Sunday, November 27, 2022

I'm throwing in the towel


November 27, 2022

I give up. 

I spent six hours today trying to achieve any sort of progress at the .com, and all I managed to do was get a section to load that directed people to the book pages here to Between the Keys. 

The plan was to show the book covers but every time I uploaded a cover, it was set as the page background. Nooooo, that is not what I wanted. I'd really like to have each series have its own page but it's beyond me. 

My first website was up from 2004 through 2020, and I didn't have a bit of trouble with it. I had it through Yahoo and used their Sitebuilder software. It was so simple. I could create my own background, add photos and text boxes, and then move them around the page to arrange them as I liked. I can't do that now. There is one option for section placements which I think is so it'll look good on a cellphone. 

I don't live on my cellphone. I want a website that looks good to me since I'm the one paying for it! 

I've reached the place where I think I've known all along was coming. Do I want to have a .com? More precisely, do I want to pay for a .com that isn't giving me what I want? No. 

What's the best course of action? Maybe give up on the .com and spend the money on something I will enjoy.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

It won't be long!


November 26, 2022

We've made it through another Thanksgiving. We're still eating leftovers, and that's okay. It's a yearly occurrence that makes me understand why Deuce turns his little black nose up if I don't change up the flavors of his chow.  

One Thanksgiving tradition we don't follow is Black Friday sales, but this year I slipped in a purchase at Burpee seeds. It was worth it. Twenty-five percent off my order, plus free shipping. Oh, yeah. I have plans for the 2023 growing season. 

I did a blog about it over at Holly Tree Manor. https://hollytreemanor.blogspot.com/2022/11/four-short-months.html

Yeah, big plans for 2023. I'm counting down the days until there are (hopefully) little green sprouts in my house! 



KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Holly Tree Manor, gardening, Burpee, black Friday sales, Thanksgiving traditions

Thursday, November 24, 2022

To be thankful - Time Was

 


November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving Day

Today kicks off the 'holiday season' here in the United States. We're all expected to have a feast today, give our thanks today, and tomorrow morph into world-class consumers, something not all of us aspire to be. 

Himself and I are blessed with many riches and we are indeed grateful. We will prepare a traditional meal for the two of us and then watch a couple of old, favorite movies. Or maybe we'll watch Fluffy on Netflix. It's undecided. Our life here on the manor is a good life.

What we won't do is hop on the Black Friday sales bandwagon. We have what we need and we know it. We don't purchase things we don't need.  We've worked hard for years to reach this point. I've held a job since my first part-time job when I was only sixteen years old until retiring this year. 

Our holiday celebrations are different now. Our parents are gone. His children and grandchildren are grown. We're on our own, and we must confess the stress and drama of the day is also gone. We'll eat when the turkey comes out of the roaster. Last-minute changes to the menu? He doesn't want carrots but would rather have beets. No problem and no explanations need to be tendered. 

We'll share memories of the Thanksgiving dinners of our youth. Mine seem to be happier than his, but I've lived rural all my life and my background is more complex than his. So much has passed away and yet it made us who we are today. I pray we always remain thankful.


Time Was
Time was it’s often spoken
Back in my day also is heard.
Listen close to what comes next
An honor on you may be conferred.
Someone may share something precious with you
A memory of a life that was over too soon.
Those called young will ignore the gift
Having no connection in the literal sense. 
We who are the bridge are saddened
Having learned what we hold is fragile. 
Eleven met at a long table, children at one end
Scattered now, filling new tables without age.
Now one sits alone, yet her table is filled
The ghosts of those long-ago days linger still. 
She has memories to share if youth would dare.

KC Kendricks
2022




Sunday, November 20, 2022

Frustration or annoyance?


November 20, 2022

Is it frustration or annoyance? I can't decide. What I do know is not being about to come up with at least a working title for the current work-in-progress is driving me around the bend!  

I'm into chapter four and by now I should have something. I think the Muse is laughing at me. I think she has a title but she's not sharing. The little bitch is like that. Fickle and vindictive! 

Yes, I know she's a part of my own psyche, but I stand by my words. She's bitchy at times. She holds out on me! Just remember you don't have to live with her and I do!! 

Somewhere on my computer is a list of possible titles. I started it eons ago and added to it religiously for several years. Now I can't find it. It's there - I never delete files - but where is it??

I would love to decide on a title. Once I do that, I can make a mock-up of a cover and have it open on the other monitor screen as I work on the story. I like to do that when I can. It's a visual aid and sometimes we need those. 

A title should reflect some facet of the story, but "Bend Over, Donut-Boy" will NOT work. "Baker's Dozen" sounds like a cookbook about donuts. There's a bit of suspense coming later in the story, so how about "To Kill a Donut-Boy?" No? I agree. That's not it. 

The struggle is real. I've been very fortunate in my career in that I've rarely had this much trouble settling on a title. Perhaps I'm overthinking it and Himself is correct. It's a cold and windy day and he's suggested we load up Deuce and take a drive to the Antietam Battlefield. Stepping away from the computer may help. Lord knows I'm not about to go outside and do battle with the wind. 

Maybe I'll get lucky and it will come after we take our little jaunt into history. I sure hope so because I need to stop dwelling on this and WRITE! 

KC Kendricks

https://kckendricks.blogspot.com/p/the-bookshelf-of-kc-kendricks-and-rayne_3.html


KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, titles, a writer's life, Antietam Battlefield, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, Deuce

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Got to figure it out

 

November 16, 2022

I miss not having a working .com website. For many years I used the Sitebuilder software and it was very reliable. I had the option of creating my own templates and layouts. Now all I have is a .com placeholder that directs everyone to Between the Keys. That works, but it's not the same as when I had a working website. 

In the early days, the do-it-yourselfer was warned that it was a bad idea to have everything on one platform. I agree. Right now, I'm very "heavy" on Blogger. If Blogger goes the way of Yahoo's Sitebuilder, my online presence is gone. It's not a good prospect. 

It's difficult to get answers these days. Customer Support for the website I do have should be called the Sales Department. There is no support. There is only the up-sell, and I'm not interested. I want a simple working website which is what I had five years ago. 

Google isn't much help, either. Oh, it can find you millions of "answers," but those answers don't necessarily apply to your question. It's very frustrating.

Amazon's author page is great for my presence on Amazon. It doesn't do a thing for me at other vendors such as iTunes/Apple, but it is a last-ditch fallback for information. 

It shouldn't be this difficult. I see this happening more and more. Something that worked perfectly is being replaced with myriad things that do not work perfectly. It's a mystery to me why companies continue to operate as though this is a good thing for the consumer.

I suppose I'm stuck with a placeholder .com for as long as I'm willing to pay the monthly fee. That might not be much longer. It's truly only pennies a day, but I'm not getting what I want for those pennies. Not at all.

 


 _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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


KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, websites, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, the upsell, LGBT fiction, writers on writing, do it yourself

Monday, November 14, 2022

September Morning - new cover and promo card


November 14, 2022

For some unknown reason, I woke at three a.m. and could not go back to sleep. Perhaps I fell asleep too early last night, or maybe Deuce decided to flop down back to back with me and turn up his furry furnace. It could have been a strange noise outside. Someone was spotlighting deer on the State Park side of our road last Friday night. That didn't turn out too well for them...

Once I was awake I was too restless to go back to sleep so I got up and turned on my computer. My thought was to simply play cards or Mahjong until I got sleepy again, but decided to check the blog. That's how I ended up making a new cover for September Morning.  

I like my guys, and their "attitudes," so I kept them and added a beach bungalow and campfire. I then made a new promo card, but I'm less pleased with it. I think the description font being larger than the cover font is not to my liking. Sometimes I have to look at a project for a few days (or just a few hours) to know what I want to change. I can fix the font, easy-peasy. 

Once upon a time, I thought about writing a story for each month, but that hasn't come to pass. Yet.  So far I have September Morning, December Promise, July Heat, and Hot August Comes. Those titles just worked out the way they worked out. If I try to put a month with a story - nope. Won't work.

So here's a bit about September Morning. Follow the link here if you want to read the excerpt.

_*_*_*_*_*_

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

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

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

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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



KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, LGBT gay, Kindle romance books, book covers, a writer's life, writers on writing, September Morning, July Heat, December Promise, Hot August Comes

Saturday, November 12, 2022

My writing familiar, Loki

 

November 12, 2022

Someone I don't talk about much is my writing familiar, Loki. In many ways, he's like having a second dog. He goes outside with me and follows me around the yard. He'll come promptly when called which is a big plus since we allow him to go off the screened patio when we're in the yard. He sleeps in my reading chair when I'm working in my office, or sometimes under my desk with Deuce. It's good to have quiet writing support. 

It's been a busy week here on the manor. There was firewood work and some prepping for the 2023 gardening season. We made two trips to town, a drop-off at the landfill, and rain from Hurricane Nicole turned yesterday into a washout. One of our trips to town was in anticipation of the approaching rain. I got chicken quarters and cooked them off to have the meat in the freezer. Later today I'll process all the broth in the pressure canner. Loki and Deuce will get a small amount over their dinner today for a treat. 

While all this necessary work was going on, my thoughts moved along plot lines. The new WIP is started and, if I say so myself, so far so good. I'm still annoyed with myself that it doesn't have a good title, but it'll come. 

That's the way it works when a new story is percolating. My hands are busy doing those things that must be done while my brain spins out character, dialogue, and plot. When I do land at the computer to write, it goes much faster because I've already "written" it in my head. 

It's the middle of November which means that here in the Mid-Atlantic region, we are at any given moment mere hours away from a big temperature drop. In some ways, I'm looking forward to it. My days will be spent mostly inside and inside means writing, and writing hard. If this past summer was any sort of indication, spending beautiful summer days inside at the computer won't happen. 

Maybe by next summer, the novelty of being home will have worn off, but I doubt it. I've given a lot of thought to a plan to structure my time, but just like the book without a title, it's a work in progress. 

Isn't everything, even life? 


 _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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


KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, LGBT romance, gay fiction, m/m romance, m/m fiction, Rayne Forrest, Loki, country living, a writer's life, writers on writing, pets, rural lifestyle, time management

Friday, November 4, 2022

Seducing Light cover updated -again!

November 4, 2022


Having recently made the decision to create my own vendor accounts at a few places, I've set myself to the task of slowly making those changes to my backlist. And I do mean slowly. I've chosen ten works as test cases, one of which is Seducing Light. 

Seducing Light is one of my earlier works, but I think it's one of my better ones. I opened the file this morning and studied the old cover for quite a while before concluding it had to be replaced. It must have been meant to be because the new cover fell into place in under an hour. 

I looked in my folder of gigolos.....er... purchased stock photos... yes, we indie authors buy men. Moving on... I found a stock photo in the file which had not been used, and the old Rayne Forrest website photos produced a background shot. Heaven only knows how old that background is! 

The cover came together nicely, and all the updating on the blog pages and booksellers was quickly accomplished. 

Writing is not a linear endeavor. Making a new cover was not part of my plan for the day - not even close. But it's done and it looks good, so I'm glad I went with the flow. 

   _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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



KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, Between the Keys, Seducing Light, contemporary gay romance, LGBT fiction, m/m romance, book covers, a writer's life, 




Thursday, November 3, 2022

Confused much?


November 3, 2022

Most everyone gets confused from time to time. It shouldn't be a big deal. The spousal unit hasn't worked a job away from home in twenty years, and for almost that long he's been asking me what day of the week it is. Having recently retired, I understand it better. The first thing I look at every morning is my calendar. That's just so I have an answer for HIM, you know. It's not because I need to know what day of the week it is. 

Often times our little confusions are because we've not been paying attention when someone is telling us something. We've forgotten how to listen and so days later we embarrass ourselves when we have to call a friend and ask what it was they told about [fill in the blank]. 

We're all subject to those little annoying lapses. It takes on a new light when you have a parent with Alzheimer's Disease. Trust me. I know.

When I forget something important, I panic. My heart races and I stop dead in my tracks until I can get clarity. I'm not trying to be a drama queen but it's frightening. I wonder if IT is happening to me. I went back to keeping a written desk calendar/diary this year. It's a good record to have and maybe it will entertain my younger cousins when they have to settle my estate and clean out my office. The scary part of all that is that my mother had notebook after notebook with list upon list detailing her attempts to stay in control of her life. 

We humans frequently allow our imaginations to seize control. A tiny pain is surely cancer. Eating any white food will give us diabetes. Aging eyesight must be macular degeneration. Forgetting we bought shampoo and then buying another bottle the next week is surely a warning sign of dementia. 

I'm trying my best to not be an alarmist. My imagination is best used for writing love stories, not scaring myself stupid. 

I think that retiring from the workforce brings a new way of thinking to a person's life. There's an adjustment period as stress levels drop and what is so frequently referred to as the new normal takes hold. Being the Lady of the Manor and a full-time writer is a dream I've long held dear. I'm finally there but here has pitfalls I'd not imagined. 

What day of the week is it? Thursday
Where did I leave my phone? In the garden shed.
Did we feed the dog last night? We both did - he's going to get fat.

I hate to say it, but that is not dementia. Dementia would give me an excuse and I have none because I damn sure am not getting old!


 _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks/Rayne Forrest
www.kckendricks.com
My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
http://kckendricks.blogspot.com
Visit my bookshelf at: 
https://kckendricks.blogspot.com/p/the-bookshelf-of-kc-kendricks-and-rayne_3.html

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


KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, aging, romance novels, new normal, retirement, Between the Keys blog, social media, cellphone, calendars, questioning


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

That fickle darn muse


November 2, 2022

I've been putting the finishing touches on After the Sea Sprite Ball, which is a Rayne Forrest novel. Some of you may know Rayne is my alter ego, writing more traditional het romance. Or whatever they call it these days. It used to be that you needed an author brand for every genre you wrote in, but I don't know if that still applies. I've not paid proper attention to such things. My bad.

I also have a brand spanking new KC book that is as yet untitled. Now that annoys me. I just can't think of a title. Experience tells me that I'll be typing along and a phrase will hit the page and BAM! That's the title. I just hate to wait for that to happen. 

Another item I'm making a conscious effort to improve on is promotion. I'm currently concentrating on Facebook groups. It's going well and I've been able to post, on average, once a week in those groups I've joined. 

Something I want to do, mostly for myself, is put the Deuce's Day blog into book form. It's a lot of copy and paste to accomplish that, but I think readers may appreciate reading about a dog's life from a dog's point of view. I've been playing with that off and on for a while now, but I'm in the mood to finish up old projects so it may actually get done. I'll put it out there on Kindle Unlimited with a $.99 price tag if someone wants to purchase a copy to keep.

And then The Muse exacted her due. She whispered to me about an old Rayne Forrest book that has languished in the files. Read it, she said. Make a cover for it, she said. 

Naturally, I obeyed. I grumbled at first because I have enough going on, but why fight it? It'll only get worse if I do. 

When I'm writing, I know the value of taking breaks. When I'm making good progress, I've learned that I can switch off and work on a different project and it's just the sort of break I need. I'm still about the business of writing. Experience has also taught me it all comes together in the end. 

Yesterday afternoon, I finalized the cover for what will be the second edition of Step Into Tomorrow. When I'll feel ready to put the story back out in the world, I'm not sure. I know it feels good to bring it back to life.

Now I must insist that The Muse behave herself and let me finalize After the Sea Sprite Ball. The front and end materials are added and I need to do that last read-through. Then I need to work on the untitled KC story. The Muse needs to work with me, not try and pull a fast one. 

Aye. Right. We'll have to see how THAT goes.

   _*_*_*_*_*_*_

 KC Kendricks / Rayne Forrest
http://www.kckendricks.com

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



KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, Between the Keys, romance novels, After the Sea Sprite Ball, Step Into Tomorrow, contemporary romance, futuristic romance, gay romance 

Monday, October 31, 2022

Halloween - let the countdown begin


October 31, 2022

It's Halloween, which used to be a Big Deal in my world. I used to really enjoy the costumes and silliness, especially when Halloween fell on bowling night. I guess I've gotten old and jaded, and I'm not alone in that. It seems except for a passing meme on Facebook, my contemporaries don't enjoy the day as much as in the past. It was bound to happen.

It's like any other day of celebration. When I was a girl, it was all about dressing up and sneaking well beyond the boundaries set by my parents. The times were different, too. My group of neighborhood kids, which included my cousins, could run around in the dark and our parents didn't fear for our safety beyond us tripping, falling, and scrapping our knees and elbows. Not so these days.

I strolled into Lowe's the other day and the first thing I saw was Christmas decorations. This was a week before Halloween. It was the same thing at our west-end Walmart. Now I must confess I did purchase two packs of Christmas cards because 1) I'll need them 2) I was there, and 3) they match the style of what I have left from the last two years. 

I've heard a few folks complaining about how early the Christmas displays are up. I used to join in, but not any longer. I'm past it. What will be, will be. And if we are celebrating Hallgivingmaseve, then we are. It's my cue to sit back and people-watch. Be careful, my friends. You may end up in my next novel. 

There's no way to stop commerce or the media. Christmas movies are already playing on some television channels. There's no point bitching about it. The only thing a sane person can do is ignore it until such time as it makes sense to you to begin your preparations and celebrations. 

And let us all adopt a live and let live attitude about it. We'll all be a lot happier if we do. 

KC Kendricks



KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Halloween, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, LGBT gay, a writer's life, holidays, celebrations, author blogs Christmas, Thanksgiving, patience

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Lost: organization mojo

(stock photo; not my desk diary)

October 22, 2022

The last five years included a deliberate and determined march toward the day I could profess to be a full-time writer. That day finally happened on May 22, 2022. I formally retired.

The day was long anticipated and much imagined. I could visualize what I wanted this new phase of my life to look like, and for the most part, vision and imagination are in agreement. I'm happy to be home and to finally be The Lady of the Manor to enjoy the simple country pleasures. But I will confess one thing is lacking: proper organization of my writing life. 

I can check off a lot of the boxes for 2022. I retired and spent more time with the spousal unit. I had a little garden, I did a lot of home food preservation, I walked more, Himself and I had a few days out, the tree trimmer came and took down three problem trees, and we now have a large stockpile of firewood for 2023 and beyond. The chimney sweep comes next week to do the annual cleaning, and we're working on expanding the garden for 2023. And I managed to publish ONE book so far this year, and with some luck, there will also be a Rayne Forrest book going out. So, yeah. Busy. 

Knowing 2022 would be a year of transition for me, I'm trying not to beat myself up over how much time I had available for writing and how little I availed myself of the opportunities. 

Being a country girl, every morning this past summer was a new delight. I couldn't wait to get outside! I'd call the dog and we'd walk, and then I'd play in the garden. In the afternoons, on those days I didn't have any harvest to preserve, Himself used me like a pack mule to complete a few projects he had underway. The days passed quickly and here I am - five months in already. 

It's time for a deliberate reboot. It's time for me to set some real writing goals and get serious again. I've been whining about it for long enough. I have the intellectual and physical tools to get myself back on track and stay there, at least until the next gardening season. Even then, it's a matter of adjusting to accommodate those activities I enjoy so much. 

My vision of "retirement" includes a lot of different activities. I refuse to give up any of them in favor of another. It's time to focus on organization and prioritize within a set framework of those activities. That in itself is something I like to do. 

Serendipity has its place but I think there is a block of time every day when it has to refrain from visiting my writing desk. I can do this!

 _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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


KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, modern gay cowboy, m/m romance, retirement, organization, home food preservation, simple country pleasures, a writer's life, country living, rural lifestyle

Monday, October 17, 2022

Our mouthy little fingers striking our keyboards


October 17, 2022

Every day, Facebook sends Group "suggestions" to my mailbox. I generally take a look at those emails to see if there are any new or at least new-to-me promo groups listed. I'm already in a lot of those groups, but getting the word out is pretty important, so I at least give "new" groups a trial run. One of those groups gave me pause this morning. 

Just how appropriate is it to publicly criticize the style and technical prowess, or lack thereof, of another writer?  

Why must we, as authors, find fault with another writer? I don't think we should. I think if we read one of their books and discover there is a major problem in the book, we should privately contact the author (if possible) and beyond that, we should keep our mouthy little fingers off our keyboards. 

There are a lot of books I could cite here that do have a lot of grammar and formatting issues. I've also read some truly bad stories that will forever go unmentioned here. We all were newbies once upon a time. We all had to learn and we'd all better still be learning and improving or else it's time to quit. 

I find it infuriating for someone in a Facebook group, a writer, to pick apart someone else's work. I've been writing for twenty years and I've never read or received a professional review that went so low as that post did. And it got "likes." (No, it was not about me.)

Let's stop casting stones and lift each other up. Sound biblical? Perhaps it does, but it's also a kinder, better, and certainly more professional way to treat our fellow writers. 

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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



KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, writers on writing, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, book reviews, Facebook groups, promotion, marketing

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

The Roses of October

October 12, 2022

Having time to write is a fine thing. I'm grateful for it. Being able to work on a story for an entire morning, or afternoon is incredible after so many years of only writing in the evenings or weekends. But becoming a full-time writer is fraught with distractions beyond a day job. Some days there are roses. 

The roses of October are in full bloom and they are breathtaking! I took a quick walkabout the yard this morning and they stopped me in my tracks. 

I paused to enjoy them, take a few photos, and give thanks I'm home to see them. In years past, I'd come home from work and not give them a glance. Life is better now. 

The roses of October. How glorious! 

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


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


KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, roses, October, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, work, day job, full-time job, retirement, country living, simple country pleasures, a writer's life

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The perils of promotion


October 11, 2022

Earlier this year I set myself to the task of posting a promotion on Facebook for every book in the Men of Marionville collection. I must love abuse. 

All-in-all it's going well. In some of the groups I've achieved my goal and all twelve Marionville stories are posted. But along the way, I discovered many new and new-to-me groups so I got a later start on them, but I think that's okay. I don't mind different groups getting different promos on the same day. Why not spread the joy around? Of course, I won't make the goal in some of the new-to-me groups and I'm fine with that, too. The sky won't fall and I'll just keep on going until the Marionville stories are all posted in those groups.

I'm sure there is an easier way to post in all the groups. I was around back in the days of the Yahoo groups when each group had a mail-to addy. If you created a mailing list, you could send out to all the groups with just a few clicks. With Facebook, I like to visit each group and check the status of my content. That's how I locate groups I need to abandon for not approving my posts. 

I have a spreadsheet that I would be lost without. I list every promo group I'm in, its URL, how many members, and if it's public or private. Another column tracks the day and book I posted a promo for, plus any other pertinent notes such as if a post went into review. 

Yeah. Into review. Most group moderators are right there. They approve a post within hours and I'm very appreciative of that. Then there are some other groups where the same post has been hanging in purgatory for several months with no indication of why.

Out of necessity, I added a new worksheet to the spreadsheet and I'm transferring those "unapproving" groups to that sheet. In all of them, I already have posts and maybe on some rainy day, I'll go back and see if my last post ever got approved. If so, I may post the next book in the series, but I will not put them back on the main page to be part of my rotation.  

Does this mean I'm cutting off avenues of promotion? Not at all. For every group I abandon, two new groups crop up. What I have to prioritize is my time. Time is a valuable commodity even for us old retirees who don't have to punch a time clock. Maybe even more so because I've fallen victim to one of the major perils of retirement - I have way, way, way too much I want to do in one day!  

I doubt very much I'm the only author who keeps track of promos and whose time is too valuable to waste. I'm just whining a bit. 

If you're a newer author, it pays to keep track of where you promote. If you're a more established author, it pays to keep track of where you promote. I have seventy published works and if I don't record the promotion, I could end up flagged because I've posted the same thing over and over and annoyed a group administrator. That would not be good.   

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


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


KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Facebook promotions, group reviews, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, a writer's life, honesty, time management, country living, rural lifestyle

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

How long? That long?

October 5, 2022

Now that Riding Against the Wind is published, it's time to turn my attention to finishing an older Rayne Forrest project.  And I do mean I must finish it. It's been put on the "back burner" so many times that I've lost count. I've allowed everything, and that is EVERY THING, to get in the way. The cover is even ready for After the Sea Sprite Ball, for heaven's sake! 

I made some progress on the story earlier this year, but it wasn't enough to publish the story. I pulled up the manuscript a few days ago and I can't believe how close to finished it really is. I've talked about my growing propensity to procrastinate and I assure you I'm not happy about it. It seems to be a problem I developed during the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 and I've not yet overcome it. 

Yes, retirement should be the time of life when you do only what you want to do, but that doesn't mean it's okay for ME to get lazy. I don't approve of laziness unless I've scheduled a day for it. 

After the Sea Sprite Ball has been moldering on my hard drive for far, far, far too long. It's a testament to just how long I can ignore a project and that isn't how I want to manage my time or my writing career. I can look back and see those events that derailed the momentum I had - Mom's Alzhiemer's diagnosis, my stepfather's death, the death of my writing partner, my husband's three surgeries, the pandemic, and finally all the job preparation for retiring. Had those events not been crammed into a few short years, I may not be sitting here with an old manuscript to finish. 

There has always been discussion among authors about whether or not it's good to finish an old manuscript or abandon it. I can only speak to what I think is correct for me. I need to finish the story as much to prove to myself I have at least a smidgeon of self-discipline left as well as for the advantages of having another book on sale. And if my shored-up self-discipline leads to cleaning up several more of the currently out-of-publication Rayne Forrest books, so be it. I won't complain. Refocusing on my writing is one of the reasons I retired, and that includes both new and old stories. 

It's time to get to work. This morning was slated to be a wood-splitting day with my cousin, but we're still having rain, the remnants of Hurricane Ian. I may be brave and don my raincoat and go out to shoot a video of my hideaway to preserve this rainy, foggy morning before I get to work.

I'll call that taking advantage of the moment and not procrastination. 

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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



KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, Between the Keys, Riding Against the Wind, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, futuristic romance, sexual situations in romance, simple country pleasures, a writer's life

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Riding Against the Wind by KC Kendricks

September 22, 2022

Today is the day. I pressed the button on Riding Against the Wind to go live everywhere but at Amazon. It feels like a major victory! I fought to get this story finished, formatted, and for sale, and it was worth the battle. 

Riding Against the Wind is written in the dual first person that is so popular these days. It's the first time I've tried it and I'm eager to get feedback on it. 

Riding Against the Wind will be available at iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Rakuten kobo, Scribd, tolino, vivlio, and through Kobo's subscription service outside the US. You can visit the universal link at https://books2read.com/u/bP7ynY to keep an eye on when it goes live at your preferred vendor. It will be up at Amazon in a few days. 

Here's a bit about Riding Against the Wind, the sequel to Ride Your Luck

RIDING AGAINST THE WIND

Riding Against the Wind by KC Kendricks
Modern-day cowboy
Sequel to Ride Your Luck

A Saturday night out goes sideways when Zane Walker discovers a naked man hiding in the weeds along the side of the road on his way home. Zane doesn’t know how the guy got there, but it’s obvious help is needed. Zane takes him to the Bar RC Ranch, confident his foreman will know what to do. 

Weston Allen doesn’t remember much, especially how he ended up along an empty stretch of highway in the middle of the night. When a pickup stops and the driver offers help, he’s not at all sure it’s a good idea, but he gets in the truck with the stranger not knowing if he’ll be left worse off than before. 

Weston’s journey through a dark tunnel isn’t easy, but Zane is a light to lead him back to a new life he never knew he wanted with a cowboy at his side. 

This modern-day cowboy romance may contain triggers for some individuals. It is intended for mature readers. 

EXCERPT

How did I explain to Zane I was unsure of what I needed – wanted – other than to avoid the atmosphere in the bunkhouse? I wanted his company, but did I want the comfort he could offer me? What if I did ask him to hold me? Would I freak out if he kissed me again and things between us heated up? 

We strolled across the grounds to the barn as though neither of us had a care in the world, but we didn’t speak until we’d reached the loft. Zane took off his hat and ran his fingers through his dark hair. 

“Talk to me, Wes. Why are we out here?”

“The hands all feel sorry for me. I can sense it. It’s a little heavy.”

He pointed at one of the blankets. “Grab a corner and let’s get this spread out. I’m taking off my pants and I don’t want straw poking me in the ass.”

We ended up spreading out the two heavier blankets and keeping the lighter one for a cover even though the night was warm and we didn’t think we’d need it. Zane promptly sat and pulled off his boots and pants, and then skimmed out of his shirt. I tried not to gawk at him as he stretched out with the arms beneath his head. 

I tried not to wish he hadn’t worn a t-shirt, too. I’d have liked to be able to admire the long lines and planes of his torso without the interference of cotton. I eased down beside him and stripped to my boxers and t-shirt. When in Rome and all that. 

He rubbed my back. “You ready to talk?”

I sighed. “I’m remembering more bits and pieces. Billy tried to stop those men from taking me. We’d seen them in the nightclub and they were really out of place. They didn’t drink but they moved in a pack like they were hunting for someone.”

“Maybe they were.”

“Yeah. It’s pretty obvious they were. Why me? Billy didn’t know them, and he admitted to me they made him uneasy. He said we weren’t going to go to that establishment ever again. It’s like he had some sort of premonition or something. We left early, but they were outside waiting for us.” My throat closed up making it difficult to speak. “They didn’t have to kill him but they wanted to. It was sport to them. They held a cloth over my face and I blacked out.”

“Wes, can you identify them?”

I shook my head. “I don’t seem to have that memory. I hope the security footage Deputy Clinton spoke of shows their faces but I can’t be sure enough to identify them.”

“Okay. That’s enough for now. Come here.” He patted the spot beside him. “Stretch out here and take a couple of deep breaths.”

I twisted around to meet his gaze. “Will you kiss me again?”

His eyes darkened to black. “Is that what you want?”

“Yes.” I swallowed hard and then moved to lie beside him. He rolled onto his side and rested his hand on my belly. 

“Listen, Wes. I’d like nothing more than for us to get naked and do what comes natural-like, but I’m not sure that would be good for you. You’ve been through a whirlwind here. Hell, you’re still in it. I found you, you learned something bad happened to you, and that’s a lot to take in.”

“I hear you. I really do, but I need you, Zane. Just hold me even if you can’t do more. Please.”

I hated to beg him, but I craved touch. I needed his reassurance and the comfort of two strong arms around me. The horrible loneliness and loss of Billy, who had loved me and whom I could never repay, squeezed my chest and stole my breath. I clutched at Zane and struggled to suck enough air into my lungs. He put his arms around me and hugged me to his body.

“I’ve got you. I’ve got you, Wes. It’s okay. Do you hear me? It’s okay.”

He kept saying that, like a mantra, while he stroked my back and I got my breathing under control. “Wow. Was that a panic attack? I didn’t like it much.”

Zane snorted. “Me, neither. Then again, it might have been a good reason to try out some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.” 

I choked on a laugh and coughed on him. How romantic was that? It was a good thing he didn’t seem to mind. I still wanted him. Would he shoot me down if I made a decisive move on him? I tilted my head back and pressed my lips to his. 

Zane didn’t pull away. I felt him jump as if a shock hit him, and then he cupped the back of my head and buried his fingers in my hair. I stopped thinking as his mouth moved over mine in a soft, sweet kiss. He pulled away, sucked in a breath, and came back to me with intention.

Gone was any tentative softness as he plundered. I opened my lips and he plunged his silky tongue into my mouth. I gathered my wits and licked over his tongue and then followed as he withdrew. He rolled me beneath him and the hard ridge of his cock met mine. I thrust up, seeking friction. Zane moaned into my mouth and my better judgment deserted me. I had to touch him.

I slipped my hand between our bodies, seeking rigid heat. His cock filled my hand, thick, long, firm. He bucked against me and then quickly withdrew.

“Wes, this might not be a good idea.”

“Bullshit. It’s the best idea I’ve had today.” 

I stroked his length and he whispered my name in my ear before he reached for me. I was hard and dripping, and from the way he kissed me, I think he was as pleased as I was with what he’d found. 

“Hands only,” I managed to say against the press of his lips.

He nodded and we got busy. I let go of all the uncertainty in my life and allowed his hand to capture me and sweep me away. 

His touch was firm but never rough. I followed his lead, rolling my palm over his crown to spread the silky drops he gave up, then down to his base, his lips on mine the entire time. It was so easy, so basic, and so much more than I expected. 

We shifted closer. I rested my knee on his hip and he moved his leg between mine giving us just enough room to work. His touch was sure but slow as he stroked me, and I followed his lead. We didn’t need to hurry. Time suspended as we shared breath and touch in a slow climb.

“Don’t hold back,” he murmured against my lips. 

I wasn’t. I couldn’t at that moment speak. My balls tingled and tightened as heat flared at the base of my cock. An incoherent sound was ripped from me as I hit the finish line, coming in a hot, wet burst into his hand. I barely had time to suck in a breath before Zane groaned, tensed, and flooded my hand. 

“Wes. Wes.” He said my name over and over as his breathing slowed to normal. “Are you okay?”

Was I? I did the only thing I could manage to do. I kissed him

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RIDING AGAINST THE WIND

Available at:

iTunes/Apple:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/id6443510546

Rakuten kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/riding-against-the-wind

Amazon US:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BGQ1NN8D

Amazon CA:  https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0BGQ1NN8D

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BGQ1NN8D


Universal link to other vendors and subscription services: https://books2read.com/u/bP7yn



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 KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com
My home on the web- Between the Keys: 
http://kckendricks.blogspot.com
Visit my bookshelf at: 
https://kckendricks.blogspot.com/p/the-bookshelf-of-kc-kendricks-and-rayne_3.html
Social media links:
twitter.com/kckendricks
pinterest.com/kckendricks/boards
instagram.com/kc_kendricks
facebook.com/kckendricks
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

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Riding Against the Wind, Ride Your Luck, contemporary gay cowboy, M/M romance, LGBT romance

Saturday, September 17, 2022

It's been a busy summer (2022)


September 17, 2022

It's a beautiful morning here in western Maryland! Sunshine, blue skies, 71F/22C, and I should be outside working on the many projects we've yet to undertake in 2022. We've done really well this year, but if you have a home in the woods, there are always cleanup projects. Sometimes you have to let them go in favor of authorly pursuits. 

Not everyone who reads Between the Keys clicks over to my more personal blog, Holly Tree Manor. That's fine. Not everyone is interested in my private life, and that works in reverse. Not everyone who likes to read about living in the country cares that I'm also a writer. I think that's fine. This morning, however, I want to give a little recap on my summer because it occurred to me last night that this blog shows up places like my Amazon home page and a recap would be a good thing - so here goes!

I started the 2022 gardening season in March with seed trays. It was wonderful to have growing green things sharing my office space by mid-April. In May, I finally upgraded my greenhouse options. We have a serious deer problem and a greenhouse is almost a necessity. 

In May, I officially retired. Almost. I did sign a one-year contract to be the Administrative Consultant. I don't regret doing it, but I won't renew it if asked. I wanted to retire a few years ago and would wait no longer. It's been everything I wanted it to be, so far. 

My garden corral turned into a garden jungle in the woods, but it was a good thing. It's a small space and I grow in containers, again to thwart the deer. It worked and I had a bountiful harvest. 

One of the things I want to focus on in my "retirement" is eating better. To that end, I'm home canning a lot of things so we can more frequently avoid chemical preservatives. I canned molasses beans, pork and beans, butter beans, strawberry jam from a sale on fresh frozen strawberries, pizza sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes from our garden. I wanted to make applesauce and apple pie filling so I purchased apples from a local orchard. This was also the year I wanted to can pears, so again I went up to Gardenour's and got pears

It's been a great summer for us as a couple - twenty-eight years and still going strong. We'd worried a bit about suddenly being together 24/7, but I can hop in the Charger and go shopping whenever I want. We got Himself a van which is easier for him to get into and out of, plus transport his scooter, so he can take off and go manly places like the hardware store without me. 

Now we're moving into firewood season. The appointment is set for the chimney sweep to come, and arrangements are made with cousins to come and help us split wood. 

I'm working on the edits to Riding Against the Wind, and I hope this coming winter will be more productive than the last few. Covid-19 slowed more than the economy and it's time to get going again. 

That's my summer recap for Between the Keys. Thanks for coming along! 

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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



Between the Keys, KC Kendricks, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, LGBTQ author, a writer's life, country lifestyles, romance author, romance books for Kindle, ebooks, indie publishing, book promotion, author promotion

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Promoting the Men of Marionville - a test of my resolve


September 6, 2022

Earlier this year I set a goal to promo the entire Men of Marionville collection on Facebook groups. I knew this would not be a small, or easy, undertaking as there at twelve books set in the fictional town of Marionville. Couple that with the number of groups I've joined for the purpose of doing promos and you've got in the neighborhood of three hundred sixty total promos. And let us not forget that doing any sort of deliberate promotion is not really my thing. Yes, it's been challenging but I'm actually succeeding! As of this date, I have the last two books in the collection remaining - Bourbon and Blues and Twice Removed from Yesterday

I've found some of the Facebook groups to be problematic. Many of the smaller ones are great, though. The admins go through and approve each post and I'm appreciative of their efforts. That's a lot of work if the group is active. 

Some of the groups leave random posts in limbo waiting to be approved. Then when I repost the same promo, it goes through immediately. What's the rhyme and reason for that? I've had a promo declined only to repost the same thing and it goes through. There are group owners who suddenly decide to close the group to promotions and have deleted all old posts. That's a lot of effort and I wonder why the owner would bother with it.

I've given up trying to figure it out. I keep a spreadsheet that shows me what book I'm doing next in whichever group I'm looking at. There's also a worksheet with info on groups that have seemingly disappeared. I'd be lost without the spreadsheet and I wonder if I need to add a worksheet for Twitter. 

Picking up the threads of my writing career is something I've looked forward to for the last couple of years. I woke up this morning with the opening of a new story. Maybe it will turn out to be one that has lingered on the plot board or maybe it's one straight out of left field. Either way, it's good to have ideas start to pop into my head again. 

September should see me complete my goal of promoting the entire Men of Marionville collection. I'm looking forward to that, and to begin to do the Centerville Muscle series. Centerville Muscle is only three books and that'll be comparatively easy after the Men of Marionville. 

And now I'd best get to it. Up next: Bourbon and Blues.

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


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


Between the Keys, KC Kendricks, contemporary gay romance, LGBTQ, romance series, a writer's life, Men of Marionville, Centerville muscle, writing career, romance authors, promotions, Facebook, m/m romance

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Procrastination or plain laziness?


August 23, 2022

I'm dithering again. My brain is churning with a million things I should be doing: finishing Riding Against the Wind, vacuuming up dog hair, sweeping the patio, pulling up dead cucumber vines, getting something out of the freezer for dinner, calling a different chimney sweep since the usual one hasn't returned my calls, bathing Deuce, fixing the fire ring, finishing my coffee. 

Yeah, finishing my second cup of coffee that's gone cold. Again. It's been nuked once so maybe I don't want it all that badly. 

 Basically, I want to be an "industrious woman," but I doubt that piece of scripture is enough to move me along this morning. 

It seems like I've been an industrious woman ever since I retired three very short months ago. My fondest retirement wish was to establish (or re-establish) better writing habits and I've not accomplished that. It doesn't take much effort to figure out why that is - I've been having too much fun simply being home. Spending all the extra time with the spousal unit was a large part of the decision to retire. He's a bit older than me and there is a possibility I'll have a good number of years without him. But I digress...

I woke up this morning with one thought - get the book finished. Stop procrastinating, stop putting other projects in front of it, toss out the To Do List, let the man fix his own breakfast, and work on the damn book! 

And here I am - blogging.

Actually, I'm taking a mental break after hitting the thirty-thousand-word mark. The cold coffee needs to go and something cold and fizzy needs to take its place. The man is watching YouTube videos so I don't need to entertain him. The dog is sleeping beside the man's chair, so we'll let sleeping dogs lie. It's a beautiful morning full of blue sky, green grass, and sunshine but I'll enjoy it through the windows. 

It's time to get back to work.

  _*_*_*_*_*_*_


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



KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, modern-day cowboy, gay cowboy, M/M romance, a writer's life, writers, published author, retirement, To Do List, priorities, YouTube, social media, black Labrador Retrievers, scriptures