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

Monday, October 23, 2017

A Sunday drive through Ashby's Gap

October 23, 2017

We've all heard the adage, "A picture is worth a thousand words." We're visual creatures. We absorb the world around us first by sight. With taste and touch, we need to be up close and personal. We may be able to hear or smell something at a bit of a distance, but we can see for miles. 

Yesterday, my little family group - me, the spousal unit, and the dog, went for a drive through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley to take in the autumn color. We were probably a week early, but I had a few vacation days to use or lose and am in the middle of a long more here.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Desert Snow for the MidWeek Tease Blog Hop

October 18, 2017

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

Welcome to the MidWeek Blog Hop! I'd like to thank everyone for stopping by. Today is a big anniversary for me - my partner is eleven years cancer-free! He had the last surgery eleven years ago today at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. 

Today I have a little snip from Desert Snow.  Desert Snow is set at a White Party where two reluctant attendees meet and discover they get along rather well. 

Enjoy! (And don't forget to check out all the MidWeek Tease blogs!)

- - - - - - - - - -

Yes, it would be wonderful to spend a few hours rolling around on his sheets. He appealed to me. Haydn projected the aura of maturity a man had when he was content in his own skin. That I recognized it surprised me, considering our short acquaintance, but I didn’t imagine it. He had it. The argument for or against taking him up on his offer was with myself.

I looked at him over the rim of my glass as I took sip. The cool liquid slid down my dry throat and delivered a nice kick as it hit bottom. His gaze flicked to my lips as I licked the tart drops.

“I wouldn’t want to come across as easy.”

His left eyebrow lifted. “Not a word I’d use to describe my take on you. I think I’ll get a few more drinks into you and see if you’re more agreeable to some fun.”

I grinned at him. “You give a guy my age too many drinks and the only fun you’ll get will be listening to him snore.”
- - - - - - - - - - -

Contemporary gay romance 

Laird Bennett accepts a friend’s invitation for a vacation with his eyes wide open. His buddy is pimping for him - in a sneaky sort of way. Why else set up his business meeting in Palm Springs the week of the annual White Party and ask Laird to go along? Laird goes with every intention of enjoying the eye candy, the weather, and behaving himself. Those plans change his first night out while waiting to cross the street and a younger man in white leather greets him. 

Haydn Rinehart is at a crossroads. His pilgrimage to the White Party is to keep a promise before moving into the next phase of his life. Haydn strikes up a conversation with an attractive party-goer while waiting for a traffic light to change and invites him for a drink. When he discovers Laird is one of his favorite authors, Haydn volunteers to assist in some hands-on research in his hotel room. 

After all, they are at the White Party and some fun is in order. 

DESERT SNOW is available at Amazon     iTunes     Barnes and Noble     Kobo

 KC Kendricks

Life through the eyes of Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Light my fire

October 15, 2017

Living in the woods has a different set of activities than those of a city dweller. Added to the usual dusting, vacuuming, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping routines is yard work. Folks who live in apartments have landlords to mow the grass. Folks who live in the country are Lords of the Land. 

Last Saturday, we rented equipment and the brother-in-law cut down a massive oak tree that had died. The assembled crew did a wonderful job but tree removal isn't a neat and tidy job. Everything not suitable to cut for firewood gets thrown onto a pile and burned. It's a bit messy with pre-burning piles cluttering the yard.

Burning is more work than you'd imagine. Around here, folks wait for it to have just rained or even be raining to burn. It's also important there be no wind with the rain. No one wants to be known as the person who burned down the state park (and their own house!). You want it to be wet and still for a safe burn.

A drizzly, foggy morning is burning weather if you can get a fire started. I'm rather good at it so it didn't take long to get a nice fire going. After that, it gets a bit tough on the back and shoulders as sticks, branches, and even some sizable logs get added to the fire. With this particular tree, it was several hours of work to get the first pile burned. With my partner's limited mobility, the heavy work falls to me. 

Hard work aside, it's not a bad way to spend a Saturday. My honey abdicated his spot on the John Deere and chose the lawn tractor as his steed. I backed JD out of his stable. We parked side-by-side and sipped coffee while the fire burned. You'd think as we enter our twenty-fourth year we'd not have much left to say, but we have good conversations watching a fire. 

By dusk, the fire had burned down to coals. Deuce and I went out and sprayed water on them but even the water doesn't stop the process. Deep in the middle, the coals continue to smolder. This morning there is nothing left but warm ash. 

We've more to burn but today is not the day. A bit of a breeze is moving this morning so we'll find other pursuits for the day. I'll dress Deuce in his orange vest and go for a walk while Himself settles in to watch the Talladega NASCAR race. I want to see the end of the race, but I don't need to watch the entire thing. 

And maybe, just maybe, I'll get chapter ten written. 

KC Kendricks

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Sounds in the autumn fog

October 14, 2017

Autumn is finally asserting itself here on the mountain. After a couple of weeks of teasing us, the leaves are turning to shades of red, yellow and orange. They drift to the ground in pairs, a forerunner of the blanket of brown to come. The fog rolled in this morning to bring stillness and quiet to what would normally have been a noisy Saturday. It's woodcutting season and the sound of chainsaws echo up and down the ridge at daybreak - but not when it's wet and foggy outside. The sound this morning was far softer. The little screech owls are calling. 

I hear them so infrequently it's always a treat to wake to their calling. I found my slippers and stepped outside to listen. One was incredibly close, its voice strong and loud. The other was so far away I almost couldn't hear it. 

They called back and forth and it was soon evident both were on the move toward each other. Do these little owls mate for life? I don't know but I think this must have been a mated pair. They finally settled together across the road and up on the hill. One screech owl calling is eerie. Two in unison is downright spooky. But I'll take spooky any time over the sound of car horns, commuter trains, and sirens. 

It's time to get on with my day. I have two stories in progress and I need to get one of them finished. I've dithered long enough on both of them, and now the owls have called to me to tell a different story. I'd better get busy.

KC Kendricks

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mike and the Genie

October 8, 2017

I'm amazed I can move a muscle this morning. Yesterday, we had a small tree cutting party. Assembled were my cousin John, my honey's sister, nephew, husband, and a friend of the brother-in-law we didn't know. This man, Jake, must be one of the "strangers" mentioned in the Bible. We're cautioned that some people we meet are angels in disguise and Jake fit the bill. We'd never met and yet he came to my home and put in a hard day's work with only a couple of hamburgers and a Pepsi for his pay. 

The tree that needed to come down was a huge oak, about eighty feet tall. Its twin had been felled during Hurricane Isabel back in 2003 so we knew what we were up against. At least this one didn't have all its leaves. We rented a very expensive "cherry picker" and my brother-in-law fearlessly ascended. The boom on this piece of equipment extended eighty feet and he still couldn't reach the very top. 

Mike is a very logical and safe worker. Piece by piece the old oak hit the ground. The ground crew stood safely back, taking pictures while he worked. Our part would begin after he'd completed his task. 

When only the trunk remained, which a local sawmill will get for the lumber, we cleared the ground. Pieces were cut to length to fit into the bucket of the John Deere, operated by my honey, and taken to the corner of the property where we split and stack firewood. We're putting the word out through the family that we have good oak free for the taking. 

That's free as in YOU have to finish cutting, splitting, and hauling it. If we get to where we need it, then we'll need to split it ourselves.  

It was a good day. The job was completed and the worst thing that happened was during one lift, Mike's hat blew off. No one got hurt. The Genie worked without a glitch - the right tool for the job. 

We lost the tops out of a couple of maples, but Mike trimmed the breaks. Those trees will branch back out, but the space left by the old oak will remain open. We plan to throw out a little grass seed and see if it grows. 

It looks a little different with the oak gone. Based on its girth, about ten feet, it was in the range of 100 to 125 years old. It was just a sapling when my family acquired this property. I'm sorry to have lost such a majestic tree, but we move on. Do I worry the tree was a victim of oak wilt, a fungal disease? Yes, I do. There are other equally large oaks on my property. I'll be watching them. This disease kills quickly and as of this writing, I have no idea if it can be prevented. 

This morning it's raining. For us, this is perfect. We have two large brush piles to burn and burning is safest during rainfall. We'll fix our travel mugs, grab our cellphones and treats for Deuce, and hop in the pickup. I'll light the fire and then retire to the truck with my guys. We'll sit in dry comfort and watch the fire. The goal is to let the center burn down and then use the John Deere to push in around the edges. Once that can be done, we'll move to the second brush pile and repeat. 

It might take all afternoon, but I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy day. We tend to have philosophical conversations while sitting in the pickup watching a fire. Even Deuce has his say. After all, what's more important than dog treats? 

Yesterday reminded me of the importance of family, and of doing for each other. My partner's health and mobility issues limit us. Yet with two phone calls we had willing help - and the right help for the job. I'm beyond grateful and I'll continue to give thanks for those good folks. I hope if they need help they'll call on us to go to them and do whatever we're able to do, even if it's to prepare the food for the workers. 

That's the way it works out here on the mountain. 

KC Kendricks
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

MidWeek Tease - Surrendered Victory

October 4, 2017
**Updated 4/2/21 - the MidWeek Tease blog hop has ended.**

It's been a trying season. Here we are into October and I feel like I missed summer. It's time to get back on the writing horse and let the muse know I now have a whip. If she misbehaves again, I might use it. 

All that aside, welcome to my corner of the MidWeek Tease! The MidWeek Tease is a blog hop showcasing the works of various authors. Be sure to check out all the offerings by using the list at the end of this blog entry.

This week - Surrendered Victory. Here is an excerpt you won't find anywhere else. Enjoy!


“You’re killing me with kindness.”

Dalton snorted and rolled to his feet. “Sit there and relax. I’ll grill some burgers. Won’t be fancy, but it’ll help.”

I expected him to disappear into the kitchen. Instead, he leaned over me, his hands on the back of the sofa above my shoulders. My throat went dry as he paused, his face scant inches from mine. His gaze locked on mine, serious, concerned, and blazing hot with naked desire.

I couldn’t move, or even breathe. Never had anyone looked at me like that. Never. My very soul stilled, caught in an agonizing vise, with desperate longing on one side and numbing fear on the other. I stared up at him.

His lips finally touched mine, gentle and seeking. The shock of his soft lips on mine coursed through me as unexpected heat swept my skin, leaving gooseflesh in its wake. My cock, surer about all this and already at half-mast, filled and lengthened. I did the only pertinent thing I could think of. I opened my mouth and licked his lips. Dalton touched his tongue to mine.

One strong hand snaked up to cup the back of my head. His tongue swept into my mouth, demanding, searching, scorching. The aggression of a man on the prowl was there. I knew it on a visceral level. I tasted it as his teeth scraped my lower lip. Did he seek to lay claim to me? I suspected he did and nipped him back. Novice with a man or not, I knew some things about myself.

If he sought to dominate me, he would first understand it would not be without concessions from him. His lips bowed against mine and opened in invitation. I delved into the delicious heat of his mouth. Our tongues mated and danced until I was breathless and, even then, I didn’t want to stop.

His hand dropped to my crotch, his fingers making a quick assessment of my package. I had nothing to be ashamed of there. Fully erect I topped out at a solid eight inches, but I was willing to bet I’d just hit a personal best, not that I was going to ask him to measure me.

Dalton pulled away, something dark and unfathomable in the way he looked at me. I didn’t understand, but suspected I might before the night was over.

“We’re pretty much the same height and build,” he said. “Why don’t you go in my bedroom and find something more comfortable to watch the television in than your suit?”

He straightened and moved on, I assumed to the kitchen. I stared dumbly at the television, seeing nothing, my mind blanked to everything except the fact Dalton had kissed me. Somehow I’d survived both the kiss and the stupidity of not putting my hands on him.

I licked my lips to savor the lingering taste of him. Beer, bourbon, and somewhere between the pub and here, a cigarette. The scent of Old Spice lingered—it never smelled that good on me. Go into his bedroom, he’d said. I shivered at the very idea of walking into that room and seeing his bed.

It seemed I had little choice. My feet took me to his Spartan room without my conscious permission. He hadn’t been kidding when he said no work had been done in the room. The vaulted ceiling made up for the moderate floor space. The windows were bare, tucked up high under the eaves, and provided light with complete privacy.

The queen-sized bed and matching chest of drawers were the only real furniture in the room. The thick, chocolate-brown suede comforter neatly folded down to the foot of the bed looked expensive, as did the linens. A shadeless lamp and alarm clock sat on an old wooden electrical wire spool, and a pair of old webbed lawn chairs were in the corner. The walls were primed, but not painted. None of it mattered—just the bed, on which I perched.

Something more comfortable. What would that be? A pair of cut-off blue jeans lay on the chest of drawers as if Dalton had worn them last evening and planned to wear them again. Why not wear them? I stripped completely, underwear, too, then draped my suit over one of the lawn chairs. If it surprised him to find me running amok commando in his shorts, I’d assure him of my own surprise at doing it. The longer I traversed my Rubicon, the bolder I seemed to be. I pulled on the shorts. They fit perfectly.

A perverse thrill shivered through me knowing my cock rubbed the same fabric his did when he wore the shorts with nothing under them. I got a firm grip on my libido.

Like hell. It had a firm grip on me, and firm was a word that fit. Everything was firm.

I did a bit of judicious snooping in his bathroom and found his condoms. My knees gave out and I plopped down in the nearest rickety lawn chair. What the hell was I doing? If my heart didn’t stop pounding, I’d have a stroke. Or something. I splashed some cold water on my face when I should have splashed it on my balls instead.

Then I girded my loins, figuratively speaking, and wearing nothing but a pair of borrowed pants, stepped boldly out to embrace my future.


ABOUT Surrendered Victory

Dalton makes Reed tingle in all the right places. Now Reed’s ready to answer the question that’s haunted his every failed relationship. Is he really gay?

Reed walked into Dalton’s life and everything changed. This time, Dalton won’t hide the fact he’s gay from anyone, even his son.

Together they surrender all to each other and claim the ultimate victory. 

Available at: Amazon     iTunes/Apple     Barnes and Noble     KOBO

KC Kendricks