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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Chiwhowhat

I have to pee.  It can wait.

It's dark in the people cave, and warm and--wait!  The young one just bapped me on the nose.  I should move.

It can wait.

Nooooo!  The big squishy one who brings food is leaving.  She's going to the white-tiled front lawn, to do her business.  *sigh*  She never lets me watch.  The cat, yes, but me?  Let me try anyway-- nope.  That cat is laughing at me.  Asshole.

Okay, she's out now, good.  Time stopped for a minute.  It was terrible.

And now to the place with the food and the big flat thing.  And the glowing thing.  I don't like the glowing thing.  She pays way too much attention to that.  Pay attention to me!  Pay attention to me!!!  Pay attention to meeeeeee!

Yes!  Yes!  I'm in her lap, isn't that awesome?  In her lap!  Let me lick!  Let me nibble!  No licking?  No biting?  Not even behind the ears?  Oh good... behind the ears.  Licking behind the ears.  I like that. Ooops... that was in the ear.  Hey... earwax!  Behind the ears!  Behind the-- Oooh!  Down the shirt!

Head first, into the neck, ahhhh... There I am, on the big squishy flesh pillows she carries with her.  Ohmibob!  It's like they were made for me!  Zzzzzz...

Oh hell, gotta pee.  Gotta pee.  Gotta... zzzzz...

Okay, she's getting up.  Good, cause there's gonna be a walk and I gotta pee, and gotta hunch... lemme get on the blanket cave and stare at her.  Makes her move faster.  Stare.  Stare.  Stare.  Zzzzzz STARTLE twitch stare...

Omibob!  Holy shit! Holy shit!  Holy shit!  She's here!  She's here!  She's out of the white-tile-lawn and she's here!  I love her I love her I love her... Go for a walk!

*wiggle* *wiggle* *wiggle* *shake* *shake* *shake*  Go for a walk go for a walk go for a walk--

A LEASH?  What do you mean a leash, no no no no... oh hell.  Okay.  Fine.  Go for a... whathehellwuzat?

Squirrel?  Rat?  Gopher?  Mole? Vole? 

Oh, I hope it's a vole, I don't even know what one--whizz.  Lawn, bush, crack in the sidew--whizz.  Telephone pole-- oh, hey, Dogzilla pissed here!  And the pomeranian on the corner!  And that dog that wants to eat me!  And... hey, don't pull me away-- I had at least six other dogs to ID!  Wait... wait for it... whizz.  

And here we are!  Back home! Time for a dump!  Ahhh...

Inside?  Am I inside?  Oh look!  Skinny guy!  Skinny guy!  Love skinny guy-- is he going left?  Is he going right?  Left? Right? Left?  Right?  Omibob the frickin' choices!  "Bark! Bark! Bark! Bark!" Oh yes!  He has my snout!  He's wrestling me to the ground!  Oh joy oh joy oh joy oh joy!  I love this guy!

Outside!  I'm outside!  Oh, I don't like outside, it's too much like--whizz--like outside!

Gotta go inside!  Move, asshole cat, I've got to go inside!  Move!  Move I tell you!  Move? Move?  Please move?  Oh come on, asshole cat!  Don't lay down in front of the door!  Please?  Please?  Please?  Please?  "Yip!  Yip!  Yip! Yip!"  Hey, the skinny guy is there.  Let me in, skinny guy!  Wait?  What is that sound you are making?  Stop making that sound and let me in!  Let me in let me in let me in... "Yip! Yip! Yip! Yip!"  Yeah, asshole cat!  Get up off that porch!  Get up! Get up! Get up! HA!  YOU GOT UP!

Where was I going?  Ah, yes.  Squishy woman... let me up let me up let me up... yay!  head in the shirt, ass in the air-- hey, does she like smelling that as much as I like smelling other dogs' asses?  Here, let me wiggle that a little so she gets the whole aroma.

Ah... pillows...zzzzzz..

Go for a ride?  Yes, lets!  Go for a ride!  Get the kids!  Sit in the middle... no, no, can't sit in squishy woman's lap, must remember that.  yay!  Kids!  Now quick!  Go to the place with the big yellow arches, so I can eat fries.  Please?  Please?  Please?  You didn't get any fries?  I like your pillows, lady but you suck!

Oh yay!  The kids!  The kids!  The kids are gonna take me for a walk!  They're great. They let me smell all the dogs at the telephone pole.  Kids are great!  Here, let me crap on the neighbor's lawn, because they don't remember plastic bags!

Oh, it's squishy woman again!  I love that woman!  Let me lick let me lick let me lick-- no licking?  Not even... yeah... behind the ears... it's so good... lick lick lick lick lick lick... love ears.  Love licking behind the ears... tasty tasty tasty tasty skin behind the ears... wait-- there's my pillows!  zzzz...

And omibob!  She's cooking dinner.  Feed me.  Feed me.  Feed me!  Thank you thank you thank you... feed me more?  Here, I'll hop for it!  Hop hop hop hop hop... aren't I cute?  Aren't I?  I'm frickin' adorable.  Ah.  Was wonderful.  Feed me more.  No?  Wait... where's the big kid who likes to sit...

Ah... feed me?  Thank you big kid.  I'll sit some more.  Feed me?  Goooooood big kid.

Thank you so much for feeding me... the risk of starvation was real.

Last walk?  Excellent. No, no no no don't talk to the neighbors!!!  Bored.  I'm bored now.  Here, let me pee in there garage!  Nope!  Not bored anymore, we can go?  Awesome!  Not bored now.  No bored.

Ah, the walk's over, the kids are all in bed, finally.  And there she is, squishy woman in front of the big glowing god.  I could go sleep with skinny guy, but he's not comfy.  Okay, squishy woman.  Up one more ti--zzzzz...

We're going to bed?  We're going to bed?  We're going to bed?  Yes.  I feel like dancing!  Let me dance!  Let me dance!  Dancing on the sheets... I'm dancing on the... okay okay okay... into the blanket cave.  Ahhh... Good blanket cave.  Nice and warm.  And dark.  Ohkay, Squishy woman.  Let's curl up and go for it.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Day Trippers!

* First off-- Tracy and Tina, congratulations-- you both won a copy from the paperback pot, so well done!  And thanks for getting back to me so soon:-)

Okay-- now...

Mate is on sabbatical until early July.  His entire plan of sabbatical revolves around fixing the bathroom.  I know my Mate.  I know that he loves to travel.  He can finish the bathroom, and it could be GLORIOUS.  But still, he'd go, "I didn't really do anything."  Now, he's got some other plans-- he's training to run a half-marathon, and we're going to spend the night in San Francisco so I can greet him when he comes in from that, and we'll run around and shop during the day because, hey, Embarcadero, right?

And we're taking the kids to Monterey when Chicken is here.

But, still...  Memorial day was coming, and usually?  We just spend the weekend, well, spending the weekend.

This time, I wanted something different.  "Let's go to Tahoe.  For the halibut."

And so we did.

And Mate was... well, brilliant as always.  He looked up things to do, and the first thing he picked was the gondola ride up the hill.  GLORIOUS.  Seriously-- so pretty.  I can't even... just wonderful.

We got up there, ate some totally decent food, and came back down so Mate and the kids could play miniature golf.  Then we went to Sock City where I bought that terrifying Sock Monkey Serial Killer/Bank Robber mask that he wore for the rest of the weekend.  *shudder*  He promised to wake me up wearing it, and yes, he did.

Squish got herself (with a little help of my bank account) a big fluffy bunny made with alpaca fur.  We bought it about a half a mile from the hotel and then walked back, and, no lie, she TALKED to it, and about it, and extolled the virtues of it's incomparable flufftasticness and it's peerlessness in the realm of fluffantasy for the entire walk back.  She asked me what she should name it, and I said, Unicorn, after that stuffed unicorn in Despicable Me, the one that made the little kid grab it and shake it and shout, "IT'S JUST SO FLUFFY!"  And she took my advice.

Which is how she has an alpaca rabbit named Unicorn.  0.0

And the crowds weren't bad at all, and the day, Sunday?  Well, we didn't realize until the overcast today, Monday, but it was a gift from the Goddess.  Truly.  We went walking along the shoreline, and it was just so pretty I wanted to cry.

The ride home sort of sucked-- there was a car accident in Alta, and we went about a mile in a forty-five minute space, but once that cleared up, it was smooth sailing.

We'd forgotten Zoomboy's medication, but that's okay.  I compensated with a Starbuck's Vanilla Latte before we left this morning, and about the weirdest thing that happened was this:

"Mom, Dad, you know, I've figured out what Darth Vader and I have in common.  We've both suffered a terrible loss."

He was dead serious about this, so his father and I just looked at each other and mouthed, "Terrible loss?"

And then I got it.

"Zoomboy, are you talking about the dog?"

"Yeah," he said, nodding soberly.  "That broke my heart."

Well, I hope he holds out for the sand people taking me out in my sleep before he decides he wants to be an enforcer for the terrorist mob.

Anyway, we're home now, I"m snacking on snap peas and hummus (food of the gods!) and I'm wishing everyone a happy Memorial Day.

V.J. Summers posted a tribute to Memorial Day and mentioned my book, Keeping Promise Rock, and what I felt about Crick four years ago when I wrote that book has not changed.  Thank you, all men and women in service of our country.  I know that some of you (a friend of mine, actually) don't know what to say to this.  My friend says "I just wanted to make my life mean something."  Service to others does that.  Just thinking bigger than you and yours makes your service meaningful, and behaving with honor serves us all.  Well done.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Round the Bend

Okay-- first of all, I must have gone around the bend, because I signed up to go to RWA in July.  I figure of all the cons, this one is the least invasive to the family.  The kids are out of school, and Big T will be home for child care, and all Mate has to do is make sure there's food in the fridge and a play pool in the back yard.

Of course once I signed up for it I went, "Why did I do that again?  What's in this for me?"

Honestly, not much.  I think I mostly signed up so I could be there for my publisher.  She's the sort of person you want to do for.

And speaking of "Round the Bend"-- summer is almost here.  Squish has a birthday party tomorrow that involves her at the pool.  I'm planning on hanging out and watching her and bringing my knitting.  I'm sort of head-buried in my WIP right now (uhm, Ethan, for those of you who are curious and might recognize that name!) so pulling my head out is going to count as a major parental moment for me right there.  So is going up to Tahoe with the family.  I know that sounds selfish-- and believe me I feel it-- but I could have stayed up all night, completely, and done about 15 K last night-- I was on a roll.  I stopped at 1:30 and came to bed, and I'm ready to go today, but when the dragon is riding-- well, I've done this long enough to know that sometimes, that fucker just does not feeling like getting out of his cave.  Sometimes you have to poke and prod and kick and shout, and then he'll up and take you for a ride.  So if he's raring to go, I'm reluctant to put him back in the cave.  What if he goes to sleep in there and gets comfy?

But then, Squish and Zoomboy aren't going to be Squish and Zoomboy forever, so sometimes that fucker has to work to the bell like the rest of us, right?

Anyway-- Mate took the kids to a King's Rally yesterday.  The entire city (okay, 10,000 people) were just psyched to have their team stay in Sacramento.  There was entertainment and food and a lot of joy and a sobbing Zoomboy (because heaven forbid it all be flowers) and eventually some celebration when he could see.

And an earthquake.

Now Mate and the kids did not feel the earthquake, but I didn't attend the celebration, and I did.

It went something like this.  I wiggled in my chair.  The entire table swayed.  I thought, "Did I do that?"  And then I spent the next ten minutes (dog in bosom, mind you, just like the picture shows) wiggling in my chair to get the table to do that really cool thing again.

So, as far as disasters go, it could have been worse.  (Have we all donated to Red Cross for Tornado Relief?  I know I have!)

And about that summer vacation thing?

I went to Squish's class to help donate some fruit and some time making fruit plates as the kids had a "book reading and tea".  They loved it, but afterwards, I talked to Squish's teacher about "Hey, summer's coming!"

The look she sent me was haggard.  "Yes," she said, obviously at the end of her proverbial rope.  "I've only got eight days teaching to go!"  (She's taking next Friday off--smart girl!)

If I had her class, I'd be haggard too.  Seriously-- the thing about first grade is that only the most obvious of disabilities and problems have been identified.  Next year, the first quarter is going to be spent evaluating and assessing the kids that have been giving her fits this year and getting them into a more appropriate place in the class.

But until that happens?  This year was a nightmare for her.  She had kids in this class I wouldn't wish on a scorpion--and she's a nice person!  And it's hard, too, because the kids are sweet.  They're really sweet.  They're huggers, and excited about school, and happy to learn-- but they're so needy.  They can not be in a class with thirty-one other students and thrive.  They can't.  It's not fair to anyone in that room, and I'm back where I was fifteen years ago, wanting to throw some shit-for-brains government pigfucker against a wall and scream in his face until I spit.  People wonder how kids can graduate without knowing how to read.  I don't.  These kids do more homework than I ever dreamed of as a kid-- Zoomboy, who is pretty damned smart, is falling out of his chair with frustration by the end of the day.  But I swear, if he was in a class with twenty kids instead of thirty-three, he'd need to do twenty minutes of homework instead of an hour, and the whole class would take a test score jump.  And my kids are the good ones.  My kids are the ones who get the "Oh, your child is such a joy, I wish we had a whole classroom of him/her!" reports.  What about the kids who are physically incapable of sitting still for an hour?  (And as adults, we should all remember that we feel the need to get up, get a drink of water, go pee, and pet the cat at least once every 45 minutes, right?  What must that be like for a little kid?)

Seriously-- my stance on this has not changed since taxes got painful (and they were, this year-- sayin'.)  This country will never succeed until it pulls its collective head out of it's money-tightened sphincter and educates its populace in a fair and effective manner.  Just sayin'.

But in twelve days total, that will be moot.  My kids are gonna be television watching, book reading, wading-pool playing slackers and we're going to encourage the holy hell out of that.  Sure, we'll take them to the ocean, and you bet your ass there will be trips to the zoo, but as soon as the kids are done with recital and on to Camp Grandmas, we want them to recharge.  We want them to get bored.  Kids who are chronically bored get into trouble.  Kids who are periodically bored play until their little noggins expand, and we want that kind of boredom.  It's good for them!

And, of course, I'm going to write my ass off.

A lot of people have been asking about Quickening. I had a sit-down with Mate, about income, and how much we can expect and what I want to do with the writing and various parts of it.  We decided that we will have a very concrete place in our finances where I can spend three months writing the book, and another month fluffing and dusting the rest of the series and re-releasing it, and when we get to that place, I can work on my Little Goddess.  So those of you who are waiting-- there will be a Quickening.  Believe me-- when I actually have to look at a spreadsheet and calculate income, I am damned serious about something.  We have a goal now, a place to aspire to, and I think I can make that happen--and maybe sooner than later.  So now you know.

P.S.-- I just got my author copies of Racing for the Sun.  Now, the last time I did this, the copy of Bolt Hole remained unclaimed, so that's still on the table.  I will run the randomizer on Tuesday morning for a paperback copy of Bolt Hole and one of Racing for the Sun to anyone who comments between now and then.  If you don't claim your prize and e-mail me your address w/in three days after I post the winners, the book goes back into the pot!

Oh yeah-- and anyone who wants a bookmark packet of Racing for the Sun, Bolt-Hole and my ubiquitous banner, contact me via my website and I'll set you up!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


So, am I the only one who gets the word of the day?

See, vocabulary used to be my thing.  I could go over a list of words, word, synonym, part of speech, word used in a sentence, brief etymology, connotation/denotation-- I had three lists, one for 10th, one for 11th, one for 12th grade.  Each list had fifteen words a week, for 17 weeks a semester.  Some of the words were recursive, but by no means all of them, and yeah.  I knew them all.

I was pretty good.

So anyway, when I no longer taught school, I got, and learned just how pedestrian "pretty good" really was.

Every morning I wake up and there's a new word in my inbox.  And I have one of three reactions to it:

A.  I know what that word means.  I can delete that message.

B.  Not only do I not know what that word means, but that word is so far outside of my experience as to not even be English.  If I looked that word up (and I sometimes do) I will find that the last time this word was used was in the 19th century, inside a textbook or a political treatise by someone I barely remember.  If I actually used that word, my editors would accuse me of making it up, showing the fuck off, or smoking some really good weed and not sharing.  I can delete that message.

C.  That word is vaguely familiar to me, but obscure enough to be a challenge.  I might be able to use that word, and, more importantly, I might be able to remember that word while I am engaged in an occupation which usually precludes me from remembering things like taking a leak or basic hygiene.  I shall open that message.

And sometimes the words stick!

Today's word was "pasquinade".

Now I like this word-- it's a word with satin and lace in it, redolent of sweetmeats and the smell of hair powder and body odor in a crowded ballroom.  This word has repressed venomous seductresses and politically jaded rakes all buried in its latinate decadence.  I want to live this word.

And then I look up the definition, and, sure enough, it means a satire or a lampoon, a skit or a piece of comedy designed to show someone at their worst light.

This word is a gourmet word.  It is delicious.  I adore this word.

Not only does it sound decadent-- the thing it means?

Is one of the things I believe most in the world.

Power is abstract.  Suffering is concrete.  Statistics are abstract.  Empathy is immediate.  Politics are abstract.  Laughter is action.  I am a very human believer that the only way to change the world is to affect the emotions of the human beings in it.

If you want the people in power to see themselves as ridiculous, you must laugh at them.

And hence, the pasquinade.

People will do almost anything to avoid being laughed at.

Now, sometimes this backfires.  I'm pretty sure that history is littered with the bloody heads of the people who enraged their leaders with a poorly timed snarky joke--but, on the plus side, bloody heads can be just as effective in rendering change as a vicious satire.  But, even then, it all started with the pasquinade.

And it gets even better than that!  Imagine the complexity of the society that could build, sound by glyph, such a complex word!  We had to have a government, and we had to have arts and culture, and we had to understand that concept (and it's a tough one, trust me!) that what someone says is not always what they mean.  Entire books--hell, entire genres--hell, damned near whole societies have been built on that concept alone!  And then, we had to take an example of government and irony, and we had to give it a name.

Am I the only one with the chills?  (Yes.  Amy you are the only one with the chills.  Go put on some slippers and stop pretending you have a brain.)

But see, I've always loved a good satire.  Teaching students to look beyond the "Please don't eat the babies!" horror of A Modest Proposal was one of the highlights of my teaching year.  I loved that you had to listen to the tone of voice in that essay to hear the biting satire.  I loved that Gulliver was a satiric hero, and that so are Forrest Gump and Charlie Brown and Homer Simpson.  I love that we have formed a heroic archetype around the wide-eyed, ingenuous person that we are when we discover that government is corrupt and that the leaders around us fail.  We expected people to say what they meant, and when we discovered that we were a wide-eyed rube, being betrayed, oh fear our intellectual wrath, because we were gullible and easily mocked for a day.  The fuckers who did that to us are going to be mocked forever.  

And hence, pasquinade.

And hence, my wet-panties at even a hint of an exotic tryst with the English language.  Ah, words, you were my first and most creative lover, and I'm sure you will be giving me plenty of thrills when the joys of the flesh are long forgotten.

And you're awfully fun when you're playing dirty, too.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Okay-- I spent all week editing.  First there was Forever Promised, which is on it's second edit and will probably get one more.  Then there was Bitter Moon I&II, which Harmony Ink, the LGBTQ YA imprint is going to look at.

Shaking my editing coma is rough.  I seriously didn't realize I'd forgotten to post on a posting day!

Anyway, I've spent part of my day doing some fanfiction to work out my angst kinks, because the next thing I'm working on is Ethan's story, and it's sad.  I figured some Dean and Benny would work the 'nots' right out of my work, and I was right.  I'm dying to write it now, and Ethan makes me want to hug him, no sex necessary.

I spent the rest of my day taking the kids to gymnastics and then to the dollar store, where Zoomboy stocked up on fake mustaches, because you never can get enough of those, am I right?

 Anyway-- some highlights I've missed, in no particular order, while I spent time in the editing coma:

Last weekend was Mother's day-- the kids took me and Alex out to lunch, which was nice, and the day before we went to a movie with Auntie Wendy, and spent part of the day looking for a chair to replace the one in the living room that I can't sit in because it breaks my person.  In the meantime, we found our favorite furniture set ever.  Squish even agrees, see?

So Mother's day was awesome, and I loved it, and I was well taken care of, and I took care of my mother's too.  (Okay-- I did call my stepmom and wished her a happy day.  She was grateful and understanding.  She got me and mine for Easter, and I had my family call her when I was gone for her birthday.  As long as I have my kids at her place for Camp Grandma and we show up for my nephew's graduation party, I think we're good, karmically speaking.)

Also this week, was the great bowel purge.

No-- it was even less glamorous than that.

See, I had to have my drain snaked, just to make sure all was well in the internal combustion, and as we all know, the prep os the worst part of the process because it leaves us spacey and hungry and irritated and bored.  Hell, even eating vegetables during writing time is better than eating nothing, right?  And after all of that, and the sleeping I did after the purging, you know the thing that irritated me the most?

The co-payment.

Seriously-- I was like, "Okay, so I starve myself, I purge myself, and then you charge me to shove something up my sphincter and take a picture?"  It's like they don't realize that in all of the movies I've been watching, we're actually paying to watch exactly that!  Which reminds me-- don't ask what the magnesium nitrate tastes like.  Uhm... just don't.

So all of that, just to get a compliment on my sigmoid:  See?  Look how pink and healthy it is!  That's really quite impressive!  You don't see sigmoids that healthy in middle-aged women, really!"  So my hair is gray but I have the sigmoid of a twenty-year-old.  Let's hear it for snap peas and hummus!

Anyway-- on the way back from the procedure, as Mate and I were looking for a restaurant, we discovered this--it's Gatsby's Diner.  Since we saw the movie the other night (and I loved it, although Lurman should be fined for pacing without a rhythm, but that's a whole other post) and, more relevantly to me, anyway, since I named a fictional club in Sacramento "Gatsby's Nick", I thought that Gatsby's Diner was close, and should get mention.  The place actually had cars and everything.  I was impressed.

 Oh-- and Zoomboy.

After parading my sigmoid for it's photo-op, I went to the volunteer tea held by the school, and I was really sort of honored, both with fruit and cake and music and a nifty keychain-- I think the tea is a lovely gesture for the volunteers and it sure is great to talk to the teachers.  The school choir was lovely as well, and I was thrilled to hear them.


Because, you see, ZB is in the band, and that night was their annual recital.  (We have a lot of fuzzy pictures, which I will spare you, showing ZB playing the flute.  I figured his close-up as he's telling us to "go away!" will have to do!)

So yeah.  Thursday was busy, and last night we went and saw Star Trek (and again-- we're talking a whole other post on the awesomeness of reworking tropes and expected plot elements and making them new and amazing) and today...

Well, today I took the kids to gymnastics, and then to visit their dad as he signed up soccer players, and then to the dollar store.

Where Squish bought a recorder, and ZB bought fake mustaches.

Because you never can get enough of that sort of thing.

Also today, I finally got to hear the Bibliojunkies CD's for Keeping Promise Rock and Chase in Shadow.  Sheer.  Awesomeness.  I'll post the songs here, but keep a look on their site-- they're going to make a list on Spotify, and fans of Chase in Shadow, especially, are going to want to hear Belinda's amazing picks for this story.  The fact that I wrote the song hearing Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" in my head and she put that song on the soundtrack is an eerie testament to how well she nailed much of the mood of one of my darker stories.  It's a real talent and I'm grateful she shared it with me--and then let me share with you, right here:

Fa Fa Fa - Guster
Percussion Gun - White Rabbits
Ways & Means - Snow Patrol
God Put A Smile Upon Your Face - Coldplay
Feel So Close - Calvin Harris
Go All The Way - Perry Farrell
Ride - Cary Brothers
Impossible - Anberlin
Crazy - Alanis Morrissette
Cracks - Freestylers
Hurt - Johnny Cash
Sense - Pete Yorn
Take A Picture - Filter
Here's Where The Story Ends - the Sundays 

Also something cool--

Sometime while exchanging with Marc Smith, who is a fan, I inspired a brief story which he published on his blog, right here. It was gorgeous, and I thought I should share that too!

So, *whew*  I'll go off on movie tropes tomorrow.  Now?  I'm down for a nap!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Shot my dog and stole my bible!

Okay, so I have to admit, that the more I do this writing gig, the more sympathy I have for Kathleen Turner at the beginning of Romancing the Stone.  

She awakens from her writing trance sobbing with happiness, and can't find any tissue.  Her house is a mess, she's a mess, you can tell she hasn't showered in days, and the only thing she has to blow her nose on is the post-it that says, "Buy tissue!"


It's just like that.  

I'm used to that writing hangover.  I even get it with the happy stuff, because if I've done my job write (get it?  Write?  Because, they're homophones, right?-- Sorry-- was channelling Zoomboy there for a second!) I even get a little verklempt at the end of those.  I know that there was a moment in Left at Saint Truth-be-Well that had me just smiling until my eyes water.

So, uhm, the end of Forever Promised.  

Just had me sobbing, and that was on the third edit.  

And the thing is, while I was signing books at RT, a lovely woman came up to me and said, "A lot of authors have made me cry tears of sadness, but you are the only author who made me cry tears of joy.  I loved Gambling Men so much."

The writer next to me (Regina Lamm, whom I've already squeed about 'cause she was awesome!) loved that compliment so much she wrote it down for me, and I keep it here next to my soundtrack CD's, for whenever I feel depressed about my writing or things in general.

So I was editing (that's phase four, mind you--I've written it, edited it myself, and am now on my second round of publisher's edits) and I got to the end of Deacon, Crick, Shane, Mikhail, Jeff, Collin, Benny, Drew, Jon, Amy, Kimmy, Lucas, & Parry Angel, and I found myself crying.

Sniffling even.

There might have been a sob.

And the thing is, this book ends happy.  I promised people that this book ends happy.  That doesn't mean that there aren't a few grim reminders of how unhappy it could have ended, and how actions have consequences--sometimes even consequences that are out of proportion to the action in the first place--but for our people, there is happiness.

And it still made me cry.

And I am going to be fretting, because so many people loved the first three books, and saying goodbye to all those characters was really hard.  I mean, think about it--I started and finished three books while I was working on this one.  It just didn't come easy.  Everything was intricately plotted, and although I can predict critics saying, "It sprawls!  It needs focus!", the fact is, every scene was painfully chosen to point to one climactic speech by Mikhail and the final, deliriously happy moment that I won't spoil for you all for the world.

Oh-- and there's some tears--hard tears--in the middle.

So yeah.  I finished my edit, looked around my trashed house, and sniffled.

And my husband said, "Okay, Joan Wilder, are you ready for your trip to South America now?"  Well, no-- he didn't say that.  But he did hand me a tissue.

And just like Joan Wilder, I sent it to my editor thinking, "Read 'em and weep.  I always do."


Friday, May 10, 2013

Excuse me while I Snoopy-Dance in the kitchen


So you probably all fathomed that I got home okay (YAY!) and then that I promptly dropped off the map.

Well, see, I sort of did.

Getting home was, well, long.  I left at the equivalent of 2:30 a.m., California time, after two hours of sleep, and got to California around 11:15.  Mate picked me up, we went to lunch, I took a nap, and Mate woke me up to go get the kids.

That's when I realized how truly I had beaten myself the fucketh up.

I could barely wake up enough to walk to the car, and once there, I fell asleep on the way to the school, and on the way back.  I had to wake up to go have dinner with Mate's delightfully chatty Aunt, and then I got home, and crashed, and tried to get up and crashed again.

Boom.  Bang.  KABLOOEY!

And all of this sleeping would have been just swell, really, except for two things.

One was that I missed some REALLY GREAT details on the blog about Kansas City, and I need to put them down or people will be hurt, because they'll think I don't appreciate the holy hell out of them when I do, and the other was that I had a deadline to meet.

I know, I know-- what the hell was I thinking, right?  Well, I was actually thinking that my dedication to Rusty and Oliver, and the  Christmas novel that was supposed to be a novella had put me way behind on my usual queue, and I needed to get my next project done stat.  It was a good plan, especially because this one really was a novella, and I managed to get it done on time--but, well, I had to pretend I was a dead turtle in order to do that.

But I really am alive.

So let's start out by my HUGE thanks to B.A. Tortuga and Julia Talbot, who love me.  They must.  These two lovely ladies, the founders of Torquere Press and friends who still want me to write this Green's Hill Novella that I've been dyeing to put down, gave me yarn.  And not just any yarn-- Mongolian Yak Yarn.  I shit you not.  They're LYS owner actually goes to Mongolia.  And I have the proof!  I'm going to knit me a basic sherpa hat, and then send it back to them with scads and scads of love, because seriously-- Mongolian Yak Yarn.  It's too delicious, too amazing, too... FUCKING AWESOME not to reward with knitting.  Love you ladies!  *big smishy schwacking kisses*

And then let's move on to a celebration of something sort of magical that happened that I forgot to mention.  Ms. December Rain (also known as Historical Lie) who helped me edit Rampant a few years back e-mailed me and asked if I could get a cup of coffee with her while I was at RT.  I said sure, and she was coming for the signing on Thursday, and that was great.  And then I realized I was sort of double booked--I the event was at 2:45 pm, and I was supposed to meet December at 3 pm.  So I did what any mother would do-- I consolidated my activities.  This means, I ran out into the lobby at 3, grabbed poor December by the scruff of the neck and said, "Great to meet you!  Come with me!"  And she did, and was promptly rewarded by a zillion free books, a free T-shirt, lots of writers she recognized and got to talk to and a little bit of conversation with me, which I treasured.  Now I know it cost a lot to go to this convention, and parking was outstanding, so I felt pretty good about that.  I got to meet December, and she got lots and lots of free stuff, and, well, she gave me a mug with my Little Goddess people on it, and I love her.  I hope she had a good time--I really love that she got to do something sort of amazing because I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and said, "Come here--it'll be great!"

Oh-- and did I mention the soundtracks?

I need to mention the soundtracks!  Bibliojunkies  Bel and Nat are amazing fans--and they're trying to convert Shel, the third person in their trio, into an Amy Lane fan too, which is sweet of them, but Shel is by no means obligated.  Anyway-- Bel put together some soundtracks (and I'm pretty sure Nat helped!) for Chase in Shadow and Keeping Promise Rock-- and I'm so excited!  I can't wait to listen to them-- I'm like, saving them, for sometime when I'm not writing hell for leather-- but I have them right next to my computer, and every time I look at them I tear up.  I love that-- you all know I love that--I love music and books and the seamless way they fit together sometimes.  *sniffle*  Thanks, Bel.  Meeting you and Nat and Shel was an awesome experience, and I really needed to get that out there and tell the world.  You ladies are just a triangle of loveliness and I'm honored.

So that was what I'd forgotten to say about Kansas City.  *whew*

And now I get to go spend some more quiet moments with my kids.  Mother's Day is Sunday-- it's going to be busy, since I haven't seen Alexa in some time, but my kids are going to take me to a nice place with red meat (my one requirement in a restaurant actually) and I'm going to relax a little, and maybe not take the whole thing so seriously for a day.

And I'm also going to pet all the animals all the time-- after my absences of the last month, they seem to think they have that coming!

Oh-- and about the pictures--

Zoomboy's gift from Kansas City was the Chewbacca Angry Bird-- he thought it was awesome, and wore his Chewie Outfit in celebration.  (Although I don't think quite so much of Chewie's underwear was showing.

And as for the Warrior Hamster?  So, see, Chicken sent me that as part of her homework, and I sort of adored it.  Since I'm the hamster on her tumblr page, I loved that it was for me.  When I told her I was going to by golly finish this novella by today, she said, "Go little warrior hamster, go!"

So I brandished my little sword and jumped into the fray screaming "AIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!!"

Which, sometimes, is how you get shit done!

ETA: Tina, #21 in comments, you are our winner!  Please, either contact me on twitter or through my website to get your free copy of Dex in Blue, Bolt-Hole, or Under the Rushes!  Congratulations!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

LIfe in the Habi-trail.

The habit-trail
So, for those of you who have never been to Kansas City, their two biggest hotels, the Sheraton Crown and the Westin, are connected by a glass covered walkway that extends over a course of two blocks, about two stories off of street level.

We call it the Habi-trail.

The habit-trail from the inside
When I first arrived, I was extremely taken by the habit-trail.  It's pretty, for one thing-- and after Chicago, I'm sort of a sucker for pretty buildings and innovative architecture, and this, to me, seemed extremely innovative.  For one thing, the Westin stands above and connected to an extremely extensive, pretty, high-end mall, and the habi-trail gets you from the Sheraton Crown (where Mary and I are staying) to the Westin (where the shopping is) without ever having to go outside.  And since we have seen snow, fog, and icy rain here in the first week of May in Kansas City, that seemed to be an extremely good idea.  Wonderful!  Especially since the Dreamspinner part of our party was staying at the Westin.  It meant that as our day progressed, Mary and I went back and forth between the two hotels between two and six times a day.
Frickin' snow in May

As my daughter's hamster said, the one that lasted one day before it ran out of the cage, out of the house, and out of our lives, "QUEEEEEEEEKKKKEKKEKEKEKEKEKEKEKK!!!"

It's still a trip, journeying from one hotel to the other, and I still sort of think it's cool and innovative, but I have to say, I'm feeling sorry for hamsters everywhere.  Unless you change that big habit-trail tube every day, believe me, the hamsters are bored out of their freakin' skulls.

And I think I might have still loved it, if it hadn't been for the sneaking suspicion that it made me sick.

I mean, I've had allergy attacks before--I have.  I've had the slow and the sneaky, and the quick and the brutal, and I think I've mentioned that, until recently, I could refuse to admit that I had allergies--I just got a nasty cold once a year, when the wind picked up after the rains.

Okay--my allergies that I used to deny even existed just spent the last four days picking me up by the back of the neck and shaking me like a dog.

They mauled me like a cheetah mauls a nik-nik, they jumped down my throat and my head exploded, they chucked my brains through a blender puree and my logic through a meat grinder they...

Ohmygod, I canNOT remember the last time I felt so incredibly shitty.  Okay.  I can.  Mate, Big T, Chicken and I all had the CRAP, and we had it so bad, none of us moved for a WEEK, and when we were done,  I had to bleach the furniture before I sat on it ever again.

THAT was the last time I felt this bad-- except, uhm, I don't think I had quite the plethora of drugs at my disposal at that time in my life.
Still frickin snowing

Seriously-- Claritin, two kinds of Sudafed-- I've been a walking pharmacy, but I'm TAME compared to what some of the other folks here at RT have been taking.  (Vanessa "The Jeep Diva"-- babe, I SO felt for you.  I just wanted to cuddle you and put you to bed someplace that DIDN'T give us all the itchy-stuffy-snots.)  Anyway, I think by now it's a universally acknowledged truth that something in the hotel has made us all horribly sick, and while my own personal nik-nik-mauling cheetah is finally getting tired and allowing this tuckered widdo nik-nik to toddle around in stoned circles with semi-coherent bleats, there are a couple of days of my life there which will forever be a blur.

A good blur-- don't get me wrong.

The adorable Jessie
The smiles are real-- I LOVED meeting people here.  Kat "The Book Tart", Jessie Potts "The Book Taster" and her cohort in crime Mary Greznik, Katie Lane, Gina Lamm who was my adorable het-peddling pin-up girl neighbor through two signings--I could not have been happier to meet you all.  Fans came up to me and said WONDERFUL things and generally people were as kind and as decent and as funny as I've always suspected they could be.  The people have made it worth it (I guess, unlike the hamsters in the habit-trail, who as a whole seem to be pretty anti-social) so I'd call this week a complete success!

I just sort of wish I'd felt better for it, you know?

Of course, there WERE some funny moments, even WITH the drugs (or, sometimes, especially with the drugs!)

Me and Kat the Book Tart
*  As Mary and I were getting ready for the Saturday signing, I put a scarf on with my outfit and Mary said, "That scarf and that shirt?  Are you high?"  And then we both paused and reflected upon the stunning amount of pharmaceuticals I had in my system to even stand up.  "Wait," she said.  "You very well might be.  The scarf is a mistake, just know that."

*  One poor woman had the misfortune to sit in and watch BOTH panels I participated in--one on M/M Romance and one on Broken Heroes.  Apparently I came out of my stupor enough to make an impression, because when I met her in a random pass of the habit-trail, she was like, "This girl needs some caffeine!"  Now, I knew she was being SARCASTIC, because she'd already said I had too much energy.  However, the people I was with who had seen me desperately trying to medicate myself out of my phlegm were like, "Oh no-- she's had enough drugs already."

*  I FINALLY got to meet Marianne Morea who used to head the PRG and who started writing when I encouraged her on the boards.  I loved her.  She was open and up front and funny and acerbic and our lunch with her and Ariel Tachna and T. Lynn Tolles was entirely too short.

*  I got to watch Jesse Potts (who, along with Mary Greznik gave us some lovely mention here and here ) win one of the BEAUTIFUL baskets offered by Dreamspinner Press at the Fan-tastic Day Party on Saturday-- Jesse chose the yarn
Belinda, Tara, Z.A.M
one because (and my knitting people will love that I passed this on!) I told her that beautiful yarn helps your knitting rise to the occasion.  It was like perfect karma-- Jesse had been so lovely, and so charming-- she acted as time-maven during one of the panels because I asked her at the last moment, and she was a delightful companion during an impromptu lunch with Ethan Day, Belinda McBride, Z.A. Maxfield, Tara Lain, Carol Lynn, Mary Calmes and myself, and generally, made mine and Mary's week brighter with her enthusiasm for all books and her excitement and enthusiasm for all aspects of the convention.  That much contagious goodness deserves to be rewarded, and we were so happy to see her get that gorgeous yarn.
Mary, Ethan, Carol Lynn

*  Gina Lamm got to watch a fan come up to me and say, "Lots of books have made me cry over sadness, but only yours have made me cry for happiness."  She loved it so much she wrote it down, because she said her goal is to have someone come say that to her.  She's only at the very beginning of her writing career--- but she has so much personality and charm, I have faith that it very much will.  (Okay-- not funny, but touching, and I was just so taken with her.  My friends were a little worried that I had "fallen among het peddlers" as it were, being put in alphabetical order at the signings, and I had to reassure them that those who wrote het were really very kind and did not bite at all!)
Gina, who is gorgeous.

* Katie Lane and Kimberly Lang (other het peddlers, but, again, I'm starting to think that might not be a bad thing, and that the world has changed enough for het to be, perhaps, acceptable in the world of GLBTQ lit) were also seat-mates, and Katie was an adorable owner of a Cairn Terrorist... erm, Terrier, and we swapped dog stories in the quite moments.  Kimberly wore a bride's veil in a spunky reenactment of one of her story's moments, and they were both fun and kind to me.  We shared things like Sharpies, tape, water, and chocolate, and you forget how much fun it is to make new friends for no other reason than you're humans in the same space.  Thank you ladies-- I had fun.

The train. Delivered. The Food.
*  And, of course, I got to spend time with my Dreamspinner family.  Elizabeth, Ariel Tachna, Nikki Bennett, Nessa Warrin, Connie Bailey, and Tammy May were mine and Mary's companions for dinner every night, and I can not think of better people with whom to be wholly myself.  They were also unafraid to say, "Oh look!  Amy's allergy medication just died a violent death and if someone doesn't cough up some Sudafed, we're all going to get caught in the forensic phlegm spatter!  Quick everyone, drug her!"  Seriously-- you know you're in the best of comfort and the truest of friends when they're not afraid to say, "Honey, you look like hell.  Take a pill and go to bed."  Oh-- and we also got to eat at a place where the trains delivered our food.  THE TRAINS.  DELIVERED. OUR FOOD.  I mean, we ate at a place that was so elegant a force field almost slammed down and denied me entrance, but these people are so awesome, they still got excited when the trains delivered our food.  I'm not joking about best company EVER.
And this was so elegant, we
took a picture.
We ALL took pictures.

*  And don't EVER piss off Tammy May.  Seriously.  There was a hotel snafu, wherein I was told I couldn't get my books when I SHOULD have been able to get my books and you know something?  Tammy had hits put out on people's lives until I got my shit.  (Maybe not, but damn.  DAYUM did she take care of that quickly.  I fall at her feet like the goddess she is.)


Anyway-- that's what I've got.  I'm tired, I'm still drugged, and I'm looking forward to a quiet lunch.  I'm also really looking forward to going home tomorrow.  I have a Mate and a little dog and two small children and a big son who all need me, and if they don't, tough.

I need them so badly, I could cry with it.

I mean, this is Zoomboy being Chewbacca with his sister's belt and a vacuum cleaner part.  Who doesn't need that?