Bye 2022!

I hope everybody had a nice Christmas. Ours was really nice. All three of my sons were able to make it, along with the girlfriends of two of them. Having all three of my boys in the same room these days is quite rare, so seeing them all at my mother-in-law’s house and again at mine later was pretty awesome.

We ate too much food, those of us not driving had too many margaritas, and we all stayed up way too late. It was one of the best days I’ve had in a very long time.

I’ll keep the tree and all decorations up until after the 1st of January, and then I’ll start putting my house back in order. My tree is full of special ornaments – a lot of them are homemade by me, others are from my sons, friends, and late family members – so I always give myself that extra week or so to enjoy it before taking it down. The pic on the right is an ornament that my youngest son and his girlfriend gave me. My boy knows his mama well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

New Year’s Eve day will be spent watching Alabama football. We’ll probably ring in 2023 at home, and then I’ll cook a big meal for New Year’s Day.

2022

2022 wasn’t a bad year, per se, but I’m not going to lie… I’ll be happy for it to be behind me.

I wrote a lot this year but only published one book for reasons I go into below.

I spent about three months in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta, with my husband who was working there. The area was nice enough, but I was really happy to be back home. The only issue with being home is one of my neighbors who sees my husband as her personal sink fixer/mechanic/animal (s) feeder, among pretty much everything else she can ask him to do. We’ve had issues with neighbors who used us in the past, so we’ve already begun putting a stop to this. Emergencies, sure, call us. Weedeating your entire yard because you don’t want to, or asking him – on his one day off – to take your lawnmower across town for repair? Uh, no, and he said so. She lived there for 5 years before I met her. We’d met her husband a lot of times, but not her. He moved off to work out of state and suddenly she’s constantly asking us – not just my husband – to do things for her.

This woman is not elderly or disabled. I think she’s younger than me, but I suck when it comes to guessing ages. If she was elderly or disabled and genuinely needed help, we’d do it in a heartbeat. She’s not.

We try really hard to be nice to our neighbors as long as they understand that we’re private people and have already gone through the ‘every neighbor on the street trying to use us for whatever reason’ years ago. We won’t be doing it again.

People seem to feel like if you work from home that you do nothing all day long. I’ve been asked to babysit total strangers’ kids simply because I’m home a lot and ‘don’t do anything’ <<<— their words, not mine. I had another neighbor fake a serious illness to have me do things for her not long after we moved here. Every time somebody had problems with their vehicles, they asked my husband – not to help but to fix the problem. The same applies to home repairs, etc.

We don’t have animals for a reason – we travel a lot – but we were asked to feed my neighbor’s – 2 cats and 3 large dogs – over the past 7 days while she visited her husband out of state. It was supposed to be 3 days but here we are on day 7 and she only just got home overnight. I’ve not spoken with her yet, but she and another vehicle arrived at her home in the middle of the night, being loud enough to probably wake up everybody on the street.

The temperatures in my area dropped so low we had single digit wind chills for 3 days straight last week. Her animals were able to get in and out of her house so there was no risk of them freezing, and we made sure they were fine by checking on them several times a day.

It’s pretty sad when you can’t be even remotely friendly to some people without them taking advantage of your kindness. My husband has a hard time not helping people, but I’m fairly certain he’s done helping this woman.

Now to some updates.

Purrs Series

The plan for the Purrs series was to publish each of the 5 books close together. That has obviously changed, and I’m not going to commit to a date when the others will be published. Why? Because the first 2 were not well received, though Indigo hasn’t officially been published yet. In other words, I won’t be publishing anything that I feel won’t be enjoyed by the readers. I’ll likely go ahead and publish Indi and Kei’s story soon, but the others are on hold for now.

Cupid (Love Gods, #2)

Cupid has been long finished and ready to publish. The plan was to put it up for pre-order on November 1, 2022, to be published January 1, 2023. That didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. I’m aiming for January 10th or so as the publishing date.

If you’ve not read Eros, I’m not sure how much of Cupid will make sense. If you want a free copy of Eros from me before Cupid comes out, ask and I’ll send it to you. I’ll probably even make it free on Amazon for a few days leading up to Cupid being published.

Cupid’s story has been a long time coming, with Eros being published in 2016. It’s a contemporary story based on not-so-contemporary Roman mythology. Eros was based on the Greek mythology story of Eros and Psyche. Cupid’s love interest is Peitho, a Greek god who has never – EVER – been linked to Cupid in mythology. In the myth, Peitho is also a female where my Peit is male.

All of it is a product of my imagination and any similarities to actual Greek or Roman mythology is minimal.

Eros’ mother is Aphrodite. Cupid’s parents are Venus and Mercury. Venus is bad. Mercury is a flamboyant sweetheart. ๐Ÿ˜‰

You can find more info about Eros here and Cupid here.

I’ll update when I have a definitive publishing date for Cupid, but I really am aiming for January 10th or so.

Looking Ahead to 2023

Hooper Lake Series

The Hooper Lake series is also on hold still. 3 are complete. The last 2 are not as I’m having problems figuring out how to do a couple of things. Those 2 books will be about twin brothers Eli and Ethan. Eli’s story, while difficult enough, is nowhere near as difficult as writing his twin’s book. There’s abuse in their pasts, and I’m doing everything in my power to write it all with sensitivity. While Eli was able to move forward, Ethan’s pretty much on hold with certain things. Because their pasts are basically the same, I’m considering combining the 2 books into 1. Undecided at this point. I hope to go back into it with fresh eyes soon.

Tentative Christmas 2023 Stories

A while back I started on a new Christmas story. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I didn’t really focus on it much because the Willy books were still too fresh in readers’ minds. I’ve gone back and forth with my best friend about it, which has me eager to go back into the story.

I can’t stress this enough… it will NOT be part of Willy’s world. While I appreciate the love for Willy and the gang, not every book I write can be like that. Willy was a one of a kind character and it’s highly doubtful I’d ever be able to write another one even remotely similar. I’ve received a lot of comments over the years about some of my other books with readers telling me how much they enjoyed the books but they aren’t like Willy. Honestly, they’re not supposed to be.

The new story will focus on two lifelong best friends who are elves working in Santa’s workshop. Santa’s a bit of a perv when it comes to elf porn, though – unlike in Willy – his wife is a sweetheart. There’s a lot more to it, but I won’t be oversharing at the moment.

There’s also another holiday story I’ve kind of been working on. This one is also friends to lovers but different. It’s strictly contemporary. It’s one of those ‘you can go home again’ type of stories. We’ll see how that one plays out. It’s a lot more serious than the elf story.

Pen Names

I’ve been writing under different pen names for a few years now, though I’ve not published anything not under Candi Kay in quite a few years. I may be pulling out some of those completed stories in the coming months. While I’ve never really kept the pen names secret, I also didn’t make any type of announcement or anything about them either. You can check out more info at my Purrs Publishing site here.

Just a warning, though… Bindi Blake’s stories make the silliness of Willy the elf seem nil. The way my best friend and I describe Bindi’s stories are (to be blunt) as weird shit. That’s putting it mildly.

Also, if you’re looking for ‘Candi Kay’ type books, the stories written under those names won’t be for you. Some of my humor is in some of them, and my writing style will always be similar, but the actual stories and characters are much different from what you’ve seen written under Candi Kay.

Character Inspiration

Have you ever wondered if some of your favorite characters are inspired by actual people? Only one time have I ever written a main character based on somebody I knew in the real world. That was Seth from Blake the Rogue Reindeer & His Cocky Human. That was a big fail. Not Seth himself, but the person he was based on is no longer in my life in any capacity. It took a little bit of time to see the character as an individual, not the guy he was based on. Another character, though secondary, Felicity Elfton from Barry the Lonely Reindeer & His Bashful Elf, was inspired greatly by my mother-in-law, though I did make Felicity good later. I actually had to tone down the earlier versions of Felicity because my best friend told me she was too mean. She was right, of course.

She usually is. ๐Ÿ™‚

After Seth, I refuse to ever base characters on anybody I know in the real world. I get inspiration, sure, but I’ll never again take another person’s profession, looks, etc. from my life and make them a fictional character in one of my books. As for others, I’ll sometimes see somebody online and say, “Oh, that’s so whoever in whatever book.”

That happened with Rick Preston (Taking Lance series), Alex and Dean (Finding Alex in Taking Lance series), Randy (Willy the Kinky Elf series), Eros and Sy (Eros and Cupid, Love Gods series), and Dylan and Cole (from Dylan the Bad Boy Reindeer & His Virtuous Mate). I may add a ‘character inspiration’ page on this site with a link at the top of the home page. A lot of readers like imagining their characters a certain way and that’s fine, but some readers are curious.

A majority of my fictional characters aren’t inspired by anybody in particular. I see the character in my head and write them accordingly.

The reason I mention this here now is because I’m reading the autobiography of David Garrett, the famous violinist, who I based Sy’s looks on in Eros. I’d never heard of David Garrett before when I saw his pic online and thought how similar he looked to Sy in my head.

Sy is not a violinist, nor is his life like the celebrity’s in any other way, but he has the same long blond hair and other features. He was basically who I saw as I wrote Sy’s description, and who I see every time I go back into his and Eros’ story and now Cupid’s.

Check out David Garrett in one of my favorite videos of his below. He’s brilliant whether he’s playing classical or his crossover stuff.

I don’t know if I ever would’ve discovered his music had I not stumbled upon his photo online while I was writing Eros and Sy’s book. One of my sons heard me saying I wanted to read his autobiography, and it was in my inbox Christmas morning from Amazon.

~~~ย 

What else?

I think that’s about it for now. Every year I say that I hope to be posting more but I end up not doing it. Life just gets in the way sometimes.

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. My birthday is shortly after the 1st of the year so I make goals for the upcoming year starting the next day. Sometimes I do everything I set out to do. Most of the times, not so much. Even so, I don’t beat myself up over what’s not accomplished. My real world is crazy enough. Life is too short to dwell on things.

And on that note, I’ll wish everybody a very happy New Year! If you’ll be celebrating, please stay safe.

Here’s hoping for an amazing 2023!

Candi

P.S. For those who asked, and because I forgot to announce it on here, author Kelsy Kasey won the 2 Purrs books and the $25.00 Amazon gift card from me during On Top Down Under Book Reviews’ 10th year anniversary celebration in October. Kelsy writes some pretty taboo stuff, so if you’re into that type of thing (come on… you know you are… I won’t tell, I promise!), pop on her site, say hi, and check out her books. Tell her I sent you.

Also, another huge congrats to On Top Down Under for 10 years of reviews!

Happy Holidays!

Can you guys believe 2022 is almost over? I swear it feels like the older I get, the faster the years fly by. It seems like only yesterday that we were ringing in the New Year. And now it’s a little over a week until Christmas.

For the first time in the history of well, me, I got all my Christmas shopping done early. Wrapping and shipping the ones I need to wrap and ship are another story altogether. For my best friend’s gifts almost every holiday, I always see something else I want to get her, so that causes delays. That’s the case again this year, along with me having to break up a set of something because of customs restrictions in her country. Hopefully this package will arrive in its original condition, not destroyed in transit as the one was for Christmas 2021.

I’m still fighting USPS on that one.

For Christmas we’ll do the ‘go to my in-laws thing’ for lunch that will no doubt be delayed by my husband’s aunt who shows up late on purpose EVERY SINGLE HOLIDAY. Who cares that I have to leave and cook for my family, right? I’ll be taking a separate vehicle this year. If she’s not there early enough, I’m out of there to prepare for our Christmas evening.

My late mother didn’t believe in change when it came to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Any variation in menu, guest list, or anything else would cause her to have a meltdown, and then she’d pout like a child throughout the entire holiday. God forbid one of my sons actually invited a friend or two over for Thanksgiving or Christmas. She even got pissy if my sons’ girlfriends came. I bought all the ingredients and did all the cooking 99.9% of the time. It was almost always hosted at my house, which was stressful in itself. I, my husband, and my sons invited whoever we wanted to invite.

My mother was not the nicest person in the world.

The first Christmas after Mom’s death, my family did Mexican food, something that I never would’ve heard the end of before. I stopped cooking for extended family members who may or may not even bother to show up. It’s now my husband, my sons, their significant others, and anybody else who wants to stop by. It’s much more laid back than at my mother-in-law’s place, and I’m able to relax for a little while. Relaxing wasn’t something I could do when my mother was still alive. We tend to switch up the menu on occasion, but we always have margaritas. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s nice. I’ve still not finalized the menu for this year – something that’s unheard of for most southern mamas this close to Christmas – but I’m getting there.

Do you guys have any special traditions? Have you created new ones as the years went by?

I miss the traditions I had with my late sisters. My middle sister had childlike excitement for Christmas up until she died. It didn’t matter how old she was, she was still as excited about Christmas morning as she had been as a little girl. But then again, this is the same person who grew up insisting on always eating her dessert first so she didn’t miss out on the good stuff because she was too full. ๐Ÿ˜‰

~~~

How weird for me to not be publishing a Christmas story this year. For eight straight years I published at least one. There was the entire Willy series (7 books, plus some short freebies), Kane the Fake Elf & His Sexy Mall Santa that was published at the same time one of the Willy books was, and Christmas in Holly Pines that I published last Christmas.

It felt really strange when November 1st came around and it wasn’t a release day for me. I’m not going to lie. I missed the hell out of it. I may just have to start doing the occasional Willy freebie. I did actually start on another Christmas story a couple of years ago. It’s not in the Willy world, and it’s a friends to lovers story. I didn’t want to work too hard on it with Willy and the gang still on a lot of reading minds. Maybe I’ll dig it out and have it ready for next year.

Speaking of Willy… thank you to all the readers who keep the series going strong this time every single year. The books are used in a lot of reading challenges on Goodreads, which means more to me than you’ll ever know. I never would’ve dreamed that my kinky little elf series would still be going strong 8 years later. So, thank you all again.

It’s unlikely that I’ll pop back on here before Christmas, so I’ll just go ahead and tell you guys that I hope you have a fantastic holiday! And if you’re on the naughty list, don’t sweat it. We have more fun anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with my end of the year post, with updates on Cupid and the Purrs series.

Until next time,

Candi

‘Willy’ Series in Kindle Unlimited, Purrs & Cupid Updates

First, thanks to all who have read Silas (Purrs, #1). It’s hard starting a new series. Hell, it’s hard for me to get anything published. There are times I publish books that have not been read by ANYBODY but me. That’s the Purrs series. My best friend is very busy so she’s not always able to read my stuff until close to or after the publishing date.

I’ve been doing this long enough to know I need to get beta readers. I’m just weird, I guess. If you knew me in the real world, you’d definitely agree with the weird thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The rest of the Purrs series will be spread out over a period of weeks. Because the books are all connected, certain details that need to be elaborated on in one book might not be cleared up until the next one or later.

I’ll use Keiran, main character in Indigo (Purrs, #2), as an example. It’s not explained in the first book why he mostly keeps his relationship with Indi a secret from his brother, Stuart. It is explained in his own book.

It’s in the blurbs, but I’m stressing it again. The Purrs series cannot be read as standalones. Each story pretty much continues until the last one ends.

You can check out the blurbs for all the books in the series here. Just scroll down to the Purrs series and click each individual book to get the info.

Books Now in or Coming to Kindle Unlimited

My last two releases, Christmas in Holly Pines and Silas, were both automatically put in KU when they were published. I think Eros and the Taking Lance series are the only others exclusive to Amazon.

I’ve been asked by readers to put the Willy the Kinky Elf & His Bad-Ass Reindeer series in Kindle Unlimited over the past few years. I wanted to wait until the series was complete. It’s been a couple of years, so I pulled all the books from the other sites and they’re now exclusive on Amazon in KU. Nothing changed other than formatting and a few minor things (mostly punctuation) here and there.

I also plan to pull Kane the Fake Elf & His Sexy Mall Santa from the other sites and put it in KU as well. As for all my others, they’re up in the air for now.

Cupid (Love Gods, #2)

Cupid is the 2nd book in the Love Gods series, with Eros being the first one. While Cupid has his own love interest, the book is a continuation of sorts of Eros. All the major players from Eros (Eros, Sy/Psyche, Aphrodite) are in Cupid. There are also a few new characters introduced (Venus, Mercury, and most imporantly – Peitho). Venus is evil. Mercury is a sweetheart. Peitho is a hot and sexy Greek. ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you’ve not read Eros and want to, send me a message. I’ll send you a free e-copy. Or you can get it from Amazon. It’s in Kindle Unlimited. It’s highly suggested that you read Eros before you read Cupid or you might be confused.

Cupid will be available for pre-order in the coming days, to be published on January 1st, 2023.

You can check out the blurb here.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll update with more info on Indigo and Cupid when I have it.

Until next time,

Candi

 

New Series! Silas (Purrs, #1) Up For Pre-Order

My late sister loved cats. If she saw one, she had to love on it. She didn’t just love on them. She took them in, got them spayed or neutered, and made sure they had everything they needed. We always jokingly called her our resident cat lady. Trust me, that wasn’t an insult to her. She was perfectly happy with the title.

Back in February around her birthday, a story idea popped in my head about shifters. When we think shifters it’s normally the bigger animals like Santa’s reindeer in my Willy the Kinky Elf series, or maybe bears or lions. We definitely don’t think common house cats, though the shifters in the Purrs series would definitely take offense to being called common anything. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once the idea took hold, I ran with it. In under 3 weeks I’d written an entire 5-book series. Well, 5 and a half because of a quickie short that’s thrown in at the end of the last book. These aren’t 80,000+ word novels. The stories in the Purrs series range from 20,000 to 32,000 words. In other words, quick novellas, so things happen fairly quickly for all the couples.

The series centers around Finian Kitt and his five adult children – Lyn, Cosmo, Silas, Indigo, and Larkin – and their successful cat-themed bar, Purrs. In this world of shifters, there are fated mates, though not many find theirs in their lifetimes. The world’s a big place. Finian met his once, but they aren’t together for reasons neither man talks about.

The first book in the series is Silas (Purrs, #1) about Silas Kitt and Stuart Parker. Silas has been living under Stu’s roof for a year – as Stu’s pet cat. It’s not like Si can just blurt out that he’s actually a cat shifter and that Stuart is his fated mate. So, what to do? Silas has already waited a year. He knows he can’t keep it going the way it has been.

It’s taken out of his hands one night when Silas’ very human side just happens to bump into Stuart at Purrs.

There’s a little bit of humor – Silas is a total cat diva – some insta-love that comes with fated mates, and family.

Which brings me to trigger warnings for the entire series. Below is in the very front of each book –

When Keiran Parker (main character in Indigo, secondary in Silas) was just shy of fifteen, something happened involving a teacher. Some readers may be triggered by this. While no graphic details are on-page, the topic is still discussed in Silas (Purrs, #1) and Indigo (Purrs, #2).

There is some discussion about child and animal neglect in Cosmo (Purrs, #3), Larkin (Purrs, #4), and Finian (Purrs, #5). Although nothing is described in detail, readers should be aware of it.

As for Lyn’s story (#5.5), there’s nothing triggering, nor does the story have to be read at all as far as the series is concerned. It’s little more than a F/F sex scene when Lyn finds her mate.

Silas (#1) is up for pre-order on Amazon, with a publishing date of October 1st. With each story being ready, they’ll be staggered over a period of weeks as far as their publishing dates.

The Purrs books can not be read as standalones. While each couple gets their HEA at the end of their individual books, the story as a whole plays out until the very end.

I hope you all enjoy my little cat-themed series that was written solely to honor my sweet, late sister. Something tells me she’d be tickled to death, especially with me using PURRS as the title and name of club.

You can pre-order Silas from Amazon. It will also be available in Kindle Unlimited.

You can add it on Goodreads here.

Also, I’ll be doing an e-book giveaway of Silas and an ARC of Indigo, the 2nd book in the series, at On Top Down Under Book Reviews in October to celebrate 10 years of On Top Down Under. I’ll also be throwing in a $25.00 Amazon gift card as part of the giveaway. I’ll update on that when I have more info.

I hope you guys enjoy my little cat-themed series. It was a blast to write.

Blurb –

Stuart Parker is looking for love. He goes on the occasional date, but none of the guys want to stick around. If they bother to show up at all. On the rare times a date has come to his house, Stuart’s diva cat didn’t exactly give him a warm welcome. He swears the cat is purposefully sabotaging his love life by hissing, growling, and even hiding his condoms and new underwear.

Si isn’t your typical house cat. Heโ€™s been trying to work up the courage to tell Stu the truth for a year, but how do you tell your human mate that youโ€™re not the feline that you appear to be?

After being stood up yet again, Stuart’s brother Keiran takes him to Purrs nightclub, where Kei is the assistant manager. When Stu meets one of the club’s owners, Silas, he’s struck still. Besides being the most beautiful man Stuart has ever seen, the collar he’s wearing looks an awful lot like the one Stu designed for his cat.

You know, his cat namedย Si.

Life suddenly takes a drastic turn for both human and feline. Has that elusive happily-ever-after Stuartโ€™s been searching for been right under his nose the whole time? Will he run in the opposite direction when he discovers who his pet really is?

Each book in the Purrs series takes place during the same time period. Details from one story may be expanded upon in another. Some events in a previous book might not have taken place yet in a subsequent book.

The books in the Purrs series cannot be read as standalones. While each one focuses on a new couple, their stories are all linked to the series as a whole. Some secondary characters may seem insignificant in one book and be quite significant in another.

Note that past sexual abuse is discussed briefly in Silas (Purrs, #1). While nothing is on-page, this may trigger some readers. Keep this in mind before downloading the book.

Uvalde, Texas

Like everyone else, I’m disgusted by what happened at the elementary school in Texas this week. I’m angry. I’m hurting for those who lost loved ones. I’m sickened that it was allowed to happen again.

In what universe does anyone outside of military need the type of firearms that were used? Why were they so easily accessible?

Schools should be safe places. Parents should not worry every day if their child/ren will be coming home. People go on and on about gun control but these things keep happening. Do I think it’s doable to ban all guns in America? No. Anybody who thinks otherwise is (in my opinion) delusional. We’re too far gone. If you ban guns do you honestly believe the bad guys will just turn theirs over? Of course not. There are just too many out there. It would take me less than 5 minutes to buy one right now if I wanted to. I wouldn’t even have to ask privately. I could get on my personal (not Candi Kay) Facebook page and put a request out there and have several available within minutes.

I just don’t understand why both political sides can’t get together on this. I don’t identify as a republican or a democrat because neither side is actually working for us. I think both are so eager to fight with each other that nothing is being done for us, the people. Nothing was done for those children and two teachers who were lost in this last incident alone, or the husband of one of those teachers who died of a heart attack not long after. Did Columbine and Sandy Hook teach us anything at all? Oh, there’s lots of talk, but nothing ever gets done.

There’s more security at my local Walmart than at most schools. What does that say about us? That goods in a store are more important than our children?

Make it harder to buy guns. Add more mental health resources. There’s literally nothing in my state. Our one and only in-house mental health facility was closed years ago. Why, I have no idea. Our politicians said it should be shut down so it was shut down. End of story.

Do something already and stop with just the thoughts and prayers and actually do something. Quit fighting amongst yourselves simply because you’re in opposing political parties. Those babies deserved so much more, as did their teachers. Their parents deserved so much more.

I’ll predict this… nothing is going to change. It didn’t happen after Columbine or Sandy Hook or any of the others. Our politicians are too busy posturing for the cameras to get off their asses and actually do something about the problem.

Quit talking and do something.

I live in the South. I grew up around guns. My father collected them and had so many I lost count when we went through his things after his death. I grew up being taught to respect them, not just pick one up at the first sign of anger or whatever. People love to go on and on about us southerners and how gun happy we are. There are a select few who hear ‘gun control’ and get crazy, but I can assure you that a majority of us want something to finally be done just as much as everybody else claims to.

I can’t say anymore because it’s all too upsetting.

Hug your babies a little tighter tonight. Keep pushing our so-called leaders until they actually do something. Push until seeing shootings on the news is no longer an every day thing. Keep pushing until somebody actually listens and acts.

I won’t debate this with anyone. Any argumentative comments won’t be approved and will be deleted. When I mention gun control people come out of the woodwork. I won’t be going back and forth with anybody.

Candi