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

Sunday, September 30, 2012


Is out tomorrow! !  Which is awesome, because the tension is killing me!

Seriously-- I had so much fun writing Dex!  Maybe it was because Sidecar made me flashback to my youth (and therefore feel old) and Mourning Heaven was just so emotionally raw, but Dex?  Dex made me remember being young again, and fucking up and realizing that I had a little bit of time to get it right.  Dex and Kane are all about reclaiming their innocence and realizing that it was never really lost in the first place because innocence is more than sex, it's the way you see the world and trust the people around you, and they'd never really lost that.  And maybe it's that infectious enthusiasm of being young that makes me so nervous about this one.  I want people to like my guys!  The adult Amy, the one who's put out a few books, is perfectly sanguine with the fact that people aren't always going to get her guys.  (Seriously--someone wrote a review on Winter Courtship of Fur-Bearing Critters criticizing my use of the word "sheep fur", because no one she knew thought that was funny.  I actually refrained from responding to that review in order to point that all of my friends thought that was fucking hysterical and odds were, I'd like those people better anyway.  Frankly, I'm considering that restraint a hallmark of maturity on my part.  I turned forty-five today, so, well, Happy Birthday to ME!)  But, well, the less mature Amy-- she gets nervous, and she wants everyone to like all her guys (even though the adult Amy keeps saying that's not possible!) so, well, I'm gonna be all nerves.  Because these guys are important to me.  They're young, and they fuck up, but by the end of the book, they've got the rest of their lives to sort it out, and even then, they've got a plan for the afterlife that they're both amenable with, and they're gonna run with that.

I love this book very much a lot, and I hope that you do too;-)

And in other news?

*  Well, there's the birthday thing today--my stepbrother called, and we both remembered that we used to be young, and, well, that made me feel old.

* I almost created a major disasticle with my hotel reservations at GRL, and, even worse, with someone else's, and the fact that I managed to scale that back to just a kerfluffle is making me feel like maturity may have it's bennies.

*  Mate played three softball games yesterday after coaching soccer, and then slept a lot today after counting his boo boos, because Mate turns forty-five tomorrow, and, well, boo-boos rack up when you pass forty-four.

*  Big T scared the holy crap out of me last night when he forgot to call me and tell me he was going to be late.  It's the first time he's done something like this, and part of me is proud that he's finally getting around to worrying us stupid, and part of me says if he ever does that again, I'm braining him with an alarm clock.

*  I'm not quite caught up with all of the stuff on my desk, and I don't understand why it's so HARD to write when I'm texting Chicken just as much as I used to talk to her when she was here.

*  Squish is enjoying the holy hell out of moving into her big sister's room.  She's been putting all her clothes away in the drawers and sitting there and playing.  The incidences of screaming coming from their shared room have diminished considerably, and that's good.

*  Zoomboy is missing his people so badly he hasn't slept in a week, and that's bad.

*  And today, I remembered two stories that need to be shared, and I shall leave you with those:

A.  So, before I took Chicken to San Diego, I stocked her up on supplies.  Toilet paper, shampoo, feminine protection-- you get the idea.  Well, Chicken and the Target guy ended up flirting, after having bonded over Pokemon of all things, and it was cute to watch them.  And then, in the middle of the cuteness, the guy started handing me $5 gift certificates that came as rebates because, well, I bought a lot of feminine protection.

"Wow!  This is cool!"  I said, taking the third one from him.

The guy nodded and said, "Yeah--it's because you bought a lot of--"  And then it occurred to him.  He was flirting with a pretty girl while he was ringing up her maxi pads, and now he was pointing out that he'd handled the maxi-pads to her mother.  The kid turned red, looked down at the bag in front of him and said, "This.  You bought a lot of this!"  And then we both politely ignored what "this" was and they continued their flirting.  But the squashed-possum look in his eyes was priceless, and I shall treasure it always.

B.  And two things happened on the way to San Diego that deserved note.

The first one was that we were trying to decide if we'd gone too far down 5 south (almost impossible, we know that now) and we were feeling sort of lost, when our only responsibility was to drive a straight line.  We were in the middle of cursing my damned GPS and squinting into the darkness wondering if that cursed freeway ever fucking ended, when her phone rang.  It was her room assignment guy making sure she would be at the orientation the next day.  She hung up, and I got frustrated with her.

"Why didn't you ask for directions!"  I wailed.

"Because he doesn't know where we are either!" she snapped back, and then we realized what we'd just said and giggled for ten miles until we saw the next road sign.

And the second one happened about an hour after that, as we were approaching San Diego.  She'd fallen asleep, and had been that way for about ten minutes, when I saw a sign and needed her to wake up to navigate.

"Chicken!"  I said, "Wake up."

And then, as she flailed about on the passenger seat, she OPENED HER DOOR!

As soon as it was open, her panic subsided and she clenched it shut, staring around the darkened car with big eyes.

My eyes were also big as I scanned our surroundings for the next place to get off and shut it.

"Interesting choice," I said, staying calm.  "I'd love to know why you did that!"

"I have no idea.  I woke up and spazzed out.  I do that."

"Awesome.  Just like your father.  Good to know.  Be sure to tell your roommates so you don't scare the shit out of them either."

"Will do.  Can we get off at this exit?"

"Yeah, yeah, hold your door shut a little while longer."

And then we fixed the problem--but I did not have long enough to give her hell about that, cause now that we're all alive and everything, it was funny!

And that's it.  Dex is out tomorrow, did I mention it?  It is.  And I'm excited.  And I hope you are too!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Oh I done drove five-hundred miles...

Okay.  I drove.  It sucked.  I'm serious.

I dropped Chicken off in San Diego-- we arrived Monday night, and I was reminded of the sleeping habits of the young.  We got into the hotel room and I set everything down and put on my nightgown and brushed my teeth and my hair and set up my computer and plugged in my phone and set my alarm and...

And by the time I wondered how I was going to wind down for five minutes so I could go to sleep?

Chicken had crawled into bed fully clothed and crashed.  OMG.  I'm surprised she remembered to take off her shoes.

The next morning, we got there, got briefed on rules and regs (which her roommates immediately broke that night--she texted me with, "All that stuff about not drinking or smoking was BULLSHIT!" and I'm like, "Well, you managed to use your good sense in high school, I'm going to trust you here!") and then moved her boxes in.  I was going to ask her if she wanted help unpacking when she turned to me and said, "Time to go!"

I was like, "But--"

"No, no, I'll be fine.  You need to go, mom, I'm gonna bond."

So I hugged, cried, left, held it in until I found my way back to the hotel in the strange city, and THEN cried even more.  Then I realized, oh horror of fucking horrors, the obnoxious brat had FORGOTTEN HER PHONE CORD.  I'm not even playing.  There it was, right where it had been plugged in that morning.  So after all of that angst and crying, the next morning, I dropped off the phone cord.  And four bags of groceries, since, after kicking me out and assuring me that she'd get food, she had Chick'n'Biscuit crackers for lunch.  I included a giant box of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies as some sort of passive aggressive revenge.

And between those two visits, I went to Rhys Ford's house (she's a lovely writer-- has a new book, Dirty Secret, coming out, huzzah!) and talked to her and her sister and generally enjoyed chatting about sci-fi with my brethren.  (I cannot thank them enough for this evening--it was fun and normal and I got to pet their crazy assed dogs and I needed it after the drama of ditching my baby in an alien place.)

And then?

And then?

I drove five hundred miles.

It was horrible.  I-5 has not improved with age.  Government water restrictions have sort of screwed the farmers on this stretch of land, and the results aren't pretty. The boredom got so bad, I actually bought an e-book, and the only thing of remote interest to me was Elliot Gould, narrating Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep.  All I can say, is damn, did Phillip Marlowe slap a lot of women around.  And he wasn't that fond of homosexuals for a guy who seemed to have a voice-fuck thing going with the ultimate bad guy.  And that sometime, I'm going to have to listen to the last three CDs, cause I'm sort of curious to see what happened to Vivian Sternwood-Regan's husband.

Oh yeah.  And Elliot Gould is A. A fucking genius, and B. Could put a hyperactive first grader on a double expresso into a dead coma.  I had to turn him off for some Bruce, or I might have found out what happened to Mr. Regan's--the trip really was that fucking long.

Oh-- but for all of the longness and the boredom and the are-you-fucking-kidding-me-this-is-my-view?

Yeah.  I still ran into weirdness.

In the same rest stop, I ran into this sign:

And for those of you who read Keeping Promise Rock and thought I was bullshitting about the snake thing, NYAH FUCKING NYAH!!!!  (No.  That wasn't very mature, but are you SEEING THIS?)

And I also ran into a perfectly lovely woman, dressed nicely and nattily in a pair of black lace up ballet shoes and a matching set of capris and tasteful tank, with distinguished silver hair, blue contacts in her blue eyes, a demon cat from hell, and a sign that said, "Going to Woodland.  Need a Ride."

o.o  0.o?  0.0

I tell you, if the cat hadn't been crazy, (or she was crazy and made the cat sound like Tengu the black demon from hell) I might have let her hitchhike.  As it was, I could only see the headlines:

 Gay-Romance Writer Disappears on Death Trek Home. 
 Husband Wishes He'd Bought The Damned Airline Ticket NOW, Doesn't He!

Yeah.  Sometimes an imagination is a curse.  In this case, it meant the nice (crazy?) woman had to find another ticket home.  And so did Tengu, the black demon from hell.  But I did buy her food from the vending machine, so that was something.

Anyway, I'm home.  I've got the work pile form hell piled on my laptop, Zoomboy had a doctor's appointment AND a dance lesson today, and *zzzzzzzzz*  Sometime in there, I've got to finish Chicken's sweater, so I can put the pattern in A Knitter in His Natural Habitat.  Hee hee hee...

Wait 'til you see the cover for that one!  

Oh yes-- if you check out the tabs on top, you'll see that I ended up all over the internet, pretty much when I was unable to access it to see.  The big one--the FUN one, for everyone who likes it when I get all teachery on your asses, is right here: At Cup of Porn

Monday, September 24, 2012

Where I'll be for the next three days...

When Chicken was five years old, we had a choice to put her on a bus and send her to public school or walk her across the street to a Christian private school.  The private school wasn't great--most of their teachers were barely educated, and they thought Harry Potter taught witchcraft.  But we chose to walk her across the street instead of putting her on the bus because her little boo-boo face and tiny body just seemed too fragile to send off into the world alone.

Today, I'm driving my baby down to San Diego to ditch her among strangers and throw cash in her bank account every so often while she fends for herself.

I think she might be ready-- but her little boo-boo face and her wonderful Chickenness is going to be severely missed.  And since I just spent fifteen minutes bawling on the cat in the bathroom, that's about as much as I can write about her and still function on the drive.  Wish me luck, everyone.  And I know you wish her well.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Long Term Planning

I've got this character in Believed You Were Lucky (which is in the Three Fates Anthology ) who wakes up in the morning and sees a golden thread that often zooms from one obstacle to another in his day and gives him a clue as to which path would be luckiest to travel.  (Since Leif's a bike messenger, this comes in handy!)  Anyway, the interesting thing about this thread (to me!) was that it didn't help a lot in long term planning.  It didn't tell Leif what to major in when he went to college, for example, so he ended up in a major that, well, didn't have a lot of job options when he'd graduated.

But that was okay-- Leif survived on his luck.

Which is lovely--but not when you're planning for five other people.

So I think mother's have sort of a long-term plan in our heads, with a golden thread that threatens to zoom from place to place in order for them to plan...

Well, at least six months in advance.

The problem with this is that for most men this thread seems to go straight from one day to the next, no obstacles, no dodging, no sudden trips to the market.  When these things just (or at maybe most other halves?  I'm sure in lesbian couples there's one short term planner and one long term planner too!) For the people who have to get up and make the lunches, plan the meals, buy the milk, and prepare to answer the eternal question, "What's there to eat?" that thread is constantly running between how much is in the refrigerator, what kind of how much is in the refrigerator, and all of the people in the house who are going to EAT what's in the refrigerator.  That thread plans your week around the first shopping trip (for essentials) and the second shopping trip (for more milk, bread, and vitamin water) and the third shopping trip (for something that you thought you had but didn't and all of the sudden you really needed it, and besides, you probably were going to need milk again soon.)

Any sudden deviations from your regularly scheduled life means that you need to turn left, right, left and then back again to keep traveling along on your thread.  And you need to stay on your thread!  Your thread has your several destinations all mapped out and... and... and... THE WORLD WILL END IF YOU DO NOT STAY ON THE PATH OF THE THREAD!  For sure.  For real.  It's TRUTH!

Okay, so this writing thing?  Has added an extra dimension to that thread--it's now multi-color and in SURROUND SOUND.

I don't just see today and this week, I look ahead for MONTHS.

So, that forest for the trees thing?

Yeah-- I can see how that can happen now.  Because I'm following the thread, right?  And it's taking me right and left and to work out and to the market and to get the kids and to soccer and to dance and to gymnastics if there's time and must write in the nooks and write in the crannies, and the thread says write, and to write, and to write and...

And Chicken's leaving in four days.  And she needs her ID card and she needs her computer fixed and we need to clean the car and...

And the thread does NOT say take a break and watch a movie with Chicken.  Taking a break will cause a wrinkle and then another wrinkle and pretty soon the whole thing will be all snarled and knotted and...

And it's a good thing I knit.  Knitting has made me damned good at unsnarling threads.  I'm going to take that break now, and watch that movie...

Sometimes, it's just best to let the future worry about untangling itself.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Technological Makeover

Just a quick post here!  I gave the blog a quick makeover, which I like (I wanted the background to be the picture to the left that I'd taken, but all my pictures were too big to upload-- I have NO idea how to change that!)  I found a picture on the net, and I love it, and I hope that's okay!

Anyway-- the blog isn't the only thing that's different!

If you look to the top, you'll see a link to "Look What Mate Made Me!"-- seems I have a new website!

I wasn't expecting it-- he'd been looking for a long time to find a template that I could update myself, and then he spent DAYS playing around and putting all of the stuff I had on the OLD website onto the NEW one.  When THAT was done, he asked me what features I wanted, and we decided to put a "book only" blog there--so, writing business will be blogged on the website and linked to the top of my knitting blog.  It may mean a few less posts on THIS blog, but it will also mean that the folks who tune in for my pleasant family natter won't be bored to tears with book stuff, and that the people who just want to read the books won't have to deal with my family natter.  (And for those of you who crossover?  I LOVE YOU ALL!!!)

Anyway-- the other feature is a calendar of events.  I'll add links a little later (after Mate and I have a sit-down link tutorial, because my last attempt is disastrous, even for the easy interface!)  But in the meantime, you can take a look at the calendar for new releases, public appearances, etc.

And did I mention I think it's pretty?  He picked the background--a provided template--but then, given my (aherm) dubious sense of style, I think that was probably best.

So everybody raise your glass to Mate, because he's seven quarts of awesomesauce for epicicecream, and because he's my Mate, and nobody else can have him.  Ever.

And lets all hear it for the grand reopening of Green's Hill!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Wedding at Promise Rock

Or, well, a wedding at my parents' house.

My mom's best friend (and former sister-in-law) was married in my parents' backyard on Saturday-- and it was lovely.  The couple decorated rustically-- and if you think that means they copped out, you weren't there to see two strong men move the cake, which was balanced on a thick slab of raw wood.

Seriously-- the decor was charming, and there was dancing on my parents' back porch, and the couple (which I photographed, but decided not to post pictures of, since it was their day, and, well, I'm pretty sure they disapprove of much of what I stand for) had been down this walk before.  It was lovely to see two people believing in second and third chances and inviting their family there to celebrate it.

 What's funny is that I'm writing Jeff and Collin's wedding, which opens up the final Promise Rock book, and while I was there, at THIS wedding, I heard Jeff's snarky voice, giving commentary on the decor.

"The mismatched wildflowers in the assortment of decanters with the burlap sacking as a bow?  Pinterest, girlfriend!  The cake too-- isn't it to die?"

Of course, Jon's service would have been longer and more eloquent than the quietly ordained minister at this wedding (who apparently choked on the two pages of remarks his wife had written out for him and simply said, "Marriage is a bond between a man and a woman, M--, do you take this woman... "  etc.  Two minute service. If it hadn't been for that, uhm, you know, thing at the beginning, would have been sheer perfection!)

But in spite of that, and the heavy heat of the mid-September day, it was a time for much rejoicing, as you can see by Squish, who was positive that everybody was gathered there to see her, wearing the bunny ears and dancing her little heart out at the end of the night.  It was funny-- she danced, Zoomboy danced, and at the end when we went to get them, all the pretty girls dancing together (there's always a bunch, at every wedding) all waved and said, in chorus, "Goodbye, Squish!  Goodbye, Zoomboy!" and they felt as if they'd made friends.

I remember being like they were--the only kid of a certain age at family functions.  The bride's children were too young to have children of their own, and way too old to be the class pet.

Anyway, they were the wedding mascots, and they were given much adoration at the end of it, and my older kids talked with their cousins and enjoyed themselves.  It was a good time, and I was happy.

I also, as I said, got lots of material.  It's like you NEED to go to a wedding or hold a baby at certain intervals, otherwise you forget what that part of your life was like, and that's a real shame.  Today I went to visit my aunt, who was at my grandmother's house, and grandma isn't doing well.  She's in her nineties, and she's aging at lightning speed, and it's hard, because she used to be so quick and so vital, even last year she was quick and vital, and not frail and far away.  I think a life of weddings and babies needs to be savored and enjoyed--it means that when you are frail and far away, that part of you that celebrated will still be with you, and you will stay real and here on earth and grounded for as long as you are needed.

Sorry-- got philosophical and sad there for a moment.  Forgive me.  Let's just say weddings and babies are wonderful, and so are children whirlwind dancing until ten o'clock at night, but still, quiet times aren't a bad thing either.  In fact, although this picture here, this last one, was taken before the wedding, as Mate and Squish dozed away their frantic morning on the soccer field, it pretty much captures our mood for today.  Yes, yes, parties are very nice, but given time, all good bunnies are also made stronger by a little bit of rest.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

It was a JOKE, I SWEAR!

Rather important things in my life that have started off as a half-assed, crackbrained, fluff-butter, icing-on-the-crazy-cupcake joke.

"So, we're living together, right?  I mean, we are going to get married, right?"

"So, uhm, we're married now.  We can have kids and nobody will think we're irresponsible, right?"

"No, I'm SERIOUS!  I had this dream that my grandmother was teaching me how to crochet and I FINALLY figured it out!  So I picked up a how-to book, some yarn, and a needle-- I mean, what's the harm, right?"

"Yeah, well, all the magazines had patterns for knitting and crochet.  I hate being left out!"

"So, we're thirty-six, and we've got three now, let's close up shop when we're forty... let's see, it took nine years between Thing 2 and Thing 3, so there's no way we could get pregnant again before THEN!"

"So, my friend was just TEACHING CLASS the other day, and this goober dog wandered into his class room.  He wants to give her to us, and a matching cat, too."  (That cat lasted six years--not bad, really.)

"Wait, wait!  Pet-Smart's having an adoption today?  Well, we ARE down to one cat!"

"Well, the house may be crappy, but at least it's dead center between our two jobs, right?"

"Yeah, well, I've been soliciting Vulnerable to different houses, but nobody wants it.  You say iUniverse is having a sale?  Awesome!  We'll self publish, give it to all our friends and sell, like, four copies?"

"OMG OMG OMG!  So, like, Lynn, from Dreamspinner Press, put out this AWESOME commercial from and she wanted a story written to it-- so I DID, and she LIKES it!  Isn't that cool?"

"Yeah, why not let my students read my books?  Jesus, compared to what they read ordinarily?  I mean, what're
they gonna do, ask me to stop?"  (Too soon?  Yeah... too soon...)

"Well, hell... we've got this severance money-- what, so we go to Hawaii?"

"So, like what the hell am I going to put on all these vellum sheets for Dreamspinner?  Yeah, they want them in the front cover of my books... well, I put Blood like Rain, Amy Lane in front of my Little Goddess books... I know, I know, wait!  Angst and pain, Amy Lane-- right?  Because, you know, it rhymes, right?"

"Hey, Chicken!  You need to design something for me!  A big ol' dragon, eating plotbunnies, okay?  Yeah, make the plotbunnies cute!  That's sadistic!  I love it!"

"I need swag if I'm going to GRL?  Seriously?  Why?  Can I just sort of bail on that, right?  No?  Well Jesus, what kind of bullshit am I going to come up with?"

"Ohmigod!  So, get this!  I'm like, doing an activity book, right, and it occurs to me!  All that time in public education, and I can't wait until I'm a full time writer, right?  So what do I do to celebrate?  I GIVE MY FANS A BOOK FULL OF TESTS!  Can you believe that bullshit?"  *laughs*  *shakes head*  "Seriously.  Who put me in charge?"

In my house?  Seriously.  Don't ask.  You can all see the evidence that it's not going to end well.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night

First of all I'm a gonna talk about Jeremy Bunny-- well, How to Raise an Honest Rabbit, and how much I love this cover!  This was one of TEN options I got, and they were all about the bunny-- this particular one had an Aiden looking so very close to the Aiden in my mind, if a little older, and mostly, it was just the FEEL of Aiden caring for his Jeremy Bunny.  You have to know Jeremy to understand this one--and I love it VERY MUCH A LOT.  It was surprisingly tender--and I'm looking forward to it.  And I kept EVERY INCARNATION of the bunny cover-- because I got them on a REALLY SHIT DAY and they were so adorable that they made me SO happy.  So this cover, along with the alpaca cover for Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur Bearing Critters, and the the sheep cover that they're probably working on for A Knitter in His Natural Habitat--I love it.  Completely.  Is awesome.

Okay, so I was looking at The Loopy Ewe when I saw, under Three Irish Girls brand, this yarn, with the name Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night!  I sent the link to Mary, who loved the color (and the name) so much, she gave me some.  I'm thrilled-- but I'm also wondering when I can knit her some socks or a scarf with that.  It's cashmerino sock yarn, btw... and so soft it's like falling into heaven.  Yeah.  Mary knows how to get me to knit for her, that's for sure:-)

And of course I can't get the song out of my head.

And, sadly enough, one of my LYS's is going out of business.  (Not Babetta's, thank Bob, but it still hurts!)  Anyway, everything was 1/2 off, including this GORGEOUS Mountain Colors Merino Ribbon, which is even more breathtaking in real life.  Yeah, I bought me some.  And some more of some more.  And yeah.  Don't want to talk about it, but when I'm done with Chicken's sweater (More on that later!) I'll be done buying yarn for a while.

 Okay, so about Chicken's sweater-- it's an inspired idea.  It's a math-less sweater.  I start with just enough math to calculate the wrists, then I knit the sleeve.  When I get to the armpit, I simply go back and forth in garter until about three inches before the neck.  I knit one side of the neck (garter), bind off, and then the other and then start the other sleeve.  When I'm done, I stitch the two sides together at the back, and then pick up stitches around the body, leaving the front halves unstitched for a button.  Knit the rest of the sweater in the round to the bottom, a few rings of garter, bind off, and, if I've got enough yarn, pick up at the neck for a hood!  Anyway-- I hope it's inspired.  What you see here is a complete sleeve/yoke, and I'm halfway done with the other one.  I like the idea though-- it looks like it's going to fit really well.  I'm using this small mill chunky yarn, all wool, and it may felt up a little, so basically this is the sort of wool you could use as muk-luk stuffing for a small expedition into frozen tundra.  I'm sure she'll visit snow when she's down in San Diego, right?

And short people, doing what  short people do.  Squish is very very proud of her dressing savvy-- the mismatched knee socks are very big in New York, apparently, and she thinks she's a trendsetter.  Zoomboy likes matching his shirt with his toys with his video games, a predilection for which companies have been making scads of money off of for years.

Oh, and the alpaca puppet?  Yeah-- I went down for a nap the other day, and when I woke up, the kids had put him next to me so they could hear me scream like the guy in Godfather.  I shit you not.  heh heh heh... little darlings....

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sun Spots

Okay-- first of all, I looked up "sun spots" to see if I could get a shareable picture for you, and this totally awesome swatch of a Barbara Walker pattern came up, and I HAD to post it.  So, uhm, on to Sunspots!

The school grind has started.  It's a very different school grind than when I started to blog--the two little kids are in school and the big kids aren't (so, like total reversal!) and I'm not in the grind so much as I FACILITATE the grind, but, well, we've got our routine, and our soccer, dance, gymnastics and we're happy about it.  However, in the middle of all this routine, we've got a few odd moments, and that's what I'm-a-gonna-share.

THING THE FIRST:  Accidentally dirty things that have been said recently.

*  "Mom!  Look at this REALLY LONG banana!"  (Big T.  In his defense, it was a prime example of phallic shaped yellow tropical fruit.)

*   "Granola bars would be okay if it wasn't for the nut fat."  (Me.  And, again, in my defense, just look at the calories on the back of the box of granola bars!  *shudder*)

*  "Cody has been bagging snakes from a very young age."  (Chicken.  She has no defense-- she heard this on The Discovery Channel and has been saying it CONSTANTLY, and every time she says it, I say, "It's loooonnnnnneeely in the desert!")

*  "It's been SOO long since I've played Go Fish!"  (This was my Mother in Law, and in her defense, she's never read Gambling Men, and has no idea how dirty Go Fish can really get when one of the player has the draw player some place unexpected.)

THING THE SECOND: More adventures in ordering swag.  


Seriously.  Stickers.  I'm psyched-- and there's three other book covers, too!

THING THE THIRD:  What not to say to your husband when he's just faced his toughest opponent of the soccer year, and they have served his teams collective ass to him, rare.  

"So, uhm, do you get to keep the platter, or do we need to wash it and give it back?"  

THING THE FOURTH:  Zoomboy's new obsessions

* Vomit (And talking about it while we're eating.)

*  Dancing (and how he likes it and doesn't want anyone else on the planet to know he does it.)

* Diary of a Wimpy Kid (both movies AND books)

*  Reading in general (I didn't say they were all BAD things!)

*  How to Train Your Dragon: Dragon Riders of Burke (New cartoon!)

*  For the record, on top of all of this, primates, angry birds, snakes, the Nature Channel, irritating his little sister, Mythbusters, How It's Made,  playing with his stuffed animals (mostly primates), telling punny jokes, and sitting on mom's lap are all still a go.

THING THE FIFTH:  Chicken's Tumblr

Well, she does need to update it again, but I thought I should point out that it IS STILL FUNNY.

THING THE SIXTH:  My mother-in-law showed up for soccer unexpectedly this morning.  

For the record, it was lovely to see her.  Also for the record, I owe the teenagers something really special, because they got my panicked text of GRANDMA'S COMING OVER CLEAN HOUSE NOW, GODDAMMIT NOW!!! in perfect form.  I was very proud, although I haven't gone to visit the bathroom because I want to stay that way.  

THING THE SEVENTH:  An app for GRL to tell me what's scheduled and what I'm doing there when the time comes.

Again, for the record, I was so relieved to hear that such a thing exists.  Why?  Because it looks like I'm going to be overbooked, and I'm now TERRIFIED of missing anything I've signed up for.  For those of you coming to Albuquerque please forgive my perpetual look of a stoned (and FAT) long-haired ginger cat.  My eyes may be crossed and I may be turning around in circles trying to find my tail, but I assure you, I'll be happy to be there!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mourning Heaven

Hee hee--- okay, so, yeah, Mourning Heaven is out tomorrow, and Dreamspinner has come up with the inspired idea of giving us a sort of multi-pack of .jpg images to help us promote our work.  I'm going with the big Facebook Banner today, and if you've been to my FB page (as I haven't cause I suck!) you'll see that I've actually put this up there, and I look all frickin' professional and everything.  I'm sort of excited about this trend--I REALLY can't wait for the .jpg pack for Dex now, and I'm hoping I'll get my Jeremy Bunny cover soon, so you can see that too!  (Okay... the official name of the story is How to Raise an Honest Rabbit, but once you read it, you'll be all goo-goo eyed over my Jeremy Bunny too!)

So Mourning Heaven is out TOMORROW! and there's a contest running HERE for it, and most of you all know that this is my Bruce Springsteen story, and that, like most of Bruce's characters in his songs, it will cut your heart out of your body with rusty razor wire and then serve it back to you on a circular saw.  One of my biggest revelations as someone who writes books is that those are SELLING POINTS!  It's like, people are lining up the block and saying, "I hear you start weeping tears of blood as soon as it hits your Kindle!  I'm DYING for a full out cathartic meltdown!"  "Oh God, me too-- did you stock up on Kleenex?  The aloe kind?"  "Oh yeah!  And Xanax-- can't forget that!"  It's actually pretty awesome to discover that people besides me get off on crying their way through a book or a movie.  I'm like, "MY PEOPLE!"

This is a good thing, because that means that when my people get to the middle of this book and they're crying their eyes out, they won't stage a hunting party with an Amy picture in their sights.  This one is...

Well.  Merciless.  Mary Calmes, who, besides being my friend and an AMAZING writer in her own right, is also one of THE BEST critical readers I have ever met.  She's got this sense for the way a story moves and the resonances and hidden lines that connect characters and themes and the give and take of the human condition as it's evidenced in literature that I tried, with every fiber of my being, to instill in my students.  With her, it's something she was born with, and she can read a book, any book, and get to the heart, soul, pith, and marrow of it with a few precise words.  Anyway, THAT Mary was beta reading this, and she said, "It's hideous.  In the best way, but it's hideous.  These guys have no way out except each other."

Bruce is always singing about "breaking on through" and "breaking out"-- one of his major themes in his early work is breaking out of the things people have expected from us before we were even born.  In his middle work, he talks about people who don't break out, and how living in these expectations even makes them greater or breaks them.  In the later work, we see the survivors.

Bodi and Peter are the survivors--and because this is a romance and not literary fiction, they do manage to "break out".  But that time in between--the time when they were living with other people's expectations, waiting for something, anything, to change their lives--that time almost broke them both.  It's a painful book, but hopefully, at the end, a redemptive one.  People ask me all the time, how can a straight woman write gay romance.  My response is that I'm a human being writing about other human beings.  When a writer says that there is a little bit of herself in her characters, that is the literal truth.  It may be an atom or an electron, but I haven't written a character yet whom I haven't been able to identify with.

Speculators made their money on the blood you shed...
Mama's pulled the sheets up off your bed...
We pulled your cycle out of the garage
And polished up the chrome
The Gypsy Biker's coming home.  

I'll leave it to you to speculate which part of me lies in this painful story, but I think, maybe, given all the people lining up for Xanax and Kleenex, I may not be the only one with an atom or an electron buried deep in Bodi and Peter's soul.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Real Warning Labels

(Seriously-- this rant contains a spoiler alert-- several of them-- for the movie ParaNorman.  If you don't like spoilers, dodge off.)

Okay-- someone--MANY someones wrote a bunch of big long indignant blog posts because of the movie ParaNorman.  They seemed to think that because one of the secondary characters announces he's gay at the end of the story, that this was somehow WRONG, and that it exposes children, poor, innocent children, who should NEVER know what GAY means until they're old enough to parrot back their parent's hatred, to something that is much more frightening than zombies, witch hunts, and karmic apocalypse.  Anyway, besides the fact that these parents are completely ignoring the subtext of the movie (heLLO, it's about NOT STAGING A WITCH HUNT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DIFFERENT, because sometimes that sort of thing comes back to BITE YOU ON THE ASS!!!) they are also bringing up an entirely unmentioned phenomenon.

Warning labels.

The secondary character's sexuality was MEANT to be revealed at the end--you grew to like this person, and he was part of the ensemble, and after all that, did we really GIVE A CRAP if he was gay?  Besides, didn't everybody in the movie JUST learn that hating people based on their differences led to really, just, terrifyingly CRAPTASTIC human behavior?  So, giving this thing a warning label would totally defeat the purpose for making that point to bigots just like the woman FREAKING OUT on the Christian blog site, right?  (I didn't link to it.  I'm sorry.  I don't want that woman to have any more attention.  Seriously.  It was vomitous.)

Anyway, reading her weirdness--and having to subject myself to some totally bizarre reviews on a daily basis, (the woman who gave the story two stars because the dog licked people's faces, and she thought that was gross-- yeah, that one comes to mind!)--and generally seeing the entire world lose it's fucking nut over just the weirdest bullshit, makes me think that the warning labels the masses scream for aren't really the problem.  The problem is, they're screaming for the WRONG warning labels.  I mean, everyone knows cigarettes are bad for you and cause cancer.  What we REALLY need on the warning label is some sort of time-warp mirror to show people the condition of their skin, hair, and teeth should they continue to smoke.  Now THAT'S a warning, right?

And even beyond that--it just seems like the wrong things are labeled in the wrong ways.  Some examples?

On a cat:

 Dear consumer: this thing has pointy ends and stinky ends.  If you're not prepared to deal with either end, then get a goldfish.

On a goldfish:

Dear consumer: this thing craps three times it's weight daily.  If you're not prepared to keep the bowl clean, then get a pet rock.

On a pet rock:

Dear consumer: If you throw me at a window, this can not be blamed on disobedience.  Pet ownership is not an alternative to anger management.  Sayin.

On a book, any book:

Dear consumer: This device was designed to open minds.  It was written by someone who was not you and who has a different life experience than you.  It may take you in places you don't expect to go.  DO NOT BLAME THIS ON THE AUTHOR.  Their difference in life experience is not a sign of lower intelligence, just like your ability to write mean things about that experience is not a sign of your superior intelligence.  Just different.  Not worse.

On a movie, any movie:

Dear consumer: If you talk, you cannot hear what I am saying.  You just paid $10 for a ticket, $5 for a soft drink and $2.50 for a box of Reese's Pieces to hear yourself talk.  Based on that fact alone, I'm telling you, you're not bright enough for the conversation to be that interesting.

On almost ANY animated movie (Veggie Tales being the possible exception):

Dear consumer: I was written, produced, designed and lovingly illustrated by a group of talented people who were probably told at one time or another that they were A. Weird, B. Doomed, and C. Wasting their time with this fruitless drawing/filmmaking/writing thing because NOBODY could make a living doing that unless they were REALLY good and they were too weird and doomed for REALLY good to apply.  Do NOT expect my storyline to revolve around how gratifying the joys of conformity are, and do NOT expect me to sugarcoat life for your children.  We were the children stuffed in trashcans, lockers, and toilet bowls--if your kid is anything like we were, he needs to know that kind of shit can be survived.  If your kid is anything like the kids who tormented us, those kids need to know that is NOT okay.

On a bag of granola:

Dear consumer:  Just like three hours of exercise a week is not going to magically convert you to a size six, eating something you think of as "health food" is not going to do it either.  Read the calories per serving, heifer, I'm practically all fat!

On salad:

Dear consumer:  Ranch dressing is the devil.  The end.

On frozen yoghurt:

Dear consumer:  Chocolate, gummy bears, and peanut butter chips do not exactly "counteract" all of my low fat yoghurty goodness, but they come close.  Fruit.  Seriously.  Fruit.

On a large sized swimming suit:

Dear consumer:  Expect nothing from me but the ability to clothe your body when you are in the water.  Glamour ain't happening.  Sorry.  And the granola, frozen yoghurt, and salad is all fine-- it's the COOKIES that are killing you!

On a television:

Dear consumer:  I am not the devil.  That title belongs to reality television and ranch dressing.  Watch me judiciously, discuss me with your children, understand what they are watching, and I can pretty much guarantee that I will not be the reason they end up doing time for billy-clubbing a night clerk while looting a Circle K for Cheetos after a bender.

On a child:

Dear parent:  Changing my diapers is the easy part so stop bitching about it.  You want a real challenge, try changing my mind when I'm thirteen and I want to pierce my tongue and dye my hair black after I get a boy band tattooed on my ass.  (Not that I'm gonna do all that, but it's fun to watch you turn colors when I suggest it.)  Seriously--children are small people who grow into large ones.  People never do what you're expecting them to do, so why do you think I should?  I'm an individual.  Get over it.  I will poop at inopportune times, tell your business to inopportune people, and develop a mind of my own when you think I should be developing the same mind you have.  If you didn't want to ride the wave, you should have kept the rubber on, I'm not even playing.

On a car:

Dear consumer:  You're going to have to replace me eventually, especially after your numerous spawn have beaten on my sides, broken my springs, and left rootbeer floats to die in my backseat cupholders.  Don't get mad at me when I start falling apart.  The little butt-monkeys haven't been that kind to YOU either!

On the dog:

Dear food giver and bringer of ear cleaner:  What the car said.  And stop feeding me all the food that gave you that curious shape.  It's not good for me either.  I don't even LIKE granola!

On a Teabagging politician:

Dear slave drone rube thrall taxpayer tithe-monkey gum-scraper amoeba minion flunky asskisser flying monkey vermin insect sub-species junior menial subject underling inferior hanger-on sycophant hamster-in-a-sock adherent disciple peon prole puppet parasite stooge toady subordinate citizen! I'm sorry.  I forgot what I was saying.  Vote for me and I'll poke my thick scabby fingers up your cooter and tell you why you owe me more money to fatten my account in the Caymans.  Fuck yourself with a rabid porcupine.  Don't forget to vote!

On MY husband and nobody else's:

Dear wife:  I need love, mostly.  Dinner is good, a clean house is... well, it's a nice dream, and I've never doubted you would pull your weight with the kids.  But by all means back away from the computer and stop working for a while to give me that first one.  It's why I got into this whole "marriage" gig in the first place.  Remember, that's why you jumped in too.  Oh yeah-- back rubs and movies are also very nice.  Please don't forget that, and I promise, it will all be better when you come up for air.  Sincerely, your Mate.

So, you see what I mean?  Warning labels-- sometimes, we need them to be unbearably honest, right?