Saturday, I arted.

I had an incredible day Saturday with my family dying silk scarves. The only bad thing? One wasn’t enough. Heck, ten wouldn’t have been enough. It’s addicting!

Saturday morning, I gassed up my little Cruze (meep meep, 48 mpg highway) and picked up my girls for a little road trip into Plainfield, where we were going to meet two of my sisters and two of my nieces, as well as my mother. After the requisite McDonalds stop for a couple of breakfast sandwiches, we were on our way. It was going to be a fun day.

It wasn’t just a fun day, though.

It was a super fun day!

The eight of us gathered in the home of Jennifer Lagerwall, who with her husband has a cool set up in her basement where you can dye silk scarves. They run a business called Silk Avenue. You can bring a bunch of your friends (and snacks/drinks, if you so choose) and, working two at a time, create beautiful masterpieces that you can then take home and wear.IMG_20180623_130750

My sister and I went first, each choosing various shadesIMG_20180623_115231 of purple and pink for our colors. Then you drip paint carefully onto a big flat tray of water that has been thickened with a special ingredient, making it a little goopier. Think paper mache. You let drops of paint fall onto the water and they spread out, then you can pick different colors to accent your scarf. The best part is after your paint is all applied to the water, you can carefully guide a thin metal bar through it (or a piece of plywood with lots of bars) and the pattern swirls in delicious ways.IMG_20180623_122752_1

After we finished, we got to watch the others work on theirs. It was gratifying to observe them not only choose their colors, but show the vision they had for their own scarves.

We oohed. We aahed. Each was truly a work of art, and I could have done one scarf after another, seriously. It’s so addictive and none of them are the same.

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After our masterpieces were finished (it took us about two hours for eight of us) we all trooped to lunch where we were able to relax and chat.

I cannot recommend this type of afternoon highly enough. Our hosts were phenomenal and helpful, and it’s a really fun afternoon out for your book club, or girls from school, teacher friends, etc.

You get a really cool scarf out of it…not to mention, you get to hang out with your friends. It’s a win-win situation!

 

 

Last Chance to Grab this Magical Antho

Back in December, I participated in an anthology that was published with the intention of donating all proceeds to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. It’s titled 12 Magical Nights of Christmas.

12 Magical Nights Antho Cover

I’m proud to tell you we’ve donated thousands of dollars over the past six months. (And there will still be a few more donations, as we will continue to collect royalties until September!)

But that was all it was intended to be; six months. And that time is quickly coming to a close. On June 24th, as a matter of fact.

Which means you have only a few more days to support this great cause, and add a fabulous collection of paranormal short stories to your E-reader.

So hurry!

PS – Here’s an excerpt from my contribution to this anthology. It’s called Gift of the Gods.

Seamless Wallpaper Pattern, set of six colors

 

 

Chapter One

 

“I know Christmas is still a few days away, but I’ve brought you a gift, to prove to you I’m sincere.”

With the horse’s reins in his hand, Asher paused before rounding the corner of the stone building, cringing at the sound of Prince Julian Montclair’s oily voice.

No doubt he was talking to Princess Charlotte of Mecosta. Julian had been chasing the princess’s skirts since that day, ten years ago, when he’d come across Asher and Charlotte kissing in the woods and had been so furious, he had Asher thrown into the dungeons beneath his father’s castle.

Sure, Asher was a pauper, and the princess—well, she wasn’t supposed to be locking lips with someone so beneath her station—but gods be damned, they’d been thirteen at the time. The punishment hadn’t exactly fit the crime.

Asher had intended to give Juniper a run, but not if it meant he would have to interact with those two. Shaking his head, he turned to trudge back to the stable, but paused when Charlotte spoke.

“Why do you think you need to prove your sincerity by giving me a necklace, Julian?”

“The serving girl comes to mind,” Julian said.

“You insisted that was entirely innocent. Are you changing your story?” Charlotte’s voice was frosty.

“No, not at all. It’s just … I know you were upset by it. Even if it was innocent. Because, of course, it looked … well, we all know what it looked like.”

Asher leaned forward to better catch her response, which was silly since he doubted she would say, “It looked like you were trying to convince that serving girl to share your bed that night. And considering you’re a prince, it probably happened. Even though you’re supposed to be courting me and treating me like the princess I am, the queen I will someday be.”

But in fact, she didn’t say anything at all, and eventually, Julian cleared his throat. “It’s enchanted. See how it has started to glow with a blue light? That’s how you know your one true love is near.”

Yeah right.An enchanted necklace? Asher could conjure magic like that in his sleep. And he’d bet last week’s pay that Prince Julian paid someone to cast a charm over it. Because everyone and the gods were fully aware the man could barely invoke the simplest of spells.

But power and control were all about the station one was born into, and Julian Montclair has been one lucky son of a bitch—no, son of a queen—since the moment he came into this world.

“It’s lovely,” Charlotte said. “And it’s warm to the touch.” Her voice drifted over Asher, making him hard like it always did. He grit his teeth, angry with himself for being so stupid. There were plenty of women in the village who were of an acceptable station and perfectly happy to warm his bed for a day, an hour, a year, however long he was willing—and he wouldn’t end up on the gallows the next morning, either.

Yet all he did was yearn for a woman he couldn’t have. A woman he didn’t really want.

Okay, didn’t want to want.

***

Gift of the Gods by Tami Lund

He’s a pauper. She’s a princess.

Ten years ago, he spent three months in a dungeon as punishment for kissing her. He’s never forgotten the experience—or her.

Now, they’re stuck together in a cottage in the woods, in a snowstorm, days before Christmas, when she’s to become betrothed to another. They can’t have forever, but what’s the harm in taking advantage of tonight?

Some gifts are worth waiting for.

Grab the antho HERE, before it goes off sale on June 24!

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund

…is an author, a wine drinker, an award winner, and a lover of romance. She writes happily ever afters, one book at a time. Check out her website for more books, as well as the many ways in which to stalk her on social media: http://www.tamilund.com

 

 

Whoa, ho, ho…it’s Magic

One week ago today, we were sitting in an airport, waiting for a flight back from Orlando marveling at  how quickly a vacation can come and go.

Was it a vacation, though? I believe it was, only in the strictest definition of the word. “Vacation” implies that one relaxed. Slept in. Lounged.

This was not that kind of vacation because we were at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, and we had things to do, things to see, and ride attractions to experience…AND ONLY SIX DAYS TO DO THEM.

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I can feel the magic from here. It tickles.

Three years ago, I was introduced to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I am not ashamed to tell you, dear reader, that when I stepped foot into Hogsmeade, I cried. It’s magical beyond anything you could imagine. The shops, the music, the staff that populate the stores…all of it is geared to letting you have the most enchanted time of your life.

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it really is this glorious. even better in person.

Example: When I bought my interactive wand. (Yes, even at almost 50, I bought an interactive wand.) I finished up my purchase on a Chase card so my husband wouldn’t know how much it was and still doesn’t. The cashier handed me the receipt and a pen, and asked me to “sign for the Ministry of Magic.” Charmed, after I had done so, he handed me back my card and said, “Here’s your Muggle plastic.” Talk about getting—and keeping—you in the magic. Same thing happened when I bought a Gryffindor student robe this year…but we won’t talk about that right now. I modeled my wizard robe to my daughters and they both snickered so hard they fell off the couch. #nerd #bignerd #biggergeek

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Girls, don’t make me get my little friend.

I stood in line to do spells with six year olds and I don’t regret a single minute of it because the spellcasting fed my soul. I was actually pretty good at it.

This year, the cast of characters going to Orlando changed a bit, meaning it was extra fun because we got to watch two people who had never been there become just as bewitched as we were upon first seeing it.8CRUDME7NcVACQDd7K9H69buheuZyktXJzsId9Dzgy0eJxFPc

We drank butterbeer almost every day, sometimes sharing one because you could buy the froo frootiest drink at Starbucks and it STILL wouldn’t be as much as a butterbeer. Five of us shared the giant feast at Three Broomsticks restaurant. I rode almost every single ride except for the Hulk and Rip Ride Rocket, which I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole because reasons. We saw some Transformers, got a little wet on the Jurassic Park ride, and met Blue the T-Rex, who doesn’t like eye contact so my sister promptly made eye contact. Silly Muggle.

We had volcano nachos at Margaritaville,

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delish.

toured the Hogwarts Castle, and watched that very castle light up at night with the four different house colors. We had sushi at Cowfish,

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double cheeseburgooshi.

rode the Hogwarts Express train, and risked our very lives to take a picture with Jaws.

Screenshot_20180618-150146We wandered around Diagon Alley, where we watched the fire-breathing dragon scare the stuffing out of newcomers. We had dinner at the Chocolate Emporium. We sweated our butts off, since the average daily temperature was only slightly cooler than hell. In a related story, the first day there, I got a blister from new shoes. Fine. So I wore my old ones the second and third days, and developed even bigger blisters. My sister and I wore SPF 50 every single day and barely have any tan to speak of, even after a week of being outside in sunny Florida for six days. Yet despite the regular and vigorous sunscreen application, I still developed sun poisoning on my inner shins. K7y4l1S_dBNEOuUv0_WtzLs_FBlhyUEuxT5A2lnD0GceJxFPcI know, right? Unfair. I also started referring to myself as Sister Chris of the Wailing Hip. (I didn’t tell anyone that, though.) I cannot emphasize to you how sore I was…we were up (well, Jenny was up) freakishly early so we could get to the parks early, then we’d be there for seven or eight hours during which we walked, strolled, or in my case, stomped and/or lumbered, take your pick.  My sister Jenny, going through thyroid treatment, RAN CIRCLES around me the entire time we were there. #letmesleepfortheloveofgod

We also were, by some miracle, upgraded to suites. These suites were bigger than my entire house and had a full kitchen, two bathrooms, and a living room with a sectional, dining room, and FbgWeiN4bsTAbFFdKhINVT7XkSBQQ-WZGCtji6WdnwYeJxFPcconversation pit. The suite was so big we needed the GPS to find the bathroom. We also had good snacks delivered via Instacart. We rode the boat through the waterways to get to the parks each day. We had tropical drinks poolside, made memories and laughed until we couldn’t breathe.

It may not have been the lounging, relaxing vacation you think of when you think vacation, but I believe it might have been the most fun yet. As I kept saying to my sister, “I can sleep when I’m home.”

I cannot wait to do again. As a matter of fact, I’m going to go check–and clear–my Muggle calendar right now.

Things You Don’t Think About Until Tragedy Strikes

It’s been two years and two and a half months since my son made the incredibly devastating decision to leave us behind forever. He was thirteen and in seventh grade when he took his own life.

My daughter, the one child I have left, is about to finish seventh grade, and will be thirteen in a few weeks. I am already counting down the days until her fourteenth birthday. Even though that age begins a whole new era of challenges (hello dating, driver’s ed. on the horizon, and making decisions about college…), none of those can remotely compare to the fear that my other child will do it too.

Sometimes I tell myself, Come on, Tami, you know she won’t. And then myself whispers back, That’s what you thought about him, too.

It’s an argument I’ll never win. But in my head, I’m convinced the argument will become less vocal, less at the forefront, once she moves from thirteen to fourteen. Subconsciously, I will believe the threat of suicide will have reduced significantly, even though, realistically, I don’t believe it is even there in the first place. Of course, tell that to Self…

Tragedy messes with your head, let me tell you. It’s like this living, breathing monster, hovering over you, whispering in your ear, exploiting every fear you’ve ever felt and blowing them up until it feels like they are crushing you.

And then when I think things like that, I think, Gee, is that where my son’s monsters came from? Did they come from me? Was it my fault?

There’s a topic for discussion next time I’m parked on my therapist’s couch.

Here’s a perfect example of my fears running rampant and my internal self telling my, well, self, to calm the fuck down:

I have recently come to the (not popular) determination that housework was not meant for only one person. In fact, I proclaimed to my family, there are three of us living here, three of us making a mess of the place, so therefore three of us should clean it up.

I know, novel concept, eh?

The announcement, handily made over Mother’s Day weekend, spurred (extremely) grudging completion of chores by other members of my household, thus giving me a little bit more time to do what I love: write stories. Too bad for them there was such immediate and joyful gratification from the work they did, because now I have the expectation on the regular.

Yep, I’m a crazy one, all right.

So this past Saturday evening, I said to my husband, “Tomorrow’s the day. We all just need to pitch in one hour and the house will be clean.” He was amicable because, well, he knows I’m right.

Since I know my daughter well, I know she would rather do her portion when we aren’t around, versus all of us happily cleaning away together, like a family. So on Sunday, just before it was time to go to church, I gave her a list of chores to complete while her father and I were gone.

And she coped an attitude. One of those giant ones teenagers are so amazingly capable of.

I told her again what was expected of her, and she started with the questions, all of which basically came down to, “Why?” I explained that dust is gross and needed to be wiped away on occasion, and frankly, she should be glad because we sure as hell don’t dust this place as often as it needs it. It usually happens when I accidentally brush a finger along a shelf and it comes back gray—or worse, when the sun shines in the window at exactly the right angle and highlights all the dust motes with glowing little halos. (Every time that happens, I think, there is nothing heavenly about dust. Nothing. In fact, if heaven really is heaven, there will be no dust there ever.)

Not surprisingly, the conversation deteriorated until I uttered that ever-hated phrase, “Because I said so.” And to make matters worse, my husband stormed into the room at that point and had my back. “Here, let me help you listen better to your mother,” he said and promptly turned off her computer in the middle of whatever game she was playing.

Ouch.

So naturally, when we left, she was angry and not speaking to us.

And also naturally, I spent the entirety of mass completely tuning out whatever the priest was saying and instead stressing over my daughter, home alone, angry, sitting and stewing in what was once her brother’s room. And to be honest, I’m a little bit surprised I didn’t get up and leave in the middle of it because seriously, that internal angst shit is real, and it’s seven thousand times more potent when you’ve already experienced the fear you are imagining at the time.

Needless to say, my daughter was alive and well when we arrived home. And the dusting had been done, as well as vacuuming and making her bed. Damn, I should have given her a bigger list.

And none of us are angry anymore, either. So life goes on, and I can breathe easily again.

For the moment. Only 385 more days before she turns fourteen…

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Tami Lund writes books, drinks wine, wins awards, and writes quirky blogs about her life. She also recently released a brand new book called BABY, I’M HOME, if you want to check it out!

We Are All Winners

So, you guys know all about Grandma Sundays, right? We had one again yesterday–more meaningful than normal because I haven’t had them in a few weeks and I won’t have them this coming Sunday. I’ll be at Universal, standing in line with ten year olds to do the interactive spells with my interactive wand. Don’t @ me.

(I’m so excited, in fact, that I’m going to share a pedi picture because I refuse to go to Florida again with feet so dry they look like the back of an armadillo.)

Back to the story, though.

We painted nails. We did makeup.

We played outside. We had not one but (look away, Annie and Merry) TWO fruit snacks and later, some cinnamon applesauce. We ate a lunch (well, they did) consisting of corn dogs and macaroni and cheese. And yes, that was me hunched over the stove later having spoonfuls of cold Mac n cheese. We don’t waste food in this family.

Around three, Mike came over to visit and they were sort of excited. Sort of.

Another, even bigger thing we did was assist Sophia with her potty training. She’s getting really good at it with a few glaring exceptions, one of which I had to scrub off the bathroom floor. (No pic, sorry. Sickos))

Each time she goes, she gets a Hershey’s kiss. In fact, we all do because have you ever tried to give candy to just one child when there’s three standing there? It isn’t done. I get one because I’m the Grandma.

We ALL get the reward, my friend.

Alyssa, because she was polite all day.

Sophia, because she did so well potty training.

Shawn because he listened and took a good nap for me.

Me, because I got to love and cuddle my grandkids all day

We are all winners–
But me especially.