A Wreath On A Grave

This morning, I dropped my daughter off at school and then headed out to the cemetery to place a wreath at my son’s grave. Last year, our first Christmas without him, I hadn’t thought to do this, but to be fair, we were still reeling from the shock of his death, still struggling through all those firsts that one must go through those initial twelve months after an unexpected and tragic death. Luckily, my mother-in-law came to the rescue (as she so often does) and placed a wreath at his grave, even adding a blue ribbon instead of the traditional red, because that was his favorite color.

I admit, that hadn’t occurred to me as something we had to do after a loved one died. Probably because until last year, my husband and I were blessed with not having had to manage the death of a close loved one. Now we’ve discovered not only are we supposed to put a wreath at his gravesite each December, but we’re also supposed to maintain the area in the summer, too.

Okay, “supposed to” is a strong way to say it. You see, we chose to bury his ashes in a natural (aka green) cemetery. This means they don’t cut the grass, they don’t use pesticides to make it look perfect and pristine. The grave markers are boulders dug up from that very site, and you can either let the natural landscape (aka weeds) take over or you can plant your own flowers, so long as they’re native to Michigan.

I’ve had intentions since last spring to plant flowers: Bulbs for spring color and perennials from my own yard, selecting varietals that would ensure something was blooming for the entirety of the growing season. And it seems terribly appropriate that the flowers would come from my own yard, the one he played in, the one he grew up in.

Those intentions haven’t yet turned into reality because, well, I’m good at coming up with excuses to avoid doing things I don’t want to do. And kneeling in the dirt, digging into my son’s gravesite ranks damn high on the I Don’t Want To list. One of these years I’m sure that perspective will change. Hopefully, eventually, I’ll find some sort of comfort in doing that. If I keep telling myself that, it’ll come true, right?

And then there was the drive home. Taking my daughter to school has become routine, a new one created after my son died. She’s at a different school from the one he attended (on purpose), although we do have to drive past his old school every single day to get to hers. Today, because I dropped her off and then went to visit him, as I headed back to the house, my mind suddenly delved into territory I don’t often go into.

If he were still alive…

If today was just another day, and I’d dropped them both at school instead of have them take the bus. He would be in high school now, a freshman, so he’d get dropped off first, since high school has an earlier start than middle school. I would have made a giant circle, as the high school is further away from home than the middle school, and there are a couple lakes in between. The kids would have argued over who got to sit in the front seat. He probably would have won because he’d use the argument that he would get out of the car first, and then she could get into the front seat for the ride to her school. She would have acquiesced because she always deferred to him. He was the big brother, after all; larger than life, her idol.

Until he wasn’t.

That’s as far as I could get into that particular daydream. Not surprising. First, I’d just come from his gravesite, which is a guaranteed cry. Then, I’m thinking about things that simply cannot be, no matter how hard I wish for them. And when I think about it like that, it gets reeeeaaallly depressing, so I have to deliberately cut myself off and mentally change the channel to avoid that scary, dark path.

I sure wish he’d had that ability. Then I wouldn’t need it today.

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author trying to juggle the various aspects of real life, some of which are damned depressing. That’s probably why she insists upon writing happily ever afters. Because everyone deserves them, and since life isn’t always so accommodating, she ensures her books are. Check out her website at: www.tamilund.com.

Introducing A New Series: B.A.D. Alpha Dads

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I’ve joined a new project, and it’s a hella BAD new series. It’s comprised of a bunch of authors, all writing paranormal romance, all writing as part of a series, although each book will be stand alone. The premise: A sexy, alpha baby daddy learns he’s got a kid–and now he has to figure out how to raise it. Oh, and naturally he’s gonna fall in love in the process. And by process we mean, he’s gonna have lots of steamy scenes with the heroine as they fall for each other and decide to make their dysfunctional family a happily ever after dysfunctional family.

A few of my author friends are already well into writing their books and I thought YOU would like a taste of what this series will be like…

This first one is from Midnight: Psychic Retrieval Agency (B.A.D.) by TL Reeve & Michele Ryan. They’ve written A LOT of books together, so if you like this, you should check them out on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/TL-Reeve/e/B00CRGP83E/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_1

In the last three years, I learned just how depraved people could be to one another. On my first case with my new friends Mane and Crow, we found a little girl chained to a post in the middle of a room. The only thing she wore had been a three-inch thick black leather collar. She had a small waste bucket in the corner, I doubted the chain reached, and a teddy bear. She stunk to high heaven and on top of everything else, she was half feral. The little she-kitten had been taken from her pride in South America and brought to the states to experiment on.

The kitten had telepathic abilities and the Psychic Bounty Hunters wanted her. Twenty-five years ago, the PBH had been shut down after a rogue handler and his agent/lover left a trail of destruction in their wake. They killed a senator’s son, chased two women to Window Rock and created twins with a shifter to try and make a super race of beings. The two women who showed up in Window Rock were the mates to Kalkin and Caden Raferty and ran the orphanage where Mane, Crow, and myself brought the children we rescued. The twins were also mated now. Both had children of their own and worked within the community of Window Rock. Their shifter father was also a member of the sheriff’s department.

Like I told my mom the last time I talked to her, I’d never find a more rewarding job than working for the Psychic Retrieval Agency—PRA for short. Not only did I free kids from a life of torture and sadness, I got to watch them change and come out of their self-imposed hells. Of the forty-five children we’d saved so far, fifteen of them were placed with families within the community and the others were either waiting on a judge to emancipate them, or Maria, one of the intake workers for the orphanage, tried to track down all known next of kin for the kids so they could be reunited with their biological families.

***

The Alpha’s Gift – This one is by Monica La Porta. She’s another one who’s written a TON of books. If the below snippet sounds intriguing, check out her Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Monica-La-Porta/e/B007DZFP8W/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1511398058&sr=1-2-ent

Max Prize is a dragon shifter billionaire who thinks that Seattle is his playground. One night, an special package is left at his doorstep, and Max’s life is changed for the best.

The arrogant alpha billionaire, the unexpected baby girl & the sassy nanny who will take care of both.

And here is a snippet for you:

PROLOGUE

Max parked his yellow Lambo in the garage of the Wild Ride Nightclub. He popped a mint into his mouth and exhaled the cold aroma slowly, savoring the bite. It was two o’ clock in the morning and the night had just started.

Chuckling at the memory of his last heated encounter, he looked at his reflection in the rearview mirror and smiled. The brunette had left a small hickey on his throat, and the skin on his back still tingled from the woman’s long nails’ attention. Her screams of pleasure had almost given them away as he slammed into her in the dark back corridor of True, one of the many clubs that were his hunting ground in Seattle. His dragon had growled the entire time, enhancing his pleasure.

Life was truly wonderful for a billionaire alpha shifter in Seattle.

His cellphone rung. He checked the caller ID with a frown. It was from his penthouse’s doorman.

“Hugo, what is the matter?” Max asked, leaning against the black leather seat. Boy, that woman had scratched her way through his back well and good, and the pain had only excited him more. He grew hard at the mere thought of her long, black nails curved in a come-hither gesture—

His doorman’s voice interrupted his pleasant wandering. “Mr. Prize, I apologize for calling you this late at night—”

“What is it the matter?”

“Mr. Prize, you should come back home,” the man said in a rush.

“I’m kind of busy right now.” Or he would be soon. Max had every intention to make his statement a certainty the moment he entered True.

In fact, he remembered two blondes in their late twenties frequenting the club for the last two or three months, and forever giving him not-so-subtle glances from the opposite end of the bar. Tonight, early morning, whatever, he had in mind to take them both back to one of the hotels he owned in the city for some fun. His dragon paced in his mind, anticipating the celebratory flight Max always indulged in after a night of pleasure.

“I apologize again, sir, but a situation has arisen that needs your immediate attention.” Hugo’s voice was somehow covered by what sounded like a wail of some sort.

“What’s happening?” Max’s thoughts went immediately to the most probable scenario. A woman had found her way to his penthouse and was now threatening the doorman to make a scene if Max didn’t show up.

“You’ve received a package…” the man’s voiced trailed at the end, drowned again by the most infernal ruckus Max had ever heard.

“What in the name of all that’s holy do you have there?” Had Hugo brought a cat to work?

“The package’s content I’m afraid,” Hugo said. “Please, Mr. Prize, hurry. I’ve already taken the liberty to call Mr. Wilson, and Grant is here with me.”

Max’s frown deepened as he swore in several languages. If Hugo had called Wilson, Max’s best friend and PR, whatever the situation was at his penthouse, it needed professional handling.

With a last, disappointed look at the club’s elevators, Max turned the engine of his sports car, shifted into reverse and let the Lambo’s roar fill the silent garage.

*** 

This series starts releasing in January, several books a month, for the foreseeable future. Lots of shifter love, lots of hot alpha book boyfriends for your reading pleasure. Keep up with our progress on the website: https://www.badalphadads.com

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving for those in the U.S.! 

 
Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, a wine drinker, an award winner, and a member of this B.A.D. Alpha Dad writing gang. Her book is tentatively scheduled for release in April.

Happy Halloween – Here’s a Free Read!

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“Why the hell am I here? Why me?”

“Talking to yourself, even for a witch, is generally thought to be a bad sign. Unless you’re casting a spell.”

Adanna jerked her hand away from the thick, wooden door handle and glanced over her shoulder at the person who was speaking. The curtain of her hair obscured her view somewhat, but she saw enough to know she did not recognize the handsome warlock with thick, dark hair and gray eyes. At least, she assumed he was a warlock. Most covens frowned upon making their otherworldly selves known to humans, even though they all lived in the same world.

“Not casting a spell. Do I know you?”

“Probably not.” He offered his hand. It was a human custom, but most were.

“Anton Burke. I’m from New England. Salem, to be exact. Weather’s certainly nicer here at this time of year.”

Salem. Humans, of course, were obsessed with the town, as so many (non) witches had been executed there, several centuries ago. It was a particularly troubling period in their history. And witches, despite their disdain for humans, were just as enthralled with the area.

“It’s pretty mild in Savannah, with the exception of July and August. Your coven is the one that’s taken over all of New England, isn’t it?”

Something akin to a grimace darkened his face but did not dim his handsome features. He had the kind of rugged good looks that screamed bad boy, the kind that caused red-blooded women to tumble into his bed and ask questions later. Her grandmother’s lessons to always read people before interacting echoed in her head. She pushed away the memories, the reminder of who she was, what she was.

“Yeah. It’s easier that way, I guess. So many small covens; it just wasn’t, you know…”

“Personal?”

He smirked. “Economical. Hard to support all those mini empires. Made more sense to create one mega-coven. More money, more control over issues and stuff.”

“I heard your coven now stretches all the way to South Carolina.”

“You sound suspicious.”

Adanna shrugged. “I’ve belonged to the Savannah Coven my whole life, and we’ve always been pretty small-town. Seems hard to believe all those covens were willing to be swallowed up by Big Brother, so to speak.”

“Times are changing. Most of the covens were run by older witches. They were tired, wanted to retire. And there aren’t enough marked Supremes to take their places. What else were they supposed to do?”

Adanna raked a hand through her long locks and focused on steadying her temper. Why it flared at the mention of the conglomerate of covens along the east coast, she had no idea. What did it matter to her if an abnormally larg group of witches and warlocks wanted to band together under one Supreme? Everybody knew witches needed someone to manage them, or at the very least, help when they ended up in hot water, which happened more frequently than it ought to.

***

Like it so far? Keep reading by downloading the rest from Amazon – FREE – only until Friday!

All’s Fair: Love & Warlocks

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Happy reading & happy Halloween!

 

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund writes romance, drinks wine, and wins awards. If you want more, check out her website: http://tamilund.com

 

**Cover Reveal with a (Vampire) Bite**

Blood Courtesans: Awakenings
Publication date: January 17th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Darkly decadent and sinfully sensual.

Enter a world where vampires are real, rich, hungry and meet the women who become their blood courtesans. Come let the fangs slip into your blood and awaken you to a whole new life. A boxed set of NEW stories in this popular series.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Kobo / iBooks

GIVEAWAY!

Enter to win here!

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Trying to Figure Out the Hardest Job in the Universe

Parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the universe. Some would argue it’s the hardest. And when something goes wrong–say one of your kids commits suicide–well, it makes you question everything you thought you learned. Everything about yourself, your abilities–as a parent, as a human being.

All those years of trying to get it right, of working toward a positive outcome, of reading, studying, planning, hoping, praying; all of it was washed away over the course of one tragic evening during which the child I raised made the ultimate bad decision. In my case, it was thirteen years’ worth of on-the-job training.

To make it worse, while I’m grieving the loss of one kid–and doubting everything about myself–there’s still another to take care of. My son left behind his sister, who happened to have idolized him like any self-respecting younger sibling would. For the last nineteen months, I’ve been trying to figure out how to balance my own grief with ensuring she’s happy, well-adjusted, managing her way through this new life we’ve been forced to forge.

My daughter is now twelve. She’s in seventh grade. A year younger than he was when he made that horrible decision, but now in the same grade. I have no idea if it was the age or the grade or if both had a factor in his choice, but that hardly matters. I’m left to pick up the pieces—we’re left to try to make our way down a new path that has been twisted beyond recognition, and the suspension bridge leading to the way back has been cut, collapsed in on itself and plummeted to the ground a thousand feet below.

We’re all changed since that day; that’s inevitable. And none of us have changed in the same way. My husband golfs more—a lot more. I blog—a lot more. And cry. A lot more. My daughter, well, she’s quieter, more reserved, but bits of harsh, teenage personality flair up every now and then. I suspect these startling flair ups are as shocking to her as they are to me. I also believe they are a bit of stress relief, which I know she needs, because like her father, she keeps everything bottled up inside, tucked away near her heart, in a tiny box reserved specifically for emotions she doesn’t like to deal with. Unfortunately for her, those emotions aren’t very good at listening and following directions—much like the teenage mind she’s trying to lock them into.

I, of course, don’t think it’s a bad thing to let those emotions out. I believe they need to escape every now and then, they need to breathe, they need to cry, shout, scream, whatever it takes to help her find her equilibrium again. As much as I hate crying, I admit I always feel a bit cathartic afterward. I find I’m better able to handle tough situations such as when my daughter tells me she doesn’t like having anything to do with me because I’m so different since “it” happened nineteen months ago.

Thank God for that random, out-of-nowhere crying jag while I was driving in my car earlier in the day, because otherwise there was no way in hell I would have been able to hear something like that without losing my shit.

But I didn’t break down or go ape shit, much to my own surprise as well as my daughter’s. She fully expected me to have a meltdown or scream at her; I’m still not sure which. All I know is I took her completely by surprise by talking about the subject entirely rationally and calmly, and hopefully with a bit of intelligence to boot. Maybe I’m finally managing to become the parent I thought I was before my son died.

I told her everybody grieves differently. It’s okay if I cry at the slightest provocation or if her dad golfs all the damn time or if her grandma visits her grandson’s grave on a weekly basis or if her grandpa talks to him every night before he goes to bed—even if it’s a one-sided conversation. It’s okay because we aren’t curled up into balls in the bedroom, hiding from the world. We’re living, even if it’s differently from the way we were nineteen months ago. We’re making our way in this world, we’re figuring it out, and the process isn’t really something to be concerned about so long as we’re doing it. I let her know that if she wants me to do something differently, I’ll give it my best shot, because that’s what parents do. We try our damnest to make our kids’ lives easier/better/safer/happier. That’s part of why our jobs are so freaking hard, because we don’t have all the control; all we can do is our best and hope it’s good enough to overcome some of those external factors.

And sometimes good enough isn’t enough.

She left the table after my little spiel, and I didn’t call out to her or yell at her and demand she stay or even ask for a response. I finished my dinner and then began to clean up. And a little while later she came back, hovering in the hallway outside the kitchen, and said, “You know how you said everyone grieves differently? Well, I grieve differently than you, and I need you to respect that.”

And you know what? She’s right. And I told her so. And I promised to try.

This grieving process has turned into a learning process. Learning how to live again. Learning how to be a parent and a daughter with the dark cloud of a lost son/sibling hovering over our lives. Learning how to communicate with my remaining child, the one who is suffering as much as I am—just differently.

Because we all grieve differently. And that’s okay.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an award winner, wine drinker, and writer of happy endings. Because life sometimes sucks, and we all need an escape. Check out her website here: http://tamilund.com

Silly Author Interview with Tami Lund

As I searched my laptop looking for blog post inspiration at midnight the night before I was scheduled to post something here on Love, Lust, and Laptops, I stumbled across an author interview. I don’t even remember where it’s from or for whom I wrote it, but I thought it was quirky enough to repost here, for your reading pleasure. Hopefully it makes you chuckle…

  1. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Tami Lund, and once upon a time, I wanted to be a writer. Then life and insecurities got in the way. Then that same life threw me a curve ball in the form of the recession, which introduced me to the world of unemployment for fifteen long months.  Job searching become tedious and incredibly boring, since, you know, there weren’t any jobs, while the desire to write became all-consuming.

I finally gave in, wrote a few dozen manuscripts, decided a couple were reasonably good enough to be published, and I haven’t looked back since. Oh yeah, and I have a husband, a kid, and a dog who is convinced the world revolves around me (it isn’t nearly as flattering as it sounds). When I peel myself away from writing that next book (or procrastinating via surfing Facebook), I’m usually cleaning up after everyone else in my family, occasionally gardening, rarely cooking (although you’d question that statement if you follow me on Instagram), often walking my dog, and sometimes paying attention to the kid and husband.

  1. What genre do you write and why?

I write both contemporary and paranormal romance. Mostly it’s because that’s what I love to read.

  1. What books have you published?

I’ve published quite the selection of books, so it might be easiest to give you the Amazon link to my author page. Hang out, peruse, enjoy, have a read or ten:

https://www.amazon.com/Tami-Lund/e/B00AXJH5MY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1422919572&sr=8-1

6. What are you working on next?

There’s always something! First, there’s a Christmas anthology releasing on Christmas Eve – I have a brand new short story in there. Then there’s a vampire boxed set coming in February. If you’re a fan of my book, Resist, be on the lookout for Anya’s sister’s story in this one. Oh, and Misti Murphy and I are hard at work on the next Sexy Bad book – this one’s called Sexy Bad Boss and it’s James’s story. There’s also another paranormal that at the moment involves shifters and faeries and demons. And lastly, I’m working on my first dragon shifter book! Wow, that was a lot, wasn’t it?

7. Do you use experiences from your own life in your writing or does it all come from your imagination?

I use real life experiences all the time. Usually, my best story ideas – even the paranormal ones – come from real life. Lucky for me, my friends all laugh whenever I say, “This is going into one of my books!”

8. What is your favorite curse word?

I’m not gonna lie. I love the f-bomb. There is no mistaking your passion when you insert the word fuck into a sentence.

9. Are you a cat or dog person?

I love both and I wish I had one of each. But we just have a dog. Not ‘just’ because I adore her and she’s my baby girl, but I’d still love to have a cat too. Unfortunately, the hubs isn’t nearly as fond of cats as I am. By not nearly I mean he’s literally on the other end of the spectrum. So yeah, no cats.

10. If you had your choice of writing retreat would you choose:

a.) Villa in Italy

b.) Cabin in the woods

c.) English estate in Derbyshire (think Pemberly)

d.) Beach house in the Virgin Islands

Beach house. Doesn’t even have to be in the Virgin Islands. Sandy beach and blue water and I’m there. Forever. I’ll send postcards. And new books.

Bonus Question: Tell us a funny story about you that we can’t find on your bio.

In the early years, when I was still treading the murky waters of publishing, I was embarrassed over the sex scenes I’d written in my books (crazy, I know). I had recently self-published the first in a now unpublished series called The Resort, and had finally started admitting to my inner circle of friends that I had books available to read, if they were so inclined. At a party comprised of mostly friends I had met through my kid’s school, one of the dads came up to me, ipad in hand, and told me he downloaded my book and it was surprisingly good. A small crowd gathered, and he read a passage that wasn’t exactly PG … Resulting in at least thirty minutes of teasing due to the redness of my face.

Yeah, that happened.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund writes romance, drinks wine, wins awards, and occasionally does author interviews on her own blog. If you want more, check out her website: http://tamilund.com