Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #53 -- Halloween Haul

Thirteen piles of Halloween goodies!

Even before ShapeShifter was a household name, like they are during Trevor's Song, Mitchell and Trevor knew how to rule the world in their own style.

To wit, the band's first Halloween. They were booked to play the Halloween Party at All Access (their first time there!), opening for two other more established local acts (both of whom broke up before the end of the year.) -- there were two sets: one for the Under 21 crowd and one for the Over 21 crowd, which was when the cops were generally expected. This was, after all, the annual Halloween Party at All Access.

That meant no trick-or-treating for the ShapeShifter boys who, in their late teens, were too cool to go out but who still wanted some free chocolate. Especially Daniel, whose grandmother had taken to denying him candy in the hopes of clearing up the drummer's acne, which wasn't that bad, but we all know how grandmothers dote on their grandkids.

The young band came up with an idea: Drop candy into the bags held by Mitchell's sisters or Eric's brother Jared and get entered into a drawing for free ShapeShifter stuff. Demos, t-shirts, and the brand new patches for your jackets and vests.

Free stuff! How could the crowd refuse?

Here is what the band managed to collect:
1. 150 Peanut Butter Cups, in varying shapes, sizes, and manufacturers.

2. 300 Tootsie Rolls.

3. 50 lollipops.

4. Four lollipop rings.

5. Too many packages of Smarties to count. This was a particularly nice haul, as Eric has a serious addiction to them.

6. Two packages of brand-new rolling paper. Trevor considered these better than candy.

7. Three jellybeans, possibly left over from someone's Easter basket.

8. An entire, unopened package of Hershey's miniatures.

9. A complete set of brand new guitar strings, of a finer variety than Mitchell or Eric were currently using.

10. 35 Almond Joys.

11. 100 Kit Kats, possibly donated by someone dressed up as a lion.

12. Four sets of gummy eyeballs.

13. Ten packages of Fun Dip.

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!

Happy Halloween, everyone! I hope you all had polite visitors, no tricks, and a lot of treats!


Susan Speaks: Smiling

JM, at the fiction scribe, gave me the When you Smile Award.

You guys know that I love awards. They make me smile, but they do more than that. I take probably too much validation from them, which is sort of sick in the head, but what do you expect from a girl like me who writes about rock stars, anyway? I mean, that fact alone speaks volumes about insecurity and delusions of grandeur.

Anyway, I love these things, and part of loving getting them is the love of passing them along.

My friend Bunnygirl's created a world that's real and vibrant. If you haven't checked out her fiction, you should. AND she's done what I don't have the guts to do yet -- published a volume through Lulu.com. Called My New-Found Land, it's got to be good, if her outtakes are any indication. (My own copy hasn't arrived yet. I'll holler when it does)

So... with no small flourish and a great bit of envy for Bunny's writing ability, I present this award to her.

And if you see this before Halloween and you have some fiction to share, read the comment trail. Bunnygirl's throwing a last-minute Halloween story carnival. Why not join in??


Sunday, October 28, 2007


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- Castle of Tunes

For this week's Poetry Train, Rhian asked us to come up with scary stuff. This situation, based on real-life happenings, has been giving me nightmares. Pretty scary.

Now listen up, girls and boys. We got a problem on our hands and it's up to us music lovers to solve it.

Most of you know 'bout that chain of live music joints called Castle of Tunes. It's a good chain; they ain't the problem here, so don't go burn them down. Good people work for them. They open their doors to bands you probably ain't heard of yet, and they make sure the bands come from all walks of life and on one night or another, they try to suit the music fix for every single person on the planet. Castle of Tunes just might take over the world but that ain't the problem here.

The problem starts with the people who own the land some Castles sit on. Those people decided that certain bands -- like Hammerhead or Deadly Metal Hatchet, Carrion or Bitterness -- don't have the family values that the big, land-owning corporations like. That those bands I just mentioned, they aren't good enough for people who spend money at the big corporation's theme parks, movies, books, and all the other things they try to make us buy.

You see, music lovers. I know you do. They've crossed the line. They've gone from suggesting what we should buy to telling us what we can't buy. Which in this case, that be music. Live music. The kind that feels good and is loud and ugly and noisy and some of it's Satanic and some of it's violent and Lord knows that in the case of Hammerhead, it's sexual, too. Some of it's the sort you wouldn't be caught dead listening to. And some of it, you can't get enough of.

That scares the big corporation people. So much that they won't let these bands play in the places built on land they own. Because, you know, someone might have fun or find some sort of inner peace or something from music they don't approve of. God forbid.

Music lovers, it's time for us to stand up and put an end to this. Unless you're under eighteen, no one's got a right to tell you what you can and can't listen to, and if you're under eighteen, take a few minutes and educate those people who think they're your dictators. You never know where a new fan will come from.

The big corporation's gonna refuse to be educated. We gotta deal with them the way our parents dealt with us when we were kids and we were bad: ignore 'em. Ignore their movies, their theme parks, their cute cartoons and those stuffed animals you guys like to give us girls. Spend your money on the bands. Buy t-shirts. See if the boys in Deadly Metal Hatchet will stuff a Hatchet, and give that to your girl. It'll hurt less when she uses it on you.

Take yourself to the other clubs. If you hear a band's been thrown out of Castle of Tunes, go see 'em at the place that's got the nerve to take 'em in. Make sure that place earns lots of bucks from that show. Let the corporation see how much green stuff they lost. Make 'em understand that they can't control us music fans.

We got the power on this one, boys and girls. Let's use it. And once you do, be sure to lobby for ol' Chelle here. She might be out of a job once the big bosses at the Trumpet read this piece. That's okay. Chelle's got to fight. 'Cause once people stop bands from comin' 'round town, Chelle's gonna be out of a job anyway.

Want more Chelle?

Here's her bio.
The first Chelle piece: Jock La Feet
Bitty Bands

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Friday, October 26, 2007


Booking Through Thursday: Read with Abandon?

Booking Through Thursday must come up with these questions just to watch me squirm.

Someone named Cereal Box thought up this one: So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

I don't like to be negative here on the blog about books I don't like. You'll see an occasional comment here, but you're more likely to see them crop up in a comment trail.

I do this because of the whole "Do unto others" credo. I would hate to see an entire post devoted to trashing Trevor -- or something else I've written. Heck, I have seen some of those posts directed at me and while they're discouraging, the ones that get personal and cross the line into slander/libel are worse.

Many of you have noted that I'm doing my best to build a community here, a place where writers can hang. (I know, I could and should be doing more, but I'm doing my best, I said!) I'd rather have something happen by omission -- and leave you wondering if the omission is just because I'm my typically overwhelmed self rather than because I have nothing good to say.

Chances are that if I know you, it's the former. I'm overwhelmed. Because if I know you, there is always something good to say!

And an aside to anyone who read my Thursday Thirteen from yesterday (feel free to scroll down and read it; I was actually quite proud of the band in this one), I found this post from Blabbermouth. The singer of As I Lay Dying who grabbed his pictures -- and had his guitars already loaded in the truck -- when he had to flee the fires.

He's a better man than the ShapeShifter guys -- or else he's not as close to his official band photographer as my boys are!


Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #52 -- Thoughts about Fire

The fires in Southern California have been on my mind quite a bit lately. I've got family out there, friends, and people with whom I've fallen out of touch -- but not out of thoughts.

Kermit Ladd wanted to talk to the boys about something serious for a change. He posed this question to the band: If these fires were to ravage Riverview, what would you risk your life to save?

1. Mitchell: My guitars. I've got a few that're worth tons. I couldn't leave without them.
Kerri: Not that you can be without a guitar in your hand for more than twenty minutes before you get twitchy.
Mitchell smiles guiltily.

2. Trevor: I'd want my bass with the cracked neck, the one M taught me how to play on. And my bike. I rebuilt that fucker from the ground up. I'm taking it to the fucking grave with me.
Kerri: It'll be a big chunk of land, Trev. You and a motorcycle.
Trevor: Good. Plant some trees. If they burn, plant more.
Eric: Part of the reason so many homes are burning is because people are planting too much in a desert.
Trevor: Don't fucking bury me in a desert, okay? I fucking hate deserts.
Eric: So do many of the people who live in them.

3. Mitchell: Eric? You're the more serious guitar collector. Which would you save?
Eric: The important things are family. So long as I have that, the guitars can burn.
Mitchell winces.

4. Kerri: I have a few paintings I'd want to save. Like the first one I did of you, M.
Mitchell: And the one of us in the bathroom.
Trevor: That's you two?
Kerri: Who'd you think it was?
Mitchell: Of course it's us. I'm not letting Kerri paint any pictures of couples making love like that unless it's us.

5. Daniel: I talked to Gecko, from Deadly Metal Hatchet the other night. He said Fozzy's taking the Hatchet out there so it can cut down brush and try to help.

6. Mitchell: What're you going to save?
Daniel: Val's cookbooks. That way, we can help by making gourmet meals for people stuck living in trailers and shelters and stuff. At least, that's what she says. I don't know how she'll pull it off, though.

7. Eric: There are lots of ways to help. I'm not sure that'll be so easy, either.
Daniel shrugs and says: Maybe, but at least it's doing something. Some of those people are our fans.

8. Mitchell: Maybe we'll figure out a way to get t-shirts to anyone who lost their home. It's not much, but at least they'll have something clean to wear.

9. Eric: You'll notice none of us thought about saving our clothes.

10. Mitchell: Makes you wonder how many who had to run thought about it, too.

11. Kerri: I don't know that I would. I think I'd be too busy trying to figure out how to save the painting of you guys that's on the wall in the trophy room.
Mitchell: I think that one's a goner, babe.
Kerri shudders.

12. Eric: It really makes you think. Appreciate.

13. Daniel: It sure does. Kermit, you're going to donate your payment for this article to the relief effort, right?

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!

Remember, if you're not sure who these people are, click on the links in their names to go visit their bios. And to see ShapeShifter continue to get the best of Kermit, visit these links:

The Balancing Meme

Excerpts from an Interview

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: A Thread of Grace

My book club this month is reading Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace. (Click on the first link to see Ms. Russell's website, and on the second to buy the book)

I'm not quite halfway through it, but I need to rave about it -- with a caveat. The book is brilliant, it's absorbing, beautifully written, it's haunting, it scares me silly, it's so vivid. This book wraps itself around your emotions and doesn't let go. It's a definite don't miss.

Now, for the caveat. It's a book about people who lived during the Holocaust, people in Italy who helped hide the Jews from the Nazis. It's an important book because this is something that's not spoken of particularly often; one of those hidden parts of our past. While I've noticed more Holocaust list focusing on the people who helped save the lives of Jews, not even Thomas Moran's Man in the Box had this much power to it.

That's exactly what concerns me about it. Not for me, but for the members of my book club. For a Jewish book club, we read a scarily (to some) scant amount of Holocaust Literature. There's a reason for that: most of the women in my book club were young girls during World War II. One is married to a man who lost his brother to the Nazis.

Over the years, as I've led them through choices good (Noah Gordon) and bad (nope, not gonna name the bad), one thing they've always asked me to avoid bringing them was books that are heavy about the Holocaust.

To be fair, I wouldn't have suggested this one except that I'd heard from another woman what a wonderful book it is. She's not in our book club, but I know her both from the gym and the temple. If she suggests something, I'm going to do her the honor of listening and presenting a synopsis of the book to my group. In this case, I'd tracked down a copy through PaperBackSwap and showed it to the group. You can argue that we knew what we were getting into when we agreed to read this. And it was a democratic choice.

Yet I worry. This is the sort of powerful book that can rip open wounds. If I've learned anything about the Holocaust during my lifetime, it's that merely being a Jew gives you wounds from that event. To be much closer to it than I am and then to be faced with a book like this, which describes the cattle cars so vividly...

Maybe there is a balm yet to come in the remaining pages of my copy of A Thread of Grace, and I am worrying for nothing. Given my history of wasting time and energy on worry, this is entirely probable. I won't know until I read the rest of the book.

I won't know until November 1, the next time my book club meets, how everyone reacted to this. So until then, I'll worry that I've unwittingly suggested a book that's opening raw wounds on these women I consider my friends. Because I know I've ripped open a few of my own.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Anonymous (Deadly Metal Hatchet)

I'll post links to past Deadly Metal Hatchet pieces, as this may be a bit of a jolt for those of you used to Trevor and his antics. The Hatchet is a young, up-and-coming band made up of four guys: Fozzy, Lido, Gecko, and Scott. They have a gimmick: the Deadly Metal Hatchet they are named after.

At any rate, as Halloween approaches, many of us are turning our thoughts to scary things. Here's one for you, and I'm not talking about what the Hatchet gets up to.

Days like this were too nice to be inside. And it wasn't like they could smoke inside anyway; those new rules about smoking were made by assholes in suits. Scott wished Fozzy could turn the Hatchet loose on them and the other upright and moral folk who'd decided that smoking was evil. Man, the world would have a few hundred million less assholes if he could.

The four of them were sitting on the curb outside the club, laminates on, blending in. Everyone else who milled around wore cargo shorts and black t-shirts, too. They were just four more guys sitting there, catching a smoke, not talking, soaking in the day and the nicotine rush.

"So what're we gonna play tonight?" Gecko asked.

Fozzy shook his head. "Too early to do setlist."

"Why are we wasting time with this talk again?" Scott asked. He sat back and adjusted his shorts. "We do the same fricken set for every same fricken show. Why don't we just own up to that already and quit with the stupid setlist discussions?"

Fozzy screwed his face up. "It's not like we have more than twelve songs in the first place."

"…and time to play ten of 'em. Why don't we ever play those last two?" Gecko asked. He ground out his cigarette on the curb beside him.

As he reached for the can of Coke he'd brought outside with him, two long-haired guys approached. They wore the code: black t-shirts, dirty flannel shirts thrown over top, cargo shorts, workboots left unlaced. "Hey, man, know where we can find Deadly Metal Hatchet?"

Gecko and Fozzy exchanged uneasy looks. Lido cleared his throat.

"Yeah," the other guy said. "We want to hang with the Hatchet. We figure that when they make it big, we'll be able to tell everyone we knew 'em when."

Scott adjusted his shorts again; maybe it was time to find a laundromat already. "Got any clue who you're looking for?"

The first guy, the one in the dingy red flannel, shifted his weight. "Deadly Metal Hatchet."

"Yeah, we know," Scott said. "But do you know what they look like?"

Red Flannel shifted his weight again. "Don't they wear shirts with the Hatchet on 'em?"

Gecko smothered a laugh with his fist. Fozzy looked around. No one, band nor crew, was wearing anything with the Hatchet on it. Except their laminates, but then again, every person involved with the tour wore one of those.

"So," the guy in the brown flannel said, "know where we can find 'em?"

"How can you be fans if you don't know what they look like?" Scott asked.

The kid in red shrugged. "We're not fans. Not really."

"We think they suck," the kid in brown said. "But one day, they'll get big and we'll be able to say we hung with them."

Scott covered his face with his hand. Fozzy stood up; Lido jumped to his feet and the two went inside.

"Should we?" Gecko asked. "I mean, the band may not like it."

"Fuck the band," Scott said, wondering what the fricken hell he was saying. "They don't need losers like you two."

He and Gecko walked inside, shaking their heads.

"You join a fricken band to get noticed," Scott said in the safety of the
band's dressing room. "Not to get told you suck."

"At least they think we'll be someone," Lido said.

"Dude, we already are," Fozzy said. He ripped a sign off the wall and started drawing.

In short time, the Hatchet had gone to work on two guys in flannel: one red, one brown.

The members of Deadly Metal Hatchet cheered.

Some past links with the Hatchet:
Thirteen Hatchet Victims
Chelle and the Hatchet

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Friday, October 19, 2007


Booking Through Thursday: Typos

This week's Booking Through Thursday question made me smile.

What’s the worst typographical error you’ve ever found in (or on) a book?

I was reading an ARC of Jennifer Estep's upcoming release, Hot Mama, and found conscious used instead of conscience. I figured she'd turned in the edits, but e-mailed her to ask if she'd caught it, anyway. Just to be safe. I don't want Jennifer to look bad; her books are terrific. Go read them if you haven't.

For more on Typos, I send you to my good friend, (fictional) music reporter Chelle LaFleur.

Here is her first editorial on the subject.

This is her second editorial about typos.

I felt bad about posting two Chelle rants so close together, so I offered up this explanation of why.

And there you go. All about typos.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #51 -- I'm Cold

The best part of being a writer and having a large cast to write about is that when something happens to you, you can share the pleasure -- or, in this case, the misery.

Thirteen ways having a cold sucks

1. If you're Trevor, you're too tired to chase girls under their boyfriends' noses.

2. If you're Mitchell, you don't feel like making music.

3. If you're Eric, you go through so many tissues, your nose turns red and scaly.

4. If you're Kerri, you pick up a pencil, make a few lines on a sketch pad, and put it aside in favor of a nap.

5. If you're Trevor, everyone gets worried because you're not eating everything in sight.

6. If you're Pam, you plaster a smile on your face and teach your aerobics class anyway. When you get home is when you can give in.

7. If you're Mitchell, you drink so many gallons of orange juice, you burp pulp.

8. If you're Chelle, you quietly stay in bed.

9. If you're Daniel, you whine at Val until she comes to take care of you.

10. If you're Trevor, you find some quiet girl who's the mothering type to smother you with attention for an hour or two. Then you get tired of her and ask her
to leave so you can take a nap. When you wake up, you're glad she's gone and that your pants never got unzipped.

11. If you're Kerri, you hide as much of your misery as possible from Mitchell, or else he'll freak out and call Amy every ten minutes for unneeded medical advice.

12. If you're Val, you take Zicam and medicated cough drops at the first hint of a cold because you can't be slowed down.

13. If you're me, you sulk 'cause you hate being too foggy to write.

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!

For another adventure with our fictional friends and illness, check out Eric's Flu!

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Monday, October 15, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Breakfast (Trevor's Song Era)

Warning: today's outtake was brought to us by the letter B and involves abuse of clothing. And ShapeShifter's Mitchell Voss -- but that's not new..

It wasn't unusual for the bus to pull up to the hotel, for Charlie to go inside and get everyone's room keys, and then wake the band up and send them to their rooms to finish their night's rest. Usually, it was hard to get to sleep in a bed that wasn't rolling down some freeway. After all, they'd spent how many hours in a bed that'd been doing exactly that?

Trevor liked to break up the time between bus and bed with a third -- better -- word that started with the letter B: breakfast. Especially now that they were staying in places that would lay out these huge buffets and clear the plates while he went fucking nuts and crammed as much down his gullet as he could. Sleeping on a gut full of free food was paradise. Even your dreams were better when your belly was stuffed. And Trevor Wolff had good dreams in the first place.

Sure enough, this place had the free breakfast thing going. "One hour left," Charlie told him in that solemn, Charlie way.

Problem was, he didn't want to go alone. Eating by yourself was … stupid. So Trevor stretched, lit a cigarette, and waited for the daily soap opera that was better known as Waking Mitchell.

At last, the big idiot came out from the bunks, yawning, stretching, and scratching his chest. He wasn't fully awake yet, which was a good thing, as far as Trevor was concerned. Conversation would be kept to a minimum, which meant they'd be able to eat more food in less time. Time which was ticking away; less than an hour before the free buffet ended.

"Gimme the room key," Mitchell mumbled, holding out a hand, his eyes barely open.

Charlie grabbed his hand and shoved it aside. "Put some clothes on."

Trevor snickered. It'd have been more fun if Charlie hadn't interfered, but then again, he liked Charlie well enough. Letting Mitchell wander into a hotel in nothing but those gross boxer-things Rusty made him wear would probably mean a new tour manager for ShapeShifter. Not in Trevor's best interests.

Mitchell shuffled back to the bunks, presumably for some jeans. Maybe even shoes, Trevor thought with a giggle he could barely keep in.

When Mitchell came back, his shirt was slung over his shoulder, his eyes were a little more open, and his jeans were buttoned and zipped, but his shoes weren't tied. And he had Rusty with him, too.

That was almost enough to make Trevor lose his appetite.

"Hungry?" he asked the lovebirds as innocently as he could.

Mitchell nodded, zombie-like. Rusty just stood there, looking confused, like she usually did. She probably thought he was up to something but really, all he wanted was breakfast. Bagels, bacon, maybe even a banana.

He led the way into the hotel lobby, ignoring the stares. He was used to them: a bunch of long-hairs trekking through a pretty okay joint. It scared the respectable folk. Made them think the world was going bad, that they had to scramble to a hotel higher up the snob rating in order to be safe. Little did they know that ShapeShifter was planning on being right there with them.

Either Charlie had scared the fans away or else the band had shown up at the hotel before they were expected, because while the guests curled their upper lips at them, no one rushed over for an autograph or to just say hello. Sadly, there weren't any girls who could convince Trevor to skip breakfast. Or better yet, come along as his guest and then help him get properly good and sleepy afterward.

Mitchell didn't seem to care. "Which way?" he asked, squinting at the signs. Trevor sighed. Next thing you knew, the big idiot would show up with glasses, and how un-rock-and-roll was that?

"Over here," he said with a sigh, wondering why Rusty didn't take charge. She usually could be counted on to do that sort of crap. Maybe she was still expecting a prank.

It was almost a shame to disappoint.

Count on Mitchell to come through, though. As they walked into the hotel restaurant, the fine odor of bacon reaching Trevor's twitching nose, the hostess stopped them. "Umm, sir?" she said, looking up at Mitchell like she knew he could morph into a dragon at any second.

"Problem?" he asked, puffing up his chest and slipping into Rock Star mode.

"When we say that shirts are required in the dining room, we generally mean that they need to be worn, not tossed over your shoulder."

"Huh?" Mitchell asked as Trevor dissolved into laughter, losing it all the more when he realized that Rusty had been waiting for exactly this. Shit, she was good at setting M up. Better than he was, sad to say.

Rusty was the one who picked up Mitchell's shirt and held it out. "Don't gross out the guests before lunch, okay?"

"Why didn't someone say something?" Mitchell asked. Trevor stared in fascination as the idiot actually blushed. So bad, it spread to his chest.

No wonder people wanted those parts covered, Trevor thought.

"Why didn't you just get dressed?" Trevor asked him. "You put everything else on."

"No, not everything," Rusty said and pulled at the leg of Mitchell's jeans.

Sure enough, the big idiot had skipped the socks.

Want more of Trevor and Mitchell?
Brotherly Love

Buying Chicken


And if you're not entirely certain who's who after all that, click on their names in any of the entries to read their bios. That should bring you up to speed.

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Friday, October 12, 2007


Booking Through Thursday: Live and In-Person

This week's Booking Through Thursday leaves me in a bit of a tight situation. Read on and you'll see why.

* Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph?
* How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to?
* How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?

I'm a writer. We all know that around here. That's why this blog exists. So of course I know other writers, which means I'm basically obligated to buy their books, whether or not I want to. I try to not buy them unless I can get an autograph, but with the Internet being what it is and this community I've built, it's hard to do. Especially those e-books; how do you get an author to autograph one of those?

One thing I particularly like to do is buy extra copies of books written by authors I know, and then share them via BookCrossing, PaperBackSwap, or BookMooch. Of course, I have a few real-life friends to whom I hand books all the time.

I believe in buzz. That if I share a friend's book with someone who otherwise wouldn't pick it up, if they love it, they'll go out and if not buy it, they might buy the backlist. Or the next release. It doesn't matter, so long as I'm helping a friend's sales.

I know better than to expect them all to do the same once it's my turn. I can and do hope that they will. But even if they don't, I believe we writers are all in this together and helping you will, in the long run, help me.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #50 -- On the Road Again

A couple of things sparked this list this week. I spent a big chunk of Tuesday shopping online, getting the last (I hope!) things I need for my trip over New Year's. I touched base with a friend who used to work in the music biz and whose husband still does, and they always make me think of bands on the road (in fact, the last time I saw him was here in Pittsburgh, when he blew through). And I'm trying to figure out how many nights I want to stay in the hotel downtown during the Romantic Times Convention, and how many nights I want to return to the quiet and semi-sanity of family life.

Put all of that together and we get...

Thirteen Things Kerri Brings on the Road

1. Comfy shoes to stand around in all day.

2. Another pair, just in case something happens to the first.

3. A warm-up jacket for the days when one room is warm, the hallway's cold, and the side of the stage is something else entirely.

4. A stack of sketch pads and a bunch of pencils -- and a hand-held pencil sharpener that can be slid into a jeans pocket and yanked out when needed.

5. Jeans, jeans, and more jeans.

6. Sweats, just in case.

7. Extra toothbrushes, because they have a habit of staying behind in hotels.

8. Tank tops and athletic shorts to sleep in/lounge around the bus in during the warmer months.

9. A little black dress, hose, and heels

10. a bathing suit because she married, as Trevor likes to say, a fish.

11. The makeup kit from her days with the drag queens, for use on whoever falls asleep at the party first.

12. Old hair ribbons, to sneak up on Trevor and tie into his waist-length hair

13. Sharpies, of course. Everyone on the road needs Sharpies.

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!

Who is Kerri Voss and why does she need to worry about what to bring on the road? Who's this fish she married? And what about that Trevor guy?

Click here to get some answers. Or hang out here more often and learn it all first-hand.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: Surprises

I was feeling bad over the weekend for not doing a BAFAB contest this quarter. I didn't hear a lot of hype and hoopla about the event from its founder, so I'd figured it would be a quiet thing.

But then I started, as I said, to feel bad. I like giving away books, especially books that I really loved.

So I went to a BookCrossing companion site, Cliff's wishlist, and found people who were wishing for some of the books sitting here, waiting for a new home (or three). I double-checked them against another companion site (for security reasons, I'm not going to name it, as it's a place where you can list your address), and then I sent out three books. One went to a friend and the other two went to random BookCrossers.

Sadly, these weren't books I loved. In fact, one was a book I'd loathed. That takes some of the fun out of sharing a book you love, but maybe their opinion will differ and they'll love it and I'll at least be responsible for having someone fall in love with a book.

As if to tell me that my karma was already on the upswing for my generosity, I had a prize from J. Kaye Oldner waiting for me at the post office. J. Kaye's got a cool thing going at her place(s), so stop by and check 'em out. You, too, can win a book!

Oh, yeah. The prize was a doozy: a copy of Harlan Coben's The Woods. Large print, even, which is always nice on eyes fatigued from blog surfing, writing, and editing.

One last bit of book news before I sign off and turn my attention to this week's Thursday Thirteen (I'm open to topic ideas, folks!): Lucy, at a new site called BooksPrice.com contacted me and asked me to spread the word about what she's up to. I've been playing with it a little bit and it looks like it can be a valuable tool -- if you're interested in shopping the big chains. Granted, once you start adding indies, you're going to have thousands upon thousands of listings. But you guys know me. I like supporting the little guy.

That's why Lucy at BooksPrice deserves a bit of your time. She seems to be a little guy, although I didn't dig too much into who she is and where she's from (yeah, I'm doing that Pittsburgh "I'll take you at face value" thing again). I really like how the site shows you not only what the book will cost, but how much shipping will be. And you can customize whose results you see, too.

It's a nice idea. I hope it's valuable to you guys -- 'cause admit it. I'm not the only one who tries to save some money and buy used (or remaindered).

Speaking of books, before I go, if you've read anything you think I need to know about, leave me a comment. I only have a few hundred books sitting around the house. What's a few hundred more?

(yeah, uhh, don't tell the Tour Manager I said that, okay?)

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Sunday, October 07, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Pam Meets Trevor

So I'm just sitting down to eat lunch at the mall today and OmiGod, there's Trevor Wolff. He's strutting through with some lady who looked like she's his mom, and she's carrying all the bags, just like you'd expect, but she doesn't look all harried or impressed or pissed or … well, anything. Maybe she's not even with him. I don't know.

I do know, though, that he walks up to me and says, "I've seen you around. Don't think I haven't."

I about choke on my Coke.

And then he picks up my hot dog and gives me a big smile. We both know what he's thinking. About hot dogs and my eating that one and how it all relates to him.

I don't remember him asking for my phone number. I think I just somehow knew. I pull out my pen and write it on my napkin. And then I blot my lipstick on the napkin, too, before I hand it over. Just because you're supposed to and all.

"You want to be home in an hour," he tells me as he stuffs the napkin into the pocket of his leather jacket. Like it's not a hot day out there, for Riverview, and he's in leather? Made me feel better about being at the mall and eating a hot dog when I could, should, have been home having something healthy. What with certification coming up next week and all.

All of a sudden, I can't think much about certification coming up next week, although it's all I've been thinking about for weeks now. I can't care about the new aerobic shoes I need, which is why I'm in the mall in the first place. I just nod like a ditz and watch him strut away, all full of himself, like he knows I'll be waiting when he calls, like he owns the mall and being there in the middle of the day is completely natural. Maybe for him, it is. Maybe it's just Mitchell who won't move before noon. Or so goes the gossip about him, anyway.

I finish my hot dog and rush home. Just in case Trevor can't tell time real well.

Which he can't.

Any ideas on what to wear tonight?

For the background on Pam, go here:
Thursday Thirteen: Meet Pam Derbish

Meet Pam

Pam Gets Attention

And once you've done that, be sure to head over to Rhian's for more Poetry Train goodness. Let me tell you, there are some darn good people making up the Train. Come join in!

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Saturday, October 06, 2007


Tagged: The Christmas Meme

Wylie tagged me for this one. Silly woman: What do Nice Jewish Girls know about Christmas?

The good news is that Eric* is the son of a minister. And since the Tour Manager was upset that Eric didn't get a say in the five nights meme, I thought we'd let Eric have the full go at this. Even though Eric got to narrate the entire Wall of Fame Thursday Thirteen.

What is your favorite Christmas gift? I used to buy my mom one of those monthly things. Every year would be different: fruit, cheese, flowers, wine. She really liked the beer. But she's getting up there in her years and she'd like more time to devote to her community service projects, so the past few years, I've paid for Michelle, Mitchell and Kerri's housekeeper, to keep house for Mom. And yes, that means all the daily stuff. My mom doesn't need to wash a single dish unless she wants to.

What is your best memory of Christmas? All of them. I don't have a single bad memory. Not even the time Fred jumped on my new GI Joe and broke him. That was bad, but what was better was being allowed to crawl on Mom's lap and cry. Fred wasn't allowed to touch the new GI Joe to replace the broken one, either.

Depending upon where you live, do you have a hot or cold Christmas? That is entirely dependent on where the band is. When we're at home, the climate is beautiful. Cool evenings, warm days. You just can't beat Riverview for great weather.

Would you prefer to try the opposite weather at least just once? I have. I've had snowy Christmases. I've had Christmases where it's been too cold to snow. I've had Christmases that I spent on the beach, getting a sunburn. I've had rainy Christmases and I've had days that were so beautiful, they take your breath away.

The weather doesn't matter, you know. What matters is the sacredness and the sanctity of the day. That is something that comes from within and makes even ugly weather simply beautiful.

What do you prefer in a tree? Fake or real?
Our real trees are planted outside the house. Dad could never justify cutting down a living thing for a month's worth of decorations. It seems very callous to God, who created trees. Yes, they were created for our enjoyment, but Dad believes we get more enjoyment from trees that are allowed to continue living and growing. All the in-house decorations are fake, or are plants that will live past the season. Mom has this one poinsettia that she got when she and Dad were first married. She's called in experts to help her keep it alive. That's the sanctity of the living thing for you!

What is your favorite carol? All of them, but I have to admit a weakness for the carols built on a foundation of classical music. All those layers of sound and the way the music soars... reminds me a lot of ShapeShifter music. Except there's not a lot of classical in our heavy metal. Influences, yes. But no violins and cellos. And the layers are only what the four of us can make ourselves.

What is your favorite Christmas dinner?
In terms of food? Anything. Members of the congregation invite us over for dinner with them each year. You'd think that having to feed five kids and two adults would be a burden for some families, but having us over for dinner has gotten so popular, Dad has to hold a lottery every year. Families now have to buy tickets for the lottery, and the money goes to the South Riverview Food Bank, who uses the money for a fantastic Christmas dinner for the families they service. The winner gets to feed us. I suspect now that we kids have grown up and moved out, there are more people buying lottery tickets. No one wants to leave the minister and his wife home alone on Christmas.

Do you wear a Santa hat at Christmas? We like to wear them for a song or two onstage. Once, we did an on-air interview with them on.

Have you ever seen Santa delivering gifts? Of course not! No one sees Santa! However, we've all pretended to be Santa. In addition to our Musical Hanukkah Celebration last year, we gave out presents to kids who were in a local hospital over the holiday. It was a lot more fun than your average photo opportunity; the kids really lit up when they saw us.

*For anyone new around here, Eric is a member of the fictional band ShapeShifter. Click on the band's name or his name where it first appears in the post to read their bios so you can bring yourself up to speed on the fictional fun we have around here.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007


Booking Through Thursday -- Decorum!

This week's Booking Through Thursday cracked me up.

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)


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Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #49 - Pound Them Skins

Thirteen Reasons why Daniel's a Drummer

1. His grandmother bought him a drum set to make him feel better about the divorce and having to live with her.

2. The pots and pans called to him, but not to cook.

3. Val thinks it's the sexiest instrument there is.

4. His sense of rhythm is impeccable.

5. He likes to beat on things.

6. Drumming beats fidgeting, which he does anyway when not playing.

7. You look cool when you casually twirl a stick through your fingers.

8. You look even cooler when you learn how to bounce a stick off the sidewalk and catch it without missing a step.

9. Sticks thrown into the crowd go further than guitar picks.

10. Drumming can be loud as hell or soft as a whisper

11. The variety of sticks, drums, and cymbals is just darn cool.

12. Girls throw themselves at you because they want to experience your rhythm.

13. All sorts of bands need good drummers. From marching bands and orchestras at school to jazz bands and oldies bands and the ultimate prize: rock bands. Drummers are always in demand.

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!

Yeah, it's been one of those busy weeks over here, so nothing too terribly exciting today. Be sure to check back during the rest of the week for more fun!

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