Sunday, September 30, 2007


Roadie Poet: More

Got a girl.
Name's Maureen.
Guys call her Mo.
Friends call her Reenie. Or Reen.

I call her More.

Crew don't get hotels,
Just a shower at the site.
I'm on Bus 1.
She's on 7.
Nothing's private on a bus.

Time's hard to come by.
She's busy around the show.
That's my rest.

I tried to help her out some.
Band showed me the door.
Told me to be a good crew boy
And stop sniffing around their girls.

So me and More
We skipped dinner
Snuck off
Found a spot behind some empty cases.

She's a great kisser.

Hambone saved me dinner.
But I want More.

Yep, another melding of the Weekend Wordsmith and the Poetry Train. I don't know about you guys, but I dig the Roadie Poet. And as you can clearly tell, he's now got a definitive gender.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007


Tagged: Book Cover Meme

Annie, over at SuperfastReader, tagged the band -- not me (she's smart) for the Book Cover Meme. This ought to be fun!

How Timbo and Trevor Got Together

Well, duh. They met. I thought she was cute and that was that.

Look! They named a mountain after me!



After getting to narrate last week's Thursday Thirteen, this is definitely how I'm feeling.

The boys weren't really sure who to tag for this 'cause they're fictional and all. And besides, they are boys. And rock stars to boot. Do we really expect them to be experts on etiquette?

Still, I'd love it if some of you took a few minutes to do this. If you give me credit for your own book covers, I'll update and link back to you here.

Celebrate banned book week with a banned book! May I recommend Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going? Or any of the Captain Underpants books. And don't forget it's Buy a Friend a Book Week, beginning in a few days! Why not give a friend Amy Ruttan's new release? Or how about Red Garnier's?

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Friday, September 28, 2007


Booking Through Thursday: Friendship

I am loving this week's Booking Through Thursday question.

Buy a Friend a Book Week is October 1-7 (as well as the first weeks of January, April, and July). During this week, you’re encouraged to buy a friend a book for no good reason. Not for their birthday, not because it’s a holiday, not to cheer them up–just because it’s a book.

What book would you choose to give to a friend and why?

And, if you’re feeling generous enough–head on over to Powell's and actually send one on its way!

Well. There are a million books I'd love to share; that's why I have my Library Thing widget on my sidebar. Those are only the books I've loved enough to rave about.

But I've come across three that are worth mentioning!

First, all you Tamora Pierce fans, listen up! Ms. Pierce has collaborated with Timothy Liebe on a graphic novel called White Tiger. I've only begun reading it, so no total raves yet, but what caught my eye, other than the author's name, is the artwork. Wow! It looks like I was lucky enough to pick it up on release day, too. Bonus!

And to tie books and music together yet again (like I don't do this often?), I found Rob Zombie's The Haunted World of El Superbeasto. Flipping through, there seem to be lots of naked boobies and the vivid colors that Zombie is known for. A bit less detail than we're used to from him; I wonder if that's to better fit the format of a graphic novel. But what's this I hear about a movie-tie-in? (yeah, it looks like it came out in 2006. What hole have I been living in?)

And lastly, head over to SuperFastReader. She's giving away a Jeffrey Overstreet's Auralia's Colors because she read it and flipped for it. I haven't even heard of it before, so I'll be checking it out with you. Please take note that this contest coincides with Buy a Friend a Book Week! Good timing, Superfast!!!

Edited to add: I forgot to tell you all to go on over to my review home, Front Street Reviews, and check out my thoughts on Colleen Gleason's first two books. I'd buy those for someone... Well, maybe myself, as my copies have already been stolen! They were autographed, too!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #48 -- Returns on Investments

I love seeing all you guys stop in on Thursdays to visit. I do. Ask my family; they'll tell you. But... some of you only stop in on Thursdays. Why is that? Don't you know what fun you're missing? Many of the links will show you, but if you're still not convinced, here's proof:

Thirteen Reasons to stop in during the week

1. Roadie Poet. He only appears for Rhian's Poetry Train.

2. Outtakes. If you think Thirteens are fun, you should see what happens when we throw some narration into the mix!

3. Awards. I get lots of them. I pass lots of them along.

4. Susan returns all visits. If you're a regular, she may not comment each time you're here. But if you're not, dropping by to say hi is a good way to get a return visit. And we all know how stat counters like return visits!

5. Chelle LaFleur. She'll appear whenever she's got something to say; not even I know when that'll be.

6. You get to meet groupies who are more die-hard than you are. Come on. Are you really going to let someone tell you they're more die-hard than you are???

7. Trevor and more Trevor. (the second link will take you to one of Trevor's first appearances on the blog)

8. Guest appearances by the Tour Manager.

9. You won't feel lost during events like Green Hair Week, the Soy Sauce Story, or Deadly Metal Hatchet because the back story happened during the week.

10. You'll get to know all these crazy folk who inhabit my fictional world. Before you know it, you'll be hooked and sporting a cool "I'm a West of Mars Groupie" graphic of your own.

11. I know neat people. Hang here and you can meet them, too.

12. Because of the inspiration you guys give me, my fictional world keeps growing. You want to be part of that. You know you do.

13. Did I mention that Trevor Wolff dude?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Tagged: Blogging Star Award

My friends Red and Thomma Lyn both handed me the Blogging Star Award recently. Here's a picture; ain't it purty?

The Blogging Star Award was created by Barb at Skittles' Place. Of the Blogging Star Award, Barb says:

This award is for bloggers who shine their light throughout the Blogosphere. Some do it with humor, others with creativity, and others with their kind and thoughtful natures. We all know more than a few of them so why not give them some recognition?

Here's what to do if you receive this:

* Proudly display it on your blog along with a link to who gave it to you.
* Mention that it originated here at Skittles' Place so I can follow its journey.
* Pass it on to any blogger(s) you think should have it.

Well. Let's see. Who makes me all warm and fuzzy when I see them in my reader? Well... Rhian is the obvious choice 'cause she's been the ... oh, I can't say butt so maybe the willing victim of a Trevor prank is putting it a bit better. But Rhian's more rebellious than I am, and she tends to follow directions worse than I do.

Maybe Lisa. You can call her the Nekkid Man woman 'cause that's what her Thursday Thirteens are all about. And have you seen some of the wild things she digs up to share? Truly cool.

And definitely PJ at The Urban Recluse. She's handed me plenty of awards, and has definitely earned this one. I miss Sunday Sauce, though!

Don't forget Robin, the inspiration behind the ShapeShifter fan fiction that's been cropping up around the blogosphere. She's been on a total tear lately, writing really beautiful essays, each one better than the last.

So there you go. Some pretty darn deserving ladies, and not easy choices among all you guys. I don't know how I've managed to do it, except to say that like attracts like, and I'm damn proud to know (and read) all of you.

I'd also like to end this post by saying I'd drafted it a good two weeks ago and am just now having the proper time to post it so it gets noticed and its proper due. If any of you can please cancel the soap opera I'm currently starring in, I'd much appreciate it!

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Sunday, September 23, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Oreos (The Early Years)

What happens when you take the Poetry Train, the Weekend Wordsmith prompt, and a few hours to let ideas marinate? Read on...


Usually, Trevor hated Eric's girls. The guitarist liked them full of innocence and stars in their eyes, still able to believe that good things in life happened all the time. Eric liked girls who were like Mitchell had been before Trevor had and fixed him. Sadly, Eric wouldn't let him near his girls. They couldn't get some Trevor-fixing.

But this girl, this Patsy chick, was different. For one thing, she was a little bit older than Eric's usual girls -- she might have even been over the age of twenty. And while she was still pretty star-struck, every now and then, that glimmer would fade and Trevor could see the tiniest bit of a backbone. Maybe even some cynicism.

Of all of Eric's girls, this one had the most potential.

She caught up to them as they were assembling in the hotel lobby, bags in tow, ready to head over to the venue for sound check. "Do you guys need me to pick up anything?" she asked. Trevor closed his eyes; she had the smoothest Southern drawl. It reminded him of some of those old movies he'd watch late at night when the high from the show hadn't worn off yet.

"You could pick me up," Trevor said, bracing himself for some physical commentary from Mitchell. The girl was, after all, Eric's.

"I was thinking," she said, "of anything you might need from the grocery, for the bus." She screwed up her face, like she was sorting through possibilities. "Staple things, like toothpaste. Maybe someone left their comb behind, or needs some Pop Tarts. That sort of thing."

"That's not as much fun as I am," Trevor said, still waiting for Mitchell. The big idiot only hid a chuckle behind a glower; the guy was not in a good mood. Which was why Trevor kept waiting for the guy to smack him.

"Maybe," the girl said, sounding so vanilla and boring, Trevor immediately lost interest.

"Oreos," Daniel said suddenly. "Four packs of 'em."

"Done," she said. She kissed Eric and left.

Oh yeah, Trevor thought, watching her ass puff up each side of her skirt as she strode out of the lobby, her backless shoes flapping against the soles of her feet in a way that made him hard. A woman on a mission's a hot creature, indeed. Even if she was boring and vanilla and maybe not so far from Eric's usual gaggle of innocents.

She showed up near the end of soundcheck, one of those cutie tote bags in one hand. Trevor hoped the Oreos were in there; until Daniel had said the word, he hadn't thought much about the simple comfort of a store-bought cookie. Maybe he ought to tell Daniel or Mitchell to add cookies to their catering rider.

"I can't stay," she said when Eric jumped down off the stage and removed the four packages of Oreos from the cutie tote bag. "I got called in to work to cover for someone. I'll make the show, though." She gave him a kiss that was more of a peck than anything romantic and was gone just that fast.

Good thing, Trevor thought, as the guys stampeded for the dressing room and barricaded the door shut. If Charlie, their tour manager, found out about the Oreos, he'd be there. As if feeding the tour manager was on the list of band duties.

Eric was one of those geeks who unscrewed the cookie and licked the filling out. Daniel nibbled at them slowly, almost sucking on them. Trevor liked to take his own sweet time with them, the way you'd handle a really exceptional woman.

And then there was Mitchell. The big idiot stuck them in his mouth whole, chewed, and swallowed just enough to have room for the next. He snarfed an entire package in the time Trevor ate ten cookies. You'd have thought the guy was being starved or something and this was his first meal after being released from some cage he'd been kept in.

He stood up, flapping at his gold t-shirt to get the crumbs off. How he managed to get full of crumbs when he didn't take a bite of the stupid cookies was beyond Trevor, but that was Mitchell for you.

Trevor silently counted down from five. He noticed that Daniel was counting along with him, equally as silent, although the drummer's lips were moving.

When they hit one, Mitchell let out a burp that shook the entire room. It was one of those that came from somewhere so deep, it was surprising that the guy's guts didn't come up with it. Good thing it stayed down: Trevor didn't want to see half-chewed Oreo come up.

"Know what I need now?" Mitchell asked the guys.

"Milk," they all answered in unison.

Trevor shook his head. "We are so fucking pathetic, it's scary."

Mitchell grinned and winked. "Just so that door's locked, no one needs to know. Who's got a few extra?"

Trevor hugged the remains of his Oreos to his chest. "Go find your own girl who'll buy you some," he said. Eric and Daniel quickly agreed.

Mitchell shrugged and slipped out of the dressing room. In search of milk, in search of more cookies… Trevor didn't know. He didn't particularly care, either. Just so long as the big idiot stayed out of his stash.

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Friday, September 21, 2007


Susan Speaks: Yom Kippur

Tonight marks the beginning of Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. When I was little, I was taught that it was the holiest, but my current rabbi insists that the holiest is the weekly Shabbat. I suspect he's right.

Tonight, Jews around the world will get up from dinner and begin a 24-hour fast (okay, most will) that will help set the day apart. It is a day filled with prayer and reflection, a day for thinking on our lives, what we did wrong, what we can do better. It is serious and somber, which is so different from the many joyous celebrations that Judaism is filled with -- although it sounds as if it's not nearly so somber in Israel.

It is said that at the end of Yom Kippur, when the ram's horn shofar blows one final time, the Gates of Repentance will close. These metaphoric gates opened on Rosh Hashanah ten days earlier; this signalled the beginning of the period of reflection and, you guessed it, repentance.

However, Yom Kippur has come to have a different meaning for me. I was pregnant with #2 when my book club read Lilian Nattel's brilliant The River Midnight, a book about a small village -- shetl -- in Poland. The story centered on the midwife; the life centered around the temple.

Thus, when the midwife went into labor as Yom Kippur began, the townspeople left the temple. Instead of listening to the sacred Kol Nidre song, they listened to the midwife's cries of pain.

This doesn't sound like something that should resonate with a person. Yet the scene as Nattel wrote it was absolutely stunning; it drove home the beauty of the shetl and the importance of community. It haunted me, who's always been more than a bit of a loner.

Plus, as I said, I was pregnant when I read the book. Upon finishing it, I looked at a calendar. My due date was only a few days after Yom Kippur. What were the chances…? I mean, really?

The evening of Yom Kippur, when the Kol Nidre prayer is sung, came and went.

The next afternoon, when I picked up my son from day care, I realized that yep, the daily Braxton-Hicks contractions were back. Same time, every day; the Tour Manager and I had been laughing at how very regular they were. These were stronger, though. And when I got home and put my son down for a nap, I listened to that little voice inside. The one that knows these things.

I called the Tour Manager at work, just to be safe.

Just before five o'clock on that Yom Kippur afternoon, I called my parents. They were on their way out the door to attend the concluding services when they heard the phone ring. Knowing I was due in days, they answered.

My daughter was born at ten o'clock that night, well after the Gates of Repentance were closed.

Yet I still equate the holiday with my little girl. I probably always will; she is, in her own way, my own Yom Kippur baby.

One day, I'll hand her my copy of The River Midnight and see if the connection strikes her as deeply as it struck me. But until then, as everyone in temple around me prays for forgiveness and redemption, I'll be remembering the joy of a new beginning.

A note for those of you who noticed: I called the Kol Nidre both a prayer and a song. In kabbalistic beliefs, the Hebrew words for prayer and song have the same numeric value. Thus, prayer equals song, a belief I personally think is totally underutilized. Thankfully, my rabbi agrees and we are a congregation that sings. A lot.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #47 -- Support Me

We all know who runs the show around here: Trevor, Mitchell, Kerri, Daniel, and Eric (and sometimes Val). But like any success story, there's a backstage supporting cast. Sometimes, you'll see them. Other times, you won't. Likewise, some of these people have earned spots on the Cast of Characters page at my website. And others of them haven't. Yet.

For those of you who are new and those who've been here awhile and could use a refresher, I present you with:

Thirteen People Who Hang out in the Wings

(picture by Jeff Myers via

1. Amy London -- Mitchell's older sister, who calls him Pipsqueak and actually gets away with it. She is a doctor, lives in Riverview, and is married to a man Mitchell not-so-affectionately calls Derek the Dork. Note from Susan: the Pipsqueak link takes you to the end of a five-day arc. If you have the time, it's worth starting at the beginning.

2. Graciella -- The drag queen who saves Kerri from the evil clutches of the guy with the guitar in the train station. She becomes Kerri's mentor, protector, and good friend. There is, of course, a kicker here: Graciella's given name is George and she's a he who looks and feels better in a dress.

3. Pam -- A groupie who you'll see here on the blog occasionally. She's in love with Mitchell and basically uses Trevor to get to him. As if any of them care -- well, Mitchell does once he meets Kerri. Note from Susan: Stay tuned. I haven't posted that most important outtake yet!! I could have sworn I had!

4. Lyric -- Another of my characters who shows up here on occasion. Lyric owns the adult toy store in town but isn't the wild woman you'd expect from the daughter of a porn star.

5. Sonya and Patterson Voss -- Mitchell's parents. They also show up here from time to time. They are the rudders who keep the ShapeShifter ship afloat.

6. Boomer -- the 6 to 10 DJ at KRVR, as well as the host of the station's Local View radio station, which features up-and-coming Riverview bands, all of whom want to be the next ShapeShifter.

7. Deadly Metal Hatchet -- A bar band with a gimmick to die for. Literally.

8. Bobby, Cookie, Creek, and Chuck -- the techs for Mitchell, Trevor, Daniel, and Eric, respectively. These are the men who are responsible for making sure the individuals in the band always sound good, are always in tune, and always have the right guitars or intact drum heads. Being a tech's not glamorous work, but it's
steady employment -- when the band is active.

9. Roberta -- the band's wardrobe manager. Wardrobe managers are more important than you might think.

10. Tony, Gene, and Bubba, Butch, or whatever his name is -- Part of the band's security team. Tony is the head of the detail, and Mitchell's personal bodyguard. Gene takes charge of Kerri's safety, and provides general security for the band when she's not around or not in need of him. And Bubba, Butch, or whatever his name is does his best to keep a watchful eye on Trevor.

11. Hank -- Trevor's father.

12. Mary -- Kerri's mother. As with Hank, the less said, the better.

13. Tiny Tim -- the owner of independent radio station KRVR. He's a player in Riverview, and he and Mitchell hate each other.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Susan Speaks: Are you people NUTS?

Check out what Dewey's up to now: A 24-hour readathon, in which the most die-hard readers will forgo basic things like showering.

Now, if you were all going to spend 24 hours reading my fiction, I'd ... well, still think you're nuts. That's because my pillow and I are very good friends. It prefers me to be using it for sleep, not to prop up my persnickety back. And to be honest, nothing beats a good, restorative sleep. Except for maybe those really good dreams that you remember come morning. Or those hours of insomnia that are spent working out new scenes, characters, and/or outtakes.

The good news is that there's room for the not-so-dedicated readers, too. And for cheerleaders. And for people like me, who can't possibly have this much time on their hands to simply sit and read (but what a luxury that sounds like!). This challenge is completely customizable, so ... join the fun and read away!

(before you ask, I'll gladly lurk and leave comments on readers' blogs -- a few hours late, I'm sure. But hey, admit it. You'd rather see Trevor's Song on the shelves than me spending an entire day reading.)

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Sunday, September 16, 2007


Monday Poetry Train: Life is Beautiful

I'm stealing a page from Sparky Duck and running with some song lyrics today. Nope, not ShapeShifter lyrics (sorry, guys. But if you have lyric ideas, send 'em my way!), but a popular song I've been jamming to. Might even download and hand out to my spin teachers and stick on my MP3 player. Plus, it's fitting right now; I've finished the first draft of the new end of Trevor's Song.

Anyway, here you go.

Life is Beautiful:

You can't quit until you try
You can't live until you die
You can't learn to tell the truth
Until you learn to lie

You can't breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you're the joke
There's nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

I know some things that you don't
I've done things that you won't
There's nothing like a trail of blood to find your way back home

I was waiting for my hearse
What came next was so much worse
It took a funeral to make me feel alive

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Check out the way cool band site at Sixx:AM! And for more poetry and other fun things, Rhian's Poetry Train's got room for you to ogle or jump on. Whichever your comfort level, come explore some really creative people.

Also, Sixx's new book The Heroin Diaries will be published on Tuesday. Man, I can NOT wait to get my hands on that puppy. Think I can con someone into a free copy so I can review it for Front Street Reviews?

Life is Beautiful lyrics copyright 2007 by Sixx:AM. Used entirely without permission and hopefully without negative repercussions 'cause, hey, I'm not profiting here, just helping spread the word. Contact the webmaster at if you want to get all picky on my rear, and the Tour Manager will deal with it. I love the Tour Manager!

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Saturday, September 15, 2007


Tagged: Five Nights

My bud Lisa Andel tagged me for the Five Nights Meme. She thinks I always have something interesting to say.

I don't, but the boys in the band do. They seem a bit somber today, though, so this ought to live up to Lisa's expectations.

1. It was that first night I spent with Kerri. No, not the night I had her and Daniel and Eric over for burgers and she and I got so drunk, she spent the night in my bed and I passed out or something on the couch. And no, not the night two weeks later when we planned to have her crash at my place after the Regional Awards and she was my date. She was supposed to have the bed to herself, but she caught the Chill and when she was still cold after I put every blanket in my place on her and then threw my leather tour jacket on top of all that, there was only one way to warm her up: making her cuddle up to me. You'll notice she hasn't left me since.

But nope, those weren't the two best nights with Kerri. The best was that night we hooked up at the grocery and talked our way through the store and then went to Victory's and talked until we closed the place. Just sitting and talking to a girl. I'd never done that before.

2. Our first show. We'd worked our asses off to make sure we didn't suck. And we didn't. We rocked, as much as a brand-new band can rock. You've got to start somewhere.

3. I was sitting in jail and the cops are screaming at me about first-degree murder and all that shit and the next thing I know, Patterson's there and he's saying no one got shot, let alone is dead and he's got legal custody of me and there's no reason to keep me in jail. That's when I went to live with the Vosses. I didn't find out what legal custody meant until I quit school, but somehow, Patterson got Hank and Jenny to write me off as their kid. I guess it should have hurt, but Patterson told me that if the band made it, they'd never have a legal way to come try to get their hands on any money I made.

4. Our first night as a headlining act. Holy shit, there was so much space between me and the guys, and it was actually hard to see even the front row of fans. I'd gotten so used to that smooshed little stage that as soon as I was put at the back of the full stage, like every other headlining drummer, I freaked. I missed being near everyone. I hated that Mitchell and I couldn't talk as easily during the show.

Clearly, I sucked it up fast, but when we sit down to plan every tour, I ask Mitchell if we can find a way to move me up closer. He won't even consider it.

Don't let anyone tell you that Mitchell's not a traditionalist.

5. It was the night Mom caught me with Vince. What's the saying? In flagrant delecteco?

I don't think I've ever been as mad as I was that night. But as soon as she put her hand on my arm and tried to pull me away from Vince, I knew what I'd be doing. And no matter how mad I was, underneath, there was this really calm, rational thinking going on. When I got back home, I knew exactly what I was going to pack and what I wanted Stevie, my brother, to ship to me once I had a place to live.

Just like that, I left town and moved to Riverview. I never looked back. I never regretted it.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


Booking Through Thursday: Comfort Food

I got a laugh out of today's Booking Through Thursday:

Okay . . . picture this (really) worst-case scenario: It’s cold and raining, your boyfriend/girlfriend has just dumped you, you’ve just been fired, the pile of unpaid bills is sky-high, your beloved pet has recently died, and you think you’re coming down with a cold. All you want to do (other than hiding under the covers) is to curl up with a good book, something warm and comforting that will make you feel better.

What do you read?

I'm laughing because my back has decided to not like my new workout and I've been laid up most of the day. So I grabbed a book and got reading.

It's a Marcia Muller, whose Sharon McCone series is like visiting with an old friend, but truth be told, the book I most want to read: Anything with Trevor, Mitchell, and the gang.

Hopefully, one day, you guys will agree.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #46 -- The Wall of Fame!

It all started when Trevor brought a new addition to the ShapeShifter Wall of Fame last week. He brought up the idea of showing you public what the Wall looks like. The Wall was originally Mitchell's idea, so he thought he should get to show you around. But the tour was Trevor's idea.

While the two of them are busy arguing over who gets to share their stories, Eric's going to step up and fill the void. Thus...

Thirteen items on the ShapeShifter Wall of Fame:

1. This was the bra that inspired the Wall of Fame. We were backstage, getting ready for our set and some girl walked in the room, took off this bra, and draped it over Mitchell's head. He blushed. Trevor thanked the girl in his typical way and tried to steal the bra. I think he wanted to wear it. Mitchell grabbed it back and said it was going to go onto a new Wall of Fame. He kept that bra until we got home, and then he hung it on a wall in the practice space at Daniel's house. Now, we have our Tour Manager ship them home for us.

2. We didn't come by this one honestly, I'm afraid. We were in Vegas and Daniel dared Trevor to sneak into some showgirl's dressing room and make off with part of her costume. Trevor can't turn down a dare of this sort, but he didn't sneak. He picked a girl who was so gorgeous, my eyes hurt to look at her. When Trevor came back out of the dressing room, he said she gave it to him. Given the look she gave him when she kissed him goodbye, I don't doubt it.

3. I can't say anything without upsetting Daniel, but I don't believe this should be on the Wall of Fame. It's apparently Val's.

4. This bra belonged to a girl I dated for about a month. I met her in Seattle at a show and at first, she followed us in her own car. Three weeks later, she convinced a friend to drive the car home so she could stay on the bus with me. She only lasted on the bus with us for a week before she couldn't take it. We didn't stay in touch, but it wasn't for lack of effort on my end.

5, 6, 7. These belonged to this set of triplets who got past security. We were very glad they did.

8. Ever notice how gorgeous a basic white bra looks against darker skin? The contrast is amazing. I'm not talking about a girl with a fake tan that rubs off onto the cotton, either. The next time you see that white bra against a deeply colored skin, stop and appreciate.

9. Those Texas girls... We love them.

10. We've known the girl behind this bra for years. She shows up whenever we're in Minneapolis and the surrounding area, depending on how free her schedule is. Karina loves to travel, so we shouldn't have been surprised when she caught up with us in Paris. The best thing about Karina: she's always wearing this bra. Well, not this particular one. But this exact style. We've got like twenty of them laying around. Mitchell keeps asking us what would happen if we gave the other nineteen back. Trevor says once we start that game, it'll never end. We'll wind up passing the same bra back and forth between us.

He's probably right.

11. I always thought there was something virginal about this bra (and notice how the white stands out against that gorgeous skin of hers). And then I met the woman inside it. I was right.

12. Trevor has a thing for demi-bras, especially when the girls are overflowing them slightly. You want to see that boy drool? Show up in one of these. I picked this one as an example because I really like the color.

13. Trevor brought us this one just last week. Something about it being left behind when he was hanging with some cool folk who tell stories in 100 words or less and the owner maybe asking Susan for it back, but we were all supposed to play dumb and ... oh, shoot. Susan's going to read this, isn't she?

Umm. Well, then. Let me tell you the real story behind it. It's been here for years and we have no idea who Rhian is. Really.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

And a HUGE L'shanah Tova to my fellow Jewish friends. May we all be inscribed for a wonderful new year, Jew and non-Jew alike. May our blogs continue to be places where our differences are celebrated and our likenesses treasured.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: More Wanderings

No somber moments on this sixth anniversary today. Every time I think of it, I have somber moments. Thus, some neat stuff to share with you guys today!

Bookgasm, which is a site I'm starting to dig more and more, talks up a collection from a biannually published Zine's ten-year history. What a cool idea.

Check out this news from writer Holly Kennedy. Wow!!

Didja see this editor's creed? Made me both stop and think and excited for my own chance to go through the editing process. (yes, I'm THAT much of a geek!)

Kudos to Suzanne Adair, who was involved with our first Debut a Debut contest. Her second book, The Blacksmith's Daughter, was released on September first. Accompanying the announcement was the exciting news that her first book, Paper Woman (the winner of the Patrick D. Smith Literature Award), has gone back to the printer for a second edition.

The Swivet has collected some nice tributes to author Madeline L'Engel. While losing her is a terrible thing, at least we have amazing, amazing fiction with which to remember her.

Leigh, who is a regular at Michele's, opened a Cafe Press shop. I'm loving that fish on the black shirt... where's the heavy duty tees, though?

Booknut is looking for all you book bloggers. Speak up! I did; what are YOU waiting for?

More to come this week -- the Five Best Nights meme, a few awards, and the book cover meme -- done by the band, of course. I swear, you guys like them more than me.


Sunday, September 09, 2007


Monday Poetry Train: What I Want

This actually took on a different resonance after I wrote it. Maybe it's keeping with the whole thinking about the Alpha thing. I don't know. You tell me.


The house is silent except for the music
Pouring out of my computer.
So much easier than the CD player behind me
But maybe not what I want to hear.

What I want…
I'm not sure anymore.

I know that much.

I know that, too.

But how much of each
I can have
At any one time
On any given day…

There's the question.

I've stood here
Balanced on the edge of a double-edged sword
For what feels like forever even though
It's only been years.


I've worked hard,
I've barely worked.

Nothing produces what I want it to.

And thus,
I don't know what I want anymore.

Except for a quiet house,
Music pouring out of the computer,
And the time to figure it all out.

Be sure to check out the other poems and fun on this week's Poetry Train! More from the band in a day or two, and be sure to stop in for this week's Thursday Thirteen. It'll be one for the Hall of Fame. *snicker*

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Saturday, September 08, 2007


Susan's Musings: Alpha

My friend Lisa writes a lot about alpha males. And my friend Robin wrote a quickie for Ellora's Cave about a very dominant man. So much so that when his woman would make a comment he didn't like, he'd snap into their games and bring her behavior into line.

For a few weeks after I read and loved Robin's quickie, I kept thinking about the way her male lead dominates the narrator. It's constant. It bothers me; in my brain, it borders on abuse. It's so foreign to anything I've ever experienced.

Or so I thought.

I'm a mom; most of you know that. While I refuse to be one of those moms who runs her kids from activity to activity with nary a second of free play, the kids do have their things. One of them is the place in which I met Alpha.

Now, don't get me wrong. I refuse to say a single bad thing about Alpha. I like Alpha, and I was looking forward to getting to know him. On the surface, he's a quiet, reserved guy, but underneath, he's got his mischevious streak -- evidenced on the day he nailed the Tour Manager with a water balloon -- yeah. There. I'm not sure which of the two of us laughed harder, me or Alpha. Definitely not my poor Tour Manager.

Many of you know that I took five days at the end of July and headed off to Cub Scout Camp. It rained four of the five nights, including one really evil thunderstorm that had some of the pack parents convinced that lightning had struck the flagpole outside their tents. It was a hell of an experience for me and my son; we both came back changed.

I knew that camp had had a profound impact on me when Alpha made a rule for the upcoming year's activities. Some of the parents protested this new rule because it would exclude them from activities, and that upset me. I'd gotten to know these particular parents over the past year. I like them. My son likes their kids. There's no reason to exclude anyone, especially from a group that you join to be included in.

I might not have spoken up before camp; this rule didn't affect me in the least. I was quite happy to live by it. Except that it meant that people I like couldn't be there, and that bugged me.

Well, this is where I underestimated how alpha this man is. Not only did he get upset that we discussed the issue over e-mail instead of calling him, after a few days worth of phone calls and e-mails among his higher-ups, him, us, and the affected families, the dust settled. We "troublemakers" were thrown out of the group and would be founding a parallel one.

Which is fine; I'm looking forward to that. What hurt was when Alpha told the Tour Manager, who has a rare skill for diplomacy in the sticky situations his wife drags him into, even willingly, that Alpha wished we hadn't spoken up in support of changing this rule. He liked us, loves our kid, sees a lot of potential in my child but because we'd spoken up in support of our fellow families, we were excommunicated. Just for speaking up.

It reminds me of something you'd see on Wild Kingdom. Except we weren't trying to challenge Alpha's leadership. We weren't trying to change the way the group is run. We just wanted to see others have the same chances we were going to have. After all, why be part of something if you're going to turn around and realize you're not welcome there?

There is a part of Judaism that calls on us Jews to perform acts of Tikkun Olam -- to heal the world. The Tour Manager and I stood up for what we believed was an injustice. We agonized for days over what to do about this situation; what was best for our son?

In the end, with the declaration of the parallel group, it seems to have worked out. That doesn't mean that from start to finish, people weren't hurt. Meeting the families involved in the original group will be awkward at best. I wouldn't be surprised if some encounters are hostile.

Yet I wonder. Did we do more harm than good by speaking up? I suppose that it's better that this happened now, rather than later, when we were more emotionally involved with the group and Alpha as our leader. And there's that quote by Dr. Martin Luther King about why we need to stand up when we see an injustice -- and this was clearly that.

But still. How can the world heal when the attempt to do so brings so much pain for so many involved? Didn't we make things worse in our attempt to make them better? And how do you judge that sort of thing, anyway?

I wrestled with this until last night. We took the kids to Temple for Friday night services. And as I was flipping through the prayerbook as we sang -- and sang! Oh, it was wonderful -- my eye caught one of those little boxes with a meditation inside. I was going to borrow the prayer book so I could repeat it here, but it said something to the effect of: In order to make something new, you have to tear down the old and sew the pieces into something new. That pain is part of the process.

I suspect I'll always be sad about the way things unfolded. I don't like ugly endings, and this is probably one of them. But on the other hand, I got a look into what the Tour Manager calls a true Alpha male, someone who will not be challenged by anyone. Ever.

Maybe one day, an Alpha of this type will show up in my fiction. Or maybe, this is just one of those things that I'll simply chalk up to experience and count it among my acts of Tikkun Olam.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #45 -- One

I'm a novelist. We all know this about me, and it's part of the reason why you love me. But... that also means that my Thursday Thirteens can get long.

Not today.

Thirteen words ShapeShifter loves to hear:

1. Platinum
2. Sell-out (as in: tickets)
3. Tour
4. royalties
5. Interview
6. girls
7. Headliner
8. dinner
9. guitars
10. singles
11. awards
12. beer
13. sleep

Be sure to check out Robin and Milan this week -- there's more ShapeShifter! (hover over Milan's West of Mars graphic!)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Monday, September 03, 2007


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- The Gathering Rising

Welcome back to the musings of fictional musical journalist Chelle LaFleur!

So Chelle's been keeping this spot humming lately, hasn't she? And she's not stopping now. She's not allowed, not so long as the city's humming like it's going places. Wouldn't that be nice.

That's why it's so important that all you out there in newspaper land get off your rears and get out to experience for real some of what Chelle's so busy writing about. I don't do this so you can stay home, peoples. I do it so you all know where to best spend your precious entertainment dollars. In other words: I suffer so you don't have to.

The Gathering Rising is the latest discovery that Chelle just can't stop raving about. A band out of Omaha, they look like Nerdvana would look if Nerdvana were trying to look like contemporary geeks. Yeah, you know the type; they're what Chelle had expected Temple of the Book to be. Cerebral. Electronic. The sort you get stoned and listen to. Not that Chelle or anyone at the Trumpet gets stoned or advocates getting stoned, mind you. It's just that anyone who does might get more out of the music. Ready for a big word? Aural. Grab a dictionary; Chelle di. Expand your mind. That's what aural means. That's what The Gathering Rising does. They may not have screaming guitars, but they've got a cool name and a sound that indie rockers will dig. And while Chelle hopes that indie rock never takes over the throne from good ol' Rock and Roll, she's thinking that The Gathering Rising can break away from college radio and make bunches more fans.

You heard it first and you heard it here: If you see Chelle in a Nerdvana or The Gathering Rising t-shirt, don't be shocked. The best metalheads are those who know there's more to music than heavy.

This was actually inspired by literary agent Nathan Bransford's not-so-recent comment about book titles involving the words Gathering and Rising. That, of course, inspired this. I was going to make them a metal band, but just for Nathan, I made them more the sort I think he'd like. Which sort of explains right there why he's probably not the right agent for me.

At any rate, for more top-tier writings and poetry, check out Rhian's poetry train! And join in, will ya?

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