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!

Guest Blogging, New Books & Recipes

Hey, so I guest blogged somewhere else this week, and figured I’d send you all over there today, instead of figure out something new to write. It’s interesting – it’s about how the book I’m releasing next week (Baby, I’m Home) came to be. And there’s a chance to win a free copy of it, too. Oh, and there’s a YUMMY recipe!

So, take a look, have a read, try the recipe, and then leave a comment to possibly get to read Baby, I’m Home for free: SCORCHING BOOK REVIEWS

Thanks!

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

 

Tami Lund writes romance, drinks wine, wins awards, and sometimes looks for the easy way out of her twice monthly blogging date…

I’m Not Gonna Blog About #Cockygate…Okay, Yes, I Am

So #cockygate exploded on Twitter before I had a chance to come up with a post for this week’s blog. And it’s still going strong now that I’m down to the wire and have to get something up for you all to read. Oh, the self-imposed deadlines!

I thought about discussing something entirely different, but I was worried it would get lost in all the drama. Okay, and I couldn’t really think of anything else.

So let’s talk #cockygate.

I’m not going to give you a recap because you already know what’s going on. And if you don’t, climb out from under your rock and check out the hashtag on Twitter. But be prepared to get sucked in for a few hours. Not exaggerating. I also recommend checking out the hashtag if you really do have time to kill because in amongst all the anger and shock and frustration are some pretty hilarious gems. The creativity of some of these tweets tells me there are lots of talented people affected by this drama.

I’m not going to bash the author because, um, that’s well and truly taken care of, and that’s not my M.O. anyway. I prefer to make fun of a situation. Actually, I prefer to stay out of bullshit like this altogether but this time, I couldn’t. Not unlike the entirety of the romance community, it appears.

I’m not going to blather on about the legality of it all, because I’m not a lawyer (although I hear a writer who is a lawyer has gotten involved, which, if it must happen at all, is pretty damn cool) and I don’t honestly know. It doesn’t seem like someone could trademark a common word and refuse to let other people use it in a country where freedom of speech is taken to some pretty crazy extremes, but hey, I don’t work at the trademark office. And if whomever does work there made a colossal mistake and accidentally gave this person the right to trademark something they shouldn’t have, well, I’m really glad I don’t work there.

What I am going to do is unabashedly promote a friend’s book because, 1) it has the word ‘cocky’ in the title. And 2) she didn’t copy her work from that other author, who I’m pretty sure she didn’t know existed until this past weekend. And 3) it’s a really good book. Not just because of the cool title, but because she’s a really good writer. I know this because I’ve read everything she’s ever put out, oh, and I happen to co-write with her, too. Heard of my Sexy Bad series?

What? You haven’t? Well, go check out the website, I’ll wait: https://sexybadbooks.com/.

Hey, welcome back! So yeah, Misti Murphy is the other half of that writing duo, and she has a few books of her own and they’re all quite good. And while I think you should read every single one, I want to especially call out the cockiest one of them all:

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Cocky F@#ker on Amazon

So I think that about covers it. Questions? Let me know. Recommended cocky reads? Let me know those, too!

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund is a writer, wine drinker, award winner, and supporter of her fellow authors. Because we all just want to read romance…

Here’s her website: http://tamilund.com/

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

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.

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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

It’s the Goat’s Fault

I’m the one who got Chloe and Paynter together. It’s my fault. I’m responsible.

And don’t give me any of that happy coincidence bull crap. Or it was an accident. Or karma or fate or—eye roll—whatever.

It was me. I did it.

You see, I didn’t really enjoy my life out on that farm. It was boring. Nothing but animals bouncing around, acting crazy, getting in my face and stealing my hay when I was looking the other way, usually scoping out somebody else’s hay to steal. One time those crazy ass farmers even had the nerve to dress me in pajamas.

I can assure you, that was the last time. Some scars don’t ever go away. Like the scar from when I caught a glimpse of myself as I trotted past the freshly-washed car parked outside the barn—it’s just as bad as the permanent bite marks indented in the farmer’s hand.

So anyway, I needed to get away from those animals. They weren’t my style. I needed freedom…or something. So I left. A cattle guard ain’t a goat guard, after all.

I trotted right down that driveway and wobbled over those really, really uncomfortable-to-walk-on metal things the farm laid across the ditch at the fence line. Then I bounced along next to the road—getting more than my fair share of horn honks, I might add. Once I reached the end of the fence line, I veered left and headed across the field next to the farm. Honks or no, it’s a little intimidating and maybe a tad scary to walk next to a road where giant metal contraptions on four—and sometimes two—rubber wheels zoom along at speeds I can’t even really fathom.

Okay, I admit I may have bounced a little at that point. Maybe a lot. But bouncing is so much fun, and that field was so wide open and…and irresistible. It’s possible I didn’t really mean to run away. It’s possible I only wanted to see if the grass really was greener on the other side of the fence. (It is.) It’s possible I was having so much fun leaping and jumping and vaulting that I didn’t realize I’d left the farm behind until, well, I did.

Well, it only made sense to forge ahead. Besides, there was a lake ahead of me and I was thirsty. And, well, I like splashing in the water. Which I did, a lot. Until I noticed something shiny on the other side. Well, not exactly shiny, but certainly interesting. Big, two-story brick buildings, surrounded by bright, colorful flowers.

Yummy flowers. I particularly enjoy hydrangeas, FYI.

So I trotted along the lake’s edge until I reached the yard belonging to one of those red brick structures, and then I headed straight for the pink and blue flowers.

That’s when the lady saw me, the one with the dark hair, big blue eyes, and red lips. The guy who lives next door says she looks like Liz Taylor, but I don’t actually know what that means, so… shrug.

Anyway, next thing I know, she’s wrapped a rope around my neck and is stalking toward the guy, who, by the way, is staring at her like he wants to eat her. It’s the same way I stare at the hydrangeas. And then she hands the rope to him and says the joke’s on him, and the next thing I know, my name is Dog.

But then she says that’s a lousy name for a goat.

Wait, you didn’t know you were reading a blog post written by a goat? You don’t think we can write blogs? We do it all the time!

In between eating the hydrangeas, anyway.

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If you’re curious as to what the hell the goat is talking about (and whether he got stuck with the name ‘Dog’), check out Chloe and Paynter’s book, Sexy Bad Neighbor:

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Tami Lund co-writes the Sexy Bad Series with Misti Murphy. Yes, there are other books in the series (Sexy Bad Daddy, Sexy Bad Boss, Sexy Bad Valentine). Yes, they are working on yet another book in the series. Join the Sexy Bad Lounge so you can stay up to date with what, when, where, how: https://www.facebook.com/groups/333091113758333/

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Seductive New Reads

Today, I bring you a bunch of seductive new reads – including my own book, Sexy Bad Boss, which is only 99 cents for the first time since it was released. So if you’re looking for something new, take a look. There are a variety of genres, so you’re bound to find something you’ll like!

Click the pic to get started…

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Today’s blog post is courtesy of Tami Lund, author, award winner, and wine drinker. When you’re done checking out the above books, have a stroll around her website for even more awesome reads: http://tamilund.com.