Thursday, September 22, 2022

Riding Against the Wind by KC Kendricks

September 22, 2022

Today is the day. I pressed the button on Riding Against the Wind to go live everywhere but at Amazon. It feels like a major victory! I fought to get this story finished, formatted, and for sale, and it was worth the battle. 

Riding Against the Wind is written in the dual first person that is so popular these days. It's the first time I've tried it and I'm eager to get feedback on it. 

Riding Against the Wind will be available at iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Rakuten kobo, Scribd, tolino, vivlio, and through Kobo's subscription service outside the US. You can visit the universal link at to keep an eye on when it goes live at your preferred vendor. It will be up at Amazon in a few days. 

Here's a bit about Riding Against the Wind, the sequel to Ride Your Luck


Riding Against the Wind by KC Kendricks
Modern-day cowboy
Sequel to Ride Your Luck

A Saturday night out goes sideways when Zane Walker discovers a naked man hiding in the weeds along the side of the road on his way home. Zane doesn’t know how the guy got there, but it’s obvious help is needed. Zane takes him to the Bar RC Ranch, confident his foreman will know what to do. 

Weston Allen doesn’t remember much, especially how he ended up along an empty stretch of highway in the middle of the night. When a pickup stops and the driver offers help, he’s not at all sure it’s a good idea, but he gets in the truck with the stranger not knowing if he’ll be left worse off than before. 

Weston’s journey through a dark tunnel isn’t easy, but Zane is a light to lead him back to a new life he never knew he wanted with a cowboy at his side. 

This modern-day cowboy romance may contain triggers for some individuals. It is intended for mature readers. 


How did I explain to Zane I was unsure of what I needed – wanted – other than to avoid the atmosphere in the bunkhouse? I wanted his company, but did I want the comfort he could offer me? What if I did ask him to hold me? Would I freak out if he kissed me again and things between us heated up? 

We strolled across the grounds to the barn as though neither of us had a care in the world, but we didn’t speak until we’d reached the loft. Zane took off his hat and ran his fingers through his dark hair. 

“Talk to me, Wes. Why are we out here?”

“The hands all feel sorry for me. I can sense it. It’s a little heavy.”

He pointed at one of the blankets. “Grab a corner and let’s get this spread out. I’m taking off my pants and I don’t want straw poking me in the ass.”

We ended up spreading out the two heavier blankets and keeping the lighter one for a cover even though the night was warm and we didn’t think we’d need it. Zane promptly sat and pulled off his boots and pants, and then skimmed out of his shirt. I tried not to gawk at him as he stretched out with the arms beneath his head. 

I tried not to wish he hadn’t worn a t-shirt, too. I’d have liked to be able to admire the long lines and planes of his torso without the interference of cotton. I eased down beside him and stripped to my boxers and t-shirt. When in Rome and all that. 

He rubbed my back. “You ready to talk?”

I sighed. “I’m remembering more bits and pieces. Billy tried to stop those men from taking me. We’d seen them in the nightclub and they were really out of place. They didn’t drink but they moved in a pack like they were hunting for someone.”

“Maybe they were.”

“Yeah. It’s pretty obvious they were. Why me? Billy didn’t know them, and he admitted to me they made him uneasy. He said we weren’t going to go to that establishment ever again. It’s like he had some sort of premonition or something. We left early, but they were outside waiting for us.” My throat closed up making it difficult to speak. “They didn’t have to kill him but they wanted to. It was sport to them. They held a cloth over my face and I blacked out.”

“Wes, can you identify them?”

I shook my head. “I don’t seem to have that memory. I hope the security footage Deputy Clinton spoke of shows their faces but I can’t be sure enough to identify them.”

“Okay. That’s enough for now. Come here.” He patted the spot beside him. “Stretch out here and take a couple of deep breaths.”

I twisted around to meet his gaze. “Will you kiss me again?”

His eyes darkened to black. “Is that what you want?”

“Yes.” I swallowed hard and then moved to lie beside him. He rolled onto his side and rested his hand on my belly. 

“Listen, Wes. I’d like nothing more than for us to get naked and do what comes natural-like, but I’m not sure that would be good for you. You’ve been through a whirlwind here. Hell, you’re still in it. I found you, you learned something bad happened to you, and that’s a lot to take in.”

“I hear you. I really do, but I need you, Zane. Just hold me even if you can’t do more. Please.”

I hated to beg him, but I craved touch. I needed his reassurance and the comfort of two strong arms around me. The horrible loneliness and loss of Billy, who had loved me and whom I could never repay, squeezed my chest and stole my breath. I clutched at Zane and struggled to suck enough air into my lungs. He put his arms around me and hugged me to his body.

“I’ve got you. I’ve got you, Wes. It’s okay. Do you hear me? It’s okay.”

He kept saying that, like a mantra, while he stroked my back and I got my breathing under control. “Wow. Was that a panic attack? I didn’t like it much.”

Zane snorted. “Me, neither. Then again, it might have been a good reason to try out some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.” 

I choked on a laugh and coughed on him. How romantic was that? It was a good thing he didn’t seem to mind. I still wanted him. Would he shoot me down if I made a decisive move on him? I tilted my head back and pressed my lips to his. 

Zane didn’t pull away. I felt him jump as if a shock hit him, and then he cupped the back of my head and buried his fingers in my hair. I stopped thinking as his mouth moved over mine in a soft, sweet kiss. He pulled away, sucked in a breath, and came back to me with intention.

Gone was any tentative softness as he plundered. I opened my lips and he plunged his silky tongue into my mouth. I gathered my wits and licked over his tongue and then followed as he withdrew. He rolled me beneath him and the hard ridge of his cock met mine. I thrust up, seeking friction. Zane moaned into my mouth and my better judgment deserted me. I had to touch him.

I slipped my hand between our bodies, seeking rigid heat. His cock filled my hand, thick, long, firm. He bucked against me and then quickly withdrew.

“Wes, this might not be a good idea.”

“Bullshit. It’s the best idea I’ve had today.” 

I stroked his length and he whispered my name in my ear before he reached for me. I was hard and dripping, and from the way he kissed me, I think he was as pleased as I was with what he’d found. 

“Hands only,” I managed to say against the press of his lips.

He nodded and we got busy. I let go of all the uncertainty in my life and allowed his hand to capture me and sweep me away. 

His touch was firm but never rough. I followed his lead, rolling my palm over his crown to spread the silky drops he gave up, then down to his base, his lips on mine the entire time. It was so easy, so basic, and so much more than I expected. 

We shifted closer. I rested my knee on his hip and he moved his leg between mine giving us just enough room to work. His touch was sure but slow as he stroked me, and I followed his lead. We didn’t need to hurry. Time suspended as we shared breath and touch in a slow climb.

“Don’t hold back,” he murmured against my lips. 

I wasn’t. I couldn’t at that moment speak. My balls tingled and tightened as heat flared at the base of my cock. An incoherent sound was ripped from me as I hit the finish line, coming in a hot, wet burst into his hand. I barely had time to suck in a breath before Zane groaned, tensed, and flooded my hand. 

“Wes. Wes.” He said my name over and over as his breathing slowed to normal. “Are you okay?”

Was I? I did the only thing I could manage to do. I kissed him


Sales links coming soon!


 KC Kendricks
My home on the web- Between the Keys:
Visit my bookshelf at:
Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
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Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Riding Against the Wind, Ride Your Luck, contemporary gay cowboy, M/M romance, LGBT romance

Saturday, September 17, 2022

It's been a busy summer (2022)

September 17, 2022

It's a beautiful morning here in western Maryland! Sunshine, blue skies, 71F/22C, and I should be outside working on the many projects we've yet to undertake in 2022. We've done really well this year, but if you have a home in the woods, there are always cleanup projects. Sometimes you have to let them go in favor of authorly pursuits. 

Not everyone who reads Between the Keys clicks over to my more personal blog, Holly Tree Manor. That's fine. Not everyone is interested in my private life, and that works in reverse. Not everyone who likes to read about living in the country cares that I'm also a writer. I think that's fine. This morning, however, I want to give a little recap on my summer because it occurred to me last night that this blog shows up places like my Amazon home page and a recap would be a good thing - so here goes!

I started the 2022 gardening season in March with seed trays. It was wonderful to have growing green things sharing my office space by mid-April. In May, I finally upgraded my greenhouse options. We have a serious deer problem and a greenhouse is almost a necessity. 

In May, I officially retired. Almost. I did sign a one-year contract to be the Administrative Consultant. I don't regret doing it, but I won't renew it if asked. I wanted to retire a few years ago and would wait no longer. It's been everything I wanted it to be, so far. 

My garden corral turned into a garden jungle in the woods, but it was a good thing. It's a small space and I grow in containers, again to thwart the deer. It worked and I had a bountiful harvest. 

One of the things I want to focus on in my "retirement" is eating better. To that end, I'm home canning a lot of things so we can more frequently avoid chemical preservatives. I canned molasses beans, pork and beans, butter beans, strawberry jam from a sale on fresh frozen strawberries, pizza sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes from our garden. I wanted to make applesauce and apple pie filling so I purchased apples from a local orchard. This was also the year I wanted to can pears, so again I went up to Gardenour's and got pears

It's been a great summer for us as a couple - twenty-eight years and still going strong. We'd worried a bit about suddenly being together 24/7, but I can hop in the Charger and go shopping whenever I want. We got Himself a van which is easier for him to get into and out of, plus transport his scooter, so he can take off and go manly places like the hardware store without me. 

Now we're moving into firewood season. The appointment is set for the chimney sweep to come, and arrangements are made with cousins to come and help us split wood. 

I'm working on the edits to Riding Against the Wind, and I hope this coming winter will be more productive than the last few. Covid-19 slowed more than the economy and it's time to get going again. 

That's my summer recap for Between the Keys. Thanks for coming along! 


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Between the Keys, KC Kendricks, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, LGBTQ author, a writer's life, country lifestyles, romance author, romance books for Kindle, ebooks, indie publishing, book promotion, author promotion

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Promoting the Men of Marionville - a test of my resolve

September 6, 2022

Earlier this year I set a goal to promo the entire Men of Marionville collection on Facebook groups. I knew this would not be a small, or easy, undertaking as there at twelve books set in the fictional town of Marionville. Couple that with the number of groups I've joined for the purpose of doing promos and you've got in the neighborhood of three hundred sixty total promos. And let us not forget that doing any sort of deliberate promotion is not really my thing. Yes, it's been challenging but I'm actually succeeding! As of this date, I have the last two books in the collection remaining - Bourbon and Blues and Twice Removed from Yesterday

I've found some of the Facebook groups to be problematic. Many of the smaller ones are great, though. The admins go through and approve each post and I'm appreciative of their efforts. That's a lot of work if the group is active. 

Some of the groups leave random posts in limbo waiting to be approved. Then when I repost the same promo, it goes through immediately. What's the rhyme and reason for that? I've had a promo declined only to repost the same thing and it goes through. There are group owners who suddenly decide to close the group to promotions and have deleted all old posts. That's a lot of effort and I wonder why the owner would bother with it.

I've given up trying to figure it out. I keep a spreadsheet that shows me what book I'm doing next in whichever group I'm looking at. There's also a worksheet with info on groups that have seemingly disappeared. I'd be lost without the spreadsheet and I wonder if I need to add a worksheet for Twitter. 

Picking up the threads of my writing career is something I've looked forward to for the last couple of years. I woke up this morning with the opening of a new story. Maybe it will turn out to be one that has lingered on the plot board or maybe it's one straight out of left field. Either way, it's good to have ideas start to pop into my head again. 

September should see me complete my goal of promoting the entire Men of Marionville collection. I'm looking forward to that, and to begin to do the Centerville Muscle series. Centerville Muscle is only three books and that'll be comparatively easy after the Men of Marionville. 

And now I'd best get to it. Up next: Bourbon and Blues.


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Between the Keys, KC Kendricks, contemporary gay romance, LGBTQ, romance series, a writer's life, Men of Marionville, Centerville muscle, writing career, romance authors, promotions, Facebook, m/m romance

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Procrastination or plain laziness?

August 23, 2022

I'm dithering again. My brain is churning with a million things I should be doing: finishing Riding Against the Wind, vacuuming up dog hair, sweeping the patio, pulling up dead cucumber vines, getting something out of the freezer for dinner, calling a different chimney sweep since the usual one hasn't returned my calls, bathing Deuce, fixing the fire ring, finishing my coffee. 

Yeah, finishing my second cup of coffee that's gone cold. Again. It's been nuked once so maybe I don't want it all that badly. 

 Basically, I want to be an "industrious woman," but I doubt that piece of scripture is enough to move me along this morning. 

It seems like I've been an industrious woman ever since I retired three very short months ago. My fondest retirement wish was to establish (or re-establish) better writing habits and I've not accomplished that. It doesn't take much effort to figure out why that is - I've been having too much fun simply being home. Spending all the extra time with the spousal unit was a large part of the decision to retire. He's a bit older than me and there is a possibility I'll have a good number of years without him. But I digress...

I woke up this morning with one thought - get the book finished. Stop procrastinating, stop putting other projects in front of it, toss out the To Do List, let the man fix his own breakfast, and work on the damn book! 

And here I am - blogging.

Actually, I'm taking a mental break after hitting the thirty-thousand-word mark. The cold coffee needs to go and something cold and fizzy needs to take its place. The man is watching YouTube videos so I don't need to entertain him. The dog is sleeping beside the man's chair, so we'll let sleeping dogs lie. It's a beautiful morning full of blue sky, green grass, and sunshine but I'll enjoy it through the windows. 

It's time to get back to work.


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, modern-day cowboy, gay cowboy, M/M romance, a writer's life, writers, published author, retirement, To Do List, priorities, YouTube, social media, black Labrador Retrievers, scriptures

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Pause and give thought

August 18, 2022

I enjoy social media in very small doses. Facebook serves my writing alter ego for promotional purposes, and I have a more personal page for family. Twitter informs my writing alter ego of people's opinions and connects me to a lot of other writers to share a few laughs. I don't like the Instagram platform - anything I can do only on my phone doesn't do a thing for me - but I post the occasional picture just because I can. Is YouTube social media or has it become its own thing? The spousal unit and I like to watch a variety of YouTube channels from homestead gardening to off-road recoveries to metal detecting to classic car restorations. And of course, I enjoy blogging. Blogging is writing and that's my thing. 

This morning I was reading through my Twitter feed while slurping down those first sips of coffee and trying to wake up when I came across this photo, captioned, "Have you had your pills this morning?"

Whoa. Whoa, baby. 

I don't know what some of those represent. I don't think I want to know. I get the message, loud and clear, though. Has social media become our drug(s) of choice? 

My daily routine has not wavered for several years. Once I get to my computer every morning, I check my personal email and then I zip off to check Twitter and Facebook. 

Damn. That's exactly like taking a pill every morning. So does my social media pill benefit my brain the way a vitamin benefits my body? 

My short answer to that is that it depends on what you're feeding your brain. Are your opinions just a parroted response based on something you saw on social media? Are you challenged to consider a wider view? Perhaps it focuses your view to laser sharpness. 

Do you simply "take the pill" and allow it to take over your life? Is social media equivalent to "drinking the kool-aid?" (Does November 18, 1978 ring any bells in your memory?) Do you turn everything you read into a chance to shout your opinions and beliefs as if those with opposing views are ignorant and out of step with (your) reality?

Or do you carefully filter out the negative and look for the positive? Are you self-aware enough to read someone else's opinion, know you don't agree, and simply move on without confrontation? Perhaps you look for learning opportunities or for the opportunity to praise others for a good idea, a shared photo, or a challenge overcome. Maybe you like funny memes and like to share the laughter. 

The photo of social media pills is a sobering reminder that we should stop and carefully consider what we take into ourselves. We need to be responsible to ourselves, every day. Social media has the potential to turn us all into blind followers that are led to graze in fields of someone else's choosing.  

I can speak only for myself, but I don't want to be part of the social media herd. I won't dismiss the value of social media but I will exercise caution. My opinions won't easily be swayed by celebrities and "influencers." I will check the facts for myself. I won't hop on any bandwagon that has the potential to harm me. In other words, I'll use the good common sense God gave me each morning when I down my social media pill. 


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, LGBT, social media, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, opinions, influencers, common sense

Monday, July 25, 2022

That moment when

July 25, 2022

There is a moment in the writing of each story when everything snaps into place. The chapters leading up to and including the ending materialize and the muse is in a rush to get to those two magic words - The End.  

The moment can't be forced but the muse doesn't care about such things. She'll ride me until I forsake my spouse, my dog, and my chores in favor of finishing the story. But experience has proven that the story will be ruined if I allow her to rush me forward. 

If you're a regular here at Between the Keys, you know I finally retired at the end of May. I'm almost two months into it, and it has been fairly consistent with my expectations. It has taken me a bit longer to get up to speed with getting some structure into my days so I can write, but it's beginning to gel. I'm beginning to establish a groove similar to the one I had while working the day job but during the day instead of the evening. I suspect those hours will shift with the waning daylight and that's just fine. I expect to make those seasonal adjustments. 

I'd worried over one of the story elements in Riding Against the Wind, so much so it impeded progress. I've settled that in my mind and the words are flowing. Not only that, but I have hopes of finishing a Rayne Forrest story I started quite a while back.

Time is both friend and enemy. It's up to me to use both sides of the equation to my benefit.

Stay tuned because coming soon - Riding Against the Wind, the sequel to Ride Your Luck.


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay cowboy romance, m/m romance, Rayne Forrest, Ride Your Luck, LGBTQ+, Kindle, time management, retirement, writers on writing, writer's blog, country living, rural lifestyle

Thursday, July 7, 2022

What's the next step when you lose the plot?


July 7, 2022

You would think that as long as I've been writing romances that I'd have a really good handle on how to keep the plot on track, wouldn't you? Apparently, that is not the case. The plot in the current WIP, the one I'm trying to finish, has taken an unexpected turn. So what does the author do when it goes south?

Why am I displeased with the plot at this point? I took it towards a "current events" situation, that's why. I don't like to do that. Not. At. All. Current events date a book, often badly. 

Okay, so this current event isn't political, so perhaps it can be salvaged. It's simply something that has been in the mainstream media of late. It's an ugly reality. It happens. I can wrap up the story threads and have it all work out, but the story will still have that slice of ugly in there and that bugs me. 

I think I need to cram my writer's hat very firmly on my head, square my aching shoulders, flex my tired fingers, and just get on with it. Hopefully, I'll surprise myself by the time I reach The End.

Let us hope so.


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, writers on writing, m/m romance, plot issues, LGBTQ+ romance, Kindle books, ebooks, current events, social media, mainstream media

Monday, July 4, 2022

Independence Day 2022

July 4, 2022

Every year, as we approach Independence Day, I wonder what I should say to acknowledge the day. Yes, it's a day to celebrate, and a day to remember the sacrifices made to form and protect our nation, the United States of America. 

You may think the fellow draped in the flag is nothing more than eye candy, but he's more than that to me. He represents every man who stood his ground to protect hearth and home. Yes, I like the male body. Men should be celebrated equally with women. 

Recently, our Supreme Court, that entity set forth in Article III of our Constitution, has made a decision that has people up in arms.  Up in arms. No pun intended, but there it is. 

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

SCOTUS upheld our Second Amendment, an action I approve of. Why should criminals be the only people who are armed? Because, as you can plainly read, the Second Amendment doesn't allow for the exclusion of those with criminal minds when it comes to the right to bear arms. As a licensed and legal gun owner in the State of Maryland, I don't mind following Maryland law when I arm myself. I am the Militia, after all. 

Our nation is great because our Constitution allows us to debate those things which are important while giving us guidelines that protect us within the debate. 

Yet these days, rational debate doesn't seem to exist. The screamers among us, those perpetual children, seem to care more about their side winning and getting their own way and to hell with what the other side may consider more appropriate. It's all me! me! me! I'm right and you are WRONG!!!

It's time to grow the hell up and be grateful for our way of life. Your opinion is of no more consequence than mine, so get over yourself. 

We need to get along. We need each other. 

This Independence Day, it's time to calm down and reflect on what is really important. To me, what's important is health, safety, and prosperity, not the cult of personality, and not our soulless social media. 

I guess I don't have anything else to say. Enjoy your day.


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Early work: Shine A Light by KC Kendricks


June 16, 2022

One of my earlier works was a story about a fallen stage and film star that I titled, "Shine A Light." I don't remember when I settled on that title, or what precipitated it, but once I thought of it, it took hold and wouldn't be shaken off. 

In the story, Van, our hero, was outed when his ex-lover posted nude photos of him on a blog and spilled the beans about their relationship. I should have gone into more detail about that, but the story's focus was on Van meeting Shane and moving on with his life. Van's past could not be changed so the future was the important thing. 

Van takes a gig doing summer stock at a small-town theatre and it's there he meets Shane. It turns out the script is more than Van anticipated, and it quickly becomes apparent that this could actually be the role of his life. The owner of The Globe also wrote the script and has big plans to produce the play on DVD and eventually on the silver screen. Van knows he's the first to play Andy and no one else can ever be Andy the way he will be. 

Like many writers, the fictional story within the story has teased me for many, many years. I've long wondered about writing Andy's story and now with more time to write, it's the very first thing that came to mind to begin after I finish Riding Against the Wind. I don't think it will be an easy or fast project and that's okay. I want to delve deep into Andy and do right by Van and Shane. Yes, the characters matter. 

Looking back, I don't think I could have attempted this story years ago when Shine A Light was written. Now I think I must. I hope it will be a return to the writing style of earlier days, at least that's what I'm aiming for. I want to forget everything I've "learned" and just tell the story - for me, Andy, Van, and Shane. 


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Shine A Light, contemporary gay romance, LGBT romance, m/m romance, writers on writing, Riding Against the Wind, what's next, 

Sunday, June 5, 2022

This could have started out a bit better

 June 5, 2022

Retirement. What a concept. What a plan!

This could have started out a wee bit better. Why, you ask? I was less than a week into it, and my dog tried to kill me. Well, maybe not kill me, but he certainly maimed me. And it was my own fault.

One sunny morning, Deuce and I headed out for our walk. It was going so well until we were at the last creek on the way home. There was a fallen stick across his favorite watering hole so "Mommy" thought she'd get that out of his way. 

Big mistake. Huge!

I turned my back on the dog and reached for the stick. HE thought it was Fetch the Stick time and lunged for it which knocked me off my feet in the middle of the creek. I went down hard into the water and onto several large rocks. I'm damned lucky I didn't break a hip and lie there in the cold water for hours until someone had the thought they should come look for me. 

I have the largest bruise I've ever had in my entire life on my left hip. I jammed my left wrist, something that was made worse by my Versa Fitbit digging into my flesh. My right side ribs took a beating. Thankfully, my knees escaped all injury except for a couple of smaller rocks causing temporary pain as I struggled to get to my feet. Thankfully, I was able to walk home, wet shoes and all. 

The spousal unit made an attempt to convince me to go for x-rays, and maybe I should have. My immediate sense of things was I'd not broken any bones. Ten days later I know I'm basically okay. The bruise has faded a bit and the swelling has gone down in my wrist. Sitting at the computer and typing has been problematic, but the wrist feels pretty good this morning. The hip is feeling healed enough that I'm going to take a short walk and see how it feels afterward.

We live and we learn. I know how excited Deuce gets about chasing sticks. A retriever has to retrieve. I wasn't paying enough attention to what he was doing - my bad and my fault. The poor dog didn't know what to make of me sitting in the creek. He's forgotten it all by now. 

I managed to do a bit of writing work this past week, but nothing near what I'd hoped. This is just real life, or at least my life. Sometimes I think the universe doesn't like me to make plans. 

Or maybe it does so it can toss roadblocks at me. I'll have to think about that. 


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Between the Keys, KC Kendricks, simple country pleasures, contemporary gay romance, a writer's life, m/m romance, writing time, time management, black Labs, walking, LGBT romance, blogs about writing

Friday, May 27, 2022

And we have a title and new cover!

May 27, 2022

The first few days of "retirement" have been anything except retiring. I've been busy!

Monday - changed the water filter and put the fencing up around my garden to keep the deer out of it.

Tuesday - burned a brush pile, finished chapter nine of the work-in-progress, AND got the title!

Wednesday - went for groceries, the spousal unit sold the Silverado, did a load of laundry, blogged at Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway), and I finished the cover for Riding Against the Wind

Thursday - we had a siblings lunch with his two sisters and one brother, got the SIM cards updated in our phones, and we mowed. 

Okay. It's Friday. When do I get a day off?

My plan to spend a portion of each day writing is not off to a great start. Yes, I'm another chapter in, and the cover is finished, but putting on my writer's hat two days a week will not a finished book make. 

To be fair to myself, I didn't actually expect my routine to settle down right away. Our little manor on the mountain is three acres in size and there's a lot to be done to keep our lives flowing smoothly. I think I've done pretty well to have spent at least parts of two days practicing the craft. With rain imminent, today will likely be the third day. 

I'm sure my imagined mornings spent on the patio with the spousal unit will come to pass. Eventually, I know I'll lift my hands up and declare I'm taking the day off to sit back and appreciate all the hard work I've done. If not, what was the point of doing it?

Right now, "retirement" feels much like my annual vacation except I don't feel the ramping up of the stress related to knowing I need to go back to work next week. It's a little different. 

That's enough musing for today. The next chapter of Riding Against the Wind isn't going to write itself, and a rainy day is perfect for working on it. 

So here's the obligatory teaser: Riding Against the Wind, the sequel to Ride Your Luck, coming soon!

Although "soon" may still be relative. After all, I am retired now! 


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Ride Your Luck, Riding Against the Wind, contemporary gay cowboy, m/m romance,  LGBT gay romance, a writer's life, retirement planning

Monday, May 23, 2022

"And so, it begins"

May 23, 2022

"And so, it begins." - Kosh, resident Vorlon at Babylon 5

At the risk of pushing a few of you over the edge with my retirement obsession - I'M RETIRED!!!

Yes, the day finally arrived. My employer, or should I say ex-employer, held a reception for me yesterday afternoon and it was quite nice. Lots of people, past and present, showed up to give me a send-off into what we call retirement. I came home and "crashed" like an old woman and had a nice nap in the recliner. 

That is not going to be my life. 

I blogged a bit about this over at Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway), but that was about life in general. Here at Between the Keys, which is supposed to be more about my writing, I have different things to say. 

My writing has been on a bit of a hiatus. The last several years brought big changes to my life. My stepfather died and my mother had to be placed in a total care facility. My friend and writing partner died. My husband had several major surgeries. Covid-19 hit and I needed to be more present at the day job by working from home. The effect on my life was a perfect storm. 

But you know what? I've made it through. I don't expect that picking up the threads of my writing career and weaving them back together is going to be easy. I have to develop a structure for my days that includes taking care of the spousal unit, home chores, writing time, and time to nurture myself. I've thought about it a lot, but now I need to see if the plan works and what changes the plan may need. 

Twenty years ago, I was writing The Skies of Mahdis. That story has been out of print for some time, but the absolute joy I found in the creation of that story has never wavered. Will I be able to once again work in that atmosphere of joy? Will I be able to embrace each new story in the spirit of joy and hope that we all get our happy ending? 

All those years ago the group of writers I was involved in (where did they all go?) had a saying: BICAW. That's "butt in chair and write." That is indeed what has to happen. I need to tune out all the chatter of life here in The Hideaway and write. It has to be a priority, or it won't work. 

It all boils down to how willing am I to work hard to regain momentum. Am I really going to be able to do it? I guess I'm about to find out.

Yes, I'm now retired. Let the real work begin!


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, Between the Keys, Holly Tree Manor, retirement, writing career, contemporary gay romance, M/M fiction, Babylon 5 quote, a writer's life, life changes, setting priorities

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Bittersweet hours

My home office and my "staff" 
already lying down on the job

May 19, 2022

Bittersweet. One word to encompass the last twenty-two years of my working life. 

Today, I walked out of my day job office for the last time. It's no longer "my" office, but belongs to a capable young woman named Allyson. I've left it in good hands. 

The plan was for tomorrow to be my last day, but the CEO won't be in tomorrow and so we had our last conversation. I wasn't sure about this woman in the beginning, but I watched her acclimate and grow in the position. Now I think she's probably the best "boss" I've had at this facility. I find that I will miss the morning chats that we called staff meetings. 

And so today became the day I've worked toward and waited on for so long. Today I'm retired.

I'm no longer sure what that means. 

What if I don't feel like doing some of the things I thought I'd want to do? Hmmm. That's a thought, isn't it? 

I'm going to go easy on myself for the next few weeks. I expect to be full of conflicting emotions and ideas. It's going to take some time to adjust to my perpetual vacation. 

I think a spreadsheet may be in order to help me organize the various projects I want to undertake. Just think of all the colorful blocks when I complete something and instead of crossing it off or deleting it, I fill the cell with bright colors! Now that sounds like a plan to plan the plan!

Leaving the day job is bittersweet, but working until I drop dead was never an option for me. The next few weeks will sort themselves out and all will be well. I'll get my project list underway and figure out who I will be in my time of retirement. 

And that's the most daunting task of all. 


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Sunday, May 8, 2022

I need to buy a guy

May 8, 2022

This past weekend was a washout. Yes, it rained for three days straight. That gave me the opportunity to catch up on a few things, such as making a cover for the as-yet-untitled work in progress. I didn't get too far because the background took hours. I hope it doesn't look like it, but I need five different photos to finally come up with something I liked. The sad part is that when I finally go and buy a cover guy, he's going to cover a good portion of it. 

This story is a sequel to Ride Your Luck, so I knew I wanted a hint of the same sky that's on the RYL cover. But I didn't want it to be the same color palette. Yes, I'm picky sometimes. 

I love sunset and autumnal colors so I had a few sunset photos in the files. The story takes place on a ranch so I wanted a barn. Let's not forget the mounted cowboy but not the same one as on the Ride Your Luck cover. 

Layering the photos together was good practice. It's been a while since I made a cover and it's a good skill to have and keep sharp. 

Now I need to go shopping for a a cover model. I do wonder how badly inflation has hit the stock photos sites. Everyone is jumping on the raise-the-price bandwagon these days.


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Ride Your Luck, gay cowboys, m/m romance, book covers, book titles, LGBTQ gay romance, story sequels, skill sets

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

All I need to do is to remember to do it

May 4, 2022

With only ten more working days until "retirement," I've been thinking about better ways to connect to social media. "Retirement" doesn't mean idleness, at least to me. It's the time to refocus on filling my days with those things that bring fulfilment, and that means wearing my writer's hat. 

I write a lot of different things. Books or blogs, it's all writing. I just need to remember to share it! 

To that end, here's a reminder that I blog about our life at the "manor" on a regular basis. One of my goals is to share those links for those who are interested. 

A recent post at Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway) was about the arrival of warm weather and some small preparations that are underway.

Another bit of writing I do is at the blog, Deuce's Day. Deuce is our black Lab, and his blog tells his story through his eyes. We think Deuce is special and we want to remember and share his life. 

So, that's it. Connect and share.  I hope you'll join with me as I step into "retirement."


 KC Kendricks

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys