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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Removing the Mask--A SuperBat fanfic

Hey all--thanks so much for your words of encouragement. I actually have to deep dive an edit tomorrow, but tonight? It's all about fiction.

And just for fiction, I'm jumping on the SuperBat train. Are you ready boys? Cause I'm home.

* *


Halloween approached again--what was it now, three years? And Bruce slept less and less and Clark worried more and more.

He'd asked Alfred about the kidnapping when Bruce had been very young, and Alfred had paled, and then asked Master Clark if he'd be having steak that evening per usual.

Three years, Clark had been asking that question. Three years, and he'd been eating steak while Batman went out and tried to kill himself with exhaustion.


Wasn't he supposed to be a reporter?

This year, the first nightmare rocked Bruce a good week early. The week before had been bloody. The Joker had escaped, and had let loose the Scarecrow as well. Together their monstrous masks had been on television nearly every hour--and Bruce had faced them down alone, and people had died.

Clark had been off planet with Diana, intercepting an invasion attempt with most of the rest of the Justice League. He'd returned to find his lover in the infirmary, taciturn and distant, too much gauze on his wounds for Clark to even think of taking him to bed to make him talk.

The wounds had been healing--and, thanks to Alfred, who had snuck some of Superman's platelets into his antibiotic injections, they'd been healing well--but Bruce was not all right.

That first dream happened two nights after Clark's return, and Clark had been lying awake, studying him. Bruce's brow wrinkled in sleep, as though he were approaching dream land with the same intensity he approached everything else. He hadn't even spoken, hadn't twitched, hadn't even murmured. One moment he was studying sleep from the inside, and the next Bruce Wayne was sitting up in bed screaming.

"Bruce! Stop! it's me! You're fine! You're fine! Stop!"

And like a light switch, that's how fast Bruce Wayne went from screaming and lost to wide awake and irritated.

"I'm fine!"

"The hell you are! Jesus, Bruce--Halloween's not for another week! I know you hate the holiday but--"
"I'll deal," Bruce said, and had rolled over and gone to sleep.

"I'll deal?" Clark murmured to himself. "You scream like that in my ear and all I get for my pains is 'I'll deal'?"

Bruce was lying, eyes closed, chest--with the deeper wounds still bandaged--exposed, as though very sexily asleep. "You know who you're sleeping with."

"A complete and total asshole," Clark muttered. "Yeah, I've figured that out." But that didn't stop him from spooning along Bruce's back and murmur against the nape of his neck.

"You know it makes it worse," Bruce said, surprising him when it shouldn't have. "That comfort. Comfort never stays."

Oh. Clark sucked in a breath. "I'm sorry--"

"You were doing your job. Not your fault. Don't worry about it."

"Then let me comfort you!" Clark begged, almost peevishly.

"Fine. Whatever makes you happy."

Clark held him so tight, he was afraid he'd break something, and for his part, Bruce feigned sleep--right up until he wasn't pretending anymore, and he woke up screaming.

After the second night--the one where Alfred had dished him up two prime rib slices instead of one, presumably to buy his silence, Clark put on his reporter cap because he was done with this shit.

"Yo, Clark," Diana murmured in his com. "What are you doing? You don't work for the Gotham Post!"

"Yeah, but I'm trying to find a thing... something that happened around forty-five years ago."

"Something to do with Bruce Wayne's parents?" Diana asked dryly. "That shouldn't be hard to figure out. They used to make all the--oh!"

"Oh," Clark said, hitting microfiche probably at the same time she hit super-computer recorded microfiche.

"He was kidnapped?" she asked, but there it was, in lurid color, splashed on the front page.

"It's forty-nine years ago," Clark said, his voice thick. "He would have been four."

For a moment, both of them were quiet, Diana in the Eye-in-the-Sky on space age equipment, Clark down on earth looking at an ancient microfiche scanner.

Both of them appalled. "They almost killed him," she said, her voice a little broken too. "Shoved him in the back of a car with... a clown outfit?"

"It's how they lured him away from his parents," Clark said. "And when the police were closing in they drove the car into the river."

"He picked the lock," Diana muttered. "Jesus, Clark, he was four years old and he picked the goddamned lock."

"God," Clark muttered. "He must have been so scared." No wonder he felt like comfort was a lie.

"Clark," Diana said ominously. "Clark, did you see the name of the kidnapper who died in the car?"

"No--wait. Cordell Chopper--why is that fam--oh." Fuck.

"He was charged posthumously with over thirty counts."

Clark couldn't say it--the bile rose in his throat. Inappropriate touching seemed so... so tame, for the violation, the indignity, of what the man was charged with.

"But wait," he muttered. Then, both of them, "Oh dear God."

It was buried in the article--nobody wanted to talk about it, perhaps? Nobody wanted to suppose that a child could defend themself with such absoluteness.

"Two sharp puncture wounds in the groin," Clark murmured. "Go Bruce."

"Look at him," Diana said, and she'd apparently come to the same picture Clark had. Long before child rights were respected, long before the victim had rights, there stood Bruce Wayne, aged four years and three millennia old, staring directly into the camera.

He had his Batman face on.

"He must be so angry," Clark said.

"For which part?"

"Look what he did as a baby to defend himself," Clark told her. "And all he could do when his parents died was hide."

"Aw, Clark. Fuck you." She was crying. Well, join the fucking club.

*  *  *

Bruce Wayne scanned the chaos below him and tried hard to sort the good from the bad. Drug dealers in that house over there--but dumb drug dealers, so Bruce sent a text to Barbara Gordon, who sent a couple of cop cars that way.

A bunch of teenagers, squealing in excitement as one of them stood on his housetop in a Superman costume and sang Ave Maria to the stars. At first he thought they were high--but nope, local glee club. Go kid go, he had to remember to make a donation.

And children wandering too close to the lake--that required a dart--sans anaesthetic--blown at their father who was mostly just trying to stay awake during Trick-or-Treating after a long day's work. Dad popped up and looked at the youngsters and practically lost his shit. Tragedy averted.

And again and again and again. Small stuff, mostly. No terrorists in masks this year. He'd put away Scarecrow and Joker, even though they haunted him in his dreams.

Or someone in a clown mask did.

He didn't want to think about that.

But he was tired, to his bones, his recovering injuries aching even as they healed. It was almost like he was floating with--

"Hey! Put me down!"

"Are you kidding?" Clark muttered. "You're so tired you didn't feel me lifting you by your ass? No. You're a danger to yourself, you're a danger to others. Come home and go to bed."

"But it's Halloween!" Oh dear God--that really was Clark's hand right under his ass. Bruce had nothing to hold on to--he had to literally clench his asscheeks and his stomach tight enough to keep his balance as Clark spatula'd him across the sky.

"I know. Cool your jets. We've got reinforcements. I was gone for a couple of days, not forever you know."

"Oh right--you come back and hover over me like the ghost of Christmas future and I"m supposed to be all excited you're home!" Augh! What he'd really wanted was sex, but Clark had been all "You're hurt! I can't touch you then!" which was stupid because if he really loved Bruce, he'd figure out that's when Bruce needed him most!

"Yes," Clark said shortly. "And you need to tell Alfred to stop feeding me steak whenever I'm worried about you. I'm getting older you know. It could constipate me."

"Oh like you'd need fiber if you ate a whole fucking building," Batman growled from clenched teeth. "Where the hell are we--oh. Is that all?"

"Yes, idiot, I'm taking you home," Clark told him, and in a fluid movement, he hefted Batman up in the air and stopped, going vertical, so he could catch him and hold him, hovering in front of the waterfall that protected the BatCave.

Okay, so, fine. Bruce had to admit he did like the view from here.

"What are we doing?" he grumbled, trying hard to resist the appeal of Clark's heat and the kindness in his eyes and the strength in his broad chest.


"I know you know this," Clark said, looking at him so intensely, Bruce felt a rare compulsion to remove his cowl outside of the cave. "But my name is Clark Kent. I'm not circumcised. I'm a total mama's boy and I miss my father so badly that I want to cry sometimes."

"We bring flowers," Bruce said gruffly. "On his birthday. With your mother."

"We do," Clark said, kissing his forehead. "She thinks you're a nice boy but she wishes I'd find somebody serious."

"I'm sorry." He really was. He loved Martha--he knew Clark tried again and again to explain that Bruce was merely putting on an act, but she believed the newspapers, because Clark was a newspaperman. Yet another reason to come out of the closet and stop being a playboy, Bruce supposed, but dammit, how did he keep being Batman?

"I know," Clark said softly. "But I wanted to make a point. You know who I am, and you love me."

"Yes." That was undisputed. Adamant. Penned in iron. Bruce Wayne loved Clark Kent. Taking it back would be ripping back his own flesh.

"I know who you are, Bruce Alexander Wayne," Clark whispered in his ear. "I know why you hate Halloween so badly--no, don't say anything."

Bruce's chest froze, the air in his lungs, his windpipe, everything a layer of ice. "Bu--"

"You can tell me or you can keep it secret," Clark whispered, the two of them hovering in the mist like souls deciding whether to ascend to heaven.  "Halloween won't get better--but you'll know I'll know why it sucks so bad."

"But..." He tried again, but it didn't work any better than the first time.

"You'll know I know the worst, and I still love you."

Bruce whimpered, and pulled Clark into a kiss. Clark went willingly, zooming them through the waterfall and to their bedroom, both of them wrestling out of their work clothes alone, because they were so carefully constructed one man's help might be another's lycra/kevlar prison.

Finally they were naked, bare skin to bare skin, Clark on his back taking all of Bruce's weight because Bruce knew he could.

Taking all of Bruce's cock, hard, brutally hard, because Bruce knew he could.

Taking Bruce's guttural scream of completion, swallowing it down, taking his trembling and his gasps of anger, of fear, of pain, and giving back love, because Bruce knew he could.

Finally, the two of them were spent, skin sticky on the other, naked and rank with come.

"Do you want to talk?" Clark asked softly.


But he did anyway, the story tumbling out of him with a four-year-old's diction, his anger, his joy at defending himself, his glee as the car sank and he struggled to swim, fully clothed through the icy water.

His absolute trust when a young Alfred had pulled him out by the scruff of the neck, far from where the police had been searching, because Alfred knew what he was capable of, and hadn't despaired for a moment.

Finally, finally, it was done, and dawn was creeping in through he special drapes, and his alarm went off, calling Bruce Wayne to go be productive in the November morning.

Clark melted the alarm clock into slag.

"That's the third one this year," Bruce mumbled, falling asleep on his chest.

"So you've had a whole three full nights of sleep in a year. Fucking sue me," Clark said, his voice thick as he ran his big hands from Bruce's neck, down along his spine, to his hips.

"You're sounding more and more like me," Bruce mumbled. "No wonder your mother thinks you can do better."

He could, Bruce knew, but his eyes were so heavy, and his heart so much lighter, he just didn't have the strength to argue.

*  *  *
"She's wrong," Clark whispered, feeling Bruce's breathing even out. "There is no man better than you, Bruce Wayne. No man better for me."

Bruce didn't answer, his chest rising and falling evenly, and Clark rolled slightly so he rolled to his side on the bed.

Clark stayed there, half-dozing, as Bruce slept until the next evening, awaking groggy and disoriented and needing to pee.

"You didn't go anywhere?"  Bruce asked, yawning and squinting into falling twilight. "Why not?"

"Because I know what scares you," Clark said simply. "And nothing's going to hurt you on my watch."

They both knew it might be a lie. They both kn ew there were times when the world would need one of them and the other couldn't be there. But this wasn't about Superman and Batman, this was about Bruce and Clark.

Bruce surprised him then with his first smile in weeks. "Like anything could get through you."

Clark smiled back. "Your dick can."

Bruce's outraged grin was as close to joy as the two of them could ever get.

Close enough to warm their fingers in its glow.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Sorry about that...

So, usually when I get home from a long trip--particularly one that was sort of exhausting. I have a couple of days of downtime and recovery and, you know, lots of long naps.

Not so much this time.

The kids had a performance on Wednesday--at a nursing home, so that was really very sweet (those are the pictures behind the fake ferns)--and there was car shopping for Mate and grocery shopping Thursday, Friday was a cluster of grooming, errands, and exhaustion, and Saturday was a combination of soccer, birthday parties, and the Homecoming Dance.

And somewhere in there, I developed a ginormous headache that still persists, and basically called it quits.

Mate picked up some of the slack--he did the birthday parties and one leg of the Homecoming dance, but at one point my friend Berry Jello was like, "Hey, let's do a haunted house!"

And I was like, "No."

"No, seriously, it's super quick."

"No. Just... no."

And I just couldn't. I was working on an edit and I stetted. A LOT. Because... just no.

It's funny, how sometimes you think you have no options to take care of yourself, but you find yourself going, "Uhm, giving up now. Self-care is the thing."

So anyway--after walking the dogs and picking Big T up and trying for a nap in spite of the headache, I spent much of today staring blankly at the television, knitting.

I may be human tomorrow.


And my big hope tonight is to write. One edit is done, another one is pending, but tonight, I just need to write.

So sorry about the absence--it's been something of a week.  But I should be back online tomorrow, just in time for Halloween, and, three days later, Disney with the family. (Because who needs to keep their kids in school, right?)


May you too have the freedom sometimes to just say no.

I know it did me a world of good this weekend, and a little peace is a great thing.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019


I know--I write a post with this title about six times a year.

Still-- as dusty and decrepit as it is, this home is mine, and I'm comfortable here.



That was some trip!

I was sort of busy pimping  Fish on a Bicycle before I left, so I know I didn't give details!

I arrived in Albuquerque for GRL on Wednesday night, and as usual, GRL was a whirlwind. The author lounges and reading spotlight were wonderful and Amy felt the AMAZING amounts of author love-- thank EVERYBODY who came by and hugged and cried and were kind and gave gifts. (I got two skeins of yarn from AUSTRALIA, y'all-- and a BADGE. Seriously. A special investigator BADGE. And a llama fan and an alpaca pen--it was SOME HAUL, and I am, as always, tickled.)

Also, I got to see some author friends and that was lovely too :-)

Now, on Saturday, literally at the tail end of the signing, I ran out of the signing room with my stuff, shoved most of my stuff back into my suitcases, and caught a plane (or two, actually) to Seattle.

So, around eight o'clock on Saturday night, I arrived at Emerald City Writer's Conference right in the middle of THEIR big spotlight signing event. I am starving, I am a little shell-shocked, and I am exhausted.

During the day, I thought--at different times--that I'd lost both my sunglasses and my wallet, and when I discovered my wallet during check in literally iN MY DUFFEL BAG I cried in front of the registration desk.

Oh yeah-- they remembered me on Monday.

Anyway-- Kim Fielding, her friend lyric, and I all found a place to eat eventually (there was a hangry, nervy trek through a mall first, and very real threats to just go to Panda Express) and then, after dinner and a short nap, Kim and I got up because we both had classes to teach in the morning.

The class went really well. Like, a number of people hunted me up afterward and told me they were grateful for the bullet points and for the worksheets and for the actionable takeaway. I was happy--it felt like a good reason to have put myself through Saturday so I could give that class on Sunday.

And then--after lunch and the guest speaker, of course-- a wonderful thing happened.

A long-time reader and Seattle resident--Tori--and her husband, Dave-- took me on a tour of Seattle. Now remember, I go to a lot of places and DON'T always get to look around, so this was pretty wonderful. They knew their way around the city--I saw everything. I saw the Mo-Pop museum, the Amazon terrariums, the view from Queen Anne Hill, where the Mariners play, and the Seahawks (I got to hear them too--they were having a game that day and that city on game day--WOW!), and we got to see people throw fish and stand in line at the original Starbucks.

And then we got to go to a yarn store--Serial Knitters--and that was one of the best parts. In the same place we found Rocky Horror Picture Show themed yarn, cat themed yarn, The 12th Man yarn (go Seahawks!), and a yarn called Badlands, that was so very mine.

It was a truly charmed day, and worth the very steep price of admission and I'm so glad I went.

I met Kim and lyric for dinner afterwards, and then lyric took Kim to the airport, and then... well, I slept, mostly. Monday  morning I slept some more. My plane didn't leave until nine o'clock at night. When I left the hotel room, I worked, then I caught a lyft to the airport and worked some more.

And finally, home.

Glorious home.

I don't have enough words.

Anyway--so that's where I went. And I wish it was my last trip for a while, but we've been planning a trip to Disneyland with the kids in November, and... well, I wish I could bring the dogs, that's all I can say.

I miss everybody when I'm gone.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Fish on a Bicycle--Available Now!


Fish on a Bicycle 
by Amy Lane

Fish Out of Water: Book Five
Jackson Rivers has always bucked the rules—and bucking the rules of recovery is no exception. Now that he and Ellery are starting their own law firm, there’s no reason he can’t rush into trouble and take the same risks as always, right?

Maybe not. Their first case is a doozy, involving porn stars, drug empires, and daddy issues, and their client, Henry Worrall, wants to be an active participant in his own defense. As Henry and Jackson fight the bad guys and each other to find out who dumped the porn star in the trash can, Jackson must reexamine his assumptions that four months of rest and a few good conversations have made him all better inside. 

Jackson keeps crashing his bicycle of self-care and a successful relationship, and Ellery wonders what’s going to give out first—Jackson’s health or Ellery’s patience. Jackson’s body hasn’t forgiven him for past crimes. Can Ellery forgive him for his current sins? And can they keep Henry from going to jail for sleeping with the wrong guy at the wrong time?

Being a fish out of water is tough—but if you give a fish a bicycle, how’s he going to swim?

So, you might ask-- how do you take the fourth--or is it fifth?-- book in a series, add in another series, and make it stand alone?

You work really really hard at making the people you meet--whether it's Dex, Kane, and Henry from Dex in Blue, Bobby and Reg from Bobby Green, John and Galen from Black John, or Burton and  Ernie from Hiding the Moon--Just as new, just as fresh, just as interesting to the reader as they are to our two romantic leads.

And given how much I love Jackson and Ellery, having them meet up with the other people in my world is actually pretty awesome.

Jackson and  Ellery are meeting Henry Worrall for the very first time. Now, fans of the Johnnies series will know what Henry's damage is. They'll know why he's got a chip on his shoulder--and they'll delight in every moment of revelation.

But people who have never heard of Johnnies--well, they'll be shocked! Surprised! Saddened! And in the end, both sets of people will come to the same place: Empathy for Henry, and pride for how much he grows. 

So much empathy and pride, I hope, that they'll be excited to see him get his own book, because Purple Shades of Henry (which will reveal parts of Henry's backstory that will be a surprise to everybody) comes out in March.

And as for folks who haven't met Jackson and Ellery yet?

I suggest you start with Fish Out of Water.  And then buckle your seatbelt--it's going to be a bumpy ride. 

 Fish Out of Water

Fish Out of Water: Book One

PI Jackson Rivers grew up on the mean streets of Del Paso Heights—and he doesn’t trust cops, even though he was one. When the man he thinks of as his brother is accused of killing a police officer in an obviously doctored crime, Jackson will move heaven and earth to keep Kaden and his family safe.

Defense attorney Ellery Cramer grew up with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth, but that hasn’t stopped him from crushing on street-smart, swaggering Jackson Rivers for the past six years. But when Jackson asks for his help defending Kaden Cameron, Ellery is out of his depth—and not just with guarded, prickly Jackson. Kaden wasn’t just framed, he was framed by crooked cops, and the conspiracy goes higher than Ellery dares reach—and deep into Jackson’s troubled past.

Both men are soon enmeshed in the mystery of who killed the cop in the minimart, and engaged in a race against time to clear Kaden’s name. But when the mystery is solved and the bullets stop flying, they’ll have to deal with their personal complications… and an attraction that’s spiraled out of control.

Red Fish, Dead  Fish

Fish Out of Water: Book Two

They must work together to stop a psychopath—and save each other.

Two months ago Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the triggerman remains at large—and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens’s time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted—and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her—Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.

Buy Here
A Few Good Fish

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Here

 Fish Out Of Water: Book Four - A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover
Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?

 Racing for the Sun

"I'll do anything."

Staff Sergeant Jasper "Ace" Atchison takes one look at Private Sonny Daye and knows that every word on paper about him is pure, unadulterated bullshit. But Sonny is desperate, and although Ace isn't going to take him up on his offer of "anything," that doesn't mean he isn't tempted.

Instead, Ace takes Sonny under his wing, protecting him when they're in the service and making plans with him when they get out. Together, they're going to own a garage and build race cars and make their fortune hurtling faster than light across the desert. Together, they're going to rewrite the past, make Sonny Daye a whole and happy person, and put the ghosts in Ace's heart to rest.

But not even Sonny can build a car fast enough to escape the ghosts of the past. When Sonny's ghosts drive them down and run their plans off the road, Ace finds out exactly what he's made of. Maybe Sonny was the one to promise Ace anything, but there is nothing under the sun Ace won't do to keep Sonny safe from harm.

The Johnnies Series  (* The link is to all five of the books, but Henry appears in book 2.)

Dex in Blue

Johnnies: Book Two

Ten years ago David Worral had plans to go to college and the potential for a beautiful future in front of him. One tragic accident later, he fled to California and reinvented himself as Dex, top porn model of Johnnies.

Dex’s life is a tangled mess now, but the guys he works with only see the man who makes them believe even porn stars can lead normal lives. When Kane, one of Dex’s coworkers, gets kicked out of his house, the least Dex can do is give him a place to stay. Kane may be a hyperactive muscle-bound psycho, but he’s also a really nice guy. What could be the harm?

Except nothing is simple—not sex, not love, and not the goofy kid with the big dick and bigger heart who moves his life into Dex’s guest room. When they start negotiating fractured pasts and broken friends, Dex wonders if Kane’s honest nature can untangle the sadness that stalled his once-promising future. With Kane by his side, Dex just might be able to reclaim the boy he once was—and if he can do that, he can give Kane the home and the family he deserves.

Buy the Series Here 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The brain cloud captain--she has frozen!

So, on Wednesday I leave for a two destination trip--and I have to admit, it's got me sort of... uhm... wobbly.

See, this weekend was a soccer tournament.

A very long, very sad soccer tournament. Squish's team lost all four games in two days, Mate's boy's team (younger, with shorter games) lost all four of their games in one, and I lost two days to sitting in the middle of a soccer field, knitting.

Okay-- talking to the moms and Mate which was possibly the best part, besides finishing this hooded poncho, which nobody--repeat NOBODY in my family wants. The girls are both, "But we like PASTELS!" So this will probably go to a random cousin because i had sort of an idea about knitting a big box of stuff for them and sending it and saying, "Just send me pictures!"

But it still looks good, right? Particularly with Squish's hair.

But about this trip...

See, GRL starts Wednesday, and yes, there's a lot of reasons not to go, including expense, but there are people I want to see, and I really need to attend Ethan Day's memorial service, because I've spent the last year missing the fact that he's been out in the world.

But I've also made a concerted effort to make teaching a thing, and my class on conflict was accepted by the ECWC in Seattle for the same weekend, so literally at the end of the signing, I am running away from the hotel at 12:00 and catching a plane at 2:30 for Seattle. The fun part is that I go from rooming with Andrew Grey to rooming with Kim Fielding and since I adore them both, this makes me really happy.

The not fun part is LEAVING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SIGNING to catch another plane to another place with a different temperature and I have to pack for two different places and two different events.

Also, getting into the room with the clothes scares me. Dust. So much dust.

Also, I NEED TO ADD TO MY DAMNED PRESENTATION because I have an hour and a half in Seattle and it was designed for the hour in New York.

Also, I just started a new series for Dreamspun Beyond and I adore it very much a lot but the first few chapters are super hard and really awesome but did I mention the super hard?

Also, have been chronically short on funds and I can't do the "make Amy NOT a troll" thing until Tuesday, when the plane leaves on Wednesday, so if I miss something like a face wax or my roots or getting the squirrel on my head beaten into submission or my ratty toenails, well, there's still a human under all this crap, I swear.

Also packing is going to be sort of weird and I'm debating whether to bring books or too much swag or not enough swag or oh my God what clothes am I packing again?

Also, ZoomBoy has a choir presentation tomorrow.


*breathe breathe breathe*

Yes, yes we did. Okay so--


What am I reading? Oh God. I can't decide. What should I read? The new Jackson?


Shit. Is that right? DO I HAVE A RELEASE ON TUESDAY?

Fuck fuck fuck fuck...

Also, what's the temperature like in Seattle?

Oh. Jesus, that's cold. IMAY DIE FROM THE COLD IN SEATTLE!

*buries head in hands*  So, uh, can you tell the brain cloud has frozen?

Here. Enjoy pictures of Squish modeling this super cute hooded poncho that looks super cute on her that SHE DOESN'T LIKE. You may notice where we are as she models it. Would that be... yes! Yes, I do believe it was... WE'RE ON THE FUCKING SOCCER FIELD.

Because of course we were.

And if anyone has any suggestions for what I should read on Friday, let me know. I should probably practice that.

Shit. Yeah. I really should.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

And Then the Fork Ran Away With the Spoon

Never underestimate the power of a foul autumn wind.

Of course here in California, where half the state burned down last year close to this time, we are very aware of what a wind can do. But I've got other stories--there was the time school's opening had been delayed by construction, and the advent of the first progress reports--mostly bad--coincided with a foul autumn wind, dry and destructive and full of negative ions.

We found ourselves wandering around a muttering crowd of angry students--not just in one area like the quad or the cafeteria, but the entire student body as it transitioned from fifth to sixth period. We were all looking them in the eyes and calling them by name and telling them to get back to their rooms because there was a dangerous vibe coming from the earth itself and rumbling through the soles of our shoes.

But those are extreme examples.

Right now, it's just... insomnia.

The cold, the wind, the aridity--Mate is having trouble sleeping.

Last night, he woke up three times, once talking to people who weren't there. It wasn't anything demonic like, "Let's kill her while she's at her computer!" It was more mundane, like, "What about the car?"  (Totaled by the way. He's looking for a new one.)  But that was once. And a "Wha? Wha?" was twice.

The whimper was my cue to just ditch what I was working on and go lay down and read. I had to keep getting up-- the point in staying awake was...?

Well, apparently, it was that I couldn't go to sleep after reading a murder mystery for two hours. It wasn't that I was scared so much--no.

Usually when I'm doing something REALLY verbal-- writing mostly, but sometimes reading--I need a break from the words before I sleep.

Words and I are too familiar as companions. We will dance, we will play, we will twirl--and we will do it when I sleep.

So I spent last night in a haze of a terrible dream--horror/suspense at it's best, I suspect--involving a family and a phantom and a bad guy and, because it's an occupational hazard, I would wager, gay sex.

I don't know who was gay, or who was having sex, but somebody was, and then there was a ghost and screaming and a new house and scared kids.

It was a whole thing.

And I slept like ASS. Not the good kind of bootylicious ass either.

And Mate and I woke up at five in the morning and talked for half-an-hour and then I went back to sleep and then he took the kids to school and came back and I needed to sign some paperwork so I got up early and...

Well, let's just say I had to take a helluva nap this afternoon to deal with that entire mishegas.

And tonight?

It doesn't matter when I go to sleep--I'm remembering to play my stupid little math game on my phone for five minutes so me and words forget each other's existence for at least six hours.

Because the only sub-genre I haven't written yet is horror, and I don't want to start now.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Habit Forming --Jai/George Part 9

Hey all-- so much promotion and shit to do, but I'm trying to get it done before I start my next project, and I'm dying to write a little fiction tonight.

HelLO Jai and George!

Now, for those of you who remember the timeline (and I often don't) Jai and George meet in the spring--I may have said March but I'm changing it to May.  If we follow what was happening with Sonny and Ace, Redirecting the Blast  happened in early September so Ellery and Jackson could investigate those events after Jackson's birthday, in late September. 

And while we don't know exactly what Jai did--we do suspect it was quite a lot.


*  *  *

"You going camping again this weekend?"

George nodded at Amal and laced up his sneakers. This particular shift had been pretty messy--he'd packed street clothes and had availed himself of the shower and had even brought his own body wash so he didn't show up in the mountains smelling like hospital.

Not that Jai had complained, of course--but more and more, George was trying to impress him.

"Yup. Annaliese is watching the cat--and probably drinking all my wine, which I plan for, so I only buy the shitty stuff, and I'm going camping." He took a deep breath of industrial cleanser scented air. "Clears out the old sinuses."

Amal narrowed his eyes. "Clears out something. Are you seriously meeting this guy again?"

George looked away and started packing his bag. "It's working," he defended. "Once every three weeks. You know. Meet, camp, fish, read, unplug, relax. It's better than a facial."  He remembered their last time in bed and smirked. Jai, looming above him in the tent, fist wrapped around his mammoth cock, stroking himself off into George's waiting mouth. That sort of thing looked really good in porn, but anybody on the receiving end knew that come never really ended up in the mouth.

George hadn't cared. Jai's big, solid company, his kindness, the unexpected bursts of humor--these were the touchstones of why George showed up camping as often as he and Jai could meet.

The way he'd convulsed and come when Jai's semen had splattered across his cheek, his lips, his neck--that was the icing, in more ways than just licking it off his fingers.

"Is this a relationship?" Amal asked, still squinting. "Booty call? What?"

"Monogamous?" It was monogamous. George knew that much. Jai had shown him a recent test for their first three meetings until George had just told him that they would only bring condoms if the other one had sex with someone else.

Jai hadn't needed one, and George hadn't either--to the point where George had turned down more than one date with a guy who didn't look like a Marvin or a Gary or even a Steve.

He'd even turned down a date with a Buck, who had been built like a god with a goofy grin and a sense of irony, a paramedic who was super competent and hella sexy.

But he hadn't been six-foot-six and bald with a goatee and a fondness for fishing, so that was no good at all.

This thing in the mountains, this sort of sexual retreat, had been going on for nearly five months and George's only regret was there wasn't more of it.

That and he knew less about Jai than he had before.

That meeting in May, Jai had been a mechanic, ex-mob by his own report, working for a boss he obviously really respected, and recovering from a crush that had been--by his own report--unrequited.

He was still all those things, but now there was the added layer of mystery. Jai managed to neatly dodge any hint of where he lived, where his boss's business was, where he'd lived before that. He talked about customers, about cars, about his childhood in St. Petersburg--sometimes--and about mountains and sky and fish.

He did not, when all was said and done, talk much about himself.

And the only reason George was curious was that... that... he liked this guy. Genuinely, with all his heart. Their sex was incendiary--hadn't even begun to pall--but their time together in the quiet of the mountains had become just as precious as the sex.

So George was looking forward to meeting his mystery mountain lover by all means--but he wasn't so excited about explaining him to anybody else.  Particularly when he got to the campsite and saw Jai building the fire in his shirt sleeves, a big bandage over his shoulder, and what looked like scuff marks on his face.

"Oh my God!" he cried, getting out of his truck--which had been purring like a kitten since it's once-a-month tinkering began in May. "What happened?"

Jai lifted the non-bandaged shoulder. "Work," he said calmly.

"Work? Did an engine fall on you? Let me see that--it's bleeding--"

"I have more gauze," Jai said, turning to take his hands, and then kiss him, slowly, a lazy smile on his face when he was done. "It is not important."

"But Jai! You're hurt!"

"No--I was hurt, but now I am healing. Isn't that what the bandages are for?"

George sputtered some more, and then Jai kissed him again, and George melted into him, suddenly glad--so glad--that he was there. "You could have been really hurt," he said brokenly into Jai's chest. "I wouldn't have had anybody to call me. I would have just... just shown up here, and I never would have known..."

"I would have texted," Jai said, and George wanted to thump him.

"Do you know how much that would suck?" George asked plaintively. "To show up and have you not show up? You're getting important, dammit!" He let out a miserable little sound. "And I bet nobody on your end even knows my name."

"No," Jai murmured against his hair. "Because they worry about me. And they would worry about you too."

George did thump him--on the non-injured shoulder. "So that's it? IT's just... just okay?"

Jai let out a sigh. "Are you going to go home now?" he asked politely. "I was going to start dinner, and if you're going to go home now, I don't need to cook as much."

"Would you even care?" George burst out. "If I turned around and didn't come back?"

And for the first time Jai's genial politeness faded, and he cupped George's jaw with a massive hand. "Of course I would," he said softly. "You are mine--and not much in the world is mine. It would..." He swallowed, and George saw the underlying hurt that his words had caused. "It would bother me a great deal, if I was never to see you again."

George let out a sigh, and his fight drained out of him. He went back to leaning his head on Jai's chest, feeling defeated when he hadn't even known there'd been a battle. "It would bother me too," he said unhappily. "You have no idea."

Jai took his chin between his fingers. "Ace and Sonny--they are good people," he said softly. "And my old boss owes them a debt he can't repay. But me... I... had no lovers of my own, you understand? Because they would be in danger. If you are my regular fuck in the woods, you are of no consequence to anybody looking to hurt me. If you are the man I want my boss to contact when I am injured, then someone knows who to look for."

George swallowed, and those early fears about Jai's past, who he might have been before his current job situation, resurfaced.

But that fear--that overwhelming fear--that Jai would disappear someday, and George would never know what happened--that overshadowed any fear that might've lingered.

"Tell your boss," he begged softly. "Just him. That's all I ask. Please?"

Jai sighed, and ran thick fingers through his hair. "My boss wouldn't have known what happened either, this time," he admitted. "He... well, he got knocked unconscious. By the time he woke up, the worst was over."

George pulled back, shocked. "Knocked unconscious? The actual hell?"

"It... there was a boy who had a sister, and bad people, and the boy was desperate and..." Jai made vague motions in the air. "It was all okay in the end. Will you believe me about that?"

"Jai, what happened to your shoulder? And your face?" George demanded.

"I had to make it okay!" Jai returned, apparently puzzled by the question. "Sonny was upset, Ace was unconscious--don't worry. The boy and his sister are just fine."

George took a deep breath and tried to find a question he could ask that Jai could maybe answer in a straightforward way. "Was there anybody else who wasn't just fine?"

Jai's smile should have chilled George to his toes--but instead, it made him feel safe. "Yes. There were some people who were very much not fine. But they hurt a lot of people, and they needed to be not fine for quite sometime."

George, your booty call is a cold-blooded killer. 

George looked helplessly into Jai's guarded expression, and saw nothing but self-defense. He let out a breath and melted. This thing they had, this habit--it was, in fact, sustaining him. So many painful things--so much injustice and cruelty.

Jai just talked about taking care of people, and suddenly that was all George could care about. Jai, taking care of him.

"Dinner," George said weakly.

"Da. I brought steaks, and a grill for over the fire," he said proudly.

George pulled back from his chest. "One condition, though," he said seriously.

Jai tilted his head to the side, to indicate he was th inking about it.

"Tell your boss about me. My boss knows about you. My friend who watches my cat. Even my mother knows I have a friend I see sometimes on the weekends. They don't know your name, or anything about you--but they know."

Jai let out a sigh. "That is acceptable. But only Ace."

"Not Sonny?" George asked, stung--he'd gathered Jai had carried a bit of a torch.

"Sonny would fret about meeting you. He's not..." Jai grimaced. "A comfortable person. Ace."

Okay. That would have to do for now. If George wanted to sustain this life-giving habit, that was.

Their sex that night wasn't kinky--which was sort of a surprise, because Jai could be very kinky when he set his mind to it. Instead, when they climbed into the tent, Jai took his mouth and kissed tentatively, as though asking permission.

Or forgiveness.

And George, remembering his anger, his threat to leave, kissed him back hard, possessively, without reservation. Because the truth was, George couldn't have carried out on that threat. Not even if he'd known the whole truth, whatever it may be.

Jai--ex mobster, mechanic, whoever he was now--was George's. Unequivocally. And as George pushed him down on top of the sleeping bag and straddled his magnificent naked body, George recognized something basic and immoral in himself that claimed Jai for him. George got this man. Criminal? Probably. But he was George's--not his little secret, not his mountain man booty call--just his. Jai's body in George's, shoving, thrusting, fucking, was a right--not a luxury, or a privilege--a goddamned necessity.

George needed to see him again, like he needed to breathe, needed to scrape his fingernails down Jai's chest.

Needed to cry out, full and stretched and aroused beyond endurance.

Needed to come, moaning and sagging forward, watching with eyes adjusted to the darkness as Jai used his finger to scoop off a few drops and lick it from his skin.

Needed to bear it, to come again, when Jai grabbed his hips and fucked up into him, harder, harder, ah, gods, hard and fast and fuck him,  George was going to fly apart and into the starry night sky beyond the thin fabric of the tent... ah God!

George disintegrated, his body still straddling Jai's, collapsed across his chest, Jai's cock still wedged solidly in his ass, but his soul...

His soul hovered in the night sky for a moment and looked at the remoteness of the stars, feeling their alienation, their indifference to all that went on below.

As George fell back into the tent, into his sated, sweaty, aching tingly body, that remoteness faded, and he was present, one with this giant of a man who would care for him, who made love to him so sweetly, with such animal tenderness, that George's whole being was centered here, their bodies locked together as one.

George wasn't strong enough to hover with the stars and pass judgment. He was human, and his human body, his human heart, needed.

Needed the man he was merged with, regardless of his crimes.

George had to believe he wouldn't hurt innocent people.

Because Jai took such exquisite care of George, and the habit--that precious, blessed habit--of trusting Jai was not something George could overcome.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Namaste Lady, Redux

Does everybody remember the Namaste lady?

The lady I delighted by explaining what it would mean if our Traitor in Chief were rotting with syphilis from the inside out? I made her truly happy, I think--she said it was the happiest she'd been in three years, thinking about his flesh rotting from his bones in big painful nerve-searing lumps.

Goddess love her--we had another conversation today.

Now, I try to keep my, uh, spicier side out of the pool. My language is almost pristine (almost) and my sarcasm is dialed in low, but she's one of the few raging liberals there who knows all they have to do is turn the key in the lock and they see the real me.

Today, as we were doing short laps across the pool, bicycle style, the key in the lock turned out to be, "God, that LGBTQ ruling is going up to the courts today. I shudder to think about it." She has a grandson who is gay, and is fiercely protected. I adore her.

She said this in passing, so if you can imagine, the two of us get to opposite sides of the pool (or one of us got to the lane lines in the middle of the pool and the other got to the side) before we turned around slowly--sloth-style--bicycled back, and we could talk in passing again.

And I said, "Yeah, and Trump's got his dick so far down Kavanaugh's throat, Kavanaugh has to ask permission to breathe."

Well, my Namaste lady laughed for the entire time it took for us to reach our opposite ends and turn around, and on the next pass she said, "Thank you for that--that's delightful! It's the most disgusting image I can possibly think of. They're just such vile human beings."

We sloth-paddled to opposite sides, turned around, and came back again, and she said, "And it'll put me off my feed! I always eat too much in the fall! You're the best!"

So there you go. Sometimes, it's GOOD to show the real me.

But only with someone who appreciates a terrible description of the world's most awful people.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

But Officer...

"Now ma'am, try explaining it one more time."

"Well, let's see-- it was just such a busy day. I was running around, getting the car looked at, getting batteries for the remotes, shopping, picking up kids..."

"Now you say you were shopping?"

"Yes sir--it's been a while. I mean, we had frozen food, but sometimes you need sandwich fixings and fresh fruits and veggies--and snacks... oh God... the snacks..."

"So about the snacks--"

"But there were vegetables! And meat! And good things! I swear there were healthy choices there--"

"Just the snacks, ma'am."

"Okay, fine. So, I bought snack food. Not too much, you know. I mean, look at me--I want the kids to eat better than I did when I was in college. And after. And when I was pregnant. And after. And now. So I bought snack food, but, limited quantities, right?"

"So, chips, cookies, ice cream--any of that?"


"Which was it, ma'am, chips, cookies, or ice cream?"

"I said yes! They're teenagers, man! They can't live on vegetables alone!"

"Okay, okay-- calm down. So you bought a bunch of junk food--"

"I said there were vegetables, dammit!"

"But back to the snacks-- what happened there?"

"Well, I was asleep, mind you. We got home from school, and I went down for a nap, and then I woke up to take the kids to dance lessons, and it was then that I noticed..."

"Noticed what?"

"Well first my son--he was eating a bag of pepperoni--"

"Snacking on pepperoni--"

"He ate the whole bag!"

"Well, is he growing, Ma'am?"

"God, probably. But he also ate a bag of cookies, and some chips, and his sister ate the rest of a bag of chips, and then when we got back with takeout he ate the rest of the chips... Oh God. Oh God--the horror, man! The inhumanity!"

"So, ma'am, let's get this straight-- you were robbed?"

"No! Worse! I was NOSHED!"

"Well, ma'am, like you said, they're teenagers..."

"We have a four day weekend coming up!"

"Well, I suggest you stop at the store!"

*breaks into open sobbing*

"Ma'am, I hate to ask, but is that bag of chips--"

*waves him on* "Go ahead. Eat. I don't care anymore. We can sell the cat."

"That's mighty generous of you ma'am--and look! Coke zero!"

"Yeah, yeah yeah..."

--Noshing. Don't let it happen to you.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Real Life and Birthdays

Sometimes Birthdays are everything they're supposed to be--cake, ice cream, parties, a big to-do and a week where you can eat everything you want and not gain weight.
And sometimes birthdays are mired in the same sad, struggling everyday shit that threatens to get the best of us most days of the year--tricky finances, fender benders, car repairs, kids getting sick and Aunt Flo, that bitch, who thinks now is a bitchin' time to come visit when nobody has time or money to go shopping for Kotex. 

This last one has sort of been the latter--but that doesn't mean there haven't been some highpoints that can be shared--

* Dad and stepmom had us over for dinner--a big picnic barbecue-- where they let us look through some of the pictures my Grandma Flossie took when she was alive. One of them was a picture of me, with my arms around my father's tiny mother, looking... well, less than pleased. Mate looked at that one and was like, "You look EXACTLY like our daughters--see? That's not all my fault!"

* Oh! We also found this picture of me, trying on my wedding dress while my stepbrother was doing the dishes. The thing about this one is that it looks creepy AS. FUCK. Yes, he's shirtless--and he has a porn stache. It was the 80's--a lot of weird things happened then. But I want to put this picture in my upcoming paranormal series. I mean... it's got to fit SOMEWHERE. 

* My uncle asked us to go see his band perform at a little brew pub in Fair Oaks-- he was fun to watch, and the band he opened for was pretty spectacular! 

*  ZoomBoy took this picture of himself in his choir tuxedo. Be still my heart.

*  Mate got a very cheap plane ticket to go see his friends in Colorado--I think he's sleeping on their floor or something. Go Mate!

*  And I got... *drum roll*  A coffee maker. I know, it doesn't sound super exciting--but it's the first one I've ever owned. I got sort of depressed about the environmental impact of all those McDonald's iced coffee cups, I'll be honest. And I convinced him that this would pay for itself in about a month--and I'm pretty sure it'll do better than that. I know that Chicken and Squish were sick today and they both got to watch me make my first iced coffee--I put too much cream and too much sugar in it, and we all laughed as I brewed two whole cups of coffee to make that work. But still--cheaper than McDonald's--and since I'm stuck home while Mate uses the working vehicle, a lot easier to obtain.
* And the knitting? Well, y'all, it's premiere week. And age has its privileges. Including this super thick, super quick yarn that I'm making a relatively low-rent poncho out of. Alas, too small for me--but it'll find a home.