Category Archives: Fiction

Trevor Fiction: Under the trailer


My friend Candy requested some Trevor. I doubt this is what she had in mind, though. It’s pretty dark.

Getting away was the immediate need. Getting away, getting safe. Helping Eliza and HJ get away, too. Jeremy would take care of himself. He always did. He’d stay there and taunt Hank for awhile, give the rest of them time to get away, and then somehow escape without too much damage to himself.

He’d turned it into an art form.

It had to be something like that. It sure as shit wasn’t a gesture of kindness on Jeremy’s part. Fucker had no kindness in him. In his own way, he was worse than Hank.

He gave HJ a shove to help him get further under the trailer faster, then held out a hand to Eliza. Of all of them, it bugged Trevor the most that she had to face this shit. She was the only girl. She was the family treasure. Even Hank said so. He cried before he whaled on her.

But he’d started doing it anyway.

Trevor figured it sucked, but not so bad if the fucktard never found Eliza’s bedroom. He and Jeremy slept in there sometimes on nights when Hank wasn’t needing some exercise, taking turns, keeping her company and guarding her from things that went bump in the night. Or worse.

Eliza took his hand and turned her face to his. She was biting her lip, but it trembled anyway. Her eyes were big, huge, scared.

Trevor knew the feeling.

“C’mon,” he whispered to her. “The faster we get safe, the sooner Hank gives up looking for us.”

A tear leaked out of one eye. “Trevor.” Her whisper started to get loud, to turn into one of those whines that wound up sounding like a fucking air raid siren from those old movies his mom would watch sometimes.

Trevor tried to shush Eliza, whipping his head around to look for people in the window and door of their trailer. Hank didn’t know about this hiding place, right under his stupid fucking nose. He figured sympathetic neighbors were hiding his kids, even though he’d put fears worse than God into them and now, none of ’em would even so much as look at the Wolff kids.

Trev bent down so he was closer to Eliza’s eye level. “It’s okay. We gotta get under there for awhile and then when Hank passes the fuck out, we’ll come back in. Come on, Eliza. You’ll like it under here. Me and HJ fixed it up. We got bottled water and maybe there’s some cookies left, too.”

“When I grow up,” Eliza said, her voice rising again. Trevor waved it down. She whispered, “I’m gonna play the violin. I’m gonna go all over the world. And I’m never gonna be scared again.”

Trevor swallowed down the impulse to cry. She was fucking eight years old. That was too fucking young to want to run away.

Then again, HJ was nine. He was eleven. Jeremy was twelve. They were all too fucking young to have to face this shit.

A crash came from inside the trailer. With a terrified squeak, Eliza dove for the hiding space. Trevor followed on her heels, not wanting to know if that had been Jeremy or their mother who’d just gone flying.

He let Eliza climb onto his lap, let HJ snuggle up against his side and cling to his arm like it alone was the only thing that would save him. He’d figure out a way to get them out of this mess. He would. After all, he was Trevor Wolff, and Trevor Wolff could do anything he set his mind to.


More Three Word Wednesday for you (immediate, treasure, gesture), and some Friday Flash as well. Remember, too, that 50% of my reported royalties in November and December are being donated to charity, to help fund music programs in schools. Join in — and if you already have my books (and so do your friends; autographed books make great gifts!), remember that if you use my donation link on the contests page, you’ll be entered to win… more books!)

Yep, I’ve also linked this at Weekend Writer’s Retreat and Writer’s Island. What can I say? I like maximum coverage. Which is a dangerous thing to say when Trevor’s around…


Kerri and Mitchell Fiction: Couches


“I think,” Mitchell said, “we should go over to the Rocket early, so I can catch a nap in the production office before the show this year.”

Kerri eyed him. “Don’t you remember? There’s no couch in the production office at the Rocket Theater. It’s not big enough.”

“But I play better when I get a nap in the production office before the show.”

“I know,” Kerri said, wondering where this fit of diva behavior had come from. Even for Mitchell, it was an abrupt shift in attitude. “It’s also a month away.”

“They’ve got time to put a couch in there,” Mitchell said.

Kerri gaped at him. Of all the stupid things… “M,” she said slowly, trying to keep cool, no matter how tempting it was to smack some sense into him, even if she had to do it verbally, “if they put a couch in there, half of it will stick into the hallway, and that’s after they move the desk out. Really. The production office at the Rocket is an old coat closet. I can guarantee you Penis and Chrome don’t fit in there at the same time.”

Mitchell snickered. Kerri rolled her eyes. The whole world spent hours trying to figure out what sort of relationship Penis and Chrome had. Both were, apparently, hetero. But there was something more between them, something about the idea of the two of them stuffed into that small production office…

“I don’t even think they use it as an office,” she continued. “I think it’s just a place to store old paperwork.”

Mitchell set his guitar down — the bright yellow one tonight, with the black piping around the edges that made it look like a deformed, demented bumblebee — and got up. He started pacing around the TV room.

“Why are you so tied in knots about it this year? It’s got to be old hat by now.”

“That’s the problem,” he said. “You get to the point where you get lazy. Or Trevor figures out how to sneak one in. Or something else goes wrong and you’re so stuck on autopilot, you can’t react in time.”

“And a routine nap before the show will…”

He grimaced and ran a hand through the top of his hair, pulling it away so Kerri could see his ears. He was wearing the graduated diamond studs she and his sister Amy had bought him; the diamonds glittered in the low light, pinpricks of light marching up his earlobe.

“Fuck you, Ker,” he said.

She smiled. “That’s not routine yet, either?”

He returned the smile, locking eyes with her. “I don’t think that’s possible, babe.

“You know,” Mitchell said, breaking their gaze and making it obvious he was contemplating the couch. “There’s a couch here. I could nap on it before the show.”

“Do other things on it, too.”

His grin was as wolfish as Trevor’s ever were.

So much for routine, Kerri thought.

Some Musical Hanukkah Fun for you. And the usual reminder — up to 50% of my royalties in November and December are being donated to charity. Buy my books! Or while you’re checking out the contest page, make a direct donation and be entered to win a book NOT written by me.


Byline: Chelle LaFleur — Musical Hanukkah 2010


By now, you boys and girls oughta know this stuff every bit as good as old Chelle here does. Them cutie ShapeShifter boys can’t be held down. Not when they want somethin’. And when it comes to these Musical Hanukkah benefit shows they been doin’ the past few years, these boys want this. Bad.

If you remember right, Chelle’s favorite band up and cancelled their big Musical Hanukkah shin-dig last year. Or they started off sayin’ they did. Instead, those sly rockers went and threw themselves one big party on the down low and you’d better believe they came outta that show with cash for them little kids.

That’s our ShapeShifter boys, all right.

Now, Chelle figured that’d pretty much be the end of these here parties. Once it gets cool to take part, the people behind these do-gooder parties get all frustrated ’cause they get all crowded out, so they pull up stakes.

That ain’t our ShapeShifter boys. Chelle digs bein’ able to say it ain’t even close.

Instead, the band’s done gone and challenged all them friends who tried to hone in on that action that oughta belong to us small people.

This year, there’s gonna be more than one Musical Hanukkah Celebration. They’s gonna be a lot — and not only in Riverview. I hear tell Deadly Metal Hatchet’s got a show — and a shirt to match! — planned for Phoenix. Hammerhead’s gonna tear up some joint in Jersey. Walter Cichewski’s gonna come out of retirement up there in Denver. Them Maelstrom boys might join the fun, too, but that ain’t confirmed yet.

Count on that cutie Mitchell and the rest-a them boys to grow this thing in true ShapeShifter style.

Best of all? You whiners ain’t got no excuse to miss this-here chance to get involved. Chelle herself is workin’ on puttin’ together a couple good bands for a New Orleans-style celebration.

You heard it first and you heard it here: Musical Hanukkah keeps gettin’ bigger and better. Chelle’s right to love her ShapeShifter boys so much.

And here we go! Starting yesterday, at least 50% of my reported royalties until the end of the year are headed to charity. Books make great holiday gifts — and help ShapeShifter make band dweebs and orchestra geeks around the United States!


Random Fiction: Tremors


Don’t ask where this came from. I don’t know.

They run rampant through me, the tremors. I live in fear of them, of the reminder of how fragile I am, of how fragile life is.

I despise them, loathe them, hate them. I want them gone. Out of my body, off this mortal coil. Gone, banished, denied entry ever again.

I dream of knives that will cut them out of my body. I dream of peace. Of stillness and solitude.

Of an end of fear, of pain, of this isolation the tremors have caused me to build around me. Of friends and family and people who visit because they want to, not because they are duty-bound.

I despise. And I dream.

A three-word Wednesday prompt (and all three words are in the first line!), but I’ll link it all over the place, like usual. Friday Flash. Weekend Writer’s Retreat. You guys know the drill. Another thing you ought to know? Starting Monday, at least half of the royalties from sales of all three of my books will head to charity. Be sure to check the contest page — more books are being donated for anyone who makes a direct donation, too!)


Random Poem: Sex, music, exercise


My Three-Word Wednesday post this week… And I wrote it on Wednesday! (Right?)

A hint of a sweaty sheen on sleek skin.
A lust for life, for living, for love.
A need, burning, blistering, beyond belief.
Feet, hands, arms, legs.
Making music. Using music. Living music. Breathing music. Sweating music.
And afterward, afterglow, afterburn.

So. You tell me what I’m talking about. Sex? Music? Exercise? Something else?


Byline: Chelle LaFleur — Tragedy in Jersey


Now, you all need to listen up good to old Chelle here. What I gotta say ain’t got squat to do with music, but it sure as shootin’ got to do with us in the music community.

Know that story of that poor college kid whose romantic fun got broadcast all over that there Internet? The kid who had to go off himself ’cause he couldn’t stand the way the whole world, free and not, could watch him gettin’ it on with someone else?

I’ma gonna stand up right here and now and say this is the biggest tragedy Chelle’s seen in a long time. It’s even a bigger tragedy than that hottie Mitchell Voss losin’ his heart to an artist type and takin’ himself off the market. It’s that big.

There’s one thing that’s started happenin’ about this story that’s got Chelle all up in arms. That’s them people who’re speakin’ out. They’re so quick to make this all about how we treat gays and lesbians, they done gone and forgot how this ain’t just about one certain group of folk. No sirree, this here issue of hidden cameras and YouTube postin’s somethin’ that affects every last one of us and it don’t matter if you be a boy who likes boys, or a girl who thinks girls are better’n boys.

Listen up, boys and girls. This is bigger’n one piece of America. Heck, it’s bigger’n America. With this Internet thing so big and makin’ so much of a dent in that lifestyle we used to have before it went and came along, these issues, they now involve every last person on this planet. Think about it. You wanna see people in Borneo? You can. Want to see people in Cornpatch, USA? You can.

Look around for a sec or two. You’ll see lots of folk postin’ videos of themselves feelin’ good. The difference here is that them folk? They knew what was the skinny. They knew they’d be putting their private parts out there for all-a us to ogle. They was cool with that.

This kid in Jersey? And prob’ly way more like him?

Alls they wanted to do was shut a door and have some time where they could kick back and not worry about nothin’ except what feels good and what feels better. They wanted it between theyselves, where love and lust and what feels good belongs.

Keep that in your minds the next time you think it’s cool to be this stupid. None-a you respectable metal heads would want video of you in a suit and tie, walkin’ into church on a sunny Sunday with Mom and Dad, would you? You got a rep to protect, right?

Don’t matter if you’re out of your black and into a zoot soot or if you be wantin’ some private time to see if this person you lustin’ for can be a forever partner. If you don’t want it broadcast, you don’t need to stress that it might be.

You heard it first, and you heard it here: Chelle don’t broadcast your private life on this here Trumpet paper. Don’t be broadcastin’ others’ privates anywhere, yourselves. You’re cool enough to read what Chelle’s gotta say. Prove it.


Springer Fiction: A Job for Trinity?


Susan’s note: Springer and Trinity appear here every now and then. When last we saw them together, Trinity was in trouble. It was our boy Springer to the rescue — then as now.

Springer sat down on the edge of the bed beside Trinity. She was hugging her knees to her chest, like she did all the time now. Getting herself in major trouble the way she had… it had messed her up pretty good.

“This year’s Musical Hanukkah? You up for it?”

He hadn’t expected her to say yes. Hadn’t expected her to do much else other than what she did: shake her head from side to side exactly twice. Fast, too. Nothing slow or deliberate. It was like she wanted to get done with this talking stuff as fast as she possibly could.

“Trin,” he said, trying to stop himself from moving an inch or two away from her. But c’mon, he wanted to say. How long was a guy supposed to keep getting the cold shoulder? She wasn’t even his girl and she was acting like this. “You gotta pull yourself together already. Life’s falling apart all around you.”

“Why?” she spat, her voice dripping with an edge that gave Springer the chills.

“Why what?” Springer asked, confused.

“Why do I have to pull myself together? What if there’s nothing left to pull together? Did you think of that? Did you forget I got kicked out of the house, I got kicked out of school? I’ve got nothing, Springer. Nothing.”

“Well,” he said, wondering if this was a good idea or not, “you’ve got me.”

She made an ugly face.

“And a place to stay,” Springer said, starting to panic. “Grandma was saying the other day that if you’d be willing, she’d pay you to be her companion.”

“Oh, great. I’ve gone from being a whore to … to…”

“To having a good job taking care of a sweet old lady,” Springer said. “You’ll have a place to stay and whatever you need.” He didn’t mention that he could move back home. Or stay here with Trinity and Grandma. “All you’d need to do is the cleaning, the grocery shopping, stuff like that.”

“Taking care of the garden, cooking. You know. Being a slave. Are you sure I’m not really Black, Springer? Is this the South before the Civil War?”

It was sad he’d gotten used to her talking like this.

“Slaves didn’t get paid. Grandma’s willing to pay you. And let you use her car. I bet if you wanted to go to school for something, she’d help you.”

“School?” Trinity raised her head, her chin coming forward. As her forehead tilted back, she rolled her eyes. “Dropouts can’t go to school.”

Springer sighed. All he’d wanted to know was if she was up for the Musical Hanukkah Celebration. Or maybe if he should go without her. It was looking like that was how it was going to go.

“Look, Springer, why are you here?”

“Because right now, I live here. Someone’s gotta take care of grandma.”

“I can’t take your job, Springer.”

“I wish you would.”

“Why? So you can go live life while I’m slaving away here?”

“So you can do something besides feel sorry for yourself,” he said, sstanding up. “And because I think Grandma would rather have a girl around than me.”

“You’re her grandkid. She’s not allowed to not want you around.”

As if she’d realized the hypocrisy of what she’d just said, she smiled. Sort of.

“Think about it, Trin. You’re not the only one around here who’s miserable ’cause of what happened to you. Right now, you’re the one with the power to change it all.”

She shrugged and put her chin back down on her knees. Springer left her like that, just like he usually did. At least she’d said something. A lot of somethings.

It was an improvement.

Check out other Friday Flashers, as well as Weekend Writer’s Retreat. There’s good fiction to be found on this here Internet.


ShapeShifter Fiction: Quitting Jim Shields


Note from Susan: if you click on Green Hair Week, you’ll learn a little bit about Jim Shields and what happened to Mitchell. While this piece is a companion to my novel, Trevor’s Song, and will probably feature in a Demo Tapes anthology somewhere down the road, it has no spoilers for anything already in print.

“The guy just makes my skin crawl,” Mitchell said, trying to suppress the shudder. “We need to be off this tour and done with him.”

“Has he done something to offend?” JR asked.

Mitchell paused, waiting for JR’s usual verbal onslaught. It didn’t come. JR was actually, for once, quiet.

Trevor flicked his cigarette from the corner of his mouth onto the ground. He didn’t bother to grind it dead. “What the fuck does it matter? The guy’s a fucking powder keg. Up one minute, down the next. All in our faces about shit we can’t control, then making like he’s our best friend.”

“He’s too volatile,” Eric said, nodding.

Mitchell thought about that for a second, then nodded. Perfect way to describe the dick. Volatile.

“Backstage is a powder keg,” the guitarist went on. “We all hate being there. C’mon, JR. There’s got to be a way to get us off this tour. Daniel and M here say you’re getting all sorts of offers for us to open for better acts. I think you need to take a longer look at some of them, even if it means we take a break.”

“It hasn’t all been bad with Jim,” the manager said. “You had a nice long break in Phoenix and it turned out to benefit you quite well”

“My hair turned green,” Mitchell said. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the manager until JR shut up.

“But the break refreshed you. It taught me and your booking agents quite a bit that we’ll be discussing once it’s your turn to headline but for now, you’re not quite ready to headline, so it’s all opening acts for you still and really, Jim Shields isn’t that bad of a guy Why can’t you just finish up this tour like we’ve planned It’s really not that much longer”

“Because,” Trevor said, taking his time as he lit up a new cigarette. It was for effect, Mitchell could tell. Hell, most of Trevor’s cigarettes were for effect. His own bad boy version of being demure. Or something.

“I need more of a reason than that, Trevor. You have a contract with Jim You signed it and were perfectly happy to You were excited, even, and so was I This was going to be a good thing, bringing you new fans and getting you into cities you’d never visited before.”

“Because,” Mitchell growled, “if you don’t get us away from that asshole, I’m going to shove his microphone stand up his ass and make it come out his mouth. I don’t give a shit about contracts or opportunities or anything like that. I care about not being yanked around by this asshole anymore.”

He was aware of everyone around him cringing, of his voice rising, of the pressure in his cheeks that meant his face had turned red. Trevor would probably tell him later that viens had popped. He didn’t care. Didn’t care about any of it. He’d had enough. The band had had enough. It had nothing to do with his fucking green hair and everything to do with unstable dickhead Jim Shields. This is what it had come down to. It was a matter of survival, no matter how fucking dramatic that sounded. No one could live like Jim was making them live.

Mitchell would be damned if ShapeShifter was going to have to keep trying.

Yup, this is a Three Word Wednesday prompt: demure, offend, volatile. And I’ll link it at The Weekend Writer’s Retreat, also. AND at Friday Flash. AND Sunday Scribblings. That might be all, but who knows? I do like to increase my fan base!


Fiction: Bernardo’s Backpack


“Mom,” my son said that day. “When I bring my trombone to school this year, will you drive me? There’s not enough room in our seat on the bus for it.”

I raised my eyebrows at my son. My first-born. “I thought there were only two of you in the seat.”

“There are,” he said, so earnest I could have died. My kid’s loaded with charm-in-waiting. It needs to be properly unlocked and groomed. “But Bernardo’s backpack is so big, it’s like there’s three of us in the seat. Once we add my trombone and our winter coats, well, he already sticks out into the aisle.”

“Why’s his backpack so big?” I ask my son, giving him a sidelong look. After all, my son has brought home exactly one textbook so far this year. One.

My son shrugged.

“You don’t think he stuffed a dead body in it, do you?” I asked.

All that gorgeous robust color drained from his face. “I… don’t … think so.”

I leaned in to whisper, “Does it smell?”


“Then there’s probably no dead body in there. But what else could be in there?”

What followed was a feast of the imagination. An inflatable raft. A fold-up bike. Rabbits, multiplying. But no books. No textbooks. Certainly no papers that had fallen to the bottom and jammed up the works; it was only the third day of school.

“A first-aid kit! Lunch! A little school bus that magically grows to the right size when it’s pulled out, just in case he misses the bus! A monster! A giant stomach that will eat the bus seat if it escapes! An operating table!”

On and on we went. I’m sure that no matter how hard we try, we’ll never figure it out.

“You know,” I drawled after awhile, when our ideas had started to run low. “We could ask Bernardo what he’s got in there.”

“Mom,” my super son said, “what’s the fun in that?”

Believe it or not, this really is fiction. Based on real life. Maybe. Perhaps. I’m not telling. At any rate, it’s a Three Word Wednesday piece, and I’ll hook it up for my Friday Flash as well as link it over at the Weekend Writer’s Retreat. It fits over at Sunday Scribblings, too! Be sure to stop in all those sites and check out more good fiction!


Byline: Chelle LaFleur — Bottle Rockets


Now, what you all thinkin’? No, not you boys and girls here in our city. Them boys and girls Philly way. They must not got brains up there in the city of freedom ‘n all, ’cause otherwise, why else would they be so stupid as to throw their beer bottles — and I hear tell not all of ’ems empty, either — at Jim Shields?

Folks, you know what that Jim Shields does when things come flying outta the air, aimed in his direction. He done the same thing, over and over, for years.

It ain’t funny. It ain’t cool. Those riots after he throws the microphone down and storms off the stage? It’s only a matter of time before someone falls down and gets themselves all tramped to death. And then all everyone can talk about is the negative: how rude Jim’s fans are and how uncouth and how they all ought to be put to death and they hope Jim himself will fall off the face of the Earth and…

Really, boys and girls. Let’s put our hands on our knees and hold ’em still a minute. Stop and put your brains into that there ON position. I know that spot scares some-a ya, but if you can’t make yourself do it just this once, there ain’t no hope for humanity that old Chelle here can see.

This garbage has gone on for years. It’s the same each time. Some idiot thinks it’ll be funny to get under that thin surface-a Jim’s skin. The first bottle flies. Jim warns y’all. Someone else decides to go for it. ‘Cause it’s funny to watch Jim’s face go red and it’s cool when the music — which you paid a pretty penny to hear, mind you — stops.

And when that second bottle, or the third, or however many it takes afore Jim sees it, when that bottle catches his eye, it’s so funny to watch him try to break his his microphone when he throws it afore he stomps off stage.

Now, it’s true that Chelle’s seen toddlers act with more class than Jim Shields shows. But today only, we not talkin’ ’bout Jim. We talking about you. And how it only takes one idiot bottle thrower to ruin an expensive night for thousands. You really think Jim’s gonna come back Philly’s way again so soon? Not when this is the third time in a row this garbage has gone down, boys and girls.

Seems to me some folk need a field trip down to the Liberty Bell so’s they can learn what freedom really means. It don’t mean bein’ able to throw bottles at a guy who’s playin’ music so you can kick back and rock out. Freedom means somethin’ far from that.

You heard it first and you heard it here: it’s about the music, not the tantrums. Leave poor Jim alone already.

Yeah, I suppose I ought to apologize to the people of Philadelphia for smearing them so badly in this piece. But… c’mon. They’re in Philly. As most of you know, West of Mars is outside of Pittsburgh. There’s that cross-state rivalry and all.

This is a Three-Word Wednesday piece. Yes, posted on Saturday. I’ll link it up at Weekend Writer’s Retreat, as well. Just ’cause I can.

And yes, this IS based on some real-life antics of a certain star who’s been known to cause riots when the bottle rockets start flying…


Wardrobe Girl: Halo


Note from Susan: If you were here a year ago, you may remember our Wardrobe Girl, Loren. I actually have other fiction I wrote right after I wrote that one, but never posted. We’ll have to fix that. In the meantime, here’s something to keep you entertained.

Before tonight, Loren would have told you she didn’t have a prayer of fitting in with this crowd. They didn’t like chicks in the first place, let alone girls like her who were on the road to hide from something. Maybe — hopefully, although Loren wasn’t sure if there was hope anymore — heal a bit.

Maybe she’d been wrong to hold herself back, to abstain. From the fun, the camaraderie, the deep, dark nights spent drinking and swapping tales as the bus rolled them toward another city they’d never get to see.

But now here she was, proudly wearing the halo they’d made her from those plastic things that went around six packs of beer and soda. She wasn’t drinking, but then, neither was Roberta. A woman shouldn’t drink too much on the road, Roberta often told her. Especially with roadies like Monkey around, even though he wasn’t part of this current group. Nope, this was RP, Hambone, RP’s girlfriend Maureen, and a couple others whose names Loren couldn’t remember. She knew their faces, though. They were all young, like her. They’d chosen the road instead of anything else — college hadn’t been an option for most of them. Not like it had been for Loren.

Who knew; maybe it was still an option for Loren. She wasn’t ready to think like that yet. Heck, it was hard enough just being here with a group of people, watching them drink and listening to them talk.
Wearing their halo and smiling as they sounded like they meant it when they said they were glad she wasn’t locked away in her bunk or sitting in a corner, staring at the walls. “You’re too mopey,” they told her. “Smile.”

She’d been hearing that a lot from the crew lately. Even from the band. Smile. Like there was anything to smile for. Or at.

Hambone told a joke and everyone cracked up. RP tipped over backward and Maureen and Hambone pulled him up, laughing even harder. Loren watched and, for the first time since she’d joined the tour, didn’t feel like they were laughing at her. She didn’t feel quite so raw inside.

Roberta caught Loren’s eye and nodded knowingly.

Loren had to touch her face to realize she was smiling, too.

And then her halo slipped down over one eye. She heard herself laugh.

Ready for this week’s links to prompt sites? Here ya go… Three Word Wednesday, Thursday Tales, and Friday Flash. And let’s not forget Weekend Writer’s Retreat, too!


Trevor Fiction: Swimming


If you’re new here, these characters can be found in all three of my books, The Demo Tapes (Year 1 and Year 2) and Trevor’s Song, the new, full-length novel starting the toasted marshmallow featured below. There are no spoilers in the following piece.

Noooo. Hotel pools were no longer good enough for the Great Mitchell Voss, it seemed. Nope. The fucker had to be outside, in the sunshine, where it was warm and where the sun would glisten off his fucking suntanned skin and make all the housewives swoon with longing at the way the golden tan contrasted with the loser’s silver-blonde hair.

Of course, there was a plus to this outdoor pool they were walking into: Charlie had promised them up and down no one would bat an eye at them. This pool was part of some blueblood health club, where any idiot could come ogle the pro athletes and the local TV people and everyone else who didn’t deign to be bugged by the adoring yokels who don’t know when to give a person some space.

They probably wouldn’t get anyone to play in the water with, Trevor figured. Places like this, no one did anything but swim laps and work on their tans. The people here were pampered. They preened.

They’d never let the likes of ShapeShifter invade them again.

They hadn’t even gotten into the place, and Trevor knew how it’d end. With the four of them walking out, laughing over a good time — and every other poor sod in the joint trying to figure out what had just happened to them. Oh, some of the women would be all intrigued, biting their lower lips and considering taking old Trevor up on his attentions. If only they weren’t married. If only they didn’t have the kids, or the stretch marks, or the guts…

Yeah. Nothing would come of that, either. Talk about a waste of a day’s good flirting.

Except… once they got there, count on Mitchell to fuck up the script. To pull off his shirt and make his hair cascade out behind him like some fucking romance novel cover model. If the band tanked, the asshole sure had another career waiting — so long as someone airbrushed his face real good. Then again, the girls seemed to like that cleft chin and those blue-green eyes well enough.

By the time Mitchell swan dived off the diving board the first time, every one of those pampered moms, their bodies too taut to have birthed babies and look so good without the benefit of plastic work along the way, their kids snot-nosed despite the good, chlorinated water to rinse it off. Yeah, every last person at that pool was sighing and wishing Mitchell would come talk to them. Even the grandma, her skin leathery from too many days out by this pool and her hair one of the fakest oranges Trevor had ever seen. Yeah, even her.

They’d be invited back, no doubt about it.

Trevor wasn’t sure if he should be grateful to Mitchell — burning every bridge you came to got old every now and then — or hate the bastard for the way the big idiot could make every single person on the planet eat out of the palm of his hand.

Maybe he’d settle for doing both.

Once again, I’ll be linking this piece up at a bunch of places. The Weekend Writer’s Retreat. Friday Flash. Writer’s Island.


DMH Fiction: Ysabella


She was jailbait. Pure and simple. She was a worm, dangling on a hook, enticing the fish to jump and take a bite, get hooked, and that’d be it.

But dammit, Lido couldn’t stay away from her. Ysabella Hernandez. Only the daughter of one of the city’s mob bosses. Gorgeously blonde, with innocent blue eyes that loved to dance with laughter.

Everyone loved her. Even the gay guys lusted for her.

When it came to someone like Ysabella Hernandez, though, only one man would ever have her. Gabriel.

She’d been promised to him young, an alliance between families. Like the obedient child she’d been raised to be, she didn’t look twice at another guy. Ever. She was going to be Gabriel’s, and that was all there was to it.

That’s why Lido didn’t know why she would be downstairs every day when he delivered the flowers for his father. Why she’d always say hi and ask how he was.

“Just delivering the flowers,” he said to her that one particular day.

“Surely you do more than that?”

Lido jumped as her father entered the front hall. “Our flowers,” he said, his voice so icy, Lido was convinced he was about to be turned into gourmet fish bait. Mr. Hernandez did that sort of thing — and for lesser offenses than talking to his daughter.

“Yes, sir,” he said, tearing his eyes from Ysabella. Before she left his field of vision, he noticed the way she bit back a smile. He couldn’t react. For one, if he blew this account for his dad, he’d be worse than fish bait. For another, he’d sooner never return to this house than turn himself into one of Mr. Hernandez’ victims.

Even if it meant never seeing Ysabella again.

“You’re lucky your father grows the best flowers in a three-hundred mile radius,” Ysabella’s father said, his face turning dark.

Lido nodded, trying not to be rude as he stared at the darkening face. But he’d never seen a face turn black before. He should have been scared, he knew.

It wasn’t his smartest move.

Ysabella came to his rescue. “Dad, my day’s not complete if I don’t say hi to Lido. You’re the one who says a woman’s job is to make any visitor feel special and welcome.”

Behind her back, right at the edge of Lido’s peripheral vision, he saw the hand gesture she made. Telling him she was blowing smoke up her dad’s scary ass.

Still, Lido swallowed audibly. “I just deliver the flowers, Mr. Hernandez. That’s my business. It’s all I care about. Doing my dad proud.”

Mr. Hernandez nodded, as if satisfied by what he was hearing. Lido didn’t believe he really was. Rather, the man was calculating, weighing, figuring. When the best time to snatch Lido would be. How much concrete would be needed to make sure he didn’t float.

“I need to be going,” Lido said into the silence. “I have other deliveries to make and a schedule to keep to. Always nice to see you again, Mr. Hernandez. Miss Hernandez.”

As Ysabella held the door for him, she mouthed, “Meet me in the park at nine tonight.”

Maybe a smart man would have listened, but Lido wasn’t necessarily a smart man. Not when it came to Ysabella Hernandez.

DMH stands for Deadly Metal Hatchet, a small, up-and-coming band who sometimes populates these pages. This piece is set before the band; this situation with Ysabella is the eventual reason why Lido joins the guys and tries to get out of town.

This was inspired by this week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt, and I’m including it as a #FridayFlash piece, and posting it at Weekend Writer’s Retreat, too. That’s a lot of bang for one buck!


Roadie Poet: The Joke


More takes my hands
All gentle.

I get ready.
Brace myself.
Know what’s coming.
I think.

“RP,” she says,
“I love us.
Love us being together.”


“That joke?
The one you and Hambone?”

Yeah, I know the joke.
Was a good one.
Had the whole crew howling.

I’m guessing,

“RP,” she says,
“It was vulgar.
Beneath you.
All that praise you got?
A waste of breath.”


I pull my hands away.
Try to jam them in
my back pockets.

There’s stuff in them.
A sharpie.
Random plastic wrappers.
A straw.
More garbage.
A candy bar that’s melted.
It’s squishy against

I know she’s right.
Knew it at the time.
But that didn’t stop me
from doing it.

Worst of all,
it may not stop me
next time.

Yep, some Three Word Wednesday, some Weekend Writer’s Retreat, and it’s a stretch, but maybe some reunion going on here, too (finger and candy bar, RP and More — in a sense), thanks to the Writer’s Island. You decide. And check out some other writers, too, if you’ve got the time.


Lyric Fiction: Superhero


“It’s a gift.”

“It’s a gift I don’t want,” Lyric told her mother with a scowl. She crossed her arms over her chest and hunched her shoulders, as if that could ward off her mother.

“Honey,” Melody cooed, “it’s a blessing. You’re a Maker girl, and this is how we all are. We’re superheroes, after all.”

Lyric squeezed her bottom lip between her thumb and forefinger. “I don’t know, Mom… It doesn’t feel right. You always said it would feel right and I’d know and it would be natural and all that. But it doesn’t. Don’t make me do this.”

“Now, honey,” Melody said, pressing her knees together and pursing her lips slightly, “you’re just scared. That’s natural.”

“According to you, everything is natural!”

Melody nodded, her eyes crinkling slightly. “And that, my dear, is the secret. The one and only secret you’ll ever need if you want to make it in this life.”

“Maybe it is for you, Mom. You’re the one who’s the star. Not me. I’m just your kid. Things are different for me.”

“Stop thinking that way, honey! You are so much more than you realize. You deserve this. You’ve got your own talents, Lyric. All you need to do is show them off. People will sit up and take notice. I promise!”

Lyric played with her lower lip again. She didn’t see it. Didn’t see how she could ever be anything but Melody’s daughter.

On the other hand, Lyric couldn’t remember Melody ever being wrong. If Melody said she could be more than a porn star’s daughter, she could be.

Lyric smiled. Melody mirrored it, magnified it. “You are a superhero, baby. You are. It’s your gift.”

“I don’t know…” Lyric said, but she did know. It wasn’t what she would have picked for herself, but there it was. She may as well grab onto it and go along for the ride.

A bit of Sunday Scribblings and Writer’s Islands prompts rolled into one. They worked so well together, it was hard not to. I’m not convinced this is finished yet, but that’s okay. This place was meant to be for rough fiction, and the books for the polished stuff. Speaking of books… Stay tuned.


Trevor and Mitchell Fiction: Wet Jeans


This is another Three Word Wednesday post — one that went in directions I hadn’t been expecting. It’s also partially inspired by this prompt at Thursday Tales.

“Give it up, Trev,” Mitchell said from behind him. “We’re gonna get wet.”

“I don’t want to get wet.”

“Why not? Afraid you’ll melt?”

Trevor turned to the big idiot. “Because I don’t want to,” he said, making each word come out of his mouth as precisely as possible.

“It’s another science experiment, right?” Mitchell went on, giving Trevor’s shoulder a shove. “If you go without washing your jeans, they’ll get so dirty, they’ll disintegrate, but they’ll do it all gradual, so no one’ll ever know what’s skin and what’s jeans. You’ll go around bare-assed naked and no one will know the difference.”

Trevor sniffed and stuck his nose in the air. “You’re the one who likes to go without clothes. All I said was that I didn’t want to get wet.”

“I still don’t see what the big deal is.”

“I don’t see your precious ass out there.”

“It’s a downpour. I’m waiting for it to let up a bit.”

Trevor nodded knowingly. “Because you don’t want to get wet, either.”

“I don’t want to get drenched. There’s a difference.”

“Yeah, like the difference between a girl and a woman. They got all the same parts. It’s just that some aren’t fully formed yet and others are overripe.”

Mitchell gave him an odd look. Trevor figured his example hadn’t gone down quite right. Time to abandon it and go for something else. “You know,” he said, “if we were real rock stars instead of guys on our way up, we’d have people here to hold umbrellas for us.”

“We’d have someone here to wash your jeans, too.”

Trevor smirked. “They are clean. Eric took my stuff when he went to the laundromat the other day.”

Mitchell nodded like he’d known that. Probably had, the wanker. Hell, he’d probably been there with Eric, combining their clothes so no skivvies got turned pink. Not that it mattered if they did; they’d just give them to some eager girls and send ’em on their way.

“Then why don’t you want to get wet?” Mitchell asked.

Trevor turned to the idiot. This conversation was old. Time to end it.

Even though his back was to the door, Trevor took that dreaded step outside. At least he was facing Mitchell and could see the guy’s eyes get all wide as Trevor was suddenly as wet as if he’d walked into a car wash.

Being wet sucked, but laughing at Mitchell was worth every second of the way his jeans were about to chafe.

It seems that a reluctance to go outside into the elements is a common theme with me. Remember Smoke Break, now found in Demo Tapes: Year 1? Or Hot, in Demo Tapes: Year 2?

This is a darn good time to join the Trevolution. Pick up the books, in print or digital format (I have copies I can sell you directly if you’d like autographs), and get ready as the Trevolution goes novel length in the near future!

And don’t forget to stop by (or join!) the Weekend Writers Retreat, too.


Trinity Fiction: Ignore the Fear


I’m writing this as my Internet is down (and posting from a hotel. See previous post for why). I hope I have the right Three Words for Three Word Wednesday!

Those of you who remember Springer may remember the girl he met at one of the Musical Hanukkah Celebrations. Trinity. For those of you meeting her for the first time, I think you’ll like her.

~~~~~~~ (this is the cool separator Anne Tyler Lord taught me. Isn’t it great?)
“Ignore the fear!” Sandusky said to Trinity. “Just leap up, ignore the fear, and go for it!”

Trinity nodded and licked her lips. It seemed so easy. Sandusky said it was unlike anything she’d ever do. It was paradise, he said.

“Leap up,” Sandusky said again. “Put your hand on that guy’s head and push yourself as high as you can. I’ll grab you and help get you up there.”

Still, Trinity held back. She’d been watching people in the pit surf the crowd ever since Sandusky had taken her to her first show, a couple months ago. She’d even put her hands up over her own head, helping keep the surfer from kicking her in the face — she’d seen people that had happened to. Swollen, black, bloody. Things broke if you weren’t careful, especially when the surfers were the assholes who wore steel-toed boots.

Sandusky was pretty sure they’d dig Trinity. Her clothes were, like always, tight up to her body. She wore simple black boots, not combat boots, not work boots. Maybe you’d call them fashion boots. But really, they were something in between. They wouldn’t hurt anyone. Not too much.

This scene was still new to her, and already, she loved it. She loved that she fit in, that only the really snooty girls Sandusky called the Dick Bunnies tried to make her feel inadequate. She loved that the more outrageous she was, the more approval she got and the more they wanted her around. And she loved the ear cuff Jameson had given her, daring her to wear it. She’d wanted to know why she wouldn’t wear the image of a guy with a hard-on. Maybe the problem was that Jameson didn’t know what one was good for.

She knew she could surf the crowd. She knew she’d love it, all those hands holding her, supporting her. Sandusky said it was like being weightless, but Trinity wasn’t so sure. She didn’t see how. Wasn’t weightless all about being in zero gravity?

“Come on, Trin!” Sandusky yelled.

Trinity licked her lips. He was right. The song was almost over. It was now or never.

She didn’t think. She looked up toward the heads in front of her, imagined herself up there.

Trinity jumped.

As Sandusky promised, as soon as her hand made contact with the head of the guy in front of her, her friend gave her the push. The guy in front grabbed at her; Trinity didn’t think he gave it a thought. When you stood in the pit, this was what you did. Feel a body, lift it up.

And then she was on her back, her arms spread out to the sides, her legs flopping open, shut, up and down. Same for her ass. She laid her head back and laughed, then jerked as someone squeezed her tit. At a hand that snuck between her legs and tried to check out the folds there.

It kept coming. Pinches. Pulls. A scratch on her hand.

It wasn’t fun.

Trinity started to fight her way down. She bucked against them, growing frantic.

And then she was on the ground and Sandusky was pushing through the crowd. He grabbed her, hugged her, and told her she’d done great.

She had. She knew it. She’d ignored the fear.

It had been totally worth it.

Ignore the fear. That sounded like a new motto to Trinity.


Mitchell Fiction: Family Complete


Mother’s Day – Twitter Chats Blog Tour

Welcome to the Twitter Chats Blog Tour, organized by Mariana N. Blaser at mariblaser’s randomities and Anne Tyler Lord at Don’t Fence Me In. Today’s theme is Mother’s Day.

You’ll be traveling with us through the blogs of some of the fantastic authors and writers who participate in our weekly — funny, entertaining and educating — Twitter chats. This tour will feature writers from #writechat, #litchat, and #fridayflash.

You will be directed to your next stop at the end of this post. Please feel welcome here, and have a happy Mother’s Day!

(I’m supposed to insert a separation here, but damned if I know how to)

Sonya held the precious bundle more securely and bowed her head over it. Her boy. She and Patterson had made a boy at last.

Even though Patterson had Beth playing baseball in their back yard, she knew he privately hoped for a boy he could play with. Patterson was good with their two girls and they adored their daddy, but Sonya believed it was true: every man pined for a son. Sons didn’t grow their hair long. They didn’t wear earrings. They played baseball, not softball. In the Voss family, boys were as American as hot dogs, apple pie, and the Fourth of July.

Sonya smiled, remembering the Christmas just past. The two grandmothers had stood in Sonya’s kitchen and stared at her swelling baby, debating. Boy or girl?

Everyone had agreed: it was a boy in there, a boy who would eventually come out of Sonya and drag half her innards along with him. Or so it felt. It hadn’t mattered once she’d laid eyes on him, of course, the doctors working frantically above her. The baby was perfect. Boy or girl; all that mattered had been the perfection.

It was later, during these quiet times, when Sonya could reflect on how important it had been to her, too, to have a boy. Especially after this little one had made sure the family was complete. It was as if he’d said he was special enough, there could be nothing to follow him. It didn’t matter that his parents had wanted four children. No one would follow Mitchell into the world.

He scrunched his face, yawned, cracked his eyes, and smacked his lips. The perfect baby.

Sonya’s heart melted as her son started rooting, hungry again.

Three children had never seemed more perfect.

(I’m supposed to insert another separation, but I’m still damned if I know how to.)

Thanks for stopping by! Your next stop for the Mother’s Day Twitter Chats Blog Tour is Tony Noland of Landless.

The complete list of participants can be found at the host’s blogs: Mariana N. Blaser and Anne Tyler Lord.


Walter Fiction: The Envelope Event


My friend Mary made a derogatory statement about some of the LA wanna-be types who are so desperate to belong to the scene that they’d attend the opening of an envelope. I loved that idea. Attending the opening of an envelope. I’ll probably get more fiction out of the idea than this one scene.

Walter let Lila help him shrug into his familiar black leather blazer. She freed his ponytail from underneath, and took a minute to wrap it around her finger, as if doing that would make it curl.

That was Lila’s way. It reinforced her sense of order in the world, playing with his ponytail like that, so he smiled as he tolerated the gesture.

He hoped there would be more smiling once he entered the ballroom. He’d never done this sort of thing before and frankly, he wasn’t sure he wanted to. Lila had been forced to give him something to calm his nerves.

Walter Cichewski could stand under a spotlight in front of thousands of people. He’d been doing it for years, in fact. There were days when whatever Dr. Rosen had given him made him feel as if he was moving through sludge, but as soon as he stepped onto that stage, it all melted away and he was young again. His energy came back, better than any rush from any drug he’d ever been handed.

This was something different entirely. He had to step out there, not in front of fans, but in front of television cameras. Instead of fans, every person in the room would be part of the media. There’d be no one to introduce him. It would be him, just him, and no music to make.

Walter hadn’t wanted to agree to do this. But Lila and Dr. Rosen had agreed with his manager: it was good for his image. Good to remind the media who he was, that he was still making music, that Walter Cichewski was all about the best music out there.

“You’ll be fine,” Lila said, leaning forward to kiss Walter’s cheek. Her lips brushed at him more than anything else, reluctant to mess up the slight makeup she’d put on him, declaring him too pale to be visible to TV cameras.

Walter didn’t answer. He watched the people in charge stare at their watches, lips moving as they counted down. He watched two of them, one dressed in a butter-yellow skirt suit and the other in jeans and a t-shirt, black lanyard around his neck, move to the door. The suit motioned Walter forward, her eyes still on that second hand. Jeans motioned him to stay until the suit gave the sign.

“Hello,” Walter said, walking up to the podium. He knew his shoulders curled, that too many years of hunching over a guitar had destroyed his posture — which had been hopeless from the get-go. Walter had never been one to stand proud.

He picked up the envelope that had been placed on the podium and smiled. He introduced himself briefly, then said, “You’re all here to watch me open this envelope today. What’s inside will affect the careers of musicians all across the industry. Please help me in congratulating every last artist whose name is inside here.”

He could feel the media-types hold their breath and lean forward. The people in the back rooms would be pleased with him, Walter knew. He’d done better than they’d hoped for, building up the expectation.

With the flourish they’d asked for, he held the envelope up and made a show of opening it. He pulled out the papers inside, unfolded them, and began reading the list of Grammy award nominees.

Be sure to stop by Sunday Scribblings, where this week’s prompt is The Event. And then stop by Weekend Writer’s Retreat, too. There’s good fiction happening around the Internet these days!


Kerri Fiction: Everyone Wants to be a Rock Star


This negotiation shouldn’t have had to happen, Kerri thought, crossing her arms over her chest and giving the bodyguard her best sulky look. She was the client. He was supposed to be serving her, not dictating where she could and couldn’t ride her bike.

Hell, it wasn’t even a negotiation. Just a body guard laying down the law.

“No one wants you to turn up dead,” Gene said. He slumped in his chair and unbuttoned the cargo pocket on his pantleg, pulling out what looked like a random romance novel. Kerri knew better. There was nothing random about Gene’s romances.

Clearly, she realized as he curled the cover back and started reading, the conversation had ended. Somehow, she’d lost. No more riding her bike all over town, at least not without Gene. Maybe, she thought, Tony would hire someone new to be her bodyguard. Someone who rode bikes.

Gene was kind, almost doting, when he brought her to Fit Riverview and showed her how to set up a spin bike. He made a point of bringing over the instructor as soon as she walked in the room and introducing her to Kerri — who wasn’t surprised when Gene asked her to be low-key about who Kerri really was.

“Not a problem,” she said. She had a brusque way about her that made Kerri think she was annoyed by the request. Then again, this was Fit Riverview. Everyone who was anyone worked out here, including people with bigger names than Kerri Voss.

Hmm, Kerri thought as she stepped up onto the bike and tried to get comfortable. The handlebars were too far away, compared to her bike at home. No brakes, no gears. Just a knob.

At least pedaling was the same.

The class had a neat ebb and flow to it, Kerri thought as she followed along. Hands here, stand there, and pedal, pedal, pedal. The room was dark and the fans maybe sort of moved the quickly-heating air around.

Biking outside was more fun — until the instructor started playing air guitar. A few of the women near the front piped up and volunteered to be backup singers. As they pedaled away, they shimmied their upper bodies, did the hand motions to the old-time Motown song.

“And Gene?” the instructor asked. “Bodyguard duty?”

“You betcha!” he called over the noise of the rap or hip-hop or whatever was just starting. Kerri wasn’t sure she could make it to the end of this song without hurting someone. Gene was on top of her list.

He caught Kerri’s eye. He winked and mimicked an air guitar.

She shook her head, unable to stay angry with him. Everyone wanted to be a rock star — everyone but her and Gene.

They knew better. They were close enough to the real things to know what it was really like. So much more than air guitar and shimmying shoulders.

Kerri envied her classmates their freedom. She closed her eyes and pedaled some more, wishing she could pedal right out of the studio and onto the street.

This was my first stab at Three Word Wednesday. And, of course, is part of the Weekend Writer’s Retreat. All these fun writing sites these days!

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