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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Batman's Hot Cousin--Part 5: Letting Go

Did you all have a good weekend? Mine was quiet--but productive. I'm ALMOST through an edit that may end my life--but the point is, I'm almost through it.

Anyway-- the edit is non-fiction and I'm dying to write fiction and my solution? Fanfic on the blog. Are we ready for the finale of Batman's Hot Cousin? I don't know--it's been unexpectedly heartbreaking.

Let's go!

*  *  *

Letting Go

"Tim!" Bruce sat up in bed shouting, his face and body contorting as he fought to transition from female to male as the original DNA-altering toxins sweated out of his body. "Jason! Clark, where's Jason! Dammit, Clark, we can't lose him!"

Clark sat by his bed, where he'd been for most of the transition, and stroked his hand. "Baby, Jason's dead. Tim's in another city--"

"No..." Bruce's voice broke, and for the thousandth time, so did Clark Kent's heart. "No. He was ours. Where's our baby? Where'd he go?"

"He's a dream, Bruce," Clark said patiently, hating himself. "Honey, you've got to let him go."

"I could see him," Bruce whimpered, falling back in bed and curling on his side. "He looked like you. He was so kind--"  Another cramp of muscle and mass and bone assimilation hit him, and he didn't finish the thought, howling with pain.

"Here," Diana said, sounding cool and calm and collected. "Alfred, hand me the syringe."

"Yes ma'am." Clark looked sharply at Alfred and gasped. So impervious, so practical, pragmatic, and efficient. Alfred's face was streaked with tears.

Diana injected something into Bruce's arm quickly and then backed away. Clark didn't. Bruce had been thrashing for hours--he'd clocked Clark in the jaw, the stomach, and once, uncomfortably, in the gonads. The fact remained Bruce Wayne was a man, albeit a powerful one, and Superman was an alien, and it just didn't hurt that much.

Unlike, say, watching Bruce in pain, calling for the children that had died or been scattered to the four winds.

"Damien?" Bruce begged, voice falling pitifully.

"In the desert with Talia," Clark said, hating Talia Al'Ghul all over again. Stealing his DNA and presenting him with a son fait accompli was bad enough--but taking him back just as Bruce had made some peace with the boy... well, it had been five years before Clark and Bruce had gotten together or Clark might have killed her and just not told anyone. Two years after that, Jason had died. Clark had watched his heart break again and again--why was the fact that it was still in pieces such a surprise?

"Everybody leaves," Bruce murmured. "Everybody leaves."

"I won't." Two years of promises. Two years by Bruce Wayne's side. Prickly, argumentative, bullheaded, beloved man.

"You'll leave," Bruce sighed, eyes closing. "Why would you want to stay? I let our son slip away."

He fell asleep then, the sedative apparently working. Great. Fucking finally. For a moment there was silence in the infirmary and they all watched as Bruce's body trembled and contorted. He was asleep, but pain was going to be his ever-present companion for the next few hours.

"If you'll excuse me," Alfred said, his voice barely under control. Then Diana set the syringe down and wrapped her arms around the old man's neck and sobbed.

Clark watched them, glad they had each other. It was his job to sit by this fucking bed and hold Bruce Wayne's fucking hand until this was over.

He'd promised. He'd stay until their atoms reformed to quantum dust. He still remembered the vow. It wasn't just poetry to him. He was the only one who knew what he'd planned when Bruce Wayne died, and right now the idea gave him comfort.

*  *  *

Bruce groaned, feeling as though every atom of his being had been pounded by a sledgehammer. "Clark?" he mumbled, wondering why he thought Clark would be there.

"Here."

Oh God. Bruce felt weak tears trickle onto the sheets under his cheek. The bedsheets felt clean, and so did his body, although he could clearly remember sweating until everything around him had been sopping and salt-stinging.

"Thank you," he whispered. "I'm sure you've got someplace to go."

"No place but here. Diana is taking care of another lava monster. We'll have to put a capper on whatever's doing that, you know."

Bruce grunted. "On my to-do list for tomorrow."

Clark let out a weak laugh and Bruce felt trembling fingertips running through his hair.

"What happened?" he asked weakly.

"You sweated out the last of whatever made you a girl. You didn't notice dangly bits?"

Bruce closed his eyes, literally too weak to move. He tried to take inventory but couldn't. Something, though. Something felt lighter. As though the universe had clicked into place and he was who he was supposed to be.

"I have no idea. I lived?"

"Mostly. You don't remember any of it?" Something in Clark's voice throbbed, like this would hurt him.

"I had... a dream," he murmured. "A child. Our child. And every time you touched me, it felt like he was getting further away."

Clark let out a shuddering breath. "You never told me you wanted children."

Bruce managed to look at him, saw he was unshaven, his eyes red-rimmed and shiny, his hair unkempt. Bruce may have been freshly washed on clean sheets, but Clark hadn't showered in days. "I have already shown myself to be a shitty fucking parent," he rasped. But then, because he was apparently too tired not to tell the truth. "But your son would be beautiful."

"You're not a bad parent," Clark protested, surprising him. They'd always been honest with each other. "You made mistakes. But you took in orphans like yourself, and raised them the only way you knew how. The way you'd raised yourself. You did the best all parents can do, Bruce."

"Jason..." So weak. The thought of Jason Todd gutted him on the best of occasions.

"Even good parents suffer loss." Clark threaded his fingers through Bruce's hair. "Or have their kids grow up to be dicks like... well, Dick. I didn't mention children because... well, because we're..."

"A little busy," Bruce rasped. He was falling asleep. "I didn't even know it was a dream until..."

"Until you got a built-in womb. I get it."

"You sound awful," Bruce said. "Crawl into bed and hold me."

"I smell worse."

"Don't care."

"Good. Because..." And Clark broke a little. "I really do need to hold you."

Good.

It wasn't until Clark wrapped his arms around Bruce's chest that he realized his muscle mass hadn't come back, that his frame was still heavy but his chest, his arms, his stomach were soft and thin.

"Cup my balls, will you?" he asked, not even being facetious. "I need to know that hasn't shrunk too."

Clark's hand was big and all-encompassing and familiar. Oh yes. Yes. All his parts were back. It wasn't just the euphoria of being himself again. There were dangly bits where dangly bits should be.

"Thanks."

"My pleasure. I hope to do that when you're feeling better, yeah?"

"Yeah. Clark?"

"Yeah?"

"Whatever made you stay here, that whole time. Thank you."

"Love, jackass. You're welcome."

"I love you too. Not having children with you--that could be the only thing I'll ever regret about the two of us."

"Nothing," Clark said, voice breaking. "I regret nothing. Not a goddamned thing." His arms tightened to the point of pain, and he was weeping softly into Bruce's hair.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Batman's Hot Cousin--Part 4 --The Dream

Some fanfic tonight because I am DESPERATELY tired of editing.

* * *

Bruce--known as Bryson--Wayne surveyed his employees in the R&D division with exasperation. Joy Connors was a sharp woman, in her fifties, personable and kind--she was in charge of the beauty and hygiene departments and oversaw nearly a hundred employees. Carla Li--barely thirty with a Doctorate in chemical engineering-- ran the specialty pharmaceutical department underneath her, with nearly twenty people reporting.

Both women were looking at Ms. Wayne as though the poor dear just needed to go lay down for a little while.

"Mr. Wayne wants us to what?" Joy asked, surprised.

"Women's health, Ms. Connors. Mr. Wayne feels that there are not nearly enough painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs made particularly for women. There is so much we don't know about the menstrual process. You do realize that a woman's cramps can be more painful than a heart attack, don't you? And that the protocol for addressing a woman with painful menstruation hasn't changed since the thirties, right?"

"Oh!" Carla said, excited. "I saw that on Samantha Bee! That's true!"

Bryson Wayne nodded. "Yes. Yes it is."

"But it seems to me that it's a big fuss about nothing," Connors snapped. "Women's products don't sell. Everyone knows that!"

"Well I understand that those pot blueberries for hot flashes do pretty good," Li confessed. "I mean, my mom, menopause? Now there's a thing we should research and develop. How come we've got five kinds of boner pills out there, but something to kill a specific kind of pain or discomfort in women is completely ignored."

"Right!" Bruce cried, because finally somebody was getting it. "This is the gap in our research that Mr. Wayne wants to address!"

"Why?" Li asked, arching a perfectly groomed black eyebrow. "Seriously. Who put him up to it? Is he seeing someone?"

Bruce fought a sob. "I did," he said, hating the irony. "It was one of the caveats of me taking over while he went to explore the water possibilities in the Sahara."

"So how would you like us to address this?" Connors asked, her eyebrows up in doubt.

"I would like you to hire a ten person team to look into the science, and one person to specialize in marketing," Bruce said. And then, feeling foolish because it needed to be said. "Please make the team 80% women. I mean, don't discourage any male geniuses invested in the project, but I don't care what his credentials look like, if you so much as see one of those assholes roll their eyes, they get blackballed from Wayne Industries for life!"

God, his lady parts hurt. He needed his own motrin and a nice warm cup of coffee. And some chocolate. And to curl up in a ball and die.

But he was going to settle for doing his part to make things right, dammit! He really was.

* **

The cramps had settled down a little by the time he got home, taking the recently repaired specialty elevator instead of the car so he could shower and put on sweats before he even walked through the front door.

Things had been "leaking" all day. He'd walked through his day fighting the urge to push his pad in from the back and fidget with the tampon that was currently scrubbing his vaginal walls raw.

He was pretty sure that there should have been more female mass murderers at this point in history. He wanted to become one.

But after his shower--and some cookies and a heating pad--he took some Motrin and went back down to work out in the gym, doing everything he'd do as a man just using smaller weights. He didn't think the bulkier muscles would work on his lighter frame--right now speed and agility were his strengths and he would play to them.

He was in the middle of giving the sand bag a workout when Clark flew in, standing behind the bag to hold it.

"Good day?" he asked, then grunted as Bruce leveled a roundhouse kick at it. "So, no."

"Cramps are better," he muttered, hitting the bag with some fast and furious jabs.

"That's good."

"We're working on a better cramp relief in R&D."  And hook and hook and jab and jab.

"Well done."

"The women acted like I was crazy just asking." Jab jab jab jab.

"They had to be tougher than the guys to get there," Clarke reminded him. "That's some damage to overcome."

"I still want to kill someone." Wham! Wham! Wham!  "In fact--" Kick!  "If I didn't know any better--" Hit! Pound! Pummel!  "I'd say I was horny!"

Full stop.

Oh my God.

"Really?"  He asked himself.

"Really?" Clarke asked him.

Bruce was so relieved to pinpoint the source of his moodiness he almost cried.

"YES!  Oh my God, I could fuck a tree right now!" He stopped and--swear to God--blushed. "I mean, you know.  A tree."  Still not any better. He leaned his head against the bag. "God, Clark. I just... you know..."

Clark--still in his uniform--leaned around the bag.

And whispered a suggestion in his ear.

Bruce straightened up. "That's true," he said.

Clark blushed. "I mean, if you don't want to. Your lady parts are sore and--"

Bruce shook his head. "No--no. I want to. I so want to. I'm just... you know. Surprised I didn't think about it. I mean, it's not like you haven't been there before." Although Bruce went there more often, with Clark. "There's nothing going on in that, uhm, department right now. I mean, for one thing, I eat like a flea. No food to process. But seriously--you, uh...wanna?"

Clark was nodding furiously. "Oh my God, do I wanna."

Bruce wiped his sweaty forehead on his shoulder. "Let me shower and, uhm, prepare." Finally, a reason not to throw all of the tampons into a giant incinerator for the sake of women everywhere.

"I'll be upstairs, also showered," Clark said, smiling prettily. "It's, an, erm, date."

And it was. It was a bare skin to bare skin, thrillingly invasive date with Clark's cock in Bruce's ass. Lovely orgasm after orgasm washed over Bruce, and he pounded the bed as Clark fucked him from behind. Oh, damn. This was the most amazing plan ever. Sex! Sex that gave him endorphins and worked out frustrations! Wonderful, amazing, healing sex!

His final orgasm rocked him and he collapsed, mindful of his sore breasts, grateful that Clark rolled off immediately, careful not to squash him on the bed.

"Good?" Clark asked, panting with his own climax.

"Dreamy," Bruce mumbled. "Here--let me get dressed. Then we can cuddle."

Normally, he'd cuddle naked. But... well. Leaking.

God. So inconvenient.

Clark grunted as Bruce threw his pajama clad body on top, then ran his hand down the contour of Bruce's much curvier behind.

"How was it for you?" he asked curiously. "I personally missed my prostate, but, you know. Everything else was pretty sensitive, so that was good."

Clark looked at him candidly. "I... I miss the shape of you in my hands," he said, shrugging. "I don't know how to put it. It's a small price to pay for having you warm and safe in my bed, but..."

Bruce sighed. "It's not normal."

"No."

"And it will never feel normal."

Clark kissed his temple. "Not for you."

Bruce's sigh seemed to tarnish their afterglow, and Clark, in an effort to get him to smile, said, "Hey--at least your not pregnant."

Bruce laughed a little, and then curled up against his great lover's side and fell asleep.

But something about what Clark said must have stuck with him.

Because he dreamed about their child. Clark's blue eyes, Bruce's nose, Clark's irrepressible smile. God. Bruce had failed as a father so many times--but with Clark, maybe, he could manage. Maybe with their son or daughter, he could not bury the poor child under expectations, under worry, under the weight of his other life.

There was a sort of hope with that, even in the dream, until a jagged flash of pain ripped through Bruce's abdomen, and the dream changed. He dreamt that he was invaded by an alien, consumed, destroyed from within by something that didn't belong there and was ripping its way out.

He woke up screaming, thrashing on the bed in the throes of an agony that seemed to be devouring him whole.

"Clark!" he cried out, afraid and disoriented. "Clark, what's happening!"

"Sh!" Clark pushed him back into the bed and wiped the hair off his forehead. "You're burning up. And your face is... is changing." His fingers rasped against stubble on Bruce's jaw. "Baby," he said, sounding afraid, "I think you're changing back."

"Oh." Bruce was rocked by another terrible pain, and suddenly that dream, that painful, sweet, forbidden dream was ripped out of him by force. "I'll never have your baby," he said, letting go of a thing he'd never known he'd wanted.

Clark grimaced and kissed his forehead again. Bruce saw his eyes, red-rimmed, and his worry line etched deep in his forehead. "Oh Bruce. You couldn't have survived like this, not even for our child. Diana's on her way, love. We'll bring you back on the other side."

Bruce couldn't help the tears, not from pain, but from the dream. "I"m sorry," he said. "I"m sorry I"m like this. I'm sorry I'm not strong enough to hold on for that. I'm so sorry."

Clark rocked him, his arms the haven Bruce had never known he'd needed. "No sorry," he rasped. "No room for sorry. Live through this. Live through this, beloved. Never be sorry you did what you had to do to live."

Another pain slammed through him, ripping him in two.

Bruce screamed again, and concentrated on living.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Oh geez, REALLY?

Kids are, as you know, a mixed blessing.

Today was more mixed than most.

This morning Chicken came over to walk my parents' dog, Max. Max is the mellowest, most awesome, most amazing old dog in the world, and Chicken went to the squishy part of the park so she could throw him a ball and lope after squirrels. While she did this I walked the little asshole Chihuahuas around their usual loop (partial today, because the park was flooded) so they could poop.

Chicken ran up to me, Max in tow, and we continued our walk, talking idly.  In the middle of our walk, she interrupted herself.

"Mom, I have a confession to make."

"What?"  (Thinking: Oh God, how bad can this be?)

"While I was throwing the ball to Max, he took a giant dump. I didn't have a poop bag. I couldn't find it now with a divining rod."

"Oh... uh..."

"I mean, it's gonna be pouring down rain for two days, but not even that's gonna wash it away."

"Oh. Uh..."

"I'm sorry."

"Uh, next time ask me for a poop bag."

"Sure."

So, afterwards, we went to get our toes done--and I got my furry troll face waxed. Or, well, eyebrows and mustache.

We had a time limit, so as I was getting my feet done--just at the part where they were using the loofah that tickled--the aesthetician came up to wax my troll face.

And Chicken watched avidly, because I was simultaneously bracing for getting hair ripped off my body, wincing because it hurt, and laughing because someone was scrubbing my wiggling feet.

While I was trying to deal with all of that, I heard  Chicken laugh.

"Am I tickling you?" (The people at our pedicure place are so sweet!)

"No!" she giggled. "I'm watching my mom. She's hysterical!"

I told this to Squish. She also thought it was hysterical.

And finally, ZoomBoy, who needs a filter.

"Mom, you know how Geoffie licks our ankles when we come out of the shower?"

"Yeah."

"The other day, she jumped up and got my knee and my thigh. It was personal."

"OH DEAR GOD."  (From me.)

"Oh my God, ZoomBoy!!!" (From Squish.)

"ZoomBoy we didn't even want to know that. Ever."

"I'm sorry."

No he's not. He wanted to shock me. He wanted to embarrass us. He wanted a reaction. So I gave him one.

"Well at least I can say I knew your first girlfriend. And she was a real bitch."

"OH MY GOD MOM!!!!!!!"

"Next time keep that story to yourself."

"OKAY OKAY OKAY OKAY!!!"

Kids. Oh geez. REALLY?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

All Small Dogs Are Assholes

So I took Guest Dog Gibbs in for a checkup today--just the ordinary vet thing. We needed to put her on a health plan (cha-ch$ng!) and get her checked out--and pay for a nail clip.

Her front nails were getting out of hand.

It turns out that the kneecaps of her back legs are displaced-- they slide in and out really easily, which apparently is a Chihuahua problem. *sigh* Pure breeds. Seriously--a pure bred dog is a birth defect, bred consistently until the inbreeding kills it. Not that I don't like the idea of certain dogs, but it's often why I keep the breed of my animals in my books sort of a mystery. Clopper is a cross between a Great Dane and a donkey. I just wrote a Great Dane/Pit Bull/Giant Poodle mixed breed. Lots of size in that one, lots of sweetness--hopefully no hip dysplasia or other problems. It's one of the reasons I love Geoffie and Johnnie so much, in spite of the fact that as Johnnie ages he looks like a tiny root beer barrel on stilts. They're just less susceptible to injury is all.

Anyway, Gibbs is a purebred Chihuahua and she's got displaced knees. They give her a mincing "diva walk" which makes sure her little paws don't hit the ground, so her front claws were overgrown to a ridiculous degree while her back claws were kept mostly in line by daily walks.

She's SO much more comfortable now.

But the vet noted that she was exceptionally sweet, and I looked into Gibbs's little blueberry muffin eyes and realized that the worst thing possible had happened.

I'd fallen in love with the little butt-cookie oven.

I mean, she crapped IN THE VET'S OFFICE while I was getting her registered. There I was, three dogs wrapped around my ankles like a furry bolo death-machine, and I smelled something. Looking around me was made ridiculous by the fact that I was dodging dogs AND trying not to step in that thing I smelled, and boom.

Butt-cookies--I barely avoided stepping in them. (As ZoomBoy calls them, "MY LEAST FAVORITE COOKIE!")

Anyway-- just as I discovered the butt-cookies, Johnnie AND Geoffie both piddled. So in about four minutes, me and the Chi-who-what mafia managed to wipe out the entire front of the desk at Banfield. It was really impressive.

But we got that cleaned up, she got looked at--turns out she has athletes foot fungus. Go figure. And I was told that--like my other animals-- we could all stand to lose a few pounds.

And I realized that, permanent or not, she's family. She's the number-one reason my knitting is slow. She's the force behind two runs to the treat bag every night. She's one of three small furry chaperones that cuddle my body and try not to let any sex happen in my bed, period. (Mate and I have been known to kick them out--I'm just saying, the three of them are judgy and out of sorts when we do.)

And the kids are all looking for a new place to live so she can go stay with her original mom. *sigh*  I'm gonna miss the diva-stepping, butt-cookie pushing little bolo-weight, I really am. And judging by the way Geoffie and Johnnie were all licking her little face and nuzzling her when we picked her up, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

Dammit.

All small dogs are assholes.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Roots

Okay, so we were watching an old episode of Supernatural, featuring a scary baby, and ZoomBoy produced a meme featuring a baby with demon black eyes that said, "I'm totally in love with my baby, but I wish he'd stop saying 'This human form is so limiting.'"

Yes, I laughed my ass off, why?

Anyway--it reminded me of one of my very first short stories--something I wrote right after Chicken was born. Big T's disability was really making itself known then. I mean, some of it should have been known beforehand. He was missing milestones right and left. When he was six months old the doctor sat him up and said, "He should be sitting by now." T sort of slumped to the side like a bag of flour with more bag than flour. The doctor said, "He'll sit soon. I'll check it off my list." And Big T fell over and Mate caught him and the doctor just kept checking milestones he didn't achieve. This was back when Kaiser was a nightmare--that guy was close to retirement, and frankly, I think he'd had enough of babies and parents who didn't know what they were doing. Anyway, I wish I could kick him in the teeth because he did his best to make Mate and I feel stupid for asking "Hey, is this normal?" We would bring T in for an ear infection--because he wouldn't stop crying and none of the teething remedies were working and we hadn't slept in a week--and instead of looking at his behavior (and his medical charts SAID he was normal, right?) they gave us albuterol which is for asthma which would have kept him up for another week if we'd been dumb enough to give it to him. Honestly, that was when I started to lose my faith in doctors, really.

Anyway, when he was a toddler, he was a nightmare. He didn't transition--if he was doing something--say, pounding something with a hammer until your eyeballs bled--and you were trying to get him to change his diaper because his smell was something extra special, the tantrum he pitched would bring the neighbors. This was when we lived on a six and a half acre plot of land.

So, there I was, very often with no car, with a newborn (who was very well behaved) and a toddler who baffled me, and no Mate, because he was going to school and working six nights a week just so we could pay for heat.

I wrote.

One of the things I wrote was a short story which I've long since lost--but I remember a lot of details about it, so I thought I'd share.

It was about a toddler who was possessed by Satan. I have no idea where I got the inspiration. Anyway, the kid in the story was doing things like making sure the baby Lion in the Lion King was getting eaten by the hyenas and turning everything mom put in the grocery cart into Cinnamon Toast Crunch. He was levitating his baby sister and letting her drop into mom's panicked arms and painting a mural with baby food using only his mind. Again--this shit just came to me, seriously. *rolls eyes* And the mother was desperate at first, but then all of the "seasoned" mothers in the story just kept telling her "You know, it's probably just a phase."

She went to doctors who told her it was teething or colic and who gave her medicine that made him literally float through the walls (this was before the Incredibles when this superpower became a recognized phenomena, mind you) and finally, because everybody kept telling her she was stressing over nothing, she went to a shrink, who gave her four Percocet, said, "No, I believe you, it's probably Satan--here. Take these. You can talk to God."

God had nothing interesting to say. He thought Mary was great and was sort of sorry he'd screwed her over in the kid department, and told her that Mary chewed him out because she had a right to. Then he disappeared.

And Mom woke up and picked her kid up and yelled, "Lucifer, you asshole, are you in there?"

"SO WHAT IF I AM!"

"You are not welcome here, go play somewhere else."

"YOU CAN'T MAKE ME."

"I can too. I'M THE MOM, MOTHERFUCKER. Now let go of my child and GO TO YOUR ROOM!"

And there was a big sonic boom and all the movies returned to their original endings and the food mural on the wall disappeared and the sister was suddenly in her cradle after floating near the ceiling for almost an hour, and the woman's beloved, her child, her angel, said, "Can I have snack now?"

And it was all okay.

Anyway, have been telling my teenagers (YIKES! My youngest kids are teenagers!) stories about our learning curve as parents, and that story came to mind. I really do wish I had the original version, but whenever I remember it, I remember my first, tentative, baby steps to raising children like I thought they needed to be raised and having faith that my judgment as a parent was not less important or less informed or less powerful than the judgment of all the people telling me "It's just a phase. You worry too much."

Sometime after I wrote that story, I made fifteen phone calls--FIFTEEN--and got Big T enrolled in an education program that included early intervention. He's been in the educational system since he was two and a half-years old. The first time we put him on a school bus, he was three. And yeah, education hasn't been perfect, but seriously, it's been way better than the witch-doctor necromancy bullshit that the medical profession had to offer. The doctor that wanted me to check out my adolescent son's testicles with surprise inspections as he got out of the shower comes VIOLENTLY to mind.

But I didn't feed him albuterol or scar him for life psychologically or make him go for more than one damned EKG (the gum they put in his hair was a disaster) or let him cry himself to sleep (after a few failed attempts that almost resulted in CPS, thank you), or lay on top of him during dental surgery (omg that fucking dentist)--and while I DID do some things I wished I hadn't, I have to say, eventually I learned to trust myself.

And that story was one of the first moments that I actually put into words that I thought something was wrong that everybody else seemed to be missing.

And I was right.

And I thought I'd share.

SuperBat-- Batman's Hot Cousin, Part 3

Hi all!

I'd say it was a quiet weekend, but I finished Bunny and the Money Man--book one of a Dreamspun Desire series called Search and Rescue--and I made it under deadline. I mean, yes, Squish had indoor soccer, and we went out for burgers, but most of my weekend was finishing that book!

Now that it's done, for the next one to two weeks, I'm going to be editing the Shitty Craft Book-- a book on writing craft that is done but needs a buttload of screen doors and some new paint. In other terms, a hefty edit with lots of research and some tweaking--because I'm online to present this in a couple of places this year, and I want it to be published and perfect before it goes out.

So, Amy, what's it like submitting classes on a book you're self-pubbing that isn't quite done?

Why, stressful as fuck, so glad that you asked!

So, in celebration of the next year of a violent bout of imposter syndrome, I say we have another round of fanfic! And please, my beloveds, don't tell me I'm not an imposter, I know people mean well but at this point it's just better to pretend everything is fine, fine, just fine than to try to overcome self-esteem that was starved of its bone structure when I was a kid.

So, in order to appease my escapist tendencies-- let's escape, shall we?

* * *

Batman's Hot Cousin, Part 3: Through the Air Like Smoke

"Clark! Get your head in the game! Barry needs help!"

Superman shook his head and blew a big blast of freezing breath at the offshoot lava gollum that was racing the Flash as a snake of boiling rock.

The whole monster shuddered and that part froze and shattered, sending people-sized rock fragments down on the heads of the frightened onlookers.

"Hal!" Superman called, and Green Lantern disappeared to keep people from getting smashed, and HawkMan and HawkWoman swooped down to save anyone who might be in the way.

Which left Clark to continue to freeze the monster's tendrils and off and try not to freak out about his lithe, catlike boyfriend sliding through the air like smoke. Smoke shaped like a brick shithouse but smoke just the same.

Watching Batman fight in this form was a major mindfuck.

The women Clark Kent had always been attracted to were strong. Diana, Lois, Lana-- strong, independent, graceful. Warrior women, who would match his wits if not his strength.

Bruce Wayne Female was everything that turned Clark Kent's key--but with a Goth, risk-taking edge that stopped his heart in battle.

Bruce Wayne Female didn't let Clark save him. Not that the others had, but they knew their physical limits and were not afraid to ask for help. Bruce Wayne Female had no awareness of the lighter bone structure and more supple muscles that gave him speed and grace and stamina, but that didn't weigh as much as his heavy tumbler's muscles. He could land a helluva punch in this form--there was no doubt--but he had not yet learned to compensate for the lack of body mass that he'd had before.

He'd spent the last month getting the shit beat out of him is what he'd done.  The backhand from the Joker that had sent him spinning into a cement truck mid-leap had been particularly humiliating.

Or it would have been if he'd remembered it. He'd been concussed for two days. When he'd woken up, he'd had to remember why he had tits all over again.

Clark would hold Bruce Wayne any time he needed it, and tears had never bothered him. But Bruce's sobs as he'd coped with a body that wasn't his were leaving big bloody tracks in Clark Kent's soul.

And watching him fight was terrifying.

"Bruce, get out of there!" Diana yelled. "Your heat armor has gaps in it and that thing's going to cook you alive!"

That was another thing. None of his armor fit this form. Fighting the lava monster was hard enough--but Batman, in his special heat-resistant armor, could open up a hole in the thing's core that Superman could freeze out.

But not if the armor had big air pockets in it that would cook Bruce alive.

"Fuck!" Bruce yelled back-- a sure sign that he was getting frustrated. "Who can get in there and open up a hole!"

"I'm on it!" Hal flew up from rescuing civilians and Bruce bailed, letting Green Lantern send a wedge of power through the thing's center so Superman could freeze it out. Oh, thank God. Thank fucking God, that thing was down, every lava branch on the skyscraper it was trying to take out had turned to stone.

Hal and Clark were on cleanup then, making sure that whatever wasn't melded with the surface of the building had been disintegrated or deposited elsewhere. Diana could have lassoed stuff, Clark supposed, and Barry's speed might have come in handy, but really, Hal and Clark were best suited for the job.

But that meant jack to the pissed off brooding Clark was getting from Bruce's silent com.

They finished cleanup, aware that the rest of the Justice League had gone up to Eye in the Skye to figure out who kept setting lava monsters on them.  When they were done, Clark called to Bruce first, to see if he would respond like a grownup.

When he didn't, he sighed.

"Diana--"

"He doesn't want to see you."

"The fuck?"

"Wow--do you realize you've started swearing a lot since you two got together?"

"Please, Diana? What in the--"

"It's not just the fight. Or the armor. Or the two to six weeks left on his sentence."

"What is it?"

She grunted, and the sound was unfamiliar.

"Diana, is there something wrong--?:

"No! There is nothing wrong with her--him! Fuck! It's something that's completely normal but he'd never dealt with it before and it's uncomfortable and painful and messy and he was off his game is all.  Give him a chance to figure it out and he'll be one-hundred percent, you understand?"

Clark was an alien--but he wasn't an idiot.

"Seriously?"

She sighed. "He didn't want you to know."

"He has a women's body. Women menstruate. It brings about physical changes. Why is he ashamed of that?"

"I don't know, Clark--because of a hundred years of, 'Oh, I wonder if she's on her period?' jokes!"

"But I never told those jokes!"

"But he doesn't want you to think he's not capable because something took him off his game. Women get a couple of years to learn how to deal. This caught him while he was in battle. It was a surprise."

Clark took a deep breath and tried to remind himself that he wasn't the one in the wrong form. Except it felt like he was, because while he loved Bruce in any shape he assumed, he was more and more starting to see the female form as an ill fitting uniform that they somehow had to unzip. It was strangling the man Clark loved.

"Of course it was," he said. "Does he think I couldn't understand that?" But then, Bruce wasn't great at asking for help before he'd had this form. "You know what? Don't answer that. I get it. But I'm not leaving him alone. Because yes, I am that asshole."

And with that he went off coms while he flew into the Batcave.

Bruce wasn't there, and he wasn't in the infirmary. Clark tried his third guess and found him, sitting with Diana in his bedroom, shotgunning Anne With an E on Netflix. He had the remains of what looked like steak on a tray next to him, and he and Diana were eating chocolate mousse.

"No mousse for me?" he asked, keeping the irritation from his voice.

Bruce eyed him sourly. "I'll ask Alfred--"

Clark kissed him on the cheek. "No, no. I'll take the trays and ask Alfred myself. Diana, when I come back I'm going to change, which means you'll see my bare ass. However you want to handle that."

Wasn't something she hadn't seen before, so when he got back-- two more helpings of chocolate mousse and another steak, just for him--on his tray, he was surprised to see she'd gone.

"She's going to change into pajamas," Bruce said, half-laughing. "She says it's the only time I'll get to do this, I should do it right, it's one of the joys of being a woman."

"Is she right?"

"The steak was great," Bruce said grimly. "The rest of it is a giant coping mechanism so women don't rise up and cut off all our penises because we haven't made fixing this system a fucking priority."

Clark raised his eyebrows. "I'm sorry?"

"Pajamas or you have to leave," Bruce said, wrapping his robe tighter around him. Underneath he was wearing Clark's pajama bottoms and his T-shirt, when he had plenty of his own. Clark took heart from that. It meant he was a source of comfort.

"Fine, changing. Don't eat my steak."

Bruce looked him dead in the eye. "Hurry."

He did, and when he was done, he picked up the tray and scooted into the giant king sized bed they'd shared since, well, since Bruce had almost been killed by the mad bomber and they'd decided they wanted tone together.

"Now tell me why women are going to rise up against us?"

"Because this? This thing I'm doing? It's awful. It hurts. Like hurts. You know i know pain, and I'm not afraid of it, but this, constantly, as just something I'm supposed to deal with? This is wrong. And the fact that doctors don't think we should put any time into figuring out why it happens and stopping it? Is wrong. I have an entire research and development department, and you know what? The head of that department is a woman and the person under her is a woman, and you know what neither of them has even proposed to me?"

"How to soothe menstrual cramps?"

"Fucking bingo! And do you know why?"

"Because women are told they need to suck it up?"  Clark had never thought of it before. Lana, Lois, Diana--they hadn't so much as let the pain or the inconvenience touch him. The thought made his heart hurt. All the trouble he'd gone to, to get Bruce Wayne to admit something hurt, and women had been masking pain like this for eternity.

"They do." Bruce sighed and leaned against him. "I hate feeling like this."

"Cramps and swelling and--"

"And like I"m borrowing this form. It's not mine. I could make it mine, but right now, I'm some guy bitching because I get a little taste of reality. I hate that it's reality and I can't change it for all the women I know."

"You can help." Clark kissed his temple. "Maybe have a conversation with your R and D department tomorrow."

Bruce nodded, and Clark saw the classic Bruce-Wayne-swallowing-pain maneuver. "Can I hold you?"

"I wish you would," Bruce sighed. "I"m sorry I said to stay away."

"I"m sorry I'm a man."

Bruce let out a laugh and Diana chose that moment to come back in, sliding on Bruce's other side.

"This is not something we'd ever do when I'm a man," Bruce said. After a moment of acknowledging silence, he added, "That's too damned bad."

Clark kissed his temple again, noting that he'd had his hair cut short the day before, just like he did every week. Still Bruce. But Bruce with a little more understanding than he'd had before.

"That is," Clark said. He winked at Diana. "I'm sure Diana would be willing to do this once a month if we asked her nicely."

Diana stole his chocolate mousse. "Only if Alfred caters. And I get to pick the TV."

They settled in then--chips and chocolate and moody television and being warm and snuggly with friends.

Clark hoped they'd do it after Bruce changed his form. He thought that it was false to say it was a perk of being a woman. It should have been a perk of being human--even if you were an alien and a goddess, it still seemed to be a perk.




Thursday, January 10, 2019

A trip to the dentist...

So, we have a new dentist and he's pretty awesome and we love him a lot.

But, well, a trip to the dentist is a trip to the dentist.

This one was to get a crown replaced, which is almost worse than getting the original put in because they have to take the first one off and then drill whatever has rotted underneath it and then refit the temporary and then refit the permanent.

And... well...

I'm a big weenie about pain.

Redheads are supposed to have a high tolerance for it--and I do, mostly. I'm still waiting for the medal for giving birth to Chicken without painkillers. I suspect it got lost in the mail.

But my teeth have deep roots--and deep roots are hard to numb.

So Dr. Baldonado gave me three shots of something and started to drill and each time I could still feel that. (Poor dentists. They must really hate those three words. "I mm mmm mmllll ddttttt.")

So he finished up with something REALLY extra special that my previous dentist had passed down to his son who had passed on to Dr. Baldanado, concerning my dental care.

It was the novocain version of a kamikaze, and it worked stunningly well.

In fact, it worked so well, that even I could feel the four holes in my gums that signaled I'd been well and truly medicated, I could still feel the cocktail creeping up... past my lips... up, to my nose. When your nose is novocained apparently it collapses on the inhale, and so do your sinuses. I had to work hard not to snore while I was awake. And still, it crept up. To my eyelids. My eyelids drooped and tingled.

And don't even get me started on my lips.

Anyway, I texted this to my husband who said, "Do you want me to drive you home?"

"No! It's just my face, not my brain!"

I greeted Squish after school, who looked at the drooping half of my face and said, "Should you even be driving?"

"It's JUST MY FACE! Brain is fine!"

And then Chicken called while I was driving home and I had to explain to HER why I'd been gone that morning, and when I got to the eyelids tingling (they were itching by now!) she was like, "Should you even be driving?"

"MY BRAIN IS FINE!"

Which I guess is not particularly reassuring.

But it was true.

My temporary cap is doing swell. I can still feel the four holes in my gums.

And my brain is fine.

But as nice as my dentist was, I don't look forward to getting the temporary removed and the permanent one set up.

Like I said--my face may have been a bit droopy but my brain is fine!

Ten Signs I'm Getting Older

Yes, yes, I know I passed the big 50 last year, but it hadn't really set in, you know? I mean, I'm still young, right? Chicken says I seem younger than I am--I always thought that was the benefit of natural immaturity. 

But it seems age has snuck up on me with all the grace of a clumsy ninja on cold medication. Yeah, I may be young at HEART but you can't stop Father Time.

Ten signs I'm getting older.

10. I'm wearing slippers. I used to be "Barefoot Girl" from Bruce Springsteen's "Jungleland" and now my toes ache in the rain.

9.  Me and my daughters got the same hair cut. On the girls it looks "adorable" and "art deco" and on me, it looks "crazy cat lady".

8. Every time I get up from my booty-eating chair I say, "Oh everything hurts!"

7. Tyler Hoechlin came on Match Game tonight and I said--I shit you not, "Oh, isn't he a good looking boy!"

6. I was afraid to use the "personal hot spot" on my phone tonight while I was using my iPad in case I "used it all up."

5. I pulled a ginormous traffic boner tonight and my only excuse was, "Oh, that car was there?"

4. On the way to dance tonight I regaled my children with stories of--wait for it--high school marching band.

3. I realized that the old cynical bad father figure from S.E.A.L. Team is actually Ponyboy Curtis from The Outsiders--which I saw on VHS.

2. The entire soundtrack to Bumblebee was emotionally relevant to me.

1. I had an entire conversation in the pool with someone about our adult children getting on health care and how relieved we were, and we were THE YOUNGEST PEOPLE THERE. 

I mean, folks? I knew the age thing coming--I just didn't think it had already hit.

The good news?

Mate was watching a commercial about beauty products, featuring a very smug woman with silver hair smiling at herself in the mirror.

At the end of the commercial he said, "You know, the only way to not get any wrinkles is to never have any expression!"

"So the reason my eyes droop like a Bassett Hound's is that I have expressive eyes?"

"I like your eyes."

So there you go. Maybe--just maybe--a few wrinkles are worth it. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

A Good Change

So, some of you know that I started blogging long before I started blogging.

Part of it was when Mate was working and going to school and I was alone with Big T and Chicken when they were in diapers. I would save up kid stories to tell him on his one day off, so he wouldn't feel like he was missing too much.

The other part was teaching. We were encouraged to tell kids about ourselves, to humanize ourselves. "Yes, I have a family and a husband and you'll hear me tell kid stories--I try to make them fun."

So when I started blogging, even though it was supposed to be about knitting or writing or whatever, I also told kid stories--and every now and then one of you tells me that the family stories mean more to them than I ever imagined. (Which is why I keep telling them, honestly, even though the blog is pretty passe as a marketing tool atm.)

My students told me the same thing. Having a teacher who talked to them as someone with experience in a family made them feel more comfortable about their OWN families--even if sometimes they were dysfunctional.

We were supposed to be role models and authority figures and accessible all in one.

Unless of course we were gay.

Because if a teacher told students he or she was gay, then the administration could use that as a tool to keep them from getting tenure and everybody knew it. (I didn't. Seriously. It's one of the things I had to open my eyes to, because I didn't realize the world was THAT STUPID. But I did learn. *sigh*)

My daughter came home today all excited about a new teacher. The old one got fired for being a racist douche and not that I'm glad she was a racist douche but I was glad to hear she wasn't allowed to be one.

The new one is nice and fun and has a lot of good energy and does standup in her spare time.

And has a wife.

And that was okay.

The kids were fine with it. The teachers wear little rainbows on their nametags to tell the students that they're LGBTQ friendly and the kids can confide in them and they're safe. This teacher was just doing what the other teachers do--share details about their lives so the students know they're interacting with human beings.

Eight and a half years ago I was pulled out of my classroom for giving kids a book that said romance was just fine for gay kids.

Is everything perfect? No. Can there be positive change? ALWAYS.

But I'm pretty sure that the same thing that happened to me eight years ago wouldn't happen to another teacher like me now.

And this makes me really happy.

It seems I've spent the past twelve years blogging looking for a reason to have faith in the world. Sometimes it was betrayed and sometimes it was rewarded and sometimes it was renewed.

This teacher may never know it, because my kids don't talk much about me and what I do for a living, but I'd like to thank her for teaching and fighting the good fight and being a human and an authority figure all rolled into one.

And for giving my faith a win.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Kermit Flail-- HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!

Whew! I mean WOW!

It has been some holiday season!

And the NewYear is shaping up to be positively sizzling in the romance department--I mean this lineup is TRULY amazing!

First up is the STUNNING, LOVELY, and HILARIOUS Ms. E.J. Russell, with my favorite motif-- the demon with a heart of gold!  She leads us off this month with her Dreamspun Beyond story, Devouring Flame!




Devouring Flame (Dreamspun Beyond #35)
An Enchanted Occasions story

by E.J. Russell

Reunited and reignited.

While cutting through the Interstices—the post-creation gap between realms—Smith, half-demon tech specialist for Enchanted Occasions Event Planning, spies the person he yearns for daily but dreads seeing again: the ifrit, Hashim of the Windrider clan.

On their one literally smoldering night together, Smith, stupidly besotted, revealed his true name—a demon’s greatest vulnerability. When Hashim didn’t return the favor, then split the next morning with no word? Message received, loud and clear: Thanks but no, thanks.

Although Hashim had burned to return Smith’s trust, it was impossible. The wizard who conjured him holds his true name in secret, and unless Hashim discovers it, he’ll never be free.

When their attraction sparks once more, the two unite to search for Hashim’s hidden name—which would be a hell of a lot easier if they didn’t have to contend with a convention full of food-crazed vampires on the one day out of the century they can consume something other than blood.

But if they fail, Hashim will be doomed to eternal slavery, and their reignited love will collapse in the ashes.

Luckily Smith is the guy who gets shit done. And Hashim is never afraid to heat things up.

Buy Here

Next up is August Li, who is known for his complex and lyrical fantasy novels, and, of course, his stunning covers. (Also, for being kind and funny, whenever I've seen him at conferences--and for doodling the most magical things, and then letting me gush over his doodles until he just gives me one. Okay, maybe that's just me ;-)  Anyway, August's next offering is Nomad's Dream, and it does look dreamy indeed.

Nomad's Dream

by August Li

Two men, each with a hidden destiny. Can they defeat a web of deceit and dark magic to ensure their fates intertwine?

Bedouin Isra al-Grayjaab’s dreams lead him to Janan, an amnesiac beggar on the street of Qena—one who steals his heart and starts him on a seemingly hopeless quest. With only their wits, Isra’s knowledge of the desert’s secrets, and the aid of a mercurial djinn, they must recover Janan’s past. But neither can predict his true identity or the lengths others will go to see that his mind remains broken and his true power out of his reach.

In a sweeping romantic adventure that takes them across the Eastern Desert to the modern streets of Cairo and on to the luxurious Red Sea Coast, Janan and Isra seek a truth that will either bring them into each other’s arms or tear them apart forever.



Buy at Dreamspinner


Second chance at love stories are the ultimate in hope--and nobody does hope better than L.A. Witt. She's known for her gritty heroes and her real life choices--and for her happy endings. Is It Over Yet looks like L.A. Witt at her best--and most heartbreaking--and dammit, Lori, we'd better have happy at the end!

Is It Over Yet

by L.A. Witt


Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are divorcing. Mistakes have been made, lines have been crossed, and there’s no going back. Both men are exhausted and ready to move on.

But their daughter is getting married soon. In the name of not putting a damper on her wedding, Derek and Rhys agree to keep the divorce on the down-low and show up as the happy couple everyone still believes they are.

And between a roller coaster of a road trip and the love and joy surrounding the wedding… Derek and Rhys just might remember why they fell for each other in the first place.

Are they only kidding themselves? Or can a rekindled spark really light the way to forgiveness?

This novel is approximately 59,500 words long.



Parker Williams is an enthusiastic, whimsical, slightly naughty presence in social media--and a truly good friend in any context. I look forward to his cheerfully wicked teasing--and the chance to sing his talent to the skies was simply too delicious. The Spirit Key is dark urban fantasy--and it looks amazing! And, knowing Parker, I'm sure there's some deliciousness in there as well--he can't deny it. It's just his nature.

The Spirit Key

by Parker Williams

Lock and Key: Book One
When he was eight years old, Scott Fogel died. Paramedics revived him, but he came back changed. Ghosts and spirits tormented Scott for over a decade until, thinking he was going mad, he did the only thing he could.
He ran—leaving behind his best friend, Tim Jennesee.
Scott’s had five normal, ghost-free years in Chicago, when the spirit of Tim’s mother comes to him and begs him to go home because Tim’s in trouble and needs him.
He isn’t prepared for what he finds when he goes home—a taller and sexier Tim, but a Tim who hasn’t forgiven Scott for abandoning him… a Tim whose body is no longer his own. The ghost of a serial murderer has attached itself to Tim, and it’s whispering dark and evil things. It wants Tim to kill, and it’s becoming harder for Tim to resist. To free the man who has always meant so much to him, Scott must unravel the mystery of the destiny he shares with Tim.



T.N. Tarrant has some high fantasy here that looks stunning and original--and romantic. *clutches hands to chest* That's my favorite kind! With a lovely cover and an "us against the world" storyline, how can you lose? Please check out Killian, Whispers from a Hidden World, Book 1!


Killian (Whispers from a Hidden World, Book 1)

Regent Killian Larrestes survived a harrowing attack and the betrayal of his family by his mother, and has since worked to help them all recover, learning the complexities of protecting and commanding a large, sprawling Clan.

Shiloh Zahirris is seeking Sanctuary from a marriage he doesn't want when he ends up under the protection of Killian Larrestes. Killian takes him in, and they find themselves falling in love. But will social objections, personal insecurities, and someone seeking revenge destroy their chance at happiness?

by T.N. Tarrant




Ah, the lovely, the fluffy, the exciting, the escapable Dreamspun Desire!  Where fantasies come true, right? Well an athlete and an aristocrat in Paris is certainly fantastic, and Louisa Masters looks to have done her genre proud!  Also, check out the new cover design--Louisa's hero looks doubly dreamy, right?  Come check out The Athlete and the Aristocrat by Louisa Masters!



The Athlete and The Aristocrat

by Louisa Masters

Sometimes love takes balls.
Newly retired championship footballer Simon Wood is taking on his next challenge. His plan for a charity to provide funding for underprivileged children to pursue football as a career has passed its first hurdle: he has backers and an executive consultant. Now it’s time to get the ball rolling.
Lucien Morel, heir to the multibillion-euro Morel Corporation, is shocked—and thrilled—to learn his father has volunteered him as consultant to a fledgling football charity. Better yet, the brains behind it all is heartthrob Simon Wood, his teenage idol and crush.
Although Simon and Lucien get off on the wrong foot, it’s not long before they’re getting along like a house on fire—sparks included. But with the charity under public scrutiny, can their romance thrive?


Roe Horvat is quickly making a name for himself as a writer of engaging, heartfelt drama--and The Other Book has all the earmarks of a romance that might bring you to a couple of tears. The good kind of tears-- the ones brought about by frozen hearts thawing in the heat of blazing hot sex. I mean, if that doesn't make you want to read, nothing will!

The Other Book
Roe Horvat
It was supposed to be just sex... Famous last words.
Tyler doesn't overthink pleasure and avoids complications. He knows it might be stupid to get involved with his closeted boss, but the temptation is too great. At first, the cold and beautiful Joel Sandstrom seems to loathe Tyler's guts.
Except one late night at the office, his reasons become clear...and his control breaks.
Every time they touch, Joel's stony face comes alive, harsh lines smooth out, and for a minute, he looks serene. Happy, even. Just sex - dirty, intense, spectacular sex.
During their covert encounters, Tyler discovers the power he has over the lonesome man, and it's a heady feeling. What if he could set Joel free and give him peace of mind? When Tyler realizes how much Joel needs him, he doesn't regret breaking his own rules.
Gay erotic romance. Contains explicit scenes and sexual interactions between more than two partners. For adult readers only.


Racing into Love is brought to us by newcomer Noah Steel features a daring racer and a quiet bookseller--and the end of a dating rut that will start your heart! Come check Noah's debut, the first in a series--it looks like a winner!

Racing into Love

by Noah Steele

Aiden Reed is stuck in a major boy rut.

Every date ends in something worse than disaster—boredom. 

That is, until star racer Derrek Luna crashes the end of a terrible date at Aiden’s cozy bookstore. Derrek’s confident charm and killer good looks throw Aiden’s quiet, cautious world into chaos when he says he wants a shot at Aiden’s heart.
Derrek is sure Aiden is different. He’s sure Aiden won’t just vanish without a word. Not like the others did. But the closer Derrek gets to the man who charmed him without a word from across a crowded room, the more his life on the track threatens to keep them apart.
Aiden is ready to take the risk—he thinks. 
What if Aiden’s panic attacks scare Derrek away? 
What if Derrek’s ghosts come back to haunt him? 
…what if it doesn’t matter because they’re already in love?
Racing into Love is an instalove romantic drama ready and waiting to take you from zero to sixty with every turn of the page.



This next debut writer is a regular on my FaceBook group! She's been working hard on craft and marketing these last few years and watching her take this dream and stick to it has been a lovely, wonderful thing. Please say hello to Joy Rose, and her angsty rent boy story, Want!

Want

by Joy Rose

Although college life was over the learning curve still existed for Jason Stephens. Naive and young, Jason and his best friend Ethan Rosen owned and operated Love Inc., a high-class male escort agency in New York City. While Ethan ran the day to day, Jason was an escort—his androgynous, angel like beauty afforded him this opportunity. However, Jason or Jace for short wanted out in a bad way, Ethan wanted him to stay and keep at it. The money was good, and those student loans and his apartment would not pay for themselves.

A chance encounter at the laundry mat has Jason dreaming of an ordinary life with possibly the man of his dreams. Damien Prescott was that man or so Jason hoped. Damien was British and refined, a perfect gentleman and he smelled so good he just had to be gay according to Jason. Apartment info is inadvertently exchanged much to Jason’s horror. What if this guy was a masked murderer or rapist? Jason’s past abuse at the hands of clients and his own parents forced him to form negative opinions regarding anyone that showed him the least bit of positive interest. Then there was Ethan his bestie and soulmate. Their relationship consisted of comfort sex and comfort eating, not exactly in that order. Five years strong and still kicking, why couldn’t they ever get serious enough to at least play house together?


Buy at Amazon 




My January release is sort of a Rerelease. I wrote Regret Me Not as a novella--and the shape of it was perfect, and it had a "ride into the sunset" sort of ending I always wanted to end a book with. 
Except, me being me, I wanted to know what happened in the sunset.

So I wrote (on this very blog) the extras for Regret Me Not-- and Dreamspinner put them into paperback. And I'm so excited to have them for you!  Come see Hal and Pierce's ride into the sunset, as the unicorns they are.
Regret Me Not (Paperback)
by Amy Lane

Pierce Atwater used to think he was a knight in shining armor, but then his life fell to crap. Now he has no job, no wife, no life—and is so full of self-pity he can’t even be decent to the one family member he’s still speaking to. He heads for Florida, where he’s got a month to pull his head out of his ass before he ruins his little sister’s Christmas.

Harold Justice Lombard the Fifth is at his own crossroads—he can keep being Hal, massage therapist in training, flamboyant and irrepressible to the bones, or he can let his parents rule his life. Hal takes one look at Pierce and decides they’re fellow unicorns out to make the world a better place. Pierce can’t reject Hal’s overtures of friendship, in spite of his misgivings about being too old and too pissed off to make a good friend.

As they experience everything from existential Looney Tunes to eternal trips to Target, Pierce becomes more dependent on Hal’s optimism to get him through the day. When Hal starts getting him through the nights too, Pierce must look inside for the knight he used to be—before Christmas becomes a doomsday deadline of heartbreak instead of a celebration of love.


New novella Pierce and Hal's Road Trip is exclusively sold at Dreamspinner in this print edition!


AMY AT PROLIFIC WORKS

Hey all! I've got some stuff out at Prolific Works,  which is a place to put free stuff, and I thought I'd share.

In December I added A Gentle Shove of Human Kindness, which used to be in the Grand Adventures anthology, but it was taken out of print. It's a short, sweet little piece, and I hope you enjoy it!
I also added the extras to Beneath the Stain.   These were originally released with the book as extra content to the serial edition, and once the book did so well, people wanted to read them!  Dreamspinner authorized me to release them now, as sort of a prelude to Paint It Black, which should be out in August. (Let's just say that Paint it Black will make a lot more sense if you read the extras!)