Sunday, August 31, 2008


Sunday Best: Cool Sh*t

Yeah, I know. I put the asterik in there... makes me sick, too, but every now and then, you gotta conform.

Anyway, I've been meaning to bring these two things to your attention for too long now. Long enough that I'm tired of The Tour Manager closing my Firefox window and the open tabs along with it. And it's Sunday. Seems like a good time to bring you a Sunday Best.

First off, we have a very cute set of cookie cutter and six cookie recipes from the folks at Punk Rock Kitchen. While this is sort of pink and definitely missing the biting social commentary that characterizes punk rock, it's still a lot of fun. I'd definitely give this as a birthday present to the younger set.

And next, this is something I'd totally like to track down and get for myself. It's a new graphic novel (and you guys know how I love my graphic novels *coughJoannSfarcough*) about an all-girl rock band, the Apocalipstix. The book was actually released in July, so it only took a month to cross my radar. Not bad, but really. They could have sent me a review copy and I'd be telling you all to go on over to Front Street Reviews and read what I thought of it.

So there ya go. Some cool shit for a US Labor Day weekend. Make it a good one; it's the unofficial end of summer. I'm going to miss summer around here. Sort of.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008


DMH Fiction: Somewhere

"Where are we?" Scott asked, looking over Fozzy's shoulder. He pushed up his glasses even though they didn't need it.

Fozzy shrugged. "Somewhere."

"Is that somewhere near where we're supposed to be?"

Fozzy shrugged. "It's somewhere in the mountains. Are we supposed to be in the mountains?"

Lido handed Scott the map. "Are there mountains in Texas?"

"No," Scott said, wanting to grab handfuls of hair and tug until his scalp hurt. He wanted The Hatchet to come out of its blankets and chop down the mountains and get them to Texas. "We have a problem. We need to be in Texas in an hour."

"This isn't Texas," Fozzy said.

"No shit, Sherlock," Lido said. "I told you to take that right."

"We have an hour before we have to load in, and we're staring at the frickin mountains!" Scott leaned back in the seat and kicked, hoping he caught Fozzy in the butt. Idiot. How many times had he said, "Go East. Due East. We're in Arizona, so there's no way we can miss Texas"? How frickin dumb was the guy, and who the hell had stuffed him in the back seat where he wouldn't be able to see well so he could catch this mistake earlier?

"So what do we do?" Lido asked. Scott could see the panic creeping into the guy's eyes, hear it in his voice.

"Like I know?" Scott shot back. "If you'd followed the stupid map…" He grabbed it out of Lido's hand and looked at it.

No wonder. Lido had been holding it upside-down.

"I guess," Scott said, taking the deepest breath he could manage in the mountains' thin air, "we turn around and go home. And hope like hell someone'll hire us again once word about this gets out. You know it will."

"There's no way?" Fozzy asked.

"Dude, we don't even frickin know where we are!"

"Gimme that map," Fozzy said. Once it was in his hand, he carried it back to the trailer Lido's dad had loaned them for the quick trip to Texas. The Hatchet was in there, sleeping.

Scott seethed while Fozzy waited for The Hatchet to do its thing. Lido hung
his head, lit a cigarette, and tried to look cool.

Gecko just sat and stared at his hands, folded in his lap.

Scott wished he could be more like Gecko. Nothing bothered Gecko.

Including the confetti Fozzy brought back up to the front.

"Good work," Scott said. "Now how do we get home?"

For every ShapeShifter in the world, there's more than one Deadly Metal Hatchet. Hapless but well-intentioned. Talentless but with a great marketing gimmick. And hoping to make it big.

Explore more Deadly Metal Hatchet here. And be sure to leave a comment so I can return your visit, eh?

If you need a Trevor fix, there's one I posted right below this one... Come on... you know you do!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Fiction Outtake: Bored on the Bus (Trevor's Song Era)

They'd been on the bus for what felt like weeks. So long that they were way overdue for a day off inside of an actual hotel room -- and every single member of ShapeShifter was grossed out by the thought of how excited they were about something as sterile and isolated as a hotel room. But at this point, with only the bus or the inside of the venue to look at, a hotel seemed like the ultimate luxury.

During these stretches, it wasn't unusual for no one to talk. No one had anything to say, really. Not when you were spending exactly every waking minute with each other. Not when you'd done this dance for years.

Mitchell didn't even have much to say to Kerri, which was pretty pathetic considering they were still newlyweds. She didn't seem to care, except that she was as bored as the rest of them. So bored that she had squished herself on the couch beside him, her chin on his upraised knee. Instead of drawing, she was playing idly with the hair on his leg. He knew she wouldn't be doing it if he'd put his jeans back on, but when all you were doing was sitting on a bus, why bother with pants?

He could only take so much of Kerri's petting and stroking. It wasn't hot, it wasn't comforting. It was just damn annoying.

He lifted his leg and straightened it, moving gently so he didn't startle her onto the floor or hurt her. "Woman," he growled, "my leg is not a guitar. If you want to strum something, go find one."

With a shrug, Kerri stood up.

"What are you doing?" He knew he flailed as he sat up, but he didn't care. She'd been supposed to stop petting him, not do … whatever.

"Getting a guitar," she said carelessly, and disappeared into the bunks.

Eric and Daniel chuckled as Mitchell groaned, but Trevor nodded. "That'll teach your dumb ass," the bass player said and lit a cigarette. "You know she can't resist a challenge. Even an easy one like that."

"At least it'll give us something to do," Daniel said as Kerri came back carrying Mabel.

She sat down at the other end of Trevor's couch, facing Mitchell, and put the guitar properly on her right leg. Then she shook out her hair and straightened her back, looking to the table at Eric. Mitchell noticed how pointedly she ignored him. He tried to keep his latest groan inaudible; it would only egg her on.

"So. What do I do now?" she asked Eric, a too-bright smile plastered to her face.

Mitchell wanted to cover his own face with his hands. Anything to keep from watching this. But he couldn't look away.

"You need a pick," Eric said.

Kerri handed the guitar to Trevor, who took it with a sneer. She stood up, watching Mitchell as if she expected him to do something.

"What?" he asked as she stared down at him. Fuck, but he hated it when she smiled like that. All smug and full of herself -- and about to make him the butt of some joke, he was sure. Anyone with a shred of common sense would get up and leave before it happened, but he was stuck there, both by his own inertia and some sick need to be present.

Kerri bent down so she could reach across him, making sure she brushed her breast against his face. She dug in the change pocket of his jeans.

He refused to so much as breathe until she came up with one of the eight million or so picks they'd had made for this tour. He told himself not to panic; he still had two others in there. And maybe she'd give it back. Or, even better, make him come looking for it.

She smirked at him as she reseated herself and took Mabel back from Trevor.

"Okay," she said to Eric, "now what?"

Trevor leaned forward as Eric motioned Mitchell out of the way so he could sit across from Kerri and give her instructions. She made a show of not knowing how to hold the pick or how to use it.

Her performance set Mitchell's teeth on edge. And that was before she struck a note.

"What about my face?" she asked when Eric told her she was ready to move on to the next step.

"What about it?" Eric asked.

"Not even Asshole there can play guitar with his face," Trevor said, jerking his chin at Mitchell, who growled. Kerri didn't need to know about the time he'd tried. Hell, Mitchell wasn't srue Trevor knew about it.

Kerri took a deep, exaggerated breath. "I know that," she said. "But to watch the three of you, in order to play guitar, you also have to make faces. Like this," she said, puckering up like she'd eaten a lemon. "Or this," she said, opening her mouth and widening her eyes.

Daniel laughed.

"Oh, you're not much better, you know," Kerri said, pointing the pick at him. She stuck her tongue into her cheek and, again, let her jaw drop open.

Mitchell bit back a smile, but Eric didn't bother hiding it. Her faces were poor imitations of theirs, but they got the point across. Daniel pretended he didn't care, and Trevor was pretending he wasn't paying attention, even though his eyes flicked back and forth. He was, like always, too full of himself to give in and have a good time, especially because it was Kerri at the root of it all. Trevor couldn't stand it when she pulled shit like this -- because he wanted to be the one at the center of it.

"You know what's going to happen now?" Daniel asked, picking up Eric's cigarettes and fiddling with the pack. "We're going to get on stage tonight and obsess about our faces."

That was entirely too true.

Mitchell told himself he shouldn't care. Guitar players were supposed to make faces; the girls in the crowd ate it up. The guys thought it was the path to coolness -- and a lot of them practiced their faces more than they did their guitars even though the more you played, the more natural the faces turned. It was all part of rock and roll.

Besides, he told himself as Kerri tried to stand up, only to discover the hard way that guitars had straps for a specific reason, if this got inside his head too bad, he'd divorce the wench.

But in the meantime, at least he wasn't bored.

Has it been too long since we've had an outtake just for the fun or it, or WHAT?

If you're new around here, the best way to figure out what's up is to head over to my main website and poke around. Or click on each character's name above; that'll take you to their character sketch page on the website. You can read about everyone, or click on some of the links at the bottom of the page and be taken back here to the blog for more of the gang in action.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008


Susan's Inside Writing: How I Met My...

The Sunday Scribblings Prompt this week is How I Met My.... I immediately thought of one of the most important instances in my fictional world: when Mitchell and Kerri met.

BUT, I've got a life. And that life demanded that I join the Cub Scouts and the rest of my family (still-infected finger and all) for a weekend up in Cook Forest State Park. Camping. Which means the only writing I did was in my head. I did a lot of writing last night; every time I closed my eyes, I was back on that damn canoe.

Mitchell and Kerri will have to wait until later in the week. For now, it's all about the old stuff.

I have posted two great stories in this vein here on the blog. Both have their great qualities and it's hard to choose one to talk about first.

Check out Chelle LaFleur's post that started out to be about a local musician named Jock LaFeet and became, instead, about Chelle's introduction to four guys driving around the country in Dad's Ford Bronco. Four guys who call themselves ShapeShifter.

Read it here -- and laugh with me about how Chelle's voice has evolved into something I now adore. Hope you do, too.

Whoops. A third introduction crept into my awareness. (Read on for the second; I'm out of order for the moment.) The first time ShapeShifter runs into Deadly Metal Hatchet. I miss DMH. Do you? If you're not sure, here it is: Deadly Metal Hatchet Intro.

Last -- but most definitely not least -- is THE big one. The one that this entire blog (and my current body of fiction) revolves around.

The day Trevor and Mitchell first meet. Read it here, if you haven't seen it yet. Or in a cleaned up form, as a downloadable .pdf, go here.

"How I met..." stories are important in writing fiction. Without them, your characters have no history. That makes it harder to create the all-important backstory that makes them come alive.

Now, if someone can explain why the river came alive behind my closed eyes last night, I'd appreciate it. That's one "How I met" experience that I could live without. It better think twice if it thinks it's welcome to return tonight...

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Friday, August 22, 2008


Susan's Book Talk: My Friend Christine D'Abo

Many of you who hang out here know that I've made friends with a group of writers I call the Eroti-chicks. They are a great group of women who write romances, often erotic in nature, for many of the e-publishers. I'm acquaintances with a few who've made the leap to print (like Lauren Dane, whose copy of Making Chase that I won in a contest a while back finally arrived. Yippee!) and to big publishing houses.

Now, let's focus in one of my eroti-chick friends, shall we? Today's focus is on the lovely Christine D'Abo, whose friendship toward me has touched me both personally and as a writer.

Christine's got a new book out today, folks. It's called Primal Elements, and I know you want to read it.

Here's the blurb:
The last thing Jenna Robins wants for her thirtieth birthday is a trip to
the Perfect Match dating service, but she is given little choice from her
group of friends. What she doesn’t expect is to be “matched” with Ben
Hawthorn, her arrogant and handsome, ex-boss. Her opinion of Ben hasn’t
softened much since he sabotaged her research project by pulling the funding
at the last minute seven years ago.

But after a night of passion and the discovery of an alien artifact, Ben and
Jenna are forced to come to terms with their past relationship as the device
draws them closer together physically and emotionally. They must rely on
each other if they are to survive an attack from an old foe, and the force
of their own attraction.

Sounds good, huh?

Well, I thought so, too. So much so that I was inspired to ask Christine what song most makes her think of her book. I mean, heck. I write about music and rock stars, right? Let's talk about books in the guise of music.

Here's what she said:

I think the song that fits their relationship the best is Someday by
Nickelback. Their relationship seven years fell apart, things were said
and done that pulled them apart. Now they've been put together again and
want to make it work.

So. There ya go.

Christine's new book, and the song that goes with it.

You know you want it.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Susan's Book Talk: The Kommandant's Girl

For every clunker I find for my book club, I manage to find some absolute keepers, too. This month, we read The Kommandant's Girl, Pam Jenoff's debut novel. Here's a blurb, taken from the author's website:

Nineteen year-old Emma Bau has only been married for three weeks when the Nazis invade her native Poland. After her husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground as part of the resistance movement, Emma soon finds herself imprisoned in the ghetto with her parents. There she meets one of the resistance leaders and with his help, she is able to escape the ghetto and live under an assumed, non-Jewish identity.

Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Georg Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who insists that Emma come to work for him as his assistant. In this position, Emma has the opportunity to provide information to the resistance movement and potentially help her still-imprisoned parents. To do so, however, she must become perilously close to the Kommandant, a troubled man with a dark secret whose romantic intentions are clear. Emma makes the difficult decision to become involved with the Kommandant and, as their relationship intensifies, she is forced to acknowledge her own undeniable feelings for him. Desperately, Emma wrestles with questions of loyalty and duty until at last she is able to locate information sought by the resistance movement regarding the Nazi liquidation of the ghetto. Spurred by this information, the resistance undertakes the fateful bombing of a Nazi café, unleashing a chain of events that will change Emma’s life, and the lives of those she loves, forever.

Based in part on actual events, The Kommandant's Girl is a compelling tale of love and courage in a dangerous and desperate time. Unique in voice and evocative in historical detail, the novel’s widespread appeal stems not only from its eternally popular subjects of World War II and the Holocaust, but also from its timeless themes of hope, struggle and defiance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Okay, how do I even begin to tell you guys about this book? Here are some thought fragments:

Utterly impossible to put down
The sort of book you get lost in
Impossible to keep from identifying with Emma/Anna

See a trend here? I'm writing this before tonight's meeting, but the members of the book club I've spoken with thus far have all spoken highly of this book. They've all agreed it's the good kind of fast read: the kind that sucks you in and you just want to read and read and read until it's over. And then, dammit, you want more.

Best of all, part of the central conflict of this book is one that leads to such great discussions: if you were Emma (or Jacob), what would you do? How would you view Emma's actions?

The ending is open. We don't get to find out what happens to Emma, although the story of Lukasz, the rabbi's son who the resistance passes off as Anna's cousin, would make for a compelling story in its own right. Again, this will also make great discussion at the meeting tonight.

I've mentioned before that my book club tends to veer away from the Holocaust; when you get a group of Jewish women together, you're bound to have someone whose ties cut a little too close to this period in history. But like A Thread of Grace, this is one book I'm glad we chose to read.

There is a follow-up that was just released in April. Called The Diplomat's Wife, it's the story of Marta, a secondary character in this book. I've already got it on my wishlist, even though from the summaries I've read, many of the themes parallel this book's. We shall see...

In the meantime, don't miss this one. I'm actually giving it to my vet tech next week, or I'd do a giveaway with it. Truly, I loved this book.

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Monday, August 18, 2008


Susan's Fashion File: Business Attire

I'm going to pick on my fellow writer friend, Amy Ruttan, here. But only for a moment. And only because of the numerous people who've asked me why I don't join RWA, she's the only regular reader I know of. (Feel free to correct me on this subject)

Now, let me start off by saying that while I feel that only recognizing certain publishers is counter-productive to everyone -- and let's not open that argument here; that's not what this post is about -- that's not my reason for not joining RWA. To be honest, I think there are a lot of reasons why this organization would be good for me.

But the local meetings are SO far away that I can get to another state or two faster than I can get there. And the local meetings -- at least the last time I checked, over a year and a half ago -- were all day on a Saturday. I don't want to miss out on that much family time. Not to mention how angry my cats will get with me for being gone that long.

Yeah, that's a pretty good reason to keep my distance. After all, isn't part of the reason we join these things to be able to talk in person to other writers?

Well, there's Nationals, everyone argues. What a great time Nationals is. I have to go. I'm missing out.

Yeah, okay, sure. After the great experience I had at Romantic Times last April, I can totally believe that.

Except for one thing.

You see, to me, this is what one wears when one gets dressed up and wants to put a good face on for the world to see. Pull on my washable suede pants, add a pair of Doc Martens, or maybe my $2 slip-on tennies with the skull-and-crossbones insignia all over them and ... you get the idea.

Needless to say, I'd get thrown out on my skulls. Nevermind that every single person on the planet says to wear what you're comfortable in, especially if you're going to make pitches. Nevermind that I write about rock and roll for a reason (that reason being this is who I am).

Nope, boys and girls. It's all about the dress code. I don't pass muster, and I have no real desire to play dress up and pretend to be someone I'm not.

Take me or leave me. But do it as I am.

(btw, for you Eagle-eyed groupies and casual link-clickers, yes, that IS the very smoking Rob Zombie in that hoodie I so covet. And for the record, I'm not buying it. If it were a pullover it'd be mine. Hear that, Rob???? Wanna pass that along to your wife, please, since it's her clothing line we're discussing here?)

(and is it any coincidence that now that I'm trying out EntreCard, Blogger thinks I'm a spam blog? Didn't think so.)

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Sunday, August 17, 2008


Susan's Music Talk: Mandatorily Here

I won't bore you with the chain of events, but suffice it to say I'm taking an antibiotic that's just making me want to make like Mitchell, in this outtake. (He's so much fun to pick on!)

So I spent yesterday on the couch with the Olympics on and the laptop sucking me in. That means that today's the first day I've been able to fire up my XM Online and listen to the temporary Metallica channel.

I was right when I said sitting here would be easy and getting up to go to the bathroom would be hard. I'm also a bit concerned that there's soon going to be food caked everywhere on my desk and carpet... you get the idea.

If you're not as addicted as I am, you might want to check this out. I got an e-mail from Sneak Attack Media, telling me about this cool indie flick they're showing online. It's called Dig! and I can hardly wait to sit and watch it, myself.

Once October comes, and my all-Metallica XM channel is no more.

Of course.

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Friday, August 15, 2008


100 Words: Corn

Amy wanted corn. It was her turn to make dinner. Mitchell had volunteered to buy corn. "It's summertime," he'd said, then promised he would throw it on the grill. Mitchell liked grilled corn and Amy hated cooking. It worked all around.

Problem was, it was still early in the summer. The corn wasn't ripe. And Amy wasn't telling what else she was making, which made it hard to guess what else to buy.

There were packages of corn in the freezer, already shucked. That seemed wrong; everyone knew corn was better fresh.

But Amy wanted corn. She'd better appreciate this.

I wish I had a relationship with my sisters like Mitchell has with Amy. For more of their antics, see The Time Before Dinner, Naked, and Baking Cookies.

Notice how much I wind up writing about food? I wonder what a psychiatrist would say about me and this tendency of mine... No, on second thought, I don't.

More food: Soy Sauce 1, Soy Sauce 2, and Val's Cake.

If you want to know more about Mitchell and Amy, click on their names and you can take the magic ride back to their bio pages. At the bottom of those pages are more links for you, if these weren't enough.

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Monday, August 11, 2008


Susan's Music Talk: Chair Magnetic

I should have put the pieces together when my XM Radio was flooded with Metallica as we drove from here to points around Virginia, and back home again. I mean, I know how the Big Publicity Machine cranks up right before a band has a new CD to release. It's fun to watch, particularly if you like the band.

And you guys know I like my Metallica. Okay, the last album, St. Anger. Let's talk about that in one sentence: DOESN'T LIVE UP TO POTENTIAL. (sheesh, do I have report cards from when I was a kid that says the same thing. Am I in good company, or what?)

I'm hopeful that the new album won't have this problem. I'd have to threaten to get on the case of the guy who I often think of as the inspiration for Roadie Poet, but he has nothing to do with the music Metallica makes. That would be a waste of my time. Not to mention his; I like him too much to do that to him.

Besides, I'm going to be rather busy come this Saturday, 16 August. I got word today that XM Radio is launching a Mandatory Metallica channel (51 for those of you whose eyes just lit up like mine did). It'll run the whole way until 30 September, by which point I expect I might be all Metallica-ed out. Maybe. I mean, heck, why not? It's not like they're coming to my (lame) city before the end of January.

Writers often talk about "bum glue" (which is a phrase I hate because I hate the word bum when we're talking about the good old tuchas. I mean, really. Why use bum when there's this great Yiddish word to use instead??). Tuchas glue... that's what we often need to make ourselves sit down and write.

Anyone want to place bets on how much I'll get done with 45 days of Metallica, a definite stimulant to my muse, blaring away in here?

Scary thought, I know. Especially because the real question is how many bathroom breaks I'll deny myself 'cause I just can't tear myself away from the one millionth listening of Master of Puppets...

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Saturday, August 09, 2008


Roadie Poet: Ask

There's a code out here
On the road.

You do your job.
You hang out.
Keep it light as long as you can.

You got here 'cause you're good.
You know your shit.
No need to ask for instructions.

Like a robot, you do what you gotta do.
Don't think about how mechanical it gets by tour's end.
Just do.
Think about what you're doing.
Pay attention;
One fuck-up can hurt the stars.

They're worth millions.
You don't hurt them.
No matter how much you want to
'cause they treat you like you're

And whatever you do,
You never
Stop and ask them


This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is ask. Once again, I had too many ideas to choose from, so don't be surprised if more fiction based around this theme surfaces in the future.

If you're visiting from Scribblings, please leave a comment so I make sure to visit you in return. Thanks for coming by!

If you're new to the Roadie Poet, click on the link in his name right there, and it'll take you to a biography page, and links to his earlier poems.

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Susan's Author Spotlight: Carole Nelson Douglas

Congratulations to Claudia, who won a great package of excerpts! Stay tuned for more full-length reads.

In my never-ending quest to tell you about the books I've read that I simply adore, I'm back with one I knew I'd love even before I picked it up. And it's got a great story behind it, too, as all great books should.

It started at the 2008 Romantic Times Convention in April. I was picking up all the free excerpts I could find (note to authors: free excerpts = new readers!) and reading them before I'd shut off the NHL playoffs in the background and the light beside my bed. I went through a bunch that were okay, a bunch that were good, and a few that were downright horrible.

And then I picked up this little book from Juno Press, featuring Carole Nelson Douglas on one side and Maria Lima on the other. As fate would have it, I started reading the Carole Nelson Douglas book first.

I finished it up the next morning before heading back to the Hilton from Hell to see if I could help the Mystery Chicks set up the breakfast they were sponsoring. I figured they were the same women I'd hung out with the night before -- cool women like Hank Phillippi Ryan, and funny women like Lori Avocato -- wait. I met her at breakfast. Didn't I? And the woman I look to as a steadying presence, Nancy Martin.

Anyway, there was Carole Nelson Douglas in among this group of women. I went as fangirl as Susan can get and gushed about how I'd just read the excerpt and was hooked.

Let me tell you, Carole Nelson Douglas is an amazing woman. She's clever, she's funny, she's smart, and she's figured out how to survive in this business. Not to mention she's got this amazing old-world style that I envy. When my good friend Ann mentioned her Midnight Louie mystery series, I recognized the name immediately. I'd be surprised if you don't.

Luck was totally on my side in this scenario, because as a thanks for helping out, Ann and I were allowed to raid the freebie table. So we did. And there among the freebies was the first in Carole Nelson Douglas' new series, Dancing with Werewolves. (Uhh, that's the name of the book, not the series, which seems to have the boring name of Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator. Accurate, but not as stylish as I know Carole can get.)

Reading it was quite the treat. After reading the synopsis in the excerpt of Brimstone Kiss, I felt like I knew what was going on. But it still felt fresh and new and had me totally engaged -- so much so that more than once, I woke up early to keep reading.

In a nutshell, Delilah Street sees herself on TV. That's not unusual since Delilah is a TV reporter, but ... this Delilah. She's dead. Maggoty. Nasty and haunting.

A chain of events sets Delilah -- now no longer Delilah Street, TV reporter, but Delilah Street, paranormal investigator -- on the path of this dead doppelganger. Enter a man named Ric, another man named Nightwine (who eats living things), a weirdo named Cocaine, or Snow, or... and enough magic to set David Copperfield on edge.

Yet it works. The magic, the vamps, the werewolves, the Cine-Sims... Douglas manages to weave the familiar with the fresh in such a way that the world makes perfect sense and yet is totally foreign, without the reader feeling lost. In fact, I sort of wish Cine-Sims were real...

I want to share this goodness with you, but there's no way I'm parting with my copy, which Carole so kindly autographed for me. Even if she hadn't, there's still no way.

So... I'll part with my copy of the excerpt, and throw in a second from Juno Books, as well. That means you'll get two volumes with three excerpts in them:

Brimstone Kiss, by Carole Nelson Douglas
Blood Bargain, by Maria Lima
Seaborn, by Chris Howard

The other two are good, but this new Delilah Street series? Tops it all. And then some. (but you may not agree, which is why I'm going to let you find out for yourself!)

And what the heck. I've got lots to give away over here, so I'll throw in other stuff, too. I've got a bunch more excerpts, and I STILL maintain that there isn't a better way to check out a new author than through excerpts. So I'll make you a cute little package; you know you want it!

To enter your name, leave a comment here. Be sure to leave me a way to reach you, or you can't win. I'll pick a winner on . This is open to anyone in the world, even if you've won here before. And all the other usual rules that reign when I run a contest.

I'm out of town (or am I just hiding?), so I'll pick a winner on Saturday, August 9. Like usual, the winner will be picked by my kids, so don't yell at me if you don't win. You guys know me: if there was a way to let you all win, I'd gladly do that.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008


Booking Through Thursday: Other Worlds

Oh, how can I NOT answer this week's Booking Through Thursday? It's perfect for me!


Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?

Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?

What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

C'mon... you know the answer to this. I'd live in Riverview, USA, of course! I think I'd be Kerri, only I'm not as cool as she is, so maybe we'll have to create a character like her best friend or someone else who's equally inside the world of ShapeShifter -- and everyone else, like Boomer and Pam, who aren't exactly part of ShapeShifter's world, and Lyric, who is part, but in a different sort of way. (How's THAT for a run-on?)

Come to think of it, part of the privilege of being the creator is that I DO fit into the worlds of all these characters (and the others I haven't mentioned yet today, like Springer). They are diverse people who do things that don't always revolve around the band, and I can't imagine any one person being involved with all the characters I have created (many of whom I have yet to share with you guys. Oh, September can't come fast enough!).

Which means that if I were a character, I'd want me to write about myself. Which sort of hints at a memoir, but I generally hate to read those, so maybe we should approach this from the incestual viewpoint of metafiction. I'm not sure.

This last concept has made my brain hurt. I think I'm glad I'm real.

Not a regular? Check out the links; they will take you to bio pages of all these characters I've mentioned. At the bottom of those pages, if you're so inclined, you can click on links that'll take you back here to the blog, and you can read the fiction I've created for all these people. Have fun!


Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Susan Speaks: Award Season!

Yep, it's that time of year again when you guys make me feel the warm fuzzies. You know, it's hard to write scenes with Trevor in them when I've got the warm fuzzies. Trevor, as most of you know, is diametrically opposed to the warm fuzzies. (Between you and me, I think Trevor's terrified of the warm fuzzies, but I don't think any of you groupies are surprised by that.)

There are a ton of awards that have been directed not just at this blog, but at my Win a Book blog, too. Let me recap for you:

Allessandra at her place has given Win a Book the Brillante Award. She thanks us for helping her win new reads.

My dear friend Bob-kat has given me the SuperCommentor award. I think all you guys know how hard I try to say something of meaning, so this felt very good, indeed. Read what she had to say here.

More of that Brillante Award. My dear, dear friend Bunnygirl sent this one my way, and coming from her, that's high praise. Once school starts for my kids, don't be surprised if you hear more adventures of Susan and Bunnygirl...

Win a Book was actually awarded two more awards, but as they rolled in when I was about to roll off to Cub Scout Camp, I sent them to Breeni and asked her to acknowledge them on behalf of the WaB team.

I'd pass these along because I've met even more cool people of late and am dying to acknowledge them, but I'm also about to pop back out of town for another week. (Or I'm already there. You decide.) Once the summer travels are over and life settles down into a pre-school and kids' birthday hubbub, I'll see what I can do to make sure you know of the coolness that's been entering my life.

Awards or no, know I'm grateful to all of you for hanging out with me. And Trevor. And the rest of the fictional folk who populate this place. I may be busy doing semi-interesting things right now, but it won't last. The fictional gang are still more interesting than I am. That's not going to change; it's why I'm a writer.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Susan's Author News: Jade Lee

I met Jade Lee at Romantic Times last April and loved her. What energy. What verve. And so darn smart and quick and totally together...

Really, she's the sort you want to be like.

So when I saw this article about her, I had to spread the word. If it's true that her book is going to be turned into a graphic novel... whoo-whee. What fun that will be. I can't wait.

More when I know it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Susan's Book Talk: Vlad Taltos

It was a few years ago now that I first encountered Steven Brust via Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grille. I loved it; there's this hipness to it that never makes the reader feel like the narrator is too hip for you. Instead, you're part of the happenings.

Brust has a fantastic narrative voice.

But if I liked that one, I wasn't prepared for what Jhereg did to me. Or what Yendi did, now that I've finished it.

These books are really hard to explain. For one, they're science fiction, so they're set in an alternate reality that's intriguing as hell. (And must have taken Brust years to create; you guys commend me on my vision, but it's nothing next to Steven Brust.)

All I can say is, "Go read it and see."

My copy of Jhereg is long traded away, sad to say. I haven't decided what I'm going to do with Yendi yet, as I'm still away (or am I?) and thinking about books other than my own is low on my priority list right now.

Stay tuned. There will probably be more when I read Teckla. It's also sitting here, waiting for me. After that, while there are more in the series, they aren't in my house yet.

Must... fix... that...

So much for thinking about books being low on my priority list...

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