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

Friday, July 31, 2015

So, uhm, that was weird.

Yeah, you may have noticed, I had a tantrum yesterday and the whole world tuned in to watch.

I'm not ashamed of the tantrum per se-- sort of wishing it was better edited, and that I'd invited some beta readers into my venting quite honestly-- but I stand by what I said yesterday: Dismissing romance literature is a convenient way of dismissing women's literature, and, in fact, dismissing all of the ways in which women interact with the world. We're not equals until things that are feminine are not equated with things that are weak, stupid, or inconsequential. The fact that the fine writing in romance literature has been written off by people who enjoy sticking cattle prods up their asses just to feel the clench is a way of making romance readers and writers feel small.  We owe it to ourselves not to put up with that shit-- no matter what the romance sub genre-- because that's dismissing the values and priorities of over half the human race.

It is, in fact, a rather subversive way of allowing the ancient puckered white men to rule us with derision as well as with their draconian misogynistic politics.  If we buy into the idea that romance is bad because it's a woman's priority, we also buy into the idea that women's minds are weaker because they can't write decent literature, and thus they can't make their own decisions, and hey, hello, attacks on Planned Parenthood and women's health are already acrid in the political climate.

Misogyny is in a casual sneer, in the desire to make women hide the things they love, secreting them under dust covers like a dead canary in a tin box.

So, uh, no. Not ashamed of my tantrum--but sort of exhausted like a hiccupy baby and ready to get back to writing.

I'd like to thank you all-- everybody-- who responded in a positive way. I mean, romance writers and readers are incredibly strong people, and I'm not surprised, but your support and kudos were overwhelming.

Thank you.

Wear your covers proudly, folks-- the literature you love is worthy.

And now, back to a SMOKIN' sex scene between two guys who can barely figure out which tab goes into which slot. I love them so.

Romance and Misogyny--Why We Let Ourselves be Shamed

Men read my books.

You heard me. MEN READ MY BOOKS.

"Yes," you might say, "but, you know…"  *whispers*  "they're gay men."

So?  They are men. Some of them are ex-law enforcement, some of them are teachers. Some of them are accountants--but they are men. They enjoy seeing people they can identify with in my stories, and they read them without shame.  To say that gay men reading my books is different than straight men reading my books is to imply that gay men aren't real men and gay people aren't real people, and I think we just fought a bloody civil rights battle to prove that this just ain't fuckin' so.

So, real men read my books.

My books are romance.  Not porn. Not erotica. Romance.

I've written entire articles on why my books aren't porn-- I take exception to that, and not because I frown on porn, (own lots!) but because romance serves an entire other function, and we'll get to that in a moment.  Let's just be clear-- my books are romance, and men read them, and so do women. 

Women are probably 70% of my audience.

They also enjoy seeing people they can identify with in my stories. When Deep of the Sound was released, I got letters from mothers who had to deal with their mentally disabled children, and daughters who watched their parents suffer through Alzheimer's.  I've gotten letters from people who embraced Naef and his deep woundings about his appearance and letters from people who watched Mackey rise from a shitty apartment building and triumphed in ways that they felt all too deeply.

My books are romance books and women and men enjoy them.

I don't write smut, I write character driven stories which also have (often complex)  plots in which the romantic elements are the strongest part of the narrative.  

In some ways I'm lucky.

Maybe it's because I have two men on the cover and men read my books, but I don't have to put up with any of the crap that the M/F romance writers put up with.  Yeah, sure, I lost my job because my DO was made up of homophobic assholes who were so afraid of the gay that they couldn't actually bother to read what they tried to prosecute me for, but, by golly, they took that gay shit seriously, didn't they?

See, when I was just writing "trashy vampire romance" and there was a girl doing most of the narration, that wasn't serious-- that was just, you know, housewife porn. I mean, even I used that term, before I gained a backbone and some self-esteem and started sticking up for the people who read my fiction by sticking up for myself.  But it was laughable, right? I mean the men in my department certainly got a laugh out of it--oh, yeah, I remember that, crystal fucking clear.

So yes-- I have to put up with homophobic bigoted fuckheads doing their homophobic bigoted fuckheaded dumbassery, the kind where they put both thumbs up their sphincters and pretend they don't like that shit, but I knew about that going in. You have to face those morons down or the world won't change, right?

But I had forgotten about the other bigoted fuckheads, the ones I used to put up with in the staff room, the ones who used to seriously make my life hell with their baseless hatred.  I mean, I remember sobbing once, uncontrollably, not able to catch my breath, because I couldn't figure out why they should hate me so badly for having an opinion. I had to leave that job before I realized that yes--it really was because I was female.  I'd managed to consign those bigoted fuckheads to that long ago staffroom, convince myself that they really did just exist right there, in my memories of feeling helpless and angry and sick, right up until the NPR thing happened.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am thrilled to be on that list. I mean, it almost made up for not getting the RITA, because, I mean… *flails*  Have you SEEN that list?

Look at those names?  Look at them!

Those are some awesome kickass writers there, and some awesome kickass women.

And then, down in the comments, there is some awesome, terrifying ignorance about who writes romance and who reads romance, and I have to tell you, I get that same helpless sick rage reading those comments that I felt walking into my staff room when my department head was doing a satiric reading of Wounded in front of twenty people, while the teacher's wife who brought the book sat, tearful and embarrassed, and begging me to forgive her for even bringing the book to show me that she'd read it.

Yes, those men think romance is ridiculous. They think it's sad, for fat housewives, and that if they had intelligence at all these women would read real literature, and wasn't it just like a woman to think books like this were important enough to make a list about when really, we all know why women read romance, it's so they can get off, and Jesus, why should a woman be proud of that.

Immature, emotionally stunted, limp-dicked fuckers.

And also terribly undereducated about the nature of romance.

I mean, hello-- taught English Lit here. Remember? King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table? Gawain and the Green Knight? Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, The Importance of Being Ernest, The Scarlet Letter, The Tempest, The Great Gatsby, Farewell to Arms and holy shit do I really need to go on?

Yes, those books are considered romances.  Well, sometimes they weren't successful romances, but still-- they were genre fiction when they were written.  When Eleanor of Aquitane brought that shit over from France, it was a big furry deal, right? Suddenly Kings weren't just interested in being kings, they also had friends and lovers and flaws and goals and such, right?  I've said multiple times that the thing that differentiated romantic literature from epic literature was the addition of a personal agenda to the hero's repertoire. He went from being "A Hero" with no other personality to "A Hero" and "A Husband" and "A Friend", etc.  As our society got more complex, the romantic hero got more complex, and as our genres got more specialized, well, we started to phase that sad ending right the hell out, but let's not fool ourselves.  Any of those stories in which someone with social heft tried to have a personal life while wielding said heft is a romance.

The genre today has a few more rules to it-- a happy ever after being one--but that doesn't change the fact that a hero and a heroine trying to live an important life and forge a relationship in a chaotic rule is the heart of the story.  And it's a really fucking important heart!  If we're not reading romance, what are we reading? Murder mystery?  Okay then-- who are our victims?  ARen't they people trying to live that core of happiness that you find in a romance novel?  Are we reading fantasy?  Well, without the sexual element, a whole lot of fantasy revolves around the happiness of the people in power, and yes, my friends, that's romance. Are we reading epic science fiction?  Oh, yes, well, then we are reading on a scope too large to give a shit about the tiny little people copulating in the middle of that planet about to be destroyed, except, hey! Wait a minute! Aren't those people the core of the tragedy, even times a billion?  Are we reading political intrigue, upon which the fate of millions of people depends on the love and political maneuverings of fallible human beings?

Are we reading "literary fiction" in which sex and romance play an important part, but hey, we fuck up the ending so we don't have to get grouped into the hated "romance genre"?  And seriously, who are we kidding when we do that? I've written several books with a less than ideal ending, and I'll fight to the death for the right to call those books romance.  Just because the person dies at the end doesn't mean that his romantic adventures, his personal growth, his impact upon the people he loved has no meaning. In fact, a meaningful emotional life is the hallmark of romance. Romance says, "Yes, love is important! Whether it's one love of a million lovers, the love of kings or the love of the peasants that the kings destroy, these emotional dramas matter.  OUR EMOTIONAL DRAMAS MATTER!"

But nobody says that.

Women apologize for reading it.  "Heh heh… just a guilty pleasure.  Uh-huh. You know. Escapism, that's all."

They hide the covers. "You know, so embarrassing, to have human beings looking beautiful and occupied doing something sexual and healthy and hopefully happy. I mean, if there was blood or missing limbs that would be one thing, but no, can't celebrate happy couples in public, that implies I'm weak in the head."

Men sneer at it.  "Housewife porn, heh heh heh, let the little women read it, gets 'em all revved up for us, right?"

Romance is 20% of the publishing industry-- more if you count things like, hey, romantic fantasy and romantic suspense and detective fiction with a romantic subplot.  It is written primarily by women, and the companies that publish it are run primarily by women.  Not entirely-- there are real men out there who are not ashamed, but yes. There are smart, business savvy women out there who love this genre and make a living writing and editing and publishing and promoting it.

We need to stand up for it.

Yeah, sure, I write gay romance, and gay men are my readers and I treasure the holy hell out of them--and they, in turn, stand up for the women who read this genre too.

But het romance was here first, and there are writers out there of poetry and power who celebrate the individual love story with all of the formidable talent and mastery of the language at their disposal.  I remember those sick, hurt, angry moments in my staff room, and wonder if my self-concept would be bigger, or better, if at any time I'd said, "Look, you ignorant bastards, I am writing in a genre that has its roots in every story we teach. Your mockery is no different than the kids' complaint that 'It's too hard to read! It doesn't pertain to me!'-- the fact is, the kids are reluctant to put their minds to anything more involved than comic books because language is not accessible, and you are reluctant to to wrap your teeny tiny pea brains around a world view that doesn't have a penis."

I mean, I remember trying to point that out.

I remember getting laughed down.

Well, my staff room was mostly men--and not all of them were admirable men, and I was one of the few women who hadn't gone running for the other high school just as soon as the spot opened up because I wanted to prove that I was tougher than they were.

I was only one voice in that room.

But I'm not only one voice in this. 20% of the publishing industry-- we have louder, stronger voices together than I did alone.  We need to stand up for one another. Romance writers--male and female-- are poets and visionaries who believe that the human heart is a thing of complexity and beauty.

The people who try to shame us about that need to look at their own hearts, and see why they would hate a thing that celebrates the individual with such passion.

Is it because it's mostly women doing the celebrating?

Hah! These people claim to be smart-- they claim to be intellectuals.

The truth here-- the plain truth-- is that they have never learned to read.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bitter Taffy

First of all-- I'm back! Yay! Got McDonalds for the kids this morning and took the dogs-- huzzah!!!  Also, for those of you who know about the little gold-wrapped chocolate RITA statuettes, I have a confession to make. I stole some of the leftover ones at my table and fed them to my kids. Zoomboy was excited-- he got to eat the head. Squish got to eat the boobs and the book (her words!), and Chicken ate the pedestal. Big T was not sure what the big deal was about--by the time I got the point of "chocolate Oscar" across, the RITAs were history. Well, you know, you take too long to catch the irony train, you're going to miss the party at the station.

Anyway-- second of all-- I was going to wake up and celebrate Bitter Taffy first thing, but then I found out about THIS, and had to celebrate that FIRST. It's not everyday you make NPR's list of top 100 romances, and that's the truth!  *does happy dance*  I'm there with some amazing people-- and I'm helping to rep my genre, and I'm just so damned thrilled.

So there's that!

But now I can celebrate Bitter Taffy-- and YES there is some celebration!

Bitter Taffy is the sequel to Candy Man-- it's Rico's story, and yes, it is solid gold happy!

I haven't done my post on yellow yet-- but it's coming.

Most of you have figured out that yellow is my happy-- my playful, my fluff.

That doesn't mean I don't have some serious stuff here-- Rico got his heart broken, and his family situation isn't perfect, and he's making a new life for himself--but it means that, unlike my orange, you're never going to doubt, not really, that there's happy at the end of this rainbow.

And they're going to enjoy the happy slide down all the madness into the giant pool of fluffy joy at the bottom.

I mean yes-- I do like tackling the weighty stuff. You've seen it. But ye gods, do I love to laugh. I think mankind is a quirky, ridiculous, awesome, kind, amazing animal, and I love looking at that too.

So enjoy my happy yellow-- my Amy Lane Lite.  Enjoy Bitter Taffy, and the sequel, Lollipop.  Sometimes reading is meant to take us away-- I know I'm happy writing these, and I hope you're taken away to some happy when you read!

Bitter Taffy

Rico Gonzalves-Macias didn't expect to fall in love during his internship in New York—and he didn’t expect the boss’s son to out them both and get him fired either. When he returns to Sacramento stunned and heartbroken, he finds his cousin, Adam, and Adam's boyfriend, Finn, haven't just been house-sitting—they've made his once sterile apartment into a home.

When Adam gets him a job interview with the adorable, magnetic, practically perfect Derek Huston, Rico feels especially out of his depth. Derek makes it no secret that he wants Rico, but Rico is just starting to figure out that he’s a beginner at the really important stuff and doesn’t want to jump into anything with both feet. 

Derek is a both-feet kind of guy. But he’s also made mistakes of his own and doesn’t want to pressure Rico into anything. Together they work to find a compromise between instant attraction and long-lasting love, and while they’re working, Rico gets a primer in why family isn’t always a bad idea. He needs to believe Derek can be his family before Derek’s formidable patience runs out—because even a practically perfect boyfriend is capable of being hurt.

Buy at Amazon

Buy at ARe

Buy at DSP

Monday, July 27, 2015

Homeward Bound!

So, tomorrow is a travel day, and you won't hear much from me.

Today was a series of quick errands--starting with Grand Central Station to fix Mate's phone-- and after that, some walking around, some failed stores, and some good conversation with Damon.

And some takeout in the hotel, and some television, and some sleeping.

And some of both of us looking at each other over meals, and saying, "You know what? We miss the kids. We miss the stupid dogs. We miss our jobs and we miss home."

Lucky me, I get to go back tomorrow, but Mate is going to visit family and then coming back on Thursday.

I'm so glad for him-- usually when I come home, he's there waiting for me.  This time, I get to wait for him.

And then we'll both be back home.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wait… I didn't win?

No-- no I didn't.

And in spite of my daughter's attempts to cheer me up with Leonardio diCaprio .gifs -- I'm fine.  (The Leo diCaprio thing was hilarious by the way.)

Seriously-- when Damon Suede heard who won, he was like, "Oh, honey-- I had no idea that's who you were up against."  Tessa Dare won-- the incomparable Tessa Dare--and if she hadn't won, well, Elizabeth Hoyt was right after her.

Yeah, folks-- I was playing with giants. I'm pleased to have not been squashed like Bambi.

And since I wasn't basing my entire notion of self-worth on the award (but I admit the nomination did give that a bit of a bump!) I could enjoy the fineness of the night.

Sarah, my editor, looks astounding, and my Mate and I look pretty good--and he was there, by my side the entire time.

I mean… my Mate was there the entire time.

Don't I write love stories? Isn't the purpose of love stories to show that two people in love are worth any number of worldly recognition?

It is to me.

Today, Mate and I went to see the Statue of Liberty and then to see a play. (Hand of  God-- hilarious and terrible and painful and thought provoking.)

I was a little tired and a little quiet, because hey, it was a big week!  But I was with my Mate, and we were having a good time.

And I am still in love.  And I'm pretty sure he is too.  And one successful love story trumps a minor loss of worldly recognition.

It's been a wonderful trip.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Such Great Heights...

The reception was held on
the 43rd floor. This is me,
looking from such great heights.
The thing about the nomination that I did not expect, was that it really was like winning the statue.

I honestly don't expect to hear my name called tomorrow.

I stood in a room today of amazing, beautiful, some shy, some self-assured, brilliant, practical, dreamy women, and had an enormous epiphany of "I'm not worthy."

Or maybe it was more, "Oh dear heavens, they are ALL worthy!"

Or maybe it was, "I'm a teeny little star in the sky-- but look! I'm a twinkling damned star!"

Heidi Cullinan, Lynda Aicher and I--the three M/M writers
who were nominated in different categories for the RITA.
Our grand "cabal of 3" as Heidi called it :-)
I don't know. I know a lot of people have congratulated me in the last three days, and every time they do, I feel like there's someone else behind me.

I also know that I got to congratulate Sonali Dev today, who wrote A Bollywood Affair, and I told her that when I taught high school many of my East Indian students would say, "But there's nothing in the library for me."  Even though I no longer taught school, I was so glad there was something in the library for them, something award winning and happy.

Mate and I went out to dinner after the reception.
He loves this place: "Great food, good music, and
they're playing Cartoon Network in the background."
I love Mate.
Tonight, I was walking through lobby-con, and I saw Sonali again-- I had Mate by my side, and I introduced him, and she glowed at me. "My husband is coming tomorrow, and my best friend flew down from Chicago tonight. Isn't that insane?  I have already won!"

And right there I found my RITA equilibrium.

My best friend may be here for me in spirit, but my Mate is here, and I have people in my corner. Just like Sonali, I have already won.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mate takes Manhattan

Okay-- I saw great things today, and talked to great people as always, but, as you have all probably noticed, my heart lies with my family, and my Mate.

So, Mate flew in to see me wear the pretty dress (which he brought!) and to sit with me at the RITA's, and you know what? Everybody who met him thought he was the world's best spouse. I could have told them that, but something about having him show up and hang out in the Marriott overlooking Times Square did all my talking for me.

So he arrived, Rayna and I took him across the street to Junior's, and then I took him on a walk. We saw Times Square proper, Broadway, and Rockefeller Center--and he was charmed.

Tired, but charmed.

So yes-- writing business was done and great conversations were had-- but I'm going to leave you with Mate.

Best. Mate. Ever.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

NY 1

(Thanks Rayna!)
So, I got in yesterday, and it's funny-- I assumed I'd be getting in around one and then I'd have the rest of the day. Sure I'd be tired, yeah, but so? I've been tired before.

A. My red-eye flight was NOT non-stop, so, for the record, waking up at 3 am my time to change planes was THE. WORST.

B. My stomach was all messed up-- I did not eat during the layover, and I did not eat when I got off the plane.

C. Which meant that, when the shuttle took 3 1/2 hours to get me from the airport to Times Square, by the time I got here, I hadn't eaten in 17 hours.

I was chalk white, near tears, and loopy as a fuckin' goose.

Lovely Poppy
Poppy, bless her (and looking gorgeous today in her signature colors! <3 and="" arrived="" at="" by="" check="" concierge="" could="" done="" eat.="" elisabeth="" ever="" face="" food="" for="" gracious="" had="" i="" in.="" in="" look="" me="" meet="" my="" one="" p="" park="" poppy="" roommate="" she="" staab="" stuff="" the="" time="" to="" took="" waiting="" was="" we="">
Small breakfast!
I've got to tell you, we went downstairs for a bit-- I honestly can't remember why-- and when we came back up it was 8 p.m..

And I was so tired from the flight and the blood sugar crash that I went to bed and slept until six in the morning.  Yeah, I woke up to text people-- including Mate to say I couldn't talk--but I was just wrecked. Between the flight and the blood sugar, I flat out couldn't deal, and fighting sleep was not gonna be a thing.

Rayna & Elisabeth
But that was okay-- I woke up this morning, bright and chipper, and Elizabeth, Rayna and I made plans to go see the memorial. It was a lovely day for it, not too hot, and by the time we'd finished talking about our 9/11 memories, we weren't up to the museum.  We went to find a bathroom and a cold drink instead, and ended up in Barnes & Nobles, where Elisabeth and I made a fatal mistake:
Pretty, solemn day

We snacked.

As in, we ate a small item, not quite a meal, and decided to eat later.

Not reckoning on the book signing that started at 5:30.  (The book signing was exciting btw-- I got a RITA Flag-- and Rayna made me a meme!)

So, we were okay going IN to the book signing, but by the time we got OUT, we were starving.

(Kate and Heidi
Which is how we ended up at Junior's, with Kate MacMurray and Rayna Vause, and huge appetites.
Thanks, Volunteer

And afterwards, we went to hang at the bar ;-)

So, good couple of days-- tomorrow, I go to some classes, talk to some folks, and hopefully have a really good time.

I know that today was pretty damned awesome.

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'll take blind panic for $500...

Okay, so a month ago, I picked out my dress for the RITA ceremony online.

It took me weeks. 

I mean weeks. I was trying to match my editor's dress (which is stunning, because she is stunning) and trying to pick something that didn't make me too… uhm… large.

And I thought I found a dress.

It wasn't going to arrive for a month-- but I could deal with that-- it would arrive the week before I left, and I'd be good.

As you could probably guess by my last post, not only did it not arrive, but thank you, PayPal, the order was CANCELLED, and I was fucked. 

I know that the last time I went to the national RWA conference, I was, well, a little intimidated by how well, uh, everybody dressed.  Yes, I said it. I felt like a big, tank-wearing, capri-sporting slob. So, yesterday, as I hauled my family through the 102 degree heat, I had a revelation. Btw--don't ask how we all ended up going-- I think it had to do with the Minion movie and trying to catch the early show, and somehow there came a point where Mate and I both screamed FOOD in tandem, and well, five different stores for me and a new pair of shoes for Mate and kids who were SO ready to be bribed with fro-yo, and that's all she wrote.

But back to my revelation.

Yes, I was freaked out by omg wtf am I going to wear, and holy HELL how did I get all these clothes and not know if I could wear them or not, and JESUS do I even look good in them?  Also-- the purple paisley thing from two RT's ago seems to have dropped off the fucking continental divide. I'm not even sure if it looked as good as I thought it did, but I have to admit: I miss it. There, I said it. I miss that fucking dress/tunic, even if it's just to say, "No, you body-odor-sucking polyester nightmare, I have moved beyond you now so piss off!"

And… the revelation.

I'm not just freaked out by going back to RT as the tank-top wearing, capri-pants sporting, M/M chip-on-my-shoulder nightmare that I'm sure I was two years ago.

I'm freaked out because one of the things that I almost lost (but didn't-- thank you Mate!) was a little teeny pewter pin, that's just so lovely I can almost cry.  It's my RITA pin, and it goes on my lanyard, and it says to everybody, "See this person you've never heard of, with the book that would get run over by a tractor trailer in most book pitches and then killed with fire?  She's a RITA nominee!"

Oh, holy God.

I'm going to be a princess.

Now see, I've spent my entire adult life absolutely sure that I did not get to be the princess. I mean, I never even imagined being the runner up princess. I was always the servant girl who helped the princess get her shoes and her prince and got to celebrate in the riches of the kingdom.

Being prepared to be the servant girl, I have to admit:  I don't have the shoes to be the princess.

There, I've said it. There is no dress I can wear, no shoes I can buy, no hair product I can invest in that will make me live up to being the princess.  Since Mum first put cloth diapers on my bum, I have been knocking shit over with my ass and then doing the touch-your-toes-look-at-my-keester stretch to pick them up.

I have no finesse, no party wit, and no elegance, grace or style.

And unless the expedited shipping that I paid an embarrassing amount of money for pans out, I'm going to have a dress I've already worn, and have already packed again because I am taking no chances.

So, you'd think I'd still be in a blind panic, right?  Because my dress is arriving tomorrow and I'm getting on a plane at 12:05 am?

But something happened yesterday as I nearly came unglued.  (Mate kept asking if I cried on all the sales clerks in the Sacramento area as they told me that no large-sized fashion stores in the area  carried evening wear in July, and I had to admit that yes, yes I had. And one woman offered me a summer dress with a cardigan, and I, who once wore a muumuu as evening wear because it was all I had, almost ripped her face off.)

I made that revelation, had that epiphany that no dress/make-up/hair-dye whatever was going to make me any different than the woman who types stories in her disastrous kitchen with dogs jumping on her knees, and calmed the fuck down.

Of course, a lovely text convo with first Mary and then Damon helped me pull my shit back in a sack, but in order to calm down enough to even ask them how to calm down, I had to remember something really important.

And I can't remember what it was now, because yes.

I'm still in a blind panic.

Oh, wait!

Yes. My kids thought that pin was damned cute-- they did. But they didn't think it made me any less liable for dinner, or any less horrible for making them stay home from San Diego while they were forced to babysit, or any less of a deserter for leaving them for a week.

I can do my best professionally and personally, but every princess is still the serving girl in the kitchen the next morning.

It's what princesses do best.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Good News/Bad News

Squish and I show off our pretty nails.
Good News: I have my confidence building mani/pedi accomplished!

Bad News: In a confidence destroying move by fate, my dress will not be delivered in time, and I need to go shopping tomorrow.

Good News: The kids and I had a big day today, filled with swimming, mani/pedis, purchasing of hair dye, and a little surreptitious yarn purchasing.

Bad News: I tired myself out-- and I'm already late on a deadline.

Good News: I managed to put off getting a pedicure for my son by asking him if he was ready to have pink toenails.

Bad News: He figured out that there were OTHER colors we can paint his toes, and I think I don't get off the hook next time.  Poor pedicurist.  He's got big, bony feet, too.

Good News:  It's been 100 degrees here, and not above.

Bad News: I think our outside refrigerator is broken. Crap.

Good News: We bought a tiny pool for our small dogs!

Bad News: They think we bought it to torture them.

Good News: I did laundry today.

Bad News: I should have done way the hell more.

Good News: Knitting was accomplished.

Bad News: Still haven't used up the yarn!

Good News: I leave for New York in three days!

Bad News: I leave for New York in three days!

Aw, fuck it-- I can't weigh it all on scales. I'm gonna do some laundry, do some shopping, take kids to see Minions and hope for the best.

Then I'll panic. Cause, you know. Three goddamned days.

At the fair again...

Yes. I was the one who took Zoomboy in to dance at the fair today, not Chicken.

I got all high and mighty with the promise of a "surgical strike-- go in, get out, minimal of scarring to the pocketbook, capiche!"



First I watched Zoomboy dance, and that was fun.  In between his dances were dances with the little itty bitty kids, and I loved them-- as one person on Twitter said, there's one statue, one crier, and one diva who does what she wants in every class.  The cross-section of Mouseketeers that I have pictured featured this little blue-eyed statue, who just stared out at the crowd like this *.*  throughout the whole show. Was adorable.

Now, most of the classes are pretty big for the big recital, but the fair is a different fish. The fair is in the middle of the day, during summer break, and very often students, parents, even teachers can't make it.  So one of the classes of the the itty-bitties featured two performers. One girl, who was a precision dancing instrument-- seriously. Clean lines, perfect timing, stunning execution for a three-year old, and I've been watching three-year-olds dance for seventeen years.

The other one was like my kids-- she stood there with her eyes glued to the kid who knew what she was doing so they knew what to do next.

Yup. I liked that kid. Never met her, but she was my kind of diva.

Anyway-- after performing, we were going to do two things: go see the farm animals and stop for funnel cake. These were the two things we'd missed out on yesterday, and since we had two participants tickets for today, I was like why not?

Well, mission accomplished--I didn't entirely keep my pocketbook in my pocket, as evidenced by the hat Zoomboy bought and the pretty smock that I bought and may wear in New York with black leggings and a cardigan-- but we did see animals and we did eat funnel cake.

The funniest part of the day was when we were in the animal nursery. There were no births today, and after looking around at the newborns and the really uncomfortable mothers, I said, "Oh, hey, look-- there's a movie!"

It was a movie of live births.

"Sit here, Zoomboy, and watched the piglets splorch out."

"Mmmmnnnngghhhhdddd….nnnnoounnndfdddd…. ugh."

"Yup. We're on the same page. Let's go see the goats."

So, there we go. Motherly duty accomplished. Have been to fair twice. Writerly duty is WAY THE HELL BEHIND. *sob*

And don't even get me started on packing for the RITA's.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Tale of Two Hotties

We went to watch Squish dance in the state fair today-- her brother dances tomorrow, but I may be able to get away with making Chicken take them both while I try to prep for New York next week, we'll see.

Anyway-- after weaseling out of the Midway we told younger kids that they could do things like ride the gerbil balls and the really big slide if we didn't do the rat-trap roller coasters and the games designed to break young people's hearts.  So the kids were doing the gerbil balls-- one try on land, one on water-- and I struck up a conversation with the adorable young man who was manning the gerbil balls.

He was so much fun! Blond, blue-eyed, funny, loved his job, pretty much only hit state fairs up and down the west coast. He had a friend who owned property in Oregon, was looking forward to Portland-- I mean, he was a walking plot bunny.

*happy sigh*

I loved him.  Poor Chicken-- she got a giant case of the herks when she talked to him-- you know this affliction?  A pretty boy smiles at you and your base reaction is to seize up and make the sound, "heeerrrrkkkk…"?  Anyway, yeah, she did that while I mined him for information on what it was like to work the fairs.  He got excited about live music and watching the motocross performers, and talked about how they all sort of followed the same circuit and… dude.

Yeah. Mapped out a story, just for me, wasn't that sweet?

So, I was riding the high of that fun and useful interaction when we sat down in the food court to eat. We ended up right next to the sound booth for the square dancing on stage, and the young man inside was…

Well, even prettier than the first, with stunning blue eyes, black lashes, and blond hair. Mmmm…  But in addition to being pretty, he was also bored. as. shit.

As the kids and I sat down, I took the opportunity of a lull in the music to say, "If you looked any more bored, you'd explode.  Great fun for us, but not so fun for you, I think."

He laughed politely, and ignored us for the rest of our stay.  In fact, he ignored us to the point that when I accidentally made eye contact, he hit the sound board and turned up the music for THE ENTIRE SQUARE DANCE STAGE, just to avoid talking to one fat middle aged mother.

Which I thought was hysterical, btw. I mean, I told Chicken, and the two of us laughed our ass off.  "Fear me! I'm somebody else's nosy mother! Plan your escape route now!!!"

Anyway-- very amused.

But as we talked about the boys, I realized something.  Yeah-- they were both going to be in a book. Couldn't help that because… dudes!

But yeah-- guess which one of them is going to end up with the hot motocross guy, and which one was going to end up being the douchebag?

Just sayin'.  Us fat middle-aged mom types-- we've got ways of taking revenge.  Makes life sweet, oh yes it does.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Overheard in My House Today

Me: ZB, you smell funny. When was the last time you bathed?
ZB: Uh…
Me: Was it another country?
ZB: Yes.
Me: Change that. RIGHT NOW!

* * *

Squish: The little dog threw up!
Me: Clean it up!
Squish: Why does she keep doing that?
Chicken: Because she lives on a steady diet of cat poop and maxi-pads… omg, get her off my lap!

* * *

ZB: Mm-- mom, what are you making?
Me: Food.
ZB: It smells just like meat eater's pizza.  Except you used vegan sausage for meat. And coconut milk for cheese. And noodles for crust.
Me: And curry instead of garlic.
ZB: Other than that, it smells just like pizza.

* * *

Big T: Little dog, you are so happy to see me! Why do you love me so much!
Chicken: Because the rest of us know what she eats!

* * *

Me, making reservations for Coastal Magic: "Yeah, uh, I'd like to make reservations for…"

Receptionist: When would you like to make reservations, ma'am?

Me, in a panic: I don't know! My computer froze up and every reference to this event was on the computer!

Twenty Minutes Later--
Receptionist: So, that reservation will be X amount of money--

Me, in a panic: Is there any way we can make that like, $100 down, because I'm a writer, and I get paid every three months, and this is Top Ramen month, and we're going to New York next week for sort of the same reason I'm coming to Florida in February.

Receptionist: Of course, ma'am, let me see what I can do.
A few minutes later--
Ma'am, we've got this all set up, is there anything I can do for you?

Me: No, you've pretty much worked miracles.

Receptionist: Well, ma'am, if you would like to fill out our survey at the end of the call, we would be much obliged.

Me: Are you kidding? I called you with no date and no money, and you set me up for both-- lady, I will sing your praises to the stars!

---- And that, folks, was my day!

Dear Summer--

Where did you go?

It just occurred to me that I've been waiting for months for you to start!

You were going to start when I got back from RT, but there was that whole flu bug thing that about killed me.  And then there was the kid's getting out of school, followed by their recital rehearsal, mixed in with two trips to San Diego for Chicken.

I mean, you couldn't start then, right?

Then we had to drop Zoomboy off at the airport, and the dash to San Francisco-- we couldn't very well have summer without Zoomboy, could we?

And he's back now! Yay! And we have performances at the state fair, and then mom has to dash away for a week, just a week, not so very long, right?

And I'll be back! And Dad will be back! and we can start then! You, me, the kids, time at the pool, nothing hanging over our heads…

Except soccer season, which starts in August, and school which starts August 14th.

Oh, Summer-- I feel as though you came to visit, and we were all so busy we didn't see!  Your weather has been mild, and you've been ready for us to play, but when? When can we play with you when we're all scattered our separate ways?

I"m sorry, summer. I am well aware we don't get too many of you, especially when the kids are young. I solemnly swear that I'll spend time at the pool with the children when I get home--will it be enough? Will two weeks solid be enough? Will it count? Will it matter that I'm an entire book behind on my schedule, because I've been trying to squeeze you in?


I know one thing, summer.

Next time you come to visit, I want to remember you. I want more outings, and a trip to the beach. I am not pleased with the way you've just flown through our lives.

We need to take the time to appreciate you and that's all there is to it.

I promise, summer. There will be a time when we can make this work.  Cross my heart--I swear.


Monday, July 13, 2015

He's back.

And we're so happy to have him.

And now, to go watch the 700 pictures he took while he was away-- Europe? Your loss is our gain :-)

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Cats Came Back...

 Squish spent last night at her grandma and grandpa's-- they put her on a horse, taught her how to make banana cream pie, took her shopping, and took her to see a movie.

Today, completely spoiled and very happy, she returned home.


Today, after taking her big brother to the mall, meeting his friends, hanging out, going to the book store and hugging this giant stuffed animal, chicken returned home.

She was not very happy, but then, she is not that kind of kitty.

I am happy to have her home.


Today, after flanking Chicken on either side of her body as she slept, both cats prowled my home and gave the dogs dirty looks. I sat down to knit for a few moments, and Gordie flopped on the couch and planned my demise.

Bastard didn't even tuck in his tongue.

I was afraid that the dogs had chased the cats away for good, so I have to admit--

I am very happy.

The cats, of course, still want me dead.

I guess that means all is as it should be…


Sorry-- Date Night Got in the Way of the Blog...

Okay-- I'm not really sorry at all.  But Date Night got in the way, and really, all we did was go shopping for Mate's suit to wear to the RITA's. He looks damned sharp, right? And aren't the ties pretty? Had to take a picture of a rainbow of men's wear.

And Zoomboy-- he's looking damned good in England. And I miss him, but I'm also wildly jealous. He's doing ALL THE THINGS. 

But still-- I got my Date Night. And we saw a movie. And my Mate looks good in a suit. So there you have it. All you needed to know about my day :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Some Observations on Blues Brothers

Squish, Big T, Chicken, Mate and I watched Blues Brothers tonight, and the following things were said:

Squish: Is that Princess Leia with a rifle?
Chicken: Technically it's a Bazooka.
Big T: Isn't a rocket launcher?
Squish: But it IS Princess Leia, right?
Chicken and Big T: Yes-- yes it is. She's not a bad shot.

Mate: This guy singing "Boom boom boom boom" is really important.  Who is he?
Me: Uh…
Mate: Oh-- here it is. John Lee Hooker!
Me: Oh-- that guy really was important.

Me: I don't have my glasses on-- was that Bill Murray?
Mate: No, that's not Bill Murray!
Me: Well, he had Bill Murray's inflection! Who the hell was he?
Mate, after appropriate Google-fu: Hm. Well, he's a stunt man. Who was in a bunch of movies in little bit parts. He testified in court that Robert Blake offered him money to kill his wife, and died when he got T-boned at an intersection by another stuntman. In Rancho Cordova (which is a neighboring suburb to Citrus Heights, sort of.)
Me and the kids: o.o O.O 0.0 *.* Uh, wow. So, uh… now we know.

Squish: Who's that woman?
Me: Aretha Franklin--be respectful, her name is sacred in the house of the blues.
Chicken: And she's about to sing a hymn.

Me: Hey, Squish, there's the Picasso we saw in Chicago!
Squish: Oh yeah! They had that back then?
Me: According to all the guides, yes they did.

Squish: Wait-- what year was this?
Me: 1982.
Squish: Then didn't they know better?
Me: Who?
Squish: The Illinois Nazis? Didn't they know that was bad?
Me: Well, most of the GOP doesn't know today, so I guess not.
Squish: That's sad.
Me: It sure is.

Me: You know, Squish, this whole movie started with a bit that Jake and Elwood--I mean John Belushi and Dan Akroyd-- did on stage.  Wanna see?
Squish: They're really good-- and so entertaining. I think it's great that they got their own movie!
Me: Yes-- I think that was a sound movie investment, myself. Especially since Chicago was having a run on police cars at the time.