Amy Lane is here once again (I love it when she stops by!) to talk about her latest release Fall Through Spring, with an exclusive guest post that is near and dear to my heart…about owning cats. I, myself, am a Crazy Cat Lady, and so anything cat related is right up my alley. Check out her post, and make sure you pick up this new book!
As far as Clay Carpenter is concerned, his abusive relationship with food is the best thing he’s got going. When a good friend starts kicking his ass into gear, Clay is forced to reexamine everything he learned about food and love—and that’s right when he meets troubled graduate student, Dane Hayes.
Dane Hayes doesn’t do the whole monogamy thing, but the minute he meets Clay Carpenter, he’s doing the friend thing in spades. The snarky, scruffy bastard not only gets Dane’s wacky sense of humor, he also accepts the things Dane can’t control—like the bipolar disorder Dane has been trying to manage for the past six years.
Dane is hoping for more than friendship, and Clay is looking at him with longing that isn’t platonic. They’re both positive they’re bad at relationships, but with the help of forbidden desserts and new medication regimens, they prove outstanding at being with each other. But can they turn their friendship into the love neither of them has dared to hope for?
The Importance of Owning a Cat By Amy Lane
It’s not that I believe pet ownership is necessary to being human—but it’s got its perks.
Maintaining a relationship is hard work. You have to be mindful not just of one person’s needs, but of two. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your partner—but if you can’t remember to take care of your partner, you’re not a good bet as a relationship yourself. It’s a delicate balance, and pets have often served as sort of a litmus test to make sure someone is ready to put another creature’s needs ahead of their own.
At the same time, pets are… well, a pain in the ass.
All creatures crap—there’s no getting around it. If you can’t walk your dog or maintain your cat’s litter box, you have just mucked up your home with no way to escape—as well as abused a poor animal who only wants a place to void waste. It is imperative that you not only feed and water a pet, but that you take care of their other needs. Two trips to a vet’s office per year per pet, not counting illness or shots?
That’s a lot of taking care of.
And there’s more to it than that.
Dogs and cats need love. Every day. Every. Day. Cats are fully capable of saying “You can just fuck right off,” and running away—and the odds of them finding another home aren’t great. Dogs just… wither emotionally. They can become mean, or even stop eating.
Opening up to a pet means giving—pets, love, kindness, even your voice—every day. No exceptions.
And this could be the hardest thing. Pet’s don’t live as long as we do. Unless your pet is a parrot or a turtle—and see upkeep, because both of these exotic pets CAN break your house if you’re not careful—your dog or cat, your precious Egyptian Hairless, Pit Bull, Maine Coon or Yorkie—will pass before you’re ready.
Which means in order to own a pet, you need to be strong enough to sustain the worst—and to move on emotionally. That fifteen-year-old thirty-pound diabetic furry tub of lard absolutely cannot be the one thing between a happy you and a you on the edge of a cliff. You need to be able to endure loss and come out on the other side—and do it while loving your pet every day.
When Dane and Carpenter commit to getting cats at the end of Fall Through Spring it’s more than just, “Hey, Dane is not just a veterinary science major, he also owns a pet!” It’s a commitment by the two men to have a stable life. To commit to their pets—and each other—to look at another’s needs before their own. To be responsible enough for themselves to be responsible for another creature. To be prepared to give love every day without fail.
And to be strong enough to sustain loss and failure and come out on the other side.
For any condition—mental illness, drug addiction, or even just the pain of being an imperfect human—this is the ultimate in commitment, and in faith.
For Dane Hayes and Clay Carpenter, having two fat, spoiled diva cats shedding all over Dane’s brother’s nice house means they have hope for the future—and for each other.
For these guys, getting pets isn’t just the nice little bow on the package of romance—it’s a promise to us that their romance is sustainable—and that they will continue to work on themselves so they can be there for each other.
And I think that’s true in most romance books—even if the “pet” is really an herb garden or a tank full of fish.
Having a pet isn’t just bonding with a creature who needs maintenance—it’s a sign of continuously trying to be a better human one who capable of long-term love.
And that’s the core of any romance hero or heroine—it’s the person we all hope we can be.
Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with a couple of growing children, a passel of furbabies, and a bemused spouse. Two of her books have received a RITA nomination, she’s won honorable mention for an Indiefab, and has a couple of Rainbow Awards to her name. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action-adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.