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

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Remember Dark Willow on Buffy?

Right before she killed someone with a creepy, black-eyed snap of her fingers, she'd say "Bored now," in that sweet Allison Hannigan voice, and you know what?

Bored now.

Okay-- not really.

I just took a look at the roster of my friends' blogs that I HAVE NOT read and realized I wanted to spend all day doing THAT.  (Roxie has a post titled "Lucifer Approved"-- how can you NOT want to read that?  And I love her travel logs and need to go back for those as well!)  I can not possibly be bored if I'm not finding time to do the things I really love-- so it's not really boredom.

It's not that I don't have stuff to do-- I mean it's nine in the morning and I haven't brushed my teeth and I suspect I've had to go to the bathroom for quite some time.  I have shit to do.  It's even stuff I want to do.  I mean, I really do love my job!

It's just that everything is pending right now.

I mean, let's face it, since I've gotten back from Florida, I've had some rough moments.  There's lawyer shit (yeah.  That lawyer shit.  Frickin' BLARGH.  That's all I'm legally allowed to say.  Just fuckin' BLARGH!) And there was family shit (and you can all imagine that-- again, ouch) and then there was the dog (fuckin' dog!) and... just EW!

I was actually in the middle of writing that little political satire on the zoo (and those of you who know what that was really about will TOTALLY understand what I'm about to say) when it occurred to me that February really MUST suck for EVERYONE.  I know that Roxie goes on cruises in February--I can totally see why.  When I was teaching, February was the month I saved all my sick leave for-- usually because all my kids (and sometimes the adults) GOT sick on February.  It's like our immunity to everything-- germs, influenza, sadness, boredom, stupid political kerfluffles, impulse buys on amazon and iTunes-- is completely down.  It's a boring, restless, I-wanna-be-somebody-new kind of month, and I am fucking thrilled it's almost over.

And to that end?

I'm posting my cover art for pending projects.

First, of course, you have The Bolt-Hole.  Now, I've already posted this one, but given the complete and total drabfuckedness of February, I'm thinking that needs to go front and center.  Bolt-Hole does deal with some serious stuff-- race in America is never easy, and I tried SO hard for this to be real, and, at the same time, not offensive and not... not horrible.  Terrell and Colby do, after all, fall in love.  There must be some common ground, and for me, love always means laughter, so my guys spend a lot of time playing around in the summer heat and  laughing.  One of the things I do when a book comes out is look anxiously at GoodReads and not just for ratings, although I do have an interest in those, but for quotes.  I'm hoping something I said in that book intrigued someone enough to stick with them.  I can't spend too much time on this--sometimes it takes a while (Patrick's sex rant in Clear Water, for example, just showed up on GR.)  I'm thinking that if I did my job, I'm going to get some of those quotes for this book, because T and Colby are just too... too vocal to not get quoted.  (Colby's sister has two cats named Dewey Folds and Puddin'... think about that for a minute, and imagine the hilarity that can ensue.)  Anyway, that's about to hit the Coming Soon Page on Dreamspinner, and I'll have a date in March, and I can finally be relieved February is over!

After The Bolt-Hole comes City Mouse.  

Now, I just saw this novella on a list of the most anticipated reads for the year, and you know what that does, right?

If you guessed "Makes Amy want to hide until all the hype dies down!" YOU have guessed correctly, but apparently that's not going to be able to happen.  It seems people want to know what happens to Mal and Owen after the big romantic gesture in St. Pancras station, and, well, you'll get your wish.

It's not pretty.  There is some SERIOUS sex going on in this one-- the faint of heart need not apply.  But there is also the idea that relationships take work, and that when the honeymoon dust has cleared, a a successful couple is the one still standing.  Aleks and I are going to be blog touring this one ad infinitum (nine stops on the tour so far?  OI!  I'm exhausted and I haven't even started writing guest blog posts yet!) but I think people are going to find the writing process on this one interesting.  Just like Mal and Owen, we had to work to make this happen, and I hope people like the results. (Okay-- and don't QUOTE me on this... I have heard a rumor... a RUMOR mind you, that there may be a paperback release of the two novellas in one book... not that there'd be any interest in that... no, no, not at all... not in the least... I can't IMAGINE anyone would want to see that.  No.  Forget I said anything.  Not worth mentioning.  Sorry for wasting your time.)

And finally (and this cover has yet to be unveiled on the blog-- a few of you have seen it on FB and Twitter, but this is the first real PUBLIC unveiling--

We have Racing for the Sun.  

This story will be out just in time for Romantic Times convention, and...

Well, it was (like Bolt-Hole) dragon ridden.  Ace's voice was just in my head, clear as a bell.  I could see Sonny's face in my head.  This is the first contemporary I've written first person, and you'll know why when you hear Ace in your head too.  There were parts of this one that Mary Calmes insisted I not show ANYONE until the book was released, because, she said, they were too intense to see out of context.  I'll agree with that.  I'd finish chapters of this book and my hands would be shaking.  I loved these guys, but it wasn't an easy love, and sometimes, that's my favorite kind.

So, there you go.  My solution to the February blues.  To think past February and into March.  To look at the pretty covers and think, "I hope they like them... I REALLY hope they like them."

I hope you like them.

They can't be out soon enough!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bye Bye, Baby

I should have more pictures of her.

But I got the cell phone two years ago, and she's been part of my life for fifteen-- somewhere in this computer, I've got pictures of her from the very beginning, but not now.  (There are actually more in my phone, too-- but I was not in the mood to linger.)

See, the thing is, I wasn't all that keen on having a dog.

Back in the dark days, when I was pregnant with Chicken and Big T was an extra-large, extra challenging toddler, Mate and I tried a dog.  Or rather, I dragged a dog home, and Mate (who was working and going to school and who had to take care of his grandmother's house during the rare moments he was there) and then I...

Well, I blew it.  I didn't give that dog all the attention he deserved, and he ran away.

Yup.  I said it.  I was twenty-six years old, in charge of a special needs toddler, and I could barely take care of a dog.

So, flash forward a couple of years and some family drama, and it's 1998.  Mate has (check it!) graduated from college, and Chicken is three and Big T is five, we have a house our own and I have a job in a challenging new school in a challenging new district--and I have less time even than I did four years earlier.

And a colleague of mine (who is a whole blog post in himself) had the door open to his schoolroom, and this dog wandered in.  Yup.  You heard me.  Just WANDERED into his classroom.  He'd already rescued a gray and white cat, and now he had this big Rott-cross dog, who was gangly and spazzy and really happy to please but not too great at taking orders.

"Do you want the cat?" he asked me, and I said, "YES!"  (Poor Emmett-- he was our pre-Dennis Quaid kitty, and he met a car without a license.)

"Okay," he said, "but you have to take the dog too!"

"No," I said warily.  "I don't really want a dog.  I'm not good with them.  I don't want to let this one down."

"Well, too bad.  No dog, no cat--I'll take them both to the pound!"

"You asshole!"

"Yeah, anyway, Mate already said he'd take them both."

So, really, she was Mate's dog.

That didn't keep me from taking her on walks or feeding her.  The walks didn't last long-- she was stubborn and untrained, and she kept dragging on the leash and giving herself kennel cough.  Chicken went through a "take Chiquita on a walk" phase, and so did Big T, but for the most part, she got most of her exercise going absofuckinglutely insane in the backyard.  She ran from end to end-- one neighbor told us that their own Rottweiler (a pure bred, who weighed about 110 lbs. of muscle at the onset) lost twenty pounds once they moved behind us.  Our dogs just spent all day tear-assing back and forth along the back fence.  They were happy that way.  We got a couple of complaints to animal control, but once those people stopped doing landscaping outside, she stopped barking at them (duh!) and basically, she was a good dog-- if a little rough on the lawn.  (Aren't they all?)

For her first nine years, she slept in the garage.

We had a pallet in there of old blankets, and she was pretty happy for the most part.  But then she started getting ear infections and we felt bad-- the cold HURTS your ears, and we couldn't let that happen.  And then my parents did a hideous thing.

Seriously.  Hideous.

They bought her a dog bed.  

And she got middle aged over night.  Well, part of that was, that they got her a dog bed, and we started letting her sleep inside, and then she got middle-aged overnight.

Yeah.  That was my fault.

Because by then, I was writing, and I stayed up late, and she was my buddy.  She'd start whining and I'd start feeding her leftovers, and basically, the two of us got really fat together.  I felt bad.  I mean, she only leapt two inches off the ground when people came over to visit, and her divot back by the fence grew about two inches shallower.  She got slower.  She had to go outside and pee a lot more often.  She actually wore out chasing a ball before we did.  In a couple of years, she'd just look at the ball and then look at us, as if to say, "You're kidding, right?  Where the fuck were you when I had all the energy in the world and you were working nine hour days?  Don't answer that.  Feed me."

But she was still my buddy.  Every night, it was her and me. I'd feed her leftovers, and she'd come and stare at me until I scratched that spot between her nose.

When we got Jonnie, it was because we were pretty sure she wasn't going to be around much longer.  We figured that she was about nine months old when she wandered into my friend's classroom in 1998, and that made her fifteen this winter.  According to every scale we saw, a dog her size, even crossed, usually topped out at twelve.  She'd run her course.

The vet told us that as long as she had five things she still loved to do, she was okay.  We were okay with that.  She still barked at the mothers dropping her kids off across the street, she still barked at the turkeys, she still liked to eat, she still enjoyed sitting and panting and staring at us (she seemed to be smiling) and she still enjoyed eating.  And she really loved the little dog. One night, when we left the house, we caged the little dog.  We came home, and she was sleeping with her head next to his cage, and we were happy.  It was like her blessing.

We hope so.  She couldn't make it up the one step anymore to get from the backyard to the house after she peed.  She no longer barked at the turkeys.  She couldn't hold herself up to pant and smile.  It was time, and yesterday, we gathered the kids (we told Chicken Friday night) and that was it.  It was horrible.  HIDEOUS.  There are no words for that kind of family suckage.

Mate turned to me over the heads of our sobbing children in our arms (the giant one held back until he got home) and said, "Are you sure this was how we were supposed to do it?"

I said, "It beats the hell out of Dennis Quaid, when I got home and everyone said, 'Wait-- you did what to the cat?'"

I've been listening for the uneven click-clack of her toenails on the tile and the hardwood all day.  I'm going to be listening for it in a silent house for a long time.  It was the sound of my nuisance, the thing that needed to eat, to pee, to be pet.  It was my buddy.

Bye, baby.  The little kids don't remember when you used to chase the ball until we were tired, when you wore grooves in the turf, and when you jumped six inches in the air when friend or family came by.  They won't remember that you used to talk to every neighborhood dog, and that you had too much energy to go for a walk without hurting yourself, and that you used to sleep in the garage so you could pace in circles and not drive us bugshit.  They won't remember that your gas didn't used to be toxic, and that you could sleep without snoring, and walk across the house without panting, and that you didn't used to be blind and deaf and snappish.

But Mate and I remember--you were young, and you were awesome, and we could have spent more time with you, but you proved to us that when it came down to it in the end, we deserved a second chance with a dog after all.  Thank you, sweetheart.  I'm so glad we could give you a home.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Political Fable From a Small Urban Zoo

One day a mother took her two children to a small urban zoo. 
The zoo was getting crowded-- it had, in fact, been around for quite some time, and was built back in the days when people used to dismiss or marginalize the amazing creatures inside.  It was growing now, in leaps and bounds, and the habitats were becoming much more humane.
That being said, there was some difficulties deciding exactly how to make the zoo grow, without displacing any of the inhabitants, and allowing everybody to benefit from the revenues brought in by happy people who saw happy animals in a controlled circumstance.  

The mother and her progressive children (note the young boy carrying his stuffed animals in the Baby Bjorn and the young girl who also wants to grow up to be a zookeeper) observed the animals as they visited.  
Some of the animals simply shook their rattles and glared balefully, hissing and daring anybody to encroach upon their 2x2 space.  The mother grabbed her babies and hustled them past those animals.  They were welcome to their tiny cages, but their venom was frightening, and she didn't put it past them not to try to sneak out and get her.  (She may have been a bit paranoid about this-- she is willing to admit it.)

 Some of the animals sat in groups, chattering meaninglessly, and crapping where they stood.

They were very pretty there, chatting and crapping, but, the little boy noted, that did not change the fact that their little enclosure was covered in poo and they did not get anything accomplished.

The little girl thought they should fly.

The little boy thought they should fly too.  Their mother pointed out that it's easy to cast judgments on pink flightless birds, but that the birds' wings had all been clipped.  Part of this situation was what came from clipping their wings and forcing them to live in a very small enclosure.

Both children thought that sucked, but that didn't stop them from hypothesizing what it would be like to fly.  It didn't stop them from wanting to be kangaroos, either, but then, that's what zoos are for.

There were birds at the zoo--horn bills and emus and ostriches, who all paraded around very full of themselves and tried to look important.  The children were very impressed, especially because the eggs these birds laid were so very odd. 
Mom said that odd eggs were okay-- they often grew up to odd offspring, and she was fond of those, but not to be too impressed with exotic plumage and perfect predatory posture.  Those birds, she said, neither built nor hunted nor dug.  They were really just good for eating.  
The children said that if mom ever cooked them an emu burger, they'd leave home.  Mom said that since she wasn't in the habit of poaching emu from the local emu farm, they were probably safe, and they moved on to the next enclosures.

The next set of enclosures were the predatory feline enclosures.

The snow leopard was sitting in the shade, ignoring all the hubub over larger enclosures.  Snow leopards are like that when there is no snow.  They are fairly sure the world has nothing to do with them when it doesn't look like they think it should.

The lion had one of the best enclosures.  He got to sun himself on a rock all day.  He didn't know why people gave him the best things.  His lionesses didn't know why they got the best things.  They yawned and showed their teeth and went to sleep.  They slept sixteen hours a day.  People came and admired them as they slept, and that brought revenue to the zoo, and that got them the best spot in the house.  It wasn't fair, but there you are.  Some people can get paid to sleep.  That's life.

The tiger isn't pictured here.  The tigers were very beautiful, and the zoo built an even better enclosure for them, but tigers are actually very private animals.  They did not want the better enclosure.  They did not want an enclosure at all.  They wanted to be left the fuck alone, but, given that they were one of the zoo's main attractions, that wasn't going to happen.  So the tigers paraded around a couple of times a day for form's sake, and then went and sulked in their caves and dreamt of being alone in a deserted jungle, with plentiful prey, no hunters, and the occasional film crew to reassure them that their lives had meaning.

This is a margay.  Margay's do nothing but nap in the dappled sun and/or clean themselves, while people with bad vision and prescription sunglasses try to see them in the shadows.  Doesn't he look like a peaceful little guy?  Watch out if you try to pet him-- that margay will take your hand off at the shoulder, lick the blood off his whiskers and go back to sleep.  The zoo loves him.  He needs very little in the way of enclosure, and one small child surreptitiously fed to him on the sly every couple of months keeps his predatory nature in check.  Lots of people come to see the margay.  He has no problem with that. 

This is the giraffe.  The giraffe, too, has a special enclosure made.  When asked by the other animals why the giraffe must be so tall that this special treatment is warranted, the giraffe looks at them in annoyance.  "It is not my fault I am this tall," she says.  "I reached high to feed myself and my family.  We wanted very badly to survive.  You cannot hold survival against an herbivore--it goes against nature."  Some of the animals grumbled about this, but since the carnivores had their own cages, there was really nothing to be done.
These are the warthogs.  They really had not much to say, and their enclosures were a little small, but really?  The warthogs don't like to complain.  They sat and watched the comings and goings at the zoo, somewhere between the herbivores, the predators, and the primates, and made comments to each other but did not get involved.  Warthogs are personable, but they are not political--however, I suspect that would change if anyone tried to make their enclosure smaller.  In general, the children and mom agreed that you don't fuck with the warthogs, you just nodded, smiled, and kept them caught up with the news.
And, of course, anything with long legs and horns needed to approach carefully.  Those creatures go bounding off into the savannah with graceful leaps, and are never heard from again.  Either that, or their enclosures (or their flesh) is devoured by the predatory cats.  They are--quite understandably--skittish.  
But that leads us to the primate enclosures.  
Now, we could hear the primates all across the zoo.  What we heard was these guys, the lemurs and the gibbons.  They were screeching and swinging and throwing poo.  
The children thought that was fantastic-- omigod!  Poo-throwing-monkeys!  Have you ever seen something that entertaining?  They laughed and laughed, and mom stood back and grimaced.  "They're sort of gross," she said, reluctant to stomp on a good show with common sense.  "They say they're protesting enclosures, but... but look around you!  Don't you see better examples?"

The children did.  

 First there were the orangutans.

The orangutans were powerful and angry.  They did not shriek and they did not throw poo.  They had been insulted by their enclosures, and were burning with the black passion of a thousand sins.  They wanted people to understand what they had done.  They wanted the world to understand the wrongs that had been perpetrated upon the primate races--nay, upon vertebrates around the world --by the thoughtless governance of an ignorant zookeeping society.

Mom told the children to respect their principles and emulate their self-containment--but not to try to be too much like them.

Holding that much deep anger for so long has a horrible, horrible price, as you can see in the drooping eyes of the orangutan idol that the children worshipped.  The children consoled the orangutan idol with deep respect, but they said that mom was right.  You should never be that angry for so long, even if the cause is righteous and just.

 After the orangutans, there came the chimpanzees.  The chimpanzees were caught napping, but when they awoke, and realized that the zoo was all in an uproar about enclosure space, they did the reasonable thing.  They groomed and conferred.  The grooming was good--for one thing, it meant they had a snack before the discussion, and this, as anyone will tell you, is simply good management.  It also reinforced their sense of community.  They were in their little enclosure together, right?  All of the zoo animals were in this together.  They needed to decide upon an action plan and then manipulate the other animals into cooperating.

As mom and children left, mom heard them bemoaning the fact that the other zoo animals never wanted to cooperate, and that maybe, they could just make some unilateral decisions to save time and to keep the entire zoo to sinking into a backbiting morass that accomplished jack diddly squat.  The children thought that this was mean-- all the animals should have a say.

Mom said yes, all the animals should have a say, and maybe the chimps were being big dicks about this whole thing, but that really, who could blame them?  If all the other animals were going to do was sleep in the sun, hide in their caves, or bitch and throw poo, why wouldn't the big monkeys think it was okay to be dicks when they were trying to solve a problem?

The children said that made sense, and then they asked mom which animal she would be.

She said that she wanted to be the margay, because she would love to lie in the shade and eat people who annoyed her and piss to mark her territory and have people think she was beautiful.

The children said she was a good mommy and too nice to be a margay, so she tried again.

She said she was probably the warthog-- she was personable and she didn't like to take sides, just don't fuck with her cage.  (She didn't say "fuck" in front of the children.  She was a good mommy, and saved her potty mouth for snarky blog posts.)

The children said that wasn't a very attractive option either.

Mom said, "Well, there are no attractive options when everybody in the zoo is fighting each other instead of trying to make the zoo a bigger place for everybody, are there?"

The children said no, and it was a lot easier to laugh at the poo-throwing-monkeys than it was to come up with a solution.

Mom said, "That's what's wrong with politics on a global scale, my children.  Do you want to ride the carousel and buy stupid crap in the gift shop?"

Because she was a wise mom, and knew sometimes distraction from the problem really was the only good solution.

And so she bought stuffed animals, and backpacks, and binoculars, and a pretty scarf, and they came home for snacks.

Monday, February 18, 2013

And Before I Forget...

 Okay-- looking back at my blogposts, I realize that I went from running screaming out of the damned hotel to "Hey, it was great, and look, ALLIGATORS!" to, "My family sucks!" and I bypassed some seriously fun moments.

Sorry about that!

But the fact is, between "RUN AWAY!" and, "Oh crap I'm back and I'm balls deep in balrogs!" there were a couple of great things that need to be recapped.

Let's start with Grammy.

Gloria Lakritz is one of my biggest fans, most stalwart supporters, and someone I'm honored to call a friend.  I've talked about her before on the blog, and always with warmth and admiration.  She runs her own business, and has spearheaded the PRG, and she is generally just an amazing pro-active person.

It was such--SUCH--a pleasure to meet her in person.

She and Stormy had the fortitude to spend the night in the Bird-Bates Hotel, and they did so just so we could meet.  After a brief "Hi!  OMG, does this place suck or what?" moment at night, we met the next day at the F.A. Cafe, and just talked.  And yes, I signed every book I've ever put out.

I wanted to cry--but in the good way.

I was just so overwhelmed with the complete and total awesomeness that is Grammy, and how strongly she's devoted to the indie pubbed and the small publisher.  Although the alligators were more spectacular, and the panels more mind-blowing, meeting with Grammy and having lunch with her and Stormy really was one of the best and most awesome moments of the trip.  It was one of the things I was most looking forward to, and one of the things I"m most glad I did.

Sorry I missed you with the first post, Grammy--but look at us.  We had a great time.

One of the other things-- and I owe this to Elisabeth Staab--  is that I lost my pedi-virginity in Florida.  (That's not a sentence you'll hear often.  Savor it.)  Anyway, Elisabeth was rooming with Mary in a nearby hotel, and she wanted to get a pedicure for her birthday, and so we ALL got one.

It was (excuse me while I get all swoony) FAB.  And I spent a lot of the week admiring my fat little toes, especially since they now had purple sparkly polish on them.  *purrs*  I'm gonna get pedicures a LOT from now on.  *nods*  Yup.  For one thing, it makes flip-flops look like a fashion statement instead of just disinterest in tying my tennis shoes.

And then there was this.  Now that I've been to a couple of airports, I'm sensing a theme in trying to dress them up again, make them look like high end fashion mall centers and not just some place to prop up your feet while eating a power bar.  Anyway, the Jacksonville Airport, which was teeny tiny tiny, had a VERY cool art thing going on with the window-- I liked it anyway.  And then I compared it to the one they've got going in the Sacramento airport, and I can't decide which one I like better--although, the Sacramento Jackrabbit really IS an odd mascot for an airport, until you realize that that's ALL that really lives out around the airport, for a couple of miles in any direction.

And after the trip, besides the, well, being ass deep in alligators and balls deep in balrogs, there was also a very nice moment of going to my parents' house.  Big T had been paid to work in their pasture all day--or, well, not their pasture, the pasture land across the street that they rent out from the neighbors for their horses.  Anyway, when they had enough to start the burn pile, we came over.  We'd been pretty busy beforehand-- the kids had gymnastics, and then we went to sort through my grandmother's things for keepsakes, and Mate was dislocating the tendon of his middle finger and getting a splint that allows him to make a rude gesture in the name of healing the abused digit.  See--we all had our duties.

But when we got there, the kids had a great time cooking wieners (okay, sausages, but wieners is fun to say!) on the pitchforks and posing for these pictures.  Notice how Squish is NOT suited for American Gothic, but Zoomboy is trying REALLY hard.

Anyway, that was Saturday, and then I had my meltdown with my family, so instead of blogging about all this fun stuff, I got bogged down in that shit instead.  I shouldn't do that.  I REALLY NEED to remember the fun stuff.

Including this.  This is the obnoxious little dog who was totally spazzed out at my parents.  He also got crated when I met with an old teaching buddy for lunch.  (She has since moved, and was in town for a conference.  It was GREAT seeing her again, and the whole family came.  NO little dogs allowed!)

Anyway, he's getting some much needed R & R here, tucked between my jacket and my shirt.  Because you can't have enough of that in your life.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Words Are My Church

So an interesting thing happened with my family.  I was asked (at the last moment) to write my grandmother's obituary, and for a whole minute, I was really proud.  This was something I could do.  I wanted to use a few brief words and paint a picture of my grandmother as an extraordinary woman.  I was in the middle of getting feedback (everybody wanted to change something) when my uncle took my words, completely rewrote them, and said, "Okay, how's this?"

And I was devastated.

Words were my grandmother and grandfather's playground.  They read, they played scrabble, they wrote stories.  Grandma worked in counter espionage during WWII, and her mind was sharp and literate, even til the end, when she would sit for an hour with a bowl of bananagrams and make word puzzles just as she saw them.  She loved my writing--she didn't give a shit which genre I wrote in, she loved that I had books, books in print, and that people loved them and reviewed them.  She'd once contributed to a book that sat in the Library of Congress.  She told me, with dancing eyes, that every now and then she got a teeny, tiny little royalty check from that, and, back before I'd published, I thought that was the absolute shit.  That was awesome.  I wanted to do that.

Nobody even thought of asking me to write the obituary for grandpa. That was fine--I wrote a tribute to him in the blog, and I'm still proud of that, but this was acknowledgment, I guess, from my family, that I could honor a memory and do it well.

The thing my uncle wrote was very ordinary.

That alone isn't something to hold against him (although I do, very much so, since that's what's going to press) but what I truly, truly am angry about is this:

He knew not what he had done.

Words were sacred to my grandparents.  They understood the power of a well placed word.  They were, as far as I know, the source from which my love of language sprang. They must be--it's either that, or I just popped, fully formed, under the base of a mushroom like any other changeling.

To take someone else's words, mutilate them, and smear them out on the page like thought-jelly and call it art--another writer will understand my pain.  At the very least, it was a dick move.  At the worst, it was a real statement that my thoughts have no value unless they're digested through his brain first.

My grandmother would have gotten it.  She would have known that you don't do that to another person's words--not when you're working in a group.  That's rude, and obnoxious, and completely disrespectful.

My uncle didn't understand at all why I would be offended.  He'd just made the obit "more palatable".  I spent a day putting together information, boiling it down, choosing stuff to write about, embedding quotes.  That was a day to produce 595 words.  (I found out later that my uncle had a hard word limit---at the very least, that would have been good to know going in.)  Those of you who know me, and know how hard I work to put out 2,000 words at the very least, per day, know that I was doing some hard thinking, and some diligent work to make this perfect.  I would have cut, honed, word-picked and word-smithed to make this amazing, if only I had been given the chance.

But that's because I know that words shape our history, our ideas, our world.  The difference between a horrible experience and a funny story is all in the telling.  The difference between a citizenry and cattle is the understanding of language.  The difference between an old building and a church is all in the words.

So my uncle called to say he didn't understand why I was offended, and I wanted to tell him that he had kicked down the door of my sanctuary and shat in my temple, but he wouldn't understand.  The very act of co-opting another writer's work and regurgitating it as something less makes him almost incapable of understanding.  He simply wouldn't get it, and me?

I was at a loss for words.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Valentines Day-- have some fanfic!

Okay-- so it's Valentines Day tomorrow, and I spent all day running around doing... well, unpleasant tasks.  Laundry.  Lawyer shit.  Son's dentist appointment.  My own dentist appointment.  Writing an obituary.  Taking a nap because, in spite of all the stuff I had to do, I was still recovering a bit from my trip.

Anyway-- but in the midst of this, I kept getting things.

Fun things.

Valentine things.

I got e-cards and e-mails chock full of different pictures--some funny, some obscene, and all appreciated for the heart of it.  And Mate sent me flowers.  Pretty ones.  Thoughtful ones.  Ones that made me very happy, when I really needed some help with that.

So, instead of musing on something heavy or trying to decipher all of the weirdness I'm dealing with, I'm going to give you a slash-fic valentine.

For fans of the show Sherlock, and fans of the show Warehouse 13, you'll enjoy this.  For everyone else, you'll be very, very puzzled.
But, either way, it's funny and it's yours.  Happy Valentines Day! Enjoy!

Jinksy and Dr. John

A Sherlock/Warehouse 13 Crossover fic

John squinted at the glowing object at the top of the pole he was bound to.  “Radio antennae, you think?”

“Yes, John, there are radio antennae that speak to snakes.  Everything I, as a man of reason, and you, as a man of science, have known is wrong and—ouch!

The Burmese pythons that had wound about the two of them twisted a little tighter, and John, for one, found it was getting hard to breathe.  Their musculature was fascinating—or would be, if every ripple and pulse of skin and fiber didn’t creak John’s ribs just a fraction more.

“Perhaps,” Sherlock said, his voice subdued by lack of breath, “there is a rational explanation that I have overlooked for lack of information.

“Well, yes—but you can’t say those two agents—“

“Agents from what?  They never gave us a satisfactory explanation for—oolf—which department they came from—“

“Nevertheless, they did try to warn us that there were things we did not know.”  John knew he sounded peevish, but, dammit, the young man had been very intent about trying to tell them something without telling them something.  Sherlock may believe that simply made him an American, but John was positive he’d been trying to warn them—

“They were trying to get into your pants,” Sherlock said bluntly.

“That girl was far too young for me!”  John replied, stung.  She’d been barely twenty, and impudent as hell—he could have adored her as a younger sister, yes, but anything other—

“Perhaps, but the boy was not.  All of that ‘secret information’ you’re going on about was no more than him making eyes at you...auuughh… dammit!  If only he’d applied his charm to the bloody snake!”

“That’s not where we need to apply the charm.”  John’s vision was going black, and the warehouse where they’d discovered the diamond they’d been searching for was dim, but he still recognized the pixie-faced girl with the ripe red hair and full lips. 

“Claudia!” he said gratefully. 

“And Jinks!” Steven said behind her.  The young man looked more the worse for wear than she did—his clothes were ripped and he was bleeding from his sleeve.  “God, give some credit where it’s due.”

“Sorry bout that…” John gasped.  “So, wonderful, the two of you are here!  Do you know how to snake charm?”

“I’m sure he’s brilliant at it,” Sherlock sniped.  “The question is, can he silence this… this pole so that these two animals find refuge elsewhere.”

“That we can do.”  Claudia was disgustingly cheerful, even as she walked in front of John and added a wink.  “Especially the part about the snake charming.”

“Claudia!”  Jinks whined, but his look at John through his remarkably pretty blue eyes was hooded and knowing.  “That’s embarrassing.”

“But true,” she chirped. She got close enough to the pole to rest her hands on the snakes as she squinted at the top.  “Jinksy, do you think that top piece needs the whole pole, or do you think—“

“Yeah,” he said thoughtfully, standing on John’s other side and squinting up.  “I think the St. George Medallion was originally forged to go on a shield, right?”

“Right, which means we don’t have to get the guys off the pole…”

“We just have to glove and love the thing at the end,” Jinks finished for her, they high-fived behind John’s head.

“Oh God,” Sherlock muttered.  “If this were any more phallic, I’d need a body condom.”

“Abstinence seems to be working for you,” Jinks said dryly, and John snickered.

“You only laugh because you shag anything that moves,” Sherlock snapped, and John craned his head as far as he could in an effort to glare at the exasperating man. 

“Oh like you’d know about shagging!”

“So,” Jinks said, smiling at John, “what would he know about shagging?”

“I’d know it’s impossible to shag anyone when you’re being crushed by a giant snake,” Sherlock interrupted, and Jinks winced.

“Jinksy, flirt later, help me up now!” Claudia said, moving to Jinks’s side and winking at John too.  Jinks crouched and laced his fingers, his chest and arms straining as he lifted Claudia up.  She grabbed the metal pole, and looked down.  “John, Sherlock—where are their heads?”

“They’re not toxic,” Sherlock assured her, and John heard her huff of exasperation.

“Well not all snakes are toxic, but they can all bite,” she said reasonably, and John grunted as she actually stepped on the thick, writhing body that was currently constricting his very breath away.  “Sorry, John,” she muttered, right before placing her delicate foot on his shoulder.  He was grateful she was wearing light tennis shoes as her weight came to bear, and she grabbed the metal pole tighter as she used what she could to scale it.  “Sherlock… sorry…”  John heard Sherlock grunt and knew it was probably his turn to be used as a ladder.

“Are you really going to let the girl climb the pole?” John asked, trying to see her.

“Girls can climb poles,” Jinks said, still smiling with those remarkable eyes.

“Only if the poles are willing,” Sherlock said acidly.  “John, stop squirming around, you’re agitating the…bugger!


“Oh, geez!”  Jinks said, moving around to check Sherlock out.  “He got you there.  Right on the thigh.”  John could only imagine the playful smile which took some of the sadness out of the eyes.  “Trying to eliminate the competition, right?  One snake to another?”
“Charming,” Sherlock grunted.  “John will be obliged to check out the wound when this little adven…ture… is…”

John’s vision went spotty on the edges, and he dimly heard Claudia call down.  “Jinksy, throw me the glove and the love!”

Jinks had a foil bag, and he swung it in a careful arc, whoop, whoop, whoop, and up!  It arced high and John craned his neck around to watch Claudia reach out a hand to catch it.  He could hear the cellophane rustling and then he saw a giant purple flash as whatever was in the bag ignited with the figurehead on the top of the mast.

The snakes didn’t fall and they didn’t slither away.

They disappeared.

John fell to his knees, gasping, and at his back he was aware of Sherlock doing the same. 


“Obviously I’m fine,” Sherlock grumbled, and John gave a distracted look of thanks to Agent Jinks of wherever as the man helped him to his feet.

“Yes, well, you’ll allow me to determine that.”

“It wasn’t bad,” Jinks offered, and John was momentarily distracted by that really nice pair of blue eyes before he returned his attention back to the angular man, on his hands and knees, gasping for air and grasping for logic at the same time.

“That’s what you think,” John muttered.  “The snake didn’t go limp, it disappeared!  That’s bound to cause difficulties, you trust me!”

Jinks winced.  “Yeah, it doesn’t pay to get too caught up in logic when you’re investigating certain objects in this world.”

Sherlock gave a strangled gasp, and John glared at Jinks.  “Shut your mouth!  Do you want him to have an aneurism?  It’s not like that fall from the building did him any good you know!”  John crouched down by Sherlock and grasped his shoulder.  “C’mon, it’s not that bad,” he said, trying to keep his voice brisk. 

“It’s fine,” Sherlock snapped, and John helped him back so that he was leaning against the pole.  Claudia had scrambled down from the moment of the purple flash, and she took Sherlock’s other side. 

“Oh, dear.”  John ripped Sherlock’s brown flannel trousers a little, and took a better look at the snake bite.  No venom, he ascertained, but the puncture wounds were deep, and they seemed to be… contaminated with a certain bit of dust.  The flesh around them was swelling and turning red even as they watched. 

“Ouch!”  Sherlock’s hand clutched John’s and John turned his palm up and laced their fingers temporarily. 

“There’s some sort of contamination here,” he apologized.  “I think maybe whatever…”  he grimaced, not wanting to wrap his mind around the logic of it.  “…whatever created those snakes, it got stuck in the—hey!”

Jinks had another cellophane bag, one he’d upended, and he was currently squishing purple goo all over Sherlock’s thigh. 

“That’s a little invasive!”  John protested.  “And not at all sanitary—“

“Oooohhhh…”  Sherlock sighed and gave a shudder.  “That’s good… that’s better than drugs…”

“And apparently medicinal,” John noted.  The red streaks were fading, and the bite marks were purging themselves of pus even as he watched.  He looked at Jinks and Claudia, both of whom seemed to have very little about them but weapons and lots of those handy little cellophane bags, and sighed.  He reached under his button down plaid shirt, his vest, and his blazer and yanked on his T-shirt.  He ripped at it, startling when Jinks lifted up his outer wear so he could rip a big strip around the bottom and fold it into a pad.

“Oh God,” Sherlock groaned.  “You can’t even wait to get him alone, can you!”

“Well, the big snakes are all gone,” Jinks said, maintaining his humor.  “I was hoping maybe he was interested in a little one.”

“I’m not interested in his snake,” John said, not even bothering to blush.  “I’m interested in your well-being.”  He folded the T-shirt into a pad and pressed it against the blood-smeared pale skin of Sherlock’s thigh.  Sherlock’s hand covered his, and John looked up and met those piercing blue eyes. 

“You could, occasionally, be interested in my snake,” Sherlock said plaintively, and John stared at him, open mouthed, until Jinks’s hand on his shoulder pulled him back to reality.

“It’s a shame,” Jinks said, and Claudia was next to him, shaking her head. 

“It really is,” she said.  “You haven’t had a date in two years, Jinksy!  For a minute there I had hope!”  She looked at John, her lips pursed in sympathy.  “Well, you two need a cab and a hotel room—“

“And an explanation?” Sherlock insisted, much to John’s relief.

“Nope,” Jinks said, straightening up.  “I might have told John, if our snakes hadn’t gotten crossed, but I’m thinking after that hotel room, the extra pole in here is going to be the last thing on your mind.”

Sherlock’s hand tightened on John’s, and Claudia pulled out her cell phone to talk to the cab company. 

“I don’t know about you,” Sherlock said, “but I’ve had enough of that metaphor for probably the rest of my life.”

John’s eyes crinkled.  “I don’t know,” he said, curling his hand around Sherlock’s calf.  “Maybe there’s still a few more inches left in it.”

“More than a few,” Sherlock said with dignity.  “Now help me up so I can call Mycroft and let him know his precious St. George antique has been destroyed.

“But it hasn’t,” John said, looking to the top of the pole where the cellophane still sat.

“I think a minor falsehood is in order,” Sherlock told him judiciously.  “And since I don’t plan on telling him what we’ll be doing in that hotel room tonight, I think he should be used to it.”

It turned out, John didn’t really care what Mycroft thought.  And there were more than a few inches left in the entendre of snake and pole.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Reminds Me Where I Want to Be

So I left these people, looking sweet and adorable and fun, and came to Florida.

For the record, I like North Florida.

Not a soul here has not been kind, with a big smile and an earnestness to help.  (We will not discuss the Bird-Bates Hotel-- but even those people are nice.)

 To the right is our server at the F.A. Cafe--which, if anyone ever comes to the St. Augustine Beach to eat, you should know that F.A. stands for Fucking Awesome, and it lives up to it's name. She is kind, accommodating, and helped Shannon, my roommate and terrifyingly competent (and amazingly kind) DSP Wunderkind, find someone to help her clean her upholstery, as she spilled soda in her mother's car on the way down.

She also gave us the hook up on breakfast.  We like her!

To the left is Shannon (sorry about the red-eye, Shannon!)

I LOVE this woman.

She is funny, kind, and did I mention the competent?  If you ever want to get lost in an Amazon jungle, she'd be the one in the boots, the pith helmet and the cammies, ready to lead you to safety.  I'd follow her anywhere.  I'd especially follow her to a good restaurant, cause we found a few.

 To the right again, in the pink, is Amy Di Martino.

She really IS adorable.  We LOVE Amy.  Amy was the general liason and BFF to the makers of the con, Jennifer and Dolorianne. Amy is so much concentrated goodness and oomph, you just want to bounce with her, because she WILL make your day better.

Did I mention we LOVE Amy?

 This is sunrise on the beach.  It's really frickin' beautiful, and I got to be out in it.  I even had some headshots taken out there-- I'm hoping there's more beach in the shot than there is Amy Lane.  Cause, well, look at that sky, right?

 These are albino alligators.  Yeah, they're in cages!  Yeah, they're rare!  The St. Augustine Alligator Farm has two of them.

They also have these guys.
 They also have Maximo.
 Shannon came with me to the alligator farm.  We both agreed that anyone who writes M/M books or slashfic or works in the industry NEEDS to go see a creature named Maximo when there is an opportunity to do so.
 And here is a Provost Squirrel.  Provost means "pretty."  This particular squirrel IS pretty, and looks like a little tamarind monkey, actually.  Shannon and I also both agreed that this could be the one squirrel we would swerve to avoid should it try to commit suicide in front of our car.  And forgive the shitty picture.  I THINK this is a Provost Squirrel.  If I'm wrong, it's something with scales and fangs that will kill you as you sit.  Either way, don't stick your hand in that cage.

 This is something long and scary.  I think it was breathing.  By then, I'd had a cumulative attack of the heebie-fucking-jeebies and we decided to leave then.  We passed on the crocodile wing.

 This is our booth.  It looks very very pretty. I am particularly fond of seeing The Little Goddess books right next to Under the Rushes, A Solid Core of Alpha, and Talker.  
 This is me, Shannon, and Poppy.  We are looking very bright and happy.  It was early in the con.  We start looking more and more like the hags of hell the closer it gets to Sunday night.  (Okay.  Poppy was always a Southern lady.  Shannon and I freely admit to looking a bit worn.)

Kites on the beach.  Pretty.  We sat outside and watched them while we had our final discussion of Sunday.  And I'm kicking myself for not getting another picture between "Hey, we've set up the table!" and "Kites on the beach!"  Because the thing is, in between that, I sat on FIVE panels with Damon Suede.  Now, Damon is... well, he's a force of fucking nature is what he is.  He's like the the equivalent of three of those kites sailing in a smaller sky.  But I did panels and readings with him, and I think, (THINK) I may not have been completely out of my league.  I'm calling it a win!
 And this is Lucienne Diver.  She's beautiful (of course!) and gracious and we had lovely conversations together.  We also sat a panel together, and fed her cupcakes.  She loves us.

 Sunset.  On the beach!

 Home tomorrow, to those gorgeous people above.  It's been a helluva trip!