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

Monday, June 14, 2021

So there was a lot of that and some this...

 Wow. I had to do Kermit Flail, and I really don't set aside a lot of time for blogging, but, well, there's been some shit!

A. You all saw that Big T graduated--YAYAYAYAYAAY! And then ZoomBoy graduated--YAYAYAYAYAY!!! *breathe in, breathe out* WHEW. Lots and lots of stuff going down with both those things--I've been a bit busy, yeah? Anyway-- for those who posted the nice things by ZB's graduation picture? Thank you. We really are proud. It's the beginning of things--he's starting to see how much he has to look forward to, and that's fantastic.

B. So, about grad-night...  Tuesday night was grad-night, and Mate and I saw that, on paper, they didn't have a lot of chaperones. We foolishly jumped into what is, traditionally, a big clique puddle to volunteer. Grad-night was 10:00 pm - 4:00 am at the local Sunsplash--and usually, in June, this is a great thing. I mean, we've got a couple of days coming that are going to be 109 and don't tell me we all wouldn't give our nana's chili recipe to be out in the water in the middle of the night. Except--and this happened during BOTH the teenager's 6th and 8th grade graduation trips--one of which was to, you guessed it, SunSplash--there are some freak days in June that top out in the 70's and bottom out in the low 50's, and grad-night was one of them. All of these teenagers running up to the slide towers, sliding down and then running up again in the wind--I felt like we should have handed out little first-aid brochures to the boys assuring them that their testicles would reappear sometime in the following week and telling the girls not to get too close to glass. It was COLD. And our job was to do loops around the facility--for real? I'd clocked in about 7,500 steps when I got there, and by the time I went home at 1:30, I'd clocked in another 7,500, and I'm not a 10,000 step a day sort of girl. I was tired for three days--and Mate claimed his core temp didn't return until two days later. So we did that. ZoomBoy loved it--loved it ALL--and we were really glad he got to go. We were also glad they served pizza, because it was WARM.

C. So, Big T got a driver's license and an SUV. The SUV, like everybody's first car, has some glitches. In this case, his SUV stalls for no reason at all, and Big T has had traffic mishaps. He keeps trying to push the thing by himself. The first time, he lost control of it and it dented a homeless man's apartment. The second time, T  tried to push it up an overpass, the thing started to go backward, pulled T with it, and as it was dragging him down the hill, it T-boned another car. *sigh* And I know it's going to be a huge headache for him, but mostly? I'm just THRILLED IT HASN'T BEEN WORSE. His father and I are having lots of, "Stay in the car and hit the hazard lights and wait until it turns over again," conversations. Also? DON'T DRIVE ON THE FREEWAY!!!! And part of me is like, "Your parents turned you loose in a tin can that looked like a sock full of rocks after your first two years driving--he'll be fine," but 80% of me is, "MY BABY!!!!!!!" So, uhm, he's 28 and I'm still worrying. It never goes away.

D. Had breakfast with a friend on Friday morning because she was in town for a very short amount of time. This was notable only because, well, we're coming out of a pandemic and I haven't done something like this for over a year. Boy, I was glad to see my friend--lunch with friends is one of the things I really missed.

E. In that vein, we watched a movie in our driveway, with pizza. We'll do it again. We had friends over. Summer is here, and movies in the driveway with pizza should be a requirement at least twice a month. It was an Annabelle movie--for some reason I've got a soft spot for that franchise--I'm usually not into horror, but some movies, I can watch.

F. This isn't a big part of my income--but it is part and I'm proud of it. I've been teaching--one or two classes a month--for the last year. I've mentioned them before, but I realized that it's gotten to be a really regular part of my job, and I'm happy. <3

G. Finished a Christmas novella for the first time in a while, so I'll have one this year. Woohoo!!!!

H. Started Dante and Cully's Hedge Witch book--which I'll be working on when I sign off!

G'night everybody!


Monday, June 7, 2021

Kermit Flail, Long Hot Summer Edition!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!

Okay, so I'll be honest-- I had two children graduate in the last two months, one from high school and the other from college, and I am PSYCHED. Just in time for a long hot summer, I am celebrating that two of my offspring are doin' okay and a lot of my friends have new releases, and that is sweet to hear!



Let's start with the inimitable R.L. Merrill, who is rereleasing an anthology story. Now R.L. is a diehard rock fan, and she's known for her angst--so those you who loved Beneath the Stain might want to check out this story--and then get hooked on the rest of her work!

I Want More (Rerelease)

by R.L. Merrill

Hotshot music producer Morrison Jones has been hired by legendary metal god, Aldous Archer, to record his comeback album—and he insists Morrison work with his former best friend turned nemesis. Leland Elliott swore he’d never step foot onstage with Morrison ever again, but time—and being stuck in a studio together for a week—has a way of healing wounds. Will the stars align for the former bandmates? Welcome to Bolder Breed Studios.

Previously part of the Love Is All Volume 3 anthology (2020)

Buy Here



Moving on to Andrew Grey, who cut his teeth on the rural setting and is in fine form now with Nowhere to Ride!


Nowhere to Ride

by Andrew Grey

Unjustly accused of a crime, Ky Archer is trying to keep his ranch together, with fierce tenacity and minimal help. With his nefarious accuser the lead wolf at the door, Ky is resolved to do whatever he has to in order to keep the final link with his family intact.


Brodie Tyler is down on his luck--way down. Down enough to camp with his baby sister in a tent to get away from relatives he’d hoped would help him. His parents are gone and he's got nowhere to go, but he’s determined to keep his sister safe with him, no matter what.


Ky finds Brodie and Emily on his property and takes them in out of the storm… literally. Neither expects the heat that ignites between them to be as hot as the western sun. The men find they fit together well, both at work and in the bedroom. They also find they have a common enemy who tries to tear them apart. Working together, they might discover that each holds the key for the other’s desire.

Buy Here 

Kim Fielding changes easily from contemporary to paranormal and urban fantasy to mystery/suspense, and in Fairview, we have Kim's charming and melancholic magic at its best!

Fairview

by Kim Fielding


Ravaged by a horrific experience, Oliver Webb flees the smog-bound city of Greynox for a quiet seaside village and the inheritance he’s never seen: a cottage called Farview. He discovers clear skies, friendly imps, and a charming storyteller named Felix Corbyn.

With help from Felix’s tales, Oliver learns surprising secrets about his family history and discovers what home really means. But with Felix cursed, Oliver growing deathly ill, and an obligation in Greynox hanging heavy around his neck, it seems that not even wizards can save the day.

Still, as Felix knows, stories are the best truths and the most powerful magic. Perhaps the right words might yet conjure a chance for happiness.



Jaime Samms is known for her crystalline prose and painful angst--and for Mildred, her sentient house in Griffon's Elbow! This looks like another sweet venture into magical realism--and another encounter with Mildred and perhaps a kindred house spirit!


Brother's Keeper

by Jaime Samms

If blood really is thicker than water, are the ties that bind a found family stronger than the ties of blood?

After a decade of homelessness and living off his own wits, Tris has lost all faith in the kindness of strangers. And after years of letting his friends down time after time, Ozzy knows he’s the last person anyone should count on.

When Tris’s search for his lost younger brother lands him in a small town at an overly-friendly Bed and Breakfast, everyone, including the B and B herself, seem to be pushing Tris and Ozzy together.

Tris learned a long time ago, under the fists of his manipulative step-father, that family can’t be trusted, and love means nothing. Torn between the desire to see Tris thrive in his new home, and the need to protect the very younger brother Tris came looking for, Ozzy has some hard choices ahead.

Welcome back to Griffon's Elbow and The Oaks B&B, aka Mildred. She's not the only sentient house in town.

Buy Link 

Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James write quirky, happy romance with sparkling dialog and adorable heroes--they took a bit of a break from pubbing, but it's great to see them back with the B&N most anticipated book of the month!


String Theory

by Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James

For Jax Hall, all-but-dissertation in mathematics, slinging drinks and serenading patrons at a piano bar is the perfect remedy for months of pandemic anxiety. He doesn’t expect to end up improvising on stage with pop violinist Aria Darvish, but the attraction that sparks between them? That’s a mathematical certainty. If he can get Ari to act on it, even better. Ari hasn’t written a note, and his album deadline is looming. Then he meets Jax, and suddenly he can’t stop the music. But Ari doesn’t know how to interpret Jax’s flirting—is making him a drink called Sex with the Bartender a serious overture? Jax jumps in with both feet, the only way he knows how. Ari is wonderful, and Jax loves having a partner who’s on the same page. But Ari’s struggles with his parents’ expectations, and Jax’s with the wounds of his past, threaten to unbalance an otherwise perfect equation. Can they prove their double act has merit, or does it only work in theory?



And speaking of Ashlyn Kane! Her book Fake Dating the Prince is on sale for $.99 on Amazon, and at that price, it's definitely worth checking out! 











The Long Con

by Amy Lane

Mass Market Paperback Edition is out on July 6th!!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Origami Granny Hexagon Jacket

 Okay-- so I've been trying to explain this for weeks, and this time I'm going to try pictures.


I'm making a Granny Hexagon sweater.

This is magic. 

See, if you make a granny square, it has 4 90 degree corners. It lays flat. But if you make a Granny Hexagon--and don't compensate for the corners by using fewer stitches--you end up with 6 90 degree corners, for a total of 540 degrees, and it doesn't lay flat. 



In fact, it looks like a deformed sad little starfish thing that will never lie flat and will be laughed at by its friends.

So sad. Do we feel sorry for it yet? 

And look how tiny it is!

Why, you'd have to go around and around and around a LOT to make that starfish thing amount to anything interesting.


​But what could it amount to?

Well, here's the fun part. If you fold this tiny little starfish thing, it makes a very interesting shape. 

IN fact, it makes a little half-a-tee. Do you see that? But it's got some open seams. If you sew along the top edge there--not the whole thing, mind you--you will have an arm, and, well, half a body.


And that may not seem like a lot--I mean, look at it. It's tiny. But imagine you made one of those and went around and around and around with some slightly thicker yarn... you would have a GINORMOUS granny hexagon.




And then when you folded THAT one in half--the right way, corner to corner at both ends--you would have a much larger half a T--or, half a kimono shaped sweater.

And then, if you had two of them, you could sew the arm seams at the top and one seam along the back, and you'd have a very square-shaped jacket.

Or, you could sew the one seam in the back and the one in the front and have a very basic jumper.

Or, you could sew the seam in the back and add some flaps on the front and some length and have a much more formidable jacket, and then add a hood, and, hey, a few rounds to tighten up the sleeves a little, and it would have a much different shape.

But the point is, here, that you take a sad little starfish shape and keep working on it, and it could become a sweater of generous proportions.

And that's what I've been working on of late. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Dammit Mom!

 Things 2,3, and 4 were gathered around this afternoon before I went grocery shopping. I'd needed to root through my little shoulder-sling for something and I pulled out a ziploc baggie full of Hershey's kisses--a thing I do NOT keep stocked because... *flails* REASONS!


"Mom?" Says Thing 2.

"Yeah," I said, trying to remember what I needed from the store. "A nice man gave me candy while I was walking today."

"From his panel van????" Squeaks Thing 4.

"No, no. From his SUV. It was no big deal. I was walking the dogs in the residential part of the neighborhood and he pulled alongside and said I looked happy from behind. I think that's because I just dyed my hair and it doesn't match my face yet."

"You looked happy?" This was Thing 3.

"Well, uhm. Yes. Anyway, he was old... er... well, his hair was all gray, so maybe ten years older than Dad and I. So not old. Advanced middle age."

"A creepy old man in a panel van said you looked happy?" I have no idea who said this--they all seemed horrified, so I kept talking.

"He was a very sweet suburban guy who apparently goes by his pharmacy once a week and gives out chocolate to say thank you. He didn't have enough so he had to go buy more because he didn't like disappointing people. And he was driving a newish SUV. It was fine. He couldn't have pulled me in through the window--I'm too big."

A sort of numbness has set in. Even Mate has stopped working in the kitchen and is staring at me. 

"So he just saw you walking and gave you... chocolate?" he asked.

"Well, yeah. See, his dad had a heart replacement at 82 and lived to be 93 and his takeaway was 'Treat each day as a gift.' And the guy liked to spread that kind of happiness. So, you know. He was trying to be the gift. He wanted to make the world a better place."

"By giving chocolate." This is Thing 4. She's still horrified.

"I had one," I said. "There doesn't appear to be any hallucinogenic effects. Do you guys want the rest?"

"NO!" They all cry. "Some random stranger in a panel van tells you his life story and gives you drugs and you come home to give them to US???"

"He was a very nice man," I tell them again. "And the chocolate seems fine. And I don't know his life story--he just seemed very happy."

"Because he gave you drugged chocolate."

"Well, maybe it's Prozac. I mean, aren't most of us on that anyway?"

"DAMMIT MOM!"

​Whatever. I just woke up from my nap and I'm in the mood for sweets and there are ten more Hershey's kisses on a bag on my coffee table. Go me!

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Pending Graduations

 So, without my consent or approval, my children have apparently grown.

I mean, yes, normally we age at a rate of 24 hours a day, but in this case there are milestones that are sort of blowing my mind.

The first indicator that children are growing is that Big T, my oldest, is GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE. For those of you who have followed my blog since the beginning (when the kids were like, "Sure, Mom, you can post our picture, whatever," as opposed to, "DENY YOU HAVE SPAWNED!" which is kind of what we're doing now) will remember my oldest son. You saw him at a sweet and awkward 13--still with braces--about two months after the Youngest was born. I expressed concerns then--he was diagnosed with a developmental disability focused around his communication centers, and every milestone and victory was documented.

Keep in mind, this was a child whom, we were told, "Might even learn to read by the time he hits 8th grade." Or, "Might be able to get a job after high school."

To which, I would like to say, "This is a grown-assed man who has lived on his own for four years, paying his own rent, and has continued to go to college and advocate for himself. He has a driver's license (which I fully admit I wasn't sure he could get and his father deserves SCADS of credit for helping him achieve) and (VERY importantly) the love of an amazing woman whom I hope my family doesn't drive away because she's awesome. And he's getting a college degree in English, the one subject he was not supposed to do well in at ALL."

Folks--my pride here is no small thing.

And the second indicator is that ZoomBoy is GRADUATING FROM HIGH SCHOOL. Now, you may be thinking, "But we know ZoomBoy is sort of brilliant, so..."

Well, this year was the suck. It was the suck for EVERYBODY. And I've heard some people going, "My kid just LOVED distance learning--they took to it like duck to water. They may never go into a classroom again." Which is great--I mean GREAT for them. I know some kids like that and I'm happy they've got a new way to learn. I've also heard some parents going, "Well, my kid hated it but they persevered because MY kid's a TROOPER, and they will do what is right!" Well, also, good for you. I'm glad you kid has that kind of constitution.

My kid wanted to die.  And I don't mean that as in, "If this zit doesn't go away I may DAIEEEEE!" I mean he was so depressed he couldn't eat and we were doing periodic wellness checks as well as sweeps for sharp objects. We had to hide all the belts. And I didn't talk about it then because I could barely function because three of my kids were in that place and I was worried catatonic. 

When he started to come around and level out, our focus was less on "Well, let's kick it into gear and graduate!" and more on, "Hey, you get to see your friends! Now for fucks sake EAT SOMETHING." But his grades started to swing around and independent study became less of a colossal chore for all of us. We still didn't think he was going to graduate--he would have to take two semesters of English in a couple of weeks and we didn't see that happening and then...

Last week the school contacted us and said, "Uhm, by the way, we decided to FUCK the last year of English for all the students. Fuck it all. Who cares. They survived the pandemic and we're so glad they're here. Have you ordered your cap and gown yet?" To which Mate and I replied, "That's great--and EEK! NO WE HAVE NOT!"

And suddenly ZoomBoy has rehearsal for a couple of performances that the drama teacher managed to squeeze out of this highly traumatic year. 

So, A. If you don't hear from me on social media on Thursday and Friday I'm AT A PLAY and AT A GRADUATION CELEBRATION, and B. HOLY CRAP--HOO-FRICKIN-RAY!

I mean--I know there are still repercussions. We gave ZoomBoy a gap year to get his drivers license and try out for community theater and apply for junior college and get a shitty job so he has some motivation for school. Thanks to California's refusal to let kids be kids, he doesn't turn 18 until mid-November anyway--and I think he needs the time to grow up. 

Big T is going into the teaching credential program that is currently driving his younger sister batshit insane. (I have not spoken about this on social media, but please believe me. It is true.) The credential program wasn't easy for me--I had so much internal growing I needed to do before I could walk into a classroom and believe they should listen to me. My kids each have different issues, but it's the same thing. Teaching is constant self-evaluation and internal reckoning of "Why am I doing this again?"

And that's fucking hard.

So of course they're not done growing yet--but then I'M not done growing yet. But for the moment, they've reached some specific milestones and I'm proud. 

So let's hear it for graduation. Let's hear it for accomplishing something over the last year PERIOD. And let's hear it for Big T and ZoomBoy, who have both worried me shitless at different times over the years, but, for this moment here, are doing okay. 

Saturday, May 15, 2021

He Regrets Nothing

 Nebula was unusually vocal tonight, because apparently that's how furry psychopaths with murder-mittens get in the spring.

So there he is, stalking back and forth from the back yard to the hallway, talking to us.

"Meow! Meow! Meow! Come check this out! It's great! It's fantastic! It's marvelous!"

Youngest Child comes along and coos,  "BABY! How you doing, handsome man--OMG IT'S A LIZARD!!!"

Mate and I automatically pause the movie we're watching and sit up. "What--wait--is it dead?"

Youngest Child dances around going, "What do I do? What do I do? What--"

"Get a napkin and pick it up!" we cry. "Throw it out in the front planter!"

"Get away from him you murdering freak!" Apparently Nebula did not WANT the lizard stolen from his grasp and taken away.

So ZoomBoy comes out and holds the cat aloft--like, no shit. Aloft. In the air, legs outstretched, reaching for the fuckin' lizard.

"What do I do?" Youngest Child wails. "What if it's dead?"

"Then throw it outside to be with the other dead animals in the planter!" Mate and I cry. At this point we're not getting up to trample the ground where cat and lizard have contended. Youngest Child is already scarred, right? We don't need to see this.

"What if it's alive?" they scream. 

"Well throw it outside to be with the live ones!" we reply--and remember, ZoomBoy is still bearing the cat aloft, who is batting his murder-mittens int he direction of the lizard because SOMEBODY GIVE HIM BACK HIS LIZARD! 

"OMG IT'S ALIVE! AND IT'S MOVING!"

Mate and I almost move at this point--but YC is heading for the kitchen and we're in the living room and hopefully safe from skittering lizards. 

"Get it!" Mate urges helpfully. "You know. Before it gets under the stove."

"Got it! Outside?"

"YES!" we urge in tandem.

"Are you sure?"

"YES!" And, as they move to send the lizard back with his lizardy brethren, we tell ZoomBoy, "And put the cat down. He's fine. He was just being a cat."

Cat is wild-eyed, paws still out, and you can practically read the I REGRET NOTHING caption under his freaked out face. 

The lizard is gone, the cat has stalked off, and the offspring have returned to their rooms. 

I walk down the hall to find the cat sprawled in front of Youngest Child's door. I knock and say, "I'm opening your door."

"Why?"

"Because your cat is staring at it."

"So?"

"So he's STARING AT IT. Do you want him to go out and kill again?"

"No. Fine. Just let the little psychopath in here."

"Well, he likes you. And you don't resemble a lizard."

"Fucker."

"Yes," I agree, as I open the door for the cat. He stares in, mildly interested, and I leave him to his dance as I walk down the hall.

Yeah. We all know who owns the place. If he drops a dead thing on my pillow as I sleep, there's going to be screaming in the morning. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Wow.

 I am... humbled, I guess.

I was looking forward to Mother's Day--Mate ordered me some things I'd really wanted, and we were going to order takeout steak and eat it while watching the comfort movie of my choice. I'd plans to go see bio-mom in the morning--we took her lunch and flowers and a book--and then we were going to come home and relax.

It was that simple.

There were some things I didn't count on though.

I knew #2 child was going to go have brunch with my stepmom and then swing by--and that was fine. Big T was going to drive over, and I figured there'd be flowers. That was all--and I was happy. I was giving myself permission to blow off my diet and eat steak and pie and to watch movies and knit. 

Seriously--all I wanted.

I did not count on Chicken coming by with lots of presents--including the Chicken Run stuffies she got from a friend's collection, just for me, the Batman crochet hook and the absolutely charming book about yarn. I didn't count on the lovely cards from Big T and his girlfriend, and the big batch of roses (or the tulips Mate got yesterday, just for me :-)  I didn't count on going down for a nap and having Mate assemble the winder/swift/ironing board combo into exactly the thing I wanted but he didn't like any of the ones they offered on the internet. And a yarn bowl that just humbled me with its beauty.

And I didn't count on saying, "Which of Mom's comfort movies do you want to watch?" and having Big T say, "Pride and Prejudice--the Colin Firth one. I haven't seen that."

Be still my fluttering little heart.

I mean, I went down for my nap in the middle of it, but when I woke up, it was STILL ON. (Remember, it's six episodes long!) And not only that, but Mate and T and I were watching it and making commentary and even ZoomBoy and YC (Youngest Child) were in the room. In fact, YC had the line of the day.

Mate: Wow--did you see the disclaimer in the corner? This is MA for sexual content. (Remember, we don't see so much as an ankle in six hours of television.)  

YC: You just can't escape the eye-fucking, dad. 

And no, you can't. We commented throughout, and stopped and listened to our favorite parts and I didn't have to tie anyone down, drug them, or listen to, "Oh God, Mom, please no!"

And there was steak.

It was HEAVEN. 

And, to top it off, my stepmom and dad came in, left a plant--and their love--and breezed out. 

Stepmom: It's supposed to be the one plant you can't kill.

Mate: Challenge accepted.

And on the one hand, I get it.  We've had a rough year--all of us. The chance to get together and spend time in company without worry and without fear--that was glorious.

But on the other hand, I feel really spoiled. And I get that not everybody had the greatest parents--Mother's Day is not a fun thing for a lot of people. Some people have lost their mothers and Goddess, that sucks.

I just really want all those kind nurturing souls who surround me to know this feeling. Appreciated--and really spoiled. 

I want you to have someone to bring you your favorite meal and watch your favorite movie. I want unexpected flowers for you, and hugs. I want your favorite people to surround you unexpectedly, and happy things to follow.

Happy Mother's Day everyone--however you need that to be. May your hearts be spoiled for joy. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Kermit Flail-- May!!!!!!!

 YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAAYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, did May get here quickly--and my dance card is sort of full! My oldest son is graduating from college (yay!) and my third child may graduate from high school. (Quarantine was rough on some of our students--if he can graduate we'll be super excited, but it might not happen until August.) I've got a couple of classes lined up to teach, and a couple of releases coming up, including the sequel to the Mastermind, all of which are happening in June!

But that's me--what YOU need are some stellar reads, and to that end, I've hit up some STELLAR writers--Andrew Grey, Dirk Grayson,  Kate McMurray, R.L. Merrill, and Andy Gallo all have new releases this month, and that deserves some celebration! Sizzling romance help us anticipate the hot summer months--what could be better, right?

So, folks, let's flail!

Let's start with Andy Gallo, who started out writing fantasy under Andrew Q Gordon but who is now writing contemporary--and doing a grand job of it! 



Better to Believe

by Andy Gallo 

Fall for your best friend’s brother, just don’t break his heart.


Coury Henderson has wanted to play professional baseball since he threw his first pitch. If he’s drafted, he’s off to Tiny Town, USA to earn his ticket to the majors. But a freak injury threatens to derail his dream. If that weren’t enough, his graduation is in jeopardy. Physical therapy might solve the first hurdle, but he’ll need a tutor who is aces in science to solve the second.

A tutor like Liam, his best friend’s little brother.

But when did Liam grow up to be such a hottie?

Liam Wright has crushed on his brother’s best friend since he was twelve. He jumps at the chance to tutor Coury and spend time alone together.

Not that anything could happen between them . . . as nice as Coury is to him, jocks don’t go for nerds.

So why does everything they do feel like a date?

"Better to Believe" is a best friend’s brother-to-lovers, nerd-jock, slow-burn M/M romance with a guaranteed HEA. This new adult, college age novel can be read as a standalone. The Harrison Campus series can be read in any order.


Buy Here




Next, we've got the FABULOUS Kate McMurray with a romance based on one of my favorite tropes--cats and dogs!




Like Cats and Dogs

by Kate McMurray

Can you fight like cats and dogs, and still be perfect for each other?

Things are getting ruff in this Brooklyn neighborhood when new veterinarian Caleb Fitch moves in next door to the Whitman Street Cat Cafe and gets on the wrong side of cafe owner Lauren Harlow. Lauren has a few things to teach the new vet on the block, and rescuing kittens is only the start…

Lauren can’t ignore the fact that she is instantly attracted to Caleb, but he gets her even more riled up when he argues with her about how best to treat the cats in her care. Determined to smooth things over, Caleb comes to the rescue when a new litter of abandoned kittens is left on Lauren’s doorstep, and they confront the fiery attraction that’s been building between them from the start. But saving the baby kittens is only the first challenge Lauren and Caleb have to face, and when a real estate developer comes sniffing around their block, they’ll have to work together, or risk losing everything…


Buy Here


Woohoo!  And next, we have Andrew Grey and his dashing alter-ego, Dirk Greyson, who each have a recent release!


Fate's Attraction

by Dirk Greyson



Even a wolf shifter can’t defeat fate.

Vladimir Corelia is the second son of the pack alpha. He’s happy with his role in the pack, but it seems the fates have other ideas. When the man he finds living in a cave, caring for a shifter baby and a litter of wolf pups, turns out to be his mate, it begins a chain of events that puts the whole pack in jeopardy.

Frankie Bowers can’t remember anything except a powerful sense of danger. He only knows he can’t go home. With no way to defend himself, he has to rely on Vladimir, a perfect stranger who happens to be his mate, to protect him and the young he’s looking after.

While Vladimir and Frankie’s attraction as mates grows stronger every day, so does the threat to their relationship—and to the pack. As Frankie regains his memory, the threat grows more and more ominous. Vladimir and Frankie must rise to the challenge if they hope to have any chance at the future the fates might have in store.



Heavy Lifting

by Andrew Grey

Would-be journalist Reg Applewhite is a slight, geeky guy who knows from high school experience that he’s the perfect size to be shoved into a locker. He writes for his sister’s fashion and gossip blogs and is very understandably reluctant when assigned to cover a local bodybuilding competition for material.

Jack Ponte is a physical god, with a perfect body, poise, and intense eyes. But it’s his grace that captures Reg’s attention, and when Reg asks for an interview, Jack agrees. After all, he’s looking for a life after bodybuilding, and Reg’s blogs offer a chance at something less fleeting.

During the interview, they discover mutual interests in fashion and video games that lead to friendship and deeper feelings neither expects. Reg finds it hard to believe that a god-man like Jack would see anything in him, and Jack is just as shocked when Reg seems to see beyond his looks to the person inside. But there is a price to pay for everything, and Jack draws the kind of unwanted attention that could threaten to pull them apart… or worse. Together they need to figure out a way to lift each other up and push through the challenges.

Amazon



And last--but CERTAINLY not least is our lovely Ro, R.L. Merrill, who has a Sherif meets tree-trimmer story that has, as is her trademark, the heart of rock and roll.


You Fell First


R. L. Merrill

Things get dirty when a deputy saves a tree trimmer, and sweet when she turns out to be exactly what he needs.

A deputy sheriff and a tree trimmer meet during storm cleanup on a treacherous road and literally fall for each other in the line of duty. Calvin wants to explore their connection and Flor is game. Then things get sticky when his hard-earned sobriety is threatened and her pride is bruised. Their chemistry can’t be ignored, but can they get past their personal obstacles? It’ll take some getting dirty to get to the sweet in this story of broken hearts and fresh starts.






And finally...


Every May, I participate in a fundraiser during which I donate a portion of my proceeds--usually from specific books-- to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund for suicide prevention and the promotion of mental health. This cause means a great deal to me, and I usually donate money from books that at least touch on the theme of mental health awareness. 

This year is no different, and because Dane--a character who is introduced in Winter Ball but who gets his own story in  Fall Through Spring--is struggling with bipolar disorder, I thought it would be appropriate to donate a part of my proceeds from any book int his series sold in May. If you've read it, thank you--I know Dane's story wasn't easy. But if you haven't, you may want to check it out. The guys in this series are a mix of working and middle class, and, in the words of one of the people who got me my start in this business, feature guys working shit out. 

I've always found that the most charming part of falling in love.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Sick Day

 "Mom, I'm sick."

"Are you sure it's not allergies?"

"My throat hurts."

"Mine gets scratchy in the morning."

"Feel my head."

"I'm sorry, honey, but you feel normal."

"But my body hurts."

"Is this because you have to go to school?"

"No! I feel sick!"

"Okay--take some ibuprofen and try to get some sleep."

The Next Day:

"Do I need to go get them?"

"No, they were sick. I let them sleep."

"Okay--well, if they passed YOUR sick test, they MUST be sick."

"Don't look at me! I just didn't want to yell!"

"Sure, Mate. Fine. Whatever. They're not sick. It's fine."

... Can you all guess what's coming? I bet you can.

We were not sure Squish was sick or not--I admit to some skepticism on my part, but if Mate gave in, he must have felt something was wrong, so, well, yeah. We let them stay home.

And last night, I felt sort of icky.

This morning, I did not even bother to get dressed. I put on a bra--because underboob sweat is the worst when you feel like crap--but yeah. Pajamas and slouchy clothes and lots and lots of knitting, and feeling punky and like I could sleep all day and I didn't even care.

Squish really was sick. And then they brought it home to me. And I have been masquerading as furniture all day, the ruse made even more effective by my fashionable fabric printed paisley pajama bottoms.

And when I got to sleep, I can vouch for no contributions to the world on this day other than converting oxygen to C02. 

Somewhere out there, a plant is really super happy my meat sack was still functioning today. Otherwise, Mate is a little miffed that on a day none of us were moving, the cupboard was full of his favorite cookies, purchased yesterday when I dragged my sorry carcass to the grocery story on the pretense it was an ordinary weekend and I needed to get my chores done.

Today, I barely cooked dinner. And the cupboard WAS full of cookies--notice how WAS--past tense--is the operative word there?

Tomorrow I hope for more movement--the dogs really did miss their walk, although they certainly enjoyed all their time camping out on the obliging furniture.

The furniture was just fine with that. It was the only function it could manage. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Human Stories

 So, as I've mentioned, my mother (not to be confused with my stepmom, who I am usually praising on my blog) lives in an adult care home for the mentally ill. With the onset of the pandemic, I wasn't really able to visit her--but I've always been pretty good at sending her things. She's read every book I've put out, actually--although her grasp of them is a little thin. ("Oh honey--that book about the boys who just wanted to play was so funny! Why didn't they just let them play! That was so weird!" for the records, she was reading the Locker Room.)

Anyway-- I've been sending her letters this last year--sometimes one a week, sometimes one a month--and usually a little gift of some sort. Most lately it was some Bath & Bodywork samples and a little pencil case from Michael's, with a guinea pig-acorn on the front. 

Today, however, I was determined to see her. Mate and I had our shots--I was pretty sure her group home would have been one of the first ones vaccinated, given that the residents would NOT be okay with a face covering and many of them are elderly (and heavy smokers!) and it was time to go see her face to face.

First thing, I went to her room (she has a roommate--this is always tricky, because severely schizophrenic people with roommates seem to blame everything on their roommate. Everything. She's blamed her roommate--not always the same person--on everything from COVID to stray cats to God. God is bad--he doesn't let her watch the FOX News. I think that's proof that God is GOOD, but don't get me started there.) 

So I walk in, and I'm wearing a mask, because... *flails* We've been wearing a mask out in public for a YEAR and even if I'm vaccinated now, it protects other people and, well, it shows them that I respect their health. It's a whole thing. It's taken over Twitter and FB several times now. WEAR A MASK. But as I enter, she doesn't give me a second glance. 

"Uh, whatcha doin', Lex?" 

"Fixing my bed," she tells me. She is, in fact, making the bed from the ground up, so I stand back and watch her for a few moments. 

"Good to see you," I say.

She gives me a suspicious look and narrows her eyes--there is no recognition. ZERO recognition. Da nada. I am a stranger in her room, with a mask and a coffee drink, because I always bring her a coffee drink--it's not something she can get to easily from a walking distance. 

"Hi," I say, tentatively, and then I gave it up. I took off the mask. My liberalness was not going to mean a damn thing to her--but she did want to see my face.

Her entire face lit up. It's been over a year, although I made solid attempts to see her for her birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. (Their phone system is the SUCK--there is no way I can get hold of people before I stop by. I brought her an entire Thanksgiving dinner in a little carry out bag, and they told me she'd get to eat it.)

So we tried again. I gave her the coffee drink--and she LOVED it. ("This is DELICIOUS!" she said after wiping it out in one gulp. I told her next time I'd get a large.) And we looked at the letters.



All over--the wall was papered with the letters I'd sent her over the last year. The letters had pictures of the kids, pictures of us--and pictures of the animals. Like most of us, telling animal stories was my happy place. The kids weren't doing okay, Mate and I were trying not to spiral, but by golly, the animals were hilarious, and they made it into the letter.

So I took her outside to finish the rest of the coffee drink and we sat for a little while. I pulled out my phone and showed her more pictures--and this time, she lit up again and broke my heart. 

"Aw," she said, looking at the phone. "Nebula."

"Yes!" I told her the face eating story--it hadn't made it into the letter yet. Then I showed her another picture.

"Geoffie!" she said, like this was her dog. "The cutest dog in the world!"

"Yes!" I pulled out my knitting as I showed her other pictures.

"Dewey--you shaved him. He's not happy. ZoomBoy! Look how tall!"

And so on. And then she looked at me and said, "Look at what you're knitting!" (Crocheting, actually, but at this point I don't quibble. It's all yarn.)

"Yeah. Just a granny-triangle shawl. Simple knitting."

"I got the one you sent me. Did you see it in my room? I put it on my table! That one's prettier."

And so on. It was a short visit--she's usually only really happy for about ten minutes anyway. But it was a good ten minutes.

And after a year of sending letters into the void and getting--well, science fiction back, because what else would you classify, "God won't let us watch FOX News," and "Good to see you last weekend at that house party with the elephants!" (Not. Kidding.) it was nice to know that some part of being human, of living the same human story, had connected.

My bio-mom has always loved cats--even the big no-necked jungle escapee that used to haunt the gardens outside her group home and eat chickens. "Yeah, honey--he's a real motherfucker." I haven't lived with her since I was six years old, and it's not always easy to keep up a relationship with someone who writes you letters about weekends with your father when they've been divorced for 47 years and haven't seen each other since your wedding.  But I love cats too, and small dogs, and having animals in my home has never, ever been in question. And I get that from her (and my dad and stepmom too!) but cats, especially, from bio-mom. And it's good to know that we still have a language for human communication.

Even if it's not human at all. 


Thursday, April 15, 2021

And Back in Bed...

 This morning, Nebula was eating my face.

You heard that right.

Every morning, about seven--which is an hour before I get up--the cat bounds in with wet paws. Could be dew from his morning excursion, or it could be water from the dog bowl--we'll never know. He purrs, he sticks his head under my hand, and he drools.

On my face.

I am mostly asleep at this point--maybe ninety percent.

So he licks the drool off. And licks and licks and licks. And I can sense the hunger stirring within... so delicious. Good human. Much salt. Wonderful human. I loves it... I loves it... I want to--

"No," I mumble, moving my head. "No bitting."

So he starts licking again. Good human. So tasty. Wonderful human. Mmmm... I loves it... I want to... I want to...

"No."

I want to... I want to... I want to...

"Knock it off."

Please let me... please... oh, it tastes so good... so very good...

And today, my husband whispers, threatening as a troll. "Stop. Eating. People."

No! You taste delicious!

And then he bit my nose.

Monday, April 12, 2021

The Saddest Dog in the World

 Last night at 2:00 a.m., in a suburban neighborhood northeast of Sacramento, California, the following happened.

A woman--large, squishy, middle-age-ish, climbs into the king-sized bed she shares with her spouse of 34 years, and immediately realizes something is missing.

"Mate," she says hesitantly, "Where's the fuckin' dogs?"

"Wha?" he replies.

"Why are there no dogs in this bed?"

"I dunno. Geoffie! Get up here!"

There is excited wagging, scrabbling, and some whining at the base of the bed, and then, in a desperately brave leap, the 10 lb potato with fur scrabbles for safe purchase on a veritable sea of cotton bedspread. 

"That's my baby," the woman croons, and the potato proceeds to lick her face in the dark before disappearing under the covers. "Where's the other one?" the woman asks her spouse.

"I don't know," he responds, sounding puzzled. "Johnnie? Johnnie?"

From under the bed, there is heard a pathetic whine.

"Johnnie? Come here, boy. Come on!" the woman cries, desperate to get to sleep.

The dog is heard whining below the bed, playing a terrible game of "the floor is lava" as he attempts to gain access to the mattress by no pathway that makes sense.

"What's he doing?" the woman asks.

"He's not coming up any of the ways there's something to step on," her husband replies. "It's like..." He gets out his phone and shines some light on the situation. "OH."

"Oh?"

"There is a cat."

"Oh."

They sit in silence for a moment, contemplating the dilemma. And then the woman--an insensitive broad by all accounts, starts calling, "Here, Johnnie--c'mon, grow a sac and get the hell up here!"

And the man, easily led, joins her in her terrible dare. "Johnnie, come on! Come on, Johnnie! You can make it! She won't get you!"

Together the beg, plead, and desperately urge the poor animal into a colossal act of bravery. With a whine and a scurry, he scrabbles his way to the top of the mattress, to be greeted like the hero he is.

"Good boy, Johnnie--good boy! You didn't let that terrible cat get you, right? You're such a good boy! We love you baby! Come on, get under the covers! Good dog! Such a good dog!"

The dog slinks into his place of nighttime repose, at the feet of the people who asked him to risk almost certain death at the claws of the Terrible Cat.

He was, indeed, the Saddest Dog in all the World.


Monday, April 5, 2021

A Modest Little Flail--April!

 YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!!!



So I've said this before--I'm not the most responsible of flailers. I do not, as it were, go out and flog for my flails--usually people just sort of ask me as the month progresses, and by Sunday night when I'm putting together my Kermit Flail, BOOM! There it is. But this month has been busy and event filled for a lot of people, so I only have a couple of books to flail--and I'll admit it, one of them I'm just flailing because I'm personally excited about it and not because somebody asked me to flail. A sort of kidnap-flail, I guess you could say.

But that doesn't mean it's not fantastic. 

So let's start with one of my favorite flailers of all time, the lovely and adorable (and multi-award nominated!) Ms. E.J. Russell, who has a brand new story for us to enjoy. As usual it's a quirky romp of magic, sweetness, and love.




Purgatory Playhouse

A Magic Emporium novel

By E.J. Russell

Staging a musical in Purgatory can be absolute hell.

Lonnie Coleridge last saw the sun in 1968. Since then, he’s been consigned to Limbo, still wearing the same tie-dyed T-shirt and bell-bottomed jeans he had on when he left his life behind. He and others like him have one chance each year at redemption: produce a show for the Greek pantheon. Whoever pleases this very specific—and temperamental—fan group could earn the right to move on.

But after a literal act of god (*cough* Hermes *cough*) destroys their sets, lights, and costumes, the company needs emergency help to rebuild. Without it, all of them could poof out of existence forever.

Out-of-work theater technician TD Baylor has precisely three things on his cosmic wish list: a job, a place to stay, and a boyfriend who isn’t a total tool. He thinks he’s got the first two nailed when he gets a line on a two-week gig that includes room and board. So what if the job tip came from a guy who was leaning way too hard into the LOTR cosplay at a sketchy Halloween pop-up? At this point, TD doesn’t have anything more to lose, so he figures…what the hell.

He didn’t realize hell was the operative word.

When Lonnie greets him at the theater door, though...whoa. TD fantasizes that item number three could be within his reach. But then Lonnie gives him the bad news: This is Purgatory Playhouse, aka Theater of the Darned. In two weeks—if they’re lucky and can successfully mount a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—the company will return to Limbo after the curtain falls. If they’re not lucky?

Remember that part about hell?

Purgatory Playhouse is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need. This book contains a theater techie who’s one couch surf away from homeless, a production assistant who’s sort of, um, not alive, Greek gods behaving very badly indeed, and a guaranteed HEA.

Amazon/Kindle Unlimited





This next one I'm featuring simply because I'm so thrilled to read it. Nobody needs an introduction to Mary Calmes--she's the defining voice of this genre, and a new book from her is cause for celebration. So here we have not just a Mary story, but a Mary werewolf story, and it looks so delicious I could eat it like steak. Come check out Muscle and Bone by Mary Calmes.


Muscle and Bone

by Mary Calmes

You belong to me and I know it down deep, in muscle and bone, where my wolf lives.
Avery Rhine isn’t an average homicide detective with the Chicago PD. In fact, Avery isn’t an average anything. Sure, as an omega he knows he’s at the bottom of the food chain, but that’s never slowed him down. He’s got a great life, complete with a loving family and a best friend who’d take a bullet for him, so what more could he possibly want or need? Except, maybe, for the world to change. And to find someone to spend more than one night with, but that isn’t high on his list of priorities. He’s never been one to believe in destiny or whatever else the fantasies sell about there being someone special out there meant just for him.

Then a chance encounter at a party changes everything.

Graeme Davenport has no delusions about finding his true mate. The consensus is that if an alpha doesn’t find their other half by the time they’re thirty, the chances of it ever happening go from slim to none. He’s not a mere alpha, though; Graeme is a cyne who sits at the pinnacle of lupine hierarchy, so he’s obligated by tradition and duty to choose an omega now, sign a contract, and bond with him. Love is not part of the equation.

When Graeme and Avery meet, their fierce attraction to each other flies in the face of reason and logic. Avery’s intense physical reaction to the alpha is something he’s never experienced before, while Graeme, who has always been the soul of discretion, loses all his inhibitions to desire for the man he wants to possess. They are two very different men trying to navigate expectations, separate reason from innate primal drive, and do it while working together to solve a murder.

It will take everything they are to find a middle ground, and to learn to trust in a fated kind of love.



And this last one is my own book to flail, and yes. I'm super excited about it. I mean, I say that a lot--probably because the books live inside my own head a lot--but this book is going out in mass market paperback, along with the entire rest of the series of seven, three of which I've finished. I love this series and this concept--it's high class Robin Hood, it's Leverage and Ocean's 11 with fabulous gay heroes. It's escapism and exciting escapades and true love and a family of thieves, conmen, and mercenaries who will hopefully melt your heart. 

It's the first book of the Long Con series, and you guys, I hope you LOVE it!



The Mastermind

Book 1: The Long Con

by Amy Lane 

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.