Pen Names, Deception, Hurting Readers – The Latest M/M Drama

It seems like every other week there’s some type of drama in the reading world. I basically stay on the outside looking in. That’s intentional.  Very particular about my privacy, I don’t attempt to get close to too many people in the real or virtual worlds. I keep to myself. And I don’t throw out fake b.s. stories about who I supposedly am.

I save my fiction for my books.

Candi Kay is obviously a pen name. I’ve made no secret of that. A lot of authors use pseudonyms for a variety of reasons. I use mine because it allows me the freedom to write what I want, when I want, without the drama that would come from my extended family. Only a select few outside of my close family and friends know my real details.

Unfortunately, when I was still new and green to publishing I got close to a couple of people, to authors. I considered both friends. I was closer to one than the other. The first one turned out to be more than  a little unstable. He found out my real name and details by accident. When he had one of the most epic meltdowns I’ve ever witnessed, he chose to out not just me, but others as well. It’s a big no-no in the writing world to out somebody’s real name unless they give you permission to do so. I did not give this person permission. The weird thing is that I know this guy’s real name but  it never crossed my mind to retaliate by sharing it. That’s not who I am. I’m loyal, even to some who hurt me.

Then we get to the second one. I trusted this person. He was my mentor and a friend. I even based a book and character on this guy. He never outed me that I’m aware of, but what he did was just as bad. Hell, it was worse because I did consider him a friend. He knew who I was in and out of publishing. He knew about my family and I knew about his. I talked to him about things only reserved for those closest to me.

I defended him when my best friend started seeing things that I didn’t see. 

Sound familiar?

But then again, I didn’t bully anybody or attack my best friend simply because she and I were seeing different things. I felt like, “No way! Not this guy. He’s as sincere as they come.”

Yeah, well. We see how that worked out. And even now, I can’t apologize enough to my friend for not believing her. Thankfully, she’s not the type to say, “I told you so.” But she did tell me so. More than once over a period of months.

I miss that friendship, but  it wasn’t really real, you see. He knew me before Candi Kay was created. I’m sure if the writing was all we had in common we’d still be plugging along and I would still be believing he’s somebody he’s not.

I’m not naming names but I don’t think I have to. And I’m not saying all this so people will ask me a lot of questions about it or even call anyone out. I’m saying it here and nowhere else. And it ends here. I’m saying it to make a point that I’m about to get to.

It’s sad really. It must be really difficult playing a part all the time. I couldn’t imagine trying to keep up with it all day in and day out. What a miserable life that must be.

That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Why am I going on about this? If you’ve followed pretty much all M/M authors and readers this past week, you know what’s happening with Santino Hassell. If not, search for him on Twitter. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.

I normally don’t believe in naming names but I am in this post because it’s already been stated everywhere. I don’t know this person – or people, as it’s been said that it’s a married couple. I’ve never read a SH book but my friend has and enjoyed them.

Like I said above, I stay on the outside looking in for the most part. I’m not an out there type of person, which is pretty bad considering I’m an author, right? I just want to write, you know? I have a wonderful fan base who tolerate me, even when it takes forever for me to publish a promised book (Sorry, Ksm. I swear Finding Alex is coming. Really!). I write about naughty elves and hot, sexy shifting reindeer. I’m not a, “Look at me!” type person. That’s not me dissing those who are. I wish I was more like I used to be. I was very outgoing and never met a stranger. Getting burned changed that, unfortunately. When you’re betrayed a couple of times you get leery.

SH didn’t just create a fake online persona. This person (people?) created fictional stories about their lives and family that brought out the sympathy of those who followed them. Not just that, the devoted fans cared so much about their favorite author – who some called friend – and sent money to cover medical bills for diseases that don’t exist. Over the past few months I’ve seen things here and there about SH saying people were trying to hurt him and his family and he was taking legal action to make it stop, etc. This had SH’s most devoted fans and author buddies (and even one of the publishers) publicly attacking any and all who attempted to call SH out for who they were. The bullying went beyond, “Don’t talk bad about my friend/favorite author/co-writer.” It was at the point of seriously trying to destroy people (readers) who wanted to tell the truth, or who were trying to learn the truth.

Suddenly, the truth has officially come out. What a shame that these people weren’t listened to before they were publicly attacked. It’s like every single day something new comes out about the deception. Yesterday I was sent something that was disturbing that involves a young man who thought SH was somebody he wasn’t. I won’t go into all that but I can’t describe how upset I felt reading what this man had to say. I don’t know him but I wanted to hug him. It simply broke my heart. The really sad part is I have no doubt that there are others just like him out there who were betrayed in the worst way.

I write under a pen name, as I’ve said dozens of times. But you know what? I may not announce my real name or personal details, but you guys know me. You know I’m a married mother who lives in the deep South. You know my absolute love of Alabama Crimson Tide football. I’ve told you all about the loss of my two – very real – sisters and the addictions that took them away from me. And I recently discussed the rocky relationship I’ve had with my mother since the day I was born. Every bio I’ve ever written has described, well, me. Every personal post I’ve written has been about my real life.

You know me.

I’ve not been anyone but ME here or anywhere else online. If I’ve spoken with you privately, that was the real me you were talking to.

I’m really an open book outside of my pen name. Ask me pretty much anything and I’ll probably tell you way more than you want to know.

I love my readers, my fans. You’ve embraced my kooky sense of humor in Willy’s World.  You’ve waited patiently for me to finally be brave enough to publish the finale in the Taking Lance series. You’ve sent me amazing messages away from this site, sometimes just to check in because I’ve not been around for awhile, and sometimes to ask me whose story will come next in ‘Willy’. I’ve received emails from those who have also lost family members to addiction. I’ve also received messages from readers telling me not to quit my day job. My humor isn’t always appreciated. Just sayin’. 🙂

For those who’ve been personally affected by the SH situation, I’m truly sorry for what you’re going through and the pain that’s been caused. Hell, that’s still being caused as the select few who’ve chosen to stand by SH are still attacking readers. Had most of you been listened to before now, a lot less people would’ve been hurt. To be attacked for simply stating the truth was unfair to you and others who had the same doubts.

Thankfully, we’re not all like that. I know and respect some pretty amazing authors who love and appreciate their fans enough to not try to bullshit them. I’ll never understand how somebody could do what SH did. These are real people with real feelings who’ve been hurt. Thankfully, most of us authors have more respect for ourselves than to throw out outlandish stories about our so-called lives just to draw in readers, and worse, donations.

That’s enough about that for now.

I’ll be back soon with updates. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling so I’ve not been online much. I don’t see my husband that often, but when I do, he’s my #1, as I’m sure you all understand.

My apologies for leaving out the eye candy that I normally scatter throughout my posts. I didn’t think it would be appropriate considering what the post is about.

I hope everyone’s doing well.

Until next time,

~Candi