Wednesday, June 28, 2023

What's up? June 2023.

June 28, 2023

Several years ago I studiously produced a quarterly newsletter, beginning in March 2017 and ending with the spring 2021 edition. I enjoyed doing it. Each edition contained a word from me, a bit about what works were "in progress," a section about my best boy Deuce, an "interview" question, Fun With Photoshop, and ended with a meme of some sort. It was something I could produce during quiet moments at the day job. The old Sitebuilder software I used for a website made it sooooooo easy to upload a .pdf, and then all I had to do was announce it or link to it. That all changed when support for Sitebuilder was pulled. 

I thought I could still do a newsletter and simply load it as a page here at Between the Keys. That didn't really work. If a newsletter isn't delivered to an inbox, folks don't seem to take the time to click and go read it. 

I used to have a mailing list, which was a Yahoo Group. That worked until Groups went bye-bye. 

By mid-2021, we were still struggling with COVID-19. I had settled my stepfather's estate and begun my countdown to retirement. My husband's health was in decline. My mother is in a facility with Alzheimer's Disease. My best friend, whom I met in the third grade, had abandoned me and moved a thousand miles away. My writing partner, Christiane France, had died. I was alone and exhausted. Keeping up a newsletter was not feasible. 

Now, that's not a plea for you to say, "oh, you poor thing!" It was simply my season of trial, and as with all things, it has passed. 

On our morning walk, Deuce and I discussed whether or not I should restart the newsletter. Well, I talked and he listened as is his way. He never gives me bad advice. He simply lets me speak and lets me know he loves my voice. No one else has ever listened to me as intently as he does. But I digress...

I talked myself out of doing a newsletter. I have Between the Keys and it's time I utilize it the way I once did. Maybe one day I'll change my mind - it's been known to happen! But until then, this is still the place where I share my writing world. Thanks for stopping by!

KC Kendricks/Rayne Forrest

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

Between the Keys, KC Kendricks, contemporary LGBT gay romance, m/m romance, Deuce's Day, a writer's life, writing newsletters, writers on writing, rural living, walking, mailing lists, listening, bestselling author

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Maybe it's only tongue-in-cheek

June 20, 2023

Yesterday I did something I rarely do. We were checking out at a store and the cashier asked me, based on the T-shirt I wore, if I was a writer. I told her yes, we chatted, and I gave her a business card. It seems that since I retired, I'm a lot bolder about letting that fact be known.

I've never hidden the fact I'm a published author from family and friends, but I do confess their reactions have been mixed. Total strangers seem to be a lot more interested. Family and friends never ask me about it now, after over twenty years. Maybe they follow along online but I'll never know. 

I left the house wearing the T-shirt. Never gave it a second thought. The T-shirt is old and a bit ratty, and I generally only wear it around the house. If I clean the house or mow in it, it doesn't need to be seen in public. But the trip yesterday was just a quick in and out, so we just hopped in his van and took off. We didn't even take Deuce, which I'm sure caused a bit of howling. 

Perhaps I should upgrade the T-shirt to a new model and wear the new one more. I enjoyed chatting with someone, even a stranger, who seemed genuinely interested in finding a new author to read. 

I no longer have to worry about my employer finding out and all the drama that revelation would have involved. Yes, I'm still under contract with them as a consultant, but it's not the same as being a public representative of the organization. 

I'm not ashamed of being a writer, but I prefer a more low-key life. I have no desire to walk down the street in my hometown and be followed. Nor do I want my picture plastered everywhere. I simply want to write a story I would enjoy reading. 

But times change. Now really is the time to be careful. You really might end up if not in my novel, in my blog! 


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 The Hideaway/Holly Tree Manor:

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, a writer's life, contemporary gay romance, GLBTQ, m/m romance, meeting the public, writing career, writing options, retirement, T-shirt

Friday, June 16, 2023

It's getting stranger


June 16, 2023

Self, I said, you need to step back from this manuscript for a couple of days. 

There comes a time when a writer needs to take a mental break. Now, I'm sure a lot of people will nay-say that, but this writer has found it to be true. I no longer espouse the "rule" of write something every day. I try to be a bit kinder to myself. I'm more of a believer that sometimes it's necessary to be about the business of writing beyond the manuscript. 

Earlier this week I visited the Facebook groups and did a bit of promo and my blog stats exploded. Too bad sales didn't follow. People in Singapore speak and read English, right? 

Eight THOUSAND hits from Singapore in one day. I don't know if I should laugh or contact Blogger. 


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

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, contemporary gay romance, m/m romance, LGBT gay, a writer's life, Blogger, social media, Facebook, finance, social commentary

Saturday, June 10, 2023

The Centerville Muscle series

 June 10, 2023

I love muscle cars. 

I always envisioned Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted to be the start of a series. I didn't think it would take this long to get it going, but life, death, pandemic...

Now that I have the series started, I've no clue where it may end, but I can tell you some of my all-time favorite cars, and some true classics, will land on the pages. 

Bored, Stroked and Blueprinted


July Heat


 KC Kendricks

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

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

Friday, June 9, 2023

Some thoughts on writing in the first person style


June 9, 2023

There was a great thread on Twitter recently that caught my interest. The writer generating the thread asked how to hide the "I" when writing in the first person. As about ninety percent of my writing is in the first person, I was naturally curious. It had never occurred to me I needed to hide the "I."

Most of the responses spoke to the need to be aware of the usage and to restructure sentences when the usage of "I" gets too frequent or heavy. I certainly concur in most instances. Instead of saying, "I watched the rain overflow the gutters and splatter on the concrete," say "The rain overflowed the gutters and splattered on the concrete with a staccato beat." You're writing in the first person so it's all happening from that character's point of view. Using the second sentence engages his/her senses and therefore the senses of the reader who may have a memory of such a sound. 

One thing to be cautious of is falling into a pattern of passive voice when your character is not being introspective. If he/she is in a reflective mood, saying, "I watched the rain fall..." is an appropriate tool to bring the reader into the emotions of the moment. 

Writing in the first person gets tricky, for sure. I prefer it for writing M/M because when writing M/M in the third person, you end up with a lot of "he," "him," and "his," and if you're not careful, the reader can lose track of just which character HE is. The alternative is using a character's name repeatedly, and that can become annoying to a reader. I know. I am a reader, too. 

But, to me, writing in the first person is a more personal way to tell that character's story. You have to step inside that character and go deep. There is no head hopping back and forth between points of view. You're in that POV and you stay there. 

Writing in the first person isn't a better or worse way of writing a story. It's equal to the third person and the more narrative style of writing. It's a writer's preference and when done well, the reader hardly notices. I think I've done okay in most instances, with the Amethyst Cove and Sundown series being exceptional examples. 

I'm of the opinion that the writer who generated the thread on Twitter is on the right track. She didn't imply that one style is better than another, which is a frequent topic of many who I suspect can't write first person. She asked for a few tips to improve her first person writing and that is always appropriate. I was also impressed at how civil, for Twitter, responses were. 

For me, the bottom line is that you should write your story your way and that a writer should never stop in the quest to improve. And now I should take my own advice and finish the current WIP.


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

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, writing styles, first person, LGBTQ gay romance, writers on writing, M/M romance, narratives, Twitter, Amethyst Cove, sentence structure

Sunday, June 4, 2023

The dilemma of artificial intelligence (AI)

 June 4, 2023

The current WIP stands at about thirteen thousand words and our heroes are about to get friendly, at least sort of friendly. I haven't decided just how friendly they're ready to be, but something will happen. Will it bring them closer or shake them up? That's the point I'm pondering. 

I'm "pondering" many things these days. "Ponder" is a word I grew up with, and I don't often hear it used now. People today say they're going to "think about it," but ponder, to country folk, has a deeper meaning. To ponder is to focus on a problem, issue, or question until you understand it from several angles. Pondering takes time and often prayer, prayer being a sort of meditation. 

AI, or artificial intelligence, is in the news. The pros and cons of AI is being widely discussed on social media. Hell, Congress is even having discussions about it for all the fucking good that will do. Twitter is lit up with authors discussing and questioning the validity of adding it to their body of work. 

If you use Artificial Intelligence to create a short story, poem, novella, or novel, can you claim to have written that piece of work? 

If you use AI to create a work of fiction and don't disclose the fact, is that dishonest? 

If you use AI to create a work of fiction, who actually owns the copyright? Do you own it or do the creators of the application used own it? 

If you use AI to create a work of fiction and then you market the book without owning the copyright, are you in violation of plagiarism laws? 

If you use AI to create a work of fiction and it's determined both you and the creators of the application share the copyright, do you then have to share the royalties? 

My poor little questions are the tip of the iceberg. 

Using AI to create a work of fiction, a love story for example, may not have much impact on society, but what if AI is used to generate works that are marketed as TRUTH? I read the works of Clive Cussler and David Wood, action-adventure stories that contain a smattering of facts to make the story more believable. They market those books as fiction, of course, but what if someone else begins to write in that genre and markets it as a true adventure, one that really happened? What if people believe it really happened and the lie becomes the truth? 

Call me a Luddite if you want to, but I'm not at all convinced AI is a good thing. Avarice will taint this thing. I fear the desire some hold to be famous and rich will warp all common sense, casting many into a pit of their own making. The need to be part of the "in crowd" and on the cutting edge has been the downfall of many. Folks, don't hop on any bandwagon until you know for sure where it's headed.  

It will be years until the AI fallout is fully recognized. It may not be in my lifetime. But I see one thing as certain. I will be on guard and I will be vigilant about it.

And for now, I'll be adding a note to my copyright notice in every new book that it was NOT created using any AI beyond the inescapable spellchecker. 


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 The Hideaway/Holly Tree Manor:

KC Kendricks, m/m romance, AI, artificial intelligence, copyright, gay romance, LGBTQ, spellchecker, Congress debate, social media

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Series overview: The Southern Cross series

June 1, 2023


Summer is almost here and many of us are looking for "beach reads." A little surf, a little sand, and a lot of warm sunshine are the perfect companions for finding a new favorite book - maybe five! Step into the world of the Southern Cross and discover romance.  

From St. Lucia to Ocracoke Island, what brings lovers together is as constant and 
as ever-changing as the sea.

Each story in the Southern Cross series stands alone, but the characters introduced in Netting Neptune have cameos in subsequent stories. For those who like to read a "series" or a "collection" in the order in which it was written, follow the order laid out below.

And no - the sea god reference has nothing to do with fantasy romance. These are contemporary stories. 


Netting Neptune
Contemporary gay romance
(book one)

Theron Bowman is in the throes of a life crisis. Wanting to leave his past behind he splurges on a two-week vacation in the Caribbean, and like everything else in his life, things quickly go awry and he ends up working at the Southern Cross resort to pay for his room.  

Colby Denton drifted until he came to rest on the island of St. Lucia. With nothing to lose, he rolled the dice and bought a run-down hotel and turned it into a popular resort. To celebrate his tenth year on the island, and his birthday, Colby arranges for a series of festive beachside parties. When Theron swims out of the ocean in front of him, Colby has a brand new birthday plan – netting his sexy Neptune.

For more information and to read an excerpt from Netting Neptune, click here. 


Contemporary gay romance 
(book two)

Austin Michaels accepts his brother’s standing invitation for a Caribbean vacation at his island resort. Some time in the sun is just what he needs to map out a plan for his future. He gets lucky and meets a handsome teacher willing to have a little vacation fling with him, as long as they can keep things fun. 

Steve Guthrie’s secret longings have haunted him all his life. It’s time to face his questions and find the truth of who he really is beyond a staid college professor. His love of the sea prompts him to take a vacation at a Caribbean hideaway for relaxation and reflection. A sexy stranger with a Triton's trident tattoo tempts Steve to abandon his plans, enticing him to share a vacation romp. 

Now Steve’s the student in a high stakes class of one, and to pass the course, he has to tame his very own Triton.

For more information and to read an excerpt from Taming Triton, click here. 


Contemporary gay romance 
(book three)

Brett Houston triumphed over his early life. Raised by an abusive father, Brett sacrificed his personal happiness to keep the ones he loved safe. Ready to make big changes in his life, Brett treats himself to a Caribbean vacation. To his surprise, he ends up at a seaside ball, wearing a G-string and presiding over the festivities as Poseidon, the God of the Sea.   

Mark Matthews left behind his hometown, and his first love, to put down roots in California. With vacation time to use, or lose, Mark books a holiday on the island of St. Lucia, unaware of the surprise reunion Fate has waiting for him. 

Brett cautiously examines the fractured bonds of the past, while questioning the possibility of a renewed future with Mark. It’s simpler for Mark. He won’t settle for anything less than a future tending to Poseidon’s pleasure.

For more information and to read an excerpt from Poseidon's Pleasure, click here. 


Contemporary gay romance 
(book four)

Chad Collier’s had enough of providing stud service to rich men. It’s true he’s had more fun than any one man deserves, but now it’s time to make a plan for the rest of his life. At the urging of a mentor, he takes a leap of faith and breaks with his old ways. A job interview lands him smack in the path of Darcy Paulson, the sort of rich man Chad vowed to avoid. 

Darcy Paulson came of age as the prodigal son in a wealthy manufacturing dynasty. Every man he’s ever met has been after his money until Chad Collier shows up on his doorstep. Darcy finds Chad prickly, standoffish, and utterly irresistible. Smitten by Chad’s dark good looks and determination to stand on his own two feet, Darcy is happy to give him an opportunity. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that some private, no-strings fun is what they both need. 

An unexpected event brings them face-to-face with the truth. The magic that happens between the moon and the deep blue sea is something a man can’t own, and it can be fully experienced only in the arms of a lover...

For more information and to read an excerpt from 


Contemporary gay romance
(book five)

Dale Langley longs for some triple R time - rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. He accepts his cousin’s invitation to winter over on Ocracoke Island, far away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland. He’s always loved being a rolling stone, traveling for his job without the worry of a place to call home, but it’s time for something different. Now Dale anticipates several blissful months to learn how to be still with no demands on his time while he prepares for the next phase of his life. 

Aubrey Zimmerman came to Ocracoke to attend a friend’s commitment ceremony. Never one to settle down, Aubrey’s had enough of involvements that took him from man to man without a place to call home. He needs a break - and a little solitude. House sitting while his friend is on his honeymoon is the perfect way to clear his head and catch up on his sleep. At least it seemed that way until Dale arrived and Aubrey realized sleep is the last thing he needs. 

Fate has changes in store for Dale and Aubrey, the sort neither one knew they wanted. Sometimes the more you wander the closer to home you get. 

For more information and to read an excerpt from Catching Fireflies, click here. 


For more information, please visit the individual book pages

Go back to KC and Rayne's bookshelf -click here

The Southern Cross series:


My real 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