Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #14 -- Meet and Greet Trevor Wolff

If you haven't been here in a few days, this place has been jumping. Be sure to scroll down for the latest Debut a Debut news and author suggestions. (Have you checked out Tasha Alexander's And Only to Deceive? You historical and mystery fans should check it out!) Special thanks to Heather for the cool banners!

Over the past few weeks, we've spent some time with Mitchell Voss, rhythm guitarist, vocalist, and frontman all around of ShapeShifter. In Trevor's Song, Mitchell has to share the spotlight with a true scene stealer: Trevor Wolff. (nevermind that the book is actually Trevor's story. Bet you didn't get that from the title.)

Here's some bits about Trevor. Follow the links to read older outtakes that you might have missed, or to revisit them if you've already seen them. Some of them are among my most favorite moments in outtake history.

Thirteen things about Trevor Wolff

1. Trevor is the second-oldest of four. He has two brothers and a sister.

2. Jeremy, the oldest, and Hank Jr. (HJ) are carbon copies of their father. Trevor's always surprised that they don't reappear in his life, demanding money.

3. Trevor always assumed he'd scrape by in life, even though he always dreamed of something more.

4. He found a way to get that something more when he met Amy. (read about it!)

5. The first thing Trevor bought with his band money was his Vincent.

6. It wasn't in very good shape, and he talked local mechanics, Wrench, Hammer, and Torque, into teaching him how to fix it up himself.

7. Other than his bass and women, Trevor loves his Vincent maybe more than life itself.

8. And does Trevor Wolff love the women! He goes through them the way a person with a cold goes through a box of tissues -- and with the same understanding that this isn't going to last much beyond the clean-up.

9. Fortunately for Trevor, the girls love him back. Frequently, imaginatively, and satisfyingly. (is that a word?)

10. Trevor firmly believes that life is worth living, not merely coasting through. He'll try most anything once.

11. Despite a rather dark and disturbing upbringing, Trevor loves to laugh, play jokes, and be outrageous.

12. Trevor calls Mitchell's wife Rusty because after their first date, Mitchell said he was done with girls unless things with Kerri didn't work out. Thus, she caused Mitchell to grow Rusty.

13. No one really buys the fact that Trevor's in love with Kerri. But they all pretend to, so that Trevor can save face.

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!

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Susan's Reviewed a Book!

Check out my review of LL Cool J's Platinum Workout, now posted at Front Street Reviews.

Best line in the book? Near the end, when LL is telling the ladies not to worry about bulking up too much. "Believe me, ladies, I want to be the hardest thing in the bed."

You've got to love a man who can slip a line like that into an exercise book.

And in Debut a Debut news...

Karen has featured one of our debut authors (and prize contributors). Make sure you stop in if you like historical fiction.

Looking to start a new series? Try Heather Hayashi's To Save the World. I don't know much about Hayashi (yet), but it seems that her series is directed at gamers. The Tour Manager will be pleased.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007


Susan Speaks: Debut a Debut and another contest???

If you're looking for an updated (or correct!) version of the authors for the Debut a Debut contest, head on over to the main West of Mars site, or else to Writing Aspirations. The list is huge, and I'm afraid that if you haven't been here in a few days, you'll miss some of the routine action that's been happening. (Want a hint? Chelle 's got something on her mind and you guys have been strangely quiet about what she's got to say.)

Time is drawing close... Twelve more days before entries should start arriving. Have you selected your book(s)? Are you ready to read and review?

What about Ali Liebegott -- The IHOP Papers? Don't be like me and freak when you notice she's got another publication -- it's a poem. Ali still qualifies for the contest, and her book is on my wishlist. Check it out...

While we're talking contests, I came across this one. I entered more to tell the story than to win; that story is only one of millions that I've got. And it's true! Let me know what you think of it (read the comment trail to see it, but feel free to comment here; you guys have been scarily quiet lately).

See you guys in a few with a Thursday Thirteen that takes us back to Riverview. Anyone else miss it there amid all the Debut a Debut hoopla?

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Monday, January 29, 2007


Susan Speaks: Random Notes

Thanks to everyone who's been visiting as part of the Debut a Debut contest. I hope you'll all stay, look around, and come back often. There's room in my zany world for all of you, and I'd love to see you all delurk.

More authors are popping up daily, asking to be included in this list. Congratulations to all on the list; may your sales be strong.

I'll keep on trying to feature authors who've been in touch with me in one form or another. Today, it's Colleen Gleason. A fellow Thursday Thirteener and an all-around nice woman, Colleen is making it more affordable for any of you to choose her book, The Rest Falls Away, for one of your contest entries (and if you're reading this, unless you're the Tour Manager or Erica, you're eligible to enter. Yes, even if you've donated a prize).

Here's a coupon to use until February 4, 2007.

(of course, if you use my above link and buy it at, you'll help me afford prizes for future, smaller contests. Your pick; save a buck or chip in for a future contest prize. Both have their pros and cons)

On to other stuff...

I'm reading the March Guitar World magazine right now. (what happened to magazines not hitting the sales rack until the month listed on the spine?), and I about lost it when I noticed an ad for Krank Amps. Who do you think they have pictured as musicians who use their product?

Toki Wartooth and Skwisgaar Skwigelf. Of, yes, Dethklok. That most famous (and favorite) of fictional bands.

The Tour Manager thinks it's a great idea if I order both Dethklok shirts and post pictures of me wearing them, so stay tuned for that. I know you regulars around here are dying to know what I really look like!

More later. I've got literary agents to query, books to write, and a knee to nurse.

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Sunday, January 28, 2007


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- Bitty Bands

As part of the Debut a Debut contest that Erica at Writing Aspirations and I are throwing, I thought that I'd start featuring some of our debut authors, too. First is Lila Shaara, whose Every Secret Thing is one of the debuts you can win copies of -- an autographed hardcover or an audiobook on CD!

Now, on to Chelle and what she's got to say today

Now someone had better explain to me just what's goin' on here. Okay? I'm listening, so you all had better start speaking.

Now see here. I know I've encouraged letters and feedback from you all. And for the most part, what you people have to say rocks. I like that you don't hold back in your letters, and I like even more that you show me some respect when we meet up face to face. Not a lot; just enough.

What I don't like is this recent bombardment from you all about my horn-tooting of those little bands out there. Why? What's your issue here? Don't you know how big bands get made? They start out as little bands and they slug it out and they find a way to make sure they stand out. If they stand out enough to catch my cynical old ears, so much the better, don't you think? Have you ever known me to go nuts for a band that was so terrible, you changed the radio station every time they came on?

Well, you gotta account for taste in there, too. But my track record speaks for itself: every single bitty band I've told you about has found their way to success of some size, and all of it's been deserved. Sure, some of 'em broke up before they made it as big as they could have, but that's the nature of bands, boys and girls. They're made up of people. People don't always get along.

Sort of like you all and me, right now. 'Cause sure as I know my name's Chelle LaFleur, I know that you ain't feeling this bitty band love the way I am. And I don't know why, unless you're just perfectly happy to keep on doing the same-old, same-old.

If that's the case, then you shouldn't be taking up the air I'm tryin' to breathe, you know what I'm saying here, boys and girls? I'm here to find good music and not care about how big their arenas are or how gigantic their heads are or how humongous their staffs are, pushing their great big news down my fat throat. It's about the quality of the music, and damn if I care who's making it.

Okay, unless it's those ShapeShifter boys, but they're another story. They're one of those bands who earn your respect, just because they're so damn cute, and so damn into what they're doing and we all know they won't be a bitty band for much longer.

So quit'cher bellyaching at me already. If no one looks for the next ShapeShifter, how's anyone gonna find them?

You heard it first, and you heard it here: Bitty bands rock. C'mon out with Chelle and give 'em your support.

Debut a Debut! Don't forget!

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Friday, January 26, 2007


Debut a Debut update

Okay, no wonder I'm tired and cranky. In just one week, our list of debut authors we know about has swelled from 40 to 173. And guess who is the keeper of the list? Rashenbo?

Well, I did volunteer, so no bellyaching allowed on my end. If you know of a debut author who qualifies under our rules, keep those names rolling in. And if you catch any mistakes, please let me know! There's no malice intended, just an exhausted mom-writer-wife with a potentially torn knee cartilege (again).

I thought I'd post the list for you here, even though it's fun to watch the hits on my main website. Guess I'll watch 'em in both places.

  1. Alan Fox -- The Seeker in Forever
  2. Albyn Leah Hall -- The Rhythm of the Road
  3. Alex Espinoza -- Still Water Saints
  4. Alexandra Sokoloff -- The Harrowing
  5. Ali Liebegott -- The IHOP Papers
  6. Alice Greenway -- White Ghost Girls
  7. Aliya Whiteley -- Three Things About Me
  8. Amir Gutfreund -- Our Holocaust
  9. Amy Bryant -- Polly
  10. Ana Baca -- Mama Fela's Girls
  11. Andrew Britton -- The American
  12. Antoinette May -- Pilate's Wife
  13. Antonia Arslan -- Skylark Farm
  14. Benito Cordova -- Big Dreams and Dark Secrets in Chimaya
  15. Betsey Osborne -- The Natural History of Uncas Metcalfe
  16. Brian Martin -- North

  17. Brian Shuster. The Minerva Virus
  18. C-Murder -- Death Around the Corner
  19. CA Belmond -- A Rather Lovely Inheritance
  20. Carolyn Turgeon -- Rain Village
  21. Cate Sweeney -- Selfish Jean
  22. Catherine Murdock - Dairy Queen
  23. Cheryl Strayed -- Torch
  24. Christine Conrad -- Mademoiselle Benoir
  25. Cindy Woodsmall -- When the Heart Cries
  26. Clifford Chase -- Winkie
  27. Colleen Gleason -- The Rest Falls Away
  28. Cornelia Read -- A Field of Darkness
  29. Conor Corderoy -- Dark Rain
  30. Da Chen -- Brothers
  31. Daniel Judson - The Darkest Place
  32. David Lynn Golemon -- Event
  33. Debra Dean - The Madonnas of Leningrad

  34. Debra Ginsberg -- Blind Submisssion
  35. Derek Armstrong -- The Game
  36. Diane Setterfield -- The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel
  37. Donna Westover Gallup -- White as Snow
  38. Drew Bowling -- The Tower of Shadows
  39. Edward Charles -- In the Shadow of Lady Jane
  40. Ellis Avery -- The Teahouse Fire
  41. Faiza Guene -- Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow
  42. Farrell O'Gorman -- Awaiting Orders
  43. Frances Washburn -- Elsie's Business
  44. George Robert Minkoff -- The Weight of Smoke
  45. Gillian Flynn -- Sharp Objects: A Novel
  46. Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk -- The Sidewalk Artist
  47. Gordon Dahlquist - The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters
  48. Heather Hayashi -- To Save the World
  49. Heidi Pitlor -- The Birthdays
  50. Henry Chang -- Chinatown Beat

  51. Hisham Matar -- In the Country of Men
  52. Heidi Pitlor -- The Birthdays: A Novel
  53. Hisham Matar -- In the Country of Men
  54. Hugh Paxton -- Homunculus
  55. Jackie Kessler -- Hell's Belles
  56. James Canon -- Takes from the Town of Widows and Chronicles from the Land of Men
  57. James Janko -- Buffalo Boy and Geronimo
  58. Jana DeLeon -- Rumble on the Bayou
  59. Jane May -- Doggy Style
  60. Jason Webb -- The Ghost of Che Guevara
  61. Jed Rubenfeld - The Interpretation of Murder
  62. Jenn Reese -- Jade Tiger
  63. Jennah Sharpe -- Along the Hibiscus Path
  64. Jennifer Gilmore -- Golden Country: A Novel
  65. Jerome Tell -- The Election

  66. Jill Conner Browne (with Karin Gillespie) -- The Sweet Potato Queen's First Big Ass Novel
  67. Jonathan Drapes -- Never Admit to Beige
  68. Joshua Cohen -- Cadenza for the Schneidermann Violin Concerto
  69. Joshua Palmatier -- The Skewed Throne
  70. Joshua Spanogle - Isolation Ward
  71. Judith Lindbergh -- The Thrall's Tale
  72. Judith Marks-White -- Seducing Harry
  73. Julie Carobini -- Chocolate Beach
  74. Kat Richardson -- Greywalker
  75. Kathleen Jacobs -- The Friday Knitting Club
  76. Katherine Min -- Secondhand World
  77. KE Silva -- A Simple Distance
  78. Kelly Kerney -- Born Again
  79. Keith Donohue -- The Stolen Child
  80. Kevin Shay -- The End as I Know it
  81. Kirsten Sawyer -- Not Quite a Bride
  82. Laura Dave -- London is the Best City in America

  83. Laura Fitzgerlad -- A Veil of Roses
  84. Laura Ruby -- I'm not Julia Roberts
  85. Lauren Fox -- Still Life With Husband
  86. Lauren Lipton -- It's About Your Husband
  87. Lauren Marks-White -- Seducing Harry
  88. Layne Maheu -- Song of the Crow
  89. Lee Merrill Bryd -- Riley's Fire
  90. Liam Jackson -- Offspring
  91. Lila Shaara -- Every Secret Thing
  92. Lisa Fugard -- Skinner's Drift
  93. Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum -- A Day of Small Beginnings
  94. Lisa Unger -- Beautiful Lifes
  95. Lori Lacefield -- The Seventh Survivor
  96. Lu Vickers -- Breathing Underwater
  97. Lucy McCarraher -- Blood & Water
  98. Marcus Sakey -- The Blade Itself

  99. Margo Candela -- Underneath it All
  100. Marie Arana -- Cellophane
  101. Marisa de los Santos -- Love Walked In
  102. Marisha Pessl -- Special Topics in Calamity Physics
  103. Mark Binelli -- Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die!
  104. Mary E. Neighbour -- Speak Right on: Dred Scott a Novel
  105. Matthew Scott Hansen -- The Shadow killer
  106. Max Brooks -- World War Z
  107. Meg Mullins -- The Rug Merchant
  108. Melissa Clark -- Swimming Upstream Slowly
  109. Mia King -- Good Things
  110. Michael A. Fitzgerald -- Radiant Days
  111. Michael Graham -- The Snow Angel
  112. Michael Stephen -- The Manuscript
  113. Michael Thomas -- Man Gone Down
  114. Michelle Tea -- Rose of no Man's Land
  115. MWF Curran -- The Secret War

  116. Naomi Alderman -- Disobedience
  117. Natalie Danford -- Inheritance
  118. Nora Gallagher -- Changing Light
  119. N.S. Koenings -- The Blue Taxi
  120. Olga Grushin -- The Dream Life of Sukhanov
  121. Pam Jenoff -- The Kommandant's Girl
  122. Pamela Carter Joern -- The Floor of the Sky
  123. Patrick F. McManus -- The Blight Way
  124. Patrick Hyde -- The Only Pure Thing
  125. Paul Batista -- Death's Witness
  126. Paul Rusesabagina - An Ordinary Man
  127. Paul Wolfe -- Choices
  128. Peter Behrens -- The Law of Dreams
  129. Peter Bourne -- The Deserter
  130. Peter C. Brown -- The Fugitive Wife
  131. Peter Hobbs -- The Short Day of dying
  132. Racy Li -- Ninja

  133. Rae Meadows -- Calling Me Out
  134. Raymond Khoury -- The Last Templar
  135. Rebecca Drake -- Don't Be Afraid
  136. RG Willems -- Targets of Affection
  137. Robert Dugoni - The Jury Master
  138. Robert Fate -- Baby Shark
  139. Robert Gregory Browne -- Kiss Her Goodbye
  140. Robert Gussin -- Trash Talk
  141. Roger Morris -- Taking Comfort
  142. Roger Alan Skipper -- Tear Down the Mountain
  143. Roseanne Keller -- A Summer All Her Own
  144. Sam Barone -- Dawn of Empire
  145. Sam Savage -- Firmin
  146. Samantha Grosser -- Another Time and Place
  147. San Culberson -- The Nick of Time
  148. Sandi Ault -- Wild Indigo
  149. Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants

  150. Sean Chercover -- Big City Bad Blood
  151. Sela Carsen -- Not Quite Dead (
  152. Sela Carsen -- The Virgin Courtesan
  153. Shane Gericke -- Blown Away
  154. Stephen J. Spignesi - Dialogues
  155. Steven Hockensmith -- Holmes on the Range
  156. Steve Voake - The Dreamwalker's Child
  157. Sunny -- Mona Lisa Awakening
  158. Suroopa Mukherjee -- Across the Mystic Shore
  159. Suzanne Adair -- Paper Woman (
  160. Tasha Alexander -- And Only to Deceive
  161. Tawny Taylor -- Sex and the Single Ghost
  162. Thomas Mullen -- The Last Town on Earth: A Novel

  163. Thomma Lyn -- Thy Eternal Summer
  164. Tinling Choong -- FireWife
  165. Toby Devens -- My favorite midlife crisis (yet)
  166. Tom McCarthy -- Remainder
  167. Tony D'Souza -- Whiteman
  168. Troy Cook -- 47 Rules of Highly Effective Bank Robbers
  169. Wendy Wasserstein -- Elements of Style
  170. Will Beall -- L.A. Rex
  171. William Kittredge -- The Willow Field
  172. Yael Goldstein -- Overture
  173. Yvette Christianse -- Unconfessed


And a hello to all of you dropping in from the Romance Divas bulletin board! I hope everyone visiting for this contest will stay awhile, poke around, and become as enchanted with my world of Riverview, USA, and my fictional band, ShapeShifter.

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It's a Hoot!

Go check out my latest post at Working Stiffs.

It's a hoot, I tell ya! It's a hoot!

(comments here and there both gracefully and gratefully accepted. Thanks to everyone for helping me create yet another successful Thursday Thirteen. And don't forget to Debut a Debut!)

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Lucky Thursday Thirteen -- More About ShapeShifter

Those of you who've been around know that my fiction centers on the fictional band ShapeShifter, the men who make up this unique band, and the people who shape the rest of their lives. For the past two weeks, our focus has been on ShapeShifter frontman Mitchell Voss. Now that you guys have a better idea who he is, I thought I'd throw in some generic bits about ShapeShifter -- sort of like a palate cleanser before we get to the next character.

Enjoy, and don't forget about the Debut a Debut contest (and to check out the winners of my meme contest, too!)! The list of debut authors to check out is being updated semi-daily and can be found either at Writing Aspirations or my main website.

Thirteen things most people know about ShapeShifter:

1. They are four boys from Riverview USA who made it big

2. They are all roughly the same age. Trevor and Daniel are a year older than Mitchell and Eric.

3. They love all their fans, but show it most obviously to the female variety. The males just get autographs and pictures.

4. Mitchell and Daniel are the band's heartthrobs and mouthpieces.

5. Mitchell can be quite cranky to the media.

6. Trevor came up with the band name. In the beginning, they had a typical ShapeShifter concept. Each band member had an animal: Mitchell the dragon, Daniel the bear, Eric the eagle and Trevor Wolff was … a wolf.

7. The concept was soon considered too hokey to be allowed to continue. But Mitchell is still considered a dragon by many.

8. The band's first tour happened before they had a record deal. They piled into Mitchell's father's Bronco, attached a U-haul to the back, and off they went.

9. They did everything in the back of that Bronco. It's a wonder the truck survived. But it did.

10. Mitchell is still driving it during Trevor's Song.

11. They love to hang out in pools (witness Green Hair Week) -- and in pool halls, shooting 8-ball.

12. They love to make commando runs on ice cream stands before leaving town. Fans often try to guess where they'll stop. The ice cream shops love the added business.

13. They'll stop and talk music with you as long as they possibly can. Make sure what you say reflects the fact that you've got a brain in your head (with the obvious exception of someone obviously tongue-tied at having a discussion with ShapeShifter).

Don't forget to Debut a Debut!

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!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Contest Winners -- Meme Contest

Nope, not the Debut a Debut winners. Yet. That's next month.

But for you regulars, you'll remember when I got tagged for a meme and decided that since this blog is about my fictional friends, I'd let you answer for them.

I'm proud to say that everyone who entered won an award.

Musie/Ali won a couple of awards. The "Oh, so perfect, I should have thought of that" award for declaring that Trevor's middle name is Fuckin' (as in: Trevor Fuckin' Wolff, thankyouverymuch.)

She also won the "How'd you know what Trevor gave Mitchell and Kerri for their wedding?" with the response that his favorite book is the Kama Sutra.

Her prizes are my copy of The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana and Marian Keyes' Last Chance Saloon. Of course, Musie, if you don't want one or the other... tough.

No, seriously. I'll swap out; I've got enough here!

Next on to my favorite giraffe, CheesyGiraffe. She won the Best Invention of a Pet, for inventing Brick, the yellow Lab that Mitchell had when he was a kid. I'd never envisioned the Vosses with a dog before, but I think there's some merit in her vision.

She wins two books, also. Theresa Medeiros's After Midnight ('cause I know she likes that paranormal stuff) and Jim Fergus' The Wild Girl. But I promised her The Wild Girl almost a year ago, so it's not really a prize. Just a nice plug for a book I'm really digging.

Then we'll move on to my favorite Hoser, Lauren. She wins the award for Best Capture of Mitchell's Innocence, a trait that I think really defines him. She's the one who said that Mitchell's secret weapon to attract the opposite sex was his no longer green hair.

And since we're talking about Mitchell and his green hair (long live Green Hair Week, huh?), let's give an award to lswriter, herself. She decided that Mitchell's green hair was his worst injury. She's got a great point.

Prizes... let's see... Lauren wins C. David Heymann's Poor Little Rich Girl, and John Martel's The Alternate. I know she likes legal thrillers and Poor Little Rich Girl is a classic, and she likes classics.

LS gets a cool book: Farscape: Dark Side of the Sun, by Andrew Dymond. An homage to my favorite silver-haired character -- Chianna -- as well as one of my favorite TV shows of recent times. And since most everyone is getting two books, I'm throwing in one of my five copies of Darkness at Noon, by Arthur Koestler (don't ask!).

The Ace herself (Ace of hearts, don'tcha know) wins a special award. The I Admire You For Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone award. She can hear Trevor opining: There is no such thing as a hot dog. There are hot chicks and then there are dogs.

Fortunately, Trevor doesn't find many of the dogs. To him, they're all hot chicks.

And for being such a good sport, I'm sending Dana my copy of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. I suspect the movie's better, but at least you can have the bragging rights to the book now.

Nimrodiel wins the best potential outtake award, setting me up with a scene that's typical Mitchell and total laughs. Mitchell buys Kerri an arm band while they're in Santa Fe ... among other things. *grin*

Two books for Nim, too. The first is McGonagall: A Selection. This is an important book because of how truly terrible it is. McGonagall was known as Scotland's worst poet. The second is Allegra Goodman's Kaaterskill Falls, just because.

Carol wins the Welcome to the Madness award. Our only newbie brave enough to wade into the fray, Carol, if you'll e-mail me, we can talk about which books you'd like. I'll even read one on the mountain in here! (I've offered Rebecca Drake's Debut, Don't be Afraid to about ten people now; no one's bitten yet. Why not? Rebecca rocks.)

And lastly, we have the big prizes. The first goes to Dana, again, for stepping outside her comfort zone. She's getting my much coveted copy of Clay's Quilt. I suspect you'll love it as much as I did.

The final prize isn't a book. I was going to, but I send Karen enough books as it is, and I spaced on her birthday a few months back. Since she had the foresight to step into my closet and dress Kerri in my bamboo shirt (okay, mine's more of a green than a true sapphire blue), I'll buy her one. This is my pick. What do you guys think?

There were a ton of good answers to this meme; I'm going to print them and hang them on the wall. It's a treat to see my fictional characters so alive to you guys, my groupies. Thanks to the small crowd of you who entered and now that you've seen how easy it is to win, the rest of you will join the fun next time, too, right?


In the meantime, it's time to turn to Debut a Debut. This is a larger contest, with a larger scope, so I'm not going to even suggest that there will be prizes for everyone who enters. Things are gaining momentum, though; come be part of it.

Two more things before I go and leave you to your debut novel hunting. First is that I've provided links to most of the books I'm sending you. You probably won't get that exact edition; the links are provided mostly to give you access to plot summaries and stuff. And if you buy something while you're peeking around, I'll get a commission which I promise to use on future contest prizes.

And secondly, the Tour Manager gets a special prize. Not just for wading into this estrogen field we're creating (I know we've got some male lurkers, which is just disturbing. Show yourselves! Just ... keep that trench coat belted, dudes; I'm a married woman), but for being my tour manager.

Besides, he's just darn cute.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Debut a Debut news

For those of you who've been looking for it, a partial list of debut authors for the Debut a Debut contest is now up at West of Mars.

If you are an author of a debut novel and would like to either see your name listed, or would like to contribute prizes, please contact me or Erica.

Happy reading, everyone! I'll be back with a list of winners from my second contest tomorrow. And would anyone else like some fiction this week?

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Friday, January 19, 2007


Contest Time! #3 About to Begin

The book industry faces many challenges. People seem to have less time to read and it's tough to compete with the television and Internet. Any new or aspiring author knows how hard it is to make his or her voice heard amongst the chorus of "publish me!" "Notice me!" "Buy my books!"

In many cultures around the world, Valentine's Day has converted the month of February into the month of love. This February, two aspiring authors are taking their love of reading and their admiration for debut authors and combining them into the "Debut a debut!" contest.

Take a first-time author for a spin on your "To Read in 2007" list and give yourself the chance to win great prizes! Gift certificates to Borders and more!

During the week of 12 Feb through 17 Feb, read a book written by a debut author and post your review by 17 February. Send Susan or Erica the permalink to your review and you will be entered in a drawing for some great prizes.

Some Rules
A debut author is an author who has had their first novel published between 01/2006 and 02/2007.

Accepted publication types are ebook and in-print novels from established royalty-paying publishers or e-publishers; if you're not sure, e-mail us the name of the publisher. POD, vanity presses, or Publish America books are not considered for this contest.

Reviews can not be previously printed online or in print. The review of a debut author's novel must be posted between the dates of 02/12/2007 - 02/17/2007. Prize drawing will occur 02/19/2007 and winners will be notified via email.

Multiple entries are allowed.

The Prizes
2 randomly drawn participants will receive a $20.00 Borders gift certificate. Other prizes announced closer to the contest.

How to Enter
1. Buy, find, or borrow a novel that is an author's debut. (see list of some debut novels at, West of Mars -- the Meet and Greet, or Writing Aspirations)
2. Read the novel.
3. Write a review. It does not have to be a professional review. Provide a brief plot synopsis and then mention your likes or dislikes or other thoughts you had while reading.
4. Post the review online - either on a website or blog.
5. Send the permalink of the post to West of Mars or Writing Aspirations in an email message or post a comment to the main contest post with a link to your review.

Remember, the review is to be completed and posted during the week of 02/12/2007 - 02/17/2007.

A post will be created on West of Mars and Writing Aspirations with links to all book reviews submitted.

Don't miss your chance to get some press! West of Mars and Writing Aspirations are in the process of gathering your names and titles to help our contest entrants find great books to read. Please send us links to your website, or just your name and the title of your debut novel that was published between 1 January 2006 and 1 February 2007. If you have any promotional items -- especially copies of your book -- that you'd like to donate, we'd love to offer them as prizes.

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Contest Time -- last day!

Just a reminder that today's the last day you can enter my meme contest.

Everyone can enter. Most will win. Why not you?

Stay tuned. It's going to be a busy weekend around here!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #12 -- More about Mitchell

Thirteen More Things about
Mitchell Voss

(header by The Tour Manager; picture from Guitar World)

We had such a good time last week talking about Mitchell, and he is one of my favorite characters, so I thought I'd bring you a bit more about him.

After all, my meme contest is still ongoing for a few more days and while I've started to draw up some of the awards, there's still room for your entry. Get in on the fun and win yourself some books!

Thirteen More Things about Mitchell:

1. Boxers or briefs? Thanks to Kerri, boxer briefs. Before that, K-Mart specials to swap with the girls.

2. Favorite childhood birthday gift: One of those wooden mazes with the unstable surface that you had to navigate the marble through

3. Favorite adult birthday gift: Amy gave him one of those horrible Troll dolls as a gag. It now lives in his wardrobe case and rules the roost in there.

4. Toy he couldn't be separated from: a stuffed dog that he named Williams

5. Top of his game batting average: .295

6. First sentence: Amy hurt me!

7. Favorite bachelor food aside from beer: orange juice

8. Favorite unit of study in school: Astronomy

9. First thing he learned how to cook: hamburgers. On the grill, of course

10. What he was shopping for when he met Kerri: tomatoes

11. How he knew his parents approved of his final career choice: Sonya gave him a silver dragon ring that he never takes the stage without.

12. First thing he bought with ShapeShifter money: a custom Les Paul.

13. Worst job he ever had: helping haul sets around Riverview's flailing community access TV station.

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!

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Monday, January 15, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: Silas House

I think it was my friend Breeni who first mentioned Silas House. I'm not sure, but House always makes me think of her, so we'll give her credit. Maybe she'll chime in with the real story and fix my revisionist history.

Anyway, someone sent me a copy of House's 2001 debut, Clay's Quilt, at some point along the line (okay, maybe I do overdo it with the online trading stuff. But it's so fun!). It sat here for about a year and a half before I finally picked it up and read it.

Oh, my.

What on Earth took me so long???

This book was wonderful.

One of you lucky contest entrants will be lucky enough to win my copy. If you haven't entered yet, you've got until Saturday to do so, and I'll announce winners shortly thereafter. There will be lots of winners, but sadly, I only have one copy of Clay's Quilt. You can click on the title and buy it for yourself; that'd be awesome. I've already vowed to use the commissions I get from your clicks to buy ... contest prizes.

What are you waiting for? Enter the contest. Be the lucky winner of Clay's Quilt. Welcome a wonderful new writer into your library.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007


Susan Speaks: Anyone want to watch my eyeballs fall out of my head?

It's been an up-and-down week for me. I resigned from a committee that's supposed to bring authors to our local elementary school because they want to book a cartoonist who's not got a published book to his name (aren't authors, by definition, the people who write books?). I mis-read a friend's comment in yesterday's Working Stiffs post.

That's been rough. But the up part of the up-and-down week more than makes up for it. Believe me, my eyeballs fell out of my head and onto my touchpad when I saw this.

My friend Barb at Front Street Reviews sent me this link.

Yes, friends, groupies, lurkers, total strangers, and anyone else who's not brave enough to fall into the friend and groupie category, I've been nominated for a Preditors & Editors Readers' Poll award. The voting's been open since January first and closes in another two days, on the eve of the 15th, but if you haven't voted for little me yet, why not? Yeah, there are really big contenders in my category and yeah, we'd all rather see me in the Published in 2006 category, but do it anyway.

You know I appreciate it, especially after this rough week I've had.

Now, have my eyeballs, perchance, rolled past you? I'd... umm... sort of like them back.

I've got books to write and a world to finish creating for you guys.

And whoever nominated me... eternal thanks.

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Friday, January 12, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: 2007 Reading Goals

Oh, just go on over to Working Stiffs and read all about it there. Why reprint when you can simply click?

Don't forget about the cool contest below -- only eight more days to enter. Be silly, be thoughtful, be whatever. But give my characters of Trevor, Mitchell, and Kerri some answers! I have lots of books to give away... will you win one?

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #11 -- Meet and Greet Mitchell Voss

Photo courtesy of (just plain of) and copyright 2003-7 by Brian.
Header design by The Tour Manager.

Although Trevor's Song is, presumably, about Trevor Wolff, Mitchell Voss figures pretty prominently into what goes on during the story -- and in what happens before and after, too. So here are some facts about Mitchell, so you have a better idea of who you're dealing with.

1. His blonde hair is an impossible color. So blonde it's almost white, shot through with strands of silver and gold to give it depth. Trevor hates Mitchell's hair; he thinks it's a chick magnet. He's right.

2. Before he picked up a guitar, Mitchell wanted to be a pro baseball player. He had potential, too, but soon discovered you got more girls with a guitar.

3. Once he learned the requisite three chords of rock and roll, he realized that making music was what he was meant to do. And getting girls paled in comparison to what he could make a guitar do.

4. He's the youngest of three kids. His two older siblings, Beth and Amy, torment him endlessly in that lovingly sisterly way. Especially Amy.

5. He torments the girls back, especially Amy. One of his favorite stunts as a teen was walking naked from the bathroom to his bedroom when she had friends over. He, of course, had to walk right past her room. And if the door was shut, he, of course, had to interrupt for something.

6. He never once considered going to college or trade school. He was going to make it without any of that. And he did.

7. Once Trevor talked him into putting the band together, he found a way to pay for voice lessons. Self-taught on guitar, he also took music theory classes at Riverview Music Consortium. But that's not going to college. It's taking a class to learn about music.

8. Mitchell loves to grill. Not cook. Grill. If it can't be grilled, he won't make it. That said, he grills odd things (brownies?). Or… tries to.

9. When he moved out of his parents' house, he rented a rat trap apartment within walking distance to All Access. He stayed in that apartment even after he could afford something nicer, only leaving it for the farm house.

10. He loves to swim and play in the pool with the rest of the band when they're on the road. Laps are his friend; he doesn't have to think much.

11. At home, he'll add mountain biking to his hobbies. And taking up space in Daniel and Val's pool.

12. His public persona as a dick is merely a show. Even though he is a major dick at times.

13. Mitchell was quite happy being a cigarette-smoking stud when he met Kerri. One date with her -- the date that opens Trevor's Song, in fact -- and all that changed.

Don't forget to scroll down, now that you know Mitchell a bit better, and enter the meme contest. Books galore to the winners. I'm taking entries until the 20th of January, so put on your creativity caps and have at it.

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!

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Contest time!

My friend, the sophisticated writer, tagged me. But since this isn't a blog about me, I'm going to let you guys guess the answers -- for Trevor, Mitchell, and Kerri, since you should know those three the best. I'll fill in some and give away books on my Available Shelf over at BookCrossing to whoever gives me the best answers for the rest. Beware: these books aren't among the best I've ever read. Heck, I haven't read most of them, if you want to know the truth.

Leave your answers in the comment trail; it'll help (but isn't required unless I get cranky, which is always liable to happen) if you include the question, too, when we all read over the rest of the answers.

And no, you don't have to answer all of them. Even one will qualify you for a book. If I'm on a roll, you might wind up with more than one. Book that is. *wink*

You have until 20 January, and then I'll announce the winners. Have at it, and have FUN!

1. How tall are you barefoot?

Mitchell -- 6'1"

Kerri, 5'10"

Trevor, 5'10" (uh-huh. Sure, Trev)

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?

3. Do you own a gun?

4. Do you get nervous before "meeting the parents"?

Trevor doesn't bother with such things.

Mitchell usually never remembered names, let alone saw them a second time,

and Kerri ... well, Kerri's meeting the Vosses should be an outtake.

5. What do you think of hot dogs?

6. What's your favorite Christmas song?

7. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?

Mitchell: orange juice.

Kerri: coffee

8. Can you do push ups?

9. Is your bathroom clean?

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?

11. Do you like painkillers?

12. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?

13. Do you hate any of your exes?

Trevor: No, and I'd still be loving them if I didn't need to come up for air.

Mitchell: What exes?

Kerri: No.

14. Do you have a dog? (answered by Susan) Nope, no dogs in Riverview. Yet.

15. Middle Name?

Mitchell: Gregory

Kerri: Elizabeth

16. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?

17. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:

Mitchell: Orange juice, Gatorade, beer

18. What time did you wake up today?

Mitchell: noon

19. Current worry?

20. Current hate?

21. Favorite place to be?

Mitchell: onstage

Trevor: in a girl

Kerri: wherever Mitchell is.

22. Least favorite place to be?

23. Do you own slippers?

24. What shirt are you wearing be specific?

25. Do you burn or tan?

Mitchell: I am tan.

Kerri: He's got the lines to prove it.

26. Favorite color(s)?

27. Would you be a pirate?

Trevor: Baby, I can be whatever you want. But I'm best as Trevor Fucking Wolff.

28. What songs do you sing in the shower?

Mitchell: Mine.

29. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?

30. What's in your pockets right now?

31. Last thing/person that made you laugh?

32. Best bed sheets you had as a child?

Trevor: Clean ones.

33. Worst injury you've ever had?

34. Are your parents still together?

Trevor and Kerri: Who cares?

Mitchell: Fuck yeah!

35. Who is your loudest friend?

Trevor, Mitchell, and Kerri: Charlie the tour manager. (does he count as a friend?)

36. Who is your most silent friend?

Trevor, Mitchell, and Kerri: Eric

37. Does someone hate you?

Mitchell: Who cares?

Trevor: Probably.

Kerri: Yes.

38. Do you wish on shooting stars?

39. What is your favorite book?

40. What song did you play at your wedding?

Mitchell: I was too drunk to remember. Ker, do you?

Kerri: No, but I do remember you with a guitar, so you must have played something.

Trevor: We played a fucking lot, you losers. No Skynyrd, though.

41. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?

Mitchell: Kerri.

Kerri: Mitchell

Trevor: Getting laid.

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Monday, January 08, 2007


Susan's Music Talk: Random Thoughts

I woke up Sunday morning with Jon Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory stuck as a hummer in my head. Definitely time to crank up the tunes again, even though I had the XM blaring out of my trusty 'puter for a few hours on Saturday. Never turned on Bon Jovi, though. Where'd it come from?

Speaking of XM, I'm learning about a few new bands, but not nearly enough. A few that warrant more exploration would be Revis, Mercy Falls, ditchwater, Flyleaf, and Thornley.

So far, Flyleaf's caught my attention the hardest, in terms of them maybe being a band I'll love as much as I love my Metallica or Disturbed. But we shall see... there's always room for more music, particularly the good stuff. I'm open to it, so come show me what you've got.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: Aack, we missed it!

In all of last month's year-end hoopla and the chaos that's been the start of 2007, I completely missed out on this quarter's Buy a Friend a Book Week.

It ends on Sunday the seventh, so hurry up and go buy a friend a book for no good reason. Two I'd suggest off the top of my head: Rebecca Drake's Don't Be Afraid and Fred Zackel's reprint of Cocaine and Blue Eyes.

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Friday, January 05, 2007


Susan's Fashion File

My favorite activewear catalog is having a sale and I can't choose which color fleece to buy... Tangerine, celadon, periwinkle, or citron. Such a rock-and-roll-inspired choice...

But in some happy and not-really-long awaited news, I have found the coveted Dethklok shirts. MyTeeSpot's got 'em and I asked and yup, they're officially licensed. Right now, this is the only shirt in stock, but the very nice Jeremy Barasch at MyTeeSpot told me that they are expecting more soon.

So now I can be the only girl on my block in a Dethklok shirt, after all. I'm just not sure what color fleece to put over it when I get cold...

(If you haven't heard my rant about why you should make the effort to get only officially licensed merchandise, I'll be glad to rant at a later date. Let's just say it involves much, much more than making sure the proper people, who are often millionaires to begin with, get their cash.)

(We'll miss you, Coach Cowher!)

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #10 -- Sightseeing Around Riverview, USA

Thirteen Things about The City of Riverview, USA

A lot of you are new to me and my fiction project, so it seems that to make you feel more at home, I ought to take a step back and show you around. This week, let's sightsee around the fictional city of Riverview, USA.

1. Lyrical Pleasures, Lyric's shop

2. Roach's Diner

3. Victory's, the sports bar where Mitchell and Kerri have their first "date," the spontaneous one.

4. The Washburn Theater, one of the ritzy theaters in town, usually used for plays, musicals and the symphony but also the scene of the Regional Music Awards show that Mitchell takes Kerri to on their official first date.

5. Pigeon Square, a hip yuppie area of old brownstone walk-ups and small yards, set around a small park. A police station backs up against this park. Needless to say, parents love it and junkies hate it.

6. Decade, one of the smaller clubs in the city

7. All Access, the rockin' joint in Riverview. If the cops aren't called, it's not a good night.

8. KRVR, the local, independently-owned rock radio station where Boomer works.

9. Big Buck's Best Barbecue, featuring Bodacious Sauce. For a city known for its diversity, this is some good barbecue. Here's an earlier mention of Big Buck's, and here is something I've since found: actual Bodacious Sauce. Tell them I sent you if you order any.

10. Moon Shadows, Trevor's favorite strip club. Catering to the upscale market, they have the best girls in town.

11. Centrino's, a boutique clothing store that carries designer clothes in limited quantities so you don't have to worry about looking like everyone else.

12. Harry's Hoagies, the people who make Trevor's favorite meatball sub.

13. The Strand Hotel, a cheap, by-the-hour motel. Here's an outtake about it.

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

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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