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Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Motivation of Murderers



I remember MacBeth. In fact, I'm still pissed Chicken's senior teacher sucked balls, because I'd built this play up to be glorious and that twit spent a week on it and made the kids "explore it in groups". Chicken had to come home and get the mom-notes version.

Dear God. What assholes these mortals be.

Speaking of...

This passage from MacBeth has been on my mind today. After killing Duncan, these are the two guys MacBeth seduces to do his dirty work, and while MacBeth does all the talking--the better to show us what a sociopath he could be--these guys go on to do heinous shit, and are a mastery in thumbnail characterization. I used to tell my kids that these two guys were any hoodlums who've knocked over a 7-11, or any asshole on the internet trying to stir shit for spite.

Let's take a look, shall we?

This first guy--ironically enough the Second Murderer--

Second Murderer:
I am one, my liege,
Whom the vile blows and buffets of the world
Have so incensed that I am reckless what
I do to spite the world.

This poor man has seen some shit. He's had some blows and buffets--he's been knocked around and has no sense of power. He's insecure and he blames the world for fucking with him. He's angry--"incensed" and he gives zero fucks and fewer shits --"am reckless" about what happens next. He doesn't give a fuck what he sets in motion to "spite the world."

He feels kicked around, he blames his boss, his friends, his family, whoever, and he wants to watch the world burn.

He's excited about it. He's "reckless what I do".

He has, in short, absolved all personal responsibility for his current state and wants to kick puppies and scream obscenities and shoot some poor 7-11 clerk to get some fucking justice. 

He's not particularly rational. I mean, we get it--he's been shit on. HIs grievances may even be real. But he doesn't give a shit who his victims are--and that makes him easily manipulated, which MacBeth does. I mean, if you read the entire play, they don't just kill Banquo, they kill innocent women and children too. So yeah--he's gotten some kicks, but boy, does he get some licks in himself.

Nice guy. I'm sure we all know a few like him.

Now let's take a look at his friend.

First Murderer:


And I another
So weary with disasters, tugg'd with fortune,
That I would set my lie on any chance,
To mend it, or be rid on't.


This guy isn't quite as violent. He's not the hothead, rushing in to libel friends and bankrupt strangers-- he's tired. He too has gotten a raw deal, but unlike his buddy, he knows that makes him susceptible to manipulation.

Still, he feels helpless. He wants to do something about it. He would "set his lie on any chance"-- he would listen to anyone who thinks they have an answer, "To mend it, or be rid on't." To fix it or fuck it. He'll take a risk, any risk, just so he doesn't have to feel helpless anymore. But he's willing to follow a liar into the breech, so he knows some innocent people may be hurt. He just doesn't care anymore--not today. He's done.

Poor little sausage. He really has had a rough time of it. But, again, he's absolved his own culpability here. I mean, now, at this moment, as MacBeth is leading them down the primrose path into murderdom, we can feel a little bit of sympathy. But don't forget--never forget--Shakespeare shows us what this sort of depression over the world can lead to.

We see Banquo set upon and killed, screaming at his son to flee to be safe.

We see MacDuff's charming family--"All my pretty ones, all?" Mother, children--"Wife? Babes? All?" Surprised and "savagely slaughtered."

We can see these murderers for human beings. We can see them as scared, and insecure and beset by one disaster after another--but we must never forget what they do. Instead of rising to become the best of themselves, they fall to become the worst. They set out to burn the world, to stake their lives on a corrupt leader, to carry through orders that are meant only to hurt and not to help, heal, or mend.

They become the villains, and in doing so, they allow the powers that be to continue to abuse them, and their only agency is in bloodshed and destruction.

I know people like this. We all do.

The true shame is that they do not know themselves.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Some moments from travel...

Okay-- I'm going to add the big post from FB at the end so it's in the blog because it's funny.

After a brief stop in Detroit for reasons known only to Delta airlines (see my last entry) I spent this weekend in Orlando, at the Dreamspinner Press conference, and it was really lovely. One of my favorite parts of this event is that I get to meet my editors and the staff from behind the house--and oh my God. You guys-- they're so good. So good. Every attempt to produce the cleanest, clearest, most quality manuscript is made--it really does make me proud of the work I've done with them. And beyond that, here are some highlights--

Jason T. Gaffney and his husband were there, along with his father, Ed Gaffney and mother Suzanne, to give a showing of Analysis Paralysis, Jason's independent movie. I'd already seen the movie--it's DELIGHTFUL but hearing Jason et al break down the things that helped change a story idea into a makable movie with a limited budget was really interesting.

Talking to our IPG rep was awesome too. So many different ways to promote books in places other than amazon.com-- she has access to so many good things and great ideas. That was fantabulous and informative as well!

Kilby Blades, the program of the Berkeley RWA chapter asked me to come teach my conflict class, and I was literally jumping up and down and squealing! It was so awesome of her to keep me in mind! Apparently people who saw me teach at RWA were impressed and I'm thrilled!

A conference with Sue Brown-Moore-- my Dreamspun Desires editor--was so helpful in mapping out the rest of the Search & Rescue series, as well as in planning my upcoming Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club series. I love writing these categories-- they're so much fun!

I got to meet with the Desi who's been my editor of other projects since the beginning of this year--she's wonderful. She's apparently in the middle of editing Shades of Henry and she actually stopped me to make sure Henry would be in future Fish books as well as Fish on a Bicycle and his own romance. The idea that I've created another character that can travel through different books makes me so very happy and her interest was just the most awesome thing in the world.

And of course I got to talk to my beloved CEO and EIC--and hearing them reassure us on the nature of the company and the finances and the way things are in motion to fix what's broken and go forward was really really necessary--and really really well done.

And there are always my friends and fellow writers, and the kind of talk that comes from trusting people with your back and your heart, and knowing we all have a deep love of narrative to unite us.

Once more, I'm proud of where I work, and ready to throw myself into that work again!

And the kids were happy to see me when I got home. God, I miss my family more each time out. It makes leaving harder--especially as they get older. They won't be here to come home to for much longer.

And as for travel stories? Well, besides Detroit (oi!) I had a couple of fun moments--

*  A friend of mine who travels A LOT texted me when I was in Detroit-- "Oh my God--I travel 120 days out of the year and you can't leave the fucking house without having a layover in an airport hotel!"

I was going to argue but then I realized it was 3 out of a potential six trips this year. He's right. It's a fucking curse.

*  There was a Service Cat on the flight from Utah. It was a long-haired Siamese, wearing a dress. When we landed, there was a 20 minute delay in getting off the plane, and into the grumbling silence we could hear babies crying and the cat going, "Meow! Meow! Meow!" which I assume meant, "Let me off, assholes, I"m done here!"

* When in the TSA line for Orlando, I was right next to a couple from the UK--and they must have been from the area James Corden is  from, because their accents were very close. We were talking about their little girl's wooby-- a rather battered piece of crocheted blanket that will probably disintegrate in its next washing.

"Well yeah," said the ginormous (6'6") young father with shoulders like a school bus. "She left it in the cab on the way to the airport, and we almost had ourselves a right proper torcher until we bot it back, didn't we?"

And omg, I was charmed to my toes.

*  And now-- this happened to me last night, and I posted it to FB from my phone. Because it was hilarious and I thought everybody needed to see it to share in the hilarity as it were--enjoy!


So, in tonight's episode of "Amy leaves the house and hilarity ensues" we have "Rednecks on a plane."
Coming back from the DSP convention in Orlando via Salt Lake City, I get seated next to two rednecks who are ... well cheery would be the word. They are coming back from Milwaukie after seeing a football game and had a VERY good time.

At the end of the flight, after a twenty minute delay at the gate, we are all appalled to find our luggage overhead is jammed shut. The two rednecks and I can't get our stuff.


Redneck 1 who hates flying and wants desperately to be standing on ground takes a turn at it. He almost tearfully bangs the damn thing until the flight attendant steps in, but he can't open it either.

Then redneck 2 steps up and goes “Look— here's a lever, let's see what it does!” And POOF! The compartment opens.

“How did you know that was there?” Asked the awed flight attendant.

"Well I've been drunk for four days straight—I"m seeing all sorts of things I've never seen before!"


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Me and Layovers

So, I have learned.

There is toothpaste, a toothbrush, and a change of underwear this time around.

There's even deodorant.

I have yarn and my laptop.

I made it to a hotel.

There's been food. Good food, in fact--but I forgot dessert and the need for chocolate is gonna haunt me, can't lie.

It wasn't my fault.

The plane left late, encountered weather at the end, and I ended up running forty gates only to be told the connecting flight had left my ass in the dust.

It's a Wyndham hotel-- not bad. The rain is raining everywhere, it lands on fields and trees...

I've seen SEVERAL giant cracks of lightning from the shuttle and the hotel. (Sort of cool, because we don't get that sort of thing in California a lot.)

I can hear every plane taking off from Detroit International.

Every. Plane.

I've heard people in three different rooms having SUPER NOISY SEX. I didn't think that was a thing in a Wyndham. Is it a thing in Detroit?

I'm getting up at 5:30 to catch the shuttle the airport. I should be slightly more coherent--and less stinky-- than I was when it took 30 hours to get to Newark.

I shall savor the difference.


The Cat is Upset

Me: I'm almost done packing, hooray!

Cat: *Climbs on top of the suitcase, spreads all four feet out, and extends claws*  You'll never take me alive, copper!

Me: Get off my suitcase you furry freak! I'm trying to get ready to leave!

Cat: Fuck you! Nobody leaves me! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Me: *pets* You gonna miss me?

Cat: Fuck off!

Me: *pets more* You say that, but you're clutching that suitcase pretty hard there, sweetie.

Cat: Hate you.

Me: *pets even moar* I love y--ouch! Bitch!

Cat: That'll show you!

Me: Get off my suitcase!

Cat: No!

Me: Fine, I'll come back later!

Cat: *runs after me and slashes my calf*  THE HELL YOU WILL!

Me: *shows owie to Mate* Am I bleeding?

Mate: Copiously. The hell?

Me: The cat is upset that I'm leaving.

Mate: Maybe you're just trying to get out alive!

Me: Yeah, well, sleep with one eye open--that bitch takes no prisoners.

Mate: Tell her a good kiss will do.

Me: Yeah honey-- that's what I want. Her tongue in my mouth.

Mate: Good point. Tell her she'll make a nice purse.

Me: THAT might make an impression.

And seriously. Seriously. I"m bleeding and my bag is covered in cat hair.

Fucking cat.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Boobington: The Musical

So, I forgot my bra in my gym bag. Not earth shattering, I know, especially since I don't necessarily have to get out of the car after I leave the gym. (Still, the longest walk to the parking lot, ever.) Anyway, unable to just gently sag in peace, I came back to the car and texted Mate the following two things-- try to rap it badly to Hamilton, if you will:

I forgot my bra today
My boobs are facing gravity
They're sagging more than
Dictated by Sanity
Are these the boobs with which I am to be cure?
I scream in the face of these massy mutinies!

And then I texted it to a friend, with the caveat, "From Boobington, the Musical!"

She said there NEEDED to be a Boobington: the Musical, and I sort of riffed a little more on text, and, well, here you go. Ad copy for Boobington: the Musical--

From the people who brought you Men: In Briefs and In Corset You Missed it comes our next smash hit, Boobington: the Musical! 

Featuring an all-star Bra-way cast, Boobington, the Musical tells the story of Patty and Selma, two asymmetrical sisters whose adventures trying to find support for their individual natures will uplift you, make you sweat in your small places, and warm that space in your chest behind your pectorals. 

Join Mae Playtex and Crossanda Yourheart as they perform such smash hits as 

--I'll Stop the World and Boob with You
--Don't Let the Headlights Go Down On Me
--Defying Gravity
--Sagging Hopes and Empty Cups
--Do Your Boobs Hang Low
and many more!

Meet Lacey Frontclasp as the irrepressible Perky Becup, the young ingenue who is repeatedly fooled into believing the weakly structured Victor Satin can give her the support she deserves. Can the sisters save Perky from a loveless, itchy, sweaty marriage with Victor? Will Perky be happy with the sporty Lycra Smash who provides stability and structure? Will Patty and Selma ever find a home with enough stretch to give them the freedom they need, enough support to keep them from ending up down in the dumps, and enough padding to disguise Selma's tendency to droop?

Come to the DD-Street theater and get your ticket to the smash hit, Boobington: the Musical! But you better hurry folks, because those tickets are hotter than boobsweat in Florida in July!

*

So there you go. Boobington: the Musical.  If it's not a thing, it should be. I'll be taking suggestions for song titles all week!

So, it all started because...

... the drier broke. It needs a new thermostat, and we may or may not get laundry done before I have to leave on a plane on Wednesday. Anyone who sees me Thursday, if I look like the bottom of the laundry basket, now you know.

But the drier broke, and the last thing we put in the drier were sheets from our bed.

Which are not dry yet.

Now, once, a long time ago I asked for a clothes line, but Mate still has bad memories of when we had a clothesline outside on a drought-ridden hillside and foxtails used to blow through his underwear. He's always maintained that the drier was for clothes and clotheslines were for serial killers ever since.

So no clothesline.

And we needed sheets to sleep on.

Which means we had to venture into the Linen Closet.

Now some people's linen closet has shelves that face forward and those people can stack stuff on those shelves and then retrieve it.

But OUR linen closet has shelves in the recesses of the closet on either side and then a big space in the middle that we have stacked stuff in.

And stacked it. And stacked it. And stacked it.

It now reaches the ceiling.

It's sort of an archive of sheets, blankets, pillowcases, quilts and shampoo. (The shampoo goes on the side shelves--you must never forget the shampoo.)

Anyway-- in order to get sheets for the bed, I had to put on a helmet, break out a flashlight, and grab a  pickaxe from the garage. The pickaxe was useful but the light was helmet was really important because the shampoo--afraid that its habitat was being invaded and used to roaming the closet at will--was leaping from the higher shelves trying to bash in the head of any interlopers.

So, I mined the archives and emerged successful, with a handful of pillowcases spanning twenty years of random linen purchases and sporting everything from stripes to flowers to Hello Kitty. I put these on the bed, declared myself done with the business and asked Mate if he could put the sheets on.

He came back five minutes later, giggling.

"See this sheet?" he asked. "How big is this sheet?"

And Squish went, "Wait-- that's MY flowered sheet from Grandma! I"ll go put that on my bed."  And then she scurried off.

"Shit," I said. "We have to mine the archives again."

This time I went diving through the strata and he fended off the wild shampoo and by the time I grabbed a sheet and tugged, we were both laughing our asses off.

And then I farted so loud it woke the dogs and they went howling at the door to eat the fartmonster and Mate and I were jelly in the hallway holding a Kingsized sheet and comforter and wondering how this became our lives.

Just remember.

It all started because the drier broke.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Oaklet V1

So, I met my cousins when I was back east, and I always forget--and I shouldn't--how very much I love them.

Anyway--I walked away willing us to be more in touch.

I sent them books--although I don't blame them if they don't read them-- and I decided I wanted to make them something.

I'm making shawls at the moment.

Shawls it was to be.

So this is the first--I've started three others. It's the Oaklet shawl and the designer was nice enough to offer it as a free download on Ravelry. If you're looking for a way to ease into lace, this is a good one. It's worked from the top down so you really just have to master the YO first, and then, when you're good and comfortable, there's a very basic lace pattern that repeats for about eight rows, and then a slightly more complicated one that it finishes off with. Seriously-- it's like it was written as a training project, and it's pretty awesome.

Anyway-- the stripes were my idea because I got that far with just the ecru and went, "Hello, this is driving me batshit insane."  Oddly enough, switching colors every two rows helped keep that down.

And it came out just so damned pretty.

So, I'm starting a book and I finished a hard edit and I'm into knitting that doesn't stress me out. Could go worse than the Oaklet.

Oh, and don't mind Mate. This is his life now. He's used to it.

Pamplemousse!

Okay--I'll be honest. I was really excited to try pamplemousse flavored LaCroix because oh my God, what's a pamplemousse?

Turns out it's a grapefruit-- which, while I will probably still try it because I lIKE grapefruit, makes me even happier that I decided to buy the Buble, which was on sale, instead.

And other than that?

Hmmm...

Squish has opted out of pre-pointe class, which is a shame because I shall miss her looking lovely quite so often in recital, but as it is, she goes in, does mixed class--tap, jazz, and ballet--and then sits and does her homework. Given that last year doing her homework on Wednesday night left her exhausted and in tears, it really is the more mature path. *sigh*  I mean she'll still have one ballet number, right?

Also...

ZoomBoy's junior year is very very busy.

Back to school night was a revelation and I'm glad I went. For one thing, I can see that he's not joking when he talks about going from Q4 to E2--omg, what a nightmare. Yes, there is a way to make a longer trip during the five minute passing period, but I think it would require them to give my kid a scooter and a helmet so he can make it. Also, his English teacher DOES remind me of Nick Offerman, he was right. And his physics teacher has a super romantic attachment to the physics book the kids use. It brought a tear to my eye, it really did.

Oh!

And I had a brief convo with my stepmom today after she butt-dialed me. Funniest thing about it? She was like, "Amy, I hate to interrupt, but I have to tell you--there's a long, narrow cloud following me as I hitch my horse trailer. It's raining on my head."

I, uh, couldn't stop laughing.

Funny how some of the busiest days are like that!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Kermit Flail and a Celebration of "Henry

First of all--YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

I've got three great books for Kermit Flail, and considering I just remembered Kermit Flail like, Saturday afternoon that's more than I deserve!

I actually spent my weekend both very productively and very frustratingly. Productively because I ditched out on two public appearances, one Friday night and one Sunday afternoon, so I could finish this book. And I did! I finished Shades of Henry, the first Flophouse novel, and it's a crossover between Johnnies and Fish, and I loves it mightily.

In fact, one of the Kermit Flail books is Fish on a Bicycle, and that introduces Henry Worrall, but Shades of Henry tells his love story, and for those of you who love my Fish, you know the love story and the suspense story are two different things.

So that was it--I finished the book! Yay! But I was also supposed to finish an edit, and that didn't happen, because I was writing a book which meant nobody was going to take my kids out to do fun stuff with them which meant my entire family was in the house all weekend shotgunning the Office. 

You heard me. the Office. 

I've got the theme music going on in my head. Progress was excruciating. I can't even... *flails* Tomorrow I'll have a couple of hours during the day in my own head and I'm profoundly grateful.

*whew*

But that said, I do have books from the insanely talented and adventuresome Kim Fielding and the exquisitely lovely and kind Rowan Mcallister to flail--and they're both so awesome, I am truly honored.



Drawing the Prince

by Kim Fielding


(Available October 1st) 

Painting themselves a life together will be a royal ordeal.

Small-town boy Cal Walters doesn’t know whether he owes his phenomenal success as an artist to talent or to his connections to famous people. Doubt leaves him secluded—until a lost bet lands him on yet another blind date. But this one is different.

To Teofilo Vabriga-Kastav, playboy prince of the tiny nation of Porvunia and passionate art lover, Cal’s paintings are as intriguing as Cal himself. When Teo invites Cal to his country for an art competition, a whirlwind romance sweeps them up. But it can’t last—loyalties and obligations bind them to lives that are worlds apart.

Cal and Teo might’ve found their perfect complements in each other, but to hold on to their happiness, they’ll have to get creative.





The Priest

by Rowan McAllister 

(Available September 10th)

Brother Tasnerek, one of the infamous Thirty-Six stone bearers, is facing a dangerous crisis of faith after uncovering a secret that could shake the foundations of the Brotherhood of Harot. When Tas is sent to protect a tiny village on the edge of Rassa’s borders from Riftspawn, he struggles to resume his duties, risking his life and the lives of those around him.

Girik has always been an outsider, but to help his sick mother, he agrees to be the village’s offering in a painful ritual deemed necessary by the Brotherhood. But when the priest has a crisis of conscience, Girik offers his help to untangle a web of lies—even if it means getting closer than he ever imagined and committing sacrilege in the process.

With a monster lurking in the forest, a wandering mage mysteriously appearing, and more secrets awakening to unravel the truths of their world, Tas and Girik must make grave decisions. A life without danger seems a far-off hope, but love just might be theirs… if they survive.




Fish on a Bicycle
by Amy Lane
Fish Out of Water: Book Five
Jackson Rivers has always bucked the rules—and bucking the rules of recovery is no exception. Now that he and Ellery are starting their own law firm, there’s no reason he can’t rush into trouble and take the same risks as always, right?

Maybe not. Their first case is a doozy, involving porn stars, drug empires, and daddy issues, and their client, Henry Worrall, wants to be an active participant in his own defense. As Henry and Jackson fight the bad guys and each other to find out who dumped the porn star in the trash can, Jackson must reexamine his assumptions that four months of rest and a few good conversations have made him all better inside. 

Jackson keeps crashing his bicycle of self-care and a successful relationship, and Ellery wonders what’s going to give out first—Jackson’s health or Ellery’s patience. Jackson’s body hasn’t forgiven him for past crimes. Can Ellery forgive him for his current sins? And can they keep Henry from going to jail for sleeping with the wrong guy at the wrong time?

Being a fish out of water is tough—but if you give a fish a bicycle, how’s he going to swim?

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Tuesday--I promise.

Okay-- so usually there is Kermit Flail on the first Monday of the month. I have problems though, when it's a Monday holiday--I'll be honest.

I hope it's okay if I make it Tuesday. I should make that a regular rule, right? But anyway-- Tuesday it shall be--mostly because I'm pretty sure I can finish this book and finish the edit I've been putting off by Tuesday, so working late Monday Night will be a VACATION, and not interrupting the last 5K of what is looking to be a sprint to the deadly finish.

I'm not kidding--I've put off two public appearances to get this done--mostly because I've got ANOTHER deadline RIGHT on its heels, and it's a hard deadline and I sort of have to make it. So, I'm locked in deadline hell, and, well, Kermit Flail will get put off until Tuesday, like housework and that diet I've been meaning to start for ten years.

Anyway...

This happened today, and I put it on FaceBook but I sort of want it on the blog because that often lasts longer. There's an addendum to it, because every story has an ending, right?

I am finishing a book today. That is established. But Mate surprised me with some plans to clean out what should be Squish's room, so she can have her own bed etc. As I related this to Big T, I got pretty ambitious.
"So, like, today you can help Dad clean out Squish's room, and then we can clean out ZB's and we can get rid of all their stuff and we can get them regular beds instead of bunk beds and they can paint the walls and have drawers like human beings and we can rip out the carpeting and get them area rugs and it will be a whole home renovation theme for Christmas. Right?"
Mate *stunned* Oh my God.
Me: Yeah, that came out a little more involved than you proposed.
Mate: You just kept going. And going.
Me: Fist bump?
Mate: NO!
Me: No fist bump?
Mate: Who's going to do all that work?
Me: You. And the kids maybe.
Mate: No fist bump. No. No fist bump.
Me: That's totally fair.

So, the addendum is that I came home, put in headphones, and wrote 2K, then went down for a nap. When I woke up, Mate and the kids had cleaned furniture out of Squish's room, and now she's all excited about cleaning it up and donating stuff to goodwill and making a space for herself.

They all deserve so much more than a fist bump.

But first, I need to finish this GDB! (Thanks, Karen Rose, for the acronym. Goddamned book will remain in my vocabulary until the end of time.)