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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Yet Another Thing to Blame FB for...

Okay-- so FB is doing this new timesuck thing… they've got celebrity lists, with things like, "Nine Power Couples that Can't be Beat!" or "15 Fashion Disasters These Celebs Wish They'd Seen Coming"-- and they're addictive. I can't read the mean ones-- I refuse to click a link that says, "8 Celebs that didn't lose their baby weight!" or "Celebrities that never should have hit the screen!" but some of the more positive ones, I'm like, "Oooh, yeah-- I wanna see that!" and BAM!  The website is always HEINOUSLY loaded with adds, so it slows my computer way the hell down, and WHAM! ZOOM! FUCK! There goes another ten minutes of my time that I didn't have.

But yeah.

I know how addicting the list can be.

And to top it off, Dan Skinner (who has done some of my favorite book covers-- The Locker Room, Super Sock Man, Clear Water and Bolt-Hole to name a few) asked us to name our hands down, number one teenage crush.


Amy's got lists on her mind again.

So I'm going to throw a couple of lists at you.  Don't hate me.  In fact, blame FaceBook!

List 1-- Embarrassing Celebrity Crushes Before I Was 20

1.  Roy from Emergency
2. Speed Racer
3. Shaun Cassidy
4.  The German Soldier from Summer of My German Soldier
5. Don Johnson
6. Bruce Willis
7. Tom Sellick
8. Captain Kirk
9. Bruce Springsteen
10. Gilligan  (This lasts one explains so much.)

List 2-- Embarrassing Celebrity Crushes After 40

1.  Bruce Springsteen
2.  Matty Shultz
3. Jensen Ackles
4. Misha Collins
5. Tyler Hoechlin
6. Dylan O'brien
7. Tyler Posey
8. Steven Ammell
9. Steven Bichon
10. Nathan Fillion

List 3-- 15 Characters I Keep Picturing Naked Together (I recognize these are hugely popular fan-doms in their own right, but I can't. Stop. Looking. At art.)

1. Stiles/Derek (Shocked, you are!)
2. Dean/Castiel (You may faint!)
3. Spock/Kirk (New version.)
4. Mav/Goose (Take my breath away!)
5. Andrew Garfield's Spiderman with Dane Haas's Green Goblin (Or Macquire/Franco-- take your pick.)
6.  McGarrett & Dano
7.  Lieutenant and Crane (Not all my fantasies are m/m)
8.  Tony Stark/Steve Rogers
9.  Winter  Soldier/ Captain America
10.  Sherlock/John (RDJ/Jude Law, OR Benedict/Martin version)
11.  Aragorn/Legolas
12.  Tauriel/Kili (Again. See not all fantasies being m/m)
13, The Arrow/Felicity (ahem!)
14. Franklin and Bash (on the other hand…)
15. Hamlet and Horatio (Don't lie. You've thought it too.)

List 4--11 things I Want to Make

1. Another Shawl For Me
2. A sweater for Zoomboy
3.  A hat for Mate
4. FINISH Squish's sweater
5. FINISH Chicken's blanket (possibly this week!)
6. A scrawl (scarf/shawl)  for my friend Berry Jello
7. A plain squishy scarf for my friend's son
8. A new hat with ears for my friend's daughter (If you detect a pattern in me making stuff for friends and friends kids, it's that they don't WASH THEIR EPIC DR. WHO SCARVES MULTIPLE TIMES AND THEN ASK ME WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE WOOL) which brings me to #9
(In yarn, Steve would be much more attractive from the
other end.)
9. ABSOLUTELY NOT another scarf for Big T ever.  BUT a scarf to give to Becky who is donating her scarves to an LGBTQ homeless shelter after GRL.
10. Slipper socks for EVERYONE.
11. Cat-butt coasters.  Don't ask me why. I blame Tracy Tucker-Faul on FB. (Are we detecting a trend?)

List 5-- Bizarre Subjects That Appear Out of Nowhere In My House

1. How ZB got his OUTSTANDING science test scores from watching WAY TOO MUCH National Geographic and How Things Are Made.

2. What aliens in Star Wars are required to have some sort of environmental adaptation to interact with humans.

3. How the cat left a whisker in Squish's hair after a night of hard loving.

4. How much the dog loves my tits.

5.  How much the dog disdains everyone else's tits.

6.  How the girls at the local McDonald's are doing-- since they know me by name and all.

7.  How the team mom for Mate's team works as a receptionist for a funeral home and it's a rocking job.

8.  How I betray feminism by watching television shows with base misogynistic subtexts.

9.  How the boys are pretty anyway.

10.  How I managed to have a phone conversation with my stepmom about horse endowment, knotting, mpreg, and fanfic, and she finally had to bail because her embarrassment kicked in.  (I called this a win.  I also call it a good thing she doesn't read the blog, because alas, I don't think she'd find it as amusing as the rest of us do-- which is too bad.  I'd want to know that woman in the fabric store, wouldn't you?)

So there you go.  Remember-- I blame FaceBook.  You should too!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Chicken

Happy Birthday Chicken--

This is the first birthday you've had in which you've actually not been home.  In fact, this is the first birthday of any of my children in which I haven't been able to see my child on his or her birthday.  I know I'll see you Friday, but I do detect a bit of a trend.

When you and your brother were small we tried the BIG BIRTHDAYS-- we invited everyone we knew and attempted to entertain.  We weren't very good at it, but we tried.  I remember when your brother sobbed through his birthday party because he didn't realize the piƱata was meant to be torn apart, and when you got spanked for kicking your babysitter in the shin.  In your defense, we had just moved away and asked her to come to your party because we knew you missed her--that was always your way.  The first time your brother came back from camp, you hauled off and slapped him in the face.  You are not kind to those who leave you, Chicken, even if it's not their fault.

It wasn't until Zoomboy turned three that I realize what a disservice we'd done you.  When he was three, we had a tiny birthday party, and grandma and grandpa came over and Auntie Wendy, and he got two toys and spent hours under the kitchen table playing with one little toy.  He was so happy.  We've kept the little kids' birthdays small ever since.  You and Big T would have been so happy if we'd only not told you that your BIRTHDAY would be the day that all wrongs were righted, all childhood sorrows ended, and when you were given friends forever and ever amen.  

But it was too late by then.  You and Big T were already prepped for the terrible cycle of anticipation and disappointment.  You know the song-- "Children waiting for the day they feel good, happy birthday, happy birthday…"  That was you.  Ice skating, Chuck E. Cheese, slumber parties, the entire soccer team over for pizza-- we tried so hard to make your birthday a HUGE EVENT, because that's how we felt about YOU-- that you were HUGE EVENTS in our lives, and we wanted to celebrate that.

Forgive us.  We were young.  Not that you're not HUGE EVENTS, but that the celebration needs to not be gaudy.  That you were both so sensitive to any and all fantasies about what life would be like on the BIG DAY that any let down only served to break your heart.  

Your heart has been broken many times.  

And you try so hard to be cynical and laid back now, like it doesn't really get to you that you can't count on life to give your heart the things it needs.  But you can't hide who you really are.  You can't hide that a pet rat gives you ridiculous happiness, or that having your cat come up and scratch you when you come home from school makes you proud that you brought the little sociopath up right.  You can't hide that you love children and you could play with them for hours (when I could barely play barbies with you for ten minutes, much to my shame) or that sometimes you just need a good cry.  You can't hide that you're disappointed in me because for all my feminism I still buy into the social lie that shaving your armpits is the natural order of things, or that you think pudgy mom with her warrior hamster knitting needles is more that a little ridiculous.  

But for all that you are smarter than us (aren't all twenty-year olds smarter than their parents?) you still love us.  You're still happy to hear from us, and text us about your grades and tell us about your day.  So today, your birthday is just another day for you, Chicken.  You set it up in your head to just be an average day, and you were sort of irritated that we called and texted because it's still a BIG DEAL to us that twenty years ago, mom walked into the hospital at 7:30 pm and you were born at 8:20 pm and they kicked us out at 10:30 am, and if you hadn't been so tough, my tiniest baby (8 lbs was small for my babies) you would not have survived that winter in the hills without heat, or the ventricle defect that might not have closed, or the time your brother tried to drown you with orange juice because mom couldn't get there fast enough and you were crying. 

So yes.  Your absence leaves a hole here in our tiny house, and even though we have more than enough crap and children to fill the hole physically, we miss you very very much.  We miss you on your birthday, and we will miss you as you go off to fulfill what I think is going to be a very very awesome promising future.  

Just remember to take that future one day at a time, Chicken.  Learn the lesson we did.  Don't live for the BIG EVENT or the FANTASTIC MOMENT.  Live for the small moments, the rat in the hood, the pretty pretty yarn, being right about something mom is wrong about, someday having a place where your psychopathic cat (or another psychopathic cat) may scratch your shins at will.  

Your life has been a collection of amazing, trying, painful, wonderful small moments.  I miss that you are not here everyday.  We have seen many grandmothers pass away, and before they've passed, every one of them has gone back in their minds to the time their children were young and lived at home, and they were loved and needed.  That's one of the things I look forward to in my old age, Chicken.  Reliving the time when you were young and lived at home, and you needed me.

But I'll never doubt your love.  

Happy Birthday, Chicken--


Sunday, September 21, 2014

How to Get to 8 p.m. Without Even Trying

1.  Sleep in until 9.

2.  Wander into the kitchen and putter around on the computer without actually doing anything useful.

3.  At 10:30, jump feet first into a social media brouhaha in a burst of temper that threatens to take over your day.

4.  At twelve o'clock walk away to shower.

5.  At one o'clock make a vow to do the laundry, right after you write a few words.

6.  At three o'clock, recognize you've been falling asleep over your computer for the past two hours, and 200 words isn't worth this time spent on your ass.

7.  At 3:10, cave into the inevitable and nap.

8.  At 4:10, wake up and try to write some more.

9.  At 4:30, give in to the siren call of the movie your husband is watching on television.  It's one he really loves (The Proposal) and for some reason sitting down to watch the rest of this movie seems like a good idea.

10.  At 5:30, recognize that you're not going to set the world on fire today.  Read a little.  For pleasure.  Resist the temptation to write a letter of confession to all the people to whom you owe things that don't involve reading for pleasure.  Fight the impulse to send Tara Lain a thank you note for getting you out of your own head.

11.  At 6:30, begin dinner by initiating the countdown to the most evil foodstuff known to man:  Bacon.

12.  From 6:30-7:30 do an amazing thing: WRITE.  Also, add ground beef, noodles, olives, and spaghetti sauce.  We're ingratiating ourselves to our family today having potentially pissed off all our friends.

13.  7:30-- finish dinner.  Dish for family.  Eat.  It is decadent and fattening.  Much like your day.  Chat desultorily on computer as you eat.

14.  8:30-- look at the clock and go, "Oh holy crap!  It's 8:30 p.m., and I wasn't even trying!"

15.  Open window to blog.

16.  Plan on another long night-- after all, there are still words to be written.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

… and I just happened to notice...

So, I had just gotten into the car to drive home from Yaoi-Con on Sunday night, and I just happened to notice…

That I'd been wearing my shoes for twelve hours.  Now these are really comfy shoes, but no shoes should be worn for twelve hours, and a little irritation on the top of my foot suddenly, just as I was pulling onto the freeway to 101, became unbearable.  In that moment, I could feel every flake of dead skin, every corrugation of canvas, every half-dried drop of sweat, every tiny pressure point on the bottom, every abused atom of my feet as it was being hyper stimulated by air and the gas and brake peddle.

I almost wrecked the car.

ADHD people know what I'm talking about. The thing starts the spiral of the thing which makes the thing get worse than the thing and the other thing builds up and the thing hurts and the thing bothers you and every little tiny brainwave narrows down to obsess about the freaking thing!

I was seriously so obsessed a about the thing that when I finally pulled off the road after an hour so I could change my shoes, I almost wet my pants.  Apparently there was another thing I'd neglected to obsess about while I was obsessing about the thing.

Jebus.  Next time I notice my freaking feet, I'll change my shoes immediately. 

And the other day I was in line at McDonalds, and I just happened to notice…

The truck in front of me wasn't giving money to the girl in the counter.  It was giving pizzas.  Three Costco pizzas.  And grapes.  And some oranges.  

And I shit you not, nobody would fess up.  "So! You guys having a party?"

"I"m sorry?  That'll be five-sixty-two ma'am!"

Seriously-- next time I go to McDonald's, I want a pizza.  And some grapes.

So, I was driving into my neighborhood and I just happened to notice…

The lady walking two dogs.  One of them was a Great Dane and the other was a snack.  Or, you know, just small enough to be a snack.  A Chihuahua, that was literally half the size of Johnnie.  It's about the size of the Great Dane's jaw.

I wonder if those dogs are buddies, or if one day, the little one is just going to disappear. I'm sayin'.  It could happen.

So, the kids were bitching at each other in the back of the car, and I just happened to notice…

That the bitchier they are at each other, the more likely they are to sit next to each other.  What the hell is that?  I mean seriously-- is it so when they pull off the gloves and get ready to beat each other like cookie dough, they're in proximity?  I don't know, but there's a reason the station wagon was so beloved.  You get a mother in there with some reach, and she could take most of the kids out with one swing.

Oh-- and this one is bad.

There is a Safeway near my house that sometimes allows people to fundraise.  Girl Scouts do it, soccer teams do it,  Catholic churches do it-- and two boys, one around six, and the other either his very young father or his older brother--do it.  The boys are black.

So, I was in Safeway when I just happened to notice…

A security guard swaggers in and tells the check out girl, "I keep telling those people they can't do that here.  I need to go call the police but the cops don't care."

The girl goes, "The kids selling chocolate?  Aw…"  It was obvious her sympathy was all for the kids-- because I've seen them before.  They're polite, they're neat, the candy looks good quality, and they're not pushy.  They also stand across the little street on the verge, so they're never in your face.  I've bought candy a could of times, and they never try to sell you more than you want-- I like that in a fundraiser myself.

So I go outside, signal the kids over, and pull out my wallet.  And while I"m buying five dollars worth of candy, the woman who was behind me in the check out line comes up and buys more candy and gives it to me.  And both of us look at the security guard--who has just come out and was heading for the guys before he saw us--like he can go piss up a rope.

Because Jesus, how hard is it to just happen to notice that this situation was all kinds of fucked up.  I've never, not once, seen the Catholic church rousted from fundraising right next to the store.  


Well, that last one sucked, but that's about all… oh… wait… I've got one more…

So, I was remembering what day it is and I just happened to notice…

That Beneath the Stain Part IV is out tonight.  You know, in case you didn't already buy the whole package.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Place We Can Be Ourselves

I love Yaoi-Con. 

Unequivocally, and without reservation.

This was my fourth YC-- and the first one was literally weeks after I'd been pulled out of my classroom.  In fact, it was one of the things that kept me from just falling apart.  It was my first convention with Dreamspinner Press, and I had to tell my lawyers I had a book signing in San Francisco-- they were so impressed-- and I felt like maybe I had something to offer the world.

Lucy Wilde from
Despicable Me 2
I remember being a combination of nervous and exhausted at my first convention with DSP--and that combination has followed me through the last four years.  I also remember being so impressed--everybody there, even the most jaded dealer, was there because they loved the art, the stories, and the general idea that yes, we were adults, but we could still play make-believe. 

The other dealers had such an awesome mix of art and ingenuity and excitement.  Many of them dressed, and those who didn't dress displayed their talent and enthusiasm through their art or writings. I was so proud to be in their number.

And the attendees.  

Tina from Bob's
Chicken and Big T get excited about cons and they plan their costume for weeks in advance.  I'm so proud of them--I feel like I'm part of that, since we've dressed up for the Ren Faires forever.   I'm so excited to see what people at Yaoi-Con can do as well.  I get goofy happy when I see really well conceptualized costumes, and while I have some pictures (not great ones-- for some reason, my camera was all into the blurry inside) I missed some of the best.  The two awesome ladies who dressed as Evil Kirk and Evil Spock AS A COUPLE come to mind.  I couldn't gush enough.

Dean and Cas--
Destiel forever.
And into this wacky-- and wondrous-- mix of costumes and excitement and general consumeristic frenzy, there were actual fans of mine who came to see me.  Roget, Erin, Laura, Jason--I'm talking to you.  There were other folks as well, whose names I didn't get, who told me they'd come especially to meet me, and that made me really proud.  (The young woman who was depressed that we didn't have a paperback copy of Truth in the Dark stands out particularly, as does @ctrl_issues whose name I didn't get.)  

Roget, posing
 regally as a
Since I was sent to track down Prince of Cats, Alex Woolfson, and Hamlet Machine (Chicken had some very specific requests for her birthday, since she was going to a Linkin' Park concert instead of YC) I could totally appreciate people who ventured to a crowded booth and said, "Uhm, I just came to talk to you.  Because…" It takes courage to do that, even if the person is smiling and accepting.  And I know I tend to freeze up in front of people.  I'm sure Alex Woolfson thought I was a complete idiot, even though he was gracious and amazing about it.  So I appreciate everyone who came to talk to me. 

I thought you were all wonderful, and you helped make my weekend.

Kirk and Doc McCoy
Assassin's Creed
Also making my weekend were Mary Calmes who could teach an entire seminar on salesmanship and being the kind of reader every writer wants to have, and being the kind of writer everyone should read.  Her simple enthusiasm for books made our booth special.  And yeah-- I could be biased, but I know most of the world agrees with me, so I'm going to say that's the absolute truth.  

Julianne is stunning in a
Also with the DSP booth were Anne Reagan, our beloved editor at Harmony Ink Books, Julianne Bentley (who enjoyed the corset booth very much!) from the admin department, and Beau Shemery and Augusta Li, two our our most celebrated fantasy authors, and author EM Lynley who was at my first Yaoi-Con and here as well!

In all, it was a fun weekend of books and camaraderie, and although I missed my family (as always) I was also thrilled to be there.
So is Beau :-)

Of course, I bought stuff for the kids-- hats with ears and kitsune for the younger set, all sorts of birthday gifts for Chicken, and-- my favorite find-- Gillian Anderson Agent Scully Pins for T.  (Hey-- straight boy candy at Yaoi-Con is a find, trust me on this!)  
Roget and his friend show us what
Welcome to Night Vale is all about. 

And when I got home?  

Well, Zoomboy summed it up best:  When you leave and come back, the dog is like, "YOU'RE HERE YOU'RE HERE YOU'RE HERE!" and the cat's are like, 'Why did you leave me!"  

My family is more small dog than cat, I think, because they sure did make me happy to be home.

Miss Julianne
and I got our knitting on
during the slow parts.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Short Mental Monologue of What Goes on in My Head Before I Leave on a Trip...

Getting up at six-thirty, taking a shower, checking my e-mail SQUIRREL Did I remember to pack the haven't checked my e-mail!
electronics bag?  No.  Didn't remember to pack the electronic's bag because I

Okay, dressed, hair up, doing make-up, good, never do make-up SQUIRREL Squish, I need to do your hair!  Good, hair done, nice and brushed, be sure to make Dad braid it for you, have I packed the Mary bag?  Mom, you can't put the octopurt in the Mary bag, the octopurt is for Chicken!  Wait, did I check my e-mail, what do you mean the octopurt is for Chicken?  Must text Chicken!  Chicken, do you want the octopurt?  The octopurt is epic, and all stuffed animals are GOOD stuffed animals.  Okay, will leave the octopurt-- wait, is it time to leave for school?

In the minivan, cruising along, do you have money for lunch, yes because I gave you money for lunch yesterday and dad gave you money for lunch online, so you guys are rolling in lunch money, so that's okay SQUIRREL!  Oh no!  I forgot to put the Mary bag and the electronics bag and the other bag in the front of the car… oh.  Wait.  Still need to drop of the kids and drop off the dog before I leave town.

Huh… Okay kids, bye, be good, have fun at school and practice and during your games and during your doctor appointments and with the grandparents and I'll be leaving now… yeah.  After I drop of the dog SQUIRREL! Wait-- did I give you lunch… oh, never mind.

Okay, finally home, and the yarn bag's packed and the Mary bag is packed and the electronics bag is packed except for the laptop cause I'm checking my e-mail, Hi, Ariel!  How you doin'!  Yeah, let's chat for just second because I've got to leave SQUIRREL!  FIVE MINUTES AGO!  Okay, got all the bags into the car, are we ready to go?  Ready to go a little?  Ready to go a lot?  Because… okay… backing out of the house, stop at the mini-mart, fill up on gas and go…

I"m fifteen minutes late.

But I'm thinking about Avery and about Cal and bout the fact that Beneath the Stain Part 3 is coming out tonight, and how excited I am and how everybody is talking this up and that people sort of love it, and then Avery's car is breaking down and Cal is helping him on the side of the road and hey, what's that song?  Is that Damien Jurado, because I'm loving his album and this song sounds just like Mackey and SQUIRREL!  Hey-- people do love Mackey, don't they?

Then I stop at the rest stop and I"m on time.

And then… Mary texts me when I'm in so much traffic heading for the Bay Bridge that I can actually look at texts, and oh no!  She's here already!  And I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!  And traffic is crawling and she's asking where are you?

I take a picture.  It's easier to send.  And another when there's a pause.

And finally, finally, I'm on the road, free and clear, except why is this car going so slow?  And the one in front of it?  And hazard lights-- they have hazard lights on… why is that… oooh… hey, how long does this funeral procession go anyway?

Two miles?

But that puts me right at


And there's Mary.

And our Yaoi-Con adventure can begin.

In fact, it already has-- there's the first Bishie boy, and isn't he terrific!

 I can't wait to see more…


Monday, September 8, 2014


So, Thursday was all about getting home and unpacking, and the last three days have been a combination of playing catchup with the work on my desk, getting moar work on my desk, unpacking, and trying really hard to get ready for Yaoi-Con next week.

The last time I was so far behind in this job was last November-- I remember something about eleven edits and NANOWRIMO and the rest was pretty much a blur.

*  Squishie was goalie when her team got pounded. They lost something like seven to nothing, and Squish went for every ball, even though she got kicked in the hand a couple of times.  We were really proud of her-- especially of her can-do attitude.  Go Squish!  And boy, it's gonna be a loooongg season.

*  Mate and Zoomboy's team won 5-1.  Mate and the other coach both agreed that it had been a close game-- one of those games where the score is misleading because the goals were such a small part of the actual play.  He was happy all weekend, and I was proud for him.  We have yet to figure out if Zoomboy has registered the fact that he's won.

*  Mate and I attended back-to-school night.  Mate got Squish's class, wherein he determined that if she continues to do well, she may possibly skip fourth grade.  She's currently one of six third graders in a combined 3/4th class, and, well, 90% of her work is at a 4th grade level.  That's sort of awesome for her-- I hope-- because seriously, we don't want her to grow up too fast.

*  Zoomboy is in the sixth grade.  This means that he's got a trip to Yosemite in March, he needs to pay close attention to the three different teachers he has, and the yes, cyberbullying is an issue, and that his class has already had girl drama and texting/FB issues.  That last thing made my stomach go absolutely frigid with fear.  ZB is not ready for this shit.  Then I remembered…

*  In one giant windmill flail, Zoomboy destroyed the tablet that we were letting the kids play games on.  Yes, we were able to replace it with insurance (and a temper tantrum on Mate's part because the insurance was… well, whack.  Thereyago.  Short answer.  Whack.)  but the kids are well aware that computers and them?  Not going to be great friends, no, not until they get to go buy their own.

*  I finally-- finally-- finished the Amy's Lane installment that should have been up on Tuesday.  (You can find it right HERE, and it's about writing collaboration and goblins.)

*  I got to hold babies.  (I did not get pictures, which is a crying shame, because these babies WILL steal your heart, from the squishy little chocolate cheeks to their curly black hair to their soulful brown eyes-- bebes!!!!)

*  The second installment of Beneath the Stain came out.  This is only important because now more people are angry at me.  (I seriously read a review that said, "Fuck you, Amy Lane, how could you DO this to my poor broken heart!"  I was like, "Uhm… so, you liked it?"  I mean, yes-- there's a reason I have to ask!)

*  The dog and the cat got comfortable again.  This is only important because I'm leaving for Yaoi-Con on Thursday, and they shall hate me moar.

*  I got the last of my swag-- I am a wee bit disappointed, and shall be on the phone tomorrow (add one more thing to the list) because I think they could have come out better.

*  Mate and I have been entertaining each other during Mate's vacation.  Two examples of how much fun we've been having are:

Mate, while looking through the refrigerator this morning: We seem to be out of milk.  *cough cough*  And donuts!  (Yes, I bought some-- he asks for so little, my Mate.)

Mate, looking at his phone image: Why am I so dark?

Me: Too much Nietsche as a child?

*  Oh!  And, for some reason, the lovely Trina, my aqua instructor, thought I'd be the only person she knew who would appreciate her alligator god purse.  She could be right.  I thought it was awesome, but I seem to be the only one.  Ah, well.  She'll be the only person I know with one, and that alone shall make her special.  (She's pretty special anyway, but the purse just makes it.)

And I'm afraid that's where I've got to leave it.  1 a.m. is where I draw the line for blogging, I think, and since I'm going to have to blog before I leave for YC?  Yeah.  Time to go.  Have a good week folks-- don't forget to check out the article on collaboration.  I swear next time?  I'll be funny!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


 Okay-- I admit it.  As a parent, my ethics regarding my children's attendance at school are, at best…



When Chicken was in middle school, I took her out of school during Valentine's Day, because for her, it was an emotional bloodbath and I'd rather have her come to school with me.

When my kids were sick, I stayed home with them-- yes, sometimes costing me the price of a sub out of my paycheck--because I didn't believe stuffing them full of Tylenol was the way to go.

I've missed work to travel cross country, and once missed the week of prep before school started to take my kids to Disneyland.

So really, the fact that Mate and I took the kids to the ocean on the Sunday before Labor day-- came home two days afterward--should surprise nobody.  You've seen it coming, right?

And yes, I know I should feel bad about not preparing my kids for the real world, but I gotta tell you.

It's taking a while for the guilt to set in.

See, that first picture is Pleasure Pizza.  Now, if we'd actually been there during the weekend, it would have been nutzo, because it's the best pizza place in Capitola (which Mate's iPhone pronounced caPEETola, to our everlasting delight.)  But no-- we went there around eight o' clock Monday evening, when there weren't many people out at all, and we got all of the yummy slices to ourselves!  (They take the slices off the warming rack and put them back in the oven, and the crust is crunchy and delicious and the sauce is to die for and… it looks like a hole in the wall.  DON'T MISS IT.)

(The third picture is Zoomboy, looking well groomed as always before we left the hotel.  I particularly like that he's wearing my jacket inside out.  Yup. We teach responsibility.)

The third picture is from the half an hour we actually spent at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk-- when Mate was stuck in traffic.  We were just going to skip the whole arcade experience, but I grabbed the kids and took off, since the car wasn't going anywhere.  Anyway, it should have been no big deal, right?  The kids win a couple of tickets while we're waiting for Mate to text?  And then Squishy TOOK OUT the big bad guy in the game and won 500 tickets.  Which we had to wait to scroll out.  And then put in the counting machine.  And then negotiate for the prize.  And then ZB didn't have enough tickets for a prize, because Squishy, who has benefited MANY times from ZB's generosity, totally blew him off to get the stuffed tiger, so we had to all play for tickets so he could have something too.  And then, after Mate texted, wondering where the hell we were, they had to negotiate custody of the stuffed tiger the whole way to the car.  I told them we'd seen that sitcom plot on too many shows to count, but they were sure they could manage a three day split that started at midnight, every night.  Kids.

That was Monday.  Before the boardwalk we left the hotel to visit with the lovely Miss Julianne Bentley, who took me to visit her yarn store, and I indulged, and after the boardwalk we managed about an hour of beach time that night before taking the kids to pizza.  And damn-- that's a pretty full day if I say so myself.

Tuesday was my favorite day-- we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and it was perfect, as always.  This time, we got the backstage Aquarium tour, and the Sea Otter tour, and we went and saw Tentacles, the cephalopod exhibit, and in general it was…


For one thing, it was Tuesday.  Our kids were practically the only kids in the aquarium who spoke English (lots and lots of European travelers-- was very cool) and the crowds were thin enough that we could see about anything that caught our fancy.

The Sea Otter tour was awesome-- the guy in charge was an expert on the critters, and for a young guy he had a plethora of jokes and knowledge.  The program had become sort of special-- right now the Monterey Bay Aquarium only takes female sea otters, and they use them to surrogate the pups they find abandoned.  The five girls go in rotation, and when one of them is acting as a surrogate, they're isolated from people.  Their tenders wear "Darth Vader" ponchos, masks, and gloves-- they don't even talk in front of the otters, so that the pups don't imprint on humans.  It's pretty awesome, because they work very hard at getting as many otters back into the wild as possible.

Anyway-- the fun part of all of that was that as we were taking the tours, the guides were asking my kids questions-- you know, those leading questions about stuff?  Well, my kids were the only two on both tours, and they knew all the answers to all of their leading questions.  The adults were like, "Wow! Great!" and then they gave us some more in depth facts because they didn't have to explain the basics.

Of course after the tour, we went to Bubba Gump Shrimp Company because tradition, and this time we got to sit on the patio with the surf underneath our feet and (oh bliss!) the overcast, 68 degree day above.  I know.  It doesn't sound wonderful, unless you're at the beginning of September and have been living in Sacramento during three years of drought.  It was awesome. 

And don't ask me how these things happened.  They're pretty wonderful in themselves.

Anyway--during our last morning we tried to go to the beach and ended up at a surfer's beach at CaPEETola, which was cool to watch, but not so fun to try to walk around.  the ground was mostly rocks and the tide was right up to them, and frankly, none of us were up to scrambling around the rocks.  A surfer had passed by with a cut on his foot, and the big blotches of blood only seemed to confirm that we were trespassing on holy ground, and this was not our turf.  Seriously-- we save our blood for the soccer field, which is why we returned on Wednesday afternoon. Mate has a game on Saturday-- he couldn't go without coaching, right?

Anyway-- It was a lovely long and lost weekend, and I felt much better about facing work today (yes, I love my job, but even I need a break.)  I did skip a regular blogging day, and Amy's Lane is a couple of days late, but you know?  I feel like a better writer and mom.

And the school?  They did my lying for me.  "I'm sorry-- Zoomboy and Squishy Lane will not be in today or tomorrow."  "Oh, I hope they feel better.  Bye!"


Not a lie passeth my lips.


And I feel compelled to remind people that the second installment of Beneath the Stain is out tomorrow-- Friday-- morning.  Don't forget that the bonus content is only available through the serial version and the serial is only available through Dreamspinner Press until the whole thing is released on and on October 17th.  So, you know-- get it while you can, even if you're not planning to read it until every segment is released!

So far folks have loved it! Don't forget to visit the FB page, Amy Lane's Stained Angels, or to visit Laura Adriana's song lists from the second part!  

Monday, September 1, 2014

*kermit flail Monday* September

Okay-- I confess-- I've got but one Monday book to *flail* about-- but it's been a bit of a busy week.  So I'm going to pimp the book (it's a good one!) and pimp a cause and reveal the new cover for Black John and then I'm going to run away.  We're out of town this weekend, and, well, I sort of have a break coming.  Gonna enjoy it!


Charley Descoteaux is a lovely woman and I enjoyed meeting her at the Dreamspinner Press meet up in Portland this year.  Not only is it fun to promote her, but it's also fun to promote this book because, well, the title.  Given that I planned an entire series around titles like this, it's pretty frickin' awesome to see this one out there.  Makes me warm and fuzzy!

I hope you enjoy--

The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds by Charley Descoteaux

All he ever wanted was to be a normal guy….

Phil Brask spends his days in the basement of his mentor's Victorian home, converting legal documents into electronic format. When the pipe feeding the water heater bursts, Lee Redding arrives in the plumber’s truck and draws Phil away from the narrow focus of his computer and camera lens. Lee gives Phil hope for a life beyond the walls he’s constructed using the nesting habits of migratory birds and dense legal files, a guided tour through a world filled with romance and music…maybe even family. But there’s a reason Phil retreated behind those walls, why he panics at a simple touch.

Lee has a good life—working with his uncle and on his mother’s farm, playing bass in a horrible metal band, and hooking up when he pleases—but he’s always suspected something was missing. When he meets the hot photographer with the icy-blue eyes, he knows exactly what that something is. Phil isn’t like other guys, but neither is Lee beneath his carefree exterior. Maybe Lee's the perfect guy to show Phil that everything doesn’t have to be done the hard way and "home" isn't a four-letter word.

See?  Doesn't that sound awesome?  

Ooh!  Ooh!  And this just in…

Ariel Tachna is one of the pioneers in this genre, and when Mary and I started writing for Dreamspinner, she was like our helpful fairy sprite, working us around the ins and the outs of promotion and writing.  Last summer, she and her husband went on a hike to Machu Pichu, and she said the experience was transcendent.  Her descriptions of Peru were luminous and impassioned, and I knew, of course, she would channel this into fiction--delicious, amazeballs fiction.  So when I saw her promo this book on my Amy Lane Anonymous FB page this morning (join if you haven't!) I was like, "I want this on *kermit flail* NOWWWWWWW!!!!"  And Ariel is a good sport, and she obliged.  So, I give you a late edition to today's *kermit flail*  Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Ms. Ariel Tachna and The Path--YAYAYAYAYYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!

The Path
by Ariel Tachna

Blurb: All his life Benicio Quispe has dreamed of being a guide on the Inca Trail. He gets his chance when the top travel agency in Cusco, Peru hires him. Alberto Salazar, his assigned mentor, fits Benicio's idea of a perfect guide, but he's also everything Benicio never dared to dream of in a boyfriend. Alberto learned a long time ago to be discreet about his sexuality. It's a necessary sacrifice to keep the respect of the guides and porters whose help is critical in a successful hike. So he pushes aside his attraction to his new junior guide and goes on as usual. But when a group of old friends arrives to hike the trail again, they convince him a relationship with Benicio is worth pursuing. His newfound resolve is enough to get them on a first date, but no amount of courage can change the attitudes of their family and friends. The risks on the trail are easy compared to finding a path through the challenges keeping them apart.


Okay-- good!  Now, I promised I'd hook you up with a fun cause, and one of those moments where I remember that the title of this blog is Yarning to Write.  

Anyway-- Becky Gotthardt is a fixture in the romance community.  She attends conventions and is active on social media and is generally this strong presence of positivity in our corner of the world.  I know her on Twitter as @Fibrobabe, and I know her at conventions as someone I look forward to seeing.  (Also, she's held my stuff on more than one occasion.  Just saying.  The way to my heart is sometimes the way to helping me manage my luggage overload.  Now you know.)  

Anyway-- Becky is going to be at GRL this year, and she's organizing a drive to collect knitted goods for the Broadway Youth Center in Chicago. She is suggesting washable yarn, but other than that, I'm pretty sure they need scales, hats, gloves, mittens, and sweaters.  By all means visit the WEBSITE for more information on the cause, and for more information on Becky's efforts, visit her blogpost HERE.  

This is a good cause, and knitters are some of the most generous people in the world (unless it comes to sharing their special hand dyed stash) I know they're going to come through here.


And now, before I join my family on vacation (we're currently in Santa Cruz, recovering from some VERY tasty pizza at Woodstock's and watching part 2 of The Hobbit on cable) I'll leave you with this:

Yup-- Black John.  The release date is still up in the air, but it will be sometime this winter, and as for the cover?

I confess.

I usually try to go for accuracy with my guys.  I do.  But this model was so… well, pretty.  And snarky.  And intense.  And he could swing either way-- sarcastic or sad or cocky-- and that's John.  AndGalen is pretty and a little haunted. So forgive me my beautiful ginger model for John, who was a little plainer, but just as ginger.  I loved this look so much, I just had to go with him.


And I had a release this month… what was that again?  Some sort of serial, was it?  

Okay-- I could totally play it light here-- but I've gotten the same question a few times, so I'm going to answer it here--

You can ONLY find the special content in the serial release, and you can ONLY buy the serial at the Dreamspinner Press website.  This will be out on on October 17th-- but it will only be the novel or paperback.  The extras are exclusive to the DSP serial offer.  

So even if you don't plan to read it until the end, it really is worth it to buy the package now.  (For one thing, it's sort of on sale!)  

So there you go-- short-- and I'll try to have pictures of my rapidly growing spawn in the next few days.

Tonight, under "Travails of Motherhood" I'll leave you with this:

Zoomboy was most put out because I was unable to play a game involving Star Wars trivia, and he asked me to go home and memorize (I shit you not) the Star Wars Character Encyclopedia so we could play on the same level.  I told him that it wouldn't work for the same reason he never remembered to brush his teeth in the morning.  We both had the same kind of brain-- it didn't necessarily remembered what we wanted it to. He has yet to forgive me.

Happy Monday!