Monday, November 30, 2020

Doors of Time promo card project

 November 30, 2020


I distinctly remember the conversation that took place after Amber Quill Press announced they were folding. One of the other AQP authors with a cavalier attitude boldly proclaimed she didn't need to learn how to make her own covers. 

Hmmm....More power to her. I chose a very different path. 

I decided I would learn how to create a cover and I've really enjoyed - yes, ENJOYED the process. Not every cover turns out exactly the way I thought it would, but that's okay. I've discovered that I need to allow the creative side of my brain to simmer some ideas (some longer than others), and can redo a cover at any time. No begging for it to be done by someone else. No paying extra for a re-do. 

This past year I've been creating some promo cards. I've seen some really good ones and they gave me the idea to try it. Mine are basics, but I think that's ok. My message is basic - here's my book. 

Photoshop is a challenging piece of software. It does things I don't have a clue about. I stick to the basic photo merge process. It takes me about an hour to do a promo card although I know I'm getting faster. I create every layer separately and save each combination as a separate .jpg. My copy of Photoshop will simply shut down if I try to do too much at once. So I work with that knowledge instead of against it. 

This morning I settled down to do a card for Doors of Time. I've always loved the way that cover turned out, and I think the promo card does it proud. 

Here's a bit about Doors of Time, one of my author picks. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DOORS OF TIME
Contemporary gay romance available at
Amazon, iTunes and other online booksellers

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. He'll step aside so Emory will accept the job he’s worked all his life to attain, and allow the doors of time close between them permanently.

EXCERPT
 
“You don’t know what to do when someone acts all gentlemanly toward you, do you?”

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 that 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 Calvin’s 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 the car. Emory’s thighs strained against his as he arched his pelvis against his, the ridge of his dick riding along Calvin’s 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 against 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?”

DOORS OF TIME
Contemporary gay romance available now at



Barnes & Noble/Nook

Kobo


KC Kendricks





Sunday, November 22, 2020

Working retro

November 22, 2020

A long time ago in another life, I wrote as Rayne Forrest. Long story short, my mother wanted me to use my grandfather's last name. I had no problem with this. My Forrest heritage is long and proud, stretching back many generations and into Scotland. But what to team with Forrest? Tropical? Nope. In a moment of hilarity with many options being bandied about, someone hit on Rayne and I liked it. 

I had good success with the nom de plume, but I always knew when I branched out into other subgenres it wouldn't go with me. It was all about branding the nameplate. Like a car. Anyway...

My computer houses several files with partially completed Rayne Forrest manuscripts. I've decided I need to take the time to finish them, working between other projects. First up is an idea I had when I began working on Netting Neptune, Taming Triton, and Poseidon's Pleasure. I do love a futuristic story, so this one is set at an undersea resort. It's a bit light-hearted, which may not fit in with today's dystopian views, but I like it. 

And by the way - Netting Neptune, Taming Triton, and Poseidon's Pleasure have nothing at all to do with fantasy. The three stories are all contemporary gay romances set at a seaside resort, hence the reference to sea gods. 

To give myself a bit of inspiration, I've created the cover for After the Sea Sprite Ball. It feels a bit retro but that's okay. The future is all about the past. 

Stay tuned. I'll post updates when they become significant. 

KC Kendricks


Saturday, November 21, 2020

A Holiday Romance?

 November 21, 2020

The holiday romance. What writer has not entertained the thought of a happily ever after romance set against the backdrop of the Christmas season? I've certainly considered it more than once. But do I really want to dedicate the time necessary to develop new characters, a plot, and the actual writing on a book that may only sell a few copies once a year? Isn't it more prudent to use that time to craft a story that will sell a few copies every month for many years? That long reach sell is how most of us survive. In the elevator at the 2008 Romantic Times convention, I overhead a well-established writer say her earlier books were gifts that kept on giving. I know now how true that statement was, and is. 

What to do? The holidays are fast approaching and I know myself well enough to know that now would be the time - the only time of year - I'd be able to write a themed story. Writing a story with a loving couple watching it snow, in June or July, is beyond my brain's ability. I need to see the snow, feel the chill, breathe in the cold, crisp air of a snowfall that is like no other to be able to romanticize that part of the season. And of course, being me, the big fluffy flakes will also show their dark side - melting slush sent by the gods of weather to antagonize a hero's driving. 

And if I write this cheery holiday story this season, am I willing to shelve it until next year and release it when the holiday-themed books are selling? The long reach sell requires a lot of patience. 

There's no reason for me not to write the story I want to write - and read. It will be my story and if others want to come along for the ride, that's just a bonus. 

I think that's something we "older" writers sometimes forget. We've been writing so long and so successfully for our readership, our "market," that we overlook the fact we need to write for ourselves, too. It's an amazing thing to go back and read one of our own older works and realize that, yes, we did write that! 

So now I have points to ponder. Perhaps I can shortcut some of the planning process by giving one of my earlier couples a Christmas to remember. Considering a themed story would need to be a shorter work (my opinion), that may be the way to go, at least for me. 

Decision made or decision deferred? Isn't being a writer a lot of fun? 
On Instagram...somewhere 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Between the Keys newsletter updates

 November 7, 2020

The Autumn 2020 issue of the Between the Keys newsletter is now available on my website. 

Writer's wisdom from long ago was full of things a writer had to do to reach readers. You had to have a website (check), a blog (check), a mailing list...um, Yahoo is ending its groups feature so there goes that one out the window. You had to have a newsletter (check). 

They should have said you should have a newsletter AND be faithful in issuing them on a regular basis. 

I have at times in my writing career produced a newsletter regularly. I have at times in my writing career been a little lax with a newsletter. That's life, or at least my life. I've put together an Autumn 2020 newsletter and that's a good thing. I'll take it as a success, at least for today. 


KC Kendricks




Sunday, November 1, 2020

What fresh hell is this?

 November 1, 2020

Why, yes, I've stolen a quote from the fictional Sheldon Cooper. Just what the hell is this fresh hell? Oh yeah. They call it the "time change." Daylight Saving Time, as if we can save daylight. What a quaint notion. Should I mention it was started in CANADA? Probably not. 

It's a lot of fun in the summer months, but now comes the reckoning. I reckon I'm awake at 3:00 AM and I reckon I do not like it much. Eastern Standard Time has resumed.

I set the clocks in the house back an hour before going to bed last night. That's not much of a chore these days. Our Black Forest cuckoo is paused for an hour, set the microwave clock, and reset my alarm clock. Everything else electronic takes care of itself. 

But I'm awake in the middle of the night. 

The concept of Daylight Savings was introduced in the US in 1918. At the time it was to save energy and make better use of daylight, i.e., more active daylight hours in which to work harder and get more done. That's the way true Americans think - get the work done. 

But I'm awake in the middle of the night. 

So if Daylight Savings Time will save energy, i.e., lower electric bills, why do we "turn it off" in November? If you live in a rural setting, you still need that daylight because unlike city dwellers, your work doesn't end at four or five or six in the evening. When you get home from the day job, you still have outside work to do. 

But I'm awake in the middle of the night. 

Okay. I'm whining but I do wonder why we bother with changing the time twice a year. Just give us more daylight hours and be done with it. We've reached the point where 29 states have introduced legislation to abolish the twice a year time change and to extend Daylight Saving. The US has four time zones at this juncture. Isn't that confusing enough without driving from South Carolina to California and resetting your watch an additional seven times?

This is what happens to my brain when I'm awake in the middle of the night. 

Readjusting to Eastern Standard Time becomes more difficult as we age. The spousal unit has been retired for a few years and he complains, rather bitterly, about his sleep pattern getting all fucked up out of sync. Is he just griping? 

But I'm awake in the middle of the night. And I don't like it much because I'm sure as hell not being productive. 





Sunday, October 25, 2020

A good time to get back to basics

 October 25, 2020


Earlier today I started making the rounds in the Facebook groups to promo the release of The Quest. Before I began posting, I took some time to go down my timeline and see who was up to what. That led down a bit of a rabbit hole, but I feel a lot better for the trip. What I learned was quite a few writers have had a 2020 that echos, and equals, mine. 

As I type this blog, The Quest has just gone live and I'm fighting with Amazon to get the re-worked manuscript of A Hero's Bargain to upload correctly. The Amazon system continually reverts to the older manuscript - very annoying to say the least. It'll get worked out or not offer it there, but it proves Amazon is nothing but free publicity for me. My Apple sales outstrip Amazon about 10 to 1. 

It's time for me to get a story or two into development, republish the rest of my backlist (both as KC and Rayne), and it's time for me to go back to basics with character information sheets. Having written seventy books, you'd think those sheets would be obsolete, but I need the refresher course. The character's physical traits, mannerisms, values, expectations, flaws, the tragedy of his life are all detailed on the sheet for reference. It builds the characters in the writer's consciousness before the opening lines are typed. I also have a sheet of compatibility points that comes in handy for developing the characters. 

I'm excited about this back to basics approach. I've been mired in caregiving, winding down my career at the day job, and grieving the loss of several people I was close to for too long. And let us not forget the pain in the ass the Year of Our Lord Two-thousand Twenty has been. 

It's probably enough fodder for an entire library. Surely I can get three stories out of it. Stay tuned. 

KC Kendricks






Saturday, October 24, 2020

Now available - The Quest

 October 24, 2020


The Quest is now available at Amazon and these online booksellers! Soon there will be a few more and I'll have that information on my website, or check out the universal link at the end of this post for a list that includes everywhere except Amazon. 


Here's a bit about The Quest. Enjoy!


_*_*_*_*_

The Quest

Edan Romney believes he’s on the trail of the most significant archaeological find of his life. He’s tracked the legend from Bolivia to Chaco Canyon and beyond. His next stop is Alaska, but a sudden winter storm takes down his plane in the Colorado mountains. 

Del Martinez is surprised there is a survivor when a small plane crashes at the end of his mountain meadow. His surprise turns to shock when he discovers it’s Edan – the one lover he regrets losing.  With a blizzard closing in fast, Del needs to get Edan inside his cabin and warm, and then see how badly he may be injured. It's not a magical reunion as past hurts and indiscretions quickly bring contention. 

Edan won’t abandon his quest to find if what’s written on an ancient scroll is true. Del can’t forget seeing another man in Edan’s arms – even if it was a setup. With the blizzard freezing outside, passion heats up inside. Both men know they must find a way to bury the past instead of digging it up. 


EXCERPT

Del wanted to forget what had happened and see if they had a second chance, but he wasn’t sure he could do that. Hell, where would he start? What was he supposed to say to find out if Edan wanted that, too?

He knew one way to get their conversation back on less boggy ground but also knew better than to ask. Honest to God, he did. Edan would seize the question and run with it, just like a blue-eyed wolf with a juicy ham bone. It was like some bedeviled troll landed on his shoulder and dragged the words out of him.

“What’s this proof you have that Wintress came this far north? Not that I actually believe the story about her.”

Edan glared at him, silent. 

“Talk to me, Romney. I’m really curious why you almost killed yourself flying today. And I did save your life, so you owe me.”

Edan’s chin lifted. “I have a scroll. Mackley tested it for me and authenticated it to be a thousand years old.”

Del blinked. Was he serious? 

“Mackley can’t be trusted. You know that. He drinks in his lab. Shit gets fucked up.”

Edan shook his head. “Nope. I was right there with him. We ran the tests twice. The leather, I repeat, leather, is a thousand years old, give or take a decade or two.”

A leather scroll that old? That was an incredible find. Edan’s being here meant the scroll was legible…“Who translated the scroll? Don’t say Mackley again.”

Edan smiled and lifted the middle finger of the hand holding his soup mug. “I did. You don’t think I’d take the entire scroll to him, do you? I’m not a fucking idiot. I snipped two corners.”

Del lifted his middle finger off his mug in reply. It was an old familiar gesture between them, and often, like today, meant “don’t imply I’m stupid” when questions with obvious answers were asked. “Okay. Point taken. Please tell me this fabulous find didn’t get incinerated in the plane.”

Edan tapped his middle finger against his mug and grinned. “You’ve gone batshit, old boy. Did my phone survive my landing?”

“As a matter of fact, it did.” Del stepped into the kitchen to retrieve it. “It’s not on and I didn’t mess with it past plugging it in for a charge.” 

He handed it to Edan and watched as he fiddled with it. After a few minutes, Edan gave it back. “Take a look at that photo.”

Del did as instructed, sliding the photo around until he’d seen every inch of it. The writing looked very similar to Sumerian proto-cuneiform, but with subtle differences. He glanced at Edan.

“And you found this at Tiwanaku? How is any of that site unexplored?” He knew damn well archaeologists had scoured the site for years. “Did you test the ink on this?”

“Of course, we tested the ink. I didn’t find that at the site, but a few miles away. I’d had a lousy day. You’d left angry and I was upset, and frankly, I was scared you really meant we were over. Our permit was about to expire. We were due to pack up and move out and I’d found nothing. Nada. So, I went for a walk to figure out how to get you to talk to me again, and, not watching where I put my foot down, I stepped into a hole.”

“A hole. For real, Edan? A hole?”

“Yeah. A little sinkhole. Almost pissed myself as the dirt fell in around me. Then it got weird.”

Del snorted. “Like this conversation.”




KC Kendricks



Tuesday, October 20, 2020

To type THE END - The Quest is done!

 October 19, 2020


In what may be the longest quest of my life (pun intended), The Quest is finished! Yes, it's true. I even have the promo blurb written and my website partially updated. 

It should have taken ten weeks to write, but it took ten months. But, you ask, weren't you home due to the Covid-19 lockdown? Yes, I was, but I was working the day job from home. And when I wasn't doing day job shit stuff, I was enjoying being home and spending time with my guys. I was working on my property, cleaning the shed, reorganizing my pantry, and a lot of other projects I'd long wanted to accomplish. 

It's of no matter. The Quest is finished. I'll get it uploaded by the weekend, and hopefully, it will go live on Saturday or Sunday. 

Here's the blurb. An excerpt can be found at www.kckendricks.com/TheQuest.html.

Enjoy!

_*_*_*_

The Quest

Edan Romney believes he’s on the trail of the most significant archaeological find of his life. He’s tracked the legend from Bolivia to Chaco Canyon and beyond. His next stop is Alaska, but a sudden winter storm takes down his plane in the Colorado mountains. 

Del Martinez is surprised there is a survivor when a small plane crashes at the end of his mountain meadow. His surprise turns to shock when he discovers it’s Edan – the one lover he regrets losing.  With a blizzard closing in fast, Del needs to get Edan inside his cabin and warm, and then see how badly he may be injured. It's not a magical reunion as past hurts and indiscretions quickly bring contention. 

Edan won’t abandon his quest to find if what’s written on an ancient scroll is true. Del can’t forget seeing another man in Edan’s arms – even if it was a setup. With the blizzard freezing outside, passion heats up inside. Both men know they must find a way to bury the past instead of digging it up. 


KC Kendricks






Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Another area of free speech squelched -Yahoo is closing groups

 October 14, 2020


All good things come to end, or so they say. Yahoo has announced it is closing Groups effective December 15, 2020. It's no surprise. The writing has been on the wall for some time. Yahoo has systematically encumbered the groups feature over the last few years to the point the groups became impossible to employ for any promotion. 

Now they say, "Yahoo Groups has seen a steady decline in usage over the last several years." Well, duh. That was the goal, apparently. 

In the beginning, Yahoo Groups was about free speech. If you had a group, you could pretty much say whatever you wanted to within the group. Yahoo touted groups as connection builders, but I suspect people made a few of the wrong connections.

Yahoo has also disabled comments on its "premium, trustworthy content." Why would they disable comments? Don't we live in a society where free discourse is to be encouraged? Apparently not. 

I'm alarmed at the growing trend of censorship on the Internet. I find I don't take anything at face value now. I look for the motive behind every action and I see companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube becoming subversive in their actions to control content and thereby free expression and speech. 

Perhaps Neal Peart, Alex Lifeson, and Geddy Lee said it best way back in 1982 when they recorded, "Subdivisions."  We must conform or be cast out. 

When I embarked on my writing career, Yahoo Groups were an invaluable source of information. I did make connections with other writers and develop relationships in a secure forum. In my personal life, a Yahoo group led me to enduring friendships that continue to this day. 

I view the closing of Yahoo groups as another step in a grander plan to control people. Could Facebook groups be next? We all know Facebook rewards like thinkers and punishes opposing views. YouTube censors monetized videos that mention Christian views. I watch a cooking stream called The Hillbilly Kitchen and I know this to be true even though the cook's beliefs are quite harmless to the general public.

It's easy to shrug the groups closing off as a business decision, or that it simply ran its course and it's time to end it. I'd really like to believe that, and I would had the comments on Yahoo news articles not been disabled a few short months ago. 

Who and what controls you, and how? They are important questions to ask.

KC Kendricks



Monday, October 12, 2020

A revamp for What You Don't Confess


 October 12, 2020

When I was forced to go independent several years ago, I recognized how important it was going to be to know how to create my own covers. I purchased a photoshop program and got to work. The cover artist at Amber Quill Press offered to sell covers to the authors for $50 each. There was no way in this life or any other I was going to pay for covers for which the artist had already been paid by the publisher - out of MY sales, no less. So I had, in fact, already paid for the cover. 

I did my due diligence and learned. Some of my early covers were passable, but not great. I always planned to redo them as my skill level increased. Then, if you follow allow here at Between the Keys you know, my life took a left turn. My mother developed Alzheimer's Disease, my stepfather died and I had to settle the estate, and my partner had three major surgeries. Writing took a back seat out of necessity. 


But.....I'm back! I'm writing! I'm working! It feels so good to jump back into the pool and swim around. 

Today's projects were making a new cover for What You Don't Confess, a promo card for What You Don't Confess, and burning the brush pile. I'm three for three! I wanted to warm up the background on this cover and by chance found a good photo of the inside of a restaurant, which fits perfectly in the story.

What You Don't Confess is the third book in the Men of Marionville series. The main character, Dylan Donoghy, is the character that ties the series together. This is his story. 

Enjoy!
*_*_*_*

What You Don't Confess
Contemporary gay romance
Book three in the Men of Marionville collection

Bright and beautiful, Cassidy Barlow is one of Marionville’s new breed of movers and shakers. Outspoken on political and social issues, Cass draws a lot of media attention, and knows how to use it. Out and proud, Cass makes no apologies for who he is, or who he wants – and he wants Dylan Donoghy. The only thing is, from where Cass stands, Dylan seems to be involved with two different men.

Coming out. The most difficult phrase in Dylan Donoghy’s vocabulary. He’s made it this far in life with only his closest friends knowing he’s gay. Dylan has a good reason for that to change – his deepening attraction to Cassidy Barlow. It doesn’t come easy, but Dylan takes a few first steps out of the closet. It’s his only choice if he wants to be with Cass, even though he knows Cass has some secrets of his own.

Every man has a private past and an unwritten future. What he won’t confess stands between the two.  



If you're curious about our adventure in the woods today, visit 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Desert Snow - a new cover

 October 6, 2020

One of the things that has been on my To-Do List seemingly forever has been a new cover for Desert Snow. That's another book that never did have a good cover. Now I think I've finally hit on one that's a keeper. Yes, the guy's jeans fade into the party background, but it's okay. I like it, and I hope you do, too.

Here's the new cover for Desert Snow, once again available at the usual third-party vendors.

Enjoy the excerpt!

_*_*_*_

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 honor a promise made to his late partner 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. 

It doesn’t take long for Laird to realize he has something special in Haydn but they live on different coasts. He says goodbye and goes home. Lucky for him, Haydn won’t let him go that easily. 

Available at:

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Re-issue: Lightning Shifts

 October 3, 2020


I've re-released Chain Lightning under the title, Lightning Shifts. There are several reasons why an author or publisher re-issues a book. The main one is that the cover just doesn't resonate with readers. My feedback from other authors indicated this was the case in this instance. They loved the one guy on the cover, but not the other. It happens. 

Deciding to re-issue the book gave me the opportunity to go through it and add a few things I wished I'd thought of the first time. Stories are like that. Some of them never stop growing and maturing. I don't think I have a book on my list I couldn't find something to add. When writing the story, sometimes the author has to say "finished" and stick to it else the book would never get published. I'm having that problem with The Quest. Too many ideas crowding into my thinking. 

I liked the story Chain Lightning, now Lightning Shifts. It's about a shapeshifter - a true shapeshifter, one that can take on any form. That means he's not a werewolf or a werecat. He's not a "were" anything. He's something different but at the beginning of his story, he's lost his memory and he doesn't know what he is. All he knows is he's different and he needs to hide. 

Here's a little bit about Lightning Shifts.

Enjoy!

_*_*_*_*_

LIGHTNING SHIFTS

There is something a little peculiar about Eli Tate. He appears normal on the surface, but he’s spent years trying to remember what happened to him - and why he doesn’t age. Then there’s the way he can shift shape and take on any form he desires. He doesn’t know what kind of being he really is or if there are any others like him. What he does know he’s been in the same town for thirty years and he must move on before his secret is discovered. 

Returning to the Big Apple, Eli takes up residence in his old apartment. An evening walk turns deadly when he's attacked by a being reeking of pure evil. He barely escapes with his life - thanks to a stranger named Rio who is just like him – able to shift shape. 

Rio says he knows Eli, that he’s been searching for him for many years, that they were once lovers, and the creature stalking them once held them both captives to experiment on them. Eli has no memory of such a time, but he’s out of options. To remember his past, and destroy the creature pursuing them, Eli has no choice but to trust Rio, even if that trust fails him. 

LIGHTNING SHIFTS
Paranormal gay romance (shapeshifter)

Available at:


Excerpts and more at www.kckendricks.com


KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com


Sunday, September 27, 2020

September Morning by KC Kendricks


 September 27, 2020

There was a time in my writing career I thought to write books with the months in the title. So far, I've got December Promise, Hot August Comes, and September Morning. I'll eventually get through the months, I hope. One should never give up on an idea with promise. 

To celebrate this month that is coming to a close, here's a bit about September Morning.

Enjoy!

_*_*_*_*_

September Morning
KC Kendricks
Contemporary gay romance

Jagger Davis, JD to his friends, is at a crossroads in his life. He takes a summer sabbatical at picturesque Sandbridge Beach in Virginia to enjoy sun, surf, and solitude while plotting a new direction for his life. Arriving at a rented cottage, JD finds sun and surf, but the cottage next-door houses six fun-loving guys determined to include him in their summer activities. It’s quickly evident JD won’t have time to feel lonely. 

Nate Fischer is one of a group of friends who spend every summer at Sandbridge. An IT specialist, Nate’s taking a few weeks off before his next assignment sends him out to sea for months. He introduces himself to the new neighbor and invites JD to the first bonfire of the season. 

JD fends off advances from Nate’s roommates as the two men become close. But JD harbors a secret in his past, one he worries Nate won’t accept. When Nate’s job abruptly calls him away, JD realizes his mistake. He hasn’t given his summer lover a fair chance. Now he has to convince Nate he’ll be waiting when Nate returns - if Nate still wants him. 

~ ~ ~ ~

Apple/iTunes - itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1098476445
Amazon - www.amazon.com/September-Morning-KC-Kendricks-ebook/dp/B01E1ZFGGM
Excerpts and more at www.kckendricks.com

KC Kendricks



Thursday, September 24, 2020

The end of summer 2020 and becoming a prepper

September 24, 2020

This has not been a good year for the writer. There used to be an old saying, "they lost their mojo." Not exactly. The events of this year stripped mine away. The first time I went into the grocery store and couldn't by something as basic as flour reprioritized my entire life. I've become a prepper. 

As summer winds down, many of my plans for a more secure future are coming to fruition. We're fortunate to live in the country, that is to say in a very rural setting. With the "peaceful" riots in the cities, we're insulated by location but we remain watchful. All the hate bubbling out of everyone has me too unsettled to write. What goes on the page today may be deemed offensive in a year. Then what? 

Becoming a prepper is not about hoarding toilet paper. It's about making a plan and methodically implementing it. It's about conscious decisions to gather in those items necessary to sustain my household for several months, perhaps even a year. It's carefully packaging pantry staples and slowing stocking the freezer, and then making sure there is fuel for the generator to keep the freezer running in the event of a power grid collapse. It's about conducting your day-to-day living with a new and growing awareness of what you need to do to weather another, longer stay-at-home order. 

But this does not mean it's all doom and gloom and the world is ending. Quite the contrary. I've found that working my prepper plan has brought me back to who I was as a younger woman. I learned so many things at my grandmother's side - soap making, canning food, tending a garden, etc. I'm putting those lessons to use and I'm enjoying doing so. 

We've purchased a small greenhouse to start seeds next spring. We've rearranged our spare bedroom to create our prepper pantry on the main level of the house where the spouse can access it. (He can't go up and down stairs any longer.) We're carefully planning meals together so that nothing goes to waste. Instead of dabbling with the dehydrator, I'm actually preserving fruits we'll use. I'm small batch canning and the spouse is interested and enthusiastic about helping. 

It's a different world now. As a couple, we're closer than ever as we work together to make sure we're as secure as possible in the face of an uncertain future. I can't help but feel that's what a pair bond is supposed to be like, a couple who are united in all. Even in these trying times, it's a wonderful feeling. 

It gives me ideas for stories that may someday be written. 

KC Kendricks




Sunday, September 13, 2020

Big steps, big changes

September 13, 2020

Before I get on-topic, I want to pause and remember my friend Jimmy Ray, who would have been 60 years old today. It's hard to believe he's been gone for eleven years. Rest well, Jimmy. 
*_*_*_*_*_*

I've alluded to it many times. I've danced around it. I've dreamed about it. 

Tomorrow, I will finalize the last item on my Must Have Done to be Able to Retire list. Years of planning are about to pay off as I give myself the gift of TIME.

Time to do those things I enjoy, those things which enrich my life and emotional well-being. Time to care for my partner. 

It's a big change for him, too. He's been home alone for over twenty years while I was out working. I'm going to be intruding on his time. Or not. I expect to spend a certain amount of every day at my computer writing. 

I'm excited! I've gone through being frightened of such a big change to being so ready that working out my notice at the day job is going to be very difficult. Nonetheless, the day job has nothing more to offer me. 

I can't wait for tomorrow to come so I can make that last phone call. Now, in the spirit of honesty which is very important to me, I must tender a confession. There is a part of me that gleefully anticipates my employer's reaction. That is rather base of me, but there it is. I won't lie about it. 

When the new CEO came in August of 2019, I told myself I would give them a year. I did that, and it was a miserable year. I've not enjoyed working with them at all, and so started to get the cats herded and the ducks lined up in a row. My contract says I have to give a four-week notice. I'm going to give a two-week notice and see what happens. No matter what, my train is leaving the station headed to MY destination. 

It's been a long time coming. I've weathered a lot of storms the last several years - Mom developed Alzheimer's Disease and had to be institutionalized, my step-father died suddenly and I had to handle the estate to benefit Mom, and my partner had three major surgeries. 

It's my time to breathe.

KC Kendricks




Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Strange days - the colors of 2020


September 9, 2020

The year 2020 has brought a lot of changes to everyone. Some changes are ones I never thought to see, but see them I did. I know now that I really don't know what my grandparents endured during the Great Depression, that their stories were actually warnings to me and my cousins, ones we understand and heed so much better now.

One thing I never expected to have happened was for a facemask to become a fashion item, but here I am. I had some bandannas in a variety of colors and I made masks out of them. These days, when I have to leave home, I grab my cell phone and then select what color mask I want to wear with my outfit. Strange days, indeed. 

And the vacillating between do/don't cloth masks work is enough to make a person want to scream. Who's getting close enough to me for it to be an issue? Right. No one. Trust me on this. 

No, my bandana masks have now become a statement. This country girl will show her colors because maybe she's a bandit at heart. I come from a long line of hard-working blue-collar men and women. The colors of 2020 are one way to show my pride in that heritage. 

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




Thursday, September 3, 2020

A small harvest

September 3, 2020

As I edge closer to retirement, my focus is more and more about what do to fill the hours I used to work outside the home. Writing will certainly be a big part of that, but my writing hat doesn't settle on my head for endless hour after hour after hour at a stretch. I find I can sit at the computer for perhaps an hour, and then I need to move around. I'm sure the fact my muscles stiffen up when I linger in the same spot for a long time is a sign of getting older. I don't like it much, but there it is. 

The "experts" agree that moving more is good for the body. So what is something else I'll do to move around for a few hours a day once I retire from the day job? The quick answer is container gardening. We enjoy fresh produce and growing some of our own will be a worthwhile hobby. Preserving some of it will enable us to eat cleaner, and growing in containers will help us keep the whitetail deer from eating all our hard work. 

This year we tried out a set of 5-gallon grow bags made of a heavy fabric that allows the bags to drain well - almost too well. Keeping the dirt moist enough was an issue during the hottest stretch of the summer. But all-in-all, the bags worked well. We were overrun with cucumbers, and the cherry tomatoes produced at a good pace for fresh eating. The bell peppers were doing great until a young doe got brave and munched the top out of the plants. She didn't get down to the peppers, but she ate off the flowers so those plants were finished. We're working on a better plan to thwart the deer next season.  

Growing up in the country, and watching my mother and grandmother preserve the bounty from the garden taught and prepared me to do this. I don't see it as work, but a connection to those who went before me. I've worked all my life with this as a goal - to one day, very soon now, to truly become the lady of the manor. 

My task for this coming winter is to select a canner for next year and purchase canning jars. Why can instead of freeze? Freezers are dependant on electricity, for one thing. The other is that I feel the freezer is better utilized for meat, baked goods, and prepared meals. 

I'm really looking forward to next summer. "Retirement" no longer means sitting at home drawing a pension, at least not to me. I think an early morning walk with Deuce, a turn at the computer, tending the garden before noon, another stretch at the computer during the heat of the day, evenings on the patio, a final time at the computer after dark will make for many perfect days. It's just the sort of schedule to feed this writer's soul.

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





Monday, August 31, 2020

Poplar

August 31, 2020


Summer’s end approaches, the poplars are first to know
sending yellow leaves drifting to the green carpet below.
Straight and tall they stand in their silent glory
catching not the ordinary ear or eye
demanding not the saw or splie.

Brittle in every insistent breeze, they do not yield
taking the majestic oak and rustling maple as shields.
Only time forces them to come to ground
by branch and limb, one by one, until weary
they stand, devoid of youth’s greenery.

Autumn’s quick coming is not to be met foolishly,  
this she knows in the unplumbed depths of many sleepless nights. 
The poplar knows not how to bend but she does,  
learning forced upon her in summer and spring,  
lessons taught by those unwary of her flight.

Equal to the stately oak, the poplar stands with grace,         
asked and received, yet hidden from those who cannot see. 
Autumn comes clothed in brilliant shades of joy,     
standing firm, unrelenting in her convictions,           
awake, unafraid, acknowledging winter will come.

KC Kendricks




Saturday, August 22, 2020

It's certainly not linear

August 22, 2020

Our time is linear. No one argues that. What we do with our time seldom is.

For some reason, the origin of which I know not, I always thought writing would be more of a linear process. You get the idea, you plot the story, you write the story, BOOM! Finished book.

Oh, how wrong...

As I put the finishing touches on The Quest, I had an inspiration for an older story I took off the market some time ago. The story is about true shapeshifters, those being the kind that can take on any form they choose, but something didn't resonate. I always thought it was the cover. And in the deep dark of a restless night, it popped into my conscious mind what to do about the cover. 

I wasn't even thinking about that book. I was pondering the ending of The Quest, but later that same day I was revamping a cover. No, it wasn't very linear. 

Nor is it linear that I have words to type for The Quest and I'm blogging instead. Procrastinating? Not really. Living in 2020 means coloring my hair myself. I can type a blog with goop on my hair and call it a good use of twenty minutes. If I tried to write viable prose in that time frame, it wouldn't work. 

No, writing isn't linear. It has smooth curves and sharp turns as it treks through valleys and over mountains. Writing is a reflection of life in all its nonlinear glory. I don't think I've taken enough time to enjoy it in this year of uncertainty, but it's never too late to begin, no matter where nonlinear takes me.

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


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Summer musings - baby, it's hot outside!


July 28, 2020

The stretch of days between the first of July and the middle of August used to be called the "dog days of summer." I suspect the younger crowd has forgotten all about that just as they've conveniently forgotten so many other things that don't fit their climate change narrative. 

The dog days of summer also mark the rising of the dog star, Sirius, in Hellenistic astrology. Hellenistic being what historians usually classify the era from about the first or second century BC to the sixth or seventh century AD. It helps to read books. 

I hear the "news" reporters crying about how it's never been this hot. Really? Temperatures in the low to mid-nineties in July is new? I don't think so, kids. It's the dog days of summer, remember. It's supposed to be hot. And, in case you don't know, locally our hottest day in July happened in 1954 where the mercury reached 105F. 

What? You don't get the mercury reference? Again, read a book. 

This is the time of year when the garden harvest begins. We've been eating a lot of cucumbers this year. I've made a couple of batches of refrigerator pickles and next year plan to can bread and butter pickles. "Old-fashioned" food without chemical preservatives appeals to me. 
I've room for a good-sized garden here on the manor, but there are precautions to be made. We have a lot of deer, rabbit, raccoon, squirrel, and birds around. They can decimate a garden so one must prepare and then be constantly on watch. My solution will be an electrified fence. 

I'm looking forward to growing more of my own veggies. The notion takes me back to my girlhood days and my grandfather's garden. It will keep me connected to him, and that is a good thing. 

I want to keep honeybees, too, but the spousal unit has dug his heels in about that. The battle is not yet truly begun. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com




Wednesday, July 15, 2020

When the writer needs a talkin' to

July 15, 2020

I'm not sure who uttered the phrase, "the hurrier I go, the behinder I get," but I certainly understand the sentiment. It's what happens when one has "too many irons in the fire."

But enough with old cliches. Writing, being a writer, is filled with time-sucking minutia. Many writers bang out the first draft without ever going back to do any editing or continuity checks. I'm not one of that school. If the story takes a turn on me, I have to go back to the beginning and re-read and double-check everything. To me, it's a good thing. I know the characters and their relationship better, and so can flesh out their encounters. It takes time. 

It also takes time when you suddenly realize the ending you'd envisioned just doesn't work. When that happens, you have to develop a new ending which means another pass or two through the manuscript for continuity. Time, time, time.  Recently I've been thinking back to those years when I could write six books a year. It was easy to do when didn't have to do covers, editing, and promo. Life marches on and change is inevitable. 

I'm impatient. I want to finish The Quest but reworking parts to fit a better ending is a time drain. I only work four days a week now and yet I have less writing time. How is that possible? Oh, yeah... I had an idea for another series of promo cards. I had some outside work to do. I snagged a book and then had to read the entire series. 

What the hell happened to the discipline I used to possess?? It's like the Bad Co. song. It's gone, gone, gone...  

I'm very, very annoyed with myself. I'm not sure how some writers slap themselves back into line, but I need to find something that works on me - fast! 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com

Friday, July 10, 2020

Fledgling red-tailed hawks, three fawns, and cicadas

July 10, 2020
holly tree speckled by young red-tailed hawks


I consider living in rural America to be a blessing. I've always felt that way but the COVID-19 pandemic has brought it home just how huge a blessing living off the beaten path really is. I'm grateful every day to have a beautiful refuge to call "home."

It's summer. More specifically, it is now the dog days of summer, that stretch between July 4 and the middle of August that are historically the hottest days of the year. And it is hot here in western Maryland. We've had a string of days where the mercury has hit 90F. Even in this heat, my little manor is full of life. 

We have three fawns this year! We have a single, and a set of twins. The young doe with the single is a bold creature. She comes right up to the house to much at the hostas planted around the patio. Her trust of humans will no doubt be her downfall. The doe with the twins seems to be more experienced. Her path is a cautious one, sticking quietly to the shadows in the woods, delicately picking her way along the stone fence one wary footfall at a time. 

Then there are the hawks. For the first time since 1981, when I built my house, there is a nesting pair of red-tailed hawks in one of the big maples. I knew they were up there, having seen them coming and going. Not to mention the evidence they left all over one of the holly trees. I thought the holly must have a disease that caused white splotches. Then I looked closer and realized what was really on the leaves came from fifty feet above. I do hope the rain washes all that off. 

There are four young hawks, and they are fledging this week. I've watched them every day as they hop, and flap, from treetop to treetop screeching all the way. Over the course of the week, they've gotten much bolder and I'm sure they'll be gone at any moment.

The season of the lightning bug is almost over, and the season of the cicada is about to begin. This isn't a big year for the cicada but I'm sure we'll have enough to make a joyful noise. Next year is the year for Brood 10, and the sound will be deafening. 

Will we still be dealing with COVID-19 next summer? I fear we may, and if that is the case, I will continue to count my rural blessings. 

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com

Saturday, July 4, 2020

July 4, 2020

July 4, 2020

In this oh, so political era, I think we've forgotten how to enjoy the simple things in life. Forget the Dems and Rhinos and concentrate on getting the picture to shift just a wee bit...

What? You can't get it to work, either? I've been trying for years!

https://kckendricks.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-red-white-and-blue-of-it.html

https://kckendricks.blogspot.com/2017/07/appreciating-small-freedoms.html

https://kckendricks.blogspot.com/2018/07/independence-is-precious.html


At least I'm consistent in what I like. 



Friday, June 5, 2020

Shine A Light revisited

June 5, 2020

Every once in awhile, I go back and re-read one of my early works. Last night, having been brought out of a sound sleep by thunder and lightning, I started to read Shine A Light. The story has held up beautifully, and I'd actually forgotten a few minor details. It was like a visit with an old friend and I'm delighted I took the opportunity to get reacquainted. 

Here's a bit about Shine A Light.


A REVIEW:

Go ahead and Shine a Light on this sensual and satisfying page turner.  Well written, intriguing characters are the focus.  Van is picking up the pieces, stumbling, in shock from a betrayal he never saw coming and Shane, tender and strong, is the perfect match for Van.  Well-paced, with solid secondary characters and the setting is nicely detailed as well.  Shine a Light has steamy moments – hot enough to fog your glasses - and characters you will care about.  Seriously entertaining and totally engaging. – Joyfully Reviewed


THE BLURB:

After being viciously outed by his spiteful ex-lover, Van MacKenzie, fallen Hollywood and Broadway star, lands on stage in a small-town community theatre - and in the arms of set designer Shane Hollister. Van knows his attraction to the talented young man could seal the fate of his career, but he can’t resist having a ‘summer thing’ while performing at The Globe. When an act of violence catches them unaware, Van recognizes the message was really meant for him. Walking away from Shane might be the smart thing to do to keep him safe.

Shane Hollister had established himself as a Broadway set designer before his father’s accident forced him to move home to St. Charles. Needing work, Shane accepts a job at The Globe. To his surprise, the small operation equals any big city production. When Donovan “Van” MacKenzie signs on for the new show, Shane grabs the chance to have a summer fling with his big-screen idol, refusing to allow Van’s past to intrude.  

Shane knows he has only one chance to catch a fallen star and keep him for his own. 


THE EXCERPT:

Boots in hand, I perched on the edge of the bed to pull them on. A soft tap-tap-tap sounded on the door. My pulse quickened with hope. Who knew I was in this room? Only four people. I knew my agent wouldn’t be out of bed yet, and I doubted Phil or Bob would pay me a private visit. I opened the door. Shane held up two steaming Styrofoam cups. In the morning light, his blue eyes contained symmetrical lines and flecks of a darker gray.

“Coffee?”

I stepped back and motioned for him to come inside, accepting the cup he held out to me. “Lord, yes. Thank you.” I sniffed the pungent aroma. He’d brought the good stuff.

Shane eased his sexy frame down in the only chair, his gaze taking in the rumpled sheet, complete with a damp spot. His nostrils twitched, and I knew he detected the lingering scent of ejaculate. His gaze flicked to mine. I grinned at him as I reclaimed my spot on the bed. At least he didn’t warn me about ruining my eyesight.

Shane fished a few packets of sugar out of his jacket pocket. I shook my head.

“I like it black.” I peeled the lid off the container and risked a sip. It was still too hot, so I set it on the nightstand and watched him watch me over the rim of his cup.

“I brought coffee, but I’d like to take you to breakfast at the ski lodge, Van. On the expense account, of course.”

“Okay. I do want to check out the place and see if it’s my definition of ‘rustic’ or worse.” I pulled on my right boot and reached for the left. “It might be good if I drop off the signed contract on the way.”

“Phil will be ecstatic. He’s got all your movies on disc. I bet he whined for a week when you moved to live theater.”

I set my left foot down, stomping on the boot heel to settle the fit. “Hollywood doesn’t always appreciate the middle-aged. The writing was on the wall that forty was fatal for my career. At least I saw it coming and made a few plans. Luckily, Broadway thrives on experience.”

My hope that Shane would take the opening to tell me how he landed the Heartland job as a virtual unknown faded as he stood.

“We can drink our coffee in Dad’s truck. Lord knows another spill won’t make any difference on those seats.” He lifted my jacket off the back of the chair and held it for me.

I rolled to my feet and slipped my hands into the sleeves. Shane slid the coat up to my shoulders and let it fall into place. I turned and reached for him, and his arms slid around my waist.

Shane cocked his head and glanced at the bed. “I’m not in any hurry this morning.”

That made me laugh again, which brought another grin to his face. God, I loved the easy way he smiled. I slid my hands up under his jacket, over the warmth of his torso, and asked him the question that had kept me awake long after he left last night.

“So, are we gonna have a summer thing, Shane Hollister?”

Those smoky eyes said yes, and, for the first time in my life, I understood how the moth feels when confronted with a flame.

“We’ll see, just as soon as you get back here to start work.”

I had to return to the city and wrap up a few things. It was going to be a long month, but the get-reacquainted sex would be mind-blowing. I ran my thumb across his lips.

“When I get back, then.”


THE BUY LINKS:

Amazon
www.amazon.com/Shine-Light-KC-Kendricks-ebook/dp/B01E89DJLA

ITunes/Apple
itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1098679955

Barnes and Noble/Nook
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/shine-a-light-k-c-kendricks/1028729180?ean=2940153164472

Kobo