Sunday, December 25, 2016

Birdie & Bash Character Study #2!

MERRY CHRISTMAS (or whatever it is you celebrate)!

To kick off the countdown to July 25th, 2017 (I know, it seems far away but it's really not), I'll be showcasing a different character from my debut YA novel—THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH—until release! This is your chance to get to know everyone before you read!

Today's Character Study Focuses on: BRYNN

BRYNN in a nutshell: Brynn is the younger sibling a lot of us have grown up with. She's bratty, entitled, and really really annoying to overachieving older sis, Birdie. But, their love for each other is obvious, however nuanced in nitpicking and miscellaneous arguments. It helps them find a calm within their family's storm. It's too bad things may have spiraled "the night of" because of Brynn's threats in the first place. Afterall, someone has to announce Birdie's mistakes and she's the first volunteer to do it. Unfortunately, the damage has been done.

Why she's important to the story: Brynn contradicts Birdie in nearly every way. Her presence forces Birdie to see the bigger picture, even when all seems lost.

Favorite BRYNN line: "No. You’re more than the melody—you’re the whole song that plays on the radio over and over until people get sick of it. You’re, like, everything."

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for the next Character Study the 25th of January 2017 (which I hope to be a better year than the last *groans*).

You can pre-order Birdie & Bash as part of your post-Christmas shopping (use those amazon gift cards on ME)!

Preorder on Amazon

Preorder on Barnes & Noble

Preorder on IndieBound

And check out my website for other cool links

Clickety clickety click everywhere! And exclamation points, too!!!

In the meantime tell me, who is YOUR Brynn?


Candyland. OUT.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Birdie & Bash Character Study #1

Hey, all! Welcome!

So, how the eff are you? I hope you're well and had a super-fab Thanksgiving!

To kick off the countdown to July 25th, 2017 (I know, it seems far away but it's really not), I'll be showcasing a different character from my debut YA novel—THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH—until release! This is your chance to get to know everyone before you read!

Today's Character Study Focuses on: SARGE

SARGE in a nutshell: Based as a semi-homage to my Gram, Sarge —a recent widower — is my Vietnam vet who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. And though he might reference every current event to the war, he has an infinite soft spot for his eldest granddaughter, Birdie. Because he lives with his daughter, Bess, and the whole Paxton clan, Sarge is everything the family needs, yet, he's careful not to overstep (except for his excessive bubble wrap popping).

Why he's important to the story: Everyone needs that one person who grounds them through tragedy and triumph. Sarge provides the kind of support the Paxton's need while, in turn, he's receiving the support he needs, too.

Favorite SARGE line: "The only way around the pain is through."

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for the next Character Study!

You can pre-order Birdie & Bash as part of your #blackfriday shopping!

Preorder on Amazon

Preorder on Barnes & Noble

Preorder on IndieBound

In the meantime tell me, who is YOUR Sarge?


Candyland. OUT.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

You'll never believe what I'm doing...

Hey there, gorgeous. 

Yeah, YOU.

#sorrynotsorry for the clickbait but you're here and that's all that matters now!

I know it's been a hot minute since we last spoke (and I'm so sorry) but I think right now would be a great time for an uplifting distraction other than cat videos (bc I've seriously watched them all). So you know I sold Birdie & Bash and you see the Tweets and posts and blah blah blah about this book you know so little about and maybe you're like yay! but part of you is like whatthewhat? so now would be a stellar time to, ya know, tell you more about this book and WHY you should pre-order it now.

If you haven't yet, you can sign up for my newsletter HERE. Don't worry—you'll only get one on the 25th of each month with super important, sometimes exclusive, info like event and launch dates, excerpts, and special giveaways.

Also starting Novemeber 25th, the day of the first important newsletter, I'll be counting down until the release of Birdie & Bash (July 25th, 2017 via St. Martin's Griffin) with each post highlighting a character from the book so you can really get in their heads before you dive into their journey.

Let me repeat. 

Sign up for my newsletter HERE in order to get all the VIP info.


Check back on November 25th for my very first character study. Who will it be?

Until then, make sure you've added Birdie & Bash on Goodreads and if you want to go ahead and preorder from any of these fine stores, I won't be mad atcha.



Questions? Comments? General inquiries about cat videos? Drop them below!


Candyland. OUT.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Inevitable Collision of Birdie + Bash SOLD! SOLD! SOLD!

Hello, friends. I know I've been M.I.A. But, I feel terrible about it and have been silently sulking because I miss you sososo much. Does that make it any better? How about if I hold you and tell you you're so pretty? Does anyone even blog anymore? Or could I literally say anything and like no one will read it? (testing...I ate some Chex Mix off the floor today...testing).


ICYMI, this happened:

So yeah. Loyal readers from years' past, you know my treacherous journey. And here I am.


What's up with you, boos?


CandylandSOLDBOOKS. Out.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

That time I tried to say goodbye...

This last week was the hardest of my entire life.

I would love to blame it on the fact that I witnessed both a raccoon and cat get hit on two separate occasions, or that I went to a bathroom at a rest stop on the way to Indiana from Ohio and a second pair of underwear fell out of my pants, or that the rejections on my latest manuscript are the nicest, most complimentary I've ever had, making this writing thing as heart wrenching as when Aerosmith temporarily broke up. But no.

One week ago today, the woman I lived with off and on throughout the years, the woman who taught me how to be a human, the woman who made me understand what LOVE means, my sweet Gram, passed.

For those of you who follow me on any of my social media hangouts, you know she'd been sick awhile. The beginning of the end was official about a year ago when she moved into the first nursing home. There will be some of you, like me, who will see this news and think "she was old; it's what old people do--they die." Or "what a great grandma she must've been." And it's really difficult to put into words, to explain to those who don't know, who this woman was to me.

She. Was. Every. Thing.

For seven days now, I've awakened in tears, the feeling of her in this world...gone. No matter how much we all braced ourselves, said our goodbyes, nothing could have prepared me for this loss. Nothing. The air has been pulled out of my lungs. She was that necessary, that vital, to my life on this earth. Even miles away, just knowing she was there was enough to help me breathe and that thing, breathing, is hard enough already.

Even right in the middle of writing the obituary and eulogy, of helping pick out the flower arrangement for the top of her casket, of choosing the songs for the service, of transporting all the funeral flowers and writing thank you notes, there's been this one thing I can't seem to grasp:

She's really gone.

One thing you may or may not know about me is, when it comes to death, loss, my development is severely arrested. Try as I might, I can't connect the series of events so they make sense to me, so it hurts less. It's not in my vocabulary or thought process to lose such a valuable piece of me and have any sort of peace with it. If you've read anything about grieving the loss of my absentee biological father some 7 years later, you can imagine how broken I'm feeling right now, losing the most significant person of my lifetime.

The Obituary

Mary "Elsie" Carvin, 87, Jonesboro, went to be with the Lord at 5:54 a.m. on Saturday, February 28, 2015, at Marion Rehab and Assisted Living following an extended illness. Elsie was born in Scottsboro, Alabama, to the late Jasper and Ethel Evans. She married her one true love, James Carvin, of Big Springs, TN, in 1946 and was married to him for 44 years until his passing in 1990.

Elsie retired from Foster Forbes Glass Company after 30 years. She loved being with her family and was known for her delicious biscuits and gravy. She enjoyed watching WWE wrestling, Law & Order, and other crime shows on TV. She also enjoyed reading John Grisham books, doing puzzles with her sister, popping bubble wrap, and laughing all the time at anything. Her vivacious spirit and love of life will be missed immensely by everyone who was fortunate enough to have known her.

Elsie is survived by her two daughters, Sherry (Terry) McCann, Marion, and Kathy (Randy) Craig, New Castle; adopted son, Jimmy (Betty) Brown, Decatur, TN; five grandchildren, Amber (Clint) Callahan, Anderson, Amy Columbus, Jonesboro, Micah McCann, Marion, Candace (Erik) Ganger, Covington, OH, and Jacob (Leigh) Woodard, Wondunna, Queensland, Australia; 13 great-grandchildren, Blake, Brett, Brooke, Jasmine, Amiya, Ivy, Leyton, Preston, Sophia, Lilli, Sullivan, Payton, and Grace; one great-great-grandchild, Skylyn; sister, Margaret Dale Wesling, Marion; brother, Robert E. (Pat) Evans, Plant City; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Those also preceding Elsie in death include her brothers, Albert and Jesse Evans; sister, Annie McKinley; and grandson, Joshua McCann.

The family will receive visitors on Thursday, March 5, 2015, from 3-7 p.m. at Needham-Storey-Wampner Funeral Service, Storey Chapel, 400 E. Main St., Gas City, IN.

The Funeral Service will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 6, 2015, at the funeral home with Pastor Eddie Cantrell officiating. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in Gas City.

Donations may be made to the funeral home for funeral expenses.

Online condolences may be made at

The Eulogy

Most of you know me, but for those who don’t, I’m Kathy’s daughter, Elsie’s granddaughter, Candace. I’ve been writing most of my life, both personally and professionally, but, aside from the obituary, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever written because my Gram was literally, loved by everyone who met her, and there’s no way I can even get this close to right. But I’ll try.

1998 was the first time I said goodbye to her. I slept in the ICU waiting room while we prayed for her to pull through but little did I know how much fight she had, or how many times I’d frantically drive to hospitals many, many, MANY more times to say goodbye, over the years. She lived all nine of her cat lives and often said “you can’t kill a hillbilly.” But even through her pain, she never complained while caring for and thinking about others around her. She was the epitome of compassion and empathy.

What I’ll miss the most, though, is her sense of humor and ability to laugh at every situation, no matter how frustrating, confusing, or painful. A good example of this, was this past Monday. While funeral planning shouldn’t be a time of happiness, those hours spent pouring over every detail of Gram’s final send-off felt more like an episode of Seinfeld than a grief-support group. Maybe that’s not normal but it was the first I’d laughed, or maybe even smiled, since the news of her passing. And this, I know, would make her so proud of us because she wouldn’t want us wasting tears over her.

Some of my favorite memories are the simplest. I still very clearly feel her slipping on my shoes those early mornings before school. Or the smell of her as she hugged me. Or the way her hand felt on mine when she’d pat pat pat. Or the days she’d bring me waffles in bed and Grandpa would say “you’ve got her spoiled,” and Gram would reply with “well, it’s little,” followed by a kiss on the forehead and another pat pat pat on my hand. Those days were my favorite days in life and I so wish I could have more of them.

Going to her house meant there’d always be Coke in the fridge and bubble wrap on her bed. It meant Law and Order marathons at night—the ones with Jerry Orbach—and pizza on Sundays. It meant the best fudge on Christmas and the good luck meal on New Year’s Day (which I never ate). It meant feeling safe, secure, and loved, no matter what the world thought of me. It meant she’d be there through job loss and my first, second, and third broken hearts. It meant when the world was crumbling down around me, she’d be there with her arms wide open. No questions asked.

In elementary, she’d let me play in her makeup and curl her hair. In middle school, she’d pick me up and take me to Fazoli’s, where we’d share breadsticks and gossip about what’s happening in Star magazine, which she referred to as “the paper.” In high school, she’d find an old guitar of Grandpa’s that I’d get re-strung, so I could learn the Law and Order theme song. Just for her. She gave me self-confidence, believed in me, and made me think I could do or be anything.

In my adulthood, even after moving to another state, I couldn’t see her as much as I wanted, but there’s never been a moment she wasn’t with me in some way—mostly when I’m driving because I’m really just grateful I’m still alive after all those years of riding in a car she was driving. The state of Indiana thanks whoever finally took her keys.

Last May, when things started going downhill again, I went to see my hero on Mother’s Day. In all the fights she’d fought and won victoriously, I’d never seen her so weathered. I knew then, all those months ago, she’d surrendered and couldn’t fight another war. And I’ll never forget, as she looked at me with those long, thick lashes and said “I’m ready to go. I just want you to be okay.” I remember feeling choked up, doing everything possible not to cry in front of her. So I smiled and said “I will be.”

I lied. Because we all know a world without Gram is not okay at all.

I wrote something before all this happened where a fictional character, kind of inspired by Gram, says “the heart breaks harder than bones,” and though losing her is the very essence of this sentiment, I also know what she’d do in this situation—she’d comfort everybody else. In fact, I looked back on her Facebook timeline, which was like losing her all over again, and found this post she’d put on my wall after a surgery I’d had. Though, I know at the time, she was sick, herself. She said:

“Candace, honey, I can imagine what you are going through . I feel so bad for you. If it helps a teeny little bit, I love you and am praying for some relief from pain.”

I strive to be that kind of person. To live the kind of life filled with so much love and so little regret. To give more than I receive to laugh more than I cry. Because those are the all the little things that were the sum of the greatest woman I’ve ever known.

After a lot of tears and scrolling, time froze and for a moment, it felt like she was still here. And then I finally reached the end of her Facebook timeline, and found the exact message I want to leave you with, from Gram, herself. From April 2011 she said:

“I miss my sister, Annie Lee, and I miss my beloved husband, Jim. He will be gone 21 yrs. April 26th. Sometimes it’s like they went outside and will be back soon.”

So, friends and family, when the days feel hard, like right now, just tell yourself she went outside and will be back soon.

Thank you to all who've reached out. The truth is, no, I'm not okay. Not even a little. I feel her absence as much as I felt her life. This will take some time (like forever).

If you find it in your heart, please consider donating towards her funeral expenses directly to the funeral home. Being sick took everything from this generous woman and we struggled to give her a proper send-off. And even though we couldn't afford much, she deserved the world.

Now to get this m-effing book agented and sold so I can help pay off the funeral expenses and celebrate my Gram through the character I've based on her. I can hear her now: "I'm proud of you, babe. Be sweet." To which I would reply "no way," and she'd laugh...the rascal.

I love you, Gram.


Candyland. OUT.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Time For Reflection. I Mean Deflection + Misdirection.

Life is m-effing weird.

Between THIS and THIS, I have to say, a few of you are pretty awesome and deserve extra Bert screams and a lot of you really suck ballz and should be handcuffed to Miley Cyrus for a week.

I could go on and on and on about how this chapter of my life is a really huge warning to anyone who realizes they are in a desperate state + conjures enough courage and humbleness to ask for help before there is no next time. Because in the end, it's a sonofabitch crap shoot. Maybe you'll read the words, heed the warnings, reach out to me, or others around you who are suffering in silence, too, or, maybe you'll read the words, pretend you didn't, and have a great life without a second thought about the points I'm trying to make here. I have found the latter to be more prevalent and that's really, really sad. Not just for me, but for any poor kid, teen, or adult going through the same emotions I know too well.

It's clear now why so many people drink themselves to death (or drugs or collect ceramic puppies or whatever pushes you into your dark place the fastest). It's the easiest way to get people to pay an-effing-ttention, and even then...crap shoot, remember? And just future ref, agents and others, I'm documenting everything about this mental health experiment gone awry because WHY NOT capitalize on my cray? <--I ain't no dummy.

One "professional" actually told me to Google coping skills, then took my money like a cheap hooker (but she wasn't cheap). On a Tuesday! In broad daylight! I can't help but laugh. Probably because I'm crazy now and if I don't laugh I'll collect more ceramic puppies! I could go on and on and on about this. I could. You know I could. But really, who cares? I've lost interest so you must be bored out of your mind! I'll go back to hiding away in my cold, dark house (that's the way I like it) where I'll post things like this instead:

You're welcome.

And just so you know, my cat hates long walks on the beach,Grumpy Cat, and all of humanity. Those are noodles, not worms.


Candyland. OUT.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

You Can't Run Away From You

It's been 5 days since I lost myself.

Thanks to those of you who have checked in on me. I'm doing great! I "found" myself and figured out all the answers to dealing with everything. I can breathe! And it's all because I decided to just be happy! That's it! No drugs or intensive therapy needed. Just a smile and a skip in my step.


I wish I could say that that but honestly, I'm more broken than 5 days ago. A well has opened up inside my heart and it's flooding, drowning me. I mentioned feeling like something snapped in my brain, something changed on Sunday. I was right. A trigger went off, opened decades of darkness, and Thursday, I was diagnosed with PTSD.

You're not going to know the details, the reasons, behind this diagnosis (because I want to sell my memoir, currently on sub, and I'd rather you buy that instead of reading this for free!). All that matters is I have put my soul on display here not only so I can the help I need, but so all of you can, too.

Do NOT be ashamed, friends.

October 5-11th is Mental Illness Awareness Week and National Depression Screening Day is Thursday, October 9th. If you're unsure as to whether you need help or not, if it's serious enough to go through all the motions, I beg of you to start with this anonymous online screening where, at the end, you'll be referred to a clinic offering full evaluations. With the messages I've received, there are so many of you hurting, ashamed, embarrassed, afraid, holding it all in. I am screaming at the top of my lungs for you to say something, to do something because what you're dealing with can be fixed. I tell you these things because I so desperately need to believe them for myself. Without hope, there is nothing.

Taking an online assessment won't solve all your problems but it's a start. In fact, just doing anything to take action is the hardest part. Trust me.

Insert reason number FIVE people don't reach out for help when they need it. If you're just joining us, please go back and read THIS POST before moving on.

A) You finally decide to ask for help and you go to someone who can't really help you. She tells you to take a bath when stressed, to eat when hungry, and to go to the hospital when feeling suicidal. You leave, still, with no coping skills to use immediately. You feel worse than before and consider throwing in the towel. Oh, and her next appointment isn't for 3 weeks. Good luck with that.

B) So, after sobbing for what feels like forever, you peel yourself off the floor, call FIVE other places, and they don't accept your insurance and/or the first appointment isn't for at least 2+ weeks. Oh, but if you're really that sad, you should what? GO TO THE HOSPITAL!

I. Can't. Even.

This is everything wrong with the mental health system in a nutshell. I have been through an exhausting war this week and the battle hasn't even begun. I have yet to actually tackle all these wounds that are paralyzing me in my daily life. And what about the next trigger? Will it be my last? As I listen to my children's laughter, this scares me to my core. I want to get better, to feel like I'm not being pulled under with no air left to breathe.

And somewhere in me, I know it's now or never.

To those of YOU suffering, if I can go through the humiliation of posting all of my experiences, put myself out there despite the shame and [mostly] fear of no one giving a rat's behind, YOU can reach out for help, too. Please take advantage of the screenings offered in your area in the next week, or sooner, and get the party started. I will be with you every step of the way. Not really. But somewhere inside of you. That's what he said (I'm still me).

Please share this with everyone you know. It might save a life.


Candyland. OUT.