Category Archives: Fictional Characters

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.


Trevor’s Word of the Moment



All you guys who haven’t bought my book yet. Feel free to fix that.

Digital (that’s an e-book, you deadbeat. Any fucking format your heart desires.)
or from Susan, who’ll only charge you like nineteen bucks if you’re in the States or Canada, which is cheaper than Lulu’s got it for. (Amazon ain’t got it yet. Deadbeat.) AND Susan will throw in an autograph for you. Hers? Mine? Order my book and see for yourself.


ShapeShifter Fiction: The Tragedy of Sonny Levy


Mitchell walked into the catering room and tossed the magazine on the table in front of Daniel.

The drummer paused, a burger halfway to his mouth. “What’s this?”

Mitchell chuckled. “Just read it. Wait ’till you’re done or you’ll wind up with dinner all over it, though.”

“I’m warned?”

“You’re warned.”

Daniel watched Mitchell walk over to the catering buffet and start dictating to the staff. When it came to his food, this wasn’t entirely Mitchell being a dick for the sake of being a dick. The guy really did want his burger fresh off the grill and the bun lightly toasted. The only reason no one mutinied and told him to suck it up was because he’d wait while they cooked it properly. He never complained, even on the nights when it took longer than it should have.

Shaking his head at Mitchell’s quirks, Daniel turned the magazine so it was right-side up. The cover story had been written by their buddy Kermit Ladd, the world’s most pretentious reporter. The guy lived to inject himself into the story.

The victim this time had been Sonny Levy. No real surprise there; the guy was hot stuff. Everyone wanted a piece of him — and the guy was responding. Not in the usual way, sucking up to the press and declaring them to be his new best friends. Nope. Sonny was the latest guy on the fast-track to burning out before he got another day older. In short, Sonny was an OD waiting to happen.

Daniel looked the article over.

“Your ever-inquisitive intrepid reporter, Kermit Ladd, was brave enough to face the hassle that getting near Sonny Levy has become. He’s been a wealth of gossip of late, and that meant there was only one man up to sorting through it all.”

Daniel rolled his eyes. Yeah, it was typical Kermit. That was the problem: he was tired of seeing it. It was old-hat by now and boring as shit.

Until it got good, mid-way down the first column. “Watching Levy on stage makes one realize the man’s pain is there for the world to see. And what pain it is. The man is clearly so deeply in the closet, he suffers the delusion that his fans can’t see it. If it were up to Sonny Levy, there would be belief around the world that no gay man moves the way he does. Not to mention the crocheted shawls he likes to wrap around himself.

“Any human being who needs to keep himself this far into the closet would wind up an addict. There is not an addiction expert on the planet who would disagree with yours truly.”

Shaking his head, Daniel closed the magazine. Mitchell hadn’t been kidding; it was worthy of spewing dinner on — although Daniel wasn’t sure if it would be disgust or utter amusement. Kermit was reaching on this one. He’d be lucky if Sonny Levy’s people didn’t sue him for it.

He mentioned that to Mitchell, who brought his plate over. It was piled high with potato chips, so many that the burger was buried. He, of course, had a second plate piled equally as high with salad, probably tossed fresh while he waited for the burger to cook. And between his fingers, dangling precariously, was a bottle of Italian salad dressing.

“Better he’s fucking up with Sonny than us. Fucker may not even notice what Kermit wrote. If it was us…” Mitchell shook his head and swished some of the potato chips out of his way. “He wouldn’t write his mom a letter ever again.”

“Think there’s any truth to it?” Daniel asked, holding his breath. He knew the answer. Of course he did. The whole world did.

“Absolutely,” Mitchell said and took a bite of his burger.

Daniel wasn’t sure which was the bigger tragedy. That Sonny was such a mess, or that Kermit had grown some balls and decided to share that mess with the world.

Some Three Word Wednesday fun for you, that’s also linked up at the Weekend Writer’s Retreat. And, hey! Kermit is always for himself, so that fits the Sunday Scribbling prompt, too! I’ve been busy with the kids so far this summer and have written next to nothing. Have no fear, though, what time I DO have despite those rugrats is being spent on Trevor’s Song. News of that to come as soon as I get a moment to breathe. Ahh, if they’d only put Wi-Fi in at the pool!


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!


DMH Fiction: Injustice


It’s been awhile since we had a visit from the Deadly Metal Hatchet guys, and even then, this barely qualifies. It’s a tale that came to me and asked to be told. So here it is.

“Foz-zee!” Mark said, standing up and leaning over the counter so it’d be easier for Fozzy to try to slap his hand. The guy didn’t need the beer he’d come in here to buy; he already walked with a lurch, thanks to that stupid-assed way his dad had laid down that bike. Mark thought it had been a waste of a good bike. And a damn stupid way to try to off yourself.

“Doooood,” Fozzy crowed back, stopping in front of the counter and making sure he was anchored before going off-balance for the hand slap. “How’s it hangin?”

Mark adjusted the waistband of his jeans. “Loose, man. Got some good air flow happening today.”
He nodded, trying to look like he had it all going on. Fozzy couldn’t deal if a guy started telling him how his girl had walked out the other night, how blue his balls were, or how sucky his pay at this pissant job.

He looked past Fozzy, who was nodding and looking for all the world like he was trying to figure out what to say next. She was there again. The little girl with the dirty brown hair and the too-small t-shirt and those long, skinny legs. She must’ve been about seven. And she was always alone.

“Hey, little girl,” he said, gesturing to her. He eyed the security screens he’d made Hans put in when the beer had been cleaned out the third time, right under their noses. He wasn’t supposed to leave the counter, no matter why. But it was just him, Fozzy, and the girl in the store.

He knew what the girl was up to. He didn’t know how she pulled it off, not with that tight t-shirt and those shorts that had once been knee-length. But she managed to walk out of the convenience store every few days with something pretty significant. A loaf of bread. Peanut butter. Paper towels.

She looked over her shoulder at Mark and Fozzy, her eyes wide, her mouth open a bit. Mark figured she’d grow up to be a looker. If she got a chance to grow up.

“Man, isn’t she a little young?” Fozzy asked, leaning close so he could speak softly.

Mark pressed his lips together and shook his head slightly. The little girl turned back to the shelf.
She was eyeing the Cheetos.

He had Cheetos in the lunch box he’d filled before his shift started. The only way to get through some of these shifts at this shitty job was to eat. Otherwise, you’d fall asleep, or do something dumb like take some funny money, or give someone change for a twenty when they handed you a five. Of course, they’d never fess up. They always got that same smile, like they had a secret, and they’d fold up the cash and slide it into a pocket, even when they still had their wallet in their hand.

“You hungry?” he asked the little girl.

She looked at him again, her big eyes bigger. She bit her lower lip and nodded slowly.

Fozzy shifted his weight and scuffed his feet. Then he started rubbing at his arms.

Mark understood. Hungry little kids weren’t supposed to happen. Not where they lived, even though where they lived wasn’t exactly Hollywood or some other place where the rich people flocked.
But here she was. A couple of times a week.

Fozzy took off for the cooler the beer was in. Mark hadn’t expected him to stay as long as he had.

“You can’t keep coming in here and taking food, you know. My boss makes me pay for it.”

She didn’t answer. She just kept staring, half-turned like a spring that was all wound up and waiting for the release, so she could shoot across the room.

Fozzy paused, the door to the cooler propped against his bad shoulder.

No one moved for the longest minute, then Fozzy closed the cooler. “For real?”

Mark nodded. “Anything comes up short on my watch, I have to pay for.”

“How do they know?”

He shrugged. “They do. Somehow.”

Fozzy looked at the little girl and then at Mark. He frowned.

Mark wanted to groan. This was probably part of her act. Make ’em pity you and they’ll cough up the cash. She’d probably deliver it to her old man and he’d spend it on booze while she went hungry…

Fozzy left the store without his beer. The little girl followed. Mark let his eyes linger on the shelves.
Everything seemed to be there.

Except his self-respect.

Be sure to stop by the Weekend Writer’s Retreat for other great fiction being posted online!


Thursday Thirteen: Favorite Trevor Moments


You guys miss the nut cases in my fictional band, ShapeShifter? Me, too.

Here’s some moments you might have missed. (and yes, I’m playing with words again. It’s what I do. Go figure.)

1. A Saturday Afternoon Trevorism

2. A Trevorism

3. A Scene I hated to cut

4. Another one I hated to cut.

5. And a third, but a paragraph this time.

6. Some of Trevor’s favorite foods

7. One of Trevor’s Favorite Comebacks

8. This Moment with Trevor was in response to a video in which I’d supposedly appeared.

9. You can meet and greet Trevor as part of the first life of Thursday Thirteen.

10. Another Thirteen list about our boy.

11. Trevor? Sappy? Valentine’s Day?

12. More Thirteen fun! Trevor’s favorite perks of being in ShapeShifter.

13. And a final thirteen, where Kermit Ladd makes his debut on the blog and the boys school him.

If you’re a link clicker, have fun looking around. Comments on all posts should still be open, so feel free to leave some! I live for comments — what blogger doesn’t?


Roadie Poet: Not a Poet


Welcome to you who are stopping in to celebrate National Poetry Month with Serena at Savvy Verse and Wit. Since many of you are first-timers here at The Meet and Greet, let me tell you a bit about what’s going on.

I’m Susan Helene Gottfried, author of a couple of books that you might like, and — more importantly today — the creator of a fictional poet who hangs out on these blog pages. We call him RP, or Roadie Poet — yes, he’s a member of a rock band’s road crew (thus, the roadie part of his name) who happens to report his adventures in free verse. Here’s his latest adventure.

Pettr the sound guy
walked up to me.
Asked how I was

I stared at him.
Birthday’s not yet.
Tour’s not ending.
Nothing to celebrate
with me
and More.
We’re still feeling each other out
Just dating.

“National poetry month,”
Pettr said.
“Seeing as you write poetry
and all.”

I told him
I don’t

I tell stories.

He nodded.
Like he didn’t believe me.
Clapped me on the shoulder
And walked away.

I wanted to go after him
Show him what I write.
It’s not poetry.
Nothing rhymes.
There’s no rhythm.


It’s not poetry.

It’s not.


Kermit Ladd: Snooping


It has become such a burning question that even seemingly innocent Internet sites are now speculating on the topic. While many question the need for this to be a topic of discussion, there seem to be an equal amount who need to find the answer to this glimpse behind the scenes of one of the biggest bands: what’s on ShapeShifter’s catering rider?

Before embarking on the dangerous mission of sneaking into a backstage room prohibited to men wearing certain sticky passes on the fronts of their silk shirts, Kermit Ladd, your intrepid reporter of the day, sought guesses, speculations, and hypotheses from the many ShapeShifter fans littering the landscape. He was mightily entertained and often would chuckle as he set about, discovering the ultimate truth about what ShapeShifter eats.

The adventure began with a knock at a side door of the Great Energy Center, where a black-clothed young man with short hair and a spider tattooed onto his neck allowed access for your secret snoop. Credentials were presented, a business card handed over — and quickly, carelessly deposited on the floor by the guard’s booth with a practiced flick of the fingers — and the sticky pass affixed to the reporter’s shirt despite the presence of the lanyard and a proferred hole-punch to allow for fast attaching.

Luck was on this reporter’s side, as a quick but whispered discussion between the man with the spider tattoo and a burly, bearded man, who also wore a black t-shirt and who held a clipboard, resulted in Mr. Spider escorting yours truly to the last room expectation had thought possible: the catering room.

It’s not much of a room. Not to look at it. Half a dozen round tables are set up, each with a white cloth covering. There are no centerpieces. Eight folding card table chairs are tucked under the lips of the tables, unfolded and ready to hold up the vaunted stars and their most important of guests.
At the back of the room sits two eight-foot rectangular tables. They also wear the white cloths. Anchoring them are seven chafing dishes, lids askew, heating element absent. It must be too early for food, although the far right end of the table holds a bus tray filled with ice. From the table in front of which all reporters seem to be placed — as there are two others sharing space with yours truly — nothing can be discerned. Getting up seems to be against the rules of etiquette.

When the band members reveal their determination to keep the press waiting, your intrepid reporter decides to break those unspoken rules. Perhaps the rules have been broken already, when a sticky pass was affixed to the front of a silk shirt.

The food, a gentle inquiry reveals, will come later. Some pasta, two broiled fillets of fish. Hamburgs will be brought directly in from the caterer’s grill and placed directly on the band member’s plates; no warming tray needed. Broccoli and cauliflower will be steamed and some seasoned zucchini will be stirred in. A rice dish will also be added, for variety. Dessert will be served after the show.

At this point, the caterer smiled like she was about to share a big secret. Kermit Ladd leaned in to hear what she had to say. Big secrets are why intrepid reporters prepare themselves to sneak into catering rooms.

“They love ice cream sandwiches right as they get into the dressing room. I stand right outside their dressing room door and hand them over as they walk past.”

Any other secrets?

“Serving key lime pie will get you fired.”

While this hasn’t been the most revealing investigative reporting ever done by this particular intrepid reporter, the most ardent ShapeShifter fans ought to be pleased with a hard day’s work.
Perhaps best was the discovery that the dry cleaner could save Kermit’s favorite tan shirt. It shall live to go backstage another day.

Not only did I link to this week’s Sunday Scribblings above, but I found a new place to link up your fiction, too. It’s called Weekend Writer’s Retreat. I have high hopes for the future of this new meme. Come join us!


Trevor Fiction: Fluent (The Early Days)


Mitchell was supposed to be out of the room. He was supposed to be off doing interviews and making nice to the press. That meant Trevor had a private spot to bring this blonde back to. He was in a private sort of mood.

Or he thought he had a private spot until, blonde under one arm and hotel room key in the other hand, the noise of Mitchell’s thundering stopped them. From the sound of the big idiot, he had a full head of steam on. Hardly a time to bring a girl into the room.

The blonde shrank under Trevor’s arm. Not that Trevor blamed her; Mitchell had shifted shape into the dragon, and no one with sense wanted to be near him when he got like that. Not even Trevor.

“Did you fucking hear me?” Mitchell snarled at whoever he was talking to.

Trevor turned his blonde so she faced him. He kissed her forehead. “Go wait for me in the bar. I’ll detonate the asshole here.”

There was something almost relieved in her nod. Trevor told himself to take a better look at her so he’d recognize her again — soft nose, blue shirt, black heeled boots. Girls got pissy when you forgot who they were and wound up with someone else. You heard about it later on, and that was the sort of shit Trevor didn’t need. Ever.

Neither was this scene with Mitchell, but what the fuck. It wasn’t like he had much choice.

He dawdled, watching his blonde speedwalk toward the elevator. If Mitchell had permanently fucked this up for him, he thought, the asshole was going to spend an awful lot of time in the near future dealing with whatever had him so royally pissed.

He took a deep breath and pushed into the room. Acting casual and uncaring took some effort in the face of the tornado.

Mitchell was a tornado, all right. Pacing around the room, raking a hand through his hair, so red in the face, you’d think he was covered in the stripped-off paint from some barn.

“I don’t fucking care,” he snarled some more. “No more college twits.” He spoke each word slowly, precisely. His pissiness came off him in waves. They hit Trevor square in the face, making him want to blink it away.

“JR,” Mitchell said as Trevor flopped onto one of the two double beds in their shared hotel room, landing on his elbows and crossing his motorcycle boots at the ankle. It was his best approximation of Mitchell Cool.

Mitchell didn’t even fucking notice. “Stop fucking talking long enough to fucking listen to me, will you? I don’t give a shit how important promoting the band is. Answering questions about what sort of pasta I’d be, or what I’m fluent in, or any of that other wanna-be intellectual shit is not going to keep up. Got it?”

Trevor frowned and rolled onto his left elbow, freeing up his right hand so he could grab a cigarette. He didn’t blame the big idiot. Not this time, anyway.

What sort of pasta would he be? Oh, shit, that was a loaded question.

With another snarl and a growl that made the hair on the back of Trevor’s neck stand up, Mitchell slammed the phone down. “Fucking A!”

“I don’t think her name started with an A,” Trevor said as blandly as he could. “But,” he said and perched the cigarette on the corner of his lip, “I didn’t exactly get the time to find out, ifyouknowwhatImean.”

Mitchell stared at him, mouth slightly slack. After a long second, his lips started to work, but it was like all the sound had disappeared with the end of the phone call.

“So,” Trevor said, trying to stay cool even as he bunched up his muscles and got ready to dive for the floor, “what are you fluent in?”

“Rock and roll, fuckhead,” Mitchell said, slightly calmer somehow. The return of his voice must’ve brought some peace with it.

Trevor nodded, not sure if he was relieved Mitchell wasn’t getting violent on his ass. “Good answer.”

“I thought so.”

“I was going to be fluent in a blonde until I found your hairy ass here.”

“Oh,” Mitchell said and sat on the edge of the other bed as if his legs had just given out from under him. “Well, go get her, then. I’ve got to go deal with another fucking college kid. One question about pasta and I’m fucking history.”

“You’re not fluent in pasta?”

“No fucking way,” Mitchell said. He actually cracked a smile. “I’m fluent in rock and roll, remember?”

“There’s hope for you yet,” Trevor said and got off the bed, hoping he’d shortly be fluent in a blonde in a blue shirt.

Hmm. I think I’ll have to wait for Demo Tapes: Year 4 to make this really zing. As it is, today’s Monday and I wrote this for this week’s SUNDAY scribbling prompt. Guess that’s your incentive to keep supporting the Demo Tapes project, huh?


ByLine: Chelle La Fleur — Metal as Religion


Now, Chelle here’s all about dreamin’ big. How else do you think a girl like me got this here job at this here Trumpet? You think they hire any old fattie who don’t even own a pen?

Yeah, that’s right. Chelle dreamed big and found a way to make it happen. And now she writes these here columns, and the Trumpet makes sure them columns get into the paper so you can spend your precious money just to read what Chelle’s gotta say.

Chelle’s got a doozy for you today, boys and girls. Seems those goofs over in Europe are at it again. I swear, have you ever seen a crazier bunch of music lovers than the Europeans? They put us over here to shame. To shame. Ya hear Chelle on this one? We gotta do better. We just do.

But we ain’t gotta do it this way. Nope. Know why? ‘Cause this latest one makes them music fans over in Europe sound like they off their rockers. Maybe they are. Chelle here’s gonna let you all decide.

Seems there’s a couple-a groups now who think the best way to show their metal sides is to make heavy metal a religion. A real religion. One recognized by governments and all that.

Now, you and me, we know that metal’s already a religion. There’s rules you gotta follow or you don’t fit in. There’s dogma that makes no sense, like why jerks gotta kick the cool outta mosh pits. There’s guilt if you don’t follow them pit rules, even that stupid one that lets the jerks run the joint. I heard talk of makin’ a sacred text, full of … song lyrics, maybe. I s’pose if the Psalms fillin’ up the Bible at the church Chelle used to go to is poetry, so’s song lyrics. Wasn’t them Psalms songs once upon a time?

What Chelle don’t see there bein’ is a sacred being in this new religion of ours. Who’s it gonna be? My honey Mitchell Voss? The old-school but still rockin’ Sammy Spencer? Maybe the very dead Soul Bendorff? And what sort of teachin’ is this sacred being gonna spread? And how’s we all supposed to follow one person, when metal’s so big already? Them death heads ain’t gonna wanna follow someone like my honey. And that cutie of Chelle’s would laugh at some of them black metal types. In their faces laugh. Chelle knows. She’s seen him do it.

Chelle here ain’t the brightest bulb. She knows that. She cool with it. That don’t mean she can’t see issues with this here idea.

You heard it first and you heard it here: Metal’s way too personal to ever fill a bunch of pews and make people sit all proper like. Metal’s for rockin’.

So go rock on and leave the religion for the rest of ’em.

Be sure to see what other people are Sunday Scribblings about. This week’s prompt was Big Dream.


Roadie Poet: Pretzels


It took some planning
but I got a Valentine’s Day present
For More.

A new Sharpie.
A beaded lanyard she’ll dig.
And a

I taped the Sharpie
onto the lanyard for her.
Gave it to her that way.

She looked it over.
Said it was cool.

Looked sorta sad.

I handed over the bag

She squealed and hugged
the pretzels.

she hugged me.


Okay, I thought.
I’d hoped for better.
but it seems

I’ve lost my girl
to a bag


Mitchell Fiction: Message Received


“Here’s some mail and some messages that arrived for you, Mr. Vreyman,” the woman at the hotel counter said, handing over a pile that had to be at least two inches thick.

Mitchell tried not to groan at the sight of it. As he swiped the key card off the counter, he turned away and started reading the top page, a fax from JR.

“Oh, and a package!” the counter woman said, freezing Mitchell mid-stride.

Before he could react, Charlie lunged for it. “I’ll take that,” he said, snatching it away before Mitchell could see it. “Expecting anything?” The tour manager said.

Mitchell tried to read the label on it. “Just let me look for a second.”

“Sorry. If you’re not expecting it…”

Mitchell growled. So fucking what if this was JR’s new safety rule? It was entirely possible that Amy or Ma had sent this and forgotten to tell him to expect it. And if Kerri had sent it to surprise him, she’d have sent it directly to Charlie. His hotel sign-in name made her giggle. He kind of liked it: E. Vreyman.

Best of all, none of the band’s fans had figured it out.

Charlie wound up in the elevator with him, but Mitchell began sorting through the shit that had been waiting for him. All band business: from JR, their manager, from the record label, from the publicists. It was probably going to mean the rest of the day spent with Daniel, who was probably already in his room, making his own sense of the same exact shit.

He’d been in his room for three minutes when Charlie knocked at the door and handed the box to him. Didn’t even come in the room, just stuck his arm in and said, “My mistake. This was expected.”

Mitchell grunted at him, knowing the guy would freak if he heard anything more, and closed the door. The box wasn’t big; it sat right on his palm. It hung over the sides but didn’t make it to the tips of his fingers. It was a perfect cube.

Mitchell smiled at it. Only Kerri would find this sort of box.

He shoved the papers aside and sat on the edge of the bed to open the box and see what she’d sent.

It made no sense. She’d sent him a bottle opener.

He lifted it out of the packing peanuts and stared at it. It sat on his palm the same way the box had, only it was smaller. Seemed to weigh more now that it’d been freed from its package.

A bottle opener.

He didn’t get it. He rarely drank beer that still had the tops on when it was handed to him — and that assumed it was even still in the bottle. He hadn’t gotten used to the way people fell over themselves to open a stupid bottle of beer for him. Like he was incapable now that the band was big.

It made as much sense as the bottle opener.

Except, suddenly, the bottle opener made perfect sense.

Mitchell grinned. He couldn’t help it.

He stretched out on the bed, pulled a pillow out from under the ugly comforter, and got lost in the plans of what exactly they were going to do to each other when she showed up in a day or two.

When the knock sounded on the door, he laughed. He hadn’t realized he’d been expecting it. Or the gorgeous redhead who was on the other side, holding a stack of extra towels and a bottle of schnapps.

Lots more Sunday Scribblings for you, and lots of messages inside those scribblings. Go knock yourself out.

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