Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Thursday Thirteen #76-- T is for

Every now and then, Trevor and I play by the rules. This week's Thursday Thirteen asked us to Choose a letter of the alphabet and write thirteen words that describe you that begin with that letter. Be creative and have fun! Trevor trembled at the thought.

T is for Trevor. Trevor Fucking Wolff, thankyouverymuch.

T is for Holy Terror.

T is for terrible.

T is for Touring.

T is for Tremendous.

T is for tortured.

T is for Ten inches.

T is for trouble.

T is for tenacious.

T is for Tight.

T is for tragic

T is for Trail Blazer

T is for Total Package.

More Ts... teetotaller, terrible, terminal, thread, thirty, three, twenty-some, trusting, travel, thorn, trustworthy, thrash metal, thunder, thing, thundering, threesome, tired, tumultuous, thoughtful, trait, thoughtless, tasteless, timely, talkative, turtle, tundra, the, tissue, than, trouble, tithe, Thursday, thirteen, three, Tuesday, tape, why, the, fuck, are, you, still, reading, go, leave, a, comment, already!

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, April 28, 2008


Fiction Outtake: A Body for Practice

A while back, I brought you some of the Lyric/Mitchell agreement. Here's how it all got started.

Mitchell was collecting cords, thinking he looked pretty cool, the way he knew to coil them by using his palm and his elbow as posts. Roadies did it this way; nevermind that he was band, roadies had the look down. Besides, if the band tanked… Dad always was telling him to have something to fall back on.

Eric was there on the stage with him, yawning and grumbling to himself.

"We headed to Roach's after this?" Mitchell asked.

"Think so," Eric said. "At least, I am."

Mitchell nodded, like it was all decided. Going to Roach's after shows was becoming a ritual -- and the growing number of fans were figuring it out. Daniel didn't think they'd be able to do this much longer. Mitchell didn't care. It was all about right now, and right now was pretty damn fun.

"Hey," someone said behind him.

He looked over his shoulder at a girl with brown hair that looked like it had been braided when wet, then let loose when it was dry. She wore jeans and cowboy boots, and a tight t-shirt that was some faded out orange color. He couldn't call her hot, but she had something about her…

"Need something?"

"Yeah," she said and lifted her chin, like she was expecting a fight. Mitchell fidgeted; this might be good.

"I need a body."

Eric and Mitchell exchanged looks, trying to figure out who was willing to volunteer. After all, there were bound to be plenty of other, hotter girls at Roach's… Hopefully.

"I'm training to be a massage therapist," she said into the silence. "I need someone to practice on and I thought that someone who thrashes around as much as you guys do would want some free massages."

Mitchell stretched his arms over his head, then put his hands on his waist and twisted. "Yeah, that could work." He looked harder at the girl. She looked familiar… "Hey, you're Melody's girl!"

Eric turned to look at her at last. His jaw dropped, as though Lyric was Melody herself.

"I'm Lyric, yes, and if you think this is some invite to be in one of Mom's movies or something, forget the whole deal. This is real massage, not massage-your-peter. Got it?"

"Whoa," Eric said and, grabbing the cables from Mitchell, hurried off the stage.

"Let me get this straight," Mitchell said, crossing his arms over his chest and looking down from the stage at Lyric. "You're Melody's girl, but you're not offering sex."

"That's right."

"For free."


He arched an eyebrow at her and waited. She'd figure out soon enough what he was waiting for.

She did. "I want a ShapeShifter t-shirt and my name on the permanent guest list."

"Is that all?"

"I could charge cash. Everyone else in my class does."

Mitchell didn't bother to hide a smile. Everyone in town knew you didn't fuck around with Melody and her girls. "But you won't."

"Does that mean you're in?"

He glanced around, not sure why the guys weren't around. There was more gear to pack up and he'd be damned if he was doing it all himself. "Yeah," he said. "I'm in."

He half-expected her to squeal and throw her arms around his neck. But all she did was nod like she'd known he'd go for it.

"Let's go," she said.


"Got a date?"

"Yeah," he said, wondering if hanging at Roach's with the guys counted. "Tomorrow. Noon. You tell me where," he added, hoping she wouldn't pick some public place and humiliate him.

"I'll call you in the morning."

"You have my number?"

"Melody's kid knows who Patterson's kid is. Don't worry about it. I'll call you."

Mitchell stared, speechless, as she turned on one of those cowboy boot heels of hers and walked out of the club like she owned it. If she didn't now, Mitchell didn't doubt that with an attitude like that, one day, she just might.

In the meantime, he'd be getting himself some free massages. Damn, but the guys were going to be jealous when they heard that. Assuming they got their asses back inside and packed their shit up, anyway. If they left it all for him, Lyric was going to be his own little secret for as long as he could swing it.

He grinned and picked up the last of the stuff he was responsible for. Fuck 'em. Fuck all three of 'em. They snoozed. They loozed.

Why haven't you joined the Poetry Train yet?

And stay tuned; I'm going to try to make time to start giving you some of the fun stuff I picked up at RT.

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Saturday, April 26, 2008


Susan's Inside Writing: Outrageous

This week's Writer's Island prompt was outrageous, which I thought a pretty good prompt for old Trevor.

Trevor's not the most outrageous person you'll ever meet. I'll grant you that. Instead, Trevor's Outrageousness comes in the form of a lack of caring and inhibition. In a sense, he's my wild side, the part of me that longs to be let out. I've gotten better over the years since I created Trevor, but I've still got nothing on the master -- probably because I care more than he does.

At the same time that I've been mulling over this prompt, Julia tagged me with the Seven Things Meme. She said it was for me or ShapeShifter to do. And so with no further ado...

How Trevor equals outrageous. In his own words and voice, so don't yell at me.

1. Read this post. It'll tell you a fucking lot.

2. I got conned by the groupies around this joint to write a poem. I think I said a lot of shit they were wishing they had the balls to say.

3. Is it really sick if I say that piercing Mitchell's ear was one of the highlights of my life? It wouldn't have been if he'd taken it like a man. Shit, one little hole, right? Count on the big idiot to fuck that one up. Royally.

4. I've conned Rusty into all sorts of great shit. Most of it hasn't been on the blog 'cause it's in the book. Which means you got yet another reason to wait for the book. Can't wait? Want it sooner? Make a bigger noise about this here blog. Bring your friends over. Leave comments like mad. Things are looking good, so get off your asses and help make 'em look better.

5. Ever been shopping for your properly healthy, and probably perfectly organic, fruits and green shit and seen someone do this? It sucked that Rusty was so cool about it. I fucking love it when she turns as red as her fake hair color.

6. This is where I'm supposed to talk about me and Rusty, but forget it. Read the book. Go back up to #4 if you're all frustrated there's no book to read yet. Trevor Wolff doesn't repeat himself. Ever.

7. Now, I don't think any of this makes me outrageous. This is who I am, and fuck you if you don't like it even though you know you do or you wouldn't be hanging out here so fucking much. But I'll tell you one thing that is outrageous. That's that I'm this rock star and I don't drink. Not such a long story why, but ... you gotta wait for the book.

I know, I know. I suck. But trust Trevor; the book doesn't. Go on back up to #4 and follow those instructions once more. If you've done it right, this'll be the third time now and that means you're good at it and you got it down.

What's that? I can't hear you. The buzz about this here blog's not loud enough yet.

Go fix it, will ya?

According to the rules of the meme, I'm supposed to tag someone, but while you groupies are all awesome, I don't know how you can follow Trevor with the proper amount of style. Thus, if you do it, please give me a link back! You know... it'll help make that buzz a little bit louder.

Look! Winter did! So did Ann! And Bethanie! Go check out their own outrageous comments, why don't you?

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Thursday, April 24, 2008


BTT: Springing

I'm not sure I get this week's Booking Through Thursday:

Do your reading habits change in the Spring? Do you read gardening books? Even if you don’t have a garden? More light fiction than during the Winter? Less? Travel books? Light paperbacks you can stick in a knapsack?

Or do you pretty much read the same kinds of things in the Spring as you do the rest of the year?

I just brought home another 30 or so books from the RT Convention, not to mention all the free excerpts (a marketing tool I HIGHLY recommend!).

At this point, I've got so much to be read that I'm trying frantically to not drown in all the books. You can see a concerted effort on my part below, or here, if you have to click to it.

I don't get what the change of seasons has to do with what we read. I'd better check out what you guys all have to say. As for gardening books, I thought you were supposed to read those in the winter, as you draw up your plans?

I also have lots to give away in the upcoming weeks/months. Stay tuned for those!


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Thursday Thirteen -- The Jewish Literature Challenge

Thirteen things about the Jewish Literature Challenge

With Passover ending on Saturday, it's time for the Jewish Literature Challenge to end. That means I need to bring you guys up to date on what I've read and all that.

1. I read a ton, but the Jewish Lit began with Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum's A Day of Small Beginnings.

2. It was a beautiful book. I can't recommend it enough.

3. Then it was on to one of my favorites: Linda Fairstein and Bad Blood.

4. She'd seen me mention how much I like her, and had sent me the book to say thanks. It did NOT disappoint. In fact, it might be one of my favorites in the series.

5. I loved learning about New York City. That's one of the trademarks of her books, in fact.

6. After many years of sitting on my night table, I read On Her Way Home, by Harriet Rochlin. This was the last in a trilogy about a woman who moves to the desert Southwest and helps found a town.

7. I still think my favorite was the middle book, The First Lady of Dos Cacahuates.

8. The problem with picking up a series midway through is that often, the author has improved with age. Such was the case with Daniel Silva and his The Mark of the Assassin.

9. On to the next, which was another book club choice: Getting Old is Murder, by Rita Lakin. What a fun read! I don't know if the series will grow long in the tooth for me before it does for Lakin or her core readership, but I'll definitely be finding out.

10. What Jewish Lit list would be complete without my hero, Joann Sfar? I finally finally got my mitts on a copy of The Professor's Daughter. I adore Sfar, and this collaboration with Emmanuel Gilbert didn't disappoint.

11. Another book that had been here forever (I hate to say it, but five years! In a book's life, that's an eternity) was Frances Sherwood's The Book of Splendor.

12. I liked her earlier book, Green, so much that it's still on my shelves. Sadly, I couldn't say the same for this one.

13. And to wrap up, I'm currently reading Naomi Alderman's Disobedience. Yet another book club pick, I'm really into it and can't wait to see what happens next.

That's a total of eight books read for the challenge. If you've got any good suggestions for more books by Jews or featuring Jewish characters, leave 'em in the comments. I'm up to something (for a change)...

Do you miss Trevor? He and the guys will be back for next week. Or go visit the link that's his name and read some of the fiction I've written featuring him. I miss him, too.

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, April 21, 2008


Susan's Inside Writing: High Concept

One of the things that is frequently talked about in the marketing of your book to publishers and agents is this idea of high concept. Problem is, no one really can define it.

Author Karin Gillespie gave a talk at the RT Convention about it. And suddenly, it all made sense.

One thing I'm always struggling with when it comes to Trevor and the band is the very fact that Trevor's the bass player of ShapeShifter. How often did I say, "I write about rock bands and the people who orbit them" to the people I met? To agents, editors, readers, writers?

Yet I'm told time and again that books about rock stars don't sell. And besides, Trevor's Song isn't about a rock star. It's a book about a man with two large problems.

Enter Karin and her seminar. First off, let me tell you that Karin is the greatest. Simply put, she's amazing. She could give JA Konrath a run for his money when it comes to marketing, and JA is the king. (Not to discount MJ Rose in all this, either.)

All this brings me to the inspiration that struck yesterday. Constructive comments are encouraged, but anything abusive or mean won't be allowed through moderation.


Trevor's Song as high concept:

Trevor Wolff's best friend has gone and done the unthinkable by committing an act of monogamy, and now Trevor himself learns he's got an even bigger secret to conquer. Will this conspire to bring him down, or will everybody's favorite bad boy Trevor Effing Wolff triumph yet again?

(Yes, the actual piece of paper I wrote this on spells out that bigger secret. I'm holding back on you guys!)

I'll tell you, this is one wind of change I hadn't seen on the horizon. As soon as I'm more caught up on my sleep, I'll share more with you. (hint: get to know my sidebar real good!)

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Sunday, April 20, 2008


Susan Speaks: Honey, I'm Home!

I ducked out of the Romantic Times Convention yesterday around 3 and got home a little bit before 4. Those of you who know me or who I freshly met (and I have seen many Google searches for West of Mars already. Whee!) know that I'm a local chick and by the time yesterday afternoon came, when I'd checked out of my hotel SUITE (remind me to tell that story), I was glad. I was itchy to get home.

Anyway, here are some more impressions and things I learned. I want to promise that there will be more of these in the days ahead, but there probably won't be. The only thing I can promise is that there are yet more winds of change afoot...

1. I'm a proud Pittsburgher, but I was amazed and horrified at the condition of the Pittsburgh Hilton. Others can tell you more about it, but let's just say that many, many of us were glad we'd been evicted and sent to the Omni William Penn, even if it was a bit of an inconvenience.

This was my third bad experience in a row at a Hilton hotel. I'm done with you, Hilton Hotels. My money now goes elsewhere, even if I wind up spending more. From what I've seen (including the promised refund that I'm still waiting on, two years later), the problems exist across the board.

I wonder what the Board of Health would say about the servers who stuck their bare thumbs in the pour spout of the water pitchers when they put them on our table.

Yes, friends, I've called the Board of Health for things like that before. Piss me off far enough and I'll make a point of pushing back.

2. The Mystery Chix and a Rooster are amazing, amazing people. Don't ask me which is my favorite; I can't pick. Check out their websites. Tell them I sent you. Read their books. Rave about them with me.

I have lots of promo bookmarks and business cards from this gang. If you'd like some, drop me an e-mail and I'll mail them out to you.

3. Many of the authors whose blogs appear in my Google Reader are way cool. Rachel Vincent. Shiloh Walker. Megan Hart. Lauren Dane. Anya Bast. Ann Aguirre. Aline de Chevigny. Jennifer Estep. None, however, made me squeal the way I did when Colleen Gleason and I ran into each other (inches from literally) and made the connection. That's just to say how awesome Colleen is.

I loved how excited she got when I told her I'd seen Rises the Night for sale in my local GROCERY. Yes, folks, I found a copy there and had to show it to my family, all of whom gave me blank stares. Many of the surrounding shoppers were initially curious but my strange and sudden inability to form words upon discovery of the book might have prevented a few sales I otherwise should have pimped for my bud Colleen.

4. I met Judi Fennell in the shuttle back to the Omni and hooked her up with the woman running the SOS mixer/thingie. I hope she had a great time!

4. Of all these cool people, none were cooler than Ann. Let me tell you, I'd have been lost without Ann. She's the ultimate fan girl, in the perfect sense, because she is a librarian who is also the library's buyer. It was a LOT of fun to walk up to editors and hear her ask for their list so she can buy their books.

Even better was meeting her cast of characters, her friends. Particularly that moment during the Faery Ball when MaryJanice Davidson came and plunked down on the couch beside me. Why? 'cause she knew Ann, who was on my other side.

Best of all was at the Vampire Ball, when I pretty much dumped Ann in favor of a new bud (who also dumped a friend in order to bond with me). Ann understood, and then some. I still feel bad about it 'cause Ann's too cool to do that to. But once the whole story behind that comes out, you'll agree with Ann.

So to make up for it, I played Tour Manager for HER at the huge book signing. While I'm a bit too incapacitated to carry the LOAD of books she'd brought from home to be signed, I did carry her new purchases for her, help the authors spell her name right, and generally have fun.

No, I did NOT tell a single one of those authors to please spell her name S-U-S-A-N. But there were a few times there that I was tempted.

Be sure to become one of Ann's fan girls. She deserves it.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Thursday Thirteen From Romantic Times Convention

Thirteen things from RT

Actually, I'm at home now. Whew. Home.

Some thoughts about the first day of the Romantic Times Convention:

1. I heard there are 999 people other than me in attendance. Last year, there were 650.

2. Lauren Dane Rocks.

3. Megan Hart Rocks.

4. Tilly Greene is awesome and I'd better get to hang with her more.

5. Ann rocks the hardest. We've been hanging together, although this being on the phone and within sight of each other needs to stop.

6. Good things come out of bad parking hassles.

7. Being able to say, "Yo, Dude, I'm from West of Mars" gets you brownie points with lots of people on staff at the Hilton. Only, substitute the real name of an area near where I live for West of Mars.

8. People look at you differently, almost dismissively, when your nametag says "Aspiring Author." The Tour Manager is fixing the nametag problem. Others are at work on the aspiring problem. (Won't you help with that?)

9. My feet hurt, and it's only day one.

10. JR Ward is amazing in person. Vivacious, but cool. So alive. And no, I did NOT take nostril shots of her. Puh-leeze.

11. Kim Harrison looks like my vision of Rachel Morgan. She's got quite an air to her -- please don't take that as a negative. She's very nice and interesting.

12. Nancy Martin breezed through.

13. Oy. My feet.

Needless to say, the conference runs until Sunday. I'll return visits once my feet have recovered. I'm skipping the gym before heading back down tomorrow...

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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Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Susan Speaks: Love that Wind

Yep, as I've said before, the winds, they are a-changin' over here. Most are good, but a few sort of suck. Read on and you can decide which is which. Maybe you can help change those sucky ones.

1. I've up and joined Facebook. Come friend me and teach me more about the joint. Be sure to join the West of Mars Groupie group, too, and show the world how into the band you are. (Not me. Just the band.)

2. I came up with this fantastic idea for the ShapeShifter logo that I can put on t-shirts and stuff. Problem is, my cats draw better than I do and when I tried to get the image out of my brain and onto the paper... well, I'm ashamed of how it looked. Not merely embarrassed. Ashamed.

3. I found a cool (free) font for the band to use. Is a free font, no matter how cool, good enough for our band?

4. So I decided that I'll give up to three t-shirts featuring this new logo to anyone who can pull it out of my brain and improve on it. One catch: You have to sign over the rights to me so I own it. But to make up for it, I promise to give you credit on the website and here on the blog.

5. I'm headed downtown for the big Romantic Times convention tomorrow. What's a commercial, mainstream fiction writer like myself doing at a romance convention? Learning, I hope. And hanging with the cool people I've met here. Hopefully both.

I smell more breezes on the horizon... stay tuned...


Monday, April 14, 2008


Roadie Poet: Pyro

New tour.
Big one.

Shows this big,
They're spectacles,
Not simple shows.

Vid screens,
Extra sound,

Band's gotta rehearse extra
So they don't step in a flashpot.
Burned to a crisp
By their own show.

Extra rehearsal for them means
Hotel rooms for us.
A little bit easier
Before the grind begins.
Time to bum around.
Have some fun.

But watch
For those flashpots.
So we don't step in 'em.
And get

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Friday, April 11, 2008


Fiction Outtake: Turbulence (The Trevor's Song Era)

It was the bumps that woke Mitchell. That really sucked; he was exhausted, they were headed home, and he just couldn't keep his eyes open anymore. Except he couldn't sleep while being tossed around like this. He was stuck in this awful state, unable to do a fucking thing.

Across the aisle, Trevor had made a pillow of his denim jacket. He still slept, but then again, when Trevor wasn't acting weird lately, he was sleeping. Having him sleep went over better than trying to deal with his latest round of weird shit. If someone had to sleep, no one minded that it was Trevor doing it.

Daniel gave Mitchell a thin-lipped sort-of smile. "I was wondering when it'd get to you."

"How long's it been going on?"

"Too damn long," he said and shifted in his seat, like his legs were stiff. Mitchell doubted that was the problem; the guy probably wanted off the stupid plane. "The pilot's been on a few times. He's been trying all sorts of different altitudes, but none of them are any good. He made a few noises about turning around, but I guess they wouldn't let him."

Mitchell didn't know how to respond to that. Flying wasn't his thing. At most, it was the way to get from the US to Europe, or maybe from Riverview to New York or wherever the tour was starting. Anything more than that and he was lost.

"I just hope we get there soon," Eric said from Mitchell's other side. He'd pulled down the shade over the little window, which Mitchell didn't understand. Why ask for the window seat if you weren't going to look through the window? At least the views were cool. When you could see more than a cloud, anyway.

"Can you see anything out there?" Mitchell asked.

Just as Eric got his hand on the window shade, the plane bucked.

Eric's hand moved from the shade to the arms of his seat so fast, it was a blur. He grabbed hold -- even though Mitchell already had a good grip on the one they shared -- and turned pale. "Not really, no," he said softly.

Trevor didn't stir.

The plane calmed. Daniel gave Mitchell a weak smile. "Are we there yet?"

"Fuck, I hope so."

How perfect was this? I wrote this last weekend for the Flash Fiction Carnival, but it applies to the Writer's Island and Sunday Scribblings prompts this week, too. Really. Amazing. Smell those changing winds... Ahhh....

If you're new around here, clicking on the links in the fiction will take you back to that person's bio page. From there, you can access a bunch of other fictional posts about that particular character.

And while you're there, check out the free download!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Thursday Thirteen #74 -- Roadie Poet

As I said over the weekend, the winds are starting to bring some changes around here. While I'm waiting to evaluate what those changes are (and if I find them acceptable; so nice to feel in control of SOMEthing!), I've been playing with my characters.

I've been trying to come up with something for a Flash Fiction Carnival I'd like to take part in. I've got some things in mind -- I hope they correspond to this weekend's writing prompts! -- but somehow, inspiration for some fiction came in the guise of Roadie Poet. Not that RP is going to write fiction anytime soon.

Anyway, it dawns on me that many of you who hang around here on Thursdays haven't met the Roadie Poet yet; he tends to come out for the Poetry Train.

So... Meet Roadie Poet.

Thirteen things about Roadie Poet

1. His poetry is often the only poems many of my groupies read.

2. He's definitely a male. For a while there, I wasn't certain. My groupies helped me figure it out.

3. I adore this guy. Read on and see what you've been missing.

4. He doesn't have much of a life off the road. He lives and breathes roadie.

5. Even over the holidays.

6. Even when the hours are long.

7. When he's not on the road, he lives at home.

8. He's got a best friend named Hambone.

9. And a girl named Maureen, who he calls More.

10. She's often working when he's free.

11. But they find ways.

12. He can party hard.

13. But he sleeps better on the bus.

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, April 07, 2008


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- Photographs

How many of you faithful readers remember that day when Chelle was waxin' poetic about how we all flip CDs over to read the track listing on back, even though the track listing don't mean doo doo until you hear them songs?

Here's another puzzle for you to spend some free time thinkin' about. And that's the pictures of the band. You ever stop and look at them? I mean really look, not just notice what band's t-shirt they wearing or whose hair is longer than yours, or if the chick is hot or not.

Chelle LaFleur looks for more than that stuff. Every time she sits down to review a new disc, she takes out that booklet and leafs through it. She reads them liner notes -- and she knows who's smart enough to thank her in 'em, too. She reads the lyrics, and you betcha, she studies them pictures. You can sometimes get a lot outta those pictures. When you gotta write a review of that music blarin' outta your speakers, you gotta do more than say whether or not it's good. You gotta say why. And you gotta sound smart, too. No easy feat when you're Chelle LaFleur.

Let me share a secret with you since I'm in a good mood and all. Lookin' at those musicians, boys and girls, helps a music writer figure out what to say. And to sound smart doin' it, maybe even smart enough to get a bonus from the bosses 'cause your quotes get picked up all over the place and you be giving the paper a good name.

Try it at home. The picture staring, that is. Go on, you be Chelle for a few. Just don't go on expecting to be like me and see them words you's about to write in this here Trumpet, you hear? That gig's reserved for yours truly. You, you're just tryin' things out. You on a mission to find out how right old Chelle is.

Sit and stare at that picture as you listen up. Really stare. Can you figure out what that band's tryin' to tell you? They for real, or is there some poseur action happenin'? You wanna hang with them? Even if they ain't what you'd listen to every day until the laser wears a hole in the disc, are they any good? And you gotta answer why or why not for all these questions Chelle's throwin' at you.

What's with this music you be hearin'? Can you figure it out? That picture helps, don't it. You get it all sudden-like. It goes into new dimensions.

You peeps in bands out there, you think about that picture you busy dreamin' of and posin' for when you're home alone, just you and your mirror. What you tryin' to tell us out here, safe in our cars and our bedrooms and blarin' in our earbuds? Use that picture of you and talk to us. It don't all have to come outta the speakers.

You heard it first and you heard it here. Pictures really are worth a million words.

Ahh, the Poetry Train. Hop aboard!

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Saturday, April 05, 2008


Susan Speaks: Terribly Two

Whoa. I knew it was around here, but I didn't think I'd be so crass as to miss it.

But I did.

And you know what? The world didn't end. My blog didn't implode. My muse is busy trying to juggle the Sunday Scribblings prompt with the Writer's Island prompt with my own vision and the next work-in-progress... Not a bad job for a muse, really.

Have you figured it out yet?

My blog turned two yesterday. That's two years of Trevor, Mitchell, Eric, Daniel, Kerri, Val, and Pam. Two years of Chelle and Kermit Ladd. Roadie Poet, Walter, Deadly Metal Hatchet, and Springer.

And me. That's the amazing part. That you guys continue to be interested in me even though I'm as boring as they come. I have cats. I ride my bike and go to the gym. I'm raising two kids and trying to appreciate the Tour Manager instead of kill him. And I create fiction, which I think is way more interesting than I am.

In two years, this joint has grown. Not as much as I want it to, but that's coming. There's change on the horizon, gang. The winds are picking up; can you feel them?

Stay tuned. I have it on the best authority that there's good stuff about to happen in the third year of this Meet and Greet joint. You'll be glad you got here so early, I promise. This is the time to suck your friends in 'cause once things get rolling, there may be no looking back.

There will be links back, of course. There's too much good stuff, stuff I'm really freaking proud of, buried here on this blog. But there's also stuff -- like this post -- that'll be lost in the rush.

One thing that won't be lost but also won't be expressed nearly enough is my appreciation for you guys. Every time I check my stat counter and see more than two hits, I'm thankful. Every time you leave a comment, I'm thrilled -- even on days like last Thursday, when it was all I could do to keep up with them.

It just gets better from here. Thanks for riding along so far -- and I hope you're here for the long haul.

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Thursday, April 03, 2008


BTT: Lit-Ra-Chur

OMG, I'm howling. This week's Booking Through Thursday is just perfect. I may sound a bit like Trevor here, but go figure. Maybe there's more of him in me than I'm usually willing to own up to.

* When somebody mentions “literature,” what’s the first thing you think of? (Dickens? Tolstoy? Shakespeare?)
* Do you read “literature” (however you define it) for pleasure? Or is it something that you read only when you must?

Okay, I've gotta come clean here, although You Who Know Me Well already know this.

When I hear the word literature, I gag. Seriously.

I have not one, but two degrees in English. I've managed to avoid reading most of what we'd call literature -- Hemingway, Virgina Woolf... all that stuff. When I read Moby Dick in eleventh grade, the teacher called my mom and claimed that I wasn't reading it. I was failing every quiz, the teacher said. My mom didn't understand it; I was sitting right there beside her, reading as she talked.

I read that entire novel and didn't retain a damn word of it. In the eyes, out the ... who knows what. But those words sure didn't compute.

And now, in this day of highbrow stuff that wins awards, I've learned. Life of Pi? Forget it. History of Love? My book club read it; I quit on page 20. Not good when you're the discussion leader... but really.

Now, I do like Shakespeare's comedies. I loved reading Gulliver's Travels as part of my satire class in undergrad. So there are exceptions to the gagging.

And yeah, you can argue that Neuromancer and Ender's Game and The Handmaid's Tale are all classics. Interview with the Vampire. Bright Lights, Big City.

But those aren't books that take themselves so pretentiously.

And for me, that's it. I want a book I can sink into. If it makes me think, that's a bonus. But save me the highbrow attitudes, the pathetic old men, the philosophy vaguely designed as fiction.

You can say I lately read -- and loved -- some literature in the guise of A Day of Small Beginnings and A Thread of Grace. Okay, I'll buy that. Those WERE good books and I'll rave about them any day. It comes down to this:

I may not want action, but I want characters I can love, not loathe. I want to fall in love with a book and the people in it and the situations they find themselves in. I don't want to meditate; that's what the elliptical at the gym is for.

Commercial fiction all the way, baby. I read it and dammit, I'm proud to write it, too.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Thursday Thirteen #73 -- Back by Popular Demand

Lots of you guys have been commenting on Trevor's absence from my Thirteens of late. Clearly, my not-so-subtle attempt to get you to come around the rest of the week isn't working (but have fun with these links!). So... with no further ado, here's your boy, starring in:

Thirteen places Trevor's been lately

1. Taking a smoke break.

2. Juggling girls.

3. Annoying Mitchell.

4. Practicing. Nominally.

5. Playing shows.

6. Touring.

7. Discovering that it's cooler to hang in a jacuzzi than it is to hang by the side of the pool.

8. Trying to out Roadie Poet.

9. Stealing bacon and doughnuts and anything else swimming in grease from the crew catering area.

10. Sitting behind Daniel or Mitchell while they give interviews, making fun of them the whole time.

11. Running from Mitchell's swinging fists.

12. Sucking up to the band's wardrobe manager so she'll do his laundry for him.

13. Dreaming of seeing my book about him on the shelves.

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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