Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 - Looking back at a year of change

December 30, 2017

This has not been a year I will remember with much gladness. Much of what I'd hoped to accomplish is left undone. If I simply say I'm caring for aging parents, most of you will know exactly what that entails and I need not expand on the facts. It's been a year of change. Nonetheless, I won't be deterred. Slowed down, yes. Stopped, no. 

Now on to the writing front! 

First up in 2017 was Undeniable. I didn't do much of a re-release launch for this one due to how many copies went out in the original release. To my chagrin, I missed out. I should have done more promo because it went well again. I highlighted this book on January 14th, which just happens to be Deuce's birthday. He was one year old, and as we approach his second birthday, he is undeniably a joy in my life. MSS also went on hiatus with a projected return date in June. It didn't happen and after all this time I doubt that vehicle will return. 

In February, Bourbon and Blues debuted! It's always fun to take two characters and plop them down in circumstances they'd never find themselves in on a good day. Kory and Griff meet in the drunk tank, a place neither of them had ever been before, nor will be again. Lady Fate does like to have her fun although getting locked in a cemetery after hours is, I admit, nothing I would chuckle about. 

Bourbon and Blues is part of The Men of Marionville series. Dylan, Cassidy, and Leon make cameo appearances. Revisiting old friends is why I love this series so much. It's nice to check in with them to see how they're getting along. 

In March I performed an experiment with the Sundown Saga. I *think* that story is finished although as a writer I know to never say never again or there will be more. My experiment consisted of putting all five Sundown stories into a mega-book with a limited release. Strangely enough, it depended on the vendor as to how well received it was. Amazon, with all the free stuff, was a bust. I may offer the mega book again sometime, but not on Big A. 

I sat out the 2017 A to Z Blogging Challenge due to changes in the format. Guess what? I didn't miss it. I was too busy putting the finishing touches on Chain Lightning, which has been re-titled Lightning Shifts

I like to call Chain Lightning a contemporary shapeshifter. Eli and Rio are true shapeshifters, able to take on any form the situation calls for. I think it's more fun than having them restricted to just one creature's alter ego. Maybe I should stop watching Ancient Aliens. 

By the time May rolled around I grappled with what has been a constant burr under my saddle - noise. Specifically, the noise the man of the house creates when watching any sport on the television. The 2017 baseball season promised to be rather miserable. I gave up my lovely merlot-inspired office where every story I'd ever written to that point was created. I moved to the sunroom, desk, computer, lock, stock, and dog. It's much, much quieter. And with windows on three sides, very light and breezy. I catch myself staring out the windows instead of working. I will confess comfortable digs doesn't negate the feelings of resentment I continue to harbor after being driven insane by the ceaseless shouting at the TV screen. ("And that, Your Honor, is when it happened.")

Next on the agenda was the re-release of Passion's Victory. This story was a Romance Studio CAPA nominee in its debut back in 2008. It's a complex story - an age difference, an on the job romance, grief, and having the courage to make a leap with someone who has an uncertain future. Even with all that, the ending is one of hope and victory. I love this story as much today as when it was written. 

Several years ago, I co-wrote two series with Christiana France. With the closing of Amber Quill, we decided to each take a series and run with it. I pulled the card for The Ghost at the B and B and she got The Escort. We maintain equal writing credits on the covers and copyrights. I'm delighted with the way it worked out. The Ghost at the B and B is actually three stories combined into one edition. Writing the ghost gave me idea after idea for more ghost stories. All I need now is time. The series is set in Williamsburg, Virginia, which is one of my favorite vacation destinations.

July brought another re-release, or rather two. Shining Victory and No One But You tells the story of Stacy and Levi. Shining Victory is written from Stacy's point of view. No One But You picks up five years later from Levi's point of view.  I re-read the pair before the re-release and was amazed I wrote them. 

Life intruded in the second half of the year. I was needed elsewhere and all the best-laid writing plans needed to be put on hold. But one thing was ready - Surrendered Victory. Surrendered Victory is where it all began for KC Kendricks. Sometimes it's difficult to believe I've been "KC" in my writing life for ten years now. 

Surrendered Victory represents several "firsts." The first contemporary gay romance I penned, the first KC book, the first acceptance at Amber Quill which was a good company back in 2008. I still consider it to be one of my finest works. 

Currently, there are two works-in-progress. One is another installment in the Men of Marionville series and the second has a ghostly theme. The MOM story is all but finished, the friendly spirit barely begun. I'll get there, eventually.

The year of our Lord 2017 didn't pan out as I hoped. One of the better things about gaining life experience is one learns to roll with what comes your way. The needs of loved ones has me moving in a reactive mode instead of a proactive mode. My mother has Alzheimer's Disease and if 2018 sees her passing, that will bring a mixture of sadness and relief. It will also bring a new phase of living to my life. When it happens, as it surely will, my hope is to return more fully to the pages and submerge myself back into writing. For now, the writer is forced to operate on the fringes but she's still operating. 

I hope you'll come with me, down into the spaces between the keys.

The 2016 Retrospective

The 2015 Retrospective

The 2014 Retrospective

The 2013 Retrospective

The 2012 Retrospective

KC Kendricks

Friday, December 29, 2017

I not a subversive individual, honest I'm not

December 29, 2017

Every once in a while, a person reaches the end of their endurance. That day came for me on Wednesday. I'd been trying without success to update my stepfather's method of payment on one of his insurance policies. The company, Cigna, refused. 

It didn't matter he's in the hospital.
It didn't matter I had all the information.
It didn't matter I have complete legal Power of Attorney. 

The people at Cigna said they couldn't update the payment information because of the HIPAA laws. 

HIPAA was enacted to protect a person's MEDICAL information. 

I didn't, nor do I, need his medical information. I'm willing to bet I know more about his health than Cigna does. All I needed to do was update his method of payment from a debit card to an auto-pay, which his bank said is more secure. 

At my wit's end, I tweeted a nasty little note to Cigna - and got a response. Problem now resolved. 

It should never have gone to that point. 

We didn't need to spend $400 on Power of Attorney papers. 

We simply needed the Power of the Tweet. For free.

KC Kendricks

PS. The next contestant is in my crosshairs. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Take that, you ghosts of Christmas

December 26, 2017

I heard a bird sing in the dark of December.
A magical thing and sweet to remember.
                                   - Oliver Herford

The ghosts of Christmas past kept me awake last night. They came to remind me of how very blessed I've been in my life and how life changes. 

The ghost of Christmas present was absent and no wonder. We didn't have our traditional Christmas.

The ghosts of Christmas future are pouting because we're not buying into their little Ponzi scheme. 

We had a remarkably quiet Christmas. My partner's parents are gone, as is my father. My mother has Alzheimer's and is in a care facility. My partner isn't all that close to his children due to geography. For the first time ever we had Christmas dinner for just the two of us. 

We could have gone next door to my cousin's home. We had the invitation and I would have enjoyed sitting at their table, but we decided quiet would be a good thing for us at this juncture. Perhaps, I very much hope, the invitation will be extended again next year. 

Our gift to each other is parked outside. Christmas came in September when we got the new-to-us Silverado. We each pulled a couple grand out of our individual slush funds for that and so neither of us felt the need for additional gifting this calendar year. As for Deuce, his toy basket is overflowing and since he got a few gift cards it will stay that way for months. 

I used to wonder at my grandmother and mother's waning interest in all the trappings of the holiday season. I understand it now. The amount of Christmas decorating I want to do decreases every year. As decorations become tattered they are not replaced. Not even the ghosts of Christmas past can make me sad about that. 

It's the way of things. The world changes. The need for extravagances is dwindling, at least among those in my circle. My cousins and his siblings all seem to be embracing a simpler lifestyle. I proclaim it to be a good thing as it is not a reflection of dwindling resources but a philosophical shift. It seems to me that as I mature the real heart of Christmas is more evident. It's the people around us, not the stuff. 

The ghosts of Christmas past are fine visitors but it is the ghosts of the future that pique my interest. The signs are there. The shapes of those imaginings of new memories are changing. 

It feels like a good thing.

KC Kendricks

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas Bells

 I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play, 
    And wild and sweet 
    The words repeat 
Of peace on earth, good-will 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, good-will 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, good-will 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, good-will 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, good-will 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, good-will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 - 1882

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Give Me One Night - new cover reveal

December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas Eve eve! It's a rainy day here in western Maryland. I have cordless blinds in my sunroom office and they're up to let in as much light as possible. Plus the view of a misty, rainy morning is better with them up. Instead of lounging in the chair and slowly enjoying a cup of coffee, I've been playing with Photoshop.

The best thing about making book covers is the ability to change them whenever you want. Back when I did the first cover for Give Me One Night I knew I'd upgrade it at some future date. I'm not sure why the "bug" to do it happened this morning, but hey - I say roll with those urges!

I knew I liked the blurry background so I kept it. Not that as many of the colors show in this version of the cover. That's unfortunate and I didn't catch it in time. I knew I wanted to keep the guy on the right and that he needed a companion. The relationship starts off as the guys follow each other around town during the annual St. Patrick's Day pub crawl so I added the Jaguar. And there it is. An updated cover. 

It'll do as well as any, so the author says. 

Here's a bit about Give Me One Night.

Contemporary gay romance

Brody O’Connor joins the revelry of the yearly St. Patrick's Day pub crawl, hunting a like-minded man for a night of fun and frolic with no strings attached. When a mystery man in an emerald green shirt engages Brody’s interest, it doesn’t take long for the hunter to become the prey.

Well-matched with his mystery man, Brody regrets his "no strings" approach to a night of shared passion that leaves him hungry for more. The morning after, Evan is gone, as agreed. Brody knows it was a mistake to let him go, and vows to find him.

Evan also never expected to meet someone like Brody. Now Brody wants to change the rules, and Evan decides he’ll give Brody one more night to convince him to stay...


My quarry stood at the bar, sipping what appeared to be a soda. I stepped into the whirling lights, planted my feet, squared my shoulders, put my hands on my hips, and waited for him to spot me. It didn’t take long.

He looked me up and down, a slow, lazy appraisal that focused my attention on his face. Then he smiled and lowered his eyelids with a slight nod of his head.

In that instant I knew something about him there are no flowery or romantic words for – only gut instinct. He wanted me to fuck him.

My body responded to the knowledge. Arousal snapped through me, sending shivers down my spine. My nipples, sensitive as any girl’s, tingled to the point that the fabric of my sweater rubbing against them became deliciously painful. My cock swelled to its full seven and three quarter inch glory in a single pounding heartbeat.

I’d fuck him until he was limp as a rag doll in less time than that if I could get my hands on him.

His chin lifted, the knowledge of the game joined in his eyes. I gestured for him to join me on the dance floor. He smiled and weaved his way through the crowd in my direction. A dancer whirled between us and I bolted for the door, no doubt in my mind he’d follow.

I made it to my car in time to see him step out the door, pause, and look around. He handed something to the bouncer cum doorman. His keys?
He allowed others to drive his Jaguar? The man held stunning, hidden possibilities.

Sure enough, the burly attendant loped across the street and out of my line of sight. Within a minute, the Jag whirled into view and Blue Eyes reclaimed his ride. When he pulled out into the center lane, I steered my car in behind him.

The next stop, according to the pub crawl itinerary, was Rumours, and that was good for me. Blue Eyes turned left onto Potomac Street and his turn signal stayed on. I made a sharp left into the alley and the Rumours private rear parking lot.

Rumours was part of my regular circuit. I breezed through the kitchen door like I owned the place, which I did. I held a very modest, and quiet, ten percent of the business and the real estate.

Several of the wait staff yelled friendly profanities at me – and made a few offers. I smiled and waved as I hustled my way through, exiting the kitchen beside the bar. A buddy had the barstool on the end and I shooed him off it with the promise of imminent entertainment.

Thank heavens the chair was right in front of an air vent and a breeze blew from it to cool the mob of revelers. I was sweaty, sticky, and not because the night was at all warm. The bartender handed me a glass of ice water with a lime twist and I gulped down a few swallows.

No more alcohol for me until I got Blue Eyes home.

And speaking of, there he was, just on the other side of the dance floor, smiling at me, one eyebrow cocked up and looking amused. He gestured to me to join him with the same palm up wave of the arm I’d used at Tully’s.

I shook my head, lifting my glass to indicate I was thirsty. He clasped his hands over his chest and feigned heartbreak.


The dancer behind him was rubbing his butt, without any protest from Blue Eyes, so how crushed could he be? I finished my water and walked towards him, my gaze never leaving his. He stepped into the throng of dancers, meeting me halfway.

We moved easily to the music, our movements mirroring each other. I’d worry about the stupid grin on my face, but his expression matched mine. Our hips swayed closer. Our hands brushed. Blue Eyes turned, shaking his very well-shaped ass at me. I laughed in his ear, pulling him back against me. I was so achingly hard that my resolve to taunt him, to wear him down to a begging blob of gel, almost cracked. He grinned over his shoulder when I licked the rim of his ear.

“Are you going to tell me your name?”

I flashed my pearly whites at him. “Just before you come for the first time.”

“Cocky bastard, aren’t you?”

“You’ll have to wait a while to find that out.”


Available at Amazon

Available at Apple/iTunes

Available at KOBO

Available at Barnes & Noble/Nook

Monday, December 18, 2017

A Christmas Tale (no, I don't live on Walton's Mountain)

December 18, 2017

Approaching Christmas brings to mind years of family tales. My family is good for a lot of laughs - please don't tell them I said that. One of my favorite stories is about Hooter the Owl. 

We live in a rural community. When I was young, it was a VERY rural community. I'm serious when I say I'm only a generation removed from a moonshiner. 

My grandfather was a unique individual. Yes, he made Apple Jack. He was a beekeeper, a truck farmer, a hunter, a skilled woodworker, and a lover of all the wild things that came into his yard. 

One autumn day Pop put on his boots and went out to do a walk-about. I swear he knew every tree and rock on his property. He came home with an injured owl. 

My grandmother was not pleased, but she had a soft heart for the wild ones, too. They both knew for Hooter to have a chance to survive, he needed a little help. Pop made a rough frame and wrapped it in chicken wire and Hooter had temporary digs. His wing would heal and they'd set him free, or..... let's not go there.

Pop had a way with critters. It wasn't long before Hooter knew the human was the source of chicken livers. Now what self-respecting owl would refuse that meal? Hooter made friends with Pop. The days passed and the Christmas season rolled around.

Back in those days, the late 1960's, everyone had a cut tree for Christmas. Pop got a tree and put it up. My grandmother called me to come help decorate it. All was well until Pop let Hooter out of his cage. 

Hooter couldn't yet fly again, but he sure could hop and run. He made a beeline for the tree and up he went! Not even chicken livers could coax him out of the tree. So my grandparents let him alone. They turned the lights on in the evenings and it was Christmas business as usual except for the owl. 

Hooter eventually came down and out - and in spectacular fashion. He hopped out of the tree into the middle of the Christmas day dinner table, right in front of my Dad's plate. It was fucking funny. Every Christmas dinner at my grandparent's house thereafter, my father made a big show of searching the Christmas tree for surprises. And Dad and Pop would laugh the way men do when they have an inside joke with each other. 

Those were the days. The Waltons have nothing on my family. 

KC Kendricks

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Midweek Tease: A Cat Named Hercules

December 6, 2017

**updated 4/2/21 - the Midweek Tease blog hop is no longer operational**

Welcome to December and another round of the Midweek Tease blog hop! Winter is [supposedly] just around the corner. The Advent season has begun and there are Christmas cards to prepare. This may be the final time my schedule allows time for the MWT, so in case this is it until 2018, let me wish you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year! 

Now on to a little romance from Gale, Shiloh, and A Cat Named Hercules. Enjoy! 

Gale rolled on his side to face me. I draped an arm and a leg over him and scooted closer. It didn’t matter to me we were sweaty and sticky, and apparently he didn’t care either. He buried his face against my neck and sighed again.

“Please tell me you can get it up again tonight, Shiloh.”

I squeezed his ass cheek, then trailed my fingertips along the dark crevice between his buttocks. Startled, he jumped, which had the inadvertent effect of giving me better access. I patted his butt and stopped teasing him. “Of course I can get it up again. Can you?

“And in record time, so it seems.”

I reached between our bodies and caressed his turgid dick. How far did I risk taking him tonight? "My, my, that feels very promising. You can have your choice of what you’d like to do with it.”

Gale drew back and blinked at me. “Are you suggesting I should fuck you?”

Goose bumps skittered across my back as my balls drew up. My cock lengthened as the idea took root. “Sure.”


I smacked his ass. He didn’t like it and smacked me back—hard. He stuck his index finger in front of my nose. “Be careful doing that, big boy. I don’t look tough, but I turn scrappy when people hit me.”

“You’ll beg me to spank you some day.”

“Don’t count on— Ayiayaa!” Gale surged forward into my arms, pelvis first, plastering the length of his body against mine.

I levered up on my elbow and looked into wide, innocent eyes. Herc meowed softly. Sweetly. Like he was the most precious thing on earth.

Did they give Academy Awards to kittens?

“I told you he’d be a problem. Do you believe me now?”


Book five in the Men of Marionville series

Now available at AmazoniTunesBarnes and NobleKobo and other online book sellers

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.

 KC Kendricks

Life through the eyes of Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A stroll down memory lane

December 5, 2017

I'm slowly cleaning out my mother's house. It looks like I'll have to move a bit faster, and soon, but being able to take my time has yielded a treasure trove of old photographs. 

Dear reader, if you have old family photos, please, please, please get names and dates on the back. Then get them scanned into your computer. As you lose family members you will regret not knowing who is in those photos and when they were taken. 

I've found a few gems like this one of my youngest first cousin and me at our oldest cousin's wedding. I was in the eleventh grade so he was in the tenth. It seems so long ago! I bet my father took that picture. I remember the day as being soooo hot and my hair went flat. AND I had to wear a hat and a long-sleeved dress. The church did not have air conditioning. Most didn't back in the 1970s. 

This might be the only photo left to me of that wedding. It means a lot it's of the two of us. You see, we're actually double first cousins. My mother and his father are siblings, and my father and his mother are siblings. It's the reason my immediate family is quite small. You'd think we'd look more alike, but we really never did! Anyway, the picture is a precious "find."

If you're new here at Between the Keys, this blog isn't all about marketing my books. This blog is the story of my life, some of my opinions, and a few of my regrets. I'm glad you stopped by for this brief stroll down memory lane. Come back anytime you like! I make take another walk or two as I sort through all the pictures. 

KC Kendricks

Monday, December 4, 2017

Taxes Smaxes

December 4, 2017

I’m a bit befuddled by some of what I’m reading these days about tax reform. Specifically, the numbers don’t add up when I read someone making ten times what I make pays less tax. Based on the screaming over tax reform, someone had better go tell my parents they’ve been overpaying their taxes for the last twenty-four years. According to the screamers, my parents pay less than me, and that is not true.

Here’s a close example of the breakdown for us.

Consider the spousal unit and I rake in $80,000 a year. That puts us in the middle of the middle class. 

Using the married filing jointly rates, tax collected from us is $1,865 on the first $18,650.

From $18,651 to $75,900 another $8,587.50 is collected. (That’s 15% by the way.)

Into the next bracket, the 25% bracket, from $75,901 to $80,000 another $1,025 is taken out of my pocket.

Total collected from us: $11,477.50

Consider my parents rake in $144,000 a year. That puts them above being considered middle class. Using the married filing jointly tax rates, the IRS takes from them:

$1,865 on the first $18,650.

Okay. So this is equal to anyone else making up to $18,650. I get it. Equality is good.

They, too, have a 15% tax responsibility of $8,587.50 for income between $19,650 and $75.900. All things are still equal.

Between $75,901 and $144,000 they pay at 25% for a total of $2,275.

Their tax bill is $12,727.50.

Okay! They make more than me so they are responsible for more than me.  

My question is, where did they get a tax break I didn’t get?

Since we separate church and state in the attempt to elevate Caesar, a real tax reform would be a flat 10% rate and get rid of all the deductions.
We’d be responsible for $8,000.
They’d be responsible for $14,400.
Make $1,000,000 and be responsible for $100,000.
Make $10,000,000 and be responsible for $1,000,000.

According to the IRS, in 2010 (I know it was long, long ago) if you made $1,000,000 your average effective tax rate was 20.4%, which means your tax bill was $204,000. The effective tax rate is your average rate across all brackets. 

If you earned between $50,000 and $100,000 your effective tax rate was 7.7% and you are at $7,700 or less.

If you earned $30,000 to $50,000 your effective tax rate was 4.8% and you are at $2,400 or less.

I realize this is unpopular to admit, but my brain simply does not see any of the math as proving the rich are paying less in taxes, especially when the effective tax rate stated by the IRS shows high earners pay more. This requires more thought. Maybe I can fall in line with the popular opinion and maybe I can't. 

And a side note to the IRS - just think of the money you could get from us authors if you'd stop pirates from stealing our work. I'd gladly pay taxes on those sales if I could get them. 

KC Kendricks

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Loose Id, LLC is ceasing operations in 2018

December 2, 2017

The email came last evening that Loose Id, LLC is shuttering the digital door on its operations. I'm a bit sad to hear that even though I only have one book there. I confess that was a strategic placement. Author Brenda Williamson pointed out to me years ago that if you wanted to know what was going on with a publisher, place a book there so you got on the inside lists. Brenda's wisdom proved true again with Ellora's Cave. Zipped into there at the end and learned a lot from the more seasoned authors. Bunches. Those authors live and breathe the publishing industry in ways I've yet to master. 

My history with LI goes back to the beginning. My alter ego had several books released by LI back in 2004-06. Then came the snarky list post when Talyss was an EPPIE finalist. Yep, that remark got posted to the author's list instead of the private owner's list. It was so "nice" to learn what they really thought of my work. I left and ended up with Amber Quill Press. When AQP closed, it was clear ebook publishers were in serious trouble. I placed the book at LI and kept an eye on what the owners were, or were not, saying. 

The overall theme of these closings is the impact Amazon has made in the publishing industry. People, readers, can go to Amazon and happily read for free for the rest of their life. It doesn't take having a great brain to realize this puts the serious, professional author at risk. 

When Amazon made it possible for anyone desiring to do so to publish a book, the quality of what is out there to read went down. If a writer was rejected by a publisher, no problem. Just go to set up an author account with Amazon and publish away. The saddest thing about that, to my way of thinking, is that writer didn't have the opportunity to learn about the industry from the inside. I learned from everyone I worked with at publishing houses, although I confess some of it was negative information. It's still good to know what not to do. 

Many wonderful, talented and serious independent authors, who are indie through no "fault" of their own, are tainted simply because they're classified as independent. No one said the world is a fair place. 

The notice from LI is very carefully worded. They plan an orderly departure. The term of my contract with LI is such I'll be there to the end. I won't ask for an early buy-out nor will I purchase the cover art used for my book. I'll just ride it out. If they send a release sooner - yea! 

So another digital publisher is going. The world does turn and not always as we'd once envisioned.   

KC Kendricks

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Let us be thankful for many things

November 23, 2017

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

KC Kendricks

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Back Stairs by KC Kendricks for the MidWeek Tease

November 15, 2017
**Updated 4/2/21 - the MidWeek Tease blog hop is closed.**

 Welcome to the world of a true shapeshifter - Sundown's world. His kind can take on any form they choose - which gets pretty interesting for Sundown's lover, Fallon. 

This week for the MidWeek Tease, I have a couple of excerpts from The Back Stairs and the beginning of Fallon and Sundown's story. Be sure to check out all the MidWeek Tease offering using the list at the end of this post. Enjoy!


He smiled, and I melted inside, but I kept my best officer of the law face sternly in place.

“I heard it on the grapevine, Lieutenant. The fire marshal made us stop using smoke signals because it sent the boys in the station house into a tizzy.”

I knew the man he spoke of, and my cop composure cracked as I grinned at him.

“That would do it. Listen, whatever your name is, someone’s son is dead, and I need to find out who killed him, and why. If you don’t have any pertinent information, I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

He regarded me coolly, his green gaze strangely familiar. I’d seen him somewhere before, and it would bug the hell out of me until I remembered where. 

Why had Muffin told me to come here? My cop instincts, which were pretty good, said this fellow had told me the truth when he said he didn’t know Carlton. Those same instincts whispered the man was hiding something, though. But who didn’t have secrets?

“Come in and have a seat, Fallon. I happen to have some very good Kona coffee beans. I’ll grind up a few and put on a pot to brew.”

The hair on my arms prickled with unease. “How do you know my name? I didn’t give it to you.” 

My business card simply said, ‘F. Roxbury’. I didn’t give my name to Muffin, either. As for the coffee, Kona was difficult for me to turn down. 

“Word travels around here.” He took a step backward and motioned for me to take a seat at his table. 

I took a breath to tell him I was leaving, and caught the aroma of fresh-brewed java beneath the scents of sandalwood and patchouli. I was tired of getting jerked around, even by a man so incredibly sexy. Put it on to brew, my ass. 

“You’re awfully sure of yourself, aren’t you? I don’t need pseudo-intimate conversation any more than I need to flirt.” 

He shook his head. “You didn’t listen very well, Fallon.”

“Listen to what? I’ve a mind to haul your scrawny carcass down to the precinct house and let someone else pick your brain for answers, but I don’t have a legitimate reason to have you interrogated. Yet.”

“Tough talk, but you don’t mean any of it. Please, Fallon. Come. Sit at my table, and think of nothing but my very good coffee.”

Would it be so bad to spend half an hour talking with this attractive young man? Heaven help me, he drew me, a tired moth to his steady flame. And he had my favorite coffee, already hot.

Words echoed in my memory. I tried to pull them in so I could hear them again. What had Muffin said? More importantly, it was what she hadn’t said. She didn’t actually say anyone here knew Michael Carlton. 

“I’ll sit at your table on one condition.”

He tilted his head, a smile teasing his full lips. “Oh? What is that?”

“You tell me your name.”

Was it victory I saw in his green eyes, or desire? I needed to know if they were the same. His chin lifted as his gaze locked to mine.

“You can call me Sundown.”


And later...

Sundown shook his head. “She didn’t see Michael Carlton, dead or alive, or anyone else go in or out of the alley until your people showed up.”

I clamped down on my anger. “That’s good to know, but I need to hear it from her.”

“Do you?” He cocked his head to the side. “You’re out of luck, Fallon. She is gone from here, and it is beyond my ability to bring her back.”

“Why’d she send me here, then?”

His green eyes flashed with his inner fire, anchoring me where I stood. “So I could give you want you needed, Fallon. What you need me to give you again.”

“Don’t be so damn sure of yourself. I don’t need you.” I lied, and he knew it, the knowledge reflected back at me in his level gaze.

“Come inside and tell me you do not need what I offer you.”

I didn’t think I could. My resolve to bully him into giving up Muffin’s whereabouts waned with every pheromone-laden breath I took. I stood inside the ring of warmth and scent that surrounded him. My erection relentlessly swelled toward completion, and I couldn’t stop it.

“I can’t compromise my investigation further, Sundown. Carlton’s parents are flying in to claim the body. I need to have answers for them.”

His fingers grazed mine, the gentle touch heating my blood.

“I knew you were a good man. I trust you, Fallon. Will you trust me?”

“I trust you to be nothing but trouble.”



Fallon Roxbury has a nose for trouble and the uncanny ability for landing in the middle of it the moment he finds it. While investigating the gruesome murder of a young male prostitute in the red-light district, Fallon gets a whiff of something very strange. Forensics has unidentified hairs. Very unidentified hairs, like nothing in any of the textbooks. Following a tip from a person of interest, Fallon meets Sundown, an apparent hustler who knows a lot more than he will admit.

Getting personally involved with Sundown breaks every rule in the police manual, and in Fallon’s own personal code. Sundown is like a drug, and Fallon can’t stop at just one hit. When Sundown is forced to reveal the truth, Fallon’s world is turned upside down, and he’s left with only two options: check himself in for psychiatric evaluation, or accept a new reality with a strange shift.

Shapeshifters, that is.

The Back Stairs (Book #1 of the Sundown saga) is available at:

KC Kendricks

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A updated cover for Desert Snow

**updated March 29, 2021**

November 12, 2017

The adventure in Photoshop continues! 

One of the cool perks of making my own covers is the ability to create a new cover when the original cover begins to annoy me for some reason. 

Or I get sucked into reading some article that says two characters on a cover are more effective than one, which is what happened here. Whatever, eh? 

I do confess to cheating a bit. I had the cover stock for both these guys in the files. I like the guy in white - what else would someone at a White Party wear? The other man? Let's pretend his shirt is white and he's just standing in a shadow. 

The plan was to go back through the blog and update the previous cover on all the posts but I don't think that's going to happen. The most recent ones about Desert Snow are updated and I'm going to let it go with that instead of driving myself crazy. I've done enough of that lately.


Check out the Desert Snow page for all the info.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Puppy love

November 5, 2017

Deuce and I took a long walk through the woods yesterday. It was a perfect autumn day for it about 65F with the sun shining. The spousal unit, also known as "Daddy," stayed home to watch our progress on his phone. 

You see, Deuce has a tracker on his collar. His Daddy said he got a good laugh watching the blue line go forward and back, to the left, to the right, and then forward again. 

I walked about two miles. Deuce? He probably covered about five miles. The dog couldn't go in a straight line even for a Griller treat. 

He's a very animated and expressive fellow, our Deuce. We enjoy having him, every day. And I enjoy sharing Deuce through his blog, Deuce's Day

He's quite a fellow.

KC Kendricks

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tango in the Night by KC Kendricks for the MidWeek Tease

November 1, 2017
**Updated 4/2/21 - the MidWeek Tease blog hop is no longer open.**

Welcome to Wednesday and another MidWeek Tease blog hop! This week, I have a little tease from Tango in the Night. This has long been a favorite story of mine (yes, the author does get to have a few faves).



Ellis sat behind his desk, chin anchored in his left palm while his right index finger idly tapped the page in front of him. Lucky for me, a member of the janitorial staff busily washed the windows in my new office and I had an excuse not to go in there yet.

I had two choices. I could hide my interest in him, be the gruff senior agent, or I could let him know how strongly he had things stirring inside me. If I chose the latter, we needed to hash a few things out, namely how not to allow a mutual sexual curiosity affect the job.

Standing in the doorway, looking at him, I didn’t know which would win today. Ellis glanced up and saw me. He straightened, his chest expanding as he drew in a deep breath. I nodded and stepped into the squad room.

“Ellis. Are you on call, or just catching up?”

“I’m puzzled, mostly.”

I snorted and let the southern drawl creep into my speech. “Ain’t we all, most days?”

He almost smiled, the corner of his mouth twitching, and mimicked my accent. “I heard you hailed from Ken-tuck.”

“Yep. With a name like ‘Jubal’, where the hell did you think I was from?” I snagged the nearest chair and rolled it a bit closer to him. “What are you puzzled about?”

His gaze drilled into mine, his warm blue eyes eloquently saying he meant me. I smiled to let him know I appreciated his interest, but was careful not to show encouragement. He must have gotten the message. He flipped a folder at me. “There’s a few missing pieces here.”

I opened the folder and kept my surprise out of my voice. “This is an old case. I worked it for a while, but it went cold.”

“It ties into a new one, I just know it.”

A cold fist seized my heart. This case was potentially dangerous. I looked up at him. Ellis was running on instinct and that gut feeling that settled over you when you know what you can’t yet prove. His earnest expression begged me to believe him. I did, and I wished to heaven I could warn him off this one, but it would tip my hand.

“Keep digging, then. Trust your gut.”

“Should I trust what my gut says about you, Agent Graham?”

I closed the file and laid it back on his desk, my gaze flicking to the window washer. He was finished, putting all his supplies back in his cart. I waited until he exited to reply.

“Ellis, you and I need to get a few things straight.”

He tapped the signet ring. “That’s not your initial. The guy you were with last night?”

“No. I was with a friend last night. You were on a date.”

“So, maybe I should take you out on a date.”

“Ellis…” I froze as his fingers closed around mine, a delighted little quiver pulsing through my penis. I was intensely curious about the man, but we were in too public a place for this to continue. I pulled away. “Don’t do that here.”

“Will you go out with me, Jubal?”

Persistence was a good thing for a drug enforcement agent to have, but I wasn’t sure I liked his directed at me. I wasn’t sure I didn’t like it, either. It was certainly different to be on this side of the pursuit.

“Why did you come to my house last night?”

Ellis looked away as a flush crept up his neck. “I needed to know if your boyfriend lived with you.”

I clamped down on my temper. He was out of line, and his eyes said he knew how far. I counted to five before I responded. “He’s not my boyfriend. Don’t do it again. If he sees you dogging me, it’ll scare him.”

“Like I’m scaring you, Jubal?”

“You’re not scaring me.”

“Oh, the hell I’m not.” Ellis leaned back in his chair. “Okay. We’ll do it the old southern way. Even straights say a year is enough to mourn. You can play the reluctant widower for another two months. I’ll let you. Then you go out with me.”

“Boy, you don’t know anything about me.”

“Wrong. You were all anyone talked about when I transferred in. I took notes.”

“You’re an arrogant fucker, aren’t you?”

Ellis grinned as he stood and stretched, treating me to an eye level display of the full, rounded bump at the base of his zipper. He looked down at me, his expression pure insolence.

“Takes one to know one, Agent Graham.”


Jubal Graham is back on the job after a shooter took the life of his long-time partner, and sent him into a coma followed by months of rehab. Determined to have justice, Jubal is focused on finding a killer, not a new romantic entanglement. Ellis Banks, with his smoldering blue eyes and denim-clad swagger is a distraction Jubal can’t afford – or ignore.

Ellis Banks came to Philadelphia to bust a drug operation; one that connects to the same case agency legend Kentuckian Jubal Graham is working. Ellis finds himself drawn to Jubal, but Jubal holds him off. Sure that Jubal is interested, even though he wears his slain lover’s ring, Ellis mounts a determined siege.

Jubal’s surprise at having a suitor develops into a growing affection for Ellis, one clouded with old fears. Fate ripped one lover from his arms, and now Ellis is in the line of fire. Jubal’s courage can protect Ellis, but is it powerful enough to love him?

Tango in the Night is available at:
                           Amazon     iTunes     Barnes and Noble     KOBO

KC Kendricks

Sunday, October 29, 2017

A freaky coincidence, or is Mother Nature working a plan?

October 29, 2017

If you follow along here at Between the Keys you know I love living in the woods. I have a beautiful plot of this earth to call my own. Well, I have stewardship of this piece of the planet. It's my turn to care for it and come some future day, that care will fall to another. 

The day dawned gray and drizzly. It's rained all day, thank heavens! I'm writing this blog post as the light fades and the fog settles in. This is so much better than what happened six years ago today. 

You see, we had "precipitation" on October 29, 2011, too. It was the white, frozen kind. The total snowfall was modest, a mere 3.7 inches. The caveat? There were still leaves on the trees, as there is this year. The wet snow clung to the leaves and destruction ensued

The snowfall started early Saturday morning. By three o'clock in the afternoon, the power lines were down. We were without service for fifty-five hours, but we survived. Cleaning up the yard was a huge job that took an entire month.

I don't attribute this seeming coincidence of precipitation today and six years ago on anything in particular. I've lived long enough to know the weather moves in cycles, especially here in western Maryland. A very snowy winter is generally followed by six or seven less snowy winters. 2011 was actually the low in the current cycle. 

That doesn't bode well for this winter, does it?

KC Kendricks

Friday, October 27, 2017

The headless author

October 27, 2017

Having accomplished a bit of writing last evening, I set it aside in favor of organizing photos of my favorite subject - Deuce. I came across this gem from September 2016. Deuce was about nine months old at the time.

I have absolutely no idea why I took this photo. I don't know why I even saved it except I vowed to take a lot of pictures of Deuce. He's probably the last dog I'll have since I want a bit more freedom to travel in my retirement. 

I had my finger on the delete key and then I looked closer. 

Forget the splotchy wet concrete and the dog's dorky ear flipped inside out. 

Reflected in the glass is half of the photographer. I might even say she's got good legs if not for one little problem. 

What the hell happened to her head???

KC Kendricks

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Doors of Time for the MidWeek Tease (#MidWeekTease)

October 25, 2017

**updated 4/2/21 - the MidWeek Blog Hop is no longer operational**

Welcome to another MidWeek Tease blog hop! Be sure to check out all the teases of the week by using the list at the end of this entry. It's a great way to chase away those Wednesday woes and perk yourself up with a few new reads for the weekend. 

This week at Between the Keys, I have an excerpt from a story called Doors of Time. It's about old friends discovering secrets, becoming lovers, and making sacrifices for each other. You can read about the story behind the story here . 

Thanks for stopping by the blog and checking out the MidWeek Tease. Enjoy!


“You don’t know what do when someone acts all gentlemanly toward you, do you?” Calvin asked.

Emory reached out and squeezed his shoulder. “Not really, but I’m willing to work on it.” He climbed into the car and Calvin closed the door.

If he were lucky, his knees wouldn’t buckle as he walked around to the driver’s side of the Charger and got the vehicle moving.

It wasn’t news to Calvin that Emory liked to lead, but some habits were hard to break. From an early age, his mother had drilled polite manners into him. A man opened doors, carried packages, pulled chairs out from tables, and held umbrellas. As far as Calvin was concerned, being genteel applied to gay men as much as straight guys. But maybe Emory didn’t see it that way.

“I won’t open the door for you if it makes you that uncomfortable.”

Emory pulled his keys out of his pocket and fidgeted with them. “It’s been a long time since anyone did it. It’s not all good memories, Calvin.”

Had one of those older men who swarmed around Emory hurt him? “What’s that mean, or don’t you want to tell me?”

“As a younger man, I seemed to attract a macho element intent on making me their bitch.” Emory looked at him and lifted his hands, palms up. “And there you sit, only gay for a few hours.”

Calvin snorted. “Disconcerting, isn’t it?”

“You don’t know the half of it. I mean, I tell you you’re dessert and that makes you decide to have dinner with me?”

Calvin parked the car beside Emory’s little sports coupe. “I was leaning toward dinner without dessert, but your way sounds more interesting.”

Emory scrambled from the car as he reached for the door handle. “I’ll leave your name at the front desk.”

Calvin hurried after him and blocked his escape into his own ride. “Wait a second! What are you scared of, Emory?”

“Feeling sixteen and clueless again.”

He was familiar with what Emory described. He had a case of it right now, but Calvin wasn’t going to let it stop him. He’d thought about Emory for so many years, and in the blink of an eye, he had a chance. Even if he screwed it up royally, he had to take his shot. Calvin cupped the back of Emory’s neck and kissed him.

Shock jolted through Calvin, an electric current that left heat in its wake. Emory’s soft lips opened and his tongue flicked across Calvin’s upper lip. His mouth opened and Emory dove in, his silky tongue gliding over his with invitation and promise. Calvin’s body tightened as blood rushed through his veins to deafen him. His cock filled, rock hard in just a few throbbing beats. He pushed Emory back against the side of car. Emory’s thighs strained against his as he arched his pelvis against his, the ridge of Emory's dick riding along his hard-on. Stars danced behind Calvin’s closed eyes.

This is what had been missing when he kissed other guys. They weren’t Emory. How could he have known the man’s taste and smell when they’d never been this close before? But he’d known all the others weren’t “right.” And Emory was.

Calvin pulled away and sucked in a desperate breath before he did something silly like pass out from lack of oxygen. Emory blinked at him, his blue eyes gone black and wild.

“Why didn’t you do that ten years ago?”

Calvin opened his mouth to speak and finally managed to shake his head and shrug. He swallowed and tried again but the words wouldn’t come, so he did the only thing he could think to do. He cupped Emory’s cheeks with his palms and kissed him again. Calvin had no doubt where they were headed when Emory moaned softly into his mouth and gripped his hips to pull him closer. He ended the kiss and rested his forehead to Emory’s.

“We, um, should get moving.”

Emory’s hands slid up his sides in a slow caress. “To where? The station or my place?”


About Doors of Time:

Calvin Lawson arrived in Clear River to rebuild bridges with his ailing father, not hook up with Emory Fleming, although being an honest man, he has to admit Emory’s on his mind. But first things first, and before he goes looking for his boyhood friend, he needs to find a restoration project to generate personal income so he’s not sponging off his father. Gutted by an arsonist, the Clocktower Theatre, affectionately called the Time by everyone in town, is in dire need of his special skills. 

As an on-the-air journalist, Emory Fleming is making a name for himself and getting noticed. He’s back in Clear River at the local network affiliate, preparing for the move up to a major market in a few years. When Calvin Lawson rolls back into town, Emory’s stunned. The old pal he worked with at the Time kept a big secret - he’s gay. All the fantasies Emory had as a teenager about Calvin suddenly become real as he and Calvin reconnect and quickly become lovers. 

Calvin’s planned restoration of the Clocktower Theatre may not be a practical possibility. He has to secure a lot of funding to do the job properly, and money is tight everywhere. When Emory’s big break comes faster than anticipated, Calvin sees only one option - step aside so Emory will accept the job he’s always wanted. It doesn’t take for Emory long to figure out why Calvin walked out, and put in action a plan to win him back before the doors of time close between them permanently.

Doors of Time is available at
AmazoniTunes/AppleBarnes and NobleKobo,
and other online booksellers. 

KC Kendricks