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

Monday, June 28, 2010


Is pretty, yes?

Yes, Amy. Is so very very pretty. You should be pleased.

Why thank you, Mikhail. I think the artist captured the expression on your face perfectly!

That's supposed to be me? Is horrible. I look nothing like that! It makes my mouth look sulky!

Well, your mouth DOES look sulky. It's one of the reasons Shane loves you.

Pfaw. He loves me because I give professional quality blow job. Sulky mouth, lean mouth, makes no difference. It is the BLOW JOB that counts!

*blushes* Uhm, Mickey, that's a little bit personal, you think?

Personal? You're the one who wrote all the sex. And you are a woman. It's highly doubtful you got that right.

*blushes more* I, uhm, DO know what the male body does during sex you know.

*shrug* So you say. I myself am doubtful. You can not even make my Shane look big enough. It is a woman who would want a scrawny, hairless man.

Uhm, Mikhail? A man painted that picture. Shane looks plenty bigger than you. Not only that, he's wearing a leather huntsman's vest. You can't see his chest hair.

And whose idea is that, moose-woman? I myself like his chest hair. I think it is very sexy. In fact, I like it very much when...

Dammit, Mickey! Would you leave some fucking details so people want to read the book?

*snitty little shrug* Book? Who cares a bout a fucking book. This is my life you are writing. Don't you want to know that my big bear-man and I are happy? That is the real thing.

*disgruntled* Has anyone every called you a pushy little bottom?

Like you know what that means!

Okay, has anyone ever called you a pushy Russian bastard? You're MY character for sweet chrissakes! Shouldn't you show a little bit of... I don't know... respect?

You want respect, moose-woman? You make sure women fall at the feet of my big bear-lover. He deserves nothing less.

I think we can both agree on that, Mickey. Now, uhm, would you mind going back to whatever rock in my brain you crawled out from under? I hate to point this out to you, but you ARE a fictional character!

Fuck you, okay? I'm going go hide in your brain and make you think of man-sex when you should be knitting? You like that, moose-woman? You think you've got plotbunnies now? Wait until I beat off under your brain-rock! *laughs* I'll go wake Shane up. He will enjoy himself. *waves gaily* *winks* Goodbye, moose-woman--have lots of sweet dreams tonight!

*sigh* Little bastard. Yeah. As you've probably guessed, he sort of took over the book. But the picture sure does make him look hot!

(Thanks to Jean and JJ and the folks who voted for me over at mantastic fiction! I was so tickled to get mention! On Wednesday, I'm gonna do the big memorial blog. You'll like it. Trust me. Swear.)

A short post begging for shameless self-promotion...

This website: Mantastic fiction has made Truth in the Dark their book of the week... if anyone who has read the book has a comment, that would be REALLY cool:-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Knitting in the Dark

*phew* Well, the recital is over, and I for one am immensely relieved.

Don't get me wrong--the recitals are FUN--for one thing (and I've said this before) you get to see people's children grow up performance by performance, and you feel just as proud for 'that one kid who's been around a while' as you do for your own (if not a little more puzzled by how that kid ends up in so damned many numbers.) But they are also EXHAUSTING--and not just for the little kids, who are right now too wound up to even endure company in the same room.

Anyway, I think I'll do this by bullet points--there are just too many disparate moments to put together coherently!

* I worked on two different socks in the course of the recital and the recital rehearsals, and I have come to two conclusions:

A. Schaeffer's 'Nicole' is the BEST SOCK YARN EVER. Smooth, round bodied, crisp, it can mask the WORST stitches and it has a finish more like cotton than wool. I never bore of the color combinations, and I can knit in the dark without hardly a missed stitch or split.

B. Lion Brand's Sock-Ease is the WORST SOCK YARN EVER. Okay--that's a slight exaggeration. But I picked this one for the color (the intended victim likes uber bright, and the pink mix they have fits the bill!) and I couldn't seem to take a stitch without splitting, dropping, or slipping a stitch. I'm hoping there's some blooming in the skinny, skanky bodied yarn when I block, because as it is, I'm going to have to write an extensive note to the intended victim regaling her with all the places this sock has been. I find that people forgive your most horrendous knitting if they think it's well traveled.

* Knitting in the dark does NOT preclude one from falling asleep when the auditorium's air conditioning is overwhelmed by 95 degree heat and too many bodies.

* Falling asleep in seats not meant for an epically proportioned body can lead to a pinched nerve.

* All of that goes by the wayside when your husband and two daughters get up on stage dressed like Nerd-Herders and dance.

* But being overwhelmed by sentimentality does not make me blind to the adorable flaws of my adorable children. To wit:

---Squishie. although a very decent little ballerina, seemed to be overwhelmed by the stage craft. She got lost during her first ballet number, and after a bit of time looking at her peers hopelessly, turned around and started dancing with her own shadow. Her shadow proved most entertaining and they completed their number as a duet, the other ten little girls on the stage be-damned.

---This was not the only time Squishie was overwhelmed by what was going on around her. Although she seemed to do extremely well in the blacklight tap number, when she was supposed to be a mermaid, dancing quietly as the pointe dancer broke our hearts in emerald green satin shoes during 'Part of Your World', she was, in fact, doing what the rest of the audience was doing. Watching the dancer in the green satin shoes. You could practically read her mind: "Okay, supposed to dance now, everyone's pirhouetting, I'll do that. But look. Isn't she pretty? Isn't she lovely? She's a great dancer. Cool. Oops! Pirhouette! (sic) Now watch... this move she's making is AWESOME! Oh! Pirhouette! Now what's she doing? Her form is flawless, isn't it? What? Oh... dammit... another damned turn. Seriously, can't anyone see I'm trying to watch the soloist? Oh... wait! We get to mug the audience? Screw the soloist! I'm in!" And so on.

---She was awesome in gymnastics!

---Zoomboy, whose only event WAS gymnastics (but he did it for two nights) was, on the other hand, butt lost. He knew what to do--although the boy is all elbows, knees, and flippers, so really, he just put himself in position and let the spotter fold him like origami--but his knowledge of what he was supposed to do whas hampered by his desire to make sure I was watching him doing it! They kept having to grab his chin and make him go, because he was staring out past the stage into the bright lights and waving. I finally had to call (from the balcony, mind you!) "Zoomboy! Mama's here, now get behind the curtain and do you job!"

--Zoomboy also needed to speak up and ask for a snot rag without whining. Both of us had a three-alarm allergy attack in the last two days, and during the final bow last night, he must have wiped his nose on his hand eight times before offering it to the girl next to him to hold hands during the bow. To her credit, the poor kid gave him a look that clearly said, "Oh HELL to the NO!" and Zoomboy gave her a puzzled look and wiped his hand on his pants. Now, knowing Zoomboy as I do, I know he must have been BEGGING for a tissue for at least an hour before that happened, because he HATES not having a tissue, but since I was not back there, and I was putting his emotional well being in the hands of a backstage mother who was so uptight she wouldn't let Squish perform in a skort (but who would, oddly enough, forget to put the skort on under the short dress doubling as a frilly blouse, so that I took my daughter off stage last night with her chunky monkey butt hanging out in it's white cotton undies for the whole world to see!) I sort of thought that, for sweet Goddess' sake, SOMEBODY would have gotten the poor kid a goddamned kleenex! But it was not to be, and we have, for all posterity, that lovely image of the the poor girl, looking at his hand as though it was a green blob of ebola virus, just blown for her. Lovely--but very, very, funny!

---Chicken was an awesome prop-master, when she wasn't doing her three numbers. The California Raisin box with her green sneakers danced in perfect time! Seriously--seeing her dance was a revelation, because it was the first time I saw her on stage that she really WANTED to be there! Last year, before the recital that wasn't (if you recall, we were in Colorado last year!) she finally got the courage to quit dancing. Our caveat had always been, when she was brave enough to tell her dance teacher that she quit, then she was old enough to make that decision on her own. So she did. And she and her dance teacher had a lovely conversation, and she ended up being put in the adults class, and this was her first recital in the adult class, and SHE LOVED IT! She loved to dance, she loved working with ALL of the dancers, she loved it backstage, and finally, FINALLY, I felt as though I was not being a totally crappy parent for shoving her through the doors of the dance academy and running away like a two-penny thief! She may not have smiled (because she doesn't, you know) but she did have fun-- every placement of her hands was perfect, and she hasn't shut up about working props backstage for two weeks. Go Chicken-- you were SO beautiful, it was not even a little bit funny. By all means, keep scowling, you'll keep away all but the heartiest, and only the best is worth my Chicken.

* Mate enjoyed himself too, and I know this because not only in the father/daughter dance, he was also in security. He loved that. But I missed him-- rehearsals were for three weeks, and I flat out wanted my Mate. So, at the end of the the recital today, as I walked up to him (because I was waiting for the line to go down to go fetch Zoomboy) I was expecting maybe a thousand-yard stare and some mumbled words, because he was so tired, he fell asleep stretching across the bed to fetch his clothes from the clean pile. (Someday I'll tell you about the laundry monster. Maybe.) What I got was a kiss. An honest-to-crap Public Display of Affection from my publicly reserved mate! *happy buzz* Oh, he missed me too!

* And I think I mentioned the three alarm allergy attack. *Yawn* It was an awesome, happy, exciting, EXHAUSTING day, and for a finale, I get to make potato salad and go to a memorial--with the same family I just EXHAUSTED with way too much fun.

Monday? I'm going to the gym and coming home. And not a whole lot else. I swear.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A REAL day off...

Seriously-- it was so weird. Only one errand to run, which I did while T was in karate, and most of the rest of the day was spent... writing. Knitting. Watching re-run television. *shudder* Oh bliss. I think the down time was good for everybody, too, because the short people were oddly relaxed today, and because my writing dragon (which has been asleep or cowed) suddenly woke up and roared, and I was proud of what we put out. Jack & Teague are coming along nicely, and although there has been a depressing lack of sex, there is a nice bit of story wrap up from the other five plus Rampant, and I am very happy.

Of course, the weird thing about putting out a book or a novella or a short story is the ABSOLUTE DRIVING NEED to have someone give you feedback on it. I spend an embarrassing amount of time flashing to to see if anyone has read it and starred it or read it and hated it (so far, so good) or even, hell, just thought about reading it, you know? And of course I'm REALLY NERVOUS because Litha's Constant Whim is going to be the one advertised on Smartbitches/trashybooks, and, well, you know. It just better not suck, cannyagimmehallelujia-amen!

And tomorrow is... well, tomorrow is day one of THE BIG RECITAL. I'm pretty excited, actually-- I haven't seen hardly any of the numbers (with costumes etc.) and the kids and Mate are SO excited! Mate gave an impromptu practice tonight, all dressed up in his nerd-herd clothes (the fitting costume of choice for him and his girls) and he loved it. Chicken loved it. Squish may not think it's anything special now, but I plan to buy a dvd and have that section immortalized for her wedding, and then she'll REALLY love it. *happy-sappy weepy moment* It'll be awesome!

And then there's day two of THE BIG RECITAL and that one will suck a little 'cause Squish will be right next to me and she won't be so happy about sitting still, and then, the day after? Sunday, the day of rest? Yeah, that's my grandfather's memorial service (finally) and, well... it's weird. Isn't it weird how you look forward to seeing your family? It could be the gravest of times, but you still want to see them. Weird.

I still need to write something about my grandpa. Not tonight, of course--possibly on Sunday itself. Grandpa was just so much bigger than life. I don't think I can say goodbye properly without putting my writing into play--it's going to be necessary, I can feel it. I was a little shocked this father's day when I was picking out cards for Mate and my dad, and I remembered that I wouldn't be seeing grandpa, and it hit me--I've lost grandparents before (and so has Mate) but... well, we'll wait until the write up. You'll see.

So, big things--and I can't focus on any of them right now because Big T just stepped on a slug who came out to play in the kitchen, and I'm trying not to wet myself. He may be a 6'4" blackbelt, but watching him get an attack of the oogies is high entertainment.

*chortle* Okay. Back to business.

I'm going to be a basket case until the end of the month and I can chill out before the next couple of works are released--and that's just business. But it's okay business, I guess--because I've finally gotten to have a day like this one. And now I can go to sleep, and not get up at four in the morning, and that's nice too.

Nai nai!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Oh for crap's sake...

Yeah. I've got another novella out.

This one is special.

This one is a story of Green's Hill. And the artwork is beyootifuul. And between this one and Truth in Dark and Making Promises (due out next month) I am content that I have lived up to my writer's promise this year. I have more--much more, I hope--but I very rarely stop and take a breath and say, "Well done, writer. You have crafted something beautiful. Be proud."

I am a writer. A REAL writer--I have been one for five and a half years. It's finally sinking in this month. I'm the author of several full length works and several short works of fiction. People spend their precious disposable income on my work and say it feeds their soul.

I have crafted some things beautiful.

I'm proud.

Tan Squid--take two

To rid myself of the whine flavor of the last blogpost, I will give you this continuation of the tan squid discussion that was held the other day:

"Mom, I'm a tan squid and Squish is a pink octopurt, so what are you?"

"I'm a beige marSOOpEEul!"

"So you are a boring colored marSOOpEEul?"

"No-- beige isn't boring. Beige is neutral."

"What's neutral?"

"It goes with everything, like a red tie, or Switzerland."

"So what's a beige marSOOpEEul?"

(and I can hardly say it when I think it, I'm laughing so damned hard...)

"I don't know, baby, a Swiss kangaroo?"

G-night everybody!

Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm happy, dammit!

So we sat down to watch Burn Notice together-- Mate, me, and Chicken. It's one of our shows. But I had to get up for water for Squishie and then I had to get up for something else, and while I was up for something else, I checked my e-mail (because I'm DYING for Truth in the Dark feedback, right?) and then I see it! A review! Huzzah! I take a moment to read the review, and Zoomboy comes in to make me pull his finger. Six times. And I get a little impatient. But I try not to let it show. And then Mate and Chicken chase Zoomboy and Squish into the bedroom to go to bed. Burn Notice ends, I try not to celebrate too much over the review, (because no one in my house really wants to hear it) and then...


Then Squishie and Zoomboy need cuddles, and no one can decide what show to watch when i get out of the bedroom after cuddles, and Chicken's watching something I don't wanna but it only has ten minutes on it so I tell her to let me know when she's done and I'll stop working and come watch with her, and then no one can decide what show to watch in spite of my repeated suggestion and then someone whines about the smell in the bedroom, but I've been sort of busy today and I swear I'll get to it tomorrow and then I rip someone's face off. Chicken's, actually. And she says she's going to bed.

So fine. I'll go work. *fume* *sulk* I didn't WANT to work. I wanted to sit down. *snarl* *funk* I make up with Chicken, and resume work. I guess I'll just wait until everyone's settled and convince Mate to sit down and watch television with me.

And then Mate comes in and wishes me goodnight, and says, "Now you can finally be alone."

*head thunk to the computer*

I swear. I MUST be wearing the wrong damned deodorant.

I didn't want to be alone. I wanted to be happy, dammit!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Did you hear the one about...

The Chicken, the Tan Squid, and the short Squishie one, who spent two weeks in dance recital rehearsal, and then all had a melt down and fell asleep?

I did.

I almost fell with them!

I didn't realize how far down the work/recital/errand rabbit hole I'd spiraled until I was sitting in the audience, watching the dress rehearsal, and it hit me that a friend of mine (who I haven't seen since her baby shower!) had invited me to her son's first birthday party TODAY, and I'd forgotten to negative RSVP.

So, I not only felt like crap, i was going bananashit because Squish was the only one NOT in rehearsal (or camping w/Grandparents) today, and she wiggled next to me all day while we watched the performance. Oi!

So it's been sort of an exhausting day. Or week, really, given the copious amount of, "But you need to go here..." or "Could you just get this..." going on this week. It must have been exhausting, because I've been trying very hard to make the business of writing happen behind closed doors--or, after and before hours, as it were, and I was finally shamed into a confession today.

"I've got a deadline!" I wailed to Mate, and he was, of course, all ears and contrition, but I felt bad. Having a writing deadline interfere with dance recital stuff makes it a lot like, well, a job! And that's not what the family signed on for at all!

However, the deadline is actually on June 30th... I've been getting good at getting things back well before deadline, but guess I can push it a little. The manuscript is for Making Promises, and so many people loved Promise Rock that I'm obliged (as though I weren't before) to make this one REALLY good. People loved Deacon and Crick... I need to make Shane and Mikhail just as perfect. (Of course, the fifth time you edit your own manuscript--twice on your own and three times w/editorial assistance, not only is the mss. NOT perfect, it's pure drivel. And the author is completely insane.)

Anyway, it's still stressing me out. As are the two releases within a week of each other. Truth in the Dark is doing well--really well, actually, and now I'm just waiting for people to start reviewing it and breaking my heart. (I think Vulnerable has scarred me a LOT for reviews, yanno?) And Litha's Constant Whim?

Well, that opens on June 23rd... and then, in July, something a-maaaaa-zing happens. Dreamspinner runs one of those REALLY COOL flash ads, the kind that shifts from book to book to book? And Litha's Constant Whim will be ONE OF THE BOOKS! I still get hot flashes thinking about it.

And then I get queasy. In case you were wondering if i was all full of myself or something... nope. Your girl still has divine-hubris-phobia... and the bigger the coup, the stronger the symptoms... you know... nausea, nail-biting, the desire to eat my anxiety... yeah. All things considered, i think I should start having my family lock myself in my room should I start obsessing over my goodreads standings again... ya think?

Anyway, all that, and the recital rehearsal too.

I think I should add that the father/daughter/daughter dance had me bawling like a baby. Ah, yes, it was GLORIOUS! And I'm buying the dvds, so hopefully, I can have someone help me stream that bit to youtube.

Chicken was mortified btw. It seems that her dance teacher uses her as a cautionary tale. JoAnna's #1 rule is DON'T STOP DANCING! Today, as she was addressing the little kids, she was reiterating this rule, and she said, "Where's Chicken? Kids, this is Chicken. When she was eleven years old, she had on a pair of bloomers under her dress, and every time she danced, the bloomers dropped a little lower. Finally, they were down around her ankles, and I was off stage and I said, "Chicken--kick them over here. Don't stop dancing!" And she did! And that's what I want you to do!"

So there you go. Chicken's pre-middle school memory of having a wardrobe malfunction in front of three hundred people, immortalized in a teachable moment by a woman who actually went down to the basement of the antique stage, put out a fire, and got back in time to lead the adults in their number. I'm starting to see where some of Chicken's attitude comes from.)

Anyway, I just made her take a motrin and go to bed--seems she was climbing around on the catwalk while helping w/props and almost broke her ass. She twisted her ankle instead.

That's my Chicken.

Nai Nai!

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm a taaannn squuuiiiiiddddd!!!

Okay, not really. I'm a woman who's been married for 21 years and has had a hell of a day (errands w/T, errands w/Chicken, family picture, dinner & a movie-- I'm not in it for the glamour, just the swollen ankles!)

Anyway... I may wax rhapsodic about Mate and how 21 years feels like two, but not tonight. Tonight, I've got some Zoomboy gems that I've GOT to get down before I forget!

First of all...

Last week, I got a glimpse into the inner workings of Zoomboy's mind. He's been talking a lot about marSOOpEEuls and FINALLY I realized he had a school project on them. He was making an EXPERT book-- so now he's an expert on marSOOpEEuls.

I did not realize how much of an expert until he kept asking me to make him an animal.

"Mom-- make me an animal! What kind of animal am I?"

"A kangaroo."

"I was a kangaroo yesterday. Make me another animal."

"A possum."

"I was a possum last week. Make me another animal."

"A wombat."

"MOMMM! I'm TIRED of being a marSOOpEEul... make me ANOTHER kind of mammal!"

"Wombats are marsupials?"

"Of course they are! That's why they're in my book!"

I did not know. And now I do.

So the other day, when we were in the pool, Zoomboy decided he was tired of being mammals and he would be an invertebrate. "Mom, I'm a squid!"

"Okay-- you're a squid."

Shortly after this, Chicken and I were talking about sunblock-- we'd forgotten it for Squish, and I was worried about her turning into a strawberry fritter (which she did, btw, but not too strawberry.)

"Mom, do I need sunblock?"

"No, Zoomboy, you tan."

"Oh good. I'm a TAN SQUID!"

Now you have to say these two words REALLY LOUD to figure out how funny they really are! But the final conclusion was that we were happier being a TAN SQUID than a BEIGE MARSOOPEEUL... because 'tan' was cool... but 'beige' was boring, like the guy on TV!

And that brings me to the family photo.

There we were, taking the family photo, and he was STRATOSPHERIC with extra energy. Finally, in an effort to get him to concentrate on the camera, I said, "Okay, everyone-- look at the camera and say "I am a TAN SQUID!"

Well, it didn't work-- half the pictures were something out of a sitcom "My family is so weird this is our family photo" montage... but he was very proud of himself.

So, there you go, folks. I've been married for 21 years... and my son is a TAN SQUID!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Truth in the Dark

Is now available in several e-book formats.

And now, for the traditional prayer--everyone say it with me:

Holy Goddess, Merciful God, LET IT NOT SUCK!



Recently Overheard in the Lane Mansion of Domestic Bliss

Zoomboy to Chicken, while comparing the merits of Squish's STORE BOUGHT stuffed canine to Chicken's HAND MADE stuffed canine:

"My wiener dog is longer than YOUR wiener dog!"

Excuse me while I double over with laughter in order to pick my brain out of the gutter.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In a Springsteen sort of mood

Now I am very aware that I've made my true and everlasting love for The Boss very well known here, but I thought, since it was a very lazy weekend (on my part-- Mate and Chicken ran a 5K and did dance rehearsal) which featured a trip to see Karate Kid (but alas, not the A-Team), I could wax rhapsodic a little on The Boss.

When I was in eighth grade, I had, as it were, a friend beyond my social circle. In a big way.

Her parents were lobbyists, she lived in a big assed amazing house in Lincoln, and did things like shopped for seasonal wardrobes. I was, as I have always been, a dork, who had no idea that parents could save for your college fund or that the SAT's should be a religion. We were friends because in the sixth grade, when the only thing that mattered was being a dork, we were both in the same clique as Cheri Smith. Cheri Smith died in the seventh grade of Toxic Shock syndrome (sweartafuckindog) and the rest of our clique was, well, bewildered as to how to proceed. I was not as affluent or cosmopolitan as Stacey Muir, but we were both hella smart, and for a year (before high school sent me down to the pregnant/stoned mormon girl clique--and wasn't *that* a revelation) Stacey and I were bestest best friends.

Her brother, who was in college and therefor A. God. was heavily into Bruce. As this this was 1980/81, and Bruce was just on the cusp of achieving true godhood, as it were, I listened to Born to Run a zillion times, bought Darkness on the Edge of Town and The River with my birthday money, got to take a friend to the Born in the USA tour concert for my 18th birthday (thanks Mom and Dad) got the big concert collection FOR my birthday from another best friend (also named Stacey) the year after I graduated, and basically, felt smug as all fucking hell when my man Bruce totally upstaged Jacob Dylan during JACOB'S comeback in 2000 sumtin, and when my high school students were losing their fucking minds about that old man doing backflips on the stage two superbowls ago? Yeah. Total fucking vindication. I'd been with my man since the ground floor, and I got to look at the view from the heights, and you know what?

It was pretty fucking sweet.

And so was this:

This is John Stewart, honoring Springsteen at the Kennedy awards, and besides saying everything about Bruce that I'm not smart enough to say, it's also funny as hell.

And this is Bruce and my boys, being awesome. Because it seems that nothing says 'male angst and bonding' like the gravel voiced Springsteen and his episodic encyclopedic narrative set to music. Now, an encyclopedic narrative is something that comes up during every period of literature--and it's sort of a weird niche piece of literature. Usually there is one or two that arrive about twenty years before they're completely relevant. They are written, in short, right before the world changes, and they show us in full, layered color, our society from top to bottom--right before the change. Canterbury Tales was one example. Works of Shakespeare was another. Some say Gravity's Rainbow by Pyncheon was another.

The thing about the EN is that they cover every strata of our world. The guy cleaning the toilets and the guy with a gold-plated shitter. The dumbfuck construction worker, the noble garbage man, the arrogant prince and the knight of honor--all of them, given their voice and their due in one solid mass of work.

Given that, I think an argument can be made that our epoch's encyclopedic narrative can be found from top to bottom in the works of Bruce Springsteen. As Stewart says in the clip, when you listen to a Springsteen song, you're no longer a loser. You're a character in an epic poem. About losers.

Springsteen's work captures everything I love about the literature and pop culture that I go on about--and yes, that includes my boys dodging angels and demons. Because nothing gives you faith like stories about people who keep getting kicked in the teeth and popping up to take another round on the chin. Nothing sets true villainy boiling in your blood like a song about a villain who gets away with it. Nothing makes you think about getting up and taking another round like something throbbing in your blood, forcing your body to move.

So much about what I love to write about was inspired by Springsteen. I almost feel like I owe the guy a story or something. (Well, he does come up a lot in Making Promises... Shane is a HUGE Springsteen fan. I had to give the guy something--he's not a character made for coolness points. I could relate.)

So anyway, as I had nothing much goin' on the family front, and nothing is TRULY more boring than talking about writing, I thought I'd just be in a Springsteen sort of mood. Cause that's just the way I roll.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Things that rock my world...

* This. This definitely rocked my world. Yummy guys? Yummy yummy hot guys? IN ANIME? *swoon* *thud*

* Going to Zoomboy's class to see his purty purty art.

* Seeing Squish 'adopted' as class pet, because she was a 'little sister'-- even though she was almost as tall as a lot of the first graders.

* Chicken's out of school.

* And she's decided that she likes dance.

* And so does Squish.

* Big T is almost old enough to get a job! (If you knew all the times he clutter-talked at me when I was trying to write, you'd see why this would rock my world!)

* I'm making a hat out of al paca. (Small things.)

* People keep sending me links to hot-nekkid-men sites. I'm not gonna post the links, cause I don't think that's really my audience, but I'll do the trenchcoat thing and send you some if you let me know you want, Mostly, I mention it because, when I'm feeling depressed or bitter or bitchy, *voila* Someone sends me a new photo op w/hot nekkid men. I guess it's a perk of the job.

* Everybody's out of school.

* Mate's taking me to A-Team on Sunday.

* I have TWO novellas coming from Dreamspinner in the next three weeks.

* I think they're both pretty good.

* I have the house to myself tonight.

* I got a walk.

* I FINALLY figured out what that piece of music was in my favorite Supernatural video and I HUNTED it and I CAPTURED it, and I CAGED it in my iPod! (I want a trophy, dammit!)

* I'm 37 pages into the sixth Jack & Teague. It's breaking my heart.

* I think I WILL do Quickening before Living Promises. And that's a choice I can make.

* But I'm doing Secret Cover Project first.

* Secret Cover Project rocks my world.

* And so does knitting while watching television...

Nai nai!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Various shit...

* Okay, I just started feeding my blog through Goodreads, so if you look at my page, you can see the blog highlight. And because of that, I actually (get this) HESITATED giving this post a swearword in the title. *shakes head* Seriously-- like someone who reads my fiction is gonna be put off by a widdle bit o shit...

* The gods were truly making sure I REALLY wanted to go to the gym today. First there were the church people on my doorstep, then there was the road construction, then there was the e-mail with my cover art for Making Promises... Okay. I know. I should be strong enough to put that off. But this was the second go round with the cover art, and I'm having a hard time making myself clear. (Really Amy? Not being succinct enough? You?)

I think the idea that the two guys are in Ren Faire costumes is giving the artist the wrong impression. Now, this was not my first choice of covers--I had an idea for a treasure box, because that's a key component, but everyone kept telling me that it was too static and wouldn't make a good cover. Apparently, people want to see, you know, PEOPLE, so even though that was my first choice, my second choice was the two guys, in costume, leaning against the car. The problem is that I think the artist assumes that because they're two gay men in costume, that they're sort of happy/smiley/sweet/fun guys.

Not these guys. I had to explain that for THESE guys, the Ren Faire was sort of a symbol-- if you could build a fantasy land in the middle Gilroy (Garlic capitol of the drought ridden dust hills of central California) these two damaged souls might have a snowball's shot in hell. They are both fierce, defensive men with a CARTLOAD of damage, and this little tete' a'tete was NOT happy, smiley, chummy, sweet, pally, riotous, or fun. Zero fun, sir. Ten buckets full of doing the porcupine waltz in a minefield, sir. That, and one of my protags is described as being 'six-feet-two-hundred-pounds of hairy, graceless good will'. Quite frankly, one of the guys was too compact and too cute to be my stocky, furry cop with six dogs, five cats, and a habit of getting hurt on the job simply because he makes himself a target.

And then I felt like a complete dick, because I hated turning the picture down not once but twice. I'm sure the poor artist wants MY picture so he can throw sharpened red fountain pens at it, but, well, the imagination wants what the imagination wants, and I don't know what to say about that.

* Okay, moving on. The kids are in rehearsal for a giant recital in a couple of weeks. Now normally, this would be me, in traffic, and getting SCADS of knitting time out of the deal, but Mate is signed on for one of the dances (father/daughter dance w/both Squish and Chicken. I feel bad. They're working their asses off so I can sit in the balcony at Grant High School and cry my eyes out) so I stay home and he takes them. He's exhausted. He's so exhausted, I have to make him go to bed every night--and I remember when I was doing this gig and working full time and I wonder how I did it. but I do get some time to write when he's gone--that's SO welcome. I was starting to feel like I had to declare sleep an illegal activity.

* Oh yeah-- at water aerobics on Monday, I told them to either call me by my real name, or Amy, if they forgot. (For some reason people remember 'Amy'.) When the instructor said, "Those two names are NOTHING alike" I said, "Well, one of them is my pen name."

"Oh--what do you write?"

Now, Mate has always told me to "own the sex in my books". I've sort of lived by that, since I first had to deal with someone going "there's a THREESOME in Vulnerable? What do YOU know about those things?" (Same as I know about vampires and elves, I guess. I read about them and hope they're true.) So, there I was, in the pool with thirty other women, all of them over fifty, and most of them over sixty-five.

"I write fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance."

Stunned silence.

Then, a voice from one poor, optimistic soul in the back. "Well, I *like* FANTASY!"

*sigh* Yeah-- it's gonna be a lonely summer in water aerobics this year!

And tomorrow is Zoomboy's field day and art show, and Chicken's weirdly scheduled day, and, in general, I'm still wondering when the lazy days of summer REALLY begin. But I'm enjoying catnaps with Squish in the morning, so that's something good, right?


Monday, June 7, 2010

Unmotivated, my fat ass!

I'm getting used to reviews, both good and bad, so I couldn't figure out why this one stuck in my craw with such jagged edges. The reviewer said that Cory, my heroine, was "dumpy and unmotivated," and for some reason, it made me just want to reach through cyberspace and slap someone.

I mean Cory was taking fifteen units and working full time at a crappy job to finance her education. What more did this reviewer want? Was Cory 'unmotivated' because she wasn't born into a fully funded education? Was she 'unmotivated' because she'd rather work on her papers than her social life? Just what about a working college student functioning on minimal sleep and a little bit of faith reeks of 'unmotivation'?

I was playing with this in the same way you'd play with a sore tooth of a swollen finger joint (hey--look, it hurts when i do this... and this... and this... but not this!) when I had a flashback to a conversation I had with a student.

"So why don't you ever straighten your hair?"

"Because I only get about four or five hours of sleep a night as it is. What am I supposed to give up so I have time to make my hair adhere to social standards I think are a waste of time?"

"Oh. So you're lazy."

Okay. So I guess I'm 'unmotivated'. After three days of a lot of driving and one night at a class reunion, my foot was giving me seven sorts of hell, and I had to cry 'uncle'. I spent yesterday with my foot up, watching reruns of 'Castle' (Yes, Julie, it's an AWESOME FRICKIN' SHOW!) and knitting Big T an 'alpaca alpaca' for his sweetie. ("She's a friend mom. A close friend. Okay. A close friend I've been crushing on for two years, but she's NOT my sweetie." Little does he know that if I'm spending all day knitting a goofy looking stuffed animal out of alpaca yarn, she'd better be a 'sweetie' and not 'a friend'.) I WANTED to be working on my editing, but I was motivated to, just this once, put my knitting and my family, and to some extent my health, on the forefront.

Does that make me 'unmotivated'?

Today, I took my kid to the gym so I could have a water aerobics class (which helped my foot SO much--not totally recovered, but nowhere NEAR as shitty as it was) and then play with squish in the pool. I neglected my editing and my housecleaning, and then I came home and edited and neglected my kid and my house, and then everybody went to dance rehearsal and I spent a good three hours editing, and, well, the house is still a mess, and...

You know. Does that make me 'unmotivated'?

I don't FEEL unmotivated. My dragon is screaming at me to work on Jack and Teague--in fact, he's sort of the EPITOME of some fucking motivation. Am I lazy because he's riding my back with cruel claws, sending me wandering around the house in a cleaning-less fugue when I'm not feeding him plotbunnies and frothing at the mouth with his relentless drive to pour fiction out of my smelted crucible of a brain-pan?

I actually feel HIGHLY motivated.

In fact I seem to recall the same motivation when I was powering through my degree while working a full time food service job for nearly six years.

Yeah. My priorities may be skewed, but I'm starting to think that, yeah. This reviewer may have been talking out of the wrong orifice.

I'm thinking that maybe Cory understood motivation a lot more than this person did. I know I'm starting to dream about motivation as it changes the shape of my bones.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What I did tonight...

First of all, it was kind of you to start placing bets on my ability to keep my sanity over the summer. Do I have to remind you all that we've done this before? I've already LOST my mind... it's not like it's going to get LOSTER just because I'm locked in the asylum with the other inmates! Seriously--nearly four years, I've been blogging. You'd think people would get used to the taste of crazy-brains here at this URL!

Anyway--as for what I did tonight (besides just spend an hour editing "Making Promises" which is both really exciting and REALLY depressing. Nothing like seeing proof of your own scatterbrained wackadooness in the editor's incriminating little baloons!) Well... it goes back thirteen years ago, to my second year at Natomas.

It was the year I had the class of 2000 as freshmen. And then I had some of them as Seniors, and some of them in between when I taught Creative Writing.

About two weeks ago, when my depression about my job had ALMOST reached the nadir, three young women came into my room--and, omg, I remembered them. From ten years ago, when they'd graduated in the year 2000. They wanted me to come to their reunion, and I said yes.

They tried to find other teachers--some weren't teaching at NHS anymore. Some weren't teaching PERIOD. And in the end, only two of us showed up--and I was the only one who showed for dinner.

I had a wonderful time. I went all out and bought an outfit, because when the girls all walked in, they were dressed very professionally and I was the slob in the fat-ladies jeans and the supersized T-shirt. I promised them I'd dress like a grown-up, and so I did. I put my hair up, my make-up on, and went out to dinner with some very nice, very grown people who have accomplished some very awesome things. Examples?

* The young man we gave our old couch and television too--who, although he's working in sheet metal now, spent five years as a bass player in a Christian Rock band, and had the FANTASTIC ink to prove it.

* The young woman who survived the horrific homelife to become a WEAVE advocate--she's going to get her law degree.

* The young man who wanted to work in the zoo--and is now working in primate research at a local University. (Oddly enough, there is a gay version of him mentioned in a novella I wrote, coming out in August...I didn't get a chance to tell him that, and I think he would have enjoyed knowing!)

* The young woman who tends bar right now, but is still working on her degree--and is talented and funny and brought us all together to host the thing. (And who has amazing butterfly tattoos on her back!)

* The young man who drove us all crazy as a student, and moved on to coach our basketball team.

* The young man who works as a paramedic with his wife and high school sweetheart who works in the nursing registry, while they switch off to take care of their nine year old and six year old boys.

* And the young man who works at Starbucks because he likes the people, it has good benefits, and because he's expecting his first baby and is so damned proud.

I remembered these amazing adults as young people, and I was so damned proud. They gave the other teacher and I flowers, and I told them, "You guys were one of the sweetest groups of people I've ever had the good fortune to teach. The visit from the three young women who wanted me to be here tonight was one of the things that will give me the faith to return next year. Thank you guys, for asking us here--and helping us keep the faith."

They also gave me an award meant for alumnae--but they liked my answer on the questionaire so much, they decided that I should get it instead. It said, "What is the biggest accomplishment you've made since graduation?"

I replied, "I never quit learning after high school."

My reward? Nerds. Three boxes of the candy--and, Goddess bless them, an entire room full of them, dancing in a joyous circle as I left.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Yay I have my summers... off?

Squish and I have been home together for the last three days.

She's gonna kill me.

Seriously--today, I had to take Big T to a dentists appointment (there was a lot of "Holy Cats! Has that kid grown?" Uhm, he must have-- he's TALLER THAN A FREAKIN' TANK!) so I took her too.

We seriously entertained the receptionist, because she NEVER STOPPED TALKING. But the weirdest part was when she was looking at a picture in an ocean book.

"Hey look! What's that?" (She must have said this about six zillion times.)

"I don't have the faintest idea." (I am searching the plate captions frantically--they're not always in the same place.)

"It's an egg sac."

"It is not!"

"It is too! Look. It's an egg sac."

(Finally finding the caption.) "Well, what do you know about that? It's an egg sac. How did you know that?"

"I just knew. It's an egg sac."


On the way home we stopped by the yarn store. The ladies at the yarn store were very accommodating--but she was not satisfied.

"Mom, this is not our regular Babetta's. What is this place?" (Babetta's is our LYS. She knows it well. It's the only place in a two county radius we're likely to encounter another young lady with Squish's real name.)

"This is a yarn store."

"No. This is a Babetta's."

But she was polite.

"I like your earrings."

"Yeah?" (said the sweet middle aged lady in the stunning hand knit purple sweater.)

"Yeah. And I like your sweater. It's pretty. Purple is a good color."

"Why thank you. I like your hair."

"Thank you. I just got it cut. It's red. My eyes are blue. Blue is the best color. I'm the only one in our house who has eyes the color blue."

"Except your father," I say dryly.

"My father has blue eyes. But they're not as pretty as mine. I do not love brown eyes. But I do love your earrings."

And so on. You may notice that if it wasn't for the shortness of the sentences, she would sound like a middle aged woman as well. I'm hoping she keeps up this trend--finally, the plan of having children instead of financially planning for my old age looks like it's working out.

Cause I gotta tell you, it's not looking like Chicken's gonna do it for me. I spent forty five minutes last night, critiquing her short story for English, (because a third person critique is part of the grade) and today? During English? She refused to turn it in. Why? BECAUSE I USED THE NICKNAME "CHICKEN" IN THE CRITIQUE!

I was so mad, I e-mailed her teacher and asked her to let Chicken turn it in-- but only if she agreed to CALL HER CHICKEN FOR THE REST OF THE SCHOOL YEAR. *grumble grumble grumble* I mean REALLY. Gonna beat that kid to death with a stack of five pages of short story interpretation of Fahrenheit 451, I really fucking am.

Phonebook is doing VERY well-- and I'm so grateful for everyone who gave this little story a shot. Make sure you let me know-- or rate it on goodreads. If you DO visit, you may find a very short, VERY DIRTY Adrian/Bracken story I wrote for the hell of it. It does have (as much good erotica does) a point, but make no doubt--it IS erotica, and it's fairly hardcore m/m, in a way I don't usually do, even in my most off the charts stuff. But if you're in the mood for it, go check it out!

And now, I need to go relax. Seriously-- a lot of work goin' on during this vacation!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Let the Knitting Begin!

OKay-- first, for the feed... tomorrow IS June Second, Phonebook should be available from Dreamspinner tomorrow. "Phonebook" is actually a short story sequel to another short story. "Shirt" appeared in the Curious Anthology and featured two lovers--Scotty and Ryan-- who had a rather surprising moment when Ryan got tangled up in his oxford shirt. It is still one of the DIRTIEST stories I've ever written-- but also one of the funniest. "Phonebook" revisits Scotty and Ryan again--this time, Ryan's on a business trip, he doesn't like phone sex, and they run out of things to talk about. Like a lot of my stuff, this one was inspired by a couple of incidents. The first is that when my brother was in high school, he and his girlfriend once stayed up until three in the morning.

"Holy cats, Todd--what did you talk about?"

"Nothing. She read the phonebook to me."


"We ran out of things to talk about but we didn't want to hang up!"

I thought this sounded like the most boring conversation EVER, and it stuck with me. A little after Keeping Promise Rock came out, not one but three people used the phrase, "I'd read the phonebook if you wrote it!" I was embarrassed--because, you know, NO ONE is THAT good--I felt like it was praise I didn't deserve. I figured that the only way to make the phonebook interesting was to make it dirty, and, well, you know. Since Scotty and Ryan could take a plain blue shirt and sex it up... voila. "Phonebook"--if you read it, do let me know it doesn't suck.

Omigod-- I mean, it'a a knitting blog, sort of, right? Ive been knitting! I may or may not have mentioned (okay... no pictures--and I"m on my husbands computer so there isn't going to be any. *hand to forehead* Wow. I've never actually GUARANTEED instant boredome before!) but I've got six socks on the needles and that doesn't include the ones in the lost sock bag. (btw? Mate just 'cleaned up' my knitting area... I may or may not know where the lost sock bag is, guaranteeing that those socks are well and truly LOST! I can't wait to excavate this place when I'm ninety. Even the cats will be laughing at me!)

Anyway--I'm working on a sweater for Zoomboy in this incredible cherry red from Cascade. The cool thing about this color (especially in Sacramento) is that it's not GANGLAND red, it's Cherry Red--it's as innocent and sweet a red as I've ever seen, and I actually needed some blue colorwork (fucked up as usual) to butch it up a little. I'm working this one in the round, and it's nice, but easy, and so for some interest, I've got some orgasmic water-colored malagrigo online for a scarf. PUUURRRRRRR... and I think the sweater at least will have some pictures. (Have you noticed we've SERIOUSLY lost the camera as a family? We've been relying on Chicken's and on the photo booth op on my laptop, and they both SUCK for picture quality. I MISS the days of pictures on the damned blog!) Of course, the days of pictures on the damned blog were also the days before I was consumed by writing angst... I guess omething does give, doesn't it? (Hmm... maybe more pictures, fewer blogs? But where's the fun in that?)

So I'm knitting, and relaxing... I got my summer hair cut so I may dye it again... and I'm almost human.

Oh yeah-- and we saw Prince of Persia yesterday. You know, it may have been Jake Gylenhall's abs blinding me to the movies more subtle flaws, but I thought it was GRRRREEEAAAAATTTTTT!!!