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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Busy

Okay-- so busy.

Friday: Trip to the Crocker Art Museum as a chaperone--and hey, don't think I didn't almost get drafted as an Art Docent for the Crocker, because I shit you not, our actual docent offered Squish a job in jest, and then turned around and asked me why I hadn't volunteered yet because I really should. The kids were like, "She's OUR Art Docent at school!" and the volunteer said, "Well, she should be one here!"

Highly Satisfying.

We wrapped up the day going to Chili's, as we do a lot. Fun fact-- mentioned this on Twitter and had a few Tweet discussion with the corporate Chili Avatar-- told them good job, we go all the time, and to say nice things to our home store. And no-- I don't think we'll get a free ap from that. But I should!

Saturday: Squish had soccer-- my parents came to watch. Squish won. WOOT! Honestly, I was sort of sick on Saturday and mostly recovering today, so making it through soccer was pretty much my big accomplishment.  Anyway. Saturday evening Mate took the kids to a professional indoor game. Lucky them. I got to stay home. Lucky me.

Sunday: ZB had soccer. They didn't bring it. The it that they needed to win was not brought. It should be brought. It is not something the mom's can bring. It is in fact a strictly PLAYER thing to bring. Next season, it, whatever it is, needs to be brought. Mate would like it very much if they brought it. All I'm saying.

Afterwards we went to the King's Season Holder Member Party. Fun, games, really tall guys and photo ops. And seriously-- the world's worst pretzels.

Fun story-- Mate decided he was going to take the kids somewhere and leave me with the remains of the free pretzels, juice bars, and potato chips that were provided as part of the "Party".  The pretzel was not... yummy. I did not finish it. The kids left and I decided to eat a juice bar. It also was not yummy. In fact, it was less than yummy. I texted Mate: If I told you that the juice bars were worse than the pretzels would you let me ditch the food and come with you?  He came down with the kids then, to prove to me that the juice bars were worth my self sacrifice. He took one bite and said, "You know, I was going to say it doesn't taste that bad, but now I'm feeling sort of sick."

Which was great. We could throw them away in good conscience and get on with our thing.

Also fun story.

We were walking up the parking lot and someone said, "Amy?"

An old teacher friend was there with her family-- we spent ten minutes talking in amped 78 rpm on a 38 rpm turntable speed, and then she had to go run back to her car. It was GREAT talking to her-- even for a little bit. The last thing she said as we split up was, (and she was hollering across the parking lot) "Amy! I read Candy Man! I loved it!"

I need to remember I had some really good friends teaching-- it was lovely to see her.

And that being said, I have some items on the agenda:

*  Kermit Flail Monday-- may or may not happen on March 7th. It may be postponed to the 14th, because I will be out of town. Either way please send me stuff for Kermit Flail over this next week. I need to know what I'll have!

*  I'll be at the DSP conference this next weekend--ficlet Friday may not happen either.  Forgive me.

* I'll be at the DsP conference in Orlando this weekend. I shall have no transportation, but I can always wave at you fiercely from the Gaylord Palms Hotel.

*  Phonebook the free story available at DSP is also available at amazon.com for a dollar on March 9th.  The sister story, Shirt, will be available in May.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Scorched Haven-- Part Two

Okay-- the trip to the museum was a success, and there will be pictures tomorrow :-)

And I have good news! The Green's Hill Werewolves are moving to DSPP. This is very generous of them-- and I'll be so happy to have all of The Little Goddess at home with my DSP family. So yay!

And in the meantime, it's Ficlet Weekend (Or Fanfic Friday, but on a Saturday and Sunday, you know, for alliteration) and away we go!

Oh-- a note on "Lipsky". A long time ago when Rhys Ford read Racing for the Sun, she said, "Where in the fuck is Victoriana?  I didn't know there was anything but fucking desert east of Santee."

I said, "Victoriana is in Racing for the Sun. That book is the only place in the world you will ever find anything but fucking desert east of Santee." Thus it is with Lipsky and this story.

*  *  *

Someone was wandering into the cabin.

Zeb woke up, still in his wolf form, when he heard the voices.

"Dude-- you're sure no one's up here?"

"Naw, man. My grandpa died two years ago-- no one's used this place since."

A rough guffaw. "Someone's used this place."

"Oh, gross! Seriously! If you're going to get laid, maybe take your rubber with you!"

The floorboards creaked and the voices assumed a sudden intimacy. "Why use rubbers, dude?"

The smack that rejoined this remark was surprisingly satisfying. "Because STD's, moron. When I put out, there had better be rubbers involved."

Oh. Oh dear-- Zeb was apparently underfoot a romantic rendezvous of the two-peened kind. Well, at least one of them had a modicum of sense--because young people? Not always carriers of that particular disease. Zeb was living furry proof.

"Are you saying I'm an AID's baby? Fuck you, man!"

"Aw, Jesus Denny-- don't be a douche. I'm saying safety first."

"Yeah, well, whatsa matter, Colton--you afraid of getting knocked up and stuck here?"

"Well, not knocked up," Colton muttered. "I'm just saying--I thought, you know. Making out in my grandpa's old fishing shack should maybe not change our lives!"

"So, I'm forgettable? Geez, thanks a lot!"

"No! I'm not saying that--c'mere."  Colton's voice sank to a cajoling tone, and Zeb thought No, Colton, don't do it. He just wants to get you to give in so he can fuck you and leave you and not have to feel like a jerk because he forgot rubbers and lube!  Well, some of Zeb's first sexual experiences hadn't been... pleasant. And Colton sounded like a smart kid.

"No, man," Denny sulked. "Cause what? You give me a blow job like always, and don't put out, and then you're on the first train outta Lipsky? And it'll be okay with you, right? Cause nothing 'life changing' happened here, and I'll just be some guy in your rearview."

"No!" Colton said, legitimately hurt. "I, you know, thought we could bail together."

Nope, Colton-- this kid's got small town myopia. Wherever the hell "Lipsky" is, he's sure it's the epicenter of the universe quake. 

"Man, you know that ain't happening. Junkyard'll never allow it!"

"Well who in the hell is Junkyard and why does he suddenly get a say in our lives?"

Suddenly Denny's voice sank, because uncertain and quavery--a child who had been disappointed in his elders. Reluctantly, Zeb felt some sympathy. "It's... I mean, unless you go to one of Junkyard's meetings, you don't get it. I mean, it's not fair, but... but we just need to listen to him, that's all."

There was some squeaking overhead, and the voices grew closer together. Suddenly Zeb got the sense that these two boys had known each other for a very long time. In that moment, Denny wasn't the villain and Colton wasn't the hero-- they were just... boys. Boys trying hard to deal with life in a nowhere town somewhere to the west of the Grapevine in the Tehachapi Mountains.

"Denny... come on. He's a guy. He's sort of the bully who ran the junkyard, right up until last Christmas. Why should that change? Why's he suddenly got hold of us like this. We should be able to come and go as we please, right? I mean, we're twenty years old! Why's he get to say whether we get to go to college or not?"

"Because he just does."  Denny's voice had the hint of tears. "And now I can't leave this place, ever. And you're planning to leave me!"

"Denny!"

Zeb smelled it then. Oh, man-- he hadn't smelled it before. Maybe because his own blood scent had been so strong, and maybe because he'd needed to recover, but he smelled it now.

There was something wrong with Denny's scent.

It was werewolf--definitely werewolf--with a little bit of ick thrown in. Oh. Oh man--this is what those wolves had smelled like last winter. Including the one who'd gotten his heart ripped out and who'd carried his switchblade in a plastic bag up his ass. 

Zeb hauled himself up to his feet and slunk to the edge of the porch, looking around. Had these kids come alone?

He smelled exhaust and cocked his head.  Car-- old Nissan sedan--a college student's car.

"Denny? What are you doing? Man, that looks painful... oh my God!"

Of course. Denny wanted to keep Colton with him-- what better way than to give him the eternally furry clap? Not the act of a sane man, but then, those boys who'd shown up from SoCal and threatened Green's Hill hadn't been sane.

Zeb didn't have time to think--he should have thought, because what he was about to do might kill him, but he'd gotten invested in the characters of the little peep show in the fishing shack. Denny loved Colton in that wholly selfish way that young men had. Colton wanted to raise them both up, but Denny would rather drag Colton down. Except this was scary, it was for real, and it was irrevocable, and if someone had been there to rescue Zeb from his first shot of heroin, he would be forever grateful now.

He woofed.

Colton's voice inside the cabin rose to a frightened shriek. "Denny!"

Zeb heard the rattle of claws on the floor of the fishing shack, heading for the door and knew Denny had taken the bait.

Balls out, no holds barred, Zeb started running.

*  *  *
As tired as he was, he was also full grown. And smarter. And he knew how to use water and he knew how to think through a problem.

He escaped hot pursuit by jumping in the lake, swimming to an inlet, and running back around to the service road the kids had used to find the fishing shack.  He stopped for a rabbit then, because starving, but after that it was just a matter of following his nose to the car by the shack.  

And, huddling on the porch, peering into the falling darkness, he found Colton.

"De--Denny?"

Well, hell. Zeb got a little closer so the kid wouldn't have the dark as an excuse, and changed.

"Oh my God!"

"Kid, look-- don't be so loud. I think he swam by  me in the lake and hopefully has another six miles to go, but that guy was going to bite you and we don't have much time!"

"You're naked."

Zeb gaped for a moment. "That's what you're worried about?"

The kid's jaw snapped shut, and Zeb got a chance to actually see him. Not a bad looking kid--about 5'7", powerfully built. Not a waif like the conversation had implied. In fact, he probably weighed more in sheer muscle than Zeb, who had a few more inches on him. Zeb had an impression of dark hair and dark eyes in tanned skin, and, well... a stunningly male handsomeness to him.

Zeb hadn't expected that. This kid was fully blown hot, and, well, surprise!

"What-- where's Denny?" The kid's jaw trembled. "Did you... did you eat him?"

Zeb curled his lip and wrinkled his nose, knowing the gesture was more wolf than human. "No. I just... eluded him. But it won't last for long! Who's car is that?"

"Mine," Colton replied, and Zeb shook his head.

"Then what in the hell are you still doing here?"

"My parents won't let me go away to school-- they think it's too dangerous."   This said with big, guileless eyes and a vulnerable quiver to his full lower lip.

Zeb couldn't hardly stand it. "Kid, you are killing me."

Colton seemed to pull himself back to where he was supposed to be. "Denny is my friend-- I mean... I can't just leave him!"

Oh hell. "Look, Colton? He's... he's sick. I mean, the kind of werewolf he is. There's something wrong with them. I..."  He grimaced. "The blood on my shirt? Most of it's mine--because there was a werewolf running through the brush shooting at me with a rifle-- how's that make sense?"

Colton gaped. "I don't understand."

Off in the distance Zeb heard it--the bay of a wolf who had just caught his scent.  Fuck.

"Kid--look. Do you have a gun?"

"No!"

"Good--so you can either hop in the car and take me to fucking Bakersfield, or I can throw you over my shoulder, lock you in the trunk and drop you off when we get there."  Way to go, Zeb! Scare the kid to death!

"Why Bakersfield? Is that where you live?"

"No-- but that's the outer edge of the turf war you just got involved in. What's it gonna be?"  Denny bayed again, and fuck if that kid wasn't making time.  Zeb knew his werewolf strength and speed, and he had some control after three years as a wolf. While using wolf-speed to zoom closer to the building, he closed his eyes and fixed turned only his claw. With a swipe of his paw he took out the railing of the fishing shack porch and then looked at the kid, knowing his eyes flashed gold.

"I don't want to steal your car, kid," he growled. "And I really don't want that fucker to bite you--but either way, I've got to get back to my turf and warn people that shit's about to get real."

Colton's eyes grew huge, and he unconsciously wet his lips. "Bakersfield?" he asked, voice high. "Is that as far as I can go?"

"What?"

"Wherever you're going--take me. Or I"ll take you. I'll get out, right now--just say I can tag along."

Zeb almost laughed. "You make that call when we get there," he said urgently. "But right now?"

Colton was nodding when Zeb heard another wolf bay, this one from slightly further away. Oh fuck.

"Kid, fucking move!"

They were in the Nissan, speeding up the trail when Zeb looked behind him and saw four wolves breaking into the clearing with the shack.  All four of them sniffed the air, probably smelling Zeb and Colton in the car, and howled, and Zeb's heart threatened to throttle him with the pounding in fear.

"Faster," he whispered. "Faster, kid, faster..."

Colton didn't respond, but the car jolted ahead and gave a slight fishtail. Zeb heard something bump on a divot in the road and he wondered if they were going to have to steal a car on the way back across the fucking state.

And then all he could focus on was relief as they hit actual road and sped away at faster-than-werewolf speed.




Thursday, February 25, 2016

When you run out of words...

Knit!

Seriously--

All of my stresses at the moment feel sort of private--or things of which I must speak at length, and I have no time. All of my happies are small.  Maybe just small enough to list...

*  I finished this pair of fingerless mitts. They probably need blocking, but right now, they're perfect. They're long enough to feel like an ultra long sweater over my wrists and hands, and they fold down to the perfect length to type. I'm debating whether to put a thumb in--and I can tell you are riveted.  Moving on.

*  I finished the first edit of the first half of Rampant. This is a big deal--editing Bound was a horrible painful experience. This was much easier, and while I'm sure the editing team is getting the full mid-round workup from their trainer telling them to get back in the ring they can beat this thing, I'm feeling like this was a walk in the park. I am much relieved and very grateful to the editing team for their efforts.

*  I was designing swag today and Squishy came to look over my shoulder. "Oh. My. God. It's a bag. Good lord, you're designing a bag. Because God knows we don't have enough bags."  Then she smiled brightly at me and gave me a hug and a kiss. Because being that sarcastic SHOULD come easily to one so young.

* Tomorrow I'm helping to chaperone Squish's class at the Crocker Art Museum-- which makes me feel much better about not taking my kids there last week. I am much excited.

*  Big T and I talk at length in the mornings. One of the things he has always wanted to be is funny. This morning, he threw away a one liner that made me spit out my coffee. To some of us who are glib and easy with words, this is nothing of note, but for Big T? Words have been his enemies more often than not. When he gets to ride their backs with a whip and say, "Mine, bitches!"? That's a moment of exquisite triumph right there.

* My stepmom's nephew is going into teaching school. I'm so proud of him--awesome kid. (Okay, almost thirty, but still a kid to me!)

And I'll stop there! Night all! I may be tweeting from the museum-- I'm excited!

Amy out ;-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Thing

So I am knitting--like I do.

I am mak


ing a thing. It's one of my favorite things to make, and I use variations on the theme almost every time I make it.

It's a pair of fingerless gloves.

It was originally a sock--but I screwed up.  I mean, socks-- I've made a zillion of them. Over a hundred pairs if you count baby socks, I'm pretty sure.  And I screwed up on  a sock. *headdesk*  So I turned it into a thing.

Now here's the, uh, thing, about this thing.

I originally planned to give this thing away.

I have so many people who ask me for things, and so many of them live far away, where there is actually snow. I should really give them away.

*strokes absently* Yes, precious... I should really give them away... I wants them, precious--I don't care if I've lost one or both of every pair I've made for myself until this moment! It doesn't matter! They are perfect and I love them and they will be mine!

Yessssssss, precious. Miiiiiiinnnnnnne...

And in actual news-- no dance tonight. Zoomboy went to a basketball with Mate, and I've been engaged in texting discussions with my extended family that are beyond depressing. Writing and knitting make up my happy, and, alas, they don't make for riveting conversation. I have taken on a quest for Chicken though. She wants a Star Trek/X-Files/ Star Wars bag-- not all in the same, but, I think, something awesome from at least one of them.  To that end, if anyone knows of any good sites where I can find a chart (particularly for the X-Files, I think) I would love to try a felting project of this sort. A bold, unmistakable logo and some dish detergent, and I'm ready to go!

But first?

I need to finish the story I'm working for.

And of course, the thing....

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Shh... be vewy vewy quiet... I'm hunting typwos...

So, I'm doing the edits for Rampant at the moment. They're going fairly well, but I also have a deadline coming up in March, and in a week, I'm headed to Florida for the DSP event. Oh! And trying to figure out swag and my RT schedule so I can have s hit ordered when I get back.

And I'm chaperoning Squish's field trip on Friday.


So... a wee bit busy, eh?

Anyway--

Today was one of those hyper productive days at work that don't lend themselves to blogging. I DID take a number of meaningless domestic photos, so I'm going to put them up with adorable captions, and run away to edit, type, and maybe knit...

I didn't say I was a noble creature, just that I work a lot!

So-- This is Squish on a bright February day. See that hair? I didn't have my glasses on and I spotted her from fifty yards away. THAT is some special hair right there.


And to our right, we have Bowling for Turkeys! Geoffie wanted to play this game so bad, but I kept her on the leash anyway. Dudes. She's a small dog and not that bright. The turkeys would have won.

And here we have two psychos in a craft store--or, alternatively titled, how the kids found mom's deepest darkest psychosis in Michael's. I won't sleep well for weeks!

To the right, we've got Geoffie, who is sad because she's locked outside. Except she's not. The door is wide open. I don't know why she's sad, but I may have mentioned her teeny tiny brain.

And here is Geoffie again, sleeping with her head in the least comfortable place ever. This could explain the teeny tiny brain--or maybe it's just another side effect. I guess since she's a teeny-tiny dog, I shall have to do her thinking for her.

And to the left, we've got the fam, since they haven't been in too many pictures as of late. Notice Squish's attempts to fend off the paparazzi, and ZoomBoy working on that insanity plea. Also notice Chicken's cat, who has decided he wants to be part of the family again. *evil laughter*

Little does he know, he has a vet's appointment scheduled the week after I get back from Florida. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.. That'll teach the cat to lick Mate's head while I'm sitting right there.

And I'm running away now to work... *smishes* Amy out!









A Rogue With a Brogue

I love this book title-- isn't it delicious? Just for fun I looked it up and it's by Suzanne Enoch-- a Scottish Highland Romance, and it looks wonderful.

But that's not why I mention it. (Although there you go, Suzanne, a free plug, via the nice lady at my gym.)

See, I was at aqua classes--plump middle-aged to elderly women getting breathless in the pool. Yeah, there is no way to make it sound sexy, but an interesting comradeship happens there.  People talk about what they assume to be neutral topics--remodeling houses, cars that break down, medical bills, pets, husbands, children... because, see, you never know who's going to be in that pool.  They could be incredibly liberal or they could be incredibly conservative.  The other day I was talking about my books and a woman looked a little sheepish. "I don't read gay romance, mostly because I've, uh, seen, a lot of, well, kinds of romance up close in personal. You know. At Burning Man."

So, you never know who's been in orgies at Burning Man, either. It's a crapshoot.

But I always tell people what I write if it comes up. (Sometimes if it doesn't. Seriously, they get to talk about their subjects, sometimes I just want to talk about mine. Sue me.) So far, if anybody's been offended, they were so offended by my complete and total lack of shame that they haven't said a thing. Which is fine, because if what I write freaks them out, nothing else I say is going to make them like me--and I feel free to cast similar judgments. The woman who loathed animated features and thought Tangled was boring, for instance? That's all she needed to tell me. After that, she and I had nothing in common and would never be friends. (Okay--it's okay if you don't like Tangled--but if you hate the entire medium? No. We're through. We have nothing to talk about.)

So anyway, today, a sweet woman caught me as we were getting dressed after the shower. (No, don't try to picture it, you'll just break your brain and need to boil your inner eye in ammonia and bleach. As far as you're concerned it's all floating heads until we clear the door into the gym, and then it's a terrifying number of really built gym bunny guys who make me want to tear ass out of there because DUDE I have no busy hauling my fat ass between them and the mirrors.)

Anyway, this woman said she was reading a book called A Rogue With a Brogue, and--her words--the title was so delicious she wanted to share. But her friends on FaceBook all read highbrow stuff, and she kept her dirty romance secret to herself. But she'd heard me talking about writing romance and she thought she could share with me.

I agree--it's a delicious title. It looks like a marvelous book. Suzanne Enoch has some loyal fans and some lovely covers and I hope she's kicking ass and taking names.

But her poor fan.  Stuck telling idiots who babble at the hot tub about her favorite flavor of book (that's me I'm referring to--I'm the idiot.) She was smart, charming, and beautiful. A lovely smile and an infectious laugh and she sort of lit up when she was talking about this guilty pleasure.

And my heart broke a little for her.  I mean, I've been her. Nobody in my staff room at work read what I read--at the time, it was urban fantasy and PNR. My friends read my books because they were kind--but they had to answer the gauntlet about how trashy they must be. I mean, how good could they be? They were trashy vampire romance, and God knows, Amy wrote them. As far as the guys were concerned, they could be shit.  I remember, one of my best friends in the staff room pulling me aside after I'd announced on the blog that I'd be posting the Jack and Teague shorts. "Gay werewolf romance?" he asked, in the same tone someone might reserve for, "Amateur BBW porn?"

"I like it," I remember saying. "The guys can be equal. The dynamic is really strong." (At least I hope that's what I said--Jebus, Jack and Teague were like, 2008. I mean, eight years--that's plenty of time to turn groveling me into strong woman me, that's only truth.)

I remember thinking it anyway. I remember having to defend what I was writing--to a group of guys who thought anything I was writing was trash because it was genre fiction.

There is such a bias against genre fiction. (And women, but that's another post.)

It's not fair. Genre fiction is popular because people need reassurance that something they read is going to end the way they need it to.  If they read horror, they can expect gory deaths and not to get attached to any characters. If they read romance, mostly they can expect a happy ending.  Or at least an ending in which the couple's efforts to get together matter, and it's proved that the individual efforts towards happiness are important against the grand scope of the world.

People love the calm hand on their shoulder that comes with genre expectations--but that doesn't make genre fiction crap. It doesn't stop genre fiction from enlarging vocabulary, enlarging world view, informing the reader on various topics and introducing themes that transcend any one genre and are present in all genres and literary fiction as a whole. Well written romance has prose that rivals what can be found in literary fiction and definitely transcends what's often found in autobiography and biography, and, like Wordsworth and Coleridge and Hawthorn and Poe all strove to do, genre fiction, romance in particular, strives to move the reader emotionally, make them feel and empathize for their fellow human beings, in what is becoming a rarer and rarer skill these days, and something that I believe we should always practice.

I've said these things before. "Romance is Important" is one of my favorite battle cries, and I'm sure folks who have followed this blog for a while are sick of it. "Yeah, yeah, romance is important, genre fiction doesn't suck, highbrow critics do, c'mon, Amy, when are you going to get another schtick?"

Well, probably never, I'm afraid. My son loves to try out highbrow fiction-- Big T, the one with the communication difficulties. He was telling me this morning that he tried to read Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and it was hard, so he used one of his monthly Audible credits to buy the book, and he finally read a Google article that told him to just sit back and let it wash over him, which was how he viewed artistic cinema and he'd found that worked.

And in the course of the following discussion, I was reminded--again--of how many people in this world actually read for pleasure. And of those numbers, how many actually read literary fiction.  And of those numbers, how many would bother to read the book, listen to the book, and then read the critical theory on the book as they were slogging their way through it.

The answer was... very few would do what my learning impaired son did in order to find the secret key to unlock the literary holy grail.

But very, very very many would pick up a piece of genre fiction to pass the time.

So, while highbrow literary fiction has it's place--and it's a very good place and I'm not going to argue that--we need to acknowledge what genre fiction can do as well. If a thousand people pick up a book, that book might change a hundred lives. If fifty thousand people pick up a book, that book has changed a (very) small town.  As the attitudes of society change about things like LGBTQ rights and social diversity, it is the genre fiction writers who are going to pass those ideas on. Of course other writers--literary fiction writers--have been talking about those things for years, but the genre fiction writers have heard.

And written with their own voices to add to the roar.

If an edict on social responsibility is printed on a computer, and 9/10ths of the country doesn't own a computer, does it make a sound?

But if a heroine in a popular genre fiction book makes the same discovery, and 100,000 print copies are sold, can you hear that song now?

If a hundred heroines in a hundred genre fiction books are singing to change hearts and minds, is that song taking shape and form?

Genre fiction has it's place-- and it shouldn't be a place of shame. It shouldn't be something you have to hide from your friends or your colleagues. You shouldn't have to wait to tell a stranger about a book as delicious as A Rogue with a Brogue. 

I don't have a solution here--this is well covered territory. I think it's maybe like coming out in all things--it just takes many instances of small acts of bravery. Telling a stranger, then telling a friend. Then telling a group of friends. Then standing up and not apologizing. "I read romance--and I'm proud."

Sounds silly, right? But it's not. It's literally the proclamation that you won't let anyone else influence how you think and what you believe is important. It is, in fact, incredibly brave.

So maybe think about it that way. Telling friends about your reading material is incredibly brave. But the more people who tell their friends, the more romance heroines will be heard.  And those heroines have something important to say.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Exploding Kittens

Sort of a potpourri tonight-- here we go!

*  I opened my one box shipped from Coastal Magic and retrieved my box of Exploding Kittens.  I need to remember to have the kids give this game to my mom the next time they go. I believe much hilarity will ensue.

* The reason I opened the box was to give some of the books inside to my friend Sheela. She was grateful for the books, and rewarded me by a long sit down in front of the first episode of The Chronicles of Shanara. I'm officially hooked.

* I parried by trying to hook her on Lucifer. She's got it in her list of things to record. *taps fingertips together* Excellent. My friend corrupting plan is underway.

*  ZoomBoy is making DNA out of pipe cleaners and beads. He also likes to tell us that he manufactures DNA just by converting oxygen to CO2, but you know?  Given the amount of detritus that kid leaves behind, I think he's figured it out.

* Don't ask me how, but I ended up summarizing the plot of How to Raise an Honest Rabbit

for Squish today. I finally got to theI' first kiss and said, "But it got complicated after that."  To which she replied, "Yes, because it's not a fairy tale movie, where the princess does a thing, and then they kiss, and then it's all happy after that. In real life, relationships are harder."

I feel the need to reiterate that she's nine, but will be ten in April. I'm not sure why, I just felt it would need restating.

*While at Sheela's house, we kicked the kids outside to run in circles out on the front lawn. Okay-- that's not officially what happened. They said, "Can we go outside and play!" and given that it was a balmy February day, we said yes, and then we saw that Sheela's dog was gazing out the window, her head moving back and forth, like she was watching a tennis match. We paused Shanara for a minute and looked out to see what they were doing.

They were running in circles--a big circle, one kid in the lead, the other three following her. We don't know why they were doing that, but since it mades the odds of them sleeping tonight much better, we let them carry on. I mean, the dog was watching them--win/win, right?

* I'm going to just put it out there that the re-release of Phonebook is available for presale free at DSPand ARe--and for $.99 at amazon-  so, you know, whatever floats your boat!

*  And other than that, I did some ordering for RT today, and am getting ready to go to Orlando at the beginning of March. So, uhm. busy!

* The kids are going back to school tomorrow, where the little buggers belong. That being said, they got two whole nights at grandma's including a trip to Coloma, a trip to Old Sac, and a chance to go play with friends. I'll say their mini-vacay was well spent. And now it's my turn to spend my time the way I need to!

If you need me, I'll be writing!

Scorched Haven

So, I'm in the middle of editing Rampant, and the editor-- who has not read The Green's Hill Werewolves, says, "Who are Jack and Teague, and why don't you have any backstory?" Well, she doesn't have any backstory because of publishing difficulties with a pub NOT DSP, but that gets me thinking. A long time ago I had a couple of Green's Hill Universe shorts I really wanted to write--but time and queue are often merciless, and I wasn't able to get to them.  I may get to one of them closer to Quickening, but I thought that since my "ficlet" or fanfic day was for ME and my completely decompression writing, I would maybe work on this story here. That way, if I get a little tired of it, I can skip it and do some SuperBat or something else for a while, and then come back.

Note though-- I'm pretty sure I haven't written anything that says Zeb can't exist. If I have-- and it's been a while!--then consider this out-of-canon fan-fiction of my own work. If I haven't, and he's free and clear to exist, well, it's a ficlet. I might even use it in the future.

So enjoy!

*  *  *

 Running.

Running until his chest would burst.

God, leaving his car was a fucking mistake.

Hell, coming down here was a fucking mistake--and he'd volunteered for the mission!

Oh, holy Goddess, he wish he'd listened to his Alpha. Teague Sullivan had been worried, Lady Cory had been worried--even the elves worried about him coming down here, and those people always seemed like the petty needs of humans, weres and vamps were so far below them.

But noooooo... Zeb Crandall, fresh on the gay-train, were-rehabilitated junkie, was going to go prove he was a man and try to get to the bottom of the were problem in Southern California.

Hey, Teague-- it'll be no problem. I'll go down, play at Disneyland, sniff around a little. I mean, you guys just got back from that sitch in Redding and fucking Monterey. And we all know she's going to be rough to deal with.  

Teague nodded soberly. Lady Cory, Queen of the Fey and Undead-- and mother to be. She was not going to take that information well. Zeb liked being the werewolf nobody knew. He was Spear Carrier Number 3 on the stage, and maybe a hero in his own two man (or werewolf) play someday. Zeb was just as glad that Teague Sullivan was the big dog in the were community who would take that that hit as her friend.  

"Go ahead," Teague said guardedly. "I'll clear it with Green. You're right. Even if you just get out of the car at the Grapevine, take a sniff around and come back. Southern California is a big space--I'd like to see if this Monterey thing is a fluke."


Be careful what you ask for. Teague sent him with an Avian named Richie Turner--who was a nice enough guy. Totally straight, and still buying the Avian party line that they couldn't sleep with a person and not bond. Zeb himself had his doubts, but he wasn't going to urge anybody to take the word of a chem/psych major who dropped out of school because of an inconvenient heroin problem.

And even if he and Richie had bonded, that would have sucked, and sucked huge, because Richie had been taken out in a restaurant on the Grapevine.

They hadn't even made it to Disneyland before some fucker had made them for out of territory, and Zeb's life had exploded.

He'd been gassing the car at a practically deserted 76 Station at a town on top of the Grapevine who's name Zeb did not know.  Richie-- who h ad kept up an amusing string of conversation all the way through the barren shithole that was I-5--had to take a leak, and Zeb waved him on.

"I'll get us some sodas!" he'd called. Richie had given him a brief salute for thanks and then disappeared into the bathroom.

Twenty minutes later, Zeb had gone to see if he was okay. Were creatures didn't usually get digestive problems--in fact, pretty much every time Zeb had shifted to his werwolf form, he'd had to take a huge dump, to get rid of whatever he'd eaten as a human. He'd decided to put off getting the sodas, which probably saved his life.

He'd walked into the bathroom and into a horror show. Richie lay dead--and dismembered on the floor.

A guy wearing a bloody clerk's uniform was gnawing on his arm. 

Zeb hadn't hung out to see if the murderer was partially changed into a demented werewolf, or maybe a rogue vampire, or even a fucking zombie or ghoul-- neither of which Zeb thought actually existed. He was too preoccupied with his own short-sightedness, and how grateful he was for interfering queens of the known universe.

Because for reasons unknown to him until this exact moment, all the were-creatures were required to put their cell phones and keys on a lanyard.

Had made absolutely no sense to him--he'd thought it was the most bullshit autocratic rule he'd ever heard of, but Lady Cory said so, and by God, did those people at the hill jump around that homely little college student like she was the virgin queen mother.  Zeb--good spear carrier on the right that he was--had complied with the letter of that fucking law.

But it wasn't until he was running through the wilds on top of the Tehachapi mountains, away from I-5, away from the godsforsaken 76 station in the nameless little fucking town that on top of the pass, that he realized he was looping that lanyard over his neck even as he changed.

Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck-- thank God and Goddess for cargo shorts with no belt, loafers with no socks, and a T-shirt that fit a wolf as well as a man.

He launched in to an all-out wolf-run, the reassuring thump-thump of his cellphone and keys against his chest the only thing that kept him from losing his fucking nerve.

He felt the gunshot before he heard it.

As the echo hit his ears, his backend wobbled, and his brain registered pain. God. Fuck. He was hit. It felt like his spine had been ripped off his hipbones, holy holy holy hell. 

Zeb kept running. He'd seen Teague Sullivan rip a wolf's throat out with his teeth once. The wolf had regenerated and gone back into the fight.

Teague had ripped the wolf's heart out with his bare, human hand then. The wolf had stayed down--but speculation in the common room that night had run that it was because the wolf was all the way to crazy and couldn't think of a reason to live.

Everybody in the common room claimed to have seen worse at some point in their lives, and Zeb was okay with that.

Right now, running and regenerating and running some more, he figured it was the only reason he was still breathing.

But his breathing was getting labored and a second gunshot--from farther away this time, he reckoned--had shed more of his blood.

He needed to go to ground, call someone at Green's, and get the fuck out of So-Cal right now. God-- what a clusterfuck.  And he so needed to call Teague and let him know that whatever the actual situation down here, there was no use sending ambassadors or scouts or even vampires.  If the threat was coming to NorCal-- like Teague and Cory had anticipated for over a year, then they needed to take it out when it got there, and let the rest of this shit alone.  Control over half the state was plenty when the bottom half tried to kill you dead just for gassing your car.

He was wobbly--and his mind was wandering.

Behind his closed eyes he could see the gas station clerk, and the more often he closed his eyes, he became convinced he'd seen a partial change to werewolf.  Poor Richie-- he'd been so excited about finding a girlfriend and getting married and getting laid.

Zeb didn't have the heart to tell him that sex wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Of course all of Zeb's sex had been quick and dirty one-offs, where neither person could look each other in the eye at the end until he'd met Adrian. Yeah, sex with Adrian had been life-shatteringly awesome, and once Adrian had pulled Zeb to the hill, Zeb had enjoyed the promiscuity that sort of "dogged" the unattached werewolves--and that had sort of rocked his world too. But Richie had been talking about the kind of sex that would last an extended lifetime, and Zeb? Zeb wasn't sure there was such a thing.

Now that Richie was dead and wouldn't get a chance to have any sex at all, Zeb, in his blood-loss wooziness and exhaustion, was starting to wonder if maybe he should find out before he tried to do his leaders a favor again.

It would be nice to think someone at the hill besides his captain and his queen would miss his mangy ass if he didn't get it back.

Think, asshole, think! There was a werewolf--or a lot of them after his ass. They could smell--and God did he stink!--and he would need to shake them.

He found a dip in the hillside and the corpse of a fallen tree, tucked in and closed his eyes, trying to come up with a plan.

He smelled water.

There wasn't a lot of it in the Tehachapi Mountains-- this must be an irrigation ditch leading down to one of the lakes.  But if he could maybe go drink from it...

He could. He could get some water, spread his blood smell all over stream bed and lose the bird-eating psycho with the gun.  He just needed some water, and some sleep, and maybe a rabbit-- yeah. A rabbit would be outstanding. But water first.

Sniffing carefully, he emerged from his  hiding place.  When he didn't smell cold steel or gas-- two scents that he'd registered on the enemy before he'd even changed--he slunk through the tall grasses that surrounded him and stayed down, heading for the smell of water.

It took him an hour. He could feel the time sweated out of under his fur, as he moved, one leg at a time, swearing every move was going to draw the headshot that would end even a werewolves life.  His first shotgun wound was completely healed by the time he found the steep-sided irrigation ditch, but his second one was completely oozing.  He needed that water, and as he lowered his head carefully, lower, lower, lower, he was pretty sure he'd die if he didn't just get a tongue full before he carried on.

Shoop!  

He slipped in, and thank God it was warm, because he dog-paddled and drank and allowed the terrifying current to carry him down the mountainside to the lake he knew was coming.

He didn't even try to swim against the current.  Zeb knew two things about himself. One was that he sucked at fighting the current. The other was he rocked at going with the flow. Third spear-carrier on the left, being carried away, sir.

HIs cell phone thumped against his chest in it's case, mocking him as he paddled.

Carried away from safety, carried away from his contact wit hhis hill.

Third spear-carrier on the left, exit stage irrigation ditch down the mountain.

Shit.

*  *  *

The water ride ended eventually.  There was a moment of darkness, of being underground, of paddling with his nose being the only part of his body not submerged.

Then he was all submerged, and just when he was wondering if his lungs would regenerate, he popped out into the lake like a big furry cork, where he dragged himself to shore.  He lay, panting for a moment, wondering if his pursuer would have thought of this. 

Surprise, motherfucker-- I zagged when you thought I'd zig! 

He kept his eyes closed, breathing and scenting the air.  Pant pant pant... Nope. Nothing out here but real animal. No rogue wolves with their sickly sweet scent. No psycho gas station wolves, no blood but his, still lingering in the fine under hairs of his pelt.

Okay. Good. Water--needed. Sleep--next on the agenda. He smelled game here--rabbits, fish, voles, moles--he'd catch something.

But first, shelter.  He closed his eyes and followed a teasing smell of man-made something with his mind. Woodsmoke. Treated wood. Exhaust.

A campground.

A man-made s substance. Vinyl. The heinous chemicals used to treat human waste.

An outhouse.

And there-- yes. Absolutely. Wood, dead fish, and glue.

A fishing shack--deserted.  A quarter of a mile away.

He opened his eyes and looked at the ragged coastline of the lake, and thought he could see the crevice between the spar of land that ended this particular inlet.  There. It would be there.  At first he thought he was going to have to drag himself, but after a few minutes of that, he tested his backend and found he would walk.  Exhausted and wobbling--but trotting like a wolf, he found the shed.

It had a porch.

Zeb crawled under the porch and flopped on his side.  Then he did something that Adrian had begged him to do, Adrian's lover, Green, had begged him to do, and Teague and Cory had looked at him reproachfully for not doing.

He trusted in fate-- or the Goddess.

He hoped.

And then he slept.

*  *  *  *

For the next installments in this serial story, please check the following links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10





Friday, February 19, 2016

Left, right, left, right LEFT!

So, the plan was to take the kids to the Crocker Art Museum today, because they often have interactive stuff for kids and because, hey, art museum! There are worse ways to spend a day out of school, right?

But I had plans to take Darrin the Triane's Son books-- his daughter appears at the end of the fourth one, and you can't read them out of order, so, yes, entire set. Yikes! That's no big deal-- Old Sac is really close to the art museum, but as I drove down 5, I had a bright idea.

So I put it to a vote about ten miles before we hit the exit. "Okay, kids-- do you want to see the art gallery or the railroad museum?"  See, the museum is in the same little square as Candy Heaven-- and, I might add, several places to eat lunch.

Zoomboy: The railroad museum!

Squish: Uh...

Zoomboy: C'mon, Squish, the railroad museum!

Squish: Uhhhhh...

Zoomboy: Oh, please, the railroad museum?

Squish: Uhhhhhhh....

Zoomboy: The RAILROAD MUSEUM!

Squish: Uhhhhhhhhhh...

Me: Look, guys, one's a right and the other's a left right off the freeway-- you need to decide before we hit the offramp!

ZB: RAILROAD MUSEUM!

Squish: I don't know, Mommy, what do you want to do?

Me, at the exit: HOLY FUCK, LEFT!

So, uh, the Railroad Museum it was.  (In case you are wondering, this process is how the kids find consensus on, well, everything. Every. Thing. This is not the first time I have made a last minute decision based on whim and which kid wanted it most.)

Anyway-- the Railroad Museum it was-- and we enjoyed ourselves very much there. But OI! was it long!  You forget how long a museum tour can last until you've just climbed three flights of stairs and you're looking across a vast warehouse full of trains going, "Wait-- we've got toy trains and tech simulations to look at?"

It didn't matter-- the kids had fun. We at at a very overpriced Italian place-- but very tasty! And then journeyed to Candy Heaven.

When we got there, Darrin wasn't there, but I did make two delightful discoveries.

A. The girl at the counter had read Candy Man (I had it printed out as it's own book and gave it to Darrin before Bitter Taffy was even written.)  She loved it--and she made it a point to let me know that the young lady stocking the barrels from the flight of stairs was her wife.  Heather (*waves* Hi, Heather!) was sweet and kind (I say this because I am a nightmare of social disorder when I walk into this store. I can't even explain it. It defies description) and she didn't make me feel too foolish. In fact, she seemed to like the idea of the books as a whole, which made me happy.

B. The young man who helped me at the chocolate counter was named... ADAM! And he was Hispanic. And he had neck tattoos. When I told him about the similarities--and the differences (yes, my Adam is 6'4", brown-eyed, with lots of hair) he was tickled and agreed to pose for a photo. Bless him! I was just so tickled. There is an ADAM working at Candy Heaven!  *happy sigh* Yay!

Anyway we did a little shopping on the way back to the car, but mostly we had to hurry because, well, traffic was heinous, and we were all ready to go home.

But the kids felt good about the trip, and given that, besides a trip to Coloma with my parents, their other activities this week have been video games, bickering, and getting emotionally ready for the series finale of Gravity Falls, I have to say it was a win.  (BTW, Zoomboy is holding the crocheted "Bill" from Gravity Falls in his hands-- Chicken made it, and he watched the entire last episode with Bill held aloft.)

And my big event (besides finishing Licorice Whip) has been to finish this scarf for my friend (and Editor in Chief of DSP ;-) Lynn West. It's the Baker Street Scarf from Geek Knits--and I have to admit--while it looked pretty good on Neil Gaiman in the pictures, Squishy almost looks more evil with it on ;-)

But the scarf turned out great (seen here blocked, where it's more like a rectangle and less like a tube noodle) and I can claim to be a knitter once again :-)









Thursday, February 18, 2016

Quoed by a Pro

So first of all, the Backlist Ba-Dump-Bump got a great response-- I would love to do it some more. Readers, if you have an author you'd like me to feature--ask them about the history of your favorite book and tell them to hit me up! I do like how much people loved this idea--I'd like to see it grow!

Also-- I have a blog up today on Happy Ever After Blog at USA Today.   I'm sort of proud of this blog-- a couple of authors whom I really admire and are not in my genre have been kind enough to tell me that they love reading my work. After I got over the big eyes and the fanning the face and squeeing like a three year old at a unicorn convention, I started to wonder-- what do other authors read when they're not reading "in their genre".  I know I wrote an entire column on reading J.D. Robb and Kathy Reichs. (I was proud to be able to say that Karen Rose, one of the authors who contacted me, was already on my Kindle because het suspense is TOTALLY my candy, and I'd heard good things! She's up next on my queue by the way, after some professional reading I have to do, and I'm SO EXCITED.)

Anyway-- so I asked some authors I knew, and these were their answers, and I'm feeling very proud of myself!  (Also very grateful for the editor, because I think it looks much better now than when I submitted it yesterday. It wasn't supposed to be due until March, and suddenly KAPOW they needed a pinch hitter!)  Author Candy! Go read!

And now for the title of the blog...

So, tonight the kids had dance, and I texted Mate the usual: What do you want to eat?

Him: Noodle House?

Me: Okay.

Him: Was there anything you were going to cook?

Me: Zucchini, tomatoes, and cheese. Do you want to start it?

Him: Noodles. Send the kids in and I'll come out.  (For the record, this is what happens to a lot of my diet initiatives, in case you were wondering.)

So, I get home, the kids run in the house, Mate runs out, and we go on a "mini-date"-- it's sort of a habit we have of running simple errands together so we have time to talk. Anything from a trip to the grocery store to a trip to the bank. The kids are good for a half-an-hour or so, and, hey-- grownup time!

We talk-- what did you do today, did you get to work out, I need to order stuff for RT, this is the project I'm doing now... just sort of keeping each other in the loop.

Him: "So,  you're taking the kids to the art gallery tomorrow?"

Me: "Yeah-- no soccer tomorrow night?"

Him: "Nope, Saturday. And then I'm going to an expo. And we have a party, but I'm not sure I'll be back in time."

Me: "Okay-- well, too bad, it sounds fun, but--"

Him: (And this is where things get cute) "Yeah, oh! And I have an event tonight."

Me: "Like a gaming event?"  Now, it must be said, I remember these from a couple of years of World of Warcraft. It's a new decade, and the game is called Destiny, and it's played on the television (we have a couple) and he's usually talking to his friends. Group play.  It really is a social occasion-- it's the equivalent of going to a D&D party except there's no beer, you don't have to leave the house, and pants are optional.

Him: "Uh, yeah. So, you know. After we get home, if it's okay, I'll just go..."

Me: "BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!"

Him: "what?"

Me: "The mini-date at the Noodle House-- this was so you could go play with your friends when we got home."

Mate, sheepishly: "Is that bad?"

Me: "No. Not bad at all."  Because seriously-- he'd told me what he wanted, helped me go hunt and kill some takeout, and talked to me in a way we don't get to do at home with television and kids. All in all, he'd been a considerate husband, and a reward of play ing with his buddies was only fair. "But it's still pretty hilarious."

Mate: "I'm sorry!"

Me: "Don't be-- I'm just going to think it's cute."

And it was cute. Still is. Goooood Husband-- well done!





Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Backlist Ba-Dump-Bump

Okay-- I admit.

I had visions of this being a HUGE list, like *Kermit Flail*--and then?

I got my first submission, and realized that maybe not so much--because what I had in mind for this was something a little more personal, a little more in depth--in fact, a little more like THIS submission from Alexa Milne.

Which, by the way?

Really makes me want to read her book!

Welcome to the Backlist Ba-Dump-Bump.  I'm going to try to make it a new mid-month feature on the blog--if you are a writer and you'd like to contribute one of these, I'll accept them between the 4th and the 14th of the month. I'll try to put out an all call, but either way,  I'll need you to send me your book cover as a .jpg attachment, as well as your blog post explaining your inspiration, your buy links,  your inspiration links, and your book blurb much like Alexa did-- in the body of a Word Doc.  

And seriously-- her example is perfect. Tell us about your book and the things that made it special. Tell us why this item from your backlist is remembered fondly. Tell us why it should be remembered all over again--

Welcome to the Backlist Ba-Dump-Bump-- let's give this feature a "Sporting Chance"!


 *  *  *

Sporting Chance

by Alexa Milne

Sporting Chance was my first original novel and came out in November 2014. They say write what you know, and what you enjoy, so teaming together a rugby player, Dan Morgan and a teacher, Iestyn Jones, seemed obvious to me, but I wanted this story to be about keeping hold of love not a coming out in sport story. Around the same time, I started writing Gareth Thomas, who had been captain of the Wales Rugby team, came out. It was such a brave thing to do, and there are still few out rugby players, but more than there are football players. When I was writing the scenes including matches, I used the 2012 Six Nations tournament as my inspiration, although I did change the order. Wales won the Grand Slam that year beating all the other five teams. The video linked below shows the highlights.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObKumFYWzV8
Book Blurb

Sometimes keeping hold of love is just as hard as finding it.
Dan and Iestyn are looking for romance. A school trip, a love of history, a wedding, a tango, the game of chess, and their friends and family all help the two men to realise that they’ve finally found true love with each other.
Iestyn thinks that he’s completely ordinary and that Dan is the only out and currently gay rugby player anywhere. Being gay can be difficult enough. Being famous also has its problems. But being gay, famous and a sportsman can make finding love complicated. So when Dan Morgan meets Iestyn Jones and gives him his phone number, their road ahead has more than a few bumps to overcome.
Will Iestyn and Dan overcome the obstacles thrown in their paths? Or will fame destroy their lives as well as their love?


Sunday, February 14, 2016

So what I want to do is...

So, my mom has the kids for two nights, and it's just Mate and I and all the movies we can watch--WHOOPEEE!!! We saw Deadpool, and it was EVER so good--raunchy and violent and awesome--and yes, if that's your thing, go see! But don't take your kids unless you can take them to a bar for a drink, because, DUDE. Wherever you think this movie goes, it GOES THERE.

Anyway--I have one entry for Backlist Ba-Dump-Bump, which I'm going to assemble Monday night, and I'm open for two more entries.  For anyone interested, what I want is:

A cover and buy link for a book from your backlist-- this helps if you have more than ten books out. Just does.

An explanation of what inspired you to write this book.  You can send me a YouTube video to talk about, or a link to another book, or a link to a movie synopsis on IMDB-- as long as you can talk about the link or the video or the book and explain what inspired you.

That's why there's only going to be four, maximum. Because this is a personal interaction for a book that maybe people have forgotten in the flurry of other awesome work you have put out.

Now, if it's only two of us, that's fine--but I would really love to put out four people a month. Just because. When we're working on our books, they're not disposable. People forget about them because we're a "SHINY! SQUIRREL!" society, but those books are still a part of us--and sometimes, our readers are really excited about discovering the things that maybe even we have forgotten.

So if you want to submit something, e-mail me at amylane@greenshill.com.  And if you just want to see the Ba-Dump-Bump, watch this space!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

And the bears and the bats and the balls...A Dex/Kane ficlet

So, stories-- even short ones come from a couple of places.

This one comes from a moment at Coastal Magic where Lisa Kessler and her friend talked about how bears and fruit bats can auto-fellate themselves. 0.0

And it also came from a moment on Friday, when Squishie had me remind her to bring her Valentines to school. Because I'd remembered to GET the Valentines, and remembered to have her BRING the Valentines, but in a house where Valentines Day was like Second Christmas, I had neglected to buy so much as A CARD or piece of chocolate for my youngest children.

Oh holy crap--can you imagine the panic?

I've got stuff in the car now, and there shall be gifts tomorrow, but I'm saying.

I almost dropped a load in my shorts--and more importantly, I almost dropped a PARENTING BALL. I figured Dex might know how I felt.


***

"Hey, Dexter, check this out!"

It was Dex's turn to make dinner, and he was doing a complicated Thai fusion thing so he took a deep breath, added his last ingredient, and set the vegetables on simmer.  "Coming!" he sang, and was not reassured by Kane's low, dirty chuckle.

"Yeah," Kane said with satisfaction. "So's this guy."

Dexter looked at the picture on the computer screen. "Holy God," he said. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, and then opened them again. "Is that a..."

"A bear giving himself head?" Kane nodded. "Yeah-- when I saw the caption, I was thinking big hairy guys-- I wondered why that would be in the Huffington Post."

"I'm wondering why this is," Dex grumbled. Animal peen. Jesus fucking Christ--after the debacle before Christmas with the teacher and the picture of the turtle giving flowers, he was just about fucking done with animal peen.

"I don't know, but apparently they give each other head, too." Kane chuckled again, the rumbly, filthy sound doing promising things to Dex's libido. "And they're not the only animals who do oral.  See?"

"Fruit bats," Dex said flatly. His would-be boner wilted in his shorts. "Fruit bats give oral."

"Yeah, but usually only het."  Kane's magic chuckle was apparently unbeatable, because it was working again. "Fruit-bat-fuckers don't know what they' re missing.

"I would have to agree with that," Dex nodded, and then something in the corner of the screen caught his eye. "Wait-- what is that?"  Oh God.

"What-- the clickbait?"

"No--the red thing!" Oh hell. Oh no. What day was it! No. No no no no no...  Dex pulled out his phone. "Oh shit! Valentines Day is tomorrow?"

"Yeah-- you remember. I helped Frances make Valentines for her class on Thursday?"

"I worked late," Dex said numbly. "I worked late Thursday, and you got her Friday and we went to the park today and..."   Oh God. Dex had always been the good kid--the kid who'd done his homework and had his paperwork in early and... Oh God oh God oh God... He put his hand to his chest and tried to fight off a ten-elephant anxiety attack.  "Valentines Day is tomorrow?"  He ran to dinner and checked on it and then ran back to where Kane was sitting because the big Goober was sitting on the chair with his jacket on it.  He tugged at it, babbling the entire time. "Jesus, Kane, get up. We need... you know, stuff. For Frances. For... for..." For you, you big goombah! "For Valentines Day! For... flowers and chocolate... there's a protocol. She'll be crushed, she needs happy!  For the love of God, Carlos, let me have my jacket so I can go be the grown up and buy our kid some fuckin' happy!"

Kane stood up and grabbed his shoulders, turning him around and shaking him gently. Which, with Kane's mass and strength, meant he was just a hair short of rattling Dex's teeth in his head.

"Dexter," he said firmly.

"Still here," Dex said, body vibrating with the need to go out and fix it. 

"I got Frances happy shit. Don't sweat it. Stuffed animal, card, chocolate, all from the both of us. She'll be fine."

Dee's panic decreased by the weight of exactly six elephants. "But... but Kane," he said, feeling the failure acutely. "I didn't get anything for you."

Kane's fingers stopped biting into his biceps, and the hand that cupped his cheek was exquisitely tender.  "Dexter."  He pulled Dex in and kissed his forehead. "Look at us," he said. He wrapped his arms around Dex's shoulders, applying an outstanding amount of pressure, forcing Dex to relax against his chest and easing the electric wire that had been shoved up his spine with the realization that of all the balls he and Kane had dangling in the air, he had almost dropped one.

"I'm looking," Dex said, feeling miserable. "I'm looking at how much time I've been at work this month, and how long it's been since we've been to the park. I'm looking at that glop I've got on the stove and how we'll probably end up feeding Frances chicken soup again. I'm looking at the fact that you've got work and school and you cleaned the house for the last two weeks and--"

"Sh..."  Kane nuzzled his temple. "Stop. I'm looking at a guy working a sixty-hour work week so he can rehabilitate old porn models into upstanding citizens. And the same guy took me and my niece and made us a family, and gave us a home and keeps us eating good and remembers to send me out for school supplies so our kid doesn't look like the dumb one in school. You got busy. I seen it. You stay up late, you come to bed, I nail you to the mattress and you get up when you think I'm asleep and do that one last thing. You fall asleep when you're reading to Frances, and you cut your workout in half so you can work with the guys individually and train them to do what you're doing, so this business can grow and you can have more time. I get it, Dexter. You're fuckin' busy."

"I dropped the ball," Dex said miserably. "And I"m gonna get fat."

"Naw-- you lost weight, I think, cause you ain't eating right. And it's okay if you dropped a ball, cause that's what I"m here for. I caught it."

Suddenly Dex felt every minute of the last crazy busy month, and most of those minutes had been missed sleep as he tried to cram too much activity into too little time. "I'm so tired," he confessed into the sudden quiet. Behind them, on the stove, a suspiciously unappetizing smell began to waft.  "And I don't want to eat the crap in the pot."

"Deal," Kane said with feeling. "Here. You go throw that shit away, I'll get Frances's coat-- we're going out tonight."

Chili's was not exactly a romantic getaway, but the tables had the little computer screen with the kids games, and Kane and Dex pretty much giggled their way through the healthy choice menu while catching up on each other's week. When they were done, they stopped for frozen yogurt and Frances fell asleep in the back of the car on the way home.

"Dexter," Kane said, sounding competent and in charge from behind the wheel.

"Yeah?"

"When we get home, I'm gonna put Frances to bed, and I need you to do me a favor."

"Yeah, sure."  God, he felt relaxed. It was like he'd had those elephants on his chest for a month and hadn't felt them until just that moment when he thought he'd totally fucked up.

"I need you to not go to your computer. I've got like, twelve hours of good TV taped--your TV. Come sit with me and watch it, okay?"

Oh man--Dex's eyes burned. "Yeah," he said softly. "That's a deal."

He fell asleep in the middle of The X-Files which was too bad, because he loved the reboot and wanted to catch up on all the eps before it went off the air.  All he knew was that one minute Mulder was looking rumpled and attractive in a middle-aged man way and Scully was looking regal and amazing, and the next minute?

He was lying on his back in bed while Kane engulfed his cock with one hot swoop of his mouth at the same time he breached Dex's ass with two spit-slackened fingers.

"Whoa!" Dex flailed, trying to remember walking down the hallway or getting undressed or even foreplay, because there must have been some-- Kane got off kissing his body, and shit did not just start where they were right now!

He pounded the bed with his fists, his brain a kaleidoscope of compressing images while his body coiled itself to launch.  "Oh God!" he managed. "Blast off in three--"

He didn't get to two or one, because Kane was suddenly up and inside of him, his cock already dripping with slick, Dex's legs straight up in the air and spread just enough to wrap his calves around Kane's shoulders. Everything inside Dex's head exploded in fireworks and it was a good thing his eyes were closed because he felt the smatter of his own come splat across his chest and face--and Kane didn't stop. Pound pound pound--Dex began to plead, incoherent nonsense, all of his skin alight and on fire for Kane's girth, stretching him, filling him, pounding his prostate into jelly.

Oh God--oh damn-- his entire body rippled, clenching until his stomach muscles ached, as a dry orgasm wrung him until he was limp sinew and brittle bone, and as he melted into the mattress, Kane grunted, a primitive, earthy sound, and spilled into Dex's body.  He dropped Dex's legs and fell on top of him, their gruff pants loud in the sudden silence.

"Oh my God," Dex breathed, still in shock from having sex while he was deeply asleep. "That was..."

"Fucking amazing," Kane said smugly. "Don't lie."

"Wasn't gonna. No brain cells to lie."

They were still joined, and he felt Kane's grumble deep in his ass, but he didn't even have the strength to giggle.

"Seriously," he said, falling asleep even with Kane's body on top of his. "I can't imagine life not loving you."

"Aw, dammit Dexter."  Kane nuzzled his ear. "This was supposed to be my gift to you."

"The sex?" Sex mumbled. "That's great. But all of you--even better."

He fell asleep knowing that in his stomach.

*  *  *

The next morning Dex slid out of bed quietly and dressed, comforted by the fact that Kane's window-rattling snores didn't even lessen in decibel. He pattered out to the living room where he found Frances cuddled on the couch, asleep next to the giant pink bunny that Kane had apparently laid out for her.  He pulled the couch afghan up to her chin and kissed her forehead.  Go, Uncle Kane--way to catch the parenting ball.

Her snores didn't lessen in decibel either as he slipped out into the morning.

He got back before either of them knew he'd been gone, and when Kane thumped across the floorboards in his boxer shorts and a T-shirt, the hot chocolate was warm and ready and the doughnuts were arranged on a plate on the table.

"Aw, Dexter!" Kane yawned. "Lookit you! A night out, a little nookie, you're Captain Family again!"

.Dex turned from the stove and stepped right up to Kane's bed-warmed space, resting his head on a broad, muscular shoulder. "I can be anyone you need," he said sincerely. "As long as you just keep catching my balls." Oh hell.

Kane's deep rumbly sexy-as-fuck chuckle vibrated right in his groin. "I will catch your balls any time, Dexter. Any fuckin' time."







Thursday, February 11, 2016

You know that..

Notice Geoffie looking at him in
adoration ;-)
...you are bored on the internet when you suddenly find yourself desperately in need of a brightly colored pair of harem pants.

...your husband is immersed in a multiplayer RPG when "The door is open and the mosquitos are coming in," sounds a lot like, "Shoot that guy or I'm gonna die."

... your youngest daughter suspects you of not paying attention at her soccer games when she starts quizzing you on the plays.

... your younger son got his little heart crushed again when the very mention of the Valentine dance makes his big brown eyes get all wet and shiny and sad.

Nope. Ain't moved.
... your grown son is truly growing when he goes and gets his hair cut in an effort to not look like a serial killer. (That last one is purely mom's supposition.)

...you have taught your grown daughter well when she comes up with especially colorful phrases in her Kylo Ren/Hux hatesex fanfic.

... your dogs are frickin' obnoxious when you see a Newfie roll it's eyes as the small one goes batshit, and the turkeys don't think "bowling for turkeys" is a real game.

...you live in a shitty neighborhood when you see the same car in the same place you saw it before you left for a week--and it doesn't look capable of moving. (This isn't my street or I would have done the shrill bitchy neighbor thing and reported it.)

...you are almost recovered from a con when you feel capable of going back to working out. (So, tomorrow, hello aqua!)