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

Thursday, September 3, 2020

A small harvest

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

Monday, August 31, 2020


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

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

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

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

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!

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.


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


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. 


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.


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.”




Barnes and Noble/Nook


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

So Blogger has a new interface

May 27, 2020

I am NOT impressed. 

Underwhelmed, even.

I started Between the Keys in 2008, and a lot of my life is here. 

I guess I'm fucking stuck with it. 

I am NOT impressed. 

Monday, May 11, 2020

Oh, happy day! The Quest

coming soon
May 11, 2020

It's been a rough road to get to today. Today (actually last night) I opened the file on The Quest and began to write. It was as easy as I remember it should be, and the words flowed onto the page.

This past Wednesday, May 6, I sold my mother's house and we went to settlement. The sale was necessary to provide funds for her care. She has Alzheimer's Disease. I will tell you now, most earnestly, take steps NOW to protect your assets. If you don't, a nursing home can strip you bare. My mother will one day be left with nothing and will become dependant on the State of Maryland for her care. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? A will is not enough. But I digress, and that is not what I wanted to blog about right now.

A giant weight has been lifted from me. I've been tending to two houses for the past fifty-one weeks and it has not been easy. Dealing with a realtor - not easy. Strangers walking through the house and leaving a mess I had to clean - not easy. And I've not had help. My partner's health is not robust. 

Some people say there is no excuse for not writing every day. What bullshit. Writing is not a one size fits all endeavor.

Anyway... I'm back to work on the manuscript for The Quest. I had a different plan for this story but could never see the ending. I shelved it over ten years ago and then one day in 2019, my fickle muse played one of her little tricks on me and gave me a new title. I quickly realized my subconscious had resurrected the old story in a new way. I like the new way a lot better. 

I'm going to try to reflect on the last year as a writing sabbatical. I learned a lot about myself and what I want to achieve in the time left to me. I've cared for family and family business, and that is never wasted time. My husband and I have strengthened our bond as we walked through hardship. No, my time away from writing was not wasted. It was simply a different season in my life. 

The Quest is at about half complete. If I remain intentional, if all goes well, it will be only a few weeks until I type The End. We shall see. Life does like to throw curveballs at people.

Stay tuned!

KC Kendricks

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Emotional writer's block, the impact of grief

May 2, 2020

These are strange times we're in which we live. We've temporarily ceded our constitutional rights and civil liberties for the greater good of mankind. 

The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has not as yet impacted life on the mountain. My people may not always be conservative voters, but we are conservative thinkers in ways that have nothing to do with politics. We're country people, rural dwellers with close ties to the land. We've conserved our resources and we're having an easier time of it than our city-dwelling neighbors. But that's not what is on my mind this morning. 

Writer's block. It's time to admit I have a case of emotional writer's block, the cause of which I lay at the feet of stress and grief. The last years have not been easy ones. My mother was institutionalized with Alzheimer's Disease, my stepfather died, my partner had two major surgeries, my best friend moved a thousand miles away, my writing partner died, a new CEO where I work caused a lot of upheavals, the uncertainties about retiring, tending to my mother's affairs including selling her home, and now living in a virtual house arrest. I've been trying to sort this all out in my head and it's not going well. 

Do I think my "problems" are unique in this world? No. Of course not. They just happen to be my "problems." Just as with any problem, identifying them sheds light into some murky corners. I believe the underlying reaction to all of this is grief. I grieve. 

I grieve the loss of who my mother was and what, unbeknownst to her, I must do in her name to provide care for her. I grieve the loss of a woman I've known since we were in the third grade together who is busy in a new life that has no place for old friends. I grieve the author friend who spoke the writer's language with me as no one else can. I grieve the loss of a co-worker that I was totally in sync with. I grieve the loss of a future imagined with my partner who through no fault of his own is progressively more disabled. 

Grief weighs me down to the point I have difficulty remembering how joyous it is to create a story. Creating a story is creating a virtual reality in which the writer joins with new friends to give them a world to live in and a voice to speak in that world. The writer becomes part of this creation, at least for a little while. I miss it. 

I'm sure Chris Grover would tell me to channel the grief into a character. Take him down to the depths of hell and then work him back to the surface. To be melodramatic, I'm not sure I want to take myself farther down into the pit. I'm too cowardly to go back there. You see, time does heal many things without the need to resort to substances that alter brain chemistry. I'm healing. 

I'm healing and now I worry I've become too lazy to write. Writing takes discipline and lots of it. Have the last several years stripped me of discipline? Have I become too comfortable living in the worlds others create? I've been supporting a lot of other writers these past months, reading two or even three books a week. 

It's time to redefine my path and rediscover the author part of my soul. It's time to settle the grief, to tuck it away and allow it to unwind and wither. Brave words, to be sure. I hope I can make them my truth because I want to walk in the sunshine again. And if I'm walking alone, I'll just have to create a couple of characters to walk with me. That's what a writer would do. 

KC Kendricks

Friday, April 24, 2020

Just the Rain

April 24, 2020

Just the Rain

Softly it pounds on the roof, just the rain
No discernable pattern to its drumbeat
It’s dark in my room, silent thoughts, only breath
Only wonder that such a thing as rain is real

Spring has come, on its journey to birth summer
Clinging to winter in odd ways, with white flakes
That melt even as they fall into newly green grass
And gives way to the relentless rain outside my window

The world is wet, drinking deep of heaven’s gift
The purple lilac teams with the rain, strange bedfellows
It bends but never breaks, reminding me
Sometimes even a blessing can be a heavy thing to bear

KC Kendricks

Monday, April 13, 2020

That happened a lot faster than I thought it would - Open Roads cover

April 13, 2020

There is a time to procrastinate, and apparently, a time to get the job done. Just yesterday I expressed my dissatisfaction with a new version of the Open Roads cover. Well, it wouldn't let me rest or be productive in other areas. I sat down and revamped it yet again. 

I'm not sure this is a keeper, either. I'm not supposed to say that, you know. Back in the days when I was "coming up" in the various publishing houses, we were told to go promote the hell out of each and every cover. We should gush! 

The problem with that is I'm not a "gusher" unless puppies are involved. 

This cover is better because the words are not up at his face. I've learned another lesson - no more white shirts. It doesn't bother me a bit to acknowledge my Photoshop skills will always be a work in progress. The joy is in the learning and achieving as much as the finished product. 

And that is quite alright with me. 

KC Kendricks

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Open Roads - new cover

April 12, 2020

It's taken a while, but I'm finally settling in to work on doing a few things that have been on my To Do List forever. It's of little importance if I complete the list. Experience has taught me that when one thing gets scratched off, two take its place. It's not a winning proposition. 

I've never been happy with the covers for Open Roads. Even when it was first out through Amber Quill Press I wasn't happy with it. Open Roads was part of a collection from that pub and every single book in the collection had, with the exception of title and author, the exact same cover. I didn't like that. Too many readers saw the cover and ended up buying the wrong book because they didn't read the title. Go figure. 

Yesterday, I played around with Photoshop to create a new cover for Open Roads. I'm still not sold on it. I'm annoyed with myself that I can't seem to get this one "right." If my buddy author Chris Grover was still living, she'd have some good input for me. 

Open Roads is a great story - one of my favorites if the author is allowed to admit she has favorites. I think that's why I'm not happy with the cover. It doesn't capture my connection to the story. 

Being that I do my own covers, I'll keep trying. Maybe not today, though. I've moved in the direction I want to go with it, but I need to study it for a few days. That is one of the perks of being forced by Amazon to go indie. Changing cover and content doesn't require ten emails begging someone else to make changes to the work. I can just do the updates. 

There may be some who would argue I shouldn't change out book covers. I've heard the logic but I don't espouse to it. Just as writer's wisdom says we should write the story we want to read, I think we should have a cover that we want to feel good about. 

It's all a work in progress, much like the author herself. 

KC Kendricks


Tyler Phillips enjoys his small-town life. He’ll never get rich working the family business, but he knows there’s more to a man than the size of his bank account. Easing into mid-life, Tyler’s restless for something he can’t find in the little borough of Easton – male companionship. 

Noel Springs got caught up in the economic downturn. His job gone, and retirement a lot of years in the future, Noel decides to take a long drive and see some of the country before dedicating himself to finding new employment. The open road is just what he needs right now.  

When his car overheats outside the little town of Easton, Noel discovers the local mechanic is hotter than his radiator, and just as eager to blow off some steam.

Available at Amazon, iTunes, B&N/Nook, and Kobo



Barnes &Noble/NOOK


Universal link:

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Writers on Twitter

April 4, 2020

We've become a society that has come to accept identity theft. And why not? We freely give people wide-open access to our lives via social media. And yet, people still wonder why writers use a nom de plume. Huh.

Twitter is now our main source of information. I don't know about you, but I haven't viewed a news broadcast or read a news article in the last year that didn't quote opinions from Twitter. It's all clickbait. You have to be discerning in what you respond to on Twitter.

There are a lot of writers on Twitter and I follow a bunch of them. Personal opinions aside, we have a lot of commonalities in that we write. It gives us an understanding of each other based on our understanding of our craft. We are as alike as we are different in how we approach our writing. 

These days, my fellow writers are putting forth a lot of polls and posing some very good questions on Twitter. I approve, not that anyone needs my approval. A few brave souls are even responding to the toughest, most politically sensitive ones. 

Writers have always been willing to tackle the difficult, tough, questions. We used to only do it in our stories. We still do. Our characters put our opinions out there for the world to view. Even then, it's still a tightrope walk.

I just read a book in which the characters posed no questions. Their opinions were carved in granite. If someone didn't agree, the author used it as a tool to prove the opinion correct, and the character was quickly written out of the story. There were a lot of missed opportunities to show character growth that were never capitalized upon. I had a hard time finishing the story but I wanted to see where the author ended up. A forced HEA is never a good thing. 

People come in shades of gray. I believe the United States should have a balanced budget. So does that make me a conservative? I also believe every woman should have quick and easy access to an abortion. So does that make me a liberal? Those two opinions don't make me any of the labels because believing those two things are not mutually exclusive. 

As a writer, my job is to allow my characters, the voices of my opinions, to espouse to be understanding of what makes us alike - and different. I need my writing to give examples of tolerance and acceptance, not just of how we as humans express our love, but in how we strive to live a good life. 

We are all flawed, and we are all on the same journey. Let's try to remember that, especially in these challenging times. There is power in the written word in every genre. It's a writer's superpower. Let's use it for good. 

Twitter on a Saturday night might be a good place to start. 

KC Kendricks

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

What we will remember

April 1, 2020

Growing up, I listened to my grandparent's stories of living through the Great Depression. My mother was born in 1937, as things began to ease. She has no first-hand memories of how difficult those times really were, but she grew up poor. Life for her was a gradual improvement until, as a widow, she married her second husband and money was no longer an issue.  

My maternal great-grandparents were both born in 1889. I look back and am astonished to have personally known people born in that century. Historically, they lived through the Spanish Flu (1918-1920), and the time of polio. A short mile from my house is a graveyard that gives silent testimony to the impact of a scarlet fever outbreak in this small community. A distant relative of mine on my father's side is buried there beside his wife and five of his children. Those five children all died within days of each other from scarlet fever. He and his wife lived to have five more, all girls. They were contemporaries of my great-grandparents although I never knew them. 

In my life and times, we have vaccines against measles, polio, diphtheria, and a host of other diseases. Up until now, HIV/AIDS has been the plague of my generation, a plague we know how to prevent but seem unable to eradicate. We've had significant scares with the Ebola, Zika, and West Nile viruses, but we got through. Modern medical researchers continue to study these and work to develop cures. 

Listening to my elders speak of living through those times was more than a history lesson. It spoke to the lasting impact it had on the lives of the people of those times. They were times of uncertainty and fear and great loss. The Great Depression and the Spanish Flu defined the lives of my great-grandparents and grandparents. In many ways, my grandparents never moved far from those days. My grandmother panicked when one of us got sick, as all children do. My grandfather bought land to farm and keep his family fed. He worked a factory job by day and then came home to tend his garden. He also kept honeybees, a lucrative sideline. They bequeathed more than land and money to me. Their gift was love and a shining example of how to truly live well. 

I look at the next two generations in my family. These days we are living now, today, will be days that define their lives. One of what I call gen4, myself being gen3, is pregnant. The gen5-ers are going to school via the Internet. COVID-19 will be what we remember, what my young cousin will tell her baby about, what the youngsters across the creek being homeschooled via the Internet will have in common with their peers. 

When I'm once again able to join with my gen3 cousins at the table, what we did in our self-isolation and social distancing time will be our discussion. I'm sure we'll note how people paid little or no attention to how serious the COVID-19 virus is. Perhaps we'll speculate on the bare shelves in the grocery stores and wonder how much worse it was for our grandparents. We have constant news and the Internet to keep us informed (on both the true and the false). They had a weekly newspaper and word of mouth. 

In my own little world, I sense a shift inside. I won't remember my time under a governmental stay at home order as a hardship. My employer's reaction to it is something I'll never forget. I've talked a lot about retirement and so I'm looking at these days as a test run. And I'm liking how I feel quite a bit. Being home is a good thing. Now all I need is for the stock market to rebound so I can lock in a few numbers. My own silver lining. 

Time will roll on. Please be smart and protect yourself so you can be a part of it. It'll be more fun to tell your grandchildren about self-isolation and social distancing than to have them tell their peers their grandparents died young, in the pandemic of 2020. 

KC Kendricks

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

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

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. 


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

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 . 
Or you can go straight to my author page at Amazon

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

KC Kendricks

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

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

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