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

Monday, October 31, 2011

You'll never guess what day it is!!!

Believe it or not, Big T carved that pumpkin this weekend--I was so pleased, especially since we'd sort of agreed that we weren't getting real pumpkins this year.  Mate had carved some fake ones last year, and they're sweet and sort of goofy and everything, and really, isn't that the purpose of fake pumpkins?  But then I went out for milk and dogwood, and... and... it was five dollars.  FIVE DOLLARS!  And it was huge and gorgeous and the kids were decorating the front of the house and...

And it's beautiful.  The short people helped gut it, and Big T spent hours on it, and I'm so pleased.  For one thing, whenever I tried to do this, moons and moons ago, the results were less than spectacular.  So there you go.  Bargain basement pumpkin, department store results!

And other than that?  We know what day it is!  Don't forget to click the gargoyle icon Here! if you want to read a free Halloween story.  The story features James and Rafi, from It's Not Shakespeare and I was very pleased, because the free shorts get taken down tomorrow, but I asked (in time!) and they're going to put the freebie at the end of the novella e-book, and so you can read it if you miss it for free.

And other than that?  I'll try to take pictures of the short people--they should be adorkable!  And Chicken was dressed steampunk this morning-- she looked fanTASTIC which is nice, because she's got soccer practice tonight, and will miss out on much of the festivities.  (We're very depressed about this.  Her team lost what should have been a slam dunk this weekend.  Coach was not pleased.  Halloween was cancelled for the U19 girls team... very sad.)  And in the meantime...

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Little Snark from Alpha

In honor of Marie Sexton's Saturday Snark, I'm going to do a little bit of snark from A Solid Core of Alpha.  Now, Alpha does not have a whole lot of light moments--but this one is is a doozy.  C.J. and his sister Cassie have had a rough day of watching Anderson's life unspool via holographic recordings, and now Cassie's husband has come to collect his wayward wife. 

"Bad day?" Marshall asked as he came into C.J.'s quarters.  He didn't sound particularly surprised, but he did raise his eyebrows when Cassie started to sniffle. 

"Remember the ice-piss lizards?" she asked, sounding forlorn.

"Yeah, sweetheart.  How could I forget the ice-piss lizards?"  He took both her hands in his and pulled her up and into his long arms.

"I miss the ice-piss lizards," Cassie bemoaned, her voice muffled in her husband's chest.  "I really fucking miss the ice-piss lizards.  Could we have another shipment of ice-piss lizards, just for me?"

Marshall rubbed her arms and looked over her head to meet C.J.'s gaze helplessly.

"Really bad day," he said softly, and C.J. nodded.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Woh shit!

Okay, lots happening here, but not much to report. Let's start with the big thing, and the reason that last post was up there for four days, and that is that my MacBook, my beloved MacBook, had an operating system aneurism and is currently being resuscitated and put down simultaneously in an effort for Mate to recapture at least the pictures and documents on my hard drive before we cash it in and go get a new computer.  I'm depressed.  Some of you may remember when Squish was a wee flipper--maybe 18 months old, and she watered my pc and then sat on it to make it grow.  Mate had to rescue Bitter Moon II in its ENTIRETY-- all 250 THOUSAND words of it then, and I haven't been so close to passing out since I was in labor with Zoomboy.  I'm trying REALLY hard not to freak out on Mate.  He's been working on this for THREE DAYS, and,  yanno, it's not like his job just gives out money for free.  He sort of has other things to worry about.  In the meantime I'm on this ickle-biddy prototype laptop, the same one I took to Vancouver.  The good news is I've got a back up computer at all, and that IS good news.  The bad news is not only that the internet on it is hella frickin' slow, it's also that the Word program is REALLY FUCKING UNSTABLE and I spent two day losing maybe 1500 words of Chase and Chance because if I got up for any length of time, it did not autosave, and there was no recursive memory when it decided to go dark, and, well, I was just fucked.  I've gotten better at remembering to save shit when I get up to go to the bathroom or let the dog out or get a glass of milk or something, but it's making me fucking crazy, and I'm making a heroic fucking effort here not to sob on Mate and wail, "I WANT MY MAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCC..."  But that's not fair to him, either.  *sigh*  The good news is, we will probably be able to afford a new computer at the end of the month.  The bad news would be if I couldn't save any of my hard drive--oh my God... the pictures of the kids!  FUCK!--and that would make me cry.  Lots.  Fucking buckets.  You have no idea.  (Oh SHIT!  Just remembered that all my cover art is on THE OLD HARD DRIVE!  GoddessDAMMIT!) 

So, well, that's why I haven't posted.  (And I don't even want to TRY pictures on this thing.  *shudder*  Oh God.  The fucking horror.)

Now on to other things.

*  Last night was Squish's soccer banquet.  If I could do pictures I would post Mate giving Squish her trophy.  He was very cute--and all of the parents were saying he had the patience of a saint.  I said, "You just haven't seen him clean house yet, that's all."  But seriously-- there were two kids, twins, whose father died last year of leukemia, and they loved Mate so much.  Mom is at a loss--she also has two teenaged girls, and they would get the kids to the field and the kids would just FLOP on the sidelines.  Mate had to CARRY the little girl onto the field and point her in the right direction to get her to play.  The little boy would sleep--just sleep--on the sidelines unless Mate propped him up and aimed him somewhere and said "Get it get it!"  And in the meantime there was another little boy--he was three maybe four years old--who would sit on Mate's foot and cling to his leg through most of the games.  Another little girl was a butterfly-- literally, through the last game she flitted from corner to corner of the field, flapping her hands.  The ball was immaterial.  And I told all the parents that Mate's only criteria for a successful season was kids who wanted to come back and play again.  They all said that their kids would miss him a lot, but that they still wanted to play soccer, and I was so proud.  He is SUCH a good man.

*  The banquet was held at Chuck  E. Cheese.  Zoomboy played his tokens with great ingenuity and had enough tickets at the end to buy a whoopie cushion.  Our worlds may never be the same.

*  Yesterday Squish was putting her shoe on and it slipped off and she said, "Dammit!"  "What did you say?"  Mate asked and she looked at him from under lowered brows.  "I don't want to tell you," she said honestly.  Mate scowled.  "Well, you need to do what Chicken does--only swear in front of mom!"

*  And still Big T has no drivers license.  My brain is freezing up at the boggleness of it all.

*  Chicken too. 

*  Don't know if I mentioned this one--if I repeat, just smack me in the head with a wet fish.  Chicken has a crush at school--he's in her discussion group in English and she was discussing Brave New World with her group and she came home all excited.  (This is the part you may have heard before.)  "Mom, mom!  Collin (not real name!) said "orgy" today!"

 Well, they have since moved on from Brave New World to The Awakening.  "So, Chicken, has Collin said anything cool lately?"

"Yeah.  Today he said 'lesbian'.  TWICE.  It was AWESOME!"

Gotta love Chicken.  Her latest creative endeavor features a psychiatrist for the superheroes.  The creativity is highly entertaining!

And that's all--I've got to run to the bathroom, and frankly I'm afraid the blogpost is gonna disappear if I don't press 'Publish'.  Pray for my hard drive, folks--I'll miss the hell out of those pictures...

So, you guys know how I love archetypes, right?  Well, I had a sudden thought about an archetype, and I may have to look this one up.  We seem to be trending in a new way, toward the villain who remakes himself into an average guy.  We could call this one a satiric archetype, but I don't know--one of the hallmarks of the satiric archetype is often that, for all of his exposure to the big wide world, he learns nothing, and we, the audience, are left to make the conclusions. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No Pictures, Only Con-Stories

First of all, you guys are awesomesauce with the quotes-- that was soooo MUCH FUN.  We'll have to do it again sometime--or lines from songs or titles from songs or lines from books or... ooooohhhh... The possibilities are endless!

Second of all--Yaoi-Con?  Total blast.  I was probably too loud and to obnoxious and too loopy personally-- but I had the bestest time.  Of course, the older I get, the more I realize that time is precious and that there is NEVER enough time to do the things that just fill us manic-frickin'-glee, so I'm going to list the things I wish I had more time to do:

*  Wish I had more time to look at Jo Chen's amazing artwork.  I had a hell of a time picking a picture to post to show you guys who Jo Chen was because A. Her art is all gorgeous, no lie, and B. I didn't want to post ANYTHING without her permission.  The picture I picked is of an art book, and I posted a link to, because she's the illustrator of the Buffy graphic novels and comic books (Season 8 and Season 9) and I figured that this way it was free publicity and not pirating a picture for my own uses.  Suffice it to say?  My family adores this artist, and in person, she is demure and humble, and I just want to ooze into a puddle at her feet and say ZOMG, YOU ARE SO INSPIRING!

*  Wish I had more time to talk to Mary.  Mary Calmes, my darling, my dearest, my most adored and beloved friend who kept me awake until three in the morning two nights running so we could talk until one of us (me) simply stopped in mid sentence and committed to four hours of sleep-- there was not enough time.  We need a week.  Preferably in Hawaii.  Just because.  I love you, my dear--there is not enough time.

*  Wish I had more time for Andrew Grey to grab me by the hand and haul me off on surprise errands to see his banners or watch his panel (Ask The Gay Boys!) or visit the art room, or to talk to Andrew's husband, Dom, oh he with the subtle sense of humor!

*  Wish I had more time for Ariel Tachna and Nicki Bennett and Julianne to talk about any damned thing, because simply being in the same room with them makes me very very very happy.

*  Wish I had more time to chat with Lori Toland who brought me her lovely lovely Royal Bee organic face cream and who has a Cheddar cat who looks much like my Steve.

*  Wish I had more time to look at the happy, creative, joyful kids (and adults!) in their beautiful costumes who were there for the pure enthusiasm of sharing something they loved.

*  Wish I had more time to write Andrew jokes--while Mary tells me that NO ONE should EVER repeat those jokes in ANY company whatsoever!

*  Wish I had more time to talk to all of the other wonderful, amazing, fun, sympathetic, and warm people who also write for Dreamspinner.

*  Wish that somehow I could sandwich all that time in to sleep.

It was an awesome weekend.  And now?  I need to cram my art docent homework before I sleep!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Say Anything

You guys remember that movie?  It's Cameron Crowe, and he's awesomeness on awesometoast with awesomesauce...  we adore him here at Chez Lane, and that iconic moment with John Cusack standing with the stereo in front of Ione Skye's house while Peter Gabriel blares from the speakers can move me to tears on any day--and not just because the movie came out while Mate and I were on our honeymoon at the tender age of twenty-one, either.

And there are SO many good quotes from that one--you know, those quotes that can be used as shorthand in any given situation when you're with someone who loves the same movies for the same reasons you do?  Sometimes, when our words come short and our hearts need to speak, a quote from a beloved movie can save us from that horrible muteness, where our mouths are open and our hearts are screaming and nothing is coming out, right?  Even for good moments, that's a bad thing--and one crack from a movie, and suddenly we can talk again.  It's magic.

I'm going to yaoi-con tomorrow-- my ability to blog may be impaired by extreme business and attempt to lose myself from an industrial sized crapfest the likes of which I shan't bore you with, and I figured, hey, if I'm going to leave you with the same post to look at for five days (because Monday and Tuesday are BOOKED SOLID after I get back) I should at least leave you with something you can interact with differently everyday.  So I'm going to list my favorite movie quotes and invite you to do the same.  Which quotes do you love because, no matter what the day, they manage to be the perfect words with the perfect sentiment no matter what the day or time?  Feel free to share!  (btw--I'm pulling these out of my head--I'm sure I'll mangle a few of them, but then, our favorite quotes are often mangled.  The fact that they can bend to our wishes is what makes them ours!)

"Well I said what I thought I meant but I didn't mean what I said."  Say Anything

"Got nothin' better to do on the lake today Major?"  The Last of the Mohicans

"Merciful Heaven, I have spent my life dreaming of many things.  Dying like this was not among them." The Thirteenth Warrior

"I may drink neither the fermentation of wheat, nor of grape."  "HONEY!  Mead is fermented HONEY!"  The Thirteenth Warrior

"Little brother, it is beginning!"  The Thirteenth Warrior

"For all that we have not said that we ought to have said, for all that we have not done that we ought to have done, we beg thee Allah for forgiveness."  The Thirteenth Warrior

"I think I've had about enough of running today, boy."  The Thirteenth Warrior

"I was naked for a day.  You will be naked for eternity!"  A Knight's Tale

"Someday you and I are going to have a serious disagreement!"  The Last of the Mohicans

"Shiny.  Let's be bad guys!"  Serenity

"I am a leaf in the wind!"  Serenity

"Well yeah that noise is bad, but as you get better you hear less of it."  Say Anything

"Why didn't you leave when you had the chance?"  "Because what I'm interested in is right here."  Last of the Mohicans

"Valhalla, where the brave shall live forever!"  The Thirteenth Warrior

"I love you, man!"  The Italian Job

"I HAD a BAD exPERIENCE!"  The Italian Job

"There's slow traffic, stalled traffic, and slityerwrist traffic."  The Italian Job

"It's a dreadful cockup and bad chance, but you're the love of my goddamned life!"  Love Actually

"There was more than one lobster at the birth of Christ?"  Love Actually

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"  Dirty Dancing

"Madness is like gravity-- all it needs is a little push!"  The Dark Knight

"You lose focus in this job and someone gets hurt."  Ocean's Eleven

"Ted Nugent called: he wants his shirt back."  Ocean's Eleven

"How's your wife?"  "Pregnant again."  "Yeah, well, it happens."  Ocean's Eleven

"I think that's it, unless you think we need another guy.  You think we need another guy?  We need another guy."  Ocean's Eleven

"I ain't had anything twixt my nethers that ain't run on batteries in more than a year!"  Serenity

"Eatin' a man's face?  When'd that get fun?"  Serenity

"You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means."  (I don't need to tell you guys this one... it's almost unfair putting it in!)

And I just did this for over twenty minutes and discovered I could probably go on forever... but then, where would be the fun for you?  Make 'em good, and lurkers?  Come out of lurkdom and help me out!  What are YOUR favorite lines!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sky Sperm

Okay, so I was walking from my car this morning and I felt a drop on my face.  I looked up to see if I'd been targeted by a seagull and while there was no such offending animal, I looked up into the sky and saw?  I don't know.  The sky was this gorgeous Autumn blue-- you know that color that's so deep in October it's like the exact shade of a good man's soul?  Anyway, floating across it was... I'm not sure.  Giant spiderwebs?  Nylon fake spiderwebs released at three-thousand feet?  Something.  Something white and floaty and dreamy, but moving with purpose on a wind current with a focus like an arrow.  No pictures--because I had to wear my sunglasses to see it and I was pretty sure it was beyond the camera phone--but, it was sort of surreal, and very pretty.  Random sky sperm, I guess, just waiting for my attention.

So, anyway, I've been in a situation where my integrity is being questioned.  When I've relayed some of these questions to friends and loved ones, the universal response from them has been, "Do these people even KNOW YOU?"  My response has been, "Uhm, no.  Not really."  But the result of this questioning is that I have been doing the introspection thing this last week, and have thought that I should compile a list of traits about myself that I know to be true.  Weird thing about Libras-- with us, absolutely nothing is certain.

*  I try with every breath to tell the truth and to acknowledge (at least to myself) when I am not and WHY I am not.

*  I suck at lying--I feel guilty about pretty much everything, so I ALWAYS look guilty, even when I'm not.  Trying to add REAL guilt here (even if it's just about what someone's birthday present is) just does not make for a good poker face.

*  I try to have the best of intentions.

*  But I acknowledge my own pettiness.

*  I believe fiction can change the world.

*  But only if the world is taught how to read it right.

*  I believe that acknowledging our humanity is the only way we have to improve it.

*  I have a rather pixilated and often inappropriate sense of humor.

*  I would like to think of myself as the type of person who speaks out against indignities and injustice. Unfortunately I know that, just like the rest of the world, I am sometimes scared, and these opportunities pass me by.

*  I believe that substance abuse is harmful--but it's also forgivable to an extent.  I also believe I will never really be a substance abuser.  Object lessons from our childhood are not soon forgotten.

*  I believe that sex is part of being human, and denying this only makes it "dirty."  Once we make it "dirty", we make being human "dirty"--and that is inexcusable.

*  I believe that the moments we spend with most people are fleeting--but that they can make an impression.

*  I believe housework is a luxury but creativity is a necessity.

*  I believe in trying to make the world a better place.

*  I believe that everyone is given a different gift to help do this.

*  I believe that if you follow your passion, the money will come.

*  I believe that you NEVER have enough money to get married or have children.  That's why you do it anyway, work hard, and be grateful for your people and not so much for your things.

*  I believe a different version exists of me from day to day.

*  I believe in integrity--but know that it's hard to achieve.

*  This is why I idolize my husband, because his integrity never ever wavers.

*  I believe I am not worthy of all of the wonderful things in my life.

*  But I believe I try my hardest to be so, and maybe the Goddess really does give points for trying.

*  I believe in the God and the Goddess and also Jeff, god of biscuits and his life partner, Ned.  I believe in a higher power, and different facets of a higher power and the idea that if we need a human construct to make that more relatable to our widdo human brains, then that's fine.  As long as we don't try to tell someone else that our construct is more important or more valid than anyone else's, that's fine. Anything beyond that lies madness-- witness the world.

*  I believe that art is humanity's highest achievement.

*  I believe that love is humanity's highest achievement.

*  I believe perseverance is humanity's highest achievement.

*  I believe that music is humanity's highest achievement.

* I believe the most egregious sin is intolerance for benign things.

*  I believe the second most egregious sin is never questioning your own actions or reality.

... and I believe I have to run to water aerobics, so I'm gonna leave this list partially finished.  I'll let you know if I think of anything else next post:-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

ZB the Reaper and SquishWitch!

So we went to the Halloween store yesterday, and guess what happened?  Well, mostly some shit jumped into my bag and some shit jumped out of my wallet, and then we came home and our children went from being simply mild-mannered ankle biters, and became Zoomboy the Reaper and Squish-witch!  This whole thing was pretty damed awesome.  It's funny-- I write Urban Fantasy, I live for movies like Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas, but I always forget what a rush Halloween is for kids.  My kids, apparently, felt a wee bit ghoulish this year.  Squish, as adorable as she wants, keeps asking me to buy rubber snakes so we can tie them in with her hair and she can be Medusa the Witch.  

Squish was very specific about how she wanted her Halloween.  We had to have graveyard headstones (check!) and a giant spiderweb (check!) and spiders to go in the fake spiderweb (check!).  We strewed the fake spiderweb over our porch posts (perhaps pictures later) and the kids set up the graveyard underneath the spiderweb and the whole time Big T and I were doing the spiderweb I kept looking at my insect friendly porch eave and thinking, "Okay, how many REAL spiders are going to set up house in this shit before Halloween has come and gone?"  I'm think that's the reason those companies stay in business.  I for one am NOT going to reuse that product!  I may not even reuse the fake spiders, because after two years in front of my porch, who's gonna be able to tell the difference?

All in all?  Fun stuff--and, may I add, brought to us by a "bye" week in soccer-- neither Zoomboy or Chicken had games yesterday.  God it was awesome.  It gave me a brief, tantalizing glimpse of life AFTER soccer season.  Ahhhhh...

As it is, Squish's last game is next Friday and I'll be at Yaoi-Con, so I'll miss it.  I'm sort of sad about missing it, but DUDES-- Yaoi-Con?  YAOI-CON?  I'll be meeting SO many people, and I have to admit, I'm a sucker for working the floor.  I get such a kick out of catching people's eyes when they're trying to walk away because they don't want to spend anymore money but our stuff looks SOOOOO interesting.  Yeah, it makes me a sadist.  So?  Anyway, Squish's last game is next week, but Zoomboy and Chicken have almost a month to go after that, and, well, I think no one's going to be permanently injured if I miss a couple of games.

As it was, I came home an worked on my newest...  oh gods...  I want to write a sequel to Clear Water or It's Not Shakespeare or If I Must, JUST because they're happy books, and this one?  Fricking ouch.  I don't know why I do this to myself.  Why?  Why?  I'm perfectly capable of writing humor and stuff that doesn't just rip out my heart, but no.  I've got to write shit like Chase and Chance which leaves my heart bleeding on the frickin' table and makes me have to put myself in the place of people I would KILL not to have to be.  

And that's about all.  (Okay-- honestly?  The frickin internet is going in and out and I want to wrap this up and push send before people start assuming I've died or something because it's been so long since my last post!)

But I will leave you with this, because I thought it was HYSTERICAL!

Chicken brought her friend, Stivie, to go Halloween shopping with us and, as usual, Stivie sat in the back of the car.  Now I adore Stivie, and I'm glad Chicken hangs out with her, but I didn't realize how comfortable she is with us until I went to the McDonald's Drive Thru.  

"Stivie-- I'm going to McDonald's can I get you--"
"A cookie, definitely.  I'd love a cookie!"  
Well, I guess she really DOES enjoy our family-- she pretty much read my mind.

And of course, my kids adore her too.  Zoomboy, in fact, spent the entire time telling her about his favorite television, and I overheard this little gem as I was driving, and I will leave you with it because I laughed my ass off:
"I love Phineas and Ferb in the Second Dimension!  Seriously!  That movie changed my life!"

0.0--well, can't fault his taste!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Meander Left, Meander Right

Okay, so seriously?  I've got nothin'.

I've said it before--a thousand times--the most intense stuff can be going on inside my head but on the outside?  It's just a woman typing in a kitchen that looks like a bomb blew up in it.  You're not looking at her thinking, "Oooh... there typeth the seeds of greatness!"  You're thinking, "Jesus, heifer!  Get off your ass and CLEAN SOMETHING!"  And, well, I've got deadlines and cleaning something ain't in the cards.  (The teenagers, however, have started ducking me when we're in the house together.  No, no, this mama didn't raise no fools!)

In various news, I attended Art Docent training, and the general gist was to make my portfolio presentations shorter and to skip some of the stuff in the curriculum, and to make the art project as complicated as their little minds/hands/whatever can make it.  At least, that was the input from the trainer--who, as the daughter of the woman who created the program approached the whole thing from, shall we say, a certain slant?

I, on the other hand, was all on the teacher's side:  It has to fit inside the timeline, and it has to leave them feeling as though they've accomplished something and it has to tie in with the portfolio.  Let the modifications begin!  It doesn't matter-- I'm looking forward to setting the date for teaching the next unit, and I'm looking forward to doing fun stuff with little kids.  Huzzah!  Tomorrow, I'm going to catch the first hour of an inservice showing what the different grades actually DO when they do art projects, and that should help too.  This is a different age, a different venue, a different focus from what I'm used to--but it's also a challenge, and I'm enjoying it very much.

Big T told me today he wanted his birthday to be something small-- going out to dinner--and nothing too big.  He's going to be NINETEEN after all, and it's REALLY not that important.  God, I love him.  I may love him more when he has a job, but maybe not--he really has so much that is awesome inside him.

Chicken is stressing out over college applications and college essays--which she should, because that whole "funding the college" thing is still up in the air.  We're rooting for a private college with lots of scholarships.  She's rooting for San Francisco State, and I have to say that although I only attended for one year, I'm sort of hoping for that too.  I want my Chicken to live by the sea.  I can picture her there, happy, and since I'll be deprived of my Chicken here, she'd BETTER be happy someplace else.  This morning she whined good-naturedly about "I don't wanna brush my hair!"  So I brushed it and put it up in a hearty French braid, and I was, once again, her hero.  Little things.  Don't know how I've been a parent this long without realizing it's really the little things!

Speaking of Little Things, this is Sam Day!  On Thursdays, the kids get out early, so I let them walk to their friend Sam's house.  One of the benefits to knowing Sam is knowing his mother, whom I would cheerfully classify as one of the top five nicest people on pretty much any planet sporting human life.  I'm not joking about this.  She's sweet, she's kind, she believes in a messy house and happy children, and for some reason, she likes me.  I pretty much melt when I see her--she's a big hugger, and I love to hug back.  Seriously.  Very often I tend to gravitate to people with sharp and ironic senses of humor--but I'm finding now that sometimes that irony can be corrosive when taken in large quantities.  My last peer group was (and our vocation tended to make us all like this) almost unconditionally bitter and critical.  In this past year I've discovered a real love for kindness and faithful goodwill.  I think I'll still keep my own sense of irony--but I like to think that it's a better tool when tempered with gentleness, and hanging out with Sam's mom is the way to go here.  That, and she has a really delightful sense of humor and she likes to laugh.  So, there you go.  For us, Thursday is Sam Day--and honestly, I think my kids get as much out of Sam Day as they get out of soccer, and that's pretty cool.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Everything is Prettier in the Rain

Yesterday we spent the day doing the birthday thang (I did that on purpose 'cause I'm cool, yanno!) with my real mom and my grandma.  We brought the pizza, the ice cream cake, a present, and my mom over to my grandma's and celebrated birthdays.  Everyone keeps telling me what a good daughter I am when I do this, but I always feel like such a slacker, because it only happens between 4-6 times a year.  I'm a mediocre daughter--but I guess I have good intentions.

Talker's Graduation is still coming out on Wednesday-- and I will be at Cup-O-Porn blogging on Wednesday to celebrate.  Mostly I'll be talking about my own backyard, which is why (even though the picture is mostly my neighbor's house from my driveway, with a glimpse of our out of control rose bushes in the corner around the pavement) I thought the picture was singularly appropriate.

And anyone who lives in Nor Cal will tell you that today was the day the weatherman LIED LIKE A FRICKIN' RUG! It was supposed to maybe shower this afternoon around four in the afternoon.  Instead, it rained like Noah finished the boat from about nine in the morning to five thirty in the evening... imagine our surprise!  But soccer practice was canceled and it was lovely--came home, gave everyone a snack, cooked some warm soup-like-food substance, and read to the kids so that we all did not, once again, fail homework.  Geez, I feel old at the end of soccer season-- days like this make me feel younger.  (The smell in the air too-- I wasn't lying. Everything IS prettier when it rains.)

And really, that's all I've got.  I think I'm still recovering--the weekend was long, and even though the games were not nearly as awful, there were still three of them, and we lost all three, and really?  I'm just excited that Squish's last game will be on the twenty-first!  (Zoomboy and Chicken have another month to go... *sigh*)  Of course, I'll miss Squish's last game because I'll be in San Francisco, and considering how much I adore the team parents, this is sort of disappointing.  I'm REALLY HOPING the weather will hold on the fourteenth, because it'll be the last time we get to do the woo-woo tunnel together, and, well, I'll be a little sentimental.

And other than that?  Oh yeah...  my bumpy thingies.  I had a doc appointment because my elbows, knees, and tattoos all developed subcutaneous bumpy thingies.  (Yeah, that's a technical term, swear!)  Anyway, I now have some steroid ointment for my bumpy thingies, and, I have to admit, after dealing with having holes punched in my flesh in the name of the freaky-skeery word "biopsy", being told that steroid ointment was pretty much all that it would take?  Well, huzzah!  Now I just need to apply the ointment so the icky-subcutaneous-bumpy-thingies can go the hell away!  And now I am officially mortified from sharing TMI on the internet.  Allow me to go hide in shame!  (As. The Hell. If.)

But I am going to go work, because, once again, I have set me up some impossible deadlines.  I do recognize that I am in charge of pushing these back--but they were set up at these times for a couple of reasons, and I hate to let my publisher down.

Also, *tee-hee* my Advent Calendar is up and my adorable alpaca is making me giggle.  Everyone needs something to make them giggle...

And that's why I saved this story for last.

Okay, my mother, Alexa (not my stepmom, my bio-mom) is not always as in touch with reality as she might be-- that could be why she's in an open door mental health facility, yeah?  Anyway, I send her my books-- every one that comes out in paperback gets sent to her door.  Every now and then, I ask her how she has liked them.

"Oh, honey, they're so funny!  They're real good.  They make me laugh every time."

*cringe*  "Oh.  Uhm, which one made you laugh, mom?  The one with the two characters who are HIV or the one with the guy who watched his entire planet die and then talked to himself for ten years?"

"The one with the gym, honey.  It was so funny!  They were so upset about getting to play in a gym, and it was just hilarious!  What a thing to get upset about!"

*blink*  "Awesome, mom.  I'm glad you enjoyed the Locker Room."

"Oh, I did.  Make sure you keep sending them!  They're real good."

And that, folks, is the way to stay humble!

Friday, October 7, 2011

And even MORE book news!

Okay-- first things first.  The first thing is that Talker's Graduation is coming out on Wednesday.  This is possibly the last of the series--I know that my publisher (who loves me!) is going to release all three novellas in a complete volume, and in paperback too, and I will be thrilled to hold it in my hands.  I also know that these stories--short as they are--have had a peculiar, haunting effect on the people who read them.  They are devoured, people love them--but they continuously ask for more.  I love that, n a way.  There is something so simple about Tate and Brian.  Tate is broken, Brian will protect him, and that is the extent of their world.  Even in this last installment, in which Brian finds his voice and Talker finds his peace, that dynamic endures.  I'm so glad that resonates with people.  Sometimes it's the simplest relationships that are truly the most poignant, and I think that's where the heart of these three stories really beats.  The world may be complex and terrifying, but the relationship between the two guys is as simple, true, and wholesome as it gets.  I hope people love this last book--I hope that like Talker, they find some peace at the end of this, and some joy for the boys' future. 
Oh-- and don't forget to enter the contest at Chris's site, Stumbling Over Chaos, to get a free e-book copy of Talker's Graduation.  I think there may also be another giveaway at Cup Of Porn next week, and I'll let you know about that one too!  (I'm guest blogging over there on Wednesday-- something about setting and why I set everything in my own crappy backyard!)
 The next thing in book news is the freebie on the Dreamspinner Press site.  If you go to the paperback book page for A Solid Core of Alpha, you will find a Gary the Gargoyle door knocker.  Press ol' Gary there, and you will find a little free story of mine.  (There are 31 stories placed throughout the website from various authors.  You have to look at the authors' products-- ALL OF THEM--to find each story.)  It's sort of a little sequel to the story below, It's Not Shakespeare, which comes out in November, but it can be read alone.  It actually functions VERY well as a teaser, and it's called, "You Can't Make an Omelet..."  I just found out that we're going to add the story to the end of the e-book, which makes me very very happy--but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it now.  For one thing, it's about Halloween, and it gives some very good pointers about how NOT to get your house egged-- always VERY valuable, right?  Oh yeah... one more thing...
The Advent Calendar is out.  For right now, you can buy all twenty-six of the Advent Calendar stories for a reduced price, and have them added to your e-mail box once a day from the first of December onward, OR you can buy the stories you want.  My particular story looks an AWFUL lot like this--except we changed the font.  I love this picture--and if you look on "Excerpt" under the Advent Calendar link you will see the blurb and that's fun too.  So, well, a whole lot of stuff, right?  *whew*  Excellent.  At least when I say I'm busy, everyone has reason to believe me!
 And, well, that's about all in book news!  This weekend is another round of... well... everything.  Soccer games and family shit and maybe cleaning the house.  October is already a quarter of the way over... and it's not showing signs of slowing down!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

And in Book News...

Wow-- talk about shit sneaking up on you!

Becoming is out TODAY--available at Torquere Books and All-Romance e-books and, of course, coming in the next couple of days from  (For those of you who are sort of addicted to, I will tell you that ARe has better deals, and they do offer stuff in Kindle format--or .prc, if you're looking at the list.  I mention this only because I know what it's like to go, "Aw, geez... but I HATE getting out my credit card to buy something."  They can set you up to send stuff to your Kindle, and that's sort of cool.)

Anyway, Becoming is the fifth installment in the Jack & Teague & Katy series, aka the Green's Hill Werewolves, and it's one of the most painful.  (For those of you along for the ride, you're probably wondering how ANYTHING can be more painful than Changing.  Uhm, trust me.  The angst only goes deeper.)  The thing I really loved about this one is that editing it had me writing on Quickening again, in the dark of the night, because Green and Cory and Bracken really do have some nice moments here.  And, of course, Teague...

What can I say?  Teague and Jack were (as many of you know) inspired by the guys on Supernatural.  But then, as inspirations go, my two guys quickly became something totally and completely different than the seeds of their creation may have indicated, and Teague is a prime example.  I'm working on a character now who has layers and layers to his pain, and every time I wonder if I've got the chops to peel another layer, I look at Teague and think, "Oh yeah.  I wrote THAT guy--I can do this."  Teague is just so complex, so flawed, so noble, so damned damaged and so worth the pain.  Yeah--he's my guy.  He's my Captain Kirk, bleeding from a stomach wound and captaining the Enterprise through a battle, my Dean Winchester, cracking wise when he's bleeding out, and my Sir Galahad, serving self-lessly and without reservation, all rolled up into one.  Every time I read this (and remember--three edits to prep it for publication!) the guy just sort of stabs me in the heart, and oh, how I enjoy the pain.

I REALLY hope you enjoy it as well.

(And family anecdote for the day-- it was a really shitty morning in general.  Mom wasn't focusing on all four cylinders, and NOBODY was organized.  Anyway, Squish decided it was a day she had to wear something blue, or something close to blue, so the outfit I gave her was fiddled with behind my back, and we didn't have time to fix it.  She left the house in a red and black plaid shirt/dress and purple-heart-dotted leggings.  And bright neon green Halloween socks.  Where's that badge absolving me from the blame for that mess?  The "I swear my kid dressed herself!" badge?  Because that outfit made my eyes water!)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Okay, it's that time of year again when I whine.  And what time of year would that be, Amy?  Any time?  Yes.  Any time of the year, I whine.  We all know it.  Let the whining commence!

'kay.  Mate's soccer coaching has had a setback.  Not a huge setback, but my husband did lose his temper (in a faintly passive aggressive way that I must completely blame on myself, because I think I taught him this) and the parents who have known him from anywhere from three to ten years all said, "Wow.  I've never seen him mad."

I have.  We're lucky things weren't worse.

On Friday night (after a series of errands that would make the hardened veteran housewife pale--well, maybe not Julie--she was a Navy wife, the military toughens you up!) we gathered at the soccer park to watch our assorted team of 3, 4, & 5 year old girls and boys face down against the Teutonic Youth Incorporated boys team.  Okay, so that wasn't their official title, but most of them were somehow related--you could tell by the blond hair, blue eyes, and bowl hair cuts of at least five of the boys.  And yes--they were ALL boys.  There was something disheartening about watching our kids--the four year olds that Mate has to coax on the field (or order off of it because they're clinging to his leg), the small, timid boys, the frolicsome, competitive girls, and Squish, team mascot/player, face off against a little line of boys who were, to the one, at LEAST two inches taller than our TALLEST boy.

We got slaughtered.  The coach had no idea how to play his kids back, and to top it off, there was that REALLY obnoxious soccer parent screaming for blood with every goal.  (And that team made a lot of them.  They were all big, all in sync, and all SIX.  And did I mention the all boys?)

My two favorite moments of that game?  Twice, Squish had the ball roll OVER HER FOOT, then she looked up and saw that massive pack of kids running directly AT HER, and proceeded to scream and bolt in the opposite direction.  Twice.  Yup, folks, that one has my athletic ability, there is no question about it.

And that was Friday.

Saturday, Mate's birthday, we lost 15-1.

Mate's team this year is young.  The U10s needed a coach, and he said he'd do it, but he was bringing Zoomboy (another team mascot/player, don't let the uniform fool you) onto the team.  He wanted to coach his own kid.  (God knows why.  So far, ladybug catching, cloud counting, and dirt exploration have yet to contribute a single goal to that kids four year soccer career.)  The team he got was mostly eight year olds and first year players.  There is one other kid besides Zoomboy who is into his fourth year in soccer, but I think I've already explained that Zoomboy doesn't really count.

Something weird has happened in the seeding.  There is one other team in our division that is as... well, let's say young and inexperienced, and leave it at that.  We have yet to play them.  We've spent the first four games of the season watching coaches with really excellent players put those players on the bench so our kids could find their own squirrel tails with both hands and not feel like crap as they were getting played into the ground.  Mate has been very grateful--and very complimentary of these coaches.  "Thanks for not beating the crap out of us, my guys had a good game."  He's felt bad--the really good kids aren't getting any playing time, and his team isn't going to win.  It's hard--he gets excited during practice because his kids are LEARNING HOW TO PLAY--they're executing plays, they're understanding the game, they're excited about what they're doing--but when they get to the field, they're facing teams who have known what they were doing since they were five years old--which was half their lifetime ago.  He's been patiently gritting his teeth, telling his players they're doing a good job and to go out and have fun, and praying they can make it to the time when the teams get re-seeded and his team actually gets to play against other teams of the SAME ability.  He doesn't care if they lose 2-0 when they're playing their hearts out.  It's when they lose 15-1, and they've given up at the end that kills him.

Well, that's what happened Saturday, while the other coach screamed at his kids to punch up their defense and the other parents screamed for blood with every goal.

And one of his kids-- we still don't know which one--likes to punch kids on the shoulder--it's a "good game" sort of thing.  A little boy sort of thing.  Mate didn't see it as he was leading the kids through the high fives, but the little boy socked the other kids on the shoulder instead of high fiving while he said "Good game."

He socked the coaches daughter (who played like a champion) on the shoulder, and she cried.  The coach came over with the ref, and Mate said, "I'm sorry about that, did you see who did it?"  The little girl didn't.  Mate said, "I can talk to the team, but I can't call the player out right now unless you saw who did it."  The little girl still couldn't name the kid who had socked her in the shoulder, and Mate promised again to talk to the team and try to get an apology, when the other coach--remember, the one who was coaching his players to slaughter us and screaming across the field?  That one?  Said, "Yeah, coach, you go ahead and talk to your team!"

And Mate said, "Maybe my kids were just pissed because they lost 15-1."

And he turned away and walked off, while his assistant coach talked about how punching was bad and the other coach stared at him like bad sportsmanship starts and ends with the high-fives at the end of the game.

Mate would tell you it's not his finest moment and he's not proud of it.  I know he's probably thinking of sixteen other ways he could have handled that moment--hey, I've been there, I know the feeling.  But sportsmanship can not simply be a one way street.  It cannot just be something shown by the losers when there's dirt all over their faces, it has to be shown by the winners who are helping them up off the ground.  (Actually, I hope this is sort of the lesson they're learning in New York and Washington with this whole "Take Over Wall Street" thing--all the non-taxable rich people are the absolute pinnacle of bad sportsmanship, and those of us getting knocked in the dirt are not always going to remember our manners when we're fishing ourselves out.)

Now one of the things that probably made this other coach angry was that the one girl on his team was his daughter, and he felt it very personally when she was disrespected.  I wonder if he realized that the little lost soul on the field, the one who kept losing his shoe and didn't know which way to run, was our son, and that he spent the least amount of time on the field as anyone else on our team?  Yes, he's our son, but he's also a member of a collective for this moment, and in this case, the collective needs outweighed his need to wander in the mud puddle and lose his shoe.  Did the other coach put that together with the fact that, yes, he may want his daughter's team to win, but his team wasn't the only set of little kids on the field, and that sometimes some folks need to sit out so that the collective can benefit?    I'm thinking not.  I'm thinking that he feels terribly, terribly wronged.  But our little boys treated his team respectfully when they were playing--and probably one of them didn't realize the terrible disrespect in that playful sock on the arm.  (I'm thinking it was playful-- these aren't the kids that roughhouse when they're at rest, and there's not a lot of competition and violence in them.  I can't imagine that they just go around smashing on other kids for the hell of it, because they don't do it during practice.)

What I do know is it took a birthday dinner (my parents took us out), three hours at the computer, one John Wayne movie, a trip to the park and three Buffy episodes for Mate to finally, finally let it go, and when I woke him up this morning, (twenty minutes late) he didn't believe it was Monday.  Apparently he lost his entire Sunday to brooding about those two games and how he had failed his teams.

And I'm thinking that to me, he's probably the best coach in creation, because soccer really is just a game to him, and it's all that other stuff that comes first.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Snark

Marie Sexton is doing Saturday Snark again, and although I missed it last Saturday (Chicken's b-day) I thought I could make it today before running off into the maelstrom of what is Mate's b-day today:-)

This one's from The Locker Room and it wasn't until I tried to do this that I realized how very many of this book's best moments are tied up with some real sad moments as well:


Was that in his dream?  He couldn't decide for a moment.


He kept his eyes and his mouth clamped shut and screamed, and then one of the dogs half-whuufed and he was startled into looking into the dark of his room.  He flailed for Chris, but Chris wasn't there, but Chris's voice screamed, "Xander!" and suddenly he was bolt upright in bed and wide awake.

"Fuck," he muttered, trying to wipe the sleep from his eyes.  "Oh, Jesus fuck me, Chris?"

"Jesus better not be fucking you, genius--that's my job!"

Chris's voice was faintly disembodied, and Xander turned toward the brightened computer screen to see Chris, in a nice looking hotel room, looking back at him.

"Oh."  Suddenly what Chris had said penetrated, and Xander's inner fifth grader (never far from the surface) reared his head, and Xander choked on a smirk.  "Oh, geez, Chris, we're going to hell for that!"

"Hey, you swore first!"