Giveaway winners announced

Thank you so much to all of you who entered the Tin Box giveaway! Between Blogger and Goodreads, we had 35 entries, which is great! Technically, that is enough entries for me to give away 2 e-copies of The Tin Box. But you guys were so great about entering and about spreading the word that I decided to do the third prize too.

The winners were randomly chosen with
 E-copies of The Tin Box: Stacia Hess and Sin Chan
Print copy of The Tin Box and e-copies of Buried Bones and Housekeeping: TT Kove

I’ll be contacting all 3 of you by email right away. Please check your email and let me know if my message doesn’t get to you.

Many thanks to all of you for your support. The Tin Box has been getting excellent reviews, so if you haven’t checked it out already, I hope you will!

You can get it at Amazon
   at Dreamspinner Press
   at All Romance Ebooks
   or any other bookseller

Inspiration Post #20: The Asylum

My newest novel, The Tin Box, takes place in the Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum. Although that institution is fictional, it was inspired by a very real place: the Insane Asylum of California at Stockton. The Stockton facility was built in 1853 and was once the largest mental hospital in California. It closed in 1996 and is now used for a variety of purposes, including a university campus.

You can see some historic images here. Here’s a recent photo of one of the main buildings:

 Here’s a side entrance to that same building:

This is the house where the superintendents lived:

Some people find the place kind of spooky. There are stories that it’s haunted. I’ve been there at night when I was almost alone (and I was once briefly locked in the morgue!), but I find it more sad than scary. The corridors are very long. This blurry photo gives a vague concept of what I mean:

There are numerous courtyards. These courtyards have trees and decorative tile, and recently patio furniture has been added. But you can still see the bars on the windows and they still seem lonely to me.

Thousands of people passed through this facility over the decades. Some had family who loved them, and some were eventually able to return home. But thousands died and were buried there. Some of the graves were marked, but many weren’t. During a construction project several years ago, bodies were accidentally exhumed. It’s impossible to know who is buried there, and where, because records were poorly kept or lost. There’s a memorial there today.

When I’ve walked the corridors in Stockton, I couldn’t help but think of how many lives were wasted–spent in misery and deprivation–because people suffered from illnesses with no effective treatments. There are still a great many problems with the way mental illness is dealt with in our society, but we’ve come a long way from the days of hopelessness.

Here are some more links on the Stockton facility:

Next week: historic treatments

I’m in a mood

I’m in a mood. Bear with me.

I received a box from Dreamspinner Press today. At first I though the postal service had managed to detour it through a war zone because it looked like this:

  Then I touched the box and realized no, not a war, a flood. The cardboard was still pretty soggy.

Fortunately, someone at DSP did a fantastic job wrapping the contents in plastic, because this is what was inside:

Yay! My print copies of The Tin Box! And they arrived unscathed.

Later today, I saw an ad for this scarf. Why bother knitting when you can just drape the entire skein of yarn around your neck?

Now can I complain about money? My older daughter began high school a little over a month ago. In that time, we’ve been asked to dole out money for 1. A tennis team trip to an amusement park, 2. A tennis uniform, 3. A tennis T-shirt, 4. A tennis servathon, 5. A choir T-shirt, 6. A yearbook, 7. A student ID card, 8. A mandatory PE uniform. For the younger kid, who’s in 5th grade, we’ve been limited thus far to a field trip, a yearbook, and a cookie dough/wrapping paper fundraiser.

We’re lucky–we can afford all this crap. But what about families that can’t?

And finally, can I vent about colleagues at the day job who get pissed off at other colleagues but won’t tell them directly, and instead expect me to act as mediator?

I feel much better now. Hey! Look at the beautiful book!

PS–Did you enter the giveaway yet? Did you catch my post over on Tali Spencer’s blog, or my interview at Garrett Leigh’s?


My newest novel (my 8th novel!) releases today!

 The Tin Box is a contemporary romance. Here’s the blurb:

William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.

William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.

I am especially proud of this book. And I fell so much in love with William and Colby that I was really sad when I’d finished writing. This was a little surprising, because William’s really not all that loveable at the beginning of the story. As Colby so tactfully points out, “We just need to work a little on your social skills. Loosen you up a little. ’Cause Will, my man, you’ve got a stick so far up your ass you must be tasting it.”

I hope you’ll fall in love too.

To celebrate, let’s do a giveaway!

  • To enter, simply leave a comment below with your email addy.
  • Follow me on Twitter (@KFieldingWrites) and/or like me on Facebook ( and those will count as extra entries (just tell me your Twitter and/or FB name in your comment here).
  • I will randomly choose a winner for a free e-copy of The Tin Box.
  • If more than 20 people enter, I’ll give away another copy.
  • If more than 50 people enter (I’m dreaming big!) I’ll also give away a print copy of The Tin Box plus an e-copy of Buried Bones plus an e-copy of my November novella release Housekeeping, all to one lucky winner. So spread the word!
  • Winner(s) will be chosen at noon PDT on September 27.

Inspiration Post #19: Omaha Beach

My novella Violet’s Present is a time travel piece about a modern Californian who makes a connection with a distant relative who died on June 6, 1944: D-Day. This is the photo that inspired the story:

I don’t know anything about this young man who died that day. But he must have had a family, and I kept thinking about how, as he lay dead on that beach, his loved ones were going about their lives in Michigan or Tennessee or Idaho, not knowing. And I also thought about the sorrow of a young man traveling so far from home, only to end up alone and face down on Omaha Beach. It’s still painful for me just to look at.

My story was also inspired by photos of the survivors. Look into the faces of these men and imagine how war changed them forever.

For more WWII heartbreak, read this letter.

Violet’s Present includes a scene that was extremely difficult to write. But one of the benefits of being a writer is that a writer can change history, at least within the confines of her story. So that’s what I did.

Next week: The asylum

Stasis now available in audiobook!

As always, I’m donating all my royalties from this trilogy to Doctors Without Borders.

Just Released – 
   Cherry Hill Publishing

Stasis – Book 1 of the Ennek Trilogy
Kim Fielding
Praesidium is the most prosperous city-state in the world, due not only to its location at the mouth of a great bay, but also to its strict laws, stringently enforced. Ordinary criminals become bond-slaves, but the Wizard places traitors in Stasis, a dreamless frozen state. Ennek is the Chief’s younger son. He has grown up without much of a purpose, a man who cannot fulfill his true desires and who skates on the edge of the law. But he is also haunted by the plight of one man, a prisoner for whom Stasis appears to be a truly horrible fate. If Ennek is to save that prisoner, he must explore Praesidium’s deepest secrets as well as his own.
Kim Fielding lives in California and travels as often as she can manage. A professor by day, at night she rushes into a phone booth to change into her author costume (which involves comfy clothes instead of Spandex and is, sadly, lacking a cape). Her superpowers include the ability to write nearly anywhere, often while simultaneously doling out homework assistance to her children. She has written numerous novels, novellas, and short stories in various genres. Her favorite word to describe herself is “eclectic” and she finally got that third tattoo.  Kim donates all of the royalties from her novels Stasis, Flux and Equipoise to Doctors Without Borders.
Robert J. Sciglimpaglia Jr. is an accomplished actor, voice over artist and practicing attorney.  As an actor, he has appeared in off-Broadway productions, and on national television in programs on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, PBS and the Bio Channel, among others. He has also appeared in several films in various roles.  As a voice actor, Robert has appeared in and voiced commercials and industrials for countless large companies, as well as the narrator of several audio books. You may best recognize Rob as the “Dad” from the Chevy commercial “Happy Grad,” which aired during the 2012 Super Bowl.
Available for the Cherrybook
Cherrybook audio titles come pre-loaded on microSD cards, which are easily inserted into a slot on the player. Loading and changing titles is as simple as popping the old card out and the new card in.
See the Cherrybook at our Online Bookstore:

Many coming attractions

Summer was a little quiet for me, release-wise (although Buried Bones came out, plus the freebies The Gig and Treasure). I’m about to make up for that quiet summer with a very busy fall! I’m really excited about all my upcoming releases. Here’s a rundown!

The Tin Box comes out September 20. You can preorder now. The blurb:

William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.

William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.

Also next week, audiobooks of my Ennek trilogy will be released. If you haven’t read the trilogy already, it’s a dark fantasy set in an alternate universe. I donate all my royalties from this trilogy to Doctors Without Borders, so if you buy, your money’s going to a great cause. The audio publisher is Cherry Hill. Print and Kindle versions will continue to be available at Amazon.

I’ll have a short story called “The Clockwork Heart” in the Steamed Up anthology. It comes out October 21 and should be available soon for preorder. The blurb:

Dante Winter makes a living repairing broken things. Socially awkward and rejected by his father over his too-fanciful work, he’s alone in the world. Dante’s life changes when he finds a badly damaged male golem, a lifelike automaton created for service and pleasure. He does his best to fix the golem, whom he names Talon, and comes to find that the creature is very human—perhaps more human than Dante. But when Talon tempts him with something more than friendship, Dante must decide whether a clockwork heart is capable of love.

In November, “Housekeeping” will release. It’s a light contemporary novella about aguy named Nicky, who loses his job, his home, and his boyfriend all in one day.

And in December, I’ll have a holiday short called “Alaska”. It’s part of Dreamspinner Press’s holiday package, which means you can buy the whole thing and get a story a day in December, or buy my story by itself. “Alaska” is a fairly angsty contemporary.

Will that be enough to keep us busy for a while?

Inspiration Post #18: L’Angelo

In my novel Venetian Masks, Jeff spends some time sightseeing in Venice. I was lucky enough to spend a week in Venice a couple of years ago. Despite the vast number of tourists, it’s a beautiful city, unlike any other place in the world. It’s full of unique pleasures: getting lost (but never too lost), riding the vaporetto, listening to the gondoliers’ calls.

One place I enjoyed visiting in Venice was the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Because if you are fabulously wealthy and have a lot of amazing artist friends, you can buy a villa on the Grand Canal and fill it with 20th century masterpieces. Jeff visits there too.

One of the pieces of art that catches Jeff’s eye is a statue by Marino Marini, entitled L’angelo della città (The Angel of the City). Interestingly, the piece was meant to reflect the artist’s despair (read here). I think that guy on the horse looks pretty happy, actually.

 I’d sort of love to own a sculpture like this. It’d look great in my front yard. My 11-year-old daughter was too embarrassed to even look at it, while my 8-year-old didn’t care because she was too preoccupied with wanting to sit on the throne.

Next week: D-Day

Please welcome Posy Roberts!

It’s common to have moments in life when you ponder, “What if I had a second chance with (insert name here)?” Not that I truly want one because I’m happily married. But thoughts like that sometimes spontaneously come after looking old photos or yearbooks. I’ve thought about that friend in college with the gorgeous red hair and blue eyes that I never took the chance to kiss when I should have.
Sometimes people fall in love at the wrong time. It’s like all the stars align but in three weeks you’re leaving to tour the world or moving across the country. Or maybe you were too young to settle down for the rest of your life and felt you needed to go out and explore. Or go to college. Or like me with that gorgeous redhead, at the time I was dating the man I thought I was going to marry.
Those feelings of “What if?” are what inspired Spark, book one of my North Star Trilogy. Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus were deeply in love in high school, but then they both left for college. The inevitable happened and they lost contact. Years later they meet on a random lake two hours from where they both actually live and they still feel that intense attraction years later. It’s also at a time that both are free to date. Hugo has been single for a year, and Kevin asked his wife for a divorce eleven months prior.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 4 of Sparkjust as Hugo and Kevin are reunited. You can read Chapter 1 here 
Kevin laughed deep and warm in his chest and stopped walking, pulling Hugo to a stop with him. “God, Hugo. I missed you. You always did know what to say to make me feel better. How the heck did we ever lose track of each other after everything we discovered together?”
Hugo shrugged, not knowing how to answer after their gradual drift from talking on a regular basis during their first month in college to nothing by the time winter break came. Hugo’s mom and sister had moved to the Twin Cities mere months after Hugo left for college, and that certainly hadn’t helped matters. But it was more, he realized.
“We just had different lives, I think,” Hugo said with a shrug. “We went our separate ways after I said good-bye to you in your driveway.”
“I still regret not kissing you that day. I should have just said ‘screw it’ and kissed you like I wanted to, even if my dad was right there.”
Hugo looked up the few inches to meet Kevin’s gray eyes and tried to smile, but it probably came across more as sadness than a smile. He couldn’t believe Kevin still thought of that day too. He wondered if Kevin’s mind ever drifted to the kiss in the wooded meadow when he was bored in a meeting or like Hugo’s had that very afternoon in the car. Slowly, he felt the corner of his mouth turn into something akin to flirty, and he asked, “Oh?”
“Yes,” Kevin said as his warm thumb trailed across Hugo’s jaw toward his chin. “I’ve thought about that day a lot, about our last kiss and how I wish it never would’ve ended. Damn the rain. Would you mind if I showed you how I’ve always imagined that moment in the driveway would’ve happened? Or are you with someone?”
“No. I mean, yes, you can show me,” Hugo stammered, his heart beating hard against his chest.
Kevin’s smile lit up his face, and he looked so young just then, the careworn lines that had appeared between his brows while talking about his father smoothing.
“Okay, so maybe this isn’t exactly like I would have said things back then, but this is how I wish I would’ve done it. Ready?”
Hugo nodded and licked his lips, drawing Kevin’s attention to his mouth.
“So pretend we’re standing next to my open trunk,” Kevin directed as he led Hugo near the tail end of a car parked in a driveway close to the roadside. Kevin tilted his head left and right, shaking his hands out loosely next to his body as if trying to get into character.
“Hugo,” he started, somehow pulling youthful nervousness into his voice, “we should plan on getting together in a few weeks.”
“Sure,” Hugo answered, ready to play along with the conversation he barely remembered. He recalled the feelings he’d had, though: excitement about leaving Austin but sadness about leaving Kevin. “I can get a ride down to St. Peter, or you can come up to Minneapolis. It’s not that far.”
That drive never ended up happening for either of them because Hugo auditioned for a play in the U’s theater department and got a lead role as a freshman, something unheard of. He had no time to get together on weekends because he had homework to do and lines to memorize and blocking to learn and sets to help build.
“Seventy miles or so.”
That’s where Hugo vaguely remembered Kevin’s dad clapping his big hands and telling Kevin he’d better hit the road. Now there was just the sound of far-off waves and traffic from the highway on the other side of the trees peppered with exploding fireworks.
“I’d love that,” Hugo said, regretful he hadn’t taken the time to find a ride and just go. “I’ll make it happen,” he promised, and he wished he’d kept it.
Kevin looked at Hugo with such intensity; even in the darkness surrounding them, Hugo could see how blown Kevin’s pupils were.
“It’ll happen this time,” Kevin whispered against Hugo’s mouth, lazily closing his eyes as he spoke.
Hugo tasted Kevin’s breath on his tongue, remembering it, even with the faint scent of lemon lingering. A silvery thread of his memory seemed to actually weave this moment to the moments in his past, pushing Hugo back into that world, filling him with all those emotions he had for Kevin when they were just boys. Kevin was the only man Hugo had really and truly been in love with. He was the ruler every single boyfriend since had to unwittingly measure himself against. And none, not a single one, had ever gotten anywhere near.
Hugo took in a quick breath and pushed forward, capturing Kevin’s mouth with his own as his fingers threaded through thick blond waves and shorter razor-cut strands; his hands landed on Kevin’s neck. Hugo thumbed over Kevin’s ears, allowing the pads of his fingers to tease the fine hair along his earlobes.
They fused their mouths, opening and closing with lips caressing, teeth nipping, and tongues pushing against each other in an attempt to taste the familiarity that was new again.
Kevin trailed his hands down Hugo’s back, kneading his fingers against Hugo’s ass once he got there, then pulling them closer. Hugo felt Kevin starting to firm up beneath the thin material of his shorts, and he wanted so badly to thrust. He barely restrained himself.
They stood on a darkened road and kissed how they both wished they would have years ago, giving to each other more than they took away. But by doing it that way, Hugo felt more content than he had in years.
“Come back to my place?” Kevin panted against Hugo’s temple. “Please, Hugh?”
Hugo nodded as he tried to catch his breath and then nodded again.
Incidentally, I got to write about that redhead in my trilogy. She’s Erin, Kevin’s wife. So even if I didn’t get to kiss her in real life, I got to write about how intelligent, kind, and beautiful she was to me. That’s as close to a second chance I’ll ever get with her, but the nice thing about writing her into fiction is that I won’t be disappointed by reality. Thankfully, Kevin and Hugo weren’t disappointed with each other.

In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.
By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children. 
When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.
 Posy Roberts lives in the land of 10,000 lakes (plus a few thousand more). But even with more shoreline than California, Florida, and Hawaii combined, Minnesota has snow—lots of it—and the six months of winter makes us “hearty folk,” or so the locals say. The rest of the year is heat and humidity with a little bit of cool weather we call spring and autumn, which lasts about a week.
She loves a clean house, even if she can’t keep up with her daughter’s messes, and prefers foods that are enriched with meat, noodles, and cheese, or as we call it in Minnesota, hotdish. She also loves people, even though she has to spend considerable amounts of time away from them after helping to solve their interpersonal problems at her day job.
Posy is married to a wonderful man who makes sure she eats while she documents the lives of her characters. She also has a remarkable daughter who helps her come up with character names. When she’s not writing, she enjoys karaoke, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.

Inspiration Post #17: Old photos

I’ve always loved going through old family photos. That’s what inspired my story Violet’s Present, in which the photo of a long-gone relative quite literally sends Matt back in time.

Because photos can send us back, can’t they? Like this one of me, circa 1983:

I remember that shirt. It was stylin’. I remember sitting at the kitchen table reading the Sunday paper–something I rarely have time for nowadays.

From the same era:

That’s me, all dolled up for shudder my first job. I can still remember the smell of hot grease in polyester.

This one’s only about 11 years old. I possess 10,000 pictures of my older daughter smiling like this. Nowadays she hides her face or scowls. I remember too, how much she loved those Snow White shoes. She wanted to wear them everywhere and she was devastated when she outgrew them.

Photos can take us to times and places we’ve never been, like this one:

That’s my husband, long before I met him.

And these next two go way back, because this is my grandmother. That means the one on the left is nearly 100 years old.

And here’s my dad, who was adorable.

Old photos are so much fun!

Next week: L’Angelo