Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Uh, Birthday wishes?

So, today was my stepmom's birthday, and it was sort of a busy day for me, but I wanted to get her a card since I was going to be up by her house anyway--I had to take Big T to the dentist, and our dentist is about a mile away from my parents' house, so I figured a card, not a text this year, right?

Anyway, I went into the drugstore to find a card.

Can I just say, my stepmom is in good health and she's not Saint Catherine, neither is she Mother Teresa, she's a perfectly wonderful human woman who does not need, nor probably does not want a heartfelt poem in five die-cut pages complete with glitter and ribbons celebrating her amazing otherworldly-quality awesomeness.

Dude. There was nothing--nothing--for a perfectly ordinary birthday for a lovely and yet human woman.

I finally found the Shoebox section--aptly named, it wasn't that big--and managed a rather amusing little card, and when I went up to the register I bought some fun sweet snacky thingies to give her with the card.

Then I picked Big T up and took him to the dentist.

Now, I'd bought some chocolate pretzels with my mom's snacky thingies and munched on those, perfectly content, and offered them to T. He declined, went to his appointment, got out of the car and promptly opened his grandma's snacky thingies! 

I was like, *flail*!!!!!

"Oh my God! We can't give those to her now! That's totally tacky!"

"Sorry, Mom. I totally owe grandma a treat--I'll tell her it's my fault."

Well, my stepmom wasn't home, but my dad was, and we gave him the card to give her, and then I told him the tale of the snacky thingies.

"Out of curiosity, what did you get?"

Well, what I got her was caramel popcorn with chocolate bar bits in it which, you gotta admit, was pretty amazing as far as snacky thingies go.

Anyway--I pulled them out and let my dad see the bag and he tried a handful and took the bag and said, "Don't worry. She'll never know you opened the bag." And then he gathered the bag to himself and took the card inside.

*sigh*

Well, at least they were enjoyed, I guess, and now I totally owe my mom some snacky thingies.

I hope she had a happy birthday, though. She was on a horse ride during a gorgeous spring day--I'm pretty sure she did.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Crocus

Crocus

by Amy Lane

Bonfires: Book Two

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?



I admit--keeping the spark alive is harder than people assume it is. I love my husband--I've loved him for thirty-three years. But the longer you know somebody, the easier it is to only remember their flaws and forget all their virtues. Instead of "This is the man who just did my taxes in order to support my rather flaky business," I think, "This is the man who ditched out on me for a soccer meeting. Again."  Both things are true, and one is actually greater than the other one is irritating.

But after a while, it's easier to see the downside.

At it's heart, Crocus is about remembering that the person we love is still the person we love even if fortune, fate, and overcommitment takes them from our side for a while. The passion is there, the affection is there, the respect is there--it just has to survive under the snow for a while, while the heat of first love sleeps. 

It's not easy. But nothing worth having ever is.

So that's Crocus--I hope you all enjoy it!  And by all means, review it, both on GoodReads and Amazon if you do!

Amy

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Why are boys again?

So, got a lot accomplished this weekend--but oi! So much to do!




*  ZoomBoy's hair has been looking a little... weird over the last week. He had this section on his forehead that stuck straight up--remember the spooge-mousse scene in Something About Mary?  Yes. It was doing that. 

Anyway, ZB and I went to get our hair cut, because his was obviously out of hand, and it wasn't until we were in line at Great Clips that I realized...

"Oh my God. Did you cut your hair?"

"Yup."

"Why..."  I flailed here. "Why just that little chunk."

ZoomBoy shrugged. "It was in my way."

So, picture this. A 14 YO boy who wishes to attract other 14 YO people for various mating rituals A. Cannot seem to remember to brush his teeth or put on deodorant, and B. Just randomly cuts off chunks of his hair because it's in his eyes.

"Why didn't you ask for a haircut?" I demanded.

Another shrug. "Why?"

Ladies and gentleman, my ZoomBoy. He will never kiss another human in a romantic way at this point, and now you know why.

*  Also a ZoomBoy story--

He told us tonight that Let it Go was actually the story of how boys and girls break wind differently.

With girls it's "Conceal don't feel, don't let it show..."

With boys it's, "Let it go! Let it go!"

And that song's popularity makes sense now, right?

*  Squish fell down on the soccer field and sprained her ankle. She's so stoic. She just goes and goes and goes and is fine and suddenly she's crying.  

It was like, "Honey! You should have told us it still hurt, we would have wrapped it this morning!"

*  One of Squish's teammates has a little brother, and we had the following conversation.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm knitting a sock."

"That's neat. Can you make mittens?"

"Uh, yes. Want to see my mittens?"  (I pull out fingerless mitts)

"They're too big."

"Yes, well, they were made for me."

"Can you make some my size?"

"Yes."

"Can you make them green?"

"Yes--but I have my green yarn at home."

"What do you have with you?"

"Uh, this kind and this kind..."

"I like this kind. Can you make me mittens out of this kind of yarn?"

"Sure you don't want to wait until I can get home and get some green?"

"No, this kind is good."

I take the yarn-- a fine sock yarn--and begin to cast on.

"When will my mittens be done?" he asked.

"Not nearly as soon as you think they should be," I told him, and his mother laughed hysterically.

"You really don't have to make him a pair!" she told me.

"Oh no," I told her. "It's not often that you're commanded to knit, and knit now, and knit faster. I'm gonna enjoy this!"

For the record? They're almost done.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

ZoomBoy Wrote Today's Post

So, ZoomBoy is in a drama class, and he had to write a spoken poem.

"Do you want to hear my poem mom?"

"Sure!"

And he said it out loud, and I died, because it's hysterical.

And I asked if I could share, and he said yes.

So today's blog post is written by ZoomBoy--and I hope it makes you laugh too.  (P.S.-- points if you can name all his sci-fi references. Also, I told him that he should wish the guy used the bathroom AFTER the guy with storm trooper accuracy, but for some reason that was unwieldy.)


A Birthday Curse from a Galaxy Far Far Away... 


On the birthday of the scum and villainy who called me a nerd, 
I wish him an arrow in the knee after being arrested for unintentionally hitting a chicken. 
I wish him the prequels without lightsabers, and to be the unlucky stormtrooper who has to break the news to Vader.
I wish him to be just a mediocre hufflepuff that has nothing to do with the boy who lived and his friends. 
I wish him stormtrooper accuracy in the bathroom and to be roasted in three words by a tree. To have a fear of cubes and dented spheres. To have a job in the Enterprise as an engineer.  
And finally, I wish him the honorable death of being killed by teddy bears with sticks.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

And Now You Know

Was a good work day today, and I was working along when I got this text from ZB:

Now I know what TSE is.

Me: ???

ZB: Testicular Self Examination

Me: Uh, good to know

ZB: Taking notes was like writing an adult novel

Me: Lucky you!

ZB: You're supposed to take a bath first so things get loose and saggy

Me: Don't ever do that while the rest of the family is home

ZB: Fine


Which was, well, par for the course in our house, but still. Then this other thing happened:

Chicken texting: Can you pick my cat up from the vet?  She was barfing blood so I dropped her off at the vets but I don't get up until after they close.

Me (groggily, in middle of nap): Sure

Hours later: When?

Chicken: Six. I told them her name was Peanut Butter

Me: Why?

Chicken: Because

Me: Whatever

So I get to the vets and ask for Peanut Butter. For the record? The cat's real name is Mrs. Poopy Butthole, because this cat weighs in excess of 28 lbs and she is too fat to lick her own ass. This is a true story.

"So, Ms. Lane, your cat does NOT have diabetes, not even a little. In fact, from what we can gather, she just has a mild pancreatitis--not food related. Perhaps stress?"

"My daughter is watching her friend's cat. Perhaps the cat got a little upset that she had to share her food?"

"Yes, of course. Here--what you need to do is go out and buy the cat some Pepcid AC and use this depiller to shove it down her throat. It'll calm down her acid and she probably will stop vomiting in a reasonable amount of time."

"That's a relief. They do laundry at my house."

"Ha ha. By the way, we love this cat's name. She's so cute. And she really does look like Peanut Butter."

I look at the GINORMOUS FUCKING CAT rolling obsequiously on the table in front of me, and hug her. She bitches "RUDE!" in my face and we understand each other.

"Yeah, she's adorable."

"Well bring Peanut Butter by any time. We just love her!"

Mrs. Poopy Butthole screams, "I HATE THESE SUCKY PEOPLE!" in my face.

"I'll tell my daughter. Pepcid you say?"

"Should work like a charm."

"Come on, 'Peanut Butter'. Hop in the crate."

"YOU SUCK TOO!"

"She's a doll!"

"Yeah. Adorable. Truly." At this point I am unimpressed--it's seven o'clock, I have to drop the cat off and come home and cook dinner. If this cat wanted to impress me she'd negotiate the two miles to her apartment and ring the doorbell, but it ain't happening.

I call my son and have him wait for me to pull up. "Why?" he asks.

"Twenty-eight pounds NOT in the crate, Big T. I'm not hauling her up the damned stairs."

"Okay, fine. Does she have diabetes?"

"Not even a little sugar in her urine."

"Luckiest cat on the planet."

"I'm saying."

I swear, next time I have to pick up this cat, I'm spray-painting "Mrs. Poopy Butthole" on her bright pink cat carrier. I love that cat, but we both know she ain't no Peanut Butter.




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Very Seasonal Duck --A Pierce and Hal Road Trip Story

Okay, so I promised my editor a whole bunch of these by June-- so far, I've got three, and I want the boys home before I turn them in to Lynn, so let's go to Hal's parents, shall we?

*  *  *

Pierce had to admit--Hal's parents' place was pretty damned intimidating.

The long drive from the main road to the gigantic antebellum house was paved, thank God, because Pierce's body had pretty much decided travel was the suck. The three days they'd spent in Atlanta had helped, as had Hal's insistence on using the jacuzzi and the pool while they were there, so Pierce thought maybe, with some more attention to stopping every two hours, he could make the trip home.

His other option was to give Hal directions to drive by himself while Pierce flew, and he really didn't want to do that. Even if he was sitting in the passenger seat, watching the unfamiliar scenery whiz by as Hal negotiated the expressways, listening as Hal sang loudly to pop songs Pierce had never heard of, Pierce was as happy as he'd ever been in his life.

He didn't have to be home until mid-February, and his ex-wife was setting up the bedroom and the backyard for him, like he'd asked when she'd sent the divorce papers. He was bringing Hal to a proper home. Hal had seriously left everything behind him-- parents, school, friends-- so he could start a life with a guy he'd known for a month. Pierce really didn't want him to regret that.

Seeing this long driveway and the spectacular house didn't bode well for Hal not regretting things.

"Damn," he muttered.

"It looks like a prison?" Hal asked.

"It looks awesome. How was it a prison?"

Hal grunted. "Do you see the house next door?"

Pierce peered through the beech trees that lined the driveway and saw nothing but rolling horse pasture, criss-crossed with wooden fences. "No. I think there's a barn about half-a-mile away."

"That's a whole mile. We've got a golf cart to take us out to the barn. Anyway, no, there were no next door neighbors. There were no play dates. There were no other kids invited to come sit in the living room and watch movies."

Pierce grunted. His parents had been cold and detached as well--but the house he'd grown up in would fit in this house's living room. "Me neither," he said. "I did have soccer, though. What'd you have?"

"Boarding school."

Pierce let out a little sigh. "Do you want kids?" he asked out of the blue.

"Someday, yes," Hal said, slowing down and glancing at him. "Is that a problem?"

"No. Just, you know. We need to make plans. Soccer teams and swim parties and trips to the zoo. We can take turns working from home."

Hal smiled softly, his entire oval-shaped, boy-beautiful face lighting up. "We can spoil our kids like your sister spoiled hers."

His sister's house had been tiny. That Hal thought Darius and Abigail were spoiled told Pierce everything he needed to know. "Yup. And all of that will start with you telling your parents where you're moving to."

"Deal."

Still, when an older man with thinning white hair over a pink liver-spotted scalp came out to greet them and park the car, Pierce couldn't help but be impressed.

"Thanks Daniel," Hal said kindly. "I thought you'd retired."

"Your mother seems to think she can't abide without me, sir." Daniel smiled creakily, his dentures a shining white. "And I'd be bored if I didn't at least park the cars, even if driving full time is a little much for me."

"Well, as long as you're happy," Hal told him dubiously. "But seriously--you can always tell my parents no."

"I don't know why," Daniel laughed. "You've done so enough for the both of us!"

Hal chuckled and came around to help Pierce out of the car. Pierce was about to shake him off when, to his embarrassment, his leg buckled.

"Oh, oh..." Hal clucked, wrapping his arm around Pierce's waist and forcing Pierce to give him some of his weight. "We drove too long, didn't we?"

"I'm fine," Pierce said softly. "Just take my elbow up the porch and I'll be fine."

Hal grunted. "I'll make sure we get you seated as soon as we get inside, okay?"

How embarrassing. "Sure."

But apparently getting up the stairs wasn't the only trial he had in store for him this day.

A butler (butler!) opened the large french door to the right, and ushered them inside, where a mid-sized slender woman stood wearing a winter-white pant suit, her dyed ice-blonde hair twisted up into fashionable coif. Her face was flawlessly--if heavily--made up, and she smiled thinly and offered her cheek for Hal to kiss. "Harold."

"Hi, Mom. This is Pierce--I was hoping we could--"

"Dinner isn't for another hour, Harold. Are you planning to stay the night?"

"No. I didn't think about dinner--we can be out of here by then. I just wanted you to meet--"

"Well you must certainly stay for dinner. I'll have your room prepared, just in case." She eyed Pierce up and down, like fish for dinner. "Where will your friend be staying? We can have Daniel drive him there."

"I'm staying with him. I'll drive us fine."

Pierce smiled greenly at her disdainfully raised eyebrow. "I'm, uh, Pierce Atwater." He stuck his hand out gamely, holding desperately onto the cane with his other hand. "I've been traveling with Hal--"

"I've been traveling with you," Hal interrupted. "My car, your destination."

Pierce smiled at him, their eye contact feeling like an oasis in the middle of an emotional desert. "Yeah, but you drive. I'm pretty sure I'm just along for the ride."

Hal's smile, as subdued as it was, seemed to give color and warmth to this sterile white-marbled hallway. No wonder Hal was so irrepressible. He'd had to shine hard and long to even make this house livable for someone who needed color and kindness. "I'll give you a ride any time, sailor," he said with a quietly bawdy wink.

Pierce winked back. "Anyway," he continued, pulling his eyes away from Hal's extraordinary amber gaze, "Hal and I have reservations in Charlotte. It's barely an hour away."

"Indeed," she said, the disapproval rolling off her like a wave. "Well it's good you have reservations, Mr. Atwater, but I wouldn't count on Hal accompanying you. He does start school next week."

"No I don't," Hal said, exchanging a panicked look with Pierce. "Mom, I called you the day after Christmas. I told you I wasn't going back."

"Nonsense."

"No, seriously--Pierce and I are driving to his house in California!"

"For all you know he lives in a homeless shelter, Harold--don't be ridiculous."

"It's a house," Pierce said quietly.

"Mom, I wanted you to meet him."

"And so I have."  Her tone left Pierce under no delusions as to his importance or impressiveness.

"I wanted Dad to meet him."

"He'll be down for dinner. I doubt Mr. Atwater will want to remain."

"Well if he goes, I go. I'm a fully grown adult, and I told you what my plan was. Why can't you just believe--"

"Harold Justice Lombard, who leaves a college education and a hefty inheritance to go be... what? A masseuse in California? Do people even run away to California anymore? What, are you going to give massages on the beach?"

"I live in Sacramento," Pierce said, because talking to himself was fun. "It's two hours from the beach." His leg ached fiercely, and his hip wasn't far behind. Hal had tried--he really had given it his best to get Pierce to the living room, but his mother had pretty much cornered them in the foyer.

"I have enough of my own money to get a license," Hal argued, and it was the plan they had come up with together. "A year working for a reputable place, and I can start taking clients of my own."

"Clients." She rolled her slightly protuberant eyes. "Harold, you're barely old enough to inherit your money--"

"But I am old enough. Mother, we didn't have to come here. I was all for skipping Charlotte and driving to New York. Can you not even shake his hand?"

"I'm not going to know him long enough to bother!" she snapped, and then Pierce snapped too.  Or rather his abused body gave a shiver and a give, and he almost fell to the floor.

"Fuck!" Hal snapped, wrapping his arm more securely around Pierce's waist. "Mother, I'm taking him to the living room. He needs to sit somewhere not the car, and then we need to leave."

Wonderful. But Hal's hand on his hip was exquisitely gentle, and the look he shot Pierce was full of remorse.

"It's not your fault," Pierce said softly as they walked down the hall and then to the right, into a sitting room that really was the size of the house Pierce had grown up in. "You tried to warn me."

"Yeah," Hal grumbled, "but you were trying to be a good guy."

"Maybe your father will be a better sell?"

But now, Harold Justice Lombard the Fourth was not an easier sell. After sitting for an hour in icy silence, punctuated only by Hal's running to the kitchen to fetch them some water and ibuprofen so Pierce could hydrate and wouldn't start cramping, a bell rang from somewhere else in the first floor.  Hal's mother stood and clicked her way across the marble tile floors in two inch taupe heels, while Hal guided a barely refreshed Pierce to the dining room.

Once they got there, they stood at the long table, waiting for...

"What are we waiting for?" Pierce asked, knuckles white on the back of the really uncomfortable looking wooden chair.

"My father needs to come down," Hal said. His utter disgust indicated that this wasn't a joke, and then he looked sharply at his mother. "Mother, Pierce is sitting down." With that, he pulled the chair out slightly and helped Pierce down, before moving to stand behind his own chair.

"Sit down with me," Pierce said.

Hal looked at him, and looked at his mother, and then looked at the doorway that led from the staircase to the bedrooms. He looked at Pierce again, and Pierce could watch him do the math. His father was leaving them to wait--which was a dick move in any household, but apparently this one made it especially douchey. And Hal had just defied his mother as it was. With a scowl in her direction he sat down next to Pierce and they both took a look at the covered dishes placed around the table.

"What do you think's in them?" Pierce asked idly, unable to take the silence anymore. Fuck it, actually-- he couldn't hate anybody  more thoroughly after an hour of acquaintance as he hated Hal's mother. If Hal was really leaving with him, Pierce wasn't particularly interested in a good impression anymore.

"There's a main dish in the big one," Hal said, smiling. "Probably protein."  He sniffed the air.

"Chicken you think?" Pierce asked, although the smell was a little gamier.

"Turkey?" Hal frowned. "No... but something bird like. Ain't beef. Anyway, there's a winter salad under the clear dish.

"And we know this because..."

"It's wearing a fur coat," Hal said, smirking.

Pierce grinned, relieved. That was his man. The angry, frustrated kid who'd been trying valiantly to be civil to his mother had borne little resemblance to the confident, perky young man who had won Pierce's heart.  "And pearls?"

Hal frowned, squinting into the dish. "Apple slices and mayonnaise, I think."

They both grimaced. "That's awful. Anybody who puts raisins in mayonnaise..."

"Doesn't deserve either raisins or mayonnaise!" Hal supplied, reassuringly outraged. "Gross. Well, we know we don't want salad. What else we got?"

"Harold," Mrs. Lombard hissed. "Put that cover down right now. You know how your father feels about cold food!"

"Well then he should be downstairs by now," Hal said tightly. "You've both been unconscionably rude to a guest. Now I'm hungry and so is he, and we've got a long drive back. I mean, we're not going to return for years, if ever, we might as well get a bite to eat."

Pierce let some of his insecurity show in his wobbly smile. "You're really going to choose me?" he asked quietly.

"I already have," Hal murmured back. Then he raised his voice again. "So, in this dish, we've got greens fried with bacon.  Here, let me dish you up some."

"Harold!"

But Hal was on a roll, dishing up greens, potatoes, bread--there was plenty of food at the table, and Pierce really was hungry. And pissed. And hurting for his lover, who hadn't deserved this sort of homecoming, and had definitely deserved more than this sort of home.

"So," Pierce said, as Hal reached for the biggest cover, "you ready for the big reveal?"

"Maybe it's something extinct," Hal said, glaring daggers at his mother--who was still standing behind her chair like she was glued there.

"Like your education," Mrs. Lombard shot back. And Pierce felt that remorse again.

"Are you sure you want to leave your education behind?" he asked soberly.

"I'd do it twice. I'd torch my records. I'd go back and take all my massage credits again," Hal vowed, looking intensely into his eyes.

"But I might not be worth it," Pierce said softly.

"Bullshit," Hal told him.

"But--"

"Wabbit season," Hal said unexpectedly.

"What?" Pierce had to laugh.

"Wabbit season!" Hal insisted, the smile crinkles in the corner of his amazing eyes deepening.

"Are we even having a Wabbit season discussion?" Pierce wanted to know. This was usually a safe word for them, when their discussion got too heavy, too painful.

"Sure we are!" Hal told him, his voice losing the anger, the embarrassment, the tightness of being here with his disapproving mother and a father who couldn't bother to come down for dinner. "I want to tell you all the reasons you're worth it, but I'm damned if I let my mother hear. Wabbit season!"

"I give. Duck season."

Hal grinned and nodded, and suddenly Pierce knew at least one answer they would get about life that night. "Wabbit season," he said soberly.

"Duck season," Pierce argued, and they both grinned evilly. "Want to see?"

"God yes. Wabbit season."  He set his hand on the trencher handle.

"Duck season," Pierce said, putting his hand next to Hal's.

"One, two, three," Hal counted.

"BANG!" they both chorused, pulling the food cover off on three.

Sure enough, neck stretched out, head intact, was a complete roast duck.

They both burst out laughing.

"Oh my God!" Pierce chortled.

"I can't eat that!" Hal laughed. "I don't know how I ever could."

"That's... oh dear God!"

They were still laughing when Hal stood up and offered Pierce his arm. "Can you make it to the front?" he asked. "I'll have Daniel bring the car around. We can sit on the steps until he gets there."

Pierce nodded ,pretty sure he'd crawl through broken glass not to sit at that table for another minute. They made their way, step by step toward the hallway, and had actually made it to the front door, where Hal pushed a little red buzzer.

"Sir?" came Daniel's creaky voice.

"Daniel, I'll need my SUV please."

"So soon, sir?"

"Well, I'm not returning in the near future, so you don't have to worry about that, okay?"

"Yes sir."

Hal let go of Pierce's waist and grabbed the door handle. "Can you make it through to the steps?"

"Yeah. 'll need your help down," Pierce said, his mortification complete. "It's like the perfect metaphor for me reaching to high for myself."

"Wabbit season," Hal muttered. "All the things I want to say to you about why you're so much better than this place, but I'm not going to do it here.

"Duck season," Pierce conceded. "I'm just so glad you're leaving with me, I'm not even going to argue."

"Harold!"  It was a thundering male voice. "Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth--"

"Go, go, go!" Hal shushed. "Let's let him think we're gone."

Pierce should have stayed. He should have been the grown up. But his body was buckling and he hurt for his lover and all he wanted to do--all he wanted to do--was hold the young man whose spirt was so indomitable, it had survived this giant sinkhole of loneliness and pain.

He limped outside with Hal on his heels, and they were both sitting on the white porch steps when the door flew open.

"Hal?"

Hal looked up to the top of the stairs, hurt in his eyes. "Dad?"

"You're not even going to stay for dinner?"  The man who stood by the french doors was not tall--but then, neither was Hal. But while Hal was slender and lithe and fit, this man was portly, with jowls and a fireplug body. This was Hal if he ever stopped doing yoga and working out and started eating... well, all the stuff on that table, actually.

"Nope, Dad. Too expensive to eat here."

"Don't be silly, Hal-- we don't charge you--"

"My soul. I brought the love of my life home to you and you couldn't even come down on time. Staying here might get me lots more money, but I don't like the cost to my soul."

Hal's father harrumphed. "Why'd you bother to come here at all?"

Pierce grimaced. "My fault sir," he said. "I thought that maybe Hal's parents would know what an awesome kid they had and would want to wish him well. Even a college graduate can make some piss-stupid mistakes."

"Like spiriting my son away--"

Pierce's eyes never left Hal's. "Like doubting his word for even a moment."  He took Hal's hand and kissed his knuckles. "I'll never doubt you again."

Hal's pretty eyes grew shiny. "Duck season," he said, giggling

"Wabbit season," Pierce told him back.

They both grinned. "Bang," they said in unison.

The car appeared around the corner then, coming slowly as Daniel performed his duties. Hal stood and gave Pierce a hand up. "You and me, Bugs?"

"Sure, Daffy."  He made it to the bottom of the stairs and then turned to smile at Hal's father. "Next time, sir, if your son comes to visit, you might want to come out and talk to him. He's a really amazing man."

They both turned and Hal helped him into the SUV, and then gave Daniel a hug--and a tip--and they took off back down the tree lined drive.

They made plans to stop somewhere and eat on the way to the hotel. They told jokes about cartoons. They sang to some more of Hal's pop music. They talked about going to see baseball and basketball games when they got to Sacramento. They touched hands often.

They never looked back.




Monday, April 9, 2018

Cramp Ragnarok

Okay, so menopause is around the corner--I am officially a peri-menopausal hag. At least I hope that's what's going on. I mean, I've had cramps before but the last two months?  Brutal. I had one last Sunday that sucked away half my day. First there was the, "Oh, hey, this feels like a REALLY LONG CONTRACTION," then there was the trying to breathe for 20 minutes and then there was the weeping and the begging for Motrin.  Then, finally, the cramp faded, but just like real labor, I was exhausted, so I went to sleep for two hours, woke up hungry, and was kind of out of it all day.

Anyway, had another one of those yesterday. It was a blast. Everyone should have them, and by everyone I mean all male doctors I don't care if you're a plastic surgeon, guys, you should have one of these babies, medical research should be RIFE with people going, "Oh, hey, remember when they made us have pain that almost had our heart stop? We should find a way to make that better, right?"

Yes. I agree.

By the way, I think the murder rate would drop if this happened, because my thoughts were SO DARK before that cramp hit. I was pretty sure Mate hated me and I was ready to sue for divorce with an extra kick in the nads for good measure because I wasn't sure why I hated life, the universe and everything with such passion I knew it was completely HIS FAULT. I have to tell you, I woke up from that nap, had some chocolate and a sandwich and went, "My Mate is the BEST and I love him SO MUCH! I can't imagine why I was so mad at him this morning!"  Okay-- we were going to see a soccer game at nine in the morning in the middle of April but we do this year, so maybe I can imagine a little bit, but soccer doesn't usually make me homicidal. Saying.

Also, today, I went walking with Mate, and Mate goes WAY FASTER than me because he's much fitter and doesn't waddle, and so when walking through the mud I was trotting to keep up with him and (WHHHHH) my foot slipped and (OOOOOOAAAAA)  I fell sideways to the earth (AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH) with the slow and stately grace of a giant fat-laden oak tree (HHHHHHHHHHHMMMMMMMM) through a pool of Jello. (MMMMMMMPPPHHHHHHHHHHAAAHHHH...)

It was fun. (PFFFFFFT.)

Mate was, of course, watching in horror, holding the dogs, unable to help me because then I'd take him out and it's not like he doesn't have his share of weak knees and jammed thumbs and shin splints and sore joints too, and there's nothing like two middle aged people rolling around the mud going, "Help! I'm old and my dignity is dying and getting up is going to make me fart!"

It was really  much better that there only be one of us, and the other could step in and offer a hand up. (I managed to have breakthrough bleeding through four layers while I was rolling around--and yes. My dignity died a sad, sad little death in the mud on the path of the dog park, why do you ask?)

So I came home from that and my head was pounding--probably neck strain from when I hit--and I took two motrin and went to bed (because it worked for me yesterday, right?) but Squish was at her friend's house to play.  Why would this get in the way of a glorious life giving nap, you ask?

Because ZoomBoy was ALL ALONE.

All. Alone.

Alone. All by himself. HIs father was working on the car. Nobody to talk to. All. Alone.

Except for coming in to talk to me every five minutes until I curled up into a miserable achy ball and begged him to, for the love of holy Jebus and Sexually Inexperienced Mary, PLEASE go away.

He did, and I did get that nap-- but it was about an hour longer than I'd planned to make up for the unscheduled stops. I woke up feeling better and that's something, but I'm way more tired than I should be right now and I have (I repeat) so. Much. To do.

*sigh*

I should have had acres of time to write and do work this weekend--I SHOULD have. I expected to stay out late Friday-- we took Squish and her friends to Chinese food, and then we went to the movies. I FINALLY got to see Black Panther, and Squish & Co. got to see Island of Dogs. A good time was had by all and there was even a sleepover last night and that's good too.

But the rest of my weekend was eaten, it felt like, by unexpected trips to Camp Ragnarok and the surprise benefits of rolling around on the ground and trying not to bleed and fart and failing sadly on both counts.

The good news is, now that the hormones have faded, when I'm done writing I can curl up next to my Mate with a good heart and fall asleep tonight.

After I take some Motrin, of course.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Going Under!

So Squish's birthday is this week-- tomorrow is her party, we're taking her and her friends out to dinner and a movie, and it's not much, but it's all she's wanted.  

She's such a lovely kid. We picked out her cake today--as always she went for the unusual choice of blue/purple/green frosting (it looks like late afternoon on a spring night), chocolate cake, strawberries, and whipped cream in the middle. She was so much fun while choosing everything. She really is a delight.

Anyway-- when her birthday is over, I have an entire two weeks before I have to be somewhere doing something, and before that, I need to A. Finish this frickin novella, B. Finish this frickin' blog tour for Crocus, C. Finish this frickin' edit for Fish, D. Put my class notes into a worksheet form and into power point slides, E. Continue to prepare for RT including ordering stuff I can't afford, F. Start weeding out stuff in the kids rooms because seriously nobody can walk anywhere anymore, G. Apparently keep going to soccer because, unbeknownst to me the goddamned season has extended from August to motherfucking July. 

Yeah--I'm going under a little.

So, if I appear thin on social media it's because I'm sorta ducking my head down and taking care of my own business--and there seems to be a lot of it in the next month. I'll still visit--and yeah, I do take chat breaks every now and then--but I'm honestly overwhelmed.  That week back east so soon after Florida really did rip my schedule in half--Mate's been apologetic, too, because nowhere in there had we scheduled any time for me to work, and nowhere in work did I have room to schedule any breaks. 

Anyway--I'll take a picture of Squish's cake and post it here and there, and of course, you'll see amusing quotes and things on Twitter and FB. (I'll be busy, not dead!) And there's always the frickin' asshole dogs who are an endless source of entertainment and exasperation.

I'll be here. I'll just be... you know. Actually sort of working.

Amy


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Squishy Stories

So, by the time your kid gets to be 12, there are some stories you just tell by rote, because those are the ones that seem to define your child.

Squishy has always been my dessert baby.

She is beautiful, smart, easy to be around, and almost unbearably sweet.

She grew up in the back of the car, listening to me talk to the older kids as they graduated to the front seat. First it was Big T, and we had very complex discussions about literature.

Then it was Chicken, and we laughed a lot about books, people, happy moments--life.

ZoomBoy is captain DJ--he has very specific tastes in music, including Weird Al Yankovich, Dropkick Murphy's and AC/DC.

Squishy gives me book reports, talks about teachers and nice things that happens at school, and is my last hope for American Musical Theater. (At present she A. hates "angry Irish guys screaming" and B. thinks Something Rotten is hysterical, so I have hopes.)

She has amazing fashion sense--but, just like her mama, just because she KNOWS something goes together doesn't mean she's not helplessly attracted to ugly color randomness that shouldn't be beautiful but she thinks IS. Her purple pantsuit this morning had a lovely gray cardigan that came with it. Squishy went with the cotton-candy colored shawl I crocheted for her because, in her words, "It looked like mermaids."

She's clever and intuitive and undeniably brilliant. Her school test scores are really very impressive considering her father and I have spent her entire life telling her that the test isn't as important as how much she's learned.

She's learned a lot--the tests are a cakewalk and she loves taking them. (So does ZoomBoy--don't hate on them, it's probably my fault.)

Yes, she IS aware that her hair is gorgeous and stunning and beautiful--thank you. She appreciates your awe and wonder and while she may someday cut it, she has to admit--the praise is lovely to hear and she doesn't want it to go away.

She is also aware that her blue eyes are quite pretty. She's the only one in the family with blue eyes you know--she got them in particular, because, you know, Squishy.

When I told her that her shadow in the picture with the shawl looks like a unicorn, she laughed. When she read the John Oliver book, Marlon Bundo (the better bunny book!) she thought it was sweet--and she's grown up with her father and I watching politics and she agrees that the stink bug is VERY STINKY indeed.

Her whole life she has seen the poetry in the story, the sweetness in the bitter, the brightness in the dark.

Her vocabulary is extraordinary, and she uses it to communicate with her family, because we are her favorite thing.

She loves to draw.

She loves to read.

She loves--in her words--"old people's movies".  This includes, by the way, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and The Thin Man movies.

And although this whole post is written with a little hyperbole, and with the full knowledge that one's own children are always the prettiest, the whole kernel of truth here is this:

She is my Squishy and she is twelve today, and that time... it flew by like a breath. She's a delight and a joy and sometimes after a really shitty day her hug is all the keeps me from the worst part of myself.

Mate and I ask ourselves, every single day, what good we could have done to deserve all of our children. With Squishy we have been forced to accept the grace of the Goddess in general.

Nobody is good enough to "deserve" her. We just have to accept her for the loveliness she is.





Monday, April 2, 2018

Happy Easter Kermit Flail!

YAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

Okay, so I know it's cliche to say "count your blessings" but this week really did show me I was blessed.

For starters, when I told everybody I was really tired and a little wrung out, I got nothing but support--thank you all. You were so kind. I took a mild social media break and it really did help. Thank you.

And in addition, we've got Kermit Flail.

Now I've been doing this for what? Three years? And essentially it's a big co-op-- I put new people on my blog and new people put my blog on their social feed and all together we get a big pop for our new projects and that's good for everybody, right?  But some months I'm like, "You know... maybe this has run its course..." and then--INVARIABLY, WITHOUT FAIL, people I'm just THRILLED AND PSYCHED to hear from ping me and go, "Hey, Amy... you still doing the flail?"

Yeah I'm doing the flail!  For these folks?  I'd resurrect the flail and breathe life into the dead if I stopped doing it and they asked me to put them on Kermit Flail. But, you know--fortunately I don't have to, because they pinged me before I even thought of putting ol' Kermit down. 

So yeah. 

Blessed. 

I can't ever forget, right?

So first up on my list of blessings is LaQuette!  Now I met her through a variety of social media moments, and when I first got to talk to her, I was just blown away. She's fun, she's passionate, she's a riot to talk to and a joy to connect with--and brother, can she write. Her Queens of Kings books have been a huge hit, and I know she's coming to DSP and I'm just so excited, so be sure to give it up for her book, Wicked Wager!

Also we've got Elle Brownlee-- who is one of my go-to people at Dreamspinner and RT. We've had tea together, lunch together, and vodka together and I'm just so excited to get to pimp her new book--she's got a sneaky sense of humor, this one, and a romantic soul.  Be prepared when you read Staggered Cove Station--you're in for a ride!

E.J. Russell is a girl on fire!  She won a Rainbow Award for her book The Druid Next Door (which I got to judge, and I loved it, and pimped it right here!) and sure enough, the book was nominated for a RITA!!! And I was jumping up and down and screaming when this happened, so you can bet I was excited when she pinged me for her next one--Tested by Fire. 

Now Teodora Kostova was first known to me as a reader--I saw her in social media on occasion and she always had such lovely things to say. Now she's a writer in her own right, and oh brother, can she dish out the angst-- take a look at her newest, Ten Mile Bottom-- if you're in need for a workout for the old heart muscle, I think we've got one right here!

Now Sophia Beaumont hit me up out of nowhere--I'm surprised she even knew about my blog, but she writes a little bit of the creepy and a little bit of the strange and I'm so happy to have someone new to me and new to you and definitely worth checking out--Moreau House looks very cool!

Oh... and toward the bottom, I've got a few projects of my own!

So come check out Kermit Flail this month--it's like the stars came out just for me!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Wicked Wager


by LaQuette


Dr. Mandisa Avery is a Brooklyn chemist who's lost sight of her life outside the dreams her late mother left her to fulfill. With too many late nights spent in her office working, she's burned out and desperate for a change.

Slade Hamilton is a Texas businessman who adores ranch life. He'd love nothing more than to spend his days tilling his land. However, his inherent need to protect his family legacy from his hateful father keeps him and his future tied to a desk at Logan Industries.

When a lucrative business opportunity forces their paths to cross, Mandisa and Slade must each make a decision: risk it all on undeniable attraction, or hedge their bets to save their hearts and their respective businesses from ruin.

Will they fold, or will they risk it all on a wicked wager?









Staggered Cove Station

by Elle Brownlee


Rescues are wild in the Alaskan terrain. So is romance.

Sun-kissed California guardsman Dan Farnsworth might be at home in the water, but he’s out of his element at remote, rugged, and freezing Staggered Cove Station. Acclimating proves hard enough, but he’s also digging into how the station’s previous rescue swimmer was lost at sea. Was it an operation gone bad... or something more sinister? Add to that instant tension between him and his partner, no-nonsense Alaska-born Karl Radin, and Dan has his hands full.

As his investigation heats up, so does the attraction between Dan and Karl—even if they don’t completely trust each other. But as suspicious events escalate to sabotage, Dan starts to fear he and Karl won’t get the chance to become more than reluctant coworkers.

Buy at Dreamspinner



Moreau House

by Sophia Beaumont

Evie Cappelli is not a people-person.

Unfortunately, her boyfriend Micha definitely is, and so Evie gets dragged along for a weekend of ghost hunting with her cousin, his boyfriend, and three of their friends.

A trained Night Patrol officer and one of Hekate’s ferrymen, Evie assumes she’ll have more trouble from the living than the dead on this trip, but the eerie farm house quickly exceeds expectations with mysterious noises, disembodied voices, and objects that move on their own.

But when one of their number vanishes in the middle of the investigation, the danger becomes palpable, and it’s up to Evie and Micha ensure they make it through the night.


Buy at Amazon


Ten Mile Bottom

Teodora Kostova

Hitting rock bottom is just the beginning...

I’m a son, a brother, a friend.
A writer.
An addict.
Dead.
Cardiac arrest isn’t enough to keep me dead, though. The doctors brought me back, but for what?

At twenty four I’ve already achieved what most people do in a life time. I’m a successful author, own a flat in the heart of London and drive my dream sports car.
Or at least that’s what people see.
Once the spotlight fades, I’m left alone with my overactive mind, alcohol and drugs the only way to quiet down the noise.
Until an overdose nearly kills me and drags everyone I love down with me.
With the help of my best friend, I leave London and its toxic influence behind, moving to a small town in the outskirts of Cambridge to try and put my life back together again.

If only it were that easy.



Buy at Amazon


Tested in Fire

E.J. Russell
Six months ago, Stefan Cobbe was at rock bottom: grief-stricken, guilt ridden, debt laden, artistically blocked, and living on charity in an isolated mountain cabin. But after reconciling with his first love, Luke, and moving to Sarasota with him, Stefan is preparing for his first major show. Yes, he still has debts, and no, Luke doesn’t understand Stefan’s desire for independence. But compared to last year? No contest.

Luke Morganstern ought to be happy. After all, his art-investigation business has recovered and he’s got his boyfriend back. But Stefan stubbornly refuses to move in with him or accept Luke’s financial help, and it’s really starting to bug him. Who knew that the biggest test of their relationship wouldn’t be time or distance, but his own insecurities? After Luke’s next job—a trip to Italy to retrieve a mysterious artifact—he plans to convince Stefan that it’s time to totally commit.

But when Luke returns, he changes, and Stefan begins to suspect that the person in Luke’s skin isn’t Luke at all. He can hardly go to the police and claim his lover is the victim of a supernatural hijacking though. He needs alternative help to find Luke and get him back, because he refuses to let anyone—or anything—come between them again.


Buy Here


Crocus

by Amy Lane


Bonfires: Book Two

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he'd hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx's daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?



Stand by Your Manny

by Amy Lane

Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy! An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy. Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?