Saturday, January 22, 2022

Battle fatigue and a singular moment

 January 22, 2022

As the Covid-19 pandemic wears on, it's difficult not to wonder what motivates people. The spousal unit and  I have gone against our belief that the vaccination wasn't tested enough and we took the shot. I've gotten the booster, but the weather has been such he's not able to leave home. Winter weather is not the friend of the handicapped.  

The county we live in, according to the 2020 Census, has a population of 154,705. According to the county's website this morning, of these residents, only 53% (80,833) are fully vaccinated with another 5% having at least one shot. The positivity rate of those being tested stood at 28.17% as of January 20, 2922. It's a lot of numbers to absorb and process, but what does it mean to a person's real life?

RC and I have battle fatigue. The only way to escape reading and hearing about the pandemic is to shut down the computers and the televisions and never leave home. Talk of the pandemic is in and of itself pandemic. 

I needed to zip into the grocery store for a carton of eggs on my way home last night. I was back into the Colorado and had the key in the ignition when I realized I'd not put on a mask. Damn it! I had a "normal" moment and didn't realize it as it was happening!

Will this set a new precedent for me? It's doubtful. Nothing can ease the pain of grocery shopping these days. 

Recently, I've heard a lot of grief being heaped on the concept of individualism. PULL BACK ON THE REINS! Individualism founded our great country. Yet in the face of a pandemic, millions of people, of individuals just like me, have set aside their individual beliefs and acted for the Greater Good. 

There's hate tossed at "red" states as though those "red" voters are solely responsible for the pandemic. Hey, thanks for hating me! I really needed that today! And for what? I've done my part for the greater good. Stop shaming me! 

Do you know what I'd really love to do today? I'd love to go shopping for a new handbag. How girly is that? 

Wait. What? With all those germy people exhaling into my air space? I guess there's always Amazon. 

And doesn't that send the mind careening down the threads of the greedy filthy rich and conspiracy theories? 

Perhaps I'll just go read a book.


 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

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Cowboys and covers

January 18, 2022

Cowboys and covers. 

Cowboys don't sell, they said. Bugger off, I replied. Not out loud, of course. Give me a little credit for that smattering of couth I possess. It surfaces from time to time. 

Cowboys. I'm in the middle of writing the sequel to Ride Your Luck. So it's taken a few years to get moving on the project. So what? We all work at our own pace and I'm slower than I used to be. 

Cowboys. I found an inspiration pix for the cover and now I wonder if my Photoshop skills are up to the task. I think it will take at least five layers to get what I want providing I can find stock photos with the proper elements. The most important element being a cowboy that strikes my fancy so I can buy him. Yes, authors buy men all the time. We're just like that. (Note to self: check how many credits you have left at iStock.)

Cover trends change rapidly, and what I'm seeing these days are pictures without any recognizable background. In fact, half the covers don't show faces either. Old wisdom said if the guy on the cover was looking straight at the reader, sales were better. I guess that's out the window. I also see a lot of fonts that are almost impossible to read. Swirly swirls and colors that seem to vanish again the other elements. A clear definition is no longer necessary. 

A moderator for a Facebook group did "accuse" me of just slapping text on a stock photo and denied my post. How idiotic. I worked for hours to create a background to put my hero on! I left that group. I can't be arsed to deal with a mini despot. Not that Facebook is the be-all and end-all of what matters, you understand. 

I think this cover is going to take a while to figure out and that's okay. So is the finished book. But I am working on both. Slowly. 


 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

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Another "resolution" fail

January 16, 2022

Okay, so it wasn't really a 2022 New Year's resolution. It's something I did really well with for a couple of years until Covid-19 hit and I started to work a lot from home. 

I like my desk to be free of clutter when I'm writing. I don't want a lot of visual distractions because it's difficult enough pulling pure thoughts out of the air and turning them into a cohesive story. 

Since about Thanksgiving, all my good office habits seem to have flown out the back door. Not only is my desk cluttered, but it's mildly dusty. This simply won't do. 

My rings and watch don't belong on my desk when not being worn. They should be in the jewelry box. The battery for my heated vest was just fully charged and needs to be back in the vest. The remote controls go in a drawer, out of sight. 

I do hope this is not a sign of times to come. Retirement should not become a reason to allow my little sunroom office to develop a clutter problem. 

Maybe I should make keeping everything in its place a New Year's resolution. It certainly wouldn't hurt.


 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

Monday, January 10, 2022

Writers just wanna have fun

January 10, 2022

Today is one of those days when I'm practicing for my retirement. I have less than seventy official working days left before the BIG R. Hmm. Maybe what I'm really practicing is laziness. With so many options available to me today, I chose Twitter in the one o'clock hour and I'm glad I did. 

This little gem of a chart popped up in someone's feed and it had me smiling as I read each description. According to the chart, I'm almost exclusively a True Plantser. It's not that I don't see elements of each in my writing style, because I do, but I can't follow a script to save myself. 

As a newbie, I made outlines (still do occasionally), wrote character bios (still do occasionally), used a post-it note plot board (nope, it's trash), but only once have I mentioned... once? Maybe once, maybe twice. Yeah, I don't usually know anything about my character's socks. 

Now that I've read that on a chart I'll live in fear that the color of my character's socks will somehow make its way into every forthcoming story. Truly. And I'll be paying attention in every book I read henceforth to see if socks are mentioned. Such are the things I obsess about when it comes to writing. 

I enjoy finding these little gems on social media. My hat's off to cheyannealpka for creating the chart. I don't know that person, but I admire the creativity of such an endeavor.

No matter what your writing style is, it's YOUR style and you stick to it. Grab elements from each and make it your own. Nor do you need to approach every story the same way. Do what you need to do to get that idea seed to sprout and grow! 

So that's it for today. I'm going back to getting my lazy on. If you want to read about yesterday's pantry project, visit The Hideaway. I guess I don't feel the need to be productive every day. 

If you want to share Deuce's New Years' Eve day adventure, it's at Deuce's Day. 


 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

Monday, January 3, 2022

Christmas cards and countdowns

January 3, 2022

Starting the new year is stressful. People ask about new year's resolutions. I don't really make them, going instead with the general plans I always have. It's a bit different for the year 2022, as I am finally, finally, finally retiring. 

I would have been retired several years ago if the government had not fucked with the health insurance system. Free ME? Hell, no. It shackled me. Of course, I'm one of those who have always held a job and we're the ones punished for that. But I digress...

Yes, I'm bitter about having to work extra years. And I digress yet again...

This morning I almost took down the Christmas cards. It's my tradition to attach them to the basement door as they arrive each year. I took a picture and then got sidetracked before I could remove them. It'll happen sometime today. 

Christmas cards are a wonderful old tradition. Social media is fine, but there's something special about holding a greeting card in your hand. The person who sent it to you also held it and that's a connection you can't get from a digital card. 

I'm sure one of these days it will reach a point where no one sends cards. No one except me. As long as I can afford stamps, I'll continue the tradition. Some things should not be forgotten.


 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

Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve 2021: Retrospective and the Kendricks 1100


December 31, 2021

No day of the year is more bittersweet than New Year's Eve. It's a time of closing doors on those things we need to leave behind in anticipation of the promise of new opportunities in a new year. 

This year now closing has been a year of hard decisions for me and my partner. We struggled with a lot of issues - his health, how best to navigate the continuing Covid-19 crisis, my retirement, the Covid-19 vaccine, getting back to a more normal routine, his need for different transportation, and not least of all our shared concerns on how we will survive as the supply chain weakens. 

There was a time we looked forward to New Year's Eve and a party night with our friends. Well, if you have a disability, "friends" tend to "dis-include" you. We've learned our lessons well. 

Not counting the pages, my secret little realms as it were, this is entry number 1100 here at the blog. I began Between the Keys on January 1, 2008, with the announcement I was now writing as KC Kendricks and had submitted KC's first story to Amber Quill Press. It seems like a very long time ago. Before that, I wrote under the name Rayne Forrest, whose beginning goes back beyond January of 2003, when "Rayne" got her first contract. I do wish I'd not closed Rayne's first blog. I'd dearly love to have access to those memories. 

My life has taken turns I never expected, never worked for, never wanted. That's life. 

Covid-19 continues to impact our lives. In July of 2021, I'd had enough. I turned in my letter of resignation. It did not go well. My employer offered me the moon to stay. I laid out my terms and so I'm still employed with full benefits and a workweek that suits my schedule, not theirs. No matter. When my next birthday arrives, I will be retired. 

Now it seems there is another bend in the road. I've never worked as hard on anything in my life as I worked on my writing. It stretched me, shaped me, sustained me, but my vision of myself as a writer has shifted in kaleidoscope fashion, fracturing into shapes and colors that while are mesmerizing, never appear whole and static even with distance. 

I need some distance now if I am to reinvent and rejuvenate myself. The publishing world has changed greatly. Many of us never foresaw the decline of the online publisher. I worked with ten different epubs in my career and they are all gone but one. Independent vendors such as All Romance eBooks proved to have allegedly dishonest business practices.  Piracy of intellectual property continues unchecked. 

Yes, the closing of this year is bittersweet. Continuing to do things that don't encourage you to thrive isn't healthy. I'm stepping back. Will I continue to write? I honestly do not know. It's very difficult to imagine walking away from almost half my life. Perhaps it's how right it feels that scares me. I'll continue to blog at Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway) regularly. That blog is not about writing and is more of a journal. And Deuce will continue to blog at Deuce's Day for as long as he lives. He's the joy in my life.

I hope that I'll sit down at my computer one day and have the burning desire to write. I know I will and look forward to that day. But right now, I'm too emotionally exhausted by outside influences to write and a good rest - a legitimate rest - is all I need. I suspect when I can finally walk away from the day job FOR THE LAST TIME, a great weight will lift from me and I'll be ready.

I thank all of you for traveling this road with me. It has meant so much! Yes, that's easy to say but the words are heartfelt. Thank you!

We shall see where the new year takes me, what it brings to my life. I'm a bit curious to discover what doors open for me. What's out there is always interesting. 


Thursday, December 30, 2021

The ones I'll never publish


December 30, 2021

When I began my writing journey, I wrote what was once called science fiction. Somewhere along the line people started calling it "space operas" or speculative fiction. 

Speculative? Uh-huh. Thank you, Gene Roddenberry, because now we ALL have individual palm-sized communicators. 

The first science fiction book I read was Moon of Three Rings by the late, great Andre Norton. I was maybe nine or ten. Suffice it to say very young. That book, about a spacefarer who comes to inhabit the body of the barsk has remained clear in my mind throughout the decades. Even over half a century after it was written, Moon of Three Rings is an incredibly rich and nuanced story. I scrounged the used book store to find the earliest paperback edition I could locate and it has a place of honor on my bookshelf. 

Back in the late nineties, I had an idea for a trilogy. I built the universe and set the main characters - an heir, his half-brother, and his brother-in-law. They formed a Triad which gave them social and political influence and protection. I lived and breathed that universe for over a year until one day I began to write it out. Somewhere along the line, I realized it was a story I didn't want to share. Probably after I submitted it in an RWA contest and got an Honorable Mention. It's the only time I ever subbed in an RWA contest so I think I did pretty good. 

Bits and pieces of it have worked their way into various stories, albeit altered to fit different characters, but the whole is mine. 

In today's publishing world, if I cleaned up the manuscripts and published them, I'd be giving them away for free. The pirates would see to that and I won't allow them to have at it. 

The world turns. People change. I've changed. I used to think I would write books for the rest of my life, or at least as long as my fingers worked and the electricity stayed on. Now I don't know. 

The prevailing wisdom remains that readers like a good series. I've done them: The Rea Cheveyo Chronicles, the Sundown saga, Amethyst Cove, Centerville Muscle, Southern Cross, The Men of Marionville. Some of those series could continue for a long time, but unless I change my mind, they won't. It's selfish, but what happens on Ian & Rick's honeymoon is something I'll keep to myself. Does Sundown save his species? Of course, but what he and Fallon discover along the way, in spite of the clues I left, will never be told. Yes, there are many more stories to be told. 

Will I truly never publish them? I don't know. I'll have to change again, and change my mind, to write them. I've reinvented myself before and so I may again.

It is my hope that one day soon I'll be rested enough to pick up the craft again. I've been tested too often these past few years and yes, something within me has threatened to break. I've got to hide it away to protect it until it can spark back to life. 

Sound dramatic? Certainly, but it's what we writers do. We paint a dramatic picture with our words, and when people do nothing but steal our words, we, or at least me, stop writing them down. 

It may not be the best, first choice, but there it is. At least for a time.


Monday, December 27, 2021

The Elder and The Crone

December 27, 2021

I posted this over at Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway) last year. I don't write a lot of poetry, but every once in a while, the words come. Perhaps one day I'll have enough for a small volume. I hope so, anyway. -KC/Rayne

The Elder and The Crone

Of Christmas snow, I would wish
for it to kiss the ground
Pristine and white falling down, 
to the earth forever bound

Silent night gives way to day, 
quiet stirrings under brightest rays
The fire warms, the cat sleeps on, 
wrapped in quiet, steeped in peace

The elder and the crone, 
as we have now become
Sip coffee and smile, hidden behind our walls
Tasks fulfilled, our legacy fading (as it should)
Indulgent to our past, 
memories notwithstanding

KC Kendricks

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Day 2021

December 25, 2021

Peace be with you this day.

Christmas Bells
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men."

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021

December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve was magical when I was a girl. Aunts, uncles, cousins - we all gathered at Aunt Jane's house for dinner, which was her gift to us. In time that ended, and so it seemed so did my love of Christmas. It's never been the same for me without that gathering. 

The bells pictured are a handmade gift from my Aunt Jane, given to me for my first Christmas in the house I built in 1983. I still live in that house and Aunt Jane's bells are a truly treasured keepsake. 

One of my favorite passages about Christmas Eve comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It seems fitting to share it this year as, yes, the time draws near. 


Christmas Bells

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.

This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish’d no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:

But they my troubled spirit rule,
For they controll’d me when a boy;
They bring me sorrow touch’d with joy,
The merry merry bells of Yule.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The website situation is not improving

 December 23, 2021

My website woes continue. I knew when Yahoo dumped the old, reliable SiteBuilder software that having a .com would become problematic, and it has. Yes, there still is a, but at the moment it's simply a placeholder to get people to Between the Keys, Deuce's Day, and Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway). I really want to have a working .com but I'm not sure I'm up for the challenge. 

I freely admit I do not understand the online tools. It's all about loading pictures and not written content. 

I'm a writer. Words ARE my pictures. Am I frustrated? You bet. I've been to WordPress and that was a bit of a disaster, but out of necessity, I may go back. 

With my retirement clock irreversibly ticking down to the day, I'm officially on a writing hiatus. I need to wind up things at the day job and I know it's going to be stressful. Having the mental energy to write isn't going to happen. I'm not sure I'll have the energy to tackle getting a .com up and running again, either, but I'm going to give it a go. 

Today is Christmas Eve Eve, and there are things I need to do. I've valued my "vacation" days across the years, but I'm tired of having to cram laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, yard work, website building... and everything else that needs to be done to keep a home running into a few precious days away from the day job. I don't want to be busy - I want to relax and enjoy this brisk winter morning. I've missed too many of them as I've rushed off to the day job. Soon Ceasar will no longer rule my days. 

Where this day will take me is unknown, but for now, I work quietly while daylight creeps back into my world. It's the third day of winter, but there are signs of life in my woods. The old sycamore tree stands white and ghostly beside the creek, and the deer are looking for green shoots beneath it. 

Perhaps it's enough of a vision to see me through the day. We must persevere. 


 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

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Just another number

 December 17, 2021

It's just another number, right? Aside from the fact it's a number that says it's time for an oil change, that is. (The oil change is scheduled, by the way.) Forget the milage for a moment and groove on the 21.3 miles per gallon my fast little Charger gives me. That's not bad for a ride with some horsepower. And that's around town, not highway.

People get all freaky over the number six, but I refuse to buy into it. Everyone who has a motor vehicle will hit that number sooner or later. Does that mean your car is possessed for exactly one mile? Of course not. 

Our lives are controlled by numbers. From the moment of birth, we are assigned numbers - the day we were born, the time we were born, how much we weighed at birth, how long our new body is, the circumference of our skull. We've barely taken our first breaths and we have been numbered. 

My last two posts were all about numbers. How many days until I finally, finally, finally retire, and then about my November word counts

In seven days, we'll reach Christmas 2021. I think for many people, it will be a lot more normal than Christmas 2020. COVID-19 still wreaks havoc around the world, but like it or not, those suspicious vaccinations seem to be doing some good. Yes, we got jabbed but we've not yet reached a consensus on getting the booster - other than we're not ready at this point and it's not been ruled out. 

This will be my sixty-fifth Christmas. It will be number seventy-four for the spousal unit. We both have summer birthdays and so were not a year old at our very first Christmas. 

Numbers. We can't escape them. They are tools we use to measure aspects of our lives, nothing more. My car has a certain number of miles and there's nothing demonic about it. It's simply how many miles the Charger has been driven. The balance of my checking account is a set of numbers that represent how much money I have to use to live my life. Last night, I bowled a 604 series, or the total number of pins I knocked down within a certain number of measured frames. 

It's time to set some superstitions aside. It's not the numbers that hurt you. It's the people who manipulate the numbers. 


 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

Wednesday, December 1, 2021 did you do?

December 1, 2021

November was National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it's commonly known. I've never officially signed up but this year I thought I'd keep track of my word counts and see how I did. Not too bad, if I do say so myself. 

  • The most current WIP - 9835
  • Blogging at Between the Keys, The Hideaway, and Deuce's Day - 4896
  • And the difficult part tracking work correspondence - 30,194
  • Grand total = 44,925. That's a whole lot better than I anticipated. 

It was a worthy exercise and validated a few things I had a sense of but no solid proof. I do a lot of writing at my job because the upper echelons have discovered I've got a "knack for it." Ah, it amuses me to think of what they do not know, namely that I'm a published writer. That knowledge is going to be one of my parting gifts to them. Moral to that story - don't underestimate people. 

Keeping track of the word count at work also proved my theory of how much energy the job sucks out of me, energy I'd rather spend on writing a book. Thankfully, that will change in 2022, when I reach the line in the sand and hand over my keys to the office building. 

Blogging clocked in at a whopping 4896 words. Blogging can be a distraction, that's true, but putting my thoughts and experiences in print helps me to process some days. Some evenings, it calms me down and brings clarity, which in turn invites me to relax so I can sleep. 

I didn't do as well as I would have liked on the WIP, but I did work on it. I've never been one who can just spew out a story and then go back and fix the fuck-ups. I need to do that as I go along. And if I add an element seemingly out of the blue, I go back right then and there and make sure it fits as part of the earlier prose. It's just the way I do things. 

That's my report on my private corner of NaNoWriMo. It was a bit of this, a bit of that, not completely successful, nor was it a complete failure. And isn't that just the way life really is? 


 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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021

November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving used to be a wonderful day in my life. My maternal grandmother prepared a meal, with some assistance from my mother and my Aunt Jane. My grandmother and my aunt are gone now, long gone, and my mother is lost in whatever world she has found for herself.  Pray they find a cure for Alzheimer's, if not for her then for your own loved ones. 

Thanksgiving leaves me not very thankful this year. I've lost more than loved ones in this year. I've lost direction and drive. My talent is not diminished, but it needs to redirected. 

Back in 2017, I penned what is for me a rare poem. Sometimes I surprise myself, and I did that day. What a difference four years have made. 

As this year winds down, I'd like to share the poem again. I wonder now if back then I saw this time coming. My path has led home, strange as "home" is these days. 

Standing Guard

Long ago I tread a path
A misty woodland way
I had no company along the trek
So the trees could have their say

They spoke to me in silence
With movement seen not heard
And I replied in quiet kind
Walking without a word

The day ahead held demands
Devoid of mist and air
I could not whine or complain
Or do what trees don't dare

Beneath the ground unseen by all
Their roots do intertwine
Reminding me the path ahead
Leads home to all that's mine


Friday, November 19, 2021

How very annoying

 November 19, 2021

Nothing is ... almost nothing is more annoying than discovering a link one has been copying didn't copy correctly from the original. And of course, I did more than a little promo with that bad link. 

Now I do embark on some updating. Not what I planned for a Friday afternoon.  

Yes, I need some downtime. 


 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