Friday, June 21, 2019

Author and friend Christiane France

June 21, 2019

"Buying men sounds a bit kinky, but sure. If that works for you, I'll buy the men and you do the rest." - Chris Grover,  April 25, 2016

My friend and fellow author, Chris Grover, died on June 19, 2019. She'd been ill since the fall of 2018, housebound for most of the winter. She kept saying once warm weather returned, she'd perk up. It wasn't to be. Diagnosed with lung cancer, she developed pneumonia and in the end, succumbed to it. 

Chris grew up in post World War II England and later immigrated to Canada. She liked her adopted home in Hamilton, and she and Roy enjoyed many years there. After Roy passed, she stayed in her apartment with her "boys," Toby and Dom. Chris was definitely a cat person. 

Chris was a gourmet cook. While Ron and I are happy to slap a few burgers on the grill, Chris made her meals an event. Well-traveled, she brought home recipes from every country she visited. Those locales, and food, often made their way into her stories. 

I first met Chris in the spring of 2008. Back in those days, Amber Quill only took in new authors once a year through a sort of lottery they called a contest. They accepted manuscripts for a month, sorted out the chaff, and then accepted only a few. I was one of only eight out of over two hundred authors offered a contract in 2008. Of course, once you were in, you had a permanent publishing home. Chris sent me an email to welcome me to AQP and we started to correspond. Until this past winter, rarely a day went by that we didn't chat. Fighting respiratory issues sapped her energy and she began to miss a day or two at a time. Then I got the call from her close friend in Hamilton that she was gone. 

During the days of our friendship, we co-wrote two series - The Escort and The Ghost at the B and B. Our writing styles were similar, and often we'd ask "did you write that section or did I?" When AQP closed its doors, we each took a series to indie publish. 

We also hatched an idea to write a story set in the same town from the perspective of two business partners. That became the Amethyst Cove books. She wrote the Greg Stewartson stories, and I wrote the Ian Coulter stories. We wondered how to get Greg and Ian into the same conversation but we never quite got around to doing it. 

After Amber Quill closed, we both tried a few of the remaining e-publishers, but it wasn't the same. AQP spoiled us for anywhere else. We went indie although Chris was never as comfortable with it as I am. Making my own covers was creative fun, so I offered to do hers, too, which elicited the above quote. She wanted to pay me but I told her to donate a few bucks to her local animal shelter. That was a good payment in my book.  

I'm going to miss Chris. Even though we came from very different backgrounds, we held similar views on right and wrong, good and evil. I will miss her emails and her recipes. 

Chris shared her vast knowledge of writing and publishing with me and I'm grateful to her for that. The writing community has lost a guiding light and a quiet leader. Her voice has been stilled, but never her influence on those who knew her. Rest well, my friend. 

KC Kendricks

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Writer's just want to have fun

June 16, 2019

I found this drawing on Twitter this morning. Kudos to Grant Snider for a piece of wonderfully charming artwork. It's humorous but with a lot of truth. The more I study it, the funnier it becomes. 

Print Graveyard, Inspiration Overlook, Desperation Drop, Plot Labyrinth, Procrastination Patio. Oh, we've all been to those places. And out in the ocean what do we find? The white whale. Study your classics if you don't "get" that one. 

Actually, I've changed my mind. It's not just a charming work, it's fucking genius. 

These days, I think I'm living on the Procrastination Patio. I'd much rather be in the Cave of Reclusive Genius. It's not all my fault I'm on the patio. Settling my stepfather's estate has been time-consuming. I think I need to dedicate a page to tips on how to deal with some of the roadblocks that have been set up in my way to accomplishing that task. I've submitted the forms for his life insurance and you'd think I'm pulling all those funds out of the agent's personal pocket. It's not right what they make you do for money due you, or in this case due to my mother. 

I've fortified my writing muse by reading a lot. Reading has been a wonderful escape at the end of the day when I know I'm too tired to try to write. I was a reader first and I'll likely be a reader last when I've retired my keyboard. 

One day soon I'm going to move from the Procrastination Patio to the Author's Cloisters. I won't be the one escaping down the rope, either. I'm pretty well-organized with settling Jack's affairs and I'm working the plan. Now it's a matter of tying up loose ends. Being philosophical, I can visit the Reflecting Pool and admit time away from the keyboard will probably end up being a good thing. That part of me, the part that is the writer, has had a good long break. 

When the time comes to finish July Heat, I'm going to visit the Internet-Free Cafe, buckle down, and get back to work. After all, I've already been to Aspiration Tower and the Brainstorm Rotunda. I've tossed copy down to the Publisher's Roost. When it's all said and done, I think I'll paddle out to the Shrine to the Muse and be thankful the passion to write is still with me. 

Thank you, Grant Snider, for sharing your talent and wit with the world. 

KC Kendricks

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Twitter polls - and the answers I dare not provide

May 26, 2019

Ah, those Twitter polls. Writers have taken to them like ducks to water. And I do confess those polls have taken the enjoyment out of Twitter. Well, that and the fact the nude photos of men don't show up in my feed any longer. It's a shame about that. Twitter shouldn't be in the censorship business. But I digress...

First poll this morning was about world building. Question: what profession(s) end life? My answer that I dare not post is - You're world building, for God's sake. Name it and claim it! 

Second poll - how many hours do you write each day? My answer that I dare not post - When the fuck did this become a competition? 

Third poll - What makes a better book? Writing in third person or first person? My answer that I dare not post - Why are we still wasting time chewing that bone? Write your story the way it speaks to you!

Okay, so you get where I'm coming from on this. Maybe. 

I don't know if the people posing the questions are "new" writers or not. They're asking the same sort of questions that were asked almost twenty years ago when I got started, and it bugs the hell out of me. It seems those of us with experience haven't been good teachers. 

Perpetuating the myth that a writer MUST produce a certain word count every day is damaging. Insisting a particular style of prose is better than another is perhaps a worse harm. The fall of so many publishers proves that out. Publishers always called for "fresh" and "unique" and then rejected it. They were afraid it wouldn't sell as well as Author Cookie-Cutter, would they know? They lacked the metaphorical balls to find out and the indie author, et al., brought them down. 

To the new writers out there who might one day read this - Write your story and write it your way. Don't waste time giving a flying fuck about what anyone else is doing. It's counter-productive. Learn the craft and embrace your voice. Not everyone will like it, but who cares? Enough people will enjoy your stories. 

But if the writing of the story isn't enough to feed your soul, then re-evaluate. A poll on Twitter won't solve that problem for you. 

KC Kendricks

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A life well lived

May 14, 2019

And the number of his days were accomplished. 

My stepfather has left this world. He made my mother very happy, and that's the highest praise I could ever give him. 

Jack had a terrible childhood. Think Charles Dickens and you wouldn't be far off. His mother died in childbirth due to the refusal of his father to believe the doctors and get her to a hospital when she went into labor. Consequently, Jack was raised by the women in a small, tight-knit community. His father paid various ladies to house and feed him, but he became everyone's dinner guest - and farm hand. He worked hard as a boy. His father drank himself to death when Jack was about seventeen and from then until he married my mother, he looked after his step-mother, a woman he came to respect.

He graduated from high school and immediately did a six-year stint in the Navy. He sailed around the world and to Antarctica twice. He didn't talk about it much because he didn't like life on a big boat.  But the Navy taught him electronics and he eventually retired from one of the communications giants. 

Mom had been widowed for ten years when she married Jack. They promised each other twenty happy years and that's about what they had. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Jack cared for her until we knew she needed a care facility. Caring for her took an enormous toll on him. 

He went downhill after Mom left the house. He was lonely and depression set in. When he tripped over a throw rug and broke his hip, his decline was rapid. 

I got the call this past Monday morning. The lady who cleaned his house found him beside the bed. It's not what I would have wished for him but we don't get to choose for ourselves much less anyone else. Passing on in his sleep would have been my preference. I wish that peace for everyone. 

And so the arrangements are made. My mother will live out her days not knowing what happened and this is okay. Alzheimer's Disease is a horrible affliction. When I speak to her of Jack, she asks me, "who's that?" To tell her he's passed may bring an emotional upset that lingers. She would know she's upset but not remember why and so become even more upset. In the early days of her affliction, she spoke of the white fog. It must be a terrible place in which to dwell. 

Now I come to the time to settle my stepfather's affairs. I agreed to it many years ago and I'm thankful it took so long to arrive. I'm more prepared than I was back in 1993. This too will be accomplished. 

For all the trials and tribulations that came his way, Jack felt he'd had a good life. When all is said and done, we can't ask for more than that.

KC Kendricks

Friday, May 10, 2019

The exhausted writer

May 10, 2019

The only way to write, really write, is to rip your chest open and bleed the words. Does that sound too dramatic? Sure it does. Bleeding words is problematic. It hurts. Pain is drama. Life can sometimes be painful. It all feeds into the ability to write. 

Being too tired to bleed write, I've been reading, devouring books at a rate of about one every other day. It's escapism, plain and simple. I'm hiding from the rigors of caregiving. If fortune smiles upon us, May 24 will see a reversal in my husband's decline. Another surgery is scheduled for that morning to relieve pressure on his spinal cord. I pray the last MRI doesn't find yet another spot where bone and calcium are building up. I need this long process to be complete. 

I need to finish July Heat. I don't simply WANT to, I NEED to. It's almost a visceral thing. My load would be lightened if I could just get that story finished. One of the problems is every time I sit back with a cup of coffee or tea to think about the plot, I come up with a new idea for a passage I could make better. I can't walk away from those ideas. They have merit. 

They have merit, but constantly tweaking the story is just as exhausting as caring for my partner during this pre-surgery time. Men are needy things. Mine used to be a lot more stoic. 

Writing is how I decompress from my life. It smoothes out the rough spots of the day.  I forget about the people I work with and their ill-advised decisions when I write. Hell, I even stop laughing at the political arena when I write and we all know there is a lot to laugh at these days. If I thought I would or could write coherent passages, I'd be working on the book now. Instead, I'm rambling. 

And that proves my point. Exhausted writers write exhausted prose, and we can't have that. 

KC Kendricks

Monday, April 22, 2019

Omegaverse romance

April 22, 2019

Easter is over for another year. It was quiet at my house - save for the sounds of coughing and nose blowing. Himself was felled first by pollen and then by some nasty sinus malady. He's on the mend so I'm hopeful life will get back to normal. 

Whatever the hell normal is for my life. I really don't know.

Caregiving is not something that comes naturally to me. Waiting hand and foot on an ailing man is not my idea of fun. To amuse myself, I loaded the Kindle with a few books to expand my horizons. A while back my partner-in-writing, Christiane France, mentioned she'd picked up an mpreg on the recommendation of a friend. I thought I'd check it out and get the scoop. My goodness. 

After a bit of shopping, I settled on Slow Heat by Leta Blake as my introduction to the land of the alpha and omega non-shifter. Good choice. The book was well-written and the story solid. I can see why mpreg has a following. It's...interesting. If you have a chance to purchase a copy of Slow Heat and its sequel Slow Burn, you should do so. The stories suspend reality with no apologies giving just enough information of how the omega/alpha came to be without insulting the reader on any level. Sorry, no spoilers, as I haven't asked for author permission to post any excerpts. 

I enjoyed taking a break from writing. Spending several evenings away from the computer was surprisingly restful, but it won't continue. I need to get back to the prose. I'm in the meaty part of the work-in-progress and the end is in sight. It's time to buckle down and get busy. 

But maybe I can read one more book before I start composing. Just one more. After all, reading is an important exercise for a writer.  

KC Kendricks

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Wisdom a mom again at 68

Akeakamai and his chick 
April 6, 2019

Wisdom, the Laysan albatross, and the world's oldest known banded bird, is a remarkable 68 years old. She and her mate, Akeakamai (which means "lover of wisdom") hatched another egg in February. You just know he has to be a younger fellow. 

I first discovered Wisdom in 2011. Her story is fascinating to many nature lovers. She was banded on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in 1956 by a guy named Robbins. She was already five or six years old at the time. Many years later, in 2002, Robbins went back to Midway Atoll and re-sighted her. Apparently, Wisdom had been missing for those many years in between. 

Her story gets even better. Wisdom and her consorts, of which there have been a few, have successfully raised at least 35 chicks. Wisdom and Akeakamai have produced an egg every year since 2006, another odd feat considering the Laysan albatross typically lays every other year. 

I know that someday I'm going to check in on Wisdom and find she's missing again. Considering her age, the next time may be for good. It'll be a sad day but nothing can erase the story of this singular life and the joy she brings to millions simply by being herself. 

Live long and prosper, Wisdom. 

KC Kendricks 

Some Laysan albatrosses are dying as chicks after being fed small pieces of plastic. The plastic builds up in their stomachs until they can't eat and they starve to death. No one has to turn into a recycling fanatic to make a difference by being aware within their daily life. All of us doing what we can when we can does have a long-term impact. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Running the numbers

April 2, 2019

We Americans like numbers. Everything is all about the numbers, even the money. Big numbers are good, and small numbers are bad. Hmm. Not always. 

This morning I checked in with my retirement countdowns. Folks, it's getting scary. Having already passed the first number, that being December 31, 2018, I'm working on the second. That rolls up in sixty days. 

How did I choose the numbers/dates? The first one wasn't arbitrary. It was the earliest day I could financially afford to retire. The numbers dictated 12/31/18. The problem with that one was the size of my slush fund. As I contemplated depleting that fund of several thousand dollars over the course of five months, I started to wheeze. Seriously. Going from a saver to a spender might kill me.  

The picture is for age sixty-two. A lot of Americans retire at sixty-two. I could be one of them if I choose to be. After this one, the next number is for the twenty-year mark at my current job. That is another 456 days in the future. Age sixty-five? That's pushing twelve hundred days or over 3 years. That one seems a bit daunting. Or is it depressing? 

Maybe it's time to break a rule I've held fast and firm to since 2003. With very few exceptions I've not written prose while at the day job office. But things change. 

Now don't get excited. I work in a private 501(c)3. We do not get government money so I'm not wasting taxpayer dollars. But as this trend has developed, along with a few others, I question whether or not I need to be at the day job forty hours a week. Going to a four-day week would solve a lot of problems for me. It would also be more cost effective for my employer.

All these numbers staring me in the face are distracting. I can't shake them off. I can't ignore them. I'd like to make peace with them but so far I've failed that endeavor. Seeing the days click off, seeing the numbers shrink, brings up that natural fear of change. It's the complete opposite of what I expected. I expected to be gleeful and chomping at the bit to attain my freedom. 

I should have known. Nothing in my life has ever gone as planned. 

KC Kendricks 

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Hard Habit to Break - a new look

March 30, 2018

True spring has arrived! I arrived home from bowling last night to a chirpy serenade. It was lovely - truly music to my ears. The little peeper frogs, our heralds of spring, are awake and that means cold weather is past. 

I had a bit of a break at the day job this past week, so I opted to play with Photoshop once again. Updating covers is a fun endeavor. I like to use the original background, if possible, in a new way. It's also good to keep the original guy, again if possible. So the cover is new but it's not. 

It's a bit of a search to find stock photos that really appeal to me. It would be easier to snatch something free, but the resolution wouldn't be as good.

Back posts here at Between the Keys have been updated. Now I need to do that to the website and at the third-party vendors. 

A Hard Habit to Break. Friends who grew up together, lost each other, and finally found their way back to each other and happiness. 
_ _ _ _ _ 

As the reigning stud of the local gay club scene, every guy in the county knows Travis Templeton, and vies for his attention. Travis wears his crown lightly, careful not to break any hearts. He knows what it’s like to really love someone who doesn’t love you back-at least, not in the way you want.

Heath Kelley made the biggest mistake of his life the night before his best friend Travis left for college. One small action snowballed into years of silent misunderstanding and empty distance. When Heath accepts a transfer that sends him to his hometown, he doesn’t know Travis has moved back home, too. It doesn’t take long for the men to reconnect.

Admitting they never stopped thinking of each other as “best friends” is easy. Forgiveness of past sins is easy, but confessing their secrets comes harder. When Heath discovers the truth about Travis’ private life, the newly repaired bonds of friendship are stretched taut.

It’s time for Travis to choose – the love of his best friend, or a life of settling for second best.

A HARD HABIT TO BREAK is available at:

Available now at Amazon




KC Kendricks
website at:

Friday, March 22, 2019

Spring Equinox 2019

March 21, 2019, at noon
March 22, 2019

Spring has sprung, so they say. As welcome as it is I will still complain and say it was a long time getting here. I've been waiting for months! 

My mother and I both grew up country girls through and through. Her father was born in 1910 and his mother in 1886. They were even more country, working the land to feed family and have income. My grandfather religiously purchased an Almanac every year and planted by the signs. Mom and I had outside employment and so we planted when we had time, but that's another tale. 

Mom and I didn't bother with astronomical signs but we did pay attention to the weather. Here in western Maryland, the vernal equinox brings rain. We watched and observed, and discussed the occurrence. Spring can be as early as March 19 or as late as March 21, but on one of those days, there will be precipitation. This year, the weatherman said the rain would begin around five p.m. on March 20. Coincidentally, the official start time for Spring was 5:58 DST, so maybe the weather folks were hedging their bets. The rain actually began at six a.m. on March 21 and lasted for about twenty-four hours. 

Being curious about many trivial matters, I went to wikipedia to find out why it is it always rains at the vernal equinox. 

I still don't know. Subsolar points? Time slippage? Sidereal time? Right ascension? Refraction of light rays? Equal amounts of day versus night? Whatever. 

All I know is the old adage passed down from a woman born in 1886 has once again proven true. It rained like hell at the vernal equinox. 

KC Kendricks

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Right Brew - updated new cover

March 19, 2019

Cross another item off the "someday list!" I made a new cover for The Right Brew (Book 9 in the Men of Marionville collection). I'm much happier with this one than the original. The original was made at a time when I was just learning how to create covers in Photoshop. I have a much better feel for it now. 

Will this be the last cover for The Right Brew? I don't know. Experience says it might not be. Let me get too bored at the day job and I start misbehaving (a.k.a. doing my own thing). But this one will certainly do for the next while.

Here's a bit about The Right Brew. Enjoy!

Hollis Milnor didn’t think twice about moving to Marionville. His ailing cousin needed his help running his nightclub, Frolic, and Hollis needed to put some space between himself and an ex-boyfriend determined to make his life miserable. Management skills he has. Experience running a nightclub, not so much, but he’s a quick learner.  

Caleb Brewer is a steady, hard-working man establishing a microbrewery. He’s got a great product and demand for it is growing. When a new manager takes over the hottest nightclub in Marionville, Caleb is determined to maintain his prior arrangements. 

What starts out as business quickly heats up the summer nights. Hollis hesitates, reluctant to step over the legal line. Caleb isn’t just a vendor. He works part-time at the nightclub. Becoming involved puts them both in murky waters, waters that become crystal clear when the past catches up with Hollis and puts everyone he loves in danger.    


“Caleb. Come in and sit down.” I motioned at a chair. “Something wrong?”

He eased down in the wing chair and stretched out his long denim-encased legs. “Did we sorta get off on the wrong foot here? I can’t afford to have that happen.”

I gave him points for directness. He didn’t aim to come off as being abrupt. He simply kept everything right out front. I liked that. 

“I know. It’s my fault, Caleb, and I’m sorry. I’m here to manage the nightclub, not get personally involved with any of the men working within the business end of things.”

He studied me for a moment, and then nodded. “Fair enough. I thought that might be it, but I wanted to be sure that’s all it was. Now I need to ask you this.” He took a deep breath. “Would you like to have dinner with me tonight? I’d like to talk about some business.”

He would, would he? I admit getting involved with the hired help wasn’t a good idea and he comes back with an invitation to dinner?

We could talk ideas and possibilities for our respective ventures right now. We didn’t need food, wine and the privacy of a crowded restaurant, but what better way to learn more about him? A wave of goosebumps fluttered over my back. 

“I guess I do need to eat sometime.”

His blue gaze locked on mine. “I think I like that you had to consider it. Too much impulse can lead a man astray.”

Oh, hell, yeah. “Is that where you’d like to go? Astray?”

A smile teased the corner of his mouth. His eyes sparkled with humor. “I’ve been there before so I know which road not to take.”

“Same here. Tell me something. How long have you been connected with Frolic?”

“Not long. Maybe a year. Why?”

I grinned at him. “You might have information useful to me.”

He rolled his eyes and lifted his gaze to the ceiling. “And that, Caleb Brewer, is why the man agreed to have dinner with you.”

 I chuckled. “Talk to yourself often, do you? I like to keep things above board, too. So, yeah, I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions, but I think I’ll really enjoy having dinner with you.”

“I get it, and it’s okay. So how about I meet you about seven o’clock? At The Wharf? It’s the best place in town.”

“I’ve heard about the place. Give me your phone number in case something happens and I can’t get away on time. I can at least let you know I’m running late and why.”

We exchanged cell numbers and he held his hand out as he stood to leave. I reached out and his fingers closed around mine. The shock of his warm palm against mine turned my arm to lead. He let go of me. 

“It’s not a date, Hollis. Not if you don’t want it to be.” 

He walked out of the office while I stood watching his retreating backside. It wasn’t until he’d disappeared I realized I rather wished it were.   

Available at iTunes/Apple

Available at Amazon

Available at Barnes and Noble/NOOK

Available at KOBO

KC Kendricks

Sunday, March 17, 2019

A point to ponder from Pinterest

March 17, 2019

Like what is apparently billions of other folks, I enjoy surfing Pinterest. There are so many pearls of wisdom to be found - it's truly incredible. I found this one the other day and I confess my sense of humor loved it, so much so I decided to share it here. 

Think about it...

And if you're in the mood, check out my Pinterest board called, "Every Picture Tells a Story."


Thursday, March 7, 2019

A new cover for Kentucky 98 Proof

March 7, 2019

It's a human commonality. We all say it and there is no point in denying it. "I'll get around to it one day." 

Today I "got around" to something I've wanted to do for a long day. Blame it on a slow day at the day job. It's difficult to get a lot done when you're 1)waiting on other people, and 2)a guy is operating a ram-hoe and breaking up the sidewalk outside your office window. The noise and vibrations were too intense to work with numbers, so I amused myself and made a new cover for Kentucky 98 Proof. It turned out great if I do say so myself. 

Having made the cover, I went on to make a Twitter promo card. I even updated the cover on old blog entries here at Between the Keys. 

After that, I uploaded the new cover to 
Amazon and other vendors. Talk about being on a roll! Once I made it home, I updated my website and now I'm spreading the word in a new blog post. 

Yep. I nailed it today! 


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Intrinsic value

March 3, 2019

Say that something has "intrinsic value" and you may get two different reactions. Some people will smile and nod, and some will give you a blank stare. Intrinsic is quite subjective. Something I think has intrinsic value will have no value of any sort to someone else. Of course, the Internet tells me this little Scottie dog is worth at least $24 on Etsy. 

I very much doubt my great-grandparents paid even a penny for this. Carnival glass, or "Iridill," was created by the Fenton company sometime around 1910. Tiffany had a similar process and so the Fenton glass didn't sell for top dollar. That being the case, Fenton discontinued Iridill. The older women in my family possessed a great liking for Fenton and many, many pieces have come to me. 

These days Fenton glass, while collectible, isn't a consistent high-dollar value. The odd piece may fetch hundreds, but the research into the pieces I own shows an average value of $20. 

So I'm down to the intrinsic value of each. How do you put a monetary value on something that your great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother all touched? I can't. I don't even want to try. 

The little Scottie dog is a link to my childhood and to a small, stoop-shoulder woman with long white hair that she tucked up into a traditional Brethren prayer covering (a little white bonnet). She died when I was eleven but I do have strong memories of her. 

Today the Scottie sits on the same desk it rested upon in her home. Desk and dog are in my writing office, along with other family items. To the south, through the trees, I can still see the old homeplace, so the Scottie hasn't traveled too far. To me, the connections are comforting. 

Intrinsic value. 

KC Kendricks

Sunday, February 24, 2019

When the ducks turn stubborn

February 24, 2019

For the official record, I am sick to death of rain. I live on the side of a mountain and yet my yard looks like a swamp. It's not difficult to figure out - all the water above drains through here on its way to the creeks below. The joke is on me. Come summer, I need to round up the cousins and add an extra swale in the back yard. Provided, of course, it dries up enough to get the John Deere in the back yard without it sinking up to the axles. 

You'd think all the rain would be conducive to productive writing. Again, and I repeat, the joke is on me. I've spent these few early days of 2019 managing the health care of husband and stepfather. That endeavor has left little time for my own pleasurable pursuits. I finally broke down and made arrangements to pay (out of pocket) for someone to transport my stepfather to all his doctor visits. I've missed far too much work to be comfortable about it. More importantly, the simple act of asking for help has already lifted some weight from my shoulders. 

The Grammarly project has been moving along. I took a sanity break this past week and did some "fluff" reading. I call it that because I'd read the books before - The Chanur series by C.J. Cherryh. It was a revisitation to old friends from the 1980s. I understand why the author stopped at five books, but I'd love to read how things worked thirty years later for all involved. 

I decided it was time to set aside my dislike of Facebook and start some promo there. I got a spam email from some company offering to "promote your book on over 100 Facebook groups." And then it actually listed the groups. Yep. I copied the list and set myself the task of checking out each one and joining if appropriate. Thanks for the tip and not sorry you won't get any money from me. 

I continue to enjoy messing around with Photoshop. Some samples of the promo cards I've made are posted here. 

We're almost to the end of February and I've not produced a Jan/Feb newsletter. It's like entries for the Between the Keys blog. What do I have to crow about if I've done...not much?? The behind the scenes work is pretty boring although fellow authors and informed readers will understand completely. Sometimes those damn ducks will not form a neat row!

KC Kendricks

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Bookish Moods and AI

February 9, 2019

A lot has been going on in my corner of the world. The spousal unit continues to improve following neck surgery. How long this will last I can't guess. The occupational therapist has him taking things out of MY cupboards and putting them back - the Medicare dollar at work. The first time he breaks something, I'm taking a day off work to break her. 

My stepfather is whining about not being able to drive. Does he really think I'm enjoying doing his grocery shopping and hauling his arse to doctor appointments? Nooooooo. This morning my duties include taking his trash to the landfill. Fun? Nooooo. 

At the day job, the boiler failed. Half the building has no heat. All of the interior of the building is
covered in a layer of fine soot. Luckily, my area is heated/cooled by a heat pump. My office was far enough away from the furnace to be barely impacted. I dusted, changed the air filter, and got back to work. Instead, I should have milked it into working at home for a week. 

On the writing front, the Grammarly project has hit about twenty percent completed. The 

Amethyst Cove books are finished, as are A Friendly Neighbor, A Perfect Hire, Chain Lightning, Desert Snow, Doors of Time, Eye of the Beholder (I must get that uploaded today), The Ghost at the B andB, Hey Joe, and Passion's Victory. I don't know if it's vitally important to my readers that I'm doing this exercise, but it matters to me. It's feeding all those author-ish masochistic tendencies about how foolish it was to pay for "professional" editing. I know I learned a lot from working with editors but you know how we all gripe about those things we view through hindsight. 

Not that the Grammarly system is perfect - far from it. It can take off with you in the middle of a correction and drop you pages away. Very annoying. That little glitch might be adding problems if the system fails to go back and pick up that spot. The major plus is I feel better about the books because I'm at least attempting to improve them. 

I'm sure the Grammarly folks will continue to improve their product. After all, we should all write in one voice, shouldn't we? Therein lies a rub. We should not. We should all sound like ourself. A comma here or a comma there is not as important as individual voice. I see that in the number of "suggestions" I decline to accept, especially in dialogue. People should sound like people, not echoes of the robotic. 

Cautiously embracing artificial intelligence makes me feel like a sell-out. It goes against one of my core value that says individuals are more important than the tools they use. On the other hand, this tool may have earned its place in the writer's arsenal.  I suppose like any other tool, it's all in how you use it. 

But enough finger chatter (that's my current slang for typing). Daylight has arrived and my coffee cup is empty. I need to upload the updated Eye of the Beholder manuscript and maybe even get Bored, Stroked, and Blueprinted back out before the demands of the day crash down on my head. 

Because once I've fulfilled my responsibilities to dog, cat, spouse, and stepparent, I'm going to close the door and hide in my office. I may even get some new writing done. Or should that word be accomplished? Where's the AI when you need it? 

KC Kendricks

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Learn, live, learn more

January 20, 2019

The new year is off to a...

The new year has officially begun. Yippe-ki-ay. I've yet to have any fun in 2019, and I'm not very happy about that. Between work and doing the caregiver act, I've not had time. To top it off, I settled down to do some reading one chilly night, and finding nothing new that struck my fancy, I reread one of my own works. Big mistake. Huge. 

Apparently, I'm a lot pickier now than I used to be. Or maybe it's that I've learned a lot. I suppose it doesn't matter. After finding a glaring mistake, I knew I had to rework the manuscript and upload a corrected version. It looks like 2019 will be the year of Grammarly.  

I've used the free version for some time. An email came offering a substantially reduced rate for one year, and I took the Pro version. The first manuscript I ran through was Double Deuce. I paid sixty percent of the sales to a publisher to have that book "professionally" edited. Grammarly Pro found one hundred fifty-six critical issues. That's 156 for those of you who love numerals. 

I didn't love it at all. I gave up several thousand dollars to the humans, and artificial intelligence outdid them all. It doesn't make me happy to think about that.

What does make me happy is the chance to go through the old stories and update them. I'm not sure it matters to anyone else, but it matters to me. It'll be especially nice to have the current WIP be neat and tidy from the start. 

That's the thing about writing. It's a constant learning experience. It's a profession where the writer continually strives for improvement. My motto, if I have one, is "learn something new every day."

In the Year of our Lord Two Thousand Nineteen, it may be "improve something every day." I can live with that. 

KC Kendricks  

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A Friendly Neighbor for the Midweek Tease

January 16, 2019

Welcome to another MidWeek Tease blog hop! Does it feel like 2019 is off to a slow start? It does for me. My goal is to pick up some steam and get a wee bit of momentum going. The spousal unit's recovery following neck surgery is progressing ahead of schedule, so I might actually get some words on the page within the next few days. 

Be sure to check out all the participating MidWeek Tease blogs at,

This week, I've got an excerpt from an older story that has languished on the hard drive. It has been made a pretty thanks to a nifty little program (and a few dollars), and it's ready to go back out into the world. 

Soooooo - coming soon - A Friendly Neighbor. 

3/14/19 Update: 




“Thanks for asking me over, Jackson. I’ve, um, noticed you before.”

Jackson met his gaze. “I’m happy to provide good service to my neighbors whenever I can.”

Kyle’s cheeks grew pink. “I’m done with spying on the neighbors.”

“Shucks. I mean, why, since you obviously enjoyed watching me?”

“That wasn’t the real me. I’m a more ‘hands-on’ sort of guy.”

Jackson’s skin prickled. To be honest, he’d hoped the conversation would take a personal turn, but how fast should he cruise Kyle? If he listened to his dick, he was already going too slow, but he’d never let his penis rule him again. Besides, he’d yet to confirm Kyle was gay. Ninety-percent sure still left room for error.

“Yeah, I noticed that about you. I shouldn’t tease you like that. You could have company some night, and they might not like it.”

Kyle snorted. “They’d like you, Jackson.” He lifted his glass and downed the contents. 
“Thanks for asking me over, but I need to get to bed. Tomorrow’s a work day.”

“For me too.” He had to bite the bullet and ask Kyle or risk not getting the chance again. 
“Would you like to come for dinner some night? Maybe this Saturday?”

“Sure. What can I bring?”

Jackson stammered. He’d not expected Kyle to say yes to dinner without even thinking about it. “W-whatever you like to drink if you don’t like rum.”

“Ah, you’re a rummy. I’ll bring a rum cake too.”

“Excuse me. I need a moment. You bake?”

Kyle laughed as he got to his feet. “No. I’ll go to the bakery around the corner and order one.”

Before Jackson had time to respond, Kyle leaned over and kissed him. Jackson sucked in a deep breath, and the man’s spicy scent exploded in his brain. Those full lips moved over his with skill and promise. Jackson opened his mouth to deepen the kiss, to get a better taste, and Kyle pulled away.

“I’d better go. Goodnight Jackson. I’ll let myself out.”

He wanted to leave? Jackson grabbed Kyle’s hand.

“Whoa. You can’t kiss me like that and then walk out the door.”

“Rushing into bed isn’t the smartest thing two people who just met can do, Jackson.” 
Kyle squeezed his hand. “I’m really sorry about that because I got a bad case of stupid happening.”

Jackson stood and backed Kyle against the side of the balcony. He wanted to show Kyle just how easy it would be to get stupid together. He pressed against Kyle, thigh-to-thigh and belly-to-belly, making sure Kyle felt how hard he was. Kyle wrapped his arms around him.

“Maybe I need to reconsider saying goodnight.”

“Damn right you do.” Jackson didn’t wait for a reply as he slanted his lips over Kyle’s. This time Kyle opened and let him in, meeting him boldly. It was Jackson who pulled away.

“I gotta catch my breath.”

“I bet you’ll breathe better in your bedroom.”

Jackson held out his hand as he backed away. “Follow me and we’ll see.”

Kyle grinned and took a step. “So you’re going to lead me astray.”

Jackson put his index finger up to his lips. “Shhh. We don’t say s-t-r-a-y in front of the c-a-t.”

“I’ll be more careful in the future.” Kyle closed the balcony door behind them as Max darted inside. Jackson let go of his hand and pointed toward the dark hall.

“Stay right here until I turn the lights on.” Jackson reached inside the first doorway, and a dim light came on. “Bathroom.”

Kyle took a step closer. Jackson backed up another step and flipped another light switch to turn on a small bedside lamp. “And bedroom.”

“Your place has all the amenities. Booze, mood lighting, a big bed and you.”



Kyle isn’t a voyeur, but when his sexy neighbor forgets to close his curtains, he finds it difficult to look away. And why should he? It’s just a little harmless fun, and maybe an erotic bit of self-pleasure to balance out the long hours he’s put in on the job lately. Next time, he’ll exercise some self-control and turn away from the too-hot for words spectacle, but just this once he’s determined to let himself enjoy the show.

Jackson might have been offended by his neighbor’s voyeuristic evening had he not taken advantage of the delicious show he unwittingly inspired. Unwilling to let the opportunity to turn a smoldering fantasy into a scorching hot sex life, Jackson invites Kyle over for a drink and is pleasantly surprised to find Kyle is smart, sexy, and someone Jackson wants to get to know—in bed and out.


A Friendly Neighbor is an enjoyable, light-hearted read that is both humorous and sexy. I would love another glimpse into the world of these two and see how they’re fairing in the future. – Long and Short Reviews

Look for A Friendly Neighbor to be available within the next few days!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Midweek Tease - Tango in the Night

January 2, 2019

Welcome to 2019! A new year. A new cycle of seasons. It's a bit bemusing to see both sides of that "new year" coin. Has it become boring after so many years, or is a new adventure beginning? Stick around and we can find out together. 

I wasn't sure where to begin 2019 in the MidWeek Tease Blog Hop. Then the batteries in my mouse quit (as they are wont to do). The cursor was on Tango in the Night. It's kismet! 

Be sure to check out other Midweek Tease blogs here. Keep in mind, we just made it through the holidays. Not everyone is up to speed yet. 

Here's an excerpt from Tango in the Night. Enjoy!

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: