Saturday, June 26, 2010

Independence Day, books 1 & 2, by Christiane France

Back in my grandmother's day, the written word connected one to distant friends. The mailbox at the end of the lane was a lifeline to the outside world. And that world was smaller somehow. The letters my grandma exchanged with much-loved yet distant cousins are full of family tidbits, flowers and fabrics.

Today, the written word still connects us, but it is read on high definition, wide screen monitors, not ivory vellum. Saving a letter in its original, pristine condition is a click away. No longer do we need to scan through several letters to refresh our memory about Aunt Bessie's gall bladder. Letters are neatly filed, and searchable by our operating systems.

The Internet has delivered pen pals of this new media. Making friends who live far away is easier than at any time in our history. Christiane France is one of my new cyber friends.

Chris is a fellow writer, one of the original authors to be published at Amber Quill Press. Being a nice lady, Chris welcomed me to the company back in 2008, and we've corresponded ever since. Having read and enjoyed Independence Day, I posed the question to her, "What was the first thing Nick Gregorio said to you?" This was her reply:

"Independence Day was my contribution to the Blockbusters Pax. I'd played with several titles and ideas, but then Nick Gregorio appeared out of the blue and said, "I've played second fiddle to Al Martinsen's ambitions for entirely too long. Now, I'm making a stand. Either he moves to Vegas so we can be together, or we're done."

I love it when the characters tell the author what to do!

Thanks to Chris for agreeing to be on Between the Keys, and sharing her conversation with Nick. Independence Day, volumes 1 & 2, are just two of Chris' many titles. Check her out at Amber Heat and Amber Allure.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday and Sundry things of June

My life is a cycle of chaos and order. June, my birth month, seems destined to be a time of chaos. Perhaps 'chaos' equates to 'excitement' in my world. I do normally have a rather quiet life - and I like it that way.

This month started off with a wedding, a birthday, a week of vacation, a slightly tardy contractor, and an unpleasant surprise.

The wedding was quite nice. My spousal unit sang a solo, which made me tear up. I guess it's a good thing that after almost twenty years he can do that to me. My birthday came and went with a shower of cards and calls. Very nice.

The contractor was supposed to arrive and build a roof over my patio while I was on vacation. He didn't make it on time. Some people say never hire family, but I say call 'em up if they have a license to do the work and you can trust them to do a good job. In this case, when the young man said he was "stuck" on another job, I knew it was the truth, and not some contractor jive.

Bottom line - the roof is finished and I love, love, love my new patio space, and I'm dreaming of the next job for my contractor cousin - laying quarry tile on the patio next summer. I hope to score some new patio furniture when the seasonal sales begin since the roof actually came in under his estimate. Did my young cousin do a good job? Yes, he did. And if I have any problems, and he's slow getting here, hey, I know where he lives. He's family. I'll hold his wine chiller hostage if I need to.

As for unpleasant surprises, I've had two. My partner needed a little medical procedure. I'd go into detail, but all the men reading this would drop their mouse, grab their "boys," break out in a cold sweat, fall off their chair, and lie curled in a fetal ball, twitching on the floor. Suffice it to say, my hubby is fine now and everything seems to be in good working order.

The other unpleasant surprise is truly frightening. My stepdad, whom I think the world of, will be having open heart surgery to replace a faulty valve. It's a serious operation, but he's in otherwise good health, and went to the doctor as soon as he felt his heart rhythm change. This means the problem will be corrected quickly, and his overall health hasn't suffered. A plus, yes, but I'll be worried until the operation is over and he's back on his feet with a clean bill of health. I need him around for at least another twenty years.

So half of this June has passed, albeit in a blur. My TO DO list is growing. My writing, out of necessity, has slowed. It's hard to get the story out of my head and into the computer when I'm sitting in waiting rooms. But this, too, shall pass. Order will eventually be restored. Until then, I will enjoy my new patio space, cherish my loved ones, and try not to worry myself into a state of exhaustion.

All of it, good experiences and bad, make up who I am and how I handle the next Big Crisis. It improves me as a person as it adds layers of knowledge and confidence. My life, and my craft, will survive these short-term set-backs. I'm a tough old bird. I just wish I didn't have to keep proving it.

None of it matters in this moment. The sun is finally peeking through the trees, and it's a fine June morning. Family, chores and writing will have to wait just a wee bit longer. I'm taking my coffee outside, to my new patio space, and concentrate on nothing more than breathing.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zipper rippers?

Tales written in the romance fiction genre have often been referred to as "bodice rippers."

Since I'm writing contemporary gay romance, or m/m romance, does this mean I'm writing zipper rippers?


Saturday, June 12, 2010

The new roof and the hummingbirds

There is a big change happening at my place. I've lived here long enough to have paid off the mortgage, so I'm used to certain things like the sun beating down on the patio and cooking me if I'm foolish enough to be out there at high noon.

No more.

Workmen have been here this past week building a roof over the patio. It's been a long time coming, and I can't wait until they're completely finished. The fellows are almost done in that all that remains is for the flashing and gutters to be installed. By next weekend, quiet will be restored, and what outdoor furniture I have will be arranged. I may even go purchase a cheap carpet remnant. Emphasis on cheap. Maybe by next summer the money tree will bloom again, and we can upgrade.

When I let the dog out this morning, I took a few minutes to ponder a very important question: where to place the hummingbird feeder? If you've never had ruby-throated hummingbirds, you may not realize the important of this. Take it from me, you don't want to make a mistake. You'd better hang the feeder where the dominant bird in the neighborhood likes it. Oh, and don't let it get empty. Bad human! Hummingbirds will hover in front of your face and chitter at you. Those little brains 'get it', so you'd better get it, too.

I'm going to be a wimp and hang it as close to the same spot as possible, but a wee bit higher than the shepherd's hook it was on. A bracket can go on a post now. We have at least three males that hang around, and one is definitely The Boss. He guards the patio feeder with amazing aggression for something so small. We're not so sure he's in favor of the new roof. Time will tell if he stays, or opens the territory up for a more pleasant monarch to take over.

As usual, what's going on in my life has crept into a manuscript. A new character will buy his first house - a fixer-upper. I'm not sure if he'll meet a sexy carpenter or the guy across the street. One way or another, sparks will fly, and not from bad wiring. Isn't it amazing what the droning of an air compressor can inspire?

KC Kendricks

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vacation clutter

Listen... Do you hear it?...

It's the blissful silence of a Saturday morning. Man, dog and cat are all sleeping. I would be, too, but my messy desk needs some attention. Like it's getting it while I blog, huh? In a way, it is.

I've been on vacation from the day job this past week, and it didn't turn out to be the week I longed for. Lesson learned: leave home next time. Alone.

But that's beside the point. Organization and orderliness flew out the window this past week, and I need to sort through all this...crap...and get ready to get refocused on business. What better way to collect my scattered thoughts than to put them down in writing?

What doesn't belong on the desk? There's the pile of birthday cards, the Kindle, Kindle case, Kindle charger, camera, cell phone, jump drive, hand lotion, four ink pens, my contacts case, a new contract which should be in the mail, two WIP file folders, a quarter, a dime, a bottle of vitamins, and a set of batteries that need recharged. Okay, maybe it's not so bad, but it's clutter and represents some half finished thoughts and/or actions.

The Kindle should be INSIDE its case and the cord stored in the drawer with all the other gzillion chargers. Camera and cell phone should be in my purse, in their proper little pockets. The jump drive should be in the USB port where it can actually receive data. You get the drift.

Maybe it's a good thing to occasionally allow a little clutter to creep into our lives. Perhaps a vacation from inside responsibilities is as important as one from outside responsibilities. Looking at my desk this morning gives me an appreciation of the old saying, "a place for everything, and everything in its place." But you know what? They sky didn't fall because I didn't put two file folders away and put a little spare change in the old Jack Daniels bottle I use to collect coins. Even the Kindle lies in relative safety on top of its case far from the edge of the desk.

I'll finish this blog, pour another cup of caffeine, put everything away, and Swiffer the desk top. A symbolic clean sweep to end this "vacation." And those birthday cards? I'll save them for last so I can re-read each of them and say a little prayer of thanks for the sender, and what they mean to my life. I may just keep them on my desk for a few more days to keep my friends close in my heart. That's the kind of clutter I can live with.

KC Kendricks