From Kindle Worlds, republished!

You might remember that last year, Amazon shut down the Kindle Worlds program they had. I was so disappointed when they did that. If you don’t remember what it was, you can read about it here.

At any rate, anyone publishing in Kindle Worlds last year received an email that they were closing down and our books would be taken down and couldn’t be sold as Kindle Worlds books any more.

I wrote in the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mysteries World. The series is written by my friend Terri Reid. Once Kindle Worlds was over, she was gracious enough to give us permission to go ahead and republish the books out from under the Kindle World umbrella.

Now, I could have done this last year, immediately after Kindle Worlds closed down. I could have. But did I? NOPE…life gets in the way. Work, grandchildren, going back to school, the desire to have free time; they all got in the way of me republishing my titles.

However, I found some time a few weeks ago and have republished both Grave Injury and Trouble Lake.

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These books were fun to write, and they’re more fun to read! Head on over to my author page  and load up your Kindle with these two ghost novellas.

Happy reading!

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 five of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.

 

Tulip Terrorizes the Class

Tulip had her second puppy class yesterday. We had to miss one because of a gastric issue—hers, not mine. Let’s just say whatever she ate came out of the back end at the speed of light and it came out whether or not we were out outside or just inside her crate in the middle of the night. That’s a whole other story.

Before any puppy class, we’re instructed to not feed her breakfast and bring 109 tiny snacks. I couldn’t bear the thought of her going hungry so I gave her a tiny bit of rice and chicken and it was enough to whet her appetite for approximately 50 of the treats (I forgot the rest of the treats there on accident.) They want the dogs to be ravenous so they’ll listen and be rewarded with food. Most dogs are food motivated which makes complete sense because I am too.

Not to brag, but Tulip did great. She can sit, bump hand, and lie down but still has a problem with DROP THAT or GET DOWN or PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP BITING ME. We’re working on those. This Saturday coming up is a leash class and WE ARE NOT MISSING THAT ONE either.

We did a little bit of puppy socializing and let me just say that in the last class, Tulip was the one running away from other dogs and cowering and flipping over on her back into the submissive post. This time, however, she was all, IN YER FACE, OTHER DOGS and it was comical to watch. She threw all of her twenty pound weight around until a couple of the other dogs hid. I was so proud concerned that she might be too rough.

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THIS. IS. GREAT.

B&B Canine even had their agility activities set up, and Tulip went up a big hill then back down several times. We wept with pride (or maybe allergies but probably pride). Once class was finished and we were on our way home, she practically passed out in the back seat and didn’t even get up when we stopped at the drive through for coffee.

Since we had a concert to go to later, we had planned on taking a nap in the afternoon (see: old) to be able to stay up past 10:00 p.m., which dovetailed nicely with Tulip passing out taking a nap too. Our little dog-ter was exhausted from all that learning and playing and quite frankly, so were we, so even that medium coffee with cream wasn’t enough to keep us up.

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Let me sleep, if you know what’s good for you

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 five of the most beautiful, intelligent grandchildren in the world, and their antics keep her in stitches.

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.”

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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.

silver imac near white ceramic kettle

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!!

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.”

selective photo of gray shark

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.

See, I still care.

I have dark hair and have had to dye my hair since I was about 25 years old. Even when you can find someone who charges a reasonable sum for a cut and color, it’s still about $80 a pop, and I had to have it done about every six weeks. I’ll do the quick math for you—it’s about $680 a year. Do you know what you can buy for $680 a year? It was not an easy decision, the one where I decided to let my hair grow in gray. But I did it.

However, despite the cost, I didn’t want to look old. I played the game, going to the hairdresser as often as ever for a color, but noticed that within a week of going to get my hair done, I could already see gray roots. For some reason, those roots bothered me worse than the thought of going completely gray. Like I was too busy stocking my pill box with Geritol to bother with going to the salon.

In 2015, I stopped getting my hair colored completely. My hair was pretty long, shoulder length, and when I saw the gray coming in, I have to admit, I panicked. “I look so old,” I whined to my husband. “You have to be patient,” he said. “It’s going to look fine.”

Besides, that’s about two years after I became a grandma for the first time. Who better than a grandma to have silver hair?

I gritted my teeth and let it keep growing out. When I had grown out about four inches of gray, I took a picture of Carol from the Walking Dead (when her hair looked short and cute and normal, not like now, when she looks like a forest witch) into the salon and asked for “The Carol”. On the show, Carol has a wispy gray short cut. I still think it’s an adorable haircut, even when you are not facing a world of zombies who want to chase and eat you. The stylist did a great job, and I loved the haircut.

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see? Not AARP-Y at all.

My hair was short and sparkly. Shiny. Silvery and glittery. I gleefully put clips in it and cavorted and lived my life like I was the cover model of AARP. I have literally had people come up to me and said how much they like it, how they’d grow theirs out too if it looked like mine, etc. At least no one used the word “brave.”

Fast forward to now. It’s four years later and I have four more grandchildren. If ever a time to have gray hair, it’s when you have five grandchildren. My silver/gray hair has grown out several inches. It’s about the same length as it was when I decided to grow out the gray, just a little disillusioned with the color and to that end, and had an interesting conversation with my sister last night, who also took the going gray plunge with me a couple years ago.

“I’m thinking of dyeing my hair,” she texted me.

“I’m thinking of doing the same,” I text back. “Not like all over, but maybe get some highlights. Or some lowlights. Something that says, ‘I’m relevant. See, I still care.’”

We agree that without the proper mind set, gray hair can make you feel a little dowdy. Or, in my case, a LOT dowdy. I need a change. I need that feeling of going to my hairdresser (Hi, Carly!) and being so excited about the way it looks that I can barely wait to get into the car to take a selfie.

What I’m saying, is I need the reverse “Carol” haircut. Something less apocalyptic. I’m not going to be getting chased by zombies, after all, but I am getting chased by a new puppy.

And that’s kind of the same thing.

Tiptoe around the Tulip

A couple months ago, our eight year old black lab Cooper had a seizure and passed away in our back yard. As difficult as it was to witness, my husband and I were so very happy that we were both home to talk to Cooper and soothe him. He was surrounded by the smells of his own back yard and the voices of his “parents” and we clung to that in our grief.

Fast forward a couple of months. We missed having a furry friend to greet us at the door and watch play in our yard. To that end, we submitted an adoption application in to the Chicagoland Lab Rescue (CLLR) for a puppy. Both of the labs we owned previously were rescue dogs; it’s the only ones we would consider. At any rate, things happened very quickly after that–we were approved for a home visit and lo and behold, on the CLLR Facebook page, there was a little female black lab named Winnie. She is five months old. I knew immediately she was going to be ours and we renamed her Tulip. (She wasn’t much of a Winnie.)  Last Sunday, we picked her up, and the fun began.

She slept all the way home from Naperville and made herself right at home in our house. We were thrilled at the way she seemed to settle right in…and that should have been our first clue.

Things I love about having a puppy: the puppy breath. Her tiny little eyes and equally tiny bark. The way she cocks her tiny head when she hears another dog outside. The way she belly crawls across the room once she’s let out of her crate because she’s so happy to see us. Her excitement at eating her dog food and her enthusiasm at the sheer volume of dog toys we have for her. The fact that we’re going to be able to teach her how to be the best dog for our family.

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I AM THE BEST DOG. LOOK AT HOW CUTE I AM.

Things I hate about having a puppy: the jumping up on the couch, the love seat, the kitchen table, me. The way she wakes us up at the butt crack of dawn because she has to go potty. The teeny tiny bladder she must possess because we are outside every half hour. The way we take her outside and march around the back yard in the snow for twenty minutes, only to have her pee on the floor the second she gets in the house. (We did NOT think that through–the fact that it’s like minus 500 degrees outside and we are trying to potty train a new puppy.) The fact that at night I’m afraid to even clear my throat too loudly so I don’t wake her up.

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me? pee in the house? never.

Then there’s the best of all–biting with those needle-like tiny teeth, which have alternately bruised me and bloodied my arm. There are SO MANY TEETH. It’s like the little guy with the sword from Trilogy of Terror is chasing me all around the house. We have used the trick of spraying her with a spray bottle when she nips but she just doesn’t seem to care–and in fact enjoys the water game. We end up having scarred arms and a dog with a wet head.

I suddenly understand why Tulip’s foster mom gave us a $30 crate to take him with us…I thought she was just being nice but now I understand it was more a matter of survival.

However, we went through this puppy stage with Sammy, then with Cooper, and now with Tulip. I will load up on band-aids and get her in a puppy training class. I know things will get better, eventually.

Won’t they?