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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Evolution of Chocolate Covered Broccoli

Okay, for starters, Chicago was FABulous!  And amazing and fun and...

I mean, it's been a long time since I was in the theater, but I remember so much of it, like I never left.  What's funny is, I think I could be a much better actress now, because I've developed a little more presence, but I don't look like anyone you want to cast.  Ah, irony.

Anyway, Squish and Zoomboy loved it, and so did Big T, and Mate laughed too.  Of course, the really fun part was on the way home, when I said, "Oh, guys, did you know that the actress who played Mama Morton did a voice for Adventure Time?"

Ohmygod! Pandemonium!  They'd actually seen someone famous!  I'm sure the whole "voice actor" thing has been the bane of many an actor's existence.  I mean, Jeremy Irons, right?  Has done an amazing body of work, and even showed off an amazing body at one point.  But what's he known for?  Scar from the Lion King.  Kenneth Brannagh and Kevin Kline?  Miguel and Tulio, mighty and powerful gods!  (The Road to El Dorado is one of my hidden favorites to this day.)  But the show was a hit, and even if Zoomboy's teacher had to call me in because we were a little distracted from our classwork the next day, it was still worth it.  (He was tired, so we both got in trouble.  *grump*)

Anyway-- as a comment for the last post, a fan (Bright Oak) sent me This Video and I loved it so incredibly much I had to share it with you.  It is fun and adorable and thoughtful and... DUDES... Death's kid KNITS! 'nuff said.  A thousand happy creative squees for that, and a thousand thank yous too.

Also, Mary Calmes and I need to be forbidden from texting, IM-ing or otherwise communicating when we, or, uhm, I have a deadline looming.  Last night, I sent her the above picture, of Zoomboy watching The Mummy while wearing an Anubis mask and wielding a Nerf style mace.  Anyway, she started talking about favorite guilty pleasure movies and I had to confess to using some movies when I taught, and, well, the result was this article at Cafe Risque that I titled Chocolate Covered Broccoli.  


Oh-- and Steve, guarding the door in case I should, you know want to leave the bathroom at one in the morning and do a little more writing.  I don't know why she thinks she needs to be right there but we try not to step on her and don't ask questions.

Oh yeah-- and swag.

I don't know if I like this vendor as much as I like the last one with the purple bags.  For one thing, their color processes are, uhm, well.  BUT a yarn bag is a yarn bag, and this one has my logo on the side, and I like the purple pens (on the outside-- inside ink is blue!) and, well, it's GRL time again!

Oh yeah-- and this is also Mary's fault.  For those of you who saw me on FB and saw my name pop up a bunch of times, yes I did enter the Rainbow Awards this year.  If the gods are merciful, I'll forget that I did that until the awards are over and better, more worthier writers have won.

Oh yeah!

And I discovered a new speaker!

Now, if you're following me here, I'm preaching to the choir, but I was just so impressed with the way this guy reasoned through all of the ways gay rights are simply human rights.  He's a professor of philosophy, and he was lovely when I e-mailed him, and very patient with someone who didn't know the difference between Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin  (Kaje Harper, if you're out there, forgive me.  I had a complete geographic break down when I was trying to place where he's from. I'm afraid all three places got hopelessly icelocked in my brain-- I wonder why? Michigan-- Dude!  You'd think I'd never heard of the place before!)

Anyway-- one of his lectures is right here  and even if he's preaching to the choir, it's always fun to listen and say "amen!"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

And another dollop of random!

 Okay-- let's start with the obvious.

Reese Dante-- she's the artist.  And she's obviously talented, and she obviously gets my guys.  And these are my guys, and they're gorgeous.

Ethan in Gold will be out in October, in time for GRL, and of course there will be buy links etc. posted here, and on Twitter, and on FB and on my blog and even in outer space.  Because I'm proud of these books.  And because they're beautiful.

And yes-- I will be talking about Ethan later.  For one thing, like Chase in Shadow, this could be a trigger book for a lot of people.  It's not quite the same level of angst (although Ethan will break your heart, repeatedly, and so will Jonah) but it does have some particularly unpleasant back story, so, uhm, well, we'll chat.  In the meantime, appreciate the pretty, and give thanks to talented artists who make it so.

 And speaking of pretty...

Some un-discussable events have been rather stressing me out lately.  The result was a yarn buy.  The four skeins perched on top of the general gorgeous are my newest acquisitions, and I'm tucking them inside my box and stroking them with covetous fingers and dreaming of the day we shall consummate the love that was meant to be.

 And speaking of obsession...

Let's talk about the dog's obsession with my boobs.  Last night, during The Lincoln Lawyer, said Chiwhowhat perched himself on top of my chest and proceeded to look at me so piteously, he practically wrote "dumped girlfriend monologue."

"Okay, I'm not saying it's not going to be hard... I mean, you've changed into a tank top, and obviously I'm not as good a fit as I used to be, but still... could we?  Couldn't we just try?  I was a fixture in your shirt, I mean life.  We had a connection.  You'd write, I'd breathe, that was real.  *sob*  You can't tell me that wasn't real.  I mean, there was all this chasing cats bullshit, but *sob*  What we had was real.  Just don't give it all up, that's what I'm saying.  Just... just... just think of me, when your feeling cold at night.  Just... you know I'd be there for you.  Haven't I always been there for you???  Just... you know... just... call me?"
And on the opposite end of the spectrum, there's Steve.

She's making herself comfortable anywhere.

You may notice the trimmer, the laminator, Mate's orderly little world whereby he converts our kitchen table to a registrar's work station?  He had to laminate 400 player cards this weekend, punch holes, trim, put them on rings, and alphabetize for the soccer club.

I'm starting to think only suckers want his job.

And to finish here?

Well, you all know how I keep my iPod on random, right?

So, Squish has been entranced by the Chicago sound track.  Her particular favorites are (disturbingly enough) "Cell Block Tango" and "Roxie".  (For a real chill, imagine her high, girlish voice saying, "He ran into my knife.  He ran into my knife ten times.")

Anyway, so I was researching Dance Moves to find local theater scene, and realized, Holy Crap and pass the tax refund, Chicago was playing at Music Circus.  RIGHT NOW!

So I bought tickets.  One of those spur of the moment things, you know?  So, Big T saw me, asked what's up... you know, some guys just can't hold their jealousy.

We had it coming... we had it coming... we only had ourselves to blame.  If you'da been there... if you'd a seen it... I betcha you would have done the same!

(For anybody who knows they show, they'll be able to hear the rhythm of those last few lines and realize I lapsed into the cadence of "Cell Block Tango"-- see!  That's how many times I've heard that piece!)

Anyway,  we're going today, and a part of me is thinking, "I am the worst parent in the world.  Squish is seven!"  But the other part of me watched Squish watch the movie (she was looking at it on my Kindle) and the part where the innocent woman was hanged came on.  Squish looked up at me with horrified eyes.  "But mom!  This is terrible!  They're hanging her just because she doesn't speak English!  She's the only one who was innocent!"  And I thought, "Okay.  Squish gets it.  She totally does."  So we're going to see Chicago, and we're going to enjoy the hell out of it.

-- And brother, do we have it coming!

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Okay, so let's do random today, okay?

*  This is going on tonight: Interview with Amy Lane -- 4 P.M. Thursday, Pacific Standard Time, which means if you have Google Chat you can tune in and say hi.  If you don't, it'll be uploaded to and that'll be, uhm, posterical.  (It so TOO should be a word.)  I promised Lynsie I'd put on make-up and do my hair and everything.  I think there was a trip to the fountain of youth involved their too, and the swapping of my countenance for that of a supermodel and probably wearing a T-shirt instead of a tank top so the Chiwhowhat can sleep in my shirt and the world won't see my ta-tas.  You know-- being all civilized and shit.  So, come say hi!  They'll post the link about 15 minutes before the interview so you can get queued up and we can all face time :-)

*  It occurred to me that in a couple of years I'm going to have two teenagers again--oh joy.  I seem to remember that a lot of that time was spent playing WHAT-THE-HELL-IS-THAT-SMELL!

*  Since I tend to use hyperbolic terms of measurement anyway-- fuckton, shitload, trucking fuckload-- I'm going to add a new term.  This one's mine, consider this blog a copyright-- It's the PSB, or the Porn Star's Buttload.  It should be used to measure levels of heinousness, such as "That edit was six PSB's of fucked up!"  Or "My car's in the shop-- that's at least two PSB's of suck!"

*  Someone on Twitter told me I won Twitter for most random out of context Tweet ever.  I wanted to tell her how "LICK MY BALLS AND SERVE ME CHICKEN" had a perfectly reasonable explanation, but, uhm, it wouldn't fit into 140 characters.

*  Pandora is going to break my bank account.  I'll be cruising along, la-la-la-la and suddenly it's I LOVE THIS SONG.  I MUST HEAR IT AGAIN!  But Pandora doesn't HAVE repeat, so you know what that means?  Yeah.  It means I-Tunes is making a PSB of money off of me, THAT'S what it means!

*  I brought Squish into the bookstore and the owner said, "Oh my God!  She's your Mini-Me!"  Of course, people say that about Chicken.  I guess together, we're Amy nesting dolls.

*  My house is a mess and I'm getting MOAR SWAG.  *headdesk*  When did hiring a personal assistant/maid become a need and not a want?

*  My Advent Calendar story for DSP was not actually accepted for the Advent Calendar.  It was, instead, scheduled to be released on Christmas Day, which is sort of cool, because really, it was a better "Let's see what the new year holds," sort of story.  I'm still struggling with the title-- right now it's Prince in the Tower, but it might be Going Up.  If you've got a preference, by all means let me know.

*  Mary Calmes and I share a release date on Christmas.  We're goofily happy about this :-)

*  Big T shaved his mustache and not his beard.  Doesn't make him look any less like an amish lumberjack.  Sayin'. 

*  Chicken is reaping the unfortunate rewards of being my daughter.  She texted me yesterday half-hysterical, mostly pissed, because she had the Chris the Dell repair guy over to fix her computer, and he got an eyeful of Kal-el going down on Robin (because that's her fanfiction wheelhouse, and shit, who am I to judge!)  She could have lived with that, but the computer guy left and her computer crashed less than an hour later.  She pitched a fit, scared the hell out of her roommates (because she's the even- keeled one who never loses it) and stormed out of the apartment.

My return text was an attempt to be mild.  "Uhm, I don't think I've ever seen that picture."

"Well now CHRIS has!"

Poor baby-- we've all had days like that.  But I couldn't help it-- was chuckling all day.

*  And finally... ooooh... I'm so excited.  Can you see them?  Can you SEE THEM?  They're the new book covers.  Aren't they gorgeous?  And  friends are saying, "My teenager would love these books!" and since that was their intended audience, I'm...DUDES!!!  And look at the two kids on the horse in the back.  See the kid in front?  See him?  Does he look familiar?  HE'S ZOOMBOY!!!!!!!  I sent the artist a picture of him now, the artist painted him to look like Zoomboy at fifteen, since that's his character.  I swear, if I hadn't decided to make the snowcat the focal point of the covers, I would have done that with all the kids.  But seriously-- I'm so excited.  I don't know if I'll ever write another epic fantasy series like this.  But I love these books so much, and Nathie, the artist, really did me proud.

Yay.  Just yay.  I'm so excited.  Now I need to get to work and edit!

Monday, August 19, 2013


The air is "unhealthy" today.  There is a fire in the foothills, it's over 102 degrees with 25% humidity, and basically?  Who needs fire-flavored gum, we've got the air!   It's so bad that Squish and Zoomboy didn't get an outside recess.  My eyes are burning from inside the house, and the idea of cooking is physically repulsive.

I'm not sure if Mate is going to call practice today-- he's the head coach, and his boys are getting old enough for the the competition to be pretty fierce.  They played an exhibition game and got slaughtered this weekend, but it does have me wondering about that line-- that line between "pushing yourself to be good" and "pushing yourself past your limits".

If you look at famous artists throughout history, well... the the record isn't pretty.  For every Longfellow, who loved well and long, there was the same Longfellow who loved tragically and short.  In fact, there were three or five or seven of them.  You really only can have one mistress, one thing that controls your life, one burning passion.

Does everybody remember Rick Moranis?  Of course you do!  He's a gifted comic actor, and he pretty much defined the 90's, right?  Does everyone remember what happened to him?

Not really.  His wife died, and he was heart broken.  He devoted himself to his children, and when he came up for air, he realized that he didn't miss the Hollywood life enough to go back to it, and he did something else.  So the masses of us were deprived of his genius, but his children will love him forever.   He will be happy, and he will live a small life, and not miss the cumbersome weight of the world's expectations hanging on his limbs.

And who can blame him?  It's just such a terrible paradox.  The people with the sensitivity to embrace the human condition, or with the talent and drive to hone their bodies or their skills to the point of spectacular achievements, are, very often, the ones just fragile enough not to sustain the heat and the friction of their journey through the particulate atmosphere of critics, deadlines, bills, and marketing that is the truth behind making a living off of your talent.

History is full of people killing themselves--or their loved ones-- for their art.

Van Gough?  Of course.  Poe?  Absolutely.  Keats?  Well, it's a fine line-- reports were, he pushed himself so that he could write those final verses, but tuberculosis was definitely not self-inflicted.  But Byron died for glory and Shelley drowned for poetic symmetry and Coleridge was an opium addict and don't even get me started on Judy Garland, Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, John Bonham, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger, Cory Monteith and...

The list is just too long and depressing to finish.  In fact, there is no end to a list like that.  There will always be another headline, another young person, another brilliant talent that pushed too far, too fast and burnt out, a vanishing star on the horizon.

There is a precarious balance between pushing yourself to your human limits and pushing yourself beyond your human limits.  It's like that line from Gattaca.  "This!  This is how I did it!  I didn't save anything for the way back!"  Artists, musicians, poets, athletes-- they don't save anything for the way back.  That leaves the people who love them scrambling for purchase, trying to hold on to a tiny, personal part of their beloved, just so they can have something, anything, that the world didn't own, something to claim this bright shining meteor lighting the sky above the human condition was really a flesh and blood person, and this person was theirs.

See, I started a story-- it was supposed to be lighthearted and happy.  A twenty-something dancer meets a newly twenty techie and sparks fly and BOOM!  Happy wholesome sex with a bang, right?

But the conflict inherent in the coupling-- the dancer, wanting to dance the last few years of his career-- it just hits too close to home.  My messy, unappealing home, actually.  It flares into bass relief the hours I spent behind the computer instead of keeping a home for my family.  The times I've said "Let me just finish..." and I lose out on hugs my kids maybe really needed.  My own neglected body, which gets its aqua aerobics but not nearly enough veggies and water, and which walks the fine-line between self-inflicted diabetes and self-medication with chocolate and caffeine.

I'm not Poe or Keats by any stretch of the imagination, but that idea, of where to draw the line, teases at the thread of my brain on an almost daily basis.  Visit a friend or work?  Work.  Sit on the couch with my children or work?  Sometimes, it's work.  Cook dinner or work and order out?  Work and order out.  Because my work isn't just my work, it's my passion, my talent, the one thing I can do that nobody else can, the one gift that I and I alone can give to my tiny corner of the world.  No one would write this book the way I would.  No one.  Therefor I must work on it.  I must work on it.  I must work on it, why aren't I working on it, dammit why am I sitting, knitting, walking, cooking, cleaning should I not be working on my book?  

It's a compulsion.  An addiction.  A drive.  A need.

A job.

So, in spite of an AQI of 156, Mate is taking the kids to practice soccer.  They want to win and winning doesn't come easy, and that's something kids need to learn at an early age.

And me?

I'll be here.  So intensely invested in a fictional character's

life, I won't even know what to cook for dinner until I'm standing in front of the refrigerator, trying to remember how to turn on the stove.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Wolves and Waves: A Guest Post from LE Franks

Okay-- I'm biased.  LE Franks came and knit with me-- in fact, she was the first person to try on Chicken's sweater.

Anyway, she claims I helped inspire some of her madness, and I'm sound with that.  I mean, to be told that you helped someone write a book?  That's sort of amazing.  

So I offered to let L.E. post on my blog to celebrate that tremendous thing she did, cause how could you not?  Anyway, this is LE Franks, my dry-witted, funny, knitting friend who lives in my backyard and came to visit me at my mother ship.  I adore her.  Enjoy her post-- and hopefully her book.  

Wolves and Waves: Prodigal Wolf by LE Franks & Sara York

Wow. Looking at what I just wrote at the top of this page and I’m a little bit sheepish. Not false modesty, but vast humility because if it wasn’t for Amy Lane, Sara York, and Sue Brown, along with the encouragement of the fabulous members of the yahoo M/Marvelous group—if it wasn’t for all of them my faux-name wouldn’t be up there and this book that sprang from a creative synergy with Sara York, wouldn’t exist. I particularly want to thank Amy for welcoming me to post here. She’s been inspiration, technical assistant, and cheerleader. Knit on Amy!

Funnily enough, Wolves & Waves: Prodigal Wolf wasn’t the story Sara and I were going to write. We had (have?) plans for an angsty romance set in San Francisco (my back yard). We spent time outlining the plot--found photos of our locations, created backstories... all the fun work of writing.  But before we started our ‘real work’ we decided to cut our teeth on a 10K word short set in South Carolina (her backyard). It would be a little formula piece in the shifter genre picked out of a hat. I think I told Sara a brief story from high school about when five of us got into trouble for breaking a shower in a motel in Fresno on a school field trip. Unlike real life, we started riffing on five guys in a shower, what they were doing and how they got there. The scene becomes a pivotal moment for our human twinks in the book, and I still have the Peet’s cup that I diagramed the action on.

Suddenly we had five characters to weave into a coherent story – six including our alpha. Our 10K word quickie became 62K, with a planned, three book initial story arc about a wolf shifter destined to lead —one who hasn’t come to terms with his place in the world and the losses he’s suffered in his past. We weren’t in a hurry to push Carlo along too fast. He’s still in pain. He’s angry, and he’s conflicted, and he’s resisting efforts from all sides to reintegrate into the pack.  And that’s so much fun to write.  Hope you like this.  –LE

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Power Post

Okay, so school starts tomorrow for the little kids, and, well, five whole people heard me whine about how I haven't crammed enough fun in this summer for them, so let's have a list of what we've done for the past three days, shall we?

*  School shopping with my step mom

* Soccer

* Swimming at the pool with kids one last time

* Dance

*  Ignoring laundry

*  Soccer

*  Grocery shopping

*  Grocery shopping again because I realized that the first time, I bought vitamin water.  The second time, I needed things for school lunches and breakfast out the door and after school snacks.  There is a very different way to shop when school is in session, one that doesn't rely nearly as much on Chicken McNuggets and giant diet cokes.

*  Edit

* Dealing with family stuff and stupid mental health care disarray and the consequences of taking someone off antipsychotics after they've been on them for nearly 40 years.

*  Soccer

*  Edit.

*  Write special guest post for Cherie about promoting a new book!

*  Dance

* Edit

*I'm giving away a free copy of Sidecar HERE. 

*  Write some Dawson.

*  Edit

*  Make sure the kids have packed their backpacks for tomorrow.

*  Edit

*  Introduce Squish to Chicago, and teach her all the words to When You're Good to Mama.

*  Cook dinner

*  Realize you dumped wormy rice in your chicken stock.  Cook pizza.

*  Edit

*  Wonder how you're going to fit all this stuff in while shuttling kids back and forth.

*  I've got an interview about alpaca ranching HERE.

*  Wonder where the summer went, and why you didn't spend as much time as you wanted to with your kids as a whole.

*  Send them to bed with hugs and tears and one last admonition to have their clothes and their backpacks ready.

*  Sit down to edit just a little bit sadder than you did three nights ago.

*  Wonder where the time goes.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Winner, losers, and random numbers

*drumroll please*

And the winner is...

LIZ!  Liz, darlin', #10 on the comments, you won the free copy of City Mouse/Country Mouse.  Give me a buzz at amylane AT greenshill DOT com, and send me your address, kay?

And WOW, that weekend went by quickly.

First there was the interview for Write on the Edge, which was both fun and sort of draining.  And then there was the incessant wondering, "How much of an idiot did I sound like?  A minor idiot, a psychotic cat sort of idiot, or a full fledged nematode with an attention deficit-- I'll let you guys be the judge.

There was a trip to the grocery store with my husband, because sometimes, we're so desperate for each other's company that we go, "Hey, I have a soul-killing errand to run, want to come with?" and the other one will drop whatever we're doing to come with, because everything is better with mates.  It just is!
Chicken drew this, Teen Wolf fans. It's awesome.

On Friday, Big T's friend came over and cut the kids' hair, and although the price was right, and she was very sweet, I think, in the end, Zoomboy's cowlicks completely defeated her.  That's okay.  Zoomboy didn't care, and she came to my house.  I'm calling her again, especially when it's time to dye my hair some more.  Wheehoo!  (Oh, and by the way, I sent Chicken that picture showing off ZB's hair cut, and her first comment was, "Isn't that my T-shirt?"  Ah, siblings.)

We went to visit Mate's mom-- lunch at Rubio's and a trip to the used book store-- it's sort of our thing.  The used book store is sort of awesome-- I used to sell my books there on consignment, and as I've gotten less dependent on my indie work, they've gotten more and more excited for me.  I told Kelly today that I met Robyn Carr and she got so excited!

Also, I got some fun videos and links, via a fan (Thanks Dan!) and Chicken (who drew the picture-- did you see!)

The first one is totally safe for work and adorable-- and you can find it right here! 

The second one is also safe for work, and only really works if you love both Supernatural and Adventure Time.  Because, you know, it's crossed over.  And I HAVE to show it in my view.  Cause.

And this right here is the WORLD'S GREATEST LINK ABOUT SUPERNATURAL EVER.  I shit you not.  If you've loved the show--even for a season, you will appreciate.

And also?  I'm editing Triane's Son Rising, the first of the Bitter Moon books.  Now I'm not sure if I've talked much about this, but the books are getting split into four parts instead of two, and prettied up for Harmony Ink, Dreamspinner Press's Young Adult imprint.  Now I'm very excited about this, but at the same time, getting my global notes back was hard.  The books have been read by a number of people, and the things the editor wanted me to change hadn't been really complained about--but that doesn't mean it wasn't going to happen.  So I need to ask myself what assumptions about my work I need to let go and what things I need to keep.  It's a tricky balance to walk.  What's age worth if you don't gain experience?  What's youth for if your raw enthusiasm doesn't help you do the impossible?  Either way, editing is going to be a challenge, but I've put it off for as long as possible.  I finished my Christmas novella (tentatively titled Prince in the Tower) and got some more work done on my supposedly light little story about theatre geeks that's turning into a novel without my permission.  It is time to put on my big girl panties and get this shit done.

Anyway-- the good news is, that the cover art is GORGEOUS--and I get to share the first book (although I've seen the initial sketches for the rest of them.)

So here it is.  And now, I'm gonna go knit, cause I've earned a little knitting with my weekend.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Write on the Edge

Hello, all-- I'm... okay.  So it was like this.

I was up until all frickin' hours of the night, editing Ethan Gold, when suddenly I heard a chatbox open.  Oh crap-- who's up right now?

Check the two e-mails, and oh, wait, it's FB.  Oh!  Hi, Wt Prater-- howyadoin?  Now, Wt is one of those quietly happy online presences.  He doesn't jump up and down and spread glitter on the masses-- he writes and is exuberant about what he's done and posts blogs and sometimes tries to help me help myself by getting involved in the community.

And he wanted to know if I'd do an interview.

For the record, (and my husband knows this) if you want me to do something for you that involves sex or romance, by all means, ask me after one in the morning.

So tomorrow, I'm going to do an interview on Write on the Edge at 8 pm PST.  Now, Vicktor Alexander who did this interview right here, is going to be on the interview team, and he and his cohost will ask me questions and I will try really hard not to sound like a moron!  (That's gonna be tough-- trust me.  I don't even want to think about how many ways I can screw this up!)

And the questions?  Okay-- some of the questions I turned down were, "Who would play you in the film of your life?"  (For the record, Raven Goodwin, and I don't care if the skin color doesn't quite match, she's fabulous, funny, she can display pathos and sympathy, she can sing and I can't, she doesn't apologize to anyone for her shape, and she's as young as I think I am.  So there.)  Or there's always, "How are you at discipline?  What do you do to promote writing every day?"  (To which I'd respond, "My discipline is terrible-- I can't walk by the computer without opening it and working on a project.  Wait, was that what you meant?")  Or there's always, "How do you feel when you finish a book?"  (Dance to THIS song.)  And the time honored, "How long do you wait between projects?"  (About as long as it takes to dance to that song.)  So, you know-- if those are the questions I skipped, God knows what I'll say to the ones I took!  (Please let it be funny, please let it be funny, please let it be funny!)

So, you know.  It could be entertaining.

Now, coincidentally, today, when I got home from Target, where all evil spawns and they only want your money if you slice open your wrist to prove the blood is yours (I've got issues-- I need to rant!)   I got the prettiest thing in the mail.  Did you see the pictures?  Because if you didn't, you can still order the paperbacks of Country Mouse/City Mouse combined here  and here.

So, I'm thinking... well, how do I orchestrate a giveaway.  Now I think I've got it-- and I'm going to have to limit my venue because, frankly, I can't count all the replies on Twitter, FB, and the blog feed on GR and here, so I'm going to make it you have to reply here.  

I will send a free copy of Country Mouse/City Mouse to the commenter who either A. Tells me what their favorite answer from the interview was, or B. Gives me a question they wish I would have been asked, C. thinks of a creative punishment for the Target executive who ordered the new credit card machine because it's ruining my life (more about that in a second),  D. Identifies the source of the funk coming from my son's laundry (again, more of that in a second, E. Tells me they teared up over this, F. Tells me where Left on St. Truth be Well made them cry, (and don't lie, I know it hit some of you like this) or G. just stops in to say hello.  (Okay-- that other stuff was mostly for my own benefit.)

Anyway-- since some of the answers are based on the interview, (which you'll be able to listen to as we're taping, at 8 pm PST, OR listen to in the archives) I'm going to hold the contest open until Sunday, 7pm PST.  I'll ship anywhere but Russia (because seriously, I don't want you imprisoned) and throw in the bookmarks of your choice (because hey, bookmarks, I haz em!).  If I get more than FIFTY replies, I'll throw in another book, after I scrape myself off the floor in complete and total disbelief.  Oh yeah-- I'm going to use a random number generator to pick the number, and post the winner when I blog on Sunday.  If the winner doesn't get back to me in two days, I'll pick someone else, 'kay?  Cause that's as long as I can remember anything, but basically?  I'm just sort of bribing you to listen to the podcast so you can laugh at me!  (Sense.  I haz it!)

How's that?  Did I cover all my bases?  Listen to me blather, comment on the blog, win a copy of Country Mouse/City Mouse in print!  Ta-da!

Okay-- on to putting on my Ranty McRantypants--are we ready?

First of all...

Today, we played another rousing game of WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SMELL?  

It involved the laundry, and when I opened the overfilled basin, this stench emerged... oh Holy Gawd and Jebus his only! It was this amazing combination... ozone, corn chips, mildew and dog pee-- *gag*  *hurl* *tamp down on the nausea*

It made my eyes water.

And then I started loading the drier.

Now, given that these were Big T's clothes, I got halfway through with my gorge still rising (and people, you've been there for some of the things that don't make me vomit, so you know this has got to be bad) and I made him come out and fill the drier.

And he figured out what had happened.

He'd tried to was a GIFUCKINORMOUS load of laundry on the small load setting.  Yes folks, apparently when your washer's motor is trying to commit suicide, it smells like ozone, corn chips, mildew and dog pee.

And now you know.


And I continued to try to edit all day.  This was interesting, because I'd promised I'd take the kids to Pinkberry (from whence we get the smiling pictures of my lovely children)  and then to shop for school supplies at Target, (you guessed it!) and we had to do this before Squish's soccer practice at 4:30.

Should be easy, right?  I mean, I was out of the shower at 1.  Squish was out at 1:30.  Zoomboy was... still looking for his shoes at 2:30.  I was standing right next to him when his brother found them under the computer--where he'd just been.  I flicked him in the head.  Because.  Just... just because.

And then we get to Target...

And I throw a fuckton of all the things into the cart, and pull out my perfectly valid and well funded pice of plastic to pay for the fuckton of all the things in the cart, and I get to the cash register with half an hour to spare.

But Target, you see, has just replaced their credit card machines with new ones.  These new credit card machines don't take PIN # over 7 digits.  My PIN is 8 digits.  So I'm fucked.  So I try to get it to go to credit.

And it won't take the credit.

So I'm fucked.

And I put in another card.

And it won't take the other card.

So I'm fucked.

So I go over to the bank machine to get cash-- and it gives me cash, because according to it, I've got plenty of cash, but the cash machine takes six dollars out of my account for me to get enough cash to pay for the fuckton of all the fucking things.

So now, I'm fucked again.  

I snarled at the girl behind the counter.  I don't know if she meant to make me feel shamed and dirty because her charge machine was not doing its job, but she did, and I was furious.  

And Squish was late to soccer, where her dad, the assistant coach was on time.  And we forgot the ball.

And I overcooked dinner and the dog peed on the floor.

So there.  *fume*

Can I take my Ranty McRantypants off?

Because if I'm going to be a charming author and not free-range dino-bitch tomorrow for my interview, I need to hang around in my underwear, take a nap and let my flaming bitch parts breathe.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What Was That?

*  The road to Monterey is dark and eerie, and the moon is hiding behind the misty mountain in front of Gilroy.  I am knitting in the dark, we are listening to The Bravery playing The Ocean, and there is a noise.

"What was that?"

"I don't know, but something cold is dripping on my foot!"  It is acid cold.

"It's just water from the condenser."

"It burns!"

"Well, do you want me to turn around and go home?"  Mate sounds as though am making this strange acid thing dripping on my foot into a bigger deal than it is.

"No, no--as long as the ship don't explode!"

*  The young man behind the counter at the gift shop is African-American, handsome, and, when I ask him where the Mantis Shrimp is, boyishly excited.

"Okay, so you go down to the right, and then on your right, you'll see this little kid's coral reef thing, and you have to go inside there.  It's on the ground to your right.  They're supposed to be cool--you know, they can see in infrared?"

"Yeah!" I say excitedly.  "And can generate heat from their claws in Kelvin!  You can see it spark!"

He sighs.  "Yeah, they sort of of hid him.  A lot of us want to see him, but he's hard to get to."

While my kids and husband are crawling around the Coral Reef to find the Mantis Shrimp, I tell at least three people where that little world-fucker is--and they all go in to check him out!  Thank you, The Oatmeal, because we all felt the power of being a science geek right there!

*  The boy (and this guy really was younger) who was in charge of keeping people from photo-flashing the octopi was also sweet.  African American as well, he could have been the kindest, most protective docent known to man.

"So," I said, "do the octopi ever give you the creepies?"

"No!  In fact, they're really the sweetest creatures."

"Yeah-- what makes them sweet?"  Now, honestly?  Zoomboy watches enough nature channel for me to know all of this, but I've got to tell you, listening to his enthusiasm was enough to make me want to keep talking to him.

"Well, they recognize us for one thing-- people they see every day, they come to greet.  And they play, and they turn colors according to their mood.  They get darker when they get anxious or unhappy.  It's okay now-- there's not too many people-- but when people start swarming the tanks, I need to be careful.  People use flash on them and I hate that.   It's why we keep them in the dark.  They don't have any membrane over their eyes-- they're totally helpless when the light washes over them."  He sounded really upset about this, and I thought he could be the hands-down, nicest kid ever to volunteer anywhere.  (And, for the record, one of the reasons I don't have pictures of the critters is that we couldn't seem to kill the flash on my stupid camera--I didn't want to flash the octopi either.)

"So, you're like their protector," I said.  "You're their guardian.  That's awesome."

"Yeah!  That's it.  I like that.  I'm the octopuses guardian!"

In the shade ;-)

*  OH my GOD.  What the hell is that?  What IS that?  No seriously.  What the FUCK is that?

It's the Fat Innkeeper Worm.  Or the Innkeeper's Fat One.  Dude... it's... it's.. Well, you all KNOW what it looks like.  You just don't expect those things to grow sentience and detach, right?

 *  "Mom, I want an octopi tentacle.  So I can freak people out.  See?"

"You only want one?"

"Well, how many can I get?"

I told him three, but he had so much fun with them, I wish I'd said five.  And then I sent this picture to Chicken, who responded, "Mom, they look like hentai tentacles!"

"I hate you," I texted.  "He was so happy!"

Well, he's still happy.  I'm just even more grossed out now.  Especially because we spent the rest of the day not sure when they'd be in our hair or on our face or... ew.

*   And I know you can't see it, but it's a backpack, with kittens poking their heads out of it.  We BOUGHT it that way.  It's like a toy, DESIGNED for Squishy.  That was her souvenir.  No, it has nothing whatsoever to do with Monterey or the aquarium, or fish.  But for Squish?  It was awesome.  

 *  Mad as the sea and the wind, when both contend which is mightier-- Hamlet.

*Though the yesty waves confound and swallow navigation up--MacBeth

*My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.-- Romeo and Juliet

*  Me, to Mate:  Look at Squish.  She's telling herself stories as she walks.

Mate:  Yeah, I wonder where she gets that?  (Can you smell the sarcasm through the computer?)

Me:  (Straight faced)  Your family.  

Mate: The hell!

Me:  (laughing)  No, no, I was kidding.  That one's all on me.

*Squish, as we're getting into the car:  I think I'm your most spiritual child.  

Mate:  I think you're our most egotistical child.

Squish: What does egotistical mean?

Mate:  It means you think a lot of yourself, don't you?

Squish:  Well, yeah!

*  Zoomboy, in the middle of taking twenty-minutes to change out of his wet clothes as we get into the car:  I don't want anything to chafe!

Mate:  As opposed to any other day when the dirt is just there?

*  On the way home, as we realize that the air conditioner has now completely broken again, as it was three years ago:  OH.  That's what that was!

But it was worth it.  Two day trips-- I really sort of love them.  We were in our beds and our air-conditioned house by last night, and we're back in the saddle again.