Sunday, September 28, 2008


Byline: Chelle LaFleur -- Behold Me

Now, if you know Chelle LaFleur like you supposed to know Chelle LaFleur, you know all too well what sort of ShapeShifter fan I am. I am sayin' right here and now that I could go head to head with any other ShapeShifter fan out there and beat 'em when it comes to trivia. And that any other fan bit? It includes their own Mommas and Poppas. Maybe even the boys, themselves.

So I don't know what local townie Bradley thinks he's doin'. Oh, no, not the gettin' married part. That's the part that makes sense. So do all the wedding plans, with the flowers and the cake and fire hall and the decorations and all that.

Where it all falls apart is where he looks at me and says, "Hey, Chelle, what do you think about us using Behold Me as our first dance song?"

Okay, now. No one's exactly lining up to marry ol' Chelle's fat self here, so maybe I'm a little bit out of touch with what's hot in the world of weddin's these days. Maybe I am. I'll say that up front. But last time I checked, you was supposed to pick a slow song, something that gives a man and a woman reason to snuggle up in each others' arms while everyone watches and coos about how cute you are. Behold Me is no slow song. So Bradley, what's your plan, boy? You and your beautiful bride gonna hold hands and lead the head banging? You really think Great-Grandma's gonna get what you two be doin'? Won't she fall out of her wheelchair if she tries to follow along?

Now, Chelle here sees another problem entirely with this plan of Bradley's. And that problem's the meanin' of the song. Behold Me isn't some sappy plea from the outcast high school girl who wants to get herself noticed by the quarterback. Oh, no, sir-ree. Behold Me's about more substantial stuff.

Just to make sure Chelle was hearin' things right, I went right to the source. My main man, Mitchell Voss.

Now, you all know about Mitchell Voss. They call him a dragon, and for good reason. So Chelle here wasn't exactly expectin' to hear laughter when she told Voss what was up.

"They want to what?" he asked and nope, there weren't no laughin' going on. At least, I don't think that noise was laughin'. Count me in that group who thinks that boy don't know how to laugh.

I told that handsome man I was callin' him to see if the song's about what I'm thinkin' it's about. And like I said, ol' Chelle may be fat and slow, but no one knows ShapeShifter better.

"Behold Me is a song about a homeless guy who wants to be noticed and seen. Maybe helped," Voss said. "There's nothing romantic about it. I mean, s---, this is ShapeShifter we're talking about. We don't do romance.

"On the other hand," he said, "more power to this couple if the song holds that much meaning for them. Maybe one of them was homeless. Who knows? It's not the song I'd pick and no, Chelle, don't ask. I'm not telling you a damn thing about my life."

Boys and girls, lemme tell you somethin'. When Mitchell Voss married that pretty little artist of his, do you know who the first media person he called was? Do you know how many dreams of Chelle LaFleur's got trashed with that phone call to that first rock reporter? And that boy thinks he ain't gonna tell me a "damn thing" about his life?

Seems that Bradley's pulling a Mitchell Voss on me, too. Chelle picked up the phone and tracked that boy down, but if he knows why he and his lady picked Behold Me for their first dance, he ain't sayin'. Whatever.

You heard it first and you heard it here, right outta the horse's lips. Behold Me's a song about homeless people, not the adorin' gaze of lust.

Once again this week, I had a million ideas when I saw this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt: wedding. I thought of letting Pam dream about her wedding to Mitchell. Lyric was going to put together special wedding baskets in the store. I even played with ideas for Roadie Poet and Deadly Metal Hatchet.

In the end this won. Hope you like.

For more Chelle, use this link.

For more Mitchell, use this link.

For more ShapeShifter, use this link.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008


BTT: Well, that was different!

I like this week's Booking Through Thursday question. Here it is:

What was the most unusual (for you) book you ever read? Either because the book itself was completely from out in left field somewhere, or was a genre you never read, or was the only book available on a long flight… whatever? What (not counting school textbooks, though literature read for classes counts) was furthest outside your usual comfort zone/familiar territory?

And, did you like it? Did it stretch your boundaries? Did you shut it with a shudder the instant you were done? Did it make you think? Have nightmares? Kick off a new obsession?

You know what? I can't answer that so easily.

I've got two degrees in English and while I like to laugh and brag about having managed to avoid many of the classics, I've also read things that, at the time, stretched my boundaries.

Moby Dick and the Scarlet Letter. Two classics (and possibly what turned me off the entire genre of classics) that convinced me that I could read the damn things out loud and still not retain much of anything that I read.

In college, it was old texts like Beowulf, which I loved. That opened the door to Grendel, which was brilliant. (No, I have not yet seen the movies.) Those were all good experiences, but did they turn me into raving fangirls?? Nope.

Fast forward to grad school. Experimental writers like David Bowman's Let the Dog Drive (a book still on my shelf). Carole Maso. Kathy Acker. Metafiction. Interesting, but not for me.

And literary writers, too. Anne Panning, who was a classmate. Susan Sontag. E. Annie Proulx. Sadly, like the metafiction and experimental stuff, it didn't do much for me. It's nicely written literature, sure. But not what jazzes me.

And despite how difficult most Latin American literature is, some of it is so achingly beautiful that it makes me cry. One Hundred Years of Solitude. The House of the Spirits.

But some of it? Ick. I may still have a copy of The Aleph on my shelf but that's more because after all I went through to get it, I'm not parting with it so fast.

Now, as an out-of-school writer and mom, I read whatever makes me happy. Right now, it's Edwidge Danticat's The Dew Breaker. And a SciFi by Gregory Benford. I like to read all sorts of different things, not just the same old, same old.

Part of the fun of participating in sites that blog about books, be they blogs by authors or blogs by book lovers, is exposing myself to new stuff. The nice thing about a book you don't like is that you can close it and give it away.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Sorry for the lack of buy links over to The kids got home from school as I was composing this and I need to go hang with them. If any of these titles grab you, head on over to your nearest independent bookstore -- even if it's an online one -- and pick up your own copy.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Awards and awards and ... more awards?

I know I've mentioned here before how much I have come to adore Winter.

It seems the feeling is mutual, because she's now given me the Beary Best Award.

You Are The Beary Best

Here are the rules:

1. The Beary Best Award is given to those people who we want to know we care… just because
2. See rule #1

Don’t forget that the bear award should link back to Dawg. If you need the code click here.

On the other end of the spectrum is Toni, from It Is Nap Time. Not that I don't love her, but that she doesn't show up in my comment trail nearly as often as Winter does. Comments, though, don't indicate who's reading or else I wouldn't be on Toni's mind.

She's given me the Kick-Ass Blogger award, which might be like the Rockin' Wench blogger award Rhian gave me back when she was still around (how I miss Rhian). Regardless, it's always nice to see that you guys love me.

Next on the list is the awesome Maunie, who I mostly know because we're both Blue Ribbon Bloggers together.

She's created a new award, and I'm special enough to be one of the first people who gets to paste it on her blog. Check it here: It's the Purr-fect Blog award. Wow. Man, that makes me feel good, especially on those dark nights when throwing in the towel seems like the world's best idea.

I've made a new friend, too. Dori, who blogs From a Yellow House in England. Dori's cool; if you haven't met her yet, please do. She's given me the Gold Card, the BFF Gold Card to be more specific. We're new friends, so this is also special.

So... let me pass these babies on...

... but for a change, my mind draws a blank. Completely.


If you ever need inspiration, check out Frigga's two blogs: Any Apples and Through Frigga's Eyes. This woman has a talent with the camera.

So does Janet, at Fond of Snape.

A new friend is over at Writing to Survive. Want to read some fabulous writing? Here's your place to do it.

More good writing can be found both at Alice Audrey's place and at the Romance Roundtable. (and not just because Alice posts links to my own stuff at the Roundtable.)

... and yet more great writing. Penelope Anne, aka Sassy Mama Bear. She's got multiple blogs, but here's her writing blog.

Into reading fiction (other than mine) online? Check out Steal Tomorrow, my friend Ann's serial. If you get hooked on the thrice-weekly posts and need to read more, you can buy a copy of the book and be a know-it-all.

And for some really achingly beautiful poetry, try Black Tie and Sneakers. With a blog name like that, you know it's up my alley.

So there you go. New faces, new friends. Pick your award and display it proudly. In the meantime, this is apparently only part one of this post... part two will show up ... uh... one day. I promise!


Sunday, September 21, 2008


100 Words: Yearning

Maybe if she wasn't who she was, she wouldn't understand it so utterly. Maybe she wouldn't smile when she woke up to find her arm being chorded, her hip being strummed.

She did understand it, though. She had similar pulls: to draw, to sketch. To make a piece of paper come alive with an image. His music, her art… together, they were a team whose creations couldn't intersect. It was a team of space-giving and passion-nurturing, of speaking a language few could hear.

He said she was his muse. She knew he was hers.

Who knew where they could go?

Wow. Here it is, all these years after I created Mitchell, Kerri, Trevor and the fictional city of Riverview, USA.

This is the root of what I was trying to create, the Mitchell-Kerri dynamic. Somehow Trevor snuck in there and upstaged them, but when you get down to it, this is where it all began.

The 100 word prompt this week at Velvet Verbosity's blog is yearning.

I do, however, still yearn to bring you a book. Stay tuned.

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Friday, September 19, 2008


Lyric Fiction: The Invitation

The envelope was the opposite of engraved. The letters were raised, and they were shiny. And dark blue. The whole thing was totally out of her league. It was nothing like Lyric had ever seen, and Lyric considered herself pretty worldly at thirteen.

"Is there one for me, too?" Allegra asked, reaching for the rest of the mail.

"No," Lyric said, staring glassy-eyed at the envelope. It was addressed to Miss Lyric Maker. It looked fancy, classy. And someone had sent it to her.

"Do you think it's a joke?"

Lyric turned the envelope over. It was heavy in her hand, like the paper was really expensive. Melody had shown them fancy paper like this once. Lyric couldn't remember why they were in a store that sold it, but they had been, and Melody had picked it up and let the girls touch it. The saleslady had frowned at them like they weren't good enough to be touching such expensive stuff. Lyric had thrown her a defiant look and really felt the paper. Even under her fingertips, it had been weighty. And smooth, like ice.

The return address on the back was also blue and shiny and raised. It had a name Lyric recognized. Schwartz.

"It's from Slippy."

"Oh," Allegra said. "No wonder I didn't get one." She turned away and flipped through the rest of the mail.

Lyric shrugged and tried to slide her finger under the flap, wanting to open it as gracefully and carefully as paper this rich deserved.

"I don't know why you like her," Allegra said. "She's strange."

"She's just quiet. Once you get her talking, she's really funny." Lyric slid the pages out. There was a reply envelope, in the same lush cream color and with the same raised blue letters. It even had a stamp already on it. Tucked under the envelope's flap was the reply card. It matched the envelopes, and it invited her to a special dinner dance. There were lines where she could pick if she wanted steak, chicken, or a special vegetarian meal.

"What is this?" Lyric asked, handing the reply card to Allegra. Her twin looked at it and shrugged.

There was a bigger piece of paper, too. One with a piece of tissue paper covering it. Lyric took away the tissue paper and looked at the paper underneath. A silver piece of paper had been glued between two pieces of the cream: one bigger and one smaller. The smaller one had writing on it, inviting Lyric to the Bat Mitzvah of Tziporah Hadassah Schwartz.

"Ooh," Allegra said. "Religion. Think Mom'll let you go?"

"Go where, girls?" Melody said, walking through the door. Her purse swung on her wrist and she wore oversized Jackie Kennedy sunglasses. And a plastic rain bonnet over her bottle blonde hair even though it wasn't raining. It completed the look, so it was necessary.

Allegra snatched the invitation and ran over to Melody with it. "A Bat Mitzvah?" Melody asked, her eyebrows shooting upwards. "They invited someone from our family to a religious event? Are they aware of who we are?"

"Slippy's been telling me about it," Lyric said. "She's been studying for almost a year and she gets to read from this sacred book. She says it's a big deal. I'm glad she wants me to see it."

And then it came. The question neither twin had wanted to face. "Why you, honey? They're not," Melody paused and turned her head so she could give Lyric a sidelong look, "going to make fun of my princess, are they?"

"I don't think so, Mom. Slippy and I are … well, we're not friends. But we talk. And she's nice. I like her."

"Do you think they know who you are?"

"Mom," Allegra said, "how could they address an envelope to Lyric Maker and not know who she is? C'mon. Everyone on the planet knows who we are."

"I want to go," Lyric said quietly. "I like Slippy, and maybe this is a chance to show them that the Maker girls aren't all trashy sex people. That we're respectable, just like everyone else."

"To a religious event!" Melody screeched, her hand to her chest and her eyes wide, like this was the most outrageous thing she'd ever heard.

"Why not?" Lyric said, ignoring the show. If she got sucked in, she'd forget what she wanted, and then Mom would win and Lyric wouldn't get to see Slippy doing this chanting thing she'd been talking about. Lyric had too many questions to miss out on being there. Would Slippy fall into a trance? Would something majestic happen? What did a … what was the sort of place where this was happening?

Lyric took the invitation back and read it again. Temple Beth El. It sounded harmless enough. She even knew where it was.

"You're sure?" Melody asked.

Lyric nodded. "You're always saying that if people would take the time to get to know us, they'd realize there's more here than porn flicks." She held the invitation up. "Here's the chance to show them." She looked at the words again, the fancy, shiny blue letters, the cream paper, the muted silver middle layer. It screamed of taste and class and all those other things that the Maker girls were supposed to be missing. "Maybe Slippy and her mom will take us shopping, Mom. Show us what to wear to Temple Beth El?"

"Temple Beth El?" Allegra said, tilting Lyric's hand so she could read the invitation upside down. "What's an El?"

"Who's Beth?" Melody asked.

"I bet Harmony will wish there's a Temple Harmony El," Allegra said.

The three of them looked at each other and started to laugh.

"We've got a lot to learn," Melody said. "Let's get busy."

"How?" Lyric asked.

Melody plucked the invitation out of Lyric's hands. "We start by calling this Tziporah's mother and explaining that you'd love to come, but we don't know the customs and would she be kind enough to help out."

"Her family's pretty religious, Mom," Allegra said.

"Not so religious that they are leaving Lyric out. That's a start," Melody said.

"They might try to convert you," Allegra told Lyric, who shrugged. "What'll you do if they try?"

"Listen and learn," Melody said. "And come back home and tell us everything!"

Usually, posts involving Melody and her girls have to do with the fact that Melody Maker is not a music magazine but a famous porn star. This week's Sunday Scribblings Prompt took my thoughts in a different direction. I sort of like it, particularly Temple Harmony El. And Tziporah's nickname of Slippy.

Follow this link to learn more about Lyric and her family.

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Giving You... Black Wolf on Tour

This is a sticky post. Please scroll down for the good stuff!

It's a good thing that what you post in the Internet is there forever. I'd meant to give this book away to celebrate the posting of my review of it over at Front Street Reviews, where all of my book reviews find a home.

So it's a belated celebration, but one nonetheless.

You, too, can read Magnolia Belle's Black Wolf on Tour. You can even read MY copy of it.

Here are the rules:
1. Contest open world-wide. Hand delivery to Mars, since I'm West of you.
2. Contest open to past winners.
4. You have until Thursday the 18th of September.
5. Winner will be announced via a random drawing on 19 September. Watch this post for the update.

That's it. I reserve the right to disqualify you if you're a jerk, a spammer, or otherwise unpleasant in a non-Trevor Wolff-ish way.

h/t to Janicu, who figured out that this is the permalink to my review.

Congratulations to Janel, who is our winner! (and thanks to #2, who picked the winner)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Tagged, Trevor's it?

My good friend Julia over at A Piece of My Mind tagged me for the Tag, You're It! meme. Except... she asked some of the boys to do it.

The timing of this fits nicely. I've got something in the works that'll allow you all to bring at least a piece of Trevor into your homes... stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, let me hand things over to our favorite bass player.

Six unspectacular quirks? What the fuck?

First off, nothing, and I mean nothing about Trevor Wolff is unspectacular. Got that? Total package. It's all spectacular. Come closer and see for yourself if you have to.

Probably the only thing in my life that could maybe sort of be unspectacular is Rusty. She's Mitchell's wife, but I'm stuck with her. I did my best to make sure that didn't happen. Trevor Wolff doesn't fail often, but when I do, fireworks go off. But don't tell Rusty I said that 'cause she'll start telling me all about the fireworks she sees when she and Mitchell go at it and that'll just make me puke. I fucking hate puking.

Look close. I told you six things in there. Don't hurt yourself, though. It'd suck if you were too hurt to come close and see how spectacular I am.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


Calling All Roadie Poet Fans!

Check out THIS poem.

Doesn't it remind you of our favorite Poet?

More from me in bit... be sure you've seen Twist, okay?


Friday, September 12, 2008


100 Words: Twist (Pre-Trevor's Song Era)

There had to be something fucked up about it. Normal people didn't come off stage and crave ice cream, but then again, Trevor Wolff wasn't normal people.

Not mere ice cream. Soft serve. Or softish old-fashioned, the kind that demands constant attention and a tongue pushing it down to the bottom of the cone and wiping up what spills over the sides and down over your hands…

Mitchell liked to drag a willing girl into the shower But Trevor, he liked to wait. To make that trip and choose which you felt like: vanilla or chocolate. Or some of each.

Methinks there's more than one twist going on here, but I'm not entirely certain. You decide.

If you're new to Trevor and Mitchell, well, what took you so long to get here? Come hang out with everyone's favorite fictional band! Click on the boys' names to be taken to a character sketch page that'll tell you all you need to know and even give you extra links to see them in action.

This short piece was written for Velvet Verbosity's 100 word challenge. Come join in; it's a great writing exercise.

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Monday, September 08, 2008


Susan Speaks: Being nominated is all the fun

Back in May, I did something that made me immediately loathed by some of the big-name book blogs and some authors out there: I gathered up a team and launched a blog devoted to listing contests involving books.

It doesn't sound like the sort of thing that would invoke derision from the very people I'm seeking to talk about. I mean, isn't it a good thing when people talk about you?

But, apparently, there are people out there who are basically contest groupies. They enter everything. And there are the people who win the books and then turn around and sell them on eBay.

During the three years I spent working on a fan convention for my favorite real band (and you regulars know who that band is), I heard more than once about this same type of person. It seems they're not unique to the book world. So while I marvel that people would act this way with a book, it's not my first exposure to this sort of person. No matter where we go and what we do, there will always be the shady few among us.

I almost gave up Win a Book after the first week, demoralized when I was told that an author holds contests to give away books to her devoted following, not to gain new fans. My dear friend Breeni talked me into keeping with it, and our following grew by leaps and bounds -- but not among the authors so much as among the men and women who devote their blogs to talking about the books they've read. And yes, the books they are giving away. In fact, if you mention their contest on your blog, they'll give you an extra entry.

This community of book bloggers is strong but, perhaps, often overlooked. To help combat that, My Friend Amy declared September 15 through 19 to be Book Blogger Appreciation Week. And in conjunction with this week, she asked for nominations in a number of categories. When all was said and done with that step, she realized that popular demand had created a new category: Most Altruistic Blog. And Win a Book was one of the nominees.

I'm always pleased to be thought of by others. But to be included in this particular category? It fits, and it fits nicely, I think. Whenever I drop by someone's blog to tell them I've posted their contest at Win a Book, I usually tell them there's no need to enter me. I'm doing this to help spread the word about the book, the author, the blogger... I'm not doing this to win books. (The exception to this "no need to enter me" rule is if a book is on my wishlist)

Since that rocky first week, I've found other authors who are willing to have us post about their giveaways. I also post links to guest blog posts by authors whose names frequently pop up, as well as links to interviews. I like to post about sales and deals. I love to hear that I've turned people on to books.

Look. I'm a writer. I know all too well how hard this game of publishing is. There are things going on in the publishing industry that I loathe. Win a Book is just one way that I'm trying to make a difference and make things better for all of us writers.

Yep. Altruistic.

Maybe that's why I don't care if Win a Book wins in its category. I'd be thrilled if it does, but for now, it's enough to know that I am making a difference. Hopefully that's only the beginning.

Now, it's your turn to make a difference. Go on over to My Friend Amy's and vote, will you, please? Even if you don't vote for Win a Book. But there are a lot of great blogs nominated in a lot of great categories. Raise your voices and make a difference.

Use this link.


Sunday, September 07, 2008


Fiction Outtake: The Time After Dinner (The Early Days)

It's not necessary, but it may help if you visit The Time Before Dinner. This is a sequel of sorts. You should be able to catch on to the basic idea if you're too lazy to go look, though.

When Mitchell got up after dinner and left the house, Trevor knew exactly where he was going -- and why. He figured he'd give the idiot a while to get his head together, but Amy started bugging him, grabbing at his forearm and being so fucking whiny that Trevor left the house to track down Mitchell sooner than he wanted to.

Sure enough, Mitchell was in their spot by the river, chewing on a piece of grass and staring at nothing. He was all stretched out, his legs crossed at the ankle, the hand that wasn't playing with the grass in his mouth tucked up behind his head.

He looked like Huck Finn. He even had his shoes off.

Trevor sat down beside him and stared at the river. It was barely moving today. Even the air was still. "Yeah?" Trevor asked. "So?"

"So what?"

With a curl in his upper lip, Trevor mimicked Mitchell. Like the idiot didn't know what this was all about. "I go to all that trouble to find you a girl who's willing to take on your virginal ass and that's all you can say to me?"

"Uhh… thanks?"

Trevor grabbed the grass and yanked it out of Mitchell's mouth.

Mitchell yelped and sat up, fingers hovering over his lip. "Fuckhead!"

"That didn't hurt, you baby." He made a show of looking Mitchell up and down. "It's a fucking miracle I was able to find someone for you, and this shit is exactly why."

Mitchell turned away and didn't say anything.

Trevor let him stew. He lit up a cigarette and waited.

"So," he said when Mitchell relaxed a hair, "did you last longer than thirty seconds?"


Trevor crowed, the cigarette dangling off his lower lip as he laughed. "You didn't, did you! I fucking knew it!"

"I lasted," Mitchell growled.

"One day. Two miracles. Think Hell's about to freeze over?"

Mitchell took a swipe at the back of Trevor's head. Trevor just grinned.

"How'd you do it?" he asked when Mitchell stopped growling. "Multiplication tables?"

"Chords. I talked myself through two different Rat Catcher songs."


"What's wrong?"

"You're there with a girl for the first fucking time ever and all you can do is play your fucking guitar?"

"It worked, didn't it? Two Rat Catcher songs… that's, like, ten minutes!"

"You stupid fuck. You've got a girl. Don't you know what that means?"

"I do now, yeah."

Trevor wanted to smear Mitchell's grin into the riverbank. "No! No, no, no!" He jumped up and pulled his cigarette off his lip. It felt like it tore and for a second, he could see a piece of grass hanging out of Mitchell's mouth. But only for a second; he had more important things to set the stupid ass straight about.

Mitchell was looking at him, his elbows hooked around his knees.

He took that as permission to rant. "Girls are soft. They smell good. They're curvy and fun to touch. They squirm. And, oh fuck, the sounds they make. You didn't notice any of that, did you?"

"Yeah. Of course!"

"Then what the fuck did you need to play your stupid-assed guitar for?"

"'Cause if I hadn't, you'd be sitting here yelling at me for being too fast and not stopping to appreciate her the right way. Why'd you come out here, anyway? Nothing I do is ever right yet you never shut up about what a perfect person I am. It can't be both ways, know that?"

Mitchell was on his feet now. His eyes had turned that dark blue that Trevor knew meant danger, and his face was red.

Trevor took a step back. Maybe Mitchell had been smart enough to figure this girl stuff out on his own. But on the other hand, maybe he hadn't been.

"And you should just stay outta my sex life anyway!" Mitchell yelled.

"If I did that, you wouldn't have one!"

He knew the fist to his gut was coming. It felt good when it landed, taking some of his breath away and doubling him over not quite in half. Instinct made him want to cover his head, but this was Mitchell, and it ended there. He wasn't Hank; he knew when to stop.

Too bad I don't, Trevor thought as his breath came back and he straightened up. "You should be thanking me."

"For the girl? Yeah, sure, whatever. For showing up here and putting on your high-and-mighty act? No fucking way. Take it with you and leave me the fuck alone already." Mitchell sat down, his back to Trevor. He was probably staring off at the river, but his back was shaking.

Trevor went and sat beside him. "Okay, I'm done being a dick now."


"Was it?" He nudged Mitchell with his elbow and watched as the guy fought with himself. It was more fun to stay pissed, Trevor knew that. Smart people got out of the way when Mitchell was pissed.

Trevor wasn't smart. He was also Mitchell's best friend. He knew if he waited, he'd get it.

"Yeah, it was good," the big idiot finally said. He let out a deep breath and nodded. "It was good."

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Saturday, September 06, 2008


Public Service Announcement:

If you've been trying to reach me via mail, or to visit the website, you may have noticed... things are wonky.

The Tour Manager's been working on our server and while he's managed to do a bypass so I can get to the Web, I can't get to my mail.

If things bounce, wait until tomorrow (Sunday) and then resend.

In the meantime, I'm working on a doozy of an outtake for you guys... stay tuned...

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Booking Through Thursday: Peer Pressure

Kudos to my friend JM for asking this week's Booking Through Thursday question:

I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

Of course I've felt pressure to read something because everyone else is. Not just the best-sellers, either. Laurell K. Hamilton comes immediately to mind; I had to find out what was going on with this Anita Blake chick.

MaryJanice Davidson (who is an absolute doll) is another. Charlaine Harris. Carrie Vaughn.

The LKH is the only one that disappointed, and then not until the third or fourth Anita book that I read (out of order, but that wasn't my issue with the series).

(yeah, I noticed, too, that they are all paranormals. Shows you what my online peer group is into, huh?)

There have been few best-sellers that haven't disappointed in one way or another. The Kite Runner bothered me with its brutality (and now my book club talked me into reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I absolutely do not want to read because I hear it's even more brutal). Even The Secret Life of Bees let me down; I'd read that plot before. I'm expecting more of the same from The Time-Traveller's Wife (which is near the top of Mt. TBR) and the good old DaVinci Code, which is still buried in the mountain.

Now, as for that last question... as a reviewer, do I feel compelled to follow the trends?

Absolutely not. In fact, I feel compelled to buck the trends and find gems that may have been overlooked. You can read all of my reviews over at Front Street Reviews, including my most recent one, for a book called Black Wolf on Tour.

After all, if everyone is talking about the same ten or twenty books, how is anyone going to hear about the thousands (literally) that are being overshadowed?

As a writer and a reader, it's my quest to bring attention to those oft-overlooked books.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Susan's Featured New Release: Jinx

I had so much fun talking music with Christine D'Abo (here's the link if you missed it) that I'd like to make this a regular feature.

Just as it felt natural to feature Christine, it feels natural to feature my next author: the way cool Jennifer Estep. I met her when I won a copy of Karma Girl somewhere online. I immediately offered to review it at Front Street Reviews -- the first of three reviews I've since written about her books.

Let's face it. I'm an Estep Junkie. The woman could probably write greeting cards and I'd buy them.

Like I said, featuring her today, on the day that her third book in the Bigtime series, Jinx, is released, feels natural.

So I dropped her a note: What song (new or old) best describes how you view Jinx?

Here's what she said:

The song that makes me think about Jinx is "Under The Gun" by The Killers. The first lines of the song make me think of my main character, Bella Bulluci, since she:

A) Wears a small charm shaped like a pair of wings
B) Dresses up like an angel (with a halo) for a costume party in the book
C) Her house is full of angel- and halo-themed stuff
D) She's "under the gun" in a number of ways, fighting her feelings for the hero and trying to steer clear of ubervillains and all the other craziness that takes place in Bigtime.

The song starts out like this: She's got her halo and wings, hidden under his eye. But she's an angel for sure, she just can't stop telling lies ...

It's just a fast-paced song that I enjoy. I love The Killers, and this song is on "Sawdust," which I think is their best album so far.

Here's a link to a vid that includes the lyrics. Check it out. Read along. Think about Bella and the angel motif.

But mostly, make sure you buy the book. Let this song play in the background as you read it.

And while you're shopping, pick up the other two Bigtime books, too. They're light, they're fun, and they're worth your time.

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