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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I knew this young man.

When he was in my Advanced Placement class, he was good natured--but highly skeptical about the whole 'writing an essay every week' bullshit, and he told me so.

He also came by every year afterward to thank me for it because he said it saved his bacon when he went away to college.

When he came back to my high school to sub, he made a point to say hello when he saw me, even if it was just to wave across the quad. He told funny, silly, goofy stories about himself and his brother and getting into trouble because they were young men. (He qualified this with 'Mexican'--I told him that all young men were that stupid, and he agreed. They are. Sometimes it's a good thing--it's what makes young men fun.)

I read about his death about five minutes before my class walked in the door--and can I say gods*DAMMIT* I'm so tired of getting blindsided by this news at my computer? I know, I know, sometimes there is no other way, but... well... you know. Fuck.

Anyway, while I was in the grocery store yesterday, when I was exhausted and tired of thinking about this and grieving about this and remembering this kid when he was skinny and had hair and then remembering the way our students loved him and the way he smiled every damned day I saw him and then... just remembering and feeling like shit because, you know--we get our stupid young men past the point of doing stupid young men's things, and we think they're safe. Random shit is NOT supposed to happen to high school football coaches who are going into law school. The gods are NOT supposed to work that way. And then I remembered what I actually believe--I remembered what I write, and I remembered that the gods do work that way sometimes, and then this is what I started thinking about instead.


Blessed Oueant, god of honor, a young man comes your way,
He took his gifts and gave them back, took young men by the hand
Or gave them a shove on the back and pointed them upon your path.
He is strong and hearty, his heart is true, and he will do you proud.

Blessed Dueant, compassionate one, watch for him sauntering by.
He shows great kindness, always smiles, shows pity on poor English teachers,
Tells her students, "Listen up! Don't be a dumbass! She knows her shit!"
And then he makes her laugh. His heart is sweet, and hand in hand
With your brother honor, he runs between moons beyond the dark.

Holy Triane, goddess of joy, here comes a son you gave to us.
Treat him well, he follows your brothers, he leaves you in his wake,
And we loved him, will love him, will grieve him long.
Tell us he's in light, beyond the star's dark, tell us he's laughing,
Tell us he's loved, tell us he's celebrated, tell us joy follows him
In death as it did when he was with us, a blessing on earth,
The son of all the gods.

So there it is--silly of me, maybe, to grieve a boy who was so solidly on this earth by retreating into my fantasy world, but sometimes the shit on this earth doesn't seem to do us justice, now does it?

For those who maybe want something a little less... you know... goofy/silly/me, a friend of mine sent me this yesterday, and I spent most of the rest of the day listening to similar music. Perhaps it's a good idea for me to leave words behind for a bit... they don't seem to be serving me the way I want them to anyway.

Goodbye, Sal. I know you were devout to your God, but if you're not getting a ticker-tape parade up there, you let my gods know. You were just their type of guy, and I'm sure they've got your back.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More resting...

OKay-- I must have totally maxed out my potential to work, because I not only skipped a day blogging, but I completely spaced some other obligations that I committed to this weekend.

pbblllbbtttt... who needs 'em! (Okay--I say that? Truth to tell, we all know I'm going to be up at whee-hoo in the morning, getting this shit done, right?)

Anyway, Mate and I saw a movie last night-- Green Zone. It was an awesome military thriller, but... (and it's a big 'but') it's gonna piss you off. I don't care WHICH side your political affiliations rest with, it's gonna piss you off. It's been getting great reviews, but I think the box office has been pretty poor for exactly that reason--the movie hurts, there's just no two ways about it. But if you can divorce yourself from that? It was pretty awesome.

And then, this morning, the whole fam damily went to see How To Train Your Dragon. This movie is so freakin' awesome--just seven buckets plus three of awesome. I loved it. Would see it again in 3-D. Seriously-- enjoy!

Squishy made herself adorable the other day--I was reading (!!!--see? See how decadent I've become?) a romance book that featured a bulldog on the cover. (It also featured two naked male chests mashing together--I'm a perv--you're all aware.) Anyway, as I'm reading Edward Unconditionally, Squish climbs up on my lap and looks at the cover judiciously.

"I don't *love* that dog," she said with some consideration.

"You don't love Winston?" I asked, wondering why. He's a bulldog of the so-ugly-he's-frickin'-adorable variety.

"," she decided. "No--he looks like he'd be wet."


"Yes. He'd drool a lot. I don't like that."

I laughed to myself--and then hit the e-mail romance group with a missive to Lynn Lorenz--the writer of the book. She told me that she would keep the information to herself--we didn't want to hurt Winston's feelings.

We also met (accidentally, at the movies) the girl that Big T has been crushing on for months and months and months.

She was ADORABLE. And not in the "she's so out of my son's league" way--she was wholesome and sweet, and her face just Lit. Up. when she saw Big T. I'd been worried--he's had crushes before, and has been, well, crushed. I have the feeling that even if T isn't her crush, she's at least a sweet enough kid not to squash him to the ground, and given the uncertainty of turning your kids loose on an indifferent world, that's really the best you can ask.

What really cracked me up though, is that she introduced T to her mother and her brother (who seemed to have a disability--I think it made her a little more open to T) and he introduced her to his two sisters and his littler brother... and... completely ignored his father and I who were watching in bemusement from mere feet away.

Oh yeah. I gave him a ration of shit about it.

My little giant of a250 lb. blackbelt-- he's growing up.

Oh yeah... and this weekend, I put my writing into some perspective for Mate.

I asked him how it felt to know that thinking about sex was now a professional obligation for me. I sorta think it turned him on... well, good for us. AFter nearly 21 years, it's good to know something does.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guess what I did last night?

Answer? Not a damned thing. It was the weirdest thing--a shipment of books I ordered when I was high (or, well, exhausted) arrived, and I... I...

I don't remember. I think my sposta broke again, because of all the things I was sposta be doing right then, I ended up reading instead. I also ended up going to bed an hour early.

I woke up this morning and wondered who that crazy person had been who'd been getting by on four and a half hours of sleep a night had been.

My husband whom I love has had a number of 'boys night outs' in the last month or so. I was sposta have one on Saturday, but by then, I could feel myself come unglued--I got into a skirmish on one of the forums (and you guys know I have soundly sworn off of doing that!) and I was disoriented and goofy and tearful... in short, I was exhausted--too tired to drive, really, and I haven't felt that way since college.

So last night was sort of a 'mom's night out', except I was in. I was making dinner and reading and Big T (who has been REALLY CLINGY for 6' 4" of seventeen year old male--aren't they supposed to hate us enough to leave us alone by now?) came up to discuss irony, satire, geometry, comic observations, Adam Sandler and the nature of his disability on his strengths as a screenplay writer (and if you think I'm making up these conversations you haven't been paying attention when I talk about this kid... he just walked into my kitchen while he's SPOSTA be asleep and started quoting Hamlet. Out of context.) Anyway, he tried to start another conversation with me, and I just looked at him with the burning cinders that were sitting where my eyes should have been and said, "Mom's not here right now. Please leave a message or call again tomorrow." He opened and closed his mouth a few times (with, blessedly, no sound coming out) and turned and left me alone. But see? If that doesn't SCREAM "mama needs some time in her own damned head" I don't know what does.

Anyway, I'm chipping away at the mystery project novella. It's not really TOO much a mystery--what happened was this (if I haven't explained it before--I may have.) Dreamspinner sent out a series of fairy-tale inspired pictures on the author e-mail and the first person who claimed a picture got to write a story FOR THAT PICTURE. I claimed a 'Beauty and the Beast' pic, (Because people? THAT'S MY STORY! Always has been, since my junior year in high school when I read Robin McKinley's 'Beauty', and then Robin McKinley's 'Rose Daughter' and then Disney came out with a little picture and... well... it's my story. All my old friends from high school told me I was Belle because I liked to read and my father was a lunatic inventor and I said, "But I'm not that cute" and then they told me THAT made me Honor from the Robin McKinley book and I didn't know what to say to that but... like I said. My story. MINE.) So, I started writing a contemporary version that I liked VERY much and will still finish, and then looked back and saw that it really needed to be a fairy tale. For a nanosecond i was gonna move the whole thing to Green's Hill, but I'm having such a hard time marketing the Whim story and the Adrian story that I figured that might not be a good move on my part so I...

Wow. Damn. I'm so very pleased with what I have done. Fans of Robin McKinley will see some definite influence, but I've pulled some plot twists that are mine and mine alone. I hope it's good enough for Elizabeth and Lynn at DSP when I'm done because both ladies are so patient with me. (I'm sort of like that weird metal ball in Men in Black--moments 4:08-5:00--you'll see what I mean.)

Anyway-- they deal with me and I feel like major headache # 3 on their roster. I'm starting to think about knitting them some socks w/rainbow sock yarn, just so they can feel like maybe there's a reason to keep me around. But that's what I'm working on right now. It features a man named Naef and a lion-god-beast-thing named Aerie-Smith and... well... let's just say they have a particular relationship--and it's been a whole lot of fun and angst to write.

Oh yeah... and you all remember when my relationship w/DSP started? I told you I had two stories that were come out in an anthology? Is anybody Curious about that at all? Because I'm here to tell you, it will be out at the end of April. A caution to my LG or BMoon fans-- one of those stories is STILL the dirtiest thing I've ever written. Not for the squeamish or those who barely tolerate m/m for the sake of the LG universe--just be warned.

OH-- and some lingering cuteness from the last two days-- Zoomboy's been on a tear.

Today, he came stabbing at me with an imaginary spear. "Mom! Watch out! I'm a cave man. Cave mans and man-MOTHS lived at the same time. That's fact. Cave mans and dinosaurs didn't live in the same time. That's FICITON. So I'm a cave man and I have a spear and you're a man-MOTH and I'm going to stab you. You die now." (I die.) "And now I eat you. YOu will taste good when cooked on the fire."

So that's mom... the man-MOTH who tastes good when cooked on an open flame.

And then, a little later, we got hit with a hail storm. We were all standing in the living room, gazing out at the back yard and the bouncing ice-pebbles, and he was dancing around in his excitement. Seems his class just did a thing on the water cycle, and he got a chance to use a new word.

"Mom! Mom! Look! That's PRECIPITATION!" Why yes. Yes it was PRECIPITATION! But most of the rest of us call it hail.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why I'm Going to Hell (again...)

First of all, thanks to Ji, who gave me a blog award, and that makes me VERY happy! And thanks to Brian for stopping by... I used to have a student named Brian-- always makes me wonder!

And now, for why I'm going to hell. Three reasons.

Reason the first: On Sunday, we went to the park. It was a fairly eventful trip, and we ended up playing frisbee with a very nice woman and her son (more about that later... it's reason number three!) When Chicken and her father arrived with Jamba Juice and to join in the game, I told Chicken that her little brother's frisbee throwing technique had improved greatly.

"Yeah," I said, "when he started out, he was holding his frisbee arm up like a vampire's cowl with one hand, grabbing his crotch with the other, taking three steps back and three steps forward and then throwing the frisbee. It was really cute. I called it "Bella Lugosi has to pee." Chicken laughed long and hard, and that's why I'm going hell #1.

Reason the second: This morning, Mate and I were talking about Chicken's new, sorta scary friend. Chicken's friend, Hamster, is having sex and getting her belly button pierced and smoking, and basically all of the things we're afraid of for Chicken. I've spoken several times to Chicken about Hamster--"Be a friend, Chicken. Be a good friend. But remember who you are." And Chicken seems to be keeping a level head about it. But that didn't stop Dad's eyes from getting wide when I mentioned the belly-button ring.

"It's okay," I told Mate. "We had the sex talk, and Chicken's okay. Right Chicken?"

"Please stop talking, Mom."

"Seriously--I put it into a rhymed couplet. Do you remember how that went, Chicken?"

"I'm running away from home. Right now."

"Can you tell Daddy how that goes?"


"That's okay. I remember. Pretty to touch, nice to pet, don't let him get his pickle wet yet." I turned to Mate. "See? We've got it covered."

Mate was a little glassy eyed by then. He looked at Chicken helplessly and sputtered, "Don't forget a SWEATER!"

Chicken and I gaped at him. "Don't you mean raincoat?" I asked after a moment, and he looked a little sheepish.

"Yeah. Raincoat. That's what I meant."

"Although," I added thoughtfully, "if you really want a sweater, I think Roxie could make you one."

Roxie, don't take us up on that... I think Chicken's warped enough.

And now, Why I'm going to hell. Reason the third.

That lovely woman I met in the park is a Russian immigrant-- we'd met a couple of months before, but I hadn't realized how profound an effect that meeting had on me until this time. As we spoke, I continually flashed to Making Promises, the book that's coming out this summer, that features Mikhail, his mother Ylena, who are both Russian immigrants living in Citrus Heights.

For a second, my heart leapt. Oh my god--here she was, my inspiration for Ylena and Mikhail! I hadn't even known it until I saw her again. I wanted to tell her--she's such a sweet woman, and such very lovely company. And then it occurred to me. HOw on earth was I supposed to tell her about what I wrote?

Her English is still in the nascent stages--how do I explain the writing process, and the strange, magical rendering that aged her by fifteen years, killed her off with cancer, and made her son gay?

I didn't. But I kept thinking about it as we talked and played frisbee. Yup. I really am. I'm going to hell.

Who's gonna join me?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

All the guac... (none of the molee)

Much cuteness going on here--some of it is teeth grinding, but some of it really is just damned cute:

Last night, I made a big bowl of avocado guacamole, and Squish climbed up on my lap, wanting to know what it was.

"Guacamole," I replied, and Squish looked at it skeptically.

"I want some. But I only want the guac. I don't want the molee."

All right then-- all of the guac and none of the molee.

Dad took Zoomboy on a 'homemade field trip' to San Francisco and a King's Game on Friday. Dad had a 'quarterly'-- a work sanctioned get-together, and Zoomboy had a minimum day, so, in order for Zoomboy to NOT be left at school for two hours (don't ask. Damned San Juan website) Mate simply checked him out of school and took him on a boy's day out. They had a great time--when I asked Mate for cute Zoomboy stories, Mate said, "Did I tell you about him quoting Star Wars in the car?"

Apparently, Zoomboy sat with a couple of McDonald's Happy Meal toys on his lap, saying, "You killed my father! NO, I AM your father... NOOOOOOOOO..." Dad and I were so proud.

At present, Zoomboy's big thing is drawing "I Love Mom" on all available surfaces-- a dew covered car-window, the butter section of the refrigerator, the sandbox at the park--and then making me close my eyes and look (surprised, of course!) at his handiwork. He often drags me with closed eyes through the house and out the door, trying not to trip on thresholds or the various shit on the floor. I don't have a punchline for this story, but I figured I'd better tell it on the blog so I could remember it someday when I really really wanted to throttle him. He's a high strung poodle of a boy, and I need to keep the 'I love mom's' firmly entrenched in my mind.

Big T got back from a school trip to Ashland, Oregon (where the Shakespeare festival is held) all excited. He saw Pride & Prejudice, Hamlet, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. He also bought a T-shirt with Shakespeare on it that says 'Bard' on the bottom. Bard is his middle name--he feels it's a sign that he really WILL be a famous screenplay writer. And I say, why not?

And as for Chicken? Chicken will be laughing at me forever and a day. Why? Because I once again forgot how old she is. Apparently the difference between fourteen and fifteen is a chasm wide as the sea, and the thought it was hilarious as I once again, fell in it.

And me? I am currently knitting a cart load of socks, and a hat. The hat is for a student. Of all the requests--most of them careless and oblivious to the time and expense of knitting someone a gift--this was, perhaps the sweetest.

"Ms. Lane?"


"Are you working on anything right now? I mean, do you have a long list of projects? I know you're busy."

"Some socks and a sweater for Zoomboy, why?"

Her face fell. "You know those hats you made student A & B? I *really* loved those... they were soooo pretty."

*sigh* "Yeah, hon--I can make you one of those. NO worries."

*brightens* "Really? That would be awesome. Thank you so much, Ms. Lane--that's really nice of you."

Okay-- for the record? Is anybody listening? THAT'S how it's done. The next person who walks up to me and says, "Hey, I'll pay you five bucks if you make me some socks!" is going to be choking on a pair of size 1 circs for a year.

Oh yes...

And speaking of knitting, here is a story only knitters will get.

I bought two experimental skeins of sock yarn. This particular brand is... well, let's just say that the brand name is sort of a hallmark among knitters for cheap yarn. Low rent yarn. Yarn without class. But the colors weren't bad (weren't Regia, which I love with all my, uhm, beating organ, but weren't bad) and so I found myself working on a sock for Squish in this yarn.

And this is what I was working on when a small horse rounded the corner at the vet's, where we were waiting for Chicken to emerge with her psycho cat, who was getting his oozing skin sore looked at. Anyway, the small horse (okay, it was a mastiff... but it was really a small horse with pointy teeth, trust me) came out, all excited about people, walked right up to me and snuffled under my arm. She was pretty sweet, and her owner was promising that she was harmless, so I pet her wiggling little horse-face, and that's when she made her move.

She killed my sock yarn. Took the whole thing in her mouth, her mortified owner looking at me in horror. Not only had his dog possibly destroyed someone's property, but it was clear the guy had NO IDEA what in the FUCK the dog had actually tried to eat like a helpless baby bunny.

The yarn was useable by the time it was pried from the heaving monster's maw, but there was no doubt it was dead. Seems there were two neat puncture marks through the label--right through the red, beating heart.

(Ignore that chortling sound... that's me... I love me a good pun... but it's true... the dog took to that Red Heart sockyarn like it was a fuzzy bunny, ready to be eaten... *snicker* Red Heart, get it? Stop shaking your heads in the back... it's TRUE! I SWEAR! I even showed my LYS owner the label on the yarn as proof. She was highly relieved to know the yarn actually cost the same as Regia--and the colors weren't as cool. i could see a little bit of merchant's panic creeping in before I reassured her and she could laugh her ass off with me about the teethmarks through the label.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Good News/Bad News...

Actually, I should say 'Great News/Expected News'-- but it doesn't make as catchy a title.

The Great News is that Making Promises (the sequel to Keeping Promise Rock) has been accepted by Dreamspinner Press and should be out in June. WOOOOOOOOOTTTT!!!! I'm REALLY excited about this--and, of course, angsty. What if it's not as good? But, well, I write what I write and hope for the best, right?

The 'Expected News' is that the two Green's Hill stories that I wrote with Dreamspinner in mind were (very kindly, and with a lot of praise, mind you) rejected as not quite a good fit.

*sigh* It's frustrating. People LOVED the Jack & Teague stories--EVERYBODY wanted to know why I didn't make any money on them. I'm PLANNING to make money on them-- I'm planning to gather them, add a capper to them, and publish them as a book. But how do I make money on them individually? I've resisted going Kindle so far, because of, well, just one more publishing company/deal that I have to worry about. But these two Green's Hill stories-- so far, feedback has been pretty good on them. I'd like to share. I'd REALLY like to share and help finance my son's Senior Year, because those puppies are EXPENSIVE, and then Chicken's is coming soon after. And I know I'll be writing other Green's Hill stories as I go. The chances for short, erotic romances (and, let's face it, some non-m/m romances--those would be fun too!) are just too varied and rich to pass up. But as for how to make money on them? Well, not everyone has a Kindle or an e-reader that can convert, you know?

Oh well. I'll think about it. I'm sure lots of people will add their two cents. Whatever it is, it has to be simple. Setting up a pay/pal account and selling my own .pdfs? Not simple. Printing them up on flyers and selling them on street corners? Not simple. Submitting to Kindle? Only kinda simple. Submitting them to DSP and having someone else publish them? Now THAT would have been simple. Alas, it's not to be.

I guess I could send them to Amber Quill, right? (They sent me a submission invitation a few months back...) They'll probably reject them for the same reasons, but it's always worth a shot...

Either way, it's always the same response... I'm working on a Beauty and the Beast inspired fairy tale for DSP... I'm really excited about it... I think it'll be great... (just keep writing just keep writing just keep writing...) See? There really IS one answer for everything...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mix Tapes

Okay--it has come to my attention that I know just enough about technology to enmesh and enmire myself in some rather odd circumstances.

We all know that I love my iPod more and better than any computer geek could love his engorged PC with phallic RAM, but what you may not know is that I'm helpless to operate it any better than my six year old might be.

Case in point: Mix CD's.

I was very recently gifted by the gods... (okay-- I'll be square... I was gifted by Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos with a most handsome set of Mix CD's.

Now some of you may know... (Ceri? Are you out there? Darlin', you're one of the ones...) that I have a passionate, torrid relationship with the random mix tape. I've had mix tapes given to me by students, mix tapes I've collected at weddings, mix tapes my children have made for me from the music on the other computer. All of these--every one of them, I tell you, I have put upon my iPod.

Under the artist known as UNTITLED.

Some of you are laughing your asses off right now. Fess up--you know you are. For those of you who are feeling a little befuddled, let me explain. When you import a homemade cd into your computer music program (iTunes for most of us) the names of the songs come up as 'Untitled' and the artist as well. (Or maybe it's unknown. Either way...) Now there is a way to type in the name of the song and the name of the artist. I only recently discovered the first, and have decided not to use the second, and I'm gonna tell you why.

The thing is, I've got over four-hundred songs under UNTITLED and UNKNOWN. And the range of the artists is STAGGERING. And now, thanks to Chris, I have even more--with an even more eclectic sound. Now, when I got Chris's cd's, I typed in the name of the songs and realized, "Hey--I don't know how to put these in under cd or to gather them all together in any other way than to keep them under 'UNKNOWN ARTIST'--and so I did. And then I just started at 'UNTITLED TRACK 1'--all ten variations, and played down, through every random track one on every random cd that I've ever loaded.

The results were... well... enlightening and hilarious at once. Now, in order to understand just how hilarious, you have to understand something about my friends, my students, and my cd collection. My students have no discretion. That's not just because they're young, that's because they attend my school, where telling the teacher that Stalin was a douchebag would get you some decent points in the smarts department. So those mix tapes I got from my kids? OKay... everything from Thunderstruck to We Ain't Nothin But Mammals to the Tetris song to Ben Fold's Five and the Abortion Song. All on the same cd, from the same student. I also have a cd that Zoomboy's teacher gave me last year--fifty-seven songs about Andy the Apple and Percy Preposition and (I shit you not) Vinnie the Volcano. My old VP and I (Teri--Goddess love him--awesome, perfect man) exchanged books for cd's, and I have a lovely, ethereal collection of Beatles Songs done with a bluegrass lilt. Ceri sent me exclusively Australian artists--have not even HEARD of them (but I adore them) and then we have Chris's cd's--buckets of awesome, both of them, but her taste is as eclectic as mine--there's a song on one of them (the Manlove Mix) called 'I Fucked Your Boyfriend' (loved this song, btw) which is a heavy metal masterpiece. There is also a very sweet song called Housewife, and a a bit of Celtic bravado about Ravens and very jazzy song called... well, you get the picture. And then--to make things even MORE interesting... there's THE EVIL ONE.

I may or may not have mentioned the advent of THE EVIL ONE onto my iPod. Sometime during pregnancy--and the hormones of my fourth pregnancy are the ONLY way I can explain this total lapse of judgment, I bought (and I hide my head in shame at just saying her name in public) a (oh God...) Celine Dion cd. (Don't hate me! It was the hormones! It said 'Lullabies' on it! I knew I was a bad mother, something in me thought I could compensate! I'M SORRY... DON'T KICK ME OUT OF THE COOL KID'S CLUB FOREVER PUUUUHHHHLLEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZEEE!!!!) So this cd got loaded onto iTunes, but, because it IS the EVIL ONE'S handiwork, it loaded on as (you guessed it!) UNTITLED, and since I only JUST NOW learned how to fix this (and have, btw, misplaced pretty much every cd but Chris and Ceri's) I live in fear of eradicating THE EVIL ONE'S music, in case I get rid of some of the songs that i have come to treasure, but know only by sound and melody and not by artist and title.

Today, given the advent of new music, I took a trip down UNTITLED LANE.

It was magical, in the same way that peyote is magical--except, you know, safer to do while driving.


AC/DC's Thunderstruck, followed by Beatles on Bluegrass doing Blackbird, followed by The Evil One (IT BURNS! Press skip NOW!!!) followed by Ben Folds Five, followed by Ain't Nothin' But Mammals, followed by I Fucked Your Boyfriend, followed by Vinnie the Volcano. (And if you can imagine the kind of subtext a song called 'I Fucked Your Boyfriend' would give a song about Vinne the Volcano, you can see the sort of whipcrack brainlash I was suffering happily through for most of my day.)

It was GLORIOUS. Now see, if I went through and entered all the artists under these songs, they'd never again be listed under UNKNOWN or UNTITLED. All of these songs are UNIQUE (well, except for The Evil One's) and most of them are artists I have never heard of and--thanks to the wonder of the UNTITLED and UNKNOWN--probably never will. I know that there are ten Track 9's and fifteen Track 1's, and (thank Goddess) only one of Tracks 25-57, and other than that, which song is on which track is like flipping a random coin.

This afternoon I sat at a traffic light and Squish told me "The sun is shining and prettiful, Mama. Roll down the windows."

I did, and watched, bemused, as she slipped her car-seat straps and held her arms out like she was flying from the breeze coming in the windows to the tune of 'Hide Your Love Away' done bluegrass style. That song ended and Beastie Boys started 'Girls', and both of us put our hands out in front of us and bopped. "Dance, Mom! Dance!" And so I did.

The traffic light started, she put her car seat straps back on, and I continued to bop to 'Girls'--and then both of us listened intently to see what song would come next.

Because sometimes, when your mind is open to the possibilities, all the things you love really will fit into the same box.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Okay-- so not the best of days.

Mate has decided to adopt a video fitness regimen. Not to be left behind, I told him I'd do it with him. For one thing, given the male metabolism, he'll probably do it for a week and turn into Mr. Universe, whereas I could probably do it balls out for a year and still be a giant banana slug. The least I could try to do was tone up my gargantuan sluggish body, so that when Mr. Universe wants some quality time, I don't leave a trail of slime as I blurg off to the bedroom. (Anyone not throwing up a little in your mouth with that image? Then I have done my job.)

So this morning, we got up to do our third tape, and I miscalculated. See, it's NOT just the fifteen minute workout. There is ALSO finding two sets of clothes--one to work out in and one to wear after my shower. There is ALSO the shower, that usually takes place at night. There is ALSO waiting for Mate to get his workout done since we can't ACTUALLY take the workout at the same time because there is no room in the living room. There is ALSO the consequence of falling completely asleep on the chair while giving the kids their morning cuddle because I woke up a half an hour early to get an extra hour's worth of shit done.

so we were running a little bit late.

And then there was no gas in the car.

And then when Squish and i stopped for gas, there was her burning (probably) need to potty.

And then mom had to potty.

And when we got back to the car I had ten minutes to get to school and that DIDN'T include the fifteen minute round trip to get Squish to daycare.

The results? Squish got to run around my classroom today. Now there are some good things about this--she has a couple of VERY dedicated babysitters at school, who are more than happy to flake out I mean take the day off their usual studies and run around with Squish. Squish also got to play candy fairie. She raided the candy I use to study words on Fridays and started giving it out to the students. They of course loved this and egged her on. I had to have a talk with her about NOT falling for the good looking con-man kid who kept charming all the candy out of her, and giving a piece to the two nice guys with the seats behind him. (Bad Squish--good looking con-mens are BAD. STAY AWAY. Give candy to the A-students with the artistic abilities. Trust mama on this. Conmens BAD, sensitive artists with pretty faces and ROTC uniforms GOOD!)

So by the end of the day, mama had had a little too much Squish, and hence the reason for the title of today's blogpost.

Does somebody else want to ask me to simultaneously help them put together a puzzle, serve them dinner, get them a glass of chocolate milk and explain why we're not buying toys by the dozen?


BTW? Mate has asked me when we gave her permission to talk. I told her it was the same time we gave all the other kids permission to speak. Never. They stole that right all by themselves.

Gotta go now... dragon calling... I'll explain the project later, but right now, I haven't had a dragon egg this fully formed hatch in my brain since Keeping Promise Rock and Changing. *skeeeerrrrrryyyyy*

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Okay--so I outlined that insane writing schedule in the last blog feeling a twenty lb. weight on my chest. Yes--it's a bit of pressure to put on yourself, and I could feel that in my bones. I also had another twenty pounds from the worry that my attempt to combine my Green's Hill novellas and my DSP publications was going to flop heinously--and yes. I still feel that. (Or worry about it.) Again--some pressure to be perfect. Some pressure not to fail. Some pressure to make myself strive even harder to be better/stronger/faster uber writer/mother/teacher/wife. And today, I even planned to clean the house. (Well, I did manage to clear off the couch--trust me, that was farther than anyone else thought I could go.)

And then I got one of those e-mails that brings a bit of perspective.

I won't go into details because it was a private correspondence, but the letter did make me remember why I started writing. This is going to get gooey--forgive me.

Something inside of me--something real, something personal--was snarling to get out. I WAS Cory--or a part of me was. I've said on a couple of occasions that ALL (or most:-) of Cory's leading men are based on Mate. Green and Adrian especially--I love these men, because I love Mate. (And Bracken--let's not forget Bracken--he's got his granite roots in Mate too. Except Bracken's better at home improvement--I'll give him that.) These stories that I wanted to tell--they're personal to me. No, I'm never going to run off with a vampire, and if sheer will could make me a sorceress with a killer metabolism and a problem gaining weight, well, it would have already happened, but that doesn't mean I haven't poured a whole lot of emotion into Cory's books, and into the Bitter Moon books as well.

This letter made me remember that. So of course I'm going to keep writing--and i've got a plan and people whom I relate to and whose presence I enjoy in my mind, and they're definitely going to get their chance to be made real. But in the midst of all the craziness, all of the 'DSP *and* Indie writer! bullshit scary/funky dynamic, I'm going to remember one thing.

Whether DSP publishes everything I submit, and no matter WHAT I choose to work on at the time, I need to love it. I need to love what I'm doing. I need to put my heart into it.

Now it's not like I had plans to do anything less, mind you--but you forget. It's EASY to forget, especially as certain aspects of success start calling your attention (and no--not saying I'm Nora Roberts or Charlaine Harris yet!) what you started out writing, and why you want to keep on writing JUST that way.

This letter helped to remind me of that.

Now, I'm doing the DSP novellas because I can be a little lighter with them--and that's the truth. But as I re-read (and revised, in spite of the fact that I submitted it three days ago, bless Lynn West, btw for taking the revised manuscript) Litha's Constant Whim today, I realized that, for all it's flaws (and setting up the Cory-verse for a stand-alone story is a BITCH, and I'm sure I fucked it up in places that even a trained professional can't fix) Charlie and Whim's story moved me. It made me cry as I was writing it. It made my beta readers cry as they were reading it. (Okay, Eric, not you--but ladies, I know you got the sniffles, you TOLD me you did!) So this story--whether or not it's acceptable for publication anywhere else but in another novella collection like the Jack & Teague novellas--has done what I set out to do with it. And I was true to my craft, and to the love with which I execute it.

I need to keep that clearly in my head as I set up impossible deadlines. Stay true to my stories, true to my characters, and true to my craft. People will wait, but my children will not, and readers forgive a late book much more readily than they forgive a bad one.

And given the quality of my readers and the passion and healing that reading brings them, living up to their expectations is a worthy goal. I'll continue to work towards it--but maybe at a saner, more quality conducive pace.

So eventually I may have to revise that schedule. But in the meantime, I get to watch Zombieland with my teenagers, and I may clean the house instead of write tomorrow afternoon.

But what I do write, I'm gonna write with all my heart. Deal? I thought so!

Friday, March 12, 2010

LOL indeed....

Chicken is on a school field trip to go look at colleges (which we will never be able to afford, but that's another story...) Anyway, she was texting her dad the other night (because mom's phone hasn't seen daylight nor charger in months!) and the following conversation happened.

Chicken: Someone stole my camera.

Dad: That was quick!)-:

Chicken: No--I mean SQUISH stole my camera.

Dad: Take pix with your phone instead.

Chicken: No--I HAVE my camera with me. It just has 150 pictures of the house taken from 3 feet off the ground in it.

Dad: ROFLMAO!!!!

Chicken: Yup. LOL!

Seriously-- don't people on the internet do this sort of thing with their cats?

She called last night-- number one sign that the trip is not going fantastically is when your kid calls to ask you to buy feminine protection, so it's ready when she gets home. Sorry, baby--that's gotta suck!

In writing news, I've submitted four stories/novels/novellas in the last two weeks. The pain of waiting for acceptance/rejection is EXQUISITE, let me tell you. On the good side of things, I have a hint that the 'Curious' anthology (the very first stories I sold to Dreamspinner are in it--it was supposed to be released in the fall) may actually be released this Spring. That's sort of cool... I was mourning those stories, you know? Besides--one of the stories I'm waiting for word back on was a sequel to the ones I sent in. And another encouraging thing--I sent in a 'quickie' for the DSP newsletter and told the editor that it was a sequel to 'Gambling Men' (one of those stories in the anthology, darn-it!) Her response? 'gurgle'. Yup. That's verbatim. It's lovely when to reduce a seasoned professional to drool, just by mentioning a hot couple. I may be able to live until acceptance/rejection after all!

And in more writing news, I guess (and I realize some folks stalk the blog for just this sort of news, so I'll make it public and official) I thought I'd give a tentative writing schedule, so people know when to expect things. One of the things that DSP is considering right now is Making Promises--the sequel to Promise Rock--and people will probably think I'm jumping right back into that series with Living Promises, Jeff and Collin's story.

I'm not. I can't. In the same way I couldn't jump right back into Cory's story or Jack and Teague's. These three story arcs are complicated and painful and I get really sucked into them--and they hurt. Anything in the Cory-verse requires VERY specific prose, and I'm feeling a little bit of pressure to make sure that prose is EXACTLY what people want it to be but (heeding some of the critical mass) not over-the-top in that way. The next Cory book is going to be as long as the last one (200-240K) and Jack & Teague will be at least that long when I finish the final novella. Even Making Promises was long for it's genre (130K) and that world, of course, gets more and more complicated as I add more books to it--and Living Promises deals with some fairly sensitive subject matter.

In short--these things deserve my full consideration, and I was feeling a little bit frazzled from coming off of Bitter Moon II, Rampant, Jack & Teague, KPR, and Making Promises all in such quick succession. I'm giving myself until May to write... anything. Mostly novellas for Dreamspinner, because they're short, and fun and have no strings attached to a million words of writing from somewhere else.

In May, I'm starting Jack & Teague so it will be ready in June (when I get my Rampant royalties and can pay for the whole cycle to be published.)

When Jack & Teague is done, I'm starting 'Quickening'-- the fifth book of the Little Goddess series.

When Quickening is done, I'm starting Living Promises, the third book of Promise Rock. Since Quickening promises to be pretty long, this means it's gonna be a while before LP is ready. If something big happens--or my brain frazzle-pops--I may reverse this order. Living Promises is going to be AT LEAST half the size of Quickening--that alone makes it tempting to get it done first.

When LP and Quickening are done, I'm starting Return to Promise Rock.

When I'm done with RPR, I'm probably going to stay in the Cory-verse for a while, only making DSP forays for novellas... but we'll see. The Promise Rock books have brought me a lot of joy so far. Don't want to turn your back on joy--that's always a bad idea.

And that, my friends, is a year and a half--at the very least!--of work, all lined up like pretty ducks, not counting things like emergency novellas to keep me sane. But just so the Cory-verse fans know I have not forgotten them--and the KPR people know that I have plans to finish that cycle--and that, as always, I'm writing as fast as I possibly can!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Or I guess I should say 'Showertime!' since our bathroom is still (!!!) under construction. (But getting closer every day--honest! Seriously--I can see daylight in this matter!!!) Anyway, Squish has come down with a case of pee-pee irritation--it basically means she can't hold her pee-pee for squat, and is going through clothes like you wouldn't BELIEVE. The doctor blamed this on a lack of a bathtub (and I have to admit, I felt a certain amount of grim satisfaction when passing this info on to Mate) and told us to throw warm water on it and pat-pat drop. (I only wish I was kidding.)

But in the meantime, when passing this on to the babysitter, our bi-nightly shower ritual came up, and I realized (with a certain sense of wonder) why I had gone from bathing the children every night to every other night.

Like with so much of my life, I can blame Zoomboy.

Over the years, Zoomboy has developed a bath time ritual beyond compare--every step is exacting, and absolutely unskipable. It's a moral imperative. Some of you are going to say "good mom!" for helping him come up with every item on this list. Most of them came from Mate. I would have Mate take over the ritual for a day or two, and I'd come back and it would be longer. Thanks, Mate!!! (He is a good Mate, isn't he?)

So here it is-- how to give a boy a shower.

1. Tell him it's shower time.
2. PIck up his clothes from the living room or kitchen floor where he dropped them as he got naked.
3. Chase him around the pantry in a roaring game of 'Dinosaurs'.
4. Chase Squish too--she's naked by now, but her clothes are tucked somewhere in the mess of the living room where they will not be rediscovered until she has grown out of them.
5. Eventually aim the dinosaur victims down the hall, where they will crawl on our bed and put a pillow over their bare asses, saying "Look for us! We're hiding under rocks!"
6. Pick up the rocks and say, "We found you!"
7. Stand in front of the mirror while EACH kid takes turns sticking their hands under your arms and saying, "Look--you have six arms! How did you get six arms!"
8. Allow this game to morph into Dinosaur-back-hiding, where you look in the mirror and pretend to look around saying "Where's Zoomboy! Where did Zoomboy go!"
9. Reach behind you to tickle Zoomboy's stomach, and say "There he is!"
10. Repeat the process with Squish. Natch!
11. All together stand in front of the mirror and pose for imaginary pictures, including, but not limited to, "one for serious', 'one for fun', 'showing off the muscles' and 'pretending to cry'.
12. Go into the bathroom to brush our teeth--and let the water warm up, because if there is any cold water on the floor of the shower when there is warm water coming out of the shower, the four horsemen of the apocalypse are released. They are later dragged back to the stables when the floor water gets warm again.
13. Put children in shower.
14. Leave them alone with toys for ten minutes.
15. Come back and give them bath sponges, some tearless shampoo, and explicit instructions for where to wash. If you forget to tell them to wash a place for any length of time, you will come back to it and find potting soil has sprouted. Uber-gross.
16. Give Zoomboy to the backwards count of 12 to turn off the water.
17. Hold up your fingers with his and count with him.
18. Hope you remembered to keep the bathroom door closed enough to build up steam because Zoomboy MUST stand on the toilet seat and draw on the steamy bathroom mirror when he is done.
19. Find clothes and lay them out so both children can change when they're dry.
20. This takes a while, so I usually wander away and forget this step until, a half an hour later, both children are still naked, and the original batch of clothes has completely disappeared into the morass of my room.
21. Repeat 18. This time PUT THEM ON each child personally, in spite of the fact that the children supposedly can dress themselves.
22. Bless the invention of the Disney Video, leave the children for a minute of blissful peace, before going back to lay down with them and watch a little television before going to sleep.
23. Fall asleep before they do. Wake up because you need a shower and your bra is going to be digging a trench in your back-fat if you don't put on a nightgown.
24. Wonder why you're so damned tired.
25. Wonder why you no longer give them showers every friggin' night.

The end.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

It wasn't a gold statue...

But my mom gave Mate and I the night off by taking the kids on Saturday, and it was damned close! Woot! We went out to dinner, skipped the movie, and commenced the quality mom & dad time. One word. Two syllables. AWESOME.

My stepmom had a moment though. She was trying to explain how she didn't really like my style of writing, but she liked my story and she WAS going to finish Promise Rock, damn if she wasn't! When we picked up the kids she tried to explain that she didn't think I was a terrible writer--she just didn't really get my style but...

I told her thank you. I'm glad she doesn't think I'm a terrible writer--especially because I pretty much dedicated 'Making Promises' to her. The conversation ended abruptly then, and we planned Squishies birthday party. It was all good.

Oh-- btw? I passed the 800 mark on blog entries without so much as a blink on my part. I'm thinking maybe I'll get all excited at post 1000, you all think?

And the rest of my day was all about finishing 'Litha's Constant Whim'--it's still in the editing stages, but if (BIG IF) the folks at DSP like it, it will be another Green's HIll story, for your enjoyment:-) (So far I've gotten a lot of "Amy, dammit, I can't read the fucking screen right now because I'm in tears." Believe it or not, I take that as a good sign.) I'm also thinking of reclaiming the Adrian story from Liquid Silver, cleaning it up, and submitting it to DSP as well. Folks seem to like it--if they give Whim a break, they might like Shep and Jefi as well.

Oh yeah-- Mate (brave man) took Squish to a King's Game tonight. And while he was getting up to go to the bathroom four times (and getting food & stuff for her twice) the King's sank into a black hole that sucked the joy out of the room. I think Mate had the best seat in the house, don't you, Galad?

And, oh yeah-- can I just say, the older I get, the worse the Wall of Death gets on the Academy Award shows? And one more thing: Thank you, James Taylor. Thank you very fucking much for making me sniffle like a dweeb during the wall of death. Like reading my own work didn't have me sobbing like a baby as it was.

And really? That's alls I gots right now... except that I'm glad Julie's feeling better--Mighty Samurai, I'll watch all those Castle eps I've got taped if you check out a Supernatural. (I will have you too, my pretty one... buahahahahahahaha....)

And now, off to watch some taped Oscar with Mate. Peace out!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Two Worlds Collide

You knew it was going to happen. It's happened before, but usually not because of a slip of the tongue, and it happened again. My day job and my moonlighting job clashed badly. The good news was, no one who heard it happen knew it for what it was.

The word was 'turgid' (okay-- yeah, it's an accident waiting to happen, I see that. Usually I'm in control of those things, though.) Anyway my definition was, "Swollen and full"--as opposed to "flaccid", right?

So I'd already cracked the dirty joke, it was all good. But even I was not prepared for the definition to change while I was giving the quiz. Yup, folks, according to my third period class, "turgid" now means, "swollen and aching".


And in Squishie news...

Squishie's trying to con the social worker. You think I'm kidding? I went to pick her up and her day care provider showed me a picture that she'd colored while the social services provider who monitors day care was there. It's a bright, happy picture--lots of colors, lots of movement.

"What do you want this picture to say?" the social worker asked pleasantly.

"Mom, come get me."

Seriously. Are you shitting me? This kid is in daycare for 5 hours a day MAXIMUM, and she's giving 'pitiful me' thing? And this kid would EAT ME ALIVE if she stayed home. This is a 'let's burn the place down before I get bored kid'. Day care is the only reason she's survived.

"Squish," I asked suspiciously, "were you playing that nice lady who painted with you."

And here's the scary part. "Me? Play with the lady? MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..."

I'm not joking. Be very, very afraid.

Today I got there and she was keeping the other little girl out of the doll cabinet. Why? Because she had a rubber band suspended between the cabinet using a doll's neck. She was plucking the rubber band with a spoon, and calling it her guitar.

"Tell Guilietta you're sorry," I told her. "You are not the queen of daycare, you don't get to monopolize all the toys."

"I'm sorry, Guilietta," she said dutifully. "And I AM the queen of daycare."


OKay--I'm working on a 'Green's Hill' story for Dreamspinner. No one get too excited, this is a total experiment. It is SO hard to cram in 4 books worth of backstory into a 20K novella, but I had a small, simple story that would work SOOOOO well when played out against the epic love of Green, Adrian, Cory & Bracken, so I'm giving it a try. If I fail? Meh-- no big loss. I'll file it with the Adrian story and the others percolating in my brain, and eventually release them as an anthology. But for right now, I"ll just be happy for Whim and Charlie, and keep writing to break my own heart. It's usually a contagious sort of condition.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's a drive by blogging...

OKay... I had a long post, all self indulgent and shit, whining about reviews again, but even *I* got tired of that crap, so it never saw the light of day. And then Mate took my computer during prime blogging time to fix it--or to put a new keyboard on it--so I don't really have a lot of time to write anything interesting... but, uhm, can I say something about the new keyboard and the new mouse and my wonderfully crisp-typing computer?


Thanks, Mate--here's to another 800 posts of blogging bliss. This keyboard can take it, oh yes it can!

I'll try for something mildly entertaining tomorrow. Tonight, I'm ready for bed:-)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yeah, but what does that mean in sales?

I love getting good reviews--I'm really happy with the good professional reviews. But I have NO idea how that translates into things like marketability or sales or telling people who said they wanted to be my agent and then changed their minds "Hey--you were so wrong you made a thumb up your ass look right!"

Screw it-- I can't manage the mindfuck. I'll just be happy with the review and hope people keep buying Promise Rock--and stop chewing my nails to the quick because I submitted Making Promises last week and I haven't heard back. (Yeah, I know--it's been a week. Waaaaaaahhhhh, Amy, waaaahhhh...) I also submitted a short erotic story called Phonebook--it's sort of a sequel to Shirt. The theme of the stories is sort of making relationships work on an everyday level by using everyday things. That was sort of fun--and David Marchwell did a beta read for the story, which was pretty damned awesome. Let's just say I did some little rockstar squeaks when he said he'd be interested and leave it at that!

(I'm currently writing a story called Litha that's set in the Green's Hill world. I was thinking of asking Mary Calmesif she wanted to do a beta read on it. It's REALLY hard writing a Little Goddess story for people who DON'T follow the series--since Mary has read the series ((eeeeee))) and also knows the genre, I'm hoping she'll have some good advice for me. She also has good connections for people with Supernatural calendars. Mmmmmmm... Dean....)

Anyway, in kid news I've got a couple of things:

Yesterday, we went to visit Mate's grandma for her 90th birthday. Her spine is currently shaped like a question mark with a twist, so she's not exactly mobile, but she is VERY alert for all of that, and it was a good visit. Zoom boy was getting REALLY restless though-- sort of a combo restlessness: he was tired, someone fed him sugar and he hadn't pooped in four days. It was a trifecta of snottiness, and suddenly Mate's Uncle Carl stepped up and offered to take the boy for a walk.

Now I've always sort of admired Uncle Carl-- he grew up in an era where men didn't really care for children, and caring for his children has always been a source of pride. Carl and Sis had four kids, and they all turned out to be awesome citizens and good people, and I was very comfortable letting Zoom boy zoom off with this new person.

Sure enough, they came back and Zoom boy was all excited--"Mom, mom! Uncle Carl let me chase the COWS!" Yes--cows. Five or six full grown and half grown cows who are renting a field on grandma's property. My eyes got big and Sis called Carl a moron and I had a terrible epiphany. It's not just me and Mate. Apparently ALL children survive with a combination of watchful eyes and DUMB FUCKING LUCK. Omg. Pardon the retroactive heart attack.

But nobody was hurt, and Zoomboy and Carl had a good time. No harm no foul-- but no more chasing cows either.

We also met Mate's cousin Ira--haven't seen him in forever (like, since surly adolescence forever) and here he was, all grown up with a daughter and watching his sister's kids and... well, he was a whole lot of fun. (His so, Kim, was a sweetheart too--just all in all, a nice day meeting family, that's all there was to it!)

And in Squishie news--today she announced to the world, "I"m NOT afraid of ANYTHING. Okay. I AM afraid of bugs. But I'm NOT afraid of monsters." Well, it sounds like a good plan to me--I mean, your odds of running into a bug are really much larger, am I right? Yesterday she got to take a family walk on the farm property as well-- she had Aunt Sis pick her flowers. The ride home was fun. "AAAAUUUUGHHHH! IT'S AN ANT IT'S AN ANT IT'S AN ANT GET IT OFF GET IT OFF GET IT OFF...oh. It's gone."

Chicken just stole the bathroom from Big T-- I made her apologize. There he was, playing human remote control for his brother and sister, and she walks right by him. "Scuse me, T, gotta go potty." Aaaaaaaand twenty minutes later.... I swear, that girl's got a future in ass-kicking. She just needs to move out of the house first.

Big T has decided to re-take the CAHSEE, but we're both a little peeved. He passed the high school exit exam the first time, but he asked for a dictionary. If the teacher in the room had told him, "You can have the dictionary, but you'll have a caveat on your diploma," T would have taken a pass on the dictionary. But the teacher didn't, T got the dictionary (which he didn't use) and now he can either retake the test so he can have the 'passed with modification' caveat removed, or he can graduate with that thing hanging over his head. Poor guy--he's miffed and I'm pissed-- but he's also got an unshakeable integrity. Dammit, he KNOWS he can pass the damned thing without help-- he wants the world should know it too.

And that's all... and gees, this is a long post. Isn't that enough?

(Everyone think great travelling thoughts for Roxie--she's leaving for Canberra in the next couple of days, and she's fallen in with questionable company. I'm telling ya, sweetie, keep an eye on those guys. You never know when you're going to find bogus charges on your credit card for wool lingerie!)