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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Releases and More Family Hilarity

Okay-- I'm going to start with the family hilarity before I continue. I know some folks only read for the family stuff, right?

Anyway-- Mate and I did a little impromptu Easter shopping the other night, and forgot to take the stuff out for the next day.  When the kids noticed the candy in the car, I made something up about favors for Squish's birthday (which I had to back up by buying other stuff-- go me!) but I texted Mate first in a bit of a panic.  My text was, well, less than circumspect:

Oh fuck!  We blew the Easter Bunny!

I'm reasonably sure the Easter Bunny was more than a little surprised.

And the other hilarious thing happened just when I sat down to blog.  Chicken noticed that Zoomboy's underwear (which is pretty much his house uniform when there is no school) had seen better days.  Actually, that pair had seen better days when Zoomboy was in preschool, and now?  Well... they were shorts without a seat.  It look like he broke wind and blew out a hole.  When we told him to go change out of his peekaboo briefs so we could throw them away, he stripped naked in the middle of the living room, and all of us girls screamed for him to put his naked butt back into some boxers.  I swear, he's one of the guys from The Big Bang theory in the making.

Also, we went and got hair cuts.  Squish sat up and started talking to her hair stylists like an old pro.  "My name is Squish.  That's my big sister.  I'm a red-head like her.  Tomorrow is my birthday.  My friend Sophie is coming, and my brother's friend Sam.  We're going to Build-a-bear..."

Dudes.  I'm not playing.  She spilled her life story.  This girl is ready for the beauty parlor, no question!

Anyway...

Let's move on to Bolt-Hole.  

Okay, when Mate and I had just moved in (almost exACTly twenty-five years ago) we worked at T.G.I.Fridays.  It paid the rent (barely) and paid for school (with the help of credit cards) and I worked there until I got pregnant and Mate worked there until he got his paid internship at Intel.

Restaurant work is funny.

For one thing, it's HARD on the body-- and unless you master the ways of not beating the crap out of yourself, or work in a place with a slightly slower pace than your average chain restaurant, it really is better for the young.  And because of the pace--uber fast, uber urgent-- it really can seem to suck up your life through a straw.  I know a lot of my mangers had drug problems which stemmed from making the twelve hour days.  Dealing with irate customers (who are often being unreasonable--let's face it!) without ever really being able to be honest with them is sort of the optimum grooming ground for used car salesmen, and those of us who tend to wear our hearts on our sleeves end up fired.  (*cough*  Not that I was ever... oh hell, who am I fooling.    We all know I was fired for rudeness.  But if I'd known I was going to get fired for not sucking up enough, I would have told that flaming twat what I really thought of her!)  Very often, the only reason people don't quit isn't the money, and it's not pride in their jobs, although pride in honest work is always a plus.  No, the reason people don't quit is because the co-worker who just ran a ramekin of ranch dressing to that flaming twat on table twenty-three is your friend, and you'd help your friend through thick and thin, through poor tips and rich twits, and your friend will do the same for you.

It's amazing how tight, how immediate, how permanent, those restaurant friendships seem.  Restaurant friends become roommates, become bridesmaids, become husbands... or, you know.  They're never heard from again.

Because there are no guarantees, right?  Very often, the people working in restaurant work are working toward something, and once they get there?  Bye bye baby!

At the start of the book, Terrell has been working at Papiano's for a number of years, and Colby has been there for a year.  Terrell knows that sometimes, this job is where dreams go to die.  People with journalism degrees or film degrees or sociology degrees-- these people make outstanding restaurant employees.  The hours are flexible, and if they're competent, they can have an extra day a week to continue to work on the job they really wanted, and if they're smart enough to get the degree, they're smart enough to do the job and work with the people.  But eventually, that restaurant job that was only meant to be stop in the road... that becomes the road, and for some folks (I knew quite a lot of them) that's fine.  They're happy.  But for the people who had their whole identity pinned to a dream?

Well, there's a whole lot of bitter bartenders out there.

So at the start of the book, Terrell and Colby are friends-- but Terrell is very much aware of how tenuous that kind of friendship can be.  When Terrell makes the jump, decides to follow Colby into a relationship, it becomes very clear that if the relationship is going to continue, Papiano's is going to be the first thing they leave behind.

But that doesn't mean they can't have a whole lot of fun while they're there!

Bolt-Hole will be available Wednesday, March 27th Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and All Romance e-books.  If you buy from DSP, you can use PayPal, and they DO send directly to your Kindle, and tomorrow night, I'll put the specific links up from my website--and in the meantime?  Let me know how you like.  I've been reluctant to write an interracial romance--not because I haven't seem them work and thrive, but because of some of the reaction from It's Not Shakespeare.  The critics who read that book and had experienced life from both sides of the fence loved it.  The critics who had only known people from one side were absolutely sure that I'd done the other side a tremendous disservice.  You can, no lie, find back to back interviews claiming that yes, I got the Hispanic community down to the details, but that I was painting repressed white people as a cruel stereotype, OR the exact reverse-- they knew people JUST like James, but I was being offensive with the portrayal of Rafi.

After dealing with that critical mass, I had to wait until a very smart, very human character started talking in my ear before I decided to try another attempt at getting the American race experience right.  Terrell was that guy-- and I love him, a lot.  I just hope that the people reading about him see that I'm drawing from my experience in a racially diverse area, and from my own struggle to put my middle-class white upbringing into context with the kids I taught. By the time I left teaching, it was a no-brainer, but I had a lot of growing up to do in the meantime.  Terrell and Colby's relationship is the result of some of that growing up--and I hope you all love them like I do.





4 comments:

landale said...

I used to work at a Dunkin' Donuts and it very much was the front line in a war zone. Angry customers wanted their caffeine fix NOW. It did cause some fantastic bonding between a diverse group of people though and I've never regretted it.

Your book sounds great. I'd very much like to read it.

Joanne said...

Looking forward to it Amy. Hopping over to Dreamspinner now!

rhysford.com said...

Restaurant work sucks donkey ass.

Kindle Romance said...

I loved "It's Not Shakespeare", and I'm really looking forward to "Bolt Hole"! You write fabulous characters regardless of their race.