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

Sunday, October 31, 2010

So Much To Report--So Few Pictures!

Okay-- firstly and most importantly-- you WILL have a picture of Zoomboy in his VERY original costume tomorrow. It was precious, there's a story behind it, and, well, Mate's got the pictures and I'm trying to post NOW so, you'll see it tomorrow.

Second of all--of the two lovely ladies in the picture from Yaoi-Con, the one I want to give kudos is NOT the stunningly beautiful and very charming Marie Sexton in the middle (although, yanno, she ain't bad atall!) No, I want to give thanks and bows and hugs and knit long-johns on size 1 needles to the equally beautiful (and yet badly photographed, and I can't believe I didn't get a better one) Mary Calmes (pronounce it 'Calmay', acuzza that's the way it's pronounced!)

Mary was my bestest bestest friend during yaoi-con--we roomed together, talked until one in the morning, compared notes when we went different places and watched out for each other (her for me more than me for her, mostly because I seem to need a keeper, and she had the warmest, most comprehensive sense of 'keeping' a person safe as anyone I've ever met). Anyway, she was awesome--EVERYONE was awesome, and I've got a picture of some lovely writers--but only one--and no pictures of Ariel and Elizabeth and Lynn and Connie and Nikki and Chris and Juliette and Andrew and all of the other lovely people that I met and chatted with and fell instantly, irrevocably in love with at first sight. (Never again will I roll my eyes and laugh at that trope in a romance book-- apparently it CAN happen, even if it's platonic love and not romantic love.)

But Mary was the awesomesauce on top of the awesome cake, and I adored her--and obviously, I had an amazing time.

*whew* Well, I'm sure some of those stories will come out (including the look of utter incredulity on Lynn's face when I confessed that I might have been a wee bit timid before I hit thirty. And Andrew's priceless response of, "Yes you were timid. In the WOMB!" ) but, in the meantime, there was ALSO Halloween, and short people did precious things that need to be reported.

Okay--first of all, MUST discuss Zoomboy's costume. Thought I could get away with it. Couldn't. Zoomboy was going to wear his ninja costume that grandma got him--and he DID. But while at yoai-con, I spent most of my money on presents for the kids, and Zoomboy's present was, well, a fish hat. It was a piranha with a wide mouth, eating his head. He wore it with the ninja outfit.

Knock-knock-knock-- "Trick or treat!"

"Hello, what are you?"

"I'm a ninja who didn't have any brains and then the shark tried to eat my brains but now it's starving."

"That's nice kid, here, have some candy!"


And then there was Cinder-Squish (pictured at her daycare Halloween party with her best friend in the world:-) Squish had to make comments at almost every house.

"You have lovely decorations!"

"Why thank you!"

"Happy Halloween!"

And then, as she was coming down a walkway, there was a gentleman all dressed up as a cadaverous coachman, and she said, "I like your costume!"

"Why thank you. You look very beautiful yourself."

"I know. Happy Halloween!"


And to make the whole holliday awesomesauce, I got home from yaoi-con feeling a little sick (I came down with a cold the first night--thanks to Mary and her magic giant motrin, it didn't really screw up my time, but I was pretty tired when I got back) and a little like hunkering down to knit and...

Mate and the kids had cleaned and decorated, and I almost cried.

There really IS no place like home!

That, and Big T got dressed and went and trick-or-treated with what looks to be a sweetie who adores him (mom is happy!) and Chicken and her friend Stivie trick-or-treated too (and a lot of teenagers showed up at our door) and basically, I love it when happy, well behaved teenagers go out and do happy, little-kid things, because trick-or-treating is an under-rated pleasure, and it makes me happy when teenagers recognize that it's a helluva lot better than getting drunk and throwing up. Of course, it's been a while since Chicken has been trick-or-treating--she was supposed to come home with candy. What she came home with in actuality was a little gray kitten, whom we're CALLING Candy, until she can go back to the houses surrounding where she found the little goober and see where Candy belongs. I told her she was doing it wrong--sugar, not kitties--and she seemed to feel this was uncalled for. Well, really? Who goes trick-or-treating for candy and comes home with a cat?

Apparently, Chickens.

Anyway, and now there's a whole other happy...

Jack and Teague are going to be taken down from the website. Why? Because Torquere Press is going to publish them as e-novellas for their BareBAck Angels menage line. If sales are high enough? They're going to put them out in print. C'mon, guys--help me make sure the sales are high enough, yeah?

Seriously-- I'm thrilled. That's my Little Goddess, getting out there some more, and more people willing to embrace Vulnerable in spite of the shitacular editing, and if that happens, I may be able to start Quickening a little sooner than planned. HUZZAH!

And now? I'm tired. I'm gonna go lie down with Zoomboy and cuddle.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Heigh Ho, Heigh HO!

Okay, other matters have sort of overshadowed this, but Im actually leaving TODAY and I'm SOOOOOOOOOO excited.

I'm going to Yaoi-Con.

Now I know I don't write and illustrate manga graphic novels featuring young male/male romances--I am aware that I write fiction, and that it's very different, but my publisher and a lot of other m/m publishers are having book signings in the media room, and, well, I'm going to be signing books tomorrow.


It's gonna be SO weird-- the last time I spent a night away from my family, it was for a wedding, and I wasn't prepared to spend the night, but for those of you who remember Jack & Teague? Teague's unlamented father dies by driving his car off of Mokolumne Hill--and I was inspired by the very real Mokolumne Hill not to drive home in the dark. So, it was sort of impromptu, and not very fun, and I was REALLY lonely but this is gonna be different.

For one thing, I've got a roommate!

I'm so excited-- now I've blogged with a lot of you for over four years, and I've longed to meet you all in person, and I'm waiting for the day when we can sit down for a soda and a chat and a knit. You know that. I think it goes without saying--your e-buddies are your buddies, and you want to see them in real life, and give hugs and hear the trill and timbre of voices and see expressive hands used in place of expressive pens. And now, I REALLY GET TO DO THAT!

Mary and I have been chatting since I ended up on the Dreamspinner author group, and not only do I get to MEET her in person, I also get to meet Chris and Ariel and Elizabeth and Lynn, the ceos of Dreamspinner Press and all sorts of people that I've only met on line and EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm so excited. I have to sign books tomorrow (first shift--it's like 11a.m.-2p.m or something like that--I'm pretty sure Mary knows, which is good, because I have comPLETELY forgotten! And she's spending the day hanging with Ariel, who is sort of in charge of DSP at the con, and we all have the same time slot so I think I'll be there on time) and other than that? It's Mary (who is also being cut loose from her family) and me, running around the con like school-girls cutting class. We may actually go out to eat with other adults, and have drinks (I've been promised a shot of Ketel One, at the very least) and...

Oh, brother, do I need to go eat, drink, and be merry with grown-ups. I mean... it's sort of becoming a soul-deep necessity, if you know what I mean. I'm going to miss Mate--he's my social safety net, usually, because, yanno, if I'm too socially inept or, well, a complete dorkfish, then he's there, to assure me that he'll love me even as I chase verbal corndogs through an ocean of chat, but Mary and I have promised that we'll be each other's safety net. We even have plans to watch Supernatural in our jammies with a bottle of alcohol and snacks if nobody wants to hang with us tonight--and you know what? That STILL sounds like one hell of a night! (*Note to self, though--must bring a season of SPN in case we do end up in the hotel room for a night. A glass of rotgut, Sam & Dean, & thou, Mary-- we're gold!)

Anyway, so... that's where we're going. We'll both be back in time for Halloween with our family... tired, hungover, and, I hope, very, very happy. *ahh* bliss.

And for those of you still uncertain as to what yaoi-con is, I have this quote from Chicken, who reads the milder yaoi graphic novels. She was flipping through a new book from the library, uncertain whether it was yaoi (m/m) or shojo (m/f romance) and looking for a picture to show her what she was getting into.

"Okay... maybe it's not yaoi. Maybe it really is a regular romance set in an all boy's school, where all the boys are incredibly pretty and nobody is gay at all." *finds page she's looking for* "NOPE! It's yaoi!"

(Chicken is going to school today dressed as Paige Foxbtw. She has capri pants, a sweatshirt, and a stuffed iguana hanging from her ponytail. The real genius of this costume is that all of her friends know EXACTLY who she's supposed to be!)

Oh-- and the picture? The picture is from Squish's soccer banquet, which was wonderful and fun and held at Chuck E. Cheese's, which is a place we had avoided taking our children for most of their lives. It's okay--the most tightly wound kid on Squish's soccer team ripped off Chuck E.'s nose, and then followed him into the bathroom as the poor stuffed rat tried to set himself to rights. I promptly reported this to the boy's mother, and all of the mothers on the team-- and you get pretty tight as soccer moms--laughed our collective arses off. High comedy, good fun.

Squish's best moment (for me, anyway) was when she came howling to me because "Mom! I dropped a quarter!" Now, my approach to this would have been to say "It's okay, honey, you have lots more!" But there was another mother there (whom I am learning to adore!) who promptly reached over with another token and said, "It's okay, honey. We found it."

"Already?" Squish asked, her big wet pansy eyes big with appreciation.

"Yeah, honey," said Michelle, winking at me. "Here it is."

"WOW!" Said Squish, and then she took her 'quarter' and ran off into the melee.

*happy* Yeah-- it'll be fun at yaoi-con, but yanno, I do have some seriously fun reasons to come back.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


"Mo--omm! I'm bored. Take me somewhere RIGHT NOW!"

"Sorry, Squish, we've got nothing on the menu until we pick up Chicken and Zoomboy, and then you go to dance lessons."

"But I don't WANT to go to dance lessons. That's not the somewhere I meant!"


"Mo--omm! What do you think of the Lawrence Olivier Hamlet?"

"Uhm... it was in black and white and it went really slowly."

"I think they were trying to make it too much like Citizen Kane!"

"And I think that was just '40's movie making!"

"Well *I* think they were trying to make it too much like Citizen Kane!"

"Are we really arguing over this, Big T? It was made at a time when they were supposed to be showcasing the language, okay? Yeah- not the most stimulating filmmaking ever!"

"Okay--if they were supposed to be showcasing the language, why is my stupid English teacher making us READ the abridged version?"

"Okay-- we're NOT using Hamlet as a reason to beat up on your English teacher... for cryin' out loud, are the dishes done yet?"

"Fine. I'm going to my room."

"Fine. Just finish the dishes first!"


"Mo-omm! I had a poop. And I flushed it. But it didn't go down because it was too big. And the water pressure wasn't strong enough to turn it into little pieces of small poop, so now the poop is stuck because the hole is too small for the poop to fit into!"

"That was, uhm, extremely detailed and informative, son. Next time, maybe just say, 'The toilet's plugged'?"

"But I had a poop..."


"Mo-omm--that book you're letting me read is SO funny!"

"Yeah? Which part are you at, Chicken?"

(Quotes Drool, from "Fool" by Christopher Moore) "Pocket, I shagged a ghost!" "I know, Drool, it couldn't be helped."

(Happily) "Oh Fuckstockings!"

"Yeah, Mom. Best. Book. Ever."


Yeah-- sometimes, answering the calls of offspring to parent yields some pretty nifty rewards. (And sometimes, it just warns you to use the other bathroom and buy the Kenneth Brannagh version of Hamlet!)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's Not What It Looks Like...

(Well, it is what it looks like, but it's not what you think!)

Okay, so this is supposed to have some fiber content, and this is fiber at it's most lush: crocheted alpaca. As in, omigod, this is better than bathing in champagne ALPACA!

It was lovely, lush, and amazing--but not when I was knitting it. No, this yarn really came alive for me when I was crocheting it. I think it's the lack of spring, but for some reason, I just was not loving the knitted fabric, so I decided to crochet it instead, and since I was doing alternating mesh blocks with solid blocks, I thought, "Well hey! Wouldn't it be cool if I did those chain-three-slip-stitch designs in the mesh blocks?" And it WAS cool. I thought I'd repeat the designs every so often, and then I just kept getting more and more ideas, until I got about three quarters of the way through and then (you knew this was coming) I thought, "Oh shit. I can't THINK of any more baby themed motifs to put on a frickin seven x seven frickin mesh!" So I was KILLING myself--I repeated ONE MOTIF in the entire blanket, and then I just kept coming up with desperation ideas. I mean, there's a PI symbol there--and you know, when *I* reach for the math? It's gotta be frickin' bad, right?

So, one of those little motifs is a rattle. I swear. When the blanket is right side up, it looks like a rattle.

So, in the second picture, it's right side up. You can't see the rattle, but trust me. It's there.

In the first picture, you can see the rattle. It's second row from the bottom, second motif from the left.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I can hear you all from where you are, saying, "Uhm, Amy? That doesn't look like a rattle."

I SWEAR TO BOB, IT'S FRICKIN' RATTLE! *sniffle* I swear--the blanket's for a little girl baby. It's a rattle. It is. For real. I wouldn't bullshit you about that. *hurt sniffle* I mean, guys... you KNOW I wouldn't put *that* on a baby blanket, right?

Right? Anyone?

*sigh* I'm still sending the blanket out. The kid was just born, and she lives in Colorado, and it's a small blanket and I want mom to get it before winter hits, because, yanno, it's alpaca, and that's what alpaca is made for, right?

I'll just put a little post-it note on that square.

It'll say, "I SWEAR it's a rattle!"

I think the mom will understand.

Friday, October 22, 2010

First there's bricks, then purple twinkies...

then flying monkeys, and then...

Well, let's just say my stomach hasn't been happy in this last week and leave it at that. This morning, I ditched the workout regimen and the housecleaning resolutions, and slept with Squish on my lap for two hours, while my dehydrated body recapped a little bit of snoozola.

It was nice.

And then I went to the yarn store, and chatted with Babetta, who loves me, and that was nice too, but the best part of that? It gave me a break from Squish.

See, Squish is a blessing in a lot of ways. She's smart, she's vocal, she's fun, she's vocal, she has a good heart, she's vocal, she's funny, she's vocal, she's active, she's vocal, she's charming, she's vocal...

Uhm... you get the picture.

Let's just say that spending enforced time with Squish is making me appreciate the silent vortex of my own thoughts... at least the only conversations that happen in my own noggin are ones that I can steer!

But today is the last day of soccer for Squish, at least, and that's wonderful-- that takes our soccer days from five to three, and *whew* I can almost dream about breathing again! (Whoopie!) Zoomboy and Chicken are unfazed by this... soccer is neither the thing that drives them nor feeds their souls... but it does teach them all sorts of good things, like how not to beat the crap out of the kid that just pissed them off, and that's always a useful lesson.

And the game itself was cold and rainy, which doesn't sound exciting, but since it was ninety degrees until last week, it actually, kinda was.


Steve the cat keeps trying to escape into the garage. I'm not sure what to do to get her to stop doing this, because, the thing is, *whisper* THE BAAAAAAADDD cats are there.

Yes, it's true. We have two cats in the garage, who, during the house reorganization of 2004, decided they didn't want a fucking thing to do with us. Since the damned things hated us when they lived here, and chose to have as their only talent, the ability to crap twice their bodyweight anywhere BESIDES the catbox, we sent them to the garage, where they have lived, happily hating our guts, for the last six years.

Steve adores them. Steve wants to learn bad cat habits, like sitting and scowling, hiding under the shevles, and sleeping on the clothes meant for Goodwill.

This morning, after Steve's third escape, I did the unforgivable. I actually grabbed my precious Steve BY THE TAIL to get her back in the house. She has been glaring at me ever since.

Guys, I hate to say it, but should I not blog for a couple of days, there's only one reasonable reason why:

The damned cat killed me in my sleep.

Everyone cross their fingers--even Steve may find forgiveness in her fuzzy little black (& white) heart...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sleight of Hand...

Okay-- I REALLY loved the Hammer & Air cover, and I thought I'd put up some other pretty cover art too...

Except I could not find the Litha's Constant Whim cover, which is a shame...

Since that could very well be my all-time favorite...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Golden days..

Have spent some nice time at home with Squish--got another chance to go to the gym this morning, and in spite of the fact that the light is thin and gold and the sky is Easter-basket-blue, the pool was actually very pleasant. Squish was excited to see people besides mom (she's very social-- not going to day care is killing her)and that was nice. Didn't stop her from being a bossy little bint for the rest of the day, but, well, she got some time being everybody's favorite social butterfly at the gym daycare--they adore her!

Do you like the new cover? It's the 'mystery project' I was working on-- Elizabeth showed me the cover, and I wrote the story and ohhhhhhhh...

Okay, if I gave a straight-out plot synopsis, it would sound unforgivably like something you'd find on skinemax, if they did m/m--but in execution? I'm proud of this one. Just am... showing character when one character is taciturn and another is, heLLO, cursed with silence WHEN he gets to be human, and the third is the narrator... well, it was tricky, and I used that thing I do that actually furthers plot and... well...

I think it's beautiful. The last chapter has made people--snarky, crusty, no-tears sort of people--get sniffly for what they claim is no reason at all.

I take it as a high complement--I can make people cry in a good way. Not bad, yeah?

Oh... hey...

In "This is sort of weird" news, I was driving Squish to dance lessons, and she had finally (thank dog!) fallen asleep, and I was knitting at a stoplight, with the windows open (still no a/c) when suddenly a voice goes, "Hey! Do you want to get that bodywork done on the side of the van?"


"I can do it for $150..."


"Is that too much? How much CAN you pay?"

"I have to take my kid to dance lessons now! Thanks for asking!"

Uhm... REALLY?


And my favorite conversation of the week:

Mate: Is Steve in the garage?

Me: I didn't think so.

Mate: Yeah... she's in the garage. (Opens garage door.) See?

Me: I thought she'd come in from her morning break-out.

Mate: Do you know how I knew it was her?

Me: Not a clue.

Mate: I heard something large crash to the floor.

Me (looking at Steve, who looks very innocent): That's Steve.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Aren't they beautiful?

I know we have some others of Chicken, with her camo-punk olive green dress, and, she looks spectacular. (All her doing. We had a classic mother/daughter poutfest because she asked me to do her hair, and, well, my hair was brushed, and that's not really much of a qualification.)

Anyway, my dad took them both shopping on Thursday night and it was really a blessing. Mate doesn't do dress up-- he's owned two suits, both of them worn a couple of times and fed to the moths. He also doesn't do Big & Tall, and my own dad is 6' 4", much like Big T, so he's got sort of an idea of what looks good, and how it should fit, and T looks, if I say so myself, ravishing. (You can't even see his new black Converse--the ultimately perfect finishing touch:-)

Squish was much disappointed not to be going to a dance on her own. I was asked to do her hair and to put on her 'dancing dress' from the tickle trunk, and generally, I'm fearing the moment she needs me to be a girl, because we've already seen how badly that turns out.

I felt sort of bad last night, because I went to lay down with the little kids, and, as so often happens, ended up fast asleep myself. Chicken got home and I didn't have a chance to talk to her, but Mate said she was REALLY tired. Well, she took the PSAts, played a soccer game, and went to a dance. I don't expect to see her until noon, really. Or, well, I wouldn't, but she's got another soccer game at 8:55. Oi! She's happy they've been losing HUGE, because otherwise, she'd have four, and since her team has NO SUBS, that's just a little too much soccer, even for the faithful.

And other than that, I'm picking up my Alexa (mom) to take her to my grandmother's for sort of a belated birthday 'thing' today. It's exhausting--but worth it, in a way.

Anyway, take it easy... I'll keep you all posted on storm updates when I can.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Kids are All Right

I got an opportunity to go swimming to day, which would have been sort of cool, except, hello, it was OCTOBER! I went anyway, but the miserable heat this late in the year is worrying--I mean, yes, we know global warming exists, but there's nothing like having our noses rubbed in it, right?

The big kids BOTH have homecoming dances at two different schools on Saturday--this makes for much hilarity in the taxi front, especially as Chicken has not just Homecoming (with a capital H) she has a DAY scheduled as well. I remember days like this from when I was a kid--you try to do as much as humanly possible, and get frustrated when the days just do not expand as they must. She is going to wake up in the morning, go take the PSAT, then go to a soccer game, and then go to the Homecoming dance. (Squish and Zoomboy have a birthday party that day as well!) and then... and then...

This is Mate and I, doing what we do best--tag team parenting. On the one hand, these are frantic, wonderful days, and on the other... yes. I am well aware that they do not last and I should enjoy the whirlwind with all my heart. I do. I am. I fell asleep on the couch tonight with Squish in my arms, and when the silk of her hair brushed my chin, I just wanted to hold her tighter. There won't be many more days for this--I want to hold them to my heart. Chicken and Big T went and got clothes for their dance tonight with my dad, and he said, "You must take pictures!" and I thought, "ABSOLUTELY." I want pictures of this "day" for my children. They are very nearly grown.

*whew* And Sunday is a whole other mess.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Guarding the Vampire's Ghost

Now, some of you might remember this as "The Adrian Story" or "Adrian and the Angels". I wrote it about a year ago, semi-inspired by the Dreamspinner anthology call, "A Brush of Wings". The story was about 8,000 words too long, though, and then that whole Liquid Silver debacle occurred wherein, I sent them this story, and my other books, and THEY. NEVER. GOT. BACK. TO. ME. in spite of repeated, "Uhm, hullo! You said eight weeks! I was hoping I could submit this!" I finally just e-mailed them and said, "This is mine, dammit!" and then submitted it to Dreamspinner, who said, "We really love it!" and, well, here it is!

Guarding the Vampire's Ghost features Adrian in a supporting role. We find out how a vampire got a visitor's pass to earth to visit Green and Cory, and we see the effect that someone like Adrian might have on the hosts of heaven. (Should that be capitalized? I'm never sure!)

So, for those of you who like the Little Goddess--you may enjoy this. Those of you who like the m/m, well, uhm, ditto. The theme is very different than that of Whim (And, can I just reiterated-- SIXTEEN COPIES --you all are BUCKETS of awesome!) but, well, it's one of mine. You'll see it at the end, trust me.

I hope you enjoy it.


Monday, October 11, 2010

For once, the dragon lost...

Hmmm... list of things that happened between Wednesday and today:

* Jury duty--I ALMOST got sat on a trial, but, well, the prosecutor seemed to think I oozed sympathy for the defendant (he was VERY young) and for the predicament (I am VERY pro-marijuana legalization) and, well, I was peremptorily discharged. *sigh* I really wanted to sit that jury, too--it would have been fun!

* However, just because I was done with jury duty, did NOT mean I went back to work the next day. Thursday night, Mate and I were soundly asleep... can you picture it? Us, sleeping? Zoomboy between us? And then suddenly, Zoomboy sits up in bed, and makes HALF of an unmistakable sound. I sit up in bed and Mate calls down from the hall, "Did he just do what I think he did?" and then Zoomboy made the REST of the the unmistakable sound, and, well, the next fifteen minutes were spent changing the sheets and washing him up and making him brush his teeth. It was the last time we had to change the sheets, but it was NOT the last time Zoomboy had to brush his teeth, if you catch my drift. Poor baby had the stomach bug, and, well, I got to stay home. Again. (I was not thrilled about this, actually--and sure enough, my kids REALLY needed me to day. I love that they love me this year, but they REALLY need me. There is a price, yeah?)

* Soccer ensued on Friday night and Saturday morning. Now, last week, I was too upset about the whole "this team is beating the snot out of us and being fuckers about it" to tell you this story, but I thought it needed to be told. Now, I may have mentioned that Zoomboy is THE consummate ladybug-catcher at his soccer games--but he has a padawan: a little boy that Zoomboy teaches how to catch ladybugs and chase dandylions and toe the dirt into submission. Now, one of the things that Zoomboy does, that embarrasses the hell out of me, is to pull his shorts up, so they're tight in the vee of his crotch, and wiggle his butt. At first, I thought he was just playing with the shorts, because they're too big and, well, the boy fidgets. And then Mate pointed out the truth:

He wasn't playing with his shorts--he was using the shorts to play with HIMSELF! Yup. You heard me. It looks cute and all, but really, it's just a boy, with his favorite toy, in front of parents from all over the city. And to make matters even MORE fun? Uhm... let's just say that his little padawan learned well. There I was, watching in horror, as Zoomboy and padawan pulled their shorts up around their crotches and did the butt-floss dance, while THE OTHER TEAM SCORED BEHIND THEM.

*sniff* Makes a mother proud.

And, uhm, do me a favor, wouldya? Don't tell the other mothers--because I sure as shit don't plan to.

* And Sunday? Well, Sunday, Mate scored us some tickets to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom-- which is like an exotic animal zoo with roller coasters. Now, my neck is too fragile for roller coasters, so I ended up schlepping the kids all over the park to see the animals and ride the kiddie rides, and Mate? Mate was FORCED (can you smell the reluctance? Hmmm....) to take the big kids to all the BIG roller coasters. We caught some time together in the middle, when we managed this magnificent procession of shows--the orca show, the tiger show, the bird show, and then some land animals (as compared to the sea animals of the morning). A good time was had by all--including the big kids, (all three of them) who got to walk through the haunted house path, and even CHICKEN was skeered... she left bruises in her father's arms, and he was very proud! (Hey... Daddy always wants to be needed, right?)

Anyway, a good time was had by all, except for a rather hairy moment when Squish came out of one of those all purpose kid-tree things in tears.

"What's wrong, sweetheart?"

"I lost my PEEEEEEE!!"

"Uhm... okay. How about you go play in the fountain (custom made for kids to play in the water) and I'm just gonna step into this really expensive store right here and buy... uhm... a towel to tie into a sarong and a REALLY LONG SHIRT. Yeah... just take off your shoes, okay? go ahead and get your clothes REALLY REALLY WET so we can wring them out and put them with the nice plastic bag that came with this shirt. Yes it is long. Uh-huh. Amazing how that happens..."

And thus we made it to the rest of the evening, where the kids got to see a mock hanging, and a mock zombie rising, which I did my best to explain was not real. I always wonder if I'm traumatizing my kids more by stealing their wonder than I would be by letting them think they were watching a real hanging and zombie rising from the dead. I guess time will tell, right?

* Anyway... and then, after all that, today I went back to work, and then worked to make Patrick Henry look sexy. For the record, Patrick Henry? Not sexy at all... and, when all was said and done, I think the guy was really just a little bit nuts.

(ETA: Elizabeth just e-mailed me: Whim sold sixteen copies today--that's AWESOME! Okay-- so it's not a thousand dollars--but it is you guys, making a difference, and I'm just so proud:-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Of Course It Gets Better

Okay, one of the things I never wanted to delude myself with was the idea that I write "important" books. For the longest time, as I was working on Vulnerable, I called it "my trashy vampire mystery", and referred to my work as "writing dirty books," semi-facetiously, and a little self-consciously. "I can do better," I tried to imply, "but, you know, this is what I *like* to read."

And then it occurred to me (after a couple of fan letters that left my hands shaking and sent me howling for kleenex, ice-cream, and a comfort movie in a juggernaut of angst) that I really WAS kidding myself, if I thought my books WEREN'T important--at least to the people who loved them, including myself. A book that moves you is a book that moves you, regardless of genre or what puckered angry white men tell you that you *should* be writing. Some of the most *important* books to me, both growing up and as an adult might never make it to a college class for interpretation, but they stayed in my heart and made the real world a better place, just by the tiny imaginary world they created.

So, in the end, I simply wanted to create people that felt real (regardless of real or imagined species), and people who feel real, sometimes have problems that feel real. That's why, when I was done with my first round of horror and disgust and (sadly) complete lack of surprise over the September suicides of bullied GLBT youth (google it if you haven't heard about it--there were nine of them across the country, all of them tragic and infuriating), I was only a little surprised to see that I'd touched on this matter--if a little superficially--already in my writing.

Charlie, one of the heroes in Litha's Constant Whim, starts out the story as a (from the blurb) "very young, very desperate human." In fact, on the Litha night in which he first meets Whim, he is contemplating suicide. GLBT youth are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide--it's a common statistic, one I'd heard before, and one that must have triggered something in me, some sort of protective wish, I guess, for kids out there to see that SOMEONE in the world will love them for themselves. (It is this theme right here that makes so many of my students, gay or straight, love The Little Goddess series as a whole--it assures them that despair, drug experimentation, or sexual exploration does NOT mean they are unworthy of love--and un-condescending love at that. It is, sadly enough, a message they don't seem to be getting from their churches, schools, or parents these days.)

Charlie, obviously, does not commit suicide. He meets Whim, and IT GETS BETTER.

Now, the IT GETS BETTER campaigns is one of those things (and not much does this in the political or grass roots movement arena--I am a little jaded, I guess) that sort of touched something inside me. Some of you may remember my worries for my beautiful daughter, Chicken, when she was in junior high. She was bullied--TERRIBLY bullied. Get food thrown at you, bullied. The whole class makes you their target, bullied. "Should I go emo and cut myself, mom?" bullied. (Horrible conversation. If there's any mercy in death, that will be one of the first things I forget.) (And shall we remember her prickweenie ex-soccer coach, who just exacerbated that whole situation by about a thousand, may he die of boils and locusts thank-you-very-much!) Anyway, it was a terrible time for me to watch-- I'd do anything to help her know that it would get better.

I'd offer to buy her clothes we couldn't afford, move her to another school (which we REALLY couldn't afford) and gave her pep talks. At one point, I let her skip Valentines Day (the ULTIMATE popularity contest) at her school, and took her to mine, where an especially wonderful AP class assured her, "It's all right, baby. It gets better."

She took the lesson to heart. This year she's having a STELLAR year--she even smiles (but don't mention it--it might go away.) Of course, the real change came at the end of her freshman year. I asked her what she wanted to wear, what we should buy her for school clothes, and she said, "Jeans and basketball shorts and T-shirts."

"Really? Didn't you want the other stuff? Try and see what everyone's wearing this year?"

"No, mom. Fuck 'em. If they can't like me for who I am, they can go to hell."

*sniff* That's my baby. Buckets and buckets of extra-spicy, extra-crispy, extra-special awesome.

But not everybody has a dorky fat woman to listen to them and drag them to AP classes and make ill advised attempts to buy clothes to help a person fit in. Charlie didn't, until he found Whim, and that leads me to my point, sort of.

Monday is National Coming Out Day, and in celebration, I've asked Elizabeth, the EIC at Dreamspinner, if I could donate my cut of Litha's Constant Whim for that day (from outlet ONLY--it's the only way to keep track) to The Trevor Project. (This is a hotline for bullied and suicidal teens.) It's not a lot--I mean, I'm hoping it will BE a lot, but I don't fool myself that people will flock to buy this little story for this. (Okay. It would be nice. I'm not gonna bullshit you. But I'm a realist. I'm NOT the person people follow into the rowboat--but every now and then I like to rally there anyway!)

But I've got the GSA planning to make a video for It Gets Better, and that should be really powerful, and I've got my own kids to convince that It Gets Better (because Big T and Chicken aren't out of the woods yet, and the little guys are gonna need me for some time to come) and we'll be lucky to have McDonalds money this month (because birthday month is a killer) and, well, I've long since learned that sometimes, the only sure way to create a better world is when I create one in my books.

It's just nice when my books can make the real world a better place too.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Not Quite Climbing the Walls

So, guess who realized that our hallway is REALLY REALLY NARROW?

But hey-- at least they understand an opportunity when they see it. I mean, when else can you climb the walls literally, right?

Yeah, yeah, weak joke, I know it, but I'm feeling a might snarly at the moment. I'm undergoing my quatre-yearly estrogen/plasma dump, and when you only do this about every three months, it doesn't fuck around. You would not beLIEVE the amount of fem-prot you can blow through when you're pouring blood like an apocalyptic plague, and, quite frankly, it impedes my will to let the people around me live. (My family, sensing this with their well-tuned superpowers, has allowed me a little latitude in the last few days. One of my co-workers, being a crass wanker who likes to humiliate the fat girl, does not. I'm killing him off in my next Goddess book, and by-Goddess, I'm doing it UGLY.)

Anyway, in addition to that, and a strained shoulder (also impeding my will to let other people live) and a WIP that's FINALLY taking off, and a new e-book released next week (which makes me all nerves--it's a Little Goddess story, too, which ALSO makes me all nerves, because I walk such a fine line with those, between letting the story tell itself and summarizing enough of the LG world for people to read them stand-alone) it's very possible that the grades I've spent the last two days entering (I'm up to week seven--seriously, I'm only a week behind!) may actually disafuckingpear when i get back to my computer. WHEN I get back to my computer, which leads me to the ultimate horror of horrors:

Jury Duty.

I've never actually HAD jury duty. I've gotten a couple of letters--one when I was a stay-at-home mom who WAS a stay-at-home mom because no one would watch Big T because he screamed all day, and one in which I didn't get called in. I've been hoping that would be the case all week and I ALMOST made it. It would figure the day I DIDN'T make it was the day in which I have absolutely too much to do to just slack off on the sub plan and watch a movie, but, that's okay. The kids are finishing up their episode from yesterday (and a lovely hook-up I made between a corrupt minister's wife and Jonathan Edwards and the STAR testing standards in which 'implicit values' is used) and they MAY be able to talk the sub in to just letting them watch a movie. I won't object, if hat' what's going to happen, but I really DID have better things to do! (And whew! It's a good thing I mentioned that when blogging, I almost forgot to assign that next absence!)

In a way, I'm sort of looking forward to it--I mean, I've never DONE it, yanno? And Mate's sat on, like, three or four juries, one of them for a high-profile local case! (He's so conscientious about it, too. He NEVER tells me what it's about, and I'm always so proud of him, because if he wasn't such a good, fair-minded kind of guy, he wouldn't get selected quite so often:-) So on the one hand, uhm, WHEEE! Something new. On the other hand, uhm... Mate is screwed! Totally screwed! If I get picked, he's got to run from Folsom to Fair Oaks to Citrus heights to pick up Chicken and Zoomboy from school, and since he's been coaching Squish's soccer team, three days a week, he won't be able to go back! But whatever happens, it can't happen for long--I've got tickets and reservations to yaoi-con in 21 days (waves at Mary, who will be there with me!!!) and apparently, that matters.

I'm sooooooo glad. Missing out on yaoi-con would really suck--I'll be signing books for a couple of days, and, well, it's DOWN IN SAN FRANCISCO and even no one wants me to sign their books, there are going to be SO many cool people down there that *swoon* it'll be totally worth it!

But still--that's days off for yaoi-con and days off for jury duty... by the time November rolls around, I hope the students remember my name! (Or... maybe not!)

So, besides that, and the fact that I'm reading Christopher Moore's "The Fool", I'm gonna leave it at that. I hope to have some exciting news about our GSA and next week, but I don't want to leap in too early. Let's just say our students were REALLY happy to have a chance to help others, and that always makes me proud.

And that's about it--I'm nodding off, it'll have to be!

Wish me luck (whichever outcome is luckiest!) for tomorrow!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Vainglorious Prickweenies: Redux

OKay-- wrapping up some business first!

1. I'm going to be interviewed here, and one of the cool things about that is that Wave solicits questions from readers beforehand. I'll post it when she does, and anyone who wants to put me on the barbie and grill me like a trout will have her day!

2. I finally DID get my birthday date, and it was lovely. I insisted on the cheap theaters because "Sorcerer's Apprentice" was still playing there, and darnit, I didn't get to see it when it was in the expensive place, and it was totally worth it. Fun, a little bit predictable, but still... pure popcorn-munching, movie-going joy. EXACTLY what I was in the mood for, and, thank you Mate for indulging me.

3. Funny story about that... we had just gotten our tickets and were cutting through the outside line to get to the door, when I saw a little girl, corkscrew hair done in multiple braids, pink blanket clutched to her chest, big, dark eyes looking excited to be out late. "Despicable Me" was playing and I winked at her and said, "That's a REALLY good movie!" She smiled, and then I smiled at the young man with her, so he would know I wasn't a crazy woman, off to steal this adorable little kid, and then the young man went... "Wait... I know you... you taught me MacBeth!" And then he was quick to assure me that the little girl was his friend's kid and not his.

4. Funny story about that... so I gave my ex-student a hug and went inside where Mate was (patiently) waiting, and we stood by the exit of the movie, and waited for the theatre to clear out. The third or fourth couple to exit was my step-mom's brother and his wife. Uhm... gee! What a coincidence! And it REALLY was. I asked Mate if he had a relative or a coworker waiting for us in the movie theatre as a trifecta, and he said, "Uhm, no. Only you." And it was true. Only me.

So that was fun, and it's good to have fun, because the two soccer games--Zoomboy's and Chicken's, left me with a REALLY sour taste in my mouth. Chicken's game was hard to watch-- the other team had eight subs, and our team had NONE--it was seriously only a matter of time before we lost, because they were rotating half their team out twice a quarter. And that's fine-- the girls were playing hard, and they were happy to be out there, and we could deal with that. What was PISSING ME OFF was that the girls were playing rough--shitty, bitchy, throwing elbows, throwing clothesline rough. I heard Chicken oolf from across the field as she caught a clothesline to the gut. I watched a little defender do a backflip as she was tripped and elbowed at the same time. Chicken's coach, who NEVER gets angry, actually shouted-- SHOUTED, mind you, "When are you going to start seeing that, dammit!" See, because it wasn't enough that this team was going to win, they had to beat the fucking shit out of our girls to do it. The parents cheered every hit. The coach encouraged them. And the horrible thing?

That wasn't even the worst game I saw on Saturday.

Zoomboy's game was so horrific that I actually wrote a letter and showed it to our coach, and she's making a copy--one for the president of the other team's league, and one for the president of ours. Because what happened at Zoomboy's U8 (Children under eight) soccer game literally made me sick. So, here's the copy of that letter--and I still can't believe my kid was in this game:

To the board members of the team we played on Saturday, October 2, 2010:

Dear fellow parents:

This Saturday, our team, The Mighty Raptors, played your team, The ______________, and to put it mildly, we got trounced.
We knew we were getting trounced, we saw it happening, and our children, happy to be there and playing, continued on with a good heart and full effort in spite of the following things:

• The team had three SUPERLATIVE players on it—as in, “should be not one but two divisions up” kind of players. These players were excellent ball handlers—in fact, they were not only good enough to run circles around our players with flourishes and tricky little ball moves, but they were ALLOWED to do this with full knowledge and encouragement from their coach.

• These three players sat out for only five minutes of the second quarter. There were three subs to take their place—to my knowledge, these three subs ONLY played for those five minutes of the second quarter. (This was the only time period when our team held its own.)

• These three players were CONTINUOUSLY on offense. Not once were they pulled back to play defense, even when it became clear that our team was outmatched and outgunned. The players were, as I said, encouraged to show our kids just exactly how much our kids did not measure up to their expectations as competitors. That was nice of them by the way. Their parents were OBVIOUSLY very proud.

• The team’s coach AND parents started calling LOUDLY for a mercy killing to the game. (I’m pretty sure ‘mercy killing’ was their exact word.) They harassed the ref continuously for pretty much the entire fourth quarter. Instead of putting the second string on, or putting key players in less prominent positions, this team made it clear that our kids weren’t worth their time, and they did it loudly, obnoxiously, and with incredible insult. (I admit, as the woman snarling, “Our kids came here to PLAY!” across the field, I was less than gracious about this last part.)

• In response to the call for a “mercy killing”, one of the players “went down” on his face in front of the goal, lying there until someone noticed that he was “playing dead”. At least I think that’s what happened—all I know is that neither the coach nor the parents nor the refs were paying attention to this kid lying face first in front of the goal. In fact, the first person on the field to pay attention to this kid was my son, playing defender. He is, by the way, easily the worst player in the league—but that didn’t keep him from checking on this little boy to make sure he was okay. I don’t know if the opposing team noticed this, but I personally took a tremendous amount of satisfaction knowing that one of the best examples of soccer that day was shown by a kid who very well may never score a goal. Ever.

In short? I was appalled. The odds of a child earning a soccer scholarship or making it to the pros are astronomical. The odds of a child failing a class or growing up to lose a job or flunk out of college because he has not learned the lessons of fair play, respect, or basic humanity are considerably higher, and guess which road the this team was hell-bent on taking?

The truly tragic thing is that this team isn’t just a ‘team’ at these events—it is a representative of its entire community. If I had been a member of your community, in that moment, I would have been mortified.

Congratulations. Your league’s team won. I’m sure you must be very proud.


Amy Lane
Mother the “worst” player on the field.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Free Books!

Okay-- I'm not giving any away, but Rainbow books (Home of that pretty icon on my last post) is, and If I Must is available for free download tomorrow, so I thought I'd bring it up.

Now don't ask how my birthday went, because really, although it was the exact anniversary of my birth, it wasn't really my birthday. It's not our birthday until we get a night out, and Mate and I haven't had our night out, ergot, not my birthday. Which is good because it was sort of meh. I ended up doing two hours worth of errands (one of them picking up bifocals--oh, the irony!) in the car without air conditioning, and it was 95 degrees. I got home, and I was THRASHED... tired and wired from the open windows and depressed because I'd spent part of that time looking and still couldn't find a good present for Mate and I still had to make dinner and... blech.

So I sat down and the short people sat on my lap (and we've been too busy for that in a while) and watched some cartoons while I slept. I woke up long enough to tell Big T put on the water so I could make some dinner.

And then something so cool happened.

Big T was washing dishes at the time (because I'd cried on him earlier that day because NO ONE had done them, and as shopper and cooker I claim exemption! If they want cooked food and not fast food, SOMEONE ELSE must do the dishes!) and he was there when the water boiled, and he said, "What next, mom?" I told him, and fell back asleep. "What next mom?" It only took a couple of steps, really, and I managed to wake up and mumble them, and when I REALLY woke up, with only one kid on my lap and a crick in my neck and a MUCH happier disposition, Big T brought me a big bowl full of dinner.

Truly, an inspired gift--it's funny how no one ever thinks to ask like something like that, or even that it's a real present, but I've got to tell you, I've never been so grateful.

By the way? For those of you who watch The Show, this pivotal moment arrived, and Big T, who has been learning the guitar, suddenly had a new goal in mind.

Anybody got ear plugs?

And now, wish me luck on my date tonight-- the guy's pretty hot, he likes kids, and I have it on good authority that I might get lucky! And he almost has the same birthday as me-- it's like fate!

(BTW--I figured out the best gift for Mate, and he loved it. I bought us four brand new pillows, with matching new sheets--and since our old pillows were as comfortable as clipboards and rubber chickens, and it was a practical gift too, he liked it very much:-)