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

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Back to School Night

So, if you have four children, each going to public school for thirteen years a piece, that's a grand total of... *does math in head* FIFTY-TWO back to school nights that you and your spouse are bound to attend, plus or minus a few for the time one of the kids attended a block schedule school which meant he had two a year, and that quick flurry of years during which there were three kids in school and somebody had to be missed because there were only two adults.

Anyway--let's go with fifty-two, and don't count Open House because then things get REALLY confused, and say that, after tonight for Squish, with ZoomBoy's next week, we only have six to go.



That's sort of a sad little leftover of parenting right there.

It's a little depressing, really.

But still-- being on the final slope of four kids gives you the right to, say, cut PE.

For those who are unfamiliar with back to school night at the middle and high school ages, parents usually go to school and spend about ten minutes in each of their kids' classrooms, while the teacher tells them what's important, contact information, textbook, etc. In this case, I had to walk from a classroom, across the campus to the MP room, and back to the classroom next to the one I'd just left.

And I decided no. I'm 51 goddamned years old and I could cut gym.

So I sat down in the pleasant evening, knitted a little, waited for the next class, and then continued on my way. Until fifth period where I heard three people discussing how this was their sixth and final year doing back to school night at the middle school.

"Oh my God, and why is gym always on the other side of the campus from the next class my kid has!"

I looked at them surprise. "Gym? I cut gym. This is my fourth kid--I'm pretty sure gym hasn't changed appreciably since *I* was in school."

They looked at me in awe. "Wow. You're right. That's so smart. I wish *I* had cut gym!"

So there you go, folks. It took thirty-nine years, but finally, FINALLY, I am too goddamned cool for middle-school.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


So when I had Big T, my mother-in-law and I had not quite reached the understanding we had in those last years. But still, she showed up with books for me to read as I recuperated. Amanda Quick, Julie Garwood, Bertrice Small-- I hadn't read romance since college (admittedly not THAT far in my rearview when T was born) but oh wow.

Did I ever love those books.

I must have read Ravished six to eight thousand times. I can still hear Harriet stomping her foot and snapping, "I was NOT ravished!"

It delighted me to no end.

I still have those books--they started me back down the path into the joys of romance.

For a while, we had a book store near us that would take used paperbacks in trade.

I sucked at that store. The POINT is that you bring all of the paperbacks that you finished reading in, and they give you credit so you can get an entire other bag of them.  But every paperback I read was SPECIAL. It was a TREASURE. How could I give it back if I might reread it again?

I loved every word of them.

Right before my MIL passed, she had gone on a giant "simplify my life" kick. Part of it was her new interest in religion, but part of it was that she just didn't like clutter. She liked things simple and everything she needed should have been at her fingertips.

When we were going through her stuff, her shelves were all about genealogy and taxes and property investment--except for one. There was this one shelf dedicated to Grace Burroughs and Bertrice Small.

Seeing that shelf was a hard moment. I mean, I'm a hoarder by nature--but this woman had made simplifying her existence to a one room apartment into an art form, and she still couldn't get rid of those books. They'd all been read until the ink on the spines was flaking, and you could barely make out the titles.

When I first started writing, no matter who was publishing me or what format seemed to be big, I insisted on paperback.  Yes, sure, e-books were coming. But a paperback you could hold in your hand. I probably read e-books more now, but I still buy my favorites in paperback. I don't even read them that way, I just stroke their spines and dream.

They remind me that getting lost in a book is exactly the same as getting lost in a forest. It's perilous and you're not always sure you can battle your way out and when you do emerge, you are changed somehow, usually for the better.

I dislike this idea that e-books are disposable, eatable like potato chips, with no nutritional value for the brain. I abhor the notion that writers just pump books out like a queen ant plopping pupa and those ants scurry about, appreciable in their volume but not in their character. It's not the format that makes that so--it's a perception I'd love to kill.

I work damned hard to put a little bit of poetry, a little bit of music, in every story I write. There's a moment in every book that is something that has happened to me, or someone I loved. A moment that I want to point to and holler, "IT ME! BE RESPECTFUL! IT ME!"

When I get my copies of books in paperback--particularly mass market paperback--I am reminded once again that the ideas in books are permanent. That books are true and real things. That when someone falls down a rabbit hole and reads a book until dawn, they have had an EXPERIENCE. Of course they can have that experience on Kindle or the Nook--but contrary to what people online believe 90% of discovery still happens in your local book store or library. Having that book there for someone to pick up, browse through, fall into, is like providing a gateway to your heart that only the worthy may pass through.

My bio on amazon (though terribly outdated in SO many ways) always ends with "She'll tell you that any sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write."

That's because being read and savored and being put on the keeper shelf is like sharing your soul with someone--and having them find it good.

Paperbacks may eventually go the way of the dodo--and if we can find a way to recycle e-waste, that'll be fine. But until that day, until everybody reads on their tablet or their phone, until electronics are available to EVERYBODY, ink on paper is a format that has worked for literally thousands of years.

Just touching a paperback gives me a link to all the ideas that have gone on before.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

...and family...

After a long day of rest yesterday, the family was back in full swing today... sort of.

We're all still a little punch drunk and a little tired from the weekend, and, gotta admit it, I'm so far under I had the following conversation w/my editor:

"So, about this project--is it still on your radar?"

"Radar, yes. Sonar, no. I'm that far under water."

So far, actually, that I had to bail on some QSAC commitments, and that depresses me. I REALLY look forward to those, but omg.

Did I mention the under water and the back-to-school-night and the fact that BOTH the kids need new dance shoes and we haven't folded clothes in ages and...

You get the picture.

The day was not without its fun moments though--as evidenced by the picture of Reginald, who was waiting for me when I went back to the bedroom tonight.

Ah, Reginald--always there for you when I need you, unless it's your time to pop.

Mate is playing the new WOW update, which reminds me of when he was a hardcore WOW player. Very clearly I remember a quiet house, as I watched TV and knitted a blanket for Squish, who was waiting to be born. Everything was peaceful. All the kids--truly kids at this time-- were quiet. Can you hear the opening from William Tell here?

And into this idyllic domestic bliss, my husband yells "FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!"

And I drop a stitch, ZoomBoy wakes up in his crib and the big kids come running into the living room going, "What? What? What?"

Ah, WOW. So excited to see it back in my life.

But the kids are getting excited about The Office--which is really cute, even though I'm working through it because otherwise I'd be having butt-cheek races to see who could get down the hallway fast enough as we squirm out of our seats and away from the TV.

Also, did I mention deadlines?

Anyway-- I have peace, I have quiet, I have the dogs, I have Reginald--time for me to jump back in the fray!

Monday, August 26, 2019

One dance at a time

So, most of you know about my kids' yearly dance recital. This year, it was a little different--usually it's in June, but this year, the facility was having problems and the recital got put back to the last week of August, and oi! The last two weeks have been rough. Squish has started fall soccer, both of them are in school, and there's been no such thing as a break around here until today.

But yesterday, we got to see our babies shine--and you guys. They were so good. Chicken was back stage, and every now and then we'd get a glimpse of her holding the curtain up and gesturing imperiously for the tiny kids to leave the stage--but mostly her job was invisible and only seen by how well the rest of it was run. And it was run well.
And I know ZoomBoy has his fan club--both the parents of the other kids who've seen him grow and online, but  Squish--well, she's improved so much this year. She went from the kid who was a little uncertain and who watched all the other kids on stage to this totally confident young woman who walked onto the stage with her arms absolutely in correct position and owned what she was doing next.

We were so impressed.

And because Mate had soccer this year--his team had a seeding tournament in the morning--we both ended up not having to volunteer.

Oh my God--it was our first chance to really watch the kids perform--from the front, in dress, with smiles on their faces--probably since they were six and four years old.

I really loved getting to be the mother who saw that.

But a couple of funny moments happened--still--

*  Squish was supposed to have attended a seeding tournament as well, but we told her coach she couldn't make it, because getting up and playing two of the four games and then going to the recital AFTER being at rehearsal to almost eleven at night seemed just a little bit of overkill. The morning of the recital she woke up around ten and said "Mom, what time would you have gotten me up if I was going to play soccer?"

"Around six-thirty," I told her.

"And I would have rolled over in bed and LAUGHED."

"As you should have."

The other thing that happened was that an hour before I'd planned to leave the house to drop the kids off to get ready, Squish turned into a girl.

Now, there's nothing wrong with being a girl--I'm a girl sometimes myself. I try on three different kinds of lipstick and fiddlefuck around with my hair and screw up my mascara and generally work with a skill I rarely practice in order to make myself look more attractive.

But Squish decided to do this right when she should have been showering and putting on her first costume and generally being ready to go.

I have never had this problem with Squish before. Time management has always been her THING. When I was dropping her off at school, by the time I stumbled out of the bedroom and put my shoes on, she'd be composed, having eaten breakfast, brushed her hair, and gathered her homework. That's Squish.

But now, apparently there's the girl thing, and omigod were we late. And the thing was, I had to stop at the grocery store, because the parents provide intermission. (Or, some of the parents provide intermission and OTHER parents leave their shit all over the floor of the auditorium for the rest of us to pick up. Yes, Mate and I spent an hour cleaning the theater at the end, because no, we couldn't just manage to not volunteer at ALL, could we?)  But Squish and I were standing in line with a shitton of cookies and the PERFECT lipstick, and we got caught behind the lady with three-hundred dollars worth of groceries and coupons.

And the a/c of the minivan had conked out and ZoomBoy was LOSING HIS SHIT because we were late and Mate called me and got an insane woman screaming "Get the fuck out of the car you idiots, and take your cookies with you!"

It's a good thing that man loves me.

Anyway, the kids were fine, they were a little late but had plenty of time to change, and all was forgiven when they were done.

I was so proud of them.

And I should add something.

For those of you who loved Behind the Curtain, you're probably aware that my kids' dance teacher is where I got the idea for Jared's classes for the disabled students. She told a story on stage this year about how she once got an award for offering classes to students with everything from autism to Down's Syndrome, and she was a little crushed to realize that she didn't get that award because she was the best teacher of the disabled in the area, but because she was the only one.

I think that needs to change. I mean, I don't dance, I never will, but gees, dance therapy for cognitively disabled kids can do such amazing things.

Our dance teacher is in her sixties now, and still tough--but she's been through two bouts of cancer now, and we're watching her former students become the teachers that hold her place together, and I keep thinking, "This is not my gig, but I so want to see someone rise up and do this."

She sure could use a break.

I just really want her to hold out until my k ids graduate. ZoomBoy has wanted to dance his senior dance on her stage for the longest time, and the year after next is it.

God, they've grown up fast.

Once dance at a time.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Baseball Socks

So, when I was in the eighth grade, I tried out for every sport our school had. Volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball--I was the third string in every team. No, in case you're asking. The school wasn't that big. We had a basketball team of nine girls--six in the first string, two in the second, and me. I was the third string.

I even got the best sportsmanship trophy at the end of the year. Go me.

My stepmom was in school this year, getting her nursing degree, and my dad worked as a respiratory therapist--he wouldn't get his nursing degree until I was in junior college. Together they managed to buy a house in what was about to be prime real estate--but they could barely afford it. They were smart though--do-it-yourself-ers, hard workers, resourceful, in ways I could never be and have forever envied.

They didn't really get the peer pressure thing, though--and that sort of sucked.

Because my grade school was in the town part of the area, so most of my peers had money.

So baseball season rolled around, and the school provided uniforms, but the team wanted to spend two dollars on stirrup socks--bright yellow. Two dollars doesn't sound like much, but it bought me lunch for a week back then, and my parents couldn't understand the expense for something that, to them, sounded like following the crowd.

My teachers recognized the problem though--I was awkward and ADHD and super smart but not great at homework and generally a big social pimple anyway. The reason for all the sports was that I was trying to find a peer group, right? My best friend had died in the seventh grade, and nobody else seemed to get the awkwardness that was me. Later, in high school, I'd discover band and drama and the things that really made me tick, but for that moment, third string with no stirrup socks was really the best I could hope for.

So game day came, and I was wearing little cotton ball socks--remember those? I picked out the yellow ones, since I couldn't do the stirrup ones the rest of the team had. And my coach pulled me aside and presented me with a pair of stirrup socks, saying with a wink that I couldn't tell anybody where they came from.

So when the girls got pissed off because my cotton-ball socks looked dumb with the bright yellow stirrups, and how could I be so stupid, and God couldn't I get something right for once, I told them--neck hot, sweat oozing out from my body in waves--that I'd forgotten. That's it. I was flaky, we all knew it--I'd forgotten. So they bitched at me for ruining their team photo and God how could I be so stupid and Jesus could the awkwardness just stop for sweet hell's sake and whatever.

And I fought tears and kept my mouth shut because you know what?

Because it was nobody's fucking business why I couldn't afford the fucking socks in the first place, and it was nobody's fucking business how I happened to get them when I was sure I couldn't afford them, and it was nobody's fucking business, period, and they could all go to hell.

The thing with bullies is, they want something from you that they have no right to ask for, and you definitely have the right not to give. And if I told them I couldn't afford the goddamned stirrup socks, they would have dished it out because we were poor. And if I told them the teacher had given me the stirrup socks, I would have betrayed a confidence--and they STILL would have dished it out because we were poor. And if I told them to go to hell, I wouldn't have gotten to play softball, and you know what? Whether I liked the spoiled little vipers on the fucking team or not, I had as much right to be on that fucking team as they did.

And the fact that my family couldn't afford the socks at that moment was nobody's business but mine.

I've been thinking about that a lot lately. About how bullies work, about how information is blood to them, about how any defense you want to make of yourself just chums up the waters some more.

Bullies haven't changed any since the 1980's. They still want something they have no right to ask for, blood currency of one sort or another.

I've changed though. My neck is no longer hot, I'm no longer sweating. I'm pretty okay with the ethical choices I've made in my life. Integrity means a lot to me--it's a currency I don't feel like trading away.

It's something I'm not sure bullies will ever understand.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fall Through Spring...

So, Fall Through Spring is up for presale, and it has occurred to me that I was pretty tightlipped about this project when I was working on it, and that you all might want a teeny little nip...

Also, you might want to say goodbye to the old covers, because as soon as we get a cover reveal for the NEW ones, you won't even remember these were there...

You can buy Fall Through Spring HERE. 

Dane listened in fascination as his brother welcomed the two newcomers to play with them instead of the group they’d left in the dust, and didn’t make a single accidental double-entendre. Skipper Keith seemedunassuming enough, but instead of listening to Mason Hayes as he made an ass out of himself, he thanked Mason for sending him Theraflu and a sweater when he was sick at work.
As Skipper and Mason were making conversation, Dane turned to the scruffy guy who gave great voice and said, “How long have you two been together?”
Clay Carpenter snorted. “I’m not the one he’s dating, but thank you. Skip would be a catch.”
Dane’s heart gave a double-flutter. “So you’re single?” God. Did he sound too predatory? He probably sounded too predatory. He’d gotten a lot of sex by being unapologetically slutty, but he really didn’t want to come on too strong. And these guys didn’t seem like the fast-and-loose crowd he’d run with as an undergrad or at the restaurant.
“Single, but not gay,” Carpenter said with a shrug, and until Dane heard the world crashing around his ears, he hadn’t realized how invested he was in the answer. He was so occupied with the sound of his heart’s destruction that he almost missed what Carpenter said next.
“But then, Skipper didn’t know he was gay until a couple of weeks ago, so, you know, anything could happen.”
It was said mostly in jest, Dane knew that. How could he not know? He wasn’t stupid. But it was said with the confidence of a man who wouldn’t mind if it was true.
Which meant… oh God, it just might… it must might….
“How could he not know he was gay?” Dane asked, fastening on something, anything to talk about so he could hear more of that rusty, self-deprecating voice.
Carpenter paused for a moment, and they both watched Skip swing the club in a perfect arc, and the ball bounce almost to the hole.
Carpenter sent Dane a droll look. “You see that?”
“God, I suck,” Dane said in dazed response.
“So do I.”
“But not in the same way,” Dane said dispiritedly.
“Sure, brag about that now. But my point is, Skipper’s never played golf before.”
Dane watched his brother take his turn, and stared. Mason had the grace of a giant redwood tree doing the cha-cha. The ball went up too high, fell too soon, and curved to the left in what was probably going to be a six-over-par shot. As far as Dane knew, his brother came out once a month, at the very least.
“First time?” Dane asked, feeling a little adrift. “How does that happen?”
Carpenter shrugged. “I don’t know. Skip and Richie have been best friends for six years. Then suddenly, they’re banging like beavers. Sometimes you watch and plan and think about what you really want to do; then you score a hole in one.”
Carpenter took his turn at the tee, and in spite of a few extra pounds, he moved with a no-bullshit, muscular athleticism that Dane had to admire.
Skipper almost scored a hole in one, but Carpenter was probably going to make a birdie at the very least.
Dane waited until Skip and Mason finished congratulating Carpenter before he stepped up and swung.
Yup. Almost as bad as Mason.
He waited for the fake congratulations from the newcomers, for the pained expressions of pity and condescension.
Carpenter looked at Skipper and shrugged. “Well, he did say he sucked.”
All of them burst out laughing, and they trotted joyfully down to the green to finish the hole.
And Carpenter grew no less delightful. His banter with Skip spoke of long familiarity and affection… and loyalty.
“So, Skipper, you gonna add golf to your unholy regime of exercise?” Carpenter asked.
“Nope,” Skip said. He was looking for a putting club like a beekeeper looking through spiders. “But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drag me out here the next time you get the urge.” Skip pointed at a club wholly unsuitable for the terrain, and Carpenter shook his head and pointed to the one next to it. Skipper nodded and went with the suggestion.
“I get the urge to do lots of stuff, Skipper. I just don’t always drag other people along with me.”
Skipper snorted and faced the ball. “Well, you can go to the bathroom on your own, but I wouldn’t mind holding your hand up here on the green.” He adjusted his stance one more time. Dane wanted to tell him he was doing it wrong, because according to every lesson he and Mason had had as kids, he was. But so far, Skip had the best score.
And sure enough, he hit the ball into the cup, when the rest of them still had at least five shots to clear the hole. Mason high-fived Skip and stepped up, and Dane turned to his new friend and said, “What’s his regimen like?”
“He’s got this sort of church of holy soccer,” Carpenter said in an undertone. “I managed to resist for two years, but he’s been making me eat chicken sandwiches and walk during lunch at work. Not like parents, mind you, but like, ‘Hey, there’s this great place to eat about four blocks away. Let’s be late getting back!’ I mean, he’s a fuckin’ Boy Scout, right, and he’s using being late back as a carrot. Anyway, I lost a little weight, got a little overconfident, and now I’m a part of the church… I mean, team. Go figure.”
“Where’d you meet?” Dane asked, impressed in spite of himself. He might as well stare at the blond god too, because apparently everybody worshipped at the altar of Schipperke.
“Same place Skipper and Mason met. Work. But me and Skipper are in the IT department, so we met sort of accidentally.”
Dane had to swallow against an unwelcome shaft of snobbery. Mason was VP of mergers and acquisitions. Dane knew the score. IT did not talk to VP—it was like some sort of rules of the royal court thing.
But then, Mason wasn’t great at rules, and Skipper appeared to be great at people, so maybe Dane could forget his whole…. Oh, who was he kidding.
“What the hell are you doing in the IT department?” he asked, appalled.
Carpenter rolled his eyes. “Not firing people, not being a douchebag, and not hating my coworkers. Fucking sue me. What is it you do again?”
They’d already covered the fact that Dane was a student, so Dane conveniently disregarded that.
“My brother is not a douchebag,” he said staunchly.
Carpenter just looked at Dane steadily, and Dane remembered that Carpenter had been there when Skipper should have called HR on Mason.
“I mean, he says dumb shit when he’s nervous, but that doesn’t make him a douche!”
Carpenter arched one eyebrow. “He asked Skipper if he’d like to come watch porn in his office.”
“But apparently there was the thing with the Theraflu and the making sure he got home when he was sick,” Dane pointed out hopefully.
“Often,” Dane amended with a sigh. “He’s not a douchebag often.
Carpenter grinned at him. “Well, Skipper’s giving him a do-over, so I can give him a do-over. Reboot, new lives, let’s go kill some bad guys.”
Reboot?Dane blinked. “What do you play?” he asked. Oh God, something besides golf.
“PS4,” Carpenter said. “RPG, FPS mostly, what’s your poison?”
“Anything,” Dane said dreamily. He’d lost most of his gaming buddies when he quit the restaurant—they’d been casual acquaintances, really, not friends. “You want to play tonight?”
Carpenter shrugged. “Yeah, why not. Skip’s got yard work after this, and I’ve got to clean my apartment. Log on about eight?”
That easy.
Finding a new friend was that easy.
A new friend with a sexy voice and an adorable scruff and a sense of humor.

I Wonder if I could market this class...

So, Mate and I went to a party the other night--most of the guys who got mentioned in HomeBird were there, and one of the things I really love about these guys and their significant others is that they're so much fun about what I write. They get it. Romance with gay male leads. Not their thing, but they're fans of mine, and they love that they're in the book.

I love them so.

Primarily because they are very often atypical of a lot of the conversations I have when out in the wild.

Writers out there will know what I mean--tell me if this sounds familiar.

Stranger at Party: Oh, so you're a writer!

Me: Yes.

SaP: You should write a book about my life!

Me: I'm not that kind of writer.

SaP: I always thought my life would be a fascinating story.

Me: I'm really not that kind of writer.

SaP: What kind of writer are you?

Me: Romance.  

SaP: Oooh, naughty naughty--bodice rippers, eh?

Me: That's actually sort of a derogatory term.

SaP: But it's like porn, right?

Me: No, actually porn is sex for sex's sake--romance has sex for the sake of emotional connection.

SaP: So, chick lit?

Me: Also a derogatory term.

SaP: But it's all about the sex, isn't it? 

Me: No, it's really about emotional bonding and making a happy life for the individual.

SaP: You sound so smart! Why don't you write something with substance!

Me: All writing has substance--romance is one of the most political genres of them all. It addresses the four basic human relationships, including the two that are completely by individual choice and it involves the radical idea that two humans can choose their own destiny in a world that is prone to putting obstacles--frequently political ones--in their way. 

SaP: But seriously, you should write a book about my life.

Me: You could always write a book about your life.

SaP: Sure--but where should I start?

Me: Well, you should decide who your audience is.

SaP: All the young girls out there who want to grow up like me.

Me: ... Uh, maybe something a little less focused on you. It should be some lessons you've learned.

SaP: Like letting yourself go and learning to be your true self. Being true to your heart.

Me: ... Sure. But you want to decide if you want it to be a collection of anecdotes, or a complete memoire, or a self-help book or--

SaP: Yes! All of those!

Me: Have you ever read any autobiographical works?

SaP: Like what?

Me: James Thurber? Virginia Woolf? Michelle Obama? John Steinbeck? James Baldwin? Joan Didion? Anything?

SaP: Well, I don't really have time to read. What are they about?

Me: ... The lives of great people who know how to tell stories about their lives.

SaP: But I want to write in my own voice.

Me: Your voice only gets stronger if you read other people.

SaP: But I really don't want to contaminate my ideas with other people's words. Where should I start writing?

Me: You should read blogs on the internet. If you'll excuse me, I think my husband was getting me a drink. Mate...Ma--ate..MATE!!!!

So anyway, I was looking at local community college adult classes, trying to put together a seminar or two to teach, and I thought, "You know what would be a good class to teach? It should be a class that teaches people who want to write all of those things that I talk about with strangers at parties. Except maybe, if they pay me money to teach the class, they'll listen..."

What do you guys think--will it work?

Friday, August 16, 2019


So, I got to queue with my editor today--that was fun.

It was also, fyi, the only really interesting thing I did. It was literally too hot to take the dogs for a walk and it threw into sharp relief how behind shit I am. I spent a lot of my day actually writing--go figure!

But one of the things that came up in the queue was where I'm putting my time.

Dreamspun Desires and Dreamspun beyond--50-60K stories that pack a full emotional wallop into a small space--figured prominently.

Fish will continue--as well as Johnnies Flophouse books, which have a lot of Fish tie-ins.

Under the Stars (Jai/George) will continue to be a blog thing, unless suddenly I have most of a novel there. Given how fast I progress, it may be the short piece at the end of the next Fish book, tentatively titled Fish on a Leash. 

For those of you who wondered, I had written Fish Dicks in the queue but it was solidly vetoed. *sigh*

I also have an idea for a new series (yes, another one) based on one of my favorite tropes, starting next year. Leverage? Oceans 11? The Italian Job? Yeah. *happy sigh* Oh yeah.

I made a list of things I called "luxury sequels". These were projects I've planned and that someday I will write--but not today. *sigh* A lot of things I wanted to have done already got put on luxury sequels--but then I have to remind myself--like my publisher, I keep my promises, even if it takes time.

Some things that will be coming out--

Fish on a Bicycle-- and I'm really looking forward to you guys reading that! It will be out in October.

Fall Through Spring-- this is the third and final book in the rec league soccer trilogy that started with Winter Ball. It features Clay Carpenter and Dane Hayes and will be out December 3rd. (complete)

Silent Heart-- This is the sequel to Warm Heart and should be out in January. (complete)

Shades of Henry--Flophouse Book 1-- This is a spinoff of both Johnnies and Fish, and it ties into both. It features the "flophouse"-- a dinky little apartment with a lot of gay porn models running around in their underwear. Because it seemed like a good idea? (in progress)

Easy Out--This is a standalone that I will hopefully have done by November that involves hate-sex, two rivals in softball, and a precocious non-baseball playing offspring. (planned)

Shortbread and Shadows- this is a Dreamspun Beyond I've been dying to write, about a group of hedge witches who get things spectacularly wrong. (planned)

Fish on a Leash--more details about that later. (planned)

Safe Heart-- Due out this summer, this is Glen and Cash's story, and after reading Damien and Preston's you're REALLY going to want to see what's next. (planned)

And that's where I'm going to stop--because seriously, the queue goes out a couple of years.

But I know you're going to look at this and think, "But wait...where's..."

Well, that sequel of your dreams will probably be written in May/June, because that's usually when my whim comes into play in what's an increasingly restrictive schedule. Do I want to see Larx and Aaron married? Of course. Do I want to see Cameron and Jaime together? Hell yeah. Do I need Francis and Beltane's story--you betcha.

They'll be written.

Just not, you know, tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Little Old Ladies in the Pool--Redux

There are a few of us who are diehard liberals--we know each other and we float in packs like a wrinkled raft.

One of my diehard liberals was beating the water in a frenzy today. She was furious. She'd spent the weekend with in-laws who were staunch supporters of the pustule in the White House, and she'd given herself sciatica working out too hard to vent her rage.

I raged a little with her. "My one consolation--ONE consolation," I told her, "Is that he appears to be rotting from the inside out. I hope it's syphilis."

She gave a harsh bark of laughter. 

I asked her, "Do you know how people die of syphilis? Shit literally rots off their body, like their noses and tongues and cheeks fall off, and they're in agonizing pain. And since he refuses to get a real doctor to look him over, and since we all know he's a horrible abomination of a human being who treats women like trash, he could very possibly have syphilis."

And this lovely woman--this beautiful grandmother, this staunch advocate for civil rights, this kind person who worries about the welfare of everybody in the pool--lights up. Completely. As though a flame had been ignited within.

"Really?" she asked, so very hopefully.

"Yeah. It's totally possible."

She gave me a serene smile. "That's the best thing I've heard in three years. Seriously. Namaste."

Namaste, y'all. Poetic justice lives.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Now Available: Paint it Black

The seeds to this book were in the original--but they were buried deep.

For those of you who read the extras from Beneath the Stain (THEY CAN BE FOUND HERE) you may have seen the signs.

The day Mackey's mother got the letter that Mackey wrote in rehab, she was with a potential suitor--whom she kicked out of the house the minute he said something shitty about Mackey's situation. Her son, Cheever, was friends with his son--and Cheever followed up that moment by acting like a real punk.

Why would he do that?

Blake confessed to Mackey that he'd worked as a prostitute in the early days when he didn't always have food money--what kind of scars would that leave? Then, in his POV section in the extra content, we see that he's got a low-level case of the unrequiteds for Kell, his best friend--but that he loves Kell enough to be happy for him when Kell hooks up with Briony, who is the love of his life.

Blake's got hidden depths--when does he get his happy ending?

When I was asked to write a sequel to Beneath the Stain, my first instinct was to say no--Mackey and Trav were an epic love story. How do you follow that up?

But underneath that, I knew that somewhere in the back of my mind, Blake and Cheever had something really profound in common.

They were both the forgotten ones, the ones laboring in Mackey's shadow, trying to find the light. Now that Mackey is secure enough to try to spread that sunshine around, is their enough love in the world to fix these two broken souls?

Short answer--yes!

Long answer--you're going to have to read it to see!

But as I was writing this, I would send it to my beta reader and ask what had bothered me about writing a sequel to BtS all along-- Is it worthy?

"Yes," she said. "It's perfect."

Of course, that could be because she loves me. A lot.

But the point is, I worried. I labored. I really wanted to make this one worthy of its predecessor.

I do hope I succeeded.

A Beneath the Stain Novel
Everybody thinks Mackey Sanders’s Outbreak Monkey is the last coming of Rock ’n’ Roll Jesus, but Cheever Sanders can’t wait to make a name for himself where nobody expects him to fill his famous brothers’ shoes. He’s tired of living in their shadow.

Blake Manning has been one of Outbreak Monkey’s lead guitarists for ten years. He got this gig on luck and love, not talent. So hearing that Cheever is blowing through Outbreak Monkey’s hard-earned money in an epic stretch of partying pisses him off.

Blake shows up at Cheever’s nonstop orgy to enforce some rules, but instead of a jaded punk, he finds a lost boy as talented at painting as Mackey is at song-making, and terrified to let anybody see the real him. Childhood abuse and a suicide attempt left Cheever on the edge of survival—a place Blake knows all too well.

Both men have to make peace with being second banana in the public eye. Can they find the magic of coming absolute first with each other?

Monday, August 12, 2019

That was a weekend

So the next two weeks are going to be hellishly busy--but this weekend was the portal to that hell.

FRIDAY-- Friday, Squish and ZoomBoy danced with their troupe before the RiverCats game. Squish wasn't excited about doing this because Saturday was going to be a big day also, but we insisted. It wasn't easy--I had a foot-thing going, and the kids went into the park at 4:30, but Mate and I had to stand in line until 6. The troupe started dancing at about 6:15, so it was a good thing we didn't wait until later to get in line, but OU. UCH.

We stayed for the rest of the baseball game--and watched the RiverCats lose 0-15. Looking at the stats of the kids (yes kids!) up to bat, Mate and I had a revelation. The team had been winning all season-- but these kids (!) had NOTHING in their stat boxes. We figured that the major league team had called up the winning players to cover for the players with injury, and the kids we were watching were literally the high school graduates called up from AA ball. You had outfielders that couldn't catch bloopers, batters who swung way out of their strike zones, and pitchers who couldn't hit the broadside of a barn. Only entertaining if you like to heckle, and we couldn't--it was just so sad.

Anyway--we stayed until the fireworks--but given how long it took to lose that painful game, it didn't feel quite worth it this time.

Also, we all got sunburned.

On Saturday, it was soccer, opening day. Mate coached U12 Boys (mostly just because he likes being a team player) and someone else took over Squish's team (which was a whole political mess because people thought THEIR kids only deserved to win so they almost split the team and left the "lesser" players back with Mate --including Squish-- and I found out and said "that's mean" because it's EXACTLY what happened to Chicken, and then there was a small brouhaha and basically Mate stepped down because he has no ego in the team's win, and anyway--he's coaching somewhere he's appreciated and Squish gets to play with her peers.)

Anyway we spent ALL Saturday in the sun.

And came home, ate sandwiches, and slept.

Today we went shopping for school clothes. I have to say, the Old Navy clerk who was adorable and excited because she was cooking salmon for dinner and who called her cash register "Busted" because (her words) "she gets tired of work sometimes" really did make that entertaining.

Anyway-- Mate also reffed two games yesterday, and earned some cash, and he put it in my wallet this morning before we left for school shopping.

I was helping Squish out, swapping sizes while she was in the dressing room, and she said, "Hey--can we get shoes, too?"

I was like, "*yawn* I don't know, honey--"

"We can get coffee on the way!"

She looked so hopeful, I had to tell her yes.

Her whole face lit up. I went back to where Mate was sitting and said, "Squish suggests a stop at StarBucks on her way to the Skechers store."  (Parents know Old Navy and Skechers were made of sales this weekend.)

He yawned. "Sure," he mumbled. He hates coffee. "They'e got those refresher things. We can do that."

So we get to Starbucks and he starts looking through his wallet.

"Where's my money?"

"You gave it to me."

"No, I had a whole wad of cash this morning."

"You gave it to me."

"But it was two twenties and two fives, folded up."

I pulled it out and waved it at him. "You. Gave. It. Too. Me."

"But I remember putting it in a wallet--"

"You DID! You put it in MY wallet!"

He unfolded it. "Oh. I guess I gave it to you."

I stroked his shoulder and gave him anime eyes. "You're so pretty," I sighed. "So pretty. It's a good thing you're pretty."

"Yeah, I know," he yawned. "We can all skate on my looks."

Friday, August 9, 2019

Bacon and Eggs --a VERY SHORT Part 8 for Jai and Georg

This is going to be super short--like drabble short. I'm in the middle of a blog tour, and the kids have a full plate this week--but I couldn't let us forget about Jai and George! Also Parker was in dentist pain and needed some pets, and we always pet Parker because we love him, so this is for him too.

*    *   *

Jai heard him yawn and stretch, and then the rustling in the tent that indicated he was getting dressed.

"Going to the bathroom," he called softly, and Jai looked up from the eggs he was scrambling.


George gave him a shy little smile and a wave and set up for the restroom two campgrounds away.

Jai bit his lip. He'd gotten a smile in the morning.

He hadn't been sure--not really. The night had seemed amazing to him, but he'd been dominant and a little bit kinky. Sure, rent boys were okay with that if you paid for it, but Jai didn't often find willing partners who liked to be teased until they screamed.

But George... George had taken all of it, willingly--happily. Like every suggestion Jai had made had been designed to make George catch fire.

The results had been... magic.

Jai thought magic deserved some bacon and eggs in the morning. And some coffee as well.

For a small man, George made a lot of noise tramping around in his tennis shoes. Jai wasn't surprised when he slipped his cool hands around Jai's middle, under his fleece, and nuzzled his shoulder.

"Good morning," he said, as contented as a cat.

"Good morning." Jai turned away from their food, which was nearly done and bent his head so he could take George's mouth. Ah, minty. Good. Jai had brushed his teeth too. "Sit," he said gruffly after he'd pulled away. "We can eat."

"I need to cook for you, eventually," George told him. Then he grimaced. "Or maybe I can just be the one who brings takeout on Fridays."

Jai laughed softly in deference to the early morning sun peeking through the black shadows of the the trees. "You don't cook?"

"Not well," George confessed guiltily. Jai slid his eggs onto a plate with three pieces of bacon and some toast that had been working as well, then put the whole works in front of George with ketchup and butter.  "This here is my only dish really," he confessed, taking a bite of bacon. "Mm... and you seem to do it just fine."

Jai chuckled and plated up his own food, poured them both milk, and then then sat down next to him on the picnic bench.

"What do you have planned today?" George asked him after his first bite.

Jai closed his eyes and swallowed blissfully. "Fishing--it will be boring, if you would rather--"

"I have a book in my truck," George said happily, and  some tension seemed to go out of him. "Sitting in the quiet with you sounds really nice."

"Good. I am not good at cocktail parties." Jai took a gulp of his milk--milk made him happy in the morning, and it gave his stomach a good buffer from black coffee, which he'd put on the camp stove for when they were done.

"I can fill space with my chatter," George apologized. "I mean, I'll bring the book in case you're ready to strangle me, but seriously--lots and lots of talking."

Jai chuckled. "We shall find a medium," he said. "Somewhere between the silent void of space and a monkey in a tree."

George grinned. "Wow. That's impressive. It's like I've been waiting for a guy to say they can compromise with me my entire life."

Jai gave him a self-deprecating roll of the eyes. "Too many men named Marvin and Gary," he said with a wink.

"Not enough men named Jai who can blow my mind in bed," George told him, and Jai nodded.

"Da." Then the banter faded, and he found the answer to this next question was really important. "What we did last night--it was good? Truly good? No regrets?"

George met his gaze soberly and shook his head. "None. Just, you know. Don't want to scare you away so we can do it again."

Jai's grin threatened to take over his whole face, but he fought it back. "Good," he said, keeping that eye contact. "I would like very much for us to do that again."

"And again," George added.

"I've always enjoyed camping," Jai told him with a bland smile.

"I can see why."

They buried themselves in their bacon and eggs then, before making ready to walk to the lake, camp stools over their shoulders, fishing tackle in Jai's hand, George's book in his. George actually read quietly for an hour, as the sun rose gloriously over the mountains, setting the lake on fire.

Jai couldn't ever quite remember a more brilliant morning.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Quick Bites

Me to Squish: So, I think we might be able to go shopping at Old Navy on Thursday for school clothes--good?

Squish: I don't know how that would work, Mom. There's, you know. The red wave.

Me: *puzzled* Republicans are invading Old Navy?

Squish: ...

Me: ... Oh. We can go next Monday instead.

Squish: That would be best.

*  *  *

Mate and I are watching Veronica Mars, and I am fawning all over Logan Echolls, the asinine 0-9er (as they call the rich kids in the series) because he is such a poor-little-rich-boy and I am so falling for his big brown eyes.

Me: But see-- he was a douchebag, but he feels badly about it.

Mate: All the 0-9ers can burn in hell.

Me: Harsh.

Mate: ...

Me: Okay, fine, he's an asshole but I like his eyes.

*  *  *

I made enhanced pizza for ZoomBoy today-- regular Safeway cheese pizza but I added turkey pepperoni to it.   ZoomBoy was so happy.

Mate and Squish were a little meh.

Me, to Mate: It was good, dinner?

Mate: *shrugs*

Me: Look--we eat simmered chicken and vegetables like four nights a week, and he humors us and microwaves burritos.

Mate: *sigh* Yeah. OKay. It wasn't bad.

Me: Good. I just wanted to make his food too.

* * *

And I promised Jai and George--possibly tomorrow, maybe Thursday. But DEFINITELY this week. *sigh* Summer went by so fast... are we all ready for Paint it Black in a week?

I'M NOT!!!!

Monday, August 5, 2019

Kermit Flail-- Those Boys of Summer!



Okay-- so yes. July was insane. There was RWA and giving classes and taking classes and not winning the RITA (I am actually not bitter about this--the winner was charming, and the night was so obviously bigger than me!) and finishing books and starting books--it's been busy around here!

It's also been hot--so hot? Are you hot? I'm hot... I think we should all just kick back under the shade and... perspire, with all of the hot men available to us on the Kermit Flail, don't you think so? Oh I think so. I think those boys of summer deserve some shade, some iced tea, and some of our sweet, sweet attention...

I do indeed.

With that in mind, I've got an amazing Kermit Flail this time round!  A lot of new players--and some players we haven't heard from in a while. Lissa Kassey has been very busy with her unique blend of sci-fi and romance, with not only a couple of new releases but a boxed set to celebrate the final book in a series!  Elle Keaton, Jay Hogan and Louisa Masters present some very tasty contemporary, while Susan MacNicol takes us to a place called Fetish Alley for an erotic spin on mystery and intrigue! Speaking of intrigue, newcomers Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood take their two law-students in love on another case to solve--and a wedding to plan to boot!

And, well, for those of you who haven't seen, I've got another spleen-ripper with Outbreak Monkey in the sequel to Beneath the Stain, titled Paint it Black. Come see how Blake Manning and Mackey's little brother find peace in Mackey's shadow--and their own bit of sunshine to help their love grow.

See? Summer's not over yet--come join the fun with all the great stories! I've got SO MUCH to read this August--I can't wait!

Paint it Black 

by Amy Lane

A Beneath the Stain Novel
Everybody thinks Mackey Sanders’s Outbreak Monkey is the last coming of Rock ’n’ Roll Jesus, but Cheever Sanders can’t wait to make a name for himself where nobody expects him to fill his famous brothers’ shoes. He’s tired of living in their shadow.

Blake Manning has been one of Outbreak Monkey’s lead guitarists for ten years. He got this gig on luck and love, not talent. So hearing that Cheever is blowing through Outbreak Monkey’s hard-earned money in an epic stretch of partying pisses him off.

Blake shows up at Cheever’s nonstop orgy to enforce some rules, but instead of a jaded punk, he finds a lost boy as talented at painting as Mackey is at song-making, and terrified to let anybody see the real him. Childhood abuse and a suicide attempt left Cheever on the edge of survival—a place Blake knows all too well.

Both men have to make peace with being second banana in the public eye. Can they find the magic of coming absolute first with each other?

Candy Land 
Hidden Gems Book 3

By Lissa Kassey

Blurb: Candy has gone from being the top companion at the Hidden Gem, to managing it. While he is busy restructuring the red-light district into an adult playground, his fellow companion and lover, Ivy finds time to spend with Institute of Scientific Study Investigator, Jackson Taylor. Candy can’t hide the fact that he’s jealous of Jack for taking Ivy’s time, and Ivy for catching Jack’s interest.

Ivy loves Candy and Jack, but he’s not sure how to make it work between the three of them when Candy’s libido runs at hyper speed and Jack’s is non-existent. All he knows is that he wants to try. Each time he tries to bring the three of them closer, life gets in the way. Most recently a series of violently murdered companions which Jack is investigating, while putting Candy and Ivy on high alert. 

Something more than brutal murders is happening in City M. A sleeping threat to humanity is changing the world. Candy, Ivy, and Jack will have to band together with their friends to either evolve or be swept under a tidal wave of awakening power.

Buy Here 

Dominion Novels--Boxed Set--
By Lissa Kassey

Books 1-4 are on sale to celebrate the new release of book 5--you can find them HERE! 

Book 5 of the Dominion

By Lissa Kassey

For those who have been waiting almost a decade for the next Dominion book, it's finally here!!!

Sam is used to being the bad guy. So when he becomes the undead, he doesn’t understand why it pisses him off. Sure guys throw themselves at him, and he’s strong enough to toss a car across a room, but he’s friends with two of the four pillars of Dominion power and mentored by one of the most powerful vampires in the world. Things that put a damper on his whole ‘scourge of darkness’ vibe.

For months he’s been letting a little red-eyed monster out to play and feeding on the dangerous instead of on the willing. If it weren’t for his endless desire to take a nibble from his sexy and tattooed roommate, Constantine, he’d still be stalking the night looking for human monsters to devour. Instead he’s taking on a cibo, a regular blood donor, in the form of Luca, a dhampir. 

With Luca and his profound knowledge of undead politics in his life, Sam begins to realize he doesn’t know as much as he thought, and maybe that’s not his fault. His mentor’s sanity is slipping, the world is changing, and vampires are beginning to lose control. Will Sam fall into the darkness too, or can Luca and Con drag him back from the abyss?

Legally Bound

by Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood

Love can’t protect you from a psychopath.

Law students Liam Macadam and John Lawrence are madly in love, and everyone knows it. Granted, John is eighteen years older, but so what? With the end of law school in sight, they’re busy planning a wedding and a life together.
Unfortunately, not everyone is happy for them. Somebody is determined to tear them apart, and when the situation spirals out of control, Liam and John have to find a way out before it costs one of them his life.
Legally Bound, the second book in the Beyond Courtship series, can be read as a stand-alone novel. It is a sexy May-December romance full of suspense and adventure

Out of the Office

by Louisa Masters

Whoever thought achieving career goals could be boring? Not Duncan Witten, but here he is at forty-one, in his dream job… and hating it. Throw it all away for a challenge? Yes, please!

If only Dunc had known his challenging new job came with Paul Hanks, a man who redefines  “stubborn.” They need to work together to meet targets, but thanks to Dunc’s idiot predecessor, Paul won’t take his calls or reply to emails.

There’s only one solution: travel across the country and confront Paul face-to-face. It’s time to take things out of the office.

Trusting the Elements

by Elle Keaton

There’s nothing like a near death car accident to open your eyes. Otto Proulx decides surviving was a sign; he’s being given a second chance to claim the life he wants to live. For the past few years he’s been hiding in the shadows, vague texts from a troubled ex-partner keep him at home along with his general lack of luck in the romance department. This is his last chance, he’s certain, this time he’ll meet the man for him, the one he’s sure is out there somewhere.

Greg Trainor runs a specialty kite shop and helps his friends out when they ask. That’s the kind of guy he is, if somebody needs something, they call on Greg. He’s a big guy and no genius, but he’s dependable. So…yeah, when he sees a car precariously perched on the side of the road, he stops to help out; it’s what he does.

One night of passion leads to…several more and suddenly both men are searching around to define what they have together. Neither wants to scare the other off and neither wants to ask for more. Will the two men be able to set aside their fears and create a family together, trusting the elements are in their favor?

For Fox Sake

by Susan McNicol

The Places You'll Go And The Things That You'll See

Former SAS soldier, Clay Mortimer, the M in M&W Investigations, had thought he'd seen it all. But when his ex calls and asks for a favour Clay is intrigued, and then a bit surprised. He and his partner, Tate Williams, have a robust and imaginative sex life, but the things they see and learn in Fetish Alley take their understanding of human behaviour to the next level. Tate's take is part kid in a candy store fascination, part shocked. At the end of the day, all good detective work requires an open mind and the skill to ferret out the truth. Still, the layers of deceit and avarice they encounter are more than par for the course, particularly from people who are not keen about outsiders to the world of Fetish Alley.

Digging Deep

by Jay Hogan

A Digging Deep Story

Drake Park has a complicated life. As a gay male midwife, he’s used to raising eyebrows. Add Crohn’s disease and things get interesting—or not, considering the sad state of his love life. Experience has taught Drake that most men are fair-weather sailors when it comes to handling his condition—gone for dust when things get rough. Staying healthy is a full-time job without adding in any heartbreak, so a little loneliness is a small price to pay. If he says it often enough he might even believe it. One thing for sure, the cop who arrested him isn’t about to change that.

Caleb Ashton does not have a complicated life. A senior detective with the Whangarei Police Department, he likes his job and is good at it. He works hard and plays hard, happy to enjoy as many men as he can while he’s still young enough—or at least he was. These days he feels adrift for the first time in his life, and the only thing sparking his interest—a certain prickly young midwife.

But can Drake find enough faith to risk opening his heart again? And does Caleb have what it takes to cope with the challenges Drake’s condition presents?