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

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Brief Announcement about GRL

I'm sorry-- I should have done this a while ago, but time got away from me.

I had to withdraw from GRL this year. I had an opportunity to teach classes in a similar time frame, and as much as I love attending GRL, this was a chance to get back to do something I really loved, if only for a moment.

I apologize to everyone who was looking forward to seeing me there--believe me, I miss you too.  My readers are--have always been--the absolute best people. Meeting them, partying with them--that's always been a big deal for me.

I'm sorry I won't be able to do it at this venue this year.  (I love Colorado, too!)

Thank you to everyone for understanding--

I'll be in the Seattle area the weekend right after, if that helps?


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sliced Chicken

 So I had very few goals for today. The mercury was supposed to hit 109, and for me, that means huddling in the air conditioning--and, more than that, keeping all but a few of the lights off and not using any major appliances until after 7.

Brownouts are no joke and they're not any damned fun either.

So I got the dogs to the park and through most of their walk by 9:30. Took them home, went and got coffee, then went grocery shopping. Home by 11:30, groceries put away and lunch by 12.

Woohoo! Life goals complete! Nothing to do but write and take that elusive nap. (My stepmom had like a four day streak of waking me up in the middle of my nap. I was a snarling snapping disaster, for real.)

So I went down for the nap at 1:48. At 2:01, Chicken called, and she's gotten really good at this.

"Mom, I'm going to be okay, but I need you to come pick me up and take me to the hospital to get my knee stitched up."

0.0  "Because..."

"I fell taking out the garbage and sliced it open."

"Can you get someone from work to take you, and I'll be there ASAP?"  I said as I jumped out of bed, slid on my shoes and ran for my keys.

 "No, because I'm at home."

"That's good to know--wait. You got hurt--"

"Taking the garbage out at home."


"I don't know what else to tell you."

"That's the important stuff. I'll be there in fifteen."  As I dodged out of the house I hollered to the kids (who hadn't moved, as far as I could tell, since I'd made them help me with groceries) "Bye guys--your sister needs stitches! Back in a few!"


Anyway-- so yeah. That's where part of my day went. I brought her home and let her huddle in the AC, fed her, sent her home with food, the usual. But as we were driving home and I was offering to get her comfort Starbucks, I said, "You know, I thought your little brother was going to be the kid who spent all his time at the hospital. But you were the one who dropped him on his head so I should have known."

And of all things, THAT made her laugh.

So she's going to be fine--but I did have an interesting time telling her brother he could use the kitchen cleaning wet wipes to clean the blood off the floor. I think he thought we needed some sort of special acid solvent, like assassins or something.

And  oh! I got my copies of Manny Get Your Guy today-- SO excited! Did you get yours?  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quiet Summer Days

ZoomBoy and Squish at Mate's Kid's to Work Day.
They were all so proud--yes, including Mate.
So yes, I forgot to blog last night.

It's just that... that... we don't DO anything right now.

I mean, my entire day is a quest to get the dogs out on their walks so I can get back before it's 90 degrees and too hot on their little paws.


Today, I have some pictures, and I'll caption them, and then go write, cause Bobby Green is going swimmingly, and I'm having so much fun!

Oh Mom! Do we have to go to the park AGAIN!
So here you go-- a quiet summer day, in pictures. Everything but the pool, where we spent an hour, and it was too hot for the aqua instructor to teach.

Tomorrow, I may skip the dog's walk. It's supposed to be 110 tomorrow-- which means it's 90 degrees by nine in the morning, and, hey-- that's when it's best for a dog to just run outside, pee, and come back in and pant at us like she's accomplished something!

Here, ZoomBoy-- grab my phone and take
a picture of that fire as we creep past.
Got it? Good.
In fact, my big thing tomorrow may be getting in and out of the grocery story before 9:30 a.m..  And then coming home and turning most of the lights off so the kids can watch TV and I can write in relative coolness.

*sigh* On FRIDAY I'll get buttons for the sweater.

And in the meantime--enjoy the pictures!

According to directions, this orchid will thrive
if I deny it water, sunlight, and dignity.
Best plant I've ever had.

A boy and his floof. 

Chicken's sweater--modeled by Squish,
is all done except for the buttons.
I bought the yarn in random quantities and
designed the sweater with what I had.
I'm insufferably pleased. 
All hail the magnificent Floof!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Next Generation

So, the sun is trying to kill us dead today. I didn't do much, but what I did do filled me with great pride because seriously--I wanted to be huddled in the air conditioning with a book trying to pretend our politicians weren't rooting the sun right the fuck on.

Anyway-- left at 8:30 to take the dogs for a walk so we didn't all get heat stroke. I figured out why I'm staying at the park for walkies, when I'm pretty sure crazy twat lady has forgotten who I am.

The park is 90% in the shade. Until it gets a little cooler, I"m thinking the park is gonna be my jam.

Anyway-- dropped Geoffie off at the groomers on my way home, then went to get my swimming bag out of the car and realized the side door wouldn't close.


I came in, called the Honda service department, and prepared for disappointment.

Now see, I like our service guy, but he's not, uh, well... truthful, I guess. And last time, we got a girl instead, and I thought, "Okay, she'll be more dependable than Rog," but then she tried to convince me that you couldn't run the radio for more than a couple of minutes without running the battery down, and anybody who has been to a drive-in movie knows that's bullshit, but apparently it was easier to feed me bullshit than to fix my goddamned battery.


I called Rog, he suggested I have the car towed, open door and all, because, well, he's Rog.

Anyway, after saying vaguely, "Sure, I'll think about it," I called Mate who was like, "I hate to agree with Rog on this one but..."

And I said, "Fine. I'll go out in an hour and check. Maybe the car will change its mind about petty betrayals."

Mate said, "Tell me how it goes," and did NOT ask out loud how he ended up being married to a complete nut job, which totally justifies my purchase of the expensive wrist thing he got for Father's Day yesterday. (BTW? When you take this thing off, it does bright lights and vibrations in an attempt to revive you to your senses because it thinks you're DEAD. THEN it turns off. My DOGS don't even care about me that much.)

So after an hour, I had Squish do it, because I just didn't want to think about the car, dammit.

She came back in and said, "What button did you push that time they locked the automatic door opener thingie out and you had to call the Honda people as we were traveling down the road so we could pick my brother up? Remember? When I had to climb into the back seat from the front seat? And you were really embarrassed?"

"Uh, it's right next to the steering wheel. It's a little sliding button--slide it so the red part is hidden."

She came back and said "After I did that, I could shut the door myself."

So there you go, folks. That is how my eleven year old daughter outsmarted me (not hard), her father (very hard) and one not incredibly bright guy whose entire job it is to figure out how to run a Honda Odyssey.

HER generation isn't gonna be dumb enough to end up with an idiot traitor in the Whitehouse, and senators who want to kill poor people in congress.

But I'm hoping they'll be kind, and pity the generation that was.

Poor Little Sausage...

* First of all, thank you to everybody who saw the picture on FB and wished me and Mate a happy anniversary. We spent it apart because of recital, but then, that happens a lot this time of year.  We're used to it. But we're very glad to still be married, so that works well for us.

And today, Mate got a kickass Father's Day gift, as well as the gift of doing nothing. Seriously--I got takeout, took the dogs for a walk, picked up and dropped off Big T--he got to sit and do soccer stuff, and recover from yesterday. If that was how he wanted to spend his Father's Day, I didn't mind--he's a good Mate and deserves the best

*  Second of all, thank you to everybody who wished ZoomBoy better health. If you didn't catch the FB posts, he was sick for recital AND rehearsal this year, spiking a nasty fever for about four days. He wanted to perform so bad. We dosed him up for rehearsal on Friday, but by the time we got him to the theater he'd wilted like lettuce in a steam room. Mate took him home and I got to see Squish's dress rehearsal, but ZoomBoy stayed home on Saturday and so did I. It was so surreal, us being home when Squish, Chicken, and Mate were off giving their best to the performance.

I THINK he's better--his last dose of meds has worked really well to get him almost to normal, but in the meantime--man. This was supposed to be this year. His dance teacher said it. All of the people who have been watching him dance for years said it--he got his confidence this year, learned how to rub some funk on it. Dammit, he was fun to watch! So it hurt, when he was supposed to be in costume with Squish, to see him lying on the couch, so still he was bumming out the dogs. Hopefully he'll be better in time to perform at the State Fair, and I'll be here to watch him and not at RWA.

*  Third of all, my stepmom sent me photos, and then  Big T went through our old pictures to see what he could find.  There were a lot more--but the reason I picked these two is that they were taken almost in the same place, about twelve years apart.

Also? In the black and white one you can (if you look closely) see a cat in the corner.

He's supposed to be there, but it's sort of haunting the way that cat showed up ;-)                      

Friday, June 16, 2017

Where is He?--SuperBat

** So, tomorrow is supposed to be dress rehearsal followed by recital on Saturday, but ZoomBoy has a nasty fever, and everybody else is feeling a little punk. If things explode, this could be the year of the recital that didn't happen-- for us, anyway. Everybody cross your fingers.

*  *  *

As Superman, he admired NightWing and held Dick Greyson in considerable esteem. He knew what a demanding perfectionistic nightmare Batman could be, both as a colleague and a lover, and he didn't blame Dick for kiting off to New York to start his own gig.

As Clark Kent, he wanted to kick the little shit's liver in for not getting it.

There had been a fifteen year difference between them--Bruce Wayne had broken it off, given him his own practice as it were, because he hadn't wanted to be the boy's world.

It was the oldest, dumbest reason in the book--the wounded warrior brush off, the noble no--and Dick had been too callow, too young, to see it for what it was.

Clark Kent has spent the next five years chasing one very stubborn millionaire as a result, because that aggressive little snot had broken Bruce's heart.

So turning to Dick Greyson was sort of the last resort, the thing Clark Kent refused to do, until he'd exhausted all other avenues.


"I have no idea."


"You asked me an hour ago, Clark. All we know up here is the censors indicate he's still alive and his vitals aren't in distress."

Clark growled. "We don't have a lock on location?"

"No, because he disconnected the lock on location because he's an asshole. You know he's an asshole. Why does this surprise you?"  Diana knew very little about emotionally constipated men--even heroic ones. Sometimes Clark wanted to be mean and suggest she actually fall in love with someone not the long-dead and sainted Steve Trevor, just so she could show more patience with his problems, but then, he wouldn't wish this awful gut-churning worry on a snake, much less his best friend.

"I'm not surprised that he's an asshole!" he retorted. "I'm surprised that he's missing."

She grunted and fiddled with the keyboard at her workstation, which was usually code for Diana is bored and humoring you, so get ready to have the screen go black. "Did he tell you he was going somewhere?"


"Did you ask Alfred?"

Clark was hovering, like he did when wearing the tight leather outfit, and he shifted from foot to foot, even as he hovered. "I did. He said he didn't know where he'd gone, but he was expected back an hour ago."

"Did he seem worried?"

"No, Diana, he didn't seem worried. But Alfred is used to seeing him come back in tiny pieces, so not much worries him."

"Okay, okay--don't snap my head off!"

Clark scrubbed fingers through his hair and sighed. "I'm sorry," he conceded. He didn't want to tell her that he'd been expecting something like this. "I was rude."

"Has he been showing any signs that things are off?" she inquired delicately.

Hell. "Nightmares," he said shortly.

Suddenly she stopped fiddling, and her bored expression took on the overtones of compassion. "It's been almost a year since the bomber," she said softly. "That?"

"I think there's a scene from that in there," Clark told her bitterly. "Did you know he was abducted as a child? He remembers part of it, but I looked it up. He was four years old, and he almost drowned, and sometimes he dreams about that and--"

"His parents?" Diana's antennae were practically vibrating--or they would have been if she'd been born with any.  "Wait..."  She grunted, and sent him a link.

Clark pressed the link and studied it, appalled.  "Oh hells. It's pissing down rain outside.  Do you really think he'd be--"

"In the rain, grieving over his loved ones?" she asked archly. "He saw them gunned down in front of him.  Clark? Clark?  Goddammit. At least say good--"

"I'm in the air. I'll be out of contact for a few. Please don't listen."


He heard the distinct sound of her com being shut off as he zoomed through the sleet to the tiny alleyway behind a theater, in what was now the shitty side of town.

Batman, scourge of the night, terror of the ungodly, was sitting crosslegged under an overhang.  He wasn't wearing his cape and cowl--not this night--but was in a pair of sopping wet black jeans and a black turtleneck, with super shiny boots.

Superman recognized that stance--meditation, deep thought, brooding.  Two red roses lay crossed in front of him.

Lightly he touched down, not wanting to intrude, but thinking Bruce had been there for hours.

His fingers and lips were bluish, and Clark knew he could take a lot of punishment--but why?  (Besides, he got super weird when he was sick and God, could they just avoid a replay of the teddy bear incident? That would be tremendous, it really would.)

"You're not supposed to be here."

Asshole. He hadn't even opened his eyes.

"Don't care, really."

Oh that got his attention. "This is important--"

"That you torture yourself? That your self-flagellation continues? That you sit here and grieve again for your parents' deaths and for the death of the happy child you could have been?"



Bruce stood up, so wet he didn't even bother brushing himself off. "I beg your pardon?"

"Yeah, no. Not by yourself.  Not for hours. What in the hell?" Irrational anger flooded his veins, but Clark figured Bruce was such a stubborn, irritating asshole, irrationality might be his best defense.

"This is my time of grieving!" And in spite of the fact that he wasn't wearing his mask, his voice sank deeply, like Batman, and Clark got a first row seat to the depths of the darkness he masked with his costume.

He'd seen this show. Not his favorite, but he could see it through till the end.

"Fine." Clark continued to hover, just two or three feet up, arms crossed in front of him. "Deal me in. I'm off com. How long we in for?"

Bruce Wayne gaped at him, his lower lip full and vulnerable in a way it probably hadn't been as a child. "I'm sorry--you're what?"

Clark crossed his arms. "You know--you've been gone for about four hours--you're moving stiffly, I'd say you spent three and a half of them here. The Batcycle is hidden behind that dumpster over there, so you're planning on a dangerous ride home. You obviously can't be trusted to be here by yourself so I'll hang with you. How much longer?"

"What?" His voice rose to a shriek.

"How much longer," Clark repeated, like he was stupid. "How much longer do I have to wait and watch you suffer in the rain alone. I'll do it, I just want to know how long we've got, because if we're going to be here until you get hypothermia, I need to tell Alfred to set up."

He was expecting the swing at his midsection, and even as he landed, he expected the one at his jaw. He blocked both--strong, hard punches, in spite of Bruce's mortality, he still trained like a boss--but they both knew even if he landed them, Superman could pretty much withstand anything Bruce Wayne in jeans and a turtleneck could dish out.

The fury of the succeeding blows was almost a relief--a temper tantrum, and some of the blows landed--a particularly hard one to his nose that stung--and Clark just fielded them, took them, let Bruce exhaust himself.  When the final haymaker went wide, he opened his arms and took that muscled, struggling body into his embrace, holding, just holding, until Bruce Wayne went limp in his arms.

"I hate you for this," Bruce muttered.

"I know you do."  Oh God, he was so cold. He was shivering, and Clark was afraid he'd squeeze too tight, destroy his fragile mortal, just trying to keep him safe from himself.

"I was trying to tell them I was..."  Oh. Oh--the hardest word of all.

"Happy," Clark whispered near his temple.

"Yeah."  Clark could feel the heat of tears against his neck, but he didn't say anything.  They stood there, in the rain, until his breath grew normal.

"Hold on," Clark said. He hit his intercom. "Alfred, could you hit auto drive on the  cycle and call it home."

"Yes sir.  Anything else?"

Bruce's shivering was almost out of control.  "We'll need the steam room heated."

"My pleasure, sir. I'll start dinner as well."

"Thank you Alfred."  So easy to get used to that man, taking care of their every need.

"How am I getting home?" Bruce asked, teeth chattering.

"You are home," Clark whispered, hovering them both in the air for a moment before he titled forward and took off.

Naked, in the steam room, Bruce stared straight ahead, heart obviously in a far away place, as they sat warming up. Clark was about to tell him to snap out of it, when Bruce turned suddenly, back in his own body, vital and present again, and kissed Clark hard on the mouth.

Clark responded, hands coming up to Bruce's ribs, wanting to touch but not sure if the touch would be welcome in the humid heat.

Bruce grunted, and then the richest man in Gotham slid down to his knees before Clark Kent, tugged his towel out of the way, and engulfed his cock in one thrust. Clark grunted, tugging on his hair but not hard. God, yes! He'd been worried and frustrated and angry! And as his hips bucked, body responding to Bruce's tongue and gripping fist, he felt that emotion, that worry and frustration, channeled into the passion of fucking Bruce's mouth.

For his part, Bruce was swallowing him past his gag reflex, drooling, stroking, like he needed cock to live.

Maybe he did.

Clark went from zero to flying in a few thrusts, in a few strokes, and when he came, Bruce took it all, swallowing everything, , letting only a little out to glaze his lips.

Bruce grunted, tilting his head back, and then looked down at his lover, who was staring at him hungrily, come coating his mouth, dripping from his chin,  like that had not been, wouldn't ever be enough.

"Shower," Clark commanded, lifting him by the armpits and zooming out of the steam room. He barely remembered to turn it off on his way out. Then they were in the shower, water cooler after the room, soap slick as Clark used it to make his fingers slippery enough to penetrate Bruce as he splayed his legs, face pressed against the wall.

"Yes," Bruce begged roughly. "All of it."

"Don't want to hurt you," Clark ground out, thrusting in and out of him but feeling the swell and ache at his groin. He was hard again. He needed--needed all of it. Needed Bruce's submission, his domination, all.

"Just fuck me," Bruce snarled. "C'mon, Clark--I know you know how!"

Bruce topped--almost always. But not this time. Not tonight.  Clark sheathed himself as gently as possible, and Bruce thrust back. Gah! Hot! He was so hot inside! Like the turmoil in his heart heated all of the other places as well! Clark thrust again, and again, letting some of his inner animal take over, being humanly rough.  He locked his hand against the back of Bruce's neck and growled, not having the words for the anger, for the pain of watching the man he loved suffer, of not being allowed to help.

Bruce didn't have any words of his own, but he reached down between his legs and let his orgasm do the talking. His back arched at Clark's next thrust, and his scream of climax, of rage, echoed through the shower like the slap of their wet flesh. Bruce's asshole rippled around Clark's cock, and Clark bit his own hand so he wouldn't crunch through flesh and bone by biting Bruce's shoulder.

Even as he screamed and collapsed, exhausted, at Bruce's back, he knew this wasn't over--not this night--not by a longshot.

They made it out of the shower and to the bed--this time Clark topped, and used lube. They managed to clean up before cleaning up became sixty-nineing, Clark hovering over Bruce's body, swallowing him down, in spite of his amazing width.  They were still breathless from sixty-nineing when Clark had to take him again, howling into the mattress, inarticulate as hell.

Dawn found them, bruised, despoiled, dripping and exhausted, sprawled naked on the bed. Clark wasn't sure if his cock had one more fuck in it for his entire life and he didn't want to tempt fate by asking it for anything else for the next ten to twelve hours.

"I've got one question," Clark panted as sunlight crept in through the gauze drapes because they'd forgotten to close the backup drapes the night before. "One question, and I'll never mention it again."

"Just show up when you're not want--" Clark nipped his earlobe. "Okay. Fine. Question."

"Does Dick know?"

Bruce grunted.  "Yeah-- that was the fight that drove him away."

Inside, Clark's heart began to beat regularly for the first time since the day before. "I'm not going anywhere," he mumbled.

"I figured,"  Bruce pulled in a deep breath, the settling kind of breath a man made before he fell asleep.

"Do you mind?" Clark asked, his heart stalling in his chest now. He'd been accused of a lot of brave things, but that had to have been one of the bravest, asking that question.

"You earned it," Bruce said. He fumbled for a button on his nightstand, and the blackout drapes chugged around the giant bay windows.  "You can put up with me for this long, you earned about anything."

"Just want you," Clark said.  He'd tell nobody, not even Diana, about the little happy dance his heart was doing right now. He had Bruce, and Bruce was happy. About that other thing? That petty jealousy thing? Nobody would ever need to know.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Backstage Activities

So last year, I had 10 little girls with three costume changes and a whole lot of downtime. It was hot, it was sweaty, there was one kid who's shoelace always came untied, always had to potty, and could find gum in a country in which gum was outlawed and there was no gum EVER.

I brought coloring books, snacks, and as much patience as I could muster, and apparently a giant trash compactor for my memory, because Chicken had to REMIND me how awful last year was.

This year, we've got kids with five or six costume changes and three different companies they have to run and be a part of--but you know what?

Those kids know exactly where they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be there and I can tell them to tie their own shoes and if three people have to go to the bathroom all I need is another adult and not a bottle of baby powder and a packet of baby wipes.

But they do get antsy.

So for my own kids (and I finally get my own kids backstage) we  brought crafts.

ZoomBoy has learned to latch hook and Squish has learned to crochet.

One of their numbers is "Hair Up" (if you watch the video at the top you'll hear the basic song--it's sort of adorable--they're wearing "wigs" made of bathroom scrubbies--CUTE!) and when I was teaching Squish how to crochet, she started with with a color so bright it made (her words) "her eyeballs vomit".

We ran out of that yarn and couldn't find anymore, so we went with more "eyeball vomit" colors in multiple strands.

And the results are a "troll stole" since she gets to wear brightly colored clothes as her costume.

Anyway--she's so proud.

I'm proud of her.

And she's starting on a blanket to work backstage for the rest of rehearsal and recital.

*happy sigh*

Best backstage mom gig yet.

Hair Up!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The End--mostly.

Little Goddess: Book Five
Volume Two

By Amy Lane

The elf queen who infected the werewolf population isn’t going away—and neither are the two heartbeats that will soon be the children in Cory’s arms.

Cory’s used to throwing herself physically into the fray, but as their enemy gets closer and more dangerous, she’s forced to choose between her safety and the people sworn to protect her. Her guardians are tired of worrying about Cory and her unborn children, and Cory is getting plain tired.

The preternatural world isn’t her only worry—basic human birthing rituals are going to be a pain in the ass for a woman whose children will be sidhe. Cory’s mother is still fuzzy on the concept of a polyamorous multispecies marriage and sets her up with an OBGYN obsessed with the inhuman silhouettes of her babies.

Cory doesn’t want her children born in the middle of a turf war, but the people she and Green have nurtured and fought for aren’t about to let her face this enemy alone. This battle is for queen and home, and the babies quickening in Cory’s body are a symbol of hope. Cory’s going to have to give up the idea of being a weapon and embrace the idea of being a mother, or she’ll let down those depending on her most.

* * *

So to start with--the entire series is on sale. (I think I've posted about this a lot!) Every book except the last two is either free or reduced--you can find them HERE at amazon, or HERE at DSPP but your other outlets will have them too.

And to finish with...

Well, I'm having a hard time writing this blogpost, because for the moment, this book is the end.

I left it in a good place. There are some threads I can follow in the future, but for right now... we can take a breath. There's peace. Cory and her lovers are together, and the babies are safe and all is right with the world.

But I'm not ready for it to be like that, honestly. This was my baby-- for a while, I was the only one who believed in her. Then Elizabeth and Lynn believed in her, and that seemed to be enough.

I was reminded that she's grown a little this morning, when someone sent me a 5* review (HERE at LoveBytes) in which a long time devoted reader of my Little Goddess waxed lyrical and broke my heart.

She's not a blockbuster--she may never be. She's not a bestseller--and again, I guess that's what was meant to happen. But she was my first. Her first book was derivative and Mary Sue and all the things people accuse it of being because it was MY first, and I was finding my voice. Her second book--Wounded--was WAY THE HELL BETTER, because it was all Cory and all Bracken, and all Green, and I was learning the characters who are way different than you are sometimes your very very favorites. The third one was painful and overwrought--I was in a painful, stretched thin place in my life, during which I sat in the front seat of my car and tried to stop crying before I put on my makeup and went in to work. I had a boss who hated me--chased me down a corridor while seven months pregnant and stalked my class to catch my kids falling asleep. The fourth one was kick ass because it was my sixth book and I had some confidence and I was learning to trust myself and I had a BLAST.

And this one--the fifth--was my fiftieth book, maybe. And I was pretty sure it wasn't going to make as much as a lot of my others. And it was a labor (pun intended) of love.

I loved going back to this world. I loved writing complex storylines with multiple points of view. I loved writing girl parts of all things--you don't know how much you miss tits until you've written nothing but peen for six years. I loved seeing 200K of world building and development culminate into something big and glorious. You don't get to write a lot of that in romance. People prefer 70-90K books, and world building scares people--and publishers--a LOT.

But I had to write it. I'd left people in the lurch for over seven years by the time it came out. That wasn't nice--it was time.

So anyway, it's out today--and I love it, and I'm proud of it. And I know I love all of them, and I'm proud of all of them, but this one's special.

She was my first, and this is her last, at least for a while.

If you haven't read her-- now is the time. If you have, I hope you love this final installment.

And if you do love it?

Let me know.

It's sort of a gift.

Social Media

Okay-- so some of you may have noticed I've been playing with social media these days. Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr-- there are ways of simul-posting on these things so one post = maximum exposure, and I guess that's what it's all about.

I'm not great at it yet--I'll grant you--but I'd forgotten one of the great things about social media that makes me want to try harder.

I mean, social media is not always great. Let's face it--Twitter helped build the monstrous traitorous abominable shitbird in the White House, and we will need to be forever wary it doesn't happen again. Some of the most horrible moments of my professional life have happened on social media, and some of the OTHER most horrible moments of my personal life have needed to be kept off social media, sometimes under penalty of law.

Kids get stalked, bullied, and sexted on social media. I fear it for my children's sake.  Very often even well-meaning people build a juggernaut of single-minded cyber-screeching that kills all thought and nuance like an invasive species of fish kills all kinder, more nuanced creatures and leaves environmental devastation in its wake.

There are some real minuses to instantaneous communication, and in the last eleven years since I've started blogging, I think our world has been changed by it and not always for the better.

But some good things have happened too.

I've made calls to my state and federal leadership based on information on social media. I've seen brilliant ideas kickstarted into reality, because that whirlwind is sometimes harnessed for good. Beautiful pictures can be made quickly on the computer and shared endlessly the same way, and people who have spent their entire lives in isolation and sorrow have suddenly discovered their tribe--and freedom--from the same media that can also do so much damage.

It all depends on how it's used.

So anyway, today on instagram, I posted this picture of ZoomBoy.

Bless his heart, I bought him a latchhooking kit when I bought his sister some blanket yarn to crochet, and he's been throwing himself into the craft full speed ahead.

So I got into the car and he held out his latch-hook and started to sing, "Oh I-I-I got latch-hooked on a feeling, I'm high on believing, that you're in rug with me!"

And I lost it. Of course-- he's ZoomBoy and totally funny and awesome, and this picture was proof, and I figured the story was what Instagram was for, right?

And then I got a response from someone I hadn't heard from in a long time--the kids' day care provider from when I taught English. She was originally my student, and her mother ran the day care facility (at home). I was leery of  hiring the parent of a student, because what if the student was an asshole, right? But I loved this kid-- she was funny and smart and pretty much awesome,and her mother was one of the nicest people on earth-- what was not to trust, right? So her parents went back to Dominica (where it was warmer and Mom was happier) and the kids stayed here and got educations and jobs and started families.

I brought Squish to the young woman's baby shower because we were both so happy to hear from her, but of course, we'd lost touch since then.

Anyway-- today, she contacted me on Instagram and said, "Is that ZoomBoy? He's SO BIG!"  I sent her a scrapbook of kid pictures taken recently (okay--I sent EVERYBODY a scrapbook of kid pictures taken recently, because still learning, so forgive me if you plowed through that looking for a punchline!) and I went back in her history and saw pictures of her son.

Who is also SO BIG.

She said she's going to show her mom my little scrapbook, and I got a little verklempt.

So I guess there you go. Add one more thing--one GOOD thing that can happen on social media.

I'm so glad it happened to me!

Sunday, June 11, 2017


New AudioBook Out
So, I don't have much to report, mostly because, after what feels like a month of heavy duty weekends--way back to frickin' RT, it feels like-- this weekend had an empty day.

Like, nothing to do today.

Now, I was going to make a go at folding clothes, butt, uh, the two naps got in the way.

You heard me.


No walkies.

No shopping.

Mate took ZoomBoy to a mini-rehearsal and to a birthday party. I picked him up.

The. End.

I probably could have made the day busy.

I could have written 3K.

I could have written a ficlet.

I could definitely have cleaned something.

What I chose to do--between naps--was watch movies and work on Chicken's sweater. I had to rip out the sleeve twice to get it to fit, but I think this third time was the charm.  Either way--I think I'm gonna leave it as is. If she has to tell people I made it like a bat for a reason, I'm down with that.

And that's the end.

I may try to make my word quota tonight, but honestly? If I'm falling asleep? I'm just gonna go.

Cause if you hit a wall after a month and a half of running, it's best to just lie there for a little and catch your breath before charging through it and heading for the next wall down the line.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Punny Day

Well, not really.

Actually it was a BUSY day.

Took Squish to school, came home.

Mate had picked Chicken up and brought her home (her car was in the shop) so I took her to work.

Came home.

Picked ZoomBoy up.

Came home.

Picked Squish up.

Came home.


Went to recital rehearsal.

Volunteered and was basically ignored by the lady I was supposed to be there to help. I mean I helped, but she was NOT friendly. The kids weren't either-- they knew here and not me. Uncomfortable. Seriously.

But that didn't mean I didn't meet some old friends.

For example, Barry, who is the father to two grown children that I've watched grow up over the past nineteen years. His birthday was tonight, and he was wearing a T-shirt that said, "60 Years, the Legend Begins, 1957-2017". We gave him a fair amount of grief for this, by the way, and he took it with a smile.

And then I said, "Wait!  Does that mean from now on we call you 'Legend-Barry'?"

He wasn't sure whether to kill me or hug me. He settled on the hug, but then Mate wrote "Legend" over his name on his name tag and Chicken called him Legend-Barry.

I"m pretty sure he wished he'd gone for kill.

Heh heh heh.

So, being on a roll, when my friend told me she was having stomach problems, I responded with a perfectly innocent, "I'm sorry. That blows."

She DEFINITELY wanted to kill me.

And then ZoomBoy said, "Mom, I bet I can say the alphabet faster than you. You go first."

So I said, "The alphabet."


Seriously-- I couldn't lose.

Not that tomorrow won't be busy and will probably suck and people who don't like/don't know me are going to be asking me to do things again--but that's okay.

Today was a genuinely punny day.  We only get so many, right?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Awards Day

So the kids are getting out of school and today was their second to last day of school, and there were awards.

I have grown to be leery of awards.

I always dream of getting them--the "creative comeback to imaginary insults" award is my absolute favorite, followed by the, "yes, your life is so hard and you bear it with such grace" award. So far, none of those have been forthcoming and I live in disappointment.  I shall just have to bear up and assume someone out there is doing those things better, and be glad that those stations are filled with such power, grace, and style.

But when I was a kid I got scads of awards.

I got the "You know your place function" award for math in the fourth grade, and the "nice suckup kid" award for students who didn't really get along with their own peer group in sixth grade. I thought my crowning achievement in the awards department would be the "benchwarmer" award--also known as "Best Sportsmanship"-- received in the 8th grade.  I got it on the merit of being the worst athlete in the school, and yet joining every sport.

Every sport.

My basketball coach told me I was the third string of a nine-woman basketball team.

She thought she was being nice.

But I loved that award--that was even better than placing 6th in the district spelling bee and getting to say Benediction at 8th grade graduation, because I had the 9th highest GPA in three grammar schools.

And by the way, if these awards are inspiring you with my mediocrity, I confirm that with my final two awards-- two years of perfect attendance in high school and "Most Disorganized Senior" of my graduating year.


I was stunning in the awards department.

So I'd almost forgotten awards season in the Jr. High and the Grammar School.

Until today.

When ZoomBoy showed up with blue lips and a medal.

The medal was for Most Improved in PE-- he was so proud. There were two best athlete awards and one Most Improved, and given what I have obviously passed down to my children in the way of physical prowess, I told Mate that we were going to have to take that as the only win we'd get--and that we should be proud.

I mean, DAMNED proud, because it meant somebody recognized all the work he does, trying to be the best he can be.

His blue lips were proof of the other award--sour candy, because he got his straw rocket to perform four different target tricks. He got a package of candy for each trick, and had one package for himself and three to share with his friends.

Did I mention damned proud?  (I seem to remember him getting an award last year for thinking outside the box and asking super questions. ZoomBoy--forever an original, right?)

And then Squish showed up with a light up purple squinchy thing that she got for being "The student with the most gratitude."

She also got recognition in class for being "Student most likely to cheer someone up."

Did I mention that when we went to see her State Report during Open House, I was a little disappointed? It seemed to be lacking some detail, but when I asked the teacher about it, she said, "Oh yes--Squish did a great job on her poster. I think she wanted to do more, but there was a line of students next to her desk, asking her if they'd done theirs right, and she helped everybody she could."

So today she was recognized for apparently being the best Squish a mom could ask for.

So there you go. Awards day. I have not gotten my "Best Writer In All of Creation" award, nor have I received notice of my "Creative Comeback in the Face of Imaginary Insults" award.

But today, my kids brought home their "Best Kids In All of Creation" awards, which, for me, translates into, the "You may have lived a life of mediocrity but your children are spectacular and superlative and you are blessed every day you know them" award.

I accept this award with my husband, holding it for safekeeping. Someday we'll pass it back to our beautiful children, grown, and, I hope, as happy in their lives as their father and I.

We really DO have the Best Kids In All of Creation.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Monday, June 5, 2017

*Kermit Flail* June Edition!

So wow. 

May was something of a frickin' month, right? 

We had RT at the beginning and Pride at the end (well, yesterday, so the beginning of June) and we had all sorts of adventures in between. 

But as always, we have new releases, and that's damned exciting. 

We're entering into recital season, and I actually FORGOT to solicit Kermit Flail last week--but some awesome people-- Cody Kennedy, Anne Barwell & Lou Sylvre, and the ever lovely, ever dynamic and graceful Jaime Samms, all conspired to save me from myself!  C. Kennedy has offered up book three of an award winning series, Elpida, and it looks haunting. Anne and Lou have offered Sunset and Pencarrow, and besides the cover art--mmm... -- it's based in New Zealand--and how can you lose? And Jaime Samms offers us a chance at love again with Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights. 

So lovely offerings--and I have a few myself!

A new audiobook (Deep of the Sound) for starters, but even more exciting? Well, part 2 of Quickening--and, yes, the end of the series for a while. People have asked me if I plan to write any more of the Little Goddess--and it's hard to answer that. On the one hand, I love this series and I had much more planned. On the other, well, girl's gotta eat. So I ended this book in a good place. The hint of new adventures to come is definitely there--but if they don't? We have a moment of contentment, and the feeling that our heroes and heroine will live in peace and kindness for many years to come. 

Now, for those of you who haven't read The Little Goddess, WATCH THIS SPACE. On June 6th, there will be a chance to read Vulnerable, Part 1 of the series, for free on BookBub. I'll post a link and a graphic THE MINUTE I have it, and hopefully, you'll be so much in love with Cory et al that you'll want to see the rest of their adventures!


And Cory isn't my only new addition. 

The sequel to The Virgin Manny will be out on July 1st!  So take a look at Manny Get Your Guy-- the hero on the cover is Taylor, the rather aggressive young upstart from Virgin Manny, and I think you all will love him!

So, there you go. LOTS of good stuff! Let's hear it for the end of school and recital season and a thousand reasons to pull up a good book and curl up in the air conditioning--or in the shade--and read. 


Elpida: Book Three

by C. Kennedy

Michael and Christy attended prom, graduated high school, and Michael leads the USATF tryouts. With Oxford University on the horizon, his future looks bright, and he believes life has returned to normal after Christy’s rescue. He couldn’t be more wrong.

Christy has been free from a life of slavery for more than a year and has made remarkable progress due in no small part to the love he found with Michael. But the recent prosecution of a past abuser has shattered the life he so painstakingly built out of nothing but a mountain of horror. He now faces the daunting task of building a new life—yet again.

Twelve-year-old Thimi has been missing since Christy left Greece and, unbeknownst to everyone, has hidden out in a vacant mansion in Glyfada. Learning of Christy’s survival is the only thing that brings him out of hiding. People, open spaces, even the most common of sounds frighten him beyond reason. A mere ghost of a boy, Thimi arrives in the US with no knowledge of the outside world—the only constant in his life a purple marble.

Lost, shattered, and afraid, only hope gives them the strength and courage they need to begin anew.

Sunset at Pencarrow
 by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell

World of Love—New Zealand

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

Off State: Beyond the Footlights
by Jaime Samms

Kilmer and Jacko’s relationship has been foundering for a long time. With the end in sight and despairing that he might never find a Dom who suits him, Kilmer heads to a local bar to drown his sorrows—and meets country singer Tanner.

Tanner feels oddly protective of the broken man and eventually convinces Kilmer to hire him to help remodel the small, sad house Kilmer once shared with Jacko. As Tanner and Kilmer get to know each other, Kilmer regains his lost independence and Tanner’s dominant streak rises to the surface. But will it be a help or a hindrance to the trust they’re trying to build?

The answer might lie in the music Kilmer gave up not long after he met Jacko. Music always granted him solace, clarity, and an outlet for his emotions, and with Tanner’s encouragement, he picks up where he left off. Playing together eases them into honest communication, and though a happily ever after will still take patience and work, taking a chance on each other sounds sweeter with every note.

The Deep of the Sound/Audiobook
by Amy Lane
narrated by Nick J. Russo

Cal McCorkle has lived in Bluewater Bay his whole life. He works two jobs to support a brother with a laundry list of psychiatric diagnoses and a great-uncle with Alzheimer's, and his personal life amounts to impersonal hookups with his boss. He's got no time, no ambition, and no hope. All he has is family, and they're killing him one responsibility at a time.

Avery Kennedy left Los Angeles, his family, and his sleazy boyfriend to attend a Wolf's Landing convention, and he has no plans to return. But when he finds himself broke and car-less in Bluewater Bay, he's worried he'll have to slink home with his tail between his legs. Then Cal McCorkle rides to his rescue, and his urge to run away dies a quick death.

Avery may seem helpless at first, but he can charm Cal's fractious brother, so Cal can pretty much forgive him anything. Even being adorkable. And giving him hope. But Cal can only promise Avery "until we can't" - and the cost of changing that to "until forever" might be too high, however much they both want it.


by Amy Lane

Little Goddess: Book Five
Volume Two

The elf queen who infected the werewolf population isn’t going away—and neither are the two heartbeats that will soon be the children in Cory’s arms.

Cory’s used to throwing herself physically into the fray, but as their enemy gets closer and more dangerous, she’s forced to choose between her safety and the people sworn to protect her. Her guardians are tired of worrying about Cory and her unborn children, and Cory is getting plain tired.

The preternatural world isn’t her only worry—basic human birthing rituals are going to be a pain in the ass for a woman whose children will be sidhe. Cory’s mother is still fuzzy on the concept of a polyamorous multispecies marriage and sets her up with an OBGYN obsessed with the inhuman silhouettes of her babies.

Cory doesn’t want her children born in the middle of a turf war, but the people she and Green have nurtured and fought for aren’t about to let her face this enemy alone. This battle is for queen and home, and the babies quickening in Cory’s body are a symbol of hope. Cory’s going to have to give up the idea of being a weapon and embrace the idea of being a mother, or she’ll let down those depending on her most.

Buy Link

Manny Get Your Guy

by Amy Lane

The Mannies
Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out, Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

Pre-Sale Link 

OH-- And a cover reveal!!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Another Weekend Bites the Dust!

 Okay-- so bullet points again, cause LATE!

*  Pride was Saturday, and it was lovely. Squish asked to go, and I told her I'd scope it out to see what it was like--I know some cities have a more family oriented Pride, and for some cities, they have more of a mostly naked young men in banana-hammock pride. Sacramento's Pride is the first kind, and the people were happy to be there.

And boy was everybody excited to see books!

We were parked right next to the Lavender Library, and I was proud to donate books that didn't get sold to them--and they were delightful neighbors.

*  Today I went and saw Wonder Woman, because besides being a kick-ass action movie, and giving me a tremendous girl crush on Gal Godot, it also had one of my favorite Chrises in it.



And seriously-- there was no "best part of the movie"--it was all AMAZING. And the theme was one of my personal favorites.

So, yes. A good time!

*  I took Squishy with me when I went walking this morning--she looks lovely out in the sunshine, doesn't she?

Texted these pictures to my friend Karen, and she was like, "Who gave her permission to get so big?"

Damned kid apparently didn't need any permission, but since her hair is also growing, I'm going to let it slide.


And that's the condensed version!

On to tomorrow--I need to recover from my weekend!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Mulberry Street and an appearance at Pride

Remember that Dr. Seuss book? And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street? Where the kid sees stuff and plans to make it into something bigger and more exciting to tell his dad, but he always chickens out and just talks about the old horse and cart and that's al the saw?

Yeah, blogging is the exact opposite of that.

In blogging, you take the old horse and cart and you make it AS EXCITING AS POSSIBLE and tell EVERYBODY.

, that being said-- here are some things I saw on Mulberry Street today...

* A man with his head shaved bald and the back of it inked like Killroy, leaving his fatback to be the mouth, was facing away from me as I walked into the AT&T store today. Clever? Yes. Disturbing? That too.

* I almost ran over that guy when he tried to cross the road right behind a big garden truck that crossed between us. Oops! Sorry Killroy.

*  Mate dosed all the animals with flea control tonight, and now they're all sucking up to me to save them. Little do they know, I am the driving force BEHIND flea control!

*  ZoomBoy started calling the feeding of the cats "ending the great famine".  I think our cats and their flare for melodrama have possibly had an effect. (Yes, Amy, it's the cats.)

*  I had just gone down for a nap today when the big kids come over and raided our house. Seriously--sleeping bag, a pair of flip-flops, and an entire bowl of chicken teriyaki with vegetables, all of it, disappeared into their car while I managed to get up and put on my pants. I only WISH Groucho Marx said that having children is like getting robbed EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK. (We'd still have them, but we'd know. We'd totally know.)

*  And I had other weirdness to make out of both ing, but I am TOTALLY falling asleep, so I'll leave you with this--

The QSAC will be at Sacramento Pride this Saturday-- J. Scott Coatsworth, Pat Henshaw, Kim Fielding, L.E. Franks, D. L. Kent, Michael C. Shutz, Genevieve Wolfe and I will be at a vending booth on J street if you want to come by, visit the Pride Celebration and everything, by all means do! We'd love to see you there :-)


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

In The History of Minutiae...


So, I'm tired--it's Wednesday, and our week is about to get REALLY hectic with recital, and, *yawn*.  So I had this Berkley Breathed cartoon I wanted to talk about, and then I searched for it, and then I searched for something else, and then I thought, gee... I wonder what my browser history looks like... and then I realized I had no idea how to find that (and no, good meaning people, you don't need to tell me HOW to find it--I found the button to CLEAR it which is just as good.)

But I wondered what I'd find in my browser history if I looked from today..and sort of filled it in by memory--

Heh heh... Well, it's probably a little bit edited for humorous purposes.

And I spend WAY too much time on Twitter--

Ready? Begin--

* * *

Gay erotica  (Pretty sure you're not surprised.)









Fingering--Images weight  (oops! Good thing I'm not easily shocked by that last one) weight

Timothy Bottoms (The Paper Chase was on, but, uh, in context, that doesn't look very good does it?)

Corbin Fisher (Okay--that was on purpose)

Upworthy--From Twitter, a long political thing that made my eyes glaze over

Did anybody explain the "convfefe" tweet?

Can Al Franken run for president?

Who owns the RiverCats?

Bloom County

New Bloom County

Bill Waterston

Fox Trot


The Oatmeal

We Rate Dogs


Does Buzzed have pictures of adorable baby goats too?

Animals in general?

Ooh... Possum sock yarn!

Mm... cashmere sock yarn

Qiviut sock yarn!

Storage containers


Natural bug repellent qualities of potpourri

Housecleaning services

*sigh* How's my book doing again?  

Not that good... organizational tips!


Oh shit.


I should have been writing for an hour and a half!

Oh-- what was I writing about again?  Johnnies.

Bobby is a carpenter.

How long does it take to heal from a puncture wound?

Ew. Gross. Pictures. *sigh* 



You Know Who You Are

ZoomBoy sang in choir tonight, and that was sort of neat-- it was a combined choir of the junior high and all the high school choirs-- but I must say, my mind wandered HORRIBLY during the singing. (I'd heard a lot of it before.)

So, I was wrestling plot bunny after plot bunny, and in the meantime, SOMEBODY posted a meme SOMEWHERE specifically where I would see it, and intimated I MIGHT know what she wanted.

So you know who you are.

This is for you.

*  *  *

It took a year and a half before Jared could walk without a cane, but he did a lot in that year.

Physical Therapy, every day. Gym, pool, personal trainer--he did it all--even though Dawson whined bitterly about the diet it took for him to not gain wait, it was worth it. Someday--someday--he would fly again. And if he didn't fly high enough or fast enough to perform professionally, that was okay. That wasn't why he flew in the first place.

He found studio space, and, with the help of Dawson, Benji, Daria, and Amber--and Dawson's dad, of course-- managed to lay hard rubber for the stage, layer the walls with acoustic tile so the sound didn't echo, and, one pane at a time, install the giant mirror and the barre.

The space was small--but two classes a day paid the overhead, and three classes a day let him pay for rent.

He advertised at the local grammar school, gave fliers to the special ed teachers, talked to the local community centers--by six months, he had outreach classes at the community centers and needed to hire Daria to teach after school classes there.

Six days a week, he came home to Dawson, exhausted, sore, and... oddly enough, happy.

He wasn't counting on the mom-ager and her superspawn to walk into the studio when he had his 8-12 year old class of moderately to severe handicapped students at the barre.

There were only eight of them, but they were challenging enough that he'd recruited volunteers from the college physical education programs to come help. It was something for their resumes, he'd said, and he'd been blessed with three young and able people, two young men and a young woman, who seemed to genuinely like the kids and read his cues for how to help them adjust awkward, stiff-tendoned, loose-muscled limbs into the stretches that would help them while dancing.

If the studio could just do a little better, be a little more in the black, he'd maybe get salaries for them all.

So when the obviously well-heeled woman in a business suit walked in, his first thought was "Sponsor!" and then he saw her son, wearing jazz pants, with a dance bag over his shoulder and a superior smirk on his face, and the thought changed to, "Douchebag!"

Suddenly, he wished for Dawson.

Dawson could awkward his way through this situation no problem. He could stand up for Jared's kids and get this woman to sponsor a class without pausing for breath. But all Jared could do was push himself over, cane in hand because it was the end of the day, and wait until the musical selection ended.

"Everybody, take five, but don't stop moving!" he ordered. This was actually the fun part, because the kids would do what they thought was dancing--whirling in endless pinwheel loops, leap with heavy bodies in jumps with no name, execute simple pedestrian maneuvers no dance teacher had ever seen before--it was dancing without the rules, and sometimes his kids needed that with everything in their souls.

"Hi," he said, remembering the days when a quiet smile at a cocktail party would get his manager into his next gig. "Welcome to Emory-Barnes studio, I'm Jared Emory." He smiled softly as Hannah, a sweet little girl with springy pom-pom pigtails and a soft, pear-shaped body did a passable pirouette to music only she heard. "What can I do for you?"

"This is a dance studio?" the woman said, lip pulled back.

"Yes," he said with dignity. "This particular class is for children with moderate to severe mental and physical handicaps."

"And you teach them to dance?" The skepticism in her voice started his stomach churning. His little sister had loved dancing--nobody told her that kids with Downs Syndrome couldn't dance, so she never had to doubt herself.

"Everybody should dance," he said with a quiet, determined smile. A little desperately, he caught the boy's eye. "Don't you think?"

And he saw it--the moment when the boy recognized him.

"Jared Emory," he said blankly.

"Yes." Oh hell.

"The Jared Emory."


"I... I own three DVD's with your performances," the kid burbled. "I've seen every YouTube video ever made with you. I've..."  He looked at the cane then, eyes wide. "I saw you fall."

It took a lot for Jared to take the next breath. "The whole world saw me fall," he said ruefully.

"That's why you never came back?"  He must have been fifteen, this kid, with dark hair and green eyes. Black brows arched expressively over dark lashes, and a little bow-stung mouth made him a stunner, probably even without makeup from the stage.

"I could have come back for a season," Jared admitted, "but I never would have danced again. So I decided to build up the knee--I might not dance professionally again, but someday, I'll dance."  He tried not to admit to Dawson how much being earthbound weighed on his bones. In the pool, or when watching his students dance, he could fly.

"But..." The kid bit his lip and looked around at Jared's twirling, giggling students. "Why... why..."

"Everybody should dance," Jared told him, believing it. "Everybody should fly."

The kid's face lit up. "Yes." He looked at his mother, who seemed to smell something bad. "Do you... do you have any advanced classes?" he asked apprehensively. "I... my last teacher was..." He shuddered.

"I've had those," Jared said, understanding that. "I used to throw up before practice."

The boy nodded, his neck suddenly thin and vulnerable. "I puked blood," he whispered.

"I'll tell you what," Jared said, gauging the way the kid seemed to smile indulgently at his students. "If you want to help me out, I can help you out."

"What do you mean?" his mother asked, suddenly engaged.

"I mean my interns are doing this for semester credit, and I won't have a helper here over the summer. My boyfriend can come in some days, and his best friend, and my other employee--but it's not locked in stone. If--"  He looked at the boy meaningfully.

"Todd," the boy said, smiling like he got it.

"If Todd can come in, this day, this time, and help me out through the summer, I'll stay after for two hours and instruct him special. I have an advanced class three days a week, but the two hours of lessons is only open to a few kids. I want to start having recitals next summer, and I need some dancers who can lead the rest of the studio."

The idea had been fermenting in the back of his head since they'd opened in January, a year after his fall, but it hadn't fully coalesced until right now.

"Couldn't I just pay you--" the mom began, but Jared shook his head, and, surprisingly, Todd cut her off.

"Everyone should dance," he said shortly. "Mom. He's right. Everyone should dance."

They finalized the particulars after Jared stretched the class and had them cool down, but he had such hope burning in his chest--he couldn't even articulate it, not to himself.

But he found, later that night, as he and Dawson were stretched out in front of the television, he could find the words.

"I don't even know where we'll perform," he said, his voice catching at the end of the spiel. "But I'm giving those private lessons, and the other kids know who the superstars are, and all they want to do is perform, and--"

"That's a great idea!" Dawson exclaimed, waking up from a semi-stupor on Jared's chest. "You can petition one of the local high schools to use the gym and I can run the lights and the sound and the curtain and--"

And just like that, Jared saw where his hope came from, where the faith that this was a good thing. He captured Dawson's mouth with his own, holding his cheeks until the slow burn of passion replaced Dawson's enthusiasm, and he fell into the kiss with fervor.

Jared turned him, until Dawson was sprawled on his back, grinding up agains Jared, stripping off Jared's shirt because not being skin-to-skin would hurt.

"Where's Amber?" Jared panted.

"At her girlfriend's," Dawson answered. That was happening more and more--they were starting to feel bad taking Amber's rent money, but reluctant to break up the terrible trio.

"She'd better knock if she comes back," Jared panted. He fumbled with the button to Dawson's 501's and Dawson helped by lifting his ass up and then pulling his knees up to his chin so Jared could strip them off, along with his underwear.

And there he was--pale and slender, surprisingly muscular, but still not filled out. His pink little nipples stood up from his white chest like a surprise, and flat moles still marked him in unusual places.

He was beautiful, like a swan, or the clouds from eye level.

Jared lowered his head to take a nipple into his mouth, and felt the leadenness of earth fall from his limbs. Dawson grunted and flailed, still not graceful when they made love, but it didn't matter. As Jared worked his way down that soft-skinned body to the wealth of hair--and of cock--at Dawson's groin, he guided Dawson's hands back to his own nipples so they'd have something useful to do.

He wanted to take that cock into his mouth and play it unmercifully. He wanted Dawson to come down his throat so hard he saw stars and sailed in the night sky for hours.

He planned to thrust inside that willing body while Dawson wrapped long arms and legs around him, and together they would hit the stratosphere and float gently down.

His knee would never be perfect--but this man, this love, this happiness between them--this would let him fly. When he healed completely, and could dance with his kids and in his own performances, he could fly again on stage.

But here, in Dawson's arms, he could fly forever.

He stripped and found Dawson's entrance, pushing in as Dawson told the entire apartment building, again, that they were having sex.

Swans were mean creatures, sometimes carnivorous in their urge to be the strongest, the most elite, the most beautiful.

Jared would find joy flying with the ducks.