Category Archives: Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: Sesame Street


Holy shit, I’m old. When an icon like Sesame Street is younger than you are, you are OLD. Maybe my dear friend Toby is right and I AM older than dirt.

Or maybe I’m lying about my age.

Doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Sesame Street turned 40.

I have vivid memories of:
1. Mr. Hooper. What a funny thing to think of first.

2. The street itself. The dirty, gritty street that was clearly not the TV set. I always knew it was shot somewhere else. The streets of New York? Didn’t matter. Those city streets were very different from my own suburban white-bread upbringing.

3. Oscar. Man, I love that grouch. Maybe there’s part of him in Trevor.

4. Cookie Monster! I remain envious at the sheer number of cookies that muppet has access to. In my next life, I want to be Cookie Monster.

5. The Count and his organ. I think I liked the organ better than I liked the counting. (See? Music junkie at a young age!)

6. Gordon and Maria. They were so nice. I think the lessons of their different ethnicity were lost on me. Or maybe that explains why I don’t get the fuss about people of other ethnic backgrounds.

7. Bert and Ernie. Gay? Fuck no. Best friends.

8. Big Bird. Big, yellow, feathered … and while others may say he’s a true innocent, I always sort of thought he wasn’t that smart.

9. Grover. I never really got Grover. I just sorta tolerated him, the way you tolerate a goofy friend.

10. “Sh..” “..eep” Remember those word mashes? And the lips that spoke them?

11. MUPPETS. Oh, man. Nothing on that show impacted me more than the muppets did. I adore the muppets. I adore all they stand for: making life a party, and laughing, and caring. Dance your life away, worries for another day… or however the Fraggle Rock song goes. I shouldn’t even be singing it ’cause it wasn’t on Sesame Street.

12. Hi-ho! Kermit the Frog here! Those of you who recall my character of Kermitt Ladd, intrepid rock reporter, will maybe, hopefully, finally get the joke.

13. Rubber Duckie. Enough said.

Happy birthday, Sesame Street. Here’s to 40 more years of you raising our kids right. Assuming you all think I came out right…


Thursday Thirteen: Trevor Says


1. Trevor wanted me to tell you
2. That this week’s Thirteen
3. Is going to be lame.

4. That’s because
5. I spent the day
6. Working on the follow-up
7. To Trevor’s Song,
8. the novel all about him.
(and it’s ALL about Trevor!)

9. When I finish this draft
10. Of the follow-up,
11. I will bring you
12. Trevor’s Song
13. In print and digital versions.
(At least, that’s the plan)


Thursday Thirteen: More About Books


As I ramp up to bring you even more bloggish bookishness, it dawns on me that I talk a lot about books, but my characters? Are books important in my fictional world?

Let’s take a look and see.

1. Trevor famously said: “I tried to read the set list once.”

2. The truth is that he might read something short. If it would hold his interest. (Believe it or not, but erotica would NOT. Why read about something you should be doing?)

3. Mitchell loves his guitar magazines.

4. He’ll also collect coffee table books about guitars, musicians he likes, or almost anything having to do with music.

5. He also reads Sports Illustrated and mountain bike magazines.

6. Daniel’s the reader in the band. Particularly current event non-fiction. Or history. (I have an outtake saved up about this last one)

7. Eric will read. He likes science fiction and military novels. Spy. Espionage. What’s often called MAN fiction.

8. Kerri likes art books. (You’ll actually see this book again. Stay tuned.)

9. Kerri will read women’s fiction, but her real love is stuff like Christopher Moore or Brian Wiprud. Comedy. Satire.

10. Sometimes, the band will pass those books around. You gotta fill those empty hours on the bus or at the venue somehow.

11. Val loves a good romance, or any tear-jerker.

12. Chelle LaFleur doesn’t have much of a life beyond her local music scene and the Trumpet newspaper she writes for. She’s well known at her local library branch.

13. The Deadly Metal Hatchet guys? They’re another Thirteen all their own…


Thursday Thirteen: Books


Well, so far it hasn’t been a great reading year for me. Between Win a Book, my own books, this place, and life in general, reading has taken a back seat. Bummer.

1. In 2005, I read 147 books. I did not finish 54 of them.

2. In 2006, I read exactly the same number of books. Holy smoke. I did not finish 48 of them.

3. No wonder my TBR mountain range numbers hover around the 550 mark (counting what’s on my nightstand and held aside for my book club to read). I brought a LOT of books into my house during those two years. I’m still trying to read most of them, too.

4. In 2007, I snapped out of my writing funk and sprang into motion. That was the year the agent offered representation on Trevor’s Song — and vanished. I read 97 books — and considered myself a slacker.

5. In 2008, with the first Demo Tapes book published in November, I read 87 books by others. A full 21 of them did not get finished.

6. Yes, it’s true. If a book doesn’t grab me, I don’t force myself to finish it. I had a writing professor in college who encouraged me to follow this practice. Reg was awesome. I listened to more than those words of wisdom.

7. This year, 2009, I have two books in print. Two books to promote. I’m getting ready to start Demo Tapes 3, and I’ve promised myself that when I finish writing the first draft of the follow-up to Trevor’s Song, I’ll make you guys happy. Plus I’m working on another manuscript, too.

8. So far in 2009, I’ve read 68 books, 18 of which I haven’t finished.

9. I see a trend here. Do you?

10. However, I continue to lust for books written by others. My wish list (which doesn’t include most of the list I kept in graduate school and for the first few years right after) has over 1900 books on it.

11. 1,921, to be precise.

12. Nope, I don’t expect to read them all. I figure at this point, it’s serendipity. The books I’m meant to read will find me.

13. I hope my books find you.


Thursday Thirteen: Snow


Yep, it’s supposed to snow this week here at West of Mars. Well, outside the house with the purple trim, that is. It darn well better not snow INSIDE.

Snow’s on my mind. So’s my fiction. One plus one equals… thirteen!

1. Since everybody’s favorite fictional band, ShapeShifter, is from a mythical part of the West Coast, they didn’t grow up the way I did: with snowy winters.

2. All four boys (uhh, that’s Mitchell, Trevor, Eric, and Daniel for those of you new around here) didn’t see snow until they were on their first tour.

3. Mitchell and Trevor immediately became experts at the Art of Snowball Bombing. You know: when the person you nail isn’t expecting it.

4. Snow on the head and dripping down the back of a neck loses something when the person you’ve just bombed has long hair. The boys figured out pretty quick that nailing each other in the nuts was way more fun.

5. On the other hand, despite taking many snowballs all over his body, Eric prefers building snowmen.

6. Kerri, who grew up in a snowier climate, isn’t as enthused as the boys in the band are. Not about playing in the snow.

7. But warming up afterward? With someone like Mitchell? Hoo boy. Yeah.

8. Val, Daniel’s longtime love, hates the snow. She hates the bulky winter clothes. Hates lug tread on snowboots. Hates anything not sleek and sexy.

9. But shearling lined boots and gloves and fur coats… now, if you’ve GOT to be somewhere cold, that’s the only way to go.

10. Even being caught in a blizzard isn’t enough to dampen the boys’ love of snow. They were in Denver, where they’re used to snow. No big deal, they were told.

11. They played to a full house that night. No big deal, indeed.

12. Until THEY tried to leave, anyway.

13. Maybe one day I’ll write that story. In the meantime, leave lots of comments so I can return all your visits. Maybe all the typing I’ll have to do will keep my poor fingers warm.


Thursday Thirteen: Autumn


Ahh, autumn. She’s arrived, in all of her colorful glory and gale-force winds. Not to mention crisp air and clear, cold nights that make hot chocolate taste that much better.

Other things to love about autumn:
1. The boys in the bands don’t swelter in their leather jackets.
2. Some of them put their summer-weight denim vests over their leathers altogether.
3. They don’t look dorky for wearing jeans All. The. Time.
4. Mitchell begins insisting the band be booked in hotels with indoor pools. As the band gets more popular and able to afford these hotels anyway, he has to switch gears and demand outdoor pools during the warmer months.
5. The guys don’t swelter under their long hair.
6. There’s always one night when one of the ShapeShifter guys says, “Remember the night we played that bonfire in the woods?”
7. Since it rarely snows in Riverview, autumn means that snow’s coming. Which means the boys will have a snowball fight or two.
8. Or ten.
9. Autumn is when the invitations to the summer festivals begin rolling in.
10. Every now and then, the promoter will serve chili or stew for dinner.
11. Halloween and its costumes.
12. Halloween and its candy.
13. And one thing not to love — a lot of the girls cover up those gorgeous, long legs for the season


Thursday Thirteen: Around town


First off, open this link in a new tab. I’m guest blogging over at Beth’s Book Review Blog. And yep, a lucky commenter will win a free digital download (that’s an e-book) from

If you’re an old-timer around here, you might recognize some of these places in my fictional city of Riverview, USA. I’ve had to create some new places of late for some bigger stuff I’ve been working on, so I thought I’d share.

1. Java Bird — this is Lyric’s favorite coffee shop. It’s in walking distance from her shop (which you should all know about by now!) and she’s hooked. Addicted.

2. Fit Riverview — the city’s best chain of exclusive, yuppie, snotty health clubs. A number of the Riverview Otters belong there. There are four around the city, and each one is host to the city’s best after-work basketball team.

3. Baked With Love — corny name, great croissants.

4. Riverview Central Municipal Library — created for our Thirteen friend Celtic Librarian. Wait until you hear the story behind this place… you’ll have to wait until it figures into a longer piece, sad to say. (for you. And me, who needs the time to create it!)

5. Arts Unlimited — the arts supply store near Lyric’s shop. Kerri often shops there; in fact, most of the students at the Riverview Art Academy shop there. Sergei, the owner, gives nice discounts to long-time shoppers.

6. The Old-Fashioned Dime Shop — Just what it’s name says it is. If you can’t find it here, it doesn’t exist. Or else it costs a fortune. Because of their proximity to Lyric’s shop (next door!), they do a hefty business in batteries.

7. The Rocket Theater — the former drag queen only club, it’s slowly being converted into a venue for live rock music. If you’ve been to The Fillmore in San Francisco, you get an idea of what the concert hall is like. Complete with chandeliers.

8. Vic’s Vinyl — a record store that Mitchell used to hang out in. Vic, the owner, is one cool chick: half her face has a tattoo of a butterfly on it. A black, purple, blue, and magenta butterfly that’s angry and evil. Vic is a punk through-and-through, but her store’s as diverse as the rest of Riverview. (I have yet to do anything with this place except create it, but won’t it be fun to play with?)

9. All Access — You know those clubs that are guaranteed to have the cops show up? The ones that smell so badly of every bodily fluid imaginable (and some you haven’t thought of), of smoke, of beer — yeah, All Access smells so bad, you can smell it outside. People die inside All Access. It only holds about 200 people — 250 on a good night — but playing a show there gets you all the bragging rights you could want.

10. Elite Threads — a designer men’s clothing store. Our ShapeShifter boys shop there. Sometimes. (They do NOT do Trevor’s leather pants) It’s a bit too business-oriented, a bit too yuppie. Eric often finds clothes to wear to his father’s church there. Since, you know. Dad doesn’t appreciate ShapeShifter t-shirts on a Sunday morning.

11. I can’t let the opportunity go by without mentioning one of my favorite places in Riverview: Big Buck’s Best Barbecue. His Bodacious Sauce is legendary.

12. Zuckerman’s Famous Pig — Yeah, I might get sued for that one, but c’mon. What ELSE would you call a kosher deli????

13. The Slaughterhouse. More on this one to come. Much, much more.


Thursday Thirteen: Seven


In honor of the number seven…

1. It’s the minimum number of times Mitchell drops the f-bomb during a concert.

2. It’s the maximum number of times Mitchell calls the crowd pussies.

3. If you cloned the guys, you’d get seven. That’s because Trevor’s such an original, they truly broke the mode. He’s un-clone-able. So we’d have two of everyone else… and still too much of the one and only Trevor F. Wolff.

4. It’s the number of basses Trevor owns.

5. It’s the number of months Trevor spent rebuilding his Vincent (that’s a motorcycle, folks).

6. It’s the number of continents. However, no one’s played Antarctica, so it’s NOT the number of continents that ShapeShifter’s played.

7. Seven is a prime number. Believed by many to be lucky. We’ll leave this one as is.

8. It’s the number of drum sticks, on average, Daniel breaks during one week of recording.

9. It’s the minimum number of friends in the dressing room before it’s a true after-show party.

10. Seven pieces of ShapeShifter lore:
The Wall of Fame (bras)
Band going for ice cream after a show
Steal the guys’ undies!
The parties. Oh, the parties.
and the hangovers. Nothing’s more exquisite.
Who’ll do more than sign underneath your bra, ifyougetwhatImean.
Mitchell is unable to smile. (So says the lore.)

11. It’s the number of hits you get out of one of Eric’s hand-rolled beauties.

12. It’s the number of ShapeShifter albums on the Discography page.

13. It’s… it’s… it’s personal. And it’s good. Seven. Hot damn.


Thursday Thirteen: I Saw Him From Afar


Ever notice how you can pick out a friend’s back across a crowded room, even if everyone in the room’s wearing the same uniform?

It’s the hair



Their posture

Shoulders up, chest lifted

Shoulders in

Hips canted to one side

The set of the jaw, or the jawline itself

Do they talk with their hands?

Do they fidget?

Favor one leg?

If they’re wearing heels, do they rock one foot forward and anchor that heel into the ground?


Think about it. What makes you recognize someone? What lets your friends recognize you?


Thursday Thirteen: True Story


1. 3 PM.

2. Time for my daily bike ride.

3. I’m coming down the street toward a stop sign.

4. Car coming the other way. We both slow. He stops. I don’t have to. Yet. Don’t want to, really.

5. I’m wearing a light blue jersey. Black shorts.

6. My bike’s red. Pink handlebar tape.

7. Nothing metal about me.

8. The guy in the white car sticks a hand out his window.

9. “Uh-oh,” I think. “Here it comes.”

10. Because every bicyclist has tales of encountering assholes.

(not that we’re all perfect, ourselves.)

11. He leans toward his open window as he drives past.

12. Yells, “Slayer!”

13. The only thing I can think is, “Dude, if you only knew!”

Does my voice here remind anyone of a certain Roadie Poet? Wild.


Thursday Thirteen: Imagine


No, no John Lennon songs from me today, no matter how brilliant they are.

Rather, imagine a dark concert hall.

Imagine the press of bodies all around you. Holding you tight in your spot. But that’s okay. You want to be there.

Imagine the white spotlight. Four of them, one on each band member. And darkness in between. But not real darkness.

Now, close your eyes. FEEL the music wash over you. A wave. A wall that breaks over your head and collapses down your body.

It takes you somewhere new. Old. Safe. Dangerous.

Imagine the longing. To climb inside the music. To be noticed by the men making that music. To be Someone Important.

Imagine the power. The way you feel more alive than any human being ought to feel. The way it’s not just the air that’s crackling, it’s you, too. From your arm hairs down to that center core, the one where you hide the shit you don’t have the guts to let anyone see.

Feel your lips move as you sing along. Hell, you’re not even fully aware that you’re doing it, or that you’re pumping your fist in the air. That’s because you’re not inside that body that’s crackling with vitality. You’re… over it. Inside it. Under it. On the stage. In the pit. In the nosebleed seats.

See the sweat glisten on the bare, tattooed arms of the men in those white spotlights. Watch drops of it fly off long hair, wetted into tiny spears that barely block the light and yet manage to eat the light for dinner. Don’t be blinded by the glare off their teeth, even the ones yellowed by cigarettes.

Imagine the way you scarcely dare breathe as they run from end to end of the stage. You’re afraid to blink, afraid of missing something. You couldn’t even begin to explain what that something is. You’ll know it if you see it.

The hands in the front row, reaching for a hand slap, a pick, a drumstick. From where you stand, you can see the fingers trying to wrap around a wrist, to hold on. To prolong the contact. To find a deeper meaning in it — for him on stage and for you, down below.

And then it’s done. You’re as spent as they are; you let the crowd carry you out in their swell, outside, where the air is somehow sweeter and thinner and it fills your lungs and washes it all away. All of it. Except the memories.



Thursday Thirteen: Demo Tapes Year 2


Yes, boys and girls, you can’t get enough of Trevor, Mitchell, and the rest of the gang. By popular demand…

1. On September 12, you’ll be able to buy The Demo Tapes: Year 2.

2. I’ll be debuting it at the Bridgewater Book Fest outside of Pittsburgh. That’ll be your first chance to hold it in your hands.

3. You can preorder it now from me. I take PayPal. It’s $13.98 (shipping included) if you’re in the States. I’ll mail out your preordered copies on September 14.

4. Need Years 1 and 2 for some reason? Until September 12, you can get them for $23.96 — a $2 savings on the books themselves.

5. Autographs are up to you. If you want ’em, I’ll give ’em.

6. Electronic versions are in the works. You can get Demo Tapes 1 at the Kindle store now, however.

7. If you’re outside the US, contact me for shipping charges.

8. Now that we’ve gotten THAT out of the way… what ARE the Demo Tapes and why do you need them???

9. If you’ve met the fictional band ShapeShifter here on the Meet and Greet, you know how much fun they can be. And how frustrating it can be to read their adventures out of order.

10. The Demo Tapes collections take one year’s worth of fiction that I posted here at the blog and puts it onto a timeline. This lets you follow the band’s growth.

11. You also get to revisit some old favorites, like the story of how Mitchell got his pierced ear. Part of that story made up a Thirteen, if you recall.

12. There’s even a bonus piece, that never appeared on the Meet and Greet. Pretty cool…

13. So c’mon. Join the Trevolution. Pick up either version of the Demo Tapes and have some fun for yourself.


Thursday Thirteen: Conviction


I asked the cast of characters around here what’s worth conviction. You know: standing up for, no matter what.

I really ought to know better…

1. Trevor: Sex
(Susan would like to point out that Melody is pouting. That was her answer.)

2. Mitchell: Music
(Susan would now like to point out that Chelle is upset. That was her answer.)

3. Eric: Guitars
(Susan would now like to point out that was Mitchell’s next answer.)

4. Daniel: kindness
(Susan would now like to point out that everyone is looking at Daniel funny. That was no one’s answer.)

5. Kerri: Chocolate
(Susan would not like to point anything out. Including the half of a candy bar jammed in her mouth.)

6. Mitchell: A good show
(Susan would like to finish her chocolate bar before pointing anything out)

7. Trevor: Girls
(Susan is joining Kerri and the band in rolling her eyes. And finishing the candy.)

8. Lyric: Feeling good about yourself
(Susan would like to point out that’s what Lyric’s store is all about)

9. Trevor: Meatball subs
(Susan would like to point out that no one was going to say this.)

10. Mitchell: Love
(Trevor would like to point out that shit like this makes him gag.)

11. Eric: Faith
(Trevor would like to point out that this is more shit that makes him gag.)

12. Eric: Family
(Susan would like to point out that the band has started to think of themselves as family.)

13. Mitchell: ShapeShifter
(Susan doesn’t need to point out that everyone agrees.)

Stay tuned for news of Demo Tapes: Year 2, gang. We’re close!


Thursday Thirteen: Turn that Noise Down!


If you have been here this past week, you know I’m actually out of town until around noon on Thursday. But… why let something like that stop a girl? That’s what auto-scheduling’s all about.

Regardless of where I am, I am very excited about the interview we’re halfway through. I posted the first half on Monday, and will post the second half soon. But it made me think about me and my own love of music. Reading Do The Devil’s Work For Him was like stepping back in time. All of it came rushing back to me. What’s it, you ask?


1. IT was first awakened… shoot. I don’t know. In the 1980s, when hair bands reigned supreme. I think it began when I sat at lunch and listened to a friend gush about her love of Bon Jovi.

2. Maybe it was before that, because I think I already had my part-time job at a record store (anyone remember those?) by then. So maybe it was working at the record store that gave IT to me.

3. Hair bands aside, the late 1980s was a great time to get into music. It was so vibrant, so alive. Innocent, even. And at the same time, so cool.

4. I loved that rock star look. The glamour. I wanted to help make it come true.

5. Through my work at the record store, I met representatives for the various record labels, who came in to build displays featuring the bands they repped. They told me that I, too, could do what they did. I began to dream.

6. When I went to college, it was fully with the idea of a future working in the music biz. So I landed myself a job at the Union’s record store. I met more label reps, who turned me on to some very cool music. (Dan Reed Network? Midnight Oil?)

7. Even before that, I got involved with my campus radio stations and became a licensed radio operator (My FCC license was approved on December 24. Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, I loved the timing. What a present, indeed.)

8. When I left that college for Pitt, I took over WPTS-FM like a storm. Soon, I was running the show. Later, I ran the department I created. I was the first in town to give airplay to bands like Alice in Chains. Yep, I knew the late, great, Layne Staley. I took him out for O fries one night. That’s the sort of radio chick I was.

9. Part of my responsibilities involved talking to the reps from various record labels and letting them know where their bands fell on my playlists. I made many friends, all of whom knew my career ambitions. A few even took me under their wings. I’m still friendly with four of them, today.

10. Job offers rolled in. I spent spring break of my senior year in New York, shadowing one of those four friends. What would my life be like if I took this job? I could do it, but…. when would I write? I’m built to write. Always have been.

11. In the 11th hour, I walked away from a job in the music business. At times like this, when the planets are in the right alignment and the present day reminds me of what I left behind, I ache for it. I miss being part of it. But I don’t regret walking away.

12. My parents still, to this day, ask when I’m going to outgrow my love of the music biz and metal. After all this time, I can’t see it happening.

13. So what is IT? My love, my passion, my need, my desire. As I need to write the way I need to breathe, I need to have music around me. Good music, stuff that makes me come alive and react much the way my fictional Mitchell does. It’s what I need to fuel my fiction, even when I’m writing characters like Lyric, who have very little to do with music.

More about all this to come…


Thursday Thirteen: I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing


I did something today that has me shaking my head at myself. One of those things that I think is totally stupid and will, maybe, one day, maybe make a story that we’ll laugh about.

Maybe one day you’ll hear about it. But don’t count on it.

Thus, I figured it’d be fun to bring you…

Thirteen Things They Can’t Believe They Did

1. Mitchell likes to eat entire pizzas.
(Aww, come ON. You know this is one of my all-time favorites!)

2. Mitchell once fell off the stage and broke his nose.

3. There were all those Halloween costumes, bad AND good.

4. Trevor once found a cat living under their trailer. Why it picked THEIR trailer, he couldn’t understand. He still can’t. The Wolff household was barely human-friendly. What was a cat doing there?

5. Daniel can’t believe he took Val to a private, after-hours, underground sex club. And they liked it. So they went back again. And this time, they could believe they went. And liked it.

6. When Eric first joined ShapeShifter, it was the first time he let his parents know he owned a denim jacket. And dreamed of growing his hair long. Now, he can’t believe he was ever scared to tell them.

7. Trevor still can’t believe he owns a Vincent motorcycle. Or that he was able to figure out how to rebuild it with pieces from a junkyard.

8. Trevor can’t believe that Mitchell and Daniel were able to take over the band’s business affairs so easily. Of course, finding JR, their manager, helped.

9. Then there was the time that Trevor figured out what phallic meant. He was embarrassingly (to him) old when he learned that one.

10. Kerri. Artist. The dream came true. Some days, it doesn’t seem real.

11. Eric and his Easter Eggs. We’re still not allowed to talk about this one.

12. Mitchell can’t believe he found a woman like Kerri.

13. Trevor can’t believe Kerri’s hung in there with Mitchell for so long. Or that everyone likes her. Or that Mitchell found a woman at all, let alone without Trevor’s help. Or even that Trevor, himself, might sort of like her. Or something.


Thursday Thirteen: Diversions


So what do you do when you need to get away from it all? Yell, “Calgon, take me away!” and soak for a few hours in a luxurious tub?

Or do you do what the ShapeShifter boys do…

1. I’ve mentioned before that Trevor rebuilt a Vincent motorcycle from the spare parts he found behind Hammer, Wrench, and Torque’s garage. That’s where he found the frame, too.

2. Mitchell likes to swim. In Daniel’s pool.

3. Daniel is a news junkie. He’ll watch CNN and read all about current events.

4. Eric writes letters to the many girls he’s made friends with along the way.

5. Eric’s also the band’s Internet junkie.

6. Daniel used to oversee the band’s fan club. Mostly because Val ran it and he lived with Val, so he was sort of stuck with it. Then the band hired one of those services to run it. No one misses the time invested, but they’re not so sure the quality’s there.

7. Mitchell likes to ride his mountain bike up in the hills overlooking the city.

8. Trevor hangs out in strip clubs. In the pre-Kerri days, it’s not uncommon for Mitchell to join him.

9. Daniel and Val have more … cutting edge tastes. Don’t ask; you may not want to know.

10. Mitchell likes to hang out at Lyric’s store.

11. Eric hangs out with various members of his family. He’s got a big family.

12. Trevor will deny this to the grave, but he’s got a soft spot for old movies. The black and white classics. Casablanca. Rebel Without a Cause. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And the old, cheesy horror flicks, too.

13. Me, I spend time with my fictional band. I’d love it if you joined me — if you haven’t, already.

I think I’ve done a similar list… does anyone remember? Can you find one in the archives? If so, speak up. You might get a present from me!


Thursday Thirteen: Absent


There Will Be No Thursday Thirteen This Week

1. Because I am exhausted.
2. I am typing words with the letters reversed.
3. I was up at four this morning.
4. My brain was whirling with story ideas.
5. And then the day kicked in.
6. A workout
7. and then busy with kids.
8. I miss them being in school.
9. Even though they’re fun to be with.
10. When they’re not whining at each other.
11. And I need to finish my book for book club this week.
12. And have I mentioned
13. I’m totally addicted to the Tour de France???


Thursday Thirteen: Dreamin’


Ahh, the things I dream about…

1. Getting The Demo Tapes 2 done on time. Release date is September 12. Shouldn’t be hard.

2. Seeing the Demo Tapes 1 be a best-seller for the Kindle. (You picked up on that, right? That’s what Trevor was going on about last week.) It’s only $4.99. Half the price of the print version!

3. Having the time to submit some of the short stories and outtakes that have piled up around here. And figuring out which of them should go up on the downloads page, instead.

4. Writing a guest blog for JM of Fiction Scribe about my self-pubbing experience, and why I’m glad I did it. Or maybe relieved is a better word.

5. Watching Win a Book grow and get more involved in helping authors get their names out. I’m a bit bummed with the hundred or so giveaways for James Patterson. The idea here was to help the mid-list, not the best-seller!

6. Doing more Featured New Releases here, and running more contests for the current one, for Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Prime Time.

7. Actually writing the fiction that has been dancing in my brain, teasing and tormenting me.

8. Working on the Merchandise Table. Have you seen the new logo shirt yet? I wore one at the Lori Foster event. Got a million and five comments on it.

9. Having time to catch up on the 500+ books waiting for me. Some have been here for years. That’s a travesty of good literature!

10. Back to that bit about the fiction dancing in my brain… more Trevor, Mitchell, Kerri. More of some of the minor characters you’ve met here. More blog fiction in general. I love it as much as you do.

11. Being able to make enough money from the Merchandise Table and the Demo Tapes sales that I can upgrade to a Premium store at CafePress AND pay Bridget for all the time she puts in a Win a Book.

12. Having time away from all this writing/blogging/book stuff. Like taking a bike ride. C’mon. Five miles. Is that too much to ask for?

13. Having more time to visit all YOU guys. You’ve got cool things to say. I dig it. Don’t stop. Don’t change, unless it’s to get better.


Thursday Thirteen: I have a Problem


I have NO IDEAS what to write a Thirteen on this week. That’s SO not like me.

I keep opening windows and shutting them, ten words in.


This, friends, is a problem.

1. Problem: 1 a: a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution b: a proposition in mathematics or physics stating something to be done2 a: an intricate unsettled question b: a source of perplexity, distress, or vexation c: difficulty in understanding or accepting

2. In the grand scheme of life, is one difficult Thirteen so problematic? I mean, think about it.

3. Cats and dogs need homes and people to love them.

4. Hell, so do many children. Orphaned or not.

5. Have ya seen the economy? THAT is a problem.

6. Ever noticed there’s a scale to problems? There’s your problem, which is always the biggest and most Earth-shattering, and then there’s everyone else’s.

7. Including the problems of cats, dogs, and kids.

8. The problem isn’t that I have no idea for a Thirteen. It’s that something’s sapping my creativity.

9. I know what it is. It’s an addiction.

10. See? I told you it was a problem.

11. I’m trying to wean myself off this addiction.

12. You can help. Leave me lots of comments. I’ll return the visit.

13. And you can have more Trevor.


Thursday Thirteen: Don’t be a Boor


In celebration of yesterday, when a woman at the pool wouldn’t give her lounge chair to a woman with a bad back but instead insisted that it go to her friend’s apparently invisible kids, I bring you…

Thirteen Examples of Bad Behavior, ShapeShifter style

1. Call Mitchell Mitch.

2. Argue religion with Eric. Deliberately.

3. Scalp counterfeit ShapeShifter tickets.

4. Sell unauthorized t-shirts in the parking lot for ten bucks before and after the show.

5. Shove die-hard fans out of your way so you can be in the front of the pit, where you prove to the world you don’t know the band’s songs.

6. Approach any of the guys when they’re out at a restaurant, having a meal. Bars are fine; ask for all the autographs you want. But don’t come between a ShapeShifter and his food.

7. Jumping on top of the two girls beside you to get the pick Eric’s just thrown into the crowd.

8. Bugging the band for an autograph that you turn around and sell on eBay.

9. Ladies who hog Trevor. There’s more than enough of him to go around.

10. Fans who tailgate before the show, getting so drunk, they puke and pass out before ShapeShifter hits the stage.

11. When the band reaches out to slap your hand, don’t grab on. Fingernails, even short ones, can cut.

12. Saying, “You look taller on stage.” Particularly to Trevor, who’s not giving the Tallest Man in the World any night sweats, ifyouknowwhatImean.

13. Anyone who tries to steal the band’s gear. Any band’s gear. Hands off. Get your own.

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