Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shine A Light by KC Kendricks

contemporary gay romance
available now at 

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After being viciously outed by his spiteful ex-lover, Van MacKenzie, fallen Hollywood and Broadway star, lands on stage in a small town community theatre - and in the arms of set designer Shane Hollister. Van knows his attraction to the talented young man could seal the fate of his career, but he can’t resist having a ‘summer thing’ while performing at The Globe. When an act of violence catches them unaware, Van recognizes the message was really meant for him. Walking away from Shane might be the smart thing to do to keep him safe.

Shane Hollister had established himself as a Broadway set designer before his father’s accident forced him to move home to St. Charles. Needing work, Shane accepts a job at The Globe. To his surprise, the small operation equals any big city production. When Donovan “Van” MacKenzie signs on for the new show, Shane grabs the chance to have a summer fling with his big screen idol, refusing to allow Van’s past to intrude.

Shane knows he has only one chance to catch a fallen star, and keep him for his own.


When I stepped out of the men’s room, Shane waited for me.

His drawn, pale face, and the dark smudges under his eyes made me pause.

“You look like hell.”

“I feel like hell. I don’t know how to make things right with you if you won’t believe me.”

“I believe you, Shane. You said you didn’t know he was coming here. Well, okay. People surprise us. I know that. But he is here, and you are involved with him, and I can’t afford the distraction.”

That wasn’t what I wanted to say to him. It wasn’t even close. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and tell him to send Doug packing. I needed him to prove to me he wasn’t planning to fuck me and any other guy at the same time. But one trick with him didn’t give me the right.

He nodded, his eyes sad. “I don’t know what else to say except I’m sorry, Van.”

The ice around my heart cracked. I managed a smile for him. “I’m sorry, too.”
Shane reached out and smoothed the lapel of my jacket, although it didn’t need it. This might be as close as I ever got to him again. God help me, but I couldn’t walk away without touching him one more time. I grasped his hips and pulled him, unresisting, to me.

His arms snaked up around my neck, holding me with his fierce, young strength. We pressed together, chest-to-chest and thigh-to-thigh. I breathed in his scent and kissed his hair, committing the feel of him to memory, then I gently pulled away.

“I’m flying back to the city tomorrow, and then driving my own car back on Tuesday. I’ll put the key under the mat and leave your car at the cabin since you have your keyless entry.”

His hands came to rest on my shoulders. “How are you getting to the airport?”

“I cut a deal with one of the boys who work at the resort. He’s agreed to be my go-fer when I need one, provided he’s off-shift.”

Shane accepted that, nodding, his gaze somewhere past me. I was poignantly reminded of his youth. Would he listen to my advice?

“Shane, if you have any doubts about Doug, do yourself and him a favor, and end it. I didn’t do that with Lynn and I paid a high price for it.”

“It’s not like that, man! I told you. I don’t sleep with him any more. That’s in the past. We’re just friends now.”

“Lot’s of things are in the past,” I told him as gently as I could. It was all over him that he wanted to argue with me, but his shoulders slumped, and his eyes had a vacant look to them. It took every ounce of willpower I possessed not to touch him again.

“Shane, what’s really wrong?”

“Nothing. You don’t want anything to do with me. Well, okay. I’ll get over it.” With that he turned and walked away, his long strides quickly putting a lot of distance between us.

I watched him go with a sinking feeling in my gut. I’d bungled that, and badly.




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KC Kendricks
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Togetherness, house cleaning, and who's fixing lunch

Yesterday, for some odd reason, the spousal unit and I had a touch of spring fever and cleaned house. With all the snow we’ve had this year, the dining room became a staging area for dressing and undressing. Right inside the back door – shovel and the bucket of snow melt. Center of the room: four coats draped over four chairs. Gloves lined up down the long side of the table on placemats to dry. Under the table – three sets of boots, one pair of slippers, an extension cord for the snowblower and a small toolbox. At one time, we even hung wet scarves over the light fixture to dry, but at least we took those down as we went along.

Yes, the room needed a little work, and we decided the time had come. Maybe it was the need to clear a space so we could sit at the table together and enjoy Saturday morning coffee that tipped the scales. It led to the discussion of whether of not we needed a mudroom, but you know what? I refuse to sweat the small stuff, and having the dining room be messy for a few weeks, out of necessity, is really teeny, tiny stuff. I might be of different mind if didn’t have a lot of throw rugs to protect the oak floor, but hey, old towels would have worked as well. Small stuff.

After coffee, we tidied up, loaded our weapons and went to work. I put a new bag in the vacuum, and went to the opposite end of the house while he attacked the dust with furniture polish. We passed in the middle.

What was to be a simple dust and vacuum day, turned serious. Woodwork got wiped down, ceiling fans got cleaned, crystal stemware (which hang from a custom rack built by my honey over the kitchen island) got a rinse in the dishwasher. We went a little crazy for it only being the end of February with lots of wet weather to come. It was worth it, though, because we did it together.

If you’re wondering, no, helping with housework did not come naturally to the spousal unit. It took two rounds of cancer, and watching me slave at a full-time job I’m not fond of and manage a successful writing career while taking care of him and our home, for him to realize he really hadn’t done enough to carry his half of the Life Together load. I wish he’d share the details of that epiphany, because I’d write it down for future reference. But that’s history and not today.

This morning, he’s sitting in our very clean dining room, waiting for me to finish this blog entry so I can join him. I’m pondering whether or not yesterday was enough togetherness for one weekend. Chapter seven of the current work-in-progress is calling, and this chapter contains the Big Reveal. I feel like a junkie today, and I need a fix of prose more than another shot of caffeine.

I guess I’ll go join him for half an hour. I can enjoy my spotless office after I enjoy my clean dining room. If I play my cards right, he’ll fix lunch and I can bang out the whole chapter today. I wonder if he’ll take the dog out on the patio and brush him, too? I guess that depends on when the Las Vegas race coverage begins.

So, there you have it - a slice of the writing life for February 28, 2010. Not so glam, but certainly glorious!

KC Kendricks
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Twenty Questions?

**Since this post was originally posted, a lot of changes have happened. Between the Keys is now my home on the web.**

February 20, 2010

Questions. We all get questions. I was over on the Talking Two Lips list the other night, doing some promo, and the list owner posted a few questions for all the Amber Quill authors. I don’t mind answering questions at all, but when I only have an hour to post excerpts and such, if I take the time to answer, I don’t get anything about the books out. It’s a real Catch 22.

Well, maybe I’ve solved the problem. Maybe. I’ve added a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page to my website to give a few answers. The questions found there are from myriad sources, public and private. I selected what I think are what most people would be curious about, which doesn’t include what books I’d take with me to a desert island.

I publish and purchase electronically. I’d take all of them on the ebook reader of my choice, of course.

Good answer. I’ve changed my mind. I think I WILL add that one.

KC Kendricks
My home on the web- Between the Keys:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Panic Mode

A few weeks ago, my computer got zapped with a bug. I visited a reputable review site, and POW! BAM! WHAM! It goes to show infections are not always due to careless behaviour. Anyway, I didn't worry much. I keep redundant data backups, and make sure all my software is on discs, so I hit the button, wiped the hard drive clean, and reloaded. Problem solved, with a big bonus. A clean drive is a magical thing, let me tell you.

Weeeeell, last night the latest update on Windows, or Java, or whatever the heck it was came in, and my computer did a restart. Only, it didn't. Restart, that is.

No, really. The OS didn't load. It sat there, not even blinking. This was something new and different. I know when it's time to panic, and it was time, so I did.

Think? Problem solve? Oh, no, no, no. I went into PANIC MODE. I went straight to my last resort. I ran from my office, got between my hubby and the NASCAR truck race (at Daytona, no less) and yelled for help.

Do you know how utterly infuriating it is when they just sit there and stare at you? Why didn't he feel my pain? I'm sure it had something to with my waving arms blocking the television. But after almost twenty years, he should understand how devastating this situation was, right?

Maybe he did. Who knows? Anyway, he looked at me and calmly instructed me to pull the power cord from the processor, wait sixty seconds, then plug it back in and see if it would boot.

I hate it when he's right.

KC Kendricks

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Somewhere between fantasy and reality

February 10, 2010

It’s snowing. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, you’re well aware it’s snowing. Last Friday, we had twenty-two inches land on my front porch. Today, five days later, there is an additional eighteen inches out there. I know because I shoveled my front porch last Sunday. Now I’ll have to do it again. No, it does not make me happy. The snow doesn’t make me happy. It has wreaked havoc with my concentration, but what else is new in this New Year?

Being home on a week day is a treat, though. It’s almost like playing hookey. Almost. The fact of the matter is it would have been the height of stupidity to leave the safety of home today.

I’ve always had this fantasy about what my days would be like – WILL BE LIKE – when I officially retire from my day job and I’m home every day of the week. Not long ago it occurred to me I was in the home stretch of my working years. By the time I walk out of my business office, and take up full time residence in my writing office, I will have worked fifty-and-one-half years. If I work until what the government says is my Social Security full benefit age, that is. Whenever I make it to full-time writer status, I’m ready.

In that perfect world, my day begins around six a.m. in a quiet house, and a slowly sipped cup of coffee. If you live with another person(s), you probably have that same appreciation for moments of quiet. If not, this is my fantasy, so stick with me here.

After a leisurely cuppa, I check my email. Since it’s fantasy, I’ve no junk mail to sort through. (You’re with me now, aren’t you?) Email handled, I get a second hit of caffeine, eat breakfast, then put on my writer’s hat for an hour or so, and bang out a chapter. A whole chapter. Without pauses or breaks. The words flow. Fantasy, remember? Once that is done, I join the household for two hours or so, and get lunch out of the way. Then I whip out another complete chapter, after which, it’s a leisurely evening on the veranda.

I really do hope my days will be something like that, but I know they won’t. Like today with the falling snow, there will always be a distraction to enjoy. Part of the fun of living is the distractions, the participation in all those little things I miss working under the umbrella of “making a living.” And while I did get some writing done today, and wish I’d done more, my day was well spent.

Maybe not every day has to be fantasy perfect. Maybe perfect days become boring, like the Weather Channel playing in a loop. Coming into the evening hours, I have a feeling of accomplishment knowing I checked in with a few friends, had some quality time with the spousal and parental units, worked at the writing, and managed a few household chores. Those things left undone do not trouble me.

Perhaps fantasy pales in the face of reality, although one can still dream.

KC Kendricks

Friday, February 5, 2010

Of winter snows and urban legends

February 5, 2010

The weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow is pretty, well, bleak. A winter storm has us in the crosshairs, and up to thirty inches of snow is possible. This is not so good. The bumper of my old Chevy truck can only push up to about twenty inches. After that, I’m stuck, with a lot of gravel lane between me and where the snowplow goes.

Actually, I don’t think I mind too much.

I just finished a story, and submitted it, last evening. It was one of the few I’ve written to a firm deadline, and I’ve discovered other people’s deadlines don’t work well for me. The writing flows much better if I stick to my own timetable. I can hear the professional writers out there snickering, saying that writing to a deadline is necessary, and I do agree. But I could have had that thing finished a month ago if a third party hadn’t set the deadline. I had way too much slack time.

And with that said, I now have to admit that I will be slacking until I get the edits for “Shine a Light,” which is due to be released February 21, 2010. Another little problem I have. Starting something new with an edit imminent. The focus wanders.

It’s time to kick back, watch the snow fall, and recharge a few creative batteries. And yet, give me a weekend away from this passion called ‘writing,’ and I’ll be like a junkie needing a fix. No joke. I must write. Here I am blogging because I know not to start a new story. I must write. God help me if the power goes out and my computer goes down for more than a few minutes. I’ll snap.

I’m not fooling anyone, even myself. I won’t watch the snow accumulate. I won’t take a nap, work a puzzle, catch up the laundry, or even read a book. If I need a recharge, I’ll slug down some caffeine. I have a new story in mind, and it’s a little different from anything I’ve done – urban legend.

Recently, I read a blog about growing and stretching as a writer, and I knew it was time to do just that. It may be the only one I ever do, or it may be the start of something wonderful. Only time will tell. But I can’t wait to get moving on it!

Stay tuned.

KC Kendricks
My home on the web- Between the Keys:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor


Monday, February 1, 2010

I guess I should have listened

February 1, 2010

Here’s the outsiders view, looking in. I’ve been buried in a story, so following all the little online dramas has been out of the question. Writing comes first with me. Always. But here’s my take on the latest in the saga.

A few days ago, Amazon pulled all of a particular [really big, big] publisher’s ebooks off their website. Why? Because the publisher apparently thought the ebooks were under priced (at somewhere around ten bucks a pop, say what?).

It seems Amazon, that hulking giant that makes a fortune every day by selling [fill in the blank] to the world, must not know its customer’s financial limitations. I find this curious since Amazon’s only business is selling product. If there is one thing those folks know, it’s the cyber marketplace.

Not that they haven’t stumbled - George Orwell, anyone? Have your Kindle hacked, anyone? Bury the glbt books in a back cyber-room, ya dumb shits? But I think the powers that be there are capable of learning by their most public foibles. Embarrassment is a great teacher.

Today I read where those ebooks removed a few days ago are coming back, and at the higher prices the publisher wanted. Well, maybe not all the way up there pricewise, but higher than they were, okay just go with me here. As a writer, this should make me happy, right? Not exactly.

For those authors whose ebooks have just been priced out of range for so many people who are part of the ebook buying public, hey, I feel bad. I might be in the minority, but I think it far better to move five hundred copies at two bucks a download than three hundred at three dollars a download. Do the math. That’s two hundred more READERS. Without the readers, you’re done, no matter how much money you do, or don’t, make.

When I first started writing, ebooks were in their infancy. Every ebook author I came up with spent a lot of time telling people what a good thing ebooks are for planet Earth. I happen to believe that, too. Yes, a few of my stories have been put into paperback compilations, and guess what? My ebooks sell better.

Why? I think it’s the pricing more than anything else, but going green has a bit to do with it. In our current ‘green’ culture, people want to do what they can to help. Buying an ebook is a small gesture with ultimately big results when combined with millions of other people doing the same thing. I’ve saved a lot of trees, and I’m damned happy about it! Trees are the greatest air cleaners we have.

And then there is the cost of producing those five hundred ebooks as compared to five hundred pulp books. Hmm. We’ve all thought about that. No pine forest to manage. No loggers cutting trees down on reality television. No god-awful stench from water polluting paper mills. Yes, it costs to produce an ebook, just not that much.

I don’t know what the ebook royalty rate is on those previously available in hardback only books, but I wonder who gets the biggest slice of the pie. I bet it’s not the author. And that’s a shame, because for once, I think Amazon had it right. I think ten bucks is too high for an ebook in our economy today, and someone over in their New York ivory tower is going to end up wishing they would have listened.

Yeah, burn me at the stake now.

KC Kendricks