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

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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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:
My country life at Holly Tree Manor:
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:
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, Riding Against the Wind, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, futuristic romance, sexual situations in romance, simple country pleasures, a writer's life