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

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Holy gods,” Aerk said into the sudden silence, “Did you see his…” and then the rest of the men filled in the blank at the exact same moment.
“Scars?” From Keon, with a raised eyebrow.
“Income!” Said Dimitri, impressed.
“Muscles!” Exclaimed Marv and Jino in jealous tandem. They fenced a lot and were proud of the breadth of their chests

I had a bunch of kids this last year who were in my room two years in a row. Marvin Wingate was one of them, and his friend Jino ditched honors classes to hang with Marvin. Both boys were playful, honorable, and fun. Jino reads lots of thick books, fast--fantasy adventure mostly, and although Marvin shared his friend's taste in books, he tended to become passionately involved in one book for a long time. I turned him on to Blood and Chocolate after Chicken read it, and after that, I even lent him Chicken's copy of Twilight.

He hated the movie adaptation of Blood and Chocolate--both of us did. He did an entire book report poster showing us what Blood and Chocolate SHOULD have looked like--especially if the characters had been African American.

He would have loved the adaptation of Twilight--we would have talked about it for a week.

Jino was the thoughtful soldier, and although Marv tended to act first and think later, he relied on Jino for insight.

Both boys were intrigued with the books--they wanted a part. Absolutely, I said. I need a group of young men, regents, for Bitter Moon II. You guys can be two of them. They were STOKED. Both of them. Fantasy adventure is their THING--but, (of course!) they had to be straight. They knew I wrote a lot of 'sexually fluid' characters, and they wanted to make sure the world knew they were straight. (Not that there's anything WRONG with the other...but no, no, they weren't... just to keep the record, uhm, straight.)

Marv ran up to Torrant then, his tightly curled hair sticking on end from nervous hands ripping through it.

Marvin had dark skin, curly hair, and a crooked, sweet grin. He tended to wear beaters (tank tops) to show off his body--he worked out, he was cute, and he knew it. He was also a gentleman. He was never disrespectful. He always did what he needed for his grade, but he also enjoyed it. When I asked my Juniors to compare a modern piece of poetry with an older one, he compared Tupac's 'Thug's Paradise', to William Cullen Bryant's 'Thanatopsis'. It was his favorite song, and it just seemed to fit. It was one of my best projects--even if it was late.

“Oi—Eljean—who’s your friend?” Marv asked from a nearby table, and then looked surprised when Jino elbowed him sharply in the side.

Marvin was blunt, and always spoke his mind--Jino very often smacked him or elbowed him or rolled his eyes until Marv got the things that weren't being said. But sometimes, Marv got those things--he just wanted deeper insight into them. He liked understanding. He liked stories. He loved movies. Did I mention we got along for two years?

I was really looking forward to Bitter Moon II coming out--I wanted to call those boys in and give them a copy to share, to show people that yes, they really were in a book.

And I went into work this morning and read my back e-mail for two months, and somewhere in July there was a message saying that Marvin had drowned, and the service had past and, well, there it was.

I came home and looked up what had happened, and found a memorial clip on youtube--the song used in the background was 'Thugs Paradise', by Tupac.

Marvin, you dumbshit kid, I was supposed to watch you graduate. I was supposed to see you go off into the Marines. I was supposed to get a visit from you and Jino sometime in the future when you told me what you'd done for yourself. It was going to be fucking glorious, dude--I had no doubts whatsoever.

I was not supposed to get an e-mail telling me you'd died for no reason whatsoever, under the I-5 underpass in the Sacramento River. If you happen to talk to the Goddess up there, you might let Her know that I'm very upset about this, and that I hold grudges for at least a school year. You tell Her that--tell her that I'm not going to get over this until I watch Jino and Carrie and Megan and Kylie and Alyssa all walk the stage, without you. Because I would have treasured that hug I got at the end--it would have been one of the best parts of my job.

And I'm cheated, and you know that pisses me off. And Marvin--make sure She knows you like pop-tarts and crackers, skateboarding and really good books about werewolves and vampires. And that even if I didn't know you'd left when it happened, you are going to leave one big fucking hole in my year, buddy, and that's no shit.

Tell Her you're in a book, and you're going to live forever. And that's all I got for you, and it's not enough, not even a little bit, not even at all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blogging is the ultimate evil?

No, no, no--that's BLOGGER is the ultimate evil. Lewis Black got it wrong.

Seriously--I'm listening to Lewis Black right now, doing his 'versus' program which is really pretty fucking hilarious, except now bloggers are on the chopping block against ultimate fighting, and I'm getting all defensive. All I really want to do is send Patton Oswald a note that says, "I DO NOT SPELL 'RULES' WITH A 'Z'", and then I'll get over it. But really, Ultimate Fighting should lose--because I said so, that's why.

Anyway--I'm off to school tomorrow to decorate my room and make my copies and basically remember my damned day job. I'm thinking it might not suck this year (as I do every year--it's the same self-defense mechanism that makes it possible for complete morons like me to go through more than one labor without heavy drugs) because I've got some ideas to make it not suck, and I'm looking forward to trying those puppies out. I also now know to treat sophomores like rabid meat bees instead of tamed, drugged goldfish, and I think that might help. So will locking up all of my valuables and running out of school like a meth-powered demented bat from the depths of a demon's ass in hell at the beginning of lunch. So see--it will all be good.

And this picture thing is really pissing me off!!! I'm just dumbfounded that every time I try to post a picture it takes a half an hour for the fucker NOT to post. People keep telling me to 'compress' my photos. That's an interesting concept. I wonder how people do that. No, no, don't try to explain. The more I write the more my math logic becomes closer to a stoned moth's flight pattern than real math, and I have the feeling that an explanation for 'how to compress photos' will look, to me, like an excuse to stare at my ott-light and go 'ooooooo...pretty...'.

And other than that? Well, one funny thing. Ladybug has been making me crazy all summer--she wants to see 'mahna mahna' on you-tube. . I've let her watch it because, hey, it's a bizarre form of baby crack and I am not immune, but I had forgotten completely about our secret weapon. We have Season 1 of the the Muppet Show on dvd--and she found it.

So I put it in the dvd player, and Chicken is unrelentingly positive. "I don't know if it's on this one. I don't know if she'll see it. She'll be all disappointed." And I was like, "Hey--just let her watch it and let's see what happens."

And first there was the Muppet Show theme song--which Ladybug recognized from youtube, and there was much rejoicing.

And then, there it was. The first number on the first show on the first disc. MAHNA-MAHNA. And Ladybug lost her mind, dancing on the frickin' bed. It was beeyoootiful--one of my top five moments of the summer.

And now, since the requisite half an hour to get my pictures published is up, I must go and finish my M/M romance short story--a friend and I have already decided that I suck at erotica, so it's just a romance. With some hot mansex. (As Chicken said, "I know what that story is about mom. It's what you always write about. Gay guys and vampires." Well, yeah?) I've only got about fifteen pages to go--the, uhm, aforementioned hot sexin ones, and, well, I've been waiting for two years to write a super hot sex scene. It's like Sexmas! So here goes--Merry Sexmas to me!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ah, silence...

Chicken is home, Chicken is home!

Hence the reason I'm posting at dark-thirty a.m.--for some reason she expected her return to be cause to spend all my time with her, catching up on tv instead of playing about on the bloody computer. Silly girl, but I indulged her for the day, got little done, either in the house, in the writing, or in the blogging, but I did get to talk to my beloved Chicken. I may ask her to do a guest blog this week--we shall see.

Hmm... and news?

*Movie day tomorrow--we're taking the short people to the sitters and the tall people to the show, and, glory hallelujia, mama finally gets to see Batman and Hellboy 2--it may actually be summer!

* And if it is summer, it won't be for long. I go in on Thursday to decorate my room and print out my stuff and make copies for the first day of school. I do this because we'll be on vacation next week, which is the week before school, and I need to have that shit done, or I'll be having 'naked teacher' and 'I slept through school' dreams for the entirety of next year.

* Potty training. After such an auspicious beginning, Ladybug has decided that potty training is really a matter for the gods of whimsy and not the gods of discipline. This wouldn't be a problem if she wouldn't take off the poopy diaper before bringing it to mama's attention.

* The Cave Troll. Was getting out of the bath today when I noticed a HIDEOUS BRUISE on his upper arm. I was FREAKING OUT...OMG--who grabbed him, what did he run into, who did I have to kill? And then Mate stepped forward as the voice of reason. "Uhm, Cave Troll--did you suck on that part of your arm?" Ayup. Little shit gave himself the biggest fucking hickey of all times. We told him not to do that anymore, it freaks mommy the frack out.

* Big T. Did dishes. Really, that's all I have to report--he's a good kid, and he has great taste in music, television, and movies, and he's a very good big brother, but he's 15. He really is his own bizarre person right now--although he tends to spend a lot of time in his room, but for those of you who've seen 'Young Frankenstein'? Yeah, well, enough said.

* Chicken. One of her best lines today upon coming home, (besides, "What did you do to my rat that she tried to bite you?" The response to this, "We weren't you!" did not satisfy her in the least.) was, "Mom--remember that Cold Case episode? The one that sucked?" To which her father replied, "They all suck, dammit--why does mom even let you WATCH that show?" Okay--if you were here for the entry on Cold Case, that was frickin hilarious.

* Blogger. Blogger sucks. Sucks a lot, sucks big time, sucks tremendously. I'll let you know when blogger stops sucking--it will be easy to spot. Blogger will officially stop sucking when it POSTS MY FUCKING PICTURES. Because right now? The short people will be in grad school before you get to see that fucking sweater.

* Lady in Red. Don't cry, my friend--this year, we both resolve not to let the bastards get us down. (Not that she would cry, but since we both have to go back, I'm thinking she may want to.)

* Roxie. Sent me the most lushious, scrumptious yarn for responding to her *gasp* 600th post. I'd show it to you but, well. yeah. Fucking blogger. But lovely, generous, classy, amazing, wonderful Roxie. Bless her--people who send me yarn already have a special place in my heart, but people like Roxie just make the world a better place by being amazing and smart and wonderful--she knits for charity CONSTANTLY and if you visit her blog, you'll see what good karma is all about...and I'm gushing, and NOT so she'll send me more yarn. Love you, darling--thanks for brightening up my days:-)

* Knitting. Baby sweater for friend's baby. Beaded Lace. Chicken's acrylic sweater. And seven blessed pairs of frickin' socks. Well, one pair is coming to a close--may they all be in a similar situation soon.

And blogger still sucks, so I'm signing off!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Glad Tidings!

(And Galad tidings:-)

I just checked Galad's blog, and sister's got some serious sock action going on--go, girlfriend!

About the cat--thank you. I knew you would be supportive, which is why I pushed 'publish' on that rather rambling, emotional post, and you all were exactly what I needed. Thank you. I'll let you know what the verdict is, but so far, he's not looking spiffy.

But the original glad tidings--Chicken is coming home tomorrow! Yaaay! The house has been sooooooo quiet these last three weeks...I'm not sure if I'll be able to deal with the sudden onslaught of teenaged conversation, but I'm looking forward to giving it a shot. My beautiful Chicken--is there going to be a better way for her to start high school than all confident from this trip? I'm hoping not.

Oh--weird tidings. Big T is getting a beard. He looks like such a beatnik--hopefully Dad will step up and teach him how to shave, but Mate is putting this chore off and I'm afraid I might have to do it. Let's hope I don't give him sound advice on how to rip his face off, eh?

And book tidings. Eric has finished Bitter Moon II--I may have mentioned that already, but I'm not quite ready to go back to it. I need just a little bit more space from that monster before I try my next edit, so I'm working on that short attached to Green's Hill--and enjoying it. Not a lot of plot development, not too much detail--just a quick and dirty character sketch, some conflict and some romance. It's like making toast. Filling, tasty, and easy. Except, think toast with raisin bread or parmesan cheese (but not both together). Because it's REALLY tasty. And Cory and Bracken and Green will make appearances. Lots of Green, actually--and it's a kick to get back to them. I'm all aglow with my wise move to nurture my creativity now, everybody watch as I bask... okay, basking done, now I'm stressing about time again. All is right with the world. (I should be sending B-Moon II off to Roxie and Bonnie in a couple of weeks, so it probably won't be done before September, but October is looking promising:-)

And yarn tidings. (Please, blogger, load...load, dammit, load!) Anyway, I'm trying to load a picture of the 'thing' I've been working on for Ladybug. Should the picture actually load, (come ON motherfucker, come ON!!!) you may notice that the thing is being worn by the Cave Troll. That's because yarn grows in water. But it's promising. If it fits Cave Troll now, it will fit Ladybug for years, and I can start on Cave Troll's sweater next. (Actually, I'm doing a friends' grandbaby's sweater next--it should be a short knit. Gotta love those YARN GIRLS books!) . So, what Cave Troll is wearing is two rectangles framed by seed stitch--the frames done in a different self-striping yarn than the regular rectangles. I set the rectangles sideways--and brother did they stretch--but made the sleeves the usual way. Add a hood and some contrasting seed-stitch edging, and voila! A rather distinctive sweater in Ladybug's favorite colors. Pink, dark pink, light pink, purple, and fuschia!

And that's it. I'm walking away now, and if blogger has loaded by the end of my movie, you're getting one crappy picture of a rather bizarre kid sweater. Yippee!!!

(Alas, no pictures tonight--that's the umpteenth time I tried to upload, and I draw the line at umpteen+1. Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow... Oh hey--that reminds me. "The Reduced Shakespeare Company"-- if you have Netflix, look this one up--you won't be sorry in the least!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

And on a happier note...

I think Ladybug has potty-trained herself.

She's been insisting she sit on the potty--taking off her pull-up and scrambling up there and waiting for something magical to happen, but none (none!) of our children have been potty-trained before three, so we were just sort of indulging her--you know, "Isn't that cute? She wants to be like Cave Troll?"

And yesterday, she sat up there and went poop. And I was surprised.

And this morning, she woke up with a dry diaper, ran for the pot, and went pee. And now I'm shocked.

And I need to add one more thing to my list of stuff to buy, because that sort of initiative has earned her some Dora and La la la (Little Mermaid) underwear, don't you? Because if she doesn't get it, this may just go away!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In which I reveal that I have no soul whatsoever.

*sigh* Okay--first of all, I'm having a cat problem.

Dennis Quaid has been looking skankier and skankier--I finally caved and took him to the bank I mean the vets today, knowing that after fixing my PWT ticket, the last thing our bank account could take is a vet bill from hell. I told them seriously that although DQ is a definitely a million dollar kitty, the most we could afford right at this moment was $250. I was pretty much told that $250 MIGHT cover his first round of tests. They took a look at his teeth, told me that there was something 'unusual' about the lesions in his mouth, and I said, "Unusual sounds like at least $1500, and we can't do that." And I felt bad. I mean HORRIBLE. Because we can do that--but we'd have to give up vacation and a finished bathroom to do that. I looked at the kitty--and trust me folks, he's a good kitty--and thought, "Is this what I've become? A mother who would sacrifice her cat so she can take the kids to San Diego?" Except, San Diego's paid for, and the cat is not. We have been working our asses off not to open another credit card--mostly because we wouldn't be able to make the payments, and I'm looking at my kitty, thinking about all of my short sightedness and all the things I could have not bought if it would have meant I'd have $1500 to pay for the damned cat's dental work.

And I couldn't face the decision today. I asked them for something that would ease his pain and help his immune system, thinking that most creatures, when faced with the loss of pain, will start healing themselves. I told them we'd meet back in a month and see if maybe a little bit of help might make all the difference. The vet looked at me like I was a horrible cat mommy, and I am, and I took the poor guy home--and then bathed him because he pissed himself in the cage--and started to wonder about how seriously screwed my priorities are.

Because I do have a royalty check coming in at the end of August that might (MIGHT) cover his dental work--but I was planning on putting it back in to the book business--either buying books for the book signing I've already committed to, (Horror-Con, 2008, Scottish Rite Temple, Sacramento CA, Sept. 26-27) or publishing Bitter Moon II--maybe both, since I'm probably making a profit from the investment in the books.

So I have a month of pain meds and antibiotics in which to decide if I'm a horrible awful person, or if I do have a soul after all.

And to make this dilemma even more fun? While I was laying the little kids down for their nap, the vet called, and told my older son that euthenasia was probably the best option. Now this sort of pissed me off, because shouldn't mommy be the one telling Son that her selfish pursuit of her publishing dreams is going to result in a dead kitty? And seriously--the cat is STILL ALIVE. And yes, his teeth hurt him, but he's still eating and he's still drinking and he's still getting around, and honestly? My feet hurt and I occasionally crap blood, but if anyone tried to put me down because these things aren't getting better, I'd be seriously PISSED OFF--wouldn't you?

So here I am--wondering how I'm going to pay for my next book, and feeling bad because that next book might mean one more pathetic body in our little weedy graveyard in the front of the house.

How did I get to be Doctor Death anyway? It's not how I started out. I started out wanting a cat. I like cats. Cats are independent, and they're affectionate and they're entertainment. Until I had kids, I thought that cats were the world's greatest nurturing commitment to the universe. But now I have kids, and it's looking like that trip to San Diego might really trump the cat, and I'm not sure when my soul became negotiable for a chance to get the fuck out of town and buy more crap to trip over.

*sigh* Personally, I might want to consider a long term investment in a five-year's supply of kitty morphine, because he sure was a happy camper when we gave him that, and I'm pretty sure that even addicting the cat to morphine is less expensive than anesthesia and dental surgery--besides the fact that the whole wad of illegal cash wouldn't be due right before school starts and vacation starts and my first chance at infiltrating the local book circuit EVER is due. And a stoned kitty is better than a dead kitty, right?

The book store I'm aligned with has already put my name out on the net--not that it's a big draw, mind you, but they've put themselves out for me, and that's sort of an "I gave my word" thing. Who knows--maybe I'll find a kitty drug pusher at Horror-Con--I mean, the Goddess has got to have a plan on this one, right? Because right now I am fresh out of options.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer blogging...

(shimmy bop bop, shimmy bop bop, shimmy bop bop yeah...)

Now see the problem with summer blogging is that I have both too much and too little to talk about.

I have too little, because basically? I hang with the kids, keep them from killing each other, and run the occasional errand.

I have too much because my whackoid gray matter goes into overdrive and I have this bizarre urge to comment on EVERYTHING, from the adorable kittens at the Pet Smart shelter, to the fact that Ladybug lost an earring, to Big T's new facial hair. And at the time it occurs to me to comment? I'm freakin' hilarious. By the time I actually sit down to blog? My brain is as active as the fly's brain on your windshield, and just as coherent.

Weird shit, seriously. Weird ass shit.

Anyway--here are a few of the once-brilliant and now just sort of weird observations I have made in the last two days.

1. The editing process sucks. You send your baby out to a perfectly nice person, and suddenly you are a katydid's back-leg from RIPPING HIS FACE OFF for telling you exactly what you need to hear. I DO need to fix the parts we've talked about. THAT'S what readers are for. And he's a nice kid. (And Eric, don't stop. I promise--your face will remain where it should be.) And to make matters worse? You become the neediest version of yourself. "So what about this part? Was it okay? Was it good for you? Did it move you? Was the prose thin? What? Too many weepy men? WHO SAYS THERE ARE TOO MANY WEEPY MEN? Oh, wait... don't take that the wrong way..."

It's a good thing my editors are nice people, used to seeing me in a tizzy, or I'd be sunk.

2. I need to parent full time to figure out how to parent full time. Seriously--I'm on vacation. A part of me resents having to babysit on vacation. A part of me wants them to go play by themselves without beating the living shit out of each other. (Did I mention that lost earring? Yeah. I blame her brother.) Most of me is glad to see them everyday, but a part of me is pissed that my feet hurt because it's feeling the need to go hauling ass over the neighborhood listening to my ipod at ear-blistering volumes so that I might exorcise the demons that plague the mother who has heard one to many shrieks and wails of "Mo---oom... she/he screwed me over just by being born!"

3. I can't just jump on Rampant. I can't. I actually thought about it, because everyone wants some, but I'm reeling from the ginormity of BMoon II, and I don't think I can really start Rampant until I've got that monkey in the lap of iUniverse and off my back. To that end, I'm writing porn. Well, no, not real porn, but I am doing that m/m shorty I've been nattering about forever--it's going to tie into Green's Hill, and it's got a couple of hunters in it like the ones in Supernatural only not, uhm, ick, RELATED BY BLOOD! And I'm getting a big assed kick from writing fiction in which I can use the word 'motherfucker' with impunity again. Cory is only a short story away:-)

4. I'm actually working on something NOT a sock and NOT an acrylic sweater. A billion years ago, on the way home from Stitches, I cast on something with a cut-rate 100% wool somethin' somethin' I bought. I had some vague parameters: Ladybug's colors, (purple, pink, fuschia and pink) Ladybug's dimensions, and...well, that was it. What I'm ending up with is sort of a cool Jesus sweater with seed stitch borders. I fucked up the neck big time--because I constructed it sideways, and I'm too stupid to figure out where the center is--but I'm gonna pull up a hood along the neckline and you'll never know. And if you do know, it won't matter, because I'll accidentally forget to remember that it can only be washed in glacier water three times filtered through qiviut knit by yogi gurus on a sevenday fast in the glandular secretions of the nik nik bird during mating season but NOT after it's been mated. And since a virgin nik nik bird is about as rare as a virgin ANYTHING in Green's HIll, I'm thinking that it's destined to felt and be sewed up as a purse in it's second life--if the neckline FU doesn't hide itself in shame like it's supposed to.

5. And that's it. Except I think I've probably saturated my kids in me-ness. Today? They asked to go back to the babysitters. Honeymoon over!

Edited for Needletart to add: A Jesus sweater is California slang for something that looks like a guy with long hair and a wispy beard might be wearing while drinking wine on the beach with friends. The ones around when I was in high school were usually woven in Mexico with a slit-placket opening in front and a tied by the neck to keep the hood up. They pretty much fall straight from shoulders to ass, and for some reason have vertical stripes--although that last part is optional:-)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Great Outdoors

It dawned on me, as the day made it up to a scant 90, and the breeze blew, that our crappy air quality we've had until recently has done it's nasty, destructive little job. We have become an exclusively indoor family, pale trolls, huddling in our craptacular home, excavating through the toy detritus for something interesting to do.

Today, I thought, I'd take the little kids outside on a NON-pool day, and let them play in the backyard. How charming. How suburban. How getting-the-hell-out-of-the-dustbowl Dodge!

And for about fifteen minutes, it was adorable. Seriously--totally charming. The Cave Troll sat on the stoop and played 'guys'. I knit. Ladybug stripped down to her bare ass and sat in the wading pool with her new stuffed dog. (Yes. You read that right. Stuffed. I said it was charming, I didn't say there were no toy casualties.)

And then Ladybug spotted something floating in the pool. Remember last year's near miss with the brown thing in the pool? Uhm, yeah. I wish.

So she walks up to me with the, uhm, brown thing, that had been floating in the pool, and I do the mature thing indicating that I am a grown-up. (You know what's coming, right? I thought so.)

I scream so loud that she drops the, uhm, brown thing on the ground at my feet.

And then the dog ate it.

And while I was contemplating the horror and utter disgustingness (is there a better word? C'mon, out there--a bunch of you are English majors, help a sister out!) of the dog's, uhm, 'snack', Ladybug went back to the wading pool, rinsed off her hands and picked up her wet (ugh!) stuffed dog.

She brought it back to me, and I picked up yesterday's towel to sop up the water. There were some ants on the towel.

Ladybug, apparently, is as mortally afraid of ants now as she is of flies.

By the time I calmed her down, convinced her that the ants were okay, that ants were all good, they were baby ants and really, baby ants were harmless, The Cave Troll had gone inside for more Spiderman toys. Everyone knows all the good ones are in the toy detritus and not on the stoop, right? But I'm still hoping for some idyllic time in the cool summer sunshine, so I"m persevering, and Ladybug seems to be getting into the bugs. She squats over the concrete and introduces me to them. "See, i's an ANT. I's an ANT mama, I'S AN ANT!!!"

"Uhm, no..." I say, taking a closer look at one of them, "I think that's a baby spider."

She gets this look on her face that I can only describe as a 'hurt cringe'. "A spider, mama?"

"Yeah, sweetie, a baby spider."

Her lower lip sticks out, and she sort of shrinks into my arm and my knee. "Mama," she says miserably, "Less go inSIDE. Less go in-SIDE, mama...wan go in-SIDE."

Oh well. Maybe tomorrow we can make it to 30 minutes.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Masochistic Tendencies, Revealed

It's gonna be a short post.

I finished the first edit, sent the kaboodle off to blessed Eric, with instructions that read, loosely, "I think I have a detail muddle in the fourth section, but I need some space. I'll take care of it when you're done."

Then I proceeded to sit down and rework that detail muddle--which wasn't as bad as I thought, but, really, can't I even take a vacation during my vacation?

And then, speaking of masochism...

I've got this...well, I'd call it an affinity. Mate would call it an obsession. Either way, the show is called Cold Case, and the first time I saw it, I said, "Oh no. Uh-uh. Without a Trace is one thing--that one at LEAST has a possibility for a happy ending. With Cold Case, YOU KNOW THE WORST HAPPENS. And the explanation, you know, the one you sat through the show to see? Well yeah--it usually yanks your heart out with a pair of steel cables and a garden winch."

And now I'm hooked. Totally hooked. I dvr all of the back episodes and sit in the dark of night and knit and watch the damned show when nobody can interrupt my helpless sobbing. I snap at people who talk to me. Mate will walk in, see me blubbering like an idiot and say, "Rough episode?" *sniff* *sniff* " YYYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS..... "*sob* *sniffle* and then Mate, who, during the episode of ER in which Mark Green died of a brain tumor and they played that hopelessly sentimental Hawaiian version of "Over the Rainbow" was right there with me, fetal on the couch and sobbing his little heart out, will say, "Thank God I missed it--I don't need that." He's been caught a couple of times, looking over my shoulder when he's supposed to be playing WoW and saying, "That sucked. That sucked large. Damn you and this fucking show, I'm going to bed now where nobody can see me cry and revoke my man card." (I don't have the heart to tell him that the testosterone police came by and revoked it after he dragged me to see Sex and the City--let him dream.)

But I think I've got the appeal pegged, finally. It's the MUSIC. I've already admitted that I"m a soundtrack junkie, and when they pick the perfect period music to soundtrack these tragic moments...holy bats, crapman, THAT'S MY MILIEU! That's HOW I THINK.

That, and I actually heard a Gordon Lightfoot song on a major network anything, dated in the 2000ds. Gordon's my man, folks--my first Canadian crush, my gateway drug to Tanya Huff, Bouchard Gardents, Victoria, the San Juan Islands, and our beloved Harlot. I mean, any show that plays Gordon can't be all about getting it's kicks from my pain, can it?

Yeah, yeah, I know. Whatever helps me sleep at night, knowing I get my kicks off of other people's pain, right? Oh wait... wouldn't that make me a sadist? Whatever. I'm gonna go knit and cry some more. It's therapy!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Colleagues, Satan, and driving PWT...

Okay--a few months ago, we were sitting in the lunch room and the song "Devil went down to Georgia" came up in conversation. Don't ask me how, the gods were drinking happy juice (or, as the Samurai speculates, the four horsemen of the apocalypse came down for bong-water), but anyway, there's this song.

And there's me, my sarcastic, uber-organized department head and the crusty, sarcastic curmudgeon guy that I love like a brother, and we're SINGING THE FUCKING SONG. No kidding. First word to violin solo, and that awesome last line. (I done told you once, you son of a bitch, I'm the best that's ever been.)

And I bring this up because I had managed to persuade myself that school wasn't really four weeks away, when I was at water aerobics, and the instructor PLAYED THAT FUCKING SONG.

Guys, if you're out there and today you suddenly slipped into a hyperbolic turquoise paisley dream? Yeah. That was me. Thinking of you. And remembering that I do have a dayjob. *sigh* And if that's not the devil's work, I don't know what is.

But now to the bulk of my entry: driving PWT.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, (okay, maybe two guys read the blog:-) I got busted driving PWT. It's my fault, really--when you take the Lane family crap-mobile out of Citrus Heights, it gets noticed. When you take it to FOLSOM, the root of the uber-skinny stay-at-home mother with the gym membership and the shopping addiction, the polite, fresh-faced, clean-cut CHP officer is going to notice that you don't fit in.

And then you get it. Your ticket for being Poor White Trash, just SLAPPED IN YOUR FACE, and reminding you that you don't, nor have you ever, nor will you ever afford to, live in Folsom, where driving PWT is not allowed.

Now, the ticket didn't SAY PWT--what it said was, "Please fix your broken tail-light, cracked windshield, expired registration, smog certificate and find your proof of insurance some time before the next apocalypse--or the end of August, depending on your willingness to drive at all."

If that isn't driving PWT in a yuppie SUV zone, I don't know what is.

And if the litany of PWT transgressions wasn't enough on paper, I had a little taste of what it's like to be the mother of PWT at the gym today.

It started after I dried off from my aerobics class and took bathing suits and swim diapers in to the short people in the play zone. Ladybug came up to me and asked me to put on her shoes, so I dropped the bathing suits on the floor, and complied with my little Squishy Belle, and then I turned to Cave Troll and said, "Holy God, Cave Troll, put on your clothes!" because he'd stripped naked right there in the play area to put his swimsuit on without waiting for the changing room

I was, of course, mortified--but I figured, well, it's an isolated incident.

Until after we were done swimming when I realized that I'd forgotten to bring Ladybug's clothes in from the car.

I marched her out to the car wearing a diaper and her pretty pretty princess shoes, wondering if they made T-Shirts or had interventions for this sort of thing, or if I'm destined to be driving PWT for the rest of my life.

Oh yeah--and more "Me!"

Because, you know, insomnia needs a cure!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Can't talk, gotta edit...

Boy, I'm obsessed.

I was going to send the whole massive kerfluffle to Eric and then enjoy my time without the book on my lap...but I couldn't. I needed a read through first, so Eric is going to have to wait. (Sorry, brother...but I hope it will be worth it...)

But I didn't realize how badly I'd driven myself until I was in the yarn store. The first (and probably last) time in months that I'm in the yarn store sans children. I was there for a class, and a yarn exchange...and it was Saturday morning. Uhm...did you all catch the time stamp on my last blog post?

Yeah. I got there, and my brain leaked out my ears to be replaced by the grand finale of the 1812 Overture played on hacksaws and razor blades. After an attempt to buy yarn (it got tangled on the winder and I had to go back for it today) I made my way home with the help of a second 32 oz of soda, mumbled something to Mate that made no sense at all, and passed out for 3 hours, waking up every so often when Ladybug came in and sat on my head.

Woke up, and got right back on the computer--and obviously not to blog.

I'm starting to see why artists make such lousy parents/spouses/friends because I'm having a hard time focussing on anything but GETTING THIS MANUSCRIPT TO A PLACE WHERE I AM NO LONGER RESPONSIBLE FOR IT.

I, uhm, also want someone to read it and tell me that it's decent. I'd settle for decent. What would really flip my switch is if someone tells me that they cried as much reading it as I did writing it, but I'm not holding my breath--I'm sure part of that was emotional instability cause by sleep deprivation and PMS.

Anyway, Chicken has been gone for five days, and I am starting to get Chicken withdrawals. Her brother went camping with Grandma and Grandpa today, which means the house is now eerily quiet--and I have no one to chase short people while I'm pretending to be a novelist, so I can't promise a whole lot of interaction this week--which is too bad, because I think I could really use the perspective of catching up with you all!!!

Oh yeah--and to celebrate an 800 page (after two days of editing it's up to 797--I think that it will get to 800 pages, don't you?) project, I cast on lace. With beads. Where are the men in the white suits to take you to the booby hatch when you need it? (Galad, that last one was for you, because you have kept me out of the booby hatch all month:-)

Oh--I must ask--is there a retirement home for old Happy Meal toys? Because we've got a crapload that need to go age SOMEWHERE ELSE.

And one more thing--Am I the only one who cries uncontrollably during Wall-E? Or was that hormones? Just curious.

Oh yeah--Which is worse, spiders or flies? Because we let (okay, IIIIIIII let) a shitload of flies in the other day, and the next morning, they were just gone. Because, you know, the spiders ate them. And we started wondering if maybe just buying a Gecko to eat the spiders wouldn't be the ultimate in organic housecleaning, you think?

And that's it--I'm out!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Celebrational Quickie

What are we celebrating?

Well, first, the forum troll seems to have wandered off--and thank you all for your support and good wishes. For those of you who wanted to do something--mostly, (and only if you have time), make your vote count. If you have an account, go in to my page (or C.S. Marks') and vote 'yes' for the reviews you like, and 'no' for those that you think are abrasive, cruel, or unhelpful--it's that simple. For the most part, although the troll did a lot of superficial damage, I don't think it got into anything structural--it looks as though the integrity of my work and everybody else's reviews will still stand. So I'm celebrating living through a forum troll hit--huzzah! And I didn't have to kill anything, virtual or otherwise!

And second?

Well, it will be a week before I send the text to Eric for the first read through, and there will be two more revisions after that, and a lot of angsting and some freaking out because this fucker has come to 793 pages and won't be any shorter by the end, and I'm just gobsmacked by the length of this puppy but, as of right now, at 1:36 a.m., Bitter Moon II: Triane's Son Reigning has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The first draft is done, and I'm a little weepy and a little stunned and a lot proud of it. This bitch ripped my heart out to write--damn, I hope it's not dreck.

And on that note, shall we all join in the traditional prayer of a completed Amy Lane work? Everybody together now:

Holy Goddess, Merciful God, LET IT NOT SUCK!!!

Canyagimmehallelujia? Amen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I didn't do it this time, I swear!

Okay--I"ll blog about it.

I've been hit.

A forum troll on found my book pages and started posting false reviews--and, even worse (because the review was an obvious personal attack--and obviously fabricated!) started voting down all of the legitimate reviews for my books using different identities. Enough negative reviews, and those good reviews go away--and there I am, fucked large.

As a whole, we've decided to ignore this person on the forum--you don't feed a troll, and it starves. (This one tried to have a conversation with itself in the middle of one of our discussions. Rather pathetic, really.) But the thing is, I've finally learned enough about this medium to learn things like that--you know, don't feed forum trolls or blog trolls because they bloat and fart and become truly disgusting creatures, crapping on your feet? What I haven't learned is WHY people do it.

How sad does your life have to be to obsess about wrecking someone else's life like that? My books were doing fairly well--I was starting to hope that the income from them would make my part-time transition go a little more smoothly this year. If nothing else, it would help fund the copies I need to bring for my signing in September, and the publishing of Bitter Moon II--not to mention school clothes for the kids, school supplies, dentistry, surprise car repairs... you know, basic living.

Now? I mean, most folks are smart enough to read between the lines with a forum troll--but not everybody. I wasn't, when I first started out. This person assaulted my credibility, (claimed all of my good reviews were written by 'sock puppets'--while using sock puppets to trash them--colonic invasive procedures are too good for this troll, I"m telling you) attacked me personally in the review, and now is endangering my income from this small business venture I'd managed (against considerable odds) to make successful. And I just want to rant and scream and kick something--I mean, what was the point? What has this person ever given to the world besides venom and worthlessness? When has this person ever ventured honest sweat and tears for anything? What has it made, created, or blessed with their words, presence, thoughts or deeds? What is its substance that they think this is a reasonable thing to do?

I don't know. I know that before I blogged about this, I contemplated how gratifying it would be for the troll to read the blog, and I almost didn't open the page.

But then I thought, "Fuck. Him. Fuck him." I have pictures of my children on this blog, I have pictures of my husband, of my cats, and of my knitting. I have proof of a life beyond my books, and of real heart and soul and substance IN my books. If this one lame-assed brainsickly cockroach wants to try to crawl into my life, let it see what it is violating. It is violating a real person, with children who benefit from my success and suffer with my failures. It is fucking with a real income and a real, if tenuous, thread of storytelling that comes from a genuine writer, with genuine credentials and genuine intentions. I fuck up, I succeed, I apologize, I work my ASS off--and if I'm the person this troll wants to fuck with, then let it come fuck with me for real.

You want some food, motherfucker? Bring it on--I'll feed you myself.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bon Voyage, Chicken

Well, there were many happy adventures in San Francisco, but the result was the same.

Mama's little Chicken is off and flying--as of last text message she was in L.A., and tomorrow (or Friday the 11th because of the whole dateline thing...) she'll be in Australia.

I'm actually pretty sanguine about it--but I did tear up a little at the airport. Just a little--we were wrangling short people, and I was pointedly reminded that she's not one of them anymore. She had her shirt and her slacks and her luggage--she looked very very competent and ready to go do this.

I'll probably have some sort of retro-freak-out around Sunday, when it dawns on me she isn't here--stay tuned for some intense hilarity!

The trip itself was sort of fun. We spent WAAAYYYYY toooo long at the airport--got there pretty early, puttered around trying to find some place you could watch the airplanes take off. No luck, on that one--but we kept the Cave Troll grounded with a promise to go see the ocean afterwards.

The Cave Troll LUUUUUURRRRRRVVVZZZZZZ the ocean--I think it's because his heart is the same. He's always contending with himself to see who will win, and the awesome destructive power of all that chaotic brine...well, it calls to him, that's all I can tell you.

Ladybug abhors the ocean. She screamed and wept and wailed. Her feet wouldn't touch the sand, they wouldn't touch the surf, and for some reason, she blamed her father for being there--I think it was because he was driving. The closest thing I've ever seen to a child levitating was when he tried to put her on the ground to run to me--it was truly incredible. She didn't want to touch the ground and she didn't want him... wow. What a dilemma. Anyway, the only peace I got in an hour and a half at the beach was to sit on the kids' backpack with her on my lap. (Feet. Killing. Me.) As I sat, she started to dabble her toes in the sand. And then she started to dig her feet in. And then she started to throw it around. And then by the time we left, she was sorry to see it go. Kids. As Tinkingbells said, can't live with 'em, can't take 'em back.

The beach was actually encouraging--the last time we'd been to the beach at San Francisco it was black, slimy, and sadly birdless. With the exception of all the dead jellyfish (? No. I don't know either.) there was a lot more life there--and a lot less black and slimy. But there was an oil tanker, many miles off shore, and it was sort of a grim reminder that yes, we can still fuck up the environment pretty much unimpeded.

Speaking of, our air quality is still apocalyptic with a chance or orange. Seriously--when you look at the air quality index, and it tells you that breathing puts your life in jeopardy? Time to hid under an air-filter and spend your days watching reruns of Without a Trace.

Or take your daughter to the airport, and start her path to making the world a better place.

Of course, that last one does make you a little more optimistic if it helps to get you the fuck out of dodge, doesn't it? Oh yes, it does!

Monday, July 7, 2008

*&^%ing Happy Meal Toy...

The Cave Troll was unhappy.

When the Cave Troll is unhappy, he does what many of us do--he blames the whole fucking miserable world for his unhappiness.

" lost my transformer!!!"

"That's right kid. I stole your transformer and lost it. I'm mean that way." (Because sarcasm goes over well with the pre-school crowd, right?)

"Mooom... you have to find my transformer. You lost my transformer. YOU HAVE TO FIND MY TRANSFORMER!!!"

The hysteria was becoming truly unhealthy, so I figured I'd try a re-direct. "Okay--here's what I need you to do. You lay down and take a nap," (because, can you tell? It was definitely NAP TIME) "and once you lay down, I'll find your transformer guy." I have no idea how I'll do this, btw--but I know it must be done, because the Cave Troll? Not one of those kids who forgets after the nap. Nope. Nosirree, nuh-nuh, nohow.

So what follows is fifteen minutes of my life I'll never get back, sitting on the edge of the bed, threatening, cajoling, promising, rewarding, hugging, and weeping until e pluribus Cave Troll is laying down in (get this) MY bed, threatening me with dire consequences (i.e., more whining) should the transformer not be there when he wakes up.

I stand up, exhausted by the mental effort already, take two steps, look into the top of a laundry basket, and HOLY SHIT AND PASS THE POTATOES, THERE'S THE FUCKING HAPPY MEaL TOY.

"See!" I yelled, doing a (mostly) dignified 'I"m-bad-uh-huh-I'm-bad" dance at the foot of the bed. "I TOLD you if you'd just lay down, I'd find your transformer!!!"

*sigh* It's not often that mama-justice is that immediate, but I tell you, it sure is sweet.

(P.S. We didn't bug-bomb. If I'd seen any single gnarly-wiggly-nasty little spiderleg the next morning, it would have been a no-brainer, but I didn't see a damned one, so I think we'll wait until it's not a bazillion degrees outside. But thanks for the tip about the hairspray! How much does it say about us as a family that I don't think we have any to make the little goombahs stiff before we vacuum them up?)

Saturday, July 5, 2008 much DOES my housework suck?

I was in the kitchen, writing, when the Cave Troll came running in all upset--"Mama, mama, SPIDERS. SPIDERS."

I trot into the living room, ready to vanquish an evil dust-bunny or a daddy-longlegs or something, but I can't see what's blowing his little mind.

"Mate? Mate--do you see spiders?"

"Oh yeah--they're all over there--by your chair..."

They? What 'THEY'?



Oh, wait...I didn't put that in quotations marks, and it was an EXACT QUOTE.


The big kids come running in. "Mom--what's wrong? What's the problem? What was that noise?"

"Forget that noise. Where's the FUCKING DUSTBUSTER!!!" (Another exact quote. I"m so proud.)

And then there was the dustbuster and then Mate with the real vacuum and then me, looking forlornly at my knitting chair, thinking, "Oh really. When am I going to sit THERE again?"

I have two words for you all.


We got to blow stuff up...

For my family, that's basically what it boils down to: Mom cooks (hamburgers & sausages on the grill) and we get to blow stuff up.

And of course, there's the movie marathon of summer blockbusters--Men in Black, ID4, Die Hard 4--I wish we were better people than that--picnics on the lake, that sort of thing, but after making the useless teenagers, I mean beloved adolescent children, clean the house, Mate and I were, quite frankly done with anything more involved than that. The short people got to skip their naps, and then they fell asleep before it was time for fireworks! We had to wake them up to go outside and blow stuff up! But that's okay--it was worth it. Ladybug jumped up and down and clapped and said 'yaaaayyy'!!! after each little explosion. The Cave Troll plugged his ears and got on his 'potato face' (all eyes!) and regarded the whole works with sober delight. And then we came in for ice cream, and with very little persuading, everyone went to bed.

The end.

Mate and I finished up with a little bit of David Chapelle on comedy central, and I got in some knitting.

Sometimes, we're just low key that way!

But the good news is, "I am within a forseeable end of the war" as Orwell said. Bitter Moon is getting very close to the big finale, and then it's about twenty pages of wrap up and then?

Then I'll have about 750-800 pages of manuscript on my hands. If anyone can believe THAT funky bullshit, let me know, because I SWORE the first Bitter Moon would be the longest thing I'd ever write.

*whew* I'll be so glad when I get to the Cory-verse again!

Which reminds me--I just got a review on amazon that, while giving the whole series 4/5 stars, wondered if I had skipped a rudimentary English class or two.

Aren't we so glad I'm teaching your children, y'all?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


If the picture loads, it's going to be an example of what happens when your four year old goes scouring the house for something to occupy his time. And then tries to turn his sister into a mouse.

Other than that--I spent yesterday being an absolute picture of a banana squash in motion. It wasn't until late at night, when I'd sent everyone to bed and I stayed up late on purpose to knit in an empty house, that I figured out why I was so exhausted.

IT'S THE FREAKIN' BOOK! Can I just say that it's all well and good to PLAN an emotional trainwreck, but WRITING one has sucked the life-juice right out of me. Or at least it had yesterday--today it was the two hours at the gym.

And about that...

I had wanted to run errands after gym today--but it's hard to do that when the short people go out after my water aerobics class and spend an hour in the pool, so I spent all morning priming them. "We're going to the gym, right? But NOOOOO swimming!" And I thought I had them totally set--Cave Troll would repeat 'No swimmin', mom, no swimmin'." Ladybug would repeat 'No swimmin, mom. No swimmin'."

And then Ladybug made one of those purely two-year old leaps of logic against which adults are completely helpless.

She found her bathing suit. And the pieces fell together: AHA, she thought, the reason we can't go swimming is that mom has lost my bathing suit. Now that I have found my bathing suit, all of our problems are solved!

"SWIMMIN', MOM--WE'RE GOING' SWIMMIN'!" And she went dancing around the house, five minutes before we were supposed to leave, and I realized that I was doomed. In record time I gathered their bag with extra changes of clothes and swim diapers and put on her swimming suit and found the Cave Trolls and decided, "Oh, hell, I can go do my errands tomorrow, right?"

But wait...the best part is yet to come. I finish my water aerobics class and dry off enough to go fetch them, and when I get there, she and Cave Troll are heavy into the play dough gig. The Cave Troll--well, he has no trouble dropping what he's doing, but Ladybug, the entire REASON we are not already on our way to go be productive people but, instead, are off for that final hour in the sun and the pool that will condemn me to torpid prone inertia in the coolth of the air conditioning for the rest of the day, is having far too much fun with the playdough. She, in fact, stays there with play dough, and she NEVER GOES SWIMMIN'!!!!


Well, maybe it's not JUST the book that has me exhausted.

And oh yeah--imagine my surprise!!!

Your Hair Should Be Pink

Hyper, insane, and a boatload of fun.

You're a traveling party that everyone loves to follow.

But upon taking the test a second time, I think I like these results better:

Your Hair Should Be Purple

Intense, thoughtful, and unconventional.

You're always philosophizing and inspiring others with your insights.

(Thanks, Amanda, for letting me snarf this!)