Friday, December 23, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations to the winner of my newsletter contest:
I'll be sending you an email to ask what format you would like your copy of Secret Light to be, and to get your address for that something I acquired in New Orleans.
Thank you again to everyone who participated in the event, to those of you who subscribed to my newsletter, and to those of you who have been buying and reading my books.

Warmest wishes for the happiest of holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Secret Light Mea Culpa

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very  happy holiday season. Hanukkah has begun and Christmas is only days away. Kwanzaa begins on the 26th! Unbelievable! I won't even bother to say how fast the year went for me, I'm sure it went as fast or faster for everyone.

My Hanukkah themed holiday novella, Secret Light released yesterday, on the twentieth.

It's the story of Rafe Coleman, who has lost faith and isolated himself in a cocoon of fine things and success but longs for companionship and Ben Morgan, who sees how lonely he is and wants to do something about it.

I'm so happy with that story, but I need to issue a sincere apology. If you purchased it before around 3:00 A.M. on the 21st it contained what I considered to be a pretty glaring error. I think my heart stopped when I realize that I'd inadvertently typed the name Nick Chance (referring to Dashiell Hammett's famously hard-drinking detective) instead of Nick Charles.

I know Hammett and my über author girlcrush Lillian Hellman (and maybe even William Powell) are rolling around in their graves right now. I can't tell you how much I love the Nick and Nora Charles characters, and I can't believe I did that. Moreover, I can't believe someone didn't squash me like a bug for doing it before now, or that the whole of civilization as we know it didn't collapse. I have an awful feeling that sometimes people just trust me to know what I'm talking about. Which is probably not a good thing. Or like me, they just see what they believe should be there, and not what's actually on the page.

The most important lesson we can take away from this is I need new glasses at the very least, or a much younger brain.

BUT... All is not lost. Due to the magic of eBooks, anyone can have the corrected copy by downloading the file from Loose Id again, with my sincerest apologies.

Mea Culpa for my inexcusable lapse. Download it again, or buy it for the first time...HERE

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What makes a family?

I don't have time for a long essay today and fortunately this picture does't really need one. Suffice it to say that LOVE makes a family. It can be the family you are born with or the family you choose. It can be a family made up of fathers, mothers, children, friends and relatives in any combination. The main ingredient is Love. It's mixed with Loyalty and Trust and Respect. It yields Strength and Individuality and Courage.

I stand for family, but I can't really define it for anyone else, only for myself.

This motley lot of people who are sitting in camp chairs reading from computers and laptops and e-devices (and the occasional book) while all of nature spreads it spectacular vistas around us in Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, is mine. They make me a better person than I ever believed I could be.

Check out this site, and see if it doesn't make you feel good about your family too.

Happy Holidays from Sloth Parenting Central
Z.A. Maxfield

Monday, December 19, 2011

Secret Light

My latest novella, Secret Light, will be out on December 20, 2011.

Rafe Colman's likes his life. He has a nice home, a good job, and a wonderful dog. But he's exhausted by living a lie. When his home is vandalized because of his perceived German ancestry, he can't even share the irony with friends. 

Officer Ben Morgan falls for Rafe's dog first, but it isn't long before he's giving her owner the eye. He thinks they have more in common than the search for Rafe's vandals, and he's willing to take a chance and find out.

If life in 1955 is tough on a cop in the closet, it's even tougher on a refugee who's desperate to hide his roots and fit in. Rafe knows from tragic experience how vicious prejudice can be. Every second with Ben is stolen, every kiss fraught with danger.

When Ben's partner threatens to ruin everything, Rafe and Ben have to fight to protect what they have, in Secret Light...


Excerpt: “Officer Morgan. This is a surprise.” Rafe stepped back to let him in and Mooki went berserk, circling their ankles and nearly tripping them up.

“Good evening, Mr. Colman. I thought I’d stop by to see how you’re doing.” Morgan fidgeted with his keys. He had competent-looking hands with square fingers. For a moment, Rafe got lost looking at the fine hairs on the backs of his knuckles.

“Please come in.” Rafe backed out of the way. Morgan had seemed larger in his uniform -- but even without it, his was an intimidating presence. “What can I do for you?”

“This isn’t an official call or anything. I wanted to let you know the detectives have a possible lead on this. Probably nothing will come of it, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.”

“I see. No matter. Damage done.” Rafe motioned his visitor toward the kitchen, where he planned to retrieve another beer. His bottle opener was still on the counter, and he picked it up, holding it thoughtfully before speaking. Should he offer something? Was that proper? 

“Would you care for some refreshment? I was about to have another beer.”

“Thank you. That would be just great.” Morgan lifted a hand to his tie but asked permission before he loosened it. “May I? I’ve just come from taking my mother to mass.”

“Make yourself comfortable. You took your mother to church? What a gentleman. You must make her very proud.”

“She’s an old-fashioned girl.” He shrugged off the compliment. Ben stuffed his tie into his pocket and took a beer -- served in a glass with the perfect amount of foam. “She doesn’t like to go without family. After my father died…”

“You go every Saturday night?” Ben nodded. Rafe couldn’t help but smile. “You are a very good son, Officer Morgan.”

“Please, call me Ben. I see you were able to begin the cleanup process.”

“Ah, yes. Thanks to fine police investigation, they completed the insurance report on Thursday and gave me permission to have things hauled away. I am apparently covered for arson.”

“I’m glad.”

“I believe your partner thought I did it myself.”

Ben stopped in the act of bringing his glass to his lips. “You think?”

“My brand-new car was elsewhere when my garage burned. I don’t blame him, but he isn’t a very subtle man.”

“No. He’s not. I’m sorry about that.”

“I did point out that if I wanted sympathy, I’d hardly put heil Hitler on the door.”

“Well, now…” Ben smiled. “You could be a spy of some sort.”

“You may laugh, but there was a time I passionately wanted to spy for the US against Germany. I had the language; I was familiar with the countries involved.”

“But you said your heart…?”

“Yes. I didn’t even know I had a problem, actually, until they told me. I rarely suffer from it. Occasional shortness of breath and palpitations, which I’d always attributed to overexertion or nerves. I was far too young to serve as a spy, but I imagined myself in the role. Then the war ended.”

“You might have made a good spy.”

“I would have been a great spy. I’m an excellent liar.” Before Rafe had a chance to regret saying that to a police officer, he changed the subject. “Follow me if you’d like more comfortable seating.”

Ben followed, and Mooki tagged along with them into the living room, her tapping toenails silenced as soon as they left the wood floor and crossed over the Oriental rug.

Was it his imagination, or was Rafe nervous? Ben supposed it was the normal reaction of having a policeman in one’s home. It was his experience that even his relatives acted out of character; they watched what they said around him.

The fastidious Rafe -- who poured beer into pilsner glasses and provided cocktail napkins for his guests -- sat in a wing chair, inviting Ben to take up a comfortable position on the couch. Ben placed his beer on a coaster on the coffee table between them.

“This is a nice place.” Ben glanced around. “Two bedrooms?”

“Three.” Rafe shrugged. He took a pipe from the table next to him and held it up. “Do you mind?”

Ben shook his head. “I like it, actually.”

Ben watched Rafe’s hands with interest. The act was precise and practiced. Rafe packed his pipe, then removed a 
wooden match from a box bearing the name of a local, swanky restaurant, which he struck and allowed to flare for a second. He pursed his lips and drew a number of puffs to ignite the tobacco, after which Rafe blew out a thin stream of smoke with a deeply satisfied sigh.

“I work from home sometimes, and it’s ideal to have an office here.”

“It will be ideal for a family someday.” Ben watched him carefully when he said it, but it drew not a flicker of response. “I take it there’s no imminent Mrs. Rafe Colman?”

“I’m afraid not,” came the easy reply. “For all my immense personal charm, I have no luck keeping a young lady happy for long. Perhaps it’s because I can’t keep my eyes in my head.”

“That could make a girl unhappy.”

“There are just so many lovely girls. Don’t you find?” Smoke billowed into the air. Ben felt uncomfortable all of a sudden, as though Rafe was able to see right through him. As if Rafe was filling the air with smoke to create a barrier between them. 

“Girls are always ready to throw themselves at a man. What can one do?”

“Poor man,” Ben said, a little too sharply.

Rafe blinked. “I’m sorry. I don’t ever seem to say the right thing with you, do I?”

“Maybe it’s me.” Ben looked into his glass. Should he go?

“I make a very fine living saying the right thing to everyone. For the most part, it’s like a running tap. It seems to shut off when you’re around.”

Ben sipped his beer to hide his pleasure at this. He liked keeping people off balance; it was in his nature to poke at things to see what the result might be. He’d been told his curiosity was discomfiting, but it didn’t stop him. He thought he was more a stickler for honesty than most. “That or I’m some idiotic, prickly bastard who shouldn’t be around people much.”

“No. That’s not it.” Rafe’s face registered something like regret. “I think you may be like one of those polygraph machines. You should be a detective, not a policeman.”

“As a matter of fact, I’m working on that.”

“Does that mean you will wear horrible, shiny suits and gum shoes?”

“Certainly. I’ve been reading detective stories all my life, and I’d be disappointed not to.”

In the silence that fell between them, Ben found himself thinking about Dashiell Hammett and how Rafe reminded him of Nick Charles -- elegant and effortlessly appealing -- whereas he had more in common with Sam Spade. Sam Spade had seen things. He knew things -- about life, about people -- that made him an outsider and, at the same time, the ultimate chameleon. A neutral man in a black-and-white world. He wondered if Rafe would agree with the comparison.

Colman drew him. He was urgently attracted to the dapper Austrian. He’d come there that evening to poke at Colman, to drop the tiniest hint that they might have something more in common than a crime scene. To convey in some perfectly harmless way that he’d admired Colman’s composure, and more, that he felt connected to him somehow, that he might have liked -- might imagine -- Colman felt that too.

Nothing short of survival held him back.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

And The Winner Is...

I had my daughter organize the prize drawing for ZAM's Stuff Your Stocking Blog Hop. She got the winner through a series of arcane procedures that jumbled everyone up into a pile and then she used the random number generator folks at


Drumroll please~~~

Jason In Colorado!!! I'm sending you an email right now!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Stuff Your Stocking!

Welcome to the Stuff Your Stocking Blog Hoppers!

Here is the Link to the Blog Hop Central where you can find all the participating authors and links to their blogs. Seriously, we are talking some fantastic writers!

Here's my contest -- very simple, or you can make it a little bit harder and have a better chance.
  • Leave a comment on this post. You don't have to be clever but you can be! LOL
  • Include your email so i can find you if you win!
  • Follow this blog (you can follow by GFC which obligates you to nothing so no worries) 

If you would like to earn another entry in the drawing which will occur after the end of the hop, you can do this: Go to my website Find the A Picture Perfect Holiday page under Books click on the read more button. In the excerpt posted there find the number Christian's wears on his football jersey Email me the answer zamaxfield at zamaxfield dot com and put contest number two in the subject heading. You will get a second entry!

My prize will be a copy of each of my holiday stories, A Picture Perfect Holiday and Secret Light, (which debuts from Loose Id December 20th.) What Child Is This? and I Heard Him Exclaim.
 Looking for that perfect holiday read? Then try one of ZA Maxfield's holiday stories. it will surely get you in the mood for the season.
*Newest Holiday Release #1*
A Picture Perfect Holiday by Z. A. Maxfield
Contemporary M/M Holiday
MLR Press
“Then Christian snatches that camera from them while it’s in midair, one handed, like a snake” —Caleb’s hand shot out to demonstrate— “and throws his arm around my shoulders. He doesn’t smile at me or anything.”
“Aw.” Erin, having heard all this before, is texting with someone. “So sweet.”
“But he says, ‘Don’t let those clowns get to you. They’re just jealous because you have something nice and you’re not afraid of what people will say.’”
“And you say, ‘But now I am afraid.’” Erin looked up at him.
“And he says to me, “Don’t be. I got your back.’”
 *Upcoming Holiday Release #2*
Secret Light by Z. A. Maxfield
Loose Id Publishing
Coming December 20th, 2011
Contemporary Historical M/M, Holiday

Rafe Colman's likes his life. He has a nice home, a good job, and a wonderful dog. But he's exhausted by living a lie. When his home is vandalized because of his perceived German ancestry, he can't even share the irony with friends. 

Officer Ben Morgan falls for Rafe's dog first, but it isn't long before he's giving her owner the eye. He thinks they have more in common than the search for Rafe's vandals, and he's willing to take a chance and find out.

If life in 1955 is tough on a cop in the closet, it's even tougher on a refugee who's desperate to hide his roots and fit in. Rafe knows from tragic experience how vicious prejudice can be. Every second with Ben is stolen, every kiss fraught with danger.

When Ben's partner threatens to ruin everything, Rafe and Ben have to fight to protect what they have, in Secret Light...
*Other Holiday books to enjoy*
What Child is This? by Z. A. Maxfield
A Crossing Borders Story
Loose Id Publsihing
Contemporary M/M, Holiday
Michael and Tristan are finally taking that much needed weekend away for Christmas. They’ve been working so hard at their respective careers there hasn’t been time for a breather, much less a chance to reconnect and see if they’ve been working toward what they both want.
Like always, Michael’s well-laid plan is derailed by a phone call from Apple House. Three of their charges have gone missing and while Michael is worried, it’s not unusual for the young adults who stay at the shelter for homeless LGBT teens to come and go.
But when one of them calls Michael and asks if – hypothetically speaking – it’s considered kidnapping to keep a baby who’s been abandoned, Michael and Tristan head home with all speed to sort things out.
Two couples need answers in a heartwarming holiday tale of taking stock, reaffirming commitments, and catching the perfect
wave in What Child Is This? A Crossing Borders Christmas Story.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.


I Heard Him Exclaim by Z. A. Maxfield
Part of the 'His For the Holidays' Anthology
Carina Press
Contemporary M/M, Holidays
Who Likes a Skinny Santa?
Steve Adams’s heart hasn’t been in the Christmas spirit ever since doctors put a stent in it and ordered him to clean up his act. No longer filling out his Santa suit or allowed to make merry, he’s forgoing the holidays this year and heading to Vegas to indulge in the few vices left to him: gambling and anonymous sex.
His road trip takes a detour when he encounters Chandler Tracey, who’s just inherited guardianship of his five-year-old niece. Overwhelmed, Chandler’s on his way to deliver Poppy to his parents. But fate has other plans and, after car trouble, Chandler and Poppy accept a ride home with Steve. Though the heat between the two men is obvious, they put it on simmer while they band together to make Poppy’s Christmas as perfect as possible.
Steve soon comes to believe that while Chandler is the right person to look after Poppy, Someone needs to look after Chandler. Fortunatly, Steve knows just the man for the job.


Friday, November 4, 2011

A Slow NaNo Moment filled with fun!

This makes me wonder if these guys weren't trying to write a novel in a month too. Certainly, both drinking those beers -- and playing the bottles afterwards -- sound like a great procrastination tool.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Welcome NaNoWriMo

Hello, and welcome to November, the month of the year when Sisyphus ceases to be a myth and becomes a way of life for thousands of people, all over the world.

As October (I am convinced it's NO coincidence October is also Marie Callender's any whole pie for 7.99 month) winds to a close and the goings on of early fall: soccer, back to school, and Halloween appear in the rearview, it's time to dust off that determination, power up that imagination, and buy an extra large thermal coffee carafe because NaNoWriMo is once again upon us.

Like all great holidays, Nano comes with a time of reflection, the promise of redemption, and total chaos. The outcome is uncertain, the reward less than promising, and it requires a great deal of dedication and work. Last year I got about six days into it and pffft. Nothing. I wrote not even a greeting card's worth of prose or poetry. I sailed into december late on deadlines and cranky as hell. Well for me.

This year, I plan to start out late on deadlines and cranky, and see if it goes any better. I've only got one contract left for the year, which I know I will have finished by the time that clock ticks midnight on October 31st. After that, who knows?

All I can say is, I've done it once, and I plan to do it again. Anyone who is doing Nano is more than welcome to email me, zamaxfield @ zamaxfield dot com, and play along. Come race me. Come cheer or jeer, whatever baby. Just don't be full of regret on December first because if you never play, you never win!

A little Nano Music Maestro if you please... Cause who doesn't like Marky Mark And The Funky Bunch. (And who doesn't need to kick off NaNoWriMo with the knowledge that even bad career choices have a logical end and a sometimes brighter future.)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An Experiment...Free Read!

I uploaded a free story, When Angels Fall, to Smashwords. The reason I did this is because it's a story I wrote for my friend Patric Michael, and it's meaningful to me. I've given this story away in a lot of different places, it's not new. It's only that I really feel that it deserved to be a single title with a great cover out there, free to anyone who wants to read it. Love is a funny thing. The more you give away, the more you have. You can download this title for free, here: When Angels Fall

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In New Orleans all next week...

Most everyone knows I'm heading for GRL next week, and
I'm hoping to have two new St. Nacho's Trading Cards 
to add to the set:

Here's Daniel!

And Here's Cam:

P.S. My thanks to Lex Valentine for making these for me
as always, Lex is a great graphic artist, and a terrific friend.

Friday, September 2, 2011

And The Winners Are...

The Book Of Daniel ebook winners are as follows:

Saga Jo, Maya (Bookbee), and Ashley Potts!

Thanks so much for staying tuned!

Friday is Casual Sex Day

Just because inside the breast of every old woman beats the heart of a thirteen-year-old-girl.

Happy Friday everyone! I'm trying to keep track of progress I'm making on the work I'm doing, so I hope to check in on Fridays with progress bars. I mentioned the other day that for the first time in a long time, I'm enjoying a sort of free fall through writerly space, letting my imagination take me wherever I see fit in the moment.

Here in So Cal. we're getting that first autumn breeze, my kids are heading back to school on Tuesday, with the exception of my daughter who official moves into her new dorm in two weeks. WE conclusively grew a pumpkin this year! It's about six inches around, but it's our first official pumpkin ever, after years of trying!

Don't Judge. It's hard to grow things that need room in small suburban backyards.

Currently, one of my WIPs is at 34,448, one is at 17,383, and the third is at 5114.

So as it stands: Here are my current results:

work #1

34448 / 85000 words. 41% done!

work #2

17383 / 85000 words. 20% done!

Work #3

5114 / 30000 words. 17% done!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

When it works, it really works...

I've been working on a new piece, unnamed, for the last week. I haven't even mentioned it to anyone. I'm writing a Hanukkah novella for Loose Id, and I'm writing a Christmas short story for MLR press, but other than that, I get to wander through the corridors of my psyche, like some kind of road trip in my brain, and pick and choose what I want to write each day.

Considering I've spent the last three years meeting deadline after deadline after deadline, my choice to work on one of two complete novels, all alone, in the comfort of my room without contracts feels a little... Loosey Goosey. Like wearing a light summer dress without undies. Ultimately we'll see if this frees me to write the exact book I want to write, and with the help of crit partners and fans and friends, we'll see if it's a good way for me to work in general.

As always we have the twin driving passions of love of writing and ballroom dance to guide us!

Let the holiday frivolity begin!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Book Of Daniel Release Party!

Available Exclusively at Loose Id
August 30, 2011

I'm giving away three copies of The Book Of Daniel to celebrate my new release! To be eligible for a copy, please send me an email with "TBOD contest" in the subject line. Don't forget to let me know what format you like. 

My email address is zamaxfield @ Yahoo dot com (remove spaces and change the word dot to punctuation, of course) I'll be choosing my winners on Friday Night September 2, 2011 at midnight EST which is about 9:00 p.m. here in California. 

Stay tuned, and for some other surprises, join my Yahoo group:

Follow me on Twitter:


Or come climb the tree in my backyard where I sit quivering with fear waiting until all the hoopla has passed.

Thanks again for all your support

With love and gratitude,

Monday, August 22, 2011

I haz Cover Art!

Ready to return to St. Nacho's? Then get ready for The Book of Daniel as one man finds that the heart knows where home is.

Coming August 30, 2011

Daniel Livingston is finally free. He’s come clean about his passionless marriage and moved to St. Nacho’s where he can spend time with his brother. Now he’s ready explore the endless sexual buffet being hot and rich and single has to offer.

The problem is a firefighter named Cameron Rooney who haunts his every waking thought and half his dreams. No doubt about it. Cam is going to require a level of honesty Dan has never before considered, and in order to achieve that, he will have to turn his life inside out. Coming clean to his ex-wife will cost him money, doing right by St. Nacho’s will anger his business partner, and exploring a painful family secret will hurt the one person Dan has sworn to protect.

Cam’s faith in Dan is tested and Dan’s belief in himself is nearly non-existent. In the end, forging a new path could cost him everything or net him the most important score of his life in The Book Of Daniel.

Sneak Peek Excerpt:

“Here he is.” Jake’s smile went critical and flooded the area around us with happiness. “Hi, babe.”

“Hey.” JT embraced my brother warmly and gave him a kiss.

“Dan.” JT turned to me and offered his hand. I took it with my bionic dexter and noticed he was gentle when he held it in his. He’d been the EMT to triage and treat me when they pulled me from the car after the accident, and while he’d seen a thousand injuries like mine — and far worse — he’d taken his time and been genuinely compassionate. I’d always be grateful for that. “Good to see you.”

“You too,” I answered. Gzzzzzzt. The lie detector in my head mocked me only minutes after I’d declared myself prevarication-free.

I looked behind JT and saw Cam Rooney walk in. I glanced up at him in some surprise. Both JT and Cam? To what did we owe the pleasure?

Cam raised a supercilious eyebrow — something you don’t expect from a brute like him — and stayed silent. It was no secret that Cam and I hadn’t exactly become BFFs. That was odd, really, and I’m sure he attributed it to sour grapes, since he was on the crew that cut my Lexus in half with the Jaws of Life, and I’d teased him about it. Not so. My gratitude for the men of the St. Nacho’s fire department was genuine; it was only Cam that chapped my ass. I had the feeling he didn’t think too much of me either.

The thing is, I was on constant alert around the man because he did something to my gut — something that made me go all boneless and vulnerable — and I knew if I didn’t protect myself, I’d fall into his blue eyes and drown. I might have let myself do just that if it weren’t for the fact that once I sank to the bottom, I’d only be one of hundreds, thousands maybe who’d done the very same thing.

“Well if it isn’t the abominable fireman.”

Cam’s smile didn’t fool me for a second. “That just never gets old.”

“Cut it out, you two.” Jake buffeted me with his shoulder. “You’re like toddlers.”

“But he cut my car in half.” I am not above making a bad situation worse. “I want it back.”

“I suppose you’d like the use of your hand back too.” Cam pulled out his chair and sat down, startling me. “Must get pretty lonely without it.”

“You would know.” Jake always invited me, and JT always invited Cam. I assumed they’d given up any matchmaking aspirations because it seemed clear we couldn’t thaw out, but maybe they just did it because it added a weird kind of tension, like sweet and sour. Like every party needed contrast, and we were it.

I finally opened up the menu and glanced at the selections, although it was perfectly obvious what I would order. I always ordered the same thing when the four of us went to Nacho’s together — anything with shrimp in it — because Cam was allergic to shellfish. Why I did that, I don’t know, except he looked at my shrimp with longing, and I liked to get his goat.

St. Nacho’s was a small town, and there wasn’t a lot to do. Certainly nothing much more fun than finding myself the object of Cam Rooney’s undivided attention, even if it wasn’t the good kind. Jake argued that I spent too much time on things like that, but from the moment we met, and especially after he saved my life, I’ve had an unholy jones for the big blond fireman. Maybe the thing I liked was his corny fresh-faced charm. Maybe it was the fact that we were the two biggest players in St. Nacho’s.

Maybe it was because he looked at me like he knew exactly who I was and he found it disappointing. Even so, I shivered whenever he caught my gaze across the table.

Friday, August 5, 2011

On the Glam at AAD in Philadelphia

Happy Friday. You never get too old to glam it up. At least that's what I say. I'm living proof that inside the heart of every aging femme fatale there's a six year old girl who just cant WAIT until she's tall enough to see over the makeup counter.

To that end, I've endured some facials, some deforestation, some exfoliation, some dyeing and cutting and fluffing and the foolishness of makeup I would ordinarily never wear to a cockfight. I will either look like um... a well-groomed romance writer or a worst celebrity mug shot. And the best part is... if you're in Philadelphia next weekend, you can find out which!

I'm going to be with a lot of my fellow authors and friends in Philadelphia -- Aug 11 through the 13 -- for the Author's After Dark conference. I'll be reconnecting with some old friends, writers and readers alike, and I hope to be meeting up with new ones. If anyone is going to be in the area, the authors of MLR Press will be at Giovanni's Room on Friday, August 12, 2011, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. 

I'm going to be signing, giving out swag, going on a ghost tour, and checking out The City of Brotherly Love, and I hope I get the chance to see you there!

If you're attending, be sure to come and say hello ~


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rhapsody For Piano And Ghost

My screwball comedy, Rhapsody For Piano and Ghost, is now available at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, and wherever fine ebooks are sold...:D

Buy at Amazon HERE

Buy at All Romance Ebooks HERE


Forty-five minutes after one of the more humiliating phone calls of Fitz’s life, Ari Scheffield roared up to the curb in his silver special edition Porsche Boxster S.


Ari had the top down, allowing the wind to blow his hair around as if it simply loved him and couldn’t help itself. As always he arrived looking more like a runway model than a forensic accountant. His auburn hair blazed fiery under the bright sunshine, and the scruff of his morning beard winked like gold. He had on sunglasses that hid his eyes, but Fitz knew they raked him over, judging his every molecule and finding each one more unsatisfactory than the last. As he reached over to unlock the passenger door of the hot little car, Fitz would have bet good money that Ari knew he was attracting the attention of every damned person on the street. And that he loved every second of it.

Ari slid the sunglasses down his nose with a fuck-you finger and frowned at him. “Are you panhandling now?”

“No.” Fitz ground his molars together. “I am not panhandling.”

“Jeez, Flitz. Your mom’s been gone what? Three months? And already you’re like some homeless --”

“It’s not what it looks like, Ariel.”

“What it looks like is bad enough.” Ari waited for him to put on his seat belt and then gunned the engine, whipping out into traffic and firing the afterburners to blast through a perfectly orange light.

Ha, ha.” Fitz settled for holding tightly to his bowl because the convertible didn’t have a bar on the roof to grab. “Just now you probably got your picture taken by the red light cam.”

“There isn’t one in that intersection. Did you want to drive yourself home?” Ari asked smugly. “Oh wait, I forgot. You don’t drive. Why is that again?”

“You know why,” Fitz muttered. Every time he and Ari had to spend ten minutes together, his jaw snapped shut and he talked through his teeth. Situational TMJ disorder.

“I remember now. It was a small matter of your mother’s Mercedes and a swimming pool, wasn’t it?” Ari turned to him and grinned. There was probably fifteen thousand dollars’ worth of orthodontia in that smile. Fitz had seen the pictures of Ari as a child, and at one time they’d given him hope that his own shortcomings could be overcome by the absurd amount of money his mother was willing to throw at them. Now Ari’s magnificently even, white teeth just pissed him off.

“Listen, liebling, when your mom left, she asked me to be on you like sweat, and I have to tell you, that’s not really my best-case scenario.” Ari turned back to watch the road. “I don’t care where you were yesterday, but now that you’ve gotten me involved, there have to be rules, you know?”

“What do you mean, rules?” Fitz had a very bad feeling about this.

“She’s worried about you, man.”

“I’m fine.”

“Yet here I am, picking you up because you have no cash, no phone, and you had no clue where you were.”

Fitz remained silent. What could he say? Ari was right.

Ari shot him another look. “But I must say that’s a very fine bowl.”

“It’s a cassole.” Fitz cradled the solid bulk of the bowl in his lap. With every mile Ari drove, the previous night and the strange men Fitz had met seemed more like something from a dream.

The view beyond the passenger door occupied Fitz’s attention for a while. They sped past the many strip malls and coffee joints that made up his corner of Los Angeles, dog groomers with exclusive pet-treat bakeries, the brushless car wash/Internet café/four-star-fast-food places, and the Botox-in-a-box med spas that seemed to have mushroomed around his home over the years.

He stayed silent until at last they pulled into his neighborhood and traveled the winding streets past hoards of men with lawn mowers and women pushing top-of-the-line strollers.

“You can tell me if you’re in some kind of trouble, you know,” Ari said as he pulled into the drive at Adelaide’s place. “We can talk about anything.”

Fitz bit his lip and considered it. “How long does ecstasy stay in your system?”

Ari’s shoulders tightened, and he looked away. “Aw, shit, Fitz. At the very least, I didn’t think you were stupid enough to get yourself involved in drugs.”

“Right.” Fitz hit the seat belt button, then grabbed his bowl and shoved his way out of the car. “But I can come to you about anything.”

Wait.” To his credit, Ari got out and rounded the car. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. But you know how I feel about drugs, Fitz. They make you stupid. Do you want to throw your whole future away?”

“It’s not like that --”

“You have a gift, you know. Everyone in your life has made sacrifices to help you nurture that, but if you throw it away…that’s just not okay.”

Fitz didn’t blame him for reacting that way. He’d have said the same thing if the situation were reversed. Except it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. Ari would never let himself be talked into anything as asinine as the stuff that Garrett had gotten Fitz to do the night before. Ari was perfect. He couldn’t get the paper in the morning without the neighbors breaking into applause.

“You think I’m gifted?” Fitz bit at the apple of Ari’s praise and regretted it immediately.

Seeing his opening, Ari took it. “Well…maybe just special.”

Fitz turned on his heel and walked away.

“Stop.” Ari followed Fitz as he headed for the door. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how long ecstasy stays in your system. Why?”

“I took something my friend Garrett said was X.” Fitz held his hand up in case Ari was planning to lob another insult. “Don’t bother. I know. It was a bonehead thing to do. I felt really awful when I was on it last night. I think I imagined some stuff.”

“Hallucinated, you mean.”

That was as good a way of putting it as any. Except he’d touched Serge when he’d tried to read the tattoo on his arm, and he’d felt as real as anything. As real as Fitz’s own arm or the cassole he’d been holding. Fitz clutched his pot tighter. “Yeah.”

Ari frowned and looked him over carefully. “How much sleep have you gotten lately?”

“Not much.”

“Look, I promised to meet my friend Alex for brunch, but can I come get you later? Maybe we can have dinner?”

Fitz immediately shook his head. “No way. Why?”

“I promised your mom I’d keep you out of trouble while she’s in France.”

“Tell her you couldn’t find me.”

“C’mon, Fitz.” Ari at his most charming was lethal, and he knew it. He removed his sunglasses to reveal eyes so big, so green and luminous you could see them from space. Once again Fitz was on the receiving end of his engaging -- if preternaturally perfect -- smile.

“All right, but you’re buying,” Fitz muttered.

“That’s the spirit.” Ari clapped him on the back, and Fitz nearly went flying.

“See you later.”

“I’ll text you.” Ari put his sunglasses on again and went back to his car, laughing at his own joke. “Oops. I forgot. You don’t have a phone.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Fitz turned away.

“I’ll be here at four to take you to get a new one. Be ready.”


“What?” Ari called out. “I didn’t hear that.” He gunned his engine again and backed down the driveway before Fitz could respond. He wouldn’t respond anyway. Why would he? It never failed that he looked like an asshole next to Ari. But in a way…? He’d always been awed by the wretched man, like Fitz was one of those people in the rainforest who had never been touched by civilization and Ari was the first airplane to fly overhead.

Fitz turned his attention to the keypad lock. His inability to keep track of his keys was only one reason Adelaide’d had it installed. The fact that it could be opened by satellite came in handy in case she married someone who forgot the complex four-number combination to unlock it. He punched in his code and walked into their house. There was a large foyer with an eye-catching marble medallion on the floor, over which Adelaide’s designer had placed a round table that always held a vase of spectacular, seasonal flowers. That table did double duty, much to Adelaide’s horror, as a place for Fitz to drop whatever he brought in from the outside world.

Julian’s cassole finally found safe harbor among CDs, electronic equipment, flyers, mail, and all the other flotsam and jetsam of Fitz’s forays out. When Adelaide traveled, there was no one to sweep it off into the trash bin every five minutes, so it piled up until Marguerite, who came in Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, could ride him about it.

For a moment he stood in the foyer, simply glad to be home. Its grandeur always made him feel like the exception to the rule, the small, nearly raggedy boy inside the giant gilded cage. He half expected some huge, luxurious pet -- one of Siegfried and Roy’s white tigers -- to pad down the sweeping staircase and eat him.

Originally he’d planned to shower and change, but he made his way to the kitchen instead, where he could scrub his hands. He hadn’t realized how much he’d yearned for the comfort of the single most important thing in his life until he’d seen it from the entryway, waiting for him. His piano pouted, accusing him of ignoring it. Suddenly he couldn’t get to it fast enough.

The bench waited, pushed slightly askew where he’d left it before his disastrous evening with Garrett and his odd experience with Julian and Serge. Back when he’d still had a date with his crush to look forward to.

It had taken nearly two months of cultivation, of Garrett’s excuses and Fitz’s reticence, of poor planning and worse timing, but they’d finally gone on their date. All along Fitz had signed Garrett into classes he never attended and patiently believed Garrett’s promises. All along he’d listened to Garrett’s excuses about not having enough money to get him through each week. Garrett always seemed so sure that if he just had a little cash, things would work out for them.

Like an idiot, Fitz had given him money, and the rest -- as they say -- was history.

It might have even been bearable if he hadn’t had to ask Ari, of all people, for help.

Fitz stood before the keyboard of his piano. With the precision of ancient muscle memory, he pulled the bench beneath him to the exact place he needed it to be to reach the pedals and still maintain correct posture. He rested hands lightly on the keys. With each silent touch, his fingertips feathered lightly over the surface of the instrument. It was a ritual of sorts, the foreplay of a lover coming home. When at last he began a series of arpeggios, it was an exercise, another ritual, to warm up his fingers first, then his hands, his arms, and the muscles in his back until the music flowed from every part of him, until every cell of his body was engaged.

He remembered starting out so small his mother had to lift him to the bench. He still faced the instrument in exactly the same way. At that age, he’d fancied the piano was a kind of entity. The Bösendorfer was no more an instrument than it was furniture; it simply existed in his living room, waiting, ready to play with him and for him -- to add its unique voice to Fitz’s long hours of practice in the special magic of bringing a long-dead composer back to life.

There was a place to be shy. A place to be uncertain and nineteen. A place in his life where someone like Garrett could come along and mess with him because he was young and needy and naive. But here, seated as he was with his most important childhood friend, ready to worship at the altar of the composers who filled his heart with passionate fire, was not that place.

Fitz’s fingers flew, and he filled the room with music.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I love New York!

Congratulations New York for proving people can work together to do the right thing when it counts!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Breitbart in Newport Beach

Apparently Andrew Breitbart is in town, and since I'd never heard of him before he became the man who exposed Weiner's... well... the jokes are endless but suffice it to say that I really don't care who he is. But what was interesting to me was he's seen here talking about monetizing (that's earning money from) the photos leaked to him of Weiner's penis, and also, maybe more interesting is that he refers to it as "Blue-boy circa 2005", "homoerotic", and "grotesque". 

I admit, I'm predisposed to hate this guy before he opens his mouth. He's kind of smug, and a little aw shucks it's just little old me, doing the job everyone else it too chicken shit to do. Is he getting paid to talk at a Newport Beach Golf Course? Maybe he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart, after all... Someone has to entertain people at golf courses.. What he's doing here is probably almost like.... community service right? And did you check out that PACKED parking lot? Wow. You couldn't get another car in there if you tried.

Do you buy him as a dogged pursuer of the truth? It can't possibly be that he's pretty pleased with himself to be at the center of a shitstorm of controversy holding damning evidence against a public figure and that he's milking every second of it. Not that he needs to do that. Apparently he's well connected and enjoys the friendship of shy conservative actors and stuff... 

Now. I don't know about you but my husband happens to have a penis I'm QUITE FOND OF. It's not, as far as I know, in any photographs unless it's about six months old and lying on a bear skin rug. But I can honestly say if my husband were in an impish mood -- and be assured he gets those sometimes -- and he sent me a picture of his penis, in no way would that be considered by me to be either Blue Boy inspired, or homoerotic, or grotesque. What that would be is PRIVATE. It would also be ill-advised, stupid, and perhaps even pathological, requiring counseling. If he sent it to some other woman it could definitely be called suicidal. 

But to call it homoerotic??? 'Scuse me? Isn't that just a little past punditry and into the territory of inflammatory? 

Let there be no mistake about this. I know homoerotic. This is homoertic:

And the following are links to homoerotic images. Please don't follow these link if you do not want to see adult themed, sometimes graphic images.

Andrew honey. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and what matters is who's smoking it.