Friday, August 31, 2007


Susan's Inside Writing: I have a confession to make

Originally, Trevor's Song was supposed to be the follow-up book to the story of Mitchell, Kerri, and Kerri's mother. It was supposed to tell the story of ShapeShifter's dead bass player. The hows, the whys ... all that fun stuff.

But then I woke up one day and realized that Trevor's Song is really the better story. That I'm still floundering with the story of Kerri's mother; it's not right. Yet. So shopping commenced and by last May -- yeah, a few short months ago -- I realized that the problem I'm having with selling Trevor's Song isn't the writing or the story or anything of the sort. It's that it's hard to sell a book about a rock star. It's hard to sell a book about a dude with cancer.

Put them together and it ain't like what you get when chocolate and peanut butter taste great together.

At about this time, some of you devoted groupies started to really fall hard for Trevor Wolff. You guys love the man.

And I began to feel guilty. Because, after all, I know how the book ends. It ain't pretty. And you guys won't like it. The more Rhian fights the whole world for her shot at Trevor, the worse I've been feeling.

Thunder and lightning have been themes for me this summer, and today, lightning struck in the form of Lisa Andel, who is probably floored by the ease with which I took what was a very bold, critical statement and found paydirt. All those years of writers' workshops in undergrad and MFA programs do pay off in the long run, boys and girls. They teach you how to stare down an ugly truth and turn it into something beautiful.

So... the post I had edited for later today will have to wait a few while you digest this news and try to figure out what I'm up to. Booking Through Thursday, which I was going to have a lot of fun with this week, will have to wait for another day and another topic.

Right now, I've got a book to revise. And an ending that'll make Rhian just that much happier.


I mean, there's still this girl named Heather for her to consider...

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #44 -- Excerpts from an Interview

Over the past few weeks, we've talked quite a bit about groupies. We started with stereotypes, moved on to the truth, and then spent last week celebrating ShapeShifter and you guys who've become my groupies (or are about to).

This week, to end the unit of study, I thought I'd bring you the notes of famed journalist Kermit Ladd, who continues to try to sit down and control an interview with the members of ShapeShifter. Being a smart sort, Kermit sat down with frontman/rhythm guitarist Mitchell Voss, but before long, the party was crashed, and this is what ensued:

Thirteen Things about Groupies

Thirteen things about Groupies
1. Mitchell: The thing about groupies, what makes them so good, is that they love us.
Trevor: It's all about the love.
Mitchell: No, no. Really. These women love us. To the point that they'd marry us if they could.
Trevor (sniffs): Like I'm getting married? Ever?

2. Mitchell: Hold on a second. You see, when someone loves you, all they want to do is please you.
Trevor: And please us they do. (He folds his arms over his chest and nods once. Firmly.)

3. Mitchell: For them, it's all about giving pleasure. All we need to do is sit back and take it.

4. Trevor: You greedy, lying bastard. You get off on showering these girls with attention just as much as I do. Watching them start to drool 'cause you're looking at them and then they hold their breaths, hoping you're about to give 'em that invite they want so bad… (He takes a deep breath through his nose, his eyes closed in satisfaction.) Yeah, that's the best.

5. Mitchell: Here's the thing with groupies. We do make fun of them when they can't hear, but you're not a real band until you've got 'em. We know that. We love them for it.
Trevor: We make fun of them when they're not around?
(Mitchell cuffs the back of Trevor's head.)

6. Mitchell: They're important people in the world of a band. The smart (he gives Trevor a sidelong glance) guys know this. The groupies who are cool or extra-special, if you know what I mean, those are the girls we'll tell the crew to keep an eye out for.
Trevor: Sort of like that Lana chick. The whole crew knows Lana. They watch out for her. Help her past venue security, give her passes without the usual payment, make sure she gets fed.
Mitchell: I heard Cookie once slipped food out of the crew's catering for her.
Trevor: Wouldn't surprise me. Cookie knows who he works for.
Mitchell: The band?
Trevor: Me, you dumbfuck.

7. Mitchell: These groupies, the devoted ones, they'll say they work for us. That they're as essential to us as people like Cookie are.
Trevor: They're wrong. They're in it for themselves. To get close to us. Cookie's around to be my bass tech.
Mitchell: Might want to tell him that. I know he likes your rejects.

8. Trevor: How'd we get on to this? We started off saying that these girls are all about pleasing us.
Mitchell: They are.
Trevor: But now you're saying they're all about getting close to us.
Mitchell: Nope. You said that. Not me.
Trevor: Same fucking thing.
(Mitchell gives him a confused look)

9. Trevor: Are we done with the groupies yet? I'm bored.
Mitchell: Nope. We have four more points to make.
Trevor: Why not get Adam and his camera in here and let him do a picture thing?
Mitchell: Because this guy's here to talk to us. Talk, Trev. Not look at pictures.
Trevor: Pictures are more interesting. I'm done talking.
(Trevor wanders off)

10. Mitchell: So I guess we're back to just me, huh? Shit. Maybe Trevor's right and we have said it all.

11. Mitchell: Nope, never taken pictures of the girls I've been with just so I can remember them later. That's probably a good thing. Now that I'm married, I'd have to burn them all.

12. Mitchell: Nope, not going to write some tell-all book and spill it all. What happened back in my single days needs to stay there, and not just because Kerri doesn't want to hear it.

13. Mitchell: Yes, girls do still grab my dick and slip me some tongue and do everything else they can think of to get me to take them over my wife. Not a single one of them's gotten anything but an escort out of the room, though. I don't care how great they are, Kerri's better. I guess that means my groupie days are done.

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, August 28, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: Wanderings

I've decided to do a Web Wanderer type of thing and highlight some of the books that I come across through my own wanderings. Check 'em out; there are debuts in here that you can put aside for this winter's Debut a Debut, and there are hidden treasures in here that you may want to fill up the time between now and Debut a Debut with.

The Department of Lost and Found

Bookgasm looks at Dark Gold, now out in paperback -- and includes a hot excerpt...

Critical Mass leans a bit more literary than my tastes do, but these might be good.

Ace and Hoser are at it again, with A Gathering Light.

Another one from Critical Mass, looking at stealth best-sellers. How many of us authors dream of having this happen to us? Not only would I love to see it happen to me and Trevor's Song, I'd love to help you guys make it happen, too.

A non-book note. Yesterday was #1's first day of second grade. It was the last day in which he'd be six (yes, today's his birthday), and it was also the day in which he lost his first tooth. Talk about a day of firsts and lasts!!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- Nerdvana

Now, you all know that it's part of Chelle LaFleur's job to be a busy girl. Bands come to town, Chelle's there in the audience, reviewing the show for this here Trumpet newspaper. Bands get ready to come to town, Chelle's on the phone with them, getting interviews so her precious readers have a clue or two about the bands playing our lovely city and might actually turn out to check out something new.

Anyone who's been reading this here space for awhile knows how many different bands Chelle sees. And that being the music critic means that Chelle sometimes has to go hear bands who she wouldn't download if you paid her to. Not that they're not good. They're just not her style.

That's the case with a band just breaking into the national music scene. You say you love music? Then go check them out, but don't be expecting to run into Chelle LaFleur out and about the town inside of one of their shirts. Actually, they have a pretty good name: Nerdvana. Maybe if they want to win this city over, they can comp me the 4XL ol' Chelle needs and she'll even wear it to a ShapeShifter show. Chelle's used to sticking out in those metal crowds.

She stood out in the Nerdvana crowd, too. Turns out saying Nerdvana's the polar different from ShapeShifter's being gentle with you good readers.

They're from Baton Rouge, of all places, so you'd think they'd rock. Their name Nerdvana screams of the irony and alternative rock you Tulane types dig so much. We'll save the irony and alternative rock for another time 'cause there's nothing ironic about Nerdvana. Alternative… yeah, they're an alternative to most of what's out there, but alt radio ain't gonna be hugging these guys and making nice on them so fast.

Good thing I'm not Nerdvana's manager 'cause for the life of me, Chelle can't figure out which radio station to stick 'em on. They belong with the Golden Oldies and poodle skirts and sock hops. They got that harmonizing thing going, they're four boys with crew cuts and ears that stick out and square glasses and probably pocket protectors, too. Their guitar player holds his axe so high that Mitchell Voss gets arm cramps just looking at them, but then again, if anyone wears their guitar lower than Mitchell Voss, I'd like to meet him. Or her.

The best way Chelle can put it is that these boys croon. The old men who sang the standards before they were standard? They're up there in heaven, where all good crooners go, cheering these boys on. Seriously. You could play Nerdvana in the middle of any of those oldies and unless you listened to the words, you'd think their songs were as old as the others.

Maybe they'll turn out to be nothing more than a novelty, which is fine with Chelle LaFleur, who refuses to put on a poodle skirt 'cause that's just disrespectful to poodles everywhere. But you heard it first and you heard it here: Nerdvana's doing something different. If you can take their kind of music, make sure you look into 'em.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007


Summer's Hidden Treasures Wrap-up -- and more

Only one thing left to do for the Summer's Hidden Treasures contest I was running -- mail out the books that you guys won. Either Karen or I have contacted all of the winners; check here for the prize list, in case you think you missed a message from one of us. For the record, we had more entrants than prizes, so not all of you won. I'm sorry about that. For Debut a Debut coming up, we'll try for even more prizes.

Speaking of Debut a Debut, yes, we'll be back with that in the winter. I'm working on making some changes, spreading it out over a number of blogs instead of having everything here. If you'd like to be part, drop me a line. Yes, you can feature a book or do an author interview (even if you interview yourself) and still be eligible for prizes.

I need to publicly thank Robin for coming up with the idea for this past Thursday's Concept Thirteen. If you missed it, a bunch of Thirteeners posted about me and ShapeShifter, my fictional band. Why? Because we could.

So I'd like to point out the posts by Thomma Lyn, L^2, Nancy, Jill, and Camille -- and who am I forgetting? Please remind me (I've had a migraine since Wednesday and today is Saturday, so you know how impaired my thought process is by this point)! As the headache fades, the boy's birthday is celebrated, school begun, and fallout from this week's stress is all dealt with, I'll have the Tour Manager put up a new page at my main site. Yup, it'll be devoted to you crazy groupies and all these great posts.

I love it. We're starting to create fan fiction for a book that's not published.


We so rock.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #43 -- Groupies MINE

Over the last two weeks, I've been talking about ShapeShifter groupies. I've forgotten one of the most important varieties of groupies, however.


The time seems right to proudly unveil my new graphic for you. If you'd like to display it on your own blog or website, I'd be honored. (just ... please don't hotlink!) And yes, at some unidentified point in the future, look for me to start giving away prizes to anyone with the graphic on their blog.

[ The graphic is available in both JPG and GIF formats, with either white or orange text - The Tour Manager ]

And now, on to business:

Thirteen ways to tell you're a true West of Mars Groupie

1. You check the blog repeatedly throughout the day for updates, even though you get the feed.

2. You call radio stations and ask them to play ShapeShifter's Still Life or Behold Me.

3. You try to book your vacation to Riverview, USA.

4. You bug Susan for West of Mars and ShapeShifter merchandise, and then you buy lots of it once she coughs it up.

5. You have dreams in which you get to meet Mitchell Voss or Trevor Wolff.

6. You want to go to Riverview Art Academy, like Kerri did.

7. To prove you're worthy of Riverview Art Academy, you submit art to Susan (who will post any fan art on her website and talk to you about using some for t-shirts if she likes your stuff!)

8. You ask your local guitar shop to outfit you with the same gear that ShapeShifter uses.

9. You spend hours Googling in search of ShapeShifter tabs.

10. You write fan fiction, which Susan gladly posts on her website.

11. You make all your friends stop by 'cause this is something they just can't miss out on.

12. You e-mail Susan and offer suggestions for outtakes.

13. You e-mail Susan and suggest real things that she ought to check out and incorporate into the fictional world of Riverview USA.

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!

There you go! Do you resemble any of these? I suspect a few (or more) of you do... Your devotion to Trevor and company, along with your unflagging support have been a source of determination and strength whenever I get down about not having a book to give you yet. Keep on making this noise and I'll either give in and self-publish or we'll find a brave agent and publisher yet. Either way, it'll get a book in your hands, and that's what our ultimate goal is.

Once again, thanks to all you groupies. You guys rock.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007


MORE awards????? (and a flip attempt at a Meme)

I might be getting immune to these honors, guys!

Jenny McB, who is fast becoming one of my most recent groupies, has awarded me with the Nice Matters Award. She said she gave it to me because of my positive comments here and at other blogs. I do try my best to always be positive and upbeat. Misery may love company but smiles make everyone feel good.

Here's the details about this one:
This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to 7 others who you feel are deserving of this award.

The next one is the Thoughtful Blogger Award, given to me by one of my groupies and buds, Amy Ruttan. Amy's one of my favorite blog reads; one of those people I always turn to first when I see her listed in my reader. If you don't read Amy's blog, why not???

Now, another Meme, but this one's cool 'cause some of you have no clue what's hiding in my archives. I'm aiming to fix that rather permanently, but not just yet. I've got some other small details to take care of, first.

Marcia, at MeeAugraphie and Tumbled Words (and whose RSS feed I miss dearly), tagged me with this one.

Here we go...
Link 1 must be about family: One of my all-time favorites. This scene actually existed before the blog. Although I like this one a lot, too. Or... Or...

Link 2 must be about friends: This was a hard one to pick. Friends are important in my fictional world. Friends take the place of family, and family takes the place of friends.

Anyone think I'm trying to make a statement?

Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are, what you’re all about: Umm... Help! This blog isn't about me! It's about my fiction!

Link 4 must be about something you love: I'll explain more later about why this is such an important thing.

Oh, hell, I'll do it here: people are trying to ban this book because of its liberal use of the F-word (I did it delicately for you, Marcia!). But really. If you're going to set a book in the world of punk rock, you may as well do it authentically. And KL Going has done just that. Trust me. I used to live in places like she creates. Or so it felt at the time.

Furthermore, does anyone REALLY believe that by the time our kids are old enough to form bands and hang out in clubs, they haven't heard words like fuck?

Fat Kid Rules the World. Buy it. (it is still in print, if you'd like a new copy) Let's turn the negative publicity into huge sales.

I just might have to help author KL Going take on the idiot wanna-be book banners... That's really got my dander up.

Now, back to the Meme. Really, it's more fun to talk about Fat Kid. Helloooo? I'm boring, remember?

Link 5 can be anything you choose: Oh, really. Just go play in the archives. But here's one I particularly like. Then again, I particularly like them all. The ones I don't like are waiting to be revised into that state of being particularly liked.

Go find some you like. Report back to me; it'll help me know what to feed you guys next.

Oh, and rather than pass this one, really. Just go buy Fat Kid. It's about book banning, people. I mean, other than the sales the publicity will generate, do you want your book to be banned? And if it is, who'll fight for it -- and you???

Well, other than me. *wink*

I've got all the prizes for the Summer's Hidden Treasures contest sorted out now, thanks to my Opening Act. If you entered the contest, look for a message from me starting tonight!

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Sunday, August 19, 2007


Monday Poetry Train: Wearing Pink

I'm taking a break from drawing names and matching them up with prizes from the Summer's Hidden Treasures contest. A bit too much weekend put me a bit behind schedule, so stay tuned for news of the winners. In the meantime, here's a visit with our Roadie Poet.

Wearing Pink

New girl at the sound board.
She's in pink.

Hambone says she's new.
I say she's someone's girl.
'cause crew,
We know
you don't wear pink.

Black's the roadie's color
Maybe white,
If it's a shirt for the local crew
Who'll be invisible by showtime.
Maybe white.

Near showtime,
Hambone chases me down.
I'm gaffing the last of the stage.
Shoulda been done hours ago.
Fucking local crew.

Hambone points her out.
Not in pink no more.
Wearing black.
Sitting at the sound board.

She bounces,
All excited like,
And Hambone hands me twenty.

Sure enough,
Come morning,
Another girl's in her spot.
This one's
Wearing pink, too.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007


Blogging Tips Meme #3, 4, and The Schmooze award


This is the sign of burnout. Right here, folks.

I owe two more Blogging Tips Memes, but to be honest with you, I lost heart. I had the drafts saved; all I needed to do was post them.

But then I was blog surfing and came onto some strangers' blogs and what did I see? Memes. And not the fun kind, like the Schmoozing award (we'll get to that one in a second). The kind that didn't give me ANY inkling into what the blog was about. And I thought, I don't want this to be what people see when they visit me.

Thus, I nuked the drafts of Blogging Tips #3 and 4. Really, I have no words of wisdom other than to say have fun with what you do. And if you can't glean that from my posts or from the fun comment trails, nothing I can spell out will help.

Thus, on to the FUN.

Both PJ at the Urban Recluse and Thomma Lyn have graced me with The Power of Schmooze Award.

This one means as much as the Rockin' Wench Awards you guys handed me. I'm gonna get all sappy here and make poor Trevor throw up in his motorcycle boots, but so be it. I'm pleased you guys have let me be part of your lives, and I'm even more pleased when you demand I step in front of my fictional characters and speak to you as myself. Most of all, it gives me hope that when Trevor's Song finally hits the shelves, you'll all buy multiple copies. Yes, I promise now to make it VERY easy for you to get autographed copies, all the while helping out some local-to-me independent bookstores.

...and in the week since I wrote this post, more awards have come my way. I'll get to those later in the week or next week. Stay tuned. By all means, keep the honors coming! It's not just good for my ego in the face of rejection letters for a hard-to-place debut novel. It makes Trevor and the rest of the band happy.

Now, onward. There's more fictional fun ahead for you; my blog queue is stuffed to overflowing. There are more changes afoot... keep your eyeballs peeled.

And in the meantime, my friends, rock on.

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Friday, August 17, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: Monogamy and contests

First off, entries for the Summer's Hidden Treasures contest are now closed! Thanks to everyone who read a hidden treasure; sounds like you guys found good stuff out there.

Secondly, this week's Booking Through Thursday asks us about monogamy. You regulars around here should know how vehemently Trevor hates monogamy, and that should be the end of it, since Trevor is a creature of my own construct.

However, the nice thing about fiction is that you get to create characters who are different from yourself. Thus, I'm all about monogamy ... where the Tour Manager's concerned. (Once you meet him, you'll agree. And envy me. He's the best.)

That's a marriage, though. The until-death-do-us-part type.

Reading a book is a marriage of a different sort. It's the sort that lets you enter and exit the book's world at a second's notice, yet at the same time, the best ones suck you in and demand full attention.

However, that doesn't mean you should be devoted exclusively to one world at a time. I usually have at least two books going: one upstairs by my bed and one downstairs, in the family room. I'm never searching for my book, only to realize it's midnight, I'm in pajamas that are a bit too revealing for the glass front entry I'll have to pass through, and I'm too tired to drag myself up and down the steps again today. And yes, I've been there. And yes, I've strolled through the front entry in my jammies and given thanks for living on a quiet street with early birds.

Back soon with a final update on the Summer's Hidden Treasures contest. If you can't wait, visit it at my website.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #42 -- The Creativity Award

Ya know, I keep track of my awards here at home. I've got a small part of my website devoted to them, but that's still a work-in-progress. Who has time to prettify that page when you guys keep handing them out to me?

ShapeShifter wins awards, too, you know. Mitchell and Eric often duke it out for best guitarist, and Daniel gets noticed for his drumming. There's been great songwriting, fan selections, and even a vocalist award or two for the frontman himself, The Great Mitchell Voss. Or so Trevor likes to call him.

Thus, for this week's Thursday Thirteen, I bring you my latest award: PJ at The Urban Recluse was kind enough to award me the Creative Blogger Award.

Thirteen . . ., well, just read on.

1. Trevor: You know, more and more people are getting this place of ours. I like it.
Mitchell: It's like a band. You start small and get a few fanatics who'll be with you through pretty much anything. They help you get the word out and before you know it, the ink's drying on the deal.

2. Trevor: Except there is no deal for Susan.
Eric: It's a matter of time.
Mitchell: Yeah. People can only ignore things for so long, and then they wake up one morning and decide that no matter much it doesn't fit into their neat little world, they can't ignore it. Power of the people and all that.
Daniel: I wish there was something more we could do to help out. I mean, this isn't just about Susan. It's about us, too.

3. Trevor: It's about me, you mean.
Daniel: No, it's about all of us.
Trevor: The book's called Trevor's Song. TREVOR. That's me.

4. Mitchell: But the blog's about all four of us.
Eric: And some bonus friends.
Trevor: Bonus friends?
Eric: I wouldn't say it like that around Mitchell. One of them's Kerri.
Trevor: Like I'd touch that woman if you paid me to.

5. Daniel: The book may be about you. Mostly. But the blog's about all of us.
Mitchell: And the award was for the blog, not the book. See the difference?

6. Trevor: Like I know? I'm a bass player, for fuck's sake, not a writer.
Mitchell: Figures. Can't put up when we need you to.
Trevor opens his mouth to answer, but Mitchell interrupts.

7. Mitchell: The book's done. The blog's got some fans. Why aren't there more?
Eric: Exactly! Look at the gold mine here that no one's tapping.
Trevor: Mines cave in. Checked the news lately, Drummer boy? Does the state of Utah ring any bells?
Eric: Those poor people. Their poor families.
Trevor: You gonna pray for them?
Eric: I know you'll never admit it, but you are.
Trevor rolls his eyes but doesn't answer.

8. Mitchell: So far, Susan's been given three Thinking Blogger Awards, Three Rockin' Chick/Wench blogger awards, a Schmoozing Blogger award --
Trevor: Think Susan'll ever publish that post she wrote about it?
Eric: In time, Trevor. Everything comes in time.

9. Daniel: Including a book deal for Susan?
Eric: We can hope.

10. Mitchell: I just don't get it.
Daniel: Get what?
Mitchell: Why more people aren't jumping on this train.
Trevor: Trains wreck.

11. Daniel: Books aren't like demo tapes, that you can put out and circulate around and watch your popularity grow.
Trevor: Why not?
Eric: Books cost more to print. And we have this blog. Maybe we should be pushing it and let the book follow.
Trevor: The book has to follow. The blog's already here.
Eric: So we need to build the buzz higher and louder.
Daniel: How?

12. Trevor: More of me, of course.
Daniel: Less is more.
Trevor: Not when we're talking about Trevor Fucking Wolff, it's not.
Mitchell: We're supposed to be talking about Susan's awards.

13. Trevor: Why? I'm way more fun to talk about. That's why the focus of Susan's blog isn't Susan. It's me.
Daniel: It's all of us.
Trevor: You know, you sound like a broken record.
Eric: There's a lot to be learned from broken records, Trev.

Thanks again to PJ for the much-appreciated recognition!

And now, in keeping with meme rules, I'd like to pass it on to these people:
Rhian, whose creativity knows no bounds
Robin, who earned it this week.
and L^2, whose creative skill with a camera is mind-blowing.
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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Summer's Hidden Treasures: Enter Here

No, you're not a maroon or in a time warp. This is a sticky post. Scroll on down for the fun new stuff.

Hello friends old, new, and potential, and welcome to the Summer's Hidden Treasures Reading contest. If you are here to enter the contest, please leave your name and the permalink of your book review in the Mr. Linky provided below.

If you'd like to review the rules, click here.

If you'd like more information, click here.

We'll be manually checking all of these reviews. If they:
1. Were posted before 15 July or after 15 August
2. Are a review of a best-seller
3. Are a review of a book that the author paid to have published

your review will remain posted, but you will be ineligible to win prizes from our great sponsors. (see here for list of sponsors. Please thank them. And the authors who are pitching in and helping out.)

Yes, it is this easy!
Yes, you may enter more than once!

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Sunday, August 12, 2007


Poetry Train: Write About Me

This may appeal more to the regulars than you-who-aren't-so-regular-YET, but that's okay. Search for any of my characters and you'll get some of their backstories. Or follow the links back to the main website -- especially if you haven't been there in awhile. Think you know what it says? You might be surprised...

Write About Me

Write about biking,
The Tour Manager said.
Yesterday's 22-mile trek
Along the River Yough.

Write about me,
Chelle said.
Two new bands I've found.
They need to hear it first, and they need to hear it from me.

Write about me,
Roadie Poet said.
There's a new chick at the soundboard
Whose story I need to tell.

Write about me,
Pam said with a pout.
No one pays attention to me.
And now I've got that Rhian girl to worry about.
But if she takes Trevor,
I can have Mitchell all to myself.
Oh, Rhian…

Write about me, write about me,
All my characters said to me this morn.
Mitchell's got clothing problems.
Kerri's watching her husband shave.
Daniel's glued to CNN.
Val's buying yet more soy sauce.
Maybe some chocolate, too.

One character missing,
The astute of you will note.

Trevor's kicked back,
Cigarette dangling from his lip,
Greasy part of his Vincent in one hand.
"Quit writing so much and actually
Submit something somewhere," he says to me
And bends back to his bike.

Write about me, write about me.
Oh, you journalists and bloggers.
Write about me.

Any of you groupies who Thirteen -- or any of you who don't -- who'd like to join me in a Trevor-sized bit of fun, please e-mail me for directions. Don't be surprised if I contact you but really, get a jump on things. Get involved early. You will NOT regret it.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007


Susan's Inside Writing: Creating a Text

Check this out to learn a bit more about me.

Also, the Tour Manager and I are off to a 22-mile (round trip) bike ride today. Uphill both ways, from the sound of it. We'll be riding from Ohiopyle to Confluence, PA. So if I'm not around, you know why.

And speaking of that part of the state, it's not far from where I took #1 to Cub Scout Camp. Last week, a Boy Scout camping in a different location on the same camp burned himself badly -- over 50% of his body suffered second and third degree burns. We don't know much else, but from all of us here, we wish him speedy healing and limited pain.

Talk to you guys later.


Friday, August 10, 2007


Susan's Book Talk: Multiples and other things

First off: this week's Booking Through Thursday:

Do you have multiple copies of any of your books?
If so, why? Absent-mindedness? You love them that much? First Editions for the shelf, but paperbacks to read?
If not, why not? Not enough space? Not enough money? Too sensible to do something so foolish?

I have a lot of multiples that have come to me through BookCrossing -- I'll forget to take something off my wishlist (with 1200+ books on there, can you blame me?) or someone will think I'll like a book, so they send it to me, not knowing I've got a copy here that I haven't registered at BookCrossing yet.

And I buy multiples, too -- to share via BookCrossing or the book trading sites ('cause whenever I offer you guys my books, you don't take me up on it. What's up with THAT?). Those multiples are books I loved and want to help spread the word about. You know, sort of like my own way of helping people find a Hidden Treasures book.

Speaking of Hidden Treasures, there's only five days left in the contest. Get your last reviews up! If you're web wandering and you find a review posted, why not encourage the writer to submit it to the contest?? They've already done the hard work; invite them to come get rewards and some extra linkie love for it.

I hear that Jennifer Estep, one of our Hidden Treasures authors, has a few ARCs for the second in her Big Time series, Hot Mama. I'll let you know when the review's up at Front Street Reviews.

And lastly (I think), I'd love to thank Robin L. Rotham for pulling my very own name out of a hat and declaring me the winner of a copy of her new short, Seniorella. This is going to be my very first foray into e-books, so if you prefer Microsoft Reader to PDF format, or the other way, you'd better weigh in on that subject now...

Happy reading, everyone! Let's get some last reviews in for the Summer's Hidden Treasures contest, okay?

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #41 -- True fans

Last week, I listed stereotypes of ShapeShifter fans. Many of you identified in one way or another with the list; it's pretty universal.

This week, it gets more challenging. Are you a true fan if you don't fit any of these thirteen things? Absolutely.

Thirteen truths about ShapeShifter fans

1. They are surprisingly different -- from the stereotypes and from each other.

2. A number of them are intelligent and/or highly successful in careers you might not expect right off the bat.

3. Many of them listen to a large variety of music -- not only hard rock, metal, or whatever you'd like to call it this week.

4. The die-hards are as devoted to ShapeShifter as a pit bull is to its master.

5. Many of them feel that they don't fit in anywhere but here.

6. Many of them come from abusive or otherwise hurt backgrounds.

7. Not all the girls come around because the ShapeShifter guys are cute. Some of them are into the music, plain and simple.

8. They're not defined by their physical appearance (refer to last week's list to see what I mean).

9. Many of them draw their inner strength from the music. The tales of how and when they did this make for frequent backstage appearance stories.

10. Many of them feel that Mitchell's lyrics were written just for them. They wonder how he got it so right.

11. Many will go into debt and/or bankrupt themselves in order to see ShapeShifter perform all over the world. What an excuse to travel!

12. Many of them feel instant affinities toward each other, as though they are fellow members of an otherwise secret club. Relationships are forged, weddings are celebrated all because of ShapeShifter.

13. Mitchell, Daniel, Trevor, and Eric are popular names for the children of ShapeShifter fans. Go figure.

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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Sunday, August 05, 2007


Fiction Outtake: Trevor in Tree (The Early Years)

I told Rhian last week that I'd post some high school antics for her in today's Poetry Train. Come on and jump on the train -- and don't forget the Hidden Treasures Contest! We're starting to wind down, so get your reviews in soon.

It was 3AM, right on the nose, when Patterson pulled into the driveway. He was so tired, he felt like he had to use his whole body to get the gear shifter, mounted to the steering column, up and into park. He hated these late-night calls, always had. He hated having to leave Sonya's side, hated having to sneak in and out of his own house so he didn't wake the kids.

Mitchell, at least, slept through anything. Short of pouring water over his head, that boy was near impossible to wake. An annoyance most days, on nights like this, it was a blessing.

With Amy at college, that should have been one less closed bedroom door to creep past. But she'd come home for a few days, needing to get away from the ruckus in the dormitory in order to study for one of her pre-med exams. He'd be sneaking for sure; she needed her rest.

Amy should have known better than to come home seeking peaceful surroundings, Patterson thought as he gathered up his briefcase and swung the door open. Since Trevor had moved in, the house wasn't silent anymore. Even when the boy wasn't home, it still crackled with his energy, as though he had somehow bewitched it.

That boy… Patterson sighed and heaved himself out of the front seat. Sonya had always wanted two boys to compliment her two girls, but Patterson didn't think she'd envisioned a son like Trevor. He'd come to live with them as the result of another late-night call and while no one regretted it, it certainly hadn't turned out as expected. The brightest point in a world made brighter by having Trevor in it full-time was that Mitchell was actually getting into less trouble these days. It seemed that having his partner in crime become a permanent fixture was making the novelty of their antics wear off. It was only a matter of time now before Mitchell straightened out the rest of the way. Nothing at all to worry about.

Patterson paused by the door, halted by what sounded like a cat in heat in the back yard. Since Mrs. Bretton's prize Persian had been impregnated by the Wilsons' tom, and since the coyotes had grabbed three cats from further up the street, the neighbors had been militant about keeping their pets inside, especially at night. It was doubtful that there was a cat, particularly a cat in heat, in the back yard.

What was back there -- or more appropriately, who -- didn't surprise Patterson in the least. Trevor perched a good ten feet up in a tree, one of the boys' guitars on his lap. Thankfully, given the hour, not even Trevor had been able to electrify it that high up.

Obstacles, however, didn't stop Trevor. Patterson groaned as the young man, seemingly oblivious to his company -- although with Trevor, one was never certain of anything except that frustration was imminent -- began to sing.

"Son, come on down now," Patterson called up to him.

"Finally home, huh? Did you catch the bad guys?"

"Nevermind that. Come on down before you fall and land on that guitar of yours."

"Not gonna happen, powerful legal guardian. I'm busy serenading the neighborhood. Wrote the song myself. Like it?"

Patterson wiped a hand over his face. "Trevor, son, it's late and we should both be in bed. You have school in the morning and I have work. Come down."

"Actually, it's early. And school's a waste of time."

"Regardless, you and I made a deal and I expect you to uphold it."

"I want to see who else I can wake up."

"So far, you would seem to have woken absolutely no one."

Trevor shrugged. "So I'm starting small. But mark my words, one day, when I'm famous and the whole fucking world respects me, these treeside serenades will be what people all up and down the street remember. And every single one of these losers who's too busy sleeping to appreciate my bad music will suddenly be my best friend." He cocked his head. "Sort of like how until you Vosses came along, all the people who pretended to be my friend would bug out every single time I showed up with a new black eye. Only in reverse." Trevor gave one of his satisfied nods, the ones that Patterson had learned meant he was hurting. "You watch. Every single person on this street will be able to tell you what songs I sang up here. Their memories will be so good, in fact, that they'll fucking fight about them."

"I suspect you're right," Patterson told him. This wasn't the first late-night escapade Trevor had pulled, and it wouldn't be the last, Patterson was sure of it. They tended to occur when the boy had nightmares and feared a return to sleep. This was probably the only part of the Trevor experience that he felt ill-equipped to handle; the boy's scars ran deeper than anyone had anticipated.

"Well," he said as Trevor began plucking away at the guitar again. "I am going to bed. These late nights may not be hard for you, but they are for an old man like me. I expect to see you at breakfast, ready for school."

"I told you. I'm not going to school."

"Then you will have to find yourself a new place to live." He stepped back a few paces so he could see Trevor better. "That was our deal, and I know you're not a deal breaker." He paused to let that sink in. The boy's pride would get the better of him; it always did. "Come inside with me and let's go to bed."

Trevor laughed, a brittle sound that carried farther and struck Patterson more deeply than his singing had. "Yeah, like I've even got a bed in this place. All you people gave me was a sleeping bag on blondie's floor."

"I seem to recall you being quite grateful for that sleeping bag. So grateful, in fact, that you refused our offer of a more permanent sleeping situation."

Trevor stroked his chin and pretended to think that over. "Know what I'm thinking?"

"Trevor, your thoughts are entirely your own."

"And that's a good thing. Remember that." Trevor pointed at Patterson like he was issuing an order. "Maybe I ought to go show some gratitude for that sleeping bag of mine."

"Wise choice, son."

Trevor monkeyed halfway down the tree, handed over his bass, and jumped, landing neatly beside his guardian. "But I mean it. One day, when the band's the biggest of the big, all the losers on this street will remember this night."

"Trevor, of that I have no doubt."

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Saturday, August 04, 2007


Blogging Tips Meme #2

This time, it's OpenChannel at The Accidental Novelist who's tagged me.

Before I get to the meme, though, have you noticed how many cool bands are out there with women singers right now? Flyleaf and Evanescence are two of my favorites, of course. But there's also Coheed and Cambria and now I'm investigating Epica. Don't forget In This Moment, too. (they need to expand their site beyond Myspace!!) And yes, I know there's that whole recent tour with the women. How can I not have been following it???

My question for you radio people (Uhh, that'd be you who program my XM radio!): where's the airplay for these women?

Man, these girls make me proud to be a woman.

Now, on to the meme.

Instructions: When this meme is passed on to you, copy the whole thing, skim the list and put a * star beside the tips you especially like.

Add the next number (1. 2. 3. 4. 5., etc.) and write your own blogging tip for other bloggers. Try to make your tip general.

After that, tag some other people. It was originally 10 others but I don't know 10 people who would do this. So make it 5-10. I'm changing the rules. Haha.

1. Look, read, and learn. ****-

2. Be EXCELLENT to each other. ***-

3. Don’t let money change ya! *-

4. Always reply to your comments. ******-

5. Link liberally — it keeps you and your friends afloat in the Sea of Technorati. *****-

6. Don’t give up - persistence is fertile. **-

7. Give link credit where credit is due. ******-

8. Pictures say a thousand words and can usually add to any post.***-

9. Visit all the bloggers that leave comments for you - it’s nice to know who is reading! *****-

10. When commenting on others’ blogs, a few kind words go a long way. – **

11. When you’re starting out, comment on all the blogs you like to read; that way the bloggers will know that you exist! **;)

12. Make sure you check your links! * By way of explanation–when you cut & paste the text of a meme, you don’t get the underlying links. If you just see text, you need to turn the text into links manually. If you see hyperlinks, you can cut & paste from the Page Source to get the HTML code and preserve the links. In Firefox, you can use Command/Apple-U to see this. The whole point of a meme is to spread link love, but you need more than just the text to do that.

13. Give your blog a theme/focus; make a niche for yourself. *

14. Don't judge your blog's success by hits or the length of your comment trail. What matters is what you put into it.

Now, for some tags...

Sparky Duck
Sophisticated Writer

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Thursday, August 02, 2007


Booking Through Thursday: Letters!

Have you ever written an author a fan letter?
Did you get an answer?
Did it spark a conversation? A meeting?

(And, sure, I suppose that e-mails DO count . . . but I’d say no to something like a message board on which the author happens to participate.)

Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

This intrigues me because with the book contests I do (scroll up to see it and then join in!) and the number of my friends who are writers, not to mention the friends who get excited when authors comment on their blogs, it seems that it's easier than ever to reach a writer. Plus, as the leader of my book club, I contact authors all the time and ask if they'd be open to answering any questions we come up with during our discussion.

As for pure fan mail... yep, I've done that, too. Especially in this e-mail age; it's so easy to drop someone a note and tell them I loved their book and why. It's something I'd like to hear and Do Unto Others and Spread the Love and all that, ya know?


Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Thursday Thirteen #40 -- Fans

Nope, not the type that keep you cool, although I could use some of those right now. More to the point, ShapeShifter fans and the false impressions we make about them, at least on the surface.

Think about it. You know people like this. And you know people like me, who you'd never peg as a ShapeShifter fan until we open our mouths.

Thirteen stereotypes of the ShapeShifter fan

1. (the boys) Long-haired (but not necessarily dirty)

2. denim-jacket wearing

3. super tight jeans

4. dirty white basketball shoes that are perpetually unlaced

5. stoned and/or drunk

6. entranced by themes of skulls, death, and dying

7. (the girls): hot, horny, and willing

8. short, tight skirts

9. Hair not necessarily big (that's too glam for ShapeShifter) but long and mane-like

10. bitchy to each other

11. (all): smokers

12. dysfunctional, anti-social, depressed

13. not real smart

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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