Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve 2021: Retrospective and the Kendricks 1100

 

December 31, 2021

No day of the year is more bittersweet than New Year's Eve. It's a time of closing doors on those things we need to leave behind in anticipation of the promise of new opportunities in a new year. 

This year now closing has been a year of hard decisions for me and my partner. We struggled with a lot of issues - his health, how best to navigate the continuing Covid-19 crisis, my retirement, the Covid-19 vaccine, getting back to a more normal routine, his need for different transportation, and not least of all our shared concerns on how we will survive as the supply chain weakens. 

There was a time we looked forward to New Year's Eve and a party night with our friends. Well, if you have a disability, "friends" tend to "dis-include" you. We've learned our lessons well. 

Not counting the pages, my secret little realms as it were, this is entry number 1100 here at the blog. I began Between the Keys on January 1, 2008, with the announcement I was now writing as KC Kendricks and had submitted KC's first story to Amber Quill Press. It seems like a very long time ago. Before that, I wrote under the name Rayne Forrest, whose beginning goes back beyond January of 2003, when "Rayne" got her first contract. I do wish I'd not closed Rayne's first blog. I'd dearly love to have access to those memories. 

My life has taken turns I never expected, never worked for, never wanted. That's life. 

Covid-19 continues to impact our lives. In July of 2021, I'd had enough. I turned in my letter of resignation. It did not go well. My employer offered me the moon to stay. I laid out my terms and so I'm still employed with full benefits and a workweek that suits my schedule, not theirs. No matter. When my next birthday arrives, I will be retired. 

Now it seems there is another bend in the road. I've never worked as hard on anything in my life as I worked on my writing. It stretched me, shaped me, sustained me, but my vision of myself as a writer has shifted in kaleidoscope fashion, fracturing into shapes and colors that while are mesmerizing, never appear whole and static even with distance. 

I need some distance now if I am to reinvent and rejuvenate myself. The publishing world has changed greatly. Many of us never foresaw the decline of the online publisher. I worked with ten different epubs in my career and they are all gone but one. Independent vendors such as All Romance eBooks proved to have allegedly dishonest business practices.  Piracy of intellectual property continues unchecked. 

Yes, the closing of this year is bittersweet. Continuing to do things that don't encourage you to thrive isn't healthy. I'm stepping back. Will I continue to write? I honestly do not know. It's very difficult to imagine walking away from almost half my life. Perhaps it's how right it feels that scares me. I'll continue to blog at Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway) regularly. That blog is not about writing and is more of a journal. And Deuce will continue to blog at Deuce's Day for as long as he lives. He's the joy in my life.

I hope that I'll sit down at my computer one day and have the burning desire to write. I know I will and look forward to that day. But right now, I'm too emotionally exhausted by outside influences to write and a good rest - a legitimate rest - is all I need. I suspect when I can finally walk away from the day job FOR THE LAST TIME, a great weight will lift from me and I'll be ready.

I thank all of you for traveling this road with me. It has meant so much! Yes, that's easy to say but the words are heartfelt. Thank you!

We shall see where the new year takes me, what it brings to my life. I'm a bit curious to discover what doors open for me. What's out there is always interesting. 

KC/Rayne



Thursday, December 30, 2021

The ones I'll never publish

 


December 30, 2021

When I began my writing journey, I wrote what was once called science fiction. Somewhere along the line people started calling it "space operas" or speculative fiction. 

Speculative? Uh-huh. Thank you, Gene Roddenberry, because now we ALL have individual palm-sized communicators. 

The first science fiction book I read was Moon of Three Rings by the late, great Andre Norton. I was maybe nine or ten. Suffice it to say very young. That book, about a spacefarer who comes to inhabit the body of the barsk has remained clear in my mind throughout the decades. Even over half a century after it was written, Moon of Three Rings is an incredibly rich and nuanced story. I scrounged the used book store to find the earliest paperback edition I could locate and it has a place of honor on my bookshelf. 

Back in the late nineties, I had an idea for a trilogy. I built the universe and set the main characters - an heir, his half-brother, and his brother-in-law. They formed a Triad which gave them social and political influence and protection. I lived and breathed that universe for over a year until one day I began to write it out. Somewhere along the line, I realized it was a story I didn't want to share. Probably after I submitted it in an RWA contest and got an Honorable Mention. It's the only time I ever subbed in an RWA contest so I think I did pretty good. 

Bits and pieces of it have worked their way into various stories, albeit altered to fit different characters, but the whole is mine. 

In today's publishing world, if I cleaned up the manuscripts and published them, I'd be giving them away for free. The pirates would see to that and I won't allow them to have at it. 

The world turns. People change. I've changed. I used to think I would write books for the rest of my life, or at least as long as my fingers worked and the electricity stayed on. Now I don't know. 

The prevailing wisdom remains that readers like a good series. I've done them: The Rea Cheveyo Chronicles, the Sundown saga, Amethyst Cove, Centerville Muscle, Southern Cross, The Men of Marionville. Some of those series could continue for a long time, but unless I change my mind, they won't. It's selfish, but what happens on Ian & Rick's honeymoon is something I'll keep to myself. Does Sundown save his species? Of course, but what he and Fallon discover along the way, in spite of the clues I left, will never be told. Yes, there are many more stories to be told. 

Will I truly never publish them? I don't know. I'll have to change again, and change my mind, to write them. I've reinvented myself before and so I may again.

It is my hope that one day soon I'll be rested enough to pick up the craft again. I've been tested too often these past few years and yes, something within me has threatened to break. I've got to hide it away to protect it until it can spark back to life. 

Sound dramatic? Certainly, but it's what we writers do. We paint a dramatic picture with our words, and when people do nothing but steal our words, we, or at least me, stop writing them down. 

It may not be the best, first choice, but there it is. At least for a time.

KC/Rayne

Monday, December 27, 2021

The Elder and The Crone

December 27, 2021

I posted this over at Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway) last year. I don't write a lot of poetry, but every once in a while, the words come. Perhaps one day I'll have enough for a small volume. I hope so, anyway. -KC/Rayne


The Elder and The Crone


Of Christmas snow, I would wish
for it to kiss the ground
Pristine and white falling down, 
to the earth forever bound

Silent night gives way to day, 
quiet stirrings under brightest rays
The fire warms, the cat sleeps on, 
wrapped in quiet, steeped in peace

The elder and the crone, 
as we have now become
Sip coffee and smile, hidden behind our walls
Tasks fulfilled, our legacy fading (as it should)
Indulgent to our past, 
memories notwithstanding

KC Kendricks

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Christmas Day 2021


December 25, 2021

Peace be with you this day.


Christmas Bells
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men."



Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021


December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve was magical when I was a girl. Aunts, uncles, cousins - we all gathered at Aunt Jane's house for dinner, which was her gift to us. In time that ended, and so it seemed so did my love of Christmas. It's never been the same for me without that gathering. 

The bells pictured are a handmade gift from my Aunt Jane, given to me for my first Christmas in the house I built in 1983. I still live in that house and Aunt Jane's bells are a truly treasured keepsake. 

One of my favorite passages about Christmas Eve comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It seems fitting to share it this year as, yes, the time draws near. 

KC/Rayne

Christmas Bells

The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.

This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish’d no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:

But they my troubled spirit rule,
For they controll’d me when a boy;
They bring me sorrow touch’d with joy,
The merry merry bells of Yule.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Thursday, December 23, 2021

The website situation is not improving


 December 23, 2021

My website woes continue. I knew when Yahoo dumped the old, reliable SiteBuilder software that having a .com would become problematic, and it has. Yes, there still is a kckendricks.com, but at the moment it's simply a placeholder to get people to Between the Keys, Deuce's Day, and Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway). I really want to have a working .com but I'm not sure I'm up for the challenge. 

I freely admit I do not understand the online tools. It's all about loading pictures and not written content. 

I'm a writer. Words ARE my pictures. Am I frustrated? You bet. I've been to WordPress and that was a bit of a disaster, but out of necessity, I may go back. 

With my retirement clock irreversibly ticking down to the day, I'm officially on a writing hiatus. I need to wind up things at the day job and I know it's going to be stressful. Having the mental energy to write isn't going to happen. I'm not sure I'll have the energy to tackle getting a .com up and running again, either, but I'm going to give it a go. 

Today is Christmas Eve Eve, and there are things I need to do. I've valued my "vacation" days across the years, but I'm tired of having to cram laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, yard work, website building... and everything else that needs to be done to keep a home running into a few precious days away from the day job. I don't want to be busy - I want to relax and enjoy this brisk winter morning. I've missed too many of them as I've rushed off to the day job. Soon Ceasar will no longer rule my days. 

Where this day will take me is unknown, but for now, I work quietly while daylight creeps back into my world. It's the third day of winter, but there are signs of life in my woods. The old sycamore tree stands white and ghostly beside the creek, and the deer are looking for green shoots beneath it. 

Perhaps it's enough of a vision to see me through the day. We must persevere. 

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Just another number

 December 17, 2021

It's just another number, right? Aside from the fact it's a number that says it's time for an oil change, that is. (The oil change is scheduled, by the way.) Forget the milage for a moment and groove on the 21.3 miles per gallon my fast little Charger gives me. That's not bad for a ride with some horsepower. And that's around town, not highway.

People get all freaky over the number six, but I refuse to buy into it. Everyone who has a motor vehicle will hit that number sooner or later. Does that mean your car is possessed for exactly one mile? Of course not. 

Our lives are controlled by numbers. From the moment of birth, we are assigned numbers - the day we were born, the time we were born, how much we weighed at birth, how long our new body is, the circumference of our skull. We've barely taken our first breaths and we have been numbered. 

My last two posts were all about numbers. How many days until I finally, finally, finally retire, and then about my November word counts

In seven days, we'll reach Christmas 2021. I think for many people, it will be a lot more normal than Christmas 2020. COVID-19 still wreaks havoc around the world, but like it or not, those suspicious vaccinations seem to be doing some good. Yes, we got jabbed but we've not yet reached a consensus on getting the booster - other than we're not ready at this point and it's not been ruled out. 

This will be my sixty-fifth Christmas. It will be number seventy-four for the spousal unit. We both have summer birthdays and so were not a year old at our very first Christmas. 

Numbers. We can't escape them. They are tools we use to measure aspects of our lives, nothing more. My car has a certain number of miles and there's nothing demonic about it. It's simply how many miles the Charger has been driven. The balance of my checking account is a set of numbers that represent how much money I have to use to live my life. Last night, I bowled a 604 series, or the total number of pins I knocked down within a certain number of measured frames. 

It's time to set some superstitions aside. It's not the numbers that hurt you. It's the people who manipulate the numbers. 

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

So....how did you do?

December 1, 2021

November was National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it's commonly known. I've never officially signed up but this year I thought I'd keep track of my word counts and see how I did. Not too bad, if I do say so myself. 

  • The most current WIP - 9835
  • Blogging at Between the Keys, The Hideaway, and Deuce's Day - 4896
  • And the difficult part tracking work correspondence - 30,194
  • Grand total = 44,925. That's a whole lot better than I anticipated. 

It was a worthy exercise and validated a few things I had a sense of but no solid proof. I do a lot of writing at my job because the upper echelons have discovered I've got a "knack for it." Ah, it amuses me to think of what they do not know, namely that I'm a published writer. That knowledge is going to be one of my parting gifts to them. Moral to that story - don't underestimate people. 

Keeping track of the word count at work also proved my theory of how much energy the job sucks out of me, energy I'd rather spend on writing a book. Thankfully, that will change in 2022, when I reach the line in the sand and hand over my keys to the office building. 

Blogging clocked in at a whopping 4896 words. Blogging can be a distraction, that's true, but putting my thoughts and experiences in print helps me to process some days. Some evenings, it calms me down and brings clarity, which in turn invites me to relax so I can sleep. 

I didn't do as well as I would have liked on the WIP, but I did work on it. I've never been one who can just spew out a story and then go back and fix the fuck-ups. I need to do that as I go along. And if I add an element seemingly out of the blue, I go back right then and there and make sure it fits as part of the earlier prose. It's just the way I do things. 

That's my report on my private corner of NaNoWriMo. It was a bit of this, a bit of that, not completely successful, nor was it a complete failure. And isn't that just the way life really is? 

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021


November 25, 2021

Thanksgiving used to be a wonderful day in my life. My maternal grandmother prepared a meal, with some assistance from my mother and my Aunt Jane. My grandmother and my aunt are gone now, long gone, and my mother is lost in whatever world she has found for herself.  Pray they find a cure for Alzheimer's, if not for her then for your own loved ones. 

Thanksgiving leaves me not very thankful this year. I've lost more than loved ones in this year. I've lost direction and drive. My talent is not diminished, but it needs to redirected. 

Back in 2017, I penned what is for me a rare poem. Sometimes I surprise myself, and I did that day. What a difference four years have made. 

As this year winds down, I'd like to share the poem again. I wonder now if back then I saw this time coming. My path has led home, strange as "home" is these days. 


Standing Guard

Long ago I tread a path
A misty woodland way
I had no company along the trek
So the trees could have their say

They spoke to me in silence
With movement seen not heard
And I replied in quiet kind
Walking without a word

The day ahead held demands
Devoid of mist and air
I could not whine or complain
Or do what trees don't dare

Beneath the ground unseen by all
Their roots do intertwine
Reminding me the path ahead
Leads home to all that's mine

KC/Rayne

Friday, November 19, 2021

How very annoying


 November 19, 2021

Nothing is ... almost nothing is more annoying than discovering a link one has been copying didn't copy correctly from the original. And of course, I did more than a little promo with that bad link. 

Now I do embark on some updating. Not what I planned for a Friday afternoon.  

Yes, I need some downtime. 


 _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks


Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Manuscript and book updates are inevitable


 November 7, 2021

The decision is made or rather was made for me. The downturn in the economy has a lot of us concerned, and when I say "us," in this instance, I mean the book-buying public of which I'm a member. I've purchased a lot of books over the years in a wide range of genres. I was a reader long before I was a published writer. However, I've done something I'm avoided for years. I've signed up for Kindle Unlimited. 

This isn't my first choice of action. I'd rather support the author and have a permanent copy in my library. But then again, I won't have to return a really crappy book for a refund now. I can simply delete it. And I can still purchase a book I fall in love with. 

Acknowledging that book buying has changed has also led to the decision to list my books on Kindle Unlimited. The number of people utilizing KU is growing exponentially which means they are not buying individual books. I would have never given up the iTunes income in years past, but that number has decreased, a clear indicator readers are changing habits. 

Going to KU is going to be a lot of work for this author. While it does give me the opportunity to update the Books By, About the Author, and Dear Reader pages, it also means adding links that Amazon allows. So be it. It will take time but if there's one thing I've learned, there's no point in rushing. 

Updating older manuscripts is something we should all do from time to time, especially when we have a couple of newer titles that didn't make the Books By page. That I didn't keep up on doing that is on me - and thank you to some smart programmer for copy and paste! 

The fall time change took place last night so my day is shorter. It's time to set this aside and go outside to enjoy this brisk autumn day. I'll have a long, dark evening to work on the task of updating. It may be the only pay-off is me knowing it's done, but satisfaction matters. 

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys




Monday, November 1, 2021

Centerville Muscle series now on Kindle Unlimited

 November 1, 2021


Centerville Muscle
Book 1  - Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted
Book 2 - Memphis
Book 3 - July Heat

The Centerville Muscle series is now on Kindle Unlimited. 

Please visit the book pages for more information, beginning with Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted. Links to the sequels are on the pages.

Yes, the author has of this writing failed to get the series overview page posted. Oh, for a thirty-hour day!

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys



Friday, October 29, 2021

"D" does not automatically mean dick


 October 29, 2021

ENOUGH ALREADY!

It seems people at Disneyworld/Disneyland are upset over this t-shirt. SERIOUSLY? 

When you see the Disney D, what do you think? Apparently many, many, many, many people think DICK. As in, you know, penis. 

There must be something wrong with me. I saw it and immediately thought DISNEY. Silly me, and me a writer of romance. 

She wanted to go to Disney, so he took her to Disney. 

And as for what you tell children who ask, you say DISNEY.

Grow the fuck up, people. 'Nuff said.

KC Kendricks

Saturday, October 23, 2021

NaNoWriMo - is it for me?

October 23, 2021

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as its known, encourages authors to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. That's one thousand six hundred sixty-seven words a day that won't get edited away. 

Write a book in a month. It can be done. I've done it. I never officially joined in the annual November event, but I've worked within the concept a few times. 

Writing is sometimes a mystical thing, at least for me. We're told by "those who know all" that to be a writer we must put our butt in the chair and write something every day. NaNoWriMo buys into that with the goal of fifty thousand words in a month. Goals are generally a good thing to have, but sometimes pulling those words out of the air and getting them on the page can be frustrating. It doesn't always work, or perhaps more correctly, it doesn't always produce quality reading. 

I wonder how many people have given up when they don't reach the goal. I worry sometimes us "older" authors have perpetuated some very unkind "rules" to those just starting out. Back in my neophyte days, I was subject to those rules and I bought into them hook, line, and sinker. I definitely took the bait and set the hook, and I think I'm paying for that now. 

But just how bad a thing is it if you don't reach a goal that was set by someone else? Just how difficult is it to work under the pressure to create? Can you handle it? You have to answer that for yourself, but my answers are 1) generally doesn't bother me, 2) the older I get the worse it is, and 3) nope. 

I truly admire those writers who can consistently churn out a book a month. It takes a lot of discipline to do it. It also takes a lot of time dedicated to the craft. It takes a lot of organization and planning. Google NaNoWriMo and you can find a lot of resources on how to do the prep, etc. 

Set the daily/monthly word count aside and that's when I think the real value of NaNoWriMo can be found. If you need to get disciplined or like me re-disciplined, then NaNoWriMo can provide encouragement. There are online resources, communities, and social media that can help. 

I can only speak for myself, of course, but discipline is what I lack these days. I have the tools necessary to write a book in a month. I've had them for quite some time. I'm just not putting them into practice. I've let distractions in and they've taken over. I KNOW how to organize, schedule, and execute a workable plan but I'm not doing it. 

We all need time to rest - the value of sabbaticals is well documented, but they should at some point end. Even an "old-timer" like me, with seventy books under my belt, can need that little extra push to get motivated.

Will I go on social media and toss my hat into the NaNoWriMo ring? Nope. But I have examined my November calendar and blocked out time for writing and only writing. I have a current work in progress that will benefit greatly from a little discipline on the part of this writer. 

Now is the time.


  _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys






Monday, September 27, 2021

Battling distractions - and losing

 

September 27, 2021

I've become a distracted writer. I've pulled the blinds and put a relaxing screen saver on the TV to be white noise but it's to no avail. My mind whirls with all these things I should be doing, or would like to be doing, and I don't accomplish much. 

Today's distraction, after taking the man of the house to have blood drawn, fixing breakfast, and starting a load of laundry, is strawberries. I'm hosting the Cousin's Lunch this coming Saturday, and I want to make a cheesecake for dessert. What better way to infuse flavor than by adding a bit of strawberry powder to the batter? Not having any strawberry powder, I pulled a bag of sliced strawberries out of the freezer and loaded the contents into my dehydrator. 

And down the rabbit hole she went...

Setting up the dehydrator reminded me I needed to water the strawberry plants. I didn't expect much out of the plants this year, but I purchased from Burpee and I expected more of the plants to live! Thankfully, I'm already getting sets from the nine out of twenty-four that did survive. And this was from Burpee! 

I was also reminded that I wanted to order some silicone mats for the dehydrator. I'm tired of cutting parchment paper to fit the trays. Off to Amazon I clicked and...wait... The 2022 Old Farmer's Almanac popped up. So I purchased a copy after I ordered the mats. 

I opened the sunroom door and a yellow jacket flew inside the house. There was no way it was going to get out alive - and it did not. 

So, strawberries. I could take a picture and blog about dehydrating them, right? Not really, but confessing my distraction might be of help to others. Maybe. Who knows? 

I'm a distracted writer but my house smells wonderfully of ripe strawberries and will for the next two days. It's not all bad, is it? 


 _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

 


Monday, September 13, 2021

Time was


 September 13, 2021

And I thought it would be easy. I was wrong. 

There was a time, back in the good old days, when beginning the journey of a new book was easy. The words flowed onto the page without ceasing and the end came far too soon. 

I don't think I appreciated that enough. 

My idea for the sequel to Ride Your Luck is sound. It's even timely, although I didn't realize that until I sat down to write this blog. That's what good coffee does to me. It somehow opens my mind and allows me to think, generally thoughts I don't want to have, but sometimes apropos. 

I think I'm too concerned with getting this story "right" to work on it quickly. That has rarely been a concern. I write the story and it is what it is and if readers like it, okay. If some don't, I'm philosophical enough to know you can't please everyone and move on. 

So why is this one so different? Being introspective by nature, I continually question my motivations and actions. That's not a bad thing. It's good to know yourself and to examine what you do so you stay true to yourself and to your vision. 

Sometimes the vision shifts and leaves a person second-guessing. That's where I am with this story. Is the beginning too "heavy?" Is the beginning a trigger point? It strikes a match on an experience I had when I was seventeen, but that didn't stop me from writing it. 

Here in the predawn hour, I question if the attitudes of the current culture are affecting me. 

Time was I didn't entertain such thoughts. I wrote. 


 _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys



Saturday, August 28, 2021

The deadly lack of ambition


August 28, 2021

Lack of ambition to do anything. It happens to all of us. The stars align or misalign, whichever you prefer. We wake up feeling grumpy and lazy and ambition to do anything beyond fix a hit of caffeine has flown. What's worse is we're not sure we care too much. Maybe we don't even care that we don't care. It's a problem we don't have the ambition to fix. 

Some people will hop right on that as "depression." They'd rather blame lack of ambition on a medical condition than admit they could get off their ass and do something - they just don't want to. I'm not cursed with that sort of avoidance. I can admit I'm feeling grumpy and lazy and not have a lick of guilt over it. 

As I get older I see value in different things. So what if the backside of my house doesn't get pressure-washed this summer? Given the choice between pressure-washing and quiet time on the patio with the spousal unit, I'll take the quiet time. If there is one thing we all should have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic it's that people are precious. Choose people, always. 

The sequel to Ride Your Luck is underway, but here at the end of summer, I lack the ambition to work steadily on it. Every day I'm more and more aware I won't pass this way again. I'll never watch Loki stalk across the backyard exactly the way he did this morning. Deuce will never interact with me just the way he did this morning. The songbirds will never call out the same songs, and the little screech owl may never come so close to the house again. These small things I would have missed had I not taken a step back from busy to look for them. 

Maybe this lack of ambition I feel this morning isn't all about being grumpy and lazy. I still want to spend some time today working on the story. I used to want to hop out of bed on a Saturday morning and start pounding out the word count. This played directly from some old writing advice that said to get your writing done early in the day and it worked for me for many years. Today I know it will be too hot to be outside this afternoon so that will be my writing time. I'll walk with Deuce and tend my garden first, while it's cool. 

No, I don't lack ambition. I've simply tempered my expectations of what I can actually accomplish and finally accepted it won't all happen in one day. I think I've finally become a mature person and no amount of ambition to change THAT will work.  

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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Genre names and first clicks

 

August 14, 2021

It seems I have a new strategy for surviving any given Friday the 13th - can something! Our hankering for fresh peaches led us to a local orchard and the purchase of a half-bushel. Instead of spending yesterday happily pecking away at the keyboard, I canned peaches. If you want to know more about that, zip on over to The Hideaway, which is the new name for Holly Tree Manor. 

Peaches aside, all was not lost on the writing front this past week. The search for character names went well. Writing about modern cowboys meant settling on names that reflected the west while not being too old-fashioned or over-used. The first part of that is easy. The over-used part? With everyone and their brother writing books these days, it's impossible to pick a name that doesn't fall into that category. I settled on Zane and Walker. 

Zane is classic western thanks to author Zane Grey. I was delighted to discover many of his stories to be available on Kindle. I think my grandfather had every one of his paperbacks. The name Walker has a more recent reference. Yes, I watched Walker, Texas Ranger cut a wide swath through the bad guys. Yes, I've seen [more than] a few Chuck Norris movies. NO my character does NOT look like even a young Chuck and he does NOT have ninja moves. Or maybe he should have ninja-like moves with a rope. Now there's a thought...

The new story is underway. The first clicks, so-called because my old keyboard is nice and clicky, was an intro I wrote as an authoring tool to fix in my mind when the tale begins. It's a bit from Regan Oakley's point of view and takes place as he and Wythe are waking up from a little overnight delight out on the range. Ride Your Luck ends as the couple are setting out for a little one-on-one time and their tryst seemed like a starting point. Halfway through the first chapter, I decided to clean it up and make it the prologue, something I rarely include in my books. It's good to change it up every once in a while. 

It feels good to have a new story hitting the page. Every time I finish a book I wonder if I should go on. I'm sure that one day the answer to that question will be 'no'. But for now, I still enjoy spinning tales to amuse myself, to live in a community I created and control - as far as the characters allow! 

Daylight approaches and there is much to do. Deuce needs his walk to start his day off right, and after that, there are still several dozen peaches spread out on my dining room table that I need to process and other chores to finish. It'll be afternoon before I can return to the manuscript and continue to become acquainted with the characters. I'm looking forward to all of it. 


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 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

Monday, August 9, 2021

Maybe I should flip a coin

August 9, 2021

A spreadsheet can only get you so far. 

I have several spreadsheets which aid the author in not using the same names for our heroes. Does the author occasionally forget she used a name? Yes. Is it time to go with Tom, Dick, or Harry? Nope. Used Harry in Hot August Comes. Used Tom in Ride Your Luck. Used Dick...er...nope. I have an Uncle Dick. The name game can become problematic. 

Just as problematic is the title game. It's rare to be able to zip over to Amazon and type in "[Suggested Title Here]" and not get a hit. Sometimes I don't want to use the same title as four hundred other writers, sometimes I don't care. The title fits the story too well to pick something lesser. You've got to know when to just go with it. 

Names and titles cannot be copyrighted and that's a good thing. There are those who have tried and they failed miserably, and in the full glare of the writing community, I may add. I recall an author trying to copyright the word "cocky." Quite the bru-ha-ha, that one. Or was it a tempest in a teapot? Whatever. 

Deciding on the best title for a story can sometimes be difficult. Many of my stories get their title from a line of dialogue. My characters will be chatting away and say something and I just know THAT is the real title and so I change it. But even that is not without pitfalls. 

Someone in a Facebook group tried to call me out on A Hard Habit to Break. That title came from within the story, which is about high school friends growing apart, coming home, and then becoming lovers as adult men. Is A Hard Habit to Break also an old song by the group Chicago? Yep, and it's a song I like so well it's on my car playlist (along with 1449 other songs stored on the memory stick that lives in the USB port). Did the song inspire the story or the title? Nope. It came from a line of text and I knew it was right for the story. I refused to take her bait and discuss the matter on Facebook. 

Having recently finished July Heat, I'm ready to roll on a sequel to Ride Your Luck. I've long wanted to revisit the Bar RC Ranch even though there is some "prevailing wisdom" that cowboy stories don't sell. I don't care. I like cowboys and I'm going there. The problem right now, if you want to call it that, is I can't decide on title and names. The title will come as the story progresses, but I do think I need the names NOW. It's hard to get a grip on a character who is nameless. 

That's where we are this morning in the writing realm. It's going to be a hot August day so I'm running errands as soon as this blog entry is posted and closing the blinds against the sun this afternoon and writing. The first order of business when I settle in my sunroom office with a large tumbler of iced tea will be to make a decision about names. 

After that, I'm willing to bet the next decision will be to speed up the ceiling fan from low to high. 

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys


Monday, July 26, 2021

July Heat - now available!

 

July 26, 2021

July Heat is now available! It's finally uploaded to Amazon and ready to go! I'm very pleased to have this one finished and "out the door," although I was sad to say 'see ya later' to the characters. The best thing about creating a fictional community is going back and visiting with previous characters, bringing them forward into new stories with a mix of old and new friends. It's a good bet Drew and Morgan, Mick and Logan, and Memphis and Jake will pop up again when I revisit Centerville. But first I'm heading west to the Bar RC Ranch to visit Regan and Wythe.

Until then, here's a bit about July Heat.

Enjoy!

KC

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July Heat
Book 3 in the Centerville Muscle series

Drew Bernard’s life was shattered in a single, breathless moment. His one action made reconciliation with his family impossible. He can’t change it, but he’s determined to move his life forward and not be defined by a single, horrific moment. When a friend reaches out to him with the offer of a place to stay and a temporary job, Drew makes the move to Centerville.

Morgan Osborne made choices for the benefit of his son, but now the child is a grown man and determined to sever all ties with him – except for the monetary ones. When an unsuspecting Drew witnesses a particularly heated exchange, Morgan makes his apologies and ends up asking Drew to go out with him. 

Drew is drawn to Morgan, but he’s afraid to trust his heart. His vision of his new life never included someone like Morgan, someone who would need to know the truth. 

EXCERPT:

All clean and shiny, I hoped to snap a quick nap before my dinner date. I expected a call or text from Morgan to let me know what time he’d pick me up. I didn’t anticipate a knock on the door. I pulled on a pair of faded blue jean shorts and opened the front door to find Morgan standing there.

He looked me over, his gaze going up and down and back up again. He finally looked me in the eye. “Wow. You have the nicest…eyes.”

I laughed in spite of myself. “It wasn’t my baby blues you were looking at, Osborne. I know what you’re really interested in.”

“Can’t get much by you. Hey. Your eyes are brown.” He narrowed his eyes and gave me a fake glare. “Okay. I get the joke. I, um, was driving by…on my way home… and I saw your car. Is six too early for tonight?”

“How’d you know it was my car?”

He grinned and flicked his thumb over his shoulder toward the driveway. “Pfft. Mick Ambrose wouldn’t own something like that, that’s how. And it has a Virginia license plate.”

I laughed. “Fair enough. So where are we going tonight?”

“There’s this little authentic Greek place over in Easton I like. It’s very casual, but the atmosphere is great, and the food is even better.”

“Cool. I’d invite you in--”

“No. No, I don’t want to put you on the spot like that.”

We stared at each other for a moment, but neither of us spoke. Whatever Logan thought about the man it was obvious Morgan knew and wouldn’t cross some imaginary line. The problem was I didn’t want Morgan to drive away now that he was here.

I rolled the dice. “We could start the evening early.”

I swear the man’s ears pricked up like a collie. “I’ll just wait in the truck while you get dressed.”

With that, he was down the steps, nimble as a mountain goat and twice as fast. I scratched my chin. I’d wanted to trim the beard but that might take too long.

It was a good thing I’d already decided what to wear. I dressed in record time and slowed down long enough to quickly run the trimmer over my face. In less than ten minutes I’d made myself presentable, sent Logan a text, and was out the door and into Morgan’s pickup, the one with Osborne Mechanical, Inc. emblazoned in big gold letters on the doors. 

I fastened the seat belt. “What’s first on our list?”

“Did you have lunch?”

“Yep, and even if I didn’t, it’s too close to our dinner time to eat. Or are you trying to fatten me up for some nefarious purpose?”

He slowed for a stop sign, made a right turn, and accelerated. “My purposes are all legal and above board. Our first stop is at my place so I can freshen up. I didn’t expect you’d suggest we spend the afternoon together.”

I shivered as a sudden vision of us naked on a bed and bathed in sunlight flashed through my mind. It had been a long time since I entertained thoughts of having sex again.

“What’s wrong, brown eyes? You already regretting coming out to play?”

“Not at all.” I glanced at the large brick and stone houses, set well back from the street behind mature oaks and maples. “Swanky neighborhood.”

“It used to be, back in my grandparent’s day. Now it’s gone middle-class.”

“Is that a bad thing?”

“Not at all. That was a poor choice of words. I guess it would be more politically correct to say we now have a lot of diversity on the street, but still good families.”

I glanced sideways at him. I suspected he’d come of age in a time when words were just words and not considered a social judgment.

“Good families with money?”

“Well, Drew, here’s the thing. The local historical society has its talons deep into this little enclave, so yeah. You have to have some money to abide by their dictates as to what you can do with the property you own.”

He turned left and we passed through a set of wrought iron gates flanked by simple square fieldstone pillars. A mortared fieldstone fence, about six feet in height, was built along an east-west line and I suspected the wall surrounded the entire property. The paved driveway curved gently to the left and the massive stone house came into view.

The center section of the house was two stories tall and flanked by wings on either side. I guessed it was built in the nineteenth century and had been added to over the years. I must have been thinking loudly.

“My great-great-grandfather built this place in the mid-eighteen-sixties. It’ll be Jason’s someday, not that he’ll appreciate the history of the place or his family.”

“Is having someone to pass this legacy on to why you married and had Jason?” Fuck. I put my hand on his knee. “I’m sorry. That was inappropriate of me.”

Morgan didn’t respond as he pulled the truck in behind the house and backed it into a spot with practiced ease. I started to panic that I’d offended him. My question bordered on why he’d tried to deny being gay, and the whys of it weren’t any of my business. I was on the verge of apologizing when he patted my hand.

“It’s okay. The answer to that is yes.”

It hadn’t been that simple and I knew it. 

_*_*_*_*_*_*_

July Heat
Book 3 in the Centerville Muscle series
 
Available at
iTunes/Apple - https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1577295214
Rakuten/Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/july-heat-1
Barnes and Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/july-heat-kc-kendricks/1139875152
 
Amazon US - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09B65X52H
Amazon UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09B65X52H
Amazon CA - https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09B65X52H
Amazon AU - https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09B65X52H
 
Universal link to all sellers
other than Amazon - https://books2read.com/u/mvoKK6




Sunday, July 25, 2021

July Heat - the promo card is done!

July 25, 2021

The path to getting a book published is never linear, at least not for me. Maybe a photograph will inspire me to a new story. Maybe it'll be the notion of the writer that a sequel to a story would be fun. 

What comes first, the story or the cover? 

It's never good for me to say it's this way or it's that way. I never know. The July Heat cover idea came in the middle of writing the story. Creating it took to about three-quarters of the way through the story. And now the little promo cards I like to do took until yesterday, after July Heat has been uploaded to a few vendors, something I need to check on. Once the smaller vendors are live, I need to upload it at Amazon. It'll all come together. 

That's what I say about the promo cards - it'll come together. (Read that "I'll get a good idea one of these days.") And so I did and now it's done. Now here's a bit of promo.

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ABOUT JULY HEAT

Drew Bernard’s life was shattered in a single, breathless moment. His one action made reconciliation with his family impossible. He can’t change it, but he’s determined to move his life forward and not be defined by a single, horrific moment. When a friend reaches out to him with the offer of a place to stay and a temporary job, Drew makes the move to Centerville.

Morgan Osborne made choices for the benefit of his son, but now the child is a grown man and determined to sever all ties with him – except for the monetary ones. When an unsuspecting Drew witnesses a particularly heated exchange, Morgan makes his apologies and ends up asking Drew to go out with him. 

Drew is drawn to Morgan, but he’s afraid to trust his heart. His vision of his new life never included someone like Morgan, someone who would need to know the truth. 

 _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys


Saturday, July 24, 2021

A new BTK record is set!

July 24, 2021


Yesterday, a new record was set here at Between the Keys - 1072 views in one day. WOW! My thanks to everyone who stopped by!

I could have missed this. Checking the stats isn't something I do on a regular basis. Yes, I've blogged about the stats before, just as a curiosity, but I think it's important to remember that the stats don't tell the whole story. 

While I'm delighted that so many found their way here, and hopefully read a few posts, I know that doesn't translate to book sales. I've been in this game too long to believe that and I do, in fact, know better. Blogging at Between the Keys is fifty percent book related and fifty percent whatever the hell I'm in the mood for. And this morning I thought I'd share that BTK got a lot of views yesterday. 

Interesting, at least to me. 

KC Kendricks

Monday, July 19, 2021

And now for some updating - the Men of Marionville

July 19, 2021

It's often said that change is the only thing you can be sure of (outside of death and taxes). That's very true. Change is inevitable - but why? I think a lot of it has to do with the way we keep learning and improving our knowledge and skill set. 

Change can also be daunting. With the Men of Marionville series, or as I prefer to call it a collection, the first books in the series contained out-of-date series information. The bonus reads didn't stretch to Twice Removed From Yesterday and the author bio needed updating in the worst sort of way. 

I settled down to make the updates after a read-thru of July Heat. I needed to let that story "settle" before I selected an excerpt, made a promo sheet, and started the uploading process. 

This afternoon I went ahead and loaded July Heat, but I don't have approvals and links. I should be able to start announcing them tomorrow.

Getting the Men of Marionville books updated took longer than I thought. Had I been able to go through the books without interruption, yes, I would have the job completed. Life happens, or so they say. Some days it's happening to someone else and it becomes necessary to be a nosey neighbor and watch your cousin WORK in the neighbor's yard. (Seeing IS believing!) 

 I'm three-quarters of the way through my self-appointed task. I'll get it finished either tonight or tomorrow morning. It's always good when you don't have to rush. 

Will Amazon notify Kindle owners the books have been updated? Your guess is as good as mine. 

With July Heat finished, I need to decide on my next project and I have no idea which way I want to go. I've long wanted to write another story set at the Bar RC Ranch, so perhaps it's time to see if I can flesh out a story outline and a couple of character bios. I enjoyed writing Ride Your Luck and the modern-day cowboy. I'll leave the true Wild West to someone else. 

And that's the way it is, July 19, 2021.

Have a good one! 

 *_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks

My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
Visit my bookshelf at: 

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce: deucesday.blogspot.com
My country life at Holly Tree Manor: hollytreemanor.blogspot.com
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys