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

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Thankful

 So I had a massive fasciitis flare up yesterday and I've spent pretty much all day stoned on Flexeril and Ibuprofen so let's see how coherent I am.

... probably not very.

See, I know I promised to blog more, but I've discovered that when things get super intense, I get super quiet inside. It's like I can only deal with a little bit of something at a time, so I smile, get through the social sitch and then process everything later. 

Unless shit is really bad, in which case I run for my room to cry, but that's something I try not to do a lot.

Anyway--so remember when it rained super much a lot? We were all pretty stoked that it happened, and still are--although we need it to do that about three more times, plus snowing in the Sierras for me to be comfortable showering every day. But when that happened, Chicken's apartment got flooded, and when the landlords came to assess the damage they found mold--that they sort of refused to remove or pay for. So Chicken's roommates decided to move--who can blame them?-- but they wanted to move out into their own apartment because they're a couple. Chicken can't afford her own apartment because fucking California rent, and as a result, asked to come home.

Her old room had been remodeled for Squish, so we said, "Sure--you don't have to pay us rent, but you have to do most of the remodel on what is now the storage room." She's in the middle of student teaching right now, but, well, Mate and I are in the middle of our own jobs which pay the mortgage on this crumbling piece of crap, so we knew it was going to be stressful but that was what we could manage.

The last two weeks have been her mad scramble to order her siblings around to clear out the room. She was super stressed thinking it wouldn't be done, and ignoring the fact that her father went in to work on it during the downtimes. Super small house, not a huge room--two people, maximum, can really get a handle on the work there. So she would get here and go, "OH!" And then stress out again because she had to be moved in by today.

She is moved in by today--thanks to a fairly herculean effort by almost everybody but me, because I mostly get in the way with jobs like that. My job was a little smaller--I had to get ready for Thanksgiving and then cook. We were having Chicken's roommates over, and my own dog walking buddies, and it was a large gathering for our mall, crowded house. I got it done--and even got some of the leftovers taken to my bio-mom the day afterward--but yesterday, my foot started cramping up. Being on my feet for three days, apparently, followed by a long stint of driving with not enough walkies. By last night, getting to the bathroom was super painful. Today, like I said, I spent the entire day stoned on Flexeril and Ibuprofen while my family and household changed shape around me, and my oldest, Big T, asked me why our family was like this?

I ran out of patient answers. I don't know why we're like this--why are our bathrooms falling apart, Big T? Your father was going to use his sabbatical to fix one of them, but he spent the whole time teaching you to drive. Why are our couches falling apart like they are? Well, you and your brother have been flopping your asses on them like trampolines for going on ten year now! Why do we have so much yarn?      Because buying the yarn keeps me from losing my shit about the house--yes, I'm aware it's a self defeating cycle, but when was the last time anybody offered to help dad with a house chore unless it benefitted you personally? And I realize this isn't entirely fair--mine and Mate's choices are our own, but  Squish has friends with much nicer houses too which I've heard about all week, and generally having your kids call you white trash is rough on the old self esteem.

I don't know what to tell them--or rather, I do, but what I want to say isn't polite. It's probably being in pain--and being on painkillers--because I can usually handle their criticism better than this. It might also be the worry that having one more person living here is going to change our dynamic for the worse. Or that our living room is so full of crap we can't fit a Christmas tree. I don't know--whatever it was, I know I didn't have a handle on my emotions or my ability to rein them in today.

Which is too bad.

Because I had a really nice Thanksgiving. All of that cooking was appreciated, both by Chicken's roommates, my family, and Bob and Sue. Bob is my dog walking buddy and Sue is his charming wife, and I have to tell you that when I talk about a full house, we had a six-Chihuahua Thanksgiving.  Chicken brought Carl, her roommate brought Guest-dog Gibbs, Bob brought Dude, and I had my own three to add to the mix and Thursday was raucous and delicious and fun. 

That wasn't the only part of the day that was great, either. At noon, we popped the turkey into the oven and then Mate, Zoomboy and I went up to my dad and stepmom's to visit with my stepbrother and stepsister, and while I see Casey a couple times a year, I do NOT see Todd--and it was really good to be in the same place with them on a holiday. I was so happy to get a chance to see them--and we got back to our house before the turkey was done, so I felt like a fantastic meal planner right there.

Friday, I took some leftovers--and a Chihuahua--to go see my bio-mom. Now, some of you are thinking,  "Why not Geoffie?" which is fair, because she's the cutest and the best behaved. But Ginger will bark at strangers--but not at friends. Geoffie will bark at friends because she sees the bork as sort of a "Hey, how are you?  Yeah? How's that going?" and she will bork at people as they are scratching her behind the ears because it's only polite to keep the conversation up. But Ginger, once you pick her up, as long as there's no other borking, will simply curl up in your lap and cuddle. 

So that's all she had to do while I spoke to my biomom. And there I was, holding this neurotic dog who was looking around the picnic area skeptically when Ginger spotted her mortal enemy: a chicken. This dog--who is not too graceful anyway, because her legs are like way longer than her body did this tremendous SPLANG off the picnic table to get that damned chicken. She didn't, of course--I had her leash looped around my wrist because I try not to be stupid. Anyway--the moment was hilarious and I think Alexa enjoyed her pie, and, well, it was another good day.  We will not mention the moment when I got home and discovered that the room--which had been repainted this glorious "hushed rose" color that I adored had been "splattered" Jackson Pollack style with red in an attempt to be "ironic". I'll be honest--I cried. Foot was starting to hurt, I was tired and emotionally drained, and I hadn't expected the pretty room to be transformed into a murder room while I was gone. It through me. As an apology Chicken went and got some purple and some white and used that to splatter the room, and the effect was actually much better.

 Also good was that yesterday we were able to tell Chicken to stay home and do homework while her father finished the floor in the room--and he did. It took him forever, but he had ZoomBoy to help and he should be proud of  the results.

So, yes--we're thankful. But there was also a lot going on there. I mean, a six-Chihuahua Thanksgiving and a murder room nervous breakdown would normally be their own headlines, right?

But with any luck--and a lot of ibuprofen--I should be able to walk by Tuesday and perhaps the world won't feel quite so out of control. And while I was laid up today, I managed to finish the last of three projects that I needed to photograph tomorrow so I can have a layout in the Sierra College Community Outreach education website--and I might also get to teach knitting and crochet and not just writing through them, so that's fun too!

And that also would have gotten its own headline. 

See? This has been some week.

And I am still thankful. Taking deep breaths and counting to ten, but thankful. Remembering that it's every child's job to think their parents are idiots at least once in their lives, so still thankful. And grateful for heavy duty medication so I might be able to walk by Tuesday and, yes, still thankful.

Also, I'm probably ready for bed. Don't do drugs, kids. For fuckin' real.



Tuesday, November 16, 2021

18--but still my ZoomBoy

 I mentioned this on FB but ZoomBoy has new goings on in his life! For one thing, he's got a job--it starts on December 2nd, and it's in fast food (Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, which is new for our area) and he's so excited! He's currently volunteering to help his dance teacher, and while she says he has to learn to be more engaged before she pays him, that's exciting too.

He's also planning to get his drivers permit. Woot!

And he was freaking out a little. "I'm going to be a grown up! It's so scary!"

And I shit you not, the day after he had this freak out, he was about to leave the house in his black dance pants. 

"Zoomboy? Are those on inside out?"

"Yes?"

"Don't worry about growing up too fast!"

I mean, obviously not.

Anyway--he turned 18 today and when we asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, his answer was very... him.

For years when he was little, we'd tried to do the big birthday parties. Grandparents. Zoos. Skating parties. Whatever. Every damned time he picked one or two kids and said, "I just want to do something with them."

"Something like what?"

"Fun. We could play Legos."

"O... kay..."

And then, that's what he'd do. Have the kids over to play Legos. And eat cake. That was it. Nothing big. Friends to play with. Whee! I remember one birthday party when he ended up under the kitchen table with one kid playing with his new toys. All the other kids were outside with a piñata, but ZB had his bestie, and they were happy.

We stopped with the big parties after that btw. 

Anyway, this party--this most prestigious of ages--was no different. 

"What do you want?"

"I dunno."

"Dinner out with Grandma and Grandpa? A trip to the movies with friends? Pizza at our house with friends--"

"That."

"That's all?"

"Yeah. Pizza and ice cream cake."

"You don't like ice cream."

"No, I don't eat it because it's bad for my digestion and I want you all to live, but once a year is fine."

"Okay. What ki--"

"Cookies and cream ice cream cake."

"Done! Pizza! Your D and D buddies--what are you going to do in our crappy house, pray tell?"

"Play PS4. Watch Arcane. It'll be fine."

And it was. 

Of course, in the kitchen, I got to hear the story of how Big T and his fiancé got engaged--and here I'm at a conundrum. They sent me pictures right after he asked, and she's sporting the ring--which is a sunburst of opals--and it's adorable. It's a selfie and it's all the things  a mother wants for her child during a milestone like this. They are so happy--makes me tear up.

But it's not my picture to share. It's theirs. And while they probably wouldn't mind, it just wouldn't feel right. But I'm so happy and proud for them both. I could have listened to their engagement story all night.

Or I could have watched ZoomBoy and his friends talk in teenager nerd, perfectly happy in each other's company, perfectly relaxed as long as none of the rest of us were in the room.

Or watch ZoomBoy, Squish, and Chicken decorate the kitchen with a streamer featuring flags and realize that ZoomBoy has a secret fetish for flags and can name most of the ones on the international waters banner that I got for a con event.

Or hug my husband and go, "Hey, we managed another milestone, and they seem to be okay. For the moment, they're all okay."

I could do all of that forever. I mean, T is going to be 29 in December, so that's nearly 29 years of crossing my finger at every heartbeat check and thanking the powers that be that all hearts are accounted for. 

What's another eternity and counting?



Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Where It All Comes From

 Over twenty years ago, when I was writing Vulnerable, I was writing the part where Cory was swimming in Lake Folsom. Now, I had grown up swimming in Folsom, and I loved it--but I wasn't so fond of the long weeds growing up from the bottom that would wrap their vines around my ankles. Freaked me out. I thought they were eels, although eels were probably not a thing in the lake. (FTR, this is something that has probably not been a thing over the last seven droughty years--the water has to be still and clear-ish for the weeds to grow up so long from the bottom, and there just hasn't been enough of it.)

Anyway--so I was writing that scene and I thought, "Hey, I should have a vampire grab her ankle! That would be freaky! It would freak me out, that's for sure!"  And I did! (It took me two more books to justify just what in the fuck that vampire would have been doing, lurking and rotting in the bottom of the lake to grab her, but by God, I did it!) Anyway, you'd think doing that would work out a few demons, right? I'd be able to swim across the lake just fine? 

Not so much.

Swimming in a lake has become a supreme act of bravery. I mean, I'm a good swimmer--when I was at my height of water aerobics, I could tread water for twenty minutes with my hands above my head on an off day. But those long fronds, wrapping around my ankle, dragging me down to the trash and the dead fish and the gravel below... Yeah. Couldn't do it. Last time I was in the lake I was swimming out to the buoys when suddenly I had a full-body wriggle, an absolute freak out. I had to float on my back for five minutes just to keep swimming. Dude. Scary.

So suffice it to say, "working your problems out in fiction" is not as straightforward as people might think it is.

But on the other hand...

Ten years ago, I'd finally been called in to be deposed by the super pricey lawyer Natomas School District had hired to fire me. (The hypocrisy of that--gah! Still burns!)  Anyway, after an exhausting day of having my blogs read back to me, I asked my lawyer rather pissily (I was beyond tears by this point--it had been over a year) exactly what the fucking school district wanted from me.

"Well," he said, slowly, "I think they wanted your students to have never heard of Amy Lane, or know that you wrote for profit, or were successful at all."

"But I'm an English teacher--shouldn't they want to know that it can be done? That writing is important? That fiction means something?"

"Well, not this administration."

"But that would be like cutting myself in half and getting rid of the best parts."

... And that, ladies and gentlemen, is where Chase in Shadow came from.

Now, I didn't know that's where he was coming from at the time. I had no idea. I just knew he bloomed inside of me full grown and pretty much sprang from my head, like Zeus. I knew this kid. My situation was very different--and not NEARLY as painful or as dire as Chase's, let me be clear--but I had a small inkling of what it was to be expected to hold the best of yourself back because the world was too ignorant to know better.

That core of Chase--that was me--and that despair he felt... well, that was a lot of other things that have been worked out in a lot of other books.

But I didn't realize that until later. 

It was like the Locker Room was, in essence, my goodbye to teaching. Or Solid Core of Alpha was what it was like to make the choice to write. Or Bitter Moon was my hope for a better world for my children. Or Immortal was me, making the choice to write slower, interact with my family more, be present in my children's lives, and allow the art to come.

I didn't know that's what those books were as I was writing them. I just wrote. And then they were done, and a year later, somebody said, "Where did that book come from? Where did Beneath the Stain come from?"

"Well, I grew up in a small town, back then, it had less than 3,000 people in it, and we marched the band through main street on homecoming..."

But like I said, you don't realize it until later.

I've been getting a lot of feedback (GOOD!) about the Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club books--and I'm so tickled. I didn't expect them to do particularly well--and they did. Something about them... something... well, it hit people right where they needed to be hit.

Maybe it was the isolation, and how everything in the neighborhood that they used to understand had gone to hell. 

Maybe it was that they'd suppressed their deepest desires until magic ripped them from their mouths, because they couldn't hold them back anymore--and it all ended up okay.

Maybe it was how they were locked into a situation with people they loved, but it was still hard to hold on to what was true.

Maybe it was one character's quest for passion, or another character's inability to see past the labels he'd worn since childhood when he was doing his best to fix things, or the two characters locked in the same house or--

OH. Oh. Okay. 

I didn't know it at the time--and I swore I'd never write one. 

I would absolutely never, ever write a book about the pandemic, about lockdown, about the careful living we had to do in our own souls and how hard it was to let our real wants escape when there was nothing we could do about them. About how our real emotions were frightening and how we could end up locked in the same house with someone we loved without being able to speak to them, and how the world as we knew it was suddenly a place fraught with hidden dangers.

I'd never write a book about the pandemic--but it seems I've written three of them (the first one was written in 2019) and I set them in a safe place, of magic and wonder, where we know it's all going to be okay in the end.

And that's really what people want to see. The part where it's all going to be okay in the end.

And it's been a minute since I finished that last book, and I'm still boggling. I hadn't realized that's what I'd set these books up to be until today, when someone wrote to tell me they loved the books--and I thought, "I wonder what was in them that touched so many people."

And I almost didn't want to write this blog, because I didn't want to spoil that odd and wild magic that had made these books take one of the scariest things in our lives and make it fun and goofy and harmless. But I thought maybe I should write this blog, because people should see that it can be done. That sometimes writing, disappearing into your own head, is the only way to take the scary thing and make it doable. And sometimes, whether it's pandemic crafting (*raises hand guiltily*) or shotgunning stupid sitcoms (*hand still up*) or shotgunning audiobooks while walking around the neighborhood (*arm getting tired*) the things we do to the the scary thing and make it doable are MAGIC. And its Hedge Witch magic--the comforting kind we all possess. 

It's a dark and stormy night as I type this, and here's hoping the power stays on, and here's hoping the roof doesn't leak and here's hoping I can walk the dogs tomorrow before they remember there are other places to poop. 

And in the meantime I'll go write about Jackson and Ellery, winning impossible victories for the side of good, defeating evil with strength and determination, and I'll remember this is magic, and I'll perform it some more.



Monday, October 25, 2021

I'm back...

 


Oops... almost gave up on it this time.

The problem with giving up blogging--particularly after 15 years--is that you get in the habit of documenting all the hilarious, weird things that happen to you, and then, after you've let the blog lapse for a week, or two, or (omg!) three! you're like, so... I"m just going to start back on St. Louis? Is that where I'm going to start back?

St. Louis was wonderful by the way--if you get my newsletter I gave a brief recap there, but I'd like to say, again, how grateful I am to everybody who came by to say hello and make me feel welcome. I'd sort of been dreading going back into the public again--the pandemic left its mark on all of us. Everybody who came by to be kind--thank you. Also--I'm not sure I posted this in social media, but we were so close to the ballpark that one of the restaurants that you could walk to from the hotel looked out into it. No, we didn't see the game--but the excitement was palpable.

Okay--so, St. Louis--covered in the newsletter. That's good. Do I come back to blogging with dog walking? Is that where I come back?

I should have, because the dogs and I had a FANTASTIC mental conversation the other day that I feel like I should share. It started with--as usual--the Chihuahua mafia trying to take me out and make it look like an accident.

There I was, the leashes woven securely around my ankles, Ginger, Geoffie, and Carl barking like the hounds of hell were about to eat us all for lunch, and I lost patience in front of my friend Bob, whom I try to be respectful of because he's a sweet guy and I don't think he's used to women swearing.

"Oh my God, you ASSHOLES!" I cried. "You're all FIRED!"

And then, surprise surprise! The assholes all STOPPED BARKING, and the following imaginary conversation happened.

Geoffie: Fired? Did she say we're fired?

Carl: I've never BEEN fired before--how shall I live?

Ginger: What does it even mean to be fired? What happens? Do we stop going for walks? Do we just lie around all day and nap?

Johnnie: No--because that would make us cats.

ALL dogs: OMG--AMY! Are we CATS??? 

Me: No. You're not cats. And now that I'm untangled, we can drop the subject.

Geoffie: But seriously--are we cats? I like cats. Cats are fun. Cats let me chew their ears. Are we cats? Can I be a cat?

Me: Can we just make it to the car guys? I'm done.

Okay-- so we could come back to that. 

Or maybe we could come back to my friend Trina, whom I got to eat lunch with this last week. She's funny and vibrant and the thing that got her through the pandemic was... butterflies! She makes LOVELY butterfly sculptures, and her enthusiasm so captured me that, when I took the kids to the local Spirit store, I saw that there was a butterfly mural on the side of it and took these pictures for her.

I also took the skeleton costume from inside the store, because it's horrifying.







Lessee, lessee... 

I could talk about the Kings playing again and how very happy Mate is go to there!

Or I could talk about the hope that a little bit of rain can bring.

Or Geoffie's new groom--because that's always a good place to start.








So, those are all very good places to start--but that's not where I'm gonna.

I'm gonna start at my release this week, because while I might not BLOG everyday, I definitely WRITE everyday, and after so long an absence, I thought maybe I should mention that. 

I released the third book in the Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club this week--and I'm sort of excited about it because it's cool to release a Halloween story a week before Halloween, right?

So here's to Pentacles and Pelting Plants--one of my favorite pandemic writes because I didn't have to think about the pandemic even a little bit, even at all.




Pentacles and Pelting Plants

by Amy Lane


A month ago, Jordan Bryne and his coven of hedge witches cast a spell that went hideously wrong and captured two of their number in a pocket of space and time. The magic is beyond their capabilities to unravel so, in desperation, they send up a beacon for supernatural aid.

They don’t mean to yank someone to their doorstep from hundreds of miles away.

Once Macklin Quintero gets past his irritation, he accepts the challenge. The tiny coven in the Sierra foothills is a group of the sweetest people he’s ever met, and he’s worried—the forces they’ve awakened won’t go back in their bottle without a fight.

But he also wants to get closer to Jordan. Mack’s been playing the field for years, but he’s never before encountered somebody so intense and dedicated.

Jordan might quietly yearn for love, but right now he’s got other priorities. The magic in the cul-de-sac doesn't care about Jordan’s priorities, though. Apparently the only way for the hedge witches to fix what they broke is to confront their hearts’ desires head-on.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Ah, birthdays...

I remember birthday weeks of the past. They were always deeply entrenched in soccer season, and there were multiple grandparents and multiple venues and between Mate, myself, my biomom, Chicken, and my Auntie, there were five birthdays in a week.

Things have calmed down since then.

Everyone's still alive, but Chicken is an adult and all she needs is takeout of her choice, and my Auntie is happy with a card, and Mate and I get excited about going out to dinner together. 

Biomom, no lie, is super excited if I show up at her care home with a coffee drink and then take her to the drive thru at Burger King. For those out there going, "Geez, Amy, could you spring for a better lunch venue?" I need to emphasize we used to try. We'd go get her, bring her to a nice place for lunch, and then bring her back and make a thing out of it, and she hated it. She's got about twenty-five minutes, tops, in her to socialize before she's done. And by done I mean she will turn around and walk away and refuse to talk sort of done. 

Done.

So it was a very laid back set of birthdays.

I took bio-mom to get a haircut. This was a big deal because her last haircut was around this time in 2019. She doesn't care for her hair--doesn't brush it and barely washes it--so we were going to get it cut super short every six months or so, just on general hygiene principle. If you do the math, you might see that certain things (*cough* COVID) got in the way, and she was long overdue. (I'll be honest--this was supposed to be a thing my aunts and I did as a team--after the care home opened up and we were all vaccinated,


they kept saying, "Yeah, we should do that," and I was finally like, "Okay. Fine. I guess that means me.") The beauty salon is one that is used by a lot of people from care homes like hers, or people on the skids trying to look like they can afford a job--or an apartment--or who just generally walk in for a $10 haircut and I spent my afternoon getting chewed out by a tiny woman with a thick accent who wanted me to know that we needed to do this WAY more often. 

I, uhm, tipped her a LOT for multiple shampoos and a Ferris Bueller and consider it money well spent.

And then I took bio-Mom for Burger King after giving her flowers and a slice of cake and a small stuffed animal with a card. She thought it was a wonderful birthday, and I was happy she was happy. And there better not be another pandemic between now and the next time I bring her in for a haircut. (I've given up hoping for my aunties. All me.)

Which reminds me, my Auntie got a text and a Happy Birthday and a picture of my bio-mom with a new haircut.

So that was bio-mom.

Chicken got takeout, and a number of presents including a dumpster fire nightlight, which I'm not sure she liked but I thought was hilarious so it's her fault for being my offspring. The super sad thing about her birthday was that she got sick! She spent four day student teaching seven year olds and walked out with a head cold and a fever that has kept her out of the classroom all week. So yesterday, in conversation, she said something about being 26 years old and I said, "Twenty-seven, darling. You just had your birthday," and she said, "Oh FUCK that, I'm not counting it until this head cold is history!"  (For those curious? She had to have a clear COVID test to even get on campus after showing up with a fever.  Not COVID, just the crud.)

The good news is Chicken doesn't have to leave Carl with us until she goes back to student teaching, so she's currently cuddling her dog in a fever dream. Happy birthday!

Mate is ordering a new iPhone. It's a point of honor among engineers, I think. He's had the X for a while, and he really wants the 13 because all of his friends have a new one and he's feeling left out. I'm fine with that. He gets more enjoyment out of his phone than any teenager I've ever known.

And for me? Mate got me a desk chair--a brand new one. And boy, did I need a brand new one. The old one was broken in several places--it wouldn't raise or lower, it was stuck in one position where my feet were in an uncomfortable position which made it hard to walk the next day. The rubber had come completely off the armrest and it was down to sharp metal and bolts--the list goes on.

This one's lovely. I was expecting Big & Tall, basic model, but Mate got me something padded, and luxurious--it's got a MESSAGE function, with settings. 

I told my parents about that and they were like, "You know what's going to happen, don't you?" and I was like, "I won't have cramps in my ass when I'm done writing?"

They were like, "No. You're going to fall asleep in your chair."

Well, probably. But what a way to go.

So Mate and I are going out to our favorite place to eat tomorrow, which will be lovely, and when I asked him if he wanted pie, or a cake, or anything, he looked... well, we're both rounder than we'd like. And I said, "So, Chicken, Big T, and Big T's girlfriend are all coming over Sunday for donuts. How about we have Birthday Donuts--that will be our cake."

And we both remembered the days when we literally ate cake and pie for days--for meals even--because it was everywhere, and the part of us that has just hit a new year was very relieved.

It's no longer the hectic family-palooza it used to be, but I'm going to sit in my soft chair and try not to fall asleep and call it a win.





 


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

*&%ing dog!

 Don't stress. Ginger the new dog is fine.

I mean I think she's fine. 

She's HERE. That should mean she's fine.

But, you may remember, not too long ago I blogged about how she disappeared and I did about sixty-thousand things to get her back and lo and behold! Somebody brought her back. YAY!

So awesome. The internet works.

Thank God. 

I didn't take any of the stuff down I put up--I wasn't sure what to do with it. Lucky me, it seems I'd need to use it again. And again. And again.

Remember when we found her, and we were like, "Oh, who would want to leave such a precious dog to wander the streets alone!"

Turns out nobody left her to wander the streets--she LEFT, and wandered the streets because she has no sense of direction and can't get home. 

*headdesk* 

Mate has shored up the weak places in the fence four times. We're implementing new protocols, including stuffing pillows in the pet door whenever I go anywhere.

And I think--THINK mind you, that besides leaving one perfectly sized grumpy-poop in Squish's room every day--she is also systematically chewing perfectly round holes in ours and ZoomBoy's blankets.

*sigh*

And she loves going for walkies. Personally I think it's because she's trying to kill me, but I'll let you be the judge.

Anyway...

There was a moment this morning, as Mate opened the front door to greet the newest person going, "Hey, is this your dog? I saw your wife's post on FaceBook!" (Four people. FOUR PEOPLE--all different--have returned the dog!) when they were like, "How can we be sure this dog is yours? We checked the chip out--it didn't give us an address. And what's with this harness--it looks like it came from a cat?"

Mate was like, "Yeah, we don't know what's up with the chip either. It IS a cat's harness--it's all that fits. And as for the dog--"  

At that moment, the dog leapt into his arms and placed her chin on his shoulder, cuddling in a way she hadn't been cuddling with the people dropping her off.

"Oh." They said. 

"She has no respect for personal space," he told them.

"No respect for YOUR personal space," they said.

And then he brought her inside, where she proceeded to stick her face up my nose in greeting.


Yeah. We could easily fall in love with this dog. It would be great if the little Houdini would stick around. 

As for the other dogs?

As long as I feed them first, they're willing to concede she exists.

Dogs are weird. 

I adore them so.

Monday, September 6, 2021

A Modest September Flail

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!

 I admit it--between the new dog and the Fabulous Follow event last week, I did forget to send out the all-call for Kermit Flail last week--but that's just fine, because I've got a couple of great guests anyway!

The first is the ever quirky, always adorable E.J. Russell--and I'm super excited now because she's writing paranormal suspense, which is one of my FAVORITE SUBGENRES!!! Also--can you see the title? IT'S ADORABLE!!! So yes-- E.J. Russell releasing Five Dead Herrings is cause for celebration!  

In addition to E.J. we have Andrew Grey writing cowboys, and this could be the sub-genre he does best!  This month he's got the second in his newest cowboy series, Nowhere to Hide, and trust me, with Andrew, we don't want our guys hiding a thing!

And finally, we've got lil-ol-me, with Spencer, and Hidden Heart. I... well, I love this book. I mean, I love all of them, but writing during the pandemic was hard, and this book--this book reminded me of how much fun it could be. Balls-out action-packed fun. With romance built in. I had a blast writing it and I like to think it shows. 

So there you go--three great releases for a busy September! Let's pray for cooler weather, lots of rain on the west coast, and some reading time, yeah?

Yeah.



Five Dead Herrings

Quest Investigations, Book One

by E.J. Russell

 

Something’s definitely fishy about this case…

On my last stakeout for Quest Investigations, I nearly got clotheslined by a grove of angry dryads. I expected my bosses to reprimand me, but instead they handed me my first solo assignment. Me! Matt Steinitz, the only human on the Quest roster!

Okay, so the mission isn’t exactly demanding. Obviously, the bosses wanted to give me something they think I can’t screw up. I’m determined to show them what I can do, however, so I dive right in with no complaints.

At first glance, it looks as simple as baiting a hook: A selkie’s almost-ex-husband is vandalizing his boat with unwanted deliveries of deceased sea life. All I have to do is document the scene, tell the ex to cease and desist, and present the bill for property damages. Boom. Mission accomplished, another Quest success, and as a bonus, I get to keep my job.

But then things get…complicated. Suspicious undercurrents muddy up my oh-so-easy case. Nothing is as clear as it should be. And the biggest complication? My inappropriate attraction to the client, who may not be as blameless as he claims.

Turns out those dead herrings aren’t the only things that stink about this situation.

Dammit.

Five Dead Herrings is the first in the Quest Investigations M/M paranormal mystery series, a spinoff of E.J. Russell’s Mythmatched paranormal rom-com story world. It contains no on-page sex or violence, and although there is a romantic subplot, it is not a romance.

 

Grab it at Amazon/Kindle Unlimited




Nowhere to Hide


by Andrew Grey


Stylish Sinclair Llewelling has little contact with his family, but he loves his cousin Lilly very much, and agrees to help her plan the elegant country wedding of her dreams. There’s just one problem: the foreman of the ranch where the wedding is to take place.


Former rodeo cowboy Dawson West takes his job very seriously, and he doesn’t appreciate anyone who gets in the way. Ranching is in his blood, and the people he works for are like family to him, so when Sinclair and his plans add to his work, he isn’t quiet about making his displeasure known.


Sinclair and Dawson have more in common than they realize, including a strong work ethic, horses, and spines of steel. Their fighting shifts to mutual respect, and heat flares as they see past each other’s walls to the men beneath. Just as Sinclair is getting a taste for ranch life, problems at his late father’s business pull him away from the cowboy who has lassoed him in. They’ll need to team back up to balance jobs, ranch, wedding, and what their hearts want.


Buy Here 





Hidden Heart


by Amy Lane


Search-and-rescue worker Spencer Helmsley has everything he needs: a job he loves, a flight partner he’d die for, and an amazing dog.

Then he flings himself out of a helicopter to rescue Theo Wainscott.

Stuck on a raft in the middle of a flood with the most stubborn, argumentative man in the world, Spencer soon finds himself asking not how they’ll survive but what’ll kill them first—the water, each other… or the sexual tension.

While Theo and Spencer are trying to beat the odds, Theo is also trying to beat some sense into his rescuer. Spencer seems to have no regard for his own safety, and that’s a problem for Theo. Maybe he’s never seen another gay man in the wild, but it doesn’t take him long to recognize that he’d like to get to know this one better.

If they make it out alive, Theo will have his work cut out for him convincing Spencer to risk his heart instead of his life….


Buy Here 



Thursday, September 2, 2021

What was I doing again?

 So...

Yesterday, ZoomBoy and I were on our way out of the house to go pick up Squish and we think that's when it happened. Because when we got back to the house, New Dog--a.k.a. Ginger, was missing.

ACK!

I went into action. Posters, OUT. Canvassing the neighborhood, DONE! Posting on appropriate websites, CHECK! 

Me falling exhaustedly into bed for a very short and belated nap before fixing dinner-- GAH. Too. Tired. For words.

And later that night there was a knock on our door. Somebody (they'd posted on the websites but by then I was napping or fixing dinner) returned our New Dog to us, just in time for her vet's appointment to be scanned for a microchip.

Whew.

That was today. Brought the dog in to have her scanned and checked out--and to get a pedicure. There was a microchip. As God is my witness, nobody at the vet's office knew what to do with that. Took me 45 minutes to find out. (It's currently posted at all the local shelters--someone looking there will be given our contact information.) Anyway, ACK! Forever. Finally, left the dog there, went home and got the OTHER two dogs and took them for a walk.

It was a lovely day. I thought, "Okay, getting errands done, time to go to Oilstop for a 30 minute oil change and to get the tire pressure checked." Yes, there were gauges going off--I don't do this out of the blue.

Anyway, 30 minutes--with the dogs, mind you--turned into TWO HOURS. My blood sugar dropped. I had to pee. And I was trapped in the car. (Thank God it was a nice day with a breeze.) I had water for the dogs, and they'd just peed. Mostly, they slept and I read (no knitting!) But two hours!

Finally--FINALLY--we get out of there and I HAVE to go get food because I can feel the loopy/crying blood pressure thing going on. And then it's time to get New Dog back from the vets. So the fourof us are going through Bannfield to get a new halter (since she's wearing the cat's, at present) and I pause to see if I have everything I need, and the dogs...well, they weave the Gordian Knot between my knees with their leashes. It was incredible. I've never SEEN such dedicated entanglement. And there I was, unweaving three leashes and paraphernalia from around my ankles and under my feet, when a Little Old White Lady shows up with an opinion.

"Your dog stepped on her leash," says LOWL. 

"I see that," I say, barely managing to stay upright.

"It's under her feet," she says, pointing at new dog, who is, at most, 10 inches tall, including her ears, and on four feet--only one of those feet, btw, is over the leash, which is on the ground. 

"Yeah, I know." At this point I am untying a three-way knot involving poop-bag dispensers, hand sanitizer, and a portable water dish.

"I'm just telling you." She's getting defensive.

"I know, okay!" And so am I.

"I don't want her to fall on her face!" she says.

"Sure, lady, the dog's the one we have to worry about," I say, going in, under, around and through, like a Hippopotamus doing the laser beam scene from Entrapment.

Anyway, she huffs off for some reason, I have no idea why.

So, by the time I get home... well, I'm done. I'm exhausted, I haven't showered yet, my blood sugar's doing a roller coaster, and I haven't done a lick of work in two days. Mate makes sure I shower before assuring me he can pick Squish up from their friend's house after school, and I slink off to bed wondering if I overreacted.

Ginger didn't seem to think so. She cuddled up under my chin as though she was never in danger of tripping and falling that dreadful 8 inches to the tile. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Her Name is another story...


 So I know you'd think it would be the other way around, but I'm pretty sure the impetus for getting new pets in our house is 60% Mate and 40% me.


I know it was Mate's idea to get Chiquita, even if the dog came with another cat. (Ah, Emmett, I miss you too!) It was my idea to get Johnnie, but Mate was totally on board. When our friend's dog had a litter of absolute adorability, I asked Mate if he wanted a puppy, and he was SO into that. 

And of course (OF COURSE!) the teenagers each needed their own cat.

So this afternoon, Mate went to a soccer board member's house to drop off some paperwork. When he came home he said, "So, she's got a rescue dog--so thin. It looks a little like a Chihuahua, but it's lets are super long, and it's really thin, but she is SO SWEET. My friend does rescue dogs all the time, but she's got Labradoodles, and this dog is so much smaller, she's afraid to let her in."

I looked at him sideways. "So, are we going to get a new dog?" You could hear the suppressed excitement in my voice.

"I told her I'd ask my wife."

"SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

When we went to fetch her, she hadn't eaten at all. She was curled up on a blanket, under a tool bench in the garage, looking sad and woebegone, but oh, she got so happy when Mate bent down to get her. Mate was her FRIEND. And then I took her (gently!) and I was her FRIEND! And then--

Well, we had a mishap on the way home--Mate hit a curb just right and we popped a tire on a busy road and as we were trying to find a place in the dark to pull off, Chicken called. "What are you doing?"

"Oddly enough..."

"Oh! Can I help?"

"Uhm, do you want to take the new dog to her new home?"

"Sure! I'll bring Carl the 5 lb. Chihuahua."

And she did. 

Mate fixed the tire, we pulled into a gas station to air up the spare, and he said, "Can anything else go wrong tonight," and I HIT him because that is just ASKING for it, and then when he was getting back into the car he said, "Wait. Where's my phone?"

So we had to go back to where he changed the tire and it was still on the ground but UNCRUSHED, which, you know, WITCHCRAFT!

Anyway--we got home, and the kids had fed the dog some soft food, and she was ensconced on a blanket on the couch, and she looked so happy. The kids and Mate and I took turns holding her (while the other dogs jumped from empty lap to empty lap, should we forget that THEY were here first!) and generally?

She seems content. 

I need to take her to the vet and get her some flea meds. Her feet were walked on until they were bloody--and she needs to eat a lot of soft food until she fills out a little. 

But she didn't mind the other dogs, or the kids, or the cats. She just sat in the middle of all the noise and the hubbub and accepted love. At one point in time, Squish got up to go find her a dog sweater (because she was  shaking--she's so thin)  and the dog followed them into the other room. As I type, the dog is in their room, curled up on an old blanket because apparently Squish is this dog's human.

And I"m boggled--so easy--SO EASY to show this dog some love. All my fears when Chicken brought her home--will she be aggressive, will she be frightened, will she eat too much and throw up, is this a bad idea--and she was just so happy to be in the front room. She knew this place--maybe not this EXACT place, but someone's place. She knew people, she knew other dogs--the soccer board member had put up signs, posted in Next Door and the other local apps and gotten no response.

This dog's feet are bloody from wandering and she's still young. 

The soccer board member said, "People abandon dogs all the time around here--we're between two schools and I think they hope somebody will take the animals."

Chicken said, "People in apartments often abandon animals because their next apartment won't take them, and it costs too much to put them in a shelter."

And I know this happens, and still. I'm heartbroken at the idea of this absolutely sweet animal sitting so happily in my living room, like she belongs there because she has BEEN in a living room and she KNOWS she belongs in one, because THIS is where she is happy.

And somebody just left her behind.

She still has some hoops to jump through. A trip to the vets, a nail trim, a flea bath, some good nutrition. She wouldn't touch dry food--sometimes that's what happens when dogs get so hungry they try to eat rocks. We may be buying a lot more wet food, and not the pricey stuff they get now. 

But she looks healthy besides the emaciation. And she sure does seem to want to stay. 

It would feel good to know that as imperfect as my house is, it managed to be the perfect place to take this furry little person in. I now she certainly doesn't deserve to be left behind.