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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Surprised--and Happy :-)

So, this weekend is "birthday weekend"-- which is always both fun and a challenge for Mate and I. My birthday's on the 30th, his is on the 1st, and there's a daughter and an aunt and a mother all thrown in there somewhere too. This year, I didn't expect a big deal, really-- the year has sort of kicked my ass in a lot of ways, and I was just getting very happy that it would be over.

But, as usual, people both surprised and delighted me--which is wonderful. It's always good to enter the next year of your life remembering how awesome most people are, and that for the most part, we really do wish kindness on one another.

I started getting FB Happy Birthdays yesterday--and thank you to everyone who's been so kind.

And I got stuff in the mail today!  (And Mate's bday present too-- heeeeeee!)

And at Yaoi-Con, I got an AMAZING gift from my friend Karen, who stopped by to have lunch with me on her way through SF. (She brought this on the plane--I was boggled! And it was whole and perfect, too!)

So here we go-- pictures of my bounty, and you must believe me when I say, this birthday has already been amazingly happy, and it hasn't even started yet.

Thank you :-)

Okay-- so from Chicken, I got a "Barb" T-shirt from Stranger Things. For those of you who watch the show, Barb is like, my teen doppleganger. An old high school friend even verified this--I looked just like her when I was young.

From Karen, I got a yarn bowl!  I haven't started a new project yet, so it's not quite appropriately used, but I can't wait until I start the sweater I'm planning for Chicken, and I can put the yarn through the bunny's mouth and GO!!!!  I love this yarn bowl-- it has been my knitting companion for a week, and it will keep me sane for many projects to come!

From my sister, I got the Dr. Seuss's knitting coffee mug-- you may have to enlarge the photo, but it's got a great lyric on it, to the patter of Green Eggs and Ham. "And I will knit on a boat, and I will for a goat!"

I love this cup, and I really love that she gave it to me--we haven't done bday gifts in forever, and it means the world :-)

Julianne, darling Julianne--she sent me the llama/alpaca mug (which I should have taken a better picture of!) and the fox lipgloss for Squish. (She says thank you, Julianne-- she loves the lipgloss, and definitely loves the fox!)

Now, Mate is getting me something--which I didn't count on, I told him he didn't have to, and I've upped the ante with him. I stenciled "Coach" on a white T-shirt, and I'm going to have his kids--both teams-- sign the shirt with fabric pens on Saturday. The kids did this for him extemporaneously during last banquet when they found out the age range got split up and a lot of his kids were getting reassigned. He really treasures that shirt, and I wanted to give him a good memory of this more than hectic year.

So there you go--my birthday is off to an auspicious start, and my faith in mankind has been renewed.

Thanks, woman and man kind! I needed that!






Week 6, redux

So, I was down for a forty-five minute nap this afternoon when Squish climbed into bed. She had a headache and was trembly and...

And it's week six.

I didn't even have to do the math.

Week six, the marking week of the most stressed, the most exhausted, the most strung out and wrecked that you will be after any major life change including starting school, is here.

Have a baby? Week six will be when you go to the market with mismatched shoes and a shirt inside out, and then attempt to run the baby's carseat through the market checkout.

Changing jobs? Week six will be the when you need to be physically restrained from calling your old job and begging for a position cleaning toilets for the condescending prick that caused you to run away in the first place.

Going to school, playing soccer, participating in dance?

Week six will be when something's gotta give.

We skipped dance. She slept a little. I watched an entire episode of television un-interupted--and I knitted.

It's Birthday Week, we're doing some other stuff right now, I'm under a deadline, the kids are exhausted, it's here.

It's arrived.

It's week six.

A nap and a missed activity is the only way to go.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A few quick observations before bed...

Squish got in the car all excited today.

"Hey, mom--we finally had social studies! We're going to learn about colonialism!"

I was surprised. "You mean they're going to teach about how European interlopers pretty much displaced the indigenous people of four different continents, raped the land of the resources and brutalized the natives in an attempt to make populating the countryside easier?"

"No..." she said with a chin wobble. "That's horrible. We were just going to learn about the Pilgrims."

Oh. "Well, uh, you know. Learn about the Pilgrims now. The, uh, other stuff will come later."

"Did we really do that?"

"Well, our ancestors didn't get to the country until it was already done, if that helps. And we've got a little bit of Navajo ancestry because that's why half of us don't burn in the sun."

A little bit of tension seeped out of her. "Oh Thank God."

So, there you go. Manufacturing cynicism and disillusionment in my youngest. Well done!

*  *  *

Every day, before I leave to get Squish and Zoomboy, I make sure I have a full cup of ice water with me. The first thing that Squish does when she gets in the car is say, "I'm thirsty."  (Well, after "We're going to learn about colonialism!" that is.)

Tonight, as I was getting T from the bus stop he said, "Gee mom, I'm thirst--"

Without even thinking about it, I thrust my glass of ice water at him.

Don't even ask me how I knew.

*  *  *

I've totally had it with tertiary characters and their names. I'm going to like pull five names from a hat-- Mike, Mack, Mark, Gus, and Rufus-- those will by my GHUYYYYSSSS. Their one function will be to move the story along without actually having personalities, and I'm going to make them hideously unattractive so nobody will once say, "But what about Gus? I know he's 45 with a potbelly and no hair, and he has three ex-wives and a hideous toe-fungus problem, but I think he deserves gay love too!"  And they will be suspiciously without personality. And I'm going to make them the construction crew, office crew, group of classroom buddies in every novel. I shall interchange them like shirt and skirt sets when I'm going out for dinner. "In this book, we'll use Mike and Mack, but this one's going to have Gus and Rufus!"  I'll pull them out of a box like those paper dolls we used to play with and dress them with backstories and paste them into the background so my two MC's can get together with considerably less dialog and have oodles and oodles of sex.

*sigh*

Okay. I can't do that.  You all know that. I'm as interested in the tertiary characters as I am in the secondary and primary characters.

But the names, people. You gotta admit--the name thing might be getting a wee bit dire.

*  *  *

I had dinner with my sister tonight--and she was funny and interesting and we laughed a lot. Yes, I know, you might not have heard me talk about my sister (stepsister) but I do love her, and I hope we chat a lot more in the future. Tonight was part of a concerted effort to get out and be more social.

She was awesome. I approve.

And one of the first things we agreed upon as we sat together was the sacrosanct nature of the nap. We both grew up with parents who worked nights and/or swing shift, and the rule was there needed to be blood or fire before we disturbed a sleeping parent. And only a little blood didn't count. We had to be bleeding out our eyeballs and one other orifice, or there needed to be a limb that was mangled or otherwise unaccounted for.

The end.

But my stepmom called me up during my nap today--and remember, my nap is structured into my day, like real sleep, so if I want to get anywhere near 7 1/2 hours a day, the nap needs to be inviolate--and immediately advised me to go for a walk so I didn't need my nap.

I womanfully refrained from pointing out that the dogs and I had already done our mile and a half, thank you, and we continued our conversation.

And my sister and I both agreed that we needed to cry foul. We  were raised on the nap, we believed in the sacredness of the in-day nap, and we were going to keep the faith.

Of course, that was easier said than done when we were awakened from our nap and not as coherent as we might be...

Ah, there's always a catch.


Shh... don't tell Mate!

Okay-- I'm the world's WORST secret keeper.

I admit it.

Lots of examples on the blog, on FB, on Twitter.

My gift selection sucks wind (unless I'm knitting for you and then it's awesome by virtue of I said it was awesome so there) and odds are good I'll tell you what your gift is WAY BEFORE you get it.

Sometimes, I'll just casually drop the name of the store... you know, like SUNGLASS HUT. The store where I bought maybe a camp stove, right?

Oi.

So bad.

Anyway--so let's see how long this lasts.

Mate's birthday is Saturday-- and I want to do cupcakes for him for both of his teams-- let's see if I can get that done, right?

But other than that, "What do you want for your birthday, Mate?"

*thinks about King's season tickets and the iPhone 7 he wants for Christmas and the fact that his car has broken down majorly in the past month*  "Nothing. What do you want for your birthday, Amy?"

*Amy thinks about her last yarn purchase and all the pretty pictures she bought at Yaoi-Con and the yarn she purchased this year and will continue to purchase while knitting as fast as humanly possible*  "Uh, nothing. Nothing but date night, my beloved. And, of course, steak."

So, steak and a movie it shall be, and sometimes the oldies are the classics because they're the best, right?

But I had a brain SPARK today, as opposed to a brain FART which is most days, and I got him a present.

See-- how long has he been a coach? Since Zoomboy was 4? That makes this his 8th year coaching.

And usually he's had an assistant coach who was sort of in charge of "carrying shit" but he's also had the thing down-- he knew how to carry the player bench, the bag of soccer balls, the pop up tent, and his coach's bag all in one trip, and me and the kids would grab our chairs and waters and yarn bags and away we'd go.

But see?  All the OTHER parents have these handy dandy collapsible wagons. Mate USED to have a wagon-- non collapsible--that he used until it collapsed, never to move again.

But MATE, he's all like, "I can get that. I can get that. No worries. Just another trip to the car."

It's so dumb. All the money we spend on mom's coffee and yarn, on sweatshirts and goofy T-shirts, but a relatively inexpensive collapsible wagon? Not even on our list.

So I bought him one for his birthday.

Now, usually, he doesn't read the blog, because I tell him EVERYTHING. I mean everything. Things like, "Geez, Amy, I love you but the blow by blow of your colonoscopy was unnecessary. And seriously-- a nap is a nap is a nap."

So I"m going to post it here, because it's TOO GOOD. And I know exactly how I'm going to give it to him.

Every Saturday morning he moves his stuff from the back of his station wagon to the back of my minivan.

It's going to be waiting in the back of the minivan with a card.

Surprise!

So let's see if we can make it work, shall we?

Hee hee hee... shh... don't tell Mate!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01J90FXNU/ref=sr_ph_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1474960730&sr=sr-1&keywords=collapsible+wagon

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Les Mis Filksong

So, when I posted this on FB I said, "I don't know where it came from". This might have been misleading if people thought I got it from somewhere else.

I mean, I wrote it, but I have no idea why.  Just popped into my head and thought I'd share.

So, y'all... do you hear the people sing?

*  *  *
To the tune of "When Tomorrow Comes" from the musical, Les Miserable:

https://youtu.be/gYb9sRLUDyM


Do you see the shit go boom
Followed by the pecs of lustful men
It is the vision of a culture
That will not be bored again
Hear the beating of your heart
And explosions like the sun
Dream of the heaving of hot guys
Who’re about to come!
Will you give an hour or so
To see a relationship advance
Some ships will sink and some will soar
Give AO3 just one more chance!
Gimme a hot guy and someone
Will get in his pants!!!
Do you see the shit go boom
And the hot guys running from the blast
They can’t outrun our ship
Not even Superman’s that fast!
When the fanning of a spark
Into the flames of hot guy’s sex
There’s not a canon fixed in stone
That our ship can’t wreck!

Dreaming of Suits

Well, people have loved Tart and Sweet so far--and have been sad to say goodbye to the guys of Candy Heaven too. I have started sort of a tradition lately of writing a ficlet for a story a couple of weeks after it's out...
And surprise, we're due!

I'm just going to give fair warning though...

I just finished All the Rules of Heaven--which had an urban fantasy slant, and thus 95K of VERY LITTLE SEX. I'm writing a Dreamspun Desire--Manny Get Your Guy-- which is sweet and fluffy and while there is sex, it is NOT GRAPHIC. 

And, well, this is a ficlet. You guys know the couples mentioned have already done it. They're young, they're monogamous, they're primed, they're hot and horny.

I'm serious, people. I need to write some squelchy no-holds-barred fucking.
You've been warned.
*  *  * 

One night in the very near future, the men of Candy Heaven had a strange dreaming time, one where all of the good things were real in their lives...



Ezra was dreaming, one of those oddly illuminated dreams that turned into real things like empty apartments for the taking and trips to Disneyland.

This one was about suits. All of the suits were in Rico's apartment and none of them were at Adam's. In the dream, Ezra was swimming through them--summer weight linen, the fine wool of spring and fall. Formal suits, evening wear, business wear, informal meetings, golf. The textures rumpled under his palms, the coarse rasp of silk, the sleek grain of satin, the rough weave of even the finest vegetable fibers.

He was lost in them, they were slung over Derek and Rico's couch, piled on the bed, shoved in the refrigerator and bursting out of the bathroom.

Ezra shifted in the dream, feeling a warmth, a pressure, in his body.

In his erogenous zones.

A stretching burn in his ass.

A hot wet squeeze on the head of his cock.

He writhed and shifted, vaguely aware that his thighs had been shoved open and he was splayed open for use.  "Miguel?" he said fuzzily. "There's suits coming out my ass."

The pressure around his cock was replaced by cool air--and a hot grip around the shaft.

"Suits?"

Ezra forced his eyes open and tried to remember the last thing he'd done.

Oh yeah. Miguel had been working hard on a project and Ezra had kissed his temple.  "Wake me up if you want to, you know, poke me with that thing," he'd joked quietly, pretty sure Miguel was going to be working all night.

Miguel lay between his spread legs, staring up at him with sober amusement. One hand was on Ezra's cock and the other hand was...

"That's not suits in your ass," Miguel said wickedly. He wiggled his fingers--the ones in Ezra's ass, and Ezra, still lost in dreamland and wildly confused, almost launched off the bed and came.

"My cock's a rocket," he said, not caring about making sense, just caring about having sex. "Now. Now. Whatever... gonna come, gonna please, Miguel, I need you!"

Miguel slid up his body, placing the head of his well-oiled cock at Ezra's entrance. "I need you too," he said, and thrust in.

Ezra had no control like this, still sort of asleep and totally aroused. He gasped, he moaned, he screamed, with abandon, because Miguel, fucking his ass, squeezing his cock between them--Miguel.

"Ohohohohoh..." his hands flailed, at the mercy of everything and Miguel stopped thrusting long enough to capture them above Ezra's head.

"Hold them right here," he ordered, and Ezra nodded, his body so sensitized he was shaking.

"Fuck me harder," he begged, closing his eyes. He had to think, had to concentrate, had to sort the sensations--cock in his ass, pressure in his cockhead, Miguel, moving, moving, moving...

Miguel slammed directly into his sweet spot and he flew apart on a full-throated scream.

"Augh! Baby, keep coming!"

He rutted, filling Ezra full up with cock and cum and sex and...

An aftershock rocked them both, sending Ezra spinning again and Miguel spasming into his arms.

He collapsed top of Ezra and Ezra tried to put what his body had just enjoyed together with what his brain had been doing.

"Suits?" he asked fuzzily.

"What about them?" Miguel mumbled, licking at the skin of his neck. "And that was awesome. Amazing. It was like Ezra  off the chain. We should do that again sometime."

"Have sex? We do that five nights a week."

Miguel laughed weakly. "I mean I should wake you up and nail you before you're all in your head."

"Suits," Ezra said again, this time nodding. "There were suits in my head. Suits in  Rico's bathroom. Suits on Derek's bed. Suits for Adam and Finn."

"Well good," Miguel told him, still not moving. That was fine. Ezra could bear his weight any time. "All those guys have suits and you and me, we'll be naked."

"But Miguel, naked is nothing to wear to a wedding."

Miguel broke into baffled giggles, his breath tickling Ezra's ear, and Ezra giggled too, not even sure why. He'd have to tell Darrin about the suit dream--but he figured he'd leave some parts out.

Like how good Miguel felt when he pulled out of Ezra's body, still thick and dripping, and how the skin of Miguel's neck tasted salty like sweat.

And how Ezra dreamed of kittens, clinging like velcro to his own wedding suit, right after Miguel rolled him over to his stomach and fucked him again.

*  *  *

Finn woke up around one, heard the noise from upstairs and promptly kicked the cat off the bed.

Then he shook Adam awake.

"Wha' da fuck?"

Adam rolled away, cuddling on his other side.

Finn shook him again. "Adam, they're having sex again."

Ezra's voice, muffled from the layers of flooring and bedding between them, was still very distinct when he screamed, "Fuck the suits out of my ass!"

Next to him, Adam went very still, and Finn imagined his deep brown eyes popped open in the darkness.

"We did not hear that," he said.

Finn groaned and rolled over to spoon him, thrusting the terrible aching erection he'd developed in the last ten minutes up against Adam's behind. "I heard that," he insisted. "It made me horny. Put out."

Adam groaned, but not really in complaint.

"I put out all the time. I'm your totally slutty boyfriend."

Finn chuckled, and ran his hands down Adam's naked back and under his boxers. Adam sighed happily and thrust his muscular backside against Finn's palms. "I'm the slutty boyfriend. You're the masterful and virile boyfriend who takes me again and again and again." He punctuated each "again" with an open-mouthed kiss down Adam's spine, and Adam moaned breathily and thrust back some more.

"What do I have to do to be your slutty boyfriend?" Adam asked grumpily.

Finn kept kissing Adam's back, appreciating that he always took a quick shower after work or running. He tasted a little of soap and a little of sweat, because it was late September and not particularly cool yet.

Finn paused as he was about to start wiggling Adam's boxers off, and thought for a moment.

"Bottom," he said, and to his surprise Adam rolled over to his stomach and started shoving his boxers of his hips himself.

"God, yes," Adam muttered. "Get the lube, that'd be awesome."

Finn's erection may not have doubled in size, but it definitely doubled in ache.  Adam didn't have a problem with switching, but Finn... Finn usually imagined himself as the bottom.

Tonight, he got to imagine something different.

Adam pushed his knees under him and his ass up, and Finn suddenly felt masterful and virile and hot.

"Lube?" Adam all but whimpered.

"Rim job first," Finn told him, pulling apart his cheeks and giving him a swipe.

Adam "ohhhhed" into the pillow in front of him, and then some more when Finn fingered him gently, stretching him open.

Finn enjoyed himself back there for a bit, one finger, two, scissoring the two of them, alternating with tongue.  Adam made satisfying, full-chested sex-sounds into the pillow in front of him and Finn got lost in pleasing him.

Then Adam reached down to stroke his own cock and Finn jerked back and popped him on the bottom.

"You're going to make yourself come!" he protested, rooting under the pillow between them for lube.

"Well you're going to make me come first!"

Finn slicked himself up, pausing for a moment to stroke just right, squeeze it, skate his thumb over the end, give himself some foreplay before he got to sink into Adam's tight, muscular backside.

Adam turned his head and scowled. "You are going to--"

"Fuck you," Finn said throatily, the desire raging through is body giving his voice some edge.

"Please!" Adam begged.  HIs voice actually cracked.

"Slow." Finn placed himself right there, right at Adam's opening and pushed gently. It had been a while since they did this and--

"Finn, stop dicking around back there. Fuck me now!"

Surprised--and impossibly aroused, Finn sank into his boyfriend's ass in one hard thrust.

They both gasped and hissed, and Adam urged him into motion again. "Please. Please. Baby, just move. Just nail me. I need you so bad."

Finn thrust forward and pleasure swept his body, up from his balls and across his chest until his nipples and even his hair follicles tingled.

And still those words echoed in his brain, filling him as he put both his hands on Adam's waist, held on tight and began hard, powerful strokes that pleasured them both with maximum density.

No talking for a few, because Finn's heart was too full and his brain was too full and his body was too full, and Adam's ass was pretty damned full too.

For breathless moments only the slap of their own flesh filled the room, and then Adam started stroking himself.  Finn could feel the ripples of orgasm traveling Adam's body, because Finn's cock was at their epicenter and they started rippling up Finn's body too.

"C'mon, Adam," he panted.

"Gonna..."

"C'mon, Adam!"

"Baby, gonna..."

"Adam, dammit! So goddamned close!"

"Finn I"m gonna cum!"

The climax that rocked Adam's body in seismic waves sucked Finn into it and swept him away.

He came to sprawled over Adam's back, his eyes clearing of spots.

Clopper let out three short "woofs" in surprise, because they'd made their own noises too, and then silence washed even Clopper's noises away.

Jake the cat hopped up on the bed and started to nose the side of Finn's arm. Finn shuddered and slid to the side, surprised when Adam rolled over to face him.

And kiss him warmly in the sex-saturated darkness.

"Thanks," he said, brown eyes glinting in the light from the window above them.

That wave of emotion that had swept Finn when Adam said "I need you," wasn't going away.

"What's wrong?" Adam asked, frowning. He wiped his hand on the sheets and then brought it up to Finn's face to thumb away the moisture that was gathering under Finn's eyes.

"Marry me," Finn said into his waiting quiet.  "I need you. Marry me. Marry me tomorrow."

"I can't marry you tomorrow," Adam said gently, kissing him again. Against Finn's lips he murmured, "I don't have a suit."

Finn laughed against his mouth. "I'll buy you a suit for Christmas," he said. "Marry me on the New Year."

Adam closed his eyes, a smile of such peace washing over his face that Finn's eyes burned some more.

"You bet your ass I'll marry you," he whispered, and then he kissed Finn again.

*  *  *

Less than a mile away, Derek got out of bed and wandered into the kitchen.

Rico was up, sitting at his laptop, his black hair pushed up in spikes, his sloe brown eyes half-closed with exhaustion.

"What are you doing up?" Derek asked, scratching at the back of his head.

"I just... I need to buy a suit," Rico said, sounding absolutely puzzled.

Derek wandered over to look over his shoulder, digging his chin into the back of his neck as he did so.

"Rico, that's a wedding suit."

Rico frowned. "Yeah, but it'd look like shit on either of us. Too broad for me, color's all wrong for you..."

"Yeah. Okay. Rico?"

"Yeah?"

"Come back to bed."

"Yeah. Do you think we could get another dog?"

"Sure baby. But bed."

"Why would I need a suit?"

"I don't have a clue. But I love you."

"Love you too."

*  *  *

In a nicely furnished old apartment in Rocklin, Cy sat bolt upright in bed, throwing his two homicidal felines accidentally across the room. Next o him, Robbie startled.

"Easy baby," Cy soothed, rubbing his hand up and down  Robbie's back. Robbie still had dreams about the military--it was Cy's job to calm those down.

"What'ryoudoin?" Robbie mumbled.

Cy slid down under the covers, hugging his soldier boy tight. "I had a dream I was dancing in a white tuxedo."

"I'll bet you looked good," Robbie said, one of those natural moments of Robbie worshiping the ground Cy walked on that Cy had resolved never to take for granted.

"I looked fantastic. You were in black. You looked damned good."

"Good. Let's go back to sleep. Maybe we'll dance some more. Like dancing."

Cy spooned Robbie Chambers tightly. Cy liked dancing too. "It's gotten so much better since we started dancing together," he confessed. "I want to dance with you forever."

"Yeah. Let's dream about that."

Sure.

*  *  *

Darrin didn't dream at all that night. He slept like a baby next to his lover, secure in the knowledge that his boys had it covered.

But when Adam and Finn broke the news about the wedding the next day, he was both happily surprised and very put out.

He resolved never to take a break again.




Friday, September 23, 2016

The Hot Sheet


Okay-- seriously not that hot, but it's the weird mundane minutia that's been making up my week:

*  Geoffie the rotten dog still needs one more medication. Tomorrow I'll get it at the grocery store and then it's eyedrops ho!

*  Squish is running for student council again because she's gonna rule the world.

* That weird little alien thing happened on the TV and Squish screamed and ran away. Remember this is the kid that's gonna call Sam and Dean to scare away the freaky things attacking her in the dead of night, and this alien scared her.

*  ZB will be lucky to get through school this year, because if his sister's gonna rule the world, he's gonna slack in it.

* I watched the Lethal Weapon reboot last night and was pleasantly surprised. Also fun was Designated Survivor. Oh my God, I'm so excited-- TV isn't dead after all!  Now I just have to watch the last five eps of last season's Supernatural, and I can be ready to face the season!

*  Freckles will be out in November, and I was going to do a cover reveal eventually, but it's part of the Christmas bundle and we're waiting for someone else's story before we can post the link. I want you to see this cover SO BAD! It's adorable.

*  Summer Lessons will be out at the end of November/beginning of December. This is the sequel to Winter Ball, and I'll post the cover as soon as I get it! I've gotten some lovely feedback for this--it's Mason's story, and for those of you who read Winter Ball, Mason was Skip and Richie's rather blurry, inappropriate boss.

* This music video happened thirteen years ago and I just saw it now:




And I"m going to leave you with that video, and all of the things I want to write because of it. My retroactive crush on The Boxer Rebellion is going quite well, thank you!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Scary, Mommy, make it go away!

So, a short short blog tonight--but possibly a longer one tomorrow. I've got to tell you guys, that whole "writing sex" thing NEEDS to happen.

But for my short short blog...


So, we were driving down the road when we came to as top behind a bus. But not just any bus--one of the busses with the guy on the back, the "pedestrian wearing armor" guy.

And the dogs started to lose their shit.

It took me a minute--I looked from the bus and back to the dogs and then back to the bus.

And it hit me.

The dogs think the guy was going to bust through our window.

I mean, think about it--their whole life spent on patrol for guys with hats and beards, and suddenly they clean cut youth was going to just plunge through.

So there you go, you noisy little assholes. You keep the cute models away, because otherwise I'm sure we'd be eyeball deep in awesome looking athletic men with futures, trying to break into our cars in the morning.

And that would be a shame.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Decorations


I admit it-- I made a VERY dangerous discovery in the last two days.

Three of them, actually.

They involve decorating.

The first one was that I can draw on my photos on FB. You heard me. DRAW on my photos. So, Chicken's cat, with the angel wings, that was the result.

The other result was that I could put stickers on the pictures in Twitter. Can you see that? STICKERS. Yes. Like, say, a bat, a flower, a snake, a bunny, and an octopurt on a rather bleak NorCal post-summer landscape.

Or, you know, kitty ears and a pirate hat on small dogs.

Or a beard on my son.

You can see the possibilities, right? The very, very, very awesome... I mean dangerous... I mean AWESOME possibilities, right?

Also?

After years of buying art and hiding it and finding some place to put it where someday I might possibly find it again and put it in a private office I would have if and when all the kids moved out and I got my shit together...

I said fuck it and bought art this weekend that I put up on my wall.

Yes, it's a little inappropriate... (Okay, the print from Lost in the Snow is a LOT inappropriate, as is the one from Young Justice) but NOBODY GOES BACK to this corner of the living room. I had to stand up to get an unobstructed view for the pictures.

But I know.

I write gay romance.

I like pictures of hot guys kissing.

Or hot guys who could potentially kiss.

Or superheroes and heroines about to kick ass.

Or muscles.

Or damn dat ass.

Or frozen moments, pregnant with possibility.

Or that breath before almost touching.

Or things to imagine as I write, so I can be excited that today, my guys might get to kiss. Oh, holy buckets, they might even get to fuck.

So, uh, yeah, that.

I needed that on my walls.

And now I have it.

And it makes me very happy.

And now I'm going to go write some more... and plan to take more pictures of the dogs to doodle on in Twitter and FB. Because... because...

JUST FRICKIN' BECAUSE!!!

*laughs with glee and runs away*







Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Zzzzzz...-- and Z. Allora

I may start declaring a blogging moratorium on the day I get back from a business trip, because seriously...

What do I have to blog about?

"Well, this morning I got up, got the kid to school, took the dogs for a walk, sat down to work and zzzzzzzz...."

"And I got up, got the kids, got home, sat down for a minute to watch some cartoons with them and Zzzzzzzz..."

"And now, at 12 a.m., I'm going to go to bed and--"

Yeah-- you get the picture.

Pretty much nothing to do but sleep.

However--

I have a really excellent memory of YC that I didn't mention and I need to.

Yesterday, as I was hauling my stuff out to the car, I got up to the floor level, managed the suitcase up the half-level of steps, into the elevator, out of the elevator, and across the car port only to realize that I'd left my keys in the room and had to do the same thing over again.

Ugh!

But on the way back the second time, I met Z. Allora-- author of Lock and Key. 

She and her husband helped me to my car and she reminded me of this--

Back during my second Yaoi-Con, she arrived a little bit exhausted and punchy from the plane ride from China.  She'd read Locker Room on the way.

And she was so excited to meet me. 

I remember her because it's hard not to--she's adorable and bubbly, and such a beautiful presence.  

And as we were unloading bags and walking back (I mean she and her husband were on their way to eat when they saw me) she told me what a thrill this year was for her. She had her own booth this year, and her own publishing company and books that she'd written to market.

And she was at the same con I was.

Now, I know all of my own flaws and all of the things I've done wrong in my life, personally and professionally, and often they weigh me down like invisible and defunct wings.

But if I did or said anything to Z. Allora that helped make it possible for her to be at this con, marketing her own books, excited about writing and the business and all of the lovely, amazeballs madness that ensues?

I've done something good.

So thanks, Z. Allora-- you helped me remember what it's like to be proud and excited and bubbly and anticipating all of the amazing things yet to be written, yet to be read.  

And seriously-- thanks for the help back to my car. The second time after I went back and got my keys would have totally sucked without you ;-)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Little Moments, Big Memories

 A few random snippets from Yaoi-Con--

Me to Kim Fielding via Text: I'm here--where are you?

Kim: Venona and I went on a walk to the Marriott.  Where are you?

Me: At the Hyatt.

Kim: But we went to the Marriott to see you!

Me: Uh-oh...
 * * *
Roget to me: Where are you?

Me: Max's Opera Cafe, eating dinner.

Ro:  Tell me when you get back... I've got a thing for you.

Me: A thing?

Ro: A thing... it's... it's... it's... sooooo good....

Heh heh heh-- Can you see the picture? Three guesses what he got!

*  *  *

Can I just say that Edie, Ro, and Andy-- are all amazing and do the tackle hug thing with amazing aplomb. I could tackle hug these guys all weekend.

*  *  *

My phone rings while I'm in the middle talking to readers behind the table.  I answer, and, no lie, my mom says, "Do you recognize my voice? Are you dead? Do you remember who we are?"

Me: 0.0  "Uh... scuse me... I, uh... gotta go take this..."

For the record, I will never again forget to call my parents.

*  *  *

I roomed with Belinda McBride, and had the most wonderful conversations with her. She's the loveliest person--and the following piece of amazeballs happened as I was running out of the room to meet somebody downstairs:

Me: Wait-- where's my angel bag?

Belinda: Do you like angels?

Me: Well, it's Azraphael and Crowley from Good Omens.

Belinda: Oh my God-- that's the most sublimely funny book!

Me: Oh wow. My daughter gave me this because she loved it so much. I love anyone who thinks this book was frickin' amazing!

And she did. And I adore her.

*  *  *

I knew that Poppy (marketing director for DSP) had a meeting with someone named Kelly-- turns out?

I knew Kelly-- and she's awesome.  Small publishing world-- wonderful chance to find friends!

*  *  *

And of course, Amy Di Martino is stunning her her new cat miss and cat ears.

But then she is always a very wonderful kitten--and she was so sweet to "paws" for these photos!


*  *  *

We will see pictures of Shira Anthony, Kim Fielding, and I posing for Alternaties news letter-- two days worth, in fact.

You can tell we posed--we all dressed in complimenting colors.

Both times.

By total accident.    It was awesome!!!!

*  *  *

And finally, there was home.

The dogs have still not stopped spazzing out.

Mate let me nap on him for an hour.

And this afternoon, Squish asked me if she should wash her hair. I said, "Uh, yeah." Then I looked closely. "Wait--isn't that the same hairstyle I gave you Thursday morning?"

Mate said, "Uh, yeah. Sorry about that."

But he made me dinner, so all was well.



Saturday, September 17, 2016

Day 1, Yaoi-Con

Okay--

So the DSP booth was awesome.

In addition to Edie and Andy and our darling Ro, I also saw two people cos-playing Charlie Cochet's Thirds series and they were MARVELOUS, and of course the lovely DSP authors who make me so very happy to visit.

I'm just going to post a couple of pictures tonight, and wander off to bed--I can't wait to see who the cosplay gods drop into my lap tomorrow!







Thursday, September 15, 2016

That one little thing...

Okay-- so it never fails.

I'll be folding laundry, and planning my trip.

And driving, and planning my trip.

I'll plan what to wear, I'll plot my day, down to my arrival time, and when I charge my phone, and what I'll be doing.

I pack extra, just because-- but I PLAN dammit.

Because I have silence in my own head, right?

And then just as I'm putting stuff in the suitcase, five people, two dogs and a cat absolutely NEED MY ATTENTION RIGHT THEN and as I'm putting stuff in the suitcase, it all goes to hell.

By the way I'm at Yaoi-Con in Burlingame, CA this weekend.

I have brought with me THREE knitting bags, a FULL SUITCASE of outfits I don't need, and more chocolate than any one person could eat.

I'll be on the vendor's floor if you need me. I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing clothes--but beyond that, I make no promises!

Amy

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bite me, I'm sorry!

Okay, I didn't mean to drive like an asshole. I looked over my shoulder, I anticipated where the cars were going to be, and I swear it didn't look like that car could even make the light.

When I turned right and moved to the outside lane, I didn't even see the guy I cut off-- he was going really fast and at first, I was just grateful I didn't get myself hit.

And then the guy sped up, passed me, and the fun began.

A whole carful of guys flipped me off, slowed down to twenty miles an hour, and started screaming epithets out of the window.

Two guys mooned me, pale asses hanging out of their windows, their little tiny dicks flapping in the breeze.

They continued to drive slow, until, when I saw a chance to get into the left hand turn lane without them cutting me off--because they would have--I took it.

Even if it meant they drove up alongside my car and screamed LEARN HOW TO DRIVE YOU FUCKING CUNT! out their window as they passed

And left me to go two miles out of my way to get back to where I was going.

My heart thundering in my throat the whole time.

Because I'm a middle aged woman, alone, at night--and I didn't see their damned black car ripping around the goddamned corner.

And of course my first thought was "Jesus, I"m sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to! I didn't see you! Oh my God, you were going fast, and thank you for not plowing over me, but I"m sorry!"

And my second thought was, "I hope they don't have guns!"

And my third thought was, "Wow, geez, this is overkill, guys."

And my last thought, as the bearded asshole screamed at me, face waxing large like the moon as he spit, was, "I hope you crash your car into a tree. I hope your dicks fall off. I hope you get thrown from your car and land with a fence post up your sphincter. Because what I did wrong, I did with the best of intentions, having cleared all the bases I could have to make sure there was nobody I was imposing with my actions. What I did was a mistake--and I was SORRY. What you did was malicious and evil and vengeful, and you were way more a danger to drivers on the road in your righteous fucking anger than I was with my carelessness. Being wronged by mistake does NOT give you the right to fuck with people on purpose. It never fucking has."

And then I made my way to pick my son up from the bus stop, because his class gets out late at night, and he will never have the privilege of driving, and I worry at him, out on the road, with people more interested in getting even than being safe.


Why that Cameo, Why those Guys

So, enough people have read--and enjoyed-- Tart and Sweet that I realized, "Hey--I never talked about the cameo!"
Now, I've put the cover art from the big cameo couple on a LOOOOONGGG scroll down, so hopefully, you won't see it--at least on your phone--unless you really really really want to.  But in the meantime, I thought I'd talk about the weird intermingling of what's real and what's not in the Candy Heaven universe.  

Because a lot of it is real.

I talked about some of how real Candy Heaven is HERE and Darrin (who is real) has told me that people come in and tell him that they read about his store in the books--which makes us both AMAZINGLY happy--so it's obviously a real place.

But what about River Burger?  What about Raley Park? The RiverCats? Old Sacramento?  The Derek's office? Rick's Desserts? 

And what about the people?

Are any of them besides Darrin real?

Uhm...

Yeah. Actually. 

So how about I start at the beginning of the list of real and imaginary people and places, and then explain why the cameo everyone is talking about HAD to happen. Because it makes total sense if, uh, you actually live inside my head.

Okay-- places:

Candy Heaven-- totally real, and I've totally documented it. Moving on.

Old Sacramento-- totally real, and you've seen my crappy pictures for many years. Keep going.

River Burger--nnnnn... no. There is no River Burger as shown, owned by Finn Stewart's happy pixy family lurking across from the Railroad Museum in Old Sac--however, before everybody goes home in disappointment, I made River Burger as sort of an amalgam of the MANY food places that are there. So ACTUAL River Burger--no. Some place very much like it? Definitely.

Raley Field and the RiverCats-- yes. I've posted pictures of my family going to see baseball games, including one where Squish was with her choir singing the national anthem, and one in which Zoomboy randomly ran on the field to be on a little league parade when he is NOT in little league.  

Crocker Art Gallery-- as is sometimes mentioned. Yes. Have taken my kids there a couple of times, including a time documented in March sometime, with Squish's class as a chaperone.

Levee Oaks (this comes up later)-- yes and no. It's not called Levee Oaks, but anyone who lives out here will be able to identify Rio Linda from a couple of markers, including the water tower and the 7/11 and the frequent flooding. The last time I had to take someone to a dance lesson in Rio Linda, we were late because there was a cow in the road. I am not shitting around.

Discovery Park-- yes. There is VERY much a Discovery Park, and my memories of it are both good and bad.

Gatsby's Nick-- no. However, there IS an LGBTQ bar named Faces in Sacramento--but I have never been. (If was was ever a clubbing sort of girl, I would have gone--it's been in Sac for over 25 years.) I knew about Faces, but since I'd never been, I had to establish a place I could describe, so I built one in my brain for the Talker series. But if Gatsby's Nick was going to be an Amy Lane equivalent of Faces, it wouldn't have disappeared when Brian and Talker moved to Monterey. So when I decided Cy was going to work in a dance club (and we'll get to why in a minute) I decided it would have to be Gatsby's Nick.

Darrin-- yup. There's even pictures, and they've been on this very blog.

Darrin's boyfriend, Ro-- yes and no. YES, there is a Ro-- but NO these two men have never met. I asked Ro if, since Darrin was real, I couldn't have him be Darrin's boyfriend, so I could very very very firmly put the brakes on NEVER SHOWING DARRIN HAVING SEX. Cause he's a friend, and uh, icky.

Adam--only in my dreams.

Finn--iiiiiiiiishhh... Okay, so he's not really Finn.  But a guy matching Finn's immediate description used to be a deckhand at the gym pool. No actual conversation, just a few waves and smiles, and a whole lot of me, looking at him all starry eyed. I felt totally free to change this guy's name (I don't even remember his name) and his sexual orientation and make him into  Finn.

Finn's family-- totally made up. 

Rico--I think I saw an actor once matching Rico's description. Like, one of the bit part players that rotates regularly into different shows? Anyway--I liked him. Thought he was adorable. But that's about it. Mostly Rico is his own man.

Derek--I'm sure I knew a Derek in high school. Didn't everybody?

Miguel AND his family-- Yes and no. Miguel and the three sisters and two brothers and widowed mother are totally fictitious--but.... Miguel and his mother and the happy Mexican family are based on my friend Teresa, from soccer. Teresa and Mate have coached each other's children in soccer for more years than I can keep track of. When Mate lost most of his team this year to the big league age deadline shuffle, most of his kids who aged up went onto Teresa's team, including her son, Adan, whom Mate coached last year. I've known her for going on fifteen years--and I've adored her. If the soccer gods decree we go for a year without seeing each other, the minute we see each other again, we are talking nonstop. When I talked about a strong Latino family, I was thinking about my students when I was teaching, and obviously about Teresa and her children--her amazing, beautiful children. So while Miguel was my creation, he needed to be a kid who COULD be Teresa's son. And of course, Teresa was Teresa. Because she's my friend and amazing. And she listened to me tell her about pretty much every aspect of Lollipop, because I was so excited that she could have a spot in it. I've just adored her for so long.

Ezra-- Ezra was very much his own man. But I will say, of all the guys in the Candy Man universe, Ezra is also probably the most like me. Except for Jake. I'm very much a Jake the Cat. Saying.

Robbie-- Robbie is based on so many of the guys I grew up with, I couldn't put a name on one.  

Robbie's friends from work-- are based on my sister's (now ex) husband and her two amazing boys. Unfortunately, I found out about the pending divorce after the book was submitted, but let's just pretend her husband was just as awesome as I made him out to be in the book--because her KIDS (Micah and his brother, Teddy) are my nephews and I adore them. Their cousins are based on family friends whom my own kids consider cousins. 

Robbie's parents-- I know it's easy to hate them, but I try not to. They're based on listening to some of the women from my aerobics classes chatter, and, yes, some of my parents' friends. I've gotten very adept at, "I'm very pro-civil rights so I'm afraid I'm not very sympathetic," but I've also gotten good at hopefully going for dialog over confrontation. Because confrontation confirms their suspicions that I'm a raging unreasonable liberal. Every now and then dialog makes a difference.

Cy--Okay, here's where the fine line between Amy's brain and reality gets very fuzzy.  I've talked about my kids' dance school for YEARS. I've bitched about the recital, I've volunteered, I've told stories--you guys are familiar with this place, although I don't think I've listed the name. In a certain series of books about Levee Oaks, the second one in particular, one of the characters worked for "Anna"--who is based on my kids' dance teacher. That's Chicken's too-- since Chicken was three, as a matter of fact. 

So, "Cy" is based on someone I've seen dancing since Chicken was three.  He's a few years older--old enough to have been one of ZoomBoy's instructors since he was in gymnastics at two, actually. 

If I were to describe him, you would see the exact same description as I used for Cy. Including the hair and the baubles and the makeup.  Word on the grapevine was, he had a job at Faces, which was why he had to work at Gatsby's Nick, right? 

Here's the thing--"Cy" and I never really had a chance to talk. I wasn't working backstage when he was, I very rarely talk to the teachers unless they're teaching MY kids, and usually, I'm talking to Joanna, the owner of the studio. 

But I saw him grow up into this amazing dancer--and this very flamboyant young man. 

So my rule, about not knowing someone--to me, "Cy" was the persona I saw on stage--and you guys, you'd have to see him. He's amazing. He used to do the Genie for Aladdin, and his body language, his presence--would knock your socks off. Just truly talented--stunning. And while I understood that he was very definitely gay and not bi at all, when he was on stage, his presence sparked chemistry with anyone he danced with, male, female--didn't matter. 

His dancing presence embraced all comers. 

So that's how I made Cy. 

Now, one of the principle moments for Cy and Robbie--and the moment of one of the big cameos--comes at an gymnastics and dance exhibition at Cal Expo. That was real. My kids performed there and the worry about the matts was real, as was the difficulties performing the gymnastics. The owner of the studio was pissed.

Now about the big cameo-- that particular character worked for Anna at the beginning of his book. The real Anna, although she doesn't speak a word of Russian, DOES have studios all over various parts of town--often not the best parts, either. Her belief is that any kid who tries is welcome, and her rates are as damned low as a teacher can get and still run a business. She's damned near a North Highland's institution. 

So, if "Cy" was going to work for "Anna"--because until very recently, he did, then we would HAVE to see this other character, because he worked for her way back in 2010 when HIS book came out.

And we, of course, had to have his cop in there too.

Now, I wanted to post a picture of Cy here--and people are probably wondering why I haven't. I posted pictures of Teresa and her oldest son, with their permission, when I was talking about my inspirations for Miguel and Teresa. Why wouldn't I post Cy?

Well, Cy--who was part of the exhibition in December--quit "Anna's" between December and May. I'm not sure why--I'm not close enough to ask--but besides missing the hell out of seeing him dance at recital, I didn't get a chance to tell him about the books, about him being an MC in a romance--any of it, which is too bad. I have a picture of a picture--he was there long enough to be printed on the program--but I just didn't feel right posting it without his permission. 

But there you go-- the real and the fictional, all sort of twined together in this series (two of them, actually.)  Now you see why the cameo had to happen--because in Amy Land, these people really would have known each other.

And hopefully, they would have gotten along.

So if you don't know who showed up at the dance portion, scroll down-- way, way, way down--and you'll see their cover.

I love this couple so much.

I'm glad they came back to play.










































Monday, September 12, 2016

Doing EPIC SHIT

Seriously-- I was totally going to talk about the cameos in Tart and Sweet, but my picture function wasn't working, so I'll do that tomorrow and talk about something that's been bothering me...

Okay-- I attended a BUNCH of panels in Kansas City and World-Con, and I enjoyed myself. For the most part I hung back and knit, and let the discussions rage on--especially at first.

And I have to admit, I'm sort of wishing I'd opened up at the beginning, because there are a couple of things I need to get off my chest.

Let's start with the one that will piss the fewest people off. (Given this year, HA, but I'm going to hope.)

Okay-- the panel was about whether or not science fiction/fantasy can have a romantic HEA, and this was a real opportunity to say something meaningful about individuality in sci-fi, but they missed it by letting the panel devolve into a big shipping session about Han and Leia. Now, on the one hand, it was fun to hear people talk about Han and Leia, but on the other...

Let's talk a little about HEAs in sci-fi.

Traditionally, they weren't there. Or if they were, they were implied. There's a reason for this and it has to do with a male dominated literature.  Sci-fi/fantasy was a man's venue for a really long time, to the extent that if women wrote in it, they did the same thing women did in gay romance when it first started--used a male pseudonym or initials.

Part of the reasons that men didn't want women's POV is that they felt women cheapened the genre with romance.

Okay-- I know most of my readers are romance readers-- try not to go off and strangle the man nearest you if they think this is true. Just... just no. Together, we can defeat Trump, but we cannot let this separate us. I'm serious.

The thing is, "epic" fantasy and "epic" science fiction were struggling for legitimacy back then, just as romance is now, and one of the things that helped to give it legitimacy was that word "epic". Epic is a literary word-- and it has some specific meanings:

Epic literature deals with universal themes-- good and evil, society sustainability, survival and apathy-- the big shit.  For those of us who loved LotR, the ELF stuff, not hobbit stuff. Big shit.

Because of this, epic literature deals with multiple governments and belief systems and often, with a journey or a quest from one to the other. How else do you prove that one's aspirations are mighty than to have them be mighty in many kingdoms?

Epic literature deals with ELVES, dammit! In the textbooks I taught from, they called it "nobility", which my students hated, so I started calling it social heft. It means that, regardless of birth or rank, epic heroes are the ones people listen to, whose decisions determine the fate of many people, rather than fucking up the one.

Very often, because of this, the epic hero had no agenda OTHER than the saving of many lives.             Peter Jackson got very sneaky, giving us the full scope of the Arwen/Aragorn love story--but in the original text, we got a couple of hints and a dry appendix. Otherwise, Aragorn's entire agenda was SAVING his PEOPLE. I have often compared the epic hero to Superman-- he has very basic heroic drives, he is absolute in his right over wrong, and yes, when he speaks people listen.

And Lois Lane, in the old Superman stories, was little more than comic relief. Because remember? Superman wanted to be with her and he had to give up his superness?

That's the perspective of someone who believes that epic heroes get no social life. They are too busy doing epic shit.

So science fiction and fantasy writers were proving that they were making EPIC SHIT. And if you're writing EPIC SHIT, you do not, by any means, put in a sweet little love story. Unless it's intended to be comic relief, or proof of the common people existing in the world, or thrown in as an afterthought.

So this whole question of Han and Leia COULD have been very relevant to the discussion.  Because the fact is, whether the relationship was on the rocks when the Force Awakens started or not, they HAD a relationship, and a child, and some pain, and they even had a reconciliation, which was GREAT. But more importantly, we watched that movie, which was so very much about EPIC SHIT and we thought that their relationship was important to the EPIC SHIT, and so, in a way, the idea that epic heroes could have an HEA was very very very...

Close.

I say close, because let's look at the end of that movie.

The end where Luke Skywalker, the celibate Jedi, has been a recluse, hiding away from all hobbit interaction so he can do his penance for a big mistake like a brooding elf.

And so the idea of whether or not HEA--or romance--belonging in an epic fantasy or sci-fi story is still in question.

And the idea of it being acceptable in sci-fi or fantasy literature is still up in the air.

Having a hero who both does EPIC shit and PERSONAL shit is what makes a hero a ROMANTIC hero and not just an epic one. In English lit, this is when we went from Beowulf to King Arthur. In comic book world, this is when we went from Superman to Spiderman.

So Han Solo? He was a romantic hero. Sure, he'd help the damned alliance, but could they, for the love of Yoda, maybe pay off his frickin smuggling debts? And would it suck so much if the girl could kiss him sometimes?

But Luke, with his earnestness and celibacy (and YES, dammit, celibacy matters, because it means our hero is not taking anything for himself and is therefor sacrificing his personal agenda for his epic agenda) is still the MOST IMPORTANT PUPPY in this universe.

I mean, Rae left her friend in a coma to serve the greater good. If that's not an epic agenda, I don't know what is.

So the question of, "Can an HEA exist in Alternative Universe Literature" is bigger than Han and Leia-- and it's even bigger than Star Wars.

Because the HEA --and the importance of the personal agenda in the midst of EPIC SHIT has been the purview of the female writer since Elinor of Aquitaine.  (She IS the one who brought over King Arthur, right?)  While the men were going, "Beowulf GOOD, he rip head off MONSTER!" the women were going, "And who was going to keep the children safe, plant the crops, and make sure our damned race didn't get eaten by Grendel, that's what we want to know. I mean we're going to do the procreating, we would like it to not be onerous or disgusting or an act of force, please. Yes, fine, he ripped the head off the monster, we're really fucking grateful, CAN WE FOCUS ON THE JOYS AND SORROWS OF LIFE NOW."

And you can see where we need the balance, right? You can't focus on the joys and sorrows of life if the monster is going to destroy your livelihood-- but if life isn't at least a little bit fun, you might as well feed yourself to the goddamned monster.

So when we ask ourselves, "Is it possible to have an HEA in AU," what we really need to be asking ourselves is, "Why not? Is fantasy and science fiction only concerned about the slaughtering of the monsters and the bad guys and the resolutions of governments and the greater social agendas? Or is there room for the individual concerns, individual happiness, a personal agenda, in the midst of all of the DOING EPIC SHIT?"  In this frame, the "Can an HEA exist" becomes more "Can the individual attain happiness in this alternative universe?"

It's not even about romance anymore when you think about it like that (although romance is a big chunk of it.)  When you think about individual happiness in the context of societal stability, you're asking a very basic question about the nature of government and the nature of an individual in securing peace in his or her time.

Which is sort of where I thought that panel would go.

Because as much fun as shipping Han and Leia was, they're not the only couple in the universe. In determining the fate of one, it's also necessary to make that fate a possibility for the many.

And how to do that is a discussion I'd like to see happen someday.

* * *

Tomorrow, as long as my picture import works, I'll talk about the cameo in Tart and Sweet without naming any names. I want to explain why it was sort of necessary for at least one of those people to show (although you can't have one without both, so, you know, both.)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Mate's Day

My Mate woke up at seven o'clock Saturday morning so he could shower, then he rallied all of the rest of us.

I don't move quickly in the morning. Neither do our children.

He jollied us all out the door and was on his way to McDonalds for mom's coffee, when we got a phone call, and he had to turn around because somebody needed him because he delegated a task to somebody and they just don't measure up to my Mate.

We turned back around and he drove us to where our son's team played the first game of soccer he was responsible for that day.

We lost, and Squishie scratched her ass on a broken piece of playground equipment.

Mate is depressed. His team is mostly new, because he lost the kids he'd been coaching for YEARS in a big league age bracket shuffle, but dammit... if he just could have coached better, they would have won.

We head back to another sports complex, where first he has to make sure new coaches know how to sign into a game, and he checks in on them, makes sure the kids are doing okay and the coaches aren't spittle blasting idiots who scream and throw things (they're not, but he's had a few of those--he hates that) and then he has to warm up our daughter's team.

They too are mostly new. Their coach last year couldn't coach again and Mate took over the team. Again, he's lost a lot of kids for the age re-org and the coach re-org, and he's got kids there who actually hate soccer and don't know why they're on the field.

He tries to give them a reason to be on the field.

They lose.

He feels bad. If he could have just coached them better, he thinks, they would have won.

I take the kids home, because they're hot, sweaty, whiny, hungry, needy, thirsty and one more dwarf I can't remember, and an hour later, I go back and get him.

He's stayed to ref a game, because they are short on refs this year because a lot of our old refs graduated.

When I get back, I help him pick up cones and drive them to the maintenance shed in the final act of cleanup. We left the house at 7:30 in the morning and it's now 4 p.m..

"What do you want to eat?" I ask him.

"Whatever you want."

"No. You get what you want. Anything you want. ANYTHING you want."

"Beach Hut?"

It's done. Beach Hut it is.

We walk in the door and I say, "Kids, off the TV. Dad gets the TV. Anything he wants."

The kids bail-- no argument, no, "But I was just--"

The TV is his. Rest of the night. No arguments.

And that's how it goes. Dad gets the TV, Dad gets the remote, Dad gets the food, picks the movie, gets the soda, the dessert.

Because Dad's sort of a hero. And he's had a long day.

And we can't get him a palanquin or extra refs or a winning day on the field.

But we'll do what we can.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

A Sneak Peek: All the Rules of Heaven

So, I'm almost done with this book. And I'm excited about it--it's urban fantasy, and there was a lot of world building, and I sort of love it.

I don't know where it's going yet--but I'll keep you posted.

And although it may be a long time before you see the rest, since I'm going to be finishing up tonight or tomorrow, I thought you may want to see a little of what's got me so invested.

Meet Tucker and Angel. Two guys who are about to break all the rules of heaven:

*  *  *

"But I don’t understand!” Angel complained as Tucker looked through the supplies and started pan-toasting bread for a roast beef sandwich. “You hated this place on sight—why would you want to fix it up?”

“I don’t understand!” Tucker whined. “You’re supposed to be helping me do shit here, and all you can do is complain that I’m doing it wrong. Jesus, I’ve been here less than eight hours. Give the rookie a chance.”  With a practiced flip, he turned the bread and let it brown in the remaining butter.

“It’s just that we don’t know what will happen if you start replacing objects and taking down walls.”   Angel wrung his hands—actually wrung his hands, like an aggrieved 50’s movie heroine.

“What will happen?” Tucker rolled his eyes. “What will happen is that I’ll be less inclined to hang myself in the ceiling fan and create a new cursed object!”

“You’d do that?” Angel asked and now that the echoes of their bickering died down, Tucker heard shock and concern.

He sighed and threw the roast beef on the bread, and then added the onions he’d browned earlier. Unbidden, he remembered those days after Damien… after the funeral. He’d crawled into bed for days, barely surfacing to go to the bathroom. The only thing that had pulled him out of bed had been the same thing that always pulled him—the painful punch to the gut that said it was time to go change somebody’s life. He’d managed a shower and clean clothes that had hung on him like rags, and he’d even made it intothe restaurant. He had no clear memory of the young man or the sex in a cheap hotel that had followed. What he did remember was the guy on the phone the next morning, whispering to his best friend, “Lor, you’ve got to come and get me. I think I slept with a homeless man last night. You’re right. I’ll go to rehab. This is it—I’ve totally hit rock bottom and I need to change my life.”
Tucker had feigned sleep and waited until the guy had left, and then he’d cried. He’d wept for hours, until the maid had needed to kick him out, and he’d dragged his sorry ass home.

He’d spent the rest of the day cleaning and vacuuming—and shaving—and when he’d gone to bed that night he’d made a resolution.

This was a calling. Like the priesthood, except sort of the opposite. He could either drink and mope his way through it, or he could enjoy the things he had.

“Once,” he said now, in response to Angel’s question. “Once, it was that bad. As to whether or not it gets that bad again, I’ll leave that to you to sort things out.”

Angel was quiet for a while, and Tucker sort of forgot he was there.  He sat down with his sandwich and a glass of milk, grateful for the coolness of the milk and the way the grilled onions burst butter on his tongue.  He was savoring another bite of sandwich when Angel spoke, startling him.

“Will you miss your home?”

“That depends,” Tucker said after he swallowed. 

“On what?”

“If I’m allowed to make this freakshow into a new one.”

“Your aunt didn’t want anything changed,” Angel said humbly.

Tucker sighed. “She was probably like me,” he said after chewing for a moment.

“How?”

“This thing you want me to do—it’s not easy. Or fun. In fact, it’s sort of ruined my life. So when I sit down to eat, I want my goddamned sandwich just the way I want it. Cause it’s the thing that gets me through the day.”

“She wanted the house the way she remembered, because it comforted her.”

“Yup.”

“You want to change it, because you want something that’s yours.”

“Bingo!”

Angel gazed off past Tucker’s left ear, and for a moment, the shape of the person Tucker had seen all day faded a little, like a picture in the sun. It returned, and Angel’s hair was darker, his face a little longer. Not a dead ringer for Damien now, more like his older brother.

Tucker blinked at him and he blinked back, apparently not even registering that he’d changed.

“Who in the fuck are you?” Tucker asked, his voice surprisingly level.

“I’m Angel.” He offered a complacent smile and Tucker rolled his eyes.


And then finished his sandwich.