Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Wine Trail - Sunset Hills Vineyard gets an A+

May 28, 2014

Warm weather means it's time to explore the highways and byways as we create our own wine trails. We gave serious consideration to taking one of the guided bus tours but as we still enjoy each other's company after more than twenty years, we know we do better on our own. 

Today's wine trail took us to five places. We laid out a driving loop and headed for Harper's Ferry. We knew of three vineyards we wanted to visit in that area last year but we ran out of time. This year we put them on the top of our list. In the order in which we visited them they were Breaux, Doukenie, Hillsborough, Loudoun Valley, and Sunset Hills.  Sunset Hills proved to be our find of the day. 

We have several pet peeves about about wineries, the lack of paved driveways and handrails for those with physical limitations being the main two. Other folks may not notice, but we do so I mention them as they apply. 

Loudon Valley  Vineyard wasn't open today but we were right there so we decided to drive in and check it out. Not a good move. I drove on the grass because the grass was smoother than the gravel lane. Sorry, folks. My car does not do potholes. You really need to fix the potholes. People notice potholes. Potholes are not a good thing. 

Doukenie Winery - another long and not so smooth lane but no potholes and not too bad at 5mph. The staff was very pleasant and friendly and that sort of offset the nasty lane. They do a lot of events and there was a group there planning a wedding reception.  We bought a bottle of their "every day" wine but even if it turns out we enjoy it, it's unlikely we'll make the drive back the half-mile lane again if they don't pave. Just because I have sturdy suspension on my Charger doesn't mean I plan to abuse it. 

**UPDATE** We opened the bottle and each took a sip. As we never planned to go back, neither of us was sad to pour the entire bottle down the drain. 

Breaux Vineyards - wow! WOW! What a beautiful place. Paved driveway! Paved parking! Handicapped accessible - not so much. There's a lack of handrails and the patio was very uneven which was a bit surprising given the general quality of everything. I'm guessing this past winter caused the tiles to heave and crack. But all-in-all a beautiful, beautiful facility. Definitely the most pricey vineyard I've ever visited and priced well above the per-bottle limit we set for ourselves when we began our wine odyssey. But did I mention the 'wow' factor the place has? 

Hillsborough Vineyards - again not too good in the handicapped accessible department. They didn't even have marked handicapped parking. My partner stayed in the car while I went inside and called him on the cell phone and read the entire wine list to him. The young man behind the counter was very helpful and offered to help my partner make it inside. But the problem was not getting him down the slope, but back up it to the car. I bought a bottle of Carnelian because the nice young man said it was his favorite. I hope it does turn out to be good as it was also the most affordable of our purchases today. Again, I doubt we go back because my partner would be unable to share in a tasting with me. Perhaps if they improve access for the handicapped they'll put that on their website. 

We opened the bottle of Carnelian to have with grilled chicken - very simple chicken with just salt and pepper and a touch of honey - and the wine was very good. We sampled half a glass before our meal was ready and it's definitely better with a meal than just sipped.

And that brings us to Sunset Hills and the lovely Jan. The driveway was not paved but it was firm and smooth with signs of regular maintenance. They not only had plenty of parking but handicapped parking and a drop-off point at a handicap access ramp. The steps were more like landings with short rises and good handrails. We stepped inside and Jan immediately - immediately - brought a chair to my partner. 

The "storefront" is in a rustic barn. It's difficult to tell if it's an old barn that was meticulously restored or a new construction. Either way, very nicely done. 

Since we knew this was our last stop of the day, we decided to share a glass of Sunset Rose. It's described as fruity with cherry, raspberry, lemon and melon, mid-palate, and off-dry. I would add there is no aftertaste at all which puts it high on my list of good wines. We asked for a bottle. Then in conversation with Jan we mentioned some of the other wineries we'd been to and some of the things we liked. Jan asked if I'd like a sip of the Cabernet Franc. It's a bold wine with a peppery bite that hits your tongue in a wonderful way and doesn't linger over long. We looked at each other and agreed it would be great with steak and a bottle of that went into the bag. We walked out of Sunset Hills with two bottles and a plan to return. 

**UPDATE** We enjoyed the Rose but decided the Cabernet Franc, while very, very good, wasn't a wine we'd like to sip by itself while relaxing on the patio. But it was good with steak. The Sunset Rose is something we would sip without food. 

We had a great day on our personal wine trail. Sunset Hills isn't exactly nearby, and not even remotely close to Knob Hall or Elk Run, but the next time we have the desire for a Sunday drive in the Shenandoah Valley, it's not too far to go. 

KC Kendricks

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kicking it old school

May 26, 2014

I enjoy my little corner of the world. Living "rural" isn't just where I live, it's a way of life. With that said I also enjoy all the modern electronic gadgets I can get my paws on. Computers, smart phone, Kindles, iPods, Bluetooth, laptops... Well, I used to have a laptop.

Sure, it was a dinosaur. It didn't even have an internal wireless card. I had to stick a "card" in the slot to go Wi-fi. It was my patio companion. It was my picnic table companion. I took it outside and did the digital version of scribbling down ideas.

A list here. A partial scene there. Some eye candy that I swear I don't know HOW it could have gotten there....

Do you know what happens when you drop an eleven year old laptop on a concrete patio?

You go back to kicking out the ideas old school with pad and pen.

KC Kendricks

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted - A Couple of Reviews

May 25, 2014

I'm generally remiss about posting reviews. I admit this with a clear conscience. The nastiness which permeates many so-called reviews and review sites really turned me off to the whole process which I know isn't fair to the truly professional reviewer. I do hope the tide has turned since the end of last year and we're entering into a renaissance of the legitimate reviewer.

Many thanks to Lisa at MM Good Book Reviews for giving Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted 4 Hearts. From the review: I really liked this story and definitely will be checking out the other books that this author offers. I would definitely be recommending this story. Read the entire review at MM Good Book Reviews here

Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted also garnered 4 Stars from Caroline at Prism Book Alliance. Caroline was pretty cagey and didn't give a "sound bite" I can use to promo her review, but her rating is definitely noteworthy so I'll give the link back since she did give it a 4 out of 5. 

And the absolute best of the bunch from a guy who really matters, a reader, who gave Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted 5 Stars. Check it out on here at Amazon. I'd love to reprint what he said but without his permission, that's a no-no. 

So that's it for today's review roundup. My thanks to Lisa, Caroline and Bo for reading the book and especially for taking the time to post a review. 

I'm off to enjoy day four of my vacation. May you also enjoy your day. 

PS. Bored Stroked and Blueprinted is available now at

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ah, vacation

May 24, 2014

My annual spring vacation started two days ago and I'm only now sitting down at the computer to do some work. That includes checking to make sure I emailed my bi-monthly entry over to Brenda Williamson for her An Eclectic Author blog. I think I did it, but I'm second-guessing myself this morning. I'm also telling myself I'm going to do more work than that but we'll have to wait and see what I actually accomplish on the writing front today. The good news is I may get a lot done because my knees and back are really stiff after what I subjected them to over the course of the last two days. 

Even more good news is my hardwood floor looks fan-fucking- tastic. You'll have to pardon me that I don't have a photo. It's an oak hardwood floor. It looks like a floor. But after two coats of a finish restorer, it's a gleaming work of art and I did it myself. The spousal unit took off to spend a few days with his brother and with him out of the house it was the perfect time to tackle a project that big. The most difficult part was the drying time between applying two coats of the product. With furniture stacked willy-nilly and the wet floor, I couldn't get to either front door or kitchen door and had to go in and out of the house via the sunroom. Not a problem, though.

With the end of May comes the beginning of the blooming season. I've scaled back my garden considerably in recent years due to the local deer. Ever read that a plant is "deer resistant?" Ha! My deer can't read but they can eat. This year the Gillian Blades clematis is full and lovely again. I thought I'd killed it when I moved it a few years ago but it proved the old gardener rule of three when you plant something permanent like a clematis. First year sleep, second year creep, third year leap. 

I have a much better view out the window since I got the new desk. The backyard is full of shafts of sunlight that entice me to go outside and sit on the terrace instead of write but I will stand firm in my resolve to get the words on the page  - at least until the temperature makes it to seventy. The writer needs some fresh spring air to stay motivated. 

What's the current work-in-progress? We're going back to Ian Coulter's Amethyst Cove. Ian and Rick each have a case that overlaps the other and both seem to involve movie star Saylor Blackwood. And you know how happy (not) that will make Rick since he thinks Saylor is much too fond of Ian. 

I'd better get to work if I want to get a chapter finished today. I'll be blogging again in a day or two! 


Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Cat Named Hercules and My Sexy Saturday

May 17, 2014
**Updated 4/2/21 - the My Sexy Saturday blog hop has been closed.**

Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys for another week of My Sexy Saturday. MSS has been on hiatus but it's back and going strong! Be sure to check out all the participants by using the linky-list at the end of this post. Romance is for everyone!

Here's seven sexy paragraphs from A Cat Named Hercules. Oh - do you see the little fellow on the cover? No, no. THE CAT! That's my very own "Hercules" posing for his first  - and last - cover shot. Talk about a cat with a swelled head...


I gulped the last bit of liquid in my glass and followed him all the way to his Jeep. With his head lowered, I couldn’t tell if he realized I was behind him or not. When we got to his vehicle, he must have seen my reflection in the darkened window glass. He turned, his eyes black and wild with a mix of fear and longing. I closed the distance between us. Galen’s arms snaked their way around my neck. We stumbled hard against the side of his ride. His hold tightened, and I seized the opportunity and covered his mouth with mine.

I felt the shock go through him, but I didn’t back off. I couldn’t. His lips slid over mine as he opened to me, a low moan rolling out of him and into me. He was alive under my hands as I caressed down his backside. His scent was in every rapid breath I managed to take. My cock filled in a few pounding beats. I gripped his hips and flexed my pelvis to his, eager to learn if he was equally hard. Galen sucked in a breath and tore his mouth from mine.

“Shiloh. Shiloh, I have to leave.”

Hot frustration burned inside me, but quickly cooled. He wasn’t playing with me. The man shook violently in my arms. An uneasy realization dawned. I cradled the back of his head and pulled him closer.

“Shh. Lean on me, Gale. Just let me hold you for a second. It’s okay.” I rubbed his back. “Talk to me.”

He eased away from me. “I have to go. I thought I was ready for this, but I’m not.”

“If you want me, know this. I definitely want you.” I reached for him, but he planted his hand in the middle of my chest and kept me at arm’s length.


About the book:

New in town, Shiloh Rudy joins a group of civic-minded
volunteers to better acquaint himself with his recently adopted community. It’s a good way to make friends, network, and help make a difference, not to mention perhaps meet someone interesting  - in a romantic sort of way. The one thing Shiloh didn’t expect was a love to rival all others to come with four white paws.

Gale Widmyer is on his feet and moving forward after piecing his life back together following a series of wrong choices. In his darkest moments, the one bright spot in his existence was the fulfillment of his dream to become a veterinarian. Gale’s making good on a promise to himself when an abandoned kitten leads him to Shiloh Rudy and a chance at the happiness he never hoped to have.

Laying the cornerstone for a developing relationship comes easy for Shiloh and Gale. But the wounds of the past often remain unhealed at their deepest point. A few careless words erects a wall of silence between the two men, one Shiloh has to breach if he hopes to win Gale back. It will take more than apologies to win Gale’s forgiveness and put old fears to rest. It’ll take a cat named Hercules. 

A Cat Named Hercules
Book five in the Men of Marionville series

Now available at AmazoniTunesBarnes and NobleKobo and other online book sellers


 KC Kendricks

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Kendricks 500

May 11, 2014

This is blog No. 500 here at Between the Keys. I wanted to mark the occasion with something special but several weeks of serious consideration hasn’t produced many suitable ideas. Between the Keys is where I lay it all out – all the personal stuff, all the opinions, all the gripes, all my hopes for those I love and for the future. I wanted blog #500 to be something profound.

I’ve concluded I should tell myself “Good luck with that” and move on, so I will. At least a wee bit. Bits and Pieces that is.

It’s Mother’s Day here in the US of A and I plan to go see Mom and take her a card. I generally search the racks for the perfect card but I never seem to find one that satisfies me. Mom loves every card I get for her just as I love (and keep) every card from her. I don’t think it’s a prerequisite for her to like them just because she’s my mother but maybe she thinks it is. This year it’s a Hallmark card, but some year’s it’s been Dollar Tree. If the message comes close, then I don’t care about anything else.

Changing gears, we’re now the proud? owners of a John Deere 1023 sub-compact tractor. I’ve bought cars with 15x more horsepower for a lot less. The spousal unit is happy. Me? I can see where it will make life on the mountain easier, but damn. There’s gold plating somewhere on that bitch. Has to be for the amount of money we shelled out on it.

A few years ago one of my sister-in-laws gifted us with a yellow lilac bush. It’s blooming and it’s purple. Go figure.

I just finished a story called Dreams to Sell . Dreams to Sell is about finding your dream house and someone to share it with.

If you’ve followed along you know I like American muscle cars and NASCAR. I’ve watched Danica Patrick with interest and she’s doing pretty well this year. It’s tough to be a lady and like fast cars. People think you’re crazy. No. It’s the vibrations. (just kidding) Being backed by Tony Stewart is a plus for her, too.

The sun is shining and the front porch is calling to me to take a cup of coffee outside and watch the grass dry. So this is it for the Kendricks 500. Maybe by the time we reach 600, I’ll find something profound to share. 

KC Kendricks

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Moon Dances

May 3, 2014

If it's Saturday, it's time for a blog hop. This week it's the Seductive Studs and Sirens Blog Hop. Be sure to check out all the SS&S blogs. 

About Moon Dances:

For Lieutenant Fallon Roxbury, Special Police Consultant, reality has taken on a strange shift. Shapeshifters exist and a clan of them live under his protection. One is his lover, Sundown. Protecting the Chal is a full-time job, a task which would be easier if they weren’t so secretive - and scheming. When Fallon’s police force partner suggests a vacation, Fallon jumps at the chance to take Sundown someplace private. A resort near where he grew up seems like the prefect place for a get-away. Ten days filled with sex, sleep and sun is just what they both need, but more than fun lurks in the woods.

The ancient nemesis of the Chal is still out there and could one day return to earth to enslave both Chal and human alike. Secrets of the Chal past come to light when Fallon’s suppressed memories of his early years resurface. The shapeshifters have always had a plan defeat their enemy, one with Sundown at its core.


Sundown’s easy laughter lifted my spirits as we fell into step together. I didn’t have a destination in mind, just the joy of walking along the edge of the woods hand-in-hand with my lover. Tomorrow would be time enough to venture among the trees and search for my old haunts.

The boat dock was about a mile beyond our cabin, and we ended up walking down to the water’s edge. As luck would have it, there was also a weathered bench, so we sat shoulder-to-shoulder and watched the crescent moon rise over the lake. I rested my arm on the back of the bench, and he leaned closer. Mingled with smell of the water and pines was a rich sandalwood— the scent my lover produced when he wanted sex.

“You could sit on my lap, babe.”

Sundown bumped against me. “Are there not laws to forbid such exhibitions?”

"I doubt the fish will take pictures.” I unzipped my jeans.


Moon Dances
Book IV of the Sundown saga
Please visit for a longer excerpt and third-party vendor purchase information.

Review info: Moon Dances received 4.5 Nymphs from Literary Nymphs


KC Kendricks