If you haven’t entered yet, there’s still time to enter my 4th anniversary giveaway. It ends at midnight my time (central) on Sunday, April 15th. The winner will be chosen completely at random and contacted on Monday, the 16th. If I don’t hear back from the winner within a couple of days I’ll have to pick another one.
There’s something that has really been bugging me over the past few weeks but I wanted to wait until my publishing anniversary was over before bringing it up. Also, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling and have simply not had the time to go into it. And honestly, I didn’t want to come across as rude to those this is aimed at.
To be blunt, I don’t agree with buying reviews, nor do I agree with the practice of trading 5 stars for 5 stars with other authors. I know I’ve gone into this at length in the past but I think it’s important to do it again.
I’ll start with the 5 for 5 thing. I’m all about helping other authors. You want me to promote your book? I’ll promote your book all over the place. You want me to give you 5 stars without reading your book because that’s supposedly the norm between authors? Not happening.
And then I get to paying for reviews. When I see sites advertising for paid reviews I usually run the other way. Does the person getting paid actually like those books? Who knows? Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. Either way, it’s not something I will ever support, much less be part of.
I’ve said this so many times I sound like a broken record… give me an honest 1-star review over a fake 5-star one any day. A 1-star Goodreads review helped my most popular series (Willy the Kinky Elf & His Bad-Ass Reindeer) get noticed. People wanted to know what was so “painfully bad” about the book so they checked it out.
So, why am I going into this again when I’ve done it so many times over the past 4 years?
Not that long ago, I got an email from someone offering their review services for a fee. This person probably thinks I’m a horrible person because I didn’t respond to the email. I didn’t respond because I wasn’t quite sure how to word my response. It’s something I feel so passionate about that I didn’t want to come across as a total bitch. Their website looks totally legit and the email sent to me was very kind. I’m not judging them in any way for what they do. I’m only, again, saying I’m not interested.
Enough about that.
Finding Alex, Willy, #5
I’ve been traveling almost nonstop for the past few weeks. I’ve only just gotten home a couple of days ago. I’m trying to play catch-up. I have 2 main writing goals right now – publishing Finding Alex (finally) and working on (still untitled) Willy, #5. ‘Alex’ is 55,000 words. Willy, #5, is (so far) 22,200. There are other stories that have been started and even more rattling in my brain. However, I can’t focus on any of those until the other two are complete. Or at least close to it in Willy, #5.
My writing has evolved over the past 4 years. I’ve consistently published mostly gay romance and/or erotica. The Taking Lance series is different. It doesn’t shy away from characters having sex with others while they’re working their way toward the one they’re meant to be with. I’ve not done that with my other books, contrary to the belief of one person who swears that Eros continued screwing around after Sy was introduced in Eros. He didn’t, by the way, but that’s another blog post. 🙂
Because I’ve not had the main characters playing around with others in most of my other books, I’ve been iffy about the Taking Lance finale. Dumb on my part because even Rick and Lance have sex on-page with others until they finally commit to just each other. If you’re a fan of the Taking Lance series you’re aware of everything I just mentioned and likely expect it. If you’re a fan of my others (the Willy series, for example), you know none of that will be happening on-page in those.
Alex Langdon, like Rick, is bisexual. While Alex doesn’t actually have on-page sex with a woman like Rick does in Taking and Keeping, he is bi. He was married to a woman and had a very active sex life with her for many years until certain things came to light. Only then did he start hooking up with males. This is actually done while they’re still married so if cheating bugs you, you might want to avoid this one.
Cheating’s another thing I’ve never put in any of my gay romance books and it won’t be happening in the future.
For the record, Alex isn’t the only one in the marriage who’s unfaithful. He’s just more discreet until it gets to the point where he can’t be.
Alex and Dean bring in a third one time. This is the only on-page sex that’s not strictly between the two of them in the entire book.
On that note, I have to finish my (hopefully) final run-thru of Alex and then get back to working on the blurb.
I just love typing blurbs.
Said no author ever. 🙂
I hope you all have a fantastic weekend. If you still want to enter the giveaway, you still have a little bit of time to get your entry in.
Congrats to Kelsy for winning the giveaway! For her winning books she chose Eros, Christopher, Just Friends, and Blake the Rogue Reindeer & His Cocky Human. Thank you to all who entered!
On April 5th, 2014, I published my first book, Taking Lance. Written in fun, I never expected it to see the light of day. Those who’ve followed me for awhile know the story. I’d been writing for decades but had never shown even one of my stories to anyone. Taking Lance was different because something had me sending it to my best friend. With her encouragement – and a lot of fear on my part – I published it. Here I am 15 books later with no intention of stopping anytime soon.
A lot has happened since April 5, 2014. I often cringe when I read some of my earlier stuff. There’s one scene in particular in Keeping Lance that I wish I could go back in time and remove completely. Don’t take that to mean that I’m not proud of what I’ve published. I am. I believe every author who has ever published anything wants to make changes later. For that reason, I don’t often reread my books once they’re put out into the world. There are times when I need to, obviously, like when I’m adding to a series and want to ensure I get specific details correct. But honestly, I prefer not to unless I have to. I’ve published 15 books to date. The only books I can go into without wanting to change every word are Eros and Willy the Kinky Elf & His Bad-Ass Reindeer (Willy, #1).
For at least 3 of the past 4 years I’ve been promising the finale, Finding Alex. What do you think of the (tentative) cover? The story was completed to my satisfaction well over a year ago. So, why isn’t it published? Nerves, I guess. It’s the final story of my very first series. It’s the first book I’ve written with an established couple. Not just any couple, but a couple who brings in thirds on occasion. There’s only one graphic sex scene in the book with another guy, but I know a lot of readers aren’t fans of that. Because Alex and Dean are an established couple, I had to take them back in time some in order to tell their story. I personally hate flashbacks in books. I wanted to make sure I did it right. All that’s left to do is formatting for publication and finalizing the blurb. Ending it all will be bittersweet. Rick and Lance were my firsts. It’s going to be really hard to say goodbye.
No doubt I’ll be feeling the same when it comes time to end the Willy the Kinky Elf series as well. Though, honestly, as much as Willy rambles in my brain, his world will likely go on for quite awhile longer. The elf is nuts. 😉 Just wait until you see him in (still untitled) Willy #5. He gets into the ‘good stuff’ early. You know you love a character when they can keep you giggling. There’s a scene in the jewelry store that cracks me up every time I read it. Sometimes I have to force myself to remember that this is Dylan and Cole’s story, not Willy’s. But you know his nosy, matchmaking little self is going to be in the middle of it all. It wouldn’t be Willy otherwise.
Without my readers, there would be no Rick and Lance, or Willy and Randy, or any of the others. I can’t describe the feeling I get knowing people read my books. I didn’t expect 5 people (total) to read Taking Lance but it’s been going strong since I published it, along with my others. You guys have embraced my kooky worlds and that means more than you can know.
To celebrate year #4, I’m giving away 4 e-books – one for each year I’ve been publishing. 4 books of the winner’s choice from my catalog – OR – the entire Taking Lance series, including the finale when it’s published, Finding Alex.
To enter the giveaway, simply comment on this post, send me a message via here, my email, firstname.lastname@example.org, Goodreads, one of my social media accounts – Facebook Personal, Facebook Author Page, Twitter – or share or retweet this post with the word ENTERED. I’ll pick the winner at random on Sunday, April 15th.
Thank you to every person who has read my books. You’re the reason I keep doing this. There are no words for how much I appreciate every single one of you.
To my best friend, as always, thank you for giving me the big push to publish Lance and for all of your encouragement since. And to my hubby, it goes without saying that I appreciate your support.
I look forward to seeing what happens in the coming years. There are always stories rattling around in my brain so I hope to continue writing for a long time yet.
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.
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.
Ah, Eros, the god of love and lust. I’ve always been a sucker for a good romance and the story of Eros and Psyche from Greek Mythology has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. I knew when I started publishing my books that I’d write an updated version of their story, only with two men instead of a male and female. And of course I had to add Aphrodite, Eros’ mother. I had a blast writing Aphrodite. She’s not been to Earth in awhile so she doesn’t quite know how to dress to fit in. 😉
Eros is one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written. I’m proud of every book I’ve ever published, but Eros holds a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day – which just happens to also be my wedding anniversary – Eros is on sale at Smashwords only for 50% off until February 15th, so you can get it for .99. The coupon code is DC86J. If you’ve been on the fence about the story now’s the perfect time to check it out. If you do I hope you’ll let me know what you think.
Eros is the god of love and lust. His only job on Earth is to bring couples together and shoot them with his magical arrows. If he occasionally hooks up with the guys first, what of it? He’s all about the lust thing, but love? Not hardly. Not after all the broken relationships he’s witnessed throughout his long, immortal life.
After four assignments that he nearly blows because he’s quicker to shoot his load than his arrows, Aphrodite gives him a final chance to prove himself. If he fails, he could lose his privileged position among the gods and be eternally banished from the planet he calls home. Confident in his skills, he isn’t overly concerned. That is, until he hooks up with the guy he’s supposed to shoot for his do-or-die assignment. In the eons he’s spent on Earth, he’s never felt this way before. Does he risk losing everything he’s ever known? Or does he fulfill his duty and walk away from the only love he’s ever found?
I’ve never screamed so loud during a football game and Alabama has had a lot that came down to the final play. It’s a good thing I have a strong heart. Good Lord, that was one hell of a game.
Until next year. 🙂
#RollTide #NationalChampions #17
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, how about a quickie Willy scene from (still untitled) Willy #5?
To set the scene, Dylan (the MC of the story) has asked Randy to come see him in Mistletoe Hill because he needs help with something. Dylan and Randy go way back but this is the first time Dylan’s ever met Willy the elf. Note that this is unedited and the wording will likely change a little before the book is published in early November.
I let go of Randy’s hand and reach over and shake Willy’s much smaller one.
“Nice to finally meet you, Willy.”
“You have sex with that haggy ho?” he asks without preamble.
“Willy,” Randy hisses.
The elf looks up at him with his hands on his hips.
“What? He was her date, wasn’t he?”
“Uh, no. I did not have sex with that, what was it you called her?” I respond, trying hard not to laugh.
“Haggy ho. She’s an old hag and she’s a ho. Haggy Ho.”
“What Willy is trying to say,” Randy interjects, calling my attention back to him, “is that he’s run out of mean names to call her so he’s making them up as he goes along now.”
“Pfft! There’s an endless list of names to call her. This just happens to be my latest one.” He looks closely at me. “You didn’t have sex with her?”
“I most definitely did not. I was only there for reasons I’d hoped to talk to Randy about.”
“Good enough. You’d have caught a disease or something so that was smart on your part, though being seen with the bitch surely didn’t win you any favors.”
I take a step back when Willy tries to stand on his knees on the high stool and look over the bar. Randy barely catches him before he takes a tumble to the hardwood.
“What are you doing, elf?” Randy asks, sounding exasperated and humored at the same time.
Willy motions up and down my body.
“I see the front. I want to see if the rear is as nice to look at. I thought it would be rude to ask him to turn around. Well, I saw his rear at the Christmas party but he was wearing a suit. Asses look hotter in jeans and, well, Dylan’s wearing tight ones and-”
He looks up at his reindeer.
“Stop making the man uncomfortable. Not to mention that you shouldn’t be telling total strangers that you want to see their butts. It could get you arrested or worse.”
Willy’s eyes go to slits before he turns back to the bar with a pout.
“I was just curious is all,” he says softly, his little elf lip poking out. “There ain’t nothin’ wrong with wanting to look at nice things.”
So, as you see Willy’s still his pervy little elf self. I wrote a little on the story while I was out of town. I was literally in bed with the flu when Willy started ‘talking to me’. That’s the way it always works. The story slams into me at the worst possible time. Thankfully, I jotted down some notes and was able to write some when I started feeling a little better. I’m really hoping to get this particular story written early in the year so I have the rest of the year to clean it up. But then again, I’ve said that with the past three stories too and we see how that worked out. *snort*
I’m home now but I really wish I was back out of town with my husband. That’s the longest I’ve ever been away (4 weeks). Normally I’m the worst about planning everything down to the final detail. I don’t do last minute – ever – and when I go on a trip I have to plan it WAY in advance. With this trip, I just went with the flow. It was really nice. I wouldn’t have left when I did if I wouldn’t have had to. I needed to come home and start being a responsible adult again, even if I really didn’t want to. 🙂
That’s it for now. I’m going to try to do more posts in 2018 than in years past. There will be excerpts, quotes, and even a giveaway or two. Next week I may add an excerpt from Finding Alex, that I promise will be published soon. It’s long been finished. Maybe I’ll even add the cover and blurb. I don’t think I’ve done that yet.
If there’s anything else you guys want to see let me know. I’m determined not to disappear so much in 2018. I can’t thank you all enough for sticking with me.
I know it’s not a very good idea to basically disappear shortly after a book release. I’ve been around. I’ve just not typed a blog post. I’ve read every email, Goodreads message, and Facebook message I’ve received and I’m almost 100% sure that I’ve responded to them all.
With this being an end of the year/start of a new one post, I’ll say this…. I was very happy to see 2017 end.
I’ll start with the good stuff first and then get to why 2017 couldn’t get behind me fast enough.
Professionally, 2017 was the best year I’ve had since I published my first book in April of 2014. Willy’s World is still going strong and I’m still receiving messages asking what’s coming up in future installments. 4 books published so far in that crazy world and you guys still want more? That’s the greatest compliment an author can receive. But it wasn’t just the Willy books. New readers have discovered my others, even those published almost 4 years ago. I can’t express how that makes me feel. I’m living my dream and it’s all because of you guys. There are no words for how much I appreciate every single one of you.
Which leads me to the not-so-great stuff that happened in 2017.
Personally, it was one of the most stressful years I’ve ever had. I try not to get too personal on here and I’m funny about doing it now. I hope you’ll bear with me for a minute.
I’ve been forced to be somewhat of a caretaker for the person I hold solely responsible for the deaths of my two sisters. I’ve had to deal with medical emergencies, moving her from one facility to another (by myself), and forced to listen to the same criticisms that indirectly caused my sisters’ problems. Not once has there been a thank you. It’s my so-called duty, you see. The stress of all of this caused some pretty bad health problems for me. Even knowing this, I was called selfish because I chose to take care of myself and not be at this person’s beck and call 24/7.
The difference between my sisters and me is that I’m quite outspoken where they weren’t, though there’s no reasoning with this person. She’ll go to her grave convinced she’s never done a bad thing in her life. Another thing is that I have a very supportive husband who won’t allow me to fall into what my sisters did.
Physically, I’m doing much better than I was a year ago. I hate taking medications but I’m being a good girl and doing what the doctor tells me to do.
Enough of that and my apologies for going on about it.
So, how was everybody’s holiday season? For the first time in years I didn’t do the ‘having the whole family over’ thing on Thanksgiving or Christmas. I cooked a couple of things for my mother-in-law’s place and spent the holidays there with my husband and sons. I left just long enough to take my mother food and then I went back for more family time. It was so nice. Normally I’m stressed to the max but not this year. I left with my husband the day after Christmas to travel out of state. It was a two day drive and we had a blast on the way. I’ll be back home one day next week, I suppose, but he’ll stay for work. I spent New Year’s Eve and day with him and I’ll be with him on my birthday that’s coming up in a few days. Normally when I do this I’m antsy to get back home. Not this time. Too many ‘responsibilities’ waiting on me there. I’m trying to avoid them as long as I can.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know I’m a die hard Alabama Crimson Tide fan. On January 1st we got our redemption against Clemson, who beat us in the final seconds of the national championship game last year. We take our football very seriously but we don’t hate Clemson. Their coach is a former ‘Bama boy who was on the 1992 championship team so we cut him some slack. 🙂 Well, when we’re not playing against him anyway. Tonight we play Georgia in the national championship game. Hmm…. their coach? One of our former coordinators.
Gotta love it, right? We’re hated by all until somebody needs a coach. Then they come after ours. 😀
I’m crossing my fingers for a win tonight. I’m not exactly in part of the country where Alabama football is embraced but I’m having a blast jokingly going back and forth with some of these folks.
I usually try to do a public summary of the books I hope to publish in the new year. I’m not doing that this time. When I do and am unable to get them published, I’m angry with myself and I feel like I’ve let the readers down. The past couple of years have been pretty rough outside of my writing. I don’t know what 2018 will bring. I do promise to keep you all informed of new and upcoming releases.
I’ve always said that I don’t make resolutions. I’ve always called them goals because my birthday is so soon after the start of the new year. They’re for the start of MY new year, not the new year itself. Hopefully I’ll be able to complete them this year – both professionally and personally.
The 5th book in the Willy the Kinky Elf series has already been started and the story has been laid out in my head since before I finished writing ‘Barry’. No title or cover yet but I think the fans of the series will enjoy it. I hope so anyway. If all goes as planned, it will go up for pre-order in early October for release on November 1st.
Dylan and Cole are the main characters. You met both in ‘Barry’. I keep wanting to call Cole Ian because that was his original name. I have a feeling I’m going to regret changing it as I write the story. He looks more like an Ian to me than a Cole.
There will still be the silly humor from Willy and the others but the readers will finally get to see what really happens on Mistletoe Hill. You’ve read about the place in every installment and you know it’s supposedly bad news. Now you’ll see it first-hand.
There’s a reason Dylan was forced to be Mrs. Claus’ date at the Christmas party. You don’t know much about Cole other than he owns the jewelry store where Ricky’s dad beat up his ex and that he helped subdue the ex later on. Their stories will come out little by little but mostly Dylan’s as it will be told in his POV. He didn’t have a good life and on the outside he appears to be this strong, bad-ass. Inside, he’s anything but.
Dylan was not supposed to be. Mrs. Claus was going to have one of her little boy toys take her to the Christmas party so she could shove him in Santa’s face. I had no clue who the other MC (other than Cole) would be in book #5, figuring I’d figure it out as I wrote the story. The minute I wrote the scene with Mrs. Claus walking inside the tent for the party Dylan was born and he got stuck in my head. He was also originally a tall blond. See the guy on the right with the black hair? Yeah, as soon as I saw that photo everything I thought I knew about Dylan changed. THAT was him. My poor editor. I completely rewrote his description when I saw that pic. This was literally right before I hit publish on the pre-order. Thankfully she’s awesome and didn’t strangle me for it.
Those who’ve been with me for awhile already know this but my new readers may not – I have a thing for guys with black hair, preferably long black hair. Almost every story I’ve published has a character with black hair. If you’ve not noticed it before, I bet you will now. 🙂 I try to change it up sometimes but it’s kind of rare.
I’ll update on Dylan and Cole throughout the year.
All of my books that are on Google Play are about to be removed unless I find another 3rd party site to publish them through. Pronoun, who put them there originally, is shutting down and I’m literally days from them being removed. I’ve barely had time to think lately but I’ll be trying to find a way to keep them on there. Google Play has been surprisingly successful in finding me new readers and it’s always nice having another outlet to sell the books.
Barnes & Noble
All my e-books are still off Barnes & Noble and there are no plans of putting them back on there. I’m saying that because I’ve been asked by a few people. I hate it but B&N removed a lot of my books without warning because of some so-called erotica sweep. Strangely, my best sellers on there were allowed to stay. Imagine that (sarcasm). They’re all off now. I know I’m losing a substantial amount of royalties by walking away completely but it’s not about that. It’s about these sites blindly deciding that certain books are a little too much for certain readers. Shouldn’t the readers be the ones to decide what’s too erotic and what’s not? What’s funny is that the books removed in their little erotica sweep were the least erotic books I’ve published.
Losses in 2017
We lost a lot of celebrities in 2017. Forgive me for not listing them all but the post is already long enough. I just knew I couldn’t end this without honoring Tom Petty and Chester Bennington.
Tom Petty was part of my teenage years and I will forever have good memories of listening to Damn the Torpedoes on repeat back in the day. I won’t say how far ‘back in the day’ is. 😉 My then-boyfriend’s brother told me my music sucked (it didn’t… really!) so he gave me Damn The Torpedoes to show me what ‘real’ music was. I never looked back. The boyfriend didn’t last long after that, but I still have the tape that his big brother gave me. *grin*
Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Chester’s death hit me the hardest. I fell in love with Tom Petty’s music years ago. My love for Chester’s came much later. I’d always loved Linkin Park but one song really took them higher for me. That song is Leave Out All The Rest, as I’ve blogged about before. Since his death, I’ve seen countless comments from fans about how his music saved them. I don’t know if I can say it saved me per se, but I can say that that one particular song helped get me through the death of my first sister. She loved it and always felt the words. I’ve said for years – even long before Chester died – that I’ll forever regret not having Leave Out All The Rest played at her funeral. It would’ve been perfect, but the ones the lyrics would’ve been aimed at wouldn’t have seen themselves in the words, sadly.
I have a hard time listening to Chester’s songs these days. Still too new, I suppose. I just know that I’ll forever be grateful for his words – his words that helped me in ways I could never express on here or anywhere else. I still listen to it over and over again on the anniversary of her death. That won’t ever change.
Thank you to everyone who has been with me since the very beginning. Thank you to my new readers. And thank you to my amazing family (that includes you and yours too, Karen) for supporting me and for understanding my need to disappear inside my fictional worlds on occasion. Writing is my therapy and while I didn’t publish more than 3 in 2017, I never stopped writing.
Keep sending me messages. I love hearing from readers.
Happy New Year! Here’s hoping for a phenomenal 2018!
I’ve not typed a real blog post in awhile so I decided to do it now when things have slowed down a little in my real world.
Thank you to everyone who has downloaded Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf. I hope you all enjoy it. The series has been a fun ride for me and hope for you as well. I’m already excited about introducing you guys to Dylan and Cole in book #5 next year. The guy in the photo below is my Dylan inspiration. Dylan is a bad boy but he has a good heart. He just doesn’t want anybody to know it. 🙂
If you’re brand new to the series, I can’t stress enough that Willy the Kinky Elf & His Bad-Ass Reindeer (#1) was written on a lark and is not supposed to be taken seriously in ANY WAY. If you’re looking for something even remotely serious, it will not be for you. While the series has evolved to include more sensitive subjects along with some humor, the first one was absolutely not written to be read as serious fiction. It’s silly and goofy and that’s exactly what I was going for when I wrote it three and a half years ago. Not everybody likes humor in their books and I respect that. And I admit that my personal version of the North Pole is more than a little warped.
The only regret I have about Willy #1 is that I wish it was longer. I cut out A LOT of the first draft. I wrote the story to be submitted to a (now defunct) publisher and the submission call had a 20,000 word limit so I had to make some serious cuts. By the time I pulled it from consideration from the publisher I had no time to go back and edit my original before I published it myself. I love the story as is or it never would’ve been published. However, I hate I had to cut some of the original details.
In Evan the Virgin Reindeer & His Sexy Buck a gossip site was mentioned when Evan was recovering from Blake Simpson’s terror. That site is ReindeerSecrets.com. If you’re new to the series, I had to come up with a gossip site on the fly and Reindeer Secrets immediately came to mind. I bought the domain before putting it in the book so it would be legal. Then readers began asking me if there was a real site. There wasn’t so I created one. I’ve been really bad about updating over there but I’ve kinda revamped it over the past few days and deleted some redundant stuff. I guess it will always be a work in progress but I will be updating more in the coming weeks. Pop over there and let me know what you think. It’s so Christmasy. 🙂 If you have any naughty Santa or elf pics or GIFs send them my way and I’ll add them to the “Gettin’ Naughty” page.
Barnes & Noble and Google Play
Everything of mine has been pulled from Barnes & Noble. I hate it because my books have actually sold pretty steadily on there. I popped on there a few weeks ago and saw that three of my books had been removed without warning. I knew B&N was doing an erotica sweep but come on. The strange thing is that the ones pulled were the most mild stories I’ve published. The ones they left? Straight up erotica. When I saw the books were removed, I chose to remove everything.
In my last blog post I mentioned that my books are finally on Google Play. Within a few days of that post, the third party site that publishes those books on Google Play, Pronoun, sent notification that it’s shutting down. For those who don’t know, the only way new authors are able to publish their books on GP is through a third party as it no longer accepts new sign-ups for indie authors. I’m now scrambling – again – to find a way to keep them on there. The books will stay listed until mid-January unless I switch over to another site before then. I’ll update here and on the book pages if/when that happens. I’ve found a third party site that publishes on Google Play but it’s the most NON user friendly site I think I’ve ever been on. If any of my author friends know of other sites that publish on there please let me know.
If you’ve been on social media at all over the past few days you’ve seen the uproar over people who are selling advanced reader copies of books that were sent to them for review.
Every time an author gives a reader a review copy of a book we’re taking a chance. We’re taking a chance that person will share it with their friends, sell it, or post it on a book piracy site. Within an hour of publishing my very first book, Taking Lance, a pdf copy was on one of those sites. I know exactly who did it because it’s the only pdf given to anybody and none of the books had been sold yet. Until this person sent me a message out of the blue wanting a copy (claiming to be a reviewer) the only person who’d read the book was my best friend. It goes without saying that my best friend wasn’t the one who did it. I didn’t call the person out but it made me more careful of who I give review copies to.
There are dozens and dozens of sites claiming to have my books. Probably only 5% of them actually do. These sites promise you free books if you give them your information so they can steal it. Like all authors, I put my heart and soul into my writing, I can’t say I feel bad if people fall for it. It’s theft, pure and simple. A few months ago I actually (after running a thorough scan with my anti-virus software) downloaded a full copy of Eros. I actually downloaded an illegal free copy of MY OWN BOOK. That site has since been taken down but new ones pop up as fast as others go away.
I’m open to giving review copies to readers. I do give review copies out. If you review books anywhere (Amazon, Goodreads, blog, etc.) and you want one, ask. I almost never say no. However, if you request a copy of Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf, all I ask is that you’ve read the first 3 in the series. It’s not as much of a standalone as the others.
There’s been a lot of talk about legalities and that type of thing in regards to people selling ARCs. Some say it’s legal, some say it’s not. All I know is if I give an ARC or review copy to somebody and I know beyond doubt they’ve sold, shared, or put it on a piracy site, they will never get another one from me and I will make sure other authors are aware of who did it and know to steer clear.
Sorry if that sounds mean but authors work hard to get stories published. We don’t just write the story and throw it up on Amazon or wherever. It takes a lot to go from that first draft to the final, published copy. For somebody to steal copies, it hurts us.
Enough of that. I obviously feel very strongly about it.
I hope everybody is doing well. I love hearing from readers so if you have questions, comments, or suggestions shoot me a message or find me on one of my social media accounts. I’m in the process of writing Willy #5, as I said above. I have the character names, professions, and the conflict of the story figured out but I’m always open to suggestions. I can’t promise I’ll use them but I will consider everything sent to me.
Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf is now live on all major e-tailers, including Google Play. To everyone who has embraced this series, I can’t thank you enough. Willy #1 wasn’t written to be a series but I kept hearing Willy’s non-squeaky elf voice in my non-pointy ear telling me that he had a lot more to say, damn it. 🙂 Thankfully, a lot of you agreed. It’s hard to believe that I just published book #4 and have already started writing #5.
If you’ve read the first three books you’re familiar with pretty much everything in that world. If not, there are spoilers in Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf (#4) from Blake the Rogue Reindeer & His Cocky Human (#3). Seth, Blake’s human, has a big secret that doesn’t come out until close to the end of his and Blake’s story. That secret is discussed several times in Barry and Ricky’s. Keep that in mind if you’re interested in reading it.
I mentioned Google Play. For the first time in 3 and a half years of publishing my books are now available on there. I’m adding them slowly but at the time of this writing the only ones not added so far are the books in the Taking Lance series and a couple of others that need to be approved.
I hope you all enjoy Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf. It’s a bit more serious than the others in the series but it’s part of Willy’s World. If you know Willy the elf at all you know he’s going to have his silly moments.
From the world of Willy the Kinky Elf & His Bad-Ass Reindeer.
The North Pole isn’t exactly as it appears in fairy tales. It has the elves and Santa and his reindeer, but Santa and Mrs. Claus aren’t the jolly couple the world believes them to be. Far from it, actually. The reindeer are all shape-shifters who transform into gorgeous beings in human form and are respected by all.
Reindeer Barry Simpson leads a simple life. He works, comes home, then does it all again the next day. Once upon a time, he was outgoing and social. That changed after he became involved with an abusive reindeer. It’s been a year since Barry ran and he’s finally getting over his fears, eager to start living again.
Ricky is a shy elf who blushes at every turn. One accidental touch and Barry’s convinced he’s finally met his mate. He’s never been with an elf before but he knows in his heart that this is the man he’s been waiting for.
Between meddling parents, an overprotective brother, and even a sad Santa Claus, Barry and his elf are pulled in several directions. When his abusive ex-boyfriend starts getting violent, Barry has to fight to protect not only himself but also those he loves, including his newfound mate.
I am up to my ears in final edits for Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf (Willy #4). In the next day or so I’ll be uploading the edited manuscript to Amazon so the final product will go out to readers on November 1st. To those who have pre-ordered the story, thank you! I hope you all enjoy Barry and Ricky’s story. There are quite a few changes I’ve had to make in the past few days. All I can say is thank God for editors. Mine found some things that sounded perfectly fine to my little brain when I was typing the story but don’t sound fine at all in the grand scheme of things. I modeled a secondary character after someone I know well in the real world. Apparently I wrote her too much like that person so I’ve had to tone her down. The last time I modeled a character after a real person in my life I swore I’d never do it again. We see how that worked out. There’s inspiration – like David Garrett who inspired Sy in Eros – and there’s taking a person I really know and writing a character like them. I think I’ll stick to the inspiration pics from here on out. 😉 Both above-mentioned characters turned out to be a pain – in more ways than one.
If you’ve not checked out ‘Barry’ yet, you can find the Amazon pre-order link here and more info here.
When my site decided to go Poof! and disappear a few weeks ago, I lost all my email subscribers and their information. I’d called myself backing things up but I obviously didn’t do it well enough. While I do know the email addresses of some of my subscribers because I’ve spoken with them via email, I don’t want to add you guys without your permission. I don’t update a lot but I don’t want you to miss when I do. If you have a problem re-subscribing, let me know and I can manually add you. The offer of a free e-book of your choice for subscribing still stands, even for those who’ve subscribed in the past and already received a free book. You can find all my books and their info here.
On Top Down Under Book Reviews
Congrats to On Top Down Under for their 5th anniversary! Kazza has been one of my biggest supporters and I’ll forever be grateful. If you’ve not checked out the 5 year festivities, pop over there here.
Some Personal Stuff
I apologize for being a little ‘out there’ or not quite ‘out there’ lately. I’ve been dealing with bad headaches again so until I see the doctor again (on the 26th) I just have to deal. I’ve been pretty much nonexistent on social media because I’ve not felt 100%. Hopefully I can get back on track in the coming days.
I woke up Monday morning to the horrific news of what happened in Vegas. I’d actually gotten text alerts throughout the night but I didn’t quite understand the magnitude of what had occurred until I got up and turned on the news.
It absolutely disgusts me that people can’t even go to a music festival or a nightclub or anywhere else these days without worrying about some idiot opening fire. This post isn’t about gun rights or politics so please don’t leave comments or email me about that. It’s about the sad fact that there are such evil people in the world who care so little about others that they do stupid shit like firing guns into crowds of innocent people.
There’s no excuse for it.
In June I was in Orlando. My husband was working there for a few weeks so I went down Father’s Day weekend. I knew I couldn’t go to Orlando without going by Pulse nightclub. I almost didn’t get out of the car but my husband told me that if I didn’t I’d regret it later. Knowing he was right, we parked and we got out. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. All those innocent people killed. For what? I’ll never understand it, just like I’ll never understand why the people were killed in Vegas.
This man looked like the man next door. He didn’t look like an evil person or a monster. He looked like one of us. Monsters don’t hide under the bed anymore in just our imaginations. They’re living among us and it makes me ill, and honestly, it scares me.
I also learned the bad news about Tom Petty. Another part of my teenage years gone. Damn the Torpedoes will forever be a favorite. I still have my original copy somewhere. Some things are special. That old tape is one of them.
My heart is broken for a lot reasons today. My thoughts and prayers go to everyone affected by what happened in Las Vegas. As for Tom Petty, I’ll be listening to his music tonight as I again remember my younger years, just as I did when we lost Prince, George Michael, and others.