Dear Santa: A Letter from the Dog

don't get


Dear Santa,

I have penned several letters to you this year, all of them unanswered. This time, I waited until my human went to bed to use the laptop. Although you can’t read dog, I’m pretty sure you can read Times New Roman.

I have been a very good boy this year. I know this because my humans have told me so, over and over, especially when I’m outside using the potty.

Do you remember that present I asked for last year? A new playmate? And instead of a canine playmate, you bought the kitten they named Miss Whiskers? The one that showed up with a red bow on her tiny little kitten head?

It turns out that kittens are all cute and fluffy at first. Harmless. Tiny. Adorable. And then, before you know it, they turn on you.

Santa, I don’t want bones or chew toys this year. What I would really like this year is this: When you come to drop off the presents under the tree for my people, take that cat back with you. Please. That cat is a total beach. I know this because I heard my human say, “She never comes when I call. That cat is a little beach.”

And she is so mean! She hisses at me constantly, tricking my owners into thinking I’m the one being naughty. If I try to make friends and wag my tail at her, she tries to bite it. Once I bowed to her (yes, I’ll admit I was being sarcastic) and barked, and she whapped me across the nose. What other choice did I have but to chase her throughout the house?

It got me nowhere but chained up outside for an hour. Don’t get me wrong … I like outside, Santa, but the cat lay on the windowsill the entire time mocking me. It stung. I was humiliated. She was smug.

She frames me for household crimes, too. She unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper and left some by me while I napped. I got blamed. She got up on the counter and knocked down the box of dog treats. I know that mice can be a problem in the neighborhood so, Santa, I was merely keeping our home rodent free when I ate them all up. But did they thank me? No. I got a newspaper swat on the rear.

The worst thing, though, is that Miss Whiskers hides. All the time. And when I least expect it, she springs up from her hiding spot behind a door or whatnot and scares me half to death. Twice now, the fright has been enough to make me piddle a little bit on the floor. I bet you can guess who they blamed for that one, too.

As you can see, she has to go.


Cooper the dog

PS: Sorry about the Christmas tree. The beach knocked it over.

Introducing A New Series: B.A.D. Alpha Dads

Coming Soon Header

I’ve joined a new project, and it’s a hella BAD new series. It’s comprised of a bunch of authors, all writing paranormal romance, all writing as part of a series, although each book will be stand alone. The premise: A sexy, alpha baby daddy learns he’s got a kid–and now he has to figure out how to raise it. Oh, and naturally he’s gonna fall in love in the process. And by process we mean, he’s gonna have lots of steamy scenes with the heroine as they fall for each other and decide to make their dysfunctional family a happily ever after dysfunctional family.

A few of my author friends are already well into writing their books and I thought YOU would like a taste of what this series will be like…

This first one is from Midnight: Psychic Retrieval Agency (B.A.D.) by TL Reeve & Michele Ryan. They’ve written A LOT of books together, so if you like this, you should check them out on Amazon:

In the last three years, I learned just how depraved people could be to one another. On my first case with my new friends Mane and Crow, we found a little girl chained to a post in the middle of a room. The only thing she wore had been a three-inch thick black leather collar. She had a small waste bucket in the corner, I doubted the chain reached, and a teddy bear. She stunk to high heaven and on top of everything else, she was half feral. The little she-kitten had been taken from her pride in South America and brought to the states to experiment on.

The kitten had telepathic abilities and the Psychic Bounty Hunters wanted her. Twenty-five years ago, the PBH had been shut down after a rogue handler and his agent/lover left a trail of destruction in their wake. They killed a senator’s son, chased two women to Window Rock and created twins with a shifter to try and make a super race of beings. The two women who showed up in Window Rock were the mates to Kalkin and Caden Raferty and ran the orphanage where Mane, Crow, and myself brought the children we rescued. The twins were also mated now. Both had children of their own and worked within the community of Window Rock. Their shifter father was also a member of the sheriff’s department.

Like I told my mom the last time I talked to her, I’d never find a more rewarding job than working for the Psychic Retrieval Agency—PRA for short. Not only did I free kids from a life of torture and sadness, I got to watch them change and come out of their self-imposed hells. Of the forty-five children we’d saved so far, fifteen of them were placed with families within the community and the others were either waiting on a judge to emancipate them, or Maria, one of the intake workers for the orphanage, tried to track down all known next of kin for the kids so they could be reunited with their biological families.


The Alpha’s Gift – This one is by Monica La Porta. She’s another one who’s written a TON of books. If the below snippet sounds intriguing, check out her Amazon page:

Max Prize is a dragon shifter billionaire who thinks that Seattle is his playground. One night, an special package is left at his doorstep, and Max’s life is changed for the best.

The arrogant alpha billionaire, the unexpected baby girl & the sassy nanny who will take care of both.

And here is a snippet for you:


Max parked his yellow Lambo in the garage of the Wild Ride Nightclub. He popped a mint into his mouth and exhaled the cold aroma slowly, savoring the bite. It was two o’ clock in the morning and the night had just started.

Chuckling at the memory of his last heated encounter, he looked at his reflection in the rearview mirror and smiled. The brunette had left a small hickey on his throat, and the skin on his back still tingled from the woman’s long nails’ attention. Her screams of pleasure had almost given them away as he slammed into her in the dark back corridor of True, one of the many clubs that were his hunting ground in Seattle. His dragon had growled the entire time, enhancing his pleasure.

Life was truly wonderful for a billionaire alpha shifter in Seattle.

His cellphone rung. He checked the caller ID with a frown. It was from his penthouse’s doorman.

“Hugo, what is the matter?” Max asked, leaning against the black leather seat. Boy, that woman had scratched her way through his back well and good, and the pain had only excited him more. He grew hard at the mere thought of her long, black nails curved in a come-hither gesture—

His doorman’s voice interrupted his pleasant wandering. “Mr. Prize, I apologize for calling you this late at night—”

“What is it the matter?”

“Mr. Prize, you should come back home,” the man said in a rush.

“I’m kind of busy right now.” Or he would be soon. Max had every intention to make his statement a certainty the moment he entered True.

In fact, he remembered two blondes in their late twenties frequenting the club for the last two or three months, and forever giving him not-so-subtle glances from the opposite end of the bar. Tonight, early morning, whatever, he had in mind to take them both back to one of the hotels he owned in the city for some fun. His dragon paced in his mind, anticipating the celebratory flight Max always indulged in after a night of pleasure.

“I apologize again, sir, but a situation has arisen that needs your immediate attention.” Hugo’s voice was somehow covered by what sounded like a wail of some sort.

“What’s happening?” Max’s thoughts went immediately to the most probable scenario. A woman had found her way to his penthouse and was now threatening the doorman to make a scene if Max didn’t show up.

“You’ve received a package…” the man’s voiced trailed at the end, drowned again by the most infernal ruckus Max had ever heard.

“What in the name of all that’s holy do you have there?” Had Hugo brought a cat to work?

“The package’s content I’m afraid,” Hugo said. “Please, Mr. Prize, hurry. I’ve already taken the liberty to call Mr. Wilson, and Grant is here with me.”

Max’s frown deepened as he swore in several languages. If Hugo had called Wilson, Max’s best friend and PR, whatever the situation was at his penthouse, it needed professional handling.

With a last, disappointed look at the club’s elevators, Max turned the engine of his sports car, shifted into reverse and let the Lambo’s roar fill the silent garage.


This series starts releasing in January, several books a month, for the foreseeable future. Lots of shifter love, lots of hot alpha book boyfriends for your reading pleasure. Keep up with our progress on the website:

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving for those in the U.S.! 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, a wine drinker, an award winner, and a member of this B.A.D. Alpha Dad writing gang. Her book is tentatively scheduled for release in April.

How Carol from The Walking Dead Gave Me a Great Vacation

It’s taken a couple of years to get used to not only having gray hair but feeling good about it. My hair is not just gray but in places, it is silver and white. It’s been there, lurking in my roots, for the last twenty years, a generous and unwanted gift from my paternal side. Over the years, I battled my roots with ferocity like other people would use insect repellent to keep away mosquitos, sunscreen to prevent skin cancer or vaccinations to avoid coming down with the plague. Dyeing my hair to combat the gray growing out was necessary.

Until suddenly it wasn’t.

Remember when Carol from the Walking Dead had a gray buzz cut? It wasn’t my favorite look for Melissa McBride. However, as it grew, I watched in fascination as Carol’s personality changed with it. When Sunday nights rolled around and my husband and I watched TWD, I marveled over her short, wavy, gray locks. I admired the emerging strength in a character who not only kicked ass in a post-apocalyptic world but also looked sensational doing it with that shiny silver hair.

All my life, I’ve had dark brown hair with “tinsel” running through it, and when my roots grew out, I was miserably two toned until my next hair appointment, when I’d get my shoulder length hair trimmed and colored again. Watching The Walking Dead, however, I started to fantasize about how great her haircut was, how easy it must be to style Carol’s silver locks.

In 2015, I decided it was time for me to rock my inner Carol. No more $80 hair appointments every six weeks! No more awkward home dye jobs! I had about an inch of gray hair that had grown out when I decided. If Carol could do it, I could too!

It was difficult to let it grow out because it was just so obvious what I was doing. I had a lot of people telling me how “brave” I was. Amy Schumer was right when she said, “I don’t want the word brave used to describe me.”

In June of that year I went to the hairdresser. We discussed what I wanted to do with my hair. She was a fellow TWD fan and when I said, “I want to look like Carol from Walking Dead,” that’s exactly what I left with. She gave me the haircut of my dreams. Since I had grown out so much of the gray, cutting the rest of it off was a no brainer. (zombies. No brainer. See what I did there?) It was so light! So pretty! Hardly anything to wash and so fun to style! (Also, where did that double chin come from? And has the back of my neck always looked like a package of hot dogs?)


Left to Right: Chris, Jenny, and Joe, the Collins children.



We went to Florida the next month where I could try out my new pixie cut. I adored it. I squeed over the steely silver color. I loved the waves I could style. I loved the little clips I could use. I loved the freedom. For once, I was trending—well, at least my hair color was. I told my hairdresser later that it was the best vacation I have ever had, all because of that haircut. She understood completely.

Recently I’ve let it grow out a bit. And since that transformation, it’s gotten more and more silver. It does look like I have ribbons of tinsel running through my hair. Mother Nature has given me highlights and curls and I love it. I also love paying for just a haircut now as opposed to dyeing it. If I scrunch it it’s wild and curly and very shiny. I love all things that sparkle and glitter, so it fits right into my personality.


with the Grandies.


But sometimes my hair does make me feel older.

Case in point. I was in Walmart and a toy I wanted to get was out of stock. A young male associate told me he’d check in the back. I stood there for a minute when I heard his voice. I rounded the corner and he was about 100 feet away from me describing what he was looking for to a fellow associate, and that I’d be easy to find, because I was—and these words are hard to type—“the older lady with the frizzy gray hair standing by the toys.”

I looked around for a little old lady for a second before it hit me with the force of a thousand knitting needles that he was talking about me. Me, the sassy silver vision with the devil may care curls that were gleaming and sparkly and glowed in the sunlight? I’m the older lady with the gray frizzy hair? The “older lady” who in a post-apocalyptic world would be one of the last standing, with a light blue cardigan and a tray of delicious cookies?

He threw the requested toy in my cart. I thanked him and plotted tying him to a tree so that the monsters could eat him up. This upstart had no idea who he was messing with or what I was capable of.  My chin went up as I headed out of the store.

As I went up to pay for the toy, I passed a rack of cardigans and throw a purple one in the cart because you know who wears cardigans other than Carol from the Walking Dead?

A silvery, sparkly, shiny unicorn.

A new release for Alicia Joseph


Another bound-to-be best seller for Alicia Joseph has just hit the stands in e-book and print. This young author’s style and voice tear at your soul. Joseph delivers more than a pretty tale. Her words create a web that wraps around the reader and draws them into a compelling story.

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality. After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.


I was jerked from my sleep while the phone was still buzzing its first high-piercing ring. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand beside my bed. It read 4:17 a.m. I knew something was wrong.

The second ring was abruptly broken up and my mother’s muffled voice carried into my room. I was already sitting upright in my bed when my bedroom door squeaked open. My mother’s slight figure appeared as a shadow near my door.

“Lyssa? You up?” she asked.

“What’s wrong?” My voice was no louder than a whisper.

I watched my mother slowly make her way into the dark room. I couldn’t make out the expression on her face, but the stiff movement of the outline of her body was hesitant.

She turned on the lamp and sat down beside me. Her face was pale. She let out short, shallow breaths. It seemed difficult for her to look me in the eyes.

“What is it?” I asked. “What’s happened?”

Finally, my mother looked at me with pain in her eyes. “Lyssa . . .” She smoothed her hand gently across my arm. “Abbey’s dead.”

I took in her words without an ounce of denial. The reality of what my mother had told me was instant.

My best friend was dead.

Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. Her first novella, Her Name, was published by Musa Publishing in 2014. Her Name is a sweet, romantic story about a woman who believes the beautiful woman she dreams about is the real love of her life.

Loving Again is her second published novella. Alicia is currently working on a new novel called A Penny on the Tracks, a coming of age story about love and friendship. Alicia has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.

Kindle Worlds ~ a primer

terri and me

L to R: Chris Cacciatore & Terri Reid

This post was originally published in May of 2017 on another blog, the Life and Times of Poopwa Foley in response to questions from the public about Kindle Worlds. Not too many people are familiar with Kindle Worlds and it was my important civic duty to educate them. 🙂


My writing group, the In Print Professional Writer’s Group, had a guest speaker named Terri Reid in the Spring of 2011.

She spoke to our group about her foray into self-publishing with the release of her first e-book, Loose Ends, a Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery. When we had secured her as a guest speaker, her book had been downloaded over 40,000 times. By the time she came to speak to our group, only a few months later, it had been downloaded 80,000 times.

Six years later, Terri is a best-selling author and not only has finished Book 19 of that series; she’s also written several other series and has fans around the world.

Because her books were selling so well, Amazon approached Terri with the idea to create a Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery World. She needed to assemble several authors for her end of June 2016 launch.

Here’s her email to me, in part: “I’ve been approached by Amazon to create a Mary O’Reilly Kindle Worlds – it’s like an Amazon fanfiction arena, but writers actually get paid for what they write. You write a story within the Mary O’Reilly World using the Mary characters and any other characters you want to create. You can write in any genre you want – as long as you use the main idea of the Mary O’Reilly World. 

“The other cool thing about this is that if an author has an established character in their own series – they can “visit” the Mary O’Reilly World and interact with Mary – but get publicity for their own character and book.”

To be honest with you, I could not say yes FAST ENOUGH.


Kindle Worlds is Amazon’s answer to fan fiction. Directly from their website:

“Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties.”

Before we started on our books, Terri sent us a character bible, describing the characters in her books that we could use. We were also told that if we wanted to, we could bring a character or two from one of our own books into the Mary O’Reilly Kindle World book that we were writing.

The nuts and bolts of it? Write a book over 10,000 words set in the Mary O’Reilly world. Add much or as little of Terri’s character (s) as you wish. Your book should be properly edited, proofread, and formatted. You will also need a cover for your book using the Kindle Worlds template found on their website. Kindle Worlds also puts a copyright page in for you, and prices your book, generally $1.99. Then writers use the self-publishing tool on Kindle World’s website and upload it. It’s extremely user friendly.

For the launch of the Mary O’Reilly Kindle Worlds, we all had to have our books ready and submitted to Kindle Worlds so they could go live on June 30 of 2016.

The day for the launch came. It was so thrilling. Six authors had brand new Mary O’Reilly World books to bring forth—a world where fans of the series were practically salivating to get their hands on books that featured her characters.

The following are links to the Mary O’Reilly Kindle Worlds books. Click on the name to be taken to their Amazon author page!

Chris Cacciatore wrote Trouble Lake in 2016 and Grave Injury in 2017. I believe that writing for the Mary O’Reilly Kindle World has been a boon for my writing career. For instance, in Trouble Lake I brought in two of my characters, Baylyn and Cat, from Baylyn, Bewitched. In Grave Injury, I wrote bought in a character from Knew You’d Come.

Vicky Holt wrote Safety Measures in 2016 and Missing Links in 2017, last month. Vicky says, “For the process of writing for it, that part is easy. Simple to upload and quick review process. It’s nice to see my work getting more exposure than it would, thanks to Terri’s awesome success. That’s probably the biggest perk.” Vicky also points out, “As far as I can tell, no extra marketing going on. I even find it difficult to find Kindle Worlds in a basic search.”

Jan Hinds wrote Widow Maker, (Otherwise Engaged Book 3) in 2016. Jan writes, “It was a wonderful experience and I took the opportunity to overlap some of my characters with Terri’s. I have gained several new readers in the process and am thrilled to meet all of you. Having been a fan of the Mary O’Reilly series I thoroughly enjoyed working with her characters. I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to Terri for enabling me to join this group and let my imagination mingle with Mary and her friends.”

Ophelia Julien wrote A Scattering of Bones in 2016. Ophelia writes, “Writing a story based on Terri’s characters and then having it go up for sale was an amazing experience. I loved being a part of it, and also meeting all of you in the process! I think there needs to be a lot of clarification on exactly what KW is. I have a review on mine that complains about me writing a story using someone else’s characters, and notes that if I have a story to tell, I should just write my own work and stop using someone else’s. Terri very nicely got on and addressed this, explaining in detail exactly what KW was and why all these people were suddenly writing Mary O’Reilly stories, and with her permission. But there are still folks who seem to have a problem with the concept and don’t quite seem to grasp the underlying intent of a KW story.”

Donnie Light wrote Tangled Trail in 2016 and True Song in December 2016. Donnie’s books are doing very well, and although I did reach out to him for a comment, I don’t think he’s on Facebook a great deal—probably busy writing!

Maureen Tan wrote Hair of the Dog in 2016. Maureen says, “I’d say my overall experience was good…fairly straightforward paperwork, publishing interface, and prompt payment of royalties. Oh, and I got to meet all of you, which was FABULOUS! Zero support, as far as I can tell, from Amazon on publicizing the books, so that was a little disappointing, mostly because it seemed like they were going to be more aggressive about it. I guess my biggest frustration with it was readers who didn’t understand the concept of Worlds–back to Amazon/Kindle Worlds maybe needing to do a better job promoting/explaining the concept.”

Mary Lamphere published Kinder Garden her first time out, and recently released Baker’s Dozen. She is one of the newer writers of Kindle Worlds. Mary says, “I find a lot of people I talk to want to dismiss it as “fanfic”. There’s a lot of terrific fan fiction out there, but the ONE people know is 50 Shades and that seems to be what they want to compare my work to. I figure those people will be disappointed either way, right?! My experience with KW has been fine. It’s still early for me, so not much to report. I definitely plan on writing more in the Kindle Worlds!”

So, what does a Kindle Worlds writer make as a result of writing a KW book? That $1.99 is divided into three parts—a third for the author, a third for Amazon, and a third for the owner of the World you’re writing in.

Terri’s fans are some of the most loyal in existence, and the sales for the first few months our books were out in KW were astounding. Fans of our own writing were buying our books, and fans of Terri Reid’s Mary O’Reilly series were thrilled to have books about her character to hold them over until Terri’s next book came out.

That’s the special thing about her fans—they are absolutely in love with Mary O’Reilly and her now husband, Bradley Alden. They can’t get enough of Mary’s close friends, Stanley and Rosie, and the ghost named Mike, who is their daughter Clarissa’s guardian angel. Her fans read them voraciously the day they are live on Amazon.

My advice to you if you’re a writer looking to gain readership? Go to Kindle Worlds, browse through all the worlds they have to offer, and pick one that interests you. Then get to writing! You have nothing to lose, and only readers to gain.

If you’re a reader? Click on this Kindle Worlds link and immerse yourselves in quality writing in worlds you love. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll meet some superb new authors!

From Zero to Fifty One in No Time Flat

I have noticed that there seems to be only three days in the week anymore. They are: Monday, Friday, and today. The weekends go far too fast. We shop for groceries on Friday night and one blink later, I’m packing lunches again on Monday. I refill our pill boxes, clean the bathroom, wash the floor one day and suddenly they already need to be done again because an entire week has passed. I have just gotten used to writing 2017 on our checks, for crying out loud.

Time is going way too fast and I don’t like it at all.

My father once told me that the years leading up to your 21st birthday go very, very slowly, but once you hit 21, your birthdays start coming in fives. He’s right. What he didn’t tell me was that after 30, they come in tens. 22366445_10154794883401603_6421149369811760401_n

I was joking with one of my kids that since I love Halloween so much, I should get the powers that be to rename October “Halloween.” It started me thinking, then, that the other months of the year could use a little tweaking too. I mean, since time is going by so quickly, might as well have some fun with it.

Therefore, I submit to you the new names of the months. For the Midwest, at least.

January shall now be known as Cold.

February should be known as Short and Cold.

March, I rename Icy. (or Cancun, for those lucky people who can escape the last little bit of winter by buying a plane ticket and flying to warmer climes.)

April shall be known as Slush.

May will be renamed Getting There.

June, I will call Pre-Summer.

July can stay July.

August shall be renamed Hot as Balls.

September is a three-way tie between School Begins, Parents Rejoice, and Those Fucking Yellowjackets.

October is, of course, Halloween.

It follows, then, that November shall be renamed Thanksgiving.

December can be called Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanza. For those who don’t celebrate any winter holiday, you may use Pre-Cold.

I will submit my suggestions and let you know what “they” say. If my suggestions are accepted, I’ll be sure to get some new calendars printed up.

They should be ready by August. I mean, Hot as Balls.