Today’s the Anniversary by Tami Lund

It’s an anniversary today. One year ago, my son died, and my life was turned upside, forever altered in a way I could never have imagined, not even in the deepest, darkest part of my overactive imagination.

This date has been hanging over our heads since March first, a depressing sort of anticipation building as each square on the calendar was crossed off. I’ve dreaded it for two reasons: 1) because, well, it’s The Day and this date will suck for the rest of my life; and 2) because this means beginning tomorrow we will enter Year Two of Life Without My Son, this new reality I neither wanted nor expected to be forced to live.

So what does one do on the first anniversary of one’s son’s death?

Well, my husband and I both took the day off work. I did because I wanted to have the inevitable emotional breakdown in the privacy of my own home (or at his graveside, as it were) and not in front of my co-workers, even as supportive as they all have been. My husband did it because he feels this overwhelming need to be there for me.

As I drove my daughter to school this morning, I asked if she wanted to visit her brother’s grave with us. She looked at me and said, “Why are you visiting today?”

“Well, it’s the day this all happened, so it seems appropriate.”

“It is? Huh. I thought it was later in the month.” She paused and said, “Is that why you and Dad both took the day off work?”

“Yes.”

“Awe, how come I don’t get to take the day off school?”

“You didn’t even know what day it was. How can I justify you taking a day off?”

We both chuckled, a nice deviation from the usual half-awake state she’s normally in each morning as we head toward school.

I spent the morning writing. If you’re a fan of Sexy Bad Neighbor, you’ll be pleased to know we’re up to chapter nine of Sexy Bad Daddy (and hoping to release it in June). My husband, I don’t know what he did. I was too busy getting lost in a reality in which I know without a single doubt there will be a happy ending.

I took the dog for a walk. The poor thing hadn’t had one in two days, thanks to crazy weather and my emotional breakdown last night.

We checked up on the grandparents, made sure they were making it through this horrible day.

And then, around noon, we headed out to run errands, including an amusing stop at the drug store to buy the necessary supplies to prepare for a colonoscopy (not me—him, although I’m sure the experience will be part of a future blog post—never fear).

And then we headed out to the cemetery, to visit my son. The temperature was in the twenties, with a bitter wind that made it feel more like single digits. The sun was shining, and there were sandhill cranes slowly wandering about, which my husband informed me are the ‘filet mignon of the sky’ and whoever manages that sort of thing is considering allowing people to legally hunt them. Yes, this was a conversation we had while standing over my son’s grave.

And then we talked about depression and mental health and the frustrations we have as the ones who were left behind; the ones who didn’t know anything was wrong until it was too late. The state of mind neither of us can imagine, that leads someone to convince themselves death is the optimal solution to making the demons in their head stop screaming.

We talked about my daughter, my sadness over the fact that she doesn’t have a brother anymore, that her future children won’t know their Uncle Brady; that she now goes to a Catholic school and that it’s entirely likely she’s the only kid there without a sibling. We gratefully acknowledged that she is generally happy, a glass-half-full kind of kid, and that we do not have to worry about any demons in her head. My son, on the other hand, had been largely miserable for the last year or so of his life, and we’d attributed it to “typical” teenage angst, when in fact, it was much, much more than that.

And then we had a late lunch, ate at a small sports bar that we didn’t start frequenting until after my son’s death. I commented that I liked this place because it was a new fave for us, and I’m a big fan of starting new traditions instead of holding onto the old. My husband pointed out that the first time we went to this place was the day we picked out our own gravestone, at which point I’d commented, “This feels more binding than even getting married did.”

After that, we picked up my daughter from school. She was thrilled to see us and chatted all the way home, exchanging snarky comments with my husband and laughing each time, even telling us a bit about her day in between. That seven minute ride was the highlight of my day thus far.

Now we’re off to dinner, going back to an old tradition. My therapist suggested we do something to honor Brady on this day, perhaps make his favorite meal. Instead, we decided to go to his favorite restaurant. Hopefully, we’ll have a nice, relaxing dinner and we’ll laugh through the tears.

And tomorrow, we go back to reality, this new reality that, while it was forced upon us, we’re doing our best to make as happy and satisfying as we can.

#Smalltown Sweet Romance from @SSaraDaniel

Hi Friends, I’m sliding in late tonight. Are you looking for a romance on the sweeter side for a change? I’ve got you covered.

Construction Beauty QueenShe’s on the job…and out of his league.

Chicago socialite Veronica Jamison is determined to shake off her sheltered lifestyle and overbearing parents. She heads to her grandfather’s small town of Kortville, ready to roll up her sleeves and work for the family construction business. She’ll prove her worth, even if it means answering to the company’s ruggedly handsome co-owner, Matt.

Matt Shaw just wants to run his business, spend time with the niece he’s raising on his own, and give back to the townspeople who have stood by him. Managing a spoiled-rotten princess he knows he’ll never be good enough for? Not part of his plan. But as he gets to know Veronica, he learns there’s more to her than her beautiful looks and designer clothes. She’s got a heart as rich as her background.

With the quirky townspeople rallying against Veronica inheriting her grandfather’s business, it’s up to Matt to try to drive her out of town. But how can he, when instead she’s driving her way into his heart?

Sample the first chapter of Construction Beauty Queen here

Buy Links:
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Love Him or Leave Him

Sometimes dreams are where you least expect them

Connor O’Malley and Becca Sanders were once high school sweethearts, ripped apart by rumors in the small town of Kortville, Illinois. Connor left to join the military, and Becca stayed, waiting for her younger brother to graduate so she could live her dreams of traveling the world. But now that Connor’s back as the town sheriff, Becca finds herself struggling to resist the too-handsome man who once broke her heart.

Connor loves Kortville—its quaintness keeps at bay the painful memories of Afghanistan he’s sure make him unworthy of any woman, particularly the beautiful brunette he’s always secretly dreamed of a future with. But when a scandal rocks the town, suddenly Connor and Becca must trust in each other if they want to weather this storm…and come out on the other side of it together.

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Sample the first chapter of Love Him or Leave Him here

Writing Fast

Three books in three months – never again

For 2017 I set some very lofty goals which included publishing books in January, February, and March.

I’ll never do that again!

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Read FREE on Kindle Unlimited or BUY by clicking on the cover

I believe I write fairly fast, and now that my Dragon is trained, I write even faster. But this was crazy. January’s novella, Double Jeopardy, was written in December in between a week-long family vacation and the Christmas holidays. Being a novella, I can usually knock out 30,000 words in about fifteen days if I write every day. In December, there was no way I could write every day and still remain married and in the good graces of my adult children. (Someday the latter are going to pick my rest home.)

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Read more about this book and the research behind the story by clicking on the cover

Before Double Jeopardy was published, I had moved on to deep rewrites of the first novel I ever published. Uncaged Love was published in February as the second full-length novel in my Black Swan series.

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Coming March 21 only on Amazon

Rescuing Melina will be available for sale on March 21. I am so thrilled to be able to write in Susan Stoker’s Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World.

It’s been a crazy first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter looks to be almost as ridiculously busy.

Coming up next, look for the prequel to the Black Swan series. Although it will be out within the next sixty days, it doesn’t have a name or a cover yet. It will be given away FREE to everyone on my newsletter list, so if you aren’t there yet, please sign up here for my newsletter.

I have committed to writing a novella, once again part of the Guardian Elite series, in Elle James’ Kindle World. Also yet to be named, that book sits it second place in the queue because it will publish in June.

Before the end of the year, Black Swan Book #3 will be out as Grace and Griffin find themselves on the road to love. I guarantee there will be potholes and wrong turns. You will also see the final book in the Cancun series. It’s about time Levi met his match.

That’s a lot of writing in the next nine months. Perhaps I should just claim 2017 as my year of insanity.

How is your year going? Leave me a comment and some lucky winner will receive a surprise.

Tami Lund Talks Dragons & Loss

Almost a year after his death, we’re slowly beginning to use my son’s bedroom again. Not surprisingly, it’s being taken over by my daughter. Her Lego dragons are on the shelves; there are pictures next to the computer monitor. We’ve moved the dog’s crate in there, too, which is nice if only to get it out of the living room.

We offered to move her in there entirely (it’s bigger than her bedroom), but she declined. I think it’s a combination of it being “his” room and the fact that she isn’t keen on change. Moving her bed is one thing; firing up the computer in there is entirely another. And the dragons are there because she’s run out of room in her own bedroom.

My husband and I refer to it as the “annex” now. My daughter recently said, “Why do you call it that? It’s Brady’s room.”

I replied, “Because honestly, saying his name hurts. It’s easier this way.”

And she said, “Why can’t you remember the good times? Why can’t you enjoy the time we had with him, instead of wishing it never happened?”

That hurt, because I admit, sometimes I wish he never had been born, but only because that way I’d never have had to suffer this immense pain that never quite goes away, now that he’s dead, far, far too soon.

When I think that way, my overactive mind goes a few steps further, and tries to analyze what the world would be like if my husband and I had not tried to get pregnant for those six months; if I had not gone to my gynecologist and she had not prescribed a pill that would (finally) make me ovulate. If we had not had sex on that specific day, at that specific moment.

My daughter came around when she did because of the timing of my son’s birth; we wanted them roughly three years apart, and we got lucky because they were two years and nine months apart. It was Halloween, eleven days after his second birthday, when I found out I was pregnant with her.

If we had not had him, would we still have her? We never intended to only have one. If it had taken us another six months to get pregnant, we might have had an entirely different kid. Maybe even a girl first. And then we probably would have waited another six months to try to get pregnant with number two. And maybe she would have been a boy. And since I cannot fathom my life without my daughter in it, I suppose I cannot say I wish my son had never been born, because then I might not have her, too.

So after a few moments, I responded, and I said, “I don’t wish it had never happened. I wish it were still happening.”

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund writes funny, award-winning books and depressing blog posts. But the blogging helps her deal, so she can do everything else in life–like write more books for your reading pleasure. Check out her books here: https://www.amazon.com/Tami-Lund/e/B00AXJH5MY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_2

Sara Daniel Takes You on a Tour of Regret Hollow #smalltownromance

I launched The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow series 11 months ago, starting with The Bad Boy’s Gift (which is currently free on all retailers), followed by The Bad Boy’s Guilt, The Bad Boy’s Guarantee, and The Bad Boy’s Goodness. The most recent title, The Bad Boy’s Commitment, came out last October.

all-5-togetherMy series is set in Regret Hollow, a fictional town in southeastern Wisconsin, a little over an hour’s drive from Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison, with a population of 2,631. The residents love to play off the town name. Their welcome sign professes, “Your only regret will be leaving.” You can eat breakfast and lunch at the No Regrets Café and enjoy dinner at The Hollow Leg Pizzeria. There’s also a notorious make-out destination off a dirt road and into the woods on the edge of town, and more often than not, my characters end up there engaging in an activity that one or both of them may regret.

I grew up in a small town, and if something happened with kids at the high school, my dad (who knew and talked to everyone!) usually found out about it before I was home from school. I love the small-town community where everyone knows everyone, looks out for everyone, and often sticks their nose (and opinions) into everyone else’s business. Many times, the true stories are stranger and funnier than fiction. A couple years ago, a woman I’d never met stopped her full-size van in the middle of the street. She then asked me to open the passenger door and move her boxed frozen turkey from the floor onto the passenger seat. She explained that she was 87 years old and had just had hip surgery, so she couldn’t pick the turkey up from the floor. But she was apparently cleared to drive!

welcome-to-regret-hollow-5-booksBecause my series is titled The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow, I’m naturally exploring the interlocking themes of bad boys and regrets. Both have been more nuanced than I expected. In The Bad Boy’s Gift, the hero has been labeled “bad” since he was kid and carried that label as part of his identity, even though there was never anything truly bad about him. In The Bad Boy’s Guilt, the hero is the ultimate good-guy cop who has to come to terms with the regrettable, bad actions of his past. In The Bad Boy’s Goodness, the hero truly was a “bad boy” and believes he’s unworthy of the good-girl heroine. In The Bad Boy’s Commitment, an Army vet returns home hailed as a hero, when he doesn’t believe he’s anything close to being a hero.

So, come on over and a spend the day or a week in Regret Hollow. I wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to move in and up the population to 2,632.

ready-for-a-new-bad-boy-commitment-redThe Bad Boy’s Commitment

He’s supposed to be the town hero. He’s not!

Haunted by comrades he was unable to save, Drake Miller walks away from his military career for the relaxed, quiet life of running his father’s bar in Regret Hollow. Too bad no one tipped him off that his father sold the bar.

While the townspeople treat him to a hero’s welcome that he doesn’t want and doesn’t deserve, he finds one person who doesn’t fall at his feet, calls him out for bad behavior, and kisses like a fantasy. Unfortunately, she also owns the bar that was supposed to be his.

As a single mom and small business owner, Mallory Marquette takes her commitments and responsibilities seriously. She can’t give away her livelihood just because Drake thinks he’s entitled to it—even if he is the town hero and the first man in a decade who gets her blood flowing. Besides, she needs a reliable bartender much more than she needs a lover.

Can this hero turned bad boy step up to a lifetime commitment, or will the freedom he sacrificed so much for cost him everything?

Amazon    Barnes & Noble   iTunes    Kobo    Google Play

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Special Guest Sloane Taylor

Welcome to my lovely and dear friend, Sloane Taylor:

 

I am excited to announce my five Naughty Ladies of Nice books are now available in a box set from Toque & Dagger Publishing.

INTRODUCING

Treat yourself to a mini vacation on the French Riviera with five fun-packed books where intrigue, romance, and Haute cuisine collide to create erotic adventure.

FRENCH TART Book 1
Bon Appétit…Satisfy all your cravings at cooking school.
Determined to prove herself and shed her party girl image, Donatienne Dubois pins her hope on the exclusive cooking school in Nice, France. One by one her expectations are shattered by a foul-mouthed parrot, a bogus Michelin chef, and a headmistress with a heart of tungsten steel. Donni’s lifesaver is a bad boy too hot not to handle.

Mark Anderson is incognito and hating every moment. To pose as a student while keeping tabs on a rich wild child is his version of hell, until he partners with the dish of Crème Brulée good enough to eat.

Class takes on a whole new meaning as Doni and Mark heat up the kitchen when they discover honey has better uses than sweetening tea.

FRENCH DELIGHTS Book 2
Fantasy blooms in a garden of wicked delight.
Science is Paul’s life. Close to a major breakthrough, all he wants is to be left alone with his trees and not be forced to entertain a corporate suit. That is until the suit arrives in a sexy sundress. Now all Paul can think about is experimenting on her, not his orchard.

Lisette is less than thrilled about spending a month at a moldering chateau on the French Riviera with only some dried up old scientist for company. However the hot man in dirty jeans tending his scraggly trees proves more of a garden fantasy than the nerd in a lab coat.

Sex and science create a volatile formula resulting in total delight.

FRENCH TWIST Book 3
Spies and lies bring a deadly twist to the City of Lights.
Interpol agent Claudette D’Laquois is trapped in the hellhole of life and unable to trust anyone. Desperate to regain control, she flees to the safety of her uncle’s rundown chateau on the French Riviera. But Claudette soon learns the countryside has its own dangers when she finds herself alone with a sexy foreigner.

Uptight accountant Donald Hobbs ditches numbers for dirt to oversee his friend’s orchard for three weeks. His well deserved vacation is perfect until a seductive mademoiselle drags him into a dangerous world of intrigue and erotic fantasy.

Illegal drugs and Russian mobsters take a back seat to a lethal night of sinful pleasure for Claudette and Don.

FRENCH KISS Book 4
Who needs safe and boring when you can play with a pirate on the French Riviera?

Burned-out author Rachel Conklin sparks her creativity on the French Riviera as a fishing boat cook. Things are smooth sailing until she’s thrown overboard into a storm-tossed sea. Rachel awakens to find herself staring into the eyes of a sexy pirate-looking hunk who changes the course of her life forever.

Dr. Henri Bernier is an analytical man with a quiet life and a job he loves. The last thing he expects to find when he anchors his treasured fishing boat in the sheltered harbor of a small island is an accidental mermaid washed ashore. He soon learns his perfect life leaves much to be desired.

Will desire save them or drown them in a perfect storm from their pasts?

FRENCH TICKLER Book 5
Lace and handcuffs…tools of the trade.
New Yorker Samantha Bradley has a fun, sexy career designing ladies lingerie. Now that her business is on the rise, she treats herself to a well deserved break on the French Riviera where the women are glamorous and the men are gorgeous. After a few days Sam is eager to sample more than just the local cuisine.

Cisco Bernier is France’s key criminal prosecutor, but his courtroom charm falls flat outside the hallowed halls of justice. From family relationships to romantic trysts, his success rate is abysmal until a chance encounter with a sensuous young American businesswoman spins his staid world out of control.

Sam and Cisco sizzle together, but any future is threatened when their pasts collide. Her mob-connected father and his deceitful mother resurface and drag them into a corrupt world of lies and danger.

BUY LINKS
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Happy Reading!

Sloane

Award-Winning author Sloane Taylor is a sensual woman who believes humor and sex are healthy aspects of our everyday lives and carries that philosophy into her books. She writes sexually explicit romances that takes you right into the bedroom. Being a true romantic, all her stories have a happy ever after.

Her books are set in Europe where the men are all male and the North American women they encounter are both feminine and strong. They also bring more than lust to their men’s lives.

Taylor was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Studly, her mate for life, and Taylor now live in a small home in Indiana and enjoy the change from city life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday. The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor is currently published by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Excerpts from her books can be found on her website, blog, and all popular vendors.

Subscribe to Sloane’s quarterly newsletter. Connect with Taylor on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

A V Day Chat with Characters from Tami Lund’s Book

I know, I know, Valentine’s Day was yesterday. But considering this post is about Gavin Rowan from Of Love and Darkness, the first in my Twisted Fate series, I think you understand why it’s acceptable to post it on February 15th.

What’s that? You haven’t read Of Love and Darkness, so you have no idea what I’m talking about? You don’t know anything about Gavin, the cursed Light One, and Sydney, the Chala-who-has-no-idea she is one? Or how about William, the cross-dressing Fate who’s built like a linebacker?

No?

Well, what are you waiting for? Today through Friday it’s only 99 cents. Hurry and grab it!

In the meantime, here’s a typical Valentine’s Day in the Rowan household….

***

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“I suck at this Valentine’s shit.”

William glanced up from reading the newspaper on his iPad. Gavin Rowan, that incorrigible cursed Rakshasa shifter who happened to be in love with William’s Chala, towered over him, a scowl on his unshaven face, his pale blue eyes glaring at the Fate as if it were his fault the man was lousy at being romantic.

“You suck at a great many things,” William obligingly pointed out. He was stuck with the often surly shifter because Sydney loved him, but that didn’t mean he had to play nice. Besides, playing nice rarely worked for Gavin. He tended to speak one language: asshole.

“Not nearly as good as you do, I bet,” Gavin shot back, a typical derogatory comment about William’s preference for sharing his bed with men instead of women.

“I will never understand what Sydney sees in you.” William dropped his iPad onto his lap and brushed a bit of lint off the lacy lapel of his red wrap blouse. It was a recent find and his current favorite shirt. He’d been thrilled when he discovered they made it in his size. It was often a challenge to buy women’s clothing in sizes large enough to fit a six and a half foot tall, two hundred and sixty pound man built like a linebacker. And don’t even get him started on shoes.

“I think you understand quite well,” Gavin replied with a leer. “Now, help a guy out. What should I get her?”

“You to realize it’s four o’clock in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day, right?”

“Yeah, so hurry up about it. I haven’t even acknowledged the day yet. I’m sure she thinks I have some kind of surprise up my sleeve. So tell me what to do.”

William would like to tell the man to jump off the highest cliff he could find. But that would devastate Sydney, and William hated it when his Chala was upset. He sighed and said, “You seriously can’t think of anything? You have no idea what she wants, what she likes? Her favorite pastime? Her favorite restaurant?”

“I don’t want to take her out to dinner. Everybody does that. It’s boring. I want… something different. Better. Something she’ll remember, and tell all her friends about.”

“How does the asshole in you manage to live with that giant ego? Seems like they’d be fighting for dominance all the damn time.”

“You’re a funny Fate,” Gavin replied with a smirk that said William was anything but.

“Not nearly as funny as the comedians at the Comedy Castle.”

Gavin gave him a blank look and then shook his head. “Whatever, dude. You gonna help me or not?”

“I’m trying,” William grumbled. “She does like to laugh, you know.”

“So you think I should just tell her jokes all night?”

“You really are an idiot, you know that?”

“And you’re a fruitcake. We all have our burdens to bear. So about that Valentine’s Day idea?”

With a long-suffering sigh, William reached into the V on the neck of his blouse and pulled out an envelope. He offered it to Gavin, who looked at it as if it might bite him.

“Did you seriously just pull that out of your cleavage? What the fuck is wrong with you? And what is it, anyway?”

“Tickets, you dolt. To the comedy show. Seven o’clock seating. A lovely wine bar recently opened down the street from the comedy club. I think she’d like it.” He made a show of looking at his watch. “So I’d get a move on, if I were you.”

He watched realization dawn on Gavin’s face. If he weren’t such a repulsive creature, William might even go so far as to say it lightened his face, made him almost attractive.

Gavin snatched the envelope. “Sweet.” He bolted from the room without so much as a thank you, but William had expected no less. A moment later, Sydney stepped out from where she’d been hovering in the kitchen. Unlike her mate, her enthusiasm and appreciation was clear as day, as she pulled William to his feet and squeezed him until he couldn’t breathe.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, William. You’re a doll. I’m so excited for tonight.” She clapped her hands like a three-year-old.

“You’re welcome, but tell me, why didn’t you just tell him that’s what you wanted?”

Sydney’s pink rosebud lips thinned and she crossed her arms over her chest. “Gavin probably would have refused to do it, if I’d suggested it. You know how he likes to think it was his idea. And I knew he’d come to you, because he wouldn’t be able to think of anything. And whatever you suggested is what he’d do. This worked perfectly. Now, I have to go track him down so he can tell me about our plans, so I can get ready for my hot date. Thanks again, William. I owe you one.”

She trotted away, happy as a lark, and William was once again reminded of the complexity and convolution—and sheer genius—of the female mind.

***

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund writes quirky characters, often with a strong sense of humor. She’s a big fan of bad boys who really have a heart of gold, and unexpected secondary characters who sometimes have to bash the hero and heroine over the head to get them to realize they’re in love.