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

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

And Today in Oddments

School's in session, glory be,
There will be time, time for me!
Time to write and time to read,
Animals to pet and feed!
Lunch to choose all by myself
Clothes to put away on a shelf.
Floors to mop and dishes to wipe,
(Let's not forget the time to write!)
Cats to pet and dogs to walk
Long neglected friends to talk
Net to surf, clothes to buy
(Must stop that--Mate's asking why
I'd possibly need some brand new shoes
In yet another shade of blue.)
I can play music while I sit
(Cartoons were giving me a facial tic)
And finally, finally, space in my head
So I can remember what my characters said.
And here I am, I've had a snack,
It's time to work, dog's in my lap,
I've done away with extraneous crap,
Just me and my laptop, and my mental map
Of shit that I must do…
I must…
I must…
I must…
*yawn*
Oh hell.  I think I really must nap.

***

So, now that that's out of the way, some catchup to do.

First of all-- Friday will be my big, "Why I wrote this book and how much do I hope you love it!" for Beneath the Stain.  The first installment will be out on Friday, and I'm SO remembering how much I've dreaded book releases in the past.  Especially this one.  For one thing, it's coming out in sections, and I know I"m going to have a hard time looking at the GR ratings.  People will go, "Well, it was good, but not as developed as an entire novel," without looking to see that it's intentionally part of an entire work, and that's going to drive me crazy, but also, I just put so much into this.  I've got a big Facebook chat on Saturday, but after that, Mate, the kids, and I are going to the ocean for a few days, and I think that's a good thing.  It's going to keep me off the internet and out of trouble, and, of course it's going to be at the ocean, and that's one of my favorite places to be.

So there's that.

Also, I'm eyeballs deep in Immortal, which is killing me softly.  And not so softly.  I'm writing this one as sort of an apology to the spouses of artists everywhere, and the more I write it the more I want to sob on Mate's shoulders and say "Thank youuuuuuu…" because it's not easy being married to someone who can't turn their job off ever, and is neurotic, self-obsessed, and dependent on their neuroses and self-obsession for bringing in income.

So yeah-- looking in the mirror is uncomfortable for me at the best of times, this book in particular, I think.

Also--

Yes, I did the ice bucket challenge last week, and I posted it on FB (So, yanno, you can skip this if you've already seen it, because although I love this T-shirt, I also know it's not a good look for me.)  PLEASE forgive the part where I'm a dinkus and said Alzheimers instead of ALS-- I knew what the ice bucket challenge was for, I just spazzed out on camera.  Frankly, I wanted it over with, because in my neighborhood, there's nothing like a family standing out on their drought ridden lawn to bring onlookers and/or the police.

Anyway-- so, you know.  Proof.

By the way- this whole challenge thing inspired Chicken to write a heartbreaking short story about the effects of ALS on a family, and it was good, and it made me cry fucking buckets and I showed it to her father, and he teared up.  It's only 5K, M/M romance, but I want her to publish it somewhere.  Heck-- If she'd let me I'd put it up on the blog.  It's beautiful, and I"m proud and heartbroken at the same time.  She looked at a seemingly abstract thing and made it human.  It's all I've ever asked of my children, and she succeeded beautifully.

Also out on FB but not on the blog, is the following conversation I had with Zoomboy:

We have in our garage an "outside cat." She started out on the inside but she has resisted ALL attempts at house training, and although she's VERY sweet, she needs to stay in the garage, where the cat box doesn't frighten her. Sometimes, Zoomboy goes outside to talk to this cat-- we call her Shulamonster. Tonight on the way back from soccer practice, Zoomboy and I had the following conversation:
ZB: Mom, it's too bad Schula can't come inside.
Me: Yeah, really is.
ZB: And too bad we don't take her to the vets anymore.
Me: Yeah. It is. But she's too wild. She lets us pet her and that's about it.
ZB: She's really sweet.
Me: Yeah.
ZB: She bit me today, but it was an accident. Don't worry, I washed it with hot water and bactine.
Me: Okay… she bit you?
ZB: Yes. It was an *accident*. Not her fault. Not her fault at all.
Me: Okay.
ZB: It's too bad we couldn't, you know, find her a way for her to poop somewhere else but the floor.
Me: (getting a little suspicious by now) Yes. Yes it is.
ZB: Like, you know, a diaper. Like one of the ones we used to get for the dog when he was a baby.
Me: *lightbulb* Zoomboy?
ZB: Yes?
Me: Did you try to put one of the dog's old diapers on the cat? Is that why she bit you?
ZB: Yes.
Me: Ooooooooooohhhh… That explains SO much!

***

And for today's finale, there's the story of Gordie and the vet.

Okay, it's not much of a story.

Mostly, the frickin' cat just managed not to go to the vet's.  Twice.  So this morning, before Big T left for school, I asked him to put the cat in the cat carrier, I didn't care how early it was, I wasn't going to risk him slipping out.  

I didn't hear what happened next.  I swear.  I didn't see it, didn't hear it, all I heard was Mate, exclaiming, "Did you just hit the cat with the ceiling fan?  No wonder he hates you!"

o.o  I don't even want to know.

***

And I only thought that was the finale.  (This is a much better finale-- I promise.  This one has available pictures!)

See-- I've been ordering swag, so I expect deliveries every so often, and yes, I do check to see what's being delivered.  

I've gotten Johnnies keychains, Angst & Pain dragon buttons, Mackey refrigerator magnets, Mackey lanyards (pending) and some magnets and buttons for The Bells of Times Square.  So, today as I was writing, imagine my surprise when I opened a box and found these:


No, your eyes do not deceive you.  Those are Jehovah's Witness pins.  I called the company and they get 30-40 orders of these a day, so they're just going to eat the cost and re-send.  I told him the next time the JW's come knocking, I'll tell them we'd been expecting them, their God sent us the pins by mistake.  

As you can see, I usually get a different kind of swag altogether!






Saturday, August 23, 2014

And in One Week, Beneath the Stain...

Okay-- at the bottom of the page, I'm going to have blog tour information for Beneath the Stain, so don't just tune out when I start blathering, kk?

So, in yarn news, it's been sort of a big week-- for one, I finished a project, and I really love it.  It's going to Mary-my-Mary, because Chicken as opted for the blanket I'm working on instead.  (It's a verra nice blanket.)  But in the meantime, it's a crocheted shawl that is over 6' long, in Noro sock yarn.  

I sort of loves it-- the rainbows are lovely, and I sort of designed my own edging.  Baroque and ungainly?  Possibly, but it's mine, and I loves it, and Mary's squee could be heard across twenty states.  EEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

So, besides that, nothing going on here today--just a regular Saturday of kid activity, going out to lunch and (yay!) frozen yogurt on the way home.  The kids are parked in front of the Simpson's marathon, which keeps dropping epic ear-nuggets of awesomeness in my lap while I write.  (Mr. Burns: What have we learned here, Smithers?  Smithers: That women and seamen don't mix?  Mr. Burns: We all know what you think, Smithers!)  Mate is going down for a nap, and I'm ready to join him, because I've been hammering away on Immortal and it's sort of exhausting.   I'm going back to first person fantasy for this one, in the style of Truth in the Dark and Hammer & Air, and I love it sooo much.  NOBODY shall read it, because tragic first person fantasy spells commercial disaster, but I love it.  I leave the same amount of blood on the stage with this one (maybe more, if I have any more after Mackey, Bells, and John) but it's magical, sparkling blood, so, you know.  Different.
Oh-- Squish says Hi!

And that brings us to Beneath the Stain and the giant chunk of blog tour coding on the bottom of this page.

What I did, since I'm releasing the book in seven parts before releasing it all together, is send the first two parts to reviewers on the blog tour.  

I think they both love and hate me for this.

Because the consensus from the first stop on the tour is that they want to know what happens to Mackey now!  But they also agree that they like the other people in the story, and yes, they get to see the other people in the story in the extra material.  

So, well, my evil plot (or my publisher's evil plot) has succeeded!  Go us!

Anyway-- Karrie Jax at Rainbow Book Reviews loved the Bethany's review so much that she made us a meme.  

I love it.  

I love it so much.

And I've finally figured out what to do with memes, because for a while I was like, "SQUEE!  IT'S PRETTY! HOW DO I MAKE IT FOREVER!" and now I'm like, "Doh!  I've got my own WEBSITE, DAMMIT, with a place for FAN ART."  (I'm not very bright.  We all know I'm not very bright.)  So, from now on, if anyone loves my work enough to make a meme, I'm putting it up on my Fan Art page on my website.

So, that being said, I have a list of blog tour stops here.  The thing about the tour is that it's pretty much the same material on every stop-- BUT, if you make a comment on each stop, you have more chances to win one of the swag packs or the serial package.  

Oh-- and the swag packs?  

Sweet.  T-shirt, lanyard, refrigerator magnet, postcard-- it's like a backstage kit for a concert :-)

Anyway--worth the rafflecopter, at any rate!

I'll be coming back to this page and updating the links as they appear, so, in the meantime, sit back, take in the blog tour, and enjoy!




Tour Stops

August 22, 2014
Rainbow Gold Reviews
Sunshine Book Promotions

August 23, 2014
elisa - my reviews and ramblings

August 24, 2014
My Fiction Nook

August 25, 2014
Coffee and Porn in the Morning  (aka Cupoporn)

August 26, 2014
Boys in our Books

August 27, 2014
Nic Starr

August 28, 2014
Scrollin' Them Papers

August 29, 2014
Regular Guys. Hot Romance

August 30, 2014
Bronwyn Heeley

August 31, 2014
BookwormBridgette's World

September 1, 2014
BiblioJunkies

September 2, 2014
books are love

September 3, 2014
TT Kove

September 4, 2014
In The Pages of a Good Book



Beneath The Stain
by Amy Lane

Blurb: 
In a town as small as Tyson, CA, everybody knew the four brothers with the four different fathers-- and their penchant for making good music when they weren't getting into trouble. For Mackey Sanders, playing in Outbreak Monkey with his brothers and their friends—especially Grant Adams--made Tyson bearable. But Grant has plans for getting Mackey and the Sanders boys out of Tyson, even if that means staying behind.

Between the heartbreak of leaving Grant and the terrifying, glamorous life of rock stardom, Mackey is adrift and sinking fast. When he's hit rock bottom, Trav Ford shows up, courtesy of their record company and a producer who wants to see what Mackey can do if he doesn't flame out first. But cleaning up his act means coming clean about Grant, and that's not easy to do or say. Mackey might make it with Trav's help--but Trav's not sure he's going to survive falling in love with Mackey.

Mackey James Sanders comes with a whole lot of messy, painful baggage, and law-and-order Trav doesn't do messy or painful. And just when Trav thinks they may have mastered every demon in Mackey's past, the biggest, baddest demon of all comes knocking.




Available to pre-order at



Release Date:
August 29, 2014


Five Ways to Buy 

Option 1: Serial Package 
  • Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14. 
  • $12.99. This option only available through dreamspinnerpress.com

Option 2: Serial Deluxe Package 
  • Automatically get each part with special content on your bookshelf as it is released and the digital novel upon release. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. Novel releases 10/17/14. 
  • Also received a signed paperback mailed to you upon novel release. 
  • $24.99 +shipping. This option only available through dreamspinnerpress.com

Options 3: Serial Only (7 parts) 
  • Buy individual parts with special content weekly for $1.99. Serial runs 8/29/14-10/10/14. 

Options 4 & 5: Novel 
  • Purchase the complete novel in eBook or paperback, no special content included. Pre-sales begin 9/17/14. Novel releases 10/17/14. 
  • eBook $6.99, paperback $17.99 
  • Upon complete novel release, the serial will no longer be available.


Excerpt

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
... from the Mighty Hunter Gazette— April 20

And special news, our very own homegrown band, Outbreak Monkey, will be performing a six- song set between D.J. Boomer’s dance music at the Graham Winters High School prom. The band, headed by McKay “Mackey” Sanders on lead vocals, Jeff Sanders on bass and their brother Kell Sanders on lead guitar, also features Grant Adams on second lead and Stevie Harris on drum set. All members are Graham Winters High School students and we are proud to have them play!

THE FIRST time McKay Sanders kissed his brother’s best friend, Grant, they were getting high in a burned-out car in the field behind Mackey’s apartment building. Kellogg, who looked old enough to buy even though he’d just turned eighteen, had spent ten dollars the brothers didn't have on cheap Muscat. By the time Grant—whose father had money—brought out the pot, Kellogg, Jefferson, and Stevie were passed out on the old camp blanket Stevie had brought from his dad’s garage.

It was a celebration, of sorts, for landing the prom gig.

The older kids had hogged all the Muscat, though, and Mackey felt left out. Kellogg kept saying it wasn't right to get his little brother drunk, and Mackey kept saying it wasn't right to drink in front of him, but by the time Kellogg was too drunk to argue, there wasn't any wine left.
Jefferson and Stevie had finished off the other bottle all by themselves—just sitting quietly, not making any waves like they usually did, passing the bottle between them.

“Boy, you two argue a lot,” Grant said after Kell let out a gut-buster of a yawn and fell asleep quick as a baby.

Mackey grunted and prodded at his older brother with his toe. The three brothers present looked nothing alike. Kell was built like a tank, with rounded shoulders, a brown-eyed glare, and plain brown hair that he buzz- cut short to his scalp. He was like born practicality, which was why hoarding the wine rankled Mackey so badly. An expenditure like that wasn't going to happen again.

“He gets mad,” Mackey said, letting out a sigh. He slouched back inside the shelter of the car, peering through the doorframe at the iron gray sky. “He’s the one who takes care of us, you know? But not in the band.”

It was true.

Kell could play guitar ably enough, but Mackey....

“You can play everything,” Grant said with admiration. “You’re the one who puts the songs together, figures out who should be playing what. And the shit you write on your own....”

Mackey smiled at him a little shyly. Grant had the most interesting face, with a long, straight nose, full pink lips, and almond-shaped hazel eyes. When Grant looked at him with admiration, it stopped his breath and pulled rubber bands in his stomach. “I just....” He stopped because Grant was reaching into his pocket, and he pulled out a baggie full of weed and papers. “Ooh....”

Grant looked down at the other three, who were sleeping soundly in the late afternoon chill. “I was gonna share,” he said mischievously, “but Kell was a dick about the wine, so I thought you and me?” Mackey nodded, captivated by the thrill of the forbidden—and by the way that cherry-ripe mouth pulled up at the corners when Grant smiled.

“I've never, uhm....”

Grant shrugged. “Me and Kell do sometimes. But, you know, Kell’s usually a good guy.”

Mackey reflected on his sleeping brother. Kell was a good guy. For example, Mackey had a confused memory of their youngest brother Cheever’s dad, the one dad they thought would stick around beyond giving the baby a first name. Cheever’s dad hadn't been very patient, and he’d hated Mackey. Well, Mackey was sort of a smartass. He’d probably had that fist coming. But that hadn't stopped Kell from stepping up and hitting Enos Cheever right back. Mackey and Kell had both needed stitches after that, but their mom had kicked Enos Cheever out—child support or no child support. That was okay. Kell and Jeff had been almost old enough to work by then. They’d only needed assistance for a couple of months.

“He doesn't like it that I can boss him around,” Mackey said glumly. “He... he’s the leader, right? But... but I hear the music, and it just makes sense, you know? And... and you can’t do it wrong just ’cause it’ll hurt Kell’s feelings. It’s augh!” He was waving his hands around, trying to find words, which was funny, because Mackey actually wrote songs. He closed his eyes, ignoring Grant rolling a number, and tried to make a song out of it.

“He wants to keep me happy and he wants to keep me fed, he makes sure that I've got blankets and a place to sleep in a bed, but the music in my heart is like a freight train. It goes and it goes and when I stop it, it’s like pain, but my brother doesn't see it doesn't hear it doesn't feel it, and all there is to do is shove him out of the way. Don’t want to hit my brother with the freight train.”

Mackey’s eyes smarted, because the friction with Kell hurt. They were tight. They had to be tight, because Tyson, California, had a population of ten thousand, and it was a small enough town that the woman with the four sons and four fathers was sort of famous. They had to have each other’s backs or Cheever wouldn't have survived kindergarten.

Mackey blinked and took a deep breath, then coughed.

Damn, pot was strong.

He gazed at Grant, who was staring back in awe over the glowing ember of the joint. Grant held the smoke for a minute and exhaled,shaking his head. “God, it’s gorgeous when you do that,” he said, his voice choked.

“Do what?” Mackey asked, not able to stop staring at him.

“Pull music out of the air,” Grant said, the dreamy smile on his full lips maybe a side effect of the pot, but maybe not. Grant was sitting in the back of the car, his feet at the foot of the blanket the others were sleeping on. He passed Mackey the doobie around the doorframe, and Mackey regarded the joint with a little bit of fear.

“Just inhale?” he asked nervously, and Grant grinned.

“Never done this before?” he confirmed, taking the doobie back.

Mackey shook his head, knowing his face was flushing in spite of the iron mountain chill.

“Here,” Grant murmured, taking another hit. He stood up, still holding the smoke in his lungs, and knelt in front of Mackey, so close their lips almost brushed. Mackey’s mouth fell open, because, holy God, Grant was right there, and Mackey had been trying not to look at him like he had wanted him right there since he was twelve years old.

Grant took his open mouth for invitation and exhaled, right between Mackey’s parted lips.

Mackey’s inhale was so gentle, the smoke hardly tickled. He didn't choke or cough like he’d seen other people do, just breathed in subtle-like, afraid to startle Grant or make him move in any way. His exhale was even quieter, letting the smoke trickle out through his lips and his nose, where it stung.

He swallowed, his mouth dry from the smoke and from the way Grant was staring at him, seemingly as mesmerized as he was by those golden eyes and moist red mouth. “How’s Sam?” he asked, because Samantha Peters had been Grant’s shadow for the past year.

“Not here,” Grant whispered, and the movement made their lips touch.

Mackey closed his eyes, because Grant started this, and Mackey was fourteen to his seventeen. Grant would know what to do.

Grant’s lips on his were whisper-soft, then angel-soft, then Grant’s tongue swept into his mouth, acrid with the bitter taste of weed, but something in it was sweet. Something in it made Mackey open his mouth to beg for more.

Grant took advantage, pushing him back against the seat, taking his mouth more, and more and more, until Mackey was pressed against the burned-out seat frame, his hands buried in the thick top strip of Grant’s hair, his lips being bruised and his mouth plundered by his brother’s best friend.

The smell of pot smoke sharpened, turned plastic, and Grant jerked his head back.

“Shit,” he muttered. The joint had fallen onto the blanket at their feet, and he spent a moment stomping it out as it smoldered. When he’d killed the ember, he glanced at Mackey sheepishly.
“Got lost in your eyes,” he said, and Mackey watched curiously as two red crescents surfaced on his sharp cheekbones, like disappearing ink coming to life.

“I could get lost in you a lot,” Mackey confessed, feeling brave and bold, and Grant found something to look at far away.

“Mackey, maybe don’t count on me like that, okay?”

Mackey had to search far away too. Well, of course, right? Two guys get high and they do something crazy—didn't mean shit, did it.

Didn’t mean a goddamned thing. “Yeah, well. You know. Strong weed, right?”

“Yeah,” Grant murmured. “Strong.” His hand was firm on Mackey’s shoulder then, and Mackey closed his eyes as he felt the rasp of Grant’s chilled palm against his cheek. “Stronger’n shame.”

Mackey had to. Had to see his face.

Grant was blinking hard, and they both knew he’d deny it, but one hit of pot didn't give you eyeballs that red.

At their feet, Kell gave a moan and rolled over, and that was the cue for everyone to wake up. They were headachy and sick, and it was lucky Grant had brought a six-pack of water, of all things, so they could at least rinse out their mouths after they puked.

Grant had driven them out to the vacant field in his mom’s minivan, and later that evening, he stopped and let them run inside the grocery store to buy noodles and spaghetti sauce for dinner. They’d promised their mom they’d take care of groceries if she let them get away with not watching Cheever for the afternoon. When they got to the Sanders boys’ apartment complex, Grant and Kell were giving each other shit in the front seat. Mackey stared out the window and let their banter wash over him, just like he ignored Jefferson and Stevie talking in quiet undertones about comic books and naked girl pictures. Jeff and Kell had best friends. Mackey had brothers—six of them, if he counted Cheever’s little friend Kevin, which he did.

“So, is Sam excited you get to play at the prom?” Kell asked, laughing.

“Yeah,” Grant said. For a moment, he caught Mackey’s gaze in the rearview, and then he glanced back toward the road. “She wants to dress pretty and dance with me in a suit.”

Mackey didn't make a noise or anything, but suddenly he knew, knew like it had been branded on his skin, that Grant didn't want to dance with a girl in a dress. And that it would hurt worse than orange juice on chapped lips, but Mackey was going to have to watch him do it. 

About The Author
Amy Lane has four children, two cats, a love starved Chi-who-what, a crumbling mortgage and an indulgent spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance--and if you give her enough diet coke and chocolate, she'll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She'll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.
You can can find Amy at 
            



 Giveaway

Swag Packets (5 winners will be selected)
First Installment of Beneath The Stain (2 winners will be selected)
All Seven Installments of Beneath The Stain (1 winner will be selected)




Presented by 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Oops! Skipped a day!

(No purpose for this-- just cracked
me up!)
I didn't even mean to-- the week just went that fast!

So, on Sunday, a friend came by, (well, officially Squish's friend's mom, but yes, a real life, near my house friend for MEEEEE!!!)  and we chatted, and I mentioned dying my hair like I've been putting off for weeks.  

She said, "I want to do it!  Bring the dye over to my house-- we can do it there!"

And for a minute I balked-- not because I didn't want my hair done, and not because I didn't want to spend time with my friend, but because work was backing up and it's the busy season and…

And on Monday, I'd planned to go watch Mate coach and Zoomboy practice, and again, I was going to back off-- oi!  So very much to do and…

And I went to both things.

And it was awesome.

Because when I was at practice I talked with the moms and we complained about our son's rooms and how we didn't even want to walk in them and how our daughters were neater somehow, and how our kids were awesome but they drove us crazy.  One of the moms has a job in a mortuary, and we discussed how if you think a knife fight is going to break out at your funeral, you should probably clear the air, and I remembered, "Oh yeah!  Friends in real life… go figure…"

And on Tuesday, I went to get my hair done, and Squish's friend, (who hasn't started school yet) was talking and talking and talking and talking… just like Squish!  And she was charming and delightful and pushy and impish and clever and wanted to be a grown up…. just like Squish!  And I got to talk to her mom, who is funny and who did AWESOME things to my hair and in general, I made a stunning realization.

Sometimes you need to talk to other parents to remember what being a parent is like.

Yes, yes-- I actually have the children in my home, and I feed them and hug them and love them and drive them (oh God, I do drive them) and that's all parenting--but I get mad at myself when I get upset with them.  It's like, "I signed on for this parenting gig, why aren't I doing a better job???"

Talking to other parents reminds you that yes, parenting is awesome, but you essentially asked a little alien being to live in your house, and no matter how hard you work at raising this little alien being, it's not an adult, and it doesn't share your brain, and it's going to have a whole different agenda than you do at any given time.

At the very least, acknowledging these things doesn't make you feel like a complete tool when you hold your hand to your face as you pass your son's room and say, "Don't look don't look don't look don't look… the crap will grow sentience and mobilize itself out the door some day, as Goddess is my witness!"

And all of that remembering that I"m a parent with other parents gave me the bravery to do this today.

See, I'd just dropped off Squish and Zoomboy.  For the record, with the exception of Squish's first year, when her dad walked her up to her room, they have been remarkably easy to send to school.  Other kids need mom and dad out on the playground.  My kids are like, "No, we wanted you to bring the dog, we know that means you have to stay in the car.  So, you know, stay in the car."  It's not a question.

But I do wait until their lines start moving to their classes before I pull away, and as I was waiting there,  a young mother pulled in front of me, and sort of parked--as in half in the street-- her car.  She got out, obviously dressed for work, and let her Kindergartner out of the car, and then walked her to the sidewalk.  "See there, baby-- you need to walk over there to where your class is.  See?  Just follow that line.  That line that's disappearing.  Please?  Please hon?  You got to.  I can't walk you.  I've got the baby in the car and the car's not parked and I really need you to do this by yourself and…"

They were both almost in tears.

Oh God.  I could so see this situation. I've probably had this situation between Big T, Chicken, Zoomboy and Squish.  There has, at sometime, been something I've needed an older kid to do on his or her own, because there was a baby in the car, and oh please, please, can we just… just do this thing, this one thing that will let mom get on with her busy day, without enough sleep and too many things to do, oh please…

I got out of my car.  "Hey, ma'am?  My name is Amy, and I've got two kids in that school named Squish and Zoomboy.  Would you like me to take her?"

The mom almost cried.  "Would you go with her, hon?"

Oh no-- not this perky little girl with the red pigtails and the kitty cat skirt and blouse.  She wasn't going with a stranger.  But then Johnnie stuck his head out the window and barked, and her face lit up.  "Here, would you like to pet the dog?"

Oh yes!  I tucked the dog under my arm and Mom watched as I walked her to the school entrance and then up the walk toward her classroom.  I even knew her teacher--she'd been Zoomboy's teacher when he was in Kindergarten.

Mom had pulled away by the time I got back to the car, but the incident-- and the two days actually talking to other moms-- made me think.

About six years ago, I almost decked a bitch for whining, "It takes a village to raise a child!" because she didn't like the fact that I wouldn't let Squish get away with murder in the middle of Arco Arena.  It wasn't because of the "village" thing, it was because her way of "raising" was all about telling me how to raise my kid.

It wasn't about empathy or help or giving a hand up.

About sixteen years ago, when Big T was still throwing tantrums and Chicken was still in diapers, I had to take them to the grocery store after work.  T was upset-- and I couldn't figure out why, and he was howling bloody murder in the middle of the produce aisle, and I couldn't take it.  I burst into tears.

And suddenly the whole produce aisle was lined up to hug me.  Because moms need to know that moms understand.  Big T stopped tantrumming (I was getting more love than he was!) but that moment there-- that needs to be remembered.

We are not doing this alone.  Empathy and giving a hand up can mean the world to someone having a shit day.  Being with our fellow humans and talking about the things that make us similar is healthy, and we should do more of it.

And taking a day out to get your hair done and chat with a friend is not a crime.

(And btw-- the hair?  Doesn't it look awesome?)




Saturday, August 16, 2014

Black Socks

Someday, probably right after Squish goes to college, we are going to have one of those absurdly cool days in August-- 78 degrees, some humidity, the occasional shower, and that day will fall on opening day for soccer.

In the meantime, since the kids go back to school in mid-August, and opening day happens right after that joyous event, we shall continue to stock up on sunblock and water bottles and deal with 100 fricking degrees.


But it is chock full of material, including this morning when Zoomboy and ADHD'D at each other, big time.  We were getting ready, and ZB was moving REALLLLLLYYYY SLOWLY and I was coming off of little sleep.  Suddenly I started yelling in one of those sudden bursts of anger that I can usually contain, and he made like a spastic four-limbed octopus, and we both whined at each other.  While I was stomping around the house whining, I discovered that the frozen pizza I'd asked him to put in the freezer outside had ended up in the refrigerator side of the appliance.

*flails*  WHY? JUST TELL ME?  WHY???

The whole block could hear me yelling about frozen pizza.  Actually pretty comic, but not my finest moment as an adult, uhm, no.

Anyway, we got to the field, and I realized my son was wearing white socks with his uniform.

Yeah-- some of you are thinking "So, wasn't he wearing a uniform?"

(Zoomboy's first day of school)
Let me clarify.

My son was literally born into this soccer league.  This means he was born, his father had enough time to say, "It's a boy!  Well done, hon, you pushed a boy outta yer cooter! Get some rest!" and then he was taking Chicken to her soccer game.

This soccer league has used-- has always used-- BLACK SOCKS.

There are long black soccer socks in this house, complete with stickers, that are WAY THE HELL OLDER than Zoomboy. His father handed him a brand new uniform in a package complete with black socks when Zoomboy woke up this morning.

I mean… *flails*  BLACK SOCKS.

And  Zoomboy was wearing white socks.

I had no words.  I was like, "Pizza… freezer… socks… black… how could… why wouldn't…. why would you… I DON'T UNDERSTAND…"

(Squish's first day of school)
Mate bought a new pair  of black socks after the parade, but in the meantime, all of his team were ambling across the field during the parade in black socks, and Zoomboy was moonwalking across it in white socks.

Because he is my son.

So, some other uncomfortable moments on the soccer field…

Well, there was the recognition of how irrational my hatred ran of those women who show up to soccer games/dance recitals/gymnastics competitions etc. looking ready for their photo op.  I mean, I don't mind looking good, right?  I wasn't dressed in a crappy T-shirt, and my capris weren't ripped in the crotch.  But full make-up, perfect hair, a snappy little hat, and a tube top and white cut-offs-- or some variation on the theme, along with a nice leather bag to drag around the soccer field while you are thrusting your chest ahead of your offspring…

Okay.  I'm generalizing here, but the deal is, it is not your big day.  Even if you're a coach, it is not your big day.  It is the kids' big day.  There is something about that peerless coiffure that implies you are more important than your child in this endeavor.  Now, that doesn't mean your days of looking hot and sexy are over.  (God, I hope not.  I'm thinking Mate looks pretty hot and sexy as he's running his ass ragged being a board member, a soccer coach and an asst. soccer coach.)  It just means to wait until the baby sitter shows up and then go burn up the disco.

But not on the 100 degree, dusty, occasionally dog-dropped crappy patch of grass where your kid is playing his or her heart out.  It just seems sort of disrespectful, that's all.  I know, I know-- I'm whining--but see above.  It was my day for it.

And then…

There's that uncomfortable moment when you realize that the guy you flipped off when he was an anti-abortionist picketing the local planned parenthood is actually your husband's favorite soccer board member and your daughter's new friend.

*headdesk*

So, the interesting thing was, I tweeted this, and my twitter stream and my FB feed was all about how i was a hero and he was the bad guy.  But I think this needs some clarification.

He is a good guy.  Last year, when one of the soccer board members realized he'd accidentally embezzled about 10 grand, (which he is paying back) this was the guy who talked him out of the crazy tree.  When U8 players are running around the soccer field like skittles on a greased skillet, this is the guy who coaches them, gently, so that they emerge from every one of his games with more skill than they went in.  He has no children of his own (his are grown) but he is an involved youth pastor, and he's involved in the soccer board because he believes in the healing nature of good competition.  He is everything that is kind-- he would help the mothers who have the babies, if he at all could, and he wouldn't want the children sent back to Honduras.  I've met him in person before, but in that moment as I drove past the demonstration, I didn't see him.  

I saw the opposition.

So I'm not sure I'm comforted by how hostile people are toward the gy-- even though I was the person with the extended middle finger.

I think this idea of "Us, good, them, bad" is 90% of what's wrong with all the things right now.  It's what happened in Ferguson.  Did you all see that?  The thing that de-escalated that situation was someone from a law enforcement agency marching with the protesters with the idea that we all want peace.  Every small war growing larger and more heinous is erupting because one group can't back down and then the other group can't back down and the whole world has become posturing cocks screaming I AM BIGGER!

I am not bigger than this sweet man who has literally given his life in service to his community.  (Well, I am, but that's because he runs his ass off with everything he does.  Seriously, this is one fit seventy year old.)

So, uhm, no.  Not good for me.  I allowed my hatred to overcome my reason.  And today I got hit in the face with that thing I should always remember:  There are human beings on the other side of the fence.  Even if I think they're on the wrong side.

So, well, sermon over.

And now for some fun!  (Okay-- I skipped the part where we got home, left to go eat, and came back and PASSED OUT.  Because sitting down thinking, "Oh, yay, Aladdin!" and waking up to, "Wait, Phineas and Ferb?" is so embarrassing.)

So, I shall post my blog tour schedule-- take note of it when it goes up, because you'll get a chance to win swag!  And some of the swag is pretty cool!  See?  We've got Outbreak Monkey T-shirts and Beneath the Stain magnets, and we're going to laminate some Beneath the Stain post cards and there's gonna be more!

So stay tuned for the blog tour, and there will be a rafflecopter with the blog stops.

And you can win very cool T-shirts!

OH!

And I ran a contest on the RARM post-- Jen CW and Laura, both of you were the lucky names drawn out of the hat!  E-mail me (you can find my e-mail on my website, www.greenshill.com) and I'll get you a free copy of the book of your choice from my Dreamspinner Backlist! Thanks everyone who read the RARM post, and everyone who comments on a regular basis.  I really do love reading your responses!












Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Liberal

So, as you might have guessed, jury duty did not kill me, and neither did any of the really nice people there.  But I did have some interesting experiences--which just proves, I guess, that I really should get out once in a while!

Anyway, some fun things that happened during my two days of aborted public service:

***  As I was getting dressed on the first day, I turned to Mate and said, "So, uhm, do I look appropriate for public viewing?"

He eyed my T-shirt and skirt and shrugged.  "You look great, but you realize that you're going to be seated next to a guy wearing flip-flops and cargo shorts, right?"

I laughed.

In line to register, I ended up behind a thirty-ish guy with blue eyes and a kind face-- he was wearing motorcycle leathers, and I laughed to myself, thinking of Mate.  It was warm in the mezzanine, and the guy started stripping down-- the boots came first, going into his backpack with his helmet, then the motorcycle leathers went next, because he had something on underneath.  Then he pulled out a pair of shoes, zipped up his backpack, and voila!  NOW I was standing next to a guy in flip-flops and cargo shorts.  I started laughing so hard I had to tell the guy the story, and he laughed too.  We ended up sitting next to each other a lot-- we both had four kids and something to talk about, and whether he knew it or not, he delivered a 1-2 punch to the gut.  He said, "Did you tell your husband about the kid in the motorcycle leathers?"

And it hit me.

I was thinking of us as peers, and he was thinking of me as an ELDER.

*sigh*

I really need to dye my hair.

Anyway…

So, the jury pool was selected and sent to the appropriate department, and during the extensive Voir Dire I had the following thought: If being bored to death was actually possible, all jury selections would be criminal proceedings.  

Heh heh… I was so proud of that one that I tweeted it!

Anyway, they kept whittling away at jurors, and suddenly, at 4:30, I was seated.

And then we were dismissed before we were deposed for Voir Dire.

*sigh*

So the next day I went in, and got questioned.  Guys-- you know how judges and attorneys aren't supposed to have a sense of humor?

Bullshit.

So the judge got to me and said, "So, uhm, I see you're a romance writer.  How's that business going?"

"Awesome, sir.  I'm doing really well."

"So, do you write under your own name or a pen name?"

"A pen name, sir."

"Do you want to promote your pen name?"

"Uh, sure!"  I turned to the audience.  "Amy Lane, folks, for all your gay romance needs."

I turned back to him and he was laughing appreciatively.  He proceeded to ask me questions pertinent to the case, which I won't disclose in context, but suffice it to say that my screaming liberal disposition announced itself politely and with a smile.

At the end of the questioning the judge started to chuckle.

"I'm sorry," he said.  "I"m looking at the employment of your youngest child.  Adorability, is it?"

"Yes, sir.  She's good at it."

"That's good to hear."

So everyone was smiling.  The jury culling began after the next two people were questioned, and the judge asked me to move into the jury pool.  I met the prosecutor's eyes in disbelief and she nodded in complete understanding.  Oh yeah-- I was not on her list of people she wanted on that jury.

"We'd like to thank you for your service, you're free to go."

"Yippeee!!!"

I skipped out of the courtroom, but I actually felt good about the process.  Guilty or not, the defendant was getting his due process, and really, isn't that what we want?

****  Which brings me to the scary assed shit that happened in the rest of the world last night.

Because it was great to see the system working--but our racial statistics tell us that most of the time, the system is fucking people over, and sometimes, like sickness in the body, the world erupts into pustulance.

Ferguson, people?  Are we still doing this?

Bruce Springsteen wrote "41 Shots" in 2000.



And today, we are being torn apart by this same assumption, by the same horrible assumption that was extant then, was extant in the '90's, was extant in the 60's…

How many lies do we tell ourselves to let this keep happening?

What was it Yoda said?  From ignorance comes fear, from fear comes hatred, from hatred comes weakness.

I've written this blog post three times, and every times, although I've felt right and justified in what I've written, I've been unable to press send.  It all comes down to ignorance, fear, hatred, and weakness, and how our government is fostering those things in our law enforcement to keep down our poor.

It comes down to rich white men laughing as Rome burns.

It comes down to people with practically nothing being left with much, much less.

And it comes down to senseless deaths, and a topic that's so explosive even tackling it in fiction hurts too much for some people.

It comes down to a tired liberal, who has gotten screamed at and flipped off and honked at for just espousing simple health care.

And who is going to need to lick her wounds before she comes out and faces what should be the country's grief for one more senselessly killed teenaged boy, and is instead a war that we've never admitted we're fighting.

Excuse me while I go remember how not to fear again.  In this country, in this climate, it takes all that courage I could have sworn I never had.

And I'm not living in poverty, and my skin is barely tan.