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

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Brief Theory on Criticism and Entertainment

Yes--I've written about subtext, about word choice, about how literature and media reflect society as a whole and how we should pay attention to nuances and make sure we're building the imaginary world of our dreams.

But sometimes, when the subtext is done seamlessly, it's just nice to watch shit-go-boom, and the man/men of your dreams kick a little ass, crack a little wise, and eventually save the day.

That being said, I saw Star Trek: Into the Beyond tonight, and I loved it. I'm sure people will bitch and whine about parts of it--but I don't actually care. I totally identified with Kirk, I love that they've matured the character but he's still a smartass, and I love that McCoy and Spock got some screen time. There's lots of nods to the old school, lots of advances into the new world building, and poignant tributes to people lost.

Sometimes, it's okay not to criticize, analyze, and theorize.

Sometimes it's okay to sit back, watch shit go boom, and cheer for the good guy.

I had fun. Achievement unlocked.

Booya!!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Things that happen when you've been away...

*  The little kids have to kiss you six times every time the walk by

*  The grown son has to talk for at least a half an hour, every day

*  The dogs get WAY too excited when you come home from things like a trip to the gym

*  The cat WILL BE PETTED right THE FUCK NOW

*  The laundry has mated and reproduced on your floor

* The groceries have been ravaged by wild wildebeests

*  The work on your computer that you thought could wait has now had kittens and they all need to be fed.

*  The laundry spawn chases you down the hall because mating and reproducing isn't enough

*  Your bestie reaches out tentative electronic fingers, like the cat, to pat your face and make sure you are back where you belong

*  Your mate can't let you walk through the door without a touch, a kiss, a hello

*  Work just seems to need to wait one more day while you soothe whiskers, touch paws, beat laundry, and generally reacquaint yourself with all corners of your world.

Dear Agent/Editor/Publisher--

Dear Agent/Editor/Whomever I'm contacting--

I've currently rewritten this letter so many times I'm not sure I sound like a human being. I'm trying really hard not to sound like a dork, when, in fact, dorkiness is my brand. If I could draw a picture of a dork without it looking obscene, I'd put it on my business card--it would be my icon. I'd make it the color of my hair after my worst dye job, so people would look at it and think, "There's Amy--she's a dork who needs to get her roots done. I know her!"

Anyway-- what was I saying?

Yes-- I was trying to give you all of my good points and all of the reasons you should be hella enthused about my project, but I got totally hung up on the dork thing, and now I can't remember any of my good points. At all. I'd guess hygiene--I'm pretty sure I brushed my teeth today, and I seem to remember a shower in the last few days, so there you go. I'm a dork with good hygiene. Read my book.

Wait.

That last part--that sounds a little needy.

I'm a dork with good hygiene, we once ate lunch at a mall, and I cracked a joke I'm pretty sure you laughed at. Of course, at this stage of the game, I may have had a cliffhanger and you were laughing politely and wishing you could tackle me with a Kleenex like a second grader with a cold, but I'm going to hope there was at least a human connection there, and I'm not writing this letter to peg you in the chest from your e-mail like a flaming spear in the darkness, because I understand that would be horribly irritating and I'm trying really hard to be the opposite of that.

But see, I'm a writer--fancy that, hahahahahaha is there any way I can say that without sounding like I'm being presumptuous? No.

I got nothing.

I'm a writer, I wrote a book, do you want it?

Some people think I'm pretty good. Some people think I suck, but I'm not supposed to tell you about those people so I won't. They don't exist. I don't suck AT ALL. AT ALL I tell you, there is no suck, there is only Amy, and Amy rocks, and Amy wrote or is writing a book and she knows how to use Kleenex and will you come play with her?

Me?

Would you come play with my book?

Never mind.

HERESMYQUERYANDIMTOTALLYCOOLANDIVEATTACHEDSOMESTUFFCOULDYOUREADITPLEASETHANKYOUVERYMUCHILOVEYOUBYEBYE!

*whew*

Yeah sure. I can remake my business cards--why do you ask?

Sincerely,

Amy the Dork


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wonderful company, looooonnnnggg drive...

So, Mate and I made it down to San Diego in eight hours.

We were all smug, right? EIGHT HOURS! That's why you leave at six-thirty in the morning, bitches! THAT'S how you get it done!

Well, Saturday night (the RITA's-- congrats to Alexis Hall and Sarina Bowen/Elle Kennedy for being the first to win RITA's with LGBTQ books btw!) I got to bed understandably late. I spent the after party with Margaret, Karen and a host of wonderful people who were willing to listen to my goofiness and very impressed with my knitted sock. I loved that conversation-- wouldn't have traded it for the world--but it did mean Karen and I left a little late the next morning.

Like, say, 11:30.

I got home around 1 a.m.

I was NOT prepared for the 5 1/2 hours it took for us to get over the pass--and how miserable that driving would be. Karen drove for a HUGE bit after that, and then I finished up--and I'm telling you, we talked the whole time. The company was amazing (I have been gifted--TRULY blessed--with some awesome drive time mates this year--Kim Fielding, Christopher Koehler, Karen Rose--I would have been lost without these people!)

Anyway-- by the time I got home, I was, shall we say, a wee bit fried.

Today, we took Karen to go get her rental car-- and stopped in Old Sac as well. Alas, Darrin was not there, but the people at Candy Heaven treated us well anyway, and Karen was very impressed. (But thought the scary clown was WAY TOO SCARY.)

While we were at Candy Heaven, I realized I'd left my wallet/phone back in the car, and I had to haul my fat, slow ass to the car and back.  Karen was gracious enough to wander with my kids and check out GWhilikers (a toy store) and then take them to ice cream. They seemed to have had the best time--and on the whole, going to the airport has never been so much fun.

But I have to admit--I'm sort of done driving by now.

Like, done.

Like, if I didn't have to get in a car again for a week, I wouldn't miss it.

Which is good--because I've got a month's worth of work on my desk.

But it HAS been a wonderful time.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Night, Day, and the Yarn Truck

*  Our first night here (Tuesday) was glorious. Mate and I had a long drive, and we enjoyed talking, sans kids, and he loved the room. We got here when the All Star game was starting, and he grabbed my arm and pulled me outside, excited as a kid.

 "Did you hear that?"

"No. What is it?"

"It's the national anthem from the game!"

"That's really cool!"

And at that moment, the Blue Angels flew between US and the hotel across from us.

And we both almost crapped our pants with the total cool of that.

* Alas, I had to take Mate to the airport yesterday morning. He didn't understand why I had to do full hair and makeup before I left the room. I couldn't find words to explain to him that I would see people before I got back to my hotel room-- but it was true, and I did, and dudes, I was so glad I went full dress/makeup.

*  The signing went really well. I signed Winter Ball, and sold all but three books. I bought the books for a pittance and gave them away to nice people before the night was over!

*  Chicken came to see both Mate and I on Tuesday and then she came to see me during and after the signing. Totally on accident, we wore dresses that almost matched. And she didn't mind having her picture taken with me. I was SO EXCITED that she didn't mind looking like her big gorilla mama!

*  Last night I had dinner with Sue Brown-Moore of Grave Tells, and I had a fabulous time. Among those at the table were the glorious Cindy Dees, the lovely Asa-Maria Bradley, the ever amazing Damon Suede, and, of course, Sue.  (and Chicken and a couple of other people I didn't catch and feel bad about missing. SORRY!)  You guys--Sue and Cindy and (crap... can't remember her name, she was awesome!) were the best table mates. And Cindy-- omg, you guys. She's a fan of ME!!! I almost cried, because she's totally awesome and punched a drunk diplomat in the nose once and I adored her.  And she liked my books. *cheers*

*  I drove Chicken to the trolley station so that she might not get attacked, violated, or even killed. Guys, the trolley stations down here are scary. I was glad to do it.

*  Today I had elevenses and lunch with the dynamic amazing Karen Rose.  Then I went to the Carina Press spotlight and met back up with Karen for her discussion on presenting characters with disabilities. I was so impressed by the way Karen led this round table--and by the candor with which people spoke. It was a real good start for the change of diversity in literature, and I was proud to be a tiny part of it.

*  Afterwards, there was the Yarn Truck, which was a brilliant idea.  Brought to to us by Fish With Sticks, who is a freelance editor, the Yarn Truck comes to events where people might want to buy yarn, and Fish sat outside and handed out cards.  Brilliant on both parts. Fish got good coverage for her business, and the Yarn Truck is the Yarn Truck because rent in LA is so high. It's a traveling yarn store, and guys, the stock was amazing!

*  And here's where a glitch happened.  A funny one. Because I went to buy $126 worth of AMAZING yarn, and the Yarn Truck owner typed an extra 5. So, my attempt to purchase $5,216 dollars of yarn was declined. Thank fuck.

But the credit card alarm was tripped, and my attempt to buy $126 dollars worth of yarn was also denied.

So I used cash and my Wells Fargo card to buy the yarn, and then I got a FREAKED OUT text from Mate.

"5K IN YARN? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?"

And after I explained that no, I was only a little crazy, not full blown Howard Hughes, he had me call up the credit card so that I might have a credit card when I'm 600 miles from home.

The credit card company was also highly amused.

So were my readers-- they, uh, were also skeptical that it was a typo. I SWEAR, the extra 5 was a type. Really. No lie. *nods*  True story!

*  And when that was done, the loveliest and mostest perfect Tina DeSalvo came to talk to me-- we've met before, usually when she is with Cherry Adair, but this time it was the two of us alone. We sat and chatted, and decided to go to dinner together. She ran upstairs to put her stuff away, and the also loveliest and most perfect Lynda Aicher came to hug me!  (You guys--blessings abound in my company this trip--I am so happy to see the people here!)

Tina returned, and we went looking for a restaurant and Tina was flagged down by her friends Roxanne St. Claire, Kristin Painter, and Mary Kay Andrews.  You GUYS! Roxanne is the MC of the RITA ceremonies! Kristin is an AMAZING paranormal author, and Mary Kay is a stunning author of bestselling women's fiction.

I was like "Hi, I'm, uh, Amy Lane. I'm a genre slut. Scuse me while I babble."

And they were lovely companions--I felt as though embraced by sisters. While we were out, we met Farah Rochon, who was so very kind when talking about the disability discussion-- I felt so good about being a part of that. *waves* Thanks Farah!

At the end of the evening, though, as we were getting into the elevators, there were a bunch of drunk guys, going, "Hey, ladies, we got some original stuff for YOU if you want to write about us!" I was like, "I write gay romance-- come at me, dude-bro, come at me!"  But I think Tina was a little embarrassed. *sigh* It's true-- I'm just not meant for nice company. But it sure was nice while it lasted!








Tuesday, July 12, 2016

San Diego Bound

So, the kids are at moms, the suitcases are packed, and Mate and I are San Diego bound tomorrow.

If we're good, we'll make it there in time for dessert--if we're REALLY good, we'll make it there in time for dinner, and in either case we have someone to eat with, so we're happy!

Anyway-- my day has been all packing and suitcases and such, to the extent that, at nine o'clock, Mate and I finished getting groceries for the trip and I said, "Hey... I think I forgot to eat."

So had Mate. We both pretty much destroyed a Del Taco burrito, take no prisoners, nobody lives forever!

Anyway, I will leave you with Tiny Dog story (thank you Secret Life of Pets).

The tiny dog likes to sleep on my knitting. I am in the middle of crocheting a poncho for a friend's daughter, and I had to pack it up in a bag while I'm gone, so I don't come back and find it unwearable by humans.  I washed Squish's GINORMOUS squishy sweater, and the dog keeps knocking it off the couch so she can sleep on the sweater on the floor.

Anyway-- I started a blanket for another friend's son this winter, and at the last moment my friend changed that order to a hooded scarf (which came out beautifully btw).  So I had about a quarter of a blanket done. I finished off the stitch I was working (it's crochet, so, easy) , folded the mom-yarn-thing, and put it just where tiny dog wanted to lay down.

And tiny dog spent the evening on the couch, on top of Squish's sweater.

Because she's an asshole.

Frickin' tiny dog. Good thing she's cute.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Movie Weekend




Sorry all--this was a movie weekend for us, and since I'm also prepping for RWA, well, blogging got thrown out the wayside.We saw Tarzan--and really enjoyed it.

Yes, I know, there are people who are going to complain that it was just eye-candy, and that Margot Robbie's American accent was exceedingly modern, and that Samuel L. Jackson was... well, Samuel L. Jackson--awesome, but distinctly himself.

To which I respond with an enthusiastic, "Yes! Yes! Yes! All the things! The good and the bad things! The half-naked blond guy swinging through the trees things! The chemistry between the man and the woman without a chance of slash1  Yes! I was well and truly entertained, and I am not ashamed!"



Or something like that. Anyway, uh, you know. Liked the movie. Had a great time. Popcorn!  *nom nom nom nom*

We also saw The Secret Life of Pets, which was also highly entertaining. Mate and I decided that the best part about it was the secret love notes it posted to pet owners everywhere.  It was really a love story between owners and their pets, and I know enough of us are besotted by our fur babies to really appreciate something like that.

We also had a soccer clinic, which was sort of fun. The kids ran around for two hours and I got to sit and watch Mate be regal and club-presidential, which was nice. He's really good at making families feel like this is an okay investment into their time--very balanced. (I may be biased. He IS my Mate!)

And now? Work. Work work work.  I'm leaving for San Diego at crotch-o-dawn on Tuesday, my trusty Mate by my side, who will help me drive without losing complete grasp of reality.  I'm driving home on Sunday, with Karen Rose as my copilot, and I have to say, between Mate and Karen, I couldn't ask for better company.

But, uh, I may be a little thin on the blogging.

Forgive me--but I swear I'll collect con stories for you for when I get back.

So, I'll probably blog tomorrow, but if now, those of you who have been here for a while will know where I'll be.

If you guessed running around the house screaming, "WHERE THE HELL IS MY THING?" while the dogs cower and the spouse laughed, you'd be right.




Friday, July 8, 2016

I don't understand

So, a year and a half ago, at ZB's 11th birthday, I took this picture, and my heart broke a little.

I love all of the little boys in that photo--the one on the left has since moved away, but I talk to his mom sometimes on FB, and I'd seen him grow, playing soccer since he was eight years old. We still see the one on the right (and his little brother, the short one ;-) and his adorable family--they, in fact, gave us our adorable little dog.

But this picture was taken in November of 2014, and the country was becoming steadily aware that old hatreds--hatreds we'd thought had been put to bed, were in fact alive and killing our young men in brutal ways.

I looked at this picture--the three spazzy boys (and yes, all of them are ADHD like whoa) and realized that whereas I saw three equals, my son and his friends, kids I loved, the police force in this country did not see the same kids I did.

They saw the one on the left as a threat.

I loved that kid. Loved his mom, loved his two twin brothers.

I saw friends.

And our law enforcement was apparently looking at this family and seeing "scary people".

I wanted to do something. I wanted to change that prejudice. How could they not see the kid on the left as just as awesome, just as much fun, just as wonderful, as the kid on the right, or the kids in the middle?

I feel so helpless, watching my country tearing itself apart like this. Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights,  Dallas--how are we still fighting this war? (I looked back to my post after Ferguson--I said the same thing. Arghh!!!)  How do people look at that picture of those awesome kids and not see four beautiful boys?

How are we still giving guns to assholes who think guns are the answer? That's cops and snipers and terrorists--all of them. The number one questionnaire on the paperwork to get a gun should be, "Do you think the gun is the answer?"

IT'S NOT THE FUCKING ANSWER, PEOPLE!!!!

Ask a school teacher who walks into her classroom unarmed, if she thinks a gun would make her job better or worse. She doesn't have a gun to enforce order--she has personal skills to de-escalate situations. She has respect for her students and a willingness to do what's best for them at the expense of her own ego. She has the knowledge that if things go south, she needs to rely on her wits and her own force of will.

I recently found out that an old colleague of mine talked a kid out of his gun in the middle of her classroom. He handed her the thing and she said, "I"m sorry. I've never touched one of these. I don't know what to do with it."

"Maybe we should just put it down."

Do you know what would have happened if a cop had been in that room?

Everybody would have fucking died, because he would have drawn another gun and there was nowhere else to go.

And I know policemen--black and white policemen, for anybody who cares. They are good men. They are kind, and good fathers. I've seen them studying for sergeants exams and restless because injuries have kept them out of the field. They've been kind to me (soccer parents are mostly kind, I've found) and funny, and have laughed at my dumb jokes and rooted for my kids on the field.

I don't want to go to their funerals. Their children must be so scared.

I know I am so afraid--for everybody.

But mostly for those boys in the picture, and their siblings, and the other children they're growing up with. Because we have let them down.

Because we're still fighting this war.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

*flails* ALSKAR!

Okay, so it was fairly cool today-- 85 or so--and the pool was actually cold if you weren't working really hard.  And then the aqua instructor (my friend, Trina) sort of blew my mind.

"You know, I was watching ads for that new Tarzan movie, and I don't know who the guy is who's playing Tarzan, but I sure did think he was pretty. Does anybody know who he is?"

I almost drowned.

Okay-- I haven't blogged about this before, but someday I'm going to talk about all of those people who either don't own or don't have time to live on their computers, because they're pretty awesome. There are some people out there who maybe spend fifteen minutes checking their e-mail, but aside from that, and answering their cousin's sallies on FaceBook (or their friends or clients) they really don't have much use for that big expensive brick of mercury and soil death hanging out on their kitchen table.  I know that for some of us, this is unthinkable-- we're addicted to the bright light and the bringer of knowledge--but don't pity the non-addicted. They have the freedom to do things like go out and ride 200 mile bike races and visit relatives in faraway places and volunteer in alpaca farms and with burn victims and... okay, this is mostly Trina, but my parents are this active too, and I am sorely aware that dependence on electronics really does hamper some of my reality time.

Anyway, my point is, that although most of the people in my universe may actually be gasping because she did NOT know who Alskar was, the fact remains that she was ripe, and mine to educate.

I hunted her down after the class while she was rounding up gear.

"Trina, have you seen the Avengers movies?"

"Yes!"

"You know the old scientist, the one who was wandering around without his pants in the second Thor movie?"

"Yes! I like him!"

"That's Stellan Skarsgard-- he's Alexander Skarsgard's father. Alexander is the hot blond guy in Tarzan."

"Oh! That's cute that they're in the same business together!"

I, of course, and remembering Stellan as the vicious warrior in the Clive Owen version of King Arthur, as well as the overbearing professor in Good Will Hunting. "Yeah, they're adorable. But if you haven't seen True Blood--"

"I've heard of it!"

"Excellent. There's a lot of pictures of him, and other really hot guys, wearing not so many clothes in that show."

"Oooooh..."

I nod.  "It's totally worth it to Netflix."

She is, of course, enchanted with the idea, and I feel conflicted.

On the one hand, I have done my job and spread the Hot Guy Eye Candy for this lovely woman who has been my aerobics teacher for over five years and whom I adore.

On the other hand, I may possibly have addicted her to True Blood, and since I know she spends her free time doing outstanding and amazing things (I was not kidding about all of the volunteering and cycling she did-- she's sort of really wonderful) I may have robbed the world of a force of good.

But then, if I did, I had help.

There's not much we can't blame on Alskar's abalicious chesticles, right?

Mmmmmm... Alskar....

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

You! Go to Doggie Jail! Right now!

I admit-- I was a little skeptical when my parents invited us to bring our dogs for a "dog party" during the 4th of July.

They live in Placer County, which has lots of long, dry grass, and fireworks were illegal this year. Instead of the traditional fireworks, my parents invited people with dogs, so the dogs could play and get away from all the big-boom-shit that happens during the 4th.

This is actually a nice idea--for nicely behaved dogs.

Which only one of mine is.

Johnnie was great. He spent most of the time under my seat, occasionally licking my foot as if to say, "Mom, that 100 lb. Lab scares the crap out of me. Make him stop."

Geoffie?

Well, she saw her first dog besides my parents' dog, Max (who gets along with all things terrestrial, apparently) and went yapping after that big Akita's ass. And then Luna the Akita turned around and barked--and Geoffie ran screaming into our arms.

We decided she wasn't safe around civilized dogs, so we put her in a pen in the corner of the yard, surrounded by blanket, with her leash staked to the ground. (We had to do this carefully. She tried to hang herself a couple of times, and her pen was probably the most carefully watched blank spot in the universe. Oi.)  And she barked. The whole time.  Her barking followed the classic "extinction" model--the flurries got shorter less often, but she never really stopped.

*sigh*

It was such a lovely idea.

By the end of the evening, she was sitting on Mate's lap, exhausted, growling whenever one of the bigger dogs lumbered into the circle of lawn chairs as we talked.

And the big dogs?

Well, one of them tried to go visit, but we distracted him and he jumped into the swimming pool instead. (This was fairly impressive--he scaled the 5' side of the pool in one leap.)

And of course Max was busy roughhousing with the real dogs.

My mom and I were sort of sad. Geoffie is absolutely sure she's a big dog--she just hasn't figured out that big dogs don't yap, and that yappy dogs are annoying as crap.

So, next time there's a dog party, my dogs will stay home.

But other than that, it was a lovely 4th of July!