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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Well DUH!

Okay, so I'll tell you why the protest felt like something of a failure.  It's because the cause--and it's a huge assed important cause, don't get me wrong-- it just feels so obvious.  I mean, it feels like one of those unspoken societal rules.  If I suddenly started running down the street screaming "For sweechrissakesyafuckin'morons DON'T WIPE YOUR ASS IN PUBLIC!" People would think I was not only overreacting, but being sort of silly.  Who does that?  Who wipes their ass in public?  Why would I even SAY such a thing?  Right?

Seriously--when I was a kid, and my step-mom was telling me about the women's rights movement and ERA, all I could think of was, "Well Duh!  Nothing to get excited about-- of COURSE women should get equal pay!  Of COURSE we should have a say on what goes on with our own body!  Men can buy rubbers in the grocery store-- of COURSE we should have easy access to birth control.  OF COURSE!"

When The Handmaid's Tale came out in college, and all the girls were reading it and FREAKING OUT! because omg, how sick was it that a woman would be subjugated to the role of incubator, I (and remember, I devoured sci-fi and fantasy like it was outlawed.  Ironic, actually...) *I* refused to read it.  I mean, it was just too implausible.  Unicorns shooting rainbows out their asses were literally more believable to me than a world in which a man would stand next to a woman, look at her, and think, "My dog is more valuable AND more intelligent.  I must make decisions for this creature and smack her when she's bad."

And see, you'd think I'd know better.  When I worked at McDonalds in college, I was SHOCKED to learn that my fellow male inmates made more money than I did.  Because they were what?  Penis endowed?  I mean, I was DOING THEIR JOBS, some of them, and they MADE MORE MONEY then I did?  Of course it was unfair!  Well DUH!

When I worked at Friday's, it was the same deal--not only that, but the guys got bigger tips!  (Of course THAT probably had to do with me being a totally shitty waitress.  I'll admit it now.)  But the pretty, competent girls had to knock themselves out--the guys just got bigger tips.  It sucked.  WELL DUH!

My first job out of college?  I lost it--I was incubating when I was hired and they didn't realize it, and I actually HEARD the secretaries talking about how I was first on the chopping block and the district office was pissed.  Was it fair?  No.  Especially because I'd TOLD the woman hiring me that I was pregnant during the interview.  Big T had problems during my second job--I went through childcare like my cat sheds fur.  My vice principal said I was an amazing teacher--but a crappy employee because of my kid.  Was it fair that being a good mom was the thing that made me a crappy employee?  I didn't think so.  WELL DUH!

When working at my last job (oh yes, we remember that last job!) I gave birth twice in the course of my employment, and both times, the principal (two different major prickweenies) fucked with my schedule.  My department heads (the good guys at that time) both went in and fought for me and came back puzzled.  "We don't know why he wouldn't change it--he couldn't give us a real good answer."  Was it because my uterus was trying to dictate their moves that they became major dicks?  WELL DUH!

And let's talk about that last job, shall we?  Should we talk about the staff meetings where a half-an-hour went by and no woman talked, ever, because every time we opened our mouths we got shot down?  Should we talk about how, when I mentioned this on the blog I got slapped on the wrist, but the guys who made the women feel like shit got nothing?  Should we talk about how before my whole bullshit thing went down, if a woman even LASTED in my department, she ran for the other school as quickly as she could?  Let's talk about getting yelled at in the quad for leaving blood on the seat after a male colleague pounded on the door to get me to hurry up in the bathroom or having my department head do an impression of my vibrator, shall we?

Well duh.

But somehow, standing there with my protest sign didn't feel like enough.  It didn't.  I mean, none of that idiotic, socially retarded (and I mean that in the dictionary sense), dumb-as-fucking-tits-on-a-cthulhu legislation has been passed in my state, and I can talk about prevailing political climate and how that translates to the attitude of those of us here on the sidewalks all I want, but it by no means gives voice to the idea that standing on a lawn and waving a sign did not feel productive enough.  Hell--I would have settled for chucking copies of The Handmaid's Tale at the heads of congresspeople, and if anyone ever makes that a carnival event, believe me, I'll be the first in line.

See, the way I see it--have always seen it, I guess--is that the way we perceive ourselves is reflected in the stories we tell.  I try to tell stories of tolerance and acceptance, of growth and equality--yes, even women's equality, because once we can no longer deny that gay men are equal, I figure women have a shot too!  I know that people have written me and told me that the stories I've told have made them realize that homophobia is a bad thing, and that women have the right to be strong.  (Thank you, Lady Cory--you WILL have those babies, I swear!) So I did that.  I told stories that changed people's minds.  I'm going to have to be happy with that--I am.  Because my friend Julianne and I went and stood in the mall at the protest and waved our signs and said, "Uhm, is this all we're doing?"  Then, Julianne laid down an ultimatum.  "All right," she said.  "One more person gets up there with a guitar and I'm bailing."(Apparently years of living in Santa Cruz has given her a low tolerance for folk performances--who knew that was a side-effect?)  And then one more person got up on the steps of the capital mall with a guitar, and we were gone by the first chords.

We went to the yarn store.  Julianne bought something shiny and green that made her want to take it home (and as you can see from the picture?  She was really possessive.  It wasn't going home with anyone but her!)  I bought everything else.  Maybe I'll knit a uterus.  Maybe I'll write another story about people treating people with respect.  Protests probably do their part to raise public awareness, but I think I'm probably the last person to bring to one.  Every time one of the well-meaning and very hard-working people got up at the podium and started stating obvious things that we're STILL fighting for, not just in the country but in the world--things like real domestic abuse laws and the right to breast feed in public and the right to get paid equally and the right to health care and the right not to have politicians shoving hammy fists up our whazoos, I really wanted to lead the rallying cry with, "WELL DUH!!!!!"

Saturday, April 28, 2012

But I WANT to go to the protest!

I don't know if I do or not, actually-- but I'm gonna make a good go of it!  Anyway-- I'm going to see if I can write me a quick post and then go back to bed.  Exciting, I know, but if I want to go fly my freaky flag in downtown Sac this morning and be all political and shit, I'm gonna need the teensiest bit more sleep, I just KNOW it!  But Steve he cat was being all insecure and shit, so, here I am, up WAY to early on a Saturday morning and I might as well do something, right?


First news--there is a contest for Gambling Men: The Novel over at Stumbling Over Chaos-- make sure you stop by and enter for a chance to win!  Now, for anyone who has read the first short stories, the ones in the Curious anthology, and want to know how I decided to turn that little bit of prose into a full length novel, go check out the excerpt at the first link-- the very first chapter is from Jace's point of view, and you all might be surprised!  The book is out on May 7th, and I'm excited!

Also out that SAME WEEK in paperback for the first time is The Talker Anthology.  Now these are the same three Talker stories that have previously been released, but they're coming out in paperback on May 11th, and I'm seriously excited like I didn't think I would be.  For one thing, I go to conventions and SIGN books, right?  Well now I can sign this one--and people LOVE this one, and THAT makes me happy!

And for another?  I'm wondering what it will be like for someone who has never read my boys before to read them straight through, all at one go.  I'm hoping it's special--everyone seems to love Tate Walker and Brian Cooper (their audio book sales still surprise the hell out of me!) and this is just something for my guys that I can hold in my hand.

I'm thinking about holding a contest for the paperback here, so stay tuned for details!  (No--I swear that's not a cop out, but the idea of actually remembering how to post a contest right now is making my head all swimmy....)

And in other news, people really seem to love Country Mouse.  I used to post the links to all my good reviews, and then I stopped because, quite frankly, it started to make me uncomfortable, and I'm not really good at celebrating "me!"  But since this is Aleksandr's work too I thought I'd at least give him a shout out and thank all the folks reading it and loving it--we're SO glad people are enjoying this one!  And we ARE making plans for a sequel!  (BTW, if you do read it?  I LOVE the little cat and mouse graphics that are consistent throughout the book.  ADORABLE!)

I shall probably be back a little sooner than usual, and post people news... for one thing, I wrote out the shawl pattern for a friend, and I was going to post it for you, and I'm sure there's interesting things about my kids... and I know I had a story or something in my brain... but yeah.  Right now?  I'm going back to bed so I can meet my friend a little later and not feel like a total spazz.  (I love how autocorrect keeps trying to spell that different.)

*waves*  Night!  *yawn*  Be back up in an hour.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Recovery Drinks

Thanks, Rhys, for my kitty of ennui
Oh, I only wish it was something fun like vodka or... I dunno.  Anything.  But, believe it or not, my husband's fitness buff friends all seem to believe that the perfect recovery drink is chocolate milk.  And now you know.

Anyway, for those of you who have been checking out that blog tour (and thank you thank you thank you!) you've probably figured I'm doing a little rest lap this week, because that was some serious touring! So I'm within sight of the Dex in Blue finish line, and really happy about that, because I love it!  Seriously-- LOVE writing this one.  It's got some angst--but it's NOWHERE near Chase in Shadow, or Mourning Heaven or even Sidecar.  It's two guys, falling in love, and sorting out some shit.  I adore it far more than I should.

And other than that?  It's sort of been a bullet point kind of week.  For example...

Zoomboy told me yesterday that he was going to learn Vietnamese so he could go to South East Asia and study primates.  I said, "Holy God, when I was eight years old I didn't even know that was a country."  He patted my shoulder and said, "Yes, mom, it is, and I want to learn it's language."

He's going to conquer the world.


Squish seems to have lost a tooth.  And her soul.  (Look at those eyes, people.  Yeah, some people say it's a camera reaction.  I beg to differ!)

And, other than that?

Country Mouse is doing well-- folks seem to like it (for reviews and reactions, check the last post--  there are plenty, and I'm grateful for ALL of them!) and Aleks is SO excited to begin the next one.  So am I for that matter--but you all know how I like my writing, at least, to be neat and tidy sometimes:-)

And finally?  Remember how I told you about Steve? Barking at the birds? Well, I seem to have gotten it on video--and strangely enough, it seems as though I can pass that on to you.  Shall we see?

(And if it doesn't work, it's no big loss-- mostly an experiment, right?)

Also?  I THINK that me and the teenagers are going to a protest rally for women's rights on Saturday.  If I end up pepper sprayed and locked in jail, do me a favor and POUND THE HOLY MOTHERFUCKING HELL out of the internet communications system until they release me, okay?  K'thx, bye!  (Seriously-- twenty years ago?  I wouldn't have worried.  These days?  The authority peoples are becoming faceless, brainless tyrants again.  Love my country?  Maybe.  LIVE IN PANT'S WETTING FEAR of the right wing of my government?  You frickin' betcha!)  So, uhm, wish us luck, right?


Sunday, April 22, 2012

And on Mondays I'm Amy

Okay-- this is a purely business post with a weird little anecdote at the end.

Riptide has a policy of scheduling blog tours for their authors, and since it tends to sell books, I'm not going to argue.  On top of that, Chase in Shadow had a pretty good weekend over at Amara's Place, and I thought you all would want to check that out!  So, basically, uhm, yeah.  Let the book pimpage begin!  (And btw?  Auto-Correct keeps turning "pimpage" to "pimple".  Since the word "pimple" sort of grosses my out, I really wish it wouldn't do it.)

So, release the hounds of authorial whoredom, and let the frenzy begin!

Saturday, April 21st:  Chase in Shadow at Amara's Place , both a review and an
article from me!

And following is the blog tour event schedule for Country Mouse-- Aleks and I will both post articles, interview our characters and be interviewed by our blog hosts, and generally, we will participate in general hilarity.  Anyway, I thought I'd give you guys an overview of where I'm going to be this week.  And, of course, I will post a couple of times here anyway, because this started out as a family blog/knitting blog/what-the-hell-ever blog, and that hasn't changed.  
Anyway, I give you... the blog tour!
April 23 - Joyfully Jay
April 23 - Top 2 Bottom
April 24 - Amara's Place 
April 25 - Pants Off Reviews
April 26 - All I Want and More
April 27 - Book Wenches
Oh yes-- and I promised you an anecdote.  
My Monday Aqua teacher knows my pseudonym-- she has, in fact, read my books.  The instructor for the other classes knows me by my other name.  There are a number of women there who know me as both, and who attend both instructors like I do.  So the Monday instructor was offering praise (which I strive for, because I'm an annoying teacher's pet that way, forgive me) and she said, "Good job, Amy!  Nice form!"
And Daisy, a leather-tanned peanut of a sixty-something year old who has devoted her retirement to being as fit and healthy as any twenty-year-old man, with zero body-fat to boot, paddles by me (cause she's amazing) and says, "It must be Monday, because you're Amy."
And so there you go.  Tomorrow's Monday, the blog tour is beginning, and I am Amy:-)

Friday, April 20, 2012

You Know It's Spring When the Birds Won't Shut the Fuck Up

 For this blogpost ONLY, I'm gonna go work first, family second, because, hey, that's TALKER up there, the anthology, with all three of the stories in it, and it's going to be out in PAPERBACK in May, and... on Gods.  They're beautiful.  That's Tate and Brian, and the skimpy Sacrament Skyline, and pain and redemption and a Happy Ever After that is so hard-earned it makes me cry.

It seems to have made a lot of you cry too.

I'm so happy.  I just really am.  Something about having that book, in your hand, in paper.  I believe in e-books, but yeah.  Paper.  Makes a difference!

And Country Mouse!  Now, if you've pre-ordered from Riptide, it should be on your e-readers sometime this weekend (WOOT!) and if you're waiting for or ARe, it should be out Monday--and yeah.  I'm a little psyched--and a little anxious, like I am for all my new releases.  But this one, my first co-write--dudes.  I guess my biggest fear is that everyone's gonna wonder what the elegant and stylish Aleksandr is doing slumming with the frumpy, house-wifey Amy.  My other biggest fear is that Aleks will ask himself the same question, because I WANNA WRITE THE SEQUEL!

*bounces*  Shall we do the prayer?  Shall we?  Because I think I need it.  I do.  Okay, everyone-- repeat after me:

Holy Goddess, Merciful God, LET IT NOT SUCK!  Canyagimmehallelujia?  Iknewyoucouldamen!
 And this one is coming!  I'm going to say this again--this has the original very short stories incorporated into a WHOLE DANG NOVEL. Like, if you subtracted the short story contact, it would still be novel length!  Thought I should make that clear-- some people seem to think they've already read Jace and Quent-- but if they haven't read this, they've only read Quent--and only a little bit of him, because he's got more to share:-)  Gambling Men-- preorder when you can:-)

And one more thing-- the Dreamspinner Daily Dose is available for pre-sale.  Now, I've got a story in this one-- Do-over, and I'm sort of proud of it, even though it's really short.  For one thing, I'd just finished Chase and Sidecar and Mourning Heaven, and when I contemplated this story, I had this grim, dark vision of a man pissing away his life on drugs and one night stands and getting a chance for a do-over with the man he should have hooked up with way back when.  And then my angst-dragon whimpered from abuse and overwork, and my snarky-smart-assed dragon bit my head and said, "Hey, bitch!  I wanna fuckin' turn!"  And Do-over became snarky and adorable, and, well, basically what I've been calling Code Blue.  So, think of it this way.  I've got stories like Bewitched by Bella's Brother and If I Must and Winter Courtship and Country Mouse and Gambling Men which are essentially low-angst (I won't say NO angst) and lots of sweetness and hotness and romance.  Those are my Code Blue stories.  Then I have Chase in Shadow and The Locker Room and Talker, which are Code Red stories.  So when you think about the little gem of Do-over, think of it as more like Code TURQUOISE, and then set yourself up to enjoy:-)

And that's business for the moment-- and yeah, business is good.  But the home front has some stories to tell as well.

Let's start with T.

Big T is my angel of mercy when I go grocery shopping during the week, because he's usually home when I get home with a car full of grocery, and he's good at refrigerator Tetris, so we can fit it all in the refrigerator.  So the other day, he was helping me with, well, a fuckton of groceries, and he eyed the pile on the kitchen floor grimly.

"I thought you were just supposed to get milk?" He said, looking at me with narrow eyes.

"Well yeah," I replied.  "But I was just..."

He shook his head (a lot like his father, if he knew it) and said, "You walk into the store, say, 'Oh, it's milk!', and turn around and go home!'"

I was giggling too much to defend my honor.  It was really masterfully done in a house that thrives on sarcasm, and mama was proud!

And move on to Zoomboy.

The other day, Zoomboy got out of the bathtub and I went down the hall to put his sister in.  I came back, and Zoomboy was standing up in the living room.  He was naked.

"Zoomboy, put some clothes on!"

He looked up from his Top Ramen and grinned, then put it down in a rush and ran away.  Mate, Chicken, and T all watched his bare ass disappearing down the hall with faintly guilty eyes.

"He was naked?"  Mate asked, like he didn't notice, and I nodded.

"Yeah.  Naked."

Chicken started giggling.  "We didn't even notice!"

Big T said, "I didn't wander around naked--"

"When you were thirteen," I snapped.  "You stopped when you were twelve!"

Zoomboy came back with his clothes on and picked up his Ramen and Mate and I didn't stop giggling for half an hour.

And Squish--

Squish's big accomplishment is reading books on Monet, DaVinci, Michelangelo, Matisse, Renoir, and other masters of the art world and deciding who she wants to be like.

Mary Cassatt.

She's going to be magnificent.

And Chicken and Mate?

Well,  see, the thing is, her cat Gordy has allergies.  Every year, he spends a month being allergic to his own skin and trying to gnaw a hole through it.  We get him prednezone, a steroid, and he gets over his neurotic cat self, and gets better.

Now we've all seen those, "How to give a cat a pill," spams-- and they're still funny because they're hella true.  Giving a cat a pill is an exercise in futility.  Giving a cat a syringe full of steroids, orally?  Don't get me started.  But we get better as we give the steroids--more practiced, firmer with Chicken's neurotic cat, whatever.  Anyway.

The birds have been out and about-- they wake us in the morning, make us wish we were gun-toting folks, that sort of thing.  So the other night, Mate was giving Gordy his big syringe of steroids, and he hit the target.  Literally, full dosage, right down the gullet.  About an hour later, cat is freaking the fuck out.  SOMETHING under the blanket has his attention.

"Oh, Gordy!  Did we find a toy!"  I coo, thinking it's cute as hell.  Mate, who doesn't need corrective lenses, starts calling Chicken.

"Chicken!  Get out here and deal with your cat!"

"What?  He's playing with a blanket!"

"Now pick up the blanket," he says patiently.

"Oh look," she says, not freaked out, "it's a bird!"

"Oh FUCK!" I say, obviously freaked out, "IT'S A FUCKING BIRD!"

So the cat grabs the bird, runs out of the house (because the back door's open because it's getting warmer at night, and THEN, runs back in, dead bird still in mouth as he zooms around the house.

"Close the fucking door!" Chicken hollers as he goes outside again, and we do, and don't even admonish her for her profanity, because really, who can blame her?

Anyway, Gordie's 'roid rage rampage was not over that night, because he came back in later with a moth the size of his head, body tucked in his mouth proudly, wings literally WHIRRING as the poor bug tried to get the holy fuck out of there.  We have no idea if the bug survived or not, but Gordie went outside and continued to terrorize wildlife before coming in to sleep off the hangover.

This morning, Steve came running into the room and stood up, paws on headboard, to look out the window and let out that wistful chatter-bark that is a signal of wistful bloodlust in your average lazy-as-hall feline.  Poor Steve--she's got the heart of a house cat with no roid rage to fuel her inner jaguar.

Thank the Goddess, cause who needs another fucking zombie bird!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Big, Round Numbers, Redux

Goodreads is having trouble with it's feed right now, so I thought this would be a good time for this post.

See, the thing is, about two years (give or take about four months) ago, I did a post called "Big, Round Numbers"-- and I was sort of excited.  I was going to have 1,000 ratings on GoodReads--and that meant, if nothing else, 1000 people had read my books.  I was hoping this meant that finally, I could have some perspective on reviews, and finally, I could grow into my lizard skin and feel some confidence that, no, I didn't really suck.

Since then, I've hit a couple of numbers that I don't think I ever expected, and had some good and some bad things come of it.

Now, blog people tend to celebrate their numbers-- they celebrate how many posts they've done, how many years they've been blogging.  Numbers are good-- they remind us of how much of our life has been dedicated to a project, and, sometimes, how successful that project is.  We all know that sometimes numbers lie, and that statistics only tell us exactly what the statistic is GEARED to tell us, and that most other speculation and extrapolation can be both useless and misleading-- but still.  Here are a couple of my stats thus far:

Blog posts (new blog only): 1021

Years blogging (as of July): 6

Number of actual books/novellas/short stories out: 42

Number of ratings (as of this morning) on GR: 14,480 (Alas, I can't separate those that are just for me and those that are for all of the anthologies.  Or maybe I could, but who has that kind of time?)

Number of reviews: 2, 350

Now, before anyone gets too excited, remember what these numbers mean.  They mostly mean that I'm getting to a place (I HOPE) where I can be confident enough in what I'm doing to be able to be grateful for the good, and to live with the bad.  It's a hard place to arrive in this business, because in case you haven't noticed, they are KILLING each other out there.

There is a moment in Seminar, the play I saw in New York, in which Alan Rickman delivers a line so powerful, so full of pathos, that I literally teared up.

"I have no skin for writing anymore.  I have no skin for this business.  I would rather write the words and let the pages blow away on the sidewalk--no, not blow.  There's got to be another word for that."

The moment was heartbreaking.  Here was a writer--someone who was actually wonderful at putting words on paper, and the world had used him up, shucked him like corn, leaving only the tender parts exposed to the world and shriveling up at the abrasiveness of oxygen.  He'd been so destroyed by the critical world that he couldn't even say the words without editing himself.  "Blow" was not good enough.  There were better words.  He just wasn't good enough to remember them.  It was horrible.

It was horrible, because I've been there.

Those of you who have been around for a while have watched me struggle with this.  And when I started out, it was just a few of us, and I was so very free, and so very open about putting the things in my heart and in my mind directly onto the blog.  It was fun, but I learned in a right hurry not to do that-- don't put anything out there that would hurt someone's feelings, or outrage the world, unless that was my intent!  Well, it was never my intent.  I learned to reign in my temper, I learned to make my blog entries a little more professional (well, not the proofreading!) and I learned not to say anything on the blog that I wouldn't say to a person's face, because very often, that was exactly what happened.  It's funny how setting myself free on paper taught me how to reign in the worser parts of myself like nothing else in my life.

My opinion of my own self-control is not particularly grand, so it always (and still) surprises me when I see that critics have not learned the same lessons I have.  Three years ago, I was still naive enough to think that they should have--that there should be some accountability to the people who criticized books, in the same way there was accountability for myself when I criticized the people in my life.  For those of you who don't remember, (and I don't see why you would-- this is something only I would obsess about--let's remember who's speaking!) three years ago,  (or close to--it was in August) I got a review on Vulnerable so hideous, and painful, that I felt compelled to respond.

Now three years ago, I was in the midst of trying very hard to live by the credo NEVER RESPOND.  I WAS.  I'd done it once or twice, regretted the hell out of it, and I'd seen that you couldn't win.  But, you all know me by now-- if I did it, it would be so much less problematic than if someone else did it.  Blargh.  Fucking hubris.  It WILL get you every time.

So anyway-- the review came out, it was heinous.  I responded.  I said, in essence, "All writing is personal.  Even snide reviews that are trying to prove that the reviewer is smarter than everyone else.  I don't know if you know how much about yourself that you revealed in this review."  (Okay-- maybe not an exact quote--but for my first response, it's damned close.)  My point was, that the reviewer had called Arturo a hot Latin lover, or something to that effect, and had called Cory "pudgy white trash."  The review was racist and classicist, and really unflattering to the person who wrote it.

Yeah, it was a mistake.  I knew it was a mistake when I wrote the first reply.  And the second.  The third was to say that the reviewer had changed the review in response to my comments, which meant it was not authentic--and to say I was walking away, which I did.

The conversation went on for 21 more responses after that--without me.  It got ugly--ugly enough to lose sleep over.  Ugly enough for me to contact people off-list and ask them to please stop defending me--that whole conversation needed to go away.  I'd made the mistake of responding to a bully--it was my bad--but we needed to end it.

Eventually it ended.  Sort of.

As recently as last month, I was getting the occasional letter on GoodReads from Random Stranger, saying, "Due to your behavior on, I won't read your books."  I was like, "WhatEVER--it was a long time ago.  Do what you think best!"  But I couldn't figure out where Random Stranger had found out about the altercation--it's not like I advertised.  I didn't take my responses down because I'm not excited about people just sweeping their mistakes under the rug, me included, and I talked about it here, because even then, it was a learning experience, but seriously-- how long is that to hold a grudge?

Well, apparently, the grudge had help.

Recently, I saw a "review" on one of my book pages that simply said "see comment".  I went to the review page, and there was a link titled "Authors behaving badly" or something close.  I clicked the link.  There, in full color, recently updated, was the bulk of the exchange I just talked about.  From three years ago.  All in full color, with little candy skulls as a background (which has since been changed) and complete with comments that I made about the incident in the blog-- including the comments about the review being racist and classicist (which it was, before the final revision).  So, someone not only made a picture of this conversation I had in amazon, and prettied it up with graphics, they stalked my blog for my comments about the incident and with the aptitude of a Republican campaign spin doctor, advertised my long-ago fuck-up for the world to see.

And this reviewer pasted this link (in the same sideways manner) on EVERY ONE OF MY BOOK PAGES, including anthologies.  (This last doesn't seem fair, since the other people on the anthology had nothing to do with the incident.)

 Okay-- so for the record, if you're looking at the numbers that I posted above, go ahead and subtract 47 from the number of reviews there-- because this really doesn't count as a review.  And seriously, in the bigger picture?

I'm a little creeped out.

Seriously.  I've been STALKED by someone who wants to make me look bad?  Wow.

It's like being the fat kid, sitting in class, working on a paper, when suddenly some obnoxious kid starts jumping up and down saying, "Ew!  Ew!  EW! Teacher!!!!  Amy Lane just picked her nose and ate it!!!!"

Now, whether or not I did, (and, let's face it, I copped to it, I did the internet equivalent of picking my nose in public.  Sorry,)  let's take a look at this scenario.

Yeah--in the first couple of days/months after the incident, the fat kid (that's me!) is going to get picked on for that.  It's going to be horrible.  It's going to suck.  It's gonna make the kid want to quit on EVERYTHING, because that's what bullying does.

But now, let's fast forward a couple of years and look back on the incident and...

And suddenly, the fat kid is doing all right, and the people in the class are feeling sort of bad for picking on her, and you know who everybody really hates?

Yeah-- that obnoxious kid jumping up and down screaming, "Ew!  Ew!  EW!  TEACHER!!!!"
Seriously-- think about it.  THAT kid is getting NO love from anyone right now.  And that's too bad.  Because it seems like that kid should have had better things to do than trying to make the fat kid doing her homework feel like crap.

But that's the sort of realization it takes some years and some perspective to come to.  That's the sort of thing that maturity brings you.

That's one of the reasons we keep track of big, round numbers-- to see if that maturity is ever going to come creeping round the corner.  I'm thinking it's getting closer by the day.  

* I just checked, mostly to find the link so I could show it to you, and by my request the link has been removed from my book pages.  If anyone is REALLY interested, I can provide you with the link to the original conversation--it's still up on on the Vulnerable book page, under the review with "Sophomoric Slop" in the title.  I sort of avoid that page though-- just because I'm willing to fess up to the incident doesn't mean I like to look at it in living color every day!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grumpy Fairies, and No one can eat all the food.

Okay-- just a teeny little short post today.

First of all, Rhys sent me This Link on Twitter, and I have been laughing my ass off over it all day.  Dude, you and your dog will never be closer.  But if you DON'T have a dog, this will make you NEVER want to get one, EVER.  Could not stop laughing-- trust me!

Second, we ditched the kids TWICE this week, once for sushi (and yeah, we brought back leftovers) and once to go see Mate's friend, who had the barber give him a Mohawk as sort of a fundraiser.  Once he reached his fundraising goal, he shaved his head and posted it on Facebook and told all his friends, and we all went out to dinner.  We went to a soul food place, which means we went to a whole other part of town, and... uhm...  Dayum.  I mean, I can't eat there more than once a year, or I WILL weight 400 lbs and that's no joke, but... omg.  Tasty and wonderful and...

but we ended up bringing a lot of it home, mostly because Mate and I made a sad realization as we sat there and looked at smothered chicken and grits and collard greens and spiced yams and salmon patties and garlic fries and corn bread and...

Yeah.  NO one can eat all the food.  It would be great to eat all the food, but NO one can do it.  And if they can, they shouldn't.  No one can eat all the food.  We brought it home to the kids, and not even THEY could eat all the food.  It was pretty firkin' amazing.

And this?  This is Squish.  When Squish gets on a role with her playing things, she will pull them--one or two at a time--and line them up in the living room and just... play. Talk for them and send them on adventures and... you know.  All the stuff that kids do that charms the pants off us when we don't have to make them or force them or treat playtime as homework.  And sometimes, like today when we were watching her brother do gymnastics, all of that playtime travels with us.  This is what she sat and did for an hour today while I knitted.

No stuffed animals were harmed in the making of this blog--but I have to admit, I got a kick out of watching her!

Oh-- and the grumpy fairy pic?  Her sister took that and sent it to me.  It was there when I sat down to work tonight.

And on that note?  I'm going to bed.  I'll be witty and charming tomorrow.  Tonight?  I'm going to go back to my bed and moan, "No one can eat all the food!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some Stories about Stories

 Okay-- a business post.  Mostly.  I had some rambling, but it's after 12, so I think I'll save hat for another day.

First of all, a reminder that Country Mouse is up for pre-sale at Riptide.  Now Riptide goes in for the pre-sales in a big way, they offer a very nice incentive to fork over your money before the product is officially available--a chance to win free books for a year!  Anyway-- this jaunty, hot little novella is getting a lot of attention because everyone knows that Aleks is awesomesauce (and yeah... the word is getting a trifle dated, but then, I'm still using "hella" and that dates back to the Reagan administration) and I just can't get enough of seen Owen and Malcolm on the cover!  Also, we're going on a blog tour together, which means that in a week we're going to be hitting about six OTHER people's blogs, and doing interviews and stuff.  Yeah.  I'm glad it's the both of us, because really?  Too much me is already too much.  You alls know how I feel about being the most boring human on the planet.  Hasn't changed.  Wish it had.  Hasn't. 

Which brings us to Talker, also in German, because Talker is all ABOUT change.  See, not so long ago, when someone asked me how I knew my work really wasn't pornography, I replied, "I'm pretty sure porn doesn't get translated into four language and put on audiobook!"  Arrogant?  Yeah.  I'm sorry.  It sounds arrogant--it sounded arrogant even when I said it, but I can't help it.  Everything I've believed about literature is embodied in the idea that it's universal.  Someday, maybe, Talker will be translated into Farsi or Hindi or Korean--but I'm not waiting for that day to be totally proud.  And this is it-- Talker's fourth translation.  It's also available in Italian, Spanish, and, I'm pretty sure, French.  And all three novellas are available in audiobook.  AND (and this part makes me really happy) in May, all three novellas will be available in the same bound edition.  I'm still a believer in printed paper-- don't think it doesn't tickle the hell out of me when I get a novel and hold it in my hands.  Real.  It feels real.  And for someone who deals in the imaginary all the frickin' time?  That's almost sexual right there.  Who needs pornography?  I've got PAPER!

And you know what else is coming back in paper? Gambling Men: The Novel.  Now, I felt compelled to put The Novel on this one, because GoodReads is having one HELL of a time with Super Sock Man.  In spite of the fact that SEVERAL people have explained to them that the novella with the cover with the socks on it is actually 750% LONGER than the original uber-short story (I think that's right-- uber short story was 3.5K, novella was over 26K) the librarians at GR keep combining the two stories together.  Okay, so fine-- I'll NEVER have any sort of idea how much people like the second one as opposed to the first, and I'm having a VERY HARD time figuring out what my sales are--but that's NOT happening with Gambling Men: The Novel.

The original Gambling Men story came to less then 5K, and was inspired by this video.  It was divided in sections and used as a pivot for all of the different parts of the Curious Anthology.  I enjoyed the two characters, so, for the hell of it, I wrote Raising the Stakes, which was sort of the next step in Jace and Quent's journey.  Those were the only short stories about Jace and Quent that I published, but I continued to write about them--in fact, there were five more stories when I was done.

Well, for the helluvit, mostly, I kept sending these stories to Elizabeth and Lynn ad Dreamspinner--and Jace and Quent became sort of their comfort guys.  No pressure, no angst, really, just a couple of major testosterone hardbodies whose only solid basis for communication was poker.  They were infuriating and funny and irritating and dear--and very, very hot.

Last summer, Elizabeth said, "I want a novel.  You must give them a novel."

And, after some mutual plottying in public (not nearly as dirty as it sounds) I had this idea.

See, the original stories had all been written from Quent's point of view, and they gave us a very nice story arc.  But what about Jace's point of view?

Well, I've got to tell you, Jace's point of view rocked.  From that one little story, and it's even shrimpier counterpart, this story is nearly 68K.  Jace's character is completely filled out, and Quentin's character has a lot more depth as well.  There are nuances and small twists and some bumpy paths to true love, in spite of the fact that the original story points to one night of passion and smooth sailing from their on out.  And (as it often does with writing) something amazing happened when the two guys got together and formed their own gestalt.

It became a whole different hand of poker.

I love this story.  I love the way I was inspired to write it, I love that Lynn, Elizabeth, and Mary all adore it (the novel is dedicated to them) and I love how it started out small, then dared to dream a little bigger, and then finally dreamed itself into a complex, complete novel.

I love the cover, which is perfect for the story as a whole.

I love that I had to learn how to play poker in order to write it.

I love that it's coming out May 7th, and I can hardly wait!

Of course I have to-- but still.  It's Jace and Quent, and they're sort of sentimental favorites.  I'm so looking forward to them!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

There Was DUSTING.

Okay-- I'll admit it.  I've been guilty of... of...

*scream*  *shudder*

Forgive me.  I know, I know, my trademark is that I don't give a royal housecleaning crap, but... well, I had to.  I've excavated the kitchen table TWICE in one week, and then?  And THEN?  I ORGANIZED. It was horrible-- traumatic even.  I went through stuff, I threw shit away.  I... (oh gods... so hard to even say!) 


Stivie and Zoomboy, hiding Chicken who
 didn't want her picture taken.
 I know.  I know.  Don't think less of me, okay?  But I had to.  We had company on Tuesday, and then company today on Easter Sunday, and I just couldn't do it anymore.  I had to organize the yarn space and make sure our new vacation pictures were out and sweep the carpet and the kitchen floor and... 

Yeah.  I did.  I succumbed to the notion that I AM the woman, and housecleaning WAS my venue, and I made my house a home.  I'm not proud.  It was a (really) dirty job, but somebody had to do it.  

Everybody inside, because it was a little too
 bright.  Note dusted shelf.  I know, you can't
see it, but it's there.
And since I was also shopping and organizing Easter and dealing with kids who had to dye eggs and bake cupcakes and seemed to think that vacation was a good time for cuddles?  

Well, yeah.  It's been a while since my last blog.  I'm sorry.  But don't worry-- it's not going to happen again for a LONG, LONG time.  Swear.  

Squish, looking radiant with the sun in her
amazing hair.
Has already found all eggs.

My ginormous son and his precious
And that brings us to today--which was really sort of nice.  I know, I know-- Easter, it should be, right?  But Easter is a production for four kids-- five if you count the fact that Chicken's friend, Stivie stayed over last night, because her mom was working and her family was all busy elsewhere.  Stivie got a basket too, and my kids got new clothes and stuffed animals.  (Zoomboy got a prosimian, which is a lemur-- he was so proud, he used that word until I had it memorized!)  And then, to make things even more hectic, I had planned an Easter dinner, (which I am quite obviously NOT cooking at this moment) and my friend, Wendy, who was coming over with Chris, her very adorable young suitor (and yes-- we call her a cougar, why do you ask?) had to change her plans and asked if she could come over in the morning instead.  ZOMG.  Suddenly, instead of dinner, which I can sort of do only because I've practiced, I was cooking BRUNCH!  I managed--and it wasn't bad.  My favorite discovery was that if you roll up purchased almond paste in whomp-biscuit croissants and then cook them, you have... mmmfmmmppfmmm... yeah.  Nom.  Nom nom nom nom nom... FAT!  But it's still nom!

Anyway, so we had Easter brunch, and now everyone's chilling, eating potato chips which I'd planned to have before dinner, but I'm cooking ham and green beans and mashed potatoes tomorrow, so they can have them now.  And there were baskets (and for once I went LOW KEY on the gifts, if not on the candy for the five bajillion Easter eggs) and there were Easter clothes and there was happiness.

Mate and I, doing ritual fist bump
for managing to be grownups
for one more holiday.  Go us!
 And then, my favorite part of the day--especially considering that we'd gone to bed at 2:30 a.m. and woke up at 7 a.m.  Yup.  You guessed it.  Naps.  There were NAPS.  Me and Mate, together as the gods intended, FAST A-FRICKIN'-ASLEEP.  

Now THAT'S what I call a holiday.  

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Squish at Six

So, uhm, putting together a child's birthday party.  Not always easy.

In this case, there were a couple of steps.  Step A, the requested visit to build-a-bear.  Mission accomplished.  Build-a-bear did us a solid this year, and produced a giant purple Hello Kitty with flowered feet... it's like they had a direct line to her sparkly little dreams.  Zoomboy's bear choice was a fuzzy camouflaged bear that he has called General Stuffing.  (Chicken has been reading Catch 22--this choice appealed to her!)  Squish's was the purple Hello Kitty that she calls "Cat."  Chicken's choice (yes-- at 17, she gets a bear too!) was a giant Kermit the Frog in a tuxedo to replace the one she had until the fourth grade, when it fell completely apart and mom quietly threw it out and told her that we didn't know where it was.  (It was made of felt, so when it fell apart, it was sort of beyond repair.)

So that was Sunday.  Monday was all about the shopping.  I worked out, went shopping for the rest of her present as well as Easter shopping (oh, the frickin' pain.  Can I NOT walk into a store and come out with 500 lbs. of chocolate?  For serious?  It's insane!) and then came home and got the kids and took them to pick out Squishy's cake as well as groceries.  For the record?  I manage these days to NEVER go grocery shopping with the kids in tow.  Now I remember why.  Ye frickin' gods.  I came home with several boxes of cake mix, and since A. I don't like cake and B. I DON'T COOK, I think there's something very wrong here.

That was Monday-- yes, it was almost a complete loss writing-wise, why do you ask?

And then there was yesterday, her ACTUAL BIRTHDAY.  For starters, Big T had to get his wisdom teeth pulled--and, for a bonus, the dentist remembered that *I* was supposed to get a tooth filled so they did us both at the same time.  The only difference was, T got to get completely stoned when we were done, and I got to drive home (stopping off at his office at Cutco, because wandering around Rocklin is FUN! I tell you, FUN!) without the side bennie of drugs!

But I got home, and there was that vision, that lovely girl in the pink and the peach, who had not been awake when I left, telling me that it was HER BIRTHDAY--and the house (which was a disaster) and the six-thousand things I had to do (which I barely got done with a lot of help) fell away.  Look at her  She's six.

God, I she's ALWAYS going to seem six to me, isn't she?

Anyway, the house got clean--Michelle, if you're out there, I've posted a bad picture of the (mostly) excavated kitchen table, just for you.  The good news is, we're having my Crazy Friend Wendy and her Young Stud, Chris over for dinner on Easter Sunday, so we have less to do toward the house in that way, and that's always a plus.  (I'm going to be COOKING for that.  Oh Holy Crap.  Cooking.  Fuck.)

Zoomboy and my dad with the gray hair and glasses. I don't
know who the guy with the hat is.  Just lucky to be famous,
I guess.
Mate, who is happy and proud, because the seats were so
damned awesome, and because he made this happen.
And the rest of the night?  Was the King's game, followed up by cake and ice cream at that kitchen table.  For the King's game, Mate got us special tickets, so close to the game, I could almost see Xan and Chris (alas, they were not there to be seen, but I spent a long time fantasizing that they were.)  Big T did not accompany us, although he did have a ticket--his face was swollen, and, quite frankly, he was way too stoned to take out in public, but everyone else was there.  My dad and stepmom, Wendy and Chris, Zoomboy, Chicken, Mate and I, and, of course, Squish.

Squish.  Who got over her disappointment that these
weren't her usual seats and enjoyed the wiener-dog races
like usual.  Note the purple King's T-shirt added under the
pink and peach colored dress.  She had matching tights,
which she wore with black tennis shoes with rainbow
laces.  She's a fashion plate!
 The team lost--but not by much--and the game was close.  My parents were happy to be there, and my mom?  I hadn't realized this, but in spite of MULTIPLE invitations from Mate, my step-mom had NEVER been to a game.  She enjoyed herself immensely.  (I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of her. She's pretty damned stunning, and she and my dad are still a handsome couple:0)

Chicken enjoyed herself (she's not pictured either--she was sitting directly behind me!) and as a whole?  When we came back to the house for presents and ice cream?  There were a lot of happy people on our hands.

Here's hoping that Squish was the happiest one of all.  She got her build-a-bear, her pizza, her King's game, and her family.  Mostly, she got to be the princess, and she got to be six.  She is still my dessert baby, still my surprise hug in the morning, still my squishiest, softest, snuggliest child.  Yesterday, after we got home from the dentist, and before we kicked ass on the house, Zoomboy asked me to sit down for cuddles (he insists I owe him for that week in New York!) and Squish got in on the action and slept on me for an hour, like she did when she was a baby.

She's still my baby.  She'll always be my baby.  She's my Squish.

When I was one I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five I was just alive.
But now we are six, we're as clever as clever
I think we'll be six forever and ever. 

A.A. Milne

Sunday, April 1, 2012

No Pictures-- trust me, you'll thank me later.

Okay, before I totally disgust anyone reading with this totally gross and yet oddly hilarious story that I've debated whether or not to post, I'm going to put out some promo, because that's the way good business people do things.  First, they sell their product.  THEN they gross you out.

So first things first.

Diesel Books wants me to tell you (and I'm really proud of this actually) that Super Sock Man is going to be their featured book on April 3rd-- that means that 11 a.m., EASTERN Standard Time, the book is going to go on sale for $.80 a copy.  So, the first ten people who hit this link (and the link doesn't go live until THAT TIME, April 3rd,) Super Sock Man Deal can get the book for really frickin' cheap.  I'm posting this on Facebook and Twitter, so even if you forget you'll probably see me poking people, and I just wanted to let y'all know!


Country Mouse is available for pre-order at Riptide, and will be fully released on April 23rd.  I'm VERY excited about this one because it's my first attempt at co-writing.  What's really funny is that although Aleks and I had a blast writing this and maintained a spirit of fun throughout, the general consensus is that this brainchild could be along the lines of Horton the Elephant's elephant-bird.  People see my name and Aleksandr's name in the same space and their brains explode.  It's weird, because, seriously, y'all-- this was FUN!  It was enjoying characters and playing with them and letting them play (in all lasciviousness) with each other.  But then, I think for both of us, this is one of the lighter things that can be found in our rosters, so maybe that was it.  We started out with no preconceptions of one another, and we simply wrote for pure joy.  No angst, really, nothing to prove--just word and character play with another writer.  I've enjoyed the hell out of it, and working with Rachel at Riptide Books has been a lot of fun as well.  (Aleks is part of Riptide Books, so it was only natural this story would go there for publication.)  So don't get this one for the heavy drama-- get it for some good, hawt fun!

And now for the disgusting story.  I'm SERIOUSLY WARNING PEOPLE-- if you have a weak stomach, bail on the blog now.  Take the links and the news and leave while you still have some respect for my ability to draw a line, wouldjapleeze, and thankya!

Okay-- so here goes.

Last night, Zoomboy went to the King's game with his father, and had a lot of fun.  He also ate some bad bad popcorn.  So Mate is reading in bed and I'm out at the computer, all showered and ready for bed, when I hear... yeah.  The sound of someone's stomach being emptied in an all-fired hurry.  So I ZOOM back to the bathroom and on my way I pass Mate who is ZOOMING the holy-hellfire-fuck AWAY from the bathroom, because, as we've already discussed, he doesn't DO vomit.

What I don't realize is that Zoomboy didn't make it to the bathroom, so when I cleared the hall rug and hit the hardwood floor, my foot skidded on the, uhm, used popcorn and I went DOWN in the puddle, and I went down HARD.

I was lying there, feeling the, uhm, moisture soaking through my nightgown and counting my owies (scraped foot, bonked head and giant bruise on my right hind yab) and Mate calls back, "Amy, are you all right?"  Because he's not coming back to help if he doesn't have to, right?  Chicken--who watched me go down from her bedroom--says, "Mom, are you all right?"

"I think so," I say, and that's when Zoomboy came out of the bathroom to check on me too.

And threw up all over me, because being coated on one side was apparently not enough.
And that's when Chicken started to laugh so hard she couldn't breathe.

Eventually I got up, cleaned up, wiped everything down, got ZB in the bathtub and showered until the water was cold.  Mate huddled in the living room apologizing every two minutes (and he hollered it down the hall too, which was also funny) and in the morning?

Yeah, my yab ached like a sucking funofabitch.

To add insult to injury, the kids were up at six-thirty this morning.  They wanted to play an April Fool's joke on their big brother.  We told them to knock on his door and tell him he was late for school.  So they sat in the middle of our bed and screamed at him to wake up because he was late for school until we kicked them out of our room and told them to go watch cartoons and eat pop-tarts.

But not popcorn.  No one in this family is going to be eating popcorn for a VERY. LONG. TIME.