Me, a cage fighter? Only on April 1.

 

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(free photo via WordPress)

(Author’s note: this was written for a special edition April Fools in our office newsletter. The funniest part wasn’t the article, it was when someone who read the newsletter called to congratulate me on my new profession – and he didn’t know it was a fake article. It IS satire, by the way.)

Those who are used to calling the corporate office and talking to Chris Cacciatore will have to do without her for the next several months, as she is taking an extended leave of absence to fulfill a dream she has had since she was young—to be a WWE wrestler.

“I grew up around my two uncles, who were more like older brothers.  My formative years were spent fighting off offers of ‘Hertz Donuts’ and twisty Indian burns, among other things.  I also learned that the suggestion of ‘let’s see who can hit the softest’ was clearly not to see, in fact, who hit the softest.

“I grew tired of being pummeled.  I began working out in the gym and eventually honed my body into a fighting machine.  Soon, a trainer approached me about getting into the ring to do some professional wrestling and I thought, why not?”

Chris spent ten years in the wrestling circuit, learning famous moves such as the “Tombstone”, the “Flying Headbutt”, and perfecting “the People’s Eyebrow”.

“I stole that last one from The Rock after I beat him in a cage match,” Chris snickered.  “I also have a new move that I plan on debuting later:  “The Reverse Dog Lay”.  It’s adapted from the “Downward Facing Dog” pose used in yoga.  It lulls your opponent into a false sense of security before you steamroll them completely.”

Chris’ husband, Joe, supports her sabbatical completely.  “I pretty much have to,” he confided, looking to see if his wife Chris overheard.    “You don’t want to mess with her.”

Let Me Tell You About My ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ Weekend

It was the weekend of April 13-15, long after Mother Nature should have retired her snow and ice.

Damn that Mother Nature.

So anyway, she didn’t. Retire either snow or ice, I mean. In fact, she hit us with both. Because if you’re going to extend winter far beyond what’s proper, let’s do it with serious style, apparently.

My family and I were supposed to go visit my dad for the weekend. He lives about two and a half hours away, due north, close enough to see on the reg but, as he said when he moved there, “Far enough away that you can’t dump your daughter on me every single weekend.”

(My dad’s pretty cool, for the record. He was kidding when he said that. Mostly.)

He also lives far from the city, which is particularly attractive to me, the one who hates the city. Might have gotten that particular trait from him. So yeah, chillin’ at his house in the woods for the weekend sounded pretty damn good.

Until I glanced at the weather report.

Ice. Snow. Rain. Ice. Ice. More snow. Ice.

“Don’t travel if you don’t have to.”

Beginning Friday evening and extending until 5pm on Sunday.

So basically, if I’m reading the weather reports correctly, assuming I actually make it to his house, I’ll be stuck there, at least until Monday. Tempting, but…

So we stayed home. And did a whole lot of staying home. Pajamas. Movies. Wine. More pajamas. I spent a whole lot of time in front of my computer, while my husband and daughter binged on Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes.

(He’s seen the series a hundred times; she’s just being introduced. Such cute father-daughter bonding time. Especially the questions she’s asking as a result of the snarky dialogue: “What’s an orgy?”)

I wrote 20k words. That’s write, I mean, right: 20,000 words. Oh man, did it feel GOOD. Orgasmic. (Yeah, there were a few of those in those words. I write romance after all.)

Sunday evening, my husband made a delicious homemade beef stew. And opened a bottle of cab from Napa Valley, circa 2013. Words cannot adequately express how freaking amazing that wine was.

He said, “Damn, we should have saved this for a special occasion.”

I said, “Hell no. This was perfect. Special occasions generally involve other people and no way did I want to share this bottle with anyone but you.”

We’re so romantic like that.

And life was good. Rosy. Fulfilled. Peachy. We went to bed Sunday evening and I thought, “That was an unexpectedly great weekend.”

And then Monday morning, April 16 happened. It was quite literally a succession of coincidences and dumb luck.

First, my suitcase from my spring break vacation two weeks prior was parked on the landing to the basement stairs, because I thought if I put it there I would actually take it downstairs and put it away.

When I woke up to get ready for the day job on Monday morning, I finally had enough of moving the damn thing out of my way every time I went outside or to the laundry room or, let’s be honest, down to the basement. So I grabbed it, flipped on the light, and headed down.

And stepped in water.

Uh-oh.

To be fair, our basement does flood on occasion, but it’s not real flooding. It’s in the northwest corner and it sort of seeps up through the floor when it rains a lot, and it’s probably a result of the roots from the really old shrubs on that side of the house.

But this, this was way more than that, plus it wasn’t in that northwest corner. It was…well, pretty much the entire basement.

Yikes!

So I texted my boss, “Um, I think my basement’s flooded, so I’m not coming in today.” And I woke up my husband (lucky bastard goes into work a full hour later than I do), who went downstairs and said, “Uh, the sump pump isn’t working.”

Oh shit.

If you live in the Midwest US, Northeast US, and probably the parts of Canada that actually thaw for the summer, I know you are cringing right now.

For the rest of you that means, well, think about it: I have a basement, and by definition, that means the room is entirely below ground level. Or damn near, anyway (it does have windows, although they are pretty high and tiny). Which means when it rains—and snows, and ices, and then warms up so that all that frozen precipitation turns to water—the sump pump has to collect the agua pouring toward your house and pump it up, up, and away from your basement. And if the sump pump doesn’t do that, well… hello, insurance claim.

Yeah, this needed to be dealt with, pronto.

So I did what any red-blooded human being would do: I called my friends.

Help! Help! Does anyone know how to fix (or, eek, replace) a sump pump???

And like awesome friends do, one of mine came to my rescue. She called probably ten seconds after I texted her and said, “My husband has replaced three sump pumps for us. He’s on his way.”

God love her.

And him.

Side note:This is so totally a romance novel epilogue, don’t you think? Heroine finds her happily ever after with hero and author thinks, I need to let my readers know they really, truly did have an HEA. So she writes this adorable epilogue about the heroine’s best friend who’s in a bind and the heroine sends her fabulous, wonderful husband to the rescue. Except in a romance novel, he’d drag his best friend along, and this epilogue would be the start of the second book in the series…

Wait, back to reality.

It wasn’t an easy job. Sump pumps don’t ‘get repaired.’ They get replaced. And usually when you figure out it’s time, the basement is flooding, or damn near. Which means water is pouring into the concrete hole in which your sump pump resides at an alarming rate (only alarming when the pump doesn’t work, FYI).

We had two minutes in which to work. (By we, I mean “he.” All I did was time how long it took for the water to fill the hole before the old sump pump kicked on and sucked it all out again, which was, to reiterate, two minutes. Also, even though he got the old one working again, it needed to be replaced. Like, stat.)

And he did it. Boom. Two minutes. Switched out one incredibly corroded and old, old, old pump for another, brand new, pretty, stainless steel beauty.

(I don’t want to make this weird, because these are my real life friends I’m talking about in this post, but damn, doesn’t this sound like an awesome scene from a romance novel??)

Which wasn’t sucking the water out.

Oh, it was working, just not fast enough.

You see, I live in an old house. Not, like, historical landmark old (which would be so cool), but, like, not-remotely-up-to-code old. What that means in terms you and I can understand is: the pipe that sucks the water out of the house and spews it into the front yard wasn’t big enough. Back in the 60s, when my house was built, they thought it was. Today’s reality: we need a pipe that’s twice the size of the one currently hooked to the over-worked sump pump.

Twice. The. Size. Think about the Mississippi River and, oh, some random creek meandering through, I don’t know, anywhere.

That’s the difference, when you factor in the number of feet up (like defying gravity up) the pipe has to push water so that it’s out, out, and away from my basement.

Commence bailing. My friend’s husband and I started scoping water from the sump pump well and running it up the stairs, through the garage, and out onto the driveway, for literally an hour, while he tried to piece together exactly what to do next because what we thought was a miracle wasn’t working.

“I’m going to run to the hardware store, see if they have [insert gobledegook here—or at least that’s what it sounded like as I rushed past him, water-filled bucket in hand], I’ll be back as quick as I can. Hold down the fort.”

That’s what my friend’s husband said at this point.

So I held down the fort. I ran up and down those stairs, scoping and dumping water, for… maybe five minutes.

Yeah, five minutes later, he pulled back into my driveway. I’m not even sure it was that long.

“Wow, that was quick.”

“Yeah, I found a plumber at the end of the road.”

I am not joking. That’s what he said to me.

“He’s on his way down here right now.”

That’s the other thing he said to me.

And guess what? This guy (kinda cute, like, might be the muse for my next plumber-hero) hurries down my stairs to look at my almost-overflowing sump pump well.

Seriously?

Even I paused at that point. Like, wait a minute, is this real life? Because it’s reading like a book right about now. Not a nonfiction one, either.

But yeah, that’s what happened. My friend-with-plumbing-experience left my house to go find some part that might possibly solve my flooding problems, made it to the end of my street (which is like 800 feet long), spotted a plumber at one of my neighbor’s houses, and convinced him to come down to my home to fix my problems.

Does this shit happen in real life?

(Sure, but it costs and arm and seven legs, but we won’t get into that right now, because that’s not particularly romantic.)

So anyway, that’s what happened. My basement flooded. I texted a friend. She sent her husband to help. He tried. It didn’t work (through no fault of his own), so he tried again. Found a plumber. Plumber charged me a million dollars (not really; it was pretty much exactly what I expected if I didn’t use a friend), fixed the flooding problem.

Happy ever after.

Yet one more reason why I write romance. Because the HEA…happens.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund writes romance. Wins awards. Drinks wine. And writes about the plumbing problems in her 50 year old house. Because, why not?

http://tamilund.com

Now Available

There is nothing quite like release day! All the love, hard work, and hair-pulling stress finally comes to fruition! It’s a huge sigh of relief, but not even close to the end of the journey.

Even so, I’m happy to sit back and take a big breath today, as I release my latest book baby upon the world.

California Can WaitReporter Andrea Davidson isn’t running from her mistakes. There’s no escaping the career-ending mess she fell into back home. But she is moving forward, and is halfway to a new life in California when someone breaks into her motel room. She’s lost her computer and her dignity, but that’s only the beginning of her newest problem: local news editor Graham Bradley.

Graham Bradley doesn’t know a thing about the newspaper business. A widower with a promise to keep, he’s got more than just his own personal welfare riding on this small-town paper. The last thing he needs is a pushy woman with a secret in her past and a vicious red pen throwing all his mistakes and insecurities front and center on his desk. Faced with an impossible choice, Graham hires Andi, but hopes she’s not just the last-and maybe worst-in a long line of bad decisions. Saving the small-town Gazette is the second chance both Andi and Graham need.

But with bill collectors calling, Andi’s past catching up fast, and the chemistry between them making work next to impossible, will Andi and Graham get the second chance they both desperately need? Or will their demise be the next big headline?

Buy now:

Amazon

B&N

itunes

 

 

 

The Do’s and Don’ts (all Don’ts) of Texting and Driving

pexels-photo-230557.jpegWhich of these things don’t go together? A) Peanut butter and jelly. B) Cereal and milk. C) Bat and ball. D) Texting and driving.

Unless you have been living under a large cellular rock, the correct answer is D) Texting and driving. The weather is turning warm and sunny and people of all ages are making plans. You out? You out? You up? You out? Sup? Who dis? The problem is too many of those people can’t wait til they get home to make those plans…they’re texting while driving.

Here’s a thought…Don’t.

It might be my advanced age, but it infuriates me when I see people texting while driving. I’m livid when I’m behind a car and when the red light turns green, they’re paying no attention, resulting in a seven-car length gap between the first car and the texter. I only have a 13-mile commute back and forth to work every day, but during that time I still see tons of people pecking away at their tiny keyboards, not paying the slightest bit of attention to the road. Or the fact that I am having a fabulous hair day.

Your full attention must be on the road. Two years ago, I mistakenly thought I was the only person on the face of the earth who was talented enough to text and drive safely. I was “knee” driving while texting, and while I was looking down, my knee slipped, and I went into the other (empty, thank God) lane. God only knows what was so important it couldn’t wait. It scared me so bad that to this day there are gray hairs no Clairol will cover. It was enough to teach me a big lesson.

You should not text even while sitting still. Last winter, I was waiting to turn left into my work. There’s a wide turn lane in the middle of the four-lane road where everyone waits to turn left into the office building. A woman (not a teen, but an older woman) in her white SUV was traveling toward me, and she was paying no attention to anything but her not-so-smart phone. I was a sitting duck. To my horror, her car drifted out of her lane and veered directly into mine. I laid on the horn, and she looked up just in time to swerve over. The speed limit on that road is 45 and she would have hit me head on. I guarantee she didn’t need any coffee the rest of the day (maybe an ekg for her heart, though) as the adrenaline pulsing through her body at the near miss was enough to keep her up for several nights.

You should not text and drive, even if you’re stopped. If I had been looking down at my phone and not paying attention to traffic, even though I wasn’t moving, I would not have seen the White SUV of Death barreling toward me. I was watching and able to alert her to the impending crash, thereby saving my favorite shirt.

Mind your own business. This morning I was heading to work and a teen in a white car ahead of me was texting up a storm. She was weaving slightly from one lane to another while looking down. I figured if I could get up next to her, I would have her roll down her window and self-righteously tell her off. I’m old and crabby like that. As luck would have it, traffic halted for a red light and I was almost even with her when I noticed several things simultaneously. First, it was not a teen, it was a senior citizen. Second, she was not texting, she was drinking coffee, and third, I was so intent on busting her for texting that I failed to notice the car ahead of me was stopped for the red light. Only by the grace of God was I able to slam on the brakes and avoid an accident. I avoided humiliating eye contact with others around me. It was the longest red light of my life.

Texting and driving is extremely dangerous. Please don’t do it. No message is ever, ever that important that you should risk your life or the lives of others to check your phone. Not even if you think you’re skilled at doing both at the same time.

You’re not.

***

About the author:

Christine Cacciatore is a multi-published author who lives—and loves—to write. Together with her sister, Jennifer Starkman, she has published the magical novels Baylyn, Bewitched and Cat, Charmed, with the third book Elise, Evermore coming out soon. On her own, she has written Noah Cane’s Candy, a sassy holiday short romance and Knew You’d Come, a spicy paranormal romance novella. Also, Chris ventured into the Kindle Worlds Mary O’Reilly paranormal series and has written Trouble Lake and Grave Injury. They’re the perfect books to curl up with any time of year but especially Halloween…because they’re chock full of ghosts!

Chris is a member of the In Print Professional Writer’s Group in Rockford, IL and the Chicago Writer’s Association. In her spare time, Chris enjoys writing, reading, and coloring in her grandchildren’s coloring books with the good crayons. Chris is married to a devastatingly handsome man she met on eHarmony, has three children and a gigantic black dog who helps her pack lunches in the morning. She also has four of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world…with one on the way…and their antics keep her in stitches.

Marketing woes

 

Marketing can be an author’s worst nightmare. We’re creative types which doesn’t always gel with strong business sense. One of my favorite ways to lure people into my web…I mean, expand my reading audience, is offering free reads on my blog.

I’ve done short stories for Halloween in the past, and I’m currently posting a contemporary romance chapter by chapter.

In Dreams Collide, I’m having a little fun mixing romance and reality television.

Here’s the blurb:

Dreams Collide FINAL

Kendra Michaels has landed a much coveted spot on Music Star Dreams–the Reality TV show that has made past winners musical sensations. She never expected to make the cut, but now that she’s there, she’s trying to make the best of it. The last thing she needs is Jax, her team coach and country superstar, distracting her.

Jax Landry’s shining star was tarnished in his divorce and he’s just trying to get back what he lost. Somehow that doesn’t seem nearly as important when he realizes that Kendra has what it takes to make it big–if only she believed it. He doesn’t intend to pick favorites, but he can’t seem to stop himself.

When the producers and fans see the spark between them, any chance of playing it cool goes out the window.

I’d love for you to stop by and check it out. Not only do you get a free chapter each month, but you get to respond to the posts and offer feedback on what you’d like to see happen. When this wraps up, I’ll release the ebook for free online so readers can download the final product and know they had a part in its production. I think that’s a nice way to thank everyone for participating as well as saying, “hey…come see what I have to offer…”

But maybe in a slightly less creepy way.

You can find my “slightly less creepy” offer by clicking here.

As a reader, what types of freebies do you enjoy from authors?

 

Blue Collar Heroes are the Best!

Do you agree?

It is my humble opinion there are not enough of them. Blue collar heroes, that is. There are a trillion billionaires out there, but give me someone who works with his hands any day. A guy who gets a little greasy. Isn’t afraid to get dirty. Works really, really hard for that paycheck. And then comes home to treat his lady like a queen. Yep, those are the heroes you’ll find in these books.

My contribution to the blue collar romance genre, by the way, is a chef. Connor Rikeland. He’s always had big dreams of being a world famous chef, but extenuating circumstances have forced him to hide out in a little bayou town in east Texas, where he takes a job as a cook in a small Cajun restaurant. Lucky for him the owner is hot, single, and more than willing to share her bed.

Until things get complicated, that is. Eventually Connor’s going to have to choose: Emily Kate or fame and fortune.

Delicious Deception

 

 

Check out this list of awesome blue collar heroes for your reading pleasure:

I LOVE BLUE COLLAR HEROES

 

 

Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, and award winner. She writes all sorts of heroes, from blue collar to millionaire to vampires and shapeshifters, too. Check out her website. You’ll probably find a few you like: http://tamilund.com

Fun female field trip. (Not really.)

IMG_wkavozFor those of you who are squeamish, please, for the love of God, look away now. Don’t read any more.

For those of you who yearn to live vicariously through me…please, pull up a chair. Let me tell you about my day.

At 51-almost-52, my baby factory has been shut down for quite some time, due to the fact that I had my tubes tied after I had my youngest daughter almost 25 years ago.

I am now 300 months postpartum; I guess I should work on getting the baby weight off. (#tryharder)

A while back, despite having my tubes tied, I exhibited every single symptom of pregnancy. Sore boobs, lack of period, bloating, mood swings, nausea. In short, I was really, really fun to be around.   When I say really, really fun to be around, I am lying through my teeth.

Just when the symptoms made me think I should go buy a pregnancy test, (despite the slim odds) or a priest for my exorcism, what should happen?

Aunt Flo came to town.

And the flipping bitch didn’t want to leave.

I asked her nicely to leave. When that didn’t work, I pouted. I threw fits. I threatened.  I drank.  I bribed.

My family wisely hid the knives behind the furniture.

I finally said Uncle. I went to the doctor, explained everything, was examined, had blood drawn, levels tested, and a negative pregnancy test. All tests normal. (Praise God.) So far, so good. She then started me on something to help staunch the…well…you know. Besides the referral to an actual gynecologist, I thought that was the end of that.

Except that I had to get an ultrasound today.  And not just any ultrasound, mind you.

(*here’s where I would normally insert a picture.  However, I don’t have any pictures from the events of today that would be appropriate here.  After all, I don’t know you that well.)

The medical test from hell started when I had to drink 48 oz of water from 12:30 until 1:00 pm. I’m quite the water drinker. I drink water all day long. However, drinking this much water in ½ hour was enough to make even me gag.

I parked the car at the hospital and despite having my legs crossed tightly the entire time was able to get to the ultrasound department. It was approximately 7.5 miles from where I parked.  I was afraid I was going to be late.  The panicked staccato taps of my high heels on the tile floor took my mind off how badly I had to go to the bathroom.

Chris has a bad day

The first part of the test was uneventful. I greatly enjoyed the warmth of the ultrasound gel on my lower belly. It was very soothing. The room was quiet and the light was dim and I would have fallen asleep except for the excruciating pressure on my straining bladder.

When the test was over, I was led to the bathroom and told to take my time. I peed as if I hadn’t seen a toilet in a month. The relief was immediate and immense.

The ultrasound tech was hiding in the hallway and sprang out at me when I exited in the bathroom.

Her: “Are you ready for the second part of your test?”

Me: “Do you mean the part where I walk down the hall and find the exit?”

Her: (chuckling expansively) “Silly you. The second part, the internal exam.”

Me: (smile fades, face pales.) “No.  No, I’m not ready for that.”

Despite the elfin size, her iron grip lead me directly back into the room, where I am forced to “take off everything below the waist, but if you want to leave your shoes on you can.”

Leave my shoes on? Really?  And take everything else off?  I have on black high heels, no pantyhose. The thought of being nekked below the waist except for black high heels was a bit…pornographic to me. The shoes came off with all the other below the waist things, and I was grateful that I had a cute pedicure.

Funny what you think of, grooming wise, when you’re having an internal ultrasound. My toesies were not the only thing I had groomed, and I was glad.

“You’ll feel a slight pressure.” It was the only warning I got before the “wand” was “inserted” by Vlad the Impaler.

She apologized for the “pressure” over and over while applying said pressure and also for the fact that a couple of times I choked on it as it was coming up my throat.

Finally she finished up and withdrew the entire 3 feet of wand. I am thrown several dry washcloths to absorb all of the gel. I feel like the guy in the shower in “The Crying Game.”

She escorted me down the hall. I noticed that she kept looking to the right and left.

Me:   “Did you lose something?”

Her: “No. I’m just looking for the right sized broomstick. You’re not my only ultrasound today.”

***

(ps: everything turned out ok.)

About the author:

Christine Cacciatore is a multi-published author who lives—and loves—to write. Together with her sister, Jennifer Starkman, she has published the magical novels Baylyn, Bewitched and Cat, Charmed, with the third book Elise, Evermore coming out soon. On her own, she has written Noah Cane’s Candy, a sassy holiday short romance and Knew You’d Come, a spicy paranormal romance novella. Also, Chris ventured into the Kindle Worlds Mary O’Reilly paranormal series and has written Trouble Lake and Grave Injury. They’re the perfect books to curl up with any time of year but especially Halloween…because they’re chock full of ghosts!

Chris is a member of the In Print Professional Writer’s Group in Rockford, IL and the Chicago Writer’s Association. In her spare time, Chris enjoys writing, reading, and coloring in her grandchildren’s coloring books with the good crayons. Chris is married to a devastatingly handsome man she met on eHarmony, has three children and a gigantic black dog who helps her pack lunches in the morning. She also has four of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.

*I went home and told my friend Lambrusco all about it.
**originally posted on The Life and Times of Poopwa Foley