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

Monday, October 31, 2016


Well, not really.

I don't know how Mate and I do it--but it's been a Halloween tradition for 24 years now, that we be frickin' out of money when Halloween roles around. I'm sure there's a confluence of analyzable data to explain this phenomenon, but all I know is that going into Party City, telling our kids, "Hey, the sky is the limit!" and pulling out the credit card like a BOSS has never been an option.

But our kids do okay.

We always add one more thing to the outside decorations.

The kids always have a costume they helped create.

And we always have a pumpkin.

This year, we were in the Halloween Store (Spirit) and asking Squish, "Okay, ZoomBoy is going to be Papyrus from UnderTale, but what are you going to be?"

She looked around for a moment, and said, "Wait. I have the perfect thing. And we don't need that much."

One pair of tights. One pair of gloves. One set of suspenders. And a makeup kit.


And a Sharpie.

She made such a good broken doll that one of the neighbors gave her extra handfuls of candy.

ZB's sister did his face--and I wasted a can of white paint on his non-tintable hair (his father has the same hair-- it won't register grays until Mate is completely gray) but the rest of it?  Well we bought makeup and gloves.

And Chicken's outfit was made for her by her grandmother, for her birthday.

Once more, with Twitter... 
Oh! And for our outdoor decorations?

We got two rat skeletons and a scorpion skeleton to go in our dead-pet cemetery.


It's like a weird, non-transferrable skill--although it does relate directly to my ability to make yarn projects without going yarn shopping, and have the stuff I throw together with odds and ends turn out better than anything I've planned.

I can't explain it.

But I like it.

They had the best time :-)

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Weekend Update

*  Let's start out with OOPS! A fan freaked out a little when she saw the list of stuff coming out and DIDN'T see this book.

This is part two of Rampant, and it will be out November 22!

And yes-- Quickening is coming, folks! In the first half of 2017 :-)

So are The Green's Hill Werewolves.

*  On Friday, Squish was supposed to dress for her future career.

She went as a writer.

I'm not kidding.

I was vastly amused.

*  Yesterday, ZoomBoy's soccer game got moved from nine in the morning to one-thirty in the afternoon.  Squish's soccer game was from twelve to one-fifteen.

Mate coaches both teams.

The plan was for me and Squish to hang around and dispense snack (it was our week) and for Mate to leave the girl's team in the hands of his assistant coaches while he ran across town to get the player cards to the refs so he could coach the boy's team.

My parents came to the game--which was fun-- and Mate stopped by where we sat to remind me to collect the wagon and the player bench and to meet him at the next game.

And then he left.

Fifteen minutes later, the game was over and my parents said, "Okay, so where did Mate go?"

"He went cross town to coach ZoomBoy's game."

"Wait," ZoomBoy said, standing right across from me. "He went where?"

The lot of us stared at him.

Squish in a soccer coma--
At ZB's game.
He'd been right there with me when Mate had run off.

About that time, I got Mate's phone call, the one saying, "DON'T FORGET OUR SON!"


On the one hand, yes, he left our son at the soccer field.

On the other, well, he left the kid with B team while he went and did his job.

Honestly, after that moment in which we all stared at ZoomBoy--I laughed my ass off.

I think we shall give Mate a ration of shit about this for years.

Right up until I do something similar, of course.  Then it's just too sensitive a subject, right?

*  Friday I met with the Sacramento Writer's Group again--I do enjoy these monthly meetings, but we were missing a couple of people.

One of whom--Kim Fielding--sent me a picture of her flooded street in Turlock, which sort of held her back. (I think she put it on FB.)

All I can say is Best. Excuse. Ever.

* I'm knitting a dog sweater for a friend--and I pretty much looked at pictures and de-constructed the pattern.  So far, it fits Geoffie--a little snug, but this is for a dog about 3 lbs smaller--so it's good.

And I had a moment of pause. "What should I do? When should I do it? Start rib now or later? Do I finish this with a bind off or an attached i-cord?  OH NO! WHAT IF I DO THIS WRONG?"

And then it REALLY hit me.

Yes. These dogs need sweaters.
It already fits the dog. The rest is personal preference. This isn't even a sock--I don't even have to remember what I just did so I can do it again for the second one.  There is no pattern I'm following--I shaped it according to my own tastes.  There's not a picture this is supposed to match


You know.

Just as long as it fits the dog.

*  About that last deal?

It's a little scary not to have a pattern.

Yeah. Every time I start a book.



You know.

Just as long as I write to character.

*mind blown*


Friday, October 28, 2016

Stuff That's Out, and Stuff That's Coming out:

Okay-- I've got some new releases out--and some old stuff being released in new ways.

Because it's 1:30 a.m. and my day was deliciously uneventful with nothing to do but write and knit (seriously-- doesn't get better than that!) I figured I'd put these up now so you could get a feeling for what's coming.

Also--and I'll link you to it--there's a book on Amazon called "Three Nightmares" by Amy Lane. THIS IS NOT MY BOOK. Gonna say it again. NOT MY BOOK.  

I thought I'd mention it twice, because I DO have a lot of stuff coming out, and I didn't want any of my readers to think, "Oh, hey--maybe she just didn't mention it."  Nope. Not my book.  May this other writer do as well as she deserves--but I just didn't want anybody to buy the book and feel cheated cause, yanno, not me.

Anyway-- off to bed now--but here's a preview of things to come!

Audiobook for Fish Out of Water--Out Already

Freckles, Out November 15th

Summer Lessons-- November 25th, 2016 

The Granby Knitting Bundle-- This includes all four stories-- The Winter Courtship of Fur-Bearing Critters, How to Raise an Honest Rabbit, A Knitter in his Natural Habitat,  and Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair-- November 4th. 

The Virgin Manny--

January 1st. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You the Crash Test Dummies...

Now, some of you may remember when Mate showed me the design for this jersey. At first I was like, "EW, no-- that's creepy! It looks like a crash test dummy!"

"Well yeah. It was supposed to. That's the team name."

Well, this is what the jersey looks like.

This is also Mate, talking animatedly about soccer.

And the ZB, trying to look scary in his Halloween costume skeleton mitts.

And Squish, pointing out that it's only ZB.

And generally, I really love this sequence of pictures.

So I'm leaving you with them today.

Because they're so darned cool.

As is my family, and my Mate for that matter.

OH--I'm also leaving you with the music video, because ever since I realized the name of his team was the Crash Test Dummies, I couldn't get the song out of my head!

The Tile Couldn't Help With This...

So, a couple of days ago, I posted on Twitter/FB how excited I was about the Tile.

This is an app and a little gizmo that makes it harder to lose your keys. You put the tile on your keyring and when you can't find your keys, you push a button on your phone and the gizmo beeps. When you can't find your phone, you push the gizmo and your phone beeps. It's very handy-- people online responded with stories of putting them on necklaces and putting the necklaces on children and being able to find your children at a crowded event. Fun stuff!


So this morning, I thought I had my keys--they should be right in the pocket of my sweatshirt, so I put it on and went out to my car and...

Looked inside at my keys on the console as I pulled fruitlessly at the door to unlock it.

But... but... but...

"Click your Tile mom!"

"Doesn't do me any good," I told Squish. "They're locked in."  This only happens when I leave the keys in the car and Mate gets home, sees the car unlocked, and locks it.


  I got out my phone and texted Mate that I needed him to come unlock the minivan. While I was doing this, I told Big T, "Sorry, big guy--you're going to be walking to the bus stop in the rain."

"You know, you should really keep your keys somewhere you'll remember them," he said bitterly, stalking away.

Mate texted back. "You know, this is why purses were invented."

"Big T already yelled at me," I told him.


Even the dogs were sending me recriminating looks. I didn't even blame them.

Mate got home and gave me the keys--and an "I'm sorry" kiss, and I went to take Squish to school. As I got into the car, I had to adjust the seat back. Way back.

Wait a minute...

"What are you doing, Mom?"

"Texting your sister."


"Because she took you out for ice cream last night, left the keys in the car, and got me in trouble!"

"She did it?"

"Yup," I said grimly. I texted Mate this info, and got a "D'oh!" in return.

I texted Chicken, and got an "I'm SO SORRY!"

Well, fine.

"It's okay. Dad yelled at me."

"I"m sorry."

"The dogs yelled at me."


"Everybody thought it was my fault."

"I'm so sorry!"

I sighed. "Yeah, well. It's not like there wasn't precedent."

"You've done it a lot, Mom."

"Yeah."  I brightened. "But at least today I knew where they were!"

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Small Lessons, never learned...

And today's lessons, in random order are...

*  Small boys are gassy. If you get locked in a car with one for half an hour, odds are good, you may be tempted to bash the car window with your elbow just to breathe free air.

*  If you have Halloween chocolate, you will eat it.

*  EVERYBODY wants to stream video.  Everybody except you. *sigh*

*  Boil noodles first. Then add other ingredients. *sigh*

*  The really good grapes that taste like dessert disappear like dessert.

*  One bone and two dogs = two REALLY high strung dogs.

*  The coroner's office and the hospital morgue are not the same place, no matter what you understood when you wrote that last book.

*  You canNOT listen to ALL THE SONGS in the span of one day.

*  If you don't leave for aqua before your son gets home, you're going to be at least twenty minutes late.

*  Hair oil, face moisturizer, and deodorant REALLY need to live in your gym bag.

*  If you order a bacon cheddar mini-quesadilla, you will eat it, no matter what you tell yourself.

*  Mate always has a soccer meeting Mondays. Always.

*  Still, it's better to wait for Mate to get home to watch Lucifer--he seems to love it as much as you do.

*  No nap = a cranky Amy--who still needs to write 2000 words.

*  Falling asleep in front of the computer while blogging only yields one decent blog post for every 1000 times. Most of the time you're writing complete rubbish that will confuse the crap out of everybody.

* Purple love Dandy Warhols who's on the radio Scorpio?

*  Night!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Happy at Home

I've been so excited by people posting from GRL this week--it was wonderful to see everybody having a good time.

I didn't go for a number of reasons--one, of course, being soccer season. Mate has been very completely behind my career traveling--but soccer season, especially this time of year as it gets intense, and so near Halloween--this is hard on him.  He deserved to have his back up support and cheerleader this year.

Another was money--it's not an indulgence we should make every year, no matter how fun it is!

And the third reason was my own selfishness, something I was feeling even in January, looking at my year ahead.

I love traveling, but sometimes, the best things come from hunkering down in your house and dealing with shit instead of taking off.  Sometimes it's writing--and I was feeling the lack of writing all through the early part of this year. Staying home and getting writing done was a pure luxury and I've been rolling around in it. Sometimes it's housecleaning--seriously. I've been coming up with a plan to deal with my house, because as much material as its deterioration gives me to write about, it's not much fun to live. The older kids are getting an apartment together, and I have plans for Big T's room, and I'm so looking forward to giving my husband some room to work so we can finally take care of some of the home improvement that has REALLY needed to happen.

And, of course, kids.

Today we didn't do much.

Chicken showed up at eight a.m. to get her dad out of bed so they could actually GO to the pick and pull and find parts. I kicked her out and told her not to come back without donuts and coffee, and she snagged money from my wallet and did just that.Love that about Chicken!

 I got a lot of random hugs, and some desultory conversation and we told each other jokes.  When Mate and Chicken got home--their cars full of, well, cars, really-- or parts thereof--we watched SNL and I knit. I'm working on a basic raglan sweater--I sort of love the top down method, mostly because in spite of owning several books on the subject, I get my kicks from figuring it out in my head and seeing if I'm doing it right. Yes, I know, I'm a sick puppy, but Squish got her sweater two years ago from this idea, and this other sweater is coming along nicely.

Small stuff--mundane stuff. But I can deal with life so much better because it's done.  I know sometimes this shows up in my work-- yes, there are epic stories and epic character arcs and big, vibrant people with loud auras and intense agendas.

Every now and then, I work on the quiet people, the people who are mostly content, and who really only need a little bit of change for happiness. Not thrilling, no--but sometimes, the quietest parts of our lives can be incredibly fulfilling, and I do hope that comes through.

I know that while friends were stumbling home from GRL today, tired and partied out and happy, I was quietly energized and happy in my own way. And I know that I've made commitments for the spring that I'm excited about making. When it's time for me to get back on a plane and zoom away from my responsibilities once again, I'll be glad to know I've spent some time fulfilling those responsibilities to the best of my abilities while I was home.

And of course, whenever I'm home and I know the party is going on somewhere else in the world, I'll be giving happy, excited thoughts to my friends off playing out in the world.

But I won't be wistful or bitter--I love conventions and conferences, but I have to confess, I really am very happy at home.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hello, Advice Services?

Hi, uh, yeah.

I'm sorry, but this is gonna sound hella fuckin' gross. Yeah. You heard me. Hella fuckin'. Sure, I'll hold while you enter my name.

Okay then. Have you ever heard that phrase, bug in your ear?


Well, I was asleep, and I woke up and there was SOMETHING IN MY EAR. I tried to dig it out with my finger, and I think that's when I killed it.

Well, yeah, because I tried a Q-tip after that, and all I got was exoskeleton.


But I held it together--I did. I used Debrox, and mineral oil, and I put my face in the spa and tried to direct the jet at my ear.

No, that was not comfortable, why do you ask?

Anyway, I went swimming and then I let the shower hit my ear for about fifteen minutes, and then I couldn't stand it anymore and I stuck something in my ear.

I know I"m not supposed to do that.  No, really, I was desperate. No, I'm not going to do that again. Maybe. Did you hear the word "desperate"?  And it worked!

No, seriously. It worked. How do I know? BECAUSE I PULLED OUT HALF A BUG!

Yeah. Half.

Yeah, I know.

I know-- half.

Can you hear me trying not to lose it here? Cause I'M TRYING NOT TO LOSE IT.

Cause there's a bug in my ear and it's HELLA FUCKIN' GROSS!

Yeah, sure, I'll hold. Yeah, sure, I can wait until a doctor calls me tomorrow. No, really, I can. You want to know how? I have noped right out of this sitch. This is not happening. There is no bug, there is no thorax, and I am not worried about the half a bug I didn't see.

You know what? My husband found a bulb syringe. I'll call y'all back.

Yeah, Advice Services?  You all can go piss up a rope because the bulb syringe did it's work.

Some sort of flying beetle. Whatever. It's dead.

No, I don't want to talk about it.



Yeah, peace out to you too. I'm gonna go watch a dumb action movie and pretend I didn't spend the last twelve hours of my life obsessing about this.

Have a nice weekend to you too.

Yeah. I'm sure I won't have nightmares AT ALL.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Life with an adorable little poopmonster.

Okay-- so the only thing I needed for last night's blog was a goat, because the whole thing was a goat rutting cluster-hump of technology and exhausted human.

Can't promise I'll be more coherent today-- but I can tell you I've got links!

First of all-- we've got this cute-as-hell cover for Freckles, which I adore, and I hope people like, even though this completely innocuous little story has already sparked a mild amount of controversy regarding the dog's potty training.

Freckles poops a lot--and she has no idea she's doing it, and it's driving some readers crazy--which I find funny, given that I live with the little shitmonster in real life.

Yeah, it probably sounds like I'm exaggerating, but our first dog, Chiquita, pretty much walked into our house and scratched on the back door to go potty--with no training at all.  See? After that, the difference between a Rottweiler-cross and a ShiTzu/Chihuahua mix is staggering.

Yes--of course we eventually house-trained Geoffie--if you've followed the blog you've seen it happen.

  She has accidents--if I don't get up and let the two dogs out the back door early in the morning, any messes that happen are my fault--and the rain throws Geoffie off every time. She doesn't like the rain, she doesn't understand going potty in the rain, and unless I'm taking her on a walk with the ultimate potty goal in mind, she has misses--I need to remember the pee-pad in bad weather, no two ways about it.  But the fact remains that, with Johnnie, the Chihuahua/mini-pin mix, it took a couple of weeks--maybe--of walking him on a schedule and showing him where the door was when he was getting ready to go. Boom. He was potty trained.  As easy as Chiquita? No. But doable.

With Geoffie?  Well, she frequently didn't know she was pooping, so she regarded any efforts on our part to STOP her from pooping as highly entertaining, yet not exactly relevant to her person.

We went through a lot of pee-pads and some laundry, and that's just the truth. We persevered--but it's fortunate our carpets were old to begin with.

And we understood the people who believed in crate training-- we've seen it work, we've seen happy dogs who love it. But it wasn't for OUR household--and we knew that taking a little longer with the potty training was going to be the result.

I just--like tonight--looked up most difficult breeds to potty train on the internet--in one article Chihuahuas were in the top five, in another article ShiTzus were in the top three, and in a couple of them, both dogs were in the top ten. Given that Freckles (and Geoffie) is BOTH these dogs--and our protagonist, Carter, hasn't potty trained a goldfish in his entire life, I think we need to give Carter--and new pet owners--a bit of a break. There's a reason for carpet treatment and a reason pet ownership isn't for everyone. And a reason I take the dogs on a walk every morning possible at around the same time, and I carry the little poop bags with me. But it takes a schedule and organization and reprioritizing your life a little--and remember who you're dealing with.  I mean me. Remember you're dealing with me, and I'm pretty candid about my organizational skills and my blank moments of being a completely clueless mooncalf.  I probably know--better than anyone--all the ways you can screw up a thing that depends upon clockwork organization and timing, because clockwork organization and timing aren't in my makeup.

And even if they were, having an animal can screw that up right quick.

I just hope people reserve judgment in this fluffy holiday piece about a dog.  The whole point was that the dog's owner wasn't prepared for dog ownership but he did his best, and learned about being a better human being in the process. Given that idea, judging people for their learning curve is sort of mean, when they're trying to learn to love a small alien being who doesn't think as they do.

Just saying.

So, not exactly a rant--more like a "C'mon, guys--it's just like new babies, poop happens," breakdown. I'm sure I've offended somebody, and I'm sorry.  Just, you know. Poop. Everyone does it. Even 8 lb. dogs.

So-- there's that.

And there's this.  It's my favorite thing right now. I could listen to this song a thousand times. But my family really wishes I'd stop.

The lead singer has me wibbly in the ladyparts. I gots no other words.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

ZoomBoy's Well Timed Concert

Okay-- I have to admit it.

I was overjoyed when I found out that ZoomBoy's concert was tonight--he actually relieved me of my political duty to watch the debates.

I followed some of the Twitter-feed and that was gross enough--and I saw the highlights, in which Hilary got in some beautiful jab-hook-haymaker combos that made me love her even more, but mostly?

I just watched my son stand in his black dress shirt and sing.

There were probably some things he could have done better-- his father and I noted that he seemed to do an awful lot of singing with his mouth open as little as possible. He fidgeted--and bounced--to keep his knees unlocked. And touched his face and scratched at the back of his neck.

In short, he was an 8th grade boy, unused to choir, trying to sing, and even though he's going to turn 13 this year, I am still convinced that he's my little boy, my darling Cave Troll, my beautiful brown-eyed son.

After choir, we went out to eat, then to Leatherby's, because they were having a fundraiser. Ice cream for everybody!  *mmmf*  Yummy ice cream, but oi! Talk about overkill.

Anyway-- we got home and here I am, thinking about music, and about how sometimes, songs get a hold of us and just don't let go.

So, I'm going to head back to my cave, and I was going to leave you with my favorite song at the moment, but YouTube totally broke down (and there went 20 minutes... darnit!)

*  *  *

So, I was going to leave you with the cover picture from Freckles since it was posted today on the RT blog, and then I was going to leave you with a youtube video, but...

See, I hit the wrong combo of keys and this got posted to all my feeds as simply "Z".

And I was going to blog quick before it got posted to my feeds.

But I couldn't get the picture to load and my server just flat out refuses to acknowledge that YouTube exists right now.

But I'm already getting feedback from my feeds-- "WTF is Z?"

So I'm calling all multi-media and posting this, and returning to the writing cave in embarrassment, where Red Fish, Dead Fish is already in progress, and hopefully not fighting me like BlogSpot!

Where Richie Worked

I am aware that I have a different sensibility about people and education and unskilled labor than a lot of romance writers.

I was never supposed to have as much education as I do.

I was an ADHD child before it was a diagnosis. Nobody looked at me and thought "ADHD" (although now, I'm apparently a poster child for it.) I was flaky, unorganized, moony, different (not in a good way), distracted, and willfully not living up to my potential.

I was not a good bet for college. It was probably better if I got a job like food service and worked my way up. Education was a luxury-- the first thing to be cut off when I moved in with my boyfriend.

Of course to me, it was more like breathing.

The minute I could control the classes I took, thing I wanted, even the essay topic I'd broach, I was free. But I didn't have the words then.

What I did have the words for--still do in fact-- is that as much as I loved my education, that didn't mean I disdained the other ways people learned or made their living.

My parents were both nurses--but I watched my dad work his way through respiratory therapy school as a mechanic. He was good with his hands, logical, smart, and could tinker almost anything into submission. These are, by the by, some of the same things that make a good health care practitioner. In fact, I rather wish the doctors attending me as I gave birth had a modicum of the common fucking sense as my father, the guy who'd rather be in the garage, because policy and procedure have nothing on a guy who knows physics and physicality when you're pushing a can of Crisco from your cooter.

But all that aside, watching my practical, smart, motivated parents work their way into and through nursing gave me a profound respect for people with common sense who worked with their hands

I carried this with me into teaching--I was one of the few teachers who advised people to go to tech schools if their academics were weak and their crafting skills and creativity were high. Some kids told me that the idea that they didn't have to go to a four year school to get a skill that they could use to make a living was the only thing that got them through high school period. And the fact that I could look them in the eye and say--with complete sincerity--that I didn't look down on people because they didn't want to get an academic education, that held weight.

I still believe these things.

But I also believe in the sense of the world, of the way people function, of humanity in general--these are things that you can only get when you read and learn about places and people NOT YOU. These are the benefits of a liberal education--and we need to invest in these things for all the people, so they can make informed decisions.
Yes, I'm talking about politics. 

But I'm also talking about Skip and Richie.

Richie's parents owned a cut-rate Pick-n-Pull. 

A Pick-n-Pull is a place where wrecked cars are taken, and then scavenged for parts.  Now, some of us, we wreck our car, we take it to the auto-body place, and we say, "Fix that!"

And people in mildly oil stained jumpsuits go, "Okay, fine--it'll cost you money."

And we go, *whinge whinge whinge*  "Why does it cost so much, okay, fine, you have me over a barrel, I'll pay."

Unless you're like my dad, and worked your way through college at a junkyard or an auto wreckers, in which case, Pick-n-Pull is your salvation.  You pay your $2, you wander through the lot, and you pull the things you need off of the cars that have it.  Then you cart it all to the front desk, throw it on the counter and wait for the kid at the register to ring up a discounted blue-book price for that particular thing.  

It's sort of the ultimate in recycling and self-sufficiency. You don't need an auto-body parts store, and you don't need no stinking mechanic. You need the men in your family (yes, women too, but there's still a fair amount of gender bias in auto repair) to know about cars.  

So, I already posted the picture of Chicken's car, and how it needed a fender and a quarter panel and a blinker. Today, Chicken and I went on a scouting mission to find the right parts.  While we were there, we tried to pop off a blinker to say, "Hey, we got our $2 worth!"

The result was two women who had no idea how to work on cars banging away at a headlight assemblage with a screwdriver.  The only thing we did like real auto mechanics was swear.  At the end of the adventure (we got headlamps!) I said, "Hey, two women with no mechanical ability go into a pick-n-pull. That's it. That's the joke!" and Chicken laughed uproariously. 

But she'd liked the place. She'd wanted to spend more time there.

I hadn't. 

I remembered junkyards. They were hot, they were boring (if you were a seven year old) and my father had gotten lost in them for hours. They were, for him, what my computer or my books are for me.  

But I did wander the place, smelling cigarette smoke (mechanics smoke--I'm not sure if it's to calm them down, to keep them grounded, or what, but a lot of them do) and thinking about Richie.

I think I made him just right for this place. Physical and unafraid, able to tinker with a headlamp assemblage and come back with the blinker, or able to lean in and yank out an alternator with a wrench and a screwdriver.  Didn't make him the most articulate person on the planet. Meant that sex and physical touching was probably the best communication skill he had.  But this place, with it's twisted metal and crushed fiberglass represented potential to him--potential for doing actual things, things with consequence. Building a car, making it function well-- this is an important mission, especially in a place like California where your car is your independence. 

Richie is a noble creature--and I fell in love with him all over again at the pick-n-pull. 

I also fell in love with Mason and Terry-- neither of whom are good at all with cars.  

Because their story is about Mason, with the MBA and the education and the nice office, and Terry, who, is a lot like Richie in that if it isn't physical and doesn't involve a specific concrete thing it loses his attention.  

And the thing is, Mason, if he wants Terry, has to respect him for who he is.  He needs to look at the things Terry can do, and go "That's AWESOME! I'm impressed!" and not, "Well, if you had an education you could make more money with less dirt."

So I made their story about the balance between education and blue-collar IT work, and between the respect you have for people and your encouragement for them to stretch higher, try new things. How you can be someone's cheerleader without disdaining the things they have done and the place they are in now. 

Mason loves Terry, and will take him any way Terry wants to be taken. 

But that doesn't mean he doesn't want Terry to want a relationship like Mason thinks of one.  Two equals in partnership, living a good life. 

It's a tough balance--and a tough concept, that respect for people who see the world differently.  Education can often set people apart more than it joins them--it's all in how the haves treat the have-nots when it comes to the way they see the world. 

And I just thought it was interesting today, walking around a place I so patently do not fit in--and have no skill set in.  Because my father wanted me to be a mechanic. He thought that would be something that would make me a lot of money, that I could be proud of.

And I actually got an A+ in auto shop. I wrote an entire essay detailing the workings of the internal combustion engine, from the click of the key to the last puff of the exhaust.  My father probably could not have written that essay--but then, I can't in a million years fix the car.  

He does not particularly respect my ability to write that essay-- I wish this was another story. 

But I DO, and always will respect his ability to fix the car.  And THAT'S the story I was trying to tell in these two (three eventually, maybe even four) books. 

And anyway-- Summer Lessons will be out at the end of November. 

And I was thinking about it today. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Important Tips For Getting Through Target...

That I often ignore.

* Don't buy seasonal candy. It will bankrupt you. Ask me how I know.

*  Yes, you WILL use all that toilet paper.

*  No, you don't need a whole new pot pan system.

* Nor do you need new bedding unless that's what you specifically came in for.

*  Nor do you need that movie you had no idea was out.

*  Yes! Shoot--yes, you need that outfit for ZoomBoy and his choir presentation! Go back go back go back!

*  If the child not scheduled to get anything who has not whined for anything nor requested anything nor hinted for anything decided to adopt an inexpensive holiday ornament and call it Bernard... let it go.

*  There really are cuter  pet outfits at PetSmart. Don't impulse buy.

*  You CAN buy all the baby clothes, even though you only know one baby personally. Back away, slowly. And STOP COUNTING the days until you have grandchildren.

*  I don't care what the grocery aisles say-- there is no dinner for you here.

*  Your husband already bought the exact same color comforter. Twice.   Because it was on sale and the dogs chewed on it, that's why. The point is, Mate needs to walk away from the mint green cotton quilt even if it's the most comfortable blanket we've ever owned.

* No thank you, I do not want to apply for your card, then walk away and pay up the account at the other counter. THIS CONFUSES ME. I'll just politely decline the card like I always do. You know, before it can reject me.

* You already had your coffee-- the Starbucks is an ineffective ploy.

*  This IS sucking up your nap time, so be prepared to go to bed early, more tired than usual.

*  Congratulate yourself if you spend less than $100.

* No,  didn't manage to do that either--but I did make it out alive!


Uh, sort of.

Hey-- does anybody want some Halloween Candy? I think I took yours.....  No, I'm not saying Target doesn't have anymore. I'm just saying it seemed like it, I was exaggerating. Look, fine--here, have a bag, and you can't make me admit there's more!                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Weekend Things

 So, a few weeks ago, I was at a craft fair, and I've got SUCH a weakness!

Anyway-- I bought this adorable pink and gray sock monkey, who was going to be sent to a friend and apparently can't be left alone with children.

Meet fetal monkey, who embodies me, pretty much whenever I have a new release.

Can you picture me rocking?  Rock, fetal monkey, rock! Back and forth, sweetie, that's it. You'll be okay, once your legs and tail get untangled. It's all okay, you're safe here.

Anyway-- now you know.

So, my daughter smacked her car into a pole, which sucks, but today? Mate and my dad took what looked to be a pile of junk and crap outside, in the pissing rain, and fixed it. Seriously.

Fixed it. It needs a blinker to be legal, and a quarter panel to not give everyone the heebie jeebies, and a new bumper for some sort of perfection--but I'm still impressed. They took a hammer, a chain jack, and a telephone pole and turned a pile of crap into a working vehicle.

Boggled.  And very impressed.

Oh! So Squish got an invitation to apply to an IB school for junior high. Her father and I were very proud, but ZB?

ZB was a wee bit jealous.

"Oh, yay Squish! We are so proud!"

"It's cold in her long shadow," he said, then he ran to pout in his room.

I had a long heart to heart about how we all had our strengths and weaknesses, and how his creative super-quick mind was going to get him some opportunities hers didn't, and how here intuitive, thoughtful approach was going to get attention he didn't.

I thought he was doing okay before bed...

But I couldn't get over his whoa is me. A kid who can be jealous of his sister using that phrase isn't going to live an ordinary life.

And I was whining a lot for someone who finished a book yesterday.  Then I found this Bob's Burger's meme. Put everything into perspective for me. I thought I'd share.

Halloween candy is still evil, but the whining, she is over.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Book I Just Finished Writing...

So, in January, this book is coming out.

It's a Dreamspun Desire, and it's adorable and fluffy fluffy sweet, and short (they're supposed to be less than 60K--this one is 55K.)

Now, these books need to be titled carefully.

By necessity, Dreamspun Desires are "tropey"-- they are shameless about using time-honored romance tropes, moments that every romance reader adores, storylines, character types, structures that are familiar and easily predictable, but made fresh with each new approach. It's harder than it sounds--and for a lot of romance authors, breaking paper for a category romance is a devoted homage to the books we read as a kid. Some of us stole them from Grandma's cupboard (only one in three grandmothers would NOT have been scandalized) and some of us checked them out from the library because the librarians thought, "How bad could they be?" (Deliciously bad... so, so deliciously bad... rich Baked Alaska bad. I'm saying.)  But most romance writers, at one time or another, dreamed of having their name on a category romance cover.

In fact, in my garage, I've got bound paper copies of something like four of these, M/F, that I never found a way to publish. I loved writing them. I wrote them for free.

To me, covers like this were why romance readers existed in the space-time continuum.

Now, I love writing the longer stuff, the deeper stuff, the ANGSTIER stuff--but I absolutely could not resist the chance to write one of these.

Now, back last year, when the first one of these was done, Lynn, my editor and I were trying titles on for size. Uh, we may have gotten a little punch drunk.

"A Manny for Your Thoughts?"

"Manny Hands Make Light Work?"

"Stand by your Manny?"

"No, no, I"ve got one! Manny Get your Guy!!!"

So, the next day, I e-mailed Lynn and said, "So, uh... how about a trilogy."

So we decided to go with The Virgin Manny, which I had already completed, and Manny Get Your Guy, as well as Stand by Your Manny.

Please, please, don't shoot us cause we're punny. (I mean, seriously. We're never going to be cured--it's like a disease. Paronomasia -- that's a real thing!)

But The Virgin Manny will be out the first of January.

And tonight?

I'm finishing Manny Get Your Guy. 

And yeah. I'm still giggling over the damned pun.

Next book? Red Fish, Dead Fish--and I'm giggling over that one too!  But right now? Just enjoy the hunky manny on the cover--and giggle to your heart's content.

I'm almost done-- YAYAYAYAYAYAYAY!!!!

Friday, October 14, 2016

As I Lay, Writing

Okay, it's 12:07. I need to be up until 1, and I need 3,000 words written. I have 1500--let's continue to write, even though we're nodding off.

Brandon walked naked to where he stood, and rubbed his lower lip with a thumb. “No. You love them. It’s family, Taylor. It’s the whole reason I’m leaving in a week, right?”

Taylor’s heart fell into the trees where it was picked up by the columbine and chucked live into the orgy of bees.

KERSPLANG AWAKE!!! Oh hell. What in the fuck? Hearts falling into trees? Bee orgies? Heaven help me--here. Chocolate. Let me go eat chocolate and drink some water, and I might manage write something intelligible.  Chocolate. Ice water, GO.

He’d managed to forget that. “Yup. All my idea. It’s awesome. So glad you’re going.”

Taylor stepped away toward the bathroom, only to be seized behind by a behemoth with more muscles than sense. “I hate going,” Brandon whispered, brushing Taylor’s ear with his lips.
Just like that, their bubble butt bubble butt bubble butt champion bum smashers bubbling in buttland, bubble bubble bubble bubble...

KERSPLANG AWAKE!  More goddamned ice water. And cat petting. And don't I have to pee? C'non... I've got 1600 words done... what am I made of, chartreuse bubble butts?

“I’m… not excited about it,” Taylor said softly.

“Well, it’s a good thing we’re having a big family meeting then—we’re going to need some help moving you in.”

Taylor closed his eyes and leaned his head back against Brandon, shamelessly using his strength and vitality, because his own body felt stripped of any sort of volition.  “You know, we don’t have to—“  slow down into the magical lizard forest where the chimera danced nude before the bronze unicorn god. SPARKLES!!!

KERSPLANG AWAKE! Fucking Jesus. Sparkles? Naked chimeras and bronze unicorns? What the fuck is in this water????

“Stop,” Brandon whispered. “Stop. You promised.”

Rashly. Uncharacteristically. Whole-heartedly. “I promised,” Taylor conceded.  And whispered promises, in the DARK... never again, wasn't that how it went? And if taking was going to be done you'd decide to eat pancakes!

KERSPLANG AWAKE! Okay, take THAT song off Spotify. What was I going to write again? Wait. What do they have to do? There's action here, I can't just have them wandering around the house petting the cat. What just happened? Oh God, yeah. Sex scenes. Lots and lots of sex scenes.

“No go take care of your cat and I’ll shower first.”

Taylor started to pivot and turn toward the bed, but Brandon didn’t let go. “Let me imagine you naked,” he said with an evil little flick of his tongue in the whorl of Taylor’s ear. Against Taylor’s backside, Brandon’s impressive erection stirred. And they took off all their clothes and rolled naked in jello pudding using it as lubricant AND breakfast as they licked the sugary pudding goodness off each other's naughty bits before inserting tab A into slot B and building an underwear drawer.

KERSPLANG AWAKE! Oh dear God, I don't even want to know what my subconscious thinks my sex life is. NO PUDDING EVER!!! 

Taylor stepped away and scowled, grabbing his underwear. “Get in the shower,” he ordered gruffly. “We’re late.”

Brandon stroked him up and down with just the power of his gaze. “We are going to have so much fun,” he promised. “You and me—I don’t see ever getting bored.” The lizard and the butterfly went to pee in the beautiful sea green bloat. And then they danced at a party and the lizard done farted and the butterfly to death he choked.

KERSPLANG AWAKE! Oh hell. I'm writing poetry in my sleep. It's REALLY BAD. Can I just finish this damned scene?

He was trying to promise forever, but Taylor couldn’t do it. Not when he was leaving in five days. 
“Go,” he said gruffly. “Promises to keep.”

And he went.  To beautiful blissful sleep where the lizards and unicorns and chimeras and jello pudding could all coexist in peace without making me fat or getting in the way of my sweet little contemporary romance.  Sleep, Taylor, sleep, there will be sex scenes tomorrow and deep emotional discoveries and now me and the dogs are going to dream of endless fields of clovers and dog treats and the occasional pile of poop.

Wanders off to bed to sleep so soundly anything I've had to erase off my work in progress will be forever forgotten. Which is a real shame, because damn, I'd like to know where my head was when I wrote that shit.