have vastly different backgrounds and social standings yet together they are magic. Seducing Light is a story readers will remember long after the last page is finished.

You can’t get from tender to heartbreak to red hot without reflecting the emotions of your characters, and you can’t get the emotions without making the language work for you. Language sets the tone and creates the mood. I didn’t get those “tender moments” with blue prose. Nor did I get those “red hot encounters” with purple prose. I mixed it up to suit my needs, and you know what? My readers were more than smart enough to keep up.

It’s your book. You’re the author. So use language for the tool it is and to hell with the snarky comments from reviewers who got your book for free.


KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys

Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kiss

On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2012
April 12, 2012 - Day 11

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.




“A kiss is just a kiss.”

“It’s in his kiss.”

“Your kiss is on my list.”

“I want to kiss you all over…”

It’s hard to overstate the importance of mouth-to-mouth kissing in romance fiction. With both participants facing each other in a full frontal embrace, a kiss quite often does what our hero intends it to do. It leads to physical arousal in both participants, no matter of gender.

But how, as romance writers, do we vary the kiss? Basically, however we want to. Kisses are brief, soft, or quick. They can be deep and passionate. They represent a promise and a lure to pleasure. A kiss can soothe a hurt and punctuate shared laughter. A kiss can lay claim to a lover, or give a regretful goodbye.

Never be afraid to let your characters lead you to how they kiss. It’s a reflection of their personality, of their style. Work with them on it, don’t hinder them. But don’t be afraid to make them back up if they get it wrong.

The actual act of mouth-to-mouth kissing doesn’t vary that much. Lips meet, tongues dance, teeth nibble and tonsils get checked out. What makes the kiss special is the emotion that lies within it. Reach for that, and each kiss will be unforgettable.

The kiss is a moment of decision for both parties. Do they proceed toward a deeper intimacy, or retreat? As the writer, you choose, but you must tap into the emotions behind their next move.

Whether or not it takes one perfect sentence, or a couple of paragraphs, never underestimate the kiss.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J is for Jargon



On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2011
April 11, 2012

Day 10

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.



Writers sometimes use a language all their own. Some you may recognize and others you may say are “NTM.”

NTM- New to me
MS – manuscript
HEA – Happily Ever After
SWAK - Sealed with a kiss
ETA - Edited to Add
POV – Point of View
LI - Love interest
HFN – Happy for Now
CWD – Chicks with Dicks
SNI - Shiny new idea
BM – Black Moment
TSTL - Too Stupid to Live
WIP – Work in Progress
MC - Main character
M/M – Man on Man or Male on Male
F/F - Female on Female
TBM - The Big Misunderstanding
M/F – Male on Female
M/M/F - Male, Male, Female menage
HET – Heterosexual romance
SF – Speculative Fiction or Science Fiction
UST – Unresolved Sexual Tension
TBR - To be read
PWP – Porn Without Plot
NaNoWriMo - National November Writing Month
NF - Non-fiction
CR - Contemporary Romance
YA - Young Adult
GLBT - Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender
ER - Erotic Romance
UF - Urban Fantasy
PNSS - Paranormal shapeshifter
HR - Historical Romance
BDSM - Bondage, Dominance, Sadism, Masochism
CP – Critique Partner
RWA – Romance Writers of America
BIAM - Book in a Month
BICAW - Butt in chair and write


It’s enough to make your head spin, isn’t it?

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I is for Ice Cream



A to Z Blogging 2012
On Being a Published Writer
April 10, 2012
Day 9


Every aspiring author should learn the value of ice cream.

No joke. Ice cream will always make the next chapter easier to write. My personal favorites are Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and Black Raspberry.

There’s something about the cool, creamy texture melting on my tongue that makes all worries flee. I even forget to worry about how stupid I’m going to look licking the bowl.

When you need a break - take one. You can’t keep plugging away if your brain has gone to mush, or you’re frustrated.

Take a walk. Do some stretches. Comb the dog. Eat some ice cream.

And go back to your work-in-progress refreshed.

KC Kendricks
Website

Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Hero...and Hero

On Being a Published Writer
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge
Day 8
April 9, 2012


I need a hero, I'm holding out for at hero
'till the end of the night
He's gotta be strong and he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight
-Bonnie Tyler, I Need a Hero


We all need a Hero. Does he need to be tall, dark and handsome? It helps, but it’s not a prerequisite these days. Geeks are good. The metro-sexual man is smart, sexy and all heart. Cowboys? Do I really have to explain cowboys?

We love vamps and shifters for the danger. Same goes for all the bad boys on bikes. Let’s face it. Heroes come in all sizes, shapes, occupations and sexual orientations. A hero today is admired for his achievements as much as for his strength and courage in the face of adversity.

So how do we create a legendary hero?

If you’ve never heard the song, “I Need a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler, go to iTunes and get yourself a copy. Go Google for the entire lyrics. This song is an anthem for romance writers. Yes, I was there in the 1980’s when it played on all the radio stations and I loved it.

If you love the hero (protagonist) you’ve envisioned, give him a worthy antagonist (love interest). Throw in a villain if you like external conflict, or keep his battle internal with himself. If you love him, that will come through in the prose and the readers will love him, too.

Strength of character can outweigh his biceps. The fight doesn’t have to be down and dirty fisticuffs. In my own life, my partner, my very own hero, has beaten cancer twice. It takes a lot of strength and determination to win that fight, and it’s his inner will that I find admirable and even sexy. And he’s only a cowboy when he hops on the lawn tractor.

But this blog is called “Hero and Hero.” It could be because KC Kendricks writes contemporary gay romance - two heroes per story. Two is more fun than one, that’s for sure but that’s not all of it. I also want to give you a head’s up about those sneaky secondary characters who are heroes in their own right - the brother or the best friend. They will get down and dirty to hijack the story. I’ve had it happen a few times. Before you know it, you’ve got four heroes and two stories - but that’s all good! Go with it!

Write your hero. Don’t worry about some comment you read on one of those infernal lists that *this type man* or *that type man* sells best. You know some other author who writes that type of hero is the one pushing for everyone to love her kind of man! It’s a herd mentality. Don’t go there!

Don’t even worry about the number of sales you might make on the book. It’s counterproductive to worry about sales before the book is even written. You must first and foremost write to, for, and about your hero - for yourself.

Make him yours. Talk to him. Listen if he talks to you. Follow his lead because you’re the one who pointed him in that direction. Take care of your hero (and his best friend and his brother, too) and everything else will fall into place.


KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
e.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Google Guilt



Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2012
April 7, 2012
Day 7

I love Google.

It’s true. Google puts the world at the fingertips of billions of people. It’s a fabulous tool and I utilize it to the fullest. Any topic I want to learn about, Google can find a page for me, and not just about writing. It’s about the entire world.

I probably don’t need to extol the virtues of a good search engine to anyone. Alta Vista, the first one I used, is still around. There’s Bing, Ask, HotBot, Yahoo, Excite. The list goes on and on. I just happen to like Google for the necessary “G” word today, and as a way to segue into the real topic for today – guilt.

No, it’s not guilt for taking time away from your family and friends to write. We all do what we must to make our writing career work. And it’s not even about that dark chocolate candy bar you have stashed in your purse so you don't have to share it. (Guilty!) Today I want to talk about Google Guilt.

Google Guilt is what some other authors might just try to lay on you for using a search engine to unearth information for a story. Don’t buy into it.

Which is better?
A) The author adds just enough flavor to the prose to excite readers into going to Google to learn all about Belo Horizonte – or whatever the topic – for themselves.
OR…
B) The author who fills page after page with the smallest minutia meant to impress his/her reader with her/his intimate knowledge of the subject because, after all, they’re an expert, but instead of impressing, it bores.

I suppose it’s all in what you like, but I’ll take “A” any day of the week.

My point is simply this: It’s your story. Write it your way using whatever means are at your disposal to do so and to he$$ with the rest of us know-it-alls. Check your facts and keep your page links so you have the ammunition to prove your research to your editor, too. She’s your beta reader and it's her job to make you “prove it.”

It’s the how the reader perceives the finish product that is important. Excite their interest!

And no Google Guilt allowed.


KC Kendricks
Website

Friday, April 6, 2012

F is for First Person Fiction

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.


On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2012
April 6, 2011
Day 6

Before you read this post, be advised of one thing - opinions like this will not win you friends. I suggest you leave this out of your blogging repertoire. Nevertheless, I believe this is something that needs to be said and I’m at the place in my career where I can say screw the naysayers. You might not be.

Make no mistake. Writing in the first person is very difficult to those who don't know how.

The author must immerse herself/himself totally into the character to create an intimate bond with him/her - and exploit it. The mental and emotional relief of shifting to another character’s point of view is unavailable. For only by that total immersion can the first-person story be brought to life.

There is a Great Debate about whether or not fiction written in the first person is saleable. Many authors boldly criticize first person fiction claiming readers don’t like it. Reviewers, many of whom are published writers themselves, will criticize from behind the anonymity of their reviewer persona. (Read another opinion that won’t win friends when we get to the letter ‘R’.)

Until very recently, all my stories were written in the first person. I decided to do a little experiment and write a story in the third person - Highway Nights. Sales of that book have not surpassed sales of the books I’ve written in the first person. By all accounts and opinions contrary to my own, sales of that book should have outdistanced my other books two to one based simply on the fact it's third person. It didn’t happen, which leads me to one singular conclusion, which will not be popular.

Those who can write in the first person do, and those who can't nitpick about it.

Don’t let anything said here - or anywhere else - dissuade you from writing in the first person if you desire to do so. If you want to try it, you should. It is, at the very least, an exercise that will strengthen your ability to write more depth into your character’s point of view.

And if your story reads good to you, don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t submit it, or that it won’t sell. Believe me when I say “they” don’t know all “they” think they do.

Anytime your instincts tell you you’re more than a one-trick pony, listen and obey. You’ll never make a wrong move if you follow your voice. And if you decide you need to stick with the third person then you should.

But never cut yourself off from trying something new, and learning more about yourself and your craft, based on someone else’s inability to do it.

Never sell yourself short.


KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E is for Endings

On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2011
April 5, 2012
Day 5


Guilty as charged! The accusation has been made that a KC Kendricks book reads like a, well, a KC Kendricks book! And the ending of a KC Kendricks book will generally have a wrap-up that takes place three to six months after the characters make the commitment to see how things might work out in the long run for them.

Endings are not easy. Too abrupt, and the reviewers hammer you. Too long, and the reviewers hammer you. It pays to remember those who criticize can’t do it any better and ignore them.

Beating your head on your desk is pointless and unproductive, not to mention painful. So what’s an author to do?

First off, accept the fact that perfect endings are few and far between. You don’t want to abandon the characters you love. The readers don’t want to be forced to close the book on the characters they’ve come to love. But the book has to end somewhere.

I struggle with each and every ending. I want to leave the reader feeling good about the characters and their future. If I can infuse the reader with a sense of hopeful completion, I’ve done what I set out to do.

So how does the writer do that?

I think it begins by envisioning the characters as settled into their relationship. What’s the form of their pairing? Did they marry? Are they still monogamous? Those questions are secondary to asking are they happy together? That’s the crux of the issue. A good ending in romance fiction will show the main characters happy and hopeful for their future. It doesn’t matter if they’re on the sofa watching a movie or cleaning the garage.

I also happen to think the ending is a great place for the “fade to black” sex scene, provided you’ve already got a lot of heat in the story. Using the fade-to-black at the end without any prior heat won’t make anyone happy. Using it after the heat leaves the reader feeling upbeat.

Just like how you develop the story, go with your gut instinct. If you don’t like the ending, rework it. If you think you’ve gone overboard, rework it.

If you read it and wonder if you should maybe perhaps tweak it just a wee bit because, well, this word could be a little better if I just maybe change it to something else but I don’t know what….LEAVE IT ALONE.

The End.




KC Kendricks
Website

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

D is for Development



On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2011
April 4, 2012
Day 4


Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

Somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my computer is a file labeled “hints and tips” - or something like that. It contains copies of all those sundry things that circulated back in the day when I was a newbie. In those times, it was all on Yahoo groups. These days, it’s all on blogs, which is better because of the search engines.

As a fledgling professional writer, I worried about being a One-Book-Wonder. What if I couldn’t develop another story? HOW did I develop another story? I looked at all the information and listened to the din of voices and felt beyond lost.

Volger’s twelve steps to a blockbuster. The conflict box. Conflict worksheets. Plot charts. Plot workbooks. Plot grids. Plot storyboards. Character information pages. World building worksheets.

It’s a miracle I didn’t give up. I’m sure many have been overwhelmed by the din, which is a shame and a disservice to those individuals, our sisters and brothers in this creative passion.

While things like plot worksheets and how-to articles are intended to be helpful, none should be taken as a writer’s personal Bible. That’s something each writer has to develop for his/her own self. Or not.

Take a deep breath here.

As a lifelong reader, I already knew everything contained in the above-mentioned writing tools. But as a newbie, I was slow to realize I knew it. I never dissected the books I loved best for the technical reasons they were so good. I never even thought about the "why." It was all about the story, and that’s the way it should be for the reader.

When I reached the point where I needed to develop the next story, and the next, I discovered the only way I can do it is from my gut. I did try to follow a plot workbook for a while, honest I did, but when I started to write the prose, the characters refused to follow the form. I felt guilty. Why couldn’t I follow a simple W-plot outline? Well, I finally (slowly) figured it out.

Because I didn’t create it for myself, that’s why. And as for the characters taking a sudden left turn at chapter five, did that make me a plotter or a pantser? Yes, it did. It made me both, and that, in my humble opinion, makes for a better writer. Never be unwilling to abandon your original idea for the current story and run with your characters.

Development takes as many individual forms as there are writers. Don’t be afraid to try all the help aids or to abandon them. (You can use any search engine and find the ones I mention.) You might write six stories straight from your gut and then need to fall back on one of the help aids for number seven. There is no right or wrong, only what works for you with each individual story. You may well find it's different every time. It is for me.

Whether you use one simple descriptive word for each chapter (I use “boink” for the first love scene which has occasionally taken a lot of pages to get from foreplay to afterglow), or a detailed outline, don’t shy away from the conscious thought process of development.

The more you practice your craft, the easier it becomes to develop the next story. A line of dialogue in a movie can trigger an entire plot. A picture on the Internet can inspire a setting. Make it a conscious process and pretty soon it's second nature and unconscious. It will become a part of who you are and you'll find inspiration at every turn.

Take that inspiration and follow your instincts. Let the process become as unique to you as your voice. Allow the process to feed your creative juices. You have the best of both worlds. You are the writer and the first reader of the story. Enjoy it!

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

C is for Contracts and Conventions

On Being a Published Writer
April 3, 2012
Day 3
A to Z Blogging Challenge 




Oh, my goodness the offer of that first contract! It was a Saturday night and so I checked my email and there it was. The Offer.

I screamed. I cried. I scared my poor partner right out of his recliner (no mean feat, that).

It was surely a magical moment. Looking back with older, wiser, and sometimes jaded, eyes, I see how fortunate I was to land with a reputable company.

Of all the advice I could give you about any contract, the best would be to read it and understand it. If the language isn’t plain enough for me to understand without legal counsel, I’m going to turn it down. What are they hiding in all the mumble-jumble? I don’t care to get burned to find out.

These days, there’s less magic in a new contract, maybe because I understand what to expect each time through the process that takes the author and publisher to release day. I know what can go wrong. And being an older hand at this, I know just because some publishing house offers me a contract doesn’t mean I’m going to jump to sign it. I don’t have to – and neither do you.

A bad contract is a thousand times worse than no contract, so use your head. If you have questions, ask them. If you don’t like the answer, give the contract a pass. Don’t worry. There will be more offers. Don’t be in such a hurry to get published, or get into company XYZ, that you bind yourself up in misery. And that is some of the best advice I can give you.

***

Conventions. I’ve been to one and it was absolutely fabulous! If I could afford it, I’d go to a convention every month.

Yes, it was a hassle to drive four hours to get there. Yes, the food was lousy. Yes, the hotel was in the middle of renovations. But what could be more exciting than twelve hundred people speaking my language? Nothing in the intervening years has come close.

I went to 2007 Romantic Times Pittsburgh with one purpose in mind. I didn’t make any agent or editor bookings. I didn’t sign up for the book fair. I went so I could quietly observe the actions of publishers, editors and other writers. I came away from Pittsburgh convinced of the validity of my future in epublishing, and with valuable insights on career paths to avoid. In my opinion, knowing where not to go is equally important with knowing where I should go.

A convention on the scale of Romantic Times is the publishing world encapsulated. If you have the opportunity to attend conventions, you owe it to yourself to go. Observe. Participate. Talk to the people around you. Absorb everything you can from everyone you come in contact with, even the guy behind the coffee bar.

This is your business. Use everything at your disposal to learn it well.

You’re a writer, and everything you learn will feed your passion and create your success.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Monday, April 2, 2012

Between the Moon and the Deep Blue Sea


April 2, 2012

As part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge 2012, I'll be posting bits from my backlist in addition to the regular "alphabet" posts. Please remember I write for a mature audience when clicking to read excerpts. - KC

Between the Moon and the Deep Blue Sea
excerpt at http://www.kckendricks.com/BetweenMoonSea.html


Chad Collier’s had enough of providing stud service to rich men. It’s true he’s had more fun than any one man deserves, but now it’s time to make a plan for the rest of his life. At the urging of a mentor, he takes a leap of faith and breaks with his old ways. Yet a job interview lands him smack in the path of Darcy Paulson, the sort of rich man Chad vowed to avoid.

Darcy Paulson came of age as the prodigal son in a wealthy manufacturing dynasty. Every man he’s ever met has been after his money, until Chad Collier shows up on his doorstep. Darcy finds Chad prickly, standoffish, and utterly irresistible. Smitten by Chad’s dark good looks and determination to stand on his own two feet, Darcy is happy to give him an opportunity. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that some private, no-strings fun is what they both need.

An unexpected event brings them face-to-face with the truth. The magic that happens between the moon and the deep blue sea is something a man can’t own, and it can be fully experienced only in the arms of a lover...


KC Kendricks
Visit my website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
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B is for Book



On Being a Published Writer
A to Z Blogging 2012
Day 2
B is for Book

Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.
* * * *


Book – noun. A set of written sheets of skin or paper or tablets of wood or ivory. -Mirriam-Webster online
From the time of Johannes Gutenberg until Stephen King’s Riding the Bullet (the first ebook I heard about) books were printed on some form of paper. Almost six hundred years is one heck of a good run, don’t you think?

The printed page was the standard, the norm, the expected. Suddenly, that one bullet changed the world (as bullets often do). Now we read media on our computers, our laptops, our tablets, our Kindles, our Nooks, our cell phones, and yes, we can still read them on good old paper.

So is it fair to continue to call all this non-papered media books? E-books have been around for over ten years now and the question persists. Those who started their careers in print and had good success are often uncomfortable with the notion of calling a story sold digitally a book. I can personally testify to this based on my experience at the Romantic Times Convention in Pittsburgh, 2007.

One of the grand dames of my mother’s style of romance was beside me in line and upon learning I was e-published admonished me to follow the guidance of the Romance Writers of America. I chose to continue to follow my heart instead – thank heavens!

I'm proud to be able to say I’ve been an e-book author for nine years now, in one incarnation or another. I see the same arguments against ebooks and epublishing presented today as I saw in 2003. I’m reminded of the wonderful Billy Preston song, “Will It Go Round in Circles.” Yes, it all goes round in circles.

Times HAVE changed. Epublishing is coming into its own, claiming a bigger percentage of the romance industry. For 2009, the RWA reported ebooks claimed $313.2 M of the romance market. I think it was a lot more because many e-publishers do not report their sales to the RWA. Why should they when the RWA has historically refused to acknowledge and support them, and the publishers have proven they can do business without the RWA? Will it go round in circles? Yes.

More and more “print” authors are finding their way into the e-publishing arena. (Why do you think that’s happening?) So are they still writing books, or are they now writing media with those they used to look down upon?

The question of why they’ve turned to ebooks has already been answered – money. Will they try to say their royalties aren’t any more real than the ebooks that earned them? Will it go round in circles? Yes.

For me, a book is a book is a book. I write the manuscript and a publisher turns it into a finished product that is marketed as a book. I don’t feel the need to split hairs or redefine the language. In our modern usage, a book is a story told by the written word regardless of the media upon which the words appear in order to be read and enjoyed.

I write books.

KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Author

April 1, 2012
2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge
Day 1
On Being a Published Writer



There is no one more important to the publishing world than the author.

The entire publishing industry rises and falls with those authors willing to publish their intellectual property.

Without the author, there are no stories.

Without the author, there are no books.

Without the author, there are no readers.

Without the author, there is no publishing.

Each and every one of us is absolutely vital to our industry. There are no exceptions.

Each and every one of us has something so unique to offer that only the individual can provide it.

Each and every one of us is deserving of the respect of our peers and our publishers. We are created equal and that equality has nothing to do with sales numbers.

Each and every one of us is entitled to the protection of copyright.

One very serious problem I’ve witnessed over and over throughout my years of being a published author is that too few of us realize our own value. This must change.

Authors are the publishing industry.


***
Welcome to the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This year I’m focusing on things I’ve learned, observed and experienced in the nine years I’ve been published. If you’re a reader, I hope to offer an inside glimpse into the writer’s world. If you’re new to writing, I hope I can provide an insight or two. If you’re an established writer, maybe you’ll see similarities to your experience. Whatever path you walk, I welcome you to mine and hope you’ll enjoy the 2012 A to Z Blogging Challenge.



KC Kendricks
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/kckendricks
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1989106.K_C_Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Kc-Kendricks/1439574042
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/kckendricks