Thursday, January 31, 2008


Booking Through Thursday: Quirks

This week's question, What are some of the more outrageous characters you’ve read, and how do you feel about them? resulted in my blog being hijacked. Again.

Hey. Trevor Wolff here. You know: bass player of ShapeShifter, star of Trevor's Song, and all-around bad ass.

I should be at the top of every single one of your lists this week. But here's the problem: I'm to be too fucking quirky for most of those egghead publishers. Susan gets these letters that she asked a literary agent about and the answer's what she thought it was: no editor at a publishing house is brave enough to take me on. Seems books about rock stars like me don't sell.

Now, here's the deal. I guarantee you that if you read my book and get to know me, I'll head up your list. You'll buy Susan's book about me for your friends. Shit, you'll give it to your worst enemy just because you gotta share me with someone and you just ran out of friends but that's not gonna stop your cute ass.

Yeah, yeah, publishing's a business and all that. Who do you think created this fucking band? You think it was that blondie all the girls drool over? No. It was me. Trevor Fucking Wolff.

Trevor knows business.

And I fucking hate people who talk about themselves without using the word I. I's a great word. Know why? 'cause it's all about me.

Want to see me in print? Get your asses back here. Lots. Spread the word about this ugly bass player who makes up for it in every single way. Let's prove to those scaredy-asses that yeah, people want Trevor, and for the length of an entire novel.

Rock stars do sell. We don't sell out, but we do sell.

I got the Platinum Records on my wall to prove it.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Thursday Thirteen #64 -- The Six Things Meme, Doubled

The Six Things Meme, doubled (plus one)

Both Donica and Gecko (the blogger, not the member of Deadly Metal Hatchet) have tagged me for the six things meme, the one where you talk about six non-important habits/quirks/things. Here are the rules.

* Link to the person who tagged you.

* Post the rules on your blog.

* Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.

* Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.

* Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.

But… this is me, and God forbid I follow the rules. And you guys like the band more than you like me, so … onward!

These first six are smokin'!
1. Trevor had his first cigarette at ten and his first joint a week later. Why bother to smoke if you're not going to smoke the good stuff?

2. Trevor had to convince Mitchell smoking was cool.

3. Daniel started to smoke when he was fourteen. He's not really sure why; he gravitated toward the burn-outs in school and loved their music and smoking was just part of the scene. He never thought much about it.

4. Daniel's grandmother had a cigarette a day while he was off at school. He never suspected.

5. Eric took up smoking when Trevor got all over him about being the pastor's kid. Cigarettes don't do it for him, but pot does.

6. Kerri tried it once, coughed, and decided there were better things to do with her life and better highs to get. That doesn't stop her from hitting Eric or Trevor's joints every now and then (usually when Mitchell's not watching. As if he doesn't tipple…).

This six is cold.

1. Kerri grew up in Pittsburgh. She's familiar with snow; it's no big deal. In fact, living in Riverview, she sort of misses it.

2. Mitchell, Trevor, Daniel, and Eric had never seen snow until they went on tour.

3. Mitchell likes to build snowmen.

4. Trevor likes to throw snowballs. At Mitchell's head. Mitchell's aim, once provoked, is better than Trevor's. Trevor milks the resultant sore areas for the girls. Go figure.

5. Eric's a snow angel sort of guy.

6. Daniel just watches and laughs. And wishes for a white sand beach.

As for me (your thirteenth bonus fact), yes.

Now to tag... nah. That'd be playing by the rules. If you're so moved, do the usual: link back to me and holler that you have so I can come giggle with you.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

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Monday, January 28, 2008


The Liar's Diary Blog Day!

Today (Tuesday), over 300 bloggers, writers, and other luminaries are standing up for one of our own: Patry Francis. You can read a great post about it here. Or here. And 300 or more places, too.

The idea here, gang, is that Patry Francis is too sick with cancer to promote her book. So we're all pitching in to do it for her.

Like many of us, the road to publication hasn't come easy. And now to have to face cancer on top of it? C'mon. Give this woman a break already!

Go to that first link I posted and check out the names of the people involved in this. Look at this wonderful, amazing community of people -- not just writers and publishing people -- who are coming together for one woman.

One woman.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said that it takes one person to start a revolution. And then another.

I'm not much of a follower; you groupies around here know that. But this time, I'm proud to jump on the bandwagon and help spread the word about Patry Francis. It's not just that she's got cancer and can't do the promotional stuff herself. It's that here's a writer who's written a book that sounds terrific. Here's a woman who has touched many people quite deeply.

Now's our chance to give back. To say thanks -- for the book, for the inspiration that is Patry, for the chance to come together and be part of this revolution.

Go on and pick up The Liar's Diary. Feel free to use my handy-dandy link right there; it'll take you to Powell's bookstore. While you're there, do another writer a good deed. Pick up a book by a new-to-you author. Need ideas? Check out that list of people participating in today's Blog Event for Patry. They're doing her a good turn. Why not do one for them to say thanks?

Here's the blurb for The Liar's Diary:
Answering the question of what is more powerful—family or friendship? this debut novel unforgettably shows how far one woman would go to protect either.

They couldn’t be more different, but they form a friendship that will alter both their fates. When Ali Mather blows into town, breaking all the rules and breaking hearts (despite the fact that she is pushing forty), she also makes a mark on an unlikely family. Almost against her will, Jeanne Cross feels drawn to this strangely vibrant woman, a fascination that begins to infect Jeanne’s “perfect” husband as well as their teenaged son.

At the heart of the friendship between Ali and Jeanne are deep-seated emotional needs, vulnerabilities they have each been recording in their diaries. Ali also senses another kind of vulnerability; she believes someone has been entering her house when she is not at home—and not with the usual intentions. What this burglar wants is nothing less than a piece of Ali’s soul.

When a murderer strikes and Jeanne’s son is arrested, we learn that the key to the crime lies in the diaries of two very different women . . . but only one of them is telling the truth. A chilling tour of troubled minds, The Liar’s Diary signals the launch of an immensely talented new novelist who knows just how to keep her readers guessing.

A huge thank you needs to go out to the fearless folk who've organized today's effort to raise awareness of Patry. I hate to think I'd ever be in a position where I couldn't promote Trevor fully, but it's nice to hope that you guys would help me out in such a way. You organizers have put a ton of time, energy, and effort into making today's event happen and while I wish I could list you all, I know myself and I'd forget someone important, or include the wrong people. Really. Go look at Susan's blog. Thank her and all the others involved. Thank them. One person CAN make a difference. One book sold may not cure cancer, but when those books add up, it can take an awful lot of stress away from someone who doesn't need any extra stress right now.

Beat this cancer motherfucker, Patry. We're all pulling for you.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008


Fiction Outtake: Chicken Scratch (the Early Years)

Another one inspired by the Weekend Wordsmith prompt, and posted in time for the Poetry Train. As always, if you're new here and need some background about who is who, click on the names the first time they appear and you'll be magically transported to a bio page. Just don't forget to come back!

Mitchell was whistling when he got home after his guitar lesson; whistling was better than dancing, even though that's more what he felt like. Since he'd graduated from lessons with Randy, things had been a million times better. Now when he and Trevor hung out down by the river and dreamed of making it big, he believed they'd get there, all right.

He stopped in the kitchen, snagged the bag of potato chips sitting on the kitchen table, kissed Ma on the cheek, and headed upstairs.

Ma called after him, "Get your homework done!"

"That's where I'm going!" He put his back to the door, tenderly put the bag of potato chips under his arm, and shoved against the broken latch.

He turned around, stopped whistling, and dropped both his guitar and the potato chips.

Trevor was sitting at Mitchell's desk. Well, it was supposed to be their desk now that they shared the room, but Trevor refused to use it. Something about being too cool for desks and homework and if the jackasses at school didn't agree, they could throw him out already and save them all the daily hassle of chasing him out of the john when he needed a smoke.

"What'd Ma bribe you with?" Mitchell asked, lunging for his guitar. It didn't matter that he had it in a hard case, it still might have been damaged.

"Nothing," Trevor said and held up Mitchell's civics notebook. The page was covered in what looked like chicken scratch.

Mitchell set the guitar gently down on his bed and went for a closer look at Trevor's masterpiece. It looked even more like chicken scratch. He told Trevor so.


"Good?" Mitchell handed the notebook back and turned to his guitar, determined he'd actually look it over this time. No more distractions.

"Yes, good," Trevor said with that sniff Mitchell knew all too well. "Have you seen one single rock star with an autograph you can make out?"

Mitchell didn't bother to answer. No more distractions, he reminded himself.

"Of course you haven't," Trevor half-yelled, jumping to his feet and tipping the chair over backwards. "There aren't any! And I'll be damned if I'll be the first."

"Why not? After all," Mitchell added with a sniff that mocked the ones Trevor handed out so freely, "you're Trevor Fucking Wolff. You can't be like everyone else."

"Well, this time, I can be." Trevor hugged the notebook to his chest. "Do you know how long it took me to write this messy? Fucking hours."

Mitchell looked up from the guitar. "Shoulda spent that on your bass. You might actually get good."

Trevor sneered and fixed the chair. "Here, golden boy," he said. "Maybe I'll go work on that." He stalked out of the room, trying to slam it shut as he went. Between the broken latch and the fix Mitchell's dad had put on it, the door just bounced back open.

In the hallway, Trevor kicked the wall. Ma yelled at him for it.

Whatever, Mitchell figured, so long as he had the desk back so he could get his homework done -- once he was sure the guitar was okay. Trevor might not get any better on bass, so it was up to him to carry them both.

Maybe later, Trevor would show him ways to change his own autograph. Make it cooler. Which meant harder to read.

Chicken scratch, the handwriting of the rock star.

Mitchell grinned. That had a good ring to it.

Eeek. This is major rough draft. But it's an outtake and that's the idea. One day, I'll clean these puppies up and let you take them home and sleep with them. Just don't call them George.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008


Sunday Best: More Awards

Man, it's been a busy week. And wait until you see what I have for tomorrow's Poetry Train, too! I may have to post it a bit unfinished; we'll see. You'll like it, regardless. And if you love it, once I polish it, if you ask nicely enough, maybe I'll make it available as a PDF or something and you can have your very own copy to sleep with. Or whatever it is you do with those things.

But in the meantime, before I can hop on the train (and why don't you join me on it?), let me address the Sunday Best. The best of my week.

This week, even though two great books arrived for my reading and reviewing pleasure, the best has to be a plethora of awards.

First is Pussreboots and Breeni, who both awarded me the You Make My Day Award.

Is it tacky to give it back to them? They both make my day, on a regular basis.

The rules say I'm supposed to pass this on to at least ten people. Ten's a big number (even though, as Puss says, "[Susan's] blog goes to Eleven.")

But let's see...

1. Amy Ruttan makes my day, and not just because she gave me the next award. Amy's got a happy-go-lucky attitude that shines through her blog and always makes me smile. Even when the EDJ is making her nuts.

2. Joely, who's just all-around awesome and whose dedication and discipline leave me speechless.

3. Thomma Lyn, who is on the same wavelength as me concerning cats and the outdoors. (hey, TL, remind me to send you the link to the live feed from Yellowstone!)

4. L^2. I'm not a dog person, but Stella and Willow are trying to change that.

5. Red, whose unflagging enthusiasm to get me into print keeps me going when I'm frustrated.

6. Spy Scribbler, who always makes me think about the writing process. And who doesn't live that far away from my Martian self; we totally ought to do the face-to-face thing one day.

7. Of course, Rhian, who has cool posts and hosts the Poetry Train. And has graciously offered to make ShapeShifter's logo come to life for us. Three cheers for Rhi and that offer aren't enough; we need more like eighteen. Per minute.

8. Robin, who hangs out around her island and is going to keep me sane when I'm playing single parent and she's hosting the Tour Manager around that island...

9. She'sawriter is a new read of mine. She's making a great community for writerly resources. And turning me on to new places to hang, too.

10. And Frigga, from Any Apples. I hate to admit I missed musical Fridays and that I've gone out of my way some days to make sure I'm alone in the house so I can play to my heart's content. So I won't. I will own up, though, to having her picture blog in my reader. Cool stuff.

Whew. That was a lot of people, and this post is long.

But I have to acknowledge the new Roar

that Amy gave me. I needed it; the day she awarded it to me, I got a rejection letter from an agent who had the gumption to come out and say that Trevor doesn't fit nicely into today's marketplace. Makes you wonder what's wrong with the marketplace that they don't want a cranky rock star with a bad attitude. And an ugly cranky rock star with a bad attitude, to boot. But still.

So what three things hook me about a book?
1. Characters who could be alive. You know. Sort of like Trevor.
2. Prose that allows me to picture things in my head. Who needs movies when there's writing that's this clear and wonderful?
3. A willing suspension of disbelief. I mean, do you REALLY think people like Trevor exist? Of course not; he's too much like the rest of us. You can't possibly have the kind of success that ShapeShifter's had and not have to insulate yourself from real life, even a little bit. Yet it's fun to think about and believe in.

And to pass it along? I'm picking this time a writer who is more of a blogger than an actual writer, per se. It's Bob-Kat, whose posts are incredible. She takes me places and shows me the world. Her posts linger in my brain, and I suspect many of my groupies around here haven't met her yet.

That's it for now, boys and girls. (Be glad Mitchell's not here; he likes calling his audiences pussies.) Lots of awards that're giving me warm fuzzies. I'll be back soon with a new outtake...

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Thursday, January 24, 2008


Booking Through Thursday -- Huh?

Once again, this week's Booking Through Thursday made me laugh. Ready?

What’s your favorite book that nobody else has heard of? You know, not Little Women or Huckleberry Finn, not the latest best-seller . . . whether they’ve read them or not, everybody “knows” those books. I’m talking about the best book that, when you tell people that you love it, they go, “Huh? Never heard of it?”

Here's what's so giggle-worthy about this question: most of the books I plug are books you've never heard of. Not all; a number of you had read A Thread of Grace, Mary Doria Russell's brilliant novel of Italy during the Holocaust.

But the rest?

Oh, my goodness.

Check out my Library Thing widget over there on the left; it lists only the books I rave about. Go back into my archives and look around at the books I've read and loved.

And stay tuned. I've got more to come -- reading the books no one's heard of is one of my missions in life.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Thursday Thirteen #63 -- More Pictures of Yellowst...

Before we rock this week's Thirteen, let me plug the Blue Ribbon Bloggers, where I've been hanging out since being invited to join. Hanging out means NEW POSTS that don't appear here, gang. Keep an eye on me over there; you never know what trouble I'll be stirring up!

Speaking of trouble, you may have noticed that there's been none to be found here at the Meet and Greet; my personal life's had enough of it. That's why I'm pleased to bring you another set of pictures from Yellowstone. Relax and enjoy with me.

1. Trevor: Hey, wait just a fucking minute, here! You set up this blog for me, Trevor Fucking Wolff, not for some four-legged, shaggy thing you could only see in a fucking telescope.

Eric: The man's got a point, Susan. We haven't been seen on this blog since December 27th. That's a long time for us.

Mitchell: Trev's right. The whole point of this blog was to promote the band and the book about the band.

2. Daniel: But, guys, these pictures are pretty cool. Check out this one. It looks like something Kerri would paint.


4. Mitchell: If she painted science fiction book covers. And trees.

Kerri: I usually don't do trees, no. But that is a cool picture. So's this one.

5. Trevor: If we're going to do the fucking pictures, let's show the good shit. Like this one.

6. Trevor: This is Fatso. Or that's what Susan named her.

Eric: Poor thing came right over to Susan's group when they got out of the vans to look for wolves. She was looking for handouts.

Trevor: That's how you know it's a coyote. Wolves are too cool to beg.

Daniel: It's a dangerous thing for any animal to learn. We have to keep them wild.

7. Mitchell: Look how close she was to the cars.

Daniel: Scary. When the Tour Manager got down on one knee to take this picture,
she started to approach him.

Mitchell: Can't imagine what Susan would do if the Tour Manager got taken out by a coyote.

Trevor: It'd have been cooler to be taken out by wolves.

8. Daniel: Look. Susan got other shots of coyotes. Check out this one. What's it standing on?

Eric: A frozen river. Check out the next one.

Trevor: Is that bird fucking with the coyote?

Mitchell: Looks like it.

Trevor: Must be a girl. Only girls fuck around like that.

Kerri: And what's the coyote doing? It's not fucking around?

Mitchell: Hell, no. It's trying to figure out if the swan's for lunch.

12. Trevor: Speaking of lunch...

Mitchell: Save it for next week, Trev. If we push Susan too far, she's likely to ban us from the blog again.

Daniel: She does it long enough, the groupies will revolt.

13. Eric: Give her time and she'll get the balance back. Right now, there's a lot to show everyone.

Daniel: Where you going?

Eric: To look over the rest of the pictures. Anyone coming?

The band scampers after Eric, fighting to see the rest of the shots.

So much for my nice, quiet blog... Somehow, with all the stresses in real life this past week, this sort of verbal sparring is as welcome as the pictures. While you soak it in, don't forget about the Blue Ribbon Bloggers! Click on my name to see my posts.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Susan's Inside Writing: Inside Roadie Poet's Rhythm

The responses I've gotten to this week's Roadie Poet entry surprised me. I never would have expected you guys to read the poem as a song. Thank you! That's high praise and I've got much-needed warm fuzzies from what you had to say, especially about that last stanza.

I wanted to pause and talk about where it came from, because to me, the story behind it is sorta cool.

Whenever Roadie Poet tugs on my consciousness and tells me he's got something to say, I always picture him like my friend Toby, who does his share of roadie work, both on and off the road. He works full-time for a band and gets a lot more interaction with the band than RP does. Toby also has the most incredible speaking voice; I used to love to hear him talk. (and like most men in my life, his e-mails usually consist of a word or two but a phone conversation can last an hour, which is a good thing when you're speaking with someone who's got a great voice.)

But there's another component to RP, and that's a woman I used to know when I worked in radio. She worked at Metal Blade Records, as a rep to radio stations like mine; I spent a week with her when I was weighing a job offer from Roadrunner Records. Lori's cool people.

She left the relatively safe world of record labels and went on a wild ride, eventually winding up as a roadie. I believe she's still there, working for Sesame Street Live, last I heard.

Her name came back up last week, when I had #2 at dance classes. The ballet instructor was talking about how she'd gone to see Sesame Street Live when it was here and how she'd cried as she sat there and watched. It turned out that she'd been part of the company.

A-ha! I thought. I knew there was something about this woman that I had been keying into since I'd met her this year, and that something is our love of the touring life. We've both got it in our blood.

She gave it up to have a more stable life. I gave it up because I knew, long-term, I could never sustain it. Not if I wanted to be a writer, too -- which is the reason I turned down those job offers at record labels. Being a writer is something I need to be. Yet my passion for music is also something I can't deny.

Thus, ShapeShifter. And Deadly Metal Hatchet, and Chelle LaFleur, Kermit Ladd, and Roadie Poet.

And, thus, this week's Roadie Poet.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008


Roadie Poet: Rhythm of the Road

Tour's in full swing.
No clue where we are.
One city, another
All look the same.


Days pick up a rhythm
Bus moves with one
Rhythm drives you up the ladder
Takes you back down
Across the stage.

No clue what the sun looks like
Or if there's snow on the ground.

Who cares?
Days move with a rhythm.
Set up
Tear down
Hit the road.

This is when a roadie learns
What's in his blood.
If the road is there or not.
If his blood moves
The rhythm of the road.

Don't forget to take a ride on the Poetry Train! Grab yourself a car while you're at it, too. The only rule is that there are no rules, so join in, why don'tcha?

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Saturday, January 19, 2008


Sunday Best: Winnings and an overdue Congrats

First for the overdue congratulations: to author Jeanne Marie Laskas, who was one of my non-fiction professors at Pitt once upon a time. This is SO overdue, I'm embarrassed. But I'm mentioning it anyway 'cause I once ran into Ms. Laskas at a metal show. I was all decked out in a pair of cute shorts, topped with a heavy metal t-shirt that Mitchell would try to wheedle away from me if he could. And there is my used-to-be prof, at her first show, sticking out like a sore thumb and friendly as everyone else in the place. I like Jeanne Marie Laskas.

WELL, way back in June, it was reported that her next book sold at auction. There's no news of it yet on her website, but we can hope for word soon.

And for the winning part... I was thinking the other day that I never win anything, and my luck must be tied to my poor bamboo plant that's struggling right now. Shows you what I know: I've won two online contests!

First was at Stacy's Place on Earth, where I won a $10 Borders gift card. Can you say new Colleen Gleason next month?

And then the other was at Katrina's Stone Soup. I won a copy of Nectar from a Stone, by Jane Guill, and some artwork from this very talented author. Cool!

Now if my luck can hold long enough to get Trevor some publishing love, the world will be a happier place. Or if Sid can heal fast. That would be a good thing, too.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008


Booking Through Thursday: Let's Review

My bud Puss Reboots provided this week's Booking Through Thursday question.

How much do reviews (good and bad) affect your choice of reading? If you see a bad review of a book you wanted to read, do you still read it? If you see a good review of a book you’re sure you won’t like, do you change your mind and give the book a try?

It depends on the review and what it says.

If Publishers Weekly pans something, they give really good reasons: rambling plot, not much happens, stock characters. Those are warning signs for me to not add something to my wish list.

In this age of book blogging -- which I fully support and think is a great way to build buzz about a book, especially the organic kind of buzz -- it's important to read reviews carefully. "Everyone else loved this, so I thought I'd read it and they're right! It's great!" may be something that as a writer I'd love to hear but as a reader with WAY too many books here to catch up on and a wish list of 1600 more, I need more critical thinking.

To be honest? I've done exactly what I'm being critical of. I need to dig deeper within myself and give you guys more. If we all try to elevate our game, we can easily prove wrong the people who are so critical of book blogs.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Thursday Thirteen #62 -- Not Purple, but Mountains Majesty

Hard to believe it's been three weeks since I turned off the computers and headed west. Seems a lot longer than that.

Thirteen Things from Yellowstone

1. There is something about the mountains out there that really tugs at me. Heck, any mountains, even the foothills of the Appalachians that I live in.

This was taken in the Lamar Valley, where a new wolf pack is trying to establish itself. They call the pack the Silver Pack.

2. Another shot from the same spot. Yes, I had a hard time concentrating on the wolves in the spotting scopes. After all, the wolves were laying around and there was all this magnificence around me.

3. The final shot from this same area.

4. This was taken on our way back from lunch, when we stopped to see what the Druid Peak Pack was up to. They were hanging out on the hillside; the two who had been playing earlier had stopped for a nap. The pack's alpha female was wandering around, checking on everyone. A bit earlier, an interloper had shown up and a scuffle had ensued; the interloper was laying in a hollow, wounded. We don't know how seriously.

5. This is shot from the top of the terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs. Yep, that's a hot spring in the foreground.

6. Another one from Mammoth.

7. In the foreground is the (snow-covered) famed Minerva Terrace. In the background... mountains.

8. Yup, Mammoth.

9. And more Mammoth. See the boardwalk? Parts of it ended mysteriously where the springs have overtaken the boardwalk. But that's another TT.

10. ...and more.

11. I spent an hour in the lobby of the Mammoth Hot Springs resort with my MP3 player, watching the sun rise over the mountains. Every now and then, I'd run outside with my camera to get a shot. This is my favorite of the shots I got. We won't speculate if I got it that time I was in such a rush that I jammed my arm into my coat and got outside to find... my coat was upside down. Well, at least only one arm was in it.

12. Crap. I picked this one earlier today and now I don't remember where it's from. I took it along the ride from Mammoth down to Canyon, over to the Lake, and off to Old Faithful. That's the long way around, but it was worth it.

13. Same problem. And you wonder why I am ready to have copies printed and to spend the time putting the pictures into my scrapbooks?

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

Photos other than of the Yellowstone Gate in the header are Copyright 2007-2008 by Me, Susan Helene Gottfried. If you want to use them, please do so with proper citation. I'm proud of these puppies!

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Award Time!

My buds Lisa Andel and LA Day got all incestuous on me and tagged me repeatedly for the same Seven Things Meme. I did it back in November (on the 24th, to be exact) and was going to blow them off and make some horrid West Virginia joke, but instead, I had a thought. Why not post one over at the Blue Ribbon Bloggers blog? They invited me to join them; it seemed like a good idea. So I did it.

Now, on to some long overdue business:

My good friend L^2, who's taught me more than she knows, awarded me the Roar for Powerful Words.

This award was created by Seamus of The Shameless Lions Writing Circle and this is what he has to say about it:

"When I set up The Shameless Lions Writing Circle, one of things I had in mind was that we as a group could encourage and celebrate good, powerful writing on the Internet/blogosphere. This is why I've come up with a new project to try to do exactly that, while of course at the same time increase exposure for the 48 members and their individual blogs. A Roar For Powerful Words is the chance to scream from the mountains the good news about the powerful posts that are produced every day in the blogosphere, despite what some mainstream columnists and journalists claim. This is also a good chance to examine exactly what it is that makes writing good and powerful."
And according to Seamus, this award is to be distributed "to those people who have blogs we love, can't live without, where we think the writing is good and powerful."

I've got to say here that I was asked to claim a lion, but I regretfully turned it down. I'm spread too thin as it is right now. But I'm keeping as much of an eye on that group as I can and I'm pulling for each and every one of them to make something of their writing.

Anyway, back to the award. L^2 said this about me:
She's striving to create an empire, based upon her fictional rock band ShapeShifter, and I think with her powerful writing she's well on her way.

Wow. That's one of the best compliments I can ever hope for. And I hope she's right!

Etiquette demands that I pass this forward. I'm not sure to who. I tag Lisa and Amy and the whole e-book crowd frequently. But I depend on them, all right. Robin rocks and makes my day whenever she shows up in my reader.

Friends like Breeni, Karen, Joely, Janet, and Thomma Lyn are all candidates, too.

Oh, this isn't easy.

Or is it? I mean, this is a writing award and while I know a couple hundred good writers, there is one of you whose writing speaks to me as being something that I could have written. Who reads my outtakes and keys in on what I'm trying to convey.

That's Bunnygirl.

I've given her awards before. Hell, I've given most of you guys awards before. I'll keep doing it, but for today, it's Bunny.


Sunday, January 13, 2008


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- Tech Support

So while ShapeShifter's busy takin' some time to themselves, not that they should or anything, it seems their techs went and got all antsy on us. Just like a lot of us ShapeShifter fans do when there's nothing new to report.

Instead of sitting around and moaning about how they can't wait until the band is active again, Bobby, Cookie, Creek, and Chuck decided to make some noise of their own.

That's right. These four brave souls who put up with my ShapeShifter boys night in and night out have decided to form their own band. They called themselves Tech Support, which is a clever enough name if you don't know what they do and the ways in which techs really do support the men they work for. The women, too.

So this new Tech Support band's busy playin' all the spots around Riverview. Never more than a day's drive away, just in case their bosses need 'em for something. You know: fix a string, tune something, tighten a drum head. Doesn't sound hard. But yours truly guesses that once you get used to the prima donna treatment, there's no going back.

Not that Chelle's calling those ShapeShifter boys prima donnas.

Well, okay, she is.

She'd love to do it in person, too. Face-to-face and all that. After all, how's a rock writer supposed to write about rock if she don't get a chance to listen to it?

That means that any of you who're thinkin' of takin' your pretty little selves out to Riverview to check out Tech Support live and in person, check with me before you jump in your rental car. Chelle here don't drive. She needs a lift to the gigs. And you can be there to watch what happens when she calls the ShapeShifter boys prima donnas to their faces.

I bet those Tech Support boys will laugh the whole time they're agreein' with me.

What? You STILL haven't joined the Monday Poetry Train? No rules, people, no rules! (or is that the problem?? Hmmm? Also, scroll down a post for a new thing I'd love to see the world join me in: Sunday Best. You decide what's best and talk about it on Sundays. How easy is that?

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Sunday Best: Soup to Nuts Progressive Dinner Carnival

I've decided to try something new here: The Sunday Best. Want to join me and highlight something? Sign Linky below!

I've been seeing promotion for this carnival all through my reader and after much thought, I've begun submitting some of my archived posts. Come join me -- carnivals are a great way to meet new people, both on their blogs and on yours.

Here's the blurb:

Have you ever been to a progressive dinner? You start out at one house or restaurant to have hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, then move on to a different one for appetizers, and continue moving from place to place all the way through dessert.

That’s the idea behind the new Progressive Dinner Blog Carnival…

Soup To Nuts is ONE BLOG CARNIVAL presented in five “courses”, each with a different host.

Entries are being accepted NOW.
Dinner will be served on Wednesday, January 30th.

{You can submit one post, per blog, on any subject - please do not use any post more than once}

You can participate in 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 courses

The Hors d’oeuvres & Cocktails course…
will be served at Fear and Loathing - The Gonzo Papers.
Email your entry for the hors d’oeuvres & cocktails course
to Kilroy {subject line Progressive Dinner} at:

The Appetizer course
will be served at Change Therapy.
Email your entry for the appetizer course
to Isabella {subject line - Progressive Dinner} at:

The First Course
will be served at Fallen Words.
Email your entry for the first course
to Sara {subject line - First Course} at:

The Main Course
will be served at Anja Merret - Chatting To My Generation.
Email your entry for the main course
to Anja {subject line - Progressive Dinner} at:

The Dessert Course
will be served at Fiction Scribe.
Email your entry for the dessert course
to JM {subject line - Progressive Dinner} at:

Your entry should include…

—(-)-> Your name as you want it to appear
—(-)-> The name(s) of your blog(s)
—(-)-> The corresponding URL(s)
—(-)-> The title of your post(s)
—(-)-> The corresponding URL(s)

The Rules are simple…

1. Only English language posts will be accepted.
2. No posts with titles that include profanity or pictures of a sexual nature.

This is a one-of-a-kind blog carnival. The hosts would appreciate your help to promote the event. Let us know if you publish a post promoting the progressive dinner, your effort will be recognized. To make things as easy as possible for all involved, I ask the post more or less follow the structure of this one.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008


And the Winner is (The Sex Club)

Thanks to all the folk who entered my contest for my copy of The Sex Club, the debut novel by L. J. Sellers.

The winner is Shelly!

I've dropped her an e-mail via her profile at the above link, but if you see her, please offer her your congratulations.

As for the method of choosing our winner, I did the same thing as last time: I asked #1 to pick a number between 1 and 29, the number of comments/entries left. The person who'd left that comment was my winner. (and if you're looking over the comments and asking what would have happened if he'd picked me, I'd have had him pick again. It's a good book and I'm sorry to part with it, but I'd rather share its goodness with someone.)

I hope the rest of you will check out this new author, and keep hanging out here with me and the fictional crew.

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Giving You... The Sex Club

Sticky post! Sticky post! Scroll on down for new stuff! Sticky post! Sticky post!

To celebrate the publication of my latest review, this time of L.J. Sellers' debut novel, The Sex Club, I'm giving my copy away.

Leave a comment here (with contact information of some sort) if you'd like to win my book. Be sure to visit the review at Front Street Reviews, too 'cause I'm proud of it. I'll announce the winner on Saturday, 12 January.

Yep, like always, this is a world-wide contest. Yep, past winners can enter again.

Did you see this contest mentioned somewhere? Tell me where and I'll give linky love back to my helpful pimpers. Starting with my bud Breeni at BreeniBooks and continuing to the fun folk at A Book Blogger's Diary, Angela at Prize-a-tron, and Laura Williams' Musings. Are you next?

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Thursday, January 10, 2008


Booking Through Thursday: May I Introduce?

What a great question from our friends at Booking Through Thursday to help me get back into the swing of things!

1. How did you come across your favorite author(s)? Recommended by a friend? Stumbled across at a bookstore? A book given to you as a gift?
2. Was it love at first sight? Or did the love affair evolve over a long acquaintance?

To answer the first question, all of the above. I'm always glad to talk books with people, and that includes reading book reviews (usually PW, but I found Pam Houston through the NYT Book Review) and book blogs. Not to mention the book sites I used to hang around (and have been trying to visit more often lately; I miss those guys!) -- after awhile, you know whose recommendations to trust.

Some of my favorite discoveries that spring immediately to mind:
Well, I mentioned Pam Houston and the New York Times Book Review.

Jeanne Ray was a hand-sell at a bookshop on Sanibel Island, Florida.

Kim Harrison... not sure. I think from my friends at one of those book sites. (I'm not naming it to help preserve its sanctity, but those of you who know it should take a bow)

Jennifer Estep was a discovery I made because I won a copy of her book and offered to review it for Front Street Reviews.

Linda Fairstein is a really good example of the books I've discovered just because their plots intrigued me, so I decided to take a risk on them.

Overall, I'd have to say that's how I find most of my favorite authors. I find a book with an intriguing plot (NOT hook, but plot) and read it. If I love it, I go find other books by the same author. If not, I move on. I've got literally hundreds of books waiting for me in my office. I'm not going to hold up a discovery so I can read the backlist of an author I'm lukewarm about.

Which pretty much answers the second part of this question. It's either love at first sight or I'm moving on. There's just too much out there, waiting for me to discover it.

Now, if I find a book by an author I was previously lukewarm about but the plot's intriguing? Well, I'll give them another shot, sure. Intrigue is intrigue and I like to have my curiosity satisfied; what can I say?

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Thursday Thirteen #61 -- Home on the Range

If you haven't been here since my return from Yellowstone, let me recap for you:

Thirteen Things from Yellowstone

1. I've learned the wisdom of wool socks. I've vowed to only wear bamboo and wool socks from now on. We'll see if I can accomplish this; cotton's cheaper. But not nearly as nice.

2. This guy was on the menu every night we were in the Park. Yum. (Well, okay, it was his farm-raised cousin. But you get the idea.)

3. I survived snowshoeing. This elk didn't. Or maybe he was there as a trophy for my first snowshoeing experience.

4. This guy -- we think -- along with a friend welcomed me to my first snowshoeing trip. He and his friend stood forty yards apart... on opposite sides of the trail we were taking, and didn't leave us a way around him. So the eight or so of us had to thread the bull elks. Who had big antlers that could have hurt us. Badly.

5. I put on four layers of pants and stood outside with a small group -- ten or twelve of the twenty-seven of us -- and watched this beautiful lady erupt for the last time in 2007.

6. This is her last daylight eruption of 2007.

7. This is her in 2008. She's aging well, isn't she?

8. She wasn't the only thermal feature with things to say.

9. Daisy went off.

10. Riverside went off.

11. Castle went off.

12. Seeing all three of these -- and the cross-country ski group got to Lonestar just as it erupted, too -- was pretty darn special. One of our three guides (who live nearby and do research in the park) said he's been waiting years to see Castle erupt. I decided it was the Park's way of thanking us, since we were there as part of a National Parks Conservation Association trip.

13. Yep. Saw wolves. From a distance. A great distance. I bet they knew we were there, only able to see them through our spotting scopes.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

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

Photos other than of the Yellowstone Gate in the header are Copyright 2007-2008 by Me, Susan Helene Gottfried. If you want to use them, please do so with proper citation. I'm proud of these puppies!

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Sunday, January 06, 2008


DMH Fiction: Chapeau

You probably want to go take a peek at this week's Weekend Wordsmith prompt in order to fully understand the ending of this. I stared at that thing for a good hour or so before this bubbled forth, sort of like a mud pot in Yellowstone (yes, pictures to follow). And for those of you who are confused, DMH means... Deadly Metal Hatchet. You got it.

Scott stared at the girls. "You for fricken real?"

"Well, yeah," the skinnier of the two said. Skinny wasn't the right word; skeletal was more like it. It was all he could do to keep from staring at her collarbones and the way they stuck out. This girl had problems.

Scott figured he had to have problems, too, because he was seriously considering her offer. Hang at her place, she'd said. She had a pool.

It was a hot August night. A pool would feel a hell of a lot better than the Winnebago.

Gecko came up right then, a beer in one hand, his index and middle finger of the beer hand holding a cigarette. He clapped Scott on the far shoulder and left his arm draped there as he leered at the girl. "Who's this?"

"My friends call me Chapeau," she said, thrusting her chest out. Like she had tits, Scott thought. There was the barest bump under her tank top, and it was a close-fitting tank top.

"Chapeau?" Gecko said, lifting both the beer and the cigarette to his mouth. He blew smoke at her. "That means hat or something, dunnit?"

"Think about it," she said and winked at Scott. "We leave in ten."

Scott didn't have much to explain to Gecko. "She has a pool."

It took him exactly four minutes to round up Lido and Fozzy. Chapeau was ready to go.

They should have stayed home, Scott thought as soon as they got there. There was no food in the fridge, and Chapeau got all nervous when they talked about ordering a pizza. And the pool?

The pool was one of those plastic wader things, barely big enough for one of them to sit down in, let alone the four of them plus Chapeau.

Fozzy said it felt good to just be able to stick his feet in. Then again, it was probably the first time in a month that Fozzy's feet had gotten near water other than his own sweat. Lido muttered something about the Hatchet being needed here. This was a joke, he mumbled, something that the Hatchet needed to fix for them.

They stayed like that, not talking once Lido was done, sitting in folding chairs that made a circle around the stupid blue wading pool, drinking the beer they'd brought and staring stupidly at each other, until Chapeau showed them how she'd got her name, one at a time, in a not-so-private viewing that went around the circle to each Hatchet member in turn.

Hats, it seemed, covered heads. Pretty well, for someone as skinny and gross as this girl looked.

After Scott's turn, he looked over his shoulder. Even though no one had moved, a set of wet footprints led away from the stupid blue wading pool.

It seemed the Hatchet had realized it wasn't needed on this girl after all. And that the Hatchet walked on human feet.

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Friday, January 04, 2008


Susan Speaks: Home Sweet Home?

I have to tell you guys that when the airplane door slammed shut in Bozeman and the plane was pushed back from the jetway, I almost screamed NO and jumped off the plane and called one of the amazing tour guides to come get me 'cause I wasn't going anywhere ever again...

Believe me, it was tempting.

Pictures of the trip will follow soon, most likely as Thursday Thirteens. The Tour Manager and I took about 500, give or take the deleted ones (ahh, the pleasure of digital photography), and including my 140-some on our final day in the park.

My fiction and rock and roll take up a big part of my soul. I've made that abundantly clear on this blog. The other part of my soul is Yellowstone National Park. Really. I would have stayed, if I'd had the option to.

Happy New Year to all of you. May all of our dreams come true in 2008, and may I have news for you of a publication of Trevor's Song by the end of the year, if not earlier. Keep on visiting and spreading the word about our fun here; the bigger the buzz, the more you inspire me.