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