Saturday, March 21, 2020

It should be simple, but it's not

March 21, 2020

Happy spring, everyone! The daffodils are finally blooming and I'm home to enjoy them. Life should be good...but it's not. We are living in challenging times and everyone has a criticism to share. Just remember - if you hate just one person, you are a hater. But enough about that. 

We've all been asked to stay home to limit our exposure to those who may be infected with the COVID-19 virus. We've been asked to only venture out for necessities. I'm happy to comply, but then I'm not exactly housebound. I have three acres of ground and the nearest house to my property line is a good five-hundred feet away. I have no worries when I take Deuce outside. 

So I'm home. You'd think sitting down and writing would be the simplest thing in the world for a writer to do, wouldn't you? Yeah, I thought so, too, but everywhere I look I see something that can be done before the hazy, hot, and humid days of the Mid-Atlantic summer arrive. Maybe I need to close my eyes or close the curtains, so I can't see all the work out there waiting for me. Maybe that won't help because I have a lot of writing "chores" that also need to be performed. 

It may all be moot musings. My employer considers me to be essential personnel, and it's not bragging to say I am. Everything passes through my hands. Whether or not I'll be expected to report to work on Tuesday remains to be decided. The thing is, I don't trust others to stay out of the building and stay away from me. They've already proven it's beyond their brains to comprehend such a thing. Another simple concept that is obviously not simple in practice. 

I'd like to work from home. The caveat there is that if they want to cut my pay, well, it'll be time to officially retire. 

It should be so simple, but it's not. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ponderings on the state of publishing March 2020

March 18, 2020

A few days ago I sat down to blog about romance fiction industry stats and ended up on a rant. Today I will stay on topic. 

The romance fiction industry is worth over $1B a year. Yes, one billion dollars. That's about the size of the mystery and science fiction markets combined. I look at the number of mystery and adventure books that regularly place on the bestseller lists and I question this, but it's the sheer volume of romance fiction readers with multiple "must-read authors" that boosts the number. There was only one of the late Clive Cussler so of course, he would always make the lists. 

The majority of romance fiction readers are women. As a woman, I want my romance to be a character-driven love story and I'm not alone in that. I like a little sub-plot or two, but the story must be about the main couple. That couple can be any combination of genders. I like the endings to be upbeat and personally, I want it to be realistic to the couple the author just spent a good chunk of their life creating. 

So this is all well and good, interesting up to a point, but there is some bad news brewing. The American Booksellers Association reported, on Valentine's Day no less, that book sales are down. Glancing over its industry-statistics webpage, the reports of dropping sales go back over a year. Its report on March 2019 says that month was down about seven percent over sales in March 2018. 

As a writer, it's my job to figure out if the romance readers of the world have gotten jaded on what's available, or if the time available to relax and read a book has gone the way of the Dodo bird. Or is it something more insidious? 

I've long pondered the impact the ease of Amazon's self-publishing model has had on readership across the board. I've read some really poorly constructed and written stories lately. 

Have we, and by this I mean published authors, turned off our readership? It's a question worth considering. Has the market been flooded? Is it better for us to produce quality or quantity? What's the next big sub-genre we should be writing? Has our readership's age demographic changed? Did the ebook publisher model work better, after all? Are there any good epublishers still out there? 

It's a lot to consider as we continue to write the story we want to read. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com








Sunday, March 15, 2020

Going way off topic

March 15, 2020


The world has gone mad. As I write this, we are in the midst of global hysteria over COVID-19. While this is a serious health issue, once again the mainstream media has mobilized to whip the populace into a frenzy. Part of me says there are some people out there who deserve to live in their own created hell for buying into the dystopian hype, but most of me just feels sorry for them. My generation has birthed and raised a generation of idiot robots. How did this happen? It's like the mainstream media has found a way to reach inside their skulls, suck out their brains, and replace it with tapioca pudding. 

I can't believe the political sniping going on over COVID-19. The people of the United States deserve better. 

If there's one big takeaway for me from all this it's that the Affordable Care Act has wrecked our healthcare system. The Affordable Care Act put the government in charge of our healthcare and when faced with its first big challenge, it failed. Healthcare has become ALL about the money and not health. 

Many, many, many of the politicians who believe in, and voted for, the Affordable Care Act, who in effect created a big part of this mess, now criticize the government's response to the COVID-19 response. GROW THE FUCK UP AND OWN YOUR MESS.

The government, which now controls our healthcare system, has turned on itself. We're being controlled by a pack of flaming idiots. 

Wow. That was soooo not what I sat down to blog about this morning. Perhaps I really needed to just get that out. 

I'd better go do something else for a bit and come back later. Maybe then I can stay on topic. 

KC

Saturday, February 29, 2020

He and Me

February 29, 2020

Silently it prowls on the mountain, this misty fog,
Blanketing the winter world in stillness.
The trees stand as sentinels, 
unwavering and ghostly,
Watchers across the speeding years,
they can be no less.

Inside we sit, shoulder to knee,
sleek black head resting, eyes alert.
Outside the wet gray squirrels
rummage under his sharp gaze.
Whiskey brown orbs reveal the
dog’s interest, albeit covert,
No better companion could I ask for on this softening afternoon.

Daylight wans else we’d take to the woods
for a walk, and to talk.
He listens attentively to each word I utter,
praise to his beauty among them.
It needs wait for a warmer day to find a
bushy-tailed critter to stalk.
A starless night shrouds the outside world,
but we are content to breathe, he and me.

KC Kendricks

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Steel Wheels - a 5-star rating at Goodreads

February 16, 2020

Happy Daytona 500 Sunday! Don't call me this afternoon. Daytona is one of the few races I watch start to finish instead of tuning in late to see only the finish. 

But that's not the real news. The real news is Steel Wheels has a 5-star rating at Goodreads! Who knew? I didn't. I don't visit Goodreads often. It's more for readers than authors so I don't visit. Yes, I'm a reader, too, but authors with a big presence there tend to get themselves skewered for saying the wrong things. The readers at Goodreads can smell someone there simply to promote five mouse clicks away. It's their turf.

Well, here's to a little promoting on my own turf. So I snatched a screen cap. I'm delighted to learn people are enjoying the Ian Coulter series. 

The entire series is on Kindle Unlimited through April 2020. It's a trial run to see how well KU works, so my apologies to everyone who purchases through iTunes and other vendors. Be patient because the series will be available everywhere in May 2020. 

Until then, Steel Wheels can be found at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HXX4684


ABOUT Steel Wheels


Contemporary gay romance/Mystery/
Book 5 of Ian Coulter’s Amethyst Cove

When Amethyst Cove’s reigning drag queen is blackmailed, private investigator Ian Coulter searches to find the truth. He doesn’t believe his friend committed a murder and he won’t allow money to change hands. He gets support from his FBI lover Rick Mohr.

Ian and Rick have conquered a long road to be together. Working together is easy. Keeping their relationship strong is more difficult. With their wedding day approaching, Ian questions if he can go through with the ceremony but not his love for Rick.


When Ian is propositioned, Rick falls back into old ways. Ian’s guiltless but overcoming his jealousy isn’t easy for Rick. With time running out, they leave no avenue unexplored in their quest to find the truth and the blackmailer – before the honeymoon cruise. 

KC Kendricks

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Ian Coulter series now on Kindle Unlimited for a limited time

February 2, 2020

Happy Groundhog Day! This year, good old Phil says it's an early spring. He won't get an argument from me. I do see several green sprouts in the flower beds (I'm sure they're daffodils peeking up). 

To celebrate the coming spring, I've put all five of the Ian Coulter series on Kindle Unlimited for a limited time. Yep, they will be on KU until April 30, 2020. 

There are five books in the series - Double Deuce, Deuce of Diamonds, Ace Deuce Trey, Circle of Steel, and Steel Wheels. Private investigator Ian Coulter meets undercover agent Rick Mohr and sparks fly - until Rick solves his case and goes back to his life. That's not the end of their relationship, though. 

Rick can't move on. He knows he made a mistake walking away from Ian and they reconnect. They may have had a rocky beginning, but working through those trials cemented their relationship. 

Ian and Rick are my favorite couple. They do real life. They argue. They sometimes struggle. They love. They make it through a life-shattering event when Rick is wounded. They forgive and they work it out. When friends are threatened, they pool all their resources to keep them safe. Two strong - and headstrong - guys making a life together. 

I hope you'll give the Ian Coulter series a read. You won't regret it. 

You'll find excerpts and links at https://www.kckendricks.com/AmethystCoveSeries.html . 
Or you can go straight to my author page at Amazon

I think you'll enjoy Ian and Rick's journey. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks

PS. To my dearly missed buddy the late Chris Grover - yes, I put books on KU. Please don't hold it against me. 




Saturday, January 18, 2020

The RWA Debacle: Don't stop writing over this

January 18, 2020

Well, I did it to myself. I was curious about the big bru-ha-ha at the Romance Writers of America. I used to be a member of the RWA way back in the day. When I got my first acceptance back in 2003, I thought it was the thing to do. I joined and it quickly soured for me. 

Back then, Yahoo groups were the Big Thing. I was writing science fiction I called Star Trek With Sex. I joined the RWA's Yahoo group. Wow. Talk about some snobs. There I was, the newbie, and I asked a simple question. Instead of an answer, I had multiple offers from multiple "sister" writers that the answer was found in their book. All I had to do was go buy their book. Wow. 

I knew right then and there I did not belong. 

In those days, the RWA talked about writers supporting writers. I didn't get it until after I paid my dues the support was only supposed to be financial, not professional. There is one well-known best selling author that to this day I will not buy her books. I won't even mention her name because I don't want to promote her in any way, shape, or form. Seventeen years and I'm still not over how nasty she was to me. I doubt I was the only one.

While I'm not surprised in the least that the RWA has imploded, I find I'm saddened by it. I'm sure there are writers who did find camaraderie within its ranks. I envy them. It's true that LGBTQ writers have been marginalized but it was my choice to write m/m romance. The RWA did, at one time, qualify romance as being between one woman and one man. It seems that to some, all love is not equal. Too bad for them. 

The best summary of what has transpired (that I've found) is located here. It lays out the timeline of events, but if you read between the lines, you see more. One of the questions that occurred to me is, has political correctness become censorship? A second thought was are we now supposed to write our stories to appease personalities who are not counted in our readership? 

Name after name after name is dropped. Organizations weigh in. Fault after fault after fault is exposed and what do we learn? Not much. Not the important things, anyway.

Ancient words warn of passing judgment because when we judge we condemn ourselves. A very, VERY well known and respected author has spoken on the situation.  Her response is here. We can barely speak aloud today lest we offend someone. This author ends her letter by apologizing for any offense she may have caused in her writing over the past decades. I'd love to be able to ask her if she's sorry for the times she has lived in, that being the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and now the new millennium. We write through the lens of an imperfect self living in imperfect times. Utopia is a dream, not reality. Should we whip ourselves for that? I think not. 

Whatever good the RWA may have done in the past has been tarnished beyond reclamation. There's not enough TarnX in the world to put the shine back on it. I wonder what the individual chapters will do. Will they be able to stick together to support each other? Will those members be forced to "pick a side?" If that happens, those groups may splinter beyond repair and who benefits from that? 

The big take away, for me, isn't that the RWA imploded, it's how long it took. Had this happened ten years ago, the names would have been different, but the end result is the same. People put in power or authority who make decisions for others invariably make decisions that benefit them first. 

For those who may be questioning whether or not to continue writing, this may be the tipping point that silences their voice. I think that would be a shame. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com







Thursday, January 2, 2020

Back to writing, back to work

January 2, 2019

It was back to work at the day job today. My time off over the holidays settled a few things for me. I'm definitely ready to retire. My birthday is in about six months, and that may be the cut-off point. We'll see.

I think what has tipped me over to the "do it" side is, among other things, the current work-in-progress. I sat down one of my days off and banged out over one-thousand words. It was wonderful to discover I could still do it. I did a mock-up of the cover which I am afraid to post for fear of Internet pirates getting it. I've yet to officially purchase the stock so the mock-up has watermarks but when has such a thing stopped a thief? Never, that's when. 

Oh, what the heck. I'll risk just a bit of a tease with one of our hero's eyes. As I said, I have to go buy him to make the final cover. I use the watermarked copies to do mock-ups and decide on what I'm willing to purchase. It's not just about writing the story these days. Not like it was ten years ago.  

This story was one I dropped a few notes about onto a sheet along with about a chapter of prose and saved in an ideas folder. Our heroes are in the archeological field. Inside a tight-knit community, gossip travels fast. One of our guys is set-up to take a fall, and now, a few years later, he has the opportunity to redeem himself. Redemption is a theme I like to work. 

Who am I trying to kid? Settling back into a routine of working during the day and writing at night seems like a hassle. It has worked for me for many years but the world does turn. During the holidays, I found a different routine that suits me better at this stage of life. 

I'd get up around six, take care of Deuce, get coffee, and then read through the current WIP from the beginning. I could fix what needed fixed and have the story so far firmly in mind. When the spousal unit finally crawled out from between the covers, I spent some time with him. Maybe we ran errands or maybe we did nothing much. Around one o'clock or so, he was ready to read or watch television. I retreated to my sunroom office and worked until it seemed like it was time to contemplate dinner. Afterward, I had a choice of TV or going back to the computer. 

Talk about no stress. No wonder I could bang out a thousand words a day. Yep. This writing gig is what I'm supposed to be doing now. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com





Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

January 1, 2020

It's quite a dilemma for us old-timers
A new decade and difficult rhymers
We well remember the old Y2K
The night Father Time held our computers at bay

We made it through then and 
we'll make it through now
We've not lived so long 
we're taking our bows
We say twenty-twenty like 
it's perfect eyesight
Even when we object 
with all of our might

It's happened again without 
our permission
We went to bed a teenager and woke
with something altogether different that's
going to drive us crazy before it's done with us

So on we go with a laugh and a smile
Cheered to have traveled this many miles
And while it's true we may shed a few tears
We're still happy to welcome another New Year

KC Kendricks