These are the Days of My (Fall) Life

Life is hectic right now. So yeah, I’m writing this blog post the night before it’s scheduled to go live. No promises on how good it’ll be, let alone whether I’ll manage to catch typos and grammatical crap that isn’t called out thanks to Word’s swiggly red and green lines. Like swiggly. Word doesn’t like that word. Thinks it’s misspelled. Should be wiggly or swingy.

To be honest, I didn’t know ‘swingy’ was actually a word, and okay yes, ‘wiggly’ would probably work to describe those handy reminders Word offers up. But I like swiggly. It’s wiggly with swagger, and who doesn’t like a good swagger?

Especially if it’s attached to a desperately in need of redemption bad boy.

Speaking of—side bar—I just finished an amazing book with a hella sexy bad boy. I spent a fair portion of the book working myself up, figuring there was no way in hell this author could redeem him properly. He was that bad. And she did what I thought was impossible, thank God, because I truly thought I would finish the book and throw my phone against the wall with fury because the hero ended up not being much of a hero. I was so relieved I damn near cried.

The book’s called Beautiful Beast and the author is Aubrey something-or-another. I’ll have to look it up for you.

(Here it is: Beautiful Beast on Amazon)

So back to swiggly and swagger and my hectic life. (Although maybe now that I’ve finished that incredibly addictive book, it suddenly won’t seem so hectic. Because yeah, I was having a hard time focusing on the real world while reading it.)

It’s always crazy this time of year. It’s that part of the summer when it hits you that it’s almost over, so you do whatever you can to spend as much time doing summer stuff as possible, like you should have been doing for the past three months.

And then there’s back to school, which, now that we moved the kid to a different school means earlier than normal (public schools in the state of Michigan don’t start until after Labor Day, since tourism is an obscene amount of our state’s budget—hello, have you seen our state?—and Labor Day is a huuuuuuge tourism weekend).

Like next week earlier. Which will likely sneak up on my every single year until she graduates, I’m sure. Because geez, summer’s still in full swing, and now I have to make sure she has a haircut and that her uniform fits, make sure her shots are up to date (that makes it sound like she’s a dog, doesn’t it??), purchase all those school supplies we suddenly have to have in less than a week. Oh, and we’re going out of town for the weekend prior to the first day of school (not exactly well planned), so yeah, everything has to be done by this Thursday.

And let’s not forget football. Just to be clear, I could give two shits about football. The only game I ever watch is the Super Bowl and that’s only because I’m surrounded by friends and drinks and delicious, unhealthy food, watching the best commercials I can expect to see all year long. And for whatever reason, all those aspects make the rest of the game pretty fun too. Usually.

And yet football affects my life, adds to the insanity of fall, creates a whole additional layer of compaction as I try to balance an utterly impossible to balance load of life. How? Because the husband, who has a nice, normal day job, moonlights as a high school football referee. When my kids were little, I called myself a ‘football widow.’ It wasn’t quite as bad as being a football coach’s wife (okay, not remotely), but in my world, it was plenty bad enough. When you have two little kids and your husband is gone four or five days a week, it’s damn hard to manage. Oh yeah, and did I mention my day job gets insane at this time of year, too? And a few years ago, the owner had the brilliant idea to move the office thirty minutes further away from my home (I am convinced it was a personal affront and not because of the availability of real estate and tax breaks), which means my commute is a lovely, loooooong one hour each way. So when I work ten hour days, plus two hours of commute time, WHEN THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE?

And that’s the crux of all this whining. I miss my writing at this time of year. I want it, I crave it, I need it. It’s my wine. My chocolate, my sleep, my world. I need to write like normal people need to breathe. And finding time to do so at this time of year is hard. Really hard. (When you read that last bit, read it in a really, really, high pitched pitiful voice—there, that’s how I feel.)

Well look at that. Somehow, I managed to write a blog post after all. While I’m on this roll, I should probably try to get in some words on the latest manuscript.

After I make dinner.

And convince the kid to shower.

And walk the dog.

And clean the kitchen.

And do a load of laundry.

And water the flowers.

And … pass out on the couch.

Did I mention it’s already after seven in the evening?

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund is an author, award whiner (see what I did there?), and wine drinker. She prefers the wine without the ‘h’ whenever possible, but sometimes, a girl’s gotta vent.

Check out her website here: www.tamilund.com

Post Vacation Blues

My last blog post was about anticipating my annual vacation at the lake; this one is about the post-vacation blues. I’ve been home four days and I desperately want to go back.

Could be the day job. Not that I hate it, but it isn’t related to writing, and writing is my dream job, so…

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Could be the fact that I do not actually live on a lake, during my non-vacation time. Sure, there’s one at the end of the road, but that requires loading all the stuff into the car and driving down there. By stuff I mean a cooler full of drinks and a few snacks, not to mention rafts and tubes and towels and sunscreen and the dog and the kid and…the list sometimes seems endless. For a precious few hours’ fun. Not that we don’t do it regularly, but it sure would be nice to walk out my front door to the water.

Maybe it’s the fact I live in the city. Okay, in the ‘burbs. And I hate it. Okay, I don’t. I love my neighbors, I love my neighborhood. It’s nice that everything I need is less than a twenty-minute drive away. And when I want to get cultured, downtown is only an hour away. Easy, fairly convenient.

But that drive includes traffic and construction delays and then there’s the noise and the people and more traffic. I’d just like to try living in the middle of nowhere for a change. To see if I’d enjoy it as much as I suspect I would. If I hate it or get sick of it, I’ll wave the white flag and admit I’m wrong and move back to the city. I promise.

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Maybe it’s the inspiration created by sipping coffee early in the morning, perched next to a large body of crystal clear water, with only the sounds of nature accompanying me. Loons, mourning doves, water lapping at the shore. A fork rattling against a plate in someone else’s kitchen; a kid crying because he wants to swim before breakfast. Okay, those last two aren’t exactly nature, but they’re three doors down and part of lake-living. It’s amazing how far sound travels over water. How clearly, too. Can’t be a screamer when you’re living on a lake.

Wait, I’m getting off-track here.

“Up north” living as we call it here in the great state of Michigan, is inspiring. I always get a decent amount of writing done when I’m on vacation. Sure, it’s because I’m not at the day job for seven glorious days, but it’s also something else. The lack of distractions. Often, when we’re on vacation, we don’t have a decent internet connection, so I can’t spend a lot of time on social media or planning the next marketing ploy or begging readers to buy my books (although please do!) so I can leave the city and live on the water, you know, just to see if I like it.

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I suppose, if I’m truly going to live up north and write for a living, I probably have to choose a place with decent wifi. And then I’ll probably get distracted, thus reducing the amount of inspiration that lifestyle creates. But still … I’m still more than happy to try.

Really. I don’t mind.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is a writer, wine drinker, award winner, blogger, and dreamer. Mostly of sandy beaches and blue lakes. Oh, and of living on one, one of these days…Check out her website for books and more blog posts to entertain you: http://tamilund.com

 

All the craziness is happening!

Wow! So I’ve kind of gone into complete overhaul mode. New websites for both my pens, new covers for my sweet romance series, a new book coming in September… Lots of insanity going on this way!

First check out the new covers:

Whoot! Love them!!

And the upcoming new release!

This Old Cafe_500Jenna Reid purchased the Stonehill Café to prove to herself that her ex-husband was wrong…that she could make her dreams come true. Three years later, all she has is a crumbling building, no social life, and her bruised pride.

Pride is something Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Maguire lost long ago and isn’t likely to find living in the alley behind the café. He just needs a little time to get on his feet. In the interim, keeping an eye on the overworked café owner gives him a sense of purpose. He has no intentions of making his presence known until he hears the woman screaming late one night.

He rushes into the café but instead of finding her in dire straits, he finds a broken pipe and Jenna—soaking wet and holding a wrench. With her last bit of hope fading, Jenna accepts Daniel’s help to fix up her building, but it doesn’t take long for them to start trying to fix each other.

Coming in September!

But what about those new websites? Well, check ’em out!

http://emiliamancini.com/

http://marciboudreaux.com/

Okay, so some things are still getting shuffled and tested and tried and updated, but they are still beautiful and I love them and I couldn’t wait to share. Hope you like them, too!

Em

 

 

Time for a Change

Cancun Series website sm bannerWhen I completed my first romance novel and was ready to start pitching to publishers, I knew I had to build a brand which included graphics that looked the same across all forms of social media. Since my first book was based in Columbia and my second in Mexico, I decided a global look would be appropriate. My initial website banner was a map of the world.

Black Swan website sm bannerThree years later, and ten more books, my brand needs a facelift.

I have started with my website. I looked at dozens of websites by some of the most successful authors in the industry before selecting the elements I wanted to include in mine.

I invite you to check out my website and tell me what you think. Please be honest. Is it easy to maneuver? Is it intuitive?

Guardian Elite Series website sm bannerThere are twenty pages on this website and nearly 100 links, so I’m positive I’ve missed at least one, probably several. The first person to find a messed up link, or one that doesn’t take you to the right place, will receive a prize! Be sure to post the page and the link in the comments below so I know what needs to be fixed – and who gets a prize. 🙂

Several may win because there’s one prize for each missed link. (Hoping this doesn’t get embarrassing!) 

CLICK HERE to check out my website

 

Tami Lund Talks Beaches, Family & Making Memories

It’s almost vacation time again.

Every year in late July, my family, my dad, my siblings, and our kids all get together for a family vacation. We spend a week straight living in a (sometimes far too small) cottage on a lake in a rural part of Michigan.

Our requirements: two bathrooms (we’ve learned a few lessons over the years), a beach, and enough beds to accommodate all of us. That’s pretty much it. And to be honest, it’s all about the beach.

We go to a different lake, a different area of the state each year. One year we stayed on Mullet Lake, which connects to various other lakes through a network of rivers that are easily negotiable via a rented pontoon. The house wasn’t at all as advertised – the bedrooms were closets and my husband and I had to sleep on bunk beds. I didn’t get much sleep because I was afraid the bed would collapse at any moment. Not because I’d gained an excess of weight that year, but because they were that rickety.

Not to mention the kitchen sink that kept backing up and the fact that the owner hadn’t cleaned before we arrived.

But the water was crystal clear, the weather was utterly perfect, and those cruises up and down those rivers created priceless memories. That particular vacation was also the one that inspired me to start writing again after I’d stopped while in college.

One year we went earlier than usual. A whole month earlier. We should have known it was a mistake – heck, we joked about it. Summer doesn’t really start in Michigan until July Fourth. Everybody knows that. Yet we took our summer vacation the last week of June.

And froze our collective asses off. Which was probably for the best considering the lake we were staying on was questionable at best. The cabin was cool, though, and plenty big enough. We played a lot of cards that year. Talk about family bonding. Plus, that particular vacation fell on my daughter and my niece’s birthdays, and they thought it was loads of fun to celebrate in a log cabin.

Then there was the year we rented two cabins side-by-side. Each evening we came together for dinner at the picnic tables we lined up between the two dwellings. One evening when it was pouring rain, we sat at a long table on the covered, screened in porch attached to one of the houses, and taught the kids how to play Up and Down the River (also known as Crazy Bridge). I was reliving my own childhood that evening; the summers I spent at my grandparents’ house or their cottage on the lake. One of my fondest memories, frankly.

Another year we stayed in a house on a spring-fed lake. That lake was so clear you could see all the way to the bottom no matter where you were or how many feet deep it was. That was also one of the hottest summers on record in Michigan. It was 90 plus degrees every day. And the house did not have air. No worries, though – that lake was freaking cold. (Spring fed, remember?) And utterly perfect. Had it been less than 90 degrees, we wouldn’t have spent nearly as much time in the water.

To top it off, there was a sweet spot off the end of the neighboring dock, and the kids and my dad caught a mess of pan fish one day. Best fish fry of my life. There is nothing quite so satisfying or delicious as scaling and then eating fish you caught only hours prior.

One year we went to the Upper Peninsula. Yes, I know, who the hell goes that far north and expects to lounge on a lake all week? Pity, in truth, the weather was so cold (even in late July), because that was a gorgeous lake with an equally gorgeous view. Which we didn’t see much of because we spent our time huddled around the fire pit. All day long. But that was the year we rode a boat through the Soo Locks, ate the most amazing whitefish I’ve ever tasted, visited Drummond Island, and wandered around Tahquamenon Falls. We hardly spent any time in the water, but damn, that was a fun vacation.

Last year, the house was nice, the location perfect, but the beach was what felt like half a mile down a dangerously steep, zigzagging incline – and then the owners hadn’t kept it up so it was pretty mucky. Oh yeah, and then my brother dropped a canoe on my sister-in-law’s head. And the kids went exploring the woods at dusk and my brother and I panicked when they were gone so long, so then the adults fanned out, tromping through the undergrowth in the dark, calling their names, probably making the neighbors wonder at our collective sanity levels.

But we were all together (including my niece and nephew who live in another state and whom I don’t get to see very often) and across the quite small lake was a lovely sandy beach. It was easily accessibly via a canoe or kayak – or even a 1.5-mile trek around the perimeter. Probably the most steps I’ve ever put in on a vacation.

Summer vacay pic

The best part, of course, is spending quality time with the family. Hanging with my brothers and their significant others, my nieces and nephew, my kid, all of whom have managed to have fun even when the cottage was way, way too small or there was a line for the bathroom. Even when the weather didn’t cooperate.

Damn, I can’t wait to make this year’s memories.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund writes books, wins awards, drinks wine, and spends 51 weeks a year dreaming about the next summer vacation. Check out her website for your reading pleasure: www.tamilund.com.

Guest Post: Berry us blue by HL Carpenter

Berry us blue
by HL Carpenter

We have a confession to make. Sometimes…sometimes here in Carpenter Country we are not actually sitting at our computers all day working diligently on our next book. That’s right. Sometimes we…we go OUTSIDE! Into the SUNSHINE!

One of those special occasions took place in early May when we headed out to the u-pick field. Because we are serious blueberry pickers, we brought home enough berries to enjoy a few bowls fresh-from-the-field, to put a couple of handfuls on top of cereal, and to make biscuits, bread, buckles, cheesecake, coffee cake, crumbles, cobblers, donuts, muffins, pies, pancakes, scones, and ICE CREAM!

Are you screaming yet for blueberry ice cream? Us too. In fact, we’re going to take a break and sample a bowl. Here’s the recipe in case you want a break from your own busy day. You will need an ice cream maker (ours makes about 1½ quarts)and a blender or food processor for this recipe.


HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY ICE CREAM
1½ cups fresh blueberries, washed, and dried (slightly less than a pint of fresh, or you can use frozen berries if you drain them well)
1 pint (2 cups) heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk (whole or reduced fat, your choice – coconut milk is a delicious substitute)
½ cup sugar (more or less to suit your own sweet tooth — or teeth)
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Place rinsed blueberries in the blender or food processor and process for a minute or less.

Add the whipping cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla extract to the pureed blueberries in the blender.

Process 10-20 seconds, just until mixed – not too long, or you’ll have whipped cream.

Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 20 minutes.

If you like soft, milkshake-type ice cream, pass out the spoons and dig in. For firmer ice cream, scoop the ice cream into a container and freeze two hours.

Okay, break’s over – back to work!

We invite you to enjoy an excerpt from our cozy mystery, A Cause for Murder.

Septuagenarian sleuth Emma Twiggs thinks her neighbor’s death was an accident – until her friend Arnie says he suspects murder.
Arnie is convinced he knows the killer’s identity. He wants Emma to prove it.

Is Arnie right? And is he right in his belief that Emma’s best friend is the killer’s next target?

As Emma navigates madcap mayhem, multiple mysteries, and murderous motives, she discovers more than one person is hiding deadly secrets.

The question is, who has a cause for murder?

EXCERPT
It wasn’t the food. Happy Haven Retirement Community’s chef prepared delicious, artistically plated roast beef and mashed potatoes every Sunday evening.

Emma Twiggs set down her fork. No, the food wasn’t the problem.

It wasn’t the chatter or the whispers in the dining room, or the sidelong glances of other Happy Haven residents. Happy Haven was a hotbed of gossip and rumors. Being the topic du jour was familiar territory.

It certainly wasn’t her dinner companion. Arnie Bracken was always charming, kind, and intelligent, no matter what her best friend Olli thought.

No, food, chatter, and Arnie, combined or singular, were not the cause of her uneasiness.

The problem –

“I know what you’re thinking, Em,” Arnie said.

“Do you?” She picked up a glass of lemon-spritzed water and tried to swallow past the tightness in her throat. She could only hope he had no idea of what she was thinking.

“Sure.” He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “You’re wondering how someone as fit as Jo accidentally drowned in the swimming pool.”

Emma froze. Her fingers tightened on the glass. The chatter in the room faded into muted background noise. She had deliberately not been thinking about Jo. She would not think about Jo. How did Arnie know she’d been thinking about Jo?

“I’ll tell you how,” he said. “Jo was murdered, and Cahan murdered her.”

“I am not thinking about – Murdered?” The lump in her throat expanded to the size of the Brussels sprouts on her plate. “By Todd?”

“Murdered. By Cahan. And we need to prove he did the deed.”

“Arnie.” Emma set the glass on the table and uncurled her fingers from it. She coughed to clear the non-existent Brussels sprout from her throat. “The paramedics told us Jo’s death was accidental. An accidental drowning.”

“Yeah, I know all the euphemisms they used.”

Emma did too. The headline in Harmony Notes, the local daily, had read TRAGIC ACCIDENT AT HAPPY HAVEN. Unfortunate was the word murmured most frequently at the funeral service, followed closely by regrettable.

She said, “Harmony’s police department and the district medical examiner agreed with the paramedics.”

“They’re wrong.”

A trickle of condensation wept down the side of the glass and puddled into a teardrop on the table. All the words used to describe Jo’s death were wrong. Wrong and inadequate. Words were inadequate now too.

Because this was the problem she had been avoiding.

Her role in Jo’s death.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Florida-based mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write sweet, clean fiction that is suitable for everyone in your family. The Carpenters write from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happening in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, and their Amazon Author Page.

A Virgin and a Prisoner Walk into a Bar…

It’s a new release. It’s the end of a series. It’s the story of a woman who’s job is to save the world, and a man who’s job is to destroy her. Good thing he’s a prisoner. Except she’s become friendly with him, which cannot possibly bode well, for, well, anybody…

Here’s a taste of PRISONER OF FATE, Book 3 in the Twisted Fate Series:

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The First’s pet Rakshasa lounged in the wicker chair, one cotton-covered leg crooked over the armrest, the other perched on the floor. He hummed a tune Lily didn’t recognize, while he twirled what looked like a grilled jumbo shrimp on a stick.

He abruptly stopped humming and lifted his face and sniffed the air. Lily scuttled behind a nearby pillar. She waited until her heart wasn’t beating quite so erratically, then she peeked out from behind the column.

The shifter stared directly at her with unblinking black eyes.

“Oh,” she squeaked, unnerved by the solid, steady stare.

“Chala.” His voice was deep, like that actor from the insurance commercials she saw on television.

Lily felt that intense sense of awareness sweep through her again, licking at her insides, making her feel both hot and cold at the same time. She dropped her head back and leaned against the cool pillar and gave in to the racking shiver.

“No need to hide, Chala. I cannot harm you so long as you remain outside the reach of my lovely necklace.” He chuckled at his own joke.

Lily risked another look. He still lounged on the wicker chair, although the shrimp on the end of the stick was gone. And he still watched her with that breathtaking intensity.

“I–I didn’t think you would be awake,” she stuttered.

“I wouldn’t think you would be awake,” he countered. “It is terribly late. Is it not past your bedtime, Chala?”

Lily slowly stepped out from behind the pillar and stood next to it, feeling oddly exposed. Not returning to her room to change suddenly seemed like a poor decision.

“It’s Lily,” she said. “Lily Gallow. I hate it when people call me Chala,” she said, hoping he would appreciate the show of solidarity. She had to believe he hated to be referred to as “Pet.”

“Why? Are you not a Chala? Have my senses finally gone askew, after all this time?”

“Yes, I am. But I have a name, and I prefer people use it. Just as I imagine you do.”

“Are you asking for my name, Chala?”

“Yes,” she said boldly. “You must have one. Everyone has a name.”

“The First does not,” he pointed out.

“She does,” Lily countered. “She just chooses not to use it. You, I assume, didn’t have a choice in the matter.”

He paused, watching her for several heartbeats worth of time. “No,” he said finally. “I was not given a choice.”

Lily rolled her eyes. “I take it you aren’t going to tell me.”

The shifter chuckled. “Maybe I do not remember. I have been called Pet for a thousand years, you know.”

Lily shook her head. “You remember. I’m sure of it.” She paused, and when he still did not offer his name, she asked, “What do you miss most about your freedom?”

The shifter stared at her, blinking far less frequently than most other people she’d encountered. Finally, he sighed and kicked his foot into the air.

“I haven’t had a good kill, a good steak, or a good fuck in a thousand years. I miss everything, Lily Gallow. Everything.”

Fall in love with the entire Twisted Fate series…

ofloveanddarkness-large  PrimAndProperFate  PrisonerOfFate_200x300

Of Love and Darkness – Meet Gavin, a cursed Rakshasa, and Sydney, the last remaining Chala on earth. It’s up to her to save her species. A species, by the way, that Gavin’s kind wants to destroy. Except he’s cursed and believes he’s like her. Oh, and he happens to think they’re mates. This is definitely not a match made in heaven.

Amazon US        Amazon UK        Amazon AU       Amazon CA     Free in KU

Prim and Proper Fate – After double-crossing Gavin and nearly getting him killed, Brandon now finds himself in the precarious position of actually trying to save the cursed Rakshasa, because, well, some dumbass Fate un-cursed him. Brandon reaches out to the one person he knows can help—a prissy, too-good-for-her-own britches Fate named Prim, whose body makes him think anything but proper thoughts. Prim also happens to have a secret. One that could save their kind.

Amazon US               Amazon UK       Amazon AU      Amazon CA      Free in KU

Prisoner of Fate – Lily is a 170-year-old virgin shifter who has been hiding out on a desert island for her entire life. Now that she’s joined the real world she resents her responsibilities to her species: To choose the right mate and get to work repopulating the world with Light Ones who will protect the humans. Which is the very last thing she wants to do.

And then she meets Matteo, a Rakshasa—those shifters who like to eat humans as snacks. He’s been a prisoner of the Fates for a thousand years, and she has no business befriending him.

Lily never knew she had a thing for bad boys…

Amazon US           Amazon CA         Amazon AU        Amazon UK           Free in KU

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund is a wine drinker, award-winner, and writer of sexy and funny book series. There’s more at www.tamilund.com.