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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ZAM's Progressive Dinner Party: Accidentally Awesome

Hey all-- I hope your New Years is warm and sweet (cause I'm freezing my feet off here!) To celebrate New Years, I'm participating in ZA Maxfields Progressive Dinner-- which means you can visit all of the blogs there at the link and see an entire dinner array of blogs!  My blog is not so much a recipe as a way to recover from a failed recipe, but I hope you'll forgive me, because, well, CAKE BALLS!  *dissolves into laughter*  There is a prize at the end if you go to every blog and leave a comment, so sit down, drink something hot and sweet, and enjoy the show :-)

Accidentally Awesome

Okay—so Mate is actually the recipe follower here.  He’s the maker-of-fudge, the soup-party impresario, the, “Hey, let’s make this!” guy.  And as his candy-making expertise has gained weight in the family mythos, he’s become the King of Following the Recipe in the realm of our family and friends.

So this year, high on the successes of the previous year, wherein we sent fudge to half the people I know in the entire world after Christmas, he decided he was going to make cake-pops.

He had PLANS for the cake-pops.  There was going to be sprinkles and decorations, and they were gonna look like Christmas and omigod and gloryhallelujia! They were gonna be frickin’ amazing cake-pops.

Anyone out there who has ever made cake-pops knows where this is going.

It’s like a zillion step process.

First you bake a cake—yay! Then you let it cool, and mix it with frosting—that’s right, like, mix the cake, with the frosting, crumbling it up and mashing it in your fingers like playdough, and then you make balls.  (Heh heh heh… cake balls! Heh heh heh… yeah. I’m twelve.)  Anyway—after you make the balls, you melt the chocolate and dip the sticks in the chocolate and then poke the balls (heh heh heh) and then put them in the freezer to firm up. (Omigod… this doesn’t get any less dirty!) When the balls are firm and good, you dip them in the chocolate, and then set them out to cool.

Now see, some of you are seeing that this looks relatively simple.

Some of you are seeing all the myriad ways this can go heinously wrong.

Let’s start with the cakes, which did not all cook the same.  The dry one didn’t make good balls, and the wet one made balls that stuck together but also fell apart.  Then move on to the chocolate, which claimed to be microwaveable but was not, and Mate tested this with his mouth because the crumbles didn’t look hot since they weren’t melty, and it turned out that crumbled microwaved chocolate was hotter than the temperature of the sun and he had blisters on his lips!  (Poor guy. He’s giving these desserts to my family, you understand, since he works with a bunch of fitness enthusiasts who don’t allow processed sugar to grace their well-shaped, chiseled, manly lips.) 

So he had to melt new chocolate and then try to stick the balls (nope, still laughing) and then, after they chilled, try to bathe them in the new chocolate while they were bound and determined to fall apart.


It was a disaster.

At the end, he had a tray full of broken balls, half covered in chocolate. 

He saw failure. I saw potential comedy with a candy coating.  I also saw processed sugar gold.

“So, just spread it in a cake pan!” I said, all enthusiasm.

“And then what? Broken cake?”

“No! Then pour the chocolate over it, and serve it with a spatula.  You add some whipped cream or ice cream, and girls will be swarming over it like flies!”

“Flies will be swarming over it like flies. It looks awful.”

“Nom-nom-nom-nom…”  Well, I may have said that. I was definitely salivating though, that I do remember.

So, Christmas arrived.  We gave giant packets of three kinds of fudge to everybody, and felt pretty stupid because my family makes Martha Stewart look like a slacker, and I haven’t actually made anything Christmassy since Mate started making fudge.  And the little tray of cake-ball-cake sat unnoticed in the corner.

Until dessert time.

“What’s this?” my nephew said, looking strapping and handsome at twenty years old.  (This is important—until he hit about sixteen, I could swear he’d look like Dopey for his entire life. That he looks “strapping and handsome” means that it really does get better, and all adolescents should have hope!  His ears even stick out less!)

“That’s failed cake-pops, covered in chocolate,” I said.  (Notice that I called them “cake-pops” because I didn’t want him to launch into some silly adolescent snark about “cake-balls”.  That’s my department.)

His mouth made the little “o” shape associated with extreme anticipation. I think he may have drooled a little. 

“Hold on a second,” he told me.  “Let me get the whipped cream.”

So we sat for about fifteen minutes, and he told me about his life while eating probably half of that sinful, decadent failed dessert. I loved that moment—I don’t get enough of them with my sister’s sons, and it was one of the highlights of my Christmas.

“So, the cake-balls didn’t get all eaten,” Mate said glumly.

“Yeah—Nate ate about half the plate.”

“But not everybody loved them. That sort of sucked.”

“I think that depends on how you look at it,” I said philosophically.  “I think the person who ate half the cake really liked them.”

Mate grunted and shook his head.  “Man, I don’t know if I should try those again or not.”

“Go ahead and try them again,” I said.  “You never know what may happen.”

So, that’s not really a recipe for dessert.  But, it could be a recipe for salvaging a failed dessert, right?  Or even just a lesson that if you mix your cake with the frosting and then add chocolate, there is no bad way to do it. 

Or even just a wish to have a happy holiday, and may your New Year be filled with nothing more serious than a failed chocolate cake-ball, with a dipped stick.  (Buahahahahahahahahaha!!!)

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Everybody just calm down...

Some fun things to mention after Christmas…

*  Yes, we got a new car.  It's a Honda Odyssey.  The first thing we did was put one of those Supernatural stickers on the back window-- you know, in case of repossession?

* It made cruising for Christmas lights very much more fun than it has been in the past.  And while we expect its first grand hot chocolate spill to happen sometime before the end of the year, it did not happen before Christmas, for which we are grateful.

* Every year, my family plays a white elephant gift exchange game. Throughout the years, buying a funny gift has become a point of honor.  I usually fail miserably.  The kids do better than I do.  Some of the offerings this year included:
       *  A My Little Pony coffee mug and a Hamster Dance ornament (from Squish)
       * A Wubble ball-- not a bubble, just a really big, thin-skinned ball (that's mine!)
       *  A special prank "crib dribbler" box, filled with ginormous candy bars (Mate's idea :-)
       *  A Marvel Trivia Game (Chicken)
       *  An "I'm with Stupid" mug (Big T)
       *  A roll of $100 bill toilet paper with an electric shock pen (from ZB-- who's uncle Matt ended up with it, and was thrilled because he puts that sort of thing on his desk at work. My sister said his coworkers will never forgive ZB, but he's now Matt's favorite relative.)

And, should you think our offerings a bit low-brow, you should know that the gift I drew in the exchange was this:

Yes, that's right.  A Crazy Cat Lady action figure.  My parents thought this was high comedy.  I wanted the real thing:

* Yes. For those of you who noticed what ZoomBoy was wearing as he modeled the Crazy Cat Lady action figure, that was a home-made, hand-crafted plush fleece-terry Jedi robe that my stepmom sewed just for him, just for Christmas.  He's lived in it for the last three days.  And yes. Everybody wants her to make them one.  But she wants to make herself one first.  They're soooo soft.

*  Now that I have a car, I'm going back to aqua on Monday. So, this meme is only a little true.

 *  Squish has been a wee bit under the weather since Christmas.  You may notice how she spent about 4 hours yesterday:

*  Chicken has admitted to me that as she was putting the Christmas cards in the envelopes, her signatures got, shall we say, a wee bit punchy.  If you got a Christmas card with a signature from Lord Cthulu, I sincerely apologize.  She does not, but she is fired.

*  Until the gym, I shall get all of my exercise walking the dogs.  It's more challenging than one might assume at first.

*  Mate got his friends together and they ordered a big block of Kings tickets, so that we might go in a big group of people.  Usually when he does this, we all go, have a great time, and watch the Kings lose.  Tonight, we watched the Kings win after five minutes of overtime.

It was glorious.

The only bad thing was that ZB brought a cowbell for the 3rd quarter cowbell dance (Yes-- this is a real thing.  On account of us being a cow town, get it?)  and then, his digestive system absolutely had to work during third quarter.

He spent the next hour giving me dirty looks because he'd spent the cowbells dance going poop.  Convincing that kid that it was not my fault took some doing.

In spite of that, we have photographic evidence that he did have a good time.

And that's about all… we've got one more family duty for the holidays, and then we're gonna watch a shitton of movies and catch up on our Supernatural.  Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays

Even though my family is an uneasy mix of pagan, Christian, and agnostic, I've never had a problem being wished a Merry Christmas or a Happy Hanukah or Happy Ramadan or Blessed Yule or Solstice or Pancha Ganapati or Saturnalias or Imbolc or really any holiday for that matter. Whatever culture you grew up with or faith you've practiced, wishing someone joy because you are practicing an event that celebrates gratitude and the blessings we have isn't an insult or an attempt to force a faith or belief system down anybody's throat.

It's just a wish for joy. I just can't take exception to that, no matter how it's phrased or which belief system engenders it.  I can see no evil in a wish for generosity and celebration, and I will take no exception to that wish for myself.  

Pretty much any winter holiday is a celebration of generosity and good will and blessings received and the hope of a good year to come.  I will accept this wish from anybody with an open heart.

And on that note

Mate and I were grocery shopping today, because I made him go grocery shopping with me so we could have a quiet moment today after the madness of going car shopping on Monday.  

"So," I confessed, almost tearful, "my present for you is really frickin' lame."

"Well that's awesome, cause I got you a Honda Odyssey!"

Well, after we cracked up for a semi-hysterical 10 minutes or so, I tried to impress again the lameness of my frickin' present.  I'm embarrassed.  I had an hour, and a bunch of stuff to get, and I didn't manage to make it down to Macy's.  I had to settle for Tops.  

And I let the kids talk me into a Marvel belt instead of a leather belt.  

I'm embarrassed.  

"But," I told him, "the thing is, I wanted to get you SO MUCH STUFF, and all of it is like too expensive, or stuff you need to get for you."

"Like what?"

"Like an I-Phone 6, or a brand new pair of running shoes--"

"From where?  You could get me a gift certificate."

"Remember last year, when I got you a gift certificate from the wrong place?"


"And the year before from the other wrong place."

"Yeah.  I get all my running shoes from Fleet Feet now."

"I did not know that.  SEE!"

"Well, what else?"

"Plane tickets for the whole family to see your dad in February."

"Yeah, that would be nice.  We can't do that."

"I know."

"What else?"

"Well, I'd give you the new car, for one, since yours is falling apart too."

"That would be nice.  We could give the old one to Chicken."

"Yeah.  That would be nice.  But oh!  The other thing!"


"One of those $200 Letterman jackets for the Sacramento Kings."  


"Yeah.  I actually thought of getting you one of those.  If the car hadn't blown up, it was on my list of maybes."

"That would have been nice."

"I know."

"Well, I'll have to settle for lame."

"Love you."

"Love you too."

So, given that, here's my wish for you.

Happy holidays--whichever holiday you celebrate.

May you make it through the worst times with your humor and your faith intact.  

May you enjoy the best times without a shadow over your head.

May your loved ones give you joy, even when they're being a pain in the ass.

May your fur-babies live long, healthy, lives full of scratches behind the ears and with a minimum of fleas.

May at you have at least one person in your family at any given time who gets your jokes. 

May your favorite holiday special never go off the air.

May your appliances die off one at a time and not all at once.

May you manage to give gifts that give joy.  

May the gifts you receive show thought if not taste.

May your mishaps be survivable, and your catastrophes make you strong.

May all your surprises be as pleasant as a puppy in a stocking.

Thank you everyone who's read and commented-- either here, in Twitter, FB, or GR-- for letting me and mine be a part of your lives.  May our holidays-- any holidays--be joyful.  May we have love in our hearts all year.


Monday, December 22, 2014

*gorilla arms*

So this happened about five minutes ago.  It's fifty degrees outside, and Zoomboy is standing in front of me, doing the pee-pee dance, asking me if there really is such thing as Gravity Falls, Oregon. (He likes the show on Disney-- as do I!)

Anyway-- I look from his Perry the Platypus shorts and his exposed knees and back up to his face.  And back down to his knees and up to his face.  And down to his knees and up to his face.

Finally, I interrupted his monologue.

"So why am I doing this?"

"Uh, because I'm wearing shorts?"

"What should you be wearing?"

"OKay okay okay!!!"  And with that he goes tear-assing down the hallway, his hands above his head like a wild man in a gorilla suit.

Yeah.  That.  That is our Christmas right now.

"Christmas cards."

"Oh yeah."


"Oh yeah."


And the Christmas cards get done.

Oh!  Except while we're doing the cards, we have the kids involved in "Santa's Little Sweatshop"-- a process of folding, stuffing, stamping, and label-affixing that usually happens in sort of an assembly line fashion.

And then Mom tells the kids, "Sign these cards, "Amy Lane and company."

Mate says, "Some of those are going to people who don't know who Amy Lane is."

Me: 0.0

Mate:  Did I just make your head explode.

Me: Splodey out my ears….

And that's just Christmas cards.  It gets worse!

"So what are we doing for relatives?"  (me)

"Baking."  (Mate)

"When?"  (me)

"When you've got the kids at the mall, and I can lie and say I'm baking but I'm wrapping gifts instead." (Mate.)

"Okay… so we need a car to do that, and we're getting your car serviced so that it might not explode and die, per my car last week."  (me)

"So I'll start the baking now.  While the kitchen is still a mess." (mate)

"I'll be here, editing.  LIke I've been for days."  (*sob* me)

"AUUUUUUGHHHHHHH!!!"  (Mate, trying to repair the damage Big T has done to the kitchen over the last year, when Mate last baked.)

"We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas… from Gravity Falls…"  (The little kids, who have completely ducked the entire rest of that conversation.)

And of course, Chicken is here, stealing my stuff.

"Hey, mom.  Where'd this hat come from?"

"A friend sent it to me. (Thank you Rhae from FB!) It has a matching--"

"Look.  It fits.  I know it won't fit you.  Your head is too big."

"She made it just for you.  You know she adores you!"

"Yeah-- tell her thanks for me.  It's awesome!"

And there she is.  Wearing my, uhm, her hat.

And in the middle of this, we have puppy!

Chicken:  She's photoshopped from another universe of cuteness.  I'll call her Photoshop from now on. (And so she has.)

Mate:  Actually, she's sent from Satan to distract us from all sorts of things we should be doing.  Like baking and putting together Christmas cards.  That's her function.  Now we know.

Me:  You guys don't even know.  I was walking the dogs tonight and a woman comes tear-assing out of her house to squee over the damned puppy.  It's not even the first time it's happened.  And what's worse?  Her husband was cuddling the puppy and melting all over her-- that's what got the woman's attention in the first place.

Geoffie, the impossibly cute puppy:  *******CUTE***********

Family:  Awwwwwwwwwww…

And of course, none of that even covers the damage done to our gift wrapping time when the dogs are on the bed at one in the morning, wondering what in the hell the humans are even doing.


Oh, wait…

This just in…

Our one remaining car needs a brake job.

Because that is just our life.

Christmas is when?

We're doing what?

You'll get your cards when?

They'll be signed by who?

We're giving what as a present?

Which kid is cleaning what part of the house for me at what time, and who's making sure the puppy hasn't escaped??????????

We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas…

And a shiny new brain!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

She's Dead, Jim

I texted Mate yesterday morning, when I was dropping the kids off for school

 I think someone's been fucking with my car. The steering wheel position was off, and it's making really bad noises.

He texted me back.  Ha ha! No-- I took it last night. Sorry about the noise. That just started on the way back from dance lessons.

To which I responded:  It's getting worse.

It was, too.  I was actually embarrassed in the McDonald's drive-thru-- and so was the girl helping me.  She didn't even fawn over Geoff and Johnnie like she usually does, just sort of went about her business, wincing in reaction to the loud "brap brap brap brap" issuing from under the car's hood.

But still, the car had been making noise for a long time.  The guys at Car Czar said "Well, your engine's going.  Could be in fifty miles, could by five-thousand, could be fifty thousand-- but it's going. And, you know, old car…"

It wouldn't be worth it to replace the engine.

So we planned to get a new one in January, with my next big check.

I was picking the kids up from school early, so we could go see The Hobbit with Mate and his friends in El Dorado Hills.  For those not from the area, El Dorado Hills is sort of a swank suburb, and the Palladio is a vast, outdoor mall, that is really nice. When Mate wants a real nice date--like, when I've done makeup and worn some of my con-clothes just for him-- he takes me to the Palladio, and we hope my car doesn't attract the nearest traffic cop.  (There seems to be an unspoken "no driving while white trash" rule in Folsom and El Dorado Hills, because if my registration even smells close to expired, I get pulled up when I'm there getting Mate.)

By the time I got to the Palladio, my car sounded like Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang.  But it wasn't gonna fly.  In fact, it lost power with every acceleration. By the time I'd finished the 12 mile drive to Folsom, it topped out at 25 miles an hour, and every time I stepped on the gas it got slower.

And I don't know the mall that well, so, because it was me, and because my car was echoing off the hills it was so loud, I took a long, embarrassing tour, around the bronze horse-statues and the fountain, and the stores with names like "Apricot Lane" and "Pink", while my car was screaming "BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP, BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP-BRAP" and the kids tried to talk over it.

By the time I got to the parking lot by the theatre, I was nearly in tears.  Mate was standing by the entrance, his eyes wide.

"It didn't sound that bad last night," he said numbly.

"You heard me drive up, did you?" I asked, feeling surly.


"Well so did the rest of Folsom!" I snarled, and he winced.  He watched me find a parking spot--in front of his friends from work and his boss, mind you-- and pull in.

The car sputtered to a stop and coasted the last three feet.

After the movie (which, by the way, I really loved, in spite of its flaws and the way it strayed from canon) we went back out and faced the problem.

The problem was, the car was dead.  I'm pretty sure it threw a piston rod, which his bad.  It means you have to take the engine block apart in order to reattach the rod, and the cylinder is probably too damaged to compress the fuel-vapor mixture effectively, and it will have to be rebored.  There's probably damage to the camshaft and the timing gears too.

In short, the cost of repairing this engine is probably more than we could get for this car if we sold every workable piece of it on e-bay at top dollar.

She's dead, Jim.

And she died the week before Christmas.  Now, we had just enough money for Christmas and a little left over.  We weren't tapped out--but…

We don't have a down payment in the bank.  Not right now, after Disneyland and the new washer and Christmas.

And as much as I talk about maybe getting a big sedan instead of a minivan, the fact remains, we've got eight or nine more years of soccer ahead of us.  A minivan would be the smart choice at this point, because we'd get the same amount of use out of it as we got out of my poor, poor, dead companion of the last thirteen years.

Oh hell.  I wasn't going to get maudlin about the fucking car.  It wasn't our first new car.  It didn't even stay pristine for longer than two weeks after I got it.  (I practically peeled the door off a brand new car after two weeks of ownership.  Oi.)  It's been to Disneyland three times (so we didn't feel too bad for not taking it a fourth) and it was my buddy for the interminable trip down the I-80 corridor for nine of the years I worked a really painful job. We've had that car longer than two of my children, and the two older children have both practiced driving it.  We've camped in that car, when we were still camping, and we used to pull the seats out of the back at the drive-in theatre and watch the movie in style. As I got fatter, it expanded to accommodate me, and that should be mechanically impossible.  Yeah, sure, she's been looking a little weathered lately-- her last coat of paint/protective vinyl coating just came off in a big sheet the other day as I was driving, but I didn't think that meant anything permanent, you know?

But this… this is permanent.

And it would be one thing if we took it to the car lot and traded her in and had her all cleaned up and looking her best.  We could say, "It's been a good run. She's served us well, but we're ready to move on."  She'd get a wax job and a pedicure, and some kid with less money than sense would drive her for her last few thousand miles and that would be okay.

But now, she's just dead in the rain, her inside full of trash and my gym bag and the soccer chairs and the wheat thins that have lived under the seat since early summer when ZB got addicted to them.  It's just not right.

We're also a six person family with a car that seats five in a pinch, and that's not doing us much good either.

So there you go.  She's dead, Jim.  And all I can do is sit inside and watch it rain.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dear animals...

Dear animals--

I understand you have the need to dominate my time every single waking moment of the day.

I mean, who could blame you?

I am fat and warm, and fun to sleep on-- I see that now.

When I am not sitting still, you know, trying to work, I am doing entertaining things like trying to cook, or clean the kitchen, or pack my gym bag so that I might go work out someplace that does not involve me picking up your crap.  It is way too fun for you to run in and out of my feet when I am doing these things for you to stop because of pesky details like me making the humans food, or not getting the dishes done, ever, or, hello, I might step on you because you are made of busy and my own feet are made of slow.

So I understand that I can be fun.

I do take you on walks, and this is great. I admit that often I go too fast or too slow-- often at the same time, and I shall try to adjust my speed.  I also admit, it would help if one of my walkable creatures did not have absurdly deer-like legs while the other is like a bread-roll on legos, but that is not your fault. You did not choose to be so tall or so short, and I'm the one who put the halter on you and said, "Walkies!" so, yes, I'm the one who shall have to deal.

I understand.

I understand that for one of you my time would be better spent on the potty, so that we might commune spiritually, as opposed to in my computer chair, where you can glare at the world as though you own the place. I understand that you would also prefer my ass be smaller, so that we could share space, but I am loathe to stop eating cookies just so you can own my chair, so deal with it.

I totally get that it might be difficult to go find another part of the couch, or a bed, or one of five dog beds, or even another one of the other four humans to sleep on when we're all gathered in front of the television. I understand that my repetitive movement with sticks and string might possibly disturb you while you are snoring in and among my clothes and that perhaps I might want to just fling my hobby of 17 years to the four winds and blow off any possible chance of using even 1/10th of the yarn I've accrued over that time, because, you know, what's money or a perishable consumable, or even, you know, a criminal waste of beautiful fiber?

The Christmas tree was cruel of us, I know. Silly, really, to bring a tree from the outside to the inside, and then hang it with toys for you, and not expect you to completely destroy it as often as possible.  That was, in fact, our bad.  Completely. Can't argue.

So, yes, animals, I understand completely.  You own us for companionship and to dispense food and water at appropriate intervals, and it is our job to comply.

I only have one little, itty bitty, teeny tiny, minuscule little consideration.  One completely unobjectionable bit of maintenance I wish you all would attempt, just to make my life so much easier.

Could you try not to be so frickin' cute?

Love you all so much, my fur babies-- thank you for celebrating the holidays with me and my hairless kittens.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Bells of Times Square

 Okay-- I'll be honest.  I spent four days writing up the posts and choosing the excerpts for the blog tour for this one, and *whew* I'm exhausted. Part of the reason I left Whiskey and Patrick up for the extra day was that I was all blogged out.  Between the tour, a blog I wrote for the Script Chics about Sidecar, and a couple of interviews, I honestly couldn't talk about myself, my life, or my connection to my books for one more post--not to keep my blog posts current, and barely to explain to Mate why I was sort of taciturn and unresponsive.

Anyway, I took a day just writing fiction and running errands, and we're about to go out to dinner and get a Christmas tree, and I might actually clean off my table and put my Christmas cards up on the cupboard like I do every year.  Sweet!  Mate and I are finally feeling like Christmas!  (Last weekend we were like, "Do you wanna get a big tree?  And get out the pretty lights? I think the time is overdue, to… oh hell… I'm hearing "Do you want to build a snow man?" simultaneously with "Do you want to hide a body?" as I write that.  Maybe stop. I'll do that for another blog post, kk?  The upshot was, no, we were not ready for Christmas. We were, in fact, ready to sleep extra long.)

I also, during that day, helped celebrate Big T's birthday. He wanted two of his friends--a couple-- to come with him and his dad to the movies (they were seeing something his dad would like, but that the little kids and I would not) and Mate ended up giving them a ride, because they'd just moved into a shitty apartment and their car had been stolen.

"Oh my God!" I said to Mate. "He's got friends that were just like us when we were his age!"

"I know," Mate said in wonder.  "I sprang for their movie ticket."

So good to know that young, together, and desperately broke hasn't changed.  It was nice to be on the benefactor side of that-- I remember those "real" adults who would buy us dinner and such when we were that broke. Am still grateful.

And I've been taking the dogs for a walk around the block in the last couple of days.  Today, Squish came with me, and I put the following perspective on Johnnie, peeing every three seconds.  (I posted this on FB too, so you're not imaging it if it feels like you read it twice.)

Squish, as we're walking the dogs: Johnnie, you don't have to smell EVERYTHING!
Me: Actually, taking a walk for Johnnie is like surfing Facebook. He puts his nose to the ground and gets a feeling for who's doing what and what's doing who. 'Oh, the Great Dane was here. No, he hasn't eaten the Pomeranian yet-- must be biding his time.'
Squish: So when he stops to lift his leg…
Me: That's just him, pushing "Like".
Squish: And when he took a poop?
Me: He was COMMENTING on their ass.
Squish--watching as both dogs stop completely and start sniffing a guy-wire post springing up on the side of a yard: And what are they doing there?
Me (grimly): Man, watch out for Buzzfeed-- I'm telling you, that place will stop you dead every time.

And there you go-- That's why the dog has to lift his leg every house or so.

So, on to the other things here.  

Wait-- wait-- let me give you the blurb:

Every New Year’s Eve since 1946, Nate Meyer has ventured alone to Times Square to listen for the ghostly church bells he and his long-lost wartime lover vowed to hear together. This year, however, his grandson Blaine is pushing Nate through the Manhattan streets, revealing his secrets to his silent, stroke-stricken grandfather.
When Blaine introduces his boyfriend to his beloved grandfather, he has no idea that Nate holds a similar secret. As they endure the chilly death of the old year, Nate is drawn back in memory to a much earlier time . . . and to Walter.
Long before, in a peace carefully crafted in the heart of wartime tumult, Nate and Walter forged a loving home in the midst of violence and chaos. But nothing in war is permanent, and now all Nate has is memories of a man his family never knew existed. And a hope that he’ll finally hear the church bells that will unite everybody—including the lovers who hid the best and most sacred parts of their hearts.
- See more at Riptide! 
Or purchase at Amazon :-)

Pretty good blurb, right? Hints at tragedy? The "Titanic" ending as I've been calling it.  Or, you know, instead of HEA or HFN, the HAE! Happy After Ever!  (I want that to catch on-- everybody with me?)

Anyway-- so this book, that's gotten so much critical acclaim (Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times, Library Journal-- no lie!) is finally coming out!

And now I'm sort of really frickin' nervous. 


People think you get over that, but some projects are so very personal.  I've said before--a lot--that my grandparents inspired this one, and if you read the afterward, you'll see how.  But I also put some of that connection into the blog posts for my tour, and by all means show up and sign up for the Rafflecopter (which Andrea is setting up for me. God, I'm dumb. I seriously can't deal.)  There will be a prize. Some sort of prize.  (I was going to offer something from my backlist, but I've gotten a lot of LOVELY reviews lately, and between that and writing this many blog posts, I think I just totally blew out my capacity for self involvement for a while. Seriously. I felt incredibly douchey-- and don't get me started on looking at my Twitter feed. I'm like, "I am a self-pimping HO-BAG!" So I'm going to try to change that to Riptide credit, because it will let me feel less like a douchey, self-pimping ho-bag.) 

So, if you want to read some of the stuff that went into this book-- which I am still SO AMAZINGLY proud of-- here are the stops on the blog tour!  I'll probably post this again, as the blogs are posted, but one of the things to keep in mind is that (usually) the ones labeled "Spotlight stop" are mostly just the blurb and the contest.  The ones without the label "Spotlight stop" will have an original blog post, or an excerpt with some exclusive commentary from yours truly.  So, I'm gonna be everybody's favorite slutty internet surfer next week-- feel free to join me and surf!

December 15, 2014 Cup O' Porn
December 15, 2014 The Jeep Diva - Spotlight Stop
December 15, 2014 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
December 16, 2014 The Novel Approach
December 16, 2014 The Blogger Girls
December 17, 2014 TTC Books and More
December 17, 2014 Butterfly-o-Meter Books
December 18, 2014 Book Reviews and More by Kathy
December 18, 2014 Love Bytes
December 19, 2014 Joyfully Jay
December 19, 2014 Prism Book Alliance
December 19, 2014 Creative Deeds - Spotlight Stop
December 20, 2014 Smoocher's Voice
December 20, 2014 Crystal's Many Reviewers

And with that, I'm signing off for dinner and a tree!  

But first-- please-- if you read it, and especially if you love it-- be sure to review it--, Riptide, GoodReads-- it's always good to see people loving the work.


Off to eat! Ciou!