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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lemme Hear It From the Cheap Seats!

This is Talker--and he's getting a lot of attention. Maybe it's the tattoos and maybe it's the fact that Bella was so sweet and light and this one is... well... not. Either way, I'm getting all nervy again because it's out tonight from this place and ARe and and all points in between.

Either way, I've been chewing on nerves all week. (Of course, worrying about Zoomboy has me chewing on something more substantial, so the nerves are just sitting there, misfiring and neglected and only partially digested.) Chris is running a contest for it, and she's got a LOT of hits... and I'm getting more nervy by the minute. People are anticipating something I did... oh geez. *nerves*

So, well, I need to say it. Everybody out there, join in for me, yeah?

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



Monday, August 30, 2010

Big Round Numbers

'Kay... Zoomboy is sick, first of all. And it sucks-- we woke up a three this morning and he was throwing off heat like Sacramento in the summer, and then, at five (when I actually get out of bed) he didn't feel bad. At six thirty, when his father gets out of bed, he's back to super-nova again. He's so sad when he's sick. Squish hunkers down on you and just, well, squishes. Zoomboy can't get comfy on you and mostly just lays in bed like a dead fish--too out of it to even flop. I guess the good news is, he's too tired to beat up his little sister in the evenings... but I got to tell you, it's eerily quiet in the backrooms here at night! But I'm staying home tomorrow--and possibly Wednesday, and Zoomboy... well, maybe by Wednesday we'll MAKE him play soccer because he's running around and making us crazy. I certainly hope so-- crazy is crazy, but feeling bad for the goombah, well, that sucks.

And I've been thinking about 'big, round numbers'.

When I used to get a review, ANYWHERE, I read it with great trepidation. I remember a couple of years ago, my hands actually got sweaty and shook, and I couldn't swallow, and I had spots in front of my eyes--and that was for an review, not for a review site review. And I kept absolute perfect count on my review stats, too. I knew which book at amazon had how many reviews, and how many were good and how many were bad. I knew the exact same stats for, and could recite them at will--it was of PARAMOUNT importance that I knew these numbers--they were the SCIENTIFIC PROOF--and about the only proof I had that I was doing the 'write thing' with my time and whatever spare gifts the gods chose to throw at me.

I've had to get past that in the last couple of months--it's been weird.

I mean, I still have to read them--I do. I like to see what I've done right and i NEED to see what I've done wrong, and I have, fortunately, developed an acid test for reacting to this information. If I read a review and think, "D'oh! I could have done that! It would have made the work better!" then I allow myself to internalize the criticism and take it with me. If read the review and shrug and say, "Even knowing how this person feels, I would still have written the same book," then that is me, hopefully growing mature and learning to live with this very public form of work assessment that most people in any sort of art or performance endure.

But still--I'm getting to the place where counting every review on and is simply unfeasible, and I need to leave those sites alone and keep my own perspective. I've been looking forward to this place, because I recognize my own obsessiveness and I know that the only way to deal with it is to ride it out.

Well, is about to hit 1000 ratings for Amy Lane. It's not significant in any way whatsoever, except it's a BIG ROUND NUMBER... and that's it. The end. It doesn't mean I've 'gotten there', it doesn't mean I can stop worrying what people think about my work--it just means I can stop counting, and for those of you who know my math skills, you know that's a big weight off my chest.

And hopefully, it means my journey towards that elusive thing known as 'perspective' is just a little bit closer. Sometimes I think it will be like splitting infinity-- I'll never achieve it truly, and always be a bit of an exposed nerve when it comes to these things--sometimes, I think that's where I'm supposed to be. With exposed nervedom comes a sort of necessary sensitivity--you can't write well if you can't feel, right? Of course, some of my best work comes when I sit at the keyboard and "open up a vein"-- but even that gets messy. One of the things that writing the short pieces has taught me this year is that sometimes, you rip your heart out to write, and sometimes, occasionally, it's okay to take a limb off a tree and let the sap flow instead. A sweet, sappy read--sometimes, it's just the thing--and heaven knows I'm gonna bleed sometime tomorrow, right?

Anyway-- it's a big, round number, and I'm glad to reach it. Like i said, I can stop counting, cause I was never any good at it, and that means more time writing, right?

Wish my little fish well--I feel for my poor flounder! And wish me well too--I'll be home with him tomorrow! (Yikes!) Oh yeah-- and wish BOTH Mate and I luck... we've got double duty at two back to school nights! I got second grade--you know, it's like a vacation?


Saturday, August 28, 2010

And other shitty things happened this week...

Including Mate spraining his ankle (and being a total trooper about it as he coached soccer, bless him), and a clusterfuck over at and the fact that our cat apparently has a jumping disability...

But forget about that. Because I've got some writing happy, all in one whack, and I'm gonna celebrate for a nanosecond before I start whinging about what, let's face it, is a pretty awesome life. First of all, there's this:

It's the first pencil sketch for Guarding the Vampire's Ghost (the Adrian Story) and I'm without words. It's beautiful, and, well, dammit, I'm just spoiled. Spoiled rotten. Every cover that's come out of DSP has made me so proud to write for them. Damn.

And, well, after that, there were some of these,, and
this, and this, and one of these. ETA-- oh yeah... and one of these too! (Damn. Just. Damn. Added this last one tonight. I'm sort of blown away.)

Someone likes me. The nerves, insecurity, anxiety, fear, and neurosis can resume on their regularly scheduled patterns (pretty much in sync with my breathing and heartbeat, actually) but for the moment, I'm good.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I survived...

But mostly because I slept for nine hours on Tuesday, and because I came home early on Wednesday and cried on Mate...

*whinge* "You're going to cancel soccer practice, right? And come get the kids? Because it's two o'clock and a hundred and five fucking degrees outside and if I have to get in that fucking car again I will never stop crying!"

Mate replied, "yeah-- but could you call the parents for me?"

And I did. And then got my own two phone calls, because it really was that hot, and I wasn't being a total baby, and EVERYBODY canceled soccer practice. So I got some more sleep. And then i came home today and slept some more. And it's like my body's going, "All that writing you've been doing because you've stayed up late because you've been anxious because you've got writing coming out? Yeah. That's got to stop for a while because you're making yourself psychotic."

And so I've gotten some sleep. It's been swell. Makes me feel like writing some more! (Except now that i'm no longer crazy, I need to clean the house!)

Anyway, that picture above the blog is from Talker, and it's captured some attention because the airbrushed tattoos make people think, "Hey! Airbrushed tattoos!" but I'm actually happy about it. The tattoos are important--and really hard to do, and it's a small but powerful novella, and I'm still impressed enough to get a professional cover to be very very pleased. And the blond guy who is supposed to be Brian is SO SO SO SO SO SO Brian-- right down to the gray shirt (which I also suspect is airbrushed, and don't care.)

So I love Talker. I really love it. You guys know how I feel about the kids that nobody wants--well, nobody wanted Talker, but Brian did, and this story really does it for me. I hope people like it--I'm much more nervous about this one than I was about Bella. I loved Bella-- Sebastian was a sweetie, I wanted people to like him--but I want people to be MOVED by Talker, and that's so much harder.

And it's coming out next Tuesday, right here.

Oh yeah... and I did a thing... an interview on the internet... which, i maintain, makes it an e-terview but that's just me. Anyway, I'm boring. And silly. And a total dork. Those of you who've been around for a while, back me up on this!

Off to be a mama now... it turns out, I've got kids!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bitching by bullet points...

* The cat has so far managed to ass-dial the following functions on my computer: this weird box that won't let me scroll--but only on CERTAIN e-mails or dialog boxes, the dimmer switch so I can't see my screen, and (this one is fun!) Command + F5--which on a Mac, cues up a voice telling you where you are on the internet. (If you want it to go away, just press it again!)

* I lost my car keys in Teh Crazy on Saturday. Have been using Mates. Can't wait to lose those too.

* My car a/c broke down on Saturday. It won't be fixed until Wednesday--at the "Oh God make it magically fucking true" earliest. It is currently 106 degrees outside.

* My back passenger door attempted to give a fender massage to the car parked on the corner of the curb at Zoomboy's school yesterday. After exchanging numbers (sort of--the owner didn't speak ANY English, and her daughter did not seem to understand the concept of "The insurance should pay for it!") and getting back in the car and crying all over our insurance agent's answering machine, I had an epiphany at eight o'clock last night.

"Mate?" I said to Mate.

"Yes?" Mate replied.

"Is it illegal for cars to be parked DIRECTLY NEXT TO A STOP SIGN?"


"WOOOOTTTTT!!!!" (I screamed, frightening the children in back of the convection oven on wheels with the newly damaged door.)



* Blogger is being a fucktard and keeps setting me up on the mobious log in. (Publish comment... log in... go to comment moderation... log in... publish comment... log in... go to Barnes & Nobles and buy evil witch's handbook and curse blogger to barf mealworms in rainbow colors until THIS CYCLE IS BROKEN!)

* I have to drive the convection oven back to school in an hour (when the temperature is at it's highest!) in order to enjoy Back to School Night. I both love and hate this night. If I'm good, in the morning, I'll remember my Supernatural dvd's. That may be the one way I actually survive tomorrow.

* And, it seems, my policy of existing on four hours of sleep at night is giving me a shitty attitude. I'm sure you're all shocked! (Yes, shocked and appalled!) Anyway, should I only blog two or three times a week for a while, I'm pretty sure you know where I'll be... the vortex of crazy awaits!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Opening Day, Stream of Consciousness Style

Okay... before we delve deep into my sunburnt noggin for the details of my day, I need to say THANK YOU THANK YOU A ZILLION TIMES THANK YOU! At the moment I'm in second, but the fact is, when I posted my shameless begging for your attention this morning, I was, like, LAST, and really embarrassed for Whim and Charlie. You guys gave them a little somethin' somethin', and I'm no longer ashamed to hold my head up with the other kids. Thank you--every one who voted, everyone who said, "Good luck, kid, even though I haven't read it!" You do know how to make a girl feel loved...

And now to the soccer fields... what follows is, more or less, what it was like in my head from seven in the morning until four o'clock this afternoon... please don't run away screaming.


Really? Is it August? For cryin' out loud, it's fricking sixty degrees out here! Here, Zoomboy, have my jacket. Yes, I love you too. No, you may not lift up my shirt as we line up for parade! Bye Squish--happy parade! Yeah, Chicken-- that's your team lining up, why, do you feel a pressing need to be there? Good. Oh, is the parade starting? Okay, everyone in positions...

Oh gees... did I forget to put on my tennishoes? This is gonna be a tough day in my flip-flops--oh, wait, here they come!

Yeah, that's my son--the one walking backwards and trailing at the end of his team, why do you ask! And there's Squishy, waving like the Queen she is. Yes she's a girl. See the pink earrings? And the COMPLETE; FEMININE ADORABILITY!!!! Sheesh.

Okay, Mate, what's on the schedule? Lessee...

Everyone's got kickathons at nine-thirty--you get Squishy, I get Zoomboy, Chicken gets Chicken. Oh gees... how many times am I going to have to haul my fat ass across this entire soccer field/junior high complex in flip-flops? Don't ask. That way lies madness.

Watch out, Zoomboy! Coach wasn't ready for you to kick that with your goofy foot! Six goals in thirty-seconds, is awesome, really! No, it wasn't the lowest score. The four year old got six too. Okay, Chicken's game--let's go let's go let's go... no, you can't do the waterslide now, it's only sixty-five degrees outside! *dial Mate* Dude, I'm here at Chicken's game--whereyat? Good. When you come visit, bring sandwiches and water! *hangs up*

Assume position. Sock out. Let the game begin.

GO CHICKEN GO! Awwww... that's okay... it's only the first game. Everyone's going to wipe the floor at least once today. Game over, Squish's turn.

Oh gees... how many times am I going to have to haul my fat ass across this fucking field complex in flip flops? don't ask... that way lies madness!

Assume positions. Sock out. Let the game begin.

Go Squish go! No, no... not to the bounce house--I swear, you'll get bounce house time later. Okay, the game's over. I guess later is now. NO, DON'T TAKE OFF THE SHIN GUARDS!!! FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, WE'LL NEVER GET THEM ON AGAIN! Okay, go foor about ten minutes. Then we've got a game.

Oh holy jeebers... how many times am I going to have to haul my fat ass across this five soccer fields in flip flops? For fucks sake stop asking!

Assume position. Sock out. Let the game begin.

Go Zoomboy, Go! In the right direction! With your team! FACE THE BALL! Hey, Mate--thanks for the sandwich and the water! Yeah. Do they have one person extra for Zoomboy's team? Yeah, you wish. In fact see that big kid with the faux-hawk? Yeah--he's not ours. He's a pity loan from the other coach. Has Zoomboy been playing like this all day? Yeah? You think he's a warm-body? You wish. Mostly, we just hope the opposition trips on him, because otherwise, he's in our guys way. Yeah... yeah, I know. He's the little gold fish swimming happily and erratically through the big tide of big gray fish. He's my Zoomboy... DAMMIT, ZOOMBOY, GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR NOSE! Holy Crap-- I used to think that was only an expression when parents yelled that on the soccer field. Yup. There's another goal. THAT'S OKAY, WOLF PACK, YOU'RE DOING GREAT!!!

Squish's game next? We'll see you there! *smooches*

Yay, Zoomboy! Let's go watch your sister play! Yeah-- there's time for the bounce house! NO, CRAP, DON'T TAKE OFF YOUR SHIN GUARDS! Are you kidding? No waterslide-- you have a game in forty-five minutes--it will take that long to get your shin guards back on. We'll go after your one-thirty game. *sotto voice to waterslide attendant* So, when do you shut down? Two O'clock? Oh Crap!


Okay, Zoomboy--start getting your shin guards off--I'll go get your other clothes--you've got ten minutes in the waterslide after we watch your sister play! NO, DON'T TELL HER YOU'RE GOING! She doesn't have time for the waterslide, honey, you'll only freak her out.

How many times have I schlepped my fat ass across this fucking field? Don't ask. In that way lies madness.

'kay, Squish--you ready for your game? It's running late, we thought we'd see it! No, no, honey, don't cry. No! Please... baby, I've got to take Zoomboy back to his game! It's your last game! I swear! You have ten minutes for the bounce house! PLease... baby... baby, I've got to go! Fuck. Mate! Mate! Mate! COACH!!! *points to Squish having giant squishy meltdown because of her third soccer game in sixteen hours* Dude, I've got to get Zoomboy across the field, and Chicken's game starts at the same time. *kisses for Squish* *kisses for Mate* C'mon, Zoomboy... shhhh!! I told you not to mention that! No, Squish--we're going to his game, I swear!

Jesus fricking Christamas. Fucking field. Fucking fat ass. Fucking flip flops. FUCKING YARN BAG THAT WEIGHS FUCKING SEVENTY ZILLION POUNDS.

Okay, Zoomboy--let's change our clothes. yeah, the portajohns are gross. Let's duck into a corner and get naked here. No one will see. HOly crap--for once, that worked!!! Okay, shinguards off! Go! Go again! Go again! Okay, buddy, only three more times to... OH SHIT! Don't worry--your face blocked the fall--keep going, you only have five more minutes left! *breathes sigh of relief* With any luck, he won't see the bruise until his teacher reports us to CPS.

All right... frickin' shin guards... oughtabeafrickinlaw... Nope! Here we go! Gotcha here on time! Out to the field.

Assume the position. Sock out. Let the game begin.

Wait a second--where's the ref. No ref. We've got to wait here for the ref? I haven't seen Zoomboy that focussed since his last tantrum, and now we've got to wait for the frickin' ref?

Well, the boys are sitting down out on the field in their field positions. Oh look--Zoomboy's a forward. He's in the circle around the center. That's good. Wait. What are they doing now? i don't know, but Zoomboy's leading...

Oh holy shit. ARe those kids AIRBENDING OUT OF BOREDOM?

Looks like. Jesus. Wait until I tell Mate!

Oh--hey, Mate! You drove the car around?


That's awesome.

Okay--you go watch Chicken, I'll take the kids to Mcdonald's after the game for sodas and dinner. Yeah.

Go Zoomboy Go!

And we're done? Are we really done? Let's go to the... crap...

Fucking field. Fucking fat ass. Fucking flip flops. FUCKING KEYS IN MATE'S FUCKING POCKET! Just plain fuck.

Okay, NOW are we in the car? Great! Squish, what do you want at McDonald's?



Zoomboy? Oh. You're right. Squish is asleep!

Hey... what's wrong with the... oh, for fuck's sake! Is the AC busted? Fuck. Well, *brightening* at least it's only eighty degrees outside. Here, Chicken, here, Mate, have a soda. How was the game?

Oh... sorry, Chicken... well, everyone has to wipe the floor sometime.

Omigod... is the family really 0 for 6? I think I won't mention that out loud... it will only depress Mate.

Home? Old movie? *happy sigh* Yeah.

An hour later, at home, with McDonald's and some old television...

Oh. My. God. Really? Do we all look like the part of Richard Dreyfus that saw the space ship in Close Encounters? Yup. All except Zoomboy, who looks like he didn't see any sun at all.

*sigh* Who wants ice cream?

And Monday school starts for EVERYBODY. And that, folks, is when the REAL crazy begins!

Vote for MMMMEEEE!!!

Okay-- real blog post coming, I SWEAR! But it's opening day for soccer (which is huge and exhausting with three kids on the field) and when I checked my e-mail this morning I saw that "Whim" was up for Book of the Week over HERE! So, uhm, while I'm running around trying to watch Squish, Zoomboy, and Chicken play their two exhibition games (after Squish had a game last night!) could y'all do me a solid and vote for me?


I SWEAR--a real blog post tonight or tomorrow! Honest!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Intellect Disconnect

This morning, the following things happened before 8:30 a.m.

* I woke up at 5:00 in the morning to take care of writing business and the internet was down, all day.
* I left on time for work and got there late because traffic in front of the school was SO bad I spent fifteen minutes in front of the school trying to get to the parking lot.
* An administrator walked into my room while I was trying to pull my morning schedule out of an orifice--I felt foolish. (She was fine--she even got to walk in when I was reminding everybody conscientiously to put their electronics away.)
* As she left, the overhead projector bulb went out.
* While the kids were working on their warm-up (the wrong way because it was up on the board instead of on the overhead) I booted up my computer and checked my messages. There was one from Mary (*waves!) saying,"Hey, did you see Whipped Cream gave "Whim" four and a half stars?" (This is especially close to my heart because Whim did not get a lot of attention when he came out, and I really loved him!)
* I made a *woot!* sound and broke their concentration on the board work. And then I had to explain (sort of) and then... when I'd just got the class BACK ON TRACK AFTER ALL THIS OTHER BULLSHIT...
* The custodian arrived with the extra chairs I requested because this class has enough students to split the seams of my portable.

The only good thing? When I complained to Mary about my students probably feeling like the entire day was watching a squirrel in a hamster ball, she said, lesson plan? Put this on the board: Fall of the Roman Empire: Discuss.

I was like, "Best. Lesson Plan. Ever."

And, in other random crap:

Chicken: "Okay--how many people have been dipping cookies in my milk?"
Me: "Is that a euphemism? Because if it is, it's just disturbing!"
Chicken: "Yeah, mom--feel free to use it. But seriously--how many people had cookies and used my milk while it's on the table?"
Me: "At least three--can I really use that? Because I'm telling you, that's a good one!"

Chicken: "Why does my back hurt?"
Mate: "Did you do any housework?"
Chicken: "Yes."
Mate: "Did you clean the catboxes?"
Chicken: "Yes dad, that's not why my back hurts!"
Mate: "Did you pick up the floor?"
Chicken: "Da-ad! YES I did something more than lie around and read all day! thanks a lot! My back really hurts--"
Me: "Your back hurts because you laid sideways on the beat-to-shit stuffed chair. It tweaks me out too."
Chicken: "I love you mommy."

Big T (general conversation): "Mom, could you do this for me?"
Me: I'm really tired. Could we not?
Big T: "Okay, fine. Can you do it now?"
Me: "Can I wait until it's all quiet (or I'm not falling asleep) before I read your story/have this in depth conversation/discuss your college plans/discuss for the fifteenth time why you failed your driver's training test/etc. etc. etc.?
Big T: "Sure. Can we talk about it now?"
Me: *hysterical sobbing fit*
Big T: "Sorry mom. Are you okay?"
Me: "Your timing sucks honey."
Big T: "I'm sorry."
Me: "That's okay."
Big T: "Can we talk about it NOW?"
Me: *sob*


Zoomboy, after running to the end of the house so he can launch himself at me like a rocket made of razor bones: "Did I hurt you, mom?"
Me: "No, sweetie, I'm fine."
Zoomboy: "Okay, let me try it again!"


Me, in Wal-Mart: "OKay, let's go get school supplies and clothes for the big kids."
Kids: 'Okay!"
Squish: "Can I get shoes and clothes?"
Me: "No! We're going to get school supplies for the big kids!"
Squish: "Goody! I'm a big kid! Am I going to Kindergarten?"
Me, anticipating giant tantrum: "No, sweetheart, you're going to get shoes and clothes. And a purse. And some bubble bath. And how about some earrings..."

Nameless Dumbass Colleague in Staffroom Who Should be Smacked Because He's the One Who Felt It Was Unfair To Say This Workplace Was Hostile To Women: "Here... this is me! I'm doing an impression of Lane's vibrator... It's breaking down!" (What followed were some TRULY disturbing sound effects that I will not try to reproduce here.)

(later, after lunch room has cleared out, completely disturbed) "So, Lane--I didn't offend you, did I?"

Me: "No worries. I'm totally plotting your revenge fic right now. I'm slashing you with a three-hundred pound gorilla with dirty fingernails and leather underwear."

Nameless Dumbass Colleague: "Yeah, but I'm giving it, right?"

Me: "You wish. Stock up on lube, vibrator boy."

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zoomboy and the Sign

Zoomboy is playing soccer.

"How is he doing?" Mate asks, and I tell him. It's not pretty.

"He runs like an epileptic giraffe in cement shoes," I tell him apologetically.

"That's your fault." (My family's complete lack of coordination is universally acknowledged. When my father dances, lives are at stake.)

"I know," I tell him.

"What else?"

"He can't focus. I spent a couple of practices giving him a verbal redirect, but the coach would rather we not yell at them on the field."

"What were you yelling?"

"'Dammit, Zoomboy, the ball is over there!"'

"Good coach."

"I am aware."

Mate accepts this. "So what now?"

"What do you mean what now?"

"How did he do tonight?"

I look at Zoomboy, who is currently crouched in the middle of the field, quite literally picking daisies. "Peachy, honey. He's doing swell."

"Does he do that all practice?"

"No, actually. When they were doing laps around the track, he was running. He was running with his hands in the air about chest level, but he was running."

Mate is sincerely puzzled. "Why was he running with his hands up at his chest?"

I mimed the position. "He was driving."


"Driving. And he was so busy driving that all those ubercompetetive little boys who actually want to play soccer dusted him. I said, 'Zoomboy, where'd your team go?' He was so puzzled he stopped hs 'car', backed it up, turned it around, backed it up, went forward again, looked around and realized he couldn't find them. So he put his car in idle and hung his elbow out the window until they all caught up to him again."

"He mimed all this?" Mate asked numbly.

"He did indeed."


"Oh look!" said one of the other team mom's next to us. She thinks this is so cute. "He's doing a little dance for you!"

"Look mom!" called Zoomboy from the field. "It's the pee-pee dance! I don't have to go pee-pee, but I'll do the dance for you!"

The dance came complete with held crotch and everything.

Mate and I watch him without a single word between us.

"That's awesome," he said at last.

"That's our boy."

He is indeed. But I still think it's a sign that we'd better plan for our retirement now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

And Now We Are Sane

Sort of.

I'd forgotten how normal a weekend can be. Gymnastics, grocery shopping, kids' errands, oh my! Of course, next week, soccer games start, and opening day, and I may very well fall down the rabbit hole again... there is no telling!

For those of you curious about this year's schedule (since previous years have proven so very entertaining once teh Crazy has begun) it goes a little something like this:

M/W-- Soccer for Chicken @ 5:00, and for Mate, Squish, and Zoomboy at 6:30-8:00.
T-- Dance for Squish @ 5:30, Chicken @ 6:45 (across town from each other!) and sometimes softball for Mate whenever.
W-- Karate for T (which, for obvious reasons, we skip a lot.)
Th--Karate for T (which, for obvious reasons, we MUST make!)
F--Game for Squish w/Mate
S (and sometimes Sun) -- Game for Chicken and Zoomboy
Sunday--grocery shopping, writing, and knitting, and sometimes, reading.

Oh yeah. And every other Wednesday I've got some sort of staff meeting--and a department head that can't figure out why I just sort of space those things for the first two month of school completely unintentionally and not personal to anything he does. They just. don't. compute. (Seriously--I almost spaced the complete staff meeting this last week. Had nothing to do with my desire to be there--I actually enjoyed it, and the whole way those things are going. I just had my brain on other shit, I SWEAR!)

Now, I was going to devote part of this blog post to waking up to a stench that roiled through the house at five a.m. with personality as well as touch, sound, and texture, but Chicken has been blogging as well, and I like her cartoon better than my diatribe against the homicidal dog, trying to kill us with her intestinal dysfunction. See? Of course her father read it and said, "You only WISH you had surgical mask for that operation!" and Chicken and I nodded our heads and said, "Oh *YEAH!*

I was going to devote part of the post to my son's weird obsession with Hunter S. Thompson and the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but honestly, other than, "Jesus that movie is WEIRD!" that's all I gots! The movie is weird. My son is... well... he's seventeen. That sort of covers it. I remember making my parents rent the weirdo Lawrence Olivier "Hamlet" when i was that age--complete with the Freudian blocking and the icky scene between Hamlet and his mother. There is a certain amount of pretension involved in being young and wanting to understand EVERYTHING about your world. I get that. I'm just old enough to want my entertainment to be basic entertainment. you know. Twister and Shawshank Redemption. (*waves at Mary*) (However, I might add, Inception was a lot of fun to speculate about... me likey!)

Anyway, I'm rambling. I'm trying (HARD) not to obsess with how people liked Bella and whether or not I should try to write more romantic comedy or stick to sturm and drang. Maybe I'm just not good enough to write romantic comedy, you know? I mean, a lot of people liked If I Must, but a lot of people thought it was just too goofy. Not everyone can be Billy Wilder--I just thought it would be fun to try. *sigh* I'm working on something funny right now-- I figured that I'd made my editors read angst and pain for four manuscripts... I'd go for a happy before I started Jeff's story, and Cory's in the down time. Maybe not such a good idea, yanno?

Anyway--my goal next week is to actually KEEP UP on my blog reading, and not just dump comments in your boxes like wildflowers by the wagon-load.

Oh yeah--i'd also like to get some sleep.

(BTW? Steve the female kitten is doing AWESOME!!! She's insane--but she's awesome. So sweet. We're fighting to keep this one inside. We want her around for a while.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

I feel happy... I want to go for a walk!

(I was going to do "I'm not dead yet" but apparently I've done that one before...)

Anyway, this week I:

* Went back to work and saw students

* Took kids to soccer practice with Mate, twice

* Took T to fail his driver's permit exam

* Took T to look smashing for his Senior Portraits

* Took the little kids to the pool (today)

* Fielded an insane kitten on my head for three out of five mornings

* Got up at five a.m. to write every morning (apparently freaking out the spouse who did not know that I did that!)

* Faxed my contract for "Guarding the Vampire's Ghost" (which as you might guess, was harder than it seems!)

* Started knitting a hat for a student during staff meetings and lunch. (Yes. I still knit. Why?)

* Wrote a Jack & Teague mini that I posted on

* Engaged in marital relations on more than one occasion (which normally I wouldn't mention, but when you put it together with the getting up at five in the morning is something I'm sort of proud of.)

* Went shopping for candy for my students (see above for why this was special.)

* Actually cooked dinner on more than one occasion (see above for why this was special.)

* Read to my kids (see above for why this was special.)

* Wrote about 3K on the Christmas short I'm working on (see above for why this was special.)

* Offended my coworkers (see previous post for how this happened and why I'm not shocked.)

* Didn't kill anybody. (See above for why this was special.)

Tomorrow is our last weekend before soccer games begin.

I'm looking forward to this with a masochistic, stoned-from-lack-of-sleep sort of way. La--off to fall deeply asleep in front of bad television. Can't wait!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just in Time to Kick Off Teh Crazy...

Yup. That's Bella's Brother, now available at Dreamspinner, available in a day or two fromARe, and available this week sometime from the 'zon.

To say I'm nervous about this one would not fully convey how on edge I am about the reception of Making Promises. Some people love it, and some people are disappointed that it's not Deacon and Crick all over again, and I've experienced this with Vulnerable and Wounded, but, like with that series, I have the urge to make the next installment in a series VERY DIFFERENT from the first one. I guess I have to accept that if I sort of want to be like the Bruce Springsteen of UCF and m/m--not the Tommy Two-Tone--then sometimes that's going to happen. People who loved Born to Run might NOT love Atlantic City or Further On Up The Road (and don't make me past that Supernatural youtube clip again, because I will!) It's a fact of writing, I need to deal--and remember that I write stories about things I like, and hope (and am thrilled when) others like that too.

I also have to remember that not once has Sylvester STallone EVER said publicly that he regretted being in Oscar, and I actually liked that movie! ("You are an ox, AND a moron!" -- GREAT LINE!)

So Bella's Brother is not as angsty as my usual fare--but I lurvs me a good romantic comedy too. I hope this one delivers.

(Everybody... I'm sayin' it. I know you'll join me! Holy Goddess, Merciful God, LET IT NOT SUCK!)

And about Teh Crazy?

Lessee... I don't want to blog about some of it-- Let's just say my track record for offending people continues full steam. It's never intentional, but I have all the grace and people skills of my aging dog after sneaking a cheap microwave burrito. Beware my interpersonal stench--it rolls thick and deep. (And let us just also say, if I complain to a higher authority about something that's huge and affects me and my family, and that person looks me in the eyes and says, "You'll have to find some way to fix that!" I, uhm, will PROBABLY FIND SOME WAY TO FIX IT. And protocol? Does NOBODY know me?) But that's enough about that. There are larger concerns.

The first and foremost is that the streets are safe for another week or two-- Big T has failed his written driver's permit test. This does not surprise me-- T does NOT translate those questions well into real life situations--but it does reassure me a little. Yes, the DMV system works, and I don't have to worry about my baby being on the BIG Effing WALL-O-DEATH that parents get to look at as they wait for their spawn to take that exam. At least not until he's put stuff together a little better in his very fine (and yet oddly wired) noggin. (And for someone who may be out there reading... *pift* Like I'd take him driving to Elk Grove anyway!)

Second and sort of fun is that I arrived today to an empty house. Seems my stepmom and dad showed up after I left for work this morning and took everybody school shopping. I love them. Can I just say I love them? Shoes for everyone, on the folks! (Anyone who has ever walked out of Famous Footwear with four pairs of shoes will realize what a blessing this is.)

And third? School started today. I was sort of ready. I made lots of promises--write more, be more interactive, grade papers closer to now than to never--and the kids? WERE AWESOME! I'd forgotten what it's like to have kids laugh at my jokes--seriously. I may hates 'em by week six (*shudder* Week Six. You all remember week six...) but I adores 'em like the kitten right now!

And my daughter's friend, who is going to continuation this semester to come back and graduate at mid semester, came to give me a hug. I gave her some books. I got to see her-and a bunch of other returning players--and I remembered that one of the joys of teaching Juniors is that I get to see them another year as Seniors.

And then I remembered that I love my job very much a lot sometimes.

And then I remembered that I had to run to take T to his permit exam. At the permit exam, I remembered that I was going to take Squish to dance. We got home too late to do that--and that, too, was a blessing.

Only two more errands right now... one is a walk. The other is to go fax the contract for The Adrian Story (Guarding the Vampire's Ghost). Yeah--you read that right. Another Little Goddess story in the works. My inner "squuueeeeeeee!!!" is deafening!

If I can lose even five pounds this month, it will have been a VERY good year:-)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Was on the Moon With Steve

Okay, watch the video first. Seriously. It's crucial to the whole rest of the post.

Did you hear that? He said that children lied their heads off! He said "I was dead at the time! I was on the moon! With Steve!" So now we know who it was that made your children do that awful thing--smack their sisters, kick the dog, break the tchotchkes-- all of it! We have a scapegoat!

All you need is a Steve.

Ladies and gentleman (one, at the least!)

Meet Steve.

Now, I confess, I had a certain agenda when we went to the Pet Smart kitten adoption with their crazy zealot people (Okay--sweet--terribly sweet, but when Chicken confessed that we let her cat Gordie go outside, the poor woman burst into ACTUAL TEARS for fear of her poor baby's life. Nice, but like I said, uhm, a little bit cat crazy) and their claustrophobic adoption set up. (No room. And people keep trying to get by in order to buy their dog food. The NERVE!) Anyway.

I was going in there for a Steve.

Chicken, Big T and I had been throwing this quote back and forth for weeks--that, and this movie character right here--

Pretty much cemented the deal.

We needed a special kind of cat. We needed a cat who could knock over the food, get the dog to eat it, and then set the dog up to get yelled at for playing in the trash. We needed a cat who would pounce on our faces at night and then be gone before we could do more than sit up and wonder "Whathefwa?" We needed a cat who could hump a ball of yarn into wool spaghetti, then blame it on the kids and make that charge stick.

Regardless of gender, regardless of color, regardless of age, we needed a Steve.

We think she's perfect. Welcome to the family, Steve--we promised your former owner who is nuts that we wouldn't let you outside.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ten Writing Reasons This Was a Good Summer

Okay-- you all know that the highlight of my summer is my kids--for always and forever, and we had some VERY good moments. But from a strictly writing standpoint, here are ten reasons that summer belonged to me...


I don't know how I feel about this--I mean, on the one hand I"m psyched... and on the other? Well... I still want more time with my kids. But, at least in a small way, summer really did belong to me:-)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Song Says It All

So, I was having a little discussion with my editor today (okay-- it still makes me feel very swank saying that. Forgive me. I have so very little opportunities for swank.) I told her I was going in to work for a little bit of time and she wondered that I was going back so early. I bitched about California and my own high school district in the same sentence, and then I said that I felt a little bit like Spiderman.

During the summer, I was a fearless word-slinger, creating new worlds, fighting my nemesis of editing and writing my mansex and reading it too.

At summer's end, I go back to being Peter Parker, where I can't win for losing, even if losing means screwing up a long dump into a wide hole.

After wandering into my classroom (which my daughter and her friend graciously decorated--it looks good, in spite of the fact that I forgot EVERYTHING I'd already bought for my room and needing to bring it on Monday) I managed to talk to the other Junior English teacher. She's a district veteran but a high school rookie, and I've worked with her in the past.

We see eye to eye--but I warned her. I warned her I was political poison. I warned her the department heads hated me, and my opinions were bad for her. And I warned her that this was a mostly male department, and even though I loved most of the guys, some of them will, quite unintentionally, create an atmosphere in which a woman would rather gnaw on her own wrists instead of venture an opinion.

She seemed to understand.

But both of us met world weary eyes over my desk, and there was an acknowledgment there. There was an acknowledgment that we both had screwed up schedules on our roster--she had more than forty kids and I had a period that didn't exist. She heard me ask to be connected to the printer so that I didn't have to send my work home to print out, and then take the master back to school to make the copies, and my concern that I'd done this ALL of last year. I heard her say, "I don't understand why we don't teach the persuasive paper in the fall. ALL of our literature is persuasive! Why would we have to teach the reflective paper--it doesn't fit in with any of our literature at all!" And the obvious reason was because the men who teach sophomores wanted to teach the persuasive paper, and our opinion didn't matter.

It was the same old shit, different day. For her, it was even a different location.

I felt compelled to warn her that I used to be able to leave my door open and let my kids in if I had to run to the bathroom, but that I couldn't do that anymore. She looked sad. "That's good to know. I don't know what I'm going to do--I teach periods one through four--I'm going to have to potty some time!"

I was glad to have a friend--an estrogen bearing one--and someone who knew the score.

I was also trying not to be too depressed that nobody at this job (or at least nobody in my department) was going to care--even a little bit--that author Amy Lane had a REALLY phenomenal summer, and had been given credit for knowing what she was doing with the English language in a public and encouraging way.

It was hard when the first thing I did was set about cooking a unit up to get the goddamned reflective essay out of the way so we could get our department head off our backs and not because we could think of a single other reason why it needed to be taught in the first semester.

Apparently, my two month stint as a successful author is over, and it's the end of that world as I know it.

I feel okay, really. Better, now that I've watched the videos. Yeah. Definitely, definitely much much much much much better.

Maybe by Monday I'll feel fine.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fucking Cat

I'll give you three guesses as to what that dark thing is in the picture.

If you've ever owned one of the god's (damned) companions, you will only need one. (Keep in mind, folks, that I took this picture from my computer keyboard, while looking at my screen. Uhm-hm. Yeah. Fucking cat.)

And the madness has begun...

Last night was the first night of soccer practice for the season! OI!

We're lucky this year-- last year, we had a practice on M/W, one on T/Th, a game on Friday and one on Saturday. This year, we don't have the practice on T/Th--and I'm thinking that's a blessing. We still have dance, but that's okay--we still had dance last year!

Anyway, Chicken, Zoomboy, and Squish all went to practice yesterday, and I'd forgotten (like you do) how lovely it is to just sit in the shade outside, and to read (and knit, and listen to your iPod) in the breeze. Of course, we were lucky there was a breeze coming off the cemetery (no lie--Zoomboy's U8 team practices on a school field near the cemetery. Apparently, a lot of gang members are buried there, because when a friend's kid went to school, every time they had a certain kind of funeral, they'd have a school lockdown until the cars were all gone.)

Chicken was off, practicing on her temporary team (if they don't get more members they'll disband and she'll be absorbed by another team--the U19 teams are a little iffy, most of the kids are moving on to other things.)

And Squish was playing Sharks & Minnows (a time honored soccer drill) with her father--and being hella cute.

Now I remember why this is madness, and why I can never seem to get a breath in the fall, and I remember why cooking for the family is hard and writing for myself is harder, and why my year seems to blur by my eyes at warp speed. But for the moment, the madness was almost... sane.

And then my own surreal twist kicked in.

One of the moms came up to me and said, "Hey--I don't know if you'd remember me, but did your husband used to work at Fridays?"

And we did remember her--and her brother--mostly because they were awesome, kind people, and I was sort of surprised all over again. She recognized ME? Why me?

"I don't know-- you were going through the whole teaching thing, and I thought that was sort of cool."

Blink. And now she teaches from home (she helps homeschooled kids and parents.) And I have a friend in my soccer moms.

Madness indeed.