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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Kermit Flail--SPRING!


Whew! So February is always the longest, most excruciating month of the year for me--but this is March and spring's a coming! Let's celebrate with some fantastic new reads, shall we?

This month's Kermit Flail is super exciting to me because some of my favorite people just sort of put marvelous books in my lap and said, "Amy! Go forth and flail!" And this makes me happy--for one thing, because it gives me an excuse to talk to my friends, but for another, going forth and flailing is so exciting when I don't have to flog for books first!

And my friends are the best! Andrew Grey is here with a contemporary western, which is the genre he made his mark in and which he continues to excel in to this day! E.J. Russell, m/m romance's answer to Mary Janice Davison, is here with The King's Ex, and it promises to be delightful, fluffy, and just what we need to pull us out of the winter blues. And Andy Gallo was originally known for his fantasy series, but he has been co-writing with Anyta Sunday and together they are known for their thoughtful, sweet contemporaries. 

And while it's not out until April, the first book in my Long Con series is almost out--and I'm squeeing with excitement--as I hope all of you are.

So, are we ready to flail?

Better For You

by Andy Gallo and Anyta Sunday

A lonely bookworm. A struggling jock. A snowstorm that steers them together.


Charlie’s got five days working in the library to earn enough for Christmas. Being stuck in the frat house with his secret crush? Torture.

Rich, hot jocks don’t look twice at nerds like him . . .


Evan’s got five days to finish this stupid paper he can’t wrap his head around. Should he let the cute straight-A Charlie help him? Shit.

He’s gonna see how stupid he is . . .

Better For You is a fraternity brothers to lovers, M/M romance with a HEA. This New Adult, college, forced proximity, rich-boy poor-boy novella can be read as a standalone. The Harrison Campus series can be read in any order.

Buy Link

King’s Ex

A Royal Powers novel

by E.J. Russell

To escape an arranged marriage, the king needs a fake fiancé. Stat.

King Bastien’s father locked him into an ironclad betrothal contract with Lady Helena Rey when the two of them were only seven years old. Bas and Helena have never been friends—and not only because she marked their first meeting by dropping a frog down his shirt. He’s been unsuccessfully petitioning Parliament to annul the damn contract ever since he took the throne nine years ago. But with the deadline for officially confirming the engagement rapidly approaching, Bas is getting desperate.

Enter commoner Nico Pereira, manager of the Royal Crest Vineyards, who nurses a secret crush on the king. He’s at the New Palace to unveil a wine that’s the first joint venture between North and South Abarra. No problem, right? Except Nico has a secret: He has a superpower. Not a very strong superpower, but because powers are a privilege reserved for Royals, it still puts him at risk for arrest and prosecution. Nico can usually mask his limited foresight gift under the guise of being an incredibly efficient administrator. But when King Bastien asks him to be his fake fiancĂ©?

Well. Nico never saw that coming.

Nothing if not loyal, Nico accepts the faux-posal, although close proximity to Bastien makes him more than a little… uncomfortable, and the increased scrutiny of government officials threatens to expose his illegal ability. Good thing this engagement is temporary, because being the king’s ex will be a lot less onerous than prison or exile.

Or, if the attacks from a shadowy conspiracy continue, with being dead.

King’s Ex is a 52,000-word M/M superhero rom-com featuring a fake engagement, class differences, improbably pristine clothing, dueling secrets, a guaranteed HEA, and a kitten.

On Amazon/Kindle Unlimited

Get it here

Home and Family

Book 3 in Heart Home and Family

by Andrew Grey

Mark has worked on Clay and Dell’s farm for a year, and he’s now in charge of the care and feeding of their growing herd of goats. He’s worked hard to provide for himself and build a life of his own. But with the operation continuing to expand, additional help is needed.

Isaac lives in a self-sustaining, simple-life community a few miles up the road. He’s spent his life working and wondering what the outside world might be like. When his father requires him to earn outside money, he asks for a job at Clay and Dell’s farm.

What neither Mark nor Isaac expects is a friendship that quickly grows into something more. But their feelings for each other go against everything that Isaac has been taught, and acting on those feelings will mean leaving the only way of life he’s ever known.

Together, Isaac and Mark are going to need a great deal of strength to weather the storm that’s sure to head their way.

Buy Here  

Coming Soon--

The Mastermind

by Amy Lane

A Long Con Adventure

Once upon a time in Rome, Felix Salinger got caught picking his first pocket and Danny Mitchell saved his bacon. The two of them were inseparable… until they weren’t.

Twenty years after that first meeting, Danny returns to Chicago, the city he shared with Felix and their perfect, secret family, to save him again. Felix’s news network—the business that broke them apart—is under fire from an unscrupulous employee pointing the finger at Felix. An official investigation could topple their house of cards. The only way to prove Felix is innocent is to pull off their biggest con yet.

But though Felix still has the gift of grift, his reunion with Danny is bittersweet. Their ten-year separation left holes in their hearts that no amount of stolen property can fill. A green crew of young thieves looks to them for guidance as they negotiate old jewels and new threats to pull off the perfect heist—but the hardest job is proving that love is the only thing of value they’ve ever had.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Mate's Hat

 This is Mate. He is wearing the new hat I made him.

The new hat is a wee bit too small, and made of alpaca, so it's not very stretchy. I got the hat wet and put it on Mate's head so it could stretch just big enough to fit Mate's head.

Mate does not like wet hats.

Watch with me, as Mate performs the dance I have entitled, "Death Throes of the Velociraptor" to express his displeasure of wearing a wet hat.

This has been our presentation of "Death Throes of the Velociraptor". Remember, knitters, stranded knitting makes things smaller. Much, much, smaller. 

Thank you, and good night.

Pet Language

 I think when my family looks back on the pandemic, we will remember our pets the most.

We float around the house, afraid of too much contact. If we make too much contact we'll rub each other the wrong way, and we MUST NOT DO THAT because we're STUCK here in the same place, without access to face to face with anybody else on a regular basis.

We love each other. We don't want to hurt each other.

So when we talk, we don't talk about our FEELINGS or our WORRIES or even politics. Mate and I talk politics-- we know that if we have a disagreement we can explain to the other one and we're generally of the same of thinking, so we know we can be candid. But my children were born in cancel culture--and Mate and I are afraid of being cancelled. Not now, when everyone's so fragile. Not now when they might really need us in spite of our dunderheaded slowness in adjusting to social media progressive values. So we don't talk politics to the teenagers unless they talk about it first. We don't tell the teenagers when something they do or say hurts our feelings, cuts us to the bone. 

We don't get feelings in a pandemic. We don't get to go find a friend and pour our hearts out over the phone--what if the teenagers can hear us?

We must be accessible at all times. 

And Goddess--everything else is so forbidden.

We have to find something to talk about.

We study our pets like bibles. 

"Your cat was such a freak!"

"Well, Mom, if you didn't want him to be a freak you shouldn't have spoiled him rotten!"

And unspoken in that is the reply, "I have nothing to offer you, my child. Your cat gets the best white trash soft food money can buy."

"How does it feel, Mom, to know the dogs worship your?"

"Well, I am a goddess!"

And the unspoken part is still there. "I can't disappoint them. Food, naps, walks--I know the key to their behavior. I'll do that forever, because the dogs I can make happy, but for you, my baby, I am at a loss."

And our glimmer of hope is that, now that everybody knows the pet language, when our children achieve adulthood, it is still there. Our crutch, our touchstone, our way to be a family when the things in our hearts are at their hardest.

"Mom, I can't help it. I'm looking up French Bulldogs on the internet."

"They're hugely expensive!"

"I know."

"And your apartment may be able to take another cat, but it can't take another dog."

"I know."

And I think, "Maybe, my darling, it's too soon. Maybe your heart can't take another cat, and you're looking at Frenchies for hope, but not for real."

And my grown child says, "It's too soon for me to get another cat. I think this is just taking up all my worry energy now that the other one has passed."

And I cry in relief because in the middle of all the pet language, we have taught each other to say something real. 

Monday, February 15, 2021

Kissing Your Mirror

 I think people need mirrors.

Not the glass things that show us our wrinkles, but people we love and respect and would do anything for who give us a vision of the person we are becoming.

But you have to pick your mirror carefully. It has to be someone who is fundamentally decent, and someone you respect for all their good qualities, and understand where the not so desirable qualities come from so you can work with them.

I have known people who have lived alone for too long a time and whose blind spots about themselves (and yes, we all have them) are made worse by not having a mirror to look into. I had one friend who got married for the first time very late in life, and watching her become more tolerant of other people's foibles and failings was a genuinely heartwarming thing. In return, her beloved became more aware that his actions had consequences for the people around him--together, these two people brought out the best of each other. 

That's what a good mirror--be it roommate, lover, sibling, best friend--can do for you. 

Make you better.

So, 34 years ago today I had a fever and called in sick for work. I had just started dating this REALLY awesome guy--bright blue eyes, deep voice, 5'10 and 120 soaking wet. I was crazy about him. I was so crazy about him that in spite of feeling like hell, I made his favorite cookie--shortbread--and drove from Sacramento to Auburn (which isn't a short distance with a fever of 103) to give him his cookies at work. I almost got fired--but it was worth it.

The next day he broke up with me because when you're nineteen years old that kind of wild eyed fanatacism is TERRIFYING. 

Eventually I learned to tone down the wilding emotional wellspring that was my obnoxiousness, and he learned that showing your feelings wasn't bad. We got back together, we moved in together, we got married, we had kids, and this morning we were talking about random things, like we do.

I told him that a colleague had given me a stunning compliment--she'd said that my sense of humor was sideways, sly, it snuck into the most painful scenes in my stories and caught the reader unaware.

I was so pleased--I love this sense of humor. I think my Mate is really good at it.

He gave me a sort of odd look. "So, did, uhm, you get that from me?" He sounded doubtful.

"No," I said, thinking about it. "I think I've always had that sense of humor. But I think my humor has gotten more humane because of you. When I was much younger, I had a mean Scottish sense of humor--an Ed and Peg Bundy sense of humor. It's... not kind, and I don't think I would have liked the person with that eye for laughter if I hadn't met you."

He said, "I wouldn't have found nearly so many things funny if I hadn't met you."

And I realized that this 34 experiment in finding my mirror--the person who brought out the best in me, who helped me control my temper and my wilding (sometimes) and who reminded me how to look at the world with kindness--has been somewhat successful.

I know that Valentine's Day can seem like a made up holiday, a hokey reminder that sometimes our emotions are expected to be performance art and we can be judged harshly if our performance is hindered by things like human failings, or awkwardness, or fevers.

But this year it reminded me that the person I married is one of the best people I know, and I should kiss him way more often.

Happy eat chocolate if you want to and indulge in your favorite book day. 

May we all be fortunate enough to be able to kiss our best mirror, at least once in our lives. Being our best selves--bringing that out in someone else--is well worth the work of self-polishing that goes into it. 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

That's What You Get When You Fall in Love

 For anyone who knows this song, they know this is going to be a bummer of a post.

I have a friend--a good one, I think, although most of our friendship is via text--who is dearly in love with an aging Goddess of a cat. I have at various times begged him wherein the time comes for this animal to move on to the cat dimension wherein she conquers small worlds, that he should inform me before he posts it on InstaGram or FB.

I have become attached to this animal, and I'll need a moment to compose myself. 

We all know this--even when we know it's coming, it's going to hurt.

My older daughter's cat is one of these relationships.

This cat was older when Chicken adopted her--five years? Six years? Ten? -- and hugely fat. At her peak, Peanut Butter (originally Mrs. Poopy Butthole) weighed in at 28 pounds. Chicken, being a good cat mom, got the cat down to 22, and for the last year has been mortgaging her soul to keep the cat on diabetes medication. 

This cat is definitely eleven years old now, if not older, and in the last two weeks she's stopped eating.

Chicken brought her to the vets, thinking, "I've done this with pets before. I had to say goodbye to Gordie because Mom brought him in on death's door. I had to say goodbye to Chiquita. I know how to do this."

Oh baby. Nobody knows how to do this.

Her kidneys have stopped working, and the vet is going to give her subcutaneous fluid to see if they can jump start that, and at least make her more comfortable, but Chicken has a budget, and the amount of money it would take to bring this cat back from the brink of death would buy her a better car than she has now. 

She's seen me make these decisions. 

She watched me pick Disneyland over a $3000 operation that may (or may not!) have helped one cat lived an extra three years. He died two years after Disneyland, and we were pretty sure we'd done the right thing. 

She was there when I picked her and her brother up and took them both to say goodbye to another cat after I found him half-dead in my bathroom because he hated me so much he wanted to make sure I suffered. 

What I did not tell her then--but she figured out on her own--was that even though I knew that cat was not going to live, even though it would have been much more cost effective to let the poor thing just close his eyes and depart without the trip to the vets and the long goodbye, was that I brought him to the vets for her and her siblings.

I wanted them to have a chance to say goodbye.

We both know how this is going to end. She's going to run herself ragged taking the cat back and forth to the vets for a shot of subcutaneous fluid to help her feel better and to jumpstart her kidneys even though they are currently in no  condition to function.

And then, when it's all over, she is going to say goodbye.

So today sucked. I was going to try to get a haircut today, going to dye my hair. Hell, I was going to eat breakfast and take a shower. 

But my day exploded and my kid's life exploded and we spent the whole morning/afternoon trying to help her deal with what we know is coming.

In the middle of the day, though, I got a picture from my stepmom. My folks recently (as in, October? November?) lost their dog, Max--and he was such a part of the family that whenever I visited my parents, my dogs would run and look for Max, long after he was gone. We all miss Max.

But that picture my stepmom sent me was of a golden lab/pibble (possibly) mix, with the goofiest expression on his face.

The caption was, "His name is Goose."

And the picture made our day better. It wasn't going to take away the heartbreak, really, but it was definitely going to remind us of the joy. Pet ownership is all the things. It's a willingness to risk that beating organ in your chest for something smaller and more vulnerable than yourself, and to pin your happiness on this creature even though you know that someday, through no fault of its own, it will probably break your heart.

But in the meantime, it will also lick your feet or knead your hair, or wake you up in the middle of the night because you are absolutely, RIGHT NOW, needed to give it scritches on the ass. It will stick it's tongue so far up your nose you're pretty sure it tasted your eyeball, and make you taste whatever it had for breakfast. It will roll in deer poop, barf in your shoes, or delicately claw your foot for no other reason than you walked by.

And this furry creature, this vulnerable little soul, will love you when you're pretty sure not another soul in the world ever could. It will lick your tears and still think you are the best person, the very best person, and there's not another person in the world who could replace you. 

It will make you more welcome in your own home than you thought you could ever be, even in your own heart.

And that's why we take weeks like this one.

That's what you get when you fall in love. 

Kermit Flail--February! (The Month of Love?)


Okay-- it feels like February is proof that we made it--not just to 2021 but to the year beyond. I mean, nobody imagined it was going to get better immediately and the fog would be lifted and we'd be all in unicorns and rainbows, right? 

But it does seem to be incrementally better, so let's celebrate the increments here! It's February, and Valentines Day is coming, and it's a good time to read romance!

Well, every day is a good time to read romance, but February is also a good time to read romance, order your favorite takeout with your favorite person (even if it's your cat) and indulge in some good old fashioned emotional optimism--and do I have some books for you!

Kaje Harper, Andrew Grey, and RL Merrill have all sent in contributions this month, and I cannot think of better authors with which to celebrate Valentines Day! Also, the second book of the Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club is out this month, and while it's a few days after V-Day, it's also deliciously sweet and adorable--and that is some reading we can all get behind!

Half a Cowboy

by Andrew Grey

Ever since his discharge from the military, injured veteran Ashton Covert has been running his family ranch—and running himself into the ground to prove he still can.

Ben Malton knows about running too. When he takes refuge in Ashton’s barn after an accident in a Wyoming blizzard, he’s thinking only of survival and escaping his abusive criminal ex, Dallas.

Ashton has never met a responsibility he wouldn’t try to shoulder. When he finds Ben half-frozen, he takes it upon himself to help. But deadly trouble follows Ben wherever he goes. He needs to continue on, except it may already be too late.

Working together brings Ben and Ashton close, kindling fires not even the Wyoming winter can douse. Something about Ben makes Ashton feel whole again. But before they can ride into the sunset together, they need to put an end to Dallas’s threats. Ben can make a stand, with Ashton’s help—only it turns out the real danger could be much closer to home.

Buy Here

A More Perfect Union

by Various Artists (RL Merrill and Kilby Blades among others!)

A More Perfect Union is a charity anthology written to celebrate our voices--in choosing our government and in choosing who we love. A number of bite-sized stories are gathered together, the proceeds of which go to benefit A Fair Fight, which is an organization dedicated to fight voter suppression! Come check it out!

Buy Here

Unacceptable Risk 

by Kaje Harper

For a hidden shifter, falling in love with a man may be the death of them both.

Simon Conley knows about being an outcast. Born into a secret werewolf pack, he’s the lone gay wolf, an outsider even among his packmates. The top wolves consider him a perversion, a failure, and a security risk. To survive in the human world, werewolves rely on absolute secrecy, and any breaches of their code are dealt with swiftly— and violently.

So when Simon falls in love with Paul, a human man, even his Alpha's grudging tolerance won't protect him. He must keep Paul from discovering the truth about him and the secrets the pack jealously guards, or it’s not just their love that’ll end up dead.

(rereleased 2021 with light editing and the 1.1 short story included

Portals and Puppy Dogs

by Amy Lane

Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club: Book Two

Sometimes love is flashier than magic.

On the surface, Alex Kennedy is unremarkable: average looks, boring accounting job, predictable crush on his handsome playboy boss, Simon Reddick.

But he’s also a witch.

Business powerhouse Simon goes for flash and glamour… most of the time. But something about Alex makes Simon wonder what’s underneath that sweet, gentle exterior.

Alex could probably dance around their attraction forever… if not for the spell gone wrong tearing apart his haunted cul-de-sac. When a portal through time and space swallows the dog he’s petsitting, only for the pampered pooch to appear in the next instant on Simon’s doorstep, Alex and Simon must confront not only the rogue magic trying to take over Alex’s coven, but the long-buried passion they’ve been harboring for each other.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Really, Dog? Really?

 The paths at the smaller dog park are really narrow compared to the older dog park where we just started to go sometimes.

I'm not the hot mess I used to be, doodling along with the dogs running circles around my feet and trying to kill me. No--I hold them in one hand or the other and they gravitate to that side. We're easy to see, I have the spare hand available to short leash them, and while they're not particularly well behaved, they do understand I'm not going to let them go until we pass whatever it is they want to bark at and we just keep going. 

I listen to audiobooks while I walk, and while I try to stay alert, the girl jogging  behind me was lithe and fleet of foot. Seeing that the dogs were on my right, she swung around wide to my left to run around me and stay on pace.

And Johnny the shitty little coward saw his opening.

He swung behind me hard, pulling my arm around my back and leaping for this intruder who dared to try to flank me.

He leapt and I yanked on the leash from behind my back (shoulder still aches) and his halter, stopping him in mid-air, right before he was about to land on and possibly bite this poor jogger whose only crime was being quiet and considerate. (I do understand that in creepy-little-dog land, this means she was sneaking, yes, a SNEAKER, who was going to attack me, but we live in EVERYBODY-needs-to-use-the-park land, where if you are trotting neatly alongside your human, it is very bad form to run behind them and try to kill everybody involved.)

He went flying backwards--in mid-air mind you--and landed on his back, all four paws folded neatly on his stomach, staring at the sky in utter confusion. 

I stared at him in horror. 

He'd been an inch--an inch--away from landing on this poor jogger. I was mortified--oh my God. If he'd bitten her? SO MUCH BAD. Including maybe having to put this damned dog down for sheer stinking stupidity. 

My mouth worked fruitlessly, and he gave me a sickly smile and tried to wag his tail. 

"The FUCK, DOG! The actual FUCK!"

Ahead of me I saw a man wave at the jogger. "Are you okay? It looked like he got ya!"

"No--he was close but I'm fine." And then she kept going.

We resumed our walk, but every so often I'd growl. "You bad dog..."

He got into the car and I said it again. "You bad dog..."

He spent the rest of the day looking extremely apologetic.

I've kept a tight hold on them  for the last couple of days, but I'm so disappointed. We'd worked on this. We had! We had a rhythm! We had a way to deal nicely with other people in the park! One wrong move--one wrong moment of inattention--and this dog might have hurt somebody, and all of the bad things that might have come from that. (Besides HURTING somebody--oh my God.)

So I don't have a life lesson from this yet. But I do have to tell you that the fucking dog hasn't forgotten that yank through the air, and the absolute knowledge that he most assuredly fahked up. 

God, I hope that asshole learns. 

Geoffie, by the way? 

Was just as surprised as I was. 

I know she doesn't look like much, but she's obviously the brains of this outfit.

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Cheap Pink T-shirt

So I have this T-shirt that I never wear.

I ordered it in the second week of November, 2016, and it's bright pink. It's got two very recognizable silhouettes on it--on of the twin towers before they went down, and a certain former president who, shall we say, was lacking in fitness and presentation.

The T-shirt was captioned, "The two worst days in American History were 9/11 and 11/9." There was no mistaking the meaning.

I was angry--we were all SO ANGRY. Because we saw what he was. We knew. And we'd raged and campaigned and donated--and watched as the damned party argued and undercut and splintered. The United States had lost arguably the best candidate to ever run for head of state to misogyny, racism, and shitty messaging to undoubtedly the worst. Not just presidential candidate, but all around human being. 

To quote John Mulaney, the horse was in the hospital, and God help us all.

I never actually wore that T-shirt.

I couldn't. 

In the beginning, I'd put it on, and Mate would look at it and say, "Mm... it just feels so disrespectful to those who died in 9/11. Could we, you know, maybe not? There are Trump supporters on the teams I coach--please? For me?"

And both those arguments moved me. He was right. Nobody had died yet--and wasn't coaching those children more important than my animus?

Four years later I still can't wear it. No soccer--not for my kids, because they've outgrown it, and not for Mate because the virus has robbed us of a lot of things and that's one. But at this point, it feels disrespectful--not just to the people who died in a terrorist attack on our country led by Al Qaida but also to the people who died in a terrorist attack led by our Commander in Chief. It feels disrespectful to the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico--and Louisiana. To the people who were tear gassed during peaceful protests. To the people who were victims of hate crimes which police departments were no longer allowed to report. It feels disrespectful to the 420,000 victims--and counting--of a virus that is pernicious and deadly but is now--thanks to the Terrorist in Chief who was just ousted--going to be really hard to stop because he managed to politicize science, germs, and common fucking sense.

The human cost of the last four years has been staggering. Our new POTUS just got to the White House and realized that Operation Warp Speed wasn't just badly managed--it didn't exist. There wasn't even a framework to fix. There was nothing. And getting enough people inoculated against the disease to make our world what it was is not going to be easy.

The spread of disinformation has been pernicious. Right now there's some junior legislative graduate from the university of q who thinks she's got the power to draw up Articles of Impeachment on our new POTUS. Do I know she doesn't have a chance?


Does she?

No. And that's a problem. Because the last four years have LITERALLY made truth suspect and lies cachet. That's going to be some hard damage to fix. 

And today, 4000 more people died of a disease that could have been at least controlled back in May. 

So part of me is relieved. I mean, as bad as it is, at least we have grownups in government who admit there's stuff to fix. But part of me is going to wait in disbelief to see when ignorance and hysteria gain another toehold in our society and try to bring it down.

I think it will take me another couple of months to realize that truth and reason are not always under the clumsy deadly hooves of the horse in the hospital.

And I still don't know what to do with the hideous pink T-shirt. 

Right now, it's just floating around my room. I'll go, "Ooh, pink! Wait. Shit. No. Can't wear that." Maybe it'll be there through another administration. Maybe someday I'll be comfortable enough to rip it up and use it for rags. Right now, I'm just sort of grateful for the shock it gives me every time I look at it.

I don't want to let my guard down and trust in goodness in my government that is not hard fought for, ever again. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Evolution of Language

 So what happened was this...

The kids hate brussels sprouts. Loathe them. Whine about the smell them taking over the kitchen. Said they smelled like farts. (Teenagers. What a joy.)

After a few ill-advised attempts to sneak them into the kids' diets via a well loved protein, well, they evolved.

The kids called them "chicken farts."

Now Safeway has packaged vegetable dishes-- they come all  prepared with a dollop of chipotle butter, diced garlic and onions, and all you have to do is cook them. They're delicious. 

The kids call them "garlic farts."

And I need a little protein with my garlic far--erm, vegetables, so I added that pretend crab stuff.

I call it "fake fish".

Which I made for dinner last night. There were leftovers, and I heated them up for lunch.

"Oh my God, Mom--wtf are you eating?"

*sigh*  "Fish farts."

"How could you make it worse?"

"Want some?"

"I'm going to make ramen now, thank you. Take that shit away!"

"Fine. Do the dishes."


But the point here is that brussels sprouts and fake crab are now "Fish Farts" in my family, and there is now way to unring that bell. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

My Husband Turned the TV on Today

 *Warning. Political ramble coming--and I do mean RAMBLE.

Two years ago--shit. THREE years ago, we took a trip, dragged our adult children with us, went to a wedding, and then toured Washing DC and Philadelphia. I remember taking a trip like this with my family when I was a teenager, and even then, under all the layers of insouciance, the idea that this was the CAPITOL, and that was where the PRESIDENT was, made an impact on me. 

We've had some reprehensible presidents. Reagan was elected when I was in middle school and I hated him. Even then I could see that Carter was doing what was best for the country while Reagan was doing what was best for himself. George Bush Sr. was monstrous. Dub-ya was dimwitted. But even through all of that bullshit, even looking at the racism and the shortsightedness and the willingness to just throw people away based upon a misguided sense of human justice, I believed--not in the people, but in the office. As bad as they were, they weren't TRYING to be bad. Criminally stupid? Shortsighted? Racist and classist? Yes. But they honestly believed that they were doing the most good for the most people. Was it true? No. But they THOUGHT they were doing it, because that's what the office entailed. 

So reprehensible presidents--but at least guided by a higher purpose. It kept them from slaughtering civilians wholesale, and taking diarrhea dumps all over the constitution and making a transaction of the entire ideal of honor that the office was trying to achieve. 

We all know what's in the office now. I can barely think if it as human. The craven, cowardly assholes trying to prop up this diseased pustulous blob of plasma and call it a man have also cashed in their humanity card. 

I know that politicians have to lie--if they're going to succeed in doing even a little bit of good, they're going to have to lie. I know that humans are dishonorable and traitorous. I know that negotiating who is telling the truth and who is genuinely standing for somebody else and who is just trying to mine social media for clicks is a treacherous swampy business, no matter which part of the internet you are trying to negotiate. 

But we're not a "turn the television on and watch the news" family. In fact, in nearly 30 years of motherhood I can remember only two "turn on the television and watch the news" moments. One was 9/11. The other was when President Shitbag won. And then, today, a third time. When stupid motherfuckers stormed the Capitol building to do what?

Trash the place?

Shit on our American institutions?

They claimed they were there to fight for Trump--but you saw the ones who were teargassed. They were  A-ghast that people wouldn't want them there trashing up the joint.

And anybody who doesn't believe that BLM is a thing was not watching today, when an Enwhitlement of Terrorists vandalized the Capitol building like they were having a tailgate party at a high school football game. 

I keep trying to imagine how exhausted my friends and family who are POC must feel, watching that, and frankly, I can't. Because I was exhausted. I got home from my walk, we turned on the TV and I went down for my nap. Under my cave of blankets. Listening to my audiobook, because it was safe in there. 

I'm so angry. I'm so tired. The things I was shouting at my TV today were violent. I'm embarrassed my children heard me saying them. "SHOOT THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS!" is not exactly the peace and reason I strive for when I teach my children or write my stories. 

And when President Shitbag said, "I love you all," I honestly felt bile rising. 

The one thing that kept me from breaking down completely was the commentary on MSNBC btw. Because as badly as journalists reacted to Shitbag when he first came on the scene, and as long as it took them to call a Shitbag a Shitbag, they are not having any of this crap now, and that was refreshing. 

And I also admit--the other thing that kept me sane was that damned audiobook. I've been writing through the pandemic, and I've been rather shyly promoting my Patreon and my books, because Jesus, don't we all have better things to worry about?

Except we don't. 

Because sometimes reality sucks so badly we can only take it in little tiny baby bites, and we have to retreat into our blanket forts with our escapism before we can come back out again and start screaming things like "CRAPBAG SHITWIT COCKDOCKERY!" at a sack of flesh that's too putrid to be human. 

So if writing or reading on Thursdays on my FB page or posting on my Patreon is what's keeping people from losing their shit, much like the audiobook I was listening to kept me from losing MINE, then I will keep doing that--and be grateful for all the people who keep reading.

If we just hold hands and escape together, we can come back and rage against the machine another day. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Kermit Flail--2021 AT LAST!


*wipes brow*


Okay. Made it. I mean, it was close, but we made it. I am so relieved--but honestly, I'M not letting my guard down yet. But while we wait tentatively to see if 2021 might not kick us in the teeth, let us hide where all good things are--inside books! Books will keep us happy, I hope, and sane. At least it's worked that way for me so far!

And we have some lovely choices this month!

Kim Fielding, Jaime Samms, Ashlyn Kane, Nicole Dennis and E.J. Russell all have new releases out this January, and WOW. I can't imagine a more delightful group of writers. Contemporary, sports romance, some fantasy and a wicked double dash of adorable paranormal, and your January should whip right by! Come see what we've got!

Teddy Spenser Isn't Looking for Love

by Kim Fielding

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

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

Working together is bad enough, but when their boss puts them both on a new high-stakes project, “working together” suddenly means:
sitting uncomfortably close on the same plane
staying in the same hotel room—with only one bed
spending every waking minute together.

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

Cracks in the Ice

by Nicole Dennis

Cheimon Tales #1


The oldest Frost scion, Jacob Serac, recognizes something is wrong in his relationship with his crystal partner, Devyn Risher. When he tries to abduct Devyn, things go wrong. He calls in a reindeer agent from the Cheimon Patrol Division (CPD), and the situation darkens and brings out a major problem that affects more than their relationship.


From that moment, the truth comes out, adventures, mishaps, and chaos occur. Jacob, Devyn, and the rest of the North Pole Dimension scions try to save their precious home and life from a potential dark magic disaster. All of this to occur at Winter Solstice.


All the while, Jacob and Devyn try to heal their relationship and Jacob’s crystal heart.

Innkeeper's Blues

by Jaime Samms

A loving boyfriend, generous friendships, and a thriving business—Arnold Kreed should be ecstatic. So why does he feel like he’s standing on the edge of an abyss?

When Kreed took a chance on a thief—letting Lucky into his world, his life, his heart—he hardly imagined he would find the love and acceptance he didn’t dare dream of. Lucky draws people to him, and his extended found family embraces Kreed. Now in an established relationship, despite Kreed’s ex causing trouble again, Lucky and Kreed are working toward making a life together. But Kreed is unsettled, unable to find his bliss. He is getting grumpier, and he can feel his people, including his beloved self-aware house, Mildred, pulling away…

How can Kreed get back to the joy he so recently found if he has no idea what’s wrong?

the Inside Edge

by Ashlyn Kane

What does a work-life balance look like to recently retired professional athletes?

Ex-hockey player Nate Overton is trying to find out, but dipping his toes in the gay dating scene post-divorce is a daunting prospect even without the news that his show is on thin ice. Before he can tackle either issue, he skates headfirst into another problem—his new cohost. Former figure skater Aubrey Chase is the embodiment of a spoiled rich playboy. He’s also flamboyant, sharp, and hot as sin.

Aubrey knows how important it is to get off on the right foot. He’s just not very good at it outside the rink. Having spent his life desperate for attention, he’ll do anything to get it—even the wrong kind.

For Nate and Aubrey, opposites don’t so much attract as collide at center ice. But while Nate’s everything Aubrey has scrupulously avoided—until now—Aubrey falls suddenly head over heels, and Nate’s only looking for a rebound fling. Can Aubrey convince Nate to risk his heart again, or will their unexpected connection be checked at the first sign of trouble?

Best Beast

An Enchanted Occasions story

by E.J. Russell

Being invisible makes it really hard to get laid.

When half-human Kai Schiffer steps into the Interstices—the post-creation gaps between realms—his supernatural half kicks in and he literally disappears unless…well, don’t ask.

But in a stroke (heh) of good fortune, Kai finally has a chance to show his face (and other parts, stars willing) to his long-time crush Jovan Kos—Interstitial Law Enforcement agent, wolf warrior, occasional berserker, and best man at their mutual best friends’ Imbolc wedding.

Jovan, who’s half in love with Kai already, is grateful his best man duties are light enough that he can focus all his attention on Kai. After all, with Enchanted Occasions Event Planning handling the Olesson-Pakulski wedding, what could possibly go wrong?

Releasing January 15, 2021 on Amazon and KU

Pre-order here

And coming next month...

Book 2 of the Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club!

Portals and Puppy Dogs, 

by Amy Lane

Sometimes love is flashier than magic.

On the surface, Alex Kennedy is unremarkable: average looks, boring accounting job, predictable crush on his handsome playboy boss, Simon Reddick.

But he’s also a witch.

Business powerhouse Simon goes for flash and glamour… most of the time. But something about Alex makes Simon wonder what’s underneath that sweet, gentle exterior.

Alex could probably dance around their attraction forever… if not for the spell gone wrong tearing apart his haunted cul-de-sac. When a portal through time and space swallows the dog he’s petsitting, only for the pampered pooch to appear in the next instant on Simon’s doorstep, Alex and Simon must confront not only the rogue magic trying to take over Alex’s coven, but the long-buried passion they’ve been harboring for each other.