Sunday, December 31, 2006


Fiction Outtake: New Year's Eve in Dallas (Trevor's Song Era)

Mitchell tossed his head, trying to get the sweat to change course. Of course, it didn't work. At the end of the show like this, the sweat had a mind of its own.

"So," he said in a conversational way, putting his left foot forward more, almost straddling the mic stand. His guitar got in the way, so he used his right hand to move it away. "Those lousy fuckers in this half-ass town wouldn't let us stay up here tonight until midnight so we could do this all proper, like."

The crowd booed. Mitchell nodded approvingly, looking around at them and then at the band. Trevor and Eric looked suitably impressed and they nodded along with Mitchell.

"But," he said, holding up one finger and cocking his head. More sweat dripped into his eyes; he blinked it out. "They wouldn't budge even when we offered them lots of money. And I mean lots," he said, wondering if the fans could possibly comprehend the negotiations they'd tried. Beside him, Eric nodded agreement. Trevor just laughed.

"So. Here we are, and you fucks are probably gonna bolt outta here and head off to another party. When you get there, be sure you show off your special New Year's T-shirts and then laugh your asses off 'cause none of us got 'em."

The crowd roared again, like that was the funniest joke they'd ever heard. As if it was true, Mitchell thought. Shit, he had the original drawing that Kerri had made somewhere in all his papers. As if ShapeShifter would make something as exclusive as a commemorative New Year's tee and not hold out a few for themselves.

"Before we go, let's have ourselves a little celebration. Ready? Dans'll help you count down from ten, and we'll have some fireworks and shit."

He paused as Eric signalled to Daniel before approaching. "Invite the crew out," the guitarist reminded him. Good thing; he'd forgotten. As if he'd wanted to do this without Kerri.

"Whoa," Mitchell said, holding both hands up to quiet the fans. "We gotta do this right. Bring the crew on out. Ker, techs, everyone back there. C'mon out."

Once Kerri had nestled under his left arm, his guitar touching her hip and his sweat drenching her, he waited for the rest of the crew to stumble out. Even though he'd warned them he'd be doing this, they were still wary, as if they were expecting some sort of joke.

On any other day, they'd have gotten one, that was for sure. Ordinarily, crew belonged in the background. But this was New Year's Eve, and while they hadn't gotten permission to bust through the arena's curfew, they had gotten permission for some indoor fireworks and an early celebration.

Then, band and crew would party backstage until they were all too soused to stand.

Bobby, Mitchell's tech, offered to take his guitar. But Mitchell shook his head. "You're off duty for a few," he said, leaning away from the mic so it wouldn't pick up his voice. The guitar wasn't heavy; he could carry it a few more minutes.

Daniel provided the bass drum beat that the crowd used to count down, and then the pyro guys back at the sound board set off the fireworks.

As he and Kerri watched, smiling, Trevor came up behind them. "So, tonight the night you're gonna wise up and dump Rusty's ass? That girl in the third row sure looks like she'd be willing to ease the parting."

Mitchell cuffed the back of Trevor's head and grinned. "You don't stop, do you, asshole?"

Trevor grinned happily. "Who, me?"

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Friday, December 29, 2006


Susan's Book Talk: End of Year Round-up

A lot of people who stopped by my Thursday Thirteen yesterday were enthusiastic about my plans to add a Library Thing scroller to my sidebar sometime during the upcoming year. Sounds like you guys need something to fill your time until Trevor's Song hits the shelves.

In light of that, I thought my book talk today would look back over the 146 books I read in 2006 -- 2 more than last year! -- and hit the highlights, but skip the lowlights (the 48 I didn't bother to finish).

I finally got around to reading The Devil Wears Prada -- and I surprised myself by loving it. It was one of those books that people either love or hate and I have to say that I got it. Totally. Maybe it's because I could see myself being Amanda. Maybe it's because I still aspire to wearing haute couture. I don't know. But I read this in bed and laughed so hard, I shook the Tour Manager out and onto the floor.

Then I switched gears, per usual, and checked out Marcia Muller's Cyanide Wells. I like her SharonMcCone series, but this was actually better. Point Deception was almost as good, but not quite.

Keeping in the thriller vein, next was my second David Liss book, A Conspiracy of Paper. Love love loved this historical thriller! It was a book club selection and I was able to swap a few e-mails with Liss.

I tried my first-ever Nick Hornby book this year, A Long Way Down. I can't say that I loved it, but it's sure resonated with me. I have How to be Good on Mt. Read-Me-Now; hopefully I'll get to it soon. (I should)

Kathy Lette's Mad Cows also had me chuckling. Maybe you need to be a mom to appreciate this one; I'm not sure.

In grad school, I took a course in Latin American lit, so revisiting Carlos Fuentes for The Old Gringo was a nice treat. Fascinating book, as was another classic, Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Don't forget Patrick Suskind's Perfume.

I caught up on Stephanie Plum this year, and read my first Sue Grafton. (I know, what took me so long? I had trouble believing she'd live up to the hype. She did.) Other authors I revisited: T. Jefferson Parker, Linda Fairstein, Jonathan Kellerman, Jill Churchill.

Ever read a Western? Tabor Evans wrote this series a loooong time ago, called Longarm. I read one, called On the Great Divide, and loved it. That man has more sex than Trevor, I swear it.

My friend CheesyGiraffe (I think) clued me in to Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity series. Rumor has it that her sales are slipping; why not help her out and expose yourself and a few friends to this fun series? I have a few of these on Mt. TBR; don't be surprised if they show up as a contest prize along the way (although don't hold me to that!)

More firsts for me this year: Lisa Scottoline, Stephen Woodworth, and Jodi Picoult. I've since collected more of those, too. JA Konrath, Susan Wittig Albert, Daniel Silva, and Rachel Caine all were new to me, and all series I'll be sticking with.

As she did with To Die For, Joyce Maynard made me cry with The Usual Rules. I was very resistant to any 9-11 fiction, but this was worth it. Thanks to Cheesy (can you tell why I like her so much?) for making me stick with it when I wanted to give up.

I'll admit it. I read Pamela Anderson's Star. I loved it. If you need a good, campy beach read, pick it up. So what if it's a barely fictionalized account of her life? It's funny as hell and I really hope Pamela was never as naive as Star. The plane scene still cracks me up.

Back to historical fiction with Rebecca Kohn's The Gilded Chamber. Esther is my favorite of the Jewish heroines; I often call her the first feminist because she risked being beheaded in order to stand up to her husband, the king, and save the Jews. Kohn did her story justice.

My biggest shock of the year? Loving Nora Roberts' Northern Lights. I didn't think I'd like it, that it wouldn't be well-written or that the plot would be predictable. Instead, I couldn't put it down. Once I was done, I sent it to my friend Dana and I think I just ruined the surprise by saying that...

In a nutshell, that's the reads of the year. Notice how many mysteries and thrillers are on this list? Just trying to earn my spot among my other Sisters in Crime, although I'm going to try to ease off this genre a bit as 2007 opens; on first awakening the other night and hearing a hooting owl, I was convinced it was a group of bad guys, ready to break in and steal my books.

Happy reading, everyone, and happy 2007.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006


Thursday Thirteen #9 -- Looking Ahead

If you haven't been here in a few days -- or since last week -- be sure you scroll down a few posts and catch up. You've missed some fun stuff -- including me being tagged for a meme! (shocking!)

So when you're done Thirteening this week, be sure to check out what you've missed. Dethklok, Miss Snark, and a few words of wisdom from Trevor himself.

What'll this week hold?

I'm still figuring that out.

Now, on to the business at hand:

Thirteen Things I want to bring to the blog in 2007

1. More of the new Susan Speaks commentaries (the link will bring you to an example of a past one)

2. Pam Derbish

3. more story arcs like Green Hair Week

4. merchandise!

5. Podcasts devoted to the outtakes

6. a Myspace page that'll feature music

7. new West of Mars graphics and art (got ideas? Know anyone who does? Speak up!) -- possibly related to the aforementioned merch

8. hopefully a new look to the old meet-and-greet here

9. contests! Contests! (look for the first one soon)

10. a reputable agent, publisher, and agent who love Trevor and everyone else as much as we do (from my typing fingers to God's eyes, huh?)

11. more of you groupies to entertain on a semi-daily basis

12. A listing in my sidebar of books I've loved, so you can read and love them, too

13. Charity -- like this one, or not.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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!

HUGE thanks to laughing muse for today's TT header. Isn't it incredible?

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I got tagged!

That evil Scooper, with whom I haven't even exchanged links yet (hint!) tagged me for a meme. I'm honored -- and I'm going to obey. (usually, I look at who people are tagging and think, "Oh, you mean that other Susan. Why on earth would you mean ME?")

So... here we go:
Four Jobs That I've had
1. Record store employee
2. Stage crew
3. college radio DJ (and everything associated with being a department head)
4. freelance copy editor

(methinks I see a theme...)

Four Favorite Foods
1. Chocolate
2. lobster
3. brownies
4. chocolate chip cookies

(methinks I still see a theme in this meme...)

Four Movies I can Watch Over and Over
1. Slapshot
2. This is Spinal Tap
3. Heavy Metal (one day, I'll figure out what the hell is happening)
4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

(nope, no theme this time. Anyone know how long it took me to think of four movies, let alone four I like???? HUH????)

Four Favorite TV shows
(I had to change the title because the way it WAS worded reminded me of ... oh, nevermind. Someone I don't particularly like)

1. Dog the Bounty Hunter
2. Metalocalypse
3. The Amazing Race
4. Farscape (you never said it had to still be running!)

Four Places I've travelled
1. Mars
2. Moon

Oh, wait. You mean like overnight and stuff. Well.

1. San Francisco
2. Yellowstone
3. San Rafael
4. San Jose

(yep. Theme. I did that on purpose 'cause they were cool trips)

Four Websites I go to daily
1. My own blog
2. My stat counter page
3. Rashenbo's joint
4. Karen!'s joint

Four people I'm now torturing uhh... tagging
1. Rashenbo
2. Karen!
3. ls
4. Janet

Now, let's see if any of them will behave...

See you later for this week's Thursday Thirteen...

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006


A Moment with Trevor

Trevor crossed his legs at the ankle, loving the way his motorcycle boots thunked. He took a minute to light a cigarette; his audience would still be there. Right then, he had them hanging on his every word.

"Don't you idiots know when you've been fucked with," he drawled, inspecting the tip of his cigarette to see if any ash had formed yet. "Someone that camera shy just isn't going to let you see her face so fast."

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Sunday, December 24, 2006


Susan's Snarkling Debut

Ever wondered what I really look like, since that picture on the website is horrid?

Well, Southern Writer made a cool YouTube vid, and I'm in it. Check it out.

Back later with a Christmas entry. Or maybe not.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


More of Susan's Not-Really-Music news

Apparently, according to, Gene Hoglan of Strapping Young Lad is in the studio with Dethklok creator Brendon Small, laying down tracks for a full-length album.

That rocks.

Now, where's the shirts????

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Friday, December 22, 2006


Susan's Not Really Music News

I am sad to report that I will not be the first (let alone only) woman on my block to be wearing a Dethklok t-shirt this holiday season.

What's wrong with the merchandisers at Adult Swim, anyway?

Oh, yeah. There don't seem to be any.


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Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Thursday Thirteen #8 -- Special Hanukkah Edition

Thirteen Things about Hanukkah as listed by Amy, Chelle, and Kerri, the ladies around here. So far.

If you aren't a regular West of Mars groupie, you might want to start by reading this post.

1. You're asking three shiksas? (Amy)

2. You can spell the name of the holiday six different ways, which makes the copy editors go nuts. (Chelle)

3. Candlelight. (Kerri smiles and licks her lips knowingly)

4. Hey, if you're going to involve me in my little brother's sex life, try this on for size: Hot oil! (Amy)

5. Girl, that's too kinky for my blood! Give me the chocolate coins instead! (Chelle)

6. You can do plenty of kinky things with chocolate coins, Chelle. (Kerri, who winks while her sister-in-law gags)

7. Is Hanukkah a kinky holiday, or is it just us? (Kerri)

8. You're the dirty ones, not me. (Chelle)

9. Back to Hanukkah… those spinning tops. Only religion I've ever heard of that condones gambling. (Kerri)

10. How'd you know all this? I thought I'd be the expert here since I have to read the same stupid articles in my paper every year. (Chelle)

11. It's a story of a war victory and oil that lasted eight days instead of one. And this is where I point out that the winning team was led by a woman. (Amy)

12. Back to the oil, Aim? Is there something we should know about you and Derek? (Kerri, who's grinning)

13. I give up! I can't do a damn thing with these two dirty birds here! Did anyone notice that you stuck me in a room with the two women closest to Mitchell Voss? What is it with that man and sex?

Happy Hanukkah, everyone! If you'd like to celebrate with ShapeShifter, you might want to check out this post, too.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll try to add you here!)

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 try to link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Big thanks to Headmeister for this week's cool header!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Susan Speaks: Lead-in to Hanukkah Thursday Thirteen

To help you feel more comfortable with some of what's going on around here, today I'm introducing a new series where I get to talk to you about the background of the fiction you're either about to read, or should have already enjoyed. Consider it a look inside an author's mind.

Today, I need to set you up for this week's Thursday Thirteen.

Thursday Thirteen #8, the Hanukkah Edition, brings together Kerri Voss, Amy London, and Chelle LaFleur. The one thing these women have in common is, of course, the fictional band ShapeShifter. Most specifically, ShapeShifter's singer and rhythm guitarist, Mitchell Voss.

Kerri is Mitchell's wife. Amy is Mitchell's older sister. And Chelle is Mitchell's friend. While Kerri and Amy see each other often, both living in the fictional city of Riverview, Chelle's the outsider here. Still, these are the three women you guys know the best, although there are others floating around, who you'll meet later on.

Together, these three women have a synergy about them that I'm sure you'll enjoy. That's why I sat them down and asked them to talk about the holiday of Hanukkah. Given that these three women all have a certain similar sensibility, the results are probably not what you'd expect from one of the usual Thursday Thirteens that we do here at West of Mars. Or a Thursday Thirteen you might see elsewhere.

See you for this week's Thursday Thirteen.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- Musical Hanukkah Celebration

Now, why aren't other cities' local scenes smart enough to do somethin' like this? I'm talkin' about what my favorite band's got going on in the city of Riverview this time. Don't be sad if you missed the news; they almost snuck this one past yours truly, herself. Almost.

Ready for this? It's brilliant. It's worth copying. They threw a musical Hanukkah party for the members of the local music scene. Anyone involved -- roadies, musicians, promoters, journalists -- could get in for a ten buck ticket that they had to get in advance and buy through KRVR, the radio station that's so high on the Riverview scene that Bobby Bands, himself, is trying to horn in on their turf. (I hear they had the balls to turn his ten bucks away, too.)

For fifty bucks more, you could jam onstage. With the sponsors of the night: ShapeShifter. And since everything from the food to the club to the labor was donated, all the money went to one of those "keep music in our schools" charities that are so hot right now.

Took me two days, but I got hold of ShapeShifter's Mitchell Voss. "It was Eric's idea, really," he said, and handed the phone over. For someone who usually lets his guitar talk for him, ShapeShifter's Eric Wallace had a lot to say. Here's some of it.

"Monday is the quietest day in the entertainment industry, so we picked it, figuring that no one would be committed elsewhere. And since Hanukkah runs for eight days, there's always a Monday during Hanukkah. We can do this for years to come, and I hope we will.

"Why Hanukkah if no one in the band's Jewish? Well, my dad and I were talking about this, wondering if the Jewish kids ever feel bad that Santa doesn't come to their houses--"

He got interrupted here by my favorite blabbermouth. "Look, Chelle. We have Christmas parties out the wazoo. New Year's Eve parties. You can't turn on a fucking radio without hearing Christmas carols until you're blue in the face and stuffing a CD in the player so fast, you break the fucking thing. It's all about Christmas around here."

"So we figured," Eric said. "That we'd honor the religion that was around before Christianity but gets drowned out this time of year. We'd have a Hanukkah party and celebrate our music scene at the same time. After all, Hanukkah's a holiday of rededication. It just seemed to fit with the idea of reminding everyone that we're still into the local scene. It doesn't matter how big we get; it all starts at the local level. Just like the rededication of the Jews' temple."

"And we managed to talk the cook into making potato pancakes for everyone, too," Mitchell laughed in my ear. Ooh, baby. Laugh away.

Focus, Chelle. This was a good thing. Over three hundred people turned out, and they filled the fifty spaces for that big old jam with the superstars themselves. That was an extra fifty bucks for that honor, remember. Once you do the math, you get a pretty nice $5500 for charity.

And then those ShapeShifter boys topped that. They matched the take, making a cool $11,000.

Eric said his father's church was also going to make a donation in the name of the Riverview Musician's Hanukkah Celebration, and is going to work throughout the year toward getting more of the city's religious folk of all denominations and faiths involved for next year. The funds won't stay in Riverview, either, but are going to Music Lives, a foundation that spreads the wealth and the message across the country. This is important, Mitchell told me, "because without music in the schools, some of us won't get to sing in the choir and find out that we can do more than croak. That's what I got out of choir. That and the chance to be around all those girls in their concert best. Man, that alone made being in the choir worth it."

So, c'mon. This is one bandwagon worth jumping on, and go figure that it's ShapeShifter leading the way. Again. Y'all laugh at my face, tellin' me I'm nothin' but a ShapeShifter groupie, but if they're doin' stuff that's this good, why aren't you one, too?

You heard it first and you heard it here: Musical Hanukkah Celebrations are going to be sweeping the country. Get involved now.

(a note from Susan: While Chelle LaFleur, our slightly single-minded journalist, and ShapeShifter are as fake as the Musical Hanukkah Celebration, the Music Lives Foundation isn't. Endorsed by Paul McCartney and Fidelity Investments, they're helping keep music in our community's schools. Check out their website; read the stats about how music helps our children. And if you've got an extra $50, for the price of a jam with ShapeShifter, you can make a positive impact on the world. If you can't do fifty, do what you can; their minimum is five. Go on. Skip that latte and donate instead. And be sure to tell them you heard about them here.)

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Friday, December 15, 2006


Susan's Book Talk: Who Knew Punk was so Hot?

Another book about punk rock has entered my radar: Babylon's Burning: From Punk to Grunge, by Clinton Heylin.

Best known as a biographer of Bob Dylan, Heylin's apparently written other books about punk: From the Velvets to the Voidoids, and All Yesterday's Parties: The Velvet Underground in Print, among other books about music.

Well. If you don't remember what happened the LAST time I blogged about a book about punk, let me refresh your memory.

One book hardly makes me an expert on the genre of books about punk, but I'm sure game to turn myself into one. Therefore, I'd like to hand down this challenge:

If Barb at Front Street Reviews is willing, and if someone in Mr. Heylin's camp is willing, I'll read Babylon's Burning and review it for all of you. We'll see how this Brit's take on punk compares to Steven Lee Beeber's.

Given that we've got the perspectives of two different countries, each rich in punk tradition, I think this could be an interesting project.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Thursday Thirteen #7 -- Loving and Hating the Holidays

Thirteen Things ShapeShifter Loves and Hates About the Holidays

  1. Female fans waiting for them at their hotels, wearing Santa outfits. Suddenly, they have been very good boys. Especially Trevor.
  2. Being on the road instead of at home with family.
  3. Attending church when Eric's dad gives his yearly Christmas sermon. It's always Pastor Wallace's most personal, moving sermon of the year, and people talk about it until he delivers the next one.
  4. Fans who ask what they should buy their loved ones. Like the ShapeShifter boys have a clue? Their families get a new ShapeShifter t-shirt (or so they say).
  5. The excitement of the crowds at shows. Always palpable, at this time of year, it's obvious that shows are a real stress release for the fans, and that challenges the band to play better. They love those challenges. Haven't turned one down yet.
  6. Travelling to rush home in time for Christmas Eve. At least there's a camaraderie with their fellow travellers that makes it bearable. Sometimes BARE-able, too.
  7. Eating Christmas dinner in hotel restaurants. And being one of three other groups in there. Nothing makes you feel more pathetic, unless it's eating Christmas dinner on a tour bus while travelling to the show you'll be playing on the 26th.
  8. Certain parts of the world get snowy this time of year. And cold. Riverview doesn't get that cold. Then again, not many places get colder than Minnesota. Or Siberia. Both of which they've been to during December. And January. And, come to think of it, February. (okay, they only played Siberia twice. And once was during the summer.)
  9. Changing lyrics to be more seasonal and laughing when the crowd doesn't get it. Or when the crowd does and sings along.
  10. Lack of company holiday parties.
  11. Old friends who show up on their days off to spread some Christmas cheer and create a new twist on a company holiday party.
  12. Throwing Christmas parties for the crew.
  13. Opening presents. It never gets old.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll try to add you here!)

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 try to link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


Monday, December 11, 2006


Green Hair Week Flashback

We'd meant to post this picture during the week, but it turned into a crazy week over here, so here you go. A little bit late, but every bit as funny.

Even though Mitchell is much better looking than this kid (and older, too), The Tour Manager and I thought it fit.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006


Working Stiffly, Again

Yep, it's that time of the month again, folks. As Green Hair Week ends, I'm morphing into a Working Stiff.

Read it, let me know what you think, and stop back here often. More fun awaits!

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Saturday, December 09, 2006


Green Hair Week: The Conclusion

"A shower cap? You want me to wear a fucking shower cap?"

Amy glanced around, wondering if the walls were shaking. For a little brother, Mitchell sure could thunder. "It beats corned beef," she pointed out.

"At least we could laugh about that!"

"Are you leaving this room?" she asked him, hands on hips. "I'm right here if anyone knocks. I won't let them see you," she promised even though under normal circumstances, if someone did knock, she'd shove him out into the hall and lock the door behind him.

This wasn't a normal circumstance, and they both knew it. Not if Mitchell had actually coughed up the cash to fly her down here to fix it.

At some point, she'd make sure that he paid for this with more than his wallet. But right now, Amy needed to restore his hair. The band could only ban photographers for so long, and they all knew that fans always managed, somehow, to sneak cameras in. Word would get out, if it hadn't already.

This could become legend.

Mitchell thrust the shower cap at her. "You fucking wear it. I'm sick of looking like a freak."

"You should see yourself right now," Amy told him. His hair was piled on top of his head like a turban, drips of mayonnaise-colored conditioner had spattered his bare arms and chest, and for some reason known only to him, he'd tucked a towel into the waistband of his jeans, as if to keep them clean. "You know, Mom wanted me to take pictures."

"You told her?"

Amy wanted to laugh at his scared look. Mitchell, ever the little boy who was terrified of being caught -- even when he'd been bad on purpose. "Of course I told Mom about it," she said. "I needed a ride to the airport, remember?"

He covered his face with his hands and stomped in a circle, moaning "no" over and over again. Amy actually felt a little sorry for him.

"C'mere and let's get this on you," she said, taking the clear plastic cap from him. "At least it's not pink."

He let her sit him down in a chair and put the shower cap on. "Let the warmth of your head penetrate the conditioner," she sing-songed, moving her hands over his head in what felt like a mystical way.

"I'm not sure if you're telling me I have a hot head or you're making some sex joke," he said, reburying his face in his hands, his elbows propped on his thighs.

Amy stopped, considering. "Both, probably. Speaking of sex, are any of you guys having trouble peeing yet? I picked up supplies just in case…"

Mitchell growled. Amy grinned at her little brother. He'd always been the one who'd made people smile, no matter what he'd done and how angry he'd made them. He'd always been the one people had been drawn to.

And now, Amy told herself, he was paying the price for it. A few less excited girls, toting beer and pizza money into the hotel's pool, slipping twenties to hotel management to keep them looking the other way… When she'd gotten to the hotel and rescued Mitchell from the room he shared with Trevor, the bass player had told her they hadn't spent a dime of their own money over the entire three days. In fact, Trevor had bragged, they'd come out a hundred bucks on top.

Yeah, Amy thought, sometimes it sucked being such a people magnet.

"Hey, Aim?" Mitchell said, his voice muffled by his hands.

"What's up, Pipsqueak?"


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Friday, December 08, 2006


Green Hair Week: Drastic Measures

The last person Mitchell wanted to talk to about this was Trevor. But Trevor was his roommate, and Daniel and Eric were off in their room, probably with girls. Which meant Mitchell couldn't just go knocking. Even if the interruption would be welcome -- which there was no way in Hell it would be -- Mitchell didn't want anyone outside the band to see the green too closely. Not that he wanted the guys to see the green, but he was stuck on that one.

"What else can we try?" he asked Trevor morosely.

Trevor held up the slice of pizza he was chowing on. "Anchovies? I'm still hungry."

"You hate anchovies, asshole," Mitchell said and flopped on his back on his bed. "And why the fuck would they work if nothing else has?"

"I still think you ought to cut it," Trevor said around a mouthful of the meatball pizza he'd special ordered, shamelessly using the ShapeShifter name to get what he wanted. For free, too, that fucker.

"Just shave it all," Trevor said. Mitchell could imagine his usual I'm-up-to-no-good expression. "It's hardly a chick magnet all green, but I hear chicks dig stubble. That could work for you for awhile."

Mitchell didn't even bother to snort. Trevor could shave his own damn head if he wanted to know about girls and stubble. But he was Mitchell Voss. He had an image to maintain as a long-haired rock god.

Which meant he had to get the blonde back.

Groaning, he reached for the phone. "Name your price," he said to the person who answered. "But you've got to get your ass over here and get the green out of my hair."

"What did you do now?" she asked.

"Are you gonna come, or not?"

"Are you going to pay for this?"

"Repeatedly," he sighed. But yeah, he'd pay for her flight down. There was no way she could get there if he didn't.

"I'll call you back when I book the flight."

Mitchell hung up and covered his face with his hands for a long minute, than sat up and lit a cigarette. Trevor was finishing the last piece of pizza. He'd eaten the whole thing by himself.

"Drastic measures?" Trevor asked, smacking his lips and flicking some leftover sauce off his fingers. It splattered on the wall.

"As drastic as it gets."

"Good." Trevor stood up and burped. He looked over at Mitchell. "I'm tired of your mopey ass. It's too big a world to spend it hiding in a hotel."

"We could go swimming," Mitchell told him.

Trevor laughed. "There's hope for you yet, asshole."

"Cut my hair off while I'm sleeping tonight and there won't be any hope for you," Mitchell tossed back. Knowing that help was on the way made him feel that much better.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Thursday Thirteen #6 -- Green Hair Week: The List

Thirteen Things Mitchell Used to Get the Green Out of His Hair

(if you feel lost, scroll down the page, or click on the Green Hair Week label)

1. Lemon juice (Not only didn't it work, it made his hair so dry, it stood out from his head like he was plugged directly into an electrical outlet. You could smell it from the audience, too.)

2. Mountain Dew (Hey, it's the same color as lemon juice. Sort of. Mostly.)

3. Coffee (Brown and green make... green.)

4. Milk (Gotta make the coffee less bitter, I suppose.)

5. Tea (Might have worked better had they brewed it instead of rubbing wet tea bags on Mitchell's head.)

6. Toothpaste (Mitchell smelled minty fresh!)

7. Beer (Made it shiny. Trevor said the shine made it look like pond scum. Mitchell promptly beat him almost senseless.)

8. Honey (Don't call Mitchell honey. Ever.)

9. Mayonnaise (Didn't do a thing for the color, but it gave his poor hair a good conditioning after all this stuff he's used so far.)

10. Mustard (What's one more condiment? And no, ketchup wasn't next, for fear of going from green to pink.)

11. Orange juice (Mitchell's always drinking it; maybe it'll help if he wears it, too.)

12. Vodka (Screwdriver, anyone?)

13. Corned Beef (This was Trevor's half-joking solution. At this point, Mitchell figured he had nothing to lose. Including, it turned out, the green.)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll do my best to add you here!)

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 do my best to link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Green Hair Week: I'm Sure We Can Find Something

Mitchell was still waking up on the bus, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes and scratching it off his chest, when he staggered into to the front lounge.

Trevor took one look at him and screeched, dropping his cigarette into the ashtray.

"What the fuck?" Mitchell asked, squinting at his band. He was, like it was any surprise, the last one up. Even Charlie the tour manager was sitting in the front lounge, pretending to read a magazine.

"Your head," Daniel said.

Mitchell scrubbed at his beard. He'd been too lazy after the show the night before to shave; he figured that blanket fuzz or feathers were stuck in it. Again.

"Your hair," Eric said. "It … how'd it get worse overnight?"

"It didn't," Daniel said, starting to smirk.

Trevor choked on his laughter. "Hey, dumb fuck," he said to Mitchell, who lifted his chin but still couldn't get his eyes the whole way open.

"Get out of the sun," Trevor said. "Man, I know plenty of girls who wouldn't stand on a street corner with hair that color."

"What are we going to do about it?" Eric asked.

"Bleach it?" Daniel suggested.

"Cut it off!" Trevor crowed.

"Same thing," the tour manager said, not looking up from his magazine. "I'll make some calls, see if we can find some beauty shop who'll fix you up."

Trevor snickered. "I want to see M in curlers!"

Mitchell growled at him and sunk into the bench seat behind the table. "If word about this gets out…"

Daniel played with one of his curls. "That's a good point. Maybe we should see if we can fix this, ourselves, first."

"How?" Eric asked.

Daniel opened the mini-fridge and looked inside. "I'm sure we can find something."

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Green Hair Week: The Concert

Mitchell glared at the crowd. "What's the matter with you pussies?" he sneered.

He could feel the band holding its breath behind him. Like they hadn't expected him to do this.

"You guys are acting like my head's green or something."

Trevor cracked up, laughing so hard, he doubled over, his unbuttoned shirt brushing against the strings of his bass so that it, too, had a comment to make.

The crowd, though, was stunned almost into silence. After a long pause, they roared.

"That's been taken care of," Mitchell told Eric and hit the opening chord for the next song.

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Monday, December 04, 2006


Green Hair Week: The Discovery

No one noticed it until just before showtime. "Uhh… Mitchell?" Eric asked, standing over the band leader and peering down at his head.

"What?" Mitchell growled. His hangover was proving more stubborn than he'd anticipated and he'd already chugged the four quarts of orange juice that the band's tour rider specified -- and sent out a runner for two more. That meant, he was sure, he'd get halfway through the half-hour set and have to piss. Hopefully, there'd be a bathroom nearby. If not, he'd be decorating the venue.

Not that he'd never done that before.

Eric was touching his head, picking at his hair. Angrily, he swatted the lead guitarist away. "What the fuck are you doing?"

"Your hair." Eric swallowed audibly. Mitchell, through the throbbing head and now the heartburn from all that orange juice, decided to let him say whatever it was that he was scared to. Then he'd kill him.

"It's … green."

Mitchell turned away and grabbed the nearest lock of past-his-shoulders hair. As he held it up, he could see it -- and it wasn't as faint as he'd hoped. "Fuck," he groaned, drawing the word out so that it was more a sound than an actual word.

"Three days in a pool, blondie," Trevor giggled, coming over for a look.

Mitchell very deliberately placed a fist in Trevor's gut and shoved him away. "Lemon juice," he ordered, looking around. They had lemon juice, he was sure of it, because Daniel put it in his tea.

The drummer hustled to hand over the little plastic lemon. Mitchell grabbed it and leaned over one of the sinks in the dressing room's bathroom, squirting the juice straight on his head and working it through his hair, trying to get it to bleach back to almost-white. Fucking stupid color for hair, he thought as he squirted and rubbed, squirted and rubbed.

Eric followed and helped. "Dans, send for more when you see a runner!" he called.

"Just steal some from the crew," Trevor said. He was leaning against the doorframe, watching as if this was better than anything he'd ever seen.

Then again, this being Trevor, it probably was. At least until the next greatest thing came along.

"Is it working?" Mitchell asked, the fumes making his eyes water. "My neck can't take much more."

"Uhh… no," Eric said. "And M, I hate to tell you this, but …"

"Spit it out."

"It's really green."

"Holy shit!" Daniel said, coming in the bathroom and poking at Mitchell's head. "How'd you make it worse?"

Mitchell jerked up so fast, he cracked his head on the faucet. He let out a wordless yowl and jumped up and down, a hand clapped to his wet hair, until the first jolt of pain faded.

Daniel clapped him on the shoulder as he left the bathroom, hopefully on the trail of more lemon juice. "Better fix it fast," the drummer said.

Mitchell stared at his reflection. He didn't need to get close to the mirror to see it. Green. His hair was green. He looked like a fucking polar bear at the height of summer, except even polar bears had some white left to them. He couldn't say the same. Not really. Not without exaggerating wildly.

Trevor, bent over at the waist and holding his gut, broke into peals of laughter.

"Trev, shut the fuck up. You're not helping," Mitchell told him, fighting a wave of panic. They had a show to do…

"FUCK!" Daniel roared, storming into the bathroom. "Charlie just came in. Dudes, we're on!"

They froze, giving each other terrified looks. They were about to take the stage, and their frontman, the one person everyone looked at, had very wet, very green long hair.

And the hot stage lights would probably only help one of those two problems.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006


Green Hair Week: The Run-up

The show was over for the night; they'd kicked ass -- for a change, so Mitchell hadn't worried much when their tour manager had asked him to be fast about showering so they could have a few quick words. He'd been expecting to hear that JR, the band's manager, had set up a headlining tour. Instead, he came back to the dressing room with the next-best news he could think of.

"Guys, get this," he said with one of those grins that should have told them trouble was ahead. "Charlie just told me that Jim Shields changed the schedule."

"Again?" Eric groaned. He was bent over, tying his Doc Martens; his voice was muffled.

"Yeah, but this is good. He wants to take three days off after the Phoenix gig so he can go explore some of the power centers and shit in Sedona. As his opening act, we get three days off!"

"Power centers?" Eric arched an eyebrow.

"I heard his dick could use some energy," Trevor said. He was laying on his back on the couch the promoter had brought in, one foot on the floor, the other flung over the back of the couch. Mitchell wasn't entirely certain what he was doing with his hands -- or why there weren't any girls around. They were ShapeShifter; there were always girls around.

"Three days off," Mitchell said again. "Hello? Three days."

Daniel grinned at him. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"

It still seemed too good to be true. "A place that's warm enough for an outdoor pool and three days with nothing to do but have us some fun? Fuck yeah, I'm thinking what you are!"

"Outdoor pool?" Trevor asked. He propped himself up on his elbows and gave Mitchell one of those looks that meant he was plotting something.

Mitchell didn't know his grin could get any bigger, but somehow, it did. "I told Charlie to make sure the hotel has all-night lighting out there and they know where to direct the pizza delivery guys. I, for one, am not leaving unless the cops make me. And even then, I'll be back!"

Daniel laughed. "I'm right there with you, bro."

"Eric? Trev?" Mitchell looked at them. As if they'd miss this.

The bigger question was who'd remember it.

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Saturday, December 02, 2006


Susan's Publishing News

Go to Front Street Reviews and click on Non-fiction.

See a review for a book I've mentioned here a few times? You know, that Heebie Jeebies book?

See who wrote it?

Yeah, that's right. That'd be me.

Read the review. Buy the book. Read the book. Read the review again; I'm worth a second look.

Then, go back to Front Street Reviews and find more good stuff to read.

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Friday, December 01, 2006



Just wanted to say a public thanks to you guys, steady readers, first-time visitors, and groupies. My stat counter was in heaven yesterday thanks to you -- I had more than double my record number of hits.

Two more days to the start of Green Hair Week. Can you stand it?

Since it's hard, let me ask you this:

If YOUR hair could be any color (complete, highlights, splotches, whatever), what color would you go for?

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