Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 Retrospective - The Year It All Changed

December 31, 2018

We've notched another year under our belts. Seems like I just posted the 2017 retrospective. But then again, I did.

I've often said "live and learn" and "work smarter, not harder." To that end, I decided to try to be smarter this year and document the months as they pass. Did it seem to be a bit strange beginning a blog post that won't be out for eleven months? Yep.

January
Baby, it was cold outside! January 2018 brought frigid temps. My little sunroom office was chilly, even with an auxiliary heater. I wrapped up in a blanket and kept working - to a good end. Twice Removed From Yesterday, the twelfth book in the Men of Marionville collection was finished and subsequently released. I decided the three books I'd had out through a notorious now-defunct publisher could indeed be salvaged and re-released. What precipitated the decision? I saw a cover model sitting on the floor and knew he was perfect for one of the stories. Nothing like making more work for one's self.

February
The Snow Moon month arrived with snow. It's true! I settled down and worked on several projects including covers for three older Rayne Forrest titles. Getting The Rea Cheveyo Chronicles back out had been on the back burner for too long but I finally got there. I also decided it would be just fine to put both my pen names on the cover - Rayne Forrest and KC Kendricks. Why not? The covers turned out to be the best the trilogy ever had. That's what happens when you get to translate your own vision.

Also in February, I set to work going over one of the aforementioned titles from that "publisher that will not be named." After a lot of editing to the professional editor's work, A Perfect Hire was ready to go and I pushed the button. For more about A Perfect Hire, visit the page on my website.

March
After being on hiatus for many years, I made The Rea Cheveyo Chronicles available again. Kiana, Talyss, and Reza are older science fiction stories written under the pen name of Rayne Forrest. The middle story, Talyss, was an EPPIE finalist, something I'm quite proud of to this day. I decided to put both pseudonyms on the covers because of Amazon's unfair algorithms that punish books that don't sell x-number in a twenty-four hour period. These are for lovers of more traditional male/female romances. For lovers of GLBT and science fiction, I hear you. It may happen. Just remember it takes a long time to write a book.

I also learned to create an alien with light blue skin on the book cover is very challenging. Maybe I won't do that again.

March 20, the first day of spring, brought a snowstorm to my area. Ten inches of the white stuff fell. Spring? Really?  I don't think spring arrived "in real life" until March 28. That's when I heard the peeper frogs.

April
April started off with a whimper. Yes, I whined my way into April. I discovered that two years ago I forgot to format and load Loving Luke (Rayne Forrest title) at Amazon. As they say, "better late than never." Before much else got finished, Deuce fell sick. I don't need to tell anyone who loves their dog how distracting that can be. All is well now. The dog recovered faster than my wallet and my writing momentum. And while the WIP did advance, there was nothing much to do but move on to May.

May
Well, things got derailed a bit more in May. We put down new flooring in the kitchen and bathroom and it was a bitch of a job. Not enough of anything else got accomplished except getting the spousal unit in for an MRI on his back. I watched the royal wedding and surrounding hoopla and revamped the Hot August Comes cover, which I still don't like it. The story needs something more on the cover but I'm not sure of exactly what. The last week of the month is my annual spring vacation. You can read about that here.

June
What to say about June... I got a kitten and there I went. Off on a tangent. It's just he was so damn cute when I brought him home. The spousal unit and I took a major detour through Billy Bob Thornton's drama, "Goliath." I was unfamiliar with Billy Bob's body of work but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed Goliath.

The spousal unit spent a couple of nights in the hospital and everything ground to a halt.

On the writing front, I took care of the business of writing but didn't get either work-in-progress completed. I had to be content with knowing I'm almost there. The level of writing output does correspond with this season of my life, that of caregiver to aging parents and an ailing partner. The end of this season will come all too soon as loved ones depart this world.

July
I almost got to the finish of Please Use the Door. I would have if the spousal units brothers hadn't come to town. Missed it by about fifteen hundred words - but it's all good. Finished it the first full week of August. I got two covers done for Christianne France and published a July/August newsletter. As I said, it was all good. I attended the wedding of a young cousin without the spousal unit. Much fun was had. What happens in Waynesboro stays in Waynesboro...

August
August was great! I shoved Please Use the Door out the door on the 13th, finished the new cover for Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted (it finally looks the way I want - yes!), and worked on Steel Wheels. We attended two family reunions and the wedding of the spousal unit's third grandson.

I'd been wanting to redo the covers on my Amethyst Cove series and I made the attempt in August. It's been a struggle to get just the right look but they say the third time's the charm. This set is the best yet.


September
September came wheeling in fast. The words started to flow on Steel Wheels and I made fast progress. It helped that I always take a week's vacation after Labor Day and so I was home.

By the end of the month, Steel Wheels was finished and ready to publish, and I'd spruced up the bathroom with a new countertop, faucet, backsplash, and a fresh coat of paint. Good month.

October
The month got off to a great start - I pushed the button to make Steel Wheels live. That precipitated the need to complete the next newsletter. One task always leads to another in my world. Then things came to a screeching halt when my stepfather fell and broke a hip. Welcome to my world.

November
Working out the wrinkles in a "new normal" is very time-consuming. My stepfather was moved to an assisted living facility and he may be there permanently. The spousal unit had all the necessary pre-operative testing necessary for his December 14 surgery.

Did I make much progress on the writing front? No, I did not. Am I happy about that? No, I am not. Such is life. All we can do is keep plugging away in sorry little drips and drops.

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

With the spousal unit having surgery, everything else stopped, even the day job the management of which I'm grateful to say allowed me to dip into my sick leave to have enough time off to be with him. He had two surgeries on his neck, one on December 14 and the other on December 17. As I'm completing this blog it remains to be seen if the surgeries will improve his quality of life. I rather have my doubts since he now has a rod fused in his neck. 

And while this year ends on low notes, I think Robert Plant summed it up best. 
"The mirror tries to please me, the image wouldn't stay, the stranger is too perfect to take my breath away. The future rides beside me - tomorrow in her hand. The stranger turns to greet me, and takes me by the hand."

The future is a stranger,  a mirror image of a new and unknown me, ready to lead me down the path I choose. Yes, I do see the choices, and while many are limited by the needs of others, there are still directions I'm free to choose. 

The Year of our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen will be a balancing act to take care of myself in the face of the demands of others. I'm strong, healthy, smart, and determined. That has been a winning combination for all the years of my life and it won't change now. 

I hope you'll stick around to see how it all unfolds.  

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com

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