Monday, April 2, 2018

Cover Reveal Blitz: Plummet To Soar by Z.A. Maxfield



A brand new story from Best-selling author Z.A. Maxfield!



Plummet To Soar
by Z.A. Maxfield

Blurb:

Feckless, luckless, and charming, Mackenzie Detweiler is the author of a self-help book one reviewer calls “the most misbegotten motivational tool since Mein Kampf.” He’s maneuvered himself into a career as a life coach, but more often than not, his advice is bad. Really bad.

It’s even getting people hurt… and Mackenzie sued.

It falls to Mackenzie’s long-suffering editor, JD Chambers, to deliver the bad news. He chooses to do so face-to-face—to see if the spark he senses between them is real when they’re together in the flesh. Unfortunately, a snowstorm, a case of nerves, a case of mistaken identity, and finally a murder get in the way of a potential enemies-to-lovers romance.

There are many, many people who have good reason to want Mackenzie dead. JD must find out which one is acting on it before it’s too late for both of them.



Release Date:
May 8, 2018


Available for pre-order at

Also available to pre-order paperback!


Excerpt


Mackenzie Detweiler lived between the throw of a die and the outcome. He gave no fucks for things in the rearview. He gave no thought to anything occurring too far in front of his car.

He had three loves—to eat, to surf, and to screw.

Except for the single, remarkable day when he fell out of a helicopter—and lived—no one would have heard of him. He’d had a lot of days, so he didn’t take that one too seriously. He often wondered why other people did.
Only one person mattered to Mackenzie Detweiler anymore. Only one person could cause him to glance back. He knew what happened to people who did that.... Nevertheless he checked his new phone a third time. Useless. It had been weeks. He should give up on JD, but that wasn’t in him. He’d blamed losing his phone in Indonesia, but he’d gotten a new one and... nothing. Maybe the phone problem was JD’s? He was hopeless with electronics. It was as though they saw him coming and died on purpose. Elevators, escalators, cell phones, garage door openers, even his sonic toothbrush fucked with him on occasion.
He swallowed back disappointment and resentment and bitter despair because those things weren’t relevant to the situation at hand, and they didn’t build on his brand in a positive way.
The least that could be said of him was he showed up when people paid him to, even when things had gone horribly wrong, even when half his plummeteers were unable to join him due to freak weather.
So far, there were five people beside him. The airport was closed for the duration of the blizzard. Except for their party, the resort was closed. Only a skeleton staff remained, solely to service his group if anyone showed. He knew that would be the case before he landed in Los Angeles and changed planes, but he had to try.
All plummet events required his full participation, no matter what. They were rife with inconveniences. This time it was the weather. His late arrival made things worse. But each and every time he did one, he came away with new resilience. Pretty soon people would catch on and start charging him.
The weather was unlikely to get better. Whiteout conditions were imminent. Seconds counted. There was only one taxi and— like a word problem in math—it could only take a certain number of passengers at a time.
But Mac liked snow and people. There was a bar, and the bro- tender kept drinks coming despite the airport closure. Guests who didn’t understand in the beginning what a plummet really was—well, they’d know by the end.
A plummet simply is. Whatever happens, happens. And that’s okay.
Mac put on his brightest smile and prepared to love his tribe harder than usual, because he had a feeling—based on spending the last hour drinking with the plummeteers who arrived early—this particular brohort could use it.
Mac showed up ready to give everything he had.
As it turns out, that’s the only important thing. #Spoilers.
Plummets had rules. Mac didn’t allow the exchange of names before a plummet officially began. He had a habit of nicknaming his students, and those usually stuck anyway. In his head, even if they never came out of his mouth.
He normally started with a talk about name meanings and such, but it was mostly because he wanted to form opinions without names getting in the way.
If, for example, Mom’s name were Ilene, he’d end up with all the Ilenes he knew in his head and not actually her. A name gave a person baggage. It could create false impressions.
An Imprudent Prudence. An Impatient Patience.
Calling the woman Mom kept her in a nice safe box until he knew who he was talking to. Wait—
If he thought about putting people in boxes, that itself was problematic. How had he never seen that before? And wasn’t that exactly how these things always went? There were breath-stealing new patterns to observe—and he’d probably have to act on them too, goddammit—every time he stopped to looked around.
The youngest guy at their table—about nineteen, Mac thought—hunched over his food. Pretty and dark, wearing all-black clothing unsuited to the weather, except maybe to facilitate finding his frozen corpse in the snow, he hadn’t spoken a word since he arrived. Sharp straight nose, sharp cheekbones. A guy could cut himself on the boy’s eyebrows alone. They looked like the Patriots’ logo, except made of hair.
Pretty boy. Too quiet, though. As Mac watched, thoughts seemed to surge into the dude’s consciousness. His eyes would light up, he’d look for an opening, and then someone else would speak.
Usually it was the man in the high-tech parka and gloves—the one with the broken leg and the unexpected gray eyes. He’d been holding forth for some time, talking about the book, Plummet to Soar, and about actual philosophers—Nietzsche, Hegel, and Kant. And he talked about how he was hoping he would find what he was looking for and how really problematic it was going to be for him if he didn’t.
Oh, great. A wannabe convert. Those were the absolute worst.
Mac got especially concerned when he said something and people twisted it to mean something else, and the converts did that all the time. Since Mac’s entire body of work was his actual body, his philosophy was all theoretical. Mac had no idea what he was putting out there. And he knew who the bona fide philosophers were—he’d read a whole lot of them—but he didn’t much care for the kind of comparisons this dude was making.
Or when they expected his philosophical system or whatnot to make sense.
“’Kay, guys.” He tried to slow them down. “This weekend— these plummets—are supposed to be organic. They’re supposed to be raw and intuitive.”
“That sounds like you’re saying the events are unplanned.” Gray eyes pinned him like a cat sighting a particularly juicy mouse.
“Nah, man.” Sit, Raleigh. Gray Eyes was totally someone who’d sit if you said, “Sit, Raleigh.”
Aw.... Mac got angry at himself for putting people in boxes again. How hard is it to change a habit, huh?
He told the man, “You’re supposed to come prepared to be surprised by your questions. Appalled by some of your answers. You come ready to work if those answers aren’t what you expect from yourself.”
The kid tried to speak, and he got cut off again.
 “If you say so.” Sit, Raleigh’s gaze fell back to his drink. “I was hoping there’d be a little more structure, is all.”
The sweet, hesitant spark animating Quiet Kid died out. The moment was lost. It was agony, watching any moment die. It was criminal.
N’oubliez jamais!
Mac gave whatever he was going to say a moment of silence. The kid didn’t seem to want them to provide him with either the emotional feedback Mac called “heart time” or the intellectual observations he’d termed “head time,” although a couple of his tablemates made friendly overtures.
Mac wanted to check the insensitive clod on his bullshit, but he did have a nice, if privileged manner—a prep school voice, a silken voice—like what you’d expect if a Cavalier King Charles spaniel started to read some very reassuring bit of news.
But Gray Eyes didn’t pay attention to any subtle warning, like Mac’s friendly tip of the head in the kid’s direction or the stage-whispered words, “Let him talk,” from Mom.
My point,” the guy with the opinions stated, as if Quiet Guy had never spoken, “is that most people find safety in structure.”
Gray Eyes dared him to argue, and he—he wanted to do more than that, truth be told. For the first time in a long, long while, somebody’s looks turned his crank hard enough to cause worry. He wanted to unleash his full “yeah, it’s on” smile because it would probably be reciprocated. But unless and until JD said it was a no-go... he wasn’t free.
Plus. A plummet is no place to fall in lust.
Three of the six people at the table nodded slowly and gave the dude permission to go on. Inwardly Mac groaned. Did Raleigh not see? Did he not care that he’d crushed the nascent, trembling word flowers emerging from Quiet Guy’s lips?
The word-flower-blocker thumped his heart—one, two, three times. Oh God. He was so sincere.... This was going to be a significantly tougher group than the last one.
“Most people,” Raleigh said, never taking his eyes off Mac’s, “find safety ‘in boundaries, in rigid limitations. It’s the box we all end up in, one way or another. And we must, we absolutely must, explode that box if we want to authentically live.’” Live was italicized.
Mac’s skin heated under Raleigh’s challenge. “No fair quoting me out of context,” he said.
The Quiet Guy finally blurted, “Do you really have to face death to understand life?”
Wow. All eyes turned to the not-talker formerly known as Quiet Guy. He’d plunged right in, hadn’t he, talking about facing death. As a way to break the ice, Mac liked the Hokey Pokey better. Poor lad. He simply trembled with youth, like a virgin in a hurricane where the winds were made of sex.
“Sh-ugar. No.” Mac was determined to nip that asinine bit of nonwisdom in the fucking bud. “That’s not what we mean by facing death. Not at all. If—”
“Oh my God.” The girl wearing the Heidi hat covered her lips, and only her lips, with both hands. From behind the Quiet Guy, she said, “It’s already starting, isn’t it? And I’m just so excited I can hardly stand it.”
Mac smiled. Mac always smiled.
He loved his plummeteers—the men and women who paid him cash money to come and give his plummets.
He loved the uncertain ones, the ones who knew everything, even the Sit, Raleighiest of Sit, Raleighs among them, because they were all just like him, made of the exact same raw materials. It still blew his fucking mind.
Everybody was as big of a dumbass as him about something.
Mac billed the weekends as “Jam Sessions About the Whole True All of It!” He offered himself as a sort of human antenna. His internal goal—to achieve a signal-boosted human outcry of joy and suffering and compassion and courage. His external goal—the great Yawp of the electronic age or, you know, other stuff like that.
He scratched an ugly bug bite on his arm. Fucking Burmese mosquitos dug his new cologne.
It took him more than a minute to come back from that thought because he’d been in Thailand and Myanmar being eaten by mosquitos only, wow... was that yesterday? Or did the international date line fuck things up? Was it still today? Or, oh God. Was it tomorrow already?
No. Today was Wisconsin. In February. Where no mosquito could survive. Or did they just hibernate?
He made a note on his phone to look that up at some later date. He finished, glanced back up, and found Sit, Raleigh’s gaze focused intently on him. He made a deliberate tour of Mac’s face—eyes, to lips, to eyes. Ooh. That felt good. Being felt up by someone’s brain again was awesome. He used to feel that way all the time when he was working with JD. Now, his phone was an open wound in his pocket because JD was ghosting him.
Where you at, motherfucker? Goddammit.
He missed JD so much sometimes. Like air. Like waves and the way sun and water droplets blinded him. He missed JD like beauty. And nothing was going to be beautiful again until he knew what happened, because—
Because none of it could be okay without JD.






About The Author

Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back.  Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.

If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.” 

Readers can visit ZAM at her





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