Amy Lane on Writing, Personal Experience, the Saber Dance and her latest release ‘Bonfires’ (guest post)

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Bonfires by Amy Lane
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist:  Anne Cain

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Amy Lane here today talking about one of my recently highly recommended stories, Bonfires. Welcome, Amy.

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Saber Dance

By Amy Lane

When I was a kid, one year my dad made less than $1500 for the entire year. Yes, you read that right, we’re not missing a zero—or two.  Yeah, sure, it was the seventies, and they didn’t drug test the poor people before giving out food stamps, and we lived in a dump for $75 a month, but you got to admit, that’s cutting things a bit close.

My dad was smart though—at the time he was in school to become a respiratory therapist (because Work-Fare WORKS, dammit!) and he made his scant living at a pick-n-pull, but he knew how to stretch out a dollar. We planted a garden, because seeds were cheap, and he haunted the feed stores for fertilized eggs.  A hammer, some nails, a lightbulb, and BANG! Baby chickens—and whether they were roosters or hens, one way or another those critters would feed us for a year.  (One year it was roosters—twenty-three out of twenty-five of them. My dad called all of his friends over to become a chicken-killing assembly line, and we had a hell of a barbecue, but that’s another story.)

So livestock, I’ve had it.  As well as cats, for most of my life. And the thing with feeding the chickens (or the sheep or cats or dogs for that matter) is that there are feedbags left over. A long time ago, you used to be able to get some of the feed—or rice for that matter—in heavy duty cloth bags, but mostly they came in paper. 

All of those layers of paper, with all of those leftover grains of food.

You what likes leftover grains of food?

Mice. Mice like leftover grains of food.

I remember—more than once—the chicken coop or feedbag pile getting infested with mice, and the orgy of destruction that followed.

There is nothing as entertaining as a cat chasing mice, especially one who has not become completely domesticated and still has a strong stream of jaguar running through its veins. The thing is, cats are insanely well-crafted killing machines. Everything from curved claws to sharp teeth to lashing tail plays some part in the feline Saber Dance that is a cat getting down to business.

I know some people out there—people who have possibly never had to walk into a darkened chicken coop to collect eggs and try not to freak out at the scurry of little feet as they scuttle through the hay—feel terrible for the furry little rodents, and I do see their side.  I mean, my kids have kept mice and rats as pets, and on a one-on-one basis they can be amiable little creatures with adorable beady eyes and twitching whiskers.

They can also be cannibalistic nightmares who overrun chicken coops, devour crops (remember, those were dinner!) and scurry over your sandal-clad foot when you least expect them. And my heroes, the floofy kitties, were effectively getting rid of the little grain-stealing criminals.

I was a fan!  Hell—on the day of the Massive Rooster Roast, half the adults who were supposed to be plucking and gutting chickens were in the chicken coop watching Squinter, my cat, do his thing, because that animal was amazing. If you’ve never seen a cat going after a mouse with one paw while he’s got one under the other paw and a third in his mouth, you are missing a cat’s reason for being.

So the scene from Bonfires in which Larx is throwing the feedbags onto the burn pile, and the cats are eliminating the fleeing mice—that’s drawn from my memories as a child. I remember how necessary clearing out the garden was, how the feedbags (in Larx’s case, it was cat food) often harbored more than feed, and how the family cats actually shook off their mantles of sloth and somnolence and for once earned their keep.

The texture of the light, the sharpness of the air in the fall, and the gladiatorial drama of life and death enacted on the stage of the fall bonfire all inspired a tremendous anticipation in my chest.

Like falling in love when you’re pushing fifty, it’s a timeless spectacle that feels brand new.

About Bonfires

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

About the Author

Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.

She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.

She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Connect with Amy:

Website: greenshill.com

Blog: writerslane.blogspot.com

Twitter: @amymaclane

Facebook group: Amy Lane Anonymous

Goodreads: goodreads.com/amymaclane

Stops on the blog tour:


March 17 – MM Good Book Reviews

March 24 – Divine Magazine

March 27 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words  

March 27 – The Novel Approach

March 28 – Alpha Book Reviews

March 29 – Love Bytes

March 30 – Gay Book Reviews

March 31 – My Fiction Nook 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Bonfires is one of those Amy Lane books that’s bigger than any review any reader could possibly write about it.  It encompasses so many huge elements and hits so many big emotional targets that when it comes to pulling it all together in one review I find it escapes me.  It doesn’t help that you go willingly into this story knowing there’s an aspect of it that’s going to tear you apart in Amy Lane’s “shred your heart” way.  You do it knowing something worthwhile will come out of it, as it does here.

Bonfires is not simply a romance any more than starting a fire is about putting two twigs together and expecting a spark. No, Bonfires is about how families are built, how foundations are laid for people to come together to become a strong cohesive unit, powerful enough to withstand some of life’s worst blows, public condemnation and more.  First you get these two men who have already had long relationships that led to having families and children. The men are real, grounded in their lives and ages.  You get them and understand them immediately.

Then you get the amazing, believable, (and not so amazing) kids on both sides.  Yes, just as in life, not all the offspring are sweetness and light.  That’s always a relief to see that bit of reality hit the pages even if its not so welcome for the couple. There’s no instant meshing of families.  Things take time, talking, and work.  There’s actual adulting here.  There’s two houses, schedules, and how and if to come out to your various working environments and staff.  Complicated? You bet and  absolutely absorbing.  Why?  Because we care about these men and children.   We gotten to know them intimately.  At school and at their workplaces.  So when deeply concerning things are happening at the school to people, adult and teens we are intensely concerned about, we care about that too.

Along with Aaron and Larx trying to figure things out for themselves and their kids, there’s another storyline unfolding that’s of equal importance and intertwined with Aaron and Larx.  Its the element with the tragic repercussions that reverberate throughout the community and the two men’s burgeoning relationship.  All things elements, all these pieces of tinder that add up to Amy Lane’s powerful Bonfire….and there’s more.  Of course, there’s always more…

When I  said its about families.  I mean families of all types. Its also the flip side of families…those that do irreparable damage to their young and their community.  And its about the larger families found within the various social communities.  Here Amy Lane’s knowledge of the school system comes in handy with the interplay with the Board of Directors, the various school teachers and factions within the education system.  It all rings very true.

At the end of Bonfires, when you finish the last sentence and reflect back on all those lives and people that Amy Lane created and you spent time with, the tears shed,  the hearts that broke and got pieced back together again, the families made into one…I still think back over this incredible story and realize there’s so much more that I never addressed or could even begin to.   Its as though she crammed a series into one book and no one noticed.  What I do think you should do is read this book.  Its one for thinking about, thinking about families and love and all the astonishing things it takes to get that right.  If we’re lucky and work hard.   When making my Best of 2017 List, Bonfires will be on it.  That’s my recommendation.

Cover Artist: Anne Cain.  Works for the story, although I’m not sure I’m that crazy about it.  Don’t exactly know why.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 280 pages
Expected publication: March 24th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC
Original TitleBonfires
ISBN 1635333415 (ISBN13: 9781635333411)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Audiobook Review: The Virgin Manny (The Mannies #1) by Amy Lane and John Solo (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Growing up and falling in love…

Sometimes family is a blessing and a curse. When Tino Robbins is roped into helping his sister deliver premade dinners when he should be studying for finals, he’s pretty sure it’s the latter! But one delivery might change everything.

Channing Lowell’s charmed life changes when his sister dies and leaves him her seven-year-old son. He’s committed to doing what’s best for Sammy… but he’s going to need a lot of help. When Tino lands on his porch, Channing is determined to recruit him to Team Sammy.

Tino plans to make his education count—even if that means avoiding a relationship—but as he falls harder and harder for his boss, he starts to wonder: Does he have to leave his newly forged family behind in order live his promising tomorrow?

The Virgin Manny is a cute, trope filled love story. I really liked the way Tino and Channing met and how their relationship grew from there. This is a slow-burn story that can be considered May-December even when the age gap was only ten years.

As any other Dreamspun book, this story has very over-the-top events and reactions from the characters. It’s a feel-good tale even when the events that brought the MCs together were nothing to be happy about. Everyone is content with the new little family and there’s minimal to no angst.

There’s a bit of mystery added which gives the book a soap opera feel. I don’t think it was necessary, but it added to the story’s charm. The last part was too slow, but as a whole, the story works great.

John Solo, as always, did a nice job bringing all the characters to life. I enjoyed the different cadence between Tino and Channing and appreciated how well the female voices were integrated.

The cover by Bree Archer shows the main idea behind the story, but it’s a bit generic and stereotypical.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: John Solo
Length: 6 hours 14 minutes
Published: February 14, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B06WLJTZW4
Edition Language: English

Series: The Mannies
Book #1: The Virgin Manny

 

A MelanieM Release Day Review: The Virgin Manny (The Mannies #1) by Amy Lane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

the-virgin-mannyGrowing up and falling in love…

Sometimes family is a blessing and a curse. When Tino Robbins is roped into helping his sister deliver premade dinners when he should be studying for finals, he’s pretty sure it’s the latter! But one delivery might change everything.

Channing Lowell’s charmed life changes when his sister dies and leaves him her seven-year-old son. He’s committed to doing what’s best for Sammy… but he’s going to need a lot of help. When Tino lands on his porch, Channing is determined to recruit him to Team Sammy.

Tino plans to make his education count—even if that means avoiding a relationship—but as he falls harder and harder for his boss, he starts to wonder: Does he have to leave his newly forged family behind in order live his promising tomorrow?

The Virgin Manny is full of those wonderful things I like to think of as Amy Lane layers.  One, its those friends and families she memorably creates that orbit one or both of our main characters.  We always  want to get to know them more too.  They are often as interesting, adorable,  irascible (fill in the verb) and believable as our leading men.   We often come to love them so much that it does them a disservice to call them secondary or support characters. Tino’s sister, his best friend, his mom, his dad….ala familia? Yes indeed turning into ours as well.  Two, its not just one storyline.  Yes, there’s a main one.  But Lane weaves a tapestry of  entertaining and emotional threads for the reader and characters to follow.  It keeps both our hearts and minds involved as we wonder how Tino and Channing are going to handle a grief stricken child and their own evolving feelings for each other.  Its a tricky situation, especially as its only supposed to be temporary.  The possibilities for hurt are huge and the frailties of the child are acknowledged.

Tino also has his own issues and insecurities that he needs to work through. Channing too.  How they maneuver through their maze of emotions, questions about the future of any relationship, status issues and still make their connection to each other seem real and sexy?  True Amy Lane!

Do I heart this story?  Yes, I do.  And I loved Sammy, poor Sammy, lost, angry and grieving who has to learn to adjust and become a part of a new family.  Well, I adored him.

There’s some suspense but its the love and family at the heart of this wonderful story that sings.  I can’t recommend it enough.  Plus its the start of a new series!  Can’t wait for the next to appear.  Pick it up if you haven’t already and be prepared to fall in love.

Cover art by Paul Richmond.  Honestly?  Not my idea of Tino.  Its just ok.

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: January 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634776801 (ISBN13: 9781634776806)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Mannies #1

A Lila Audiobook Review: Fish Out of Water by Amy Lane and Narrated by Greg Tremblay

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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

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

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

Fish Out of Water is a departure read for this author. There’s no comparison to Amy Lane’s ability to make a character miserable, and this book is no exception. At least, no animals died in the making of this story. It has all the traditional elements of her stories, but it’s more than a romance. The mystery aspect was well intertwined with the rest of the plot lines.

Ellery is my favorite character in the story. Perhaps because he evolves the most as he works on Kaden’s case. I like the way he gives his all to the cases even when he knows his clients aren’t innocent. But he gets even better when he’s doing his best for his deserving clients.

Jackson has an edge that takes a moment to get used to, but after a couple of pages, the reader sees it as a defense mechanism. I give kudos to the author for showing the character’s bisexuality, not just tell us about it. Some may not like this approach, but it works well with the characters.

The story starts slow and it’s over nine hours long. It’s full of action, drama, sex scenes, and all the extras that make a story great. It was hard to follow in parts, but overall, it’s an interesting take on a mystery story arc.

Greg Tremblay did an excellent job, as always. One of the things I like the most about his narrations is his ability to voice male and female characters with the same intensity. By the end of the story, all the characters have individual characteristics that are easy to follow.

The cover by Reese Dante is simple and quite literal. At the same time, the lines are clean and go perfectly with the story. It’s not the normal MM Romance cover, but it goes with the unconventional story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Greg Tremblay
Length: 9 hours and 20 minutes

Published: October 10, 2016 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B01LZQ0MBK
Edition Language: English

An Ali Release Day Review: Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) by Amy Lane

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
summer-lessons-by-amy-laneMason Hayes’s love life has a long history of losers who don’t see that Mason’s heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love—and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it’s a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend’s soccer teammate.

The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other, but Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn’t want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he’s found a man worth sharing his heart with.
Mason wasn’t the most likable character in book one of this series so I wasn’t sure about him going in to this.  I have to say though that he completely won me over.  If you read Winter Ball, you’ll remember Mason as the guy who was pushy & said inappropriate things to Skip on his IT calls.  Once he realizes Skip & Ritchie are together he backs off and they become friends of a sort.  This book starts by showing us glimpses of Mason’s past and then fast forwards to his current life.  He’s a successful businessman but his personal life isn’t going like he’d like.  He’s a bit sad and lonely and he’s a nice guy who just wants to be loved.
Mason meets Terry through Skip and soccer and he’s immediately attracted.  The feeling is mutual but Terry is much younger and still living at home with his mother in a negative situation.  As the two men begin a tentative relationship, Mason realizes that no matter how much he cares, Terry still has to do some growing up to do.  Unfortunately love does not always go how you want it and both Mason and Terry have struggles as the story unfolds.  While parts of this were a bit painful to read, I felt the issues were treated very realistically.
The thing I really loved about this book (& the previous one in the series) is how well the author does every day people.  So many romance novels are filled with alphas and heroes or people with tragic backstories they are overcoming (& those have their place) but it is rare that you find a book with people just like you and me.  People with every day jobs and every day hobbies and every day concerns.  I loved that both Mason and Terry were flawed and had some problems but are really nice guys who care about each other and care about their friends.  I really liked them both, especially Mason, and I also really enjoyed the side characters.  Mason’s brother, Dane, and his story were particularly interesting to me and I’d love to see him have his own book at some point.  Skip and Ritchie from book one are in this quite a bit as well as some of the other team mates.
Overall I enjoyed this a lot.  It is both mildly angsty but sweet and romantic.  It has some humor and some smexy times.  And most importantly it had great character development and a lovely happily ever after.  While it is the second book in the series and there is a lot of overlap of the characters from book one, this could be read as a stand alone.  I ended up enjoying this more than the first book, Winter Ball, but that was good too and I would recommend reading it also.
Cover art by Anne Cain:  I love the cover.  I think it fits the story perfectly and it is a great compliment to the cover of the first book in the series.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 260 pages
Expected publication: November 25th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634778944 (ISBN13: 9781634778947)
Edition LanguageEnglishSeries Winter Ball #2

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Freckles (2016 Holiday Charity Bundle) by Amy Lane

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

freckles-by-amy-laneThe only thing better than a low-level angst story from Amy Lane is one that is low-level angst and has a cute puppy in it and is a Christmas story.  Score all three on this one!

Honestly, the author had me right from the beginning when she painted the picture of Carter, a man who’s been living a boring, very neat and tidy life. He’s just broken up with his boyfriend of three months because he works too many hours, regardless of the fact that he was working to earn enough billable hours to go on a cruise with said boyfriend. When the cute little puppy, who reminded me so much of my own cute little puppy, entered the story via being literally abandoned in Carter’s hands, my heart just melted. 

Two really gentle, sweet, and somewhat ordinary guys, neither with the best of luck in relationships meet when Carter, who somehow found himself with a fluffy, two-pound puppy in his possession, takes the little one to the vet hospital located in the big franchise pet store. He needs to find out what to do with her and how healthy she is (or isn’t). He also has a million questions—mostly looking for the kind of all-around help any panicky person who’s never owned a pet before might require.  There he meets Sandy, a vet tech who’s enrolled part time in veterinary college. Sandy is a hard worker with a great personality and a ton of ambition. So much so, that his past boyfriend left because Sandy didn’t seem to have enough time for fun, and their goals and life ambitions weren’t the same. Sandy can see himself with pets and kids in a committed relationship in his future, something his boyfriend didn’t want. 

As a side note here, I need to thank Amy Lane for allowing Sandy to work in the pet store where the manager, Tommy, seems to have a lot of hot, sexy friends.  As soon as I heard Tommy’s name, I knew who he was, and I’m so happy about this that I feel like Amy Lane gave me a Christmas gift of my own.  Squee!

Back to the story, it’s everything I need to bring me happiness when I’m feeling a little down. As the story progresses, Carter emerges from his preconceived notions of what a successful attorney should be and disregards the mold that had been set for his life—all because of a sexy and kind-hearted vet tech named Sandy and a sweet little puppy named Freckles.  What happens to bring these two men together and to forge a new path for both Carter and Sandy make this story a delight to read.  I highly recommend it for bringing in the holiday cheer. 

The cover by LC Chase shows the adorable puppy, Freckles, peeking out of an open box. Very bright and attractive, this cover is attention-getting.

Sales Links (other links coming soon)

Riptide Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook, 170 pages
Expected publication: November 14th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626495033 (ISBN13: 9781626495036)
Edition Language English

Amy Lane on Facebook for Dogs and her release ‘Freckles’ (2016 Riptide Holiday Charity Bundle) (guest blog and giveaway)

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Freckles (2016 Holiday Charity Bundle) by Amy Lane
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iptide Publishing
Cover art by L.C. Chase

Read an Excerpt/Order  It Here

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is lucky to have Amy Lane here today to share her thoughts on dog ownership, dogs, and the adventure of a walk from a dogs pov.  Welcome, Amy!

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Facebook for Dogs By Amy Lane

So, in Freckles, my Christmas story, Carter Embree, a guy who has never owned so much of a goldfish, is suddenly in charge of a small dog.

He’s trying to be a good dog owner, so he takes Freckles out for a walk—and ends up getting an entire education about what a dog thinks a walk should be, versus what a people thinks a walk should be.freckles-2-2

It’s an entirely different thing.  I mean, people put dogs on a leash and we think we’re taking them for a walk.

Ha!

Yes, there is walking involved, but the dog isn’t thinking of it as exercise. The dog is pretty sure he’s going FaceBooking—and this leads to some conflict.

Think about it—they catch up on friends, investigate new things, tell each other jokes… if a dog wants to know what’s going on in its community, it gets itself hooked onto a leash and takes its owner for a walk.

And then smells ALL THE DAMNED THINGS—while the people tugs impatiently at the leash and tries not to trip, fall, and die.

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Sort of like my dogs Geoffie and Johnnie, who’s morning FaceBook might go something like this:

“Oh, hey, Geoffie—the Shih-Tzu from across the street has been here—see?”

“Oh yes, Johnnie—she’s eating the good kibble, you can tell—ooh, look, the turkeys have blogged!”

“No! No! No!  Don’t clickbait the turkey poop!”

“But Johnnie… it’s so good! Look! Little delicious juicy sound bites to quibble—“

“Oh, did you see that? The Motherboard doesn’t like clickbait—yanked your chain, she did. Slows the whole thing down. She’ll make you drop that right quick.”

“Butt cookies!!”

“Don’t whine, Geoffie—there’s always more cookies when you click FaceBook for dogs.”

“Ooh… dead-thing memes. Did you see this, Johnnie? I’ve got to roll in it—it makes me happy every time.”

“Ooh… good one, Geoffie! I can roll in this dead-thing meme forever! Ha ha! Ha ha! Ha ha! Aren’t dead-things the BEST!”

“But… but… Motherboard, why won’t you let us surf the dead things? WAIIIIIIEEEEEEE????”

“Too much surfing isn’t good for you, Geoffie. That’s why the Motherboard has the leash and collar control system, you know that.”

“Yes, I know. Come on, Johnnie, let’s—Oh. Didn’t realize you were stopping to blog.”

“You (grunt) know (grunt) about blogging.”

“Ooh—good one, Johnnie.”

“Thanks, Geoffie. (kicks grass over blog)  Suddenly you just get the urge to unload.”

“Yes—I know. I don’t understand why the Motherboard feels the urge to delete our posts though. Don’t you think everybody wants to read them? I mean we like reading everybody else’s.”

“Right? And the bags she uses—stink to high heaven. Citrusy plastic something. Just not as inviting as a good blog. I don’t understand at all.”

“Well, there’s no accounting for taste. And… oh. Must blog.”

“Your blogs are always so short, Geoffie.”

“Thank you.  Oooh… look. Turkeys!”

“Oh my God—FLAME WAR! FLAME WAR WITH THE TURKEYS! DIE MOTHERFUCKERS, GO DOWN IN A BLAZE OF TROLL GLORY!”

“You tell ‘em, Johnnie—we hate turkeys. If they didn’t want us to hate ‘em they wouldn’t leave such good clickbait. Hates ‘em. Don’t back down, you’ve got ‘em on the—OMG!”

“TURKEYS! THEY’RE FLAMING BACK! ABORT ABORT ABORT! DELETE ALL TURKEY POSTS! RUUUUNNNNNNNNNNN!!!”

(Dogs and Motherboard catch breath)

“Oh, nicely done, Johnnie, you told those turkeys!”

“Yes, well, you know. Wanted to walk away from the convo. No use getting sucked into a fight that’s going to last all day.”

“Yeah, we’re almost around the corner anyway. One more sniff so we can read the Great Dane’s blog, and then we can go home and get off FaceBook.  I’m ready for some real life interaction with my canned food and a nap.”

So, next time you see a dog on a walk, picture the world as his computer—and wonder what he’s surfing.  It’s definitely as absorbing to him as FaceBook is to us!

About Freckles

freckles-by-amy-laneCarter Embree has always hoped to be rescued from his productive, tragically boring, and (slightly) ethically compromised life. But when an urchin at a grocery store shoves a bundle of fluff into his hands, Carter goes from rescuee to rescuer—and he needs a little help.

Sandy Corrigan, the vet tech who helps ease Carter into the world of dog ownership, first assumes that Carter is a crazy-pants client who just needs to relax. But as Sandy gets a glimpse into the funny, kind, sexy man under Carter’s mild-mannered exterior, he sees that with a little care and feeding, Carter might be Super-Pet Owner—and decent boyfriend material to boot.

But Carter needs to see himself as a hero first. As he says good-bye to his pristine house and hello to carpet treatments and dog walkers, he finds that there really is more to himself than a researching drudge without a backbone. A Carter Embree can rate a Sandy Corrigan. He can be supportive, he can be a hero, he can be a man who stands up for his principles!

He can be the owner of a small dog.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/freckles

About Amy Lane

Amy Lane exists happily with her noisy family in a crumbling suburban crapmansion, and equally happily with the surprisingly demanding voices who live in her head.

She loves cats, movies, yarn, pretty colors, pretty men, shiny things, and Twu Wuv, and despises house cleaning, low fat granola bars, and vainglorious prickweenies.

She can be found at her computer, dodging housework, or simultaneously reading, watching television, and knitting, because she likes to freak people out by proving it can be done.

Connect with Amy:

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Freckles, one lucky winner will receive Freckles in ebook and another ebook of their choice from Amy’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 19, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Tart and Sweet (Candy Man #4) by Amy Lane

Standard

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Tart and Sweet by Amy LaneIn the Army, Robbie Chambers turned on his lover out of fear—and he hasn’t been able to live with himself since. Now he’s out of the Army but still trapped in the closet that brought on his most cowardly moment, and he starts to think he’ll never be able to fight his way free.

Until he sees Cy McVeigh. Beautiful and uninhibited, Cy is dancing on the boardwalk at Old Sac for no other reason than the moment called for it. Robbie not only joins in the dance but is smitten from the very beginning.

However, Robbie still has old business to clear up, and when he helps out a kid in need and comes face-to-face with the man he betrayed, he’s forced to come clean with himself. He can’t redeem his mistake if he’s still locked into his old patterns, and he won’t ever be worthy of Cy if he can’t earn Adam’s forgiveness. He’s going to need all the help he can get from the people at Candy Heaven in order to make things right with his past so he can have a future with Cy.

Oh, Amy, Amy, Amy. You have a way of taking my heart, tying it in knots, giving it a good shake, and then smoothing it all out so that I’m left feeling happy and content and well satisfied. 

Lovers of this series will find even more to love in this installment.  Robbie Chambers, the soldier who broke Adam’s heart, has found his way to Sacramento, to the “Old Sac” area where Candy Heaven sits along the boardwalk.  Trying to prove to himself and his parents that he’s straight, he has a girlfriend in tow for the dinner with the family, but before the evening is over, his attention is captured by Cy McVeigh. The sleek, dark-skinned dancer has a positive, upbeat attitude that can’t be missed as he moves to the beat of music and grabs Robbie and his date to dance along with him. When the dance is over, Robbie knows what he has to do. 

Within a few days, he’s broken up with the girl who was someone he picked up in a bar and didn’t really want to have a relationship with, and he looks up Cy, the man he can’t get out of his mind.  As coincidental circumstances unfold, Robbie ends up helping Finn (Candy Man), who’s been injured by a passing car while crossing the street, and he finds himself in Candy Heaven, talking to Darrin and Ezra, Darrin’s protégé.  If you haven’t followed the series you won’t get as much out of this book, but if you have, you will find this a very satisfying story, with visits from past characters, including a surprise visit with Mikhail (Mickey) and Shane from Making Promises. Let’s just say I’m happy I wasn’t in public because I had a definite fan girl moment when the proud Russian dancer showed up as Cy was instructing children in his dance class.

Each of the characters in this series has a role in this story, providing closure to any open threads and hope for their futures.  But mostly, it’s about Robbie and Cy, Adam and Finn, and Robbie’s efforts to find forgiveness from Adam and Adam’s ability to provide it.  As with others in this series, there’s growth and maturity, difficult decisions to make, and redemption and forward movement as those decisions become a new way of living. 

I can’t recommend this highly enough. I would need pages and pages to go into detail on every little thing I liked or loved about it.  It’s difficult to talk about this book without mentioning the series since this is the capstone on what has been a wonderful adventure with the gang at Candy Heaven. 

The bright and beautiful cover, obviously done by the talented Paul Richmond, is in keeping with the theme of the other books in this series and depicts a dog and a cat, likely those owned by Adam and Finn, the MCs from Candy Man, who play a principal role in this final episode of the series.

Sales Links

        

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Published September 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleTart and Sweet
ISBN 1634776984 (ISBN13: 9781634776981)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesCandy Man #4

A Jeri Review: Fish Out of Water by Amy Lane

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Fish Out of WaterAs a fan of Amy Lane, I was excited to read this book. I’ve enjoyed her more “fluffy” work as well as her more angsty work. This was neither. It was hard to even classify it as a romance for me. It’s a murder mystery with police corruption and some sex thrown in.

Jackson is a former cop turned PI with a chip on his shoulder the size of Montana. He always wanted to be a cop to right the wrongs in the world. Or at least in his neighborhood. But after getting burned and nearly killed, he walks around like the world owes him. For a guy who wanted to help, I don’t see him helping anyone but himself and his brother-like best friend.

Ellery is an attorney at a big shot firm where Jackson is a PI. Apparently he has always crushed on Jackson, but was put off by his whoring ways. They are thrown together to help Jackson’s friend Kaden clear his name.

Jackson and Ellery are so antagonistic toward each other from the start. And yet, they pretty much fall into bed together. Even though Jackson swore he wouldn’t until Kaden was safe. That lasted for about 10 pages. For a guy on a moral high horse, he doesn’t really stick to his own.

I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two. In fact, I felt a lot more chemistry between Jackson and  his best friend’s sister at the beginning of the story. It just felt like both guys wanted to get their rocks off. There was no feeling.

So while this certainly won’t put me off of Ms. Lane’s work, this book really didn’t do it for me. Even the title didn’t work. There was no tie in whatsoever. So a cover with a gold fish and handcuffs wouldn’t draw me to this book and even if it did, it doesn’t hint at the grittiness of the story.

Cover art by Reese Dante.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 270 pages
Expected publication: July 29th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleFish Out of Water
ISBN 1634773799 (ISBN13: 9781634773799)
Edition LanguageEnglish