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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10:11 pm

OKay--let's see if I can get this right. This is an e-book store that is offering a 20% discount next weekend (I think!) and since this page feeds to, I thought I'd offer it up. Now watch me completely forget to offer it up on the weekend in question, right? We all know it. I'm a dork!

Mostly small stuff to blog--hopefully funny. I'm sort of having a hard time catching up on my sleep--I don't know why, either, it's so frustrating! I'll get five and a half, six hours one night, and the next day, I'm still a mess without a nap! (Oh... wait...)

Anyway, the kids have been very cute--now watch me try to remember how and not sound like a total dork when I do it, okay?

Ready? Okay...

Zoomboy came running out of the bathtub naked the other night--he was, uhm, boinging about, shall we say, when I told him not to play with that thing, and to go put some clothes on.

"But mom! I'm doing the pee-pee dance, and this is my pee-pee! Isn't that funny?"

*stark horror* "Yeah, honey... yanno... grownups might think that's funnier if you had some clothes on..."


I was asking the older kids to take out the bathroom trash. Squish came up behind me and started lecturing, and suddenly I remembered something I needed to address her about: "And Squish--stop wrapping your pink-pig stuffed animals in the sticky white pads you find wrapped in the little green bag, okay? MOm and Chicken are going to need those eventually, all right?"

Chicken went, "What in the hell?"

And I said, "She's been wrapping Petunia Pig in maxi-pads for the last three nights. No, I don't know why. No, I don't know why that particular stuffed animal. All I know is that those things are hella expensive and she can clear half a bag in half an hour."

I walked away while the big kids were still laughing themselves into a pillbug position on the kitchen floor.


I went to pick up Squish from daycare, and she was all excited because she'd gotten to help make cake!

"Yeah," the babysitter said, without a trace of judgment, bless her. "It was pretty interesting. She told me, 'When mom's done cooking dinner, she doesn't do dishes. No. She just sits at the computer pushing buttons. She likes doing that. She pushes a lot of buttons!


Mate and I turn 43 on Thursday/Friday, and while my yearly present of Supernatural on dvd is looking me in the eye, tempting me on the table, I have yet to find something for Mate. Of course, that could be because Mate won't give me any hints, and it could be that Mate has also caved and spend out resources on the beloved and welcome replacement to our dear departed X-box, and that's all he wants. I don't know. I think Mate and I need a day of just us to decide and hash this out--or at least just a dinner for mom, with Mate!


And that's it. It wasn't going to BE it--I was SURE I had some more stories for you, but in spite of stopping to take a shower and put the kids to bed, I still keep falling asleep here, leaving big jet trails of letters on the keyboard that I have to clean up before I push send! Anyway, I'm going to bail!

Wish me sweet dreams!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Good Morning, World!

Yeah--it's been a few days--sorry about that!

Not only were things pretty busy around here with the B-day madness (and it was even small madness, mostly) but I was busy with The WIP That Kicked My Ass, and once I was done with THAT, well, I just sort of declared yesterday The Day Without The Computer, and that makes it pretty damned hard to blog.

Lessee--first things first. Chicken's B-day--

Was small.

Part of that was we'd already given her a weekend at Sacanime with her friend at the beginning of the month. She insisted that's what she wanted, and although she did experience a moment of iPod-yearner's remorse, the fact is, she had more time to run around and be happy on THAT weekend than she did on this one. This weekend, we squeezed in a birthday song over pie after her sister's soccer game and before her friend had to go home early because Chicken had an a.m. soccer game. The fun thing--and this was a total surprise to her--was that we'd bought a bunch of mini-pies for her soccer team. Most kids get cupcakes or cookies, and the mini-pies made it special.

Another fun thing was that Mate won five tickets to Sunsplash at a work raffle, and this time, there was enough of the day for the kids to wear their swimsuits and everyone to (except Mom) to go play until they passed out.

Yeah. Uhm. That little part in the parenthesis sucked rocks.

Yanno, I am a big woman for whom appearing in public in a swimsuit is not a lot of fun, so you'd think I'd jump at the fact that we only had five tickets. I mean, a day alone? Whoopee? Uhm... no. Watching everyone drive away sucked. I wanted to be in on that party, and I wasn't, and what I had planned to do that day was...

Hard. Really really hard.

Now I know that writing is supposed to be an extremely selfish occupation-- write what you want, right? And very often, it is. (Hence, the reason Quickening got put off for a year.) But sometimes, there are some things that we feel a really strong pull to write--sort of a moral obligation, as it were. "Truth" was almost like that. I was in the middle of Bella, and suddenly I get a MUCH better idea for Beauty and the Beast, and Naef's voice in my head was so strong, not listening to him seemed immoral, somehow. Very very wrong. So "Truth" was my fairy tale, and "Bella" was my summer fun story, and that worked, right?

This was very different from that. A fellow writer and e-buddy of mine is struggling with the big C--and very possibly not winning that particular battle. Anyway, we had an e-versation one late night, and he told me the dreams weren't even good, especially for all the drugs he was doing.

I wished him better dreams.

And then this idea for a story bloomed up in my head, pretty much complete.

I managed to put it off for a while. It was one of those things that A. I knew would hurt to write, and B. I wasn't sure I had the chops for. (For the record, I go through this last phase to varying degrees with almost every story with high emotional content or a large cast: Do I have the ability to pull of the vision in my head? Bitter Moon II made me feel like this from the beginning to the last word, and I'm still not sure I pulled it off.)

Anyway, I'd been working on this piece--a short story, ALL WEEK. Now usually I'm quicker than that--especially with something I have mostly written in my head before I sit down to the keyboard, but this piece, well... I had to do it in fits and starts. Every word was an emotional investment, and it takes time and focus to make those, and this was no different.

So the family left, and I sat down to my keyboard to literally sob my way through the last half of the story. I finished, and was still gasping for breath, when the neighbor knocked on my door, and I answered with my shirt still covered in tears and snot. (Kleenex? We don't need no stinkin' kleenex! Kathleen Turner made due with a post-it note in Romancing the Stone--a shirt is a luxury, I'm telling you, a luxury!) Anyway, the neighbor looked at me (in the post b-day/apocalyptic house) and probably assumed I was insane (cause I am) and told me uncomfortable personal information about her fertility and sex life that I wish I didn't know, then asked if Big T could mow her lawn on Sunday. Then she left. (I mention this because it is both surreal and bizarre. I can go for weeks without actually talking to this person--she's a nice person, and a knitting convert, but, really? That moment? Really?)

I changed (still sniffling) and went to my comfort place: The Yarn Store.

You'd think I'd be all better there, but no. Apparently, I was such a basket case as I walked into the yarn store (there to buy some lovely hat yarn for students, and some new Shaeffer Worsted weight sock yarn called Chris for more fingerless mittens for myself) that a sweet older woman bought me a cookie.

"You were crying when you came in, dear. Here. Have a cookie on me."

And then we sat down and talked about writing. I told her about an older story I wrote (the Cosmic Joke--it's on the website) and she said as she left, "You know, dear, your face lights up when you talk about your writing. I know it hurts, but please don't stop."

Well, I don't plan to stop anytime soon, but the next time Mate gets free tickets from work for Sunsplash, he'd better get me one, that's all I'm frickin' sayin'.

Thursday, September 23, 2010



Chicken is sixteen years old tomorrow.

She is tough, smart, independent, vulnerable, and beautiful.

When she was born, I walked into the hospital nearly eight centimeters dilated--and she shot across the stainless steel table like a watermelon seed being squished across the counter. This is only notable because we were uncertain as to her gender--we were on welfare at the time, and had no ultrasounds, and all we had was a hunch that this one might be different than the last one.

Mate had to stand on tiptoes and speculate over the head of three cooing nurses. "I do believe it's a girl!"

She's been indifferent to her girlhood ever since.

One of the oldest pictures we have of Chicken (it pre-dates digital pix) is a picture of her, dressed in her brother's hooded T-shirt and her brother's old shorts, trying on mother's glasses and looking soberly into the camera.

Unlike her little sister, we are unlikely to find a picture of Chicken, wearing her bestest bestest, decked out in make-up, and grinning winningly into the camera.

And unlike her formal big brother, we might very often hear her summarize history in a succinct, pithy statement that most folks on FOX News would not understand. (i.e. Stalin was a douchebag.)

When she was six years old, I went back to school to get my Master's degree. I had very clear memories of my father in school when I was that age, and I was pretty sure I was done growing by then since my mother wasn't doing anything about raising me, and I assumed that Chicken and Big T would be just fine without me.

Chicken was relentlessly affectionate, and terrifyingly hurt by my absence. I had an epiphany. To most people, it would seem like common sense, but when I was seven, I woke up, got dressed, fed the animals, made my lunch and got to school, very often without seeing another person until I met someone as I walked. Big T was one thing--he needed help because he was still not very vocal, but Chicken? Chicken needed me? I was floored--it had never occurred to me that I would be needed as a mother when my children were perfectly able to raid the refrigerator and wipe their bottoms without my help.

And now, when she is terrifyingly competent, and very nearly grown, I am not ready for my shotgun buddy (she rides shotgun on the way home) and my friend and confidante to be ready to bail on me. I stayed here and stayed 'mom' for her, right?

But that was different. That was my job.

Her job is to grow up to be the extraordinary person I see her turning into with every day.

Thanks, Chicken. You're buckets and buckets of deep-fried, special-spice, extra-crispy awesome.

But you're still growing up too goddamned fast.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And the world turns smoothly on...

So I was sitting at my desk today, right after the students all left, eating a sandwich. And my uterus gave a mighty red throb and shouted, "BITCH!"

I gasped, whimpered, downed two Advil, doubled over, and whimpered, "Why?"

And my uterus drank in the drugs, gave a smug, evil throb, and retreated in gloating silence. "You know, heifer. You thought you could skip our little chat for three months running?"

Uhm, not to alarm anyone, but I think I'm going to start my period soon. Just a hunch, mind you, but the uterus hasn't made a lot of predictions that haven't panned out.

And in other news?

On Sunday night, Zoomboy came in to my room as I was folding clothes, holding his fist up like a little mouth, and said, "Guess what, Mom! I traded brains, and now I'm Invisible. THIS is Zoomboy!"

I said, "Uhm, that's nice, uhm, Invisible. And it's good that Zoomboy's still around!"

And Zoomboy said, "Now watch me open a door!"

His older sister, who was watching this whole thing in amused fascination, burst into laughter and laid full out (right on top of all the folded laundry, btw) and lay there, convulsing, while he pattered into the hallway and slammed the door.

Then he opened it--and stuck his fist in first, and had it look around. And Chicken almost wet her pants. For a moment, "Invisible" was highly affronted.

"She's laughing at me, Mom!" And then, before I could tell him that she was laughing at his total and complete adorableness, he said, thinking hard, "Wait! No! She's laughing WITH me!" And then he left, holding his little alter-ego-fist up next to him.

When Chicken could actually catch her breath in the rubble of my folded clothes, she said, "No, (gasp) Mom. I was (gasp) laughing AT him!"

And Squish's plans for world domination are uninterrupted.

"So you guys were alone today?" I asked her day care worker, and Brenda said that yes, the other four kids she usually has were either sick or their mother had the day off. "What did you do?"

"We drew," said Brenda with a rather wry smile.

I looked at the drawings and said, "Yeah, I can see you helped."

Brenda looked at the picture and shook her head. "No, that was all Squish-- I just added this line here."

I looked at the picture with rather wide eyes--it was a creditable stick-figure cat, with a complete stick figure family. "Zoomboy didn't draw this well," I said bluntly, and Brenda nodded her head, her eyes wide.

"None of them draw this well."

We looked at Squish, who smiled guilelessly, and asked for an orange drink, and then we shuddered. She's learned to try to disguise it-- everybody has given up teaching her actual letters and how to read, because she starts just shining us on. We figure that an actual AUTHORITY figure will have better luck, and then the world had better get the HELL out of her way. (Of course, before that happens, she's going to need to figure out how she gets in the car and on the way to Brenda's in the morning. Right now, she's waking up halfway to the freeway and trying to figure out not only how she got dressed and where she's going, but also who the hell the exhausted hag in the driver's seat might be.)

And I think I'm going to submit Talker's Redemption tonight... I think it's ready. But I worry... it's hard to watch your baby's go... and I worry about having too much out there right now. It seems like I've been releasing stuff like mad, and since I'm the first to admit that I'm the world's most boring human, I do worry about saturation. Of course, publishing has also become sort of my meth of choice... which reminds me... I'm going to go crochet with some alpaca now... it feels so decadent, doing that, like taking a bath in champagne...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How Tired Was I?

I was SO tired on Friday, that I completely forgot my own darned contest!

SORRY! Sorry... so sorry!!!

Anyway, my magic cooking pot produced (with a little help from Chicken) two different winners appeared. One was Jennifer Duffy, who asked for a Marcus and Phillip flashback (much to my delight and Chicken's dismay-- she was hoping for an Adrian/Bracken flashback, and I didn't have the heart to tell her there was one on but it was too raw for her to read), and the other was Catie, who gets sock yarn! (Bless you sweetheart--it's so good to know you're still out there! How's the degree going? I am still in SO much awe for what it is you study!)

So congratulations to our winners!!! (HUZZAH!) And if Catie can send me an address offline (amylane AT greenshill DOT com) I can send her the sock yarn, and if Jennifer wants to do the same, I can print out the story and send it to her when I'm done. (Can't promise it will be long, but I can promise to love writing it!) Now, the story will probably not be published anywhere but on my website and, but there's always an option to put it in another book in the back or incorporate it in a story somewhere. For the moment, the LG is still indie, which means, well, anything I want goes, right? (Right, Amy... that's right!)

So, well, that's good!

And, in other news... What does this song--

Have to do with this song?


They both have a significant symbolic meaning in "Talker's Redemption", the novella I just finished. It's the sequel to "Talker", which is doing sort of terrifyingly well. People's main complaint about "Talker" is that it's short, and that they don't like the past/present structure of the book. The thing is, I sort of meant for Talker (and the sequels) to capture a REALLY INTENSE moment in the lives of the two heroes--I think the people who really really liked it, liked that intensity, and since we're literally IN THE BELL JAR with Talker for the sequel, I think people will like it. (I hope so. This one was literally sitting in front of the keyboard and 'opening a vein'--It would be nice to think that's not all for naught, right?)

So, I did that this weekend (or, well, Friday...)

And what else did I do?

Well, my parents got us free tickets to Sunsplash (a waterslide/mini-golf place nearby) but since we had two soccer games first, well, we went for two rounds of mini-golf, and the kids went on the go-carts. (I'm not a fan of those--I let the kids go with Mate & Chicken!)

And then we came home, after two soccer games and two rounds of mini-golf and did...

Not. A. Blessed. Thing.

And as for the picture? Well, that's my Squish, playing soccer as best as she can. (Her game was LITERALLY a comedy of errors. In the first quarter, she got run over by THE ENTIRE COMBINED TEAMS, and as her father reffed the knot of kids going after the ball like rabid weasels, the other coach ran over to our sobbing daughter. He turned around and was sort of upset. He couldn't get her back on the field after that either-- turns out, she was wearing the wrong damned shoes. Yup. That's us, folks. High organization, we are not.)

And as for this next picture?

This is either Chicken playing soccer one man down (her entire team was THRASHED by the end of the game--but they only lost 1-2, so it was almost a moral victory, since the other team had six subs and our team didn't even have a full field!) or Zoomboy playing soccer in the fifth dimension. Yeah, I know he's there in body, but spirit? Still not so much. Either that, or it's Mate, playing soccer with two little girls on Squish's team, who have an older sister on Chicken's team. They decided Mate was their personal daddy for the day.

It doesn't matter-- any way you slice it, you may have noticed the recurring theme here...

I knew you did!

And the real irony? I played soccer in the eighth grade. I sucked. We had no idea what we were doing--they kept putting me at half-back because they figured I'd do less damage there.

Ah, the evil in our genes...

Friday, September 17, 2010


Yes, folks, don't bother to check your calendars, it is the dreaded *gasp* week six of school. But first, some writing happies...

Here, here,and here. Now, the interview was fun--and I answered the questions about "Truth" a little differently than I did in the last interview, so that was neat. And as for the others? You may notice the date stamp on them is, well, a little 'previous' to the moment--it's not that I don't get excited about these things (oh, believe me, I TOTALLY do!) it's just that, well, life gets funky in between them, doesn't it?

(Speaking of funky, I went to the optometrists to get sized for new glasses yesterday. When I got there, I realized that instead of going to 1680 East Roseville Parkway, I'd gone to 1660 East Rosevile Parkway, and ended up at Mental Health. Since, uhm, I was heading to optometry because, yanno, I couldn't see that well in the first place, I thought there was a joke here somewhere... couldn't put my finger on it, cause it was squirmy, but, yanno, I can feel it laughing at me, right?)

Oh yeah-- and our daycare provider moved. Now, this would not be a big deal (because she moved in the area) if it were not for the fact that i had just gotten a stern talking to from my principal about skating in by the skin of my ass for four days running. Now the four days running thing was sort of a mix of my own tardiness and a PHENOMENAL run of bad luck--seriously, on one of those days, I left ten minutes earlier, because I was tired of being late, and arrived at work thirty SECONDS earlier, because sometimes, the traffic gods spit on your head as you watch. Anyway, I was totally freaked out, because I had visions of just motoring to the old place and then realizing that I had to go cross town again to drop Squish off, so I wrote all over my arm in permanent marker to remind myself. It worked--but it's been a while since I've done that. I guess the old tricks really ARE the best tricks, right?

My students are still WAY better than last years kids. I've sent two referrals--both of them from kids daring me to send them. I'm like, "Groovy. Get. Out." It's weird how six weeks makes a kid think that my giving instructions is a violation of HIS right to talk. Not sure where that comes from, but I hope I beat it out of my own children before they hit high school, because otherwise I have NOT done my job!

And in other news, Squish's plan for world domination continues apace-- yesterday, her daycare lady told me, "She's a lot of fun at clean-up time. She'll tell us exACTLY what we're supposed to do to clean up. She'll stand in the middle of a room and tell people what to pick up and how to clean the room. She doesn't help. She just supervises."

I nodded my head, understanding completely. "You know," I told Brenda, "she backseat drives."

"That doesn't surprise me even a little," Brenda said dryly. I can't wait until this kid hits public school!

Oh yeah-- and Chicken had her bts night. I got to meet all her teachers, and I was pleased to find that all my predictions came true--Chickens reward for all her hard work to get into the hard classes is that her teachers all have a sense of humor. She's exhausted this year (her schedule is all science and honors English and AP history and Pre-Cal/Trig) but she's also really happy. Her teachers are all rooting for her (because she wasn't tracked, it took them a while to recognize her inner honor student, but I think it's occurred to them that she's sort of kick-ass, and that makes me proud) and, well, her soccer coach has even said that she's smiling a lot more these days. Go Chicken! Mastery of adolescence in progress!

And that leads us to week six... the hardest week... the most exhausting week... I must say it's living up to it's hype, but I'm going to have to leave it at that--otherwise, I'll be late for work!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh yeah... that's why...

Soccer season doesn't entirely suck...

And September really rocks.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Sleeping...

Okay-- first of all, thanks so far for everyone who's put in their two cents for the contest! Some of the choices were a real surprise--and I was thrilled to see a couple of votes for Bitter Moon. (My daughter was not! She said that if I wrote a sex scene between Lane and Bethen and posted it on line, I would wreck her for life. I promised if that one was picked, there would be some romance, but no explicit sex--I hope that's okay! She also said she REALLY wanted the Marcus/Phillip or Torrant/Aylan scene. I wouldn't mind those either!)

Anyway, other than that?

Yup. Seriously. Didn't do much. Talked my husband into going to a movie last night-- that was nice. We saw The Expendables. I told my husband, "Yanno, I can just hear Sly and the gang, bitching about Mickey Rourke: Dude--we're the ones hauling our fifty-ish asses through the stunt scenes, getting the pup beat out of us while shit's getting blown up, and you know who's gonna get all the attention in this movie, don't you? Mickey. Man, while the rest of us are out being BAMFs, what's he doing? Painting a fucking guitar, that's what he'd doing. Painting a fucking guitar and just acting like it wasn't the hardest goddamned thing in the world. Hate him. We. Hate. Him. Love him like a brother, but seriously-- Bruce? Jet? Jason? You guys with me on this?"

"Yeah, Sly. Hate. Him. Totally. We hate him!"

(Which, of course, means he was rock-awesome--it was a fun movie. Nothing like watching the old farts take out an entire small army. WOOT!)

So, mostly--it's going to be a short post. If I'd been on the ball (and not napping) I would have shown you all a lovely photo of my family, playing chess with Dad in the front room, while I drooled. But, you know, droolers do NOT hold a camera well. It was okay--I got to listen, and it was charming.

Oh yeah--and Squish took a sixteen hour nap. NO lie. She fell asleep at six o'clock Saturday night, and slept until eight in the morning, Sunday. She was so charming this morning! So much fun! I loved it. Didn't get a lot of "feel sorry for me cuddles" but I loved it!

And see-- isn't that sad when the most exciting thing about your weekend is that someone took a nap?

*ah* I love the weekends. (We DID have two soccer games on Saturday-- but they were early. Both kids kicked the ball, and Zoomboy only pretended to be a helicopter once. Screw the score, and the fact that all of Zoomboy's team acted like there was an electric line through the center of the field that they could not cross. We called it a win!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

899... License to Thrill!

Seriously! If you add the old blog with this one I'm on post 899--and, like, WOW! I've got a contest in mind--sort of a modest little contest for readers AND knitters, but I'm going to chat a little before I tell ya what it is, 'cause I'm mean like that. (I'm also hella sleep deprived--even my students are telling me I'm pale and sickly--which is teen-speak for, "Gee, Ms. Lane, you look like reconstituted shit in a can!")

Anyway, today was... well... Senior Portraits/ Soccer Pictures/ Senior trips/ Soccer Pictures/ three game schedules splitting up/ giving rides and reading time/ feed the cats and feed the kids/ the dog must pee (again?)/ take a bath/ I love you too/ and really it's already ten?

Yeah-- that was our house, the last two days. *whew* The house itself looks like total shit, and since it was actually CLEAN last week, that's sort of depressing. I mean, really-- THAT didn't last long! And Mate and I are feeling guilty-- we could send Chicken to Australia (via a student loan we are still paying off) but we CAN'T send Big T to Europe (because his program features no low interest student loan) but he doesn't understand-- all he's seeing is, "You love Chicken more!" and we're like, "no, we were just less in debt then!"

Anyway, I do have a happy!

It seems that Dreamspinner Press is going to start an imprint--not another series or publishing house, just a label-- of 'Bittersweet Dreams', in which a HEA is NOT guaranteed. In fact, it's sort of like their own line of guaranteed weepers! I saw that and I was like, "Yippee!!! It's a bona fide license to kill!" And since i saw it at lunch (before Mary, bless her, gave me a stern talking to about who I could not kill--and told me that Littlewitch would agree with her, if LW knew) I went into the staff room (where I RARELY talk about writing business because my work tools are such total and complete fuckwads about it) and I was very excited!

"Yay! My publisher has a new imprint with unhappy endings! It's a like a license to kill!" (Yes--I've been using the line all day-- Chicken loved it, why do you ask?)

Anyway, Mr. Trick looked at me very smugly. "Don't you mean YOU gave yourself permission? Aren't you SELF-published?"

And I answered straight back, "Not for a year now, didn't you know that?"

And even though I'd stand Bitter Moon I and II against anything I've written for quality and complexity, it was still pretty nice to know that I had a year's worth of being published by someone else to back up all of my independent work. It really does help to have someone else say, "Yeah, you're good-- we'll back you!" It certainly gives me a little bit of swagger when i talk about my writing, and those of you who have been here a while and watch me waffle between insecurity, defensiveness and neurosis can certainly testify to the fact that a little bit of confidence was BADLY needed.

I think I've got a little--not enough to poke your eye out with my ego, should we meet in real life (I hope!), but enough to not take any shit from someone about my writing. Go me? Yup. WOOT!

Anyway, on that note... here's the contest!

There are two prizes-- a skein of mystery sock yarn (give me favorite colorways and a brand and I'll go stash diving--and trust me, my stash is pretty luscious!)-- and, (this is the one that'll get people ALL excited) a chance to pick two characters that I will write a short Christmas fiction for. This is for the readers--and there are a few guidelines:

A. No resurrecting the dead or Alternate Universe (i.e., no Adrian, Cory, and Bracken, or Teague and Adrian). BUT there may be flashbacks (Adrian and Green for instance)

B. No Brian and Tate (because Talker's sequel is placed near Christmas) or Jace and Quent (ditto).

C. No spoilers to Quickening or Living Promises (but I may give teasers).

D. No pushing, shoving, biting or kicking! (Okay-- you all know what crappy luck I have with my contests-- that last one is supposed to make you smile!)

To enter, simply post a comment to THIS blog post, and specify: A. Which prize you want, B. If you want the sock yarn, which color and which kind, and C. If you want the fiction prize, which couple (or menage) you want me to write the Christmas story for.

The fiction piece will be posted on, on my page! (And sent to the winner personally, if they like, so they can read it first!)

Anyway, the posts will be picked via paper-in-a-hat, and Squish will draw one and zoomboy will draw the other, and the deadline is Friday, September 17th, 11 p.m. PDT.

(I covered everything, right Chris? Chris is my go-to-girl for contests--she'll let me know if I blew it or not!)

Anyway... uhm, so that's post 899... Happy 900 to me!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy, Pretty, Busy, Singing, Planning, Playing, Living...

ZOMG! So pretty! This story is set in the LG universe (as well as my own tongue-in-cheek version of heaven) and deals with a couple of angels who are... well, befuddled by everybody's favorite vampire when they're set to watch him. I loved Litha's Constant Whim, and I love this one--Whim wasn't a commercial powerhouse or anything, but it was REALLY dear to my heart (aren't they all?) and so is this one, and the fact that the cover is a big bucket of Kentucky fried awesome with awesomesauce on top just makes me happier. But seriously-- Green's Hill is getting a little respect in the art work and it makes me very (*sniffle*) happy.

So does this! Especially because I was all set to take some flack on Bella, cause there's not a whole lot of angst. But this reviewer really seemed to get Bella and Sebastian and Asa, and I felt really good about my story when she was done with me--not a reviewer's job, of course, but now I'm all angsty because Talker's going to be reviewed on the same site sometime this week, and I'm all twisty and freaked out for that. (Part of this is because I'm working on the sequel to Talker right now, and it's emotionally exhausting, and I'm sort of fragile where Tate and Brian are concerned. They had a bad experience... several of them.)


The weekend was frighteningly busy-- big family thing at mom & dad's-- nice. Very nice. (Okay-- one of the reasons I wanted Bella to get some props is because I featured my mom & dad's backyard and a family moment much like the ones I just enjoyed, and, well, it really FELT like my folks, and even if my stepmom and dad NEVER read the story, it's nice to know that the feeling of that sort of thing lives on.) And that was just Sunday, after Anime Saturday. On Monday, we went to visit Mate's mom & grandma, and then he had soccer practice with Squish, and in general, he's still busier than me, and I'd feel guilty, but, uhm, well, I don't. It's probably a character flaw that I should apologize for, but me, here at the computer, has done us a few good turns this year, and it's nice to get some time to do it.

Speaking of... tonight, instead of taking Squish to dance, I went to Zoomboy's back-to-school-night. Interesting, sort of, since he skipped a whole week of school, but also, well... I'm so bad at figuring out what to do with my kid's homework. I feel SO bad--I mean, I give out homework, right? I should know better? I don't. I space right over their homework when their little. Maybe a part of me resents the fuck out of the system that says they HAVE to have homework in the first and second grade. But
that's just me. I like playing children. They're happy.

And so am I, right now. On the way home, as the sun was setting, this song came up on the iPod. It's such a good song for September evenings when the breeze is getting chill, and so I give it to you.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chicken's Favorite Thing

Chicken and her friends went to an anime convention this weekend. On Friday, I lucked out-- her friend's mom drove, while I stayed home with a tired Squish who, on top of feeling under-weatherly, had also received her last round of shots all in one arm. (Mate said it was the darnedest thing--after years of dealing with Zoomboy and Big T, who had to be full-body restrained while pale, shaking women approached with needles, Squish simply sat there. She watched the nurse stick the needle in, and then turned to her with an indignant, "Ouch! That hurt! *pause* That REALLY hurt!" And that was all. *shakes head* Yeah-- that's my Squish!)

Anyway, yesterday, I got to go. It was lovely, on some levels. I got to visit the Guilded Bat people-- they sponsored my signing two years ago, and their shop went under shortly after. It was lovely to see them, and I gave them a signed copy of Rampant and thanked them for believing in me when no one else would. I pretended not to notice their pained contemplation of the fact that, here they were, back on the con circuit again, at the mercy of a VERY young crowd.

And it was true-- the crowd WAS very young. I met three of my students, (who all were nice and admitted to knowing me) and a couple of former students (ditto!) and cruised the vending floors, and then...

Sat down and knit. Chatted with a mother whose daughter was there, dressed as Dead Pool. (I got props from mom for knowing who that is!) I told her about some of the stuff she didn't know-- Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog and Repo: The Genetic Opera and, in general, pretended to be MUCH cooler than I actually am. I watched the Anime Music Video presention, since Knittech and I have accidentally addicted me to the power of music+completely unconnected images, and it was REALLY awesome. I managed to find one of my favorites on line, but I could NOT find one done to a remix of Red's Ordinary World which just broke my heart. (I also couldn't find one done to a BIZARRE Scott Baio song about The Wrong HOle that I've been sharing with some of you... VERY funny-- but also NSFW!)

Anyway-- it was fun. Mate took Chicken, one of her friends, and Squish today--and I am home, making beans for my mom's family git-together, later on today. I've gotten NO writing done (partly because I'm still rabid about Talker and Bella... yeah, yeah... stress gets me nothing but eye-strain... tell my channel surfing fingers that when I sit down to write and end up staring at Goodreads like my willpower alone will make somebody like my writing!) but I'm willing to relax a little and let my writing batteries recharge. I've got two short projects before I dive into research and Jeff's book, and then, I'm heading straight to Quickening (around December, I would imagine.) And, yanno... those plot bunnies keep a humpin', but Chicken's delight? Well, she'll be sixteen in a couple of weeks. Smiles like that one at the beginning, captured on film? Them's rare things.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing Angst

People wonder how I can write angst so convincingly.

How can I put myself in the place of someone who has experienced loss or sadness or pain, when, although turbulent and not without struggle, my life has had such a happy ending. (And let's face it. Even if a wandering satellite had its orbit disturbed by an epileptic butterfly in Japan and crashed down through my roof as I sleep tonight, pinning me to the bed in a larger-than-cookable amy-cake, my life has still been pretty goddamned good.)

The answer is, that although I've never really considered myself an imaginative person (don't laugh!) I think of the unimaginable every day.

A case in point.

Thing 3, the great, inimitable Zoomboy.

He is THE fey-est child I could possibly produce from my sturdy, peasant body. His arms and legs are thin, and his hands and feet are large and flipper-like, as though to make it easier for him to surf through the opaque airs of the mortal world. He is puckish (look at that pre-tooth-loss smile) and gamine, and the length from his shoulders to the bottom of his razor-boned ass is approximately 2/3 longer than on a regularly proportioned, non-fairy child.

He is one of the few people I've ever met with a wandering brown eye. I know plenty of blue-eyed people who have a non-obedient eye, but that is blue--those people are gazing half skyward as it is. A child with a brown eye that wanders--he's looking toward the nooks and crannies of the earth, expecting his brethren to emerge in shy and skittered ways. He tells jokes better now than his older brother does at seventeen--and he laughs like every picture of puck that I looked up on the web and couldn't manage to upload to the damned blog: with his hands over his mouth and his merry, wandering eyes dancing with an only slightly malicious glitter. He LOVES to find something to laugh at--even me. Especially you.

When he is sick, he scares the hell out of me.

He is the feyest child I could imagine-- so fey that he does not seem altogether from this world. He is THE original 'different drum' boy--and I worry sometimes (often) that this drum is simply going to call to him, and because he is fey, he will follow, and leave only a changeling boy in his place to waste away and wither, and break his mother's heart.

Squishy, on the other hand, does not scare me so much. Sometimes.

She is NOT fey. She is solid and chunky and real. She's got this vital gait--watch her run, really run, and you know that this child is going places. Her whole body is in on the conspiracy. She walks with a clatter and a thump, and when she smiles, she commands your attention. Now. With your eyes and your head, and your clever verbal response, or she will call you to task for not being clever, and that's just embarrassing from a four year old.

When she is sick, she refuses to bow to the pain. She will ask for an ice cream or a trip to the park, even though she's sweating and miserable, and covered in a blanket when it's one-hundred-and four outside, when usually she's kicking them off when it's fifty degrees in the bedroom. She has a PLAN for what will make it all better, and heaven help anyone who deviates from the Mini-Goddess' master-minded perfection. "I'm going to sit in your lap now. No--you can't move." And so she falls asleep, and doesn't move when you get up and dump her sideways into the chair, and is very happy when she wakes up from her nap in her time on her terms.

I can't imagine her being felled or hurt by the Chicken Pox or by a flu. But I CAN imagine her striding where angels fear to tread and being brought down by some sort of master paranormal weapon designed to decimate mankind but that she stumbled upon with her keen mind and terrible focus, and now the hero of the story needs to avenge her...

See... I can't even finish these sentences. it's absolute terror and madness to do so. I won't even try.

What I will do is pull up my newest WIP, and watch Tate sit by Brian's bedside, and wonder how many layers of his heart he has to rip open to make sure no one ever tries to hurt his lover again. I can sit by Cory on Adrian's bench, and wonder how much you would bleed to show your lover your tummy, swollen with babies he will never hold. I can be Jack, stroking Teague's hair from his forehead, and wonder what I'd have to do to keep my damaged lover here on the mortal coil when his heart has needed the healing of the angels his whole life.

So, there you have it. There are some things I can not imagine-- it's madness to try. But there's plenty I can wonder at, because I refuse to imagine.

And that, folks, is how you write angst.