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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

RIP Cheap T-Shirt

Okay, so most of you have figured I'm a T-shirt whore.

I will buy almost any T-shirt, especially if it supports a cause, and double especially if they have one in one larger than my size, which is a B for Behemoth.

Anyway, this shirt SEEMED perfect.

Gray, cotton/poly, lightweight, it said, "Families Belong Together" on the front and most of the proceeds went to a legal group trying to keep the CHILDREN OUT OF CAGES, because that's where the draconian petty bloated Russian traitor tyrant-in-chief thinks they belong. (I want to see him in a cage. I want to see him in the Hague. I want to poke him with a stick. I want to mock his tiny ... you get the picture.)

Anyway, this looked like a good buy, so I tried it on, then threw it in my gym bag for after aqua class. (Yay! We have oxygen in the air again-- we can BREATHE so aqua is a go!)

After aqua I was going to meet Chicken, Squish, and ZoomBoy for lunch since she took them to the book store like the amazing big sister she is, and as I got into the car, my new T-shirt was binding my armpit a little so I tugged on it.

RRRIP... the sleeve ripped all the way to the armpit--and I was probably already late. I got into the car and started it (air conditioning!) and tugged on the other sleeve, and RRRRIP! Also to the armpit, and I thought, "Uh oh..."

And then pulled into traffic.

At the next stoplight I tried to rip the entire sleeve off. I've got a couple of shirts like this. I ripped the sleeves off and ripped the neck off and they're some of my favorite summer knocking around shirts. Well, the sleeve ripped, but not along the seam, and as I was driving to the next stoplight, I came to a part where it was really crooked.

So I got out my yarn scissors (handily in my purse along with my emergency sock bag for traffic jams) and hacked through the two inches of fabric that were in the way, and voila! No sleeve.

And then I realized, "FUCK! I have to do that to the OTHER side at the NEXT stoplight."

This side needed yarn scissors too, and yes, it looked like ass.

So I get to the next light--a really long one--and I'm like " FUCK IT ALL!!!!!" and I cut the neck of the shirt down past the ribbing and proceed to rip/cut the thing off in such a way to make it look like the last person who wore it got head AND part of the torso bitten off by a huge dinosaur, and then got the shirt treated with super bleach because who WOULDN'T want to wear that T-shirt again, right?

So THAT'S what I was wearing when I got out of the car to go to Panda Express.

The kids looked at me in surprise. I usually do "dead mommy chic" but I rarely do just plain ol' "dead mommy."

"The sleeves ripped," I said weakly. "It became a thing."

Chicken's eyes took in the neckline. "An only you thing, right?"

"Well," I told her with dignity, "Families may be meant to stay together, but this shirt was designed to be ripped apart."

"Sure, Mom. Sure."

Well I thought it was asking for it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

When they were young...

So I blog four nights a week, most weeks.

I think of it as a professional thing, and I like sharing, and I love telling stories, so it's not really a hardship.

Tonight, as I was sitting down to blog (which is usually the start to the bulk of my work day and the time the kids go to bed) the kids started asking me, "What did I do when I was young?"

And honestly?

I don't remember.

That was twelve or so years ago.

I pull out a few of the time-honored family stories:

Zoomboy didn't talk until he was 2 1/2, and I was getting set to call the school system to see if he had the same problems as Big T. The DAY I was going to sit down and make all those calls (painfully looked up in the yellow pages) I said, "Would you like some chocolate milk, ZoomBoy?"

And he said, "I love chocolate milk, Mama. Chocolate milk is nummy."

And I thought, "You saved that up you little shit, didn't you!"

And then there's the conversation we had with Squish about Sawmees and Goats, for a good ten minutes, while Mate and I were looking at each other thinking, "Holy WTF is a Sawmee or a Goat?"

The Squish said, "The Goats were chasing me making Goat sounds!"

And I said, "Like baaaaaah?"

And she said, "No! Like woooooooooooooo..."

And Mate and I went LIGHTBULB! "Ghosts?" we asked, and she nodded.

"And Sawmee--ZOMBIES? GHOSTS AND ZOMBIES????"

"Uh-huh mama! Sawmees and Goats!"


And so on. Most people reading this blog have probably heard these stories too.

So, the kids were a little disappointed and I was like, "I don't know what to say, guys-- you only grew up once!"

And then I turned to my blog and had a lightbulb moment.

I've been keeping this blog for twelve years.

Since Squish was 3 months old.

Yes, I restarted it in January of 2007, but that's a lot of kid stories packed into one place.

So I went to the beginning and spent ten to twenty minutes reading the blogs about the kids and showing them the pictures.

And feeling very proud of myself.

All the time I've spent working on my computer, pouring my heart into the internet. And it felt like "Hey. Here's where it pays off. Because this is, at its heart, a blog about your family."

And for once, my family got something out of it.

So, yeah. When my kids were young, they were a laugh riot.

Today, we took Geoffie to the vet's to get another shot. "C'mere, Geoffe," I crooned as she hung out on the floor. "I know you think you're big, but you have to get up on the table like a little dog!"

And she darted under the bench where Squish was sitting.

Squish said, "Yeah, you know you're little NOW, doncha!"

And looking back 11 years, you know something?

Same Squish. She's bigger, prettier, and more of a smartass, but she's the same kid she's always been.

ZoomBoy set my phone to Rick-Roll me as soon as Spotify hooked up to my car speaker this morning.

My Goddess, I love them so.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Shopping Lessons

So, I'm not a great bargain hunter. My idea of looking for a deal consists of, "Can this experience be over before I hate the store, my kids, and myself? Yes? Good deal!"

But today I looked at the Old Navy bill with some dismay.

Oh my God. 

We're broke!

"So, if you fill out a thing for your Old Navy Card, you can save some money!" chirped the salesgirl, and Goddess save me, I did it.

It was excruciating.

The girl was great, worked very quickly, but apparently while we were getting our entire debt history vetted via tiny machine, everybody who had been in the store when we got there needed to be checked out.

I haven't felt so backed up since I forgot veggies and coffee for three days straight.

But then (whew!) the machine beeped, and we saved almost $100. Go me! I was almost frugal! (FTR, I was buying clothes for Squish, ZoomBoy, and Chicken, as well as an outfit for Mate.)

Which may explain my dealings with the nice people who wanted to know if we wanted our driveway resurfaced. Not that it doesn't need it, but, uhm, BATHROOM KITCHEN HOLY GOD BOTH!

Anyway, I said, "Uhm, no driveway, we have other projects."

"Oh," they said. "Well, when will your husband be home so we can talk to you at the same time?"

I looked at the guy impassively. "It's soccer season. So, uh, January."

I left the guy gaping like a fish and shut the door.

Now, now I learn how not to spend money.


Sunday, August 12, 2018

There goes the weekend...

BTW This is an even better blog title when you have Pink's "Here Comes the Weekend" going thumpa-thumpa in your brain, right?

Anyway...

It was a weekend. What can I say? Do laundry, do dishes, walk the dogs, take a nap (notice the picture of Mate in front of the TV!), see a movie...

I mean, all told, I've had over 2600 weekends in my life--not all of them can be cracking, right?

Still... this one had moments.

*  The air quality dipped below 100 on the index, which meant that we could breathe and my joints didn't hurt. It took me a while to put the joint pain together with the shitty air, and then I remembered that I spent time both in Reno and in Denver this year, and both times the altitude fucked up my joints like nothing I can remember. Oxygen deprivation--I would imagine there's a correlation in there about oxygen and the cartilage in your joints, and how when you're not getting as much oxygen with every breath EVERYTHING HURTS. I'm hoping the worst of the air quality is over, now that California is running out of beautiful wilderness--and residential areas!!!-- to burn.

For the record? Our traitor-in-chief and usurper of the presidency, pustulating shit-bag etc. can eat a bag of dick-shaped turds the next time he wants to open his mouth about the environment and the way water works. Jesus fucking Christ--may Goddess fry that fucker like an ant with her anger. I have no mercy left in me for that fuckery.

And on a lighter note...

* We saw the Meg at the movie theater today. It was pure popcorn, omg lookit-Jason-Statham's-abs.

*happy sigh* Shark-go-boom-then-there's-pecs. I can't recommend it as therapy often enough.

Also...


* Was doing some housecleaning this weekend (don't faint--it happens) and I found this picture of the lot of us in Chicago.  That's a background, of course, but you may remember we were actually there. (The cape, btw, saved my life.)  Anyway, those of you who have been following the blog may note that five years ago, ZoomBoy and Squish were... well, babies. Nine and seven. Just looking at them makes me all verklempt.















*  Also-- I put two shirts on the couch for Chicken to use now that she's been promoted to manager and doesn't want to buy new shirts to wear in the kitchen.

You may notice an irregular guest-dog-shaped lump in the shirts.

That's Gibby's trademark burrow. Just now, we caught the little shit tugging at my knitting--I have a half-finished sweater on my yarn pile--and she wanted it over her. She's got half a dozen dog-sized blankets, btw, but before she leaves this house, I may have to make her one just for her.

I mean look at her. She's not Geoffie caliber cute, but I give her style points for trying.




















Mate folded clothes. He's always so good. His clothes end up in nice neat piles, all delineated and shit, and mine end up in semi-coherent towering mountains. Anyway, notice Steve. Notice that he left a Steve-sized spot on the bed, for Steve to Steve.

And Steve she has, as all Steves should.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Someday...

Someday the end of August won't mean schedules
.
Someday, it won't mean trips to the store for new shoes.

Someday, I won't have to worry about the right classes,

 Or the friends that didn't call through summer blues.

Someday, they'll buy all their own underwear.

Someday, they'll buy all their own clothes.

Someday, I won't have to remind them

To brush their teeth, scrub their faces, blow their nose.

Someday, they'll be over their acne.

(That's what I tell them--I'm fifty. It's a lie.)

Someday their friends won't be quite so frightening.

(Sometimes my friendships still make me cry.)

Someday they'll know how to cook,

And for dinner, I'll be on my own.

Someday they'll set off to live elsewhere

Than this crappy house, the only one that they've known.

Someday.

Not today.

Today they're still under my roof.

They're still giggling when they should be asleep.

We're still broke from buying new backpacks

And notebooks and jumpdrives and markers and glue sticks

(My God when did supplies get so steep!)

Someday, it's me and my Mate and my dogs.

Someday, we'll text when we can.

But today they're still mine, they're still young,

They're still here.

And I know--in my heart, with all my soul, in my joy,

Just exactly how lucky I am.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

*wipes brow*

Whew!

So, yesterday I finished Familiar Demon, which is the next book in the Familiar series. This is Edward and Mullins's book, and they're on a scavenger hunt that takes them into very... uh... familiar territory. I'll post an excerpt later ;-)

And pretty much the minute Kermit Flail published, ALL SORTS OF THINGS went down that should have gone on it!

So...

Starting at the top...

Racing for the Sun has a new cover. It's currently available on Dreamspinner Press, but it will be on the link soon for Amazon.com.

Now this happened for a couple of reasons.  The first was that Sonny and Ace appear in the third Fish Out of Water book, A Few Good Fish, which will be out on August 28th.  We wanted to remind people about that book, because a lot of people haven't had a chance to read it, and we needed a dramatic way to say, "Uh, hey... gritty racing action here!"

ALSO,  A Few Good Fish has a sequel that crosses over into Racing for the Sun.  Lee Burton-- a character who appears in Racing for the Sun, shows up in A Few Good Fish, and so does his love interest, Ernie. Now as I was writing A Few Good Fish, I started Burton and Ernie's romance on the blog, mostly so I could really have a feel for who they were before they just showed up in Jackson and Ellery's story.

And people really loved it, and it was something I'd planned to write--LITERALLY--six years ago when Ace and Sonny's story had just come out. After more than one pointed reminder on FaceBook (i.e.,"Amy, you are a CONTENT CREATOR for a living, stop giving us free content and write the fucking book so we can give you our money!" was said. Not subtly. Pretty much verbatim.)  I wrote the fucking book, and that's Hiding the Moon, and it's available for presale and out in October.

The cover reveal is coming soon by the way-- it's SO GORGEOUS. and it looks SO GOOD with the new Racing for the Sun cover. I'm sort of... uh.. over the moon?

So WHEW.

Good shit!

And I thought you should know about it!

So I'm going to give you some buy links, and then I'm going to leave you with an excerpt from Familiar Demon, which is the sequel to Familiar Angel. 

As always, I can't wait for you to read it.

Buy Fish Out of Water and Red Fish Dead Fish Here on Amazon.

Buy A Few Good Fish Here on Dreamspinner Press

Buy A Few Good Fish Here on Amazon

Buy Racing for the Sun HERE on Dreamspinner Press

Buy Hiding the Moon HERE on Amazon

Buy Hiding the Moon HERE on Dreamspinner Press

Buy Familiar Angel HERE on Amazon 


AND NOW...

A little excerpt from Familiar Demon...

* * *
Two hours later, Edward was hoping he didn’t fall to his death. 
“What are we getting here again?” Harry called up to him, one hand clasped firmly around Edward's wrist while the other scrabbled for purchase on a cliff face over the Oregon coast. 
Edward was hanging upside down from his knees so he had a better grip on Harry’s arm, and he had to concentrate over the blood rushing in his head. 
“An eggshell from a black oystercatcher’s nest on a cliff,” he yelled. 
“Why a cliff?” Bel called from his place securing Edward’s legs so he didn’t fall. 
“Because…” Edward clapped both hands around Harry’s wrist as Harry tried to find his footing. “The spell called for a thing of seabird in the air, an old thing from the young, one who watches over instead of dwells in the crowd.” Edward practically had the poetry memorized by now. “These birds make their nests down among the rocks!”
“Not this one,” Harry muttered with grim satisfaction. “Let go, Edward, I’m going to need both my hands.”
“Secure your piton,” Edward gritted.
“Do you really think—”
“Secure yourself, idiot! My head’s gonna explode!”
“Fine.” Harry took his hand back and pulled his piton and his hammer out, then slung the rope at his waist through the carabiner on the piton, and then wrapped the end around his arm. Thus secured, he grunted at Edward, who allowed Beltane to hoist him, feet first, up over the cliff.
Of course Bel let him dangle for a minute once he had Edward to a safe patch of grass. 
“Nice, dumbass,” Edward grumbled, arms extended so he could catch his fall. “You’re a foot taller than all of us. Must be nice to be born in the 20thcentury.”
“Twenty-first,” Bel said happily, setting Edward down. “I mean it’s close enough. In a couple thousand years, who’s going to care about such a pittance?”
“Is Harry back?” Suriel asked, turning from a cat as he walked with Francis at his heels. They’d been on watch for any other visitors to the overlook—or at least that’s where Harry had asked him to serve. Edward was pretty sure it had been a ruse to keep the two of them from seeing the dumbshit thing the three of them had just done.
Francis, at least, was not fooled. He hissed, pulled himself upright and spat. 
“Did you think we wouldn’t see that? Not one of you thought to learn how to fly?”
Bel and Edward exchanged looks. “We can’t fly,” Bel said logically. “There’s whole texts about how wizards and witches don’t have the power to fly. Sorceresses, yes. Wizards, no. I’m not sure why.”
Suriel looked carefully, neutrally, over Edward’s shoulder, and Edward narrowed his eyes.
“This is one of those God/Goddess things, isn’t it?” he asked. “And the other. There’s a rule here we don’t know about. Like, God’s children can’t fly but Goddess’s can?”
“Hm, I’m going to go check on Harry,” Suriel said, as though he hadn’t heard.
“I can fly,” Francis said, because couldn’t everybody?
“Really?” Bel didn’t sound jealous even a little. “Show us! Then you can go help Harry.”
Francis took a deep breath and held his arms out as though to balance, and then ascended slowly into the air. “It doesn’t feel like other magic,” he hollered, his white-blond hair a furious tornado around his head.
Edward stared, both impressed and appalled, and Bel whooped. “That’s amazing! I’m so jealous! Now go somewhere!”
They were so entranced that nobody heard Harry behind them, struggling to hoist his body up the cliff—but they all heard his reaction. 
“Fucking Jesus, Francis—why didn’t you just say you could fucking fly!”
Francis set himself down and smiled smugly. “Now you know,” he said, and turned cat again to trot away.
“Where’s he going?” Edward asked, and Bel shrugged. 
“It’s gorgeous up here. Let’s go kill seagulls!” And then Beltane turned into a big blond dog, woofing ecstatically and chasing the wind.
Harry and Edward watched them go, shaking their heads. “I’m…” Edward made helpless gestures with his hands.
“Yeah. Me too.” Finally Harry shrugged and held out a small ziplock bag. “Here—put that in your scary freaky little drawer organizer with the number system, and we can eat the lunch Suriel’s going to make and I’ll tell you about the next run.”
Edward took it on the bag on automatic, and was heading for the specialized piece of luggage in the minivan before the rest of what Harry said caught up with him.
“Okay—so first off, how did you know I even had that case back there—”
“Oh my God!” Harry threw up his hands. “Could you not even? What? Have I been stupid for the last hundred and fifty years?”
Edward felt a little shame. “No, brother. You’re just not great at planning.”
Harry stared at him impassively, and Edward’s remorse increased.
“Okay, okay, fine. You’re good at planning, just not great at… I don’t know. Schematicking.”
Suriel, who had been looking from one of them to the other, tilted his head. “That’s not a word,” he said, and given Suriel spoke every language known to man and beast, he would know. 
“It’s an Edward word, beloved,” Harry said, his grim mouth twisted a little at the ends. “And go schematic or whatever. But what was the other thing?”
Edward shifted uncomfortably. “You, uh, have plans for the next thing on the list?” Because he had a few for a few items, but he had no idea Harry had already prepared. 
Harry smiled, the picture of feline smugness. “Go schematic, Edward. I’ll show you my list after lunch. I’m going to go keep those two from chasing the oystercatchers. They’re a protected species, you know.” And then Harry turned cat and scampered off into the rest of the overlook park, leaving Edward to stomp to the minivan, Suriel at his heels.
“You’re not going to go with them?” Edward asked, trying to keep the surliness from his voice.
“Why are you angry?” Suriel asked, his voice kind.
Edward paused in the act of unlatching the back of the minivan and sighed. “Not angry,” he said truthfully, remembering that Suriel had been their wise and compassionate counselor for many many years before he’d been Harry’s lover. “Just… he makes me feel inadequate,” he confessed with a sigh. 
“How?” To his credit, Suriel sounded genuinely puzzled, and Edward looked at him with fondness. 
“He’s very good at everything,” Edward said with a little laugh. 
“So are you.”
“But… but he’s the leader. I thought, you know. I’d be leading this one, because… because—”
“Because Mullins is yours?” Suriel asked perceptively.
Edward sighed and started working the case with the little number compartments out of the back.
“Yes,” he admitted after a moment. It sounded even weaker as he said it.
“Well, I was Harry’s, but that didn’t stop you all from summoning me when he was…” Suriel’s voice dropped. “Bleeding,” he finished with a swallow. Harry had been dying—but had been too stubborn to summon Suriel because of the personal cost to Suriel every time he left heaven. “Everybody needs help sometimes.” Suriel’s voice strengthened. “Even Emma and Leonard needed Mullins and I, remember?”
Edward smiled and put the ziplock bag from Harry into the numbered slot in the case. “I was there,” he said mildly. 
“I know you were. It’s my understanding you followed Harry’s plan in that instance too.”
And nothing had gone as planned—but everything had turned out better than their wildest dreams.
“We did,” Edward acknowledged. But then, the painful truth. “But Francis and I got… we got left behind, you know. That’s why Francis was so out of it. Because Cass caught up with us while we were trying to find Harry.”
“Ah.” Suriel stood there, back straight, head tilted. Edward missed the wings that used to hover over his shoulders—but he could, in fact, almost see them even though they’d been stripped away when Suriel had chosen to return to earth and Harry’s arms.
“What?” Edward could almost hear the words. But not quite.
“It’s why you fuss so much,” Suriel said. “About having three backup plans to Harry’s one. It’s a good system.” His full mouth flashed a quiet smile. “Just remember—Harry learned from that too. And he doesn’t ever want to let you down again.”
Edward swallowed and zipped up the case, replacing it in the back of the car and pulling out the ice chest. 
“Here,” Suriel offered. “Let me get that. You close the hatch.”
Which probably meant Suriel had prepped the ice chest. Cooking seemed to be one of his passions, and as often as he cooked for Emma and Leonard for their family dinners, Edward couldn’t object.
“He’s never let me down,” Edward said after a moment as they headed for the picnic table. 
“He’ll be glad to hear it.” 
Edward smiled a little. Suriel’s implicit, eternal faith in Harry was a little nauseating—but it was not, in fact, misplaced. Edward needed to remember that.
Suriel opened the ice chest and proceeded to make five outstanding sandwiches with the grace of a dancer. Edward dressed them on paper plates and added chips and sodas around the table, and they finished up just as their rogue familiars trotted toward them.
“I hope you’re hungry,” Edward called, “Suriel’s outdone hims—goddammit Francis!”
Francis hissed and spat out bird feathers, then had the gall to look surprised as they floated around his head. He turned human just so he could appear innocent and said, “I have no idea what you’re talking about. There’s feathers everywhere. They stuck to my fur is all.”
Harry spat and changed form. “Of course they stuck to your fur—you ripped them off some poor bird. Oh my God, Francis—not even an oystercatcher—a seagull. Ew!”
Francis spat another feather and grimaced. “He did taste sort of like a garbage bird. Huh.”
Beltane wagged his tale once and then stood, engulfing Francis in a protective, over the shoulder hug. “And what does a garbage bird taste like?” he asked, his human ears practically perking up.
“Like chicken nuggets,” Francis said decisively. “I’ve seen birds eat those, you know, which just prove that they’re not real food.”
Edward and Harry stared at each other, mouths opening and closing helplessly. 
“Wash up,” Edward said finally. “All of you. Spigot’s behind the van. Suriel made damned good sandwiches and we can fit in another stop today.” 
Harry got back first of course, and stood on tiptoes to kiss Suriel’s cheek. “They look wonderful,” he said. “Thank you for making lunch belo—”
“Beloved my ass,” Suriel snapped. “Now that we know Francis can fly, can you maybe not dangle from a cliff next time? Good grief, Harry.” 
Harry twisted his mouth. “Still, uh, upset—”
Suriel stared at him, earth brown eyes alight with irritation, until Harry bent his head. “Of course, Suriel. I shall be ever careful of my own mortal frame. I completely apologize.”
“Thank you, Harry. Sit down—yours is the one with hummus instead of mayonnaise.”










Monday, August 6, 2018

Kermit Flail-- Summer's End!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!

So, for one thing, summer is coming to an end, and I'm not fond of the heat-- but for another, it's a Kermit Flail day, and while the offering this month is a little small, it is also MIGHTY!

First we have a story with the world's best title. Love it Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly looks like my kind of gritty angst-- I'm pretty sure there's some angst lovers out there who are gonna swoon for that storyline and this makes me VERY happy!  

And if angst isn't your thing, Eli Easton--who has written some super awesome Christmas stories and my favorite fur baby love story of all time (How to Save a Life) has written a comic western, along the lines of Paint Your Wagon, and it looks like a cracking good time! Come check out her new audiobook, Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride

And if you're into sci-fi these days, then Archie Hellshire has it! Archie tagged me on Twitter about a month ago, because apparently I encouraged him to write a couple of years ago, and he did. And now he has a book out and this makes me SUPREMELY happy. If what you do inspires people, you're doing it right, and Archie's thank you totally made my week. So come check out his book, Chance and see if it inspires you!

And, of course, it's Fish month.

Now when I first wrote Fish Out of Water, unlike other books where a series just "happened", I wanted to see our guys get closer while solving crimes together. This is my third go round with Jackson and Ellery, and these guys... well, they gut me every time. And this book was so big, it spilled out into Hiding the Moon, which is coming out in October. (It's not a sequel, don't worry--it'll just answer some questions you might have about Fish 3. Not necessary, but very hot!)  

Anyway-- Fish 3 should be a lot of fun, a lot of angst and pain, and some action in my favorite vein-- Shit Go Boom! Then there's pecs!  I hope you love it as much as I do!


Love It Like You Stole it

by Ki Brightly

Michael Levine is backed into a corner. He started tearing apart cars for the local mob with the best of intentions—to save up money to pay for his mechanic certifications and impress his crush and mentor, Ben. But Michael soon finds himself in way over his head. He knows stealing is wrong, but it’s only cars, and the insurance will pay to replace them, right? What started out as a small job to make some extra bucks soon turns into a nightmare he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to find his way out of.

Ben Jelen isn’t sure where his life is going. On the surface everything looks fine. He has a successful business, he’s raising his niece into a strong person, and he has a boyfriend most guys only dream of—sexy and rich. But nothing feels right. The only things that really keep Ben’s attention anymore are his classic Road Runner, his niece, and Michael—his Meeko. Ben took him under his wing forever ago, and their love of old cars and fast driving has forged a strong bond. Ben’s days don’t feel right if he doesn’t get to see Meeko at least once. But something seems drastically wrong in Meeko’s life, and Ben hopes he can put the pieces together to help him before it’s too late.


Buy at Amazon



Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride

by Eli Easton

Being a fugitive in the Old West shouldn’t be this much fun. The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run - all the way to Santa Fe. 

When he still can't seem to ditch his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail-order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters who want to kill him and the crazy, uncouth family of his "intended", Robby's only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is - and can't resist him.
Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up disguised as a woman and betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complicated enough, Trace finds the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. 

But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.




Chance

 by Archie Hellshire

Daniel has spent his life traveling down the same well-worn path, safe inside a prison of his own making, with tomorrow promising no difference from yesterday. Then, one unremarkable morning, he meets someone who throws his life completely off the rails. All he knows about Nathan when he first sees him is that he’s beautiful, but it’s enough to get him to board the wrong train instead of going to the office.

This one careless step off the beaten path has unexpected consequences, as the mysterious passenger is being pursued by a cadre of mercenaries after the parcel he’s tasked with delivering safely to the other side of the city. Daniel has never considered himself brave, or strong, or fast, and he doesn’t come prepared for this fight, but at the right place, at the right time, someone can do the right thing and be a hero for a victim in distress.

Together, staying just out of reach of their pursuers and narrowly escaping tight spaces, they make their way to the delivery point. And as the journey wears on, they learn more about what’s in the parcel they’re carrying, and what it means for the world if they can’t deliver it.




A Few Good Fish

by Amy Lane

Fish Out of Water: Book Three

A tomcat, a psychopath, and a psychic walk into the desert to rescue the men they love…. Can everybody make it out with their skin intact?

PI Jackson Rivers and Defense Attorney Ellery Cramer have barely recovered from last November, when stopping a serial killer nearly destroyed Jackson in both body and spirit.

But their previous investigation poked a new danger with a stick, forcing Jackson and Ellery to leave town so they can meet the snake in its den.

Jackson Rivers grew up with the mean streets as a classroom and he learned a long time ago not to give a damn about his own life. But he gets a whole new education when the enemy takes Ellery. The man who pulled his shattered pieces from darkness and stitched them back together again is in trouble, and Jackson’s only chance to save him rests in the hands of fragile allies he barely knows.

It’s going to take a little bit of luck to get these Few Good Fish out alive!

A Little Bit of Fantasy


So, my friend Berry Jello and I went to a very very tiny comic-con up in Eldorado Hills today, and we had very much fun!

Her son dressed-- a LOT--and my kids dressed -- a little. Her daughter is Faith from Buffy, and her son is Beetlejuice and my kids are just sunshine and light and Steven Universe and Full Metal Alchemist. 

It was basically fun, and I got a few pictures and wheeee!!!  (The guy standing between Squish and ZoomBoy has been Darth Vader in a number of video games, and he's also an animator and voice actor and all around animation geek, so we loved him :-)

I wore a Deadpool Knits T-shirt, and it's one of my prized possessions. Don't tell me it's dorky, I won't believe you!

Mate was at a coaching class, and we beat him home (it was a very small con) and when he got home, we got to go out to see Equalizer 2, which I am happy to say, was well worth the money.

And then? To finish off a perfect day?

Well, we came home and watched two episodes of Anne With an 'E'. 

For those of you who haven't seen this series... well, it's lovely. 

When I first told Mate I was watching it, I was almost defensive. I was like, "Okay, so you don't know what to watch next, and I saw the first episode here, and it was really good and I'm sorry but I'm going to go old lady romance writer here and watch this sweet little show about the orphan with the scrumptious vocabulary."

Mate has been entranced ever since.

I mean... entranced.

Hardcore sci-fi with lots of boobs (and some peen) floating around? Not doing it for him. 
But this sweet family drama about the plucky twelve year old who finally gets a home? 

He is SO there. 

And given it was what we were watching on our series hangover after Mrs. Maisle? I'm pretty sure we're on a roll. 

So, fantasy. I'd say we haz it.

And I'm so very grateful that we do.





Friday, August 3, 2018

Today's accomplishments...

Today's Accomplishments:

* Walked the assholes...erm dogs.

* Went grocery shopping.

* Made beans.

*  Am about to make word count.

* Answered a shitton of e-mails.

* Napped. So gloriously. It was a GLORIOUS nap.

Today's failures:

* Need to answer more e-mails.

*  Ate chocolate that I shouldn't have bought at the grocery story.

*  Have moar e-mails to answer.

* DID NOT FINISH GODDAMNED BOOK.

* Also-- I think I forgot to eat dinner. (This is a first.)

Today's observations:

* The guest dog is really frickin' attached to his little dead raccoon doll. I mean... really. We should have an announcement any day now.

* It doesn't matter which direction I walk in, or how far out of my way I walk. That woman with the two kids and the stroller and the BIG HIGH STRUNG WOOF who has a hard-on for Geoffie-- that Geoffie returns with gusto-- is ALWAYS twenty feet in front of me.

* In the little lending library in the park, I've been putting extra copies of some of my books, and then checking to see if they've been borrowed. Yes, yes they have. And not returned yet. All those self-help Christian books, though-- they're in that box forever.

Midnight Goals:

* Write more of the goddamned book

* Try not to eat an entire bag of potato chips and call it dinner

* Remember to turn off beans

Night all! 


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

What Y'all Gonna Die Mad About?

Okay--I stole the title from a tweet I responded to, and I have to admit, it made me unashamedly happy.

I vented my grievance (Happy Festivus!) and then laughed at myself.

That? I was going to die mad about that?

Well, maybe a little.

But hopefully not too mad.

Because it doesn't matter what you answer to that question--it makes you sound petty as fuck.

So for a minute, you get on your high horse and vent, right?

In my case, I'm gonna die mad because everything I tell my family and non-writing friends is total and complete bullshit--politics, past moments, philosophy, what have you-- if I say it, they assume I'm too fucking dumb to know what I'm talking about.

Oh yeah--I'm the only one with a BA--the equivalent of an MA if you count all my units in English, and two MA's if you count my Post Graduate work-- and I worked in an economically poor area with a long, hard history of gang violence for nearly fifteen years. I've reinvented myself three times, worked my way through college, and raised four children. But if I have an opinion in politics? Economics? Social matters?

It's bullshit.

Seriously-- an old family friend called to chat, and lectured me for twenty minutes on Don't Ask Don't Tell.

I told her I wrote a book about it, remember?

Well, yeah, but it was a romance book and this was real.

I almost hung up on her.

So here I am, on my high horse, bitching about my family, and dammit, I'm gonna die mad about it.

Except now that I've stomped my little foot and kvetched, it's all over.

Whatever. As far as they're concerned I'm Scott Lang, disgraced teacher, loser, who talks about things that they don't think are particularly real or important.

My Mate and kids know I'm really the Ant Man. Maybe not consistently, and maybe I fuck up, but when it counts, I do important shit that matters to people's hearts.

So I'm not mad anymore.

And that's how it goes with family.

Eventually you have to let go the small shit. The time my folks promised to help with my schooling and then bailed so they could take my sister and her baby to Spain. The time my stepbrother shot me with a BB gun and then hit me so I wouldn't tell the parents. (That was a long time ago-- that's some serious grievance.) The many times I was told, "Well, that's just the way it is. Who are you to change it?"

That's the shit you let go.

Because if I'm gonna die mad about something, it's gonna be about something real. Climate change. The traitor in the White House. My children growing up having to change the shit I feel like my generation should have gotten to already.

I'll die mad about that.

Getting 'splained to about stuff I already knew--or stuff I know way more about than my 'splainer-- is getting struck off the list.

For now.

I can be as petty as the next person sometimes, I am aware.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Necessary Nothing

OKay, so some days it's necessary that nothing exciting happen.

I had an edit, I'm behind on a deadline-- you get the picture.

So today was one of those days when a bunch of nothing added up to a pretty decent day--I'll give you the highlights and we'll call it a night.

*  Was debating whether or not to go swimming--Chicken and Stevi were here when I got back from walking the dogs, which often means my A+ in mothering comes from just being in the house and ready to make food. It's an was A, and I'm not ashamed to say I take advantage of it. Anyway, I went to register because I figured I didn't need that grade today, and it turns out I registered too late and couldn't get in.  So I stayed home and earned my easy A in parenting.

Score!

*  I had just enough cash to go get Chinese food and fried chicken from the grocery store. The kids thought I was a goddess because I didn't even cook. (We're all a little over my cooking after the last week. *sigh* I'm so over my own cooking.)

Score!

*  Got to watch three episodes of Mrs. Maisel tonight. Season 1 almost down--LOVE this show, even when it's painful. I was a lot like Midge Maisel when I was her age. Well, maybe not as funny. But I would open my mouth and spill out bibles full of truth and get destroyed and piss people off. It takes a while to realize that just because it's true doesn't mean there's not a better way to say it. 

Which reminds me. Saddest part about Hamilton? Hamilton learned from Washington, from his friends, even from Aaron Burr. Burr never learned. 

Yes, these two things are related, why do you ask?  Nevermind--another blog post.

But still, I grew a little from my Miss Maisel phase. Score!

*  Finished my edit-- score!

* Wrote 2K and blogged-- Score!

Oh!

And the sort of coolest weirdest thing today?

My walk-- which is usually like clockwork-- got totally disrupted today as I attempted to avoid a woman with a stroller, an additional toddler, and a big woof dog. Her big woof dog was VERY interested in my smaller happy dogs, and she had her hands full as it was, so in the end I walked like, an extra quarter mile trying to avoid all of them so her little kid didn't get knocked over by the woof dog dragging the stroller. Anyway--as I was walking back to my car the wrong way (uphill in the sun!) I saw two guys on the football player, sitting in chairs under the one shade tree, playing with drones. They were in their sixties, and looked very happy.

THAT is the way to spend your retirement years.

And I"m gonna call that a win too, because it gave me a goal.

Score!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Damned Offspring

So I was taking Big T home after he came over and did laundry, and as usual, he used the time to tell me how his life is going.

The conversation went like this:

Big T: *general discussion about making friends through a gaming server*

Me: That's nice, honey! You've done fun stuff with these guys?

Big T: Yeah! Also, I've been to some of the music clubs downtown!

Me: That's wonderful.

Big T: I sort of met a group of people there. I met one of the girls through a dating app.

Me: But you met a group of people?

Big T: Yes. It was fun.

Me: How wonderful!  (Everything's wonderful to mommy, yes oh yes it is!)

Big T: Also, you should sort of know, that the girl I met. I"m dating her.

Me: *less brightly*  You have a girlfriend?

Big T: Yeah. We saw each other a couple of times. She's coming over next week. I'm cleaning the house for her.

Me *a little stunned because my spawn has once again buried the lede*: So it's getting serious.

Big T: Yeah. I wasn't going to tell you at first, but then she told me we should just make it official that we're dating.

Me *thinking Really?*:  So that's when you decided to tell me?

Big T: No. She changed her status on FaceBook, and so I did too, because I didn't want her to think I wasn't committed.

Me: So that's when you decided to--

Big T: Grandma and Grandpa saw it. I didn't want you to hear it from them.

Me: Ass. Hole.

Big T: I'm sorry?

Me: Seriously?

Big T: *sighs* I'm sorry.

Me: This is so making the blog.

Big T: Fine.

Me: If I'd heard it from grandma and grandpa, you would have been on your own for laundry.

Big T: Yeah okay.

Friday, July 27, 2018

How do I look, honey?

Here is the transcript of Suzanne Brockman's 2018 RWA Lifetime Achievement award acceptance speech. You don't have to read it now--but trust me. It'll be important.

Okay-- so those of you who have followed me since the beginning are aware that my "look" has changed. Yes, older, and very much fatter, for one thing, but even more, my dress has changed.

When I taught high school I originally started dressing as professionally as possible. Classic suits, hose, nice shoes-- whole nine yards. Then I had one of those days where nothing worked right and I got to my class with my hair down, my heels in my hand and my hose shredded. Instead of laughing at me, the kids a actually relaxed around me, and while I still couldn't dress worth a shit, it didn't matter because mostly I was wearing jeans and T-shirts. Their opinion mattered, my administrations didn't.

By the time I was going to events as a writer, I was... well, badly dressed.

I mean, really badly dressed.

And I was being asked to not just go places, but to go represent. 

My first convention-- GRL, I think-- I decided to wear promotional T-shirts. I asked my husband how I looked while looking over FB posts.

"Well, you look okay, but that big white shirt isn't exactly flattering."

"I, uh, wore one of those every day."

"Oh."

My first RT I wore Hello Kitty T-shirts over black miniskirts and tights. Yes, I was over 40, why do you ask?

My first RWA--2013-- I wore jeans and T-shirts, and the sight of all of those AMAZING writers in their work clothes left me tongue-tied and defensive.

I was not representing.

By 2015 I'd figured things out a bit--and have been dressing like a grownup in public pretty much ever since.

I've become acutely aware of myself when in a crowd of fellow professionals. My wardrobe has expanded, and my self-consciousness diminished just a tad, and hopefully I've learned how to be a grownup in public--and to represent my genre much more responsibly.  It was something fourteen years of disapproving high school administrators could never get me to do, and here I was, doing it all on my lonesome.

It's taken some hard work but it's been worth it. Self-confidence--it's not that I haz it, but I can put on a nice dress and pretend.

So there I was, at RWA 2018 and dressed professionally, when through chance and fateful cockup I ended up having drinks with Suzanne Brockman, her husband Ed, their son, Jason, and his husband, Matt.

They were delightful. Jason has been a longtime reader and he's funny and charming and warm-- the whole family is just awesome. Of all things, Matt and I ended up bonding over our love of small dogs. I had a great time--and, uh, did I mention Suzanne Brockman is my hero?

Well, YEAH.

Read Hot Target when it came out. Read the preface, about Jason coming out, to my husband. Cried a lot. I think it helped make us both who we are.

And there we were, having drinks. (EEEEEEEE!!!)  And she asked me out of the blue if I wanted to sit at her table when she received the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT RITA AWARD.

I don't know if those caps are big enough, but I think you might get the idea.

And I almost turned her down.

Because I didn't have anything to wear.

All these years of training myself to be THAT person--the one who looked good and professional and unembarrassing to my genre-- and I had a chance to be part of history--and if you read the transcript
 it's AMAZING history--and I almost said no.

Seems silly, doesn't it?

But the clothes have been a prop--and a damned good one. They've been the self-confidence I still haven't developed, the self-assurance I've never had. I still spend a day and a half coming down from big conferences and crying, because the pressure of saying and doing the right thing, of not being too... too ME can be extreme. (And given that I asked a panel of medical professionals at this conference if there was a cap to how many people can see your cooter when you squish out a puppy--in those exact words-- I'd say no amount of pressure can take away the ME.)  The clothes were my defense against Imposter Syndrome. I couldn't be an imposter if I had the wardrobe, right?

And I had clothes that were good for the back of the room, where I thought I'd be sitting with my friends to cheer on other friends, but not for the front of the room.

So for a moment I balked.

But Suzanne Brockman was wearing jeans and a T-shirt at drinks, and she took no bullshit from any quarter. Surely I could find SOMETHING in the giant suitcase I'd brought for that week, right?  I mean, what sort of idiot turns that down for a DRESS?

Not this one. I mean, Suzanne would get all the attention--how hard would it be to find something blackish and watch her in awe?

The first dress was meant for a black bra--which I hadn't brought. The second dress had something wrong with it--I don't remember. I finally threw on an outfit I'd meant to wear for the signing and looked at Mate hopefully.

"Of the three outfits you tried on in the last fifteen minutes, that's the one I dislike the least."

I stared at him. "I'll take it," I said, and then I threw my phone into the stupid black purse with the chain strap that I save for trying to look classy and ran out the door.

Suzanne was awesome.

I've posted the transcript of her speech at the top of the page, so you can see how inconsequential my stupid dress was to the whole thing. I DID almost kill her with my stupid purse when she came back from the stage, because it fell off the back of my chair.  I kicked it under, as punishment, and my phone survived, so we're all okay.

But my point was this.

Props aren't bad things.

The small rituals we go through to give us the confidence to do brave things can get us through the days of drudgery when bravery is the furthest thing from our hearts and minds.

But even as we use our props, put on our makeup, find that dress that doesn't suck, look for shoes that can accommodate swollen feet, and grab a purse that doesn't look like a yarn bag, it's important to remember that props are just that--

Theater.

Props in theater help a production go smoothly, help us forget that the house isn't really a house, it's just a set, and that the beautiful heroine on stage was a total twat to us in grade school and why are we watching her in a college production again?

So props aren't bad.

But they're not real.

It's the writer who had penned the message, and the actor who delivers it with enough conviction to move us. When we're both the actor and the writer, being without our props can be scary. We're naked there on the stage of human concourse, and only our sincerity and conviction can sustain us.

That's okay.

We shouldn't let the lack of our props keep us from that stage. Even if we're up there as the audience (and how meta is THAT? God, it's late. Don't answer.)  Not having the right props is immaterial. Do we have the right message? Do we have the convictions we can be proud of?

Suzanne Brockman got up and delivered a barn burner of a speech about inclusion, and about how we ALL needed to be a part of it, and how 53% of white women voted against it, and it was our job as writers to make sure that never happened again. She told us we had voices, and asked us how we could write about love if we didn't believe EVERYBODY deserved it.

She spoke truth.

And I got a front row seat.

And nobody was going to give a shit about what I wore.

Amy and Jason Gaffney. RIGHT? Dudes... 
Because what she said was real.

I need to remember that.

Not that I'll suddenly go back to Hello Kitty shirts again, but because one of the reasons I've always had such a hard time with props is that I've had my head in the real. Suzanne reminded us of what's real.

That's really all that matters.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Hooooooooommmmmme....

I love Mate madly.

I do.

But I'm not sure I can fully impart to him the mental exhaustion of someone who does work in their pajamas suddenly subjected to ALL THE AWESOME PEOPLE for five and a half days.

I know when I get off the plane, I'm usually a babbling mess, and if I don't get a complete day to decompress, I become a screaming, crying, babbling mess.

Seriously.

I usually think he hates me and wants a divorce on the second day I get back from a con.

In this case, we spent that day in a car for twelve hours, enjoying the scenic stylings of Utah and Nevada.

The vasty nothingness of the salt flats was particularly fascinating.

The kids were like, "Oh my  God. The Morton company. For real?"

Anyway--we made it through.

We had a giant pizza--accidentally ordered by myself, the night before. I was looking at prices, thinking, "Family size," and didn't realize that in Utah, that much money bought a 26" pizza.

It barely fit through the door. We were driving down the highway with a ginormous pizza box in the back, and every now and then Mate or myself would stick our hands back and go, "Pizza me."

Only this family, I swear.

We listened to Jim Butcher's Storm Front, narrated by James Marsters, who sounded like pure sex and Harry Dresden at the same time, and Mate is now really in love with the series, so that's a good thing.  We also listened to Hamilton, and the first hour of Fool Moon. 

So, you know-- culcha. We haz it. Also, pizza.

Anyway, we made it home, collapsed, and I went and got the dogs today.

They appear to be happy.

The cats also, appeared to be happy--before we got the dogs.

And I spent my day doing... absolutely nothing.

I couldn't even concentrate to read any of the AWESOME SPECTACULAR BOOKS I got while I was in Denver.

Maybe tomorrow.

*yawn*  I've got to write just a little, or tomorrow I start ripping faces off, and then, to bed.

Cause baby, I'm home.










Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sparkly Happy Dust

Okay-- so we've been driving for six hours and I'm waiting for Uber Eats and I'm exhausted. I'm in a hotel room with the fam in the shitty side of Salt Lake City, and I'm trying to put my week into words and...

Can't do it.

Can't brain words.

What I'm going to do is babble a little about some of the high points and then, hopefully my pizza will arrive and I can curl up into a little ball and sleep.

So...

*  Dinner and drinks with my publisher and editor and promotions director. Just because we like each other's company. And because, just once, I had alcohol. And it was Denver. And I got a little drunk. And they were delighted.

* Peeps. Kate McMurray, Rayna Vause, Kathy Tully, LaQuette, Adriana Herrera, Harper Collins, Geoffrey Symon, Tere Michaels, Mary Calmes, The Book Taster, Victoria Sue, Charlie Cochet, M.A. Vance, Pamela Moran, Cindy Dees, Karen Rose, Sara Lundsford-- you guys, I can't have an event without seeing ALL OF YOU (yes, Harper--you're new, but damn, you're on my list now!) because there's just SO MUCH AWESOME.  And Damon Suede always gives me a long hug which I find I need at every event. So <3 p="">
*  Geoff Symon's autopsy class-- WOOT. K9 Search and Rescue Class-- WOOT! Karen Rose's craft class-- WOOT! Erica Ridley's Newsletter Class-- WOOT!  Rayna Vause, Catherine Bybee, Jillian David, LaQuette and (I'm sorry I forgot the fifth person!) did a medical terminology and general knowledge class that rocked my world-- WOOT!!!  There were some other classes in there I swear, but the upshot is, I learned lots and lots of useful shit.

* Sonali Dev in a sari before the librarian's luncheon. That is all.

*  Seeing Rita Clay Estrada (whom they named the RITAs after?) at the information desk. *swoon*

And finally...

*  Meeting Jason Gaffney, and his mother Suzanne Brockman, and being invited to SIT AT THEIR TABLE when Suzanne got the Lifetime Achievement RITA and then OMFG BURNED THE PLACE DOWN with a blistering, heartfelt speech about how the world--and romancelandia-- needs to open its heart and its mind to diversity...

I've got no words.

I cried.

I rejoiced.

I got ANGRY.

Jason is a fan of mine. Suzanne Brockman's son is a FAN OF MY WORK.

And I've loved her work since a little after Chicken was born.

Her story about her son in Hot Target (it's at the beginning-- it's sort of famous) is one of the inspiring moments for my own writing. It would take a few years, but when I started writing Vulnerable, her insistence that love is love is love had been beating in my heart that entire time. When Green arrived on the scene and was sad because he and Adrian had loved each other but now Adrian was in love with Cory...

Suzanne Brockman was one of the voices that made that okay for me. That made it something to celebrate.

So, yes.

I got to watch her talk about diversity in fiction in no bullshit, come and get me terms.

It was GLORIOUS.

She's more my hero than ever.

And yes-- I exploded into silver sparkly happy dust all over Denver.

I've yet to come down.




Tuesday, July 17, 2018

From Moab to Denver...

Yeah-- there's quite a change of topography.

So, I've arrived at RWA and started to say hi to my sisterhood-- I do miss authors-- they tell such wonderful stories!

Anyway--SO tired. And tomorrow is a big day, so mostly I'm just going to inundate you with pictures and run away.

But I do have a terrible thing to confess.

We were traveling through Arches, and some of the most amazing scenery known to man, when I had a horrible revelation.

There were an awfully lot of rocks with a particular shape. A sort of phallic shape. If you know what I mean.

So I know we were there to look at rocks, glorious rocks, but at times I found myself thinking I was more at a cock garden... *sings* Cocks, glorious cocks...

Yeah.

It's been a great trip, but, you know, too much driving and Amy gets weird. Er.

Also-- Squish was like, "Why are we stopping at this rest stop?"

I was like, "TREES!"

Because as glorious as the cocks, erm, rocks were in Moab, I gotta admit, the Rocky Mountains really do have their blessings.

Oh! One more thing-- Chicken sent us, "Proof of Cat."

The cats seem to be affronted that we would not just know they were alive because all was right in the universe.