Saturday, April 12, 2014

Birthday Bash Day 12 - Kendall McKenna

I’m a giant fan of shifter books, but I’ll admit, the genre’s overdone. I was looking for something new when I stumbled upon the sexy soldiers in Strength of the Pack, and instantly fell in love. And now, I have the pleasure of introducing y’all to the brilliant evil-genius behind it all, Kendall McKenna!

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining me here today. My name is Kendall McKenna and I write M/M erotic romances that feature accurately portrayed U.S. Marines, and realistic action sequences. I’m going to discuss my most memorable birthday, and it’s not going to be what you expect.

My most memorable birthday was the year I turned thirteen. The day was made vividly memorable by the fact that I was kicked in the knee by a horse. It’s just as bad, but also not as bad, as it initially sounds.

Many women claim to have been tomboys as children, but I did so much more than refuse to wear dresses and climb trees on the weekend. I’ve never taken a dance class. I never wanted, or tried to be a cheerleader. My mother only just managed to teach me how to clean house and cook, because I always snuck out of the house to help my father do things like dig ditches and repair livestock fences.

Instead of dance class, I played softball and baseball. Instead of cheerleading and hanging out at the mall, I took horseback riding lessons. And that’s how I spent the morning of my thirteenth birthday.

By the time I turned thirteen, I’d been taking lessons and riding for a few years, already. The woman who taught my lessons became one of the most influential people I’ve ever known. My lesson that day had been an easy one (because it was my birthday), and we’d spent the majority of the time on a trail ride through the hills and fields.

My horse, a gift from my grandfather (the retired U.S. Marine) three years earlier, was an Arabian gelding. My instructor also rode an Arabian gelding, except he was a very mischievous and very dominant horse, despite being gelded!

Sometimes, you can do everything right, and things still go wrong. That’s what happened on my birthday. I knew this horse tended to assert himself (toward other horses, not humans). I knew how dangerous the rear end of a horse is. I was awake, I was alert, I knew what not to do, I was aware of what I was doing, and I was not being careless.

However, that was the day I learned that my spatial recognition skills are for shit.

My instructor’s horse was safely tethered, waiting to be brushed and put up. I led my horse around behind hers, in order to reach the second tether pole. However, I miscalculated. I had thought I was out of reach of those nasty rear hooves. Instead, I was just, barely in reach.

It could have been so much worse. It was a warning kick, so it didn’t have as much strength behind it as it could have. I was very nearly out of range, so he only managed to connect with the edge of his hoof. I could have been facing him head-on, but I was turned to the side, so he missed my kneecap and only connected with the hard bone on the outside of my leg.

No permanent damage was done, but I still dropped like a stone. The initial wave of pain lasted about fifteen minutes, before it subsided to the intense ache that would at least let me get to my feet. Nothing was broken or torn, but the side of my knee swelled up like an ostrich egg was beneath my skin. Within a day or two, it was black and blue. It took months to heal, which included that awful green and yellow that all bruises turn, eventually!

I wish I could say there was some grand lesson that I learned that day. I wish there was some bit of wisdom that I gained from all that pain. Alas, it was just bad luck, bad timing, and a lot of pain. It’s a good anecdote, and makes for great cocktail party conversation, and in this case, a blog post!

And so, it’s my most memorable birthday ever. There’ve been some that were a hell of a lot more fun! I spent my 40th birthday in Puerto Vallarta, for example. But you never forget something that causes that much physical pain! And I don’t consider it a bad experience. I tell the story with humor, not with tears! I want laughter when I tell the story, not sympathy or pity. Okay, maybe a little sympathy. I did get kicked in the knee by a horse, after all.

Someday, I’ll write a story about a cowboy, and I’ll get to use all my equestrian knowledge. I haven’t written that story yet, though. If I’m a new-to-you author, you might be interested to learn that I have written a couple of series that feature authentically written U.S. Marines in very realistic life and combat situations. If paranormal is your thing, or even if it’s not, I’ve probably written something you’d enjoy.

My first series, The Recon Diaries, is a series of contemporary mystery/suspense stories that feature Force Recon Marines. Characters must unravel conspiracies, uncover corruption, and determine the truth when others want it hidden. Along the way, they manage to fall in love, or to deepen their already substantial feelings.

Book #1, Brothers In Arms, introduces readers to most of the significant characters of the series.

Jonah Carver is a Marine and combat veteran. He and his former Captain, Kellan Reynolds, once shared a scorching night, but then lost touch; something Jonah has long regretted.

When an investigation into government corruption, and the murder of U.S. troops, ends in the killing of a V.I.P. on Jonah’s watch, the FBI arrives. With them is Kellan Reynolds.

When Kellan is kidnapped, Jonah has to find and rescue him. If he doesn’t, not only will the investigation unravel, but he’ll lose Kellan for a second time–for good.

Book #3, The Final Line, is both well reviewed, and beloved by readers for its emotional intensity and realistic representation of PTSD. It’s the
third in the series, but it can also be read as a stand-alone.

Staff Sergeant Corey Yarwood is an instructor at the Basic Reconnaissance Course. His last deployment ended in horror, but he can’t remember those events. Battling severe PTSD, Corey’s drinking is growing out of control.

Sean Chandler walks into a dive bar, and into Corey’s life. An actor and a musician, Sean has the empathy and compassion to sooth Corey’s pain, and the strength to support him as he struggles to heal.

Corey’s lost memories are pivotal to a civilian murder, and a military investigation. Remembering could mean salvation, or destruction. Will the truth be too much for Sean to handle?

My most popular series is paranormal, featuring werewolves who serve in the Marin Corps. The Tameness of the Wolf has turned the genre on its ear, engaging readers who ordinarily steer clear of paranormal and/or military stories.

Book #1 is Strength of the Pack. It introduces readers to my unique universe, and to the beloved pairing of Lucas Young and Noah Hammond. It’s also the first glimpses of Tim Madison and Terrell Hubbard, who have their own stories told in future books.

Lieutenant Lucas Young doesn’t know much about shifters. When Sergeant Noah Hammond is assigned to Lucas’ platoon, the Marine Corps’ True Alpha werewolf challenges the Lieutenant’s authority and his self-control. As Lucas learns to dominate and command Noah, he struggles against a strong attraction and deepening emotional bond.

During their combat deployment to Afghanistan, Lucas and Noah begin mirroring legendary partnerships. Their bond and their power grow as they survive dangerous combat and ambushes. When one of them is
wounded in battle, they both must embrace the strength of their bond before they lose each other forever.

You can find out more about all my titles, including where to purchase them, here on my website:

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Author Bio & Media Links:
Kendall McKenna is the MLR Press 2013 Author of the Year. Her first work of fiction was written at the worldly age of nine, and was a transformative work that expanded on the story told in a popular song of the time.

She tried her hand at vampire and cowboy fiction, winning high school poetry and short story contests along the way. It wasn’t until she discovered the world of m/m erotic fiction and found her stride with cops, Marines and muscle cars, that she felt inspired to share her stories with readers who enjoy the same things.

Putting herself through college by working in a newly-created HIV testing clinic in her local Department of Health, introduced Kendall to the gay and lesbian community. Understanding and empathy has made her a lifetime advocate of GLBT issues.

A brief bout of unemployment gave Kendall the time and focus she needed to finally produce a novel worth submitting for publication. Her first novel, Brothers In Arms, introduced the world to her authentic military stories and characters. Kendall’s second novel, Strength of the Pack, was nominated for a 2013 Bookie Award, by Author’s After Dark.

Kendall was born and raised in Southern California, where she still lives and works. A non-conventional relationship has kept her happy for the last decade. Her four dogs enjoy it when she writes, as she sits still long enough for them to curl up around her.

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  1. Great blog post. I enjoyed reading it.
    debby236@gmail dot com

  2. Great post...Thank you for sharing and the giveaway! Your books are fantastic.

  3. Oh, that sounds incredibly painful!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  4. I spent many summers growing up working with horses, and I could never break my fear of not wanting to walk behind a horse! And of all the days to have gotten kicked by a horse it had to be your birthday!
    Thanks for the interview and chance to win!
    aegger.echo @ yahoo .com