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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mystery Kitty

So, I was supposed to take Newt-Dewey the Magnificent Gray Floof to the vets today--but I left the back door open and Dewey ended up having a very different day than I had planned, something involving MI6 agents and saving the world, I assume, but he could have just been plotting the downfall of the Republican party. We'll have to hope for the best--I'm pretty sure he's on the side of the angels, but, you know--he does kill lizards.

In fact, that's par for the course with this cat.

Technically, he's ZoomBoy's--and ZB takes his pet ownership very seriously-- he comes to the vet's appointments and feeds Dewey and mocks him during the unanticipated great famines that last an entire two hours while the cat pines away and starves.

You can see he's pined away and starved quite a bit in the last year. He's a whisper of a full grown kitty.  Poor waif. Fourteen pounds is practically wasting away.

Mate brought me this picture--he'd been playing Destiny, and was apparently baffled by Newt-Dewey's ability to just stretch out and cover half the bed.

"Yeah," I said, boggled. "Apparently the vet thinks he's Maine Coon Cat."

"But... but don't they get bigger than that?"

"Well, you know. They don't stop growing until they're four years old."

Mate looked a little horrified. "Good God."

"Yeah--he could be a monster by then. And it could explain... you know..."

"The eating thing."

"Yeah, that."

This cat catches and kills lizards. Of course, ZoomBoy thinks the cat judges them to death, but it doesn't change that he is actually capable of useful cat behavior.

And a great deal of superiority.

And eating us, holy God, out of house and home.

But this picture right here--stretching out and owning the furniture and having zero fucks to give about it?

This is the hallmark of our favorite kitties right here.

I look forward to posting many pictures of this cat to come.

I also have to remember to buy food tomorrow. Another Great Famine is not to be borne.

* * * A lot of you folks are traveling to GRL in the next few days.  Enjoy yourselves and safe travels--and never doubt, I miss you all.




Monday, October 16, 2017

So, How Was Seattle?

Well, first of all, it was Bellevue, which means I sort of waved at Seattle in passing, but since Bellevue (or the part I saw of it) was amazing, I'm not going to quibble.

Second of all, I need to give some shoutouts--

*  Carmen Cook and her wonderful husband, Scott, who both welcomed a newbie to the con, were charming companions at a VERY noisy and momentous dinner, and were both just awesome people the entire weekend. It's like I really DO feel that I made new friends, and it started with these guys, and a Mai-Tai and just the friendliest people on earth.

* Karen Rose and her husband, Mr. Rose (Martin!) who were happy to hang with me during the geeky chatty quiet times. Cause we all need that, when things get loud and noisy!

* THE WHOLE MASTER'S CLASS PANEL--I got to listen to their dinner conversation and it was AMAZING. Also, they all smiled at me and made me feel welcome for the rest of the con.

*  Jasmine Silvera, author of Death's Dancer (and isn't that an amazing title? I bought this book on the title and cover alone!) who not only commiserated on me about living in Sacramento (she has since escaped) but who was also my moderator for my archetype class and who KICKED ASS trying to get my power point to show up on the screen.

*  Asa Maria Bradley, and her friend Jessica Holt, as well as Lee and Sarah, all of whom invited me to dinner and were charming and hilarious. I drank wine and chatted with my sisters and enjoyed myself immensely-- I do hope they invite me again.

* Sarah MacClean, author of kickass feminist regency romance, and the one who gave the luncheon speech with my new mantra, ROMANCE IS NOT SILLY! And who also was kind enough to introduce me to Jasmine after the reader event when I came up and fangirled over her swag--a regency heroine complete with pussyhat that I found to be ingenious and ballsy.

* Tori V. Thompson, who came over from Whidbey Island to bring my kids Seagull Poop, Crab Crap, and bath bombs. Okay, yes-- the goodies (and they are goodies!) were supposed to be for ME, however, I did warn her that my kids would besiege me and steal them. I managed to get two pieces of Whidbey Rock Candy tonight and they made me feel like a terrible human being for even asking. But the fact that she came all the way out, bringing her lovely husband, JUST to see me?

I'll seriously treasure that always.

*sniffle* Thanks hon. That was awesome.

*  And last but not least to my darling Rhae, who greeted me this morning with a birthday package of the most wonderful things--I shall have pictures tomorrow, but she made Squish and I each scarves, and Squish was SO happy to get mine, and I wore mine all evening even when it got warm. They're beautiful, and the boys got T-shirts and my friend and I got incense and tea and stones-- it was the most lovely amazing gift and it has filled me with good will all day.

The trip was great--I enjoyed giving my workshops and although the first one was sparsely populated (because it was Bambi against Godzilla, Mothra, and King Kong on the schedule--I'm not even kidding, I wanted to go to some of those classes!) the second one was fairly well attended and three people told me I helped them get over plot difficulties just by being my goofy, geeky self, and I was glad.

I'm glad to be home-- the kids missed me, and their weekend was fairly adventuresome. The dogs showed signs of hoomin deprivation, and have been needy leeches all day.

But it was a good trip--thank you so much to everybody who helped make it that way.



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Seattle

So, leaving for Seattle at asscrack a.m..  If anybody wonders why I leave so early, it's so Mate can get back to the house in time to take the kids to school.

Poor Mate!

So I know I've said some things about this on social media but I'm not sure if I said it on the blog--but I'm going to the Emerald City Writer's Conference this year.

Excited?  Hell yes!

Karen Rose, Asa Maria Bradley, Darynda Jones and Cherry Adair are going to be there--just to name a few, and WHEEE!!!!

I'm also going to be presenting there--a class about archetypes and a class about setting, and am I nervous?

OH my God, I'm nervous.

The one thing that might keep me from jumping out of my skin is that I ran the setting presentation by ZoomBoy and the archetype presentation by Squish this weekend while I was updating my slides and adding stuff.

They both had some awesome stuff to contribute-- ZoomBoy did one of my setting assignments and I added his input to a slide, and Squish?  Well, Squish did the most amazing thing.

See, I originally put the presentation together for the Dreamspinner Press workshop--almost entirely m/m authors, and while I had some remarks ready about female heroes versus male heroes, I didn't have anything in the slide show, because... well. Because it's all about the guys in m/m. That's, uh, why it's m/m. But I did have some stuff to say about the girls, and it was pretty important, especially considering I like to write female characters as equals.

So I was giving Squish the presentation with every intention of visiting female archetypes at the end, when she interrupted.

"Epic heroes? Mom, where's the girl epic heroes?"

And she had such a classic Squishy expression on her face--I had to use it.

So I made it a running gag through the presentation. Every now and then, in the places where I'm most tempted to get long winded, I've got a picture of Squish, with her "bullshit line" firmly established between her eyes, reminding me "Mom--female heroes! Get to the point and represent!"

I hope the audience enjoys her as much as I did.

So if I disappear for a bit, that's where I'll be (although I almost always manage one or two posts while I'm gone!)

And if you're in the Seattle area--remember, the reader event which is FREE at the Bellevue Westin. I"ll be there along with some other AMAZING authors, and we're going to have a fun time!



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The dogs, the kids, and me...

So, a quiet day today. I'm spending some of my brain power reworking my presentation for Emerald City, some of my brain power finishing the blog tour for Familiar Angel, and some of it starting Crocus which is the sequel to Bonfires. Honestly, not a whole lot of words left for the day to day of it, so most of this blog's going to be in pictures.

So, we've got the dogs walking, posing of course. I posted these on Instagram with the following story:

And so today, we whizzed on all the whizzing things, bjorked at all the big woofers, and snuffled all the wharping smells. It was a good start to a real day, not a pretend day when we have to pretend we had our walkies but a real day when walkies really happened.

The best kind of day.

The end.

So there you are-- cute dogs said cute things. Mission accomplished.

Of course, after the cute things, everybody had to nap.

Even the cats.

I bungled the cat picture though. They were just all asleep in the same general area, without any one cat being on the same piece of furniture as any other cat. I was trying to capture that, but hey, streak of ugliest pictures on the internet remains unbroken.


And the last pictures was pretty classic, because Squish and I were watching television. Squish is fun to watch TV with--especially as she gets older.

"Mom, wait!"

"What?"

"Why is she kissing that guy? Where's the other guy. The... the functional guy?"

"Well, they broke up last season."

"Why?"

"Honey, we're supposed to be waiting for Paige to get together with Walter! That's the point of the show."

She blinked at me.

"I mean... Walter. Head guy."

She blinked again, and I started to feel like George Clooney in Ocean's 11. 

"But Walter's a tool?" I hazarded.

She nodded. "I hate this show."

Then she rolled over on her stomach and the dogs camped out.

"Uh, Squish?"

"Yeah?"

"You got something on your butt."

"Yup. Get me water?"

"Yeah, sure."

I mean they just looked so comfy, right?

Yup-- time for me to go to bed!













Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mate and the Evil Shirt

So, a couple of weeks ago, when Twitter was making me lose my will to live, I bought a fairly heinous and possibly offensive protest shirt because dude. I was a seething ball of inarticulate rage, and if something violently pink that equates the current administration with one of the worst American disasters of all time gets me out of bed, well, uh, I'll buy it.

So two weeks ago, when I was getting ready for Squish's soccer game, that was the T-shirt on top.

I threw it on and got ready for the game, and Mate came home from the first game he coached that day, with coffee for me (he hates the stuff), saw my shirt and winced.

Some things you should know about this situation before I go any further:

*  Mate is still a member of the soccer board. He coaches three teams, and he knows that some of his parents are supporters of the current administration.

*  I talk to all the parents on the team. It's what I do.

*  Everybody knows I'm coach's wife and Squish's mom.

* He takes his responsibility as a community member very seriously--he's done a lot of work and is rightfully proud.

Bearing this in mind, he took one look at that violently pink, possibly offensive shirt and winced.

And said, "Uh, I really hate that shirt."

And that's all.

These are the things he didn't say:

*  You're making me look bad.

* If you loved me you'd take that off.

* You could make my life really unpleasant if some of my parents see that.

*  You'll embarrass me.

*  God, please, no.

*  Jesus, Amy, can we just forget about politics for a minute?

*  How selfish can you be?

So I changed my shirt.

Why?

Because:

*  He brought my coffee

*  He didn't contest my right to wear the shirt

* He didn't make the shirt about him

* He respected my opinion

* He respected my right to wear whatever the hell I wanted

* The shirt would have made him really uncomfortable, and he was honest about that

* It's not all about me--it's our kid's soccer game, and he had a point

So today, I started talking about feminism--

And he said, "I'm sorry. I'm not a feminist."

And I said, "Yes, honey. Yes you are."

Because he respected everything about me in that moment.  I could have worn the shirt and he would have been uncomfortable but he would have still loved me. And I took it off, and he was appreciative, and still, never doubted my right to wear whatever I damned well pleased.

And this is the thing that NON feminists don't get.

I don't need my way all the time. I don't need to be shrill. My husband doesn't need to be a tool. He doesn't need to be abusive. Neither of us needs to be right all the time.

And we can have a good time together, enjoy our time in each other's company, because being right is not as important as respecting each other's right to be who we are.

And accommodating our differences.

He brought me coffee. He hates coffee.

I took off the damned shirt.

Because making each other happy was more important than the alternative.

And because the other person didn't demand that we change a damned thing.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Out of the Mouths of Rock Stars

 Okay-- so yes, pictures taken during a concert aren't always the best.

The red blob is K-Flay doing "Blood in the Cut", and if you haven't heard this song...

Well, it makes me think of Chase in Shadow.

Really dark--really painful. I'll be honest, I'm not sure I can write a book like that again, but I do like this song.








And the blue blob (taken by Mate, so it's much nicer than my crappy red blob) is Imagine Dragons.

And they were lovely--almost spiritual, the lead singer Dan Reynolds was candid and charismatic and yes, damned sexy. (Frickin' drummers-- they had my number in high school too!)

I admit--when he told us that originally the "I-I-I"  in "I Bet My Life" was "Ma" because the song was about his mother always being there, I got a little teary.

The video for that is really awesome-- posting it here, just for entertainment value and because... wonderful.



So the concert was really positive and uplifting--and Reynolds had more to say--more beautiful, heartfelt things to say--about recent tragedies than any of the Republican government officials in a thousand years.

He gave a moving, faithful tribute to Tom Petty, because Tom Petty was influential, and so many of us grew up with his songs twanging in our consciousness, and they moved us.

And he dedicated "It's Time" to Las Vegas. The band is Vegas based (like another favorite of mine, The Killers) and while he evaded politics, he said there were people in the audience--we were at the Golden 1 Arena--who had been at Vegas, and he praised their courage in coming out to another concert, to their dedication to music and celebration, in not letting fear change who they were.

Lovely words.  Lovely music. Lovely sentiment.

And I was grateful-- they felt much needed.

Monday morning, I woke up and Mate was still in Germany. I scrolled through Twitter before I got out of bed--if there's anything newsworthy it pops up there, and I can investigate other news sources when I see it.

And that's how I found out about Vegas.

And I woke up and tried to process--and couldn't. Got the kids, one at a time, up and dressed and off to school, and thought, "It'll hit me. I'll have words for this. Angry words, grief words. That's how I deal with stuff like this."

And I was walking the dogs in the park after dropping my kids off at school, when I heard sirens.

They could have been for anything. Highway patrol, ambulance, sheriff's department. I'm not a savant, I can't tell what department's being called by the sound.

But I heard ambulances, and for a heartbeat I stood still and listened, thinking, "Are they heading north/south or east/west."  North/south is heading for the schools. East/west, for the freeway. "North/south? East/west?"  The sirens faded off to the east, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

And then I started to cry.

Because I heard a siren and my first thought was "Shooting at the school."

Not because I'm paranoid. But because it has happened. It could happen any day. When I taught, I spent part of my teaching day in lockdown, because there were weapons on campus. So have my children. Parts of Sacramento are very liberal, but we've got our share of gun-toting rednecks. There is an SUV a block from the high school (which is two blocks from the grammar school) that has "Keep Calm and Thread On" stickers in the back window, with a collection of guns on the sticker.  I'm sure if that guy snaps and takes out the high school where my son goes nobody will call him a terrorist either.

But people who have panic attacks in the park over a siren know the truth.

We are held hostage to fear of guns.

All men who own a fucking cache of semi-auto or automatic weapons are terrorists. They have enough weaponry to inspire terror. Achievement unlocked. They have enough entitlement to threaten the 77% of people in the country who don't own any guns at all. Well done.

Before Mate and I left for the concert Wednesday night, Chicken and I had a discussion about how, if either one of us were taken out by gunfire, we would send each other's bloody clothes to the NRA. Mate said count him in too.

None of us talked about the younger kids. It makes our hearts too sick to think about it, even if they're in the greatest amount of danger.

In case anybody is wondering? I don't think this happens in a healthy society. I don't think it should happen at all.

So I guess I needed that concert--I needed to feel brave again.

But that didn't stop me from being afraid of the sound of gunshots whenever the music stopped playing.








Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Dad's Home!



So, Mate got home last night! Huzzah!

And he had excellent stories to tell!

And he was going to take all day today off to sleep, and we were going to go out to lunch and it was going to be glorious.

Except I sat down to watch television with him and slept for two and a half hours while he caught up on e-mail, and I'm starting to think this staying at home gig was harder on me than I let on.

But we're so very glad he's home.

Also, if the video loads, watch it.

It's what classy dudes bring their kids when he comes home from Germany.




Monday, October 2, 2017

Kermit Flail October Sky Style!

YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

Well, partly Yay that we survived September, which is a challenge every year, but also a Yay!!!! because this month is looking really exciting!

Now, because it IS September, I sort of put out my all-call a little late, but what I got here looks awesome!

First of all we have a re-launch from Tere Michaels-- yes that Tere Michaels, who wrote Faith and Fidelity, and who basically is an icon in this genre. This book has been gussied up and re-covered, so if you didn't catch it the first time... dude. (I'm fresh off of the first book in Tere's Vigilante series, which I love with an unreasonable passion, so seriously-- more stuff from her is always good!)
'
As Sure as the Sun be Elle Keaton has such a quirky premise--that a series of misadventures forces a guy to take a good look at himself--and to fix his life in a hurry. I'm a sucker for the universe sending signals--I mean, we've all had those days right? It looks entertaining and sexy and I hope you all enjoy reading it!

The lovely and kind Ms. C.Jane Elliot has written a story of reunited lovers and scuba diving--and I can see this as a movie in my head so easily!  It looks amazing--and fun. And, well... scuba diving!!!

And Susan Reeves is an unknown quantity here--but it looks painful and heartfelt, and all sorts of angsty so I think you'll approve!

And last but not least--Familiar Angel is coming out this month, October 20th, just in time for Halloween, given that it deals with angels and demons.  The first in a series of three, I'm SO excited about this one. Most folks have seen me write urban fantasy with The Little Goddess series, and while Paranormal Romance is a little different-- it deals with one couple per book, and slightly less world building than Urban Fantasy--I was dying to write me some PNR. The series focuses on three brothers who run away from a brothel and right into the supernatural--and their life is never the same.  Also, they become witch's familiars and shape-changing cats. Because everybody wants to be a cat. Or just me. And I got to write it. And it was glorious.  

And I REALLY hope you enjoy it!

So there you go! Something old, something new, something supernatural, and something under the blue!  How can you go wrong?

I hope you all have an amazing month--and remember, I'm happy to accept submissions for Kermit Flail any time during the preceding month!

Happy reading!

The Heir Apparent
by Tere Michaels 

The heir apparent to a vast international company, Henry Walker has focused his entire life on pleasing his cold and distant father, a futile effort that’s left him no time for life, love, or making his own decisions. He has just one friend—one dirty little secret—Archie Banks. Raised on the Walker estate alongside Henry, Archie is now Henry’s driver, bodyguard… and occasional lover. Archie is loyal, but he’s about to graduate from college and has plans for his life that don’t include living every moment at the beck and call of Henry’s father. Not even for Henry.
With no warning, a shocking kidnapping leads to tragedy and chaos, thrusting Henry and Archie into a dramatic struggle that threatens them individually and as a couple. Can they find a way to heal the hurt of the past, save the company that is Henry’s birthright, and find a future together? 

As Sure as the Sun

by Elle Keaton

The universe is trying to tell Sacha Bolic something. A fire escape collapses under him, he lands in crap, and a killer barely misses his target... all in the same few seconds. That's on top of a long list of mishaps and job dissatisfaction. Not one to ignore signals when they're shoved in his face, Sacha retires and uses his savings to buy an old building in Skagit, Washington. With a little help from DIY videos, he’s going to bring it back to its former glory. And, yeah, it’s a metaphor. If he makes one change, others will follow…

Seth Culver avoids entanglements, romantic or otherwise. Who needs them? He’s learned the hard way that people betray you or leave. Still, Seth finds people compelling. He kind of collects them, learning their secrets before letting them go their own way. His commitment to no commitments may have met its match in Sacha. Handsome and hot, Sacha seems to offer a permanence that scares Seth more than anything ever has. Seth will have to decide if he’s going to grab life by the balls or keep watching from the sidelines.

A box of inconsequential belongings hidden for decades in the old building hints at lives imagined but not lived, reminding them both there are no guarantees in love, or this thing called life.

A standalone in the Accidental Roots series, HEA, and hot m/m. 18+


In Over Our Heads

by CJane Elliott



Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

PreOrder at Dreamspinner

Submerged

by Susan Reeves

Sometimes, to make it back to shore, you need to take the hand that's offered.


Jared Simpson had his feet swept out from under him, and eventually found himself living on the streets. When Gavin Wells and his daughter come into Jared's life, he's fighting to keep going, struggling to keep swimming towards something that will let him stand tall and steady again.

Gavin Wells is fighting his own battles: in-laws, bureaucracy, and the guilt that overwhelms him every time he closes his eyes to sleep. He now has a new challenge to face: his sexuality. He's attracted to someone for the first time in months, and not only is that person a man, but he's homeless, with the potential to derail Gavin's already complicated life.

But fate has brought these two men together. If they can hold tight to each other, they can weather the storm, and find their way home to become a family.

Buy 


Familiar Angel

by Amy Lane



One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Birthday Weekend

First of all, thank you. I'm not sure I got to everybody's good wishes, but there were a lot of them, and I was touched--thank you all so much.

The weekend was... well, what it usually is. Busy. Not spectacular--just... you know. Busy.

Soccer yesterday, followed by a quick house-clean, followed by dinner with the kids:

Chicken: "Oh my God. Where are we?"

Me: "Cattle Rustlers. That steak place on Sunrise I wanted to try. I told you this when you woke me up from my nap to make sure I was alive."

Chicken: "Yeah, Mom. You know what else is on Sunrise?"

Me: "Sunrise Mall, Target, Chipotle, the noodle place, Barnes & Nobles--"

Chicken: "Chili's!"

Me: "OH! Yeah, no. I thought we'd try this."

Chicken: "It's the tackiest decor I've ever seen in my life."

ZoomBoy: "Buffalo wings? I want buffalo wings!"

Me: "See? We're staying."

For the record, Squish and I got indigestion, and the kids spent all night telling me I was officially their old mother.

For revenge, I made them watch Guardians of the Galaxy 1&2.  

Because it was my birthday dammit.

I also had a Klondike bar.

Cause yum.

Mate called around 11:30 p.m., and we made an amazing discovery. He was calling Sunday morning, and it was still Saturday night--and since Mate's birthday is October 1st and mine is September 30th, this meant we turned fifty on the same day. 

Heh heh heh...

Oh... and I have to add...

I am on chat with all the guys Mate was going to Germany with, and Mate himself. I will not give you particulars or names, but I will give you a general sense of what I got to read over the weekend:

Day 1--the meet in Seattle. Everybody has different flights: Who's in Seattle? I'm in Seattle? Where are you? At the bar right here. Okay, are you drunk yet? I'm on my third. Where are you? We haven't gotten on the plane yet--keep drinking!  Oh shit! I missed my flight because San Francisco was fucking bug nuts! See you all tomorrow!!!! (Not Mate--but I felt bad for that guy because it was a short trip as is.)

Day 2-- The monastery? Yay! Public transportation for an hour and a half there, a long hike up a steep hill, and public transport back! BEER! OMG WE NEED BEER! We're meeting in this place. The Beer Garden. Do we have a street number? We're lost again. Cross street? Address? Anything? Uh... BierGarten. Awesome. Thanks. Oh hey--look at our waiter--he's 25 and living out of a suitcase--he's LIVING THE LIFE WE ALWAYS WANTED!  And he keeps serving us beer! We LOVE our waiter! And that guy's lost his keys again. Poor that guy. Geez, I hope he gets in his room!

Day 3--WE ARE ALL DRESSED IN LEDERHOSEN!!! 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 To refresh your memories, I give you a picture of Mate:

They were ALL DRESSED in lederhosen. They were so cute I could have died. Yeah, I know, pictures or it didn't happen, but even if nobody believes me, I know it's true. It did. It did happen. I will have the memory of those pictures to keep me warm at night. *hugs them tight to chest*  

Day 4: Best trip ever! I love you man! Love you guys so much! Love you!  Safe travels! Love you!

And I gotta say, I can't even giggle at that last one, because Mate hangs with decent, fun, happy guys, and they looked like they had a blast. 

And I'm so glad. My Mate really did deserve the trip of a lifetime.

But, uh... that didn't stop me from showing that picture up there to every parent on the soccer team, to explain why he wasn't there this weekend.

Heh heh heh heh heh...


Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Fool and His Manny

This is probably mean.

But it's late, and I need an hour of television and knitting or I'll go out of my mind. 

I finished a book last night--which is why I didn't blog, because... you know... this... close... and also, Mate left for Germany, and I was missing him so the less introspection the better.

Anyway--

Tonight was another juggernaut of activity, including kids doing homework right up until bedtime.

Squish made me do maths! (A true test of a mother's love!) And ZoomBoy wrote an epilogue to Of Mice and Men that made us both cry.

I mean... 

Oh my God. 

I don't know how he did it, but he made the goddamned book sadder.

So I read him some of the funnier parts of this book, and reminded him that brave people wrote romance because they dared to dream of a happy ending, and then I hugged. 

A lot. 

And decided that for blogging, I would probably be better off just posting some Dustin and Quinlan.  This book starts 21 years after the first one ended. That baby Nica and Jacob were expecting is now fully grown, and Quinlan has been part of their family for seven years.

He is, as Dustin says, not doing as well as he could be...

*  *  *

Mads didn’t stay for coffee long.

They talked idly—music, the tour, which Mads had been a part of for a while, and about Bobbie and Chrissy and the men in their lives.

At around ten-thirty, Quinlan stood apologetically and yawned, and Mads grimaced. “Subtle, Quinlan. But I get it. You have to be up at three in the morning, out the door at four.  Walk me out?”

They got to the landing outside his door before Mads pressed for a kiss. 

Quinlan opened his mouth reluctantly.  It wasn’t a bad kiss—just a little bland. Like eating restaurant lasagna instead of Nica’s special.  He returned it dutifully, and pulled back like a gentleman, not sure what to do about Madison’s sigh.

“You’re not even giving me a chance, are you?”

“You’re a great guy,” Quinlan told him, remembering Dustin’s words.

“But I’m not your guy.”

“I’m sorry.”  And he was. The family’s hostility notwithstanding, it would have been great if he could have hooked up with another musician, someone who got his love of performance, who appreciated the time he spent on the road teaching.

“You make me sad,” Mads told him bitterly. “You’ve devoted your life to these kids, and they’re going to be grown soon, and you will have pushed away anyone who could have filled the damned void.”

“Petey’s only seven,” Quinlan told him, willing him to smile. “I’ve got a little time.”

Mads shook his head and kissed his cheek and turned away. “Later.”

Quinlan had no choice but to watch him go.

With a sigh, he leaned out on the railing as Mads clattered down the landing and hopped into his car.  The night was still warm—uncomfortably warm—and Quinlan spared a moment to be glad the tour extended into the Pacific Northwest for a little bit of relief from the heat.

“Not a late night?” Dustin asked, startling him.

Peering into the darkness of the front yard, Quinlan saw the bright ember of a cigarette glowing under the fruitless mulberry tree.

“I thought you quit for good,” Quinlan chastised. Dustin had done it for his mother’s birthday. 

“One every couple of days.” Dustin drew deeply. “Work get-togethers, that sort of thing. You gonna tell on me?”

 Quinlan half-laughed. “Not my place anymore. You’re grown, remember?”

Dustin pitched the butt to the ground and ravaged it under his tennis shoe. “I do remember,” he said mildly. “I was just making sure you did.”

“I remember.” Quinlan couldn’t deny it. “We’re exactly the same height now, and we can take you out in public.”

He was rewarded with Dustin’s low laughter. “You’re funny,” Dustin said, like it was just hitting him. “You weren’t this funny when I was a kid.”

“Not supposed to be funny when you’re trying to make sure the kid you’re watching isn’t a threat to himself or others.”

Dustin grunted. “I wasn’t that bad.”

“No.”  He hadn’t been, Quinlan thought, chest aching. “Once you warmed up to me, you were really pretty awesome.”

“Why’d you scare him away, Q?”  Dustin came out of the shadow of the tree and stood under the landing, face lit by the soda lamp over Quinlan’s shoulder. He should have looked like a kid again—an adolescent Romeo—but he didn’t. He looked like a man, determined, thoughtful. Quinlan fought off a shiver.

“You were right,” he said softly. “He was a sweet guy, but not my guy.”

“You are so lonely.”

Quinlan stepped back, the words feeling like a slap. “I am not!”

“You are.” Dustin stood there, just looking, like he was debating whether or not to come to the top of the landing or not. “You always have been. But it got worse, I think. After Sammy got sick. It was like… like you got scared. You realized how much people could mean to you, and you didn’t let us go, but you didn’t let anyone else in. And now, you’re just… stuck.”

“I don’t see you out there finding your soul mate!” Quinlan snapped, this entire conversation hurting him in ways he didn’t think he could be hurt.

Dustin’s low laughter struck him again, but this time disturbingly close to his groin. “Oh, honey,” he said silkily. “You are a smart man, and smart about people, and good and kind and intuitive. It is stunning to me, that you don’t know that I’ve found him already. But then, you’ve been hiding out in that apartment, in the back of the family photos, in your own heart for so long. You won’t even see my soulmate when he goes inside, brushes his teeth, changes his underwear, sets his alarm and goes to bed.”

Quinlan made a child’s sound, Dustin’s low gravel as hypnotizing as a perfect lullaby.

“It’s a good thing I know him when I see him,” Dustin said, like Quinlan had actually spoken. “See you in the morning, Quin.”

“Night—“ His voice squeaked and he tried again. “Night, Dusty.”

Dustin’s chuckled lingered as he turned toward the street and walked to his car, calling, “Belinda, get your ass in gear!” as he went.

The front door of the house opened and Belinda followed, shooing the dog back in as she ran out. Apparently they’d let poor Ginger back inside after Mads had left, and Quinlan thought that Mads would never know they’d actually made an effort by protecting him from the terrible hound.

He went back inside and washed the two coffee cups, fed his fish, showered, and stripped down to his boxers for bed. His suitcase, his knapsack, and his trumpet sat, neat and tidy and ready in the corner of his room, and as he put his phone in the jack and ran a mental rehearsal of grabbing his phone, the jack, his computer and cords, and his luggage before he ran down the stairs, he thought that he could do it.

He could close his eyes and sleep without letting the promise in Dustin’s voice unnerve him.
Without letting the heat of his body as they’d stood together seep through his skin and remind him how to be aroused.

Without letting Dustin’s words hurt him, taunt him, ring in the silence of his cozy, empty little sanctuary, until his heart bled and he was forced to admit that Dustin was right.


Dustin wasn’t a kid anymore, and Quinlan was a very lonely man.