Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Road Just Traveled - Looking Back at 2010

December 22, 2010
**Post updated 4/12/2017 and 4/2/21**
**Amber Quill Press has closed and the paperbacks are no longer available**

It’s the time of year when it doesn’t matter what blog you read, you’ve got a better than fifty-fifty chance of landing on some version of “My Year in Review.” I don’t think it’s so much that we authors who blog are looking for material to post, but more that it’s a time for us to gather our thoughts and energies and focus on our future.

What better way to look forward than to first look back? To understand the road just traveled guides us around the potholes in the road ahead. Those who stop here at Between the Keys are my honored guests, and welcome traveling companions. So what is newsworthy about the year 2010? Let’s look back and see.

The year started out with the release of two paperback compilations. I can’t say enough nice things about Amber Quill Press, and their paperback program is just one of the great marketing tools they have in their arsenal. Night Moves*, which contains my favorite story Tango in the Night, and Give Me One Night, was released at the turn of the last new year. I love the Night Moves cover! It’s my favorite of all Trace Edward Zaber has done for me. This talented cover artist is another reason AQP tops my list of publishers.

At the Southern Cross, a three-story compilation that includes Netting Neptune, Taming Triton, and Poseidon’s Pleasure, was also released near the first of the year. Poseidon’s Pleasure is my second favorite story of among those I’ve written. Having paperbacks available is such a treat for me, the author. Ebooks are the way of the future, and in my case outsell the paperbacks probably about 100 to 1, but I still enjoy having a stack of MY paperbacks on my nightstand. Call me old-fashioned for having this one little backward-thinking indulgence.

The first new release of the year was Shine A Light. A difficult story to write, I struggled with how far a “romance,” even a contemporary gay romance, should tread into the topic of HIV. In the end, I have to ask if I handled the subject to the best of my ability for my readers. How sophisticated has the romance reader become? It wouldn’t bother me one iota to read a story where one character was HIV positive, but I’m looking at it from the mixed perspective of writer/reader.

Shine A Light was quickly followed by In the Limelight, another paperback that includes Shine A Light, and Seducing Light. (In the Limelight went out of print 3/31/16.) As I’ve stated, Amber Quill Press has a lot going for it, and offering the author the opportunity to have each book in both ebook and paperback, thereby broadening availability, is a marketing program other publishers would do well to adopt.

April brought the release of A Hard Habit to Break, the first of many stories set in the fictional town of Marionville. Some of you may be familiar with the term ‘world building,’ and this is what I’m doing in Marionville. I’ve developed a town/city setting in which to create a
community of characters. The books won’t be sequels to each other, but you may discover that your favorite characters from A Hard Habit to Break are still happy together when you read Open Roads, and What You Don’t Confess.

Between A Hard Habit to Break and Open Roads there was a neat little shapeshifter story entitled, The Back Stairs. This is the first shapeshifter I’ve written as KC Kendricks, and I had a lot of fun with it. Sundown is a different sort of shifter, and it’s not your standard shapeshifter story. The transformation is not the main event – the romance is, and to that end, the human half of the pairing stumbles a bit on his way to accepting the differences between himself and his lover. Metaphorical? You decide. I’ve actually just completed a sequel to The Back Stairs, and hope to delight my publisher by getting a cover blurb written so I can send it in. Will he be delighted? One hopes.

So that’s a surprising look back. I had five new books released in 2010, along with four paperbacks. You’d think I wouldn’t lose track since it’s my backlist, but I don’t often stop and take a long, retrospective look back at my body of work. When it comes to many things, including writing, my focus is forward.

My year closes with a sense of accomplishment. I’ve grown in my writing and learned a few things, which I endeavor to do at all times. Life and living go hand-in-hand with learning, whatever your passion. Outward growth is encouraged by inward growth, even if the universe sends us in marvelous, unexpected directions.

I’ve been happy at my keyboard throughout 2010, finding secrets between the keys. As we dive headlong into the holiday season, that’s good enough for me.


 KC Kendricks

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

2010 LBGT Rainbow Awards - An Honorable Mention for Tango in the Night

December 12, 2010

Congratulations to all the winners and to all those who received an honorable mention in the 2010 LBGT Rainbow Awards sponsored by Elisa Rolle.

What sets this award apart, other than Ms. Elisa Rolle herself, is that there are no fees and no payments. Any LGBT book published in the last year may be entered, and readers do the judging. A few authors are also invited to judge, but not in any category they may have entered a book.

I'm pleased Tango in the Night was selected as an Honorable Mention in the Best Gay Erotic Contemporary. It's a book I believe in, a story which became my favorite before I'd finished writing it.

To check out the entire 2010 LGBT Rainbow Award winners and honorable mentions, click here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Remembering old friends

I came to writing contemporary gay romance by a circuitous path. I’d been published for several years in the world of erotic romance under a different nom de plume. It was fun, and rewarding, and I enjoyed it immensely. For those reasons, it came as quite a surprise to me to wake up one morning and know that if I wanted to continue to write, I had to change direction. I'd grown through my writing, now my writing had to grow with me. But what path to take?

No, slash fiction wasn’t my first thought, but the universe works in mysterious ways. I sat down at the computer and opened my calendar. The reminder, “J-s birthday,” popped up. My friend would have been fifty that day, had he not died so young.

J-’s home was the first house over the line to attend a different elementary school, and as we entered the same middle school together, we started to hang out. Did I suspect he “didn’t like girls?” By the time we were in high school, certainly. Did it matter? Not a bit. We were buddies. In 1975, our senior year, he had a copy of The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren. He handed it to me and told me to read it. I did. When I returned the book, he asked me if I knew what it meant, and he asked me if we were still friends. Silly boy.

To keep the story short, I got my copy of The Front Runner off the shelf, where it had resided unopened for so many years, and reread it. But I didn’t need to open it to know it. I first read the opening line in 1975, but I remembered it like it was yesterday. TFR remains one of the most hauntingly powerful stories I’ve ever read.

J’s fiftieth birthday was the day I decided to write a contemporary gay romance story for him. It snowballed from there. I like to think of him perched on the hood of his 1965 Impala, that damned unlit cigarette tucked behind his ear, and smiling his I-know-a-secret smile at me.

What would he be like today? Would he be happy? Would he have someone special in his life? Would he like the stories I write for him?

I think he would.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Amber Allure November 2010 Top Ten List

4/24/16 - This entry contains updated information but it doesn't change the fact What You Don't Confess hit the best seller list.
* * *

I suppose it's okay to brag just a tad over this - What You Don't Confess was the NUMBER 2 BEST SELLER during November 2010 for the publisher.

In case you missed it, What You Don't Confess was the NUMBER 2 BEST SELLER during November 2010 for the publisher.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's so unbecoming to go around shouting and bragging and carrying on like it's a REAL BIG DEAL or something, but sometimes a writer just has to seize the moment and get it out of their system so they can get back to work. So let's call this one of those moments, and move on to something more important, which is just about anything else I could name - ending world hunger, world peace, cure for cancer. That sort of thing.

More important than my own spot at number two - a big CONGRATULATIONS to everyone else on the list. We're a hard working bunch. Well, except when we're bragging and resting on our laurels, which I'm going to stop doing right now because I really do have a pile of work to clean off my desk before the weekend.

November 2010 Top Ten

1. Tensaw Blues - T. D. McKinney & Terry Wylis (Gay / Contemporary)
2. What You Don't Confess - KC Kendricks (Gay / Contemporary)
3. Once Upon A Secret - Christiane France (Gay / Contemporary)
4. (Boys Of The Zodiac) Scorpio: The Heart To Help - Jamie Craig (Gay / Contemporary)
5. Runes Of Revelation - Deirdre O'Dare (Gay / Dark Fantasy)
6. (Boys Of The Zodiac) Sagittarius: Mr. November - Pepper Espinoza (Gay / Contemporary)
7. Out On The Net - Rick R. Reed (Gay / Contemporary)
8. Manfred's Curse - Shawn Lane (Gay / Shapeshifter)
9. Island Heat - A. J. Llewellyn & D. J. Manly (Gay / Contemporary)
10. Tough Guy - Bryl R. Tyne (Gay / Western)

What You Don't Confess is available now at 
AmazoniTunesBarnes and NobleKobo and other online book sellers.

KC Kendricks