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

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Other Places You can Find Me

 So, I started this blog 15 and a half years ago--and I've loved it. I'm not quite ready to let it go in my heart--I mean, I've got a pretty solid record here, of my careers, of watching my kids grow up, of my animals. I've got some funny stories, and, hopefully, some insightful ideas on this site, and I've loved maintaining it.


But this is my first post in six weeks. 

And it's not that I haven't done things or said things--or even posted funny things on FB--but even before social media broke my heart (several times over) it was pretty clear that blogs were not cutting edge or end-all-and-be-all. Yes, Twitter is a nightmare, I take the worst pictures ANYWHERE, much less Instagram, and FB can be a real snakepit but, these things are also where I attract readers, and where more people go to read me. 

This may not be my last blog post--but then, I'm not sure how many people would notice if it was.        

And while I miss blogging, and the introspection that comes with it, I've also come to treasure living in the moment. The thing with having your heart broken by social media is that it makes you very aware of the family and friends you have in the here and now. While I've been noticeably absent on the blog, I've been, I hope, very PRESENT in the lives of my family and on my FB group, which is lively and happening and very, very funny. 

For those of you who have tuned in for every post--and I know there's a few of you--please don't let this be goodbye. My newsletter is surprisingly chatty and newsy and anecdotal, and if you were tuning into the blog to see what's coming out next, the newsletter is a great place to to get that info too. If you liked the blog because I posted the occasional free fiction, well, my Patreon is pretty active. I post there 3-4 times a month, and about half the time the post is open to the public. And if you like the quick, funny family conversations, well, that would be FB and my FB group--and FB is sort of great because it will push up some of your most popular posts. So, you know, if something made me laugh last year, you'll see it again and hopefully laugh some more. 

I'll post the links to all of those things below, and I really hope to see you there--and this might not be the end completely! It's just... I would rather say goodbye and leave some forwarding addresses now, then simply let the whole thing fade away. It feels like a choice rather than simply leaving something I've been pretty faithful to for longer than a lot of marriages last. 

So while I may not be HERE a lot, I REALLY hope to see you THERE much more. And seriously--if you haven't signed up for my newsletter or visited the Patreon (for FREE CONTENT!!!) you really should!

So take care to those who've tuned in faithfully for the last 15 years--I'm not going away, I'm just going to more fully inhabit the venues where we are all more active. SEE YOU THERE!!!


Patreon: AmyHEAlane 

FB: Amy Lane (My home page)     Choose Your Lane to Love  (My professional page)

 Amy Lane Anonymous  (My very funny group)

Twitter: @amymaclane  

IG: @amymaclane  


Monday, October 31, 2022

heh heh... so about those plans...


Wow. It's been over a month since I've blogged. I've released a new BOOK since I've blogged. (The Rising Tide--it's a lot of fun--you should check it out.)

I've gone on a long trip since I've blogged. From California to Virginia Beach, where I stayed with Mate for a lovely night, and from there he drove me to Portsmouth, where I attended the GRL convention (while he visited with his family.)  After the book signing at GRL, he came and picked me up, taking me to Gaithersburg where I visited with his family, and from there we went to New Jersey where we both met with my family, and my friend Damon.

And then, after a "bonus" night (or, more accurately, after my curse sentenced us a night at an airport hotel) we came home.


In all, we were gone nearly ten days, and our kids seem to have left the house standing and the animals alive. (We left Chicken at home with the teenagers for fun and frivolity. It appears instead of destroying the house, they merely responsibly carried on with their lives. Go figure.)

Anyway--all in all, we had a great time, but, oi! So many things to talk about, right? (By the way--if you like my weird ramblings, be sure to sign up for my Newsletter, where they will be reliably delivered to your e-mail box, along with the newest offering :-) SIGN UP HERE. 

First of all, let's do Thank Yous!

* Thank you to the waiter at the Magic Mushroom Pizza Emporium on Virginia Beach who recommended the Loaded Baked Potato pizza. It really WAS  a magical pizza.

* Thank you to the organizers of GRL--Reese Dante and her husband Ron, Carol Lynne, Teresa Emil--you all do a lovely job, and thank you so much for having me!

* Thank you to the new readers who made a real point to come and say hi and to be excited about the work--I'm always so overwhelmed that people keep reading, and so grateful that they do.

* Thank you to the readers I've seen a few times--who are still excited and come up and say hi. Because I love that, as awkward and weird as I am in person, we can still connect with the stories we love.

* Thank you to my roommate, Kim Fielding, who was as eager to find a coffee place in the morning as I was, and who made me laugh--a LOT--and who didn't mind talking until we really should have been asleep, and who sat on a panel with me and was funny and charming and made me super glad I was there too.

* Thank you to my kids who sent Proof-of-Life pictures of the dogs, bless them. Including the adorable little outfits. <3 <3 <3 to all of you for letting Dad and I have this trip together.

* Thank you to Mate's family, bless you all, who were  happy to see him, some of whom traveled from Pennsylvania to Maryland to meet him and who made him remember that he was not the last of his line. He's so grateful.

* Thank you to his Aunt Margie and Uncle Tom who were happy to see me after he came and fetched me from GRL, and who were happy to sit up with us and watch TV and who didn't so much as bat an eyelash when I read an emergency chapter of Weirdos to them because the conversation had turned to politics and even though I agreed with them, I was just so over politics I went, "HEY WANNA HEAR A BOOK?'

* Thank you to my cousins, who all gathered in the charming New England town of Piermont to have dinner with mate and I after we drove from Maryland to New Jersey, just to say hi and give me a hug and to have a raucous wonderful dinner where we remembered that we were related again. 

* Thank you especially to my cousin Alex who welcomed us into his home the night afterward for pizza and conversation. He and his wife were lovely and they just wanted to talk MOAR and I love them so much you have no idea. Also their son is adorable. They're my age and they had a child at 48 and that takes an amount of bravery I don't think I could ever have. Bless them all.

* Thank you to Damon Suede who met us for lunch at Annabella's Mozzarella Deli (with a milkshake at the banana hut which was every bit as kitschy and weird as I thought it would be) and who was lively and entertaining and awesome and still my friend after nearly ten years. Love you, honey. Thank you for everything <3

* Thank you also to the maitre de and proprietor of Annabella's Mozzarella Deli who... well, he started off by singing Frank Sinatra to us as he dropped off our waters and ended up by soliciting some writer help from Damon on a script he'd been working on and... okay. He was the entire New Jersey experience in a very handsome package and a red henley shirt. I should have taken a picture, but... dude. There was just so much to capture.

* Thank you to Johns Hotel and the Thai Place and cookie places we found on Door Dash after we ended up spending a "BONUS" day in NYC because there was fog in Chicago somewhere. All three of these businesses were unlikely to be patronized by two exhausted tourists from California, but they all rose to the occasion.

Whew! I hope I remember everybody. I mean, I had a LOT of fun on this trip--I wanted to give credit to all the kind folks who made it happen, right?

And now for the "Needs Improvement" portion of our program, which I hope is taken in good fun--with a tiny bit of irritation for spice. Are we ready? Here we go.

* And to the wonderful coffee shop in Portsmouth who welcomed the GRL clientele with a lot of good humor and the fastest service one barista and a food server could possibly deliver. I loved you. The only reason you're in the Needs Improvement column is that I really could have used a 24 oz Irishman in Paris every morning for a week, and you only offered 16 oz. Seriously, my only complaint. Thank you guys for being awesome.

* And to the Public House that served steak and catfish at night and brunch on Saturday afternoon? Steak and catfish ALL THE HOURS. Damn. It was so good. I mean, brunch was wonderful, but the catfish was GREAT. I need catfish now. Nobody fries catfish in California and it's a damned shame.

* And to the mobsters who apparently ruined New Jersey's freeway and road system in the fifties by giving all the road contracts to people in the concrete business and getting kickbacks for all the concrete they used, creating a concrete vermicelli nightmare that changed one mile as the crow flies to a twenty minute odyssey of jug handle exits and zero right turns? Fuck you guys, I hope you're all roasting in hell. You were batshit insane sociopaths in life, and your concrete souls remain to torture the people of New Jersey in death and generally I spit on your memories, you bastards.

* And to Patton Oswald whom I normally adore and think of fondly, I have a particularly complicated fuck you. See, when we got to Mate's Aunt and Uncle's, we sat down and turned on the TV and tried to destress from the drive. We turned on Patton Oswald's new special, Hysterectomies and Hemorrhoids and enjoyed the first ten minutes. A little spicy, but very funny. So when Mate's Aunt and Uncle got home, and we put the special on pause, we weren't reluctant at all to unpause it when conversation wound down and we were all ready to lose ourselves in media for a bit.  What Mate and I did not know was that the next ten minutes of the comedy routine would be about clown pubes. Mate and I looked at each other in horror and I texted the adult daughter and teenagers with "Help! Dad and I are watching a comedy special about clown pubes in front of Aunt Marge and Uncle Tom!" to which they responded, "ABORT ABORT ABORT! FIND A SITCOM, MOM--GET OUT OF THERE!" But it was too late. The mortification of two 55 year olds made to feel like children getting caught watching SNL when their parents thought they were asleep was complete. So Patton? You will never see this, and I still love and adore you, but seriously? For that moment in my life? FUCK YOU.

* And finally. To the designers of Flushing Meadows, That wonderful place in Queens where you see the globe and the alien spaceships left over from the World's Fair in 1964 and is featured in Men in Black? I'd like to give you fuckers a hearty sendoff for creating a place with --when the museum is closed--two public bathrooms, total, each one 3/4s of a mile from the center of the park. Seriously, you assholes. FUCK YOU. If I'd been in California, there would have been a portajohn every 150 yards. Considering we had to spend an hour in traffic to get there? Would it have killed you to put a bathroom in with less than a mile's walk from parking? You fucking assholes. I'm not even kidding. Jesus.

* And to the airlines--a particularly personal Fuck You because this whole overnight curse thing is starting to feel like you're picking on me. I know someone who gets on a plane three times a month who does not have overnight layovers as often as I do in a year. I've got to tell you, that bonus night in NYC was not the bonus the airlines thought it was. Yeeesh. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Plans for the Future

 (I'll write one of these posts in earnest on my Patreon soon, complete with links and pub dates--this one is mostly for fun!)

We had a birthday party for Chicken this week, which everybody made a big deal about since she didn't really let us do anything for her when she graduated. Because she wanted to be comfy and cozy, we ended up with thirteen people in our teeny tiny living room, eating Chinese food and having riotous conversation. This included my parents, who rarely if ever come to my house because I'm pretty sure the mess--and the deterioration--makes them absolutely batshit crazy.

So when my dad excused himself to use the bathroom, Mate and I braced ourselves.

He returned trying not to look appalled.

"Was that a... uhm... hole in the floor under that mats?"

"Well, yeah--I mean, it's not through the sub flooring yet, but, uhm, yeah."

He made a manly attempt not to flail. "Aren't you afraid of falling through that?"

"Yes," I said. "Mate is fully aware it's a possibility."

"Have you thought about getting that fixed?"

Only every day for the last twelve years. "Of course we have," I say. "I offer to call in contractors, and Mate says he'll absolutely do it after soccer season."

My dad looks at Mate, who has a stoic look on his face--he's known this has been coming and he was fully prepared to get thrown under the bus. "So what happened?"

"Soccer season is from August to July," I tell him, and he looks from my face to Mate's to see if I'm joking.

As you all know, I am not.

"So what do you plan to do?"

"Well," I say, "One day, while Mate is at a soccer game, I'm going to fall through the flooring and bleed out, alone in my own home, up to my waist in dry-rot, with my phone mere inches away from my reaching hand."

My father is horrified. "That's a plan?"


And the conversation gets coopted by somebody else.

Later, Youngest wants to know what the conversation was about, so I tell him. "Wow, Mom--you sure do have a lot of plans for how you're going to go out. Face down on your keyboard working a deadline, falling through the bathroom floor--and the dogs have been trying to kill you for years. Shouldn't you plan on life?"

"I do plan on life! But this way, I have fun guessing what's going to get me first--the fat, the dogs, or the bathroom floor."

"Just try to make sure Dad's the one who finds you."

"Roger that."

Seriously, my money's on face first on the keyboard, but that's just me. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

All About the Poop


So Weirdos came out this week, and people really seem to love it! I'm so glad--my dogs take up a big percentage of my day and it's nice to know that love too is universal.

So far the only criticism has been... well, predictable, really--it's one I'm used to and always makes me smile a little.  

I dared to mention gas and poop.

Yes, I know--it's not every book (I SWEAR it's not every book) but it does come up . Part of that is I grew up with a stepbrother who used to sit on our heads and fart in lieu of beating us up and part of that is my family used to sing "Beans beans the musical fruit! The more you eat the more you toot!" every time my stepmom cooked beans. However, aside from being prepped from the cradle for having the sense of humor of a perpetual twelve-year-old, there's another reason I dare to mention bodily functions in romance books.

We are human animals.

I believe in love--all the good stuff people say about it, I believe. I believe that finding your person can be a fundamental part of your life, if that's how you want to live. (Not for everybody if that's a choice--I believe that too.) I believe love, kindness, forgiveness, all those good things that people can do, bring us a little closer to being part of the divine, whichever form that takes. Sometimes it just means kind humans are the pinnacle of evolution, right?

But all of that love and divinity and angelic kindness is attached to a very real, very fallible, very human body, and sometimes it works to perfection (hello, orgasm!) and sometimes it betrays us (Arthur Itis, I'm glaring at YOU!) and very often, it produces unpleasant byproducts such as gas, waste, and ammonia-tainted water.

And still, we love. 

Mate and I went honeymooning on a shoestring. We got camping equipment, some cash, and headed for the coast in a 1976 AMC Pacer for two weeks of roughing it bliss. On the third day, I got food poisoning. On the fourth day, we changed locations so we could visit my brother and got a flat tire on the way. We spent half our limited cash buying a new set of tires so we might not wreck and die on the coastal roads for the rest of the trip. When we arrived at my brother's, he treated us to pizza. Food poisoning again--this time both of us, and we spent the night in adjoining portajohns. The next morning--day five--we called it. We'd seen sickness and health, better and worse, richer and poorer--we were going home.

You'd think that would be a bad omen for a 35 year and counting relationship, wouldn't you. That much pain, misery, and penury would break us--right?

But on that third day, as I was crouching behind a giant tree stump in an empty campground, after having just lost everything--both exits, no waiting--into the powdery dirt, Mate was running around in front of the tree stump asking me what I needed. 

A teleportation machine and a giant bathtub, obvs, but none of that was in the dusty campground.

"Water," I wailed. "And all the towels. And a change of clothes. And some help to the shower." And then the capper. "AND YOU CAN'T LOOK AT ME WHILE YOU GIVE THEM TO ME."

The one thing that has not changed about my Mate in 35 years is his eyes. I remember those blue eyes--a little bloodshot because he really didn't like camping and sleeping outdoors didn't come easy--peering at me from over the stump. "I have to look at you sometime. We're married."


"Which is why you need to shower. Here, take off your clothes and put them in this bag, and here's the towel and the shampoo. The bathroom's right over there." 

"I was heading there," I sniffled.

"You didn't make it. You go get clean and I'll try to..." He gestured with the water bottle in his hand. "Clean the mess."

And as I did what he instructed, it occurred to me that A. I was glad we'd lived together for a year because otherwise, I might have expired from embarrassment on the spot, and B. This was how you got through the worst of things, wasn't it. You did the logical thing. The next thing. And you held hands and went on from there.

A week and a half ago I brought COVID home from Houston and shared. One of the signs that we all might live--including Mate and I--is that we spent a good five minutes hugging in the kitchen this morning. Human touch--ah, that glorious, magical, amazing healing element--finally made its way through the misery of the headache, the exhaustion, and the stupid coughing fits that have wracked us all. 

Love and the human animal aren't always a comfortable fit. But one of the first ways of helping that along is to accept that one of the most divine emotions springs from one of the grossest and most animal of places: our bodies.

Which the long explanation of why my characters often laugh at fart jokes, and sometimes mention poop.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Dog Walking

 I'm leaving for Book Lover's Con tomorrow, and one of the forever weird things about jumping on a big jet plane to go somewhere new is the day before. It's always a combination of regular ol' Tuesday and OMG I HAVE TO GET ON A PLANE TOMORROW. So when something odd happens in the course of regular ol' Tuesday, it sticks with you.

There we were, Bob and I. Bob is my walking buddy--he's got a dog named Dude who is sort of my spirit Chiweenie. Dude and I have the same look when someone wants us to do that extra lap around the park, if you know what I mean. -.- THAT look. Anyway, we were wrapping up our walk and I was telling him about hating airport shuttles with a passion. I usually have a story to pull out of my... ear, and I found myself talking about getting off the red-eye, running to catch the shuttle, and ending up in traffic because President Obama was going through New York that day and almost fainting before I got to the hotel because NO FOOD.

I was saying this as we wrapped up our walk--we went the extra half-lap today to avoid the ecstatic Rottweiler chasing the sprinklers because sprinkler day is the BEST DAY EVER, so we were skirting the parking lot as we neared my car. (Bob takes the thruway into the nearby neighborhood--this, people, is how all suburbs should be built. With a GIANT FRICKIN' PARK in the middle.) Anyway--about the time I got to, "Yeah, Obama was in town that day," somebody heard us.

The guy was scrawny and tattooed and working on a beater car with a million dents, and normally that's my candy, but apparently this candy was batshit crazy. He picked up on the word "Obama" and was off and running about how Obama was the reason the country was currently spiraling into the end times and we were all assholes for voting for him and... you get the picture.

Now, Bob is a Never Trumper--a Republican, but actually very pro-choice, pro-civil rights, pro LGBTQ--he's about 10 years older than I am, and I think the Republicans were just the people who helped you make money back in the day, and he liked to play the stock market. What matters here is he thought Obama did a decent job, and this batshit crazy vehicular resident was NOT speaking for him or anybody he knows. 

We met eyes you could read the mutual decision. Do not, repeat, do NOT engage with the psychopath screaming about how Obama caused the gas prices to go up and that's why he was doing drugs in a Subaru in the park. (I mean, seriously. He was TWO PRESIDENTS ago!) 

So we made polite conversation until we got to my car and then I made to leave and he said, "See you next week. Have fun." He gave the Tattooed Screamer a sideways look. "Don't talk to crazy people."

And sometimes, that's the best advice a friend can give.

Have a good week everybody!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Fish in a Barrel

 Okay--true story-I forget a lot about my blog. I think my last post was a month ago--all those things I used to need to shout from the mountaintops are perfectly content fermenting in my twisted little heart, silent as the grave.

But I DO need to remember to post about new releases.

I did a HUGE breakdown of the Fishiverse HERE, back when Constantly Cotton was released, and people really seemed to enjoy being walked through the connections and byways of the evolution of Fish. Fish in a Barrel has some of those byways cooked in--Henry (of Fish on a Bicycle and Shades of Henry) has become a steady fixture, as have the Flophouse boys and Henry's boss (and Ellery's best friend) Galen. Ace, Sonny, and Burton didn't get any play in this one, although they do show up in the backmatter because I wrote a lot of ficlets in the last two years. 

And I really love the idea of Ace, Sonny, Burton, Jason, Jai, Ernie, and George all hanging out in the desert and keeping the peace. Just a little gay coalition for peace--nothing to see here folks, make sure you check your antifreeze before you drive your car through the desert.

But Fish in a Barrel is Jackson and Ellery at their most pure--pursuing a case for the greater good and applying compassion and common sense to a justice system badly in need of both. We get so used to reading about injustice, vanity, stupidity and cruelty masquerading as politics--writing these stories is my way of fixing at least a tiny bit of what's wrong with the world.

So I hope you enjoy the Fishiverse--and I especially hope you love Fish in a Barrel. 

If I'm lucky, I'll get to write these guys for the rest of my career. If I'm not lucky, I'll keep writing them for myself. 

Jackson and Ellery face their toughest case yet—against the criminal justice system itself.

Jackson Rivers and Ellery Cramer have worked difficult jobs before, but usually it’s getting the facts that’s the problem. For their newest client, the trouble isn’t finding the truth—it’s corruption at the highest levels of the justice system. It isn’t enough to find the actual perpetrator and unveil a heartless plot—not when the DA is the bad guy and he’s using cops as his goons. Keeping their vulnerable client alive and out of jail takes blood, sweat, and tears.

When one of their major antagonists is killed and the DA tries to pin the death on Jackson, he’ll need every ounce of luck and all his resources to clear his name—and to find the perpetrator before the DA can use the murder to further his own agenda. They soon find that it’s easier to spot an honest man in a field of thieves than it is to shoot fish in a barrel—and both the man and the fish will be lucky to survive….

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

I Can't Believe I Have to Say This But...

 Oh my God. We'd made such strides. When I first started writing in this genre, there was an assumption that gay sex was somehow more taboo, dirtier, because it was between two people of the same gender. We worked--and we worked hard--to change that perception. I realize that a lot of M/M and F/F writers out there are new, and they still think, (teehee!) they write same sex couples, and isn't that titivating but they weren't there for the wars. They weren't there when the generation before mine was being JAILED for writing this genre. They weren't there when my wave of writers was losing our jobs, losing their children in custody disputes, losing their spouses and their relationships, because this was the genre they chose to write in, for whatever reason it appealed to them.

Many of the new generation weren't alive for the AIDs crisis--but I was.

And I had no idea how vast and how awful it was. I had to make Mate watch And the Band Played On because I was curious about it, and as the terribleness struck me, I was heartbroken for being late to the realization that this should never have happened. 

When you're late to realizations like that, you can do so much harm.

So I'm going to say this, for the new people, for the people watching that bullshit take about Monkeypox take over Twitter, and for the new people who might say, "I'm an ally because fuck the Trumpers!" but who don't realize how long this fight has gone on, and how sometimes, when you hear insanity often enough, you have to shout out what's real to stay sane.

The LGBTQ community is NOT into pedophilia--the odds of a gay man being a sex offender are SIGNIFICANTLY LESS than the odds of a straight cis pastor, priest, or Boy Scout leader being a sex offender. Gay people DON'T GROOM children to be gay. Straight people have gay children all the time. Gay people have straight children. Kids hit puberty, shit gets real, and they realize who they're attracted to, what their sexuality REALLY is, and whether or not the standard cis heterosexual mode is THEIR life or just the life their parents thought they should live. Does it happen before that? Hell yes. If I could have a crush on Speed Racer or Randolph Mantooth when I was five, then a little boy could have a crush on Captain America or Iron Man and a little girl could have a crush on Wonder Woman today, and it will seem perfectly normal to them, right up until their parents beat them for being queer.

And Monkeypox is NOT AN STD. Good God. The World Health Organization should be BEATEN for the way they presented that information. Just saying.

When I wrote Crafting Category, I wrote a section about "nope tropes"-- tropes that had started out as something necessary in society but had become harmful in recent years. One of these is Gay For You. In the book I said that if people who don't know better READ this trope, they will believe that being gay is a matter of choice. If the characters in the book are ONLY IN LOVE with that ONE GUY, they could choose to be in love with a woman and being gay is a choice. 

IT'S. NOT. And in the increasingly toxic post Trump world in which many states are going after LGBTQ rights like it's squirrel season and they got a new pellet gun, writing books that slant that way, and BELIEVING that way can be dangerous for people who are born to be who they're born to be. If sexuality and gender are a "choice" and not a bone-deep reality, then politicians willingly sacrifice rights, dignity, and humanity on the altar of their vanity, and the LGBTQ community is being pursued by pitchforks once again.

Allies are not immune. WRITERS are not immune--but more importantly, if allies or writers posit that being LGBTQ is a choice, they are doing harm to the community that is feeding them. 

This is the nature of exploitation--no matter how unwitting. 

So I can't believe I have to say this, but LGBTQ people have one agenda: to be treated like people. That needs to be the ally's agenda too. 

Friday, June 24, 2022


 I'm so angry.

Every woman in America should be this angry--but some of you aren't and now I'm pissed at you.

I mostly blog for myself these days--I don't use it for an advertising platform much, and my kids have gotten to the point where their oddness and absurdity can be captured in a brief FB post. They also loathe having their pictures taken, so, you know. Blogs aren't quite the medium. But right now I'm mad, and I'm trying to write and this anger keeps getting in the way and I need to get it out. I can't HAPPY EVER AFTER right now, when my inside keeps turning with HOW FUCKING DARE THEY. 

When I was a kid growing up in the Nor-Cal bible belt, my parents may have been liberal, but abortion was wrong. All my friends said so. But then, you know, you grow up, and people start going, "Yeah, except for rape. It should be legal then. Or incest. I mean, when the woman has no choice--it's not her fault." And then you think, "Well, what about people who are really young--fifteen is too young to have a baby--there should be something about that in there." Or, "What if she doesn't have the means? It sucked growing up poor, but my parents had access to a brighter day--what if you can't have that brighter day with a kid at your heels?" Or, "Well, also if her health is at risk. Definitely if her health is at risk." Or even, horribly, "And definitely if the baby is dead or brain dead--it would be HORRIFYING to have to walk around with a rotting corpse inside your body while you tried to grieve."

And then it occurred to me. I was maybe fourteen. "Well, who gets to make these decisions? If a woman is too young, too broke, too old, too sick, too much of mess, too non-consenting to have a child, who gets to say? Does she have to go in front of a panel of old white guys and spill out her entire life's story to explain why she doesn't need to have this baby right now? Seriously, who the fuck are they to judge this hypothetical woman?"

Who the fuck are they?

Who the fuck was I

And like that, I realized why my parents had protested the government. 

Fast forward a reproductive lifetime to when I was thirty-eight. Mate and I, in a fit of miscalculation absolutely laughable in two college educated parents of three, find ourselves pregnant. AGAIN. Holy shit! It took us nine years to get pregnant with Thing 3, and suddenly, two years later, we're pregnant with Thing 4? We ASSUMED we'd have another nine years, and in that time, well, we'd close down the baby factory because we have plans for our late fifties and they mostly include us being able to go places without our children. But pregnant with Thing 4 we were--and make no mistake. We were THRILLED. We had no place to put this baby--but we'd figure it out. We both had jobs. We were resourceful. And Jesus, the house was already a fucking madhouse.

But it was not all baby glow and universe juice.

I was THIRTY-FUCKING-EIGHT years old. This is vastly different than twenty-five in baby-pushing years. I was exhausted. Everything hurt. Thing 3 was not talking yet, Things 1 and 2 were in Junior High and boy wasn't THAT a treat, my job SUCKED, my administration had already proved they hated pregnant women and wanted to kill them with fire, and I was SO FUCKING FAT. (I did not yet know how much fatter I could become. Youth is wasted on the young.) My blood sugar was circling the drain, and I'd developed ulcerative colitis. (All the Itis brothers suck btw--Col Itis, Arthur Itis, Bruce Itis--the entire family is just the fucking worst.) It was HARD having this baby. And still I wanted it. 


It was a choice of privilege--yes, I would have given my life to have the baby, but I was fortunate because my husband was not an abusive douchebag. I COULD give my life for the baby because I knew he would care for our other children if things went terribly, terribly wrong. 

The fact is, if I hadn't felt like my other three children were safe with him, I could not have, in good conscience, carried through with that pregnancy. 

But all those things--all those factors--were MINE. They weren't for anybody else to decide. Not my parents--who were terrified during the entire pregnancy--and certainly not my government's. 


And fuck anybody who tried to take that choice away from me.

Fuck them now. FUCK. THEM. How dare they. 

How dare they legislate our bodies like this. My body is MINE, shitty choices, destroyed metabolism, all the fucking Itis brothers and all. It's the only body I know how to use. I feel INVADED by this Supreme Court decision, like suddenly all of my choices are under scrutiny, as though I have to appeal to that intimidating panel of judgy fucking assholes for everything from my pap smear to my mammogram. And I'm not even of reproductive age anymore. How do my children feel? They are growing up in a world where their only choice requires cash expenditures for a Kevlar vest. And, yes, fuck you SCOTUS for that choice too?

But the idiotic fucking gun law repeals are wholesale slaughter--and for better or worse, that feels less personal than this. The Roe V Wade involves the creepy wrinkled fingers of Mitch McConnel and Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and the Big Liar himself all crawling around my body, my privates, my womb. They're oozing along my children's bodies, their choices, their sexuality, their personhood, and they've all aimed the Uzi at my head to stop me from protecting my babies.

The overturning of Roe V. Wade is that evil. It's that pernicious. It's that GROSS.  And I don't have any answers besides vote and donate and shake my chubby fist at the sky and howl.

Dear conservative SCOTUS members--  Fuck you. Fuck you all. How dare you. Eat shit and die. Fuck yourselves with an anchor. Choke on your own vomit. I hope demons rip your bladder sout through your urethras and shove them up your noses. I hope your faces fall off with syphilis and all your cronies laugh and judge you while pushing their oozing wrinkly wizened fingers up your assholes and squeeze your shriveled wieners. 

I just want you all to know how WE feel.

Sincerely, women everywhere. 

The end.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Fuckcess and Sailure

 So I'm currently putting together a class that I'm teaching next Wednesday--it's beginning knitting and crocheting, and one of the enrollees wrote to ask what project I'm teaching first, and my response was, "A rectangle. I'm teaching people how to choose materials and make a rectangle. And if their first rectangle is successful, I can teach them how to read a pattern and make a different rectangle--or even a triangle. But first, we start with material choices and what I've learned by doing."

And as I outline this class, I'm thinking of the projects I want to present, and how they're often not perfect, but I learned something from each one. And also how even the imperfect ones usually get used to death and loved.

And while I was outlining the course, I stumbled upon the idea of Fuckcesses and Sailures. 

A Fuckcess is a project that actually turns out--shape is perfect, stitches are perfect, it's everything it was planned to be, but due to material choices or stitch choices the item is really never going to be used. About fifteen years ago, a friend of mine was doing a takedown of Vogue Knitting, and she tore a designer a whole new asshole because of a backless knit dress designed in bulky 100% alpaca wool. As it turns out, the wool company was sort of the hidden bad guy here--as I recall, they told the designer what they wanted and she did her best, but the reason this was a "dress for fuckcess" item rested in the material and item choice. Bulky weight alpaca is lovely stuff--but it has serious drape and zero elasticity. Either it would be written to standard gauge or even a little below and droop so badly that nipples and other things would just pop right through the stitching (remember, it was backless so a bra SHOULDN'T be necessary) or it would be knit so tight that it would hang like a garage door. Also, knitted dresses are often a bad idea if the material choices don't account for the sag in the skirt. As in, it could give a size zero model an ass like a dump truck. I have a shawl of bulky weight alpaca--I love it, but as a form-fitting garment? No. 

And a  capper, I believe the entire garment was done with popcorn stitches, which looked like giant growths in the giant fluffy yarn.

Oh--and if it was cold enough to wear an alpaca dress, leaving the shoulders bare would result in some serious frostbite.

But the dress was very pretty in the picture. That my friends, is a Fuck-cess.

We've all had them. 

I, for instance, have a poncho I made for Mate using super thick kitchen cotton. Looks good. Fits great. Is not warm AT ALL and weighs roughly 300 pounds.

I also have (and this is ready to be presented for the class) this sweater I made chicken. It's bulky weight wool, and to my eyes, it's SOOPER pretty. And the unusual construction worked. The wool itself was a little drapey--I thought a little bit of light felting would make it hang together more, and I was right! It's a little felted, and it's tight, and while it was super big on Chicken then, it comes much closer to fitting now. 

It would be a fine, FINE article of clothing in Toronto, say, or Alaska. Some place where they have snow six months out of the year. 

As opposed to our part of California which is slowly sinking into oblivion because of drought and climate change.

Yeah. This sweater is a FUCKCESS. Did everything I wanted it to and nothing I needed it for. Ta-da!

So that's one side of the coin.

The other side of the coin is much less likely to be seen in knitting magazines. The standard Sailure is something that may have a structural deficit--or several of them. It may have some poor color choices (aherm, in the eyes of everyone but the maker, mind you) and it may have a few missed stitches, but the item is useful, well used, and LOVED. One of my favorite stories of a Sailure is a qiviut shawl made by a woman in recovery. She and the other members of her recovery group became fascinated by the "magic" properties of qiviut yarn, and in spite of the fact that knitting was new to this person--she'd learned it to help her recovery process--and she didn't know how to block, and the shawl was therefore stumpy and short and needed a pin to stay around the neck or shoulders, this shawl was the magic talisman for women who were trying so desperately to live a better life. It was passed from member to member--one wore it when she got her thirty day chip, and then again at a year. Another wore it to her daughter's wedding, where she could only go if she promised to stay sober. 

I would say that this garment, in spite of its structural flaws and knitting errors, was an unqualified SUCCESS--or a Sailure. Any flaws in the construction or knitting sailed right by the wearer's notice, because the garment itself fulfilled its usefulness again and again and again.

Sailures do not get layouts in magazines. They're not often on the blogs of knitting designers or geniuses. But they are unequivocally loved. 

My own personal Sailures are many and documented, but most recently it's this Stevie Nicks inspired hooded cowl--an infinity scarf with a hood--that I made for my sister's birthday using some favorite yarn scraps. I love everything about this by the way, every scrap, every color choice--it just all came together. 

As did the extra twist in the infinity portion of the scarf, giving it almost a knot as opposed to an infinity twist. 

Now, I'd keep this myself--iI love me a good hooded scarf or shawl--but my sister was the first person to tell me, "You know, nobody but you has seen the picture--even the one in your head. What you may be freaking out as a design glitch might be a feature to somebody else."

So I'm writing this one down as a Sailure. And I'm pretty sure she'll wear it to death in the winter. It really is her jam.

And the reason it's important to know about Fuckcesses and Sailures is that it's important to remember why you're doing what you're doing. Some people can only function if everything is perfect--and sometimes I envy those people. But most of the time I'm aware that if I stressed about perfection I'd get nothing done--not knitting, not housework, not traveling. I could easily get obsessed with chumming the water with minutia and not ever see the ocean upon which I knit or write or float. If my bestie asks me for a sweater, I feel like I need to get her a sweater STAT--sometime in the next year. She's COLD, you understand. FREEZING. My yarn may be the only thing between her and certain death from exposure. A miscounted stitch or mildly imperfect seam doesn't matter when death is on the line! Pretty much everything I've given her--and there's been a lot--has been possessed of flaws. And while I see the flaws, she sees the garment and how warm it keeps her.

She sees SUCCESS, and I see SAILURE. 

And sometimes it's okay to just let the F in "failure" sail right by.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Trickster gods and Murder birds: Long Con, the Suit


Sometimes, I feel like I'm the only one out there who loves the heist subgenre--but I can't help it. I ADORE IT--and while it's mostly found in movies, it has its roots deep in literature and our oldest myths.
I know for me, it started with Barry Hughart's The Flower and the Stone, which featured a premier thief/prostitute who would go seduce jewels away from a man or a woman in the name of the good that Ox and Master Li were doing, and simply saunter up with the needed tchotchke.
"Where did you get that?" they would ask.
"I'm a very bad man."
"Oh--you ARE a very, very bad man."
Except he WASN'T. He was a very GOOD man who played fast and loose with the law to get justice.
That concept was just so delicious!
Indigenous Peoples loved this idea--there was a Coyote or Crow myth for every tribe. Coyote, the trickster god, was their favorite. And he wasn't just out there to make the bigger, more powerful gods learn humility, either. While it's true that sometimes Coyote got his ass handed to him on a platter, in the end, his ultimate goal was to lead The People to safety, to the place under the stars, where they wouldn't need to worry about pain and sorrow any more. In some tribes he foretold the apocalypse--and in some tribes he saved The People from the coming doom. And in some tribes he stopped it altogether, because he wanted to play with those on earth.
But that didn't mean he couldn't play merry hell with the self-important other gods while he was waiting for the big battle.
There is something almost compulsively sexy about a trickster god or goddess. They're a scoundrel, a rake, a seductor--or seductress. The trickster often flirts with gender, sexuality and the societal bounds that we all yearn to cross. Loki spent six years as a mare--where he got bred by another god and gave birth. Cupid changed form in order to seduce Psyche in the dark. The Egyptian god Seth went from married male god to the gay party god depending on his story--and Bugs Bunny, the ultimate American trickster god, looked damned fine in a dress. And men and women would follow a playful, coy Kitsune into adventure. And people root for these gods in their adventures--they go places that the ordinary farmer can't.
In the first book of the Long Con series, Stirling (whose book I am writing RIGHT now) asks Danny--the original Mastermind--"Are we good guys or bad guys?"
Danny tells him they are tricksters. They're there to give things a bit of a push towards both chaos and good. The chaos is the fun part--but the good is what drives them all.
So that's what I keep in mind in this series--but of course that's not my only inspiration--and I've made this very clear. In my real life I tend not to see queer couples absolutely everywhere--I've done a lot of mental matches of het couples as well. We all exist on the same sphere, right? That said, Ocean's 11, Leverage, and The Italian Job all had their moments when I said to myself, "Naw... Charlie and Left-Ear were definitely a thing," or "Parker, Hardison, and Elliot could totally have made it work," or--and I felt this very strongly--"Danny and Rusty just have to admit that their love for each other surpasses all other love."
That's not to say that Charlie and Stella didn't make a very nice couple, and Parker and Hardison have done great things--but Rusty and Danny will forever be head canon, and I wanted to write a series that did that. "Yeah, sure--they are all gay, and the gay gang gets bigger with every book. But the adventures are fun and the hijinks ensue and the banter is dry and surprising. That is the book series I want to write."
And that really came together in this installments. It has old family revenge, noble quests, buried pain, true love, action sequences and murder birds-- what's not to like?
And it also has one of my top twenty favorite couples of all time.
Michael is one of the sweetest, most adorable, most innocent characters I think I've ever written--and he spent two years in prison for armed robbery. Carl assumes he's the boring second-ran of the very flamboyant Salinger crew but he is constantly proving that his very practical mind can run a surprising straight line when everybody else is trying for curves. I loved putting these two men together and seeing something very pure--and very unbreakable--emerge between them.
But they're still tricksters-Carl possibly even more than Michael, although he'll never be arrested in his life.
They're smart and sexy and a little unpredictable, and they're forces for chaos and good.
That's my kind of love story right there--I hope you love it too.
You can find it here: