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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Things I didn't count on

Okay-- we're supposed to say goodbye to the old year before saying hello to the new, right?  Well, I've had this piece actually WRITTEN UP for over a month.  I didn't publish it at first because the whole thing wasn't wrapped up, and then I didn't publish it because I'd put out the other things with fewer details, and I was sick of talking about it by then.  But this was still in my archives, and it was still a significant part of my year.

I still don't want to talk about it.  It dominated my thoughts for so very long.  But I didn't want to delete this post either.  It was just hanging out in the back of the post closet, like luggage.  So I'm going to toss out the old--clear the air, as much as I possibly can (because some shit is still listed under confidential, and I'll honor that)  and then when I talk about this event in the past tense, folks will know what happened.  Those of you who have been here for a long haul already know what my writing has cost me, and how much of everything--joy, pain, anger, whatever--lies behind the words, "Yeah, I used to teach."

* I didn't count on homophobia being so rampant in my community.

*  I didn't count on being pulled out of my classroom and put under investigation from my school district after one parent complaint about their student reading Truth in the Dark and Litha's Constant Whim in October of last year.

*  I didn't count on the powers that be taking one look at the book, seeing two male leads, and calling it porn.

*  I didn't count on having two lawyers assigned to me to help me get my job back.

*  I didn't count on the whole process taking over 14 months.

*  I didn't count on lapsing into depression when a chance to go back into the classroom was cruelly jerked away from me last November.

*  I didn't count on yanking myself back to the here and now with the help of aqua-aerobics and the world's most supportive Mate.

*  I didn't count on missing a job that had caused me so much misery quite so badly.

*  I didn't count on stupid things triggering a big, aching hole in my chest.  (The sob-fest I had over the graduation event of The Suite Life of Zach and Cody was not one of my finer moments.)

*  I didn't count on the district spending a WHOLE lot of money investigating every move documented in my blog for the last five years to see if they had anything to fire me with.

*  I didn't count on looking at my past blogs and realizing how very alienated I felt from my profession.

*  I didn't count on the investigator looking at my past logs and not finding anything at all that was actually a fireable offense--not even calling my past principal a vainglorious prickweenie and a festering cockroach turd.

*  I didn't count on how hard it would be to let go of my identity as a teacher, even over the course of fourteen months.

*  I didn't count on the feeling of freedom I would get when faced with the prospects of making my living on the merit of my writing alone.

*  I didn't count on my lawyer telling me I had an EXTREMELY defensible case, if I chose to pursue it.

* I didn't count on the little part of me that wanted to fight like hell for my job just so I could quit on my own terms.

*  I didn't count on Mate feeling the same way.

*  In spite of that last one, I didn't count on being so very ready to walk away, when the time came to settle.

*  I didn't count on losing my emotional nut anyway, when I made the decision.  (In the parking lot of Safeway, of all things.)

*  I didn't count on my classroom being used as a storehouse when I came to pick up my stuff.

*  I didn't count on my dread of getting my things being not EVEN as fucked up as the event itself.

*  I didn't count on my crazy friend Wendy trying to take EVERYTHING out of the room, even shit that had no practical purpose, while I was trying grimly to sort the stuff that was mine from the stuff that had been thrown into the room for the sheer fuckery of it.

*  I didn't count on not seeing anyone I knew when I went back.  I didn't count on not being able to say goodbye.

*  I didn't count on screaming to the lyrics of Bleed It Out as we finished packing up.

*  I didn't count on ever being able to type this up, and know it was done.  

*  I didn't count on facing the demise of a career I loved with quite this much peace.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Good Week

So, we went to Mate's mom's and grandma's yesterday, and exchanged gifts.  Ours was mostly fudge and a washcloth, theirs was mostly See's candy.  But it was a family meeting for Christmas, and that's always lovely.  The sky was amazing on the way home--I love that stark contrast between the oak trees and the great beyond, so I tried to capture it on my crappy camera and was reminded of my first book cover, Vulnerable.  Mate took that picture in some of the same country, and I love it, and I love this picture (bad resolution and all) as well.

And this is an Air Swimmer.  It's one of Zoomboy's presents from Santa-- It's sort of amazing, actually.  It's a remote controlled balloon.  You press the button and this giant fin, painstakingly attached to the balloon's pointed arse, waves slowly back and forth and the big shark thing moves down the hall.  You press another button, and that weight thing yoiu see moves up and down, and the shark can go lower or higher on command.  DUDE!  Coolest present EVER!
 Squish, on the other hand, got lots and lots of Barbies-- but her reaction to them was priceless.  "Look, Mom!  I got a pink car!  With HUMANS in the front!"

So Barbies are now "humans"--and humans are surprised!

My present--unanticipated, mind you-- was an HD radio.  I was not expecting it.  It seems that Mate, seeing me deal with my little portable speaker/iPod assembly, was full of both mortification and pity, and felt the need to rectify that wrong.  The result is a new car stereo so magical, it makes my crappy old speakers sound decent, and it has an iPod jack.  I love it--and so does Mate, who drives my car when we go out as a family.  My present to him was a new shirt and a copy of Mel Brooks doing his 2000 year old man bit-- something Mate was both surprised at and happy for, but that leaves me feeling, once again, a little bit "special" in the gifting department.  Ah, well.

And this is my family on Christmas Eve.  The kids had just opened their ONE present for the evening, and they all picked the present from each other--which they are modeling.  They made each other so happy--and that, in turn, made Mate and I ecstatic.

And now, it's about getting back to work--albeit in a leisurely, "I can quit when there's a good movie on" sort of way.  We visit Sam's family today-- I should finish the socks I started working on for Sam's mom.    And I'm back in aqua classes--mostly because if I don't go, I can't move, my neck and shoulders hurt so bad!

So this is the good week-- the relaxing, take Chicken shopping and driving sort of week.  (Her first driving lesson from a professional left her profoundly scarred and sobbing on the bed.  God save us from young drivers!)  The sleep in and let the kids sit on my lap sort of week.  My favorite part of Christmas, when our house is messy, our hearts full, and when we can play with our Air Swimmers and small humans in peace:-)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hark the Herald Angels Sing...

Me:  Some people believe that God had a woman on earth give birth to his son.

Squish:  Then she would be the Goddess mommy, right?

Me:  Absofrickinlutely.


Zoomboy:  Let's play the end-letter game.  I'll start.  TigeR.

Me:  ReallY?

Zoomboy:  Yes!


Me:  Chicken, if I call my phone will you go get it?

Chicken:  Yeah, sure.  *listens for ring tone*  There it is.  Under your ten piles of crap.

Me:  You had any doubts.


Me, while Mate is driving us down a BUSY URBAN road we probably drive three times a week:  Ostrich.

Mate:  Emu?

Me:  NO!  There is a FUCKING OSTRICH on that bare spot of land beyond those trees.  And about six zillion pigs.

Mate:  Wow.  Go figure.

Me:  Zoomboy tried to tell me about it a couple of weeks ago.  I thought he was just riffing on jungle animals.  My bad.


Chicken:  Here's your phone!

Me:  What did you do to it?

Chicken:  Made it Japanese.

Me:  Christmas Yaoi.  How festive!

Chicken:  But of course.  And you're welcome.


Zoomboy, holding up Steve the girl cat to Chiquita the girl dog:  Hello, dog.  Here is the cat you slept with!

Me (to myself):  I have no idea what that means, but I bet the dog is really confused.


Big T, outside in the 50 degree weather in shorts and zorries, washing the pickup truck Mate has helped my father fix up for him:  But if I was wearing cold weather clothes they'd just get wet when I washed the car.

Me:  But you don't even have your PERMIT, why does the car need to be clean?


Me (over the phone, in front of the store):  Okay, so I need to buy vegetable oil.  What else.

Chicken:  Nuts.

Me:  So vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge.

Chicken:  Yes.

Me:  Vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge.

Chicken (snickering):  Yes.

Me:  Fudge nuts.

Chicken:  STOP!

Me:  Vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge, vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge, vegetable oil and nuts for the fudge... my God, there's just no way to say that without it sounding dirty, is there?

Chicken (laughing uncontrollably):  No... oh God... no...


Mate (after tasting peanut butter fudge he's made):  Oh God, that's good.

Me:  Can I have a piece?

Mate:  A piece is too much.  This has to be doled out in shavings.


Squish (after wrapping up a candle we have on the mantlepiece in paper towels, wrapping paper, and an entire container of tape):  Do you want to open your present mom?


Me (to my editor after turning in a project):  Okay-- I can't do anything else until after Christmas.  Unless you can think of a way for me to knit with my hands while typing with my toes.


Me (texting to my "work wife" Mary):  Sorry I dropped the conversation.  Mate was busy asking me about my online girlfriend and then tickling me until I screamed.

Mary:  My husband says the same thing about you.

Chicken's best friend, after spending two hours in the car with us, looking for Christmas lights:  Thank you--I had a lot of fun!

Me:  Really?

Best friend:  Really-- I love your family!

Me, to Mate and Chicken, after she's walked in:  I have no idea why.

Chicken:  Me neither, but she keeps asking to come back.


May your holidays be merry and your Christmas/Solstice/Hanukkah be especially bright, and may you feel as blessed as I am by my family and friends, both online and IRL.  I know I cannot count my blessings, because there are just too many to count.

Love and peace and wishes warm,


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Writing Wrap Up

Okay-- I've been sort of a big blog slut this last month.  I mean seriously-- there is NO place I haven't been.  Want proof?

Paranormal Paradigms

Tales From the Writing Cave

Chaos in the Moonlight

Stumbling Over Chaos (This is a contest for Puppy, Car, and Snow)

See!!!!  I'm like Barbie!  That bitch is EVERYWHERE during Christmas!

Anyway, as you can see by my lovely little medallion up there, I've also been nominated in the M/M Romance Member's Choice Awards--and I'm really proud.  Now, I'm not sure if you can vote in this if you're not a member, so let me know--but I think the link will get you to the ballot survey.

All that, and my folks are taking the kids today, so Mate and I will get a chance to wrap presents-- HUZZAH!

And *whew* I still need to write a chapter and finish my Christmas knitting.  I'll be back with a Christmas post and some cheer and all-- I just thought some of this stuff should be shared:-)

Oh yeah-- and Puppy, Car, and Snow is out on and ARe as well!  Wheee!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Puppy, Car, Snow, and Squish

 Oh my Goddess-- you KNOW it's been a big week when I almost miss my own book release.  Seriously-- I almost completely forgot!  Puppy, Car, and Snow is coming out, and besides really loving the simplicity and charm of the cover, I'm sort of pleased by the story as a whole.   It was a request, actually, and I'm always sort of thrilled to do those!  Elizabeth, my publisher at Dreamspinner, really sort of loved my first guys.  Jace and Quent from Gambling Men have their own novel coming out in May, and that's a WHOLE other story, but Ryan and Scotty, who also showed up in the Curious Anthology in the short story, "Shirt", were also favorites.  Yeah, they got their own story in Phonebook, but Elizabeth wanted to see more of them, and she wanted to see them for Christmas.  (She's done this with a couple of authors, I think-- Mary Calmes and Isabelle Rowan and Andrew Grey, that I know of for certain.)  
Anyway, Elizabeth asked, and I wrote, and because Ryan and Scotty have always been about finding the greatest joys in the simplest things, I kept the title--and the theme--simple.  My guys are having Christmas with Ryan's family.  Ryan's mother is the disapproving sort.  Let the games begin!  For those of you interested, do read the excerpt that you can find when you follow the link-- it's short, hot, and, features a giant luggage-eating not-poodle.  How can you go wrong?

 And this is Squish, after her photo appointment with the big guy in the red suit.  She's telling me what she wants for Christmas, and none of it sounds remotely like what Mate and I got when we were in the pink aisle at Toys R'Us.  I hope general pink will do for her--when it comes to specific pink, I'm thinking we've just failed Christmas.
And this is my santa and his elf.  She looks really demonic in this picture.  She, umm, sort of is in real life too--but in the cute, you want to just squeeze those little cheeks way!

And this is the two of them in line, charming the holy bejeebus socks out of everybody. Okay--maybe just me, but my holy bejeebus socks were nowhere in sight by the time I turned them loose with their older siblings in what must have been the shortest shopping trip in history.  The mall was almost empty, and I think we spent a grand total, Santa and all, of an hour and a half there, and that included pretzels and Icees when they were done.  Holy crapgasm, batman-- best shopping trip EVER!
And this is Chicken, because this outfit?  Is awesome sauce, plain and simple.  Don't mind the scowling--she doesn't recognize her own awesomeness.  Makes her grumpy.  And that manic bit of pre-cut foam?  That is practically the closest thing you can find to a model these days-- it's Santa's Ski Lodge, (although we've been calling it Santa's Little Sweatshop all week, in honor of our time with our Christmas cards, which were, as always, a family endeavor!)  

And Squish... making sure her elf is intact.  She should have no worries-- she's elfish at it's best:-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bad Blogger!

Okay-- so I went back and realized I had blogged APPALLINGLY few times in the last two weeks--blogger's guilt-- IT'S REAL!

Anyway-- yesterday was a big day for Squish.  She had a tea party--something she has been excited about  for TWO WEEKS, and I was invited.  Of course, I didn't realize I was invited to volunteer, but that was fine.  I served the kindergartners finger sandwiches and cookies and hot chocolate, and Mate brought them cookies (too many rich cookies--I was relieved when the teacher said, "Oh, I'm taking THESE to the staff room!"  because that was thirty pounds of fat I SO didn't need!)  Anyway, after we served the cookies (and I almost screwed up my back forever and for good by serving on a teeny-tiny counter made for five year olds!) there was entertainment.  They all stood up and sang for us, and I loved it.  Yes--in politically correct California, they sang Christmas songs, and my pagan heart was remarkably unruffled.  They were wonderful, and Rudolph the Red-nose Reindeer has never sounded more disorganized--or better.

So after that, we went home, had a frozen burrito, and then got ready for her NEXT performance, her dance performance with her class.  The dance was held at a local community center, and she acquitted Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Song... well, with heart.  Her heart was definitely in it.  And she DEFINITELY knew the move to "I still want a hula-hoop!" and that's always a good stopping place.  

So it was a big day for Squish-- but she wasn't the only one with a big week.  Zoomboy got two academic awards--and I have to tell you, not a lot of kids get those.  He got one award for actual achievement, and the other award for being an all around good kid in the classroom.  My pictures of that were even worse than the picture of Squish dancing, and that's sort of where I draw the line, but suffice it to say he was extremely sober for the entire presentation--but very happy to see me at the school.  

Chicken was called by a recruiter for an art school-- a family phone call as it were, and took the first steps in applying for financial aid (for which Mate and I will be indebted all our lives!)  Anyway--the fun part (according to Chicken) was knowing that Mate and I were texting questions to each other while we were listening to the recruiters.  Of course watching Chicken get quietly excited about the possibility of going away to school was also a plus.  Mate and I had to work our way through school--a lot of people we know have had to work their way through school, and that's awesome.  The idea that people can do that is awesome.  But if we could give this education to Chicken--wow.  I'd just be so proud.  She's worked so hard--I would so love to see her have a future that started with all those high hopes.  And then Mate and I would have nine years to rest, relax, and save for the next genius kid, because Zoomboy isn't going to be letting his future languish!

And Big T turned nineteen.  We took him to sushi (Zoomboy hated it!) but everyone else enjoyed the hell out of it.  Mate and I got all the sashimi on the platter because we were the only one's crazy about raw fish, and Big T and Chicken loved the roll with the deep fried shrimp in the middle.  (Unsophisticated sushi.  Yup.)  But it was awesome, we loved it, and I want more!  And T was grateful for his presents--mostly winter clothes--but I've promised him a hat and a scarf that match and are lovely after Christmas.  When he was in the fifth grade I crocheted him a "fish scarf"-- a series of fish motifs that interlocked.  The scarf is bright red, blue and yellow, and made in acrylic yarn, and T hated it until he hit high school when suddenly it had a funky appeal.  Anyway, he's requested something more grown up, and I'm making him the Noro scarf, with a matching hat--because it's bright in an appealing Dr. Who way, but it's also a little more grown up.  And it will keep him warm.  

So this week promises to be crazy--and I actually have knitting to do!  (I know, you all thought I forgot Christmas knitting--nope!)  And a Christmas release on Wednesday.  And blurbs to write.  And more shopping to do.  And a house to clean.  And someday, someday soon, I'll have to explain how I came to lose my job over loaning a couple of books to some kids who could handle it.  

But not today.  Today, Zoomboy is begging for a cuddle, and it's been a helluva week.  I figure he's due:-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We all know I can't count anyway

On the tenth day before Christmas, my true love gave to me...

Chicken's second permit test
A trip to the tree farm
Another frickin' edit
Ten more blurbs a-writing
Two college recruitment meetings
A day of Christmas shopping
One lost Clifford Journal
My oldest' son's birthday
A trip to buy his present
A family sushi dinner
A postponed trip to the vets
Four tired kids,
Three school presentations
Two dentist appointments
A trip to Zoomboy's doctor

And office party that went from house to house...

And THAT ladies and gentlemen, is why I haven't blogged so much...

Catch you this weekend, when I can collapse, cry and breathe!

Amy out!

(And I'll leave you with this, a gift from Roxie in the past)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

No Snow...

AOkay-- first things first.  Last night, Mate and I went to a traveling Christmas Party.  A bunch of people in the same neighborhood walked from house to house and drank a lot.  (I drank a lot of water.  It was COLD, and I was having more fun watching the drunk people walk, really.  Anyway, in one house, there was a chinchilla.  I shit you not.

 And the rest of this?  This is Christmas tree hunting.  Here, we have hunted and felled the mighty Christmas tree.  Zoomboy is taking his turn here--but his older brother did the bulk of the work.
 And here?  We have a tree with a Santa hat.  Considering the fact that Zoomboy has been wearing that hat since December 1st, the tree didn't have much of a chance.
 Zoomboy and Very Big T say hello.  Zoomboy espouses the attributes of the perfect tree.
This morning, as I was getting out hats for Squish, she almost picked the Hello Kitty hat.  Then this one came out, and she jumped on it, because, in her words, "It looks really great with my glasses!"

That's Squish-- fashion forward:-)
 And this?  This is just an overview of Snowy Peaks Christmas Tree Farm, which, for those who are curious, is deep in the heart of Green's Hill country. It's almost to Sugarpine, which means Jack and Teague could have been nosing about anywhere the dogs were not.  (They were everywhere--a Christmas Tree Farm is a dog's happy place!)
And doesn't every kid need a dorky picture of a kid in a Santa hat in his archives?  Cause, umm, we've got Zoomboy COVERED!

And this is a picture of my folks, Squish in their wake, starting off on the great Christmas Tree Hunt... it was a splendid adventure!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rainbow Awards

Heya!  Yes-- the last post was pretty bleak, and there's not much I can do about that.  Many of you know that I've been on leave from my job for the last fifteen months, and you know why.  You know why I'm so adamant that my work is not porn, and why I believe romance--all romance, gay, straight, and in between--is a real, integral part of life.  You know why I think that writing is vital to humanity as a whole.  In October of 2010, I came home in the middle of the day facing the very real possibility that I would never teach (at my old site at the very least) again.  I told my husband that it boiled down to someone looking at Truth in the Dark--easily one of the most beautiful things I've ever written-- and upon seeing two male leads, pronouncing the work porn.

And Mate said the one thing I've always treasured.  He said, "Well, at least it was something important."

Yes, it was important.  It still is important.  So Tuesday night, I cleaned out my classroom--and it was hard.  The place had been used as a storehouse for six months, and it hurt, there's no two ways about it.  But it's done, and I"ll post about it soon (have had the post, in fact, written for a week, ever since we knew about the resolution to the matter) but in the meantime, yesterday, the winners of the Rainbow Awards came out. Now, normally, I'm not all jumpy and squeally about awards.  I'm more quietly pleased--and always, always, very grateful, and very flattered.  But, well, the timing was just very very good.

A Solid Core of Alpha took second in science fiction.
Hammer and Air  took honorable mention in fantasy.
Living Promises  took honorable mention in contemporary.

And Amy Lane as an author was given an honorable mention here.

So here I am, up against the best of the best in my genre--and I'm not doing half bad.  And what I'm doing is important.  And no, folks, not even a little bit, is it porn.

So, my friend and I were cleaning out my classroom, and I had my iPod plugged into a little speaker--I wasn't kidding about the soundtrack, those were some of the songs that showed up, and, me being me, they helped.  And this one was the last one, playing as I wrote the note on the board and picked up the last box.  And I still love it.  Will always love it.  But it's always going to mean that moment to me, and I'm always going to be bleeding it out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bleed it Out

So, I had to do something really unpleasant today, something that hurt hella bad.  And I don't feel like writing about it, but I do have a soundtrack.  I tried to post it with, but none of the links plugged in--I'll just list it here.

Bleed it Out--Linkin' Park
Requiem for a Dream--from the soundtrack
March of the Cambreadth--Heather Dale
Faint--Linkin' Park
Numb--Linkin' Park
Last to Die--Bruce Springsteen
Seeds--Bruce Springsteen
Gone Away--Offspring
The Kids Aren't Alright--Offspring
Let it Rock--Kevin Rudolph
I Hate Everyone--Ok-Go
Let it Die--Foo Fighters
Home--Foo Fighters
Hometown--Bowling for Soup
Mad World--Gary Jules
14 Years--Guns'n'Roses

That last one.  Yeah.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Critter Snark

Okay-- I'll admit it.  Sometimes, I look forward to Saturday Snark because really?  My real life just isn't that interesting.  

The little kids are cute:  Squish is sleeping with my old teddy bear and a couple of sock monkeys--she drags them from the bunk bed to our own bed in the middle of the night, and the effect is charming. 

Zoomboy keeps telling bad jokes:  What's ice cream's favorite day?  SUNday!  (Get it?  Because there's ice cream sundaes, and it's sunday--it's a homophone mom, two words that sound the same but are spelled different and have different meanings.  That's why it's funny.)

Chicken is both growing up and not--we made it all the way to the DMV yesterday for her permit test, only to discover she'd forgotten some of her paperwork.  She cried all the way home.  I told her at least she didn't fail anything but paperwork, and hell--the entire family has practically invented such a thing as a paperwork handicap.  She should be proud.  She looked cute in them genes.  

Big T is looking for a job--in a haphazard, random, awkward way worthy of any slacking college student still living with his parents.  He's still a good boy--he's just a good boy with too much time on his hands, and a terrible case of jealousy for not beating his little sister to the driver's permit stage.  
And Mate bought me a new computer for Christmas.  No, not on it yet--that whole "transfer files" thing seems to be causing him oodles of trouble.  But it's so pretty, it looks like it's made of stars.  

There's more--but I can't post about it yet.  I'll let you all know--for one thing, there's some news on something that's been going on for a long time, that I've kept off the blog.  It's sort of big and painful--but I can't quite talk about it yet.  (Nothing bad about the family, or the writing--so, really, something we can live with.  NO need to panic. Really.)  You'll know it when you see it, 'kay?

And in the meantime--here's my Saturday snark for Marie Sexton's blog.  It's from The Winter Mating Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters again--and it's one of the many times Crawford's minimalist way of speaking takes us by surprise:

“The sheep nibbles,” was what Ben said. He held up a sleeve that was a little sodden and had bits of grass on it. “Do the other things, the llamas—”
“Yeah, do they nibble like sheep?”
Craw frowned. “No. The girls will spit if they don’t want to be mated, but then, wouldn’t blame them.”
Ben blinked and then opened his eyes really wide. “I don’t… God. Don’t tell me what that looks like.”
Craw thought about it, his eyes moving restlessly on the road as he tried to figure out if there was any other way for the long-necked, long-legged critters to go. “It looks like two alpacas fucking, mostly,” he said apologetically. “Of course, sometimes, the boy can’t get his boy parts past the girl’s furry ass, and he needs a little help, so then it looks like two alpacas fucking while their handler’s giving the one on top a handjob.”
He looked sideways as Ben’s giggles took over the car. “Well, I didn’t say it was a picnic for the handlers.”
And that was it. Ben, the pretty man he’d been trying to impress, was leaning back in the seat of his truck, poinging like popcorn in an old metal pan, and laughing so hard there were tears tracking down the beginning creases at the corners of his eyes.
Apparently the alpacas weren’t the only ones who had made a fucking impression. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Winter Mating Rituals of Fur-Bearing Criters

*snicker*  Yup.  That is REALLY the name.

The Winter Mating Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters is out today on Dreamspinner's site (soon to be followed, I think, by,, and all of the usual suspects.)

This is my third Dreamspinner Press Advent Calendar work-- the first one was If I Must, a story about two roommates and their cat, Manky Bastard, and I was surprised (stunned!  shocked! flabbergasted!) by how many people wanted to read something light and sweet and fun for the holidays.  In keeping with this, I made last year's story (Christmas With Danny Fit) sweet too.  Danny Fit had a few moments of melancholy, of sadness, though, as did If I Must--and as much as I loved those moments, I REALLY wanted to do something light for this year.  So MUCH of my work this year has been painful, dark, angsty--I wanted something that would make people laugh, and laugh hard, and feel like falling in love didn't have to hurt quite so bad.

I think I succeeded with Fur-Bearing Critters.  Rance Crawford is a fun guy--he's grumpy, and says some of THE most inappropriate things at VERY appropriate times.  He's awkward and more than a little shy, and dislikes having his routine boggled.

But he very much likes Ben McCutcheon.  The problem is, Rance and Ben are (as far as Rance knows) the ONLY mating pair of their sort in the entire town.  Rance would like it--REALLY like it--if Ben realized that this was NOT the only reason for Rance to come sniffing around Ben's little acre.  Rance likes Ben SPECIFICALLY, and not just as a critter emitting the right smells and sporting the right equipment.  The way Rance goes about to show Ben that he is specifically enchanting would do a knitter proud.

This story comes with a free pattern at the end--it's something most of us could figure out how to make, really, but it's fun, and, honestly, I hope people like it because I think it scared the mail-lady when I was taking the thing's picture.  (It had to be done outside in the sun or my camera would have screwed it up, and I had it up on my car, and... well, you sorta gotta see the item to know why the mail lady now avoids me.)  It's fun, writing patterns, but I have the feeling I suck at it, so let's see how many angry knitters e-mail me because the scrot sac of the free cock-cozy pattern seems a little dodgy.

My one hope (and since I've released a lot of light stuff in the wake of a lot of DARK stuff, this is a worry with a lot of my stuff lately) is that people see the heart in this one, along with the humor.  Thinking you're the only half of a mating pair is about the loneliest way for a critter to be.  His wistfulness when he sees Ben and thinks he's pretty--that's a lot of longing for one guy and a lot of alpacas.  I hope that's appealing too.