Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #18 -- Introducing Pam Derbish

I said a few weeks ago that I'd be introducing a new character to these parts. But then we all know what happened here with Thursday Thirteen and, to be honest, Wednesday and Thursday of last week just sucked for me. NOT a time to bring someone new into the fold.

However, like most of the women who populate my fiction, Pam doesn't hold back when she's been promised something. So... without further ado,

Thirteen Things about Pam Derbish

1. Her hair was originally a caramel brown.

2. She went blonde when she was 12 and never looked back.

3. She began exercising because she was terrified she'd wind up like her parents -- overweight, diabetic and emphysemic.

4. She fell in love with her own muscles, once she saw them. Their shape and strength was addictive.

5. Implants only made her look better. She was eighteen when she got them.

6. She avoided the eating disorder trap because those muscles need fuel.

7. That said, she is extremely careful about what she puts in her body.

8. She's not a huge drinker.

9. That makes being around ShapeShifter difficult.

10. She discovers ShapeShifter mostly because they are the hot thing in Riverview when she's sixteen.

11. She doesn't particularly like their music.

12. She loves the attention Trevor gives her.

13. Trevor is a bit of a means to an end -- stay tuned for what that means.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green

While we were busy with the Debut a Debut contest, I snuck in a debut, too, albeit an older one. Joshua Braff's The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green is a book I'd wanted to read since I first heard about it and come on, how can your resist a book whose cover copy talks about a drawing of a rabbi, a pig, and a lobster in a threesome?

My book club agreed to this adventure, I collected a few copies -- because getting books is sometimes a pain -- and we read Jacob's story.

The book is billed as a modern-day Portnoy's complaint and I was expecting Jacob to be similar to Portnoy in that his teenagered sexual awakening dominated things. Nope. Instead, this book is about Jacob's relationships with his father and, ultimately, with his brother. And while absolutely nothing in my background is similar to Jacob's -- well, okay, we've got that religion thing going -- I got this book so totally, I cried through the final confrontation scene.

As for the ending, I got that, too.

This is one of those don't miss books. You can be sure I'll be picking up copies at used book stores and sales and sharing them with you guys. Assuming you wisely decide you can't wait that long.

Just be prepared: the rabbi, the lobster, and the pig aren't the major players you sort of wish they'd be. Sadly.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Backstage Party (Pre-Trevor's Song)

Despite his weed-induced mellow and years of personal experience, Trevor was still proud of the destruction they'd just wreaked on the dressing room. Beer bottles on every surface. Foil wrappers wherever they'd been tossed. Towels draped over the beer bottles, under the bottles, in one case even wrapped around the base of a bottle, anchoring it upright. Potato chip crumbs -- among other things -- ground into the carpet. Food everywhere. The couch washed down with shaken-up soda and beer, and people still dumb enough to try to sit on it. Garbage cans overturned; at one point, Mitchell had been wearing it instead of a lampshade, the wanker.

One rather enthused and satisfied girl had taken the squeeze mustard and written ShapeShifter on the wall behind the disaster that the catering table had become. All the food had either been knocked over, pushed aside, rescued by a frantic local roadie or two -- Trevor hadn't bothered to watch -- or relocated; it didn't matter. It wasn't the lovely little display of tempting usualness it'd been when they'd arrived.

Two girls had decided to see if sliced salami would stick to the wall if they threw it just right. Intriguingly, a couple actually had. A bunch had made contact but then slid down the wall, leaving a lovely grease trail in their wake. The rest made a path -- like stepping stones, Trev thought with a snicker -- across the room. One or two had been trampled on; a brunette had slipped and fallen on her ass, then limped out. She'd looked more in pain than upset that her party with ShapeShifter had ended so soon.

Trevor didn't doubt that he'd been the only one who'd noticed her leaving. He also didn't doubt that he'd laughed the hardest at her fall. Her arms had flailed, her eyes had gone huge, but she'd let out this kittenish, barely audible scream. It hadn't fit the picture. Pretty fucking cool.

"Come on," Charlie, their tour manager said, tugging on Trevor's arm as if he was the one who'd be able to get everyone to leave. "Party's over. We need to get out of here."

Trevor pulled his arm free. The guy wasn't entirely sober, himself. Settlement must not have taken long -- although who the hell knew what would happen once the disaster of the dressing room was noticed.

Charlie burped a beery-reeking gasball, giving Trev the feeling that he was the only sober one in the room. For a change. If it weren't for weed this good, he'd have hated the fact that he was afraid to drink.

"The party's not over," he told Charlie.

"The party's not over?"

Trevor gave him a blessedly stoned, placid look. He stopped himself from folding his hands over his belly. "The party can't be over until the fat lady sings and if you look around, all the fatties showed sense and left already. No fat girl sings, no party ends." He nodded. It really was pretty simple.

"We've got to clear out," the tour manager whined.

Trevor curled his lip at the guy. "So clear the fuck out. But in the meantime, we have a party to finish up." He nodded at the rest of the band. "They're still standing. There's still a few girls here. Party's not over."

"Move it back to the hotel," Charlie called, raising his voice to be heard over the drunken slurring that passed for chatter. Even if most of it was directions about what felt good and the slurping of deep kisses.

When no one gave any sign of hearing, he turned the radio off. "Move it back to the hotel," Charlie repeated.

The guys looked around their girls at each other and shrugged. One spot was as good as another. So long as there was beer, they'd be happy. Besides, there were beds in hotels. That meant less complaints about sore knees and backs and other body parts.


Trevor wondered if there'd be any fat chicks at the hotel they could pick up. And if there were, what would it take to get them to sing?

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Friday, February 23, 2007


Susan Speaks: Outtake Imminent

I've got a ton of stuff to share with you, but the apparent demise -- and, as of Friday night (that's now), the apparent rescue -- of Thursday Thirteen has inspired Trevor to speak up.

I'm busy making sure I'm channelling my favorite bass player properly, so I hope to post it tomorrow (that'd be Saturday).

Warning: Trevor's cranky, the band's drunk, and this upcoming outtake is rated PG-13 for language and references to sexual activity. Not to mention people who are drunk and stoned. But what else do you expect when a rock band made up of guys in their early twenties throws a party?

One last note: Apologies to those of you trying to access the website today or get mail to me. We switched DSL providers and ... they screwed up. If you haven't heard back from me, please try again.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Last Ever Thursday Thirteen? (#17)

Thirteen Things about Why The End Sucks

1. I have a million TTs written up that I'll never be able to use.

2. My Technorati ranking will plummet.

3. I'll miss my weekly visits with all of you at your blogs.

4. In seventeen weeks, I've built my week around this and it'll be like when a kid loses a tooth and can't keep his tongue out of the hole.

5. When LeeAnn said she was going to institute changes, I was excited because I didn't think she meant this.

6. This was FUN, period. The only meme I participated in, and I love it.

7. I won't get to meet cool new people each week.

8. Doing TTs about my fictional characters helped me grow them and round them out, making my fiction better.

9. I'll probably forget to send LeeAnn a free copy of Trevor's Song, whenever it comes out, because she won't be foremost in my mind anymore.

10. I found that you guys, my readers, inspire me to greater and greater heights. I love that. You've helped me broaden my world and I hope you'll keep on doing so.

11. I hate crying, and this has me crying.

12. Change is good. Change is good. Maybe if I say it enough, I'll believe it. (Nah)


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

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Monday, February 19, 2007


And the Winners are...

First off, congratulations to everyone who played along, thought about playing along, or tried but got derailed (Cheesy, I still love you!). I'd have to say our first Debut a Debut contest was a smashing success.

So. Without further ado, here are the winners and their prizes.

Janelle -- 5 points from

Little bird blue -- $20.00 gift card from Borders

cherie pie -- Tina Bendoni's Argus: In Dreams

Karen -- Suzanne Adair's Paper Woman and Sela Carsen's Not Quite Dead

Andrew -- Shane Gericke's pack, including Blown Away, his debut

world in a satin bag -- Racy Li's Ninja

Confessions of a literary persuasion -- Lila Shaara's audio of Every Secret Thing

breeni -- Sela Carsen's The Virgin Courtesan

mark baker -- Lila Shaara's Every Secret Thing (hardcover)

sahbu -- Thomma Lyn's Thy Eternal Summer

she -- $20.00 Border's gift certificate & Rhonda Stapleton's Stripped

megan -- Dawno's You Pick

prester john -- Michael FitzGerald's Radiant Days

scooper -- Matt Curran's The Secret War

la lady lisa westerfield -- RG Willems's Targets of Affection

A few last housekeeping notes...
1. I'll keep the list of suggested authors and the prize list up at my main website. Hope you'll refer to it often and find yourself some good books.

2. Erica posted a great interview with Joshua Palmatier at Writing Aspirations. We're talking to Joshua about having him be involved in our summer contest, so the next few months would be an excellent time to pick up his first -- and second! -- book, The Skewed Throne and The Cracked Throne.

3. You may be looking at the fact that prolific reviewer Antheras only won five points from BookMooch and wondering what's up with that. That's because she refused anything more and will be joining the Debut a Debut team. Thanks to Janelle for doing that; with her knowledge, Debut a Debut (and our upcoming summer contest) will get bigger and better. You cool people will be able to say you knew us when!!

4. Lastly, thanks to all of you who were part of this in any way, large or small. We hope you'll keep spreading the word of the joint West of Mars and Writing Aspirations contests; there WILL be more (did I say summer contest?), so check in at our blogs for updates about all of that.

In the meantime, enjoy the fun stuff that Erica and I bring you on a semi-daily basis. We appreciate the fact that you guys are our readers. We hope we've exposed you to new bloggers and book reviewers and more neat sites for us bibliophiles (didn't know your favorite metal head knew those big words, huh?), and we hope you'll make at least some of them new favorites. Just... don't forget us. We'll miss you.

I'm out of here for the night... off to my couch and what else but a good book!

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Saturday, February 17, 2007


Debut a Debut winds down

So, today's the last day you can submit your review for the Debut a Debut contest. I have to admit that I'm sad about this. It's been great fun, seeing what's out there, reading the reviews you guys have chosen to write. (see the list of entrants)

And, of course, I've learned a lot. I have a habit of doing this, of learning a lot. It's a good habit to have. Karen has learned a lot, too. She says it very eloquently, in fact. If you don't already spend time there, you should.

Erica and I will pop up on President's Day with the list of winners. I wish you guys could all win and who knows, maybe you can. But definitely check back; we'll do a summer contest, and bring Debut a Debut back this time next year.

As always, if you read anything great, tell us about it. I can't speak for Erica, but I read about 12 books a month (that number includes the ones I give up on). I'm always happy to hear of good reads.

And if you're an author, stay tuned. I'd love to help bring your books to a wider audience; no need to wait for the major contests for that.

One last note for you West of Mars regulars: I've got a new character to introduce you to. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #16 -- More About Trevor Wolff

Over the past few weeks, I've been helping you guys get to know the characters of Trevor's Song in more depth. Here's some more about the star of this show, Trevor Wolff.

Thirteen reasons why Trevor picked up the bass

1. Four strings means two less to learn.

2. Mitchell told him to.

3. Bass players are moody, elusive, and hypnotic.

4. Bass players were in short supply in Riverview at the time they decided to create the band.

5. Anything in short supply is in demand and therefore hot. Desirable. Maybe even respected.

6. Bass can be as much or as little as you want to make it, and it all sounds good.

7. Bass is the backbone of the metal sound even though most people don't pay attention to it.

8. It'd piss off Hank once he heard what his son was doing.

9. Mitchell's sister Amy bet him he couldn't do it (jury's still out on who won that bet).

10. It seemed the easiest thing to learn to play if he was going to be in this band he was dreaming up.

11. He could practice in his and Mitchell's room and not the garage, like if he had drums.

12. Mitchell's father, Patterson, showed up one night with a used bass in the back of his car and said that Trevor didn't need to pay him back for it if he'd learn to play it.

13. Whenever someone says he can't, that's a sign that he must.

Have you been following the Debut a Debut submissions? See them here and expose yourselves to some great new reads. Be sure to stop in on the 19th to see who won our store of great prizes!

Special thanks to Heather for the cool banners!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

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Susan Speaks: Some Writing Thoughts

After finding my groove yesterday for the first time in what felt like forever, I wrote six or seven pages of the WIP, which I'm thinking will be the follow-up to Trevor's Song. Although it's nothing like what I used to be able to do in the days before small distractions who like to call me such odd things as "Mom," it felt good.

I finally shut the computer in time to pick up a book and wait for James to win Best in Show at Westminster. I'll have to rave about this book once Debut a Debut is over (why haven't you entered yet?), but for now, let's just say that its sensibility is so similar to Trevor's that I've embarked on an information-gathering expedition about the author's agent. Interesting that the books I've been encountering lately that seem to mesh with Trevor are all represented by agents who do a lot, if not all, YA lit. What does that say about literature right now?

What does that say about my getting Trevor's Song into print?

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Debut a Debut: GO!

All right, gang. It's that time at last. Time to send in your entries to the Debut a Debut contest.

Send them to me or Erica and we'll post 'em and announce the prizes on the 19th of this month. Watch this space for updates -- and don't be shy; take the plunge and check out some of these great books!

Details on the summer contest coming up soon... again, we'll be trying to point you guys to authors you may never have heard of before -- but should!

Contest entrants:
Nimrodiel reviewing The Last Templar, by Raymond Khoury.

Andrew with The Skewed Throne, by Joshua Palmatier.

Janelle with The Friday Night Knitting Club, by Kate Jacobs.

Janelle with Was She Pretty, by Leanne Shapton.

Karen with The Interpretation of Murder, by Jed Rubenfeld

Camille with Firmin, by Sam Shepard.

Cherie with The Rest Falls Away: The Gardella Vampire Chronicles Book 1, by Colleen Gleason

Janelle with Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Shaun with Tower of Shadows by Drew Bowling.

Breeni with Speak Right On: Dred Scott a Novel, by Mary E. Neighbour

Candice with Nightmare in Laos by Kay Danes

Karen! with Kabbalah: A Love Story, by Lawrence Kushner.

Janelle with And Only to Deceive, by Tasha Alexander

Mark with Death on the Flop, by Jackie Chance

Mark with A Killer Collected, by Jennifer Stanley

Karen with Torch, by Cheryl Strayed

Scooper with The Rest Falls Away, by Colleen Gleason

Prester John with Rumble on the Bayou, by Jana DeLeon

She with Don't Be Afraid, by Rebecca Drake

Lady Lisa Westerfield with And Only to Deceive, by Tasha Alexander

Karen with Jade Tiger, by Jenn Reese

Janelle with The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, by Gordon Dahlquist

Yourotherleft with Disobedience, by Naomi Alderman

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Sunday, February 11, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Hearts (Trevor's Song Days)

So far, it had all lived up to its promise: the island was beautiful, the house and beach secluded, the staff discreet, and the bed big and comfortable. So big and comfortable that despite its white sheets, it had been a shame to leave it.

But Mitchell had wanted to go snorkeling, and that meant Kerri'd had to go into town to buy a bathing suit, something she hadn't owned in years. Mitchell had warned her to choose a basic suit instead of a sexy one; when the band was touring, hotel pools were his favorite place to spend down time. A sexy suit would interfere with swimming.

While she'd been out shopping, she'd stopped and picked up a few sundresses, another thing she hadn't owned in who-knew-how-long. They were coming in handy, though, because when Mitchell's manager had given them use of the house for a two-week honeymoon, he'd added the condition that they visit his favorite restaurants. If she had to wear clothes at all on this dream vacation, Kerri thought, she was going to wear something skimpy and beautiful.

She and Mitchell were seated on a patio along the beach at one of the restaurants on the list, their dinner orders just placed, when Mitchell got up, left his Vans by the patio's edge, and wandered down the beach. Kerri cocked her head as she watched him, not sure what he was doing and itching for a sketch book. There seemed to always be a light wind near the shore and it blew his silvery-white hair across the shoulders of his loose black tank in a tantalizing way. Add in his camoflage cargo shorts and he was a hell of a vision as he bent to play in the sand near the surf. Nothing at all like a powerful rock star; just a regular guy.

She sat there, savoring, still wishing she had the means to draw him, until he turned and waved at her. It was, she could tell, an invitation to come see what he'd done, so she kicked off her sandals beside his black slip-ons and followed.

"What did you do?" she laughed as she got close enough to see.

"What's it look like?" he laughed, holding his arms out to show off his masterpieces.

"It looks like a bunch of hearts."

"Well, then," he said with a definitive nod. "Guess this is what happens when there's no guitar handy and I hear music."

"Looks to me like you hear hearts." she said, smiling as he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. He brushed her hair away from her forehead and kissed her temple.

"It's your damn fault, woman," he breathed into her ear, making her shiver.

"I think I'll take it."

check out more stories of love at Scribbit's cool site. Click here for the contest itself. And for more, visit Write Stuff around the 17th.

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Friday, February 09, 2007


Debut a Debut Spotlight

If you are scrambling for something to read and review before the 17th of this month, let me make one final suggestion for this year's Debut a Debut contest.

I heard from the lovely Joshua Palmatier, whose debut novel The Skewed Throne is on our list of debuts. Better news yet: it was released, in hardback, simultaneously with its sequel, The Cracked Throne.

That's good news for one of you lucky folk, because Mr. Palmatier has graciously offered the Debut a Debut contest an autographed copy of that second book, The Cracked Throne.

AND, because all that's not enough, if you review The Skewed Throne for this contest, you can turn around and enter a second contest at Joshua's site -- you'll win a sneak peek at the new novel later on this year.

Two for the price of one. How can you refuse THAT?

Hope you're busy reading!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #15 -- Valentine's Day Special

Thirteen Things about What turns the ShapeShifter Boys on

For Valentine's Day, I thought I'd give the men of ShapeShifter their say, since I gave some of the women a chance to speak at Hanukkah. I asked them what sorts of things they consider to be turn-ons. Here's what they had to say:

1. Mitchell: Watching Kerri put in or take out her earrings. There's just something about that little head-tilt she does and the way her eyes go all soft and fuzzy…

2. Trevor: Save me before I puke, will ya? For me, it's a quick flash from the second row.

[Ed -- Trevor ducks as Mitchell takes a swipe at the back of his head. Eric shakes his head in disgust.]

3. Eric: A letter from one of the girls I've been involved with. Someone who takes the time to write and then figure out where we'll be and get it to the right spot at the right time. It shows she cares, and a girl who cares is a turn-on.

4. Daniel: Long, painted, manicured nails--
Trevor: That leave scratches! Oh, yeah!
Daniel: No.

5. Mitchell: A woman who's comfortable naked--

6. Daniel: and who has jet-black hair that's long, cut perfectly even at the bottom, moves in a single sheet, and turns blue in certain lights…
Mitchell: Does that describe anyone we know?
Trevor: Yeah, like Val?
Daniel: Maybe.

7. Eric: Speaking of Val, a sincere woman's a turn on.

[Ed -- as Trevor opens his mouth, Mitchell growls and balls his hand into a fist. Trevor suddenly yawns.]

8. Mitchell: So's chocolate sauce, many flavors of schnapps, and someone who doesn't mind a bit of a mess.
Daniel: Or ice cream. Someone who doesn't mind a bit of ice cream is a turn-on.
Eric: All the usuals. Whipped cream--
Mitchell: Can't believe I forgot that one!
Eric: Massage oil.
Trevor: Call Lyric! She's got a store full of shit that'll turn any normal person on.
Mitchell: And some who aren't normal, too.

9. Mitchell: Speaking of normal, I've yet to meet the man who isn't turned on watching a woman unzip the back of her dress.

[Ed -- band nods and licks their lips.]

10. Eric: Except for the ones who pick their hair up off their necks and turn their backs to you, so you can unzip for them. Slowly.
Trevor: What's the fun of slow? Just get to it.
Mitchell: You loser.
Trevor: You're one to talk.

[Ed -- again, Mitchell takes a swipe at the back of Trevor's head. It's a harder blow this time and Trevor mouths the word "Ow."]

11. Daniel: Heels. The higher, the better.

[Ed -- band nods in knowing agreement.]

12. Trevor: Short skirts that you can see up when they sit.
Daniel: Or the ones that hint at what you want to see.

13. Trevor: Enough of this shit already! The ultimate turn-on is a woman, plain and simple. They're built for it, all tits and curves and giggles and all the other good noises they make and the way they squirm! It's a woman's sole purpose in life to turn us on, and it's our sole purpose in life to try out every single one of them, in every single way, position, and style possible. No matter what they do, they turn us on. That's their job, and that's all there is to it.
Mitchell: Shit, Trev, I didn't know you could say all that in one breath.
Daniel: I thought women were here to make us dinner?
Mitchell: Only if your girl's a chef. Like Val.
Daniel: Oh, okay, then.

I hope you're all busy reading for the Debut a Debut contest -- we open for entries on Monday. I am eager to see what you guys have chosen!!! If you can't enter this time, stay tuned for a fun summer contest, as well as a plan to do another Debut a Debut next year.

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, February 06, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Eric's Flu (pre-Trevor's Song days)

This is for Erica, who's home sick with the flu. But while I have you here, let me point out that author Conor Corderoy stopped by to leave a comment here. If you haven't picked a book to read yet for the Debut a Debut contest, why not his Dark Rain? A dystopia AND murder mystery; how can you refuse?I can't!

And now... the outtake, just for Erica!

Daniel and Mitchell had gathered around Eric, who stared up at them from Trevor's couch on the tour bus, his eyes glassy.

"Freaky," Mitchell said with a nod. He pulled a potato chip out of the bag he'd bought at the rest stop half an hour ago.

"I think it's a hangover," Daniel insisted, holding out his hand for a chip.

Mitchell ignored him. "We weren't drinking that much last night. And you don't blow your nose as much as he's been doing when you're hungover. It makes your brain pound too hard."

"Good point," Daniel said. He tried to take the bag of chips, but Mitchell pulled it out of danger and tossed it toward the bus' kitchen area.

Daniel took a wary step back, but Mitchell was fast and pinned the drummer to the couch opposite Eric. "You can fucking share," the drummer snarled.

"No I can't," Mitchell growled back. "And let's hope Eric doesn't. He's got the flu, you dumb fuck. All of us can get it."

"We have a show tomorrow," Eric moaned. "We can't cancel."

"True. ShapeShifter doesn't cancel."

"What do we do?" Eric's moan turned sniveling. "I can't fucking move. Do you know I spent the entire stop trying to get out of my bunk and up here?"

"Well, I wish you'd gotten here sooner," Mitchell told him, diving for the potato chips before Daniel could grab them again. "'cause if we'd known, we could have picked up supplies."

"Supplies?" Daniel asked, sucking on the thumb that Mitchell had bent backwards in his rush for the chips.

"Yeah," Mitchell said, popping another chip into his mouth. "Soup, Jell-o." He grinned. "We could have some real fun with the Jell-o that sick boy there doesn't eat."

"What girl's gonna want to get on a bus that's got a guy with the flu on it?" Daniel asked.

Mitchell winked. "Who said we'd tell them before we're rolling?"

"Show tomorrow," Eric said and pulled another tissue out of the box he'd propped on his chest. "Me. Gotta play," he said and blew his nose. Hard.

Mitchell shuddered. Charlie, the band's tour manager, jumped for the used tissue and put it into a plastic bag.

"What do we do since we don't have any soup?" Daniel asked.

Mitchell shook his head uselessly and eyed his potato chips. There was something unappetizing about eating after listening to the goop that had come pouring out of Eric's nose. He crumpled the top of the bag closed and offered it to Daniel, who winkled his nose and shook his head.

"You fuck heads," Trevor said, getting up from his usual spot on the couch, at Eric's feet. "There's only one cure for the flu." He pushed past Mitchell, who gave him a quick slap to the back of the head, and opened the fridge. He pulled out a beer and grabbed the opener. "You get him so drunk, he forgets he's sick."

"We might pickle him before that happens," Mitchell said with a frown. He opened the potato chips and, without looking, fished one out of the bag and ate it.

"Pickle me!" Eric begged. "Just … make me better."

Trevor handed over the beer. Daniel helped himself to a potato chip and shrugged at Mitchell.

It was worth a try.

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Monday, February 05, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Inspiration (The Later Days)

When Kerri woke, Mitchell was still busy with his Midnight Blue ESP. She wasn't sure what time he'd brought it up to their bedroom; she only remembered that it had been after three when she'd last looked at the clock, and the room had only held one guitar: the acoustic that was always there for middle-of-the-night inspirations.

In fact when Kerri had made that last time check, Mitchell had been as exhausted as she was, not bothering to pull the sheets back into place and barely noticing when she'd accidentally kneed him as she'd tried to get comfortable.

It was ten now, she saw when she lifted her head out of the pillows she'd had to use when he'd taken his shoulder back. Late for her, and she had a million things yet to do. Even though Michelle had started coming daily to clean, Kerri believed there was no reason to ask her to deal with the empty beer bottles in the TV room. Likewise, Kerri herself would strip the bed -- once Mitchell got his ass off it.

"Have you slept at all?" she asked him, sitting up and kissing his right shoulder.

He shook his head no, his mouth counting beats or mouthing chord changes or lyrics; Kerri wasn't sure which. Experience had taught her it was one of the three and until the notebook on his nightstand was full with a million scratch-outs and then a final, impossible-to-read song, he wasn't moving, saying, or possibly even thinking.

Such was life with a musician.

Kerri planted another kiss on his shoulder and brushed at the ends of his hair, laying so temptingly right above her lips, and got up to face the day.

Hope you're inspired by the Debut a Debut contest and are getting ready; we'll open for entries next week, February 12!

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Sunday, February 04, 2007


Debut a Debut Spotlight

I'm sure you guys have already chosen your debut novels for the Debut a Debut contest, right? Just in case you haven't, I wanted to point you to one that just came on my radar the other day.

My friend Janelle sent me the info, and I was immediately taken by the author's name. It's so great and lyrical; I wish I could trade names with her. Ready? Roopa Farooki, and her book is Bitter Sweets.

Using my link will take you to a UK edition, but there's apparently a US edition that was released early this month.

The book looks neat: themes of deception and how they affect the ones we love. If it's too late for you to get your hands on it now and have it read and reviewed for posting anytime between the 12th and 17th of this month, have no fear.

Ms. Roopa Farooki will be on our list of 2007 debut authors... yep, I think we're gonna do this again. Stay tuned for more...

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Friday, February 02, 2007



Be sure to visit Working Stiffs today -- and click on ALL the links (well, you can ignore the one that leads you here and the one to that lousy rock band. Just not the rest!).

In case you ever wondered how my little brain works, there it is, in all its glory.

Bodacious, I tell you!

(remember, ALL the links!)

More over the weekend with a Debut a Debut update.

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