It’s My Husband’s Birthday & I Have No Plan

Today is my husband’s birthday. Some would say my family is lucky in that our three birthdays are spread throughout the year—mine is in January, my husband’s is, well, today, and my daughter’s is in June.

Except each date comes with its own set of challenges.

Take my birthday, for instance. It’s in January, on the downside of the holiday season. In the words of that Oklahoma City woman who is meme-famous, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Everyone’s still recovering, financially, physically, emotionally. Our livers are in rehab after an arduous and impressive showing during the previous month. Our pocketbooks have taken a hiatus and are threatening never to return.

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Add to that this very real fact: I don’t particularly like to celebrate my birthday. I’m clinging to youth like Kate and Leonardo clutching on to that piece of floating debris in the Titanic movie, and each birthdate is a stark reminder that I am not, in fact, twenty-five anymore.

And haven’t been for a coupla decades. Damn it.

Then there’s my husband’s birthday. Occasionally, it falls on Easter, and when the kids were younger, the Easter bunny and egg hunts and baskets filled with treats trumped whatever celebration he might have hoped for. Until this year, it was also spring break (new principal, so now spring break coincides with Easter, which means for this year in particular, it’s more like “just before school ends break”). We always headed south for that week, which meant his birthday was all but forgotten until we arrived at our destination and, oops, had a late celebration.

And then there’s the daughter’s birthday, which, of course, we are going to figure out a way to celebrate no matter what. Kids deserve to have their birthdays acknowledged. It’s still fun at her age (almost 14). Getting older is actually exciting. Plus, birthdays mean presents.

So despite the fact that it falls one week after our wedding anniversary and despite the fact that three of her cousins also celebrate birthdays within a week of her own, and despite the fact that it’s the end of school and we’re always trying to figure out what the hell to do with her all summer long, and despite the fact that there are half a dozen graduation parties to attend and weddings and prepping (or at least dreaming about) our summer vacation in July; we always carve out time to celebrate her big day.

Because that’s what you do for kids.

So now, back to my husband, whose birthday is today. I didn’t make any plans because, well, honestly, it snuck up on me. I have a book release coming up tomorrow (yay! Freed from the Mob will finally be available to read!), and I had to get the third dragon book to my editor (have you read my Taming the Dragon series yet? Expect the third to release in late April or early May, depending on how extensive the edits are.). My co-author, Misti Murphy (who also released a new book this week—and Dating Dutch is fantastic too, BTW) and I are working on the first book in a new series, and we have a month to get it finished and off to the editor. Plus, there’s all the everyday stuff going on in my, um, real life.

And the hubs wasn’t making any noise about wanting anything special, so I sort of gave myself permission not to do anything at all.

To be honest, he thinks I’m the world’s worst gift-giver, and he’s the world’s worst at hiding his displeasure when he opens a gift he doesn’t want (“Seriously, this is what you got me for my birthday?”), so really, if anything, he should be dreading the idea that I may have thought even one second about his day. He should be hoping and praying that I’ve completely forgotten.

Right?

Right?

Well, I’ll let you all know how it goes. Cross a few fingers and toes for me, would ya?

Tami Lund – author, wine drinker, award winner. Here’s a link to the slew of books she’s published for your reading pleasure: https://www.amazon.com/Tami-Lund/e/B00AXJH5MY?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1553649671&sr=1-1

The Time Jeff Foxworthy Told Me He Loved Me

(that day I proved that although I’m smarter than a fifth grader, I’m twice as gullible)

It was Christmas time, 2005. I was living in Plainfield. The daycare children were at a fever pitch with holiday excitement and probably more than one holiday sweet. I had just started dating my now husband Joe, who lived in Rockford at the time while I lived in Plainfield. The radio show in Rockford used to play Jeff Foxworthy’s radio show, and there was a bit he did when he called someone, pretended to be someone he wasn’t, pranking the person on the other end of the phone.

I had just popped in a movie when the phone rang. A man was on the other end and told me he was given my name for someone who could help wrap Christmas presents for charity.

UM I HAVE QUESTIONS.

Say what? First of all, who recommended me? I wasn’t born yesterday and although there is a sucker born every minute, it wasn’t my minute. And another question, why was he so insistent that my wrapping skills were utilized? Anyone who knows me knows that I would rather clean bathrooms than wrap presents.

This “Children’s Charity Representative” rambled on and on about how much it would help “the children” and now all I’m thinking of is how I was going to get him off the phone. How were these supposed presents supposed to get to me? How many were there? What kind of racket was this?

I hemmed and hawed and contemplated. “For the children,” he begged. “Send me some information,” I say. “I don’t know how you’d get them here but…”

“Chris,” he interrupted, laughing.

I’m instantly suspicious. “Yes?”

In a slow southern drawl, he said, “It’s Jeff Foxworthy.”

Capture

THE Jeff Foxworthy.

I went hot then cold all over. YOU ARE SHITTING ME, I thought. I AM TALKING TO JEFF FOXWORTHY. A FAMOUS GUY. JEFF FREAKING FOXWORTHY. Always the eloquent one, I blurted out, “OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU.”

He laughed and screamed right back, “I LOVE YOU TOO!”

I was amazed at how long I swung on that hook while he talked me into wrapping presents for kids I didn’t even know—but in the end, it paid off. He told me when to listen for the segment to be on the radio, which Joe and I listened to later, and he sent me something called a Redneck Snack Basket, which was full of soda, moon pies, chips, an autographed picture, a bunch of CDs, and the game “Are you smarter than a Fifth Grader,” which apparently I wasn’t.

Still love you though, Jeff.

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 black lab puppy who piddles and loves to help her pack lunches in the morning. She also has five of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.

That time Author Linda Lael Miller Gave Me a Computer

Life just doesn’t more exciting than that, does it?

Answer: yes, sometimes it does, but you still have to admit that getting a free computer from a famous author is pretty cool.

Seventeen years ago I was having kind of an existential crisis. I was running a state licensed daycare and as much fun as I was having doing that, I knew my strength wouldn’t last long enough to do it for many more years. Neither would my hair because it was all falling out. I had said I’d go back to work when my youngest was in first grade but suddenly she was in seventh grade and I still don’t know how that happened. #timeisfunny

I was so jealous of my sister, who was a teacher with summers off to have adventures with her husband and children. Through my green envy I shared with her that I needed to do something besides daycare and she said, “Go back to school and get your degree in elementary education. You’re already spending your day with kids—finish off your degree. Plus, SUMMERS OFF!” I couldn’t argue with that logic.

Around the same time, I found a scholarship application online on the Linda Lael Miller website. She is one of my favorite authors. On her website, she was offering ten $1000 scholarships for women over 25 going back to school. All I had to do was write an essay about why I needed it, and she’d send me $1000 if I was one of the winners. I could use that $1000 to buy a computer. I had no computer at the time, so when I wrote my essay, I talked about how badly I needed one to do schoolwork on.

I couldn’t write the essay fast enough. I filled it out on a typewriter and mailed it off and waited impatiently, but never heard anything.

UNTIL.

One morning, I got a phone call from a number on my home phone (remember, this is the olden days) I didn’t recognize, and it was the secretary to Linda Lael Miller! She told me very kindly that I didn’t win the scholarship.

How odd, I thought. Why would someone call to tell me I didn’t win?

That’s because although I didn’t win the scholarship, Linda liked my essay so much that instead of giving me the scholarship, she just thought she’d SEND ME A COMPUTER.

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Photo by MockupEditor.com on Pexels.com

In shock, I thanked the secretary profusely and cried grateful buckets when I got off the phone. A few days later, UPS actually dropped off a computer tower, big monitor, speakers, and at printer to my house. I can still see the black and white spotted Gateway boxes. I got a separate lovely letter from Herself with her email address asking if I liked it. I emailed her personal email immediately (ON MY NEW COMPUTER) and told her how much of a surprise it was, and how lovely it was that she did that, and thanked her probably a thousand times.

I did use that computer for my schoolwork and for many years after until I joined the 21st century and got a laptop—but I never ever forgot how generous it was for such a famous author to buy me something I needed when I needed it so badly. Thanks, Linda!!

Let’s Talk Vampires

According to Wikapedia, “A vampire is a being from folklore that subsists by feeding on the vital force of the living.” Also according to Wikapedia, they weren’t particularly attractive in the beginning: “they wore shrouds and were often described as bloated and of ruddy…countenance…”

My how things have changed.

Don't say no to a sexy vampire

Today, vampires are sexy. Thank God they’ve moved beyond “bloated,” because nobody wants a gassy hero.

Wikapedia also says this, in case you were looking for early (sexy) vampire reads:

“The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of “The Vampyre” by John Polidori; the story was highly successful and arguably the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century.[4] Bram Stoker‘s 1897 novel Dracula is remembered as the quintessential vampire novel and provided the basis of the modern vampire legend, even though it was published after Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu‘s 1872 novel Carmilla.”

But enough about Wikapedia’s interpretation of vampires. Let’s talk about mine.

The first vampire movie I recall watching was Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. And thus a giant crush as only schoolgirls can accomplish was born. I loved them equally, although between this movie, Legends of the Fall, and Thelma and Louise, Brad most certainly and quite quickly became a frontrunner. Sorry, Tom.

Anyway, back to vampires. I also read Anne Rice’s book, of course, although I can’t remember which went first—book or movie. Probably book because I remember watching the movie on television, not in the theatre, and back then, I tended to pick up the book first whenever a movie was made from it. (Which, by the way, often led to disappointment, because it’s all too common for the book to be so much better than the movie. In the case of Interview with the Vampire, there was no disappointment because refer to beautiful men above and yes, I am shallow like that.)

Throughout my rather lengthy reading career, I’ve read plenty of vampire books, including the Sookie Stackhouse series (which admittedly I started reading because they were based near Shreveport, Louisiana, a place I called home for a decade). I also adore Katie McAlister’s Dark Ones, which I picked up because after devouring all of her dragon books I obsessively needed more and so became one of those fans who stalks an author’s backlist and snags everything she can get her hands on. And then there were the Queen Betsy books, and now, as I read back through this list, I realize there is a definite trend in my vampire reading material.

I like humorous vampire stories.

Hiding Shirts

Of course, I like sexy ones too, but hey, it’s pretty clear we can have both, right?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, anyone?

Buffy sexual tension meme

I suppose this reading and watching material explains why the vampires I write tend to be both sexy and funny. (Although, to be fair, all of my books tend to have humor woven throughout.)

Now that I’ve snagged your interest with those sexy and funny memes, here’s the plug: I’ve written two vampire novellas. They are a pair; you should read Resist first, then Eternity. And Resist is currently discounted to 99c for only a few more days, making it terribly easy and tempting to get started on these two books.

Here’s the quickie 411:

Resist – our heroine hates vampires, with good reason. Our hero is a vampire who happens to save her life – which was threatened by a couple of punk humans, by the way. Oh yeah, our hero is also starving, but refuses to feed from her in an effort to prove not all vamps are bad guys. Also, there’s lots of sexual tension, which makes not feeding even more of a challenge. Oh, and humor. Cam’s a pretty funny vampire, if I do say so myself.

Eternity – our hero (vampire) and heroine (human) fell in love during Resist, and at the end of that book, our hero cuts all ties and sends our heroine back to her human life because he wants her to be happy and live out her full human life, something he missed out on and has always regretted. She’s pissed because he’s making this decision against her will, so she takes off to go lick her wounds and try to forget…and ends up in some seriously hot water. Our hero needs to rescue her, which is a challenge because she’s trapped on a Caribbean island, which, you know, tends to be a bright, sunny place on the regular, with little options for places to avoid the sun’s burning rays. And yeah, there’s plenty of funny, as well as some seriously sexy moments in this book.

A little about the author: Tami Lund likes to write funny, sexy vampires, as we’ve already established above. She also writes about dragons and witches and the mafia and sexy neighbors and the list goes on and on. This is where you can see the full library: https://tamilund.com/. Happy reading! 

Tulip Takes a Class

Some of you may remember that four weeks ago, we drove in to Naperville and met the puppy that would be ours. In the car, we had a little laundry basket lined with a cozy red blanket, a pink heart dog tag with her name and address lasered onto it, just in case she was a runner like her beloved predecessor. Nestled on the blankie was a tiny leather piggie for her tiny little self to chew on.

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I am tiny. I am adorable. I have really sharp teeth.

We thought we were getting a 4 month old lab rescue puppy, and she is, mostly. I’d say 90 percent of her is a cuddly-wuddly puppy.

“She’s a lab mix,” said the foster mom. “I am not sure what she’s mixed with.”

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Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

I have some ideas. The other 10 percent is shark, or piranha, or crocodile—we haven’t quite decided which. Because I was so busy signing the adoption forms and Joe was so busy fending her off, we didn’t stop to check for gills, flat black pupils or number of teeth.

As part of the rescue process, we had to enroll her in a puppy class.

I got her all signed up and we took her to her first one this past Saturday. Once inside, Tulip promptly peed on the floor.

AWESOME. Great start. The trainer’s associate looked at us sternly. “Did your dog urinate?”

Urinate? She piddled, my good friend. PIDDLED. And she did it again when the trainer came in. Great start.

In a renovated barn, we sat in a circle with lots of other dog owners. Besides Tucker, a poodle who wanted smexy times with Tulip in the WORST WAY, there were five other puppies. All were much larger and beefier than Tulip. Joe said to me under his breath, “she’s the smallest one here. This can’t be the right class.”

Hold up, there, buddy. I spent all week sending emails and making calls and settled on the one puppy class that she’d fit into the best, and THIS WAS THE ONE.

Seconds later, we found out that all the dogs in our class were about five or six months, most of them were just as unruly as Tulip and just as inexperienced. “We’re in the right place,” I hissed back to him. “She’s just a runty little thing.”

We had been instructed to skip her breakfast but bring lots of treats and promptly learned how to get her to sit, bump our hand, and lay down. We were amused that after each success you’re supposed to quickly say, “yes” as you’re rewarding with a treat. After watching the trainer show an example, pretty soon all we could hear is a chorus of “yeses” and barking. Tulip soaked up the knowledge like a sponge. She’s super smart and in fact probably the smartest one there. Maybe.tenor

However, Tulip’s absolute favorite time in the class was when all the dogs were sorted into groups, much like Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat. Our small “Ruffyindor” was put with Dakota, a labradoodle and probable Ravenpaw, and Tucker, the high pitched barking poodle who was obviously a Hufflefloof. The three puppies ran around and play snarled at each other, and overall had a great time.

Although we did sit, bump hand and lay down, we did not do No Bite. Maybe that’s another class?

Tulip managed to stay awake until we got home, and then took several naps. We may have had a nap ourselves. After dinner, she promptly fell asleep again and slept almost the entire night—which was good because one of the handouts in our puppy folder was how to get your puppy to quit biting. Thank goodness.

I read that one out loud to her while she slept. Hopefully she’ll absorb some of that knowledge too.