So Long, 2017! Looking Ahead, Personal Stuff

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.

I only published 3 books in 2017 – Just Friends, Marrying Lance, and Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf – so I didn’t complete my publishing goals that I made in 2016. Trust me, it wasn’t from lack of want. The ones I promised are all written but I’ve not completed the editing of any of them and that takes a lot of time.

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.

The Holidays

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.

Alabama Football 

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.

Looking Ahead

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.

Willy, #5

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.

Google Play

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.

I hope Chester has finally found peace.

One More Light Foundation

Thank You!

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!

….. and Roll Tide! 🙂 🙂 🙂

Until next time,

Candi

Willy’s World, ARC Drama, This and That

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.

 

Willy’s 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.

 

ReindeerSecrets.com

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.

ARC Drama

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.

Until next time,

~Candi

 

Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf (Willy the Kinky Elf, #4) Now Live!

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.

You can find the information on the series here.

Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf (#4)

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.

Approximately 51,000 words. 148 Kindle pages.

Amazon | iBooks | KoboGoogle Play

Willy #4, Email Subscribers, Congrats, & Some Personal Stuff

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.

Email Subscribers

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.

That’s all for now. Back to the manuscript. 😀

I hope everyone is doing well.

~Candi

Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf – Up for Pre-Order! – & Excerpt

Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf is now up for pre-order on Amazon! It will officially be released on November 1st. All the players from past stories are back in all their glory, including Willy the elf who has a few issues with Barry’s ex. It’s never a good idea to call Willy the Chief’s little guy. 🙂 Check out a quickie and unedited excerpt with Willy and Mrs. Claus at the bottom of this post. I’ll add one with Barry and Ricky soon.

Thank you to everyone who has embraced my kooky version of the North Pole and who continue to ask for more. I hope you enjoy Barry and Ricky’s story.

 

Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf (Willy the Kinky Elf & His Bad-Ass Reindeer, #4)

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.

Approximately 51,000 words.

Available for pre-order for November 1, 2017 publication.

Pre-order Links – Amazon | Kobo | iBooks |

Excerpt –

Together we walk along the sidewalk and down the streets of Santa’s Village, passing several people along the way. In front of the post office a group of elder elves separate for us to get through. I feel the same tingle in Ricky’s hand that I felt the first time we touched. I look down and can tell he feels it too.

We’ve not even walked a block when I hear Willy saying my name from somewhere behind us. We both stop and turn to look. Willy’s standing in the middle of the sidewalk, hands on his hips, yelling at Mrs. Claus.

“You can get your skanky ass out of my way.” He points in mine and Ricky’s direction. “Thanks to you I lost the reindeer.”

“Huh?” I ask just loud enough for Ricky to hear me.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, elf, but you’re blocking the sidewalk,” Mrs. Claus growls. “Either get out of my way or I’ll move you myself.”

“Just try it with your bimbo stiletto self.”

She leans down and gets in his face.

“Or?”

“Or, or, uh, I don’t know, but I’ll think of something. Or Randy will. Barry almost got kidnapped!”

I raise a brow.

“You’ve lost your mind, little boy.”

“And now the reindeer who was trying to do it is long gone. I was close enough to grab his back hoof until you got in my way. Now take your fake eyelashes and silicone and go back to where you’ve been hiding.”

I want to laugh but I know better. Not at the attempted kidnapping if that’s what it was, obviously, but at tiny Willy’s threats.

“Willy?” I call out.

He waves a hand, dismissing me.

“I got this, Barry. Your butt head ex is probably in the next county now, though, thanks to fake tits McGhee here.”

“My butt head ex?”

“He flew down and had his front hoofs out to grab you. He saw me going after him so he took off like the wimpy ass he is.” He points at Mrs. Claus. “Then Stripper Pole Claus here got in my way and I missed my chance of whooping reindeer butt – again.”

“Uh, thank you?” I say, still trying not to laugh.

“Nothin’ to it.”

“You need to remember who you’re talking to, elf,” Mrs. Claus says through gritted teeth, calling Willy’s attention back to her. “I don’t care that you’re sleeping with Randy. I can still destroy you.”

“The only thing you’re probably still capable of destroying is that overused vag of yours.”

“Oh, shit,” I mumble.

Thankfully, Derek shows up out of nowhere and gets between the elf and Santa’s wife. 

“Mrs. Claus,” he says with a tip of his head. He gently turns Willy back toward the workshop. “Back to work for you. There’ll be other opportunities to kick reindeer butt.”

He doesn’t even attempt to hide his amusement. He sends a wave our way and the moment is gone. Willy is ushered back to work and Mrs. Claus stomps her six-inch stilettos and turns and walks the other direction.