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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pinched Nerve

I may have mentioned this before--

There's such a thing as writing injuries.

I thought I was alone, and it was just because of the weight, but I saw Jeaneane Frost talking about it on Twitter.

Writers can fuck themselves up by sitting down, staring at a screen, and making their thoughts into words for other people.

She suffered from anxiety that was rough enough to stop her heart. Other writers have written through pneumonia, injuries, and chronic conditions that would make your blood run cold. Listening to a writer with a chronic joint condition talk about what she has to do just to write makes you realize what dedication truly is.

My worst story is at the end of Forever Promised. I crawled into bed with pinkeye, bronchitis, a fever, a strained achilles (from the way I sit), and a UTI on its way to my bladder. Mate was like, "You done?"

"Yeah."

"You're never doing this again, okay?"

"Sure."

And mostly I've kept that promise. I mean, as squirrelly as my brain truly is, I've made it a point to take time away from my computer, to spend time walking the dogs, to spend time in the pool, to spend time working on the house and with the family knitting, so that I'm not the unwalking undead at the end of every book.

This time... well, it was a little different. There was recital/rehearsal etc, Mate was gone for a week and then another day, and Father's Day and our anniversary at the end of the rainbow. So, at the end of HomeBird I was a little... iffy.

And then I spent recital getting up and down from one of those camp chairs that will wreck the stoutest back.

And now I can't move my head.

Lots of sleep, lots of motrin, it will get better.

But in the meantime...

If you see me on social media, most of the time I'm in bed, and I'm on my phone.

And now you know.

Writing injuries-- not as uncommon as you think.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Another Recital

Okay--does anybody remember that scene from Romancing the Stone, after the Angelina part, where we see Kathleen Turner wandering around her apartment in her pajamas and socks, looking for tissue so she could blow her nose?

I wish that's what happened when I finished my Christmas novel, HomeBird, this Friday night.

Instead, I whipped off a missive to my editor that said it was done and it was still technically the 15th, so I was good. Then I crawled into bed and half-slept through plans to beef up the ending. Then I woke up to my beta reader telling me to beef up the ending. Then I frantically beefed up the ending until it was time to get ready to take the kids to recital.

Yes, recital

Now, this year's recital was particularly poignant--Joanna, the woman in charge, who has been in charge for the last twenty-five years, and who has known Chicken since she was four--has just bested cancer, and her livelihood has been in the hands of former students, who carried her classes and planned the recital and basically just picked her up and carried her, because she's done so much for them and their kids and their community.

It was beautiful--but it was also... smaller than usual.

She'd lost some students this year.

So on the one hand, it was just as hectic and just as whoa! as it has been other years, but there was an undercurrent of, "It's been so much harder other years," too. Right down to the weather. I mean, it was lovely--lower eighties, both days. Usually it's 110. No lie.

And into this, there's me.

I'm sleep deprived, I'm dreamy--I'm still in Joan Wilder's Angelina land--and I'm just not ready to deal with other people's children.

I mean, I think I did okay--but at one point I looked at a hyperactive little girl who was DONE, just like I was, and said, "You know, it's a good thing you and I are done after this, or I would roast you like a duck."

She said nothing--just got down off the pole she was trying to climb and looked at me with big eyes.  I'm sure she hated me--but you know, I can live with that.

Anyway-- I must not have been too whacko, because I got a hug from my co-mom, and that doesn't happen often. (There is a weird alpha-dog thing that goes on backstage about who has known Joanna longer and whose kids can get away with the most. I don't play alpha dog, I play whatever-cat, and in this case, my co-mom was another whatever-cat. We got along fine.)

Anyway--I got to see two of my kids' performances (this wasn't going to happen this year--we were forbidden from that part of backstage, and then people cried. Okay, I cried. I'm not sure about anybody else. I cried. Part of that was tiredness and stress, and part of it was not seeing my kids perform when hey, I was there for just that reason!) and anyway Squish was radiant and sweet, and ZB... well, he's sort of becoming an amazing dancer.

I also watched him flirt with the entire backstage. And he combed his hair.

And Chicken was stage manager again--and she really is amazing. This year people started doing the job she'd had before, and they needed three people to BE her. She was like, "Yes, you need to move that fast!" and they were like, "Wait--we need help!"

That was fun.

Also fun--this was actually pretty hilarious--was the mom's meeting when kids were gathering on stage.

JoAnna said, "Are all the moms here?"

"No," I said. "We're missing X, Y, and Z."

"Are they here yet?"

"Nope, still missing--no I don't know where they are."

A few moms got there, and Joanna said, "So do we have everybody now? Wait! Where's Amy Lane?"

Now, I'm not a small person. You've seen pictures. And I was standing six feet in front of her.

"I'm RIGHT HERE!" I cried, and she cracked up and hugged me.

This is particularly funny because she gets Squish and Chicken mixed up constantly. It's like my family can't win. But we all agree ZB is her favorite of the five Lane family members she actually knows. She used to get frustrated because she thought he spent all his time at the zoo when she was talking. Now she realizes that he was only at the zoo some of the time.  Most of the time he was calmly processing EVERYthing she told him, and came back next week with stuff fixed.  He was supposed to have two solos this year, but we went away back east when she was writing the show, and he had to make do with one. Like I said, he was amazing.

So, in general, it was a good year.

But I'm wishing Joanna all the health in the world this year. Next year, I want to see more kids and more parents and more audience members.

Easier isn't always better, you know?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Father's Day, 2018

So, going to get political.

You're going to see a lot of idiot politicians tomorrow--Republican ones--who claim to espouse family values--get on social media and say, "I'm a father and I'm proud."

Today my husband helped volunteer--like he always does--as a Security Dad for our dance recital. And he hauled shit and sold tickets and carried shit and made sure nobody went into the designated areas that had kids in them, so the kids could be safe and returned to their parents.

More months a year than not, he coaches kids and he keeps track of their progress in soccer, and tries to mentor the best he can and is calm and cheerful and excited about something that he thinks will make kids' lives happier as they grow up.

When I'm home he's excited to see me, and is tender when people aren't looking and tries to help me when I'm busy and sits on the couch and lets the kids hang on him and talks to them and plays with them and does all of the wonderful things that make him my Mate.  He only yells a little, sometimes, and mostly when he's hangry.

He is kind to EVERYBODY'S children.

He is devoted to his own.

He would no sooner rip a baby out of his parents' arms in the name of "thou shalt follow stupid rules" as he would throw his own kid in front of a bus.

He'd throw himself in front of the bus first.

He'd throw himself in front of the bureaucrat first.

To anyone who thinks it's okay, what our country is doing, has been doing, to immigrants and their families...

Fuck you.

Get off my timeline.

If you're a relative, don't call me. Don't talk to me. Don't break my heart by showing me the monster you are.

If you're a neighbor, know this is how I feel about you.

My husband is a good father. The best. He doesn't just take care of his own children. He takes care of the children in his world, because he believes that's a good thing. He doesn't do it because his magic sky daddy told him it was good, he does it because he's a good man.

Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, all those sociopaths who would shoot a child in cold blood if they thought "the bible told them so" and thus could get away with it--

They are monsters. They are abominations. They are the evil that men become when they lose touch with what it means to be men.

I'm so ashamed of my country right now. I'm ashamed of my neighbors, and the few family members who think racism and xenophobia and CONCENTRATION CAMPS IN THE UNITED STATES are all hunky dory and the way we should keep doing things.

But I'm damned proud of my husband.

You'll see the bureaucrats and the demagogues and the hypocrites and the Republicans all try to pay lip service to family values on Father's Day. They're full of shit and bile and evil and scabrous malignant cankerous bug feces that masquerade as brain cells.

My husband is a real man, and a real father, and he reminds me, in the face of these  monstrously awful fucknugget excuses for humanity, that good people can exist, and work hard, and give up their free time and their comfort, not just for their own children but for the children in their world.

Happy Father's Day, 2018.

If you've got a person in your life that deserves love on this day, show it to them. In this world right now, we need to give every bit of credit where credit is due.

Just remember that the people who think it's okay to irrevocably damage other people's children are not good fathers. They're monsters. And they're raising monstrous people in a monstrous society.

And people who make monsters are usually devoured by them.

That's a thing that will never change.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Help! My dogs have the derpies!

So, we're in the home stretch for a couple of things--

*  Finishing HomeBird

* First edit of Hiding the Moon

*  Filling out SCADS of paperwork

*  The kids' recital is Saturday

And while I'm riding the fine edge of exhaustion, none of it is particularly exciting to relate to you, but I DO have a brief story to tell.

You may notice Guest Dog Gibbs to the far left there. Now, Gibbs got to our house very well trained. All you'd have to do was say, "Gibby! Crate!" and she'd go to bed.

But see, I've been going to bed much later than Gibby is used to. So I was working last night until 2:30 a.m., and my own dogs had settled down on the couch and the beds at my feet. They're comfy with that, it's their jam. But Gibby doesn't know the rules.

I mean, she thinks she knows the rules. She knows how to walk on a leash, and she knows how to be a good dog in public.

My dogs, uh, don't.

So we'll be walking and I'm tightening the leash and giving my dogs verbal cues about being good dogs, and good dogs don't bark at other dogs, and Gibby is looking at me with this terrible confusion. She's like, "I don't understand what they're doing!"

And last night was like that. I was sucked into my book and I didn't pay attention and she didn't understand what I was doing.

So I was out here under the lights and, hey, there was a perfectly nice man asleep in the dark and she figures, "Hey! I'll do that!"

Until 2:30--when I realized she wasn't there.

And I lost my shit. I mean, she's small, she's helpless, she's clueless-- what if she'd gone outside and not come back? What if she'd gotten stuck? Oh my God--I'd lost a dog in a closed house.

I started ripping through the house, calling her name, waking the kids up, and finally waking Mate up.

"Mate! Have you seen Gibby?"

"What time is it?"

"I don't know!" (It was 2:30 in the fucking morning--I knew that!)  "She disappeared!"

On impulse I started going through the laundry next to the bed, because the cat slept there sometimes, and accidentally tossed her up on the bed when I pulled up a T-shirt.  She yelped and went trotting across the bed, and then went into her crate when I sent her.

I turned off all the lights and went to bed, and she whimpered, poor baby. She'd been happy. She'd been in the dark, happy, a nice person nearby, and now she was in the box? And worse, her new pack got to sleep in the room?

*sigh*

When I nap she sleeps with me--and the other dogs. I may have to uncrate her, because she really was sad.

So anyway, Mate got up this morning and hopped into the shower, and his phone started going off in the living room. Louder. And louder. And louder.  I stumbled out of bed and t urned it off, then stumbled back, pulling the covers over my head. Ugh! The day star! It burned!

Mate got out of the shower and I whined.  "Your phone! Oh God! Your phone!"

"I'm sorry."

"It's six in the morning!"

"You woke me up at two in the morning for the frickin' dog."

"I'm sorry."

"What in the hell."

"Go away and leave me alone to my fate. I'm dying."

"Sure you are.  Bye bye, I love you."

"Love you too. I'll wake up when it's civilized and walk the dogs."

I did. And it was hot, of course, by 10:30 in the morning.

So poor Gibby.

Her one photo op in all of this, and she finally fits in with the other dogs.

She's as derpy as they come.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Pierce and Hal Ficlet: Coming Home

This is the final Road Trip Ficlet, and rounds up the "post book" material that's going into the new edition of Regret Me Not this Christmas!

Coming Home 

The absence of snow had made the last three days of driving much easier.  Hal had made good time after Oklahoma and through Texas, and he'd managed to stop at some nice hotels in between, so Pierce was in pretty good shape as they pulled off of Highway 80 and negotiated their way through a series of surface streets and small suburbs.

"Historic Fair Oaks?" Hal asked, squinting in the dark. It was eight o'clock at night, and Hal was cooked and done. He'd thought he could maintain enthusiasm about anything forever, but the last week of driving had burnt him to the bone.

"It looks more historic in the light. Turn right here," Pierce said, eagerness tinting his voice. "And slow, or you'll miss Toyon. Okay-- there. Turn right. And left. And... right. Into that driveway there."

Hal's first thought was that Pierce hadn't been kidding when he'd said the place was "little"--but then, Hal had realized that a lot of the land plots in California were smaller than they were in Florida or even in the other states they'd driven through.

These houses, off the road, often hidden in driveway dips or up hills behind heavy foliage, weren't mansions, and Pierce's was no exception. Hal parked in the carport, noting there were no other cars there at all.

"It's weird that you don't have a car," he said bluntly, yawning and stretching as he turned off the ignition.

"Well, my last car was the truck I wrecked," Pierce admitted, looking at the house in the thin winter light. "It's weird how familiar it looks, when my whole life changed."

Hal tried to look at the place objectively, after fantasizing about it for nearly two months. It was small--Pierce said three bedrooms--but the siding was a dark blue that wasn't your everyday sort of color, even in the moonlight. The trim was white, and bougainvillea grew over the porch railing and around the support posts, giving it the feeling of being a secret cottage, hidden in lush vegetation.

"There's a door from the carport," Pierce said, sounding as uncertain as Hal felt. "Let's just get the luggage inside and see what we're dealing with bed wise." He paused, smiling slightly. "Think--we can sleep as long as I can manage it tomorrow. And we have no place to go forever."

Hal giggled, a little hysterically. "I can stay here forever. That's not a hardship. Lead the way, o captain--I'll get the roller bags."

Pierce took his time, getting out of the car slowly and stretching in the chill air. Of course, after the east coast, it was practically balmy--but after Florida, it was frigid. Hal decided he liked the way the weather sort of sat in the middle, and proceeded to drag all their luggage out while Pierce pulled his keys from his pockets and opened the door.

Lights came on inside the house, and Hal heard Pierce's excited exclamation as he rolled the first two bags in.

"Oh wow! Cynthia totally came through!"

"Cause that's what I want to hear when we arrive," Hal muttered to himself, and then walked into the bedroom and totally took back every mean thought he'd ever had about Pierce's ex. "New bed?" he asked, feeling dumb.

"New bed," Pierce said, sitting on top of of the king sized sled-style bed and bouncing. "And it's--" He yawned. "Perfect."

It was already made--probably in the last week--with mint green sheets and a dark green comforter. The frame was sturdy oak, and Hal could tell from Pierce's delight that the mattress was bouncy as hell.

"Get ready for bed then," Hal told him, some of the anti-climax easing up. He went out to the car and gathered the rest of the bags, and when he got back, Pierce was standing in front of the bed in his boxers, going through the stretching regime Hal had taught him before they'd left.

Hal stood for a moment and watched him finish, every muscle in his body straining, a look of intense concentration on his face.

"You've gotten so much better at that," Hal said, feeling dreamy and exhausted and odd.

Pierce looked up from a particularly painful stretch and smiled. "I've had good incentive."

Hal smiled a little, realized that he couldn't feel his face, he was so numb from exhaustion. Pierce dropped his stretch and walked over to him, wrapping his arms around Hal's waist and touching their foreheads. "Go shower," he said softly. "There's shampoo and soap in the cupboard, and extra toothbrushes and everything. I'll turn on the heater and check out the houseplants and turn on the wifi. You're done. I can tell. Shower, drop into bed, stay as long as you need to. Eventually you'll stop seeing the road behind your eyes when you close them."

"You see it too?" Hal said plaintively, because it had been on auto loop for the last five days.

"Only every minute of the day. I hope you're done with traveling for a while. I want to stay here, build a pool, and show you the wonder and delight of my tiny corner of the state."

Hal breathed out a sigh of relief. "We have to visit your sister next year," he said, and something about the last two months made that possible. Next year, the two of them, at Sasha and Marshall's. It was a date.

"And I really want to go to Europe on our honeymoon," Pierce mumbled dreamily. "Our real honeymoon. When there's rings and a ceremony and everything.

Hal's dizziness grew a little more acute. "Is that a proposal?"

Pierce nuzzled his cheek. "It's an expected outcome. A logical conclusion. I'm so tired I can barely see and you're going to fall down any second. But I love you more now than I've loved anyone in my life. There has to be a wedding and a marriage. You... you belong here, in this room. Give it a week, a month--I'll ask you then, okay? When we're not hearing the car in every heartbeat, and you know the way to the bathroom--"

"Yes," Hal mumbled. "I'd marry you tomorrow. I'll marry you in my sleep. I don't need a week. I mean, I'm gonna need a week--mint green? Was that her choice or yours?"

"Mine," Pierce told him, smiling a little. "I was a redheaded kid--"

"You're a redheaded adult. Whoever told you you weren't was full of shit. But fine. I can live with mint green. As soon as I can see my phone--"

"And it's charged," Pierce said, his smile growing.  The phone had died coming through Bakersfield, of all places.

"Yeah, that. I'm gonna buy us a big unicorn pillow pet. And two rings. And every day until we get married we'll walk in through the bedroom door and see the big unicorn pillow pet and the rings. And we'll be just as married the day before the wedding as we will be the day after."

"As we are now," Pierce said happily.

"I so belong here," Hal told him, not even needing to see the backyard. "I so belong here with you."

"God, you do." Pierce's voice grew a little choked, and Hal felt tears starting in his eyes, but their hug wasn't going away.

"I'll shower in a minute," Hal said thickly.

"Yeah."

"I love you so much."

"I love you too."

*  *  *

Eventually they both made it to the shower and as Pierce wandered around the house checking rooms and turning on lights and the wifi. He sorted the mail on the table, and saw the envelope immediately. Big and legal and official looking. He opened it up and smiled a little, none of the bitterness he'd expected in this moment washing over him, all of the sweetness of that mangled proposal filling his heart instead.

Good. That chapter with his wife was closed, and they could move on.

He wandered back to the bedroom, feeling so much better in body and spirit than he had when he'd left Sacramento in November. HIs body might not ever be back to where it had been before the accident--but his spirit was so much better.

His spirit had found hope. Had found sweetness.

Had found Harold Justice Lombard the Third, and the joy of being a unicorn.

He crawled into bed and sighed, the sound of Hal's SUV on the tarmac fading.

"Anything interesting?" Hal mumbled.

"Yeah. My divorce will be final in June."

"Good."

"Wanna get married in July?"

"God yes. Where do you want to honeymoon?"

"Somewhere we can fly."

Hal chuckled. "I love you. Tomorrow we'll see about the pool."

"I love you back. Tomorrow we'll have sex."

"Let's do that first."

"Absolutely. G'night, Hal."

"Mm."

So much to do. So much to see. So much to live, all with the man by his side.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Thing With Tech

Okay, so any of us who have to squint at our computer screens are aware of the problem.

Our children know more tech than we do.

It is no secret amongst my family that if I was suddenly left in the house alone, I might never watch television again.  I don't know how to work the remotes, and every time I figure it out we get new remotes!

Now, the fact is, I watch ten hours of TV max a week-- the end. They spend a lot more time working the controls than I do so they're really much more proficient with it, and I don't mind that. I mean, practice makes perfect.

It's the utter disdain they have for me when I need their help. I frequently have to point out how much time they spend watching TV that I don't--and sometimes I get snotty with them. "Oh, I'm sorry I was out shopping for your favorite breakfast bar, while you watched TV all day, but maybe you could find this movie on Netflix for me?"

And I think that this has all flown over their heads--mom's an idiot, she'll always be an idiot and anything useful she has ever known is now depressingly obsolete.

Anyway...

Then last night, I'm up in the middle of the night (as I am now) and a thing goes off.

I have no idea what thing it is.

It's an electronic thing.

SOMEBODY'S electronic thing is set to YouTube and it's talking about pirates and syphilis and rotting from the inside out and my sweet little Christmas romance is about to become Dead Rotting Pirates of the Plague Farm.

Anyway-- I need it fixed, and I need it fixed now, and I DON'T KNOW WHERE IT IS.

So I wake the kids. Or I try to wake the kids.

ZoomBoy's response is typical ADHD.  "Nuzzafuggabugget?"

And Squish doesn't even wait for the rest of it. She hops out of bed, goes over to the tech and fiddles with it. "On it, Mom!"

It's one in the morning.

She comes out, we stop hearing about Dead Rotting P irates of the Plague Farm, and she says, "Yeah-- that was ZB's tech. Suddenly his YouTube kicked on-- I think it was set to update. Don't worry about it. It's all good."

No disdain. No condescension. Just this sort of universal acknowledgment that having an electronic device go off about Dead Rotting Pirates at one in the morning is a little fuckin' freaky.

Anyway--this morning I tell her thank you, and she gives me a sly smile.

"Well... I was sort of up reading you know."

And I love her so much. Because she DOES know tech, and she can KILL the tech when it rises up against me!

But her best friend is still pulp paper and vanilla-scented glue.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Pride!

We had so much fun!

The event was lovely--but then, it was last year too, and that's why I brought my kids this year. The parade was well attended and meaningful, and the booths were active and vibrant.

My kids had a fantastic time, and we brought Chicken's best friend (since Chicken worked) who was happy to come with us.

Wheee!!!

But... but there was Pride Bunny.

See, I asked Chicken to make me Pride Bunny-- she made a bunny for Squish and it was awesome, and she said she'd make me one--

And then, last night, told me it was going home with Stevi.

And look at that picture--Stevi looks so happy with her! I mean, Pride Bunny was MEANT for Stevi.

But we all got attached to Pride Bunny!

So I'm begging Chicken to make me another Pride Bunny, to put QSAC on the front of, so we can bring her to ALL of the QSAC functions.

BECAUSE SHE'S AWESOME.

*grrrrr*

I haven't made stuffed animals in SO LONG--but if she doesn't make me another Pride Bunny, I may have to. *long suffering sigh*

It won't be nearly as good.

Anyway--

I was there with Pat Henshaw, D.L. Kent, SA Collins, Mike Nichols, J. Scott Coatsworth, L.E. Franks, and Jeff Adams and Will Knauss, of podcast fame.

Now, I've met Jeff and Will before--but never had a chance to talk to them, but today I actually had that chance to talk to Jeff.

He was hilarious and charming and I SO WANT to be on their podcast! (They asked me, around fall, and I'm like counting the days already.)

So in general?

It was an awesome day.

And now, 3000 words before I sleep.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Dear Citizen...

So, we're in the middle of recital  rehearsal again, and if you don't hear from me when you usually do, you know what's happening...

I'm spending 2-3 nights a week supervising other people's children.

Which is generally exhausting.

To wit, I've got a couple of Dear Citizen letters to start my night of writing off right!

*  *  *

Dear Guest Dog--a.ka. Gibby--

While I appreciate that you don't really like my dogs, in the future, when we're walking, it would probably be a good idea not to slip your leash and run off while I"m picking up Johnnie's crap. If you ran into the road, your owner would be devastated, and I'd feel like crap, for one. For another, watching you round a corner and into a walking group of three pit bull mixes (one of them was pit bull/Clydesdale, I remain convinced) almost gave me a heart attack.

From laughter.

You almost crapped right then and there, didn't you you little shit.

Yeah, that's right, trotting off away from your designated human is a bad fucking idea, right? Don't do it again.

Sincerely,

Me


*  *  *

Dear New Dentist--

First of all, I had a terrible crush on your father my old dentist and he was too old for me, and here you are, fifteen years younger than I am and I'm feeling the nasty laughing hand of an evil fate because you are cute as a boy band bug's ear.

Second of all, this weird infatuation isn't going to save our relationship if you keep inviting me back just to work on my teeth again.

Also, please laugh at my jokes even if I'm old. If you're jabbing my gums with lidocaine and I'm being funny, I think that calls for a smile, at least.

You're still embarrassingly cute but safe from any pervy advances--

Me


*  *  *

Dear other people's children--

I'm sure you are the apple of your parents' eyes and if you were my child I'd bore the crap out of the world telling them about your exploits, just ask the readers of my blog. But it's been a long day, and you are not my children, and if you don't stop scattering crayons on the lawn I'm going to look up a way to curse your shoelaces so that you may never untie them at will.

I think your parents would be fine with this, but I'm pretty sure you would not.

Think carefully before you throw that next crayon, shall we?

I mean it!

Me


And now I'm off to write!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

School's Out for Summer!

Okay-- so last week I had a post titled "Beginning of the Summer Crazies" but I forgot to elaborate...

*  Today was Squish's promotion ceremony and both kids' official last day of school. *sigh*

* Wednesday is dance practice

* Thursday is recital rehearsal--I'm a backstage volunteer and, when he gets back from his trip, so is Mate.

*  Also a dentist appointment.

* Friday is Squish's doc appointment. Also recital rehearsal.

*  This weekend is Sac Pride--I'll be there with the QSAFC

* Also this weekend we need to get costumes.

*  Next week is recital rehearsal, followed by recital.

* I have a hard deadline on the 15th--right before recital!

*  I promised the kids there'd be mani-pedis. Yes. Three of the four get a summer mani-pedi. I don't know how this started but I'm pretty sure it's my fault.

*  And we have a guest dog. Guest dog belongs to Chicken's best friend's mother--who is sadly terminally ill. Best Friend needs a place for the dog because her aunts want to get rid of it because omg who does that when someone is dying, but anyway--we have known and loved Best Friend since high school--and are so sad about her mother. Guest Dog (from here on out known as Gibby) has a place here as long as she needs one, and Best Friend can show up here any time to visit. God, the world is a hard place sometimes. Sometimes we need to know our furry friends are okay just so we can function.

*whew*

So, THOSE are the summer crazies.

And that said, back to the promotion ceremony--

A. They had a photo montage showing pictures of the kids as Kindergartners--when I first volunteered at the school--and then showing them now. I saw Squish's little face with her bright red hair when she was a baby and burst into tears. I was not prepared.

B. The teacher was announcing awards, and she said, "This is the Socrates award--it's for critical thinking!" and I turned to Chicken and said, "Your brother got this award when he graduated three years ago!"

And then they called Squish's name, and Chicken and I were both "Ooooohhh!!!"

The teacher said, "We got the plaque for the office and for a minute, I thought they'd made a terrible typo, until I realized that the name was for 2015. Somebody else had to tell me she had a brother--what was his name again?" And what followed was a hilarious five minutes in which Squish tried to explain what her brother's name was, because it was on the plaque near hers.

Anyway--I am apparently raising critically thinking human beings, and I am proud.

C. ZoomBoy went to school in Star Wars Pajamas. Nobody noticed, because apparently that was sort of par for the course.        

I said critically thinking--not suave and debonair.

Anyway-- it was a good day, and now? To try to make that deadline!






Monday, June 4, 2018

Kermit Flail--the Boys of Summer edition (June!)

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

Seriously folks, these last two months of Kermit Flail have been an embarrassment of riches--they've reminded me about how exciting it can be to work with other writers and how much fun it is to celebrate each other's work in the best of ways.

This month we've got some of my local folks on the roster-- J. Scott Coatsworth is the fearless leader of our local Sacramento based writing group QSAF and he's really an awesome guy. He's taken a disparate lot of folks from our little corner of the world and organized Pride Booths (which I'll be at) and readings at the local LGBTQI library, which he then films and puts up on FB. (I've done this too--but only because Scott is awesome.)  Anyway, he has worked really hard to put our corner of the world on the map in this genre and I'm really privileged to host him here as he releases his self-pub The River City Chronicles. I'm just saying--the guy gets a special shout out for working his ass off for his genre--let's give it up for Scott--YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

Also a local girl, we have Pat Henshaw with a Foothills Pride story (that's right up my alley, y'all) and that's exciting too!  E.J. Russell--a RITA award nominated Kermit Flail regular is here with Mystic Man, and I'm just so thrilled and tickled that she remembers me with every new release. Also, I finally got my friend Kate McMurray to remember me and put her newest, Damage Control on my roster, so YAYAYAYAYAY!!! 

I've got two Dreamspun Beyond authors--the amazing, warm, huggable and awesome Ms. Julia Talbot, as well as the adorable, super-smart, I'm-so-glad-we-got-to-hang-out-at-RT Ms. Bru Baker!  

We also have Refraction, by BA Tortuga and Jodi Payne. Like her wife, BA Tortuga  has been one of those kind and delightful cornerstones of this genre from so far back we really wouldn't know what to do without her, and Jodi Payne is just an inexhaustible well of energy! I'm just so honored to have the two of them here!  

Ms. Kris Jacen--another trailblazer for this genre--is on my roster as well, and I was jumping up and down and giggling when she submitted--eeeeee!!!  And Ki Brightly, Cate Ashwood, and S.J. Himes are just such wonderful, fun people on the web, I was pleased to put them on the list too!

And I've got a special book here--my friend and fellow writer Ashovan Doyan asked that I put his friend Cindy Sutherland's book here on the Flail, and that is just fine by me--and a very generous gesture to boot.

So whew! Did I get everybody? 

Well, uh, you may notice at the bottom that the final manny book is finally available for pre-sale--so the prolific family of the Robbins-Lowell-Graysons is finally saying goodbye, and I don't like to pick favorites, but Quinlan and Dustin's book is truly special. 

So there you go!

I hope you all enjoy these delicious boys of summer (oddly enough all boys--that doesn't happen every time!) and I wish you happy reading. There is bound to be someone on this list to please every taste, right?

Happy reading!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!! 






The River City Chronicles

by J. Scott Coatsworth

Everyone in the River City has a secret, and sooner or later secrets always come out. 

A group of strangers meets at Ragazzi, an Italian restaurant, for a cooking lesson that will change them all. They quickly become intertwined in each other's lives, and a bit of magic touches each of them.

Meet Dave, the consultant who lost his partner; Matteo and Diego, the couple who run the restaurant; recently-widowed Carmelina; Marcos, a web designer getting too old for hook-ups; Ben, a trans author writing the Great American Novel; teenager Marissa, kicked out for being bi; and Sam and Brad, a May-September couple who would never have gotten together without a little magic of their own.













Damage Control


by Kate McMurray 

Senate candidate Parker Livingston chose his political dreams over a future with the man he loved. He lives with constant regret about not having Jackson Kane in his life. Or his bed. And when a strange woman is found murdered in Parker’s apartment, Jackson is the only person Parker trusts to help clear his name.

Jackson never forgave Parker for the way their relationship ended. He moved on, built a name for himself as a criminal defense attorney and swore he’d never let heartbreak back in. But when Parker shows up on his doorstep, wild-eyed and handsome and desperate for his help, Jackson can’t say no. Parker is a lot of things, but he’s no murderer.

Forced back together, searching for answers, their attraction returns with a vengeance. Any distraction—personal or professional—could be deadly. The murderer is still at large, and he’s made it clear one of them is his next victim.


Available June 19, 2018!



Under a Blue Moon,

by Bru Baker


A Camp H.O.W.L. Novel

Once in a blue moon, opposites find they’re a perfect match.

Nick Perry is tired of helping people with their marriages, so when a spot opens up to work with teens at Camp H.O.W.L., he jumps at it. He doesn’t expect to fall in lust with the dreamy new camp doctor, Drew Welch. But Drew is human, and Nick has seen secrets ruin too many relationships to think that a human/werewolf romance can go anywhere.

Happy-go-lucky Drew may not sprout claws, but he’s been part of the Were community all his life. He has no trouble fitting in at the camp—except for Nick’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the growing attraction between them and his ridiculous stance on dating humans. Fate intervenes when one of his private practice patients threatens Drew’s life. Will the close call help Nick to see a connection like theirs isn’t something to let go of?


Release date: June 19

On Presale at DSP 


Incubus Adored

by Ki Brightly

 Peirs had accepted his life of servitude to an angel. His keeper asked only for a willing body, and in exchange his needs were met and he was fed and clothed. Peirs might have served the angel forever—it was the only life he knew—but one day Peirs discovered something he had no way to plan for. After two millennia, he was pregnant. Peirs now must summon the courage to escape his master and the unbendable divine law that declared no half-breeds should live, but running into an angelic soldier in the back room of a bar wasn’t part of his plan.

After years of begging to go to the battlefields on Earth, Tabbis, the youngest angel in Heaven, finally got his assignment. Ready for heroics and bloodshed, he was stunned when he found enchanting and seductive Peirs instead. Tabbis was duty bound to kill Peirs, but Peirs’s very existence challenged everything Tabbis thought he knew.

Tabbis needs answers. Peirs wants nothing more than to save his baby and live in peace. Can they band together to help each other? Or will the wrath of Heaven tear them apart?



Mystic Man

by E.J. Russell


When a series of personal crises prompt risk-averse research librarian Aaron Templeton to apply for a job on the other side of the country, nobody is more surprised than he is. He nearly runs home before the final interview except for one little problem: he has no home anymore. He put his condo on the market before he left California and it’s already sold. Only an encounter with free-spirited Connecticut native Cody Brown at the Mystic Seaport Museum staves off Aaron’s incipient panic attack.

Cody loves nothing better than introducing newcomers to the great features of his beloved home state, and when the newbie in question is a rumpled professorial type with the saddest blue eyes on the planet? Score! The attraction between the two men deepens as they explore Cody’s favorite spots, but when difficulties arise and Aaron’s insecurities threaten to overwhelm him, will Cody’s love be enough to keep him in Mystic?


Buy at Dreamspinner



Redesigning Max

by Pat Henshaw

A Foothills Pride Story

Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.

When Max comes on to Fredi, the designer can't imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max's dilapidated cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?

Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out is the most exciting and wonderful time in his life, despite the conservative former friends who think they’re saving him from sliding into hell.



Love Aggression

by Cindy Sutherland



Tyler Calvano knew his ex-wife’s boyfriend was bad news from the way the little hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, from a smell of danger, from an animal instinct his ex had once appreciated. He wished she’d listened to him. Custody exchanges were hard enough on Jesse, now Ty had to wonder—did Jesse have enough wolf bursting inside him yet to have heard his mother’s pleas as she was gunned down? He couldn’t trust the police to protect them. He took Jesse and he fled across the continent, as far as he could go.

Ty and Jesse became Tanner and Jason—different names, different lives. The nightmares still woke Jesse. Ty kept looking over his shoulder. The only spot of light was a man at the daycare, Kelan, a shifter like Ty—a wolf in human guise, ready to change, ready to protect. The daycare was safe. But another shifter was something Ty hadn’t counted on. With it came the complications of pack rivalries, of shifter brothers who tormented Kelan, of the unreasoned animal want that grew every time Ty caught scent of him.And every day, the killers kept looking for them, the only people who might identify them. Ty couldn’t take risks. Ty couldn’t open his heart. Ty had to keep Jesse safe. Nothing else mattered.

Buy at Amazon 




Home Skillet

by Cate Ashwood

Sometimes the only way to move forward… is to go back.
JAMES

I don't know what's more shocking—the sudden end to my marriage, or the fact that I'd married a woman at all. But now I'm broke and homeless, kicked out of my Upper West Side apartment while my ex-wife walks away with everything we've ever worked for.

So what's an executive chef stripped of his dignity gonna do?

Go back to Jersey with his tail between his legs, that's what.

BEN

I can’t say that spending a decade pining after my best friend was the best use of my time. While I'd pretty much become an expert at the whole unrequited love thing, I'd resigned myself to the fact that Jimmy and I were never gonna happen. But when Jimmy turned up on my doorstep in his hour of need, I jumped at the chance to offer him my bed—er, couch. I mean, what are friends for, right?

Now that he's released from the shackles of matrimony, I can't wait to show him exactly what he's been missing out on all these years.

What I didn't anticipate was him showing me that maybe I'd been missing out too.

Buy at Amazon




The Necromancer's Reckoning, 
The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3

By SJ Himes

Every action has consequences.

For a decade, Angel Salvatore has been the most powerful sorcerer and only necromancer in all the Northeast. Never one to ask permission nor apologies, he has acted with near impunity for years.

Until now.

The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and Angel is their target. Charged with numerous violations of practitioner laws, his freedom and family are placed in jeopardy.

If found guilty, Angel's apprentice Daniel will be imprisoned to serve out the remaining years of his apprenticeship. Isaac, his brother, is too vulnerable to be left unguarded, and Angel fears for his sanity and health. And Simeon, Elder vampire and Angel's mate refuses to see Angel convicted under the laws of the Council and his actions to keep Angel free threaten to start a war that could destroy their world. And Angel faces the severest of punishments—the castration of his gifts.

The Council has never cared for the people of Boston, and Angel doubts their motives. They have come for some insidious reason, and it has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with Angel.

Dealing with an impending trial, a wayward ghost, and a graverobbing ring of thieves leaves Angel on the edge. He thinks he may have a handle on things until violence erupts across the city, and a stranger comes to town...a stranger with his own dark powers of necromancy.





Night of the Living Manny




by Julia Talbot


Something besides love is growing….

Manny Brenden Torrance is good at his job. He's dealt with all sorts of children and parents, but he's never met anyone as intriguing as Liam Whitehouse. Liam is a scientist with three kids, whose job is keeping him away from home more and more. That's where Brenden steps in to help.

Liam has secrets, though. He's working on a project for a pharmaceutical lab that could change disease management. Or destroy it. While he and Brenden start a romance they both want to continue, things at Liam's job come to a head, and suddenly the whole family of Dad, manny, three kids, and a big drooly dog is on the run from the one thing that might keep Brenden and Liam apart. And infect the world.


Available June 5th from DSP

Refraction
A Collaborations Novel

by Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga


Texas artist Tucker Williams arrives in New York City for a gallery showing of his work and finds the city blanketed in snow. He meets free-spirited underwear model Calvin McIntire on the steps of the Midtown library and is captivated by a wild beauty that manages to compete with the demons that occupy his soul and fuel his work with their lust for blood and erotic imagery.

Unable to deny a new inspiration, Tucker sublets a studio and finds the city’s energy almost as addictive as Calvin.

Tucker is obsessive, barely holding on to sanity as his art consumes him, and Calvin is dealing with demons of his own, trying desperately to protect his soul in a business where only his appearance has value. They each prove to be the perfect remedy for the other’s personal brand of crazy until, in the midst of stress and exhaustion, they discover that a promise Calvin needs is the one thing Tucker can’t give him, and their heaven turns to purgatory.

Can both men find a path toward wholeness in Tucker’s beautiful but chaotic Texas home? In order for them—and their passionate relationship—to thrive, they’ll need to adapt, share their psychoses, and find a true balance between New York City and rural Texas.

Available June 12 from DSP



Learn with Me

 by Kris Jacen


Josiah “Siah” Kent has always loved learning; now he’s living his dream of teaching children to love it too. After getting his degrees in New Orleans, he accepted a teaching position outside of Washington DC. What a better place to be able to teach and continue learning?

Sergeant Carter May joined the Army right out of high school. He’s always struggled to succeed in school but has found a place in the military but has dreamed of getting a college degree—he’d be the first in his family if he did. Being stationed with the Presidential Firing Battery at Arlington National Cemetery will give him the opportunity to take the chance, but will he risk failing?

A chance meeting years ago in New Orleans, had sparks flying between Siah and Carter. Another chance encounter between the ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, blow those sparks into a full flame. Can Siah and Carter find some common ground to learn more about each other and a possible future together?

Buy at Amazon


 A Fool and His Manny

by Amy Lane

The Mannies

Seeing the truth and falling in love.

Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan's friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.

At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he's never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

Available for Presale at DSP

Stand by Your Manny

by Amy Lane


The Mannies


Learning to trust and falling in love.

Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.

Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?