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

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Long Good Morning

Okay, one of the benefits and drawbacks of a puppy is that you can't really sleep in too long.  The puppy will wake up and need to be walked, because just like I have to stumble to the bathroom, he's got to do the piddle, and that's my job to make sure he's got a chance to do so.

But that's okay-- I was aware that the puppy dog sabotaged my chance at sleeping in from the get go.  The good part is that the kids will take him walking in the middle of the day as well.

We had a lovely Christmas.  We only dealt with one family this year--and Mate's mom had dinner at my parents' house, and that was lovely too.  We played games and cards, and ate (and ate and ate) and generally, I had fun with my family.

On Sunday, we all went to a Kings game (there was winning-- sweartaDOG there was winning!) and sat in really awesome seats.  (Seriously, if we could sit in those seats every time, I might not put up so much of a fight about going.)  Chicken brought her friend, Stevi, and Wendy and her beau came as well, and it was fun.  And, of course, Amy things happened.

See, everybody was wearing their King's gear-- jerseys, T-shirts, foam fingers, right?  Because that's what fans do?  So there we were, running inside the hamburger place (Five Guys-- which I kept messing up-- Three Guys?  Two guys?  Two Hot Gay Guys and their Three Straight Friends?  My squirrel brain can pretty much mess that entire sequence up until it's unrecognizable!) when a nice man on his way out stopped us.

Or, rather, stopped ME, because I was the one who smiled at him.

"Are you guys going to the game?"

"Yeah!  You too?"

"Yeah!  Would you like some free parking passes?"


And sure enough he produced two passes since we'd brought two cars!

I went back into the hamburger place (Five Guys-- I'm SURE it's Five Guys) and danced about our good fortune, and then settled into conversation w/Wendy.  At one point I said, (and I forget why I said this!) "See?  Karma works!"

She said, "Okay, you always say that, but just once I'd like to SEE it work.  I never SEE it work!"

I said, "FREE PARKING for SMILING at a guy."  She had to concede that yes, she'd seen karma work.

And afterwards, we went and got the dog and drove around, looking at lights.  Does the dog look thrilled?  Because the kids were-- it was a very good day!

And the day after was Christmas Eve, and I screwed up dinner and didn't get any crafting done and... I don't think that's what the kids will remember.  What they'll remember is that Santa was good to them and we gathered around and watched Christmas Story and that Big T read the little kids "T'was the Night Before Christmas" and that we were happy.

And the next day was cards at grandmas.

And in the end, there was this.

Successful holiday achieved:-)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Tis the Season to be Absurd

*  Okay, so I know the ENTIRE WORLD has better things to do, and my own kitchen is dirty and it needs to be clean and I have knitting with a two day deadline and so many other things to worry about just like the ENTIRE REST OF THE WORLD but that doesn't stop me from obsessing over somebody reading my hellsalong, fucking depressing steampunk novel of great import, and telling me it doesn't suck.

Help me.  Please.  Writer's intervention.  Something.  I'm serious.

*  Big T dressed up like a zombie on Friday.  Because seriously, how else are you going to spend the apocalypse!

*  We made soap. It was easy.  Took two hours.  Mate feels like a god.  Eight bars of soap.  Eight washcloths.  An hour a piece.  Now guess who gets to be the goddess?

*  The little dog keeps sleeping with us.  I have the feeling this may put a crimp in one of my favorite activities.

*  I put earrings in.  They hurt.  Too much to take out.  Really?  Yes really.  *headdesk*

*  Mate and I are no longer 35.  What's clueing me in?  The fact that we're falling asleep before our older children and we DON'T HAVE OUR CHRISTMAS PRESENTS WRAPPED.

*  "Oh Chicken!  Big T!  Guess what?  Yup!  You're going to see The Guardians at 11:30 this morning and taking the little kids.  Yeah, I know you've seen it before--so what?  Yeah, I know there's a Kings game we're all going to tonight that your dad's been looking forward to for MONTHS.  SO WHAT?  Here, we'll give you money for the arcade too.  Us?  We're not doing anything.  Nope.  Not a thing.  Swear.  Uh-huh.  Don't mind the pile of scissors and tape over here, nothing to see, nuh-nuh-- no, that's just daddy, getting into the closet of doom.  What could possibly be interesting in there?  NOW GET INTO THE CAR, WE'VE ONLY GOT TWO HOURS!"

*  OMG OMG OMG-- Mary sent me the BEST NECKLACE EVER.  Uhm, our shit's not hitting the mail until after Christmas.  There goes my friend card.  *headdesk*

*  The Christmas cards will be mailed tomorrow.  Which still is not the latest they've ever gone out.

*  Squish spent an hour on a secret craft project yesterday.  It's made out of paper towels.  Uh-huh.  Paper towels.  My hopes aren't high for this one turning out well.

*  The dog needs to be walked RIGHT NOW.  He just doesn't know it yet.  He's still sleeping with my husband.

*  And that's all I got time for... I need to walk the dog, clean the kitchen, knit eight washcloths, take the kids to the movies, wrap their presents, go to a Kings game, take the kids looking at lights, cook Christmas Eve dinner, bake bread for my moms on Christmas day, and ham, and something else, and pies, and... oh hell.  I forgot something.  And now I have to remember what I forgot!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Under the Rushes, Dex in Blue, and the Alpacalypse

 So, yes, the family posts were nice but I've got some book business to natter on and on about!  Under the Rushes is out tomorrow, and, well, a little nervous.

Yes, yes, I'm always nervous.  But there's a sliding scale of nervous going on here.  Turkey in the Snow was about a four on the richter scale of nervous tension, because it's a small story, and because it was Christmas and you have to balance, delicately, the sweetness and the real to make a good Christmas story and there's no knowing if you did that right until the story comes out.

This is a different kind of nerves.

Turkey in the Snow was around 24,000 words.  I loved that story.  I loved how real Hank felt to me as he was exhausted and worried and just needed this one thing (his workout) to get through the anxiety that comes with being a new parent and how when he was deprived of that he became honest and human--for both better and worse--and how his inner drama queen snuck out to play, and Justin just picked up on that and ran with it.  But no matter how much I loved it, I can't deny that Turkey was a small story.  Three people, parent/parent/child---that was the core of the story, and while our families make up the greatness of the lives of most of us, it is still very small.

Under the Rushes is a bigger story.  A much bigger story.  For one thing, it's 130,000 words--and that's huge, but it's more than just the length.  (Dex in Blue was 120 K--it was a smaller story than this.)  For those of you who read the Bitter Moon stories, this is a hearkening back to that size of story--except leaned down, shaved of the extraneous matter, and of the comfort of the Moon family, and their contribution as well.  Under the Rushes is my favorite theme--the Batman theme--the idea of the hero who wants to change the world, and he had the means to do it on a governmental level, but that's not personal, or immediate, or visceral enough for him, so he goes underground to make the changes stick.  Rushes is set in a steampunk world-- think Victorian era with fantastical machinery and a little bit of unexplained magic thrown in.  There are cravats and coat tails and giant jumping conveyances shaped like crickets and trains that are shaped like millipedes.  There is a friend who is insane and terrifying and brutally masochistic (and sadistic about making our hero join in) and streetwalkers with hearts of gold (and sweet little flower mouths, for the fun stuff!) and in the midst of it all is our hero.  Dorjan.  Who had everything he loved--his achievement, his father, the steadiness of a lifelong friend--stripped away from him in an instant, and, ten years later, is still fighting for justice on the streets of a corrupt city.  I love Dorjan.  He is tortured, determined, and still, after all of that, kind.  His best friend and tormenter, Areau is twisted and cruel, but also brilliant and charismatic and necessary.  His lover, Taern, is young, persistent, and cocky to the point of madness.  The three of them dance around each other, they tumble, they wound, they scathe, and then they minister balm and kindness.  They are fascinating-- at least to me--and Goddess, I hope the world sees the same fascination as I do!

I'm nervous about Rushes because it was hard--hard to write, hard to balance, hard to conceive-- and yet, when it was done, I was so damned proud of it, I wanted the world to know.  And it's always a risk, going from something sweet and small and well-recieved, like Turkey, and into something risky and large and visceral and gut-wrenching, like Rushes.  I know that stories like Turkey feed the soul of many of my readers.  It's such a contradiction, because writing stories like Rushes feeds my soul in the way of no other fiction.  The combination of gritty romance and hardcore steampunk fantasy was a high it took a month to come down from--that dragon was not going to let go, and we all know the bloody thing can be scary-fucking-ruthless when it comes to riding my ass with a story.  So I hope you love this story like I do.  I do.  I'm sure some people will pick it up right after having read Turkey and think, "What in the holy fuck was she smoking?"

But I know hardcore fans-- people who have been around through Chase in Shadow, and before, to Bitter Moon I and II, and even before that, to Vulnerable, will pick this up and think, "Oh!  She has gone back to her roots!  The edgy, scary things that make us squirm!"  I hope those people love this book like I do!  I hope it rips their hearts out, because I know I had to put mine back in with a plunger and a yarn needle when I was done writing.

Oh-- and about Dex in Blue.  Starting on the 22nd, (so, you know, if we survive the Alpacalypse) Dex is going to be FREE for two days at ARe.  Absolutely free.  Free free free free free-- It's part of their 12 Days of Christmas promotion, and, well, did I mention the free?  I'm actually TOTALLY THRILLED about this freeness--It's an honor to be chosen.  The books that make the list get pimped by ARe on all sorts of websites, they appear on the banner for two days (and ARe sells 20% of the country's romance e-books PERIOD) so it's sort of huge that way.  So, well, a lot of people who thought Amy Lane was a typo for that sign they put up in front of the McDonald's drive-thru (that actually reads "Any lane"--I had to look twice to be sure) they may realize that I write too, and THAT'S exciting!  So, if you haven't gotten Dex in Blue yet--totally check it out!  Free!  Free!  Did I mention the Free?

And, for those of you who do have a hunger for the small details of our lives-- Zoomboy's first band concert may or may not be tonight.  (He doesn't really pay attention to these things.  He goes to band.  He practices the flute.  But he doesn't really check the schedule. He's sort of the ultimate existentialist.  The pleasure is in the doing.  There is no ultimate reward.)  So, for those of you who are Zoomboy fans out there (and who wouldn't be?)  Stay tuned.  Or out of tuned.  Cause, uhm, folks?  I've heard him practice, and frankly?  He still can't get a sound out of the thing.  So, well, if there's not free books or ultimate nerves about new releases, there's always going to hear a bunch of 9-12 year olds torture woodwind instruments with the absolute confidence that somewhere in there is a song!  I mean, that's entertainment!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Unlikely Place for Grace

So, uhm, guess who we picked up on Saturday?

I'm thrilled to have her home-- but I fear she's remembering all the reasons the house was crap.  That's okay.  Mate was fixing up her old room (Squish's room now) and changing her sheets and everything so Chicken could come sleep in a freshly made bed.  I said, "Do you want to clean the rest of it?" and he said, "No.  We want her to be welcome home, but eventually, we want her to leave."

And some people have asked how the cats have taken the new family addition.  I thought I'd show you Steve.  Chicken and I have created the following thought bubble for Steve:  I get six square meals a day, I sleep in a warm bed as long as I want, and people routinely stroke me until I purr.  Ask me how many f***s I give about the other carbon based life form in my sphere.

Alrighty then... Thank you, Steve, and your warm and bubbly personality was such a treat.  We can't believe we were worried that the advent of the dog was going to disturb you.  Clearly, you were disturbed already.

 And, uhm, EEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Yup.  Still cute.  He likes to sit on our lap.  All of our laps.  You name a person sleeping in the day (and Chicken's back in training for the olympic napping events--it happened as soon as she hit the door!)  and this dog is asleep curled up under the covers.  My friend said that would be a bad thing.  So far, uhm, no.  He cuddles, we cuddle, we all cuddle together.  Go figure!
And Mate and I went Christmas shopping.  This here is an art supply place, for our girls, and we're heading for a record store for our boys.  It's funny, how important Christmas shopping seems sometimes.  It's not that gifts can't fail, but the talking together about the important people in our lives seems to matter.  It makes me happy, especially with my Mate.

The country is in mourning right now.  I wasn't sure whether or not to mention it, but I know it's hit me hard.  Dropping the kids off in the morning is hard.  Picking them up in the afternoon is a terrible relief.  Christmas shopping today with Mate was reassuring.  We talked about our favorite people and discussed the things they loved and the many things we knew about them.  I could (and I may) at some point get terribly political about this.  I have so many things I want to scream at the universe.  But right now I simply remember that this is what faith is for--whether it's Hindu faith, Muslim faith, Pagan faith, any faith, is so you can believe even if the universe sends its worst, somewhere out there, someone--human, deity, collective race consciousness--can dig deep and find some grace.

I discover my grace in my family, and that gives me faith to hope they will be safe.  May the world find better grace this week.  May our politicians and our protectors find better grace.  May those mourning find grace to give them strength.  May the world find grace to comfort those grieving.  May those of us in fear find the grace to be brave.

Holy Goddess, Merciful God,
Let it be so.  Let there be grace.
Cannyagimmehallelujia? Iknewyoucouldamen.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Chi-who-what?

So I was talking with my crazy friend Wendy the other night, and I said, "Guess what?"

And she said "What?"

And I said, "We got a dog?"


"A dog."

"What kind?"

"A chi-who-what."


"A chihuahua cross."

"Oh, you do not know what a little slice of hell you are in for.  You have to walk them and they're nervous and they lick and they're so high maintenance and why would you get a dog like that!  You'll never be able to take care of it!"


After womanfully refraining from mentioning that I have raised four children, two with special education needs, and have yet to let any of them starve or get kicked out of school or wallow in their own filth, I delicately pointed out that our last dog lasted fifteen years, the last three of which (the vet has reminded us time and again) have been against all expectations of breed and size.  I may have mentioned that I'm home alone most of the day, and that I only ever leave in two hour increments, and that Big T was here very often during those, and he loved the dog.  I also may have said something about poring over websites and and for nearly six months in order to find a rescue pocket dog that fit our criteria and was not five-hundred miles away.

I did, perhaps forget to remind her that I've been planning a small dog for my lap from the moment I realized Zoomboy and Squish were not going to fit there forever, and that the need intensified after we put Dennis Quaid down, and that now, with our older dog's decline, that need has become urgent, pressing, necessary, because I do not want to be in the house without a dog when Chicken goes back to school after the holidays.

I don't think she knew about my friend Rhys, who has been showing me cute pictures of rescue dogs for ten months, every night on Twitter, hoping something will click.

In fact, she was so busy telling me why this dog was a bad idea, I don't think I got to tell her the most important parts:

*  He's twelve weeks old.
*  He's the most mellow chi-who-what that I've ever met.
*  As long as we take him walking at regular intervals, he's mostly house trained.
*  I named him after several characters in stage, screen, and outer space including--
---Baby's lover in Dirty Dancing
---The owner of the fictional gay-for-pay porn place I set in Sacramento for one of my book series
--Whomever Brandon Flowers was singing to in Jenny Was a Friend of Mine when he said:
 "Hey Johnnie!!!"

And, the most important thing I need to say--

He loves us and we love him.

Hey Johnnie!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Well, mostly it's T's birthday.  He's twenty, and that's pretty awesome.  He's turned into a very nice young man, and if I'm worried about one aspect or another of his life, well, then, that's motherhood.  I've quoted Sylvia Plath's "Riddle in Nine Syllables" before, when she said that pregnancy was "getting on the train there's no getting off"--I have to tell you, it was a pretty huge realization for me.  Big T is proof-- I will never stop worrying.

But he's still an excellent young man-- he's kind and funny.  His latest obsession is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is one of those horrible shows where you dislike all of the characters but you can't help but watch (well, I listen) because the writing is so clever.  Today's quote--that cracked us both up-- happened after one character suggested he and his brother do something inane and pointless--for the fifth time.  "We won't do that.  You can!"  We've been laughing about that all morning.  We're having some dessert tonight, but mostly he wanted to wait until Sunday, because his sister will be home, and we can all go to a movie together and then out to dinner, just like during his high school years.  The thought makes me really happy and a little sad-- it's like a cheat out of time, but I'll take what I can get.

Anyways, it's not just 12-12-12, it's also 13 days before Christmas, (and, if anyone's counting, 8 days before the Alpacalypse, and if you think I'm kidding about that last word, I've gotten the meme about six-thousand times on Facebook--it's fun!  It's like a furry Ragnarokian in-joke with the whole world!)  So, to celebrate, on Sunday we went and got a Christmas tree.  It took about five minutes.  It seems that the day before (when we were going to the Killers concert) had been some sort of perfect storm at the Christmas tree farm, and they had, maybe, thirty trees left.  Fortunately, they were all awesome, because about three minutes after I licked my Christmas tree (figuratively) Zoomboy fell down and skinned his palm.  Now some of you may be thinking, "Aw, well, kids do that all the time."

You're wrong.  It was the end of the world.  He was showing us his wound for the rest of the day and telling us he was so glad he didn't have to write with his right hand and then we had to speculate on the origin of the word "right"meaning side of the body, as opposed to "write" and it's other homophone, "right" meaning correct and/or morally sound.  Yeah.  That kid's not gonna end up on a football field or a track unless he's carrying a flute, mark my words.

And in other, random news, we managed to talk the outside cat to come inside.  Now, not only will Shulamonster NEVER LEAVE, she will also NEVER LEAVE US ALONE.  And poor Steve.  Steve is missing her quality mom time, and blaming mom for the fact that her once-favorite slum-kitty is now sitting in Steve's bed and sucking up to mom during the morning trip to the bathroom.  She may never forgive me, and I feel bad.  Plus, Shula likes to nibble.

So, here comes my big story.  The big one.  The funny one.  I hope.

So, Mate and I went on our first trip Christmas shopping.  In an epic twist of fate, Mate (get this--it's huge, it never happens) ACTUALLY BOUGHT STUFF on the first day.  Craziness, I tell you-- CRAZINESS.  Anyway-- you can see that we stopped at Barnes & Nobles first, and truth be told, we both feel better about buying books for Christmas.  The big table of bound classics tickled us both-- there was Jane Austin right next to Douglas Adams and William Shakespeare cheek by jowl with Isaac Asimov.  Seriously glorious bound volumes, and since we have two young adults on our list who love literature and may move into the world eventually, we thought it was a good place to stop.

But it wasn't the only place we stopped, and by the time we were done, we had some bags.  Some bags that needed to be hidden.

We were pulling into our driveway when our usual problem asserted itself.

"Where are we putting this shit?"  I asked.

"The hall closet," Mate said without blinking.

"The one we can't open because it doesn't have a doorknob?"


"But isn't it full of--"

At this point, Mate walked into the house, jimmied open the door, and, in two minutes, managed to pull out NINE YEARS of accumulated crap in one go.  The following conversations took place.
"Wait, are those pants we bought for Squish and never gave her?"

"No, they're pants Chicken wore into the ground and we were giving to Goodwill."

"Crap, they're small."

"Oh yeah."


"So this stroller...?"


"The last time we used it?"

"Disneyland, 2006."

"Yeah, I thought so-- we can throw the sunblock away."


"So, uhm, this stickiness on the ground?"

"Halloween candy."

"Which year?"

"You think I know???"


"So, uhm, this paper?"


"There's a lot of it."

"I know it."

"Any reason for that?"

"All the binder paper?  Yeah.  There's reasons for it."

"I'd love to hear it."

"That right there is a direct result of the kids, saying, 'Mom!  We need binder paper!' and me saying, 'Look in the hall closet!' and them saying, 'I did!  There's nothing there!' and me saying, 'Okay, I'll buy some!' and then opening the hall closet and saying, 'Son of a bitch!'"


"Look, here's one of Chicken's old coats.  Can it fit Squish?"

"Yes!  And so can this one, this one, and this one!"

"Good--we've got at least three coats for Zoomboy as he grows too."


And the clincher!

"Wow, this is a nice coat."

"Yeah, Mate, it is.  How come you never wear it?"

"Well, it's a ski coat, but I must have worn it.  See?  It's got a tag from a ski lift on it.  It's, uhm, dated, 2004."

"That's great!  Got your money's worth out of that didn't ya!"


And remember, we were doing this all before I had to go get the kids.

But we did it.  We cleaned it out, we jammed some presents in, and we covered them with coats.  It was awesome.

Of course, the kids can never know, and that sucks, because it's the kind of thing that Mate and I usually do the gloat-gloat dance, because it proves that YES, we ARE grownups, and we CAN clean like regular suburb dwellers when the circumstance calls for it.  Like, when our parents are coming over, or we need to hide stuff from our kids.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Still Life And Rock Stars

We took T to a rock concert last night to help celebrate his birthday on Wednesday-- he'll be twenty, and I can't hardly wrap my mind around that, since he's still my ginormous baby!

Anyway-- I'll get to that that, but we've also had plenty of busy-ness to keep us occupied, and some prime moments of family weirdness that I shall try to entertain you with.

Let's start with Mate, shall we?

So, Mate and I were cleaning house yesterday, and had the following conversation:

Me: You know, you don't always have to try to fix something when I talk to you.  There's two kinds of conversations women have with men--the kind where we actually want you to fix something and the kind where we just want you to listen.

Mate:  Yeah?  Well there's two kinds of conversations men have with women-- the kind where you need us to fix something that we can actually fix and the kind that NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED!

I forget why I was talking to him in the first place because I was laughing too hard by the time he said this.

And another Mate thing-- this one's long, and it's sorta gross, so don't read it if you've got a weak stomach or just don't find icky shit funny!

So, one of my cooking mainstays these days is stir fry.  Some teriyaki sauce, some pre-cut veggies, frozen chicken strips, a little rice--BAM!  Something that's not horrible for us, and that I can make REALLY quickly.  Anyway, I don't know about you guys, but I remember eating when I was a kid.  It was like wild kingdom.  We had to sort the rice through a sifter to make sure there were no crawlies, and we had to wash the veggies in a colander to make sure all the tomato worms and what have you were gone, and I hadn't realized how much that sort of thing left a scar until the other night.

Mate got a piece of snap-pea fiber stuck in his throat.

We didn't know that at first, because first there was the retching and then there was the running to the bathroom and more awful sounds followed, and I'd run after him to make sure I was okay, and if the poison was slow acting enough for an antidote or if I was keeling over next (let's face it, it would be good to know!) and some more gagging and then...

He turned around with three inches of snap pea hanging off his finger, and he wiggled his finger.

And I SCREAMED and jumped back about five feet (well, three, we were standing in the hallway by the bathroom) and he said, seriously, "It's snap pea fiber!  Isn't that huge?"

And I pushed my heart back into my chest and said, "It's not a worm?  OH THANK GOD, IT'S NOT A WORM!"

And then he looked at his finger and started laughing, because he realized that without meaning to, he'd scared the holy piss out of me.

Anyway, we couldn't linger over his near death by snap pea, because we had to take the kids to go make ornaments at a school function-- which was really cute by the way.  But in the cafeteria, as they were both busy, I asked him if he was okay, and he said, "Yeah, but my stomach still hurts from trying to get that thing out.  I could still breathe, but I guess you're just not supposed to have anything in your throat like that.  It's not natural."

0.o Okay.  Uhm.  You guys have read my books, right?

So I almost said something about, well, things in the throat, and how most men seemed to think that was pretty natural.  But we were in the school cafeteria.  So I didn't.

But I texted it like mad to Mary, who responded with, "Yeah, I had a friend in college who gave ten blow jobs a night.  He could have fished that out of his throat no problem."

I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe.  I showed the text to Mate, and he smirked, and I think the general consensus was that as long as it wasn't snap pea fiber and food, that sometimes it WAS natural to have something in your throat--as long as it wasn't scratchy and you weren't trying to actually eat it, there were exceptions to the rule.

And about that school function--

What the kids had to do was make Christmas ornaments.  It was really cute-- there were different stations and each station had a different ornament and the place was just overflowing with tempura paint, hot glue, and glitter.

And one thing became clear.

Zoomboy is very clever.  He knows about primates, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Star Wars.  He can make puns, tell jokes, put together puzzles and get cosmic connections.

He cannot, however, make art.

Squish, on the other hand, can.

We set them loose in the same room with the same materials and told them to go to town, and Squish came back with balanced, aesthetically pleasing, pretty ornaments.  Zoomboy came back with glitter and glue.  It's important to remember, because Squish is NOT as clever as Zoomboy, but she wakes up every morning, stretches in the sunshine under her blankets, smiles, gives me a hug and says "Good morning mommy!"  Zoomboy huddles under the covers and pretends the world WILL go away until he's ready to crawl out of his hole and demand Spongebob.  They are very different children.

Squish will go outside and search for the outside cat, Shulamonster (who has decided she wants to be an inside cat, and that Steve is now her minion.  That is not going over well.  No.  No it is not.) While Zoomboy will bring people into his room to introduce them to his fish, Greg.  (The babysitter was very impressed.  Of course, the babysitter is Stevi, and she seems to like us just as an extension of Chicken's family.)

Zoomboy will go to ridiculous lengths to entertain you.  Squish will snuggle on your lap and allow herself to be entertained.

Interesting children (to me) and, like I said, very, very different.

And that includes Big T.

Now see, we went to the Not So Silent Night festival in Oakland--and it was AMAZING.  Teegan and Sara were good, Passion Pit was awesome, M83 was an EXTRAORDINARY club band but...

But The Killers.

Oh. My. GOD.  The Killers.

There we were, after the techno-industrial-pagan-club-gasm that was M83, sitting in the lighted stadium, thinking, "Well, there's people up on the stage, and they look almost ready, but the stadium lights are still on."

And then the guys picked up their axes and BLAM!

Comin' outta my cage and I'm feeling just fine...

Mr. Brightside, just THERE!  They would turn off the lights after the first number, and they'd do the special effects and the lighting and the exploding confetti and the fireworks... but that first number?  All rock, all driven, all JUST THEM.

And I was... I mean, they're one of my favorite bands anyway-- Lady Cory listened to them in Rampant, and I've just enjoyed the hell out of them, but...

Wow.  Just wow.

And Mate and I danced--stood up and bounced and waived our arms and clapped and just flew through the entire set.  (Okay-- all this aqua aerobics?  Hasn't made me any faster on land, hasn't made me a supermodel, hasn't even made me slim down.  But dammit, I can hold my hands over my head for almost an hour during a rock concert, and that's GOTTA be a good thing!)

And we looked next to us, for our son, whom we had been so excited to bring, and there he was.  Sitting.  Watching the concert but not dancing, not flying.

At first we were concerned--sensory overload, it's not just for old people!  But we asked him and he was happy-- he just wanted to watch.  I said, yes, there ARE a lot of things going on up on the stage, aren't there?  And it was okay.

But it did remind me once again-- there are a LOT of different kinds of kids.  I have four very very different kinds.

And yes-- Chicken is coming home next week, why do you ask?  And speaking of...

She posted her final in image manipulation on her tumblr account.  I'm going to share it with you because, well, you may recognize one of my former blogs as her storyboard, and this tickles me to no end.  The Author's Daughter  --and you can see some of her other college adventures there, as well.  (She's going home with a scanner that she was SUPPOSED to take with her in the first place.  You may see this get updated a little more often after Christmas.)

Oh-- and the yarn?

Recycled Sari Silk.  I'm gonna make a cowl.  Isn't that wild?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Wow-- I didn't realize until just now how my blog has been all work and no play!  Well on Friday, I promise a warm, gooey family post, because even though it's been all about the work, the fact is, I still have a warm gooey family at home and they deserve some blog love.  Alas, today I am committed to a work post, and that's not all bad because I've got some purty cover art to shows you.

See?  Is it not beautemous?  This is the cover for Under the Rushes, which is out sometime this month!  (I know-- stuff just got scheduled weird and it's sort of all out at the same time.  I'm going to have a BIG BLANK SPACE during January, February and March, during which the only thing that will be published is City Mouse and that's only if Aleks and I can get our schedules together and finish it.  (We've been working on it--that is looking likely.)  But this is my steampunk cover, and part of the reason for the delay in the cover art was that it had to be REALLY FRICKIN' DARK.  It's hard to convey that feeling of, "This character is at the end of his rope in a dark techno-Victorian world and he's pretending to be a guy like Christopher Nolan's Batman except with twistier sexual issues" with enough verve. Anne Cain knocked it out of the park in the end, and I love this--the more I look at the cover model, the more grim he looks, the more tired... and the more handsome he looks, just with too much grimness for it to be the first thing you appreciate about him--and that's Dorjan, and that's one of the reasons I love this so!  I'll post more info when it gets announced--but hopefully there will be more gooey family stuff between now and then, cause I wanna write gooey family knitting joy for once!

Anyway-- onwards...

Today's post is called "The Next Big Thing" and it's sort of a writer's game of tag.  One of us will post, and then link back a week ago to the person who asked us to post.  In my case, the delightful Miss Belinda McBride tagged me, and these are the questions we all must answer.

Now, as it turns out, the book I'm working on now is Forever Promised, which is the fourth in the Promises series, and which, I think, has plenty of love going out for it right now.  So I'm going to talk about Bolt Hole which I just finished.

What is the working title of your book?  Bolt Hole

Where did the idea come from for the book?  Four years of working at T.G.I.Fridays as I was going through college.

What genre does your book fall under?  Contemporary, mystery cozy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?  Okay-- I was going to spend all morning on this, and then I realized that Mary found me a model instead, and that was going to work for me!  The only difference between her guy and mine is that Colby has darker hair.  And Terrell, well, I've always sort of liked Nick Cannon, even when he was on Disney.  He's got better teeth than my guy, but he's also got nice eyes, with the laugh lines in the corners, and, even after all these years of being in the media, sort of a shy, self-deprecating smile.   Mary had me a hotter guy, but Nick was, well, just better for the job. Besides--he looks older than the guy playing Colby, and he should.  Terrell is thirty, and Colby is twenty-four.  

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?  Waiters in love try to figure out world politics and who killed their manager while they explore the personal dynamics that make it so easy to make love and so hard to make things work.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?  Dreamspinner has already offered me a contract.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
A very public 25 days-- this was my Nanowrimo project.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.  Who Killed His Editor by Josh Lanyon, I guess.  For my own stuff, it's the closest thing I've written to Clear Water.  

Who or What inspired you to write this book?  Well, working in a socially diverse place for fifteen years didn't hurt, and neither did the sad statistics that tell us how hard it is to be black and gay.  And, of course, those four years at T.G.I. Fridays.  My husband's best friend as we were going through school was black--he and his wife both worked restaurant jobs with us.  One night, Michael wanted to take us to his and Cristina's favorite Mexican restaurant, but he couldn't quite remember where it was--you know how people drive when they're lost?  Yeah-- we were doing that down Folsom Blvd., when suddenly, I notice a cop car in front of us.  And one behind us.  And one on either side.  They were just waiting for Michael to do something wrong, so they could search him and see what one black man was doing in the car with three white people.  Finally he made a hinky--not an illegal, mind you, but a hinky--U-turn, and we spent the next forty-five minutes pulled over, while they interviewed him in the cop car and kept shining the mag-lights in our faces and asking us all if we were all right.  I wasn't all right by the time we were done, I was pissed, and it was my first real understanding of racism in America.  Terrell sees it first hand.  I hope I did it justice.

What else about your book might interest the reader?  I was surprised that, for all of the exploration of race, sexuality, politics, and what a dark place the world in general was in regarding all of these things, that in spite of all of that, this book had some really funny moments.  Terrell is grumpy, but he's also sort of idealistic.  He thinks Colby can do no wrong, but Colby is young and impulsive and has a temper, and so does Terrell.  That and the natural material of working in a restaurant with Door-ho's and window-dicks-- it had some nice moments of humor to balance out all of the darkness.  

And so that's it-- that's my blog-hop!  Gooey family stuff tomorrow, I hope, and in the meantime, I'll leave you with this.  This is Squish's newest outfit, and seriously-- it's a blog post all on it's own.

Monday, December 3, 2012


I JUST-- like today-- saw a quote that said, "Say nothing if you win.  Say less if you lose."

Mostly, I agree with this-- but when the awards in question are judged by a panel of hard working volunteers who actually READ your shit, and LIKED it, and liked it enough to DO something about it...

Well, you are sort of honor bound to give a humble thanks.  

Elisa Rolle held her sixth annual Rainbow Awards this Saturday--and I was surprised on a lot of levels.  (For one?  I didn't realize they were going to be on the 1st--for some reason I thought they were on the 8th!  For another, I didn't realize that Aleks had entered Country Mouse under Bi/Trans, and that was the first award announced.  We took second.  Surprise!)  

I think the biggest thing that surprised me was that here, on this forum, people thought Sidecar was as special as I did, and it placed first in the William Neale award for Gay Romance, and second in the overall category for gay themed book of any kind--novel, non-fiction, romance, everything.  I was incredibly honored, because I was in some very amazing company.  Seeing my name up there with the other writers who had poured honest blood, sweat, tears and all around life experience into their books--it was a real privilege. 

Chase in Shadow placed 6th for an Honorable Mention in both those categories, and I was SO thrilled. You all know that one ripped my heart out to write, and the fact that someone out there--several someones, saw that the sort of pain it embodied was necessary and cathartic and real?  That meant so much to me.  

 Gambling Men tied for 4th for an Honorable Mention in Gay Erotic Romance--and I'm pretty proud of that.  Gambling Men was, for me, a very pure sort of romance.  Two guys, working shit out.  Part of that shit was the physical shit--and hence the "erotic" romance.  There was a romantic arc to their sex, a build, a communication, that was expressed not just in the sex itself, but also in the poker references.  These guys didn't speak hearts and flowers, they spoke sex and poker, and that felt really authentic as I wrote it, and I'm so grateful it felt the same way to the judges.

 And what can I say about Country Mouse?  It took second in Bisexual/Transgendered romance, and sixth in overall Bisexual/Transgendered books, and that meant people loved it--and since it was such a blast to write?  And Aleks and I are having so much fun with the second?  It's like... it's like getting an award for eating cake!  And jeez, shouldn't we all get an award for eating cake!  Seriously--seeing this in the running made me very proud, and I wish Aleks and I even lived on the same continent so we would jump up and down and hug:-)
Clear Water took "One Perfect Score"-- which meant that it wasn't in the top ten, but that somebody adored it.  I know a lot of you have told me you adored it, so it means a lot to me that it got some love from the jury. (The cut off date for these awards is the previous August--so that's how Clear Water qualified, for those of you wondering, "Wait?  Wasn't that out last year?")

And what can I say about Talker?  I hadn't entered any of the novellas because there is a word limit, and the Talker books didn't make it.  But since they were released in an anthology, I decided to take a chance.  Talker tied for 5th and an Honorable Mention, and I think that is a fitting note to stories that helped mark my beginning in this business, and which made me very, very proud.

Now, for those of you wondering, "Wow!  That's tremendous!  What's next?  Walking on the moon?"

What's next is that I actually participate next year and be a juror.  I know I make a lot out of my time crunch and my deadline crunch--and I feel it, keenly, every day.  But I didn't expect this sort of bounty of riches at my feet--and a lot of man hours went into judging them, and I need to give back to this community that's given me so much.  I'm looking forward to it--and it doesn't mean that I won't be entering my own stories--but I am so excited about volunteering next year and reading other people's!!!

So thank you, everyone who participated in the judging, and thank you Elisa--I'm really honored.  And yes--normally, I'd be tempted to take all this good news and huddle under my blankets and giggle into my pillow like a mental patient, these awards are a lot of hard work, and all I have to give you for it is a very humble, very grateful, "Thank you.  Thank you so much."