Sunday, December 31, 2023

December 31, 2023


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

-Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Monday, December 25, 2023

December 25, 2023


May peace dwell with you,
may prosperity huddle near.
May family gather together
without heartache or tear.

There is a star shining
in the night sky ... just there.
It is for you to wish upon
to keep you safe from care.

May everything you need
be yours to have and proclaim
as you're due; just close your eyes
and ask it in His precious name.

Merry Christmas to you, friend.
Let your season be a blessed one
filled with love and cheer and more.
Smile, laugh, and enjoy the fun.

-author unknown 
given to me by a friend

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

A surprise accomplishment

December 20, 2023

Maybe it was the cold weather. Monday was our first really blustery day of the season. The wind was steady, the sky was gray, and even Deuce didn't want to be outside. I made a flying trip to the grocery store and settled at the computer to work. I didn't expect to go in the direction I did.

I'm into chapter four of the current work-in-progress, a story with the usual working title of, "Finish This One First." ALL my manuscripts have had the honor of carrying that title at one time or another. It's a way for me to find the right document on the list. It doesn't mean anything more than that. It's what I look for after all these years. When I have a story started, I tend to want to get the cover made. I like having that visual aid. 

When I first began to make my own covers, it took me hours to create one. I'm a little faster now. And it's easier. So, so many covers today look muddled. There isn't a distinct background, just swirls of colors and lines. It makes it easier to pull elements of pictures I have on file and fade them together. My favorite stock photo site recently closed and I had a good many credits to use before they took down the site. I didn't need to go buy a guy or two. 

I didn't expect to get the cover background completed, but I did. It was a nice surprise! It's ready for whenever I get the title. It's also is one less distraction to my writing process. It's too soon to share it, but that's okay. Now I have to concentrate on writing the story and coming up with a blurb. 

I'll be able to share more when I get farther into the story. Chapter 4 is just too soon. I could still change my mind!


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

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, Rayne Forrest, Between the Keys, book covers, LGBT gay romance, m/m romance, slash romance, writing process, contemporary gay fiction, romance fiction for Kindle, work in progress, romance manuscripts, writers on writing

Sunday, December 17, 2023

Winding down 2023 and making decisions

December 17, 2023

Every year ends. I always get to this part of December and have a moment of panic. Christmas Eve is in one week. Twenty years ago that meant I'd be preparing for our annual open house, but the world shifted, friends scattered and drifted away, and now, for us, Christmas Eve is a quiet evening. 

It's not a bad thing. We're older now, and the spousal unit is ten years older than me, so he appreciates a quiet evening more than I do. We may take Deuce for a little ride to check out some Christmas lights, but we won't be joining with other people. It's our choice. 

I'm currently working on putting together my retrospective for 2023, which will publish on January 2, 2024.  That's a look back and today I'm looking forward, down a road that has a few twists and turns on the horizon. There are no wrong turns, only choices to make. 

Do I want to try to maintain a website or hire someone? I'd like to do it myself, but can I learn new software right now? 

Do I want to continue to keep Holly Tree Manor as a separate blog, or post everything here? If I post everything here, I can still post over there and send people this way. I don't monetize my blogs so does it matter which way I go?  And do I want to incorporate more videos on the blog and also post them on Facebook? 

I admit to allowing things in my writing realm to slide while I prepared for and settled into retirement. I look around on social media and the girls I "came up with" seem to be gone. I suspect a lot of them didn't want to go indie when so many of the epubs closed. I don't blame them. I miss the camaraderie of being in a group and exchanging ideas that actually work. 

A lot of what I do will be a continuation of what I've always done. If it's not broken, don't fix it. If you enjoy doing it, why stop? 

I've set a deadline of December 31st for myself to decide which road to take. It's likely I'll look to the words of Robert Frost for counsel: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."

One can only hope I recognize it when I get to it, and I'm brave enough to take that first step out of my comfort zone. 


 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 The Hideaway/Holly Tree Manor:
Snips and clips on my YouTube channel: KC Kendricks Between the Keys

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys blog, Rayne Forrest, m/m gay romance, romance fiction for Kindle, LGBT gay romance, sci-fi romance, shapeshifters, contemporary gay romance, a writer's life, life decisions, Holly Tree Manor, New Year, Robert Frost, life choices

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Is it really a distraction?

December 9, 2023

Two decades ago, when I was a neophyte writer, I was warned to be careful of distractions. Me being me, I looked at where that advice was coming from. Certainly, a publisher and editor would urge an author not to get distracted. They didn't make any money if the writer didn't produce. But a lot of other writers in the old online groups said the same thing. 

I was pretty good at blacking out distractions - in the beginning. Being published was a new thing, an exciting thing. I didn't realize the price I'd eventually pay by isolating myself to write. I missed out on a lot to be a writer and I have a different mindset now. 

Earlier this week I got a phone call from someone asking if I were related to a person who had just passed. Sharing the last name, and knowing the origins of the name, I was sure we were related. It made me curious as to how close the connection might be. I consulted The Book. 

The Book is actually three full volumes of my genealogy. I looked up the deceased person's name and discovered we were connected - if you went back to 1751. There are three main branches in the tree and we're in the same one. 

Searching him out started me on a journey down the rabbit hole. You know the rabbit hole. The one Alice fell into. It does exist and I found it. 

Stuffed into the three volumes are copies of obituaries I've collected over the years. I saved them so that "one day" I could add them to the genealogy software I use. I had the program open so I decided I'd take five or six and get them added. You can guess how that has turned out. 

Is it really a distraction to set writing prose aside for a few days and pursue a passion? I know virtually nothing about my father's family. My father's father died when I was four or five, and my dad tended to avoid his mother, ergo, I didn't see her much in my formative years. My aunts helped a bit but they left out A LOT of family history and I recently learned why. There's a "family secret" that today is just silly. My grandmother had a half-brother born out of wedlock. He's even buried beside a family plot so why didn't anyone talk about him? I suppose a child out of wedlock was a big deal in the early 1900s, but now, not so much. I think it speaks well of my great-grandfather to marry a woman, in those days, who already had a child. 

Taking time to pursue a passion keeps us connected to ourselves. It's one of the reasons I no longer produce six to eight books a year. I could, but I don't. Instead, I stay checked into my life and what I enjoy doing (besides writing). It's the reason I started Holly Tree Manor/The Hideaway. I wanted to record my life now so that when I'm an old woman I can look back and believe I did exist and I did have a life. You may think that's a distraction, but it's important to me. 

Writing is important to me, too, but it is a lonely pursuit. To write well, we need to focus on the words. This tends to isolate us. We need our other passions to stay balanced and happy. It's up to each of us to decide where, every day, we focus our time to be happy. 


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

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, Rayne Forrest, genealogy, writers on writing, m/m romance, LGBT romance, Kindle romance, passions, distractions, life balance, time management, maturing, family

Friday, December 8, 2023

Comments are good, but...

December 8, 2023

As I begin this blog, it's 7:38 AM. I've been up since about six. The dog runs on "Deuce Time," which means we go outside to pee-pee before daybreak. I do not always want to get up that early, but I love my dog. If he has to go, he has to go. I can relate. 

It's a slow morning for some reason. The spousal unit and I lingered with the Weather Channel, and coffee, for longer than usual. Edging into winter, the To Do List gets shorter. It becomes the Do It Later List. It's a balmy thirty-five Fahrenheit outside and that's reason enough to postpone what chores we can. So I'm at the computer, but I can't lie and say I feel productive enough, or awake enough, to work on a story. 

I've got a work-in-progress that is going well, and an idea for one after that. I don't ascribe to the edict of write-write-write-write. My brain isn't quite awake enough for that yet this morning and I'm not willing to write garbage only to delete it later. 

A couple of months ago, a comment was made to me and I don't remember if it was on Facebook or X (formerly Twitter). I don't remember who made it, either. Anyway, the comment was that doing promo on Facebook groups and X was a waste of time. Well, maybe. 

The thing is, besides the obvious that it's my time, doing a bit of promo in the Facebook groups is something I can do while I finish my coffee. It's also something I can do when I need to take a break from writing to ponder a plot point. It's something I can do when I need to take a break from an outside project, be it to warm up or cool off. 

I'm not sure why this other author felt the need to...what? Criticize? Chastise? Advise? It doesn't matter. Doing promo this way is just how I work and it's fine for me to do it this way. It beats sitting and mindlessly staring into space while I warm up from being outside, or finish my morning coffee. So that's the way it is in my world.  


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

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, Rayne Forrest, m/m romance, Kindle romance, LGBT gay romance, sexy men, social media, promotions, writers on writing, a writer's life, rural living

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

You're on candid trail cam!

December 6, 2023

Yesterday I posted over at Holly Tree Manor, showing a picture of me captured by one of the trail cams. I was asked to share it here, too, since as the post says, it's proof I'm not an AI creation. 

See the post at HTM here


It's always a good thing if you can laugh at yourself, or at least shake your head and mutter. 

The weather today left a lot to be desired. Gray skies, dreary. A definite winter bite in the breeze. It was a good day to pull a heavy sweatshirt out of the drawer and layer it with a turtleneck. 

Can you even buy a turtleneck these days? 

If you needed positive proof The Lady of the Manor exists, here it is. I have several trail cams now and it's difficult to walk around the yard and not trip one of them. 

Those windows you see in the background are the windows in my sunroom office. I was peacefully working at the computer when I heard a ruckus over my left shoulder. Of course, it was Loki. He'd chased a squirrel over the woodpile and somehow managed to catch it. I went out and convinced him to let the poor squirrel go. It scurried off, I'm happy to report. 

So there you have it. The fingers that pound on the keyboard are really attached to a person and not to some AI-generated fake. 

And the sweatshirt? Yep. It's an old one from the 1990s. It's got Terry LaBonte's #5 racecar on it. It's warm, too!

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor/The Hideaway

KC Kendricks, Between the Keys, mm romance, LGBT gay author, Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, Terry LaBonte, rural living, bad cats, country lifestyle, firewood, sunroom, squirrels, trail cams

Friday, December 1, 2023

Did a year make a difference?


December 1, 2023

Today marks the end of my .com website. Did I want to give it up? NO. I did not want to let it go. I still own the .com, but I'm not going to continue to pay for web hosting on a platform I can't work with. I said I was throwing in the towel on it a year ago, but damn it. I really hated to give up. What made the final decision was the way they kept changing everything in the background. Change for the sake of change. 

I started with a website way back in 2004 through Yahoo web hosting. Oh, my god, was it easy! All work was done offline, then once you had a page the way you wanted it, you clicked "publish" and away it went. And it was affordable, too. Having a .com website used to send the message you were serious about being a writer. 

In this economy, that mindset is tough on a lot of newbies with talent and no money. 

So here I am today with all my information at Between the Keys. I want a proper .com website and that means I need to get off my arse and figure it out. One big drawback is I don't want to work online. I'm slow. I tweak a lot. I'm visual so I need to see what it looks like every step of the way. 

The difficulties I've had learning new software figure into my deliberations about the future. I've been asking myself if it's time to retire from writing the same way I retired from the day job. I don't have a definitive answer. 

Blogger is, for me, an easy platform to work with. Right from the start, I had it down pat. Pick a template, pick a background, set margins, and add content. I know, I know. It's working online, but Blogger works. When I click "publish," it does. And I've had Between the Keys long enough that it looks a little different from a lot of other sites. 

Maybe 2024 will be the year I figure out where to host the .com. Or maybe I'll just wait it out on Blogger. More likely, I need to stop obsessing about it. 


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

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, Rayne Forrest, writing, websites, m/m romance, LGBT gay romance, kindle romance, 
rural living, Between the Keys, history, platform websites