Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Retrospective and the Kendricks 800

December 31, 2016
New Year's Eve

As I begin this entry, I think it's significant to note it's number eight-hundred here at Between the Keys. I wonder what reasoning the universe had for arranging for the Kendricks 800 to fall on New Year's Eve? One shouldn't discount any possibility. 

The word 'retrospective' conjures a bit of nostalgia. We tend to view the past through a rosy lens when we keep our focus on a brighter future. Some years, achieving that rosy glow on past events takes a little longer. Sometimes there is no rosy glow. So it will be for parts of 2016. 

I had BIG PLANS for 2016. I put eight books in development, all set in the fictional town of Marionville. I figured I could write four in 2016 and four in 2017. Now I think the project will run into 2018. 

The Year of our Lord Two Thousand Sixteen dawned with the anticipation of the release of Fly By Night at Amber Quill Press. Day 2 of 2016 saw that vision crushed with the announcement Amber Quill was shutting down, ceasing operations. I was, in a word, dismayed. I knew having forty books with one publisher was a gamble. I knew, given that the quality of the covers and editing had slipped, something was a bit off. I'd already self-published Hey, Joe and a couple of the old Rayne Forrest books to test the do-it-yourself waters. Darn good thing as it turned out. 

And now it seems 2016 is closing on a similarly dismal note. On December 28, 2016, Lori James announced the closing of her company, All Romance eBooks on December 31, 2016. The fourth quarter settlement she's willing to give publishers/self-published authors is laughable. I immediately pulled all the titles I have control over off her storefront. (How can you lose money on just a digital storefront?) It looks like the prophecy is coming true. Amazon is the only viable game in town.

Now to recap the year that was - 2016.

January
Scramble mode. With Amber Quill closing on March 30, I had ninety days to improve my Photoshop skills and get covers made. Then my mother had surgery and my world really went to hell. 

January 22 also brought us the Blizzard of 2016. On January 23, my county had its fourth highest twenty-four-hour snowfall since records have been kept - 21.4 inches. Everything took a backseat to keeping our 975-foot long lane passable. 

February
In 2015, I had contacted several Labrador Retriever breeders in Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Remarkably, the one a mere ten miles from my home finally emailed with the news she had a litter, and did I want to come select a pup? I broke every speed limit getting there. Did I choose Deuce or did he choose me? I don't know or care. If I survive the extended puppyhood Labs have, he'll be a great dog. 

Work continued on SABRE, as did making covers to self-publish the back list.

March
Amber Quill closed on March 30. On March 31, Fly By Night went live. Fly By Night had been under contract but never released. I've often wondered why AQP even issued a contract on FBN. 

We brought Greenbrier Smokey Deuce home on March 14. I'd like to be able to say I kept working, but I think I spent at least two weeks spending every moment with the puppy so he'd bond with me. What was I thinking???? I now have two shadows. 

April
The first batch of books was republished, including Double Deuce, Deuce of Diamonds, Ace Deuce Trey, and Circle of Steel. I was thrilled to get the ball rolling. 

In year's past, I enjoyed participating in the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge. In 2016, not so much. I made the decision this would be the last year. 

Bored, Stroked, and Blueprinted was re-released through Loose Id. I was with LI many years ago. My experience with the editorial staff wasn't positive, then or now.  It's like dealing with a used car salesman. It's "upper management" this, and "upper management" that. If one's editor is being micro-managed then you are being micro-managed multiplied. Just admit it - big mistake. 

May
SABRE was released in May. Confession time - I saw this guy and had to write a story for him. I rifled through the ideas folder and realized he was perfect for a "secret agent" idea. The downside of this tale is I wanted to do a SABRE series. That got put on hold when I had to shift gears and indie publish the backlist.  

SABRE reached No. 7 on the All Romance eBooks bestseller list. I was thrilled! Then I realized I'd never checked to see how Fly By Night did on the list. Live and learn. 

My spring vacation was spent playing with Deuce and not writing. Priorities, you know. 

June
With a good portion of the backlist republished, I finally got to work on the plan to revisit Marionville with The Right Brew. 

July
The Right Brew was released and immediately hit the All Romance eBook bestseller list! It really gave me a much-needed mental and emotional boost. 

August
This month found me still re-publishing backlist items and lazing in the pool. Things were busy at the day job as everyone filled in for others to cover for vacations. I picked and pecked at my ideas folder to flesh out character bios for the next Marionville book, and got Where There's Smoke underway. 

September
What's not to like about a month that starts with a week off from the day job? Yes, I finally got my turn and I only used four vacation days. Waiting until last gives me Labor Day as part of the vacation. It also gave me the opportunity to do a lot of work on Where There's Smoke. 

Then I tossed a new paranormal into the mix. It's a shapeshifter, but it's not part of the Sundown saga.

October
Where There's Smoke was released on the 22nd and immediately climbed the ARE bestseller list to #5. Deuce posed for his first book cover. He's a twitchy little doggie model. Extremely difficult to work with. And he demanded food after every shot. In the end, he did give me what I needed. What's male for diva? Divo? He is one.

I also started on the next Marionville story. The character of Kory was introduced in WTS and savvy readers will pick out the crossover scene between Leon (Smoke's dad) and Kory. 

November
With my mother in an Alzheimer's care facility, my personal life is in a time of transition.  As the holiday season approached, I was tempted to throw my hands in the air and run away from home.

As the month progressed, so did work on Kory's story. I decided on a title, made a cover, and did the template for a page at my website. I got Undeniable formatted and then decided, with the holiday season upon me, to wait until the new year to release anything else.  

December
I will admit it. December isn't my favorite time of year. The weather turned cold. Work continued in the realm of Marionville - when I worked. The day job had me pulling my hair out, and I breathed in something that sent me into fits of coughing that lingered for days. After I recovered from whatever airborne spore laid me low, I did some good writing. I just wish it had all been on the same story! (I spread it around in December.)

And so we've arrived at the eve of the new year. My beloved and I have no great plans to celebrate. We'll ring in 2017 quietly - or as quietly as Deuce will allow. I suspect we'll select a favorite movie, settle in front of the television, and do our best to stay awake until midnight. With or without us, 2017 will arrive. 

As always, to those who follow along here at Between the Keys I wish you health, happiness, peace in your heart, and great joy in the New Year. 

KC Kendricks
kckendricks.blogspot.com
www.kckendricks.com

Friday, December 30, 2016

All Romance eBooks closing December 31, 2016

December 30, 2016

With Lori James of All Romance eBooks closing her company in a HUGE breach of contract, not to mention trust, good faith, and obviously some not-so-special business practices, lots of incredible information is coming to light. 

For the interested, of which I am one because she's stealing money from me, below are some links to articles by people who know a lot more about it than me. 

I wonder how many more blows the industry can absorb and remain viable. Every remaining ebook publisher will be impacted by this. Thousands and thousands of dollars will not be going to authors, and publishers, by this breach of faith. 

KC

Celina Summers on Blog Critics - very detailed
http://blogcritics.org/publisher-all-romance-ebooks-closing-hits-new-low-in-stealing-from-authors/

Smart Bitches Trashy Books 
http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2016/12/romance-closing-effective-12312016/

Karen Knows Best
http://karenknowsbest.com/2016/12/28/all-romance-ebooks-is-closing/

Mark O Randazza - a bit off topic but I found it both enlightening and wildly funny
randazza.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/i-declare-confidentiality/

Romance Writers of America (RWA) - typical response of words that mean very little
www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogid=20&blogaid=1721

As of yet, Writer Beware hasn't weighed in. I trust what Victoria Strauss posts so I'm curious to see what she says. Check her out any day for insightful information. 
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/


Be sure to read the comments section at these blogs. They contain additional information from varied authors. 

I'm betting Lori James and Co. certainly do have "a path forward" all mapped out, all of it on other people's money. Remember that phrase - "a path forward." I think it says it all about Lori James. Some of you will know exactly what I mean.    

KC


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve with the eleven month old (pup, that is)

December 24, 2016

It's long been a tradition of mine to bundle up against the December chill and take a walk through the woods to the old pond. With very few exceptions, my companions on these walks have been four-footed, not two. My human partner in life suffers from a nerve neuropathy and walking causes him pain. Last year, I walked alone having lost my beloved Jett in May.

This year is different. Deuce is my constant companion and he loves walking in the woods more than I do. Being young, he covers the ground with long strides, ranging far from the path following scent. His joy at being out and free is evident in his expressive eyes. And I find joy in watching him run and explore.

Our walks begin with a few Frisbee tosses because he loves his Frisbee. It also burns off the first rush of excitement. Then we take just a few minutes to review leash etiquette. I think this important in case we meet others walking in the state park. Duece needs to come to me quickly and be well-behaved so he doesn't make a nuisance of himself until we can continue in private. He also discourages interaction with strangers.

Time was only the locals walked in "my" woods. I miss those days. City folk come to the state park and get lost in the woods because they don't stick to the marked trails. I know where I'm going. These folks end up in my front yard with no idea where they are or which direction takes them back into the park to find their car so they can bolt back to the safety of some city. But I digress...

Today our walk is in jeopardy. I woke to the sound of rain on the bedroom window. When I stepped outside with Deuce (so he could do what a dog needs to do first thing in the morning) I discovered it's a cold, driving rain with a brisk wind. A light mist I think we could bundle up against, but not this. This is a bone-chilling, damp cold. Deuce's thick fur won't protect his paws from the wet, near-frozen ground.

Perhaps later in the day, the clouds will move on and we'll get to go on our walk. Perhaps not. It may turn out to be a good day to finally do website updates while doing some laundry. I also need to send short thank you notes for a few Christmas gifts I received from work-related contacts, those gifts being more about what I do professionally than me personally and therefore requiring a note.

Whichever path the weather puts me on will be fine. Deuce and I can walk or spend the day lounging in my study. I can play one of his doggie DVDs to keep him entertained while I work on the website. Either way, sometime today, rain or no rain, two strip steaks and a hamburger pattie will hit the grill. After that, the three of us, myself, the spousal unit, and the young dog will likely spend a quiet evening watching old Christmas movies. 

As for our walk in the woods, there's always tomorrow or the day after. I'll make sure the young dog gets a good run. Maybe he'll feel the spirits of Callahan and Jett walking with us. I know I will. 

Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours. May you spend the day doing the things you love to do.

KC 


Monday, December 19, 2016

Test driving temptation

December 19, 2016

If you're lucky, once in your life you'll have a love affair with a true bad boy. 

Mine started in 1989 and ended in 1992. 

I met JRH at our place of employment. It wasn't like we took one look at each other and turned into animals. Nope. Nothing like that. 

It started small. I worked there first. He was the new guy in the yard. He walked into my office and greeted me with a big smile. 

"Hey, doll," was his opening volley and from that day on, he always greeted me like that. The other girls in the office snickered but I think they were jealous. That and they didn't understand the connection J and I had. We were country folk. Mountain born and bred. We spoke a different language from the city girls.

Sometime during the summer of 1989, I needed a new kitchen faucet installed. I asked him if he could stop by the house and do it for me. He did, and we sat on the porch and talked until midnight. After that, he'd stop in from time-to-time and we'd talk. By the end of that year, things between us really heated up. 

I knew from the start it wasn't forever. What we wanted in life was poles apart. He played hard and drank harder. Not what I want in a mate. But, oh, did the man tempt me, and apparently, I did the same to him. We knew the shortcut into temptation and we took it. 

We crammed a lot of fun into a short time. Did I love him? Of course, but being "in love" with him never happened. Even sitting next to him on the porch, I knew. I was restless for something different. 

Eventually, he asked me to marry him. I said no. He started to drift away. I was sad, but I understood. Life went on, but I still look back at those few months with a real bad boy and smile. We told each other secrets, you know. 

Sometimes a girl has to say "yes" to temptation.

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


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Netting Neptune for the last MSS of 2016

December 17, 2016

Welcome to another My Sexy Saturday blog hop! It's difficult to believe this is the last one of 2016, and that 2017 is just around the corner. 

Since it's December, and seasonably cold in my world, I thought it a nice idea to go someplace warm. Here are seven sexy paragraphs from Netting Neptune, the book that launched the Southern Cross collection. 

And no, Neptune doesn't refer to fantasy. Wet dreams? Maybe. 
_*_*_*_


Theron hesitated for the space of a heartbeat, then nodded. “To new friends.”

We sipped together, and I sat mesmerized by the muscles moving in his throat as he swallowed. My lips tingled as I imagined the feel of this skin along his jaw line under the bristly texture of day-old whiskers.

“You’re going to need some fresh clothes for tonight, and a shower and shave. We’re the about the same size. After we eat, my suite is your suite.”

Theron’s green gaze filled with amusement. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were trying to get me out of what little clothing I own.”

I took another sip of tea. “Considering you’re only wearing swim trunks, how hard can it be?”

He froze for an instant, a sheepish expression taking form on his handsome face. Well, well, well. I grinned at him. “I’ll behave, I swear.”

“Right. I’ve got your number, Colby Denton.”
*_*_*_*

About Netting Neptune:


Theron Bowman is in the throes of a life crisis. He needs to make some serious decisions about his future, ones that will help him escape his past. He splurges on a two-week vacation in the Caribbean, and like everything else in his life, things quickly go awry and he ends up working at the Southern Cross resort to pay for his room. 

Forced by his father to break ties with his family, Colby Denton drifted until he came to rest on St. Lucia. With nothing to lose, he rolled the dice and bought a run-down hotel and turned it into a popular resort. To celebrate his tenth year on the island, and his birthday, Colby arranges for a series of festive beachside parties. When a sexy sea god swims out of the ocean in front of him, Colby has a brand new birthday plan – netting Neptune.

Netting Neptune is available at Amazon, iTunes, and at other online booksellers. 

Please check out all the My Sexy Saturday participating blogs here

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

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gene Simmons

December 11, 2016

I begin this post with a bit of trepidation. If you're a regular here, you know I rarely dip into the political. Today looks to be a bit different - on many levels. It's a result of my utter surprise after viewing an interview granted to AXS by Gene Simmons of KISS. 

I like KISS. Four guys having fun making music and spectacle.  I saw them perform live circa 1978 at the old Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. It could have been 1977 or 1979, hence the use of the word circa. The exact year hardly matters now. It was a great show and I have fond memories of a having a good time with friends.

Gene Simmon's onstage persona has always baffled me, but I'm not into demons. Baffled, I said. Not bothered. It's his gig and he runs with it. Good for him. But what I never knew until this past week is the persona hides an intelligent and articulate man. 

Now to the point. 

The man has made some mistakes in his life. Who hasn't? What blew me away is the fact he didn't make excuses for himself. He didn't blame anyone else. He OWNED his mistakes. He unapologetically said, to condense and paraphrase, he did what he did and like all of us, he's matured and now does better. Yes, I'm impressed. Not that he needs me to be. 

Then he went on to touch on his political views. I probably looked stupid sitting there in front of the television with my mouth hanging open. Of the topics he addressed, the man articulated everything I also believe. Social issues - live and let live. Fiscal issues - we need to be more accountable. Giving back - the man does it quietly and out of the spotlight with programs he himself funds and oversees. 

And then he delivered impassioned words about the music industry and piracy. Artists and writers spend a lot of time creating without proper recompense. In our culture, in our digital age, people have come to believe music and prose should be free. The artists and writers suffer to the point the best talents drop out because they can't make a living doing what they do best. It's a lack of structure that has fostered an environment that is stacked against those with talent. Anyone who obtains a work without paying the creator of the work is a thief. Yes, he put the name right on them. Thieves. Gene Simmons does not mince words. 

As a LEGAL immigrant to America, he spoke on his position on immigration. Everyone should hear what he has to say because he's lived it which makes him an authority on it. Gene Simmons loves America. 

I don't want to paste the link to the video of the interview because I don't want YouTube popping it up here on my blog, but go to YouTube and search "AXS Gene Simmons." The entire interview is about forty-five minutes because they've clipped out the commercials. I found it because I wanted to see the interview a second time. I may have to watch it a third time. 

A question often asked, in a philosophical vein, is if you could pick anyone in the world to have dinner with, who would you choose? I never had a satisfying answer for that one. Now I do. Gene Simmons. 

Who the hell knew...

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


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

IWSG - Silver Bells

December 7, 2016

The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well 
understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation. 
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States of America

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group


Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
ring- a- ling, hear them ring,
soon it will be Christmas day.

Christmas is for many the most wonderful time of the year. All the lights, the sparkle, the music (old and new), the hustle and bustle of shopping. All the glitter can be visually pleasing if, that is, I don't think about how the time I have for myself gets squeezed down to minutes a week. I understand it, but I don’t always like it much. 

Time was, I tried to force everything into a day. The old adage is “write something every day.” That really doesn’t work for me, but oh, I did try. I thought I was the queen of multi-tasking. It didn’t work and I gave up on the idea of extreme multi-tasking. I don’t have to work, take care of my partner, parents, friends, and write every day. Do I compartmentalize my life? Yes, I do. Is that a good thing? Perhaps not, but it keeps me sane.

With the Christmas season upon us, I know it’s time to concentrate on family and friends. Some of those friends are other writers and readers so I don’t totally abandon the Internet to be with family, but I do deliberately divide out my time.

When I first deliberately didn’t write, it was mentally difficult. I’d made plans with a friend to go Christmas shopping for the day. It started to snow so we cut our day short. I suddenly had time to write. The thing was, I was tired. I flopped in front of the television. And that’s when the guilt started to pick at me. I was wasting precious time, and for what? Television? The tv was a waste, and so was beating myself up over it. 

Long story short, I overcame the guilty feelings and continued to relax. It occurred to me a rested writer is a productive writer. 

And you know what? The sky didn’t fall and I learned this lesson - I don’t have to cram multiple activities into one short day, especially at this busy time of the year. There really is time for me to try to enjoy the holiday season and that’s what I plan to do.

I plan to be deliberate with seeing family and friends. I’ve planned time for baking cookies, decorating, a little shopping, and yes, a little writing - just not all at once. With any luck, by the time Epiphany rolls around, my house and life will be all squared away for the New Year, all without driving myself crazy.

And you know what? Come January, I can jump back into my regular routine of attending to the business of writing every day renewed and ready to kick 2017's ass. 
- - - -

To all the participants of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group - A very merry Christmas and holiday season! May your traditions bring you comfort and joy.

KC Kendricks


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Catching Fireflies for MSS 169

December 3, 2016

Welcome to the first Saturday in December and another My Sexy Saturday blog hop. My Sexy Saturday connects authors and readers with excerpts from current and upcoming romance fiction. 

Be sure to check out the list at the bottom of this post for the complete list of those authors participating today. 

For my part in today's blog hop, here are seven sexy paragraphs from Catching Fireflies, part of the Southern Cross collection. Enjoy!
_*_*_*_*_
No one even glanced in our direction so I leaned toward him. “Um, sure. A walk would be nice. If I try to hold your hand are you going to stop me?”

“That’s all you can hold tonight, sugar. I don’t know anything about you, and I have to make sure you don’t bite before we get to know each other better.” He looked down then slowly lifted his beautiful gaze back to mine. “And you’re hiding something.”

I shivered as the memories of the vicious blows I’d received at the hands of strangers taunted me.

“I only nibble the occasional earlobe, and my secrets are my own, Aubrey. There’s nothing in them to hurt anyone else.”

He studied me for a few moments, his fascinating blue gaze enigmatic. “Fair enough, Dale.” He sighed. “I do have my own. What?”

“I could stare into your eyes forever.”


Aubrey didn’t blink. “If I had a dollar for every time some tomcat said that to me, I’d be rich."
*_*_*_*_*

About CATCHING FIREFLIES:
Dale Langley longs for some triple R time - rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. He accepts his cousin’s invitation to winter over on Ocracoke Island, far away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland. He’s always loved being a rolling stone, traveling for his job without the worry of a place to call home, but it’s time for something different. Now Dale anticipates several blissful months to learn how to be still with no demands on his time while he prepares for the next phase of his life.

Aubrey Zimmerman came to Ocracoke to attend a friend’s commitment ceremony. Never one to settle down, Aubrey’s had enough of involvements that took him from man to man without a place to call home. He needs a break - and a little solitude. House sitting while his friend is on his honeymoon is the perfect way to clear his head and catch up on his sleep. At least it seemed that way until Dale arrived and Aubrey realized sleep is the last thing he needs.

Fate has changes in store for Dale and Aubrey, the sort neither one knew they wanted. Sometimes the more you wander the closer to home you get. 

Catching Fireflies is available at
AmazoniTunes/AppleBarnes and NobleKobo,
and other online booksellers. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com/CatchingFireflies.html


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving changes

November 24, 2016


The "holidays" bring a set of expectations to the door. We all get the yearly visit. While the particulars vary, the overall similarities are part of the American culture. We celebrate and give thanks with family, friends, and food.

The gatherings of my youth are but fond memories. The older generations, those people who passed the family name down, are gone. What remains of my parent's generation is fractured by death and ill health. My generation is equally scattered on holidays, busy with the younger generations of children and grandchildren. I have no biological children. My father has been gone for many years. My mother has Alzheimer's. The sister of my heart moved away. I am, for all intents and purposes, alone on this day, without blood relatives who share my memories. 

That's not to say I don't have people around me. My online posse is far-flung but wishes for a happy day arrived. My partner is the oldest of his siblings and we have an unconditional welcome at his youngest sister's house all days. 

Life goes on in different directions. We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the care facility with my mother. Afterward, we had traditional Thanksgiving dessert at his sister's house. 

So while the day didn't unfold as in year's past, it was nonetheless a good day. I could be morose that the beautiful memories of yesteryear will not be re-lived, but I'm not. This is what I have now, today, and I count my many blessings. 

Now that my partner and I are finally home again and into our comfortable old clothes, it's time to call a few of my cousins. It's time to embrace a new normal and make it my own as I go forward in life. I'm sure it will provide a new set of Thanksgiving memories, and Thanksgiving opportunities to enjoy and to be thankful for. 

KC Kendricks







Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Hump day day off

November 16, 2016

I have a cold. I think. I might be having a reaction to leaf mold. There are plenty of leaves on the ground and I did use a blower to clear the rain gutters Monday evening. I think it's a cold because my throat was sore last Saturday. Cleaning the gutters just didn't help. I not really whining because I don't feel all that sick. My voice is a nasty croak so I took a sick day. 

Deuce is excited about having his Mommy home. I can't say the same for his daddy. The man of the house is fixing food for us - eggs and toast - and he's the one whose routine is blown for the day. 

A day off in the middle of the week, for whatever reason, is a rare occurrence. I've been gainfully employed all of my adult life. Retirement approaches and I'll have many more Wednesdays at my disposal. The closer I get to the earliest possible day to retire, the more options become available. I ponder that sort of thing when I have a day off. I also think about the things I didn't accomplish in the summer recently passed - like having porch railings installed. Next summer. 

Typical of every day, this one includes writing and/or the business of writing. So far today I've recorded a sales report, worked on the promo blurb for an upcoming book, zipped over to LRC and dropped a couple of excerpts for the group members, and I'm blogging. 

This afternoon I'll settle down and work on a story. There's time. After all, this day off is all about staying warm and cozy, resting, and doing what will speed my recovery, and writing always makes me feel better. 

KC Kendricks

www.kckendricks.com



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ace, Deuce, Trey - who has the bigger....

November 12, 2016

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday, the weekly blog hop that brings you excerpts from the varied worlds of the romance genre. Check out the list at the bottom of this post to visit participating blogs. 

Here are seven sexy paragraphs from Ace, Deuce, Trey. Enjoy! 

*_*_*_*


“What the fuck are you doing, Rick?”

He swaggered into my office. His hot green gaze slammed into mine. “Making sure the blinds are closed.”

I leaned back and put my feet up on my desk. “I have a gun, bucko. What are your intentions?”

“Mine’s bigger than yours.” Rick reached behind his back, pulled out his Glock .9mm and laid it beside my pistol. He leaned over and kissed me before he grasped my ankles and lifted them off my desk. I set my feet on the floor and he went to his knees in front of me. I spread my knees and he slid his big, warm hands up the inside of my thighs to my balls. 

He yanked my pants down and all but dragged me out of the chair to the floor. “I’m going to do you in your office, Ian darling. It’ll be a fantasy come true.”

“I’ll scream.” I wiggled my ass to aid him in getting my jeans down and out of the way. 

“Yes, you will before I’m done with you.”

_*_*_*_

ACE, DEUCE, TREY
the sequel to Deuce of Diamonds

Available now at

Ian Coulter has his hands full with a sexy office assistant, a favorite movie star client and a drag queen determined to save the world one lost runaway at a time. He can juggle all of it because he and his lover, FBI agent Rick Mohr, are finally together.

Rick’s transfer to Amethyst Cove puts him in charge of multiple operations. When one of Ian’s clients is targeted, it doesn’t take long for Ian to suspect the con artist is on an FBI watch list. With their cases overlapping, Ian and Rick are short on time. Together they set a trap and spring it before their suspect escapes.

Doing the job is easy but figuring out the relationship is tougher. Fitting their lives together isn’t without obstacles, but one thing is certain. On or off the case, Ian and Rick always get their man.

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




ACE, DEUCE, TREY is available now at AmazoniTunesBarnes and NobleKobo







Sunday, November 6, 2016

Either/Or Choices

November 6, 2016

Opinions on what a writer *should* do are as many, and as varied, as there are writers. Even editors and publishers have opinions about what writers should do. It's annoying as hell. "Follow your heart," they say. Then in the next breath, they tell you what your heart should be telling you to do. Did I mention it's annoying as hell? 

I'm in the last year of my membership with the Romance Writers of America (RWA). I joined way back in 2003 when the prevailing opinion was that if you wanted to be taken seriously as a writer, you joined. There was a time I read the monthly magazine, Romance Writers Report (RWR), from cover-to-cover. Times change. Career directions and aspirations change. Life happens. Organizations want too much money for too small a return. They send nasty-toned letters saying you owe them postage for the letter they just sent you because you haven't renewed your membership. (I guess I'll get another in 2017 when I really don't renew.)

I've alluded to them but I don't know if I've ever directly addressed an RWR article before, but I want to do so now. In the November 2016 issue, there's a good article by Adrienne deWolfe, "Beware the Manuscript Under the Bed." In it, she cautions writers to think carefully before they spend a lot of time reworking old manuscripts. Her advice, her good advice, is to write forward. That is to say, forget your old work and concentrate on the new. I agree, with one caveat. 

As writers, we all have that one special story that is never left in the past. Those characters are with us, lurking, waiting to come out and play during our quiet times. They live in that one story we wrote and loved, and have since envisioned in countless new ways. For some of us, that story is no longer in print. Mine hasn't been in print for a decade. 

Having years of experience, I look back at that special story and recognize how much I've improved in the craft of writing. I agree with Ms. deWolfe that pulling that particular manuscript out and dusting it off would be ill-advised - if I'm rewriting entirely for the market, i.e., the money. 

Advice frequently given to both new and experienced authors is to write what you know, write what you love. Sometimes you get lucky and it plays well to current markets. Other times, not so much. You are your very first reader so read with watchful, informed eyes. 

Publishing today is vastly changed from the historical view. There's a glut of books available. Getting read often means giving away for free the work one spent months creating. Is that writing to the market? 

The characters in that old story of mine are ones I know well. They've lived with me for twenty years. I don't want to leave them tucked away in the recesses of my mind. Nor do I want to spend months reworking an old manuscript. I like that old manuscript just the way it is. It's the first story I contracted for publication. It's a keepsake. 

The solution, for me, and one Ms. deWolfe doesn't mention is to awaken those characters that I know so well into a new adventure. Dream a new beginning for them and write it forward. Isn't that the best of both worlds? I think it is, for me. 

KC 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Are you a Luddite?

November 2, 2016

Disclaimer: Welcome to the holiday season! This is a recycle of an article I wrote, but never posted at Between the Keys.  

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Luddite:
On who fears technology (or new technology, as they seem pleased with how things currently are (why can't everything just be the same?)

Social Media Maven:
An individual who identifies interesting or trending content and shares it with a large online network. The term social media maven is sometimes applied to people who are adept at using social media for commercial purposes, such as spreading a particular message about a product or service. As with mavens in other areas, social media mavens are seen as being more advanced in their understanding of social media than the average population.

*+*+*+*+*

I'm not the least bit sure where I fall in between the Luddite and the Social Media Maven but I know I'm between the two. Some new tech I love and some I hate. Some social media, especially blogging, I like. Others, such as facebook, not so much.

For many years I've belonged to the Romance Writers of America. Its monthly magazine is full of social media "must do" items. I read them. They usually don't impress me much, but some things have sort of stuck with me - right along with the guilt.

Yep. Guilt. Guilt that I'm not doing enough on social media. Guilt that if I were serious about writing I'd do more. I'd stay up-to-date and never have time to do any writing. Or sleeping.

Guilt over social media is counterproductive. Social media is a tool to be used, not a lifestyle. Okay, so I'm a lazy blogger and tweeter. I do know why, and it's where the Luddite comes into play.

When I started out, the Yahoo and MSN groups were the thing. I learned them and they're basically deadwood now. Same thing for MySpace. I spent a lot of time learning how to maneuver those systems, and for what? The next best thing came along and I had to decide if I drove myself crazy learning it, or not. More importantly, do I have TIME to learn every blasted thing?

Once upon a year, I picked up a copy of "Marketing for Dummies" at the used bookstore. It didn't take me long to figure out why it was at the UBS. Paper, two-inches thick, and only one basic point: pick something and just do it. You can't control the outcome.

It's often been said the best advertising you can have for your book is the next book. I do believe that. (Another reason to keep my butt in gear.) It's also true that if no one hears about your book, they can't read it.

Bottom line: I think it's okay to carefully pick and choose where you spend your time, energy and money on social media. I also think the choice should be guilt-free. Be a Luddite with some things. Pick one social media such as twitter and become a twitter maven. Whatever you choose for yourself, because it's your choice, will be the right thing to do.

KC Kendricks

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday somethings (ramblings, actually)

October 30, 2016

I'm procrastinating. It's October 30th, and I'm waiting for the mercury to hit 70F. On October 30th. And it's going to. I do love Indian summer. Can I still call it that? Deuce knows there's a walk in his immediate future. He's watching my every move. It might be a good day to set up his tunnel, too. He'll like that. 

Deuce and I have to leave soon because there's fucking football  coming on at 9:30 AM this morning. 

Good news! Where There's Smoke is up to #5 on the All Romance eBook best seller list. I think the highest I'd ever made it, before today, was #7 with SABRE. ARE is having a Halloween sale. Maybe that'll drive it on up the list. That would be cool. (see update below)

We went out to dinner with the cousins yesterday. It was good to see them, but the venue was far too noisy for conversation. Either we can't seem to pick a quick place or the public at large has taken to shouting. The food was good, though. Hickory Bridge, Fairfield PA. Reservations are a must. 

A good witch, Spiderman, and Thor knocked on my door last night after we returned home. Poor Deuce! This is his first Halloween. He didn't know what the heck was going on at first. Then I'm sure he recognized Spiderman as part of our youngest generation from across the creek. 

I'm pondering what to do about Thanksgiving. With my mother in a care facility, it feels a bit tricky. She's not a prisoner there - my stepfather takes her somewhere every day. It's the taking her back for the night that's the problem. The place is nice, like a very expensive hotel with night time care, which we learned the hard way my eighty-year-old stepfather can't provide. Mom's taken to refusing to get out of the car. One of the staffers picks her up with ease and puts her in a wheelchair. She doesn't like either. 

I love it when my cell phone plays Lovely Linda by Paul McCartney. I need to call my cousin back about the Maryland Christmas Show, a big craft fair that will be in Frederick, Maryland the last two weekends in November. Admission is up to $8. Parking is $2. Do you think they realize this is why a lot of people are looking and not buying? Apparently not. I don't buy. I get ideas and make things myself. My honey and I are very handy that way. 

I bowled a 238 game Friday night. I had a dollar in the pot, too. I might get lucky and win the money on that game. I won't know until this coming Friday. 

Social commentary? Figure this one out. I keep hearing Jimi Hendrix sing part of the last verse of All Along the Watchtower:
Outside in the cold distance
A wildcat did growl
Two riders were approaching
And the wind began to howl. 

And a thought to stop on: I really must get better about doing stretching exercises. 

Happy Sunday!

KC 
www.kckendricks.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks
www.facebook.com/kckendricks

***UPDATE***
All Romance eBooks closed on December 31, 2016. Where There's Smoke is available at Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and other online booksellers. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Where There's Smoke for #MSS165

October 29, 2016

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday #165! 165? To use a word that's way over used, that's awesome! My Sexy Saturday is a weekly blog hop that allows you to sample some of the best romance available today. Use the list at the bottom of this post to navigate to the participating blogs. But most of all - enjoy! 

Here are seven sexy paragraphs from my latest release, Where There's Smoke. (Where There's Smoke is already a best seller at All Romance eBooks. Just saying.)

KC

_*_*_*_*_

“Fuck if I know.” I let go of his hand and took a couple of big swallows of ginger ale. I stood and offered him my hand again. “Let’s go dance before the thumpa-thumpa starts again.”

He held my hand as we walked down to the dance hall. We joined the slow-dancers, cautiously moving into the classic positioning for the fox trot. I noted he moved stiffly, as though he didn’t dance often or, heaven forbid, he felt trapped by my arms around him.

Or worse yet, he was aware of my growing erection and believed I’d lied about coming here for sex.

He looked at the sparkling mirror ball over our heads. “I love this song.”

“I love everything by DeRocher, but this might have just become my favorite.” I applied a little pressure to his back to coax him closer.

He resisted at first, and then suddenly closed the distance between us. Chest-to-chest we moved to the slow beat. He shifted his posture and I came dick-to-dick with another truth. He wanted me. It would be gauche to mention it, but privately I danced with glee. I brushed a kiss to his temple.

Jere leaned away, which had the effect of pressing our lower bodies even closer.  He looked worried, unsure. The dance floor lights sparkled in his dark eyes. “Leon, do you want to go to the back room?” 

*_*_*_*


WHERE THERE’S SMOKE
Book #10 of the Men of Marionville series

Leon McNamee successfully worked his life plan to a good job, his own home, and the one thing he always wanted as a boy - a dog. He hasn’t had much luck in the relationship department, but in Smoke, he has all the company he usually needs.

Jeremy Cooke’s new plan is to stay clear of entanglements and not get hurt again. He moves to Marionville to start over and decides to rescue a damaged dog. After all, he’s well acquainted with abuse.

Leon and Jere get acquainted over their shared love of dogs, but Jeremy holds close his secrets. When an argument escalates, disaster strikes. Leon has to fight to save Jere’s dog - and the man’s trust. At the end of the day, his best ally is a black Labrador Retriever named Smoke.

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

Join my new release mailing list by clicking the Yahoo group button on the left sidebar. Low volume, no chatter, just the news on new books. 



Sunday, October 23, 2016

Where There's Smoke by KC Kendricks

October 23, 2016

Where There's Smoke is now available! "Smoke" is the tenth book in the Men of Marionville collection.

When I wrote A Cat Named Hercules, which featured combined stories from those special felines who shared my life, I knew I had to write a story that included a special dog. I thought that dog would be Jett, but it turned out to be both Jett and Deuce. (That's Deuce on the cover.)

I hope you'll enjoy Where There's Smoke.

KC

_*_*_


WHERE THERE’S SMOKE
Book #10 of the Men of Marionville series
Contemporary gay romance available at:


Leon McNamee successfully worked his life plan to a good job, his own home, and the one thing he always wanted as a boy - a dog. He hasn’t had much luck in the relationship department, but in Smoke, he has all the company he usually needs.

Jeremy Cooke’s new plan is to stay clear of entanglements and not get hurt again. He moves to Marionville to start over and decides to rescue a damaged dog. After all, he’s well acquainted with abuse.

Leon and Jere get acquainted over their shared love of dogs, but Jeremy holds close his secrets. When an argument escalates, disaster strikes. Leon has to fight to save Jere’s dog - and the man’s trust. At the end of the day, his best ally is a black Labrador Retriever named Smoke.

EXCERPT

“Yeah, it’s like twice the size and population. I think people here are nicer, though.” He paused and took a deep breath. “I…had a bad relationship. Like, really bad. My bad judgment. I knew someone here, a relative of sorts, so I came here to… I guess start over.”

The flat tone of his voice spoke volumes. It was a hopeless defeat, a tiredness I’d never personally experienced. What tore at my heart was the total absence of any defiance.
I’d been bitter when Allan decided he didn’t like my dog enough to stay with me. Good riddance, I’d said. I’d been determined to put him behind me and move on - and I had. I sensed Jeremy had floundered on his way to ending the relationship. Maybe he still did.

Today wasn’t the day to pry further. Today was for building a friendship and finding possibilities.

I put my hand on his knee. “Are you sorry it ended?”

He stared at my hand but didn’t move away. “I’m sorry it began.”

I patted his knee. “Well, it’s Saturday. What should we do now? Take in a flick?”

“You’re nothing if not predictable, Leon. I knew you were going to suggest a movie some time before I let you drive me home.”

“Okay. No movie. You like boats?”

He leaned away and looked down his nose at me. “Seriously? You really can’t help yourself, can you? What’s wrong with sitting here and chilling out?”

“My dog is on a leash. My dog ate and will no doubt want to poop in public grass where kids play, and I won’t allow him to do his outside activities here. My dog needs to go home to his backyard, and then his crate for a nap.”

Jeremy straightened. “Good points. I guess you should take me and Mo home so you can get on with your day.”

I didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him for fear I’d never see him again. My instinct said he’d never call me, and if I called him, he might hesitate to answer. I showed my desperation.

“Do you like baseball?”

“Yeah, I do! It’s really cool Marionville is getting a double A team.” He narrowed his eyes. “What?”

I hung my head. “I don’t know a fucking thing about baseball.”

“So why the hell did you ask me if I liked it?”

“Would you like to hang out at my place and watch the game? You can teach me about it.”

He stared at me, lips slightly parted, an enigmatic expression in his eyes. “Do you like anything other besides dogs?”

“I like to ski.”

He glanced at the sky, and then looked at me. “Water or snow?”

I grinned at him. “Both.”

“Thank God. I’ve never been water skiing, but I’m pretty good on the slopes.”

“I didn’t know they had mountains in Peoria,” I quipped, still smiling.

He smirked at me. God, he was adorable when he wrinkled his nose and rolled his eyes.

“When I was a mere lad, we spent every, and I mean every fucking Christmas at my grandfather’s place in Pennsylvania. I learned to ski. And you’re a smartass, Leon McNamee.”

“And you’re just too cute Jeremy Cooke.”

I didn’t actually think about it. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have done it.

I slipped my arm around his shoulders, leaned in, and kissed him.

He started and sucked in a quick breath. I’d never had anyone go so still in my arms. But he didn’t pull away. His lips trembled under mine, and yet he didn’t push us apart. I moved my lips over his in a soft caress and ended the kiss.


WHERE THERE’S SMOKE
Book #10 of the Men of Marionville series
Contemporary gay romance available at:


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





Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A true blessing

October 19, 2016

Yesterday marked a major milestone in my life - my beloved hit the 10-year cancer free mark. It's a stark reminder that not all people who develop a metastasized cancer are so fortunate. 

I would have remarked on this yesterday, but the evening belonged to us. We didn't do anything special. We didn't need to. We're old enough to know there is no social convention to display our unity. It's not a thing we wear or drink. It simply is. 

So debate politics and other nonsense without us. We'll sit on the porch, together, and ponder those things in life that truly matter - and enjoy the last roses of summer.

We are together, and we are truly blessed. 

KC

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Stat check time

October 16, 2016

The internet puts the world at our fingertips. It also gives us information overload. Anything we want to know is out there. Well, some version of it is out there. In the cloud. Floating. Drifting. Doing whatever the hell it does until we search for it and reel it in. 

There are a lot of author groups and I belong to a bunch of them. I rarely post information although I do read. It's not that I'm anti-social, it's that I'm not doing anything vastly different from the other participants. Why take up air time just to say, "Hey, I do that, too!" There's enough posts to get through without that. 

In one of these groups, a recent discussion focused on websites so I paid attention. I do my own with some very simple software, but I'm always looking for ways to improve it. I'm not an ace by any stretch of the imagination. I'm simply too frugal to pay hundreds of dollars a month from something incredibly fancy and frilly when I'm not a fancy and frilly sort of girl. 

When the discussion turned to the number of people using cell phones to traverse the wide plains of the Internet, I paid attention. And then I zipped over to Blogger to check some stats. Why Blogger and not my website? 1)The log-in for my web info is a huge pain in the ass and 2) I knew I'd be writing a blog post, ergo, just make one Internet stop. I'm frugal with my time, too. 

So looking at my stats, it appears that only 17 people viewed my blog via cell phone, and I know one of those Android viewers was me on my Kindle. I showed a girl at the bowling alley the page about our trip to New River Gorge. 

What I actually find more interesting is that Chrome has the largest share of browsers used and Windows is the big operating system. The little rebel in my soul is snickering at me for being so mainstream.  

More to the point is I just don't see a new trend developing. I'm not going to revamp kckendricks.com to be more cellphone friendly at this juncture. (Sorry, all you hip boomers.) 

And now, curiosity satisfied, I'm going back to my writing. 

KC



Saturday, October 15, 2016

Seducing Light - #MSS163

October 15, 2016

Welcome to My Sexy Saturday #163! Thanks for stopping in at Between the Keys. Today I have seven sexy paragraphs from Seducing Light. Enjoy!
*_*_*


Nick said he planned to cut back on his workload. Being a fan and following along in the trades, I knew he’d purchased the property in Montana three years ago, and the house had taken fifteen months to complete. It wasn’t much of a stretch to surmise he’d made a nest to feather with someone out of the public eye.

The shift to directing movies instead of acting in them wasn’t an unusual one. Lots of actors did it with great success. And, like a lot of other A-listers, if directing didn’t work out, he would not have lost a thing. He could step back into acting, if he chose to, no harm done.

He was at least forty-three and looked five or six years younger, a big plus in an industry that catered to youth. Was he having a mid-life crisis? For a gay man, youth and good looks were important. If your preferences ran to macho, you wanted to nail the most virile and attractive studs, or have them nail you. This I understood all too well.

I wasn’t egotistical enough to believe for one moment he’d spied my scrawny ass and lost his mind, no matter how it appeared on the surface.

Everyone needed touch. Was it as simple as he’d denied his true nature for too long? If I wanted to be a part of his life—and I wanted that more than I wanted air—I needed to figure out where his head was. Right now, what was best for Nick was best for us. That wasn’t going to be easy to reconcile with the excitement I had over my re-blooming career and my renewed passion for my craft.

Twilight brought a few flying insects to my vine-shrouded retreat. I poured the dregs of my tea into a flowerpot, amused that the huge coleus in that crock obviously liked caffeine. The hinges of the back gate creaked. Boot heels clicked on the concrete walk, then stopped just behind me. He stood so close I felt his body heat. I smiled, but didn’t turn around.

“What took you so long?”

_*_*_*_

Be sure to visit all the My Sexy Saturday blogs. The list is at the bottom of this post.
_*_*_*_

About SEDUCING LIGHT:

Asher Myles struggled to put his life back together after an identity thief stripped him of everything but his talent for capturing light and shadow with a camera lens. With a new job and a new start, Asher’s on his way to Montana – and a meeting with the man he’s fantasized about since he first saw him on the silver screen. 

Nick Light, actor, director, and Hollywood royalty, doesn’t like paparazzi. When he agrees to have his Montana ranch photographed for a style magazine, the unexpected happens. Asher's not the man Nick expected to find behind the camera. Asher knows he'll have to convince Nick they belong together, but he has an edge.

Because if there’s one thing Nick can’t resist, it’s a man with a talent for seducing light.

Available at Amazon, iTunes and other fine online book sellers. 


KC Kendricks
blog: http://www.kckendricks.blogspot.com (you are here)
mailing list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/betweenthekeys