These are the Days of My (Fall) Life

Life is hectic right now. So yeah, I’m writing this blog post the night before it’s scheduled to go live. No promises on how good it’ll be, let alone whether I’ll manage to catch typos and grammatical crap that isn’t called out thanks to Word’s swiggly red and green lines. Like swiggly. Word doesn’t like that word. Thinks it’s misspelled. Should be wiggly or swingy.

To be honest, I didn’t know ‘swingy’ was actually a word, and okay yes, ‘wiggly’ would probably work to describe those handy reminders Word offers up. But I like swiggly. It’s wiggly with swagger, and who doesn’t like a good swagger?

Especially if it’s attached to a desperately in need of redemption bad boy.

Speaking of—side bar—I just finished an amazing book with a hella sexy bad boy. I spent a fair portion of the book working myself up, figuring there was no way in hell this author could redeem him properly. He was that bad. And she did what I thought was impossible, thank God, because I truly thought I would finish the book and throw my phone against the wall with fury because the hero ended up not being much of a hero. I was so relieved I damn near cried.

The book’s called Beautiful Beast and the author is Aubrey something-or-another. I’ll have to look it up for you.

(Here it is: Beautiful Beast on Amazon)

So back to swiggly and swagger and my hectic life. (Although maybe now that I’ve finished that incredibly addictive book, it suddenly won’t seem so hectic. Because yeah, I was having a hard time focusing on the real world while reading it.)

It’s always crazy this time of year. It’s that part of the summer when it hits you that it’s almost over, so you do whatever you can to spend as much time doing summer stuff as possible, like you should have been doing for the past three months.

And then there’s back to school, which, now that we moved the kid to a different school means earlier than normal (public schools in the state of Michigan don’t start until after Labor Day, since tourism is an obscene amount of our state’s budget—hello, have you seen our state?—and Labor Day is a huuuuuuge tourism weekend).

Like next week earlier. Which will likely sneak up on my every single year until she graduates, I’m sure. Because geez, summer’s still in full swing, and now I have to make sure she has a haircut and that her uniform fits, make sure her shots are up to date (that makes it sound like she’s a dog, doesn’t it??), purchase all those school supplies we suddenly have to have in less than a week. Oh, and we’re going out of town for the weekend prior to the first day of school (not exactly well planned), so yeah, everything has to be done by this Thursday.

And let’s not forget football. Just to be clear, I could give two shits about football. The only game I ever watch is the Super Bowl and that’s only because I’m surrounded by friends and drinks and delicious, unhealthy food, watching the best commercials I can expect to see all year long. And for whatever reason, all those aspects make the rest of the game pretty fun too. Usually.

And yet football affects my life, adds to the insanity of fall, creates a whole additional layer of compaction as I try to balance an utterly impossible to balance load of life. How? Because the husband, who has a nice, normal day job, moonlights as a high school football referee. When my kids were little, I called myself a ‘football widow.’ It wasn’t quite as bad as being a football coach’s wife (okay, not remotely), but in my world, it was plenty bad enough. When you have two little kids and your husband is gone four or five days a week, it’s damn hard to manage. Oh yeah, and did I mention my day job gets insane at this time of year, too? And a few years ago, the owner had the brilliant idea to move the office thirty minutes further away from my home (I am convinced it was a personal affront and not because of the availability of real estate and tax breaks), which means my commute is a lovely, loooooong one hour each way. So when I work ten hour days, plus two hours of commute time, WHEN THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE?

And that’s the crux of all this whining. I miss my writing at this time of year. I want it, I crave it, I need it. It’s my wine. My chocolate, my sleep, my world. I need to write like normal people need to breathe. And finding time to do so at this time of year is hard. Really hard. (When you read that last bit, read it in a really, really, high pitched pitiful voice—there, that’s how I feel.)

Well look at that. Somehow, I managed to write a blog post after all. While I’m on this roll, I should probably try to get in some words on the latest manuscript.

After I make dinner.

And convince the kid to shower.

And walk the dog.

And clean the kitchen.

And do a load of laundry.

And water the flowers.

And … pass out on the couch.

Did I mention it’s already after seven in the evening?

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

 

Tami Lund is an author, award whiner (see what I did there?), and wine drinker. She prefers the wine without the ‘h’ whenever possible, but sometimes, a girl’s gotta vent.

Check out her website here: www.tamilund.com

Tami Lund Talks Sexy Bad Co-Writing

It’s official. I love this co-writing gig.

My latest release, Sexy Bad Neighbor, was co-written with fellow (fabulous) author, Misti Murphy. It’s about an uptight woman and a laid back guy and a prank war that turns into a steamy affair. Oh yeah, and somewhere in the middle a goat wanders into their relationship, ensuring reviewers like this one add GIFs of adorable, bouncing, er, kids to their blogs.

Now, we’re writing the climax and subsequent happy ending to Sexy Bad Daddy, the second in the Sexy Bad Series. The dramatic ending (okay, our joking about the ending) has led us to brainstorm the beginning to book three, which we’ve dubbed Sexy Bad Boss. Unable to resist once we start talking about it, we’ve already started writing that one, too.

The part I like best about co-writing is that each chapter is a surprise, and usually spurs new ideas, which often take the storyline to a level we hadn’t expected going into it. I’ll finish a chapter and have an idea in my head of where I think we’ll go next. Then Misti will finish the next chapter and I’ll read it and think, oh yeah, this is even better than I planned. And then the book ends up involving a goat, and possibly… a duck. (Stay tuned for that one…)

While I love it, I will say, it isn’t necessarily easy. There’s definitely angst built into the process, and plenty of guilt. Misti and I live on opposite ends of the world, literally. She’s in Australia, I’m in the US. There’s an eighteen-hour time difference between us. Luckily, she’s a late-night writer and I’m an early-morning writer, so we manage to carve time for plenty of conversation as we go along on this journey. But I work a fulltime non-writing job as well, which is frustrating for both of us when we set deadlines for ourselves and something happens at the day job that keeps me from getting to my next chapter for a week at a time.

You also have to (in my opinion) either both be pansters or both be plotters. Misti and I are both pansters, although she’s probably more in the middle. I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of vague outline saved somewhere in our shared Dropbox folders. Not that I’ve ever looked at it. See my comment above about loving how the book ends up taking on a new life with each subsequent chapter. No outlines in my world, thank you very much.

You also should know your co-writer’s style and personality, before you commit to something like this. Yeah, yeah, this is a business deal, but if you can’t get along with your partner, the business is probably going to fizzle pretty quickly.

Misti and I met through our writing. I’ve read every single one of her books, and I’m pretty sure she’s read all of mine. She’s beta read for me; I edit for her. I have a healthy respect for her as an author, and as a person. I believe she deserves to be, and will be, a best selling author some day. Her books are that good.

Since I knew her style so well, I knew I could write along with it. So when she threw the idea of co-writing out to an online group we both belong to, I immediately raised my hand. I knew I could do it, knew we could do it together. Knew it would be a damn good book. Had no idea it would turn into a brand, and plans for a bunch more damn good books.

But hey, that’s okay. Because I love it. And it’s working. And it’s fun. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, head on over to our Sexy Bad Lounge to have a look!

Oh yeah, and if you want to check out Sexy Bad Neighbor, here’s the Amazon link (it’s a KU title, if you’re a member): SEXY BAD NEIGHBOR.

Sexy couple

Tami Lund drinks wine, wins awards, and writes sexy bad romance. She also writes paranormal romance, even occasionally achieving ‘best seller’ status. Check out her website here: TAMI LUND

Release Day Diamond Giveaway + 2 FREE books

dj-promo-blockI always get excited, and nervous, the day before a release. I wonder if I had done enough promotion, what additional avenues are available to reach my readers, and then there is the standard author paranoia…will they like my book?

prologue-coverDouble Jeopardy released on Tuesday, January 10. Click on the picture to BUY NOW!

The book was part of a boutique series created by Hildie McQueen based on Indulgences Resort, sort of a Panamanian fantasy island. My book was one of thirteen stories.  Click on the cover for an immediate download Indulgences the Prologue FREE.

uncaged-love-highresAs I fretted over yesterday’s release, I was also editing Uncaged Love, my mid-February release. What had started as an edit has turned into major rewrites. I find it astonishing that my writing style has changed so much in a mere three years. Although the base of the story will not change, nor the hero and heroine, characters from my Black Swan series will play a larger role, primarily in the backstory.

susan-stoker-caroline-coverRight on the heels of Uncaged Love, and directly related to that story, Rescuing Melina will released in March as part of Susan Stoker’s Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World. If you are not familiar with her two military series, you can grab Protecting Caroline for FREE by clicking the cover.

2015-10-06-09-55-28As always, a KaLyn Cooper release means diamonds! The contest for the diamond necklace continues until January 15. Please check my Facebook page for multiple ways to enter. Answer the question below for Double Entries!

>>> Would you rather travel to a Panamanian island to fulfill a fantasy, go to Cancun for an exciting vacation, or take a staycation at home? <<<

Tami Lund Doesn’t Do NaNo

It’s National Novel Writing Month, or, more commonly known as “NaNo.” For the three of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a commitment to write 50,000 words during the month of November, preferably all in one novel.

True confession: I can easily write 50k words in November. I probably have, for every November since 2009, when I began writing with vigor after taking a nearly twenty year hiatus from it (you know how it is: college, partying, dating, marriage, kids…).

November is a sort of in-between month. It’s after the hubbub of back-to-school and football season. It’s before the chaos of the holidays. And, in my case, deer hunting season drops in there (check out my funny blog post about being a hunting widow and inconvenient pooping HERE), which allows me even more time to dedicate to writing than usual. It’s really the perfect month to commit to writing an entire novel in thirty days.

And once again, I’m not participating.

Wanna know why? It’s because of the pressure.

Yep. It’s the pressure. The commitment. You must do this, no matter what the hell else happens in your life. Day job. Kids. Dog. Clean house. Husband. None of it matters, if you haven’t reached your word count.

Okay, okay, I’m blowing this way out of proportion, and yes, I’m fully aware I am.

But that’s how my brain works.

If a story idea pops into my head and it’s so insistent I can’t help but sit down and write it, I’ll get 20k words down in a weekend. I’ll do exactly what I mentioned above—forsake all else—until I reach a point in the story where I am comfortable taking a break (or the weekend ends and I have to get the kid off to school). But that’s a different kind of pressure. There’s no real commitment to that pressure. If I don’t finish the novel, I don’t finish it. I haven’t promised it to anyone; I haven’t put it up for pre-order on Amazon; hell, I probably haven’t even posted snippets on Facebook yet (I tend to do that, a lot). I just decided to write, and so I did.

But if you tell me I have to write—it’s a whole different story. For example, I’ve been invited to participate in a Valentine’s Day Anthology. I’m supposed to contribute a 15k word short story with some pretty basic parameters. Fifteen-thousand words, when I have a couple free weekends and a story idea rolling around in my head, is a piece of cake. Usually. Until someone gives me a deadline and asks me to commit. Then I find myself sitting, sometimes for hours, staring at a computer screen that looks like this:

img_6107

So yeah, I’m not participating in NaNo. But I am writing. So rest assured, there will be something new available to read soon. Maybe even that Valentine’s Day short…

resist_blood-courtesans

Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, award winner, and writing-commitment-phobe. She also has a vampire novella releasing next week, if you want to grab it for 99 cents on pre-order (because it’ll be $2.99 after it releases): RESIST – A Vampire Blood Courtesans Novel

Tami Lund & Eminem, They’re Tight *In Her Mind*

Maybe I should clarify that title. I’m actually referring to the character Eminem played in the movie 8 Mile. Jimmy “B-Rabbit” Smith. Remember him? He was the poor white kid from Detroit who was going nowhere fast, despite his dreams of becoming a famous rapper.

So how are we so tight? Well, we have a few things in common. Okay, maybe only a very, very few things. Maybe two.

First, we both came from poor, single-parent households in Detroit. Okay, okay, in Michigan. I was actually raised in mid-Michigan, although it was an ethnically mixed, solidly blue-collar, factory town. And I lived in a trailer park for a minute when I was in sixth grade.

But I live in Detroit now. Okay, okay, in the ‘burbs. My version of Detroit involves the DIA, the Riverfront, The Whitney, the Renaissance Center, Eastern Market, Fox Theatre, Ford Field, and Tigers Stadium (okay, Comerica Park, but I’m plenty old enough to remember games at Tigers Stadium — not to mention Joe Lewis Arena, which isn’t going away like Tigers Stadium did, but it’s the last season the Red Wings will play there). How about Belle Isle, Hitsville USA, and the casinos? Oh, and Greektown and Mexicantown. Speaking of awesome restaurants, how about Roast, Punch Bowl Social, The Rathskeller? The list goes on, much like the beat…

Wait, I’ve completely digressed from the purpose of this post. I was trying to show you the connection I feel with Jimmy Smith from 8 Mile. It’s more than just our poor roots and undoubtedly shared favorable opinions about all those cool places in Detroit. (For the record, I have no idea if Jimmy, or Eminem for that matter, like any of those places I noted; I’m making a biased assumption based on the fact we all live in the Detroit area and take a bit of pride in our hometown.)

Anyway, what really helps me feel connected to Jimmy is … that award I won on October 8th, for my book, UNDERCOVER HEAT!!!

14590407_10154677516611579_4721134322497278793_n

undercover-heat_cover

 

**Author pitch here: It’s a super awesome book about two broken people who are forced to figure out how to get along and then end up growing as individuals and having super steamy sex. Many times. So it’s practically the perfect romance novel. Just sayin’. **

 

 

Never have I felt so connected to Jimmy Smith as I did on the Monday after winning that Rone Award at the InD’Scribe Conference. (Read my funny blog post about what it was like to be a first time award winner here.)

We both, ultimately, won the award, reached the pinnacle… And then went back to work afterward. Work, as in the job that paid the bills, the one that had nothing whatsoever to do with those dreams floating around in our heads.

On that Monday morning, as I sat in my car, creeping my way through rush hour traffic, all I could think about was that scene in 8 Mile, when Jimmy wins (oops, spoiler alert!) and everybody’s celebrating, and for a minute, he’s king of the world….

And then the DJ tries to convince him to stay, to be a host at the club, and Jimmy says nah, I gotta get back to work. Not only does he need to continue to earn a steady paycheck, but he had asked a friend to cover his shift for him, and he couldn’t let that guy down, either. So altruistic, so brave, so deserving of that award. And someday, so big, so successful; finally breaking free of that poor, sometimes seemingly hopeless life.

Okay, we don’t quite yet have that in common. I mean, sure, I’ve moved beyond my poor roots, without a doubt, but I’m no Eminem.

Maybe someday.

Until then, I’ll smile every time I walk past that award on display in my dining room (deliberately, I might add), I’ll giggle every time my husband manages to work it into yet another seemingly unrelated conversation, and I’ll keep writing. And dreaming. Big dreams. Huge dreams.

I’m ready to lose myself.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, a wine drinker, and an AWARD WINNER. She’s pretty damn giddy about it, can you tell?

PS – She’s participating in a Halloween Facebook Hop this week – go to her Facebook page to check out the deets and win PRIZES:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTamiLund/

 

 

Tami Lund Talks the Birth of a (Published) Book

A little over three years ago (holy wow, it’s been that long?), I came across an anthology call from a reputable (and rather well-known) publishing company. They were looking for novella length stories, roughly 20k words, paranormal, based around an urban legend, to be published in the fall. At the time, I’d already bumbled through my first attempt at self-publishing and really wanted to find a publisher for the security, the confidence, the professionalism. I still had so much to learn about this writing gig, and I believed getting picked up by a publisher was the way to do it.

I googled “urban legends” and thanks to Wikipedia, came across the Legend of Bloody Mary. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloody_Mary_(folklore)) A girl looks into an enchanted mirror and sees the face of her future husband. It appealed to me.

I mulled over it for a few days, working out the girl’s history, the guy, the reasoning why it would take a magical mirror for the two of them to come together. I had a healthy obsession with gypsies, which fit with the enchanted mirror idea, so I determined I would work the Romani cultural into the story.

And then I decided it should be a comedy, and after purchasing a birthday card for a friend, decided a key secondary character would be fashioned after Maxine from the Hallmark cards, except she’d be a gypsy. With the same sagging boobs, though.

After that, it sort of fell together as I wrote it, as my books usually do. Plotter, I am not. I do best when I simply… write.

Six months later, I sent Mirror, Mirror to that publisher and then held my breath, crossed my fingers and toes, and said a few prayers to a variety of shooting stars and some nature-inspired deities.

Only a few short weeks later, I received a reply. “Can you turn this into a full-length novel?”
Can I?

Hell yes! Excited beyond excited (ohmigod, this is it, this is finally it!), I fervently pounded the keyboard, hammered out words, sentences, paragraphs, and tripled the size of that novella. The basic guts were still there, but it had turned into a completely different story. It wasn’t the original, fun-loving novella, but I was still pleased with my work.

Once again, I sent it off to the publisher and held my breath and performed various luck-enhancing rituals.

And then I waited. And waited.

And waited.

Periodically, I received email updates. “We need a little more time.” “We’re still reviewing your manuscript.” And the guilt-ridden one, “I haven’t forgotten about you, I promise!”

A year later—yes, you read that right—a year later, I received that ever-dreaded rejection. “We apologize for taking so [insanely freaking] long to get back to you, but unfortunately, we don’t think this will be a good fit for us. We do like your writing style, though, so please consider submitting to us again in the future.”

I wasn’t crushed, as you’d expect (although hell no, I’ll never submit to them again). I was annoyed, though. Especially because the book was a Halloween-themed story, and they’d finally gotten around to giving me an answer in September. Regardless of what I decided to do with this book, it would be another year before it would be published, and that’s what irritated me the most.

Because I. Love. This. Book.

I sat on it for a while. Contemplated what to do. Should I leave it in my computer to collect dust with the six dozen other unnamed novels that were essentially practice for all those I’ve since published? Start the query process all over again? Self-publish?

Self-publish?

By that point, I’d been published with three other publishers—Crimson Romance, Liquid Silver Publishing, and Soul Mates Publishing. I was pretty confident Crimson or Soul Mates would be interested in this book. And I knew it would sell as well as the other books they already had.

I also knew I wouldn’t have control over pricing, over the cover, over marketing, over royalties. If I self-pub’d, I could price it at 99 cents or even a buck ninety-nine, and I could even drop it to free on occasion, if I were so inclined. I could put it up for pre-sale as soon as my editor and I were done polishing, and my fave cover artist came up with yet another spectacular creation. I could even include it in a future anthology or boxed set, if I wanted to.

So tempting.

Let me back up here. I am not against signing with publishers. I already mentioned I’ve signed with three. And while I admit I’ve thought about pulling one of my series from one of them, mostly due to what I consider too-high pricing, I’ve been largely happy with my publishers. I like my covers. I like the authors I’ve met. I like the people I’ve dealt with. I’ve liked most of my editors. I’ve even adopted one of them as my go-to whenever I put out a self-published book. I really appreciate the confidence building emails like, “I love this book, when can you get us another?”

Buuuuuuut… I have to be honest. At 99 cents or even a buck ninety-nine, royalties are pretty miniscule when you split them with someone else. And yes, I realize there’s the huge benefit of not paying for editing and a cover up front.

At this point in my career, I’m not making money on this writing gig. Everything I make goes right back into the business, mostly toward marketing. But, I am bringing in royalty checks each quarter (or monthly, for my self-pub’d books), and it’s enough that I can afford to pay my favorite editor and my favorite cover artist. When you look at it that way, I’m starting out ahead even if I’m paying up front. At this point, I’m confident I can make more on this book by doing it myself, than by sending it off to a publisher to “own.”

Because I’ve decided this book needed to be published. It’s funny. It’s entertaining. I especially love Vivienne, the kooky old lady with the magical mirror.

Cinderella

So therefore, three years after the first draft was written, Mirror, Mirror is finally seeing the light of day, er, is now available on e-readers pretty much everywhere. I think you should give this book a try. It’s been waiting to be read for three years, after all.

Tami Lund Headshot 2014

Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, and an advocate of funny romance reads. If these things appeal to you, you should join her newsletter list: HERE.

 

Chef Holley’s Recipe for Writerly Disaster

Okay. That headline is a little dramatic, but seeing as how I nearly had a blubbering meltdown over the weekend, it seemed appropriate.

external drive image

One of my writer friends, Anya Breton, e-nagged me about the importance of BTSU (Backing that Shit Up) for basically eons before I got into a routine of actually hooking my external drive into my laptop at the end of every work day. And I do it without fail every night so I can sleep well.

Maybe I’m still slightly Luddite, but I just can’t trust cloud storage. I need A THING that I can see and yell at, and so far, that system of pre-bed backup has worked out pretty well for me. It saved my biscuits last year when I had to send my laptop off to have the something-or-other replaced.

Well. Right after that, my computer fell out of warranty—which is usually the universe’s way of telling me to squirrel some pennies away to buy a new one—and my power button said, “Hey, you’ll be fine without me, right?” It decided it didn’t want to work anymore. So, basically, up until this weekend I hadn’t turned my computer off in months because the chances of me getting it back on were slim to none (unless I wanted to resort to a risky hot-wiring maneuver I saw on the Internet that involved opening up my computer and pressing the end of a staple in between a couple of metal bits).

On Friday night, I took my laptop to bed with me to do some admin or something, and had a sudden revelation that, “Oops. Uploaded the wrong file to Amazon! Better fix that first thing in the morning.”

The next morning, I rolled over, grabbed my laptop, fixed my file, got distracted by Chopped or something on Food Network, and then my computer lost its charge while I was trying to talk myself into getting up to go pee.

Picture an hour of me repeatedly pressing the power button, plugging in and unplugging, shaking my fist, swearing, and panicking.

You see, I didn’t back up my computer before taking it to bed. It wasn’t the computer itself I was worried about, but the hours and hours of unsaved work on it from Friday.

🙂

🙂

The cloud’s not sounding so bad all of a sudden, right?

As of the time of me typing this post, I don’t have my computer. I took it into the fruit-named store on Saturday and HipsterHelper said problem was probably one thing. HipsterTech called on Monday and said, “Nah, IDK. We’ll have to send it out and let you know or whatever.”

HipsterTech was basically unmoved by my “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WORK?!” ranting and raving. “Yes, we all depend on our computers a lot,” she said.

If I hadn’t been talking to her on expensive fruit-named phone I had to pay out of pocket to replace the screen on last year, I might have thrown it.

I suppose my new lesson isn’t to just BTSU, but, also, BTSU to multiple places and also having a way to access all your important software in case you have to temporarily work on other machines. Of course you’re on deadline, right? Of course.

Hopefully when [if] I get my computer back, the new stuff I’m writing blind right now will match up with the stuff I wrote last week. If not…

*cue nervous laughter*