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

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Okay--I must confess--I'm knackered. I've been seriously putting out a chapter every day or two--I don't know how I got into this zone, but every breath is a burning NEED to finish the book. I figure I've got about four chapters to go--so that's about forty-eight or so pages, and then--it's done.

I'm almost dizzy with it.

I'm definitely dizzy with lack of sleep and that weird, brain-fever exhaustion that comes from simultaneously existing in two places at the same time--fucking dragon. I'm seriously considering taking Friday off so I can finish this project and get some sleep.

So this is going to be a short post--but I've got some burning cuteness for you--and most of it is from Ladybug.

* I went to lay down with Ladybug last night to cuddle. I'm in the sort of shape where, if I lay down for longer than two seconds, I drool a little on the pillow. So I woke up after a minute, and Ladybug is right over me, gazing deep into my eyes. "Mama--you've got television in your GLASSES!"

* Ladybug's babysitter told me that they had a half-an-hour conversation about what Ladybug did this weekend. Brenda had to sit down for this because, as she told it, Ladybug heard one half-formed, "uh-huh, and then what happened?" and she said, "SIT DOWN--you're not listening to me. Sit down and talk." And then, when the story was done, she said, "You can go now. I'm all done."

* As Brenda was telling me this story, Ladybug ran up to us and laid face down on the floor in front of our feet with her arms and legs spread. As she was laying there, she raised up her head and said, "Look--I'm a star!"

* And my favorite--at least for today: An imperious request to sit down with the little fun-yun and eat ice cream with her. I mean, Sponge-bob, ice cream-- life doesn't get much etter than that, right?

btw-- Grilltech made up for his rather cruel threat with some virtual brisket, offered via the net. The thought was delicious!

And now I've got to do... I can LITERALLY barely keep my eyes open. I think I'm going to bed not just before 12:30 tonight, but before 11:00--wow. I wonder what the world looks like when my eyeballs aren't bleeding from exhaustion?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Because Grilltech Threatened

Seriously-- can you believe it? The man threatened to give me SPOILERS of THE show... since he sees it before I do. Knittech--how could you let him do that to me?

But, because he threatened, I'll send you some pictures...

I'm sorry--I'm way too inept to rotate the picture in the computer--I'm letting the one of Chicken by herself stay sideways--but don't forget to tilt your computer so you can see the slouchy hat I finished in Crabby McCrabbypants while we were in the car on the way. Roxie, notice how it complements her Ren Faire outfit TO A T! It was really awesome--and she couldn't be happier with the hat itself. It especially looked good with the little devil horns her Auntie Wendy bought her for her birthday. (And for the record, I fixed the disaster of my hair about three minutes after that picture was taken.)

As for the faire itself--it WAS a lot of fun--in spite of the fact that we could buy very very very little (including food--because BOY howdy, was that expensive!) However, we did get to see Moonie (who is awesome and hilarious) even if we did miss Moonie and Broon. (Broon also is awesome and hilarious, but we managed to miss him completely and see Moonie twice. Weird.) It's funny (or not so much--just ask Moonie!) but he had a HELL of a time getting a Ren Faire employee to cooperate with him at the beginning of the show, and then his volunteer was an idiot... and he just broke character and laid it down. "I'm funny. People pay me all over the damned country. Could you just trust me on this and do what I'm telling you to?" I was impressed. On the one hand, it was relatively unprofessional--but then, I can be relatively unprofessional too. (You've all seen that--in the writing arena, dealing with nasty heifer trolls, in the teaching arena, dealing with irritating little fuckers--I'm very rarely all about keeping my composure.) What impressed the hell out of me was the guy's self-assurance. I AM FUNNY. TRUST ME. WATCH AND LAUGH. And he was right--he was hella funny, and the reluctant volunteer liked him by the end, and I'm hoping the drunken employee got fired, because she was just dumb as hell. But Jees... how much confidence you have GOT to have to just lay it down to a group of people like that.

He wasn't the only act at the faire that had me thinking like that. You must know--the Faire was HELLIFICALLY hot--like 106 F. (What is that? 34 C?) Anyway, It was hot and miserable--the short people would have had a lot more fun if we could have just BREATHED in the thick, searing dust. Early on, we got to see the contortionists--the dancers in the air-- on the center stage. Titania came out and she was young--not uber-skinny, like a lot of dancers, but lovely, fairly tall with long long thick curly blonde hair--and she was good. She was graceful and practiced and making the moves she did in the air, suspended by only a curtain wrapped around her feet or her legs, depending on the move. And the thing is, as I got closer, I saw a bandage around her foot and her hair around her face, making her sweat and how hard this all was for her, and it hit me.

There's not much an artist won't give up to bring some beauty in the world. Whether she's the diva at Cirque de Soleil, or this lovely, brave gymnast doing her damnedest at Ren Faires over the country, there is some serious self sacrifice in making artistic dreams come true.

I always wonder if I've got that amount of commitment in me, you know?

But other than that, we saw the Jousting (which we NEVER get to see) and my heart wept for those dashing, brave, tasty young men, frying like bacon under their armor. Again, THAT'S dedication. (Their show is getting riskier every year--no one FALLS off a horse on purpose.) The little kids got to play with the catapults and some other games, and overall, it was time well spent. Bone Daddy got a wooden axe, Chicken bought Ladybug a little monkey doll, and Auntie Wendy spoiled us a little on our birthdays--she got Chicken some devil's horns and me a vial of my rose/cinnamon/ambergris oil that is the only perfume that hasn't smelled like bugspray on me. She also got T an ocarina (one of those little clay flutes) which unfortunately had me singing a lot of the songs--my poor family. No one should hear an almost 42 year old woman belt out Stairway To Heaven unless she's good enough to get paid.

Today, we stopped by the beach--which was a LOVELY refreshing change from the Faire, and we spent nearly three hours there. We built sand-things. (Sand cats, sand horses, sand versions of 'The Scream'--uhm, that was me.) And yes--some sand castles. There was a pod of sea lions off shore and we watched them frolic the entire time. Here was where we got to see Bone Daddy in his natural element--he ran and 'sacrificed his legs to the cold ocean'--believe it or not, his words. Ladybug sat and built sand things, and we heard the sea lions. I said, "Ladybug, do you hear that?" and she said, "Arr Arr Arr Arr," in a passable imitation. I was very impressed.

And then we came home... and that part was hot and tired and dusty, and I give many thanks that the short people slept through most of it--and now they're waiting for me to whip up some Top Ramen. It's a good thing they like that stuff--we're going to be eating it for a LOOOONNNNNGGGGGG time.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Off to see the Ren Faire...

Okay--I'll admit it. As we started going through all the ren-faire gear in our room, I was a little surprised.

A lot surprised.

Damn, do we have a LOT of stuff. And I've, uhm, erm... grown out of some of it. Now that part was a nasty surprise, but on the good side of the surprise deal, the kids have grown in to a lot of it--EVERYBODY is going to have a costume or part of one tomorrow, even if I decide to go with the trendy peasant blouse from Torrid as opposed to the authentic (and HOT) long-sleeved peasant blouse from the last time we went to the Ren Faire!

Ladybug and Bone Daddy were plenty surprised too--and SO excited. "I look SO pretty!" said Ladybug, "And Chicken will be SO proud of me!" I told her Chicken was always proud of her, and Bone Daddy wanted to know if he could wear his Dragon Slaying clothes with his wooden sword and shield. They're both pretty adorable, really--and I'm pretty excited to go. Big T got a leather hat last time we went, the Robin Hood kind, with a feather--we all agreed: he looks like Little John, and he was happy, because Little John's a hero. And Chicken? Well, I'll be able to finish her slouchy hat in Crabby McCrabbypants on the way to the faire (it's about a three hour drive) so she'll have a PERFECT match to her black dress and purple bustier. Now I just have to remember some laces--even cheap acrylic yarn, if I have to!-- to get everyone all laced up!

Chicken's b-day last night was a success, and she actually liked one of the two pairs of pants my mom bought her. (Mom and I both declared that a *win*--50% is a high success rate w/Chicken and clothes) and everybody enjoyed the pizza and company. Mate's dad sent us a gift certificate, and Mate went and bought Beatles Rockband... I highly recommend it (as Cameron Frye said) it is SO choice!

I waited a bit to blog tonight--the dragon has been nipping at my heels, and it doesn't help that I'm SO close to a sex scene or two and a resolution--Deacon and Dek have had a TOUGH row to hoe, and I REALLY REALLY REALLY want to see these two lovers HEA--it helps with the motivation like you wouldn't believe. That, and I look forward to writing them being, erm, intimate. There hasn't been a whole lot of sex in this one. Bad things happen when I don't write sex often enough--trust me. It sort of backs up and gets slimy--must let the sexy writing out!!!!

Anyway, I promise (!!!) to take pictures and maybe even post some--and we'll show Ladybug and Bone Daddy that Ladies and Dragon Slayers are ALWAYS something to be proud of;-) (We're also going to the ocean on Sunday, since it's only like half an hour away from the Ren Faire and we're getting a hotel anyway... Bone Daddy is SO happy at the ocean! Can't wait!)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


(Thanks, Decrain for the word...)

The dragon has been riding me hard--I'm antisocial, irritated, and exhuasted.

And, thanks mom, now I'm guilty.

So there I was, napping with the short people before soccer practice, and enjoying every nanosecond of it, when the phone rang.

"Hi, Mom--what's up?"

"What's up with you--I haven't heard from you for a while!"

"We were just catching a nap..."

"And this is why I haven't heard from you for a while?"

"Well, we're having Chicken's birthday party tomorrow."

"What are you doing?"

"Pizza and ice cream, uhm," brain flash--hey, maybe they feel left out! "want to come over for it?"

"Yeah-- as a matter of fact, yes! What time should we be there?"

Continue conversation. Make note to self: CLEAN THE FREAKING HOUSE, DAMMIT!!!! Mention the writing and the sold story and maybe try to explain why this sudden new novel has been sucking your social, family, and professional life into the dragon's black maw.

And then mom hits you with a whopper: "So--when do I get to read them?"

Blush. "Mom--they're really really dirty!"

"So--do you think I haven't done that stuff before?"

Another mental note: purchase inner-eyeball-bleach and permanent-cortical-rinse.

"I prayed I'd never have to think about that."

"Just because I'm old doesn't mean I haven't done some of that stuff before."

Desperation. "MOO-OOMMMMM--I'VE never done that stuff before!!!" Mostly because I'm not a gay male, but still.

"But you've imagined it, haven't you?"

Uhm... well... obviously. "Uhm...well... YEAH!"

"Would you like to know the book I just read? It's really dirty! My nice Mormon friend gave it to me--do you want to know the title?"

"Please God no. I'm sending them. I'll send them to you. I'm sending them now."

"Good--would you like to stop talking about this?"

Thank you, God. "Yes please."

"Good--now what does Chicken want for her birthday--clothes?"

*whimper* "Uhm, yeah. Clothes are good."

And then, after I've hung up.



"Grandma wants to give you clothes for your birthday. You're welcome to say they're not your thing."

"Mooooommmmmmm!!!! I always feel bad when I don't like them!"

"I know, baby. You can tell me and I'll tell her. She said that's okay."


"And another thing, baby."


"You know how I let you read 'IF I MUST'?"


"I just sent it to Grandma. Do me a favor and tell her I edited the sex out for your version, would you?"

"I'll do my best not to mention it. EVER."

"Yeah. If only that was an option."

Monday, September 21, 2009


*Yawn* Still pretty darned tired--and I didn't even get to go for my walk! It's sort of hard to go walking when you're busy making two trips to the store because A. You forgot that Bone Daddy has snack tomorrow, and B. You forgot your wallet the first time you drove off to buy snack!

But still, I have some mildly amusing moments from my day that I thought I'd share, and so here I am, trying hard to finish Chapter 17 of Promise Rock (because some people can be SO pushy!) and these things are floating through my mind:

* Mate cleaned the living room this weekend--and when he cleans shit he doesn't screw around. Part of cleaning the living room is "Taking Care Of Amy" time, which I didn't realize until I was driving to work this morning and my cell phone started belting out "Welcome to the Jungle!" I fished it out of my bag and opened it (right AFTER I passed the cop, thank God) and he was on the other end, laughing his skinny Mate ass off.

"Guess what?" he giggled.

"What?" I asked--somewhat bemused.

"I charged your cell phone!"

OKay--we sat and giggled at each other for at least three minutes then, with nothing else to say. Well, I did manage a "You are so damned goofy!" but I really didn't have any room to talk, since I was giggling too. Twenty years married--who knew it was still fun!

* I had my Creative Writing club today--and they rocked. I didn't have to read any of my stuff, because EVERYONE brought something to read, and it was awesome. But I did get to share my news about 'If I must' (just got my editing instructions--so. damned. cool.) and I told the kids my favorite Moliere quote: Writing is like prostitution: First you do it for the fun of it, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for money.

Well, I said this, and one of my students--the one who's the driving force behind the club, actually, starts busting up.

"It's not that funny, sweetie--you've heard me say this before!"

"Yeah, Ms. Lane. I even said it to some friends of mine. And you know what they said?"


"They said that I must be the WORST WHORE EVER!"

I laughed my ass off, I'm not ashamed to admit it.

And now, I must away. Oh crap--I forgot to take a picture of my yarn! I WILL DO THAT--but first, I need to find the camera. I think a whole lot of shit--including kid pix--is going to get caught up on once I finish Promise Rock. *sigh* Getting close to the end--only 30,00 more words to go.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Surviving Another Week 6

Yessirree, ladies and gent (okay, there's two of you...) I have survived the dreaded nadir of school suckage known as week six. For those of you who are new, my theory is this: Any major life change from having a baby to starting a new job to, yes, going back to school, takes six weeks of adjustment.

And week six will suck, suck large, and suck hard, and not in that nice, tingly way that we see between some of my characters either. This is suckage in the area of the sphincter of the third demon south of hell.

The good news is, when you know it's coming, you can identify the causes and adjust.


When little Bone Daddy falls asleep in the car on the way home from dropping his brother off at karate--just let him sleep. His first grade teacher has a very cool homework policy, and she will understand.

When Ladybug is still running around in circles at ten o'clock, give in and spank her. (Not hard--just enough to startle her out of that 'I must move so I don't sleep' hamster wheel she's so good at hopping on.) She'll cry for thirty seconds and fall asleep, and the crying you could live without, but the sleep is necessary for Ladybugs and grouchy mommies alike.

When your teenager is sobbing at the table because he's taking his 'scold them out of love' Health Education homework WAAAAYYYY too seriously, tell him that his Health Education was written for total losers and not for stellar, outstanding kids like him. Refrain from mentioning the dirty table and the state of his room just this once.

Don't peel Chicken like a grape when you discover that she's accidentally sold a book you've been waiting two years to read to the book store, because she thought it was one you had two of, but it's not.

When Ladybug grabs your hand when you're in the middle of blogging to make you lay down and watch Batman with her, and you don't want to because you know you'll just fall asleep? Go. You can always blog tomorrow.

Which is what I did, and week six was exhausting but not traumatic. Yaa-heee....

Oh-- one more thing? No matter how bad your finances, no matter how sad your affairs, no matter WHAT the odds are that you'll have to give up publishing the two books you think really rock in order to finance Christmas... CELEBRATE when you sell another story to Dreamspinner Press. Look for If I Must by Amy Lane, coming in the Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar this Christmas season. The check wasn't big enough to ease the financial woes, but the ego boost made me not care quite as much.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

While I'm still awake enough to post...

I should probably announce that the fourth and final back-to-school night was attended tonight, with a minimum of fuss and a cutting of 5th and 6th period. (One teacher was gone and the other class was PE.)

Go Mom.

I should also announce (because I REALLY REALLY WANT TO) that Roxie and Needletart have done a STELLAR job helping me with the editing of Rampant, and I got my box today! The box also had some books to read (SQUEEEE!!!) and some (happy dance happy dance funky chicken in the kitchen!) HAND DYED SOCK YARN from Bonnie in (hee hee hee hee... I'm still goofy over this, it's so wonderful!) Green, Bracken Gray, and Cory Sunshine Yellow. Now everybody close your ears, I'm going to make a knitter's squeal so high-pitched that only dogs can hear it and all of your florescent bulbs short out... ready? *SQUUUEUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE* Whew. It's still not all out though--I'll get the rest of it out when I take a picture tomorrow.

Anyway, I've got a TERRIBLE chapter to write for Deacon and Dek-- let's face it, any chapter called 'Broken Levees, Dead Horses, and Driving While Gay' isn't promising at all-- but after that, well... let's just say that for once, I will cheerfully PROMISE a happy ending, mostly just to get you through the emotional wringer that the rest of the book is turning out to be. But after I finish Deacon & Dek, then I'm going to do the final pass for RAMPANT, and then I'm going to write the 5th installment of Jack & Teague, and then the 6th installment of Jack & Teague, and then I'm going to start the next Cory book! *whew* Honestly, though, I hope my dragon takes a water break for a little while after Keeping Promise Rock--he's been riding me hard and putting me away wet, and between that and my insane schedule and, well, FOUR BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS, I'm sort of tuckered. And hopefully, somewhere in there, I can get Deacon and Dek to see some publishing daylight--because looking over Roxie and Bonnie's hard work, I can tell you that I think with some minor tweakage and some slime-sanitizing, I'm thinking you guys could really like Rampant.

It would be great if it could see daylight as well.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Waiting for lightning...

My second period class is torn between the people who really like me and the people who resent the fact that a lot of the kids really like me, and they want to show the first group how ineffectual I am. It's an ugly dynamic--a lot of nasty, passive aggressive shit going on, and I'm not a 'yell-er', I'm not arrogant, and I don't have that "Do what I say because I'm the shit" sort of demeanor. A lot of my classroom management depends on convincing the students that their own desire for civilization really does trump their own desire for anarchy. It's a simple formula, and I rely (a lot) on the common sense idea: they completely outnumber me, and I refuse to be a bully. If they decide they don't want an education, I'm not going to shove one down their throats. But I can ask them to leave when they make life difficult for others.

Of course, I do have a temper, and when it flashes, my "Get the fuck out of my room" will surface, but I hate that too. This shit is why educators burn out. This, and the constant tension between what the state wants us to teach and what we think is good to teach and the fact that the state doesn't know it's fucking ass from a hole in the ground. *OI*

Is it any wonder that I spend a certain amount of time combing my e-mail and looking for good news? Or the rest of it writing, hoping to make some good news of my own?

Sorry--didn't mean to get too heavy for you. I did have a good meeting with my creative writing club--a couple of kids brought in WIPs that we read aloud, and we had a nice discussion when asking for prompts for next week. (We settled on 'Brain Porn', which just goes to show you I've got to stop giving recommendations, because my shit is usually a lot edgier than theirs. Sad but true.)

There has been knitting going on--my LYS put out a very simple, very elegant pattern for a slouchy hat in sock-weight, and, bless Roxie, I'm using my Crabby McCrabbypants yarn to make the hat for Chicken. (It's part of her birthday present.) I've also started some alpaca sock-yarn gloves for my Crazy Friend Wendy. She's got some sort of syndrome that makes her circulation shut off in her extremities in the cold--so I promised to make her some gloves in which I could (ala Roxie) leave the tips of the fingers open, so she can just push the fingers down so she can type in her office. I was going to go fancy, but it's getting cold fast, so I figure basic glubs will have to do--it's okay, the yarn is pretty succulent, I can live with some basic glubs.

And that's what I've got--Deacon and Declan are waiting--In the last three weeks I've written nearly 60,000 words. My house looks like shit and I'm EXHAUSTED, but this work... it just seems to write itself. I'm a little wary of the shit that writes itself--I usually find lots of small pockets of editing nightmares, where my brain outstripped my fingers and my fingers jumped the gap--but I'm so immersed in their world. And the guys are... well... they're wonderful. Absolutely rounded, flawed, perfect, amazing, hot guys.

*squeal* *swoon* *thud* yeah... I guess we know where I'll find lightning...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Life is strange, and so am I...

A couple of things that happened this week:

* I had to CHASE A KID AROUND THE ROOM AND GRAB HIM BY THE EAR to get him to sit down. I'm lucky this kid and I had a rapport, because he was REALLY surprised to find himself hauled by the ear to his seat. He was also surprised to realize that I had to chase him. In fact, I think he felt really bad.

* I had not one but TWO back to school nights. I think that needs to be said, because I had one last week and another next week, and I'm so sick of bts night by now that I can hardly stand it.

* Little Bone Daddy didn't do badly at his soccer game--after he stopped pouting because we had to pull him away from the sprinklers, that is!

* Big T watched three Stanley Kubrik movies on I asked him to please warn us if he was planning to kill us in our sleep. He said, "You're kidding, right?" I said, "Oh yeah. Kidding. Definitely." Stanley Kubrik--yeesh!

* You know 'spoonerisms'--when you reverse the beginning sounds of two words with humorous results, like, say, "Ladies may I sew you to your sheets?" Yeah-- I had a kid do that with the words "Fun sucker"--with both hilarious and disturbing results.

* I overheard the following conversation at school between two students, a boy and a girl, both of whom were black:

B--Who's she? She's hot--is she white?

G--No--she's Nicaraguan.

B--What in the fuck is that?

G--You know--Nicaragua? It's one of those countries down in South America? By Mexico?

B--Are you sure? Because when you said 'Nicaraguan' I could have swore that was black-people speak for 'Mexican'.

G--You are so retarded! But look--you made Ms. Lane laugh... that's pretty funny, isn't it Ms. Lane?

Me: 0.0 "Uhm, yeah. That was hella funny." 0.0

* Our friends, the ones we visited in Colorado, came to visit all their friends here. We just got back from visiting--and I miss them very very much.

* I found out why Bone Daddy was so upset about getting his 'number moved'--apparently that means he was bad. But he earned his place back on the door at the end of the week, so I think he'll be good again. Poor Bone Daddy--he wants so badly to be good.

* My babysitter graduated from college. This is huge. Six years ago, when I was looking for a babysitter in the same area in which I teach, I swore that I would, under no circumstances, have one of the parents of one of my students be my babysitter. But then I met Lucia and I loved her, and she said, "My daughter Brenda is one of your students," and I thought, "I LOVE Brenda. Brenda is a great kid. This could work out!" So Brenda graduated from high school and eventually took over her mother's job when Lucia and her husband (who's great with kids but very shy with adults and who doesn't speak much English) moved back to Dominica. Brenda also continued to go to school, and today she graduated with her degree in business. I went to the ceremony (and knit a LOT while we were waiting for Brenda's name to be called, and I was SO proud. I'm so amazed that I know this awesome young person--and that she thought enough of me as an educator to invite me to her day. (She had two rows in Arco Arena filled with family--I left her mom a card and slipped out of the place before traffic got bad. But I was so pleased to be able to see it:-)

* And I just spent three hours at a friend's house watching Ladybug chase their cat. It was pretty funny, actually... but not for the cat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I am NOT Becky...

For one thing, my sex scenes are a LOT hotter!

For two, I'd be macking on Dean so hard, Sam would have to hide his eyes.

*snicker* OKay-- for those of us coming off of the high of yummy yummy hot guys (aka Supernatural) you know what I'm talking about. For those of you who are a little puzzled, this should help you.

Ahhh... it was good. All except the end. I want my guys to hug-hug kiss-kiss again and it's going to be a long road. But that's okay-- my boys are back and I'm writing some really angsty m/m and Needletart has a book box on it's way to me... things are looking up! I have to say they'd better-- my classes are no longer happy-joy-joy-- in fact, I was having a real vision of pooh-throwing monkeys today. And I kept imagining I had shit in my hair. ULG!

But you guys all seemed to enjoy Deacon and Dek-- I'm pretty in love with them--and they're keeping me sane right now. That, and the complete soul-killing exhaustion inspired my usual week + 2 back to school nights--one of them mine! Only six parents showed up, and one student to visit.

*sigh* I really have to talk about that one kid.

What do you say to this kid? She was a special ed kid who dropped out of her Junior year last fall--it would have made her a Senior this year. She has a speech impediment and reading problems, she dropped out so she could pay rent because her boyfriend went to jail and her mom couldn't make the rent without his help, she's about to get evicted, she wants to get her diploma and (wait for it...) she's 8 1/2 months pregnant.

What I said was "Good luck."

What I wanted to say was, "Fuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkkkk...."

And of course, there's the people you tell this story to (in my case, both men--!) who get all high and mighty about, "Well, it was her choice to get knocked up!" MMmmmmm... yeah. Maybe. Honestly, I don't see this kid with a lot of choices in any scenario. I certainly don't see giving a 16 year old crap for acting in a way she thinks is grown up when she's dropped out of school to support herself is really going to help the situation. Good choices are made with good guidance--and fuck-ups still happen. Kids are still kids, whether they get knocked up or not. Seriously--are we really going to kick this girl's ass for getting knocked up, when sex can be SO easy and comfort can be SO necessary to us as living breathing human beings?

I don't know. I don't want to see this happening any more than I already do-- I just wonder if the guys bitching about this kid are the same guys voting to cut things like family planning and social support for kids just like her. Very often, that's the case.

Either way, this was the sort of case that Green's HIll was designed to take care of. I only wish that I could make it as solid and real in life as it seems to be (for a lot of us) in our imaginations, you know?

Well, I've swung from yummy-yummy hot guys to revolutionizing the world order. I think I'll sign off now and write about Deacon and Dek, and hope I dream of yummy yummy hot guys. Or Green's Hill.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What the dragon hatched...

Okay, folks, I've admitted this before: I've got my head stuck up my WIP and it's hard to yank it out. That being said, I thought I'd give sort of a teaser for this WIP. Now, it's not Little Goddess (but I've got a Jack and Teague planned for Thanksgiving) and it's not Bitter Moon (those are, alas, complete) but it SHOULD be a full length book. On the shorter side, yes, but I'm thinking it will end up around 90,000 words--which would make it just about as long as Vulnerable. (Yeah-- Rampant was 210,000 easy.) Anyway, it is straight-up contemporary m/m romance--I know. Sounds simple. But sometimes, there is something lovely in simplicity. (It's like making your basic baby hat. I've been on a tear with those... so easy... around and around and around, and then that little spiral set of decreases, and then pull through the last 8 stitches... so. damn. perfect.) I really like this, folks. No--not Little Goddess or Green's Hill, and those will always be my first loves and I'm certainly not leaving them, but, well...

Maybe you'll see what I mean...

from Keeping Promise Rock

by Amy Lane

Chapter 1

Honest as a Horse

When Declan was seven years old, his mother had dated a bible-thumping bigot who had taken one look at Declan’s straight, dark hair, liquid black eyes and pale skin and subsequently declared that “the little Mex kid could pass for white, so he didn’t reckon it would be too much of a problem raising him right.”

“The little Mex kid,” had promptly kicked the fucker in the shins and run out of the house. His mother married Bob Coats anyway, but thank the Good Lord, he’d never forced Dek to take his name.

Francis was his mother’s name—and he liked it. Wasn’t so thrilled with her—especially after she married Bob, but the name sounded good. Sounded a hell of a lot better than “the little Mex kid”, anyway.

They moved to Levee Oaks, which can loosely be termed a ‘suburb’ of Sacramento, but isn’t. Levee Oaks is an odd sort of town—sweet little suburban neighborhoods sit cheek-by-jowl next to horse property. The high school was part of a larger Sacramento district that covered some of the less savory parts of the city, but the grammar schools were all part of an elementary district, and so they sort of behaved like the high school and junior high were on Mars and not worth their consideration. The result was a whole lot of confused junior high students, and a high school environment that was known for sending substitute teachers screaming for Tequila and a gun permit.

A lot of the residents in Levee Oaks had jobs in the considerably larger city of Sacramento. A lot of the residents didn’t have jobs, period. A whole lot of the residents attended one of the churches that seemed to sit large on every corner. After Declan lived through his first flood at the age of eight and a half, he’d figured that the churches were there to keep the water back.
After living through another levee break only one year later, Dek figured the churches were not doing their job, and were therefore pretty goddamned useless. This is why he started ditching out of Sunday school, which is how he met Deacon.
Ditching out of Sunday school was not as much fun as it sounded. There were no arcades, no movie theatres—hell, there was barely a 7/11 to haunt, and besides. He didn’t have any money anyway. Mostly what Declan did, dressed in his threadbare khakis and striped polo shirt, was wander. He’d wander up one narrow road and down one tiny road, and along East Levee Road, and finally, he’d find his way to the levee.

One day, he found his way to the levee and followed it to Deacon’s father’s horse ranch, and fell in love.

At first, he thought he was in love with the place, because it was everything his own home was not. The ranch house was big enough (whereas his mother’s house always seemed too small) and pained a whimsical blue, with a nice little patch of lawn and a U-shaped driveway that circled around to the back where the spread opened up a bit. There was a barn four times the size of the house and two work-out rings, as well as enough sun-browned pasture-land for twenty horses to graze comfortably outside and enough sun-scorched riding land beyond that so that not all the workouts had to be in the workout rings.

But the house—as nice as it looked, was just a house, so the next thing Dek figured he loved was the horse, because she was—as Deacon said for years—one of the prettiest little fillies he ever did raise. Her movements were liquid-silver, her gait smooth-as-lube, and her color was a fine, dark, chestnut-bay.

So Dek fell in love with the horse next, but then he found his final love, and that was the boy in the ring, the one guiding that pretty little mare through her paces. His brow knotted in concentration, his face lit with some sort of holy joy—well, he really made the poetry of muscle, sinew, hide and motion come alive.

Dek looked around and saw that there were a number of folks hanging off the fence of the workout ring, so he wiggled between two kids his own age and stood up on the lowest rail of the fence, the better to look over the top rail and get a better view.

“Isn’t she pretty?” the boy next to him whispered, and Dek looked at the horse and thought of wind.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Deacon says that if they can breed Lucy Star here and produce a stud, The Pulpit will start rolling in money.”

“Deacon?” It was close to his own name—but different enough to be exotic.

The kid—a plain looking boy with straight brown hair and a rather aggressive brow—nodded to the boy in the ring, and Dek found out what real love was all about.

Deacon Winters had been beautiful his entire life, but not once had he ever acknowledged it in front of the world or himself.
The boy in the ring took off his blue ball-cap and revealed short-cut brown hair, streaked blond by the sun, slicked back against his head with sweat, and falling across his brow from what had been a buzz cut on the top of his head. His face was a very square-ish oval—he had a square chin and high cheekbones and a wide forehead, and wide-set green-hazel eyes that were remarkably pretty, even in the glaring sun.

His face and hands were tanned, but his upper arms under his T-shirt were pale, and even at thirteen or fourteen, he was showing long swathes of knotty muscle in his biceps, chest, shoulders, and across his back. His wrist-bones were wide, because he had a bit of growing to do, and his collarbones peeked sharply through his sweat-soaked blue T-shirt.
Deacon had always thought of food last and horses first—one thing among many that had made Declan love him even more over the years. Even so, the seeds of that love started at this very moment, as Declan watched those wide, capable hands carry that horse through her paces like a cloud carried water from the sea to the valley.

Declan couldn’t hardly contain himself, and when he couldn’t hardly contain himself, he never could contain his damned mouth.

“Gees, that’s a pretty horse. Did you breed her yourself? How old is she? Do you get to ride her? Damn, I want to ride her do you think I could ride her? Are you Deacon? This boy says your name is Deacon and mine’s Declan, and those names are sort of the same. We could be brothers, right? I wouldn’t mind a brother, because my mom’s pregnant again and it’s another girl…” and so on. Anything, anything, to get that boy to look up at him, to get him to respond, to get something that beautiful to notice that Declan existed.

But Deacon ignored him for the next fifteen minutes. He was working the mare, and that’s where his concentration went, and that was all she wrote. The two boys next to Dek shifted on the fence and gave him pitying looks before hopping down and going elsewhere, (Dek found out later that they were clients, waiting for their riding lesson, and they would eventually form the background haze of his miserable adolescence) and Declan was left there, him, his mouth, and the boy of his dreams.
Finally the workout was done, and Deacon led the mare off for water and a good brushing. He looked up at the little nuisance on the fence and jerked his chin, indicating that Dek should follow him.

“You want to ride?” he asked, as Declan trotted up beside him, and Declan nodded furiously, for once blessedly silent.

“You want to ride, I’ll teach you after lesson hours. But you gotta help muck out the stables, right?”

Dek thought that sounded fair. Besides, even horseshit sounded better than Sunday school.

“And another thing,” Deacon said, looking down at Dek with what seemed an impressive height. (Dek would grow a good four inches taller, but he didn’t know that.) “Please don’t talk so much. You’ll spook the horses.”

Please don’t… it was as harsh as Deacon ever got. He didn’t talk much—never did. Teachers thought he was stupid, until he aced their tests. Riding clients talked at him continuously, trying to get him to break into conversation. It took Dek years to get him to open his heart and spill it out. But all that impressive silence had its perks.

If Dek wanted to know if he’d ever crossed a line, all he had to listen for were those words. Please don’t… and he’d subside.
Deacon had that effect on a person.

In fact, Declan would later reflect that Deacon’s effect on him was about the only thing that kept Declan alive and out of prison during the next eleven years.

That evening, Parish Winters drove Declan home, Deacon on the other side of him in the big, steel blue Chevy truck. Dek liked Deacon’s dad—he had steel gray hair, a weathered face, and a sort of sweetness around his smile. Deacon might have had the same sweetness, but he tended to pinch his mouth closed, concentrating all the time.

It didn’t matter—Parish saw the heart of his son, and, in that first night, Dek could tell that he saw the heart of Declan as well.

“I reckon we’ll take the boy on Saturdays and Sundays,” Parish said after Dek’s stepdad had opened the door.

Bob Coats had made noises. “Sunday’s the Lord’s day! Boy belongs…”

“Wandering the levee, looking for trouble? I reckon the Lord would rather we kept him busy, you think?” Parish snorted, and Bob had opened his mouth to argue again, but one up-close-and-personal glare from Deacon’s father had shut him down.
“Now you listen here. This ain’t the first time I’ve seen your kid wandering the roads. You wanted to keep him in church on Sunday, you needed to spend some more time with him every other day.”

“He’s not my kid,” Coats denied hotly. “Little Mex bastard is Mel’s mistake. But we need him to take care of his sister…”

“Well you’ll have to need him some other days, then,” Parish said, his implacable face testament to his disgust.

“Why this kid, Winters?” Coats asked snidely. “He’s pretty enough—is that your thing?”

Declan had looked up as though shot. It was like Bob Coats had seen directly into his heart and made note that lovely glow that had surrounded it since he’d seen Deacon. But Coats was purely invested in pissing off Deacon’s father, and it worked. Parish grabbed Dek’s stepdad by the front of the sweat-stained T-shirt and shoved him against the door.

“You listen here you ignorant bastard,” he growled. “My son is a good kid—he gets good grades, he works his ass off—and he don’t ask for nothing but the right to sit a horse. Birthdays, Christmases—that boy’s been neck deep in sweaters, because he doesn’t want a damned thing. Until today. Today he asked me for Declan to work at The Pulpit two days a week. And since you don’t give a damn about that boy, I’m going to give Deacon what he wants, and Dek here what he needs.” Parish punctuated this speech—the longest Dek would ever hear him make—with a shove at Bob’s shirt against the door.

“If you want him that bad you can have him!” Coats spat to the side then, and Dek barely missed getting lugee in his hair. “But he damned better be here after school to watch the little one for his mom.”

“I will!” Declan swore fervently. He actually didn’t mind sitting the baby—Denise (Denny for short) was a sweetheart with a wicked smile. Until he’d talked to Deacon Winters, his two-year-old sister had been about his best friend.

And so it had started. Declan’s lifelong love affair with horses—and with Deacon Winters—was well on its way.

The next weekend, when Dek was ass deep in horseshit and still happier than he’d be watching television at home, he asked why. Why’d Deacon put him and his daddy out to rescue Dek from domestic misery?

Deacon had shrugged and grinned at him. His grin was a tight-muscled, sunshine-powerful thing that made Declan’s stomach fly. “You’re as honest as a horse, Dek. Loud, but honest. That don’t come easy.”

So Dek had a quality—a virtue of sorts. He clung to it. There were some difficult years—some damned rough years, in fact—but Deacon had seen honesty in him, and Dek determined that Deacon would never see anything less.

Which is why, that very same weekend when Deacon put him on the back of a horse and walked that placid, bombproof gelding around the circle with a gait as soft as a cotton ball on a cloud, Dek had grinned fiercely at his hero and laughed. “Dammit, Deacon, it’s awesome… but I want to go faster!”

Deacon tilted his head back and laughed. “All right, Speedy. Let’s try a canter.”

And Dek practiced holding on for dear life. He never realized that from that moment forward, so had Deacon--but Deacon did manage to drop him some hints.

The time Dek got busted for smoking weed under the high school bleachers in the sixth grade, Deacon had dropped a big one.
At Dek’s (panicked, tearful, shameless) begging, the school authorities had called Parish to take him in hand instead of his mom and stepdad, and Deacon had come with him.

If Dek had room for one more request, it would have been that Deacon would never have known about his complete idiocy. The kid who asked him had Deacon’s brown hair and eyes only a little darker, and grooves in the sides of his cheeks, and he had… had smiled at Dek. Had let him in on the joke. Had copied off his math homework and given him some cookies from his lunch in return. It was as close as Dek would ever get to actual popularity—smoking weed hadn’t seemed like that big a price to pay.

Then he saw the fearsome look on Deacon’s face as Parish’s big blue pick-up drove up, and it had seemed like entirely too high a cost.

Parish had needed to deal with the school authorities—and from what Dek figured out, a whole lot of lying had gone on about how Bob and Melanie Coats would be the first ones to know and how a months worth of detention would be impossible for him to serve since he was helping at The Pulpit to feed his family.

And while Parish was doing that, Deacon was making a month’s worth of detention sound like a dream come true.

“What. In. The. Hell.” It was all he could say. Dek stared at his hero as Deacon struggled with words, with breathing, and with the tremble of temper in his hands as he apparently debated whether to strangle Dek or turn him over his knee.

“I’m sorry, Deacon…” he tried to be stoic. Oh he really did, but the tears were slipping out and his nose was starting to run. Screw Brian Collins and his Oreo cookies—he’d trade them all just to have Deacon’s good opinion back.

“Do you know what happens if you smoke weed, get drunk, do stupid shit like this? Do you have any idea?” Dek’s back was to the school wall, and Deacon was looming over him, his fist pulled back and cocked like he was going to hit something. Dek didn’t quail. Bob tanned his hide at least twice a week—Dek could handle pain, and this time he deserved it.

“I’m sorry… please don’t say I can’t come over any more. Please let me keep working at The Pulpit…”

Deacon let his fist fly—straight at the wall above Dek’s head. He grunted at the impact, and Dek heard bones crunch, but Deacon just looked down at him, holding his blood-dripping hand and shaking his head.

“That shit can kill you on a horse. Horses don’t know drunk from mean, you don’t know a buzz in your brain from a tree in your head—you do that shit you can’t come around no more. That shit’ll get you killed!”

Dek looked at the blood on Deacon’s hand and cried harder. Without hardly knowing what he was doing he rubbed the abused knuckles with his thumb. “I won’t, Deacon. Please. Just… just please don’t be mad at me. Don’t…”

“Why’d you do it?” Deacon asked, shaking off the attention as he always did.

Dek hiccupped, and yielded to the one virtue he’d ever been accused of having. “He was nice to me, and I was lonely.”

Deacon dropped his head with a sigh and carefully repositioned his baseball hat with his good hand. “You gotta hold out for the weekends, Dek. Just remember, you got friends and family from Saturday morning to Sunday night. Please don’t give make me say you can’t come over. Please.”

Oh Jesus. Deacon had said ‘please’.

Parish came out and got them then, and took his son to the ER at Kaiser in the city without much more than a “Jesus Christ, Deacon—you couldn’t lose your temper on a pillow or something?”

When the hand and wrist had been stitched and set in a cast, he’d taken the boys out to ice cream. There had been no mention of school, detention, or the many reason drug abuse was bad and horses were good. There was just the three of them, eating ice cream and asking Deacon how he was going to hold the reins with the awkward cast on his hand. Deacon shrugged. “That little gelding’s so sweet, I just gotta think in the right direction. We’ll be all right.”

And they were. Dek’s troubles were by no means over, but following Parish’s and Deacon’s example, that was his last flirtation with substance abuse. Of course, three days later (after Deacon’s cast had been replaced with the waterproof fiberglass variety) Deacon took Dek on a trail ride along with Deacon’s best friend (and wide receiver) Chris Levins, Deacon gave him another reason to never risk losing the best thing in his life.

The Sacramento River can be downright foul in some places—but in Levee Oaks, there are a few tributaries—mostly used for irrigation--that are both deep and clean. One of these ran through the far end of The Pulpit, complete with a big granite rock underneath a couple of oak trees. Deacon called it Promise Rock, and so did Chris, and Dek caught their excitement as they packed up the saddlebags with peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, apples, and water and towels.

The ride itself wasn’t long, but it was hot. You didn’t wear your swimming trunks on the back of a horse, and it was already in the nineties, even though it was only May. They didn’t care—Parish and Patrick, their one permanent employee, were off showing Lucy Star, trying to get up points so Lucy Star’s babies could be sold with a pedigree. Deacon had been slated to show her until he broke his hand, so there were no riding lessons and no football practice and pretty much nothing but mucking out stalls and working the other animals until the damned cast got taken off.

Deacon had asked nicely, and he and Parish figured that taking three horses to the end of the property and back counted as working them. The result amounted to a holiday better than going to the zoo or the movies or anything else that Dek hadn’t been able to do because step-Bob hadn’t wanted to spring for it.

For one thing, Dek got to ride a horse just as far and as fast as he wanted. Ever since his first ride around the little circle, Dek had lived and died for that chance to be free, and the only thing different about this was that there were two other horses in front of him, going mach one with their tails on fire.

It was awesome.

Eventually, they had to slow to a canter, which was probably good because the muscles in his legs were going to give out—it was hard work holding on to a horse in a gallop, even harder if you were going to ride him, help him with the lifting of your body and the guiding of your legs and hands and stomach. About the time Dek thought he was going to humiliate himself by asking for a sedate walk, the oak trees they were heading for were clearly visible over the scorched fields that Parish mowed once a year for hay.

A little more cantering and they were swinging off the horses and leading them to the sloped bank of the swimming hole for water, and Dek got a good look at the only place in his life he’d ever held sacred.

Promise Rock was nothing really—a tall rock above a wide, deep spot in something less than a river and more than a stream. The rock was surrounded by oak trees so it was shady, and they were sentinel oaks, so there were no scorched grasses in their shade. But the air there, in the shade and by the water was about fifteen degrees cooler than it had been crossing the field, and they were far enough away from the levee and the roads that the only sounds there were the jangle of tack and the boys’ rough, happy breathing now that the ride was done. It was pretty, peaceful and secret, and for the first time in his life, Dek felt like he was in the center of things. Only this little group of people—and Parish, of course—knew about this swimming hole. There was no trash, no used condoms or soda cups, and no reminders about step-Bob or his little sisters or the classes he hated or the fact that the whole rest of his life seemed to be wrapped up and tied into this crappy little town.

Dek thought that if The Pulpit was his world and Parish was his holy father, then Promise Rock was the church where he’d come to worship.

Deacon had the saddlebags and he rustled inside them quickly and then threw trunks at Chris and Dek, and without ceremony began to strip off his own clothes to put his on.

Dek tried hard not to swallow his tongue.

He’d always known he was in love with Deacon Winters, but he’d figured that was a ‘normal’ kind of emotion that every boy felt for a hero. The boys around him had been talking about girls, and as sixth grade progressed, Dek had assumed he eventually would want to look at them and talk about them too. He had been afraid of that time—because it would mean less of his soul was centered on Deacon—but he assumed it was an age thing, and it would pass.

Deacon’s skin was pale—especially next to Chris, who was tanned and blonde from days in his parent’s swimming pool—and he had scars from riding and playing ball and one across his stomach from an appendix surgery, so he was not perfect. But oh God and boy howdy, was that boy beautiful. The tight, knotty swathes of muscle he’d seen the first time he’d seen Deacon had massed out a little in the last two years, but he still didn’t eat quite enough. His collarbones stood out vulnerable and delicate from his defined chest, and the hollow between his neck and the slope of his shoulders seemed to be especially tender. He had a flat beauty mark next to his right nipple, and another one low on his collarbone, and Dek tried hard—very hard—not to stare at the same time he was memorizing their positions so he could claim them at some later date. He had to take off his own clothes anyway, or he’d look like a dork, so for a minute that broke his concentration.

He had just skinned off his underwear when Chris said something inconsequential and witty, making Deacon throw back his head and laugh, and Dek looked up instinctively.

Oh God. Deacon was naked, his trunks held out in front of him as he prepared to step in, and Dek got a clear view of him, laughing and nude and beautiful enough to make his heart break.

And his little pecker stood at attention with a rush of blood Dek swore came directly from his brain. He flushed—probably so badly it looked worse than sunburn—and threw on his trunks haphazardly. Without looking at either of the other boys he gathered his clothes into a knot and dropped them in a little wad up on the rock, then looked up with the most innocence he could muster.

“Can we just jump right on in then?” he asked, and Deacon nodded with a slight smile.

Thank God the water was cold, or Dek might have tried to drown himself in it, just for form.

As Chris and Deacon ran up the rock and leapt in from the height to a shrieking splash in the swimming hole, Dek had time to come to a couple of realizations.

He was never going to start looking at girls.

And he would probably love Deacon Winters truly and deeply for the entire rest of his life, in the way that most men loved their wives.

And someday, because Deacon thought he was honest, he would have to take his balls in one hand and his heart in the other and tell Deacon himself.

But not on this day. On this day, he would laugh and splash with Deacon and Chris. On this day, he would laugh at Chris (who was extroverted and witty as Deacon was not) and watch Deacon on the sly to see his eyes crinkle and his mouth open wide as he laughed.

On this day, he would listen to the older boys shyly talk about their girlfriends and try very hard not to break his heart over it. They were not flirting with each other—and a phantom girl that Dek could not see did not feel like much of a threat.
On this day, Dek would be happy, and he would be good, and he would strengthen his resolve to behave at school so that Deacon would never again have to see the worst of him, the way his mom and step-Bob did.

He managed to make that resolution stick for three years.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Yup... my 801'st post. Cool! Too bad I don't have anything REALLY profound... but, you know, at least we can say I AM a veteran blogger--doesn't 801 posts qualify for that?

I am actually taking a little break from my WIP today--Deacon and Declan broke my heart in the worst way yesterday, and as much as I love these guys, if they're gonna keep fucking w/my emotions like this they're going to have to expect a little time out. Seriously, though--I just got a second request (thanks, Needletart--I started mulling that around tonight during my walk) for a character lexicon at the beginning of RAMPANT, and I realized that Jack & Teague probably needs the same thing at the beginning of THAT book when I release the collection, and as much as I love these worlds and love these characters... well...

They're getting complicated.

Bitter Moon II was the same way. I had to keep my people straight--in fact, that's one of the first things I asked my editors for Rampant: I have a large cast, did I manage them responsibly?

I've got to say, that as much as I LOVE the Little Goddess series and as fun as it is to continue enlarging Green's Hill and the outlying areas, there is a certain charm in a small cast. There is a certain loveliness in knowing that, after 70,000 or so words, these guys can go on to hot schmex and an HEA at the end and that's it. That's the end. Mission accomplished. There's not a whole lot of potential for gay horse-ranchers in Northern California--I'm pretty sure these guys are a one shot deal, and they should be done breaking my heart at the end of September. By then, Jack and Teague will be ready for their final two stories and I'll be MORE than ready to start the next Little Goddess book. (Yes. I do have it named. My editors will understand why I haven't divulged the name of the next one-- the name of the next one sort of gives away a little of what happens at the end of RAMPANT... and for the record, no. It's not called FLACCID. )

And in other news?

Oh God. Poor Mate--he fielded the SADDEST soccer game of all time last night. We were short people for starters. All of our 'big' boys (5 & 6 yr olds) had just started first grade--this goes all day, and they were EXHAUSTED. All of our little boys (4 & 5) had just started Kindergarten--they too were tired. And the only ones left were three year old girls, being begged, bribed and threatened to go on the field and PLEASE help out our little boys, because they were getting their ASSES kicked. Three of the kids (including our own) had to be awakened from impromptu naps in order to play--one of them got knocked on his ass a couple of times (okay--he flopped. He was a first class flopper. He was the Vlade Divac of the U6 crowd,) but by the end of the game he just sat next to his mom (who was unsympathetically saying "What the hell's wrong with you, why are you crying like a little girl?") and sobbed his tired little heart out. Little BoneDaddy couldn't get knocked over--in order to get knocked over, a player usually has to be SOMEWHERE near the ball. BoneDaddy was turning lazy airplane circles at the end of the field--until we threatened to revoke his ice cream, that is. And in the middle of all of this, the opposing team was three times our sized, and apparently made up with bloodthirsty little girls who gnawed on the bones of dizty 5 year old boys for breakfast. And their coach, who put a terrifying little girl-panther in front of the goal (when there are no goalies in U6) and had her just knock all our balls out of the endzone. And the thing is, you'd think a group of kids winning as huge as this team was winning would play some of their third stringers, you know? Nope. That little ringer was in for the WHOLE DAMNED GAME.

It didn't matter. We were sort of doomed anyway. Mate was so depressed... it's tough being coach.

And I had sort of a shitty week at school--I've got a toxic little shit (or big shit--she's a big girl) in my 2nd period. The class is sort of a nightmare anyway... it's another who's who of 11th graders who have pissed people off in the past, but this kid... damn. She's like walking drain cleaner. Insulting and mean--saying stuff out loud you'd normally wait until the teacher's back is turned to say. Just being pretty damned awful. I finally just sent her out on general principle. (I've forgotten exactly what she said but I remember it was pretty rude.) You don't get to be a total bitch to me in my own room--sorry. Not in my job description--go directly to hell, but stop at the vice principal's office if you're so inclined.

And my iPod got stolen. I don't want to talk about it. It's too painful, and I was being VERY careful of it--I had it out for an assignment (that I never got to give) and I REALLY didn't want a repeat of last year. *sigh* It's enough to make me lose my faith in the little fuckers, you know?

And then something happened to give me faith.

One of the loudest kids in my 2nd period--but not the meanest, by any stretch of the imagination--came shouting at me across the quad on Friday. I was standing next to my principal, cause we had some shit to discuss, and next to him was one of the smallest freshmen I have ever seen. He was maybe three inches taller than BoneDaddy, and even though BoneDaddy's tall, that's not high school tall, right? Anyway, 'Rich' came charging across the quad hollering 'Ms. Lane, Ms. Lane--is that your kid?"

My principal and I regarded each other in horror. Oh. My. God. Poor freshman--he'll never get over this! But Rich got closer and we said "No, dude--this is a fellow inmate--this is a freshman!" (Okay--I didn't even know the freshman--it was the only name I had for him!) And Rich widened his eyes first, and you could see it--the same "Oh shit!" that Jimmy the Principal and I had gone through when we realized that this freshman would never live this down.

And then Rich did a wonderful thing. He turned to the kid, shook his hand, and said, "How do you do? I'm Rich. I'm security!"

Of course Jimmy and I blew him up! "Don't listen to this joker, kid--he's no such thing!"

But it was a good recovery--in one move, Rich made himself look like a fool and gave the kid a chance to know he wasn't a bad guy. Rich may piss me off in the future, and I may even have to send him out--but I hope not. Because this week, especially after toxic-student's little displays of nastiness, he totally restored my faith in mankind.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

To Clarify...

OKay--I've officially decided the whole pirating thing (at least in this case) doesn't chafe all that much, but in order to explain why, I should probably make my position clear on the whole thing.

A. I know any sort of piracy is illegal.
B. I know most of us do it in one form or another--even if it's very very mild.
C. I know that for small presses--as for me the indie--this sort of thing can break us, and it should be taken seriously.

All that being said, I also have some gray area rules that may not make me particularly popular w/many of the writers I know, but I think I can live with them.

A. We lend books all the time to friends.
B. Some of us are organized enough to offer lending libraries. (I am not!)
C. Yes. On a one on one scale, lending an e-book to a friend simply constitutes that: lending to a friend. It is not an attempt to undermine an author or screw a publishing company, it is a courtesy and a way to share resources like or booklenders. (One of these places exiled JenB for saying the F-word... not my kind of place, really, but they exist!)
D. While it would be lovely if everyone could afford to buy books, they can't, at least not at the rate some folks read them--and I buy into this gray area.
E. (And this is the biggie.) Reading a book you get for free does not mean you're not going to buy it. I lent my entire collection of J.D. Robb to a friend of mine--and she went out and bought her own. OUr own lovely Dec Rain downloaded Vulnerable, and SHE went out and bought her own (and thanks for the reminder, sweetie) and so on and so on and so on. If we love a book, we will buy more than one copy--even at the expense of other books we want. Given the price of my books is specTACular, this could be the only way the book hits wide distribution. If people love it (and I posted this on the site before it ousted me) hopefully they will buy their own copies, and, hello, a sale has been made that would not have been so before.
F. I know this is true for e-books too--because I have done it!
G. The site that caught my attention was for 'friends only'--I saw it because of a google alert (and the site host promptly kicked my ass out of there) but if this person is offering books to a select group of people? Well, that meets criterion A, right?
H. Yeah, I'm out of letters.

So anyway, I've made my peace with it. Demonoid and Bitorrent can still kiss my ass, but friends helping friends? Not so much to worry about.

In other news?

Supernatural premiers next week. Galad? Knittech? Everybody say ***WWWOOOOTTT*** for angst and veal! I rewatched the season finale tonight. *shivers* I wonder if God wept when he made Jensen Ackles? All that perfection and green eyes... mmmm... Just a thought;-) (I'm pretty sure the Goddess said the same thing I just did-- "*WOOT* Damn, Boy, you did your Godliness PROUD!" )

Oh yes-- The CaveTroll has been watching Nightmare Before Christmas ad infinitum-- he keeps saying "I'm JACK, the Pumpkin King... that's right. I AM the pumpkin king!" And this afternoon when I woke him up (because he fell asleep watching it) I called him 'Bonedaddy' and he gave THE sweetest smile. I may make THAT his nickname, if I can get it to stick, because heaven knows, besides snips, snails, and puppy-dog tails that kid is mostly the razor sharp bones in his ass.

And in Big T news? I went to T's back to school night. You know, as a teacher, there's a special sort of SQUEEEEEEE!!!! you get when other teachers compliment your kids. I got that SQUEEEEE!!!! four for four times. "He's a TREMENDOUS kid!" said his weight training coach. "He works his heart out, we love him!"

I love him more:-)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hard up...

Okay, so I was at the park with Ladybug, waiting for school to get out so I could pick up Chicken and Cave Troll. It was a nice day--high eighties, low nineties, with a nice breeze, and Ladybug was looking especially cute (not acting that way, but you can't get everything) and I was happy.

Then I started looking around.

There was a very odd crowd at the park this day.

There were a lot of men between twenty-five and fifty, doing calisthenics, playing ball with some SERIOUS concentration, sitting and talking together in a group.

There were a lot of very prominent, very diverse gang tattoos.

In fact, if I hadn't known for certain we were at the park by the library, I would have said it was recreation hour at Folsom Prison.

My eye fell on one determined group of exercising men wearing wife-beaters and basketball shorts and doing jump-ups by turn. (You know, those pushups that require a jump from full to half extension in the middle?) And,uhm, I've got to tell you that without the suggested violence in those tatts, the guys were pretty hot. They were built, ripped, shredded, and muscled, and there they were, exercising that muscle.

Well, what's not to look?

So, they pass me on their way to the water fountain, smiling because they know I've been looking, and one of them says, "How're you doin' today?" very politely, and I reply with a nod and a grin, "I'm fine--just enjoying the view!"

That got a bunch of laughs, and then the man speaking (one of the older of the men--and the one guy w/OUT tatts) responds, "Us too!" with some serious enthusiasm.

I laugh appreciatively, and think to myself, "Yup. DEFINITELY some sort of prison release. Any world where I'M the scenery is just NOT a target-rich environment."

But I did appreciate the view.

Anyway, in other news...

I'm not sure whether to be amused, insulted, or pissed off. My e-mail isn't working so I can't find the link, but I'm this week's special guest on a pirating site. Bitter Moon I & II are both up for free download, with a big intro and everything. On the one hand, well, thank you I guess. I'm hoping this person enjoyed the books, and I appreciate the exposure. On the other hand, HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PUBLISH RAMPANT IF I'M NOT MAKING ROYALTIES? Just asking--I mean, I SERIOUSLY am depending on royalties to make this little shoestring run. I don't know if I've ever seen the profit/expansion cycle quite so up close and personal as I have this year, and, well, I'm a little dismayed!

*sigh* Either way, I guess, it's a drawback to being an indie pub, and like my un-teflon-like reaction to a reviewer's poison pen, another drawback of depending so much on the little glowing box that only PRETENDS to act under my aegis.

But I guess the least I can say is "Help! I've been abducted by pirates!"

I mean go with it right?