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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Currently Unsupervised

So, upon my return home, I have, once again, rediscovered the peace and quiet of an empty house.
And remembered why I had four children in the first place.
Boy, it's lonely here without the short people.

 Mate has been working late and consumed with soccer, and although he makes an effort not to neglect me, well, the hole he leaves is noticeable.  I don't think Mate realized how noticeable until occurred to him that he hadn't seen Big T for two days running.

"That's okay.  He thinks we're getting a divorce."

"What?"  Mate asked.

"Well, he keeps saying, 'Has dad left you tonight'?  And he says it every time you're gone.  I'm this close to saying, 'Yes, and you're getting a new stepmother who's almost your age.'"

Mate snorts.  "I don't have the convertible to attract them.  Volunteering for soccer is my mid-life crisis."

"Well, if it doesn't involve a sweet young thang and a convertible, by all means keep volunteering."

But, well, with Big T in his room like Grendel, plotting the downfall of the loud, noisy church-singers in the neighborhood (or something-- I don't think its papered with dead bodies yet, but you never know) and me writing… well, it really is a tragedy when the internet goes down and Pandora cuts out.  I AM ALONE IN MY OWN HEAD.  And it is a bad thing.

So, that being said, I'm looking forward to the kids coming home tomorrow, and even better, my mom has sent pictures, which turn out to be a joy for the entire family.  

See-- today, I got the following pictures, with captions:

Caption:  We caught a crab.

Caption:  And a starfish

 Now look!  Aren't the pictures adorable?  Aren't my children lovely?  Isn't it sweet that when asked to wear a sweater she didn't care too much about Squish picked her older sister's old hand-me-down sweater (which, btw, Chicken found in the lost and found in my classroom when I was cleaning it out at the end of the year?)

So, I get these adorable pictures of my spawn, and I am happy.

And then I send them to Chicken, who is trying to do homework, and her response is this:

OMG--What the hell is that expression on ZB's face in the group shot?  And how many times did Grandma call Squish by my name in that sweater that I wore for six years?

I cracked up.

I think that expression is "HOLY CRAP IT'S A CRAB."  And she ASKED to wear that sweatshirt.

To which Chicken replied:

It was a passive aggressive move to replace me with her--don't trust the innocent cuteness of the expression.  IT'S ALL A TRAP.  


Sure it is.


And I'm using that picture of Zoomboy as my background for my phone.  Look--

Caption:  I choose YOU, Safari!

And, well, I couldn't answer for a while.  I was laughing until I peed.






Well you should stop sending me pictures that are comedy gold.  That picture is going to be around FOREVER.  

God, I hope so.  I really really hope so, because I'm still laughing.


So this is life home, alone, with only my computer for company.  I have to admit, I finished a proofread and two big deal blogposts yesterday-- but no fiction.  TODAY I am writing fiction.  Oddly enough, that's my job.


The animals are glad I'm back.  This is Steve, putting more scars on my shoulders, and I'd show you a picture of the dog, but he's still trying to become my bra, and frankly, any picture of him right now would be a little personal.

And work related-- don't forget-- Beneath the Stain is on pre-sale RIGHT HERE!

And Racing for the Sun  is out on audiobook RIGHT HERE!

And Bells of Times Square is on pre-sale RIGHT HERE! 

And Amy was a guest blogger for Elisa Rolle RIGHT HERE!

And DON'T forget that *kermit flail* Monday is coming up, writers-- I can only pimp your wares if I get your cover pic, blurb, and buy link in my inbox!

Peace out!


Sunday, July 27, 2014

San Francisco, We Were In You!

Do I look bohemian?  I should-- because seriously, that was as match as I got this weekend, which sort of sucks, because it was kind of a big deal.

We went to San Francisco this weekend so Mate could run the half-marathon.  It was, for us, the equivalent of all the missed date-nights of the last two months, all together in one weekend, and in the middle of that pesky race, we went to as many movies, as many restaurants, and held hands as often and as much as humanly possible.

Even if once or twice it was by mistake.

We arrived on Friday night, and were, quite frankly, too tired to do more than snuggle and watch Bourne Identity from beginning to end.

And snark about how small our hotel room was-- because it seems to me like every hotel in San Francisco should contain a warning about being functional origami.

Seriously… Mr. Owl, how many steps does it take to get around this hotel room?

Let's see.  A one.

A two.

A three.


But what the room lacked in charm, it made up in location (only a mile away from the finish line) and icy cold air conditioning, which, since it seemed irrationally hot in San Francisco, was like gold.  

Oh-- it also had a sun deck, which gave me some really awesome pictures.  So even though the concierge staff couldn't be bothered to call a frickin' cab (Not. Kidding.  I'm just enough of a traveller at this point for that to be a serious strike against a hotel staff!) it wasn't a bad place for a stay on a budget.

Don't you think so too?

Anyway, on Saturday, we had one thing to do and that was walk to the shuttle bus that took us to Fort Mason.  Once there, we wandered around the Running Expo wherein we saw A. A stunning number of small dogs, B. An adorable kid selling ear buds that stay IN YOUR EARS, and yes, I bought some, and not just because he was a holy jumping plot bunny, and C. An incredible array of inedible food.  I mean I get the dietary fiber/soluble protein thing that runners have to do, but folks, if you're eating something called "Gu" because it has the TEXTURE OF GOO, I'm thinking, "Somewhere, somehow, we have gone wrong as a species.  Mate bought four packets, said it saved his life.  Good for Mate!

Of course we also registered him for the half marathon-- the second half, which is why his picture is at 3Con Park and not over the bridge.  By the way?  This is right where he said his feet started cramping like a motherfucker, and he had three miles to go.  Let's hear it for Mate, who worked his ass off and limped to the finish, because that's when it takes real guts, right?

Anyway, we took the bus back from Fort Mason, and although we'd been PLANNING to take the tour bus at that point, two stints on the cramped, ex-school busses choking down diesel had us thinking we'd go get some lunch and then go catch a nap before we took in a movie.  Mate wanted to see two things this weekend-- one of them was Lucy, which we both loved.

Dinner, sleep, and then he left at around six-thirty to go line up to start the half.  He started running at eight-thirty a.m., and cleared the finish line at around 11:15. I'd been standing there since 10:20-- he usually makes better time than that when he's not cramping, and my forehead is now a little pink.  It would have been a lot pinker, but I swathed my new scarf (which matched stuff even less than the old scarf) around my head, because I was gonna go down throwing up if I didn't cover my head.  (So, good purchase, really!)

Anyway-- he came in, he recovered, we had just enough time for him to catch a shower and us to pack before we had to be out of our hotel room.  Then he directed me to Sausalito for lunch, which was awesome.

And then we made a tactical error.  We let me drive.

I'm not sure how I ended up going on the bridge to San Quentin three times, but that was not what was supposed to happen.  It was an hour out of our way, and by the time we got back to where we were supposed to be, we both needed to get out of the car.

Which is how, in a suburb near Hercules, CA, we saw the movie Hercules, starring The Rock, and we loved it.  It was tongue in cheek and fairly awesomely B-movie goodness.  And it was the other movie that Mate wanted to see.

And then we came home, stopping to eat on the way.

And now?  We're both going, "Got stuff to do, got stuff to do, got stuff to do…"

But I don't think we're gonna last.

Cause folks?  It's been a hell of a weekend.  I'm ready to sleep in my own bed with my dog.

And my Mate :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Everything is Awesome!

*  The kids have mastered the art of couching-- thank you Lego Movie for giving them the perfect way to do it!
*  The other night, an adult asked ZB a question he wasn't expecting.  I could tell that his ADHD completely shorted out his response mechanism.  

"Did you completely go to the zoo, there kid?"  I asked kindly.

He smiled sweetly, and made a little exploding motion with his hand.  "Boom!" he said.

Yeah, it's okay kid-- it happens to everyone.

*  The kids have been watching Malcolm in the Middle.  I was listening, even when I was in the Dragon's Cave, and I caught this gem:

"It's not a lie if it would be true if the facts were different."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the cornerstone of our congress right now. Political moment over.

* Squish and I had the following conversation as I was blowing my nose:

Squish: Allergies?

Me: No, boogers.

Squish: Yeah, I get those.

* A short text convo about fanfic:

Julianne: Derek + Parish?

Me: Derish?

Julianne: Oh, it's already a thing?

Me: I was taking a guess!

Julianne: *goes to look*

* Another short convo with Mate

Me: Emmanuelle Goes to Paris? The Secretary's Obsession? Beach House Obsession? Holy Wow! What's with all the soft core in the movie feed!

Mate: Welcome to Skin-e-Max.

Me: Really? Holy crap! No wonder 13 YO boys like cable!

* A short convo with the handsome very young single father of one of Squish's bes friends.

Handsome Young Father: Is your older daughter here?

Me: No, she's still in San Diego. Would you like to see some pictures?

HYF: Yeah! Oh, there she is. So, that guy who keeps showing up in all the pictures…is that her, uhm, boyfriend?

Me: No, that's her brother.

FTR? Her brother thought that was HYSTERICAL!

* Oh yeah-- I was interviewed HERE and showed up blogging HERE.

* Did I mention MACKEY'S ON PRE-SALE!!!

* And that I got Jury Duty in August. Now, last time, it was a 19 Yo who looked like Talker's Brian, getting popped for his third pocket full of party drugs. He was about to go down on a technicality for most of his life. I oozed mom-pity so strongly the prosecution pretty much dismissed me without batting an eyelash. I was obviously not going to be objective. I really hope that kid got off. I, uhm, don't anticipate that I'll be serving particularly long for this one.

* And I was feeling lost because I'd finished my Christmas novella-- ftr, I did 40,000 words in two weeks-- that was pretty damned dragon ridden, right?
Well, I was inspired. The guy in the magnet is the proprietor of Candy Heaven-- and I loved visiting it so much that I made it the center of my story. The story sort of just flew, and now I'm nervous as hell because I gave The Candy Man a rough draft of MY STORY, in case he wanted to change something. *chews nails* God, let it not suck.

* The kids are going to stay with mom this weekend while Mate and I go to San Francisco so Mate can run the half marathon. Everybody wish Mate luck--I know he's been really busy with soccer registration and filling in for the boss man at work, so I'm rooting for a perfect day to run. He deserves a good one!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Little Lost

You'll have to excuse me-- I just finished a novella, and I seem to be a little lost.

You see, I didn't realize I'd entered the dragon's cave.  I didn't.  I was just working.  Just doing my job.  Just striving for that 2-3k a day.  And then it was 4-5K, and then I was up until two in the morning, several days in a row.

And the foot hurt and I couldn't pull my head out, and I hadn't seen my kids even though they were right there next to me and…

I was a little lost.

But I finished the novella (my DSP Christmas offering, if they take it) and it was short and sweet and odd--because it also hurt--and I was torn between "Yes!  Yes!  This is exactly how it was supposed to be!"  and "I don't know, it sort of wrote itself, is it any good?  Do I need to go back and gut it?  Make it longer?  (It's 40K) Should it be a novel?  Should I strip it down?  Why can I not see it any way but how it is?"

And even though it's submitted, I'm a little lost.

My foot flared up, and I've spent two days at the pool, but I really can't do housework right now.  So I… what?  I sit?  Next to my husband?  And knit?  I could catch up on my correspondence (and there's a lot of it) but I'm not quite in this world yet, so I can't seem to put my thoughts in order.

Did I mention I'm a little lost?

I've got a picnic planned with the kids and their friends on Thursday-- yes.  An anchor.  I can plan that. Food, drink, dessert.  I can do that.  But I don't really need to make anything until Wednesday night/Thursday morning, so until then…

I mean, I should find myself by Thursday, right?

Tomorrow I should be able to do housework.  Maybe that will work.  Maybe if I excavate my desk and fold some clothes and make the kids go outside and play and take the dog for a walk, maybe I will know where I am.

The kids leave on Friday, going with my parents until Wednesday so Mate and I can go to San Francisco and he can run the half marathon.  I hope I find myself by then, or I will be lost in SF and he will be running for 13 miles and I will be doing my 5K wander to try to find him… will I be found then?

Will I find myself in San Francisco because I left my brain at my kitchen table?

That would be nice, because right now, I'm still with Adam and Finn, wandering in and out of their world and their dialog, wondering, "Did I do it right?  Have I tied up every knot?  What about John?  Is he okay?  Kee and Emm?  Yeah.  Walter and Nate?  Oh I hope so-- they're already on presale.  And… and… oh my God!  What about Mackey!  Should I start marketing for Mackey?  Should I?  Will I do enough?  Will I do too much?  Did I forget about marketing while I was caught in my writing haze?

Oh hell.

Where am I again?

I'm home.  It needs cleaning.  The kids need a lap and a cuddle.  Jurassic Park is on.  My correspondence can wait.  I have nothing to work on right now.  Work is done for the evening.

I'm sorry.  I was rambling.  You see, I'm a little lost.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Day At the Fair

*  Note to folks who read my blog on GoodReads.  The feed screws up the picture size and word ratio EVERY TIME.  I guarantee, this post will make MUCH MORE SENSE on my regular blog page.  Saying.


 We went to the State Fair today, because it was Zoomboy's day to dance.

Next week it will be Squish's day to dance, but Mate and I are going to San Francisco so he can run instead.  My parents will take her.  (Do we like Squish's socks?  Julianne gave her two socks that make one alpaca.  I adore them.  Mate seemed to think they were just eyeballs.


So today, we were going to the Fair.

Normally I loathe the State Fair, especially when I'm there escorting the kids alone.

It is loud.  It is hot.  It is sweaty.  It costs too much.  The kids want things we can't afford.  I don't like getting on the rides.  We never win the games.  By the time we get there, the animals are all gone, even the ones having babies.  Nobody wants to look at the art.

But today was different.

Today I was there by myself, and my foot hurt, and the Goddess responded by giving me a perfect day at the fair.

Today, the kids were old enough to ride the rides by themselves.  See Squish?  See her look skeptical?  Trust me, she was smiling at the end.

Today, nobody was on the midway, so it was easy for them to win something.  Even if Zoomboy won twice, it was pretty obvious he was giving the second one to Squish.

And that was all it took.  Four rides a piece, and four rounds of games, and I could say, "We are done, we have spent plenty of money in this concrete death trap of lies, let's go look at livestock!"

And they did!

After a stop in the giant human bubble pit, of course, because seriously-- what's a trip to the fair without being in one of the bubbles in the giant human bubble pit?  Sayin'.

But after that, there were… well, mammals.  Mammalling.

See the pregnant goats?  See them ignore me?  That is the hallmark of a mammal, mammalling.

 Even the kids do it.

(I COMMAND you all to forgive me for that terrible, terrible pun.)

See this cow?  She is due tomorrow.  Yeah, sure, it was only 94 degrees today, but I have to tell you, I remember being pregnant in July.

And August.

And September.

One of my clearest memories when I found out I was pregnant with Squish (in August) was the thought, "Oh holy Goddess, I shall NEVER be pregnant in the summertime AGAIN!

Well, the cows and the goats and the Jacob Sheep (as opposed to the Orson sheep or the Matthew sheep or the Gilbert sheep, I guess)  are pregnant now.  Or recuperating with babies.  And, in case you were wondering?  I think they loathe all living creatures forever right now.  Just saying.  Wasn't getting a lot of love in the nursery, you know what I mean.
However, this display in the children's craft section got a lot of love-- at least from my kids.

It's Intel (where Mate works) made out of Legos.  Seriously.  Check it out.  I looked at it, said, "Oh, hey-- your dad works at that building right there.  (Third from the right.  No lie.)  So this was charming, and the kids thought it was timely.  Go us.  Mate didn't get there until right before Zoomboy danced.  We asked him if he wanted to see it, but he was not particularly impressed.  Said he saw it every day.  Go figure.

But at last…

Zoomoby finally got to dance.  He is the turquoise shirt in the middle, dancing to "Fly", but I have to tell you, his best moment was not captured well on film.  It was when I taped him dancing in a toga to "Go the Distance" and realized that underneath the toga he was wearing gym shorts and tube socks.  Mate and I looked at each other and said, "Now that's classy!" because hey!  The footies I'd put in his backpack got nothing on his father's tube socks scrunched down his leg.

But he danced, and it was awesome, and after that, we went to eat. I ate fried catfish for dinner.  It's something I ate in New Orleans, and no, nothing beats it in NOLA, but hey.  I was having withdrawals, because it was nummy.

But afterwards, we went into the Undersea expo--
see?  It's right by the twin bears, and Zoomboy had to pose, for hambone reasons.

Anyway, so we ate, went to see the display, watched the kids salute an eagle, checked out the frisky otters (sounds like a ska band, doesn't it-- Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Frisky Otters!) and then went to eat funnel cake, for my arteries are still not clogged from catfish reasons.

 And after the funnel cake, there was a display where you dug in a sand pit and PG&E flashed red lights and a siren at you.  Zoomboy thought this right here was worth the price of admission, and his father and I thought that was high comedy.

But you can see that it's getting to be twilight by now and although we didn't see everything at the fair, well, the kids are going next week with grandma and grandpa, so we didn't feel bad.  We'd been there for seven hours, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts were playing in the background, and we took one monorail ride in the lowering twilight, walked through the midway, checked out the new soccer stadium, and called it a day.

It was, in fact, a very good day.

And perhaps, now that there are no more diapers, and no more emergency trips to the potty, and no more of me having to ride the rides, and no more strollers or carrying kids, or crying, or those other things that happen when you drag young children to the fair to dance in the elventy-twelve degree weather…

Perhaps, the fair can stop being a source of anxiety to me.

Because today we went to the fair, and we had an awful lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Chariot and the Devil

 People ask me this question a lot: How do you become successful?  How do you make a living writing?  I've always wanted to do that.  How do you do that?  Is it worth it?

My standard answer is: I'm lucky.  I've been fortunate to have good fans.  And yes, it's worth it, all of the sacrifices are worth it to be here, making a living doing the thing I love most.

That's the truth--especially the first two sentences.  That last one is also true--at the same time it is the most appalling lie.

I love writing.  I love the way it makes me feel, I love the way people respond to it.  My entire life has always been about the story, and being a writer is being the story.  And that's amazing.  I'm not kidding--it's like sex, and the porn tape of the most amazing sex you would ever be privileged to witness or have is on a continuous loop through your brain, except it's not just sex, so it doesn't get boring, nobody gets pregnant, and there is no chafing.  Oh, and the people having the sex look way better than I do, so that's a major plus.

But at the same time writing is an amazing, primal ride, it's also the curse.  In fact, it's almost exactly like the Chariot and the Devil.

Now I've talked about reading tarot cards before, and how amazing it is when what seems to be a simple story, told in the symbols on the cards, turns out to be somebody else's life spelled out in careless runes.  I am continually surprised at the writers I know who either read tarot actively now, have read it in the past, or are constantly captivated by the people they know who do read.  To me, it's only a natural progression-- writers tell stories.  The symbols in the tarot cards tell stories, and the writers interpret them.  Very often they use the context of the symbols-- the person who is getting the reading-- to interpret that story, and thus the reading becomes personal, becomes real, becomes true.  I've forgotten a whole lot about my teaching credential work (because hey! 23 years ago!) but I do remember endless discussion about the interpretation of words and symbols, and the heartbeat of literature as defined by a pre-awareness, a present awareness, a conflict, a climax, a resolution, and a suggestion of the future.  Most tarot readings follow this same structure-- for people who read or write a lot, interpreting the structure is practically instinct. 
And the symbols themselves are also instinctual.  They are elementals, parts of our world, parts of our psyches, parts of ourselves. 

Thus it is with the Chariot and the Devil.  

The Chariot is the card of journeys, of forces that bear us from our intended path, the card of the warrior who is cut off from any influence but the road under his feet and the control of the opposing powers at his command.  The Chariot is the card of being swept away, of doing battle with the elements, of being taken away from our homes and our comfort by mighty things beyond our power to control.  Sometimes you can bear your cart back on the intended path, and sometimes you have no choice but to hang on for the ride.

The Devil, too, is a card of primal forces.  He usually holds humans in bondage--he is the power, the addiction, the surge of things that we can either break free of or draw strength from--but even his strength is an addiction that will either kill us with the surrender of our own egos or that we will expend more strength fighting to break free. 

Writers know these cards really really well.  

Sometimes when we sit down to write, we are swept away by the Chariot, and the feeling is… exhilarating.  We are in control!  We are bearing that clattering cart on a journey, and the wind and the sea and the earth are sweeping under our feet, and we wield our sword and we are gods!!! 

That's writing.  That's the journey.  That's what we do when we take living, breathing human beings from Point A to Point B.

It's incredibly addictive.

It holds us in thrall.

I've talked about the dragon before, and how it rides me or I ride it, but it's always about the ride.  I've bemoaned my house, and my mourned time with kids, and wondered, constantly wondered, if I am doing right by myself, and my family, by jumping on that Chariot every goddamned time it beckons.  Can I break this addiction?  This primal force thundering through my veins?  Is the ego-death of becoming other people worth it, every time a character haunts me through sleep, through cleaning the house, through moth infestations and chores I don't do and chores I should make the kids do, and mementos of my children's childhood-- 

It's one thing to say, "Yes, mommy is working!" but Mommy lives to work, she thrives on work, and breaking apart the ego to the parts that have died in work and that must survive to raise children and run a house is difficult, it's exhausting, it's like breaking an addiction or fighting a battle that rages continuously.  

I'm writing.  Get up and clean the kitchen.  I'm writing.  Get up and take the kids for a walk.  I'm writing.  Feed the goddamned dog.  I'M WRITING. TALK TO YOUR HUSBAND! I'M WRITING. ENGAGE, GODDAMMIT, ENGAGE!

 I'm writing.
If I don't learn how to stop, it may one day be the only human contact I can manage.  The Chariot may have borne me from all those I love, from all that is human, and the Devil may have me in thrall forever.

Melodramatic, of course.  A life and death struggle from a fat woman at her computer at the kitchen table, in a room filled with moths and office furniture, but meant to prepare food.
But it feels real inside my head. 

I'm taking the kids for a walk.  So I'm not writing.  We're going swimming tomorrow.  So I'm not writing.  I'm cooking dinner instead of having Mate stop for takeout.  So I'm not writing.  I'm watching television and knitting with the family.  SO I'M NOT WRITING I'M NOT WRITING I'M NOT WRITING.  

I'm not writing.  I'm practicing ego resuscitation. I'm remembering the things that make me human.

So I can take those things and use them to control that Chariot, enslaved to the primal forces of the most insidious devil mankind has ever battled. 

The Devil of creativity, the entropy that creates apathy, the thing that drags us away from our families and our loves, from our pride and our homes…

And creates homes and families and loves and prides that we will never have.

So is it worth it?

Well I say it is.

I believe it is.

But I'm the warrior on the Chariot, I'm the ego in thrall to the Devil.  
I clearly believe what I'm saying-- but ask yourself.  

You know who I am.  You know what my cards are.  Am I trustworthy?  Can you control those cards? If you can, jump on the Chariot, and strike up the conversation with Old Nick.

You too can be part of the ride.