Saturday, December 31, 2022

2022 Retrospective: Full-time?

December 31, 2022

At the end of the year, many of us take to our blogs, or maybe a more personal diary, and put into writing our thoughts regarding the year passing. It's been my habit to do so even when my retrospective doesn't have many books to talk about, not like I had back in 2009 - 2012. Those were productive years. Even as I was able to complete a lot of books, I knew that level of completion was unsustainable. A lot of factors go into what a person can achieve (or not) in a day. 

What did I accomplish in 2022? As always, not what I'd hoped and dreamed with my writing, but I aced a few other biggies. I RETIRED!!! Yes, a long-coveted dream finally became reality. I got my first part-time job when I was sixteen, and I worked a job fifty-two weeks a year, every year of my life until May 22, 2022. God alone knows how many people my tax dollars have supported over the years, but I'm sure it's a huge number. 

Writing a yearly retrospective is to my way of thinking a good thing. Looking back helps me focus on going forward. I need to examine where I've been to set the plan for where I'm going. Do I change course or do I continue with a few, if any, tweaks? Having been retired for seven months, I think a couple of tweaks may be in order to aid my vision to mesh with my reality. 


So what were the Big Things of 2022? I think a lot of us went into the year with Covid battle fatigue. We certainly did as we needed to be diligent because of RC's health concerns. Writing actually went on the back burner as my retirement date edged closer. Readying things for a new person to come in behind me at the day job took most of my focus - and energy.

With that said, I was able to work on Riding Against the Wind, which was finally published in September. After that, I set myself to finishing an old, and I do mean old, Rayne Forrest story which ended up being titled, After the Sea Sprite Ball. That story was released in November. 

In a huge departure, for me, I published a small collection of poems at the end of 2022. Just the Rain: A Collection of Poems will be on Kindle Unlimited indefinitely. I can't in good conscience ask a reader to purchase what is basically a twenty-page work I did for my own satisfaction. Why poems? We live and we grow. 

Seducing Light, an older work that is near and dear to my heart got a new cover, as did September Morning. It's necessary to update covers from time to time to keep the promotion looking fresh. 

And speaking of promotion, I set a goal to promote all twelve books in the Men of Marionville collection in the Facebook groups. I did that in my original list of groups, and then Facebook kept sending me group suggestions. I joined new groups and started promotion in them. Then Facebook sent even more suggestions and the whole thing got out of hand. I say "out of hand" with tongue-in-cheek. I think the promo is going well even though it eats up a lot of time. Unfortunately, I discovered a bit of an underside to a few things in some of the groups. I discussed it here.

This was the year I made the move toward getting my own vendor accounts. Currently, I use an online service that I like very much. It's easy to use and it gets the books into a lot of places, for a fee, of course. But I'm reminded of the old All Romance eBooks site. Back in the day, I made a lot of money at ARE so I shuddered to think how much was embezzled from me. The old adage is true. Having all your eggs in one basket is foolish. So I'm working on it behind the scenes. Readers won't notice any difference when they purchase a book. Many, many, many authors have separate vendor accounts because it provides a safety net. 

I've continued Holly Tree Manor (The Hideaway). This is a more personal view of rural living and my life. I put together a series on Preparedness, and while it's not totally comprehensive, I think I've presented some tips for anyone who wants to be more prepared. It's not Doomsday prepping at all, but it is pantry building and being aware that we have to provide for ourselves. To be frank, if you didn't learn we all need a little preparation for crisis management during the Covid pandemic, then it's not a series for you. 

One of the big fails of 2022 is my dot com website, I've been struggling with it since Yahoo shuttered its old SiteBuilder software. So I have the website, which I pay for, but I just can't wrap my head around how that software works. I ended up linking to all the book pages here. That works, but it IS NOT WHAT I WANT and so I ponder the feasibility of continuing to pay for it. 


A new year offers three hundred sixty-five days with at least three hundred sixty-five new opportunities. If there is one thing I've learned, it's that you can't plan or organize all of them. The key is to recognize the opportunity when it presents itself and act. 

I'm still learning how this "retirement" phase of my life actually works. I want to write, but I want to enjoy this wonderful plot of land my grandparents gave me. I will continue to seek balance whenever possible. I may be able to plan and plot a story, to develop and write a character bio, but when the dawn brings the perfect day to work in my garden or day trip with my spouse, I need to take full advantage of it. 

I've set a goal of one new story a quarter. I don't want to make that a New Year's resolution because we all know how they work out. No, this is my goal. This is what I'd like to accomplish. I hope you'll stick with me to see how it works out.

Peace to you and yours in this New Year,


The 2021 Retrospective

The 2020 Retrospective


KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, contemporary gay romance, sci-fi romance, series romance, Kindle romance, m/m romance, a writer's life, career goals, rural living, organization, contemplation, 2023 resolution, New Year's, 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Just the Rain: A Collection of Poems by Kendricks/Forrest

December 23, 2022

I am very happy (and proud) to announce I've published a small collection of poems! Just the Rain: A Collection of Poems is available on Kindle Unlimited. You can also purchase a copy for $.99 if that's your preference. 

Writing is indeed a solitary pursuit. A writer pulls words only they see out of the air and trap them on the page. Sometimes the writer simply needs a change of pace. Sometimes the writer has captured words that don't fit into a story. Sometimes the writer needs to stretch a little bit. And sometimes it's all these things.

It's difficult to say if I will ever write another poem. They come to me, unexpectedly, and I commit them to the page. If it happens, I may start another volume. I'll let the Muse decide when the time comes. 

I hope you will enjoy Just the Rain: A Collection of Poems.

Available on Kindle Unlimited 

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Amazon CA:

Amazon AU:


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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:

KC Kendricks, Rayne Forrest, Just the Rain, poems, Between the Keys, KU, shorts, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, sci-fi romance, a writer's life, country living

Saturday, December 17, 2022

It's all fiction, folks!

December 17, 2022

Last weekend we survived the annual Christmas gathering of my partner's family, and it was a survival. My husband is not in good shape and his decline was never more evident than at that party. I watched him shrink right before my eyes. The noise and confusion of small children and young adults we didn't know, coupled with the fact SOMEONE (it was his sister!) invited his ex-wife (of over thirty years) to participate, sent him spiraling. Just because he added her on Facebook ten years ago doesn't mean he wants to be in the same room with her. Yes, I let her (and his sister) live. I think we've been to our last gathering at the sister's house. He physically can't take it, and his anger didn't do him any good, either. 

Writers often get asked if we include real-life scenarios in our stories. I confess little snippets have drifted into mine. Snippets. It has now occurred to me I have chapter upon chapter worth of drama to feed from should I decide to write party scenes into stories. 

My family's Christmas gathering is today. Thanks to last weekend's debacle, he's not attending even though I suspect it will be a quieter affair, and I can assure the entire population of the known galaxy my ex-spouse will not be in attendance. My family will splinter into special interest groups. Those of us in Gen 3 will congregate at the dining room table to catch up with each other and to remember Gen 1 and Gen 2. Those in Gen 4 will eat and then hustle off downstairs to the bar - the cousin (Gen 4) hosting us brews small batches of beer in his basement and the sampling will commence. The younger of Gen 5 and Gen 6 will rush to the family room to stream the Disney channel while the older of that generation hide in a bedroom playing video games. Only gaming shouting will be heard, and the occasional applause from the bar. 

So I think I have my scene. I can see it, I can plot it, I can write it. The family gathers to eat, then the generational divisions happen. Enter an ex-partner/spouse/lover. Mayhem ensues. Yeah, that will work. 

And I will deny, and never confirm, that I include family members or events in my stories. It's all fiction, folks. 

You've got to watch us writers. We view things through the lens of story. 


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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Christmas, family, fiction writers, fictional romance, generations, contemporary gay romance, country living, rural lifestyle, time, 

Friday, December 9, 2022

Getting a handle on it

December 9, 2022

Becoming a full-time writer has not been as easy as I anticipated. Distractions abound and some of them are important and need to be addressed. When Deuce comes and rests his head on my knee, I know it's time to step outside with him. Ignoring his request isn't fair to the dog. The man needs fed from time to time, and I have chores to complete. I don't know why I imagined I could simply step into my office and be productive. 

Yes, that's a whine.

The problem is I want to be more productive than I am, and starting this new phase of life at the beginning of summer, well, there was just too much other *stuff* to do. Now winter is almost upon us and I realize I don't want to be confined to my office. I still want to be outside, even if it is cold. Country girls have to country. 

The good news is that I'm getting a handle on it! I finished After the Sea Sprite Ball, started a new story, set up a vendor account at Barnes and Noble, and I'm getting some promotion done. Promotion doesn't come easy to me. I'm not comfortable standing up and shouting, "look at me, look at what I've done!"

To me, promoting in Facebook groups is an exercise in frustration. I have an extensive spreadsheet with a lot of notes, and every promotional day I discover fewer groups I'm willing to spend my time on. The big groups are full of spam and the little groups, well, some folks live for rules. Some folks like the power of putting a post into review and leaving it there, too. My spreadsheet shows all that. 

I spent some time tweaking the spreadsheet today. I'm in a bunch of groups that have "buy and sell" as their main tab. If you post on the "discussion" tab, it doesn't show on the main page. Those groups now have a worksheet all their own. There's also a separate M/M group worksheet and a sci-fi paranormal worksheet. 

It's all about time and how much I'm willing to spend on promotion. Maybe breaking the groups down into categories will help. I need to keep writing the next story as my primary focus when I'm at the computer. 

We shall see how it goes. 


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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, Facebook, contemporary gay romance, romance ebooks, ebooks for Kindle, M/M romance, LGBTQ romance, a writer's life, country living, rural lifestyle, black Labrador Retriever, gardening, retirement, full-time writer

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Smashwords - oh, holy...!


December 8, 2022

"Do you want your books listed on Smashwords?"

That's a very innocuous question. In today's vernacular, it's a no-brainer. Of course, I'd like my entire catalog to be available at Smashwords. And to accomplish this, it's a simple click, and somewhere out there in cyberspace, AI takes care of it? Hell, yeah! Do it! 

So I did. 

So I did not think this through. 

There were EIGHTY emails in my writer's inbox this morning. That's 8 followed by a 0, or 80. Yep. My first thought was what the hell, someone spammed me. Nope. Only two were spam. A handful were legit from mailing lists, etc., but seventy of them advised me that a book is now available at Smashwords. 

Yea? Hooray?

I now have seventy book pages to update here at Between the Keys. Oh, holy shit crap. 

This is going to take a while.


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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, a writer's life, Smashwords, contemporary gay romance, romance books for ereaders, m/m romance

Sunday, December 4, 2022

After the Sea Sprite Ball is now available!

December 4, 2022

Did you know that Rayne Forrest is the alter ego of KC Kendricks? I first wrote under the pen name of Rayne and then became KC when I wanted to write m/m romance. Both Rayne and KC share KC’s website and blog, so don’t be confused when you see KC in the links or see that KC posted Rayne Forrest’s material. 

It's been a long time since I published a Rayne Forrest book, but it's one of those things I want to get back to doing now that I'm "retired" and can call myself a full-time writer.

I hope you enjoy After the Sea Sprite Ball, a romance set in the very near future, because who wouldn't like to visit an undersea resort and watch a Kraken float outside your window? 


A romance set in the very near future.

Eve Archer checks in for her dream vacation at the new undersea resort, The City of Amphitrite. Unfortunately, her luggage went to the Catskills. To make amends, the concierge upgrades her package to a suite in the Tower of Triton, the poshest accommodations at the resort. As a Triton guest, Eve receives an invitation to attend the nightly costume ball in the Palace of Poseidon. And since the resort transportation lost her luggage, she is offered her choice of gowns, free of charge. It will make her job a lot easier.

Actor and supermodel Alex Gerard needs a break, and the Triton package offered by the City of Amphitrite resort is just the thing for him to get a little privacy and rest. He’s been working non-stop for three years, and while he doesn’t mind suffering for his craft, enough is enough. For the next two weeks, his meals, massages, and the company of other celebrity guests can all be brought to his suite.

Alex can’t believe the woman who literally ran into him in the hall has no idea who he is – and he doesn’t enlighten her. It’s refreshing to have a woman not care about the opportunities being on his arm will provide. Intrigued, he follows her and discovers she’s been sent to spy on the resort, an activity that could get them both detained. It’s obvious, at least to him, that the best way to keep her out of mischief is to get her into his room – and his bed. 


Eve. Nice name. He had to admit she was a pretty little thing. Not beautiful, no, or even what might be called cute. She was pretty. Curly black hair swept her shoulders. Wispy bangs obscured her arched eyebrows, but he’d seen them. They were as black as her hair, and she didn’t wax them down to where she had to paint them back on. He liked that natural look, and her womanly curves. He’d had his fill of pencil-thin model-types. Eve’s round bottom would fit right into a man’s hands.

He shouldn’t think about that. She seemed to be the kind who would pummel him to a pulp if she even suspected him of looking her over like this. Alex ducked behind a potted tree.

Damn! She’d seen him. Was she telepathic or something?

Whew. He was safe. Eve had glanced this way, but she obviously hadn’t noticed him. Well, he could skulk in the plantings, or he could act like a man. He stepped from behind the foliage and joined the flow of walkers, angling his way over to her. Alex stopped in the doorway.

“Red looks really good on you.”

Eve turned, then jumped, her eyes narrowing. “What do you want? You are stalking me! I’m calling security.”

Alex grinned. “I’m shopping for something special. Can I help it you’re here?”

“You’re insufferable.”

She had brown eyes, so dark they looked black, and long, blond-tipped eyelashes. Alex grabbed the hanger and held up the red dress.

“You should get this. It really is your color. Trust me, ‘cause I know about what looks good on a woman.”

“You egotistical ass!” Eve yanked the hanger out of his hand and stomped towards the back of the store, yelling over her shoulder at him. “Go away!”

Alex hastened to follow her. “Have dinner with me, Eve.”

She whirled around, her gaze angry above her pursed lips. “How did you find out my name?”

He stopped a safe distance from her. “Well, I suppose I did the obvious, babe. I asked.”

Her mouth dropped open, then snapped shut. “Babe? Babe?”

Alex backed up a step. “You don’t like ‘babe’? Okay. How’s ‘honey’ work?”

Eve let out an angry growl. Her head lowered as she took a menacing step in his direction. “First, you’re totally rude to me in the hallway, even when I tried to apologize. Then you follow me here – and don’t try to deny it. I know you did. Then I find out you’ve asked about me. Just who do you think you are?”

He held his hand out to her. “I’m…”

Oh, hell. He almost blurted out his professional name, Gerry Alexander, from the force of habit when he was out in public. She’d get that look that all the women did, and start stammering and stuttering, and then blather on about how she loved his last movie or some photo in an ad, please God not the one where he was naked in the shower with just a ball cap to cover the goods.

Was it so wrong to want to be appreciated for himself, and not his looks or his star quality?

If he wanted to have a little vacation fling with her - and he suddenly did, if she was willing to walk away and not look back - shouldn’t he tell her his real name? Surely, he could make any necessary confessions later, couldn’t he? Would one little vacation deception be all that bad? He didn’t think so.

“I’m Alex. Alex Gerard. Pleased to meet you. Would you like to have dinner with me tonight, Eve?”

AFTER THE SEA SPRITE BALL is available at:

 KC Kendricks writing as Rayne Forrest

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

Rayne Forrest, KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, After the Sea Sprite Ball, futuristic romance, mature readers, Kindle romance, romance fiction

Sunday, November 27, 2022

I'm throwing in the towel on the .com

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.

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

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

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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:

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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:

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 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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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
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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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

Social media links:
Life through the eyes of my black Lab, Greenbrier Smokey Deuce:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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