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

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Think they're Glad to Have Me Home?

 Mate said that Steve only sits on my chair when I'm here-- when I'm not here, she sits in the hall and meows piteously for someone to let her in to their bedroom.

When I'm here... well, she sits in my chair and waits for love. Which she got.

And the dogs have been my second skin.  Well, I love them too.

Squish asked me repeatedly how my day was-- I had to talk to her about how silence was good, it meant you were thinking of really good stuff to say.

And ZoomBoy hugged me lots.

Big T cleaned the kitchen.

And Mate detailed my car.

I was missed.  And right backat'em.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Shh... I should be asleep...

But I'm blogging instead.

*  I hate saying goodbye at the end of a convention. They really are a meeting with my friends.

*  I love the occasional late night convo that stretches until just right a.m.  It feels like a con wouldn't be the same without one.

*  I  bought T-shirts at one of the vendors during the con. I think they are WONDERFUL. If my family doesn't, I"m donating them to charity. The family, not the shirts.

* Okay. I admit it. I've been eating well on this convention--but part of that is that I haven't found the snack shop that sells the chocolate yet. FTR?  I REALLY need some frickin' chocolate.

*  I'd like to thank Jade Lee, Kiernan Kelly, and Lisa Kessler (odd how these names keep popping up!) for making my new tag line, "Amy Lane: she might make you pee a little."  Now, I just need artwork for that...

*  I'd also like to thank Jennifer Morris for a new plot bunny. At our social media silliness panel, she used a name generator to give everyone superhero names. I am The Amazing Flaming Bear. Uhm, tell me that's not screaming for a story...

*  Damon and Jade-- dinner was amazing, and conversation even better. Thank you. (Uhm, notice how Jade's name popped up again?)

*  I had a MAGNIFICENT nap today. Which does not change the fact that I am, at present, very very tired.

*  I almost forgot! Lunch with Aria Kane and Jessica Savage and Drake (eep, name!)  and his friend Elizabeth and Eugenia and her great husband and Eric J. Asher and and his lovely wife Amy the reader named Tamye was an unexpected treat! Thanks guys, cause when I said, "I'M STARVING!" you all said, "CHARGE!" and the result was most awesome!  You all also put up with my knitting. And Eric's wife Amy got to eat coconut shrimp which she usually doesn't. And I got to talk to new people. Twas great! Thanks again!

*  Tomorrow I'm going to have about two hours to clean up the suitcase vomit that has become my hotel room. This thought will send me into a panic spiral-- tomorrow.

* For tonight, Coastal Magic was a lot of fun--and I can't wait until next year!

Friday, February 5, 2016

And For That, I Must Apologize

*waves madly*

Okay-- first off, there shall probably be no fanfic Friday this week, BUT let me just say...

Today I learned that both bats and bears can blow themselves. Dex and Kane may never have sex again. This fic MUST HAPPEN.

Second, I'd like to say that Lisa Kessler is a good sport and a lovely person.  She and Jocelynn Drake  were among two of the victims, er, volunteers who were on the flash fiction panel with Damon Suede, Kathy Lyons, Kiernan Kelly and me. (Sorry other two volunteers, uh, victims, whatever! I can't find your names, and you too were wonderful!)  But Lisa sat next to me as I spun bullshit out of thin air and sunshine and picked up my random story thread without a hitch. Later we talked about college age children and how you do NOT spike the end zone and win the game just because they're out of high school, or even in college, and how it was an interesting age to parent.  Talking to her was actually like a Goddess-born gift, because it was something I needed to hear. Bless her!

Third, well-- LOTS actually. I was on a panel with Julia Talbot, B.A. Tortuga, Charlie Cochet, and Kiernan Kelly (yes, twice, because I am fortunate!) and we talked about romantic men.

Mate figured large.

I'm sure you're not surprised.

And fourth?  I just danced for a really long time (okay, two hours, or thereabouts.)  I had fun, although Mate and I tore up the dance floor in August (okay... we sort of tripped on it, but you know, it's as glamorous as we get!) I was still surprised how much fun dancing is.

With friends.


I do get the feeling that as much fun as I am having, it is probably not as much fun for others to watch me dance. Let's just say that after my bit on the dance floor today, I'm starting to see why maybe enrolling Squish, Zoomboy, and Chicken all in dance was not the act of good parenting I thought it was.

Possibly, given my genetic material and stunning sense of hamster rhythm, it was closer to child abuse.

And for that, I must apologize.

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Okay-- so just a quick mention-- Cinema Craptastique is tonight-- we are watching Abduction starring Taylor Lautner-- get out your remote control, get out your phone or computer, jump on twitter and #CMCC2016.  8pm, EST, February 4th (that's today!)  and come snark along with us!  Chat with you tonight!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thanks, Julian!

"Hello, how are you tonight?"

"Hot! It's hot here-- I looked it up, it said it would be cooler, but it is not cold. I am thinking about my luggage. Mistakes have been made."

"Oh, that is too bad. It should cool down later this week."

"I'm so glad to hear it--my favorite dress in the luggage is not made for a balmy 70 degrees with humidity."

"It is nice to meet you. My name is Julian!"

"Hello, Julian. My name is Amy."

"Where to, Miss Amy?"

"The Daytona Beach Hilton. And..."  I don't want to do this-- I really don't. But I didn't eat in Atlanta during the layover and...  "Julian--could you do me a big old favor?"


"I'm starving. Is there any way we could go through the drive thru of a McDonalds or something?"

"Absolutely. I think I know where one is."

Well, he couldn't find it--but we went to Wendy's instead. They had a North Pacific Cod Sandwich that I WISH they had in California, which is significantly closer to the North Pacific. And now I am in my hotel room, in my jammies, happy as a clam at a bake.

By the way? Daytona Beach is even better than I remembered.  But that could just be Julian-- or the cod!

Yay Coastal Magic!

Does it Make Me Look Quizzical?

*  So, got all gussied up for Coastal Magic, including a trip to get my eyebrows waxed. The place I normally go has changed ownership, and the people there are not quite as sweet and friendly as Lily, whom I sort of adored. On Friday, I offered to come back on Tuesday, so they could get my pedicure done in time for me to pick up the kids.  They said they could do it in time and offered tweeze my eyebrows simultaneously to save time.

I had a bad feeling about this.

Today I went back to get my nails done, and before I got out of the car I took one more look at my eyebrows.

Oh yeah. They were definitely not even.

Nevertheless, I went in and got assigned a different stylist, this one under the strict scrutiny of the woman who had sort of butchered my eyebrows last time. The eyebrow butcherer left, and the woman doing my nails tried the upsell-- like ya do.

"So. We do your eyebrows when this is done?"

"You did my eyebrows on Friday."

Her eyes widened in horror. "I did your eyebrows Friday?"

"No, no. Uh, the lady who was just here..."

And now her eyes narrowed. "Yes. You come back after your trip. Ask for me. I'll make them even. Will give you a facial too. No more blackheads."

"Sure. Why not. I'll just cook some more confidence onto my fingernails and forget I'm a quizzical troll."

Okay-- didn't say that last part. But you know I was thinking it.

That's okay. I went into Babetta's Yarn and Gifts (which is, frankly, the whole reason I patronize this nail salon. Because yarn.)  I told her the story and she cracked up--and then I told her about a thing I saw on BuzzFeed-- knitting like a drinking game. Like, you make up the rules to a drinking game, but instead of drinking you change colors or execute a random cable or an eyelet pattern or change from knit to purl. I loved this idea. Babetta's eyes got big-- I could tell she was a fan.

*  *  *

The dogs saw the suitcases on the bed tonight. When I went to sit down with family, they could not get enough of me. It was cute. And sort of sad. Damned dogs.

*  *  *

I read once that once a kid reaches puberty, his or her pheromones are genetically engineered to repel the parent. This is to make things like incest less likely-- the new adult doesn't smell like a mate. This is good thinking on mother nature's part--but I have to tell you, as a parent with an adult son?

Every time his shirts get mixed up in my laundry I want to wad them up, stalk into his room and tag him in the back of the head with them.

Holy Kerrist what a stench.

I told that last thing to Mate. He was horrified. "You mean ZoomBoy is going to smell worse? Holy God, is that possible?"

Oh yes. The smell will continue.

*  *  *

The movie Keanu looks hilarious. Mate and I want to see it so bad, but I'm pretty sure Mate and Big T will go. Alas... destined to see it on cable.

*  *  *

This last one I stole from the great Berkeley Breathed --

"Okay, kids, I've got to stop by the store for a Chartreuse Flamethrower."


"Feminine protection!"

*  *  *

And there you go!  BTW-- watch the Twitter airwaves on Thursday-- we will be airing Taylor Lautner's movie Abduction, and engaging in Cinema Craptastique with the magnificent Damon Suede!  Fun times! Bring your snark, your phone, and your sense of humor!!!

Wish me luck on the big jet plane!

Peace :-)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Kermit Flail Monday-- February Style!


Well, mostly Yay, we made it to February, really--it's been sort of a rocky month, amirite?  But, we survived, and there are some lovely books in waiting for us--and even some books that got sort of released late in January and didn't make it to January's Kermit Flail--so these may, indeed, be some hidden treasures for you, and that's always nice.  Also-- at the end of the last book, I've got an idea for another feature I'm going to talk about, so, yanno, after you see the buy link for Lollipop for possibly the two-hundredth time, stay tuned!

Okay-- so this month, we've got some great stuff!  We've got some Rick R. Reed (I told him I'd put this book up twice, since it was sort of in the middle) and some Kaje Harper-- who I am so looking forward to reading! (I love Kaje--I get to fawn all over her at GRL, which is always one of my biggest joys :-)  Also, I have Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen, with their new installment of their Rainbow Award Winning series, Chaos Station.  Now, Jenn has been a Twitterpeep for a dog's age, and seeing that she had her own successful series out made me do happy dances for her-- I couldn't know a nicer person, so YAYAYAYAY!  Michael Rupured is new to me, both in personality and in writing, but I'm always glad to see a writer give us crotchety old folks a try, and Qaida Harte is also new to me, but hey! Urban fantasy is my birthplace, and we always need fresh blood. And speaking of Urban Fantasy-- dudes!  Lex Chase is one of Chicken's favorite writers, and I know Bru Baker from the DSP conferences and she's awesome. So when I saw they had co-written an urban fantasy which features an IKEA-esque version of purgatory, well... man, if I get to read one thing of choice (and right now, I've got a while before all my reading is homework) I think this might be it. I mean... IKEA!~!~! 

And to top that off, Jaime Samms, my lovely, lovely friend and sister in the BlueWater Bay universe has not one but two new releases this month, pretty much right on top of each other. So, you know, buy The Cookie Crumbles because I think the next one in the series is Selfie by, you know, yours truly, and then buy Neat Trick because it's Jaime frickin' Samms!

So, there you go--not bad, huh?  

I think it deserves a sincere *Kermit Flail* welcome, so here we go, folks, YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!

Mute Witnes

By Rick R. Reed

The abuse of a little boy turns a community against a loving gay couple, and nobody comes out of it unscathed.

Sean and Austin have the perfect life: new love, a riverfront home, security. Their love for one another is only multiplied when Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason, visits on the weekends.

And then their perfect world shatters.

Jason goes missing.

When the boy turns up days later, he's been so horribly abused he’s lost the power to speak. Immediately small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. What was a warm, welcoming community becomes a lynching party out for blood.

As Sean and Austin struggle to stay together amidst innuendo, the very real threat of Sean losing the son he loves emerges. Yet the true villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.

1st Edition published by ManLove Romance Press, 2009.


Tracefinder: Contact (Tracefinder #1) 

by Kaje Harper

What could an undercover cop and a drug lord’s pet psychic have in common?

Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a facade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss’s enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he’s really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he’s trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.

Nick Rugo’s job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn’t closeted, but he isn’t out at work, and there’s a wild, angry side to him that he’s managed to keep hidden until now. When he’s assigned to bring Brian’s boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.

Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.

Amazon US

Inversion Point (Chaos Station #4)

by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen

Zander and Felix’s relationship has been to the brink and back: the Human-Stin War, imprisonment and an actual death/resurrection. Zander’s death, to be specific, and the experience has left him…changed. The mysterious race known as the Guardians chose to revive him and appointed him as their emissary. A high honor, but he could do without the group of would-be cultists following him around the galaxy.

When a recently discovered species destroys a stin probe, Zander’s new role soon commands all of his time and focus. The human ambassador—Felix’s ex-lover, much to Zander’s annoyance—pulls them into strategy talks aimed at preserving galactic peace. Soon everyone is relying on Zander’s Guardian tech to telepathically communicate with the strange aliens.

Only Felix seems concerned with the strain piling up on Zander, but he has his own resolve tested when the very stin that imprisoned him show up to a summit. Zander and Felix will both have to find a way to face their doubts and preserve their love—while preventing another galaxy-wide war.

Book four of Chaos Station

Buy: Amazon | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Carina Press


by Michael Rupured

Tellumo Magnamater is a fresh-out-of-college, first-year English teacher at Salt Lick County High School in Kentucky. He rides the bus to and from work, and every day he walks to the gym behind his small efficiency apartment to exercise. Perhaps because of being raised by two lesbians, Tellumo is attracted to older men. He sets his sights on fifty-something available bachelor Oliver Crumbly. But Tellumo isn’t the only resident interested in Oliver.

Peggy Tucker, a widow approaching her sixtieth birthday, is determined to marry again, and she thinks Oliver is her perfect match. Despite Tellumo and Peggy striking up a friendship at the gym, neither realizes they are interested in the same man. But the joke might be on both of them. Oliver, a retired history teacher, is both gay and the original crotchety old man who hates everything and everybody—especially young people.


Some Assembly Required 

by Lex Chase and Bru Baker

Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.

Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the cat—even though he’s allergic—because his ex’s new place doesn’t accept pets. He’s always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.

Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.

When Benji appears in the CASA café, Patrick considers the naïve spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benji’s relentless optimism chips away at Patrick’s sarcasm, making him question if there’s something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furniture—there’s always some assembly required.


Dragon's Treasure

by Qaida Harte

College student Ahndrai has the ill fortune of falling into the grasp of an attractive, sadistic vampire. He encounters Eita, a vampire who lusts for Ahndrai's sweet blood and tears apart his world. Eita proves that every myth and legend ever written is only too real, and they are far darker than portrayed in any story.

Ahndrai must face a host of monsters that Eita allows to attack and kill him. Each time Ahndrai dies, Eita revives him so he can continue to feed off him. Ahndrai believes that every creature is as cruel and unforgiving as Eita. Then Nakiirn, a dragon prince, rescues Ahndrai. But even after Ahndrai overcomes his fears and falls in love with Nakiirn, they must both contend with Eita's cruelty again before the vampire succeeds in claiming Ahndrai once more.


Neat Trick

by Jaime Samms

 Being 100 percent sure you know what you want is a sure-fire way to get exactly what you need. You just might not recognize it when you do.

Jacob has rebuilt his life inside Rainbow Alley after a vicious beating sent him to the hospital when he was a teenager. He’s strong again, and he knows what he wants from life. He just has to accept that he isn’t going to get it from Cliff Thatcher.

Aaron has discovered that life never offers handouts. He’s spent years paying other people’s debts and now he is indentured to Douglas, a man who won’t hesitate to use every ugly trick in the book to retain control over Aaron, his skateboard and his life.

When Jacob and Aaron meet, there is not an ounce of doubt in Jacob that he’s found what he wants. The young man might be a little rough around the edges, but he’s a safe bet, and Jacob knows he can control the thrust of their relationship. That is, until Aaron proves he can handle Jacob’s submissive side and pushes to take the dynamic out of the bed and into the rest of their lives.

Jacob’s hard limit, though, is the bedroom door. Only when Douglas makes it clear he isn’t letting Aaron go without a fight, or a pay-off that he seems intent on taking in the form of Jacob himself, does Jacob begin to understand just how shaky his world really is.

If Jacob doesn’t believe Aaron can protect him, he’ll lose everything. Including what might just be his only chance at true freedom from his fear.

Reader Advisory: This books contains scenes of violence and references to past abuse and child pornography. It also contains one instance of sexual violence.

Pride Publishing

How the Cookie Crumbles

by Jaime Samms

Blurb: After losing a rigged cooking show competition—and a potential lover—to another baker, Frederic Jackson packs up his considerable baggage and moves to Bluewater Bay. He uses the network’s hush money to buy a new bakery where he hopes the small town’s revitalized economy will let him start anew.

Blaire Caruthers never wanted to work for his father at Caruthers Industries. He should have known that fixing the company’s show results was a mistake, and that choosing another man over kind, generous Frederic was an even bigger one. But the damage is done. To escape the fallout, he’s gone to Bluewater Bay to oversee the company’s interest in Wolf’s Landing merchandise.

Stuck in a small, nowhere town doing a job he hates, Blaire wants nothing more than to prove to Frederic he’s changed. However, Frederic struggles to trust the man who betrayed him once already. As Blaire loses ground with his father, and Frederic starts falling back into self-destructive habits, they both have to find the balance and control that’s been missing from their lives


by Amy Lane

Ezra Kellerman flew across country to see if he had another chance with the man he let slip through his fingers. He didn't. Rico has moved on, but he doesn’t just leave his ex high and dry. Instead, Rico entrusts his family and friends with Ezra’s care. Ezra, confused, hurt, and lost, clings to Rico’s cousin and his boyfriend as the lifelines they are—but their friend Miguel is another story.

Miguel Rodriguez had great plans and ambition—but a hearty dose of real life crushed those flat. When Miguel finds himself partially in charge of the befuddled, dreamy, healing Ezra, he’s pretty resentful at first. But Ezra’s placid nature and sincere wonder at the simple life Miguel has taken for granted begin to soften Miguel’s hardened shell. Miguel starts to notice that Ezra isn't just amazingly sweet—he’s achingly beautiful as well. Suddenly Miguel is fending off every single man on the planet to give Ezra room to get over Rico—while fighting a burning suspicion that the best thing to help Ezra get over his broken heart is Miguel.


*  *  *  *  *

Okay-- and now the other stuff.

First off-- I am surprised and excited to find that I can go to the DSP meet up in Orlando, so yayayay! I'll be there, sort of on the downlow (Th. night to Mon. morning) but really excited to meet all my DSP family. So, yanno-- HUZZAH! 

Second off-- I'm thinking of starting a new feature-- the Backlist Ba-dump-bump.  Now other blogs frequently do a backlist bump, but what makes this different is that what I want from the authors is a glimpse into their inspiration. It can't be a picture--acceptable use laws leave me crosseyed and I am taking no chances. But a youtube clip or a book you've loved and an explanation of how the one inspired the other--that's all I'm looking for. Oh yeah! AND a buy link, because it's all about the bump, the bump, the bump!  So, the Ba-dump-bump is going to be out on the fifteenth, and to that end, I need all of your suggested material in on the 13th of the month. Things like Kermit Flail and Backlist Ba-dump-bump depend on you authors and you readers to make them run, so hey guys, let's kick it into gear! Oh! And that reminds me! READERS-- if you'd like to give a Ba-dump-bump shout out to a favorite book, and you have a favorite song that you think goes with the book (And Nat and Bel, I'm looking at you, you purveyors of music for Chase in Shadow) by all means participate. 

The Backlist Ba-dump-bump-- I say we make it a THING. 

Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's just a little world, ain't it...

Okay-- so I sent this out via social media, but I thought it would be good to tell the whole story, because DUDES, WOW!

So, most people know I twine the real and the imaginary in my contemporary--and sometimes that's a bad thing, because, hey, grasp on reality is a little thin, and sometimes that's a good thing. You know, like when I took the dance persona of a kid I've seen performing all his life and turned it into Cy-- looks like the kid, but I don't really know the kid, so I can write his story anyway I like.  That's a good time when the thin membrane of reality and imagination allows flow through. 

 And like what happened today.

Because this was cool.

I went in to Candy Heaven today-- and if you look close at that picture, you can see the sign in the corner of the building. (Sort of in the dead center of the picture, actually--and my God was it a pretty day.) I went to give Darrin a copy of the book, and we got to chat, and A. He's read the first two books and loved them which made me happy, and B. He told me he had a daughter--and I didn't know this, and this was one of the reasons I didn't want to make up a life story for him so, there you go. He's got a daughter--and she was reading Bitter Taffy. And she said, "Hey... I know this person!" 


"The writer! She's the teacher who let me crochet in class!"

And oh my God. He showed me a picture, and I remembered her--and you know what else I remember? She was actually in the second two books of Bitter Moon-- she's one of Marv's sisters. Now I want to go back and give him copies of of those books too, because I think they would both be excited. 

And my mind is blown. I mean so blown. That's amazing. And I love Darrin (the real Darrin) even more now!

As it was? He called my kids over and told them to fill up a candy barrel, on him. Their father and I were like, "NOT FULL NOT FULL NOT FULL!!" so, I think we ended up with about 2/3rds, and you know? It's gonna be there when I get back from  Florida, and that doesn't count that we gave some to my parents when we met today for ZoomBoy's soccer. 

Oh-- and about soccer.  Mate and ZoomBoy's team won their indoor game today-- 3-2. Squish's team lost yesterday, Mock 7-2.  We call it "Mock" because the indoor arena doesn't acknowledge a gap bigger than 5 points. So, you know, kids don't look up at the end of the first half and go, "20-1? We're just gonna lie on the floor like starfish and make faces at the ceiling!"  So, you know. Mock 7-2. Squish got put in midfield, and she'd never played that. She would look at us with this expression of, "Offense or defense?" and her father and I yelled, "YES!" 

Okay-- and one more thing.

The first two Ryan and Scott stories are going to be offered for free! They were tiny shorts, Shirt was in the Curious anthology and Phonebook was offered as a $1.99 short, and their contracts expired. I asked nicely, and my glorious CEO allowed DSP to release them for free and they should be up on the websites in March and May, I believe. 

And the covers are adorable! 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lessons from the Universe--A Keeping Promise Rock ficlet

This takes place when J.D. is not quite three...






Crick narrowed his eyes in the early March sunshine and latched his good arm more solidly around his son. "I said no, dammit. You can't stand on the top rung of the damned pen, because you are your father's son and you will fall off the top of the rail."

J.D. scowled at him from a pair of familiar green eyes and tossed his brown hair out of his eyes. "Cause I b'long dere!" he insisted. Oh God-- he didn't even have shoes on when he escaped. He was wearing an old onesie, because that was the only thing he had clean, and it was chilly in early March. His feet were covered in mud.

Crick tightened his hold and counted to ten, and Andrew looked up from where he was breaking a sweet little mare and laughed. "You're going to lose that battle," he said mildly.

"Yes," Crick agreed, "but not until he's five. He's two and a half."  Oh God. Crick's heart had stopped so many times after watching Deacon in the pen. "Deacon promised."

Andrew nodded. "I hear ya. I even agree. I"m just saying, you need to give him something or he's going to climb in here when someone's not looking, and that would be pretty bad too."

Crick's heart stuttered. The kid was just so fast. If it hadn't been for the dog, who tended to run around in circles wherever J.D. had wandered off to, Crick thought for sure they would have lost him before now.  His eyes burned in that terrible retroactive fear parents felt whenever they perceived a near thing.

"Daddy, too tight!"

Crick adjusted the little terror on his hip, scrubbed his face with his hand, and tried to get himself together. J.D.'s molars had been coming in and he fussed late into the night. He'd started potty training the month before, but the molar thing had happened and so had a lot of accidents. The result was a whole lot of Huggies Pull-Ups being used for their original intention: diapers.

And Deacon and Crick were exhausted.

Deacon, true to his gentleman's soul, took J.D. duty as soon as he came in and washed up. He got up in the night, got up early in the morning, and tried to give Crick a break in the middle of the day.  But Crick woke up every time Deacon got up, and during the day, J.D. just didn't quit. Deacon was gone at the moment because Crick had been so out of it he'd forgotten about Huggies and milk, and Crick and J.D. had been sleeping off an epic cry-athon.

"Sorry, buddy," Crick said, turning back into the house. "I just really need you to chill out until Deacon gets home, okay? He's going to have milk and snacks and Huggies and you and me can sit and watch cartoons and chill."

The house was not in great shape. Again, Deacon helped--but Crick had never realized how amazing his sister was to raise Parry and help Deacon with the business and go to school until right now.  Yeah, he remembered being tired during the first couple of months, but his body--not at optimum--was a hindrance now in ways he'd never imagined when he'd first come home.

Suddenly J.D. began to cry, curling into Crick's arm with a pathetic little sniffle. "'Toons?'"

"Yeah, buddy," Crick said wearily. The house could wait. Hell, they had fruit snacks and tinned chicken soup-- cooking could wait. "Toons."

A half an hour later they huddled on the couch while the brilliant March day went on around them.  J.D. had his face tucked into Crick's chest and Teen Titans, a cartoon Crick loathed played endlessly on the television. They were both covered in mashed cracker crumbs and chicken soup residue, and Crick wasn't sure he could move if a tornado touched down.

Deacon's tread in the house was as leaden as Crick felt, and like a coward, Crick closed his eyes and hoped the sleep card would get him out of being a grown up for one more chore. He listened as Deacon moved around the kitchen, putting stuff away and cleaning up the lunch mess and, oh thank you, singing quietly to himself--Damien Jurado, "Sheets".  Is he still coming around like an injured bird, leaving a nest...

Crick smiled softly, loving the song even though the story--that of a love triangle--was about the furthest thing from their lives right now.

The final thump and the final crinkle of a reusable bag, and the couch next to Crick depressed.

"C'mon, Crick, help me out and lean on my chest."

Oh, God, he sounded exhausted.

Crick did just that and snuggled. He hadn't showered that morning because they'd been that tired, and he smelled like horse and sweat and whatever J.D. had eaten that morning.

He smelled wonderful.

Crick allowed himself to be enveloped, and the three of them settled in to a drowsy, heavy-bodied nap on the couch.

He woke up and his game leg and arm were cramping like mad.

He gave a little cry and tried hard to stretch that side of his body without disturbing Deacon.  Deacon startled and then--prompted by a lot of nights when Crick would wake up in pain and need stretching, got with the program immediately, kneading his arm and pushing against his foot at the same time.

J.D. slept through it all.

Deacon laughed a little when Crick's last cramp gave, and he stood up and walked to the refrigerator, coming back with a soda and some Advil to loosen the muscles. Then he picked J.D. up and kissed his cheek.

"Damn, little guy, you sure do have us at our wit's end."

"Deac'n," J.D. murmured, and snuggled in some more.

"We're going to have to wake him soon," Crick mumbled. "Or we'll get our days and nights turned around."  It had happened in the first two months--sleeping in the day and being awake all night. They'd fixed it, but it had sucked.

"Yeah." Deacon took a swig of Crick's soda. "I'll take care of that. You go lay down and sleep off that cramp in the bed, Carrick. Don't worry about things tonight. We're tuckered."

Crick didn't even ask questions. He dragged his ass to bed, shucked his clothes and fell in. God, who knew the terrible twos were more terrible for the parents than the two-year-old?

He woke up, heart pounding, to the early spring evening chill.

On God. Deacon--J.D.!  Dinner, laundry, childcare--shit!

He threw on his jeans and and a T-shirt and limped out to the front room, looking around wildly.

Missy was home from junior college classes and was cleaning the kitchen. He vaguely remembered that it was her turn, but her schedule was pretty brutal, so they'd learned not to count on her. Kimmy was dusting in living room, and Benny was folding clothes on the couch.

"Oh, hell," Crick mumbled, feeling inadequate as hell. "Did Deacon call you all?"

"Missy called us, asshole," Benny muttered. "Jesus, look at this place. Why didn't you tell us J.D. was teething?"

"Because maybe I wanted to not be helpless," Crick muttered, stretching out his scarred arm with a vengeance.

"Oh please," Benny snorted. "I took help every chance I got. You weren't so squeamish when he was a fry."

"Sit down and have a cookie," Missy ordered. "Deacon bought the kind with a thousand milligrams of fat in them-- you need to have a few."

"Oh, God--someone needs to not let that man go shopping."  The shortbread with the fudge centers--every damned time.

"Well, better him than you when you're falling apart," Benny said practically, making a neat pile of J.D.'s jeans. A good thing too--he had actually been wearing a onesie that morning--because it was the only thing he had clean. "Honestly, Crick."  She stood, her tummy popping out just a tad from the waistband of her leggings.  "It's going to be hard. I mean, I know you managed diaper changing when he was tiny, but you're chasing after a kid who can outrun a fully functioning adult. It's going to tire you out."

Ugh.  Crick shoved half a cookie in his mouth and followed it with a gulp of milk. "Mothers have been raising toddlers while pregnant for years."

"Well yeah," Kimmy agreed, putting the feather duster in the cupboard by the washroom. "But usually with help from parents and family. I mean yeah, Shane and I were twins, but we had a nanny a piece."

"Fan-ceee!" Missy sneered--but playfully, which was a nice change from the surly child she had been.

"Yeah, it was," Kimmy agreed. "You do not know what I used to try to do to get their attention."

"What about Shane?" Crick asked curiously. Parenting--and what kind of parenting had gone into making his friends--had become his hobby in the last two years.

"Shane decided to save the world," Kimmy said, smiling with affection. "The first try didn't work great, so he tried again, and then a third time."

"Third time's the charm," Missy said, and not even she could be facetious about Kimmy's kind-natured brother.

"The point is," Benny said, grabbing her own cookie and drinking some of Crick's milk, "that whole village thing to raise a child is no joke."

Grimly Crick remembered their own parents--and the social workers who had kept trying to take Benny and Parry Angel away from Deacon. "As long as it's not the village idiots."

Missy guffawed and Benny giggled and Kimmy rolled her eyes.

"Here--I'm going to put in the lasagna Deacon bought and we can cookie and kvetch for a while."

"Lasagna? God, that man can't go shopping again!"  His heart was fine-- but that took hard work!

"I'm saying," Kimmy agreed. "I'll go next time. I'll call you and you give me a list."

Crick couldn't argue-- not after almost breaking into tears when J.D. had run out the front door that morning. "Thanks, Kimmy."  Gratitude didn't cover it.

"Yeah, well..."  She squeezed his shoulder as she took her spot at the table.

"Where is J.D.?"  he asked.  He'd known the baby was safe--but obviously not with any of the women since they were all in the kitchen.

"Outside with Deacon," Benny said blithely. "He's on that pony-- you know, the little one with the real sweet temper.  Deacon has him with a helmet and a belt-strap from Project Ride, and they've been going around in circles for like, an hour."

"He's on a horse?" Crick half stood up.  "We weren't supposed to do that when he was five?"

The women all looked at him blankly.

"He's on a pony," Benny said, nonplussed. "Strapped in, like the Project Ride people do. And a helmet. And Deacon and Drew. Crick, do you or do you not want to sleep tonight?"

"Oh God."  Crick buried his face in his hands. "I do. I so do."

"Well then, trust in the universe a little and let Deacon do his thing. Tire the kid out, make him happy, give him some Orajel and maybe be a human being tomorrow."  Benny could shrug. She'd been mommy for nearly nine years and Auntie Benny for two and a half, and she seemed to just have this shit all sorted. Once again, Crick couldn't find his if it was handed to him in  paper cup.

That night, though, Missy did the dishes and J.D. went down like a dream, and Deacon came to bed early.  It was... oh my God, an Easter miracle. 

Deacon slid into bed and had Crick roll over on his stomach while he gave him a rubdown, and then, when Crick had groaned and all his tight muscles felt like spaghetti, he settled back with his Kindle and a pair of reading glasses recently adopted for just this moment in time.

"That's it?" Crick asked, feeling a little bereft from Deacon's side.

Deacon looked at him, smiling sweetly, his green eyes lighting with a hint of mischief. "You were tired," he said mildly. "A man doesn't like to presume."

Crick thought about the shopping and the singing, the nap time and the taking the baby right when Crick thought he'd had his absolute limit.

"Presume," he said, grinning. "by all fucking means, presume all over me!"

Deacon laughed heartily, then stood up and locked the door and turned out the light. When he slid back into bed, he was naked and hard, his skin like silk and his muscles as reassuring and sexual as always. As Crick succumbed to their lovemaking in the dark, feeling Deacon's lips and hands on all of the places that made Crick's body sing the most, he had a passing thought.

All of it, sometimes, boiled down to making love in the dark. Trusting that, if you knew your partner, had chosen well, you could have a little faith in the universe, and even if it fucked you, it all felt so damned good.

And oh, yes. When Deacon was inside him, moving powerfully, kissing his back an his neck and his shoulders, it all felt so damned good.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Warning: This Product May Cause Uncontrollable Sobbing

No, not one of my books--although I have to admit, Immortal was a rough write.  No, not reviews, because mostly, don't read them anymore. Not onions, cause yanno, a little butter, some garlic, and num!

No. The product I speak of is apparently a computer game called Undertale. 

I will be honest.

I let my daughter, Chicken, recommend this for Zoomboy.

"He'll be fine, mom. It's sort of emotional, but don't worry, he'll make good choices. It's all bout problem solving and puzzles, really."

Well, I trusted her to watch the kids for a week, right? How bad could it be?

I am not sure exactly what happened in this game. I am not sure what horrible choices you are asked to make if you fail some sort of empathy test.

All I know is that I was taking my, uh, four-o-clock meeting when Squish came running into, the, uhm, meeting room, sobbing her heart out.

"Oh my God! What happened! What's wrong! Why are you crying!"

"Because... the computer game... ZoomBoy made the wrong choooooooiccccce..."

0.0 "The video game? Was it sad?"

"Nooooooo!!! It was tragic!"

"Uh... okay..."


"Honey, I cannot comfort you over a video game while I'm pooping!"

She laughed and sputtered a little and then went out to the car to get her backpack and it was all okay.

Flash forward to tonight, just before bedtime, as we're watching TV and suddenly ZoomBoy's chin starts to quiver, and his face crumples and his father is like, "What happened?"

"I made the wrong ciooooiiiiicccccceeee!!!!"

He cried on me for fifteen minutes.

Now, I know this game is all about not killing people, and I'm all for that. And I love that it holds players accountable for past mistakes.  And while I'm sad that my kids cried, I love that they are aware that violent actions have violent consequences that they apparently regret terribly. 

I am all for this game.

I just, you know. Wish I'd had a little warning about the uncontrollable sobbing. Dude. I would have stocked up on Kleenex and taken my meeting at another time!