Saturday, August 31, 2013

Kentucky 98 Proof confirmed Bestseller

August 30, 2013

It's been a very special Labor Day holiday so far. We hit the Maryland Wine Trail (fun!), the bowling season started (fun!), and Kentucky 98 Proof was confirmed a Bestseller at All Romance eBooks (FUN!!).  Oh, yeah - and there was a small flock of wild turkeys in the west woods. I think that means the fox family has finally moved on. But back to the business of writing...

I got a nice email from the lady who owns and operates All Romance eBooks telling me Kentucky 98 Proof was an ARE Best seller. Yea! She even sent me the little button for on my website and blog. I think I can take a few seconds and brag a bit here at Between the Keys. 

Not every story a writer pens turns out the way they intended.  As the story unfolds, the characters speak and directions change and new ideas are incorporated. Sometimes it's difficult to find the finish line. Sometimes you can't wait to get there. Sometimes, although rarely, it's a struggle. When it gets tough, I simply set the story aside for a week or two and work on a different project and allow my subconscious to simmer the problem. Works every time. 

And then there all the stories that come to the writer in a flash, complete and ready to go. You can't get the words on the page fast enough! It's all THERE and you're connected to it in ways that makes anything and everything that takes you away from it an unwelcome intrusion. Kentucky 98 Proof was that kind of story for me. 

So I'm delighted it's doing well and I thank each and every one of you for reading it. 

**UPDATE** All Romance eBooks has closed, but that does not negate the fact Kentucky 98 Proof was a best seller at the store. 

KC

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Maryland Wine trail - A visit to Elk Run and Catoctin Breeze Vineyards

August 29, 2013

Labor Day weekend is the traditional farewell to summer. Back in my school days, the day after Labor Day was the first day of school. Now they start school in August and run the buses just to close early for the day because of excessive heat in air conditioned facilities. I don't have that one figured out. I guess I don't have to since it's not my gig any longer, just my taxpayer dollar hard at work. 

Labor Day weekend also means vacation days. I like to extend every paid holiday a bit and this holiday is a six-day stretch. For Day One, my partner and I hit the road in search of Maryland wines. We headed east into Frederick County, traversing the winding Route 77 through Catoctin Mountain Park. It's not a road I'd like to travel in winter, but my Charger corners on a rail and it was fun on a sunny day. 

Catoctin Breeze Vineyard & Winery is just a stone's throw north of Thurmont, Maryland. We knew when we headed there they wouldn't be open on a Thursday, but we wanted to at least find the place. The day was more about the journey than the destination. We wanted to enjoy the drive and the countryside, not to mention play with my partner's navigation app. But back to Catoctin Breeze - 

It's newer and I must say very - very - accessible to people with canes. Nice level parking lot and NO steps to enter their patio area. A definite plus. A friendly young man with colorful tats on his arms greeted us and chatted for a few minutes. We were impressed with him, his big smile, and his genuine friendliness. He could have just as easily snapped at us that they weren't open and invited us to leave. Instead, he invited us to come back and we will eagerly do so. 

From Thurmont we headed farther east to Liberty Road in Mt. Airy, Maryland, and Elk Run Vineyards and Winery. Again, we took the scenic route instead of I70. Neither of us are too familiar with the highways and byways in that area and we drove through small communities we'd never heard of such as Graceham, Maryland. Very picturesque.

The first thing I noticed about Elk Run was it's not handicapped friendly at all. I don't know if I was really allowed to park my car where I did, but when it comes to my partner being able to enjoy the little things in life, do not get in my way. I think I established that in my last wine trail post a few months ago. BUT.... 

We were able to slowly and cautiously make it up the rise and the steps with NO HANDRAILS to enter to the tasting room. We were greeted by a friendly black and white cat whose name we never learned. 

Hey. We're cat people. Didn't you hear us making over the kitty? And didn't you hear the cat talking back to us? He/she knew we understand cat-speak. 

I suppose the owners aren't used to people stopping on Thursdays. My initial impression was the woman figured us as time-wasters, but she connected to us as our tasting progressed. I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she might have been unhappy with where I parked. Or maybe my honey sitting there tapping his cane on the floor annoyed her. It annoyed ME so I took it from him, an option she didn't really have. (Yes, I gave it back instead of hitting him with it.)


Anyway, she warmed up to us just fine and we had a lovely chat and tasting of six wines plus a swig of a Sangria they made for a special occasion thrown in for good measure. We tasted Chardonnay, Red Door, Cabernet Sauvignon Cold Friday Vineyard, Gewurztraminer Cold Friday Vineyard, Annapolis Sunset and Sweet Katherine. We liked each one, even the Chardonnay which as a general rule we're not too fond of. I found their pricing acceptable, and if we weren't diligently saving for a bathroom  renovation, we'd have gotten a bottle each of all six. We settled on a bottle of Annapolis Sunset and Sweet Katherine, a dessert wine that had both of us oohing and ahhing. 

The other cool thing the lady at Elk Run turned me on to is the Maryland Wine Passport. For $2 you get a passport the different wineries listed can stamp when you visit them. Best of all you get the addresses of the wineries for the navigation app on your smart phone! I'm ready for the next wine road trip! 

KC





Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Kendricks 400 - it's not NASCAR

August 22, 2013


For several weeks I’ve pondered whether or not the 400th blog entry here at Between the Keys should be an auspicious occasion or just ho-hum routine. Now that the day is upon me, I find it’s a bit of both. Blogging about blogging is a bit…what? Redundant? Self-serving? Fun? Ridiculous? Yeah, it’s a bit of all that, too.


It’s been ten years since I first heard of blogging and at first I didn’t think it sounded like anything I’d want to do. Besides, I was too busy writing and learning all I could about this business. But the buzz about it grew until, kicking and screaming, I checked it out.

I don’t remember whose blog it was I read first, but it was interesting. The subject was what had inspired the author to write a particular story. The second blog was about someone’s pet. Hmmm. That wasn’t so bad. I could do that. But instead of doing, I kept reading and learning to get a feel for what made me like a blog. (People who are honest and forthright without being mean to others, in case you’re wondering.)


It took another five years of reading blogs before I got started, and I started small. KC Kendricks was about enter the 2008 Amber Heat Wave Contest and roll the dice. Then I got to blog Surrendered Victory had won. Then the cover arrived, quickly followed by the book, and I had more and more things to blog about. It got easier and easier and pretty soon I was hooked on blogging and here we are at The Kendricks 400.


In the beginning, I viewed Between the Keys as a promotional tool. I needed to get the word out about new books and the blog was the perfect vehicle for that. It didn’t take long for bits and pieces of my life to creep into the posts and I decided that was okay. Like that famous sailor, I am who I am.

These days I blog about anything that strikes my fancy. My dog, the cat, my partner, family - they’re all blog topics (although I beg you do not tell the cat!).  Then it was the A to Z Blogging Challenges. Now that’s fun, let me tell ya. It’s all part and parcel of who I am as a person and a writer.

Silly or serious, this is the life we have right now and we should celebrate each day for what it brings us, even during those low times. Life really is like a highway with twists and turns, hills and valleys and sunshine and shadow. The road is far more exciting with company, so I thank each and every one of you for coming along with me for the ride.

KC

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kentucky 98 Proof by KC Kendricks, and blog #399

August 18, 2013

This is blog entry #399 here at Between the Keys and it's one I'm very happy to make. Kentucky 98 Proof was released today and it's a story that I think turned out really well (if I do say so myself and I do!) 

New releases are a great deal of fun, but a lot of work, too. There's so many places to spread the word - blog, twitter, mailing list, facebook, Pinterest, yahoo lists, review sites, myspace, wiki. The list is never-ending. And you thought writing was all wine and roses, didn't you? Well, there is some wine involved every now and then.

Here's an excerpt from my new release, Kentucky 98 Proof. Enjoy! 

KC
*_*_*_*_*

KENTUCKY 98 PROOF
Contemporary gay romance
available now at Amazon

Victor Carter knows his grandfather only from a handful of black and white photographs, so his surprise when the man’s will is read is genuine. What’s he going to do with seventy acres on the side of a Kentucky mountain? More importantly, how’s he going to survive living there for a year to satisfy the conditions of the will so he can sell the property? Even worse, it’s not like the hills of Kentucky are teeming with gay companionship. 

Boone Mosely is Kentucky born and bred with a proud family heritage he can trace back to his home state’s founding. Following in his uncle’s footsteps, Boone’s in his second term as sheriff of Four Points. He takes the job seriously and doesn’t suffer fools - or crime - in his town. 

When city slicker Victor Carter arrives on Shepherd Mountain, Boone knows he’s got a whole new brand of trouble to deal with. And this time, the badge isn’t going to help him at all.


EXCERPT:

Boone dropped the pickup in gear, gave the powerful four-wheel drive some gas, and swung the nose up the hill before allowing the truck to coast back onto the surface of the lane. He knew better than to try to back out the lane in the snow. “Can you feel your feet?”

“I’ve got a few pins and needles in my toes, but I’m fine. Honest. And thank you for coming to my rescue.”

“It’s my job.” Boone hoped Carter wasn’t about to get all sappy. He hated sap. It wasn’t manly. He stopped at the end of the lane, glanced at his passenger, and froze. 

The blue lights of the dashboards danced in Vic’s glittering gaze as he studied him. That obvious speculation wouldn’t do. He’d prefer to battle his attraction to Vic without Vic correctly concluding he was gay. Getting involved with Carter was out of the question. 

He was the sheriff here, with an image and a reputation to uphold. People in Four Points were in a lot of ways traditional - not intolerant, just old-fashioned. Boone wasn’t ready to come out even though he suspected his constituents wouldn’t bat too many eyes, but if he spent a year happily screwing this guy, people would notice. 

His was a high-profile position. He respected the badge he wore and the people he served. It didn’t matter how attractive Victor Carter was or that his cock was so stiff it likely had zipper marks embedded in it right now. He’d be damned if he’d throw away a dozen years of hard work just to get his dick sucked. Boone pressed his lips together then snapped at Vic.

“But it’s not my job to keep hauling your ass out of trouble every time I turn around. If you’re gonna be here a year, you’d better figure out a few things, and fast. 
And the first thing is, when I give you some advice, you need to fucking listen up.”

Vic stared at him for a few short heartbeats. “I’m sorry, Boone. You’re right.” 

Boone glared at him. That was too easy. Carter was going to be in trouble every time he turned around. He checked to make sure the pickup was in four-high and third gear and drove forward into the swirling snow. 

Give the man credit, Vic didn’t chatter at him while he drove through the squall. Visibility was low and he needed to concentrate. He knew the roads and where the intersections were and he still had difficulty seeing. Carter would have gotten himself well and truly lost driving around the mountain in this weather. Boone slowed as the lighted sign of the motor lodge glowed red in front of him. 

“Which room are you in?”

“Last one on the end. Better for the dog.”

Huh. That made sense. Boone took his foot off the gas pedal and drifted into the parking space. Vic jumped out before he had the truck in park, slipped and landed flat on his ass. 

The idiot. 

Boone cut the engine and climbed out of the cab at a safer speed. With one gloved hand on the front end of the truck, he walked around to the passenger side and found Vic leaning against the front tire. “You okay?”

“My pride is severely bruised.”

“I can just imagine.” Boone reached out to give Vic a hand up. As Vic got to his feet he brushed his jeans off. 

“Thanks, Boone.”

“You said that. Get inside before your dog starts to bark and the manager yells at me.”

Vic’s gaze seemed focused on the motel office. “I got a coffee pot if you want to come in and warm up.”

Holy mother of … Wouldn’t that be the stupidest thing he’d done in years? 

“Sure, Vic. I could do with a cup.”

Who the fuck said that? 

Vic looked surprised and straightened. “Ranger needs to…”

Boone recovered a bit of his equilibrium. “I’ll take him around the side of the building. You get your ass inside. I want a good look at your head, and if I say we’re going to the clinic and wake up Doc Martin, you’re not going to argue with me.”

“Yes, sir. I hear you loud and clear.” Vic opened the side door of the pickup and Ranger leaped to the ground. As soon as his paws hit the pavement, he jumped and hit Vic square in the chest. Boone lunged to catch him before he fell again, but ended up in the snow with him. Could this man be more trouble? 

“I’m sorry, Boone! Ranger! Leave off!”

“Sorry my ass, Carter. Sorry ain’t good enough for this little misadventure.”

*_*_*_*_*

KENTUCKY 98 PROOF
Contemporary gay romance
KC Kendricks

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Taking Crack to the family reunion

August 17, 2013

Today is the annual family reunion. I'm all showered with some Bath & Body Works Honey Autumn Apple (to smell good for the yellow jackets and other assorted bees), my hair is freshly colored, my legs are shaved - is this too much information? I'll stop.

Every year it's the same old thing. Do I take something? Do I not? I'm an in-law so the planning goes on around me without really including me. That's okay. Let the sisters duel it out. You know of what I speak. Besides, it's their gig. I have my own. Anyway...

I wanted to make a big batch of Crack to take. Really. Crack. We're addicted to the stuff and it's so easy and cheap to make, it's almost a staple at our house. I suggested this to my partner and he gave me "the look." 

"The girls said we should bring two big bags of Doritos. We're taking Doritos."

Okay. Scratch the Crack - for this year. Why? Because like any addict, the man doesn't want to share his Crack. 

Just in case you'd like to make some Crack and see what happens at your house, here's the recipe.

KC Kendricks

_*_*_*_


Trisha Yearwood's Crack

This is incredibly easy to make but be warned - it lives up to it's name - crack. If you make it, you WILL eat it.

You will need:

Saltine crackers - enough to cover a cookie
sheet
1 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup (or the whole freaking bag) of your
favorite chocolate chips

Line the cookie sheet with foil. Spritz it with a butter-flavored cooking spray. Cover with a single layer of saltines, salted side down. (Tip: don't add extra salt)

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add brown sugar, stirring constantly. When the mixture is liquid and bubbly and has turned into caramel, pour it over the crackers, covering each one as evenly as possible.

Put the cookie sheet in a hot oven until the caramel begins to bubble again. WATCH IT CLOSELY! Quickly remove from oven. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. When the chips get really soft, spread the chocolate over the top. Chill, or even freeze a few minutes, to set the chocolate. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.

Don’t bother to freeze it. It won’t last that long. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sew what on my tongue?

August 13, 2013

An article on Yahoo today hit my "enough" button. Apparently it is now okay to have hernia mesh surgically sewn onto your tongue to help you lose weight.

I've tried to make my face relax from a horrified grimace but it won't do it.

While I do write a some of these blog entries with my tongue firmly in cheek, this is not one of them.  My tongue is in hiding.

I am not joking. The article is there. Google it because I can't bring myself to add the link and be associated with the article forever and ever google amen.

I'd love to lose, oh, maybe ten pounds, but no way in hell would I entertain the notion of sewing a foreign object onto my tongue.

Can't we just pretend we can't eat much food for a week? Wouldn't that be safer all the way around? Especially when you consider the reaction when you admit to your mother what you've just had done and what it cost?

Sure would be in my world.

KC

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Visitor in the Backyard


August 10, 2013

We’ve had the wettest, coolest summer in many years. I blame myself since this was the year I finally got a little pool in which to relax at the end of the day. I’ve talked about getting one for years and this summer was the time.

It’s not very big at only ten feet in diameter, nor is it deep. Sitting down the water is only shoulder deep but that’s what we wanted. Something just big enough to cool off in with a glass of wine at the end of the day. We’ve invited the neighbors (my cousins) to join us, but so far we’ve not had many evenings without the threat of a thunderstorm in which to fully enjoy the water.

Living out on a mountain as we do, we see a lot of deer. We’ve watched this one particular buck for several years. He had a twin when he was a spike but now it’s only him and his little harem. This year, he’s an eight-point and quite the handsome fellow. Getting good photos of him has proven next to impossible. He didn’t get to be an eight-point by trusting us humans, and the best picture I've managed was through window glass.

He paid a visit one evening it was hot and dry enough to float in the pool. We were just about to get out of the water when a movement caught my eye. We stayed silent and watched him step out of the woods into the backyard and graze his way across and vanish into the trees on the other side. It was a rare gift to be able to observe this beautiful creature when he seemed to be unaware of us.

Of course, a few mornings later I called him everything except beautiful when I woke to discover he’d eaten all - as in every last, freakin’ one - of the August lilies on the terrace. One or two I’d forgiven him, but all of them? Get the gun, Pa.

Buck paid us another visit this morning. He was in the yard when I opened the door for the dog to go out and take care of his outdoor activities. Those two play a game. The old dog rushes from the house, barking, and Buck stands there and deer-laughs at him until the dog gets about ten feet from him then Buck makes a leap onto the stone fence and deer-laughs at my poor old dog a bit more. He knows the dog is now too old to climb the fence.

Come next year, if Buck makes it through hunting season again, he might get surprise. I just might have a younger, faster “wolf” on the premises. Who’ll be laughing then, big fella?

KC Kendricks