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

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Dear Helpful Person...

To the person who posted the Yip Yip pattern on my FB group--Parker Williams, you know who you are...

First off, I would like to say, I had a handle on my Christmas crafting. I swear I did. I was going to make three of these things here:
















And then I thought, "But that went so FAST! I'm just going to make a scarf for Chicken, and I'll use THIS pattern because it's really fast TOO."

this pattern, right here.

And then I started to make it, and it felt really easy. So I committed to making THREE OF THEM, except what I THOUGHT was easy was a bust because it turns out you have to do basic maths, and there's a stitch I don't understand and anyway, it took me two weeks. TWO WEEKS in the height of Christmas crafting season.

I can't do three of them. OMG I BARELY FINISHED ONE--and, honestly, it's almost twice as deep as it should be in the picture. Because maths, you understand.

Anyway, I decided to do THIS pattern, from the Lion Brand Touch of Alpaca ball band, because hey, it's quick, it's easy, and I think I can finish three of them in OMG TWO WEEKS? IS THAT ALL I HAVE?

Wait-- what about the cowls again?

Those can wait.

BUT I have two weeks to make those big scarves and suddenly, SOMEONE, (WE ALL KNOW WHO!) puts THIS up on my feed. 

Press the link. PRESS IT, I TELL YOU.

Do you see that?

Those are YIP YIP STOCKINGS.

And... *sob* THEY'RE ADORABLE!

So I show these to Chicken thinking she'll talk me out of it-- she really liked the idea of her and her friends all having matching scarves, right?

But no. She's like THOSE hosers can have scarves, I want a YIP YIP STOCKING.

I tell her tough luck, I have no time and my budget has been spent.

So I tell Mate, thinking he will LAUGH at me, because seriously, YIP YIP STOCKINGS?  But he takes one look at the pattern and goes, "Oh. Oh yeah. You need to start those in January and make them for EVERYBODY WE KNOW!"

*sob*

You all... I've got yarn. I mean, lOTS AND LOTS OF YARN. So much yarn. And every new pattern means I need to buy MOAR YARN.

Those Yip Yip Stockings don't come cheap-- but... *sob* Did you SEE THEM?

HOLD ON BOYS, MOMMY'S COMING!!!!!!!!!!




How Many Words?

Okay-- so a super short bit today. Paint it Black is getting ready to be finished, and it's nearly 100K and yes, I know that's too many words, I don't know what to tell you.

Also, it needs another sex scene.

Anyway-- the following happened today:

Took Johnnie to the vet, where I had to hoist him onto the stainless steel table to get his shots and temperature taken.

"C'mon, you big chicken, you need to get violated and prodded and have some shit blown up your nose."

Johnnie looked at me with big Chihuahua blueberry-muffin eyes and the vet laughed.

"Gee, and you made it sound like such an awesome deal."


Also...

Went walking with Chicken, and she told me about this event from her world mythology class:

Professor: Do we have any figures that have become legendary in modern times?

Student: Elvis?

Professor: Dumbledore?


Also...

So, two weeks ago, Squish came up to me as I was working and gently touched my goddess pendant.

"That's pretty."

"It is. Mary gave it to me. She gave me a little cauldron with the trinity symbol on it, but Chicken stole it."

"You know, I'd like a necklace like that."

So we found one that was different--pagan, with her birthstone on it--and I put in an order. A week later, a tiny box showed up, but since it was so close to Christmas, it went on the "so close to Christmas" pile, and I didn't think anything of it.

Until I got a text this morning--from Mary. She wanted to know if I'd gotten my gift from her yet.

"Oh my God-- that box was for ME???"

I thought it was pretty funny. And totally her fault, right?

And now I need to check the "so close to C Christmas" pile to make sure Squish's present got here too!


Monday, December 10, 2018

GNGL BLZ

So I shit you not. The license plate of that vintage automobile driven by that charming elderly couple wearing very distinctive holiday costumes is GNGL BLZ.

It's enough to look for signs of Christmas cheer.

Such as...

*  The Lego Advent Calendar is opened and pillaged and fought over

* Strange packages arrive that Mom and Dad won't open and often can't remember ordering

*  The great debate of "Do we get the tree BEFORE or AFTER Big T's birthday" begins.

* Mom lets the kids choose Christmas music in Spotify

* The conversation in the car turns simultaneously to A. Honoring other religious holidays besides Christmas, B. Where those holidays come from, C. If we're pagan why do we celebrate Christmas again?, and, my personal favorite, D. "Why does religion seem to spawn so many wars?"  (Ugh. True, but I could do without this discussion once a year. It makes me want to stab several people with a Yule log.)

* We start watching "forbidden" movies-- Love Actually, Die Hard, Santa Clause is Coming to Town, Gremlins, the Apartment, The Thin Man-- that we save for this month actually, because otherwise they shall become commonplace, like Christmas lights left out all year long.

* Speaking of Christmas lights, uh, Mate, when were we gonna...?

* The animals get all excited because a TREE just MAGICALLY APPEARS in the INSIDE and not the OUTSIDE and we NEED TO EXPLORE THIS MADNESS!

*  I start making plans to fry chicken, a thing I do once or twice a year, usually for Christmas Eve

*  Mate and I plan his week before Christmas off to the last detail. FTR? We usually blow this plan in the first day.

* Mate starts looking up recipes for fudge.

* I start singing carols to the kids at random times when they least expect it.

* I KNIT LIKE THE WIND! ONLY SEVEN HUNDRED MORE CHRISTMAS ITEMS TO GO!

* OH. OMG. Like I was writing this list and it suddenly occurred to me that I NEEDED TO WRITE MY CHRISTMAS LETTER, like this week. Like I'm trying to finish a book and edit the SBC and I NEED TO WRITE MY CHRISTMAS LETTER RIGHT NOW AND...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Friday, December 7, 2018

Hair Cuts and Audiobooks

So, the kids and I got haircuts today--and I forgot to get a picture of Squish, but I have to tell you, she was adorable. ZoomBoy and I took selfies to, because I bobbed mine right below my ears. Looks... well, whatever. Looks like hair. I don't have to brush it anymore, that's the thing. Also, to get the inches off, the hairdresser pulled it all to the top of my head and buzzed off my pompom which was hilarious, and that was the thing.

So, eyeballs deep in stuff tonight, trying to send a newsletter, trying to do promo, and do I have a blog post for Christmas Kitsch tomorrow? (Short answer, I DON'T KNOW!) Anyway-- Super short blog post here tonight, but I thought I'd mention that A Fool and His Manny is out on audiobook!

Also, haircut selfies. Because.
ALSO, I thought it worth mentioning that Geoffie is sleeping on not one, not two, but FOR yarn project bags.


Because she can do more damage that way.

*headdesk*


Anyway, have some Fool and His Manny.

A Fool and His Manny-- on Audio
By Amy Lane

Seeing the truth and falling in love.

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

At 21, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan - he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”






Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Freebie and a re-release

 So, super quick reminder tonight!

The first thing is that I've released this story--which was previously in the Grand Adventures anthology--as a freebie on what is now Prolific Works. You can claim your copy here-- it's a teeny tiny feel good vignette, so enjoy!



Here's the blurb!

A Gentle Shove of Human Kindness

by Amy Lane

Witness the Angel Gabriel.

a.k.a. "Heaven's biggest prick"

Gabriel has been accused of the crime of hubris--and his sentence is to remember why angels protected humans in the first place. A permanent seat at Starbucks might be Gabriel's idea of hell, but it's there that he meets the irrepressible Jamie and wounded Ernie, and realizes that the human race might be worth saving after all.

It just needs a gentle shove of human kindness.

Next, I wanted to let you know that Christmas Kitsch will be re-released on Friday!

A lot of you already have this book, but it's one of my most popular Christmas stories, and it's been re-covered. If you haven't read it yet, your chance is coming!  Enjoy! 

Christmas Kitsch

by Amy Lane



Sometimes the best Christmas gift is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a rich, entitled, oblivious jock, and he might have stayed that way if he hadn’t become friends with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. When Oliver kisses him goodbye before Rusty leaves for college, Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But nothing can help Rusty survive a semester at Stanford, and he returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. But with Oliver’s love and the help of Oliver’s amazing family, Rusty realizes that failing college doesn’t mean he can’t pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas Flail, Redux!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

So two things happened yesterday!

One was J.P. Barnaby tagged me and said, "Is it too late for Kermit Flail?" And I went "I'm so sorry!!!!" And she said, "That's okay-- you can do it next month!" and I'm SO EXCITED that she's writing again and we SHARE A RELEASE DATE that I thought. "Aw... well, fine. That'll work." I was disappointed.

And then E.J. Russell tagged me and said, "Uh... didn't I have a Kermit Flail?" and I went "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" Because you all know I loves E.J. TREMENDOUSLY and I hate to let her down.

So I just decided, hey, it's my blog, and it's Christmas.

KERMIT FLAIL FOR EVERYBODY!!!!

And here we are-- KERMIT FLAIL TUESDAY!!!!

And seriously-- these are two great writers at the top of their game. E.J. writes quirky and sweet, and J.P. writes thoughtful and sad, so no matter what your flavor is, WE'VE GOT IT GOIN' ON!

Happy Holidays everybody--

May every day be the celebration of someone you love.




 Everyday Hero

by E.J. Russell

When Adam Tyler’s sister announced she was pregnant, Adam decided to move from Portland, Oregon, to Phoenix, Arizona, to fully embrace the uncle experience. However, he didn’t count on the move being delayed until three days before Christmas—and three days before his sister’s due date. And he definitely didn’t count on finding a scorpion in his bedroom. Cue the panicked calls to exterminators.

Garrett Strong doesn’t consider himself at all remarkable—his ex certainly didn’t think so—and Garrett’s pest-control business is circling the drain. Although Adam is his first new client in months, that isn’t the only reason Garrett goes above and beyond for him. He feels a real connection to the younger man and intends to do everything in his power to make sure Adam feels safe and welcome in Phoenix—venomous intruders notwithstanding.

A Dreamspinner 2018 Advent Calendar story

Buy Here




Saving Hannah

by J.P. Barnaby


Thomas Aberthol’s luck has run out. His daughter, Hannah, needs a miracle he can’t deliver. A hacker with a felony record, Thomas has little chance of finding work that will provide the care she needs. Out of money, out of options, and out of hope, he throws himself on the mercy of someone he never thought to see again.

Even after ten years, Aleksander Sanna still dreams of that drunken kiss. A perfect moment in time when Thomas wanted him. In his world of elegant code and high finance, the picture he holds of Thomas torments him in the dark of night.

Their worlds collide as Thomas interviews for the job he so desperately needs with the company Aleks inherited from his father. Thomas doesn’t get the position, but Aleks offers him a completely different kind of proposal, one suited to Thomas’s unique talents… one that will change the course of both their lives.

Buy Here

Monday, December 3, 2018

Kermit Flail Christmas!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!

Wow--Happy Holidays you guys, whether it be Hanukah (which starts this evening) or Christmas or Yule or the winter holiday of your choice.

Here's hoping it's a good one--because we have got some stunning choices at Kermit Flail and I can't hardly believe I get to pimp them all!

I want to start with the Code Name: Winger series, by Jeff Adams, because the concept-- a high school student secret agent-- is so, so cool. Jeff (and his husband, Will) are pretty iconic in the gay romance community-- their Big Gay Fiction Podcast is rapidly becoming the go-to place for fiction shout-outs and news, and Jeff and Will are warm and funny and ever so much fun to talk to. But I wanted to pimp Jeff's series, because it looks fun and exciting and action packed--and it features a normal everyday teenager who has trouble balancing being a secret agent and a personal life, and I eat that shit up with a spoon!

So thanks, Jeff, for helping me shout this out to the world--I don't just want to read it myself, I want to order it for my kids. THAT'S how good it looks!








Code Name: Winger

YA Series



High school student. Hockey player. Computer whiz kid. Boyfriend. Covert agent. Theo Reese's life is split between being a normal teenager and Tactical Operational Support agent Winger. After years of being safe behind his keyboard, he's now thrust into the field to protect his family, friends and the world.

Code Name: Winger
Audio Assault


Theo Reese is just like any other seventeen-year-old—with one small exception.

This summer all he wants is to spend time with his boyfriend, Eddie, and work on his MIT research project. His parents have other plans.

An old friend needs the help of Theo’s family. Oliver Glenwood is an ’80s music star who runs his own label. His wife and his daughter, Sofia, now a chart topper herself, are the targets of kidnappers. Oliver hopes they can eliminate whoever is behind the threat.

When Theo uncovers an even more insidious plot, the covert agency the Reeses work for, Tactical Operational Support, swoops into action.

Song files have been modified to steal personal data from devices and emit a tone that drives listeners into a homicidal rage. Theo and his parents race against the clock to stop this mysterious enemy from releasing the music on an unsuspecting populace and causing worldwide chaos.

Just when Theo thinks the mission couldn’t be more complicated, Eddie shows up in New York looking to hang out with his boyfriend.

No one ever said being a teenage secret agent would be easy.


Series Link

Audio Assault on DSP


Next on the list is Edie Montreaux's debut story--and y'all? I'm like all zooming with pride here. About three years ago I was at Yaoi-Con and Edie came to talk to me. She asked if she could "pick my brain" about how I write and I was like, "Sure!" She's a friend of Roget Ratchford, whom I ADORE WITH ALL MY HEART and I'd do anything for Ro-- talk to his friend? Not a problem. Well folks, she was organized. She had a notebook and a list of questions and she was so thoughtful-- I really enjoyed our conversation, and we've followed each other on social media since. And guess what? She took all that research and she wrote her own romance book! I'm like WHEEEEEE!!! This is SUCH A RUSH!!! It's like the greatest thank you card ever, that she took that conversation and used it and here it is-- HER romance story! Come check it out!


Spread Your Wings
by Edie Montreaux


Spread Your Wings is the tale of Sammy Connelly’s first job as a CNN Correspondent in Sarajevo in February 1992. The job and rising tensions in Sarajevo do little to calm Sammy’s nerves before the biggest concert of his lifetime: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. One of the hotel clerks, Mustafa, helps Sammy with a health scare and distracts him from the war. When Mustafa ends up in the hospital as a casualty of war, Sammy knows he’s got to get him to London, and home to Atlanta, if Mustafa will go. Along the way, they experience the largest celebrity tribute concert of our time and find “Somebody to Love.”


Buy at MLR



And next on our list is Kim Fielding, with Summerfield's Angel-- And the super cool thing about THIS story is A. Kim gives the proceeds of her self-published work to Doctors Without Borders because she's A.MA.ZING. and B. She got together with some FANTASTIC writers to put out an anthology of individually published work! Here's her website link about THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL-- come check it out--writers like L.A. Witt and R.J. Scott and Kim herself and so many more contributed to this. SO worth it!


Summerfield's Angel

by Kim Fielding



After the hard winter of 1888 ended Alby Boyle’s work as a Nebraska ranch hand, he returned to New York City in search of his long-lost family. His mother and brothers are nowhere to be found, however, and after Alby’s years of absence, Five Corners no longer feels like home. His prospects seem as dim as the nighttime alleys.

When Alby pauses to admire an angel ornament in a department store window’s Christmas display, he meets Xeno Varnham-Summerfield. Wealthy, handsome, and enthusiastic, Xeno brings Alby some temporary cheer. But for Alby to achieve his dreams of love and a real home, well, that may take a bit of holiday magic.

Buy on Amazon

Now Ellis Carrington is a very gifted writer--but she's also a very awesome friend. She writes this amazingly erotic, quirky romance, and at the same time she sends me very quirky, dry mom-memes that make my day to day SO much easier to bear. When I saw she had a new release out I HOUNDED her to put it on Kermit Flail, and because she loves me, here it is! Not Chrismtassy--but very July in December, and we all need a little bit of that!


Total Immersion

by Ellis Carrington

A college study abroad trip goes bad fast when Evan's boyfriend dumps him right before takeoff. Last thing he wants is to make nice with the preppy stranger on the plane who won't leave him alone.

Sweltering days, a shared hotel room, and embarrassing adult toy mishaps lead to an unexpected friendship. They couldn't possibly have less in common. A fact that matters less and less when they're thousands of miles from anyone they know.

Turns out Bale wants to be more than friends with Evan. A lot more. Too bad Evan doesn't believe he's telling the truth.



So Jaime Samms is a friend of mine and a very talented writer, and I was so delighted when I saw she had a new release. I was also warmed when I saw the note she wanted posted with her Flail--and since it's the holidays and we all need a little warming, I thought I'd post it here:

"I love that Amy does this every month. It's such a wonderful chance for us authors, and for readers to find new-to-you authors. I'm super excited about this book, since Dragons! and I'm just a big kid at heart, sometimes :) Thanks Amy!"

You're welcome, Jaime-- I really love doing this every month. It gives me a chance to connect with my fellow authors and help them celebrate their amazing talent and share it with as many people as I can. I'm always so grateful when people send me things to post--it means I get to throw a little party in my friends' honor! YAYAYAY!




Sunshine in the Dragon's Heart

Jaime Samms

When Sunny retires to the northern Ontario wilderness to mourn his parents’ deaths, he’s hoping the change of scenery will afford him some peace and quiet.

His hopes are soon spectacularly dashed.

In self-imposed exile, dragon Emile runs across the Fold between his dimension and Sunny’s—and right into Sunny’s arms. Centuries out of touch with human culture, bright, beautiful Emile incinerates any hope Sunny had for an ordinary existence. With dryads and water sprites coming to life all around them, Sunny can’t deny the magic Emile brings to his life—or his heart. But that same magic leads the unrelenting dragon who would keep Emile captive right to them. To save his love, Sunny will have to reach deep and find some magic of his own.

So this next one is... damn.  

I'm like so honored to get to host it.  

Tere Michaels is one of the first people in this genre to write everyday people and to take them seriously and to make it possible that a cop or a security expert or your neighbor might be gay or bisexual and that their story is just as beautiful as anybody else's. 

Faith and Fidelity is an iconic book, and over the ten years since it's release, Tere has never let the story die. This is the final release in the seres--a wrap up of all the characters we've loved so hard for so long. I'm pleased to announce Forever and Ever by Tere Michaels will come out from DSP this month.

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

Forever and Ever

by Tere Michaels


A Faith, Love & Devotion Anthology

What happens after the story ends?

Join Matt, Evan, Jim, Griffin, and their friends and families for a glimpse of what happens after happily ever after. Between growing up and growing pains, weddings and retirement, changing careers and changing diapers, life is never boring. Changes, decisions, tears, and joy await as the years march on.

Buy at DS


OH!

And then there's me :-)

I have two releases this month. Christmas Kitsch is a re-release--it has a new cover, but not much has changed on the inside, which I think pleases the people who loved it the most and there does seem to be a lot of them. I'm so proud to have this story out under Dreamspinner now. It's always been one of my favorites and DSP is my favorite home.

Below THAT is this year's Christmas story, Homebird. 

Sometimes writing a story is building a dollhouse, detail by detail, moment by moment, everything is carefully crafted and put in its place.

But sometimes it's like hitting a perfect chord in one go. You assemble all the ingredients in your head, play your instrument, and AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH... You can hear it in your head. All the elements. It's exactly how you wanted it to be.

Christmas Kitsch was like that-- and so was Homebird. I really love both these stories, and while neither of them concentrate so much on the holiday as they do on the people, for me they will never cease to fill me with the sort of joy and contentment that I want to give people when I write a holiday story.

So I hope--whatever your holiday-- that you find your joy and contentment and your perfect chord.

And I really hope you enjoy your reading!

Happy Holidays!

Amy

Christmas Kitsch

by Amy Lane

Sometimes the best Christmas gift is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a rich, entitled, oblivious jock, and he might have stayed that way if he hadn’t become friends with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. When Oliver kisses him goodbye before Rusty leaves for college, Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But nothing can help Rusty survive a semester at Stanford, and he returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. But with Oliver’s love and the help of Oliver’s amazing family, Rusty realizes that failing college doesn’t mean he can’t pass real life with flying rainbow colors.



Homebird 

by Amy Lane



Crispin Henry isn’t an adventurer. He learned early on that the world is a frightening place and that home is rare and precious. If his friends didn’t drag him to sports games and ill-advised trips to Vegas, he wouldn’t get out at all—and his trip to Munich for Oktoberfest is no exception. But it’s there that he meets Luka Gabriel, and he learns to take a chance.

Luka is a free-spirited world traveler, working at Oktoberfest to feed his enchantment with new places and new people. His only possessions fit in his backpack, and he depends on the kindness of strangers for a place to sleep. Crispin should know better—but he takes Luka’s hand anyway, and together they turn three nights in Munich into the relationship neither of them has been brave enough to risk—and neither can let go of.

When Luka turns up on Crispin’s doorstep before the holiday season, Crispin takes him in on hope alone. Yes, he knows the odds are good Luka will flutter out of his life again and leave him bereft, but isn’t it worth it to see if Luka is a homebird after all?





Alpaca Wool Underwear


Okay--so our winters here are usually pretty temperate--I admit that.

But we do live within 45 minutes of the Sierra Nevadas, and the snow line.

In fact, Foresthill, where Green's Hill is fictionally located, is RIGHT ON the snow line.

So, Squish had three games there this weekend, in all flavors of winter.

There was the first game, on a snowy field that you had to scrape to see the lines. 

There was the second game on the same field, but during the freezing sleeting rain--you could see the lines, but brrrrr...

And there was the third game under the bright, crisp sunshine in the 30 F cold.

I can't tell you which of these games she hated more or which one was harder to sit through--but I know that THE ENTIRE FAMILY'S CORE TEMPERATURE has BARELY returned to normal.

And this picture, taken with me knitting with Gibbs on my chest last night was wonderful only because I had one dog on my chest and one on my lap and they were like little furry boob warmers, and since I'd almost frozen my tits off, that was a GO.

Also, as I said to my friend Greg, who got the gray and purple hat and mitts I showed here the other day, after spending the weekend experiencing REAL winter (and not even deep winter at that) I wanted to knit ALL of my friends in the northeast and midwest some alpaca/wool long underwear. 

Because baby, that was cold outside.



Thursday, November 29, 2018

Challenge Accepted-- well, a little

So, I'll be honest.

I gave up with the GIANT CHRISTMAS KNITTING QUEUE about six years ago.

The people I love get knitwear when they ask for it, I'm always working on something and I'll give it to them when I'm done.

But as this Christmas approached I had... urges. Unholy, unhealthy, inescapable urges.

I wanted to KNIT for people.

People I hadn't knit for before. Or hadn't knit for in a long time. Or just... people. *gestures vaguely* I'll be honest--it might have been ZoomBoy asking me to knit the Infinity Mitten for him, but I have a BIG cache of patterns so it might have been building for a while.

Anyway--

This pattern-- Incognito, found on Knitty-- is one of those things I wanted to knit for a friend. This one's for a specific friend, but if I can overcome my aversion to duplicate stitch and sewing (and there's a LOT of it in this pattern!) I may make a couple of them for other friends.

I don't know what to tell you. The mustache... OMG the mustache.

Anyway... Blogging may possibly become a little spottier as this urge continues... but I promise to post pictures.

BTW? This mustache is called "Snidely"-- there are two other types on the pattern-- Buckaroo and Poirot.

I gotta tell you, knitting as a warm, squishy, hilarious joke is one of my favorite things :-)

Also? Squish told me she wants one with an entire cartoon face on it. I told her she had to create the graph. I think she's thinking about it.

So there you go.

The evil urges of knitting for Christmas.

May Goddess save my soul-- preferably before 4 a.m. Christmas morning as I'm trying to crochet a doll and a complete set of clothes for it before the kids get up for Christmas.

Yes, I've done that before.

No, I don't still have the dolls.

But I must tell you--  Big T's doll looked so much like him as a kid, I put one of his old onesies on it. He loved it. It was adorable.

*sigh*

Yeah. I'mma need a wake up call. Hopefully when I'm done with the rest of these Incognito cowls...

Scuse me--I'm running away to knit.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I'm Writing

Oh God the laundry... I can get to it... but my characters... but I'm writing.

The kids are talking in the car and I don't hear them.

I'm writing.

That e-mail is pretty important... that newsletter... that blog post...

I'm writing.

But shouldn't you be planning dinner? Christmas? Oh my God, have you even thought of shopping?

I"m writing.

Mom! Are you coming to pick me up???

On my way! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

I'm writing!

Oh, there's that edit I've been talking about...I'm on it... I'm reading it... wait--I forgot that part where my people do--

Oh Jesus, am I writing again?

I'm writing.

And even when I'm not at my keyboard...

On my walk,

In the car,

Doing dishes,

Cooking dinner...

I'm writing.

They're in my head--they have more to say--can't you hear them?

Can't you see?

They're fighting and fucking and fooling around and they're just so real--

Here... Let me show you.

I'm writing.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

ZoomBoy's rabbit hole...

I got a long, sad hug from ZoomBoy today, and I kept it going as long as I could, until my shoulder went to sleep because boy has bones like razor blades.

He fell down a music rabbit hole and ended up at "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel, looking up all of the political events that started it.

"Mom, I know this is a sad question, but has there ever been a time when mankind was not at war?"

Fuck.

"No. In fact, when you read the Christian myths, you'll see that Adam took a bite of the apple of knowledge and was cast out of Eden-- it essentially means that once you have free will and knowledge of the world, you can't escape conflict."

"Never?"

"No, honey. It's why Puritans taught, 'In Adam's fall sinned all.'  I mean they interpreted it to mean that we're all damned because we're evil, but I think it was more basic and less black and white than that. It means that once men have knowledge and free will, doing the right thing--and deciding what is right--gets harder and harder. And it's scary. I'm sorry."

He hugged me harder.

"This scares me too."  Oh God, does it. Have you lOOKED outside? Have we SEEN what our vile, corrupt, ignorant, syphilitic turd of a governing body has been doing to our world? Jebus fucking Christmas. And the puckered angry white men who think that's okay-- I am constantly angry. Anyway, I needed to give my kid hope. "The thing I keep reminding myself is that the small kindnesses we do matter. We can't control the actions of corrupt and powerful assholes who want us all dead. But we can be kind to the people in our lives, no matter how small. We can take whatever power we have and use it for good. "

"Yeah."

"Also, we can listen to Springsteen for a while-- he believes in redemption."

"Yeah! He does! Okay! I'll do that!"

So there you go. Small kindnesses and Springsteen. I won't tell him that I cry in the car a lot out of fear for my children, for their generation. The kids have both learned about "duck and cover" in the last couple of years at school, and I told them that yeah, I had nuclear bomb drills when I was a kid.

"But that's so stupid! It wouldn't do any good! You'd be dead."

"Yup."

"So what's the use of having the drill?"

"You can plan how to make yourself right in your heart if it ever happens."

"What would YOU do?"

"Well, I'd try to get us all home. So we could sit and talk and hug and tell stupid stories until we couldn't anymore."

"That's a good plan. We like that plan."

I don't tell them I hate that plan. I would rather plan to die old and happy and know they were living good lives in a better world.

But you have to tell your children what will give them peace. They're smart, my kids. They see the news. They see Mate and I trying not to fall into anger and despair.

Our plan has always been each other. It's still a good plan. It's the best comfort we can give.

Also, Springsteen. Can't hurt.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Leftovers

Okay, so for starters I made turkey + gravy w/mashed potatoes for dinner, and set the turkey carcass to slow cook for soup tomorrow.

*happy sigh*

Boy, do I love leftovers.

I also, I confess, have a thing for yarn leftovers.

The red and white hat (which is NOT color true at all because the couch is oxblood and we have zero creditable light sources in our house right now) I made with these two random balls of chunky yarn that was just sort of hanging around my stash. I kept looking at it thinking, "Uh... I have no idea what I'm going to do with this..."

JUST enough for the hat and the ragged floof ball on top.

It looks like a candy cane.

It doesn't have a destination yet, but I'm pretty sure by the time I'm done with this year's crafting I'll find one. btw-- the yarn is a multi-ply 50% wool, 50% acrylic-- I used the original yarn for a blanket for Chicken, because I got it on sale. Did the whole thing in K1, P1 rib and while it made me want to slit my wrist with monotony, the blanket is still on her bed and doing very well.

The little gray set...

Not so much a leftover, but a repurpose. The original batch of yarn was meant for a big poncho that I never got to, with several gradations of dark purple fading to light purple fading to gray. And then I used a skein of the purple tweed for socks, and then a skein of gray for mitts for a guy, and then I got a request for the same thing in gray again.

And I kept hearing Nathan Lane in the back of my head--that quote from BirdCage. "It does want but a hint of color."

So I broke out that gray purple and went to town.

And there was enough of both for the hat.

So I'm feeling very smug about leftovers right now. Seems very thrifty, right? Very, very thrifty...

Sh... don't tell anybody, but I have SO MUCH RAW YARN in my house right now, I could knit a hat a day for the rest of my life in any color, and there would still be boxes of it left when I die.

But the illusion of thrift...

We take our props where we can.

And I have to add here-- you may notice the gray mitt/hat set on the back of the couch. I have to admit, I had a sad little moment there. I set it up to block and thought, "Well, I don't know why I'm spending so much time making sure it's straight--Gordie's gonna come sleep on it almost immediately."

Damn cat hated me, but he loved my knitting, and not having him come make sweet lurve to my blocking knitwear is pretty damned sad.

Fucking cat.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

*burrrrrrrrrp*

*covers mouth*

Scuse me.

It's been a long couple of days of eating.

So, since you last saw Squish's crown, the week has gone like this...

Wednesday-- clean kitchen. Cook for Thanksgiving.

Thursday-- start with the following conversation with Chicken on text:

Chicken: So, you're coming to get us so we can carpool to Aunt Teresa's, right?

Me: Uh...

Chicken: I don't remember how to get there.

Me: Okay. What are you bringing for food?

Chicken: Uh...

Me: *racks brains* No, no, I have enough food to justify bringing seven grownup eaters to the family gathering.

Chicken: Seven? How are we seven?

Me: We are picking you guys up on the way to get Grandma Alexa in Sacramento before we go to Ophir. (For those who know the area, we are talking about a forty mile loop, one way, and then we have to do it reverse, the other way.)

Chicken: Oh... okay. We'll be ready!

Me: *hangs up*  BATTLE STATIONS, EVERYONE, WE ARE LEAVING IN HALF-AN-HOUR, OPERATION FAMILY THANKSGIVING IS A GO! REPEAT, A GO!

But the dinner-held at my Aunt Teresa's--was really lovely, and for once, we didn't have to run away to go to another dinner.

Friday: My friend Berry Jello and her kids came over to our house to help us clean. And we cleaned. I mean, the house isn't GREAT, but the kids are like, "We haven't seen this much improvement since sixth grade!"

Berry Jello is a saint and I haven't knitted nearly enough for her.

That will change.

Saturday: Sent Mate out to store in early morning for a pan to put the turkey in. Mate sent me back this picture, and brought home a cookie sheet.


Berry Jello and her kids and my older kids and Chicken's friend (Guest Dog Gibbs's mom) all come over and I cook and cook and cook. I ask Mate to come help me with the turkey and he grabs two knives, pirate style, while I try to grab the dripping bag so we can save the drippings for the pot. The cookie sheet is NOT deep enough for the drippings, the bag MUST be saved, we are NOWHERE NEAR THE SINK.

And the following words are uttered:

ABORT ABORT ABORT! The turkey has broken, repeat, THE TURKEY HAS BROKEN! Somebody get us a pan! OMG EVERY PAN IN THE HOUSE IS DIRTY! THE TURKEY HAS BROKEN! THE TURKEY HAS BROKEN!

We eventually found a pan, while the double skewered turkey dripped a combination of root beer, turkey drippings, dressing, and butter on the quickly failing cookie sheet. The turkey wasn't just falling off the bones, folks, the bones were falling off the turkey.

Hey-- it was the OPPOSITE of the turkey from the National Lampoon.

I try to clean up at the end, but my back decides it's done for the weekend and I sit while Mate serves me and then cleans up.

We watch MST3K. It's hilarious.

Everybody eats pie and waddles home and I am happy.

LATESGIVING ACHIEVED!

Sunday: Mate wakes up early to bake a strudel--which is apparently a pie with a chewy crust. (I'll be honest. I prefer pie. But he was so proud of his strudel!)  Some of the strudel filling leaked out onto the burner from the cookie sheet. A friend of the family told Mate, "This is great! How'd you get the crust to taste smoked?"

"Well, first you use the wrong kind of pan..."

And anyway-- we took the strudel to my parents place and had Brunchgiving, which was nice. We missed them for the holiday.

Maybe next time, I'll just cook once!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Every Princess Deserves One...

OKay, so I admit, I was one of those parents who would give the other kids birthday presents on the one kid's birthday. Nothing huge, and the birthday kid was definitely the star of the show, but everybody knew I was a little bit of a pushover during birthday shopping.

Everybody wants to feel special.

But the Infinity Mitten was a pretty big act to follow, and I really didn't expect any requests.

But then, some smartass (*kisses and love* to Kris Marshall Gray on FB) posted THIS on FaceBook -- and I thought it was so cute, I showed Squish.

And she WANTED one.

And it looked quick and easy (SO quick and SO easy) and, me, having that mind that has to do things one better, said, "You know... we still have jewels leftover from ZoomBoy's Infinity Mitten..."  (SOOOOOO many jewels. So many. I tried to push them on a friend-- THAT many jewels.)

She actually picked out the jewels before I even made the first stitch.

And tonight, she had her brother help her glue the jewels on. (It was a BONDING experience... get it? heh heh heh heh...)

And the result is an ear-warmer meant for a princess, who is not too old to want to be a princess.

And a mom who feels like a queen :-)

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Christmas Special

 Okay--where should I begin?

My first story for Dreamspinner was a teeny tiny novella titled If I Must. It sold decently, and since then--Christmas, 2009-- I've released one to two Christmas stories every year.

Some of them were novellas.

Many of the novellas have been bundled in one form or another, so it's possible to get them in paperback.


The longer novellas either haven't-- Freckles is the one I can think of, or have been lengthened to be available in a paperback-- and that would be Regret Me Not. 


A word about Freckles. Freckles has changed publishers--and while the first publisher released their 40K novellas in paperback, Dreamspinner Press does not. Freckles will be recovered and made available in March I think-- but only as an e-book. BTW? The cover is still adorable, but DSP is doing cover reveals and it's not available yet.

A word about Regret Me Not. Originally released as a novella-- 40K-- I loved the guys so much I wrote about them all year, and now have enough for a paperback. It will be released in paperback format for those of you who want it, and I'm pretty sure the extras will be available as a free download for everyone who already purchased the book. For everyone who hasn't, the price will go up when it's re-released, and you will get a 60K-ish short novel length book. Yay!

A word about Christmas Kitsch.  Originally available from Riptide with a different cover, this will be rereleased on December 7th. Nothing has changed. Okay. One thing. Rusty's going to Stanford instead of Berkeley-- don't ask me to explain why, it makes me stabby.

A word about Candy Man. Candy Man is a novella, and it became the first in the series. If you're a sucker for paperbacks, it can be found in the paperback of Bitter Taffy as a sort of free insert at the beginning. That makes the total EBOOKS in the series FOUR, but the total PAPERBACKS in the series, THREE.

And now, about Winter Ball. Winter Ball was a novel to start with, and it's now the first of the series. The second is Summer Lessons, and the third--Clay and Dane's story will be written this spring. (I'm excited about this!) The books will also be recovered because I love these books and although *I* loved the concept of the covers, I think we've firmly established that I have no taste, so the publishers are going to try with somebody who DOES have taste and see if we can't cheerlead these books to a little more notice.

So we're on to The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters, which is a name so long I'm not typing it again. Anyway-- this too became the first of a series, four books in all, but the first three were short form. So the firs three-- Winter Courtship, How to Raise an Honest Rabbit, and A Knitter in His Natural Habitat, were all bundled together into The Granby Knitting Menagerie for a paperback. The last book in the series--Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair is full novel length and available in both formats.

And now for the big bundle.  If I Must, Christmas With Danny Fit, Turkey in the Snow, Puppy Car and Snow, and Going Up! are all fluffy, tiny, adorable, fun Christmas confection stories that are all of the sweet and only a touch of the tender, just to make the sweet taste better. Anyway, all five of those stories have been bundled into An Amy Lane Christmas, and are available for a bundled price (which is a pretty decent price, after all) but they are also available by themselves.

So there you go.

That leads us to Homebird, which is out on December 18th, and which will get it's own page as we draw near because I SO want to talk about this story-- there's oh so much to say!

All of my Christmas stories are special to me. You might have noticed but I'm sort of obsessed with the "Oh my God, how bad could it get?" scenario, and you'll never believe me when I tell you-- I pull my punches. Even in Stain, I pulled my punches. Even in Chase.  In my Christmas stories, I never punch. I may give a little ear flick, just to deepen the happy, but I never punch. There may be some melancholy, and even some conflict--but I never punch. Holiday stories (and some of them are TRULY holiday stories and not Christmas stories at all. They're sort of NEAR Christmas, actually) are meant to make us feel good--not worry.

So these stories are sweet. They're tender. They're not too scary or too angsty, and you never doubt the two people are going to end up together. The families are going to relent if there's friction, and the dog will always be okay.

These are miracle stories, and we all need some of that in our lives.

I hope you all enjoy them--and it's very possible there's a couple here you haven't read before.

I know I have to go back and count them every year I post.

And I'm always sort of proud.

I mean-- that's a heckuva lot of happy, right?

Yeah. Happy holidays everybody-- and VERY happy reading!

OH! A word about Bells of Times Square-- I loved this story, but it's not included on this list. Bells is sad--it's chest rippingly sad, and the HEA has been hotly debated. It finaled in the RITA awards, a thing I'll always be proud of, and if you're interested, I posted the link above. But this list is about the happy, and Bells doesn't really fit. That doesn't mean I don't love it, just means that for most of us, who so desperately need to hear laughter and joy and goodness, now is not the time.

So here are the happy stories-- go forth and read and know the world with a happy, sunshiny yellow glow. The hard shit is hard enough-- let's embrace some joy.

Amy



















Strange Days

So, California caught fire, and our air quality has been dismal and the world is topsy-turvy and upside down.

Most of California's outdoor events have been cancelled for the past weeks--including soccer--and the kids got Friday off school because just walking from class to class was killing them.

I've been taking the dogs for their walk because they get so damned restless and things are slightly clearer in the morning, but once we get back? We're done. The end. Exhausted. We've got nothing.

On Saturday, I was lucky-- because I didn't have a trip and there wasn't soccer, I got to go to my local chapter RWA meeting, and they were lovely lovely people and I want to go back again. *crosses fingers*  It's just that I want to be a part of them. They're really great. Then we went out to lunch and saw a movie-- Fantastic Beasts--and then came home.

And I fell asleep at eleven o'clock because that was a lot of hard work when you can barely breathe.

So today, I took the dogs walking and... *wheeze wheeze wheeze*  Like I said. The end. That's all she wrote. Except I DID get writing done, and even though I'd planned to get housecleaning done instead, the writing was good, because I've got multiple deadlines and that was some work down.  But the house, tho... I had so many plans.

Mate did not.

He did the dishes and later made corn bread to go with our soup for dinner, but everything else he tackled was administrative. For example, everybody's car registration is now completely taken care of. Yay!

But I guess the grimness of not being able to go outside and really do much didn't set in until I got back from the walk, exhausted and eyes itchy and just tired of trying to breathe the density, and I found my kids both wearing their pajamas at one in the afternoon.

They were both like, "We understood that nobody was really going to expect anything from us today. This appeared to be the appropriate uniform."

Frankly, I didn't have the energy to go a different way with that.

So here's hoping for rain and cleaner air tomorrow.

Here's hoping for total containment of the fires in Paradise and Chico.

Here's hoping for aid to the people who've lost their homes and need help and money and geez-- just gas to get out of Chico and go to their own families.

Here's hoping for leadership--I have hope for the sitting governor and the governor elect who can both get shit done.

And here's hoping the traitor from the White House gets out of our state as soon as possible. He's making the air quality worse.

Friday, November 16, 2018

ZoomBoy's Birthday

So, the thing is, school is canceled tomorrow due to the smoke in the air--and it's just as well. The lot of us are headachy with itchy eyes and the whole family is waking up and coughing like 80 year olds after a cigar and whiskey bender.

But the thing is, the kids got to stay up tonight.

Which was unfortunate in a way, because I had planned to stay up all night and make ZoomBoy's gauntlet.

But the more I worked on it, the more fascinated he became.

I mean, the original plan?

Was to have it in a box all finished, with some purple felt and package fill representing Thanos's severed arm sticking out of the back.

But he watched me make it, and came and asked where the gems went, and it was twelve o'clock as it was.

"Do you want to glue the gems on?" I asked uncertainly. I mean, I'm supposed to be making it for HIM.

"YES!" He got so excited!

"Uh..." And I paused here. My family knows I'm not good with secrets, but this one was SO GOOD. "Uh, do you want to set it up in the box? We were, uh, gonna--"

"YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!"

So, ZoomBoy has helped finish AND wrap his gift.

Because it's cool.

And funky.

And fun.

Pretty much just like my fifteen year old son. Who stayed up until 1:30 tonight watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind with me so he could see the end of the movie--AND his birthday present at the end.

He's sort of the best.

He's the funniest, and the smartest and the coolest and the funkiest and the most awesome ZoomBoy a mom could wish for.

Although if he wants me to top the Infinity Mitten for another birthday, I really COULD wish for some more heads up.

But other than that?

It's perfect.

(btw-- he is trying to pose with the glove doing the Thanos snap from the movie, but it doesn't show off all the jewels... just saying, we do love a bit of detail here!)