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

Monday, December 28, 2020

We survived...

 The family is sort of DONE with having their picture in social media en masse--so no pics of Christmas, but that's fine. It's enough that nobody killed themselves with crafting and to know that the Christmas cards are going to be very late this year. 

That's okay. All my adult children asked for was a "mellow, calm Christmas," which, lucky them, was what we had. Of course my kids have been doing the split-family juggle for most of their lives. There used to be a whole lot more family, but still--the idea of coming to our house in the morning, eating pastry, opening presents, and staying until the afternoon felt like an unbearable luxury. And there were small bright moments during the day, as well.

*  My parents stopped by and we exchanged gifts out on the lawn, with masks on. On the one hand, yes--I was sort of dying to be hanging out at their house--my stepmom has the most adorable kitchen with tiles of chickens and well organized clean cabinets and lots of memories and I missed it. But I got to see my parents--safely--and that was good. I have the feeling that when this is all over I'm going to be like a big sugar-coated labradoodle. I'll be engulfing complete strangers in big sloppy hugs because I can. Anyway--the kids were super happy to see them, and because THEIR gifts were a surprise to Mate and me, they sparked the most commentary among the household. Most of it along the lines of "Go grandma and grandpa!" because did I mention they're rockstars?

*  We hosted the two adult children and my son's girlfriend on Christmas Eve. After the gift exchange on the lawn, I had my son's girlfriend open her presents mostly because the coat I'd ordered her (on Dec. 2nd) had arrived on December 23rd and I wanted to make sure she liked it. Ulterior motive? Me? Yes. She LOVED it. The other kids also got to open their one Christmas Eve present while she was there and Big T opened his present from Grandma and Pa and got towels. Chicken looked at them and caught her breath. "If I got towels I'd cry tears of joy," she said in wonder. Yes, she opened her towels the next day, and I can confirm she did cry.

*  Each kid had sort of a big-ticket whimsical item under the tree--except Squish. It was SUPPOSED to be a glass frog candle holder from Etsy, but the post office being what it is at the moment--and the poor vendor being from Michigan, I think, bless them all--it did not arrive. Anticipating this, I ordered them a toy--which sounds a little silly for a 14 year old, but they really love My Little Pony, and I got a collector's set, and you know what? It earned me a "Thank you, Santa!" and I'm good with that!

* Chicken did get her towels--and teared up a little. And the kids got cash from grandma, which they dubbed the "Grandparent Stimulus Check" and since I know it's going to be put to school books and rent and groceries, I think that's appropriate. Chicken also got her octopus hat--and loved it. I'm almost done with ZoomBoy's btw. Her "whimsy" item was a teacup/pot combination in the shape of a cat. She was super excited <3

* ZoomBoy was another victim of the USPS--we spent a long night in November ordering patches to put on his rock and roll vest. Unfortunately, all his rock bands are European and the patches were from Poland. They're on their way, I guess, but, uhm... You know. Maybe February? BUT we did manage to find some FunCo figurines from The Mandalorian, and Grandma made him Darth Vader pajamas. They're too big--but she can fix that. His measurements are sort of hard to fathom--he's so tall and thin!

* Big T and his girlfriend got coffee cups from Etsy--he looked at them at first and was like "Eh?" because of the delicate china blue pattern. Then I pointed up that the pattern showed Godzilla and Pteranadon and Cthulu terrorizing an innocent city and he was just as tickled as I was.

And Mate got a King's sweater--lightweight, comfy, and darnitall, he cannot stop watching the Cardiac Kings break his heart. It's good to represent.

And as for me?

I got a very funny T-shirt, some lovely bath stuff in my favorite scent, a microphone for my weekly reading on my FB page, and an Entertainment Weekly focusing on the last Supernatural episode. After finishing off Bridgerton, Mate and I started rewatching the series so I can catch up on the last five seasons. It was a lovely gift--and generally a lovely day. Now, if only I can get my Christmas cards out tomorrow,  we'll be doing okay.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Christmas and the Time of Infinite Knitting











I had it planned, you see.

I was going to make scarves and shawls and cowls for EVERYBODY I knew and loved this year, and that was going to be that.

It totally was. 



And then I got... well, an itch. I was going to make my friend Damon a sweater. I just sort of felt like that needed to happen, so I made him the jumper of many colors, and while he's still puzzled at the gift, I am happy I sent it.  And hey-- that got sent out in late October! I had two shawls down! All I had to do was make a couple of scarves, one for a friend and one for swag, and I was good! I was GREAT! I had like six different shawls started--I was bound to finish three or four of them in two months.


Well, I did manage a cowl, and then came the mommy-mommy-please sweater. Chicken washed the sweater I made her in middle school. Poof. No more sweater. Cat bed instead. She was devastated, and while I recognize that part of that was stress from finals and work, I also know that she was seriously emotionally invested in that sweater. So, I pulled a sweater out of my ear.

This one was crocheted in chunky yarn, and it went rather quickly--I'm thinking four weeks total, but in the meantime, I printed out a pattern that everybody saw and really wanted and...

I sort of committed to making two octopus hats, one for Chicken and one for ZoomBoy.

And a scarf/hat/pockets combo for Squish.

And suddenly I"m down to the wire, saying things like, "Hey, I only have ten out of sixteen tentacles to make and then it's just eyeballs and stuffing, and then I can start the second one."

Yes. Two. I NEED TWO OCTOPUS HATS BY FRIDAY. 

And so you can all see, can't you?

Yes, yes. I did it again.

Christmas and the Time of Infinite Knitting. Once again, I haven't learned a goddamned thing.

But, in other news, I had a release this week, and it's a big one, and very fun--

So enjoy!

/


Jackson Rivers has been learning how to take care of himself so he can be there for Ellery Cramer, but after eight weeks of healing, body and soul, he’s itching to get back to work. Finally Ellery gives him a simple task: pick up a file on a kid who probably didn’t commit murder but who refuses to participate in his own defense.

Nothing is ever that easy.

A horrifying game of connect-the-dots leads one case to another, to the mob, to the local high school… and a bottomless list of potential suspects and victims. The case has a lot of moving parts, and Jackson and Ellery have to work fast to make sure the machinery of the mob doesn’t mow down everyone they care about—or rip them apart.

After a year of living together, Ellery is learning to accept that Jackson can’t let an injustice stand. Together they fight to keep kids out of jail while the streets of Sacramento threaten to explode. They’d better hope they’ve learned enough about each other to keep it together, because for this case, school is the most dangerous place to be.


Buy Here

Sunday, December 13, 2020

A New Birthday, an Old Memory

The social media learning curve is a frightening thing.

When I first started blogging I was un-fucking-guarded. I held nothing back, and my colleagues read the blog and were offended.

And I started to watch my tongue--but I'm still sort of opinionated, and then my readers were offended.

And then the whole getting pulled from school thing happened, and I wasn't allowed to blog about some things, and I got very canny at compartmentalization--but I still have opinions, and I'm often classically oblivious to who's going to be offended, and I don't like to fight. I have ceased to see the win in screaming at someone who is screaming in my face. There are other ways to deal with things--dog piles online have always struck me as mob mentality, and after participating in a few, I have made it a policy to back away. 

And when I saw the venom that could be aimed at somebody with an unpopular opinion, well, let's just say that more and more I backed the truly personal things out of my online musings. The internet is no place for an opinion. It's why I tell people not to follow me on Twitter unless they want to see me ranting about political stuff. It's pretty much screaming into the void at this point--nobody really listens there. (Also kitten videos. The dichotomy is terrifying.)

But tonight, Squish came out and said, "Did we ever eat ice cream in a castle? I have this memory of eating ice cream in a castle with tarps everywhere."

And I said, "Hey-- that sounds like Fairy Tale Town," and I looked it up on the blog and read about the last time we went. We were charmed, and I remembered why I started the blog in the first place--as sort of a record of family life. 

Which brings me to wishing my oldest child Happy Birthday.

Big T is 28 today--which is stunning. I'm boggled. I remember looking at him--after they got him breathing of course--and thinking, "I am going to grow old in a heartbeat watching you grow up."

And that's pretty much how it happened. Mate and I are now Grinch-old--53 years old, for those who watch the classic cartoon--and Big T is now a promising, handsome young man. (Although I do feel myself channeling my grandmother--the one who was a piece of work, not the one who used to tell me stories from working in the OSS--and wishing he'd cut his hair.) But T will be graduating from college at the end of June--when his teachers said he MIGHT be able to read by the time he hit high school. He's living with a wonderful young woman--when he worried that he'd never be able to get people to see him for what was in his heart and not all the things he has trouble saying. And he's learning to drive, when I thought that was something he would NEVER be able to do.

So he came over with his girlfriend, and Chicken came over too. Chicken was giving T his presents and getting her sweater. I was going to wrap it, but she tried it on and almost burst into tears because she needed a mom-sweater so badly. Totally worth throwing together an emergency mom sweater the month before Christmas--sometimes people just need that long-term hug.

We didn't do anything exciting. We watched Muppet Christmas Carol and decorated the tree and bought Papa Murphy's Pizza (which is exciting because Mate and I don't do pizza like we used to so the teenagers were thrilled!) and ate cake.

And it was the same thing I've been reporting on the blog for getting close to fifteen years now, and normally it would be the most mundane thing in the world.

But this year has been so frightening. We all know it. Part of the reason I've eased up on the blogging is that my personal musings have grown dark and I don't want to share the darkness. I know how badly we all need the light.

Well, I needed the light today, and my family provided. I was feeling empty and now I"m feeling full. (But my family is all keeping its distance--that could be the pizza. We are all aware.)

In all seriousness, I usually cry at movies or TV shows at the drop of the hat, but two nights ago, I was just... too wrung out by real life to cry. And that worried me. Empathy is so important--and we are all running so low right now.

Tonight after the kids left, Mate and I watched old-people's TV and saw back to back episodes of Call the Midwife, and I was sobbing like a baby at the end of the second one. (Mate generously offered to show me Peppermint as a cure all for the sobbing, and it worked. Let's hear it for bad guys meeting grisly deaths and big explosions. Sometimes we need shit to go boom.)

There is still good in the world, and the internet can still be a place of joy. And my son is living a good life, and I can still cry at movies. 

And there is still happiness here. And still light. And I can count my blessings every damned day and cry at all I've been given. 

My children, my Mate (who did a lot of the birthday party work today--I was surprised and so pleased), and my writing--I have an embarrassment of riches, and I need to remember to share. 


Monday, December 7, 2020

Kermit Flail--Merry Christmas!




YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

Folks, we made it to December--and that is saying something. 

Congratulations for making it to the Solstice festive season, in all its many incarnations--may this year get better after the dark of the solstice, and may the new year spring bright. (And wet--saying--California is looking a might crispy round these parts.)

I know I am looking forward to doing a little reading (or a little listening, since I'm up to my eyeballs in holiday knitting!) and we've got some good stuff here!

First off, there is Elle Brownlee, who has a delightfully subversive sense of humor. Elle's offering this month is Say Yes to the Mess, and it looks like a FANTASTIC take on Say Yes to the Dress, the show that's all about weddings! Who doesn't love a good wedding, right?

Next, we've got Kim Fielding with a two-for. Kim's sort of amazing--she's been holding Zoomclasses as a college professor this year, and she's been writing up a storm! I adore her writing, and she's got a happy Carina Adores here in Teddy Spenser Isn't Looking for Love, as well as one of her gritty, wonderful urban fantasy Bureau stories, Caroled. Definitely give her a try!

Barbie, my PA, has been busy finding new writers--Raleigh Ruebins and Timothy Warren are new to me, but their books The Snow Prince, and True and Secret look fantastic and well worth the try!

And did you see the Fish?

Tell me you saw the Fish!

Yes! School of Fish is coming out next week, and I am SO EXCITED! Jackson and Ellery's fifth adventure is out, and it's got snark, action, and a soup├žon more romance--but then, it IS their first full year working and fighting side by side. (Well, my FIFTH year, given that this is their fifth book!) Anyway-- a cast of familiar characters, with an emphasis on a couple who don't usually get front and center--I hope all my A-Fish-ianados get the kind of oomph they've come to expect from a Fish book, because I sure did have fun writing it!

So there we go--something to look forward to in December, and hopefully a WHOLE lot to look forward to going forward. 

Hope is a thing, oh yes it is--May your Yule be merry, your Christmas be cheerful, your Hanukah be holy, and your Ramadan be full of peace. No matter what you celebrate, may it give you warmth in your heart and joy in your soul--happy December everyone. 

We made it to here!



Say Yes to a Mess

by Elle Brownlee

Can a fake engagement become a real marriage?

Wiley Grey is stuck in a rut. He loves his picturesque hometown, helping in his best friend’s bakery, and the house his grandmother left him. But something’s missing.

Holt Leydon never intended to become a reality TV show host. When his flamboyant brother, Kit, needed a handyman on the set of I Do!, Holt fell into the role, using his expertise to make Kit’s wildest wedding designs come true. Now he’s ready to move on. Kit has agreed on one condition: they rescue Kit’s would-be ratings bonanza “coming home” episode by making Holt the groom.

The problem is Holt needs someone to marry, and fast. Something compels him to ask childhood friend Wiley—and Wiley agrees to the pretense.

Kit gets his dramatic last episode, Holt gets off the show, and Wiley gets some artificial excitement and a “honeymoon” on the show’s dime. It’s perfect—until the grooms start wishing their pretend engagement was more reality and less TV…


Buy Here



Caroled 

by Kim Fielding

Charles Grimes hasn’t celebrated Christmas in years, so spending December in San Francisco while keeping an eye out for monsters sounds like an easy way to earn a few bucks. He should have learned by now that nothing is ever easy—not his job, not his existence as the son of an angel, and not his relationship with a formerly captive demon. It’s going to take more than a few rounds of Jingle Bells to make Charles feel the joys of the season.


Buy Here





Teddy Spenser Isn't Looking for Love

by Kim Fielding

Some people search their whole lives to find love. He just wants to avoid it.


Teddy Spenser spends his days selling design ideas to higher-ups, living or dying on each new pitch. Stodgy engineer types like Romeo Blue, his nemesis—if you can call someone who barely talks to you a nemesis—are a necessary evil. A cute necessary evil.

Working together is bad enough, but when their boss puts them both on a new high-stakes project, “working together” suddenly means:

• sitting uncomfortably close on the same plane

• staying in the same hotel room—with only one bed

• spending every waking minute together.

Turns out Mr. Starched Shirt has some hidden depths, and it’s getting harder to ignore the spark Teddy feels with every brush of their hands, with every knowing glance. He might not have been looking for this connection with Romeo, but will he ever be ready to let him go?

Buy Here




Barbie's Corner--

The Snow Prince 

by Raleigh Ruebins

He was Prince Sebastian Ambrose, heir to the throne of Frostmonte Kingdom.
But I knew him as my best friend… and hopeless crush.

My life was like a fairy tale. I grew up in the quaint little village
of Berrydale, one of the five towns ruled by Frostmonte Kingdom. I had
no money. Almost no family. But Prince Sebastian was still my best
friend.

Then the queen caught us kissing in the Christmas tree lot.

One night changed our lives forever. I was shipped off to the
mountains, and Sebastian was finally swept away to Frostmonte Castle.
Now eleven years later, I’m back in Berrydale, and I sure as hell
don’t want to be. Everything has changed. Sebastian has become an icy,
reclusive prince, set to marry a princess.

But then he’s in front of me. And I can see something broken in his
eyes. Everything in me wants to fix it. Knows I can fix it. The
feelings I’ve buried deep inside come rushing back all at once…
forbidden feelings included.

...And then I end up in his bed. His stupid, giant, four-poster, royal bed.

I swear the Sebastian I once knew is still in there, under the
frost-cold exterior. We can never be together, or he risks losing the
throne. But there’s no chance I can stay away.


——-

The Snow Prince is part of the MM Fairy Tale Romance series. All books
are completely standalone and are modern retellings of classic fairy
tales with a gay romance twist.

BUY HERE



True

by Timothy Warren 

Most people would love Alec’s life… great job… hot boyfriend… and a
beautiful brownstone in DC’s gay mecca, Dupont Circle. But within a
single night, things change…

His best friend, Demarco, supports Alec’s bold decision of seeking a
new perspective… a change that begins across the country, in a cabin
atop Beulah Mountain.

Alec was not looking for a man… wanted nothing of the sort. But a
strong-willed cowboy named Tyler enters his life as spontaneous as the
snow of Montana’s winter.

Unpredictable as a mountain storm, Alec and Tyler soon find themselves
entwined in a fierce love affair… raw, real, and unlike any other Alec
has ever had.

But Tyler belongs to Montana.

Will their passion be enough to keep them together? Will Alec learn to
forgive his past missteps and accept that he deserves the happiness
that can only come from a man so genuine… so giving… and so TRUE?

Buy Here




Secret 

by Timothy Warren

Demarco Alford works for Chandelier—a high-profile escort agency
providing secret services to government officials, foreign
dignitaries, and the elite. One night, while attending an embassy
event, Demarco stumbles upon a… SECRET

Jack Keegan works for the Secret Service—a government policing agency
providing security to the upper echelon of national and international
VIPs. One night, while working an embassy event, Jack meets Demarco
and becomes part of the… SECRET

Demarco and Jack soon find themselves entwined in a mystery involving
the son of Middle-Eastern royalty. Will Jack’s obligation to protect
his country outweigh his fierce attraction to the handsome male
escort? Will Demarco get past his inner insecurities and allow his
beefy bodyguard access to a heart hardened by experience?





School of Fish

by Amy Lane

Jackson Rivers has been learning how to take care of himself so he can be there for Ellery Cramer, but after eight weeks of healing, body and soul, he’s itching to get back to work. Finally Ellery gives him a simple task: pick up a file on a kid who probably didn’t commit murder but who refuses to participate in his own defense.

Nothing is ever that easy.

A horrifying game of connect-the-dots leads one case to another, to the mob, to the local high school… and a bottomless list of potential suspects and victims. The case has a lot of moving parts, and Jackson and Ellery have to work fast to make sure the machinery of the mob doesn’t mow down everyone they care about—or rip them apart.

After a year of living together, Ellery is learning to accept that Jackson can’t let an injustice stand. Together they fight to keep kids out of jail while the streets of Sacramento threaten to explode. They’d better hope they’ve learned enough about each other to keep it together, because for this case, school is the most dangerous place to be.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

That Moment When

The Advertisement that made me sob

So, I've said it many many times--

ZoomBoy had the things he loved pulled out from under him in a heartbeat--drama, choir, and dance-- and he has not been okay.

And I've been so worried, and tonight I saw this ad, and I lost my shit. One minute, I was knitting and sort of barely paying attention to TV and the next this ad came on and I was sobbing. Squish wanted to know what was wrong, and Mate said, "You cry all the time. Mom needs to feel that way too."

And I will never be able to watch this damned ad without sobbing my heart out, so I thought I'd share it with you.