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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Black Socks

Someday, probably right after Squish goes to college, we are going to have one of those absurdly cool days in August-- 78 degrees, some humidity, the occasional shower, and that day will fall on opening day for soccer.

In the meantime, since the kids go back to school in mid-August, and opening day happens right after that joyous event, we shall continue to stock up on sunblock and water bottles and deal with 100 fricking degrees.


But it is chock full of material, including this morning when Zoomboy and ADHD'D at each other, big time.  We were getting ready, and ZB was moving REALLLLLLYYYY SLOWLY and I was coming off of little sleep.  Suddenly I started yelling in one of those sudden bursts of anger that I can usually contain, and he made like a spastic four-limbed octopus, and we both whined at each other.  While I was stomping around the house whining, I discovered that the frozen pizza I'd asked him to put in the freezer outside had ended up in the refrigerator side of the appliance.

*flails*  WHY? JUST TELL ME?  WHY???

The whole block could hear me yelling about frozen pizza.  Actually pretty comic, but not my finest moment as an adult, uhm, no.

Anyway, we got to the field, and I realized my son was wearing white socks with his uniform.

Yeah-- some of you are thinking "So, wasn't he wearing a uniform?"

(Zoomboy's first day of school)
Let me clarify.

My son was literally born into this soccer league.  This means he was born, his father had enough time to say, "It's a boy!  Well done, hon, you pushed a boy outta yer cooter! Get some rest!" and then he was taking Chicken to her soccer game.

This soccer league has used-- has always used-- BLACK SOCKS.

There are long black soccer socks in this house, complete with stickers, that are WAY THE HELL OLDER than Zoomboy. His father handed him a brand new uniform in a package complete with black socks when Zoomboy woke up this morning.

I mean… *flails*  BLACK SOCKS.

And  Zoomboy was wearing white socks.

I had no words.  I was like, "Pizza… freezer… socks… black… how could… why wouldn't…. why would you… I DON'T UNDERSTAND…"

(Squish's first day of school)
Mate bought a new pair  of black socks after the parade, but in the meantime, all of his team were ambling across the field during the parade in black socks, and Zoomboy was moonwalking across it in white socks.

Because he is my son.

So, some other uncomfortable moments on the soccer field…

Well, there was the recognition of how irrational my hatred ran of those women who show up to soccer games/dance recitals/gymnastics competitions etc. looking ready for their photo op.  I mean, I don't mind looking good, right?  I wasn't dressed in a crappy T-shirt, and my capris weren't ripped in the crotch.  But full make-up, perfect hair, a snappy little hat, and a tube top and white cut-offs-- or some variation on the theme, along with a nice leather bag to drag around the soccer field while you are thrusting your chest ahead of your offspring…

Okay.  I'm generalizing here, but the deal is, it is not your big day.  Even if you're a coach, it is not your big day.  It is the kids' big day.  There is something about that peerless coiffure that implies you are more important than your child in this endeavor.  Now, that doesn't mean your days of looking hot and sexy are over.  (God, I hope not.  I'm thinking Mate looks pretty hot and sexy as he's running his ass ragged being a board member, a soccer coach and an asst. soccer coach.)  It just means to wait until the baby sitter shows up and then go burn up the disco.

But not on the 100 degree, dusty, occasionally dog-dropped crappy patch of grass where your kid is playing his or her heart out.  It just seems sort of disrespectful, that's all.  I know, I know-- I'm whining--but see above.  It was my day for it.

And then…

There's that uncomfortable moment when you realize that the guy you flipped off when he was an anti-abortionist picketing the local planned parenthood is actually your husband's favorite soccer board member and your daughter's new friend.

*headdesk*

So, the interesting thing was, I tweeted this, and my twitter stream and my FB feed was all about how i was a hero and he was the bad guy.  But I think this needs some clarification.

He is a good guy.  Last year, when one of the soccer board members realized he'd accidentally embezzled about 10 grand, (which he is paying back) this was the guy who talked him out of the crazy tree.  When U8 players are running around the soccer field like skittles on a greased skillet, this is the guy who coaches them, gently, so that they emerge from every one of his games with more skill than they went in.  He has no children of his own (his are grown) but he is an involved youth pastor, and he's involved in the soccer board because he believes in the healing nature of good competition.  He is everything that is kind-- he would help the mothers who have the babies, if he at all could, and he wouldn't want the children sent back to Honduras.  I've met him in person before, but in that moment as I drove past the demonstration, I didn't see him.  

I saw the opposition.

So I'm not sure I'm comforted by how hostile people are toward the gy-- even though I was the person with the extended middle finger.

I think this idea of "Us, good, them, bad" is 90% of what's wrong with all the things right now.  It's what happened in Ferguson.  Did you all see that?  The thing that de-escalated that situation was someone from a law enforcement agency marching with the protesters with the idea that we all want peace.  Every small war growing larger and more heinous is erupting because one group can't back down and then the other group can't back down and the whole world has become posturing cocks screaming I AM BIGGER!

I am not bigger than this sweet man who has literally given his life in service to his community.  (Well, I am, but that's because he runs his ass off with everything he does.  Seriously, this is one fit seventy year old.)

So, uhm, no.  Not good for me.  I allowed my hatred to overcome my reason.  And today I got hit in the face with that thing I should always remember:  There are human beings on the other side of the fence.  Even if I think they're on the wrong side.

So, well, sermon over.

And now for some fun!  (Okay-- I skipped the part where we got home, left to go eat, and came back and PASSED OUT.  Because sitting down thinking, "Oh, yay, Aladdin!" and waking up to, "Wait, Phineas and Ferb?" is so embarrassing.)

So, I shall post my blog tour schedule-- take note of it when it goes up, because you'll get a chance to win swag!  And some of the swag is pretty cool!  See?  We've got Outbreak Monkey T-shirts and Beneath the Stain magnets, and we're going to laminate some Beneath the Stain post cards and there's gonna be more!

So stay tuned for the blog tour, and there will be a rafflecopter with the blog stops.

And you can win very cool T-shirts!

OH!

And I ran a contest on the RARM post-- Jen CW and Laura, both of you were the lucky names drawn out of the hat!  E-mail me (you can find my e-mail on my website, www.greenshill.com) and I'll get you a free copy of the book of your choice from my Dreamspinner Backlist! Thanks everyone who read the RARM post, and everyone who comments on a regular basis.  I really do love reading your responses!












Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Liberal

So, as you might have guessed, jury duty did not kill me, and neither did any of the really nice people there.  But I did have some interesting experiences--which just proves, I guess, that I really should get out once in a while!

Anyway, some fun things that happened during my two days of aborted public service:

***  As I was getting dressed on the first day, I turned to Mate and said, "So, uhm, do I look appropriate for public viewing?"

He eyed my T-shirt and skirt and shrugged.  "You look great, but you realize that you're going to be seated next to a guy wearing flip-flops and cargo shorts, right?"

I laughed.

In line to register, I ended up behind a thirty-ish guy with blue eyes and a kind face-- he was wearing motorcycle leathers, and I laughed to myself, thinking of Mate.  It was warm in the mezzanine, and the guy started stripping down-- the boots came first, going into his backpack with his helmet, then the motorcycle leathers went next, because he had something on underneath.  Then he pulled out a pair of shoes, zipped up his backpack, and voila!  NOW I was standing next to a guy in flip-flops and cargo shorts.  I started laughing so hard I had to tell the guy the story, and he laughed too.  We ended up sitting next to each other a lot-- we both had four kids and something to talk about, and whether he knew it or not, he delivered a 1-2 punch to the gut.  He said, "Did you tell your husband about the kid in the motorcycle leathers?"

And it hit me.

I was thinking of us as peers, and he was thinking of me as an ELDER.

*sigh*

I really need to dye my hair.

Anyway…

So, the jury pool was selected and sent to the appropriate department, and during the extensive Voir Dire I had the following thought: If being bored to death was actually possible, all jury selections would be criminal proceedings.  

Heh heh… I was so proud of that one that I tweeted it!

Anyway, they kept whittling away at jurors, and suddenly, at 4:30, I was seated.

And then we were dismissed before we were deposed for Voir Dire.

*sigh*

So the next day I went in, and got questioned.  Guys-- you know how judges and attorneys aren't supposed to have a sense of humor?

Bullshit.

So the judge got to me and said, "So, uhm, I see you're a romance writer.  How's that business going?"

"Awesome, sir.  I'm doing really well."

"So, do you write under your own name or a pen name?"

"A pen name, sir."

"Do you want to promote your pen name?"

"Uh, sure!"  I turned to the audience.  "Amy Lane, folks, for all your gay romance needs."

I turned back to him and he was laughing appreciatively.  He proceeded to ask me questions pertinent to the case, which I won't disclose in context, but suffice it to say that my screaming liberal disposition announced itself politely and with a smile.

At the end of the questioning the judge started to chuckle.

"I'm sorry," he said.  "I"m looking at the employment of your youngest child.  Adorability, is it?"

"Yes, sir.  She's good at it."

"That's good to hear."

So everyone was smiling.  The jury culling began after the next two people were questioned, and the judge asked me to move into the jury pool.  I met the prosecutor's eyes in disbelief and she nodded in complete understanding.  Oh yeah-- I was not on her list of people she wanted on that jury.

"We'd like to thank you for your service, you're free to go."

"Yippeee!!!"

I skipped out of the courtroom, but I actually felt good about the process.  Guilty or not, the defendant was getting his due process, and really, isn't that what we want?

****  Which brings me to the scary assed shit that happened in the rest of the world last night.

Because it was great to see the system working--but our racial statistics tell us that most of the time, the system is fucking people over, and sometimes, like sickness in the body, the world erupts into pustulance.

Ferguson, people?  Are we still doing this?

Bruce Springsteen wrote "41 Shots" in 2000.



And today, we are being torn apart by this same assumption, by the same horrible assumption that was extant then, was extant in the '90's, was extant in the 60's…

How many lies do we tell ourselves to let this keep happening?

What was it Yoda said?  From ignorance comes fear, from fear comes hatred, from hatred comes weakness.

I've written this blog post three times, and every times, although I've felt right and justified in what I've written, I've been unable to press send.  It all comes down to ignorance, fear, hatred, and weakness, and how our government is fostering those things in our law enforcement to keep down our poor.

It comes down to rich white men laughing as Rome burns.

It comes down to people with practically nothing being left with much, much less.

And it comes down to senseless deaths, and a topic that's so explosive even tackling it in fiction hurts too much for some people.

It comes down to a tired liberal, who has gotten screamed at and flipped off and honked at for just espousing simple health care.

And who is going to need to lick her wounds before she comes out and faces what should be the country's grief for one more senselessly killed teenaged boy, and is instead a war that we've never admitted we're fighting.

Excuse me while I go remember how not to fear again.  In this country, in this climate, it takes all that courage I could have sworn I never had.

And I'm not living in poverty, and my skin is barely tan.



















Sunday, August 10, 2014

Structure

It wasn't until I got the summons in the mail that I really felt the pressure.

I mean, what's wrong with me?  I did the eight-three job, right?  I taught high school. I wasn't always on time, but I was on time, mostly.  How did I manage then, but not now?  Why does it freak me out so much?

It's not like I don't make deadlines, right?  I usually sit down with a writing objective that I need to meet before I get up for the day.  Sometimes it's a word count for fiction, sometimes it's a project count for shorter non-fiction projects, but I'm pretty reliable.  If I get a warning, I usually pull through.

And yes-- there was a notable exception with the vet's this summer, when I let the cat's semi-annual appointments just blow over my head, in spite of multiple warnings, but for the most part, I get the kids to school, haven't forgotten to get them yet, and make it to their after school functions with enough regularity that their teachers don't shun me and make the sign of the cross as I pass.




But… but…

But something about the idea of getting up at six in the morning so I can get there by eight terrifies me.

I have noticed that my ability to exist in the confines of the regular world has gotten less certain as I spend more time in my own head.  This summer in particular, after I wrapped up a bunch of intense projects and found myself rooting shiftlessly through the house, looking for purpose, I felt in particular that keen vagueness that indicates reality is mighty thin in these parts.  There is no telling when the fabric of time is going to rip, and I'm going to be eyeballs deep in gentle porn stars and sexually hyped sidhe.  (Not that I'd mind, really, but the rest of the family would be a wee bit uncomfortable.)

So I'm going to the big wide world tomorrow-- the real world.  And it might not be that accommodating of my particular brand of madness.

I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes--within reason, of course.

And I'll try not to break through the barriers of reality while I'm at the courthouse.  If it would freak my family out, imagine what it would do to the justice system!

Anyway, my biggest hurdle will be remembering not to wear pajamas and a bra.  Let's cross our fingers, shall we?

***

Okay-- that being said, in my last blog I said I'd post a winner on August 11th.  I am extending that deadline to August 16th, because I think that link is going to be published with the RARM people, and I want to give them a chance.  So, two blogs away.  Oi.  The only thing I know about August 16th is that it's opening day for soccer, and the kids will have been in school for a whopping two days.  They're looking forward to school-- and are way ready to have structure again-- which makes me think we should all give it up for teachers, because they are the awesomest, giving that to our kids when it's just not that easy, yanno?

Oh!

And on the home front?

Well, I did get out and have dinner with fellow authors J. Scott Coatsworth, Christopher Koehler, and L.E. Franks this Friday-- and after the wonderful Mexican food and gelato, well, Mate and I ran away and watched Guardians of the Galaxy again.  What can I say-- it's been a long time before a movie ended and we both unbuckled out seat belts, looked at each other, and said, "Again!"

We topped off our weekend with… okay, Mate took the kids and went to help his mother while I wrote, but before that, we took the kids to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which was not, actually, that awful.  (High praise for a Michael Bey movie, trust me.)  And the kids, bless them, following the grand tradition of Star Wars and Grease, dressed up.  (Squish is being April O'Neil, intrepid girl reporter.  For the record, Megan Fox was a much older April O'Neil, which was okay, because it made the pair up of her and Will Arnett not quite as creepy as it might have been.)  Anyway-- the kids were cute.  Made it worth it, right? 

The best part was when Mate looked up, halfway to the movie theater and said, "Oh, I get it!"

"Get what?"

"He's dressing up for the movie!"

Well, uhm, yeah!

Also…

I've started a new story.  It's called Immortal.  Those of you who have read Truth in the Dark (which raised $125 for the Keith Milano Fund for Suicide Prevention-- WOOT WOOT!) or Hammer & Air, this story is fantasy, like those, with a first person narrator.  But it's not based on a fairy tale so much as it is it's own fairy tale, and a part of me is just rejoicing to be back in this world where my first person narrator gives us a highly filtered version of the truth.

This one, though, I think will be full length, because I have no word count limit, and, well, because I'm at 15K and Teyth is still a child.

I love those books.  I love writing this.  It's gonna fill my soul :-)

The excerpt here is from the second chapter.  Enjoy.


The Iron From Which We’re Forged

The thing about being born, is that you wake up and the world is strange, and you cling to the familiar: your mum’s face, the sight of the sky, the taste o’ milk.  And as you grow, you take in a few new things every day, and they become familiar too.  By the time you have words, your world has the things you know, and they are so natural that when you are asked to speak o’ them, you can’t.  These things are not spoken, they simply are.
The poor have to fight for their living.  The rich have it given. 
The castle were the beginning and ending, and our rights were simply not.
To have money or a prick gave you power.  To have neither left you bereft.
These are things that every child knows.  Aye, the rich might deny, justify, tell us that being rich is a virtue and poor a vice, but Mum were working the land all on her own before the prince taxed her twice for being a woman.  There’d been no reason to turn to the likes o’ Kump if the world had not made her vulnerability its trophy.  
And had I not been “sold” into slavery to the men who set me free, I might’ve been locked into that world, that same sky, that same taste, because I had no words for the familiar but “It simply is.”
But I were sold, and my familiar changed as well. 
I do not remember much o’ that first day.  Diarmuid greeted us at breakfast with a bandage around his forearm and a determined smile on his face. 
He’d made eggs.
I were sunk in misery, but I ate every last bite.  Not often, but sometimes we know what things are worth, even in our ignorance.
After that, it were a blur o’ fetching water, fetching implements, learning what things went where.  Cairsten, who were patient as an angel when I’d skewered his journeyman suddenly became a roaring barking demon, and the only thing that kept me from tears were the hope that the angel would be back in the evening.
Diarmuid apparently knew that fear. 
“Where’s the water, boy?” Cairsten demanded.  “Dammit, we need the fuckin’ water or the bucket’ll catch fire—it’s not a fuckin’ whim!”
I were working hard, but my legs weren’t long, and the pump in the kitchen weren’t easy either.  I had to stretch on my toes to reach it, and it were harder to prime than all that. 
“Sorry,” I gasped, sloshing water on me breeches.  “Oi!  But I’m sorry, Cairsten, so sorry—“
“Easy,” Diarmuid said, as placid as always.  “Here, let me.”  He took the bucket from my numb fingers and dumped the water in the big oaken barrel where they tempered the heated metal.  A gush o’ steam erupted, and I jumped back, frightened, because it were scalding hot.  Neither Diarmuid nor Cairsten jumped much, but then, they were used to such heat.  The smithy itself were an oven, and my much coveted eggs had near to been vomited out right after breakfast when I’d tended the bellows for near to an hour.
Now, Diarmuid looked at Cairsten and said, “We’re done here.  I’ll bring another bucket and make lunch.”
Cairsten, for his part, blinked like a man coming from a dream.  “Lunchtime?  Is it lunch?”
“Aye.  And if Teyth don’t want to run away after lunch, I think he needs a rest.”
“Of course he needs a rest,” Cairsten rumbled.  He looked at the swords set on the wall and nodded.  “We worked a fair bit today, boys.  Teyth, much o’ that speed were yours to claim.  Well done.  Aye, D.  Get that bucket.  We’re good for the day.”
I gaped at him, stunned at the praise, at the thanks, at the pleasant master as opposed to the barking demon.  Diarmuid smiled wearily and ruffled my hair.  I were so weary, I didn’t even flinch. 
“He’s like this,” he said, hefting the bucket for me and walking down the close, hot corridor that separated the infernal smith’s forge from the cottage and the snug kitchen.  “In a job, when he’s taken by his work.  He yells, he curses, he demands—but when he’s done, he’s all that’s kindness.  Much o’ it is for safety, ye ken?  The barrel catching flame, the pump going too fast or too slow—these things’ll kill a boy who’s not wary, aye?”
I nodded, understanding some now.  “Aye.”
“It’s hard work,” he said, opening the door.  “Dinna worry, though, Teyth.  Yer doing fine.”  Without thinking about it, he winced when his wound hit the door, and my heart quailed.
“When I’m not taking a knife to ye,” I mumbled.  “I can carry the bucket.”
“Is naught,” he said firmly.  “I’ll fill the bucket again if ye can cut bread and cheese for lunch, aye?”

I would have to take it.  Forgiveness had been offered for neither silver nor gold. I’d be a fool not to buy with my gratitude.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

RARM post-- The Bravery of Falling in Love

The Bravery of Falling in Love

Whee!  I’m so excited to be doing a post for the Read a Romance Month event.  I'd seriously like to thank Lucy Monroe for asking me aboard--she'd contacted me to say hello and to let me know she liked the work, but recommending me to participate in this was really amazing of her.  

I'm very honored to be involved with such a superlative group of writers as a secondary author-- I literally "squeeeeee!!"d when I got the e-vite, so this is a big furry deal for me.

And the topic—“Celebrate Romance”—is truly one of my favorite things to talk about ever.

But the questions… uhm…

Well, when you get to them, you’ll see.  Numbers two and three were pretty easy—I could do that. 
(This is Amy, on a plane alone, which is about the extent
of her daring-do!)

But number one? 

“Describe the most daring, adventurous, or inspiring thing you ever did.”

Hahahahahahahahaha!!!

Okay—people who know me know I’m not exactly a “running into a burning buildings” kind of person.  No, no, I’m very aware that when it comes to physical heroics I have a very thin grasp of space and time, and it’s best to let the experts handle things like delivering children or saving people in mortal peril.  A beloved friend recently called me a “were-Tardis”—which I’m pretty sure means that one minute I look like a perfectly ordinary human and the next minute I’m someplace I’m not supposed to be, knocking things over with my prodigious… uhm… base.

So, uhm, I could write the essay about celebrating romance and everything, but how am I supposed to answer that darned question?

(This is Mackey, who is brave enough to stand up
 in front of thousands, but
has a tough time talking about hisown heart.)
Well, when have I felt bravest in my life?

I seem to remember feeling brave when I tried out for multiple sports in the eighth grade.  I mean, I sucked at all of them, and the other girls made fun of me unmercifully, but, you know, I tried.  But that’s not particularly courageous, is it?

I felt brave when I passed my test for my driver’s license!  I mean, it was the fourth try and everything (see that whole space/time continuum problem I mentioned earlier).  And I kept trying for that, right?

Oh—I know!  I felt brave when I stood up in front of a classroom for the first time.  I’ve always had sort of a sweet, round face and a Minnie Mouse voice, and standing up in front of those kids?  It was terrifying.  I was horrible.  After the first month, the little darlings staged a riot to get rid of me. I felt really brave when I went back and stood up in front of them again.  I gained some presence, I learned from my mistakes, I went back the next semester to teach seniors, some of whom were nineteen years old to my twenty-three.  I improved. I gained confidence. I got my credential. 

So that was sort of brave. 

(This is Deacon whose luck is so bad
he's brave just for getting out of bed.)
My first book was self-published for kicks—that didn’t feel brave at all, in spite of the sort of risqué content, and I was frankly surprised when complete strangers read it.  And really destroyed when they ripped it apart for the editing.  So, you know, I edited the second one better.  And the third.  And the fourth.  And by the time I got picked up by a publisher, I was, well, at least unembarrassing in terms of self-editing.  I understood that editing made a story clearer, and I should be open to input.  For the most part, I don’t make my editing staff gnash their teeth upon seeing a submission, so that’s something. 

And when I lost my teaching job (my second teaching job, but the first one is a whole other story) well, I didn’t go back into teaching, but I did manage to haul myself up by my bootstraps and go into writing, and that was sort of brave.  So was learning to speak in front of grownups as opposed to high-school students during conventions. So, I guess I’ve done a few brave things.

In fact, looking at that first question that I was supposed to address later, it seems like the core of my few acts of bravery sits at the core of what I believe there is to celebrate about romance. 

See, the thing I love the most about romance is that the entire idea of two people meeting, falling in love, finding the best of each other, planning a future—even one in the afterlife—contains the most incredible hope.

Life isn’t easy.  We are knocked down on our asses time and time again.  We try, we fail, we get hurt, we fail, and somehow, we get up and do it all over, sometimes twice, sometimes thrice, sometimes a hundred times over.  Sometimes standing up and getting back on the horse, or on the soccer field, or in the car, or in front of the classroom, or in the work force, or face-to-face intimate with a lover when we have only been hurt before—that is the bravest thing we can ever possibly do in our entire lives.

And people do it.  They do it every day.  They hold another person’s hand and hope that their faith is well placed.  They reveal themselves one layer at a time to someone who may or may not be exposing their true selves as well, and they hope their hearts are in good hands.
My God, that’s incredibly brave.

(And this is Dex and Kane,
who are brave for thinking of a different
tomorrow)
I don’t know how we do it. 

I had enough trouble just teaching, learning to drive, being a parent, learning to love, being part of the human race. 

So that’s what we celebrate when we celebrate romance.  We celebrate small acts of personal heroism that make the world turn with hope.

A romance book is like a heroes party for those who dare to love.

***







2014 Questions:
1 - Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did. 

Heh heh—I think I covered that.

2 - Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide
to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)  I actually sort of covered that as well—but I should add that I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid.  I told them to my stuffed animals, to my friends, and, as a teacher, I told them to my students.  I told the kids about my weekend or my own children, and then I turned around and showed those same students how the masters told their stories.  I have old manuscripts meant for Harlequin that were written over twenty years ago, that I never submitted—but writing something with romantic content just never stopped happening.

Writing was who I was—getting published was just sort of celebrating that.

3 - Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

I think the book that changed my life the most was The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.  It taught me that A. The heroine could have red hair, B. She could fight the dragon alone, C. She could fall off the horse and get back on, and D. She was allowed to have a complex, dreaming heart.  I owe a lot of whatever bravery I have to that book—thanks Robin!

Drawing – Since this post has the opportunity to be seen by a lot of people who might not have ever heard of me, I think I’ll offer one of my previously released titles from my backlist to two different lucky commenters.  You can find my backlists here at Dreamspinner Press and Riptide Press.  (Note—I have two upcoming releases on those websites—those are not included in the contest.)  I’ll announce the winners on my August 11th blog post at www.writerslane.blogspot.com

Recommendations – Oooh… this is the fun part.  I love recommending authors to people!  In the M/M subgenre, you can’t get better than Mary Calmes, Rhys Ford, Kaje Harper, Jordan L. Hawk, K.J. Charles, and Andrew Grey.




Bio –
About Amy Lane: A squirrel-brained mother of four, Amy Lane enjoys knitting, reading, music, movies, and the company of her beloved Mate. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion in a colorless Nor Cal suburb, with her family, cats, and an emotionally stunted Chi-who-what. She doesn't keep house, manage money, or organize anything important, but she can knit a sweater while reading a book in front of the television. If you ask her a question, be prepared to pull up a chair--and duck! You never know what's coming out of her mouth. She writes to silence the voices in her head.

Twitter handle: @amymaclane
And don’t forget to join my Facebook Group, Amy Lane Anonymous!




Monday, August 4, 2014

*kermit flail Monday*-- August


Heh heh-- can you tell I have fun with the formatting of this feature?  You should-- because I really like to make everybody's titles pop.  I know when I have a new release, it sort of consumes me.  I great about it for weeks, and every bit of feedback, good and bad, just sort of builds to that feeling of "YES! I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING!"  So, when my friends get pimped on my blog, I really like to make it a GOOD pimping--

And to that end?  Let's meet our *kermit flail* contenders for August!  

First up is the lovely, ephemeral K-Lee Klein, who's next story looks like exactly the perfect story--even if it's not the perfect moment ;-)

Let's hear it for Never the Perfect Moment by K-Lee Klein-- YAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!



Bryan Monroe has always catalogued his life in terms of moments—right moments, wrong moments, perfect moments. But when his best friend and partner on the police force, Chrys Delos, is shot in a raid gone bad, it’s one of the worst moments of Bryan’s life.
Bryan’s been secretly in love with Chrys for years, and the shooting is a wake-up call that it might be time to tell Chrys the truth. The problem is, Bryan’s never been with a man before, so in addition to worrying about Chrys’ injuries, he’s an indecisive wreck over the future.
But with the help of two unlikely matchmakers, Bryan knows it’s time to find the courage, and the perfect moment, to tell Chrys exactly how he feels...
Genres: Gay / Contemporary
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (26k words)


Next, we have the lovely Rowan McAlister, who is surprising us with a contemporary story this time out!  And a quirky mystery to boot.  The story itself looks amazing--and the expression of the guy on the cover makes me laugh.  

Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Lost in the Outcome by Ms. Rowan McAlister-- YAYAYAYAYAY!!!  



When Nathan Seward wakes up in a cheap hotel with a stranger, unable to remember the night before, unscrupulous plots and clandestine schemes are the furthest thing from his mind. True, he's in Houston to bid on his biggest contract yet, one that will put his software development company on the map, but he's the underdog at the table, not one of the big players. Unfortunately someone out there sees him as a threat and isn't above drugging and blackmailing him to put him out of the running. Luckily for Nathan, the man in bed next to him couldn’t be further removed from the corporate world.

Tim Conrad is scraping the bottom of the barrel. He left college during his freshman year to take care of his dying mother, and life and lack of money prevented him going back. Now twenty-seven, his dreams are long buried, and he’s scraping by with dead-end jobs and couch surfing because he can’t afford a place of his own.

As Nathan tries to run damage control and figure out what the hell happened to him, he and Tim discover a connection neither was looking for, as well as dreams they’ve both forgotten.



This next author and I got to hang out a bit in Portland, and she's not only a lovely person with a stunning collection of amazing shoes, but she also picked up the art of math-less crocheting and has been making lovely items for her friends.  I feel a wee bit proud of this-- I think I may have enabled her yarn sickness, and it's taken over.  

But in addition to being a talented craftswoman, Jaime also tells a lovely story, and this month's offering is Scars on his Heart-- let's give it up for Jaime Samms--YAYAYAYAY!!!



After a disastrous five years away at college, Joe returns to his aunt's farm and finds his childhood sweetheart Cameron eager to rekindle their relationship. Joe has a hard time confessing that he didn't come home until now because he's only just managed to leave Andre, his controlling boyfriend, and has a harder time renewing his submissive role in his affair with Cam. Cam thinks he has to find a way to remind Joe how to be strong. But what Cam doesn't realize is that Joe is strong, strong enough to leave behind a life of shame—though he's terrified his past will catch up to him. Joe must confront his ex and take back his own life, on his own terms, before he's able to give Cam everything they both desire.




And I know, I know-- you're all probably tired of it by now, but guys…

It's almost here.

Beneath the Stain, the book so big (I HOPE) that it had to be released in serial form, is almost ready for its first installment to be released.

I don't have to tell you how excited I am about this release.  When Mate and I went pub crawling on Friday, it occurred to me that I felt relieved, like I had something to celebrate, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Then I realized that I'd finished the galley review of this story last week. My brain had been consumed so much by Mackey, it felt like the end of school or the beginning of vacation or something, and I am dying to see how you like Mackey James Sanders.

Boy, I hope you love him very much a lot.

Anyway-- just the novel and paperback go on pre-sale on September 17th, but if you want the installments, you need to buy from DSP.  I know some folks with the Kindle are thinking, "Oh, but I like the auto-deliver from amazon!" but DSP does have a Kindle auto deliver button, as well as the Nook format, so it's not a bad way to go.  Remember-- the installments have extras that you won't find in any other form, and trust me-- they're worth it.  

So here we go-- Amy's big soul-bleeding personal gamble in the story that wouldn't leave her be.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Beneath the Stain!






In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers-- and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams--made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind. 

Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help--but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey. 

Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking. 

1. Serial Package 
•Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14. 
•$12.99. This option only available through dreamspinnerpress.com. 

2. Serial Deluxe Package 
•Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14. 
•Also received a signed paperback mailed to you upon novel release. 
•$24.99 +shipping. This option only available through dreamspinnerpress.com. 

3. Serial Only (7 parts) 
•Buy individual parts with special content weekly for $1.99. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14